The RR Archives

Slowly, but surely...I'm working behind the scenes to expand the site. The overall style won't change, but it will be much easier to locate and navigate my old reviews/columns. This is a time-consuming project, so you may not see the fruits of my labor for several weeks. Just know that headway is being made. I'll try my fuckest to keep updates flowing while I toil away on these unseen endeavors. For instance, I'll be posting a music review tomorrow. Stay tuned!


Blood Capsule #17


God, what a weird series. I'm a fervent Cronenberg fan, but I had difficulties warming up to Scanners. In a curious twist of ordinance, I enjoyed the desultory fluke sequels The New Order and The Takeover quite a bit. Perhaps "fluke" is the wrong word. They are genuinely entertaining, and I prefer them both to the original (to make a long story short, I found the first film to be haughty and standoffish, even for the purveyor of Canadian "body horror"). Scanner Cop takes vein-dashing telesthesia to the next logical step of its evolution...law enforcement! Obviously, this franchise had to cash in on the hullabaloo rabble-roused by the success of Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence and Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow.

The plot is full of fucking shit. A good scanner is enlisted to ferret out a bad scanner. That's all you need to know. The script doesn't play by its own rules (Ephemera withdrawal is said to cause dementia; it's irreversible, unless you reverse it), the villain's motive is flaccid and there aren't nearly enough exploding heads. I will say that I was taken aback by Daniel Quinn's powerhouse performance. It was almost too convincing for this movie. Wilted forehead demons and a random monster notwithstanding (seriously, where in the rosemary-scented fuck did that come from?), the special effects leave much to be desired. Eh, I've been misguided before, but personally, I would eschew Scanner Cop. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pop in Scanner Cop II.

Just kidding. I'm about to watch Amanda's Ass 5: The Fuckening.


Album Cover of the Week


Matches That Time Forgot #41

Yet another tag team match? Yes. Get over it. Look, I don't know why I'm moderately obsessed with tag team wrestling. I wasn't keen on it as a child. Sure, I thought that Demolition and The Headshrinkers were badass, but I didn't pay much attention to the division as a whole. I wasn't even galvanized by the Attitude Era's profusion of favorable tandems such as The Acolytes, The Hardy Boyz and today's subject of interest, The New Age Outlaws. The Road Dogg and "Badass" Billy Gunn complimented each other so well, that they became the most auspicious pairing of WWF's most auspicious period. Here, they battle...er, The Holly Cousins.

Honestly, I'm ambivalent when it comes to Crash and Hardcore. They served their purpose. I'm amazed that just two years earlier, Bob Holly was still a spark plug with an obscene haircut. For what it's worth, this is an enjoyable match replete with hot tags and an attentive crowd. I'm telling you, Kip and B.G. could do wonders with the WWE Tag Team Championships in 2012.


Time and its Limitations

I'll be posting a match that time forgot tomorrow. I would've posted it today, but there aren't enough hours to choose from. My sincere apologies. There are a couple of site-related projects coming up that will consume my time, but I should be back on the proverbial saddle soon enough. Patience, patience!


Sleep Deprived

Too tired to think. So...Destroyah!


Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake

I never expected to review two Bill Rebane movies. A few months back, I tackled Blood Harvest, a slasher boasting a greasepainted Tiny Tim. It was strangely entertaining. I'm finding that the same could be said for the extant oeuvre of Mr. Rebane. Here is a filmmaker whose most celebrated masterstroke was japed and dotingly lampooned by a bevy of goofballs trapped aboard the Satellite of Love. Of course, I'm referring to The Giant Spider Invasion, which gave way to one of the funniest episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 ("Cow tipping gone horribly wrong."). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that 1975's Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake served up competent acting and solid special effects on top of schlock appeal...well, in relative terms.

If you haven't built up an immunity to low-budget drive-in b-flicks (or hyphens), you won't take anything away from this froggy fright fest. It can only be recommended to the stalwart masochists among us. Even then, there is no guarantee that you'll enjoy Rana. It takes its sweet time assembling a cohesive plot. Relayed via flashbacks, the script sees a team of paleontologists pay a visit to a remote island where unusual fossils were excavated. Our narrator, a boy of eleven years, also informs the viewer of a group of loggers that he couldn't have possibly known about. At any rate, these grizzled, edacious lumberjack-offs are in search of treasure, treasure that may or may not be guarded by a frog monster.

That's right, kids; we've got a frog monster on our hands. I don't care what anyone says. Rana is superior to both Frogs and The Maze. At least this amphibious clambake (???) has an actual monster to offer. Granted, we don't get an eyeful of the rubber suit until the third act, but I'm a sucker for half-baked mutant miscreants. The first 45 minutes did test my patience. Everything lollygags at a torpid pace, and like I said, the titular pollywog is a no-show for far too long. NOTE TO SELF: Name your first-born Lollygag Pollywog. But at a certain juncture, something weird happened. I became intrigued. I started to warm up to the main characters, although they weren't exactly three-dimensional. Basically, I wanted to know how the story was going to end.

Considering that Rana was shot for pennies in the gallbladder of America (Wisconsin), that's an impressive feat. In my opinion, the cast is above average. I realize that I'm in the minority, but there is a decent amount of z-grade carnage for those who simply crave mindless beguilement. The shots of the webbed wrongdoer carrying a buxom blonde through an acreage of murky timber is straight out of a Universal classic. Heh, I have a feeling that I'm alone in digging Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake, but that's fine by me. This shit is an acquired taste. Troma released it on DVD as Croaked: Frog Monster From Hell, and I almost bought it. But then I would be missing out on the badass VHS artwork. No, thanks!


Parts Unknown #107: Raw

I have a lot to talk about. It's a little overwhelming, but we'll get through this together.


~ I had a feeling that the entire DX gang would be in attendance (well, minus Rude and Chyna), but even without the element of surprise, I enjoyed the shit out of the opening segment. And while I've never been a huge Trips fan, it was cool to see him slip into "old school" mode, albeit ephemerally. Vince! Bring back The New Age Outlaws on a weekly basis. They are still capable of carrying the tag team division. Plus, I hear that a couple of contracts in Dudleyville
will be expiring soon. Make it motherfucking happen!

~ Mae Young's son. Hysterical.

~ The wedding...first of all, Reverend Slick stole the ceremony. Secondly, I loved the twist ending. Maybe it's because I want to fuck a brand new hole into A.J., but I'm looking forward to seeing how her character uses and/or abuses her preponderant authority. With anyone else as the general manager, the next several episodes of Raw would be passably predictable. At least with "the crazy chick" behind the steering wheel, the roster (not to mention the audience) will be kept on its toes.

~ I'm listing this as a pro, but in all honesty, it's somewhere between a pro and a con. I groaned when The Rock announced his title match at Royal Rumble. Shouldn't he have to earn a shot at such a prestigious championship? Contrarily, I'm excited by the prospect of The Great One making in-ring appearances outside of The Road to Wrestlemania.

~ I'm okay with The Miz winning the Intercontinental strap. A show this epic needed a title change. Bret Hart's "introduction" was priceless.

~ Up until now, I haven't given a single fuckdamn about the Brock/Hunter feud. But I must admit, last night's exchange cranked up the intensity to a calescent crest. Stephanie kicked almighty ass! I was worried that she might be rusty on the mic, but she fucking nailed it. Well done, lady and gentlemen.

~ Heath Slater's climactic beatdown put a voluminous (yes, voluminous) grin on my face. A stacked, smoking hot Lita executed a pitch-perfect moonsault to the pleasure of my pelvic region. The A.P.A.? Too gnarly for words. Fun stuff all around.

~ Sean Mooney??? Holy shit!

~ Is it necessary for me to relay my reaction to the apocalyptic return of The Brothers of Destruction? To say that I marked out would be an understatement. I doubt that I'll ever get the semen out of my carpet.

~ It depends on what happens next week, but for the time being, I dug CM Punk's apparent heel turn (the Mike Patton crab stance was sweet). Also, I appreciated the decision to leave the belt off of John Cena. Can you imagine the promo wars that Punk and Rocky will incite?


~ The 6-man tag. 'Twas useless. Are you telling me that they couldn't cogitate a better way to utilize Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio?

~ Charlie Sheen. Go away.

~ No Uso's?

As you can surmise, I was content with the bulk of the 1,000th episode of Raw. The trick is to stretch this momentum out over the span of several months. Can it be done? God, I hope so.


Oh, you didn't know?

So Lita's been working out. Raw review tomorrow!


Album Cover of the Week

Thanks to Matt for the assist!


Witch Hunt

Witch Hunt was written by Joseph Dougherty, the same bloke responsible for its predecessor. In comparison to Cast a Deadly Spell, this horror noir had a thicker budget and a more recognizable troupe of name actors. That's why I can't wrap my head around the fact that it's insufferably dull. What the hell happened? To be perfectly honest, I can't recall the granular minutiae of the plot because I paltered in and out of consciousness with cardinal fidelity. This film couldn't hold a newborn's attention if it were plastered with nipples. Such a film would hold my attention (go figure), but only temporarily. It wouldn't take long for the flat pacing and the prosaic dialogue to temper my pulse.

Fred Ward wasn't asked to reprise his role as H.P. Lovecraft, but we did get a fair consolation prize. Dennis Hopper plays the acerbic detective who abstains from using magic in a world where sortilege is widespread. The setting from Spell is carried over into Witch Hunt; we're still in Los Angeles. A few years have passed since the events of the original, and Lovecraft has been tapped by a seductive starlet to shadow her husband. Soon after, the husband - a studio executive - is shrunken and murdered (the tiny chalk outline was a nice touch, I have to admit). I'm mindful of meting out spoilers, so I don't want to enucleate too many twists in the script. Trust me, dear reader...you don't want to be near me when I enucleate. That's a mess no one should have to clean up.

I dig Dennis Hopper. Who doesn't? And yet, Witch Hunt needed a hearty dose of Fred Ward. I believed that he was Detective Lovecraft. Hopper sleepwalks through every scene, and truth be told, it's almost as if he was instructed to ignore his instincts as an actor. If I didn't know any better (and I don't), I'd swear that he was told not to be Dennis Hopper. If that's the case, why hire Dennis fucking Hopper? This flick's foibles do not fall squarely on his shoulders, however. Despite a slender splash of nudity, this production definitely bears the stench of a made-for-TV misfire. The editing is banal, the special effects are mediocre and the score...fuck, I didn't even notice a score.

Witch Hunt is excruciatingly bland. I wouldn't say that it's awful. It has its moments, and the ancillary players (Penelope Ann Miller, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Julian Sands) make estimable contributions. I tried to get on board with the whodunit storyline, but man, it gives a new meaning to the word "blah." The hamfisted social commentary didn't help matters. Shockingly enough, this lukewarm sequel was directed by Paul Schrader. He clearly wasn't interested in serving up a fun genre picture, so my advice is to stick with Cast a Deadly Spell. But hey, I appear to be in the minority. Most reviews stamp Witch Hunt as a clever, inventive period piece. You know what they say; opinions are like...singular expressions of one's taste.


Geek Out #60


NOTE: You may have to crank up the volume to hear anything.


The Undertaker: The Streak

So this is a review of the new Undertaker DVD. The image is unrelated. It's simply preferable to the alternative (all you're missing is 'Taker's logo against a black background...big fucking deal). By the way, someone needs to send me a box of old WWF and/or WCW comic books. Go ahead and make that happen. Moving on! The Streak concerns Mean Mark's Wrestlemania winning streak, but Cash Grab: The 4-Disc Set would be a more fitting title. I should delineate why I'm so appalled by this glorified promo package. I'm an ardent 'Taker fan. My proclivity for The Phenom is borderline unhealthy. One of the reasons why I hold him in high regard is because he has given the "WWE Universe" every ounce of passion that subsists in his 6'10" frame.

Now, he doesn't owe us anything. However, there is something I want to see before I die, and for the most part, the powers that be have not delivered. I'm assuming that Mark's dedication to preserving kayfabe has mired the development of a shoot-style documentary looking back at his entire career. I get it, but there is a part of me that wants him to retire already so that he can contribute to an exhaustive retrospective (out of character, of course). Recently, wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, Edge, Randy Orton and CM Punk have allowed themselves to be interviewed for the sake of affording us an enlightening, entertaining DVD that gift-wraps their achievements. For Edgeheads, The Rated-R Superstar's personal narrative provided closure. I guess that's what I want. Closure. It goes without saying that The Streak fails in dispensing real insight into what makes Mark Calaway tick.

The main feature? A 45-minute account of each of The Deadman's Wrestlemania bouts. It breezes by without a tinge of verve or efficacy, and the early matches are glossed over. "Talking head" comments weave in and out. Obviously, no one offers an original thought that we haven't heard before. You could argue that a number of interview segments are genuine, but every single word feels scripted. Moreover, there are surprising omissions. We don't hear from Vince McMahon (or Stephanie, for that matter). We don't even hear from Glen Jacobs, a guy who plays The Undertaker's half-brother. Glen isn't particularly shy when it comes to granting shoot interviews, so his truancy is rather puzzling.

In a cruel twist of...cruelness, this main feature takes up a whole disc. A whole goddamn disc! This could have easily been a 2-disc set. The other three (!) discs are comprised of the Wrestlemania matches in question. Who cares? All of these encounters can be found on other DVD's (not to mention YouTube). Extras are minimal. There are no commentaries. Bah. The Undertaker: The Streak is only worth purchasing if you're a 7-year-old who believes that a cool dude on TV can brandish lightning at will and that a leprechaun has been calling the shots from underneath the ring with an anonymous IP address. Oh, and I don't care what anyone says; 'Taker's match against Giant Gonzalez at WM9 was a blast.


(jerk)Off Day

Taking an abbreviated break before I review Witch Hunt. As soon as I choose a show to watch, I'll have a brand spanking new edition of Parts Unknown ready for consumption. Also, it looks like I'll be tackling a WWE DVD. It was released yesterday, and I have a lot to say about it. Until then...


Blood Capsule #16


Cast a Deadly Spell was heavily influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft (the main character is named after the venerable author), but it's not based on any one story to the best of my knowledge. It merely sponges the tendrils of his creations. The Necronomicon and The Old Ones play an integral role in the storyline, which is far too elaborate to synopsize in a pithy capsule review. I'll just impart the nuts and bolts of the premise. Set in 1948, Spell is a ghoulish film noir that follows a quick-witted detective (as portrayed by Fred Ward) who is assigned to track down a stolen tome previously owned by a well-heeled eccentric. Oh, and it's a parallel universe where magic - both black and white - is commonplace.

Diabolic divination and Lovecraftian overtones add spice to what could have been a sluggish mystery. Technically, this is a made-for-TV production, but it premiered on HBO. So it looks slick stacked up against the CBS teleplays of the day. The acting is superlative, the dialogue is tapered (we get loads of quotable one-liners) and the creature effects are solid. A unique diamond in the rough, to be sure. Complaints? Nothing weighty, although the humor is needlessly childish at times. Most people don't realize that there was a sequel, but there was. And it starred Dennis Hopper. And it will be the next movie that I review.


Vanity Scare #9

RUE MORGUE (#124, July 2012)

- I remember seeing bits and pieces of The Entity on television as a wee lad, but it didn't leave an impression on me. How could it? It was censored. More than likely, I'll pick up the approaching Blu-ray, a release that observes the film's 30th anniversary. Naturally, the Rue crew lionizes the pensive "ghost rape" vehicle with an in-depth cover story. An interview with director Sidney J. Furie acts as the centerpiece, and we also hear from David Labiosa (he played Billy, Carla's conflicted son). It's a gripping read, but I wasn't expecting it to be such a downer. Furie doesn't consider The Entity to be a horror movie (um, okay). In fact, he castigates the genre, and he comes off as a condescending crotchet. As for Labiosa, well, I need a new hyphen for him.

- Apparently, his coadjutors turned on him when he refused to perform a stunt that could have potentially electrocuted him. Even Barbara Hershey treated him differently from that day forward. He was equally disheartened to learn that an incest angle between him and his screen mother was going to be truncated from the screenplay. First of all, THE FUCK? Secondly, THE FUCK?

- The Toronto International Film Festival is hosting a multi-platform David Cronenberg exhibit. Free healthcare wasn't enough, huh?

- Kelly Robinson's piece on 25 lost horror films was fascinating. When I say "lost," I'm not referring to unsung classics that coasted under the radar. I'm talking about movies that are literally lost. The most famous example is 1927's London After Midnight, a phantasmal shocker starring Lon Chaney Sr. that only survives as a permutation of still photographs. The actual prints were vaporized in a fire at one of MGM's studio vaults. I won't run down the entire list, but I will mention a couple of rather intriguing titles. There were two kaiju flicks produced before 1954's Gojira. Ironically, they were both King Kong mashes. 1933's Wasei Kingu Kongu (a.k.a. Japanese King Kong...I'm fluent in Engrish) was a silent short that may not have existed at all. 1938's King Kong Appears in Edo definitely existed, but unfortunately, the reels were reportedly destroyed during the WWII bombings.

- The interview with the cartoon members of Dethklok was...cute? On second thought, it wasn't very funny. Besides, I fail to see the horror connection.

- I wanted the interview with William Lustig to be longer. Blue Underground is an eminent DVD distro, and I was hoping to gain insight into their current slate of acquisitions. I can't fucking believe that there are remakes of Maniac (!) and Maniac Cop (!!) on the horizon. Fuck you, society.

- It was cool to see Cinemacabre tackle The Asphyx, a forgotten British chiller. It wasn't issued by Hammer or Amicus, but it's worth a rental.

- Hey, they reviewed the new Dying Fetus album. If you haven't heard it yet, redeem yourself, unless you're with child. It's so brutal, it will terminate your pregnancy.

Honestly, the article on lost horror films alone is worth the price of admission. Swarm your local newsstands.


General Commentary

Well, what can you say? Money in the Bank was predictable, but there were bright spots. The dead crowd notwithstanding, I enjoyed the tag team match between Primo/Epico and The Primetime Players. AW is a heat magnet. He's beginning to cultivate an inviting persona. I'm hoping that the upset (if you can even call it an upset) will lead to a three-way dance for the Tag Team Championships.

Compared to last year's Smackdown ladder match, which inaugurated the proceedings with a combustible bang, this year's blue-tinted briefcase scrimmage was underwhelming. And that's being generous. Sure, the right guy won, but the action never escalated beyond a few isolated spots involving the "superstars" that didn't stand a chance. The main event was decent, save for the outcome. Punk and Bryan put on a wrestling clinic, but it's the fifth time we've seen them trade blows in 2012. This definitely didn't feel like a pay-per-view.

Consider my shoulders shrugged. At least Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins worked in some offense against Ryberg. Vanity Scare tomorrow, yo!


Album Cover of the Week


Dead Links #1

It's no secret that bootlegging is a viable option for film collectors. Certain tapes are simply impossible to snare. Even out-of-print DVD's can send cinephiles on a maddening inquest that often yields currish, unavailing results. Most people would prefer to own authentic copies of rare movies, but not everyone can afford to splurge on a mint Gorgon clamshell. That's where third parties step into the picture. Usually, procuring a bootleg is a last resort because of questionable audio/visual quality. The VHS Preservation Society compensates for these technical shortcomings by fostering nostalgia and...well, preserving (key word) the VHS experience that we all grew up with.

Every film comes equipped with its original VHS artwork. Additionally, you get whatever trailers and corny ads that appeared on the actual videocassette. In other words, it's a straight rip. Nothing is excised. If you're still not sold on the idea, each DVD is $10. I wasn't paid to write any of this, mind you; I'm genuinely agog. In fact, I'm a customer. I bought Hellroller and Fright Show from "the society" among a few others. Dig it!


Geek Out #59

How awesome is Herman Munster? That's a rhetorical question. Woah, fast-forward to the 24-second mark to witness one hell of a racial slur. Who wrote this episode? Sarah Silverman?


Lust of Blackula

Why in the salmon-hued fuck would I spend money on a blaxploitation porn parody from 1987? It may be hard to believe, but there is a multitude of reasons. A) Look at the cover art. I own the big box VHS, and it's fucking glorious. B) My soul perpetually stews in a scaturient, all-encompassing cloudburst of dolor. This morose state of unmitigated melancholia is commonly referred to as "the vapors." C) I'll buy anything that is superficially associated with Blacula, one of the most underrated vampire flicks in the annals of horror history. To be clear, Lust of Blackula is NOT related to the 1972 cult classic starring the late, great William Marshall (note the difference in spelling). It's a peripheral propinquity.

Okay, I'll ditch the fancy words for awhile. I won't make any promises, though. Let's face it; there are only so many ways to describe pornography. As for this smut reel, I was curious to find out whether or not it bothered exploring the character of Blackula. Wishful thinking? Yes, but some adult films actually try to wrap a story around anal foreplay and double penetration, so I gave the creative team behind Lust of Blackula the benefit of the doubt. In return, they gave me a cursory minute of exposition sepulchered beneath 79 minutes of pussy pounding, clit flicking and dick swallowing. Now, I'm critiquing this wank material as a horror spoof. Can you blame me? It clearly wants you to expect something above and beyond vanilla porn. Well, as a horror spoof, it sucks. Cock. It sucks cock.

Early on, we see Blackula prowling the grounds of...an edifice (I don't fucking know). He is cloaked in a swarthy cape, which serves as the barometer signifying his caste as a vampire. If it weren't for the store-bought Halloween costume, he would just be a black guy. Save for the "climax," this is the only scene where Blackula lives up to his name. There are zero kills. Lust of Blackula is fleeced of blood, garlic, crosses, bats, Gothic atmosphere and every other fixture that fans crave when they fall back on this subgenre. Granted, it's not a true horror film, but goddamn...where is the effort? Why settle on a gimmick if you're just going to hammer out a scant, straightforward porno? I want camp. I want cheap special effects. I want entertainment, for shit's sake.

The most insulting aspect of Lust of Blackula is the ending. 79 minutes of salacious copulation is followed by Blackula proclaiming, "My name is Dracula spelled backwards!" He proceeds to bite his lover's neck. The end. That's it. First of all, I thought that he was Blackula. Why is he given the moniker of Alucard? Secondly, that's it? That's it?????? We don't even get a glimpse of his motherfucking fangs until the final frame. Holy shit. As masturbation fodder, I suppose that Lust of Blackula is serviceable. To tell you the truth, the women aren't particularly attractive. Oh, Ron Jeremy fucks a couple of sluts. And Blackula has a Jamaican accent. Why am I not getting paid for this? I should throw away the tape and put the box on a mantle. Thanks a lot, Monster A Go-Go!

It's an in-joke. Pay no mind.



This is just a small update. I included a picture of Jennifer Lawrence-Coccaro (it's only a matter of time) to make it less boring. It has come to my attention that I have neglected music reviews as of late. That should be rectified soon. I recently bought a handful of CD's (two old, two new), and I'm eager to write about them. I also have fresh editions of Vanity Scare and Parts Unknown in the works.

Tomorrow, I'll review hardcore porn. Seriously.


Panels From Beyond the Grave #24

HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY (One-Shot, October 1987)

In my review of House II (the film), I referred to the lazy sequel as a poor man's The Frighteners. The storyline tripped over itself at every turn, and I couldn't have cared less about some emaciated wraith's pursuit of a crystal skull. Not to mention the fact that the script was snowed under by husks of blather posing as subplots. It was just too much bullshit for one movie. Likewise, it's too much bullshit for one comic book. Even at 44 voluble pages, House II (the comic...try to keep up) feels rushed. It's a hasty, subitaneous reduction of an in-name-only follow-up that probably should have been 86'd during the screenwriting process. It's a fucking speedball.

Speaking of drugs, I was convinced that I had ingested murderous amounts of pharmaceuticals when I saw that this comic was penned by Ralph Macchio. Calm down; as it turns out, we have a different Ralph Macchio on our hands. This Ralph Macchio has worked on major Marvel titles such as Daredevil and Spider-Man. And you can tell. The dialogue is supercilious to the point that the characters narrate every single thing that happens. "I'm being shot at!" "We're being chased!" "Look, a dinosaur!" At times, it's not clear who is saying what. The artwork isn't terrible, but it's extremely 80's. The colors are sallow. I would attribute the dreary ink to the age of the comic itself, but it's in stellar shape. I should sell it, seeing as how I don't like it. Fat chance!

House II (again, the comic) deserves cool points for merely existing. Hey, I'll admit that this is a sweet collector's item, but Christ, the fucking plot holes. All of the nonsensical drivel from the film was left intact. Supposedly, the crystal skull grants immortality to its owner, and yet, Gramps (y'know, the owner) perishes due to...something. Why bother coming back from the dead if it's a round trip? What does this skull do exactly? Ugh. Guys, I can usually squeeze four paragraphs out of a review subject, but honestly, I have nothing else to say about House II: The Second Story. I'm affixing a half-Dragon for the New World Video ad tacked onto the "feature presentation." Four videocassettes for $19.95 a pop? Sold!


Album Cover of the Week


Matches That Time Forgot #40

These days, I have more columns to tend to, so I'm not able to pump out Matches That Time Forgot on a weekly basis. Ergo, I try to make each one monumental. Prodigious. Majestic. Life-changing? In keeping with those lofty goals, I present a dreadful match between King Kong Bundy and Duke "The Dumpster" Droese circa 1994. Diesel had just won the World Heavyweight Championship in an 8-second squash over Bob Backlund. Notice how the commentators (including Gorilla "fucking" Monsoon) emphasize the convocation of The New Generation. This much-maligned era was in full swing, so every scintilla of marketing hoopla played up the fact that all of the titleholders were young guns. Naturally, today's bout finds Bundy (an old gun) pulverizing Droese (a not-so-old gun). The irony is ear-splitting.

But I get it. Droese was just midcard material, and he never seemed to ingratiate the crowd. Meanwhile, Bundy could still go. He should have been booked as a legitimate threat to the top babyfaces, but that push went to King Mabel. Oy. I wasn't kidding, by the way; this match is truly dreadful. Every move is telegraphed, and the most technical piece of wrestling we see is an elbow drop. Enjoy!



So I'm toying with the idea of creating a new column. Basically, it would be a forum for me to share cool websites that I visit. They could be related to movies, music or wrestling. Or they could be an addictive game. For instance, I've been playing Ultimate Robotoru for a week straight. Check it out on Adult Swim's site (click HERE). The botched dialogue spoofs the wonky typographical errors in Nintendo games of old, and it's cute, but the selling point is robot violence. Lots and lots of robot violence. It's fun, easy to pick up and it's challenging without being impossible. I've already beaten it, so now, I'm playing in "endless" mode where you max out your armor/weapons and kick unholy amounts of ass. Dig in!

Let me know if this sounds like it could be a decent column. Any and all feedback is much appreciated, provided that it's positive...just kidding. Or am I???


Fright Show

Fright Show is an obscure anthology that was compiled by Starlog (a science fiction rag) in 1985. They held a short film contest where the four winners would be showcased in a straight-to-video release. Despite the workaday title, this is not a Creepshow-style conspectus. There is no wrap-around story to bind these disparate vignettes together. In its place, we have a pair of goofball hosts who introduce each liver-tickler (ew) with the righteous pizzazz of a post-mortem Gene Siskel. I was looking forward to sitting down with Fright Show, so I was summarily disconcerted by the opening "banter" between Dunderfuck Simpleton and Milksop Twitwat. NOTE: I might have fabricated those names. To clarify, this is not an admission of guilt; I might be full of shit. The jury is still deliberating.

As I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself, I was highly anticipating this flick. While it's somewhat easy to find online, it's considered a rarity. Plus, I have a well-documented anthology fetish. I won't say that Fright Show failed to meet my expectations because I honestly don't know what I was expecting. Having said that, I wasn't blown away. There are two chief hardships precluding this cheese dish from becoming a paragon of virtue. Yes, virtue. I've already covered the first - and most exasperating - glitch. All of the attempts at sophomoric humor fall flat. Maybe kids found it to be funny (if the film had been assessed by the MPAA, it probably would have received a PG rating), but I doubt it. The second pitfall is directly related to the running time.

Fright Show clocks in at an exiguous 58 minutes. Why couldn't they tack on another contest entry? I can understand if this b-banquet was intended to be a bedtime snack, as opposed to a robust meal. However, the damn thing ended just as I was beginning to climax, so to speak. I did have fun with Fright Show. I realize that this review has been 98% negative, but I haven't finished typing yet. In fact, here is a concise recapitulation of the Starlog-approved short films on display.

"Mr. Dobermind" ~ A little girl runs afoul of a demented taxidermist. Too short, but it's creepy and effective. In essence, nothing happens, and we don't get a real payoff. Again, I'm complaining, but trust me when I say that I dug this segment. Directed by Jonathan Mostow, a talented fellow who went on to helm U-571 and T3: Rise of the Machines.

"Illegal Alien" ~ A point-blank parody of Alien that does wonders with its infinitesimal budget. The sets are truly impressive, and the cast looks eerily similar to that of Ridley Scott's genre-defining epic. I appreciated the inclusion of an evil clown. This is definitely a loving send-up worth watching.

"Nightfright" ~ Ah, a monster in the closet. It's a shopworn premise, but I'll never grow weary of it (check out 1986's Monster in the Closet for a barrel of laughs). Cool creature suit. Barebones plot, although it entertains without much effort.

"The Thing in the Basement" ~ A meteor-born extraterrestrial crashes a card game. Another cool creature suit. The visual effects are so fucking 80's, you can't help but to smile. I'm repeating myself, but I wished it was longer.

That about wraps it up. Fright Show makes for a divine rental, but unless you live near an independent video joint (and if you do, congratulations and fuck you), you won't be able to rent it. If you happen to see a VHS copy at a flea market, then by all means, give it a whirl. It's also available as Cinemagic: A Journey into the Bizarre World of Horror and Sci-Fi. Neither version has landed on DVD. It figures.


And the winner is...

This person helped promote the contest, so I like to think that karma or kismet played an integral role in the random drawing. Maybe it was dumb luck. Who knows? Anyway, the winner of the Goosebumps Giveaway is...Zena Reid! Ironically enough, she has her own horror blog. It's only fitting that I plug it, so click HERE.

Congrats to the self-proclaimed "Real Queen of Horror," and thanks to everyone who entered!

PS-Movie review tomorrow, yo.


Geek Out #58

Last night, I watched The Guardian just for the hell of it. It's really not that bad. I remember being mystified by its inclusion on 2001's Boogeymen compilation, but as it turns out, it's a winsome, waggish entry in the "tree horror" sub-subgenre. Man, whatever happened to Jenny Seagrove?


Mark your calendar!

You only have two more days to enter the Goosebumps Giveaway. What are you waiting for??? The more entries I get, the more likely I am to hold BIGGER and BETTER contests in the future. Tell all your friends! And enemies!


Album Cover of the Week