9/25/2018

The Franchise Chronicles: Dracula (1931)

 By Ed O'Hare

Welcome back to The Franchise Chronicles, today we start our next series and it’s a big one: the classic Universal Monster movies. 31 of these bad boys were recently released in a blu-ray box set and I could not resist the chance to wade through what may be the oldest cinematic universe. Are you excited? I am way too excited… Okay I just chugged a glass of water. That calmed me down. Let’s do this. The first film up is Dracula (1931) directed by Tod Browning, which serves as a unique artifact of the transition period from silent films to talkies and lays the groundwork for the aesthetics we associate with horror movies to this day.

At first glance this film may be jarring for the modern movie-goer. It moves at a very slow and deliberate pace. Who’d a thunk a 75 minute long movie time could drag. Most of the scenes stand still in a wide shot and only cut to close-ups for important dialogue. It almost feels like the medium shot was yet to be discovered. These are the conventions of the time. Sound in film had only been around for four years. Browning seems to approach this subject like a silent film, which always put strong focus on the compositions of each frame. The production designers worked really hard on those gorgeous matte paintings and the beautiful layout of the castle. Browning wants to give us time to take them in. The actors think through every line and sometimes stand still at awkward moments more like they are posing for a photograph than acting.

This is also an adaptation of a stage play so much of it is framed like a proscenium (think of the way most multi-cam sitcoms are shot). Dracula is also completely void of a music score. This adds a little to the eeriness but I am willing to bet many theatres at the time still had their organists playing along with the movie. I watched it without the music but the blu-ray does offer an optional score and I bet that it probably helps those pacing issues I was talking about.

Alright, enough with the technical stuff. Let’s talk about what makes this story last. The plot is strange but simple. Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), a bloodsucking vampire, hypnotizes a real estate agent named Renfield (Dwight Frye) and takes a boat to London where he seduces two of his new neighbors. Big D kills Lucy (Frances Dade) and bites Mina (Helen Chandler), but before he can finish her off, Dr. Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) finishes the handsome paleface with a stake through the heart. I never really understood why the Count was going to London in the first place, but who cares because this movie looks so cool.

Lugosi’s look is iconic. The way his cape flows and envelopes him, you believe he could melt into a bat at any moment. He is also very handsome and his striking stare is entrancing. This movie has no carnage. All of his kills happen off screen but his menacing brood and smile make him just as imposing as modern slashers. It is easy to tell why every incarnation of Dracula since has aped Lugosi in some way. However, as good as he is, the performance that really stands out to me is Dwight Frye. His turn as Renfield is so insane and wild but also real. Any guy who can make a character determined to eat bugs and rats feel grounded certainly deserves recognition.

When you get down to it, Dracula is important because of the basic horror elements that it introduced into the mainstream. Much of these have been improved upon, but this is the film we remember because it got the ball rolling. In the next article, we will check out the Spanish language version of Dracula that was shot simultaneously with this film. Come join me to see how these versions hold up against each other.

Edward O’Hare, nickname TBD, has been poking around the deep caverns of pop culture for some years now. His hobbies include making Starfleet org charts and badgering people who haven’t seen the Adventures of Captain Marvel movie serial from 1941. He one day dreams of teaching Bill Simmons that superheroes and pro athletes are not all that different.

9/24/2018

WTP 176 - Ol' Dirty Batman


This week its Bob, Bill, and Bill’s hype-man Ed!

Oh, this Joker movie and now we have promos to discuss. Then we kick off Uncle Jay Watch 2018 or Where in Pop Culture is Uncle Jay! Batman’s junk made its first appearance in the comics this week on DC’s new Black Label. Michael B. Jordan becomes a Tom Clancy character. CBS All Access is getting The Twilight Zone with Jordan Peele. And the PlayStation Mini is coming…

CHATGAME: Super Rappers

Before we move on, Ed left a fortune cookie earlier in the week at Bill’s and Bill makes him open it.

Meanwhile, Bill read Agent Palmer’s expose on DiC Entertainment and Bill’s also catching up with Bojack Horsman. Ed saw Assassination Nation and really liked it, like really really! And Bob watched Kevin Smith: Silent But Deadly.

http://agentpalmer.com/18008/miscellany/inspiration/whatever-happened-to-dic-an-attempted-oral-history-on-the-saturday-morning-cartoon-powerhouse/

Then nothing says loving like Emails from the oven. One listener doesn’t like Predator but Ed says “you’ll enjoy it on VHS.” Ed learns Wicked Theory has an Instagram @Wicked_Theory, please follow us for grams. Another wants to know what actor (dead or alive) we would want to work with on a project.

https://www.instagram.com/wicked_theory/

This is The Wicked Theory Podcast, and for that, we apologize.

But thanks for listening! Hear us wherever good podcasts are given away for free or LISTEN LIVE every Saturday at 7pm eastern until … whenever! (On desktop just go to http://Mixlr.com/wicked-theory  or download the FREE Mixlr app and search for us! Join the chatroom and click the “FOLLOW” button for reminders when the show goes live!)

Support our humble endeavors for as little as just $1 a month with other reward tiers available! http://patreon.com/wickedtheory

Follow the guys on twitter: Bill (@WickedTheory)  Dom (@Dom_Torre)  Bob (@BobWTPC)  Ed (@EdwardOHareTBD)  Jay (@UncleJaysThing) and Provisional Remote Assistant Producer @AgentPalmer


Still bored? Check out WickedTheory.com and visit our YouTube Channel and join our FB Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/500230130359994/


Thanks For Listening!

9/23/2018

DC TV Report for week ending 9/22/2018

Stargirl’s cast! Trent Reznor’s hired! The Captains Marvel lead to some confusion! Hannibal was too perfect for this world! Meteor Man exists! Superboy’s worth checking out! Talia al Ghul is *fire emoji* x 3!
Spoilers ahead, so jump over the ones you don’t wanna know about. 
News updates:
Arrowverse crossover – 6:50
Arrow – 9:05 
The Flash – 12:29
Supergirl – 13:55
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow15:19
Black Lightning – 16:14
Lucifer – 21:11
Titans – 22:32
Stargirl (and some DC Universe/Superboy/Lois and Clark chatter) – 23:31
Watchmen – 31:03
Batman: TAS recap/ next week’s retro pick – 33:20
 
Got a burning question or keen observation? Send an email to dctv@wickedtheory.com or chat on Twitter at @dctvreport, @EdwardOHareTBD and @SaraNetzley. And don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review. Shazam!


Check out this episode!

9/17/2018

Franchise Chronicles: Mad Max: Fury Road

 
Our first film saga reaches its culmination today on “The Franchise Chronicles,” with Mad Max: Fury Road (1985). Most film series crash and burn at the end but this may be the one exception where the best was saved for last. After taking a break for three decades to work on some serious dramas like Lorenzo’s Oil and family fair like the Babe and Happy Feet films, George Miller was ready to take us back to the world of Max. After two failed attempts to get the film off the ground with Mel Gibson, Miller eventually recast Tom Hardy in the title role and gave us a film that reached a new pinnacle for special effects and serves as one of the decade’s prime examples of imaginative storytelling.

Each Mad Max installment has had a bigger and bigger budget. Well it doesn’t get much bigger than Fury Road. Every new locale is bursting with imagination from the caves of the Citadel to the pounding sun of the road to the mist of the quagmire. The costumes and vehicles are more outrageous than ever. Basically, it’s awesome! I don’t know what else to tell you! Like most other stand-out contemporary action pictures, it employs CGI effects but does not overuse them. Almost all of the stunts are practical and this makes them feel more effective because you can sense the danger.

The main knock against Beyond Thunderdome was the disjointed narrative. Miller and co-writers Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris avoid that mistake here by simplifying the story and providing more developed characters. The nuts and bolts of the plot bear much resemblance to The Road Warrior, just instead of protecting a town from armored maniacs, Max finds himself helping a small group of women escape from a town full of armored maniacs. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) is a souped-up evolution of Humungus so full of power it is making him rot.
Once again Max is a mostly passive character at the start, getting captured and turned into a “blood bag” for Joe’s radiation riddled minions. His previous experiences have taken their toll. Max is haunted by the voices of those he could not save. This element seems to fade away part-way through the story and I wish they played it up more. In true Max fashion, he is initially out for himself and tries to leave every chance he gets, until he realizes that the right thing to do is help the women and even go as far as to liberate the entire Citadel from Joe’s tyranny. Once the day is saved, Max does not take a bow or settle down. As always, he fades into the crowd and presumably back to the road, where the next adventure awaits.

Of course, I am burying the lead. I can hear you screaming at me for taking this long to mention Charlize Theron’s performance as Imperator Furiosa. Well, slow your roll. I love her just as much as you do. I’m just doing a thing here. I had to talk about the evolution stuff before I got to the cool new elements: the new characters. Max was always a passive character but this is the first time since Jim Goose in the first Mad Max that another character becomes the main focus of the film. An argument can be made that this is more Furiosa’s movie than Max’s. Her arc is more developed and quite compelling.

Attention should also be paid to Nicholas Hoult’s turn as Nux. His dark past and path to redemption are haunting and tragic. He is the saddest example of what happens to children born into this world after the Apocalypse. A warped extension of the Feral Kid, Nux’s disillusionment comes too late and he sacrifices himself in the hope that the others can find freedom in this living hell.

There have been rumblings that George Miller has another Mad Max planned that would include Furiosa. Theron has said she wants to return and Hardy is also up for it. As of this writing there has been no official announcement and Miller has found himself in legal battles with Warner Bros. concerning Fury Road’s financials. There can never be enough Mad Max in the world, but if this is the last film, it is a fitting ending that serves as a perfect crescendo for Miller’s vision.

So ends the first chapter in “The Franchise Chronicles.” I won’t spoil our next conquest yet. Let’s just say it’s going to be “spooky.”

WTP 175 - Hold The Ketchup


This week it's just Bill, Bob, and Ed chillin' like villains on Batman Day!

In News: Hot news from Hollywood Paul Aaron added to WestWorld. Henry Cavill is out as Superman, so what will DC do next? Swamp thing news! Is Kelsey in or out?

Then the chatroom game Other Superhero’s Kryptonite, where we diverge into many tangents. Including cartoons and breakfast cereals.

Meanwhile, Bill and Bob finished Iron Fist Season 2 and we liked it. Bob saw Yoga Hosers and we discuss what Kevin Smith's secret big project is. Ed went to the movies and saw White Boy Rick and he listened to a podcast from Stitcher Premium called “In Vorhees We Trust With Gourley and Rust.”

 Then Ed announces the NEXT franchise for his written series.

Emails! Camping yay or nay? And drinking before 10 am…

And somehow we go out on some deli talk… No Ketchup!

This is The Wicked Theory Podcast, and for that, we apologize.

But thanks for listening! Hear us wherever good podcasts are given away for free or LISTEN LIVE every Saturday at 7pm eastern until … whenever! (On desktop just go to http://Mixlr.com/wicked-theory  or download the FREE Mixlr app and search for us! Join the chatroom and click the “FOLLOW” button for reminders when the show goes live!)

Support our humble endeavors for as little as just $1 a month with other reward tiers available! http://patreon.com/wickedtheory

Follow the guys on twitter: Bill (@WickedTheory)  Dom (@Dom_Torre)  Bob (@BobWTPC)  Ed (@EdwardOHareTBD)  Jay (@UncleJaysThing) and Provisional Remote Assistant Producer @AgentPalmer

Still bored? Check out WickedTheory.com and visit our YouTube Channel and join our FB Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/500230130359994/


Thanks For Listening!

9/16/2018

DC TV Report for week ending 09/15/2018

Riddle me this: What’s better than a Minotaur in a maze? Getting to watch it on the new DC Universe platform, of course! Join Ed and Sara as they discuss this week’s Batman: The Animated Series retro pick, along with fresh DC TV casting news, a Funko Pop controversy, hazy recollections of The Walking Dead, and predatory work-for-hire practices. Spoilers ahead, so jump over the ones you don’t wanna know about.
 
News updates:
 
The Arrowverse crossover - 7:22
Arrow - 11:17
The Flash  -  13:31
Supergirl  -  18:58
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow - 24:26
Gotham - 25:13
Doom Patrol - 27:18
Swamp Thing - 34:27
Watchmen - 36:39
 
Batman: TAS recap/ next week’s retro pick - 39:21
 
Got a burning question or keen observation? Send an email to dctv@wickedtheory.com or chat on Twitter at @dctvreport, @EdwardOHareTBD and @SaraNetzley. And don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review. Shazam


Check out this episode!

9/10/2018

WTP 174 Mutual Fun Exchange


This week the it’s Bill, Bob, and Ed, a Geeky Trifecta and we start out talking about confidence so it can only get better, and Ed apologizes for a thing.

In News: William Shatner wrote another memoir and we remember Burt Reynolds. On a brighter note we get our first look at Captain Marvel, young Nick Fury, and Skrulls!

Then Bill drops some serious Captain Marvel knowledge...

Then we guess 1 Lie 1 Truth from the Chatroom!

Meanwhile we recommend a lot of Season Twos! Ozard Season 2 and The Chris Gethard Show, a short Iron Fist Season 2 report, and Ed enjoyed GLOW Season 2.

Ed went to the movies to see Operation Finale and it's a "meh."  

Email: What movies do we suggest for a Burt-athon in honor of Burt Reynolds?

This is The Wicked Theory Podcast, and for that, we apologize.

But thanks for listening! Hear us wherever good podcasts are given away for free or LISTEN LIVE every Saturday at 7pm eastern until … whenever! (On desktop just go to http://Mixlr.com/wicked-theory  or download the FREE Mixlr app and search for us! Join the chatroom and click the “FOLLOW” button for reminders when the show goes live!)

Support our humble endeavors for as little as just $1 a month with other reward tiers available! http://patreon.com/wickedtheory

Follow the guys on twitter: Bill (@WickedTheory)  Dom (@Dom_Torre)  Bob (@BobWTPC)  Ed (@EdwardOHareTBD)  Jay (@UncleJaysThing) and Provisional Remote Assistant Producer @AgentPalmer


Still bored? Check out WickedTheory.com and visit our YouTube Channel and join our FB Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/500230130359994


Thanks For Listening!

9/09/2018

DC TV Report for week ending 09/08/2018

The DC TV Report turns one this week! Join Ed and Sara as they celebrate their 52nd episode with the latest news (Parallax! Swamp Thing casting! Questionable hires in the Star City DA’s office!) and a fantastically fun Batman: The Animated Series retro pick. Spoilers ahead, so jump over the ones you don’t wanna know about. 

News updates:

Arrow — 8:11

The Flash – 15:16

Supergirl — 19:46

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow — 24:57

Black Lightning — 26:42

Gotham – 29:06

Doom Patrol – 31:07

Stargirl – 32:08

Swamp Thing — 37:19

Emails and chatter celebrating one year of episodes — 41:33

Batman: TAS recapnext week’s retro pick — 59:08

With no new episode, nobody really won the week … except Batman. Always Batman.

Got a burning question or keen observation? Send an email to dctv@wickedtheory.com or chat on Twitter at @dctvreport, @EdwardOHareTBD and @SaraNetzley. And don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review. Shazam!



Check out this episode!