Thursday, April 15, 2010

R.I.P. Peter Steele


Aparently Peter Steele is dead. For real this time. Heart failure at the age of 48. Now, he has faked his own death before - so there is some hope that this is false. But this news makes me very sad. I only got to see Type O Negative once, but it was fantastic. I'll be breaking out my Symphony for the Devil DVD tonight, and pouring a little bit out for him.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Movies that Made Me: Ten Films that Shaped My Life Part Two

Here are the next two films in my recent series of posts, The Movies That Made Me.

5. Annie Hall - College, as I'm sure is the case with a lot of people, was a really enlightening time for me. I was turned on to new, exciting books, great music, and, of course, a lot of classic and foreign films. Woody Allen was a guy that I really never gave a chance until 2003 - my second year of college. I'd seen Celebrity a few years earlier, and really didn't enjoy it. But, I had a pair of friends (one of whom can be found here) that were fairly big Allen apologists, always raving about the philosophy, wit, and hilarity of his films. One night, I finally gave in to them and watched Annie Hall. It turned out they were right. Here was an intellectually thrilling, romantically endearing comedy that is zany as hell. Having just started delving into the repetoire of the Coen Brothers, and listening to the likes of Bill Hicks this excited me to no end. I went to a used book store and picked up Without Feathers and Side Effects (hilarious, btw), and became a full-blown Allen fan.

4. Mulholland Dr. - Mulholland Dr. was released in 2001, but I didn't get the chance to see it until 2004. I remember my first watching pretty vividly. I was already a pretty big fan of David Lynch, Blue Velvet being my favorite of his films. I had already seen Lost Highway, so I was fairly prepared to have my mind fucked. But nothing I had seen before compared to the epic beauty/tragedy of Mulholland Dr. If you've seen the film, you understand - whether you like it or not - that the film subverts the viewer's expectations from film in very strange ways. The narrative is shattered, and watching the film is a bit like piecing together a puzzle that's been doused in kerosene. It's a true experience, as the viewer takes an active role in the film by working as detective. I'm not exagerating when I say that this film reaffirmed my faith in film as an artform. It's hard to describe why it works so well for me, but it instantly became one of my all time favorites, and encouraged me to make a few shorts of my own. Just a two years later, I would find myself visiting some friends in Los Angeles (the same ones that encouraged me to watch Woody Allen), and I was able travel along Mulholland Dr. It wasn't as good as the movie, but it was pretty awesome anyway.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cool Swag

Cool Swag: Dutch Southern

It's been a while since we've had a Cool Swag addition to the ol' blog, but I just ran across this place and it is totally deserving. I'm talking about Dutch Southern Shirts. Been looking for a sweet Death Wish shirt that has Charlie Bronson coming out of a magic lamp? Of course you have. Well, look no further. Or maybe you are more interested in one that basically tells the story of True Romance. Well, Dutch Southern has you covered. The screen prints look teriffic, and at $20 a shirt they are reasonably priced. I plan on picking some of these bad boys up for myself.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spotlight on Evil: My Pet Monster

Spotlight on Evil: My Pet Monster

Sure, "evil" may be a bit too strong a word to describe My Pet Monster, but just look at that little devil. Blue fur, sharp fangs, yellow eyes, and he's chained up like the Castle Freak - I think those are all signifiers of the evil lurking inside that little bastard's black heart.

In case you are not a product of the eighties, My Pet Monster was a plush doll first produced by American Greetings in 1986 that was targeted, like the equally evil My Buddy, to boys. Eventually there was a whole line of characters put out as his companions, but who gives a shit about them? Not me.

You might also remember the terrible live-action, direct to video film from 1986 about a boy who becomes the Pet Monster after being exposed to some statue. Whenever the boy gets hungry he changes into the Pet Monster (ala The Incredible Hulk). Some baddie tries to kidnap him to perform what I can only assume to be bizarre sexual acts on him - I'm not certain I'm remembering that exactly right - and the boy's sister helps him escape. You can actually find a dub of the film, straight from a VHS copy, on YouTube here.

After the DTV movie, ABC carried a short-lived animated series based on My Pet Monster. From 1986 to 1987 the show followed Monster who lived with a boy named Max. When Monster wore his handcuffs, they turned him into a stuffed animal. Max and Monster got into a series of silly adventures, all the while trying to hide Monster from the world-at-large. Honestly, I don't remember the show too well, I was caught up watching GI Joe as often as I could, but you can actually find all thirteen episodes on DVD now.

Back in 2001, Toymax released a commemorative edition 22" talking My Pet Monster plus doll, but it seems that they are about as hard to find/expensive as the originals from the eighties. Eventually I plan on re-buying one of these bad boys for my son. They go on eBay for around $40, give or take. It seems to be harder to find them still fully in tact with their handcuffs, but I would hold out for a complete one. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane - and this Spotlight on Evil.

Enjoy the intro from the My Pet Monster cartoon:

Now That's Art!

April Fool's Day (1986)

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