Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

No that is not a typo and yes you read the title correctly. Today's review is for the Troma Feature, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. I like to pride myself on being able to find some obscure titles but this one takes the cake. I am constantly on the look out for movies outside the public eye and to do this I check websites such as Upcoming Horror Movies, read magazines like Fangoria (US), Gorezone (UK), Horror Hound (Canada, Bi-monthly and by far my favorite) as well as read books such as Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide. However I may as well be a nube when it comes to horror because only recently was I introduced to Fulci and this is the first Troma film I've ever seen. That even includes their classic Toxic Avenger. But enough about my shortcomings, lets give a little info about Troma followed by a plot of this film.

Troma is a film production and distribution company founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Hertz in 1974. The company produces very low budget movies, many of which have garnered cult followings. Their films are most known for their shocking imagery. They typically contain overt sexuality, graphic violence, gore and nudity to the point where the words "Troma Film" have become synonymous with them. You may then be surprised to hear that many actors and actresses were actually involved in these films before they were "discovered". They include Vanna White (Graduation Day), Kevin Costner (Sizzle Beach, USA), Samuel L. Jackson (Def By Temptation), Marisa Tomei (The Toxic Avenger), Vincent D'Onofrio (The First Turn-On!), James Gunn (Tromeo & Juliet) and Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Cannibal! The Musical). Troma's most recent release is Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. The following is a plot summery written by Troma Entertainment.

When the American Chicken Bunker, a military-themed fried-chicken chain, builds a restaurant on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground, local protesters aren't the only ones crying fowl! The previous tenants, fueled by a supernatural force, take "possession" of the food and those who eat it, and the survivors discover that they must band together before they themselves become the other white meat! Film lovers have been starved for sustenance. The relentless diet of predictability and pretense Hollywood has been serving up just doesn't cut it. Poultrygeist is hearty food for thought. In Poultrygeist, Troma takes on the the fast-food industry-skewering the soulless restaurateurs-in the world's first horror-comedy film to feature zombie chickens, American Indians and a bit of singing and dancing! It's Poultrygeist!

Ok, first things first this movies gets 5 Burning Skulls, hands down, no questions asked and I'll tell you why. Let's start with the movie's great tagline:

Humans... the other white meat... Unless you're black, then it's dark meat... Or if you are Asian, then it's yellow meat... Or if you are Native American, it's red meat...

This movie absolutely has it all. It is a funny, gorey, love story, musical about zombie chickens!!!! Those words don't even sound like they belong in the same sentence! Now don't get me wrong here, the acting, not the best, the effects, definitely no CGI in this one, and the plot, I mean c'mon its about ZOMBIE CHICKENS! But Troma still manages to put together what is fast becoming one of my favorite movies. The first time I watched it I wasn't convinced but this movie grows on you like a fungus. It is awesome.

Even the characters names are great. The love story revolves around Arby and Wendy. That's funny. (Wendy, played by Kate Graham, is absolutely beautiful in that girl next door kinda way and is a riot) But it doesn't stop there, also in this flick we have Humus, Carl Jr., Jose Paco Bell, Micki and Denny. Denny wants to "one day leave American Chicken Bunker and open up my own place. I'll call it.........Denny's.........oh Shit!!!!" Another great bit is some of the protesters being a group of lesbians that call themselves C.L.A.M. which stands for Collegiate Lesbians Against Megaconglomerates. They are hot as hell too. They need their own movie.

I will warn anyone who attempts to watch this that it is definitely not for everyone. I originally typed a couple reasons but I decided against it. You watch it and tell me what you think. That is a challenge to every reader of my website!!! Enjoy the trailer and Pleasant dreams!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trade With Thoughts And Sox

Sorry I haven't been posting a lot lately. I have been working on my horror collection quite a bit. Between watching, recording, buying and dvr-ing. I am glad to say I am now up to 280 horror movies in my collection.

A couple weeks ago I got a great package from Thoughts and Sox. Knocked a bunch of stuff from my want lists and a big thank you goes out for that. I chose the following cards to show on here for a specific reason so lets get right to it.

Adam knows that I am a New York Mets fan (pity me please) and sent me a nice chunk of Mets cards in addition to cards for my sets. So out of all the cards sent, why did I choose these three you ask? Well the story starts like I have mentioned numerous times already so I'll try and make it brief.

As a kid I collected cards. I loved it. Collect em, trade em it was a blast. However when I hit my teen years I stopped. Last year I started again after a very long time. In my "Inaugural Season" I collected Topps, Topps U&H, Topps heritage, Topps A&G, and Goudey. Needless to say I have not finished any of them yet. Because of this I decided, being the Topps man that I am, this year I would only collect Topps, Heritage and A&G. See where this is going?

I was doing really good until I saw what the Goodwins were going to look like and then I decided, well whats one more set. Mind you I haven't bought my first box of these yet but payday is right around the corner. Now thanks to Adam I have to work on O-Pee Chee and Goudey too. I can't just have these great cards from those sets. Thanks Adam for bleeding my bank account dry. HA! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alex Shelley

I got this autograph at The Broome County Arena in Binghamton, NY when TNA wrestling came to town. I always heard that this guy has an attitude and pretty much thinks his shit don't stink. After meeting him I tend to agree. He just did not seem happy to be there and in general just treated everyone like crap. Which is a shame because he is one of my favorite wrestlers. He was nice enough to sign this for me though so I guess I gotta thank him for that.

Alex Shelley was born Patrick Martin on May 23 1983 in Detroit, Michigan. He was initially trained by Bobo Brown and Breyer Wellington. He then joined BCW Can-AM Wrestling School and was trained by Scott D'Amore and Joe E. Legend and on March 2, 2002 made his wrestling debut as Alex Shelley. He chose his name by combining the forename of Alex DeLarge, the protagonist of the 1962 book A Clockwork Orange and the surname from Pete Shelley, the lead singer of the 1970's punk band, The Buzzcocks.

Shelley has wrestled for numerous independent promotions across the United States including, Border City Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, All American Wrestling and many more including my local wrestling affiliate Squared Circle Wrestling. He has also worked for Ring of Honor (ROH), Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and even had a tryout match for the WWE back June 12, 2005. He fought Simon Dean on an international version of WWE Heat in a losing effort after being hit with the Simonizor. Unfortunately, nothing came of it.

Shelley debuted in Ring of Honor in 2003. He has wrestled there as recently as 2008 and in his time there has fought many great wrestlers including Steve Corino, Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. He had his own faction in ROH called Generation Next which consisted of himself, Austin Aeries, Jack Evans and Roderick Strong. He did not hold a title during his time in ROH but along with Jimmy Rave and Abyss did win the Trios tournament in 2006.

Shelley signed a non-exclusive contract with TNA on July 8, 2004. He was paired with Goldy Locks and named "Baby Bear" Alex Shelley. Shelley requested his release from TNA later that year after then booker, Dusty Rhodes, stopped utilizing him. He re-signed with the company in 2005 after Dusty Rhodes stepped down as booker. In TNA he has wrestled in both the X Division as well as in the Tag Division, wrestling the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Sonjay Dutt, Eric Young and the Dudley Boys. He is a former TNA X-Division Champion and has also won the Chris Candido Memorial Cup with Sean Waltman (X-pac) and was part of the team to with the TNA World X Cup in 2006 with Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal. He currently wrestles mostly as part of the Tag Team, The Motor City Machine Guns with partner Chris Sabin.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trade with Roll Out the Barrel

Alright I was finally able to get to a scanner so I wanted to get caught up on some trades that I did recently. Today we have Ed at Roll Out the Barrel. I got a nice box full of cards from Ed a couple weeks ago and I want to apologize to him for a couple things, first not thanking him sooner and secondly not mailing out his return package yet. I pulled a bunch of cards for you and I will be putting them in the mail for you tomorrow.

I got so many cards from so many different sets I'm not even sure where to begin on this one. Thanks to Ed I have eliminated some cards from the following lists, 1983 Topps, 1991 Topps, 2006 Topps, 2007 Topps, 2008 Topps, 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights, 2008 Topps A&G, 2008 Topps Heritage, 2009 Topps, 2009 Topps Heritage, and 2009 Topps A&G, as well as some various mini cards as well.

I decided to start things off with these two great 1983 cards. We'll start first with "The Kid" Gary Carter. A guy who hams it up anytime the cameras are around. If anyone was meant for a NY team, its Carter. A guy that can definitely handle the press and without his arrival to the Mets one would have to wonder if the 86 Mets could have won it all. Don't get me wrong, they were one hell of a team without the Kid, with Hernandez, Gooden, Knight, Strawberry and many more but having the Kid behind the plate definitely helped.

I also needed to include this great George Brett card because when I was little my first real baseball bat was a Louisville Slugger, George Brett bat. Not only that but I also had a George Brett glove. The funny part is, when I got them I don't even think I knew who George Brett was. Ahh to be a kid again.

Next up we have this nice 2008 Carlos Beltran Topps Heritage card. I chose this one to show because I have always been a Beltran detractor. He got his contract from the Mets after his amazing 2004 postseason and I never thought he lived up to it. Now that his contract is almost up and I take a step back and look at his production, I started to finally get on the bandwagon, especially with the way he started off the 2009 season. Hitting for average and hitting lots of balls in the gap as opposed for hitting for power. As soon as I do, what happens? He spends half the season on the D/L. Ask Steve from the Easy Life, I am the biggest jinx in the world. Anytime someone has a no-hitter going I put on the game and they blow it as soon as I do. If you have a favorite player who came close but blew it just blame me, it's probably my fault.

Lastly we have this great 2008 A&G Charles Dickens. My favorite set and a card for a man who wrote one of my favorite stories, A Christmas Carol. I actually performed A Christmas Carol at a theatre in Scranton, PA back in 1999. I played Fred, Scrooge's nephew. I used to act a lot back in those days. Did many plays/musicals in both NY and PA. A Christmas Carol was one of the best shows I ever had the privilege to work on. Unfortunately I had to quit acting due to my work schedule, but now that I have a better shift at work who knows maybe I can get back into it.

I want to again thank Ed again for all of these cards and again I will get your cards out in the mail tomorrow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

2CW - My Sacrifice

Here's a great video showcasing my local wrestling company, 2CW, Where wrestling is the entertainment!!! This video includes wrestlers such as, Main Event Jason Axe, Isys Ephex, Slyck Wagner Brown and many more. This is a great montage of this company and definitely worth a watch.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blair Witch Project 3 of 3

After the eight grueling days were over, shooting wrapped and the arduous task of editing material began. In all, Ed and Dan had over 19 hours of usable footage. They kept their promise to John Pierson by producing a segment for the second season of Splitscreen. The piece, now featuring a new cast appeared on Bravo in April of 1998. The discrepancies in the cast seemed to matter little to the fans who were so enthralled by the plight of these students.

Throughout the Summer and Fall of 1998 the picture played in a handful of smaller film festivals across the country. Those successes eventually led to their acceptance into the Sundance Film Festival in 1999. In the early morning hours of January 22nd, 1999, The Blair Witch Project was the first film to be picked up from that years festival when a young company called Artisan snatched up the rights for reportedly between $1 and $1.5 million.

The next six to seven months before the film was released in theatres became a blur for the duo. They appeared on magazine covers, talk-shows, and even went to the Cannes Film Festival in France, perhaps the most prestigious place on earth a filmmaker can have their work shown. On July 16, 1999, Artisan floated the film out in a limited release. Reports quickly came in of lines around the block and sold-out theatres everywhere it was playing. Two weeks later, on July 30th, the film went wide across the country.

America had a severe case of "Blair Witch" fever. Despite Artisan's backpedaling on the "true story" angle as the release approached, large numbers of moviegoers were still confused as to what was reality and what wasn't. This created a fog of mystery and intrigue around the film, which only helped catapault its numbers even higher. In its opening weekend the film took in almost $30 million. It went on to make almost the same the next weekend, a feat almost unheard of with theatrical releases. When it was all said and done the film grossed over $140 million in the U.S. alone, the worldwide total was somewhere in the neighborhood of $248 million.

As for me personally, I love this movie. I watch it every couple of weeks. It never gets stale for me. I love the concept, though not original as many might think it be. More hardcore horror fans know this movie is very much like the 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust, which is quite possibly the most shocking and controversial film ever made. Due to graphic violence and actual animals being killed, the film is still banned in many countries. However the plot is essentially the same. A group of people go out in the woods, this time the jungles of the amazon to prove cannibals do not exist. (more on this film in a later post) When they dont come home, their footage is found and viewed. Ed and Dan claim to have never seen the movie prior to making the Blair Witch Project.

However with its amazing marketing campaign, how little the movie cost to make and what it pulled in this movie by far gets 5 Burning Skulls. Was it the scariest movie? No. Was it the goriest movie? Absolutely not. But the acting was so good to the point that even though most of us knew it was fake we thought the reactions were real. And the way the characters played off each other, everything in this film from pre to post production was done beautifully and will be appreciated by many for years to come. Again, Happy Birthday Blair Witch Project. Please enjoy the trailer below followed by some brief where are they now's with the actors. Pleasant dreams!

Heather Donahue: Heather has continued to pursue acting, mostly in television. Recent roles include the sci-fi original Manticore and 2008's The Morgue. In recent years Heather has sought to distance herself from anything Blair Witch related.

Joshua Leonard: Josh has remained active as an actor in both independent film and television. He recently made the jump to directing, and is currently helming a drama titled Everything's Alright.

Mike C Williams: Mike took a three year hiatus from acting but returned to positive reviews in Ed Sanchez's film Altered. He has also worked with Dan Myrick again, co-starring in the film The Objective. Mike has his own website, www.dearmrspielberg.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blair Witch Project 2 of 3

The casting process was very important because all of the "found footage" had to be shot by the actors themselves. Because of this they not only needed people who could act but also people who could work cameras and sound equipment or were at least willing to learn.

One actor who was all but cast even before the auditions started was Josh Leonard. He learned about the project about a year earlier while living in New York and working for a Documentary production company. After seeing a listing and getting in contact with Ed, the two remained in sporadic touch. The casting notice that went out made no bones about what potential the actors were getting into. As Heather Donahue recalled during an interview on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn in 1999, the notice said something to the effect of "Completely improvised film, shot in a wooded location, shooting is going to suck as much as you can possibly imagine."

Even after reading that over 2,000 people came out to audition for the roles of the final 2 campers. Josh read with many of the hopefuls. When Heather entered the room, Dan Myrick walked up to her and said "You've served 7 years of a 9 year sentence, why should we let you out on parole?" Her impromptu performance won her the role of the director.

Rounding out the cast was a young, trained actor from New York City named Mike Williams. He was fresh out of college and looking for his first film role. Williams background was strong and improv and personally believes he got the part because himself and Josh became fast friends at casting and that initial chemistry won him the role.
The Blair Witch project was shot over the course of eight days in October 1997. The scenes in the woods that make up the majority of the movie were shot in Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland, with much of the interviews and documentary footage being shot in the real life nearby town of Burkittsville.

Contrary to popular belief, the trio of actors were not simply sent out into the woods without direction or any idea of what was happening. they were equipped with a GPS and each day were given a set of coordinates. In addition, each was given a small film canister with their name on it, with character directions for that day that were to be kept to themselves.

During the day, Dan, Ed and Greg Hale would stalk the actors using Hale's military training. All of the actors stated they stayed in character for the vast majority of their time in the woods and only occasionally would the producers make themselves known to assure the actors that everything was going according to plan.

Nightfall was when all bets were off. The producers would ascend on the actors while they slept and begin their harassment. This including, stalking, pre-recorded noises, physically messing with their tent and belongings. It's a common misconception that at these points in the film what you see on screen is not acting but rather genuine reactions to the frightening things happening around them.

Unlike most narratively traditional films, the conditions and setup required that the picture be shot in chronological order. This led to the final scene at the house in the woods, which turned out to be the one major exception to the hands-off policy. Due to some technical issues on the first pass, the final scene was actually shot over multiple nights and required a little more direction by Ed and Dan in order for everything to appear seamless in the final cut. Once that was finished, the real story had just begun.

Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of my review of the Blair Witch Project.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blair Witch Project 1 of 3

Let me start by wishing The Blair Witch Project a Happy 10th Birthday. Thats right. Ten years ago the world was swept up by Blair Witch Mania. You could not read the paper, watch television or even talk with your friends without someone bringing up this movie. This was thanks to the excellent marketing campaign the creators, Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez. Including a special one-hour show that appeared on, the then, Sci-fi Channel, entitled Curse of the Blair Witch which included friends and teachers, along with TV spots from news shows all to create further realism for this movie. Hell, there are still people out there today who actually believe this is a true story. When I went to see it in the theatre's I even stayed through the credits just to see that little note at the end that says this is a work of fiction, any resemblance to actual people or events, blah blah blah.

Dan and Eduardo met in film school in the early 90's while attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando. While bonding over their mutual love of horror films they discovered they shared and interest in one particular sub-genre, the grainy, documentary-style films and television specials from the 70's. This was where the idea for the Blair Witch Project was born.

The initial concept was simple. A film crew gets lost in the woods, and their footage is found some time later. At the start, their idea was to have the film be shot and edited like an actual documentary, showing the students footage, but also cutting back and forth between other interviews and expert analysis. This additional footage would later become the Curse of the Blair Witch special. With inspiration but no money the project was put on the back burner.

After graduation Ed moved back to Maryland and Dan stayed in Orlando where he began working in the production industry. While there Dan formed a relationship with a young producer named Gregg Hale who liked the project so much he put up the money for Dan to rent a production office and shoot what he describes as an "investor reel." It was just a short proof of concept video, shot with different actors than who would appear in the actual movie. What happened next is hard to dismiss as anything but pure fate.

John Pierson, a long time independent film guru was in town shooting a segment for his show Splitscreen on Bravo and needed a local camera crew. Dan got the job and over the course of the shoot became good friends with John. Myrick sent him the investor reel once Pierson got back to New York and almost immediately received a call back asking if the footage was real.

Pierson decided he wanted to show the footage during the last segment of the first season of his show as a cliffhanger and he would provide the money for a second segment to premiere his second season. It aired in the Fall of 1997 and after the initial airings the message boards at Splitscreens official website lit up with people wanting to know more about the students.

Ed now joined Dan in Florida and created a web page of their own. Creating an entire mythos and history along with message boards of their own. With the internet buzz going and funds coming in from Pierson and what Dan and Ed were able to get together it was time for them to put their money where their mouths were. They knew they had to find their actors.

Tune in tomorrow for part 2

Saturday, September 5, 2009

TNA Wrestling Releases Angelina Love

In a very shocking turn of events TNA has released Angelina love from her contract late Thursday night. Angelina was a major part of the TNA Knockouts division and a former TNA Knockouts Champion. Love along with her partner Velvet Sky were set to take part in the finals of the TNA Knockouts Tag Title Tournament. It will be interesting to see how TNA will explain this.

Love is a Canadian citizen. She came to the U.S. to work for the WWE and got a work visa to be is this country. However, when she was let go from WWE in May 2007 the visa is deemed invalid. Basically, if you are not a legal citizen of the United States, you must apply for a new working visa each time you start work with a new employer. Seeing as how Love, real name, Lauren Williams, is a Canadian citizen working in the U.S., she falls under this category. The person applying must initiate the matter themselves by either having: enough money in the bank to support themselves; a U.S. sponsor; or a company confirming they will employ them in the U.S.

In September 2007, Love was contacted by TNA to appear at their annual October pay-per-view, Bound For Glory, TNA's version of Wrestlemania. For all of the debuting Knockouts, including Love, the 10-Knockout gauntlet to crown the first ever TNA Knockout Champion was a tryout match. She passed with flying colors and was contacted only days later to sign a contract with the company and became a regular television character. As a matter of fact Love with her partner Velvet Sky otherwise known as the Beautiful People are regularly one of the highest rated portions of TNA Impact on Spike. However this is where the problem first occurred.

From a legal standpoint, her work visa issues were supposed to be taken care of before she could sign a contract with TNA but Love did not do so. Likewise, company officials carelessly ignored the issue as well. Considering Love has been working without a visa for the past two years, both she and TNA could face serious legal ramifications should Federal agents become informed of the situation. As for a possible punishment, Love could be subject to deportation and banned from entering the U.S. for ten years. She may also be forced to pay back any money she garnered by working in the U.S. as an "illegal immigrant". It wasn't until recently that this situation was brought to the attention of TNA President, Dixie Carter, and Love was promptly released.

Hopefully this entire situation can somehow be worked out as Love was an intregal part of the Knockouts division and will certainly be missed by friends, fans and co-workers. Please enjoy the match below, Angelina Love vs. Tara at Victory Road 2009. And to Lauren Williams, if we do not see you again, thanks for the memories.