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December 2001

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In this issue:    Harry Potter, Prince of Darkness! Star Trek! TV Terrors! PLUS: Coca Cola Christ! Literature! and What Ash Really Wants for Christmas!.
The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires *****

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Wow, there's a British/Hong Kong kung-fu vampire movie out there and I haven't hear of it?". Well, I've got news for you, pal. There's actually several. The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires is just the most accessible, as the rest deal with really unfortunate looking creatures with yellow eyes that hop around on all fours like Chinese rabbits. The 'Hopping Vampire' series aside, the kung-fu vampire movie is a subgenre of horror films that definitely deserves some respect. After, all, who doesn't enjoy a good, Hong Kong-made kung-fu movie? You get all the action and excitement of a Stephen Segal flick, without all that pesky English dialogue and DMX guest spots to get in the way. Plus, due to the immense perversion that anime has assured me rests within the heart of Japanese society, you're guaranteed a bared Asian bosom or two, if not at least one tentacle rape. In terms of the British vampire movie, the partial nudity rule still holds true, due the bizarrely Freudian penetration theme of the villains, and you're also guaranteed at least one appearance by either Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee. Cushing, whom less educated, Starlog-addicted readers might know only as Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars, is the star of Legend..., putting in his umpteenth performance as Dr. Van Helsing. He is joined by his son, possibly named Reginald, and a troop of Ninja Turtle-esque kung-fu brothers, each armed with a different weapon and all bearing a striking resemblance to Jet Li. Van Helsing and the brothers are on the trail of a group of seven vampire lords who have been terrorizing a remote village by forcing the local women to parade around topless. The vampires are led by none other than Van Helsing's nemesis, Dracula, who for some reason has taken the form of Fu Manchu, the Yellow Peril himself, presumably because Chinese actors come a lot cheaper that British ones. Needless to say, the dispatching of the seven vampire lords requires a great deal of kung fu from the brothers, and an impressive amount of standing around and looking old from Peter Cushing, who by that point in his career was probably relishing the thought of nice, quite productions of Twelfth Night at a dinner theatre joint. The vampires, however, are not to be outmatched in terms of crazy Chinasian kung fu, and call up legions of undead slaves to join the battle, all of whom strongly resemble the zombies from Spain's Blind Dead series. Parenthetically, in regards to that last comment, I don't know what's more upsetting to me, the fact that you, the reader, doesn't know what I'm talking about, or the fact that I do. Being able to reference an obscure Spanish zombie series like The Blind Dead is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing, in that occasionally useless film trivia will impress a video store clerk enough to score some free Twin Peaks rentals, but also a curse, since taking up valuable memory with endless Vincent Price quotations uses brain space perhaps better suited to remembering phone numbers, birthdays, and how to tell time using a 24 hour clock. Sure, you might interest the odd skirt you meet at a bar by claiming Bride of Chucky as your favorite romantic comedy and proceeding through a scene by scene re-enactment of its finer moments, but once you get her back to your apartment, she'll quickly discover that memorizing the entire movie pushed out some other vital information, like exactly how infrequently you can clean your kitchen before you officially live in squalor. And have you ever tried impressing a potential employer by miming female mutilation sequences from Herschell Gordon Lewis movies? Very unsuccessful, unless you happen to be applying for a position as either a butcher's assistant or Henry Lee Lucas. It's not that this kind of information is useless, it's just that we live in a society so screwed up it values practical skills and knowledge over 1970s exploitation movie trivia. We live in a world where it's easier for a philosophy major to find meaningful employment than it is for someone who has put a lifetime of effort into categorizing zombie movies. Think about it, who would you rather have by your side during the inevitable coming zombie apocalypse: me, with an encyclopedic knowledge of undead extermination techniques, or some fancy pants college boy who thinks he's hot stuff just because he's read most of the Marx brothers' communist manifesto? I'm telling you, we're setting ourselves up for a fall here. It's a well established fact that we're due for a major catastrophe sometime soon, be it zombie-related or otherwise, and quite frankly, we're not ready for it. Even if it's somewhat pedestrian, like a global flu pandemic, we're going to need someone in power who has seen Outbreak at least 6 times, and who is intimately familiar with the Stand miniseries. But do the platforms of current politicians even mention Steven King movies in their speeches and debates? No, they barely even mention cult films at all, although the Green Party tends to get dizzy and start quoting Dazed and Confused every once in a while. I swear, if George W. Bush had seen Cold War epic Red Dawn even once, he'd know exactly what to do in these current times of international crisis, namely hire Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen as guerilla warfare experts. There's no doubt that Swayze could use his commando skills, as well as the good ol' fashioned American brawling techniques he picked up in Road House, to single-handedly defeat that dastardly Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist network, but lousy Bush is too busy listening to his prissy, experienced, West Point-educated military advisors, who wouldn't know how to use 235-trioxin gas to create zombie soldiers if their life depended on it, to listen to my advice. Well, that ends here. I'd like to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for President of the US in the next elections. I pledge that I will conduct myself with the utmost dignity, and base all my decisions upon the teachings of Martin Sheen, or more specifically, President Sheen of The West Wing, not the crazy President Sheen from The Dead Zone. And I swear that along with mixing preachy, patriotic rhetoric and down home wisdom with every breath, I will do my best to assure that each and every citizen of this fine country will have access to free health care, and enough higher education to know exactly how to deal with kung fu vampires.

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