Saturday, October 03, 2009

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

I saw this movie years ago and it earned a solid Wow! from me. It really delivers what the title says. Great concept!

Less great movie. It works, but if John Carpenter or Steven Spielberg (and their budgets) made this movie, they could have had winners.

I just lamented lack of budget but that is not the main flaw of the movie. The movie is cheesy, and that is largely okay. It survives its cheesiness tho the cheesiness undermines what could have been a very disturbing and scary movie.

The plot is that aliens that look and act like clowns have invaded earth. Their mission is to gather humans, for food. Brilliant! Clowns are loci of discomfort, aren't they? These guys sure are. Their happy looking faces feature lots of teeth, which is unsettling, and their clownish whimsy serves murderous intent.

The cast is uninteresting. There's that guy who was in that other movie (I think), and the young woman who screams and takes showers in other movies (no, not that one, the less famous one) does so in this one. Royal Dano comes thru as the poor man's Slim Pickens. John Vernon, the dean in Animal House, is the best thing here. He delivers several great lines. A few more performances like his could have turned this thing into something with fewer qualifications.

The Klowns play out all the appropriate memes of Clowndom. A bunch of them climb from a small car, they use popcorn and cotton candy nefariously, and they look like a lot of fun. That fun is belied. A small Klown seemingly bullied by a biker blithely knocks the guy's head off, literally. Another entertains a group of people with shadow puppets, until it creates a tyrannosaurus rex that consumes all the people.

In another scene, a young girl is playfully beckoned by a Klown. We fear the worst, but luckily the child is not injured. But plenty of other people are carted away. Part of the creepiness is that the Klowns are not just harvesting humans, they are enjoying themselves in the process.

In the most disturbing scene, the good cop discovers one of the aliens at the police station. It is seated at a desk. It turns around ominously. John Vernon, bad cop, sits on the Klown's lap. He speaks for the alien: Don't worry. We are just going to kill you.. The Klown then bloodily removes its hand from Vernon's back ventriloquist style. That, friends, is a monster.

Good cop shoots ineffective bullets into the Klown, but one hits the Klown's nose and that finishes the Klown. From here on, the plot races along pragmatically, or maybe I mean laconically. Some genuine and telling scares here, and a few laughs, but zero wit. Could have been better.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Richard Lopez, Really Bad Movies

I have been stupidly slow in linking to Richard's Really Bad Movies. Here he quotes Jim McCrary re Berrigan. We get caught up in the artist's condition. Focusing on such shagginess as Berrigan's pill consumption distracts from the actual accomplishment of the artist. Anyway, Richard (unwarranted 1st name basis) promulgates the glistering pleasures of horror movies and good family, that condition.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Bit More Eigner

I was astounded to see that the collected poems of Larry Eigner, edited by Robert Grenier, counts out at more than 1800 pages. Zounds! I had no idea there was that much material.

It pleases me that such an attempt at completion has been offered to Eigner. The publication of these 4 volumes is an event to match, say, the collected Berrigan, long awaited.

I have credited Robert Creeley with helping me to understand the poetic line. I do not withdraw that credit, but realize that I owe credit to Larry Eigner, as well. To be thorough, I can add WCW, and Emily Dickinson's canny, puzzling shortchanging of metre. But back to Eigner.

Eigner practiced an intense capture of the word. I remember Grenier speaking of Eigner set up at a window, I think the living room window, at the Swampscott home, with that view to work from/with/to. The composition of his life, his life bounded, so to speak, by a wheelchair, made each word that he located prima facie. That is not to limit him to his condition, I think this exercise of verbal precision (honour of each word) is the genius that Eigner gives us.

After Eigner visited Franconia, I wrote something to or for him. The usual youthful dedication, I imagine. Grenier suggested that I send it to Eigner, that Eigner would be tickled to see a response. Shyness and maybe a sense that what I wrote was not worthy, prevented me from doing that. It occurs to me just now that I might have sent a missive to Eigner via whatever publisher, but I do not know when that might have been, but if I did this, I got no response.

Every writer writes from 'a condition'. That condition informs the writer, but less so us, the readers. Eigner's cerebral palsy, Keats' tuberculosis, wehatev. These conditions are just specific roods of occupied earth. One witnesses Eigner's condition in his writing, but his writing is not his condition.

Eigner pushed his words across the page, unloosening the left margin. I know that my writing started doing likewise at that time. My line...

Almost from the beginning, I wrote on keyboard (typewriter in the olden days). I used to write furiously fast. I would hit the return bar whenever I thought of it. The deal was, if I wasn't paying attention to the return bar, or the bell at the end of the line, I would inter bunches of letters at the last point there on the typewriter roll (I have lost almost all of the vocabulary of the typewriter), when the typewriter would adevance no further. In rewrite, I would lineage the mass of words that I had written. Ben Jonson, you may know, wrote his poems first in prose, then translated them to metre and rhjyme.

Well, I suppose it worked okay for Jonson, but I had to develop a metronom, to work with. Creeley, Eigner, and others, helped form my sense of the words in conjunction, with tensile strength. Eigner was a great writer, and I think the 1800 pages will show just how importasnt Eigner was, and continues to be.