Today’s Mystery: The Case of the One-Winged Chicken

Right Winger Right Winger (2)

One more reason to cut certain foods out of the diet, I suppose. But also a big little mystery that needs solving, so I’m (kind of) on the case. I defrosted a whole Purdue chicken and put it in a simple salt water brine overnight. As I tend to handle raw proteins as little as possible, I didn’t realize until this morning that the chicken ended up in the store sans one wing. Eek. From what I recall, chickens don’t fly very well at all, so this couldn’t be the result of the one I was about to cook being gimped because it wanted to go all Freebird from wherever it was raised.

“It’s a factory second!” was a guess tossed into the hat I wasn’t wearing. But that wasn’t the case, as it was a full price chicken with a clipped wing and someone out there walking around with it in a pocket as a good luck charm. Or something a lot less disgusting. Speaking of disgusting, as soon as I saw that missing wing, I had a serious Eraserhead flashback. You know the scene: “Just cut them up like regular chickens!”:

Yuck. Anyway, a coin was flipped and it was decided to not waste a good and already brine-soaked bird. So a bit of Madras Soul (TM!) spice blend and a good shake in a plastic bag later, into the oven it went. As it’s meant to be split with a friend going through some bumpy times of late, I decided to keep the wingless half for myself. There’s nothing like having to answer questions about what happened to that missing flapper on a gift half chicken. Some questions weren’t made to be answered without a legal team handy. Or at least the Scooby Gang. Anyway, it’s a sunny Sunday and too nice outside to dwell on a dead (now twice dead) piece of poultry. That said, guess who will be pickin’ chickens a lot more carefully from now on. Or a lot less carefully because I’ll have changed my dining options.

Then again, having tried faux poultry on a few occasions, I can very safely say that every one has had missing wings, legs, thighs and bones. That’s not a mystery at all other than why some of those ersatz birds sometimes end up in assorted poultry shapes. Then again, if it were a tofu bird with a missing wing? Well… THAT would be even more creepy.

Random Film of the Week: HOUSE (1977)

(thanks, tubesoda!) 

HOUSE MP JapanOne of the most unusual “mainstream” horror films you’ll ever see, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 film HOUSE is one of those inventively crazy movies that will stick in your head for a long while after those end credits roll.

Paradoxically, it’s tricky to talk about the film in detail and not give a lot away. But on the other hand, you could go in knowing the entire story and what happens to every character in the film before you see it and still have your mind completely blown by the bizarre visual effects and how the tone switches from comic to horror (and back and forth at that) at the drop of a hat.

Or drop of the head, in this case… Continue reading

Oops. One Tiny Mistake There, TCM. Otherwise, Both Thumbs Up!

While it’s wonderful to see William Friedkin’s 1977 film SORCERER getting some much needed love at TCM’s yearly film festival (held this year at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood), I’ll admit to my eyebrow shooting up at the word “The” in that video title.

(thanks again, robatsea2009!) 

Eek. Yeah, it’s a minor mistake that can easily be corrected with a few keystrokes, but I’d never heard of “the City Lights” “The Ben Hur”, “The Frankenstein”, or “The King Kong” in my film studies. So that sort of thing is a bit pesky to me. Anyway, perhaps the person who posted this video was thinking of the film Friedkin’s is based off of, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s brilliant 1953 action/drama The Wages of Fear. Hmmm… now I want to see both films pop up on TCM soon. Or even better, FINALLY see Friedkin’s film make a decent Blu-Ray appearance, as it’s one that’s LONG due.

Random Film of the Week(end): Rollercoaster

(Thanks, sideshowcarny!) 

Rollercoaster_MPIn some parts of America during the summer of 1977, you either got very lucky and saw Star Wars, or you got very unlucky because that flick was sold out when you wanted to go and had to settle for something like Rollercoaster. Now, on it’s own merits it’s a passable “disaster” flick that’s a wee bit too long and wastes the talents of a few major stars at the tail ends of their careers. On the other hand, it’s about a unnamed home-grown terrorist who decides to seriously vandalize amusement parks and kill people (at least in the first big accident in the film) in order to extort money from a mega corporation just because he can.

There’s no motive other than profit, he’s not some crazed maniac out for revenge whose daddy and mommy were killed in a freak amusement park accident, and the film relies on some dopey luck and dumber plot holes to speed things along as it hopes you won’t notice under all that Sensurround booming your eardrums into submission. But none of this will matter to some people who see this flick today and think it works on the level of a decent thriller. It sort of doesn’t in my old eyes because the film not only shows you the culprit right at the beginning, it tends to drag out scenes just to show off some fancy camerawork and some nice amusement park real estate instead of add depth to the characters it needs to… Continue reading

The Four Horsemen Have Been Busy @ The Movies For Ages. You Should Be Very Pleased About That.

Four_HorsemenSo, Nick Powell over at The Cinematic Katzenjammer asked for contributors this month to write up a post or do something creative using The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as a starting point and any horror-themed movies that happened to fit one or more of their particular talents. I decided to have a bit of fun picking four films (one for each rider) and pointing to moments in each that to me, define the essence of their namesakes. They’re not all horror films, but if you’re in the right mood you’ll see the horror in parts of them.

Amusingly enough, the devil has gotten his due here as well. ALL of these were done up as Random Film of the Week entries at one point, but three were lost when I misplaced a USB thumb stick with a ton of other fresh content I’d done for the site a few years back when it was on Blogger. One good reason for me doing this post was to kick myself in the butt hard and get on to full rewrites soon of those three.

In addition, I’ll warn you now that the Fifth Horseman (Spoilage!) is on board. So if you haven’t seen any of the four flicks listed here… you’ve been warned in advance. Which is unusual in this day and age, as spoilers usually just spill out and all over you in the oddest of places. Hell, I heard the end of Gravity from a yakky lady babbling like a jerk on her cell phone in a grocery store a few days ago. I wanted to throw a large can of low-sodium black beans at her head, but I’d be typing this from a jail cell, it was the last can of that brand on the shelf and I needed it more than her head needed a two-pound can-sized impression in it.

Anyway, saddle up and get ready to ride (or duck behind something and hope you’re unseen)… we’re off! Continue reading

Audience Participation Time: Help Me Pick A Movie!

OK, I usually don’t do this, but I got the idea to try something new for fun. I’ve been seeing a load of deals on movies in assorted size collections and box sets and I’m considering picking up a bunch of them over time. However, for the purposes of this post, I’ll pick two and let you vote on them in the comments section. I’ll most likely get both (the prices are too stupidly low to pass up – as in under five dollars each), but you’ll be able to help me decide which one to spring for first.  And no, I don’t stream or torrent (I don’t do the eye patch stuff and my hard drives are packed to the gills with Steam/ indie games anyway), so no need to tell me I can get all these for free somewhere.

Your (well, MY) choices are:

hitchcock flicks OR Superman DVD Set

Ready, FIGHT!

I’m thinking Hitch will win this one handily by sheer size alone (ba-dum-bum!), but you never know. And nope – you don’t win a prize for affecting my buying decision. However, I will give you a hearty Kane clap as thanks in advance:

kane clapHey…That’s got to count for SOMETHING these days, right?

Saturday Night Fever: The Cure For Monday Night Blahs…

(thanks, Alexandre Ribeiro!) 

SNFI was going to do Saturday Night Fever as a longer Random Film of the Week post, but my brain is still in the freezer after last week. Still, it’s on MSG later this evening and even with stupid commercials breaking up the action every few minutes I’m still going to watch it once again for my favorite scene.

Yeah, it’s yours, too – go on, admit it.

Watching that dance sequence above always cracks me up to no end while I’m blown away by Travolta basically turning himself into a human special effect and stuntman in a really surprising film that’s well worth seeing in its entirety if you’ve never done so. You’ll want to go with the R-rated version, as it’s more raw and effective that the later PG edit whipped out later by the studio to draw in even larger crowds. Granted, it still has a bunch of loose ends that never get resolved (I’d like to think that Tony’s brother left the priesthood then got called back to do an exorcism in a later film or something), but as a capsule of 1970’s era Brooklyn and the disco age, it’s a pretty outstanding movie that still holds up as a classic.

Random Film of the Week: THE CAR

THE CAR Since it’s hot as HELL outside, I figured I may as well throw you readers a bone in the form of a film with a lot of heat under its hood that won’t burn you (unless you’re expecting it to blow you away with stellar acting and a memorable plot.) If you take it at all seriously (and it’s VERY hard to do so, mind you), 1977’s THE CAR isn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it sure as hell is a really and unintentionally hilarious one.

It’s more or less a nasty-tasting cake made up of equal parts of single-word title films (JAWS, DUEL), a dash of devil possession from some other popular 70’s flicks, a custom George Barris ride that looks like a tricked out rolling bathtub and some (as in too many) scenery chewing lead and character actors having at the jumbled script and its crazy plot diversions.

This is a “Yours is not to question why…” flick, plain and simple. Small run down desert town gets visited and its citizenry terrified (and run down) by a mysterious driver-less evil car from hell (more or less). Sheriff and crew take on car with mixed and amusing results until they realize that good old fashioned explosives and a few tons of boulders solve many problems. Crash, Bang, Boom… The End? Yeah, it’s that simple enough to be a thirty minute episode of some sort of horror anthology on TV (or as part of a much better film anthology), but THE CAR is padded with a number of dopey subplots that don’t really go anywhere because after too many minutes of greasy buildup someone usually gets killed (and taken out of the picture as a result), leaving that screen door swinging in the breeze until the next victim shows up…

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Random Film of the Day*: Sinbad and The Eye of The Tiger

*For the next few days, I’m going to add a random film the great Ray Harryhausen worked on. The legendary special effects MASTER passed away on May 7, 2013 at age 92 in London and yes, the film world has lost a true giant as well as a fine and talented gentleman…

Sinbad & The Eye of the TigerWhen I was much younger, I wondered why Ray Harryhausen didn’t make more films until I found out how long it took him to design all those characters from drawing and painting some outstanding concept art to the construction and creation the visual effects. Let’s just say the man gained all the respect I had after that. That said, 1977’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is an example of what happens when a movie studio decides to rush things a bit too quickly, as it’s not his best work of the decade on display.

Yes, there are some major showpiece moments, but between some awful matte shots and a few creatures missing Harryhausen’s trademark expressionism, the film suffers a bit from a “by the numbers” look that’s noticeable to the point of distraction. Then again, that the film arrived in theaters a few months after Star Wars opened and was still generating a huge amount of money. I’m sure to many viewers blown away by George Lucas’ epic, Sinbad seemed almost like a relic from another decade…
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Random Film of the Week: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

video courtesy of Youtuber – Thanks!

While it hasn’t got gallons of blood spilling all over the place nor a high body count to rival later and much more exploitative genre flicks, there’s a constant and nicely weird vibe that runs throughout Nicholas Gessner’s 1976 film The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane that makes it one of those slow burning “horror” flicks that lingers in your brain after the credits have rolled. The movie is more of a mystery/suspense hybrid than an actual horror film, but it’s easy to see it falling into that latter classification because of one particularly sudden death and part of one or two other scenes. Then again, it’s also one of those great oddball movies where the people who do die get their just desserts and probably won’t be missed even by the most pacifistic film fan.

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