Saturday, May 28, 2005

On Tunnel Monkeys and Vogon Poetry...

Took some time out of our ridiculous schedule to see Revenge of the Sith. I'm ecstatic to say that I actually liked it, and didn't come away with that sick feeling of disappointment that I had with the previous two "prequels". Of course, the Lucasfilm Painchip imbedded in my neck (the one we all got with our first order of Star Wars figures back in 1978) prevented me from overtly voicing my displeasure with the new trilogy...

Revenge of the Sith is by far the best of the new movies. That really isn't saying a lot, I know, but it is, for once, a good movie. Is it great? No. But at least it didn't suck as much as the previous. (That's all I ask for out of Hollywood anymore, to "not suck as much".) There was, of course, reams of awful dialogue and wooden acting (and when you didn't get wooden, you got ridiculously over-the-top, ala Palpatine, but why nitpick here?). There were also way too many tunnel monkeys.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase I just made up, Lucas re-released his epic snooze-fest THX 1138 in a brand-new, tricked-out special edition (of a movie no one really liked in the first place). During a crucial chase sequence near the end, he litters the image with new CGI of what looks to be monkeys running through the tunnel alongside the cars. Therefore, when referring to needless CGI laid into a scene existing simply to clutter the frame, you must now use the term "tunnel monkeys". I'll be looking in on you periodically to make sure you do this, so don't try to get anything past me!)

Still, it was a relatively satisfying movie on its own right. Lucas should have simply made this one and let the other ones fester in the back of his mind. And, of course, he should have Rick McCallum killed immediately for telling him that Jar-Jar Binks was a good idea.

Onto other things...

My rarely-updated webzine, Hollywood is Burning is hosting a screenplay contest. As a result, I've gotten in a couple of pretty good scripts to review and judge. Also as a result, I've gotten in a lot of horrible, awful things, filled with horrible dialogue, improper formatting, and illogical plots. In short, the sure-fire hits of next summer. However, sifting through some of this stuff is like reading Vogon Poetry. You just can't do it.

(Another note, now that The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been released as a swank big-screen movie -- and a good one at that -- Amy pointed out that we geeks have now lost the secret handshake. You used to be able to walk up to people at cons and sort the "knowing" from the "unknowing" by simply saying things like "42", or "care for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster?", or "Hey, you hoopy frood, know where your towel is?", or "Say, isn't that the ravenous bugbladder beast of Traal?" If they fixed you with a blank stare, you knew to slowly back away and make sure they don't follow you. No more. Hollywood robbed us of our code words. Now you can say those sorts of things to any Joe Idaho who wandered into the movie on the promise of seeing robots and shoot-outs. At least I take comfort in the fact that on many messageboards across the vast wasteland that is the Internet that there are many confused and not-the-least-bit impressed with Hitch-hiker's. "It was trying to be funny. It wasn't funny. I wanted more of the green aliens. They were kewl. The robot was funny, but the rest was just stupid." This makes me feel more secure, somehow, that there are still those out there who can tend to our crops and sell us Slurpees without our feeling any guilt that we've put the cows in charge of our convenience stores.)

And thus, I end on a parenthetical aside...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Detached, but accomplished, sorta...

With the bad back and the job-hunting (endless, ENDLESS amounts of job hunting) I felt pretty run-down and flattened yesterday. Add to that the anxiety of putting on Genghis Con in November, trying to finish a screenplay for our next production, editing SIRENS OF CINEMA, and putting on a screenplay contest that few people seem interested in, and you've got the makings of a Burmese Tiger-Trap of depression.

But then I got an email from a for-real producer who is officially kicking a script of mine "upstairs" to his partners-that-be with his recommendation that the movie be made.

And that still hasn't sunk in yet. I'm a bit of a pessimist. I'm terrified of celebrating something (even a minor something) until it becomes set in stone. Still, it's a terrific step in the right direction. The script was a work-for-hire that I had no emotional attachment to, but around the third draft (which was odd in and of itself), I started to become very proud of the thing. If they make it right, it'll be a fun, cool, gory and darkly funny movie.

But, still, it hasn't sunk in yet. (Add to that the fact that I really can't talk about it until the stone has been chiseled and you get a vague blog about a tangenital accomplishment.)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Blew out my back at work last week. Started this new job at the Post Office, and it only took me a week to injure myself while slinging hundreds of pounds of mail between 2 and 10 in the morning. Obviously, I'm looking for a new job. Since the injury, I've been in and out of hospitals and doctor's offices all week. Not something I'm looking forward to continuing.

In between all of that, our computer glitched, which forced us to reformat both hard-drives--including the one that had all of the Resurrection Game files on it. Thank god for tape backup or I'd be doomed to re-editing from scratch. Again. Not something I would want to repeat.

So with all of that, I finished up the new draft of Dead Men Walking for the production company The Asylum and things look good that it might actually be produced by them. I'll post more when I know more.

Started the new script for what will most probably be our next feature, Banshee, which will be our attempt to start a new franchise. It'll be a fun, straightforward horror script (or as straightforward as we can get). See if you can guess what the monster is.

Since we started talking about Banshee, people have already asked us "What about WonderDom? What about Razor Days? Well, those are still in the works. We were hoping we could intice Troma into splitting the WonderDom bill with us, but they're wrapped up in Poultrygeist. Razor Days is still very much alive and kicking, but we need money to do this one. It won't work on the cheap or on the fly the way the others would (and the way Severe Injuries did). So we try Banshee. And this one, if all goes as planned, will be really cool, I think. I'm trying to make an intelligent body-count movie, anyway.

Oh, and I was recently named editor of Sirens of Cinema Magazine. Look for our first issue to hit the stands around September, with stories on and/or by Amy Lynn Best, Brinke Stevens, Debbie Rochon, Sherri Moon, Linnea Quigley, and more. Pretty excited about this one too!

Finally, here's a new review of SEVERE INJURIES...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

So we survived yet another Chiller. I'm still not sure if I prefer setting up at this show, or just going and hanging out. Both are equally exhausting, it seems. This time around, Amy and I hauled our company partner, Bill Homan, up to Jersey. He's not big on crowds to begin with, coming from Maine, but he held up surprisingly well! Of course, both he and I were rapidly changing religions when we hit I-495 and Amy realized she'd booked our rooms at the wrong hotel--then proceeded to merge in and out of traffic while cancelling one reservation and making another. In Jersey, by the way, you don't merge in traffic so much as you fuse. It was a harrowing journey to say the least.

And for the second year in a row, Amy and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a crowd of a couple hundred people. Like last year, we were surrounded by friends, though, including a couple of my oldest and closest friends (Bill, Justin Wingenfeld (Skin Crawl) and his wife Trinity, and Debbie Rochon -- all of whom I've known forever), and a few new ones (Mike Gingold, Alan Rowe Kelly (I'll Bury You Tomorrow...).

But we're back now, resuming our Clark Kenting at our respective jobs. I just landed a grueling one at the local post office, working on a loading dock with giant steel cages on wheels that have tried to kill me several times since I began.

In the meantime, we work on our own things, including Genghis Con (our own show in November... because, you know, why should life be easy?), a few new productions and the Hollywood is Burning Screenplay Competition. I just want to see what's out there with this last one. And if I can help a few people out with certificates that say "Winner of the Hollywood is Burning Screenplay Competition", then it's all gravy, ain't it?


A few new pieces I haven't mentioned yet:

Faces of Schlock review.

My coverage of Cinema Wasteland

The Atrocity Circle review.

Sixteen Tongues review (shoots a hole in my "I hate to do reviews" gripe, doesn't it?)

My rant on why I loved Sin City

and finally, My piece on The World Horror Con

Let me know what you think!