7/8/20

Trapped Alive


1993.  The year that Monday Night Raw made its debut on the USA Network.  Those early episodes are fucking golden.  Don't let anyone tell you that a show where "Macho Man" Randy Savage AND Doink the Clown might appear isn't golden.  Those people...they are bad people.  Anyway, Doink--wait, fuck!  I have to review Trapped Alive, don't I?  I don't have to, but whatev(er).  This wintry, niveous knuckle-duster was actually shot in 1988, but it was condemned to the shelf for five years.  Because.  Eons ago, I saw the trailer and for some reason I have yet to ascertain, I decided that I longed for Trapped Alive.  This has not been a tidy movie to track down.  Thankfully, Arrow has given it the Blu-ray treatment, and fuck-flavored semen berries, it didn't deserve such stately, resplendent treatment.

I almost went with "semen-soaked Scooby snacks."  I'm a writer.  The plot involves a pair of giggly girls being carjacked after leaving a Christmas party.  This wasn't just any Christmas party.  It was attended by Cameron (goddamn) Mitchell!  He appears for two minutes total.  Not even worth mentioning, but here we are.  The carjackers have just escaped prison, and I'm sure they had grand plans of dereliction.  Unfortunately, the car they jacked skids into a mine shaft.  We're underground, folks.  You know what that means.  If not, I'll spell it out for you.  The viewer's eyes are privy to darkness, near-Cimmerian lighting and more darkness.

That could be a huge piss-off, but Trapped Alive is a well-cobbled production.  Don't get me wrong, kid; the budget is low, so low that it impairs the film in other ways (more on them later).  However!  Director Leszek Burzynski keeps everything crackling on a professional tip.  I like his camera spacing.  A bizarre, random compliment, but yeah.  The action isn't too far away, nor is it too close to the camera.  Yeah.  Several cast members have this grotto gathering listed as their only credit, but on the pothole (get it???), the acting is solid.  Sullivan Hester fares well as the cute final girl.  Oh, you'll never believe this, but one of the villains is a giant, toothless oaf named Mongo.  Wrestling fans will appreciate that, although he meets his end in the first act.  Inexcusable!

Speaking of villains, I haven't said much as it relates to the main heavy.  Technically, he's a monster, but he's painfully human.  You can pretend that he was created in a laboratory, I suppose.  Still, he's fucking dull.  The death sequences?  Dull.  The worst thing you can say about any genre flick is that it's untenably dull and that's precisely how I would paint Trapped Alive.  It has its moments.  Thanks to Arrow, the colors are gorgeous, but that's the veneer.  I don't see anyone jumping for joy over the product itself.  It needed more Cameron Mitchell.  And Doink!  It needed more Doink, "the most evil clown that ever lived."  That's a Savage quote, by the way.

  

7/6/20

Album Cover of the I'm Lazy



It's not that I'm lazy; I just...took the weekend off?  Yeah, that sounds alright.  That's why you're getting another Album Cover of the Whatever.  This time, it's Teitanblood's Purging Tongues EP.  Superlatively evil, and it stands out like a motherfucker.  I'm going back into my cave of wonders to churn out the next movie review.  Brace your stitches!

7/2/20

Rassle Inn #4



Do you know how hard it was for me NOT to use a picture of Penelope Ford?  I'm trying not to be a scumbag.  It would be easy to view today's topic entirely through the "male gaze," but again, I'm trying.  I may fail later in this very tract.  Oh, that's Wardlow.  He tagged with M.J.F. against the Jurassic Express in the fun opener of last night's Fyter Fest.  Obviously, there was a lot of wrestling to absorb.  WWE fast-tracked the yellow brand's Great American Bash, and I must say, AEW took the prize on night one.  The ratings disagree.

I dug NXT's show.  But I...oyk, I didn't want to break down each and every match.  Look, here's the nutshell version of my opinion: With Fyter Fest, I don't have any substantive grouses.  With GAB, a couple of matches didn't sit well with me.  The strap match...why the gimmick?  What is the actual feud?  Is this the best way to utilize Roderick Strong right now?  And the handicap match.  I found it to be entertaining, but it was way too long.  It's pathetic because Robert Stone was poised to become a formidable manager overseeing a formidable stable.  At present, he's a punchline whose only client is Alayhiaalyala.

I'm shockingly old (I refuse to believe that I'm only 35), so my eyelids were weakening against the tremendous strain of gravity during the Fyter Fest main event.  It wasn't the product's fault.  I admit that I'm not a softhearted proponent of Best Friends, but all in all, they crafted an engaging contest with Omega/Page.  My favorite fyte of the nyte (perhaps on either show) was the AEW Women's World Championship match between warrior queen Hikaru Shida and emulous challenger Penelope Ford.  This one took me by surprise.  I already knew that Shida kicked ass, but Ford milked the most out of a great opportunity.  Hell of a showing.

My precious Io Shirai did battle with Sasha Banks in what should have been a killer 20-minute brawl, but it felt like simple angle advancement.  Don't get me wrong, dude; shit was solid, but it was used to prop up other titles.  And it was the main event!  It was cool to see Io and Asuka "reunite," as it were.  Next week, we get more Fyting and Bashing.  Will I write about it?  Depends on the ratings.  If my column doesn't do a number, I may have to introduce new characters.  To kill off.

7/1/20

Busy night...

I shall post my impressions tomorrow!



6/27/20

Blood Capsule #96


THE CARPENTER (1988)

The Carpenter is a threadbare slasher and a wry, oblique black comedy collimated as one chief constituent.  It doesn't quite know how to enmesh the genres.  Horror and comedy merely play "hot potato" with the script and you never get the sense that you're watching a cohesive whole.  I'm not throwing this b-lumber under the bus (or into a proverbial woodchipper...man, I should have just went with that awful joke).  No, I had a decent time with The Carpenter, and yes, the plot is as gangly as it sounds.  A couple is renovating their home, but the bulk of the carpentry work is completed at the bewitching hour by a phantom artisan.  Is it Jesus Christ or is it Wings Hauser?  Same difference, stupid!

If the titular madman were played by anyone else, this flick wouldn't have eked out a passing grade.  Wings Hauser is so--let me rephrase myself.  Wings Hauser fundamentally Wings Hausers the fuck out of this thing.  He steals all of his scenes.  Through cruel mockery of God's animus, he even steals scenes that he does not appear in (i.e. filler).  You haven't lived until you've witnessed Wings Hauser woo and butter up a forlorn housewife while frazzling the intestines of a corpse with a power drill.  It's charming!  Unfortunately, half of The Carpenter is a shambolic study in stagnation.  For a bloody ordeal where circular saws and belt sanders are weaponized, it's pretty damn sleepy.  Wings Hauser, tho!

6/25/20

Album Cover of the Whatever



Technically, the is the reissue artwork, but who is counting?  That's just badass!  Evil, evil, evil!  Yay!

6/23/20

Panels From Beyond the Grave #34

THE X-FILES: HALLOW EVE (Annual #1, 1995)

Towards the end of the vernal springtide, I became immersed in The X-Files.  I always liked it.  I could even name a couple of episodes that stuck with me from childhood to adulthood ("Humbug" is a keeper).  And yet, I was far from an expert.  For some metaphysical reason that perhaps only Mulder can explain, I wanted to binge the whole damn series.  It's taking time, as my routine is not conducive to true, millennial-style binging.  Hell, I finished season eight just last night.  What's my point?  My point is that I fucking love The X-Files!  It was only a matter of time (and space) before I scarfed down an x-comic.

Released through Topps, the inaugural series contained an Annual (a special double-sized issue) one-shot entitled "Hallow Eve."  It basically serves as a "monster of the week" episode.  You don't need prior knowledge of the television program's core arcs to enjoy it.  That's a hearty plus, in my estimation.  When it comes to the TV show, I prefer the M.O.T.W. serials that exist independently of Mulder's search for his sister or muddled, labyrinthine government conspiracies.  Not that those storylines are entirely without merit.  I'm simply into...y'know, monsters.

Our script was penned by Stefan Petrucha.  At first, the dialogue felt rustic and rudimentary, but like a tight rhythm section, the words found a groove pocket.  That's a dumb way of saying that it got better as it went along.  Petrucha does seem to understand the characters.  It's a comic, so you have to meet it halfway.  I mean, it has to be frustrating writing for such complex people with very limited room to stretch.  Talking about word count.  Ain't talkin' 'bout love.  My love is rotten to ANYWAY.  Mulder and Scully are assigned to an offbeat case wherein an archaeologist is murdered and the suspect has extraneous ties to the mitochondrial DNA of Eve.

This shit would make for a great concept album.  Definitely prog rock.  At any juncture, the plot throws a nice amount of twists at you in a manner similar to that of The X-Files (the show, obviously).  It's quite clever, especially the dour ending.  Customarily, I don't have bounteous groans as it relates to the artwork.  There were two or three panels where I couldn't figure out what was happening or where a character was standing.  Perception?  Look, I'm not an artist.  I try to mention my ignorance in comic book reviews because I need to give the artist (in this case, Charles Adlard) the benefit of the doubt.  Again, me not artist.  Me bad at draw.

Overall, "Hallow Eve" was totally worth seeking out online.  I should pick up more X-Files comics.  If you're wondering (you aren't), I have viewed most of the tenth season, including the series finale.  It wasn't unsullied, but I'm glad that they ended up together.  You know who.  I'm such a fangirl.

6/22/20

X


This is foreshadowing!  I'm exhuming an old column tomorrow.  Aren't you excited???