LINKS TO THE PORT MANTEAU OF HORROR

Monday, May 16, 2011

ONE YEAR TRIBUTE EDITION: Fade to Black... JETT BLACK!!!

Tonight we’re going to try something a little different. I’m not sure how it’ll all end up, but give me a minute of your time and let me explain myself thoroughly and completely before you call me stark raving mad. We’re talking Dwight Frye ala Tod Browning’s Drac mad.

About a year ago I was inspired to jump head first into this guillotine known as “the horror blog”. Little did I know what would await me after just over 365 days worth of my own thoughts were put on the inter-web and exposed to public scrutiny. At first I was timid. I have to admit that I had only read a minute number of blogs. Never time to read other people’s opinions, discoveries or adventures. I was always of the impression that I should simply watch more films, read some more magazines, read some books… study my arse off and eventually I’ll be a better writer and no the absolute truths of horror cinema. I’d be all I could be. A year ago when I began my foray into the H-Blog nightmare, I would be on my own and afraid and waiting for the ghouls to pick my bones.



One person had a tremendous impact on me; more so than probably she even realizes. That woman is Kristy Jett. You know her to be certain. She’s the Executive Director of Service & Sass, the Queen of Tangents at Fright Rags. She’s a Leo. She a New Englander. She’s just about the most important person in my writing life since I was first picked up an over-sized bulbous pencil with rubber grip and put down my first backward letter p (which is almost a q by the by). Why is this woman of mystery so influential to my writing? Ms. Jett showed me just a little bit about what it means to write a successful blog. She introduced me to the Bloodsprayer for which she is formerly a regular contributor. Kristy gave my na├»ve, amateurish writing a spot on the Sprayer’s Italian Horror Week. While my blog was more an emotive, nostalgic trip down memory lane and probably would have been better suited to a week dedicated to High School reunions and the smell of dark dank VHS, she had it posted for all to see. First lesson in blogging about a genre is that everybody knows more than you do about it even if you’ve been watching it your whole god damn life and think you know something original. I was self-conscious at best about my contribution. It was really nothing for her I’m sure, but it meant quite a lot to me and started me with a mission to write myself silly (or mad as it were).

Dr. Terror’s Blog of Horrors has made it just over a year. The name of the blog is not original, nor is my “alter ego”, Dr. Terror. Everyone knows of at least four Doctor Terrors. I’m not ashamed. I don’t even think I coined that name for myself, but it stuck post-Vaudeville Vampires. I’d say that I’m on my way to filling up at least a little portion of homestead to call my own on the Blogspot servers. In that time I’ve learned the benefit of regular, thoughtful blogging (let us not comment on the quality of the blogs, but at least the quantity has increased). I had a high school teacher tell me to write every day. Keep a journal she said and she was absolutely correct. I’m sure I owe her a bit of gratitude. I certainly do, but until Kristy Jett gave me a little piece of confidence no matter how trivial, I never put it into practice. I owe her quite a bit.

As I’ve come to find out “The Jett” as I like to refer to her, even if she strongly dislikes it, writes for everybody. All the great names. She writes for magazines that I’ve just learned about and have subscribed to and magazines that I’ve been reading since I was a wee nutcase. I’ve still enjoy her work a year later. I feel like I’ve been reading her work since I was a young book worm stealing Penthouse subscription cards from Waldenbooks, but it’s only been a short while.. In honor of the first blogs I would put into this world and the writer who gave me just a little bit of confidence (H.G. Lewis Truck Loads of Blood amounts) I have dedicated tonight’s Blog of Horrors to Ms. Jett.

Featured below is some commentary on films that Kristy has helped to point me in the direction of whether directly, via her contributions to various blogs or from Facebook posts. I will say that the commentary is all positive and that she has impeccable taste in film. Please take the time to catch Kristy’s interviews in both Mad Monster and HorrorHound magazines as well as her regular contributions to Fangoria magazine. You won’t regret it. You will thank me for pointing you in this direction. No you do not need to write a blog about how I got you into Kristy Jett’s writing by writing a blog about Kristy Jett’s influence on me as a blogger. Send money (or candy cigarettes).

Frozen



When three skiers skirt the price of a lift ticket they think they have the system beat. They soon realize that their clever ruse will be their own undoing as they are left stranded on a chair lift, no one to save them but themselves and hungry wildlife waiting for dinner to drop in.

I had all but called Adam Green and told him to retire. He is responsible for a film that still boggles my horror addled brain, Hatchet. Hatchet is seen as the second coming of the slasher genre to which I decry, “Bullshit!” I find Hatchet to be boring. The protagonist, killer… unoriginal and poorly designed. The kill sequences… lacking originality all be them just a little fun, nothing to keep mama in the basement over. So when Kristy Jett said that Frozen was clearly the superior Adam Green picture, annihilating Hatchet I was forced to take action.



I can safely say I won’t try to pull one over on the lift attendant at any ski mountain ever. I can also safely say that I will not go skiing. I will not ride a chair lift. For those of you who find it to be perfectly safe but have not as of yet seen Mr. Green’s masterpiece, please get thee to the video store and procure this tape for your own safety. Do not jump (no really… it’s too high). Do not end up as lunch (you’ll see). Do not think that frost bite is just something that happens to other people. Frost bite happens to everybody… literally… everybody!!!

Have I made myself abundantly clear? Moving on…

Battle Royale



Kristy posted a picture of her new, special edition DVD set of Battle Royale from Arrow Video (at least I believe it was of Arrow origin). The cover was simple, but the craftsmanship and content of the special edition DVD was most impressive. Never having heard of this film I was left to my own devices to obtain it for which I credit trusty Netflix.

Let’s just say after viewing this picture I was unable to contain my enthusiasm. I told every single person I came in contact with just what this little film entailed. As it turns out, “normal” people find it very disturbing when you talk to them about children battling to the death as a result of the failing educational system in a foreign land. I think it puts a mirror in front of our own misdeeds in the name of education and gets ‘em all worked up. So, maybe that was a mistake and maybe they’ll let me back into polite water cooler conversation at the office someday.



Seeing this movie reinforced several very important items in my life: 1. I have not seen nearly enough Japanese horror and feel that I owe myself a bit more time with the films of this mighty land rather than the remakes from our own country. 2. Kids killing each other in a battle for their lives can be somewhat funny. No really. Funny even. 3. It is better to have tasered and lost then to never have tasered at all. 4. Kids always win or at least they should.

I will not take Japanese horror films in vane again. I will try to expand my knowledge of international, non-European films. A whole new world of film for me… quite literally.

Dead Hooker in a Trunk



Kristy asks if anyone out there wants to review a film called Dead Hooker in a Trunk. I immediately think back to my boyhood friend’s response to his weekly visit with the police on the side of the road. “Hey, Got anything in the trunk?”… “oh yeah, a dead hooker!” Trunk is promptly searched. Officer laughs it off. This was seriously a weekly to bi-weekly occurrence. Reviewing and independent film who’s title was so near and dear to my heart sounded like a great way to emotionally connect to a piece of cinema. It was meant to be Bev.

I knew nothing of the Stupendous, Sizzling Soska Sisters from the Great North, but I would shortly thereafter. I knew nothing about what it meant to experience true independently produced gore humor, but I yearn for Indy films from unknowns after my Dead Hooker in a Trunk awakening. I think I get it now. I’d only ever worked on a couple student films with a friend who attended SVA. I did some lighting (badly). I did some set design (badly). I acted (find a word worse than badly… one that’s personal to you). This movie brought that experience into perspective. Here I was watching a movie made by real independent film makers with passion for the genre, and it worked.

Sure it wasn’t absolutely perfect. It was better than perfect because it was real. It’s a great deal of fun to tell folks that they need to watch this one, give ‘em the title and then listen to ‘em laugh it off only to laugh at them when they can’t handle the gross out bits in Dead Hooker.



This film experienced some growing pains recently having had a theatre succumb to undo pressure from protestors. The theatre ended up cancelling the screening due to its title alone. If these protestors had seen this film, they wouldn’t have left their rooms. The world is a scary place eh fundamentalists? All I can say is, “Farmer Vincent’s Fritters, made from all God’s Critters” which translates into, there’s never a bad time to eat your enemies… especially if their smoked and cured and packaged handsomely. Support this movie with your very life. It’s made by passionate people for a passionate audience.

End of Dead Hooker Love… Getting banned at a theatre near you so go show some support for this one and the gore gore girls that made it!

May



I watched May once. I didn’t realize just how amazing an actress Angela Bettis is or that I would hear the name Lucky McKee again and again several years later. I enjoyed the concept sure, but it was a certain freelance writer’s adoration for this picture that most recently sparked my interest.

I guess I’m not as much of a hopeless romantic, searching for love since I met my wife and got married. The hopeless part goes right out the window when you find someone that actually says that they want to spend the rest of their life with you. Of course you don’t realize the world of pain you have signed up for at the altar, but you soon will. Post-hopeless Romantic Dr. Jimmy finds hopeless romanticism to be something of a nostalgia trip. I recently wrapped myself up in a little ball around Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and still think of Harold & Maude quite fondly. I remember days of pining in my room for my one true love. Writing poetry in the cemetery. Painting my finger nails the right shade of black to match my blue black dyed hair. May reminded me of what it means to be romantic.

Upon watching this movie for the second time upon Kristy’s adamant support and defense, I was taken to an Amelie-esque land of fantasy where you can make your own lover out of the spare parts of all your ex-lovers to find your one true love. I would even go as far as to say that May is Amelie Poulain’s dark counterpart in cinematic history. Both films astound me. It’s one step in either direction fro Amanda Palmer’s “Coin Operated Boy”.



I’m glad I revisited this picture. It took me on a little field trip through high school up on through my drunken stupor of mid-20’s straight into the now (and whatever is actually happening at the moment); Left me feeling full but hungry for the auspices of young, uncertain romance. New love and finding the right love. It is a powerful lesson to derive from a film especially a horror film where the order of the day seems to be learn to isolate yourself or the world will destroy you.
And I love the kill scenes as well as May’s paranoia, her madness, her skill and precision. Angela Bettis is a treat to the film lover.

Epilogue:

I know very few people who contribute as much to my enjoyment of horror cinema as Kristy Jett. Kristy gets me into some pretty groovy shit. She gets the humor in the horror and still takes the time to write epic essays that provoke debate and come off as both academic and inspired. Her work is out there for the reading. I’m glad to have found it and hope you do the same. Her friends are many. Her opinions are strong but fair. Friend to the little guy. Purveyor of righteousness and taker on-er of new and seemingly strange causes that inspire fans and friends alike. May Thom Matthews and Alex Winter know how lucky they are to have met you. (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Thanks Kristy.

-Dr. Jimmy

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