I personally have been a fan of the show for about 5 years now, and the line “Saving people, hunting things: The Winchester Family Business since 1983” seemed especially appropriate to me as I was born on January the 17th, 1983, and the middle day of the Supernatural Convention at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt took place on my birthday. Much less like other nerdy conventions or even fan get-togethers, Supernatural Con is more similar to a 3 day rock concert with special celebrity guests on tour. This is both astounding and an enriching experience for any seasoned fan of the show, but be warned that it is one of the more costly fan expos I’ll ever attend.
I told every vendor that it was my birthday, and once I had shown proof, they even gave me discounts, and I participated in or volunteered for anything available, which also garnered me free stuff. I participated in a trivia contest with two other fans chosen from the audience (we did not win, despite best efforts. It was really hard), and I was one of maybe 100 people dressed as some version of the character Castiel, the rebel angel and sometimes ally/ assumed love interest/ big bad friend of the two main men on the show. I didn’t place in the costume contest either, though I felt really handsome in my long coat and disheveled necktie. (the zombie image from the classic horror movie t shirt I pulled just because in any nerd costume contest you can count on at least one zombie) The competition was steep and diverse, and the guy who won had made full sized black angel wings with pneumatic strings that allowed him to invisibly puppeteer them up and down.
This is an interesting episode in that it is the second pilot for the series. The first one, the Cage, was rejected of hand by NBC. Thankfully Lucille Ball convinced them to run a second pilot and this one came out great. I guess all Trek fans owe a great debt to the late Lucille Ball. I think I will add some I Love Lucy shirts to our site next in thanks.
You can tell this is a pilot as the women were still wearing slacks. I guess the mandatory short skirts and 70s black disco boots came down as notes from the studio executives. You don’t hear me complaining. I just Googled some Uhura pics and she makes that uniform look amazing. I admit I have a weakness for women in Star Trek uniforms from any series. When we set up our booth a Star Trek convention it is always extremely distracting.
Anyway, this episode is also the only time in TOS that we see the Phaser Rifle. Of course from TNG onward the rifle was so prevalent you’d think they were insulating the ship bulkhead with them but Roddenberry really didn’t want to make this show into a shoot em up. That being said I’ve always felt one great weakness of Star Trek is all the guns look like TV remote controls. Not like this Aliens beauty I pulled from the horror movie t shirt category.
the Infamous Dave Inman
I’ll give it a B- for effort but an A+ for marketing.
It seems to me a middle ground has to be struck between the producers of a film and the producers of the advertizing trailers as to how much should the trailer give away. Some movies give hardly anything away leaving you with (a) the fact that a movie was made, (b) the title of the movie, and (c) someone who may or may not appear in the film (let us not forget how Bryan Cranston was all over every trailer for Godzilla possible only to vanish after about 20 minutes of film leaving us with a cast of characters I couldn’t give less of a damn about. Image courtesy of the horror movie t shirt category). Some trailers suck every ounce of nourishment from the movie like a starving vampire and leave the actual film lying on the screen like a dedicated corpse. And of course the optimal trailer hits that sweet spot right in the middle with just enough to peak your interest but not enough to make you feel like you just saw the whole film in 60 seconds.
Dumb and Dumber To unfortunately falls into the second camp. There were three really good jokes in the film but unfortunately I had seen them about 30 times each thanks to trailers and when they came up in the film I could almost speak the lines myself. The rest of the jokes were meh-tastic so I guess someone in marketing knows what he or she is doing.
I think I have come up with a perfect analogy to describe most of the jokes in this film. Imagine you have graduated high school and moved on with your life with nary a look behind you. You attend the 20 year reunion and at that reunion you end up sitting at a table with the party guy of your class who is desperate to recapture a moment of how cool he was back then before a lifetime of working at a local surf shop and he keeps telling stories that all begin with “Remember the time when…”. “Remember the time when Eric puked into Gary’s tuba?” You smile and nod with the vague sense of nostalgia normally reserved for finding a half cup of leftover mac n cheese in the refrigerator. It’s amusing in a “technically funny” way but the timing is grossly out of whack and at no time do you feel the need to burst out into belly busting guffaws of laughter like when you first saw Gary blow into a vomit filled tuba.
SPOILER ALERT (if you want to miss them skip ahead to Part 3) Plot holes aside (I actually spotted two) the movie is brilliant from a technical point of view and the first half will draw you in like a tiger pit baited with bacon. The first half is the gritty crime drama that has everyone doing things as smart as possible and are dealing with a near criminal genius. The husband manages to make some boneheaded mistakes but it’s the same kind of mistakes anyone would make in a difficult circumstances. The wife has her dark plot going (that’s the spoiler. I hope you headed my warning) and the lady cop is super smart and doesn’t miss anything. In fact during the set up and dark reveal the plot is nigh flawless and intriguing.
Then the wife starts making some boneheaded mistakes starting with making friends with white trash losers. Her carefully constructed plot unravels and she has to improvise. She makes a huge raft of errors (this is where that one big and one sort of big plot hole crops up) but somehow everyone else gets stupider. The female cop, who until then was hard driven to find the truth and a Sherlockian genius in spotting clues, turns stupid and helpless. The husband, who given the same set of circumstances any normal human would have immediately denounced his wife and run screaming into the night rather than spend ten minutes alone with her, bites his tongue long enough for her to implement her next dark plot. The film transforms into a cool innovative movie with amazing potential to another lazy Hollywood script counting on deus ex machina and a complete disregard for character motivation to move the plot along.
What were the two big plot holes I spotted? Well, we are well into the spoiler zone so I assume you are OK with me dropping them. So the wife calls up her old high school boyfriend Doogie Howser (Niel Patrick Harris but his character name is Dezi) in order to have some resources and eventually graphically cuts his throat (this is the pivotal scene that had the whole audience laughing ant the exact moment that the film turned into a dark comedy. The Halloween image I pulled from the horror movie t shirt collection), claiming he kidnapped her the day she disappeared and kept her as a sex slave and rape victim. However she meets up with him weeks after her disappearance in a casino (well known for video cameras). So the police made no effort to track Doogies movements? She later uses the cameras at his lake shore mansion to make it look like he raped her but there would also have been footage of her arriving happily with him weeks after her supposed disappearance. A couple hours worth of police work would have uncovered that but no one seemed interesting in investigating the death of a wealthy person with no prior record, especially when she flubbed badly in her interrogation.
The PG-13 action was particularly galling. Somehow Hollywood has come to the conclusion that if they mash all the action into an incomprehensible scrum of quick cuts and uber dense CGI shots we the audience might not notice that no one seems to be bleeding or losing significant anatomy. The veins of every casualty in this film could have been filled with Kool Aid as far as I could tell and on the rare occasion they were forced to show blood (you know, that pesky vampire drinking thing) it looks like the props guy ran down to the nearest Napa Auto Parts as it all had the consistency and color of 10/40 motor oil. Black and viscous. All this to cater to the kiddie winks. Let me clue you parents in on something. Your kids have no business being at a movie about Dracula or anyone who’s nickname is “the Impaler”. In fact I think your kids should be at home watching Barney videos until the day they turn 18 and then join the army (either that or locked in the Skinner box of your choice. Thanks, dad. Dracula image courtesy of the horror movie t shirt collection).
The plot holes were numerous and annoying. So the dark, head vampire is trapped in a cave at the top of Broken Tooth mountain and can never leave, yet somehow managed to sustain himself on human blood for centuries and decorate his home in a skull and broken bone motif like he found the legendary Ikea “Desecrated Corpse” collection. Um, how did he get all those fools up to his dark and foreboding man hole? Vlad had to literally free climb a cliff but the vamp ate a battalion of Turkish scouts the week before. Was there an escalator on the other side of the mountain with a sign adverting great hot wings Vlad didn’t know about? So the vamp is trapped in the cave until he finds some sucker to take on his “curse” of immortality, super speed, super strength, and the ability to transform into a swarm of bats (um, can someone email the definition of the word curse to the writers please). Gee, how about the hundreds of skulls you have been playing bocce ball with for centuries? Surely one of them at one time was inside the head of a living human who might be willing to live forever, freeing you of your imprisonment.
Incidentally, do you know how long it takes to mobilize a medieval army of 100,000 men and march them from Turkey to Transylvania? If so can you write Legendary Pictures and tell them because they seem to think it can be done in three days. Also if you are doing a historical movie about the Turkish army it is OK to have them look Turkish, not like a Aryan Army rally. They are so afraid of offending the Turks (and by extension the Muslims) that most of the Turkish cast looked like they rounded up a collection of A&F models. The film also couldn’t seem to decide on an accent for any part of the late 14th century subjecting us to American, British, Russian, very indeterminate Arabic, and at one point I swear German. The casting director clearly just wanted accents and didn’t care what kind. I wish someone who spoke fluent Klingon had applied.
Today we do part 3 of our interview with Reyna Young, Miss Misery on the Last Doorway Show and owner of Last Doorway Productions.
Dave: As a film producer and director, do you find that the actors that work the best in horror films are actually horror fans themselves, or can an accomplished actor produce a decent performance in spite of not actually liking horror films?
Reyna: A good actor is a good actor. If they don’t like horror it doesn’t mean that they’re not going to put in one hundred and ten percent. I think it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan at or not; it’s all in the skill. However, I think that a horror fan doing a horror film is more exciting to them then if they weren’t.
Reyna: I think that every generation is going to have a shift change. From then until now yes females have gotten stronger roles, they have had more of an input in the films and an opportunity to voice out and be behind the camera if they wanted too. So yes we are not just victims to be killed we also do the killing ourselves. (Invasion of the Saucer-Men image courtesy of the horror movie t shirt category)
Dave: Recently there have been a couple female horror antagonists, but they are few and far between. In fact, the only ones that come to mind is the girl from The Ring and Carrie. Any idea why the killer in the majority of films is male? Is it just tradition or does the role of slasher/killer naturally seem to fall onto men?
Reyna: I guess men are viewed as being strong so they are automatically considered the killer. In independent films women seem to be playing the killer more. But yes in Hollywood films it seems to be more male. I think it’s because men are viewed as being stronger but at the same time as a good friend of mine put it that she feels men are stronger but women seem to take more pain then men can in the films.
Dave: How did you get started on your documentary?
Reyna: Well I saw a documentary called Something to Scream About hosted by Brinke Stevens and it was interesting to watch but there were only 8 women in it. There was nothing ever since then to watch and I wanted to learn more about these females. So I decided why not ask independent females their thoughts and take on the genre. I also wanted to find more females who are in the genre to connect with and talk too. I knew a lot of the females in the genre but there were more out there if I looked deep enough. Yes I found a whole bunch of women and they were so happy to be a part of this documentary. I am happy to know them love them all. I cannot thank them enough. By just contacting these females they contacted other females I didn’t know about and from there the list of women grew. There are still so many women I couldn’t get that I wanted to have. I guess I can always do another one. 🙂
Dave: How long did the production take?
Reyna: It took over two years to make and it was worth it. I am very happy with the results. It’s been a long journey of computer crashes, fixing footage, and arguments between John and me. John has been amazing through the whole process helping me with editing and doing camera work while I interview these women. He has been nothing but supportive.
Dave: Was he a horror fan before or after meeting you?
Reyna: He was a casual fan. He really didn’t watch them a whole lot until he met me. I showed him a whole different world. He loves horror now. MUHAHAHAHAHA I polluted his mind…
Dave: How did you get the resources together?
Reyna: I contacted every single woman I knew in the industry. They all jumped at the opportunity which was great. A lot of the women I could not travel to see or had scheduling conflicts so they filmed their answers and sent them to me. This was very helpful (yes they all get credited for it, as did who ever helped them with the footage). We did do some traveling and it was so nice to meet the women face to face or just see them again. I got a lot of good answers in this doc from these women and their insight into the genre. I was very impressed with all these women. They are all a big influence on me.
Dave: How many interviews did you conduct?
Reyna: Well there are 34 women in the doc and I cannot even remember how many I interviewed. It was so long ago but it is in the credits. LOL. I wish I could have interviewed every female. I really do. There are so many I have not met yet and wish I could have. I’m sure I will in the future.
Dave: Who was the best interview, and why?
Reyna: They were all great to interview. I loved hanging out with the girls and learning more about them. The one woman who just amazed me was Lynn Lowry. (http://www.lynnlowry.com/) She had so much to say and I learned so much from when she started out in the horror genre to now. She is wonderful. I cannot wait to see her again.
Dave: How many film clips did you include in your documentary?
Reyna: I tried to include whatever was given to me. Anyone who agreed to have their footage showed I included. I wanted to show a vast variety of the films the women were in and again promote their films and the film makers.
So I went to movie night last night at a friend’s house and we watched John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. I actually watched it in high school in a theater and thought it was pretty good. However, watching it in 2010 and it was pretty awful.
The worst part was the bad 80’s hair. Seriously, the women all looked like they were wearing crash helmets. Also the main character had one of the worst porn mustaches I have ever seen. The story made little to no sense (Jesus is actually an alien, and scientists from the future (1999) are beaming tachyon messages back in time that the characters can only pick up in their dreams in order to prevent the Prince of Darkness returning through a mirror), Alice Cooper is leader of a demonically possessed gang of homeless people (all right, that part made some sense), and scientists are willing to spend the night in an abandoned church with thousands of dollars worth of high tech (DOS based, for the most part) equipment in order to study a spinning light display box that I think I have seen in Spencers Gifts. Also, the really cute brunette was second to be possessed by the evil (and somehow still looked uber hot) yet the mediocre red head (her hair looked like a furry R2D2) was last to go. Overall horrible, yet I liked it at age 16. Go figure.
The only thing redeeming about it was Vincent Wong (Egg Chen, from the great Big Trouble in Little China) plays a squinty eyed physics professor who can somehow read Latin fluently. The main character is some chump I don’t remember in anything else (and apparently survives through the protective power of his uber mustache).
Anyway, the whole thing is hardly worth mentioning, except for the fact that I actually liked it years ago. Weird. I am suggesting we watch a good movie next week. My suggestion was Carrie, as seen on this shirt from the horror movie t shirt section. Don’t go out of your way to see this movie, unless big hair turns you on.