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Movie Review: The Shape of Water

There are few things in this world that I love more than monster movies, but I’m afraid there is one common element that has troubled me for some time: the monster never gets the girl. Many monster movies play around with the perennial “Beauty and the Beast” motif, but it seldom ends well for the Beast. The Hunchback never ends up with Esmeralda. That’s just the way these stories tend to go. No matter how  much we sympathize for the creature, it usually meets a grisly end while the love of its life runs off with some generically dreamy fellow. This formula is understandable, but moviegoers almost always side with the tragic monster. Nobody wants Christine Daaé to be with Raoul, but that’s exactly what happens. Normality always triumphs.  It gets dreadfully tiresome after awhile. 

After seeing The Shape of Water, it appears that director/monster lover Guillermo del Toro  shares my sentiment. While not officially a remake of 1954′s The Creature From the Black Lagoon, Del Toro’s film is an attempt to rectify the sins of the past. Shape of Water’s Amphibian Man is both Beauty and Beast, and the film treats him less like a grotesquerie and more like a storybook prince. Guillermo del Toro has avenged The Creature by giving his gill-man he the fairy-tale ending we wanted him to have. This film is celebrates the humanity of monsters and the romance of creature features.

The Shape of Water takes place in the 1960s and centers around Elisa Esposito, a mute cleaning lady working in a government research center . The facility acquires a new “asset” discovered by Colonel Richard Strickland in South America. Elisa soon finds that the “asset” is actually an amphibian humanoid with a taste for boiled eggs and an ear for show tunes. In no time at all, the two unique individuals form a close bond and fall in love. When the creature is scheduled for dissection, Elisa frees her new friend and the two are ruthlessly pursued by the cruel Col. Strickland. 

We often identify with movie monsters because we see ourselves in them. Monsters often have souls far more human than those of the people that surround them. They yearn for love, for acceptance, for friendship, and  for understanding. These unfortunate beings are often ostracized for their appearance and the attributes that make them unique. Movie monsters are outsiders. Del Toro very clearly realizes this and he has written The Shape of Water as a love letter to the misunderstood. All of the main characters deviate from a 1960s norm in some way, whether it’s due to their skin color, their sexual orientation, or a physical disability. Society sees them as outcasts, but they are all very likable and very human. It is these people with whom the audience sympathizes with, and it is the square-jawed man with the nuclear family who is the villain of the piece. Del Toro’s film makes a monster out of a ‘50s sci-fi hero and makes heroes out of the socially marginalized.

There’s not a single performance in this film that isn’t exceptional, but it’s Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones who truly carry this story. Hawkins is instantly lovable as Elisa, the “princess without voice”. Hawkins signs her way though the movie, conveying complex emotions without uttering a word. She is brave, quirky, and kind-hearted without being naive. Elisa is the perfect heroine for this story. Doug Jones is just as good as the amphibious gentleman. Covered in layers of latex, Jones gives so much personality and soul to the gill-man. The Amphibian Man is a truly magnificent movie monster and that’s in no small part due to Jones’s sensational performance. 

Every aspect of The Shape of Water is nothing short of magical. The sets, the cinematography. the effects, and the score all achieve perfection. It is a reminder of how powerful creature features can be in the right claws. Guillermo del Toro has many monsterpieces to his name, but I think this may be his greatest achievement. I highly recommend this film to monster lovers, film fans, and everyone with a pulse. The Shape of Water is not to be missed.

#MonsterMovieMonday: Santa Claus (1959)

Ho-Ho-Ho, Ho-rror Ho-mies!

‘Tis the season to be scary, Kringle kreepers! This week’s #MonsterMovieMonday is a festive freak-fable from 1959. It’s the innocuously tit-led Santa Claus, a lil’ Deadtime Gory that’s far creepier than its tit-le suggests. On the surface, it’s a perfectly harmless Ho-rrorday movie for all the good krypt-kiddies out there… but it’s completely crackers in every way! Three words: Santa against Satan… oh,yes! That definitely happens! This is a family XXX-Mas film about Santa fight a literal demon from Hell! Throw in Merlin, child labor, creepy body part machines, and a Santa space castle…. you got yourself a Hell of a devilish good Creepmas movie!

Too weird to be believed, but it definitely eXXXists! Don’t believe me? Check out the madness below!

Splatterday Mourning Cartoon: Billy and Mandy Save Christmas

Season’s Creepings, Ho-rror Ho-mies!

This Splatterday’s lump o’ cartoon coal is a heartwarming Ho-rrorday yarn featuring everyone’s favorite Creepmas icon... The Grim Reaper! It’s Billy and Mandy Save Christmas, the creepiest Creepmas special to ever creep! I mean, it’s about The Grim Reaper trying to save Santa Claws from some bloodthirsty vampires! It’s a real Nightmare before Christmas! Plus, it features freakin’ Malcolm McDowell as the dandiest dead dude and a casting choice for Santa Claws that so mind-blowingly amazing, I wouldn’t dare spoil it for you here!  If this special doesn’t make you feel all warm ‘n’ creepmas-y, nothing will!

Check it out below, festive freaks!

Comic Book Review: Vampblade #1

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Superfiend! :) xoxo)

“When a young comic shop employee is transformed by mystical blades into a walking talking (and slicing & dicing) 90s comic book bad girl, she must quickly learn how to survive the new grotesque world the blades reveal. Now, other-dimensional parasites hidden all around us resembling the “space vampires” from the 90s comic, Vampblade, are all too real, and out for her blood!”

I decided to read this comic book after seeing a post and a page of artwork posted on social media.  I had no idea what the story was about but the title and cover art intrigued me, so I picked it up.  This spontaneous pickup ends on a positive note, because I had so much fun reading this book.  In reality, this character appeared briefly in issues of Zombie Tramp (another book I should read & review).  In the world of this comic book, Vampblade was a 90’s popular comic book character.  I like this art imitating life thing this book  has going on.  Also, I love that writer Jason Mortin set the Vampblade comic within a comic in the 90’s, given the similarities that Vampblade has with Vampirella and Witchblade, two 90’s comic book icons.  While Mark Millar turned a comic book reader into a superhero with Kick Ass, Mortin takes it two steps further, by having our protagonist and soon to be hero, work at a comic book shop and is a cosplayer as well.  This is the first time I’m seeing the cosplay community actually getting some love in a comic book and that’s cool.  The action of this story is precipitated by some mafia goons holding the staff and patrons at gunpoint, demanding that store owner give them the money he owes them.  First of all, I’ve never seen a comic book story where the mafia invades a comic book store before.  That alone makes this story unique.  It gets even more intriguing after the owner is killed and we learn that he had shady dealings with the mob, with the comic book store as a legitimate business, fronting for mob activity. At first glance, I though, there’s no way a comic book shop would be a good, profitable front for the mob.  However, the explanation from our writer via one of the mobsters that;  "Slow business, lots of real customers  in and out. Perfect cover", made absolute sense.  Speaking of cover, our soon to be hero Katie Carva and the patrons ran for cover in the back room.

Kreepm-ass Karols (and other strange seasonal songs)

Season's Kreepings, fellow fright fiends! :) 

Kreepmas is just around the korner, and it's time for us festive freaks to skull-ebrate the second most wonderful Slime of the year! At the Slime of this writing, Krampus is about to make his yearly visit to all the bad little kiddies out there, which means we're balls deep in the ho-rrorday season! So without further a-Boo, here are some Kreepy Karols to help keep things Scary & Bright! 

Have yourself a Scary Lil' XXX-mas, Kinky Ho-mies! :) xoxo

ThanXXX so much for stopping by...Let's be Ho-rror Buddies!

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Hit me up, Ho-mies!