Monday, December 13, 2010

Mini Holiday Gift Guide For Film Geeks

I ended up writing The Holiday Gift Guide for one of the weeklies I freelance for. But as it had to be a general guide I had to cut some stuff out of my movie section. Rather then waste it I figured I'd post here.

After all Us movie geeks can be a fickle crowd to shop for. Our poor family and friends usually can’t remember what we own versus what we disdain. So in the interest of cutting back on the amount of gift cards and full screen DVD’s received this holiday season I thought I’d put together a list of five items that’ll make any cinephile who receives them outrageously happy.

If someone has earned the benefit of your Largesse:

This book is good for the soul.

As Richard Hell puts it in his introduction, “This is one of those gems of immaculate editorial conception, perfectly executed, that will probably not stay in print for long. Like Jesus, the world is not really worthy of this book and if you don’t buy it now, you will regret it later when it’s a lot more expensive.”

For Bibliophiles as well as cinephiles the book is a true delight. It's simply put one of the most beautiful books released this year. And further proof of why ebooks are a fucking double edged sword. No Ebook could reproduce the look and experience of Destroy All Movies. It's painstakingly rendered to look like it was printed on cheaply printed, pink tinge stock. Destroy All Movies is nothing less then the ultimate zine (and let’s savor the irony that it cost the makers of the book enough to charge thirty five dollars for an effect usually accomplished with a photocopier and a handful of quarters).

The book was published by Fantagraph, also responsible for last years must own movie geek book, Portable Grindhouse. Fantagraph is quickly becoming the place for must own books about the fetishes of cinema, and Destroy All Movies furthers the reputation.

The film is coauthored by Bryan Connely and Zack Carlson, the latter one of the programmers extraordinaire at The Alamo Drafthouse (A quick note to Carlson, this is nice, but if you guys don’t get cracking on Vol. 6 of 42nd Street Forever soon I’m going to start to cry. And is it too much to hope that it’ll include the trailer for The Raaaaaaaaaappppppppeeeeee Killer?) as well as a group of freelancer. Carlson and Connolly are both dryly hilarious. Is there a soul so dead that they can't find just a little love for a book that solemnly dead pans that the moment in Back To The Beach, when Pee Wee Herman sings Surfing Bird and then flies away on a magic surfboard while glowing electric blue is "The third most important moment in cinematic history."

Truth in advertising time. There are a few dud reviews here 90% of which are the po-faced criticism provided by Simon Czerwinskyi (Who are you and why are you trying so hard?) Oh how I grew to dread the little SC down at the bottom of the reviews. There are some odd cred based choices too. Glam based spectacles like The Apple count as punk but somehow Rocky Horror doesn’t?

Still despite conventional wisdom, one bad apple does not spoil the whole bunch. And the enthusiasm and wit that all the other reviewers display more then make up for some of the weaker entries. Destroy All Movies is simply put one of the books of the year. A more tactile thoroughly enjoyable experience is not to be found elsewhere on the shelves.

Don’t let the lackluster reviews fool you. Give this game to any horror film geek and I’ll guarentee they’ll spend the next ten hours or so playing with an expression of glazed blissed out happiness upon their face.

Reviving the disreputable Arcade series, Splatterhouse plays as a loving tribute to the splatterpunk era of filmmaking. With references thrown left and right to films like Evil Dead 2, The Reanimator, Dead Alive, The Wicker Man and Friday The 13th Part 2 (and that's just for starters) Splatterhouse is a loving tribute to the horror genre.

The game is bolstered by a simple but never boring combat system, and an excellent turn from Jim Cummings (Winnie The Pooh) as the terror mask, who delivers the exposition and the actually funny one liners with equal gusto (“Aztecs, Mayans, They all taste the same to me.”)

Splatterhouse is a game made by horror fans for horror fans. It may not be the deepest gaming experience of the year, but as a guilty pleasure it has no equal.

If you’re feeling Cheap:

(Full disclosure I did receive a sample of this product for review purposes. To borrow a phrase from Arbogast, "I can't be bought. But I can be clothed)

Buying clothing on the internet is a bit like walking into oncoming traffic with your eyes closed. It’s possible you’ll get what you pay for. It’s equally possible that you’ll receive a burlap sack with an iron on decal.

Crazy Dog T’s is one of the good ones though. I received and talked about a few horror shirts from them over 31 Days of Horror, and they’re quality pieces of work. Soft, well made and durable, with logos that hold up well (My Camp Crystal Lake Counselor one has taken quite a bit of abuse and still looks great).

Anyway, if you’re looking for a place where you can buy some cool shit without getting ripped off, and spend a mere 4.99 on a gift while making yourself look like you spent a lot more, Crazy Dog is one of the places where you can do it.

If you’re liked the look of Destroy All Movies but balk at the 35 Dollar Price Tag, allow me to recommend My Year Of Flops and Yippee KayYay Movie Goer. I’ve already talked about these two in greater detail. All I can add if you get these for a film geek and he’s not pleased as punch, don’t worry, that probably just means they weren't film fans in the first place.

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