Double feature: Piranha (1995) / Deadly Spawn (1983)

I haven’t seen Joe Dante’s PIRANHA in many, many years, but here I am reviewing the remake. No, not Alexandre Aja’s Dimension Films version PIRANHA 3D (which I did review when it came out in 2010), but the 1995 Corman production directed by Scott P. Levy (MIDNIGHT TEASE, THE ALIEN WITHIN).

This thing was made for Showtime, and I never got Showtime, but the reason I remembered it existed was because I knew Punky Brewster herself, Soleil Moon Frye (KID 90) was in it. That was enough to lure me in. (Get it?) I guess she was in a couple horror movies (INVITATION TO HELL, PUMPKINHEAD II) but I’m actually kinda surprised they didn’t resurrect her in the post-SCREAM era! Maybe they tried but she was happy just doing cartoon voices.

I have to admit I didn’t remember the original enough to realize until reading the Wikipedia summary that this remake barely alters its script. Alex Simon (BLOODFIST VIII: TRAINED TO KILL) is credited as the writer, but it’s so close original writers Richard Robinson and John Sayles get both “based on the screenplay by” and “story by” credits.

Without the surely better version fresh on my mind, though, it’s a watchably competent if low rent TV movie in the spirit of ALLIGATOR II: THE MUTATION (but not as good). It starts with a nerd (Richard Israel, REVENGE OF THE NERDS III: THE NEXT GENERATION) and his giant-busted paramour (Lorissa McComas, THE BARE WENCH PROJECT) breaking into a remote, abandoned military test site and skinny-dipping in a pool. They never make it home, and the lady is niece of millionaire industrialist J.R. Randolph (Monte Markham, GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN), who hires a top detective agency to find her and is casually sexist when the detective they assign is a woman.

She’s Maggie McNamara (Alexandra Paul, CHRISTINE), who declares herself “two thirds bloodhound.” Her first stop is a cabin along a river in an area she thinks the missing couple could’ve “shacked up.” The owner of the cabin, Paul (William Katt, CYBORG 3: THE RECYCLER), is annoyed and unfriendly, but when she commands him to take her to the military place he mentions, he complies. I guess just like us he can sense that he’s gonna be the love interest.

At the test site they drain the pool to look for bodies and are attacked by a seemingly crazed woman (Darleen Carr, THE BEGUILED), who then steals and crashes their Jeep. But it turns out she’s scientist Dr. Leticia Baines, who knows they just released the genetically engineered piranhas of Operation Razorteeth into the river. In the original this was a male character played by Kevin McCarthy – why must 1995 push its woke agenda on us with this gender swapping. My childhood is ruined. I simply ask that I never be asked to identify with or be interested in characters that are a different gender or race from me and that people who are a different gender or race from me have to do it at all times. Antifa, open borders, etc.

Well, now Paul (the character played by Katt, not the actress playing Maggie) has more of a reason to be involved because his daughter is attending a camp along the river. They have to warn everybody, but since he lives off the grid he has no phone and the Jeep is crashed they have to take a raft that he built for his daughter when she was reading Huckleberry Finn. That detail is important because #1, it shows that he’s kind of dorkier and a better dad than you’d assume, and #2 he proudly made it period accurate with rope and no nails, so it’s vulnerable to the piranha.

Frye plays Laura, a counselor at the aforementioned camp, who’s very close with Paul’s daughter Susie and trying to help her with her fear of water. Just a nice teen, not stunt casting where they get the wholesome kid from TV to play a bad girl. The big surprise is when you see the daughter, Susie, and realize she’s played by tiny Mila Kunis (JUPITER ASCENDING) in her first movie role.

Of course there’s a whole thing with a resort refusing to cancel their grand opening, leading to a bunch of people getting chewed up by fish. When Paul tries to shut down the grand opening, Randolph reveals that Paul used to be a lawyer, and became a recluse after a humiliating loss. “Then you lost that big case against the ‘Save the Gay Feminist Cambodian Whale’ group that shut down the smelting plant. Now I guess you figured on getting a little payback against us greedy corporate types who bent you up and ruined your life.” So I guess he’s saying he was defending the smelting plant against environmental groups but lost and that turned him into a good guy? I’m not sure.

There’s a thing about a director (Leland Orser right before SEVEN!) doing a commercial and trying to get laid, and you get one of those lines writers put in b-movies to prove they’re into other stuff besides b-movies: “Improvisation. Just like an Altman film.” One of the guys on the crew is wearing a CARNOSAUR t-shirt, by the way.

There’s a grim touch at the end that I’m pretty sure is not from the original (correct me if I’m wrong) – walking through a crowd looking for her dad, little Susie walks past Randolph, and we see that there is literally blood on his hands. Then he goes into his office and commits suicide. Damn!

The trouble with this remake is that you just don’t see enough piranhas. No stop motion, only a little bit of puppetry, it’s almost all POV, splashing, and blood, and according to Wikipedia all the FX work was footage recycled from the original. Seems like a waste to remake PIRANHA unless you’re excited about making some piranhas! So there’s not much reason for this one. But Paul and Katt’s earnest screen presence at least makes it watchable.

A monster movie that I bet has a lower budget ($25,000) yet delivers big time on the monsters is THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983). I can’t believe I’ve never seen this before! I’ve honestly known about it since my early video rental days, back before Hollywood and Blockbuster, when we had to drive to the next town to Family Video. I remember being grossed out by this oversized box called RETURN OF THE ALIEN’S DEADLY SPAWN. Not because it was a scary monster… there was just something about that dark and wet photo and the ugly fonts and porno sized box that made it seem ridiculously seedy. I mean, the movie is indeed pretty gorey, but there’s a hand-made and quirky quality to it that’s actually quite charming.

It starts like a slasher-era version of THE BLOB. A meteor come down, a strange monster (seen silhouetted inside a tent) devours two campers that find it. The rest of the movie takes place almost entirely at a nearby house (first seen in an adorable model shot, for reasons that only become clear at the very end). Sam (James Brewster) and Barb (Elissa Neil) are a couple who get up ridiculously early for a day trip. There’s a rain storm, and Sam discovers that the basement is flooded, and then gets eaten by a monster. I’m not a home owner but I think this is true, there are these parts of the country where you gotta be careful about leaky basements, and about deadly spawn infestations.

Barb goes looking for Sam and gets eaten too. There’s a great gag where Sam’s hand (with identifiable ring) rests on her shoulder but she turns around and it’s just his forearm dangling out of a mouth that literally has like a hundred teeth in it, which proceed to bite off her face. The creature and gore effects in this are just incredible.

Then we meet this other couple Millie (Ethel Michelson) and Herb (John Schmerling). For a bit I thought they were neighbors but was grimly amused to realize this is the same house – these are an aunt and uncle staying with the family for a few days while in town for a conference. They expected Sam and Barb to be gone all day, so they have no idea they’re currently being digested below the floorboards.

I like how much of the movie is about these regular looking middle aged people. But unsurprisingly there’s also a younger generation represented. There’s a little kid named Charles (Charles George Hildebrandt), who’s that popular ‘80s archetype of the kid obsessed with horror movies and special effects, though he’s not into Fangoria and STAR WARS like Tommy Jarvis in the following year’s FRIDAY THE 13TH IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER – he reads Famous Monsters of Filmland and his posters are all original KING KONG, THE SPIDER, stuff like that. He says his favorite monsters are the mole people, Frankenstein and IT: THE THING FROM OUTER SPACE. He has the classic Shogun Warriors Godzilla toy and some monster masks that he likes to scare people with.

The movie’s one and only weakness in my opinion is that it seems like it expects us to like Charles’ science major brother Pete (Tom DeFranco), a Herbert-West-looking twit who lectures both his little brother and his own friend Frankie (Richard Lee Porter) about being into sci-fi. He says THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD is “junk” and “Whatever happened to the scientific method?”

The flooding in the basement messed up the wiring, so an electrician is called, but Aunt Millie is going to Grandma Bunny (Judith Mayes)’s vegetarian luncheon, so she leaves a note that the cellar door is open. That means this poor bastard goes straight to the alien’s gullet. Little prankster Charles decides to sneak up on him in an ape mask and Doctor Strange-style collared cape, so he discovers the mother creature feeding the electrician to her babies and coughing up his own mother’s head. But he notices they can’t see, so he stays quiet – even while the deadly spawn peel the skin off his mom’s face – and they don’t eat him.

Meanwhile upstairs Pete’s friends Frankie and Ellen (Jean Tafler) – who Pete is into and she sadly reciprocates right after making fun of him for having no imagination – have come over to study for a biology test, and they found a dead one of the toothy little tadpole creatures on the way there. So they dissect it.

Of course, things escalate for everyone, including Grandma and her friends. One of the babies crawls into the food processor, so “the green sauce” ends up not being vegetarian. There’s a funny contrast between these friendly ladies in their Sunday best and pearls, who call everything “lovely” and collect ceramic animals, and the anarchic mayhem of the deadly spawn biting their feet, making them jump on the couches as Millie tries to stab the things with the fire poker. They are terrorized but luckily escape in a station wagon.

That doesn’t go for all the likable characters, though. Ellen gets it bad! Their friend Kathy (Karen Tighe) shows up late for studying but in time to see the monster and deliver a perfect “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT!?” Charles is the hero of the piece, though, using his FX and prank know-how. There’s a great sequence about getting the thing to bite a prop head full of flash powder, and then he has to grab a power cord and try to plug it in to ignite it.

Like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, the movie adds some scope by stepping outside of the primary location to show authorities and locals the next morning dealing with the invasion. They think they have it under control, but they don’t.

One reason this works and that it’s rare among low budget movies is that this kid Charles George Hildebrandt is so good. He just gives a really natural performance, and seems like a normal kid, not the usual precocious little fuckers they have in movies. That he’s mostly by himself and doesn’t have many lines (and wears a cape for almost the whole movie) surely helps the performance, but also makes him seem more real – he’s not talking to himself like so many movie characters. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he went on to become a serious actor, but this is his only movie. He’s the son of producer Tim Hildebrandt, who by the way is one of the Hildebrandt brothers, the twin fantasy painters who famously did the movie poster for STAR WARS. The house in the movie is Hildebrandt’s, and of course he painted a poster for this movie too.

The concept reportedly came from producer Ted Bohus (FIEND, NIGHTBEAST), and then special effects supervisor John Dods (SPOOKIES, MY DEMON LOVER, BLACK ROSES) came up with the monster. That might make Dods the MVP here, but credit is definitely due to writer/director Douglas McKeown, who brings so much more life and personality to these characters than 99% of low budget movies with unknown actors. It reminds me of SQUIRM a little bit. McKeown had been a high school teacher whose students included magician David Copperfield and EXPENDABLES writer Richard Wenk, then he left to join the Jean Cocteau Repertory in New York, as an actor and many other things. He designed the sets and costumes for the world premiere of a Tennessee Williams play. And then he went and directed one and only movie, so why the fuck shouldn’t it be THE DEADLY SPAWN? Isn’t that what you would do?

Unfortunately it seems like the movie hasn’t been properly archived or something, because the transfer on Shudder is very poor, which is reportedly also the case on the blu-ray, judging from reviews I’ve checked. The blu-ray does have a bunch of extras though, which I’m sure must be interesting. Bohus also wrote a whole hardcover book about the making of the film.

Side note: from what I’ve read it sounds like McKeown and Bohus are both gay, so if I’m not mistaken about that I hope their movie is being acknowledged in the recent projects about “queer horror.”

DEADLY SPAWN really is a banger. I’m all for big budget versions of this kind of thing – I live for them – but by almost any standard this is a better movie than THE RELIC. And it seemed to do well in its own indie world, so it’s too bad most of the people involved didn’t do any other movies. One exception is 15 year old production assistant Tim Sullivan (also credited with “additional dialogue”), who went on to become a director (2001 MANIACS) and producer (SNOOP DOGG’S HOOD OF HORROR). But damn, I wish they’d all built off of this and we could’ve seen what the EVIL DEAD II, PHANTASM II or DAWN OF THE DEAD of DEADLY SPAWN would’ve been.

Yes, I am a DEADLY SPAWN fan now. Don’t rat me out if I start acting like I always was. If Fright Rags or Cavity Colors or somebody ever re-creates the badass crew jersey in this photo you bet your ass I’m getting one. DEADLY SPAWN for life.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 at 3:30 pm and is filed under Horror, Monster, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

14 Responses to “Double feature: Piranha (1995) / Deadly Spawn (1983)”

  1. Hell yeah! DEADLY FUCKIN’ SPAWN! I love this movie. A goddamn perfect low-budget monster picture. It’s got that perfect blend of Amblin-esque 50s B-movie corniness, ambitious 80s handmade practical effects, and nasty-as-fuck gore and depravity. The kid watches the monster eat his parents right in front of him and doesn’t flinch! In terms of handling himself in the face of over-the-top glopola monsters, he is pretty much only second to Ash, meaning he belongs in the hall of fame of all-time horror heroes. This kid is nobody’s sidekick. He knows exactly what to do, suffers no fools, and gets the job done. He makes Tommy Jarvis look like Dakota Fanning in WAR OF THE WORLDS.

    10/10. No notes. I think I’m gonna watch it right now.

  2. I went to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Art on the weekends when I was a kid and the Hildebrand brothers (who painted the epic original Star Wars poster) often gave lectures there. One Saturday they brought over stills and scenes from the movie (and I remember some props too) and brought a few of us upstairs for a sneak peek! I was only around 12 at the time and man, THE DEADLY SPAWN haunted my nightmares for years afterward! I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch the finished film!

  3. The Deadly Spawn is one of those movies with the super famous monsters and you see it and it’s like…I guess that was sort of okay. Not nearly as bad as it could have been, but not really great either.

    Although Vern is incorrect about no one who worked on the movie doing anything else. Bohus produced a bunch of other things primarily a bigger budgeted sequel to this movie in the 90s, called Metamorphosis or something? Aka Alien Factor I think? It’s such a 90s movie, set in a lab in lots of white halls as the much bigger monster gets loose. Not nearly as charming as the original but it does have some stop-motion which I like.

  4. THE DEADLY SPAWN (or KOSMOKILLER as it is called here) is also a movie that fascinated me for a long time only because of its video cover, but I never got around to see it. Maybe I find a DVD of it before Halloween, because that shit sounds much cooler than I thought.

  5. I rented this one so many times as a kid! I’m happy to hear it holds up, this really got me wanting to watch it again.
    I watched it a bunch at around the same time I watched Monster in the Closet, so they kind of run together in my mind though they’re really different movies.

  6. Well, it’s now my mission in life to see DEADLY SPAWN.

    Keith: As a kid I dreamed of going to the Kubert School. Now I have friends who live nearby. And apparently this past weekend I was practically around the corner from the Hildebrandt’s DEADLY SPAWN house. But I did not see any Spawns, deadly or otherwise.

  7. I humbly admit to sleeping on Deadly Spawn. Literally. I know I’ve put it on a few times but never got far. I feel like a bad horror fan.
    *Charlie Brown theme, kicks at can and misses*

  8. I am currently feeling every dictionary definition of “bereft”, and struggling with the thought of there being any kind of solution, because when viewed through the lens of rationality and history, I know there very much is not, not even one. However, I really like the way in which this website allows both weirdness of sincere expression and the movie THE DEADLY SPAWN, so I will chime in.

    This movie is excellent. It is a testament to what can be achieved through commitment, sacrifice and creating outside of established structures. The sheer joy of effort in every frame is one of those perfect counterpoints to those who are insulting to genre material. This is first-rate; the work of people who made something for the right reasons.

    Also, it holds a special, bittersweet, mournful place in my heart along the comparable works STREET TRASH (allowable offensive from one who knows the reality of a pained people, before a modernistic dialogue starts bubbling at the very mention) and the hilariously written and performed top-tier screwball comedy SLIME CITY as being movies that are recalling of a more optimistic time and place for Young A.L.F., a time before the long-bottled effects of psychological trauma, a number of people having arrogance in their social status and a weird resentment of my own loneliness (and third-party interpretation thereof) caused irreparable ruin among a culture of people that engaged with each other wonderfully in that distant-yet-recent past, but from my vantage point, did not seem to care about each other besides as strange abstractions, despite the depth of unique human soul and interesting communication that emenated from everyone I chose (and preferred) the company of at that time, all of whom have since scuttered away to their own enclaves of delirious and perpetual arts-world success (be it public noteriety, or a supportive small-tightknit-subculture’s middle-aged life context, or moldy oldies havin fun hanging out with a bunch of Gen Z Babies all damn day, all of which I am jealousy covetous of), the resultant social reassurance of themselves historically and currently and the stability of tolerable and well-paying careers. The freaky ass DEADLY SPAWN for my “nothing to look towards/too much damage done/intensely over-reflective” place brings to mind having briefly participated in a community and having had a onetime basis in which all contemporaries fostered secret and direct loathing – something fine if for reason of being officially too much, but not for what’s occured due to a complete social rejecting myself for essentially being a queer, rude, failure. I am seen as one for whom no one will suffer through their strangeness, while the truly destructive people live embittered, deluded lives through the misleading effects of charm, and the mysterious desirability of those with solid foundations from which their difficulty, negativity and neuroses have a continuous grace lacking in myself, an obnoxious lonelyheart who others revel in having discarded. Worse, for many years I’ve been everyone’s secret fiery topic and subject to the point of now being an empty husk who cannot make art. Like I see Pattie Boyd and I’m like yeah but that’s just two dudes. It sucks, I don’t want THE DEADLY SPAWN to make me sad. I am lonely, and when I wasn’t, I was looking at things wrong. Almost nobody’s friend, either in the present or past. Plus, after losing the regularity of people that I really liked, these super-substandard, anklebiting, incomprehensible freaks have left me a terrified, relentlessly-tormented, pathetically-cape-wearing child, along with being a poisoned homeless bum.

    But hey, it’s a free country or whatever, (SPOILER FOR THE FUNNIEST PART OF SLIME CITY), “So anyways, she starts—she starts making a big deal about how I blow my nose, she’s saying—she’s saying, ‘You blow it too hard, Jerry! You blow too hard. You blow that hard, you’re gonna pop your eardrums and everything like that.’ I say, ‘No way, I’m not gonna blow—blow my eardrums. I gotta blow my nose hard before anything can come out, right?’ Right. So I told her that and she says—she says, ‘No, no, you’re gonna hurt yourself, you’re gonna hurt yourself.’ Then she gets right down to the real heart of the matter. I knew there was something else. She says, ‘It’s too loud, Jerry, it’s too looouuud.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s it, huh? Well, I’m gonna blow my nose any way I damn well please and if you don’t like it, you can just…’ Hey, are you listening to me or what?”

    Anyway, if anyone is still reading, THE DEADLY SPAWN is a good one, for anybody because it rules and for me, because it gives me a more practical-effect way of dealing with sadness. You can keep your POSSESSION (even if the writer of said movie is one of the nicest guys), and yeah, we all know life is lonely like THE THING. This is my personal sulker, one of a personal piece along with the aforementioned SLIME and TRASH pictures. Sorta like what bittersweet, minor-key oldies, hauntingly-sparse quietly-weird 80s or hormonally-tragic pop-emo songs are for other folks, though I like that kind of garbage too.

    (Please do not take this riffin’ on …SPAWN to mean I consider myself faultless or incapable of innocent of the terrible, miserable, unkind, ruinous and crappy – mention a movie or work otherwise that I associate with different people and times – say, 2 FRIENDS, THE STERILE CUCKOO, REGARDING HENRY or LONELY ARE THE BRAVE – and I can go off on a equally blathering, intense and self-directed tear. I don’t mean to paint an idealized version of myself.

    Speaking of painting, the Brothers Hildebrandt rule. I wish every painter of the Marvel Masterpieces trading card sets had produced weird ass movies, particularly that inspiring weirdo Dave DeVries – a guy currently doing some very awesome, kid-empowering/soul-appreciative work – and the fantastically-symbiotic duo of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, or as I like to call them, BorJules. Now THAT’S blending! Another one I made up like that is for the real heroes, Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson – RuthRockett!)

    Well, anyway.

    Keith: I would seriously, genuinely and with no shred of overstatement be absolutely fascinated and enthralled by even the most dull articulation of what the Kubert school was like in the eighties, particularly a program for hopeful kid cartoonists. Who were your instructors, what kind of work did other kids make, what color were the floors, were there vending machines, etc.

    Also, I know this is mainly a (Alan-Davis-ass) clandestine community of anonymity, but if you are still an active cartoonist I would be interested in seeing your work; for whatever reason the idea of other Vern-reading cartoonists is very fascinating to me. Show of hands if you like to draw! This means you, Pac! If you’re worried about being Cartoonist Pro-filed though, Keith, it is no big whoop.

    Bill Reed: You may not follow this guy’s interviews as I do, but History’s Best and Greatest Cartoonist (*other than my late, unpublished and oft-mentioned friend) also had a hilariously idealized childhood dream of going to the Kubert School, much as you and I did. I dunno if you were routed away from attending, but one of the only, tiny similarities there are between The Best Comic Book Person Ever and my dumb ass is that we were both seriously parentally discouraged from our dream that “Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)”, and then attending a school for a then-disreputable trade. It’s much funnier when thought of as a moment of that guy’s biography, though, considering that he is like a tenth of the reason they teach comics-analysis and applied-cartooning classes at the “classy” kind of colleges, though, and that’s no dis to the inventor of Tor and his firm handshake, though, if they’d accept me I’d be on the first bus to Dover.

    That thing about Joe Kubert’s handshake is also something I know about from being a fan of my #1 comic book hero, a very funny person. I don’t want to mention his name on the unlikely off-chance that he ever gets really bored and Googles himself, but his initials are the same as “distinguished champion”.

    The no-comics-college-for-you-young-man story sure makes me laugh. It is a decent comics antecdote, a format that I always enjoy, particularly from my chief hero. He tells the story on the most recent video podcast of the one guy who wears sunglasses indoors and the one who doesn’t, the one with the wrestling reference in the name. That is a funny interview, instead of asking him good or interesting questions the video podcast guys just have gigantic smiles on their faces the entire time and demonstrate a hyper-specific knowledge of his work and everything he has ever said in an interview. This is extra funny because the entire discussion is one in which these guys solely keep on prompting him to tell the stories he has already told fifty billion times in a zillion interviews already, a very enjoyable hour if you are me or anything like me (although it is always a very lonely thing to witness anyone with regular life and company). It was kind of annoying because they one time derisively compared this one comics writer guy of being to this cartoonist as being similar to Anthony Scaduto, but then proved to be a couple of Scadutos themselves. I suppose we all have our Scaduto moments, and that can be really funny in the right context, like this time when I was at CBGBs in 2005 and this hilarious guy from an awesome punk band Tommy kept asking Arturo Vega to tell stories about The Ramones that he’d already heard, with the exact same giant smile on his face that these guys who get too much money to tell you the life story of rap music and The Hulk had when videochatting with the original king of comics.

    It brings to mind a classic routine from A.L.F. history, let the historians tell this story some day if they ever get around to making bookstore-and-library-buyer-bait graphic novels about my dumb ass, like they have for Bowie and Johnny Appleseed and The Grateful Dead and Brian Epstein and shit, I can see the lazily-computer-lettered-narraton-box now! A very estranged prior friend and I used to be really into the redundancy of that ridiculous-ass DVD, STAN LEE’S MUTANTS, MONSTERS & MARVELS – we would often love-mock (him) hate/love-mock (me) the contents of said, uh, documentary with our teenagerey-zealous Stan impersonations. Or actually, impersonation, singular – “….and THAT’S how I created Spider-Man!!!!!”. (Nas impression:) All we’d need is ONE joke!

    (Hello to said estrangee, if you’re still a Vern reader. I wish you the best, which includes not being suckered by the Stans of the world. Charm, pleasure, nostalgia and status are not absolute arbiters; “Sturdy” Steve for life. I apologize for saying this too ferociously when you had hurt me last summer. With great power you shouldn’t be a prick, or whatever. Or one should be a Prick in the capitalized, Lucky Pierre way; the way of chosen seclusion. I still think that story about why your friend’s mom didn’t let you go to the Outside Tour is hilarious. My best to you and your family, sincerely.)

    All the garbage-ass-nonsense of my stupid life and circumstances aside, I am very grateful to have this online forum of expression and tolerance. It is nice to be here. Thank you for reading, if you are, whoever you are, even if you hate me and this. Happy KENNY & COMPANY/”Immortal, Invisible” season to you all. The truest of thanks to Vern, one of my favorite writers ever, a really talented person and a longtime friend, sincerely.

  9. Also, what a stupid, unreadable post. I’d tried to create some absurd and sincere overly-long screed, but it only expressed what is interesting about the din of a clattering mind in the occasional low-mixed blip. I’ve also only a smartphone to write on, and just started putting them (index finger and the rest for scrolling) on the glass eleven months ago. I ain’t exactly Thucydides on the keyboard neither, but I’ve been used to normal computing since setting my digits all weird when caught up in the urgency of Mario Teaches Typing, the development of some of my earlier improper habits that eventually turned functional through Taurean stubbornness. Once I start talking to people IRL again I will make more sense. It happened before, as Vern can attest to. I found my way out of it, through acceptance and inclusion. It could happen again. A bunch of babies started sitting at different lunch tables and I was the only one who didn’t have anything to do after school. So what.

    This is one of the worst brain injuries yet so the shit I’m saying makes no sense, and I should apologize and do feel badly, but the picture isn’t halted. That’s good news. I can still get Wise like a regular Dede Allen.

    THE DEADLY SPAWN is very much about working within limitations, through careful planning and knowing how to successfully organize immediately compelling ideas. I will do better next time, THE DEADLY SPAWN.

    Everybody here have offered some of their best and most uniquely personal comments in recent weeks and I’m over-energized and under-socialzed. Thank you all for being nice to and not yelly at the village loon.

    Don’t lose any sleep anyone, I will be back soon.

  10. @ALF – you wrote all that on a touchscreen? The mind boggles.
    I can’t speak about art or animation to any knowledgeable degree, but since you mention Carpenter’s masterpiece may I recommend The Things by Peter Watts? A fanfic story from one of my favorite SF authors about a friendly alien who comes to offer an end to loneliness. Like all of Watt’s stuff it’s bleak, but it’s a fun take that Carpenter later endorsed.

    Clarkesworld Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy

    Clarkesworld Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine and Podcast. This page: The Things by Peter Watts

    Seriously, take care.

  11. Hey, A.L.F., I don’t necessarily have any fancy drawing to show you, but I will share some “art” with you, but I’ll give a bit of backstory first. I’ve kind of kept this to myself in my online interactions (here and elsewhere), but given how open you’ve been, I think it’s only fair I be open too.

    I recently graduated from a Degree (my second) in Animation (my first was in a much more academic discipline, without much of a career path). I’d pretty much stopped drawing around the age of 11 or 12, assuming (and/or being told) I couldn’t, but I live near a relatively prestigious Arts University, and something hit me in my early 30s that I decided to go for it, only taking art classes long enough to help me put together a decent portfolio, which it seems (along with my previous academic qualifications) was enough to get me on the course. In retrospect, as I was kind of aware even at the time, I could have used another year of less intensive art practice before I went on the course, but then again that “other year” would have gone into the Pandemic, which I suspect would have convinced me to stick with the relative stability of my previous job.

    In the first year they got us to sample each discipline of animation (2D, Stop Motion, CG), with the idea that we would end the year choosing our focus for the other two. I ended up choosing CG, which I’m not sure was the right choice; I’ve always been a 2D guy at heart, more or less, and they advised us to pick what we liked rather than what we were best at, as our Skill Level in the first year won’t be indicative of where it will be by the end. That’s no doubt true, but when I started with CG, I saw a lot of potential there to cover my draftsman shortages. Plus, the first year was cut down quite a bit by Covid. so my thought process was probably quite different than it otherwise might have been.

    I’m not yet 100% sure if doing the course was the right move. Obviously, ridiculous for me to be anything but happy with my lot given your current situation, and those of millions of others on our planet. But I did walk away from a fair bit, and at the moment my future is uncertain. I had a job that was nothing spectacular, but I was good at it, had worked there for nearly a decade, was well liked and fairly happy (more so than I ever was at School, or even my first time at University to be honest), and a small but nifty apartment with affordable rent in the middle of the city. Now I’m back at my family home in the middle of nowhere, and my savings went on the degree. I acknowledge I’m very lucky and privileged to have a loving mother who I get along with and who will have me, and to live in a country where degrees are sadly now expensive but not as ruinously so as they are in the US. The thing is I didn’t quite fall in love with the animation process to the degree I hoped I would, nor did my skill level get up to that of my colleagues. Some of the most enjoyable (and successful) projects I worked on were the written essays, which was great but also honestly a skill I had before I started on the course. I’m not quite sure where I would fit in in “the industry”, if anywhere, although I have had some positive if not completely successful interview experiences so far. I recently bought a cheap drawing tablet to try and get back into the 2D thing, and I’m working on a (non-fiction) book; I’ll let you know if anything fruitful comes from either of those.

    Anyways, that’s a long ass way of saying “here is my graduate film, it’s no masterpiece, but I tried and I graduated”. The characters were downloaded rigs, and the music/sound effects are library stuff, the rest (including editing etc.) is pure Pac.

    P.S. I have not seen either of these films. Sorry, everyone else.

    2. Final Film- King of Cartoons Tournament Fighter 97

    This is "2. Final Film- King of Cartoons Tournament Fighter 97" by Thomas Mansbridge on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

  12. Also, here is the research/development blog that they asked us to keep for the first couple of years (not the third for whatever reason). There are some rough doodles and such there

  13. A.L.F.– I am very pleased with myself for understanding your reference to the “video podcast of the one guy who wears sunglasses indoors and the one who doesn’t, the one with the wrestling reference in the name”. I admit to being a big fan of the guy without sunglasses for some years now. But I think I lack the patience or attention span to watch a podcast.

    My dream as a child was to be a comic book artist. I never got to attend the Kubert School, but I did take a cartooning class at a local community college once. A few years after that I realized I had no skills at an artist and decided to be a writer instead. I can’t say that worked out the way I intended.

  14. Dreadguac – Thank you for the link, I had to do physical therapy and also sort out slight but tough to solve beuracratic mistakes today, so I will save that for tomorrow with my cafeteria coffee, sounds like a positive way to start the day even were it only for the kindness of your thinking to share it. No dis to the real master, I tend to find the miserableness of THE THING to be enthralling sadness, I hope that made sense. I am a fan across the board, including GHOSTS OF MARS and some of the less celebrated ones. STARMAN is my number one though, wussy that I am. I owe you for a wish of positivity from another thread, but really, from the miserable West to wherever you’re at, thank you very much. You are a poster I’m always happy to see has commented, and your well wishings are meaningful.

    Bill Reed: I took some of those kinda classes myself, I think my local museum held two kiddo cartooning buck-getters. I vaugely remember some guy showing the class a HEART OF JULIET JONES book, which means a lot to me for a lot of personal reasons – but I was eleven, it could be an idealized memory in which the book was APARTMENT 3G or some shit. The second class was taught be this hesher guy who used to openly work on his sexy cave lady comic behind the counter at my “LCS”, he ran the store while the owner recovered from a really sad injury.

    No dis to the rap dude for wearing SGs indoors, I’m way too much of a grown ass mandog (as Original Kang “Ced” would say, and I would imagine to mean some kind of freaky monster), I don’t clown on people’s clothes unless they’re human garbage and deserve all variety of Snaps, such as your mama’s so old I cut open one of her titties and mustard came out, an all time classic from the all time classic “Snaps: The Album”, pivotal record to myself.

    Where’s “Snaps: Family Tree” or “The Steve Harvey Show: Grand Design”? Shit, I’d even take a “Stanley De’Vanté Oglevee: Origins”.

    I recognize your name from CBR. Tell G. Kendall I say how’s it goin when you get together for the big Halloween party at Stately CBR Manor. Anyway, nice to talk to you, Bill, genuinely.

    Pac: I’ve rerouted my reply to your comment to the classic jurisdiction of F.R.O.7 so as to not discourage talk of the many depths of THE DEADLY SPAWN.

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