Clear That Head

Figured I should let you guys know that I'll be stepping away from the site for a spell.  As per usual when I take breaks, I will tell you that it should either last for a week or FOREVER.  In all probability, it will last somewhere between a week and forever.  My heart's not in it, and I certainly need to recharge.  Really, I just wanna fuck off into my own little oblivion.

PS-Check out 1957's The Vampire and 1973's Crypt of the Living Dead.  They're chaste, innocuous fun.  And so spooky!


"Hey! Anne!"

I won't pretend that I venerated the Chuck Moseley era of Faith No More (I'm a Patton guy all the way), but I do enjoy those first two records.  I'm listening to Introduce Yourself right now in honor of that loopy dude.  There is no way around it.  Chuck was unique, and he helped the band send the message that they were going to do things their way.  I believe that Mike Patton was born to front Faith No More (and 907 other projects), but again, Chuck was an incredibly important ingredient in the outfit's formative stages.  What else can I say?  "Faster Disco" and "Anne's Song" are my jams.

Oh, he died.  That's why I'm writing this.  I thought you knew.  Don't do drugs, kids.  Especially if you're not cool.  Like Chuck was.



Veritable Screwing Machines

Today, a pally-pal came over and we took in the weirdest double feature that I can recall ingesting.  We started with 1981's Zombie Lake, which wasn't that weird.  Okay, I guess I'm projecting.  The weirdness emanated from 1969's The Curious Dr. Humpp (sic).  This is a title you should recognize if you've ever seen the Something Weird sampler, or even the brief pastiche that announces itself before the feature presentation on a Something Weird DVD.  Something weird indeed.  Humpp was originally an hour long, give or take, but when it was picked up for American distribution, sleaze bellwether Jerald Intrator inserted (*giggles*) close to 20 minutes of softcore porn.  There is a lot of nudity in this kitty.

Look, boobs are awesome.  No qualms about bare flesh itself; it's just that there is simply too much of it.  I never thought I'd say that about any film, but director Emilio Vieyra had concocted a nice little sci-fi/horror aperitif before it was slathered in rotgut.  I went for an alcohol analogy.  Don't think it worked.  Anyway, Dr. Humpp is a charming, albeit seedy budget flick without the sex padding.  And when I say "sex," I mean "petting."  We don't see penetration, despite the X rating.  Hell, we don't see implied penetration.  Hit the brakes!  I'm not doing my job if I don't talk more about the doofy plot, which involves a mad scientist (Humppty-Humpp) extracting cum juice from the brains of post-coital nymphomaniacs.

Cum juice keeps him young?  He wants to live forever, but that's not the scrumptious part.  This picture show is stolen by the doctor's minions.  You've got his regiment of automatons (they reminded me of Putties), and they're amusing enough.  But then!  You guys!  There is...he doesn't have a name, unfortunately.  I refer to him as Blinker, as his forehead is embellished with a blinking light.  For no goddamn reason.  That's him in the above photograph, and yes, he's playing a square guitar.  HE'S PLAYING A SQUARE GUITAR.  Look at his beautiful, beautiful face!  It's a mask, but who cares?  Blinker is a mighty monster and he deserves his own franchise.  His own cereal!

I need to calm down.  So Zombie Lake.

It sucked.  I knew it would be a disappointment going in, but for some befuckled reason, I selected it for scrutiny.  Satan help me.  Zombie Lake was helmed by Jean Rollin, a last-second replacement for Jess Franco.  Rollin regretted accepting the gig.  It's easy to see why.  He loathed the script, but there was no time to change it.  Honestly, it doesn't feel like he directed half of the damned thing.  I concede, there are lithe, graceful underwater shots of zombies and naked ladies.  Yeah, we get an eyeful of unclad hotties here as well, but it's not distracting.  Perhaps I'm being hard on Zombie Lake.  Nah.  It's dismal, forgettable and don't bother trying to decipher the flashback-ridden storyline.

Blinker would have fucked those zombies up.


Album Cover(s) of the Whatever

I wouldn't call it a "Halloween hangover," but my mind is at rest for the time being.  I haven't decided where to take the site next.  One option is to dedicate the next month or two to music, which I've ignored as of late.  Another option is to take an extended hiatus.  A third and less desirable option is to maintain the status quo, updating things like I normally would.  Obviously, I'll let you fine folks (all three of you) know what I decide, but until then, I ran across a couple of SICK album covers.  I couldn't pick between the two!

Fuck yeah!  Cult of Eibon plays thrashy black metal, and honestly, I'm not goo-goo over them.  But that cover!

Acid Witch is back!  I still remember the day I discovered them.  Click HERE to read my old review of their full-length debut (it contains a goddamn MySpace link!).  For the record, I dig Evil Sound Screamers.  It's the band's heaviest, most macabre release yet, and they nailed the artwork yet again.  I'm picking up a strong "Stephen King paperback" vibe from that cover.


Halloween, Happy

Well, another October is in the books.  I never know how I should feel on November 1st.  If this year is typical, I will slide deeper into a sinkhole of depression.  It doesn't have to be that way, but what can you really do to preclude it and intercept those signals?  I'm already on antidepressants, and there is nothing I can do to change my environment or living situation.  I am writing far more than I thought I would on this subject.  For that, I apologize.  It's funny how "that was Halloween" can turn into "my brain is slowly skidding down a pathway of onyx nothingness" so quickly.  Talk about a tangent.

No, seriously.  I meant to discuss the second season of Stranger Things.  I'm glad that I watched it early, as it took several months to emplane the first season.  I don't have to worry about spoiling shit for myself, which I did with Gerald's Game (I might check it out anyway because holy fuck).

My terse, spoiler-free opinion of Season 2?  It's fantastic, though I give the slight edge to Season 1.  Maybe it was just more noticeable this time around, but I was chafed by a character quirk.  These kids are way too smart.  Mike, in particular, is mature and sophisticated beyond MY years, much less his own.  It's true that certain children are similarly advanced, but c'mon.  That's my only real grumble.  Everything that made the first season so habit-forming is still present, and I absolutely loved the additions to the cast.

This is where spoiler-free territory ends.  Please watch this show if you haven't.  It deserves success, and if you're the type of nerd - as I am - who laments the fact that mediocrity seems to be in clover, you owe it to yourself to overdose on Stranger Things.  Forget binge-watching; just fucking watch it, dude.

Fans are already clamoring for a third season.  Okay, I could get behind further adventures with The Party, but isn't the story told?  There has to be a reason for a fresh installment, an impetus for even stranger things.  If the Duffer brothers aren't careful, a third season could feel perfunctory.  I did have an idea (that will never happen in a million years).  Discard the sci-fi/horror elements.  The only "unfinished business" involves character drama.  Mike won't let Max become an official member of The Party, Eleven resents the hell out of Max, Jim and Joyce need to fuck already and Eleven's sister...Christ kicking a can, that's a whole series right there.

If it sounds like I'm suggesting that the third season of Stranger Things be a full-fledged drama, your observation skills are on point.  This show is so good, you don't even need the monsters.  And that's coming from me, the "humans are boring" guy!  Granted, the monsters pulled me in, but now that I'm in, I'm open to anything.  Speaking of monsters, The Mind Flayer is a creepy, badass chunk of Lovecraftian psychomancy (that's an actual word, but I definitely misused it).

I'm in lust with the world that the Duffer brothers have engendered.  I dig that you can raise a Demogorgon from birth and train it.  I dig that The Mind Flayer can infect you by transmutating a limb into a goddamn tornado.  I dig The Mind Flayer!  And I dig that we don't know much about it.  That's another concern I have regarding extra "sequels."  It would be easy to piss on heretofore stainless storytelling, so if we do receive a third season of Stranger Things, the Duffer brothers must be in charge.  Period.

PS ~ I caught 1922 out of curiosity.  It's sluggish.


Nosferatu a Venezia

Yes, it's true.  There was a sequel to Werner Herzog's Nosferatu.  But is it a sequel, really?  The story goes, Klaus Kinski was set to reprise his role as everyone's favorite bald, milky shapeshifter, but because he was Klaus Kinski, he arrived on set with long hair and leather pantaloons.  And that was that!  Who was going to logomachize with a master thespian?  NOTE TO SELF: Just say "argue" instead of "logomachize."  It didn't matter that the part called for a glabrous rodent of a man.  NOTE TO SELF: Just say "hairless" instead of "glabrous."  Right, so in theory, 1988's Nosferatu a Venezia is about the same fiend, but they can be viewed as separate films without much effort.

If you're up on your Kinski trivia, you know that he was a piece of shit.  Maybe I shouldn't be impudent, but then again, maybe I should.  In addition to being a director's worst nightmare, he used his post as a license to sexually assault actresses.  It was easy to get away with it in those days, especially if you were a name talent who happened to be adroit and genuinely gifted.  Let's face it; there was no #MeToo movement.  I'd be lying if I said that Kinski's behavior as it pertains to Venezia didn't hamper my viewing experience.  Still, this is a curiosity that eluded my eyeballs for, Christ, fifteen years?  I had to see it.  I am but a weak horror fan.

Vampire in Venice was helmed by five or six auteurs (!), the most popular of which was Luigi Cozzi.  Kinski himself took the reigns for a few scenes.  It's impossible to know who directed what, but it's clear as a bell that this quilt was stitched by disparate seamstresses, so to speak.  Some shots are void of color.  Others are deluged in the kind of pale blue you only find on swatches.  Despite the inconsistency, Venezia works as a cohesive unit.  Don't ask me how, but it goes down with the velvety airiness of an October sunset.

Stars Donald Pleasance and Christopher Plummer are incredible.  They're too good for the film, if we're being honest.  Plummer's Professor Catalano is allegedly the main character, yet the script drops him in the third act.  Mind you, this is going to be a spoiler, so avert your eyes if you give a shit.  Catalano fails to rout Klausferatu, so...he gives up.  Hand to Satan, he gives up.  He evacuates Venice having admitted defeat.  There is something I dig about that, but it speaks to lazy screenwriting.  Pleasance's pious cleric is entertaining in his over-the-top fidelity.  Here again, he isn't used very well, and that applies to the entire cast.

There are no real characters.  The men are authoritative, while the women are curvaceous as fuck, ready and willing to shed their feathers.  Barbara De Rossi's knockers are scientifically perfect.  I am crude to point them out, but in my defense, I wasn't excited by the sight of them when Kinski was also in the frame.  His portrayal of Nosferatu is supposed to be erotic, but it's fucking odious.  All in all, Nosferatu a Venezia delivers the grim goods for those craving simple genre delights.  The gore is spiffy, the atmosphere is Italian-Gothic and the photography shimmers.  Alas, I'm not enthused.  It doesn't compare to Herzog's original.  And yeah, the more I learn about Klaus Kinski, the less I dote on his work.

Robert Z'Dar says, "My chin was uncomfortable around Klaus."


Blood Capsule #84

THE FURY (1978)

This film could have been called Carrie II.  In fact, the role of Gillian nearly went to Sissy Spacek, but instead, it was offered to Amy Irving.  Gillian is a "parapsychic" with telekinetic powers.  So is Robin, a boy around the same age who believes his father was killed by terrorists on a beach.  It's all very 70's.  The father - a hardy, furrowed Kirk Douglas - was not assassinated, as it turns out.  He spends the generality of The Fury trying to track his son down.  All the while, he's being scoured after by the agency looking to employ these young oracles as weapons of war.  Again, it's simply 70's, and it's simply engrossing.

Aside from the obvious touchstone, I've seen The Omen and The Exorcist mentioned as cinematic barometers.  Fair enough, but I was reminded of Scanners.  You've got your convex veins, your spontaneous bleeding and your climactic bodily explosion.  I won't say who or what explodes, but it's a nice touch.  Mainstream horror was just starting to experiment with the boundaries of bloodletting, but that brings me to my next point.  If The Fury had chosen to embrace one genre, I think it would have been stronger for it.  Alternatively, it wants to be a staid drama with a sprinkling of action scenes.  Not every story can pull off the many-sided approach.

On the whole, this is filling stuff.  Do I really need to append a note on the acting?  It's good!  Go badger some other horror addict.


Ming Attacks the Earth

Slow day.  Watched a little bit of a Flash Gordon serial from 1936.  Hey, you ever catch wind of a Tornado Warning in your area and seek shelter in your closet, which just so happens to contain a piss load of genre movies on all formats?  You have???  That's a weird coincidence.  Anyhow, I spotted Ming Attacks the Earth on VHS while holed up in my closet.  I was like, "What the fuck is this?  I own this?"  As it turns out, I do own this.  It's...eh, something to watch.  I understand that serials were not prioritized by studios, but I was sorely disappointed in the ratfink budget.  BUT THEN!

That was supposed to be a cliffhanger.  I found out that Universal poured reams of chicken feed into the project, three times as much as the average serial.  So where did the money go?  I concede, they shot four hours of footage all told, and there are a couple of creature suits in the production (I didn't get to scope the gockos!).  I don't know.  I guess I was just expecting more lunacy.  You don't have to tell me; I know that I need to watch the 1980 theatrical version.  I did see incredible slices of it at the supple age of 14.  Gonzo pie, am I still typing?  This was supposed to be fluff.  Marshmallow cream!  Surf spray!

Here are some fuckin' dinosaurs.