Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This always makes me think of Christmas;



Everyone have a great one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SANTA IS REAL!!!


I hear people who have lost that Christmas Spirit. I think it's the children who help to keep that alive and what right does anyone have to take that away from them? Even Jesus knew the power of pure belief when he said to bring the children to him. It's an unwavering, total immersion in the belief of something. Want to know why this is important?
Read this;
PHARR, Texas – A Texas man has been arrested after a 9-year-old girl wrote to Santa Claus asking that a relative stop touching her and her sister.

The Monitor of McAllen reports that a man from the town of Pharr was arrested Friday and is in the Hidalgo County jail.

A criminal complaint says the girl turned the letter in at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Authorities interviewed the girl after a school counselor reported the letter.

The complaint says investigators believe the molestation occurred over a period of four years.

The man is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child and could face as many as 99 years in prison if convicted.

If those little children hadn't believed in Santa unconditionally and wrote to him then there is no telling how long this abuse would have continued. I know that our founder here at Penguin Comics would have read the story and cried for the children and then laughed because they were able to stop abuse by just believing in something.
This holiday season when you are sick of the commercialism and all the hype, just look into the face of a child who truly believes and realize that that is all that matters.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Oh, and the picture? This is what I envisioned Santa looking like after he got the letter from the children and went to pay this sick fuck a visit. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

ANYONE REMEMBER THIS GUY???


I'm referring to the fat bastard in the picture above, film maker Kevin Smith. Remember the good old days when he would write in his blog everyday and tell us the minutiae of his life? Remember when his blog was funny and not just an attempt to push product? Hell, we didn't mind him pushing said product because he kept in touch with us like a cousin that we liked. It was like having another member of the family albeit a really funny member of the family.
When did it all go south? I blame Zack and Miri. He went to make that flick and kept to himself. After the intensive blogging for Clerks 2, this quiet was unnerving at best. Sure, eventually he threw us a bone once in a while, but his blog has been silent like Bob since November 5th and that was to pimp some comic that he and Walt Flanagan did with some dude named Batman. Pretty damned lame.
I remember him pimping Red State and complaining that there was no money in place. I'm pretty sure that that didn't stop him from making Clerks, his best film so, why should this be any different. If he wants to do something different he needs to put his neck out there and not rely on the safety net of The Weinsteins. Or here's a better idea; sow everyone how wrong they were and finance the thing yourself. You did it with your best movie why not try that again?
Another solution is go to your mindless, rabid fan base. If you asked them all to contribute via PayPal you would have more than enough cash to make the film you wanted.
Of course since Mr. Smith is in some bizarre cone of silence of late there is no way of knowing what is going on.
The other thing that worries me is his weight. The behind the scenes stuff I saw for Zack And Miri showed me a huge Kevin Smith. I wish no ill on the man so I hope that he's not dealing with weight related issues. I have on a number of occasions offered to help him lose the weight and keep it off for good. No reply from the Smith camp on that one. Instead he goes for that liquid diet that is just incorrect. The offer still stands Kevin. Just get ahold of me via this site. I'm sure that since I've bashed you one of your mindless legions will discover this post and get it back to you in the most negative way possible.
I just had to get this out in the open because I always liked Kevin Smith. The Kevin Smith that made movies that I could relate to and laugh about and have fun with. The communicative Kevin Smith who would tell us just about anything.
Now we get bupkis.
That's all I got.
I gotta go.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'N' -From the new collection of stories by Stephen King: JUST AFTER SUNSET


When King releases a new book, I can honestly admit that I'm right there ready to slap down my money. There's just something about The Master of the Macabre that draws me in each and every time, regardless of the outcome of the previous tome. Yes, there have been some missteps ('Dreamcatcher' was disappointing, 'Duma Key' had one of those endings that was almost too far fetched even for the subject at hand...), but by and large, his books never cease to snatch me, tie me up, and take me along for some of the wildest rides I have ever been on, literary-speaking. Now, I'm even a bigger sucker for King's short story collections. There has not been one of these I have been overly upset with, and over all I have loved each and every one. So, when the new book, 'Just After Sunset' was released last month, I got my ticket punched immediately. As I begun to tackle each individual chunk on its own accord and merit, it became obvious that King has taken the 'female perspective' firmly by the reigns and is leading it, stealthily, where he wants it to go. Even with 'N', the story I'll be focusing on today, is told ultimately through the eyes of a woman. And this, friends, is a damn good thing.

'N' is having some downright debilitating OCD issues; touching things in even multiples, placing items in little even-numbered circles, and making sure that anything and everything he comes in contact with or actions he takes throughout the day are done as far from the use of odd numbers as humanly possible. Dr. John Bonsaint is a psychiatrist who first encounters 'N' after his life has become such a train wreck that any normal functions has since ceased to be. Dr. Bonsaint, after some gentle persuading, finally listens to 'N' as he tells his tale of just how his life has fallen prey to obsessive-compulsive madness. ~ Right about now, a little bit of H.P. Lovecraft and his C'Thulu mythos squats firmly in the passenger seat and prods King's story telling into unhuman and inky-black directions typically unseen by the author. In the back seat, well it's the author-referred Arthur Machen and his Great God, Pan story that slips its directions into the course as well. ~ 'N' has discovered something quite odd in an otherwise normal set of stones looking vaguely like a mini Stonehenge, but why is there a spot for an eighth stone when he sees only seven? Well, a quick look through a camera view finder in hopes of capturing the blasphemous monument on film provides the answer: there are eight, but not to the naked human eye. And thus begins the need to count, list, touch, and create everything into even numbers: protection. 'N' becomes the unwitting gatekeeper for a creature so horrid, so wretched, that to see only its eye and pulsating head is to drive one to utter madness. And 'N' has come to the end of his frayed remnants of sanity.

'N' is by far, and without a doubt, one of King's most powerful and human (yet, at once, inhuman) stories. It hits home so potently for those of us (myself included) with even a minor taste of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and begs the question: is it our actions, however insignificant,that are really maintaining a sort of balance to the Universe, or are we just completely insane? A must read, as is the rest of the book. King is back, and he is in fine, fine form.

S-

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PRISON BREAK SEASON FOUR EPISODE FOURTEEN


I never miss an episode of this show. I make time for that hour to watch it. The kids know it and Martha actually likes this season so she watches it with me. Anyway, I'm not here to recap the episode, go watch the thing yourself. What I am here to do is comment on how the company has made a fatal mistake as of this episode.
If you haven't watched it, stop reading now. And why haven't you? Remember when television was on when it was on? Sure, you could record the thing, but it was always easier to just make the time. Before these Tivos and other recording devices. Now people just fill up the hard drives on these things and never watch anything. Instead it just gets deleted because you couldn't make the time.
Excuse me while I clamber off this soapbox, will you?
Anyway, Theodore T-Bag Bagwell has found himself in a precarious position. Working with Homeland Security agent Don Self to sell Scylla to the highest bidder, he has been put in charge of Gretchen's sister and daughter. T-Bag is a well documented pedophile, but this is the old T-Bag. This T-Bag has tasted the good life of being a corporate executive and it makes him happy. Now he is being treated like less than a human being by a number of people and he is starting to fray around the edges. It all comes to a head when a bible salesman comes to their door and T-Bag decides that he's a company man and conks the guy over the head, ties him to a chair and beats him for a confession.
He doesn't get one and it becomes certain that this is just an innocent man caught up in a bad situation. In the end T-Bag makes an honorable decision and lets the sister and Gretchen's daughter go. He even gives them money to speed them on their way. Then he unties the bible salesman.
And then it hits the fan.
Turns out that his first instinct was the correct one and the bible salesman knocks him out and ties him up to take him to the company.
What the company doesn't realize that in that simple act of betrayal they have unleashed the beast known as T-Bag. I can't see this character ever redeeming himself after this magnitude of betrayal at the hands of the company. He will become the monster that everyone already thinks that he is and if he isn't watched carefully during his capture, will turn into a death dealing abomination the likes this series has ever seen.
Of course this is all speculation and with only two more episodes left in a series that has already been threatened with cancellation, I have no idea how they can resolve this entire issue, but it will be interesting to see how they try.
Robert Knepper deserves an Emmy for last night's performance and if they can't see that then Hollywood isn't only blind; it's retarded.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

GOODBYE FORRY


Just one of those things you hate to do. Forrest J. Ackerman fed my horror film frenzy as a child and even when I got older. Now he's gone and if that wasn't bad enough, Bettie Page is in a coma after a heart attack.
Oh and it won't stop snowing.
Goodbye Forry. I will miss you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

HELPING LBP TO REACH THE NEXT LEVEL


For those of you not in the know, LBP stands for Low Budget Pictures. Chris Seaver is the head of LBP and responsible for the insane filmic buffoonery that I have enjoyed for years. It all started with my addiction to Mulva Zombie Ass Kicker and has spiraled out of control ever sense. With a keen wit and a penchant for offensiveness, I would have to mark Low Budget Pictures as my favorite micro budget studio.
Now, Chris Seaver wants to up the ante and I'm here to proclaim it to the world. He's got a plan for a movie with a bigger budget. Approximately 75 grand. Hell, that wouldn't cover the catering on any of the recent Hollywood releases. And you know that he will make it fantastic.
In addition to that he and the LBPers are looking to go to Sundance this year and pimp the film to potential investors there.
So, it's time to put up or shut up. If you need to contact Chris about this you can do so either here;
lowbudgetpictures@gmail.com
or here
1-585-301-6911
That's right. He's so crazy serious about this that he's giving out his phone number. Don't have the cash? Have an event where the proceeds go to LBP for making the flick and sending their narrow asses to Sundance.
He has a paypal account over at
swanky_c@yahoo.com
IF you want his address contact him and he will accept buckets of money as well. It doesn't matter and with the genius of one of the funniest film makers out there today, we can make this happen at a fan based level and Mr. Seaver can go on to bigger, better things. Hell, we might even get that long awaited John Stamos cameo. The idea of that makes me a little dizzy.
I'll be posting this regularly. Want me to stop? Send Chris Seaver enough cash and I will.
Now, I gotta go brainstorm an idea to raise some cash.
Seeya

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SHE'S A WONDER, WONDER WOMAN!!

So, as March approaches I now have two things to look forward to. One is the release of the Watchmen. And then there is the continuation of the DC Comics releases of excellent, direct to video super hero flicks. This time we get the Amazonian princess, Wonder Woman and from what I have seen so far it looks amazing.So, the street date is March 3, 2009. As the date gets closer we here at Penguin will have more info for yo and maybe even a contest or three. Hard to tell. In the meantime, here are a couple of snippets of art, one rough, one finished to whet your appetite.



Sunday, November 16, 2008

"America isn't yet ready to accept a gay, Mexican Chicken Sandwich!"


POULTRYGEIST! (Troma {like you had to ask} 2008)

When Lloyd Kaufman decides to sink his TALONS into some new, fresh WHITE MEAT, he absolutely pulls out every conceivable stop -even those stops more, shall we say, tasteful directors would otherwise leave in tact- and that, good folks, is what makes this CLUCKIN'-good masterpiece so damn much fun to watch! Troma has stuck it's NECK out to allow you, the viewer, the ability to GOBBLE up the FLAVOR! Ok, no more puns (unless they're part of the review) I promise. I'll stop being a PECKER. Ok, now I mean it...

Realize right away that each of the main characters names are based in and around restaurant chains, so, once you see said names, you'll go, "Oh, yeah, now I see!" Ok? Cool. So Arbie and Wendy (Jason Yachamin and Kate Graham, respectively) are celebrating their graduation from high school smack in the middle of the Tromaville Indian Burial ground when, suddenly, hands from Hell are all over them. Literally. Unfortunately, though they promise to remain true once in college and even run off together after witnessing the groping possessed limbs and a crazy pervert handling himself to Arbie's undies, the future holds new lifestyles for at least one of them.
A semester later, we find Wendy in full-fledged protest of the newest local fast-food franchise to saunter into town and trample all over the consecrated ground that was, quite recently, the very burial ground from the intro. American Chicken Bunker is merely the most recent in the long line of blamed quickie eat joints for their questionable food preparation and ethics. Oh, and much to the chagrin of Arbie, who hasn't changed an iota, Wendy has done a complete 180 and become a lesbian. Arbie still remembers that fateful night from a few months ago and holds to the promise that Wendy swore to: always being the same. Well, Arbie lapses quite hilariously into the funniest of the handful of show tunes called "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Fried", and decides to pay back his ex by getting employed at the very restaurant she's picketing against. Well, once within the ranks of the ACB, along with fellow employees Carl Jr. (Caleb Emerson), boss Denny (Joshua Olatunde), fry cook, Paco Bell (Khalid Rivera),  and mysterious mid-eastern, Humus (Rose Ghauami), strange things begin to happen with and to the chicken thanks, in part, to the Poltergeist-esqe placement of the eatery atop the grave yard. Oops! Right off the bat we are treated to a hysterical Ron Jeremy appearance as he busts in the door and warns everyone of their impending doom just before ordering, quite calmly and all Jeremy-ly, some food. 
Well, all begins to slowly erode into splat-stick Troma debauchery as folks begin to drop like, well, dead chickens. Lloyd Kaufman shows up, absolutely perfectly, as a what-could-be glimpse into someone's future (sorry, no spoilers here) and performs a beautiful jig with Arbie. The Lloyd can sing ad (unfortunately, trust me) dance! Not since the beautifully ridiculous and blood-drenched lawn mower scene in Dead Alive have I seen something even remotely as messy as the chicken demon zombies meeting the human populous within the confines of the building! Thanks to the resident Colonel-type character, General Lee Roy (Robin L. Watkins) serving buckets of his tainted product to the mass of angry town's folk, we get a scene featuring every conceivable way a person might use and cook a chicken done to those very humans. Outstanding with a capital 'OW!'
The story remains solid, the ultra-gory effects remain perverse and yucky throughout, and the true beauty of a Troma film has been meticulously and lovingly maintained. This is a fun, funny movie that really pulls you in with both great characterization, hysterically impossible story, and a gore-lovers feast of spilled, sprayed, and splattered blood. Get this flick and you'll see EGG-sactly what I mean. I'm so sorry. Ha!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

WARNERBLU.COM IS HERE!

I thought that this press release from Warner Bros. was something that all Penguin-ites would want to know about. Especially the chance to win a home Blu Ray theater of your very own. Check it out!

WARNER HOME VIDEO LAUNCHES
WARNERBLU.COM WITH
100 DAYS OF BLU-RAY SWEEPSTAKES

Beginning November 13, Visitors to WarnerBlu.com Can Enter to Win a Blu-ray Home Theater System and 100-disc Blu-ray Library

Burbank, Calif., November 13, 2008 – To promote WarnerBlu.com, a new web site that showcases Warner Bros. extensive catalog of movies available on Blu-ray Disc, Warner Home Video is launching the 100 Days of Blu-ray sweepstakes, featuring a grand prize Blu-ray home theater system and 100-disc Blu-ray library.

Designed by Warner Bros. Advanced Digital Services, the 100 Days of Blu-ray sweepstakes will run from November 13, 2008 through February 20, 2009 on www.wb.com. This innovative sweepstakes offers players the chance to win multiple bonus entries in addition to their daily entry in their quest for the grand prize. Bonus entries can be scored by participating in a trivia game related to Warner Bros.’ featured Blu-ray title of the day. Also, Warner Bros. will award the featured title of the day to one lucky winner each day.

WarnerBlu.com is a one stop destination for consumers who want to learn more about Blu-ray, browse the expansive number of Warner titles available on Blu-ray Disc, see what titles are coming soon, look for special offers, and make purchases to build their home library.

To see what this new site has to offer and for more information on the 100 Days of Blu-ray sweepstakes, check out WarnerBlu.com.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A NEW TOME TO KILL FOR...


Hey there, kiddies! It's your friendly Uncle Stew again doing what I do best: combining several strings of words together to make coherent and elaborate sentences! And this time, rather than give you folks a little taste of specific movies that have hit the scene, I am going to ramble on about a sweet new book I just picked up this very day! From the very author who brought us the original 'The Book of Lists', Amy Wallace, comes 'The Book Of Lists: HORROR'. How incredibly cool is that? Well, I'll tell you: Rather.
The same basic structure that we've come to know and love from our Books Of Lists, Wallace has gone above and beyond scouring every available surface of a subject not only near and dear to many people's hearts (mine included), but also quite immense, even going so far as to interview Stephen King, Eli Roth, Ray Bradbury, C. Courtney Joyner, Mikita Brottman, and a slew of others for their respective inputs on varying subjects as lists. This book appeals to me a great deal as I do a little site of my own dedicated to lists, often times delving into the beloved horror genre right HERE , so this book was a must-have and I am so glad I did. I love reading what other greats of the Horror umbrella love about film, books, and various media and the myriad things they list within them such as: Richard Stanley's Ten Favorite Italian Horror Movies, Vince Churchill's Top Ten List of Films in Which The Black Guy Lives, Lisa Tuttle's Ten Favorite Scary Short Stories, and many many more. This book goes out of its way to locate, living or dead, each and every significant contributor to Horror over the past 50 years and finds a way to list something they love. Wonderful.
Lest you think this book is just page after page of lists, think again. The comments are intelligent, the author's insights as to why each enjoys specific things is witty and informative, and each page is a treasure trove of fun reading in an otherwise bleak genre. All horror fans need to check this out and have fun answering such questions as: 'I wonder what horror author, Thomas Ligotti would list as his ten classic pieces of horror poetry?' Well, now you'll know. A great read and nice and thick for the relatively low cover price of $14.99. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

THREE FROM THE VAULT


I am a little behind with this report, but I blame many things. The election, my new novel, but they are all just excuses. Let's get on with the show.
Being a huge fan of Looney Tunes the newest set, Volume 6, is a little bittersweet because it's the last of the huge collections. That's a shame because all of these are stellar. I am especially proud of Warner Brothers for all the wartime cartoons regardless of their political incorrectness. I feel that these things are more representative of our real American history than anything you will read in books. This is what the average joe was thinking about when it came to the war. History classes are never this much fun.
Just to be a nice guy I'm going to list the cartoons in this set. Well almost:)
Disc One: Looney Tunes All Stars
1. Hare Trigger
2. To Duck or Not to Duck
3. Birth of a Notion
4. My Little Duckaroo
5. Crowing Pains
6. Raw! Raw! Rooster!
7. Heaven Scent
8. My Favorite Duck
9. Jumpin' Jupiter
10. Satan's Waitin'
11. Hook Line and Stinker
12. Bear Feat
13. Dog Gone South
14. A Ham in a Role
15. Often an Orphan

Disc Two: Patriotic Pals
1. Herr Meets Hare
2. Russian Rhapsody
3. Daffy the Commando
4. Bosko the Doughboy
5. Rookie Revue
6. The Draft Horse
7. Wacky Blackout
8. The Ducktators
9. The Wekaly Reporter
10. Fifth Column Mouse
11. Meet John Doughboy
12. Hollywood Canine Canteen
13. By Word of Mouse
14. Heir Conditioned
15. Yankee Dood it


Disc Three: Bosko Buddie and Merrie Melodies
1. Congo Jazz
2. Smile Dam Ya, Smile!
3. The Booze Hangs High
4. One More Time
5. Bosko's Picture Show
6. You Don't Know What You're Doin'!
7. We're in the Money!
8. Ride 'em Bosko
9. Shuffle Off to Buffalo
10. Bosko in Person
11. The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon
12. Buddie's Day Out
13. Buddie's Beer Garden
14. Buddie's Circus
15. A Cartoonist's Nightmare

Disc Four: Most Requested Assorted Nuts
1. Horton Hatches the Egg
2. Lights Fantastic
3. Fresh Airedale
4. Chow Hound
5. The Oily American
6. It's Hummer Time
7. Rocket Bye Baby
8. Goo Goo Goliath
9. Wild Wife
10. Much Ado About Nutting
11. The Hole idea
12. Now Hear This
13. Martian Through Georgia
14. Page Miss Glory
15. Norman Normal

That's a lot of cartoons! Plus there are fifteen more shorts that I haven't even given away. This set is probably the most packed, the most dense of any of these Golden Collection releases and worth every penny.



And if that wasn't enough, Warner Brothers has another series called Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection and this time we get the final installment in that one as well. What's next? Complete box sets? Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath. You'll want to pick up these two classics on animation. They make the perfect Christmas gift for that crazy cartoon guy on your list.



And, I saved the best for last. That's right, it's the third DVD set of Popeye covering the wartime years of 1941 to 1943 and if you thought that there was some political incorrectness going on in Looney Tunes, wait until you catch this one. As a service to you, the fans, I give you the list of toons in this set;

Disc 1 (all Fleischer produced)
Problem Pappy (1941) w/ Poopdeck Pappy
Quiet! Pleeze (1941) w/ Poopdeck Pappy
Olive's Sweepstakes Ticket (1941) w/ Olive, Swee'pea, Bluto & Poopdeck Pappy (1941)
Flies Ain't Human (1941)
Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle (1941) w/ Rip Van Winkle & Chico Marx.
Olive's Boithday Presink (1941) w/ Olive Oyl
Child Psykolojiky (1941)w/ Swee'pea & Poopdeck Pappy.
Pest Pilot (1941) w/ Poopdeck Pappy
I'll Never Crow Again (1941) w/ Olive Oyl
The Mighty Navy (1941) - First true wartime themed Popeye.
Nix on Hypnotricks (1941) w/ Olive Oyl & Professor I. Stare.
Kickin' the Conga 'Round (1942) w/ Olive Oyl & Bluto.
Blunder Below (1942) - Wartime themed.
Fleets Of Stren'th (1942) - Wartime themed.
Pip-eye, Pup-eye, Poop-eye and Peep-eye (1942) w/ Nephews
Olive Oyl And Water Don't Mix (1942) w/ Olive Oyl & Bluto.

Disc 2
Many Tanks (Fleischer) (1942) Wartime themed
Baby Wants a Bottleship (Flesicher)(1942) w/ Olive & Swee'pea - wartime themed.
You're a Sap, Mr. Jap (Dan Gordon)(1942) - first Famous Studio cartoon. Wartime themed, BANNED FROM TELEVISION.
Alona on the Sarong Seas (Isadore Sparber)(1942) w/ Olive as Princess Alona & Bluto.
A Hull of a Mess (Sparber)(1942) - Wartime themed
Scrap The Japs (Seymour Kneitel)(1942)- Wartime themed, BANNED FROM TELEVISION.
Me Musical Nephews (Kneitel)(1942) w/ nephews
Spinach Fer Britain (Sparber)(1943) - Wartime themed
Seein' Red, White 'N' Blue (1943) - Wartime themed, BANNED FROM TELEVISION
Too Weak to Work (Sparber)(1943) w/ Bluto
A Jolly Good Furlough (Gordon)(1943) w/Olive, Bluto, Twinkletoes & Nephews. - Wartime Themed.
Ration Fer The Duration (Kneitel)(1943) w/ Nephews. - Wartime themed.
The Hungry Goat (Gordon)(1943) - Wartime themed
Happy Birthdaze (Gordon)(1943) w/ Olive Oyl & Shorty.
Wood-Peckin' (Sparber)(1943)
Cartoons Ain't Human (Kneitel)(1943) w/ Olive Oyl & Nephews. Popeye makes an animated movie using stick figures.

And I always like to whet your whistle so click HERE for a fantastic Popeye clip from the set.

There you go, three fantastic sets for the true collector. Now, it you'll excuse me I gotta go watch Popeye and Bluto duking it out. I loves me some Popeye.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ANOTHER FORRY STORY

After writing yesterdays post I realized how much influence this one man had over my formative years. I remmeber the lists of movies that were going to be released. Forry had the inside track on hundreds of coming attractions, some that never got made, but sounded fascinating. And he would have those name that picture contest. This was before the internet or VHS or DVD's. We didn't have these comprehensive libraries of film in our homes or the net. We had to hope that it was on the late show or that we had already seen it.
I was probably the most sleep deprived kid on the block on the weekends. Especially Saturday. WUHQ, the local ABC affiliate had Shock Theater and then, because we lived so close to the Michigan/Indiana border, I was able to pick up Channel 28 which had Double Creature Feature that started immediately after Shock Theater. I remember one night I watched Invasion Of The Saucer Men three times in a night because I got lucky and found a Channel 43 that had something called Insomnia Theater. It was like winning the jackpot.
I also remmeber watching this murder mystery/haunted house flick where at the end of the flick there's this room and this misshappen man comes through the window and tells us that he's the killer and that if we tell anyone who he is that he would come into our room in the night and strangle us in our sleep. Needless to say I ran off to my Mom and immediately told her what I had seen. She smiled and blew it off and I felt quite brave; until that night when I spent the whole time staring at the single window in my room, waiting for this misshapen man to come in and throttle the life out of me.
Great stuff and it is all due to Forrest J. Ackerman.
Thankfully, both of my parents are movie buffs and encouraged this sort of behavior.
Now, I would like to run a little contest;
It consists of two parts and the rules must be followed to the letter. Any suspicion of cheating and you are disqualified .
Here we go.
It consists of two parts. The first part is to find out the name of the film I mentioned previously. You know th eone where the guy was gonna climb through my window and choke me to death. For this part you may use all your resources. Internet, steel trap for a brain, whatever.
The second part is a little trickier. There are five pictures below. They are all from horror movies from the past. You have to correctly identify the film they were taken from and you are not allowed to use the internet in this endeavor. Any suspicion of cheating and you are done.
What's the prize? You'll have to wait and see. First one to complete all these tasks is the winner.
Oh, and Forry? Yeah, I still love you.











Remember to have fun. Maybe pick up some newsprint and smell it while trying to figure these things out. It might bring back some Famous Monsters Of Filmland memories.

Stay Twisted!

Monday, November 3, 2008

FORREST J. ACKERMAN



It seems that, from a reliable news source, that our beloved founder of Famous Monsters Of Filmland is not much longer for this mortal coil. This crushes me in more ways than I can state. But, instead of wallowing on this I have decided to post a little ditty concerning my most memorable Famous Monsters Of Filmland memory;

When I was a young lad of twelve or so my mother was into ceramics. It may have been younger, but I think that this is a pretty good guess. Downtown Vicksburg had a few shops, but this one huge building housed the local ceramics shop. I would go with her and help clean flash off of ceramics, glaze a few tings and maybe paint something if the mood struck me. It was fun, but not an all consuming kind of thing to a kid.
Anyway, it was a cool, summer night and very few street lights were on. At the time Vicksburg was not all that populated and there wasn't much business in town with the exception of a few factories on the outskirts.
So, I had tired quickly of the ceramics scene so I went outside to sit on the huge front steps and pull a magazine out of my back pocket. It was an issue of Famous Monsters. In particular the article that grabbed my attention was one about the Boris Karloff film, The Ghoul. Now, remember that this was around 1970 or so so there wasn't a lot of the blood filled gore flicks that we have today. Add to that the black and white pictures had more of an impact on my young mind. I think they seemed more real to me somehow. And the monstrous make up that Boris had coupled with a pretty terrifying storyline that the magazine went into great detail and I was pretty wound up. I ended up going back into the ceramics place and see how much longer my mom was going to be. The light filled building helped to chase the heebie jeebies away, but when I looked out the huge windows of the front of the store I could see that the night was still out there, waiting for me. And, who knows, maybe The Ghoul was waiting as well.

Ever since then I always think on that night and it brings me a nostalgic sense of peace and makes me realize why I love a good horror movie. I know that you have to go, Forry, but I'm a selfish person and would rather you didn't. The world will seem so much emptier without the one great Forry Ackerman to remind us of why we love fantastic cinema.

I love you Forry.

Friday, October 31, 2008

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


Have a safe and Happy Halloween from your friends here at Penguin Comics.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

LOONEY TUNES SPOTLIGHT COLLECTION


This awesome set of cartoons is making it's way to you shortly and is available for at this site.
To whet your appetite click HERE for a clip from the set and look for a review of the discs soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

THE WEIRD WORLD OF FLAN!

I have been doing this comic and wanted to show off the spiffy new link in the sidebar to my comic. I will be posting five days a week, or more if I feel so inclined.
STAY TWISTED!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PRISON BREAK SEASON 4 EPISODE 8


Okay, after waiting a week with no 'Break' I got rewarded with one of the best episodes of the season. Michael is forced to take Gretchen and Tea Bag on as associates to find Scylla. Gretchen alludes to Scylla being something more than what we believe it to be. And Agent Mahone finally gets his hands on that rat bastard assasin working for the general. And her gets ahold of him with a crowbar. Definitely a nailbiter that leaves you wanting more. So, what does FOX do? yeah, we have to wait two weeks because of more of that damned baseball!!! I don't watch televisied baseball as it is akin to watching paint dry so, I have no love for the game interrupting the one show that I go out of my way to watch on television.
This is turning out to be as good as the first season, which was awesome.
Oh, and someone dies, but no spoilers on that one. Watch it and find out for yourself.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

[REC*] It's Scary!


2007 - Directed by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza - Starring Manuela Velasco as Angela, Ferran Terraza as Manu, and Pep Sais as Pablo the Camera Man.

Alright, so from the moment this begins the seriously overdone First Point Perspective from the camera man is in full swing, and that's what makes this movie lose a few points with me. From the very first attempt at the shaky camera work that was The Blair Witch Project (decent for its time and the odd frights it dished out) to the recent Cloverfield (enjoyable for the likable characters and the never-fully-seen monster), it seems that the technique is starting to get slightly cliched. Be that as it may, however, the point of it here is far more necessary than either of the two films before it fully bringing the man behind the camera into the action and the story line.
Angela hosts a TV show called While You Were Sleeping and investigates the goings on around the city of Barcelona while everyone else is safely in their homes in nightly repose. In this instance she visits the local Fire Station in hopes of getting some kind of story on what the guys do when an emergency call comes in. Before I go on, I have to tell you that the copy I watched was crystal clear aside from the horrendous subtitle work presumably done by whomever put the package together and often there were times when not only was the English translation just stupid, but sometimes, if the author couldn't understand the words, he just faked it with symbols like this "18*==3#". See how annoying that is? Well, I got the gist of it and wached it regardless. So, back to Angela. As she's wandering the grounds of the fire station with assistant chief Manu, the alarm rings and the crew is called to a local apartment building where a woman inside is freaking out and evidently hurting herself.
Angela and Pablo follow the fire fighters into the building and up the stairs to the woman's flat, and this is where it starts to get pretty intense. As the crew attempt to calm the obviously distressed and bat-shit crazy woman down, she leaps atop the nearest tech and rips his neck to shreds. The group, all at once, barrel down the stairs to regroup and shout obscenely and frightfully about the scene they'd just witnessed while simultaneously hearing from the outside that the very building their in is about to be guarantied and effectively locked down. This news does not go over well with the residents, and each begins to flip out in his or her own special way. Then, without warning, one of the emergency crew who remained upstairs comes sailing down the stairwell onto the floor bashing his face in. Uproarious screams fill the room when the sudden realization that the woman upstairs has completely lost it coupled with the understanding that, while trapped inside, their medical supplies are minimal at best sinks in. All the while Angela is trying desperately to get each of the shut-in's perspectives on camera for the audience at home to see, and discovers by accident that there is a sick little girl among them with a sick little pooch at a vet outside. Could this mean something?
Soon, an outsider Medical Technician is allowed to enter and begins his examination of the two injured techs. He tells everyone precisely nothing and moves the hurt couple to a separate room with a few of the EMT's and the resident flat medical professional. Angela can't get a clear shot so she sends her camera man up a window to a slightly ajar pane and he films what's going on inside the cordoned off room. Well, what he sees as the Med Tech proceeds to handcuff and inject the wounded is rage. The man who was bitten leaps on one of the men and bites his face. Pablo jumps down and instructs Angela to run. Now we have real problems.
Once the situation is mildly calmed, we find out through persuasion and threats from the Med Tech that there is an infection loose in the building that apparently was brought on by a sick dog on the outside who lives in the building. It turns out, pretty plainly, that it's the little girl's dog and that the illness is spread by saliva. At this point, I honestly jumped a bit as the little girl, held lovingly in her mother's arms, turns, almost demonically, and belches a lunger all over her mom's face. She then begins to howl some of the most blood-curdling yowls I have ever seen. Picture something like a bird of prey mixed with a hacking cough mixed with a screaming baby and you're half way there.
Eventually, as the entire complex gets infected one way or another, Angela, Manu, and Pablo, struggle to find a way out. They make their way to the top room and discover it's filled with lab equipment and articles posted about a possible Demonic Possession in a little girl who lived exactly where they're standing. Angela has no idea what's going on, but listening to an old real-to-real they discover that she might still be there! Yeah, well, I'm not going to reveal any more because you need to find a way to see this for yourself. And, according to Fangoria Mag and Rue Morgue, that may never be possible. Sorry. However, the Americanized version, Quarantine, is in theaters now and from what I've heard it's a spot on adaptation with only a few changes, so this might be the best you're going to do. If you get ahold of [REC], give it a chance. It's a cool flick with some genuine scares, if not exactly an original concept, it's still fun. Curl up with some popcorn and have a good time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

REVIEWS OF MOVIES I HAVEN'T SEEN

Rules are simple and different. Top ten at the boxoffice. One sentence (admittedly some of them might be long sentences.) That's it, hold on.
The Top Ten list comes from IMDB at imdb.com

BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA - Great, this did so well that we will be subjected to talking animal movies for another five years!

QUARANTINE - I don't watch remakes.

BODY OF LIES - Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, Snort! Huh?

EAGLE EYE - I already watched WANTED.

NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST - I actually saw this one and it rocked!

THE EXPRESS - I will never see this and it won't matter.

NIGHT IN RODANTHE - My testosterone levels are too high for this flick.

APPALOOSA - A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE in the old west, sign me up!

THE DUCHESS - See review for BODY OF LIES.

FIREPROOF - The Christian film that made good and should be a must see for everyone.

That's it for now. See ya all next week.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

IT'S A MODERN STONE AGE FAMILY!!

Do you not know who The Flintstones are? Of course you do and now we get the chance to see what may be the best box set ever! Check this out!



Ain't that pretty! That is every episode of the show filled with a ton of extras including behind the scene stuff and commentaries. A set that any true Flintstone aficionado would be proud to own.

Here's a taste of what the behind the scenes stuff is going to look like;

So, go to the video HERE

I'll keep all you little penguins informed as more details surface.

And don't forget to have a Yabba Dabba Doo Time!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TALLEY HAWWWWWKKK!!!!


Partly metal, partly real.
(INSERT APPROPRIATE HAWK SCREECH HERE)
Silverhawks!
That either sparked a huge memory synapse just now, or you think I'm crazy as a loon. Well, it's a little of both, but that's neither here nor there. What this is is the Season One box set of one of the coolest cartoons to come out of the 80's. I speak, of course, of SILVERHAWKS.
What's that you ask? Glad you did, this is it in a nutshell;

Bionic policeman Commander Stargazer recruited the SilverHawks, heroes who are "partly metal, partly real," to fight the evil Mon*Star, an escaped alien mob boss who transforms into an enormous armor-plated creature with the aid of Limbo’s Moonstar. Joining Mon*Star in his villainy is an intergalactic mob: the snakelike Yessman, the blade-armed Buzz-Saw, the "bull"-headed Mumbo-Jumbo, weather controller Windhammer, shapeshifter Mo-Lec-U-Lar, robotic card shark Pokerface, weapons-heavy Hardware, and "the musical madness of" Melodia who uses a "keytar" that fires musical notes.

To oppose them, Quicksilver leads the SilverHawks, with his metal bird companion Talley Hawk at his side. Twins Emily and Will Hart became Steelheart and Steelwill, the Silverhawks’ technician and strongman respectively. Country-singing Col. Bluegrass played a sonic guitar and piloted the team’s ship, the Maraj. Rounding out the group is a youngster “from the planet of the mimes,” named Copper Kidd, usually called "Kidd" for short, a mathematical genius who spoke in whistles and computerized tones. At the end of every episode, Copper Kidd was quizzed, along with the home audience, on various space facts.

Launching from their satellite base, Hawk Haven, the SilverHawks flew into battle five days a week for one season. The fictitious Galaxy of Limbo in which the series takes place apparently has an atmosphere; characters speak in space and operate "open-air" vehicles, and Windhammer's powers work even when he is not on an actual planet. There is also gravity; characters not "flying" tend to fall downward relative to whatever vehicle, satellite, or other platform with which they lost footing. However, since Silverhawks is a fantastical children's cartoon, it should not be held to high standards of realism.

It was the whole Galaxy Of Limbo concept that always fascinated me. They were in space, but not suffering explosive decompression from their bare skin hitting space. It was a nice, warm friendly kind of space.
It was so obvious that this was in direct response to the popularity of THUNDERCATS, but you don't catch lightning in a bottle everytime. It was a good solid cartoon with 65 episodes that comprise Season One.
In addition to the first 32 episodes this DVD set also has a featurette on the show along with a sneak peek at the new Wonder Woman animated film coming from Warner Bros.

Now, if you'll excuse me it's time to go immerse myself in my childhood.

(INSERT APPROPRIATE HAWK NOISE HERE.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

FIREPROOF - A Lesson For Us All


So my wife and I went, on the word of her mother, to Fireproof yesterday. Now she'd gone on about how amazing a film it was and how any married couple would be doing themselves a disservice by not seeing it. Well, I have to admit I was skeptical... and I believe that's exactly what the movie wanted: those who don't realize that sometimes it takes a powerfully hidden message to do the most work. So, we went. Even after reading the synopsis, assuring myself that I'd like it even less, and doing a shameful job of trying to talk Amy out of it, we went. This is the story of why I'm so very glad I did.

Kirk Cameron plays Caleb Holt. More or less your basic every-man doing his day-to-day routine of working long hours as a fire fighter, finding a bit too much comfort in his job life as opposed to home, and generally missing out on what little bit of a marriage he's awkwardly clinging to. Erin Bethea is Catherine Holt, Caleb's lovelorn wife who has done her very best to put up with her fading husband's verbal tirades, passionless daily encounters, and devastating pornography addiction. Not to put too fine a point on it, but divorce is looming on the horizon.
Caleb has seen and heard all he can take: Catherine shows him no respect, gripes constantly about everything, finds the most irrational problematic issues in every situation, and cares little for the material items Caleb finds most desirable (a boat he's saving for, and, well, his porn addiction). He's sure their rapidly depleting marriage is doomed. On the coin's flipside is Catherine's laundry list of garbage she's had to put up with from Caleb, up to and including her feelings of inadequacy from his PORN ADDICTION (that's a big piece of this shattered puzzle, by the way). Soon, a separation is agreed upon.
Caleb's dad, Harris Malcolm as John Holt, soon reminds Caleb that he, too, went through the exact same situation with his wife and begs his son to try one last ditch effort in order to rebuild the wreckage of their failed lives together if Caleb believes in any remaining glimmer of hope. Caleb, reluctantly and as religiously renouncing as possible, agrees to the challenge. Soon, arriving by mail, comes a book called the Love Dare; a 40 day test to completely step outside the normal, rutted life Caleb has made for himself and reestablish the original love and feelings he had for his wife from the beginning. Each page is a new day, and each day is a new set of ideas that most people, after a certain time of stagnant marriage, completely forget ought to be simple, basic, everyday things. It teaches Caleb how to see his wife, and his love for her in a completely different way. It teaches Caleb, through God can one truly find love. It teaches Caleb that his life is far too full of sin and Godless misgivings (Porn. Yeah, that's a big one for him) to show his wife, in the sanctity of marriage, true love and caring. But for Caleb, this all comes at a new price he'd never realized before: before all else he must find and love the Lord.
Meanwhile, Catherine has merely given up. She's begun to fall for a doctor at the hospital she works for, and has taken to spending quite a bit of her free time with him much to the cackling, grapevine-speaking delight of the resident nurses, but much to the chagrin of an old friend who sees the real trouble. Catherine has become wary of Caleb's attempts to reconnect with her and has looked at each day of half-hearted charades as too little too late. In fact, before she even realized what Caleb is up to, makes the assumption that his full self isn't into whatever it is he's trying to do.
Caleb reaches the half-way point in the 40 day trial with the utter shock of signed divorce papers. He is lost. After he has done everything the book has told him to do, nothing seemed to make a bit of difference. Well, Caleb's dad knows exactly why and pays a visit to his son. The 20th day was the point where a new choice had to be made. It wasn't enough to just pay lip-service to the book's writings and just squeak by with the basic ideas, no, Caleb has to put his heart and soul into the words and, by doing so, offer himself to God, beg for forgiveness, and change his life before anything else can be effective. If this sounds particularly and suspiciously close to how one needs to handle the word of God in the bible, that's because as metaphors go, this is the most powerful I've ever seen. Or felt.
Caleb, through the assistance of his father, finds God and does the work through him. Caleb makes drastic and complete changes, up to and including taking a bat to his 'crutch', the computer. It's obvious Catherine sees this, but blazing a new trail through damaged territory is never, ever easy. Well, I'm not going to spoil the rest, and by not doing so I highly suggest you see this movie if for no other reason than to learn a few things for yourself. If you're married, it should be a no-brainer. Grab your spouse and go on a date. I realized a few things... well, a lot, actually, that need to change in my life as well. Not the least of which is a newer, stronger foundation with God. Not wanting to be any more preachy than I've been, see this movie. You'll thank me for it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

DVD UPDATES!!

A few things hit the Penguin mail slot this week and we want to let you, the public at large what's what. Ready? Let's go!!!!!
First up is SCOOBY DOO AND THE GOBLIN KING. Besides being another in a long line of quality Scooby Doo movies this puppy (sorry about the pun) has a literal ton of celebrity voices. Don't believe me? Try this list on for size. Hayden Panettiere, Jay Leno, Lauren Bacall, Wayne Knight and many, many more are in this tale of Scooby and Shaggy as they try to prevent the second rate carnival magician, The Amazing Krudsky from turning everyone into Halloween monsters. Can Scooby and the gang do it? I'd tell you the answer, but that would be cheating.
Click on this to find out more about the flick and how you can go about ordering one for your very own.



Then it's time for those lovable little blue guys named THE SMURFS. This is Season One Volume 2 and it's more of those adorable little blue creatures trying to foil the evil plans of Gargamel. Really, if you like The Smurfs then this is the DVD set you want to get.
Hit this with the old mouse pointer to get that taken care of.



Finally for all the fans of old school puppet animation Warner Bros. have released the Rankin/Bass tale of that cold weather friend JACK FROST in a fantastic deluxe edition. I remember this from when I was a kid and these old school animation cartoons don't lose their flavor over the decades. Even my kids think these are really cool. (Yeah, I know, another pun.)
You know you want it. Click here to get that done.



That's it for this week of toon delight. Be sure to be here next week when I unveil one of the coolest box sets on the planet. Want a hint? Screech like a falcon and I'll see you here in seven.
I gotta go!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Weird World Of FLAN!

Many moons ago, my good buddy Stew showed me this site called Strip Generator. Very cool stuff. I did a few episodes of the title of this piece and let it just lay there. Well, now I'm back and have plenty more to do with it. BE sure to click on the comic below to have it whisk you away to my archives. Visit often and be sure to comment as well.

Have a great day!

The Weird World of FLAN!

I know that the comic looks bad on the blog, but it's much nicer at my new blog dedicated to the strip which can be found HERE!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER. I Guess.


I don't know, I guess I was just going into this with some kind higher hopes than this film was rightly going to deliver. I had read about this in Rue Morgue, seen ads from one end of the net to the other, and really built up this degree of what I might see. And, I suppose, all in all, I did see a pretty cool little horror flick that was different from so much of the other glop that's been sliding down the pike of late, but it was literally like watching a kid learn to walk. A little to slow for me. Well, except for the super rubbery, yet super cool monster fight that lights up the first few minutes of the film.

So, it starts off with Jack Brooks (Trevor Matthews), a no-direction plumber who, with all of his other class mates, looks far too old to be in the chemistry class he's in with is girlfriend, Eve (Rachel Skarsten). His professor, Mr. Crowley, a bumbling and slightly milk toast Robert Englund is absolutely the stand out cast member here. Not surprisingly. Jack is a regular with his psych attempting in vein to discover why he flies off the handle at every little thing resulting in anger-fueled tirades and ruthless beatings to those around him. To the audience, but not yet to his shrink, Jack explains that he bore witness to a brutal murder by some kind of hideous monster in the woods that lead to the gory slaughter of his dad, mom, and little sister. Jack ran, and has always felt a bit bad about it. So, Jack, with all of his rough charm and Canadian "Eh" likability is failing his class since he never shows up. In an act of good faith, he offers to fix Mr. Crowley's plumbing.
Jack soon discovers that the ancient pipes and boiler are clogged beyond repair somewhere under the ground and, as curiosity tends to murder the feline, Mr. Crowley digs around on his own only to discover a box near one of the shattered pipes. In a scene so directly borrowed from Jason Goes To Hell, a still-beating, wicked heart finds its way into the poor prof's mouth thereby turning him, ever so slowly, into some kind of hell-spawn.
While ordering up a new part for his teacher's boiler, Jack runs into Old Howard (David Fox) who, in a tour-de-force performance as the best crotchety, memory-lapsing old coot I have ever seen, tells Jack that the very house he's doing work at has an old Demonic curse surrounding it brought on by Old Howard and his deceased uncle. Jack rolls his eyes, and leaves not yet fully aware of the danger waiting just ahead.
Professor Crowley has undergone a serious bit of rearranging that only partially includes massive food consumption and gallons of various-colored vomit. As he finally completes his metamorphosis into a Weird Science-looking "Chet" beast with limitless-lengthed tendrils, Jack knows he can't run from the marauding demon horde this time and off he goes with pipe in hand to save the day.
The fight scenes were pretty sweet, coupled with such obvious Halloween costumes to almost border ridiculous, that the lack of productions is what truly makes this movie shine. If ever there was a spot-on attempt to homage Evil Dead, this was it. Trevor Matthews Canadian drawl is just perfect for this roll and one can only assume he's just as bad-ass in other movies, though I've never seen one. Primarily, the only complaint I have is that it took too darn long to get moving and the way it ends, without spoiling anything, leads one to believe that more are on the horizon. All in all, a fun film indeed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST


So, the entire family, Seann included journeyed to the wilds of Plainwell to watch this flick. I like the M-89 Theater because it used to be a grocery store. Probably the most bizarrely designed theater in existence. Anyway, the flick.
Nick just broke up with his girlfriend, but goes to a gig with his band anyway because his favorite band, Where's Fluffy, might be playing somewhere in New York City. The gig goes well except for an obnoxious drum machine and this is where he runs into Norah who asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes. It seems that Nick's ex is taunting her about not having a date so she takes matters into her own hands. She has no idea who Nick is or that he's the guy who has been making these amazing mix CDs for his ex. She throws them in the trash.
Nick agrees to take Norah and her drunk girlfriend home, but then a clue to Where's Fluffy appears and they decide to look for the band. Nick's band mates promise to take drunk girlfriend home and they lose her in the process.
Now, all of them are scouring the city for Norah's drunk girlfriend while trying to find the ever elusive Where's Fluffy.
This is, above all other things, a teen romance. While we're never sure how old Nick is, we do know that Norah is in private school. Michael Cera makes his character a lot like his other characters, but since he's so damned likable, this works in this instance. Kat Dennings is gorgeous in this film as well as funny and is excellent in the role of Norah.
It almost comes across as a independent film. Almost. The people in it are sweet and funny and real in an unrealistic situation. Looking for an evasive band while trying to find a drunk companion is the equivalent of needle and haystack, but that doesn't stop this band of teens determined to do both.
Even the most minor characters come across as individuals.
Even my eight year old just sat there and laughed at the funny and was quiet through the rest. A true sign of a good movie if he's willing to give it his undivided attention.
Oh and Fistful Of Assholes might be the greatest name for a queer rock band...ever.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

ALL ABOARD THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN


The sad truth known to everyone who can read is that solidly and faithfully transferring a book -be it short story or novel- to the screen is almost always met with lackluster, and often times hideous, results. Couple that fact with attempting to birth such masters as King and Barker to the movies and you've got a real issue on your hands. Still, of the two horror authors mentioned above, Barker has had a much easier time of it since, frequently, he's in the driver's seat. So, as we come to Clive's newest outing, The Midnight Meat Train, at least it was only a short story so not too much could go wrong, right? Well, for the most part.
Initially, I was right there with this film. The story was decently adapted and the characters, especially Bradley Cooper as knowing but lost photographer, Leon Kauffman, and the ever imposing and sadistic Vinnie Jones as the 'Mad Butcher', Mahogany, were easily identifiable and even tragically likable. The biggest problem came from leading lady, Leslie Bibb as Maya. Unfortunately she really just seemed to be there as waifish eye candy and supporting tension grabber. Not wholly disappointing, but I coud easily have placed half a dozen other actresses in her role who'd have given it the nuance it seriously deserved. Conversely, acting brilliantly as Leon's new art gallery frou-frou lass-about-town, Susan Hoff, is Brooke Shields whom I'm enjoying more and more lately. She's a dry as a good wine.
The trip opens on a train. No spoiler there, it's in the title so... there you go. Immediately we see Mahogany eradicate a lone passenger with perhaps the biggest tenderizing hammer I have ever personally seen. So now, we've been dragged right into the antagonist's handywork and his brutality. This I liked. Soon we meet Leon and Maya as they discuss Leon's artwork and the prospect of a particularly famous gallery hostess, Susan Hoff, seeing his work. Hoff finds them less than invigorating, but gives Leon a little more than the time of day as well as a little clue to, "not be afraid" and stick around in the forboding situations a bit longer to capture that one moment that is pure "The City". Leon agrees and goes out to find what he can leading precariously to a mild situation where he ends up shooting (with his camera) a near-raping while simultaneously saving the victim and shooing away the trio of attackers. However, his heroic deed does not go without consequences as the lady is rapidly slaughtered by Mahogany.
Exposed clues from the snapped shots lead Leon on a skittish manhunt where he follows Mahogany from one end of the city to the next; to his apartment, to his workplace at a butchery, and, eventually, aboard the late train. As one can imagine, Leon has fallen into his 'work' all the way to his fleshy chest, soon to be carved with symbols as a reminder to back off or risk an even more tragic demise.
Maya screams and begs her lover to bag the trail and get out before it's too late, but all is for naught as Leon manages to drag her in, too. Inside Mahogany's home, Maya and her friend, Jurgis (Roger Bart), search relentlessly for Leon's stolen camera, only to stumble across a virtual library of medical and dental tools ranging from the archaic and horriffic to the standard scalpel collection. Then Maya finds something that even surprised me a bit, even having read the book. Sorry, no spoilers here. She tells the police who only prove to be ultimately useless and potentially in cahoots with Mahogany himself.
As the tide begins to ebb in the story, it rapidly becomes almost too Clive Barker-ian, and this is where it kind of deflates just a bit. It's not that it isn't cool, because it really is, it's just that it's a little to convoluted over all. It was a bit like getting hit with a pie in a hardware store: just not quite what you were expecting, but the pie is still pretty yummy just the same. Anyway, there is absolutely no shortage of juicy gore and very creative kills that, thought not necessarily the most innovative, are satisfying indeed. You will like it, if you enjoy a good Barker tale, as even the modicum of suspense holds up pretty nicely.
All in all, The Midnight Meat Train only 'goes off the tracks' for a bit. For the most part, it's a 'fun ride'. No more puns, I swear.

S. Miller 10-5-08

Thursday, October 2, 2008

IRON MAN ON DVD


I was so excited when this came out. Then I found out that different big box stores had different releases of the film. Target came through with a box in the shape of Shellhead's helmet. Ultra freaking cool, right? Yeah, sort of.
We get it home, put the kids to bed and Martha and I hit the hay. We start watching the flick and shortly into it it starts to glitch up.
"WHAT THE HELL?!?"
I new the disc was right out of the package so it must be fine, right? Wrong! I pull out the disc from the player and check the back of it. Hmmmm, there seem to be what appears to be fingerprints on the surface of the disc like some greasy handed idiot grappled with it. In this case I am not the greasy handed idiot. I had delicately removed the disc while only touching the edges of the DVD. This was no my fault. So, I thought we'll just remove the prints with a soft cloth and all will be well. Yeah, that didn't work. The damned things are still there.
Now, we have to truck all the way to Target and return it and hope the ass who packed the next one wasn't a huge dickhead that permanently bonded his fingerprints to the surface of the DVD.
I realize they make a lot of units of these discs, but why do I have to get the one packed by the nasty, sweaty, greasy person who is so damned disgruntled that they have to touch it? Oh well, the case was as cool as my Optimus Prime Transformers box so, that's one thing. I'm sure it will all resolve itself and all will be well in The Waltz Compound once again.
I gotta go.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PRISON BREAK SEASON 4


Okay, it's time to just give in to my obsession with this show. Has it really been four years? The amazing thing to me is that they have managed to keep the quality of the show and the suspense on an interesting level for so long. This is less of a television show and more like a really long movie that you get in bite size pieces. Of course it also has the problem of being one of those shows that if you miss an episode, you are screwed.
This season the remaining members of the original band of convicts that escaped in Season One are given the opportunity to clear the slate. Thanks to a member of homeland security who worked with Michael and Lincoln's father who has a stake in getting The Company put under for good. Now, they have to find six key cards and get the information from them to blow the company wide open. It's some project called Scylla and it will take every trick that Michael Scofield has to get this done with his ragtag band of convicts.
The thing I like the most about the current season is that a prison doesn't really factor in here. Season One was getting Linc out of Fox River. Season Two was the repercussions of that escape and trying to make it work. Season Three brought the Company to the forefront in their scheme to break Whistler out of Sona. Now, we have no prison, just a straightforward mission to give all the men (and Sara) what they want. Freedom. Personally, I was amazed at the direction of the show so far. They killed off Whistler who was so important in the third season right off the bat. Gretchen, as of last night's episode, has become a loose cannon that could spell disaster for the mission or help it along with her new found hatred for the Company that she worked with for so long.
The contract killer Wyatt is probably the biggest menace the characters face because he has his marching orders to kill everyone and is very good at what he does. He also knows that going on a shooting spree could stop him in his mission so he is being very careful with what he does.
Each episode gives us numerous cliffhangers and leaves us wanting more. What every good television show should do. I swear it must be written by fans of old school Marvel Comics where you could go years reading a comic and have a wild cliffhanger at the end of each issue. Thankfully, we only have to wait once a week for our resolution as opposed to the monthly release of most comic books.
All of the past seasons are available on DVD and some online services have them as well. This is an excellent example of television programming and a lot of networks could learn from Prison Break's example.
I'll be back next week to cover what happens next. I can't wait.

Friday, September 26, 2008

LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEO GAME


Hey, Stew here. Yeah, you can find me knocking around my own site HERE and also on THIS side. Anyway, as a consummate pal and contributor to Doug's this and that's, I figured I was due for another posting on the World Renowned Penguin Comics. This time, however, I won't be reviewing a movie or a TV series, I will, conversely, be covering one of the most fun games I've had the immense pleasure of playing.
I have been a massive fan of the LEGO series of video games since the inception a few years ago with LEGO STAR WARS focusing on the more recent of the two trilogies. Trust me wholeheartedly when I say that the video game (done outstandingly well in all LEGO bricks and folks) is yards better than the relatively wretched films themselves. It was a blast to play, relatively challenging now and again, and featured a slew of playable characters and vehicles lovingly recreated in plasic building blocks. Soon after, the same company, Traveler's Tales Games, released LEGO STAR WARS: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY wherein you could, at least on the console platforms, carry over your characters from the first game and double their numbers with all of the newly acquirable Lego guys from this one. The play was twice as fun, the environments twice as big, the humor twice as funny, and the story spot on.
Eventually I purchased a PSP and this set of games was one of the first I got for the system. They were just as much fun as I remembered them from my GameCube since handed down to my son. So, just this past May, Tt Games did it again with the release of LEGO INDIANA JONES: THE ORIGINAL ADVENTURES. Now they went all out with this one. The landscape throughout the films would seem quite difficult to transfer not only to video games as a whole, but also rebuild out of little blocks! Well, no corners were cut and the game was absolutely astounding! All of the film's cast members are playable all the way from Indy himself to a lowly German Soldier. It offered tons of puzzles and hidden extras and was infinitely playable without ever getting boring.
Then, as perhaps the penultimate LEGO game to date (meaning definitely the best so far, but doubtfully the last, assuming the genre can find newer ground to break with different subjects): LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEO GAME. Now I am far from beating this or even getting that far but I can honestly already tell you how unbelievably kick-ass it is! Same but different is a good phrase for it as it does play quite similarly to all of the other LEGO titles, incorporating the best from each one as though they'd learned what worked and what didn't. You have the ability to locate different Bat-and-Robin-Suits as the game progresses including (so far, anyway) Magnetic Boots Robin, Bat-Glider Batman, and Bomb Tossing Batman. Each level focuses on the Dynamic Duo doing battle with goons and henchmen eventually leading up to a final fight with any number of the Dark Knight's classic villains: Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy... they're all there! And, as with the others which feature your 'home base' as either the Diner from Episode II (LS), The Cantina from Episode IV (LS:TOT), Barnett College from Indy's flicks (LI:TOA), Batman has his Bat-cave decked out with level progressions, hidden puzzles, and the computer with which you can input codes, purchase earned goods, or watch clips from the great between-game animation scenes. This game is every bit as exciting as a Batman comic: full of fighting, action, secrets, and, well, 'detection' (little joke there). So, if you have any of the systems this game has been released for and you are a fan of the LEGO series (and how can you seriously not be) get on out there and snatch this up! In conclusion, I have to ask, "what's next?" Might I suggest LEGO SPIDERMAN? Or, if it's another film franchise you're lusting after, you could do worse than maybe a LEGO TERMINATOR? Well,it's all just speculation and wishful thinking as I have no idea what's on the drawing board. Until then, Batman will keep me smiling for hours. Have fun!

S. Miller - 9/26/08

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

CHUCK: SEASON ONE


Catch up with your favorite computer geek turned government operative as he saves the world one secret mission at a time with Chuck: The Complete First Season on DVD September 16, 2008 from Warner Home Video. Executive producers Josh Schwartz (The O.C., Gossip Girl) and McG (Charlie’s Angels, We Are Marshall) merge techno-gadgetry, martial-arts smack downs, narrow escapes and gorgeous spies in short shorts into an action comedy about a millennium every guy. When a twenty-something computer geek (Zachary Levi – Less Than Perfect) inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, he becomes the CIA’s most valuable asset, and must be protected by undercover agents John Casey (Adam Baldwin – Full Metal Jacket) and the beautiful Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski – Gone). The four-disc set includes all 13 episodes, along with two all-new featurettes, a file of declassified scenes, a gallery of web-originated mini-featurettes and a playable demo of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 09 for Xbox 360.
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? I caught a few episodes when it first hit and I liked the premise a lot. The lead was funny, his female secret agent was smoking hot, what wasn't there to like?
Actually, I was busy juggling between FOX and NBC because I am a Prison Break junkie as well as being hooked on HEROES. Sometimes Prison Break wasn't on. Then I would watch Chuck. To be honest, Chuck was more popular with my kids, but I think that a lot of it is geared for a younger audience, and that's okay.
Rewatching it I did find the show growing on me so, I might catch it this new season. Depends on when it's on. Also depends when Prison Break is on. See my dilemma here? Good, thanks for understanding. In the meantime, all you Chuck junkies might want to get this one while it's hot and save a few bucks in the process.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

THE SYLVESTER AND TWEETY MYSTERIES THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


When you mess around with a classic cartoon you had better bring your A game. Sylvester and Tweety are iconic Warner Brother characters and deserve to be treated as such. In the classic cartoons, Sylvester was motivated by nothing more than hunger. Tweety, for a cute little bird, showed a sadistic streak a mile wide. Add in a giant bulldog and you have a formula for comedy that always worked time and time again. It was kind of like Tom and Jerry if the cat and mouse could talk. It added another dimension to that theme of eternal pursuit. Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner is another prime example, but let's get back to the cat and the bird.
The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries takes the classic formula and injects a little Scooby Do in the mix with the mystery aspect. It takes the basic premise and builds upon it admirably. In the realm of cartoon redux, this might be a prime example of what to do correctly.
Hopefully, Warner Brothers will realize that this series has a definite life on DVD and will get to releasing the other seasons as quickly as possible.
It plays well for the kiddies and adults alike.

LEGION OF SUPERHEROES VOLUME 3


When I was growing up I was a Marvel Zombie. My best friend was a DC Dork. This worked out well for me because I would actually read any comic book you put in front of me. My buddy, Steve, loved Legion Of Superheroes. Of all the DC titles I would say that it was the most fun. It was also the most serious of the bunch. Heroes like Ferro Lad being killed. Lightning Lad losing an arm that had to be replaced by a robot one. Triplicate Lass becoming Duo Damsel because one of her three entities got killed. The Legion OF Superheroes didn't pull many punches.
Now we get a cartoon version of that beloved comic from the good people at Warner Brothers.
How does it compare? Think Teen Titans. The book is one thing, but the cartoon managed to forge through it's established mythology and become an entertaining entity of it's own. I think that Legion is doing the same thing. The main Legionnaires are Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. And of course we also get Superboy.
Did I forget about mentioning Superboy? See that is the whole premise of the comic. Superboy travels through time to have adventures with The Legion OF Superheroes. Very cool concept that helps to ground the Legion firmly in the DC Universe.
This DVD gives us five adventures in The Substitutes, Child's Play, Chain Of Command and Sundown parts 1 and 2. The last one gave me chills because it involves an ancient weapon called The Sun Eater. It brought back memories of a classic comic in the annals of Legion history.
Warner Brothers have given us a great addition to the DC comics that a lot of us grew up with. It strikes the perfect balance between silly and fun and some serious super hero action. Bravo!
Hopefully they will consider putting the entire run into one box set in the near future for us collectors. That would be fantastic.
To whet your whistle, here's a clip of the two parter that I personally applaud them for sti8cking so close to the original comic book. Click HERE.

Friday, August 29, 2008

CONTESTS! CONTESTS! CONTESTS!

Summer is almost at an end and the good folks at Warner Bros. are giving you, the faithful reader a chance to win some fabulous prizes. Check 'em out and win! win! win!



Smallville: The Complete Seventh Season will be available on DVD September 9 and fans of the show can now create their own "trailer tribute" and share it with friends for a chance to win a Nokia 5310 37" LCD television and the Smallville Season 7 DVD Collection.

Start creating your own trailer at www.smallvilletrailermaker.com



Chuck: The Complete First Season will be available on DVD September 16 but fans can look for online clues to decode Chuck's message for a chance to win a $2,000 gift card now!

Look for your first clues at www.chuckdvd.com



Supernatural:The Complete Third Season will be available on DVD September 2

but you can create an avatar now to confuse those that seek you and play the "Hunt The Demons" game.

Can you figure out who's human and who's a demon?

Log onto www.huntthedemons.com and play now!

So, what are you waiting for? Get over there for your chance at some cool swag!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES


Day late on the release, sorry fans, but this is a pretty good set. The entire first season of a show that a lot of people are punking on, but I think it's well done. For what it is. Summer Glau is phenomenal in the role of the Terminator and Lena Headley is no slouch either. She gets to display more of that ass kickery that we have come to expect from her from roles like Queen Gorgo in 300.
Don't believe the hype, this is a fun watch and lots of extras to keep you busy as well. And don't forget to go to the link on the previous post for some Terminator ala Facebook fun.

Friday, August 15, 2008

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

Yeah, you could give the show some grief, but when you get Queen Gorgo as Sarah and Summer Glau as the Terminator, then you've got some steamy television working. To whet your appetite I give you a terrific image and a contest as well.
First, this:



And then this;



the contest for this is here.

I'll be back later to review the first season box set.

Behave True Believers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SUPER HEROES: The Filmation Adventures


If you were a kid growing up from the sixties until the late eighties, you knew the name Lou Scheimer. His name would spin after every cartoon he made with his partner Norm Prescott. The name Hal Sutherland showed up more often than not as the director of shows like He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe and Fat Albert. These were prolific men in the world of American animation. Forget Disney. Lou and his band of merry men gave us the shows that we really wanted. Superheroes, science fiction, action and adventure. This was the legacy of Filmation who's logo is recognizable even today;



Now, the folks at Warner Brothers has released SUPER HEROES: The Filmation Adventures. These are DC characters from The Flash to Hawkman and many more besides. Eighteen episodes of that classic Filmation animation we have come to love. Sure, there is a lot of stock footage in any Filmation cartoon, but that's part of it's charm. It's what generations of children grew up with and fondly remember.
In addition to the eighteen episodes of bombastic entertainment there is a forty minute documentary on Lou Scheimer. This is amazing to watch from his humble beginnings to being one of the most prolific studios in The United States at the time. Lou Scheimer was the everyman for people who loved cartoons. Not Disney. He loved each and every person who worked for him and it showed right up to the point where the studio was bought and closed in a week's time. This is a wonderful documentary that really deserves some airplay in addition to it's inclusion on this two disc set.
If you are a true fan of animation this is a box set you must have in your collection. The documentary alone is worth the price and they throw in a bunch of classic cartoons to boot. Relive your childhood with the SUPER HEROES: The Filmation Adventures.