Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
No, it's not a movie...it's a POEM! I told you I was going to experiment with putting different kinds of things up on this blog. It's funny...and kinda sick. Give it a chance.
It has bright green fur, of course.
And he controls it with
A leather choker —
Black leather, covered with studs --
That chafes under
The bolts on its neck.
It’s just a poodle outwardly,
You see. It has the heart of a pit bull,
And the brain
Of a corporate lawyer –
Oops, I mean the brain
Of a piranha. You can’t mix
Human parts with animal,
By law. Though Frankie himself,
By some accounts,
Has the schlong of a mule;
That’s why the ladies sing
“Sweet Mystery Of Life.”
And Frankenpoodle isn’t fixed, you know;
Why steal perfectly good parts
Only to slice them off
To stuff down the disposal?
Besides – could zombie poodle sperm
Create a puppy anyway?
Only dog spelled backwards
The Doc, meanwhile, has fled the scene
Leaving his freak handiworks
To just fend for themselves:
The big guy
And his bride with the huge perm,
The poodle, and the patchwork brat.
They say the Doc cobbled the tyke
From Jeff Dahmer’s leftovers.
One hopes, when he grows up,
His stitches hold.
As for the dog,
Beware the smoking stream
Of test tube potion
When he marks his territory.
– © 2010 by Jack Veasey
(All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any form without the author's written permission. )
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
(Ironside and Ferguson in Lake Placid 3)
As monster movie franchises go, Lake Placid has done reasonably well so far -- the second had wonderfully crusty Cloris Leachman and gorgeous Daddy John Schneider going for it -- so I was looking forward to SyFy's part 3. Except for the substandard CGI, it didn't disappoint me.
This time cutie Colin Ferguson (Sherriff Carter of "Eureka") was our hero, with veteran Michael Ironside, of all people, as his sidekick. This time the crocodile-feeding culprit was not a batty old broad but the hero's young son, who was shoplifing meat from the local market to feed the at first small, then REALLY BIG crocs in the lake. The kid did a good job -- they in fact gave him a couple of the film's best lines -- but my partner and I were hoping for another another croc hag, played by Mary Tyler Moore. Then they could have cast Georgia Engel as the croc feeder in part 4 -- but no! Those who remember the Mary Tyler Moore show will get what I mean: first Betty White, then Cloris Leachman, then...
Anyway, Ferguson plays the likably quirky zoologist/ game warden who moves his wife and son into the notorious cabin by the lake (inherited from Leachman's character Sadie, supposedly his late aunt). Either for the sake of his comfort zone or ours, someone got the idea to have his character wear a shirt throughout the film that is nearly identical to the sherriff shirt he wears in Eureka. The sherriff in this film, though, is played by Ironside, bearded and looking surprisingly hunky in a bearlike way. His character is gun-happy but a nice guy.
The real balls in the cast, though, belong to gravel-voiced Yancy Butler, who plays a smart-mouthed and impressivley butch wilderness guide and hunter's mercenary named Reba. Her endless put-downs of the male characters whose asses she repeatedly saves give the film a big added dose of salt that keeps things amusing. She's way scarier than the crocs, particularly the one hapless croc she regularly stabs in the face with her hunting knife.
David Reed's dialogue is worthy of the cast, though the plot is predictable -- when the crocs run out of stolen beef, they move on to chewing up yappy lap dogs and horny teenagers (why don't those kids ever learn?) Many characters appear who are clearly just intended to be croc entrees. Ferguson learns that he should appreciate his neglected boy (who delivers the line, "I thought a law of nature was parents caring about their kids -- my mistake") and frustrated career woman wife. But it remains fast-paced and entertaining, though the crocs aren't integrated with the live action as smoothly as they should be.
It didn't quite live up to #2, but it's worth catching on one of the dozens of times SyFy will show it again. Next time, they should dispense with the expensive weaponry and just have Yancy Butler wrestle the crocs. Or better yet, forget the crocs and have John Schneider and Colin Ferguson wrestle, in speedos. What can I say -- I've come to expect wrestling from SyFy.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
You’d think a film which includes a moment of high drama when one male character cries out, “He was LICKING ME!” is probably a gay movie, right?
You wouldn’t exactly be wrong, but director Antonia Bird's “Ravenous” purports to be a nonsexual film about cannibalism among soldiers in 1840s California. The story is loosely based on the case of Alfred Packer, a prospector and former Union soldier who was accused of eating companions with whom he was snowbound in the Colorado Rockies in 1875. It also echoes the more well known story of the Donner Party.
Guy Pearce stars as a US Army officer who freezes in combat when his unit is massacred in the Mexican-American war. He survives by playing dead, and is carted back to Mexican headquarters with the other corpses – and with his commander’s blood running into his mouth. In remorse, he suddenly rises up and captures the Mexican command, which nets him a promotion to Captain. However, he is recognized as a coward and transferred to a remote fort in the Nevada mountains.
A stranger named Colqhoun (Rober Carlyle) shows up at the fort and shares a spellbinding story of how his wagon train, relying on the guidance of one Colonel Ives, got lost in the Sierra Nevadas. They had to resort to cannibalism to survive; Ives had misled them deliberately, and provoked them to cannibalism.
The soldiers and their Commanding Officer, Colonel Hart (Jeffrey Jones), decide they should investigate Colqhoun’s story and search for survivors. They of course ignore the warnings of George (Joseph Runningfox), their Native American scout, who tells them that a man who eats human flesh becomes a powerful cannibalistic demon called a “Wendigo.”
When they reach the location of Colqhoun’s tale, his behavior rapidly gets weirder and weirder, and it soon becomes clear that he is, in fact, really Colonel Ives. He has lured them there to massacre and eat them. For me, this is the scariest part of the whole film. It quickly escalates from spooky to downright bloodcurdling, and Carlyle’s gleefully leering performance is the most chilling thing about it.
Boyd hurls himself off a cliff to escape from Ives, and breaks his leg. He hides in a pit with another wounded soldier who soon expires. Yes, he ends up eating some of his companion’s flesh out of desperation. Eventually he is strong enough to drag himself back to the fort, where no one believes his story. No one currently there has met Colqhoun – until he arrives again as the new commander, cleaned up and well dressed, calling himself Colonel Ives. No one will believe Ives is the killer, and he begins to secretly taunt Boyd, claiming eating flesh can heal all illnesses and wounds. And the fort's inhabitants begin disappearing.
The film certainly has a strong gay subtext. The relationship between the protagonist and antagonist is every bit as bitter (and intense) as a love affair gone wrong. Ives repeatedly tries to goad Boyd into eating human flesh, for which he has developed a taste, though he denies it vehemently for as long as he can. The situation echoes the classic clandestine relationship between a gay man and a married closet case-- not that I’ve ever personally engaged in such ill-advised behavior (nudge nudge wink wink). And there is a pivotal scene, which I can’t describe without spoiling the film, where the two do literally end up in each other’s arms.
It’s all played in such a way that even the supernatural aspects seem plausible – the only references to them are in convincingly delivered dialogue. The cast and locations are perfect, and the gore effects very realistic. Above all, Pearce and Carlyle have electric chemistry together – and their relationship is the heart of this haunting, disturbing film.
Friday, August 13, 2010
(The original Variety ad for the now-classic film)
OK, folks, I've got an announcement about Lavender Lair Of Horror.
From now on, this blog will no longer appear on Fridays. I originally planned to add a new blog every Friday, but it turns out Friday has become an impractical deadline day for me. I've become involved with running events on Thursday nights, which means I'm out and up late the night before, and I'm really dragging on Fridays -- not a good state to be in when trying to produce snappy, entertaining writing.
So from now on, I'm going to post the blog on a less predictable schedule -- I'll still do something every week, it just won't always be on the same day. I'm also going to be more flexible about WHAT I post -- I won't exclusively do a film review every time. Some items may be shorter, some longer. The blog may also appear more than once in a week. I'm going to experiment with my approach to it, and see what happens.
If you have any thoughts about this change, please feel free to comment. The old approach just isn't working any more, so I'll shake things up.
BTW, my partner got hired for a new job today -- so that proves Friday The 13th doesn't have to be unlucky. Here's hoping it's a good day to inaugurate other changes as well!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Well, last night I finally saw an episode of CW's "Vampire Diaries." I thought I'd been missing something. I was wrong.
God, how boring. It's slick, talky, full of wooden actors who look like models -- and in the "vampire soap opera" category, the emphasis was not on "vampire" but on "soap opera." Very little action. Compared to "True Blood," it's completely anemic.
The good news is that it was followed by a rerun of a fairly exciting episode of "Moonlight."
I've been watching vampire soaps since the 1960s, when I ran home from Catholic grammar school every weekday to watch "Dark Shadows" with my grandmother. She'd be half in the bag by then -- she'd started drinking red wine during "General Hospital." Even though we were Catholic, it never occurred to me that her dark red drink was an ironic choice of beverage while watching a vampire show.
A few years later, I actually met star Jonathan Frid, when he did a personal appearance at the John Wannamaker department store. I shook his hand and got him to sign my copy of a "Dark Shadows" comic book. I would give my left testicle to still have that issue, but my mother threw it out during a vengeful "cleaning" binge. It's no wonder her mother drank.
I was very fond of the vampire detective show "Forever Knight," not so much because of the handsome hero, Geraint Wyn Davies, but for Nigel Bennett, who played his delightfully supercilious nemesis/sire/old friend Lucien LaCroix. I particularly liked the episodes where they emphasized LaCroix's part-time job as late-night radio host -- a sinister voice expounding very cynical philosophy and dripping with sarcasm toward the whole human race (and other sentient species as well). Davies and Bennet acted much more like bitter ex lovers than the ambivalent associates they were supposed to be.
The hunky Mick of "Moonlight" -- another vampire detective, albeit a private one -- turned my head too.
Before "True Blood" came along, though, my favorite "vampire soap" -- though it was certainly much more than that -- was the TV version of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer." I really cared about the characters -- making us feel that is the key to making horror that really hooks the audience -- and it had the two hottest male vampires we'd ever seen at that point, Angel and Spike.
I was also very moved by the delicate and poignant depiction of the relationship between Willow and Tara, one of the most empathetic presentations of a gay relationship ever shown on TV.
Now we have "True Blood," which not only gives us gay characters but gay vampires -- not to mention the hottest parade of shirtless hunks ever to grace the small screen. Yum.
What's your favorite vampire show so far?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I'm majorly bummed that "True Blood" has killed off Coot, a bad guy werewolf played by the gorgeous Grant Bowler. He had a hot "love scene" with series star Stephen Moyer when he abducted his character, Bill, and got a little too tempted by the allure of vampire blood while absconding with him in a sort of rough trade S & M scene.
Above is a scene to remember him by -- he's the one who tears off his shirt, steps out of his jeans, and wolfs out. OWOOOOOO!
R.I.P., Coot -- or better yet, come back as a naked ghost!