A Father’s Influence: RIP Wes Craven

wesJust this week, an incredibly influential man in my life passed away. This man pushed my creative depths and made me see the world in a different light when I was in high school. Maybe even JR high. I was kind of popular, but just weird enough that I wasn’t really invited to the in-crowd’s parties.

I liked horror. I enjoyed movies that were based around a monstrous being terrorizing a group of teenagers. I wasn’t Goth by any means, but my obsession with blood and guts made me just odd enough that I was labeled as a freak. But I didn’t care about any of that. Because neither did either of my fathers.

My Father and I

My Father and I

Now let me explain when I say fathers. Plural. I was part of a nuclear family. One mom, one dad, a brother and a dog. But my curiosity and passion for movies and Halloween were deep. I dressed up as a countess, a witch, and a devil when I was younger, I think the only time I was a princess was in the 3rd grade because I felt the pressure of my peers baring down on me.

But my Dad taught me at a very young age to not care what others thought of me, because honestly, my Dad was the weirdest guy I knew. Out there and opinionated every day of my life. He adored Halloween and his love was passed down to me. Through the womb, because I’m told I came out looking like a monkey. Happy Halloween Mom and Dad! In the middle of May.

I carried around a little ugly deformed baby doll, and it was my favorite. Snot hanging out of its’ nose and the most contorted face of what must have been a dirty diaper. I think my dad actually had it before I was even born and at the age of 3 I fell in love with it.

Even though my Dad was really into Halloween. I mean, this guy turned our home into a haunted house for all the kiddies and adults every year for Trick or Treat night. He insisted that regardless of what night the 31st of October fell on, that would be the Town’s Halloween. Oh, he was also totally the Mayor of my small town for nearly my entire life, since I was the age of 2. But he wasn’t into Horror movies.

freddyA foreign concept, I know! I didn’t get that quirk from my real father. I got it from the late great Wes Craven. Master of horror and the meta. My brother showed my A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was like 8. And Freddy didn’t even phase me. It was then I knew my passion of horror. Wes created my high school career; I can’t even begin to explain how he influenced my perspective of life at one of the most influential ages of a young teenager.

On Sunday, he passed in the comforts of his home after losing a battle to brain cancer. This news rocked me to the bone, because this man who made my high school career, who influenced the “freak” in me, passed from the same illness as my father.

My Dad died in October 2013, one month after his diagnosis of brain cancer. My Father didn’t even get a chance to battle it, I saw him wither away in front of my eyes. The man who taught me to read. This six foot plus guy who dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster the year I wanted to be the Bride of Frankenstein.

I lost myself at the age of 23, two years ago. I finished graduate school on time. A feat that many were surprised by. But I stopped blogging as much. I didn’t analyze movies like I used to. I would vedge out in front of Netflix and pity myself because my dad would never walk me down the aisle. Now, my media father has passed. A man I always dreamed of meeting. Some day and shake his hand and tell him how he shaped my life. Shaped me.

But with the sadness of his death, my life has re-awoken. Losing both my “dads” to the same illness 2 years apart. Fuck that! I mean it! I’m done feeling sad for myself. I have a talent. Writing. Story telling. Pop culture. Using pop culture to my advantage while writing my stories.

I’m not going to hide it any more. I’m going to hit that keyboard hard this weekend. And I am going to write something that both Wes and my Father would be proud of. Because a Father’s influence …. It will never fade.

The Mad Max Trilogy

A little known Australian franchise began in 1979 that focused on an apocalyptic world where gangs ran the world and gas is a very fucking high commodity. The trilogy that was born in the desert with flames and explosions galore. Fast-forward 30 years later and the now widely-known Mad Max is being rebooted by its creator George Miller with a Hollywood treatment and a cool hundred million dollars. So before we cross the finish line with Mad Max: Fury Road, let’s gear up for the weekend by returning to the classic car-chases, consumptive waste land, and the desperate, deviant characters of the early 80s with a cumulative review of the original trilogy. 

mad maxMad Max of 1979 was a bit of a blur; cars exploding, gangs fucking shit up, and very little dialogue that was actually pretty difficult to follow without subtitles. The difficulty wasn’t just on me and my download though, apparently when the film hit theaters in America in ’81–as the sequel was coming out–they dubbed American speakers over the actual dialogue to help not confuse the audience about the film specifically taken place in Australia? The film follows Max (a young Mel Gibson) as a police “Interceptor” who tries to keep a handle on the rising crime and gang violence whom eventually takes a break from the force as his partner is badly tortured and eventually dies from a gang. So Max becomes the perfect husband and father while taking a long vacation with his doting wife and son (the son may have been playing with an actaul gun in the first seen we meet him…. CaRAZY!) Honestly, you could skip Mad Max if you wanted because the sad back-story of the Road Warrior (excluded here because of major spoilers) is reprised in a much more effective manner in the beginning of the sequel. 

mad max 2

1981’s Road Warrior is another tough pill to swallow but somehow has, like, a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes? It’s a fun film, more fun then the first, but still makes the fatal mistake of being a very serious action movie. There are few moments of laughter at a clever script or perfectly placed explosion which is why I wouldn’t give it that high of a rating. It’s a bummer that I am watching the film this late in my life, within the heavily influenced world of bigger budgets and CGI, but the fact that these explosions really happened with real stunt people in them, that’s pretty fucking insanely cool. Max himself has very little dialogue in this installment and he is contracted to help out a gasoline-rich community out-run a nasty raiding gang. A gang that is into leather and some same sex loving! But, you know also a gang that Max did kind of lead straight to their door, so the least he could do is help the community out. So Max is the resentful Road Warrior, it takes him time to look out for anyone other than his dog and himself but eventually he becomes our resisting protagonist in this dark and dreary life.

thunderdomeBeyond Thunderdome-oh sweet sweet Thunderdome. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Thunderdome is by far my favorite of the trilogy because it finally stops taking itself so damn seriously. Miller Americanized it a bit, with a star as big as Tina Turner in it, it’s hard to think they kept it Australian. The characters in Beyond Thunderdome are the most colorful and least civilized of the franchise and they make the movie so much more enjoyable. The very beginning is a bit confusing, but I feel as though this is a running theme within Miller’s work at this point. But soon enough we meet the glorious, rampant Auntie (Turner) who runs her Barbertown under a strict rule. She strikes some sort of deal with Max who is new to the city, and soon we find him fighting a giant “George Milton” who is ruled by a very small “Lennie Small” in the Thunderdome. And the dome is pretty damn rad. Two men enter, one leaves, and I will leave the rest of the awesomeness for you to view on your own time (because I personally think it’s the best part of the film). Eventually, Max is annexed back into the deathly desert and finds himself as a savior of a “Lord of the Flies” scenario. Our once again reluctant hero finds himself slowly helping a rag-tag group of survivors. 

Overall, Mad Max is a bit of a scramble, we have a few good characters that we only get for half the film (Fifi, Max’s Chief of  Police Department and his partner Jim Goose), some sweet ass car chases, but really the film doesn’t age well as it takes itself much too serious for an action revenge film. 1981’s Road Warrior has twice the amount of action, as sequels usually do, a better climax and a silly Feral Kid (calling Short Round?) at Max’s side after he unfortunately looses his dog to a gang member (that’s twice now!!!). For me, it wasn’t the best of the three, but definitely a fun ride to take. 1985’s Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome is personally my favorite and I believe it to be the best out of the Mad Max trilogy, even though it rated lower than both its’ predecessors on Rotten Tomatoes. But the whole trilogy rates over an 80% for critics which is god damned impressive for a franchise that started nearly 40 years ago. The plot for Thunderdome is easier to follow and it has enough action to hold you over, but maybe some people find it not as entertaining as the first two because there isn’t as much car chasing because we have the actual Thunderdome instead, along with some covert affairs going on too.

One thing is for sure, I can see why Hollywood wants to revamp the franchise for a new audience as the first three were successful and looked back on fondly as an exhilarating ride. But as a first time viewer, 30 some years later, and as a viewer who is actually younger than the latest film, it makes sense to make another installment for a fresh-faced audience.

Phantoms (1998)

Phantoms Poster

Phantoms Poster

Phantoms is a horror, sci-fi, thriller set in a ski town of Colorado that is very much dated by the decade of the 90’s; if not by just the cast but the special effects alone. The movie is based off of a novel by horror writer Dean Koontz who also happened to pen the screenplay. The movie is a bit of a cross-over between The Thing (1982) and Scream (1996); it’s pretty much a small group of 90’s arch-type characters being picked-off one by one by creatures from another world that they can’t really identify. It even casts Rose McGowan as the classic whore, a Skeet Ulrich look-a-like Ben Affleck, and a young Liev Schreiber; so as you can tell, they are trying hella hard to replicate the success of Craven’s Scream. 

Overall the film is lack-luster with time. It did not age well in the last 17 years; the scares are dismissive, the creature are un-realistic and poorly construed, the cast only called in on half the days, and the story holds no real sense of believable urgency. It’s a bummer as my boyfriend highly recommended the film as a fun, campy 90’s classic; for me it missed the mark, which is disappointing as I am a very big fan of Koontz’ Odd Thomas which is also on Netflix as of May, 2015.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

The crew of Galaxy Quest

The crew of Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest is a sci-fi comedy, considered to be part of the Star Trek franchise, which is beyond brilliant and relevant to the series still 15 years later. One of the best casting decisions was pulling alien guru Sigourney Weaver on deck and having Tim Allen as the misogynistic Captain Kirk archetype slowly sinking into desperation and the sad realization that he’s a laughing stock? I mean come on, that’s Buzz Lightyear man. To make the cast even more perfect,  Alan Rickman plays our Spock surrogate who never removes his head piece (even while at home gossiping on the phone) and we have Sam Rockwell (Moon and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) as a classic Red-Shirt team member, constantly aware and afraid of being killed off before the first commercial! And these are just a few of the glorious jems in the film that create the perfect realm.

If you have no idea on what the movie is about, shame on you, but here is a pretty simple synopsis taken from IMDb.com to explain a rather difficult summary: “The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.” ….. And that’s really as the best as it gets.

If you’re a fan of science fiction and haven’t watched Galaxy Quest yet, you need to, even if you’re not a hard core Trekkie, it’s still a great time and delivers the laughs and a general euphoria of happiness whole watching. Making any fandom hope, and maybe even believe that their favorite show could be real. Because who wouldn’t want the Doctor, Captain Kirk, Han Solo,  Rose Tyler, Gamora, Leia, or Ellen Ripley to be real? At least in some alternate universe, they have to exist, right?

The movie making fun of the franchise making fun of the show. Trek-ception?

The movie making fun of the franchise making fun of the show.

Galaxy Quest is currently available on Netflix as of May 2015, I would suggest watching it while also reading the trivia about.

Stitches (2012)

Stitches poster

A Clown with a Killer Attitude

Stitches is a a fun clever horror movie that delivers on so many damn levels it’s hard to believe that is took my this long to watch it. The comedy, horror was recently added to Netflix this year, and had been in my queue for a hot minute. The film begins brilliantly, with a clown fucking his mistress in full get-up, to only be disrupted with an alarm reminding him of a bastard’s party he has to entertain at. And even though Stitches, our clown (Ross Noble), isn’t the best entertainer, the kids at the party are just the worst! While the kids razz both Stitches, his jokes, and his tricks, they decide to play a mean joke on him and knock him over after one of the ass hole kids tie up his over-sized shoelaces.

Poor, poor Stitches, (*spoilers*) he falls on face first on a butcher knife that was poorly placed in a dishwasher that was never closed, like, at ALL!

So Stitches isn’t really about a killer clown, as I once thought from just the poster artwork available on Netflix. Stitches is about a dead clown coming back from the grave to wreak revenge on the shitty little Hellians who are having one hell of a rager about 10 years after they accidentally kill them.

The movie has some really gruesome kills in it, but oh my god! They are fun! Even the teenagers, I can’t help but like them too! I was pretty bummed when a few of the certain characters we murdered. But damn, the cats from across the pond really know how to get their gore on. The kills are creative, I’m like 80% sure each kid represented a deadly sin, but I can’t find anything online to corroborate that; the cinematography was done perfectly, almost in a satirical, comedic take of Quentin Tarantino’s films; and the overall pace of the movie builds perfectly, yet moves at an enjoyable pace.

Stitches is a great comedy horror and I highly recommend you take a shot at this clever take on a clown with a killer attitude.

The Quiet Ones (2014)



The Quiet Ones is a supernatural, demonic horror film with a slow build and a fizzle of a climax. It is yet another “inspired by actual events” story of a young girl possessed by an inexpiable personality. It takes place during the 70s (typical) and follows a professor (Jared Harris), two of this doting students (Erin Richards and Rory Fleck-Byrne), and a young camera-man (Sam Claflin) looking to gain some experience and a bit of knowledge about a young, disturbed girl (Olivia Cooke, Emma of Bates Hotel) and her “medical treatment.”

The Quiet Ones has a decent enough plot that drives enough interest to keep you watching, but the scares are few and far between to really consider is a decent horror film, even if you decide it to be categorized more as a psychological horror film. The movie unfortunately doesn’t get good until about ten minutes before the climax, when things really start to get good. The final scenes are the best though, so does that make up for the movement of a snail? Perhaps. If you have an interest in demonic movies, go ahead, give this movie a shot, currently available on Netflix.

Left Behind (2014)

Left Behind poster work

The end is nigh…. For Nic Cage’s career

So we all know that Nic Cage has made a few poor decisions in the past ten years when is comes to casting choices. From Ghost Rider to The Wicker Manour boy Nicolas has been drawing the short stick for decent movies. And the case of bad roles doesn’t break with Left Behinda story about the people “left behind” after the rapture happens. Nic is the father of one of the skeptics of God that loses her younger brother and crazy, punch drinking mother in a naked daze (as all that is left behind of the raptured are their clothes).

Left Behind is a slow moving catastrophe that arrives without a pulse. I checked it out on Netflix in the hopes that it would be so bad that it would be fun, but boy, was I wrong. Left Behind will be of no interest to anybody outside the tight bible belt as these slow characters come to realize that they missed their chance at God’s gift.

Even if bored at the end of the night, I’d steer clear of this dud of a movie.

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Series Finale of HIMYM: Why I’m Not Actually Angry

One year ago today, still sad, but not salty. Find out why with my review on the series finale of HIMYM

Reel Thoughts of Jacki K, Jacki Krumnow, Jacqueline Krumnow

I know the majority of the Internet has been in a complete hissy for the past few days, and every person is entitled to their own opinion, but I’m here to tell you why the series finale of How I Met Your Mother wasn’t as outrageously bad as everyone believes. And I’m writing this post and publishing it days later yes, but I wanted to be able to think about the show, think about the ending and really mull over what they did with it. Hopefully you will read all of this post before you post any hate comments at the bottom.

To begin,

I’ve been watching HIMYM since the very start, I was front row and center when creators and writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas gave us what was seemingly our first bait and switch on September 19, 2005. I was a wee 15 year old, who was…

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Animal (2014)

Said Naked-Mole Rat Humanoid Crossbreed

Said Naked-Mole Rat Humanoid Crossbreed

Animal is a 2014 creature feature that is a fun romp through the forest from beginning to end. The film is about 2 bickering biracial siblings taking their significant others, and a 5th gay wheel, to an old family hiking spot for some relaxing exertion? Why do people hike in groups? That’s just asking for trouble, and trouble is delivered.

The cast is filled out by some veteran actors and some newbs which make the movie both tolerable yet difficult to watch at certain points. The old live-action Peter Pan is in it, along with RJ Burger (who I love more than life itself), Big Daddy‘s shitty girlfriendRidge Forrester, and a Nickelodeon star in her first ever horror movie (I’m assuming). It’s a pretty tight cast with only 8 members on screen, which is an interesting take for a creature horror movie. Continue reading