I have returned to you, Avid Reader.
Life is strange with many twists, which is a cursory (but true) explanation of my brief absence. However, “Ka is a wheel,” and I remain committed to this, our mutual journey through nerdom.
As such, I have brought you a movie trailer for a new psychological thriller starring Michael Cera as the creepiest person to walk the Earth…
Thus, I give you Magic Magic, or as I have come to think of it, George Michael Bluth: The Lost Years.
*May be disturbing for some audiences (And if it isn’t… then there is something wrong with you, sai)*
A group of people you don’t know are conversing nearby, as you exit a building. You clearly overhear the phrase “lamb’s blood.” Though you are a bit alarmed at this phrase, and have no idea of the actual context of the conversation, part of you would find it amusing to approach them and interject the following:
“Excuse me, but you aren’t planning on killing a djinn by chance, are you? I only ask because in order to destroy that particular supernatural creature, the lamb’s blood needs to already be on the dagger or it won’t work. Also, it’s a good idea to have backup on hand as the touch of a djinn can render you incapacitated via psychic attack as it feeds off of your life-force.”
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 245 (or “Is that a terrifying, classic film villain on your TV screen, or are you just happy to see me?”)
The thought occurs to you that if your younger self from twenty years ago were suddenly transported in time to the present, the world would seem very both fascinating and a bit scary, just based on the fact that you have a digital video recorder that allows you to record high definition versions of television programs without a VCR, which you can use to fast forward commercials.
Furthermore, two of the television shows on your DVR are centered around terrifying film villains Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter, the latter being broadcast on a major television network, which bewilders your younger self even as it confounds your present self, considering that people once found shows like Married With Children and The Simpsons edgy and controversial.
While you are viewing the film Shadow of the Vampire for the first time in years, you remember why this John Malkovich/ Willem Dafoe movie is arguably one of the best vampire films of all time… it’s equal parts creepy and hilarious. Released in 2000, this film presents a fictionalized account of the making of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s 1922 film, Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror). The version of events presented in Shadow of the Vampire has Murnau (Malkovich) hiring an actual vampire in the role of Count Orlock, telling lies to his cast and crew about his star being a “method actor” named Max Schreck (Dafoe).
What follows is perhaps one of the greatest examples of an egomaniacal director trying to control a difficult, uncooperative star… though in this case, the star is a bitter, ugly, centuries-old vampire who wants to eat the crew. Dafoe’s “Orlock/ Schreck” is what a vampire should be: dangerous, scary, evil-looking, and tragic. You find yourself repulsed by him, and yet sympathize with the sadness that permeates his immortal existence.
It is during this latest viewing, that you wish that they would make a prequel to Shadow of the Vampire depicting the agreement first made between Murnau and Schreck prior to making Nosferatu. You envision the film being shot much like My Dinner with Andre, in that the whole movie is a conversation between Murnau and Schreck about their agreement as well as their views on life, its meaning, and their life experiences.
After viewing the trailer for Shadow of the Vampire presented below, ask yourself: Who wouldn’t want to see such a prequel?
You find the idea of seeing one of the Alien franchise films at a “retro movie night” appealing, if only for the opportunity to yell out, “L’eggo my Eggo!” when a face-hugger jumps out of its egg pouch onto someone’s face.
A few days after your inaugural viewing of the 1981 horror film Ghost Story, starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., (all of whom never made another film after this one) you have the following conversation:
You: “The cool thing about Ghost Story was that it begins with a scary story being told by John Houseman, which is the same exact way that John Carpenter’s The Fog begins. However, they really screwed up the flashback scenes because John Houseman’s younger character counterpart was played by Ken Olin, who didn’t even attempt a British accent. I mean, Houseman has an iconic British accent!”
Other: “I don’t know who any of those people are.”
You: “Come on, John Houseman from The Paper Chase… ring any bells? Ken Olin directed a bunch of television show episodes and used to be on thirtysomething in the 1980s.
Other: “How the hell would I know who was on thirtysomething? I was a baby when that was on, man.”
You: “So, what? I was 4 years old when it started and 8 by the time it was off the air, but I still remember it existed.”
Other: “What kind of 4-year-old watched thirtysomething?”
You: “I just remember having seen it, not watching every week. I wasn’t a fan, or anything. Now, I did watch MacGyver every week, however. I loved that show.”
Other: “Did you also watch the national evening news at the age of 4, too (*laughs*)?
The comedy highlight of your day is finding out that Fred Astaire starred in an actual horror film released in 1981 called Ghost Story. What is less funny upon viewing the movie, however, is the random frontal male nudity early in the film. Though, you find yourself grateful that the nude scene did not involve the octogenarian Fred Astaire.
Your fondness for the Dark Tower books has led you to promise yourself that if you ever start a company you will investigate the possibility of naming it the Tet Corporation or North Central Positronics.
The following Dark Tower book series phrases are just a few among many, which are now part of your lexicon of conversational tools:
2) “I cry your pardon.”
3) “I’d set my watch and warrant on it.”
4) “I wot.”
5) “Ka is like a wheel.”
On a recent trip, you chose to answer your friend’s question, “Where are you now?” with the following Dark Tower reference as a response:
“I think this must be the Barony of Mejis. Maybe there is a saloon around here with a Watch Me game I can join.”
In a recent conversation, you suggested to someone that watching the film Aliens is actually an awesome way to get psyched for their roadtrip because you can guarantee that any travel experience in real life is automatically better than having to spend millions of miles in cryogenic slumber only to face a nest of acid-bleeding xenomorphs upon arrival.
In all the recent trips taken by those whom you know, you find it disappointing that no one is going to travel southeast because it has prevented you from making a Dark Tower reference by saying, “Oh, you’re following the path of the Path of the Beam.”
Your idea of a fun birthday activity is to watch a personally planned marathon of supernatural films including The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers, and The Serpent and the Rainbow.
Whenever the 1988 George A. Romero film Monkey Shines is on television you find yourself compelled to watch it. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a movie about a paralyzed man who is tormented by a scientifically altered helper monkey upon its developing a possessive attachment to the man it is intended to assist?
Each semester of school, you set aside a selection of books to be read only upon successful completion of that term’s course load. Among the books in this semester’s self-imposed incentive program are: a nonfiction history book by Sarah Vowell, several works by renowned science fiction author Gene Wolfe, and the latest of Stephen King’s Dark Tower books.
During a recent conversation, you’ve made a statement not unlike the following:
“I’ve always thought some of Kurt Russell’s best performances just so happen to occur when he wears some combination of a beard and an eye patch.”
For most of your life, you have been a staunch defender of the 1987 film The Monster Squad as one of the best monster movies of all time… not only because of the large number of great one-liners, but also because it features The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s monster in the same movie.
You have a nightmare that is related to Freddy Krueger, by which I mean the person who shows up to scare you is not Freddy Krueger himself, but rather his father who also appears in people’s nightmares. Unlike his son, the elder Krueger (who resembles a burned Emo Philips) he is mostly concerned with entertaining you rather than harming you in your nightmare. Therefore, he takes requests from you as to what you might like to encounter, much like a clown would when making balloon animals at a birthday party.
The resulting “nightmare” was actually rather pleasant, as you requested a voluptuous female Valkyrie who spent the whole time flirting with you when she wasn’t offering to take you flying.
While most people associate legendary actor Chuck Connors with his classic Western television show roles in The Rifleman and Branded, you will always think of him as the eye-patch-wearing, lycanthropic villain named Capt. Janos Skorzeny in the 1987 FOX television series Werewolf.