Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Sunday

R.I.P. ThanksKilling Season (Yes, I will indeed refer to it as that from now until the day I die.)

And now onto Christmas business...

It may be shopping season, but you can bet your coupon book you won’t find me inside a heavily trafficked, swine flu spreading mall on any upcoming weekend this December. To prevent myself from being stampeded in a more painful manner than Lou Diamond Philips’ horse-trod friend in The First Power, I’m holding my own couch potato shopping spree with a marathon of all the best mall-centric horror. As a bonus for this season of gift giving generosity, I’m including a few suggestions for what to buy your loved one, inspired by these films but thankfully, available through any online retailer.

Dawn of the Dead(s)
It’s so good, there are two version of two more via the original’s deluxe DVD set, including an extended director’s cut and Dario Argento’s more compact and less humorous European release. Romero’s original hits upon all the hallmarks of a super shopping plaza--dressing rooms, arcades, ice rinks, great deals on hard candy--while also guilting its audience into acknowledging the consumerist culture zombification of the general public. Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake tries to make its characters act deeper than their freeloading ways suggest, but ultimately, the audience is hard-pressed to agree with Ving Rames’ plan to leave the safest, most comfortable and accommodating location one could hope to loiter in during a time of disaster. How could one surrender such a place when it’s scored to the relaxing chords of Richard Cheese?

Gift Idea: If you’re still in the ‘70s or now inhabiting Texas, I’m sure a fully featured shotgun would make any sweetheart sigh with stars in his or her eyes. While many folks have issues with firearms, most would most likely understand you’re only looking out for their safety in the wake of an inevitable zompacalypse. For a less controversial couples holiday present, consider a video camera (for you know, videotaping exercise?), telescope for those late night stargazings dates that best help one forget the very recent death of a parent, crowd pleasing DVD like National Lampoon’s Animal House, or border collie mix for security and affection.

Bio Zombie
You can only watch Dawn of the Dead so many times before you ask yourself: how would this improved by the presence of Bill Espresten Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan? Sadly, it seems doubtful that Keanu Reeves will ever break out his Wyld Stallions denim and would be incredibly depressing if Alex Winter squeezed back into his midriff-baring tee shirt. Thankfully, there’s Bio Zombie, a 1998 Hong Kong zomedy that plants two humorously rude mallrats into a zombie invaded shopping complex. It’s hard not to have a good time with jokes about Titanic, human appendage sushi, and low budget noshing. The only drawback? The film takes place after closing hours, thus limiting the feasting to lingering leftovers and some likable employees.

Gift Idea: A Precious Moments figurine to show your tender side and take your love back to his or her first Communion. 

Chopping Mall
The title says it all. Well, not really, as ‘chopping’ calls to mind axes and not killer robots using lasers to punish shoplifters and scandalous store employees sneaking into a mall for an overnight sleepover. But hey, it’s still gravy when you get to watch bratty teen delinquents picked off one by one by security guards that make Terminators look like Quakers. Now if only the inevitable Paul Blart franchise goes enough entries in to feature a crossover...

Gift Idea: An aromatic stick of pepperoni, a little known aphrodisiac for the Saturday sale-grubbing crowd

I previously mentioned this film when discussing misleading titles, as we never see more than one of the titular monster in this 1989 horror dud. Still, tis the season for an Xmas themed mall massacre, and to my knowledge, Elves marks the first and somehow only meeting of two hallmarks of the holdiay season: Grizzly Adams and Nazis. What, you didn’t know Josef Mengele was working on creating a superrace of angry little people for world domination? Did you even pass junior high history? Sadly we’re not here to discuss Hitler’s relationship with vertically challenged henchmen (yes, that was added just so I can throw a reference out to Hard Rock Zombies) so Elves makes this shopping list due to its partial setting inside a giant department store. Like Chopping Mall, the promiscuous leads sneak in after hours to seduce some teenage boys and battle a fairly ridiculous monster. This one just happens to be a very pink, very short German.

Gift Idea: Sportswear. Yes, the girls model some frilly teddies made of more lace than a casserole doily, but it’s the blue bathing suit on the blond that the ladies and gentlemen deem sleepover worthy. Plus, it’s much easier to maneuver a killer elf when you don’t have to worry about frilly fabric getting stuck in automatic doors. Just because an outfit is intended for intimate occasions does not mean one should ignore its practicality in the event of Nazi sorcery sponsored slaughter.

Eight Legged Freaks
Holing yourself up inside an armored supercenter is certainly one way to evade an arach attack. The downside? Once locked in, there are only so many tools that prove successful at combating gigantic toxic waste infused spiders before they suck out your innards in a colorfully PG-13-esque manner.

Gift Idea: An easy to carry, strongly scented bottle of reasonably priced perfume or cologne. True, your lady or male friend/teacher/relation may not be thrilled with the smell, but any old brand will show you care...especially when said gift receiver finds him or herself standing face-to-fuzzy-face with Shelob’s descendent who, conveniently enough, is quite sensitive to flowery sprits. 

The Final Destination
It was only a matter of time before this perfectly toned dead teenager franchise took to the malls. Between automatic gates and ink blot security tags, it’s a wonder this fourth installment wasn’t set entirely inside an indoor shopping center. Instead, we get treated to seeing what would actually happen if your loose shoelaces get stuck at the top of your average escalator. The results, as you might expect, are fabulously not fun (for the characters; those of us watching are having a great time).

Gift Idea: Comfy velcro-based sneakers. Anything else is the equivalent of coating your loved one in honey, sugar, and blood, then tying them to the coastal point where sea meets land and the Grim Reaper’s esteemed collection of killer bees, ants, and sharks come to feed. 

Am I forgetting a few more reasons to invest in a PayPal account? Share below and remember your parking space.


  1. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for December. I'll be talking about Silent Night Deadly Night myself sometime this month. That is if I make it past Fear of Clowns.

  2. One of my greatest regrets in life is not buying the first editions set of SNDN 1 & 2 a few years back, since it's now out of print with no release in sight. Sigh. At least 3-5 are coming out this month!--Ahhhh, bad addendum: why does Amazon now say that this boxed set has been discontinued by the manufacturer? Why won't the world let me own these classic films of the yuletide season? Why?????????????

    And Bugg, please make it through Fear of Clowns so that you can also review the sequel. Mostly so I don't have to.

  3. That clip is such gold! I can't wait to see what you have in store for us, Emily. I'm getting started at this very moment on the unoriginal Christmas Horror theme that I will be has to be done though!

    I also second your thoughts on not picking up SNDN 1 and 2 when it was available...I would love to own both of those films.

  4. Possibly the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life.

    And ah well, I guess the yuletide season is all about tradition anyway. Time for my annual viewing of Elf, A Muppet's Chrismas Carol, A Muppet's Family Christmas, A Very Muppet Christmas, Jack Frost 1 & 2, and hot cocoa.