Monday, February 12, 2007

Muppet Faces of Death

This is just wrong on so many levels. I'd probably be offended if I weren't laughing so hard.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


To get a good idea how much science fiction cinema changed in 1977, take a look at the genre films that came out in the decade prior to Star Wars. I believe Logan's Run was the last big budget sci-fi flick to come out of Hollywood before George Lucas, for good or ill, changed the rules. Psychedelic science fiction was common then, with John Boorman's Zardoz being a perfect example. 1969's The Illustrated Man is plenty trippy too, and a film that has really stayed in my head in the few days since seeing it.

Based on a book by Ray Bradbury, which was essentially a short story anthology with the title character binding everything together, the film stars Rod Steiger as Carl, a drifter wandering the rural countryside somewhere in depression era America. He crosses paths with a young man named Willie (Robert Drivas) who is making his way on foot to California. The two men share a campfire and eventually Carl explains that he's looking for a very specific house in which resides a woman he plans to kill. This woman is responsible for the skin illustrations (Carl bursts into a rage when Willie calls them tattoos) that cover nearly every inch of his body from the neck down. The illustrations are alive, or so Carl claims, and they offer glimpses into the future.

The narrative leaps back and forth between Carl's flashback of how an enigmatic and beautiful woman named Felicia (Claire Bloom who I remember best from Robert Wise's The Haunting) came to give him the tattoos... sorry, illustrations to begin with, the story of Carl and Willie around the campfire, and three tales of the future. These stories deal with a futuristic family whose children have developed an unnatural obsession with their holographic playroom, a crew of astronauts who have crashed on an alien world and are seeking shelter, and a man and a woman dealing with the fact that the world will end in less than a day.

Oddly enough, I find it both compelling and infuriating that some things are just never explained. Carl and Felicia appear in all three future stories with no explanation as to why. Are these reincarnations, or perhaps since the stories are coming through pictures on Carl's body they're being filtered through his mind somehow? Why does Felicia give Carl the illlustrations? Like I said, it's trippy. There are some charmingly outdated visions of the future here, like the single color uniform style clothing, and a very simple looking crashed spaceship that I would bet is a recycled prop from the previous year's Planet of the Apes. The film uses a more leisurely pace than most modern films, but rather than boring the audience, director Jack Smight uses the time to deepen characterization. They definitely don't make them like this anymore, but I sure wish they did.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

More on the Plane Dead Trailer

When I posted about the Plane Dead trailer a few days ago, I mentioned that the version on Youtube wasn't providing the embedding code for whatever reason. Now there is another version up which you can view below. Be advised that the version viewable from the official site is much clearer, but if you can't bear to pull yourself away from this site (and who could blame you) click on the "play" button below.

Podcast Recommendation

If you're not listening to the Mondo Movie Podcast, let me ask you this:


Ben Howard and Dan Auty are a pair of British gents who know cinema inside and out and discuss movies that cross all genres, covering classics, current releases, and the seamy underbelly of exploitation cinema. They have a distinct advantage in that a British accent always make you sound smart. Combine that with the fact that they genuinely know what they're talking about, and you've got one of the best movie podcasts out there.

Ben and Dan podcast more or less weekly. In the current episode posted on Friday, January 26, they discuss Mel Gibson's Apocolypto, Robert Altman's A Wedding (as part 2 of their Altman Film Festival), as well as some interesting chatter about HD and Blue Ray DVD formats.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I posted about this movie on Cinematical awhile back, but having recently seen Snakes on a Plane, I got to thinking about it again. Lots of people are swearing that Plane Dead was in production before Snakes, but, I remain skeptical. Regardless of which came first, Imageworks Entertainment isn't shying away from the comparison, as they are highlighting a quote from that proclaims "Plane Dead tops Snakes on a Plane." In any case, it looks like a cool idea: Snakes on a Plane with zombies. I can see the potential. The trailer is up on Youtube, but the code usually provided to embed a video has been removed at the copyright owner's request. Not sure why someone would turn down free publicity, but you can link to the trailer on the movie's official website. No news yet on a distribution

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