Genderbent Wednesdays Presents BLACK CHRISTMAS

When I began Genderbent Wednesdays at the beginning of the year, I wondered if I could keep to a monthly schedule. The answer was a quick and resounding no. So, I adjusted my expectations: I’d post a new column every other month. That, I figured, was perfectly doable.

It’s been roughly (checks calendar) six months since my last confession column.

Okay, so I failed that goal, too. Still, I’ve known since March that I wanted to tackle a classic slasher film, and what better month for that than October, right? Obviously, this wasn’t bad planning; this was DESTINY. As for that slasher film, well, I had a few options. I did consider Halloween for quite some time, being the quintessential horror film and all. But–as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when I put all my blasphemy cards on the table–despite its obvious film significance, solid third act, and wonderfully creepy score, I’ve never managed to work up much passion for Halloween. Besides, I really liked the idea of examining a sorority movie for this particular column. It’s not that frat boys don’t die in horror films, of course, but they’re not usually terrorized in the same way: not stalked, not watched in their sleep. The calls don’t come from inside the house.

And so I chose one of my favorite horror movies, the slasher that actually predates Michael Myers and his babysitter-killing ways: Black Christmas.

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World’s Worst Trekkie: Carlie Takes On “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”

Oh, time travel. Much like Shakespeare, time travel has become something of a staple in the Trek universe. And with the very brief, inconsequential exception of “The Naked Time,” where the Enterprise accidentally travels three days back into the past, it all begins right here in this episode!

Of course, some beginnings run smoother than others.

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Lil Spooky Reviews: Halloween, House on Haunted Hill, and MORE House on Haunted Hill

Well, we’ve officially hit October and Halloween season, i.e., the best season of the year. I’m woefully behind on my horror movie watching, and while I’d love to write my typical three-to-seven thousand word essays on every film I see, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to it. I do hope to have quite the epic-sized essay here next week (assuming I can finish it up before going on vacation), but for today, I’m just grouping a few mini-reviews together in one post. Like, this is even shorter than the handful of Baby Reviews I’ve written in the past; we’re talking 1-2 paragraphs tops. They’re practically goddamn embryonic. Hopefully, though, this will allow me to (briefly) discuss several scary movies over the course of this most joyous month.

Therefore, without further ado . . .

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

First Watch or Re-Watch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon, the B&W version (I have feelings about colorized versions of old movies)
Spoilers: Only mild ones

I enjoyed checking this out, although I feel like aspects of the twist ending are a bit of a letdown. Not so much the twist itself, actually; that’s set up pretty well, for the most part. Still, it leaves certain things unexplained, things that–to me–feel like untapped potential or annoying loose ends rather than interesting ambiguities. Certain characters are dropped for half the movie; other characters I’d happily see dropped out of a window. (Particularly the heroine. Sadly, it doesn’t happen.)

OTOH, I adore both Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart, who have a relationship best described as “Nick and Nora, if they wanted to murder one another.” They kind of make the whole movie for me. And the setup is a lot of fun: the first five minutes or so are pretty hysterical, and I genuinely enjoy how the movie introduces each guest one-by-one. I am, and forever will be, a sucker for any dinner party which comes with a side of MURDER. (Also, I’m simply incapable of watching Vincent Price in anything and not thinking of him as Sinister Disney. And yes, that is my latest band name, thank you for asking.)

Halloween (1978)

First Watch or Re-Watch: Re-Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Nah

I mean, the movie’s cinematic influence clearly cannot be denied, and I really do love aspects of this film. Still, Halloween’s probably never going to be one of my personal favorites. I like Jamie Lee Curtis well enough. The whole last act is pretty great, up to and including the last two lines. Seriously, that ending? Pretty masterful. And, of course, I love the score; hell, I own two different versions of the damn theme song . . . although I’ve gotta admit, on the re-watch, I actually felt like John Carpenter used the music too much too early. For me, it made those scenes feel repetitive, rather than tense.

Sadly, I have never in my life been able to take Dr. Loomis seriously. Donald Pleasance keeps going on about “the EVIL,” and even full-well knowing he’s right, I can’t help but watch this movie and think, “Shit, man, maybe you just suck at your job.” I hesitate to say I want more backstory–because Good Christ, did I not enjoy Rob Zombie’s attempt at that in 2007–but there’s a part of me that wishes we saw a glimpse of why Loomis is so certain his patient is darkness personified. Also: the pacing is a bit on the slow side, and I kind of wish Laurie’s friends weren’t awful. Like, even in slashers, I’m apparently all about girls having positive friendships with other girls. Mind you, none of those are fatal flaws; this isn’t an argument that Halloween is a bad movie and everyone who likes it has been brainwashed by the system. It just doesn’t do much for me on a personal level.

House on Haunted Hill (1999)

First Watch or Re-Watch: Re-Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Yes, if you watch the video.

Well, after watching the original film, Mekaela and I obviously decided to nostalgia-watch the awful 90’s remake, too. I hadn’t seen it since I was, oh, 13 or 14, and it’s about as bad as I remember. The movie has several problems (thin characters, an annoying female lead, ridiculous special effects, a convoluted plot, not knowing when to stick to or deviate from the source material, etc.), but the sole thing that disappoints me the most is how Stephen and Evelyn’s relationship is handled. Gone is the almost charming banter between our homicidal Nick and Nora; now they’re just two awful people who are terrible to everyone 140% of the time. They feel like caricatures. Their barbs have no wit, and between the script, the performances, and some of the “intense” angles, the whole thing just feels like it’s trying way too hard. It’s too bad, too, because my God, Geoffrey Rush is just spot-on casting for Vincent Price.

On the plus side, Chris Kattan is a lot of fun as Pritchett; he’s actually a big improvement to his counterpart in the original film. The movie maintains a breezy pace and stars a ridiculous amount of people: besides the aforementioned Rush and Kattan, there’s also Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter, Peter Gallagher, and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras– not to mention, BTVS fans can enjoy cameos by James Marsters and Max Perlich, while mid-90’s pop rock fans can enjoy a cameo by Lisa Loeb. (I’d say horror fans can enjoy a cameo by Jeffrey Combs, but his screen time is so limited it’s hard to appreciate it; you simply don’t cast Jeffrey Combs as a psychopathic doctor ghost and then do this little with him.) And if you, like me, were the right age to enjoy 90’s schlocky gore fests, House on Haunted Hill could be the bad horror movie you need right now, particularly to get your troubled mind off all the actual horror in the current world.

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World’s Worst Trekkie: Carlie Takes On “Arena”

Friends. Enemies. People who’ve accidentally stumbled over this blog whilst looking for a subscription service called My Geek Box. We have finally arrived at the TOS episode with possibly the most infamously terrible fight scene of all time.

It is, in a word, glorious.

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“You Said Nothing Comes Back. But Something Has.”

I had every intention of seeing Annihilation in theaters; unfortunately, it only stayed on the big screen for roughly seven seconds before disappearing into the void, infuriating me to no end. However, now that I’ve finally had the opportunity?

Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure what I think about it.

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World’s Worst Trekkie: Carlie Takes On “The Squire of Gothos”

Hello! It’s been a busy few weeks here at My Geek Blasphemy: I traveled to WorldCon, then DragonCon, then to a good friend’s wedding, and while I had fun at all those events, I also kinda never want to leave my couch again. Sadly, I suspect that such a plan might prove unsustainable in the long term.

In the short term, however, it gives me time to start watching TOS again.

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“She Has Now Become Satan’s Prisoner!”

Well, that was predictable: for the sake of the 2018 Clarion West Write-a-Thon, I sold my reviewing services to the highest bidder–so to speak–and the highest bidder, once again, was Evil Tom.

Now, Evil Tom’s initial plan was to make me watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as he was shocked to discover I’d never seen the movie. Such a selection would’ve suited me just fine, as I have mild interest in the film–almost entirely because Ezra Miller is in it–but not quite enough to actually bother, you know, renting it. Unfortunately, Evil Tom couldn’t resist changing his Evil Plan at the last minute, which is how I ended up watching 80’s Indonesian horror film Mystics in Bali instead.

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