FADE TO BLACK (1980)
There isn't much to say about this modest, unvarnished slasher. As muted as the film comes across, it could stand to be simplified even further. We are "treated" to a subplot involving a crime psychologist and his cop lover that goes nowhere faster than a speeding seminal spore. Technically, they don't collide with our psycho star, so they're useless anyway. Who is our psycho star? Thanks for asking! Eric Binford (seen above realizing he has a penis), a sheltered cinephile who lives with his prune shrew of an aunt. She's a real termagant, let me tell you! Boy, what a bag! You can see how Eric lives a soon-to-snap lifestyle, and it's not long before he does just that. When he stalks his prey, he cosplays as his favorite characters from cinema's golden age.
Eric dresses up as a vampire and a mummy, but oddly, his Hopalong Cassidy get-up is the creepiest by far. We only see his cumbersome silhouette hugged by fog. It's a highly effective death sequence, and I must credit writer/director Vernon Zimmerman with parenting a hefty sheaf of cool set-ups. But that's all I'll remember about Fade to Black. The shots, the kills, Eric's costumes...Eric himself isn't exactly sympathetic. No one is, really. I haven't mentioned the plot holes, and yet, I still recommend this flick. It's good enough to rent. Or download or steal or bliviodize (not a word). Look, I review movies like I'm lost in 1995 since my mind is commonly lost in 1995. In summation, Fade to Black is worth checking out on video. I would suggest renting first!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:21 PM
I usually do something "special" every year during the month of haunted hayrides and slasher marathons otherwise known as October. Usually. This year, watch out! Oh. Man. You won't believe what I have planned. It might actually make you uncomfortable. In fact, if you're pregnant, I would advise...that you keep reading. The unlit austerity of this announcement may induce labor, so you can finally toss that fetus into the nearest garbage pail. Get on with your life. Don't let a yowling purse of flesh suspend your enjoyment of Random Reviews Incorporated's Halloween Special Spunktafuckle. Or whatever.
So what am I doing this year? NOTHING! Not a damn thing. I thought about going all out this year. Other sites/blogs indulge in "31 days of horror," but that's a drain to maintain. I had several ideas. I basically celebrate Halloween for twelve straight months, though. In 2015, I experienced overkill as I went fucking bonkers, snorting lines of cheap decorations and miniature Krackle bars starting in early September. By the middle of October, I was dead tired of the gimmick. I also fell into a hollow of depression (which I doubt was related; who knows, Sally Jimenez?). It was a really rough patch. You can check the archives if you don't believe me.
That's when I decided that next year (this year), I would just relax and take in the Halloween ambiance. I don't want to work any more than I normally would. It's no good for my goddamn anxiety. Fret not, monster heads! There will be a Blood Capsule in the skies tomorrow, and I have my next bundle of reviews preordained. In addition, you never know when the next episode of Insomnia Theatre is going to jump out from behind a bush. Because it's kind of an asshole.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:36 PM
Back by nominal demand, it's...this! As Tyler notes in the description area on YouTube itself, there are minor issues with the audio levels. But they will be rectified by the next episode. Also, I suck. What I mean is that it takes me 15-20 minutes to "wake up" or something. Was I bobbing for Xanax in a barrel of cough syrup before recording? We are our own worst critics, I know. I get funnier as the film progresses (in my hilarious opinion). Man, I'm really insecure. I haven't said much about Tyler because CLEARLY, I'm the star. Man, I'm really pompous.
Still finding our footing, but I honestly think IT #2 outranks IT #1 by a smidge. Enjoy!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:38 AM
Yesterday, I was driven a number of miles that I'm not comfortable broadcasting (thanks, Mommy!) to see two films. Some called it a double feature. The first attraction was the remastered version of 1979's Phantasm, a horror classic that I've had a lukewarm relationship with since I saw it at the grizzled, calcified age of 13. It went right over my head. That initial viewing does leave a mark. I've wizened up a little, and man, seeing it on the silver sph...screen did the trick. It probably didn't need to be remastered for me to enjoy it as much as I did, but for the record, the print was irreproachable. I had tiny hearts in my eyes. I was later told by my optometrist that this is NOT normal. He has prescribed 46 eye drops twice a day for the remainder of my life. Something called embalming fluid.
The crowd puller? Phantasm: RaVager. Look, I capitalized the "v" that time. It means "five" in Spanish. My expectations were fair. I was expecting the new Philm to be lovingly kooky and somewhat confusing. Um, how do I say this? Let me tell you what I personally wanted from Ravager (that's right; one capitalized "v" and no more than one). I wanted closure. Just a mite! A driblet! Sure, I'd give my eyeteeth for all of the answers (or maybe my deciduous set; those milk chompers have to be around here somewhere), but this is a Philm. I knew that I wasn't going to get all of the answers. This is where I spoil shit. If you want my general opinion, well, that's what my ratings are for. If you want general adjectives, it's cheap and irritating. And stupid, though well-acted.
Okay! So how many answers did I receive in thine hands? None! Closure? What the fuck is that? I'm wheeling ahead of myself. The headmost hindrance is the shrimpy budget. Ravager should never have been produced on a shrimpy budget. It was shot on digital, for Alchemy's sake. You shoot this series on film. 35mm, buddy. It's the age of crowdfunding, so that should have been priority number uno (that's Roman for 1-ish). You can't tell me it was an artistic choice. I don't mean to belabor the point, but that really grinds my coffee. The majority of the effects are lousy. It goes without griping that CGI is used as an elementary unit, mainly for gags that could have been achieved via practical means. Listen, if the CGI looks crisp, I don't complain. My conservative estimation is that 80% of the cybernated pseudo-sorcery resembles actual shit.
But that's the candy wrapper. I spoke to you earlier (on the phone, naked) about closure. Ravager's fucking storyline is infuriating. I didn't exit the theater angry, mind you. No, I was much too deep in thought. The asperity I am now directing at poor, innocent Don Coscarelli (I am aware that he didn't direct this sequel) didn't hit me until I returned home. My home, Elaine! We learn nothing about The Tall Man that we didn't already know, we learn nothing about his home planet, we learn...fuck. Hold onto your genitals. We learn that Reggie has been in a nursing home for years on account of his early onset dementia. Mike and Jody? They have never heard of The Tall Man! Also, they're dead. And alive. ALSO, Reggie is fighting alongside wasteland warriors, as The Tall Man has successfully warped Earth into his home planet.
Bolides of fire, zombie mutants donning gas masks, big silver spheres, bigger silver spheres...I know it sounds rad, but we're talking video game graphics. It's pitiful. All of this shit happens simultaneously. In my book, Ravager's worst offense is ignoring the ending of Phantasm: OblIVion. The Tall Man was preening Mike (against his will, but it counted) to be his substitute. He was passing the torch so that - it has been speculated - he could conquer another planet. That plot thread may have squired the franchise to a universe-cuckolding confrontation between two Tall Men. Yowza! Apparently, it was too costly an idea, so we got Raper instead.
Do I have anything positive to yelp on the subject of Ravager? Yeah. Christopher L. Stone's score is seriously amazing. Outside of the main theme (which is still perfect), he steals dalliances with melodies that suit the scene and become glued to your encephalon. As I noted above, the cast is up to the challenge. This is probably Reggie Bannister's best performance in a Phantasm movie. I'm out on a limb, but there are key moments where I was genuinely struck by his emotive-ing. Emo-ing? Erm, no. Acting? Nah, that's crazy. He was really good; I know that. Of course, Angus Scrimm is flawless. How the hell was he both rigid and nuanced? He was the only dude who could convey a Southern cordiality during flashbacks as Jebediah Morningside, while scaring the piss out of you as an alien mortician.
Oh, Dawn Cody. I dug her. She was the redhead. I'm sorry, but the guy who played Chunk was the weakest link. I didn't buy a word he said, and moreover, he's introduced past the halfway mark. Why is that relevant? Because Coscarelli and director/co-writer David Hartman decided that he would be the fucker to kill The Tall Man! He celebrates, but for the death of me, I can't figure out why. Minutes prior to his fulmination, The Tall Man clearly states that there are TENS OF THOUSANDS of Tall Men in other universes. OblIVion already proved that he can't be destroyed. This review is too long. In my defense, Phantasm: Ravager is too shitty, and I had too many comments to squiggle on the walls of my cell.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 8:04 AM
Sadly, I don't have time to review 1972's Night of the Devils (the "the" is optional), but I wanted to acknowledge it. There are scads of ambrosial Italian horror films that get passed over in favor of the ones we've all digested.
This ditty was directed by Giorgio Ferroni, the man who delivered 1960's Mill of the Stone Women to our collective doorstep. I didn't care for that picture. I recall it slogging through my brain like the mantle cavity of a mollusk with puffy gonads. Ah, but this spookshow is catered to my interests (wurdulaks, spellbinding redheads, quaint forest funerals, forced incest). Speaking of wurdulaks, which is something I've always wanted to say, Night of the Devils is based on the same A.K. Tolstoy novella that Black Sabbath's "The Wurdulak" is (loosely) based on.
I'm referring to a vignette in a Mario Bava anthology, not a Black Sabbath song. If you didn't already know that, retreat! Anyway, this is an engaging, atmospheric vampire roguery. It's a slow burn, so you might have to hold its hand for awhile. There are spurts of dramatic gore, however. Night of the Devils is worth a shot, is what I'm trying to impart. Huh, I guess this could have been a Blood Capsule, but I have other content in the pipeline. Don't freak out.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:48 PM
You may recall a short-lived podcast that I did with a cuck named Tyler. In 1934, we split due to creative differences, but guess what? WE'RE BACK! And we have a new project to sell you that's even better/worse. It's called Insomnia Theatre, and if more than one person watches it, we'll make it a series. So what the hell is it? Bootleg MST3K. It's been done before. This is completely unoriginal. We're just doing it for laughs, and as a matter of actual fact, that's the high concept (in Tyler's case, the concept is literally high). Two buddies watching a b-movie. That's it.
We didn't put undue pressure on ourselves to be funny. Don't expect a joke around every corner. Don't expect a positive experience. Look, I'm underselling, but we had fun recording the commentary. I feel like we'll find our groove with future episodes. In the spirit of randomness, here is an insanely hot picture of some redhead with Elvira on the tube.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:28 PM
Not that she needed a makeover, but hell yes? Maybe they're referring to her character. If the brief promo was any indication, she is being reshuffled as a supermodel type. I'm not sure that the shift in gimmick was necessary, but I'll certainly be glad to see her back in action. For those who don't follow me on social media, Emma...lina (that could take awhile to get used to) is my favorite female superstar in the WWE. I'm not claiming that she is the best; she is just my favorite. The atomic Aussie is more than competent in the ring, and my circuits go haywire when she shows up on my TV screen. Good heavens, look at her. Stalk her!
On a related note, Raw was surprisingly worthwhile last night. While I hate the fact that the cruiserweight division is already compromised by 50/50 booking, I was happy to see Kendrick grab a victory. Hey, I have an idea for the Hell in a Cell match between Rusev and Roman Reigns - make it a literal fight to the death! It's the only way to end this goddamn feud. Another random thought...apart from one minor botch, the main event was mind-boggling. From the corkscrew moonsault (!!!) on, that match fucking delivered. Congratulations, ladies. Seriously. I will suggest to Sasha to lay off on the awful, dangerous bumps. What is she doing out there?
Smackdown will be on in T-Minus fifteen minutes. Wouldn't it be crazy awesome if Ziggler lost and left the WWE?
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:53 PM