Disney Pre-9/11 Video Vault: Hocus Pocus

HOCUS 2.jpgIt’s been far too long since the last Disney Pre-9/11 Video Vault–last November, actually! Not to pat myself on the back too much, but I think I picked the perfect film to cover this time around. Disney has recently announced its plan to remake a favorite amongst Millennials specifically for the Disney Channel. But isn’t every pre-9/11 Disney film a Millennial Holy Grail? Of course they are.

In the immediate aftermath of Clinton-era cruise missile attacks on Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters, Gian Ferri committed a mass shooting at 101 California Street leading to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Weeks later, three things would happen: the Clinton Administration would enact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which allowed gays to serve in the military as long as they weren’t being gay about it, Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster was found dead amidst an ethics controversy, and a little horror comedy called Hocus Pocus was released to little critical or commercial success.

Hocus Pocus, directed by Disney superstar, Kenny Ortega, centers around three witches named Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker)…the Sanderson Sisters. Walt Disney, himself, would have been endlessly proud of the way Jewish women were portrayed as vain egomaniacal occultists.

We open the film on Halloween night, 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts. Spooky stuff. A boy named Thackery Binx witnesses his sister’s youth absorbed by the Sanderson sisters. When he confronts them, they transform him into a spinster’s fantasy: an immortal cat. This will serve as a strange and forced plot device to bring a good character from the olden times into the present.

In 1693, the Sanderson sisters are hanged–but not before casting a spell that ensures their resurrection on a full moon…on Halloween…when a virgin lights a Black Flame Candle. Spoiler alert: it takes exactly 300 years for this shit to happen. And a Disney movie wouldn’t begin with a hanging until Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. 

If these witches died in 2017, it would’ve taken about 15 minutes to get a virgin to light a black candle on Halloween. And, of course, the real magic in this fun children’s flick was managing to convince young boys that Sarah Jessica Parker was hot.

300 Years Later, it’s 1993 and our main character, Max Dennison (good solid name for every kids’ movie character ever), has just moved from LA to fucking Salem fucking Massachusetts. He’s a wise-crackin’ smart ass know-it-all who makes an ass out of himself in front of his class of teenagers who are unrealistically excited about Halloween. He responds to the utter humiliation by giving Allison–the hottest girl in class, I guess?–a note with his number on it…in front of the whole class!

We have to pause for a moment and reiterate something about 90’s Disney movie boys. They are always too cool for school. Even if they’re bullied, it’s because they’re too cool and the bullies are all dorks. And in those rare circumstances where our protagonist is an actual loser, he’ll be vindicated in the first act by doing something anticlimactic like joining in on a prank or catching a baseball.

Moving on–Max’s cool guy LA attitude and his tie-dye shirt are no match for the conservative yet questionably superstitious attitudes of his classmates and he doesn’t get the date. So just as we were rooting for our cool hero, he gets played–hard. Not so cool after all, are we, Max? But Disney won’t stop there. No sir! Enter…the bullies!

Jay and Ernie…I mean…Jay and ICE…are almost certainly the highlight of the entire film. These two mentally challenged teens more than make up for the film’s stale plot and obvious anti-Semitic overtones. They’re pretty stylish for dumb kids, and they smoke. It’s odd, though that they decide to steal Max’s sneakers but not his bike…

When Max returns home, we find out that his parents are just getting moved in to their new home and Max is very upset to have been transplanted from cool tie-dye LA to bland, bully-ridden Massachusetts. Just as Max had finished lamenting his lot in life and settled into bed to masturbate to the memory of being rejected by Allison, we get a surprise introduction to Max’s 8-year old sister Dani (Thora Birch). Not so fast, Max!

Max is forced to take Dani trick-or-treating by his disturbingly-normal-for-a-kids-movie parents. Dani dresses as a witch (of course), and a reluctant Max dresses like a “rap singer” (without the blackface). When the bullies show up again, he is forced to defend his honor and stick up for his little sister, solidifying Max as not just the good guy of our story…but the best guy of the story. His flaws have officially been erased. Now we can get on with our Disney flick.

The two inadvertently wander into Allison’s house where she’s having some kind of weird Eyes Wide Shut meets Amadeus Halloween Party. Dani and Max also introduce us to a new word for breasts: Yabbos.

Allison wants to take Max and Dani on a tour of the Sanderson Sisters House to prove that Salem is all ’bout dem witchez! But when they inevitably break into the house, they get more than they bargain for as shit starts to get real about 30 minutes in.

The Sanderson House is supposed to be some kind of museum to the three witches’ legacy, but it appears like it’s never been in use–covered in cobwebs and dust. Max gets viciously attacked by Immortal Cat and, trying to show he’s not scared, proceeds to light the BLACK CANDLE! He claimed that all that witch stuff is just a bunch of “Hocus Pocus.” Get it? That’s the name of the movie. So Max fucks up and the witches come back, of course–which tells us two things about this universe: Magic is Real…and Max is a Virgin. No wonder he’s been yankin’ it to Allison’s yabbos.

Naturally, the three resurrected Jewish Witches want to eat Thora Birch and Sarah Jessica Parker wants to make Max less of a virgin. She was always my favorite witch as she didn’t really seem all that evil in the grand scheme of things.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Hocus Pocus but the movie is both intensely suggestive and intensely silly. I suppose once you’ve raised three Jewish Witches from their 300 year slumber, a talking cat is no big deal.

Our heroes run into a graveyard where the witches can’t go. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re demonic or Jewish, but either way, they can’t set foot on Christian Turf. So, instead, they decide to raise a random corpse from the grave to help them catch dem kidz. The dead guy they raise is called “Billy Butcherson“, because why not? We don’t know much about Billy except that he was a “Lost Soul”…whatever that means.

As this nonsense goes on it becomes clear that this film is semi-autobiographical in that Kenny Ortega must use the souls of young gay men to remain so fresh and youthful in the Disney universe. There’s also an oddly out of place scene where the witches wind up at some old Jewish man’s house where they watch TV and piss off his wife. None of this belongs in the film at all and I can’t comprehend why it exists.

About half-way through the movie we get another pair of suggestive and then torturous scenes for a children’s movie. Sarah Jessica Parker is driving a bus while bouncing on the bus driver’s lap when, suddenly and without warning, our Immortal Talking Cat gets run over. Cut to…a close-up of a roadkill cat. Fun for the whole family.

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 2.33.45 PMBut, just kidding. He’s immortal, right? The cat’s fine. As always happens in fantasy/horror films, the kids quickly realize this situation is entirely out of their control so they go to the adults for help. But the adults don’t believe a word. Also, the fake police officer they go to seems a little too interested in Max being a virgin.

At this point we’ve established that the ultimate goal of the Sanderson Sisters is…to…not die? This seems perfectly reasonable to me, other than added detail that they need the souls of the young to live forever. But don’t we all?

What’s the best way to captivate the kiddos for long enough to suck out their souls? I mean, besides putting on Disney’s Hocus Pocus. How about a lame Halloween-themed concert being attended by Max’s parents? Next best thing. The Sanderson Sisters need to find Max and get their Book of Spells back. Good thing Max decides to take center stage and once again brazenly make a fool of himself, while disclosing his whereabouts to our three witches…at least it’s a good excuse to get Bette Midler to sing.

So while Bette Midler hypnotizes all of the town’s mommies and daddies into dancing all night, the kids make their escape. Every scene in this movie seems more redundant than the last. There was no reason to hypnotize the parents. Sarah finds the kids and lets them go for some reason. And then, the witches wind up finding the kids who have taken refuge in the school…when suddenly another grisly and wholly offensive scene takes place…

Now, read this carefully because it’s…shocking if you don’t recall this scene from your childhood. Max and the kids force the trio of 300-year old Jewish Women into an OVEN and set them on fire. Yes. You’ve read that correctly. I wonder if that scene will be in the remake…

As dawn approaches, the witches kidnap Dani and fly away. Then we get another song. Sarah Jessica Parker sings an enchantment spell that causes all of the town’s children to follow them to their resting place, which begs the question…why did they need DANI at all? Why not just do this from the beginning? And why did they need the spell book?! Presumably they’ve done this before…we know at least once at the beginning of the movie.

For some reason the Sandersons have kidnapped Jay and Ice and are force-feeding them candy…which is a pretty extreme come-uppins for the bullies, but whatever.

All Max needs to do now is use his wit and knowledge of modern conveniences (like car headlights) to trick the Sandersons into believing it’s morning and they’re going to die. Spoiler Alert, they don’t die. At least, not yet. Nothing in this film makes sense, but that’s why it’s a cult classic and not a real classic.

As it turns out, all our heroes had to do was survive until morning…which would have been easier to do if not for all of their scheming.

The ending we get is even more confounding as our zombie friend Billy returns to his grave, our immortal cat actually dies, and the ghost of the young man who embodied the immortal cat has some kind of romantic connection to a drastically underage Thora Birch.

Then, as if it were a last-ditch effort to wrap up loose ends, we see the parents of Salem exiting their house party, while Jay and Ice remain locked in cages. But…what? The spell book opens up once again! Could there be a sequel in the works?

No. Not now. Not ever. Hopefully. The remake will be a Disney Channel Original so it won’t be surprising when it tries and fails to match the appeal (whatever appeal there was) about the original while falling into all the same plot holes.

Look, I know you all remember loving this movie, and that’s fine. Nothing can take that away from you; not even a remake. But let’s be honest, this movie makes zero sense and there is no way anyone will convince me that Mick GarrisNeil Cuthbert, and David Mickey Evans weren’t mentally impaired while writing it.

It was fun watching it again, though! Maybe I’ll give it another shot in 20 more years…

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Is Philly’s Octavius Catto Monument a Warning?

1.pngDespite being oversaturated with historic monuments, murals, structures, and artifacts in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and specifically the city of Philadelphia, it is endlessly troubling how detached our citizens seem to be from that history.

Recently, a small, but nevertheless obnoxious, group of individuals led by Councilwoman-at-Large and Asian spirit who kills you seven days after seeing her face, Helen Gym, has been raising a stink about the existence of a monument for former Mayor Frank Rizzo. Largely due to these (pardon the expression) “bitch-fits”, Philadelphia has taken a larger initiative in generating more progressive and social-justice oriented statues around the city.

Recently a new monument was unveiled on the south side of City Hall featuring a large statue of Civil War Era Philadelphia resident, Octavius Catto. The monument reads:

“There must come a change which shall force upon this nation that course which providence seems wisely to be directing for the mutual benefit of peoples.”

Nothing confusing about that…

1The monument is also titled A Quest for Parity, which is clearly an attempt to find a suitable synonym for “equality” that went horribly awry. Almost everything about this monument is a slap in the face both to the intellectually honest and, most hilariously, to the government of the City of Philadelphia.

So, who is Octavius Catto? Good question, because no one in this city seems to have any idea.

Octavius Catto was a mixed-race free man from South Carolina who moved out of the slave state as a child with his family to Baltimore, then Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, he became a teacher and began to organize other free black men to fight for the Union war effort.

Although he was commissioned to be a major in the Union Army, he did not join–as a 2013 Philadelphia memorial placard would have us believe.

He was a celebrated community organizer who fought against segregation and spoke on behalf of racial progress; specifically encouraging the ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870. He accomplished a lot, succeeded in his goals, made a significant impact on the city, state, and nation. So why don’t we hear more about him?

Well, that’s the sticky wicket…see…Octavius Catto was a Republican, as many of the privileged classes in the North were. The lower immigrant classes, however, were Democrats–notably, the Irish–who would consistently clash with black voters and other Republicans in the streets of Philadelphia. These clashes led to further reasons for educated black men like Catto to defend themselves. Unfortunately for him, he was shot and killed by an Irish Democrat on Election Day, one year after the nation ratified the 15th Amendment, enshrining his right to vote.

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To put things in historical perspective, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery, anti-reconstruction, segregation, the KKK, and continued to be so through voting against all civil rights acts through the 1960s. Today, every major city run by Democrats experiences intense crime and destitute minority populations caused by (and perpetuated by) debilitating policies of constant welfare. The Democratic Party has never wavered in their attempts to keep black populations in the hole; they just gained power in the major cities and changed their tactics.

Octavius Catto is a martyr to the black Republican cause; not the first “woke” black man, but one among many who escaped the proverbial and literal “Democrat Plantation.”

One would need to look no further than a famous quote by Democratic hero and possible worst President ever, LBJ:

“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”

This quote is often confused with the more notable LBJ quote (but less corroborated): “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years.”

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Octavius Catto Sculptor Branly Cadet works on a Jackie Robinson design.

The Democratic Party tends to get very touchy when their motivations and history are put into perspective; which ultimately caused me to question the installation of this monument. After all, they wanted to tear down statues of other notable Democrats from history: Robert E. Lee…Frank Rizzo…

So, why would an almost entirely Democratic City commission and raise a monument to a Republican Martyr? Pure incompetence? Arrogance?

Or is it something more sinister?

Perhaps the Octavius Catto statue isn’t meant as a memorial to the accomplishments of a particular champion for civil rights and Negro League Baseball…but as a warning to the city’s minority population from Democratic Leadership; reminding them what happens when they step out of line.

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Prophets of Rage is a Cringe Masterpiece

1You may have already forgotten (good for you) that the “rap rock supergroup” Prophets of Rage formed last year featuring most of Rage Against the Machine/AudioSlave, two members of Public Enemy, and B-Real of Cypress Hill.

The amalgamation of middle-aged artists who have never written a good song in their 30+ years in the industry (with the possible exception of Chuck D) were described by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine as “…an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront the mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head on…”

Leave it to Communist “artists” in Che Guevara shirts to tell you whose opinions deserve to be violently “silenced” in this video for the incomprehensible Radical Eyes.

Last January, when Prophets of Rage came onto the scene, people were excited for a refreshing hardcore take on the “system” and the “racist evil” of the man running for President–a man who couldn’t possibly win.

Predictably, the project’s excitement and virility went flaccid, and a major album release from Prophets of Rage in September 2017 falls on deaf ears. But that won’t stop Tom Morello and Chuck D trying to sound cool on the failing Daily Show while they stumble through tired political rhetoric and drag their feet through another version of the same song they’ve been making for three decades.

None of this stopped me from checking out the album out of morbid curiosity. Let’s call it…my version of “cutting.” I’m always anxious to test my tolerance for pain. To get the full effect, you’d have to force yourself to listen to these individual tracks (don’t). But let’s establish that they all sound the same, and they’re all faux-edgy with goofy outdated record scratches. Now let’s get into the best part: the cringe lyrics.

TRACK 1: Radical Eyes

Can’t resist don’t even draw / All the things all you do / Now your part on the trees / You’ve distracted again / Your fantasy when you walk and for the fight for the win
They didn’t hear my cry / He said fuck my pride
The say I’m radicalized
(See my radical eyes)

It’s actually amazing that the album starts out like this. It’s the most apt introduction to what the rest of the album is going to be. The lyrics make no artistic or literal sense, and it’s clear that whoever is writing the words is deeply struggling for loose rhymes that sound like they may be intentionally deep. They’re not. But what else is new for Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, or Cypress Hill?

TRACK 2: Unfuck the World

No Hatred / Fuck Racists / Blank Faces / Time’s Changin’ / One Nation / Unification / The Vibration / Unfuck the World!

There are so many good lines in this track, but the desperate attempt for the chorus to become a chant reminiscent of Green Day‘s “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” is palpable. This is Black Eyed Peas level cringe.

TRACK 3: Legalize Me

Yo, where those candles lit / Teenagers blown to bits / I’m filling radio with hits / Prime nights at the Ritz

I’ll be honest, it was refreshing to find out this song wasn’t about illegal immigration. But it was distressing when I couldn’t fathom what else it could possibly be about. I don’t know. You tell me. Weed, maybe?

TRACK 4: Living on the 110

Living on the 110 / There’s no end to the poverty, stopping me / You pretend there’s democracy, hypocrisy / This is the reality / Living on the 110 / There’s no end to the poverty, stopping me / You depend on democracy, hypocrisy / This is the reality

OK–finally we get a song with a defined purpose. The 110 is a California highway with lots of tent cities. Got it. Tom Morello said that everyone is rich and the tent city people are the ones suffering. Because Tom Morello lives in a world of grandstanding black & white. Sorry, Tom. You’re the elite. You’re sucking Trevor Noah’s cock while LA’s Democratic gov’t does nothing for homelessness. You do have democracy, Tom. But you depend on hypocrisy. Oh, shit. I should be Chuck D.

TRACK 5: The Counteroffensive

[Scattered Vocals Amongst Record Scratching] / Counteroffensive / Counteroffensive / Prophets of Rage / Counteroffensive / Prophets of Rage

Um…let’s call this one an “intermission”? Oof…

TRACK 6: Hail to the Chief

All Hail to the chief who came in the name of a Thief to cease Peace / He’ll be comin’ round that mountain / All Hail to the chief who came in the name of Thief to cease Peace / And he didn’t even run

It’s becoming more and more clear that this album was either written in 2003 and released today, or that it was written and recorded last weekend. Title makes it sound like it would be the album’s big ANTI-TRUMP song…but I’m not even sure what this is. Lots of cowboy references. I honestly don’t get it; nor do I see why anyone else would.

TRACK 7: Take Me Higher

Drones! / They got ya tapped, they got ya phone / Look out! / Drones! / They got ya trapped, they spot ya home / Cuz you’re a target! / Drones gonna take you out / Drones gonna shut yo mouth / Drones flyin’ checkin’ ya’ll out / Drones in the hood like ‘wow’

So far, that’s two songs in a row with titles that other artists performed much more competently. This one…this one was a doozy. I have to believe this is the last song they wrote. Tom Morello said “We need 12 tracks! We have 11!” to which Chuck D replied, “So what, man? I’m tired of writin’.” To which Cypress Hill responded, “What about just yelling DRONEZ?” And the rest is history. Seriously, though. This track is a fucking embarrassment to rap, rock, and rap-rock.

TRACK 8: Strength in Numbers

Standing on a rock / Staring at the cop / With the [?] / While you wanna hit the fucking blunt / We don’t want no pipeline / Injustice of a lifetime / Brothers turn away / Like they don’t see us spend a lifeline / High crimes / Does it make you wonder? / Stand together / Because there’s strength in numbers

Even the hardcore dedicated fans who scribe and dissect these awful lyrics have given up trying to figure this shit out. This is a mishmash of references to Left Wing causes randomly assorted with zero context. “Standing on a rock”? May be a throwaway allusion to the Standing Rock protest? Who’s to say? There has to be someone literate in this “super-group.” Right?

TRACK 9: Fired a Shot

Look who fired the shot / I just fired the shot / We fired the shot / Look who fired the shot / Look who fired the shot / I just fired the shot / We fired the shot / Look who fired the shot

Everyone in this “super group” has Down Syndrome. They should’ve called it Prophets of the Syndrome and gave all the proceeds to some kind of charity that takes WEED away from these water-heads.

TRACK 10: Who Owns Who

Know your rights but you should understand / Who owns who / Systematic breakdown / Know your rights but you should understand / Who owns who / We fuckin’ matter

I think this song is about immigrants crossing the borders, having sex with American women, burning the American flag, and then whining about how they own the streets and matter to the country. I disagree.

TRACK 11: Hands Up

Hands up x3 / Had enough x3 / What the fuck?

I truly hope you’re starting to sense a theme here, and I think if you’re playing along at home, you too could write a Prophets of Rage song (or really any Rage Against the Machine song).
Pick a phrase that’s mildly provocative, but only enough to rile up a 13 year old. Repeat phrase with some familiar power-guitar riffs and some archaic record scratches that make you sound even more out-of-it than you ever could have done verbally. Done.

TRACK 12: Smashit

They say what the must to gain our trust / But once the ballot’s cast they forget about us / Standing on a mountain high above the downtrodden / They forgot about Michigan like all is magnificent

Well it was a long road, but we finally made it. Last track of the album. The only possibly respectful thing I could say about this album is that it clearly would have been exactly the same no matter who won the election; but that has very sinister undertones. Because while their political ideology isn’t swayed by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, they aren’t swayed by reality at all.

It’s all just a ledger of causes their retarded fan-base can feel politically stimulated over. Does anyone believe that these wealthy hall-of-famers give a shit about “the downtrodden”? Are we supposed to believe that these has-been performers whose aging fans only respond to out of nostalgia have any real clue about the nature of the world outside of violent rhetoric and communist iconography?

If you liked this album, you may want to have your chromosomes checked.

My review: Zero out of Ten Hot Dogs. Fuck it.

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Virtue Signaling Has No Home Here

We’ve all seen those atrocious virtue signaling Hillary Clinton Bandwagon “Hate Has No Home Here” signs, darkening the doorsteps of those desperate to say to their friends, neighbors and colleagues, “I don’t know about you, but I’M certainly not a racist.”

Like many other Democratic strategies, the HHNHH campaign was created by children and transformed into a money-making scheme by adults.

So why not get on board? I’ve developed a similar sign that you can feel free to print out and post for free, or click on the links to purchase a full-quality poster from our store. We encourage you to do so, as it does help us out financially in some small way…but we’d never put this gem behind a paywall.

Together, let’s get the word out that Virtue Signaling Has No Home Here.

In addition, we have another treat for you to combat the Antifa “Refuse Fascism/NO!” Campaign. This sticker/poster/insignia is an open-source campaign that we like to call, simply, “YES!”

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Philly Combats History with SJW Propaganda

FullSizeRenderYesterday, a publicly funded organization called Monument Lab unveiled its latest Fall installment at Dilworth Park in Center City Philadelphia. The “monument” is an 800 lb. statue of an afro pick topped with a “Black Power” fist…because a slogan and symbol associated with African American terrorist groups like The Black Panthers is seen by the social justice left as an appropriate image to display outside of our City Hall & Municipal Building.

If Philly really wanted to send a message, they’d install a new statue of the first black Mayor of Philadelphia: Wilson Goode! That’ll show a history of pride and—oh wait, the MOVE bombings that they decided to blame on someone else…yikes on a bike.

But clearly, the right answer to “Monument Hysteria” is the force removal of statues dedicated to the men and women who fought for the country, established the constitution, and contributed to the stability of major parts of the nation…and replace them with black supremacist Afro Picks that conjure up nothing more powerful than a certain scene from Spaceballs.

The modern artist, Hank Willis Thomas is responsible for several other art installments highlighting similar themes from black cultural branding, black criminal demonization, and the “hands up don’t shoot” mythology.

To some, this installment has been seen as a ‘refreshing take’ on a part of the city’s history not expressly covered by the limitless black history and cultural murals scattered everywhere in the city.

To others, it’s an obvious gut response to the recent faux outrage over the continued presence of the statue of Philly’s former Mayor Frank Rizzo led by Councilwoman-at-Large and Babadook/Elisa Lam Ghoul stand-in, Helen Gym.

But it doesn’t stop there.

A few weeks prior, another publicly funded art project started up at the Municipal Services Building in Dilworth Park. This one seems more like an exercise in how distinctly anti-American and pro-Eastern culture we could force ourselves to be while still spending taxpayer money in a public space.

This installation is set to continue through the end of the year and is titled “Immigrant Alphabet.” It includes an A-Z of childish and insulting cultural amalgamations sponsored by the Islamic Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. Puzzling panels like:

  • K is for Knowledge (featuring a picture of the Koran…why not just “K is for Koran”?)
  • O is for Occupy (featuring an image of a foot stomping down on Africa on a map)
  • R is for Refugee (featuring a picture of…just a black woman with a book)
  • S is for Stereotype (featuring an Asian girl wearing glasses holding a textbook)
    1
    Why would any Asian Woman want to be associated with family support and education?

    …and my personal favorite

  • X is for….”X is not a letter in Bengali, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic”

What does your city do with your money? Self-described social justice public installations served to shame and disorient the majority of Americans? Or maybe productive architectural and reconstructive efforts on sections that have been forgotten or left in disrepair?

But, hey…why bother trying to attain sustainable employment, improved educational institutions, and communities strengthened by families and order?

We’ve got a statue of a fucking comb.

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Your Hot Take on Statues is Garbage

2-2-Lenin-statue-demolished-1024x575Ask yourself a question. What moral authority do you have over your neighbor? If your answer is anything other than “None, whatsoever,” we have a serious problem on our hands. We live in an environment right now where large sections of our populous and governing bodies, regardless of intention, are both shameless and authoritarian. Shameless, through nature. Authoritarian, through nurture.

First, you need to know that your wholly unoriginal “hot take” on the very real and, for many, visceral issue of removing certain monuments and statues from the public eye is myopic at best and iconoclastic at worst.

Tearing_Down_King_George_StatueThere are two primary “hot takes” circulating amongst those with an outrageous and unfounded sense of moral superiority. The first being, “You lost, get over it. Losers don’t get statues.” This sentiment is very specific to monuments to the American Confederate Soldiers who lost an economic war during a time of political strife over the legality and moral corruption of slavery. Many of these statues simply honor the memory of the over 200,000 conscripted soldiers who fought for a cause they didn’t necessarily have any stake in whatsoever. Should these men, the history and legacy of an entire section of the now United States, not be remembered?

Don’t get it twisted. These are not Nazis. These are children and men who were handed guns and sent to die.

statueBut let’s take “Losers don’t get statues” a step further. Which losers are we referring to? People who were killed while fighting a cause we now find morally questionable? People who were killed or conquered by American forces? Imagine if that were the case. Just for a second, think outside the bun and imagine a group–just ONE–who were destroyed or conquered throughout American History who we now honor the memory of with our monuments to history. Now imagine ripping them down.

The second “hot take” you’ll be familiar with is, “What do you need statues to remember history for? Can’t go to a museum? Can’t read a book?” This one is a little trickier; because clearly the simple answer is: You don’t need statues. They’re expensive, they’re largely obnoxious, and most of the time they’re actually kind of ugly. The same goes for murals.

(There’s a particularly hideous Bernie Sanders mural in South Philadelphia which would fit the categories of both “Loser” and “What do you need this for?” but, I digress…)

The fact remains, murals, statues and monuments are not only how we preserve and remember our cultural history, but how we ensure that it isn’t erased. A statue to an unknown Confederate soldier may, to practically everyone, stand for a victory over an game-changing dark age in American history. But it may also stand for young men who were both emboldened or conscripted to fight and die for a place they called their home, and a system they felt was tyrannical.

We burned the South to the ground. But then we rebuilt it. We wanted to remember, not erase.

150226104027-isis-destroys-iraq-mosul-artifacts-00002819-large-169While you snicker at those who correctly compare this new iconoclasm to the cultural tornado of ISIS and Al Qaeda, consider the implications of these actions. What does the removal of one group’s heritage from the public square say about the group who removed it? That they’re frightened? Weak? Intimidated by a historical comparisons? When you destroy or dismantle, or relocate something to the halls of a museum, you’re now putting it in a new historic context. Instead of “this is important to this place, and that’s why it is in this place” you’re saying “this needed to be destroyed or removed from its original place because…reasons.”

While the Left enjoys their culturally genocidal game of chicken, they forget that they won’t always be in the position they’re currently in: given free range to hurl tantrums while the would-be adults in the room cave to their demands. What happens when someone else gets to decide what’s allowed in the public square? Statues of Malcolm X? Statues of Lenin? Your only true respite is that the side that you claim to fight is not as keen on ripping shit down as you guys seem to be.

Lastly, you can scoff about the exhausted notion of the “slippery slope,” but it’s been validated with near metaphysical certitude on practically every occasion. It didn’t even take a whole 24-hours for the angry mob to move from memorials of the Confederacy to statues of former Presidents…to statues in memory of Philadelphia’s perhaps most venerated cop and mayor.

cufujblwiaexb4kBut, hey, it’s easy to call the other side “fascists” when you’re the ones destroying art, monuments and culture, right? Especially when the culture you’re destroying isn’t your own.

There is certainly a debate to be had on the subject of Confederate Memorial statues. There’s always a debate. But that debate should be had where they exist and should be of literally negative impact and concern to anyone outside of where they exist.

The fact that people in New York or LA have a say in how the Southern States remember their heritage and history is, frankly, mentally ill. It can not be understated how dangerous of a notion it is for one politically motivated group to decide what statues are allowed to remain.

It won’t stop at Robert E. Lee; because it was never even intended to stop at Robert E. Lee.

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You Might Be a Fascist If…

I’d like to say that violent protests and hyperbolic political discourse in the streets throughout our country was a new phenomenon; that our “Cheeto Dictator” President–or whatever–has inspired some insane reactionary hate movement.

gettyimages-632312854-1485549014.jpgFortunately, despite what your illiterate Facebook friends may think, that’s not the case. But unfortunately, this kind of assault on western values, common sense and better judgement has been going on for quite some time. It’s been happening on college campuses, it’s taken over cities, shut down public spaces, and whether it’s White Supremacy, Radical Islamism, Faux-Marxist Revolutionaries, or a good ol’ fashioned Book Burning…fascism will gain ground where humanist and classical liberal values cease to exist.

So, in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy (blessings and peace be upon him), here’s a short list of signs you just might be a real-life-honest-to-goodness Fascist.

Starting with the most important…

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1. If you control the academic space enough to alter the definition of Fascism so it can’t possibly include you…you MIGHT be a Fascist.

Sites like Google have long controlled broad and mainstream access to information. We exist in a world where any question one could possibly ask is met with a ubiquitous, “Google it.”

Google has enveloped the educational space by pairing up with left-wing sites like Politifact and Snopes with the goal of providing users with faster access to their questions about news & politics. Seems reasonable enough, until you see the sinister side.

Originally when you Googled a definition for “Fascism,” you’d find this Dictionary.com result:

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Pretty broad strokes, right? Flexible to include all suppressors of freedom? Well, in March 2016, seeing a rise in Populism against the Democratic agenda, Google decided to write their own definition:

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After backlash against the company, they have since scrapped this definition and simply re-directed to Wikipedia.org which illustrates a more broad and historic context, despite flaws in its model.

Controlling the means to information is just as dangerous and controlling the information itself. You can re-write history to inflate and excuse any type of behavior. You can generate and dictate the language and use of words so that anyone falls into a category of oppression and dehumanization.

StepfordStudents.jpgImagine we passed a rule where American Nazis were no longer granted voting rights. If you identified as a member of a Nazi or White Supremacist group, you could no longer take part in American elections; and many would, perhaps cautiously at first, support this lunacy.

For a time, the 5,000 or so individuals who identify as White Supremacists would be alone in the removal of their Constitutional Rights. But then, who determines what classifies as “nazi”? Google? A politician? The foaming-at-the-mouth communist mob? Currently everyone from the President of the United States to Conservative TV pundits and academics are referred to as “nazis.”

Suddenly the rights of 5,000 skinheads turn into the rights of tens of millions of people.

SO…if your ‘team’ needs to control the narrative of science, history, and language in order to paint your opposition as an existential threat, you just may be a fascist.

2. If you create a movement for disenfranchised voters, then turn around and make it a race-centered authoritarian socialist ethno-state party…you may be a Fascist.

The dynamic of the Alt-Right has consistently been a confusing one. No one knows precisely how to define them, which is important to note because it implies divergency amongst their numbers. Mainstream media has made some attempts in the past to outline the dozen-or-so ideologies that make up members of the supposed “Alt-Right.”

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“Alt-Right” is the new media catch-all for “Conservative”

Most of the time, media just gives up and uses buzzwords like “nazi group” and “white supremacists.” It’s easier that way, and nobody has to do any actual homework.

Last year, when everyone was trying to figure out what the Alt-Right really were they were free to kind of be whatever they wanted to be. They could be trolls, Internet hooligans, shit-posters, anti-SJWs, supporters of Donald Trump, and yes, even literal racists.

Alt-Right-TorchesAs it became clearer what the leaders of the movement, or at least the power-players, were really all about, the fracturing began, though the central belief in white nationalism socialism wasn’t essential to be part of the movement.

The media didn’t have to speculate. The Alt-Right became very open with their beliefs to anyone who willing to listen. The inconvenient truth was that their beliefs weren’t based on hate, but simply and authoritarian nationalism based on racial identity; and that was too much for the more libertarian conservatives to handle. And even though specific beliefs about race mixing were not required, it became the main focus of the organization.

However, the Alt-Right aren’t alone in their embrace of identity politics and victimization to shoehorn their radical ideology. There is also a growing force that believes strongly that a single party needs to rule consistently. This totalitarian ideology brings about the notion that only liberal progressive values must prevail at the expense of individual rights, free markets, culture and democracy.

Those who fight on behalf of this form of fascism are especially prone to violence, as we’ve seen all over the world. But we’ll get there next.

But let’s leave it at this: when you Trojan Horse identity politics and authoritarian national socialism into a movement people had convinced themselves was based on unique American Values, you might be a fascist.

3. When political violence exists in your tool-belt for silencing ideas your side finds offensive or ideologically harmful…you may be a Fascist.

It’s long been common knowledge that fascism’s first course of action is removing a population’s ability to defend themselves. For some, that means the right to bear arms, for others it means the right to have safe spaces where objectionable language is not permitted. Let’s put aside firearms and private “safe” spaces for a moment and focus on a more direct and visceral human value: speech.

We’ve touched on the academic aspects of redefining terms, but there are other core authoritarian issues that fly under the radar as well; revisionist history, erasure of cultural and historical elements that tie individuals to an identity, ethnicity or period of time. Toppling statues, destroying memorials, and creating a general fear for one’s safety or livelihood should they be guilty of the wrong ideas are all aspects of a Fascist authoritarian system, most closely tied to either Radical Islam or the supposedly Anti-Fascist Left.

Lately, Islam and Antifa have been becoming closer bedfellows in both support and behavior. The populous has been gaslighted by special interest groups, self-proclaimed social justice advocates, and even western politicians to believe that they must support radical fascist ideologies in the spirit of protecting the “little guy,” never stopping to wonder if this authoritarian cultural mindset is an ideal match for a nation that values free speech and diversity of thought.

1.jpgBut neither group supports either of these western social values, so they get along swimmingly. It will certainly be a shame when Islamo-fascism comes to impede the values of the Left, while they proceed to self-censor, de-platform themselves, support killers, and wrap each other in prohibitive clothing…it will certainly call to mind other cultures who welcomed fascist occupation with open arms.

If you’re using violence and threats of violent destruction as a means of keeping individuals from working, living comfortably, or sharing their ideas peacefully; when part of your belief system is that speech and ideas of any kind are tantamount to violenceyou are a fascist.

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That’s it for today, folks! See ya next time!

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Avijit-Roy
Bangladeshi women protesting the rise of Islamic Fascism. Look familiar?

Rox Trash Radio, Ep. 42: Chasing Enid

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The chronicles of our trip to Enid, OK / Fly Film Festival, Auto Shop and lap Alfredo / A Song of Fire and Fire with Game of Thrones / American Airlines finally gets us home / Roxborough Night Market / A Festival of Alt-Lights / We are men, not Nazis / Tragedy in Charlottesville / Funktaculis lives

DOWNLOAD the LATEST EPISODE HERE!

or on iTUNES and STITCHER RADIO!

Join the Roxborough Always Rants & Sometimes Raves Facebook Group for the inside scoop! #RTR

–Follow today’s crew: @SailorTwift13JoeyHAHAs@CVLwolf, & @Dan_SuperDPS

Rox Trash Radio, Ep. 41: Wedding Hangover

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Returning from a wedding in Malvern / Game of Thrones delivers the goods / Erasing men from history / Transgenders in the military / Going deep into the latest trailers / TommyNC2010 has an encounter with a homeless man / Live on FB Live!

DOWNLOAD the LATEST EPISODE HERE!

or on iTUNES and STITCHER RADIO!

Join the Roxborough Always Rants & Sometimes Raves Facebook Group for the inside scoop! #RTR

–Follow today’s crew: @SailorTwift13JoeyHAHAs@CVLwolf, & @Dan_SuperDPS

White people don’t get to have a history

In the latest “revisionist history” news, Vice has interviewed a couple of art historians about the possibility of ancient Roman statues having been painted back in the day. A study which, on its own, would be at least vaguely interesting, turned into a new accusation of “whitewashing” history through nothing other than…white stone.

Yes, that’s right. The “experts” are claiming here that the marble material itself is responsible for creating the impression that ancient Europeans were…get this…white people!

According to these rockstar art historians, it turns out that people from an ancient Mediterranean area and surrounding European geography were, in fact, not the color of alabaster ghosts (or grey stone-people), but actually had more of a pinkish tan to their skin…much like, say, modern 2017 white people. Fascinating.

I’m glad that we’ve finally gotten to the bottom of this massive historical “whitewashing” and come to the conclusion that the leaders of the Ancient Roman Empire were–contrary to popular belief–not albino.

Thanks, ViceAnd thank you, Art Institute of Chicago.

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Rox Trash Radio, Ep. 40: Let Them Eat Tastykake

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What’s in Mountain Dew? / The soda commercials you don’t remember / Bastille Day 2017 in Philly / Finally, an analysis of Spider-Man: Homecoming / Internet Historian takes on the Furry Convention / The Suit Saga in the TommyVerse / Review Brah Flame War

DOWNLOAD the LATEST EPISODE HERE!

or on iTUNES and STITCHER RADIO!

Join the Roxborough Always Rants & Sometimes Raves Facebook Group for the inside scoop! #RTR

–Follow today’s crew: @SailorTwift13JoeyHAHAs@CVLwolf@Dan_SuperDPS, & @RoxTrashRadio

Rox Trash Radio, Ep. 39: Creepin’ on Teenz

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Internet safety / That’s Bris Baby! / The rise and fall of Xander Berkeley / #DatBodaciousness / The Walking Dead stan community opens up / The boys go on a golf outing / We are all Alex Jones / Roxborough is on fire / Daddy’s Roommate and other gay shit / Spider-Man Homecoming diversity / TommyNC2010 is the new Review Brah / Tommy on da newz

DOWNLOAD the LATEST EPISODE HERE!

or on iTUNES and STITCHER RADIO!

Join the Roxborough Always Rants & Sometimes Raves Facebook Group for the inside scoop! #RTR

–Follow today’s crew: @SailorTwift13JoeyHAHAs@CVLwolf@Dan_SuperDPS, & @RoxTrashRadio

A Portrait of the Artist as a Creepy Old Man

Alex Gross--Xander BerkeleyIn a bittersweet turn of events, it appears that we have reached the end of the line for our long-running hashtag game: #XanderBerkeleyFriday

For me, this relationship with recognizable character actor Xander Berkeley ended just about the time Donald Trump became president; but the online community that Sailor Twift had created surrounding the actor was still growing. Our hashtag games on Twitter paired with the revelation of his small role in AMC’s The Walking Dead (as “Gregory”) truly grew the actor’s fandom (or STANdom) on social media.

The most relevant bit of information here is that a vast majority of these new social media fans seemed to be women.

If you don’t know who Xander Berkeley is, we understand. He’s more of a face than a name. He was the non-Gary Oldman villain in Air Force One; John Connor’s step-father in Terminator 2: Judgement Day; and appeared in various television programs from 24 to Being Human to The Walking Dead.

My relationship with him began as part of our #XanderBerkeleyFriday hashtag games. We would create and share funny and esoteric images/gifs from his various films and appearances and he would, on occasion, chime in with a comment or an interesting fact about filming a particular scene. It was all in good fun…until it became personal.

Berkeley, since adding me as a “friend” on social media, began getting into intense derisive, angsty, and hate-fueled debates with me on Twitter. I say “debates” but it was more like abusively chastising me about my tempered (at the time) support for then-candidate Donald Trump. He seemed disgusted by any positivity toward Trump in the form of unadulterated rage; a personality trait that seems to be all-too-common in supporters of Bernie Sanders these days.

He made many bold and untrue claims about my character, which he appears to be continuing to this day (from what I’ve heard). Eventually I stopped arguing or caring what he had to say. It became clear that it wasn’t moving the needle for me to care what some elitist, practically unknown actor had to say.

Had he not blocked me on all social media directly after the election of Donald Trump, I may have been able to obtain some explanation from him other than the screen shots I was sent. I still have saved Twitter convos with the man, regardless, but it would seem like overkill (not to mention time-consuming) to post them here today.

But–this particular #XanderBerkeleyFriday, I awoke to news that he had allegedly been courting and sweet-talking some of his young lady fans. All of this information came to me via the female fans that had been his most eager audience over the past year (or so).

Friday, a Twitter user by the name of @CarlGallaghr dropped this video bombshell allegedly outlining her long conversational and controversial history with married-guy, Xander Berkeley:

The “video proof” was used to absolve the user of any accusations that they (She? Supposedly a 19 y/o woman) were making up the events and the screen shots below:

Possibly the most crude/hilarious aspects of this alleged conversation involve Xander Berkeley being suave and poetic, and then turning right around and saying things like this:

Photo Jul 07, 9 24 18 AM

#DatBodaciousness. I would later hear from another source (who I’ll keep Anonymous) that he allegedly felt a deep sense of jealousy(?) and concern over his fellow actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays the villainous, but cool, Negan on The Walking Dead). In the message below, Berkeley allegedly explains out his frustration with the character, ire toward President Donald Trump, and financial concerns:

“I must confess that I am feeling extremely vulnerable about the JDM comparisons and it’s bringin up a whole lotta stuff for me. Everybody on the show is cleaning up at these cons making boat loads of dough JDM probably made 70k this past weekend and I barely cleared 5. Nobody wants Gregory’s autograph bc he’s a douche. They’ll elect one for president but they don want one on TWD. AMC pays shit knowing people make so much at the cons. But here I am because I willingly sacrifice my vanity to play an uncool character and hence am the only one with no lines. And the idea of making a brutal thug killer all sexy and cool and hip is disgusting and reprehensible to me on top of it. I honestly believe it actively encourages bullying and could easily end up incentivizing copycat violence and murder. So I have strong feelings. Ring demoralized at the cons (London by far my best) all meet and greets no paid signings no respect or interest in my past body of work, and the worst year for me financially in 17 years since joining the #1 rated show in the world. So if I distance myself from team Negan people or leave twitter bc if put downs from people who can’t distinguish between me and my character I want you to understand where it comes from.”

And, thus, we have what would appear to be an intriguingly cringe portrait of an actor as an old man.

EDIT: As of the time of this writing, there is no information, nor speculation, of any criminal acts committed by Mr. Berkeley; and no comment about his future with The Walking Dead.

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1990 to Now, A Perspective on Horror Films by the Decade: Part III of V

The 2000s

By: Eddie Caiazzo

Why didn’t the year 2000 have any movies named in this survey? Unfortunately, the Y2K hysteria was scarier than any horror movies released that year.

We’ll leap right over the first year in the decade straight into 2001, where some asbestos removal guys get to work on the Danvers State Mental Hospital in Massachusetts in Session 9. This psychological thriller features a pre-CSI: Miami David Caruso delivering one of the most epic “F*** You” lines in history.

Danvers has a dark past, so being closed 15 years is perfect timing for Caruso and a bunch of other guys to head in and start cleaning it out. What’s the worst that could happen?

With only one film named in the first two years of the decade, 2002 carried SIX films mentioned in this survey.

One survey respondent spoke from personal experience when naming Swimfan as a “Best” selection. This is a female stalker story with some modern technology (for 2002) thrown in. This survey’s first Creature Feature mention, Dog Soldiers, features British soldiers on a routine military exercise in the Scottish Highlands where they are attacked by giant bipedal werewolves. This movie has some high marks on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s hard to pinpoint the beginning of the zombie apocalypse phenomenon that currently dominates pop culture. But if you ask me, 28 Days Later is where it all started. This Fox Searchlight picture from the U.K. is directed by Danny Boyle, and follows Jim (Cillian Murphy) waking up from a coma 28 days after a highly contagious infection is rapidly causing societal collapse. Roaming the empty streets of London, a violent journey awaits Jim as he’s forced to interact with good, bad and downright rotten people on the march toward the conclusion. Not to mention the zombies.

M. Night Shyamalan made his return with Signs in ’02 after successfully tackling ghosts in The Sixth Sense and comic books in Unbreakable. In Signs, the aliens arrive to take over the world, but at M. Night’s pace. Philly’s hometown hero did a pretty good job with his “aliens” tale with strong lead performances from Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. Unfortunately, the poor ending breaks up a really good story, and the last 15 minutes of the film would shape how the rest of the decade would go for Night.

That brings us to the two final films from ’02: Ju-on: The Grudge and The Ring.

Ju-on: The Grudge is a Japanese horror film written and directed by Takashi Shimizu that surprisingly pulls off the haunted house theme effectively. Not only is there a creepy kid…but a creepy, twitchy woman that navigates the screen for some memorable scares. If you can do films with subtitles (which every horror fan should), Ju-On: The Grudge is a required gem of Japanese horror cinema.

I was a bit surprised The Ring didn’t get more love in this survey, gaining only two mentions total. It was the first commercially successful U.S. remake of a Japanese horror film that was seen by so many because of the PG-13 rating. The Gore Verbinski directed film takes place in the Pacific Northwest (one of my favorite settings for horror films) and follows a journalist, played by Naomi Watts, who investigates a VHS tape that kills the watcher seven days after viewing. This is a film that genuinely scared me when I saw it in theaters. Many kids at that time, including me, thought twice about answering the phone when it rang.

Finally, we move on to 2003, where the female participants in this survey really took a liking to metal rocker turned filmmaker, Rob Zombie. He pops up quite a bit from here on out.

House of 1000 Corpses was Zombie’s introduction to mainstream horror that took nearly three years to see a much-anticipated theater release. If not mistaken, I remember seeing a trailer online somewhere during the dial-up days of 2000 or 2001. It was a gory exploitation film that introduced demented clown Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Otis (Bill Moseley). Otis has the most disturbing scene in this film, stealing a trick from the Hannibal Lecter playbook. It’s best to watch Rob Zombie films chronologically by release date, and House of 1000 Corpses is a great introduction.

Thanks to Lionsgate, High Tension was picked up for U.S. distribution following its screening at the Toronto Film Festival in 2003. Then 24-year-old co-writer and director Alexandre Aja’s gruesome film was pruned a bit before hitting screens across America, as it would’ve carried an NC-17 rating in its foreign form. Cecile de France plays a tough, gritty and violent main character in Marie. The twist ending is predictable, but doesn’t ruin any of the overall experience.

There were three selections from 2004, two of which included zombies.

The first was the Zack Snyder directed Dawn of the Dead, released in March of ’04. This film was fondly received by audiences, and with good reason. The cast, effects and story were all solid pieces of a near-perfect re-imagining of George A. Romero’s lauded ’79 original tale. There is no doubt in my mind the writers of the TV version of The Walking Dead looked to ‘04’s Dawn of the Dead for inspiration.

Dawn had its light moments, but Shaun actually made us laugh. Shaun of the Dead made its way to the U.S. box office in late September, just in time for the Halloween season. It introduced U.S. audiences to the British comedy team Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Before Sam and Dean, there was “The Winchester” for a pint! This horror/comedy could easily be used to teach a Sociology class.

Finally, we arrive at one of the best thrillers of the last 30 years: Saw. Though the studios tried their best to destroy it (or just make a ton of money) with lousy sequels, there are few experiences like the first time viewing the first film. Hollywood horror was given a gift when Saw screenwriters James Wan and Leigh Whannell had their script shot down in their native Australia. Instead of a hack ‘n slash serial killer cop chase, Saw’s villain Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) “plays a game” with his victims, offering them a way out of their current situation. It’s not easy to escape, but it can be done. The twist ending took many viewers by surprise, rounding out the films named from 2004 on a high note of suspense.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get through the decade without mentioning Paris Hilton. She, along with other ’00 crushes Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray and Jared Padalecki star in 2005’s House of Wax. In the early years of the remakes, this one strayed from the 1953 source material and offered some fun twists and kills. And, Robert Ri’chard from Nickelodeon’s Cousin Skeeter is all grown up in this film.

Although many critics still dub The Devil’s Rejects as a “cult” film, nearly $20-million in box office returns on a $7-million budget proves otherwise. Rejects was Rob Zombie’s sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, and is loved by horror and non-horror fans alike. Captain Spaulding, Otis and Baby Firefly returned in July of 2005, this time as antiheroes being hunted by Sheriff John Quincey Wydell, who was wonderfully portrayed by William Forsythe.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose – while marketed as a horror film – was a 2005 legal drama with some moments of fright, a strong cast and a spiritual message. Jennifer Carpenter was terrific as Emily Rose, making the scary moments really count.

A group of six female thrill-seekers heading into a cave together sounds sexy, right? I can assure you, there is nothing sexy about the experiences these ladies have in The Descent. The Dog Soldiers writer/director Neil Marshall sat in the director’s chair for The Descent, and sent an all-female cast into the Appalachian Mountains for a chance at fun and reconciliation among some of the characters. While this film is gory, featuring hungry zombie-like creatures underground called “Crawlers”; it’s the developing story surrounding main characters Sarah (Shauna McDonald) and Juno (Natalie Mendoza) and their moments on-screen that make this film one of the best of the ‘00s.

The Descent was released in the U.K. in 2005, premiered at Sundance in January 2006, and released commercially in the U.S. in August the same year, making it the only ’06 entry in the survey.

Hitting theaters in May of 2007, 28 Weeks Later is…well, 28 weeks after the events of 28 Days Later. It was a solid sequel with positive reviews from critics and fans.

Wanting to get in on the zombie action of the ‘00s, Robert Rodriguez launched his half of the Grindhouse feature in 2007’s Planet Terror. Packed with tons of A and B List celebrities like Rose McGowan, Bruce Willis and Fergie, this Quentin Tarantino produced flick is typical, featuring boobs, blood and yes…rape. Kudos to Rodriguez, though, for directing, producing and writing both the screenplay and music for Planet Terror.

By 2006, companies like Platinum Dunes (Michael Bay’s horror label) were making a killing (pun intended) on remakes. This prompted The Weinstein Company to approach Rob Zombie about rebooting the Halloween franchise for a 2007 release.

Zombie’s Halloween dropped in August of ’07, with a polarizing response from critics and fans. Malcolm McDowell was called to don the tan jacket as Dr. Sam Loomis, with 6’8 Tyler Mane wearing the Michael Myers mask. Zombie gave fans a Michael Myers origin story, and — not surprisingly — made the Myers family white trash. Scout Taylor-Compton plays an uncharacteristic Laurie Strode, with horror veteran Brad Dourif playing Sheriff Brackett, and series veteran Danielle Harris as his daughter Annie. Being a huge Mikey fan that worships at the altar of Carpenter, I thought this film was worse than Halloween 5 upon seeing it in theaters. I had no idea it could get any worse than that, until I saw Zombie’s Halloween II two years later.

Big Ed, John Carpenter and I in 2014

The final ’07 film from this survey was [REC]. It is one flick held in high regard in the horror community that I unfortunately have not yet had the pleasure of seeing. This Spanish release in the found-footage style is co-written and directed by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza. While it could be considered a zombie flick, I’ve been told it has more depth and is uniquely original.

Australian indie Lake Mungo was ahead of its time, filmed as a mockumentary covering a family’s grief experienced after the death of their daughter. I don’t want to spoil any of this for the reader, but hopefully my brevity here will entice you to view this film; it’s a good one. I’m mentioning it now because there were no other offerings in this survey from ’08, even though Mungo’s March ’09 showing at South by Southwest (SXSW) was its coming-out-party, with an After Dark HorrorFest selection in 2010.

Closing the ‘00s is one of the top performers in this survey (five votes total) and the sole film named from 2009. It is of course, Paranormal Activity. Made for a reported total of $15,000, Paranormal Activity successfully re-introduced U.S. horror fans to the found-footage style. It was slow, effective and scary.

Katie and Micah, a twenty-something couple, move into a new home in California and discover some strange occurrences taking place inside. Micah begins documenting what’s happening with a camcorder, especially recording their bedroom while the couple sleeps.

It was written, directed, shot and edited two years prior in ’07 by Oren Peli…who would also produce the version with a different ending seen in 2009, along with producer Jason Blum. Blum needs no introduction if you’re reading this article. His company Blumhouse Productions’ success in this genre began in ‘09 with Paranormal Activity. It was a launching pad for a lucrative (>$880 million) series, and an industry-leading generation of genre films.

Favorite Best Total Tally
28 Days Later (2002) – 2 Paranormal Activity (2009) – 3 1. Paranormal Activity (2009) – 5
House of 1000 Corpses (2003) – 2 28 Days Later (2002) – 1 T2. 28 Days Later (2002) – 3
Paranormal Activity (2009) – 2 28 Weeks Later (2007) – 1 T2. House of 1000 Corpses (2003) – 3
Saw (2004) – 2 Dawn of the Dead (2004) – 1 T2. Saw (2004) – 3
The Ring (2002) – 2 Dog Soldiers (2002) – 1 T3. 28 Weeks Later (2007) – 2
28 Weeks Later (2007) – 1 Halloween (2007) – 1 T3. Dog Soldiers (2002) – 2
High Tension (2003) – 1 T3. Signs (2002) – 2
Dog Soldiers (2002) – 1 House of 1000 Corpses (2003) – 1 T3. The Devil’s Rejects (2005) – 2
Saw (2004) – 1 T4. The Ring (2002) – 2
House of Wax (2005) – 1 Signs (2002) – 1 T4. Dawn of the Dead (2004) – 1
Ju-On: The Grudge (2002) – 1 Swim Fan (2002) – 1 T4. Halloween (2007) – 1
Lake Mungo (2008, 2010) – 1 The Descent (2005, 2006) – 1 T4. High Tension (2003) – 1
Planet Terror (2007) – 1 The Devil’s Rejects (2005) – 1 T4. House of Wax (2005) – 1
[REC] (2007) – 1 T4. Ju-On: The Grudge (2002) – 1
Session 9 (2001) – 1 T4. Lake Mungo (2008, 2010) – 1
Shaun of the Dead (2004) – 1 T4. Planet Terror (2007) – 1
Signs (2002) – 1 T4. [REC] (2007) – 1
T4. Session 9 (2001) – 1
The Devil’s Rejects (2005) – 1 T4. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – 1
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) – 1 T4. Swimfan (2002) – 1
T4. The Descent (2005, 2006) – 1
T4. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) – 1
Total Survey Votes for 2000-2009 Horror Movies – 37 Individual Movies Named from 2000-2009 – 22

Satisfied with the survey results so far? Did your favorite horror film make the cut? If you missed parts one and two of this five-part article, catch up here:

Part I – The Survey

Part II – The 1990s

Rox Trash Radio, Ep. 38: The Best Cheese Steak in Roxborough is…

TALKINGNERDYimage

The miracle of BonChon chicken / The best Cheese Steak in Roxborough & Manayunk / Is #Supernatural coming to an end? / Game of Thrones is coming back / Inhumans trailer / What’s good on TV anymore? / Dipping into the TommyNC2010 universe / The Report of the Week has a deep dark secret…

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–Follow today’s crew: @SailorTwift13JoeyHAHAs@CVLwolf@Dan_SuperDPS, & @RoxTrashRadio