Friday, March 23, 2012

Prometheus: The UK Trailer!!!

Everyone's abuzz about Ridley Scott's return to the ALIEN universe with his upcoming prequel: PROMETHEUS!  Little is know about the project at this state, but every little trailer and glimpse helps, and the U.K. trailer acutally offers new scenes and a better overview of the narrative than its' American counterparts.

Check it out and see what you think.  Enjoy!

Music To Geek By: The Best Weird Melodies Of Warren Zevon

Okay, here's the deal.  I don't listen to a lot of music.  Why?  Well honestly because most music is about falling in love or drinking with your buddies or something normal like that.  I write a blog called A Lone Fan Crying In The Wilderness.  That's a Biblical reference mixed with Geek culture.  That's not normal, people! Okay?  That's just not!!!

So!  If I have to listen to the radio I've usually got a news program on or something strange like Coast To Coast or a cassette or cd with an old radio drama blasting.  If I do listen to music though, it's usually either a Christian track (Hey, let's face it.  That Biblical reference in my title didn't come outta nowhere) or it's something strange ... something odd ... something macabre.

That being said, I thought I might familiarize some of my readers with some great Geek music, or at least what I consider to be Geek music.  For today's feature we'll be starting out with a couple of classics from Warren Zevon!


What!!!  He stole my title!!!

Simmer down there.  It's Werewolves, not Werewolf.  Learn the difference between plural and singular, all right?

And following that, who could forget Mr. Zevon's immortal classic:

Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner

If anyone likes these, let me know and I'll post some more in future.  After all there's a lot more weirdness out there than what's to be found in books and movies and weird is what this blog is all about!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More From The Archives: LET FREEDOM RING - A look back at Captain America On Film

Captain America was created in 1941 by Joe Simon and his partner, Jack Kirby (Kirby being one of, if not the, most influential artists and writers in America Comics History).

The character battled the evils of the Nazi Regime before America actually got into World War 2. Many have seen the creation of this character as a political statement, which is ironic, since Marvel Studios have been trying to downplay his American-ness in favor of a more centrist global view of the character (reportedly so not to offend oversea markets and cut into their profit line).

Whatever intentions Simon and Kirby may have had for the character, Cap has rarely been used in a political setting with most of his adventures focusing on the regular sci-fi/fantasy trappings of normal superhero comics or James Bond style political conspiracy theories that have little or no bearing on the real world.

He's an interesting character, the Marvel equivalent of Superman minus the powers. He's a soldier, a hero, and (in the comics at least) the leader of the Mighty Avengers! (I say in the comics because there's a rumor going around that Robert Downey Jr. may head the team in the upcoming Avengers movie due to Iron Man's popularity. I have no problem with that because Iron Man has been the leader of the group at various intervals, and unless Cap's new film storms the box office, Iron Man will remain a more recognizable character in the public's eye).

Anyway, I am going to post the trailer now (like everybody and his brother seems to be doing) so here goes!

Well, that should be that, but while we're on the subject of my favorite Marvel Comics character, I thought I might mention that this isn't the first time Captain America has starred in a feature film. 1979 saw the release of not one, but two made-for-television films starring the First Avenger: Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon.

Incidentally, while Captain America (1979) had a television release here in the United States, it actually had a theatrical release in Europe. Both films starred b-movie hero Reb Brown (star of Howling 2: Your Sister Is A Werewolf).

The second feature had him doing battle with Christopher Lee (who also starred in Howling 2). Both films are mediocre at best, but they have had vhs releases at least and are well worth looking up for b-movie fans, made-for-tv-movie connoisseurs, and Mighty Marvel die-hards.

I wasn't able to find a trailer for the first film, but I did locate this little gem. It's the trailer for the second feature, Captain America II: Death Too Soon.

Moving on the more infamous (but certainly not the worst despite what you may have heard) Captain America movie, the straight-to-video production from 1990. Before I say anymore about this film, I want to point out that when I first saw it as a kid, I had no idea who Captain America was. This movie introduced me to him and his archenemy The Red Skull! While it may have its problems, it is fun in a b-movie sort of way. The plot has more than a few holes, and I still don't understand why the Red Skull loses his Red Skull face after the first act. I guess they were trying to approach his character from a realistic standpoint, but nothing else in the movie was terribly realistic so why bother?

The Red Skull At The Film's Start

The Red Skull as he appears in the last 2/3's of the Movie
Straight from the library of youtube user ComicFilmExpert here's the trailer for director Albert Pyun's version of Captain America!

Speaking of Albert Pyun, if you've never looked him up, you should.

A lot of people nitpick this film for not living up to the comic book or for certain costume choices, but they miss the point that this is less a Captain America film and more an Ablert Pyun film. Mr. Pyun's first (and arguably best) film was the cult classic The Sword and the Sorcerer, and despite having a bevy of hardcore fans, I find it odd that Sword is exalted while Captain America is derided even though they're incredibly similar films!

Both films suffer from silly looking, yet still kind of cool sfx (compare the three bladed sword to scenes of Cap throwing his mighty shield for the full effect of that argument), both films have great makeup effects that look the slightest bit outrageous (at least Cap's movie does until the Red Skull gets plastic surgery after Act I), both films have heart (I dare you not to be moved when Steve Rogers wanders aimlessly around his now changed hometown trying to cope with the passage of time), both suffer from slightly muddled screenplays, but most important of all, BOTH OF THEM ARE TONS OF FUN!!!

I am going to argue that Albert Pyun's Captain America film is not only undeserving of its status as a bad movie, I'm not only going to argue that it's good, I'm actually going to argue that in the hallowed halls of straight-to-video productions Captain America is a classic!!!

Remember Empire Films and the early days of Full Moon Productions? Remember great movies like Robot Jox, Puppet Master 2, Dolls, or Trancers? This is the kind of film that fits perfectly among those types of movies and not only that, but it's one of the best of that strange time of experimental, low budget film making that flourished so creatively in the late 80's and early 90's.

Forget what you've heard! Forget what you've read! If you've never seen Captain America (1990) then check it out and make up your own mind on the matter. Some of you will hate it, some of you may just love it, but at least you gave it a go! Mr. Pyun's highly underrated film deserves that at least!
That's all I got! Peace Out!

From The Archives A Classic Lone Fan Article Reposted: Power Rangers Samurai Bullks Up

Power Rangers: Samurai Bulks Up!!!

Waaaay back one Saturday Morning in August of 1993 I found myself rising early to catch what I thought was going to be a tv special on Fox Kids. I sat down, turned on the tube, and caught my first glimpse of those oh so mighty morphin’ Power Rangers!

The special was of course a pilot for a show that seemed to intrigue me. The Fox affiliate station in my city (Does anyone today even remember what an affiliate station was?) bumped it to an early morning timeslot when it began to air regularly. I didn’t know anyone else who watched it, but the show had a sort of fun cheese like nothing I’d seen in a while, which when mixed with martial arts action and rubber suited baddies, created a zesty combo that practically forced me out from slumber to crawl neath the warm glory of the tv for a half hour of absolute insanity!

And then … disaster struck!!! No, not a creature from Finster’s monster-matic … (Man I love Finster!)

… but rather an ice storm that knocked the power out at my house for well over a month, along with the phones, cable; the whole nine yards. The area where I lived was declared a disaster area and stayed one for several weeks. When we finally did get a new lifeline to that most glorious of all household essentials (the television) I was shocked to find that Power Rangers … was popular! No more was it regulated to early morning viewing, it came on the in the afternoons after school and suddenly everyone I knew was watching it. Then the merchandising explosion hit! Then the first feature film! Power Rangers where everywhere! And oddly enough, they still are.

Beginning tonight (February 7th for those who might read this a day or two late) Power Rangers will premier the 18th Season in its long, long television run with …

There are very few series that have held in there as many years as this one has, and while I’ve never been able to figure out why exactly, I have to admit I still get a touch giddy knowing that it has. Giant monsters, spandex clad heroes in bright primary colors, corny jokes, and morality driven storytelling; there’s absolutely nothing mainstream cool about it, but Geek Cool? Oh yeah! Power Rangers is swimming in Geek Cool!

Like every incarnation of the show since Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, the new season, Power Rangers: Samurai, will feature an entirely new cast of heroes, villains, and supporting cast characters … well, mostly new.

The major buzz about the show has surrounded the fact that this will be the first season produced by the show’s original production company, Saban since they sold the rites to Disney amidst pre-production for the 10th season, Power Rangers: Wild Force. However, there is one other element from the Rangers past who will be returning.

See, way back in the olden days of those Zord wielding Champions, there was a well known pair of supporting cast character who made the show for most us: Farkis Bulkmire and Eugene Skullovitch; the one and only, Bulk and Skull!

They were by the far most interesting characters to watch and surprisingly enough went through light years more character development than any Ranger we’ve ever seen. The duo served together for the first six seasons, until actor Jason Narvy (Skull) left to attend college.

Paul Schrier (Bulk) stayed on for the show’s seventh season before calling it quits himself.

The pair was briefly reunited for a small role in the 10th anniversary episode Forever Red, but since that time they’ve been out of the Power Rangers universe altogether.
Until now!

Ladies and Gentlemen, in case you hadn’t heard, the one and only Mr. Paul Schrier will be returning to the role of Bulk for Power Rangers grand and glorious return to the hallowed halls of Saban! Mr. Bulkmire has been paired with newcomer Felix Ryan (Damian from the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious) who will be playing Bulk’s nephew, Spike.

The two have appeared together in a scene released to the net (and posted below) that’s incredibly reminiscent of Bulk and Skull’s hijinx of olde! Felix does a pretty good job of emoting Jason Narvy. I would have liked it if both Skull could have returned too, but with the comedic genius of Paul Schrier unleashed anew in the Ranger-Verse, I ain’t complainin’! What else is there to say? I’m looking forward to Power Rangers: Samuria.

I hope everyone enjoyed the clip, and if you’re unfamiliar with the Rangers why not give the show a shot? You could always be a fan waiting to happen. I know I was.

Thanks guys, for all the laughs that have been, and all the ones to come.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lauren Faust Returns With A Few Of Her (Super) Best Friends

The new DC Nation animated block on Cartoon Network saw the launch of a new batch of shorts by Lauren Faust who recently breathed new life into Hasbro's My Little Pony Franchise!  The series entitled Super Best Friends Forever features the adventures and friendship of Supergirl, Wondergirl, and Batgirl!  The first short is only about a minute long and can be viewed below.

There's really not much of a story to consider here as the whole story is built around one gag (conning Wonder Girl into 'borrowing' her sister's invisible jet), so let's talk a little bit about the characters.  First, the painfully obvious.  None of them resemble their comic book counterparts.  Canon is more or less thrown to the wind, but hey, it worked for Teen Titans, right?


This is first and foremost a Lauren Faust creation.  It's here for comedy first, not the super heroic exploits the comics are known for and you know what?  I'm okay with that.  If you tried to fit an action story into a 60 second short, you'd really have nothing more than punching and posturing.  This new comedic take works and it works well in its’ format.

Batgirl seems a bit spastic for my tastes, not at all like her normally serious self, but then I have to consider the energy Tara Strong is putting into her vocalizations and it just makes everything click.  The fact that her facial expressions are pure gold in every frame doesn't hurt matters either.

Next we look at Supergirl.  I really like her design.  She's not a stick like Batgirl or Wondergirl.  She has a broader build that's indicative of the kind of power her solar-charged Kryptonian muscles are packing.  She also has a deeper voice than the others that I really, really like.  Waaaaaay too often female voice characterizations are limited to a very few archtypes.  It's nice to hear a deep (even a bit raspy at times) yet still appealing voice coming from a female lead.  Of all the characters in this group, she seems to be the one that goes against type the most.

Finally we come to Wondergirl.  I like her.  I like the fact that she looks Greek and sounds exotic, but her personality is a little flat compared to Batgirl's exuberance and Supergirl's mischievous streak and apparent temper.  She is a bit stick-like compared to Supergirl, but she's tall and has a certain power to her movements.  Of all the characters I think she'll need the most development (or what little development one can hope to get from one minute shorts).

All in all, Ms. Faust seems to be living up to her hype.  The short was fun and entertaining and I look forward to more of the same.  For those interested, I found an interview with Lauren on youtube conducted by the kind folks at Media Geek Zone.  Enjoy!

Carl Kolchak Stalks The Night ... And The Internet!

Kolchak: The Night Stalker chronicled the career of Carl Kolchak, an underfoot reporter with a nose for news, a perchance to encounter the macabre, and enough of an open mind to believe in the bizarre creatures he continually engaged.

The series created by Jeffrey Grant Rice and starring Darren McGavin consisted of two pilot films (The Night Stalker 1972 and The Night Strangler 1973), one season of twenty episodes (1974-1975), and more fond memories for fans of science fiction, fantasy, and horror than some shows can garner in a ten year run.  It was one of the truly perfect television series for genre buffs!

Even the world of paperbacks was not safe from THE NIGHT STALKER

Now Carl Kolckak is back!  No, I'm not talking about the upcoming Edgar Wright directed revival film from Disney or the short-lived sequel series The Night Stalker.  I'm talking about Peter Enfantino and John Scoleri's excellent blog It Couldn't Happen Here!

The Scream Factory #17

Mr. Enfantino and Mr. Scoleri were co-editors of The Scream Factory: The Magazine of Horrors Past, Present and Future and bring their expertise to the adventures of one, Mr. Carl Kolchak, reviewing both movies and all twenty episodes of the series as well as commenting on other media such as paperback books.

The Scream Factor #18

Their blog is a great place to get know the series if you've never experienced it, or to relive it through the expert eyes of two very serious genre fans.  Recommended!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why Jim Henson Was So Good

I found this on youtube through a message board the other day.  It's a video of the wrap party for Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock.  The series which began airing on HBO in 1983 was about a group of subterranean creatures called Fraggles.  It was a bastion of good messages, smart storytelling, and creative design (in other words it was typical Jim Henson fair).

The video features a short speech by Mr. Henson and afterwards a song performed by the Fraggles themselves, but it's more than that.  I never watched Fraggle Rock growing up (mainly because I didn't have HBO) but I've caught snippets of it here and there over the years.

For a show I've barely watched, I should have no emotional investment in it at all, and yet ... I can't help but get misty-eyed as Mr. Henson talks and especially at the end when the characters he helped create sing us one last bit of parting advice.  But then, the more I think about it, that's what's common to all Jim Henson creations whether you're talking about The Muppets, Sesame Street, or heck, The Dark Crystal for that matter!  There is an investment not only from Jim but from his people, a love and a passion that transcends cheap kiddie fodder and creates something wonderful and powerful and good!

You know, we talk of greatness a lot in terms of filmmakers, but there are few we ever speak of as being good in the sense that that word means kindness and well wishing.  Jim Henson was a great filmmaker, but he was also a good one and that's the best thing I can say about anyone.

Enjoy the video and check out The Jim Henson Company's youtube channel for more of the same.

The Fraggles promised us that they'll be back and they'll be new, they'll be the same.  Interstingly enough, according to this story from late last year New Regency Enterprises has purchased the rights to make a Fraggle Movie.  I hope that's a promise they can keep in today's watered down market.  The Muppets sure as heck made good to that promise!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Not Your Daddy's Lone Ranger and Tonto

We live in an age of movie realism where Batman can't have Robin, Wolverine can't wear yellow, and now I guess the Lone Ranger and Tonto can't look like the Lone Ranger and Tonto anymore.

The above is the first officially released image of Armie Hammer as that famous masked man and Johnny Depp as his Native American sidekick from Gore Verbinski's Lone Ranger film set to be released by Disney some time next year.  Now before whatever I have to say gets filed under fan-boy gripping let's put this in perspective.

#1 Johnny Depp's bird-hat ... IS REALLY COOL!!!

Avian headgear makes everything better

And #2 - We All Knew This Was Going To Be A Departure From The Original Source Material

... and if you didn't know that, then compare what's above (the cowboy and the indian, not the immortal mistress of Grayskull) with this pick of Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels in the roles they immortalized!

In summation, The Lone Ranger looks like he's wearing long-johns and Tonto's a walking Hollywood cliche.  Like it or not, the new versions posted above actually look a whole lot closer to a real Native American and a real Texas Ranger!  What we seem to have is a reversal in visual styling.  The OLD Lone Ranger and Tonto looked visually interesting but starred in stories that were basic western fair: They fought cattle rustlers, crooked bankers, and rogue Indians.

The NEW Lone Ranger and Tonto look about as real and thus about as unimpressive as possible.  Yes, I know it seems hard to take a glance at Johnny Depp sporting Jeremy the Crow as a top hat and call THAT visually unimpressive but it is what it is.

See, very little fashion is made to stand out visually.  That's not to say certain clothing designs aren't made to accentuate certain body types and our choices in the color of our clothing can make various features such as legs, chest, eyes, faces, ect. stand out, but all in all a large majority of people would rather blend in than stand out (which why goths or people who insist on dressing like crew members of the Enterprise in their daily life get such odd looks).

For the time period, both the Lone Ranger and Tonto are pretty much blending in and that's my main gripe.  See, the Lone Ranger mythos essentially spun out of the pulp fiction movement; a glorious period from the turn of the 20th century that was populated by daring crime fighters!

... half naked Ape-Men!

and rough and ready heroes like, well, like The Lone Ranger and Tonto.  Even though most of these characters originally appeared in books or on Radio Plays, none of which were visual, they were often described as being oddly clad (or in some cases barely clad at all) because it added to their exotic appeal.  These were not ordinary men and women!  They were brave, courageous, challengers of impossible odds and mysterious lands!  It was escapism in its purest form and IT!  WAS!! GLORIOUS!!!

Today we seem to have gotten away from that.  Now don't get me wrong, the strange and bizarre are still a part of our cinematic life.  At one stage in the script for this movie LR and trusty Tonto were supposed to be fighting werewolves, and despite some rumors that those effects scenes were cut to save costs, they still might before this all over!  The movie's being directed by Gore Verbinski for crying out loud and with him, ANYTHING can happen!

The problem however is that if the strange and bizarre to encroach on our movie going experience, there's an expectation to keep it as grounded and as real and as ... well, I'm just going to say it, AS BORING AS POSSIBLE!!!  Everything has to be explained in torturous detail, nothing is left to the imagination, and the dress code has to be as monochromatic as possible, and honestly I'm tired of it.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto look fine.  They honestly do.  Nothing in the picture of Mr. Hammer or Mr. Depp is going to keep me from seeing it at the movies.  What does bother me is the basic philosophy behind the changes that is plaguing this film and so many others.  Pray for an end to the sanity.  That's never been what pulp, sci-fi, or crime fighting has ever been about!

Tara Strong Raps Like A Pony, Christkids Animates Like A Star!

In response to a vocal tweet of Tara Strong performing a short rap in the voice of Twilight Sparkle (the character she voices on Lauren Faust's AMAZING remake of Hasbro's My Little Pony property) youtube user and animator par excellence (apparently) Christkids has created a short animated version of Mrs. Strong's original material.

One small wrap for a voice artist!  One giant leap for animated fan fiction!!!  Enjoy.

Gargoyles 1972, In Review

In the immortal words of Professor Farnsworth, "Good news everyone"!  And what could that good news be?  GARGOYLES IS FINALLY OUT ON DVD!  No, sadly I'm not talking about the still unreleased final episodes of the rightfully celebrated Disney action cartoon from the minds of Greg Weisman and others, I'm talking about the made-for-tv movie from 1972 starring Jennifer Salt (Soap, Terror Among Us), Cornel Wilde (A Thousand and One Nights, The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, Sword of Lancelot), ... 
 Cornel Wilde and Jennifer Salt in ... GARGOYLES!!!
 ... and NFL pro Bernie Casey (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)!

 Bernie Casey as ... The Gargoyle!

Plot Summary Ahead

One of the best creature features from the decade of disco, Gargoyles tells the story of archeologist Dr. Mercer Boley (Wilde) and his daughter Diana (Salt) who reunite (in the aftermath of a barely mentioned separation between the good Dr. and his wife) for a research trip down to Mexico.  Along the way they're sidetracked by Uncle Willy the operator of a curiosity shop who has just uncovered an inhuman, winged skeleton out in the desert and as fate would have it that skeleton is a remnant from the last Gargoyle hatching.

See, it turns out that all those statues and images of gargoyles we find in art the world over were made to commemorate various invasions from those pesky critters.  It takes their eggs several hundred years to incubate and hatch, and wouldn't you know it, the new batch is fresh out of the oven just in time to shake things up for Uncle Willy and the Boleys.

Various gargoyles descend upon Uncle Willy's store to recover the body of their fallen ancestor.  Uncle Willy croaks pretty quick, but the Boyle's escape with the skeleton's skull.  Since the gargoyles are determined to recover the bodies of their dead (though out of respect or secrecy is never fully explained) they follow the two of them back to the small desert town where they're staying and begin the process of attack and recovery all over again leading to assorted attacks, a kidnapping, a failed rescue mission, and a climactic final stand of man vs. gargoyle.

Movies In Review

The greatest sin any film can commit is boredom and say what you will, Gargoyles is not boring!  It opens with cheesy slime-font credits, and jumps right to the point from there.

Immediately the movie tells us who Dr. Boley is, who his daughter is, why they're together and where they're going.  This means the first five or ten minutes are almost nothing but exposition, but the reasoning behind that seems to be "The sooner we know who everyone is, the sooner we can have the gargoyles attack them!"

The film has barely began when you catch your first glimpse of a shadow lingering over the road ... a strange inhuman shadow!  No sooner is that over and done with than we meet Uncle Willy who begins to talk about the strange skeleton he found in the desert and from there we move onto an ominous scene with an increasingly drunk Willy recounting Indian legends of strange beasts of yore.

Credit should go to Wilde and Salt who add enough skepticism to Uncle Willy's sideshow to remain believable while being creeped out enough by it to make their acceptance of the gargoyle's existence seem natural when the script calls on them to do so.  And let's be honest, as with all fantasy film that's a very tight rope to walk.

Once more, the film makers understand that the longer you actually go without seeing the monsters, the more frightening they become!  The attack by the gargoyles on Uncle Willy's store is not only effective and moves the story along, but it still manages to keep the beasties off camera the entire time!

The Boley's retreat back to small town U.S.A. (oddly enough even though Mexico is mentioned as their destination they never seem to make it there, either that or the whole country has mysteriously been repopulated with white people) gives us a break from the tension and introduces some local characters who at first provide enough color to keep the slower parts moving and later on make excellent canon fodder for the monster's attack!

Now to mention the gargoyles themselves.  The usual line I've heard from people who review this movie is that the monsters look impressive for their time and given the budget the creators had to work with, but you know what?  Screw that line!  I'm tried of apologizing for actual creative ingenuity from the yesteryear of film-dom, especially when the end results look like this:

  The monster at the foot of your bed!

No Escape for Mercer Boley!

 Even gargoyles need some lovin'

These are good ole fashioned makeup effects produced by sfx legend Stan Winston!  Yes, that Stan Winston!  The same man who oversaw makeup and sfx for movies like Monster Squad, Predator, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day!

After years of being subjugated to bad CGI renderings from big budget Hollywood, fake looking monsters, and unimaginative designs, I welcome this look!  I applaud this technique!  I glorify this process!  We need to go back to a time when monster movies were about imagination!  About the shadows creeping in from the corners and the unknown terrors of the night!  That is what Gargoyles is all about and that's what horror cinema should be about again!

Probing Deeper

One oft overlooked aspect of this film is the origin of the gargoyles as explained by the pre-title sequence.  Apparently they are literally the children of Satan and have been sent to destroy mankind and replace humanity as part of the war between Heaven and Hell.  The interesting part of that is the film's flimsy explanation is actually tied to a religious controversy dating back more than 1500 years!

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6:4

The word giants in the English KJV was taken from a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint.  In the Septuagint the word is Gigantis which means 'earth born' and was taken from the original Hebrew word Nephilim which mean literally 'the fallen ones'!  The Sons of God mentioned here are rendered in the Hebrew as Ben Elohiym a term that is always used to refer to Angels.

A better reading of that verse would be:

There were Nephilim in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the (fallen) Angels came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

So in a nutshell, in days gone past, Satan's fallen Angels impregnated women and produced these Nephilim which were men and women possessed of super-human abilities.  They actually were giants as well, though simply designating them as ONLY giants in the English is an unfortunate mistake.
The Nephilim were all wiped out in Noah's flood, then later they reappeared and were killed off by various military campaigns overseen by Moses, Joshua, and King David.  This theory fell into obscurity when Celsus and Julius the Apostate (famous early Christian heretics) used this belief to mock Christian Orthodoxy.  Julius Africanus (160 - 240 A.D.) refuted them by claiming that the Sons of God referred to a family of heretics then living on the earth, and not Angels.  It's a flimsy excuse that's been oft refuted.

Well, the gargoyles in this film are lizard people with wings, not super-human giants, and I doubt seriously the filmmakers had a clue about any of this, otherwise the urge to include some reference to it as a means to substantiate their premise would have been too great to resist.  I find it amusing to no end that despite the reputation of the much more famous Omen films Gargoyles more or less stumbles into a more accurate interpretation of Biblical events than any of Damien's cinematic outings ever did!  Just one more reason why Gargoyles is such a great flick!

This movie has been out of print for years with used copies fetching ridiculous prices online, but thanks to the new release from our friends at Hen's Tooth Video Gargoyles is finally affordable again!  Don't miss your chance to own this monster movie masterwork today!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Frankenweenie: The Touching Tale Of A Boy And His Dog ... And A Lot Of Lightning!

It's animated in stop motion!  It's filmed in black and white!  And ... it's being produced by a major studio?  It can only be Tim Burton's Frankenweenie!!!

The new film coming out this October is a remake of Mr. Burton's short film from 1984 starring Shelley Duvall, Daniel Stern, and Barret Oliver!  The story of a young boy whose love for his dead dog inspires him to resurrect the roadkill rover with plenty of stitches and a touch of lightning!  The movie is a great tribute to Universal's Frankenstein films and well worth checking out.

And ... even though I'm not crazy about remakes, I am happy to see Mr. Burton returning to film one of his own ideas instead of adapting someone else's.  Tim Burton is a genre unto himself and works best when he's dabbling in his own backyard. 

So without further ado, here's the new trailer for the upcoming 2012 release fresh from youtube and ready to watch!  Enjoy!

Friday, March 2, 2012

From The Archives: Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes

This Article was originally published in September 13th 2010)

Hardly breaking news, but still something of interest. Whether you’re interested in Sherlock Holmes and his universe, are a fan of fantastic literature, or simply love a good read, then I can’t possibly see where anyone could go wrong with this!

It would be very easy to say that Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales Of Sherlock Holmes follows in the footsteps of the much touted Shadows Over Baker Street which pitted the famous sleuth against characters and creatures from H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories and novellas, but that’s not entirely accurate.
I loved Shadows Over Baker Street, but even I will admit the final product was mixed at best. Most of the authors felt like they had a better grasp of Lovecraft than Sherlock and Mr. Holmes reactions varied so much in the book that he felt less like a character than a popular idea that each individual writer projected themselves onto.

For instance, some of the authors were so in love with Holmes’ superior command of crisis situations that they continually portrayed him as a rock who was able to ingest the existence of the arcane as easily as if he were observing a stray fingerprint in a normal mystery. There’s a definite invincible quality to Holmes in certain of Doyle’s stories and these authors sought to maintain that trait even in the most extreme circumstance.
Then there were other short stories that portrayed Holmes as breaking down and losing his grip on his own sanity in the face of the sheer, immense awfulness of the Lovecraftian nightmares he encountered.

Both reactions are valid, but neither truly does the detective respect. But then the idea of pitting Holmes, whose chief philosophy was that all things are subject to logic, against Lovecraft’s central outlook, that the only thing that keeps men sane is ignorance of the unknown terrors surrounding them, is a subject that can hardly be settled well in a short story of any length. Some ideas simply need to be novels because good characters (and Sherlock Holmes most assuredly is one), like humans ourselves, cannot come full circle in so short a time.

Now please understand, this is not to undermine SOBS in anyway because it truly is a remarkable read, but this needs to be addressed. SOBS was more or less a collection of pseudo-Lovecraft stories with a man who more or less resembled Sherlock Holmes popping up them. Gaslight Grimoire manages to avoid this sin, for the most part.

The biggest difference is that the stories it contains are not Lovecraftian in nature. One of them (Merridew of Abominable Memory by Chris Roberson) doesn’t even have anything to do with the supernatural. These stories play out very differently than the ones from Shadows. They allow their authors to take a bizarre idea (What if Sherlock Holmes were placed in a supernatural situation) and work it out without giving them a preset mold (All the stories have to include elements from Lovecraft).

This freer hand allows the artists to explore what they think Holmes might do in a given scenario. Some of the stories are clearly horror yarns (His Last Arrow by Christopher Sequeira and the aforementioned Merridew of Abominable Memory), some are comical (The Red Planet League by Kim Newman) or smack of film noir (Red Sunset
by Bob Madison) while still others are just interesting pieces.

My absolute favorite story from his collection (which also happens to be the first story in the book) is actually a crossover with Peter Pan. The Lost Boy by Barbara Hambly starts out with the highly entertaining premise that Mr. and Mrs. Darling hire Sherlock Holmes to track down their missing children who, unbeknownst to them, are off adventuring in Never Land. Little is said of the actual case, because that’s not what the story is about. Most of it is told through the eyes of Dr. Watson’s ailing, elderly wife who longs to be young again. She encounters Peter as Holmes does, the younger serving as a reminder of eternal youth which she badly wants.

Holmes does retain a bit of that invincible quality that appeared in certain tales from SOBS but it is complimented by a brief but adequate explanation of why he was able to digest it. The Lost Boy doesn’t take for granted that Holmes can ingest the supernatural, it instead tells us how he is able to and that makes all the difference.

I could write a whole essay on this one story, but I don’t think that’s necessary. The canon of Holmes has laid still since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle left this world, while the apocryphal works on the great detective seem to march on endlessly. I have read many of these non-Doylian works and while some are very good many more are very bad and I hesitate to recommend but a few. Of those few, however, Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes is one of them.

I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It might not have the name recognition that Shadows Over Baker Street does, but it should. The tales in this book are not perfect. Some are flawed, some have the characters a bit off, but all are crafted with love and more importantly an intimate understanding of who Holmes is and what he means to his fans.

I should also mention that there is one already published sequel to this collection called Gaslight Grotesque: Nightmare Tales of Sherlock Holmes which I have not read, but plan to.

And a third volume is planned for release in the coming months. I’ll post more on that as I learn about it.
In the mean time, if anyone is interested in buying either Gaslight Grimoire or Gaslight Grotesque
they are both currently for sale on

You might also want to check out the publisher’s blog for more information as it’s released.
Now hurry off! In the immortal words of the Fantastic Sherlock Holmes, “The Game’s a foot”!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Derpy Hooves 'UNCUT'

A brief follow up to my earlier story.  I have received word from several friends that the recently released My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic DVD entitled The Friendship Express features the original cut of The Last Roundup that episode and not the edited version that itunes has been sellling.

It's encouraging to know that the original cut won't vanish, of course, that's not to say that future pressings of the DVD after the first run is sold out won't contain the edited version, so go out and grab your first edition copy while supplies last!  You can purchase it here!

Much Ado About Derpy Hooves

Meet Derpy Hooves, a clumsy, cross eyed pony who was lost in the seemingly endless list of background characters in the break out series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic!  Derpy Hooves (or Ditzy Doo as she was originally listed by the production staff) had the sad fate of becoming a popular pony to look for before she was ever named.  As is often the case with such characters, fans began to speculate on what to call her and 'Derpy Hooves' is the moniker that eventually stuck.

The creators of the show have never been shy about playing to the fans (another reason I love them so very much) so when it was decided to use 'Derpy' in a small supporting role with a few lines in the recent episode The Last Roundup the show runners asked the writer to use the fan given name 'Derpy Hooves' as her official name.

(NOTE: Derpy has spoken once before, though it was in a crowd scene with several different characters shouting at once.  The name Ditzy Doo has also been used, but the reference was so vague, the creators didn't feel Derpy was necessarily married to it.)

So Derpy was given a voice and a role.  Here's a brief clip of her brief appearance courtesy of youtube:

That's not the end of our story, however; rather it's only the beginning.

Apparently while fans LOVED seeing Derpy in a bigger part and nearly had a heartache because the name they had chosen was now official, there were some parties that were upset.  While  the word Derpy can mean 'clumsy' it can also be used as slang for 'retarded'.  Thus the outcry began!

Look, I'm not going to deride anyone who was outraged.  I realize that there are lots of families who suffer from certain physical and mental conditions and they have a right to be upset if they feel they are being exploited, but I honestly don't feel that's the case here.

Amy Keating Rogers (the author of the episode) is a long time cartoon writer who has a son who suffers from similar conditions!  She is a sensitive and caring person and actually a friend of a very good friend on my end.  There is nothing in her record to indicate that anything malicious was intentional in her script.

But that doesn't change what's happened.  Hasbro and The Hub have been trying to clean this mess up ever since it started.  This had led to a re-edited version of the episode that has appeared on itunes, and rumors are still circulating that Derpy's name may be changed back to Ditzy Doo as a result (a fact that has some fans up in arms).

The goal of this story is to inform people on what's happened and to call attention to an e-mail response better explaining the situation by Amy Keating Rogers herself.  The e-mail has been posted with permission on Equestria Daily, just follow the link.

This whole thing is unfortunate for everyone: for Mrs. Rogers, for the hardworking staff at The Hub who make this cartoon, for fans of Derpy who have been wanting and asking for her character to get a bigger role since the first season, and also for those on the opposing side of the debate who feel exploited.

Who would have thought a show about cartoon ponies could stir so many varied reactions?  I guess that's art for you, you never know how people will interpret it.

Rumor Alert: Benedict Cumberbatch To Portray The Master

 Roger Delgado plots Panic!

Aside from the Daleks, I doubt you'd find a more infamous foe of Great Britain's planet-hopping Time Lord, Doctor Who than The Master!  The original production was and still is the longest running sci-fi show in the world, and the new series is going strong at home and abroad!  This coming season will mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and according to a story from, this celebratory event will mark the return of The Master (his first appearance since 2009's two-part Christmas/New Years Special Doctor Who: The End of Time).

Anthony Ainley waxes Wicked!

The real meat of the story, however, is that show runner Stephen Moffat may be importing Benedict Cumberbatch (the star of his hit BBC series Sherlock) to portray the arch villain!  The last performer to take the role was John Simms whose take deviated from previous actors (such as Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley with their traditional mustache-twirling brand of evil, the sinister string pulling of Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beevers ...

 Peter Pratt contemplates Chaos!

 ... while Geoffrey Beevers assembles atrocities

... or even the hammy approach to the Delgado/Ainley archtype by Eric Roberts (who portrayed the character a single time in 1996's Dr. Who: The Movie)).

Eric Roberts fiendishly commits Crimes of Fashion

Mr. Simms portrayal of the Master was that of a Joker-esque madman who was incredibly dangerous but not nearly as conniving (or as much fun) as some of the other incarnations of the character.

 John Sims' gives gas Two Thumbs Up!

If Mr. Cumberbatch's previous work is any indication, we can count on a more thoughtful and cerebral performance than we've been given in quite some time, which ought to please old school Whovians and hopefully draw some of the new fans into our nostalgia.

The story has neither been confirmed or denied by BBC, putting it in the rumor category, but even if it does turn out to be a red herring, the idea has a great deal of merit.

 Benedict Cumberbatch: The Once And Future Master?
Who ('snicker') can say for Sure?