Writer’s note: This is something I originally wrote *mumble mumble* years ago for a class on horror cinema, and it is presented with minimal editing. I don’t normally make a habit of posting online things I have written for academic purposes, but with today being George A. Romero’s birthday I thought it might be nice to share something about my favorite of his films, Martin (1977).

MARTIN - UK Poster

Cinematic vampires are, perhaps even more than other monsters, defined by rules.  These rules dictate all aspects of their monstrous behavior. It is therefore expected in a vampire film that the creature will adhere to the regulations previously established. Vampires drink blood, can only function at night, can possess hypnotic or seductive abilities, and often display a connection to bats and other creatures of the night. They were often (but not always) suave and foreign, as epitomized by Bela Lugosi (Dracula, 1931) and Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula, 1958). This was the state of the vampire subgenre in the 1970s. The vampire was the mysterious foreign other, whose lust and appetites were an invasion of behaviors and desires repressed by modern society. In George A. Romero’s Martin (1978), the title character subverts virtually every aspect of what is to be expected from a vampire film. While Martin is most certainly a monster, the film refuses to demonize the character or his actions; by complicating the audience’s sympathies the film turns society itself into that which is threatening.

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Posted by: Trey | 07/03/2013

“Justice is what I seek, Kemosabe.”

The Lone Range(2013)

lone-ranger-johnny-depp-poster

Let’s just get this out of the way first: The Lone Ranger does not suck. It’s not a bad movie, and it certainly doesn’t ruin the character (Hell, if the 1981 Legend of the Lone Ranger didn’t ruin the character, then nothing will). The film certainly has its flaws, and I will address those, but even with those problems it is a fun movie. Read More…

Posted by: Trey | 06/24/2013

Richard Matheson 1926-2013

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(Cross posted from my Tumblr)

I just saw confirmation on Twitter that Richard Matheson passed away. More than simply influential to me, Matheson helped shape virtually all of scifi/horror. I am Legend is THE urban post-apocalypse novel. Hell House is one of the best ghost stories ever. He wrote the two Kolchak the Night Stalker TV movies, Spielberg’s first major film (Duel), adapted Poe for Corman, and on The Twilight Zone gave us all second thoughts about choosing the window seat on a plane.

I can’t say enough about how much Matheson will be missed, but although he is gone his influence on genre literature, TV, & film will be felt for years to come.

Man of Steel (2013)

Few fictional characters are as ingrained in American popular culture as Superman. Since his creation in 1938 he has been a mainstay in print, film, and television. With so many adaptations, in particular the behemoth that is Richard Donner’s 1978 film, I have heard arguments that Superman has become stale and that he does not have a place in a contemporary world. However, Man of Steel offers a fresh cinematic take on the hero and invites us to consider the optimistic and idealistic potential of him in a world where distinctions between right and wrong are not always clear.  Read More…

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

 

Confession: I am a Trekkie. Not a “Trekker,” or whatever the hip fans call themselves these days. I’m an old school Trekkie, and it is as a Trekkie that I say that Star Trek into Darkness is Good Trek. It hits all the right notes, and the cast proves that their ability to take on the iconic roles of the Enterprise crew was not a fluke in 2009. Moreover, Star Trek Into Darkness manages to walk the line between escapist entertainment and social commentary much like the original TV series did, but that other Trek movies rarely accomplish. Read More…

Prometheus (2012)

4 1/2 Xenomorph Eggs (out of 5)

There has been much speculation since Prometheus was announced regarding what exactly it would be, and how (if at all) it would connect to the Alien franchise. Make no mistake: this IS a prequel, and it answers some of the questions left blissfully unanswered by the original Alien film. Ultimately, this is both the film’s blessing and its curse. That said, it is a solid, well-made science fiction film that blends contemporary effects with a more old-fashioned, deliberate pace and tone. In addition, the 3D is worth the money, serving typically to add depth to shots – and most importantly it is NOT a post-conversion.

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The Avengers (2012)

4 Cosmic Cubes (out of 5)

Iron Man. Thor. Captain America. The Incredible Hulk. The Redhead Spy from Iron Man 2 and That Arrow-Shooty Guy Who Didn’t Do Much in Thor (Okay, yeah, Black Widow and Hawkeye. I know who they are. I’m a comic book reader. I’ll get to my point in a minute). Marvel has been building their cinematic universe for about four years now, and it has all been building to this film. How does that kind of buildup pay off? Pretty damn well for fans of the series and/or the comics.

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JOHN CARTER (2012)

4 1/2 White Apes (out of 5)

John Carter has been a long time coming. I can’t think of many other projects that have been in development, almost nonstop, for as long as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ planetary romance. The first novel, A Princess of Mars was first serialized in 1912 before its full publication in 1917, and a big-budget film adaptation has been in various stages of development since the 1930s. A surprising list of filmmakers, including Bob Clampett, Ray Harryhausen, John McTiernan, Robert Rodriguez, and Jon Favreau, were all attached to the adaptation as it passed from studio to studio over the decades until it finally made it to the screen thanks to Disney and Andrew Stanton.* Read More…

Posted by: Trey | 01/18/2012

Spy vs Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

&

Mission: Impossible
Ghost Protocol

4 Silenced Walther PPKs (out of 5)

This past weekend I saw both Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Rarely have I seen two films technically of the same genre, yet almost entirely different in tone, style, and plot. However, both films do what they do very well, and present interestingly contrasting interpretations of the spy genre. Read More…

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Trey’s rating: 5 mighty shields (out of 5)

So often when a superhero movie comes out, both studio & press rush to compare it to prior successes. Thus, we were sold Green Lantern as being kinda like Iron Man, but with outer space & aliens, and references are already being made to how The Amazing Spider-Man will take the Spider-Man franchise more into the realm of The Dark Knight. A valid comparison (that nobody but me seemed to be making, probably because I’m the only one who doesn’t think it an insult) was that Marvel’s earlier film this summer, Thor, owes more than a little to 80s sci-fi/fantasy superhero movie Masters of the Universe. However, it is with great pleasure that I say Captain America: the First Avenger is unique on the increasingly crowded list of superhero films. Read More…

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