Ah, C.H.U.D.. C.H.U.D. (1984) is the archetypal Lazy Sunday Movie. I vaguely remember watching it (probably on WLVI 56, maybe Fox 25) in my room in Carver during early high school.

I rewatched C.H.U.D. for the purposes of this review. I was mildly surprised to find that I remembered virtually nothing about it except: 1.) “C.H.U.D.” stands for “Cannibalistic Human Underground Dweller,” and 2.) chuds have glowing yellow eyes.

That’s not Leonardo. Or Michaelango. Or Donatello. Or even Jackson Pollock. Trust me.

I certainly didn’t remember that the cast included Daniel Stern (of Home Alone, The Wonder Years and Leviathan fame) and a very young-looking John Goodman, not to mention Kim Greist, who I saw a few weeks ago for the first time in Brazil, her second film—right after C.H.U.D.!

An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London is one of those cult movies I always meant to see but never did (much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I’ll review later in the month). I knew it by reputation as a darkly comic horror film, perhaps similar to Evil Dead II or Dead Alive.

Not a werewolf

Not a werewolf

One of the reasons it took me a while to see it was that it was a werewolf movie. I’m not a big fan of werewolves. I understand the appeal of vampires; Frankenstein’s monster is cool; demons, sea monsters, zombies I like. But werewolves seem boring to me. They’re big dogs, essentially. And their gimmick strains even the most flexible imagination: the victim only turns into a werewolf at each full moon? Why? Are werewolves affected by gravitational forces, like the tides? And then there’s the problem of mass conversion. Whether the victim turns into a giant wolf-man or a pure wolf, the weight ratios are going to be different, and that just bugs me; where does the extra mass come from (or go to)?

Evil Dead Toy

NOTE: Originally published under the name “Poe Ghostal” on OAFE on 10/1/02. I’ve revised and updated it for this entry.

Ashley WilliamsThe first of the Evil Dead films I saw was?I’m fairly certain?Army of Darkness. At the time, I thought it was one of the greatest things I’d ever seen. Then I saw Evil Dead 2, deservedly called the best of the trilogy. Finally I saw the first film, which is good but hard to take. Now having seen Army of Darkness about 10 million times, I can’t stand to watch it anymore. But Evil Dead 2…now that’s a classic film. I can watch that over and over.

As any Evil Dead fan could tell you, those movies begged for toys once the action figure boom of the mid-’90s made it clear that just about anything could be turned into a toy line. And when McFarlane Toys’ Movie Maniacs line rolled around, it was clear that this was a match made in heaven.

The Worst Witch

I wish I knew more about the origins of this magnum opus. It is apparently based on a series of kids’ books and yes, it’s very similar to Harry Potter, but The Worst Witch books came out decades ago (HBO later resurrected the concept as a series to cash in on Pottermania). The story centers around Mildred Hubble, the eponymous witch who just can’t seem to do anything right. Hubble is played by Fairuza Balk, who also starred as Dorothy in the very creepy mid-’80s film Return to Oz.

Obey Curry

I was fortunate enough to see The Worst Witch as a kid, so I’m capable of tapping into that childish appreciation in order to survive an annual viewing each Halloween. Still, it’s not easy. If time flies when you’re having fun, then The Worst Witch, which has a running time of 60 minutes, clocks in at about fifteen hours.

The Descent

Note: I wrote this review on spec for a local newspaper, but to my knowledge it wasn’t published, so I thought I’d just toss it up here. Enjoy…

The television ad campaign for The Descent claim the film is “from the people who brought you Saw and Hostel,” two sadistic horror films that focus on human torture. The ads do an injustice both to fans of those films (who may not enjoy this one) and people who don’t like those films (and just might like The Descent).

The Descent is an old-fashioned monster movie with a modern horror film sensibility. It was released in Great Britain over a year ago (and is already out on DVD over there), but did so well in the UK that “the people who brought you Saw and Hostel” decided to buy the North American distribution rights and give it a theatrical release here–an honor not accorded to Marshall’s previous film, Dog Soldiers (2002), one of the better werewolf movies out there.

Snakes on a Plane

Well, I saw Snakes on a Plane yesterday. It was a solid B-movie—a combination of Speed, Anaconda and Passenger 57, and probably more fun than all three combined. Was it worth all that ironic Internet hype? Not really, and its box office showing (a modest $14 million) reflects that.

Snakes‘s mediocre box office take is yet another example of just how small and unrepresentative of the real world the blogosophere is. Clearly, the Internet community does not give the slightest indication of the situation on the ground. People with the time, money and inclination to write or read a blog or discuss topics at length online do not represent a very good cross-section of America.

That said, I think the execs who produced Snakes knew that they had a second-tier flick on their hands and that going along with the hype couldn’t hurt. In the end, it probably netted them an extra $1.4 million in preview night tickets. Of course, for the Snakes fans the film was always secondary, and I suspect it will sink very quickly.

But the filmmakers did do about as much as they could with the concept. You get to see snakes biting every conceivable body part (yes, every one). You get a gratuitous Mile High Club scene. You get Samuel L. Jackson swearing and generally being Samuel L. Jackson. And you’ll happily forget all about the film ten minutes after leaving the theater.

Singer answers the Lois pregnancy question

Newsarama managed to ask Bryan Singer the $10K question: since Clark erased Lois’s memory of sleeping together in Superman II, does she not know how she got pregnant? Here’s Singer’s response:

NRAMA: After he gave up his powers in Superman II, Lois and Superman slept together. I’m going to assume that that’s when he got her pregnant…

BS: Possibly.

NRAMA: Then he gives her the kiss, which made her forget that they even slept together. Was the pregnancy a mystery for her?

BS: I ignored that part. I just assumed she remembered sleeping with him.

So there you go. Just ignore that part! But wait—does that mean Lois knows Clark is Superman? I guess you should ignore that too.

The rest of the interview is primarily Singer stating his opinion that poor marketing is the reason for Superman Returns‘s relatively unimpressive box office numbers.

Hellboy 2 lives

Even the most casual reader of this blog probably knows I’m a big fan of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. The comic is one of the best out there, and the film, directed by Guillermo Del Toro, is my favorite comic book film.

So it was with great pleasure that I read that Hellboy 2, whose future had been in doubt after Revolution Studios announced it would be closing its doors in October 2007, has been picked up by Universal Studios—the company that passed on the first film years ago.

Director in the Mud

What with all the M. Night Shyamalan bashing going on over his latest dopus (as in opposite of opus) Lady in the Water, I thought I might remind you that Mr. Shyamalan’s been on a slide for some time and direct your attention to The Journal of the Alien from “Signs”, which I wrote back in 2002.

I also added two other old fake-news articles from a previous BBn incarnation, Mr. Owl is a Lying A-Hole and Economics Study Claims “Free Parking Prize” Destabilizes Monopoly. All were published in May 2002 in the old BBn.

I’d post “Warcraft Orcs Stray into Sims City,” which I also wrote for BBn, but an updated version of that piece will be published next month in ToyFare #110.

Superman Returns

In 1962, writer and academic Umberto Eco published an essay called “The Myth of Superman,” in which he outlined how Superman (and superheroes in general) didn’t fit the traditional concept of a mythological hero due to the nature of capitalism and the episodic nature of Superman’s life. In essence, Superman has countless adventures over decades, all of which take place in a continuous present, while he remains the same approximate age. His story has a beginning, but it will never reach its end; but more importantly, he can never make progress, can never develop as a human being.

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