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Books On Something

On Books: Ametora

I’ll start off by saying that I’m completely embarrassed by the fact that it took until now for me to finally read my buddy David Marx’s Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style. I’m not quite sure why, I think it’s just one of those things that you keep meaning to do, and it slips through the cracks, and then you get to a point where you’re like, hey, I didn’t read this yet, what’s up with that?

With that out of the way, I just blasted through it over a couple of days (thank god for vacation time) as I couldn’t put it down. Just like my experience reading Matt Alt’s Pure Invention, I was just completely drawn into each chapter, which focus on various aspects of David’s thesis on how Japan absorbed American fashion styles, and ended up guiding it. Not only is it fascinating to see how all of this develops in the postwar era, but also how it links up to a lot of the companies and brands anyone who has spent time in Japan will be very familiar with.

One aspect I also loved is that the influential role magazines played in the development and evolution of these styles means that he spends a lot of space writing about how these magazines came to be and how their editorial direction evolved and grew — properly framing the “catalog” style of reportage any Japanese magazine addict is very familiar with. To be honest, my wish now is for David to do a book that focuses on the world of Japanese magazine publishing.

If you have any interest in contemporary Japanese culture — and of course fashion (but I don’t even think that’s necessary, as I’m not a particularly fashion-oriented guy) — then I can’t recommend this enough. Whatever next he’s working on can’t come out soon enough — and you should of course pick up the first issue of NJP magazine (if it’s still available).

The funniest thing though is that reading this has actually made me want to pay a bit more attention to what I wear (beyond my typical t-shirt and black jeans uniform).

Categories
Debaser Film

Halloween: Resurrection

As I mentioned after watching Halloween H20, I wanted to watch its direct sequel out of curiosity. The way they get out of Michael’s death in H20 is pretty ridiculous — and even more silly in that the producer forced the creators of H20 to develop this and put it in a contract while they were making it, as he wanted to make sure there was a way to continue with the series. The film itself is, well, whatever. It was fun seeing Katee Sackhoff in it, and strangely enough, the idea of using a web-based reality shoot with audience participation as a premise is actually prescient, but it’s also contrived. Why is Michael in that house and looking to kill these people? I don’t think he has a sense of honour to be angry at the “desecration” of his childhood home, so what gives? Oh well, at least the current reboot series (presented as a direct sequel to the 1978 original film) is much, much better.

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Debaser Film

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

I got interested in re-watching this after reading an article about it in the latest issue of SFX magazine earlier today. Coming after a few sequels that got worse and worse, this was supposed to be a proper coda for the series, while bringing back Jaime Lee Curtis as well (although it’s a coda that was followed by a sequel, Resurrection, which was then followed by the Rob Zombie reboot and current reboot/sequels). I’ll say that I ended up enjoying the last 15 minutes or so of the movie, when we finally get some good action, but most of the movie is a bore — my biggest annoyance in horror films is spending too much time on characters that you don’t care about, and you get this in spades (what’s the point of LL Cool J’s character exactly?) All that said, I’ll probably watch Resurrection too, as I don’t remember exactly how they ended this cycle.

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Debaser Film

Death of Me

I didn’t really know much about this movie other than the setting sounded interesting (a small island in Thailand) and it stars Maggie Q, who I tend to like in movies. I ended up quite enjoying this — it’s horror, but it’s also a mystery, as the main character is trying to understand why strange things are happening to her (and what explains a gruesome video of what appears to be her husband killing her). Well worth watching if you’re on the lookout for a horror film with a different type of setting.

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Debaser Film

The Babysitter: Killer Queen

Well, as expected, I ended up having a blast watching this, and I think it’s as fun if not funner than the first one. I was really curious to see how they were going to follow-up the first one — considering the state of most of the characters at the end — and they ended doing something that was satisfying, and pretty funny (when “that” moment arrives). Sure, it’s silly as fuck, but the gore flows in hilarious ways, and I just found myself enjoying the ride. The one distraction I had though was for one particular character that we see at the end that was obviously not there with all the other actors, and green screened in. But hey, that’s just a silly nitpick to have for a film this silly. And I actually wouldn’t mind at all if they did another one.

Categories
Debaser Film

The Trigger Effect

I ended up watching this after reading an article in the latest issue of Empire magazine on David Koepp, who is behind this year’s You Should Have Left, which I was planning on watching shortly — the article mentioned that both this and Stir of Echoes are well worth watching, and so I added both to my marathon watchlist. The Trigger Effect is definitely more a thriller than a horror film, but you do find yourself stressing out at just how the characters are going to deal with some of the situations they find themselves in. I don’t remember ever hearing about this movie, but it was pleasant to see Kyle MacLachlan starring in this (and Elizabeth Shue), and overall I found myself drawn into the story and finding it to be a nice little movie to watch.

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Debaser Film

The Exorcist III

I think this has always been considered a better sequel than the second one, and there are certainly some scenes in this movie that are incredibly compelling. The two standouts for me are the extended shot down the corridor that ends with the killing of the nurse (truly oneof the most terrifying scenes to watch, with the suspense building to a point where you know something is going to happen, and it doesn’t disappoint), and the first scene where Brad Dourif reveals himself as the possessor. It drags on here and there, but overall it’s well worth watching.

Categories
Debaser TV

Ash vs Evil Dead (Season 3)

As I was going through my (insanely long) watchlist on Netflix, I realized that I hadn’t yet watched all of the third (and final) season of Ash vs Evil Dead. There’s no particularly reason for that, I’m sure I just got distracted at some point and forgot to watch the rest (I had only watched the first couple of episodes). It’s a happy discovery, as I’ve been having a blast watching it. The bad part though is that it’s making me feel upset again that they ended the show with this season. I’ll enjoy it while I can, I guess.

Categories
Debaser TV

Lovecraft Country

I’m not completely caught up on this series (I think I’m a couple of episodes back), but despite some episodes being less interesting than others (due to the nature of having different themes for each one), Lovecraft Country has been fantastic. I think an especially standout thing to point out is the the soundtrack, which mixes contemporary songs (or at least songs that aren’t tied to the 1950s setting) with specific sequences of the show — a truly inspired one was the use of “Whitey’s on the Moon” during the ritual scene in the second episode. But even more important is the role racism plays here — it’s shocking, it’s hard to take in, it’s disgusting, but it’s necessary to share and part of the horror. And I’m definitely happy to see more black creators and casts in the horror genre these days.

Categories
Debaser Film

The Babysitter

I remember when this came out a few years ago, and I didn’t bother checking it out — thinking it was just a kids comedy — but seeing that a sequel was recently released probably influenced me in giving it a chance, and you know what, this was pretty damn fun. Definitely more in the comedy camp than horror, but with plenty of gore to make it a good Halloween pick. It’s all over the place, but I never found myself bored, and the kills were pretty fun and creative — and Samara Weaving is pretty great as the titular babysitter. It’s only when the movie finished that I realized it was directed by McG — feels like I haven’t watched anything directed by him in ages. I’m actually quite looking forward to watching the sequel now.