*DeLorean not included

I didn’t see The Princess Bride when it came out in theatres.

A rare thing, I know, especially for a kid like me who literally grew up in a theatre. It was my first job at sixteen. I have family in Vermont who own several theatres—every summer when we went to visit, I spent hours theatre hopping (when I wasn’t tearing tickets or scooping popcorn).

But The Princess Bride released in September of 1987, and summer was over. Seventh grade had already started. I still remember looking through the paper at the film ads and seeing the listings for The Princess Bride. “What a stupid title,” I thought, and so I didn’t bother to see it.

(Remember, I thought princesses—and girls who tried to be them—were stupid until I was almost thirty. By that time, I was well aware of the responsibility that came with the title, and was ready to step up and accept the tiara. But that’s a different blog post for another day.)

So my first exposure to The Princess Bride was in 1988 or 1989, when it was out on VHS. I fell in love with it. And then my ninth grade English teacher gave us an assignment where we had to read a book that had a movie based on it (the book had to come first). I chose The Princess Bride. I don’t recall if I read it all in one day—it’s a safe bet that I didn’t sleep much, if there was sleep. I do remember, however, that upon reading the last line I closed the book, took a deep breath, opened the cover and immediately started reading from the beginning again.

I believe The Princess Bride is the only book I’ve ever done that with.

I memorized every line of the film, as well as a good chunk of the book. I wrote to the publisher, as requested, to find out what happened during the reunion scene before the Fire Swamp. I ended up getting into an argument with my English teacher, who thought I should have tried harder to track down the unabridged, unexpurgated Morgenstern classic. Every time I went into a used bookstore, I bought extra copies to keep on my shelves and give to friends at random.

I’ve always had a tough time choosing a favorite film, but after a few years of this, my favorite book was pretty obvious. There was just one thing missing. I had never seen The Princess Bride on the big screen.

Until Saturday.

Awesome Costumed Movie-goers!Cinema World, the theatre down in Melbourne, has a Cult Series where they show classic films late on Friday and Saturday nights (next week’s is Akira). I had been invited months ago by Ashlynn and Sarah, my besties from the B&N down there. I bought my ticket early: a combo that came with a drink and popcorn…a true splurge. I stopped buying concessions when I started paying for tickets. After so many years, movie theatre popcorn really doesn’t hold the same romance for me as it does for you.

But this night, it did. Which was good, because I needed it to. I sat in my comfy seat, eagerly awaiting the moment when the lights went down and I got to live the magic all over again. It was beautiful and perfect and funny and brilliant and over far too soon.

But the magic didn’t fade when the lights went up. There was still a softness around the edges of my mind the whole drive home. Like opening a time capsule, but so much more. I was twelve again, at the beginning of everything. A budding writer, a hardcore bibliophile, a genius outcast collecting misfits on the playground. I could step through time and erase all those annoying mistakes I made, all those horrible relationships I fell for in the search for my own Wesley, only to be disappointed every time and insane enough to pick myself up and fail all over again. There were no regrets for things I hadn’t done. The depression was gone, no one had died, and my heart—though still overly big and emotional—was largely unbroken.

Vizzini said that if anything went wrong on the job, or they had to split up for any reason, they would meet back at the beginning, where he had first hired Inigo and Fezzik. Inigo even made up a rhyme for Fezzik to remember: “Fool, fool, back to the beginning is the rule.” Fezzik, of course, forgot.

I forgot too, it seems.

Life gives us no do-overs, that’s true. And life isn’t fair, as the Goldman Rule taught us. But no one says that we can’t mentally take ourselves back to the beginning and look around a while. Remember why we’re here, and the paths we took. Give ourselves a break from the burdens of guilt and grief we carry, the ones that only get heavier as the years go by.

I may not be a girl on a farm anymore, but I am a princess now (with a Brute Squad, even!). I choose my own adventures. Fair or not, I have no life at all unless I live them.

So, here I go…

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Blood Oath Reviews

Reviews of a different sort — from the movie that became my second credit on IMDB. (Not only is my name in the opening credits of Blood Oath…it’s even SPELLED CORRECTLY!)

Before you read any–or all–of these, just keep one thing in mind: we didn’t set out to produce Shakespeare. We were a bunch of kids in the woods having a really good time with supersoakers full of fake blood. It was almost everyone’s first time, and it was an incredible (and expensive)  learning experience for us all.

If you want to see the awesome horribleness that is our beloved and infamous Blood Oath, I will have some copies (signed by the director!) for sale at my table at Capclave. See you there!


Summary: Mr. and Mrs. Krupp wanted nothing more than a healthy child. After several failed attempts, they contacted a mysterious woman who promised them a child but everything has a price. Now the offspring roams the woods as an urban legend, twisted and evil, living off the bodies of those who enter its sanctuary. Today, a group of friends on a weekend camping trip decide to investigate the story. Bad decision! They will have to fight to stay alive, but they will soon pray for death!

Here’s a great review from Matthew Scott Baker: “Let me summarize this film before I review it: FUN.(Read the full review here.)

From DVDVerdict: “Blood Oath is one of the better independent horror films to come around in a long time. It doesn’t take itself wholly seriously, but does remember that shocks and suspense are more important than laughs and lame genre references.” (Read more)

The review in which Cinema Head Cheese says, “I can’t recommend Blood Oath in any way.” (Read more)

And possibly my favorite from BD Horror News, who hated the film so much that “there were so many moments that I would have liked for the killer to break through and put me out of my misery, that I am almost embarrassed.” (Read the rest here)


Heehee…I can see how this would get addictive. The horrible reviews are EVEN BETTER than the great ones!  I could do this all night!


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You probably think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Yes, Blood Oath is actually available.

The movie that I wrote about in Beauty and Dynamite has finally — after almost ten years — been released from Troma Films.

You can order it via Amazon (from which I get a very small kickback) if you click on the DVD cover here. I will also be working with the director and purchasing a bunch of them so that I can sell them at Dragon*Con (and possibly Capclave…and whatever other convention I can get roped into this year).

If you’re a fan of low budget independent slasher films, you’re going to love this. Lots of blood, nude girls, and even a quotable line or three.

We had so much fun making this movie. (Well, I did, anyway.) One of my favorite moments in Tennessee last month was when the Fairy Goddaughters dropped a photo album and it fell open to a spread of photos displaying a massively bloody Tina Krause.What a thing to find in the Princess’s collection, right? Heeheehee…

Needless to say, their expressions were priceless.

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All Jacked Up & Nowhere to Go

Yes, Virginia, Rubber is a real movie.

The Fairy GodBoyfriend and I saw the trailer on FIOS’s “On Demand” screen and wondered what the heck it was about, so we ordered it (for far more than it was worth). Apparently we were in a minority–according to the comments left on my Facebook status, a lot of people saw the trailer and thought it was a joke.

It’s real, folks — the film really is about a tire with psychic abilities that goes around blowing things up. Like a true serial killer, the violence escalates: from bottles, to small animals, to people. A young kid (because it’s always the kids who think outside the box) convinces the policeman that the tire did it, at which point the police attempt to track down and apprehend the tire. But how do you catch a tire that doesn’t want to be caught?

The tire does not talk. It does nothing but roll around and tremble with psychic power. And yet, it gives a stellar and believable performance. The whole time, FGB and I kept saying, “This must have been a bitch to shoot.” I haven’t changed my mind about that. I’d be interested in seeing a Makog Of this film…instead of ever seeing the movie again.

There is an element (and why wouldn’t there be?) of surrealism and Theatre of the Absurd in the film, which will only confuse you if I try to explain it, so I won’t. But I’ve seen my share of artists perform at Spoleto. This film had the very same feel. And for the first half(ish), I really enjoyed it. We laughed and hollered and pointed and it was great.

But the ending (forgive the pun) fell flat for me. It made a sort of sense, in the grand scheme of things…and perhaps that’s what was wrong with it. If the theme of the film, presented at the beginning during the policeman’s monologue (a little like the character monologue before Run Lola Run) was really “sometimes things happen for no reason,” then perhaps there should have been a better embracing of that near the end.

Unlike Inception, I can’t tell you how Rubber *should* have ended…I just know I wasn’t satisfied with the one it had. If any of you have some better ideas, I’d love to hear them. This could have been a seriously great movie. Instead, it was a seriously great idea with disappointing follow-through.

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Hatchet II Pulled from AMC

If you haven’t heard the news by now: the press release is out and slasher movie Hatchet II has been yanked from theatres after only three days of its release.The uproar prior to this was director Adam Green’s big fight with the MPAA, because they maintained that the film should have an NC-17 rating.

In a nutshell, it went like this:
Adam Green: Watch this, suckas!
Adam Green: Okaaaaay, I cut a bunch of stuff out.
MPAA: You just can’t kill people like that.
Adam Green: But it’s over the top and totally unbelievable!
Adam Green: You’re evil.

AMC made some kind of deal and, based on reactions from the trailer, agreed to have a special release on the unrated movie in their theatres. After three days — citing horrible box office numbers as a reason — the film was pulled from the US and Canada. (Details here, and all over the rest of the internet.)

Now, I don’t have a dog in this fight — I like making slasher movies far more than I like watching them. I’m not a fan of the film and have no desire to watch it. But I did work in a movie theatre for 7 years, and my big sister is still in the biz. I know how booking movies works, and if we had to pull a film, we didn’t exactly have extra movies lying around that we had the ability — or permission — to play in its place. (Perhaps things have changed since digital projection, but I’m still waiting to get a tour of the 21st century projection booth.)

What I can tell you is this: there is definitely some other reason they’re yanking this film. You don’t just pull a film after three days. You book movies for at least a week, so whatever the reason is, no matter how poor the box office is, even $50K is better than nothing, which is all you have to play if you’re not playing the film you booked.

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Princess Alethea’s Sharktopus Review

I had some of the most fun I’d had in a long time last night. It was a veritable MST3K SharktopusCon on Twitter. Up-to-the-minute popcorn passing up and down the Eastern seaboard as we all tried to outdo each other’s cleverness and summarily died in fits of giggles. My favorite part might have been when Sharktopus himself replied to one of my tweets. Because of course the sharktopus should be Live Tweeting…why not?

Eddie told me he was looking forward to my review….but how could I reminisce about something that’s so once-in-a-lifetime? And, for that matter, something I’ve already Twittered about? The answer is simple. Here, for your reading amusement, are my Tweets From Last Night. (If I had time I’d splice Joe’s in too, but my stomach still hurts from all the laughing and I do need to actually pretend to be social today.)

The premise of SHARKTOPUS, if you couldn’t guess, is that the Navy gene-spliced together this killing machine (a team led by Eric Roberts and a daughter he calls “Pumpkin”). The navy loses control, Sharktopus goes on a killing spree, and both bad acting and horrible special effects awards ensue.

Thank you to everyone who was tagging #sharktopus last night. I’d watch a cheesy movie with you guys any day of the week.

(times are approximate)
9:00pm — Hellooooo, sharktopus!
9:05 — No actual sharktopi were harmed in the making of this movie.
9:07 — LoL! RT @tomokato: Underwater Sombrero would be a great band name.
9:13 — What accent is Pumpkin trying to play, exactly? (She was trying to be British and failing worse than Kevin Costner in Robin Hood.)
9:17 — A magnificent bird is the pelican…
9:21 — This MOVIE is armed and dangerous.
9:27 — I really hope that chick was paid per giggle.
9:31 — Damn! I was tweeting when she took her hair down and glasses off. That was quick.
9:35 — Burning question: are Stacy’s boobs as real as her eyelashes?
9:40 — You’ve got legs. Go get your own dinner.
9:43 — Punch bug WHITE!
9:50 — Remembering high school biology… So does #sharktopus have two mouths and no… EW!
10:00 — #sharktopus is a ninja AND a pirate.
10:05 — Now where did I put those boat keys?
10:10 — Am disappointed that Pez’s head did not pop backwards.
10:13 — “Delivery for a Mister…Sharktopoulous?”
10:17 — For Sale: Gently used jet ski.
10:22 — “Don’t let his death mean nothing.” Like everyone else’s…
10:25 — …and now #sharktopus has pirate radio equipment. Score!
10:27 — Santos was a virgin?
10:30 — I think #sharktopus needs a laptop.
10:31 — RT: List of things that does not stop #sharktopus 1) automatic weapons. 2) yelling NOOOO! (even if you have abs)
10:32 — Huh-uh. The choreographer is SO fired.
10:37 — My stomach hurts. I’m still laughing about the horrible dancing. *snarf*
10:38 — RT: Guess what, dude: yes, it CAN hide. It lives in the ocean. And the ocean is BIG. Like really REALLY big. Also, you’re an idiot.
10:45 — That Man has never shot a gun in his LIFE. Hahahahahha
10:46 — #sharktopus has been taking human anatomy lessons. Well done!
10:49 — I am still unsure as to #sharktopus ‘s motivation.
10:50 — We’re going to need a bigger…river?
10:51 — RT@sharktopus2010: @AletheaKontis My only motivation was to kill all the people who were trying to frame me as a killing machine. #CHOMP #TeamSharktopus
10:52 — LOL #sharktopus just answered my tweet. Best. Movie. Ever.
10:54 — But will #sharktopus find love? And have babies?
10:55 — Pumpkin is still talking and not wearing a bikini. WHY?!?!
10:56 — Because there are so many OTHER kids in the river yelling “Mooooom!”
10:57 — No shirt = BUSINESS.
10:58 — Dude the password is pumpkin.
11:00 — Aaaaaand I’m spent.

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Inglorious Moments

I got out of my Meeting Marathon at work last night just in time to hightail it to the lovely Malco theatre we have here in Smyrna, Tennessee. I missed all the trailers, but I didn’t miss a second of Inglorious Basterds.

Quentin Tarantino is the movie geek’s movie geek. I was raised at the movie theatre (literally, as my big sister dated the son of the local movie mogul — they now own The Bijou in Morrisville VT), dated a film student in college (earning me my first credit on IMDB), and managed a movie theatre of my own (the Movies at Polo in Columbia, SC – 1991-1998), so I definitely qualify for Movie Geek status. While I’m not big into violence, I fully appreciate Tarantino’s dialogue and sense of drama. So when I heard Inglorious Basterds was phenomenal, I dropped everything and saw it immediately.

The film was indeed amazing. Christoph Waltz steals the show. That’s all the review I’m going to give. Go see it or not; you may love it or hate it — that’s not for me to decide. But the best part of my movie-watching experience is something you won’t get anywhere else…and that’s what I’m here to share with you.

The film is set in Nazi-occupied France and most of the dialogue is either French or German (I’d guess about 75% of the film is subtitled). Accents are a minor deal — there is mention more than once of a character’s accent betraying their origin.

Now, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’re familiar with the horrendously awesome accent of Brad Pitt’s character Aldo "The Apache" Raine. Early in the film he mentions that he hails from the Smokies — I placed his accent as mountain region North Carolina and didn’t think anything else about it. (Troy aside, Brad Pitt is fairy wonderful at accents — his performance in Snatch being one of my favorites.) Closer to the end of the film, he mentions he’s from a small town in East Tennessee. (The name of which eludes me now — shout out if you know it.) The 10 or 15 of us watching in Smyrna giggled at the prospect, but one incredulous woman in the back exclaimed, in an honest-to-god Tennessee accent: "YER KIDDIN‘!"

Everybody in the theatre cracked up. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.


PS: This is what the world outside looked like when I left the theatre. I felt like I had walked right into a painting. We have really had the most amazing skies this summer.

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The Friendly Skies

(Due to the sheer awesomeness that was "Alethea’s Adventures at BEA 2009, andWhat She Found There", I will begin at the end and go on until I come to the beginning. Because I am the princess and I said so.)


The Friendly Skies
Monday June 1, 2009

It’s been said — and I’ve mentioned it before myself — that "the point of the journey is not to arrive." Well…that’s crap, really, isn’t it? Of course the point of the journey is your destination, or there wouldn’t have been a journey in the first place. Arrival is simply the period at the end of the sentence. But if all you’re concentrating on is the punctuation, you’ve definitely missed something.

While in Charleston with my sister over Memorial Day weekend, Sami and I did a spot of shopping — just enough to make it worth our while but not completely nauseous (a distaste for so-called "retail therapy" is genetic, apparently). See…now that I’m brazen enough to slap pictures of myself all over the internet, I feel pressured to constantly add to my wardrobe to prevent all of you from suffering from the crazy delusion that I’m a Smurfette with only one nice dress. So I bought some fun things–a few you’ll see in the BEA pics, a couple you’ll see during Hypericon, and one I’ve saved for when I get nominated for an Oscar.

I also purchased what quickly became my new favorite shirt: a brown babydoll tee that reads: "faith hope love" in gold across the chest. (This has a point, I promise. It’s not just 3000 words about clothes. Bear with me.) This shirt cried out to me, appealing to my inner six-year-old, the one who used to lock herself in the bathroom with a tape recorder and give inspirational speeches that begged everyone in the world to love each other, be happy, and "ho, mo, and grow" (I still haven’t decided what "ho, mo, and grow" means, but it was important enough for me to repeat. A lot).

While at BEA, I picked up a button that said "HAPPY" and wore it on my badge until I lost it. Some people wear their heart on their sleeves; I suppose I have a tendency to wear my feelings on my chest.

As those of you who follow my FB/Twitter already know, I opted for the pretty dress/cute shoes every day of BEA weekend — and I’m currently wearing the band-aids to prove it. By the time Monday rolled around, I was overjoyed to slide into my crumpled jeans and that soft brown t-shirt. (I am now compelled to find a button that says "OVERJOYED.") Mary and I went for a walk around the Upper West Side, stopped for breakfast, and dropped far too much cash at Bank Street Books. (One of my favorite children’s authors is Arnold Lobel. Not only did Bank Street have some of the Frog and Toad books in hardcover, they had Frog and Toad in PLUSH. How was I supposed to pass that up? Exactly.)

Mary’s done her share of traveling, so she knew right where and when I needed to catch the M60 bus back to Laguardia in time to check myself in and get settled. My suitcase full of books managed to squeak by just under the weight limit (yes!) and there was zero line at security, so I had plenty of time to sit back and relax before flying back to Nashville (via Charlotte again). I wandered over and bought a Snapple and some dark chocolate with almonds, found a comfy spot in front of the window, and cracked open Frog and Toad Are Friends.

Okay, yeah. I suppose any thirtysomething girl with braided pigtails and a cute hat sitting crosslegged at the end of a row of chairs eating chocolate and giggling into a Caldecott Honor book is just asking to be approached. When some guy tapped me on the shoulder, I turned and smiled at him…mostly because he had had the courtesy to let me finish reading my book before he interrupted me.

"Hi, sorry," he said. "This may sound a little strange but…well, I noticed your shirt….and it looks like you enjoy books, and reading…"

(Okay….this essay’s getting a bit long — but I promise, it’s totally worth it. For LJ folks, the rest is behind the cut.)

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My Father’s Review of Star Trek

"300 years into the future, you’d think someone would have designed a gun that could hit what it was aimed at."
        –George Kontis, 1998 recipient of the George M. Chinn Award for excellence in small arms technology advancement

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Tell me, did Venus blow your mind?

I present to you a Geek girl’s brief review of Star Trek 2009:

I cried at the beginning. I cried at the end. Hell, I almost cried when I heard the voice of the computer. I smiled when Grunny yelled at his "stepson," and when Amanda showed up on the bridge. For all my schoolgirl crush on Zachary Quinto, I absolutely wanted to kiss Simon Pegg. And Karl Urban…damn. I clapped and cheered into my empty theater when the credits hit the screen, and stayed in my seat long enough to blow the Roddenberrys a kiss.

Solo or not, I am *so* very glad I saw Star Trek today. I guess I didn’t realize how much I needed that.

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