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Archive for October 19th, 2020

 

by Sam Juliano

Everyone is well on the domestic front, but the virus numbers all over are again surging.  Our illustrious leader is none too concerned as he criss-crosses the country staging rallies where social distancing and mask-wearing is practically non existent.  November 3rd is just two weeks away and so many of us are following every poll, every new report, every new development and all matters even marginally connected to this election of a lifetime.  Another four years of Donald Trump is unconscionable and I’ve been doing my part daily online, physically putting up lawn signs in my area and making sure voters get their ballots in the mail or in drop off boxes.  Wonders in the Dark is urging everyone to do what they can to insure a blue wave and to elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and all Democratic Senators and House candidates.  The importance and urgency of this election can’t be overstated and nothing should be taken for granted.  Favorable polls are real nice but we know from the past about being lulled into complacency.

Jamie Uhler’s fantastic HorrorFest 2020 movies forward with a fabulous capsule review on 1988’s The Nest and also a unique schedule of a Horror Theme night he shared with friends this past week:

The Nest (T. H. Winkless… 1988) 

Getting evil corporate dollars pumped into the rural outer stretches of the fictitious northeastern small island town of North Port local businessman and town mayor Elias thinks it’s the necessary bedfellow he must accept to eventually renovate the land for high priced condos. His small island has hit hard times, but it’s picturesque, so once INTEC is finished with their experiments on the areas insects, he figures their cash infusion will save the population flight and attract vibrant East Coast people looking for a cheap alternative to the Martha’s Village and the Hamptons of the world. But INTEC has let things get out of control, these bugs are now multiplying and changing rapidly with each generation, now sporting a dangerous ability to strike with murderous wrath when their Queen summons. The only solution to control a larger outbreak to mainland is fumigating the entire island and killing everything on it—including the humans who were never evacuated—so it’s a race against time by the town’s lanky Sheriff, his old love (the mayor’s daughter who’s returned to patch long past heartbreaks), and the hilariously eccentric exterminator (who is the link between Bill Murray in Caddyshack and John Goodman in Arachnophobia) to kill the Queen and signal the planes via the lighthouse to not drop their poisonous cloud all over the island.  
The initial reel or two in this one is a tad strained, sure, building character elements would traditionally benefit most flicks, but effects laden romps like this don’t really need arcs and emotional heft, but you don’t mind that much. It breezes by quickly enough, and there is an undercurrent of what’s building out in the woods and the fields, that thankfully fully unleashes in the last 35 minutes and change. That’s where this film lives wholly, both as a funny, cheese spectacle and in the minds of its cult of fans decades on. I totally get it, cockroaches that can take over an organism, using it as a cocoon like sack and quickly morphing into a beastly hybrid of the host is pretty entertaining. One scene we get a feline insect beast, another the geriatric old Mayor who eventually gets rocked with a few shotgun pumps, amounting to some pretty delirious laughs. With enough beer and pizza and the right friends on hand, this would play tremendously alongside something like the gonzo brilliant Slugs, both dollar bin approximations of 1950’s sci-fi shockers. Like the ’80’s The Blob remake, they’re fun, but you could make about 5 of each of those for the cost of one Blob. It was worth it. 
Also I would like to share something out that I’ve been working on. I’m having some friends over for a Horror night on Friday, so I thought it’d be really fun to program a night of festivities in the style of the old movie palaces, i.e. a cartoon, a short, and then a feature. My idea though, was to get them to all work around a theme in relation to each other. I’m doing the one on the top, but I came up with many, many ideas that would work and depending on what you see here you might want to try one or several this season (especially since all the cartoons can be seen on dailymotion, vimeo or YouTube and all the Tales From the Crypts are also on YouTube for free). I’ve also paired several with music, but that’s getting aggressively insular. Have fun!

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