Yes! Yep! Yeah!

It's practically old news by now, but Daniel Bryan has been officially cleared by WWE medical personnel to be injured again.  Alright, so he's not injured again, but I know I wasn't the only one wincing at the end of Smackdown last night.  I guess if you can go, you gotta go full-bore.  Man, seeing DB laying in some of his signature offense?  Goose flesh.

Where do we go from here?  Wherever it is, tread carefully.  I mean, you can't treat the guy like a fragile wineglass, nor should you book him in a Street Fight.  The obvious play is to pair him up with Shane McMahon against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.  That would work.  Initially, I had zero interest in Wrestlemania 34, but the card has shaped up nicely.  Styles/Nakamura, Charlotte/Asuka, Rousey/Others (a circus match, but I'm fucking watching), Cena/Taker (we all know it's happening)...when you factor in the bloat, it's almost too much.

If they shave needless video packages (they won't), the show should run a lean six hours.  After the pre-show.  Fuck.



I have known of this film's existence for several years.  Because I'm me.  This is what I do.  1988's Headhunter has ducked my custody until just recently.  I expected it to be a supernatural slasher, the kind that the late 80's were so damn adept at cranking out with a heavy right foot.  And it was, but it surprised me with a stunted shot of suspense.  Miami detectives Pete and Kat are assigned to a bizarre homicide investigation that involves dead chickens, a missing severed head and black people.  That's right, kids.  I'm talkin' 'bout love.  I'm talkin' 'bout VOODOO!  If you think about it, "voodoo horror" is very rarely mediocre.  From Angel Heart to The Serpent and the Rainbow, this stuff is entertaining.  I even dug 2005's Venom in spite of its conspicuous lack of Oliver Reed.

Anyway, to make a long story short, our sleuths eventually come face to machete with the malefactor, an ancient...spirit thing.  That's him on the cover.  Yeah, we aren't propounded with much information, aside from a name that I couldn't begin to spell.  It's super-duper powerful, naturally.  The ambiguity is frustrating, but what really seared my septum was the fact that we don't get to see it until the last 15 minutes.  For the most part, the villain is a roving POV camera.  In one scene, he "attacks" from underwater.  We see the machete rising like a shark fin (deepest, bluest).  Admittedly, I'm cool with the killer's rubbery look.  I was reminded of The Creep from Creepshow 2, and that's never a trouble.

Those last 15 minutes I mentioned earlier?  Remember?  Back when we were happy?  They do kick ass.  The climax is actually worth the wait, which I hear is the point of a climax.  The rest of the third act is spent on building tension, and you won't believe this, but it works!  Okay, it worked on me.  I'm a little dumb.  I felt that I owed it to the movie to meet it halfway.  After all, it kept me supraliminal.  I linked you to a definition, but it doesn't even make sense.  It kept me awake!  There.  This is what I get for trying to be literate.  Um, the acting is good.  It's unbad.

No, they deserve a better analysis.  Wayne Crawford plays the world-weary cop well.  Extra kudos for nailing moments that required vulnerability.  The foxy Kay Lenz is fantastic as Kat.  These two performances must have been choppered in from an a-movie.  Production-wise, Headhunter wears the mark of an a-movie.  The cinematography is silken, the locations are eye-popping and Crawford's moustache is the real deal.  This is where I tell you that I'd recommend Headhunter on a late spring night.  In the olden days, I would say "check it out if you can find it," but in 2018, you are more than likely to find a video game commercial that isn't cinematic.  So watch it on YouTube.  If you can find it.

ADDENDUM: I fucking forgot a major selling point.  Headhunter references The Hideous Sun Demon on more than one occasion.  As a matter of palpable truth, the 1958 "creature suit" shindig plays on a television during the payoff.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Sicarius is a black metal band out of California, but their sound isn't kissed by the clarion rays of the sun.  This is grimy stuff.  The riffs are lethal.  I dig it, and I dig the artwork that finds a sect of congregants worshiping either light (perhaps their only means of escape) or a knife-bearing goddess.  The cover is telling a story of some sort, but I like that it's open to interpretation.  And the title is killer.  Serenade of Slitting Throats...fucking metal!


Blood Capsule #87


Aww, yeah.  This is what I'm talking about.  It has been too long (like, a week) since I've enjoyed a frugal, prudential budget movie.  And this bastard has it all.  Dazed acting, awkward dialogue, a donkey dick plot and stop-motion effects.  You heard me right, dollface!  STOP-MOTION!  I'll start at the beginning.  This shouldn't take too long.  An astronomy professor takes a group of his most passionate students on a field trip to a small town where it has been reported that flying saucers are pouncing on pastures and mutilating cattle.  Mutilating.  Via...mutilations!

Ostensibly (ooh, we're high-brow today), Mutilations was filmed in 1986 and released in 1987.  I wasn't there, so I'm trusting web scriveners to guide me with good faith.  Most certainly, I will regret it.  This 50's throwback was stitched together with a demonstrable love for the genre, especially golden regalia such as Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and I Married a Monster From Outer Space.  It.  Is.  Fun!  You know what helps?  The running time, which spouts at anywhere from 67 to 70 minutes, depending on the version you are watching.  I have no clue what was cut or added, but I was able to peek at weirdo gore (see the above image).

Honestly, the "claymation" is well-mounted.  We get a tubular action sequence where the characters joust with the alien creatures, and the rear-projection imagery meshes alright with the robo-dinosaurs.  Yeah.  The monsters favor robo-dinosaurs.  I dig.  Mutilations isn't the best z-grade sci-fi/horror yarn I've ever seen, but fuck, it made me write the longest Blood Capsule to date.  Actually, that's up for debate, but I don't feel like counting words.  Sheep, on the other hand...


Dommy Impact?

So John Hennigan can just change his last name based on the company he's working for?  He has been Morrison (and Nitro) in ECW/WWE, he has been Mundo in Lucha Underground and ever since joining the Impact roster, he has been - you guessed it - Impact!  Readers, from hence and whence forth, I am to be addressed as Dom Random.

Ergh, nevermind.  I prefer my given appellation (Domstopher Valenzuela-Hakari Esq.).  So the other night, I decided to do the unthinkable.  I watched Impact Wrestling!  Apparently, I picked a good week, as the episode had a Crossroads theme.  It was essentially a 2-hour PPV with commercial breaks.  All but one contest was stipulated for a golden strap.  I will freely admit; I was impressed, although I had a feeling that I would be.  You see, management has been displaced again.  If what I'm reading is correct (it is), Impact's current bookers are Scott D'Amore and Don Callis.  And if I'm being honest (I'm not...okay, I am), the former TNA is in safe hands.

Then again, I was spared promo segments on account of the episode's match-only focus.  I'll watch again next Thursday to gauge the product and find out if it's still whackadoodle.  Other fans are into this shit.  Personally, I haven't watched Impact in years.  When I say it put me off, it really fucking put me off.  I don't expect to start watching it on a weekly basis because Satan almighty, there is a cunt-ton of wrestling in the ether!  Between NXT, Smackdown (I scarcely bother with Raw), NJPW and random (!) indie promotions that I follow, I don't have time to cum in my pants.

You caught me.  The truth is, I do have time to...let's change the subject, shall we?  The Sydal/Ishimori match was brain-melting, and it made me pine for the days of Evan Bourne.  Ha!  The main event was fucking killer.  Austin Aries versus Johnny Impact.  Need I say more?  They could have gone for half an hour.  Damn TV limitations.  I've mentioned this already, but I'm super curious to discover where this show is, really.  On a sliding scale from righteous X-Division wars to Dixie Carter sleeping with A.J. Styles, where are we exactly?  Which pole are we closer to?

PS-I don't get Laurel Van Ness.  Rosemary I get, but LVN?  She's tolerable in the ring, but something about the character isn't rendering for me.  My shoulders are shrugging.


DEATHWHITE - For a Black Tomorrow

I wouldn't normally review the album of a band I know next to nothing about, but I fucking love Deathwhite.  I do know that they hail from Pittsburgh.  I'm sure that the members have birth names, but they are credited as LM (vocals/guitars) and AM (drums).  In their only video, they are painted black.  Apparently, they have added a third member for touring purposes, but there are only two dudes on this year's For a Black Tomorrow, their debut full-length.  Aside from all that jazz, Deathwhite harken back to a simpler time when bands didn't say shit to the media.  Tool had that reputation, but if you do your homework, you'll see that they did their fair share of interviews in the olden days.

Not Deathwhite!  No, sir!  I realize that they just released Tomorrow, but they had put out a pair of extended plays (fuck you, I can spell it out if I want to) previous, of which I recommend 2015's Solitary Martyr.  So LM and AM have had plenty of time to speak to rock/metal journalists.  What do they sound like?  Yes, I would agree with you that I should probably touch on the music.  Their genus is more akin to a scent or character than a simple qualifier such as goth or prog rock.  They fall in between subgenres.  To be specific, they fall in between goth and prog rock.  Tool interbred with Katatonia?  Closer to the latter, if we're dealing with lyrics.  These songs are obsessed with suicide and depression.

I dig sadness as a topic.  Minor keys!  I dig those, too.  "The Grace of the Dark" is a sturdy opener that finds its narrator dying and wilting into oblivion.  A toe-tapper, that one.  "Contrition" is the heaviest track offered, and I can't help banging my fucking head whenever I hear it.  Sure, it causes irreparable damage to my neck, but I blame the power of the riff, for it compels me!  It also flaunts sweet guitar harmonies, as does "Poisoned," the first tune to take advantage of an acoustic guitar.  "Just Remember" has awesome vokill melodies.  By the way, those are the first four songs on Tomorrow, all sequenced and everything!

LM's voice brings Maynard James Keenan to mind.  I can sing like Maynard.  Big deal.  Whatever.  Single "Dreaming the Inverse" ends with an emotional crescendo, and I'd be lying if I said that the lyrics didn't hit home.  Usually, your enjoyment of a piece of art corresponds with your ability to relate to it.  That's what's happening here, but it's also just a good fucking album.  However, it's not perfect!  Things dissolve a tad after "Dreaming the Inverse," an apogee of sorts.  "Death and the Master," "Prison of Thought" and the title track are growing on me, though.  It matters none.  I'm recommending the shit out of For a Black Tomorrow.  I've listened to it nonstop for two weeks, if that tells you anything.


Mr. Stitch

Sometimes, when you decide to watch a particular film, you have no idea what you're stepping into.  I bought 1995's Mr. Stitch.  Okey-dokey.  It's a sci-fi thriller (getting sick of those, by the way).  Okey-dokey.  Hey, look at that!  It stars Rutger Hauer and Wil Wheaton.  Okey-dokey.  It was the first Sci-Fi Channel original movie ever made?  Oh dear Satan.  It all makes sense now.  There may not have been any sharknados or arachnoquakes, but Mr. Stitch is the special kind of rotten that only could have been brought to pass by that Comcast-branded magnate.  That knife-wielding Hitler youth.  That pillager of sacred ground (read: MST3K).  That...that!

I'm choosing to review it for two reasons.  1) It's a modified retelling of Frankenstein, so genre-wise, it's up to code.  You might even call it hep or hunky-dory.  2) It's an anomaly.  Mr. Stitch doesn't remind me of any other film in existence, except maybe for The Item.  They both begin with a dissuading, inhospitable strangeness that makes it difficult to finish the damn thing.  Like a bad piece of meat that is hard to swallow.  Halfway through production, Hauer began improvising his dialogue.  He snubbed the script entirely, forcing director Roger Avary (yes, that Roger Avary) to revise lines to correlate with whatever Hauer disgorged on set.

Knowing that, Rutger Hauer has leap-frogged to the top of my list of personal heroes.  I should try to put some of this into perspective.  Mr. Stitch isn't the worst tripe I've endured, but I definitely didn't enjoy a solitary second of it.  A group of scientists - led by Hauer's Dr. Wakeman - are tasked with concocting an android for use on the battlefield.  One of their experiments enlivens, and naturally, he has questions.  I say "he," but he's a hermaphrodite who identifies as male.  Wakeman explains that he is composed of 88 bodies.  That's 44 male, 44 female.  The experiment decides that he wants to be called Lazarus, a name he found in The Bible, one of two fictional works he was permitted to read.  The other?  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Lazarus confides in Dr. English, an attractive female scientist.  Through these interactions, English suspects that the experiment was stitched together with the flesh of former co-workers.  And her late boyfriend.  Now, I've just described an intriguing plot in theory.  The execution is way off.  The first 45 minutes are confined to a frost-white room.  That's all we see, unless you count the GIANT GODDAMN FLOATING EYEBALL, which is barely explained.  "Barely explained" is a running theme.  Lazarus is located in a top-secret, maximum security government facility, yet he faces no stumbling blocks escaping and driving anywhere he pleases.  He's never in a true pickle.  No pickles!

If you know me, you know that I'm not one to decimate a film for being modestly budgeted, but when Mr. Stitch doesn't leave an "examination room" for 45 minutes, I get testy.  You're supposed to hide your budget.  Fuck.  The concepts presented are compelling, but they're not compelling enough to cover for this frail, feeble Frankenstein monster.  I stretched for that alliteration.  Not my proudest moment.  NOTE: My rating might seem a bit generous, but there were spots where I could see effort.  I'm big on effort.  Still, don't watch Mr. Stitch.


Geek Out #135

I just realized that I used to format Geek Outs differently.  Text would go first; the video would follow.  Why I changed those dimensions is anyone's best guess, including mine.  Let's pretend that this is how I've always done it.  Okey-dokey?  Okey-dokey.  Today's Geek Out is the intro for the remake of Dark Shadows.  Funnily enough, I didn't watch either version, but I have vivid memories of seeing the modern variant while I was home sick from school.  It didn't freak me out or anything.  As I recall, it was one of the defanged moments that underscored the "soap opera" angle.