Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hannibal Rising

I have always been a fan of creepy things but only recently have been turned on formally to "Horror Fiction". Sure I read one or two Stephen King novels in my high school days, but it wasn't until last August when I spotted a issue of the literary magazine Cemetery Dance at a bookstore that I really discovered the horror genre. I read my first issue of CD in one sitting and I was hooked. Reading as much Jack Ketchum, Al Sarrantonio, Ramsey Campbell, etc. as I could. I also found a terrific podcast called Pod of Horror which features what's new in the genre, author interview and horror book reviews.
A few episodes ago, on Pod of Horror, fiction reviewer, Scott Bradley reviewed the book Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris. Harris introduced the serial killer Hannibal Lecter in his 1981 novel, Red Dragon. (The film adaptation of Red Dragon came out in '02). The sequel novel, Silence of the Lambs came out in 1988 and became hugely popular when the film, starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins was released in 1991. I read Lambs when it first came out in the late 80s and couldn't put the book down. The film never lived up to the novel for me. In 1999 Harris published the sequel to Silence of the Lambs, simply titled, Hannibal. It was made into a film of the same name in 2001.
In December of 2006 Harris published the novel Hannibal Rising, which is essentially the "making of a serial killer"- the reason why Hannibal became a cannibal. Scott Bradley gave Hannibal Rising- the book- a horrible review and said that Harris seemed to have sold out, wrote the book just for the purpose of making money.
The movie, Hannibal Rising was released last month and after hearing the book review and seeing the movie reviews I had no strong desire to see the movie. Especially since I hadn't seen or heard anything about Lecter since watching Silence of the Lambs in the early 90s; however, Friday night found me with nothing to do and it was a warm night and the drive in was open, as usual so I went.
And I am really glad I did. This is not a slasher/jump-in-your-seat movie, but rather an interesting drama with a lot of suspence. We meet Hannibal Lecter at age 8. He and his family are hiding from the Nazis in the Luthianian country side. Hannibal witnesses the deaths of his parents and the death and devouring of his little sister at the hands of Lithuanian militiamen. Hannibal eventually is taken in at a Soviet orphange where he lives for eight years and eventually escapes, in search of remaning family members. He finds an aunt who teaches him the ways of the Japanese warriors and he sets out to avenge the cannibalistic death of his little sister. Hannibal tracks down the Lithuanian militiamen and makes quick work of them in very nasty ways.
There are a few plot holes and some scenes are a bit unbelievable, but overall this movie is worth the rent, even if you haven't seen all of the Hannibal films.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


When I went on the IMDB to get the link for Norbit, I was really surprised to see that it has gotten a much lower rating than Wild Hogs. As I write in the previous post, Wild Hogs was the worst excuse for a comedy I've seen in a long, long time. Norbit was the second feature at the drive-in this past weekend. After nearly falling asleep during Hogs (or maybe it was hypothermia, it was freezing) I thought that Norbit would be even worse, given the bad ratings it has received. This is the story of Norbit, a meek, not-so-bright, kind man who marries a loud and downright nasty woman named Rasputia. What a clever name! The choice alone of Rasputia as the name of this wicked, cheating woman was funnier than anything in Hogs. This is definately not high-brow comedy. I have been asked how I could like this movie being that it makes fun of heavy people and I am definately heavy, but I really wasn't offended at all. The movie makes fun of everyone! This is a good movie to rent, or see at the cheap movies, or the second feature at a drive-in! Definately worth a laugh or two or three or four.

Wild Hogs

Oh my, oh my, oh my. Just when I thought that Because I Said So was going to be the worst movie of the first quarter of the year, I went to see Wild Hogs. So hopeful was I that I went to see it at the drive-in during a snow squall to see it. I kept hearing from unnamed sources that it was going to AWESOME! It was truly awful. Looking back I can't remember where I heard Wild Hogs was any good. I hadn't read any reviews and I didn't know anyone who actually saw the movie prior to my treck out to the Dependable Drive-in. Maybe everyone, myself included, just figured that anything with William H. Macy was worth watching. I can't recall one clever moment in this movie. Not one. It is filled with jokes about middle aged men needing to go to the bathroom more often than they did when they were young. It contains a scene were the EVIL bikers threaten to burn down the cafe owned by the girlfriend of the GOOD bikers. This movie was so unfunny, it was sad. The only consolation was that, having seen it at the drive-in, it only cost me three dollars. What a disappointment. Oh yeah, it is the story of group of four middle-aged friends who decide to get away from their boring lives and take a road trip on their bikes. Sorry the summary wasn't more colorful, neither was the movie. Blah! Snooze!