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Five incredibly creepy “Pet Sematary” scenes

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They really just don’t make them like Mary Lambert’s 1989 Stephen King adaptation “Pet Sematary” anymore. From the extended use of flashbacks, the dreamy (sometimes bordering on soft-focus) look of the film, to the overwrought dialogue and scenarios, the film is a product of its time. It’s also really quite awesome – sometimes in a that’s-so-silly-I-love-it way, but more often in a holy-hell-that-still-scares-the-pants-off-me way. This Tuesday marked long-awaited Blu-ray release of “Pet Sematary” and the results are great. It’s easily the best the film has ever looked and a nice little assortment of bonus material makes the disc a must-buy for any horror fan.

What’s even better is the fact that the Blu-ray release gives us a chance to run down some of the creepiest scenes in the entire film. Sure, there are plenty of dated elements and silly, over-the-top moments in the film (we’re looking at you, Ellie Creed), but “Pet Sematary” actually holds up quite well, especially in its ability to frighten.


The Day Timmy Baterman Came Back

The first time that Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) asked Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) if anyone had ever buried a person in the Micmac Indian burial ground above the Pet Sematary, Jud scoffed and looked at him as if he were crazy. Well, turns out he was lying a little bit. Many years prior Bill Baterman had buried someone up there (his own son Timmy who had died in service during WWII). The results were, well, horrifying. Timmy came back from the grave like a zombie out of one of Romero’s classic films. Next thing you know he’s walking around digging up bones to chew on, tearing his own face off, and scaring the neighbors. Timmy wasn’t quite himself, so they had to burn him alive, but not before learning their lesson that “Sometimes dead is better.” The scenes with Timmy Baterman are some of the coolest (and creepiest) in all of “Pet Sematary.”


The Achilles Cut / Jud Crandall’s Death

The death of Jud Crandall at the hands of little zombie Gage Creed is enough to turn your stomach, but it’s the manner in which old Jud bites the bullet that really makes this one of (if not the most) memorable scenes in the entire film. While searching through his house for the recently undead Gage, Jud kneels down next to his bed to look under it. The next thing he knows, Church the cat is in the room staring at him with his big green eyes and hissing just long enough to distract the old man while little Gage slips a hand out from under the bed and slices Jud’s Achilles tendon! If you’ve ever seen the film and you try to tell me that this moment didn’t make you physically gasp the first time you saw it, you’re probably lying. It’s an act that you can literally feel as a viewer and one that has kept me checking under just about every bed I stand next to for the past two decades.


Sleepwalking with Pascow

The first truly creepy moment of “Pet Sematary” comes courtesy of the runner with the massive brain injury, Victor Pascow. Treated for his injuries by Louis (and ultimately dying on the table under his care), Pascow grabs the doc and promises to come to him with a message of warning. Little did we know the grotesque ghost meant that very night. In a very unnerving scene, we see what appears to be a dream sequence where Louis follows Pascow into the woods and through the gates of the Pet Sematary. It’s not just a leisurely walk though. No, no. Pascow is there to warn Louis to never go beyond the place. “The ground is sour!” he warns Creed. And sour it sure is. The creepiest part of this scene, however, comes when we get back to the Creed house and Louis wakes up to find his feet covered in dirt and mud. Woah! So it wasn’t a dream all along. Creeptastic!


The Kiss

If you’re not completely grossed out by the film’s final moments, then you’re a better man than I. It’s not so much the kiss shared by Louis and Rachel that gets me. No, it’s the disgusting ooze of puss that falls out of Rachel’s eye socket seconds before Louis starts swapping spit with her. And he doesn’t just go in for a quick peck; he dives into that kiss tongue a-blazin’. Sure, I get it. Louis is completely off his rocker by this point in the film so a little shared bloody ooze is nothing after knocking off his own son and burying his dead wife in an Indian burial ground. And, yes, I know a little zombie lovin’ never hurt anybody, but there has to be a line, right? Well, Louis Creed not only crossed it in this uber-creepy scene but he also paid the ultimate price for it. Oh, Louis… you should have learned the first time!


Zelda

I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say that I don’t think there’s anything creepier in the history of cinema than Rachel’s sister Zelda in “Pet Sematary.” More than anything else in the film, Zelda scared me senseless as a kid. It wasn’t so much her illness, her deformity, or the fact that Mary Lambert hired a male actor (Andrew Hubatsek) to play the part. It’s just the general creepy-crawly-ness of Zelda that sticks in your brain. That first flashback scene where Rachel is feeding Zelda and then she spins her entire head around, choking herself to death is really frightening, but it’s the later dream sequence that really empties my bladder. Zelda standing hunched over in a corner suddenly springs to life and runs toward the camera (and us) with the creepiest smile on her face that you’ve ever seen. I’ve got the chills just writing about it. You can have your Dracula, Wolfman, and Frankenstein; Zelda is, in my mind, the scariest monster in horror history. “Even now, I wake up and I think, is Zelda dead yet?” says Rachel at one point in the film. You and me both, sister. You and me both.


“Pet Sematary” is available on Blu-ray now.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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