Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Steampunk is a genre of fiction where technology advancements are steam powered, rather than electricity or nuclear powered. The term itself came in 1987 from K. W. Jeter, but the genre of fiction, and even of gadgetry in film had started long before that. I’ve always been drawn to Steampunk. The Victorian age, which much of Steampunk centers around, saw humanity grasping to understand the massive leaps made in the Age of Enlightenment, equal to the repercussions from the advances made in the Renaissance. Steampunk was before the dirt and grit brought about from the industrial revolution. This was art nouveau meets science fiction. Less than 100 years after Gulliver’s Travels came Frankenstein, and less than 50 years later came Journey to the Center of the Earth by H.G. Wells. Prometheus gave us the fire to stoke our imaginations, push the boundaries, and connect what was in our heads to what was becoming reality. More refined than cyberpunk, more slapstick than spacey. Babbage machines, electrical tinkeration, crystal-powered laser pistols, ingenious designers, a quick wit, and fabulous garb aren’t all that make up steampunk. One of my favorite parts of fiction genres is that they can take on different meanings for different people. While I may see something as Dieselpunk (you know, like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), others might see it as steampunk. Where I don’t look at post apocalyptic fiction as steampunk, if it’s got gadgets and Victorian-ish accents/attire, others do. So, my goal in this article is to provide some movies you can argue about for hours if you’d like. Or you can just enjoy them! Let’s start off with the most vanilla of the steam punk movies. These are the ones that it would be hard to argue aren’t steampunk. This is because they appeal to the traditional view of what that means. Just throwing this out there before we get started, I’ve not yet seen a single flick that fully encompasses what Steampunk means to me (although the game Space: 1889 comes pretty darn close). But these get you on the right track…

Missionary Steampunk

Sherlock Holmes (2009): I think I’m putting this first because the two Sherlock Holmes movies best capture the spirit and ingenuity behind what steampunk means to me in a mass accessible fashion. While there are certainly other movies that do a better job of capturing the look and feel, Robert Downey Jr. in his lost brilliance detects, invents, and creates in the way that I’ve come to expect here. And the costumes are pretty fantastic. Moriarty-emerges-from-Sherlocks-Shadows-ESN6RF7-x-large-1 Sherlock Holmes, A Game Of Shadows (2011): What I said earlier… But while I’ve got ya’ here, go ahead and check out Annedroids. It’s TV, so doesn’t fit in this series, but if you got an 8 year old, they’re sure to love it. Hugo (2011): Clocks, trains, Paris in the fabulous 1930s, and then the mystery of a robot automaton. Gorgeous art nouveau, stunning cinematography, and great acting. A beautiful story, great acting, and magic in technology. Did I mention it’s a Scorsese movie? The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003): This was not a great movie. No really. It had potential, but it just missed the mark a little. Sean Connery was amazing, as always. But this movie just felt like it wasn’t 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Like maybe the screenplay missed the point of the comic maybe? The special effects were fun, the gadgetry was gadgetalicious, and the movie is still a better movie than 9 out of 10 things out there. There were velvet vests under topcoats with tails, knife fights, The Invisible Men, and of course, Captain Nemo. Not totally Steampunk, but the spirit is there and it’s worthy of being high up on the list. The Time Machine (2002): Guy Pearce, Jeremy Irons, and an adventure that involves of course, going back in time. The iconic H.G. Wells book was a basis of the this movie that was a breaking point in a way for Guy Pearce. The story is of a man who travels in time to find a utopian future. But the future he finds is dark and frightening and not what was promised. The Time Machine was the first in a great genre of time travel books, and led to many a movie. But at the heart of the book was a love story. Regrettably, none of that really came through in this movie. It was nominated for the Golden Schmoes Worst Movie of the Year award and should have beaten out Rollerball. Reason being that Rollerball was supposed to be bad… These guys actually tried… But do check out the original movie. Much better. Wild Wild West (1999): American Steampunk. It means cowboys, witty banter, and a little Will Smithian adventure. Artemis, trains, steam-powered robots, and a movie that ushered out the video cassette in favor of DVD in the same fashion that electricity replaced steam. A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004): You could include Nanny McPhee here as well. Jim Carrey as Count Olaf in “a world built by imagination and ruled by invention.” Oh my Lemony Snicket’s! City of Ember (2008): An underground Steampunk city, a map, Tim, er, I mean Tom Robbins, gadgets, adventure, and of course teenage bravery. A bit dystopian, but a fair enough Steampunk quotient. The Golden Compass (2007): Polar bears in art deco armor, an aletheometer, an adventurating uncle, Nicole Kidman, an airship, and all the imagination. The very name Lyra screams Steampunk, but cossacks seal the deal. Stardust (2007): One word: Airship. Not like Jefferson Starship, but like a blimp with De Niro, narrated by Ian McKellen, heroines including Kate Magian and Sienna Miller, and with Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer to boot. It’s a Neil Gaiman book, so it’s got street cred. But it kinda’ felt like there was just… too… much… going… on… Either way, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a great flick. And by great, I mean an ok movie that shoulda’ been great. Zero Theorem (2013): I totally missed the theatrical release of this Terry Gilliam insta-classic and caught it on Prime. Some dystopian future, some cyberpunk, some artificial intelligence, but with plenty of strange and fanciful art nouveau scenes. Oh, and Matt Damon playing Management. Might as well just throw Time Bandits in there for fun… Franklyn (2008): A young Sam Riley steals the show from a pompous Ryan Phillippe. More dystopian than Steampunk, but when there’s a cravat and a tophat, I just can’t help myself… Also a bit darker than I usually like my Steampunk. But that’s why it’s at the bottom of the Missionary section. Pan (2015): What if Hugh Jackman were a slaver? Or if Hook was a flying ship piloting rapscallion? Peter Pan is no Young Indiana Jones like Hook, but he did never have to grow up (which obviously meant he never became Han Solo either). Instead, we have a fanciful look, full of gadgetry and imagination, of how Peter Pan came to be, well, Peter Pan. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968): Before Trent Reznor, Dick Van Dyke invented industrial music while driving one of the best gadgets from the 60s. Inventors, pesky kids, toys that are people that are toys, and flying cars… The Last Airbender (2010): Just look at the kite in the show, or the second season and how it turned all kinds of Dieselpunk. The only electricity is thrown by firebenders. The steam-powered bad-guys in their ships and the almost-art-nouveau styles of the waterbenders. While critics didn’t seem to like the movie, I thought M. Night Shyamalan did a fantastic job. And I only wish there had been a follow-up, venturing deep into the other nations to end the war. At least it wasn’t The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Honorable Mention: Going Postal (2010), a TV mini-series about a Moist von Lipwig, a con artist turned postman, forced into the deed by a Lannister who hadn’t been impaled while on the crapper. A classic tale of an accidental hero, with tones of sepia and a fancifultude. Oh, and don’t forget all the Sherlock Holmes ever. More honorable mentions to Hellboy, although a bit too new for my tastes; but it does have Ron Perlman and comes to us from Guillermo del Toro, so there’s that…

Fantasy Steampunk(ish)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012): OK, Abe’s axe and the Washington monument have completely different meanings after you see this flick. Trade out the Victorian for Antebellum. And being from the South, I fully support the decision to do so… Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 5.48.02 PM Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013): Before Jeremy Renner was Hawkeye without the purple costume, he was in *everything*. One of the interesting things about the Victorian era, is that it stood between belief in witches and when medieval fantasy was giving way to natural sciences. Hansel & Gretel are witch hunters, but with cool toys. There’s a little mysticism in a lot of Steampunk movies. This was a big, expensive movie. And  Famke Janssen showed why she got cast as a Vampire in Hemlock Grove and as a witch of a woman in the Blacklist, stealing the show in a fury of evil (not a fury of Kung). Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (2016): Honestly, the inspiration for this article. I tried to decide whether this really matched as Steampunk. And what I came up with was kinda’. It’s about 2 decades too early, but offers a wonderful backdrop for a future Sense & Sensibilities & Zombies that is way more Steampunk. The dialog was slightly tweaked from the Jane Austin. But the fine manners are symbolic of the topcoats and cravats, the odd looking weaponry, the infusion of fighting skills from the orient, the beautiful dresses, the waltz, the large estates, and more. There isn’t gadgetry as much as there are zombies. But through it all is a refined and elegant pace that is unmistakably part of this genre. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): I think Tom Waits was made for Steampunk. His vocals on movie soundtrack can be what the accoutrement of gear-laden goggles are to movies. Time on trains and the occasional mechanical backup hand don’t make a movie Steampunk all by themselves. And there is a lot more Keanu than Winona… Anthony Hopkins is like a cheesy Van Helsing. Speaking of Helsing, next… Van Helsing (2004): Soon to be made into a TV series, Van Helsing is a monster hunter, with some pretty cool methods and weapons. It’s a bit more renaissance than the traditional steampunk, but it gets an honorable mention here. Mostly because of Kate Beckinsale. I think it also had that guy that played Wolverine, but more Beckinsale would have been better. Who, btw, gets to go from playing werewolf hunting vampire to vampire hunting werewolf lover/curer. Victor Frankenstein (2015): Arguably, Mary Shelley created science fiction as we know it today. After losing her mother as a child, her half-sister, and a baby, Shelley wrote Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. A helluva way to deal with death. A number of movies have been made about the first real bring them back to life with science story. This movie is a look at the story from Igor’s perspective. But why it’s on this list is the fantastic Victorian-era wardrobes, the sets, the gadgetry, and the dialog. Honorable Mentions: I, Frankenstein (2014): Starts out closing in on our target, but way too modern for too much of the movie. Harry Potter (all the movies – from 2001 to 2011): Fantasy, but gadgets. Such gadgets. And such ingenuity. But I don’t like  magic in my Steampunk. So there’s that… Also Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian because they left the period that we see so much in Steampunk, and because… imagination… and all the imagination… Honorable Mentions Part Deux: Jonah Hex (too American) and Iron Sky (Nazis are basically always Dieselpunk). Oh, and Tai Chi Hero as representation for the one of what I’m guessing are many martial arts inspired Steampunk flicks.

Post-Apocalyptic, But Hey, It’s Got Cool Gear And Costumes

The City Of Lost Children (1995): Ron Perlman was excellent (as usual) in this post-apocalyptic look at stealing the dreams of a child to reverse the effects of aging. Low on dialog, high on creeptitude. But too much electricity and not enough steam to go into the missionary category. Mad Max (1979-2015): More post-apocalyptic diesel-punk (and when I say diesel, I mean very black, oily diesel) than anything else, but there are serious moments in Fury Road and everything Tina Turner, that show some serious Steampunk->Dieselpunk costumery. A bit less, um, dialog than you’d expect. But again, not exactly in the missionary category, due to all that. John Carter (2012): OK, so John Carter is a Civil War vet. And he’s on Mars. And the movie tanked. But watch it with your 3d steampunked goggles on and it’s actually pretty darn Steampunk. Except the muscles. And the aliens. But Disney lost so much money on this thing that I’m pretty sure every genre can claim a little bit of it. Even romantic comedy! Firefly and Serenity (2005): OK, so cowboys kinda’ work. But in the future, and in space. So clearly nerd-genre-bending… So good that there’s a monthly rumor that Netflix or Amazon are going to redo it. But after Dollhouse, there’s seemingly really nothing left of Joss Whedon to give to this show. It put him on the map. It was a special show in a special time. But now that  Nathan Fillion looks more like Donald Trump than Mal, I don’t see the show coming back… If it was more Victorian than cowboy, it would be one of the best steampunk anythings, but it’s not. And I doubt the ship is powered on steam… Frankenstein’s Army (2013): Nazis are always Dieselpunk. Nazis recreating Frankenstein experiments should just make for good Dieselpunk movies. This one felt like it was supposed to be somewhat Dieselpunk but just came across as Hellraiser with Nazis. If you do like it (unlikely unless you’re using it as a drinking game), also check out Army of Frankenstein (also 2013) and then seriously question your tastes in movies – and likely your choices in life… Note, Army of Frankenstein also features… Time Travel! The Mutant Chronicles (2008): This genre-bending movie features Ron Perlman and the Highlander, so it must be not-awesome, right?!?! Dystopian future, spaceships, WWI-style fighting, but with a boy and his imagination at the center. Honorable Mention: All the Dune, just ’cause.

Old, Weird Steampunk-ish Movies

A Trip to the Moon (1902): Georges Méliès could easily have been the greatgreatgrandfather of steampunk having made a Steampunk movie at the turn of the century – and not this century, last century… There’s no electricity in this flick, there are smokestacks in the background, there aerospace ships flying into the moon, ’cause we hadn’t really imagined much beyond blimp air ships to get us to the moon before this rocket shot into the eye of the moon… The Time Machine (1960): Plot and all, as discussed earlier – but with moar George Pal! The Time Machine (1978): Made for tv (and it shows) version of The Time Machine. Awful. During the advent of the PC, so the best part of this one is that you get the clackety of an old keyboard. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988): Terry Gilliam at it again. Even Brazil and Time Bandits had bits of the alternate science that is important to Steampunk. But an airship, a band of misfits, and the costumes in this one nailed the genre best. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959): Remade with Encino Man, the 1959 classic has much more of the original Jules Verne intent. There was so much left to be explored in those days, and so much imagination to be applied. Before we could make an MRI of rock, we had Drizzt roaming caves with other Drow. Subterranean fiction still finds its way into the hearts and minds of moviegoers (think Mole Man from Spiderman), but none did it with balloons and mastodons and the geological panache that Verne brought to the table. And James Mason and Pat Boone in this movie (and others like it) inspired a generation of scientists. Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969): There’s no better Nemo than Robert Ryan. No better ship than the Nautilus. The costumes alone are fantastic, but the sets, the pace, the dialog, and of course Chuck Connors make this a slow, yet fantastic rendition of the Verne classic. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954): Currently in pre-production by Bryan Singer, Kirk Douglas as Ned and James Mason as Nemo kicked the crap out of the original Fantastic Voyage. Eat your heart out Buck Rogers and Star Trek, exploration never looked so good. This sparked a remake every 10-20 years. A trend only likely to continue given the wonder of the story. Around the World In 80 Days (2004): Jackie Chan pairs well with Jules Verne to be oh so Steampunk. More Shanghai Knights than Around The World In Eighty Days, the remake had better effects than the 1956 classic. Although the classic did sport Pith helmets, which can be combined with a number of gadgets to protect from plasmid nullifiers… Master of the World (1961): Everything Jules Verne kinda’ works. Especially when the irony of a blimpy airship driven by a pacifist blowing up earthly military targets. Vincent Price is fantastic. And Bronson doesn’t bring a big gun, which is probably for the best. The Island Of Dr Moreau (1977): While it lacks the trinketry, it comes with a mad scientist making were(ish)-things. The remake had way too much computery whatnot to be Steampunkish, but it did sport Brando… So there’s that… I’ll go ahead and throw in the Island Of Lost Souls (1932) here, ’cause they feel right together. #pantherwomanftw Arsène Lupin (1932): While this movie was remade eventually, it never got Steampunky enough to be on the main list. It’s refined though, with burning stagecoaches. It’s cerebral enough, just without the requisite fantasy and gadgetry. But a good flick. Gentleman thief, master of disguise, and although he’s French, a real ladies man. He’s the opposite of Sherlock Holmes and a remake with mondo gadgetry would be just wonderful in my book. Like Robin Hood, but French. Like Jaque Clouseau, but cooler. Time After Time (1979): H.G. Wells, Jack The Ripper, yada yada yada. Honorable mention: The Wizard of Oz (1939): OK, there’s a tin man, a wizard behind a curtain who turns out to be a gadgetierre, about as much symbolism as you can handle, and a balloon. But, it’s the 1930s, it’s the Great Depression, and it just misses the mark to be Steampunk. Now, go forward a few years and Oz the Great and Powerful makes much more sense. But of course, The Wizard of Oz was a great movie so it goes first. Also, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and then Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), because while they have electricity, they have gadgets and of course Oompa Loompas… And there’s a fable. Fables are important… While we’re on the subject of Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean has a pretty high Steampunk quotient… While we’re on the subject of oceans, Waterworld was awful. While we’re on the subject of nothing, don’t forget The Illusionist.

Animated Movies

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001): It’s Disney and it’s cheesy. But the kids will enjoy it and you might not hate it as much as you hate a few of the other movies you watch… Steam Boy (2004): Classic story of whether the good or bad steampunkers get the next big advance. Kinda’ like Finding Dory. But with jetpacks instead of ocean and moar Akira instead of cute fishies. 9 (2009): Post-apacolyptic sock puppets strewn with gadgetry turned out to be a little too creepy for my kiddo, but yours might enjoy it… I liked it, in all its sepia-loud-monstrous-momentuseses-plus-svords. Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (2005): According to Neal Stephenson, Isaac Newton was an alchemist trying to transmute lead to gold. Which would explain why he was put in charge of the London Mint. Edward Elric (not to be confused by Moorcock’s Elric) is an alchemist in a very science vs. alchemy kind of way. Moments of Steampunk, but by and large a bit too fantasy for all that. I mention the cartoon movie here, but more it’s all about the cartoon series, and the other one, and then the other one… FYI, in case you missed this, pre-production has begun yet again for a Full Metal Alchemist movie. For about the fifth time. Disney’s Treasure Planet (2002): Pirate air ships, robot buddies, rocket surfboards, cyborg shipmates, and of course, Disney. My daughter enjoyed this one more than I did. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004): Plenty of options in the cartoonverse for Steampunk. There’s too much magic here but a flying castle is hard to overlook… April and the Extraordinary World (2015): With a classic anime look and feel, here we find a world stuck in the age of steam. There’s a talking cat, multiple Eiffel Towers, flying ships, gas masks, and the invention of electricity to free mankind from stifled mothers of invention. Honorable Mention: Castle In The Sky (1986), the proof is in the title and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.


The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello (2005): While only 26 minutes, this short gets right to it. For starters, there’s a steam powered computer. Iron dirigibles. Man as antagonist. A bit more frightening than slapstickish, but a good watch. 1884 Yesterdays Future: Terry Gilliam… Airships delivering streetcars. Flying machines with smokestacks. Even a coal-powered movie projector. What more could you ask for… Airlords of Airia (2013): Not sure if you’d call what they’re doing acting as much as LARPing on camera, but pretty scenic compared to other shorts of the genre… Rosa (2011): Do androids dream of dystopian futures?


And honorable mention to all the Dr. Who ever. So, in summary, there are some good flicks here. But there’s nothing good about this… Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the LARPing type who are content to rub-n-buff Nerf guns into gear-driven oscillators, it’s that there’s never a shortage of argumenting. So, if you feel the need to point out the more daft of my references, or how glaringly (and surely purposefully) omitted your favorite cinematic treasure, then please, feel free to comment on my doltish oblivion.

July 5th, 2016

Posted In: personal

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

November 24th, 2015

Posted In: personal

Tags: , ,

My Top 10

You’re having a party. Or waiting to give candy to trick-or-treaters. And you want to throw something on in the background. Check out this list and I’m sure you’ll find something that matches your tastes and what you want to portray to whatever contingent you’re hosting! The Lost Boys: Thow shall not kill is still in my head from last night. Seriously, my favorite movie to throw on in the background when throwing a Halloween party. You can do this one with or without audio. It’s not so scary, it moves quick enough, and it can be watched for just a few seconds or minutes without someone becoming engrossed and not socializing. Regrettably not available on Netflix. Lost_boys The Crow: An instant classic. A love story. A ghost story. So many things are kinda’ creepy and kinda’ awesome about this movie, including an amazing soundtrack. And it’s available on Netflix. the_crow_wallpaper_by_swfan1977-d31wshf Underworld: Vampires vs werewolves. Kate Beckinsdale. Guns. Leather. Did I mention vampires vs werewolves? Available on Netflix. Basically I’d watch the whole series again. Worth it. underworld-poster The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Got no neck. Sweet transvestites. Rocky. Time warp. Satanic Mechanic. OMG, and Meatloaf. And Brad. And Janet. Wow. Not available on Netflix. s-l1000 Warm Bodies: What goes on in the head of a zombie as he’s eating brains? All kinds of zombie goodness. Including… zombies falling in love! Not on Netflix, but worth a watch for sure, with or without a party. MV5BMTQ4MjY2MjMzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDUxNzIwOQ@@._V1._CR43,43.16667175292969,1298,1960.9999542236328_SX640_SY720_ Edward Scissorhands: Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, a guy with scissors for hands. Winona Ryder. Not sure what else you could ask for in a movie. Great visuals to have on in the background at a party. A great plot. Yup. If only it were on Netflix… :-/ Edward-Kim-edward-scissorhands-22305841-500-250 The Nightmare Before Christmas: The rare halloween/Christmas crossover movie. Animated Tim Burton. This was an instant classic in 1993 and definitelypersists. Great story and great background party movie. Available on Netflix! The_nightmare_before_christmas_poster John Dies at the End: Newcomer to my list. This is part of a new breed of quirky, cool movie. Heavy on plot and story. Heavy on super-cool. Love this flick. Muted in the background or front and center when people say “WTF is that?” Strange movie. Dark humor. Sci-fi-ish. Perfect for me, and on Netflix. MV5BMTUyNzIyNzc0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTM5ODg1OA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_ Zombieland: Another newcomer to the list, Zombieland has Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), a Natural Born Killer, and, um, zombies. And it’s in a theme park. What more could you really want out of a movie? Well, it could be on Netflix, I guess. Cause it’s not… onesheet Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Queen of the Damned, or Interview with a Vampire: Three choices for your mainstream vampire evening. Gary Oldman made Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Interview with a Vampire came under a lot of criticism. Queen of the Damned came under more criticism. I liked all 3 of these movies for the most part (although the Anne Rice ones could have turned out better, given how insanely popular her books were at the time. None of them are on Netflix. Which is a shame. Aaliyah was awesome in Queen of the Damned. The rest of the movie was ok. MV5BMTYxNDEyMzEzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDM1NjA3._V1_SX640_SY720_

5 Slasher Flicks

Tucker and Dale vs Evil: Take a good chainsaw movie and a good undead movie, toss them in a blender add spin in some My Name is Earl and some Larry the Cable Guy. Sound funny? It should! Plus it’s just a cool flick! Luckily, this redneck horrorish (although notsomuch, really) movie is on Netflix. Enjoy. MV5BODQ5NDQ0MjkwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDg1OTU4NQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_ Halloween: The classic. Some of these are on Netflix. All of them are pretty much the same thing. Not bad for background movie. Shows a little age these days, compared to modern slasher flicks. But there’s a certain creepiness in the graininess of the originals. Halloween_cover Friday the 13th: Jason was  a really popular name once. Once. I’ve been to Crystal Lake. Once. Regrettably, I didn’t get to see an Aliens vs. Jason kind of moment. Or at least Predator vs. Jason. What I really wanted was Aliens vs. Predator vs. Jason vs. the Bush family. Pretty sure Jason could take ’em all in arena style combat. But don’t overlook that Bush clan. Pretty sure that whole thing can’t happen ’cause he’s Jeb’s separated-at-birth-twin. Not on Netflix. But still hoping they’ll bust out with the whole movie thing that’s alive and well in my head. friday_tvseries1 The Devil’s Rejects: Rob Zombie is, um, twisted. It’s not on Netflix, but it’s all kinds of Halloween gory. Lastsupper2 Saw: I don’t like these kinds of movies. I prefer my horror/slasher flicks to be totally impossible and therefore not in the least bit scary. But on mute it’s kinda’ fun to turn into a drinking game (what isn’t, amiright?)… And it was so popular it became a franchise! All 5 of which are on Netflix. 4-Saw-2-620x400

5 Comedies

Hocus Pocus: I’m not a huge fan of any of these actresses. But together they make a pretty good team. It’s not on Netflix. But a Corpse Bride is, even if that didn’t make the list… Hocus_Pocus_Poster Scary Movie: I saw this in the theater. It was pretty bad. It’s funny how sometimes trying really hard to be funny and make fun of things just really ends up making fun of you. While the original dumb movie isn’t on Netflix, parts 3 and 5 of the franchise are. You can thank Scream that this exists in the first place. For background at a party kind of movie though, it’s pretty fun. And like many of the movies on this list (and in my life in general) it’s easy to turn into a drinking game. scarymovie Shaun of the Dead: I’m gonna’ go ahead and call this Shaun of the Dead at World’s End, cause that’s stringing together two movie titles that might as well be one. I recommend both. Because they’re fun. And funny. And repetitive. But fun anyway. I do not recommend watching Nick Frost dance. His Salsa is better than mine though, so not sure I should say that or not… World’s End is not on Netflix, but Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (which was good despite having the 40 year old virgin in it) is, so I’d watch that. Shaun of the Dead is not on Netflix, but Cockneys vs. Zombies is, so I’d probably just move on to other parts of the list or pick up Shaun of the Dead on iTunes… Or just stream the whole series of The Walking Dead. MV5BMTU2NjA0NDk0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTA0OTQzMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_ Beetlejuice: Recently someone said on Slack that if you say krypted 3 times, that I’d show up. They were right. I did. Beetlejuice is a classic. It’s not on Netflix. But the Burbs is. And they’re kinda’ similar in a way. Or not. You decide… Either way I’m guessing Michael Keaton had to kick the obvious massive amounts of cocaine he was doing when making Beetlejuice in order to be able to play Batman. Speaking of Batman, if you haven’t seen Gotham yet, you should check it out. Sometimes when they talk about their feelings on the show instead of shooting people, it makes me want to stab myself in the eye. But it’s pretty good compared to most of the other stuff out there… 515GNC0WQRL The Addams Family: Christina Ricci was cute back then. A huge cast. A huge remake. All the trappings of big box office. But it somehow came off ok. Just campy enough. Not too campy. Unlike Jumanji. addams-family

5 Great Cult Flicks

Psycho: Insert any Hitchcock flick here. They’re all wonderful and weird and created a whole new kind of movie. I’d also insert the movie about him in there as well… PsychoLEGO-620x400 Troll 2: The cult classic. The worst movie ever. The best drinking game ever. The weirdest documentary on it ever. Actually, not the weirdest documentary. Terrible effects for the whole franchise. The movies aren’t connected. I’d just grab Leprechaun instead. Except Leprechaun in the Hood, which is straight up racist. But hey, any of these will work to keep your TV with obviously fake effects. Leprechaun-645x370 The Evil Dead: Sometimes it’s all about having a fistful of boomstick. Or a chainsaw for a hand. This is probably the best background movie to a Halloween party that there is. It’s overly campy, but barely in a way that’s trying to be funny. It’s just classic. It’s not on Netflix, but Babadook is, if that’s a must. evil-dead-ii-1987-04-g Hellraiser: I always loved Pinhead. He’s a man after my own heart. I hated it when they made too many of these, jumped the shark, and wrecked the franchise. But that’s what the proverbial they do… Either way, lots of weird images in this movie, it’s on Netflix, and the first one actually had a little bit of a plot. And it was made in an era where things were actually scary. And I have the puzzle box in my office. Yup. One of these days I’ll solve it… hellriaser-pinhead-barker Donnie Darko: An instant cult classic. If you haven’t seen it, you have to. It’s kinda’ slow and not scary enough for a silent background flick at a party, but a great movie to throw on in the background anyway. Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal (kinda’ put Jake Gyllenhaal on the map as a real actor, IMHO), Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze. How can you go wrong… I’m still kinda’ confused about S.Darko. But that’s a whole other story (literally). Great Halloween costume if you need one. Not on Netflix. images

5 Movies to Mute In The Background

Night of the Living Dead: Original gore. Not on Netflix. But ZNation is. Not that you should watch it… night-of-the-living-dead-free Nosferatu: Seriously though, Max Schreck owned this movie. The first and still one of the scariest. Back when movies were slow, and melodramatic, and kinda’ real…Nosferatu Poltergeist: I’m pretty glad Craig T. Nelson isn’t my dad. But I wish he was my Coach! Spielberg. Another dimension accessible through the closet. ectoplasm. A beast. The kid in the TV. I mean, seriously, this screwed me up royally as a small child. Which explains a lot if you think about it… poltergeist_8col The Twilight Zone: Yup, the original. A classic. The original series is on Netflix. Not the movie. The updated series isn’t probably worth spending too much time on… The-Twilight-Zone Scream: An instant classic in the 90s, this movie probably did more to revive the slasher genre than anything else. And guess what, it’s available on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it, wait ’till you see all the stars in it… ghostface

5 Classics

Ghostbusters: Not available for streaming on Netflix. But funny. And classic. And timeless. The Keymaster. Seriously. Slimer. I ain’t afraid of no ghost. Venkman was so awesome he got a Java debugger named after him. That’s pretty big stuff right there! The cartoon sucked. FU_ghostbusters_Movie_TG_140603_16x9_992 Young Frankenstein: Or blazing saddles. But this one’s black and white. And funny in a different way (slapsticky). Not that Netflix has either… YoungFrankenstein_440X300 Carrie: Not on Netflix. Sissy Spacek at her best. She won all kinds of awards of other movies. But when she gets that blood rage, she was obviously method acting when she went all telekinetic on Travolta. Holy buckets, I didn’t realize she could do that. No wonder they gave her awards. They didn’t want her hurling knives at them. Not that she didn’t deserve the awards. No really… carrie The Shining: Seriously though, the creepy kids, the creepy dad. Ghosts. Isolation. An amazing movie. Not that Netflix agrees that it’s amazing since it’s not available for streaming. But Silence of the Lambs is. And that’s close enough. the_shining_2 The Bride of Frankenstein: Great background movie. Black and white. Not on Netflix. But Frankenstein’s Army is. Not that you should watch it. It was bad. Yes, I watched it. Don’t make fun. Annex - Lanchester, Elsa (Bride of Frankenstein, The)_03

5 Kids Movies

Scared Shrekless: Not on Netflix, but Dreamworks’ Spooky Stories is. Unknown Monster High: Those monster teenagers in the cartoons that my daughter loves got their own longer feature. Check out Ghouls Rule, Fright On, Boo York, or Haunted, all on Netflix, and all sure to make the squirts squeal. Unknown-1 Spooky Buddies: Puppies, costumes, talking dogs, and Halloweeeeeeen. All the things a kid will find themselves giggly over after gorging on massive quantities of chocolate. Have fun with whatever tomorrow brings! images Casper: A cute cartoony ghost. While the movie and original cartoons aren’t on Netflix, the Scare School series is! Unknown-2 Frankenweenie: Unavailable on Netflix. But sweet, cute, and only a tiny big scary (according to the age of course – mine had me stop it for a little ). frankenweenie_by_nintentoys-d5g2qpa

10 Honorable Mentions

American Psycho: Both streamable via Netflix. The second one shouldn’t be. But the first one is a great little movie. zp04hmllvlgf8zso9ibt The Labyrinth: Available on Netflix. Not scary. Fun. And David Bowie! Labyrinth_ver2 Sleepy Hollow: Available on Netflix. I’m not sure why a headless horseman is creepy. Oh wait. It’s because he’s got no head… And he kills people. Sleepy_hollow_ver2 From Dusk Till Dawn: Available on Netflix. Clooney. Tarantino. Vampires. Drug deals gone bad. A follow-up with Johnny Depp. Harvey Keitel. Gore. From_dusk_till_dawn_poster Little Shop of Horrors: Not on Netflix. A musical. Rick Moranis. Man-eating plants. 50’s/80’s kitsch. MV5BMjMzNDM4MjYwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDE4NzkzMTE@._V1_SX214_AL_ Curse of Chucky, Bride of Chucky, and Chucky Eats Pizza (currently slated for 2018 –  or not): Some on Netflix. hqdefault Children of the Corn: Actually creepy. And on Netflix. You could actually throw all the other Stephen Kings in here as well, with Pet Cemetery, It, Insomnia, etc. What I really want is the Gunslinger series made into movies by Ridley Scott circa his days doing Blade Runner. Slower, grittier. Meaner. Yes, androids dream of electric dark towers. Boom. Huge potential franchise film industry friends who I know are reading this. Write it down before you pass out… The_Gunslinger Rosemary’s Baby: What is it about movies with creepy kids? On Netflix. rosemarys_baby The Witches of Eastwick: The witches betray Jack Nicholson. He’s so bad in this movie. I take a lot of my own management style from him. Wait, no, I really don’t. Welllll…. No, really. Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer. This was a huge movie at the time. And still kinda’ works. Just wait, hair will be that big again. Soon. movieposter A Nightmare on Elmstreet: Freedy Frickin’ Krueger. And Johnny Depp. I think Depp is the most common actor on this whole list. Not sure what that says…johnny-depp-nightmare-on-elm-street-w724

October 30th, 2015

Posted In: personal

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait…

October 25th, 2015

Posted In: personal

Tags: , , ,

Recently I’ve read a lot of things about the attacks against Sony. I’ve read that they’re nothing more than extortion attempts by hackers that probably live in their parents basements (based on the fact that the initial demands didn’t mention North Korea at all). I’ve read they were orchestrated by China by people who felt North Korea was being picked on and couldn’t stand up for themselves. I’ve read highly unconvincing reports from the FBI that they were orchestrated by North Korea. No one really knows. I can send traffic to servers from anywhere in the world. Anyone can anonymize their web traffic as easily as using a ToR plug-in with Firefox. I’ve also spoken to friends at Sony that told me that they’re concerned about the future viability of Sony due to the business impacts of these attacks. I’ve also spoken with people at other studios freaking out about not wanting to “be the next Sony.” But in all of it, there’s something kicking in the back of my head. You see, if someone tried to blackmail me, I’d go to the press (or government) and allow the public to judge me for whatever it is, not cave to demands that are only likely to recur. Not giving into extortion demands is the right thing to do. If someone threatened the safety of people to go to a movie, I’d pull it as well, so that’s the right thing to do as well. There have been enough shootings in theaters and while financially potentially devastating it’s not worth the loss of a single human life to show The Interview in theaters. Of course, now that the attackers have backed off their stance, The Interview will be shown in hundreds of theaters. And it will likely be viewed online by millions of people over the next few days. And if this was carried out by North Korea, they couldn’t visit all of our homes to pull it (although the awful remake of Red Dawn by MGM might indicate differently). I believe that the good, American thing to do is show our support to Sony for all the brain candy they’ve given us in the past. More than that, our support for doing what’s right. And what’s more capitalistic of us than spending $6 on a movie (other than spending more)? What’s better for Sony than to make a little money? In America, we tend to root for underdogs. We love Rocky (which btw cost less than a million to make and brought in a breathtaking $225M – 1:225 ROI there). We wanted Rudy to score a touchdown for the Irish (TriStar – part of Sony). We practiced our kicks like the Karate Kid (Columbia Pictures – part of Sony). We watched Jerry Maguire (TriStar – part of Sony again) even though we couldn’t stand Tom Cruise and rooted for the guy who risked it all to do the right thing (Money, baby). We threw up in our mouth a little when we watched Dodgeball (Fox but a fun movie anyways). We adore Gandhi (Columbia – again part of Sony) because it won an Oscar and taught us the story of one of the greatest men of all time. We loved Charlie Sheen when he was Winning in Major League (Mirage). And we loved Kick-Ass (Lions Gate), one of the unlikeliest heros of all. Sony made Bond great again. Sony brought us Spiderman to the big screen. Sony told us about The Social Network (and were still allowed to have Facebook accounts. Sony gave us Eat Pray Love. Sony killed zombies awesome sauce in Zombieland. Sony gave us Superbad. Sony taught us a history lesson with The King’s Speech. Sony brought The Da Vinci Code to the big screen. Sony made a great movie in the Lords of Dogtown. Sony brought us Hell Boy, Adaptation (as a writer, a movie I love), Ali, Black Hawk Down and countless other movies. Some great, some not. That’s the game. Now, we have a chance to do a very small part by helping Sony escape financial ruin. And yes, they make more movies that suck than are awesome. Because that’s what all studios do. And yes, the film industry seems like a bunch of rich people being silly sometimes. But there are real people that work there. Normal people. With boys and girls and installations at burning man. Some of the best people I know. And they do great work. And sometimes the studio makes brilliant movies. And whether this was spearheaded (yes, bad pun on spear phishing) by a dictator with a bad fade, the remaining communist hardliners in China, another studio or something else, it’s up to the market to dictate the outcome. That’s capitalism. ‘Merica PS – It’s hilarious.

December 26th, 2014

Posted In: Business, Mac Security, personal

Tags: , , , , , ,