Musicals: So Not Money

If we didn’t know our colleagues in the film business as well as we do and the blinkered egotism and snobbery that motivates many of them, we might suspect that it would be harder and harder for execs to justify going to Cannes every year with the amount of equally weird announcements coming out of Comic-Con

Full Moon on Monday


by Eric J Baker

So how about Zachary Quinto playing Chad, the flaming bottom-bitch ghost on American Horror Story, in the same week he decided to publicly out himself? I think Quinto has an intense, camera-friendly face and is a pleasure to watch, so let’s hope his career is not damaged by the recent bombshell (it figures, though, that the guy who got to make out with Zoë Saldana in Star Trek is the one guy who wouldn’t want to in real life). Oh yeah, American Horror Story

For those wondering if Spock and Kirk were lovers, you're halfway there.

Regular Sunday readers know I’ve been covering FX’s lurid new haunted house series for the past month, and the show continues to push basic cable boundaries. Before this week’s opening credits ran, Quinto’s on-screen lover (Teddy Sears) boasted about cheating on him with a “power bottom” at the gym… then both of them were killed by the vinyl-suited fetish phantom that looks like a shiny version of The Gimp from Pulp Fiction. The two dead men returned to haunt the house’s current occupant, Dylan McDermott, throughout the episode, including a sequence in which Sears grabbed McDermott’s crotch and offered him head (Spoiler Alert: He declined).

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Dirty)


 by Eric J Baker

I’ve seen the future of horror, and its name is Television.

I’m paraphrasing Stephen King, who once said that about author Clive Barker (and was wrong). Consider the recent slate of theatrical horrors: Colin Farrell couldn’t get people to shell out 10 bucks for the tepid Fright Night remake. Daniel Craig scared up even fewer ticket sales for Dream House, and Sarah Jessica Parker, though terrifying to look at, did not draw a crowd for I Don’t Know How She Does It. I mean, why go to the movies for horror when you can see more intense stuff in The Walking Dead and American Horror Story right from your couch?

Elisabeth Harnois, whose connection to this story is tenuous at best. The impossibly adorable “CSI” star is 32, despite looking 16, which makes my attraction to her a lot less creepy. Maybe.

I’m not sure when it became acceptable to show disembowelment, beheadings, and flesh eating on primetime television, which are acts that would earn most theatrical movies an NC-17 rating. Perhaps the immense popularity of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is the culprit. Cop shows – the only network shows where weekly killings have long been tolerated and expected – used to depict the vic crumpled in a corner with maybe a red spot for a gunshot wound. Then CSI came along with its slow-mo, 360-degree sequences of bullets exploding inside people’s brains and child autopsies and time-lapse decompositions and – voilá! – cannibalism is now kosher for TV. I never actually watched CSI until this season, and that’s only because they just cast Elisabeth Harnois, above.* Don’t tell my wife. She thinks I’ve taken a sudden interest in law enforcement and test tubes.

French Maids From Beyond the Grave


by Eric J Baker

One of the things I can’t stand about the movie Twister is the lame titular character. It’s a villain without will, intent, or malevolence, inflicting nothing more than incidental damage. All our heroes have to do to escape this villain is get in the car and drive in the opposite direction. Just leave. Don’t drive toward the tornado. Threat over.

But hell if I’m going to talk about tornado movies (?) in October, with the festival of Samhain just around the corner. Tonight I’m talking about haunted house movies, the most scream inducing of all horror subgenres. Except that said screams are usually directed at the people in the movie and go something like, “Hey assholes! Just leave the friggin’ house!”

Alexandra Breckenridge, who shows up in this article eventually.

You know, like the parents in Poltergeist (1982) who, after their daughter gets sucked into another dimension via her bedroom closet and is miraculously rescued from the clutches of evil, put her back in the same damned bedroom!

…Is Good For The Gander


by James Killough

This is a part two of yesterday’s musings, so you’d best read that first if you’re going to try to follow my ramblings here.

My fellow contributor Eric Baker, a man I have tremendous respect for even though we have never met in person or even spoken on the phone, left a very sweet comment to yesterday’s post saying something to the effect of being proud of being associated with someone so “erudite.”  The reason I have so much respect for Eric is not just that he writes superbly, with honesty and a great deal of un-cheap humor, it’s also because he’s like me, utterly dependable and delivers on time.  And people who are, like, real mensches and stuff, are few and far between.

That's right: infrastructure comes from heaven. Says so right there in the Good Book, Mark 6:31-44, when the Lord divided the loaves and the fishes.

Erudite to me means academic, but Eric is probably right in using it in the context of my writing in this blog because it actually means “to show great learning,” which is distinct from academic, or specifically well read.

In honor of the hopeful revolution sweeping this country, let me digress a bit to talk about my own rebellion, which I consider more of a pilgrimage to my Self than a deliberate act of defiance.

So, Did You Hear the One About the Guy Dying of Cancer?


by Eric J Baker

Rare is the friendship both instant and lasting.

Near the close of my seemingly endless trek through college, I worked at an electronics store, briefly as a shitty salesman but mostly supervising general merchandise, where staff turnover was continuous. One morning yet another transient reported for duty. Jaded beyond all recognition, I tossed out my usual, disinterested, “So what’s your deal?”

“Well, I do like Fulci movies,” was the reply.

Fulci? You’re gonna bring up Fulci to me? You must have, because I’m the only one here.

I turned. “So, do you lean toward Zombie or The Beyond?”* BAM! Instant friendship. No turning back.

Lucio Fulci’s "Zombie" (1979), the Citizen Kane of trashy Italian splatter movies set on tropical islands and starring Mia Farrow’s sister, Tisa.

I eventually left the store to finish my damned degree (for christsake!) but continued to meet up with the boys for food and drink. My buddy, who we’ll call ‘Ricky Roma,’ had a quiet intelligence, was undemonstrative (except for the time he ripped his uniform in half – while wearing it – to let management know he disagreed with their policies), and a snarky sense of humor. The kind of guy who loves to insult people without them knowing it.

Old Lady's Got Balls


by Eric J Baker

Like Shatner at the beginning of Wrath of Khan, I’ve been feeling old lately. The other day, I was chatting with the guys when I realized, for the first time, that I can sleep with a woman half my age and not get arrested. Sure, it would be creepy, just not illegal.

We said he could have topless babes in his posts, but Baker seems to want something vanilla this week.

My buddy, who’s much younger than me, said, “I won’t date a girl unless she can walk into a bar and buy a drink.” I said, yeah, good point. I wouldn’t either. Then it occurred to me that a woman half my age can walk into a bar and buy a drink. A woman like Cassie Scerbo (pictured above) for example, who stars in the ABC Family show Make It or Break It and is a freshly minted legal drinker. Ditto for recent 21ers Kristen Stewart and Emma Watson, who probably would have made more clickworthy lead images. However, Scerbo is lovelier than those two waifs, and, anyway, Stewart and Watson would be nuts to walk into a bar without a team of security guards. Such is fame.

Will the Real Marcus Nispel Please Stand Up?


by Eric J Baker

My career as a child actor reached its pinnacle in 1979 when I was cast as the lead in a now-lost alien invasion film. The role of “random kid with bad 70’s hair” did not have dialog, but I was totally in character as a dazed preteen with no bleeding idea what was happening around him (I put a lot of method-style research into it). The fact that my dad was the director had nothing to do with me landing the part.

Jessica Biel and her body, for no good reason other than she is mentioned later.

I could write a book about the weirdness of my father, but no one can deny his creativity. During the course of the week-long shoot, he ran around with his 8mm camera, tripod, and a single flood light filming cloudbursts and street lamps and telling me to run down this hallway and crawl through that passageway. One night we were in an unused conference room at the local YMCA. I recall him placing a toy spaceship atop a black candleholder, using the beam from a slide projector to illuminate the ship, setting the camera about 25 feet away, and turning off the overhead lights. As that noisy little 8mm whirred in the dark, I wondered what the hell Dad was doing.

Stand in the Place Where You Live

CRAMER VS KILLOUGH | REVIEW starring Christopher Cramer & James Killough We've already run Baker's review of Midnight in Paris, but Chris is a huge Woody Allen fan, and felt he needed to be fully self-expressed about it on tape.  There are moments in the review when his hair becomes like the...

The Long‑Lasting Flavor… of Death!


by Eric J Baker

I can answer the tough questions. Why are you against the death penalty? – Because a government should never be powerful enough to systematically execute its own citizens, because you can’t unkill a wrongly accused man, and because it’s revenge rather than justice. Why don’t you believe in god? – I haven’t started my atheist manifesto yet, but, trust me, it’s going to kick ass. Why do you think petite brunettes with long straight hair are sexy? Because they are.

So how is it that the simple questions are so hard? For example, why do I love trash horror movies? And, more importantly, why does this Final Destination 5 logo look so much like a 5 gum wrapper?

Yes, we are leading with images of a chewing gum wrapper and a poster for a B horror film. It's that time of the week again, and we can't sneak a shirtless man in edgewise.

Perhaps it’s not fair to imply that the Final Destination flicks are trash cinema. After all, episodes 2 and 4 were directed by no less than David Ellis, the man who swept the 2006 Oscars with his masterpiece, Snakes on a Plane. And just because the previous Final Destination film was boring and terrible and featured bland characters, cheap CG, and even shittier 3D, it doesn’t mean it was bad.