Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Tobe Hooper...

Yep, this day in 1943, Tobe Hooper popped (or was cut) into the world. Whodathunk, way back in '43, with WW2 still raging and Moonlight in Vermont playing in local theaters, that Tobe would be helming one of the seminal horror movies of the '70s in a fetid hothouse hellhole that had cast and crew vomiting out the windows between takes? That would be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, natch, and Tobe never made a better movie (nor did co-conspirator/writer Kim Henkel, though both went on to make flicks I love).

What's more astounding to me is I heard this birthday notice this morning from Garrison Keillor (sp?) on the Writer's Almanac on my local public radio station. I almost shit when I heard it -- I mean, hearing Garrison's dulcimer tones say "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," smooth and neat as can be, is a real sign of the times. Coming as this does on the heels of Mike Dobbs showing us a holiday season ad for a miniature licensed 'horror village' composed of corporate franchises like Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm St. and Leatherface's beloved charnelhouse, the mind reels.

What a world, what a world.

Speaking of worlds:

Big Thanks to cartoonist extraordinaire Dan Lapham for the gift copy of The World of Kong, a gorgeous illustrated book on the 'backstory' of Skull Island and all the environment and creature designs that were poured into Peter Jackson and WETA's latest opus (in fact, the WETA Workshop is credited as author). My son Dan loved the book, too, pouring over it the second he could get his hands on it.

Thanks, too, to amigo John Rovnak, my comics source for almost 15 years, for the copy of the new Jim Woodring animation DVD sporting over 45 minutes of animation from Japan adapted from the Woodring comics and universe. Check it out -- Visions of Frank: Short Films by Japan's Most Audacious Animators from Presspop Music on all-region DVD. The showcase of nine animated shorts opens with a 1m 22s animation by Jim himself, followed by a beaut by Taruto Fuyama and a curious collage-animation adaptation by Eri Yoshimura, and -- well, more on the rest later. Full write-up this week!

(PS: John will be launching expanding his comics service to a full online venue later in 2006; will post the news here once John's got it up and running.)