September Damnaliens DVD Review by Steve Sawicki
As Steve knows, being engaged to the author of Feeding Christine (B.A.Chepitas), a story which centers around the healing, or at least soothing, power of food, when bad things happen...eat something. So, if this month's motif seems a bit odd, well, it's been an odd month. - Ern

Note: order the films from Amazon by following the hyperlinks to buy  junk food for the aliens and keep them away from the dog.)

Recent Releases    /    Classics    /    SFTV    /     Anime

It's hard to be flip or funny or witty (although I'm sure Editor Ern is wondering just when I've ever been any of those things) given the horror of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. I, like the rest of you, have worried about friends, watched in horror, gotten angry, become sad and generally let a week go by in mourning. There comes a time however when we must shake off our melancholy and move on. That time is different for all of us and the tools we will use will be different as well. You should not deny the power of either the written word or the visual presentation of same however. Thus, I offer a few suggestions which may help take your mind away for an hour or two and give you a different bone to worry...as it were.

Recent Releases - still almost warm...almost 

The mixing in of contemporary music with motion pictures is not a new thing. It's a fairly recent development for period pics though. A Knight's Tale, blends Arthurian legend with Rock and Roll. It's an incongruous mix although the writing and acting are sometimes just good enough to make it fade into the background. If you didn't need the dialogue to figure out what's happening (and there are a number of movies out there where you can literally turn off the sound and still be well informed--you listening Sly and Arnold?) I'd suggest putting in something with mandolins and flute. A decent enough picture although it's been done before and done better by almost everyone who's tried. Also has the typical large hall banquet scenes which are, ubiquitous to this kind of film.

Before there was Buffy on Television, there was Buffy at the theater. This is where I first met Buffy and fell in love. And what's not to love about a blonde California cheerleader who can kick vampire butt better than anyone else. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, is the ultimate reluctant heroine chick flick. Lot's of kicks, smacks and wisecracks to go around. Rent it and watch it during dinner. That would, of course, be while you're having stake with just a touch of garlic.

Speaking of eating, there is much to be said about the degree of grossity which is inherent in movies produced since 1990. A great example of this can be had by watching The Fly/The Fly2. This remake and sequel aren't gruesome enough but they need to add eating sequences. As if it's not bad enough that we have to watch Goldblum take his ears off we have to watch him regurgitate hostess cupcakes. Still, except for the high grossity level this is a way cool tale of transformation, sort of a cross between Frankenstien and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. The sequel has it's moments but never quite comes up to the first one.

Still speaking of eating, I'd like to point out that one of the first things that's lost when a book is made to film is all the places where characters eat. This is no more present than in Ralph Bakshi's version of The Lord of the Rings. This is the cartoon version (or at least as much cartoon as you can call rotoscoping) of Tolkien's cult classic. Rent it for an interesting comparison to the forthcoming December release which will use real actors (or as real as you can call Digitalization). What you won't get is a lot of eating scenes and this is odd because those Hobbits do love to munch.

Classics - like leftovers, some things improve after a while in the fridge.

In the old days (pre-1990) there was much more eating in film. Thus, with The Princess Bride, we have entire scenes built around food. Besides the culinary diversions, this film is simply one you should not only see but own. Now is the chance to get this great flick on dvd so you get the clarity that recent television showings have really lacked. Great story, great acting, wonderful writing and enough good direction to make this a real gem. My understanding is that it was well catered too.

Satan doesn't eat, or so I've been told. Damien: Omen II, is yet another of those flicks where the master of evil has somehow managed to involve a child in the destruction of the world. I suppose it's that innocence thing, although anyone who's worked with or around children will quickly tell you just how innocent they are. In any case, Satan's child is working on world destruction and only his parents can stop him. An interesting flick with some very creepy moments although they miss the boat by not including a very scary breakfast scene.

Usually the originals are better than the repeats. This is particularly true of food. It's true of film too so that while above we have the much newer Cronenberg versions, in this case we have the originals with Vincent Price. The Fly/Return Of The Fly, set the standard for transformation movies. The sequel was equally as creepy and many say even better than the first. I disagree because it lacks that scene of the wife bringing Vincent, who is now half fly/half man, his meal then sneaking back in to find him eating. It's her first view of the beast and just the beginning of the horror.

There are few movies that truly scare me while I'm watching them. Having an overactive imagination I can easily scare myself afterwards but I find that same imagination and pacing lacking while actually viewing films. The Legend of Hell House, is one of those rare flicks that creeps me out while I'm viewing it. This is the original and not the recent remake. Catch a very young Roddy McDowal as the lone survivor of the a first excursion, returning to this haunted mansion for a second go. They do eat in the film but it's anticlimactic.

There have been films set in all venues and horror films featuring hauntings equally so although I don't believe they've haunted a restaurant or a deli yet. Phantom of the Paradise, finds the monster haunting a night club. The phantom is still a luckless boob who gets taken advantage of because of his na´vetÚ. He still also dies in the end which explains why he doesn't eat during the whole thing. Decent music drives this updated version and it's really a good remake which introduced the phantom idea to a new generation.

SFTV - like food in little metal trays...almost edible and reminiscent of your childhood.

TV has an ebb and flo to it. Series start good and fade, some start slow, get good and then die and the rare few start bad and get better. Farscape is one of those that started pretty good right out of the box. Lately though they've fallen into the old (character of the week dies) rut. Sure they've killed off a few characters but then they bring them back because they're not really dead. They've also totally ignored eating. Farscape: Till The Blood Runs Clear & Rhapsody In Blue, is from the first year when they weren't trying to kill someone off each week and they all ate. This is actually much better than watching the current series and I'm afraid that if you do (and you should) you'll easily note how much the series has fallen.

Anime - What do Japanese animated robots eat anyway?

Obviously, Robots don't eat, and I've lost my appetite for cheerful Japanese schoolgirls for the moment. But I'll be back next month with my usual gusto, griping and grimacing in front of that little box with the moving pictures in it. Hopefully.