“Dawg will hunt!”

August 19, 2007 at 6:36 pm (The Easy Chair)

I’m not the only one who feels the fall air a bit early. It’s been gray and cloudy, and the dog days of August have yet to come scratching at the door.

I blame it on growing up near Mt Hood. A difference of a thousand feet in elevation would account for it, right? From the late ’60s until about 1984, it seemed a sunny summer was the exception and not the norm. Rarely would one see sunshine before noon, and the skies wouldn’t be cloud-free until 2 or 3 PM. Upper 80s would be uncomfortably hot.

How the times have changed! I hear the bitching about how gloomy the weather is. (So long, global warming!) This has been a more typical summer, with overcast days and moderate nights. I hear lots of comparisons to October…

Since that’s the case, let’s talk about scary movies!

Halloween and October go hand in hand. (Watch the decorations go up the day after Labor Day. If not for the gifting factor it would be more popular than Christmas.) The burnt orange and earthy brown leaves as the seasons change, the brisk morning air. (Here’s some scary stuff, kids. School starts in two weeks!)

And, of course, there’s a new Halloween movie coming out.

Rob Zombie, cartoonist, rock star, and now movie director, is remaking the John Carpenter classic. I’ve seen a couple of trailers and heard a couple of quotes from Zombie. It looks ‘crap-your-pants’ scary, and I will see it in a theater.

I flinch when I hear favorite movies are being remade. Did we really need an update of Dawn of the Dead? The head wounds in the first were spectacular; why even bother redoing?

Psycho. With Vince Vaughn? Puh-leeze!

And how about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise? The remakes are okay, grisly and suspenseful. But I have issues with them. Mostly wardrobe and behavioral issues. Girls didn’t wear low-slung jeans in the ’70s. And the biggest omittance?

Where are all the camel-toes?

I LOVED the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Just seeing the ads on late night TV scared the hell out of me as a kid, and when I was old enough I saw it at a midnight movie. It was amazing how much fear could emanate from a piece of film.

And they only used one and a half quarts of fake blood!

After Halloween came Friday the Thirteenth, (mayhem for the masses!) Motel Hell, Halloween 2, Psycho 3, Leprechaun. It got to where I didn’t care. Like heavy metal, the genre had devolved into self-parody.

Then word got out Tobe Hooper was doing a sequel to Chainsaw! There is hope! Starring Dennis Hopper? Oh this is gonna be so good…

Ugh. It was funny. It was bloody. It made no sense, and wasn’t a bit scary. It was full of amusing lines and oddball performances. One of my favorites? The guy they call Chop-Top. The character is the hitchhiker from the first film, and in #2 he wears a Sonny Bono wig in his first scene on screen. He uses a Bic lighter and a coat hanger to scratch around the metal plate in his head. He is spastic, manic and quite bloodthirsty. A few of the lines from the movie have made their way into the repertoire around here.

Chainsaw Massacre 2 was on Fear on Demand the other night, so I decided to revisit. I hadn’t watched it in about ten years. The two-minute car chase across a bridge a city block long (at 30 MPH, in reverse) reminded me why. (It has to be believable to be scary…) I let it play while net-surfing, looking up once in a while.

Then Chop Top comes on screen, and the voice sounds familiar. Not as Chop Top, but from where?…

A trip to IMDB, as usual, explained everything. Bill Mosely, who played Chop Top, also plays Otis P Driftwood, from House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects.

*How* could I have missed this? My horror-geek self-esteem is in the toilet!

So I went to the DVD stash, pulled out The Devil’s Rejects, and watched the bonus disc, a 2 1/2 hour documentary on the making of a 90 minute film. I went to an alternative film school as a troubled teenager, and this brought back memories. Story boards, repetitive shoots, all the minutae that goes into making a truly craptacular film. It’s all here, and having seen the film a bunch of times, it was fun to watch behind-the-scenes. I may have to watch bonus features more often!

Despite all the horror stuff I’ve been watching of late, the scariest thing I’ve seen is that damned Viagra commercial (No, not the annoying one where the guy has to decide between washing his Corvette or polishing his knob.) You know the one: the group of forty-somethings sitting around the cabin in the woods, jamming to ‘Viva Viagra!’ “Look honey, it’s good enough for Dave Matthews, Henry Rollins and that guy from OC Choppers!” (Can a company be sued for using lookalikes?) What in the hell are these guys doing out in the woods, with no women to be seen, popping Viagra?

Oh. Never mind.

Now there’s a horror film to pitch to Hollywood…


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