This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow by Richard Gray, Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It #3, The Art of Rick and Morty, Realm #1, Retcon #1, Sink #3, Dead of Winter#2, Kaijumax: Season Three #3, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…
There’s something alluring, yet forbidden and scary about closed carnivals and amusement parks. Who hasn’t thought about what it would be like to spend the night in a closed funhouse? That’s the premise behind Tobe Hooper’s underrated 1981 film The Funhouse.
“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon
Hello and welcome to another installment of “The Ten Percent,” a regular column here on Biff Bam Pop! where Ensley F. Guffey and I take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the ten percent of everything which is not crud.
When it comes to the horror genre, well – there’s a lot of crud. That stands to reason, since horror films can be extra-super-cheap to make (I’ve seen a few that have convinced me that the largest line item on the budget was for Karo syrup and red food coloring), which means they don’t have to do particularly well at the box office to make enough to justify a horde of sequels. Also – to be fair – some of the awful examples from the 1950s and ’60s have a certain charm in their naïveté that elevates them beyond their paltry production values. (Mr. Sardonicus, I’m looking at you. May God bless William Castle.)
One element that is worth discussing in horror movies – the really good ones, anyway – is the use of sound to build the tension and, in some cases, scare the ever-loving bejeezus out of us.
Most people know that Alice Cooper is considered the king of shock rock. When he’s not being executed by guillotine or dancing across the floor with Cold Ethyl, he brings his brand of horror to other arenas besides the stage. If you thought you were safe from his influence, think again. Read the rest of this entry
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.
Few horror films can be considered classics. John Carpenter’s Halloween is one of them. It has a scary boogeyman, a haunting score, and tells a simple tale that manages to be chilling without blood, gore, or CGI. Let’s examine this holiday masterpiece.
The Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network presents Gobbledygeek featuring hosts Paul Smith and AJ Wiley and focusing on a variety of entertainment subjects, with our hosts and special guests frequently discussing films, comics, and television. This week, in the first installment of Gobbledyween 2015, they take on John Carpenter’s They Live. See and hear more after the jump.
The 31 Days of Horror Edition of The Ten Percent – Circling the Pit: Ten Themes (and 31 films) for Thinking About Horror
It’s October, and here at Biff Bam Pop! that means 31 Days of Horror, a month-long celebration of all forms of the macabre in pop culture. “The Ten Percent” wanted to kick things off with an exploration of just why horror matters, along with recommendations for you when you need a good scare. I was especially pleased to step aside (I hope gracefully) to allow someone with far greater expertise to take your hand for a trip down this shadowy lane.
To my knowledge, Kristopher Woofter is not, in fact, a creature of the night, although you can be forgiven for making that assumption. As a bona-fide horror scholar, Kris has spent more time thinking about horror than I’ve spent thinking about chocolate. I approached him, hoping honestly to maybe get a quote and maybe a list of indispensable favorites. Instead, Kris very generously wrote the eloquent column that follows. If you have any interest in “ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night,” Kris is someone you’d like to know. I especially encourage you to check out Montreal’s Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, where Kris serves as co-coordinator. Over to you, Kris . . .
Now, I could be mistaken, but I am fairly certain that the first Stephen King book I ever read was Christine. I was probably seven or eight years old, and I believe that the copy belonged to my Dad.
Now, don’t go judging. This was the 1980s and parenting was different. And really, without that early access to Stephen King’s work, I don’t think I’d be the person I am today.
For better or for worse.
Around the same time, actually before I even read the book, I saw the film adaptation, starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell and Alexandra Paul, and directed by John Carpenter. I remember watching it on VHS at my Dad’s house, and getting hooked by the gorgeous 58 Plymouth Fury. Christine was a car, and she was bad to the bone.
One of the most anticipated releases among genre fans (including this kid of the 80s here) is LOST THEMES, the long-awaited musical project from “the master of horror”, John Carpenter. In essence, it’s a collection of music for movies that don’t exist, a bold experiment for Carpenter, but one he was excited to take on.
“Lost Themes was all about having fun… It can be both great and bad to score over images, which is what I’m used to. Here there were no pressures. No actors asking me what they’re supposed to do. No crew waiting. No cutting room to go to. No release pending. It’s just fun. And I couldn’t have a better set-up at my house, where I depended on (collaborators) Cody (Carpenter, of the band Ludrium) and Daniel (Davies, who wrote the songs for I, Frankenstein) to bring me ideas as we began improvising. The plan was to make my music more complete and fuller, because we had unlimited tracks. I wasn’t dealing with just analogue anymore. It’s a brand new world. And there was nothing in any of our heads when we started other than to make it moody.”
The album releases next week (February 3rd) through Sacred Bones Records, as well as digitally via iTunes and other networks. If you’re the kind who likes to try before they buy, though, NPR is streaming the album in its entirety right here.
For anyone who grew up on Carpenter’s films in the 80s ( as well as his soundtracks ), this is a certified blind-buy.