Saturday, October 22, 2016

Only now does it occur to me... HELLRAISER IV: BLOODLINE

Only now does it occur to me... that HELLRAISER IV: BLOODLINE wants to have its cake and eat it, too.  Particularly, it wants to have its "Let them eat cake"-cake, with extended 18th Century flashbacks that kinda feel like the ones in ANGEL, questionable accents and all:

Yes, that is PARKS & RECREATION's Adam Scott on the left.

It wants to have its James Cameron cake, too, with a frame story taking place in 2127 on a space-station shaped like a deconstructed Lament Configuration:

In case we didn't get the Cameron vibe completely, there are Space Marines:

T-800-lookin' robots:

and twin security guards, just like in TERMINATOR 2 (albeit under different circumstances):

HELLRAISER IV versus....


It wants to have its Brian de Palma cake:

Again, that's Adam Scott on the right-hand side of this De Palma shot, only now he's been transformed into a 90s yuppie.

Its "corporate thriller" cake":

Yes, that is a catered dinner in the lobby of a skyscraper that's been decorated to look like an enormous Lament Configuration.

Not to mention its John Carpenter cake:

(I can't believe they profaned Carpenter's favorite (Albertus) font with the Alan Smithee name!)

A lot of this schizophrenia probably has to do with the fact that Clive Barker's concept was gutted by studio budget cuts, and horror maestro Stuart Gordon dropped out. He was replaced by TALES FROM THE CRYPT's Kevin Yagher, who presided over what was supposedly a clusterfuck of a shoot, and then HALLOWEEN 666's Joe Chapelle was brought in to do studio ordered, Pinhead-centric reshoots after Yagher refused. (All of which ended with Yagher choosing to be credited as the infamous "Alan Smithee.")

In all, this is not a great movie––and it doesn't even have a song by Motörhead or a CD Cenobite, like in HELLRAISER III. Though I do appreciate the "in space!" aspect, also seen in JASON X, CRITTERS 4: THEY'RE INVADING YOUR SPACE, or LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE.
 Doug Bradley, who'd rather be doing RICHARD III.

Christine Harnos, who you may remember from DAZED AND CONFUSED and as "Mark Greene's first wife" from ER.

Bruce Ramsay, who kinda looks like Jean-Claude Van Damme. But remember: there can only be one Jean-Claude Faux Damme!

Additionally, this was the last HELLRAISER film to be released theatrically, and I feel as if I've made an accurate assessment of its quality. Note: there are five more after this. And another one supposedly coming out next year. Whew!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Only now does it occur to me... BLUE THUNDER

 Only now does it occur to me...  that I waited way too long to watch BLUE THUNDER.

Directed by John Badham (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, WARGAMES), and written by Dan O'Bannon (ALIEN, THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, John Carpenter's DARK STAR) and Don Jakoby (DEATH WISH 3, ARACHNOPHOBIA, John Carpenter's VAMPIRES), it's a thriller about the militarization of our police forces and the obliteration of personal privacy. It's about brave whistleblowers and bitchin', fully rad helicopters; possibly the median point between SNOWDEN and AIRWOLF.

The inimitable Roy Scheider stars as an LAPD helicopter pilot (battling PTSD from Vietnam) who's paired with a nerdy rookie (Daniel Stern),

and bossed around by a crusty but lovable Warren Oates

who is given an ample platform to growl "goddammit" and "you bright-eyed sons of bitches" with impunity, and chide the newbie Stern with monologues like: "You're supposed to be stupid, son, don't abuse the privilege.... for Chrissakes, I had 20 years in this outfit when your idea of a big time was sittin in front of the TV tube, watchin' Bugs Bunny and gnawin' on your Fudgesicle!"

Candy Clark appears in a brilliant supporting role as Roy Scheider's ex-wife; at the beginning, at least, it feels like outtakes from the most depressing domestic scenes in ALL THAT JAZZ.

"Goddamn your Black Irish heart, Frank Murphy!"

Malcolm McDowell plays the villain of the piece, obviously, named Colonel Cochran (and I'm going to continue with my conspiracy theories about HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH being an inspiration to filmmakers everywhere), a nefarious Brit who was essentially a prep-school bully to Roy Scheider back in 'Nam (there are flashbacks).

He wears turtlenecks and uses "Catch you later!" as his evil catchphrase, which is fine, I guess.  It's okay, I think he's having fun.

"Catch you later!"

In all, it's a genuinely exciting conspiracy thriller with high stakes, despite sorta feeling like a big-budget episode of (the aforementioned) AIRWOLF, or even MACGUYVER. Prefiguring TOP GUN by three years, when its politics begin to show, it presents itself as anto-jingoist, opposing in every way the values of post-TOP GUN, Michael Bay school of filmmaking. In BLUE THUNDER, military technology is to be feared, not fetishized; and it depicts the new generation of Reagan-era jet fighter jockeys and their masters as schlubs propped-up by propaganda, accidentally firing heat-seeking missiles into a BBQ joint (because of misinterpreted thermal imaging) and into an office building (whose windows are reflecting the rays of the sun).

Also: Roy Schneider flies a helicopter upside down while screaming "Come on, you tub of shit!" which is without a doubt the "Smile, you sonofabitch!" moment of this movie.

If that's not enough of an endorsement, I don't know what is.

P.S.––Coming soon: horror films for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"The Summoners" on The Monster Channel

In association with the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival (PUFF), my short horror film "The Summoners" will be streaming online on The Monster Channel, an online television network whose goal is to "recreate the vibe of the great era of independent television, the local TV station, the UHF channel, the progressive public access channel of the 70s/80s/90s." The film will appear in a block of PUFF-curated films on October 17th at 8:00PM and 11:00PM, October 22nd at 12:00AM, and October 23rd at 12:00AM.

Credits for "The Summoners":
Featuring (in order of appearance) Hermes, Jillaine Gill, Katie Lee Hill, Travis Artz, Robyn Nielsen, and The Man-Beast.

Directed, written and edited by Sean Gill. Produced by Sean Gill and Rachel Klein.  Cinematography by Ryan Garretson. Music by Jesse Carlson. Costume Design and Choreography by Rachel Klein. Ms. Nielsen's Gown by Elena Kanagy-Loux. Mask of The Man-Beast by Juanita Cardenas.  Special Thanks to Dario Argento, Happy Faces, Cornelius Loy, Christopher Pike, and Jake Thomas. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sean Gill's "Danger Nut" in Spartan

I have a new (very) short story called "Danger Nut" in the Fall 2016 issue of Spartan, a Seattle-based literary journal with a focus on minimalist prose. You may read it online here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Only now does it occur to me... AMERICAN PSYCHO (The Novel)

Only now does it occur to me... that infamous Bret Easton Ellis alter ego "Patrick Bateman"––a Jason Voorhees/Gordon Gekko-hybrid and misogynistic serial murderer who probably attends underground yuppie Kumites, a character who notably masturbates to the murder-drill scene from BODY DOUBLE, classifies THE RETURN OF BRUNO as his favorite compact disc, and weeps through episodes of ALF––worships at the altar of Donald Trump. And we're not talking a "harmless pop culture cameo" like in HOME ALONE 2: Bateman, the untethered id of the THEY LIVE generation, literally idolizes Trump, between his Big Brother-ish branding of the moneyed cityscape and his amoral personal instruction in the (ghostwritten) THE ART OF THE DEAL. In a way, Trump is the character's mentor, his greatest ambition, his source of comfort. The Trump name merits twenty-seven mentions throughout this 1991 novel––once every fourteen pages. Here are ten of them:

10. " of all, The Patty Winters Show this morning was in two parts. The first was an exclusive interview with Donald Trump, the second was a report on women who've been tortured." (p. 256)

9. "I pause, unsure of what to say, and come up with 'Futility... is hard to deal with.'
I am thinking about nothing. It's silent in the office. To break it, I point out the book on top of the desk, next to the San Pellegrino bottle. The Art of the Deal, by Donald Trump.
'Have you read it?' I ask Kimball.
'No,' he sighs, but politely asks, 'Is it any good?'
'It's very good,' I say, nodding. (p. 276)

8. "'We're going to a party Donald Trump's having,' I lie.
'Big fun. Very big fun.'
'Donald's a nice guy. You should meet him,' I say. 'I'll... introduce you to him.'
'Really?' Sean asks, maybe hopefully, maybe not. (p. 229)

7. "'Thirty bucks at the door apiece is not exactly slumming, Evelyn.' Then I ask, suspiciously, 'Why wasn't Donald Trump invited to your party?'
'Not Donald Trump again,' Evelyn moans. 'Oh god. Is that why you were acting like such a buffoon? This obsession has got to end!' she practically shouts. (p. 194)

6. "'Is that Donald Trump's car?' I ask, looking over at the limousine stuck next to us in gridlock.
'Oh god, Patrick. Shut up,' she says, her voice thick and drugged." (p. 93)

5. "'Listen,' she says. 'The Young Republican bash at the Pla...' She stops herself as if remembering something, then continues, 'at the Trump Plaza is next Thursday.'"

4. "'Here.' He reaches into his pocket and hands me a Xeroxed article. 'I just wanted to prove you wrong. Read this.'
'What is it,' I ask, opening the folded page.
'It's an article on your hero, Donald Trump.' McDermott grins.
'It sure is,' I say apprehensively. 'Why didn't I ever see this, I wonder.'" (p. 109)

3. "I look up, admiringly, at Trump Tower, tall, proudly gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. In front of it two smart-ass nigger teenagers are ripping off tourists at three-card monte and I have to fight the impulse to blow them away." (p. 385)

2. "Faded posters of Donald Trump on the cover of Time magazine cover the windows of another abandoned restaurant, what used to be Palaze, and this fills me with a newfound confidence." (p. 163)

1. "Everyone is very uptight at the concert Carruthers drags us to in New Jersey this evening, an Irish band called U2 who were on the cover of Time magazine last week...  Carruthers keeps trying to placate everyone by telling us that Donald Trump is a a big U2 fan..." (p. 142)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sean Gill's "Have a Lappie with Linda" in failbetter

I have a new short story called "Have a Lappie with Linda," available online at failbetter, one of the web's oldest and best literary publications, and one I've admired for many years. You may read the story online here.