Gimme a week or so.  I haven't felt like writing anything lately, and overall, I haven't been FEELING myself.  Eh, I'm sure I'll get over it.


Geek Out #128

I love "fly on the wall" music documentaries where you're in the studio with the band, watching them actuate during the creative process.  It's just me living vicariously through cool people.  See, I've always wanted to be in a band.  A real band, not Dark Fuck or whatever the hell it was called (I was in a shitty "band" a decade ago; the three of us never met in the flesh and the "leader" found Jesus after one month and quit).  "Quotation marks."  So yeah, I geeked out watching the above clip.  Metallica has...eh, I need a new paragraph.

Found one!  Metallica has been posting "making of" videos for each track on Hardwired to Self-Destruct.  They did the same deal for Death Magnetic, and I think it's awesome.  There are only a handful so far, but it seems to be a weekly (or bi-weekly) upload.  No, I won't be reviewing the album.  I will say that it's their mightiest effort since 1991, and "Spit Out the Bone" is their best song since 1988. "Confusion" is my second favorite cut on the record.  It's as catchy as tuberculosis as Hepatitis B combined, yo!


Lord of Illusions

Remember when I reviewed that Clive Barker novel?  You should. It wasn't that long ago.  Jesus.  Maybe you found this page just now via Google.  In which case, I apologize for the chutzpah and self-importance, even though I am REALLY important.  Remember when I reviewed 1995's Lord of Illusions?  Trick question!  Antiemetics are never used to prevent post-partum hemorrhaging, you fucking idiot.  Anyway, I have owned the director's cut of this flick on VHS for years.  It was pretty easy to find in the latter stages of the video store era (somewhere in between the Pleistocene epoch and 2003). Yesterday, I decided that it would take too long to find the goddamn thing in my closet, so a friend and I watched the R-rated version instead.  I like to point out that I have friends.

There are ten minutes missing from the oh-so-Restricted rendering we watched, but having seen the uncircumcised variant, I'm confident enough in my recall ability to say that this is a review of Barker's cut.  And I can't stop thinking about cocks.  Dicks. Members. 'Member?  Berries.  Twigs.  Trunks.  Packages.  Purple-vein monster rods.  Shit!  Start the synopsis already.  As I'm sure you could guess, Lord of Illusions centers around the cryptic world of magic(k). Private eye Harry D'Amour casually staggers into a horror movie already in progress.  He winds up with a front row seat to the tragic accidental death of a popular magician (imagine an ostentatious Vegas act, only classier).  Was it staged?  If so, by whom?  Is it connected to a ghastly cult?  Where is my cock, and is it tied to the trigger of an airsoft gun?

This was Barker's third and final directorial outing, discounting shorts.  In my estimation, it remains his best.  I realize what I'm saying.  Hellraiser is a modern classic, and I'm not suggesting that it's an easy call to make, but I favor Lord of Illusions by a mite of chicken feed.  They are both flawed.  As for Nightbreed, I was never much of a fan.  Getting back to Monarch of Soothsaying, it has held up remarkably well.  You might sneer, "Big deal.  It's from the mid-90's."  Firstly, fuck you.  Secondly, you're forgetting that this is an effects-heavy genre film.  It could have been riddled with deformed CGI, but that mess is contained to a single awkward scene.  The rest?  A proliferation of practical gore and a few instances of good (!) CGI.  The make-up is fantastic throughout (love the part where Nix's proselytes sink into the floor).

By the way, Daniel von Bargen is seriously creepy as Nix, a cult leader "born to murder this world."  I was saddened to learn that he passed away last year from complications following an apparent suicide attempt.  Segue?  When I read The Scarlet Gospels, I saw Scott Bakula in my mind's eye as D'Amour, so that should fill you in on the validity of his performance.  Famke Janssen is hot.  I don't mean to objectify her, but Dorothea (her character) isn't explored in a meaningful way.  That brings me to a problem I have with the script. The love angle between Harry and Dorothea is so perfunctory, it feels like a studio note.  In that same vein, the ending doesn't want to end.  I can picture an executive stonewalling his case that the villain needs to come back several times.  "It will be scary!"

You can bet that the best chunks of Lord of Illusions reek of Clive Barker.  It may not be quite as Barker-y as Hellraiser, but again, I prefer it by a cunt hair (I tried not to use that apophthegm* earlier, but hey, Steve Austin uses it).  Even in 2016, it tells a fresh story. How many other fright flicks operate within the shrouded realm of professional magic?  Plus, it's paced well.  I'm a stickler for pacing.  I always bring it up, even at dinner.  Even in 2016, I bring up pacing. How many other crippled writers operate within the shrouded realm of cock-and-ball torture?  Damn it!  Cocks!  They're everywhere! Ahem.  I enjoy Lord of Illusions, and if I were propositioned with a rating scale of five Z'Dars, I would award it with...cocks.  Fuck!

*I doubt that I used that term correctly.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Ghooooooul!  Crossover death/thrash from right here in the United States.  Y'know, the only nation that God blesses.  Look at that cover; can you blame Him?  I've always been aware of Ghoul in a peripheral sense, but I'm just now digging into their muzak.  It's fucking cool!


Blood Capsule #68


I would have written a full review of this buttercup bambino, but my brain is in the backseat.  Apologies to no one.  Something strange that I noticed...the version of the movie that I watched ran for 100 minutes.  Will this be the American DVD cut of Shin Godzilla?  If not, why the pocky was it missing 20 minutes?  I'm wondering what exactly I was unwittingly blind to, aside from the hardcore sex scenes.  Even if this was the "variant" that will wind up on Best Buy shelves (lol), kaiju loyalists don't have much to worry about.  In short, I liked it.  If you need more reassurance, I liked it!  Does the exclamation point help?  I was a bit nervous, but the Toho logo put me at ease.  Of course, I also enjoyed the 2014 American Godzilla, so maybe you should disregard my opinion.

This motherfucker (trust me; Shin Godzilla is a motherfucker) begins with a salvo of detonation.  Monster action is only interrupted by monster action.  Yeah, there are humans talking, but that's one of the film's drawbacks.  There is no main character to which we can grow attached.  We simply observe scientists and politicians fluttering from afar, although poignancy is interchanged for a cerebral connection.  The social commentary (stop holding your nose) is handled in a crafty, shrewd way.  I wasn't expecting that, nor was I expecting a certain Godzilla "thing" that I'm afraid to specify.  Therein lies the other reason why I didn't stick to my usual four paragraph avocation.  I have plenty of spoilers to type, but I can't type them!

Damn honor code.  Here is all you need to know.  I was pleased with Shin Godzilla's central processing unit.  The special effects are jaw-dropping, the destruction is legitimately terrifying and Big G's design is fantastic.  The subtitles are hard to read at times, but that's not the picture's fault.  End of capsule.


Black Saturday

I know the holiday has come and gone.  Hell, it's not even Friday, but I had to post this image.  Made me snicker.  By the way, I stole it (in the night!) from a pal named Jayson.  Just what is the best Black Sabbath album anyway?  Are we sure that it's from the Ozzy era?  I don't think I have a favorite, for there are too many good songs spread across too many good albums.  So my pick is Born Again.


Bookworm Infested #8


A little over two years ago, I read (and reviewed) The Hellbound Heart.  I loved it!  I was highly anticipating this direct sequel, and while it took a sempiternity, I finally seized a copy.  Man, die-hard fans dressed it down, didn't they?  I identify as an exponent of Clive Barker, but I'm removed from brainy standpats in literary circles. That's not an insult, by the way.  I wouldn't mind being brainy; I'm just saying that I'm approaching The Scarlet Gospels from an outsider's perspective.  All of the vitriol beamed in this novel's direction is based on sound reasoning, and I agree with most of it. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait to turn the page to find out how Pinhead was going to raise enough bread to keep the Yakuza off his back.

I'll start with the positives.  Barker's prose has been compared to poetry, and I didn't notice a major downtick in writing quality. Remember, I'm only referring to word choice, his descriptive patter. I enjoy his custom of sliding blunt obscenities into otherwise baroque passages of action.  The last time I saw a non-spoken usage of "bleeding cunts," I was leafing through the latest R.L. Stine tome. You haven't heard of his new horror series for kids, Sex Ed With Count Nightwing?  Hmm, not a shabby joke.  I could riff on that for awhile, but I'll spare you the comedic sodomy.  If you don't already know, Scarlet involves Harry D'Amour, an investigator of the paranormal who has appeared in previous Barker creations.

The story threads are immoderately convoluted.  Suffice to say, the reader spends the bulk of the narrative in Hell as The Hell Priest (he hates his discumbered nickname) sets a plan in motion to govern Lucifer's kingdom.  Oh, and Earth.  I savored the scenes in Pyratha, the great city of Hell.  For whatever reason, the architecture and the caste system fascinated me.  I was especially interested in the tower that housed the Cenobites.  We do learn a tad about this ageless race of demons, and I treated these nuggets of lore like they were fucking cliffhangers.  But - and this is where the hooks fly out of the walls - there are no profound edicts or revelations.  In other words, I don't really know that much more about the Order of the Gash than I did before, apart from where they dwell.

You will see allusions to inferior editing in multiple reviews and that, my sweet, is because Barker's original manuscript was cleaved in half.  Half!  I get the distinct impression that it wasn't an artistic decision.  Parts of the book feel skimped on and hurried.  I would get specific, but I wanted to obviate the necessity for spoilers.  One last fuss, if I may be so bold; the dialogue is contrived.  Honestly, the characters converse as if they're in a corny Cannon movie from the 80's.  What's with the synthetic sarcasm during moments of extreme dread?  I can buy it from D'Amour, but not his supporting players. Speaking of which, folks such as Caz and Dale are not developed in the slightest.  Huh, I had a lot of bitching to do.

Following a rockslide of arraignments, you may not believe me when I say that I really dug The Scarlet Gospels.  I was sucked into the suspense, I was sucked off by Barker's style and I sucked--I don't care for where this sentence is heading.  Use your own judgment. This is definitely a flawed novel, but I don't regret bartering for it. Yeah, that's right; it was a trade.  The other party gave up a pristine copy of a mega-hyped genre release.  I gave up...um, money.  It's not important.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Japanese metal from 1986.  Yeah!  Dead End assisted in spearheading the visual kei movement alongside X Japan and Color. If you're not familiar with visual kei, just imagine Poison playing dramatic power/speed metal.  Dead End fell on the "horror punk" side of the spectrum.  This was their debut, and it's actually kind of catchy.  But this feature focuses on artwork.  Check out that ghoulish mania!  Is that a gargoyle sitting down in the background?  I'm legitimately asking.  Man, I hope that decomposing confrere finds his other eyeball.