Archive for the Animated Films Category

Quick Cuts: Special RAY HARRYHAUSEN Edition!

Posted in 1950s Movies, 1960s Horror, 2013, Animated Films, Dinosaurs, Fantasy, Quick Cuts, Science Fiction with tags , , , , on May 17, 2013 by knifefighter

QUICK CUTS:  Ray Harryhausen Favorites
With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, and William Carl

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Welcome to another edition of QUICK CUTS.  Today we remember Ray Harryhausen, who passed away last week at 92.  I think we can all agree that when it comes to stop-motion animation in the movies, Harryhausen was a true artist and visionary.  No one did it better than him.

Earlier in the week, L.L. Soares and I did a formal tribute to Mr. Harryhausen. To honor him today in a special edition of QUICK CUTS, we look back at some of our favorite Ray Harryhausen movies, monsters, and scenes.  Joining us this time is William Carl.  Okay, gentlemen, let’s get started.

What’s your favorite Ray Harryhausen movie and why? 

WILLIAM CARL:  VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969).

Gwangi vs. Elephant in THE VALLEY OF GWANGI  (1969)

Gwangi vs. Elephant in THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969)

ARRUDA:  One of my favorites

SOARES: Mine, too.

CARL:  Not only did this movie have cowboys and circuses, but it also had dinosaurs!  This was like a mash-up project created by my pre-pubescent mind at about eight years of age.  The women were beautiful, the men were rugged, and the scenes of the monster rampaging were very well executed.  I still watch it at least once a year, and I still cheer on the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

L.L. SOARES: T. Rex, yeah! Marc Bolan rocked.

CARL: Not the band. The dinosaur in the movie.

ARRUDA:   THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958) is my favorite.  I love the Cyclops, the colorful print, the rousing music score by Bernard Herrmann, Nathan Juran’s brisk direction, and Torin Thatcher’s performance as the evil wizard.  I just like the whole package. And of course Harryhausen’s stop-motion effects are some of his best.

SOARES:  I think my favorite one is 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957). I’ve just always been a fan of the creature from Venus, the Ymir, and not only does this movie revolve around Harryhausen’s creation, but you really care about the stop-motion monster by the end, unlike some of his other creatures.

Cyclops vs. Dragon in THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD

Cyclops vs. Dragon in THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD

ARRUDA:  Next up: What’s your favorite Harryhausen creature and why? 

I have to go with the Ymir from 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH, as well.

CARL:  Nice choice

SOARES: Copy cat!

Ymir vs. Elephant in 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH

Ymir vs. Elephant in 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH! What did Harryhausen have against elephants, anyway?

ARRUDA:  Followed closely by the Cyclops in 7TH VOYAGE and Medusa in CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981). 

SOARES:  What are you doing picking more than one?  This is QUICK CUTS!  Our answers are supposed to be brief.

ARRUDA:  I know.  I just can’t help myself.

But the Ymir is my favorite because it’s a cool monster, an alien from Venus.  We don’t see too many of those, which makes him unique.  I would have loved to have seen him in more movies.  He deserved a better fate!

CARL: I agree with you.  This is a tough choice, but like you guys, I would say the Ymir from 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957).  The expressions Harryhausen managed to create on this beastie’s face made it seem all the more terrible when it is killed.  You can see all the pain and fear in its eyes.  Plus, it was completely unique and not based upon any other existing monster like a dinosaur or a mythical creature.  It was a true original.

SOARES:  As I stated before, the Ymir is my favorite as well.

I also really like the movies Harryhausen worked on that revolve around mythology, especially JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) and the SINBAD movies. He created some great creatures for these!

ARRUDA:  See, it’s not easy picking just one, is it?

Last question.  What’s your favorite Harryhausen movie scene and why?

SOARES:  The obvious one is the battle between Jason and the skeletons in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. But that might be a little too obvious. I also liked scenes in the Sinbad movies where creatures fought each other, like the Centaur vs. the Griffin in THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973), or the Cyclops vs. the Dragon in THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD.

CARL:  Oh, my favorite scene was definitely the scene in VALLEY OF GWANGI, where the cowboys rope and capture the dinosaur.  

Cowboys lasso a dinosaur in THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969)

Cowboys lasso a dinosaur in THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969)

 ARRUDA:  Yep, this is a very exciting scene.

CARL:  It’s a scene that is still thrilling today in its weird mixture of action, western, horror, and sci-fi elements.  Come on, we have rodeo cowboys roping a huge monster like it was a calf.  Plus, for sheer expertise, this scene is flawless in its animation execution and its combination with the live footage.  Those lassos are animated in half and real in half, but it all flows so seamlessly you really buy into the ridiculous notion that these guys are roping a dino!  I think I need to go watch this again right now.

SOARES:  Sit back down.  We’re not finished yet!

CARL:  But I can hear dino roaring already!

ARRUDA: We’re almost done.

Well, obvious or not, my favorite scene is the sword fight between Jason and his men and the skeletons in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS.  It’s probably the most ambitious scene Harryhausen ever created.  It’s fascinating to watch, and intense to boot.

Second would be—.

SOARES:  Second?  Who said anything about second?

ARRUDA: —  the Medusa scene from CLASH OF THE TITANS. I really don’t like this movie all that much, but this scene is one of Harryhausen’s best.  Eerily lit, with an ultra-creepy Medusa slithering about, it makes me pine for an all-out Harryhausen horror film, of which, sadly, there is none.

And third—-.

SOARES:  Third?  You’re cheating!

ARRUDA:  — is the giant crab scene in MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961), which is a riveting sequence.

Sorry, I couldn’t limit myself.  There are just too many Harryhausen gems.

SOARES:  Are you through now?

ARRUDA:  Yep, I’m done.  Hey, where did Bill go? 

(William Carl’s seat is empty)

SOARES:  Looks like he left early for his T-Rex date.

ARRUDA:  Hmm. I just thought of another question.  Which Harryhausen creation would you most want to have lunch with?

SOARES:  A better question would be which Harryhausen creation would most want to have you for lunch!

ARRUDA:  True. On that note, let’s grab some food.  I’m hungry.  I’m in the mood for a giant crab salad sandwich.

SOARES:   I’m on a diet.  I’ll just have soup and Krakens.

—END—

© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares and William D. Carl

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Horror-Mom’s Guide to Scary Movies Presents: THE GREEN MARKER SCARE (2012)

Posted in 2012, Animated Films, Horror, Horror-Mom's Guide to Scary Movies, Mystery, Sheri White Reviews, Teen Detectives, Twist Endings with tags , , , , , on December 5, 2012 by knifefighter

HORROR-MOM’S GUIDE TO SCARY MOVIES PRESENTS:
THE GREEN MARKER SCARE (2012)
Film Review by Sheri White

 

When Graham Jones asked me to review his new online movie, he told me it was animated by children. So I thought it would be perfect for this column. Graham did tell me that although it was animated by kids, it was definitely not a movie for kids.

I was skeptical, because when I hear that, and then watch the movie, it’s usually pretty tame. And I thought that about THE GREEN MARKER SCARE for the first 45 minutes or so. Sure, it was a little creepy here and there, but nothing most kids couldn’t handle.

Noreen is a young girl whose father is killed in a car accident. His last words inspire her to investigate the crash, since it doesn’t really seem accidental. Her findings lead her to realize there is something evil going on in her small town, and her father knew all about it.

The entire movie is drawn in green marker. There isn’t a lot of movement in the characters, which is a little creepy in itself—most of the time, only the eyes move.

There is no sex at all in the movie, and no overt violence. The only violence is off-camera, but it’s still shocking.

So is this movie appropriate for children? That’s actually a difficult question to answer in regards to this movie, unlike if I were reviewing (something obvious like) THE EXORCIST (1973). The subject matter in THE GREEN MARKER SCARE is definitely not for little kids, but then again, little kids won’t really get what’s going on. This is not in-your-face horror, and most young children will be bored since a lot of the movie is dialogue.

Older kids probably won’t be phased by the subject matter, unless they scare easily or are brought up in a very religious household.

I think this is more of a movie for adults, not just because of its subject matter, but because it is so quiet and dialogue-driven. Most kids who watch horror movies like the loudness, the gore and splatter. But adults, and especially parents, will appreciate how the movie comes together to horrify the watcher.

This is an Irish movie and the characters have Irish brogues—it was a little difficult to understand some of the dialogue at times, but the movie was so well put together, that I was still able to follow the story.

Variety magazine calls Graham Jones  “a very talented director,” and after watching THE GREEN MARKER SCARE, I would have to agree.

I give it four knives.

To view the movie for yourself, go HERE.

NOTE: Although children drew this movie, they were unaware of the subject matter.

© Copyright 2012 by Sheri White

Sheri White  gives THE GREEN MARKER SCARE ~four (out of five) knives!

Suburban Grindhouse Memories: HEAVY METAL (1981)

Posted in 2012, 80s Movies, Aliens, Animated Films, Anthology Films, Based on Comic Book, Cartoons for Adults, Gore!, Monsters, Nick Cato Reviews, Outer Space, Soft-core, Suburban Grindhouse Memories, Sword & Sorcery with tags , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by knifefighter

Suburban Grindhouse Memories No. 57:
A Universe of Aliens, Dragons, and Boobs…
By Nick Cato

While most young men got their kicks by swiping a copy of Playboy from their dad’s secret stash in the closet, nothing brought me more joy than an issue of HEAVY METAL, the illustrated fantasy magazine that has been going strong since its first issue in 1977. And in 1977 or ‘78 (when I was in the fifth grade) I managed to obtain an issue and was instantly hooked. But it wasn’t just the sex and violence that grabbed my attention; many of the stories were just so much better than what you found in “regular” comic books, and I was familiar with some of the artists and writers whose work appeared within its pages, even at my young age.

Needless to say, I was beyond psyched when I learned HEAVY METAL was going to be adapting several of its more popular stories into an animated film. After what seemed like an eternity, August of 1981 arrived, and a Saturday afternoon trip to the (now defunct) Hylan Twin Cinema left my buddies and me a bit nervous: sure, this was an animated film, but it was rated R and we weren’t sure if the Hylan would let us in (this was one month before I started the 7th grade!). But the space gods shined their light upon us and we walked right in…apparently they were too busy turning people away from their other feature, Blake Edwards’ S.O.B.  Go figure.

The film opens with an astronaut returning to earth via intergalactic sports car in a segment titled ‘Soft Landing.’ The blaring soundtrack (that’s not all heavy metal bands) kicks into high gear with the song ‘Radar Rider’ by some band called Riggs, who to this day I’m still in the dark on who they are. The whole look and feel of the animation brought several stories from the magazine to life, and my blood was pumping like crazy. The man then walks into his house, and the film’s inter-locking story, ‘Grimaldi,’ begins. Grimaldi has brought his daughter home a green sphere, which then proceeds to melt him to the bone before introducing itself to the terrified girl as “The Sum of all Evils.” The sphere then goes on to show the girl several stories of good vs. evil throughout the universe, with itself involved in each one.

The first tale, ‘Harry Canyon,’ is a neo-noir tale set in a distant Manhattan about a cabbie-anti-hero who gets involved with protecting a famous scientist’s daughter from criminals. I think this is the first time I saw animated sex on the big screen, and at the time it was a real hoot! Kudos for the gore level here, too. (NOTE: to this day I am convinced the screenwriters of THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997) robbed this hook, line, and sinker). A great opening story and one of the best in the film.

A scene from the “Harry Canyon” sequence in HEAVY METAL.

Next up is ‘Den,’ based on Richard Corben’s famous character, who is a nerdy teenager, transported to another world where he becomes a bald-headed, muscle-bound hero. The film does a great job bringing Den to life, and John Candy’s voice works well as both versions of the quirky character. As soon as Den lands on this strange new world, he witness a sacrifice to a Cthulhu-like creature, and before long he’s battling crazed religious zealots and having sex with big-breasted women. Yeah…they pretty much nailed the magazine with this one!

I was all too happy to see one of my favorite Bernie Wrightson stories from the magazine make the film: ‘Captain Stern’ is a short but sweet tale of a corrupt starship captain in a courtroom full of weird aliens as all kinds of charges are brought to him. The green sphere happens to be in the hands of the court ship’s janitor, turning him into a Hulk-like maniac who then goes after Stern (and kills most of the ship’s occupants). Crazy little segment, highlighted by Cheap Trick’s great, seldom-heard song ‘Reach Out.’ The crowd loved this one, too.

Next up is a genuinely creepy EC-comics type of tale titled  ‘B-17.’ A B-17 bomber is taking heavy damage from enemies (in space!) but the crew manages to get through. When the co-pilot goes to check his men, he finds them all dead and notices the green sphere following the plane. The sphere turns the dead crew members into zombies, and only the main pilot escapes onto a plane-graveyard island. But what awaits him is anything but safety. It was nice to see one horror-oriented story here, even if it didn’t have the best plot.

So Beautiful and so Dangerous’ is the weirdest piece here, about a scientist trying to talk to the Pentagon about a series of strange mutations that have been showing up across the United States. He goes crazy when he notices the green sphere attached to the cute stenographer’s necklace. But just as he attempts to rape her in front of the entire Pentagon personnel, a huge space ship lowers a tube into the room and sucks the two of them upward. The scientist’s body explodes while the stenographer, Gloria, loses her clothes and soon has sex with the ship’s mini-robot. Meanwhile, two Cheech and Chong-like alien pilots are sniffing more cocaine than you’ve even seen before and partying like maniacs as they attempt to land aboard a humongous space station. I still don’t know what the point of this one was, but it’s hysterical and ridiculously entertaining.

Sexy Pentagon stenographer Gloria meets two Cheech and Chong-like aliens in one of HEAVY METAL’s stranger segments.

The film ends with a serious (and its longest) segment titled, ‘Taarna.’ The green sphere has now become gigantic and crashes into a volcano, where it mutates a bunch of outcast workers into a vengeful gang, bent on taking over a nearby peaceful city. They kill everyone inside…but the elders manage to summon the last of a warrior race (the Taarakians) to come help them. Taarna (a beautiful but tough-as-nails swordswoman who doesn’t waste time talking) arrives too late to save the city, but goes on a bloody course of Conan-style revenge with her pet dragon. (The sequel, HEAVY METAL 2000, was basically a 90-minute remake of ‘Taarna’ with heavier music). The scene of the workers being swallowed by green lava while Black Sabbath’s ‘E5150/Mob Rules’ plays in the background is a real site to see/hear. Taarna is standard sword and sorcery fare, but well done, and with great animation.

‘Taarna’ and her flying dragon from HEAVY METAL.

In the brief epilogue, the young girl from earlier in the film witnesses the green sphere (or “Loc Nar”) explode and destroy her home. She then goes outside and finds a dragon similar to Taarna’s, and takes off into the moonlight.

HEAVY METAL still holds up well all these years later, and while I’ve enjoyed it on cable and VHS (and DVD), this is one film that truly needs to be seen on the big screen to enjoy all its nuances, and with the proper sound system to appreciate it’s killer soundtrack (the soundtrack album still sells well today). The packed theater I witnessed this with featured countless cheering teenagers, moms dumb enough to take their young kids (uncomfortable giggling was heard at each and every sex scene), and fans of the magazine like myself who went back the next day for a second viewing. Too bad the long-awaited sequel was so sub-par; I wish they would’ve done another anthology film like this, with other tales that had appeared in the magazine.

As far as animated cult films go, I’ll take HEAVY METAL over FRITZ THE CAT (1972) any day.

© Copyright 2012 by Nick Cato

FRANKENWEENIE (2012)

Posted in 2012, Animated Corpses, Animated Films, Frankenstein Movies, Scientific Experiments, Sheri White Reviews, Tim Burton Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by knifefighter

FRANKENWEENIE (2012)
Movie Review by Sheri White

 

I had absolutely no desire to see Tim Burton’s new animated film, FRANKENWEENIE. The commercials did nothing for me, and the Renfield-like boy character got on my nerves. It was a pain getting there, because there weren’t many showings in regular format; it was mostly IMAX and 3-D. And to top it off, it was cold and rainy when I finally was able to go.  So I didn’t go in with a very open mind…

Victor Frankenstein is a weird kid who mostly keeps to himself. His best friend is his dog Sparky. But one day, Sparky is killed in an accident, and Victor is inconsolable. The next day in class, his science teacher demonstrates how electricity reanimates dead muscle and tissue.

You know where this is going.

Victor digs up his dog and brings the dog back to life. I swear, that accident must have dismembered the poor dog, because he is stitched up everywhere. Victor is overjoyed, but realizes he has to keep his reanimated dog a secret. Sparky gets out while Victor is in school, and his creepy classmate, Edgar, sees the dog. He blackmails Victor into helping him reanimate something so he’ll win the science fair. Then other creepy classmates find out, and they all decide to reanimate their dead pets for the science fair. Chaos ensues.

Like I said, I had low expectations for this movie. But when that dog got hit by the car in front of Victor—I almost cried. Victor’s grief was very well portrayed, because he broke my heart.

A boy and his dog – Victor and his beloved pooch, Sparky, in Tim Burton’s FRANKENWEENIE.

At the end, it looks like Sparky doesn’t get another chance. I found myself wishing and hoping that silly, stitched-up dead dog would be okay.

I didn’t take my girls, because I didn’t think they’d want to go. So I was there by myself, rooting for a zombie dog. I wish I had brought them along; I know they would’ve loved it. My youngest would’ve teared up, too.

I don’t think I’d recommend this for a child younger than seven or so. It’s very atmospheric, and there are some “jump” moments that would really scare a little kid. The characters are downright creepy; they are obviously drawn with old horror movie actors in mind.

And speaking of old movies, FRANKENWEENIE is chock-full of old horror movie references. Parents will get a kick out of the nods to such as movies as THE BIRDS (1963), THE MUMMY (1932), JURASSIC PARK (1993) and GREMLINS (1984), to name a few. The science teacher looks like Vincent Price.

When the science teacher is vilified by most of the parents for encouraging the science fair, he makes a great speech about ignorance, science and fear of questioning things. That was a great message.

In addition to being kind of creepy for little kids, it’s pretty traumatic when the dog dies. If you have a sensitive young child, you may want to wait for the DVD. And be prepared to answer questions about death, science, and bringing things back to life.

© Copyright 2012 by Sheri White

Sheri White gives FRANKENWEENIE ~ FOUR knives!

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (2012)

Posted in 2012, Adam Sandler Movies, Animated Films, Family Films, Fun Stuff!, Sheri White Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by knifefighter

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (2012)
Movie Review by Sheri White

My kids are old and wizened now at the ripe ages of 23, 17, and 14, which means I haven’t seen a kids’ movie in the theater in a long time. So I was surprised when the two youngest wanted to go with me to see this movie after I told them I was reviewing it for CKF. I didn’t even have to entice them with promises of candy and popcorn.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was THE GROOVIE GOOLIES (1970 – 1971) —the characters were cool, hip versions of the classic movie monsters, like Dracula and Frankenstein.  I loved that show so much. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA reminded me a lot of that awesome show.

Dracula is now a single dad with a precious little girl. He promised his wife before she died that he would always take care of Mavis and protect her. He has a hotel built that is a sanctuary not only for Mavis, but for all monsters. No human can get in.

That all changes on Mavis’s 118th birthday. Her dad has promised her for years that she could leave the hotel and check out a human village on that birthday. And, true to his word, he lets her go. But she quickly realizes the outside world isn’t safe and returns home.

Happy once again, Dracula continues to plan her birthday party. It’s like Bobby Boris Pickett’s song “The Monster Mash” come to life. All the monsters are there to celebrate, and it’s a scream.  Until a young hiker accidentally crashes the good time.

Adults will see where this is headed once Mavis and Johnny run into each other and their eyes meet. What follows is a lot of slapstick comedy as Dracula frantically tries to keep them apart, as well as keeping Johnny’s human status a secret.

Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) meet cute in HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA.

In the end, the movie is about letting your kids go, no matter how much you want them to stay.

My jaded teenage girls loved the movie. I enjoyed it very much myself. There is nothing inappropriate for any age —well, there is a cold swimming pool joke that I know my kids got because they watch SEINFELD —and it shouldn’t be frightening to young children, I’d say five ages and up.  There are a few times when Dracula makes a scary red angry face, and that might freak out littler kids.

Aside from Dracula’s red “angry face,” there’s not much to scare kids in HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA.

Parents will relate to Dracula not wanting to let Mavis leave the hotel, especially since he’s afraid all humans are dangerous – they did kill his wife, after all. There are enough sight gags and sly humor to keep adults interested and amused. Lots of action and color will keep kids riveted.

I don’t say this often about kids’ movies, but I would see this again. There is a lot going on that you can miss the first time around. When my kids were little, they watched SHREK on DVD almost every day, and I didn’t mind. This is one that I wouldn’t mind as well.  I’d even watch it by myself, like I do SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS —what can I say, kids’ stuff can be cooler than adult programming sometimes.

The voice acting is wonderful —I’m not a huge fan of Adam Sandler, but his Dracula was great. You’ll recognize several other voices in the movie, such as Kevin James (as Frankenstein), Steve Buscemi (as the Werewolf) and Selena Gomez (as Mavis). There’s a fun jam session at the end.

Don’t worry about staying around for the credits – nothing happens once the movie is over.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA – fun for all ages, even know-it-all teenagers. I give it four knives.

© Copyright 2012 by Sheri White

Sheri White gives HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA ~FOUR knives (out of five).

A REMOTE OUTPOST CHRISTMAS

Posted in 2011, 60s Movies, Animated Films, HOLIDAY CHEER, Mark Onspaugh Columns, Remote Outpost, Television with tags , , , , , on December 25, 2011 by knifefighter

REMOTE OUTPOST: OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE THREE CHRISTMAS “KINGS”
By Mark Onspaugh

It’s Christmas here at the Outpost, just like it is on your home world.  Rather than review a bygone Christmas special or movie from the Vast Wasteland, I thought I would interview the stars of the three best Christmas specials ever made: RUDOLPH, THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (1964), A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (1965) and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (1966).

Rudolph, Charlie Brown and the Grinch joined me in the main lounge overlooking the Plains of Slow Death—the area is hostile and toxic, but the sunsets are amazing.  I was disappointed that Charlie Brown had not brought Snoopy, nor had the Grinch brought Max, but the journey to the Outpost seems particularly traumatic to dogs and toddlers.

The three had met previously at various gatherings (notably Icons & Immortals), so we got right into it.

OUTPOST:  You each star in a special that was made over 40 years ago, yet most would agree they are still superior to many made since.  How does it feel to be part of something that people have passed down to children and even grandchildren.

RUDOLPH: It’s wonderful.  After having so much trouble as a fawn, it’s nice to know so many people think I’m cute.  (Nose glows and squeaks.)

RUDOLPH - friend to children everywhere and Santa's spare flashlight

CHARLIE BROWN: I don’t know… My life is pretty much the same.  I still haven’t talked to that Little Red-haired Girl and our team never wins.

THE GRINCH: My life is very satisfying.  I have a piece of the merchandising and invested in various resorts and condos and shopping mall developments in Whoville.

OUTPOST: Is that really in keeping with your reformed Grinchiness? Heart three sizes bigger and all?

THE GRINCH: I’m kinder, but I’m not an idiot.

(A communique arrives from L.L. Soares of Earth)

OUTPOST: One of our readers wants to know why FROSTY THE SNOWMAN (1969) isn’t being interviewed.

(All three make sour faces.)

RUDOLPH: I hate that guy!

CHARLIE BROWN: What a blockhead…  No, what a (expletive deleted)-head!

THE GRINCH: Do you know what I sent him last Christmas? A hair dryer.

(Rudolph and Charlie Brown laugh.)

OUTPOST: Why no love for Frosty?

RUDOLPH: He’s just so annoying—every winter he comes back and acts like he’s risen from the freaking grave or something.

CHARLIE BROWN: And he’s mean—he gave Schroeder frost bite… kid couldn’t play Beethoven for two months.

CHARLIE BROWN - Christmas sad sack.

THE GRINCH: His heart is ice… which is fitting, I suppose.

OUTPOST: Wow, I’m glad we didn’t invite him. I have to admit, although I liked Jackie Vernon, I always found Frosty annoying.

Do you three still see your co-stars?

RUDOLPH: Sure—Clarisse and I got married some time ago, and we have some fawns of our own.  Blinky, Winky, Twinkly, Strobe, Low-Watt, Burnout, Halogen —

OUTPOST: Great, great… But I guess people are really curious about Hermey and Yukon Cornelius.

RUDOLPH: Hermey is really famous, now.  He got the Easter Bunny account and married the Tooth Fairy.  There were a lot of jokes when they announced their engagement, but they’re very happy.  Yukon was filming a reality show, “In Search of Silver and Gold” and was lost somewhere in the Siberian wastes… The Bumble and some of the Misfit Toys went looking for him… Soon as I finish up here, I’m going to join the search with my kids Blinky, Winky, Twinkly —

OUTPOST: Great, great… Charlie Brown?

CHARLIE BROWN: I’m under contract with Dolly Madison. I work with the same people and we all stay eight years old.  The pay is good, but we all stay eight years old… And our parents are the horn section of the L.A. Philharmonic.

OUTPOST: That sounds more like a Twilight Zone episode…

CHARLIE BROWN: Tell me about it.

THE GRINCH: I still see all the Whos… And every year I go to the Christmas Villains convention—usually ride with the Bumble—it’s the only time I can get together with Heat Miser, Snow Miser and the Burgermeister Meisterburger. Those are good times.

THE GRINCH - no longer a "mean one?"

OUTPOST: Grinch, you’re in a unique position in this panel—you are both the villain and the hero of your Christmas special.  Aside from yourself, who do you think is the greatest Christmas villain of all time?

THE GRINCH: Ebenezer Scrooge, no question… Part of my lineage is tied to Boris Karloff, you know, so I appreciate the classics.

OUTPOST: Ah, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, based on the work of Charles Dickens. There have been so many versions of that classic tale—do you, like most, prefer the 1951 version with Alastair Sim? The 1938 version with Reginald Owen?

THE GRINCH: As wonderful as those both are, I must admit I am particularly fond of SCROOGED (1988) with Bill Murray.

RUDOLPH: That’s a great one!

CHARLIE BROWN: It’s really funny—it almost makes me forget my dog has a richer life than I do.

OUTPOST: Okay, time for some tough questions.  Rudolph, you were in a couple of sequels to your eponymous special.  You were the sweet reindeer with a “difference” that made you an object of ridicule…

RUDOLPH: Oh boy, you don’t need a “neon nose” to see where this is going…

OUTPOST: Yet, in RUDOLPH’S SHINY NEW YEAR (1976), the baby New Year is self-conscious about his huge ears… and you laugh at him!

RUDOLPH: (sighs) Yeah, I was under contract to do some sequels—I wasn’t happy with that particular aspect, which they tried to explain away as people laughing with Baby New Year, not at him. Since it humiliated him, I thought that was all so much Bumble-s**t – however, I was made a fawn again in that one (even though I was grown by the end of the first special), and lacked the confidence to fight for changes.

OUTPOST: I guess that explains the horrible animation of RUDOLPH AND THE ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS (2001).

RUDOLPH: That piece of crap! I usually tell people that’s my slow-witted cousin Adolph.

OUTPOST: Charlie Brown—the world wants to know—why in the hell do you try and kick that football that Lucy holds?  She needs a good rap in the chops.

CHARLIE BROWN: I honestly don’t know, I really don’t.  I’ve been to a ton of therapists—apparently I have “Dennis the Menace Syndrome” which is a permanent state of child-regression and arrested development— it’s like a Peter Pan complex, but for comic strip characters. Rats.

OUTPOST: Uh huh, uh huh… well, next time tell her Snoopy will go for her throat if she pulls that s**t again.

CHARLIE BROWN: Wouldn’t that be something? Good grief!

OUTPOST: And Grinch…

THE GRINCH: Is this about the 2000 Jim Carrey movie?

OUTPOST: Yes! They took a beautiful, succinct and elegant twenty-two minute short and—

THE GRINCH: I am in litigation over this very issue and have been advised by counsel not to discuss the matter.  Although my profits from the venture were extensive, and led not only to the building of Whoville University and the Grinch Cancer Ward at the Whoville Medical Center, I felt the movie and its portrayal of … Let’s just table that until after the lawsuit, shall we?

OUTPOST: Fair enough.  It is unfortunate that each of you starred in such a masterwork, and later callous and money-grubbing fat cats used your name and nostalgia to put out inferior trash.

RUDOLPH: That’s the nature of the beast, man.

THE GRINCH: Amen to that, brother!

CHARLIE BROWN: Rats.

OUTPOST: I’d like to open up the lines now for more questi –

(At this point, the wall began to melt and freeze simultaneously… The plasteel structure buckled and then collapsed, and a large vehicle bristling with weapons broke through.  The thing careened across the now-icy floor and nearly took out both Rudolph and the shield generator.  Thankfully, the generator was not hit and was able to seal the breach… Rudolph, being able to fly, was able to lift off… However, in his panicked state he did soil our Security Chief, who rushed in at the first alarm. I know this seems like a bid for a cheap laugh, but it wasn’t funny at the time.

The turret popped open, and George Bailey leaped out onto the faring…)

GEORGE BAILEY: Hello, you old Outpost! Merry Christmas, Rudolph! Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! Merry Christmas, you old Grinch!

(George was followed by a lot of people in true clown car fashion: Ebenezer Scrooge, Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf, Patch the Elf, King Moonracer, Pitch the Demon, Lupita, Zuzu, Mary, Ralphie with his Red Ryder BB gun, the Bumble, the Winter Warlock, Sam the Snowman, Snow Miser, Heat Miser, Burgermeister Meisterburger, Hermey, the Tooth Fairy, the conductor from The Polar Express,  all the Misfit Toys, Tiny Tim, Frank Cross, Claire, Eliot Loudermilk, various avatars of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, Mr. Magoo, Art Carney, Good King Wenceslas, various waifs, waitresses and ne’er-do-wells from a thousand Hallmark specials, Fred Claus, Bad Santa, all the denizens of the North Pole, Hannukah Harry, Sandy Claws, Jack Skellington, the Griswolds, all those Martians Santa Claus conquered and everyone who ever had a Christmas special or a very special Christmas episode…

…all except for Frosty the Snowman, who everyone agrees is a real ass.)

*****

As for me, I broke out the Egg Nogger 5000, refilled the rum tanks and dug out the all the old Christmas albums…

It was the best party ever.

The Remote Outpost can be a lonely place, until your friends arrive.

To you and yours, from all of us at the REMOTE OUTPOST, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and a joyful time, whatever you celebrate.

REMOTE OUTPOST… out.

© Copyright 2011 by Mark Onspaugh

Meals for Monsters: UROTSUKIDOJI: LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND

Posted in 2011, Animated Films, Anime, Demons, Jenny Orosel Columns, Meals for Monsters, Monsters with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2011 by knifefighter

Meals for Monsters: UROTSUKIDOJI: LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND
By Jenny Orosel

If you’ve seen enough hentai, you’ll know where this is going….

UROTSUKIDOJI: LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND (1989) is a Japanese animated flick based on the idea that Earth is made of three different realms: the human world, the demon world and the man-beast world.  Every 3000 years the Overfiend is born, and will either unite the three worlds or bring utter destruction.  This time around, the Overfiend was born as a completely oblivious and sexually frustrated high school boy.  He’d like to be able to hook up with the popular girl, but at inopportune moments he blacks out and becomes a hideous monster.  Meanwhile, creatures from both the demon and man-beast realms are trying to kill him.  What’s a kid to do?

UROTSUKIDOJI is famous for being one thing—it was the movie that popularized the “tentacle porn” subgenre of anime.  Yes, this being Japanese, portrayal of genitalia would be considered obscene and, thus, illegal.  So whenever the demons or the Overfiend himself rape a victim, it is with giant tentacles sprouting from their bodies.  Most victims explode into giant bursts of light upon the tentacled violations.  Women, men, no one is safe from the tentacle rape.  There’s even a scene where an entire hospital is raped with enormous tentacles.  Not the employees, but the actual building itself.

This being the kind of movie it is, I wouldn’t recommend it for a date movie.  If your love interest doesn’t run screaming from the house, it isn’t likely she’ll be in the mood for much.  No, UROTSUKIDOJI is best enjoyed as a party movie with a small crowd of people who are ready for some shocks and laughs.  And drinks.

Today’s drink is a Sake Bomb.  Not only is it at least somewhat Japanese, but it’s quick to make, quick to consume, and quick to refill.

SAKE BOMB:

1 glass Japanese beer

1 shot glass of sake

Drop shot glass into beer glass.  Consume.

Sake bomb

As far as food, you’ll want some easy party finger foods.  Chips and dip work, even a veggie plate.  But, for a movie so famous for its tentacles, calamari is a must.  The following recipe is good for about three people, so multiply it out by however many people are coming.

FRIED CALAMARI

Buttermilk

2/3 pound squid (Tubes and tentacles.  Go heavy on the tentacles if you have the option)

1/2 pound raw shrimp (for the people weirded out by eating squid)

Cooking oil (vegetable, canola, etc)

For the coating:

1 cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

4 tablespoons garlic powder

3 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Line a cookie sheet with either paper towels or newspaper, and put a cooling rack on top of that.

If the squid isn’t already prepped for you, make sure there is no cartilage or eyeballs.  Slice the tubes into 1/2 inch rings, and if the tentacle bunches are large, cut in half.  Soak in buttermilk for a half hour.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot about halfway with the oil.  Heat to 375F.

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the coating.  When the oil is ready, take the squid and put it in the coating mixture.  Then put the shrimp into the buttermilk.  Make sure the squid is well coated with the mix.  CAREFULLY drop into the hot oil (you may need to work in batches, depending on how big the pot is).  Cook for a minute or two until light brown.  Drain on cookie sheet, sprinkling with salt.  Repeat with the shrimp (which, depending on the size, may take a little longer than the squid).

Serve with warmed marinara sauce, cocktail sauce, or an Asian dipping sauce made of 2 parts Ponzu sauce, 1 part Sirracha chili sauce and 1 part soy sauce.  Mix and serve either cold or at room temperature.

Calamari

To make this a well-rounded meal, sweets are a must.  For something that can be set out on a plate and enjoyed at partytime leisure, why not homemade gummy tentacles?  It’s a lot easier than it sounds.

GUMMY TENTACLES

1 small box lime flavored gelatin

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

2/3 cup water

Mix all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and let sit for a half hour.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  After the thirty minutes have passed the mixture will be a weirdly solid texture.  Heat over low heat until it’s completely melted.  Remove from heat for about two minutes.  Pour onto the cookie sheet in swirls and curves.  Depending on the humidity, it will take between 30 minutes to an hour to set.  Cut up in desired lengths.

Gummy Tentacles

One note about the movie—there are two versions of UROTSUKIDOJI: LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND (not to mention four sequels).  One is noted as “Perfect Collection” and is the completely uncensored, 146 minute version.  The other has a lot of the more graphic scenes cut and logs in at 108 minutes.  Whichever version you think your guests will appreciate more is up to you.

© Copyright 2011 by Jenny Orosel

What a mouth-watering column!!