Friday, February 14, 2020

Color Out of Space (2019)

The movie the Color Out of Space was recently featured on the cover of Rue Morgue Magazine ~ and I hate it when this happens. Let me explain, I get psyched up about a movie I want to see on the big screen, and then it's only shown at one movie theater in town, once for MAYBE three days. When I saw it was up at the North Park Theater, I had to scramble. Monday night at 9:40 pm and I was there! Nic Cage starring in it and a Lovecraft story, what can go wrong?

I admit I wasn't expecting to like it, on top of that it was playing at my bedtime so I was a tad bit crabby. I was pleasantly surprised. I will also admit, I've read Lovecraft, but not this particular story, so I don't have much to compare it to, but I noticed the crashing meteor trope is similar to quite a few classic horror movies.


***SPOILER ALERT...SORT OF***

The basic premise is that a family of five inherits an old country house. Mom works from home doing stocks and she has breast cancer, it was hinted that dad was an artist, the two older kids are teenagers, and all you need to know about the youngest son is that he's adorable and the most impressionable.

They are secluded from people and a meteor hits their front yard ~ of course it does. Meteors and aliens don't land in the city. (p.s. This is why I would never live in the country, too far away from civilization if some crazy sh!t goes down and I need help. Literally...comes down from the sky). This meteor is alive and dissipates it's energy into the ground, the water, the air surrounding the farm. It begins to change time and matter around it.


Staring at the meteor.

Electronics start and stop by themselves, everything is static-y, time speeds up, foreign plants sprout up all over, bugs mutate, water is contaminated, each family member's personality becomes more confrontational and angry, the youngest son begins to see and hear things no one else can see. That's the scary part, it's unpredictable.

I won't go into all the details, but there's a black fluffy cat in the movie that's owned by a squatter that randomly lives on the land played by Tommy Chong. (Yes, THAT Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong. Makes sense since this movie its a little trippy.) The cat's name in the movie is "G-Spot" you know because pussy-cat. (Even though I never read the Lovecraft story, I'm pretty sure this isn't in it.) The cat's name in real life is Lucifer, much more suitable in my opinion. ***Warning all cat lovers, G-Spot doesn't survive the Color Out of Space.


I feel like Tommy Chong plays the same character in every movie.

After thinking about Color Out of Space for a few days, I've decided it reminds me of The Gate, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill in Creepshow, any of the 1950s B movies about toxic/ radiation/ nuclear destruction, but with beautiful cinematography. A friend said it reminded him of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. So while the story isn't new ~ and one could say all of these movies were based on Lovecraft's original story ~ Color Out of Space is an update.

It included a lot of imagery that's found in so many modern horror movies. For example, the use of triangle shaped elements, just like The Void, OA, and Neon Demon. The use of neon colors to give an almost iridescent quality was great, after all it's the COLOR Out of Space. These small things captured me as an audience member and made it enjoyable.


The body horror special effects were impressive. Mom chops off her fingers and they show it, Dad's skin becomes dark and scaly, the alpacas when touched by the toxic air melt to a giant blob of flesh ~ think the monster in Slither ~ and mom and the youngest get attacked by the light and their skin fuses together into a gooey blob that evolves into The Thing type monster.

About midway through, Nic Cage becomes the comic relief in this movie. His over-acting outbursts into madness were laughable, and the audience did laugh. You'd think this was a bad thing, but it seems to make the movie even better.

My only question is why they made the daughter a practicing Wiccan? Was it to prove even though you worship the old way, you still can't be saved? I didn't think it added to the movie at all. Other than that I give it 4.5 mutated alpacas out of 5.

I'm looking forward to Nicolas Cage's next movie, and hopefully more Lovecraft adaptations!

Here's the trailer...



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Lovely Buckminster Cat Cafe

Our second try at visiting a cat cafe was completely different then the first! I knew the Buckminster Cat Cafe was opening soon, as the owner Molly stopped in my shop Cats Like Us last summer and we were in communication about cross promotion. Well they finally opened in November and our family holiday obligations calmed down, so we stopped in for a visit! It was awesome!


The reason it took so long to open is that they wanted to do a cat cafe right, and it shows. I can't say enough good things about this place. The building is in downtown Buffalo, NY and they completely gutted and rehabbed the inside and part of the outside. Even though the inside is small, the giant front windows, streamlined interior, and clean look make it nice and bright. You feel like you're in a much more cosmopolitan city like Toronto! 



The front part of the cafe is a an actual cafe with a big variety of coffee and tea drinks, nibbles, AND they have local beer and wine! The atmosphere was calm and filled with students working on laptops and people reading. We were running errands on Sunday and ended up getting there a little early for our 2 o'clock Cat Zone appointment, so we ate lunch. Both of us opted for a beer/ hard cider and a BLT. They have a tempeh bacon option if you are vegetarian too! The sandwich had bacon, tomato, mayo, cucumber, and sprouts. It was simple and tasty. After lunch I had a hot tea and they have a nice variety of fresh loose tea. The quality of their cafe is impressive. It's hard to find a restaurant that serves good loose tea, or even loose tea in general!





They have vintage cat planters for sale, along with locally made cat toys and goodies. You know I'm all about the vintage!


Ok, so 2 o'clock rolled around and we filled out our waivers. I suggest making reservations online to visit the cats since only five people are allowed to visit with them at a time. The money to book your slot goes towards caring for the cats. Totally worth it.

We were then escorted by the owner into the back of the cafe and through a glass door into a window filled hallway where we hung out coats. Looking through the window you can see the kitties in the cat room. She opened the door and introduced us to the cats that were currently up for adoption. She gave a little info on each of their personalities and what toys they like. I loved this part because it's good to have a little background since cats are as different as people.


The room itself was small and long and made for kitties! It had lots of nooks for the cats to hide and escape if they got too overstimulated, hidden litter boxes, even an open window up high to get some fresh air. There was a bin of cat toys for us and the cats to play with. I was surprised at how active the cats were for it being the afternoon. Maybe my own cats are just super lazy. 




Don't worry though, if the cats are all napping in the Cat Zone, there's light reading for you to enjoy! (Lol.)


Of the five cats we met, I really liked Noelle. She was a lone tabby kitty just doing her thing. We were told she doesn't get along with other cats. I did notice she was a quiet observer. We got her to loosen up a little and go by the other cats, she even climbed up and perched near them! What a sweetie!



Our hour was up and I left feeling an overall sense of delight at what Buckminster Cat Cafe is doing. They are adopting out cats from Second Chance Sheltering Network.

As for the cross promotion I mentioned above, come to Cats Like Us and get a coupon for a free coffee or tea with the purchase of Cat Zone entry! Just ask! *While supplies last.

Buckminster Cat Cafe
577 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14201


Me in my happy place...with cats.

Monday, January 27, 2020

It Follows (2014)

Yes, I'm behind, and always catching up on movies. Some friends told me It Follows (2014) is their favorite horror movie in the last 20 years. Um, I wouldn't go THAT far, but it's certainly the prettiest movie about STDs I've ever watched. Let me explain...


***SPOILER WARNING***

The very first five minutes shows a girl named Annie running from something invisible in red high heels out of a house. She takes a car and leaves. She calls her dad and says goodbye knowing she's going to die. She's then shown contorted, broken, and bloody with heels still in view.

This is exciting and I was expecting a fun gore-fest of a movie, but it's not. It's more of a thriller with lots of symbolism. So I'm guessing the red heels are a signifier that she's sexually promiscuous?


That's gotta hurt.

Next we are introduced to the characters. Jay and Kelly are sisters and Kelly's friends are Yara and Paul. Jay is going out with a guy she just recently started dating and they are doing the classic dinner and a movie. (I enjoyed this part because the theater shown reminds me of one down the street from where I live that still has a working Wurlitzer organ, The Riviera Theater!) Before the movie starts he turns around and sees a girl, he asks Jay if she sees her. She says no. He panics and needs to leave. No big deal, innocent enough.

The next date they go on is by the beach. They have sex for the first time in his car. Right after, he drugs her unconscious, and ties her up in an abandoned underpass or parking ramp? She's still in her underwear.


Her undies are pretty.

This is where we learn a little more. He tells her there's a "thing" that's going to follow her. He passed it to her through sex ...like an std. Now both of them can see when this "thing" is there. To prove it, he shows her a naked woman doesn't recognize, slowly walking towards her. This reminded me of the scene in Twin Peaks where they find Ronette Pulaski walking on the railroad track bridge.


Naked woman Jay sees while tied up.


Ronette wandering home from the abuse at the hands of pure evil.

Then he says "You will see it as someone you know or a stranger. They are trying to get close to you." He tells her she has to have sex with someone else to get rid of it. Otherwise it will kill HIM. He also said, don't let it touch you. Then he drops her off, she calls the police, and needless to say they aren't dating anymore. The police go back to the area, and don't find anything, except that he used a fake name to rent a house.

Jay  goes to one of her college classes and she sees a woman creeping towards her, slowly ~ Night of the Living Dead style ~ and she runs, hops in her car, and drives away. She tells Kelly and Paul about it.


Old lady haunting the halls.


The Living Dead.

The friends decide to have a sleepover to protect Jay. Of course these entities keep coming, and break into her house to come after her. The friends finally witness her panic and decide they need to find the guy that did this to her. They go to his address and it's super run down house with homemade chimes, sound traps around the windows, unlabeled pill bottles, and a couple Ts. In his attic bedroom they find a picture of him in high school tucked in a porn magazine. They go to his old high school and find out his real name is Jeff. They track him down to his real house where he lives with his mother. He tells all of them the same story he told Jay, except that he got it from a one night stand.

The group leaves Jeff and they go to the cottage on the water of a neighbor named Greg, where he teaches her how to shoot a gun, but that doesn't stop the thing from coming after her. She shoots it and it gets right back up. It also pushes Paul and he's left with a mark, so the friends do believe Jay, even if they can't see it. Jay makes a run for it and hops in the car only to get into a crash, where she wakes up in the hospital with a broken arm. She has sex with Greg in the hospital to pass it along. Greg doesn't believe her and doesn't see anything for a while though.


She looks like Brittany Murphy.

One night she sees Greg breaking a window and climbing into his own house. She know that's not the real him and it's the thing coming for him. She runs over to try and warn him and the entity turns into his mother. She kills him in front of Jay by riding him sexually? Jay freaks out and goes to the beach in the water. It will come after her again now that it's not going after Greg.

We learn Paul always had a crush on her and he was her first kiss. They decide to go back to where they had their first kiss. A public city pool that is now abandoned? They plan on electrocuting the things following her. It comes after her in the pool and its starts throwing things in the pool, trying to electrocute her and hits her in the head. They shoot it, and the water turns bloody, and it grabs her ankle, but she gets away.


The worst period ever.

She then has sex with  Paul and they are shown walking down the street hand in hand with someone walking behind them. So are they dating now? Are they still being followed? Where did this thing come from? How did Annie get it? Is there any rhyme or reason to who they see? Why are the people they see always naked or wearing white? I have a TON of questions.

There's a lot of sexual symbolism with the color red and liquids in the form of water, cola, ice cream, you name it. The visuals are more impressive with panoramic stills of the unknown. Some of the scenes coloring even look like a comic book story board. There always seems to be a figure in the background following or watching.

The synth soundtrack is fun and on trend with the now popular retro wave music. It pairs nicely with the scenes making them ominous and intense. Overall the movie is pretty and original. I give it 3.5 dips in the pool out of 5.

Here's the trailer...





Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Waking the Witch

If you've ever thought of yourself as a witch - if only for a split second - the book Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women Magic and Power by Pam Grossman is like a warm welcoming hug. What is a witch? A witch can be anyone in any capacity because experiences range greatly from person to person. The traditional idea of a witch ascribes them to reading tarot cards, practicing candle magic, casting spells, befriending familiars, and being versed in the "old ways." But you may experience magic in your own life. Do you ever think of someone and they message you? Do you dream something and then it happens? Maybe you just have strong intuition or are gifted with a certain talent? Maybe you're an empath or a good listener? All of these things can make you feel like you are in tune with the unseen world around you. Waking the Witch will make you feel like you belong.


Grossman is a well-versed blogger, podcaster, and writer that covers a lot of territory regarding the history witches and intertwines them with her experiences, pop culture, and the current political climate. The book was published last year and she touches on Trump, the use of the term "witch hunt", and how identifying as a witch still has detrimental effects in other countries ~ but this is only a small part of the book. She talks about the burgeoning witch in the character of Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and her diverse characters, The Craft and it's authenticity, how Suspiria portrays a witch's power, and so much more.

This book is thoughtful and encouraging especially for someone like me, that often identifies as a witch and an outsider. It's positive and helpful with lots of references if you want to delve deeper. I only hope there is a follow up book because some of it will get dated, so I encourage you to read it now!

Never forget, we are the weirdos and we need to stick together.

For more information on Pam Grossman you can go to her website:
https://www.pamgrossman.com/

p.s. She's also a cat lady. 😉


(All images take from https://www.pamgrossman.com/)