Sunday, November 7, 2010

My God I Heart This Man

Pictures -Finally

Just wanted to let everyone know that the pictures are all finally downloaded and I added some to three of the older posts.

Also, if you are into the paranormal thing, take a look at my brother's blog, Project Blue, and his review of a new documentary about some scary places in Saginaw, Michigan.

Hamilton Street Horrors

And tell him I said to write more because I get sad when he doesn't.

Trail of the Screaming Foreheads

I found this by accident on IFC when I was setting up the DVR for 'The Dead Set' last week. I remember reading a little about this but I'd forgotten about it - a quick search of Amazon found that it's not available on DVD, so I added it to my DVR. I watched part of it last weekend and then finished it up on my sick day - which took three or four attempts because I kept falling asleep.  I attribute that more to the illness than the movie - although it does kind of drag in the middle.

Screaming Forehead is a tribute film to the scifi films of the 50s - the Earth is being invaded by alien foreheads from another planet just looking for a decent place to live because well, their planet just isn't working out for them so well.....and isn't that always how these things tend to go???

The director of 'Foreheads', Larry Blamire, is behind Lost Skeleton of Cadvara - which may just be the best tribute film of this kind. Unfortunately, I don't think Foreheads is anywhere as good as "Skeleton', but it's still fun. The actors do a great job, and just like Skeleton, the appreciation and love for the genre (and the era that these films came from) shows.

Possessing a certain sense of humor helps to find a movie like this appealing. For instance, if you're a fan of certain movies where completely un-dangerous (is that even a word?) items suddenly possess a dangerous side, then you might enjoy Foreheads. For instance, if the sight of tomatoes chasing people across parking lots makes you laugh*, then alien Foreheads inching their way across the landscape will probably be your cup of tea as well.

This was fun but I'm looking forward to Larry Blamire's other films,

Dark and Stormy Night


The Lost Skeleton Returns Again

Both of which are available on DVD right now.

For other films of this kind, I also recommend the films of Christopher Mimh.  Last year during the Countdown to Halloween, I reviewed a couple of his films as well as Cadavra and a couple others along the same vein. You can go relive my retardedness here and here, and here, if you're so inclined.

Mama F.

* (and yes, it does, quite frankly)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Joe Hill

I stayed home sick today; and I'm barely making it through with a steady diet of juice, Harry Potter, coffee, movies about foreheads from outer space (more on that later), and this.....


This is not a new book - it was published in October 2005. But I just bought it recently to read on the plane and finished it up today. Hands down, one of the best (if not the best) collections of short stories by a single author that I've ever read.

If you aren't already aware, Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King....although I'm pretty sure you won't see that mentioned anywhere in the introductions or on the covers of the book. I don't think he admitted a connection to his famous father until his second book Heart Shaped Box, published in 2007, came out. Which is another book I highly recommend.

The author also has a new book out, called Horns, and a comic book series called Locke and Key that is going to be made into a TV series. If I wasn't so under the weather, i could probably be bothered to look that stuff up, lol.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Young Frankenstein: The Musical

I'm off today - and  a little under the weather - but I did want to mention that we saw this in Milwaukee last night:

I'm a HUGE YF fan - it's my number three favorite movie of all time- so I was really looking forward to this. I thought they did a great job overall - and I was really impressed with the way the three main actors : Victor, Elizabeth, the Monster - managed to make the parts their own. Of course all the iconic lines are still there -  but just like Spamalot, I felt that the best parts weren't with the lines you already knew - but with the songs and the new material that the actors had to work with.

Overall, better than I expected.  I think I would have liked it regardless, but I thought the sons were great and the cast top notch.  I recommend it if you have the chance.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Last Post Halloween Blast: Zombie Puppets, Nekkid Ladies and Double Feature Halloween Morning Slam

The last few days of October were a blast.

Thursday the 28th I was fortunate enough to see the NOLD: TPS at The Oriental.  I'm happy to report it was very well attended.  The audience responded with a well deserved standing O. 

 I took a friend who is not a fan of horror movies and has never seen any of the Romero films - and she loved it.
That, guys, is how much you ROCK.
Can't wait to see where you show up next.

Saturday I made my way over to The Times Cinema to take in what may be the definitive horror comedy, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

This film is also on my Halloween list of movies I must watch every October. Also a very well attended show.  This movie never loses its funny to me - I'll never get tired of the 'Oh Chick, Oh Chhhhhhhhhhhhhickkkkkkk!!!!!!!!' bit, and I always lose it when Costello starts calling the Frankenstein monster 'Junior'.

Then I came home for a nap, and later Papa Cash and I went back to the Times for a raunchy and randy (but fun) show by The Brew City Bombshells.  I'd wanted to see their show before but never made it - Holy Crap, the fun I've been missing.

The Bombshells come in all shapes and sizes - and all chose Halloween themed costumes and songs to strip to. Mixed with the Bombshells were performances by The Dead Man's Carnival.  For a woman whose lil black heart truly is warmed by go-go dancing from the 60's, this was a show that rocked my Halloween.

Unfortunately I can't find the gnarly cool poster they had for the Halloween show - but here's an advert featuring the upcoming Christmas show at the Times.  And believe me, girls and boys, Mama will be there.

And finally, my Halloween morning - I have a 'Must' list of films that I love and need to watch every October.  I'd already watched House on Haunted Hill earlier in the month, and Abbott and Costello the day before - so I got up early Sunday morning and managed to get in a couple before football started.

My double feature consisted of:

(which is a new addition to my list)


'cause it ain't Halloween if Tom Atkins isn't in there somewhere.

I thought I did fairly well for spending so much time away from home this year and being so dang busy. Other films that I usually like to watch are:

Young Frankenstein (although I am seeing the Broadway musical version tomorrow night)

Bride of the Monster or Plan 9 From Outer Space

Mad Monster Party

The Howling

and I'm sure there's others I'm forgetting right now.

So it was a pretty event filled October - if not a great one for blogging. I will be going back to my favorite blogs, however, and catching up on my favorites and am looking forward to everyone's October adventures.

And - I SWEAR TO GOD pictures really are forthcoming. I did manage to download some pictures on another computer - although mine have still not made it yet. I have completely given up on using my laptop to accomplish this anymore. Mama needs a new computer for Christmas.

AND- to all three of you who entered the contest - Guess what, I've decided to just give you all a print. Thanks for taking the time to enter.  Jinx, please post your email in the comments - I won't publish it - and the other two I'll be emailing you for your addresses.  JL, I'll need your address as well because I don't know if I have the most recent one. It'll take me a couple weeks to get them mailed out - I have a jacked up work schedule coming up - but you all should get them by the end of November.

I hope everyone had an outstanding Halloween - here's to finishing the rest of the year happy and healthy-

Mama Firefly

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day Twenty Four: Islands of Adventure:, or The Harry Potter Experience

As I said in the previous post, I'd never been to Islands of Adventure before.

I am a Harry Potter fan, and I was really looking forward to this part of the trip.  This part of the park opened last summer, and it's still very popular.

We went on Sunday and again on Monday, thinking that Monday would be the slower day - which is exactly what everyone else was thinking, apparently. We ended up not spending a lot of time there because it was so damn crowded.  Instead, we spent our day having lunch at the Mykonos cafe and watching a talking fountain mess with small children. Good times.

But we did get to see most of it on Sunday. We didn't ride the dragon rollercoaster, but we did go on the main ride - and hands down, it's the best ride I've EVER been on. Yes. Best ride EVER. Bear in mind the P. Cash did not think so - he thought it was a very well done ride, but is not a fan of rides that are simulated. This ride is part roller coaster and part simulation, and I absolutely loved it. I used to ride EVERYTHING when i was a kid, but I've found that I don't enjoy anything that goes upside down anymore or things that have really steep drops.  Yes, I've become a huge pussy. True Story.

Once the newness dies down a little, and a bit fewer people aren't making from pilgrimages all over the world - it'll be a great place to spend the day. We did manage to eat at Three Broomsticks, try some Butterbeer (yum) and do most other things but for the most part, getting around in the stores and in the streets was slow and required a good amount of patience.

We also went to the Sinbad Stunt show that day - and big hint that I'm ready to go home at this point - fireworks are going off around me, men are swinging from the rafters, water is spraying every where, and I'm sleeping. SLEEPING.

Oh HELLS no that BEEYOTCH  in the front row is not gonna sleep through MY show

I also managed to pack a couple of other scary incidences in the trip that I didn't even have to pay extra for.

I woke up once in the middle of the night and managed to get my legs over the side of the bed - I'm assuming I either needed a drink of water or to use the bathroom - but I never got any further than that. Instead, I apparently fell back asleep sitting up on the edge of the bed - and if that wasn't freaky enough, I also woke up rocking back and forth slightly.  Just my own little version of Paranormal Activity.  I couldn't get back in bed fast enough.
I also found out that our bathroom floor at the hotel was massively slippery when wet - and almost did a huge wipe out all over it after the P Cash forgot to warn me about the water all over the floor. Thankfully I caught myself and only jammed a thumb - accompanied by the rest of my vacation flashing before my eyes - one of those moments when you just know without a doubt that you've just avoided a trip to the ER.

So I managed to pack a few scares into the trip that I didn't even have to pay extra for!
And that's my last October post - but I've got about three more posts I'd like to do regarding how I spent the last couple days of the month featuring zombie puppets, burlesque, and how I packed my favorite movies of the season in.

It was an unusual October for me - I didn't do about half of the normal things I usually do for the month - but I did get to do something that I've wanted to do for at least the last ten years. I'm glad I did it and it was worth it - but I also enjoy my regular traditions and I kind of missed them - even though the tradeoff was worth it, and I think I still got enough of my usual thing to have it feel like Halloween - even if for about a day or two.

I'll also add pictures to these posts - and announce the winner of the contest.

Mama F.

Universal Studios

I miss King Kong. I do. I found out shortly before we left for our vacation that the King Kong ride was no longer a part of  Universal. I don't know when they took it down - I'm pretty The Mummy roller coaster took its place - but I was really bummed to find out I wasn't going to be able to ride it and I had a little bit of nostalgia when I came out of The Mummy and realized that it used to come out into the King Kong themed store - and unless I'm crazy, there was a place you could pose for a picture inside Kong's hand.  The Mummy ride was fun, but it would have been great to be terrorized by Kong again.

I was at Universal Orlando about fifteen years ago - and only about a half dozen of the rides and shows were the same. Also, Islands of Adventure wasn't even there - I remember the signs for the upcoming Jurassic Park ride - so this was my first trip there.

But Universal still has Jaws - fun, although it's showing its age- the Beetlejuice show, and the Horror Makeup Effects Show - which is a lot of fun. Even the P.Cash agreed that it was one of the best things at the park.

Cuttin' on Grandma.

The Monster Cafe is still there - it was closed down during the day and open during HHH - I'm not sure why, since they didn't do anything special with it at night. I did go on purpose and had a soda, just so I could see inside and hang out. There was an old horror movie playing on the screens and there are a few old movie posters. When I was there years ago, Frankenstein was wandering around, doing his thing.

The Alfred Hitchcock movie/interactive experience and the facade of The Psycho House (why??????) are gone, as is the Ghostbusters show. There are some other changes, but those are the biggest horror related ones that I noticed. I loved Universal the first time I went, and I still think it's a great park.  I was just disappointed to find that so many things that I enjoyed the first time were gone.

Halloween Horror Nights

The first scary thing I encountered in Orlando happened before I even got in the park - and that was trying to figure out what tickets to buy and in what kind of package.  I ended up buying a frequent fear pass for HHH - which meant we could have went any Wed, Thurs, or Sun during the entire run. A more expensive pass was available that included Fri or Sat nights as well, but since everything I heard and read prior to going said the weekend nights were crazy, we decided that we'd avoid those nights.

I couldn't even buy tickets before we left because the whole thing was so confusing that I got paranoid that I'd buy the wrong thing for the wrong times - but a very nice and experienced person in our hotel was a huge help and steered us in the right direction. We also bought a four day pass to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, since it was only an additional $5.00 to upgrade from a four day to a three.

I'll talk more about Universal in another post - and the horror related things they have during the day - every day of the year - at the park.

HHH had six haunted houses, six 'scare zones', two live shows - in addition to a handful of regular rides that were open. I would have liked to have ridden Jaws at night - but it really took us all of two nights just to do what we did.

Since Grandma Firefly is the Queen of HHH - she goes every year - I took advice from her and also paid the extra $$ for the fast pass - which allows you to skip ahead of the lines - and believe me, even on a Wednesday night, they were amazingly long. However, most of them said a half hour wait - if that's true, I can't imagine how long they were on weekend nights. So we focused on the haunted houses that first night, which were spread over the park.

It took pretty much all of that first night to cover those houses - we didn't see any shows and missed most of the scare zones so we could take advantage of the fast pass and see all of the houses.

One of the houses was a tribute to the first 20 years of HHH - this one was jam packed with all kinds of great props and while it looked really cool - this was the last house I made it to, and, honestly I was too exhausted to really enjoy it. I wish I'd started on this side of the park and went the opposite way.

Out of the other five, there was one haunted house called The Orfanage (sp) that we thought did a good job on creating a creepy ambiance using props, music, sound effects, and costuming. 

Otherwise - I thought the haunted houses were all very similar - and an awful lot of walking to keep repeating the same experience over and over.

However, the scare zones were a lot more fun - and we literally spent hours in them, hanging  out, having a drink, and watching the actors do their thing.  Zombie Gras was probably my favorite - and I really do have some pictures - I'm just having a terrible time downloading them.

Zombie Gras had a float sitting off to one side, mardi gras music playing, and it was as the title suggested - Mardi Gras given over to the walking dead. Zombie musicians, partiers and more than a few dead clowns stumbled around, growled, played with body parts, and terrorized people walking through.

Other scare zones had an area where monsters from years past and present (representing the last twenty years) wandered around and terrorized guests.  One particular monster - a pig demon guy dressed in overalls - decided he'd make me one of his personal favorites one night. On the second night I was there, I went through this section about three or four times, and every time I did, this guy would stop what he was doing, point at me and then stalk me for a while.

Yes, he is pointing at ME.

It's kind of funny considering the week before we went to Orlando, the P. Cash and I were driving around Milwaukee late at night, looking at houses for sale, and drove by one that I remarked looked like 'Jodi the pig demon was probably sitting up there, rocking the night away in her little chair'.  Of course he didn't get it, but anyone of a certain age will probably get that reference from the original Amityville Horror.  At this time in my life, I think the Lutzes were probably running more from a mortgage they couldn't afford, but the idea of Jodi the pig demon in her rocking chair will always give me the heebie jeebies. Add to that seeing Motel Hell at an impressionable age, and you've got enough to have Mr Pig Demon Dude stalking me to make me more than just a little freaked out.  So thank you, Mr Pig Demon guy.

The costumes and the actors that were in the other scare zones -a creepy, dark, foggy area filled with witches both ugly and beautiful - and a kind of day glo Day of the Dead -did a terrific job.  And if you don't like being chased by men with chainsaws, well, then consider yourself warned- because that is one thing that the park definitely doesn't skimp on  - and when I can not only download my own pictures, but access P. Cash's as well, I'll showcase some of my favorites in all of these places.

I also enjoyed the Bill and Ted's Adventure show - more of a comedy thing making fun of pop culture and celebrities - and the Magic show.  Had I known that the Magic show featured two different shows, I would have went to both. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until we actually saw the show - which was the last one we could attend.

All in all, I'm glad I finally got to see and do this - I was slightly disappointed in the haunted houses - I think I'd have been fine with maybe just going through half of them - but I also realize that Universal has to get people through these houses fairly quickly - and so that limits what they can do and how interactive they can make them.  The big houses I used to go to in Flint as a kid were long (they took about an hour to go through them) and also followed a storyline and used lots of actors and made you completely stop in certain rooms so they could terrorize you and bring you into the story.  These lines are amazingly long as it is - if they slowed down the amount of time it too to go through them, people would spend most of the night in line and not get to see a lot of the park - which would be very frustrating considering you're paying one price for everything.

And - unless you're young, full of energy, and walking all day and night doesn't tire you out, it's REALLY tough to go to the park all day and then go back and do HHH till midnight. So pace yourself accordingly. We only did two nights - although we could have done another one with the pass - it was the same price as buying two nights individually, so we didn't lose out on any money - AND with the pass, we were also able to choose which night to go back.

Here's a short video on YouTube showcasing the scare zones. 

What you see just before they get you.