Archive for category Hoopla

Animaniacs

 

Sure, we all love a good werewolf film; but why should wolves have all the fun? Besides, let’s face it, when it comes to the beasts within—it’s a jungle in there…

So join us as we take a look at a few of the other rampaging alter-egos hidden behind the unconvincing façade of Homo sapiens:
 


It’s WERE-WHAT?—all through November (and likely December) at the B-Masters’ Blog.

 

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Cocktails & Capers: The End Result of a Year of Silence

My website has been silent for a long time, but that’s because I was writing this.

Page after page of rambling on everything from: Sweet Smell of Success, Billie Holiday, and old New York bars; Louis Feuillade’s Fantomas and Les Vampires; AJ Raffles and gentleman thieves  in film and print; the murky origins of the Martini; Kriminal, Kilink, Diabolik, and fumetti cinema; the origins of masked wrestlers and the birth of the El Santo/Blue Demon team-up; amaro and how Lucky Luciano and Ian Fleming won WWII; and the story of Dean Martin’s Matt Helm films, which became a sprawling epic involving the mob, Mia Farrow, the Kennedys, bodies in 55 gallon drums, the CIA, and Ian Fleming’s plan to defeat communism by stealing Fidel Castro’s beard.

It also contains cocktail recipes!

Parts were previously hosted on Teleport City, Mezzanotte, or Alcohol Professor but have been substantially re-researched and rewritten. And then a whole mess o’ stuff is new.

365 pages, black and white but with an attractive color cover. US$15.99 via Amazon. Buy it here of through whatever your country’s Amazon may be (it should be on all of them). It will eventually filter out to other sites, but that’s out of my control.

If you work at or have a connection to a brick & mortar you think would be interested in stocking it, let me know. Gotta hustle.

And finally, if you are foolish enough to buy it and read it, consider giving it a rating and/or review on Amazon and Goodreads.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

Unpacking our portmanteaux

 
Anthology films – or portmanteau films, or omnibus films, as they are also called – have been with us almost since the dawn of the motion picture industry. This form of film-making can be a tricky beast, requiring a careful juggling of topic and tone to get the right effect; but executed skilfully, such a film can become a great deal more than the sum of its parts.

There are anthology comedies, anthology dramas and anthology romances out there; but, from the very beginning, it was horror that made best and most frequent use of the format: a history now stretching all the way from 1919’s Unheimliche Geschichten to 2017’s XX and A Taste Of Phobia—and with many more, no doubt, to come…

So join us as we take a trip on the omnibus—
 


It’s ROOM FOR ONE MORE…all through August at the B-Masters’ Blog!

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

The most deserving game

 

So apparently there are people in the world whose idea of a good time is to go out and kill something. Guns, knives, crossbows, spears, hooks, traps—it’s all good, as long as an animal ends up dead.
 
I don’t get it.
 
Mind you…I come closer to getting it when the animal they’re hunting is selfish, greedy, violent, destructive and just plain ANNOYING.
 
So join us as we examine some films that put Homo sapiens in the cross-hairs…
 
 


It’s THE MOST DANGEROUS ROUNDTABLE…all through May at the B-Masters’ Blog!

 

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

An exercise in exhumation

 
When we think of early horror, it tends to be in terms of its most famous archetypes – Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Wolfman – and a cinematic landscape dominated by Universal Studios.

But this is only the tip of the horror iceberg; and, as with all icebergs, there was a great deal more going on under the surface.

Almost as soon as there were movies at all, there were horror movies. Despite social resistance and critical scorn, film-makers both across America and around the world began to speak to the audience’s fears…and its desire for a shivery good time, too. And though many of these efforts have since slipped through the cracks of time and memory, they all contributed to the development of the genre.

So join us as we lift our lanterns, deploy our picks and shovels, and dig into the crypt of forgotten horror…
 

It’s THE FORGOTTEN DAWN OF HORROR…all through February at the B-Masters’ Blog!

 

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Staggering across the finish line…

 

…and immediately signing up for the next race.

 

 

2017 was not one of our more productive years, to put put it mildly; a larger than usual serving of mea culpas seems in order.

 

But as always, a new year brings new hope.

 

Many thanks to our visitors and commentators We very much appreciate your continued support (and patience).

 

Best wishes to all for 2018!

 

 

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Why, yes: I have gone completely out of my mind

 

Thank you for asking.

 

 

I noticed the other day – rather to my consternation – that it has been a decade since I drew a line under my viewing of the original ten Friday The 13th movies. This detail coincided with a weird itch I’ve had lately to revisit the franchise, so that I was able to interpret it as A Sign.

Here’s the thing, though: I approached the F13 films the first time as a slasher movie neophyte, so that I was reacting to them cold, and my reviews, as a set, constitute a record of my journey through them, and the progressive thickening of my skin—or, as Zack Handlen put it at the time, “your horrified dismay slowly blossom{ing} into somewhat affectionate contempt”—and I don’t want to lose that aspect of them.

So here’s the plan: I do intend to revisit and revise the first one from a more knowledgeable perspective, as over time I’ve come to consider it a bit smarter than I was prepared to concede (or, perhaps, recognised) the first time; albeit still dumb as a box of hammers in the broader sense; but beyond that, I won’t be revising the other reviews too much, merely tweaking and tidying them up as they need it.

The other aspect of this trip down memory lane is that it gives me an excuse to embark on something I’ve had in mind for ages, namely, Rating The Final Girls (or Boys, or Couples). I know that for some (most?) people, slasher movies are all about their kill scenes, but for me, they stand or fall on their Final Girl sequences. I came out of my first F13 journey considering Amy Steel’s Ginny Fields the best Final Girl of all*, and I’ve seen nothing over the past decade that has made me change my mind about that. Thus, I’ll be ranking our Final Girls on The Ginny Scale, according to their endurance, ingenuity, willingness to get their hands dirty, and bad habits like putting their weapons down.

(*Please feel free to debate the point! – or to make recommendations…)

Of course not all slasher movies go along with the Final Whatever convention; and conversely, sometimes you find a proper Final Girl in a film that’s not really a slasher movie. Neither of these deviations will rule a film in or out of overall consideration.

And while in the first instance this project will simply address existing Final Girls, I hope that this will motivate me to tackle more of the slasher films I’ve accumulated but not watched. In that respect, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that one of the things that has held me up is trying to pick a starting point…nor that *my* starting point isn’t what the dogma dictates. However, for the sake of the last remnants of my sanity, I won’t be going any further back in time than the beginning of the 70s.
 
 
 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Taking Note, When Notes Take YOU

In general, the purpose of a movie’s music is to complement the action without getting in the way. Even a soaring John Williams score, with memorable themes representing the major characters, is meant to enhance the impact of what we see on screen, not replace it.

But sometimes you — yes, you, personally — can’t help but notice the music.

Have you ever found yourself absolutely electrified by opening credits, only to be bored to tears by the movie that followed? Has a musical ever inspired you to sing along with it, even though you don’t speak Tamil or Cantonese? Have you ever gone crazy over the music for a movie you couldn’t stand — or vice versa? Has a terrible movie ever made you furious by ruining your favorite song? Love it or hate it, sometimes music follows you out of the theater and refuses to leave you alone. It’s a difficult experience to try to put into words — so that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

This month, we celebrate the movies that — for better or for worse — added something to the soundtrack of our lives. Join us as we consider movies… In the Key of B.

In The Key of B

All through November at the B-Masters’ blog!

Will Laughlin is the Braineater.

Seeing isn’t believing

 
There are films that make you laugh, and films that make you cry.

There are films that make you angry, and others that make you feel good.

There are films that make you think, and others that are mindless entertainment.

And then there are those films to which the only reasonable response is a cry of—  “WTF!?”

So join us as we take a walk on the weird side…
 


All through August at the B-Masters’ blog!

 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

The gentle face of horror

Born in 1913, Peter Wilton Cushing graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and began his acting career doing repertory theatre. He was in his mid-twenties when he made his first foray into Hollywood, making his film debut in 1939’s The Man With The Iron Mask—playing the back of Louis Hayward’s head. Several small roles followed, but this was a false start of sorts to his career. The war intervened, and its aftermath found Peter Cushing back in England. He had his most significant film role in Olivier’s Hamlet, in 1948—but it would be television in which he would make a name for himself during the 1950s. Working almost non-stop, Cushing won both popularity and critical praise for roles as diverse as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice, Richard II in an adaptation of the play, Richard Of Bordeaux, and Winston Smith in 1984. His work won him a BAFTA in 1956, a year that also saw the founding of The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society (which is still going strong).

Then, in 1957, a group of producers began looking for a reliable, talented – and not too expensive – actor to play a mad scientist. They got much more than they had bargained for when they cast Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein: his brilliant, iconoclastic performance in the lead of The Curse Of Frankenstein was significantly responsible both for the success of the film, and for the birth of what came to be known as “Hammer Horror”.

And, like others before him, Peter Cushing subsequently found himself “typed”: his career from that point onwards was dominated by horror, science fiction and fantasy films, all of which were the better for his presence. One of the great “horror actors”, Cushing had the ability (often much needed) to elevate almost any production, never giving any sign of considering himself superior to his material. On his own and in partnership with his close friend, Christopher Lee, with whom he co-starred in twenty-two films, Peter Cushing would build one of the genre film’s great bodies of work.

So join us this month as we celebrate the work of one of horror’s true gentlemen:


All through May at the B-Masters’ Blog!

 
 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!