June 19, 2014
"Happy is he who . . . writes from the love of imparting certain thoughts and not from the necessity of sale - who writes always to the unknown friend."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Maintaining Movies At Dog Farm often makes me feel like a precocious child being indulged by bewildered parents. Many of my friends and acquaintances don't really seem to understand my compulsion to spend so much of my time curating my own little corner of the web. Adrienne often catches me surreptitiously scribbling ideas on scraps of paper and teases that I'm writing diary entries. My co-workers primarily monitor the Dog Farm by way of posts on Facebook and Twitter, where I undoubtedly rank well below the latest grumpy cat pic or dog shaming meme. Every once in a while one of them will say, "Hey, I saw that thing about that thing that you posted." Then there's my mother, who thinks I'm some kind of Internet rock star. Of course that's only because she doesn't really understand anything about the exotic and unknowable land of Internet.
The Dog Farm does get visitors from around the world, but many of them land here by way of keyword searches like "farm dog porn." I always feel bad about how disappointed those people must be when they click on the search result and find a movie blog. Occasionally I receive a request from a stranger seeking promotion, and I usually end up feeling guilty about that, too. The Dog Farm has far too little traffic to offer any significant exposure, and so I generally decline.
I have a crisis of faith on an almost weekly basis, what Douglas Adams called "a long dark teatime of the soul." I ponder why I sweat bullets in front of the laptop doing something I'm neither obligated nor compensated to do. I suffer bouts of paranoia. I'm certain everyone is whispering about me, as though I'm a cracked but harmless lunatic who believes he's building a rocket to the moon in his basement.
I get panicky when I can think of nothing to write about, and I get irritated when I spend ninety minutes watching a movie about which I'm not sufficiently inspired to comment. I obsess over the tiniest details of my page layout, even though no-one really pays any attention to those details. I feel obliged to remind myself regularly that I do this primarily for my own gratification and not in the interest of garnering wealth and fame. It's good, at least, that I have clarity on that point, because nothing that I've done here has made me a dime or landed me on a magazine cover.
I'm sure many will see the blocks of uninterrupted text here and immediately bounce, but that's okay. If you've read this far, you're probably a blogger yourself. You understand. Perhaps some of what I've written even struck a chord with you. If so, that's likely just an indication that you care about what you're doing. Your willingness to share certain thoughts with the world is commendable and brave.
If, however, you've read this far and aren't a blogger yourself, you're most likely the unknown friend for whom I've been writing. I'm pleased to meet you, friend. Let's discuss movies. I've got ninety-nine talking points archived and ready.
June 14, 2014
|A demon gets back in the habit in Mike Mendez's The Convent (2000).|
As a general rule, I like my gore served with a side of humor. Photo-realistic depictions of violent atrocity just don't entertain me. Luckily, the comedic gore movie is almost a sub-genre unto itself. I originally committed to posting about Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990) for this year's Gore-A-Thon, owing largely to the fact that I covered The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) last year. Then I re-watched Leatherface, and I reminded myself that it's actually not very gory. Worse, it's not very entertaining. I proceeded to pore over my movie collection looking for a moist and meaty alternative. Fortunately, I unearthed my copy of director Mike Mendez's The Convent (2000), a riotously entertaining throwback to the comedic gore greats of the eighties. I'm pretty sure I heard a choir of angels singing as I pulled the disc from my movie vault.
|The nuns at the St. Francis Boarding School want the students to pledge allegiance to their Dark Lord.|
Director Mike Mendez is a talent I wish was afforded the opportunity to be more prolific. Though I've yet to lay my hands on Killers (1996, aka Real Killers), his recent Big Ass Spider! (2013) is exactly the kind of gleefully silly and entertaining B-movie the SyFy channel wishes it could deliver. The Gravedancers (2006), one of the best-selling releases from the first After Dark Horrorfest, is also a solid spook show, albeit more serious minded. Sadly, those two flicks and the Showtime documentary Masters Of Horror (2002) are the extent of Mendez's directorial filmography since The Convent. Meanwhile, hacks like Uwe Boll seem to release a new movie every other week.
|Monica (Megahn Perry) is bound and gagged in preparation for her sacrifice to Satan.|
The Convent is a textbook example of a familiar premise well executed. Its story revolves around a group of college kids who break into an abandoned convent and unleash hell. Only a reclusive older woman named Christine who quelled a similar incursion in the past (Adrienne Barbeau, absolutely bad-ass as always) can restore order. What really sets The Convent apart, though, isn't the shopworn premise, but the frenetic visual stylings and wickedly funny performances. Chief among these is the acerbically funny Megahn Perry as a goth chick named Monica. When confronted with a self proclaimed Prince of Evil (an equally funny David Gunn) making a theatrically inept attempt to sacrifice her to Satan, Monica calls him out: "Prince of Evil? You work at fucking Dairy Queen." Actual scripted humor is a refreshing change from the unintentional comedy and winking homage that litter so many like-minded B-movies.
|A cheerleader with her face peeled off accompanied by a two former weekend Satanists. Go Team Demon!|
In fact, The Convent is defined more by its comedic elements than its horrific ones. Aside from a stylish opening segment depicting the young Christine laying waste to nuns and clergy accompanied by the Leslie Gore song You Don't Own Me, the movie never really tries to be genuinely disturbing. The Convent aims instead to be a cinematic love letter to the over-the-top gore fests with which director Mendez grew up. Think Evil Dead 2, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what's in store. Mendez even throws in a cameo by rapper Coolio and genre vet Bill Moseley as dickish local cops, lest viewers fail to recognize the tongue-in-cheek tone Mendez is cultivating.
|Monica (Megahn Perry) gets demonized as the Prince of Evil and his minion watch from across the room.|
Rest assured, though - even if The Convent is never truly frightening, the gore runs deep. There are plenty of stabbings, face peelings, shotgun blasts, genital mutilations, and decapitations to sate even the most ardent gorehound. Though Mendez trimmed a few seconds of the most gratuitous splatter to secure an R rating for the stateside DVD, he's been quoted as saying The Convent is still a "hard R". Genre fans won't be disappointed. With any luck, Mendez's prequel to The Convent, currently listed on IMDB as being in pre-production under the title The Devil's Convent, will arrive sooner rather than later. Until then, grab a copy of The Convent, gather a few friends, and enjoy one of the most overlooked and underappreciated comedic gore-gasms around.
June 9, 2014
Jonny Dead at Blood Sucking Geek is kicking off the Ultimate Gore-A-Thon 2014, and the bloodbath begins on June 15th. At The Mansion Of Madness, Blood Sucking Geek, Candy-Coated Razor Blades, The Info Zombie, and Movies At Dog Farm are all coming back for the second time, and new participants 90s Horror Movies, Love Horror, Midnight Cinephile, Slasher Studios, Wide Weird World Of Cult Films, and Terrorphoria are bringing the new blood. The Ultimate Gore-A-Thon 2014 runs through June 21st.
Be sure to visit all of the participating sites, be generous with the "Likes" and "Shares", and leave lots of comments. Horror bloggers love that. Clicking on the Gore-A-Thon badge in the sideboard will take you directly to a regularly updated index of new posts from all of the sites. Hats off to Blood Sucking Geek for taking the time and effort to organize the event.
June 4, 2014
Check it out! The Horror Blogger Alliance is revamped and ready to rumble! If you have your own horror blog, contact Jeremy at the HBA and join now!