Album Cover of the Week

Ooh, a black-and-white cover!  Have I ever featured one of those?  This one belongs to Erebos, a Polish black metal band.  Their stuff is quite atmospheric.  It's 100% instrumental.  Faded into the Shadows is their latest release, and I fancy it, though I admit it can be hard to listen to straight through.  I don't think I was built to digest instrumental music, but I can still promote it.  Hail Satan!


Blood Capsule #81


2013's Curse of Chucky was welcomed with open doll parts (hey now), as it brought a morose tone back to the series.  From a cursory skim of IMDb, I glean that Cult of Chucky - the fresh, piping hot installment - is also popular amongst fans.  Maybe a little less, but still, a sprightly consensus.  The film relishes in keeping the viewer guessing.  Can you guess if I dug Cult?  I did, actually.  I like the fact that the plot picks up right where Curse left off.  Nica (the still-sexy, still-infirm Fiona Dourif) has been adjudicated and sentenced to a stay at a mental institution by way of her "insanity" plea.  After a few years, she has convinced doctors and orderlies that she has come to grips with reality, accepting the verity of her involvement with the murder of her entire family.

That was very nearly a run-on sentence.  If you see it happening again, stop me.  Before it's too late!  Anyhow, an unabridged synopsis would be a monotonous read.  All you need to know is that stuff happens at the loony bin.  Chucky stuff.  And man, Mr. Lee Ray has a ball this time around.  The kills are wicked.  I mean, Cult may not be as gruesome as American Guinea Pig, but as far as mainstream slashers are concerned, the barbarity peeled back is goddamn explicit.  How can you not love the "glass ceiling" bit, a lurid homage to Bride of Chucky?  Speaking of bitch--WHICH...speaking of which, the bride is accounted for.  Jennifer Tilly, man.  Jennifer fuckin' Tilly.

Performances are strong across the advisory board.  I wouldn't mind being a Dourif when I grow up.  Fiona is fine-tuned, Brad is just as sharp as ever and Nica's fellow convalescents are suited to their roles.  Objectively, I can't point to a specific thing as a defect or a failing, but for whatever reason, I prefer Curse of Chucky over Cult of Chucky.  Perhaps it's the ambiance.  Not all of the humor snaps into place, but as it stands, I'm cool with this factory-made movie.  The pace is swift and...aww, fuckity!  I want this to be a mini-review.  Keep it concise, cuckold!


Blood Capsule #80


The full title is American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore.  Yes, this is a western accrual of the legendary Japanese series of exploitative nightmares captured on film.  Others have been produced since, and the probability of you hunting them down is tied directly with your opinion of baseless violence.  It's fictional, sure, but this shit doesn't always feel fictional.  It would be more effective without the hokey dialogue ("I had to change my underwear.") and the substandard acting.  I did more laughing than I expected.  Maybe that's a good thing, as I came away with my sanity unscathed.

I don't mean to overstate American Guinea Pig's brutal nature, and yet, I really haven't.  The guts and gore of the subtitle are laid on thick, often within a sexual lexicon.  You're basically watching two girls being flayed, dismembered, disemboweled and worse for 70+ minutes, all while kept alive with drugs and tourniquets.  The practical effects are outstanding.  Seriously, there is no substitute for in-camera "movie magic."  American Guinea Pig has a narrow audience, but fans of the Japanese series should be pleased.  I'm not sure what drove me to view this dementia, but my curiosity is slaked.  Um, the gore is gory?  Yeah, that's my review.


Switchin' it up mid-stream, bitches!

It's fucking October.  Still!  Here in North Carolina, we wouldn't mind a few autumnal days.  Hey, summer...WHY WON'T YOU DIE?  I've been reviewing Frankenstein movies, but as with any restrictive theme, I'm feeling restless.  I want to talk about a vast assortment of horrors.  So I will!  Thing is, most (not all) of the reviews from here on out will be Blood Capsules.  They are easier to write, and I'll be able to get to more movies.  Don't worry; I plan on hitting a couple of Frankenflix.  I just wanted to hit other oddities along the way in time for Halloween.

Why Bigfoot?  I never need a reason.


Blood Capsule #79


"ALLLVIIIIIIN!  Come here, you little fistfuck!  I'm gonna chain you to the pole again!  That's right.  Where did I leave my handgun?  I'm gonna put it to your head, you piss rodent!  And I swear to God, if you don't suck my intestines out through my dick, I'm going to blow your fuckin' brains out!"  Sometimes, I wonder if I cross the line.  Naaah.  Apparently, this was the first Chipmunks movie since the 80's.  They met The Wolfman the following year, and if the general consensus is to be believed, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein is the inferior product.  Just my luck!  I swear to God, if you don't suck my--woah!  I'm worried.  About me.

There isn't much to say here, folks.  If you were a fan of the Chipmunks as a tiny human (as I was), you'll dig this flick-a-dee.  It's fun, and it seems to have been made by fans of the Universal monster mashes.  Why, it's even - I can't believe I'm admitting this - cute in spots.  Simon has his teddy bear, while Frankenstein('s creation) sleeps with a Frankie action figure.  Hey, that's adorable, and you know it!  Needless to type, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Hitler Youth isn't flawless.  Alvin is annoying (I never liked that son of a bitch) AND I'm tired of writing.  I wasn't cut out for this gig.


Forces of the North Carolinan Night

This isn't a "real" review or anything.  I just wanted to talk about the DVD I watched through exceptionally legal means.  Right.  Anyhow, I jammed out to Dimmu Borgir's Forces of the Northern Night, a live recording from five years ago.  Why did it take so goddamn long to release this thing?  Currently, Dimmu Borgir's momentum is set to zilch.  Their last full-length - 2010's iffy Abrahadabra - is a distant memory in metal's collective mind.  You'd think that if they were going to put something out, it would be new music.  Nope!

The die-hards will want to know if the content is worthwhile.  Well, the die-hards have seen Northern Night by now.  How did I rate it?  Thank you for asking.  The concrete performances are astounding.  Shagrath's vocals are tirelessly thunderous (I've read that he uses backing tracks, which is disappointing, but he himself sounds magnificent), the drums are mixed smoothly and the orchestra...fuck, the orchestra kicks unholy ass.  It must have been a nightmare to engineer this monstrosity of noise.

The setlist is boring.  Half of the tunes appear on Abrahadabra (I do enjoy "Dimmu Borgir" and "Born Treacherous") and the other half are expected.  Y'know, "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" and "Mourning Palace."  I will never gripe about hearing "Kings of the Carnival Creation," as I believe it to be one of the best black metal compositions of all time.  Fight me.  At the end of the day, Forces of the Northern Night is an alloyed rucksack.  You might even say that it's a mixed bag.  Again, fight me.  Actually, I hate myself for that joke.  I deserve a proper thrashing.


The Horror of Frankenstein

It has been a couple of days since I watched 1970's The Horror of Frankenstein.  I will normally review a film one day later, so as to retain shade and nuance.  Believe it or not, those extra 24 hours do make a difference.  I was going to can the notion altogether, but no!  I shall power through.  In any case, this...uh, movie - yes, I'm reviewing a movie; I knew that - centers around a gynecologist?  Why am I asking?  I'm quite familiar with...could you give me just a second?  A-ha!  I'm sorry you had to wait for three months, but I was looking for...my child!  Yes!  My child went missing!  Jesus, who am I kidding?  Everyone knows that Dom Jr. died in The Great Strip Club Fire of 1989.  That I started.

You think that's bad?  He wasn't even born yet!  Alright, enough eyewash and horsefeathers.  This flick is the undesigned dissident of Hammer's Frankenstein franchise in that it doesn't follow the Peter Cushing Frankie features.  Literally.  It's a stand-alone picture, and if you want to get technical, it's a remake of 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein.  Maybe not "to the T," but that was the idea.  Jimmy Sangster signed on to direct because he saw that the project was going to suck the testicles out of a sevenstar flying squid.  He and fellow scribe Jeremy Burnham injected personality into a rigid script.  The result?  Well, it has a dodgy reputation.

Now that I've seen Horror, I can't help but feel that hardcore fans are being too fussy and captious.  Like me!  While I understand that it doesn't have the same deportment as "The Cushing Six," it's still an entertaining ride.  The added levity works.  I dig this interpretation of the doctor as a nearly amoral maverick.  He isn't the cuddliest lead character in the world, but that didn't bother me.  The constant shots of Kate O'Mara and Veronica Carlson in revealing provisions didn't bother me either.  Imagine that.  Still, there is no outright nudity, but we get a glimpse of irriguous gore whenever a limb is severed.  Lotsa severed limbs.

Sangster, my favorite Hammer-friendly writer, always had a knack for smart pacing.  Horror is almost too quick, but that's better than the alternative.  Remember Alternative Nation?  Nevermind, I'm deviating.  On the downer side, it takes awhile to get to the monster.  I realize that's the complaint of an 8-year-old, but newsflash!  I'm an eight-year-old!  What's more, I wasn't crazy about the look of Sir Creature, as portrayed by David Prowse.  He's just a guy with a few scars.  He has muscles, I guess.  Hammer was coveting a younger demographic with The Horror of Frankenstein and I presume that they succeeded.

The question is, did they succeed with ME?  Yes.  I already said that.


Wonder Woman

NOTE: This review was written a few months ago for a separate publication.  I held onto it, but today is a good day to post it.  I got nothing else right now.  My "Frankenfiles" reviews will continue next week, probably Monday.  Keep in mind, this piece was written for a completely different audience.  That's why it has an introductory tone.  No rating, but I'd give Wonder Woman 4 Z'Dars.

I'm an unapologetic nerd.  I collected comic books as a wee mutineer, but I had picky, specific tastes.  Most superheroes bored me to napalm death.  I did make exceptions for Spider-Man and Batman, but all told, I sought out the weird stuff.  That predilection for the obscure was nurtured with age.  I became a 32-year-old horror buff who brushed off the MCU, and yes, even the DCU.  I don't know why I'm talking in past tense.  I AM 32.  What a stupid age.  EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm 33 now.  That's a stupid age.

Anyway, you're not reading this to learn about me, although it will help you to see where I'm coming from.  Just where am I coming from exactly?  I'm coming from the place of an outsider, a pop culture insurgent who doesn't give a hard fuck about the mainstream. Maybe you're the same way, or maybe you feel like you would have to see every other DCU flick to absorb the finer details of Wonder Woman. Let's be candid; watching those overblown adaptations is an imposing prospect.

I have good news!  You don't have to do that kind of "homework," so to speak.  I certainly didn't, and I enjoyed the hell out of Wonder Woman.  From the onset of early trailers, it seemed to be spun of gossamer (or at least a more delicate fabric than its DCU predecessors).  I had a sneaking suspicion that it was a different beast altogether.  While the film's color palette is analogous to that of most summer blockbusters, the machinations beneath the glossy veneer zero in on pacing and character development.

Gal Gadot is functioning at an expert level as the titular hero.  She effortlessly communicates Diana's naivete, which leads to effective "fish out of water" humor.  Mind you, that's coming from someone who detests "fish out of water" humor.  Wonder Woman is simply well-written.  Each player has a purpose and no one is built too thin for their role in the narrative.  Oh, and Gadot is goddamn gorgeous. She may actually be an Amazonian warrior.  Jesus Christ.

The action sequences are set to kill.  Badass fight choreography, cool (or kewl, if you prefer) weaponry and an excellent use of slow-motion...until the ending, that is.  The last 15 minutes are mired in ostentation and cornball dialogue.  "Feel the power of love!" Really???  Are we supposed to believe that a Greek god can be trounced by the power of fucking love?  It's a trivial infraction, but I was really hoping for a killer climax.

Luckily, the rest of Wonder Woman lives up to the hype.  I don't know when this article will be published, but if this slice of the DC Universe is still playing at a theater near you, go see it.  Now!