The weather here in South Carolina has turned blissfully autumnal, which means we can finally partake in all manner of outdoor activities without dying of heat exposure and dehydration. The humidity has calmed itself to a bearable level, and the mornings and nights are crisp and cool.
One of my enterprising neighbors—and most dogged constituents—took advantage of the cool weather this weekend to test out an inflatable projector screen. He invited me to join his family for a private, driveway screening of the original 1977 Star Wars, later entitled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Specifically, he screened the “de-specialized” version, as he called it, so there was none of the clunky 1990s CGI additions of the special editions.
In other words, it’s the way Star Wars was intended… before George Lucas changed his mind and decided to change his own films.
Shudder continues to deliver up the bizarre and unusual, proving it’s well worth the price of admission for the streaming service. This last week saw the service bring the 1985 film The Stuff to the service.
It’s an unusual horror flick that combines elements of consumer protection advocacy, mass media advertising, consumerism, ruthless business tactics, and addiction into a blob of creamy terror.
Indeed, the film is something like The Blob (1958) and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) rolled into one: a greedy corporation knowingly sells a dangerous product, which turns out to be a goopy white organism that entire consumes the very people consuming it.
So, essentially, the entire flick is a metaphor for consumerism and corporate greed run amok.
The poems in this volume appear in Jeremy’s first three releases (get them here, here, and here), so they’ve seen publication before, but if you loveHalloween—and I definitely do—this collection puts all of his spookiest poems together in one place. If you love Halloween and you’re a cheapskate, you can save some cash and pick up the present volume (though I highly recommend you purchase his entire oeuvre, as I have done—at least in paperback).
Jeremy definitely loves Halloween, too, and often says he wishes every day were Halloween. That might rob the holiday of some of its magic, but I appreciate the sentiment: Halloween these days seems to get short shrift during the holiday season, with the commercialized version of Christmas stretching its imperialistic tentacles deep into October—and even September! But that’s all to say that a guy who loves Halloween that much is going to release some of the spookiest, most spine-tingling poetry you’ll ever read.
Apparently, the 1960s were a bit wild for the Soviets, too, as the Russkies allowed the release of Viy (1967), a Soviet-era horror flick, the first of its kinds to enjoy an official release in the USSR. Shudder is currently streaming the film, and it’s worth your time to check it out, both for the novelty of watching a Soviet horror flick, but also because it’s a fun, surprisingly frightening film.
After a glorious Labor Day weekend and a scenic drive, my school opted to hold a virtual learning rehearsal day, intoning the usual incantation of “out of an abundance of caution” due to the possibility of holiday-related viral spread. The decision to do a day of virtual learning also came with the insistent emphasis that we are not planning on going to virtual or distance learning on a long-term basis, but merely wanted to practice in order to prepare for the worst.
Thank goodness! While I very much appreciated the more relaxed pace of the day—and by extension the cancellation of Back-to-School Night—I was also reminded of the shortcomings of distance learning.
Back in June, I started a new feature on non-Bandcamp Fridays, Supporting Friends Friday. It’s a small way to highlight and support the works and talents of my various friends, of both the IRL and online variety.
Now that I’ve written several of these posts, it seemed like a good time to look back at them. The three this week are all good friends I know personally—indeed, they all live within forty-five minutes of me—and we have a musical connection. The first friend featured is a poet, but we met at local open mic nights.
Binge-watching The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs has introduced me to some obscure and forgotten flicks. Several of the films the freedom-loving Texan screens are deservedly forgotten, and even hard to watch, with only Joe Bob’s off-the-cuff rants and film history knowledge keeping me going. Others, however, are real gems—rough-cut and a little sooty, but gems nonetheless.
One such film is Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988), a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action-comedy starring wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Piper is better known for his role in They Live (1988), the John Carpenter classic in which Piper’s character discovers a pair of sunglasses that show the world for how it truly is. They Live—with its infamous six-minute fistfight—is the better film, but Hell Comes to Frogtown is really delightful.
But The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot has the kind of exploitation title I love. When I first heard about the film (on RedBox), I became obsessed with seeing it. I remember making a special trip to a distant RedBox kiosk to rent the DVD.
I mean, clearly this flick had to be the greatest movie ever made, right? What kind of crazy, evil genius cooked up the concept of a man assassinating Hitler and Bigfoot?
Well, it’s not quite the greatest movie ever made—far from it—and the film is way different than what the ridiculous title implies, but it’s still quite good. Just temper your expectations.
Today marks the end of summertime fun and the beginning of work. Classes for the school year won’t start for another nine days, but I’ll be filling out various bits of legalese paperwork and taking the same bloodborne pathogens quiz I’ve taken every August for the paste decade.
In the spirit of beginning another year of academic rigmarole and inspirational mind-molding, I decided to review the 1989 dark comedy Heathers, starring Wynona Rider and Christian Slater as two oddball teens who declare war against the titular popular clique that rules the school.
I first watched Heathers on Hulu back in 2019 with the girl I was dating at the time. I remember it being far darker than I anticipated, and found the second half of the film unpleasant. I usually enjoy unsettling movies, but tonally it seemed “off.”