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  1. #346
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    Past Tense


    Another brand new entry!

    As with last week's extra, this exclusive is still out there - so you get an additional L.E. Horror offering.

    Meet the guy who was 'down under' before it was a thing in 1943's "Phantom Of The Opera"



    The motion picture opened on August 27th, 1943. It was made with a budget of $1,500,000 (estimated). Sorry further stats are unavailable to me.

    This re-re-re-release has no insert.

    - - -

    Single exclusive... mostly, kinda. Murky.

    Wal-Mart originally offered this as part of their then new glow-in-the-dark slipcovers for various Universal horror themed DVDs in 2016. That streeted in September of that month (sorry, can't be more specific) for $7.96.

    This was also offered once more on September 11th, 2017 for the same price.



    There was no Digital Copy or any kind of insert - which I'll get into in a few, like with "The Birds", there's a DVD tale here.

    The glow is decent as long as you don't expect too much, but take awhile to charge in front of a good light.

    - - -



    This was the second remake of the story. There's been several including an NBC TV mini-series and of course the Broadway play - also turned into a feature.

    The movie is at time campy, no escaping that, but is still entertaining in a nostalgic sense - how Hollywood used to make features. The story is fine; meat and potatoes, nothing really complex.

    I liked it, but I can't say if you will sit through it. I'm not knocking it, the film was made for a generation that is in their golden years now. As I wrote, I enjoyed it.

    That counts for something.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Notes.



    The first DVD streeted on August 29th, 2000 for $29.95. This came as a gold disc. The release was a special edition. The first pressing came single sheet insert with chapter listings - and an online game piece for a chance to win a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood, "Halloween Horror Nights" (and other prizes).

    A small plastic sheet with a red window near the middle. Log on univeralthrillers.com and hold the 'decoder' card up to your computer screen. See if you won. The contest ended on December 31st, 2000 (for the rest of the unclaimed prizes).

    To be clear - ALL future editions is the exact same disc, the only difference is a newer pressed disc image. The contents are the same.



    The next edition was something of a curious brow; "Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection" box set. This streeted on September 2nd, 2014 for $149.99. It came with a booklet covering trivia on each of the thirty films presented. Man, I would like to have that booklet for my sets.

    These are the expanded re-releases; collected the previous "Legacy Collections" titles from 2004, the "75th Anniversary Edition" and "Special Edition" of Univeral monters like "Dracula", "Frankenstein" and "The Mummy" from 2006 and 2008. Plus the various Abbott & Costello 'meet the monsters' flicks.

    In short - the 2014 editions consolidates all the extras produced for DVD (and BD) into a single title for that particular franchise - a huge upgrade from the original releases. And in the case of "Dracula", newly remastered version of the 1931 film.

    Plus - no longer double sided which gave so many issues with the '04 sets (sold for $29.98 each).

    The 2014 redo of the Legacy titles is extensive - a must have for classic horror collectors. Sway.



    The box set came with a somewhat exclusive bonus film, that same 2000 disc - now with new art. I like this artwork, it is inline with the covers from the other titles.

    Should be noted that each of the Legacy titles for those '14 releases had their own foil, embossed slipcovers ($29.98 each) - which is NOT included in the box set. Just so you know.

    That entry for "The Invisible Man" took me the longest to get. Could not find in stores, at all. Ended up getting from Amazon in September of 2016.



    What I didn't know until researching this entry; "Phantom" was re-re-release along side with that collection box, the same date for $14.98 - with different artwork (again) as seen above. I thought this version was from 2016 with the Wal-Mart slip. My error.

    As with "The Birds", I used a transparent case for this title. The original wraparound on the inside (to be seen) and the 2014 wrap on the outside. Inside is the insert and game piece. I kept the original 2000 gold disc, since the later DVD is the exact same transfer and looks... uglier, the pressed art.

    And topping it all, the new glow-in-the-dark slipcover.

    One more thing; "Phantom Of The Opera" is the only color movie in that Collection box set.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Tangent.

    Another sexy Halloween costume.



    Oh dear - sultry skunk. Why? How low is your self-esteem when you consider this your seductive costume? 'I'm going dress up as something everybody despises. Man, all the guys are gonna have the hots for me tonight'; for sure. *shake head*

    It also come with a bendable tail, but does it smell? Or is that feature extra???

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Recommendation.

    Just one.

    "Dorian Gray" (2009)
    A solid retelling of the classic Oscar Wilde story. Victorian London; Na´ve Dorian Gray arrives to inherit an estate, the sole good thing to come from his abusive grandfather. From there he meets Basil Hallward, a painter and Lord Henry Wotton, a calculating and decadent man. As a gift, Basil paints a portrait of Dorian. Upon seeing his perfect image he makes a remark about wanting to be as beautiful as this art - forever. A virtual deal is forged (with the Devil). Through Lord Wotton, Gray engages in an increasing depraved life; all of his physical self-destruction appearing on his portrait while young Dorian remains physically the same. Years then decades pass, he finds love with woman much, much his junior - Wotton’s now grown daughter, Emily. The secret; the painting (ever growing more hideous) must be kept from her, no matter at the cost. A tale of excess, vanity and power. Not so much horror as it seeing a man’s descent from good to wickedness.
    E1 Entertainment - 2010 - NR

    Don't be timid, come back here next week for another chiller; it's ever so curious to meet you for diner.
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 10-13-2017 at 03:31 AM.

  2. #347
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    Target - October 17th, 2017


    Stranger Things [Season One]
    Exclusive store release; packaging and poster; DVD/BD combo $24.99

    Spider-Man: Home Coming
    Exclusive comic book and BD bonus disc; DVD/BD/DC combo $24.99

    Girls Trip
    Free year subscription to "Essence"; DVD/BD/DC combo $19.99

    - - - - - - - - - -

    CD available 10/20

    "Niall Horan - Flicker" with 2 exclusive bonus songs and poster $12.99

  3. #348
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    Best Buy - October 17th, 2017


    Spider-Man: Home Coming
    Exclusive steelbook; 4k BD/BD/DC combo $32.99

    Spider-Man Legacy Collection
    Exclusive store release; 4k BD/BD combo $99.99
    Exclusive steelbook; BD/DC combo $37.99

    Batman Vs. Two-Face
    Exclusive steelbook; BD/DVD combo $19.99

    Creature From The Black Lagoon (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook with Alex Ross artwork; BD/DC only $17.99

    The Bride Of Frankenstein (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook with Alex Ross artwork; BD/DC only $17.99

    Dracula (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook with Alex Ross artwork; BD/DC only $17.99

    Frankenstein (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook with Alex Ross artwork; BD/DC only $17.99

    The Wolfman (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook with Alex Ross artwork; BD/DC only $17.99

    The Mummy (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook with Alex Ross artwork; BD/DC only $17.99

    The Invisible Man (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook with Alex Ross artwork; BD/DC only $17.99

  4. #349
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    Past Tense - American Kaiju Part I


    No rest - don't pause from your running or else "Limited Edition Horror" 2017 will catch you in the most terrible of ways with dog-sized lice. This week we are slammed with a verbose three parter and an unknown behemoth in "Cloverfield"...



    The motion picture opened on January 18th, 2008. It was made with a budget of $25,000,000 (estimated) and grossed over $80 million during its U.S. theatrical run. You could call that a sleeper hit. But when including foreign receipts, $170.7 million, it's an official hit. The film opened number two at the box office, the following week it dropped to number four.

    The feature opened against "The Bucket List", "National Treasure: Book Of Secrets", "I Am Legend" and "Juno".

    This release was case only, no slipcover issued, nor insert (booklet/chapter listing/advertisement). But there was a packaging item.

    Most people threw it away, part of the plastic wrap, but it's not (well, yes). On the side where the case opens was a brown sticker, a seal. It reads "Project Cloverfield" (in smaller print: "Property of the U.S. Government"). And "New Secrets Revealed". But located on the top in even smaller print was a number sequence, "11112014349". This was part of the viral web campaign. It took you to a secret part of the film's website. As I wrote, most threw that sticker away.

    Man, this movie had the best internet promotion. Just impressive, so much work under the scenes - for all for die hard fans. I'll talk about this in Part II.

    - - -

    There were several exclusives for this movie. Some I bought some and skipped one that now I'm somewhat regretting, somewhat. Lets address this alphabetically...

    Best Buy had the most substantial (in my opinion), a bonus disc. But there's a story.



    Their two disc set streeted on April 22nd, 2008 for $15.99. The extra DVD came in a blank, white CD envelope. The thing is - that's not what they publish in print and online.

    There is no menu screen, so no screen snap, it just plays. A single featurette "T.J. Miller's Video Diary" with a run time of 20:25 minutes.

    A minimum of seventy-four copies (with exclusive) at each store. *nods*

    As you can see from their weekly ad, something is amiss from the actual release.



    Their bonus disc was to have come in a cardboard printed sleeve, shown above.

    I've checked; as far as I can tell - NOBODY got that item; at least not in America.

    Man, that sleeve picture was so hard to find.

    You're welcome!



    Above is a snap of their online ad for that week. Yes, I've established - I'm that anal. Things which are different. 1) The DVD set was not $22.99. 2) That cover is not the DVD cover that was sold in the States. 3) The description for the bonus content is wrong. Lots of misinformation.

    Was that different cover itself an exclusive, only available online? As far as I can tell, no. So what happened?

    This is conjecture...

    The Canadian branch of Best Buy, FutureShop (now a dead store) had the same exclusive. It could be that Best Buy ported the images off their sister store. The bonus disc description is wrong, but correct too. It features behind-the-scenes footage and interviews all recorded by T.J. Miller. They got the specifics wrong.

    That could very well be the DVD cover for the Canadian edition.

    Anyhow, I moved my copy into a two disc case for the obvious reason (plus I have that CD envelope in there too with DVD the stickers inside it) and added a different exclusive on top. I'll explain in a few.

    The next two were exclusives I almost didn't get. I got helped from an online friend.



    Borders, sold the DVD with a thirty-four page photo booklet, published by Newmarket Publishing.

    The booklet was attached to the back and is DVD sized.

    This set sold for $28.99 (same street). It's okay, but nothing really great.

    What is it? Just stills from the movie with occasional text.



    Suncoast/FYE sold the movie in an exclusive steelbook case. This edition sold for $26.99. Why is this more cheaper than the booklet set? Let me rephrase that - why is the booklet set more expensive than a steelbook case?

    Let me take a step back.

    There were no Boarders nor Suncoast/FYE where I live. I found a like minded pal from another messageboard, who I PayPaled the money (with postage).

    He bought both exclusives and mailed them to me.

    Thanks dude.

    Next up is Sears slash K-Mart; I didn't even bother here. They sold the DVD with a bonus ring tone; probably Clover's roar. Price? I couldn't tell you. Sorry. That was a pretty weak exclusive.



    This is my regret. I mean, I would like to own it, but my desire isn't that high. On release day, Target sold a "Cloverfield" gift set; the movie with a bonus CD. It was attached to the back of the case. This sold for $22.99. The sticker on the front reads...

    Only At Target. Includes Music CD. "Rob's Goin' To Japan" Party Mix music CD features OK GO, Goldfrapp, Scissors For Lefty and more! Offer valid while supplies last.
    TRACKS

    1. "Here It goes again" by OK GO
    2. "OOH LA LA" by GOLDFRAPP
    3. "West Coast" by COCONUT RECORDS
    4. "Got Your Moments" by SCISSORS FOR LEFTY
    5. "Turning Japanese" by THE VAPORS
    6. "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)" by PARLAMENT
    7. "Wraith Pinned To The Mist" by OF MONTREAL
    8. "Do I Have Your Attention" by THE BLOOD ARM
    9. "Four Winds" by BRIGHT EYES

    As I understand this set was limited, scarce. And yes, it did come with an exclusive DVD cover. I saw this in store on release day, but I passed. I would like to own it, but I won't pay more than... lets say eight bucks for it (that includes shipping). I suppose, I'll get this eventually, I'm in no hurry.

    One more.



    This was a post-release bonus. Wal-Mart sold the DVD, a year later (2009) - part of their annual Halloween sale with an exclusive lenticular slipcover for $12.99.

    The store has a history of doing that; giving the impression that the title is new when they only slapped a new or never issued slipcover on it. I have this over my regular edition (with bonus disc).

    Well - okay. One more. But not a region 1, a R4 release.

    The Australian's have their own steelbook case, same as the region 1 case, just minus the text - granted it still read "Cloverfield" on front. I don't know the price nor who sold this. Sorry.

    All and all, I bought this DVD three times over. Sold the extra copies on Ebay and took a minor loss. As in the world of collecting. You do, because you love it, not for investing.

    - - -



    This is cute.

    It sold for $19.95 at the time - "Groverfield" tee shirt.

    I'm guessing you can still probably find it.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Tangent.

    More sexy Hallween costumes.



    Video game character in the flesh - "Slay All Day" is the name, being all naughty is her game. On the right woman, just spectacular. The other was something I initially thought was kinda wrong. But the more I thought about it - that's impressive.

    Taking something, nobody would ever think as tantalizing and making it so - sexy Charlie Brown. Bravo my friend, bravo. She needs a plush Snoopy as a purse though.

  5. #350
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    Past Tense - American Kaiju Part II


    Footnotes.

    As I wrote, this movie had an extensive online cross promotion. Not on a single site, but several. Each giving a piece of a much, much larger backstory.



    MySpace had a party not for the movie, but for the Rob character in New York, the day before the feature opened. That's is so weird. I wasn't there, so I don't know if actors Michael Stahl-David, T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustma, Jessica Lucas or Lizzy Caplan attended, would've been super cool if they did.

    How do I know about the stuff below?

    I was a huge fan when this came out (still am), saw it on opening day. I read and viewed everything I could find. It was a beautiful complex puzzle.

    Well done marketing!

    If you just wanted a movie, you got that, but if you wanted more there - was this huge backstory.



    They did a similar thing for "Super 8" (2011, another J.J Abrams' movie), but it wasn't the same. There was big conspiracy for "Cloverfield", including a great viral video of monster attacking and destroying the Chuai drilling station.

    Why were there armed security on the sea rig? Who was that man in the business suit that evacuated (in a helicopter) moments before the platform fell into the sea? What was in his suitcase, handcuffed to him?

    Lots of questions still remain unanswered to this day.

    Answers.

    All of these are spoilers, so don't scroll down if you don't want to know.

    What hell was that?

    This is an ancient terrestrial life form, it's been in hibernation for thousands of years. It's not an alien - and it's an infant. Dubbed "Clover" by the filmmakers. This info comes from the production notes - it's a baby!

    What woke up Clover?

    In the universe that the movie inhabits is a Japanese corporation called Tagruato. They have their hands in many cookie jars - from telecommunications, beverages to oil drilling. Some time back one of their drilling platforms pulled from the bottom of the ocean something other than crude, an amber colored substance, a LOT of it. What is it and what to do???

    The CEO had a dream and decided to add this matter into their "Icee" like drink called "Slusho".

    Slusho become a huge hit, people drink it all the time - in winter too. Why? This Sea Nectar is a stimulant, like caffeine, but a bit more powerful, almost a narcotic. Tagruato has fourteen drilling stations - all pumping out this substance. But their quest for more Sea Nectar uncovered something more.

    A side note; Rob Hawkins (Stahl-David) was leaving New York for Japan to be the new Vice President for the American launch of Slusho, that's what the bon voyage party was all about. His brother Jason (Vogel) is wearing a "Slusho!" tee shirt at the shindig; tag line "You Can't Drink Just Six".



    As part of the viral campaign, were these leaked photos from under one of those platforms. I want to say this was the Chuai station (located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge).

    They knew about the lice. They were doing something with them, as seen from the second camera still, the underwater room/laboratory.

    The Japanese government was very curious about Tagruato's activities and had their satellite, ChimpanzIII taking pictures of one of the rigs.

    The company panicked and shot it down.



    This is what you saw on Rob's home video, near the end; he and Beth McIntyre (Yustman) on the ferris wheel; in the background, something fell from the sky - it's ChimpanzIII (not an alien or meteorite as some have claimed).

    Tagruato was trying to cover it up and recover the fallen fragment - the satellite's hard drive.

    They woke up Clover by accident; drilling for the Sea Nectar and tried to cover up their discovery. They knew. Tagruato knew. And was responsible for the tot's visit New York.

    Clover was following a tanker full of the nectar.



    There is a quick shot when our gang is crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, Hud (T.J. Miller) shoots for a moment - a burning tanker, run aground with a gash on its side. The tanker has the Tagruato logo on it.

    The same tanker is briefly mentioned in one of the news coverage early on.

    - - -

    What happened to Marlena Diamond (Caplan)?



    This is not an official answer, but an alleged medical one.

    It comes Spiritwarriorforholytrin on a different message board in 2008; who claimed to have been a US Army anesthesiologist...

    The parasite [lice] when they bite release some kind of extremely destructive toxin into the bloodstream... once the toxin goes into the blood stream it affects the body's vital organs. The toxins then probably increase the metabolic rate and increases the body's internal functions such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, temperature (extremely elevated because of the infection the toxins cause and also the effect on the body's metabolism), etc...

    The fact that Marlena stated that she was becoming dizzy was because of the increase in her blood pressure (complaints of dizziness can occur in both hypertension [because of the extreme increase in blood circulation and hence blood pressure as blood fills up the central nervous system] and more so in hypotension [because of the decreased blood circulation and hence decreased blood pressure]). With this increased metabolic rate, the workload of the heart becomes faster and faster and faster. The kidneys do the same and the liver.

    They work so hard that it has become too much for the body to bear that everything just atrophies and these organs get damaged because of the excessive workload so much so that the liver's clotting factors get damaged, the heart's ability to pump blood get compromised and the kidneys also get damaged that fluid starts to back up and accumulate within the body. With the liver damage and its subsequent effect on clotting factors, the body internally then begins to suffer from massive and excessive bleeding.

    With the rapid respiratory rate, the person accumulates so much oxygen in the body that it affects the person's arterial blood gas balance and the patient goes into both metabolic and respiratory acidosis because of the eventual accumulation of carbon dioxide. The person's breathing increases so much that it is affecting ABG balance and puts so much work into the lungs and the lungs eventually collapse, thereby compromising the lung's ability to release carbon dioxide.

    The person then goes into severe atelectasis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. These factors, massive bleeding and fluid overload, lung collapse and the subsequent carbon dioxide accumulation, ARDS, and severe arterial blood gas imbalance, come to a critical mass and the body cannot keep up with this anymore as the hypermetabolic rate continues... proper homeostasis cannot be maintained any longer and the body deals with this, first by bleeding (bleeding out of the eyes and mouth to excrete the blood that has accumulated too much within the body) and vomiting blood (also to try to put out the accumulated blood and fluid in the body) and then eventually and ultimately, by just bursting, like a balloon full of too much water.
    I don't know how true this is. I'm no a doctor, but it sounds... credible.

    - - -



    It is unknown if Rob or Beth survived Operation Hammerdown (conventional bombs, not a nuke). After the end credits there is a garbled voice, perhaps Rob's (who is speaking is in question).

    The quote is "it's still alive" backwards. This has long been confirmed.

    - - -

    One of the viral videos follows a girl, Jamie Lascano her video blog, "Jamie And Teddy". Her boyfriend, Teddy Hanssen works for an eco group, like Greenpeace, called "T.I.D.O. Wave". He sent her a package - keep it safe. Something he took from Tagruato. She's upset since he went missing, believing he dumped her.

    There is also a viral website trying to find Teddy.

  6. #351
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    Past Tense - American Kaiju Part III




    She opened the package and finds a baseball cap, plastic bag/pouch with an amber powder and a recording from Teddy, saying to keep the contents safe and don't eat the powered.

    Jamie thinks its all an elaborate joke at her expense. She does something super stupid and tasted it. In the next video she is bouncing off the walls, very hyper and very high.

    This same girl has a cameo at the Rob's party. She's the girl passed out on the couch.

    Bits and pieces paint the picture, Teddy was secretly onboard the Chuai drilling station when it went down. He's dead or rather allegedly. Some think they've seen him in Hud's video - that Teddy was on the Brooklyn Bridge when our characters were crossing it.

    This remains unconfirmed, that Teddy hitched a ride off that ill fated tanker back to New York.

    - - -

    One of the viral sites was for "Slusho" which featured an aquatic theme - with a cartoon whale saying "Bloop". So?

    This was a REAL ocean mystery. A recording from 1997 by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). A sound documented from underwater mikes, it was recorded by sensors 2,982 miles apart. And it appeared to have been not mechanical; a ship or submarine.

    A biological was suspected, a large unknown sea creature - as postulated by Dr. Christopher Fox from NOAA. The audio was dubbed, "Bloop". So a bit of foreshadowing from the Slusho site.

    By the way, Slusho appeared elsewhere. The former ABC series, "Alias". The lead character, Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) would drink it at her covert office. "Alias" was a J.J. Abrams' show, he was the producer here on "Cloverfield".

    As mentioned by online commenter, Biggs33; the fictional product appeared in numerous J.J. Abrams projects; from television shows like the above mentioned "Alias" to "Heroes" (NBC) and "Fringe" (FOX). Slusho also made an apperance in Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot feature (2009). It's become an easter egg.

    Anyhow, it is now believed that the sound was generated by large icequake, perhaps between Bransfield Straits and the Ross Sea (or Cape Adare). I still vote, sea creature.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Tangent 2.

    The Bloop was a part of the Steve Alten 2005 novel, "The Loch" as in The Loch Ness Monster. Spoiler.. The said creature isn't a plesiosaur or plesiosaurs, but rather a large Conger Eel, a colony of them. An open ocean eel made that sound.

    I have that book, it was an excellent read, recommended.

    There was another good one, a "Cloverfield" mock (official) photo of a whale carcass washed on shore with a huge bit mark on it. *chomp* I believe that happened before the New York encounter. Sway.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Controversy.

    There has been an alteration on the home video release, not the theatrical.

    Whites.

    It seems like a lot of people are having a problem with reality with the looting scene so we will CGI white actors into the frames for the DVD release.
    - Abrams

    *deep sigh* This is what we've come to - digital white people.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Easter Eggs.

    The disc has A LOT of eggs, some more hidden than others.

    Cast and crew having fun with the line "Rack'em and pack'em, we're phantoms in fifteen!"

    Set Up -> highlight Subtitle Options "Espa˝ol", press left; highlight Red helicopter over the Statue Of Liberty's non-head - ENTER.

    - - -

    The subway lice attack without CGI effects.

    Scene Selection -> 09-12 -> highlight scene "10", press up; highlight Red X in box - ENTER.

    - - -

    Secret menu, "Supplemental Files" videos. Only four files are accessible, videos as shown in below.



    Scene Selection -> 13-16 -> wait two minutes, a chapter 17 appears; highlight "17" - ENTER.

    For document -34VD, the Slusho! web page. The bean on the far right is the only active link, Slusho! Japanese TV spot.

    For document -144VD, only Videos 2, 5, 9 and 11 are active.

    - - -

    There are other visual eggs, three of them. Sprinkled in between when Hud is recording and when snippets of Rob and Beth's day out is playing - four frame, here and there, cameos. Not going to list their spots, too damn hard. Trust me, they're there.

    Big, famous, sci-fi monsters make an appearance, for one frame each; King Kong (1933), the Rhedosaurus from "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (1953) and a giant ant from "Them!" (1954).

    I really enjoyed the movie. It was fun and quite the ride. I know that some truly hate it, not only for the jerky hand-held camera (motion sickness), but because we didn't know what that creature was; where it came from; what it wanted?

    You do now.

    In real life, if such an event happened - you wouldn't know what was going on. You would be in the dark with everybody else. It's big, angry and running as far away from it is the only sane response.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Recommendations.

    Five more titles to ponder watching this Halloween season...

    "H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator" (1985)
    Brilliant and obsessed medical student, Herbert West, experiments with a serum that can bring dead animals back to life. Driven from a Swiss medical school after the death of his mentor, West transfers to Miskatonic Medical School in Arkham, Massachusetts and enlist the aid of his new roommate, Daniel Cain; help prove his theories - on human subjects. But West has an instant rival in the villainous Dr. Carl Hill, who is determined to claim the young student's discovery as his own. Loosely based on the story "Herbert West, Re-Animator" by H.P. Lovecraft.
    Starz Home Entertainment - 2007 - NR

    "Invasion" (2005).
    A direct to video sci-fi, low budget flick. A full blown extraterrestrial infection that happened in Lawton, California on May 19th, 2004. The town was nuked to keep it from spreading. What remains is a cop car's surveillance footage of that night which was far from town when it occurred. We follow a girl who's prom night turned into a nightmare when her boyfriend and friends become infected - including the police officer who came to help. The movie is her taking the cruiser to escape and contacting the dispatcher who relates what's happening in town and other cops screaming for backup. We only see snippets of the infected - it's a parasite. This is a polarizing movie (since most of it is her driving aimlessly looking for help, hearing the carnage over the radio) - some absolutely hate it and some love it. Can't say how you will react.
    Lions Gate Entertainment - 2007 - NR

    "Pontypool" (2008)
    A disgraced shock jock finds radio employment at a remote Canadian town. His morning show broadcast from the basement of the local church. The tedium of his forced vanilla program is broken when odd reports start coming pouring in; people behaving wrong. The callers later report violence and deaths. An outbreak has happen, but not a biological one - a WORD virus. None of the massacre is shown, just desperate, scared people calling the station for help. The illness causes the infected to eat the mouths and tongues of those not like them. Why? They want to eat the words. *dark smile*
    MPI Media Group - 2010 - NR

    "Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound" (1990)
    New Los Angeles, 2031. Physicist Joseph Buchanan has completed a top secret military project, a device that will make nuclear weapons obsolete by imploding its target. It is hailed as an incredible discovery, but the use of this machine has caused a rip in time and it's growing. During one of the tears, Buchanan is pulled into the fissure, transporting him to Geneva, Switzerland - March 21st, 1817. As he tries to understand how he got there and how to get back, the scientist meets a fellow seeker whose own experiment has too gone awry. Buchanan faces a nightmarish fact; fiction isn't always fiction. Based on the novel of the same name by Brian W. Aldiss. A great twist on the horror classic.
    Anchor Bay - 2013 - R

    "Super Hybrid" (2010)
    Life finds a way. Chicago, impound garage. A black sports car is towed in, fresh from an accident. As mechanics assess the damage, they find that the car is sealed shut, everywhere. The doors don’t open, neither does the hood or trunk. In fact, it appears that the car is a single piece. Curiosity turns into horror as the car kills one of their own; eating him. This isn’t metal and plastic, it’s a predatory creature, a hunter. Not an alien, but a beast that has always been here - in camouflage. And now it’s stalking the men and women of the night crew, trapped in the multi-story garage. The CGI effects are serviceable, a decent low budget feature.
    Anchor Bay Entertainment - 2011 - PG-13

    One final thing, the November 2008 issue of Empire magazine (British), published the results of a world-wide poll of the "500 Greatest Movies Of All Time"; "Cloverfield" ranked 394th.

    *air twirls a mustache*

    Come back here next week for 2017's final act of LE Horror. Who is going to survive when science accidentally unleashes beasties from another universe into ours? Hint, we don't do so well.

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    Past Tense - Hybrid With No Fuel Part I


    Another brand new entry - don't get excited, it sucks.

    Decided to give you one last, L.E. Horror bonus since I watched this on Monday (had the DVD for three years) as a warning. Which is kinda interesting considering last week's bonus was "Phantom Of The Opera" (1943).

    This time out we get two things that rarely, if ever, mix well, a horror/musical - didn't work here either in "Stage Fright" (not holding my breath for "Anna And The Apocalypse" [2017]).



    The motion picture had a limited opening on May 9th, 2014. But was available for streaming on April 3rd, 2014. It's budget is unknown. It gross over $7,000 during its U.S. theatrical run. Yes, you read correctly. The film opened number ninety-five at the box office, the following week it dropped to one hundred two.

    The feature opened against "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", "Neighbors" and "Divergent".

    This did not come with a slipcover, nor any kind of insert.

    - - -

    There was one store exclusive that took effort to get - which I now regret, lost money here.

    Months earlier I had read rave reviews on horror websites about this new Canadian flick, then nothing.

    Things pop in my head all the time, synapses clicking in unison, 'whatever happened to that movie'? So I looked about online for an answer.

    It had already streeted the previous week - July 8th, 2014. And that Best Buy had an exclusive bonus disc. Hey, I don't remember seeing that in the ad.

    So I pulled out the weekly advertisement (legacy project) and jumped to the media page...



    Squat.

    As you can see, there is no mention of it - turns out, this was an unadvertised exclusive.

    The following day (7/14) I visited my local store and searched to no avail, then I asked for assistance. There are six DVD copies for $12.99 (also on BD with bonus [$17.99]). But where? Their inventory said it's there, but its location is unknown.

    I had two clerks helping me.

    Was told to come back the next day, Tuesday and ask one of media stockers who put out the new titles. Maybe the shipment was misplaced.

    Which I did.



    It was found. That exclusive tag isn't a sticker, it's printed on the wraparound; that's the second time I've seen that. The bonus disc is the short film, "The Legend Of Beaver Dam" (2010), 11:46 minutes. The thing was an early project directed by Jerome Sable and co-written by Eli Batalion both men did "Stage Fright".

    Another musical - this one is about a campfire song that... wakes up a monster. Okay fine. It's up to the nerdy friend to save the day. Also not funny and more of the same. If you loved the movie, then you will love that short. I did not.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Rant.

    I've read reviews while doing my research. What the hell? I'm wonder how much drug use was at play. Or if they're trying real hard to oversell this as a childhood fantasy because they didn't participate in musical summer camp.

    This is NOT humorous, the jokes are lame. The songs are ultra generic, no lasting value - forgotten as before the film's conclusion. The gore is pedestrian; the "Friday The 13th" films from the 1980s had better effects. The characters, minus ONE are background dressing and or insufferable. And the killer is not memorable. Which fits nicely in the disposable nature of this... movie.

    And the biggest sin of all - not scary. The film is one continuous 'meh'.

    The ending made me shake my head; you can see it coming as soon as the scene began - a jump scare in the mirror. Oh joy. Turns out to be a hallucination. What a shock.

    I made the error buying, don't make the same mistake. If this is free and you have nothing better to do. Maybe.



    For clarity sake, this is not a reboot/re-imagining/remake of "Stage Fright", the Italian horror movie about a musical from 1987. That title is on DVD and BD as special edition from Blue Underground (2014).

    Have not seen it, so I can't say if this was better, worse or lateral.

    So what is this about?

    The IMDb synopsis: "A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater." Yup that's it - in one sentence.

    *long sigh*



    The movie is about a musical summer camp ("Center Stage") production of "Haunting Of The Opera", that's how original we are from the start. This had one Broadway performance before it was shut down. The star Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver in a bit role) was murdered after the show in her dressing room.

    Kylie's now teen kids, Camilla (Allie MacDonald) and Buddy (Douglas Smith) work at the camp as the cooks. Their somewhat adopted father is their mom's show producer, Roger McCall (Meat Loaf Aday), who owns the camp.

    The place is on the verge of being shut down, foreclosed by the bank. Roger has the idea of having one big production to save him, getting a high profile theater critic to view and praise. But soon discovers that Camilla has auditioned for the role her mom had originally played. She gets the role and gears move.



    This is the selling point to get the newspaper critic to show up. The daughter of the slain, up and coming artist is playing the role that would've made her mom a star.

    But then you have a killer on the loose. A killer who hates musicals and does a crappy song about hating... musicals.

    I'll stop here, the story is lean in the bad way.

    How bad are the characters?

    The only one is three dimensional - Camilla, the rest are all red shirts.

    I will say this, they did good casting MacDonald; attractive without being too sexy. She looks appropriate for the setting. A young woman, not a model.

    Anyhow, you have a bunch of small roles. Like the little girl with a lisp and the teen who has half of her hair shaven, that's their role. A head shaven and a speech impediment, not enough to qualify as characters.

    Going back to "Friday The 13th" - the second installment (1981), had a character in a wheelchair, Mark (Tom McBride). Not a survivor; Jason Voorhees is an equal opportunity killer. His role is small, but he was more than 'the wheelchair guy'. He was given just enough time to flesh out, he death was tragic, not because he's disabled but he tried to save his friend and failed. He died a hero.
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 10-19-2017 at 04:48 AM.

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    Past Tense - Hybrid With No Fuel Part II


    None of the characters in "Stage Fright' has that kind of arc (short as it is) - minus the lead, that's it. Tell me that's good storytelling, 'cause it's not. One scene to the next to the next, not enough effort into making the rest camp populous worth saving. And as I wrote earlier, insufferable too.

    Hell, the movie is insufferable.

    Don't rent or spend money on this. Learn from my mistake.

    - - -

    Here's a companion not to watch.



    Folk are enjoying the recent release of "Happy Death Day" (2017), which opened last Friday, but that wasn't the first to mix horror with a repeat day, that title belongs to "Camp Slaughter" (2005).

    It was, IS a low budget turkey with a huge concept that should get a second chance with far better writer(s) and a bigger budget - no more than five or so million.

    A group of friends in a dishevel van on route to Boston are stuck on the side of the road with a broken car. They are helped by some camp counselors from the nearby summer camp, "Hiawatha". But quickly discover something odd about the place and people.

    So retro, so very retro.

    It is now the year 1981. Before they can get leave, a serial killer starts murdering the kids and our group, until one remains.

    Morning comes and all the sounds of carefree kids are heard as are the dead friends.

    ???

    This place is caught in a time loop. Repeating the same day over for the past twenty-four years. A couple of the counselors know about the repeat, their hell. But these kids - that broken van, don't belong here, it could be their exit. Fix it - get out.

    The problem, does the killer know about the loop? The rush to leave Camp Hiawatha and stay alive.

    The concept is amazing, but the execution was crap on a cracker. It was shot on video with a micro budget with bad actors and all of this shows. It's a bad movie, no way around it.

    But as I wrote, the concept is fresh. And should be done right with real menace, memorable characters and a far better ending; our killer is out of the '80s, ready to murder again.



    Whatever, on DVD from Lightning Entertainment (2006).

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Tangent.

    Okay lets have something worthwhile, though incomplete.

    What comic book would I like to see made into a series? Not on broadcast television - but on cable where they can get away with much more, either Showtime or HBO with teeth.

    Two come to mind, but I'll stick with one.



    "Blood Reign" by artist/writer Tim Tyler and writer Dave Curl. The comic was an independent release and came out very irregularly in 1991 and beyond. Some times months would past before another issue came out. Each new issue was dependent on the sales of the last one.

    Did my part, bought each new one as they came from my local comic shop. I still have them (in plastic). As I wrote was not completed. Oh yeah, publish under Tyler's company, Fathom Press.

    Tyler did other comics like "The Dead Crew", "Devil Jack", "Ravage", "Hades" and "Fiend", but all suffered the same fate - no finale, just a few issues, then nothing. His stuff is quite niche.

    Anyhow, the comic ("Blood Reign") was in black and white with gore, blood and some accents in red. This was very adult; nudity, sex, language and of course violence. Not for kids, in fact - you had to be over eighteen to buy; kept behind the counter. What caught my attention was the amount of details done for each page. Holy crap, how long did each take to draw? Such effort in particulars. Sway.

    The story takes place in an unstated future, not on Earth (a two moon world), but the mega-city of Santorini; a metropolis the size of a planet. A "Blade Runner"/cyberpunk influenced world, flying cars and huge, towering buildings mashed in a small areas.

    The world presented is mostly not wireless. Which made me smile as I was doing image work for this post. I haven't looked at the comic in well over twenty years. Wow! Times have changed; we still don't have flying cars.

    We are following the exploits of a C.E.A. (Crime Enforcement Authority) agent, Jennifer McGuire who was investigating their corrupt mayor, Wrathmon for possession and distribution of the narcotic, Rust - a sting. She is masquerading as a prostitute with another (a real call girl) for a threesome when she tries to bust him.

    After announcing herself, she sees the man take a chuck out of the hooker's neck, the girl is dead; as in a bite. McGuire's back-up is taking too long to reach the penthouse. At that point Wrathmon transforms into a werewolf creature, ready to feed on her too.

    Before he can pounce, another enters the room; they fight and the stranger kills him. Leaving a nude McGuire (just stockings on) ready to shoot the stranger, but before that can happens - C.E.A. agents storm the home and the stranger leaps out into the night; she is the only witness.

    With pools of blood and the remains of Wrathmon's security guards in the building, dead - which were killed by the stranger on his way to the mayor. McGuire gets blamed for the mess and told to go home.



    I had to do some censoring above, the second sample. She was topless as was the holographic ad outside her apartment.

    Her gun, pistol has a built-in camera and asks a favor from her partner, Conners - "Quick! Gimmie the video tape out of your piece. Which will give me time to tape this baby for my own collection." Yes, analog video tape in the gun - the comic is from '91, remember.

    That graphic footage sends Jennifer on a quest for that mysterious slayer which we come to know as "Blood Reign" - Stephen Garron, a vampire, trying to free himself of a centuries old curse by killing the beasts which were spawned by another undead, Lord Craytaire.

    Garron is trying to keep his nocturnal thirst at bay with the help of his friend, Martin. The excuse Stephen gave agent McGuire is that he has a rare skin condition that keeps him out of the sunlight. A romance happens as they get close and she discovers his undead identity - that a bigger threat is about to be unleashed on Santorini.



    That's the basic set-up, it get complicated after that. All and all, nine issues were made from July '91 to January 1993. It started as $2.95, but later dropped to $2.75 at issue eight, probably to raise more sales, but failed. I also had to censor issue nine, the girl is topless.

    This would make a great show; you got the three Bs: Blood, Beasts and Beauty. Plus a good mystery to unravel - in the right hands this could soar. *nods*

    And yes, Blood Reign does look like Wolverine from "The X-Men" comics.

    That's it, the final monstrous bonus for this year's Limited Edition Horror. Come back next Thursday for a superior fright.
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 10-29-2017 at 05:01 AM.

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    Target - October 24th, 2017


    The Emoji: The Move
    Exclusive popsocket; BD only $22.99

    Stranger Things [Season One] (available now)
    Exclusive packaging and poster; DVD/BD combo $24.99

    E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial (available now)
    Exclusive steelbook; BD/DVD/DC combo $12.00

    - - - - - - - - - -

    CD available 10/27

    "Rachel Platten - Waves" with 3 exclusive bonus tracks $9.99

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    Best Buy - October 27th, 2017


    Spider-Man Legacy Collection (available now)
    Exclusive store release; 4k BD/BD combo $84.99

    - - - - - - - - - -

    CDs

    "Hellyeah - Unen!able" deluxe edition with exclusive bonus concert DVD $9.99
    "Hollywood Underground - Five" with exclusive bandana $11.99

    "Alter Bridge - Live At The O Arena + Rarities" with exclusive limited edition 'All Access' tour laminate $14.99 (available now)

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    Past Tense - Ollie Knows How To Use It Part I


    [An earlier version of this PT was originally posted on October 24th, 2013 on JoBlo's "DVD, Blu-Ray & Home Theater Discussion" forum.]

    Better have LOTS bug spray handy. We close "Limited Edition Horror" 2017 with something very savage, otherworldly - just outside your door in "Stephen King's The Mist"...



    The motion picture opened on November 21st, 2007. It was made with a budget of $18,000,000 (estimated) and grossed over $25 million during its U.S. theatrical run; counting foreign receipts it made $57,293,715. The film opened number twelve at the box office, the following week it raised to number eight.

    The feature opened against "Enchanted", "No Country For Old Men", "Beowulf" and "American Gangster".



    This release originally came with a cardboard foil slipcover which mirrored the case's wraparound. The initial pressing was a limited edition, came with a six page collectible booklet with chapter listings (above).

    The wraparound gave no indication, just the slipcover - announced by sticker.

    - - -

    One exclusive; did not learn until years after the fact. Found while looking about my local swap meet (great place to find out of print DVDs), bought for two bucks.



    Blockbuster Video had a rental with an exclusive bonus interview, "A Conversation With Stephen King And Frank Darabont" (run time of 12:18 minutes). I'm going to say... released on March 25th, 2008. As for purchase price - unknown.

    Don't rent and there were hardly any Blockbuster Video store here when they existed.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Footnotes.

    I'm cover this - audio fiction.



    My first exposure to the classic was a broadcast in the mid 1980s on FM radio, NPR. They aired a dramatized adaptation.

    I was riveted.

    There was an ad at the end of the broadcast - on cassette. This was before the huge popularity of CDs. Found it at my local Barnes & Nobels in the mall.

    What you see above is that tape; released, under license by Simon & Schuster in 1986 - long out of print in that format.



    That cassette is in fact a re-release of an earlier tape from 1984; sold from the source, ZBS Foundation. Came with something that all future re-releases excluded. A thirteen minute featurette, "The Making Of The Mist".

    How they created the 3D sound (I'll get into in a few) and the various disturbing sound effects - programs saved on floppies!

    Did discover while researching this post that ZBS now offer that featurette for free; a 320 bit download. Sway!.

    This is somewhat new (availability). I recall looking a few years back, wasn't there. A cool extra, how they used their cat's angry meow, transformed into real menace. A three month production with a cast of thirty-five. Not a book on tape deal - single person reading the book.



    Mid 1993 was re-re-released on cassette once more, again by Simon & Schuster. In the fall of that year on CD (also by them). This fourth version was dubbed "The Compact Disc Nightmare Edition", a pure marketing ploy; no additional materials were included OR remastering done.

    I own this, bought back in the day. Both the 1993 formats have the same cover image, the tentacle bursting out the front.

    The audio... man, they need to remaster. Perhaps they did on the fifth iteration. All the dialog is far too low. It's damn near hard to hear when characters are whispering, that and the sound effects drown out what's being spoken. The above making-of has the same problem.



    To coincide with the then new movie, the CD was put out once more (Simon & Schuster) in 2007. I do not own this. So I can't speak for the quality. Could be repaired or more of the same? *shrugs* The cover image was done by legendary poster creator, Drew Struzan. That art also appears on the limited DVD booklet, which you probably already noticed.

    Okay, so what is 3D Sound?

    It's official name is Kunstkopf Binaural - which means "art head". It's a German-manufactured recording item, Ku81. What's Ku81? It's a solid rubber head (German, yup) with microphones inside the inner ear chambers. Used to record (in stereo) it can perfectly capture sounds as you would hear in real life.

    Not kidding, it can be freaky. A great example is the dragonfly insect inside the market. You WILL BE dodging a make-believe bug. It works okay with stereo speakers, but you'll experience the full 3D on headphones. Good stuff.

    Yeah, I should. What is the ZBS Foundation?

    Started by hippies; created in 1970, a non-profit company, that creates audio fictions. The best way to describe their stuff is as modern fables. Mostly sci-fi and new age/mysticism. These tales (on going series) which hope to raise consciousness on various issues - but never in your face. They are woven into the stories, modern fables. ZBS (Zero Bull ****) is the Pixar of audio fictions companies. Multi-level programs; kids can listen to them and get enjoyment as can adults with subtle, mature content.

    Yes, I'm pimping them at the moment.

    I own a good chuck of their CDs. My first ZBS tale was "Incredible Adventures Of Jack Flanders" (1978) heard over the radio. It took me MORE than a decade to figure out. You see, I caught only one episode and forgot what day and time I heard it (way before internet, no Google).

    The program was edited into episodes. In short, Flanders is a metaphysical detective - he didn't start that way. He was a seeker who found other worlds and used his gain knowledge to help people. These are full cast productions with original music and sound effects - radio theater.

    That particular series started in 1972 with "The Fourth Tower Of Inverness" and continues with "League Of The Green Velvet Chairs" (2016). All of which, FORTY-FOUR YEARS worth of stories (let that sink in) voiced by the same guy, Robert Lorick. Huge continuity! Twenty-six tales as it stands.

    Their other big item is "Ruby: The Galactic Gumshoe", pretty much says it all. A very cool, sexy series. This really straddles the line between kid-friendly and adult. I still remember Karen Young doing the voice of Ruby 2 in "Ruby 2: The Further Adventures Of A Galactic Gumshoe" (1985). Oh god, that was so hot.

    Young had such a perfect bedroom voice, if you catch my drift. Anyhow, they have various other shows like "Saratoga Springs" (1989), think "Twin Peaks" (1990) without the murder(s) and various stand alone stories.

    Sure, it started with "Ruby: The Adventures Of A Galactic Gumshoe" in 1982; the current one is "Ruby 9.5" (2015); thirty-three years of programs all voiced by the same actor, Laura Esterman. A total of twelve tales.

    Do seek them out, great stuff. Back to "The Mist". *nods*

    No. Well. Kinda.

    ZBS - their adaptation. Unlike the motion picture, it followed the Stephen King novella (ending is a bit different). Yeah. Some spoilers here.

    The original novella (no conclusion), ends with David Drayton, his son Billy, Amanda Dumfries and Miss Repler leaving the market, driving through the mist hoping retrieve Stephanie (alive?). But a huge pine tree bars the entrance to his private road leading to the house. No way around it. David has to let go; his wife's fate unknown.

    Concludes with our gang finding a reprieve in a Howard Johnson; a now nearly extinct motel chain for those not in the know. All of this was David's story - written on a motel stationery, events that started four day earlier.

    They had seen parts of the towering beast while driving, six legs. It's now night, the rest are asleep; David is hearing thumping on the room's window, the insects crawling on it. And every now and again, a bang as one of the bird creatures picked a bug off the glass.

    Unsure if they'll make it through the night. What he does know - he heard the word "Hartford" on a found AM radio in the manager's apartment. A warning? Salvation?

    If they survive to morning, they'll get back in the car and try to make it there. The four-wheel drive has about enough gas for roughly ninety miles. And leave this chronicle behind for somebody to find. To know what had happened. The end.

    The audio fiction ends with them driving through the haze and hearing "Hartford", garbled on the car's radio. Had the mist had spread far beyond the town, the world? ALL the CD editions (71:38 minutes) are abridged - some fifteen or so minutes were cut from the cassette presentations, so you know.
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 11-05-2017 at 05:12 AM.

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    Past Tense - Ollie Knows How To Use It Part II


    Rant.

    Saw the movie on opening day, a theater which is no longer in business - turned into a Wal-Mart Grocer. And died once again. I think it remains vacant to this day. Man, I saw so many flicks there.

    Anyhow, had a poor experience.

    A newbie was getting trained to use the register; didn't have a name tag yet. I remember; could not tell if that person was a he or a she (not joking, gender was a genuine mystery). Person was taking too long getting the customers their tickets.

    Finally I get mine - rush to that particular screen, I missed all the trailers and the start of the film. When I got there they were discussing the smooched-up boathouse, post storm.

    It gets better.

    Projector wasn't calibrated. We were seeing the bottom and top of movie. Frackin' grand. I leave to the concession stand, tell them what's going on and rush back to my seat. We've missed at least the first five minutes.

    Wouldn't see that opening until I bought the DVD on release day.

    - - -

    Ready for tall drinks and drama? Fan rage!

    As mentioned earlier, the book's ending is different from the film. King purists are angry with the new conclusion - a true dark feature. I love it, by the way.

    Let me make the case for David Drayton's final actions. More spoilers.

    The plan was to leave the grocery store; David (Thomas Jane), Billy (Nathan Gamble), Amanda (Laurie Holden), Ollie Weeks (Toby Jones), Irene Reppler (Frances Sternhagen), Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn), Myron (David Jensen), Ambros Cornell (Buck Taylor) and store manager Bud Brown (Robert Treveiler).

    Ollie had bags of supplies, hidden under to the final register next to the doors; food and water.

    Mrs. Carmody discovered their plan and took away their grocery bags. The confrontation happens and in the chaos the gang flees the store without ANY of their cache. It was a dash to get out, before the mob killed them.

    They scramble to David's jeep, Ollie gets killed by a crab-like beast. Ambros and Myron fall to spiders. Bud returns to "The Food House". David manages to retrieve Amanda's now bloody gun and the gang drives off.



    An early conceptual artwork of the spider-creature by Bernie Wrightson.

    This was an ultra slow precession - WE DO NOT KNOW how many hours they drove; visibility looks at about ten feet, thick. Plus they had to avoid the critters all around them. Unlike the book, David manages to get home and find a dead Stephanie (Kelly Collins Lintz), hung outside the second story in a cocoon; she had been ravaged by the spider-creatures. Dead probably from when the mist first rolled in.

    David nearly looses it, but does not because he doesn't want Billy to see his mom that way; asleep in Amanda's lap.

    He drives on - away from the store and home (through the remnants of Maine); the group witnesses the behemoth crossing the highway. Once again, do not how how much time had elapsed before they ran out of gas. They sit for awhile and hear an unearthly noise, huge, coming their direction. No food, no fuel, out of luck.

    Their thoughts go to Ollie's gun - four bullets, five of them.



    This is where the arguments happens. 'Why did he do that!!!?' Lots of people are pissed.

    It all comes down to what folks believe they would do in that no-win situation. Some call for prayer, others saying they would push forward - regardless of the jeopardy; not giving up. Or just continue to wait (for what?). Many call David a murder.

    At this point in the movie, the occupants do not know where they are, it's far too dense to make anything out. They could be out in the sticks with zero shelter; easy prey for the things.

    Siphon gas from a nearby car? It could take too long. Try to find another car? How? Unless they know how to hot wire one on, it's pointless. Worse yet a creature inside the vehicle or underneath. More of those baby spiders or something even more horrible - remember what happened to that MP (Amin Joseph) in pharmacy.

    Lets make this clear. What we saw was only a tiny sampling of the ecology of that other universe/realm. Things that horrify, terrify, forever scare. Hell, we never saw what was attached to the undulating tentacles that killed the bag boy, Norm (Chris Owen a.ka. 'The Shermanator').



    An example comes from a deleted scene, not filmed. Once the bird beastie comes inside the store there was another denizen that entered, a mammoth centipede. Imagine being torn apart by such a monster or worse (crawling into your screaming mouth). This got nixed when filmmakers wanted to the Irene bug spray gag inside pharmacy instead. She would've killed this predator with insecticide.

    The original story had another nasty, a huge flying, kite like creature - it does not want to be your buddy.

    The escapees could not know what was truly coming their way at the time, all based on their experiences; no help had come - our world invaded by nightmares. Why would they think that oncoming commotion/rumbling wasn't another thing to be feared. Hell, it could be another one of those giant crabs that killed Ollie. It could easily puncture the car like it was made of tin. They would become the food inside a can.

    That's just the way it is. And at that point it was utterly hopeless. At least they got out of store, that plate glass was just about to come down, more sooner than later. It was already cracking. The folks there could already be dead - remember we do not know how much time had passed!

    I see no fault with the new ending. And when you really think about it, that's the only real way it should finish. Even Stephen King admitted he would've gone with that if he had thought of it back in 1980 ("Dark Forces" anthology; later re-printed in "Skeleton Crew", 1985). That's high praise of the creator. *nods*

    David's action was that of love. Back at the store, he solemnly swore to Billy, none of the monsters would get him. They will, this was only way to save him from a fate far worse than death and the rest of people in the car. Four bullets, five people; he opts not to use a bullet on himself. He got them into this mess. *click click click click*

    David stays alive to meet the demon(s) in order to save the people he cared for. A true captain.

    The definition of hero - selflessness.

    Talking to a friend of mine about the ending, he gave a solution I hadn't thought about.

    What David should've done is have Billy on his lap, his head next to dad's belly. Put the barrel on the kid's temple; pull the trigger. The bullet would immediately kill his son and go into his stomach - dying slowly, fading away. He would be alive for awhile as he bleed to death; then shoots the others. Maybe the logistic isn't too defined, but it would've done the trick.

    - - -

    "The Mist" reminds me of 1970s Hollywood.



    This was a time when films were made that followed their courses. Punches weren't pulled - you're not guaranteed a happy ending. The good guys don't always win and if they do it's not a clear victory. "The French Connection" (1971, an engrossing flick) is a good exemplification - you won and LOST at the same time. Audiences today have gotten so spoiled that every film must have an upbeat conclusion. AND that the villain gets redeemed. Why? Grow up, that's not real life.

    While fiction, it is rooted in reality ("The Mist"). What would happen if such a disastrous debacle occurred? This is a good slice of horror cake.

    Call me a pessimist, but the events feel too real. At one of my local Wal-Marts (we have two), there was this fellow I call "Preacher Guy". I would see him regularly in the parking lot; talking about how we need to surrender to God to be saved - often just talking to the air.

    This is a man who would be Carmody, if it happened at that store. I have very little doubt about that. Harsh? Yes, but true. Don't roll your eyes. Fear is the enemy of reason and it wins far too often - you don't have to look too far in history to see violent examples.

    A nice touch was killing the music for most of the end credits. Silence with some audio; the military convoy rolling and flying by - so messed up.

    No, I'm going back...

    The Sylvester Stallone movie, "Driven" (2001); pure fluff feature, but I hate the ending. They made the bad guy - okay at the end. NO! The man was a bastard, why change him? 'Oh you!'

    No, frack him. And that should've been an R rated flick, not PG-13.

    - - -

    The other woe is the antagonist, Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden). 'The film has a very negative portrayal of Christians'. Not true, she's a fanatic who up until now had been ignored. Don't confused militant beliefs with general God loving Christians. This is an atheist writing this.



    Now I DO see a valid argument - the predominate use of Christians as zealots in media. But as the saying goes - America Is A Christian Nation. So, that kind of portrait is like complaining that films about slavery always feature Blacks.

  13. #358
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    Past Tense - Ollie Knows How To Use It Part III


    The last issue is not having photo realistic CGI.

    A good portion of the effects for "The Mist" were done for real with make-up and animatronics. That store tentacle was made, a wire pulley puppet, 1 to 1 scale. But it wasn't doing what they wanted. It was used and CGI layered over it. The bug that flew in the store was created as well, same deal.

    The 'good' CGI never took me out of the narrative. Man, suspension of disbelief, if you can not do that, you missing the whole point of watching television and movies.



    Above, left to right; creature designer, Greg Nicotero with Frank Darabont playing with the unassembled tentacle puppet. This was a low budget movie by Hollywood standards.

    - - -

    The driving force was director/screenwriter Frank Darabont. He wanted this feature made for the past twenty years. There was a chance, earlier (for $30 million), but the producer wanted him to change the ending to an upbeat one. He said no - wanted it to be dark.

    Bob Weinstein (of The Weinstein Company) gave him the go ahead, but with strings. 1) The new budget is $18 million. 2) Darabont would have to do it for free, no director's salary. He said yes. That's how this was made. Passion.

    Shot in thirty-seven days, most big budget movies have double that.

    "The Mist" was filmed during the hiatus of the FX cable series he was then working on "The Shield"; much of the crew from the series carried over to quickly shoot the feature, multi-cameras running at once to save time. You need to consider how little prep time this had, it was the best he could do under those constraints.

    A testament of Darabont's talent to create a memorable picture.

    The two disc edition features the movie the way the director wanted - black and white. Darabont wanted it played that way theatrically, but that was a hurl he couldn't overcome, but it's on the DVD. Perhaps the CGI looks better without color for those upset.

    - - -

    Darabont wrote an alternate opening that wasn't filmed. We can blame or cheer actor Andre Braugher (played Brent Norton). We were going to see what happened at the laboratory; the scientists at their machines as Death rolled in.

    Braugher convinced Darabont over dinner that not knowing was better. My feeling is, shoot it, but cut it out and put it on the DVD as an extra. Granted, an expensive bonus footage. I know I'm not the only one would love that.

    Unfilmed opening: that storm was to blame. On that, now historic night, scientists opened a portal to a New World. The gateway was contained within a huge tank with instruments inside - examination and study.

    Lightning struck the installation, the portal grew. The men and women there tried to stop it from expanding; more of the beasties were filling the containment. The tank ruptured and they flooded the laboratory, then base, then town... and beyond?

    The novella has no answers - though we suspect that the nearby government facility was responsible, aptly named "The Arrowhead Project" (something to used to pierce). The town was lead to believe it was an agricultural research site.

    - - -

    Didn't recognize actress Laurie Holden at the time. The year earlier she had another encounter with a mist, the feature, "Silent Hill". She played Officer Cybil Bennett. Man, she looked far more feminine in "The Mist".

    Not always, but Stephen King has had bit parts in his adaptations. The director wanted him to play the Biker (with Dundee knife). But he passed. The role went to actor Brian Libby. I agree, not for him.

    No offense, but I don't see King as a grizzled bad ass.

    - - -

    Speculation, but I think this is what happened...

    The portal is growing out of control; facility personnel are getting killed by the things tumbling into our universe unabated. Some go deep inside to find a place to hide and plot to stop it.

    The nightmare began for the Draytons during that electrical storm into the next morning; discovering their boat house smashed by their neighbor's big tree. Stephanie comments about the strange fog coming down from the mountains onto the lake.

    Needing supplies; David, Billy and Brent leave home and go into town for groceries. This is when the second event occured.

    The huge quake. This happened AFTER the mist had over taken the town.

    I'm under the impression that there were an attempt by those still alive at the facility to close that ever growing portal; big enough to allow that behemoth to walk through.

    The only answer is a nuclear detonation; perhaps not designed for that purpose, but used by the survivors at Arrowhead. It could've been a containment fail-safe, manually activated. It worked, closed the portal which then cut off the supply of that universe's atmosphere - the mist. Without that 'air' those creature were dying out from our native environment.

    It took a while to evaporate; kinda like those Halloween misters with color lights. It's contained in the bowl (I image that town was surrounded by hills and mountains which contained the murk), but given enough time after being turned off - it evaporated. Which is what happened in the movie.

    The army, flame throwers were not used to evaporate the mist, those gear and tanks were used to kills the creatures not dying yet. Or dying poorly taking everyone around them.

    Quake was not that behemoth - recall that when it walked by David's jeep, it shock with each step. The shake was a single quake then nothing, a massive explosion in the distance. And recall there was a siren blaring in town before the quake.

    A notice of something big was about to happen - then silence.

    The actions at Arrowhead would make a great prequel.

    - - -



    Before you ask. I don't have cable, have not seen Spike's adaptation series.

    I know it has gotten mixed review. Probably buy the show when it hits DVD, I'm curious.

    It's been canceled. A factor could be that Spike will cease to exist come January 2018.

    - - -

    A couple of non-related CDs.

    "Haunted World" is a 2002 atmospheric concept album by Billy Mallery a.k.a Hover (a sound designer). Great for Halloween haunted houses.



    When I first heard this CD, soundscape, it reminded me of "The Mist".

    What I'd expect to hear in the murk; things, bad things - nasty things, definitely creepy.

    Bought mine from Amazon, years ago. You can also find it at CD Baby. Checked, it's still for sale there, $14.99. *nods*



    The other is another concept album from 1998. Can't recall when I first heard it, let alone where bought it. This is John Broaddus a.k.a. Laoco÷n - his album "Immersion".

    An ambient sonic atmosphere, blending unique synthetic textures, rich analog waves and digital samples. Individual tracks are unified by a concept of water - immersed in a sonorous reverberation of introspection.
    - from the booklet

    Track three, "Liquid Prism" is what I would expect to be playing while seeing someone wandering outside, before meeting their horrible fate. Complete with distant bellows, something huge is out there.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Recommendations.

    I debated whether or not to write up a listing for week four. But there are five more days to Halloween - so is one more.

    "The Ruins" (2008)
    There are two versions, R rated and Unrated. I would go with the Unrated edition. On vacation in Mexico, two American couples are offered a chance to see something not on any map from a guy taking a break by the hotel's pool. He's part of an archaeological dig deep in the forrest - the ruins of a long lost Mayan temple. The journey is difficult, but once there, they find a silent site. Where are all the researchers? What they get instead is local villagers with bows and guns; keeping them from leaving. Force on top of the broken cathedral, the group soon discovers why. This place has been in quarantine for thousands of years by the descendants of the original Mayan inhabitants. A gory tale with ratcheted paranoia. Based on the novel of the same name by Scott Smith.
    DreamWorks Home Entertainment - 2008 - NR/R

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Just Because.



    Who?

    A ten year old Laurie Holden as Marie Wilder with her on screen mom, Ruth (Gayle Hunnicutt) in the then big budget NBC mini-series, "The Martian Chronicles" loosely based on the Ray Bradbury novel. Aired on January 27th, 28th and 29th, 1980. Man, the fashion is very dated.

    By the way, this isn't the first time William Sadler has been engulfed. Here he played handiman, Jim Grondin, but back in 1984 he played David Drayton in the 3D audio production!

    Man, it's frackin' weird - actress Frances Sternhagen (Irene). I've grown up watching her on TV and movies (first time I saw her was as Dr. Lazarus in "Outland" [1981]), she's always looked elderly. Just like actor, Abe Vigoda; the 1970s ABC series, "Barney Miller" (when it first aired). He played Det. Phil Fish - looked geriatric then too.

    There you go. Sway! All new Past Tenses next month. Come back here on November 9th, 2017 for a show about an entrepreneur who engages in an age old vocation.

  14. #359
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    Target - November 3rd, 2017


    CDs

    "Sam Smith - The Thrill Of It All" with 2 exclusive bonus tracks $13.99
    "Maroon 5 - Red Pill Blues" with 4 exclusive bonus tracks and mini-poster $13.99

  15. #360
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    Best Buy - October 31st, 2017


    The Dark Tower
    Exclusive steelbook; 4k BD/BD/DC combo $29.99

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    CD available now

    "Hollywood Underground - Five" with exclusive bandana $11.99
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 11-05-2017 at 05:08 AM.

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