Goth Chick News: When Pixar Met Christine…

Thursday, February 14th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Stranger Cars

Okay, admittedly I’m way late on this since it was uploaded to YouTube in October, but as it was just brought to my attention, and killer cars are always in vogue in my world, I had to share.

On the YouTube channel Fabulous Cars VEEVOOO, some complete genius took liberties with the John Carpenter classic Christine (1983) along with other vehicular horrors and “Pixarized” them. As you likely recall, Christine is the movie based on Stephen King’s story about a demonic 1958 Plymouth Fury of the same name, who was hard core in love with her rather backward teenaged owner and went about systematically destroying anyone who mistreated him or took too much of his attention.

If you haven’t read the book, trust me when I say it’s way more interesting than I’m making it sound, and this gem of a movie short has sent me back to read it again. If you ever fell in love with a car, you’ll get it.

The short, called Stranger Cars, has all the magic of Pixar with the imagination of John Carpenter, and blends them into one big Disney nightmare.

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Goth Chick News: Looking Back at a Good Old-Fashioned Exorcism…

Thursday, February 7th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

The Exorcist poster-small

Long before Emily Rose, or Emma Evans there was Regan MacNeil, a once normal little girl who became quite a handful thanks to an imaginary friend who, as it turned out, happened to be an ancient Mesopotamian demon king. It was just over 45 years ago, on December 26, 1973, movie-going audiences were treated to what would come to be known as one of the scariest horror movies of all time – The Exorcist.

Based on William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name, The Exorcist tells the story of a little girl possessed by the demon Pazuzu and the priests charged with saving her soul. There are tales of people being so frightened of Blatty’s book that they keep it in a separate part of the house, like a garage, a linen closet, or even a freezer; because it’s common knowledge that ancient demon spirits go dormant in the cold and can’t manage closed doors.

The movie terrified audiences even more so, with some believing there was actual evil contained in the film stock. Looking at the adjusted, highest-grossing film list, so named as all totals are twizzled to account for inflation, The Exorcist bests even Avatar. It racked up $232 million in box office takings, over $900 million by today’s standards. What is even more fascinating is the profound difference 45 years has made in what audiences consider terrifying. In spite of the advancements in special effects technology that make some of The Exorcist scenes borderline comical by today’s standards, no movie since its premier has had such an effect on movie-goers.

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Goth Chick News: The (Hot, Vampire) Boys Are Back in Town

Thursday, January 31st, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Lost Boys for Goth Chick News

Long before new-age, flannel-wearing vampire Edward Cullen pouted and emo’d his way through not drinking blood in the Twilight series, there were the dangerously sexy boys from Santa Carla who introduced the 80’s to motorcycle-riding vampires with incredible fashion sense.

The Lost Boys premiered in the summer of 1987 with the tag line, “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die,” basically summing up every 80’s kid’s deepest desires. Though The Hunger arguably provided vampires with their first 20th century panache, Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland brought us the idea of a teen-vamps in all their dark, leather-clad, bad-boy glory; effectively changing the genre forever by then giving rise to the Joss Whedon-helmed television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its subsequent universe.

Two unfortunate and highly-forgettable sequels followed, neither of which managed to capture the magic of the first. Lost BoysThe Tribe (2008) saw the return of only one original cast member, Cory Feldman, and tried to make up for its shortcomings of pretty much ripping off the original plot, by throwing in a whole lot of skin. Lost Boys – The Thirst followed two years later with Feldman still in tow and fared slightly better with fans, but it was clear the whole concept either needed to be dropped, or get a reboot for the 21st century.

And voila… here we go.

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Godzilla: 3, Castles: 0 – The History of the Castles Godzilla Wrecked

Saturday, January 26th, 2019 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

godzilla-model-over-castle

The city of Washington, DC has taken occasional issue with production companies shooting large-scale action and science-fiction movies in the National Mall. As one government official explained, in regards to a planned shoot for the third Transformers film, “The National Mall is not an area in which Americans come to see high-tech action movies being made.”

What? That’s one of the reasons we have national monuments! This is not a defense of Transformers 3: We Won’t Get It Right Until Bumblebee, but a reminder that one of the core purposes of great landmarks across the globe is so they can be destroyed by aliens, robots, and giant monsters on the big screen.

Giant monsters in particular love wrecking landmarks, or at least getting good spectacle use out of them (such as Kong and the Empire State Building). Watching a titanic creature devastate a familiar cultural object provides a sinister thrill for viewers; it makes the monster that much more intimidating. Your human-sized buildings, no matter their age or importance to national psyche, mean nothing to these beasts.

The Japanese breed of giant monsters, kaijus, have devastated bridges, skyscrapers, dams, baseball stadiums, and almost anything else built in contemporary Japan. But one landmark has a special place in kaiju disrespect for infrastructure and culture: the feudal castle. The first castle Godzilla destroyed was in the second movie of the series, Godzilla Raids Again. This worked so well that the next two movies also had castle destructions that have turned into some of the most famous Godzilla moments.

Most folks outside of Japan are unfamiliar with the history of these castles, let alone know them by name. In my love of cross-disciplinary exercises, I’ve put together a history guide to those first three castles to fall under the force of the Big G, either solo or while beating up another monster. This is one of my personal loves about Godzilla: using the monster as a springboard to other subjects I might not have gotten around to otherwise. Like origami.

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Goth Chick News: Another Extreme Experience to Quell Our Overstimulated Psyches…

Thursday, January 24th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick News

We’re reported on haunted attractions which have patrons basically paying to be tortured, and we’ve seen an amusement park ride which simulates you being buried alive, both of which make us a tad worried about our fellow human beings and their increasing appetite for ‘extreme’ experiences. Apparently, our collective need to have our overloaded senses shocked even further has given rise to escape rooms that require 20-page liability releases and…

Well, and this…

Beginning January 27th, the annual Goteborg Film Festival in Sweden will be offering up 32 “sarcophagus screenings” of Aniara, a Swedish-language apocalyptic sci-fi film.

What does this entail exactly?

Billed as “The World’s Most Claustrophobic Cinema,” the word “sarcophagus” in this case equals “coffin”. Eight volunteers per screening will be chosen to be shut into specially-made caskets outfitted with screens, speakers and oh yeah, air vents. You can check out the promo reel for this great big bucket of ‘nope’ after the jump below.

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Godzilla Raids Again/Gigantis the Fire Monster (1955)

Saturday, January 19th, 2019 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

godzilla-raids-again-japanese-poster-1It was disheartening to sum up the recent Godzilla anime trilogy, the only Japanese Godzilla films I never plan to rewatch. Even with the Hollywood mega-millions epic Godzilla: King of the Monsters only a few months away, the feeling of deflation within my favorite movie franchise made it necessary for me to plug a bit of hope into my schedule immediately. Not by watching a great Godzilla film, mind you, but by watching a mediocre Godzilla film. Why? Because it’s the best way to remember how even lesser entries in the series can offer some enjoyment. Like watching Godzilla actually move. This is a radical concept the anime filmmakers let slip past them.

Thus I present Godzilla Raids Again, a middle-of-the-road G-movie that’s mostly faded into obscurity despite its prime position as the first Godzilla sequel.

To date, Toho Studios has released thirty-two feature-length Godzilla films. In any series with such longevity, a few installments slip off the pop culture radar. But it’s almost never the second movie that suffers this fate. The first sequel to a smash hit, regardless of quality, is a major event. The many films that come after are where the grayness of oblivion sets in.

Yet Godzilla Raids Again, released in 1955 only six months after the original, is one of the least seen of the Showa Era Godzilla movies. Many viewers outside Japan are unaware it exists. If they are, they may not know it’s a Godzilla film at all because it was released in the US and much of the rest of the world as Gigantis the Fire Monster. Godzilla’s name not only vanished from the title, it vanished from the dubbing. Not until 2006 did a North American DVD containing both the Japanese and US versions bring the film out with the classic monster’s name reattached. The DVD producers digitally superimposed the title Godzilla Raids Again over the spot where Gigantis the Fire Monster once appeared … although the dubbing with the name “Gigantis” remained.

How Godzilla became Gigantis and then pulled a cultural vanishing act is quite the tale. But let’s first look at the actual Godzilla Raids Again, which is its own strange story and a stopgap moment in the early history of the Japanese giant monster (kaiju) film.

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Goth Chick News: Filed Under “Is This Necessary?”

Thursday, January 17th, 2019 | Posted by Sue Granquist

Goth Chick Ghostbusters

As you might recall, in 2016 Sony Pictures decided the time was right to reboot the 1984 classic Ghostbusters using all female leads.

Oh, you don’t recall that?

That’s okay, because those of us who do would like to forget it.

But here we are, having barely shaken off the bacchanalia of the holidays, when BOOM, Variety hits us with this gem. Sony Pictures is having another go barely two years later.

News broke this week that Jason Reitman, son of Ghostbusters 1 & 2 director Ivan Reitman, is officially attached to direct a new Ghostbusters sequel. The film is said to be taking place in the original universe, and Reitman, like the rest of us, is ignoring the 2016 reboot entirely.

Reitman is also co-writing the screenplay with Gil Kenan (Monster House, Poltergeist), and Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Pictures is set to produce so we’re at least keeping this all in the family. Filming begins this summer and summer 2020 is targeted for release.

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Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018) Brings the Anime Trilogy to a Dreary End

Saturday, January 12th, 2019 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

godzilla-planet-eater-japanese-posterThis whole thing has been a lot of pixels over nothing.

Interesting possibilities glimmered in the first two films of the animated Godzilla trilogy, Godzilla: The Planet of Monsters and Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle. But the final installment has arrived, premiering on Netflix this Wednesday, and now the whole enterprise reveals itself as a water-treading, self-proselytizing, character-inhibited, medium-wasting drag. This hasn’t been a bit of fun. There are no moments of elation or astonishment. In fact, Godzilla has hardly moved. I think the monster budged about ten feet the entirety of this last movie — and that includes during the climactic clash with Ghidorah, the only other kaiju to wander into the trilogy.

Godzilla fought Ghidorah — and for the first time ever, I didn’t care.

It astonishes me how static this “animated” film is. If you want your anime about a giant monster on an apocalyptic Earth to start with thirty minutes of talking heads debating the same philosophical ideas without doing anything about them, and then climax with more talking heads discussing a still-life of two monsters, Godzilla: The Planet Eater (Gojira: Hoshi o Kuu Mono) is the movie for you. I.e. it’s a movie for nobody, Godzilla fans least of all.

Godzilla: The Planet Eater ends a story that started as an intriguing concept. Not only would the trilogy bring Godzilla to anime for the first time, where budget couldn’t block the imagination of the filmmakers, but it would place Godzilla in the fresh setting of an apocalyptic science-fantasy future. When I first heard the series synopsis — the human race returns to a Godzilla-conquered Earth after an exile in the stars — it got my imagination churning. I envisioned an Edgar Rice Burroughs or Andre Norton environment with the colorful wildness of some of the Godzilla comics.

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Is Jack Reacher Today’s Tarzan?

Friday, January 4th, 2019 | Posted by Violette Malan

TarzanFor me Tarzan was always a movie, and sometimes a TV character. I knew intellectually that the stories were based on books. I even knew that the books were written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. But for me, at that time, it was all about the John Carter of Mars books. I did finally read one of the later Tarzan novels, Tarzan the Untamed, and while I liked it, it wasn’t enough to woo me away from Burroughs’ SF writing.

I’ve always been aware of Tarzan as a character icon, of course, the early 20th-century version of the noble savage. I’ve written about him before. I mention him as far back as 2014, one of my earliest posts for Black Gate, when I was looking at swords and ERB. More recently I’ve looked at him as an iconic character in the same vein as Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood, characters which keep turning up on both big and small screens.

It’s only lately that I’ve actually started reading the books. Amazon had one of these get all 26 novels for $2.99 deals and it seemed stupid not to get them. So far I’ve read the first two, Tarzan of the Apes, and The Return of Tarzan. In general, they’re a lot of fun, and I’ve found them a lot less racist and a lot less misogynistic than I’d anticipated, given the time period of the writing. There’s definitely stuff that makes me either cringe or roll my eyes, but as I say, not as much as I expected.

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A Smattering of Sexbots

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 | Posted by Steve Carper

sexbot vibrate pulse Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk

Sexbots are as ubiquitous today as Starbucks. My Google news feed overruns with stories on sexbot brothels. No modern genre, especially animated ones, can feel properly inclusive without a sexbot gumming up the moral works, which in some cases might not be a euphemism.

‘Twasn’t always so. Sexbots go back a surprisingly long way in the arts but were seldom allowed to explicitly ply their trade after a spectacular introduction. They appear for the first time, as far as I can discover, exactly where stereotypes suggest: in the France where ladies don’t wear pants, the underground world of Parisian pornography.

You’ve never heard of Alphonse Momas, and not merely because he wrote under a zillion pseudonyms, but during his free hours from his job at the Seine prefecture, he was the leading purveyor of pornography to fin de siècle France. Millenials didn’t invent sex and neither did the baby boomers. Momas’ titles are like a catalog from the modern explicit upwelling of anything goes 1970s porn: Mistress of His Son, The Notebooks of Miss Callypia, The Woman with Dogs, Bloody Buttock, Fetish Lovers, The Eater of Men, The Virgin Fall.

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