Preacher Casting!

Preacher is not a graphic novel for everyone, but I would have said the same about Walking Dead and that blew up like marshmallows in a microwave – I know kindergarten teachers who are rabid fans. Hopefully this show will have the same appeal while sticking to the storylines.

Cassidy has been found!

Joseph Gilgun Cast As Cassidy

Preacher's Hard-Drinking Irish Vampire Cassidy Has Been Found

The site tells me I might remember him as Rudy from Misfits. I don’t know who Rudy is or what the Misfits are but he has the right face for it!

Also, Ruth Negga has been cast as Tulip.

And Ian Colletti as Arseface.

I find myself distressingly out of the loop with these actors – I have no idea who any of them are!

I am so happy this show’s getting made, and on AMC no less, so they won’t shy from some of the…errmm… edgier content in the stories. There’s so much to look forward to – I can’t wait to see who they get for Starr!

And although it’s looking like my dreams of seeing Woody Harrelson as Jody won’t be realized, I am curious to see who they do get to play that role.

Preacher is not a graphic novel for everyone, but I would have said the same about Walking Dead and that blew up like marshmallows in a microwave – I know kindergarten teachers who are rabid fans. Hopefully this show will have the same appeal while sticking to the storylines.

Breakdown: Jesse Custer (the ubiquitous Preacher, not yet cast) has lost his faith and is drinking himself to oblivion while preaching in a small, shithole town in Texas when a strange entity takes up residence in his body. The entity is a creature of limitless power that gives Custer the Word of God, allowing him to command people to do his bidding. However, Custer is conflicted about this power and only uses it in moments of great need – such as defending the love of his life, Tulip, or his drunken reprobate best friend, Irish Vampire Cassidy. Jesse sets out on a quest, with his friends in tow, to understand this power, and ultimately to force God to answer for the faults in His creation. Along the way he encounters a vast, international organization that controls the nations of the world and is bent on bringing about the apocalypse; a couple serial killers and inbred hicks; the KKK; a voodoo priest; an old cowboy; his father’s past as a Vietnam veteran; and a rejected astronaut who has written his life’s message on the earth since he was denied his shot at the stars.

The series was printed in the 90s and is a CLASSIC of modern graphic novels. It deals with so much and is such a uniquely American story.

I CANNOT WAIT!Ā  šŸ˜€

More 80s Vampire Fabulousness – Once Bitten

Anyhoodle, after Mark is bitten, he has to deal with the fallout of his girlfriend Robin being enraged that he cheated on her. Plus, the Countess still has her sights set on him – she has to drink his blood twice more before Halloween in order to retain her youthful beauty and immortality.

The rest of the movie is fairly predictable, but the dialogue is snappy and the comedy elements are decent. Hutton is clearly having a wonderful time as the femme fatale, and Jim Carrey makes a pretty convincing 80’s goth during the last third of the film, when the vampiric effects are really showing. There’s even a dance sequence!

Recently I saw another gloriously 80s-tastic vampire comedy, 1985’s Once Bitten. Jim Carrey in his first leading role, Lauren Hutton in her prime, and Cleavon Little! Hurrah!

About what'd you'd expect
Let the goofyness ensue!

I absolutely love cheesy 80s vampire comedies, and Once Bitten totally delivers. I had been aware of it for some time but I think it was out of print or something during the years I worked in video rental and sale stores as I never could seem to find it, but it’s now available on Netflix Instant Watch.

The Countess, played by Lauren Hutton, is living the life in 80s’ LA. She sleeps in a coffin that looks like a tanning bed, lives in a sprawling mansion that’s a few pink accents shy of the Barbie Dream House, and has a stable of undead household servants she’s assembled in her 400 year life. Hutton is a dream in shiny pink spandex, and it’s clear she’s having a hoot of a time. In all honesty, the movie seems kind of like pr0n for guys into cougars – she’s not exactly a spring chicken but she’s aging VERY well, and the barest tilt of her head or lick of her lips promises that she has PLENTY of experience when it comes to doing the nasty.

Enter Jim Carrey’s character, young, virile and frustrated Mark Kendall, whose girlfriend is afraid to Go All the Way (remember that old chestnut from Fright Night?). When his girl puts him off again, he agrees to go with some randy friends of his into town to some kind of weird hook up bar where people call each other on table phones. I don’t know, it was the 80s. Anyway, his friends both get into altercations with married women with jealous husbands, a bar fight breaks out, and hilarity ensues. There may have even been ridiculous sound effects, I’m not sure (EDIT: I had to check – there were!). Amid the chaos, Mark wanders into the path of the Countess, who takes him home to her pastel MegaMansion and sort of makes a man out of him.

Now, I was fully prepared to talk about how blase the whole thing was, until I realized I’d forgotten a lot of the movie (I watched it a few months ago). I went back to refresh my memory by looking at some quotes on IMDB, and some of them totally made me chuckle. While the performances were a little weak, this movie had some SHARP writing – there is a subplot with Mark’s friends worrying about him, and their disastrous attempts to check him for a vampire bite on his groin in the gym’s shower were actually pretty funny. Subsequently, they fret about people mistaking them for gay (THAT again) and more interestingly, whether or not they might be.

The biggest comedy score for this movie was that it has – dun dun DUNN!!!! – Cleavon Little!

Cleavon Little.jpg
“Oh THAT Cleavon Little!’ I hear you saying!

Best known as Black Bart in Blazing Saddles, Cleavon Little was a very busy actor in television and stage, but only appeared in a few movies, most of which were forgotten. I saw his name in the credits for Once Bitten and was totally astounded.

He doesn’t get as much screen time as he ought, and he’s definitely a supporting character, acting as both snarky foil to the Countess and scheming henchman. While he’s playing a stereotypical ‘sassy gay butler’ trope, my GOD is he hilarious. If the film had been just a little more serious, with a little more emotional resonance, his performance and the film itself would be better remembered. Alas, there’s only so much he can do with the Ā material, and while the movie IS pretty funny, I just wish there had been more roles in Hollywood for him to play than be relegated to a cheesy 80s vampire sex comedy.

Anyhoodle, after Mark is bitten, he has to deal with the fallout of his girlfriend Robin being enraged that he cheated on her. Plus, the Countess still has her sights set on him – she has to drink his blood twice more before Halloween in order to retain her youthful beauty and immortality.

The rest of the movie is fairly predictable, but the dialogue is snappy and the comedy elements are decent. Hutton is clearly having a wonderful time as the femme fatale, and Jim Carrey makes a pretty convincing 80’s goth during the last third of the film, when the vampiric effects are really showing. There’s even a dance sequence!

ADORABLE!

There is a great scene where the Countess follows Mark and Robin to a store in the mall, where Robin is trying to help Mark pick out an outfit, suggesting various pastels and Cosby-type sweaters and white jeans (barf), and the Countess keeps surreptitiously intervening, suggesting black leather and such.

A fine vintage!

Additionally, the movie touches on some neuroses about sex that were so rampant during the 80s, especially about changing gender roles and the AIDS epidemic.

While it does make the sexually-aggressive Countess into a bad girl, Hutton does her best to make the character charming and fun, even if she IS evil and selfish. It’s clear that while she adores Mark, but he is just another fling in her long life, as illustrated by the stable of ghosts that live in the Countess’s basement. No doubt she courted each one as fervently before drinking their blood and losing interest.

Robin, though a boring good girl, is plucky and fiesty with her denim overalls and culottes, and is at least equally likeable. Usually the virgins in these movies are dull as dishwater, but she does a great job making the material work.

Overall, Once Bitten is another fun entry to the ’80s Vampire’ movie genre. It’s available on Netflix, and is a fun Friday night with friends nostalgia-fest.Ā 

80’s Vampire Spectacular: My Best Friend is a Vampire

That's just damned good poster design right there.

The next entry in our 80’s Vampire movie Spectacular is My Best Friend is a Vampire, starringĀ  a pre-Dead Poets Robert Sean Leonard, Rene Auberjonois and David Warner. Although it came out after Fright Night, I saw it before FN because Best Friend is rated PG and I believe FN was R. Best Friend is also a little more campy and fun than FN, which made it great sleepover viewing.

Best Friend is about teenager Jeremy, who is nursing a crush on a band geek (who is somehow inexplicably able to blow him off with the same snottiness as if she were Queen of the Cheerleaders) and just trying to survive high school. One day, as he’s going about his job delivering groceries he encounters Nora, the kind of 80’s hot girl that pops up in these movies like high-tops–sultry, alluring, and for some reason interested in sweaty, inexperienced teenage boys. She turns him into a vampire, and wacky hijinks ensue as he tries to figure out exactly WTF is going on. Moments after Jeremy’s deed is done, David Warner enters the scene as psycho vampire killer Leopold, who kills Nora and chases Jeremy from the house.

Enter Rene Auberjonois as Modoc, a super-smooth vampire with a bitching BMW and a cup overflowething with awesome. He’s shown up to help show young Jeremy the ropes and keep him out of trouble. It’s kind of nice if you think about it–sure, it ensures the survival of the vampire species, but it’s also kind of nice to think of an older, experienced vampire out and about, on the prowl for some claret,Ā  and suddenly slamming on the brakes and declaring ‘My NOOB-sense is tingling!’ Then making up a care package of pig’s blood, sunglasses and arty hats.

While Fright Night approached the gay thing obliquely, coding so hard you’d think it was 1990 and the film a LINUX enthusiast, Best Friend hits it head on–Jeremy’s parents observe him hanging around with an older, ‘European’ fellow, driving the fellow’s car with its suggestive ‘NITEMAN’ vanity plate, partying all night and sleeping through the day, and react accordingly for an 80’s parent: they begin reading books on how to talk to their gay son. The entire thing becomes a secondary-story joke, as Jeremy goes about his vampiric adventures battling the vampire killers his parents are often in the background trying to come to terms with the fact that their son probably won’t be producing grandchildren.

There are other literal gay winks, as well: Jeremy, in the throes of bloodlust, visits an all-night butcher and requests a pint of pig’s blood. When the butcher presents it, he winks at the young man and asks if it’s ‘his first time.’ I have no idea what this could be a double-entendre for, but the direct meaning is that the butcher knows all about vampires and is amused by this awkward young man.

Best Friend was also one of the first vampire movies I’d seen that posited that being a vampire wasn’t all that bad: sure, it’s a lifestyle change, but there’s a LOT of good stuff that goes into it. The eternity thing is tempered when Modoc tells Jeremy that for every decade he will age only a year, so there’s still the ‘you get to watch your loved ones grow old and die’ thing, but the rest of the package is awfully alluring. Plus its all a moot point since Jeremy can’t be changed back, unlike in other films where killing the head vampire cures all the ones he’s changed.

There’s a lot to like about Best Friend. Sure, the jokes are sometimes groan-worthy and its fashion hasn’t aged well, but at its heart it’s a story about accepting and even celebrating who you are, even if that is different from the norm. Even now, that’s an awfully positive message: how many films about gay men and women today have to explore their feelings rather than just accept that they are gay? When will we see a mainstream horror or action movie with a gay protagonist that isn’t an allegory or that offers some explanation for the character’s orientation?

Jeremy may hang around with vampires in the future, but he’ll still have time for his human friends. Cheesy? God yes, but cheese makes everything better, even salads.

Best Fiends Forever! Yay Vampires!