On April 4, 2013, film critic Roger Ebert passed away after a long battle with cancer. His career as a critic spanned over forty years and three mediums – in print in the Chicago Sun-Times, on television with Siskel and Ebert at the Movies and on the internet with both his blog and his endlessly entertaining Twitter account. He edified a massive audience in his time and inspired countless writers to try their hand at criticism. In fact, there is no critic in the world today who had as far a reach and as much esteem as Roger Ebert. His loss is a terrible one. (more…)
Editor’s note: due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the greater New Jersey area is celebrating Halloween this year on November 5, hence the post-Oct. 31 publication of this holiday-themed piece.
When I think of Fall and Halloween, I think of horror films. I can’t help it. There’s nothing better than a good scare, and why not devote an entire month to celebrate that? And when horror films come up in conversation between genre fanatics, one thing that’s always hotly contested is whether or not we should see the monster that’s on the protagonist’s tail. There are plenty of slasher examples – Leatherface, Jason, and Michael Myers, to name a few – but are we afraid of the boogeyman, or we afraid of what they might look like under the mask?
America is a country of annual traditions. While most people highly regard holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, there is a very special biannual tradition that holds a coveted place in my memory. Every year on July 4th and New Year’s Eve, while adults drank strange beverages from red cups or spoke of resolutions, The Twilight Zone occupied my TV and my mind. I know that there was a time before the Syfy channel was part of our cable lineup, but it certainly must have been a darker one as I am unable to recall it. I can’t imagine what I would have done through most of those terribly boring parties without being glued to the TV trying to figure which “person” in the diner was an alien, or waiting for the reveal of the pig-faced doctors in “Eye of the Beholder.” The Twilight Zone acted as a sort of gateway drug into the horror genre, and I remember having horror movie sleepovers later on in my childhood based solely on an attraction initially developed from Rod Serling’s black-and-white classics. (more…)
Some villains get a bad rap. When we meet them on screen or print we often don’t have the opportunity to hear their side of the story or see things from their perspective. Enveloped in the plot, rooting for the hero is purposely distracting. It doesn’t seem fair. So I’ve spent some time thinking about some of my favorite discredited fictional villains and, by using only what I know about them contextually, have built their side of the story in hopes of clearing their names. (more…)
Having a brother almost a decade older than me comes with some pretty awesome perks. I was always in the know about bands that none of my friends knew of, I got awesome hand-me-down shirts and, in my case, got to watch all of the horror movies that none of my friends’ parents let them watch. From as early as 10 I was watching all kinds of things that someone my age shouldn’t have been watching. There’s one movie in particular that stands out in my memory. I can clearly remember the totally creepy Evil Dead 2 VHS box art on my brother’s shelf. I had never seen a film like it and immediately latched on to the zombie genre, as my brother did before me. But it was very different 14 years ago, as zombies weren’t plastered all over prime-time television, videogames, the Hollywood box office or popular comic books. In fact, I would go as far as to say the subject was still taboo for most; somehow though, the living world fell in love with the living dead. (more…)
Sarah Winchester was crazy. That being said, she built one of the coolest mansions ever. Nestled in a parking lot across from San Jose’s Santana Row, this infamous piece of weird history has “tourist trap” written all over it. The good news is that it’s not one. (more…)
Nerds get old. It’s a part of life, and often as we grow up a funny little thing called “Getting Married” happens to a lot of us. Fresh off of my honeymoon and still milking my newlywed status, I was able to take some time and reflect on the big day with a clear mind and a post-wedding mindset. As you may know someone, or know someone who knows someone that just got hitched, you know that a lot of planning goes into making the day unique and special. Normally, we think of brides turning into monsters and future in-laws taking the proverbial piss in one’s Cheerios, all while the groom sits by idly watching the whole thing burn. Well, I have to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way. Let me show you how…