Archive for the ‘horror’ category

“The Munsters;” Brittle Bones?

October 2, 2022

With October and spooky season here, it’s great to get into a Halloween-related post or two. I have to admit, however, that I was never a great fan of the 1960’s TV sitcom The Munsters, far preferring The Addams Family, which not only survived but thrived in its transition to movies, and brought us Wednesday Addams as a breakout character.

Now Rob Zombie absolutely loved The Munsters, and his film is a labor of love to them, described as a prequel that brings the characters of Herman and Lily together. Herman, a Frankenstein monster clone, is sewn together from body parts that include those of a bad comedian. Lily, a vampire, becomes romantically involved with the big guy much to the dismay of her vampiric father. This all becomes tiresome rather quickly, and the film is criticized as being overly-long and thin on plot.

Endeavoring to make a family-friendly horror movie is a difficult mission, and it tends to ultimately become more irksome than successful. The genres are not readily compatible, and the bright colors used in much of the film are hardly gothic. Filmmaker Rob Zombie is best known for far gorier cinematic fare, and he is rather out of his element here, even if he does love The Munsters. The characters here are all fish out of water, masquerading as everyday citizens whereas they are in reality stock-monster types. This plays better as a brief TV sitcom than it does as an extended movie where it gets wearisome.

From a furry perspective, I do like Lilly’s brother, Lester the Werewolf, portrayed here as an entrepreneurial werewolf who confidently makes really bad business decisions. Lester’s recessive genes are why Eddie Munster is a werewolf rather than a vampire or Frankenstein clone…

At any rate, diehard loyalists may find The Munsters a treat, whereas to many of us the movie is a pointless ordeal. Sometimes, dead television should be allowed to rest in peace…

“I’m Looking at a Werewolf,” from Terror in the Woods

September 9, 2022

Terror in the Woods isn’t a bad show, although it’s largely for entertainment value, with documentation sparse and scientific rigor non-existent. The episodes vary from ho-hum to compelling, and if you select the episodes of your viewing carefully, you may find them worthwhile and even compelling to watch…

Season 3, Episode 3 of the series first aired in September 2021, and it’s hard to resist the luring title of one segment, “I’m looking at a (bleeping) werewolf, and it’s trying to kill me!” Well, it turns out that the werewolf in question is kind of the Louisiana bayou variety, which stands about 7′ to 8′ tall, and has larger-than-human-like features with a wolf-like head. Known as a Rougarou, such shape-shifting creatures appear human if sickly in the daytime, reverting to a werewolf form at night with a thirst for blood. ..

Now there are as many ways to become a Rougarou as there are ways to spell it, with methods involving the classic bite to a witch’s spell. The cultural background of the creature is rich and diverse, originating from tales told by French Canadians in Louisiana to keep their kids in line, and out of the woods at night! – – Gotta keep the little buggers scared to get them compliant, ‘ya know!

While Rougarou have some commonalities with both vampires and traditional werewolves, they differ as well. They’re unbothered by silver bullets or religious artifacts, and to kill one usually requires decapitation and preferably burning or severe mutilation of the body.

In the series episode, a young guy hits on a strangely feral girl at the clothing store where he works, booking a date with her that evening. The hours pass but the girl never appears at the appointed site, so the guy plays basketball with other guys at the site for four hours before leaving with them at midnight when the court automatic lights go off. Hearing an unnatural noise behind them, the guys perceive something threatening and inhuman, and attempt to run away. One slips and falls, and the creature is upon him. Seeking to save their comrade, one of the others pulls a .38 from his pack and fires at the beast, because this is ‘Merica, after all! The presumed Rougarou is driven off but not killed, and the narrator of the tale suffers from nightmares thereafter…

So if you’re Louisiana-bound, enjoy some cool jazz and hot Cajun cookin’…but beware of the Rougarou, especially if you unknowingly arrange a date with one!

“Lamb” is haunting…

June 17, 2022

You probably won’t see many Icelandic folk-horror/fantasy films in your day, and Lamb is one of them. From the A24 studio that gave us such films as Hereditary, their latest film crosses genres, confounds us, and almost defies description. I had earlier posted on Lamb as a unique film that was coming prior to being able to view it, and now having seen the flick, I can confirm that Lamb is extraordinary, even though it is likely to mess with your head. The best films often do…

So submitted for your approval is the strange tale of Ingvar and Maria, two childless sheep ranchers living in a remote part of Iceland who one night come upon the birth of a mutation in their livestock, a lamb with humanoid features. They basically take the newborn into their house, place it into a crib in their bedroom, and raise it as their own, a sweet child with an ovine head but scattered human features which despite being a hybrid adapts well to life in the isolated world with human foster parents. This is comical but touching at the same time, and her “parents” are quite happy with their non-traditional family…

Now as a furry, I can probably transition to the world of anthropomorphic animals and animal-human hybrids more easily than most people outside of the fandom. I’m totally cool with the notion of folks raising something that is neither fully animal nor human, and in fact I am envious of them! You can dress such a creature in human clothing, treat it as a loved member of family, and even take them places with you, messing with mundane people as you do so. – -What could be better than that?!

What usually happens, however, is that other people won’t understand, will judge and condemn you, and in some fashion come after you as one harboring an abomination. I rather expected a mob armed with torches and pitchforks to come calling, and demand that this lamb be surrendered to them. Fortunately, this does not happen although there are a few tense moments when we are led to believe that Ada’s “uncle” is leading her off to shotgun her. This too doesn’t happen, and “Uncle Petur” becomes a convert…

Now Ada the lamb-child is revealed to us gradually as a hybrid, having one human hand and a hoof. She uses bipedal locomotion, and is about the size of a four-year-old. She cannot speak, but understands and responds to human language. Ada plays with her human mother, and is very sweet! I’ve seen human brats behave far less lovably…

But unfortunately, the story doesn’t end well but in violence against a target we didn’t expect when Ada’s biological father comes calling, also anthropomorphic and true nightmare fuel. Talk about Ram Tough! When you mess with nature, there are consequences, it would seem. This points to the need to keep firearms out of the hands and hooves of beasts.- – Are you listening, Congress?!

At any rate, Lamb may leave you scratching your head, wondering what you have just seen, and perhaps questioning the lines of separation between humans and animals, as well as questioning our relationship with the natural world. And that’s a good thing, really….so two paws up for Lamb, which now can be seen on some premium networks... 🦊

Here Come the Mummies…

June 8, 2022

Where hot funk music meets the paranormal and an iconic horror tradition, you have Here Comes the Mummies. Everyone has to have a gimmick, right? Well, the members of this band dress up as mummies at every performance, complete with subtle variations in their wrappings, make-up, and individual names such as Mummy Cass.– – Get it? A play on Momma Cass! Oh, some of you are too young to remember her. A pity, that…

There’s a backstory, too. It seems that these guys hit on Pharos’ daughter, and so were cursed. Yes, these guys suffered for their art! An early album of the Mummies is titled, Undead Live. Many of their concerts begin with the band members entering to an impressive throbbing drum line as an Egyptian-esque theme plays, with the lead singer roaring at the crowd when all are assembled. Then it’s on with the electric guitars and a brass ensemble that includes saxophones and trumpets as well as a keyboardist. These Mummies have their act together, and know how to put on a show! It’s comic and cool at the same time. Crowds leave their concerts smiling, so it’s a happy afterlife. Prepare to be mummified…Arrrgh! 🙀

Pharonic sax…no, not sex, get your minds out of the gutter!

Some early hits of The Mummies such as Believe include nice musical evocations of ancient Egypt and paranormal references, as in the lyrics, “Do you believe in things you cannot see? Do you take your superstition seriously?” Ancient astronauts theorists would be pleased…

It’s bizarre but wildly entertaining, and these guys are accomplished musicians who even incorporate some choreography into their numbers. I swear that I saw a mummy twerk at me! Anyways, I like these guys, and if that makes me a Mummy’s boy, so be it! They’re on tour this summer…

As the Mummies would tell us in Ra Ra Ra, When all is said and done,/ we’re not the first to be here / There’s nothing new underneath the sun.” We could all use a little twisted ancient Egyptian revival in these mad times, right? So spread the word and rock on, bandaged brothers! 🦊

https://youtu.be/ETHvSTT6PA8

All Hail, Halloween!

October 31, 2021

(Me, when Halloween is mentioned…)

I unabashedly love Halloween! You can have your Xmas, with it’s warm, cozy, fuzzy feelings…but give me Halloween, with monsters, witches, zombies, malevolent aliens, and more!

I’ve loved Halloween since I was a kid…always have, and always will! I’m far too old now to Trick-or-Treat, but I can still seek the sublime feeling of the creepy and a good scare. On Halloween, you can embrace your dark side and animal within, and dare to walk that creature around for a bit…

So keep a little bit of Halloween spirit with you all year ‘round…and dare for the scare! – -Ahahahaha!

(Happy Halloween from Fyrefox! 🎃)

“Shapeshifters Anonymous” on “Creepshow”

October 23, 2021

Gee, they’ve got support groups for everything these days…weight control, problem drinking, and even apparently Shapeshifters. I don’t know if it’s a 12-step program, but it’s certainly inclusive, sponsoring a were-cheetah, a were-boar, a classic werewolf (their newest arrival), and even an unlikely were-tortoise. And oh yes, there’s even a garden-variety furry with no shifting ability but whose character is a hippo. She’s readily accepted here as well, and identifies with the group.

In the Creepshow episode, a confused and troubled werewolf seeks admission to the support group. He only has the previous week’s password, but comes bearing a nice box of donuts, so they let him inI know that donuts would seal the deal for me! The new arrival is conflicted and full of angst about his werewolf side, as werewolves tend to be since the days of Larry Talbot. I prefer Ann Rice’s perspective of the wolf gift. But anyhow, the were-cheetah leader of the group takes the lupine under her wing (or paw), and she’s a gorgeous specimen, even if not quite on a par with Cheetah from Wonder Woman…

Anyways, the Shapeshifters don’t have long to get acquainted as they have a serious Santa problem, and are soon locked in a royal battle with an attack by a myriad of mall-type Santa’s helpers, capped off by a visit from the not-so-jolly old elf himself, who presents as more Krampus than Claus. He’s truly Santa Claws, complete with wicked blades where he should have hands. This is truly Psycho Santa…

Well, anthropomorphs aren’t going to take being pushed around easily, so with the aid of a transformational serum supplied by a previously-mute member they fight the helpers and then the big guy in the armored red suit with firearms, environmental weaponry, and tooth and claw. It’s wonderful stuff!

So catch Shapeshifters Anonymous, originally a 2020 Shudder special, on Creepshow. It’s based on a story by J.A. Konrath…

(Tip o’ the pen to Carycomic!)

American Horror Story’s “Death Valley” from “Double Feature”

October 20, 2021

The current Double Feature season of American Horror Story is exactly that, with the first Red Tide segments being about ghoulish vampires, and the second Death Valley feature centering on aliens. I’m only going to comment on Death Valley to keep things more contained, and frankly because I’m a bit tired of vampire themes, although admittedly Red Tide is innovative.

Now aliens I can really get my teeth into (with apologies to the vampires). What makes Death Valley a real hoot is the number of historical personalities portrayed, ranging from Eisenhower and Nixon (above) to JFK, Marilyn Monroe, and even an all-too brief appearance by Amelia Earhart, who without having aged in 20 years is delivered to the Eisenhower administration and pregnant with an alien child…yes, you heard that right! Well, a little later on Amelia has her alien baby and it’s a bad one, because it kills Amelia and the docs and nurses in the room until Ike and a couple of soldiers shoot it dead. This is wild stuff, and wildly entertaining!

Now you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Mamie Eisenhower possessed by an alien consciousness and levitating, with her eyes a milky white. The aliens communicate through possession of a human intermediary at times, and can cause the heads of opposing humans to explode by a wave of their hands, which is messy but compelling viewing. Wouldn’t you love to be able to do that?! Anyways, by possessing Mamie they gain emotional leverage over Ike so he agrees to allow the quiet abduction of several thousand people a year in exchange for alien technology. One of the goodies so obtained are cell phones, taken for granted now but unbelievable stuff during the Eisenhower years. Ike suffers angst over this, but hey, the aliens would simply have gone to the Russians had we not allowed them to abduct people, impregnate them, and breed hybrids so their race can survive on Earth.

Some of the alien genetic engineering projects fall short of the desired outcome, however, with disconcerting results like the humanoid above with one alien and one human eye…and the aliens can impregnate anyone and use them as a vessel, including males!

So catch Death Valley from Double Feature on the current season of American Horror Story. It unites so much of the mythic speculation on alien contacts and designs, with historical personages thrown in as you’ve never seen them before, very reminiscent of The X-Files and just as much fun… 🦊

“Creepshow,” Season 2’s “Model Kid”

September 24, 2021

Creepshow, a horror anthology series that premiered on Shudder, may now be viewed on AMC, UTube, On Demand, and probably other venues. Now in its second season that began in April 2021, the Creepshow series may be considered an extension of the 1982 movie, and blends retro horror, animation, and live action, with each installment having two separate segments.

Plastic models of classic Universal monsters were big decades ago, and the Model Kid segment of S2/Ep1 pays tribute to this tradition with the tale of Joe, a 12-year-old boy in 1972 who is obsessed with horror monsters, building models of them and watching cheesy but wonderful flicks with titles like Gillman Meets the Mummy. I watched such titles in my day, and would still if given half a chance…

Well, it turns out that following the sad death of his indulgent mother, young Joe falls under the abusive thumb of his uncle, who trashes Joe’s monster collection…but a contact with his late mother from the great beyond prompts the boy to add to his collection with the purchase of “the Victim,” which functions as a voodoo doll for him, and enables Joe to summon monsters into reality. Karma ensues for his uncle…

Ahh yes! Horror has a sublime effect on its viewers, and is well said to be the most fun you can have being scared.” And do check out the Creepshow series, won’t you? The Creeper will be waiting for you… 🙀

“Godzilla vs. Kong” Satisfies…

August 31, 2021

I have at long last been able to see the much-touted Godzilla vs. Kong movie, crown jewel in the MonsterVerse series. While the film is overly-long and leaves many unanswered questions, it’s still a good guilty pleasure for Kaiju fans.

Now it takes over forty minutes for our combatants to finally meet in a neon-lit Hong Kong, which thoughtfully has Titan Shelters (so labeled) present for the safety of its human inhabitants. The dang Titans run amok every so often, and wouldn’t it be great if Titans were the only problem faced by humanity? They would constitute an external, readily-identifiable enemy.

Now Kong in the movie receives much of the initial film time, even taking a waterfall shower to the strains of a 50’s doo-wop hit. He’s being kept in a containment environment, but knows that it’s fake. When Godzilla begins attacking shipping and otherwise behaving badly, Kong is transported via air and sea to protect the mainland, and then it’s match on. Kong and Godzilla have an ancient rivalry and generally bad blood towards one another, you see. Kong is also recruited to fight for humanity by being shown “Hollow Earth,” a vast environment within the Earth where he’s led to believe he may find others like himself. The notion of Hollow Earth should really delight and get fringe conspiracy and pseudo-science adherents buzzing.

So Kong and Godzilla fight in Hong Kong, and I won’t detail that outcome so as not to spoil the spectacle for those who have yet to see the film. I will say that Mechagodzilla enters into it prominently, however, and that he’s become sentient, gone rogue, and is infused with the mojo of King Ghidora through one of his three decapitated heads, and despises Godzilla for having killed him in a previous film. Understandably, this could ruin your entire day. It all gets rather complicated, but suffice it to say that Mechagodzilla here is an impressive creation, his red eyes glowing like a gigantic Terminator endoskeleton. When Godzilla and Mechagodzilla go at one another head to head, it’s like seeing a Jedi vs. Sith light saber battle on a epic scale, so pull up a chair for this one…

So by all means, indulge yourself in Godzilla vs. Kong, which at times is oddly satisfying and a great guy film! No one else needs to know that you saw it. Perhaps in a future film, the absence of the other Titans from this one will be explained. I could do with a good Mothra epic, after all. Until then, satisfy yourself with Mechagodzilla… 🦊

“Lamb;” Bizarre but Awesome?

August 4, 2021

Mary had a little lamb, goes the familiar nursery rhyme…and so, apparently, did a childless couple depicted in the upcoming movie Lamb, set in rugged rural Iceland. Now the couple (Maria and Ingvar) did not produce the hybrid themselves, but rather received it as the product of a kind of supernatural visitation to their sheep shed during lambing season. They regard the hybrid as a gift, and raise it as their own rather defensively, the human-ovine child bringing the couple happiness and filling in the gap in their lives. The lamb-child is raised in a crib and fed from a bottle, becoming a bipedal furry humanoid of sorts.- – Kinda the ultimate blended family, right?

Called the strangest movie of the year,” Lamb crosses a number of borders and genres as good films so often do, and viewers are left confused thinking about whether they’ve seen a folkloric horror flick or some kind of absurdist comedy. Perhaps a bit of both in what’s been described as a “visual poem.” The lamb-child herself is the product of puppetry, performance acting, and CGI blended seamlessly.

This isn’t Sheepsquatch, but we of the furry fandom are quite familiar and comfortable with the notion of animal-human hybrids; I’m on board with this! We all know people who think that their kid is a little lamb whereas they’re really a little devil, right? Reviewers of the film are not overly talkative about the details of it out of fear that doing so might spoil the cinematic experience for viewers. Produced by the A24 studio that has done such films as The Lighthouse, Hereditary, and The Witch, the film may become a cult classic. Lamb brings forth the elemental beauty of the Icelandic landscape, and touches upon the deep, often unfathomable relationship between animals and humans…and that’s not a baaad thing! Watch for Lamb premiering in the U.S. October 8th… 🐑


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