Sunday, April 28, 2013

Watching The Monster That Challenged The World!


By - Steve Mezo

Today I was in the mood for some Atomic Age Monster Action, and "The Monster That Challenged The World" fit the bill.

 Well the good news is humans had nothing to do with this monster for once. Nope, a big old underwater earthquake cracked open the floor of the Salton Sea (Which is in the middle of the lower part of California). And the monster "Gornaxis" swims out of the fissure hungry and ready to lay eggs. 

And wouldn't you know it a Navy Skydiver testing a new parachute design that landed in the Salton Sea gets to be Gornaxis dinner. It's funny how the people sending Lt. Hollister up there gave him a false sense of security by saying "It's okay, if the chute doesn't work you'll land in the water." Only problem is if you hit the water at a couple hundred miles an hour from any height, it's like hitting cement. 

After the splash down Navy Boaters are sent out to retrieve him. And as they are searching Johnson gets eaten too after jumping in the water and Sanders brain just runs away after seeing Gornaxis.
Lt. Commander John Twillinger is sent to investigate and he has a talk with Dr. Jess Rogers about the events. This is one of my favorite parts because they sneak in some Atomic Age Talk without blaming the military testing, because Gornaxis has enough Atomic Energy of his own.

Then another Seaman Morty Beatty and his girlfriend "Jody Simms" go missing after swimming and what's left of their clothes are found. Now the real investigation starts.

A couple of Navy Divers are sent below by Dr. Rogers and one of them "George Blake" who is also Dr. Rogers lab assistant. They find Gornaxis newly formed cave and one of it's eggs. After the egg is taken out of the water and put on the boat, the divers find what's left of Jody Simms and George winds up getting caught up in the same seaweed that Jody is. That part always freaked me out because you actually see what's left of Jody Simms and then George's face sucking in from being drained of his blood and water by Gornaxis.  
And if that weren't enough Gornaxis tries to get it's egg back and get some more free eats while it's at it.

But one of the crew destroys one of Gornaxis eyes and drives it under the water. Then Dr. Rogers has the area bombed sealing that Gornaxis back into it's underwater cave. 

But a few escaped into a canal and made lunch out of some kids and a worker at one of the flood gates. Shortly after that they were all tracked down to a well and taken out with explosives.

Now Dr. Rogers has the recovered egg in a temperature controlled water filled metal container (With no lid and a control knob for the temperature out in the open) in the lab. So yeah something goes wrong and that Gornaxis is out and about looking to give someone a beatdown and drain them dry.    
And just when it seems like this Gornaxis might make it, the Navy M.P.'s get there in tme and save the day!

I've always loved these movies because the monsters were so amazingly cool and built with practical F/X.  

Now I'm not bashing on CGI, if it's done right and used in conjunction with practical F/X it looks amazing. I just hate when they put so much work into sets and costumes and the monster looks like it's something out of an okay video game. 

I'd have to say Jurassic is one of my favorite movies that blends Animatronic and CGI just about seamlessly.  
You were so drawn in and the artistry was done so well that you didn't have time to think "Oh here's the CGI stuff". I mean there's the obvious, but it was so cool that you didn't let yourself think about it!

But then there was Sector 7... 

It had a good start and I really liked everything about it, but then the monster reveal looked like something out of Resident Evil.
Seriously the whole movie just came to a screeching halt after that. I couldn't even watch the rest of the movie after seeing this. It was such a huge let down and I've read that the American version "The Rig" wasn't any better. In fact they keep the monster just about completely hidden the whole time.

So I put "Deep Rising" on to cheer me back up. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Talking about Creep Van!


By - Steve Mezo

Tonight's pick is 
 (2012) Written by Scott W. McKinlay and Jim Bartoo with additional material by Adam Jahnke and Ian Michaels.
Directed by Scott McKinlay. 
This movie became a favorite of mine because it takes me back to a time when owning a crappy car and having a crappier job in my later teens was my normal day to day. And it makes no apologies in being what it is, and that is just a little less than an hour and a half brain break. 

There's not much of a hard plot to follow "The Creep" (Mike Butler) drives around in his rolling chamber of horrors killing whoever comes along. And while that is going on a man by the name of "Campbell Jackson" (Brian Kolodziej) takes a job at a car wash falls in love with a girl named "Amy" that works there, and has to deal with coworkers he can't fit in with

And soon his path crosses with The Creep when he sees a FOR SALE sign in the window The Creep's van as he takes the bus to work. He calls The Creeps number and after just getting his answering machine one time to many changes his mind about buying it. This sets off The Creep and has him setting his sites on Campbell and his love interest Amy. But all's not lost because Campbell has "Swami Ted" (Collin Bernsen) on his side. I'll let you find out who he is when you watch it, and all I'll say is Collin Bernsen is beyond funny in the role. 

Lloyd Kaufman makes a cameo as a disgruntled customer at the Car Wash (Since he is the man that influenced a whole generation of these movies). And there is enough off the wall humor along with top notch gore to keep you happy.

I have to warn you that the movie is not for every horror fan out there, but it definitely delivers to those that get it.           


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beware of The Garden Gnomes!

By - Steve Mezo

It's funny how the internet is claiming "Garden Gnomes" are the latest craze, when they've popular for decades since they were first created by German Sculptor Phillip Griebel in the late 1800's. And yes they do have a place in The Storage Unit of Terror.
And maybe it's my subconscious contribution to Earth Week since they're very much tied into it. 

I've personally had a love for them since the first time I ever saw one way back whenever. And I think it's funny that others find them creepy or just plain scary (There's your monster tie in). 

I can see the Zombie Gnomes giving people the willies

or GNOMBIES having people checking their backyard gardens and flower beds for possible threats
I still have to get one of these for my collection.

Which allot of people got from reading R.L. Stine's Goosebumps
book "Revenge of The Lawn Gnomes" 

as well as one of my favorite episodes from the show

So in case you're worried about Killer Gnomes, you can always buy this

What's even funnier about my liking of them is I am not into gardening at all. To tell you the truth I can't even get near the stuff. 
So my Gnomes like to hang around, watch TV and do whatever they like when they come alive at night.

"Dude did you just say watch TV?" Well yes I did, and the reason I said it was my wife and I have quite a Gnome collection of all sizes.
 This is "Larry" I'll tell you about him a little later...

So pull up a chair and I'll tell you the tale of how that came about.

Back in the 90's I worked in a Comic Book Shop with a great group of people. We all had the same sense of humor and would laugh till our sides hurt coming up with all kinds of parodies about stuff we liked. 
Then every once in a while if times lined up everybody would get together for a movie night. But one times was when one of the gang had bought the newly released Nintendo 64.

Two of the guys were playing Super Mario 64

And on one of the levels poor Mario was stuck in a loop running over the tops of a bunch of mushrooms. We started laughing about it because it was a whole new system with the same old problems.
And then our friend Rob X. Román yelled in a character voice "Look at me I'm The Garden Gnome hoo ha!!!" That just turned the funny all the way up to eleven!

Another thing going on back then was everybody blaming the storm system El Niño for just about everything. Lost your car keys? It was El Niño's fault, so on and so forth.
Well at the Comic Book Shop it became The Garden Gnomes fault. If the toilet overflowed we would say "It was me The Garden Gnome!" And of course it would have to be said in that voice.

After that first day of saying it I never really gave Garden Gnomes much thought, I mean I liked them but they were just in the background.
Then after Rob's joke they were everywhere, I saw them in stores, yards and on just about every TV show that week. Faulty Towers had one (That caused Manuel to get punched in the face), Third Rock had one, Chet from the Weird Science TV show had an arm full of them and yelled "Garden Gnome!" (Because he was stealing them), The Garden Lady that used to be on Regis and Kathie kicked one in a garden on an episode (And she was gone a few days later), And The Goosebumps "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes" episode aired. 

Rob and the gang thought it was really funny that I was over noticing them, until we got that weeks shipment and the issue on top was "Garden Gnomes Attack!!!" I wish I could find the cover for it all I can remember about it was it came out in 1996. 

That's when The Curse of The Garden Gnome got real...

I had told my friend Dawn about it and she thought it was really funny. Then two weeks later she had brought me "Larry" pictured above as a gift from Florida.
Turns out her brother has a thriving lawn ornament making business and "Larry" was one of his creations.

This started my wife and I on our Garden Gnome adoptions. 
I'm not going to list every one we have, but I'll give you a couple highlights.   

There's "The Gaurding Gnome"

Had to have "The Roaming Gnome"

 "Sneaky Pete" does his duty... 
(My wife and I bought his twin for Rob Román)

And "Al" is married to

"Winnie" The Kitchen Witch
The only problem with those two is they only speak German
 and I'm not as fluent as I used to be...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Making Indie Horror Movie Making a little easier.



By - Steve Mezo

So you decided to make your own Indie Horror movie. You wrote a script, saved any extra money that you could get your hands on, bought a HD Camera, a decent microphone, and an editing program.

Now you're going to need to get a video crew together and of course your talent (sometimes they'll be both). Of course that's going to be more money, because if you can't pay them the polite thing you can do is feed them. Pizza places usually run specials and it's a low cost way to be accommodating to everybody.

You were lucky enough to secure your shooting locations and found a local Party Supply Store that carries fake blood (Unless you make your own) and F/X makeup supplies year round. But you still need costumes and props and you've just about used up all of your budget. What do you do?!

Well you go to the nearest Thrift Store and turn it into the best Costume and Prop House ever!!! Believe me I have allot of experience in this. I've supplied The Costume Shop, decorated haunts and made movie props with allot of the stuff
Thrift Stores are the best because you can get great stuff at a low price, because the owners have a overhead and don't want anything staying for too long. And since these items are the owners livelihood they check everything over before it goes on the racks.
On top of that if you give the owners loyal business they'll give you deals allot of the time. I have a great friendship with everybody at "Bo's Attic" in Middletown and find allot of what I need there

Where else are you going to find a full size prop turkey for twenty dollars?

Another Thrift Store I go to allot is "St. Ann's - Project Paul" in Keansburg. There's lots of cool stuff there too, but allot of people in town need what they have so I only go if it's a hard to find prop or clothing item.

Then there's St. Agnes Thrift Shop in Atlantic Highlands where the three story Victorian house it occupies is worth seeing alone. And there's even more in Matawan, Keyport, Red Bank that I go to.  

 When I'm in Cliffwood "The Good Will" is where if I don't get props I wind up finding really cool collectables.
 Check out this really cool briefcase

I actually found and bought a matted and framed picture of Oderous there!

And check out my "Visible Woman" model kit! She's complete, but I have to still assemble her.

And if you keep a good relationship with the owners and employees they'll let you know about specials and keep an eye out for items you're looking for.

Outdoor Markets have allot of cool finds too, but you really have to know what you plan on spending and make connections. Because thanks to all of these Pickers and Pawn shows allot of the sellers at them become Antique dealers.

The best thing about getting wardrobe from a Thrift Store is they are perfect for horror movies.The clothes can get trashed and bloodied without worry, and make excellent zombie wear.
One trick I've learned is zombie suits and dresses can have that out of the grave look by spraying them with spray mount a section at a time. And when the spray mount is tacky dust it with baby powder  then rub it with your hand. When you do that the spray mount gets all stringy and pilly so it looks like dried cob webs.

There's a ton more tips and tricks to age and distress wardrobe readily available on the internet, but that one was always a favorite.

And there is a ton of old toy water guns and sports equipment that can be modified to become all kinds of Sci-Fi weapons and outfits.  And you can find more than enough computer and electrical components for set and spaceship interiors.

There is just about anything needed for just about any movie, all you have to do is look through the racks.