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Monday, February 28, 2011

Horror at the Oscars (History/Tribute)

Horror has a known history of being shunned at the Oscars for whatever reason. Probably because the genre is typecasted as being all about blood, guts, and over sexualized screaming teenagers. Even when an insightful horror film comes along and decides to contend with the big boys at the Oscars it still gets overlooked even though most horror films are far more intelligent then people give them credit for.

I suppose it would be interesting to take a look back at the over all history that the Horror genre has had with the Oscars. Has it really been as left out as many say?

In 1932 horror makes an appearance when the classic"Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde" picked up nominations for Best Cinematography, and Best Writing, Adaption. Surprisingly Fredric March wins Best Actor for his portrayal of the mad doctor in the film.



In 1936 Universal's crown jewel of  horror classics "The Bride of Frankenstein" is nominated for Best, sound recording. (Not much, but hey at least it got a nomination for something."

In 1961 Alfred Hitchcock influential classic "Psycho" was nominated for Best Actress, Best Black/White Art Direction, Best Black/White Cinematography, and Best Director. Note: Alfred Hitchcock was nominated for best director only four times by the Oscars and he never won. The Oscars was nice enough to give him a memorial award though.

In 1963 "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" took center stage by picking up nominations for  Best Sound, Best Cinematography Black/White, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress for Bette Davis. It only won one award for Best Costume.  Random Fact: Did you know that the Oscar supposedly got it's name from Bette Davis naming the award after her ex-husband , Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr.

In 1969 the Roman Polanski was nominated for Best Adapted screenplay for "Rosemary's Baby".  Ruth Gordon took home Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.

In 1974 "The Exorcist" was nominated  for Best Picture, Director, Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Art Direction. It won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.

In 1975 the horror inspired comedy "Young Frankenstein" is nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Sound.

In 1976 Jaws changed things up a bit by winning  Best Editing, Best Film Score, (Rightfully so) , Best Sound, but unfortunately didn't win Best Picture when it lost to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  (At least it was nominated)

In 1977 Sissy Spacek was nominated for her role as Carrie in the Stephen King adapted film "Carrie". Piper Laurie was nominated for Best Supporting Role Actress.


In 1980 James Cameron's classic "Alien" won for Best Visual Effects. It was only nominated in one other category, which was Best Art Direction. The darn thing should of had nominations such as Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Film. Darn it, Oscar's if Disney found Alien important enough to feature on its great movie ride you could have least given it proper recognition at the Oscars. -sigh- Another example of some good old horror snubbing.  That same year The Amittyville Horror was nominated for best musical score.

In 1982 An American Werewolf in London won for Best Makeup.

In 1983 Poltergeist was nominated for Best Visual Effect, Best Sound Editing, and Best Score.

In 1987 "Aliens" won Best Sound Effects and Best Visual Effects. It was nominated  for Best Sound,Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction and Sigourney Weaver was nominated for Best Actress. (She should have won though. -_-) That same year " The Fly" wins for Best Makeup.


In 1989 the Tim Burton horrorish comedy Bettlejuice won for Best Visual Effects.

In1991 Horror makes a splash in the scene by having Kathy Bates taking home an award for Best Actress in the film "Misery"

In 1992 an amazing thing happened "The Silence of the Lambs" swept the Oscars winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay.It was also nominated for Best Sound and Best Editing.(Yeah, I know people bitch about it being more of a thriller than a horror, but many thriller films branch out from horror and "The Silence of the Lambs is one of them.) The Adams family was nominated for Best Costume Design that year. (The first film I ever saw by the way.)

In 1993 Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula" won Best Costume, Sound Effects Editing, and Makeup. It was also nominated for Best Art Direction. The horror comedy "Death Becomes Her" wins Visual Effects. Oddly Alien 3 was nominated in the same category.

In 1995 Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire" was nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Musical Score. Tim Burton's horror related film "Ed Wood"  won Best Supporting Actor and Makeup, Kenneth Branagh's 'Frankenstein' was also nominated in that same category.


In 1996 David Fincher's "Se7en" was oddly only nominated for one Oscar Nomination, which was Best Film Editing. I honestly wonder about the Oscars sometimes. I mean if the Oscars loved 'The Silence of the Lambs" they should also love "Se7en".

In 2000 the now highly controversial M. Night Shymalan's "The Sixth Sense" earned six nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing. Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hallow" was nominated for Cinematography, Costumes, and won an award for Art Direction.


In 2001 Three horror films were nominated for Best Makeup these were "Shadow of the Vampire", "Hallow Man" and "The Cell".


In 2007 Guillermo Del Toro's  horror fantasy "Pan's Labryinth" was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Score, and Best Foreign Film. Luckily the Oscars decided that the film did in fact deserve a few awards so the film won for Best Cinematography,Art Direction, and Makeup. (We are expecting great things from you Mr. Toro. Hopefully you can bring the Academy to truly appreciate the horror genre.)

 In 2008 Tim Burton's delightful musical adaption of "Sweeney Todd" won for Best Actor, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Direction. (Homicidal barbers get to be well dressed and groomed.)


In 2010 the beautifully filmed "Black Swan" was nominated for five Best Picture, Best Director, Best Achievement in Editing, and Best Cinematography. Natalie Portman was able to take home the Best Actress award for her role in the film. Oh yeah "The Wolfman" remake was able to earn Best Makeup category.


Yeah, I suppose the Oscar snub of horror isn't too bad when you look at it. I mean at least it gets mentioned here and there, but would it kill the Academy to actually put more horror films in the top contending categories. After all chances are that horror film that is overlooked is far more likely to be remembered and beloved for years to come.

82nd Academy Award tried to appease us horror fans by doing a tribute to horror. Let us see how Successful they were.



-_- Besides the fact Twilight was involved at all I'd say the tribute was descent. There were quite a few films I wouldn't have expected in the tribute, but more variety in the films would have been nice. Eh maybe this means The Oscars will take more interest in horror; after all Black Swan was able to pick up quite a few nominations. Only time will tell.

-Horrorwood Doll

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monster High

Mattel (the makers of Barbie and Hot Wheels) came out with a delightful little product line known as Monster High during the Summer of 2010. The concept on the doll line is to have teenagers of popular horror monsters.(Namely Universal) The whole line is probably in existence due to the whole vampire/werewolf/zombie craze, but honestly who cares? I would have loved to have a zombie or vampire dolly to play with when I was a little girl.




Here we have (From left to right) Clawdeen Wolf (Daughter of Frankenstein) Lagoona Blue (Daughter of the Creature from the Black Lagoon a.k.a Gill Man) Cleo de Nile (Daughter of The Mummy) Deuce Gordon (Son of Medusa) Frankie Stein (Daughter of Frankenstein's monster) Draculaura (Daughter of Dracula) Ghoulia Yelps (Daughter of some random zombies) Jackson Jekyll/Holt Hyde (Son of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
 

When you put into thought on how on earth did Frankenstein's monster or the Creature from the Black Lagoon have a daughter, the possible explanation can be a bit disturbing. I honestly don't know how that happened, but there are Monster High books currently out so maybe they can explain it. http://www.amazon.com/Monster-High-Lisi-Harrison/dp/031609918X

There are also some adorable little plushie versions of the monsters that you can take home and make them your own. You can purcahse these Monster High cuties at Target, Walmart, Toys R' Us and of course Amazon. The price for a doll ranges from $15- $25. Those who love the classic horror films and have a girly side will simply adore these little dollies.




I currently own Frankie Stein, but have yet to open her up. She is just to nifty to mess with at the moment. As much as I adore my little Frankie she just can't compete with the Monster High black and white doll that was released at Comic Con. Only 5,000 were ever made and those who own one are lucky little duckies. :P


Which one is your favorite?

-Horrorwood Doll


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Haunted Mansion: Black Widow Bride Game

I'm not much of a gamer. I just don't seem to have the patience or attention span to really stick with anything. I pretty much just play a game online once awhile. I recently came across the most adorable Haunted Mansion game on Disney.

The game revolves around the three hitchhiker ghosts freeing all 999 ghosts and five grooms from the clutches from the Black Widow Bride. I suppose it's a basic walk through level type of game and gamers who are much more action oriented will probably tire of the game quickly.


The games greatest strength is that all of the game's animation is based on the artwork Shag did for Haunted Mansion's 40th anniversary. I shall do a post in the future dedicated to the awesomeness that is Shag.

 The game tries to keep things a little bit more interesting by adding certain tasks to each level. Here you can see one of the Hitchhiker ghosts putting together the Haunted Mansion's iconic portraits.



 Each level of the game is based on a certain section of the ride. The game itself might not be that interesting, but fans of the ride will keep playing just so they can see what the next level beholds. The game takes about two hours to complete and is hardly difficult.


Proof I finished. You can play the game by clicking on the link below.
http://disney.go.com/games/play3/?content=379301#/games/play3/&content=379301

For those of you who haven't heard Guillermo del Toro is in charge of a new Haunted Mansion film. It's supposed to revolve around the hat box ghost. If the movie does good it will probably mean that Disney will finally put him on the ride.
http://movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.ap.org/guillermo-del-toro-direct-new-haunted-mansion-ap

-Horrorwood Doll

Friday, February 11, 2011

Buffy Vs. True Blood

 Art by Kinkei

 True Blood is a show that has been often compared to Buffy as of late, but how similar are they? Which show is the superior? I took the time analyze both shows on the things that really count to see which one of these shows is the superior vampire drama.

Opening Theme:

Buffy: The music in Buffy begins with the organ music of old and is then quickly shot down by the upbeat guitar riff of today. The theme by Nerf Herder really does a great job summarizing what the show is all about. The ways of the past are no longer relevant and new era has stepped forward. The young woman who goes into the alleyway is no longer the victim; she is now the hero. The overall theme is fairly simple, the main cast of characters have clips shown from past and the current seasons. The opening has a ton of energy and is fast paced to reflect the current generation.The music is clearly what made the intro so memorable.


True Blood: I have to admit True Blood's theme makes me a tad bit uncomfortable and at first I didn't even like it. The more I had a chance to view the opening I began to really appreciate the imagery and the moody music by Jace Everett. The opening theme shows off religious imagery along with imagery of human sexuality. The point of showing off these two contradictory themes is to show how excessive religious vigor and human sexual energy and lead to corruption in the human soul. The opening sequence in True Blood is art in its own right and manages to still stay relevant to the show.


Victor:  True Blood

Main Character:

Buffy: "Into every generation a Slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer." It just so happens that this slayer happens to be a blond valley girl cheerleader named Buffy. (Odd name, right?) It just so happens that Buffy has been given the power and ability to protect the world from the forces of evil. From the sound of it our main heroine doesn't look to promising, but you'd be wrong. Joss Whedon had to rebuild his creation after the 1992 film with the same name destroyed the vision he was trying to create. She was ahead of her time when it came to having strongly written heroines for television.  Buffy was strong, but she could also be vulnerable and like many other young adults was unsure about the world around her. Like many many of the characters on the show Buffy grew as a person and matured. I don't think many forms of media at the time had a character quite like Buffy and because of that she has become a real pop icon.


True Blood: Sookie is a waitress in Bon Temps and has the gift of telepathy. So a vampire walks into a bar. (Sounds like the beginning of a joke doesn't it?) Sookie has never met a vampire before and finds out that she is unable to read his mind and thus the plot is put into motion after this single meeting. Sookie i a sweet southern girl, who everyone seems to love. Hell, I even like her and find her character endearing like everyone else. During the first season she is fairly well developed and I honestly have to give the girl props for being proactive in life and danger situations without the aid of super strength and agility. However Sookie's character seems to get pushed to the side during the second season and seems to no longer develop. It really is sad to see that the main character is no longer the shows main interest and any character development quickly begins to diminish.


Victor: Buffy (True Blood wins in the odd name category. Sookie is just so much fun to say.) 


Supporting Cast:

Buffy: There is quite a range of characters on Buffy and everyone has their favorite. The characters in Buffy might be equipped with supernatural abilities, but they seem like real people. One of the strongest aspects to Buffy is the character development. The characters on the show evolve and change over time. The character you see in the first season is not the character you see in sixth season. This character development is never forced and makes sense as the story goes on. The character investment on Buffy really pays off because the viewer comes to really know the character and really cares about what happens to them.


True Blood: True Blood also has a cast of characters and are equally as likable. The problem with True Blood is that the majority of True Blood's characters fail to progress and evolve like the characters of Buffy. More often than not a character on the show is used for a plot device and nothing else. It becomes really hard for the viewer to care about a character when the other characters on the show barley blink an eye when someone they love dies.

Victor: Buffy

Humor:

Buffy: Lets face it Buffy is a pretty funny show. The reason why Buffy is so beloved is because it never took it self too seriously and was able to convey any message the show had in a fun manner. The show was often quite serious, but there were probably more humorous moments in one episode of Buffy than one episode of True Blood. At times the show can be pretty campy, but it's intentional and the viewer is laughing with the show and not at it.

True Blood: Much of the humor seen in True Blood is mostly due to actors overacting (Namely Stephen Moyor) words and sentences that normally wouldn't be funny are now down right hilarious. The humor in the show is a bit spaced out and in the end tries to put up a more seasoned mature front. The show can be quite humorous at times,but the humor depends on the more comic relief characters, while each character in Buffy shared the comic relief responsibility.

Victor: Buffy

Vampires:
Buffy: The vampires in Buffy are apparently so bad that a teen girl must be called upon to fight them. In my honest opinion the vamps in Buffy never seemed to be all that threatening especially the normal everyday vamps. I have a problem being intimidated by something that can't even regularly bathe. The vamps on the show don't seem to be very well organized and figure out the fact that if they joined together a slayer would be little to no problem at all. They also don't have a very impressive kill count and seem to be quite careless when it comes to their actions.

True Blood: The strongest aspect of True Blood is having vampires being a treated as a race separate from humans. I love their whole vampire rights movement and I think the show accurately portrays what would happen if vampires came out of the coffin and admitted to the world that they actually exist. The world would flip its shit that is what wold happen. Some people would love vamp while other would come to tolerate them. There is of course the humans who would right out fear the creatures and them to be an abomination to god. Those who fear them have a right to be because the vamps on True Blood can start some shit up. The vamps on the show are organized and can honestly cause a lot of harm to the world around them. The vamps on True Blood are truly terrifying.

Victor: True Blood (I would honestly love to see how Buffy could hold out against a True Blood vamp.)


World:

Buffy: The world of Buffy is filled with vamps, witches, werewolves, demons and other supernatural folk. They all seem to be drawn to supernatural hot spots such as Sunnydale and are supposed to keep a low profile. I however find it hard to believe that the majority of the human race is not aware with what is going on around them. The supernatural beings on Buffy do a terrible job of keeping their existence a secret. I understand that there are forces trying to keep things under wraps, but they can only do so much. Also the world seems to be facing an apocalypse every Sunday. What did the planet do when Buffy wasn't around?

True Blood: I mentioned before that the vampires on True Blood are organized. They have a set of rules to protect themselves and to keep attention off of them. Like humans they have a source of authority and when certain rules are broken the correct actions take place. The supernatural beings on True Blood also seem to be just as low key as the vamps and try their best to keep their identity. The supernatural beings on True Blood are much more believable, but they are also more dangerous. The world also seems to not to be also facing a complete apocalypse every week.

Victor: True Blood

Plot/Theme:

Buffy: Buffy is a show known for its memorable storylines and complex themes. At face value Buffy at times seems to be a supernatural show with a lot of fluff, but it's quite the opposite actually. I don't think any show dealt with the human condition the way Buffy did. Joss Whedon decided to make a teen show that took many of the issues teens face and turn them into an allegory of some kind. The series of course progressed over time and the issues that only affect teens began to become a thing of the past. The show evolved and grew along with its audience and began to focus on issues that have to do with human beings in general. Joss Wheadon was brilliant when it came to creating story arcs. There were many times when a plot point was referenced two seasons prior to its debut. The show is still remembered to this day for being innovative and cutting edge for the time. To fully understand the show you honestly have to watch it. (Just ask and I will direct you to some terrific episodes.)

True Blood: True Blood is a show that has its fair share of admirable storytelling however the plot seems to be pushed to the background and the show's only focus at times is to just pair off characters just so they can sex each other up. The series can be brilliant at times when it's dealing with the vampire rights conflict or tangoing with a supernatural beings whose only goal is to meet her god. The majority of flaws seen on the series mostly has to do with the source material and only seems to really shine when the writers of the show decide to do their own thing. Once the series decides to do away with following the story arcs of the books; the better off the show will be.

Victor: Buffy

The Count

Buffy: 4

True Blood: 3

Legacy: True Blood is a good show in its own right, but Buffy is still the superior show even after all these years. The show was able to deal with complex themes and create memorable characters.The show was often times lighthearted, but it never talked down to its audience and wasn't afraid to bring up issues that were often overlooked by television at the time.  The lasting impact of Buffy is enormous and the popularity of the show has launched the Buffyverse. Buffy has been used in college courses across the country in psychology, women studies classes, etc. The show has given birth to a spin off series called Angel and has produced several spin offs in other medians. The legacy of Buffy is continued on in comic form and she might see a new film in the future. The old girl has even been mentioned once or twice in the show True Blood. Buffy has proven time and time again that she is going no where and she will be going on strong for many years to come putting fear in the undead hearts of vampires everywhere.

-Horrorwood Doll

The Art of Jessica Harrison

The art of Jessica Harrison is simply Goregeous. (Hehe get the pun?) The majority of her work seems to involve in the human anatomy. In other words picture what the world would be like if the Mutter museum infiltrated the art world. I didn't know a thing about her till recently when I came across her current collection.

Just look at these lovely ladies. This what would happen if the porcelain figures in your grandmother's knickknack cabinet got invaded by a horror film. They remind me of my beloved porcelain Dresden dolls to tell you the truth.


I can't help, but think that there is some kind of context on how women acted and were treated in the 19th century. Of course I could be wrong and Jessica could have just wanted to create beauty with horrific imagery. Goodness knows, I would love to own one of these lovely ladies, but alas the workmanship that went into these must be immense as well as the price.

To see more of Jessica's work check out her site here.

-Horrorwood Doll

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vintage Shrunken Head Kit Ad

Children had the most interesting toys back in the 60s. You know I always needed a shrunken head for those special ocassions. You know shrunken heads are not all that hard to back and the process to make them is actually quite simple. Well, you see all you need is AHEM! I'm done talking now. -_-

-Horrorwood Doll

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Be Prepared

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency. emergency.cdc.gov