July 24th, 2007

Shadowmancer

Weekly World News to close (aliens not blamed!)

Weekly World News to close (aliens not blamed!)
By Jane Sutton
Source

WWN: Batboy found in cave!MIAMI (Reuters) - Publisher American Media Inc. said on Tuesday it will stop printing the Weekly World News, which for 28 years gleefully chronicled the exploits of alien babies, animal-human hybrids and dead celebrities.

The company said in a brief statement it would end the print version of the tabloid newspaper next month but would maintain the online version (www.weeklyworldnews.com).

"Due to the challenges in the retail and wholesale magazine marketplace that have impacted the newsstand, American Media, Inc. today announced it will close the print version of the Weekly World News, effective with the August 27 issue. Weekly World News was AMI's smallest weekly publication," the company said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.

Spokesman Richard Valvo declined further comment.

American Media is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and is best known as the publisher of the National Enquirer. The company announced last month it was exploring the sale of five of its 16 magazines as part of a strategy to focus on celebrity weeklies and lifestyle magazines.

WWN: Satan's face seen in clouds over U.S. Capital!The Weekly World News, which boasted it was "The World's Only Reliable Newspaper," reveled in shocking and almost always exclusive reports about extra-terrestrials, ghosts, scoundrels and scientific discoveries, such as the cure for lovesickness found on the walls of an ancient Mexican monument.

Bat Boy, the half-bat, half-human child found in a cave, was a regular feature. After the September 11 attacks, the tabloid reported he had been enlisted in the hunt for Osama bin Laden because of his special cave-dwelling skills.

The current online version reports that Mother Nature has endorsed Al Gore for president and other recent headlines include: "Man bothered by alien telemarketers" and "Dentist uses UFO metal in patient's tooth"

AMI reported a $160 million net loss for 2006 and is struggling with $1 billion of debt and plummeting circulation. It said in an SEC filing in March that sales of the Weekly World News dropped to 83,000 in 2006 from 153,000 in 2004, while circulation of the National Enquirer fell to 802,000 in 2006 from 1.2 million in 2004.

The company has no publicly traded stock but its bonds are publicly traded.



There was no further comment on whether or not this story itself is a gag. ~ DB.

winged skull, vampire, predator

Monster Squad



Monster Squad
XX A.S. Directed by Fred Dekker / Writers: Shane Black, Fred Dekker. Starring: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Ashley Bank. Genre: Infernal Progeny/Thriller/Comedy

Putting the 'fun' in Funeral...


Finally! One of those evocative films resting in the lambent sentience of one's mind, released from the vault at long last...

I was pleased to possess a slick slipcase cover version of this '20th Anniversary Edition' recently, and is preserved as both an Infernal Progeny evocation as well as an occasional viewing pleasure. I first saw portions of this at an acquaintance's residence, whose aesthetics remained memorable enough to recall, as the idea of all the classic monsters joining forces to take over the world seemed appealing, as well as bringing shades of Mad Monster Party to mind.

I subsequently viewed this film on a late-night presentation, and remained an occasional contemplation ever since. So when I discovered this was finally available in this superb 2-disc DVD set, it became a most desirable acquisition.

Synopsis: Count Dracula returns and decides to conquer the world with the help of his ghoulishly monstrous cohorts, The Wolfman, Frankie, The Creature from The Black Lagoon, and The Mummy. It is up to an odd band of likable little fellows to meet their nightmares face to face.

PLOT

The film begins with a highly dramatic battle between 'vampire hunter' VanHelsing, and Dracula and His brides, who are all swept into a black hole to span the centuries...

Monster Squad is about a grade school group of monster movie enthusiasts who meet up in a nice treehouse filled with action figures and movie posters including Lucio Fulci's 'Zombi 2'. Humorously, a camera on a tripod is actually set up to photograph Patrick's sister undressing through a nearby window in the house, adding that burgeoning libido element to the characters, which is especially appreciated by Rudy, the cigarette smoking 'bad boy' in a leather jacket and sunglasses [1], who actually turns out to be the veritable 'protector' of the squad, demonstrated while defending the 'fat kid' Horace from a pounding by the sniveling school bully 'E.J.' {Jason Hervey}.

It is up to Sean, Patrick, Rudy, and Horace to thwart the aims of Count Dracula to conquer the world with the help of his classic movie monster allies The Wolfman, Gillman, The Mummy, and Frankenstein. All are close to the classic depictions a-la Universal aesthetics, which brings pleasant evocations to the fore.

Dracula drives a beautiful black and red hearse with a silver skull hood sculpture. From a plane flying from Transylvania, he materializes on board to free his ghoulish compatriots from the luggage compartment, plunging to earth into a swamp, where they make their appearance - Gillman up from the bog, Frankenstein resurrected with Dracula's lightning rod cane from his box {a-la Benjamin Franklin}, and The Wolfman howling in from an altercation at a Police station, in which he just wanted to be incarcerated for the transformation. They all take residence at Dracula's Mansion, who searches for a powerful Magical jewel, whose possession will hasten his global dominance.

Of these creatures, Frankenstein is the most compassionate of the troupe, who befriends the club through little Phoebe [2], which ensures her entrance in this formally all-boys club, while teaching him some modern parlance such as "bogus". Meeting an actual monster thrills the boys, even though their initial impression was one of fear until admonished by Phoebe to... "Don't be chicken sh*t!"

There is a brief scene in which Frankie observes the manner in which he is typically portrayed in a Halloween mask, upsetting him to the point of depression, yet the club reassures his place with their amicable appreciation.

Sean seredipidously acquires VanHelsing's Diary, which is written entirely in German, compelling The Monster Squad to seek the help of "Scary German Guy" who lives in a wonderfully charming 'haunted' house {there always seems to be one in every neighborhood}. Upon befriending "Scary German Guy", they are treated to candy, cake, and pastries, to the particular delight of Horace, who proclaims "'Scary German Guy' is bitchin'!" [3]

Thus, now with full translated instructions describing the history, prognostications, needed tools, and galvanized with a sense of purpose, there is one final element which needs to be acquired - a virgin. But when Patrick's sister fails the test despite her claims that "[so-and-so] didn't count", at the last moment they surprisingly depend on none other than little Phoebe to recite the banishing incantation to open the portal into Limbo as the battle rages on.

The confrontation is imminent when they locate The Monster Mansion and are attacked first by the Wolfman, upon which it is divulged that he does indeed have testicles, or "nards", as it were; so succinctly expressed by Horace: "The Wolfman's got nards!" Down other corridors, the three missing local girls transformed into Dracula's Brides, and Dracula himself.

At one point, in his fierce determination to at last grasp the amulet, Dracula lifts Phoebe by the neck speaking a rather inappropriate expletive, although the girl's scream is a genuine expression of horror, as it was related that up to that point, she had not seen Duncan Regehr in full vampire makeup, which includes the ubiquitous colored contact lenses and fangs.

Another memorable scene depicts Rudy walking towards the brides, bringing out the stolen crossbow from Archery, and stakes stating, "I’m in the god-damned club, aren’t I?”, upon which he dispatches the lovely trio.

The final scene is a bitter-sweet one, containing both a surprising turn of events {if not somewhat betraying}, a re-appearence by VanHelsing {played by Jack Gwillim, who portrayed "Poseidon" in 'Clash of The Titans'}, and the departure of a good friend into the void.

Overall, Monster Squad is filled with classic monsters, and brings forth the nature of infernal progeny amusement. Although I know that some of us were secretly rooting for The Count.

5/5.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Deleted Scenes

{Deleting these was a good decision, especially the extensive arguments between the Crenshaws, although the fish regurgitated by Gillman is quite an amusing idea, and could still work if included}

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Fred Dekker and “Squad Members” Andre Gower, Ryan Lambert and Ashley Bank.
  • Monster Squad Forever!: A five-part retrospective featuring new interviews with Writer/Director Fred Dekker, actors Andrew Gower, Ryan Lambert, Ashley Bank, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan and more!
{Both the interviews and retrospectives are wonderfully elucidating and amusingly informative, from personal recollections, 'where are they now' relations, behind-the-scenes experiences, and cast inter-relations. R.I.P. Brent.

As an aside, Fred Dekker also wrote the story for the film 'House' starring William Katt [The Last American Hero], which is another recommendation for the horror fantom, and remains more horror, a bit less comedy. Also by Dekker: Night of The Creeps, Robocop 3.}
  • A Conversation with Frankenstein: A never-before-seen classic interview with the Monster (Tom Noonan) himself!

{A most definite recommended watch! Frankenstein is interviewed in character about his career, impressions of the other actors, some likes and dislikes, relationships, and future plans. Very entertaining}.
  • Original Theatrical Trailer and TV Spot
  • Still Gallery and Dolby 5.1 sound.
{I can attest to the excellent sonic quality, veritable surround sound, which at some points is no less than amazing}.

5/5.

_________
[1] On a personal note, of the members of the squad, I can relate to certain qualities of this character, being that I somewhat became a 'defender' as it were, of some dracling acquaintances whom I felt were unjustly treated on a couple of occasions. Our interests were more intellectual in nature, although it was gratifying to attain a balance of physical as well as mental training.
[2] An ironic twist, considering the fate of the little girl from the original Mary Shelly account.
[3] I would add that "Scary German Guy" is actually probably a german-jew, as his concentration camp numbers are briefly displayed when the boys depart. Lends to the impression of "who are the true monsters?"