Ho-pe you’re all having a very Merry Red Christmas! This here’s just a goofy lil’ solo pod of me sharing one of my favorite ho-rrorday traditions. It’s a lil’ different, but-t ho-pefully you’ll find some joy in my festive foolishness... 😉 Have a very Scary XXX-mas! ❤
In this episode, JB and I chat about the Halloween Hootenanny, and some of our wacky adventures on the road right afterwards. :)
Wanna send The Last Drive In some Snail Mail? The addy for that is:
215 Thompson St. #113
New York, NY 10012
If you'd like to vote on what movies you'd like us to show on The Last Drive In, I've made 2 Ranker lists so Mr. JB can see what we REALLY want him to show neXXXt season! :)
Upcoming Appearances (Updated on the reg, so check back often! :)
Texxx-ass Theatre, Dall-ass
JB & Me, presenting a ho-rrorday cl-ass-sick <3
Texxx-ass Theatre, Dall-ass
Art Sanctuary, Louisville KY
Back on tour with Mr. JB and his "Redneck" show...First stop, Louisville!
Art Sanctuary, Louisville KY
Cinema Arts Centre Huntington, New York
Cinema Arts Centre Huntington, New York
Our first Con of the year...and it's in Veg-ass, baby!!! Come hang with us in the City o'Sin!
Mankind has always searched for monsters. We look up to the stars and imagine what wonders lie beyond their brilliant light; what creatures may eXXXist in galaXXXies unknown. We continue to search above... but-t the real monsters lie below. In our own oceans, there are things far more awesome than we can comprehend, more fearsome than the demons conjured by fiction, and just as mysterious as anything above the heavens. Aliens are real, and they live on earth. Anglerfish, vampires squids, giant isopods... all fantastical, all real. And that is what makes our monster of the month unique: chilling plausibility. Unless you have a reality show on the SyFy Channel or happen to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you probably don't believe in vampires, ghosts, and their ilk. They're fairytales, like Snow White or the Big Bad Wolf. But our monster could very well be out there, hidden entirely from the probing eyes of man. It's monstrous, it's colossal, it's... the Kraken.
The first official writing on the Kraken was in 1180 by King Sverre of Norway, but tales of tentacled sea beasts have eXXXisted in some form for many eons. Our Krakens are said to be ghastly things of Brobdingnagian proportions, capable of wrapping its ho-rrible limbs around the mightiest ship. Like a demon from the pit, they drag sailors deep below, either drowning or devouring them. You couldn't possibly see them coming, for they lurks in the darkest water. They are terror incarnate to many; the scourge of the sea.
Carl Linnaeus, the Father of Modern TaXXXonomy, gave credence to the myth when he included the Kraken in his groundbreaking 1735 opus, "Systema Naturae." In said teXXXt, Linnaeus gave the Kraken the scientific name of "Microcosmus marinus." However, future editions of the teXXXt would omit the Kraken. Erik Pontoppidan, Bishop of Bergen, wrote eXXXtensively on the Kraken in "The Natural History of Norway" from 1752. He described the kraken as "incontestably the largest Sea monster in the world" and also wrote, "It is said if [the creature's arms] were to lay hold of the largest man-of-war they would pull it down to the bottom." However, the good bishop claimed that the monster itself was not dangerous but the whirlpools it left were devastating.
In 1830, Alfred Tennyson published "The Kraken," an irregular sonnet which describes our majestic monster:
"Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."
It's been speculated that the poem served as inspiration to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu," another literary work about a tentacled terror. A frightful cephalopod famously terrorized the crew of the Nautilus in Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," a tale which owes much to the legend of the Kraken. In film, cephalo-fiends inhabit such pictures as "It Came from Beneath the Sea" and the numerous adaptations of the aforementioned Verne novel. The Kraken itself has starred in films like "Clash of the Titans" (though Ray Harryhausen's Kraken resembles the Ymir from "20 Million Miles to Earth more than the mythic creature) and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.
What separates the Kraken from our other Monsters of the Month is that they're real... sort of. In our world, there eXXXists a creature known as the giant squid. While we've had proof of their eXXXistence since the 1800s, we didn't get out first footage of the creature until 2001, which was of its larval state. The first photographs of a live adult in its natural habitat were taken in 2004. Footage of the creature remain incredibly rare. Just last year, a giant squid was filmed in U.S. waters for the first time.
Because of the elusive nature of the giant squid, it's easy to imagine that a Kraken might be out there, waiting for the next ship to attack. The ending of "The Thing From Another World" famously told the public to "watch the skies." And while that is indeed solid advice, we must add simply this: observe the ocean. The Kraken may sleepeth.
And we now conclude our article with an admirably abominable animated interpretation of the Tennyson poem by the Lone Animator on YouTube. Enjoy!
In the tenth installment of "The Simpsons' Treehouse of Ho-rror" Halloween special, the aliens Kang and Kodos (a beloved seasonal staple on the show) host a sort of eXXXtraterrestrial variety show. They do schtick in front of an audience of fellow aliens. We are then shown the Simpsons family, watching the program on TV. The inquisitive Lisa Simpson asks, "What do aliens have to do with Halloween?', which is then answered with a "Silence!" and vaporization with a ray-gun.
That bit always stood out to me, not for its supposed hilarity but for what I perceived as sheer strangeness. Halloween is the celebration of the macabre and monsters... of course creatures from outer space belong in Halloween! They have plenty to do with the season! And that joke was made all the more perpleXXXing by its source: a show which has included a duo of aliens in every single one of their Halloween shows! When Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky wrote "Hungry are the Damned" for the very first "Treehouse," they were clearly aware of the intrinsic ho-rror which our unearthly friends possess: they drew inspiration from "The Twilight Zone" and EC Comics, two sources which often employed aliens in terrifying fashion. And before we reach that final twist, the primary joke is that the creatures are ghastly! They're as gruesome as a gargoyle!
But, during its interminable run, "The Simpsons" has switched writers many times and different writers bring different viewpoints. Whoever wrote that line must have been baffled by Kang and Kodos as a Halloween tradition. There hasn't been a lot written about this throwaway line (surprising, I know), but my surmise is that the one responsible for that bit sees aliens not as horror but as sci-fi. And while beings such as Kang and Kodos are pure fright fuel to me, I have met many who would argue that aliens simply aren't of the genre. So, as the tit-le asks, do aliens belong in ho-rror?
Ho-rror and science fiction are two genres which are often conflated, frequently inhabiting the same shelf at book and video shops. While it is unfair to say that all ho-rror and sci-fi are the same, they truly complement each other. Science fiction is about the exploration of the unknown, which is, according to H.P. Lovecraft (practitioner of the sci-fi horror story), "the oldest and strongest kind of fear." Sci-fi is of ideas, ho-rror is of fear, and there is enough room for the two to meet. In fact, the first science fiction novel was a perfect marriage of the two: "Frankenstein."
Unlike vampires and zombies, aliens aren't always used in a ho-rrific context. Pop culture aliens can be friendly home-phoners or complex lifeforms. The Great Gazoo, ALF, and Mork are all beloved sitcom stars with nary a frightful connotation. But even a jovial vampire is still linked with the morbid, appearing almost eXXXclusively in Halloween special or shows about the scary side of life (and death). Perhaps that has something to do with it: aliens aren't ALWAYS scary. Travellers from beyond the stars may be looking for a place to live, or work, or maybe they know that Earth is the best place to get a Philly Cheesesteak. Their motivations may vary, their physical appearance is not always hideous, and they can be endearing. A lovable vampire may be charming, but vampires are always monsters who feed on the blood of the living; there are only so many ways you can soften that up without acknowledging the inherent creepiness.
But there are plenty of pop culture aliens who are just as bloodthirsty as our batty buddies. The 1950s were routinely invaded by saucer-eyed scoundrels who mauled, mangled, and menaced the earth: "The Thing from Another World," "The Blob," "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers," "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "Robot Monsters," and "Invasion of the Saucer Men" are just a few of the star-bound scarefests which dominated the decade. Sure, there were benevolent visitors in films like "The Day the Earth Stood Still," but even the early scenes in "The Day..." evoke a sense of dread. Aliens were primarily the source of screams; the bogeymen from the cosmos. Horror comics of the time were rich with such entities.
And we simply can't have a conversation of this nature without bringing up "The War of the Worlds," one of the first stories of a hostile alien invasion. It's been adapted, spoofed, and ripped off, but perhaps the most well-known telling of the H.G. Wells novel is the 1938 "Mercury Theatre" broadcast by Orson Welles. Before eXXXtraterrestrials were commonplace in media, Welles presented the venerable work as a fictional new broadcast which emphasized the sheer ho-rror of the situation. It was shocking! It was ghastly! It caused nationwide panic... or so the story goes. In reality, the broadcast had relatively few listeners, but its legend grew eXXXponentially. Regardless of its inflated reputation, the broadcast is synonymous with fear. The terror it supposedly elicited is a myth that has been passed down from generation to generation, making it possibly the most eXXXalted broadcast in fright history. And when was this legendary program of terror aired? October 30, the night before Halloween, as a Halloween special. If that doesn't give aliens a place in Halloween revelry, I don't know what will!
But not everyone agrees with that. Some even insist that a film like 1979's "Alien" is not a horror picture because of the presence of the tit-ular abomination. To some, sci-fi elements negate any horror: sci-fi is sci-fi, horror is horror. And that is more than okay: everyone's definition of what horror is differs. We will continue to include things from past the moon here, but we love the unique perspectives people bring to the table. Do aliens belong in horror? We think so, but that doesn't mean you have to. If "The Simpsons" can acknowledge both, so can we.
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)
Starring Diana Prince/Darcy the Mail Girl