Saturday, May 29, 2010

Goodbye, Dennis Hopper

One of my favorite actors passed away today: Dennis Hopper. I always felt he never got quite the respect he deserved. Granted, he's often remembered for films when he was clearly under the influence, or when he was doing his best balls-out crazy stuff. But as these clips from Blue Velvet and True Romance show, he was more than capable of nuanced, affecting performances. And even if the movie was bad (coughWaterworldcough) he always brought the fun.

Hope he's sharing a Pabst Blue Ribbon with Saint Peter now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: The Silent Scream

My review of the better-than-you'd-expect slasher film The Silent Scream is up at

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fun at the Weekend of Horror con

Now playing on the iPod - "Creep" - Radiohead

This past week was not much fun, putting it bluntly. So it was a great relief when Saturday arrived and I was able to attend the Weekend of Horror con at the LAX Marriott.

I wasn't wowed by this year's selection of guests (most of the various guys who played Jason or Michael Myers - the problem is that I'm not thrilled by either the Friday the 13th or Halloween franchises) or panels (a remake of I Spit On Your Grave? Really? Why, for God's sake?). But it's always fun to see the crowds, meet some actors and others, and do some shopping.

The undoubted highlight was actress Caroline Williams (best known to genre fans for her amazing turn in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2) greeting my friend Gerry with a rendition of "Happy Birthday" and giving him a present - see the photo above. Too sweet! (I am jealous, though - how come I don't get songs and presents from my celebrity crushes?)

Other highlights include meeting Bert I. Gordon (aka "Mr. BIG"), the director of movies like Food of the Gods, The Amazing Colossal Man, and Village of the Giants. Mr. Gordon (who I found out is 90 - he looks fantastic!) signed his autobiography for me. (it will go on my shelf with bios of other film-makers such as Sam Fuller and Ed Wood.) And while we were having lunch in the hotel's sports bar, Italian horror maestro Dario Argento walked in (he seemed to be checking out the soccer game on one of the bar's TVs). We caught his eye and all waved hello.

In addition to the Mr. BIG autobiography, I got a DVD of Alejandro Jodorowsky's deliriously messed-up Santa Sangre; a lovely poster for the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, a Goth-y necklace, some buttons for the fangirl jacket featuring the wit of the "Chop Top" character from Texas Chain Saw 2 (signed by the actor, Bill Moseley, who's a sweet guy).

All in all, a fine, nerdy day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Little Golden Books as you've never seen them before

One of the Pixar animators has a new book coming out - Little Golden Books of movies that wouldn't seem appropriate for the kids' book treatment (such as Seven, Apocalypse Now, The Big Lebowski, and more).

It is a thing of beauty. Check it out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review: Repulsion

My review of Roman Polanski's influential story of madness, Repulsion, is up at

Signs of the apocalypse, number 3,587

Did you know that the reason books are made into movies is so that people don't have to read them? No, really!

Monday, May 10, 2010

So beginneth the countdown...

Well, I've now got tickets for Roger Waters' performances of The Wall, set for November 29 (in L.A.) and December 13 (Anaheim). It's like Christmas will be here early!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Review: Sorcerer

My review of Sorcerer, William Friedkin's remake of The Wages of Fear, is up at

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Writing craft: Yeah, what he said

Russell Hoban, author of (among other works) The Mouse and His Child*, offers this advice to young writers:

"Don't do it, unless you can't stand not to do it."

Ain't that the truth.

*By the way, Mr. Hoban, thanks for warping my brain at a young age with The Mouse and His Child and forever making me predisposed to depressing books.