It’s Star Wars day! May the 4th and all that. In celebration, Andre Dumas of The Horror Digest put up an article about her favorite ancillary Star Wars character, Wedge Antilles. In it, she wonders if anyone is down with Wedge like she is. Answer: Yes. Me. All my friends understandably went apeshit for Boba Fett in that department, what with the jetpack and armor, but I was a Wedge fan. He may not have had secret flamethrowers or a gravelly voice but he was one hell of a fighter pilot.
Rogue Squadron pilots came and went, mostly crashing and burning into the various surfaces of Death Stars, but Wedge came in and pulled off some of the most important moves in every battle and lived to tell the tale. At the Battle of Yavin 4, who swoops in and saves Luke Skywalker’s life when he can’t shake a TIE Fighter? Fuckin’ Wedge! Had he not managed this, Luke, who had only ever piloted a T-16 prior to this massively important mission, would have been reduced to pieces over the Death Star and he never would have used The Force to blow the whole thing to smithereens. After all it was only Wedge in a damaged X-Wing, Luke, a single Y-Wing crew and Han Solo/Chewbacca left by this point. When The Empire surprised the rebels on Hoth with AT-ATs, the rebels were getting smoked left and right because that armor’s too strong for blasters. Who found a way to take the AT-ATs down? Fuckin’ Wedge! He flew in low, watching that crossfire, and circled the walker with a tow cable until its own forward momentum and the inability to move its legs brought it down and exposed its armor’s weak spot. Wedge’s finest hour, however, came at the battle of the second Death Star. By this time, he’d understandably been promoted to Rogue Leader and was untouchable in the space around the Death Star. Even in the face of overwhelming odds and the sickening fact that it was a trap, Wedge was shooting fools down and in the final leg of the mission, who shot out the shield generator of the Death Star’s core so that Lando and Nien Nunb could finish the job and wreck the whole place? Fuckin’ Wedge! The man was indispensable in the rebel mission.
Through it all, Wedge was steely-eyed and unflappable. Seriously. Wedge Antilles was cool as a cucumber through it all. Not a hint of peril. This man was in control the entire time. You don’t survive three key battles like Yavin 4, Hoth and Death Star 2 unless you’re the best of the best and Wedge Antilles was the best. I’m not even sure what it is that Lucas saw in this character. In the first movie he’s played by two different actors and voiced by a separate unseen dialog actor. His last name is actually used in New Hope in relation to an unrelated and unseen character. C3PO tells Luke that they once belonged to Captain Antilles. It’s side characters like Wedge that make Star Wars such a fan favorite. Idiosyncrasies like these flesh out the back story and give this world the detail that drives fans to write their own fiction.
For the unitiated, B-Sol, aka Brian Solomon of The Vault of Horror, is one of the web’s top horror bloggers. He is so prolific, in fact, that I sometimes wonder when he gets any sleep. Last Sunday I learned that B-Sol probably doesn’t get much since he and I were up at midnight talking about comic books.
See, a while back, Brian, myself and Nate Yapp of Classic Horror got into this epic Facebook thread about Man-Thing, the 70′s Marvel horror comic about the swamp monster that doesn’t speak and burns at the touch. This discussion grew to become a much larger conversation about the connection between Marvel comics in the 70′s and exploitation movies of the time. I planned an epic roundtable discussion podcast that involved myself, Casey Criswell of Cinema Fromage and Bloody Good Horror, B-Sol, John Cozzoli of Zombo’s Closet of Horror and curator of the League of Tana Tea Drinkers and Steve “Uncle Creepy” Barton of Dread Central. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it stick. That many people spread out across several time zones meant schedule conflicts and the whole thing fell apart. In its wake I began working on an epic length examination of the topic that I am still writing while I interview people at the heart of Marvel Comics at the time (Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway).
B-Sol couldn’t let it rest, though. It’s a good thing because it’s a topic that he and I are both passionate about and spent a good deal of time exploring in our salad days when we actually had money to regularly follow comics. So here we are in the age of the podcast and I’m glad I got to be the guest on the latest episode of the Vault of Horror podcast, Conversations in the Dark. We spend nearly an hour chatting about the high points of Marvel Comics and how some of their most misunderstood titles are actually some of their best!
Mike and John are a couple of righteous dudes from around the block. John could probably launch a DDoS attack on any website on the web from his freakin’ iPhone if he wanted and Mike is probably the biggest fan of the The Big Lebowski that I’ve ever met. Seriously. Together, they really like movies and I don’t mean like how I like movies. They’re a pair of guys who know the finest details of every production on Earth. They can tell you who was responsible for craft services on Dog Day Afternoon, I’m sure of it. Me, I just like to talk at length about crappy flicks and how they’re really not as bad as everyone thinks. Also, for over a year I’ve been talking about recording a regular podcast, they one-upped me and actually did it. The fruits of their labor is Filmjitsu and I’m going to tell you something about it: It’s the most original theme for a podcast I’ve encountered.
See, here at Cinema Suicide, I love bad movies but I write about bad movies that people like for some twisted reason. Over at Filmjitsu, they put on flame retardant clothing and challenge one another to watch and then review a movie of each other’s choosing. Each episode of the podcast, they take turns. This last one was an exception where they handed their tools over to their listeners and let them decide what they had to watch. There’s a little more to it than that, but the main draw here is listening in on Mike’s agony while he recounts, in the first podcast, the ugliness of that retarded Tim Allen Disney vehicle, Jungle 2 Jungle. The latest episode of the podcast is a window into a world of unending suffering: The pair had to both endure Sex and the City 2, which is shaping up to be the most offensive movie ever made; faux feminist consumer-porn that’s chock full o’ racial and cultural insensitivity and more gay stereotypes than you can shake a stick at.
Like my favorite podcast, Tank Riot, Filmjitsu’s hosts have chemistry based on a long-running friendship and a shared love of movies. A really good podcast idea seals the deal. If you want a laugh and like movie podcasts, you really can’t go wrong with these fellas. It’s great stuff!
Start with the Sex and the City 2 podcast, Mike’s voicemail to John at the 2 hour mark of the movie is fucking priceless! Also this is the last time I will ever use the words Sex and the City on this site.
My second column for Sound On Sight is up now! This week, a rant about zombies, their popularity and why I’m not necessarily down with it any more. If you’ve been reading Cinema S for a little while, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with a few themes explored theirin since some of the article is culled from recent articles written here.
I’m trying my hand, again, at writing for a site other than my own. I briefly had a stint as one of the celebrated Bloody Good Bloggers but a sudden wave of real life responsibility, coupled with my desperate search for time to work on my own website caused me to resign from my post over there and continue trudging forward on a strictly solo basis. Finding myself with a little more free time and the means to get my name out there a little further, I hooked up with the fine folks at Sound On Sight, the twice weekly podcast devoted to all things movie. I’m hardly podcasting (though it is something I’ve been considering for a couple of weeks. My own, that is. Not theirs.) yet I’m contributing a weekly horror-themed column that allows me to wax editorial about practically whatever I want to talk about.
The first article is always the hardest one to come up with because you want to make a good impression but since I couldn’t come up with anything that I think would knock anyone’s socks off, I submitted the overly chatty, self-congratulatory exploration of movies that won’t make you feel stupid having watched. I bring you: The Weekly Body Count.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to kick it live over here and somewhere else, but Chris Clark, the obsessives obsessive, tapped me to chatter on the topic of the modern vampire in the wake of True Blood and Twilight since vampires are among this week’s Five at his blog, Geek Force Five. Here’s a taste:
Being the analytical horror buff that I happen to be, a guy who believes that the cultural value of the genre is much higher than most are willing to appraise it at, I have a tendency to see the trends and think about them on a deeper level. For a while, I was pondering the popularity of zombies until all of a sudden I couldn’t help but notice that I was surrounded by the high drama of waifish vampires once again. My wife, Denise, obsessively burned through the now-iconic Stephenie Meyer Twilight series and then picked up on the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse novels now on television under the title True Blood. Since she was neck-deep in the undead, vampires became a regular topic of conversation as I sought to find my way to the bottom of this fashionable new wave of vampire fiction. The staggering success of the Twilight feature and a trip through the young adult section at Barnes & Noble only cemented my suspicion that vampires were here to stay, at least for a while. But upon examination, I’m unable to deny that this is a new breed of vampire. One that I’m unfamiliar with, entirely.
Against all odds, my panel submission for the upcoming South By Southwest show in the interactive portion has passed the first test in spite of being submitted over a month late. And if you can believe that, it has nothing to do with movies. I’d love nothing more than to roll out there and pretend that I’m some kind of horror movie expert for the movie portion of the show, but the fact is that it’s in Austin and that place is overflowing with wannabe Tarantinos, Roths and Harry Knowles… so, you know.
My idea for a panel is actuallly about comics. Open source comics, to be exact. Myself and Nick Plante of Zerosum have been talking this out over the last week or so. A social network aimed at artists and writers to create a line of their own comics in a single mythology, similar to the Marvel Universe or the DC Universe. It is to be completely non-commercial with a very rigid and limited set of editorial constraints. Everyone is free to be a part of it. The foundation of the panel is to suggest one alternative direction for social networks so that the web doesn’t become a series of tribes of Myspace of Facebook folks but to actually give social networks some purpose.
I don’t know if it’s a testament to the success of this site but I’ve been receiving a lot of submissions or emails from people asking to write for us and I have to take on the editorial role of telling them no, which I hate. This site was born out of the frustration of editors telling me that they wouldn’t take my stuff. So one of the things I try and do for everyone is make it clear that they don’t even need me.
Head over to Bloody Good Horror and see for yourself. I make a few suggestions and point out where you can get what you need to have your own site up and running.
I’m not really feeling Fear Itself. Though, I didn’t really have high hopes for it in the first place, it was nice to see that horror was getting a shot at glory on network tv. Unfortunately, they’re squandering this opportunity. I posted a new blog over at Bloody Good Horror about it, making some recommendations to the producers about how they might improve it based on the success of the candidate for the best TV show of all time, The Twilight Zone.
You’re probably going to notice the look of the blog changing throughout the day. Bear with me. I was tired of struggling with the Mandigo theme and Andrew of Gronkyco sold me on the MistyLook WordPress theme. It’s much easier to edit and doesn’t have the display restraints that the Mandigo theme I was using had.
The biggest problem was displaying Adsense. I could only put a couple of ads on the site and that doesn’t do too well since not all of you are coming into the site from the Index page which was the only place I could put the ads. There is also the matter that it isn’t XHTML valid out of the box. Steve of Lost Highway managed to hack the Mandigo theme to make the sidebar dynamic, but he assured me that it was not easy to do. So I’ll periodically be updating the new theme throughout the day to make it look as close to the old Mandigo Cinema Suicide theme since I really liked the look of it.
Cinema Suicide began as most movie blogs do. One man, his many opinions and an ability to write that is questionable at best. Since then, movie reviews made room for the latest news in horror, exploitation and cult movies. What you can expect to find is everything you could possibly want to know from DVD releases and reviews to trivia about movies you may or may not be familiar with. At the bottom line, Cinema Suicide aims to reach beyond the shallow interactions of your typical blog and create a community that can come together around a concept that we all have in common: A love of really crappy movies.
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