January is always an exciting time when it comes to film. Sifting through upcoming releases and seeing what piques your interest (sometimes even being surprised by something), and having that moment where, with the previous year behind you, you see how everything you were excited for stacked up and turned out. And hopefully it ends up better than worse. While I’m still taking a few weeks to compile my favourite films of 2016, I thought I’d get to talking about a few of the movies I’m most excited for this year.
Old-school horror films have amongst some of the greatest titles ever christened to pieces of entertainment work. But that’s a list for another day.Horror films have always had some of my favourite pieces of art for cinema, ever. They can be haunting, fun, creepy, weird, or all of the above; but they always had an extra spark of imagination to them. Not to take away from film posters of other kind, but the context of horror movies lends them to being more open to play around with, sometimes. This isn’t a list of my favourites, period. There are some I love more than these, and way more than ten altogether. I just thought it would be neat to dive into a random batch, and did my best to pick a few that some of the folks that may be reading the site in its early days may not have stumbled across previously. Let’s look at some art that could easily look good on anyone’s wall, in my opinion.
In the 1970’s, Disney hit kind of a rough spot, releasing films that, while passable, were seen by others as not reaching up to the standards set by the studio’s golden age. One of those individuals was animator Don Bluth. Bluth had worked for a small time at Disney, most notably on a few scenes of The Fox and the Hound, but left the company early into that movie’s production, as he wished instead to work on films that brought back the animation style of the studio’s heyday. Once leaving, taking group of animators with him as he did, he founded his own studio. During the 1980’s, Bluth directed four films, two of which were with Steven Spielberg producing, that are now regarded as some of the best North American animated films to come from the decade.
After seeing an advertisement for Truckasaurus on TV, Homer suggests that the family have “family time” by going to the show on Saturday for the one-night only show. Lisa’s saxophone recital is on the same night, and so Homer and Bart are forced to sit through the entire recital before quickly rushing to make the show. Once arriving, Homer accidentally drives into the arena and their car is attacked by Truckasaurus itself. The show later on also has a surprise guest: Daredevil Captain Lance Murdock. Bart is enthralled and fond of the stunts that Murdock displays, and feels as though this is what he wants to do with his life. Doing his first stunt for three of his friends, in an attempt to jump the family car, Bart fails and has to go to the hospital for stitches.
If you read my list of the ‘Worst Endings/Twists of Goosebumps,’ you’ll have noticed that I mentioned the ‘Best Endings/Twists’ list in the opening line. If you tried looking for it, you wouldn’t have found it. I had planned on having it up the first day of the launch of the website, but decided to pull back on it. Why? Well, in my mind, I had wanted to cover various obvious aspects of the original Goosebumps in the first week under five different articles. I still plan to do so, but the way those broke down were as such; the best and worst twists/endings, the best and lesser covers, and my own favourites of the original run. I decided that this list would make the most sense as being the cap on the group of lists revolving around the series.
While working on mowing the lawn, Homer is invited to Ned’s home for a beer. There, he takes Ned’s usual niceness as Flanders’ way of telling him that his own family is better than Homer’s. Homer is offended and argues with Ned until Ned asks Homer politely to leave. As the days go on, Homer continues to have a grudge against Flanders, to the point that Ned himself starts getting annoyed. When both Bart and Todd show an interest in mini golf, the two are signed up for a tournament by their fathers, in a way to up the other family. Homer pushes Bart on winning and emphasizes that losing is not okay. Ned and Homer, during an argument, also make a bet that the loser’s father would have to mow the winner’s lawn in their wives’ best dress.
Homer charges the purchase of a one thousand dollar hair growth formula to his Nuclear Power Plant insurance, and the hair product does indeed work, giving him newfound confidence. He is also easily spotted by Burns on the security cameras and gives him a promotion. Here, Homer meets and hires Karl, who helps Homer in impressing Mr. Burns more and more, to the point where Burns gives Homer the job of giving a speech to the workers on increasing profitability.
Bart tries to fake his way through his Treasure Island book report, but when he can’t answer Mrs. Krabappel’s question of the name of the pirate, she makes him stay after school. She informs him of his dropping grades and reminds him of a big exam taking place the next day. Of course, Bart pays no attention to her, goes home, and wastes his time. The next day, he sits in front of Sherri and Terri on the bus in hopes of getting answers from them. They feed him answers, and he thanks them, but Martin Prince informs Bart outside of the school that the answers he was given are completely false. During the exam, Bart fakes an illness and is sent home by the nurse. When he is at home, Bart calls Milhouse to get answers to the test and takes it the next day, of course, failing.
1989 saw the release of a film that;
1) had a still relatively new-ish director at the helm, this being his third film,
2) was meant to reinvent its main character in the eyes of the mainstream populace, and
3) received a massive amount of hate in regards to the casting of its lead.
The studio behind it put together a quick teaser to hopefully combat the negative rumours that were coming off of the production, and put the mass audience at ease. How did this pay off for them when the movie came out that June?
I mentioned at the end of the ‘Ranking the Halloween Series’ article (which you can read here) that sometimes certain things deserve their own pieces, no matter how self-indulgent. Well, the self-indulgence was only half a joke… There’s a reason I decided to write about Halloween separately. Actually, two reasons. The first being the fact that I have surprisingly never had any real in-depth conversations, or pieces, on Halloween yet. The second, and why the first even matters or is worth a damn, is because Halloween just so happens to be my favourite movie of all time.
With the calendar quickly approaching the holidays of family celebration, I thought what better family oriented thing to look at this season than Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Okay, there are probably a few, but we’re here now, and it’s worth looking at.
Now, this isn’t going to be an overarching look at the entirety of the novel, nor will it be a comparison between literary work and film adaptation – at least, not completely. We are simply going to take a peek at the main aspect of the novel, the same way I did in the second half of my Halloween piece. So, what makes Pet Sematary, one of King’s best and my favourite of his, work so well? Let’s dive in.
I wasn’t quite sure about whether or not to write this, mostly because it falls into a very predictable and obvious piece of work. But after some pondering, certain elements pulled me to wanting to write about it, but we’ll get to that down the road. I’m not going to waste any more time on this intro, it’s Halloween! The only thing I will say is that this list will not include the remake, the remake’s sequel, or the Curse of Michael Myers Producer’s Cut. We are simply sticking to the original series here, so let’s get started.
Shout Factory has been, for a long time, one of my favourite distributing companies. From a wide array of films to television series from my childhood (special mentions to Home Movies, ReBoot and Beast Wars), they have always known how to satisfy the itch of their fans with releases that are made with love and care.
A bit over four years ago, they launched their Scream Factory label, aimed more towards horror and cult films that wouldn't otherwise get the treatment in North America that they give it. To say that it's filled me with endless joy with the titles they've chosen so far would be an understatement. Then, this past summer, they began a series titled Shout! Select, releasing classics, cult, and other wide variety of films that, again, wouldn't necessarily be a go-to for other companies to do a proper treatment for (great releases they've had so far include Buckaroo Banzai, To Live and Die in LA, Midnight Run, and more).
If you read the ‘Best Endings’ list first, you’ll know I wrote that Goosebumps had a reputation for the twists that came up in their books. Some worked, even surprisingly well, and some… didn’t, to say the least. Now, unlike the best endings, not a lot of these are based on the works as a whole, mostly because Goosebumps gave us quite an amount of endings that were, well, yeah. *Long sigh* Here are ten of the more ridiculous endings that the original series gave us, some are personal and some are more deservedly on this list.
I mentioned in my “Best Goosebumps Cover” list that Tim Jacobus was great at making simple covers effective. As a matter of fact, most of the work that Jacobus did for the series was great, and a lot of the ones that weren’t up to the levels of some of the better work had less to do with him and more-so the fact that the premises of the book only gave him so much to work on.
That’s why I didn’t want to name this a “Worst” list. Jacobus’ art wasn’t bad, it was a case of some being lesser simply for the above mentioned reasons, and because of those reasons some of the covers come off more uninspired or simple, but not in a good way.
Goosebumps was a massive part of my, and a lot of others, childhood, and I’m still a fan of the original series. Besides the nostalgic memories they created while growing up, the one thing that most always gets a reaction or conversation going whenever they’re brought, besides the twists, is the covers.
The covers for the books were almost always great and intriguing, even the ones that don’t quite come up to the better ones in the series still doing the best they can with the subject matter at hand. The covers were the work of artist Tim Jacobus, who did the majority of the original run as well as the entirety of Goosebumps 2000. The only covers from the first Goosebumps run Jacobus didn’t do were Stay Out of the Basement and Be Careful What You Wish For… Even then, the only reason that he didn’t do SOotB was because Scholastic had two artists in mind and wanted to have each do a cover to see which artist they would eventually go with.
But with the nostalgia of great work by Tim Jacobus, which ones hold up and rank amongst the best the original series had to offer? Well, now that I've given slight backstory, we can take a look for ourselves.