Song of the Day: Bright Eyes – Lover I Don’t Have to Love

Artist: Bright Eyes
Album: Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
Song: Lover I Don’t Have to Love

I love Conor Oberst so much. I probably heard Bright Eyes for the first time when I was around 20. From that day through present, Oberst has been my favorite singer-songwriter. The English major in me has always appreciated lyricism, and he’s among the very best. This is not really related, but that’s also why I love rap. Words are cool.

This is one of the few songs that both my now-wife and I liked before we started dating. So listening to it now takes me back to those early days. I can only imagine the kind of nostalgia overload I’d get from it if I’d been listening to Bright Eyes in high school. I would have had much cooler hair and probably fashion sense, if I had been.

Try and appreciate his semi-imperfect voice because, like anything in life, things are better when they’re weird. And I think it is the sound of goddamn angels. Swoon.

Marry me, Conor?

Shredder: Snowboarding PSA/Horror Movie

There is a formula to slasher movies, and it’s a simple one. A killer, annoying people for him or her to kill, some sort of setting. That’s all. So why not a murderous skier slaying suckas on a mountainside? I sadly may have the answer. Its name: Shredder.

shreddertitle

I forgot to get a screenshot of the title screen when I had the DVD in and didn’t feel like loading it back up, so I decided to make one. It took an hour longer than getting the stupid disc would have.

I decided to focus on my favorite aspect of Shredder, which without question was the killer’s continued ineptitude. No opportunity to fall down or get outsmarted was squandered. You’ll be rooting for the guy out of sheer pity.

It doesn’t help that he is literally just dressed like a guy who got a ski suit and goggles from KMart. They have to make some sort of ski mask with a demon or skull motif, no?

That said, I hope you’ll forgive me for the half-hearted summary of the plot. It’s not anything too special. Here, I’ll give you the characters:

Cole– wimpy main hero guy
Kimberly– Cole’s prissy girlfriend who openly gropes other men in front of him
Pike– only okay character besides the killer I think she’s Kimberly’s cousin
Skyler– shithead “comic relief”
Robyn– boobs
Christophe– European hitchhiker/red herring killer/guy Kimberly openly gropes in front of Cole
Kirk– stoner who is really good at snowboarding and wears a cowboy hat during one scene for some reason

The basic premise is, the above dorks sneak into an abandoned ski resort that Kimberly’s father is in the process of buying. They are explicitly told that there was a horrific murder that took place years before. Snowboarders (just like our heroes!) murdered a young girl. Oh. That seems like a pretty decent reason to close the place, but they don’t care. They need to SHRED.

The start is pretty typical horror movie. A few people get stabbed with icicles, because the writers took the path of least resistance in every possible way. The movie only hits its stride when our villain zooms up and joins Robyn on the ski lift. In case you forgot, she is a female with bosoms.

He’s willing to give her a chance.

6

4

So far I don’t really see the problem. It’s lame, but it’s also sound advice. The kids have made it abundantly clear that they care more for alcohol and parties with stilted, unnatural dialogue than they do for mountain safety.

He thrusts a rulebook in her face, but Robyn offers her rebuttal in the only language punks know.

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See this is exactly why someone needed to step in and try and teach them how to snowboard responsibly. You are definitely not supposed to shoves strangers off a ski lift from 40 feet in the air.

We have reached the first Moment of Shame for the killer. While he’s free-falling through the frozen air, Robyn somehow manages to wrap her scarf around the ski lift. Obviously, what happens next is that she hangs her own goddamn self.

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I really want to give the poor masked skier the kill, but I can’t on this one. He had zero to do with it. One of the more memorable deaths in the movie, and the murderer was “carelessness with loose clothing.”

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Robyn cruises by a few times throughout the next few scenes, as if taunting the killer for his failures.

A while later, Pike and Skyler have found the cabin where Kirk was stabbed (one of the aforementioned icicle incidents.) Internally, the viewer is cheering as the skier appears. The comic relief always gets the most brutal treatment, and rightfully so. However, Pike foils our villain with the calculated tactic of closing the door.

Doing so causes the lone symbol of the killer’s success, Kirk’s dead body, to fall unceremoniously to the floor. Of course, the killer bursts through the door and promptly trips over said body. This allows Pike to roundhouse kick him in the face.

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7

The killer catches a rare break and manages to snag Skyler’s leg with a hatchet. I swear, it comes off as an underdog defying the odds. Plus, Skyler is the worst. The only unfortunate part about it is that he missed a major artery.

Sadly, our luck runs out. Pike and stupid Skyler manage to escape after the killer AGAIN trips and pratfalls out the open door, earning a snowboard to the face for his clumsiness.

1

3

Jesus. The killer finally decides to start acting like he even WANTS to murder people towards the end. He goes with the classic “appear outside the car door while the person inside forgets how to turn a key” bit. Regrettably for him, Pike is driving. As the last remaining female character, she is contractually obligated to peel out before he can get to her. Once more, the fearsome, faceless entity lurking in the shadows of the mountain is knocked on his butt. They might as well have just had him slip on a banana peel.

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*slide whistle noise*

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The above could have been the DVD cover. It sums up everything that happens.

There is one moment of redemption. After the killer stabs Skyler through the eye with a ski pole YES he goes after Kimberly. It’s at this point I have realized I forgot to tell you about another character. His name is Chad, he was murdered in literally the first scene, and his body was being stored in the same cabinet Kimberly hides in.

Cue the awesome sequence where the skier stabs at Kimberly with a poker, which snags Chad’s head and repeatedly pushes it towards her.

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I’m going to pretend that he did this on purpose. It’s very clear he didn’t but he needs a victory. Any victory.

There actually is another few scenes, including a big swerve as to who the perpetrator is! Big may be stretching it. I’ll leave it at that on the off chance that any of you ever buy this movie for $3.99 at Game XChange like we did. In case I haven’t been clear, it comes highly recommended.

I’m ending it here, on a high note. It’s the least I could do.

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Song of the Day: Sleater-Kinney – Jumpers

Artist: Sleater-Kinney
Album: The Woods
Song: Jumpers

Lucky me, and by extension all of you! Two days in a row my playlist has bestowed on us party songs. If the Gaslight Anthem song from yesterday is a beach party, today’s is a series of flying air guitar kicks at a bar. Both tracks are sung very loudly by me in the car, if it’s at night when no one can see.

Some of you may know Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia. Here is your chance to also know her from playing the shit out a guitar. On vocals, Corin Tucker is one of the greatest voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of blasting my eardrums with. Add in the always awesome and precise percussion from Janet Weiss and you have the perfect candidate for a warm weather driving mix. Your summer playlist has two songs on it now. I am slowly making your year so much better.

Give it a try, and turn it up for goodness sake.

Song of the Day- The Gaslight Anthem – Boomboxes and Dictionaries

Artist: The Gaslight Anthem
Album: Sink or Swim
Song: Boomboxes and Dictionaries

Today, I have been given a wonderful song. This is one of those tracks you can put on while driving 120 miles an hour down the highway at 3 AM in June. As I listen to it while typing this, it’s 14 degrees and snowing. If there’s ever a time this kind of music perks me up, it’s during the horrible black depths of winter.

I love Brian Fallon’s vocals. They make me think of partying drunk at a beach bonfire. In my head, I am holding a beer. Possibly two. Also I’m 20 again and not shy. This is a really specific vision, but that’s how you know it’s good music. If it can make me feel that way in the middle of a New England February, imagine what it would do for you!

I guess I could at least have a drink while listening. Do yourself a favor and join me, won’t you?

Song of the Day: Atmosphere – Always Coming Back Home to You

Artist: Atmosphere
Album: Seven’s Travels
Song: Always Coming Back Home to You

TO ALL MY KILLAS AND MY HUNDRED DOLLA BILLAS
TO EMO KIDS WHO GOT TOO MANY FEELINS

Welcome to the inaugural song recommendation post! I was hoping for a song that was a little bit weirder to kick things off, but shuffle has spoken. On the bright side, it’s one of my go-to suggestions to prove to people that rap is great.

Slug is the rapper, Ant is production and Atmosphere is the duo. This song is off of “Seven’s Travels,” which was the first Atmosphere album I ever heard, thanks to a $10 gift certificate to Merle’s Record Rack #rip

It’s a love letter to Slug’s hometown in Minnesota, and the Midwest in general. And the idea of walking through two feet of snow to fight/drink/bone in a parking lot. Sounds fun, no? The beat is one of the prettiest I’ve heard and it really hammers home the idea of loving where you come from. Even if that includes guns and judgmental mothers.

I highly recommend greater exploration of Atmosphere for those unfamiliar with less-than-mainstream rap. They’re the perfect introduction to the wonders of the genre. Just trust me and stop being narrow-minded, you dorks.

Depression. (Or, A Steady Series Of Swift Suckerpunches To The Sack)

I’m going to start here by listing some things.

– I enjoy what I do for a living (normal work-related stress and frustrations notwithstanding)

– I have a wife who’s perfect for me in every way I can think of, and super-supportive family

– As far as I know, no one has ever tried to murder me

– I’ve got a group of close friends just big enough for me, considering I generally hate people

– We’ve got a steady stream of money coming in and have no problems paying bills on time or eating

– I can watch any Futurama episode any time I want with the power of Netflix. Remember the one where Fry spent his entire $300 kickback on coffee?

Now, how do I know I’m depressed? Despite all of that, I still have moments where I am completely, totally unhappy.

I chose the title of this post very carefully after the 20 seconds spent thinking about it. It’s the most accurate depiction I can think of to explain what depression actually feels like. It also feels like waking down the street on a sunny day with a spring in your step and a song in your pocket, and then except instead of a blue bird landing on your shoulder a big guy comes out of nowhere and punches you in the face without explanation. That’s a pretty bad title though.

As you may remember if you read about my Modest Mouse experience, I’ve been on Lexapro for a year now. It’s helped a ton, and people who knew me before and after have, I think, noticed a big difference. Still, you’ll also recall that it’s no miracle drug. I can be a nervous wreck in the right circumstances. For instance, I had to chug three beers to not feel sick about seeing Yoni Wolf in concert. It was worth it though because while I was waiting for the bathroom he poked his head out from backstage and asked if it was occupied.

Look for the full story in my next post, “Star-Struck Urinal Adventures.”

This really is the biggest takeaway I’d like people unfamiliar with true depression to understand. It’s not always feeling sad, suicidal or hopeless. Most of my worse episodes have been when everything is going well. I think that makes it worse. For me, it’s the frustration that stems from not being able to do anything about it. It’s one thing to go through the sorrow of losing a loved one, or a job, or a relationship. It’s another to have all of those things in their right place and still not be good enough for your dumb head.

In those moments, I tend to negatively feed off my stubbornness until I’m stuck in an ugly circle. “Why can’t I just be happy with all the good in my life? Now I’m mad at myself. That’s making me more depressed!” It’s a case of your brain, your stomach, every fiber of your mind and body judo-chopping logic right in the throat. At least for me, that’s the worst part: knowing you have no reason to be upset other than a chemical imbalance in your brain. It makes me feel selfish.

Hey, you should listen to “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse” by Of Montreal. Not just because it’s a great song, but because its lyrics are relevant to this topic!

“I’m in a crisis, I need help
Come on mood shift, shift back to good again
Come on mood shift, shift back to good again
Come on be a friend”

“Come on chemicals!
Come on chemicals!
Come on chemicals!”

That’s essentially it. Stop being a dick, angry-upset-sad-blah chemicals cruising through my head. I don’t have time for your nonsense.

I’m lucky in that my depression is manageable. There are countless people who don’t have that luxury. I wish there was an answer for them, but there isn’t. Watching a TV show or writing or spending a few hours alone with some headphones might be enough  to get me through rougher patches. For others, nothing helps. If you have depression and you can find one lone thing that helps you cope, even an hour at a time, you should cling to that like a g-d lifesaver.

I think that any little moment of happiness is the biggest tool you have in the battle against depression. Last week, my wife and I spent an impromptu night drinking wine and booing loudly at old episodes of Maury. Totally unplanned, totally enjoyable. Any attempt to actively manufacture a “good time” usually ends in disappointment, at least in personal experiences. So I try to ride out my depressive bouts the best I can. If that means spending hours of my life getting a buzz and loudly speculating on the facial similarities between a child and potential father on trashy TV, so be it.

The one thing I don’t want from this is sympathy. Understanding, sure. Some page views would be great too! But mostly the understanding. It’s not something that controls my life to such a degree that I can’t function. It’s led to less of a possibility for exciting adventures, maybe, because I’m not going to do something that might embarrass me in public. There have been events I’ve missed out on and opportunities wasted. In general, though, I am happy. I just can’t deny the illogical moments where I am anything but. It’s what makes me me, like a fingerprint or a weird birthmark!

There’s no cure for this. Drugs can help, as can positive thinking, distraction, and support. Things that work for one person may have no effect on another. In my experience, the only thing you can do is try and understand your depression, rather than fight it. It’s likely going to be with you for a long time, in some capacity or another. Part of the healing process is accepting that and learning to co-exist.

Try that Futurama episode with the coffee. It’s helped me.

Please Take This Seriously

When I tell people about my fear of large birds and whales, I’m generally met with confusion. Probably because this information is offered without any context. Once I start explaining my position, the confusion turns to open mocking. “When are you ever going to see an ostrich?” “What have whales ever done to you?” “Wait, but you like sharks? You’re an idiot.”

The responses that I do not receive are those of sympathy and understanding. Despite this, I feel like it’s my duty to share with you some safety precautions designed to protect you against these two very specific types of animal attacks. I could hardly be blamed for sitting idly by and watching one of these former ridiculers get pecked to death by a giant bird. However, I’m not that sort of person.

Please peruse the below two links. It’s the least you can do, for yourself and your loved ones.

http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-an-Encounter-with-an-Ostrich

How to Survive an Encounter with an Ostrich

My problem with ostriches is this: if I’m going to get into a fistfight with a bird, I want it to be a bird with less than a 98% chance of killing me. And I am certain that an ostrich would eff me up beyond repair. A sparrow attacks me, it’s pretty likely not going to be in his favor. Also, the feathers. I hate feathers because they are musty and awful.

So right away we see that when confronted by an ostrich, the best thing to do is run. It doesn’t matter where: scale a fence, climb a tree like a cat, dive into some bushes, sprint into oncoming traffic. Any of those would be better than getting caught. Because, as you’ll notice, the graphic proves that ostriches have t-rex feet with talons bigger than a person’s head.

If there aren’t any cars around to leap in front of, you may be forced into a face-to-face encounter with feathered death. Should that be the case, your next line of defensive is a long stick or rake.

You’ll want to carry a gardening instrument with you when you go outside from now on. It’s sort of cumbersome, but a little inconvenience is a small price to pay for a solid 5 feet of wood in between you and Jesus.

You can also try putting a pillowcase over the bird’s head, or giving it a piledriver. These methods are a less effective. You should carry the pillowcase with your rake, though. Again, you hope you don’t have to use them, but just in case.

As much as I don’t like large birds, I’d never wish any animal harm. That being said, this site does have recommendations for last resort defenses. The kind you only use if your life is in immediate danger.

Here I will quote the site:

“If your life is in danger and you have a stout stick, a hard blow to the ostrich’s neck will usually break its neck and kill the animal. A well placed shot into the center of the main body (“center mass”) from a large caliber handgun (.44 or .45 caliber) will stop the ostrich. A machete blow to the neck will also kill the bird.”

I’d go on record as saying I’m pretty sure chopping any living thing in the neck with a big knife would kill it. It’s probably not specific to ostriches, but I guess you can’t deny it’s true. So an ostrich machete in your pillowcase might not be a bad idea.

If you’ve foolishly ignored this advice or aren’t one of the twelve people who read my site, all hope isn’t lost. There’s still a chance of surviving an ostrich encounter, even without a stick or a tiny sword. First step is to get down to the ground ASAP.

NO NOT LIKE THAT. That’s a really great way to get your wiener clawed off or your stomach disemboweled. You’re going to want to lay face down, like the ostrich is searching your for illegal drugs. Here’s why:

“Your back will still be exposed, but this is much safer than if your front were open to attack. Additionally, the ostrich is not able to kick very effectively at an object on the ground, and eventually it will lose interest if you play dead. The bird will still likely stand on you–it’s been described as dancing by some who’ve gone through the experience–and it may even sit on you for a while, but it will most likely not rip you open if you do this equivalent of burying your head in the sand”

You’ll look like a moron and every shred of dignity you have will slowly disappear with each dance move, but you’ll be alive. Maybe.

Follow these rules, and you may just live to tell the tale. Although if it comes to this:

“Ostriches have terrible ground fighting skills. If you can manage to get behind one, cinch your arm around its neck tightly and use your momentum to fall to one side. While on the ground and keeping hold of the neck, make sure to chop the throat repeatedly until the bird loses consciousness.”

… maybe don’t tell that story. I’m sure you’ll relive it enough in your weekly nightmares.

http://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A471548

Surviving Being Eaten by a Whale

There unfortunately isn’t a similarly Wikihow page on whale attacks, so this will be to the point. I did, however, find this site that details the horrors that await you in a whale’s stomach.

I will admit that there’s been no evidence that this has ever happened, so that may be why survival tactic literature is scarce. Whales are a dark and mysterious force, though. I don’t think that something that big should be allowed to live underwater where you can’t see it. Even if they aren’t directly attacking a boat, an ill-timed surfacing could ruin a seaside excursion in a heartbeat.

That said, there are no step-by-step instructions or fun graphics showing you what to do if swallowed. There is simply this:

“Unless someone is looking for you, or you have a very large cutting implement and a strong stomach, you may have to be satisfied with simply surviving until starvation takes you or good fortune saves the day.”

That’s pretty much the best case scenario. You’re swallowed. You’re surrounded by tiny fish, flesh-eating stomach acids and what I’m sure if a horrific odor. It’s hard to breathe and your screams echo meaninglessly into the blubber. The you live long enough to get really hungry and die. There’s not even any mention of a specific whale–cutting machete you can use to slice your way to freedom. Your ostrich rake would be useless.

I’d rather be eaten by a shark and at least have an awesome heading for my gravestone.

I hope this has been enlightening. Every once in a while, I try to include content on this site that will prove useful in everyday life. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from these sites, it’s that these animals can and will murder you if given the chance. All we can do is learn how to protect ourselves.

Unless we’re swallowed by a whale. Then we’re boned.

Edgar Frog in: The Greatest Video Ever Made

If Jeff Goldblum didn’t exist, Corey Feldman would probably be my favorite celebrity of all time. In case you’re not sure who he is, let me refresh your memory. It’s understandable, it isn’t like he starred in every movie that made the 80s great.

Oh, wait.

Gremlins. The Goonies. Stand by Me. Lost Boys. Friday the 13th IV, the one where Jason stabs Crispin Glover in the hand with a corkscrew. He was Donatello in Ninja Turtles. DONATELLO. I bet you feel pretty silly now.

Despite what anyone tells you, Corey Feldman did not fall victim to the child actor curse that has besieged so many. Say what you will about past addictions and general insanity, but the man is still working and creating things that almost make me want to believe in god. Today, we pay tribute to one such project. See, Corey used to pal around with Michael Jackson, as evidenced by the picture I’m about to show you.

This is a still from the dance scene in his MUSIC VIDEO. It’s called Ascension Millennium, and it truly is a gift. All I ask is that you watch what’s posted below.

I am going to provide a brief summary. Essentially, what you are watching is a day in the life of Corey Feldman. I believe this to be factually accurate. He lives in a big mansion, surrounded by women he refers to as “Corey’s Angels.” His days last a little under five minutes, from the moment he wakes up next to one of his Angels to the moment he goes right back to bed. Because he’s not a slob, Corey starts off by showering in about 12 seconds.

I should mention here that there is a Cracked.com feature that goes through the video, step by step, as an example of something awful. This post will be the respectful objection to that claim. Whereas some have questioned Mr. Feldman’s ability to clean himself because of the above lackadaisical drying method, I choose to look at it differently. He’s obviously not worried about making himself look perfect, no longer being concerned with Hollywood or superficial things. There’s a quick rinse, dry, and it’s back to more pressing matters. It’s time to Ascend.

He’s joined by two Angels as he ironically descends the stairs, where he runs into his old Goonies pal Sean Astin. He tosses Sean an inhaler, because Corey is all about the fan service.There’s a moment in the later dance sequence where Cracked points out a gentleman who can’t separate his hat from the rope it’s hanging from. Instead, he just starts dancing with the rope still attached to his headgear. Pretend you didn’t read that because I’m not going to talk about it. I will, however, mention the Angel who ducks under the inhaler and knocks her halo off in the process.

She seemed sort of embarrassed by it. Don’t worry, lady. Corey Feldman isn’t a perfectionist. Unstable fake halos are right below thoroughly drying one’s hair on the list of things less important than ascending to the millennium.

After taking the viewer on a guided tour through his Feldmansion’s bitchin’ backyard bash, dancing his heart out, and replenishing his energy with what appears to be eggs and pancakes, Corey’s ready to do what he does best. What he does best is rock so hard that the walls crumble, revealing hordes of Feldman fanatics going nuts at a packed stadium.

You have never, and will never achieve this.

My favorite part in the video is right towards the end. Corey knows he’s just shown you some serious shit. It’s not his job to make sure you can handle it. All of the criticisms, all of the nit-picking and nay-saying doesn’t affect him. His pose after what is essentially a mic drop says it all:

Do something, sucka.

Now, this post does have a larger purpose. If I can get selfish here for a minute; the internet is a big place. It takes a lot to stand out. You’ve got to be willing to do what no one else has the patience or insanity to. For example, listen to Ascension Millennium for an hour straight on a pair of really good headphones while you transcribe the lyrics. I did it, and I defy you to find these anywhere else online.

These are, to the best of my knowledge, the lyrics to Corey Feldman’s magnum opus. And really, who’s going to listen to it for TWO hours and prove me wrong? Feel free to listen again and read along.

Ugghn!

Welcome to the dawn of everything you can become.
You’ll remember the reason yet of why you’re here.
But you can bet that they will let you have the chance
to be the master of the dance that you choose.
Right back to the floor, where you will have the chance at more
just by giving into groove. To have the chance, you never move, you’re standing still up on the hill.
It’s such a thrill you get the chills, the chance is nil
it’s gonna kill you in the end.
You get bent out of shape, at this age, and escaaaaaape

ASCENSION MILLENNIUM

You think you got the feeling and you’re surely not believing
You got the feeling in your soul, you just gotta let it go
You got the hold on to this, but god is tryin’ to get some

ASCENSION MILLENNIUM

ASCENSION MILLENNIUM

uhaww yeah

Be the best that you can be with all you do and who you see.
What is true for you and me.
Times are hard and this is true, but you can edit it to you.
Cause this reality is only temporaripermanently what you want.
First you vanish and that’s scary but in my mind you’re always there.
Giving peace and giving love, like the feathers of a dove.
You can lift your feet above and let it thrill you full of joy.
Like a toy for your soul, so here goes.

Let it go now! Let it go now! Gotta go now!

*autotune of background talking*

Ascension! Millennium!

You think you got the feeling, and you’re surely not believing
You got the feeling in your soul, you just gotta let it go

Now your time has almost come, when all emotions become one.
Instead of running from the gun we can relax and have some fun.
And as we’re swept onto the floor, open our hearts and spirits soar.
Our souls are held captive no more, like opening a magic door.
And now we face our biggest fear; finally learning why we’re here.
With all the music you will hear your destiny will suddenly become clear as a bell, there’s no hell, and no end.

So ascend!

I hope that this has been enlightening. Corey Feldman put a lot of effort this video, and I put even more into trying to figure out what the heck he was saying. Now that you know the words, there’s no excuse. This song should be in your head at all hours of the day. Inspiring, radiating, pushing you towards your potential.

So ascend.

Child’s Play 2: Electric Boogaloo

I like my horror movies to have an interesting plot, unique slashers, and victims dying in the most hilarious ways possible. Going by those guidelines, I probably don’t have to explain why Child’s Play 2 is one of my favorites. Obviously I’m going to though.

Chucky was always the movie character I feared most as a youth. Living dolls/toys/ventriloquist dummies were just unsettling. When I got into Goosebumps, I skipped right the hell over #7: Night of the Living Dummy. I was ten. I almost immediately regret admitting that, and hope we can still be friends.

Being a big, brave near-30 year old today, I recognize Chucky as the horror icon he is. He combines the brutality of Jason Voorhees with the wisecracks of Freddy Krueger. In doll form, he has the unsettling silence of Michael Myers. He also is the only one of them to appear on a wrestling show and taunt a guy known as “the dog-faced gremlin.”

Basically the total package. Today, we celebrate Chucky and all of his accomplishments, like that weird one up there. We’re going to do it in style with a full-on review of Child’s Play 2. And to make things even better, I’ll be joined by my pal and brother-in-law Cliff Huizenga (http://cliffpro.com). Just like the MST3K review that I did with Adriana, this will be a fun-filled adventure through differing views and writing styles.Cliff enjoys a good horror movie much the same as I do, so this is going to be good.

Settle in with a seltzer. It’s going to be a long and bloody one.

The Movie!

Dan: The sequel picks up where Child’s Play leaves off. We waste no time in getting to our first casualty, as the remnants of the doll from the first movie are cleaned up during the opening credits. Don’t ask me why. I’m glad they decided to do it, though, because otherwise we wouldn’t have the scene where a toy technician tries to give Chucky new eyeballs.

Oops!

There is no better way to start a horror movie than to electrify and throw a grown man through a window four minutes in. Actually, it doesn’t even need to be horror. Every movie should begin in this fashion, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, we soon learn that Andy’s mother has been committed to an insane asylum because she backs up her son’s stories about murderous toys, and no one really wants to see her responsible for a child. Thus, Andy is in the care of a foster home. He’s very quickly brought into the home of foster parents Phil and Joanne. And I do mean quickly. The movie makes it seem as though they’re picking out a ham at the grocery store, rather than having to sign 8,000 adoption forms.

Regardless, they’re out the door in about 15 minutes and on their way home, luckily for Andy. Unluckily for him, Chucky executes the devious serial killer plan of calling the foster home and asking for Andy, and is evidently given his new address. That seems like the sort of thing you maybe shouldn’t give out if a kid’s just been at the center of a series of grisly murders..

Cliff: Ah, the Child’s Play series. I remember being a kid and watching Child’s Play 2 for the first time. As a fan of stop-motion, robots and Muppets, the concept of a toy doll yelling obscenities and murdering people was of equal interest to me as watching Johnny Five in Short Circuit. As a child who should have been afraid of Chucky, I thought he was awesome!

Dan: [Thanks for making me look like a weenie, Cliff.]

Cliff: With the second movie being my first foray into the series, the plot should have confused me. However, the filmmakers did an excellent job of explaining the backstory for those, like me, who did not see the first film. And remember, this was a period of time where you couldn’t just load up Netflix to watch the series or download every single film for portable watching. HBO didn’t have “On Demand”. So, being able to guide the viewer right into the story was important.

This brings up an interesting point about sequels in general. The first movie was a great stand-alone film. So, the opportunity to milk the series for what it’s worth would have been appealing—and that’s exactly what happened with Bride of Chucky and the abomination known as Seed of Chucky. (WARNING: Do not watch Seed of Chucky. May cause eye and brain cancer.) But somehow, the filmmakers avoided the trap of the 2nd and 3rd movies.

Personally, I love the Back to the Future and The Matrix trilogies. However, both first films were obviously made as one-offs with no intention for sequels. Then, because the films generated enough revenue to get the green light for sequels in haste, Parts 2 and 3 were written at the same time. Realistically, both series go Part 1, Part 2: Episode 1, and Part 2: Episode 2. Still classics, but feels too much like they were tacked on to an already great set of movies.

Not Child’s Play 2 though.

Even knowing nothing about the series, the beginning of Child’s Play 2 gives you enough to know of Andy’s troubled past with his fear of the talking, killing Good Guy doll. A great portion of the movie sets the tone for how isolated Andy is from, well, pretty much everyone. But, Andy knows better. He knows Chucky will return and kill again.

And the film delivers on its Chucky kills.

The Kills!

Dan: Chucky has a pretty broad range of murderin’ methods in this film. Electricity! Suffocation! Neck-breaking! Ruler beatings! Knitting needles I guess! He’s classically shown as using a knife, but I like him stepping out of his comfort zone here. If I had to choose, I might say Phil’s death is my favorite. Chucky wisely avoids any suspicions by straight-up tripping the guy on the basement steps. He lands right on top of his big head in what is one of the more gruesome deaths in the franchise. Atypical, but it works. Plus everyone of course blames Andy.

No messy cleanup!

If we’re going purely based on style and not “killer doll reasoning that I’ve put way too much thought into,” Andy’s teacher has to take the prize. It’s not even really for the kill itself, but the flair Chucky adds when isolating Andy by getting him detention.

I sure hope the screenwriter was given an MVP trophy or something for this.

I guess Chucky gives up caring about keeping a low profile once Phil’s gone because he pretty blatantly murders Joanne. He must have realized that the movie’s rapidly approaching the third act.

Cliff: At first, it would seem to me that I don’t have a favorite kill. I could never previously understand why, besides just being excited while anxiously waiting for Chucky to take out his next victim. But, after watching the movie (a couple of times) this Halloween season, I understand why now:

The film does an excellent job at making you want Chucky to kill his victims.

– Mattson was the corporate lap dog who’s biggest strength was his credit card (“That’s a gold card. That’s as good as cash.” Might as well have placed a screen overlay of the AMEX logo for product placement).

– Andy’s teacher, Miss Kettlewell, embodied the teacher we all hated as school kids.

– His foster parents were a mixed couple, with Phil being a complete jerk the entire movie and Joanne’s sudden departure from a loving, understanding parent to completely rejecting Andy the moment Phil died (honestly, she should have been thankful).

– Grace was right to be mad about the fire alarm being pulled, but had no right to rip Chucky away from Kyle’s hands. She had it coming.

– You had no emotional attachment to the security/technician in the toy factory, so he made for a great, cheap throwaway kill.

Dan: This man’s final epitaph: “A cheap, throwaway kill.” : (

Cliff: For a horror film, there are characters you sympathize with and those you don’t. As for these people, you as the audience are definitely not worried about their impending doom; you’re expecting it. You didn’t want Chucky to kill Andy or Kyle because the film made you care about them. They weren’t bad people or jerks or nobodies; they were good kids. They were the good guys. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE!?)

Although, Chucky did make the greatest psychopathic face as he approached Miss Kettlewell with the ruler.

Heh heh, classic.

Issues!

Cliff: I did have some issues with the plot and certain scenes. For example, when Chucky first reveals himself to Andy, he somehow managed to tie up Andy’s arms and legs to all four bed posts, shove a rolled up sock in his mouth and climb on top of Andy’s body before waking up. How does a troubled child, fearing the return of a killer doll be able to sleep so soundly?

And speaking of revealing himself, Chucky’s main goal of using Andy to play “Hide The Soul” to transfer out of the doll body technically is flawed. Not really covered in the second movie, but explained in both the first and third films, Chucky can only transfer his soul to the first person he reveals himself to. This limitation is reset in the third movie by him receiving a new body, created by the melted remains of his old body.

But, in the beginning of Child’s Play 2, Chucky does get a new body with parts from his old body. If we are to believe that melted parts of his old body in a new “shell” count as a new body, then placing his eyes and skull in a new body should count too. And if that’s the case, Andy wouldn’t have been the first person Chucky revealed himself to; It would have been Mattson.

…Actually, now that I’ve thought about it, I’m glad they didn’t go in that direction.

Dan: I have absolutely no issues with this movie, nor any of the above. Furthermore, I’m going to admit right here that I like Seed of Chucky. And yes, it is horrible.

Final Scene!

Dan: I could have made this entire review just about the ending, alienating you all as readers. It’s a big part of why I love this movie so much in the first place. At their heart, 80s slasher movies are over the top and ludicrous. I can think of no better way to describe what happens to Chucky once he corners Andy and Kyle in the Good Guys factory.

It starts with Chucky trying to steal Andy’s soul once again. He would have pulled it off, too, but alas! He’s been in the doll’s body too long. He catches on to this once he notices he’s bleeding from the nose, prompting the absolute greatest “NOOOOOOOO” ever committed to film by a toy possessed with the soul of a serial killer.

NOOOOO! Etc.

What follows really does defy any words I could come up with. I’ve put together a handy collage that sums it up pretty well, though.

Chucky is crushed by a bunch of boxes, gets his hand caught in a gate and is forced to tear it right the hell off,

is stuck inside of the doll-assembling mechanics, gets covered in molten plastic, then explodes. This movie has 18 false finishes and I love every one of them more than the last.

After typing all of that I feel bad for Chucky. He’s basically a toddler. Look at him kicking his tiny little baby feet while Kyle refuses to let him stab her:

Aww!

Cliff: What an absolute perfect scene to end the movie. First movie starts with a toy store selling Good Guys; the second ends where they’re being made. Being surrounded by thousands of dolls that Andy fears definitely sets an unsettling atmosphere. Also, incomplete, lifelike dolls are just plain creepy.

Come to think of it, I do have a favorite kill for the movie: The death of Chucky himself. With Andy being blamed for killings in both the first and second movie, the child who wouldn’t hurt a fly makes the conscious decision to actually kill his first victim in self-defense. Or, at least try to, until Kyle has to save the day with an air hose. Love that gooey explosion.

Dan: In case you forgot already.

Cliff: And then, almost immediately after the climax, the movie ends. No cops, no aftermath, no follow-up. And certainly no lead-in to an Episode 2 with a “To Be Continued” title card. The story is simply over. Brilliantly done.

Until they do Child’s Play 3 and complete a great trilogy. Then kill it with Bride of Chucky. And do unspeakable things with its corpse in Seed of Chucky. Curse of Chucky, however… that one deserves a post on its own for its quality work and bringing both a modern reboot and an amazing ending to this classic series. Thoughts on that, Dan?

I would be delighted, Cliff. And I sure hope you guys would be interested in reading more horror movie reviews. Please say yes because I’m going to do it anyway.

I love doing posts like this. It’s a lot of fun to put together with someone else and get their views on a movie or topic. It also makes for a less stale read if you’re bored by my blabbering. So a huge thank you to Cliff for giving me a hand with this. I hope writing about exploding dolls was half as fun for you as it was for me.

Onwards and upwards to further horror movie deconstructions! If we do Curse of Chucky, maybe I can convince Cliff to join in on Seed of Chucky too.

A man can dream.

October 19th, 2013.

Late October reminds a lot of people of Halloween and dead leaves. It reminds me of those things, plus cake. I got married a year ago and will be trying very hard to top that day, probably forever.

As is probably obvious to anyone who knows me or who has followed this page, I love Halloween. My wife Caitlin loves it even more, which made the placement calendar-wise of our wedding day easy to narrow down. Once we had the day and the venue, attentions were turned to the decorations. We did pretty much everything ourselves, by which I of course mean Caitlin because I have the artistic capabilities of a kindergartener who also was raised by wolves. Wolves who have no artistic ability.

We also knew what we wanted out of our wedding reception. Here’s a hint; it involved plastic glow-in-the-dark fangs for all. Essentially, if it belonged in a cheesy haunted house, we wanted it. Our gifts bags contained witch fingers and wind-up skeletons. We had amazing centerpieces that Caitlin hand-made.

Those also featured bats and spiders.

Most importantly, we encouraged people to wear costumes. I was happy to see that about half the guests decided to go for it. We went with an open bar spanning the reception as well, because alcohol will greatly increase the likelihood of dancing monsters. I know I had my fair share of spirits. It helped accomplish our goal of having one big celebration. I am confident that our wedding has been the only one in history where a guy dressed as WWE superstar Goldust could be found dancing next to a great-aunt wearing a gorilla mask backwards on her head like a wig.

The DJ was excellent as well, playing the part with a mask and an endless supply of season-appropriate songs. Yes, of course Thriller was played. Monster Mash, obviously. We didn’t dance to the Ghostbuster theme, but only because that’s the song we cut our cake to. Love is beautiful.

Speaking of the cake, we defied the logic of every wedding-planning couple ever and agreed on the style and flavor in about four minutes flat. The below was what we chose, as it fit our cutlery and wedding topper perfectly.

I’d say that it was a wonderful-tasting cake as the obligatory cake-smash left it all over my face. However, Caitlin decided to skip my mouth entirely and go straight to the eyeball with a loooong, slow slide. I got her back, but not before having to clean frosting off of my contact.

Our friend Kelly Nason was our photographer, and she did an amazing job. No opportunity to get a shot of a dancing Peter Pan or flying monkey was wasted. She also set up some stellar photos outside.See, Caitlin and I can look classy and not awkward if we have a lot of help and computer image-editing technology!

As mentioned, I partook in a few beverages. It’s for that reason that I found myself on the dance floor. Let’s not get too crazy, I didn’t go crazy, but a handful of beers goes a long way in making a person like me comfortable enough to slow dance in front of people. We also were mobbed by the guests for the final song. It was just one giant hug which would normally be my worst enemy. But somehow, for this day it was perfect.

Our photos can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tk2pcc3o8b300k4/uRPk3-8Vci. You should check them out if you want to see how machetes can be used to illustrate true love.

I try not to end my posts with anything cliché or serious. I have to say, though, that our wedding day honestly turned out just how we wanted. It was a giant party where everyone seemed to legitimately have a good time. All you can ask for, no matter how traditional or costume-party your wedding may be, is that you’re surrounded by friends and family who are happy to be there and happy to help you celebrate a new chapter of life.

If you can do all that while dressed as a vampire, then buddy, you’ve really got something.

Happy anniversary, Caitlin. There’s no one else I’d rather bite with plastic fangs.