Yikes!  Let's hope not.  A quick word...I'll be attending the Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, NC in late March.  I went last year and even posted a garrulous write-up.  Chances are, I'll mention it again as the date draws near.  It would be fun to meet my adoring fans in person.  Man, I can't believe I typed that with a straight face.

Keep your eyes peeled; I might be running a contest in March as well.  So much excitement, so little dopamine!


Watercolor Butterfly - THE GOD PARTICLE

So as I was explaining yesterday, I happen to know a member of this band.  To be more precise, I know the vocalist.  That has no bearing on my opinion of this album, though.  I have abnegated any and all bias to apprise Watercolor Butterfly's debut long player in the most objective fashion possible.  Seeing as how this Mexican outfit will be alien to the plurality of my readership (Racist Joke #1), I should describe their sound before unjustly vituperating...I mean, giving a fair assessment of their collective worth.  Right off the bat, you'll hear shades of Opeth and Pain of Salvation.  The pronounced keyboards remind me of the latter, while the Jekyll/Hyde approach to singing reminds me of the former.

Never heard of Opeth or Pain of Salvation?  Well, your taste in music is questionable.  I can't help you there.  I can try to sum up Watercolor Butterfly in broad terms.  "Progressive metal" is a bleary, polysemous heading, but here, it's an apt distinction.  Los Lonelier Boys (Racist Joke #2) also flirt with death metal and piano balladry.  It doesn't feel like a group's first ululation.  What the hell does that mean?  It means that this is a strong debut.  If I didn't know any better, I'd wager that these guys have been jamming in close quarters for over a decade.  The eight tracks that compound The God Particle vibrate with raw talent.  The only reason why this disc doesn't cross into four-Abbath territory is because it hints at potential that may not materialize until a follow-up is set into motion.

Stunning craftsmanship is already present.  I mentioned keys earlier, but I need to expatiate upon the mad skillz of one Norberto Ortiz.  He fucking mutilates his instrument, as does guitarist Ricardo Pacheco.  I'll get to lead throat Diego Valenzuela in a minute (patience, my child).  Ironically, my favorite cut is "Between Asleep and Awake Part 1," a diaphanous instrumental.  It's buoyed by a fragile, melodic guitar solo that is bound to melt your liver.  Or something.  My pal, Diego, is a damn fine troubadour.  It's unfortunate that the mix doesn't do him any favors.  Maybe it's the microphone, but his vox don't blend with the layers of sonic sex underneath.

Don't get the wrong impression; his vokills kick a wide variety of ass.  In time, the dynamics of his range will only improve, and that's a scary thought.  His growls are positively Satanic.  My issues with the production stem from budgetary restrictions, as opposed to human failings.  That's why I'm hoping that executives in cushy positions catch wind of Watercolor Butterfly.  As much as I dig The God Particle, I know these motherfuckers are capable of destroying it with future releases.  Check out the tyrannical riffs of "Sacrifice My Name" and the deliberate harmonies of "Lightless Firefly."  That's some good shit.  If you've read this far, you might as well visit their Facebook page.

Again, this isn't a soulless advertisement.  I wasn't paid (enough) to shower Watercolor Butterfly with praise.  Besides, I barely respect Diego.  He watches My Little Pony, for cunt's sake.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #28

The watercolor butterflies.


Dead Links #12

What is Lonely Virgil?  It's a Tumblr page devoted to images of Mike Jones.  Wrestling fans will remember Jones as Virgil, Ted DiBiase's silent bodyguard (and part-time whipping boy) during the WWF's Golden Era.  After turning face, he floundered in the midcard before tergiversating to greener, WCW-scented pastures in the mid-90's.  His ring skills were mediocre.  His mic skills were mediocre.  Put plainly, Mike Jones was a speckless, well-kept image of mediocrity.  I can't imagine there being an honest-to-goodness Virgil fan floating around somewhere in the firmament of dyed-in-the-wool marks, that scopious welkin of heartrending geekdom.

You might call it an unfair presumption, but I have proof.  Or rather, the Internet has proof.  Lonely Virgil is overloaded with pictures of Mike Jones sitting alone at his booth.  The booth rarely changes, but the locale varies.  He sets up shop at conventions of all stripes in the hopes of selling autographed polaroids.  As you can surmise by the name of today's Dead Link, he never inveigles many takers.  It's funny, but goddamn, it's depressing.  I was honestly surprised by the volume of submissions.  Jones knows how to travel; he just doesn't have anything to show for it.  I want to give the guy a hug.  And yet, he must shoulder the blame.  I mean, he shouldn't have been so fucking mediocre!  C'mon!


Dueling Caskets

Bled to death.


Album Cover of the Week

So I've been out of town all day.  I haven't had any time to work on...well, anything lately.  I may not have time tomorrow either.  It depends.  Fuck exhaustion.


Well, because of an impromptu strip club adventure, I have nothing to report today.  Other than, y'know, boobs.


Geek Out #80

I need to rewatch this.


Slime City

This no-budget splatter dish is often compared to Street Trash, but I think it has more in common with Frank Henenlotter's Brain Damage.  Both films seem to be making half-cogent statements about drug addiction, though Henenlotter's hallucinogenic trash tackles the subject with a courtly panache (I'm speaking in relative terms, of course).  Greg Lamberson's Slime City is a straightforward b-movie, and for all I know, I'm seeing social commentary where there is none.  It doesn't really matter.  It's entertaining either way, and the third act is cockled...no, puckered with wall-to-wall gore.  The special effects are truly impressive.  Let's just say that I'm glad I wasn't eating when the prostitute effaced Alex's goo-soused bandages.  Fucking yuck.

The "plot" is shot full of holes.  I'm not convinced that Lamberson (who also penned the screenplay) understands how alchemy works.  Apparently, imbibing lime green elixir and wolfing down Himalayan yogurt converts your body into a soul conduit.  Alex has just moved into an apartment complex, and his oh-so-friendly neighbor has invited him over for dinner.  He ingests green shit, which allows the aura of a cult leader to accroach his spirit.  Basically, we have possession by ectoplasm.  That would look good on a list of Joe Bob's Drive-In Totals.  There is also a subplot involving Alex's virgin cocktease of a girlfriend, but try as I might, I couldn't give a fuck.

Despite of a loopy premise, the exposition is somewhat engrossing.  I didn't mind the characters, and the pace wafted along at a sprightly gallop.  In reality, the first hour is merely a placeholder for the explosive climax.  The best bits of violence occur in one room, but fuck me running (shut up, Adam), I've never seen such thorough limb splitting.  I swear, there is nothing sweeter than a magma flow of 80's-style bloodshed.  Naturally, the door is left wide open for a sequel, and 22 years later, Lamberson finally got around to erecting Slime City Massacre.  I haven't seen it myself, but the reviews are generally favorable.  Plus, it stars Debbie Coccaro.  I mean, Rochon.  Debbie Rochon.  Debbie Rochon-Coccaro.

Chuck Brain Damage, Street Trash and a dab of Basket Case into a blender...blammo!  You have a heapin' helpin' of Slime City.  I dug it.  Don't get me wrong; flaws are prominent.  The supplementary thespians aren't up to snuff, and it does take awhile for the narrative to gain momentum.  Keep in mind, this was Lamberson's directorial debut.  I'd call it a success, especially considering that funds were scarce.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I downed a goblet of Himalayan yogurt once.  The next morning, I woke up next to Patrick Swayze and Sylvester Stallone.  Naked.  Sweating.  I had a severe case of lockjaw.  I would have asked a series of serious questions, but before I knew it, I was offered a role in Tango & Cash.  How lucky can a guy be?"


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #27


Matches That Time Forgot #51

We're going old school today.  Old school tag team action, that is.  We have The Dream Team (Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Dino Bravo) plus Johnny Valiant versus The Killer Bees plus Koko B. Ware.  I'll be perfectly honest with you.  I haven't seen many Bees matches, but I do consider them to be underrated in the grand scheme of things.  They were a steadfast staple of WWF's tag team division throughout most of the 80's.  In 2013, they're more famous for pissing off The Iron Shiek.  I have no opinion of The Dream Team, but needless to say, Valentine carries the load.  This is an energetic donnybrook replete with a babyface beatdown to bring the match to a close.

Gorilla Monsoon reminds us that Koko's entrance theme is a "hit cut" that can be found on Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2.  Much has been said about the legitimacy of The Birdman's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, and I...agree with the bulk of what has been said.  He did some decent stuff in Memphis, I grant you.  Still, I challenge you - I fucking challenge you - to name one memorable Koko B. Ware match.  Hell, name one memorable feud.  You can't!  And Bob Backlund is just now being inducted?  Cunt almighty.


Say, that suffering sure is legendary...

Today was kind of an off day, but I'll be back in business tomorrow.  I need sleep.  And movies.


Album Cover of the Week


Blood Capsule #29


I fucking love it when I'm able to unearth an obscure phylactery that the rest of the world omitted out of impenitent ignorance.  Caltiki is a rather fascinating b-movie about a famished blob that lurks beneath the ruins of an archeological dig.  Yes, it's a riff on 1958's The Blob, but it's worth watching for a few reasons.  Try this on for size...it was the uncredited directorial debut of Mario Bava.  It seems that the man hired for the job abandoned the project to allow young Mario to cut his teeth on his craft.  Also, the plot has a curious twist.  The titular nodulation is possessed by a mummified Mayan goddess.  At one point, our main characters huddle around a projector to view footage captured by a missing colleague.

And that brings me to a batty revelation; Caltiki was the first film (that I'm aware of) to employ the "found footage" motif.  Granted, it's just a lone scene, but this scene uses a shaking camera to great effect.  It's like something straight out of The Blair Witch Project, only this kinetic creature feature is notable for its graphic violence.  I was genuinely impressed by the macabre gore F/X.  If I'm being honest, I think that Caltiki outpaces The Blob at every turn.  It skates along at a buoyant clip, and the script is relatively well-composed.  Tragically, it wasn't released on home video stateside.  I doubt that it will hit DVD anytime soon, which is a crying shame.  It needs more exposure in a major way.

PS-I own a bootleg copy.  It's available on YouTube, though.  I would advise checking it out lickety-split.


Geek Out #79

An interview with Ray Harryhausen.  Need I say more?  The Hydra is one of my favorite cinematic beasties of all time.  It's amazing how fluid his stop-motion effects were.


I say weird things...

...when I'm under the weather.


Parts Unknown #112: SNME

Before Raw, Saturday Night's Main Event was WWF's primetime draw.  You knew it was a big deal because there were hardly ever any jobbers to be found.  For all intents and purposes, this was a show devoted to main events.  Obviously, not every match could feature top-card talent (as I'm about to prove), but the heavyweights were safe bets.  This episode - dated April 15, 1991 - was the penultimate SNME, unless you count the 2006 run.  The whole thing is groovy, so I'm bypassing the pros/cons format.

~ We inaugurate the proceedings with Sgt. Slaughter (flanked by Sheiky and Mustafa) squaring off against The Ultimate Warrior.  It's a rematch from their title bout at the Royal Rumble, and amazingly, it's a solid contest.  Warrior seems to be cooperating (!).  There is decent selling here.  The babyface beatdown is well-executed, though I was hoping for a clean win.  The icing on the cake?  The Undertaker rising from a ringside coffin...FUCK YES.  Hogan tries to make the save, and I have to give him credit for putting over 'Taker as a legitimate graveyard phantom.  Dude looks scared shitless.

~ The Nasty Boys defend their tag straps against The Bushwackers.  It figures that I would select an episode that spotlights two of my least favorite tag teams.  Don't get me wrong; it's a serviceable back-and-forth; it's just that there were so many teams to choose from.  Hell, I'd take Power and Glory over Knobbs/Saggs (quite possibly the luckiest motherfuckers in the business).

~ Look, it's a random battle royale!  No stipulation.  I tend to forget that battle royales didn't always need stipulations.  Anyway, the final four will bamboozle your circuits.  Shawn Michaels (in Rocker mode), Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Mr. Perfect (the winner...thank Christ) and The Warlord.  Hogan was eliminated halfway, but to be fair, it fostered storyline progression.  On a sidenote, Jake the Snake's pre-entrance promo is badass.

~ Bret Hart versus Ted DiBiase is easily the zenith of the night.  Fucking perfection, but it ends too soon with a double disqualification.  This should have lasted 20 minutes.  The time was available, but Vince allocated those inestimable minutes to Tito Santana (post-Strike Force, pre-El Matador) and The Mountie.  Oh, how I wish I was kidding.

And that's all she wrote.  Highly efficient programming.  In my fact-based opinion, they should strip Raw down to one hour.  Cut the fat.  You know I'm right.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #26

Let me tell you something, Mean Gene.



Just got back from being inhumanely drilled at the dentist's office.  It wasn't that bad, but it was exhausting.  I'm hitting the sack early tonight.  Before I do, I want to command you to check out Hammer House of Horror, a sweet TV series cobbled together by the studio's regulars (Peter Cushing stars in one episode).  I've been indulging in the VHS box set, and fuck my armpit with a charlatan's sword, this show rules!  Each episode is like a bite-sized Hammer flick.  I plan on digging through more of them tonight.

Bland video tomorrow!


Demons 2

Demons is one of the best "party" movies ever.  Halloween parties would provide the most appropriate backdrop, though I find baby showers to be just as conducive.  For years, I neglected the 1986 sequel.  It glared at me from the shelf at my local rental joint, but I was an impressionable teenager at the time.  I heard that it was an emaciated retread of the original, so I didn't think twice about cantering by it in a thoughtless scuttle to rent the latest direct-to-video sequel (it was probably Candyman 3: Day of the Dead...puke).  It was as simple as that.  Now I know that I made the wrong decision.  Demons 2 doesn't top its unchaste antecessor, but it does deliver frantic action and slick visuals.

On some levels, director Lamberto Bava is able to augment his original.  It's clear that he had more money to play with.  Maybe he saw this as an opportunity to renovate Demons and amend its conspicuous foibles.  I say that because the plot is damn near identical, the only difference being the setting.  Everyone in an apartment complex just happens to be watching the same channel.  What's on?  A fictionalized account of disquisitive people excavating the ruins left behind by the events of the first film.  Needless to say, they stumble upon the anhydrous corpse of a demon.  The dastardly imp jolts to life and squirms out of the television.  Oh no!

Even this film's derogators have to admit that once the ordure hits the industrial-strength humidifier (???), the bedlam doesn't let up.  Bava has a steady grip on the pace.  In spite of the script's cheeseball nature, he manages to work in a few eerie shots (the titular rogues circling down a stairwell, for example).  The characters are...well, I don't need to finish that sentence.  This is spaghetti horror, after all.  However, the gorgeous pregnant woman deserves an honorable mention.  Her acting ability is a mystery thanks to the picayune dubbing, but she's hot.  Ergo, I wanted her to survive.  Demons 2 marks the screen debut of Asia Argento.  I'm surprised her father didn't force her to shed her clothing.

The special effects are gnarly, but the kills are relatively bloodless.  Chalk up a point for Demons.  Actually, chalk up two points, for the sequel's soundtrack doesn't kick nearly enough ass.  Where is the fun-loving bonehead metal from the original?  Granted, the featured bands are cool (The Smiths, Dead Can Dance), but b-movies and heavy metal belong together.  Demons 2 doesn't possess the inexplicable charm of its forebear.  No one can argue with that.  Still, I had a blast absorbing its inanity (sic) through osmosis.  How can you dismiss Bobby Rhodes as a no-bullshit gym instructor?

Album Cover of the Week

Review coming tonight!



Where did my post go?  I posted something last night, and now, it's gone.  I mean, it was only a small update, but still.  Kind of worrying.


Dead Links #11

Duck!  It's another Goosebumps post!  Before I sat down to write my review of The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, I looked to see if there was a website dedicated to analyzing this masterly series.  Lo and behold, there was!  It's called Blogger Beware, and the author (I can't find a name) has tackled pretty much every single Goosebumps tome to date.  I bring this to your attention with an altruistic caveat.  The reviews are well-written and interplaited with wry humor, but by and large, each one is a glorified synopsis.  I don't care for book/movie critics who take the "90% plot summary" approach.  It's a personal preference.

Let me make something very, very clear; I'm not bashing Blogger Beware.  If I thought it lacked merit, I wouldn't showcase it as a Dead Link.  I'm just saying...my Goosebumps review was better. *snickers*


The Mummy ('32)

When I received the Universal Monsters Collection Blu-ray set in the mail, I was anxious to revisit 1932's The Mummy.  I hadn't seen it in years, and to be honest, I wasn't crazy about it.  I'm convinced that I didn't give it a fair shot.  Not that I love it now, but I'm able to see the quiet grandeur and finespun cachet that managed to shuck my youthful haste the first time around.  This isn't a straight-up scare flick.  It doesn't contain the iconic imagery of Dracula or Frankenstein, nor does it play to prototypical "old dark house" gambits.  It's an arcane Middle-Eastern romance steeped in divination.  There are, however, moments of hair-raising dread that remind you of the fact that you're watching a Universal horror picture starring Karloff the Uncanny.

The first act is spotless.  It's also the kind of build-up that you would expect, but it works.  Imhotep, a mummified Egyptian prince, awakens from his slumber when a foolhardy archaeologist reads The Scroll of Thoth aloud.  We don't get a clear glimpse of Karloff's full frame in bandages, but the camera is courteous enough to linger on his torso.  Letting Jack Pierce's ingenious make-up effects go to waste would have been sacrilege.  Karl Freund was an excellent choice to helm this crawling liturgy.  For those uninitiated, he served as cinematographer on Dracula and later directed 1935's Mad Love (a hidden gem...read my review HERE).  Apparently, he wasn't much of a people person, but he knew how to garnish leaden sets.

It helps that he was admeasured a distinguished cast, anchored by the bewitching Zita Johann.  Next to Karloff, our leading lady is the most engaging player present.  I learned that she dabbled in the occult in real life.  It's no wonder that her performance comes across as earnest.  By this point, you have probably ascertained that I hold The Mummy in higher regard than I did before.  And you would be correct, but I still don't consider it to be a personal favorite.  The competition in this box set alone is too fierce.  Once Imhotep begins to conduct himself as Ardeth Bay (an anagram of "Death Be Ra"), the film loses me a bit.  The acting remains strong, but I wasn't invested in the evil outlander's plan to resurrect his main squeeze.

In addition, the mechanics of the script borrow liberally from Dracula.  Others have identified the similarities, so I won't bore you with a PowerPoint-assisted consecution of slides comparing the two classics.  It's just that the story doesn't strike me as particularly weighty.  Of course, that's only my opinion.  If I had my druthers, Carl Laemmle Jr. would have opted to adapt Bram Stoker's "The Jewel of Seven Stars," a mummy novel rich with subtext and complex characterizations.  Why didn't he?  For your information, said tome has been produced by studios as mismated as Hammer and Unapix (the latter production was distributed by the illustrious A-Pix Entertainment).  I wouldn't recommend renting 1998's (Bram Stoker's) The Mummy. That's the best advice you are going to receive this month.

Overall, I dig this iteration of The Mummy.  There is no doubt that it's a quality spine-tingler, but a masterpiece?  I beg to differ.  Robert Z'Dar says, "Imhotep should have serenaded Princess Ankh-es-en-emon with a sitar.  Bitches love sitars."



Album Cover of the Week

The strange, elusive Monday-centric Album Cover of the Week.  Thanks to Matt for the suggestion!


Bookworm Infested #2


I could write twenty paragraphs about Goosebumps.  It's so...90's.  Those who know me know that I get exceedingly nostalgic about the 90's.  To be specific, I want 1992-1995 to be the only years that exist.  They should repeat in a recurrent time vortex.  I view 1995 as the last perfect year of my life.  While I'll refrain from dipping into a dispiriting monograph on the perils of adolescent turmoil, I will stress that the mid-90's were fucking awesome.  If you were an 11-year-old boy during this era, nothing was more awesome than Goosebumps.  And if you owned the entire series, you were God.  I remember attending a friend's birthday party and seeing his collection spread out on the floor.  I heard angels singing that day.

Of course, I'm an adult now.  I still think that Goosebumps is (are?) killer, but maturity has lured ugly truths out into the rancorous light of day.  Whatever do I mean?  Well, let's examine The Werewolf of Fever Swamp.  I might have enjoyed this benign, harefooted paperback as a wee goblin, but I read it at the resentful age of 28.  To be blunt, it kind of sucks.  Over the last few years, I've discovered that the lion's share of R.L. Stine's portfolio is vapid and poorly written.  Hold that dial!  I don't mean to suggest that all of the man's work is substandard.  I can't speak for Fear Street, but even the sketchy volumes of Goosebumps are fun to flip through.  At its worst, Fever Swamp can be redeemed as mindless escapism.

That doesn't change the fact that it loiters near the bottom of The Tubular Totem Pole.  NOTE: The Tubular Totem Pole is my creation.  It mustn't fall into the wrong hands.  The plot is threadbare.  A boy keeps finding animal carcasses torn asunder in the marsh behind his house.  He suspects that the culprit may be a werewolf, which would explain the unholy howling he hears on full moon nights.  But who is transforming into this primal beast?  The resident hermit?  The odd nextdoor neighbor?  The stray dog?  Could it be one of his parents???  I'm not telling.  The twist is decent, but we don't see much lycanthropy until the last ten pages.  The rest of Fever Swamp is overstuffed with false scares and crude prose.

Stine's bad habits are in rare form.  Characters are defined by surface traits, chapters conclude with red herrings and the writing is generally lazy.  As per usual, the parents are morons.  I'd be willing to discount the majority of the book's shortcomings if the exposition was...oh, I don't know...intriguing.  Tragically, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp does not live up to its beautifully fluorescent cover.  Do I regret reading it?  No.  I actually love it in a backwards way, if that makes any sense.  Before you ask (please let me pretend that you were going to ask), I plan on covering other Goosebumps titles.  I have no choice in the matter.


Reading For Dummies

Wanted to type up a book review tonight, but I haven't had a chance to sit down and finish reading the damn thing.  I will tomorrow, though.  The second installment of Bookworm Infested is coming soon!


Geek Out #78

I recently found out that Vincent Price made a guest appearance on an episode of The Brady Bunch.  It's delightfully dopey.  He plays a cave dweller who virtually kidnaps the Brady boys and holds them hostage.  At one point, he threatens to spear them (I'm referring to the weapon, not the wrestling move), but all of this materializes in a ho-hum, impassive way.  Pa Brady retaliates by aiding the demented troglodyte in obtaining his own wing at a museum.  Yeah.  I can't fucking believe that this show was a meteoric hit.