Horror on TV: Friday the 13th: The Series 1.20 “The Quilt of Hathor: The Awakening”

On tonight’s episode of Friday the 13th: The Series, Ryan’s attempt to live as a member of a cult leads to him being framed by the group’s leader!

This is the second part of the story started in yesterday’s episode.  It originally aired on May 14th, 1988.

Of Comic Books, Capitalism, And Culture War Crackpots, Or : What A Bisexual Superman Means — And What It Doesn’t, Part Two Of Three

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

“Bisexual Superman in a kids’ comic? They are literally trying to destroy this county!” screeched one Josh Mandel from his twitter account, underneath a picture of the Jon Kent iteration of Superman kissing his purported new love interest, Jay Nakamura, taken from the forthcoming Superman : Son Of Kal-El #5.

A quick perusal of Mandel’s timeline shows that these kinds of histrionics are basically the guy’s stock in trade, with gems including “Christopher Columbus was a great American” (uhhhh — dude, don’t know how to break it to you but he wasn’t any kind of American), “You can’t spell panDEMic without DEM — is this a coincidence?,” “The Bible and the Constitution aren’t supposed to be separate, ” or the one that probably made me laugh the loudest, a poll where he asked “Of the various types of illegals flooding across the border, will more crimes be committed by Muslim…

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Against The Dark (2009, directed by Richard Crudo)

Legend has it that Steven Seagal’s film career was the result of a bet. The story goes that, in the late 80s, superagent Michael Ovitz, who was then the most powerful man in Hollywood, bet a studio exec that he could make the least appealing man he knew into a movie star. That man was Ovitz’s self-defense instructor, Steven Seagal.

I don’t know if that story is true but it’s as good an explanation as we’re going to get at to why Seagal was ever asked to star in a movie. Despite being a terrible actor who was universally disliked by everyone who worked with him, Steven Seagal was briefly a star in the 90s. Along with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, he was one three top B-action stars around. Lundgren’s appeal was that he could actually act. Van Damme’s appeal was that he was a true athlete and actually could do all of his own stunts. As for Seagal, he was packaged to be a star. He appeared in movie with actors who were talented enough to carry the drama while Seagal whispered his lines. He also worked with talented action director like Andrew Davis. For a while there, Seagal had it all.

It fell apart, of course. Seagal was his own worst enemy, fabricating details of his biography and acting like an ass whenever the cameras weren’t rolling. He was notorious for being difficult and every young actress trying to make it in the 90s had at least one horror story about Seagal harassing them at an audition. His appearance on Saturday Night Live was so bad that it’s still talked about as an example of what can happen when the show gets stuck with a terrible host.  According to the show’s then-cast members, Seagal insisted that the writers come up with a skit in which he would play a therapist who raped his patients. (Check out Tom Shales’s Live From New York for the details on Seagal’s time as host.) He directed two awful movies. Audiences cheered when his character was blown up in Executive Decision.  People stopped showing up for his movies and, for the past few years, Seagal has been better known as a tireless advocated for Vladimer Putin than for his work as a direct-to-video action star.

Against The Dark is one of Seagal’s many direct-to-video movies.  It’s also his first horror movie.  The movie takes place in the future, when vampire/zombie hybrids have taken over the city.  The film misses a major opportunity by not casting Steven Seagal as the head vampire.  When this film was made, Seagal was nearly 60, overweight, and out-of-shape.  He had the right look to play a decadent vampire king but instead, he was just plays his regular Seagal role.  He and his squad patrol the city with samurai swords, hacking up any vampires that they come across.  Seagal’s not actually in much of the film and his stunt double does most of the work.  When Seagal does appear, he looks like he’s trying to catch his breath.  It’s obvious that this film was just a paycheck for him.  There’s no speeches about protecting the environment.  He doesn’t even get out his guitar and sing.

Most of the movie deals with a separate group of survivors, who are stranded in a hospital and who are trying to find a way to escape before the military blows up the city.  Some of the fight scenes, especially the ones that don’t involve Seagal, are not terrible but the film itself is so badly lit that you usually can’t tell who is fighting whom.  There is one memorably weird scene of a female vampire filing down her fans so that she can pass as human but the movie doesn’t really follow up on it.  The movie doesn’t do much with any of it ideas.  Its obvious that vampires and zombies were used because they were hot and someone figured out that even Seagal’s fans were getting bored with him just fighting drug dealers and mercenaries.

Against the Dark is bad, even by the standards of late era Seagal.  Shortly after the movie was released, Seagal tried to reinvent himself as a reality TV star with Steven Seagal: Lawman.  When that and a subsequent threat to run for governor of Arizona didn’t do much for his career, Seagal went to Russia and, after receiving Russian citizenship, declared that he considered Vladimer Putin to be “like a brother” to him.  When asked about Seagal’s claim, Putin’s spokesman replied, “”I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s a huge fan, but he’s definitely seen some of his movies.”  Hopefully, the movie was Under Siege and not Against The Dark.


Game Review: How The Monsters Appeared In The Wasteland (2021, V. Dobranov)

How The Monsters Appeared In The Wasteland is an entrant in 2021 Interactive Fiction competition.  Browse and experience all of the games by clicking here.

The world has ended. Chaos reigns. Only savagery remains. At the start of this game, you and your partner are in your hovercraft, making your away across the wasteland, when you’re attacked by a crew straight out of a Mad Max film. From the start, there’s more to do than to just sit down in gunner’s seat and open fire. The hovercraft has been damaged and it’s up to you to make the repairs as quickly as possible. Once you do start shooting, the game’s not over. Ammo is limited and your pursuers are relentless.

How The Monsters Appeared In The Wasteland is a game devoted to the best part of any action movie, the chase. Though the game sounds simple, some of the puzzles do require some attention to detail. There’s more to winning than just being a good shot. This is a well-written Twine game that puts your right at the heart of the action.

Play How The Monsters Appeared In The Wasteland.

MeNA, Short Film Review, By Case Wright

Hulu….Why? I have to educate Hulu or stop them; it takes a Village or The Village. A short needs a Beginning, A Middle, and an End. It should NOT be a teaser for a longer film that you could not get a budget for or a story that you couldn’t figure out. I’m not watching any more of Hulu’s garbage trash. They should stick to being the depository of re-runs. Yes, I’m mad.

Me.N.A features, Jeff, an office-worker-drone who really wants to be special, but isn’t. I’ve worked with these office workers: their cubicles are bare or their cubicles are overly ornate. They are desperate to be noticed. *Sigh* I remember one lady who had all these figurines; she liked to make fun of deaf people and when I called her out, she just glared at me…for months. Well, she ate a lot of fast food; so, maybe she’s had a coronary by now? *I look up to the skies to an indifferent God who doesn’t know my name.*

Jeff decides that the best way to be special is to get his DNA tested. This isn’t the worst idea. I mean, a DNA test confirmed the family rumors that we were Italian and that was an awesome day! Maybe the lifechanging moment for Jeff could be located in his GATC. Who knows? This short was getting kinda good. Then, the rails came off. Fencers, I guess, show up and cart Jeff off to a large …. I guess … gerbil cage. Anyway, that’s it. No conclusion. No ending. Matthew Epstein, the writer/director, didn’t know what a short was. I wish that he had called me first.

The short is NOT a teaser. It’s a brief self-contained story and anything else is a total cheat and garbage because anyone can leave something unfinished. Now, we have a story without an ending like a shitty version of Quantum Leap. Hulu, you are dead to me.

Scenes That I Love: “Help me!” from The Fly

The Fly (1958, D: Kurt Neumann)

One of the great things about the original, 1958 version of The Fly is that, even though it starred Vincent Price, Price didn’t play the Fly.  Instead, for once, Price was allowed to be the voice of reason, the guy who said, “Maybe don’t mess around with the laws of time and space.”

Today’s scene that I love is from the ending of the original Fly.  Supposedly, Price had a hard time filming this scene because whenever he heard the recording of David Hedison crying out, “Help me!,” he would start laughing.  Still, if you know what spiders actually do to the flies that they capture, you can’t help but sympathize with our misdirected scientist in the web.  Destroying him with a rock was probably the most merciful thing that anyone could do.

4 Shots From 4 Vincent Price Films

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

I woke up today to discover that Vincent Price was trending on Twitter. He was specifically trending because someone did a thread about Price’s political activism. This was something that I already knew about but most people on Twitter are stunned to discover that people actually did good things before the creation of social media.

Once I got over feeling elitist and superior, I thought to myself that it was actually kind of nice that people still love Vincent Price. He’s definitely one of my favorite actors. He started out as a mainstream studio actor, reading for the role of Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Window and being considered for Mr. Potter in It’s A Wonderful Life. But he found his true stardom as a horror actor, bringing life to films that often would have been dead without his wonderful presence.

There’s no way that we can do Horrorthon without paying tribute to the great Vincent Price. Here are….

4 Shots From 4 Vincent Price Films!

House on Haunted Hill (1959, dir by William Castle, DP: Carl E. Guthrie)

The Masque of the Red Death (1964, dir by Roger Corman, DP: Nicolas Roeg)

Witchfinder General (1968, dir by Michael Reeves, DP: John Coquillon)

Scream and Scream Again (1969, dir by Gordon Hessler, DP: John Coquillon)

Horror On The Lens: The Phantom of the Opera (dir by Rupert Julian)

Today’s horror movie on the Shattered Lens is both a classic of silent era and one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It’s one that I previously shared in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2108, 2019, and 2020 but it’s such a classic that I feel that it is worth sharing a second (or fifth or even a sixth or perhaps a seventh) time.

First released in 1925, The Phantom of the Opera is today best known for both Lon Chaney’s theatrical but empathetic performance as the Phantom and the iconic scene where Mary Philbin unmasks him. However, the film is also a perfect example of early screen spectacle. The Phantom of the Opera was released during that period of time, between Birth of the Nation and the introduction of sound, when audiences expected films to provide a visual feast and Phantom of the Opera certainly accomplishes that. Indeed, after watching this film and reading Gaston Leroux’s original novel, it’s obvious that the musical was inspired more by the opulence of this film than by the book.

This film is also historically significant in that it was one of the first films to be massively reworked as the result of a poor test screening. The film’s ending was originally faithful to the end of the novel. However, audiences demanded something a little more dramatic and that’s what they got.


Music Video of the Day: Johnny and Mary by Robert Palmer (1980, directed by Jean-Pierre Berckmans)

On August 1st, 1981, MTV premiered. Over the course of 24 hours, 166 unique music videos were played on MTV.  Yes, there was a time when the M actually did stand for music.

The 79th music video to premiere on MTV was this video from Robert Palmer.  Palmer appeared frequently in the line-up of MTV’s first day, though not as frequently as Rod Stewart and, God help us, REO Speedwagon.  This video was directed by French film director Jean-Pierre Berckmans.


The First Videos Shown on MTV:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles
  2. You Better Run by Pat Benatar
  3. She Won’t Dance With Me by Rod Stewart
  4. You Better You Bet By The Who
  5. Little Suzi’s On The Up by PH.D
  6. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard
  7. Brass in Pocket by Pretenders
  8. Time Heals by Todd Rundgren
  9. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
  10. Rockin’ in Paradise by Styx
  11. When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters
  12. History Never Repeats by Split Enz
  13. Hold On Loosely by .38 Special
  14. Just Between You And Me by April Wine
  15. Sailing by Rod Stewart
  16. Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden
  17. Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon
  18. Better Than Blue by Michael Johnson
  19. Message of Love by The Pretenders
  20. Mr. Briefcase by Lee Ritenour
  21. Double Life by The Cars
  22. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
  23. Looking for Clues by Robert Palmer
  24. Too Late by Shoes
  25. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  26. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  27. Surface Tension by Rupert Hine
  28. One Step Ahead by Split Enz
  29. Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty
  30. I’m Gonna Follow You by Pat Benatar
  31. Savannah Nights by Tom Johnston
  32. Lucille by Rockestra
  33. The Best of Times by Styx
  34. Vengeance by Carly Simon
  35. Wrathchild by Iron Maiden
  36. I Wanna Be a Lifeguard by Blotto
  37. Passion by Rod Stewart
  38. Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello
  39. Don’t Let Me Go by REO Speedwagon
  40. Remote Control and Illegal by The Silencers
  41. Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton
  42. Little Sister by Rockpile with Robert Plant
  43. Hold On To The Night by Bootcamp
  44. Dreamin’ by Cliff Richard
  45. Is It You? by Lee Ritenour 
  46. Tusk by Fleetwood Mac
  47. He Can’t Love You by Michael Stanley Band
  48. Tough Guys by REO Speedwagon
  49. Rapture by Blondie
  50. Don’t Let Go The Coat by The Who
  51. Ain’t Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart
  52. Talk of the Town by The Pretenders
  53. Can’t Happen Here by Rainbow
  54. Thank You For Being A Friend by Andrew Gold
  55. Bring It All Home by Gerry Rafferty
  56. Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine
  57. The Man With The Child In His Eyes by Kate Bush
  58. All Night Long by Raindow
  59. Boys Keep Swinging by David Bowie
  60. Rat Race by The Specials
  61. Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
  62. Victim by Bootcamp
  63. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna be Alright) by Rod Stewart
  64. Cruel to be Kind by Nick Lowe
  65. A Little In Love by Cliff Richard
  66. Wild-Eyed Southern Boys by 38 Special
  67. Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
  68. Celebrate The Bullet by The Selecter
  69. More Than I Can Say by Leo Sayer
  70. A Message To You, Rudy by The Specials
  71. Heart of Glass by Blondie
  72. Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight by Rod Stewart
  73. Kid by The Pretenders
  74. Come What May by Lani Hall & Herb Alpert
  75. I Got You by Split Enz
  76. Sister Disco by The Who
  77. Fashion by David Bowie
  78. Love Stinks by J. Geils Band