1 week ago
How about a legitimately good film for a change of pace? Hey, I live for schlock, but my body does not bounce back from a cheese-only diet. My figure is excitable, mercurial you might say. I've been known to gain weight just from peering at kaiju posters (the burbling one-sheet for Varan: The Unbelievable cost me a couple of dress sizes). 1988's Pin has a sterling reputation amongst serious horror nerds. I knew that it was held in high favor, but since when do expectations - grand or pragmatic - guarantee anything? In the case of this Canadian crumb of psychosomatic horror, you would be well-advised to believe the hype.
Leon's father is a doctor. Often times, he and his kid sister (Ursula) fritter the time away by sitting in on Dad's patient visits. I'm pretty sure that's illegal, but whatever. Oh, I forgot to mention that Dr. Papa is portrayed by Terry O'Quinn. He gives off "stepfather" vibes. If you think that's creepy, keep fucking reading. He entertains his bored brood by anthropomorphizing a medical dummy and giving it a voice through amateur ventriloquism. At first, Pin (short for Pinocchio) acts as a harmless educational tool. Both Leon and Ursula (aged 7 and 5, respectively...sorry for the parenthesis overkill) believe it to be real. Six years later, we see that Ursula has cracked the code. She has debunked her father's gambit, but her older brother isn't quite as perceptive.
Poor, poor Leon. For various reasons that I'll denominate in a minute, his mental faculties never stabilize. His views of sexuality are warped, to say the least. Of course, watching a nurse violate the anatomically correct Pin as an impressionable youth probably didn't help matters. Ew. But how unstable are we talking here? Well, Leon learns how to ventriloquize (???) and begins to speak for Pin. At this point, he can be classified as a full-blown schizophrenic adult. The parents are now dead. As for Ursula, she's trying to deal. Satan bless her, she genuinely loves her brother in spite of his cerebral cachexia.
Okay, I've spent way too much of this review expatiating on the synopsis. Normally, that's a no-no, but it's important that you know exactly what Pin is about. The script is rich with subtext, the people are three-dimensional and the acting is incredible. All of the players nail the nuances of their given roles. Cynthia Preston deserves an honorable footnote for her sensible, informal performance as the ripened Ursula. There is such a strong emphasis on character dynamics, the viewer develops empathy for each of the main troupers. Get it? Troupers? On a sidenote, V.R. Troopers is superior to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers in almost every conceivable way.
Pin is deep, but it also ticks as a menacing genre flick. The mannequin itself is spookier than thou (I may have just named the next Rob Zombie album), and the score is a mishmosh of gnarled reverberations. Grievances? Arraignments? Citations? Eh, I can't point to a recognizable flaw, which isn't to say that Pin is the meridian of filmmaking. It's fucking awesome, though. FACTOID: Director Sandor Stern wrote the screenplay for The Amityville Horror.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:26 PM
I don't know where to begin. This fucking movie. First of all, watch it. I definitely recommend it. It's so...words...escape me. 1999's Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying starred Craig Sheffer. 2001's Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal stars Craig Sheffer as a different character. And immediately, my mind is violating itself with skewers and brochettes. He plays a thirtysomething hacker dressed like a fucking teenager, and his favorite rock star is performing his final concert on a 747. It's being broadcast online, so Hacker Dude taps into the feed, accessing every camera installed on the airbus. Meanwhile, fucking Gabrielle Anwar is an FBI agent inching closer to imprecating Hacker Dude for, y'know, hacking.
MEANERWHILE, a fucking Satanist kidnaps and masquerades as the rock star. He commandeers the plane, shoots the co-pilot and makes his intentions clear. His intentions? To open the gates of Hell by crashing the skyjacked dirigible in fucking Kansas. This fucking movie. Let me back up and discuss the rock star, a poor man's Marilyn Manson by the name of Slade Craven. If you thought Black Roses was cheesy, well, you're right, but Turbulence 3 is impossible. We get to see a full performance of a Slade Craven number. Imagine a studio executive's idea of paint-by-numbers Goth aggro-industrial muzak, and imagine Hot Topic groupies squirting over every histrionic lyric.
Actually, you don't have to use your imagination. Click HERE! Was it everything you expected and less? Here is what I'm struggling to comprehend. The real Slade and the fake Slade look identical. Body type, bone structure, fucking phonetic elocution...for the love of jizzum whistles, it's the same actor! And yet, we are told that they are not related. Fake Slade is just a random whackjob. Do you care if I spoil the ending? The pilot - fucking Rutger Hauer - turns out to be a member of the Satanic cult. He commits suicide, which leaves Real Slade to his own devices. He must save the day! I don't want to reveal every idiotic detail, but suffice to say, the last five minutes are too fucking much.
Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal is dumber than a bassinet of monosynaptic unicorns. All foam, no beer. One spade short of a royal flush. I think you get the picture. However, I had a stupid blast with the fucking thing. It's nowhere near boring, and it gave me belly laughs when I needed them most. You won't believe these next two sentences. Anwar, Hauer and Sheffer headline another 2001 airplane thriller. It's entitled Flying Virus, and it's about killer bees on a plane. Motherfuckin' killer bees on a motherfuckin' plane! These fucking movies! Jizzum whistles!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:11 PM
STILL MORE SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEPOVERS #3
Sometimes, I wonder if the fact that I really, really enjoy reading children's horror novels is a symptom of some peremptory mental illness. Am I a tottering convalescent? More to the point, am I a fucking yo-yo? It's possible that these books are fun, easy ways to pass time in a spiteful world of agony. As you can deduce, this is the third volume in an anthology series called Scary Stories for Sleepovers. It was published as a literary antiphon to Harper & Row's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Because of the tongue-in-cheek covers and the tame illustrations, I remembered Sleepovers to be a flossy, harmless set of tomes. I mean, I knew it didn't approach the pants-shitting nightmare fuel of Tell in the Dark.
While the tone is lightweight - it's a touch more appropriate for youngsters - these stories imply grisly goddamn death. The key word is "imply." Almost every bite-sized tale ends with a substantial suggestion. Another key word is "death." Author Q.L. Pearce stops writing right before the campers are maimed, the parents are devoured alive or the genial, buddy-buddy neighbor is evulsed by dire wolves. That actually happens. The two main characters in "All the Time in the World" leave the poor bastard to meet his horrid, artery-cleaving demise. Did I forget to mention that this particular yarn also features a time machine? And a saber-toothed cat?
"The Storm" is probably the best story here, and strangely enough, it doesn't climax with barbarous bloodshed. Pearce sticks to a simple, accessible style. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I will say that the kindergarten reading level contrasts with the mean-spirited nature of the plots. Even a couple of the protagonists are complete assholes. See "Household Help" where a girl uses voodoo juju to excel in school and on the softball field. Then again, you could just as easily say that it's a parable warning of karma. I sound like a concerned teacher. Ha! Obviously, I enjoy piles upon piles of dead sucklings. The victims are too old, I say! Kill toddlers! KILL TODDLERS!
That should be the last sentence of this review. But it's not. Still More Scary Stories for Sleepovers flaunts a multifarious multiplicity of monsters. We get alien babysitters, zombie cowboys, slime mutants and a Kii-Kwan (a werewolf, basically). Nothing mind-bending, but I consider it to be a diverting read. KILL TODDLERS! Erm, sorry.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:38 PM
I was originally going to post a book review next, but I can't go forward without commenting on a certain Wrestlemania match. I'll talk about the rest of the card once Raw is behind us (should be an interesting episode). If you haven't heard, the streak has ended. Yeah. Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker. Clean. One, two, three. I was just as shocked as the crowd members. I wasn't sure if I was angry or despondent. Or both. But I've given it some thought with my booker cap on. Yes, I have a booker cap.
This isn't a disgrace. Why?
1) Lesnar winning single-handedly made this match memorable. I don't know if you noticed, but the fans were spiritless and inimical. They were just waiting for 'Taker to tombstone his way to victory after a routine twenty minutes of signature spots and false finishes. And it wasn't a very good match either. As a matter of fact, it was downright sloppy. If 'Taker won, it simply would have been another placeholder match to dilate the streak.
2) I am now convinced that my beloved 'Taker won't be able to go another year anyway. He can still wrestle Sting (at SummerSlam perhaps), but unless that was a case of cloak-and-dagger selling, it's clear that the tank is empty.
3) This doesn't hurt Lesnar. Sure, it doesn't help him, but who would it have helped? Ending the streak automatically means that you're a heel. Roman Reigns? Cesaro? Daniel Bryan? Future babyfaces, all of them. The WWE doesn't need the next big heel; they need the next Hogan, the next Sting, the next Cena.
4) Cry foul if you must, but this was assuredly 'Taker's decision. He wanted the streak to end. Shouldn't it be his choice? Besides, his career shouldn't be defined by the streak alone.
At the end of the day, I'm fine with the streak ending the way it did. After reading knee-jerk reactions on Twitter, I was compelled to offer a diametric perspective. Stay tuned to this channel for more gut-shaking action!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:34 PM