Corrections and Updates
Updated a spelling error in The Plague Dogs section from «some come on kids, let's stick this DVD on!» to «so come on kids, let's stick this DVD on!».
This update was published on 2023-09-25.
Well hello there, welcome to a special edition of nb21... the Halloween special, muh ha ha ha haaa! *Starts to choke*.
So yeah, welcome to a special edition of nb21 - it's the Halloween 2022 edition that I just know that you were all just... just dying to see - will there be a Christmas edition? Sure there will kid, sure there will (there won't be).
We've used the word «special» a lot here...
Random Horror Trite
Yep, it's time to get your teeth into some random scary horror-related Web links that will not put you in the Halloween mood at all, but we need to fill in a certain amount of this newsletter, so this is what you get.NO SIGNAL - A Halloween Tale
I think I've known about this since it was published but never shared it around, primarily due to a reason I can't think of, but NO SIGNAL is one of those short videos that is really best watched at midnight on your own in the dark - oh, what fun. What makes it so cool is the slow buildup - look, the less said on this the better.Which Dracula Film is Most Faithful to the Book?
James Rolfe, who is best known for playing the Angry Video Game Nerd talks about what he thinks is the most accurate Dracula movie, at least according to the book.BBC News
So then, you want some true horror, kid? Yeah, I bet you do, you little sick thing you. For the real horrors of the world, look no further than the news... Yeeeah, that's right, political commentary, bet that you didn't expect to see that here. You fool.Methods of Torture and Execution
Oh boy, from the telephone to the iron maiden, us humans have done a great job in inventing new and fun ways of spicing up our lives... wait... what do you mean that the iron maiden was never used?
Well okay... in that case, enjoy this crap article about instruments of torture, one of which was never used. Talk about hack writing.
«Horror Media To Watch» Hur, hur, we mean «Movies To Sink Your Teeth In», hu hur - teehee, we're so funny and smart with our puns... Wait... that joke was already used... Uh, anyway, here are some horror-related movies that you should watch to get you in the Halloween mood, some short ones, some long ones, either way, you should watch these.
While by no means a perfect movie, George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead is a classic - why? Well, for a few reasons, first of all, it's the first modern zombie movie. There were quote-on-quote «zombie» movies before this point, most notably 1932's White Zombie, but these movies were more about a person who was under the control of a puppet master and had to do their bidding - so, not what we think of when we hear the word zombie today.
Another factor in making the movie so well-known is that, well, it lost its copyright soon after it was published, why? Well, they forgot to put that little C for copyright symbol (©) anywhere in the movie - no kidding - so this meant that anyone was more than free to copy the thing, sell it, whatever for free. This also meant that the idea of a zombie was not copyrighted, so anyone was able to make a movie about zombies as much as they were free to make one about any other out-of-copyright idea. Good stuff.
Night of the Living Dead would be soon sold and copied on VHS tapes and shared around, effectively making it a cult classic. Nowadays, there are a million and one copies of it online that you can watch, even including recolors - yep, this was originally a black and white movie, but how come? Well, the long and short is that color film at the time would cost a lot more than just black and white, so as a way to stay within their budget range, Romero opted in for the cheaper option and according to Romero, it also «made everything looked more brutal and gruesome».
This isn't meant to be a dig at any of the people who worked on the feature, it's just things were like that in the day.
But, what about the movie? What's it like?
It's kind of interesting to look at the movie and think about the fact that it's more about the human struggle of being in one tight area with other people, rather than focusing most of the time on the zombies (or «ghouls», as they are called), especially as this is the first modern zombie movie of its kind, you would have thought that more time would have been put on our main monsters.
Despite being a new genre of film, calling it perfect is wrong. Night of the Living Dead has many things that don't work with it -- for starters, the women in this movie are all written just terribly and are hopeless. Barbra, played by Judith O'Dea in her only movie for ten years, is the worst of the bunch; she's unable to drive her brother's car, she says almost nothing for the whole flick, and she might as well not be there - same goes for Helen Cooper (Marilyn Eastman), who kind of just says a few lines and doesn't do all that much.
Later on, Romero would make Dawn of the Dead (1978) (arguably the much better movie), something that would only have one woman in the lead, Fran Parker (Gaylen Ross), a character that was as developed as the rest of the cast, but this review isn't about that film.
There are also other issues with Living Dead, such as when at the start when Barbra goes into a house, with the outside shot being day and the inside being night. There is also a very weird cut in the movie where two people are talking and then suddenly it just flashes forward a few seconds for some reason.
Despite all of the mistakes in the film, there are also a few highlights in it, Ben (Duane Jones), for example, is a no damns given guy, who is kind of the audience's surrogate character. He doesn't get annoyed easily, but the way he interacts with other people, especially Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman), slowly (and understandably) drives him up the wall. I think she's a good character and even the best in this. He's levelheaded, but certainly not perfect..
While George Romero didn't intend it to be so as he seemly didn't think that deeply about it, it's cool to know that arguably the main character, Ben -- Duane Jones, is played by a black man; not really a biggie by nowadays, but in 1968? This was not all that common, keep in mind, this was the years of the black movement in the United States - Martin Luther King Jr. was only killed around six months before the movie was released. I feel like it's ashamed that Duane Jones didn't really do anything all that much after the movie was made, only being in a few unnoticeable films. He was clearly a talented actor.
As said, Romero didin't intend Living Dead to be about race. Talking in 2016 to The Hollywood Reporter, when asked about this, he said that:
Back to the cast, Tom (Keith Wayne) is also a highlight of the movie, being almost a fun distraction from the chaos surrounding the cast, but he doesn't have all that much of a major role in Night of the Living Dead, or any movie for that matter as this was Wayne's one and only role. Looking him up online, after the movie, he had quite the life, after Living Dead, he worked as a singer, then a chiropractor, and finally as a writer in a column under the name of Dr. R. Keith Hartman - sadly, he took his own life in 1995, aged 50.
While it has mistakes in it, Night of the Living Dead is worth a watch, partly due to the funny camp parts to it and due to the genuine tension that it manages to bring.
Due to it being out of copyright, the movie can be found very easily on places like YouTube for free, so look out for those, plus there are a few recolors that you can find around the place if that's your thing.Swing You Sinners! (1930)
Talkartoons was crazy. Being made up of 42 cartoons by Fleischer Studios, it is full of loads of underrated cartoons now forgotten, Barnacle Bill (1930), Up To Mars (1930), Bimbo's Initiation (1931), Minnie the Moocher (1932), plus a large number of others, only to name a few. Out of the lot, Swing You Sinners! is up there with being the most out there of the lot. With a runtime of *checks runtime* eight minutes, it somehow manages to become a fantastic nightmare packed all in with an enjoyable song that is all over the place in the best way possible.
It's absolutely crazy and the animation only helps thanks to the whacky way that all of the characters move. A little disclaimer, the cartoon as a whole does not have a really amazing plot at all, Bimbo the dog tries to steal a chicken from a farmer, a policeman tries to stop him, and then Bimbo goes to a graveyard where the real fun starts - there's music, there's horror, and the ending? Well, just look up the cartoon and see.
As this one is so short, honorable mention to the pre-stated Bimbo's Initiation as a must-watch. It's not as crazy as Swing You Sinners!, but is a lot of fun.The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
As directed by Roger Corman, a person who has made a lot of crap like The Terror (1963) and The Wasp Woman (1959), The Little Shop of Horrors is an overlooked movie that not all that many people seem to really know about, mostly due to the 1986 Frank Oz remake - despite this, it's is a lot of fun.
The film follows the dark comedy world of Seymour Krelborn (Jonathan Haze), a loser florist working in a crappy shop with his hapless flower shop owner Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles) - all he wants to do is make his not-quite girlfriend Audrey Fulquard (Jackie Joseph) happy. As luck would have happened, Seymour manages to breed a new type of plant that not only talks but, get this, cannot survive without eating... people?! (Sure this movie didn't awake anything in anyone.)
Yeah, the plot for the movie is a little campy, to say the least, but it's still a fun watch, especially as it has an unexpected cameo from a young Jack Nicholson of all people where he plays a manic hyperactive masochist who really likes to go to the dentist. Nicholson only appears in the movie for three minutes, but damn, is it rememberable.
Relating to Nicholson, he was the main star in the pre-mentioned The Terror where he played a French soldier. That particular movie is not worth watching due to it being slow, confusing, and just stupid in the worst ways possible, plus Nicholson does not even try to do a French accent at all - skip this one.
Much like Night of the Living Dead, Little Shop also fell out of copyright, but this time for the reason that no-one renewed it, meaning that people were able to readapt it - exactly what Frank Oz did in 1986. The remake is also a lot of fun, if not better; not only is it in color (wow), but also it is full of great musical moments as well as having Bill Murray replacing Nicholson (and must I say, what a great job he does in this short role).
Little Shop can be found very easily on places like YouTube for free.The Plague Dogs (1982)
Hey Alexa, search the Web for «Does The Dog Die in The Plague Dogs»...?
So kids, you've ever heard of that one movie from the '70s called Watership Down about those cute little rabbits who have to fight for their lives and some even get killed in grizzly ways? Welp, they made another film like that but this time... with dogs! Oh boy, they sure did and it's a story about the continuous struggle of two dogs and their attempt to not only escape from a cruel animal testing lab but as well as their friendship. It's a slow burn of a movie, but it really does pull at your heart in a way that makes you feel hollow inside.
I enjoyed how this movie was not shy in what it showed from animal abuse to the straight-up death of not one, but two people. What I also enjoyed was the audio clips of the humans talking over the phone and in parliament, I felt like it really added a whole lot more weight to what was happening to the main cast that could never catch a break.
It's well worth a watch if you have not yet done so, personally, I made the odd step to watch this movie in the same room as my two dogs, so that was something. Somehow, despite having so much... horror? Upsetting? Scenes in the movie, it was only given the rating of a PG, so come on kids, let's stick this DVD on!
While this was made by the same people who brought you Watership Down, the film does not share any of the same characters, so you don't need to watch that movie before this one (although Watership Down really is worth a watch).Helluva Boss
Set in the Underworld, Helluva Boss follows the black comedy and musical adventures of the Immediate Murder Professionals, or I.M.P., an assassination business that offers to other residents in Hell the service of taking care of living people on Earth as a way of settling any «unfinished business», and I mean more Al Pacino way of taking care of someone, rather than Julie Andrews. The show itself was a spin-off of Hazbin Hotel, another cartoon by Vivienne «VivziePop» Medrano.
One thing that I will have to say is that, while most of the show is fantastic, it does have a bumpy start - the first two episodes (the pilot and episode one) don't quite fully land, I'm not sure, there's just something off about the first two.
But saying that, Helluva Boss is a tightly-written show that, despite it literally following a bunch of killers, is good, like really good, but it's kind of hard to fully nail down just what makes this show fun to watch, but it's safe to say that the mix of the characters, the comedy aspects, and the music all help in making it a joy.
The show really does become its best in the more emotional moments where the characters are at their most vulnerable, a good example of this is in the second episode, Loo Loo Land, where Stolas, who is in the middle of a failing marriage, takes his daughter, Octavia, to an off-brand theme park while clearly trying to hit on Blitzo to the distaste of her.
It's great to know that not only can an adult cartoon be funny, but also genuinely sad and relatable at times. What makes it even more impressive is that this is an independently funded show, getting most of its money from patrons and from selling things like plushes. Knowing this, it really does put other adult cartoons to shame, especially due to how professional it is.
Currently, the show is free to watch on YouTube, meaning that you have no real reason not to watch it, plus, the show has Loona, a tsundere wolfgirl, awooga, humma humma *eyes pop out*.
The Evil My Little Pony VHS!
To end off this... good? newsletter, in 2016, I wrote a terrible My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, and as this is a horror-related issue, please enjoy The Evil My Little Pony VHS!.
Wow, that was great. For more terrible horse-related stories by Cass, a full collection of them can be found here.
Thanks and Credits
Written by Cass Python.
Image of Helluva Boss is being used in the context of fair use - as taken from The Harvest Moon Festival (S1E5).
The artwork at the top of the page, «Cass Python not writing any new issues of nb21», was taken from Wikimedia Commons. It is public domain.
In memory of the Pendragon: 1996 - 2021.
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