Friday, May 12, 2006

Camera Obscura - It Waits, Futurama, Blade, 400 Blows

Friday arrives and I have a special sneak preview of a new horror movie from Anchor Bay Entertainment written by Richard Christian Matheson and prolific producer Stephen J. Cannell, along with a stack of great news about the return of the perfect sci-fi comedy series "Futurama" and much more, so read, on read on.

Producer Cannell has made many notable additions to TV and film, with shows like "The Rockford Files", "Baretta," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "The A-team" - tons, people, truly. He teams with another prolific writer and creator Richard Christian Matheson, whose dad, also a Richard, help define the horror and sci-fi genres with his work on "Twilight Zone" and his book "I Am Legend."

The movie, "It Waits" concerns a babe in the woods - the babe being Cerina Vincent - the prettiest park ranger I've ever seen. She'd make Yogi Bear give up the hunt for a pick-a-nic basket and start spraying on Axe. She's been a regular on "C.S.I.", and made a eye-popping student named "Areola" in "Not Another Teen Movie" as well as another cult horror favorite "Cabin Fever."

Vincent is a not what she seems here, mild-mannered park ranger - she's really hiding out from tragedy and soaking herself with vodka, sharing conversations and remorse with a talking parrot in a remote ranger station. The location shooting, in Canada is truly gorgeous, and DVD extras reveal they shot this an amazing 20 day timeframe. It's her guilt and her secrets that are drawing the attention of a demon spirit, which is based on Native American mythology. The creature is a great piece of work and not an all CGI monster. Like the movie, It is an old-fashioned monster suit, expertly done. And as in so many old classics, it's the Id inside Vincent's character that is bringing out some nasty death and dismemberment.

She gets some help (but more guilt) from her doomed boyfriend-ranger, played by Dominic Zamprogna ("Battlestar Galactica"). However, everyone in the movie is fodder for the monster, who throws around corpses and makes grim toys of the bodies attempting to terrify and tease Vincent.

The movie is a good guide for making the most of every shooting day, no doubt. For longtime horror consumers, this may seem too familiar, but for newbies and novices, this is a good beginner flick. Anchor Bay has an impressive catalog of horror, anime and other classics and TV and is ever growing. Big thanks to them and the folks at M80-Teams for allowing me to view "It Waits" and tell you about it. Check out the movie site and trailer here, where you can also order a copy.

Fans of Matheson also got news this week that a show he wrote for "Knight Rider" is getting the big screen treatment. Never underestimate the power of David Hasselhoff. His cameo-bit in the "Spongebob Squarepants" movie was brilliant.

Fans worldwide too have brought more life to the deeply underrated and hilarious world of "Futurama". Fox dumped this show from "The Simpsons" creator after four seasons, and never knew what to make of the show or how to promote it. Thanks to the Cartoon Network's reruns on Adult Swim, creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen are making 4 DVD movies and possibly even new episodes for broadcast. IGN has an interview with Groening here, all about the vast comedy universe they made and the stories they never got to tell.

The comedy is layered on so thick it takes multiple viewings to catch all the jokes. And come on, where else could you see an effort to save the world from destruction with real-life performances from Al Gore, Stephen Hawking, and Nichelle Nichols? I never miss an episode.

Also set to hit your TV set next month is the new vampire show based on the Marvel comics and movies character "Blade." Set to debut on Spike TV after some wrangling with writer/director David Goyer, it will be interesting to see if they can make this work. I've liked the movies (well -- the last one was more comedy than vampy). Goyer meanwhile is back working on comic book adaptions, writing a new "Batman" script and one for "Flash." Check out scenes from the new TV series of "Blade" here. You might also want to check out one of Goyer's first screenplays, an underrated adaption of Robert Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters" - a decent adaption of the Heinlein tale which was used for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and countless others.

Finally, this one has been on my list of Best Movies Ever since I saw it and it remains on the list today. It's the very first film from Francois Truffaut, "The 400 Blows", out in a brand new DVD with a nice low price and new commentary and a crisp new transfer. The story of adolescent Antoine Doinel is as current today as when it was made in the late 1950s. He's a smart kid, bored with school and mostly left on his own by parents and other authorities, more out of simple lack of attention than outright abuse. He drifts through the city and into petty crime, running away from home rather than accept the boring and unhappy views of life offered by his parents or society in general. What he finds is that being on your own is harsh too. I've always liked the simple approach of the film - slightly disengaged, not sentimental - a brilliantly composed story of alienation and dissatisfaction.

Oh and remember how much you didn't like "Mission: Impossible 3" when you shelled out the ten bucks to see it last weekend? Well, the new remake of "Poseidon" will make you feel the same way if you chunk out ten more bucks for it.

You've got more choices! I just gave ya a stack of 'em!


  1. When I heard about the Futurama movies a few days ago, I nearly wet myself.

    Thanks for the link to the Groening interview. Good stuff.

  2. I love monster movies (but you knew that.)
    "It Waits" sounds groovy, and didn't Richard Christian Matheson's daddy write my favorite book "I Am Legend"?
    "400 Blows" was excellent although its been awhile since I've seen it.
    I didn't wet myself over "Futurama" coming back, BUT I was giddy and sort of gave myself a wedgie in my excitement.