It's hard to believe when I wrote my first post (about working at the drive-in, of course) that three years and 150 posts later, Weird Movie Village would still be going strong.
Fortunately, there's an endless supply of cultural strangeness to draw from, so there'll always be something to write about.
I've enjoyed sharing memories of my drive-in days, favorite film genres and star spotlights, and I hope you've enjoyed the addition of contemporary film and local L.A. theater reviews. And if you haven't read my three-part series on Horror Hags, you really must check it out. This year, I also plan to make some themed videos to add another dimension to the blog.
While there's an appalling amount of cultural vapidity today, represented by drek like Dancing with the Stars, horrible real housewives, anything Kardashian and the little-girl-screamy Paranormal Activity series, the media is also growing up in many ways. Cable television has become a godsend for those of us demanding mature entertainment. AMC's Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are taboo-breaking series that provide viewers with an unapologetic kick in the teeth—and we love it.
Last week I had the honor of attending a Breaking Bad panel discussion with the cast and creator (pictured here) at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and it was fun to get their insights on their characters. Even Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) came back from the dead to share his thoughts. It's clear that this cast has a warm—even familial—working relationship, and Cranston is very funny.
There were no spoilers about the upcoming season, but the decision to have an end date is a wise one. Unlike other series that keep running to the point of ridiculousness, the story of Walter White will have a well-judged conclusion. And I got caught up playing a Jesse Pinkman graphic novel game over at amc.com.
The Walking Dead, meanwhile, continues to impress me with its ever-tightening noose of a storyline. And it's as gory as anything George Romero ever made.
This season, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was forced to kill living people to protect his clan, and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) has gone all Lady Macbeth on him, warning that Shane (Jon Bernthal) is a threat to everyone's safety. Wonder who'll end up dead?
I'm going to try out the Walking Dead Story Sync this coming Sunday. It's a web app that offers live chat, snap polls and exclusive video during the broadcast. A great invention for our ADD generation!
Over on pay cable, I'm looking forward to the season premieres of Nurse Jackie, The Big C and The Borgias. Emmy winner Edie Falco is a delight as Jackie, and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong will appear as an addict in the upcoming season. Bobby Cannavale is doing double duty this year as he joins the casts of both Jackie (as a new hospital administrator upon whom Coop develops a mancrush) and Boardwalk Empire (as a new enemy for Nucky). Big C creator Darlene Hunt also promises some surprises for her series and refuses to confirm or deny that Paul (Oliver Platt) is actually dead.
Showtime entertainment president David Nevins says that Dexter and The Borgias are going to experience changes, too. He says that both shows will head off in different directions, with the latter placing more of an emphasis on action. I like The Borgias just fine, but Dexter definitely needs a fresh perspective after a truly lousy season six. As Emily Nussbaum wrote in The New Yorker, the better Dexter gets (psychologically), the worse Dexter may become.
Happily, Showtime's Shameless continues to be a lot of fun, with Academy Award-winner Louise Fletcher a riot as Frank's criminal mother. I said it before and I'll say it again—this is a series with room for such cult favorites as Mary Woronov, Susan Tyrrell and Karen Black!
At HBO, however, last season's True Blood was awful—a ridiculous cartoon. Hopefully it will redeem itself this coming year. I'm looking forward to Christopher Meloni joining the cast as a badass vampire who holds Bill and Eric in his power.
Turning to the world of genre films, Dario Argento premiered 25 minutes of his 3D Dracula at the Italia Film Festival, and FearNet seemed to like what they saw, even saying it had a Hammer Films vibe. It would be nice to see the old maestro get his mojo back one more time.
Sadly, the asinine Paranormal Activity series and its REC ilk shows no sign of slowing. As I said before, it's absurd that the torture porn of the Saw series has been replaced by the cinematic equivalent of going into a darkened bathroom, looking into the mirror, and repeating "I believe in Mary Worth" three times. Hell, even the Saw guys have joined in with the equally dumb-assed Insidious, which is also getting a sequel.
I covered other upcoming horror movies in a previous post, but the list of projects that are still "in discussion" is pretty interesting. Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick are in talks to return to Blair Witch 3, which is going to need some serious marketing help after the Book of Shadows disaster. Original Jeepers Creepers star Gina Phillips is scheduled to return for the third installment, another franchise that needs repair after the hilariously homoerotic and awful Part Two.
Creepers director Victor Salva is going the direct-to-DVD route with Rosewood Lane, a story about a radio talk show host versus a malevolent newspaper delivery boy. Is he going to be as scary as the one in Better off Dead who keeps showing up to demand his two dollars?
I'm interested in the adaptation of Anne Rice's The Tale of the Body Thief. It's in development with Imagine Pictures, and it'd be great if they could interest Neil Jordan in taking the reins again.
Italian goremeister Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) is looking to get back in the game with Cannibals, which has been tossed around for about four years, and The House On the Edge of the Park Part II, with Giovanni Lombardo Radice (aka John Morghen) reprising his role from the 1980 original, is said to be in pre-production. More power to them, I say, but where will they get stateside distribution? The grindhouses are sadly long gone.
Gingerclown stars the voice of Tim Curry as the animatronic title character, which seems to be a foul-mouthed update of his Pennywise in the TV-movie It! The film also features vocal work by Lance Henriksen, Brad Dourif and the recently-arrested Sean Young. It sounds so off-the-wall that it just might be a nice surprise.
George Miller, who directed the original Mad Max, is scheduled to return for Mad Max: Fury Road, but Mad Mel won't be reprising his role—it'll be Tom Hardy instead. I enjoyed the remake of Clash of the Titans, so I won't mind seeing Wrath of the Titans, coming next month. Expect more dimensional bouncing breasts with the release of Piranha 3DD, whose title even seems to be a reference to bra size. The Evil Dead reboot is set for 2013, as is the unlikely 300: Battle of Artemisia. But Green Lantern 2? Is that really going to happen?
The internet is a great place to indulge one's passions for horror and cult entertainment. My favorite sites include Bloody Disgusting, a good place for multimedia horror. BD even moved into feature film distribution with AMC Theaters to bring obscure/foreign horror films to American screens. Shock Till You Drop is also a good source for news and scoops. For fascinating, in-depth stories about amusement park "dark rides," Laff in the Dark is a great, professionally-produced site. The Terror Trap takes a fond look back at more classic horrors, but if you just want to indulge your passion for bad movies, here's a site to take care of that for you. If you're a die-hard Mystery Science Theatre fan, Justin TV broadcasts complete episodes all day every day, with occasional Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic shows thrown in.
To order obscure DVDs, I recommend Cinema de Bizarre, Mike Vraney's great Something Weird Video and Sinister Cinema, a distributor I found advertised in Psychotronic Magazine way back in the 80s and still order from. I love Sinister's drive-in double features. Each disc includes two movies that may have actually played together back in the day, previews of coming attractions and great snack bar commercials, all for just $14.95 apiece! And if you're looking for classic 1970s TV movies, J4HI has titles like Sarah T: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic (with Linda Blair!) and Trapped, featuring James Brolin locked in a department store with a pack of vicious guard dogs.
Well, it's been a fun three years here at Weird Movie Village. If you're a returning visitor, I thank you for your patronage. And, as always, I'd be delighted if you left a comment. Criticism, story suggestions...you name it!
Now let's wrap up this historic post with a commercial for a drive-in theater toy featuring a tiny Patty Duke and a little boy with terrifying eyes: