Album Cover of the Week

Yeah, I bumped the Album Cover of the Week up a day. GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?


Matches That Time Forgot #33

Growing up, I didn't think much of Vampiro. To most wrestling fans, he was merely a midcarder who toiled away under the not-so-vigilant eye of Ted Turner during WCW's last gasp. He debuted in 1997, but he evaporated at short notice. He didn't appear on television again until several months later. As a matter of fact, this was his "redebut." If you'll notice, he is billed as El Vampiro. A few weeks ago, I got sucked into a documentary centered around this interesting fellow (give it a whirl; it's entitled Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero). The more I learn about him, the more I admire him. I now consider myself to be a bit of a Vampiro mark, which is something I never thought I would say.

At one point in time, he was a god in Mexico. The fandom propagated by his legion of devout apostles rivaled Hulkamania at its peak. Here, you can tell that he has been playing this character for awhile. He has everything down to a science. His walk, his distinct offense, his goth/punk symmetry...it's all fine-tuned. His opponent? Prince Iaukea, a Samoan cruiserweight who made headway as WCW's World Television Champion in early 1997. His momentum had dried up by 1998 (remember, this was well before his comedic turn as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea). I dug him, but it's clear that the purpose of this encounter is to get Vampiro over as a...heel? Babyface? Tweener? Your guess is as good as mine.

I miss Thunder.


The Unnamable II

Hold onto something. I'm about to compare The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter to Halloween II. Hear me out! Both sequels pick up where their predecessors left off. But that's not the only thing they have in common. In my opinion, both sequels improve upon the original. Ah, I can almost hear the hate mail flooding my inbox. I'll save the Halloween debate for another retrospective (actually, I'll forget it in five minutes). This extraneous supplement is a loose adaptation of a Lovecraft apologue. Surprise, surprise. The kicker is that the source material has nothing to do with the short story that the first film was based on. Man, Jean-Paul Ouellette must have been obsessed with the notion of rearing a franchise.

I adduced how The Unnamable felt like a directorial debut. Apparently, Ouellette learned on the job because The Unnamable II fills in all of the holes that the original left vacant. The pacing is crisp, the side characters are memorable and perhaps most importantly, the script has an esoteric vibe to it. In other words, it's inexplicably Lovecraftian. The authorities have collected the dead bodies in the Winthrop house. Randolph Carter, being the inquisitive savant that he is, decides to probe a series of underground tunnels beneath the crime scene. He prods his best friend (Eliot, the protagonist from the first film) and a shrewd professor (as played by John Rhys-Davies...!?) into joining him on a quarry to hunt down the irascible demon that claimed the lives of his fellow students.

My pithy synopsis only covers the first act. If you were to skim a thorough prospectus of the whole plot, you would notice traces of quantum physics, insulin-induced absolution, a long-haired doppelganger of Corey Feldman, a shoot-out in a library and a naked Maria Ford. Yeah, this flick is all over the place. Thankfully, it's entertaining. The monster is overexposed, but it still looks cool. FACTOID: Softcore siren Julie Strain is the actor inside of the creature suit. Production values are slick across the board. I'm not sure how Ouellette was able to wrangle a thicker budget this time around, but I tip my hat to his adept ingenuity. Unlike the original, The Unnamable II showcases more than two sets.

Look, this is no masterpiece, but straight-to-video sequels call for lenient standards. Having said that, I wouldn't feel right awarding The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter an unduly altruistic rating. If you add it to your rental queue (I can't believe this film is on Netflix), you'll have to deal with stagey acting and an assortment of risible plot holes. You'll also be subject to bouts of eye-rolling "fish out of water" humor. I have a sneaking suspicion that Ouellette watched Encino Man before mapping out the narrative. Whatever...this is a charming b-movie. And I'm officially sick of talking about this obscure saga. I haven't been this burned out since I reviewed the Killjoy trilogy. The horror!


The Unnamable

It's that time again. It's time to pull the tab off of a can of Tab and appraise a Lovecraft adaptation. Much like The Resurrected, The Unnamable didn't enliven the horror community when it made the transition from page to screen. Unlike The Resurrected, this caliginous tale of the occult didn't demand the attention of video store regulars. To be blunt, it's mediocre. Someone must have enjoyed it, though. A sequel was meted out five years later, and oddly enough, The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter is vastly superior to its progenitor. I'm getting ahead of myself; I'll review the second installment tomorrow. In the interim, you'll have to settle for my waffling, indecisive rout of Jean-Paul Ouellette's The Unnamable.

Ouellette was an industry virgin. This was his maiden voyage as both a director and a screenwriter. It shows. I don't know what possessed him to redress the source material as a barebones monster movie, but whatever the impetus, it also compelled him to get behind the steering wheel for the sequel. A queer objective, that. Was he mentored by Harry Bromley Davenport, the monomaniacal chap responsible for the Xtro trilogy? God, that was a random reference. Anyway, the script follows Randolph Carter, a cavalier student consumed by a local legend. The legend? In the 18th century, a man by the name of Joshua Winthrop inadvertently handed his daughter's soul over to a demon on a silver platter. The poor girl mutated into a winged beast. Shamed, he locked his impious offspring in the attic.

Eventually, the implacable creature lashed out at her father, tearing his heart from his chest. Cut to the present...Randolph explores the supposedly haunted house with his disinclined friend. It seems that one of their mutual buddies evanesced (it was a word before it was a band, you know) into thin air after exploring the ramshackle residency himself. The plot is less involved than I'm leading on, I assure you. A sizeable chunk of the backstory is left sagging like the stretch marks on a swollen, slovenly sow in the stirrups of menopause. I apologize for that visual. If it wasn't for The Unnamable II, many of the muddy details would have remained a mystery. Ouellette's cohorts should have reminded him that God is in the details. Or is it Satan? Er, some sort of fictitious deity is in the details.

The biggest hindrance crimping this flick's style is a pace slower than Dracula's pulse. The bulk of the exposition is wasted on unremitting scenes of hackneyed characters walking down dim hallways. Yawn. I nearly nodded off on two occasions. But all is not lost! The cast is spirited (the leads are patently green, but they get an "A" for effort), the creature design is unique (a demon goat bitch...interesting) and the finale is relatively suspenseful. I certainly don't hate The Unnamable, but it doesn't deliver on its deviceful premise. As far as Lovecraft adaptations are concerned, it occupies the same so-so tier as Bleeders and Lurking Fear. I believe the adjective that is loitering on the tip of my tongue is "middling."



This is both an update and an addendum. First, the update. You'll be seeing more music reviews over the next month. You also might see a contest pop up. I'm always hesitant to hold contests because I never think that anyone will participate. We'll see what happens. This week, I'll be posting two full-length movie reviews back-to-back. Hey, now would be a great time to donate to the site. Just saying. Tee-hee.

Onto the addendum...yesterday, I forgot to mention the Child's Play panel that I attended. Alex Vincent, Chris Sarandon and Brad Dourif shared humorous anecdotes and engaged in an effusive Q&A session. At one point, Dourif was asked if he was reluctant to associate himself with a "killer doll" flick in the 80's, what with his vested repute as an Oscar-nominated actor. His response? "Dude, I'm a whore." Priceless! I mustered up the courage to ask a question myself. I wondered if Brad had read a script for the upcoming remake. He hasn't, and in fact, he doesn't know anything about the project. Apparently, he hasn't heard a peep about the ill-favored revamp in a few years.

Okay, you're up to speed. See you tomorrow!


Popping My Convention Cherry

Last Saturday, I attended my first ever horror convention. I've been to a couple of small comic cons, but they didn't compare to Charlotte's 1st Annual Mad Monster Party. This was an upscale event. The hotel was lavish, the room reserved for panels and screenings was voluminous, and the dealer area...fuck me in the asshole. I've seen footage of vendor rooms online, but seeing one in person, especially one this large, was surreal. Actually, that's the word I would use to describe the whole experience. You haven't lived until you've literally brushed sleeves with Richard Moll. While waiting in line to meet Dee Wallace. Bear in mind, Traci Lords (and her vagina) is thirty feet in front of you. Yeah, it was fucking surreal.

Me, my friend Paul, Bill motherfucking Moseley.

I'll actively try not to write a prolix disquisition, but I should start at the beginning. As soon as I procured my ticket, I strolled for a few seconds and BAM! Angus goddamn Scrimm. That's when I knew that Mad Monster Party would exceed my expectations. I couldn't afford autographs, but every single time I glanced in The Tall Man's direction, he was canonizing a picture with his signature. Now, I was there for four hours. As far as I know, he didn't take any (or many) breaks. Folks, that is a class act. You have to commend the guy for his commitment to touching base with his fans. His line was easily the longest all day, so when you factor his age into the equation (he was born in 1929...!), respect must be given.

Me, my friend Paul, Dee motherfucking Wallace.

Speaking of senior horror celebrities, I was lucky enough to exchange words with Ricou Browning. He played The Gillman underwater in Creature From the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us. I wanted to pull a Wayne Campbell and chant, "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!" He let me pick out a picture and signed it for free. Here again, class act. When I told him that I had always hoped that The Gillman shacked up with the heroine(s), he ensured me that he did. Nice! I knew that the Universal monsters were pimps. I wonder if Karloff nailed that little girl he lobbed into the lake. Calm down...I meant when she was older. Like, at least 12 years of age.

I met Patty Mullen (a.k.a. Frankenhooker). That was insane. Apparently, she is new to the convention circuit, which surprised me. She dipped into costume later in the day, but I caught her in casual attire. Damn, she was looking tasty, as was a redheaded Traci Lords. If I had the extra dough, I would have inquired about an autograph, but honestly, I have no idea what I would have said to her. I mean, it's Traci Lords. "Hey, I'm a huge fan. Just yesterday, I was peering into your gaping asshole." Maybe I should have used that line on Bill Moseley. By the way, Moseley is - you guessed it - a class act. Funny as hell. I don't drink, but I'd love to have a beer with him.

Oh, I like what I see, P.J.

As far as celebrity encounters go, the highlight had to be Dee Wallace. What an absolute sweetheart. She knelt down and had a real conversation with me. Unbelievable. She's one of my favorite actresses of all time. Afterwards, Paul and I looked at each other as if to conjecture, "Did that just happen?" I also met P.J. Soles. I was probably blushing. I kept seeing her hot little self in Halloween and Carrie in my mind's eye. Finally, I chatted with the editor of Girls & Corpses, a nifty magazine that I'll be reviewing by the end of the week. More on him and his rag later.

My budget was tight. I realize that a lot of horror hounds leave conventions with a bag full of DVD's, but I only bought two. The titles? Blood Harvest (starring Tiny Tim as an evil clown) and Slaughter of the Vampires (a black-and-white Italian flick). Of course, I'll be reviewing both movies in due course. In addition, I grabbed a couple of magnets (Creepshow and Killer Klowns From Outer Space), a couple of medium-sized posters (Chopping Mall and the Japanese one-sheet for Daimajin) and THIS shirt. All in all, I managed a sweet bang for my buck. I had a shit ton of fun, and I'm definitely going back next year. Laters!

When you see the toilet from Ghoulies, you take a picture in front of it. This is geek law.


Album Cover of the Week


Geek Out #48

Neil Patrick-Harris, Chubby Checker, Thora Birch, Dustin Diamond, Little Richard, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar...the world wasn't ready for this film.


Rolling Vengeance

Revenge! Some of the best exploitation vehicles (pun probably intended) see the protagonist avenging a fallen loved one in pitiless, revolting ways. Two of my favorite fright flicks - Creepshow and Pumpkinhead - put their victims on the receiving end of unholy retribution. Take the plight of the latter's Ed Harley, for example. His son died at the hands of foolhardy, temerarious teenagers. You can't blame the guy for summoning a badass demon to do the dirty work for him. If the opportunity presented itself, I would have done the same thing (sans the "self-damnation" clause of the initial agreement...Ed really should have drawn up a legally-binding contract with Countess Witchy Poo).

If you heed the advice of a certain zombie martyr, you're supposed to turn the other cheek in these situations. But what if a bedraggled gaggle of rednecks killed your mother, your siblings and your father? Oh, and they raped your girlfriend. Those are the cards that Joey Rosso is dealt. Now, he could fold and walk away from the table. Or he could roll the dice (if you prefer, you can substitute your own gambling metaphor). In 1987's Rolling Vengeance, "rolling the dice" equates to pounding the transgressors into a fine powder with a fucking monster truck. If you ask me, that sounds WAY more fun than turning the other cheek. I know I had fun watching this spare, yet potent story play out.

Back in the 90's, TBS aired a block of programming called "Movies For Guys Who Like Movies." Rolling Vengeance would have been a top-drawer candidate for said marathon. It fits the criteria. In fact, it stands alongside Predator and Roadhouse in terms of pure, unadulterated machismo. We get barfights, topless strippers, car chases and of course, a mean monster truck. I have no clue why this fortified four-wheeler isn't as iconic as the Green Goblin truck in Maximum Overdrive or The Creeper's gas guzzler in Jeepers Creepers. Because it could eat them both for breakfast. Sadly, the death sequences are bereft of blood. If any b-reel necessitated an exploding head and a stockpile of vital organs, it's Rolling Vengeance.

I can't express how simple this film is, but it runs smoother than the engine of a...hell, I'm not a car person. A cast of reliable, well-disposed thespians help keep everything in working order. Prolific Hollywood drudge Ned Beatty is pitch-perfect as the black-clad baddie. The rest of the characters are played by nobodies, but hey, they are solid actors. No complaints here. I wouldn't call Rolling Vengeance a tearjerker, but emotionally speaking, it hits all of the right notes. Don't get the wrong impression; action takes center stage. Overall, this is an above-average motion picture if you're the type of geek who thought that Death Wish was missing a lethal dose of monster truck wreckage.


Blood Capsule #9


Well, this is a first. I've never reviewed a short film before. Clocking in at 25 minutes, Negadon is an animated homage to kaiju classics from the 60's. Technically, it's an anime, but it's not the kind of anime that your olid, unwashed bisexual friend in High School obsessed over (I think we all knew a gamy manga nerd in High School). There are no gaping mouths in sight. No androgynous charlatans, no rape victims traipsing about in plaid skirts, no tentacled valentines...just a stark cityscape awash in faded colors and spurious film grain. I am here to tell you that writer/director Jun Awazu nailed the Toho look. Eventually, Negadon gives itself away as a modern kaiju yarn, and it's not just because of the glassy CG-rendered visuals.

This concise epic is pokerfaced. It doesn't wink at the camera, and apart from the boisterous score, it forgoes camp in favor of emotional depth. Mood is never compromised, even during a Tokyo-trouncing laser duel. If you want a synopsis, read the back of any stand-alone "giant monster from outer space" DVD. Negadon: The Monster From Mars isn't so much a plot-driven spectacle. It's more concerned with execution. I had fun with it, although it could use a second helping of action. Check it out if you feel like you've seen every kaiju flick on Satan's red earth. That's certainly how I feel, but then again, I need a social life.



Fuck it. I always say that if maintaining this website (or a certain part of it) begins to feel like work, I'm going to stop doing it. Listen, I'm a wrestling fan. I love it. I want the WWE (and even TNA) to succeed. But I'm so fed up with the current product, that I refuse to write about it. Simply put, I don't enjoy cooking up reviews of Raw and Smackdown anymore. I almost dread having to deal with Parts Unknown, unless I'm critiquing an "old school" show. So I'll still review old episodes of Raw, Nitro, Thunder, Heat, Superstars, WCW Worldwide, etc...fear not! Parts Unknown isn't drifting off entirely. I just need a fucking break from modern day sports entertainment.

I know I made a promise yesterday. It sucks, but I won't make a habit out of 86'ing upcoming projects. I apologize to those who look forward to my takes on Raw and Smackdown (all two of you). Who knows? I may lift my self-imposed moratorium at some point. There are times in life when you have to ask yourself, "What would Johnny Polo do?"


Panels From Beyond the Grave #16

Parts Unknown will arrive on your doorstep tomorrow. Today, part-time Random (comic book) Reviews contributor Bob Ignizio is offering a panel from beyond the grave. Read on as he dissects the latest issue of The Punisher. I know, I know...technically, this is a non-horror title, but I think it fits the tone of the site. Frank Castle is all about violence and so is RR Inc.!

Click HERE to visit Bob's uber-cool movie blog.

THE PUNISHER (#9, April 2012)

Since his first appearance in 1974, Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher) has been Marvel's answer to the sort of vigilante anti-heroes popular in movies like Dirty Harry and pulpy “men's adventure” novels (The Executioner, The Destroyer, etc.). He's sort of like if Charles Bronson in Death Wish decided to wear a goofy-looking costume and occasionally had to deal with super-powered adversaries along with the usual street scum. To be honest, that kind of mix never really appealed to me as a comic book fan. Still, when writer Greg Rucka took the reins for a relaunch of the character last year, I was willing to give it a chance. I'm glad I did because this latest incarnation of The Punisher is one of the best comics currently on the stands.

Since the beginning of his run on The Punisher, Rucka has focused almost as much on the supporting cast as he has on the titular anti-hero. Foremost among these other characters is female Marine Sergeant Rachel Cole-Alves, one of the few survivors of a massacre that took place when two rival gangs decided to shoot it out at her wedding ceremony. Her husband wasn't so lucky. Since recovering, Rachel has set out on her own path of vengeance which just so happens to run parallel with Frank's.

Until now, Frank and Rachel haven't come face to face, but in issue nine, Rucka finally brings them together to take on The Exchange, one of the gangs involved in the wedding day massacre. The Exchange are former super villains who figured they could avoid trouble by committing crimes that wouldn't draw the attention of guys like Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four. With both The Punisher and what is essentially his female counterpart joining forces to take them down, it's starting to look like they figured wrong. They probably would have been better off staging a full-frontal assault against The Avengers than having these two after them.

The things I like about this issue are the same things I like about the series as a whole. There's a gritty, realistic tone to this book that makes it feel like a pulpy crime novel. At the same time, he makes sure the reader never loses sight of the fact that this book is taking place in the Marvel universe. References to S.H.I.E.L.D. and a bunch of bad guys who show up dressed in sci-fi garb could spoil the tone, but Rucka manages to integrate these elements seamlessly. This issue also sets up a cross-over with Daredevil and Spider-Man. It will be interesting to see how Rucka handles those more overtly fantastic characters here.

The art for this issue is handled by Mirko Colak filling in for regular artist Marco Checchetto. Colak has a cleaner, less physical style than Checchetto, but for this particular chapter of the story, he's a more than adequate substitute. It also helps that regular colorist Mark Hollingsworth's efforts provide some consistency with the rest of the series. The only reason I'm giving this four Savages instead of five is that this issue is a bit light on the action. It's more about getting the characters in place and setting up the next chapter. In the context of the overall story, that's necessary, and I appreciate that Rucka trusts his readers not to get antsy, but if you're a new reader looking for a place to jump on, you might do better waiting 'til next month.


The Burning Moon

I was first exposed to German gore god Olaf Ittenbach ten years ago. Jeez, has it been that long already? Time needs to slow the fuck down. Anyway, my first Olaf opus was 1997's Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead. I dug the forcible, bilious violence, but I couldn't wrap my teenaged mind around what I was seeing. I lacked the capacity to truly enjoy no-budget exploitation. Pardon my journalistic staccato (I think I mentioned this in an earlier review), but I disdained SOV entertainment as a wee goon. If it wasn't shot on 35mm, you couldn't have paid me to give it a second look. Thankfully, tastebuds evolve, which brings me to the splatter jubilee in question - 1992's The Burning Moon.

This was only Ittenbach's second spell behind the camera, and technically, it was his first feature-length film. For a bloodhound cutting his teeth, he frames his shots with panache and a perspicacious eye for visuals. Collectively, he sticks to point-and-shoot tenets. That may sound like a negative thing, but it's not. I promise! It just makes it all the more jarring when he does experiment with filters, slow-motion, unconventional angles and other simple, yet effective tricks. The script is divided into two segments. It's basically an anthology. That shouldn't surprise you, unless you're new here. The wrap-around plot involves a drug-addled gang member who returns home from a jocund evening of knife fights to tell bedtime stories to his kid sister.

Obviously, he doesn't reach for Corduroy or The Berenstain Bears. No, he spins a yarn entitled "Julia's Love." A psychopath breaks out of a mental asylum and...kills people. Man, the "story" is so thin, I imagine that it sheepishly excuses itself after a meal and heads for a public restroom clutching a toothbrush for dear life. For what it's worth, this, um, cautionary tale (?) serves as a presentable slasher. We get sufficient bloodshed. Let's face it; a sky-scraping percentage of genre fans will seek out The Burning Moon for its gore effects, and thus far, Ittenbach has not disappointed. But if "Julia's Love" is the tip of the iceberg, wait until you smack into the trunk of this glacial mass Titanic-style.

"The Purity" delivers the goods in spades. We follow a priest as he rapes and murders a few of his congregants. The last ten minutes...goddamn. Even if you aren't particularly engrossed in the first 70 minutes (give or take), the ending will stroke your shaft and wipe the sour cream off of your balls. Too descriptive? I don't care. It's nice to find a horror film that knows how to go out with a bang. In a wise move, Ittenbach saves his most convincing gag for the climax. Fitting, no? Why isn't this approach to pacing commonplace? Would Hellraiser be as memorable if the opening scene was as graphic as Frank's epic death? It's doubtful.

Admittedly, my rating is slightly generous. The Burning Moon could be designated as amateurish trash, and to some extent, it is amateurish trash. You know what? I like amateurish trash. You have to be into SOV madness to gauge the appeal of this alienating sub-subgenre. It has heart, which is more than I can say for whatever remake is currently in pre-production.


Album Cover of the Week


Vanity Scare #3

I decided to change up the format of this column. My random thoughts prefer to graze in the open expanse of a bulleted list. Y'know, I've had friends ask me why I deemed magazines worthy of review. It's not so much that I'm reviewing magazines; well, I suppose it is, but this feature also allows me to comment on a wide variety of horror-centric topics. Like embroidery! And calligraphy! And spelunking!

RUE MORGUE (#120, March 2012)

- I understand that the offices of RM have recently switched graphic designers, so I don't want to come down hard on the new guy. I'm sure that we'll see plenty of badass covers in the future. Still, this one is lacking in detail and spunk. On the surface, it strikes the reader as being overtly gory, but upon undue scrutiny, the photo reveals itself to be rather tame. My squabble is at variance with the knowledge that they could have easily used this space to endorse the latest mainstream fright flick. I'll take a Father's Day plug over excessive publicity for Silent House anyday.

- Perhaps it's appropriate that I change the format of Vanity Scare, as RM has made quite a few changes to its own format. Some revisions were for the better; others...meh. The most noticeable about-face is the extirpation of the Travelogue of Terror. Boo! Hiss! Last issue's Travelogue was one of the more enjoyable reads available. We do get a batch of new columns including a spotlight on horror ink (that's Hipster for "tattoos") and an all-too-brief discourse on cryptozoology. I hope they consider expanding the latter blurb. Overall, the artwork has improved (the colors leap out at you), and the pages are thicker. Speaking of pages, there are only 62 of them. Why is this magazine shrinking? If anything, it should be growing, especially when you take into account what they're charging for it.

- Woah! Mark Pavia is back on the scene! For those uninitiated, Pavia directed The Night Flier, one of my favorite films of all time. Since then, he has been inexplicably dormant. Apparently, he is rising from his tomb to adapt a handful of Stephen King short stories in the form of an anthology entitled The Reaper's Image. Needless to say, this chunk of news gave me a fanboy boner of blasphemous proportions. By the way, if you haven't seen The Night Flier, kill yourself.

- Trevor Tuminski's write-up on Father's Day sold me on the zany exploitation freakout. I'm curious to see just how many envelopes this flick pushes.

- Liisa Ladouceur's interview with Anne Rice was interesting, and that's coming from a dude who doesn't give a pound of fuck about Gothic romance novels. The born-again atheist has returned to the genre with a werewolf yarn. Are werewolves the next monsters in line to be defanged and glamorized? If so, count me out.

- I dug Tal Zimerman's look at Arrow Video, the UK-based distribution shingle that plasters DVD's with amazing VHS-style artwork. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that their discs are region-free. I'm eyeballing their special edition of Vamp (an unsung 80's classic, in my eyes).

- Paul Corupe's Late-Nite Archive ranks the best and worst Godzilla outings. I'm fine with his choices, but if you're going to assign a task of this magnitude, don't limit your freelancer to a single page. I mean, it's Godzilla...one page doesn't even scratch the surface.

~ What a coincidence. I've been reading a lot about 555 lately, and The Gore-Met graces the Morgue (that's what cool kids call it) with a loving tribute to the sleazy SOV slasher. I need to see this damn movie.

- I commonly soft-pedal through Audiodrome, but George Pacheco's review of the new Bastard Priest record has convinced me to add it to my collection. I adore Swedish death metal, and a hearty dose of sneering punk/hardcore only sweetens the pot. Seriously, check these guys out.



Hornswoggle in the Hood

I was going to post a new Vanity Scare, but that can wait until tomorrow. I woke up to unsettling news, and I feel the need to bellyache about it to my ego's content. This news blurb is a double-edged sword. Both edges suck. First, Lion's Gate wants to remake Leprechaun. That alone is enough to send me into a tornado of geek rage. Christ, the original is barely two decades old! Why not bankroll another sequel? If you're the type of person who would never rent Leprechaun 7, then chances are, you'll never rent a Leprechaun remake. What does a studio stand to gain from opting to do a remake instead of a sequel? Normally, a remake is more profitable, but as I illustrated above, this is schlock we're dealing with. This will only piss off hardcore fans, and it won't appeal to casual fans.

Okay, the other edge of the sword...WWE's film division is partnering up with Lion's Gate for this project (their last joint venture was See No Evil). If you keep up with WWE's current product, you know what that means. All signs point to Hornswoggle filling the shoes of the evil Irish imp. Motherfuck! I hate that annoying little shit. What's worse, Warwick Davis will be screwed out of reprising the role he made famous. Goddamn it. Look, Robert Englund is Freddy Krueger, Doug Bradley is Pinhead, Brad Dourif is the voice of Chucky and Warwick Davis is the fucking leprechaun in Leprechaun! You spineless twats.


Geek Out #47

I marvel at the kind of vicissitudes one can corral on the World Wide Cobweb. The fact that I was able to find an episode of This is Your Life starring Boris Karloff speaks to the prosperity of the digital age. God, this clip is ancient. It's also very telling. You get a real sense of how warm and sweet-natured this scream king was off-camera. Imagine if Bela Lugosi was surprised on live television. "What? I don't give a fuck about some cocksucker from my past! Go fuck yourself! Did Karloff put you up to this?"


Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

NOTE: I found this awesome piece of fan art on DeviantART, but I can't remember the name of the artist. If this is your work, let me know and I'll give you credit.

I told you I had a thing for anthologies. I actually plan on covering another anthology in the coming weeks, but I wouldn't want to get ahead of myself, now would I? Concentrate, Dom...concentrate! Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is an Amicus film from 1965. I extol this studio's syllabus whenever the opportunity presents itself. Amicus was distinct for two reasons. For starters, they were seen as a low-rent Hammer, and while the two frightful foundries could be considered not-so-distant cousins, it would be an affront to label Amicus a poor man's anything. Granted, the budgets were spasmodically skimpy, but the movies themselves were nothing to scoff at. The proof lies in high-caliber creepers such as Asylum, The Skull and my personal favorite, The House That Dripped Blood.

Amicus was also notorious for specializing in anthologies. Up until last night, Dr. Terror was the lone spine-tingler that had escaped me. I did catch the first ten minutes on television years ago. If you've happened to view it on the boob tube, it was probably on AMC (back when Monsterfest was dignified). And the print was probably a smirched salmagundi of obscene proportions. Regrettably, this flick has never been given deluxe DVD treatment, and if any antiquated genre prize needs to be remastered, it's this one. Even the cut on Netflix Instant Streaming looks like a washed out VHS copy. 'Tis a shame, as this is a first-rate reel that deserves to be culled from the arbitrary gulf of obscurity.

Peter Cushing plays Dr. Shreck (a.k.a. Dr. Terror), a brooding metaphysicist who joins a group of strangers on a train. One of the passengers strikes up a conversation with the strange bloke. He notices a deck of tarot cards, which Shreck facetiously refers to as his "house of horrors." He goads each gentleman into tapping the deck three times. According to Dr. Terror, the cards dealt map out the destiny of the ill-omened soul unlucky enough to tap them. We get a glimpse into the future and we see what it holds for these five characters. The vignettes embroil werewolves, vampires, flagitious sprouts (at one point, a dog is killed by roaming vines...!), a voodoo ceremony and a disembodied hand (this segment is entitled "Disembodied Hand").

Aside from the weakest story, none of the plots are particularly original. Dr. Terror doesn't bring fresh ingredients to the table. I guess I should expound on the weakest story. In an effort to infuse the script with fair-tempered comedy, the middle chestnut of doom-laden prescience finds a musician vacationing on some remote island. He walks in on a voodoo ritual, and like most people, his first instinct is to jot down the notes that the African war tribe is playing. In essence, he steals their song. It's a standard tale of just desserts, only the central figure doesn't die. He merely learns his lesson. Boring! That prick wouldn't evade persecution in Creepshow; that's for goddamn sure.

A whole paragraph of disapproval, yet I claim to delight in Dr. Terror. What can I say? It's easier to rant. However, I had fun with this straightforward omnibus picture. It's atmospheric and paced to perfection. The cast is teeming with disciplined veterans (Christopher Lee and Michael Gough both appear in "Disembodied Hand"). There are a couple of noteworthy scenes that are guaranteed to stick to your ribs. For instance, I don't know of any other film that features a werewolf climbing out of a coffin. Moreover, the twist ending of "Vampire" put a serene smirk on my face. I kept vacillating on what rating to ascribe to Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, but when it comes down to it, the rating isn't quite as important as the thrust of the review. The thrust of this review reads as follows...

I dug it.


Parts Unknown #101: Raw

I plan on sticking with Raw until Wrestlemania. After that, who knows? Last night marked the ablution of The Attitudinal Era. Because the best way to get wrestling back on the map is to use foul language.


~ It was imbecilic, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't crack a smile upon seeing the grand return of Thug Cena. His rap was short and sweet. The "Rock concert" was long and sweet. And here I thought Vince wanted Cena to have the upper hand. I'm confused.

~ The Ziggler/Sheamus match. These are two guys we see a lot of week in, week out. In spite of their oversaturation, I enjoyed this voracious back-and-forth. The cutaway to Daniel Bryan was amusing, if not poorly acted.

~ Shawn Michaels was a decent talker in the 90's, but his recent mic work has been outstanding. He was one step ahead of the crowd, and he was two steps ahead of The Undertaker. More on this segment later.

~ Jericho's cutting promo alongside CM Punk's believable reaction. As expected, this has been the most gratifying feud leading up to Wrestlemania 28.


~ I'm glad that Brodus Clay is back, but when are they actually going to do something with him? Why can't he spar with Jinder Mahal? Neither man will be ascending to the main event anytime soon, so why not establish an angle?

~ Oh, Phenom. Why are you still rusty on the mic? You're better than this. You repeated yourself too many times, you seemed unsure, you wavered, you were borderline aphonic...shockingly, you passed up a golden opportunity to broach the kayfabe history you have with HBK. I realize that primordial storylines are typically ignored, but in 1997, Shawn Michaels "accidentally" cost you the title during a knock-down drag-out scuffle against Bret "The Hitman" Hart (as the special guest referee, no less). Maybe mention it? Or at least mention The Montreal Screwjob? This stuff writes itself!

~ Why in the aquamarine fuck is Kane gunning for Randy Orton? It doesn't make a lick of sense.

~ The presence of Aksana, Santino and David Otunga.

~ The absence of Drew McIntyre, The Uso's and...any tag team whatsoever (where are the champions?).

I heard that Sid no-showed the Smackdown tapings. Tisk, tisk.


Matches That Time Forgot #32

I thought it would be interesting to examine one of the many encounters between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Obviously, time has not forgotten their match at Wrestlemania III, so let's take a gander at a physical brawl from New Japan. The year? 1983. Hogan? He was in "badass heel" mode (on a sidenote, I've always found his pre-Hulkamania work as a heavy to be acutely underrated). Andre? He was remarkably athletic, although most of his mobility would wane by 1987. I want you to watch this bout. I mean, really watch it. In my estimation, it's far superior to the thunderous main event of WM3.

Calm down. I'm only talking about the actual wrestling. I like Hulk's decision to focus on Andre's arm. I like Andre's vocal selling. I like the way that Hulk kicks out late in the match, and I like the way Andre flops out of the ring. I like the double count-out, as it protects both men. These motherfuckers were tearing down the house, plain and simple. They did a fantastic job of making it seem as if they genuinely despised one another. But of course, they didn't. Andre was a seasoned professional, and Hogan was legitimately afraid of the big lug. I would be, too.


Album Cover of the Week


No relation to the stop-motion spoof...

On March 24th, I will be attending my first horror convention. I've been to sci-fi/comic conventions, but obviously, my heart lies in the horror genre. I've wanted to go to a convention ever since I discovered that such a thing exists. I can still remember being 13 and reading about Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors in bewildered, open-mouthed awe. But cool shit only happened in big cities. We do have a convention center in Hickory, North Carolina, but it predominantly hosts gun shows and the occasional sci-fi/comic clambake. When I found out that there would be an honest-to-goodness horror convention in Charlotte, I nearly splooged all over my two-tape King of the Rocket Men set (I don't know, it was the first reference that came to mind).

If you live in or around the Charlotte area, click HERE to read the details (date, address, guests, etc.). I'm going on Saturday, the 24th. If you see me, say hello. Chances are, I'll be the wheelchair-bound sucker forking over untold amounts of cash for a VHS copy of 555. Just kidding; I'm not that stupid (in truth, I'm almost that stupid). I plan on posting a write-up about my experience at The Mad Monster Party. Can't! Wait!


Charred Walls of the Damned - COLD WINDS ON TIMELESS DAYS

Stand clear, everyone; it's a supergroup! If you're a self-respecting metalhead, you already know the story behind Charred Walls of the Damned. You already know that this traditional, yet progressive quartet mines the talents of human air raid siren Tim "Ripper" Owens (Beyond Fear, ex-Judas Priest, ex-Iced Earth), consummate bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, ex-Death, ex-Testament), tractile drummer Richard Christy (ex-Death, ex-Iced Earth, ex-Control Denied, ex-Acheron) and sought-after metalcore producer Jason Suecof (Trivium, All That Remains). Furthermore, you already know that Cold Winds on Timeless Days is their second album. If you weren't privy to any of that information, do yourself a favor and conduct research in the field of Badass Metal. It should be offered as an elective at most Ivy League universities.

Obviously, Jason Suecof is an unknown, and to nearly every "troo" metalhead, his name will be a red flag that inumbrates an otherwise godly line-up. Take it from someone who has listened to both CWOTD albums; Mr. Suecof's affiliation with plebeian Hot Topic bands does not taint this powerful collective. This is a pure-bred pedigree of technical power metal in the same vein as Nevermore, Control Denied, Pharaoh and Communic. The eponymous debut was met with warm praise in 2010. To be honest, I listened to it two or three times before labeling it as a disappointment. It's not bad. Hell, it's not mediocre, but look at the docket of participants. That's a hallowed screed of musicians, and I was expecting an epic slab of uterus-searing metal to spring from my speakers.

Basically, I wanted to be violated. I've enjoyed Cold Winds fifteen times in the past week (conservative estimation), and in my erudite opinion, it blows its predecessor out of the fucking water. This is a mature, dynamic collection of songs that prospers on the strength of layered melodies and masterful craftsmanship. Album opener "Timeless Days" will tell you everything you need to know about this record. Sample it online, but don't download this fucker. The brilliance behind Cold Winds reveals itself over repeated spins, although it's much more immediate than the self-titled long player. Owens seems to explore his range with an assured fortitude that I haven't heard since Iced Earth's The Glorious Burden.

This is easily his best vocal performance to date. Cold Winds probably won't catch his detractors off-balance, but if you've been on the fence as it relates to Ripper (which is where I've been), he just might win you over on tracks such as the soaring "Ashes Falling Upon Us," the catchy-as-fuck "Lead the Way" and the multi-tiered "Zerospan." Richard Christy is my favorite drummer on the planet, so it goes without saying that he kicks mass quantities of ass. Personally, I don't think he'll ever top his work on Death's The Sound of Perseverance, but here, he comes awfully fucking close. I mean, check out the beginning of "Forever Marching on." What the hell is he doing? Is that even a time signature?

There are plenty of sweet leads to mollify the guitar freaks among the metal community. Ideally, Cold Winds on Timeless Days would mollify any person with a CD player. I love it, but I can't give it a perfect rating for two reasons. A) DiGiorgio's bass is too low in the mix. B) As amazing as this album is, I believe that Charred Walls of the Damned is capable of surpassing it. Ergo, I will save my 5-Abbath rating for when they release a follow-up. Don't let me down, boys!