Saturday, November 30, 2013

Daenerys Targaryen's Breasts

Okay, I admit that the title of this post might be considered the old bait and switch. For that I apologize. This article is, in fact, about the actress who plays Daenerys Targaryen, the talented Emilia Clarke and her breasts.

According to a New York Post report , a star of Game of Thrones no longer wishes to appear nude. The report states that "fans have noted that Emilia Clarke... is no longer doing topless scenes."

Websites picked up on this article and almost all of them identified Emilia Clarke as the subject. It's true that during the last season Clarke did not appear nude... except for "Second Sons" (3.8) the episode where she appeared nude.

I completely support an actor's right to appear clothed or nude... of course if they sign a contract that clearly states they might be required to appear nude depending on the story, then that actor has certain obligations. When an actor is new to a role he or she might be a bit more willing to use their body for advancement. Once that character is established... well... I guess someone as important to the story as Daenerys might be able to veto nude scenes.

Nothing wrong with a little titillation.

One of the best reasons to have a television show featured on a pay channel like HBO is the chance the creators have to use whatever language, violence, and subject matter they fancy. Walking Dead may have some gruesome zombie destruction, but it's not going to have a carload of topless girls stranded on the side of the road anytime soon. AMC allows for some pretty interesting subject matter but in the end it can't push certain boundaries in the manner of Cinemax, Stars, or HBO.

Gratuitous nudity has its place. I think old school grind-house and exploitation films require gratuitous nudity. I'm not so sure it works in Game of Thrones. This is not to say that nudity does not have its place in GoT. I can understand seeing naked women in Little Finger's whorehouse, because it is a whorehouse. When Daenerys was "reborn" during the dragon's birth I think it was natural for her to be nude. It was an exhilarating moment for the character and for the audience.

However, I think nudity should only be used in GoT when it makes sense for the character and the story. Daenerys' character is such that showing her in her glory does not make sense. Not that there is anything wrong with the human body, but let's face it, here in the West we have certain preconceived notions. Showing Daenerys in the nude cheapens her character and position.

I mentioned the episode where she finally appeared topless again. She was in the bath and approached by one of her new love interests. Naturally, to allure him further, she rose from the tub and allowed herself to be robed. This scene could have been handled without making Emilia appear naked on screen. We did not need to see what the characters were seeing in order to understand what was happening in the scene.

When we see Daenerys it needs to be from a position of power. This slight, 5'2" girl has managed to do an excellent job conveying her strength and dignity. I see no reason to compromise her dignity by showing too much flesh.

Universal Monsters and Bob Orci

This Bob Orci guy is really busy. Whenever he’s not writing the latest Star Trek story meant to destroy the goodwill create by all previous stories and destroy the franchise; Bob is trying to bring back Tales from the Darkside and reboot the Universal monster movies. He’s not doing this alone, no sir! He has his screen writing buddy, Alex Kurtzman, close at hand.

Kurtzman and Orci
For those not familiar the Universal monster line includes classics like: Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein and the Bride, The Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and, if you want to include them as monsters, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera.

Orci and Kurtzman are currently writing a script for The Mummy and Van Helsing. This sounds like a terrible idea - no one wants to see a mummy movie and what can you going to do with Van Helsing that hasn’t been done to death? However, Ocri and Kutzman have a habit of writing mediocre fan fiction that does bonzer box office business.

Their credits include: Missions Impossible III, Transformers, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Star Trek Into the Darkness. They plan on ruining these future stories: The Amazing Spider Man 2 & 3, Star Trek 3, and Edge of Tomorrow. Sarcastically speaking, the good news is that Orci is also producing many of these films.

Pardon me if I come across a bit negative. I watched Star Trek Into the Darkness and the wounds are still fresh.

Is it necessary to blow it up every time?
On a positive note, I would actually like to see the Universal monsters make a return to the big screen. However, I would like to see small scale returns and I would like to see these returns handled by competent people capable of showing the reverence and love that these creatures deserve.

I just don’t think we need a 460 million dollar Creature from the Black Lagoon movie. The Creature would probably never actually appear because they would have the latest pretty male actor playing him and… c’mon, you don’t want to put a mask on that.

There are some great low budget indie filmmakers out there that would be excellent choices for resurrecting Universal’s classic monsters. Maybe even run something similar to the original After Dark Horrorfest.

Monday, November 25, 2013

10 Cool Cover Songs

I do not want to mislead anyone by making them think that I prefer these covers over the original. Sometimes that happens, but rarely. I have simply chosen covers that I believe to be at least as good as the originals.

Across the Universe
The Beatles vs Fiona Apple

Let's face it, the Beatles are one of the most covered bands in the galaxy. Most of the covers seem to be little more than filler for albums. When I heard Fiona Apple sing this song I thought it was amazingly sublime and actually a bit better than the original.

Heart of Glass
Blondie vs The Puppini Sisters

What can you say about Blondie? The band came along at the right time, with the right sound, and the right gal. Heart of Glass simply is Blondie. The Puppini Sisters re-imagining the song as a swing song allows them to mutate the song without ding a disservice to the original. I decided to include this particular video for The Puppini Sisters because it fits in with their sound AND it's an amazing video in itself.

Istanbul, Not Constantinople
The Four Lads vs. They Might Be Giants

This might be They Might Be Giants best known song. Few people know it was remake as TMBG's are not known for their covers. The original has an old time feel to it... but it is an old song. It is fun and bouncy and completely acceptable. TMBG's really add some authenticity to the music. Traditional horns and a more upbeat rhythm really help he song swing.

I Don't Want to Grow Up
Tom Waits vs The Ramones

Both versions are amazing. When I listen to one, I usually have to listen to the other.

All Apologies
Nirvana vs Sinead O'Conner

Nirvana proved they are masters of their own destiny and masters of covering other band's songs. Leadbelly, Meat Puppets, you name it and Nirvana made it their own. Sinead may have made some waves during her career but no one can deny the allure of her voice. Her version of All Apologies is a haunting, ghostly tribute to a fallen musician.

Boyz in the Hood
Easy E vs Dynamite Hack

Not really a fan of Easy E. For people that think Dynamite Hack's whiter than white verbatim version of Boyz in Hood is an original idea, think again. Sure, the overly cheese, lounge style is somewhat novel, but a white version of an African American song hitting the mainstream is nothing new. This is one of those covers where you really need the video to go along with the song.

I Will Survive
Gloria Gaynor vs Cake

Smooth Criminal
Michael Jackson vs Alien Ant Farm

Do you Really Want to Hurt Me?
Culture Club vs The Violent Femmes

It's Oh So Quiet
Betty Hutton vs. Bjork

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Paradise Alley: Wrestling with Sylvester Stallone

As part of my dedication to bring you entertainment I make many sacrifices. One such sacrifice is to watch certain movies to their completion.  Today, for you, I watched the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie, Paradise Alley.

In addition to BOTH Stallone brothers, Sylvester and Frank, Paradise Alley also stars Tom Waits, Anne Archer, and introduces Armand Assante. Paradise Alley was written and directed by Stallone. The only reason this movie was approved by Universal was due to the success of Rocky.

Paradise Alley takes place in post World War II New York. Three Italian American brothers, Lenny (Armand Assante), Cosmo (Sylvester Stallone), and Victor (Lee Canalito) live in Hell's Kitchen. Lenny was wounded in the war and now works as an undertaker, Cosmo is a hustler, and Victor delivers ice. Cosmo tried to his get Victor into the world of 40s wrestling. Victor is reluctant but needs money to move out of the city with his girlfriend. I would show the trailer but instead I think everyone will enjoy the opening with Sylvester Stallone singing the theme song.

I don't really think anyone should need more of a reason to watch this movie other than the above video. I think it really showcases Sly's amazing vocal styling. However, if I had to connect it to then I suppose the amazing amount of real, old school wrestlers would be the obvious link.

As Victor begins and progresses through his wrestling career we are treated to Terry and Dory Funk, Tonga Fifta, Rock Riddle, Ray "The Crippler" Stevens, Bob Roop, Gene Kiniski, Red Bastien, and Dick Murdoch.

While we only see fleeting moments of most of the wrestlers as they are being tossed around in the ring; Terry Funk has a fairly important role in Paradise Alley. Funk plays Frank the Thumper, the muscle enforcer for the local hood. Frank the Thumper is also the main event villain. Not much is required for Funk. He calls the good guy a puke several times and grunts. At one point he does admit that for a certain fee he would tear his own smelly mother apart.

I think it is interesting that Stallone did not make himself the hero of this movie. I suppose he wanted to show off his acting ability by playing the character that lives by his wits. Unfortunately, he does write his character into the part of hero. His brother, Victor, has absolutely no change, no development during the course of the film. Lenny, however, becomes something of a monster and thus Cosmo is forced to become the film's conscience.

In the end this is not really a good wrestling movie or movie for that matter. I might recommend it on a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon. It was entertaining and sometimes that is my twisted criteria for recommending a movie. If you are watching it because you are a Sly fan, think again. You will probably be disappointed.

Snapping Wishbones: Thanksgiving Horror

Issue #227, 1981.
I remember a 1981 issue of MAD Magazine that mocked the trend of specific holiday horror flicks. It was a boon time for such movies. The success of Friday the 13th and Halloween led to April Fool's Day, My Bloody Valentine, Mother's Day, etc. MAD's spoof was Arbor Day. Surprising, that I know of, no one has ripped off this idea for a gorefest.

Halloween is the biggest holiday for murder sprees. Going to a "haunted house" for a party? Expect the Necronomicon to be in the basement. Going on a hayride? Expect someone wearing a burlap sack over their face to kill you with a fish scaler. Christmas is another huge horror holiday. All you gotta do is dress up like Santa and BOOM! Kill a family of four!

One of the big holidays that has been neglected is Thanksgiving. I searched Wikipedia for Thanksgiving themed horror films. This is what I found minus short films.

  • Home Sweet Home (1981) - An escaped mental patient embarks on a killing spree over Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Blood Rage (1983) - A psychopath goes on a homicidal rampage after the twin brother he framed for murder years earlier escapes on Thanksgiving.
  • Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake Country (1998) -  A family is terrorized by extraterrestrial creatures while celebrating Thanksgiving.
  • Boogeyman (2005) - Around Thanksgiving, a man is stalked by the entity that haunted his childhood.
  • Thankskilling (2009) - A group of students are hunted by a demonic turkey during Thanksgiving break.
  • Thankskilling III (2012) - Fowl-mouthed villain Turkie carves through the likes of a rapping grandma, a mindless puppet, a wig-wearing inventor, a bisexual space worm, and their equally ridiculous friends on his quest to recover the last copy of "ThanksKilling 2"

The best movie on this list is Thankskilling. The revenge seeking, murderous turkey, Turkie, is quite the character.
If you want any chance of horror to help celebrate your mashed potatoes and gravy, Thankskilling is the way to go.

Candy Cane insisted that Poultrygeist should be on this list. Just because a movie features a killer man-fowl does not mean it is Thanksgiving themed. This is the problem with a couple of flicks on the Wiki list. Blood Rage, Alien Abduction, and Boogeyman really have little to do with Thanksgiving.

Home Sweet Home does, in fact, take place during Thanksgiving. Despite a few interesting kills, Home Sweet Home is not a good movie

Perhaps we can look toward 2014 as the banner year for Thanksgiving horror. In 2007 Eli Roth directed a mock trailer for the Grindhouse movie. It was aptly named, Thanksgiving.

With the success of Machete and the desire to make another twisted horror film, Roth has found the means to make a full length film out of the trailer.

for those of you that might be too lazy to seek out the trailer I will link to a youtube version. Just remember that it is definitely Red Band and NSFW.

Monday, November 18, 2013

An Evening with SRS Cinema

Fellow Geex!

Christmas is right around the corner and I have found the perfect place to shop!

SRS Cinema is the second longest running no/low budget video producer and distributor after Troma. I have a special place in my heart for Troma because I found them at an impressionable time in my young life. I also appreciate Troma because they sold me a bunch of videos direct when I owned a video store.

That being said, I prefer SRS Cinema over Troma. There is something more honest and sincere about the movies Sub Rosa produces and distributes.

Do you need big box VHS tapes for this years stocking stuffer? The answer is yes! Yes, you do!

The president of SRS Cinema, Ron Bonk, is a prolific writer/director and  jack of all trades. I think his contributions to no budget horror as a producer and distributor is remarkable. I told him as much and he said, "Thanks."

Pretty sweet, eh?! I think we have a good rapport going.

This is an imagining of the rest of our conversation:

Ron: Chris, you are pretty cool. I have some DVDs for sale.
Chris: I want to buy them!

Ron: I won't let anyone else buy them until after you take your pick!
Chris: Thanks, Ron Bonk!

Ron: I can't understand why Chris Seaver won't return your emails, dude! You are the coolest!

Chris: I can't understand it either, Mr. Bonk. And for the record... You are the coolest!

And look what happened! A box full of movies!

All in all, I scored about 60+ DVDs for less than Candy Cane would spend getting her nails done.

Some of the titles I am familiar with... Chris Seaver's movies, for example. Others, not so much, but I really fell in love with the title. Gut Pile? Yes, thank you. For your amusement, not to mention what awaits you at the SRS Cinema store, here is a partial list of the flicks in my BIG BOX of DVDs.

Alone in a Haunted House
Aspiring Psychopath
Among Us
Black Ice
Campfire Tales
Crash Test
Dark Woods
Devil of Blue Mountain
Entrails of the Wicked
God Memoirs
Gut Pile
Hard Gore
Hellcats in High Heels
Holy Terror
Holocaust of Blood
House of Carnage
House on Bloodbath Hill
House on Dead End Lane
House That Screamed
I Spit Chew on Your Grave
Killers By Nature
Kiss Daddy Goodbye
Lady Revenge
Last House on Hell St
Lights Camera Dead
Make Them Die
Raising Hell
Moist Fury
Naked Horror
Plan 9 from Syracuse
Return to Blood Fart Lake
Satan's Cannibal Holocaust
Savage Holocaust
Scream Queens
Severed Head Network
Sudden Fury
Super Badass
Urban Flesh
Vampire Call Girls
Night Vamps
Zombie Jamboree

SRS Cinema's Facebook offers some really cool, up-to-the-minute deals. Like them and you might win a movie that will ruin your dinner and disturb your sleep.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Preacher to AMC?

AMC likes success. They have tasted it with Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and most recently, The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, Breaking Bad and Mad Men are over and nobody gives a crap about Hell on Wheels. Therefore, it stands to reason that AMC is on the prowl for a new series. A series that will be talked about.

I’m hoping that new series will be Preacher.

For those unfamiliar with Preacher, it is a Vertigo comic series released in 1995. It was created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon. It is profane, blasphemous, sacrilegious, and entertaining as all hell. I pulled this from Wikipedia:

Preacher tells the story of Jesse Custer, a preacher in the small Texas town of Annville. Custer was accidentally possessed by the supernatural creature named Genesis in an incident which killed his entire congregation and flattened his church.

Genesis, the product of the unauthorized, unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon, is an infant with no sense of individual will. However, as it is composed of both pure goodness and pure evil, it might have enough power to rival that of God Himself. In other words, Jesse Custer, bonded to Genesis, may have become the most powerful being in the whole of living existence.

Custer, driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, goes on a journey across the United States attempting to (literally) find God, who abandoned Heaven the moment Genesis was born. He also begins to discover the truth about his new powers. They allow him, when he wills it, to command the obedience of those who hear and comprehend his words. He is joined by his old girlfriend Tulip O'Hare, as well as a hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy.

But there is so much more! It is hard to make a proper synopsis. I think this is one of the reasons that Preacher would make a great cable series. Trying to make a movie out of Preacher is impossible. I say this because many so called great men have tried. And failed. Just the Saint of Killers alone could provide the needed material for a full season.

With the right creative team and casting, Preacher could prove to be that success that AMC is used to. Then again, Preacher has some pretty forward thinking ideas. These ideas… well, the mainstream might not support them the same way they support killing zombies and making meth.

This story was originally published November 16, 2013 by Devin Faraci at . It is based on Devin’s “sources” inside the industry so take it how you will.