I remember my first encounter with The Twilight Zone TV series as a child. It was the 4th of July. The family had all come inside after a day of barbecue, sparklers, smores, and sprinklers. The little bijon-frisees were exhausted from a day of playing in their little kiddie pool and chasing the tennis balls I threw at them for hours. It was a wonderful day of outdoor fun, but my father had an even more interesting activity planned for the evening.
My father is the reason I watch horror films. He saw how interested I was in what my older brother was watching with him, but how hesitant I was to actually commit to watching a scary movie. He sat me down week after week with black and white classics: Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Godzilla, and King Kong to name a few. When he thought I could handle it, I could rent any non-religious horror I wanted, including slashers, absurd/experimental, and giallos. The religious horror obsession began as an act of rebellion that transformed into an actual obsession I use to reevaluate my faith through overwrought commentary on the ills of Catholicism.
But this isn’t about my horror awakening. This is about my indoctrination into the cult of anthology TV series.
In 2006, comedian/actor/playwright/cupcake and cheeseball entrepreneur Amy Sedaris released her how-to hospitality book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. This unexpected career shift fit her perfectly. It provided her a showcase for her many interests outside of public knowledge in a comedic framework that still managed to inform the reader of interesting and easily executable ideas.
Tomorrow is Christmas. On the eve of this great holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to provide a guide for my fellow horror fans of what to watch for the holidays.
For the child in the family: The Year Without a Santa Clause
Judging by my mother’s reaction to this stop-motion animated special, the presence of Heat Miser, Snow Miser, and Jack Frost will either scare a child into behaving properly at Christmas dinner or cause them to think you’re the coolest adult they’ve ever met for all the awesome action sequences.
For the child within: Gremlins
Go ahead, laugh all you want at the Christmas-hued gag sequences in the final reel. Just don’t come crying to me when the closing narration sends shivers down your spine.
The American Theatre Wing published an interesting article called “37 Flicks Theatre Lovers Should Know.” It is a great mix of new and old, popular and obscure.
What is fascinating about writer Howard Sherman’s approach is how he defines “know.” He is not suggesting you need to go out and watch all 37 of these features; he warns against watching camp classic Stayin’ Alive, but includes it because the entire focus of the film is the stage. He thinks that having knowledge of these films is important to an understanding of the stage as presented on the screen. You don’t need to see the metallic-leotards of Stayin’ Alive‘s finale to know that Tony Manero was not cut out to trot the boards on the Great White Way.
Here it is. The moment we’ve all been waiting just over two weeks for. The finale of the second season of The Sing Off aired on Monday night and it was a doozy. Allow me to get my major gripe out of the way right now: there was no need for a live finale. It was actually a disservice to the groups as the sound mixing for every performance was atrocious. The treble was raised up high, as if the person in charge of sound thought the soprano or tenor line had to be the melody in every song and no one watching at home cared about harmonies. Good luck picking out anything lower than Middle C in the episode; that’s a shame, too, since only one group has any female singers left. Continue reading
Far From Heaven is the 1950s-set story of Cathy, a housewife, who catches her husband, Frank, kissing another man. She befriends a black gardener, Frank, and tries to cope with the destruction of her personal life. The film was shot with many authentic period melodrama details, including angled camera shots to portray the power in the various relationships, plays of light and shadow, and an emotional orchestral score with variations on the same piano theme shifting to reflect the mood. The score functioned very much like a musical score to intensify and express the feelings the characters could not say. Continue reading