Archive for September 19th, 2021

Screencap from Jamie Uhler’s poll position John Carpenter film

by Sam Juliano

Prayers continue for 29 year-old Michael Russo, who is fighting for his life at University Hospital in Newark with liver and kidney issues, as well as inflammation and infections.  We are calling on God to spare this wonderful young man.

I continue to receive inquiries by e mail and at FB on the situation with my two novels, Paradise Atop the Hudson and Irish Jesus in Fairview.  A long delay by the first book’s artist (far longer than planned) is presently holding up publication on Amazon.  When the art is submitted the book will be listed.  The editing was completed back in July.  The second novel is well on its way to completion, though I have slowed down due to other commitments.  No problem at all though as I know exactly what I need to do, and since I cannot publish it right on the heels of book #1, I have plenty of time to wind it up.  I envision that book publishing in early January.

The Australian balloting continues on FB and here at Wonders in the Dark.  I do believe we have received over forty ballots now, a few were sent physically and a few other relayed to me by phone or fax.  Thanks to all for your passion, knowledge and exceptional taste.

Jamie Uhler’s much-anticipated annual HORROR FEST has officially launched and beginning today his reviews will be an integral part of the MMD well into November.  The first submission, including his list of top John carpenter films is as follows:

Final Destination (J. Wong… 2000) slasher/supernatural
Final Destination 2 (D. R. Ellis… 2003) slasher/supernatural
Final Destination 3 (J. Wong… 2006) slasher/supernatural
The Final Destination (Final Destination 4) (E. Press… 2009) slasher/supernatural
Final Destination 5 (S. Quale… 2011) slasher/supernatural

A franchise I’d started with two friends last November led to more or less instant full on fandom (by the three of us no less!). Running a pretty decent level of quality, at least as entertainment, I was astounded by such a remarkably rare feat in franchise films, especially in the Horror genre. Starting on a high concept idea where a single person foresees a coming cataclysmic event that horrifically murders many people at once and then panics and pulls themself, and then others, out of the chain of events immediately altering what should have happened, and who should have died. The rewriting of fate then ensnares them all in single, outrageous deaths since they were suppose to be part of the earlier, larger one, the films then counteract the metaphysics by adhering to the expectations of the genre and its fans they belong to. Meaning, you get a bunch of grindhouse-like kills, the films judged by how creative, intricate and grisly they are, and how outrageous and chuckle inducing the original mass death sequence was. The first sports a plane crash, the second a mass highway car pileup (truly bonkers), the third a roller coaster mishap, the forth an audience bloodbath at a stock car race, and the fifth a girder bridge catastrophe. In an era where conceptual ideas or locations became the centerpiece to Horror franchises over singular beings like in the 1980s and 1990’s (Jason, Michael Myers, Freddy, Chucky, Pinhead, et al) most immediately became stale and boorish (SawHuman Centipede[REC]Paranormal ActivityHostel, etc) this one somehow remained always at least entertaining, if not outright hilarious. I’d rank the films: 3, 5, 1 (5 and 1 tied more or less for second place), 2 and then 4, but think all are pretty exquisite beer and pizza entertainment for Horror hounds.

The First Power (R. Resnikoff… 1990) Neo-noir/horror thriller
The First Power is, for the most part, a pretty stock collection of early 1990’s B-movie cliches. First there is a serial killer angle, a murderer known as the Pentagram Killer is butchering the cities residents as a sacrifice to Satan, a plot angle that anyone who rented bad VHS flicks during the decade can guess will then feature the next addition, a buddy cop pairing where one cop is the cool, no nonsense desperado who lives solely for the justice and completion of solving grisly crimes (while, of course, confusingly wearing a dark desperado overcoat in the squelching LA heat and shiny steel tipped cowboy boots), the other a relatively regular ol’ lifer who, upon first sight is unwittingly beginning a ticking clock on when his life will end during the films run time (here it’s in reel two when an out of control horse knocks him down and then proceeds to stomp his chest to a bloody pulp). Given the (perhaps purely psychological) religious underpinnings, we also get a female psychic, a necessary cliche to help puzzle the pieces together and develop a relationship with the tough cop who’d previously sworn off the stuff. Oh, a Nun is also necessary, the symbol of the sole person of the parish willing to help end such a devastating and deadly epidemic (and be the defecto religious symbolism in an age of doubt). You see, the killer was caught before the first reel ended, but his Satantic hokum is potentially real, and when given the death penalty, he can now move as a spirit from one body to the next and continue his reign of terror.


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