Sunday, August 2, 2020

Kong: Skull Island (2017).

This is awkward.  It's not the sort of confession you make in an article dealing with this kind of subject.  The fact is I'm not sure I was ever all that much of a Godzilla fan as a lot of others out there.  I remember watching a very truncated, Americanized version (featuring Raymond Burr, of all people) back when I was too much of a non-grown-up to know any better.  And that's sort of the whole point.  My knowledge about the Great Big Lizard and his exploits haven't really advanced much since then.  The closest I've come to advancing my understanding of the lore is to watch a very useful retrospective documentary on the subject that lays out all the facts about the original first film that I've seen in just a fragmentary fashion.  Aside from that?  The awful truth is I've just never really managed to find the right door into this particular franchise.

If talking about the giant radioactive lizard sounds like a strange way to begin a review of a film about a giant ape, then that's also sort of the point.  The trouble is I can't just talk about Kong: Skull Island without mentioning the franchise of which it forms an ostensible part.  It doesn't help that I don't have a clue where to begin talking about that either.  Some time ago, it was decided to try and relaunch the long-standing Fire Breathing Monster franchise for Millennial audiences.  The first attempt out of the gate, 2014's Godzilla was a respectable hit with audiences.  The film under discussion today was meant to be it's follow-up.  And as of this date it's the only franchise entry I ever bothered to see.  Even then the reason was pretty simple.  It featured the big damn ape.

I'd been more or less a fan of his ever since he made me keep running to hide behind the couch at the age of about 8.  I'm talking about the original 1933 version.  Some people, after viewing that film, will say its impossible to get any kind of genuine reaction out of a relic like that.  I'm inclined to ignore such judgments.  Besides, their skepticism doesn't change the fact that it's what happened.  It's the only possible reason for why I should have any kind of interest in Jordon Vogt-Roberts's attempt to bring the King to life again.  The real question is, is it good or bad?

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Wolves in the Walls (2003)

'These are the days of miracle and wonders
This is the long-distance call.
The way camera follows us in slow-mo,
The way we look to us all - Paul Simon, The Boy in the Bubble.

Where do fairy tales come from?  It a question that takes a certain frame of mind to even bother asking.  By and large, most of us never bother with such a thought.  One doesn't have to be at or near the years of the cradle in order to have such curiosity, yet it does take a certain frame of mind.  The fairy tale itself is, without doubt, perhaps the closest we will ever get to defining the oldest possible form of storytelling.  The question of defining the term is never easy.  It's made all the more difficult by the fact that the fairy tale itself has existed under several different names, and has been able to encompass more than one genre form in its history.  At the beginning of things (or at least as close as anyone has been able to get) they were often described as myths.  It's a phrase whose usage can be attested to even in the writings of ancient philosophers like Plato or Aristotle.  Later, when there began to be enough odd souls left around for an actual analytical curiosity to develop about the subject, all the myths were slowly compiled together over the ages.  When enough tall tales of gods, immortals, heroes, and otherworldly creatures had been gathered together from several cultures, these curious readers made several interesting discoveries.

The first was that all the differing cultures of the world had their myths.  The second was the unaccountable fact that so many myths, told by differing storytellers who never had the opportunity to meet one another, somehow managed to craft different fables with a surprising amount of narrative similarities.  Why this should be is a puzzle that no one bothers about very much, except for a similar small handful, to this very day.  The upshot, however, is that once all the tales had been compiled, the term folklore was used to designate them.  This stems from the fact that there was a time when storytelling was a common thing done by an actual majority of the folk of any given culture.  It was the mythology they used to explain who they were, what they were, and the meaning of their own lives.  The fact that the average person on the street would be surprised such things were even possible once upon a time says a lot about how much things have changed.

The best answer to the question of where do fairy tales come from is also the simplest.  The imagination put them there.  It's accurate so far as it goes, yet it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the topic.  It takes more than just a single article on a blog to answer that question.  All I can do is to take the problem one story at a time.  I do know that one, if not the only reason fairy tales came into existence was as an explanation for or a way of coping with a sense of threat.  Many of the first folktales originated in primitive hunter-gathering cultures in a time when everyone lived in the forest, and we lived almost nowhere else, because in a sense, there was no other place to go.  It was you, the world around you, and the  animals and fellow inhabitants you had to share it all with.  There wasn't even such a thing as Broadband, difficult as it is to conceive now.  Living with animals is really just another way of saying living with predators.  Part of the reason so many tales originated around a campfire is because it was one of the easiest ways of our ancestors to guarantee at least a small amount of safety for themselves in the watches of the night, when the eyes began to peer out of trees and thickets.

The animals of the woods would be drawn to the fire just like moths.  The  fireflies were the only ones daring enough to come right up to the flames, however.  The rest had an instinctive realization of fire, and the kind of damage it could do, and so kept a wary distance.  It didn't make the hunger, and therefore the threat, go away though.  Perhaps that's one of the reasons the more industrious of those ages soon began to contemplate an idea that eventually became indoor housing.  It might have solved a few concerns and safety issues.  However it was still a long time before the wolves no longer lingered at the door, clawing, scratching, and waiting for a chance, or a weak spot to get in.  I mention all this because in some ways it is those same primitive concerns that form at least one aspect of the title under discussion here today.

Neil Gaiman is still no stranger to the world of pop-culture as of this writing.  At the time the current book was written, he had already made a name for himself with such titles as The Sandman, Neverwhere, and American Gods.  At some point during all of that, he manged to become the father of a family.  He'd married into an American household, and his wife Mary still had relations she was very fond of and close to.  That meant sooner or later, Gaiman would have to knuckle under and move out to the States in order for her to be close to the people she loved.  The place Gaiman settled his family down was way out in the the near-wilderness of Minnesota.  It was this move to a new home that first brought the Wolves to Gaiman's attention.  He talked about it at some length to Hayley Campbell in her book about the author.

"We were living in a house that definitely had things in the walls.  I live in that house now, but lots of rebuilding has happened and the inside and the outside are a little more discrete, but back then there were bats in the walls, possibly rats in the walls, definitely mice in the walls.  And you would hear them.  They would scritch and they would scratch (250)".  There's a minor yet puzzling gap in the recollection here.  The good news is it can be filled in with the help of Hank Wagner's and Christopher Golden's brief account of the storybook's creation in their multi-part study, Prince of Stories.  According to Wagner and Golden, the whole thing got started by "Neil and Mary Gaiman's younger daughter Maddy, whose nightmares about hearing...scratching...within their home's walls inspired this book (355)".  It's from here that Gaiman is able to fill in the rest of the narrative.

"I went upstairs and heard crying coming from the bedroom.  And at that time (Maddy) was still sharing a bedroom with me and Mary.  She had her own little bed down in the corner of it, but she was asleep in my bed.  And she woke up.  She was crying.  I said "What's wrong?"  She said, "The wolves came out of the walls, they took over the house!  I had to run away from them!"  I said, "It's okay, it was just a dream."  She said, "It wasn't a dream.  I can prove it."  And I said, "How will prove it?"  She said, "I can show you the place in the wallpaper they came out from."  So she showed me the place in the wallpaper they came out from.

"Over the next few days she was still deeply worried about the wolves in the walls.  And I would tell her little stories in which she and I would take on the wolves in the walls, and we would win once they came out of the house.  They were definitely wolf-battling stories.  After a while she stopped worrying that the wolves were going to come out of the walls and I thought, "This is such a story.  This is so awesome (250)".  Gaiman had already published a previous illustrated book for young readers with longtime collaborator Dave Mckean when his daughter gave him the inspiration for a follow-up.

Campbell continues: "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish had come out the previous year, so Gaiman was now a writer of children's books, and he sat down to write what would become The Wolves in the Walls.  Afterward, he looked at his two thousand words and decided they were "really lifeless and really dull" and contained none of the vibrancy of the thing in his (or Maddy's) head.  "So I went away and thought about it a bit.  And one day I was walking home and I suddenly thought, 'When the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over'.  And I knew the rhythm of that.  And knowing that, I thought, Okay, I know what the rest of this sounds like.  I think I have a tone of voice (250-1)".  That just leaves three questions to be answered.  What does the tone of voice have to say.  Is there anything the voice has worth saying?  The most important question is what does the voice mean?

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Animaniacs (1995-99): A Retrospective

It all happened a long time ago.  The way it started was more like something out the corner of the eye.  All I knew at first is that I was watching TV.  The channel must have been tuned to one of those old children's television networks such as Nickelodeon, or something like it.  I know that was the station I watched most often back during the year 1994.  I can't remember what show I was watching, however, which probably says something about its quality (or lack thereof), unless it doesn't.  At one point during a commercial break, this very odd cartoon promo pops up.  I remember it was the Warner Bros. logo, and that there something off about it.  It's colors were muted and somewhat distorted.  There was this trio of strange, grinning, black and white animal characters that poked their heads out of the logo.  From there the commercials was a blur of almost surreal looking images.  I saw a series of shots of the characters as they capered around the screen.  I can't recall exactly what those actions were now, except to call them the standard basic tropes you'd associate with a cartoon character.  What I remember most of all is the strange shades of dark reds and blues that the characters and the whole background scenery were drawn in.

I hadn't a clue what I was looking at.  All I was told is that it was a TV spot for a new theatrical short.  It had the simple title of I'm Mad.  I think I also remember the commercial telling me it was produced by Steven Spielberg, or something like that.  Anyway, it came and went.  I was left puzzled for a few brief moments, and that was it.  I never saw it in theaters and it's possible the whole thing would have slipped my memory, except as one of those vague and ill-defined images of some lost event that either may have happened to you, or else you just imagined it.  It occurs to me now that the second run in I had with the figures in that commercial happened perhaps less than a year later.  Enough time had gone by so that it was no longer on my mind.  However, the event was still fresh enough so that when the second encounter happened, there was just enough memory left over to give things an air of familiarity.  It was a sense of, "Oh yeah, I've seen you before.  Who are you again"?

I encountered the figures from I'm Mad for the second time as illustrations decorating a Happy Meal box.  There were the same three figures, still looking as if they'd strolled right out of a 1930s Max Fleischer cartoon.  The difference was that now I slowly began to learn their names.  They were about what could expect from characters drawn the way they were.  In addition to this, I was also shown a number of other characters I hadn't seen before.  There were a duo of mice who claimed they were bent on world domination.  Also I recall a trio of pigeons known as the "Goodfeathers".  The complete and total irony of that discovery means that I knew the parody of a Martin Scorsese film long before I even knew it existed.  Hell, I didn't even know who Scorsese was at this point in my then very young life.  It is just possible I learned about one of the best filmmakers of the modern age from that Happy Meal box.

They say that third time's the charm, and I guess that must have happened in my case.  Because the third encounter I had with these figures was the one that reeled me in.  The theatrical short was the hook, and the Happy Meal was the line.  The sinker came in the form of channel surfing out of pure boredom and running into the same three figures again.  This time they were busy giving the Queen of England a headache as she tried to re-build Windsor Castle.  It sounds like something out of an old Looney Tunes feature and that's pretty much what it was.  These three characters (who I then learned were siblings), all displayed actions that hearkened back to an entire era of filmmaking.  From there, I started to track down where I could watch more of the show they were in.  I got lucky in finding out which channel carried them, and the rest is more or less what I'm here to talk about.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Peter Pan Myth 1: Finding Neverland (2004).

There are some ideas that a critic would like to tackle because of the potential that can, or could, exist in them.  The trouble with these ideas is that if they are left alone, they tend to grow big in the critic's mind.  Sometimes, it seems, if the critic is not careful, the weight of these ideas tends to make them not just grow, but tower long enough to cast a kind of shadow over the mind.  It's what can happen when you know you have a pretty good idea not just for an article, but for an actual series touching on the same subject.  It is possible because sometimes certain books are able to get big enough to warrant such a treatment.  These are the tomes that have become standards.  They're the kind of stories that are familiar even if you've never read them.  They are the texts, in short, that have had a shaping influence on the nature and direction of the culture, even if the great majority are never able to realize it.  The philosophical texts of Aristotle fits into this category; Middle Earth and the tall tales of Mark Twain are another.  I think something Stephen King once said about this kind of work applies here.

He spoke of them while describing a certain category or type of author in his how-to autobiography On Writing.  I'd argue what fits these writers into such a high place on the great chain is precisely their ability to write such definitive texts.  "These are the really good writers," according to King.  They are "the Shakespeares, the Faulkners, the Yeatses, Shaws, and Eudora Weltys.  They are geniuses, divine accidents, gifted in a way which is beyond our ability to understand, let alone attain.  Shit, most geniuses aren't able to understand themselves, and many of them lead miserable lives, realizing (at least on some level) that they are nothing but fortunate freaks...who just happen to...fit the image of an age (136)".

Peter Pan is one text that sometimes gets fitted into that category.  Everyone knows the characters, and the outline of the story, even if they've never read the book, seen the play, or watched a single of its adaptations.  The dirty little secret here is that perhaps not many have paid much more than a tangential form of attention to the whole thing.  The demands of life are too many, and any genuine interest in the arts in general, or the Pan mythos in particular, is too minuscule to be anything other than a coterie affair.  It's the kind of thing only a few nerds tucked away into a corner ever seem to really bother with.  It's awkward, considering literacy is one of the many requirement most folk will need to get on with reality.  You might even make a paradox of it.  You can't earn a living until you learn make-believe, it's history, and its environs.  It's a perfect natural, perhaps inevitable, state between a rock and a hard place.  The rock itself is the same reality that confronts you one day after another, the hard place are all the facts you need to learn to even use the whole damn thing properly.  Perhaps its the tension between these two facts that generates the quality we humans have decided on calling drama.  There seems to have been no other decent enough word lying around, really.

The story of the boy who could fly makes up part of the toolkit most folk will need to get ahead in life.  Like the billboard in The Great Gatsby, its always there, flashing its sign for anyone who cares to pay attention.  Even those who have never stopped to look into the story know its basic outlines.  There's the Darling Family, a pirate ship, Hook, everyone's favorite, Smee, and then there's The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up himself.  Where did they all com from, however?  Even if there is a sense in which story's just emerge out of thin air (though I suppose its proper term is just Imagination) there's always got to be "the person" around in order to make it work.  This "person" can be anything from a conscious inventor to little more than a glorified secretary taking down lists of names and make-believe incidents as they emerge from whatever the imagination is.

In the case of Neverland and its environs, the person was named James Micheal Barrie.  He was the one responsible for penning the story and cast of characters that premiered on the London stage on December 27th, 1904.  The play was enough of a success that the demand for a novelization soon took place.  After a long time of indecision, Barrie wrote and published Peter and Wendy.  Both play and story seem to be the original impetus for everything that most audiences have ever known about the Pan mythos.  The question is how did it all come about?  What were Barrie's inspirations?  Where did he get his ideas?  These are all very good questions, therefore it never occurs to the vast majority of the world to even bother asking them.  However, a few intrepid souls have made the effort to discover where the stories come from.  Some of them, like Alan Knee came away determined to try and dramatize the creative process that led to the birth of the Boy Who Could Fly.

Here's where things get just a bit a complicated.  It's obvious enough that at some point Knee, the original playwright was inspired to write the play that later turned into the film under discussion here.  The trouble I can't find a single scrap of backstage info that would tell anyone how his inspiration came about and what fascinated him about the subject matter in the first place.  I can't even tell whether or not we're talking about inspiration when it comes to the events not just at the heart of this play, but also the story that made it possible.  All I know is that at some point Knee's play was adapted into a movie by Marc Forster with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet as the two leads.  The film received a critical lauding at the time.  However, the question is whether or not it holds up after all this time?

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Savageland (2017).

There is a kind of minor debate going on, here and there, in the community of Horror fandom.  It all started with The Blair Witch Project.  Ever since making its initial splash back in the last year of the 20th century, it seems to have sparked an ongoing, off-again-on-again, debate.  The whole thing kind of hinges on whether the modern method of the Found Footage, or Mockumentary style of filmmaking is useful as narrative tool for telling a story on film.  The style itself seems to have attracted an equal amount of praise and criticism from the very moment it got launched out of the starting gate.  Those who like it claim that it's able to give cinema a new form of realistic storytelling, while others just claim it's an excuse for poor cameramen to show all their faults without having to take the blame.

My own response has been forever on the fence.  I seem to have found a neat enough place that works out for me.  For the longest time, it has become ever clearer that what counts for me has nothing to with the visual quality of a film.  My approach to it just isn't tactile enough to be interested in how realistic any of it is.  I have no real idea why this should be, except to say that it is the ideas, themes, or concepts underlying a story that really interest me more than how it all looks in the mirror.  The upshot for my film and book intake is that my focus automatically seems to zero in on the narrative itself, rather than on questions of realism in either appearance or acting.  This seems to work out for me, more often than not, for some reason.  It can sometimes be an added bonus for those moments when I'm able to come away saying I was able to find some sort of merit in films or books that don't hold a favorable view with others.  On the converse side, certain artistic products that hold a popular appeal often just leave me puzzled or unsatisfied.  It's a natural circumstance which has sort of left me sliding back and forth among audiences with every turn of the see-saw.  It can be either amusing or disconcerting, depending on how you look t it.

All I know is I don't really need or ask for a certain amount or dosage of realism in anything I watch or read.  I'd also argue that most fiction in general is never, in the strictest sense, all that real to begin with.  This hang-up with whether or not the final artistic product can consider realistic in any shape or form seems to amount to a kind of collective chimera, rather than any objective value.  Besides, in back of all the arguments for realism lies the question, not of reality, so much as the ability to gain a sense of respect.  The real question doesn't amount to "is it natural", but rather, "is it respectable in the eyes of the neighbors"?  This may sound a like a surprising idea to some.  Why should anyone worry about whether a work of fiction is respectable?  It's just make-believe, after all.

I think the answer can be found somewhere in the very statement of the question.  It posits art as a fundamentally second-class citizen.  The kind of element that always takes a backseat to the more essential aspects of living.  The inescapable fact is that most civilizations have regarded the Arts as something of a trifle.  It's there whenever one's spirits need amusing, nothing more.  Stephen King seems to have been on-target when he observed the kind of social status and function that artists like him have in a modern society.

"America has turned the people who entertain it into weird high-class whores, and the media jeers at any "celeb" who dares complain about his or her treatment.  "Quitcha bitchin!" cry the newspapers and the TV gossip shows (the tone is one of mingled triumph and indignation).  "Didja really think we paid ya the big bucks just to sing a song or swing a Louisville Slugger?  Wrong, asshole!  We pay you so we can be amazed when you do it well - whatever 'it' happens to be in your particular case - and also because it's gratifying when you fuck up.  The truth is you're supplies.  If you cease to be amusing, we can always kill you and eat you (422-23)". 

When you have to operate under this kind of social handicap, is it really any wonder that so many artists, and even a good chunk of the audience, is obsessed with making the art look as respectable as possible?  It's a setup that would give even Shakespeare an inferiority complex.  The trouble is I can't get rid of the idea that it all amounts to a form of artistic prostitution.  When the artist lets concerns with respectability override the task of making sure the story gets told right, regardless of form and format, then I don't see how it's any better than caving to a form of prejudice.  Granted, this in itself is a topic that any half-way decent work of art can explore to good symbolist (not literal) effect.

That seems to be the case with Savageland, a 2017 mockumentary co-directed by Phil Giudry, Simon Herbert, and David Whelan.  Like its predecessors in the sub-genre, the format is used to document an event that never happened, all the while filming it in such a way as to lead the audience into believing it did.  In doing so, it tries to raise a number of important topics.  Whether it is any good at delivering these ideas in an entertaining fashion remains to be seen.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).

Quentin Tarantino can be a difficult artist to talk about.  Not because there's nothing there.  The problem is kind of the exact opposite.  I don't know if it's too much to say guys like Tarantino contain multitudes.  I know anyone who's talked with him in person claim the guy has so much of a mouthful that sometimes you can't keep up.  In a way, that's a good metaphor for the whole problem.  The fact that its drawn from life just gives a bit of needed weight.  With directors like Tarantino, the problem is there can sometimes be so much to talk about that often the critic doesn't even know where to begin.  The worst part is that in a way, the director himself presents very little challenge at this late date.  The real worry in writing about the films of Tarantino is that you have to keep looking over your shoulder in case someone else made your own point for you a long time ago.  There's very little original to be said or unearthed about one of the most successful and defining careers in the history of filmmaking.  In other words, there's a lot to talk about, and its all been said before.  Still, the critic has to report something about his subject if he's to do the job right.

I suppose the best place to start is with the guy himself.  That can also be difficult because there are ways that his life can sound like that of a fictional character who shouldn't even exist.  He was a video store clerk, a rare and by now almost extinct form of retail wildlife that flourished for a brief span of time during the 80s and 90s.  What used to happen is people would actually bother to leave their houses, get in their cars, and go to an actual block of brick and mortar where VHS copies of old films were stored and housed.  They did that because back then it was possible to buy or rent the movie you wanted to watch right there in the store itself.  It was even possible, during this brief span of two decades, when some of these video stores were successful enough to become an actual business chain.  The most famous of these remains Blockbuster Video.  Tarantino never worked at one of these.  His own place of employment was an indie outlet called Video Archives.

This seems to have been the place where Tarantino first cemented a public awareness for himself.  He would sit behind the counter and market with the customers.  This was easy enough and enjoyable because all he had to do was tell anybody who chanced to walk in how much he loved the movies.  He would try and spread the enthusiasm around, get the buyers talking about what they liked, what films they found enjoyable, and what was it about the art-form that even made them want to set foot in establishments like the Archives?  It was a good way to drive up sales.  On personal level, though, it got customers talking not just about the business, but also about a motor-mouth clerk who also seemed like he had something promising in him.  It helped a lot that Quentin was an avid consumer of all things celluloid.  The man has been able to amass an incredible amount of detailed knowledge about movies past and present.  He was already well read, film wise, when he got his start back in the early 90s with Reservoir Dogs.  I don't even know how much more he's been able to accumulate since then.

Just recently Tarantino released his 9th film in theaters.  It's kind of a big deal because some time back he declared that he was going to limit himself to just 10 films under his own banner as a director.  This sort of marketing scheme is interesting for several reasons.  On the one hand, it creates expectation in audiences.  It gives them something to think about in a way that keeps the buzz around your name going.  At the same time, it puts a necessary amount of pressure on the artist to deliver on his promises.  Tarantino knows he has to make every film he releases count.  Any kind of screw-up on his part is going to put a dent in both his reputation and prospects.  That means every film he makes has to be as top quality as he can possibly make it.  The guys must hav a great luck to go along with his natural talents if he wants to succeed.  So far, most of his output has been greeted with popular and critical acclaim.  It's the reason why audiences are now in a heightened state of anticipation because they know his last film has to somehow sum up and account for it all.

According to the director himself, that film is still somewhere on the horizon.  Part of his strategy is to space out his work so that a legend is able to generate around his oeuvre.  It's another bit of his marketing skills.  Right now, his latest film is a bit of a nostalgia piece.  It's called Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and as the penultimate notch in his belt, it seems worth a look to determine just how well it holds up.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Guns Akimbo (2019).

It all started with a meme.  It was a picture of Daniel Radcliffe, the actor forever to be associated with Harry Potter.  In the picture, Radcliffe is seen holding up a pair of guns, looking disheveled and dressed in a style best described as late-stage Arthur Dent.  Like all memes, this one originated online somewhere back in 2018, and it didn't take long for the photo to accumulate its own collection of varying levels of wit.  I'm told the first one out of the gate read something like: I'm telling you Ron, these things are better than magic wands!  Other examples of the kind of humor the image was able to attract were along the lines of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Bullets; Harry Potter and the End of a Vivid (yet prolonged) Hallucination; and, of course, Say hello to my little friends, avada, and kedavra!  It took the release of an actual 2019 trailer to go along the image and place it all in its semi-logical context.  It was a promotion for a movie called Guns Akimbo, and it featured Radcliffe as the star.  The upshot of that clip was that I ran across another meme in the YouTube comments section: Harry Potter and the Stoned Philosopher.

When I first saw the trailer my initial reaction was to be dismissive.  On first glimpse it looked like just another mindless action flick with the only novelty being that it featured the Boy Who Lived.  What else was there?  What was sort of able to draw me back was that I somehow managed to stop and give the setup of the trailer an actual moment's bit of thought.  I began to wonder about various elements of the what I was shown in the preview, and how they might relate to Radcliffe's most famous character.  I began to see how it was just possible there might be some interesting level of commentary attached to the whole schlocky premise.  Besides which, if there's one thing I've learned as a fan of the Horror genre, it's that Schlock can sometimes have it's place.  More than that, it is even possible for some items of Schlock to achieve their own crude yet genuine level of art.  The question is does the final product live up to all these critical musings?