Saturday, January 30, 2010

And You Thought Your Commute Was Rough

As stated before, the outcry over Lions Gate’s shelving of Midnight Meat Train riles up a nerve in my defenses. It’s not that I support a major studio burying an original horror film in dollar theaters and DVD bins; I just wish all the boo hooeing by genre fans was aimed at a worthier movie.
And now, having watched Maurice Devereaux’s End of the Line, I have even more reason to dislike that other subway slasher, because here’s a unique, timely, and actually scary little horror far more deserving of Internet campaigns.

Quick Plot: A young psyciatric nurse named Karen (Ilona Elkin) sadly accepts the news that one of her patients has thrown herself in front of a subway. Muffins and freaky drawings from the late woman’s files  provide little comfort, and things only get worse when Karen’s subway ride becomes the kind of nightmare every commuter fears. First, there’s the creepy homeless guy leering over her shoulder, followed by the fact that--much like my last night’s commute in the freezing cold--the train seems to be running on a random and inconsistent schedule. To make things worse--okay, horror movie worthy--the train soon hits a delay and Christian fundamentalists with the world’s best cell phone reception embark on a crusade to “save” the souls of fellow straphangers.
Because I love a pleasant surprise and love you, I’m digging out some roadblocks to stick right here:

As a warning: I want to discuss this film, but what made my initial viewing so enjoyable was, in part, the fact that I knew very little about End of the Line. While it doesn’t have a Martyrs-style switcheroo, there is something really neat about some of its unexpected plot developments so if you haven’t seen the film, YOU SHALL NOT PASS.
Or something. Just skip to Rent/Bury/Buy and come back after you’ve followed those instructions. Don’t make me page you.

A disclaimer: There are probably just a handful of subjects I find more fascinating than Doomsday cults. There’s something so strangely horrifying about human beings surrendering everything that seems to make them who they are for some undefined greater being pent on eventually destroying their very existence. Also, I ride the subway every day and am constantly imagining a variety of horror movie scenarios that could occur at any given stop. For these reasons, End of the Line was quite possibly made for me.
Devereaux’s portrayal of the religious fanatics is eerie for a bucketful of reasons. Yes, it’s creepy to see nice middle aged women stabbing straphangers with crucifix knives that belong in a Children of the Corn playpen. It’s also unnerving to note the Hilter Youth-esque jumpsuits and at-peace smiles on every murderous character’s face. More importantly, Devereaux seems to ground the cult in popular Christianity.

I want to tread lightly here and try my best to not make any of my mere blogging comments into attacks on religion. I have no issue with anybody living a life based on personal faith, but those who try to force it on you when you just want to listen to a cuss-heavy podcast on the subway or trick-or-treat for candy rather than doomsday pamphlets aren’t just annoying; they’re judging you by essentially demonstrating that they believe you’re not worthy of heaven. I appreciate how End of the Line’s fanatics wanted to actually help their victims, straight down to apologizing when mass suicide had to take priority over fatal stabbing. 

Back to the controversy I can’t seem to put into words, doomsday cults--and any religious sect that has an end date in their pre-determined future--are terrifying because their members simply can’t value this life as much as the next. If, for example, a world leader believes in the possibility that The Rapture will occur and that when it does, he’ll be judged worthy, what’s to stop him from pushing the button to detonate the next world war? The characters of End of the Line are so confident in their beliefs that none of the physical pain they cause registers as anything other than God’s will. It’s not their actions that makes this a frightening film; it’s their complete lack of regret.
At first, the final moments bothered me as a trite betrayal. Since The Believers and Frailty, I’m far less surprised to discover that the crazed extremist characters in a genre film were right, and more importantly, I’d have been a tad annoyed to feel as though I misjudged everything onscreen for the previous 100 minutes. Thankfully, Devereaux’s ending was far more clever than I had initially realized. Upon listening to some of the extras, it became rather clear--even if nobody is willing to fully admit it--that the sneaking suspicion I had was right: there were no demons. There were, however, some powerfully mixed muffins eaten throughout the film by every character we notice see visions of rubbery monsters, mouthless ghosts, and tunnel dwellers dirtier than mole people. Pass the electric Kool-Aid, we’ve got some tasty spiked pastries that need washing down.

High Points
Although End of the Line doesn’t go too far into the backstories of their villains, the cult members are still individually drawn with the kind of precision rarely seen in horror. From the suddenly unchaste Sarah to the conflicted teenagers, the choice to show that some parishioners had actual doubts added a more human layer to the killings. Gray is always more interesting than black and white, particularly when it comes to morality.
I’m normally immune to jump scares, but for some reason, the very first pop made my drop my nacho
For the most part, Devereax has his main group of protagonists react to the horrors with refreshing believability. As much as we in the audience know to stab first, ask questions later, if any of us couch potatoes were actually in this kind of situation, we would probably find it near impossible to beat a teenager to death with the crowbar quivering in our hands. I appreciated that the commuters were genuinely conflicted over having to resort to homicidal violence. Even the young stud--the first man to kill--spends his last few moments asking for reassurance that he did the right thing. 

Similarly, none of End of the Line’s characters demonstrate the kind of superhuman survivalism often summoned in these types of films. Their action sequences are messy and chaotic, consisting simply of frightened people swinging hand tools at stab-happy Christians. Since we’re not watching SWAT team members or retired boxers, this makes perfect sense

Low Points
Overall, the performances are adequate and nobody stands out to drag the film down, but it also feels as though none fully step forward to add anything overly special to their characterizations
Once I put some of the pieces--or crumbs--together, I was a little more accepting of the final shot, but I still found the last ghastly baddies to feel a tad too Halloween porch ready

Lessons Learned
If you want people to join your cult, perfect a recipe for hallucinogen-laced muffins
1980s style punkettes are pretty damn fierce when the going gets tough

Mental patients are quite talented when it comes to colored pencil artwork. Look at that shading!
Ironically enough, nobody can complete an abortion faster than a Born Again

Always keep mace accessible when riding the subway. You never know when you’ll have to escape the clutches of a horny priest hung up on virginity and the fact that he resembles the homeless love child of Paul Bettany and Quentin Tarantino

In order to seduce a virginal fundamentalist, the secret is to kiss her earlobe
End of the Line is a definite watch, and a possible buy if you find it the right price. The DVD is loaded with extras, including a coy but interesting commentary, thorough making-of featurette, and a few more goodies. It’s not a film I’m return to often, but the original concept and spirited execution defnitely merits a revisit somewhere down the, ahem, line. More importantly, be on the lookout for Devereaux’s next film. Not only does he tell a good story on a meager budget, he also has mastered the art of referencing other masters without being annoying about it. One of my biggest pet peeves in indie horror is when directors think it’s cute to use a famous horror director’s name for a character. It’s not so much a wink wink as it is a smacking-you-in-the-face-with-a-frying-pan-emblazoned-with-an-obvious-reference-on-the-bottom (think “Dr. Savini” from The Dead Next Door). You don’t name a character Argento; you name him after the main sound mixer for a bunch of Argento films. That's the sign of a promising filmmaker.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Careful What You Shop For...

Everybody is abuzz with the news about Apple’s newest creation, a pretty techno do-wappy that does stuff (I didn’t watch the press conference, but people are really excited so I’m going to assume it’s a flat screen cheese griller). Clearly, the world hasn’t been watching enough horror movies or they’d know the torture and torment that come with every warranty. A few examples with a cost benefit analysis:


Gadget: Satanic verse translating computer
It’s Babblefish for the Video Nasty generation when Clint Howard’s orphaned military academy cadet discovers a devil worshipping handbook in the oddly located basement computer lab. Before you can say google, the awkward teen--yes, imagine a time when Clint Howard was awkward!--uses his 1981 desktop to translate ancient rituals as written by an evil-eyed Richard Moll. Why bother? Well, how else is a 98 lb. weakling to get vengeance on the Hitler youth bullies who mess with his uniform, unplug his alarm clock, and slaughter his insanely adorable puppy?
Minuses: Impaling priests and sicking man-eating pigs on your classmates has a few sour effects, such as catatonia and a stay in the familiarly named Sunnydale Asylum. Also, your chances of scoring at the next kegger are next to nil now that you’ve killed the entire graduating class.
Worth the Price? There is no more noble cause than avenging one’s puppy. So yes. 


Gadget:The disembodied head of M.A.R.K.-13, a cyborg originally designed as a government killing machine.
Leaping in time to land in the depressingly barren future, Richard Stanley’s 1990 sci-fi horror details a finders/keepers society where the unhealthy civilians choose a life of scavenging in a nuclear hued desert or a closed up existence in dimly lit apartment complexes. Technology is moving slowly. Video doorbells are a mainstay and running water remains usefully in abundance, but the life expectancy has seemingly plummeted, a course of actions in any society where people leave their killer robots laying around where any old Dylan McDermott can pick it up. And naturally, give it to his artist girlfriend as a Christmas gift.
Downside Believe it or now, secret government projects abandoned due to their unpredictability are, much like mogwais, not necessarily made for the holidays. Sometimes, they do what homicidal cyborgs do and regenerate with the aide of household appliances. To kill you and any perverted neighbors/good-intentioned boyfriends that might stop by.
Worth the Price? Technically, anything free is an automatic purchase and if one were to pick up M.A.R.K.-13 quickly enough, it could indeed fetch a fair price at the local trading post. And who knows? Maybe the only reason it went Terminator was due to a paint allergy. Perhaps there’s a WALL-E buried somewhere underneath that cold killer exterior. 


Gadget: The Internet
If Strangeland and FeardotCom taught us to be careful with the path we take in the virtual world, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 2001 horror demonstrated a far more valuable lesson: the world wide web could actually inspire a good film. It all begins as some college students/penthouse gardeners slowly drift into lonely and isolated states of empty depression only to find that phishing and pop-up ads are the least of the Internet’s evils.
DownsideGhostly apparitions driving you to suicide, and/or your body disappearing into a moldy clump of ash that will never come out of that wallpaper. 
Worth the Price? If you’re reading this column in a pulsified world of interwebbery, there’s a 99% chance that you’re already dead or worse, trapped in some sort of empty limbo due to an unforeseen run on red masking tape. So how’s that working out for you?


Gadget: Defibrillator
Joel Schumacher’s star-studded sci-fi is less about a new product than old technology given a new spin, but it still illustrates a theme shared by many of the films in this list. When several insanely attractive med students (Julia Roberts, Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, pre-pastries William Baldwin and who-invited-that-guy Oliver Platt) decide to toy with the afterlife by stopping their heartbeats then bringing each other back with a few chest pumps, the results are not surprisingly not good. 
Downside: Being taunted by the ghosts of your past know...dying.
Worth the Price?: The final solution turns out to be fairly easy and conveniently karma cleansing, but the whole teasing death thing seems hardly worth the time and stress involved. Why not just go bungee jumping or start a fight club?

The Fly

GadgetHuman teleport
Whether you watched Star Trek or used to beat up its fans with your model Millennium Falcon, it’s a sure bet that you once dreamed of going to the dollar store without climbing into your recalled Toyota. Teleportation is something I wishfully think of just about every day that I find myself scrunched underneath the armpit of a fellow commuter. It’s a pipe dream and perhaps I should be thankful for George Langelaan’s 1957 short story “The Fly.” This Playboy published science fiction yarn follows a brilliant but slightly careless-where-it-counts scientist taking a maiden voyage in his own innovative invention with a fellow pest of a passenger. You’re probably more familiar with the two fine film adaptations that showed, in all its insecticide glory, the true effects of picking up hitchhikers in the new wave of transportation.
Downside: Depends. If you’re spending too much time with David Cronenberg, you might find yourself slowly shedding your skin as your body morphs into gooey, brown, and limb-burning acid shooting tongued superfly with some Electric Boogaloo-esque wall-crawling abilities and the minor problem of leprocy. If you’re living in the ‘50s, you get the honor of simultaneously embodying a high-pitched housefly from the neck down and a seriously uncomfortable insect-headed man harnessing ill-will towards your lovely (if a bit daft) young wife. Both are not fun (and the Kurt Neumann’s original doubles the pain) and offer very little in the way of benefits. Although I still hope someone perfects the teleport by the time I die. Deodorant doesn’t seem to be advancing. 

The Lawnmower Man

Gadget Who doesn’t want to spin on an American Gladiators-meets-Event Horizon style high tech wheelie thing, particularly when the ride ends with bonus points added to your IQ (and, it should be noted, yours is currently hovering near Forrest Gump levels)? 
Downside Being the smartest one in the room can be lonely. So then you invite your girlfriend into your virtual reality existence for some simulated loving and she ends up a total drag. And brain dead. Plus, you get pre-Bond Pierce Bronsnan hunting you down and Stephen King suing your creator to remove his name from the mediocre film you head.
Worth the Price? Totally. Your body may not last, but your cyber energy proceeds to haunt all the telephones of the universe AND star in a straight-to-video sequel now led by Matt “Trashcanman” Frewer. Still not sold? How about using your prowess as the title role to springboard into a guest arc on Lost? Jeff Fahey, you’ve made a fine purchase.

So what kind of wacky adventures will the new iPad bring to a generation hopefully well-versed in these kinds of horrors? Let’s hope for the best and save our library cards. Unless it has computers. Or teleports. Or Clint Howard...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Best of, Year One: It's a Clip Show! Sort of. Not really.

Let’s keep the 1-Year Anniversary Party alive with my compilation of the 22 best films I’ve watched and reviewed thus far. Why 22, you ask? Well, mostly because when I went through the archives, that was the count of movies I genuinely loved and seek to forcefully make others love as well. 
So without further adieu, here are 22 horror, sci-fi, and bloody good action flicks that made me thankful to have an Internet connection, Netflix subscription, library membership, and general lack of important things to do.
22. Dead End 
Refreshingly funny under-the-radar ghost story (of sorts) from 2003. It's Christmas Eve and one dysfunctional family is lost  on an eerie back road en route to the in-laws. The road trip sub-genre of horror is nothing new, but with sharp performances and a clever script, Dead End makes it well worth the revisit.
21. Carriers 
2009’s most unfairly shafted thriller, a surprisingly effecting tale of young people attempting to survive a world-wide plague. Great example of how to take the familiar--and overdone--tropes of post-apocalyptic cinema and explore them from a different angle.
Larry Cohen’s disturbing, then chaotic tale of New Yorkers going postal on strangers and their loved ones. The third act is a tad unsatisfying, but some of the early attacks are truly haunting in a realistic, matter-of-fact manner that has stayed with me for months.
19. Doomsday 
Neil Marshall’s all-out Mad Max-inspired action romp didn’t quite wow me the first time I saw it, but upon rewatch, I truly do love the insane gluttony of this film. A guilty pleasure of apocalyptic proportions.
My first (and irresponsibly still only) foray into the catalog of Umberto Lenzi, this zombies-on-Red-Bull horror features some of the best undead attacks you’ve never seen, plus an amusement park sequence that puts Zombieland to shame.
17. Martyrs 
Or The Film That Divided 2008, a manifesto of sorts on torture porn that, much like Cannibal Holocaust, used its subject to explore its themes. Having only watched it once, I’m still not ready to declare it the masterpiece some of my fellow bloggers have decreed, but my viewing experience remains one of the most suspenseful and thoughtful times I’ve had with a film this year.
Another great approach to a tired formula, this under appreciated 2006 film puts a fresh spin on the anthology and everyone’s-a-violent-psycho themes we’ve seen so much of in recent years. The first act, where the renters of a modern apartment complex proceed to tear each other apart with tools and hands, is exhilaratingly frightening, while the second takes an abrupt, but rewarding switch into the blackest of black comedy territory. It falters in the more romantically dramatic final part, but for 2/3rds of its run time, The Signal is a truly fascinating film. 
Without question, the best movie to ever combine Precious Moments and zombies. Laugh-out-loud zomedy that’s follows a Hong Kong pair of Beavis & Buttheadish mallrats as they battle the undead. It may sound like a recipe for unfunny dullness, but Bio Zombie features solid performances, great timing, well-done physical comedy, and dialogue that works in any language.

I was inspired to check out this little gem based on a fine recommendation from Matt over at Chuck Norris Ate My Baby , and though his appetite for children may be questionable, his taste in film is not. From the hombres behind REC comes this nostalgic story of zombie-loving preteens plagued with a moral quandary involving a pit, female Santa Claus, and voodoo. Produced for Spain’s 6 Films To Keep You Awake series, it’s well worth checking out when you want something different. And great.
13. Orphan 
Few things make me quite as happy as seeing good horror in a movie theater. One of those few things is watching a creepy child actor threaten to cut off a little boy’s privates. That may be sick, but nowhere near as much as this 2009 theatrically released  evil kid flick, one of the few that wasn’t a remake or sequel and certainly one of the best. Trashy, scary, funny and mean, Orphan deserves to be adopted. 
There are so many awful zombie films that it’s easy to overlook some of the greats, but this Italian horror (the first in the Knights of Templar series) features some of the most suspenseful attacks in ‘70s history.
11. The Stuff
Can’t get enough...of Larry Cohen’s quirky satirical spin on consumerism, with a wonderfully wacked out Michael Moriarity having almost as good a time acting as we are watching him. Three words: killer ice cream. 
Perhaps the most joyful movie I’ve seen all year, even if does involve suicide, zombie dances, economic hardship, and volcanic eruptions. Takeshi Miike’s musical comedy is a rich dessert of cinematic glee, filled with immensely likable performances and a warm-hearted tale of a family trying to find their way...through song. Yes, there’s gore to be had, but this is a sweetly innocent offering from one of Japan’s most controversial filmmakers and oddly enough, one of the most enjoyably life-affirming films I’ve seen in years.
Haunted houses generally do little but bore me, but this 1976 film does some truly interesting things with an old idea, following a normal young family (although how normal can you be with Karen Black and Oliver Reed as your parents?) as they rent an antique dream house for their summer vacation. Much stranger and more quietly horrifying than you would expect.
8. Baxter 
A black comedy about a sociopathic bull terrier and the Hitler worshipping boy who takes him in. Dryly hysterical and weirdly disturbing. Truly strange in a super way.

7. Christmas Evil 
Definitely the winning gift of this December’s yuletide festival. Odd little movie about a Santa-loving lonely man who finally decides to make the holiday what it should be, even if that means murdering a few strangers lacking the Christmas spirit. 
Hong Kong martial arts extravaganza with beautiful fight choreography and even better dialogue. Funny and kickass.
5. Onibaba 
Ooooh, prestige. Released by Criterion, so it has to be good. And yes, it is. Feudal Japan plus freaky masks in a gritty black-and-white landscape that puts you under a spell.
Jack Hill’s original cannibal clan horror is pure joy from start to finish, with wonderfully playful performances from masters Sid Haig and Lon Chaney Jr. to lesser known, but truly dedicated youngsters Beverly Washburn and Jill Banner. Hysterical and heartfelt, with a twisted sense of humor brought to life in every scene.
3. Deadgirl 
My pick for best horror of 2009, an indie film that shows there still is life left in the zombie genre. Dark and not overly pleasant, but a great exploration of small town youth, power dynamics, and sexuality.
For the past few years, I’ve followed this tradition of always watching a new horror movie with the lights off the first night in  a new home. Past choices include Kairo and Inside, two wise options that probably affected me far more due to my choice to view them alone in unfamiliar surroundings (also, foreign countries). Tourist Trap’s number came up last May when I officially moved into my current Bronx lair. With only a bed, TV-less TV stand, and Pound Puppy furnishing my living room, I visited Slausen's road museum hoping for something terrifying...and got it. The sheer eeriness of this film--from the cheerful carnival music to icky mannequins--physically gave me the chills. Maybe I was influenced by my new surroundings, but Tourist Trap  remains one of those wonderful first viewings that renews a horror fan's faith in cinema.

1. Who Can Kill a Child? 
Without doubt, the scariest film I’ve watched this past year. A sad and all-too-realistic opening, creepingly quiet buildup, and one of the maddest last hours of any horror classic. Find it. Watch it. Love it. Get sterilized because of it.
Honorable Mention: Inglorious Basterds
Since this is primarily a list of films I watched for the blog, it feels a bit of a cheat to give Quentin Tarantino’s blockbuster an official place on the list. Just know that I love it, and you should too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

70 Things I've Learned This Year

It seems like just yesterday that a little blond child actress started cursing like a Rob Zombie final girl upon befriending a ratty doll, but sure enough, exactly one year has passed since The Deadly Doll’s House opened its tiny virtual door to review Cathy's Curse . Sadly, I failed to put a devil dog in my freezer that day to eat now in honor of the occasion, but I do have at least two treats (of laziness) prepared for you this week. We’ll get to the main attractions later, but today’s anniversary celebration will be nothing less than a linguistic clip show of EDUCATIONAL proportions.

That’s right, combing through my archives, I’ve compiled a list of some of the more useful Lessons Learned in 2009 (and 1/13th of 2010), all skillfully copied and pasted from reviews, with easy-click links if, as Starship Troopers might ask, you'd like to learn more. Use them wisely, for the day may indeed come when you find yourself trapped in a cornfield populated by pickaxe wielding children, coaching a gym class that includes the antichrist, or sitting on a subway with a Forrest Gumpish Vinnie Jones.

Lessons On Health:
1. To tend a near mortal wound, all you really need is a sprinkle of oregano-Broken 

2. Speaking to God will make you rapidly age ten years before your 22nd birthday; other side effects include going on a killing spree-God Told Me To 

3. Syphilis can be transmitted through catfighting-Patrick Still Lives 

4. When taking experimental Plan B tablets, it’s probably best to not to wash it down with a glass of Merlot-It’s Alive 

5. Never trust a burger served by Beatniks-The Bloody Brood 

Social Manners:
6. Telling someone “you ain’t got no character” is a great way to make your friends laugh for five minutes-Silent Warnings 

7. Don’t piss off Burt Young when he’s wearing a belt-Amityville II: The Possession 

8. The best way to assert yourself is to bite into an especially crunchy piece of celery-Empire of the Ants 

9. When walking by a homicidal mob, it’s best not to audibly call them little bastards if you don’t want to then be chased by sickle and rake wielding brats  

On Friendship:
10. Always stay in touch with your obsessive college hookups, particularly if they’re well-versed in the art of birthing babies, negotiating the price of a used RV, and wig shopping 

Sex & Dating:
11. Men named Morty are never good for you-The Monster That Challenged the World 

12. High school sex smells like Thai food-Jennifer’s Body 

13. Learning how to read takes about the same amount of time as having safe sex with a turkey-ThanksKilling 

14. Suggesting your girlfriend dress like a boxy robot will make her feel inadequate and bitchy-Trick ‘R Treat 

15. Contrary to popular belief, not all women enjoy a smoke after being raped-Tombs of the Blind Dead 

16. It's very possible to rape a woman to death without external genitalia

Natural Wonders:
16. Snakes not only bite, they also push people off ladders and set fire to their barns-Rattlers 

17. Grabbing the breast of a 16 year old southern belle will summon all sorts of inner strength-Netherworld 

18. Whether you’re goblin, cow, or uvula, there’s always something bigger to come and eat you

Fierce Fashion:
18. Liberace’s costume designer comes from a long line of vampires-Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 

19. When trying to dress incognito, avoid wearing cowgirl hats, dangly earrings, pinstriped coats, and gigantic sunglasses. Not only will you NOT blend in; you’ll also look rather stupid (except to bodyguards, who will be inexplicably turned on)-Blue Sunshine 

20. When in doubt, always say no to pleather-Office Kille

21. Ghosts of children that died in 1996 dress like Victorians and are kind of a drag-The Uninvited 

22. Smooth Eddy always looks good-Rabid 

23. Avoid wearing jingly bell accessories if your main activity of the evening is scheduled to be stalking

On Filmmaking:
24. When in need of a quick ghost effect and cursed with a low budget, lease a player piano-Hellgate 

25. If you want to make an audience truly uncomfortable, be sure to feature extreme closeups of unattractive actors in your film

Holiday Facts:
26.  Always choose a Secret Santa with an NRA membership-Dead End 

27. Christmas morning officially begins at 6:20 AM Bulgarian time

Sports & Athletics:
28. Telekinetic cupboards need to warm up before they can aim with any precision, sort of like Pedro Martinez-Tourist Trap 

29. Overachieving in butterfly swimming competitions is just asking for trouble-Martyrs 

30. Do not assign the antichrist 50 pushups unless you're really good at dodgeball-Fear No Evil 

31. The Village People aren’t the only beneficiaries of the YMCA

The Human Body:
32. It is quite possible to shoot a man’s arm off and beat someone to death with a broom-nightmare city-Nightmare City 

33. Satanists bleed sour milk and have elegant penmanship

Law & Order:
34. For a local sheriff, nothing is more embarrassing than calling the feds in to investigate missing persons; asking the local townspeople for some vigilante backup is far more reasonable-The Pit 

35. In Ohio, an Australian accent and hoodie are the next best thing to having a police badge-Feed 

36. Toy police cars are great reminders about who to go to when you fear for your wife’s life-The Sinful Dwarf 

37. Whining under your breath “C’mon guys,” will not prevent homeless gangs from looking at your car. Nor will wearing an earring-Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh 

38. Never let a man suspected of serial killing hold a steaming pot of coffee in your vicinity, particularly if you’re planning on confronting him about his possible guilt

On Cultural Differences:
39. Jewish people use the phrase ‘kosher’-Halloween 2 

40. Being nearly killed by a drunken boat driver will force you into indentured servitude to his WASPy family-Frogs 

41. Everybody in New England carries a full flask-Offspring 

42. Insurance investigators keep bike horns in glove compartments and are generally more annoying road companions than a family that insists on finishing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall-In the Mouth of Madness 

43. Upon meeting a blind person, the first conversational query should not be “So, how long have you considered yourself handicapped?”-Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 

44. A white clown is not Caucasion: he is clown-Fear of Clowns 

45. In some cultures, attempting to rape a young woman is a sign of disrespect-Mahakal 

Useful Tidbits:
46. Always invest in a spill-proof urn following the cremation of a dear relation-Paranormal Entity 

47. Placing a satanic handbook nearby a piggy bank will connect evil forces to wild hogs-Evilspeak 

48. In a pinch, tampons make effective--and adorable--ear plugs-The Final Destination 

49. A sleazy pharmacist is a sloppy pharmacist-Deadtime Stories 

50. Everybody has to eat shaving cream once in a while-The Stuff

51. The girl that constantly shouts “I’m gonna kill you, bitch!” is usually not the girl that killed the bitch

Good Parenting:
52. Children are easily entertained by rather tragic stories of alcoholics stalking their mothers-Santa Claws 

53. Alcoholic caretakers make adequate babysitters-Cathy’s Curse 

54. When your son walks in on you having sex with his stepfather, avoid the urge to scuttle out of bed and stand half naked for an extended time period, thus showing off your fabulous breasts. By doing so, you risk a) seriously warping an already warped child’s fetishes and b) planting an instinctive target for anything undead to chew on-burial ground

55. The going rate for a rocket launcher in 2005 was one lung-Santa’s Slay 

56. Sex in a bad economy is worth one bag of millet-

Little Known History:
57. If you want to be totally 80s, get two divorces and a yeast infection. If all you can handle is Cleveland, stick to the 70s-Bad Dreams 

58. Ancient Egyptians had a groovily hungry god named Apep who may have been related to the Sarlac Pit-Joshua 

59. In the near future, neon hair dye will be in abundance and losing an eyeball will be awesome

Basic Safety:
60. The best way to defeat a martial arts master is to hope that he eventually falls on a blade or stray piece of sharp bamboo-We’re Going to Eat You 

61. If the only thing that will curse you is another person saying your name out loud, it’s probably not a good idea to constantly refer to yourself in the third person-Rumplestiltskin 

62. Playing with fireworks will blind, scar, and cripple you; other side effects include inspiring your mother to dress like Miss Piggy attending a 1950s tea party-Uncle Sam 

63. Tennis rackets, when used correctly, make excellent tools for demon bashing-Black Roses
64. Always read the instructions before firing a rocket launcher-Severance 

65. Saying “I have a plan” over and over again does not actually mean you have one-Paranormal Activity

66. The only way to survive an encounter with Vinnie Jones is to first sell him candy-Midnight Meat Train 

67. If male and drinking in a European tavern, always assume there is a gun pointed at your testicles 

Around the Home:
68. Fantastical treehouses that could only exist in cinema and television (just how did Bart or Homer build such a sturdy little cabin anyway?) are as flammable as they are impressive-Orphan 

69. One should remove all necklaces before going to sleep if not planning on being strangled by a bed

70. If I’m ever on death row, my choice of execution method will now be “beheading at the hands of well-choreographed mental patients dressed as exotic birds”

Thanks to all my wonderfully literate and supportive readers for one great year. Later this week, I'll attempt to compile a list of some of the best films I've sat through with you in mind. In the meantime, do your best to avoid homicidal furniture, darned kids, straight-to-DVD Hollywood remakes, cheerleaders, clowns with gym memberships, wisecracking turkeys, and any of the other villainous creations knocking on the Doll House's door.