Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ho ho ho...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidaze Eve...

Hey All,

A good friend sent this to me and hot damn if it aint the perfect Horror Holiday greeting for the New Media age.
Thanks Mick for the great video...and to you and yours, here is to a safe and slasher-free Holiday.

Staying Scary,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

LaserDisc Duesday...

Hey all,

Thought you'd get a kick out of this...

I miss my LaserDisc collection.

I remember wanting one for years and then I got a cheap-o Sony player in '95 and never looked back...well, till DVD (fuck you Divx!). But upon opening that first, beautiful disc of pure Laser Cinema (NATURAL BORN KILLERS) and seeing a movie in full digital glory (and letterboxed, no less), I was hooked...300+ LaserDiscs later before i stopped buying them (or they stopped making them, or both), it was clear I had a Jones for the format. That fucking LD player became my best friend and my greatest teacher, since at the time the only way you could watch special features on a movie or listen to a commentary was on LaserDisc. So during my time at SU studying film, I basically attend classes to obtain the free equipment, and came back to my room to devour the latest laserdisc I got. Luckily there was a place that rented LD's in town, which was a rarity due to the price of the format...ok picture this: that Criterion DVD you have of SE7EN that cost, oh, I dunno...30 bucks? Set me back a cool 250 bucks when it first came out! THAT's how expensive most Laserdiscs were...but oh were they worth it.

Without laserdiscs I would have never fully appreciated the 2:35:1 aspect ratio (my aspect of choice and one I fought hard for on WT2 and time Gadget, next time...) and also never would have absorbed the amount of technical & creative ideas and tricks used that I discovered thanks to the behind the scenes docs and of course the commentary tracks, which were my lifeblood. Screw my asshole theory teachers (this means YOU Les Friedman...), my professors were guys like Professor Carpenter, Mr. Romero, Dr. Cronenberg, & Sir Raimi amongst others, who all had great commentaries on their Laserdiscs and taught me so much about all the different aspects of film.

With the advent of the "affordable digital disc" with the DVD, you have access to all that without the steep price tag or having to get up every hour to flip the disc, but with it you have an almost over-saturation of content on these titles that the importance of what's in them is diminished. What was once a "must watch" special feature on the LaserDisc is that thing you MIGHT get to if you ever watch CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD ever again. Things aren't so special anymore because EVERYTHING is a "special edition" now. Even on commentaries...people sound bored, where back in the LD days, the recorded voices crackled with excitement, as if "wow, we get to FINALLY reach out to the fans!" Now its an obligation, and who is going to learn anything from someone bored with the process? Not saying all of them are bad (I do reccomend a certain commentary on WRONG TURN 2 that you can download HERE) and many are great (the KNOCKED UP commentary is the last one I listened to and its great), but there was just something extra special about the LD special features. Oh well, at least I can count on knowing that even THE HITCHER will have a commentary so someone can explain those fucking raining cars and the horrible use of NIN in the car chase scene. Anyone? Hello? my laserdiscs sit in a box in Long Island, their superior digital quality moldering with time and dust. My player broke a few years back, and I gotta admit I miss it. But doing this TV segment last week (which was part of the ATTACK OF THE SHOW-1987 edition, which was pretty rad) just reminded me of how important the LaserDisc was in my life. How the format really helped me develop as an artis-

-Shit, hold on i gotta go flip the disc.

Staying Scary,

PS: Yeah yeah I know my "80's" look wasn't up to par...but they needed me last minute and all I had was a bunch of 80's video company shirts that would work and a stupid bandanna that to me just screamed "80's teel comedy jock douchebag" so i went with it. Sue me, dude.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Black" Friday...

Hey All,

So much happening, too much to write...shitballs!

Friday (last week): SHAUN OF THE DEAD & HOT FUZZ auteur (and fellow geek) Edgar Wright has been busy over at the New Beverly with his own THE WRIGHT STUFF film festival and hot damn if there wasn't some amazing double bills...PHANTOM OF PARADISE & BUGSY MALONE, TOP SECRET & BANANAS, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON & TREMORS(SOOOO pissed I had to miss that one)...but two of the big ones I was not to miss was the Shane Black Double Feature (which I thought sounded better as "Black Friday"), where Edgar was going to show LAST BOY SCOUT & KISS KISS BANG BANG back to back, and i was fucking there (the latter was RAISING ARIZONA & EVIL DEAD 2 but due to family stuff, I had to miss it). Plus, Shane Black in attendance? OK, I gotta give him a copy of my flick, for nothing more than to say "Thanks for making me sit up and recognize great dialogue and well written characters" since I was a fan of his since LETHAL WEAPON (which he wrote when he was 22!!!). This was an event not to be least by a dork like me.

So after work, met up with Devin and Brian, who were also equally excited to get "Blacked", at the El Coyote, which is the place to be pre-and sometimes post-New Beverly screenings. The Margeritias are cheap and the chips are salty, perfect. We geeked out for a bit as Edgar rolled in, big grin on his face. Guy's got energy to spare, and he's great to talk with, especially movies. In his tow were Zoe Bell, who I gotta admit, looked even better than she did in DEATH PROOF; if anyone had a BIGGER smile in the room, Zoe would have kicked their ass. Also in the Wrightourage was Diablo Cody, the talk of the town for her script JUNO which JUST came out that night. I was so impressed; instead of doing the "lets go to every theater in town to see how many people came" game that many do when their film opens, she decides to ham it up with a bunch of film nerds with some action flicks. We didnt get to talk, but she seemed very cool and gracious to people coming up to her...she better get used to it.

We then walked over to the New Bev, and sat in the back while LAST BOY SCOUT played. It really worked over the crowd, probably even better than when it initially was released in 1991, and some of the audience never saw it before tonight, which was very cool. Almost 17 years later, the movie still works as a fun, badass, vulgar action romp. Tony Scott shoots in all his hazy close-upped glory, and its movies like this that you can tell he's having fun (this also being before his cinematic mid-life crisis where he now has to excite the frame every 2 seconds with visual hiccups...DOMINO anyone?) Also, If Bruce Willis didn't have John Maclaine as an iconic hero figure, I would have thought his dickheaded, "dick" Joe Hallenbeck would have been a franchise-maker. Great character, with amazing lines to compliment it. Oh, and it has my childhood crush, Danielle Harris, in the flick as Joe's daughter (this being post-HALLOWEEN 4 & 5), and even seeing her again brought back all the um...."memories" I had watching it back in the day. Oof, I could get arrested for writing this stuff, but she's all grows up and struttin her stuff in HALLOWEEN (which she was one of the only good things about the flick, so I guess it's OK.

Sure, the movie is dated, but a blast of a flick and never stops for a second for it or the viewer to breath...and who DOESN'T think Taylor Negron is frightening? Clearly Tony Scott did and made him an unstoppable force and gave him a kill to be remembered by. All in all, I loved this film as a kid, and I do a Hallenbeck jig whenever it's on. Good, fun stuff, and so great to finally see it with an rabid audience.

Afterwards, Shane came up looking quite "Gap-ish" in a pair of khakis and a sweater and proceeded to tear the movie apart! Edgar looked shocked as Shane just told story after story about the pains of making this film, it's original ending and how Bruno would constantly give him shit. It was hilarious, and Black, never one to hold back an opinion, even gave himself a spoolful of shit when he told everyone he just got Botoxed and looked strange. It was a surreal Q&A but an unforgettable one.
(You can actually hear the whole thing HERE).

After the break, we came back to watch KISS KISS, BANG BANG, which was my favorite movie of 2005. Seeing it back to back with LAST BOY SCOUT was really an amazing experience, just to see the evolution of Black's work from his heyday of paydirt (he got paid a cool Million for BOY SCOUT's script and was at the top of the screenwriting A list for a while) to now, emerging as a true visual storyteller both on the page and behind the camera. While SCOUT was mostly Mamet-esque one-liners with some cause and effect in their delivery (but amazing ones at that), KISS KISS had such a wonderfully woven tapestry of dialogue that
only works better with each viewing, where you find new jokes you might have missed before and complex plot points that might have been glossed over upon previous viewings (I certainly did this time). Everyone in the film, from Robert Downey Jr. to Val Kilmer to Michelle Monaghan, are stellar, but the star here is Black, who directs in such a loose, jazzy style that you almost forget its a movie and almost take it in as a GREAT story told by a guy at a party, or a great old pulp novel you pick up in a truck stop. That's Shane Black at his best, and this is just the beginning me thinks....and hopes...

OH! Almost forgot...before the movie started, Edgar had programmed some awesome trailers from the 80's (like ACTION JACKSON & TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA...sweet) so this was my chance to at least say hi to Shane. While he was looming in the back, I tapped him on the shoulder, said "I just wanted to thank you for such amazing work and shake your hand, I'm a huge fan." and he turned to me, smiling. He looked down at the copy of WT2 I had tucked in my armpit, and on that I whispered "I just wanted to give this to you. It's my first film and it would be an honor to give it to you". He took it, smiled wider and patted me on the back. "Thanks Joe! Nice to meet you." He then walked into the light for a moment, reading the cover. He then came back and whispered "You didnt write the first one did you?"
I gulped.
"Nope. I was just involved in this one".
"Oh good! Cool can't wait to see it!"
..and just like that, poof, he was gone.

Whew! So I dont know what he would have said/done if i told him i was involved (which i wasnt), but it was just hilarious that he asked at all, that he even KNOWS what WRONG TURN is. If he watches it or not, knowing that my movie is probably lounging on his desk in Casa Del Black is such a fucking thrill.
Yes, Im easily pleased.

Overall it was a great night, so cool finally meeting The Shane Black and giving him my flick, and just a wonderful Friday night at the movies.

...and then there was Twisted Sister...but that's, another blog.

Staying Scary,

PS: I'm on Facebook now, yay.
Wanna be Facial Friends?, stop by and say hi.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sad day for Fangoria

Dear All,

This is truly devastating for the Horror community. Fangoria was and still is a staple for my Horror obsession, and I've been reading it steadily for close to 25 years now, so everything from the Editors Note to the "Things To Come" section at the end, feels like HOME when i flip through it's pages. Sure, the Terror Teletype isn't as cool because while that section was the first word in highlighting new movies in production/development is now usually old news due to the Internets, but otherwise, Tony T, Mike G and the Fango Team has been keeping the love alive for so long, adding issue after issue to his great history and back catalog of issues...

Well, like the evil fires that almost brought Aardman to its melted clay knees 2 years back, this horrible news comes from

December 10: Fire destroys Fango back issue supply

Hell came to FANGORIA last Wednesday when a massive fire that swept through a warehouse in Oregon, IL destroyed our supply of back issues used to fulfill mail and on-line orders. Also consumed by the flames were copies of STARLOG, STAR TREK and our dozens of past movie tie-in magazines. As a result, we are unfortunately no longer able to process back-issue orders for any of our past titles—so collectors, hold onto the ones you’ve got! The photo above was provided by one of our FANGORIA bulletin board members, who is also one of 20 employees who escaped the building unharmed.

The blaze was set off when a forklift driver in the warehouse punctured a gas line close to a space heater, and required over 100 firefighters from 20 different departments to bring it under control. Hampering their efforts was the fact that the building’s sprinkler system has been turned off—which fire marshals are currently investigating. Total damages are estimated at $8 million; Fango thanks and salutes the firefighters and other responders who worked to put out the flames. —Michael Gingold

My deepest sympathies to everyone at Fangoria for their loss...thankfully noone was harmed, but a little bit of Genre history has gone up in smoke. I'm extremely bummed about this.

...collectors, start bagging your back issues. DATS whut Im talkin 'bout!

Not that you havent seen this before, but holy god...

I feel like a kid again....Jones and Struzan, together again...May can't come soon enough.

Friday, December 07, 2007


...that's all. Just....awesome.

LA geeks...see you at "Black Friday" at the New Bev!

Staying Scary,

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Oh, a few more things...

Hey all,

Man I must be on a roll here, damn! 2 Blogs in one day? Two girls with Green eyes!?!?!

A few things i forgot to mention...

-I dont usually like to point out particular reviews of the movie, good or bad (well, OK maybe the good) but this audio podcast might be the most, um..."review" I've ever heard.

Now, I'm all for constructive criticism, and many people who have HATED the movie, both media and fans, have for the most part been very cordial and intelligent about their gripes with the flick, from "I felt that your stance on the same-family sexual relations to be quite vulgar and unnecessary in the milieu of the film" to "Dood, OMG that movie suxxxxx". Hey, I made a horror movie...way it goes, not here to please the masses totally, that's not good art.

...But when you have two Ding-Dongs give their "expert" opinion and seem to not know what the HELL they are talking about (especially on the movie itself), have this amazing review by the knuckle-heads at The Horror Debate, which you can listen to and laugh your ass off HERE.

Now, before you go slamming me for slamming them for slamming the movie, just know that I absolutely respect and welcome anyone with a take on this or ANY movie (remember what your grandmother says about opinions...)
but I laughed so frequently over how dim-witted and misguided the "review" was, I had to share. Sure Im probably giving them traffic by linking them but fuck it...your welcome boys!

Also...check out their previous ratings for fellow 1-2 star stinkers like AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, DEAD ALIVE, REANIMATOR, DAWN OF THE DEAD & even NIGHT OF THE LIVING clearly these guys ARE the be all end all authority when it comes to Horror criticism, right? Actually, I;m so honored to have been "debated" and be in the same company as those above "pieces of shit", I'm in great company then! least they liked HATCHET, can't fault them for that.

-Lastly, my good friend Steve sent the following image to me saying he assumed this was a typical day for a 6 year old Joe Lynch. I couldnt agree more...

Staying Scary,

Transfixed on Friedkin

Hey all,

Been a rough few days...Im starting to relate to Robert Neville lately...

But last night, after a particularly shit ass day, I came home, greeted by smiles and tail wags as I sat down to TRY and decompress when I switched on the ole Plasma and JUST made it in time to watch the car chase scene in Billy Friedkin's TO LIVE OR DIE IN LA. First off, I love this movie. I love it's ferociousness, the intensity and tension captured in this yarn of counterfeiting in the City of Angels and the blurred line between police and perp, love the style and even how it's dated, how the clothing, the hair, hell even the sunglasses everyone wears instantly transports you back to the 80's, when Wang Chung WAS the soundtrack to Los Angeles and venetian blinds were SO the rage. The movie simply rocks, and watching it on HD only sucked me in more.

All that aside, the car chase scene that Friedkin and his crew crafted is at once one of the most bombastic and ridiculous chases put to film, yet its a masterpiece in speed and geography. Watching it in glorious HD, I became entranced in the scene, as the undercover cops (played by William L. Petersen & John Pankow) are ambushed during a botched robbery they're involved in by a slew of thugs in mid-level chevy sedans and M-16's. The perp they were shaking down is gunned in the back, and thus the wheels are in motion (no pun intended) as the undercover cops are chased through the labyrinthian alleys of downtown and through the busy interstate as more and more gunmen keep popping up, trying to gun them down. They weave narrowly through tight corners, blaze through the LA river and even go the wrong way during rush hour on the 710! Not that you have to live in (he)L.A. to fully appreciate the action and the landscape they cover through this extended sequence, but while watching the film, I was blown away with just how Friedkin, who burned a hole in my retinas with THE FRENCH CONNECTION & THE EXORCIST and I've been a fan ever since, choreographed the scene not like an action sequence, but almost like a war scene in GLORY or SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the troops using cars and guns equally in their arsenal, and how the "opponent" can be anywhere in the melee. The chase defines VELOCITY, you can almost taste how fast the cars are going, and how Friedkin (mostly) puts the actors in the thick of the action, focusing in their faces-their eyes-and even their internal thoughts (suddenly cutting to silent moments of introspection as the madness is unfolding around them, bullets whizzing from every corner) as they screech and swerve through the streets, dodging everything in their way. There is an amazing sense of well-planned geography in the sequence, where the camera hints at the obstacles each set of cars (the cops and the thugs) have to hurdle through that I dont remember before, how a simple turn one car makes later becomes a terse moment for the speeding antagonists as they have to swerve and jump a curb to keep up....the attention to detail is almost surgical. Plus, you have amazing shots where one car is in the lower level of the highway and then the camera glides up to reveal their pursuers on the level above...the kind of shot that probably took weeks to execute, yet Friedkin and co. make it seem effortless, even spontaneous as if they were just "there", capturing the moment. You literally find yourself unable to pull away from the screen, because you feel like you truly are in the car with the cops, and there were 3 times I had to tell my body to breath, I was holding my breath during every heart-pounding moment, which climaxes as Petersen, looking suave and toned pre-CSI days, as he darts onto oncoming traffic to lose his pursuers, who seem to be coming out from EVERYWHERE. By the end, I was exhausted...and smiling. It's filmmaking like this that reminds me of the power a 2-D image and how it can affect it's viewer...even remind them why they are pursuing their own dream to craft cinema as sharp and spellbinding as this. If you get a chance to see the film, it's worth it. Friedkin at his manic best (and with the advent of his BUG adaptation, it seems he's on his 4th wind)...Just watch out for Willem that guy is evil (and so is his fashion).


Staying Scary,