Posts Tagged ‘Wolfman


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 275: The Ultimate Top Ten Movie Monsters


With Halloween so close, Blake and Erin discuss the greatest movie monsters of all time. Our picks, your choices, and the number one monster in cinema history wait for you in this week’s episode! In the picks, Erin loves The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 2 and Blake goes with Locke and Key: Grindhouse and Marvel Zombies Halloween. Don’t forget to vote for this year’s Halloween movie marathon at the Fighting Fitness Fraternity Facebook Page! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 275: Ultimate Top Ten Movie Monsters


Lunatics and Laughter Day 5: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Director: John Landis

Writer: John Landis

Cast: David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, Anne-Marie Davies, John Woodvine, Frank Oz

Plot: American college students David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) are backpacking across Europe, beginning in northern England with plans to work their way south to Italy. The plans are shattered, though, when they stop at a small-town pub called the Slaughtered Lamb in the town of East Proctor. The locals distrust them, and Jack distrusts the five-pointed star painted on the wall. They leave, disturbing the barmaid and prompting warnings to stay on the road and beware the moon. The Americans are attacked by a huge wolf, which kills Jack and bites David before the villagers arrive and shoot it down. As he passes out, David sees that the beast has turned into a man.

He wakes up in a hospital in London three weeks later, where the police take his statement, but believe he was attacked by a lunatic rather than an animal. One of the Nurses, Alex Price (Jenny Agutter) takes a personal interest in him, convincing him to eat even when he isn’t hungry, keeping him company at night. He begins having dreams of running through the woods, naked, slaughtering and eating animals, then later seeing himself in a hospital bed, threatening Alex. After a particularly bad dream, Jack appears in his room, chatting jovially with his friend despite the fact that he’s a mutilated corpse. As David struggles to figure out if he’s dreaming, Jack starts quipping about his own funeral, putting him at ease before he can drop the bomb on his buddy. They were attacked by a werewolf, and since he was killed by a supernatural being Jack is cursed to walk the earth until the werewolf’s bloodline is severed. David, bitten by the wolf, is now part of that line, and Jack begs him to kill himself so they can both find peace. Jenny comes into his room, thinking him waking up from another nightmare, and he kisses her and declares himself a werewolf. When David is discharged, Jenny invites him to stay with her, and their relationship progresses quickly. Despite his newfound happiness, Jack’s corpse continues to haunt David, again begging him to kill himself before tomorrow’s full moon.

David’s doctor, Dr. Hirsch (John Woodvine) drives to the town where David was attacked, trying to figure out why David’s version of events differs so greatly from the official report. He finds himself blocked by the same villagers who turned out David and Jack, but this time, one is willing to talk. He warns Hirsch that David is in danger, and will “change” with the full moon. That night, as Jenny works a late shift at the hospital, the predictions come true – David undergoes a terrifying change from man to monster. He rushes into the night and attacks people, as the previous werewolf attacked him. Hirsch returns to London and compares notes with Jenny. Convinced that something is wrong in East Proctor – and wrong with David by extension – he calls her apartment. When David doesn’t answer, he calls the police.

The next day, David wakes up in the zoo, naked, in a wolf pen. With some quick thinking, he covers up and gets away. Hirsch, meanwhile, finds the morning paper full of stories about a brutal series of murders where the victims were half-eaten. When David returns to Alex’s apartment, particularly excitable and enthusiastic, she plans to take him back to the hospital. Along the way, the cab driver tells them about the murders, and David flees, planning to turn himself into the police, but the officer dismisses him. He runs away and Alex, Hirsch and the police who investigated his attack begin searching for him. David calls his family in America, hurriedly telling his sister he loves her before attempting to slit his wrists. Finding himself unable to do so, Jack’s corpse appears again, leading David into an adult ovie theater. The corpse, now more decrepit than ever, introduces David to the people he killed the night before, now trapped as a living dead just like Jack. He’s still in the theater when night falls again, and the killing begins again. The wolf escapes into the London streets, going on a bloody rampage, killing some and causing traffic crashes that kill many more. The police corner it in an alley and Alex rushes to the scene, approaching it and trying to draw the real David out. It lunges at her and the police open fire. The beast turns back into David as it dies, and Alex weeps.

Thoughts: Reportedly, director John Landis wrote the first draft of this script in 1969 and fought for over a decade to get it released, as studios thought it was too funny to market as a comedy and too scary to market as a horror film. You’ll excuse me if I find that just precious – as the whole point of my project is that the two both can, and have worked hand in hand for decades. On the other hand, the fact that I’ve located so few great horror/comedies before 1980 to include in this project seems to indicate that it wasn’t always the relatively easy sell it is today, and I have to suspect the success of An American Werewolf in London is one of the things that helped turn the tide and convince filmmakers that the conflicting styles could, and do, work together.

Landis is clearly a fan of the old Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman pictures, even throwing out several references to them throughout film. He goes much farther than Universal could in the 40s, though, showing extremes of violence that wouldn’t have been allowed at the time. His special effects are, as to be expected, considerably more advanced as well. The transformation scenes are very good – simply done, but effective. Not to harp on it, but there’s no way this movie would be made today without giving in to the temptation to do the entire transformation via CGI (see the 2010 remake of The Wolfman if you don’t believe me), and that would really kill one of the most memorable sequences in this film. Naughton’s performance during the transformation is really excellent – even before any of the special effects show up he’s putting on a terrific, very convincing show of agony that makes you receptive when the limbs and face start to transform and the hair begins to sprout.

But the truly innovative thing about the movie, to me, is the tone of the film. This takes us back to a Type A picture, and an extreme Type A at that, far more horror than comedy.  Landis basically wrote a monster movie, a modernized retelling of the Lon Chaney Jr. picture, and laced it with just enough humor and off-the-cuff commentary to market it partially as a comedy. Most of the humor actually comes through Jack – a snarky type even when he’s alive, but he becomes the master of the deadpan quip after he dies. David gets a little bit of physical comedy later, once he transforms for the first time. The sequence where he tries to sneak out of the zoo naked, stealing bits and pieces of cover-up along the way, feels like it could have fallen out of an old Marx Brothers or Hope and Crosby routine.

Landis is great at pulling an emotional reversal as well. When David calls home and tells his sister he loves her, there’s a horrible sense of finality to it. It’s a very genuine moment, where you understand you’re listening to a man who’s planning to die, trying to get everything straight before it happens. Considering that David was dancing around in a red fur-trimmed coat just minutes before, the viewer is left completely unprepared. The pace of the film as a whole is surprising, in fact. There’s a very long build-up to David’s first transformation, and once he realizes he’s responsible for the murders you blink and realize there are only about 20 minutes left in the film. It feels like there should be more, like everything has happened much too fast. When the end finally comes, it’s over in the blink of an eye. BAM-David is shot! Alex cries! Begin credits! There’s no denouement to cling to, no moment to allow your emotions to work themselves out before you feel a bit of a tear turn up for the poor American who became something he never wanted to be, did terrible things he never wanted to do, and died in a way he never would have wanted to die. It was a departure for Animal House director Landis and it’s a bit of a departure for this project, but it’s a good one.

Don’t forget, Lunatics and Laughter is the second Reel to Reel movie study. The first, Mutants, Monsters and Madmen, is now available as a $2.99 eBook in the Amazon Kindle store and bookstore. And you can find links to all of my novels, collections, and short stories, in their assorted print, eBook and audio forms, at the Now Available page!

And while the 20 films for the first phase of Lunatics and Laughter have been selected, I’m still taking suggestions for next year’s expanded eBook edition. I’m especially looking for good horror/comedies from before 1980, so if you’ve got any ideas, please share them in the comments section.


Lunatics and Laughter Day 2: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Director: Charles Barton

Writers: Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo & John Grant

Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lenore Aubert, Jane Randolph, Frank Ferguson, Charles Bradstreet

Plot: Chick and Wilbur (Abbott and Costello, respectively, although why they even bothered with giving their characters names at this point is beyond me) are employees of a delivery company. They get a nervous phone call from Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) in London, asking about a pair of crates being sent to a house of horrors. He tells them that he’s flying to Florida the next day, and they are under no circumstances to deliver the crates until he arrives. The full moon rises in London and Talbot undergoes a startling transformation, becoming a Wolfman. Confused by the growling on the phone, Wilbur hangs up. Moments later, Mr. McDougal (Frank Ferguson) arrives to pick up the crates, which he claims contain the remains of the true Count Dracula and Frankenstein Monster. He tells this to Sandra (Lenore Aubert), Wilbur’s girlfriend, who Chick thinks is far too alluring to be with his bumbling friend.

Despite the call from Talbot, McDougal has the proper paperwork, so Chick and Wilbur deliver the crates To McDougal’s House of Horrors. Wilbur is on-edge, surrounded by the creepy contents, but Chick is convinced Dracula and the Monster are just characters from stories. As he leaves Wilbur alone, Dracula (Bela Lugosi, reprising his role for the first time since 1931) rises from his coffin, terrorizes him, and mesmerizes him. With Wilbur entranced, Dracula awakens the Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange). McDougal and Chick arrive and argue over where the exhibits are while Wilbur, hysterical, tries to explain what happened, but McDougal has them arrested.

Dracula flies to a remote castle where waits Dr. Stevens (Charles Bradstreet) and his assistant… Wilbur’s girlfriend, Sandra. Dracula wants to avoid Frankenstein’s mistake and give the monster a new brain, one so simple and naïve that it will never question his master. Sandra, of course, has just the brain in mind.

Talbot finds Wilbur and Chick, just out of jail, and confirms Wilbur’s story. He has been chasing Dracula, but he can’t go to the police for fear of revealing his own secret. As the moon is about to rise, he gives Wilbur the key to his hotel room and begs him to lock him up overnight, not letting him out no matter what he hears inside. Wilbur’s compliance lasts almost 45 whole seconds, before he goes into Talbot’s room to bring him a bag he left behind. In another comedy sequence, Wilbur narrowly avoids being torn to shreds by a Wolfman he never sees.

McDougal, furious over Wilbur and Chick’s release from jail, meets insurance investigator Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph), who plans to use her feminine wiles to trick Wilbur into revealing the location of the missing exhibits. She narrowly avoids Sandra, who came by to arrange a meeting with Wilbur for that evening’s masquerade ball. Joan convinces him to take her to the ball as well, and while Wilbur revels in his two dates, Chick tries to figure out what his dumpy friend has that he doesn’t. (As Sandra tells him, “A brain.”) The two go to Talbot’s room, where they find it’s been torn apart. Talbot wakes and tells them about his curse – he was bitten by a werewolf, and transforms whenever the moon was full. As Wilbur saw the monsters, he pleads with him to help him. They don’t believe him, and continue their preparations for the ball.

Chick, Wilbur and Joan pick up Sandra for the ball (Wilbur allowing each girl to believe the other is Chick’s date). Sandra finds Joan’s ID card for the insurance agency, while Joan finds Sandra’s copy of Frankenstein’s book on life and death. Each suspicious of the other, they return and meet Sandra’s employer, Dr. Lejos, who Wilbur somehow fails to recognize as Dracula wearing a robe instead of his cape. Lejos insists that Dr. Stevens join them for the party, but Sandra suddenly claims she has a headache and can’t go. She brings Dracula aside and says that Joan and Wilbur’s snooping and Stevens’s inconveniently inquisitive nature are making the operation too dangerous. Angry, he hypnotizes her and bites her, and they go to the ball.

At the ball, Chick and Wilbur encounter a fearful Talbot, who is upset by Chick’s wolf-mask. Sandra, now a vampire, tries to bite Wilbur, but he’s saved by Chick and Talbot, seeking the now-missing Joan. As they search, the full moon appears and Talbot transforms. He attacks McDougal, who blames Chick when he sees the wolf-mask. The party goes mad and people flee, with Chick and Wilbur finding a hypnotized Joan with Dracula. He mesmerizes the boys and takes Wilbur and the girls away. Finally convinced, Chick finds Talbot and they go to Dracula’s mansion, where Wilbur’s brain is being prepared for transplant. Talbot and Chick burst in. Talbot is about to free Wilbur, but once again, he transforms, and Frankenstein’s Monster breaks free. The five of them engage in a mansion-encompassing battle of positively Scooby-Doo-ian proportions, until finally the Wolfman seizes Dracula and they plunge off a cliff. The Monster chases Chick and Wilbur to the dock, where Stevens and Joan set him on fire. As they sit in a boat, Wilbur berating Chick for not believing him, a cigarette hovers in the air, and the unmistakable voice of Vincent Price introduces himself… he’s the Invisible Man.

Thoughts: This film is, inarguably, the greatest horror-comedy ever made. Okay, maybe it’s not inarguable. You can argue it. You’d just be wrong. What’s not arguable, however, is that it is by far my favorite movie out of all the films selected for Lunatics and Laughter, and (with the possible exception of Ghostbusters) the one that I’ve watched the most times. It isn’t Halloween unless I see Bud and Lou go toe-to-toe with the greatest Universal Monsters.

That, in fact, is what makes this such a fantastic movie, friends. Universal Studios took their two greatest comedic stars at the height of their popularity and mashed them into a movie with three of their most popular monster franchises, even getting the classic Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. to reprise their roles as Dracula and the Wolfman, respectively. (Only Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster is missing from the classic trinity, and he would get his chance to dance with the boys later in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff and again in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).

It’s such simple alchemy – director Charles Barton got five amazing performers and allowed them to do what they do best for 83 incredible minutes. Abbott and Costello pull off the same sort of brilliant wordplay and slapstick that made them Hollywood legends, while Lugosi, Chaney and Strange (playing the Monster for the third time since Karloff’s retirement) give their performances all the force and horror they had in their respective series. The film doesn’t bother with little things like continuity either – there’s no effort to explain how Talbot knew Dracula or the monster, how Dracula found the creature’s remains, or even how any of the monsters were alive, as most of them had a tendency to die at the ends of all of their films. The sequels usually had a halfhearted resurrection scene, but Barton sees no need to even bother with that. The audience doesn’t care about any of these things. They know who Bud and Lou are, who Dracula and the Wolfman and the Monster are, and that’s all they need.

And damned if they weren’t right.

Like I’ve said, comedy and horror are flip sides of the same coin, and I’ve never seen a movie that demonstrates it as perfectly as this one. Our five lead characters (because that’s who Bud and Lou are, no matter what names they were using in the movie, they played the same two characters they always did) come from totally different styles of film: slapstick comedy and tales of pure terror. But when we put them together there is no clash. Everybody is themselves, everyone is entirely in-character, and it all fits together seamlessly. Even the scenes with Lugosi popping in and out of his coffin, giving Costello the stimuli for one of his legendary freak-outs, works for a Dracula who simply enjoys toying with his eventual prey. He even pulls the same sort of hypnosis and gets the same light-across-the-eyes treatment as he did in the original 1931 version of Dracula.

The plot, meanwhile, is straight out of the horror movie handbook. Dracula’s scheme to give the monster a simple brain keys into Costello’s movie persona perfectly. At the same time, it’s still the kind of devilish plan that many a horror movie villain has concocted over the years. Hell, let’s be honest – it’s a more logical plan than thousands of the others movie monster baddies have conjured up over the years. Talbot’s logic – “the police won’t believe me unless I tell them I’m a wolfman” – is kind of sketchy. It’s more likely they’ll just think him even crazier. But it’s still the same sort of logic that dominated this sort of movie back in the 40s and 50s, and therefore is easy to forgive. Similarly, the special effects are of the highest quality available at the time. Talbot’s werewolf transformation looks as good as it ever did in his own films. And while it may be pretty obvious that the Monster burning on the dock at the end is a mannequin being pushed along with sticks, in 1948, how else were you gonna get that shot?

Truly, the only moment that strains credibility, even for the time, is when Talbot and Chick plan their rescue mission. Talbot tells Chick they should hide and wait, since it is now morning and Dracula will be helpless until nightfall. Um… wouldn’t that make this the perfect time to attack? Come on, dude. (Honorable mention, though, goes to the fact that Talbot makes his transformation four nights in a row. Isn’t three usually the limit for a full moon?)

Bud and Lou, a classic vaudevillian comedy team whose act translated to film and television far better than most of their contemporaries, pull off a lot of the same shtick they usually do. They engage in verbal battles, with Bud tossing out unnecessarily complicated words so Lou can amusingly misunderstand them. Bud leaves Lou alone at inconvenient moments so he can be the sole witness to creepy happenings and have entertaining panic attacks. And once or twice, Lou is allowed to get the better of his buddy in a battle of the logical fallacies. In short, they take their standard routine and inject it into a horror movie. But not for one second does it feel forced, do any of the comedic interludes feel like a distraction, or does any of it feel like padding. They’re just there to have fun, as they always do. (Reportedly one scene – where Wilbur sits on the Monster’s without realizing it – took an absurdly long time to film because Glenn Strange simply couldn’t stop laughing at Costello’s antics in his lap.)

Even the old comedy trope – the panicky one sees the madness, the straight man conveniently misses everything until the last minute – feels fresh and original here. And no, it wasn’t, not even in 1948. When Chick pulls out the wolf-mask, you just know there’s going to be a moment when Wilbur encounters the real Wolfman and thinks it’s his buddy in disguise. You’re waiting for it. You would feel disappointed if it didn’t happen. But Abbott and Costello never disappointed on that front.

The finale is simply great. From the moment Talbot and Chick arrive at the mansion until Vincent Price makes his uncredited cameo, we go through one chase after another, with doors and props being smashed at every turn, our heroes bumbling into the monsters at the worse possible moments, often saved through circumstance, luck, or the good ol’ Rule of Funny. If you are physically capable of watching this movie without laughing, you need intense psychoanalysis. And if you didn’t love the Universal monsters before, this will do the trick.

Don’t forget, Lunatics and Laughter is the second Reel to Reel movie study. The first, Mutants, Monsters and Madmen, is now available as a $2.99 eBook in the Amazon Kindle store and bookstore. And you can find links to all of my novels, collections, and short stories, in their assorted print, eBook and audio forms, at the Now Available page!

And while the 20 films for the first phase of Lunatics and Laughter have been selected, I’m still taking suggestions for next year’s expanded eBook edition. I’m especially looking for good horror/comedies from before 1980, so if you’ve got any ideas, please share them in the comments section.


The movies of 2010… Yep, you read it right

Okay, gang. Just before the new year celebrations kicked off, I was about to do the obligatory “best movies of the year” post, only to realize I hadn’t actually seen all that many movies made in 2010. To correct this, I added a buttload of 2010 movies to my Netflix queue and moved ’em up to the front. Since then, I’ve been cycling through them relatively quickly in the hopes of putting together a more comprehensive list. Well…by the time I was done, I’d racked up 39 2010 releases… still not enough to average one a week for the year, but better than the 22 I had at the end of December. So let’s take a few minutes and talk them out.

My Favorite Movies of 2010:

1. Toy Story 3: This should be no surprise, if you know anything about me. The Toy Story films have always been remarkably powerful, character-driven masterpieces of animation, and this may have been the best of the lot. Wonderful, emotional, and uplifting. There was no other film last year I loved nearly as much.

2. Inception: Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller took an intriguing idea — traveling into the dreams of others — and blended it with all the best elements of a heist movie to create a mind-bending trip through the subconscious. It’s not an easy movie, it’s a movie that demands your attention, and in the end I don’t think there are nearly enough of those.

3. True Grit: I love a good western, and while I was initially nervous about anybody taking on Rooster Cogburn after John Wayne’s legendary performance, this movie more than set my mind at ease. Not a remake of the Wayne movie, but rather another take at filming the novel, the Cohen Brothers and Jeff Bridges made this story their own in a remarkable way. Matt Damon and Josh Brolin also turned in good performances, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld held her own against some of the greatest actors working today. She more than deserves the Oscar nomination she just got.

4. The Social Network. I, like you, have heard a lot of debate about the accuracy of the Aaron Sorkin/David Lynch take on the life of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, and I certainly am not qualified to speak about how accurate the movie was. But taken just as a pure movie and not a historical document, the film is a brilliant character study of someone who’s a narcissist with potential. There are no heroes in this film, just villains, victims, and a few people (including Zuckerberg himself) that seem to straddle the line between the two.

5. The Town. This one snuck in at the last minute — I just saw it yesterday. Ben Affleck, again proving that he can actually direct, helms this heist film based on the novel by Chuck Hogan about a bank robber who starts a relationship with a hostage who doesn’t know he’s the man who kidnapped her. This isn’t a high-action, thrill-a-minute heist like Ocean’s 11, or even the aforementioned Inception. Yes, there is action, and it’s good, but like most great films, this is much more about the characters, where they come from, and where they may wind up.

Big Surprises of 2010

This is a category for movies that may not have cracked the top 5, but were way better than I expected them to be. Here they are, in no particular order:

Batman: Under the Red Hood. Based on a kinda mediocre Batman comic book and written by the same man who wrote said mediocre comic, this tale of the return of the second, long-believed dead Robin really packed a whallop. It’s strange, the only significant change in the plot was the removal of one element that didn’t really make any difference at all. Is the dreaded “Superboy Prime Punch” the only thing that made us think the comic book was weak, while this animated film was great?

Easy A. When I saw the trailers for this Emma Stone comedy very loosely based on Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, I dismissed it as a stereotypical brainless teen comedy. Instead, I found a really smart film about high school politics, the power of perception and peer pressure, and the importance of self-acceptance. The cast was really funny and talented, and in the end, I felt like I’d spent my two hours very wisely.

Hot Tub Time Machine. Where Easy A just looked a bit typical, the trailers for this looked outright moronic. Still, I pulled it in from Netflix and was delightfully surprised. John Cusack, Craig Robertson and Rob Cordray star as three friends who get tossed back in time to re-live the greatest weekend of their lives. The film gets deeper than that, though, playing with time travel theory, the delicate balance of family and friends, and what it takes to give a few guys past their prime the spark back. The movie turned out to be part Back to the Future and part City Slickers, with a few 80s ski comedies mixed in for flavor. I couldn’t believe I loved it.

Worst Movies of 2010

This, of course, is based entirely on my own personal perceptions, so if you disagree… well, more power to you.

5. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. goes to show you how few films I saw this year, that this cracked the bottom five, because it honestly isn’t a horrible movie. It’s weak, though, very weak. Jake Gyllenhall doesn’t for a minute come off as a Persian prince, the villain’s plot is ludicrous, and the time travel mechanics are screwy. Disney struck out here.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street. While I still think Jackie Earl Haley was a good choice to take over the Freddy Kruger role from Robert Englund, this remake of the horror classic was dull, lifeless, and often just plain stupid.

3. Clash of the Titans. Amazing, how remakes keep cropping up here at the bottom. While the original Clash was not, I admit, Citizen Kane, it was a fun romp through a specious understanding of mythology with awesome Ray Harryhausen special effects. This was a painful look at mythology based on the understanding of a writer who is probably resting his entire knowledge base on three episodes of the old Disney Hercules cartoon. Sam Worthington turned in yet another wooden, glass-eyed turn as an “action hero,” Gemma Arterton (just as she did in Prince of Persia) looks good on camera but adds nothing to the film, and Liam Neeson evidently lost a bet. And yet enough of you people saw this monstrocity for it to get a sequel. For shame. FOR. SHAME.

2. Splice. Adrien Brody stars in a sci-fi thriller about a couple of scientists trying to… hell, I don’t even know what their actual goal was, but they whipped up a hell beast that was part human and parts a lot of different animals and really deadly. It was actually really close, if I would put this at #2 or #3 on the list. What finally put this below Clash was that, although it did have Sam Worthington tromping around ancient Greece for months without ever outgrowing his buzzcut, it did NOT feature (SPOILER WARNING: DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO BE SURPRISED WHEN YOU SEE THIS MOVIE AND/OR HAVE A MODICUM OF GOOD TASTE) Adrien Brody having sex with a half-human/half-animal clone of his wife in the middle of a barn. That was hands-down the creepiest scene in any movie in this year. In most years. Maybe ever. I want to boil my brain.

1. Jonah Hex. Now I’m going to be fair here. Objectively, this Josh Brolin/Megan Fox/John Malkovich western based on the DC Comic probably wasn’t the worst-made movie this year. But it was without a doubt the one that made me angriest. I love the Jonah Hex comic book. It’s a brilliant piece of comic literature that could have made one of the greatest, grittiest westerns of all time. Instead, we got a bastardized hybrid of the character mixed in with The Crow, The Sixth Sense, and some leftover set pieces from Wild Wild West. There may have been worse-acted, worse-written, or worse-directed films this year, but nothing had me walk out of the theater this angry. On the other hand, let’s hear it for Josh Brolin? How many people can say they were the hero of the year’s worst cowboy movie and the villain of the year’s best cowboy movie in the same year?


Okay, guys. All that’s left is the comprehensive list. Before I give it to you, though, let me just say I rather enjoyed this experiment, and I’ve still got more 2010 films left on my Netflix queue than I’ve actually seen. Maybe in a couple of months I’ll want to reevaluate this list. Maybe it’ll be totally different. Maybe I should start quantifying all years in cinema this way. Compulsive list-maker that I am, that could be a lot of fun. When I see a film, I’ll open up that year’s list and pop it in where I think it belongs. Of course, I’m not about to start going back and ranking every movie I’ve ever seen that way, that would be preposterous. I’d have to do that just with movies I see from now on. By that rationale, of course, it means Logan’s Run was the best movie of 1976, since that’s the only movie from that year I’ve seen recently. Of course, that may actually be the best movie of 1976, so why belabor the point?

I’m rambling now. Thanks for taking the time to read, guys, and who knows? Maybe I’ll do some updates in the future. I leave you with the complete list of 2010 releases I have seen, in order of preference:

  1. Toy Story 3
  2. Inception
  3. True Grit
  4. The Social Network
  5. The Town
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  7. Tron: Legacy
  8. Hot Tub Time Machine
  9. Iron Man 2
  10. Easy A
  11. Buried
  12. Tangled
  13. Despicable Me
  14. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
  15. Shutter Island
  16. Batman: Under the Red Hood
  17. How to Tame Your Dragon
  18. Due Date
  19. Waking Sleeping Beauty
  20. Predators
  21. Kick-Ass
  22. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  23. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
  24. Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics
  25. The Losers
  26. Dinner For Schmucks
  27. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
  28. The Wolfman
  29. Planet Hulk
  30. Survival of the Dead
  31. Alice in Wonderland
  32. Repo Men
  33. Robin Hood
  34. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
  35. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  36. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  37. Clash of the Titans
  38. Splice
  39. Jonah Hex

What Movies Did I Miss in 2010?

So here I am, trying to come up with some sort of “end of the year” blog, and I decided it may be good to comment on what I thought were the best motion pictures of the year. I’m a geek, right? I watch a lot of movies, I comment on a hell of a lot of movies. I know movies.

But as I sat down to compile my list, I realized something startling: I haven’t really seen all that many 2010 movies. Even counting direct-to-DVD films like the DC and Marvel animated projects, I’ve seen a total of 22 feature length films released in 2010.

Oh, I’ve seen a lot compared to some people, I suppose. Some people wait a long time before seeing movies, some people place no particular importance on seeing them opening day. And I’m fine with that — I think opening day releases are kind of overrated anyway, unless the film in question is one that I’m absolutely dying to see. Looking at my list (I’m a nerd who keeps lists of such things) I’ve seen well over 100 movies this year, but only 22 of them were from this year.

But it seems like in previous years I saw a lot more. Back in the old days, when we were fresh out of college and single, I would get together with my friends (primarily my buddy Jason Champagne — what’s up, Jason?) and catch one or two movies almost every weekend. This year? On my list of 22 films from 2010, I saw 17 in the theaters. Not even twice a month, friends.

What’s even more horrifying, though, is the fact that as I look back at 2010 in the theaters, I don’t even feel like I missed much. I would like to see Despicable Me. I’ve got interest in Red and True Grit, and there are several others I wouldn’t mind seeing, should the opportunity present itself. But is there any 2010 release that actually upsets me because I haven’t seen it?


I think that says as much about Hollywood’s output as it says about me.

Not surprisingly, out of my 22 films there’s a very high geek quotient. Eight of them are based on comic books. Five are fully animated. Three are based on fantasy novels, nine of them are remakes or sequels to older films that appealed to the geek in me as a youngster. Only two of them are totally original concepts, by which I mean they aren’t sequels, remakes, or based on a story from another medium, and those two are Inception and Due Date.

Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed by myself.

So here’s what I’m going to do, friends. Between Netflix and borrowing DVDs from friends and family, I’m going to spend January playing catch-up. You name a 2010 release (and direct-to-DVD films do count for this) that I haven’t seen and I’ll throw to the front of the queue, steam it if it’s available, or borrow it from somebody else and I’ll try to watch as many as I can in the hopes of giving you a more rounded view of what I think of 2010 in cinema. Any film, any genre, so long as it’s feature length and available on DVD. (And if I can, I’ll try to sneak in a few trips to the theater for the remaining December releases that are worthwhile.) Help me, my friends. You’re my only hope.

So you know where I’m coming from, though, here are the 22 films released in 2010 that I have seen, in alphabetical order:

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood
  • Clash of the Titans
  • Due Date
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2
  • Jonah Hex
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
  • Kick-Ass
  • The Losers
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  • Planet Hulk
  • Predators
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
  • Survival of the Dead
  • Tangled
  • Toy Story 3
  • Tron: Legacy
  • The Wolfman

2 in 1 Showcase Versus the Wolfman

For the fifth year in a row, I’m sitting down for a Halloween-inspired movie marathon, and for the fourth year, I’ve drafted several of my friends to help me. You can check out previous marathons thusly:

Friday the 13th
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Universal Pictures Frankenstein

This year, we’re sitting through the Universal Pictures Wolf-Man franchise, and with me are Kenny, Daniel, Lauren, Mike, and Nicole. Last year, as Kenny and I did a lot of the Frankenstein films without the rest of the crew and, frankly, there wasn’t as much room for snark, I didn’t write down our comments as we went along. This year, when Daniel shouted out “He’s got a girl’s name!” when Bela Lugosi turned up in the opening credits, I knew there’d be room to snarkify. For a slightly more serious conversation about the merits of the individual films, you can listen to the podcast in which we discuss them.

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 193: The Universal Wolfman

The Wolfman (1941) The classic begins with Daniel wondering why Lon Chaney’s character is merely credits as “The Wolf-Man,” as if he doesn’t have an actual name. (He does: Lawrence Talbot.) Talbot is being summoned home after many years, hoping to reconcile with his estranged father after his brother dies. We miss the next several minutes of the film, though, as we 1) notice that Mike is still wearing the headset we used to record the podcast introduction, 2) Mike announces that he’s doing it because he’s as “cool as the other side of the pillow,” 3) Kenny says that “Buddy Dee Williams” is as cool as the other side of the pillow, and 4) We proceed to mock Kenny mercilessly. Lauren, meanwhile, is getting ready to kick Mike, Kenny, and Daniel out of the Man-Cave for talking during the damn movie. I concur.

Mike and Daniel immediately latch on to the fact that Talbot has a big-ass telescope in his mansion, something that rather disappoints Mike as I point out that the film was made in 1941 and the chances of him seeing any women undressing through it are fairly slim. Talbot does, however, see a woman (the lovely Evelyn Ankers) working in an antique shop, whom he approaches and begins commenting on the objects he’s seen in her room. My only response: “He’s the worst stalker ever.”

Somehow, he convinces the woman to accompany him on a wolf-tracking expedition to a nearby gypsy encampment. Kenny comments, “The girls tells him no and she still goes with him. And then brings a friend.” Mike chimes in, “What the HELL?” Lauren merely expresses her sorrow that Daniel cannot grow a saucy handlebar mustache like Bela Lugosi is sporting as a gypsy fortune teller in this picture. Chaney continues to bumble over Ankers, which makes me realize that back in 1941, I actually may have had some game with the women. At least relatively. Kenny, however, would still have none.

What with one thing or another, Chaney gets bitten by a wolf, which he then proceeds to beat the crap out of with a wolf-headed cane he bought from Ankers earlier. Although the actual beating takes place out of frame, Kenny correctly comments that you couldn’t get away with that in today’s movies. And yet they allow Snooki on television where any kid could see it.

As Chaney is told by gypsies that he’s now going to bear the curse of the werewolf (because of the whole “being bitten and beating the previous werewolf to death with a silver-tipped walking stick” thing), Mike begins to question why they keep calling it a stick instead of a cane. A quick Google search reveals that the difference between a cane and a walking stick is that a cane has a curved top. This post now qualifies for an educational grant. Our amazement at the film continues when we realize that Ankers’ character actually does seem to be falling in love with Chaney, a man who introduced himself by basically revealing that he’d been spying on her through her window. In many ways, this film is a precursor to Twilight.

Chaney seeks help from the medical community, uttering the immortal phrase, “Have you ever met a werewolf, Doctor?” Daniel, despite warnings from Lauren that he’ll be sleeping in the yard until Thanksgiving, cannot contain himself: “I’ve never met a Werewolf Doctor!”

At this point, Kenny’s sister Megan pops in and informs us that it is, in fact, the night of a full moon. Somehow, this sends both Kenny and Daniel scrambling to separate electronic devices in an attempt to download Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London. We will now hear this constantly for the rest of the day. Chaney, of course, is unable to contain himself, and eventually winds up in battle with his own father, who proceeds to beat him to death with his own sliver-tipped cane. Mike begins to question the link between silver and kryptonite, which is something only a geek of our level would begin to go to. In the touching moment as the father mourns his son’s death, Daniel pulls out his cell phone and starts playing Hungry Like the Wolf. Lauren contemplates divorce.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943) In this film, which serves as both the second Wolf-Man movie and the fifth Frankenstein movie, we start off with a couple of grave robbers busting into the Tomb of the Talbots. I take a bit of offense when we see the marking on Larry’s grave, which says he died at the “youthful age of thirty-one.” I have to look it up, now – Chaney was apparently only 35 when the film was made. Apparently, people aged a lot harder in the 1930s.

The coffin, which they pop into for some insane reason, turns out to be full of wolfbane, which according to the poem we heard in the first movie (and again in this one) is inexorably linked to the curse of the werewolf. Even one who is “pure of heart” can be subjected to it. The two robbers pilfer a ring from Talbot’s body, which somehow brings him back to life. As he grabs one of the robbers, the other hauls ass out of the tomb. Mike begins to ponder why people running in horror movies always fall down.

The next conversation must be quoted verbatim:

MIKE: Why is the sound so low?

LAUREN: Well if you’d stop talking, you could hear it!

BLAKE: You just got Laurened.

MIKE: Well she can Lauren me all she wants—



If anything happens in the next two minutes, we miss it.

When we finally get back to the film, Talbot is in the hospital and the staff is confused because his ass has been dead for four years. I can perfectly understand why this is confusing. When he makes his inevitable transformation into the werewolf, despite the fact that he was wearing a hospital robe, he again shows up wearing the black button-down he had on throughout the first picture. When we see him again, passed out, he’s back in the hospital robe. Evidently, Larry Talbot’s transformation is far more efficient than Bruce Banner’s.

Mike, Daniel and Kenny retreat to the kitchen at this point to begin making popcorn. As they go about this vital task, someone begins to take stock of Kenny’s alcohol situation. This could get ugly. Slightly uglier, on-screen, Talbot begins to suspect that the fact he has come back means he can’t die, and he’ll get violent as a result. This is interesting to me – up until this point, Talbot has come across as a victim in this series. Now, for the first time, he’s starting to behave like a monster in human form as well.

Talbot hooks up with the old gypsy woman who told him about the curse in the first movie and they decide to seek out Dr. Frankenstein for help killing him permanently. Evidently, he just wants to die. A guy who looks like Teddy Roosevelt informs them that Frankenstein was a madman whose home burned down with him in it. Later, a local girl gets killed by an animal bite, so the villagers (showing the sort of calm logic as we saw in last year’s Frankenstein marathon) hunt down the new guy in town… who does, admittedly, happen to be a werewolf. He flees and winds up stumbling into a frozen cave where – holy crap – Frankenstein’s monster has been preserved in the ice. Talbot pulls the monster (in this film, played by Bela Lugosi) out and they begin to make their way to the ruins of Frankenstein’s lab, past the fakest-looking bats I’ve ever seen on anything. Including the rubber ones hanging in our school library this month.

Unable to find the death he seeks in the ruins of Frankenstein’s lab, Talbot finds a disturbingly saucy picture of Frankenstein’s daughter signed to her father, and tracks her down in the hopes of buying Frankenstein’s land to continue his search. The film is suddenly disrupted by – not even kidding here, folks – an impromptu musical number, where a dude in lederhosen starts singing about how awesome the guy who looks like Teddy Roosevelt is. When he hits a line about “living eternally,” Talbot does what everyone watching the movie wants to do, leaps up, and threatens to beat the guy unless he shuts up. Somehow, this winds up freaking out everyone in town, despite the fact that you know the actors wanted to do the same thing. Teddy, using his ninja skills, overhears Talbot telling someone about his plans, just before the monster shows up wandering around town. A lynch mob forms, of course, once again giving turn of the century obscure European countries a really bad name.

Talbot and his new friend think of a way to reconstruct Frankenstein’s machines in a way that will supposedly drain the life from both Talbot and the Monster, although it will evidently require the precise flow of a river at just the right time to spin the turbines to activate the device which appeared in Starship Troopers with Denise Richards who was in Wild Things with Kevin Bacon. Meanwhile, the townspeople conspire to destroy them, which seems kind of stupid if you think about it. Why are they trying to attack the people who are trying to find a way to kill the monster? As they begin their experiment, the full moon comes out, the monster cuts loose, and Teddy Roosevelt begins to lay dynamite to blow up the dam that’s controlling the flow of the river that’s charging the turbines that power the house that Jack built. The monster goes after the girl (as he always does), but the wolfman breaks free and they start ‘rasslin’. Teddy blows up the castle, and this time they both get frozen, only to be reawakened a year later in House of Frankenstein, which we covered in last year’s marathon. So go check that out as we pause for a restroom break, then move into…

Werewolf of London (1931) This was actually Universal’s first werewolf movie, and in fact the first American werewolf movie. It wasn’t actually part of the Lon Chaney, Jr. series, but as it’s included in the Legacy Collection DVD set, we decided to include it too. This film features Henry Hull as Wilfred Glendon, who has the world’s most exciting occupation: botanist. He and a friend find an old dude in Tibet who warns them not to mess with the plant he’s looking for. Like white men in Hollywood have done from the beginning, he doesn’t listen, goes out looking for his planet, and gets bitten by a monster. As he goes back to his lab to study the plant, my gang is astonished to see that he’s actually got a video security system in 1935. My reply: “Hey, he’s a scientist.”

This film is pretty slow-moving… for quite some time, the only thing that’s really worth mentioning are the big hats on the women and the styles of the mustaches, both of which perplex Mike, whose concept of “fashion” means “squirting my Bettie Page t-shirt with Febreeze before I leave the house.” Eventually, Glendon starts to get hairy, so he pokes himself with a flower, which makes the hair go away. We promise to shield Mike from these flowers forever.

As Glendon starts to investigate his transformation, he learns that a werewolf will always try to kill that which he loves the most, which reminds me of that Futurama episode, “The Honking,” where Fry gets upset because Bender (turned into a were-car) goes after Leela instead of him. The fact that I took the time to look up the title of that episode should show you how engrossed I am in this picture. Soon afterwards, Mike and Daniel begin to argue about the transformation scene, which takes place when Glendon walks behind a pole. I’m not impressed with the makeup job, personally – he gets a little hairier and puts lumps on his forehead. The ultimate, though, is that he chooses to put on a coat and hat before he leaves the lab.

At this point, Mike notices that Daniel has fallen asleep on the couch. I suggest putting his hand in a bowl of warm water. Kenny, whose couch Daniel is sitting on, suggest rubber sheets. The discussion summons Daniel back to consciousness. We look at the DVD box to check the running time and are startled to discover that only 12 minutes remain. This is surprising because nothing has happened in what feels like seventeen hours. We are further astonished that the running time is only 1:15 minutes.

There are a couple of genuinely funny moments in this movie, which surprises me. A pair of old women with a propensity for knocking each other out sort of steal the show. And there’s a decent fight scene at the end, but it’s too little too late. It’s no wonder nobody remembers this film.

She-Wolf of London (1946) This film opens up in London, where we discover that people live in fear of the “Allenby Curse.” I’m not entirely sure what this means, but I bet it has something to do with wolves. Daniel, who still hasn’t recovered from the previous movie, activates a strobe light app on his phone in the hopes of inducing a seizure upon himself.  We all wind up spending several minutes playing with our iPhones/iPods and not actually paying attention to the movie. I look up from my iPod and realize the film has been on for 17 minutes.

There’s a killer on the loose, it seems, and people suspect that the Allenby Curse has cut loose. June Lockhart, in fact, wakes up with blood on her fingers, which prompts Kenny to say he thinks it looks like she’s been fingerprinted (this is in black-and-white), which in turn prompts the new uncle in the group (me) to tell everyone that when his niece was born they didn’t use ink to take her footprints, but instead had some sort of heat sensitive paper. This is how interesting this movie is.

We start taking bets on who the wolf really is. June Lockhart? Her cousin? The creepy old woman who opens the door for the detective? We finally get to the attack, where a woman wandering the park wrapped up in a shawl rips out someone’s throat. Mike is appalled by the fact that the woman clearly was not wearing wolf makeup, while I simply notice that she sounds more like a cat than a wolf.

Lockhart’s boyfriend later cheers her up by reciting the various symptoms and results of lycanthropy, which causes her to burst out in tears, which seems disturbingly similar to several dates I had in college. That night, as the cops stake out the park, Lockhart sneaks out as Daniel breaks into a chorus of Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer. This is not nearly as disruptive as his Werewolves of London chorus earlier in the evening. Despite the fact that we’re barely paying attention, Lauren figures out that the old woman is drugging June Lockhart to make her believe she’s the werewolf, while in actuality it’s her cousin that’s committing the murders. She’s right. She then predicts that the old woman will fall down the stairs while chasing the housekeeper. Again, she’s right. Lauren wins this movie.

Like the last movie, the total lack of action has cost us all of our attention. Not even the question of whether June Lockhart is a werewolf manages to hold us here, and at this point, the upcoming 2010 remake of the original is looking damn good.

The Wolfman (2010) The Blu-Ray disc of this film contains both the theatrical and unrated versions. We choose the unrated, as all of us (except Daniel and Lauren) have seen the theatrical version. While Kenny is immediately impressed by how they evoke the classic Universal Studios opening, Lauren says she thinks it’s cooler in black and white. I immediately know this is going to be a fun viewing experience. Like the original, this one opens up with Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) learning of the death of his brother. With the film being made 60 years later, though, we actually get a glimpse of the attack. The Wolfman flashes on the screen just for a second, which I suppose is all well and good. It’d be like trying to hide the monsters in the Alien remake. Everybody saw them already, so why bother?

While on the train home, Talbot meets an old man with a silver wolf-headed walking stick. He offers to give it to Talbot, and when he refuses, he “accidentally” leaves it on the train. Daniel, helpfully, says, “You left your cane!” Mike and Kenny immediately reply, “It’s a walking stick!”

Talbot comes home to find his father, Sir Anthony Hopkins, living in a house that looks like nobody’s been in it since they fell asleep watching She-Wolf of London during its original theatrical release. He collects his brother’s belongings, then goes off to a local pub to have a drink with – once again – Teddy Roosevelt. There he hears some older gents talking about the band of gypsies that have come to town. The bands of tramps and thieves, evidently, never made it that far. Talbot hears them mocking his family and talking about their craaaaaaaazy notion that a werewolf could be behind the recent killing. Go fig.

Later, as Hopkins go around blowing out candles in the mansion, I distinctly hear Mike attempting to help by blowing along. I’m not really sure what to make of this. If anybody out there knows what it means, please e-mail me at

Mike tries to figure out where he’s seen Emily Blunt (who plays Ben Talbot’s fiancé, Gwen) before. I go online and read off some of her filmography. He hasn’t seen any of them before, so he again asks, “Why does she seem familiar to me?” Lauren replies, “Because you’ve seen this movie twice.” Kenny chimes in, “You just got Laurened again.”

Benicio Del Toro, whom we all agree bears more than a passing resemblance to Lon Chaney Jr. (so good on the casting director) heads off to the gypsy village for information about his brother, although Kenny reasonably asks why the hell he would do such at thing at night. Shockingly, there’s an attack on the gypsies by a massive beast who sheds more blood in 12 seconds than in the entirety of the previous four films. Lauren declares she likes the old movies better.

Mike finds himself starting to fall asleep, so he drinks the last quarter-bottle of a five hour energy shot he’s been nursing since he arrives. He then proceeds to put the bottle on the table I’ve got my laptop on. I remove it and place it back on the shelf where he’d kept it all day. He picks it up and, again, puts it on my table. So I take it and bounce it off his head.

While we’re doing this, Talbot is mauled by the werewolf, and although the gypsies sew him up, they’re a bit concerned about the fact that, y’know, he’s cursed to attack and eviscerate human beings now. Talbot is laid up for month trying to recover from the attack, which coincidentally puts him back on his feet just at about the time the moon is turning full again. Hugo Weaving shows up and we’re reminded that, wow, this film actually has some good actors in it. Sadly, as he speaks to Talbot we keep waiting for him to say, “Miiiiiiiist-er Anderson…”

Talbot takes his dead brother’s fiancé out to skip rocks, which sparks a discussion of our respective rock-skipping skills and an impromptu rendition of Whip It before the music turns creepy, signaling the fact that the townspeople (who are just as tolerant as in the original series) show up planning to lock up Talbot before that night’s full moon. Talbot refuses, which somehow freaks out the horse, but before they can drag him away Hopkins shows up and shoots the head off a statue to prove ain’t nobody takin’ his boy. That night, though, Talbot starts to feel fuzzy and angry, proving that perhaps the townspeople weren’t so crazy after all. He warns Gwen to get the hell out of the house, and unlike Lon Chaney, does so without spying on the girl through a telescope.

Talbot’s dad leads him to a secure location where he undergoes a transformation far, far more graphic than any of the ones we’ve seen in the previous films. It also features infinity percent more CGI.

After some nice bloody moments, it’s morning and Talbot gets carted off to the insane asylum by the good townspeople, who’ve got no problem believing he’s a murderous monster, probably because these attacks have happened before. As it happens, we discover that the previous attacks were pulled off by Talbot’s father, who visits his son in the asylum and informs us that, even though he loves his son, he’s got no problem letting him take the fall for decades of murders. The Talbots are scheduled to appear together on Maury next week.

As a THX sound promo plays in the background, Talbot is dragged into an auditorium in the asylum, where his psychiatrist proceeds to explain that he’s delusional about that whole “full moon” thing, even as Talbot is transforming behind him, causing the other doctors in the room to crap their pants. Rather than run out of the room, of course, they point and try to call the doc’s attention to the situation just long enough for Talbot to get loose and start ripping intestines out of stomachs. This leads to a pretty good sequence of his terrorizing London, which of course has been a dream of Kenny’s since he was a wee tot. Gwen, as we learn, loves him anyway. When I point out that she is, in fact, his dead brother’s fiancé, Daniel says, “That was the custom at the time.” I reply, “That was the custom in ancient Rome…” Daniel’s retort: “I’m moving to ancient Rome. And killing my brother.” Lauren… glares at him.

Somehow, the course of conversation sparks Daniel’s rendition of Livin’ on a Prayer, which causes Mike to say he needs to be in a musical to get it out of his system. Talbot, meanwhile, has returned home and loaded up a rifle with silver bullets to look for daddy. Or, so it seems – when he actually tries shooting him, he finds out that Talbot Sr. took the powder out of the bullets a long time ago. The moon comes out and, for the first time in five movies, we finally get some werewolf-on-werewolf action. Sadly, most of it is CGI. Talbot Jr. wins the fight by throwing his father into the fireplace, where he immediately catches on fire, which Mike says is the part of the movie he has trouble with. I reply, “Well he’s old, he’s probably dried out.”

Werewolf Lawrence tangles with Hugo Weaving, and finally faces off with Gwen at a really romantic waterfall, which would be awesome if he wasn’t a wolfman that wanted to eat her spleen. She tries to appeal to the human inside of him, which seems to work just long enough for her to shoot him in the chest. So, like Sheldon observed on The Big Bang Theory, “Bitches be crazy.” As he’s dying, he grabs on to her hand and morphs back, and she acts really, really sad considering the fact that she just shot him in the chest. The film ends with Weaving clutching the wolf-head walking stick, clutching a bite wound, and having a look on his face that clearly expresses the fact that he’s thinking, “Aw crap, I’m gonna be in the sequel.”

We packed up and headed home after this one, content in the knowledge that we’d once again bested one of the all-time great monsters, although his DVD set got stuck with some really crappy films. We’re thinking next year we may go more contemporary… perhaps… it’s time to do battle with Chucky?


Welcome to the 2010 Evertime Realms Halloween Party!

Hey, everybody! It’s October first, and that means that we’ve entered my favorite time of year. The October-November-December trifecta of holiday awesome simply cannot be matched by anything in the previous nine months, and even though I’m going to be really busy for the next two weekends with the play (it’s also our opening night!) that doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore my duties here, giving out a wealth of Halloween, horror, creepy and ghoulish content over the next 31 days.

While I can’t promise that every day we’ll have a Halloween article (I do intend to keep giving you chapters of Other People’s Heroes, plus my other regular features), I’ve got a lot of stuff planned, including…

  • The usual movie and book reviews
  • Classic Halloween “Think About It” and “Everything But Imaginary” columns
  • Daily reviews of Halloween and horror comics at the Back Issue Bin website
  • The annual 2 in 1 Showcase Halloween movie marathon — this year featuring Universal Pictures’ Wolfman franchise
  • And on the week before Halloween, the premiere of my new writing experiment, The Curtain.

Plus anything else that occurs to me during the month as being fun.

I’ve got a play tonight (I may have mentioned that), but I’ll be back tomorrow with my first horror movie review of the year. Enjoy October, friends, and I’ll do my best to help you do the same. Happy Halloween!


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 187: On the DVD Shelf

It’s a quick episode as Blake and Kenny roam the DVD shelf of their local department store. We talk about the Blu-Ray vs. DVD controversy, digital copies, digital comics, early plans for Halloween, and lots of movies. In the picks this week, Kenny thinks you should sit down with your kids and watch a Studio Ghibli film, and Blake wants you to read Batgirl #14. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

IMPORTANT NOTE: is undergoing a few technical difficulties. For now, the show is going to be housed at — but our e-mail isn’t working either. For now, you can e-mail me at, and if you’ve sent us an e-mail since August 24, you’ll need to re-send it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Episode 187: On the DVD Shelf

Inside This Episode:


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 159: Viva Las Vegas

Back in Vegas together, Blake and Erin get together for this week’s episode of the Showcase! The happy couple reviews a pair of new movies, including The Wolfman and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, visit a trio of Vegas-area comic shops, and answer your questions about what there is to do in Vegas if you’re a geek like us! In the picks, Erin liked the novel Star Wars: Death Troopers and Blake gives a thumbs-up to Batgirl #7. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 159: Viva Las Vegas
Inside This Episode:


What I’m Watching: 2010 Edition

Like I did last year, this year I’m going to keep a running tally of the movies I see. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, I’m going to place the permanent link to this post in the “Blakestuff” category running down the right side of the page. I’ll update this every so often, and whenever I happen to review one of the movies (either here, at, or even on the Showcase podcast), I’ll make the title a link. I am, in fact, a man of the people.

  1. Star Trek (2009), A
  2. The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008), B+
  3. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009), B+
  4. The Man With the Screaming Brain (2005), C
  5. Re-Animator (1985), B-
  6. Soylent Green (1973), A-
  7. Igor (2008), B-
  8. Dug’s Special Mission (2009), A*
  9. Partly Cloudy (2009), A*
  10. 1408 (2007), B
  11. Pigeon: Impossible (2009), B+*
  12. Vegas Vacation (1997), C
  13. Cat People (1982), C
  14. Psycho Beach Party (2000), B
  15. Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988), D
  16. Planet Hulk (2010), B+
  17. A Charlie Brown Valentine (2002), B*
  18. The Wolfman (2010), B+
  19. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), B
  20. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010), A-
  21. The Hangover (2009), B+
  22. Surrogates (2009), B
  23. Silver Bullet (1985), D
  24. Paranormal Activity (2007)
  25. Ringers: Lord of the Fans (2005)
  26. Ink (2009), B+
  27. Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), B
  28. The Hobbit (1977), B
  29. The Lord of the Rings (1978), C+
  30. The Return of the King (1980), B-
  31. Clash of the Titans (1981), B
  32. Clash of the Titans (2010), D
  33. Iron Man (2008), A
  34. Office Space (1998), B+
  35. Meet the Robinsons (2007), B+
  36. I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009), B+
  37. Hancock (2008), B+
  38. Fritz the Cat (1972), C-
  39. The Losers (2010), B-
  40. Kick-Ass (2010), B+
  41. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968), C+
  42. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), A
  43. Midnight Meat Train (2008), B+
  44. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1958), F
  45. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), B+
  46. The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz (2005), B-
  47. Iron Man 2 (2010), A-
  48. The Grapes of Wrath (1940), A
  49. Cloak and Dagger (1984), C+
  50. The Odyssey (1997), B+
  51. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), A-
  52. The Pixar Story (2007), A
  53. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), C+
  54. Richard III (1995), B-
  55. Miss March (2009), D
  56. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), B+
  57. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), D
  58. Toy Story (1995), A
  59. Toy Story 2 (1999), A
  60. Red Dawn (1984), B+
  61. Day and Night (2010), B*
  62. Toy Story 3 (2010), A+
  63. Muppets From Space (1999), B-
  64. Jonah Hex (2010), D
  65. Monsters, Inc. (2001), A
  66. Zardoz (1974), C
  67. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), B-
  68. Predators (2010), B
  69. Laserblast (1978), F (MST3K riff), B
  70. Better Than Chocolate (1999), C
  71. Alice in Wonderland (2010), C+
  72. Inception (2010), A
  73. DC Showcase: Jonah Hex (2010), B*
  74. Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010), B
  75. The Beginning of the End (1957), F (MST3K Riff-B+)
  76. Sold Out: A Threevening With Kevin Smith (2008), B
  77. Let the Right One In (2008), B+
  78. Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), F (MST3K Riff-A)
  79. I Accuse My Parents (1944), F (MST3K Riff-B)
  80. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010), C
  81. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), B
  82. A Wink and a Smile (2008), B
  83. Fame (2009), B-
  84. Water Lillies (2007), B
  85. Jennifer’s Body (2009), B
  86. Sex Drive (2008), B+
  87. Dead and Gone (2007), D
  88. Dead Snow (2009), A-
  89. Vampire Killers (2009), B+
  90. Netherbeast, Incorporated (2007), B
  91. The Zombie Diaries (2006), C
  92. Survival of the Dead (2010), B
  93. I Sell the Dead (2008), B+
  94. Saw VI (2009), B-
  95. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), A
  96. The Wolfman (1941), B+
  97. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943), B
  98. Werewolf of London (1935), D
  99. She-Wolf of London (1946), D
  100. Due Date (2010), B
  101. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010), B+
  102. Tangled (2010), B
  103. Tron (1982), B
  104. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), A+*
  105. Prep and Landing: Operation Secret Santa (2010), B+*
  106. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), F; MST3K Riff, B+
  107. The Adventures of Huck Finn (1992), B
  108. Tom and Huck (1993), B
  109. Miracle on 34th Street (1947), A+
  110. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970), B-*
  111. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), B+*
  112. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), A*
  113. Frosty the Snowman (1969), A-*
  114. Tron: Legacy (2010), B+
  115. Gremlins (1984), A
  116. Santa Claus (1959), F; MST3K Riff, B
  117. A Muppet Family Christmas (1987), B*
  118. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), A
  119. It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002), B-
  120. A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (2008), B*
  121. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972), F because I can’t give Qs; RiffTrax Riff, B
  122. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), A
  123. The Polar Express (2004), B-
  124. Love, Actually (2003), A
  125. A Christmas Story (1982), A
  126. Funny Games (2008), B
  127. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978), B+*
  128. Destino (2003), A-*
  129. Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics (2010), B
  130. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010), B-
  131. Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010), B
  132. Despicable Me (2010), B+
  133. The Crazies (2010), B-

*-Denotes Short Film

Last Updated on January 1, 2010.

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