Archive for February, 2012

I finally got around to seeing “Hot Fuzz.” And my heterosexual man-crush on Simon Pegg is now officially in full effect. (And let’s not forget co-writer and director Edgar Wright, who also gets major credit.)

The first half of the movie was great. As I’d read in the reviews, it played beautifully off the techniques and cliches of American action movies.

But for me, the movie really achieved something transcendent in the second half. I hadn’t read a mention of this in any of the reviews. And if you haven’t seen the movie yet, be forewarned. This is something of a spoiler.

But it incorporates the action movie parody into an extended, brilliant riff on the 1973 British cult horror movie “The Wicker Man.”

A 2006 remake of “The Wicker Man” starring Nicolas Cage has actually acquired cult status of its own, for being so bad that it’s hilarious. I’ve never seen it.

But if you’ve never seen the original “Wicker Man,” by all means do so. It’s a terrific movie.

My respect for Simon Pegg, already at astronomical levels, went up still further when he worked that into “Hot Fuzz.” And as with the action cop movies he was already riffing on, he shows a genuine affection and respect for the source material when he starts in with the Wicker Man jokes.

Well played, Simon.

Here’s a video that I did at a Gettysburg horror convention back in September.

Most guys who watched that video had two questions for me: “Tom, what are your thoughts on the horror genre? To what extent do you regard it as a perspicuous gauge by which a culture obliquely examines its social ills?”

Nah, not really. The questions most guys had were: “Tom, what’s the deal with that ‘Cheerleaders vs. Zombies’ actress? Do you think she might be interested in me?” (She shows up at the 2:08 mark, by the way.)

In response to the latter question: No.

In response to the former: She’s Nancy McDonald. She’s originally from Baltimore, but she recently moved to Los Angeles, where she’s writing for “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and pursuing a career as an actress and model. Here’s a link to her Website.

Ms. McDonald graciously agreed to answer a few interview questions for Chamber of the Bizarre.

Would you tell us a little about your background?

I started attending a theatre school and performing in dinner theatre at the age of 9. I took correspondence courses with Trinity College of London for about 6-7 years. It was pretty much the scariest moment of my young life- every year an examiner would fly over from London to sit with me in a big empty theatre and I had to impress them with my interpretation of various monologues and prose!

What are some projects you’ve been involved with?

I did a few short films while I was on the East Coast and a few smaller parts in features. One project I am waiting to see is “Shark Exorcist” by Donald Farmer. I improvised an entire scene of being possessed in a graveyard and I want to see how much of it he used…

Do you have anything in the works right now?

I had a part in a short film last year called OLLO DE NOLLO and I am waiting to hear back about a couple of auditions. At this point, just making ends meet while living in LA has taken some precedence. CHEERLEADERS VS ZOMBIES is still in the fundraising phase.

So what’s the deal with Cheerleaders vs. Zombies? Am I correct in assuming that it involves cheerleaders and/or zombies in some capacity?

You would be quite correct 🙂
We are on our way to a cheerleading competition when we get stranded in the desert and end up fighting off zombies. You know, like ya’ do….

Why do you think nobody’s done a movie featuring cheerleaders fighting zombies before now? It seems so obvious in retrospect.

I agree! Altogether, I’m pretty grateful it hasn’t been done to death already, like so many other zombie themes.

What makes a good horror actress?

It depends on whether you mean Horror Actress or “Scream Queen”. Scream Queens generally have to have a great set of lungs, and- let’s face it- a great set of tits.

However, in my opinion, the elements of a great Horror Actress are similar to those of an actress in any genre- the ability to realistically and sympathetically portray a character in circumstances one may not have encountered in one’s own life. A Horror Actress just has to do it while probably covered in fake blood and generally fighting for her life 😛

As a horror actress, can you give us some recommendations on good horror films?

My all-time favorite Horror movie is LADY IN WHITE. Despite my propensity for being *in* gory movies, my personal preferences are suspense thrillers, ghost stories, and anything with a Fantasy edge. PAN’S LABYRINTH makes me cry like a baby and I adore it. INSIDIOUS was one of the best things I’ve seen in ages, simply because it brought the creepy-factor back in a big way! Also, it’s not a movie, but “American Horror Story” is an amazingly well made show.

What advice would you give us on surviving a zombie apocalypse?

Stock up on canned goods and ammo. Trust no one.

“The Fightin’ Shoggoths”: Pine Bluff Senior High, Pine Bluff, Ark.

“The Eldritch Terrors”: Colonial High School, Azalea Park, Fla.

“The Dunwich Hornets”: Dunwich Regional High School, Dunwich, Mass.

“The Fluffy Hamsters” (From one of Lovecraft’s lesser known works): Williamsport Vocational-Technical School, Williamsport, Pa.

“The Thinly Veiled Racial Allegories”: Post Falls High School, Post Falls, Idaho

“The Cthulhu Lulus”: Immaculate Heart Girls Christian Academy, Saratoga, N.Y.

Another find from Doug

Posted: February 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

Thanks to my buddy Doug for forwarding this to me. This guy explains how local road signs actually include secret codes, which FEMA, NATO, and (Surprise surprise!) the U.N. use to identify the location of detention camps or helicopter landing sites or something. To me, this perfectly encapsulates what a lot of conspiracy theories are about: pattern recognition gone haywire. That’s the great thing about the Internet. You can get the full explanations — which are weirdly fascinating from a purely anthropological standpoint — without having to sit next the twitchy guy dressed all in camouflage fatigues at your local redneck bar, whom all the regulars know to avoid.