Monday, November 30, 2009


All right, I'm back from Thanksgiving break and ready to share opinions no one cares about.
In my web-surfing today, I ran across an article on science-fiction writer, Harlan Ellison. This goes me thinking about why I like Ellison so much. It occurred to me that I would be a fan even if his writing was terrible.
This is not to say that Ellison's writing is terrible. In fact, its quite good. Even his more bizarre works are great reads. I feel less like Ellison is being incomprehensible for the sake of being incomprehensible and more that his works simply require further reading and analysis. That's a rarity I find only in really engaging writers.
However, the reason I would like Harlan Ellison, even if he was a bad writer, is because he is such a larger than life character. His public persona as angry, curmudgeonly man has taken on mythic proportions. Loads of stories revolve around the man, many of them apocryphal. For example, there are allegations of his throwing a fan down an elevator shaft or setting a rude smoker's purse on fire. His disputes with Hollywood personalities like Gene Roddenberry and James Cameron are legendary.
These stories have taken on such a life of their own that they will endure long after the man himself has gone. Any random anecdote about Harlan Ellison is guaranteed to be at least as interesting as some of his lesser writing. Ellison is a talented writer and I am the first to sing his praises. However, in a lot of ways, Harlan Ellison's greatest and most enduring creation is Harlan Ellison.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tom Wait's Thursday: Spacious Thoughts with Kool Keith

I was going to make a joke about how Tom Waits looks like he sounds. but Boingboing.con beet me to it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Film Reviews I Should've Done Last Month Part 2

Tonight's review: Morgue Story: Blood, Blowfish and Comics
Quick confession time. When I saw this movie, it was midnight, I was very tired, and I was coming down with a cold. As a result, large portions of this movie may have taken place entirely in my head. It's strange enough that you wouldn't notice.
The best way to describe this film is as Crash meets The Serpent and the Rainbow. The plot is essentally this. A mad coroner runs around poising young girls with blowfish venom , turning them into old-school voodoo style zombies before disposing of them. And "zombies" I mean sex slaves.
The heroine, Ana Argento, a comic book writer, is the doctor's next target. In fact, the mad doctor does get her in his clutches within the first half hour. Unfortunately, his attempts to get some hot zombie loving in the local morgue are inadvertently thwarted by Tom, a cataleptic who wasn't quite as dead as he seemed when they dropped him of at the morgue. Tom manages to frustrate the doctor's sexual ambitions through sheer obnoxiousness, despite having no clue that anything unseemly is going on. As the movie progresses, the bizarre ways that all three characters have unknowingly impacted on one another's life, despite never having met before, are revealed in flashback.
I wound up enjoying this movie quite a bit. If you ignore some lame in jokes (Ana shares a last name in common with a famous horror director) and forced references to real comic books, it's a fun little film. However, it is overly ambitious and does tend to drag a bit in the middle. In addition, for the squeamish, there are a few gratuitous rape scenes. However, it makes up for this with one of the best bittersweet endings to a horror movie that I can remember. If it doesn't make you cry a little, you don't have a heart.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Film Reviews I Should've Done Last Month Part 1

In September, I managed to get down to Erie, Pennsylvania for the Eerie Horror Film Festival. I intended to write a review of the films I saw for the blog but instead I procrastinated.Finally, I realized that if I don't write it now, I never will. So without further ado, I present a guide to some of the movies I had the unique pleasure of seeing.
Tonight's review: STORAGE
The first movie I saw also had the unique honor of being the best. The premise revolves around a ordinary kid named Frances who is walking home from the movies with his father when they get mugged. Needless to say, Frances father gets stabbed. Naturally, Frances vows to fight crime as Batman. No. Sorry. He actually goes to work at his Uncle Larry's storage facility.
Things start going bad really quick. Francis stumbles upon one of the renters at the facility crying over a bloody dress. He becomes convinced that the renter has murdered his wife but no one will believe him. As the movie goes on, he finally manages to convince Larry and they go off to bring vigilante justice to the  renter.
Which is unfortunate because he's completely innocent.  On the other hand, Uncle Larry is completely off his gourd, murdering so-called criminals and hiding their corpses in barrels.  At this point, the movie changes from a straightforward suspense thriller to a deconstruction of revenge films, particularly the Death Wish films. This is the rare movie where the ends don't justify the means and violence is ultimately as dehumanizing to the perpetrator then it is to the victim. If you like you're suspense thrillers to make you think, I give Storage two thumbs up.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Top Ten things I Learned at College

1. When the teacher asks you a question you weren't prepared for, clutching your chest and dropping to the floor is not an acceptable response.
2. Nor is pleading the Fifth.
3. If you're thoughts at this point are "With any luck, he doesn't speak Klingon either", you really should have done the assigned reading.
4. A bathrobe is not appropriate classrooms attire.
5. Nor is S&M gear.
6. While debate is encouraged, "Burn him! He a witch" is not an accepted rhetorical technique.
7. There is no appropriate time for a spontaneous musical number.
8. When the teacher if there is a nickname you prefer, do not say "I go by Lord Melchior Awesomesauce, Grand Master of all I survey but you may call me Your Greatness."
9. A blank test with a $20 bill stapled to it will get you an incomplete.
10. However, a blank test with a $100 bill stapled to it is the key to maintaining that 4.0 GPA.