Week in Review: Masters of Horror
Last year, my friend and Megaforce fanboy Dan Simpson called me over to his house to watch the premiere of Masters of Horror, a series on Showtime. I knew if Dan was making a big deal about it, I should pay attention.
We were about to watch the first installment of thirteen one-hour movies made for cable by some of the biggest names in horror cinema. Don Coscarelli's (Phantasm) Incident On and Off a Mountain Road. That's the only one I was able to watch, as I didn't have Showtime. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it was dark, weird, and fast-paced.
There were thirteen released for the first season. Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Dario Argento (Suspiria), Mick Garris (The Stand), Joe Dante (Gremlins), John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), John Carpenter (They Live), William Malone (Creature), Lucky McKee (May), Larry Cohen (It's Alive!), John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), and Takashi Miike (Audition) all followed with contributions.
Now, the DVDs are being released, and there are six that are showing up on Netflix right now. I watched three this week, and will put the remaining ones I in the queue. Learn more about the series at The Official Masters of Horror Website.
The Hollywood Shotgun
Most shotguns that are shown in film these days are pump action shotguns, even wielded erroneously by military personnel who would most likely have a combat shotgun that is automatic.
The pump is what takes a shell and puts it in the chamber, making the shotgun ready to fire. If there was a previous firing, an empty shell will be ejected upon the pump. Hollywood loves "The Pump." That sound is unmistakable and means business. But most of the people involved in the films have no idea why the pump is there.
Pumping your BB Gun gives it the pressure to propel the BB through the air; the more you pump, the more powerful the shot. However, the more you pump a shotgun, the faster your ammo runs out. Usually, a shotgun would hold no more than five shells. While I was watching Running Scared this week, I noticed there were quite a few Hollywood shotguns. The Hollywood shotgun doesn't eject empty shells and can be pumped as many times as the shooter desires. Why, with each pump comes a little more information from the guy the shooter is coercing.
My So Called Life
I took a break from the movie watching on Saturday night to go to an undisclosed location for a house party, at which Club Screwball, the LA variety show had come up to entertain us. The night started with a wall of noise from Slugeon, the one man noise band. Next up was the impossibly beautiful Darcey Leonard, the ringleader of the trip, with a burlesque number. And then came Connie Fucking Francis. That's really their name, I'm not randomly swearing here. They're three SF kids, under 65 years old all together, who do covers of only Connie Francis songs. The music is a late '70s punk version of the Francis classics. By the time they were finished performing it was about 2AM, and there were still several acts to go. Nice one, guys, thanks for coming up and giving us a party.
Pick of the Week: I Love Your Work
It was another tough week to single out a selection. Running Scared surprised me for a seemingly standard thriller that took a dark path. I'm a sucker for any time travel movie, and Time After Time was not only a smart film, but set in San Francisco. Project Grizzly was nothing but fun from the opening minutes. But this week's pick is Adam Goldberg's I Love Your Work.
Adam Goldberg, whose name you may not recognize, but whose face I'm sure you would, wrote and directed a real gem. On the surface it appears to be another behind-the-scenes movie about movies. Then it looks to be about stalking and the cost of fame. But then Goldberg takes it in some directions I didn't see coming at all.
The cast is filled with a lot of underused actors: Christina Ricci, Giovanni Ribisi, Joshua Jackson, Franka Potente, and Jason Lee. It's an unusual mix that works very well together. I made this my pick for the strength of the story, the quality of the cast, and the interesting storytelling of the direction. Also, it's one of those films that get away from the viewing public. As far as I can tell, it only showed on one screen in the US. Read an interview with Adam Goldberg (on about.com).
I watched 10 this week, for a total of 210 in 162 days. 203 days left to watch 290, at a pace of 9.99 per week. Unlike this week, next week I should get DVDs on Tuesday, giving me an additional day to watch and return. Last week, I didn't get the rhythm right and this week I didn't get my new discs until Wednesday. I'm trying for 11 or 12. I need to get a little ahead. As it stands now, every holiday is a threat to me losing 2 per week.