Twilight – A Vampire Tale

Okay, so there has been all this hype about Twilight, people asking if I’ve seen it, talking about how good it is, and so on. When my wife started mentioning wanting to watch it, I thought I’d have to check it out. So, we rented it.

If you would like to save the time of the rest of this review, I’ll sum in one word: T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. It wasn’t until watching this movie that I realized how overdone the whiny, bitchy, love-struck male vampire is in media. It really started with Dracula, but then, he started it all really. But consider some of the latest vamps such as Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mick St. John from Moonlight. Our society has taken the bite out of vampires! They are all becoming cry babies.

The worst by far though, is Edward Cullen from Twilight. Every scene he is on the verge of a crying fit. He sticks out his trembling lower lip, sulls up, and makes me want to stake him through the face! Not since Sesame Street have vampires been portrayed so ludicrously.

Really, the whole vampire in love with a woman thing is just about as silly as you or I falling in love with a chicken. You gaze longingly at the chicken, lay in the coop with it, stroking its feathers as it sleeps, trying to avoid temptation. Finally, when your will is weak, you lock lips to beak and pray you don’t slam that sucker into a deep frier and chow down KFC-style! Of course, you have to explain to the chicken the imminent danger. In fact, you tried to have a relationship with a cow some years back, and ole Bessy ended up steak, but that’s all in the past. This time, you won’t falter! At least not more than a nugget or two. I cannot help but think of movies like Rise or Blade, where you see what a horrendous mess vampire feeding can really be. For the sequel, let’s call Twilight what it really is, Romancing the Chicken.

At least characters like Angel got mad and broke things, and people, from time to time. He also had relapses into his bestial side, Angelus. Don’t forget when Spike “fell in love” with Buffy, it was still tainted by his vampire nature, and he even attempted to rape her. Vampires aren’t romantic figures, they are predators!

Back to Twilight. Even the “bad” vampires are not so bad. They have great lines like “you brought a snack” and “don’t play with your food”. Wow. Makes one want to shatter the kitchen chair, sharpen up one leg, and stake yourself right there in front of the TV.

Now, I can accept a PG-13 rated vampire movie, and I understand this film is for the romantic 13-year old teenie girls out there. That’s fine, but even at that, this movie is abysmal. The pacing is so S-L-O-W. Minute after minute of awkward silence, lip-trembling, and nothingness. Nothing. Nothing going on. The main characters just stare at each other, make a comment, and stare some more.

Let us not forget some of the riveting variations on the vampire legend. They seem to have venom instead of fangs, which is okay. Twilight isn’t the first to come up with this. My favorite though, is why they cannot go into sunlight. Sunlight makes them too sparkly! Yeah, they glitter like diamonds in the sunlight, so the MUST NOT BE SEEN. Slap on some blush and STFU.

This movie really made me cry tears of blood, mainly because I was clawing at my eyes. Do yourself a favor and pass on this one. If I prevent one poor soul from watching this film, I have been successful. The whiny boy-toy vampire who has lived for 200 years and still hasn’t grown a pair is old hat. Can we please, pretty please, come up with something new?

Halloween Revisited

Last night, I watched the new Halloween remade by director Rob Zombie. I’m a fan of Mr. Zombie’s music but not his films. Therefore, I was not expecting much from the new Halloween. Wow! Sometimes it is good to be wrong. The original is certainly a classic, but this may be even better. The film is bloodier than the original, but it is not over the top like the overwhelming majority of the horror crap of today. I particularly like how Michael Myers’ childhood was portrayed, giving you answers to the questions not addressed in the original.

I viewed the unrated version, which has many scenes that would offend (including a fairly brutal rape scene). I think the film did a particularly good job of portraying the moral decay and perversion of our normal, daily society and not just focusing on the psychotic Myers. In the early portions of the film, you almost have some sympathy for young Michael. By the end, however, the director has done a great job of shattering any attachments you could have for the character.

The movie stays very true to the original, with many scenes duplicated in homage. It was very cool to see familiar events with the added benefit of a higher budget and some background story to set the stage. I found it like watching an old favorite with new eyes and seeing it again for the first time.

In the end, the movie is no more socially redeeming than the original. The plot really boils down to a freakishly strong psychopath goes berserk and starts killing people. However, this is a strong representation of the genre and a carefully crafted retelling of a classic. I also liked how one of the characters was portrayed by an actress who starred in several of the middle films of the series. Well done, Mr. Zombie, well done.


Fido is a heartwarming tale of a boy and his… zombie. I love the zombie genre, especially those along the vein of the original Night of the Living Dead. I don’t need the new era zombie movie’s buckets of gore; I’m looking for creative stories with a walking dead backdrop. Strange, I know, but it entertains me.

Fido is just the sort of film I’ve been looking for. It is a zombie film, but it adds a few twists, such as the setting (1950’s America) and plot (people have “domesticated” zombies). I think the film does a great job of posing interesting “what if” questions to the viewer. Some are answered, and some are left for you to ponder. In some ways it is like Leave It to Beaver, but it is done in such a tongue-in-cheek fashion that it is endearing, not annoying.

This film is much more fun to watch than Brain-Munching Dead People 17 or whatever the latest remake of a remake is these days. If you aren’t a big zombie genre fan, you can still watch this film without being completely grossed out—the film is violent, but not overly so. If you are a fan, this movie is a fresh idea on a decayed concept! By golly, go rent it today!

Motorola DCT 6412 III DVR

I had a strange problem with my Motorola DCT 6412 III DVR last night. Everything live on cable played through the tuner just fine, but nothing recorded would play. Instead it showed a black screen with no progress on the play bar. You could fast forward or rewind, and it remained at 0:00 played and a black screen.

I tried recording something new and then playing it, thinking maybe the old files corrupted. This resulted in the exact same behavior. Finally, I did some looking out on the Internet and noticed some things. First of all, Insight Communications has lousy self-help on their website. Really, it sucks. Second, there wasn’t a lot of help for troubleshooting to be found; most people seem to post questions trying to figure out how to steal TV shows off of the DVR.

After a bit of looking, I stumbled upon a single suggestion. Unplug the DVR for a while and it should work again. Eureka! That did, indeed, make the DVR start working again. I don’t know what caused the problem or if it will recur. I wanted to post about it here to get this information in one more place out on the web.