Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ghostbusters! Whaddya want?!

I went to see the new Ghostbusters movie and (SPOILER ALERT!) it was a lot of fun!

That’s what summer movies are supposed to be, right? You go to the theater, pay good money and hope that what’s on the screen makes you feel something … whether it’s joy, sadness, fear, anger or disgust. (Note to self: re-watch Inside Out.)

My daughter and I sat in an air-conditioned theater, rocked 3D glasses and sipped Ecto Cooler while watching Slimer and his buddies wreak havoc on NYC! Now THAT’S a great way to spend a hot July afternoon!
Is Paul Feig’s reboot better than the first? No. It’s basically a fan film with a REALLY big budget. There are so many nods to the original - including cameos by most ’84 cast members - that Ghostbusters 2016 is akin to the sexy apparition that gives Ray Stantz a supernatural blowjob. Bustin’ makes me feel good!

Unfortunately, that kind of onscreen fan service doesn’t hold up well upon subsequent viewings. This isn’t a movie I’ll watch over and over again. I won’t quote it in casual conversations or celebrate its 30th anniversary by eating a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts decorated to look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

This movie will soon disappear for the box office like a Class 5 Full-Roaming Vapor.
In other words, it’s not Ghostbusters or Ghostbusters II, but it’s a film every Ghostbusters fan should see because GHOSTBUSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ghostbusters debuted the summer before I started kindergarten. Even at 5 years old, I knew it was a cultural phenomenon. You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing Ray Parker Jr. ask  Who Ya Gonna Call?.  Boys and girls were wearing Terror Dog T-Shirts and homemade proton packs. Those same kids – who are now middle-aged – sport identical, albeit larger, costumes at Sci-Fi and monster conventions.  The love for the franchise hasn’t waned in 30 years! Hell, I still play with my old Peter Venkman action figure! Back off man, I’m a scientist!

The toys associated with the new Ghostbusters movie are awesome in their own right, but they’re already in the discount bins at Wal-Mart.

Reboot-haters and sexist pigs dug this movie a grave so deep, not even the most powerful spirit could escape from it. The film openly mocks its naysayers (who are probably masturbating to illegally downloaded versions of it as I type this sentence), but it comes across as sour grapes. Another thing that left a bad taste in my mouth? The egregious Papa John’s Pizza product placement! It reminded me of that scene in Wayne’s World! It's like people only do things because they get paid. And that's just really sad.

That being said, it’s still better than most of those lame superhero sequels the studios churn out every summer to make a quick buck. Admittedly, I’m sick of the Melissa McCarthy/Kristen Wiig shtick, but their neurotic banter is a breath of fresh air compared to the ol’ James Franco/Seth Rogen bong-and-dance.
Leslie Jones got the most belly laughs from my 6-year-old. She has the comedic chops and charisma to make the most of a thin script. The real star of the show, however, is Kate McKinnon! A cross between Tank Girl and Val Kilmer in Real Genius with hair like cartoon Egon Spangler and a little Jeff Goldblum thrown in for extra-weirdness, Jillian Holtzmann is the quirkiest character of the four.

She could’ve easily been in the original Ghostbusters had the actress who plays her not been five months old at the time of its release. You're short, your belly button sticks out too far and you're a terrible burden on your poor mother.

Maybe if an all-girl reboot had come out on the heels of 1989’s Ghostbusters II, it would’ve done better at the box office and in the court of pubic, sorry, PUBLIC opinion. There was no Internet in the early-90s (OK, I’m sure there was a primitive chatroom where a few computer geeks spewed Hollywood-fueled hate), but armchair critics had to write and mail letters directly to Columbia Pictures if they wanted to bitch about Vigo the Carpathian. Back then, movie-going was just a form of entertainment, not some fucked-up social experiment or political statement.
I didn’t take my daughter to see the new Ghostbusters to further my feminist agenda. I took her to see the new Ghostbusters because I’m tired of watching talking pets, lost fish and motherfucking Frozen! Oh, and I really love Ecto Cooler.
 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Poorly Photoshopped Tribute to George Romero and Rick Sebak

I don’t have much of an attention span these days, but there are two things I can binge-watch despite my adult-onset A.D.D.: George Romero movies and Rick Sebak documentaries.

My dad let me watch “Night of the Living Dead” when I was 7 years old. It captivated me … and not just because it starred flesh-eating monsters! I was awed by the fact that George filmed it in Pittsburgh with a cast and crew of Pittsburghers; people who looked and – especially – sounded like my friends and family members!

When Sheriff McClelland says, “OK! He’s dead! Let’s go get ‘em! That’s another one for the fire!” I squealed with delight because he pronounced the word fire “fahr,” just like my dad did!

That flick gave me my first sense of hometown pride and brought the magic of Hollywood to my backyard!

Rick Sebak’s shows do the same thing for me! I’ve learned so much about the city through his Pittsburgh History Series. He peels away the gritty, industrial exterior of this place to reveal layer after layer of fascinating people, places and things! He even profiled George in a 1991 documentary!

When I’m watching “Night of the Living Dead” or “Kennywood Memories,” I truly do bleed black and gold … and Bosco chocolate syrup.

So, as a tribute to George and Rick, who, along with Mister Rogers, make up my Steel City Holy Trinity, I’ve reimagined some Sebak documentaries as horror movies:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

An Open Letter to Matt from Dinosaur Dracula

Dear Matt,

I've been a Halloween junkie since, I dunno, birth.

I included the party hat because Halloween was way more exciting than my birthday!
For the last decade, your countdown has been an integral part of the season for me.

The topics are interesting -- even when you're discussing a 25-year-old can of Chef Boyardee pasta -- because your writing is smart, hilarious and endearingly honest. I'm also digging The Purple Stuff Podcast! I listened to three episodes this morning as I walked through Pittsburgh's Allegheny Cemetery, which is famous for being the final resting place of the world's biggest "Jaws" fan:

"You're gonna need a bigger plot."
What would All Hallow's Eve be without Dinosaur Dracula's Madd Matt and Larry the Skinned Torso Prop?

That is why I made this:
 
Not life/death-size
Because I am the demented love-child of Martha Stewart and Dr. Frankenstein, I spend my free time in the basement crafting horror-themed clothespin ornaments (GOREnaments? HORRORnaments?).

I've got the usual suspects ...

Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, Chucky, Leatherface, Michael Myers
... various forms of Tim Curry ...

Sweet TransvestITe
... Captain Quint (because I'm actually the biggest "Jaws" fan) ...

He's got ... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a (clothespin) doll's eye.
... monster-ish types

Teen Wolf, Beetlejuice, The Toxic Avenger, Vigo the Carpathian, Elvira, Michael Jackson "Thriller" Zombie
... and random pop culture characters that I love ...

Twins, ALF, The Golden Girls
Madd Matt fits right in at this house.

Boo!
Thank you for keeping the Halloween spirit alive inside a 36-year-old, suburban mother who has insomnia, a drinking problem, too many toys and questionable hobbies! Please don't ever stop the countdown! The late nights, arthritic fingers, stiff joints and exasperated eye-rolls from Target cashiers who wonder why anyone would buy $75 worth of fucking Boo Berry ... it's all worth it because you make people happy!

I hope Dinosaur Dracula NEVER goes extinct!

Sincerely,
Kristy Locklin

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Freddy Factor

In 1989, my little brother, David, masqueraded as Freddy Krueger for Halloween.

Sure, he looks more like an escaped nursing home patient, but you can’t condemn a 7-year-old for failing to replicate Robert Englund’s onscreen attire. If you ignore the bat broach, grass-stained Reeboks and our dad’s hideous shirt, you’ll see that David included the three main elements of Freddy fashion: fedora, finger-knives and fucked-up face. 

Despite its faults, this slapdash costume is an impressive trick-or-treat feat. As a first-grader, David had never seen “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Like half of the 3,000 other Freddys haunting the neighborhood that All Hallows Eve, he was prohibited from watching R-rated horror flicks.

However, by the late-80s, Freddy was a media juggernaut. Like Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman before him, the child-slaying psychopath didn’t need the Silver Screen or VHS to get his message across ... he focused on merchandising.

Freddy peddled a shit-ton of masks, posters and action figures, had his charred face plastered on everything from gum to video games, cashed-in with his own 900-number, rapped with the Fresh Prince and will forever be known as the guy who introduced the world to Johnny Depp.

It was easy for young, impressionable kids to worship Freddy, even if they had never seen him slice, dice, cut, chop and julienne his way through a passel of sleepy teenagers.

Tight-lipped boogeymen like Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers also slashed their way into popular culture, but they lack Mr. Krueger’s acerbic wit, resourcefulness and flair for homicide. Freddy spews one-liners like a demon-possessed Dorothy Parker. And because he exists in a dream world, he can murder people in all sorts of crazy ways. For a list of the Top 10 Kills, visit: http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/freddy-10kills/

His weapon of choice – a cutlery-adorned glove – took a lot of time and talent to make. Several of the “Nightmare” movies reference the creation of this evil accessory, proving that Freddy is the Martha Stewart of monsters.

All Jason does is pair a machete with hockey equipment, while his mute pal, Michael, puts in slightly more effort by stealing a kitchen knife and spray-painting a William Shatner mask. God forbid Hollywood executives decide to combine “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” into a “Jason vs. Michael” movie. There will be absolutely no dialogue, unless you count Jamie Lee Curtis’s screams and the orgasms of a few camp counselors.

“Freddy vs. Jason,” released in 2003, is a decent horror flick, but I don’t understand all of the “re-imaginings” that have emerged over the past few years. Producers such as Michael Bay claim that these bastardized versions introduce a new generation to campy classics.

That’s what Netflix is for, asshole!

Besides, kids already know Freddy. A few Kruegers showed up at my doorstep last Halloween … and I live on a steep, dead-end road with no streetlights. This year I’m sure there will be more glove-wearing dream masters rubbing elbows with all the little Elsas and Minions. Sarah might be one of them.

If you paid $10 to watch Jackie Earle Haley desecrate the role Robert Englund made famous I just have one thing to say to you:


Talk to the hand!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bridging the gap

Monroeville Mall doesn't want to burn bridges ... so they donated one.

The shopping center -- which served as the backdrop for George Romero's zombie masterpiece "Dawn of the Dead" -- is undergoing major renovations. Instead of scrapping an old footbridge seen in the flick, management donated it to The Senator John Heinz History Center.
 

Last Wednesday, zombies help load the pile of wood and metal into a van.


By 2018, the structure will be back on display in a museum exhibit about Pittsburgh's ties to Hollywood!
 
While I wasn't initially a big proponent of saving this bridge -- it's only in a few blink-and-you-miss-it movie scenes -- I'm glad it's being preserved.
 
I assumed it'd be resurrected at The Living Dead Museum in Evans City, PA, which already houses loads of memorabilia from Romero's films. And that would've been a great place for it. I visit that place often (I attended Evans City Elementary School just down the street) and I'm sure I would've stopped again just to take a little stroll across the bridge.
 
But, the History Center's involvement makes me even happier -- not because I think it's better, but because it's an organization outside the horror-nerd world that I live in. Other, dare I say NORMAL, people are taking an interest in Romero's movie and acknowledging that, yeah, zombies ARE an important part of Pittsburgh ... like the Steelers and ketchup and putting fries on goddamn sammiches!
 
Hell, they even held a press conference about the bridge!
 
 
Representatives from the mall and the history center, as well as actors from the movie, gave legitimately heartfelt speeches about "Dawn's" influence on pop culture. All the while, zombies were lurching around ...
 
... scaring reporters ...





... sharing brains ...



 
... and eating children.
 
My face hurt from smiling so much! It's nice to see the humble zombie -- the low man on the monster totem pole -- taking some slow, shambling strides towards acceptance in the Steel City.
 
And, after years of trying to distance itself from its undead past, I give major props to Monroeville Mall management for rising to the occasion, even though ditching the bridge was never REALLY an option for them.
 
They know that pissing off a bunch of rabid zombie fans has a way of coming back to bite you.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

S(Hark!) The Herald Angels Sing ... it's almost Shark Week!

Shark Week 2015 starts on July 5! To celebrate, I modified Green Day's song "Longview" and turned it into a four-minute rocker that would make Jabberjaw and The Neptunes proud!

If you'd like to sing along, here's a link to the instrumental version (unfortunately, I could only find an 8-bit rendition, but, whatever, you get the idea):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_JzTSicCGg&feature=related

"SHARKVIEW"

I sit around and watch the tube ‘cause "Shark Week’s" on.
Won’t flip the channel so stop asking me to.
I know it hasn’t changed a bit.
Twenty years of the same ‘ol shit.
But when that Great White gets some air it’s fuckin’ awesome!

There’s a fin! Can’t close my eyes!
Poor seal’s about to lose its life!
Slow-motion shots,  blowin’ my mind!
Discovery’s the shit!

You may need an ambulance, but I ain’t movin’.
Here’s a phone, go call one by yourself.
“Jaws” won’t come to an end ‘til three, so just enjoy the flick and bleed.
It’s hard to hear Quint’s monologue
Over your damn screams

Shark eats Quint! I want to cry!
That’s one hell of a way to die!
Hooper’s gone! Orca’s capsized!
Now it’s just Brody!

I have a fas-cin-a-tion
With shark doc-u-men-ta-tion!
No time for an occ-u-pa-tion!
Shirkin’ my obli-ga-tion!

I sit around, ignore my phone. The boss is callin'.
Says I’m pathetic, says I have no will.
Tells me I’m gonna lose my job and turn into a big, fat slob
When Shark Week shows are said and done
I’ll be fuckin’ lonely!

Oh my God! What if he’s right?!
I’ll just watch one more film tonight.
"Blue Demon’s" on! I’ve seen it twice!
Guess cheesiness has to suffice.
You should know, it isn’t wise to go scuba divin’ in paradise!
A nose-punch won’t save your hide
‘Cause that’s just a myth!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bridge or Tunnel: What's the best way for Pittsburgh to honor "Dawn of the Dead"?

 
Pittsburghers love bridges ... and zombies. So it's not surprising that when bigwigs at Monroeville Mall - filming site of George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" - announced plans to remove a footbridge seen in the iconic movie, fans cried foul and launched an online petition to save it.
 
While I think Monroeville Mall has dropped the  brain when it comes to commemorating its role in zombie movie history, I don't blame officials for wanting a clean slate. The shopping center - one of the first of its kind in the nation - has been living a PR nightmare the last few months due to violence that erupted there. Celebrating a flick that features flesh-eaters and machete-wielding bikers doesn't help its new, safety-first image...at least not in the eyes of wary shoppers.
 
Besides, the mall is, ahem, undertaking a multi-million dollar renovation project. That 40-year-old bridge would look better over a Koi pond outside of a Benihana...not inside a modern temple of capitalism.
 
I'm a "Dawn" fanatic and a frequent mall visitor who experiences a geeky thrill each time I walk through the door, but, honestly, that bridge doesn't hold much significance for me. The building's facade which, admittedly, has changed quite a bit since Romero filmed his masterpiece there in 1978, still sends chills up my spine.

As for interior, the most symbolic locale for me has always been the hallway to the survivors' hideout. After zombified Flyboy emerges from the elevator, he leads his fellow corpses on a shambling charge down that corridor, THROUGH a wall, up the stairs and into the makeshift love shack he shared with Fran and 2 million cans of Spam. Perhaps mall officials could commission an artist to paint a mural along that tunnel featuring Stephen and his sad parade of undead friends.

It's out-of-the-way enough so people (like my mom) who hate horror films, don't have see blood and guts while they're on their way to Pottery Barn, but rabid fans can snap selfies in front of an awesome painting.

But, considering how unwilling Monroeville Mall has been to play up its zombie heritage, the dead will walk the Earth before that happens.