The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm taking the day off, for obvious reasons.  I don't feel the need to post "special" content on Halloween because I celebrate it throughout the entire year.  Instead, I will post a random Halloween Havoc match and retire to my sleeping chamber.  Be sure to watch Trick 'r' Treat, Night of the Demons, any of the pre-Zombie Halloween films and Spookies.


Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #11

For the wrestling geeks.


Matches That Time Forgot #47

For those reading this column for the first time, I should begin by saying that not every match featured is a midcard mess.  In fact, I've covered five-star classics.  The only criteria I employ is that the contest in question must be...well, forgotten.  The title is self-explanatory, I suppose.  I do have a qualmish, preternatural proclivity for daffy gimmicks and obscure tag teams.  It can't be helped.

Today's bout incriminates Harlem Heat (with a potted Sister Sherri in tow) and Stars & Stripes.  The latter team was comprised of The Patriot and Marcus Bagwell.  Should I gloat that I met Bagwell?  I snatched his autograph last year, mainly because he was the next guy in line.  He looks exactly the same, by the way.  Kind of creepy.  He formed so many extraneous tag teams in WCW, that he probably role-plays in the bedroom to habituate his muscle memory.  "Okay, I'll be Vicious, and you be Delicious!"

Shot in December of '94 and aired in January of '95, this match was for tag team gold.  The first half is competent, but the referee (Brad Maddox Sr.?) depredates Harlem Heat's isolation tactics by allowing The Patriot to rush into the ring.  It's almost as if he said, "Fuck it."  Everything breaks down and voila!  Booker T. and Stevie Ray are your new champions!  In my admittedly cataract-coated eyes, Harlem Heat might be the most underrated tag tandem of all time.  They were certainly the most dominant team of the 90's, even more so than The New Age Outlaws.  If you count their pre-WCW incumbency, the Huffman brothers were together for the whole decade.

We'll just pretend that Harlem Heat 2000 never happened.  But it did.  Sweet God, it did!


Album Cover of the Week


Island Claws

A couple of years ago, I plunged into the illimitable netherworld of VHS collecting.  I've spoken about this vagary before, but I haven't stressed how indignant some tapeheads can be.  A quick junket to eBay reveals just how eager amateur auctioneers are to take advantage of dyed-in-the-wool genre fans.  Certain videos sell for incogitably steep prices, and as long as people are desperate enough to buy these scabbards of nostalgia, tight-fisted vendors will have no reason to make tapes a little more affordable.  When I first began seeking out rare horror films on VHS, 1980's Island Claws climbed to the top of my want list with the fleetness of a pygmy marmoset.  Often times, it was out of reach.  The fact that it's not on DVD gave online sellers a conducive excuse to hike up its perceived value.

Now, I don't mean to suggest that this tape isn't worth something, but I wasn't going to spend $60-$100 on it.  Fuck that noise.  "Good things come to those who wait" is a veracious axiom (I do believe that I've found a name for my thrash band), as it's based in deductible reasoning.  I waited, and I got a copy of Island Claws.  Oddly enough, I didn't have any fanciful expectations.  I wasn't convinced that I had landed a lost z-grade masterpiece.  It turns out that this is an amiable, engrossing creature feature that compensates for skinflint finances with singular charm.  I had no idea that the script was co-written by Ricou Browning, so I'm doubly proud to say that I nabbed his autograph.  Who is Ricou Browning?  You really don't know?  First off, you're a loser.  Secondly, click HERE (you don't have to read the whole article, but do it anyway).

There is a gaggle of key characters to keep track of, but astonishingly, each one has a well-rounded personality.  Jo McDonnell plays Jan, a reporter assigned to muckrake a team of marine biologists.  Well, "muckrake" isn't a fair word to use; she is merely monitoring their research.  The perky blonde is quite judicious for a journalist.  McDonnell was Marilyn in the following year's The Munsters' Revenge.  Naturally, I gave her all of the brownie points I had available at the time (I was able to locate a few extra points in my pants...HEY-O!).  Schlock veteran Robert Lansing explores his range as Moody, an Irish pub owner who acts as a father figure to our strapping hero.  Oh, the strapping hero is portrayed by Steve Hanks.  Incidentally, he was not Marilyn in The Munsters' Revenge.

In case you can't tell from the cover art, we're dealing with a giant crab.  For the most part, we only see regular-sized crabs, and ordinarily, that would be a buzzkill.  However, I cackled my taint off watching would-be victims react to being approached by a concourse of fiddler crabs as if they were staving off rapist werewolves.  It never occurs to these dopes that they could simply walk away.  The death sequences are delightfully melodramatic.  For example, a beachcomber goes down in flames inside of his burning trailer...!  Where is Rawhead Rex when you need him?  I did grow weary of the seemingly perpetual exposition at the hour mark, but the ending is a sight for bloodshot eyes.

The giant crab is an animatronic work of art.  Somehow, director Hernan Cardenas managed to circumvent rear projection and stop-motion effects.  Granted, the hulking beastie is practically immobile, but it still looks cool.  Island Claws comes dangerously close to earning a coveted 4-Z'Dar rating.  Sketchy pacing and a disappointing lack of gore put a damper on the proceedings, though my opinion is subject to change with multiple viewings.  This isn't a "holy shit" cult classic, but it's definitely fun stuff.  And I don't know if they are actually fiddler crabs.  Is there a marine biologist in the house?  Insert laugh track here.


The Random Reviews Hallowgiving Giveaway

For weeks, I've been stewing, simmering and sweating over a potential Halloween-themed contest.  I couldn't decide what to give away, but I can't afford to prorogue this thing any longer.  Seeing as how it will bleed into November, I'm calling it The Random Reviews Hallowgiving Giveaway.  The prize?  Well, it's half-sweet and half-mysterious.  "Whatever do you mean, Dom???"  A part of the gift package will be a surprise.  I'm tossing in two random (key word) VHS tapes and three random DVD's.  The sweet part is much less mysterious.  I'm giving away a pair of Frankenberry Fruit Roll-Ups plus a bonus Boo Berry Fruit Roll-Up.  HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS!

To enter, simply join the RR Inc. Fan Club...it's too easy!  The winner will be selected at random (key word sighting) in precisely two weeks.  You've got until the 9th of November.  U.S. residents only, please.

Spread the word!


Ihsahn - EREMITA

In my humble opinion, Ihsahn has quietly made three of the best metal albums of the past decade.  This may be blasphemy, but I prefer his solo work to the arcane, impenetrable hymns of Emperor.  Don't get me wrong; Emperor rules.  I am fully aware of their rule-ness (?).  Having said that, I've always leaned towards progressive metal.  That's why I champion 2001's Prometheus - The Discipline of Fire & Demise, their much-maltreated swan song.  I blame Opeth.  And Porcupine Tree.  Anyway, Ihsahn's solo records picked up where Prometheus left off.  Each one has been more temerarious than the last, and if you're like me, that's a good thing.  Contrariwise, Eremita is my least favorite Ihsahn album to date.  What gives?

It took me repeated spins to appreciate 2010's After.  At first, I was galled by the prominence of a shrill, scritching saxophone.  With the exception of "Frozen Lakes of Mars," the songs didn't grab me, and I wasn't sure why.  Eventually, I warmed up to the sax.  The album began to gel as a cohesive unit.  It's not meant to be consumed in fragments.  Perhaps I was expecting a sequel to 2008's Angl (sic), a song-driven collective that could be considered "catchy."  Eremita wants the best of both worlds.  The first half is a punchy, immediate slab of forward-thinking black metal, while the second half shoots for experimental ambiance.  It's hard to listen to straight through, as the closing tracks slough off at the heel of your brain like background noise.

Don't disparage.  I'd say that Eremita is worth your money.  Mediocre Ihsahn is superior to most modern metal, and these are only my viewpoints.  The songs that click are murderously dynamic.  "The Paranoid" is the token scorcher, yet the chorus is eerily accessible.  Frenetic riffs are conjoined with crying guitar licks.  Ihsahn has never been a subpar guitarist, but damn, he seriously upped his game for this session.  Overall, the solos are sweeter.  Check out the extended lead break on "Recollection."  Speaking of that killer tune, it's a bonus track on the hyper-deluxe digibook edition, whatever the fuck that means.  Why didn't it make the cut?  It might be the best composition here, and it's impossible to categorize (if I was forced to pigeonhole it, I'd probably go with "hard rock").  If it were included in the official tracklist, my rating would be higher.  No doubt.

"Introspection" is a divine collaboration with Devin Townsend.  Ironically, it reminds me of "Unhealer," the joint effort on Angl featuring Mikael Akerfeldt.  "The Eagle and the Snake" is a thumping epic with another guest spot.  This time, ex-Nevermore axeman Jeff Loomis contributes eight bars of shredding.  To be honest, his solo doesn't fit the song, and it feels awfully generic.  Meh.  The brooding "Catharsis" and the diversiform "Departure" are teeming with cool parts, but those parts don't mesh.  They're just...parts.  Again, the second half of Eremita seems hazy and unfocused.  I was hoping that it would grow on me.  Try as I might, I can't lose myself in the melodies.  After presented the same quandary, but I could tell that it wouldn't be long before the music seized my eardrums.

Y'know, it's strange.  Eremita doesn't mark a severe shift in songwriting for the insulated Norwegian.  He hasn't sold out or gone soft.  For some reason, I don't connect to this album on a gut level.  Still, it's pretty goddamn solid.  Remember, get the uber-super digibook edition for "Recollection."  That's a half-Abbath right there.



Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #10

I talk about The Tingler.


Iron Sky

I love it when b-movie concepts worm their way into big-budget studio pictures.  You end up with safeguarded clovers like Slither, Deep Rising and Wishmaster.  By the way, if Wishmaster didn't rock your world, you're living in denial (if you forgot why it kicks piles of ass, click HERE to refresh your memory).  Iron Sky milks an uncurbed, almost cavalier absurdist plot straight out of the 50's.  You may have heard of this flick, but if not, hold onto something sturdy.  I'm serious.  Use soldered metal for leverage.  Iron Sky is about Nazis from outer space.  Technically speaking, they're from Earth, but there is more to the story.  After suffering an opprobrious defeat during WWII, their righteous Reich decamped to the moon in shrouded stealth.  For seven decades, they have worked towards an invasion of Earth to disseminate their message of "unity."

Beneath the surface flapdoodle folly of the script, we are treated to political satire and an atypical romance.  Iron Sky spins a dozen plates at once.  I have to hand it to director Timo Vuorensola for melding so many antithetical genres and making it look easy.  Because it couldn't have been easy.  I was worried that the final product would collapse under its own weight.  This was a major-league production shot in four different countries.  Plus, it was financed and/or distributed by over twenty (!) firms spanning three continents.  There was nothing keeping Iron Sky from becoming a labored, bloated exercise in ataxia.  Thankfully, my fears were causeless.  This flick sports fantastic digital effects, a spirited cast and a proper parity of incisive jokes amongst high-octane action sequences.

The comedy is never too nutty, though a fair percentage of the politically-charged barbs are dated.  You see, Iron Sky's President of the United States of America is a blunt caricature of Sarah Palin.  They're a bit late on that one (if I'm not mistaken, the DVD just landed stateside a month or two ago).  On the acting front, I don't have any grievances to air.  A special mention must go out to Julia Dietze, the cutest Nazi in recorded history.  Her character arc is actually believable, and I dug her credulous enthusiasm.  Props to a proficient actress for creating an endearing sectarian.  I bought what she was selling.  Oh, and Udo Kier is creepy.  What else is new?  Stereotypes are a problem here, but I'm willing to overlook them.  After all, this is a parody.

It could be argued that the social commentary is...on the nose?  I mean, Iron Sky isn't the most subtle work of art you'll ever witness.  Truth be told, it can be short-sighted at times, and I understand why certain viewers take umbrage with the way that America is depicted.  They're not wrong.  In the end, I enjoyed this film for what it is - meteoric entertainment.  Pun intended?  You be the judge.  If you're craving fresh science fiction, don't hesitate to rent this Nazisploitation blowout.  Be sure to sit through the end credits.  I'll say this, pooh-bah producers; if a sequel is given the green light (and it's definitely within the realm of possibility), do everything in your power to bring back Julia Dietze.  She is your anchor.  Your sexy, curvy anchor.


3 Minutes (and 31 Seconds) of Bullshit

This will be a busy week at RR Inc.


Album Cover of the Week

Been out of town all day, so you're getting another Saturday ACOTW.  I decided to go with an established classic.  Ain't she purdy?


Geek Out #69

This is a very cool featurette from the Frighteners DVD about Jeffrey Combs and his role in creating the man, the myth, the legend...Milton Dammers.  I love the fact that his haircut was influenced by Adolf Hitler.

"My body is a road map of pain!"


Blood Capsule #22


You never know what you're going to get with obscure horror films from the 80's, which is why I can't stop watching them.  The bad apples don't discombobulate me.  I'm only miffed by the lukewarm cheese wheels that could have been infallible displays of bunkum.  Most critics will tell you that mediocre movies are the hardest ones to review.  I tend to agree.  It's fucking frustrating.  At times, The Oracle reaches the membrane-melting lunacy of Spookies, but funhouse flummery is kept at bay. Pellets of monster grue and outlandish special effects are few and far between.  In director Roberta Findlay's defense, these scenes are deliriously entertaining, especially when taken out of context.

Want proof?  Click HERE.  Some altruistic soul avulsed six minutes of The Oracle worth watching and uploaded them to YouTube.  I wish I had found that clip before adding this flick to my video library.  Oh, it's about a ghost who terrorizes a twentysomething girl through a planchette (their word, not mine).  For the record, a planchette is a Ouija-esque stone tablet that transmits messages from beyond the grave under supposed spiritual coercion.  Eh, just stick with WitchboardThe Oracle does have redeeming values, but the characters grated my nerves.  Caroline Capers Powers has the single most annoying scream I have ever encountered.


Join us?

As you may have read online, the trailer for The Evil Dead remake has leaked.  I gave it the benefit of the doubt.  Look, I'm just as opposed to superfluous remakes as the next frothing horror junkie, but I want this film to succeed.  After viewing it (video above...see for yourself), all I can say is...really???  They went the shot-for-shot route?  C'mon, it looks EXACTLY like the original!  For fuck's sake, the score is identical.  Even the lead is an eidetic duplicate of Bruce Campbell.  Why not just re-release the original?

I wonder how many people will get the joke.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #9

Whatever could it be?

The Snow Devils

Starting with 1954's The Snow Creature, sci-fi/horror cinema presided over a courtship with the Yeti.  These icebound behemoths haven't been as prolific as their rustic, far-flung cousins on the silver screen (of course, I'm alluding to creatures of the Boggy Creek variety), but the ratio of gold to shit is the same, give or take.  For my money, you won't find a leaner Sasquatch picture than Hammer's The Abominable Snowman from 1957.  It was the last monster movie they cranked out before switching to color and petrifying audiences with baroque, yet kaleidoscopic Universal retreads.  Damn my luck.  I decided to review a different Yeti flick, the fourth (or first, depending on your sources) in a non-Yeti series directed by Anthony Margheriti.  Let me explain.

Margheriti - operating under the agnomen of Anthony Dawson - helmed a succession of science fiction potboilers called the Gamma-One Quadrilogy.  The other three productions all have a miscellany of alternate titles.  American film buffs know them as The War of the Planets, War Between the Planets and Wild, Wild Planet.  Say you want to watch the whole "franchise," so to speak.  Go ahead.  Say it.  Which order should you watch them in?  From what I gather, each installment had disparate release dates in disparate countries.  The movies themselves don't offer many clues, as the storylines rarely intermingle.  To make matters more abstruse, evidence seems to indicate that all four chapters of the Gamma-One saga were mass-produced in 1964.  In theory, you could start anywhere without dawdling behind your throng.  Or something to that effect.

I picked The Snow Devils for a fascicle of personal reasons.  It sounded cool.  And hey, I dig Yeti reels.  There was a chance that I would get to see a host of miserable actors scuttling to and fro in furry suits.  How could I pass up such a roseate opportunity?  It saddens me to report that this is just a tawdry budget piece that can't live up to its poster.  My greatest fear was that the titular critters wouldn't amount to much, and that fear was realized.  Technically, they aren't abominable snowmen; they are alabaster aliens with bleached body hair.  Their plan for world domination?  To melt the polar caps and flood the globe's major cities.  Actually, that's a decent plan, and I'm curious as to whether or not the script was attempting to comment on the defeasance of our ozone.  Nah!

The Snow Devils is a shameless, unabashed product of the 60's.  The score is snappy (I broke out in intermittent intervals of go-go dancing...it was an involuntary reaction, I swear), and there is a prosperity of bikini-clad girlies.  The first 30 minutes are innocent fun.  However, that's where the fun ends.  The stakes are never very high, and the main characters never lose their cool.  Obstacles are subverted without breaking a sweat.  Hell, the snow devils are outwitted within ten minutes...in the second act.  If the protagonists aren't particularly worried about their predicament, why should I give a fuck?  I did enjoy the ragged, moribund special effects, but there are superior films with the same schlocky charm.

Apparently, the rest of the Gamma-One Quadrilogy is easier to digest.  That may be true, but I was born a ramblin' man.  I've got tapes to collect and blood capsules to squish.



Damn, The Miz just got knocked the fuck out!  Boom, boom, boom!  As for The Dom, tomorrow will be another Double Duty Tuesday.  You'll get a review AND a video.  I hope this doesn't become a trend.


Parts Unknown #109: One Night Only

I've been watching a lot of 1997 WWF lately.  The Attitude Era was gestating, but there were still a few residual welts and pockmarks handed down by the New Generation.  Creatively speaking, this was a fantastic year, even with the company's identity crisis.  The product was somewhere in between juvenile gimmickry (see Dude Love) and scatological ECW mimicry (see Steve "The Sandman" Austin).  To be more specific, this PPV took place a mere two months before The Montreal Screwjob.  It was the last televised event to utilize the classic WWF ring/rope combo.  Man, I miss those ropes.

Oh, and we're in the UK, which means that The British Bulldog is a babyface and he is defending an accessory title in the main event.  According to manifold, ratiocinative statistical analysis (that I carefully removed from my asshole), the European Championship became 549% less prestigious after Shawn Michaels bellyached his way to a title reign.


~ The Dude Love/Hunter Hearst Helmsley match is entirely too long, but it's noteworthy for one reason.  HHH bends the rules and the referee fucking flips out.  I've never seen an official pwn a wrestler like this.  He's all, "I'm the ref!  You don't tell me what to do!"  Trips is all, "Jesus, dude.  Calm down!"  I'm all, "Woah, that was badass.  Show him who's boss, Not Earl Hebner!"  I'm sorry; I'm obtuse in the field of referee names.

~ The Headbangers retain the tag team straps against Los Boricuas.  How did Savio and Miguel (educated guess...I'm totally blanking on the second member) become the No. #1 Contenders?  That didn't deserve to be capitalized.  At any rate, this was well-paced and highly entertaining.  I can't believe that Mosh and Thrasher are able to collocate such stately pops from foreign marks.  Good for them.

~ I will begrudgingly list The Patriot versus Flash Funk as a pro.  Why?  It's so goddamn surreal.  Trial Run Kurt Angle doesn't seem to know how to respond to crowd heat.  Patriot, dude...heels aren't supposed to hulk up.  We get an athletic back-and-forth, but here again, it drags on past the point of diversion.

~ Ah, have I mentioned that I treasure a stacked tag team division?  The Godwinns rassle The Legion of Doom, and I'm the primary beneficiary.  The match itself is nothing special.  I'm easy to please.

~ Owen Hart serves as the fan favorite in a scrap with Vader.  The Rocket was so good at playing the underdog.  He is brutalized and dehumanized for twelve minutes, only to stage a dramatic comeback.  Of course, it's not enough to topple The Mastodon.  Fuck, what a match.  It would stand as my favorite on the card, but we also have...

~ Bret Hart versus The Undertaker in a Summerslam rematch.  I can't decide which altercation I prefer.  The SS bout has a better ending.  This bout might have better grappling and psychology, but it's too close to call.  Just watch both.


~ For years, I wondered why Tiger Ali Singh never found success in the Federation.  Then I saw this match.  He faces Leif Garrett (Al Snow), the surviving half of the defunct New Rockers (I'm pretty sure that Marty Jannetty had vamoosed to WCW by this point).  Apart from a thimbleful of power moves, Singh was clueless.  Amazingly, he trained in a Japanese dojo.  How is it that his professional zenith came as the manager of Lo Down?  Yikes!

~ I won't mince words.  HBK/Bulldog is an anticlimax.  Shawn is disinterested, and the finish leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.  The title shouldn't have changed hands.  I don't mean to suggest that Davey Boy was a saint, but that was his night.  Plus, the match is simply sloppy, although I'm in the minority.  Consider my shoulders shrugged.

By and large, 1997's One Night Only is loads of fun.  Check it out.  Or Los Boricuas will stare at you.


Album Cover of the Week

It was a crazy day, so I moved the ACOTD (is this important enough to abbreviate?) up a day.  I can do that.

Thanks - again - to Matt.


Matches That Time Forgot #46

Time forgot this match as soon as the pinfall was counted.  We're knee-deep in "random midcard" territory, as Gangrel squares off against The Blue Meanie (circa '99).  I've talked about Gangrel before.  I still consider him to be an underrated worker, and I'm surprised that his name isn't dropped more often.  Obviously, no braggadocio is going to exultantly hotdog about spotting the guy in public ("So I brushed sleeves with GANGREL the other day.").  I just don't understand why he isn't mentioned in casual wrestling conversations.  Fuck, maybe he is...I'm going to pretend that the bulk of this paragraph doesn't exist.  Um, The Blue Meanie!

This match occurred after Bluedust and The J.O.B. Squad.  We are way past any "success" he had in ECW.  His tiff with JBL is six years into the future, as is his conditional contract with Vince (it's a widely held belief that he was only hired by WWE in the mid-00's to stymie threats of legal action...jump to Wikipedia).  Basically, this is The Blue Meanie at his most irrelevant.  That's saying something, folks.  It's not that I dislike him per se, but how many quality Blue Meanie matches have you seen?  That don't involve The Mexicools?  I'll concede that I smirked whenever he would call Goldust Mommy.  Because I'm an idiot.


Geek Out #68

Normally, I don't like to post full movies as Geek Outs, but since the next two entries will be wrestling-related, I thought this would even things out a bit.  Please enjoy The Norliss Tapes, a made-for-TV motion picture from the 70's.  I might watch it myself.  It's hard to find on DVD for an equitable price, and it was never available on Netflix.  According to most horror buffs, this caliginous creeper is a keeper.


A small fraction of my room...

Indulge me.  I've been playing with my new digital camera, and I took a few photos of my posters (I don't have any wall space left).  Other photos were attempted, but they came out too blurry.  Eventually, I would like to have photographic evidence of my various collections.  This may take awhile, considering that my relationship with technology is rocky at best.  Bear in mind, I have to depend on someone else to take the pictures.  My mother doesn't own a computer, and my father can barely handle Facebook.  So yeah.

Anyway, here is this.  Isn't it beautiful?

And then we have a double whammy of badassitude.

And finally...Road Warrior Animal, Suicide (lay off, it was a cool gimmick), The Uso's, The Ultimate (motherfucking) Warrior and "Macho Man" Randy Savage present the Italian one-sheet for Creepshow.


Nikos: The Impaler

To the untrained eye, low-budget splatter flicks cater to a scanty, linear audience with abject standards.  I know people who assume that hardcore horror fans will lap up anything with immoderate gore, especially if the film in question was shot under destitute circumstances.  And that's true to a certain degree.  We appreciate do-it-yourself productions because in most cases, there is palpable heart behind the camera.  However, you don't get a free pass on the strength of intentions alone.  Speaking for myself, I still need to be entertained by your sanguinary shocker, and I can only hand out so many plaudits for the attention to detail shown during a scene where a disrobed sultana's bare breasts are forcibly removed.

By the way, I heard that The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure was being advertised as The Tit Ripper in Serbia.  I cannot vouch for the veracity of that claim.  Anywho, 2003's Nikos: The Impaler was directed by German gore kingfish Andreas Schnaas.  Of course, Schnaas is best known as the purveyor of the Violent Shit trilogy.  He will never be accused of misleading prospective viewers.  I've only seen the original, but that was back in my "anti-SOV" days.  I have since developed a taste for handheld horror movies, and I should probably revisit said cult classic.  Nikos was alternately titled Violent Shit 4 in a few countries.  Make no mistake; this execrable tableau has nothing to do with Karl the Butcher (the real VS4 was turned loose in 2010).

The plot is painfully simple.  A rancorous barbarian is killed in the Whateverteenth century.  He vows to rise from the dead, and sure enough, Nikos (that's his name, see) is resurrected in an art gallery.  In present day New York.  You know what that means, don't you?  Schnaas interjects plenty of reaction shots on assiduous city streets, which reminded me of Jason Takes Manhattan.  Yes, that's a good thing.  On the business end of this spiny cutlass, I would rather sit through the eighth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise than relive the finite marvels of Nikos.  There is some fun to be had.  The pace is alert, the blood is bloody and certain moments are too campy to cast aside (dig the shower scene).  But...yeah, I was somewhat let down.

Is it just me or are the special effects subpar?  The carnage looked like crud, even for a Schnaas vehicle.  Hell, Violent Shit boasted more realistic violence, and that's fucking saying something.  Furthermore, all of the characters are bitingly exasperating.  I wanted to disembowel Felissa Rose, and don't get me started on the bootless cameos.  If it weren't for the gore, Nikos: The Impaler wouldn't have much to fall back on.  I don't want to come across as a parochial fussbudget.  Splatter is alright, in my book.  It's better as a side dish.  Here, Schnaas wants it to be the main course, but he lacks the talent to pull it off without a hitch.  Robert Z'Dar says, "My jaw is always mistaken for Karl the Butcher."

Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #8

I talk about comic books.


And down will come Dom, cradle and all...

Blargh!  I'm sleepy, but tomorrow, I'll post a movie review AND a new video.  Until then, I'm going to sleep.  So don't bother me.


Album Cover of the Week


Dead Links #7

Charles Band really, really wants people to visit Full Moon's official website.  He is always running sales, adding new items to the store and uploading a trailer for whichever pointless sequel he happens to be peddling at the time.  I'm man enough to admit that I bookmarked the online command post (or nerve center, if you prefer) of his madness.  There is something about Full Moon.  I can't place it, but I find myself going back to those flicks time and time again.  Without reservation, I can promise that I'll be covering a few of them as we forge through a most hyperborean winter.

Band is smart.  He knew that he would need more than just a scopious back catalog of b-movies to solicit repeat visitors to his digital base of operations, so he asked horror savant Stuart Gordon to contribute a column.  Dubbed the Lab Report, this monthly (close to bi-weekly) feature relays spellbinding anecdotes involving all of the stuff on Gordon's resume.  It's fucking great.  The dude knows how to tell a story, and obviously, the content is exceedingly interesting to genre nerds.  On-set pranks, oblique factoids, memorable encounters (I loved reading about his dinner with Roald Dahl), even journalism (check out his tactful, reasoned review of Prometheus)...I could devour a Bible-sized tome of these deliberations.

Hmm, perhaps I should implore a celebrity to write a column for Random Reviews.  Yes!  I can see it now - Clint Howard: Resident Mexican Food/Dwarf Tossing Correspondent.


No Bronies Allowed

I'm slacking on the archive project, but you'll be seeing more and more underlined words appear at the top of every page in the coming weeks.  I think I'll save Parts Unknown for last.  A dispiriting endeavor, that.  There are so fucking many of them.  Baby steps, Dom...baby steps.  At least I found a "good" show to prosect for the next entry.

Have you joined the Random Reviews Facebook Fan Club yet?  You haven't?  Assjack almighty!  Stop what you're doing and click HERE!  I'm going to start posting Club-exclusive content, so drop by and find out what nonsense I've impetuously decided to plaster onto the wall today.

Hmm, I need a picture.  Here's Demolition Crush.


Blood Capsule #21


I didn't go gaga over 1989's Pet Sematary, but I recognize it as an above-average gallimaufry of heartfelt spooks.  This dropsical sequel exchanges heart for...more spooks.  Director Mary Lambert returns with a fistful of dollars, and most of that coinage goes to expert animal trainers and exaggerated gore effects.  Her music video background comes in handy.  There are scads of arresting visuals and ingenious camera tricks.  I'm not saying that the script is completely devoid of merit.  I wanted to warm up to Jeff, a pensive teen who witnesses the tragic death of his celebrity mother on the set of a horror film.  Unfortunately, early 90's go-to child actor Edward Furlong isn't given much to work with.  I'm a fan (Brainscan fucking rules), but here, he is elbowed into turning in a humdrum performance.

The rest of the cast is willing and able.  Clancy Brown has fun hamming it up as a prick stepfather sheriff (the worst kind of sheriff).  Character-wise, the side players are relegated to "stereotype" status.  The bullies are so paper-thin, that Roger Klotz wouldn't even associate with them.  Yeah, I went there.  Maybe it was my nervous stomach (it turns out that Calabash shrimp and strawberry-flavored marshmallows don't mix) or the off-putting cuddly critter violence (fake, yet eerily realistic), but I couldn't wait for Pet Sematary II to end.  It didn't help matters that the damn thing was never in a hurry to resolve itself.  'Tis definitely watchable.  However, there are better ways to get your Furlong fix.


Geek Out #67

I've been searching for a legit copy of this "film" forever.  I need to see it.  I'm not fucking around here.  Look at me.  LOOK AT ME!  I need to see Saurians.  Just watch this clip, and tell me it's not fucking brilliant.


Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #7

Mainly just an update.


Lake of Dracula

Toho may be known for their kaiju blockbusters, but they dabbled in other areas of interest.  In the early 70's, they took a stab at echoing the Gothic chromaticity of Hammer films.  1971's Lake of Dracula is part of a loose trilogy of vampire romps that percolates through European cues.  It was an open-and-shut case of a major studio mining a proven formula.  Plagiarism will never aggregate animadversion (???).  Why come up with an original idea when you can simply crib someone else's original idea?  I realize that I'm starting this review on a fussy, captious note, but Lake of Dracula is a pleasant watch.  All the same, I want to get my bitching out of the way first.  Negativity comes naturally for horror curmudgeons such as myself.  It's my website; I can sulk if I want to!

My main issue has nothing to do with the visual aspects of this Japanese neck-chomper.  If looks could kill, Lake of Dracula would be a sniper rifle.  It's just that...well, it's forgettable.  I watched it this afternoon, and I'm sitting here trying to piece the script together.  I can't seem to untangle the chain of events that led to the third act.  I was wide awake, too.  The only images obtruding in my memory involve bland characters reacting to the most jejune, mildewed vampire cliches imaginable.  You'd think that Lake of Dracula would taste uniquely Asian.  In truth, it's an Asian person's interpretation of a Hammer flick (and by "interpretation," I mean "stock rehash").

Did writers Ei Ogawa and Masaru Takesue even bother viewing the productions that they were attempting to emulate?  Lake of Dracula has a dearth of witty dialogue, character empathy and menacing stalk sequences.  See, Horror of Dracula and Taste the Blood of Dracula came equipped with that kind of stuff.  That's why they have replay value.  This bloodletting lightweight lifts the surface atmosphere from those classics, but neglects to make room for depth.  I don't regret cramming it into my VCR, though.  There are enough positives here to justify three whole Z'Dars.

Prevailingly, the special effects are rock solid.  Lake of Dracula does skimp on gore, but we get an icky impalement to savor.  The main mosquito (I don't believe that he's Dracula in a literal sense) has a wicked, blanched countenance, as do his transfixed minions.  I spotted bats, coffins, fog banks, a creepy castle...basically, the prototypical staples that stiffen my member.  Get your mind out of the gutter; I'm talking about my cock.  Geez.  I can't say that I was ever bored.  While Lake of Dracula didn't leave a lasting impression on me, it was paced reasonably well.  Still, I'm glad that Toho kept kaiju at the top of their priority list.  RANDOM FACTOID: This movie was released on home video by Paramount.  I thought that was weird.