Wednesday, August 10, 2011

31 Days of Horror Time Machine: Trick 'r Treat

Here's what I thought of our next movie, Trick 'r Treat, when I first watched it for 31 Days of Horror, 2009. It was right off the heels of watching Paranormal Activity, hence the reference, and because there were some grammatical errors and syntax issues, I pulled a bit of a George Lucas and touched up to the original text. DON'T JUDGE.

Trick 'r Treat stars Brian Cox, Helo from "Battlestar Gallactica," and a pre-Sookie, post-Rogue Anna Paquin.

And to answer your question ahead of time: No, Anna Paquin does not get naked: 

October 9 - Trick 'r Treat (2008)

On the opposite side of the horror spectrum comes the newly released direct-to-DVD feature Trick 'r Treat. Originally slated for theatrical release in October 2007, director Michael Dougherty's feature length debut had trouble picking up a distributor despite receiving wild praise on the festival circuit.

If Paranormal Activity is like spending the night in a haunted house, Trick 'r Treat is the equivalent of a high budget fun house--or at least a kick ass Halloween kegger.The movie follows five interwoven stories that take place in a kind of Halloween dream-town where no one is without a costume and the trick 'r treaters stay out long past curfew. That is, it would be an ideal Halloween town were it not for all the monsters and the town's apparent gigantic murder rate.

In spite of the gore, nudity, and language, Trick 'r Treat feels almost like a kids' movie. Sure, it's violent and offs more children than most horror movies dare, but its mischievous vibe and EC Comics influence imbues the film with a childlike morbidity that captures the ghoulish spirit of the holiday.

- K

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Irony and The Alamo Basement

The Alamo Basement has become a bit of an irony hole, hasn’t it? A place for all of us to gather around and chortle at shitty movies and cutesy wink-fests made to send up other shitty movies. We’ve got old commercials that are kind of socially backward; we’ve sometimes got cutesy concessions that go along with the movie—Hawaiian spam pizza, cube gleamers, all sorts of stuff.

It’s been a blast, but I think it might be getting to be a little much. So after next week’s double feature, in which we’re going to follow a good movie with a ridiculous remake, The Alamo Basement is going to go on a temporary irony hiatus.

That doesn’t mean the goofy old commercials and food will go anywhere, and it doesn’t mean that we can never, ever watch Death Wish 3 or some 80s horror movie with a washed out synth score and bad monster masks, but let’s just give it a break for a few weeks to fill up our eye rolling tanks again.

The trailer choices are going to start exploring some other corners of moviedom: horror movies, pretentious shit, westerns, whatever. Sky’s the limit here. And hopefully we can avoid becoming tiresome douchebags who can’t actually enjoy anything, at least for a little bit.

That being said, this week’s movie is The Room.

Look, I said the irony hiatus starts after next week.

With that business out of the way, in celebration of our newly clear eyes, pooping troubadour Michael C. Michael Warren will be putting together a documentary night that’s going to make us all feel totally miserable about being alive!

- Kris

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Alamo Basement, Week 4: The Trailers

This week's trailers were a trio of action movies, the winner being the one that promised the most nudity. Typical.

1.) Japanese school-children murdering eachother dystopian action favorite: Battle Royale:

2.) Awesome ax-clanging, match chewing, mega-violent Stallone movie Cobra:

3.) And this week's winner, USA "Up All Night" fodder Hard Ticket to Hawaii. This ain't no hula:

Commercials and Bumpers after the jump...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (1970)

Last week’s trailer challenge was dedicated to dumb, hyper-sexualized X-rated movies. The last was David Cronenberg’s Crash, a trailer I’ve featured before to lukewarm Basement reception, but decided to try again because it’s about people getting their rocks off with car crashes. The second was infamous shitshow Showgirls, which famously sent Joe Eszterhas’s overpaid, over-lauded screenwriting career into a nosedive, and also boasts former Saved by the Bell starlet Elizabeth Berkley screwing a hilariously banged Kyle MacLachlan in the world’s greatest terrible sex scene.

Despite the skeezball promise of both of these movies, I was reasonably confident that the evening’s first trailer, 1970’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, would get picked, and get picked it did:

Friday, June 3, 2011

From the Refreshment Stand:

To truly explore all the facets of Cube Gleaming, we came up with some food and drinks to go along with this week's showing of Gleaming the Cube.

Since most of the movies shown at the Alamo Basement are ones I haven't seen, it can be a challenge to find appropriate food references basing yourself solely on the trailer. I, for one, had not picked up on the fact that the movie was seemingly sponsored by Pizza Hut and Coke.

I decided to focus on the fact that this movie is totally rad and from the 80's. And while my concept of the 80's might be technically incorrect, I think we got the right feel from the food. We made Hot Dog Surprise. And the surprise? It tastes good. You wouldn't think it from the look of it when you're about half way through the recipe but it does not disappoint.

These doggies were "sold out" before the Asian roommate brother was dead.

As for the drink- this was a harder task if only because I can't mix a drink with more than 2 ingredients (Need a rum and coke? I've got you covered!). To explore the rad flavors and bogus colors of the 80's I got hooked on using Watermelon Vodka- surely the most ridiculous of vodka flavors. We tossed around the idea of rimming the glasses in Pop Rocks or Pixy Stix but after finally located them (when did grocery stores stop selling this kind of stuff??) neither of these candies would stick. And cleaning stuck Pop Rocks off a plate is a little dangerous... I also wanted to include Kool aid somehow- hopefully in crazy colors and flavors. And then it hit me: flavor-gleaming-ice-cubes!

We made Hawaiian punch flavored ice cubes and then followed the instructions on the grape and strawberry Kool Aid packet to make "Sour Ice Cubes". As they melted in the drink, the sour cubes did provide that extra punch I was hoping to get from the candy rimming but they were hell-a sticky and just never seemed totally frozen. Probably too much sugar...

Some of our awesome viewers rounded out our selection of refreshments with some tubular treats: Fruit by the Foot, Gushers, Fruit Roll-ups and Capri Sun.

It was a sugar fueled event

Recipes after the jump.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Gleaming the Cube" (1989)

“The title is skateboarding jargon for reaching the ultimate—which this movie never does.”Leonard Maltin wagering a guess and sneaking in a burn in The Leonard Maltin Movie Guide.

This week’s movie is Gleaming the Cube the world’s only crime thriller centered around skateboarding. Christian Slater and his frosted blonde hair star as a rebellious young skater who becomes embroiled in a smuggling ring after the mysterious death of his adopted brother.

The film is directed by Australian Graeme Clifford, who worked with Robert Altman on a few movies and directed an episode of “Twin Peaks,” and written by Michael Tolkin, who wrote The Player (hey!), but also Deep Impact and Nine (aww).
It’s difficult to tell what to expect from Gleaming the Cube, considering that press on the movie is pretty much limited to a single contemporary Washington Post review. It isn't even available on Netflix. The Post review calls it “ridiculous, but good,” adding that it looks more like an after school special than an actual movie.

The trailer makes it seem like one of a rash of movies from the late 80's that tried to capitalize on a hot new trend, but didn't bother getting bogged down with minor details like "research" or "understanding the culture." Kind of like if The Wizard, but with skateboards instead of power gloves. I suspect that the film is darker than that, though, likely taking itself way more seriously than any movie featuring a young Tony Hawk as a supporting player ever should.

The film opens with a scene that features Slater and his crew radding it up on an active airport tarmac, so if one thing is for certain, Gleaming the Cube should prove to be a ridiculous piece of culture-vomit.

“Gleaming the cube,” by the way, is a term coined by pro skater Garry Davis in a Thrasher magazine interview.

It doesn’t mean anything.

- Kris