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Friday, November 29, 2013

The Beast With Five Fingers

A reclusive wheelchair-bound concert pianist comes to a mysterious death when his chair – with him in it – is pushed down a huge flight of stairs. While the relatives bicker about who should get what from his massive estate, even stranger thing are starting to happen. As the body count starts to rise those left alive start to believe the house is haunted by the severed hands of a dead pianist. Sure, it’s a really weird idea, and director Robert Florey uses every trick in his arsenal to keep the weirdness cranked up to 11 until the final reel. The end result is a bit overheated, but the time you spend getting there is a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

In the Flesh

Just when you thought there wasn’t any new way to tell a zombie story along comes this delightful three-part BBC series to prove you wrong. Set in a post-apocalyptic future following the great zombie uprising, the series follows the efforts of an undead individual named Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) as he tries to fit back in with the society he was trying to eat just a few short months ago. No amount of flesh tone make-up and tinted contacts can keep the dreams of his undead days from plaguing Kieren and making him wonder how long he can pretend to be alive. Having supportive parents; helps, but having a sister who’s a leader in the paramilitary force dedicated to eradicating the zombie population once and for all doesn’t. If it was played for laughs, it wouldn’t work. Because it’s played as a real life drama, it works brilliantly.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Robot Chicken Season 6

Robot Chicken is, hands down, one of the funniest shows on TV, a weird combination of childhood fantasy – after all, the show is little more than stop -motion skits using action figures and dolls – and cutting edge, intelligent – OK, geeky – comedy. It’s also an acquired taste, which you can try for yourself by popping the disc in and watching the first episode. If you don’t howl out loud laughing at the Inspector Gadget gag, then it’s probably not your cup of tea. Hang in there a bit longer, though, because the jokes come so fast and furious in Season 6 that you’re bound to find something to make you laugh before too long. For those already indoctrinated into the RC cult, you can enjoy the season, and then spend time exploring the hours of extras added to the set including hilarious outtakes and behind the scenes footage.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Married a Monster From Outer Space

It may rank as one of the worst titles ever slapped on a movie marquee, but you only have to spend a few minutes viewing this 1958 sci-fi classic to know it’s a lot better than its name. Just watch the unusual and effective tracking shot that director Gene Fowler Jr. uses to establish the opening of the movie and you have an idea of what’s to come. It’s the story of a young guy named Bill Farrell (Tom Tryon) who, on his way home from his bachelor party, stops to see if the body lying across the road is in need of assistance. Turns out it’s an alien and it doesn’t need help; it needs Bill Ferrell’s body so he can mate with earth women and save his race. It isn’t long before the men of the town are all infected and the women are all heading to the altar (since it’s 1958 and nobody, not even aliens, will be having sex out of wedlock). It’s creepy and cool.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Horror Stories

A team of talented Korean directors lend their efforts to this quartet of terror tales, and the results are uneven. It starts with 'Don’t Answer the Door' from Jung Bum-shik, the ineffectual story of a brother and sister who forget their mom’s warning and let a bad man into their apartment. Next up is 'Endless Flight' from director Lim Dae-woon, the story of a serial killer being transported to prison on a commercial flight. The way he escapes and starts killing off the passengers and crew is unbelievable, but a lot of fun. 'Secret Recipe' from Hong Ji-young is the best of the bunch, a genuinely creepy story of a well preserved older man and the sinister way he uses his young brides to keep him young, too. Finally, there’s the total gore fest called 'Ambulance on the Dead Zone' by Kim Gok and Kim Sun. It’s the claustrophobic tale of a team of paramedics transporting a young girl who may or may not be infected to the hospital. The tension is almost unbearable, broken only by the waves of blood the director’s splash around the inside of the ambulance.