Archive for the ‘Vern Tells It Like It Is’ Category

Vern interviews a guy trying to make a movie about the filming of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE!!

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Vern here…

You might not have noticed this, but I’m obsessed with THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. I consider it one of the all time great American independent films. I watch it over and over and I still keep noticing things I hadn’t before. I’ve read the book about how it was made, I’ve watched the documentaries, I took the fuckin remake personally like somebody had broken into my apartment and smeared shit all over the walls.

But I’m not the only one. I run into others like me every once in a while. I get contacted by them. We are everywhere, but you will not notice us. We have the power to blend in with our surroundings. You are probably staring right at us right now and you can’t even see us. We are invisible. Whoah – behind you! Too late. Nice try. (read the rest of this shit…)

VvAvP-R

Friday, December 28th, 2007

SPOILER ALERT !!

VERN VS. ALIEN VS. PREDATOR DASH REQUIEM

Aliens, predators, why do you always gotta fight? Why can’t you just resolve your differences? I know they say “whoever wins, we lose” but I’ve seen both the AvP movies and clearly nobody is winning anything. We lose, and you lose our respect.

RESURRECTION and RATATOUILLE were already taken and they needed something that started with an R, so the title of this thing is REQUIEM. That might make you wanna ask who died, but you already know the answer: the remaining dignity of aliens and predators across the universe. Two proud races slandered and humiliated, on the Lord’s birthday no less. And why? For what? What the hell did aliens and predators ever do to us other than entertain and delight us, scare us, fuck up our space colonies and skin some dudes in a jungle? Nothing. And for that we give them a franchise so lazy it can’t even be bothered to spell out its own titles. (read the rest of this shit…)

Is Beowulf the Beginning or Another False Start?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Outlaw Vern tackles where 3-D is headed by looking at where it has been.

Man, 3-D is gonna save the movie industry! Movie theaters are making less and less money these days. People are staying home to watch movies thanks to growing ticket and concessions prices, the shrinking theater-to-DVD window, the crass commercialism of the multiplex viewing experience, a new generation of cell phone toting little bastards who think it’s okay to talk and answer phones and play video games during movies, movies that are shot and edited for a tiny monitor so you can only tell what in God’s holy name is going on if you watch them at home in slow motion, the continuing crapitization of the Hollywood blockbuster, the trend of movies being cut to PG-13 for theaters and released uncut a few months later on DVD, the extreme laziness afforded by Netflix mailing movies directly to your house, and most of all, because of that one girl who recorded 20 seconds of Transformers on her cell phone to show her little brother. Actually, forget about the first eight reasons I listed, it’s all because of that girl.

But never fear! Beowulf is in 3-D now and it’s like the first time they introduced sound or color! Except that they already introduced it a couple times, like in the ’50s and in the ’80s, and a few years ago with Polar Express, which used the same technology and was even from the same director, and didn’t save movies yet. But this time for real! (read the rest of this shit…)

Jigsaw Needs to Study Up on Vincent Price

Friday, October 26th, 2007

The 2000s have seen plenty of horror movies, remakes, sequels, remake prequels, etc. But no 21st century horror series has set up shop like Saw, out of which part IV opens this weekend. Few series gets past part II these days, so having a part IV makes Saw‘s antagonist Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) the closest thing today’s little horror fans have to a Freddy or a Jason.

But in truth Jigsaw’s shtick is not like any of the ’80s slashers. He’s more reminiscent of two characters played by Vincent Price: Dr. Anton Phibes (The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again) and Edward Lionheart (Theater of Blood). These guys are all bitter, arrogant old men who believe they have been wronged. They have a knack for setting up elaborate, sadistic traps, for eluding the authorities, for giving away clues without being caught. (read the rest of this shit…)

Pass the Torture Porn, Please

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

When critics talk about drawing a line… what are they talking about?

In 1974, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales described The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as “the latest discouraging entry in a horror movie subgenre that might be called gorenography–films that strive not so much to shock or frighten as merely to sicken.” He wrote that “The Exorcist brought the cheap shocks to the mass movie market” and described a “post ‘Exorcist‘ era” where horror movies have “no characters of any depth to identify with or cheer on as the monster approaches; there is little if any cleverly contrived suspense; and the film quickly becomes not a who-dun-it but a who-gets-it-next.”

Thirty-three years later, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is still one of the best horror movies ever made. It was even selected for preservation in the Library of Congress. And The Exorcist‘s reputation isn’t too shabby either. Yet somehow the sky has not fallen. Civilization continues unabated. The innocence of children and puppies remains intact. Horror movies still frighten as well as sicken and have characters to cheer on as they face cleverly contrived suspense, like Sally in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. In short, Tom Shales didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, and he was wrong. (read the rest of this shit…)

AICN BOOKS! Wow! Vern Can Read! ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER: VIOLENCE, SPECTACLE, AND THE AMERICAN ACTION MOVIE Reviewed!

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

I kid. I know Vern can read. When we first talked all those years ago, when he was fresh out of the pen, he told me that he had to do a lot of reading in prison to break up the monotony of all the gay rape.

No, really, I kid.

Vern, buddy, thanks for doing this one. Good stuff, and my favorite read of the day:

I am here today to review a book. That’s right motherfuckers, I know how to read. The book in question is Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie (revised & expanded edition) by Eric Lichtenfeld. Our young friend Quint kindly suggested me to review the book and I was happy to check it out. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern’s Giant NSFW Interview With Scotty JX About ACTIONGIRLS: SOLDIERS OF THE DEAD!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

You’ve really got to check this one out to believe it.

First, we got the attached interview sent into the primary AICN geek e-mail address, and there’s a disclaimer attached to it:

“DISCLAIMER: Yes, this piece is long. And yes, it’s also about some guy you most likely never heard of and not about a new Bat-man picture or Cloverfield or some shit. Or is it? Now that I think about it it most likely is for sure related to that movie but not necessarily, who knows. Anyway if you don’t want to read it you can always go to one of your other internet hotspots.”

Ah, Vern, how do I love you? Let me count the ways.

Only Vern would have done this interview. Only Vern would have made it such a great read. And only AICN has the good fortune to be publishing it this morning.

Lucky, lucky you.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As an individual who tends to write about movies on the internet I get a few emails.

And every now and then those emails are about some low budget undistributed independent movie somebody made, asking if I would check it out. I usually say sure, if you want to send it to me I’ll take a look. But then I say that I can’t guarantee I will review it. And so far I never have. If it doesn’t blow me away there’s no point in reviewing it. I feel bad because these are all nice people and they’ve worked hard on these things, but usually I’m not patient enough to watch. If there are people who are good at watching those things to look for hidden talent then I’m not one of them. I like a good low budget movie, but to me low budget is EL MARIACHI or above. BAD TASTE maybe. Preferably TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. I’m not the best guy to appreciate what you shot on video with your friends, no matter how good a job you did. (read the rest of this shit…)

FOX – Vern has some words for you about the pansy-assing of the 4th DIE FLACCID movie.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

A reader named Ed Wilson tipped me off to the following outrageous lunacy:

“In June’s VANITY FAIR, it states that Bruce Willis was initially  disappointed that his fourth DIE HARD film will likely be cut to get a PG-13 rating rather than an R. ‘I really wanted this one to live up to the promise of the first one, which I always thought was the only really good one.’ And he’s not happy about it. ‘That’s a studio decision that is becoming more and more common, because they’re trying to reach a broader audience. It seems almost a courageous move to give a picture an R rating these days. But we still made a pretty hardcore, smashmouth film.'”

Dearest 19th Century Fox:

Howdy. Name’s Vern, nice to meet you. I am writing to ask you one question. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU JOKERS TRYING TO PULL?

Before you blow me off to go bathe in that champagne/money/panda blood mixture you have in your hot tub, please be aware that I am not speaking as a member of the internet community, or associate of the nerd community. I think ALL communites agree with me on this, except maybe the Amish, who don’t watch movies and are therefore neutral. I am speaking as an American, and as a citizen of the world. You can’t fucking do that to DIE HARD. (read the rest of this shit…)

Book Review: Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

chainsawMonday morning I heard a phrase on the radio that surprised me: “men, women and chain saws,” said in a somewhat dismissive voice.

What the hell? This was a weird coincidence. Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Berkeley professor Carol J. Clover is a very academic book exploring gender issues in slasher, possession and rape-revenge films, mostly from the ’70s. I read the book years ago and it really affected my view of slasher movies. I paraphrase it alot when defending these kinds of movies (a pretty regular past time these days).

I think it’s been an influential book, but I don’t know anybody else who’s read it, so it was a surprise to hear it on the morning news. I had read it mentioned recently in the Fangoria horror magazine, when Quentin Tarantino mentioned it in an interview about Death Proof. It’s not surprising he read it. In the first half of Death Proof he uses alot of the slasher movie conventions discussed in the book, setting up Butterfly as what Clover calls “the Final Girl.” The biggest clue is that she has “the investigative gaze,” she’s the one who notices Stuntman Mike’s car and keeps eyeing him, and is scared of him. No one else realizes anything is wrong. Ordinarily this would mean that she would go on to survive and defeat, escape from, maybe even kill Stuntman Mike. But, well, maybe some other time. (Of course, he ends up making what is more obviously a feminist movie, not having to even have the women tormented too much before they want to spit on somebody’s grave.) (read the rest of this shit…)

G’House and the Secrety of the Missing Bees

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Okay, I got a new column for the first time in a couple months, so everybody’s gonna assume it’ll be about the recent tragedy in our country, the school shooting where some crazy asshole doubled the body count of the previous worst gun massacre in our history. It’s true, whenever something like this happens you feel like you sort of should say something, not just pretend like nothing happened. Even if right after it happens somebody else kills 150 people in Iraq.

And I have to admit, I looked at those pictures the killer sent to NBC, and as soon as I saw him posing with a claw hammer I thought, “Oh great. Now somebody’s gonna blame it on OLDBOY.” People are already talking about that (not that anybody’s buying it) and I think it’s only a matter of time before some dipshit politician starts talking Korean cinema on the floor of congress. When something like this happens that hits everybody in the gut you gotta try to make politics out of it, but it’s gotta ignore any actual causes (poor treatment for mental illness, easy access to guns) and blame everything on movies, video games, maybe ringtones. The old “in serious times, give them nothing but moronic horse shit for babies” technique. Also known as Liebermania. (read the rest of this shit…)