In this episode, JB and I chat about the Halloween Hootenanny, and some of our wacky adventures on the road right afterwards. :)
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All our in-person appearances for this year are done, but-t we've got one more Ho-rrorday Special comin' at ya for 2019!
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At this point, the number of Syfy Channel shark movies probably eXXXceeds the number of actual sharks in the ocean. They've given us ghost sharks, robot sharks, zombie sharks, and even Freddy Krueger sharks. If they feel that the killer shark formula is getting stale, they'll just add an eXXXtra head! (We're up to six heads, by the by. Check out "6-Headed Shark Attack.") The folks at Syfy have never met a shark they didn't like, so it was inevitable that they would make a Christmas shark flick. "Santa Jaws" was that flick, and what a flick it is! Syfy's sharks don't always work for us, but this one is B-movie nirvana, kids!
Beyond their delightfully daffy titles and admittedly awesome concepts, Syfy creature features usually don't have a lot to offer. Sure, the films are harmless enough, but they seldom do anything eXXXciting with those far-out ideas. Most of the time, the one, solitary joke is that the monster is ridiculous. They're not earnest enough to be charming; they're not funny enough to be amusing. But "Santa Jaws" dares to a attempt a feat hitherto unknown in the realm of Syfy: actually build a solid movie around its goofy monster! Yes, Santa Jaws is a shark with a Santa hat on its fin, but the filmmakers don't stop there: when you think you've seen all that can be achieved by a shark in a Santa hat, "Santa Jaws" changes the game.
Remember how Kevin McCallister "wished" his family away? Imagine that... but the universe sends a shark to devour his family. If you've accomplished that, you have a pretty fair idea of what "Santa Jaws" is about. Instead of being home alone, the young protagonist (who bears a striking resemblance to a young Edward Furlong) is gifted an enchanted pen that has the power to bestow life upon all it draws. Naturally, the boy draws a comic featuring a shark with the power of Evil Santa (whom she consumed), which promptly comes to life to... well, you know.
The tit-ular beast is drawn to Christmas, yet it she is also destroyed by Christmas: a Bowie knife wouldn't even nick it, but a sharpened candy cane could potentially end it. She's rather like a vampire who can't stop eating garlic bread, but it works within the conteXXXt of the movie. After all, this film is not meant to be taken entirely straight. While I wouldn't call it a spoof, I would say that "Santa Jaws" knows eXXXactly what it is. And yet, despite the inherent lunacy of the plot, I found myself strangely engrossed. Heck, even when Ol' SJ isn't around, the film is still thoroughly watchable. It ain't Preston Sturges, but it's wittier than a film about a killer Santa shark is required to be.
One thing we generally don't enjoy in Syfy movies is the overabundance of CGI. Low-budget CGI just doesn't have the weight or appeal of a foam rubber bugaboo, and it's hard to love a creature feature when you're not endeared to its creature. Perhaps the best thing about "Santa Jaws" is ho-w sparingly it employs CGI. When it is used, it really bites! And for the majority of the film, Santa Jaws is represented with a physical fin prop, adorned with a Santa hat. If that isn't B-movie magic, I don't know what is!
"Santa Jaws" is not dissimilar to the family films of the 1980s. In fact, I would say that this film is like a micro version of "Gremlins": a Christmas ho-rror fantasy that's both naughty and nice. I don't think it will ever become a major cl-ass-sick, but "Santa Jaws" has the potential to become a tradition for all the Addams Families of the world. And there is one major development near the end of that just HAS to be seen! I wouldn't spoil it for you, but let's just say that it bumps the film's rating up a star. It's that good!
As far as we can tell, "Santa Jaws" is available to watch on-demand on most cable systems. I highly recommend it; the film is the ""Citizen Kane" of killer Santa shark movies. For a taste of the greatness, check out the trailer below:
Jumpin' Jiminy Christmas! It's December, Kinky Kreeps!
We always try to jingle your bells with pieces written about our grave-orite ho-rrorday pictures: "Black Chiristmas," "Jack Frost," "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," etc. And while we won't be neglecting more traditional(?) fare, we wanted to draw your attention to a film that has NEVER been called a Christmas film! You think "Die Hard" is a controversial choice for the season? Ha! It's up there with "Miracle on 34th Street" these days! No, we have something TRULY offbeat in mind. And since it's #WerewolfWednesday, it's the perfect time to discuss this most peculiar selection: "The Curse of the Werewolf."
"Curse of the Werewolf" is very, very, very loosely based on Guy Endore's novel, "The Werewolf of Paris." Hammer was working on a Spanish Inquisition picture... until the censors killed the project, that is. With the sets and costumes already prepared, those pragmatists at Hammer decided to set their "Werewolf of Paris" adaptation in... Spain. Suffice to say, the film has very little to do with "Werewolf of Paris." But what it lacks in source material fidelity, it makes up for in sheer lunacy. They could've gone in the traditional direction (I.E. rip off "The Wolf Man") or do a simple family curse story, but those Hammer cats were far too ambitious for that!
Dig this synopsis:
A humble----and mentally unstable-----beggar treks up to the castle of a tyrannical marquis, hoping for even a crumb of food. After unintentionally offending the cruel marquis, the beggar is thrown into jail. Forgotten and mad, the beggar devolves into an animalistic monster. His only connection to the outside world is a mute servant girl. The years go by; the girl is now a woman... and the beggar has lost all humanity. As punishment for refusing the advances of the marquis, the woman is forced into the cell with the former beggar, who rapes her. After that heinous act, she escapes and murders the marquis. Free but homeless, the woman is taken in by the kindly Alfredo Corledo (Clifford Evans), who discovers that the girl is pregnant. Unfortunately, the poor child is born on Christmas: any such child born on Christmas is an affront to God. (In the movie, not real life!) Because of the intolerable sin of eXXXisting, the child is cursed to become... a werewolf.
All of that actually happens.
And that's why it's a Christmas movie: Christmas turns a boy into a werewolf! It may not be merry and bright, but Noel is the reason why this story even happens, so I say it counts! And as bugnutty as that plot reads (and is), it plays superbly within the context of the film. Like the best Hammer films, the melodrama is treated with gravity; a potentially silly story is made compelling by a literate script and brilliant acting. Instead of having the feel of a tawdry soap opera, Hammer tells the tale like the grimmest of fairy tales, complete with a narrator. It ain't Disney, but it is a fairy tale. And fairy tales do have their place in holiday tradition; ho-rror stories just as much so. As the song goes, "There'll be scary ghost stories."
Master Terence Fisher is behind the camera once more, so you know you're guaranteed a prime Hammer eXXXperience. Fisher is in top form here, delivering that fantastic Hammer atmosphere we all desire, along with some brilliantly-crafted shocks. Gaudy colors are juxtaposed with shadows, creating the kind of macabre beauty Hammer is known for. But even for a studio know for such gore-geous pictures, "Curse of the Werewolf" is a handsome film.
Professional hellraiser Oliver Reed portrays Leon Corledo, the young man besieged by fate and burdened with lycanthropy. Reed is simply perfect here; one of the best ho-wlers in cinema. His dark, handsome features give him an intrinsically wolf-like charm. Like the monsters of Universal, Reed projects an aura of tragedy, yet he is still genuinely terrifying when in lycan-mode. Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot is a likable goofball in human form, but Reed's Leon is a tragic, poetic creature even before he even changes! The supporting players all play their parts well, but this is Reed's horror show.
Roy Ashton, Hammer's go-to makeup wiz, really outdoes himself. With grayish fur, nearly-flat head, and Reed's already-impressive physique, this Werewolf is a fright to behold! With this, their first Frankenstein monster, and the masked design of their Phantom of the Opera, Hammer proved they could redesign Universal Monsters in bold, original ways; create new icons from the old. If only they had a chance to work with the Creature from the Black Lagoon...
Okay, so there are more Christmas-y choices out there, but who doesn't want an eXXXcuse to watch a totally groovy werewolf movie? Besides, the spectre of Christmas haunts the entire movie; Christmas made the monster! It's an unusual choice, yet I think it has potential to be a tradition for eccentrics. But if you'd rather watch George Bailey waste time on a bridge for the 100000000000000000000000000 time, be our guest! We'll take the werewolf, thank you very much!
Unfortunately, we don't have the entire film, but we do have the original trailer to give you a taste! Enjoy!
My Boss Man Interviews Robert Forster in this 1992 Drive In Theater interview.
Big thanks to the fine folks at MasiMedia who got this shindig together, and also to Mr. Roger Jackson (pictured intro-ing a screening of the film in Stu's backyard!! :) who not only came out to party with us, but-t also left me this terrifying vm that I will treasure for the neXXXt billion centuries!! :) xoxo
My Interview with Clint Freakin' Howard!!!
(nude Clint Howard and snow globes...need I say more?)
High History: Why I love Scream so much!
(remember to finish him)
This shit is legit.
-Darcy the Mail Girl
-The Last Drive-In