Porcelain Pregnancy

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Drop the Soap

There are days when this job gets a little...weird. You would think that any position that has you screening films of such caliber as Nude Nuns With Big Guns (2010) and Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973), one might be prepared for anything that comes across your desk.

You'd be wrong. So very wrong.

When I get an email from one of our former editors with the subject "Movies you have GOT to see", I feel the slightest tinge of trepidation. This is the same editor who showed me such classics as Vampire Girl Meets Frankenstein Girl and an anime series where the primary characters gain superpowers by drinking breast milk. Seriously.

Among the films listed in the message, I was quite surprised to see that one was listed as an official selection of the Sundance film festival. I mean, since when did we ever want to watch movies that people might actually consider art? Well such is the case for Tub (2010).

 

Paul jerked off in the shower. Paul just impregnated his bathtub.

 

Read it again.

Yeah, it's like that.

The fact that the 12 minute film, written and directed by Columbia film-school graduate Bobby Miller was selected for afore-mentioned film festival in 2010 is a testament to how creepy/funny the film manages to be with its absurd premise, and it really has to be seen to be believed. As such, it comes highly recommended for those with the properly warped world-view. Check out the trailer below.

 

 

And hey, you're in luck! You can watch the full movie for free at www.tubmovie.com

A fly-by-Night Trap

As a freelancer (in many fields), it's easy for me to fall into the trap of working on weekends, as I can always take a day off during the week. However, as I tend to work 10-20 hour days most weeks (because I love my work), I have recently started to dedicate the weekends to goofing around. However, my goofing around is often just as much work as it is play, frequently because I'm usually trying to do something silly...Like setup a media server on my TV or program a universal remote to execute applescripts on a Mac. What can I say? I'm a nerd.

 

Dana Plato wonders why you don't come on in for some hot Vamp-on-Co-Ed Action?

Most recently I've been tweaking that little media server to see if I can't get it to play old video games and integrate them into the browser I use to scroll through my other media. You know, to make it so I never have to get up off the couch again. Maybe I won't be satisfied until I've created a molecular bond with the thing, the two of us becoming one being of leathery comfort and perfection....

Where was I? Ah yes, setting up the machine to play Sega CD games.

After getting the damn thing working (which was no small feat, mind), I trolled around the interwebs for copies of classic games that I could use in my little arcade. It was then that I stumbled across this little forgotten "gem".

Supposedly setup to remind you of a B-grade slumber party horror movie, Night Trap wants you to think it's all about scantily clad nymphets getting themselves ganked by unknown perpetrators in an "interactive movie experience". What it really is, however, is a convoluted jumble that mixes in "Augers" (vampire-like beings dressed as Ninjas), a Spec-Ops team, vampires, and the troubled Dana Plato (Any child of the eighties will remember her from Diff'rent Strokes). Oh, and a Nightgown scene in a bathroom that got congress all up in arms.

Like many Full Motion Video (FMV) games, you spend most of your time watching pixelated cinematic sequences before entering in pre-determined key sequences to move onto the next cinematic. However, as this was was among the first of its kind in 1992, it was kinda shiny and new. Looking back at it, the fact that it had 6 different endings and over an hour of footage make it fairly impressive from a technological standpoint. Not to say the game was any fun, mind you, but still technologically impressive for its time.

However, anybody who's a fan of the truly cheesy would do well to check out the various and sundry videos available on YouTube, as they are a hoot to watch. Meanwhile, I think I'll see if I can't find myself a copy of Corpse Killer.

 

Do you remember this game? Any other B-horror/Schlock titles I should look at? Sound off below!

A Tale of Two Cavalcades

Way back in 2008, I had the idea for a little club that would meet once a month in my apartment and watch bad movies centered around a particular theme. For an added bonus, we would have food and drink that matched the particular theme of the month. It was to be full-on potluck and use movies from our respective film collections, keeping costs down; essentially, an inexpensive B-movie bookclub. Wow, did I ever not know what I was getting myself into or what?

In less than 3 months, we had name voted upon by the crowd. In 5 months, we had a website. By 12 months, we'd outgrown my apartment and had to move to a local art gallery. By the 3rd year, we were featured in multiple newspapers as a hotspot to watch for an evening's entertainment in the DC area. This skips over the 500 square-foot inflatable screen and the public events held to crowds that would have filled the entire floor of my apartment building. I couldn't believe it.

What's more, I couldn't believe we'd accidentally taken our name from somebody else's website.

When the group first brainstormed ideas for names, I wrote each and every one of them down and did domain lookups them. I also checked the copyright and trademark statuses just to make sure (something that was fairly easy for me to do, as I worked down the hall from the office that housed them all at the time). But you know the one thing I didn't do?

A simple Google search.

When we all settled on the Cavalcade of Schlock, I went off and registered the domain and started the process for trademarking the title. Then, one day, I decided to do a Google search to see how our site ranked among the other B-movie review sites. That's when I found the other Cavalcade of Schlock website, hosted on the now-defunct Geocities written by a gentlemen under the pseudonym of Tyranorabbit.  While it seemed to have had a huge following, it had been dormant for over a year.

Feeling like crap, but thinking I had lucked out in the fact that his site had apparently gone the way of the dodo when Geocities eventually shut down, I continued with the marketing of our project, enjoying it as it grew to the heights mentioned above. Eventually we were getting so much traffic that our original host couldn't handle the numbers, and all was well...until the hate mail started.

It turns out that Tyranorabbit brought his site back in late 2009, now hosted by Blogger (you can find it here), and was writing reviews again. In his comments section, there were a couple of people who decided to take pot-shots at us, though T himself never responded. However, hating the fact that there was some bad blood out there coming in our general direction-and feeling mighty protective of our group-I sent out an email to Tyranorabbit, saying how big a fan of his work I was (and I really was by that point, as he's a rock-solid writer with great thoughts about exactly the kind of movies we talk about), and how I was willing to host his work on our site to provide a safer environment than the free blog-sites that constantly get shut down. I thought it could possibly be a match made in b-movie heaven. Alas, to date, I've never heard back from him, and his site has again been dormant for 2 years.

But still there are the comparisons, and the hate mail.

So here I am, giving the official word from us on the subject. We didn't deliberately rip anybody off, it was simply an instance of the same idea for a name happening in two different places, albeit we were nearly 10 years later. We've now got everything trademarked and copyrighted (and have had them for 2 and a half years now), but I don't like the potential for ill-will. I have big plans for Cavalcade v4, and the site redesign was simply stage 1. My offer's still out there T. After all, we both did this for the same reason: The love of craptacular movies.

Cavalcade of Schlock 4.0

Ladies and Gentlesirs, it is my very great pleasure to be able to present to you the latest iteration of the Cavalcade of Schlock website!

Over the last several months, I was ever more saddened to see this place fall further and further into disuse. Eventually I decided that I needed to take a direct hand in bringing about its resurrection. With that in mind, I did an exhaustive review of the previous site, examining what worked and what didn't. What you see before you is a result of that and more than 200 hours of coding. So let's see the highlights of what's different, shall we?

Revamped Mission

When the Cavalcade first started, we lacked a certain degree of focus on what we were going to cover, and it showed. As time went on, we eventually found our footing in the arena of the lesser known B-movie. However, as we grew, we felt pressured to include A-list theatrical releases. This led us to get pretty far afield of what I'd envisioned. So while I've left those films in the archives, I've decided to get back to where I wanted this place to be in the first place. Sharing my love of those ridiculously bad movies that you find at the the video store (or Netflix). Check out our first review under the new mission for an idea of what we're going to cover. I mean, the title's Nude Nuns with Big Guns. There's no WAY that was ever heading to a theater near you.

Increased focus on you, the reader.

Star Ratings

The first thing I did was include a system for you to quickly provide your input on each of the films we review with a star rating system that required nothing more than a single mouse-click. Take a look over at Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil to see what I mean. The system takes your input, averages it out against the ratings of others, and instantly provides you with feedback. I think it's kinda cool, actually.

Revamped Comments

I've integrated our comments system with Facebook, allowing you to share your thoughts about anything on our site via your Facebook/Yahoo/Hotmail account. This means that a majority of the time you won't have to "log in" to verify you're human, and you can quickly share the thoughts that we're so eager to hear. As an added bonus, you can share these thoughts on your own wall to invite others into the conversation.

Reader Submissions

Have you heard of an upcoming, or seen a craptacular grindhouse horror, sci-fi, action movie that you think would fit our site? Have an idea for a feature we could run? Want to write the review yourself? We recognize the world of Schlock is both vast and expansive, and we want to give those of you out there in the interwebs the opportunity to share your love with the rest of the world. Check this page out and get to submitting!

Return of the Blog!

In the beginning, I had a section of the site dedicated to random musings about B-movies and related news. When I revamped for v3, I offloaded that in hopes that others would take up the slack. Unfortunately, I made it kludgy and complicated. So, this time I brought it back where it should have always been. Here. In the coming days you'll see some posts appear there, as I've already got them queued up.

Code Overhaul

The old site relied on a lot of plugged-in code to add features and functionality that, in the long run, we didn't use. This caused a huge bog-down in performance. Not so now: The entire site has been built from ground up with only our use in mind, greatly speeding up the overall site performance. The same goes for the backend systems that I use to publish articles. I've done everything I could to make sure the process of submitting a review/article/feature/blog post as simple as possible, thereby eliminating my excuses for not doing so.

Finally, Pardon Our Dust!

I've done my best to quash as many of the layout and code bugs as I could before releasing this beast into the wild, but as you can imagine, any site of this magnitude is going to still have a few issues here and there while I work out the kinks. One of them is the fact that (not surprisingly) Internet Explorer still doesn't like all the aspects of the site. I'm working diligently to crush all the IE bugs, but in the meantime I'd recommend viewing this in Chrome/Safari/Firefox. Also, an iPad version of the  website will be available in the next couple of weeks, as coding for THAT has been a bear.

As always, let me know what you think!

Either in the comments below or our new Contact Us webpage

5 tips for a successful Cavalcade

Now that we've recently wrapped up the 8th Cavalcade of Schlock event, wherein a seminal horror classic that is fondly remembered by most, bombed with the crowd at the event badly enough that we stopped it and threw in another movie. This got me thinking about the previous Cavalcade events, which ones were more successful, and why.

1. Know your audience.

Do you have a bunch of gorehounds who love to see people zombies jump-roping with the intestines of a clubbed baby seal? Is your crowd rowdy and talkative? Having the answers to questions like these allow you to tailor your film selections appropriately.

Our group is rather diverse, as it ranges from 8-14 people on average with a rotating cast of characters, depending who can make it each month (if they all came at once, I'd say we've had 20-23 different attendees). The primary common theme is that we're a rowdy group, who as a group like movies that move quickly, or have enough things in it to openly mock. Medium gore is about as much as I'd throw at them, as only half are real gore aficionados, while the rest are simply there for a good time. We've found that you can err on the side of more gory though,  those who don't like it simply turn their heads and laugh with those that love it.

2. Know your movies.

This ties-in directly with number 1. You should, as the host, have a rough idea of what your movie is going to be like. In our group, movies that are going for "suspense", or have a lot of padding for time (which a lot of the really low budget movies do in order to justify their run-times), are not going to be successful. As such, a film like the original Halloween, which is comprised mostly of stalking shots and fake "gotcha" stingers, is going to fall flat on its face. However if we'd thrown in Freddy vs. Jason, which none of us actually enjoyed originally, is of a fast enough pace, and filled with enough idiocy for us to gab about, that it would do well.

Be careful though, this can be a difficult edge to walk on. A movie like The Fallen Ones, which was very mockable (as it had no redeeming values whatsoever), but so bad that it felt like it was wasting your life, can bring an entire gathering to a stand-still.

A good knowledge of your movies can also help you adjust the play order. We've found that the first movie needs to be higher pitched as everyone is settling in and still catching up with each other. As the night progresses, you can move to more deliberately-paced pictures as people are relaxing. Sometimes a movie falls flat solely because it was played at the wrong time of the night.

3. Have a backup plan.

If a movie is bombing badly enough, don't be afraid to stop it and move on to another. It's always good to have a backup plan in place. I've gotten in the habit of having two or three other movies that fit the vein we're going for that I can throw in at the last minute if the whole group votes on spiking the one we're watching. This has led to some very successful choices. When a movie didn't arrive on time for this month, I substituted Idle Hands, which is a bad movie, filled with cliches (and some fairly lame jokes), but fast-paced enough that it went over really well.

Don't fret if a movie you're particularly fond of dies with the crowd. Sometimes its not about the movie as much as its about the audience.

4. Good Snacks/Drinks can save you.

If you have a beer or mixed drink that particularly matches the theme well enough, or a munchable that does the same, you can enjoy that and mix it up with your participants while the films play-out. The ultimate goal is to have all the pieces come together. For us this means a good mix of food, movies, and audience participatory fun, but sometimes we have to rely on one aspect more than the others.

5. Relax

The key is to just relax and not to get discouraged. Remember, this is a night of friends and movies. It's easy to have a good time in that senario. However, if you follow these steps, you'll find that the evenings will be even more enjoyable, leading to more meetings, and more Schlocky fun!