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Abominable Howling Alligators

This year, due to all the horror movies that we wanted to cram into our annual horror-a-thon, we decided to start our viewing on September 1st. Yes, we need an entire additional month. And there are still movies we’ll have to skip.

We have many, many movies.

We (actually, Chris) have decided to help ourselves sort all of them out by having theme nights:

  • Monster Mondays
  • Terrible Tuesdays (I’m going to kill him for this one)
  • When Animals Attack Wednesdays
  • Stuart Gordon Thursdays
  • Universal Fridays
  • Stalk & Slay Saturdays
  • Supernatural Sundays

I’m most looking forward to Supernatural Sundays as I have recently been able to watch truly scary stuff again – and it’s the supernatural stuff that’s always scared me.

This week we have watched the following: Abominable (2006), The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985) and Alligator (1980).

Abominable Movie Poster

Abominable Movie Poster

Abominable is a little known Bigfoot movie that has some amazing suit effects, tension-building direction and even some Hitchcockian vibes due to the lead (Matt McCoy) being wheelchair-bound and having a passing resemblance to Anthony Perkins. It starts off a little slow but pays off in the end. It also contains excellent extended cameos by Jeffrey Combs and Lance Henriksen – a couple of household favorites here at the Mills homestead.

The plot isn’t too complicated. Preston Rogers (Matt McCoy) returns to his wooded cabin in hopes to come to terms with the accidental death of his wife six months previous but things don’t go as planned when a huge Sasquatch tears through the woods, taking out horses, dogs and finally, several pretty co-eds. Preston does his best to prevent more deaths but no one believes him until it’s too late.

The monster suit in this movie is pretty amazing, especially those freakin’ teeth. So big and so realistic. This bigfoot has some googly eyes but I can forgive that since it resembles Ron Swanson on a really bad hair day.

If for nothing else, watch this movie for the last shot. It’s creepy as hell.

Tuesday night was truly terrible. Not even Christopher Lee could save The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf. A direct sequel to the excellent The Howling (1981), this movie picks up at the funeral of Karen White, portrayed by Dee Wallace in the first movie and by a very forgettable Hana Ludvikova in this movie. The plot is pretty much nonsensical, there are images inserted into sequences that have nothing to do with what’s going on in the story, the actors portraying the protagonists (Jenny Templeton and Reb Brown) are just awful and even Christopher Lee seemed rather bored in many of his scenes. Vampire lore is substituted for Werewolf lore and the gratuitous nudity and sex scenes were eye roll-inducing.

Good thing I had some beading to do while we watched it. Yeesh.

I do not recommend watching this movie, unless you’re a fan of Sybil Danning’s admittedly impressive boobage. If you like those, you won’t be disappointed. Hell, just watch the end credits – it includes about 16 repeated shots of her removing her outfit over and over again.

Alligator Poster

Say Hello to Ramon…then say goodbye forever!

Wednesday night we returned to decent fare with Alligator starring the always enjoyable Robert Forster and female lead Robin Riker – known by me for playing Amy’s witch mother in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer“. And I’m not name-calling. She played an actual witch.

This movie follows the life of police officer David Madison, a man scarred by the death of his former partner, who stumbles upon an Alligator in the sewers who has been feasting on the discarded remains of illegal test-subject dogs. These animals have been pumped full of a growth hormone causing the Alligator to have a few growth spurts himself. Unfortunately, moments after discovering the Alligator, his new partner (of about 10 minutes) is snatched away and eaten by the car-sized reptile.

No one believes Madison, blaming his delusion on the stress caused by losing a second partner. But after a reporter is eaten by Ramon (yes, he has a name, but you’ll have to watch to find out how we know it), taking pictures as it happens and the pictures are found and developed, the city is put on full alert.

In the end, Ramon goes on a city-wide rampage, ending up at the estate of the owner of the lab that pumped those poor pooches full of growth hormones and you can probably guess that sleazbag’s fate.

Alligator is an enjoyable Animal-on-a-rampage movie with good writing, better-than-average character development and impressive special effects, especially for it’s time.

So, in all, I recommend both Abominable and Alligator, but wouldn’t wish The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf on any discerning horror fan. It’s just not worth the pain.

Let’s Celebrate Cagney!

These YouTube videos were made several years ago by Melanie and I still love watching them when I need a concentrated dose of Cagney greatness.


Part 1 of 5

Part 2 of 5

Part 3 of 5

Part 4 of 5

Part 5 of 5

Nerd Pride

Nerd PrideFirst seen over on Wil Wheaton’s tumblr. And as we all know, Wil Wheaton is the king of the Nerds and Geeks. Don’t be a dick!

I don’t normally like ‘beefcake’ pictures, but…

…in this case, I’ll make an exception. Hum-a-nuh

Kyle MacLachlan in and out of a Stillsuit

Kyle MacLachlan in and out of a Stillsuit from Dune

Quote of the Day

From Cake Wrecks:

And so, in conclusion, I’m sorry I couldn’t find a Barenaked Ladies/Nathan Fillion mash-up cake, since I’m told that many of you believe a Barenaked Fillion would make your entire year.

Mickey Rooney…just, wow

Mickey RooneyI’ve been a fan of Mickey Rooney since I started watching old black and white films back in college (the early 90’s). Despite his sometimes over-exuberance, I could plainly see that this short actor had talent oozing from every pore.

What I didn’t consciously realize until recently is just how amazing his career has been.

Mickey was born on September 23, 1920. He first performed (by accident, according to his official website) at the age of 17 months and he hasn’t stopped since.

Mickey RooneyAccording to the IMDB he has appeared on film at least once, and normally several times, every year since 1926. There are only three exceptions – 1945, 1987 and 2003. (His absence in 1945 -at the height of his fame – was due to traveling Europe for 21 months entertaining the troops during World War II.)

Some people find his ever-present exuberance irritating. But those people are just short-sighted and cynical. Mickey has always had a love for his craft and it shines through all of his performances.

Mickey Rooney – Actor, Singer, Dancer, Musician, and I’m sure many other things. One of the greatest talents of all time and still going strong.

Happy Birthday to Who?

As I’m sure most couples do, my husband and I have many ‘running gags’ in our relationship. For example, If we see Mark Hamill’s name in the credits for anything we both exclaim ‘Mark Hamill?!’ in a tone of surprise.

One of our first running gags – in fact, it may be THE first – relates to my favorite Gentleman of Horror. When we first started talking on the telephone (it was a long-distance relationship) he started talking about an old horror movie and kept saying the name Peter Cushing as if I should know who he was. So, I asked him who he was talking about.

There was dead silence on the phone and I thought either we had been disconnected or he had hung up on me. I think he might have wanted to hang up on me because Peter Cushing was (and still is) one of his favorite actors. Chris listed off several of his older movies, which I had never heard of, and then finally, almost grudingly, told me that he played Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars movie.

It must have pained him when I told him I had no idea who that was and he had to say ‘Darth Vader’s boss.’

Now, whenever Peter Cushing’s name is mentioned, more often than not, the other one will say, “Who?”

Honestly, I find that whole exchange a bit embarrassing now. While he was totally awesome in Star Wars, Peter Cushing was so much more than that one character. I call him a ‘Gentleman of Horror’ because he belongs to a group of actors who starred in many of the horror films of the 50’s and 60’s playing men of education and class – even when those men were evil villains. I also include Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone in this club and I’m sure there are others that I just can’t remember at the moment.

It is today that we celebrate¬†Peter Cushing’s birthday. He was born in 1913 and passed away in 1994.

Peter Cushing

What I’m Watching, May 2011

What I'm Watching, May 2011

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have cable and we live too far out in the country to pick up any digital signals with our antennae, even with a converter box. So, we watch things on video and through Netflix instant streaming. (The instant streaming is awesome, by the way. It’s no extra cost to us and we can finally watch shows we missed.)

So, here’s a list of TV shows I’ve been watching in the past few months

  • That 70’s Show
    We watched the first few seasons of this show when it originally aired and liked it well enough. We moved a few years into its run and since we couldn’t get Fox to come in at our new house, we never watched it again. So, when we saw it was on Netflix instant streaming, we put it on the queue. 

    It’s not the best or most original situation comedy, but it was enjoyable enough and despite some pretty bad acting (especially in the beginning) there were some very memorable characters.

    We watched it all the way through to its last season. It had its ups and downs but pretty much kept a consistent quality throughout. Losing its two most popular teen characters in the last season did hurt it a bit but not as much as I expected.

  • Bones
    When this procedural show premiered, neither my husband nor I had much interest. I’m not a big fan of procedural shows unless there’s a nice twist or interesting characters (i.e. “Castle”) and my husband is not a big fan of David Boreanaz. 

    However, I kept hearing good things about the show and how well Boreanaz was doing (I do like him and have always found him quite charming despite the husband’s sometimes-intense dislike) so I tried out an episode on Hulu. I watched a few more and decided it was a show that I would like to try. I also thought that it was something the husband would like as well if he could get over his Boreanaz-hate.

    I finally convinced him and it didn’t take long for us both to become hooked. It’s a procedural but mixes the approaches of other crime-fighting shows. While “Castle” focuses on motive and “CSI” focuses on forensics, “Bones” focuses on both. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, finds the physical evidence while FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth focuses on the heart of the matter (murder).

    The other characters that assist Brennan are just as (and sometimes more) interesting as the two leads. We’re both eagerly waiting for the next season of the show to become available.

  • Flash Forward
    My husband writes a DVD Review column and he received the first half of this show’s one and only season for review on DVD so we checked it out. 

    The premise was very intriguing – everyone in the world blacks out at exactly the same time for a few minutes and sees the future for a specific date and time.

    The show focuses on the FBI agents in charge of investigating the incident, how it came about, who’s responsible and how to prevent future blackouts.

    I’m not sure that it deserved future seasons but I liked it well enough to finish the program. It’s not going to go on any of my favorites list but I don’t regret spending the time to watch it.

  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus
    I’ve been a fan of the Monty Python group since my college roommate introduced me to them in the early 1990s. They had my heart the second the Frenchmen flung the cow over the castle wall. 

    However, I had never seen the original “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” television program and that’s just inexcusable.

    So, we’ve been watching these sporadically over the last few months. Like any other sketch comedy some skits are good, some not so good, but more often than not these guys have me cracking up at the silliest things.

  • The Office
    I like Steve Carell. Some of his movies are shit (excuse my bluntness, but they are – Almighty Evan, anyone? Ugh.) but I like Carell despite some of his career choices. I honestly find him very sexy. 

    I had heard of “The Office,” of course, and knew that it was very popular but I never had the chance to watch it. Netflix has it available on instant streaming so we gave it a try.

    Ugh. That first season was so bleah. It wasn’t awful but neither I nor my husband could figure out what the big deal was. What is so funny about a man making a fool of himself and his subordinates making faces at a camera?

    But, we stuck it out and continued to season 2. (Fortunately, season 1 was very short). Starting with the very first episode of season 2 it all seemed to click and we’ve been hooked ever since. The characters started doing more than making ‘isn’t this guy an idiot?’ faces at the camera and became defined characters with their own strengths and flaws which, in turn, made Michael Scott (Carell) more tolerable.

    And not only is it freakin’ funny, it has a lot of heart without being sentimental. There’s always at least one moment in each episode that’s a bit touching and it never seems forced or unrealistic.

  • Party Down
    We checked this show out because of who created it and some of the cast members. We loved, loved, loved “Veronica Mars” and “Party Down” was co-created by Rob Thomas, the brains behind “Mars.” 

    It starred Ryan Hansen from VM along with several other actors that we like (Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, Adam Scott, Ken Marino and Lizzy Caplan) so we decided to check it out.

    It’s not great, but it has some truly funny moments. It follows the (almost always pathetic) lives of a group of caterers and the hijinks that ensue at their various jobs around Los Angeles.

    It’s not a laugh-out-loud type of comedy but it can be quiet entertaining.

  • Penn & Teller’s Bullshit
    I’ve only seen a few episodes but so far I’m liking this one. Penn Gillette can be rather acerbic, but he seems to be honest and fair when he tears certain things down such as the Boys Scouts, the Obesity epidemic and Prostitution. 

    It certainly helps that more often than not, I agree with them 100 percent.

  • Phineas and Ferb
    I’ve written about this show on this blog already, but I have to mention it again. 

    Pure Awesomeness. (Yes, I meant to capitalize both words.)

  • The Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
    Being fans of the original films (I don’t even hate the third) this was a no-brainer. Closely following the film’s continuity, this show covers the time between the second and third films following the adventures of Sarah Connor, her son John, another Terminator sent from the future to protect them and John’s uncle also sent from the future to help. 

    What I particularly like about this show is that it shows how John Connor turned into the hero that we all know he is to become. I like him on this show much more than any of the movies in which he appeared.

    (NOTE: I have not seen the fourth movie yet, with Christian Bale. That’s on our list and we plan to see it after we’re done with the series.)

We have recently (last night, actually) started watching “Primeval” but I’m not sure if I like it yet or not. The premise is interesting but so far, I don’t like the characters very much. They’re all very cliche right now but I’m hoping that will change soon.