“Lizzie Borden Took An Ax”

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

Last November, I posted about “Lizzie Borden Took An Ax,” a then-upcoming telefilm based on the infamous Fall River Murders. I missed it when it aired this past January, and to be honest, I didn’t hear good things about it. I wanted to give it a fair shake, though, so I watched it now that it’s on Netflix.

It’s… OK. It’s neither spellbinding entertainment nor is it terrible — it is what it is, a TV movie based on a true crime. Christina Ricci is perfect for this kind of period piece morbidity, and the always welcome Stephen McHattie shows up as patriarch Andrew Borden. There’s an odd contemporary rock score that gives the proceedings an element of camp; whether that tone is appropriate for a film about real-life murders will be up to you to judge. Overall, “Lizzie Borden Took An Ax” is diverting enough, but feels like a great marketing poster with a movie attached to it. The truly surprising thing is that there are so few films about this case.

IDW unleashes “Edward Scissorands II: The Reckoning”

Edward Scissorhands comic

OK, not really, but that was a fun (if rather clichéd) thing to say. But over the weekend at San Diego Comic Con, IDW DID announce that they will be debuting an “Edward Scissorhands” comic this fall. I’m not sure how they will make this into an ongoing series, but they’ve lined up a damn good creative team. I’ll definitely give it a shot, as “Edward Scissorhands” is one of the canonical Derexploitation films… but what I really want to see is a Ted Naifeh series based on Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow.”

IDW’s announcement:

San Diego, CA (July 25, 2014) – Just in time for Halloween, IDW Publishing and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products are proud to announce the first in a number of new projects together, with the first ever “Edward Scissorhands” comic book series. The long overdue all-new adventures begin in October, with New York Times best-selling author Kate Leth (“Adventure Time”) on writing duties and Drew Rausch (“Haunted Mansion”) lending his delightfully spooky style to the interior art. Rounding out the creative team will be acclaimed Locke & Key artist Gabriel Rodriguez, who will provide a stunning and suitably creepy cover for the debut issue.

“‘Edward Scissorhands’ is one of those dream projects that only pop up once in a lifetime, so any new story set in its universe demands to be treated with love and reverence,” said IDW Editor Sarah Gaydos. “We’ve found a team in Drew and Kate, along with a crew of top cover artists who are not only exceptionally worthy of the task, but are bringing something completely fresh and relevant to the table.”

The 1990 cult-classic film from auteur Tim Burton, “Edward Scissorhands” ends with the heroine of the story, an aged Kim being asked by her granddaughter, “How do you know he’s still alive?” to which she answers, “I don’t know. Not for sure. But I believe he is.” In the comic book event of fall 2014, IDW Publishing revisits this modern classic two decades after the end of film to finally answer that question.

“I’m overwhelmed with excitement to be writing ‘Edward Scissorhands.’ As a former (and lifelong) teen goth, few things are as close to my heart as Tim Burton’s cult classics,” said series writer Kate Leth. “We’re taking the story forward in time and telling a bit of a girl detective story—one of my favourite genres—a bit closer to modern times but still with that eerie, anachronistic touch. It’s a bit creepy, a bit scary, but always full of wonder. Drew and I have so much love for the film, and we like to think it shows. Keep your eyes peeled for easter eggs and plenty of spirals…”

Kim’s granddaughter, Meg, grows up with Edward Scissorhands only being a legend, a bedtime story. But when weird things start to happen in her sleepy little town, it reawakens her curiously and she decides to search out for the mysterious Edward Scissorhands.

“I keep having to remind myself that this is happening—but if there was ever a team made for telling the further tales of Edward Scissorhands, it has to be Kate and I,” said series artist Drew Rausch. “No—seriously, IDW just built us a few months ago from some parts they had lying around. It’s been a little weird. We’re still getting the hang of all this “living” stuff but we promise to deliver a story that’s just as perfectly timeless, chilling and heartwarming as the original—cross our cookie hearts!”

(Source: The Search For Edward Scissorhands Begins At IDW)

“Heavy Metal Movies”


Full disclosure: I asked for — and received — a review copy of this book. But you know me, I wouldn’t recommend something if I didn’t like it, which is hardly the case here. “Heavy Metal Movies” was my most anticipated book of the year, and I’m happy to say that it delivers.

When I first heard about Mike “McBeardo” McPadden’s “Heavy Metal Movies,” I thought, “oh cool” — quickly followed by, “wait, are there enough heavy metal movies to fill a book?” Let’s face it, most explicitly “heavy metal” movies are guilty pleasures at best, with one of the best being a straight-up comedy (that being, of course, “Spinal Tap”). Luckily, McPadden’s approach was the include movies that featured the iconography of metal: sword and sorcery action, post-apocalyptic futures, Gothic nightmares, midnight classics, and, yes, cheesy ’80’s horror flicks.

“Heavy Metal Movies” is organized in an encyclopedia format, so if you’re like me, you’re going to immediately flip around to see what McPadden has to say about your favorites. I was surprised that Dario Argento’s “Opera” was not included, but so many of his other films are present so I can’t complain. Lamberto Bava’s “Demons?” Well, yeah, that’s in there! What about Disney’s “Frozen?” OK, that’s too new but maybe that will be in a forthcoming edition, since McPadden shares my opinion that it meets the criteria for being “a heavy metal movie.” It’s also good to find someone else who thought that “Rock Star” was condescending to metal fans.

Like many of my favorite books of this type, “Heavy Metal Movies” feels like someone’s talking to you about these really cool flicks that you have to check out. It helps that McPadden has a genuine affection for this stuff. He’ll call it like he sees it, but thankfully his writing isn’t marred by an “I’m too cool to really like this stuff” attitude that runs rampant these days. Critical, but not nasty “to be cool”; I’m not sure if it’s part of Bazillion Points’ philosophy, but I found this refreshing attitude in another one of their books, Matt Wagner’s superlative “Mean Deviation.”

Heavy metal and high-thrill cinema have been joined together like mutant twins since before Black Sabbath took the name of a chilling Italian horror film in 1970. The unadulterated journey of Heavy Metal Movies spans concert movies and trippy midnight flicks, inspirational depictions of ancient times and future apocalypses, and raw hand-held digital video obsessions. As brash, irreverent, and visceral as both the music and the movies themselves, Heavy Metal Movies is the greatest guidebook to the complete molten musical cinema experience.

Interview: Mike “McBeardo” McPadden, author of “Heavy Metal Movies”

Heavy Metal Movies

Cover art by Andrei Bouzikov

The new book “Heavy Metal Movies” is, as the subtitle proclaims, devoted to “Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos, & Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big-Scream Films Ever!” It was also my most anticipated book of the year — look for a review soon. In the meantime, though, author Mike “McBeardo” McPadden took time out to answer some questions.

Read the rest of this entry

“Dracula Untold” trailer

This trailer leaked out last week and was quickly pulled. An official one has been up for a few days now, so I’ll go ahead and run it. This is another movie that looks like something I would have made if I had the resources to make movies in my early 20’s. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, here’s to hoping it leans towards the “legitimately good” side of the spectrum more than “guilty pleasure.”

Tim Burton’s “Batman” Turns 25

25 years. Seriously?!? It hurts my brain to think that a quarter of a century has passed since Tim Burton’s “Batman” changed popular cinema.

What’s even harder to believe is that in 1989, I didn’t care that it was “a Tim Burton film.” I didn’t see “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” and was mostly confused by “Beetlejuice.” I listened exclusively to heavy metal at the time, so Danny Elfman’s involvement held no weight with me. While I had watched the Adam West series as a kid, I didn’t have a lot of vested interest in Batman, so the “MICHAEL KEATON IS GOING TO RUIN BATMAN!!!” furor didn’t affect me. “Batman” was more my brother’s thing, so we went to a midnight show. I enjoyed it. I’d like to say that it converted me into a Tim Burton fan on the spot, but it didn’t. I just enjoyed it, though I particularly loved Anton Furst’s gorgeous design work.

Flash forward 25 years.  I’m still not a hardcore Batman fan, but I give the movie props for effectively breaking Burton’s pop-gothic vision to the masses. Yeah, both “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” and “Beetlejuice” were successful, but neither were nowhere near the blockbuster level of “Batman.” This blog simply would not exist without “Edward Scissorhands,” “Ed Wood,” and especially “Sleepy Hollow,” not to mention his collaboration with director Henry Selick, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

BTW, if you are a fan of the Burton era of “Batman,” be sure to check out 1989batman.com. Loaded with content, I tell ya.

Tim Burton’s “Hansel and Gretel”

Two things went through my head while watching this: 1.) it’s a shame that we’ll never get to see a collaboration between ’80’s era Tim Burton and the late Ernie Kovacs, and 2.) I wonder if Burton is a fan of Nobuhiko Obayahshi’s wonderfully deranged film “Hausu?”

Tim Burton made this during his tenure at Disney in the early ’80’s. The Disney Channel aired this one time in 1983 (Halloween, naturally) and then promptly buried it. Sure, the budget looks barely existent, and the acting is… something, but visually, it’s pure Burton. He may have bigger budgets to work with these days, but I miss this guy.

Yours Truly to appear in “V Wars: Blood and Fire”

Vampire Wars: Blood & Fire

Bestselling horror author and all-around cool guy Jonathan Maberry just informed me that I’ll be making a cameo in the upcoming anthology “V Wars: Blood & Fire.” The book will arrive at the end of July, so be sure to check it out and see what happens to my latest fictional alter ego. “V Wars” is currently being developed for television, so if the Derek Tatum character appears onscreen, I suggest casting Tyler Labine from “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.”

It’s been one year since a virus triggered junk DNA and people all over the world started changing. Becoming something else. Craving blood. It’s been ten months since the word ‘vampire’ stopped being something from old monster stories and Hollywood movies. It’s been six months since our world and theirs erupted into war. It’s been two months since an uneasy peace was signed. It’s been one hour since that peace was shattered. The war is here again. The vampire war. Our world will burn. Our world will bleed! When anyone can turn, when every street is a battlefield, there is nowhere to run! V Wars: Blood and Fire features all new stories of the Vampire Wars by Kevin J. Anderson, Scott Sigler, Larry Corriea, Joe McKinney, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, James A. Moore, and Jonathan Maberry.

20th Century Fox’s “Victor Frankenstein”

Dracula isn’t the only guy having a resurgence; Victor Frankenstein and/or the Monster have also been actively lately. While I’ll probably always be known as “the vampire guy,” Frankenstein’s Monster is actually my favorite single character. I’m forgiving enough that I enjoyed January’s much-derided “I, Frankenstein.” And of course, Harry Treadaway and Rory Kinnear have been crushing it weekly as, respectively, Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster on Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful.”

20th Century Fox has been developing it’s own spin on the Frankenstein mythos, due in movie theaters October 2015. The film had been simply titled “Frankenstein,” however it has officially been retitled “Victor Frankenstein.” The studio has also released the following synopsis:

“James McAvoy is Victor Von Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe stars as Igor in a unique, never-before-seen twist on Mary Shelley’s classic 19th century novel.

Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Victor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.”

This is one of my more anticipated films. I like James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe… Radcliffe in particular seems like he’s on a mission to help make Gothic horror commercially viable again (quick — someone cast him as Jonathan Harker). Paul McGuigan is directing with Max Landis handling screenwriter duties. This doesn’t even seem like the kind of movie I’ll have to apologize for liking. Fingers crossed.

(Source: 20th Century Fox’s Frankenstein Retitled)

Criterion Spookshow — “Eraserhead” and “The Innocents” announced!

Perhaps the first and last time these guys will be associated with a reissue of "The Innocents."

Perhaps the first and last time these guys will be associated with the Criterion release of “The Innocents.”

The Criterion Collection has released its September 2014 line-up, and are we in for a treat. September 16 brings their long-awaited release of David Lynch’s debut “Eraserhead.” I was happy to see that, since they’ve hinted at it for a couple of years now. But what floored me was the unexpected announcement that they’ll be releasing Jack Clayton’s magisterial “The Innocents.” I am really happy to see a Blu-ray of “Eraserhead” coming out, but I am completely, utterly, fully-involved jazzed about a Criterion Blu-ray of “The Innocents.” It’s my favorite ghost movie of all time, and it’s subtle scares haunt longer than any overt special effect could. The point I’m making is, September will be a good month for high-brow horror and cult movie fans.

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