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32 Short Paragraphs About Ash
7.16.2002 by Ash, every Thursday.

  Can't get enought Ash? You should be reading Pulp!

32 Short Paragraphs About Ash

Yeah, yeah, I know it's been a while since we last visited the twisted world of my living room, but unlike most of the people on this website, I've got bills to pay, mouths to feed, and a healthy four-hundred dollar a day heroin habit to support, so nuts to you. For those uninitiated in the ways of Tales From The Crypt, it's a weekly column meant as a companion piece to PULP, the monthly, by which of course I mean bi-annual, e-zine I run here at Tangmonkey. Or at least used to run, before I got pinched for credit card fraud. Thankfully, my good behavior here at Leavenworth has led to some internet privileges, so PULP's getting started up again soon, once I warm up a with a few of these weekly movie diaries. So let me know what you think, and keep an eye out for the new PULP.

Sunday, July 7

Enigma
This World War 2 mystery tale is the latest film written by famed playwright Tom Stoppard, a clever fellow who has become remarkably popular in Hollywood despite the fact that he cursed the world with Shakespeare In Love. That particular picture, a revisionist historical comedy, was not in itself all that bad, but it must be noted that it led directly to the 'We Will Rock You' scene in A Knight's Tale. I'm sorry, but any film that inspires studios to take a historical time period and 'spice it up' with anachronistic wit and arena rock must be made a pariah at all costs, lest it inspire an Adam Sandler movie set in Victorian England. Enigma, thankfully, refrains from attempting to interest pre-teens and high school girls with either Heath Ledger or Queen, choosing instead to portray 1940's England fairly accurately. Or so I would assume, at least, as my only real experience of war-time England comes from that Twilight Zone episode where the Germans invaded Britain. Anyway, the film stars Dougray Scott, a kind of thicker Ewan McGregor, as a crack cryptologist trying to simultaneously break the German Enigma code and solve the mystery of who bored the audience to death with a two-hour war movie featuring only one explosion, and a pretty lame one at that.

Rocky 5
Forget Columbine, The Chamber, and the XFL, I can't believe American society has reduced itself to a state in which Rocky 5 is still considered a viable piece of entertainment for anyone other the clinically retarded and pro-wrestling fans. All of a sudden, guns in the classroom seem like a good idea, so long as they keep the population down.

How To Make A Monster
One of HBO's Creature Feature projects that takes the title of a cool 50's horror movie, adds a cliché-ridden, recycled plot, and throws in a couple of third- or fourth-rate actors to try and entice viewers. This particular outing tries to impress us by featuring Clea Duvall, who was in one episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and was last seen floundering through Ghosts of Mars, and that guy who keeps playing Robert Kennedy in TV movies. They, along with several other vaguely recognizable faces, play computer programmers trying to jump up the fright factor of a video game by redesigning its monster. Thankfully, and bafflingly, this redesign involves buxom B-Movie queen Julie Strain getting topless, but other than that, the movie falls flat, if you'll pardon the pun. The titular monster comes into being when the power lines outside the computer mainframe are struck by lightening, which, as Frankenstein and Wes Craven's Shocker have taught us, has a tendency to bring things to life. Funny, but the last time I saw lightening hit anything, it set a Laidlaw dumpster on fire and blew the eyeballs out of a raccoon, neither of which subsequently reanimated into any sort of monstrous abomination, although the raccoon did look kind of scary after a few days.

Monday, July 8

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
I assume this classic of Japanese samurai cinema deals with a 'ronin', or masterless samurai, who roams the country side with his infant sun working as an assassin. I say 'assume', because that's what the back of the box told me it was about. Watching the movie itself yielded no clue as to what the film dealt with, as the Japanese have yet to grasp how to get a movie to make sense. As it stands, Sword of Vengeance appears to be a collection of crudely shot, extremely bloody fight scenes, strung together with bits of awkwardly translated dialogue. It's long been my theory that Japan is an island full of schizophrenic pedophiles incapable of creating a film that isn't edited by an epileptic and full of school girl panty-shots, but this movie has opened my eyes, revealing a new side of Japanese culture that eschews grossly underage sex in favor of exploding blood-packs and severed limbs. Good to see that they're maturing.

Tuesday, July 09

A Simple Plan
This Sam Raimi film is essentially a 2-hour meditation on the age-old adage that crime doesn't pay. Which is, of course, a ridiculous assertion. Crime does pay. Not only that, it's easier than working. That's why people do it. Granted, it can be risky, but crime still seems to be a fairly popular occupation among teenagers and the Italian community. Sure, it doesn't pay if you're stupid about it, like stealing the tip jar from Starbucks or sticking up a travel agency, but if done properly, it's way more lucrative than, say, working at a video store for $7 an hour, where the only reward you get for spending a month organizing a classic horror and cult section is a reluctant nod of approval from your boss and a temporary reprieve from having the rest of the clerks continually replacing your Staff Picks with Mario Lopez gangsta movies. Not that I'm bitter.

Wednesday, July 10

The Evil Dead
Enough has been written about this picture, mostly by me, so I'll mention it only to recommend it to people who have only seen its sequel, Army of Darkness, as it explains why Bruce Campbell is such an ass in that movie. Coincidentally, as I've seen it about a hundred times, it explains a good deal about myself, as well.

Friday, July 12

Storytelling
I don't actually want to talk about this latest film from auteur Todd Solondz, except to say that since, unlike his previous feature Happiness, it doesn't contain a cumshot from Phillip Seymore Hoffman, it's OK in my books. What I actually want to talk about is the fact that Mike Shank, the guy from American Movie, is in this film. For those of you who haven't seen American Movie it's allegedly a documentary about a bunch of dimwits making a horror picture. Now, maybe it's my Blair Witch paranoia kicking it, but I don't buy this as an bona fide documentary for a second. Firstly, because people from American Movie keep showing up in other movies, playing the same characters, and more importantly, because nobody can possibly be as stupid as the people in that 'documentary'. I know, I know there are dumb people out there, individuals confused enough to watch Dr. Phil on Oprah


Well, that's that for another week. See you in early December.

-Ash




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