All posts for the month January, 2013

Face Off Season 4 episode 3: Icy Demons

Published January 30, 2013 by vfdpixie

As an artist, I absolutely HATED being rushed.  At a counter, on a shoot or set, rushing a makeup can create complete disasters or the most brilliant work, depending on the day, and whether you are used to making lemonade out of lemons, so-to-speak.  I feel for these contestants as they struggle with the time constraints given, and bite my nails (figuratively, as I think nail-biting is unsightly) every time these artists come down to last looks.  Yikes!

Episode 403, “When Hell Freezes Over”, was no exception.  This time, the contestants split up into partners to create a demon from different cultures around the world.

Eric Z. and Chris:  Abraxas;   Alam and Anthony:  Deumus;  House and Meagan:  Azi Dahaka;  Alex and Autumn:  Pazuza;  Katie and Jenna:  Eurynome;  Eric F. and Wayne:  Chort.  These were predetermined pairings, and to me very interesting because they basically grouped artists with a more defined vision together with those that seem to float in the grey area.  I was hoping that these other artists would rise to the occasion, but perhaps they were overshadowed by the drive of the technically confident.

They start off well, but a twist in the competition gives them a run for their money.  MacKenzie introduces a “script note” which changes the whole look of their demons:  Hell has frozen over.  The gang scrambles to adjust their designs to ice demons.  Many take the change in stride, but poor Jenna struggles through sculpting as she suffers from a tumor in her hand that makes it difficult to work quickly.  House is clearly not pleased with his partner Meagan, and communication breaks down.  And God love Autumn!  That woman is her own biggest fan!  A bit too much confidence that skims past her skill.  She seemed oblivious, or just ignored, her partner Alex’s disdain for the cohesiveness of their work.

My favorite makeups were Anthony and Alam’s Deumus and Wayne and Eric F’s Chort.  I agreed with the judges as they raved about the delicacy of Anthony’s sculpting with the horns and face that somehow read as beautiful.  And Eric F’s innovative use of his demon’s mouth as an opening for the model’s eyes was really cool.  On the other hand,  Jenna and Katie’s “hot mess” of a demon was self-explanatory.  Katie’s construction of walker arms was a complete disaster! I won’t reveal who goes home, but I don’t agree with it at all!  Should have been someone else for sure.

I have to say that I couldn’t help but notice the glee and relief in some of the artists’ eyes when the saw their partner.  It said “Phew, I think I will actually make it to the next round!”In fact, Alam was honest about her relief when she saw that Anthony was her partner.  Alam. Wayne and Meagan should count their blessings and snap out of what ever shell shock they are experiencing.  They have talent, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the show, so I hope they get a chance to bring that talent to the table.  If they don’t, I have a feeling riding on another artist’s brush belt won’t carry them for much longer!

Hail to the Nerd King Whedon!

Published January 23, 2013 by vfdpixie

Joss Whedon is nerd royalty.  Creator of some of the most innovative characters and storylines for both T.V. and film, he kept me and millions of fans watching and waiting for his next brilliant idea.  More recently, he blew my mind with The Cabin in the Woods, which was such a unique and innovative take on the typical formula of gorgeous youths, a nerd and an isolated cabin retreat storyline.  For me, the most notable and iconic were Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both the movie and T.V. series), Angel, and Dollhouse.  I know there are rabid Firefly fans out there, but I must admit, I never followed it, and after this past Sunday’s variety show, now feel the need to catch up with that series.

Some of his fans right here in Toronto decided to pay tribute to him at the Mod Club by putting on NERDGASM!!!-All Things Whedon Variety Show dedicated to some of his most popular works.  It showcased burlesque, musical, acrobatic and aerial acts, as well as some nerve frying fire performances that I will not forget anytime soon!  I must add, that out of respect to the performers and because we were asked not to use flash, I only got a couple of pictures, but I will include links so you can read about some these talented and brave individuals.

The show’s host, Oscar Surla, was dressed as Lorne, the demon club owner and team member on Angel.  He kept the audience engaged and the show flowing with his hilarious commentary.  The first act was Red Herring as Saffron from Firefly.  Her tough and tantalizing burlesque act showcased her gorgeous curves and she took no prisoners when she added a bit of knife throwing prowess.

Next up was fire dancer Erica Furness as Druscilla the vampire from Angel.  I’ve known Erica for quite some time, and was really jazzed to see her perform.  She held the audience captive as she swayed over a bed of nails, making some of us wonder if she was really going to lay on it.  She did not disappoint, and carefully crawled atop her pointy perch, lit wands of fire, and skimmed the flames over her glowing skin.  Definitely not an act to miss!

Pixie and Erica

Pixie, Erica and Druscilla’s doll

The musical numbers included songs representing Xander and Anya from Angel and Dr. Horrible sung by Elizabeth Rose Morriss and Vicki Laufer among others, and an emotional reminder of Buffy’s plight after she is brought back to life sung with a powerful and clear voice belonging to Bianca Boom Boom.

More dancing came with Dr. Tease as Jayne Cobb from Firefly.  He gave us a unique and hilarious striptease that kept the crowd cheering for more, as well as a dance/fight sequence by Barely Legal Leelando.  Both very were very entertaining.

Toning down the mayhem was Heather Labonte’s weird and wonderful belly dance. The crowd was literally mesmerized as  she subtly shimmered and shook her hips in a beautiful costume of red.

I must pause here to make a statement.  Even though I can watch a stack of horror movies and sleep like a baby right after, acrobatic acts give me tons of anxiety.  I am constantly wondering if something will happen to them, and the better they are, the more freaked out I get.  These next acts really, really freaked me out.

The show’s producer, Miranda Tempest and her aerial partner Faeya Tal, representing Fred and Illyria from Angel, did the most incredible aerial hoop act I have seen, or actually sat through with my eyes open.  Their flexibility, grace and strength took everyone’s breath away.


Miranda and Faeya’s aerial feats

Scarlett Black playing Willow from Buffy, gave me a heart attack.  She defied danger and logic (at least mine!) with her amazing hoola hoops of fire.  Deftly swung around her in a fiery blur, those hoops never had a chance!

Two of the creepiest acts performed one after the other.  J.D. Sparks chilled everyone’s blood as one of the Gentlemen from one of my favourite Buffy episodes “Hush”.  He glided his way through intricate rope acrobatics with a gruesome grin plastered on his face.  It really looked like he was coming for us.  After him was Brie Poisonne as the toothy ballerina from The Cabin in the Woods.  it was a creepy fan dance/ballet burlesque that hid a nightmare under her tutu.

“Lorne” ended the night with a sing along of Firefly‘s theme song “Ballad of Serenity”, and the crowd cheered for more!  My friend and I were blown away at how amazing all the acts were, and I really liked the intimate space at the Mod Club.  It was definitely a great way to spend a snowy, Sunday night, and I can’t wait for the next event put on by IlliminAir Entertainment’s founder Miranda Tempest and her crew of talented colleagues.

2013-01-20 20.39.01

Some of the fantastic cast of Nerdgasm!

It’s All Flash!

Published January 20, 2013 by vfdpixie

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon (1980, 1 hr 51 mins)

So, it’s a Saturday night and sis and I decide to catch Seth MacFarlane’s Ted On Demand.  It was entertaining, albeit a tad gross and at times offensive which is the nature of his comedy.  The characters were weirdly obsessed with the 1980’s version of Flash Gordon, and Sam J. Jones who portrayed Flash makes an appearance in the film.  A week later, my sis brings a surprise home: a copy of the very same Flash Gordon from the local library.  Eager to see it through Ted’s eyes and refresh my memory (since I can’t remember if I saw this as a kid), I popped it into my player and gave it a go.

Flash, a star football player for the New York Jets, gets catapulted through an unfortunate series of events into a fantastical battle to save the Earth from destruction.  Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow), an intergalactic overlord, is determined to discard the Earth after he’s had his fun, and the same plan applies to the lovely Dale Arden (Melody Anderson), Flash’s reluctant sidekick and love interest.  Along for the rocket ship ride is the crazed Dr. Zarkov (Topol) who has foreseen this alien threat (and basically the cause of all this brouhaha), and a host of oppressed otherworldly beings who rally behind Flash Gordon to gain their independence.

Max von Sydow is the best thing in this movie.  The seasoned actor, who played iconic roles such as Jesus Christ in The Greatest Story Ever Told and Father Merrin in The Exorcist, is ruthless, and well, merciless as Ming.  From toying with the Earth as he creates meteorological havoc, to having a snack as his daughter pleads for his mercy, Mr. von Sydow captures the perfect balance of camp and menace to carry the film.

The soundtrack and theme song was performed by Queen.  How awesome is that?!! During Ming’s forced wedding to Dale, they play the best Wedding March ever.  It’s so rock and roll and so 80’s all at once, my head almost exploded.  If I lose my mind and get married, I will most definitely walk down the aisle to this version.

I admit, I watched this movie with glee.  It’s an assault on the senses.  Colour, camp and cheese galore.  The script however, was terrible.  Just horrific, which is why I was happy there was so much to look at.  The costumes and sets were spectacular; like something out of a Las Vegas review. I loved the Hawkmen and Lizardmen costumes, and also the elaborate concubine outfits.  Since I come from a makeup background, I have to comment on the incredibly flawless looks.  Ming the Merciless looked amazing with his evilly arched brows and perfectly smokey eyes, and Princess Aura (Ornella Muti) was stunning in a modified Chinese opera look.  I loved the use of colour and metallics to create a futuristic vision a la the 1980’s.

Ming and Aura            hawkmen

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been single for a long time, but this movie had a lot of sexual innuendo and undertones.  First, I’d like to take a moment to comment on Sam J. Jones.  He looked pretty good in Ted.  Strapping at 58, I’m sure he can still get the ladies.  I was a little surprised at myself watching Mr. Jones as Flash, because I realized he was beautiful as a young man.  I usually like my men to be more gnarly looking, but I was mesmerized by his chiselled jaw and football player’s build.  The eye candy made up for the bad acting.  And who’s idea was it to put him in a scene in nothing but a pair of leather shorts?  Freddie Mercury?!!  Because he looked good.  Like, really good.   Ahem,…anyway, everyone is basically horny and back stab each other any chance they get while clad in really tight clothing.  Never fear though, amidst all the steamy cavorting, the right backs get stabbed and the good guys prevail…or do they?

leather-clad Flash           Freddie Mercury      Tee Hee!

It’s nice to see how present day Hollywood can revive movies and actors that had blockbuster intentions but end up in the B-movie racks.  It justifies all us nerdy, B-movie loving buffs, like a giant “I told you so!” to the masses. I think this version of Flash Gordon is a kooky, fun tribute to the original 1930’s comic strip.   If you’re looking to brighten up a dull day, check out this movie for a glam, campy romp that ain’t rocket science!

Most Memorable Line: Flash and the gang have been taken prisoner and await their fate in Ming’s court.  When Flash sees how diabolical Ming is, he whispers to Dale, “This Ming is a psycho!”, which is then relayed by a flying robot tattle-tale.  Note to Flash:  this type of unedited comment will almost certainly get you singled out, start a ridiculous football inspired fight, stripped down to leather shorts and prepared for execution.

Favourite Scene:  When Princess Aura is being whipped because she helped Flash escape, she demands to see her father, Ming, who she thinks will object to her torture.  The torture chamber door slides open to reveal Ming posing just so and snacking from a glass goblet.  He refuses her pleading with a clipped “No” between bites.  Love the campy goodness!

Afros, and Zombies and Voodoo, Oh My!!

Published January 18, 2013 by vfdpixie


Sugar Hill (1974, 1hr 31 mins)

Sugar Hill is my hero.  Once again, I’m biased, but after reading my bestie’s new book (shameless plug) What Are You Doing Here?:  A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal, it inspired me don my shitkickers, be my pixie self, and maybe fight gangsters with my zombie army in an afro.  So I pulled out my copy of Sugar Hill, which I found in my favourite goldmine, Suspect Video, and settled in for some bad ass action.

Diana “Sugar” Hill (Marki Bey) is happy and in love with her handsome, shiny suited boyfriend Langston (Larry Don Johnson).  He owns Club Haiti, a groovy nightclub that hosts elaborately choreographed numbers like, um, a voodoo shindig, for a groovy clientele.  His club is so groovy that the local gangster, Mr. Morgan (Robert Quarry) wants it.  Morgan sends his henchmen to collect but Langston stands up to them, only to be beaten to death by the baddies who wear loud suits and nylons to obscure their mustachioed faces.  ‘Cause the awful, awful suits they wear won’t give them away.

bad suits

Sugar and Langston, and badly dressed bad guys

Sugar is devastated, and filled with revenge and rage, consults the local voodoo queen, Mama Maitresse (Zara Cully, who played George Jefferson’s mother on The Jeffersons) to avenge Langston’s death.  How, you may ask?  By calling upon Baron Zamedi (Don Pedro Colley), to whom she offers her own soul for the deaths of her boyfriend’s killers.  The Baron is delighted because Sugar is not afraid of him and raises an army of undead slaves to do her bidding.

sugar's zombies

Zombies with eyes aglitter

Enter Valentine (Richard Lawson), who is Sugar’s ex and the local cop on the case once the killings start.  He is suspicious of her, but because they have a history, tells her to steer clear of any involvement with Morgan and his men and does his own research to support his hunch that these are no regular killings.  He also has a fantastic ‘fro that seems to have a life of its own.

Sugar is a stone cold fox!  Seriously!  Wearing what seems to be original hot, kick ass outfits by a Norbart Valentino (which I think is a pseudonym for someone else since this is the only movie listed under this name, and this name is kind of ridiculous), Sugar runs her photography business, Club Haiti and exacts revenge.  Her killing suit rivals any Elvis onesy I’ve ever seen.  And that magnificent afro!  So perfectly picked out and worn only when she is doling out the hurt on the racist, and dumb bad guys.


Stone. Cold. Fox.

sugar hill jumper

Killing onesy

And speaking of bad guys, the head gangster, Mr. Morgan, is extremely entertaining.  He is very metro, from his white cuban heels, to sipping champers and kissing his cute little poodle.  In fact he treats his poodle better than his girl, Celeste (Betty Anne Rees).  Morgan’s bad guy den is also the living room of my dreams.  Stripey sofa, day glow pillows and gold table lamps!  All I need is my kaftan to entertain my guests!  Honorable mention also goes to Morgan’s right hand man, Fabulous played by Night Court’s Charles Robinson.  Oh the suits!!  He really lived up to his name.  I couldn’t figure out whether the fabric came from an upholsterer’s workshop or my mother’s drapes.  Wow!!

Morgan and Fabulous

Morgan and Fabulous

I’m going to count Sugar Hill as my favourite blaxploitation film ever.  It’s got zombies, revenge, Afros, great clothes and decor, and the best theme song ever:  “Supernatural Voodoo Woman” sung by The Orginals.  Oh, and Sugar is just kick ass.  She won’t let anyone walk over her or piss in her corn flakes, and if you try, the killing afro comes out and she’ll feed you to pigs or have a zombie intervention.  I will definitely take a page from her book, and while I won’t feed people to pigs or zombies, I will channel some ‘fro power when the chips are down!

Most Memorable Line and Favourite Scene:  This is an all in one.  When Celeste goes to Club Haiti to tell Sugar that she should back off and sell the club, they exchange heated words.  Celeste warns Sugar not to get “uppity” and Sugar replies, “Uppity?  With you?  My dear, talking to you means I look nowhere but down.” And the ladies go off in the most ridiculous catfight.  They tussle and all the while, a stone faced bartender continues to set up for the night.  Sugar kicks Celeste’s ass and the bartender calmly hands her a bucket of ice to douse Celeste with.  Has to be seen!!

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burke –verb (used with object), burked, burk·ing. to murder, as by suffocation, so as to sell the corpse to medical science

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