Saturday, May 31, 2008

Because all you of Earth are idiots...

Amazingly, next year marks the 50th anniversary of Ed Wood's epic Plan 9 From Outer Space. Director John Johnson and Darkstone Entertainment plan to mark this occasion by releasing a remake called simply Plan 9.

Why is this exciting?

Well, the plan (so to speak) is for this remake to be a serious attempt at a horror film. No lovingly campy reproduction here. They're out to make this a scary movie.

Now this interested me because obviously, I'm a fan of B-movies, but also because I've often thought of rewriting cheesy sci-fi and horror movies as writing exercises.

When you distill Plan 9's plot into its most basic form, it has potential: Aliens reanimate the dead.

Of course, they wanted to do so to prevent Earth's scientists from creating a doomsday weapon, and you wonder why plans 1 through 8 were unsuccessful, but that's overthinking things.

So you know I'm going to be all over this when it comes out, just to see if they can make an Ed Wood movie scary.

This made me think of other movie distillations that didn't really work when they were originally released but still have hope as a remake. Even bad movies can have good ideas.

I'll list them, and you try to guess them. Then I'll post the answers tomorrow.

  • Killer targets women and uses parts from each of his victims to create a composite body.

  • Eight people are the only survivors of an alien attack on Earth.

  • Ordinary man discovers he likes the taste of human flesh.

  • A murderer is reincarnated.

  • Mutated animals terrorize the world.

  • Well, that'll do for a start. To get you in the right frame of mind, here's Ed Wood's original classic.

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle!

    Oh dear God.

    OK, now I love playing Guitar Hero, and I have a Nintendo DS, but sweet monkey danish, this makes baby Jesus cry.

    Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a video promoting Guitar Hero for the DS. I keep telling myself that this is intentionally asstastic, but I'm really not sure.

    I feel like kicking myself in the ass just for sharing it with you, but you really have to see it.

    Make sure you watch it all the way to the end. If you don't actually feel measurably dumber after watching it, you are a better person than I.

    More DIY videos at

    This was passed along to me by my pal Karyne, who saw it at Neatorama. I'm still talking to her nonetheless. I'm magnanimous like that.

    Or dumb. I haven't decided yet.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    Asking the immortal question, "Waar is de pisjongen?"

    Harvey Korman died today. Dick Martin died Saturday. I spent a lot of time watching both of them on TV growing up, so I thought I'd give them a shout-out.

    In addition to providing the voice of The Great Gazoo on The Flintstones, I knew Harvey Korman as one of the players on The Carol Burnett Show, where he showed superhuman ability in keeping a straight face when paired with Tim Conway.

    One of my favorite bits was where Conway's character is lamenting the loss of a cousin (or something) to a shark attack. The story goes on until he gets to this line:

    "She would have made it if she hadn't been wearing her lucky ham..."

    I wish I could find a clip of that because I'm not doing it justice; granted, I was very young at the time. I might be missing a few details.

    In high school, I rediscovered him in such epics as History of the World, Part I, where he gets one of the best lines in any movie ever:

    "Your Majesty, you look like the piss boy!"

    Here's a bit of Harvey Korman in action. The first clip is mildly not safe for work because of language, and the second one, a little more not safe for work (brief boobage); you've been warned.

    In addition to co-hosting Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, Dick Martin seemed to be on nearly every game show in the 70s and early 80s, as well as an appearance on The Carol Burnett Show.

    I loved hearing him laugh. If you heard it, you know what I mean. You can pick it out of a crowd easily.

    While I recommend watching anything these two were in, you can get a taste by cruising YouTube and other places. Here's an episode of Laugh-In, followed by some bloopers. Listen for the laugh. You'll know it when you hear it.


    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    At first I was like ???, but then I LOL'd

    Saw this on a pole at Second and Mission today on our way to the BART station:

    Now we just need to find the walrus' bukket.

    Pardon my crap photography skills; I took it with my phone while trying not to look stupid. It says "LOLCAT | Responds to CHEEZBURGER | Please to call | 515-862-1000."

    OK, so what does that mean? I enlisted the help of the crack Siftin' Research Squad (I looked it up on Google).

    It's a promotion for Drown Radio's album, Me Geek Pretty One Day.

    Well played, sir.

    I think I might just check it out. For 8 bucks, you get "nerdcore hip hop songs with 8-bit instrumentals, electro-pop, and sexy r & b." How can I resist?

    As clever as the sign was, that's the second most interesting animal-related sign I've seen. It's going to take a hell of a lot to top No. 1:

    I didn't say it was funny...

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Hidden memory nuggets

    With so many shows being released on DVD, you'd think that for someone like me, I could watch all the old shows like I watched when I was little.

    For example, the Looney Tunes Golden Collections have tons of awesome cartoons and extras. But so far, I haven't seen any of the later Warner Bros. cartoons that were a staple of Saturday mornings of my youth, watching the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour on CBS.

    So when I found this clip on YouTube, hearing the first few seconds of the music from a late Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon really brought back memories.

    For a second or two, I was 6 years old, clad in my Superman pajamas, nursing a bowl of Apple Jacks on my trusty TV tray.

    (the clip is a bit loud, so turn down the volume)

    It's these little things that I enjoy almost more than the prospect of getting to see one of my favorite shows in its entirety; the stuff that most of us forget.

    Just the little bit of music they played to introduce the cartoon is something that I forgot until I saw this video. But as soon as I heard it, it was like, "How could I have forgotten it?"

    See if you can last through this whole compilation. My thanks to WREYNetwork for uploading these gems.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Taking the day off

    So until tomorrow, why not watch something educational?

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    The name of the game

    Everyone, I think, went to school with someone who had a funny name. I had a lab partner in high school named Rob Graves. Jen went to school with a girl named Anna Banana.

    Jen and I had long discussions about baby names. It seems to me that some parents just don't think very far ahead when they come up with names for their kids. Ours are tested; I tried to come up with everything I could think of that a kid might twist the names into.

    The name I was born with was innocuous enough, but I've told friends about a young man who was not so lucky. I went to school with a kid named Harold. Harold Balz.


    Harry Balz.

    As you might imagine, he got a lot of ribbing for his name, and he tended to be something of a troublemaker. Causing trouble was the only way he could distract people from making fun of his name, and he developed quite the reputation.

    So much so that when our teacher was out sick, she left a note that explicity mentioned Harold and his propensity for causing shenanigans.

    One day when we found ourselves with a substitute teacher (in an astounding display of poor judgment, our teacher actually alerted us ahead of time) for the day, Harry decided to start the day off by hiding most of the class in the coat closet. Big closet, small kids, and not everyone participated; he needed witnesses to document the sub's reaction.

    Our hapless sub came in and noticed that our numbers were a little thin. Before she could call roll, Margaret Ballanger, the class tattletale, made like Benedict Arnold and ratted out Harry and the others. The substitute teacher, Miss Binney, said that our teacher had left a note about Harry and thanked her for being honest.

    I rolled my eyes at Margaret.

    To be fair, I think the sub would've figured it out before too long. With all those kids in the closet, they weren't all that quiet. Miss Binney walked over the the closet, the clacking of her high heels sounding like gunshots in the relative silence.

    As she got closer, the whispering from the closet grew more audible. She leaned her head in and knocked on the closet door. More whispering and even more shushing from inside.

    "All right," Miss Binney said sternly. "Anyone in there with Harry Balz had better come out right now." As she realized what she said, I was busy trying not to explode with laughter. The classroom was dead silent.

    And then, from inside the closet: "...does fuzz count?"