Daily Archives: March 21, 2008

A Peek at the New Wolf Man

One more quick item before I shut down for the night:

Stephen Sommers, who scored big with his goofy-fun remake of The Mummy and then flopped even bigger with the dismal Van Helsing, is once again looking to the classic Universal monsters for inspiration. This time, it’s The Wolf Man getting an upgrade. I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t too crazy about this idea when I first heard it. I don’t usually care for remakes, Sommers has a spotty record, and the 1941 Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, Jr., has always been my favorite of the Universal monster movies.

But then I heard Benicio del Toro would be playing Lon Chaney part, and my interest level rose a hair. Then I heard the legendary Rick Baker — who brought An American Werewolf in London to life, among many other projects — would be doing the make-up effects and that he intended to remain true to the look of the original, and my interest level climbed a bit more.
Then I saw a photo of del Toro in Baker’s make-up:

Benecio del Toro as The Wolf Man

Holy crap! Is that not way-cool? Suddenly, I’m actually looking forward to this project. Let’s hope it’s a lot more like The Mummy than Van Helsing, though…

Via. Another pic of del Toro’s make-up, as well as one of Lon Chaney for comparison, can be found here.


The Original Futurama Theme

Ah, the awful work day is over. Let’s talk about something a bit more uplifting, shall we? How about television?

The late, lamented Futurama has always been something of a conundrum for me. It’s a show I really wanted to like: an animated science fiction/comedy series created by the guy who brought us The Simpsons, a spoof of and loving homage to all the futuristicky space crap I’ve always loved, a niche thing that appeals only to a particular elite (read: cult) who actually recognize all the subtle nods to the big SF films and TV of the last 40 years. Oh, and it features the voice talents of the lovely Katey Sagal, a.k.a. Peggy Bundy from Married with Children, one of my guilty pleasures for years. How could I not love Futurama?

I don’t know, but somehow I don’t. The overall design of the show — the look of the environment, the Galaxy Express spaceship, the characters — amuses me, and I occasionally snicker at the sociopathic robot Bender or the frankly bizarre Dr. Zoidberg, but I don’t very often laugh deeply, not the way I do at The Simpsons or some other sitcoms. Hell, I find Two and a Half Men a lot funnier than Futurama. (I don’t know if that says more about Futurama or me, though, and I don’t know that it’s something I ought to be admitting, either…).

I do, however, love Futurama‘s opening credits. Like the title sequence for The Simpsons, this sequence is a tour of the world in which the show takes place, set to a catchy, somewhat goofy theme song. Also like The Simpsons, the opening credits for Futurama feature a gag that changes every episode, in this case the text under the main title itself. Here’s a typical example:


But’s here’s an interesting bit of trivia for you: that theme song is apparently based on a much older piece of music. Naturally, somebody out there on the InterWebs has tracked down that piece of music and made it available to the entire world… click through for more!

According to this guy, the original piece is something called “Psyche Rock” by Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier, an early experiment in electronic music that was recorded in 1967. Here’s the video, which even boasts some similar imagery to the Futurama opening:

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor


Funny, I always thought the Futurama theme was a variant of “Louie Louie.” Shows you what I know…


Restless Kind

On the days when I’m just buried at work — days when my inbox is overflowing and people keep prairie-dogging over the walls of my cube to try and convince me that they’re going to have a heart attack if I don’t do their project RIGHT NOW, ahead of all the other projects that belong to all the other people who are also having heart attacks, and I’m wondering at just what point in my life the road diverged and I ended up on this particular path, and oh by the way, is there an alternate-universe version of me who’s having a lot more fun right at this very moment in time? — yes, on days just like the one I’m having today, I find myself drawn irresistably to the pop-rock music of my formative years in the mid-1980s. You know, the stuff that’s heavy on the crunchy-sounding rhythm guitars and always has a wailing solo after the third verse, but never gets really hard enough to cross the line into true metal? Yeah, I’ll admit to listening to a lot of that stuff regardless of what kind of day I’m having, but on days like this one, I really get dedicated about it.

Maybe it’s because the bombast effectively masks the background noise in my office environment, or maybe it’s because the simplistic lyrics about teenage sexual frustration and youthful machismo are easy to tune out when I’m trying to read copy. Or maybe, just maybe, some part of me is yearning for the time in my life when I didn’t have grey hairs because I can’t seem to figure out how to fit everything I need to do into an 18-hour period of wakefulness. A time when all that was on my mind was music and teenage sexual frustration and dreams of the future…

Well, you get the idea. I’m having a miserable damn day at work and that makes me pine for freedoms I never appreciated when I actually had them. It seems like the longer my to-do list becomes, the more frantically my overworked brain craves escape. I have a lot of fantasies of just walking away from the meat grinder and going vagabond, of tramping through Europe and driving with the top down and riding a Harley somewhere on a desert two-lane. Which would be a good trick, since I don’t actually own a Harley.

I’ve been listening to Night Ranger this afternoon, one song in particular, over and over. It’s synching up with my daydreams and fitting my melancholy mood in a way that’s almost scary. It’s a song called “Restless Kind.” I would’ve put up a YouTube clip, but I haven’t been able to find one. It wasn’t a big hit for the band, and I guess they never did a video for it. Too bad, because it’s actually quite pretty, and very appropriate for anyone who feels like taking an advance on their upcoming mid-life crisis. Here are the lyrics, at least, if you’re interested: