Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Five Burning Questions I Have About Ash vs Evil Dead

With the sequel to the original Evil Dead trilogy completely confirmed, now’s the time to start asking the important questions.  We’ll have a full year to wait and get a complete glimpse of the soon-to-be-seen pilot, but in the meantime there’s room to speculate.

1: What’s Ash Been Up to For the Past Twenty Years?:  The press release tied to the show says that Ash has been avoiding maturity and responsibility.   Further news informs us that he's got PTSD, lives in a trailer park (in a detail that feels like a winceworthy callback to My Name is Bruce), works at a big box store and has been lying to women about how he lost his hand for sympathy.  Combine that with his description as a lothario and it gives a portrait of a man who’s unable to establish emotional connections, though he can apparently still talk a good game.  Has he managed to find any sort of friendship or warmth at all?  Or will he only establish those roots in this series?  Will the tone feel sitcomish due to episode length or will it stoke the deeper currents of darkness in the Evil Dead/AOD bloodline?

2: More importantly: What have the Evil Dead been up to?:  Since it's canonically been years since Ash has seen a Deadite, we have no idea what Ash is coming up against.  Are their powers the same?   Or have they grown mightier in their absence and will strike back stronger than ever? 

3: Is Ted Raimi’s character now working with Ash at the big box store?: Is he Ash’s supervisor?  Or are they still on the same level and is he stuck listening to Ash tell the same story every single day of his life?

4:  What’s happening back in the 1300s?: How are Arthur and Sheila faring?  Did either of them raise a family?  Did the Deadites cease to plague them after Ash’s labors?

5: Will we see the cabin again?:  Of course, both exteriors are long gone thanks to the ravages of age, but they could be replicated on the Renaissance Picture’s backlot.   Could Ash meet with the skeletal form of his chittering hand?  Or see the ghosts of his loved ones?

We'll get these answers and likely much more when Ash vs Evil Dead airs in the fall of 2015.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Holiday Hiatus Announcement

I will be off on a family vacation from December 15th (roughly) until the second or first week of February!

But before then there will be at least one Alpha Asshole I have known, the piece on witches and Rare Parodies Month!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Girls of Summer: From Justin to Kelly

We close out this year's look at the Girls of Summer with this last blast of nostalgia.  

The beach movie sort of died off as a genre by the time the late 90’s rolled around.  Nostalgic types were busy reflecting on the 70s, with all of its attendant odd affection for the 50s (Grease singalong slumber parties often ended with frantic iterations of the “YMCA” dance for 90’s kids; you can’t say we weren’t a creative generation).    That explains My Girl’s popularity, and its positioning as the ultimate 70’s nostalgia throwback with a mid-60s Mo-Town soundtrack.

The 00s were a different time.   We had different priorities; our idols were self-made people winking at us from the television set, and we could vote them off of our screens with the pressing of a button when we grew tired of them.   Reality television was a brand new medium, and every single ancillary production arm, from radio to the internet, tried to take advantage of the nascent fame of the Richard Hatches of the world.  When Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guaraní came in first and second place during the very first American Idol competition,  two cogs spun into motion – the music industry set about manufacturing a sound for both musicians, and the film industry set about creating the first American Idol motion picture.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Girls of Summer: My Girl 1 and My Girl 2

Every child of the movies hopes to have it: The Summer that Changes Everything, a series of golden afternoons bathed in sunlight and hope, where the child in question gets their first kiss (or if they're older, loses their virginity), hangs out with friends spouting quotable quotes and riding bicycles, and makes memories that they'll carry with them into the winter of cruel adulthood.  Every generation gets a movie of their own to accompany said Magical Summer, and for 90s kids, that movie was My Girl.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We Are All Freaked:The five most WTF-Worthy Moments from Freak Show's Season Premiere

Oh American Horror Story.  Whether you’re giving us a birds-eye view on a bloody fertility orgy, showing us glimpses of the hellish mindscape of a former nun through clever use of the Name Game, or making a rubber fetish suit wearing killer your central figure of evil, you always know how to entertain us.

 It’s a Ryan Murphy show- WTF moments are always to be expected, but Freak Show provided a lot of campy shock moments in its first episode, and I’m here to count down the top five moments.

Please note: there are obviously spoilers for last week's episode under the cut.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Commission Call and Selling some TPBs

I'll be resuming original content next week, but I thought I'd take the time to remind everyone that I'm looking to to take on commissions.  I need to raise about $300 by early November, a hundred going to pay off the roofers. another hundred as downpayment for textbooks I'll be buying for a college course in the winter, and the final hundred being saved to renew my driver's license.   

My going rate is $.45 a word, and I will write anything; meta, articles, fic commission work, you name it.

ALSO: Since I got the AOD Omnibus #2 and #1 for my birthday earlier in the year, I'm selling my original AOD graphic novels for $5.95 plus Shipping.  That's half of what you'll pay on Amazon and at Dynamite's official website!  I have:

  • Ashes 2 Ashes
  • Shop Til You Drop Dead
  • Army of Darkness Vs Re-Animator
  • Old School and More
  • From the Ashes
  • Long Road Home
  • Home Sweet Hell
  • Hellbillies and Deadnecks
Reply to this entry or inbox me on Tumblr and we can work out something!

Next Week!  Girls of Summer: My Girl and My Girl 2!

Monday, September 29, 2014

State O' The Blog and a plug for my work at Next Projection!

It's heading into the fall, and soon enough after that we'll be in the middle of the holiday season.  Time to take stock of what will be coming in October and November!

Articles here will include:

  1. My last Two Girls of Summer Articles!
  2. A series of reviews I've entitled Witchy Women: Witches in Televised Pop Culture (There will be a bit of Bewitched, a bit of Charmed, a bit of Sabrina - but don't count out Winnie from Free Spirit).
  3. Two Alpha Assholes I Have Known Articles
  4. Two So Why Aren't You Watching....
  5. Recipes!
  6. A Hamster!
You can also follow my recaps of Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Goldbergs, Modern Family and Bob's Burgers on Next Projection!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Girls of Summer - Satisfaction

If the 70’s brought on a wave of retroactive worship of the 50’s in reaction to Watergate, economic instability and presidential fallibility, the 80’s brought about a retro flashbacks to the 60’s in reaction to Cold War-related saber rattling and nuclear fears.  Everything was suddenly beachy again, as a fetish for all things California, a fitness and bodybuilding craze and a fondness for the shore suddenly collided in a perfect storm of beach movies.

Not only did Where The Boys Are get another run (revamped as Where The Boys Are ’85), the Nerds hit Paradise, Frankie and Annette went Back to the Beach to lampoon themselves, and even Barbie crimped her hair and took up surfing lessons.  There was even a Gidget revival!

The girliest of these nouveau beach movies is definitely 1988’s Satisfaction, which hoped to springboard Family Ties’ Justine Bateman into movie stardom…but instead exists today as a curio for Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts fans who want to see their favorite actors in early roles (in Roberts’ case, her first, and the last before Mystic Pizza won her the critical acclaim she needed to land her immortal role as Shelby in Steel Magnolias, which would eventually win her a best supporting actress nomination at the Oscars that would shoot her onto the A list).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Girls of Summer: Rock N' Roll High School

The 70’s were an odd time for the teen movie genre.   Torn between the radicalized sentiments of the 60’s in its early years and the later period idolation of the 1950s, it was a rare movie that managed to present itself as entirely original and reflective of the period in which it was filmed.   Daring drive-in grindhouse pictures and adult fare like Midnight Cowboy gave way to disco pastiches and callbacks to other eras, as if the trauma of war, political turmoil, riots and had exhausted the nation to the point of sadness.  People just wanted to have FUN.   And yet the closest it ever got to a beach for the entire decade was in the opening scene of Grease.

The girls of summer in this decade were actually the girls of all seasons; Grease covers a full school year at Rydell High – thanks to its California setting there’s nary a parka in sight – and American Graffiti takes place over one late spring night just before graduation.  The big summer movies were out in space, set during a disaster or hidden deep within the ocean’s heart.  The closest the seventies ever got to a female-led summer movie about teenage life was in Roger Corman’s cult classic, Rock N Roll High School.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Girls of Summer: Annette, The Beach Party Series and Building The Perfect Boy

Our next stop on our tour of the girls of summer takes a pitstop in the wild, wild world of Frankie and Annette, who helped the 60’s beach movie genre gain even more prominence than Gidget did.

The four Beach Party movies are as wholesome as a tin of apple pie, though not quite as daring.  A series of stories about two college-aged kids named Frankie and Dee-Dee (short for Dolores) who live In a magical Southern California bubble filled with beauty, surf, sun and love and whose romantic, surf-filled summers fall apart at the manipulations of others and the interjections of the cruel world around them, the Beach Party movies were so wildly successful that they helped boost the burgeoning drive-in genre to the stratosphere.  Years later, they mostly exist as an example of what happens when good surf music collides with demonstrations of the latest dances and a series of increasingly bizarre, somewhat topical to the era and slightly racist comedy plots.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hailing The King: Six Things I'd Like To See In The Evil Dead Television Series

After years of false starts, declamations by star Bruce Campbell, and a successful-in-the-short term but ultimately unmemorable reboot, the original Evil Dead franchise is about to spin off into a series.  Starring Campbell, who will reprise his role as the single-handed, wisecracking demonslayer, the series is currently in the process of being written.  The Guardian helpfully offered a series of suggestions recently, and this blog’s determined to offer a few more.  Here are six suggestions, shouted out into the sweet internet, 

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Girls of Summer: Gidget

Surf’s up, kids!  This month’s theme is the girls of summer – a gaggle of surf or party movies with a lady-centric bent.  And we’re starting off with the original surfer girl, Francine “Gidget” Lawrence.

Monday, July 7, 2014


The 90’s: what a time to be alive.

I know 90’s-stolgia has painted the world in rose colors ever since the dawn of the Tumblr age, but as a decade it ushered in wide-ranging heroines of all sorts.  While you can say a lot about the representation the 10’s have happily ushered into the landscape, the 90’s were the only decade where you could worship at the altars of heroines as diverse as Khadijah James and Dixie Cousins.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

80's Month: Overboard and Feminist Backlash

The 80’s were an interesting time for women in the media.  Riding the burgeoning cusp of the second wave of popular feminism that would crash when the ERA failed and then reform  in the confused backlash  of the Anita Hill hearings of the 90s, media in general tended to be friendly to its newfound consumer base.  It was a giddy and confusing time, and it tended to wind up providing its audience with a mixed bag of independent, smart female characters…being told that the only way to be happy and have it all was to pipe down and raise up some kids. 

Television was lightyears ahead of the media in this regard; having worked out the kinks with That Girl and witnessed the adventures of Rhoda Morgenstern, Maud Finley, Hot Lips Houlihan, the Bunker girls and Mary Richards, the 80’s treated us to the Julia Sugarbakers, Murphy Browns and Golden Girls of the world. 

Movies were, however, still an uneven medium. In the 70s, for every Norma Rae there was a Sandy Olsen; and it’s just as true that for every Judy Benjamin in the 80’s, there was an Emmy from Mannequin.  In fact, Judy Benjamin herself appeared in one of the more popular of the feminist backlash films, a 1989 take on the Taming of the Shrew directed by Garry Marshall, Overboard.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I was invited by Christin Haws to participate in this blogaround!

1) What are you working on?: Next week, I'm going to wrap up my tour through various aspects of the 80's treatment of feminism in pop culture by taking a look at feminist backlash, as encapsulated by movies like "Overboard".  I am otherwise working on two screenplays a novel.

2) How does you work differ from others of its genre? It's sassy, smart, intense and impassioned.

3) Why do you write what you do? Because pop culture is a deeply rooted influence in my life and I have a burning need to explore it.

4) How does your writing process work?: One day of research, one day of writing, one day of editing.

I sadly don't have any authors I know offhand who I'd like to nominate, but if you'd like me to include your blog in this post and be next, reply to this post.

80’s Month: Casual Sex? And love in the time of AIDS

Among the many innovations exclusive to the era, The 80’s reinvented – through pure necessity – the sex comedy.   You can neatly split the era into two halves:  the freewheeling pre-HIV-era (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and the neurotic post-AIDS years, of which Casual Sex? Is the epitome.

Popular culture dealt with the AIDS crises in numerous ways.  Some sought to confront it directly (various TV movies, and eventually TV sitcoms, did bits about the disease, culminating in popular explorations of the disease in movies and plays like “Rent”, “Angels in America” and “And The Band Played On”.).  Others ignored it by delving into the past (a general rise in nostalgia for the 60’s first occurred in the late 80’s, eventually culminating in a second Woodstock celebration in the 90’s) or advocated for free-love-with-a-rubber (80’s video culture).  And even more made jokes; many a 90’s child likely remembers watching Lt. Drebbin and his lady love Jane roll across their bed while wearing full body condoms in Naked Gun.   Casual Sex takes the comedy approach with a twist; it tries to be touching and whimsical in the same breath – and occasionally succeeds.

80’s Month: The Glass High Top: The deconstructed fairytales of Maid to Order and Pretty in Pink

Let’s face it, there’s only one major ensemble dramedy that dissects the high school experience and manages to be relevant even to this day – The Breakfast Club.  After the movie became a major hit, its two female leads were sent off on entirely dissimilar career paths:  while Ally Sheedy immediately took on adult roles in hits like St. Elmo’s Fire and Short Circuit, Molly Ringwald, much like her princessy character Claire, would end up stuck playing teenagers for five more years before testing the waters with The Pick Up Artist, Fresh Horses, and finally transitioning firmly into adult roles with Betsy’s Wedding in 1990.

The two would each take one more stab at trying to create classic films for teenagers; Ringwald would essay the role of poor teenager Andie Walsh in “Pretty in Pink” and Sheedy would play rich girl Jessica Montgomery in “Maid to Order” .  One would be a wild success, the other would be consigned to the one dollar cut-out bins across the country.  But why?  Let’s stack the classic against the unknown and see how – or if – they stack up.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Feminism, and feminist backlash, in 80's films: Part 1: Dirty Dancing

Summer means a lot of different things to me.   Hot days, sandals, beaches, watermelon – and Dirty Dancing. 

Released in 1987, Dirty Dancing caused a sensation, becoming a huge hit, spawning two soundtrack albums, and unsuccessful series on CBS,  and a worldwide concert tour  It launched the careers of Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze from erstwhile supporting players into the mainstream and lead roles.  Nowadays, it’s settled into an object of campy nostalgia for the many who wore out VHS tapes of it in their youth, and it’s become the sort of a summertime staple of networks like WE and Lifetime.  Fondness for the movie continues – you can buy teeshirts for it, and watch its recently spawned (and  too-late) sequel  or the Broadway musical it inspired.

There’s something very amusing about a movie like Dirty Dancing ending up a fluffy nostalgia piece that’s considered an inconsequential romantic movie.  Here’s the movie’s biggest secret:  it’s a socially radical film that embraces feminism and sisterhood, makes a strong case for abortion rights and artistic freedom, and shows a woman’s first happy sexual affair to be consequence-free in the way of romantic heartbreak and the moral weight of STDs, cheating, and pregnancy.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Runes of Love: Ash and the Army of Darkness and the Resurrection of Dynamite’s AOD brand

If you’ve been an Army of Darkness fan for any length of time, you’ve probably seen them.  Maybe you’ve read one, rejected it with a roll of your eyes, and moved on to another title.  But it’s been around for over ten years, and after an embattled history it’s finally gotten good again: Dynamite’s Army of Darkness series.

Plagued by creator disapproval and suffering multiple changeovers and reboots, Dynamite finally went for it and gave the series a complete makeover, hiring Steve Niles, headwriter of the Walking Dead, to write for it.

And it is amazing.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Grating Game: Ash vs Hack/Slash: A Review

WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS.

Dynamite Comics recently published a title that adds onto the Army of Darkness mythos with panache, humor and well-written violence, that improves upon the characters’ relationships and creates rip-roaring adventures for Ash that does justice to his source canon.

That title is Ash and the Army of Darkness.   But today, we’re talking about Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

But What About the Pineapple? : Psych vs How I Met Your Mother for Series Finale Supremacy

Recently, two beloved series with cult followings signed off for good.  One of the finales came to be praised as one of the best conclusions of all time – and the other reviled as one of the worst.  So let’s stack them up for comparison’s sake; put them in a fight to the death, using five questions to determine how memorable and satisfying the show’s ending is, and whether it adds to or detracts from the series as a whole.  Is the How I Met Your Mother Finale so awful?  Did Psych bobble a bit during its victory lap?  Let’s find out!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wanna Hire Me?

So, the hole in my roof (and ceiling gah) isn't going away anytime soon.  While I continue to look for meatspace work, I thought I'd open the floor for commissions.

I'm offering $.30 a word, max 400 words.  This may be anything from a story to an article or assignment.   There's obviously Limits to what I can or might write, but if there's ever been anything you'd like me to write for you, now's the time to ask!  Please contact me here to discuss.

Thanks guys!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Night Road and the Suburban Stepford Novel

Ah, the ‘Suburban Stepford Novel’.  Ever since women became a marketable force in the literary world, there have been books targeted toward qualities that publishers presume women admire or covet.  The formula is simple: passionate, thwarted teenage love, surprise baby, domineering battleaxe mother, death, tear-soaked happy ending.  Easily digestible over tea and bantered over coffee tables during book clubs.

Kristen Hanna’s “Night Road” follows along a similar path of most Suburban Stepford Novels, but takes itself to such extremes that the entire event turns laughable.  It’s the story of Lexi Baill (the name and spelling is indicative of her character), who sprouts forth from a dysfunctional family and a history of foster care ludicrously unscathed to live with her great aunt and to become involved with a towheaded set of twins who change her life forever.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ten Things I Learned From the How I Met Your Mother Series Finale

That's easy for you to say, Barney.

After almost ten years, How I Met Your Mother - CBS' sitcom juggernaut - finally came to a close this evening.  It's already stirred up quite a bit of controversy -  but as for me, I've learned something today.

And so I present to you: Ten lessons I learned from the last episode of How I Met Your Mother:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sour Honey: "Little Bee" and the Nice White Lady Novel

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions of self-mutilation, violence, murder, sexual assault, dismemberment, cannibalism, discussion of mental illness, voiding of the bladder and bowls in public, and White Tears.

Chris Cleve’s “Little Bee” has been the talk of the publishing world for over two years now.  Showered with praise, optioned for a movie and the selection of book clubs everywhere, “Little Bee” has been portrayed as a trenchant story about immigration, the globalization of England’s economy, interracial friendship and the weight of grief.  The publisher has cutely declared on the back of the book that it needs no blurb; no, “Little Bee” is a novel that must be experienced from the beginning and thus you must stumble blindly into the character’s lives without preparation to be fully blown away by their experiences.  Well, readers, I have done that.  And no, “LB” is not some grand story about how to bridge the gap between races and reform our world economy.

Little Bee is, in short: White Guilt: The novel.