Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MULTIPLE MANIACS: The Re-release of John Waters Second Filth Masterpiece

John Waters, the master of filth and sleaze, is getting help from Criterion and Janus Films to re-release his second feature film, Multiple Maniacs. The 1970 obscure classic is centered around Divine, and her side show circus of freaks and sickos. The show, also know as "Lady Devine's Cavalcade of Perversions", is more of a set up to kidnap and kill anyone who attends the show, and going from town to town spreading filth where they go. I'm honestly excited with this, because I already own and have seen it a couple times. Even last week I re-watched it after hearing about this re-release, and getting myself amped up to see a great restored version of this movie. The VHS copy I have isn't terrible, but the video and sound quality is so dated, and nearly impossible to watch on a flatscreen. Luckily I had a little shitty tube tv with a built in VCR in my closet... how wonderful.

Multiple Maniacs, much like the movies to follow after, is a ridiculously silly and shocking film which pokes fun at the prudes and hippies of that time. Anything gross you can think of to piss off the light-hearted, John Waters does. I remember my first time watching it, and one of the carnival freaks in the movie was called "The Puke Eater", he just sat on the floor and ate a big pail of vomit. I was totally disgusted, but at the same time it was hilarious, especially picturing myself showing this movie to my friends and family. It does it's job of shocking you, but it's also very funny, and another thing I'd like to add is that this movie was pure anarchy. John Waters really knew how to stick it to the man with his films, whether there was a message or not. Shocking people and pissing them off has got to be a great feeling, especially with such a crazy film such as Multiple Maniacs.

I'm not even sure what to say about the film without spoiling anything, because it's just one of those movies you want to make people see. I guess you'll have to wait until the movie is re-released. The only thing is that I haven't seen a release date yet, for the theatrical release, and the blu-ray. If you're ansty, you could probably find a copy of it on ebay for a decent price, or if you're lucky like me, you'll find it in some rundown Savers for twenty five cents. This movie is not for the faint of hearts, but if you're already into his other films, especially Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble, you'll most certainly like it.

- Jake

JANUS FILMS

John Waters/Dreamland

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lights Out Review by Tyler Aucoin

Every time a PG-13 Horror film is released, I stop for a second and wonder if it's going to be something legitimately captivating, or yet another vicious cash grab. I can safely, and proudly, declare that Lights Out is most definitely the former of the two. We open in a dimly lit warehouse, with the sight of mannequins grouped and scattered about. There has always been something unsettling to me about the sight of mannequins, but truthfully,that's not exactly where the real horror lies. Lurking in the darkness is something much more sinister.

Our film centers around a family living in Los Angeles. We have the mother, Sophie (Maria Bello), who suffers from an obvious mental disorder, her son Martin (Gabriel Bateman), and her daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer). From what we can infer, it appears Rebecca had to distance herself from her own mother at some point. She lives alone in a dingy downtown apartment, but for a character such as Rebecca, this does not affect her in the slightest. Besides, she is not always alone. With the company of her boy toy Bret (Alexander DePersia), she seems to find a way to get through (most of) the nights until the lights go out and she sends him packing. The acting for most of these characters is solid, with the exception of Bret. I wouldn't exactly hold it against him, for my concern lies more with the way his character is designed to be at Rebecca's beckoning call, even when she pushes him away at certain points in the film.

Martin begins to have horrific experiences where his mother is communicating and interacting with someone she refers to as Diana. From what he can tell, Diana does not seem to be, or even act, remotely human. Martin is left to assume who, or what, she could be, and is only given hints by what he sees and feels through the darkness. Rebecca mentions to Martin that she used to have nightmares about Diana when she was his age. Are these only nightmares, or is Diana much more real than we're led to believe?

If there's one thing to say for Lights Out, it's that the scares are not cheap, and that's not something you hear every day about a Horror film. I suppose you could classify a couple of them as “jump scares”, but I would say aside from those, they are very much earned and work effectively. Contrasts between light and darkness are drawn from multiple Horror films over the years, but Lights Out manages to truly play with the lighting in most scenes. This keeps us on the edge of our seats, waiting for Diana to emerge from any available darkness, and at any given moment.

It's honestly hard to say too much without attempting to spoil anything, so I will wrap this up as clearly and concise as possible. The story is one of the best things this film has going for it. There are too many films where the monster exists, just because. Diana's story is ultimately freaky, and may stick with you long after you've departed the theater. I, for one, was looking around the establishment every time the ceiling panels would crack, or when a nearby theatergoer rocked in their chair. You're not going to find excessive amounts of gore and language here, and I am totally okay with that. Lights Out doesn't need those factors to chill you to your core, just a couple of shots of Diana rocking back and forth in the darkness, scratching at the floor, was enough for me to keep the lights on.

- Tyler Aucoin

Monday, July 25, 2016

DEATH OF THE VCR 1976 - 2016 R.I.P.

My fellow movie collectors and VHS nerds... the VCR has officially been killed off. The last VCR manufacturer in Japan, Funai Electric, has announced that they will stop making VCR's this month, bringing it's forty year reign to an end. One of the factors leading into this decision was that fact that Funai couldn't compete with the growing sales of DVD and Blu-Ray players. Last year, Funai Electric only sold about 750,000 VCR players, so with trailing sales, and the fact that VCR parts were becoming more scarce, Funai finally threw in the towel. As a collector, and all around appreciator of the VHS format, this really tugs on my heart strings. For me, it's just another piece of history, a device I've spent almost every waking moment being near, as a child, and an adult.

I have a lot of fond memories of my first VCR. I think I was eight, and I just remember having this little entertainment center with a thirty inch tube TV and a ridiculously old VCR my mom might have had from the 80's. I had a few tapes, mostly cartoons of everything from Ren and Stimpy to Robotech, but it was because of this instant access to movies that I started to really expand my mind. I began sneaking tapes out of the living room a night, anything I could find, especially movies I shouldn't be watching. It was really my first leap into horror movies, watching movies like Scream, The Blair Witch Project, and classics including A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Night of the Living Dead. I can see it now, an 8 year old Jake, sitting on the carpet of his room, and absolutely enjoying my midnight viewings in that shitty old tube TV, through that shitty old VCR.

Even though the VCR is dead, I don't necessarily thing the VHS format is close to dying. I see independent filmmakers putting their films on VHS all the time. Hell, comic con even put out a special edition VHS for Deadpool this year. The people still enjoy it, and when it comes down to it, a lot of films that came out years ago on VHS, will probably never come out on DVD and Blu-ray. So many great and unknown horror movies are being sold for hundreds, even thousands of dollars, because they can only be found in that format. I have a pretty decent collection myself, and it's almost impossible to find a lot of the movies I have on DVD. The VHS culture will never die as long as people keep putting them out and collecting them.

It's truly an end of an era, and may the VCR live on, either on our shelf, or in your parents attic.

- Jake

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7: Death Prediction(s) by Tyler Aucoin

If you know, or are, someone who is a fan of The Walking Dead, then you should know by now the frustration we’re all feeling from the Season 6 finale. It ended on a cliffhanger; leaving us viewers to wonder who Negan made brain pudding out of (Did you hear those mashing noises as the camera went to black? Delicious!). I’ve been in the same boat as all of you, and have done my best to try and narrow down who it could be, so here’s what I came up with! Hopefully some of this information helps to hold you over until the death is finally “revealed in the Season 7 premiere”, which has been confirmed by Greg Nicotero, himself.

WARNING: PROCEED WITH CAUTION, TV SHOW AND COMIC BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD

Glenn- Glenn is possibly the most expected victim of Lucille. Aside from the comic book, there seem to be some telling hints that it may be our beloved pizza boy who bites the bat. There are the POV shots from inside the van (though I personally believe they might belong to another character, it's a great and easy conclusion), the scene with the bat during the opening of Season 5 at Terminus (which isn’t in the comics, but still might be reaching) and finally, Glenn entering a Savior compound and discovering a pin board with snap shots of mushy heads, hinting they may have been victims of Lucille and that he may be seeing his own demise. Also, that episode marks the first time Glenn has ever killed another human being, so we can look at that as bad karma, as well. It would certainly be interesting to see Glenn live through this moment and see where his character goes from here on out, but I truly doubt that, even if he made it, he would make it much further than Season 7.

Daryl- This one doesn’t make sense to me. I understand his character is quite beloved, (believe me, I love him, too) however, Daryl was just shot and left for dead (as it was implied) in the second to last episode of Season 6, leading me to believe they wouldn’t go and waste this death on someone we had already thought was dead only days before our first encounter with Negan, himself. The fact that he was spared tells me he will still be around to have his future rivalry with Dwight, and perhaps he’ll be the one Negan takes an interest in, as opposed to Carl. Again, possibly reaching here, but what if Negan knew what Daryl did to his group of Saviors, and found interest in his madness and dedication to his own group? Maybe that's enough to make him keep Daryl around for more interrogation.

Rosita- I don’ even need to say it, but I will: it can’t be Rosita. The only person it would truly impact would be Abraham, and possibly Eugene, and that’s not enough to shake things up for Rick and the gang. Sure, she is a member of their group, but I wouldn’t exactly consider her to be “beloved” or a “long-time character”, ultimately diminishing any sort of misery that may come from her beating to fans of the show. Yes, Negan beating a woman with Lucille would be brutal and absolutely shocking. However, if it were going to be a woman, I’d say I have a much better guess for who it would be…

Michonne- I know, I know…it’s not going to be her…or will it? I understand that Michonne has so much more story left to be told, so it wouldn’t really shock me if they DIDN’T kill her. There are some important aspects to consider here, though. Let’s start with her biting the apple in bed with Rick, and the name of the episode (The Last Day on Earth). Both of these appear to be biblical references to the story of Adam & Eve, and the end of time, itself (and the beginning of a new world…Negan’s world?). Also, what about Jesus taking the picture of the Queen off the wall in Rick’s house? Does it hold any significance, or is it just another reach? Something else to consider is Morgan and Carol’s encounter with two men from the Kingdom at the end of S6/E16. This leads me to believe Michonne’s story line might be passed over to Carol, but only time will truly tell. As for the POV shots, I personally believe they belong to Michonne. From where she is sitting in the van, to when it shows the bat in the camera’s face, it all sways me towards her being the unlucky victim.

All of my friends seem to think I’m insane for even suggesting her as a possibility, so call me crazy. But isn’t that what theories are all about? Considering every little bit of information to make a well-rounded and educated guess? There is also the situation where Rick and his group encounter a group of walkers lined up, blocking their path. One of them has bloody dreadlocks of Michonne’s stapled to its head, and Rick had to cut through its handcuffed hand just like he did to Jessie back in the midseason premiere (one of the best episodes of the TV show, yet). Is Rick just bad luck with women and happiness, or will Michonne be spared in order for Rick to keep his sanity? Or, the very little he has left...

Abraham- Abe is another hefty contender for the bashing of the brains. There are many things that may point to this: he is the strongest of the group, therefore, Negan may see him as a threat. There is the “Crush theory”, in which Denise (who took Abraham’s death) finds a can of orange Crush soda, just moments before she met her demise. Does this signify that Abe will have his head “crushed”?

Another INCREDIBLY interesting theory has surfaced, involving him and Glenn to BOTH end up being victims of Negan. This would mean he might intervene during or after Glenn’s bashing, and end up getting killed. Besides living on borrowed time, Abraham has finally found happiness and wants to start a family, so what better time for him to die. He also had the conversation with Glenn about happiness, having a child in a world like this, and so much more. This duo death may pack an emotional wallop, if this is the direction they decide to take it in.

Eugene- I don’t think it’s too likely. I feel like him giving Rick the bullet plans and his goodbye with Abraham were both just red herrings to throw us off the scent of the actual death. But how heartbreaking would it be for that Glenn & Abraham theory to turn into a Eugene & Abraham one? The irony of Eugene telling Abraham that he doesn’t need him anymore and then ends up dying the very first time he is on his own…my god. Abe would feel as if he’d failed, considering all he had before Sasha was the will to protect Eugene, and with that gone, he might just try something stupid because his heart is telling him what his mind isn’t. I still don’t think its Eugene, but that would certainly be interesting, and crushing……ha.

Maggie- No, I didn’t forget about Maggie. I think AMC having Negan mush up a pregnant woman’s dome piece would be border line ‘pushing it’. She is incredibly sick already, so something tells me that Negan looks at her and thinks that fate just might finish her off, regardless if he did it or not. Plus, if we’re talking about a character with a ton of story left to tell, it’s definitely her. This right here almost supports the theory of Glenn dying, so Maggie can progress further as a character and a leader just as her comic book character did. It would be a complete 180 if they end up killing her, and then have Glenn take her story line, but I find that highly unlikely. It has to be a woman who ends up leading over at the Hilltop, so that pervert Gregory can sexually harass them into hating him.

Sasha- I don’t see anything whatsoever that indicates she could be Negan’s victim, so I have nothing to say for her character. I could only see Abraham’s possible death having an impact on her character. Truthfully, she has lost a lot already. From her old boyfriend Bob to her brother Tyrese, killing Abraham would just drive another nail directly through her heart. And we all saw the way she acted after losing them, so let’s please not have her return to that behavior, at the very least. I’m not saying it can’t be her, but I don’t have a reason to think it could be, so we will just have to wait and see.

Aaron- Okay, THIS one would piss me off the most. “A beloved character”? Not yet, at least not at this point in the story. As a scout for the town of Alexandria, we met Aaron back in Season 5 when he encountered Rick and his group. He is ultimately the reason they are all safe and at Alexandria, but he does not hold enough weight in the hearts of fans to get a reaction out of his death. It would be a total cop out to go with someone like him. Hell, Eugene is a much more beloved character than him, in my honest opinion. I just don’t see it going over well with the fans to make us wait half a year and then give this death to a “major” character such as Aaron.

People have been counting the “Eenie, meenie, miney, mo” sequence, and discovering that it would logically end on Aaron. There’s one problem with that: the presentation of the Season 6 finale, especially in its final moments, is so absolutely scattershot, it would be almost impossible to make that claim based on that information alone. One cannot decipher who the bat landed on in that manner. Don’t you think they already thought about that before writing and filming the entire scene? It’s designed so absolutely no one can figure it out, no matter what ‘clues’ we think we may have found.

Carl- “Anyone moves, anyone says anything, cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to his father and THEN we’ll get started”. The emphasis Negan puts on the word “then” is making people think that he would cut Carl’s other eye out, feed it to Rick, THEN proceed with the hitting him until he collapsed. There is just no way it could be Carl. He suffered a blow to the head already from little Ron, I highly doubt they would do that just to end up killing off his character, anyways. I just assumed Negan was making a threat, and that it didn’t signify that Carl was the one. Another theory behind Carl is that when Negan raises his bat before the beating, we see what looks like the shadow of a hat, similar to Carl’s, across his chest. This could mean something, this could mean nothing. However, I know one thing for sure: if Carl were the one Negan decided to kill, there’d be one person who would not let that happen and intervene, which leads us to our final possibility.

Rick- No, it can’t be Rick. And I am more than likely 110% correct about that. But if Negan chose Carl as the victim, Rick would jump up after the first whack. There is absolutely no way he would sit there and take someone murdering his son to a bloody pulp. If we’re talking about a “hard left turn” such as executive producer Scott M. Gimple suggested in the Negan story line, the only thing that would absolutely shock me…is to kill off both Rick & Carl, similar to the Glenn & Abraham theory floating around on the internet. Carl would get the bat, Rick would intervene, and both would end up dead. Where would that leave fans? Shocked? Pissed? Both? That’s one of the only outcomes that comes off as crazy, and out of absolutely nowhere. But, something tells me Rick is here to stay, and that the weight of this death will inevitably fall on his shoulders, and make him hate Negan even more than he already does. People have been saying that if it were Michonne, there would be no way Rick would just sit there and take it. I have to disagree with that, however. Rick told Carl after he was shot that he wanted to show him the new world, and wouldn’t let any harm come to him. Sure, Rick is definitely in love with Michonne, but she is not his son. At the end of the day, Carl is Rick’s pride and joy, which makes him and Rick both untouchable, in my eyes.

So, who do you think is the unlucky victim of Negan’s blood-caked baseball bat? Did any of this information make you think twice, or were you all set with your original predictions? Feel free to let me know what you think; I’d love to hear what you’ve got for me! The Walking Dead returns for Season 7 this October.

- Tyler Aucoin