Early Retirement

I'm giving myself an off day, but I'll be back tomorrow with a movie review (and a clue!).


Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #41

What did I think of James Wan's latest?


Panels From Beyond the Grave #30

Part-time Random Reviews contributor Bob Ignizio is back to confab a special issue of Cracked magazine.  Technically, this could be a new edition of Vanity Scare, but this book reads more like a comic.  Before you read Bob's beastly blurb, be sure to check out his movie blog by clicking HERE.  On with the show!


Since Dom has decided to slack off again (EDITOR'S NOTE: guilty as charged), he asked me if I could do a comic book review or two. Trying to weasel out of the task, I told Dom I really hadn't been reading any new horror comics lately. Dom, ever the wily bastard (EDITOR'S NOTE: again, guilty as charged), countered that maybe I could review an older horror comic. I said I'd see what I could do, but truth be told, I wasn't really in the mood to go digging through old comics looking for a worthy review subject. As luck would have it, though, one fell into my lap. While perusing the racks at a local vintage (i.e. junk) store, I saw a little piece of my childhood that I had only recently been thinking about trying to track down - Cracked Special Edition No. 4: Those Cracked Monsters.

For those of you too young to know of Cracked as anything other than a website that puts together lists of things and writes snarky comments about them, at one time, Cracked was a magazine. Essentially, it was a Mad knock-off, and some of the writers and artists were former Mad contributors, notably John Severin. Not that any of that really matters with regards to the particular issue of the magazine at hand.

What we have here is essentially a collection of horror movie stills, mostly from the classic Universal monster films, Toho giant monster flicks, and Ray Harryhausen fantasy epics. Superimposed on these stills are word balloons containing what can only loosely be termed jokes. For example, a picture of Mothra with a helicopter flying by, the caption from the helicopter reading, “Hello, hello, base! Send us the biggest can of RAID you have!” Or how about a shot of Lon Chaney in his Wolfman makeup saying, “I don't like to brag, but I bet I got the worst case of dandruff going!”  Dandruff gags are a recurring theme.

There are also a few pages of actual comics by Cracked regulars John Severin, Oskar Blotta, John Langton, and Vic Martin with equally groan-worthy punchlines.  Sophisticated comedy it ain't, but that didn't matter much to me when I first discovered this mag. Exactly when that was I'm not sure, though. The copy I just picked up appears to be from 1974, but the cover and most of the interior pages were recycled several times over the years. A quick internet search turned up editions from 1979 and 1984 just for starters. I know I was in the single digits when I bought this thing originally so the '79 version is a possibility, but I'm thinking more likely another reprint somewhere in the middle. Regardless of the edition, as cornball as the humor is, these special issues of Cracked are still good nostalgic fun, a reminder of a more innocent time when most horror movies were still looked at as kid stuff, just good spooky fun.
If you're interested in checking some of these issues out yourself, they do show up on eBay now and then.  Of course, you can always check local used book stores, comic shops, flea markets, and antique stores. The copy I bought was in so-so condition and set me back six bucks. Even in mint condition, these aren't such high-demand collectibles that you should have to pay much more than that. Happy haunting!

Major Announcement Clue #2

I'll be back this evening to post a nifty comic book review, but for right now, here is your second "major announcement" clue...


Album Cover of the Week


Blood Capsule #35


Whit Bissell starred in I Was a Teenage Werewolf a few months before playing the infamous doctor in I Was a Teenage Frankenstein.  He theorizes that his kooky grandfather - the Baron - failed to revivify dead tissue because of the advanced age of the discorporate limbs.  Yeah, I'm sure that was the problem.  This experiment would be different.  The body would be sinewy and the brain would be more receptive to commands.  Naturally, something goes awry.  Our excitable monster is seen in public, so he snaps, strangling a full-figured blonde in the process.  Meanwhile, Frankenstein is acting like a total jerk.  I know that Peter Cushing raped a chick in 1969's Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, but at least he carried himself with amenity.  Good grief.

Clearly, Teenage Frankenstein is z-grade material, but I had quantitative fun watching it unfold.  The special effects are pretty lurid for the 50's, and the climax is bedizened in red-tinted "color."  Woo-hoo!  If anything, this b-nugget makes you realize how stealthy Hammer's The Curse of Frankenstein is by comparison.  They're both entertaining, though.  Join them at the hip (surgically, of course) for a spooktacular double feature.


Geek Out #90

I don't know about you, but I geek out over real-life sea monsters.  I find the giant squid, in particular, to be super interesting.  And we've only explored 5% of our oceans' depths!


Major Announcement Clue #1

Soon, I will announce a special series of reviews.  I was going to announce it on Tuesday, but I may have to push it back a bit.  I need more time to build suspense.  Plus, the film(s) in question hasn't arrived in the mail yet.  From now until the announcement itself, I'm going to post clues vaguely pointing to the identity of the secret series/theme/whatever that I'm reviewing.  What could it be???  If you think you know, e-mail your guess to me.  If you guess correctly before the date of the announcement (there will be four clues total), I'll send you a little something.  Don't worry; I'll come up with a cool prize.

Without further ado, here is your first hint...



Under the rubric of proper stelography, I shouldn't start a review with a synopsis.  I say, fuck the system!  Sometimes, the only way to prepare your readers for gilt-edge criticism is to supply them with a sturdy, perdurable foundation.  Please excuse me while I foundate this mutha.  Siblings Tom and Jackie are picked as two of seven lucky youths who get to breeze into an Italian castle alongside a pop minstrel.  In a hilarious helix of wordplay, the illustrious starlet happens to be Cassandra Castle.  Get it?  FUCKING GET IT???  The opening credits scroll over one of her music videos, and I must admit, "Passion and Crime" is a dandy ditty.  No wonder it's a hit on RockTV.

Oh, that's our film's copyright-free version of MTV.  The whole of the affair is hosted by Rex, a VJ who turns out to be shockingly easy to bribe.  Remember when every teenager wanted to be a VJ?  As if.  The posh, profligate leave of absence isn't the prize itself.  Once the guests are settled in clover, they engage in a scavenger hunt of sorts.  A check for a million bucks is hidden somewhere in the vast expanse of the alcazar.  Oopsy-daisy.  It appears that the term "alcazar" refers to a mansion occupied by the Moorish kings of Spain.  Tell me that you'll accept my insincere apology.  Let's go with "chateau" instead.  Happy now?  In any event, the wafer-thin characters are dispatched by a (mostly) unseen...magician?  Occultist?  Sorceror?  It's never made clear.

This is what I do know; the craven villain is portrayed by Adam Ant.  If you're a fan of the Ant-man, don't get too excited.  He materializes on-screen during the tart, churlish finale.  As for the rest of Spellcaster, he pulls a disappearing act.  All told, his Diablo is a lousy bad guy.  Fitting, seeing as how this is a lousy b-movie.  It was shot in 1987, the same year that Empire Pictures was beginning to crumble.  Charles Band sold the withering company in 1988, and Spellcaster was shelved until 1992.  It wasn't given a chance to flourish, but that's no excuse for director Rafal Zielinski to piece the action together with the moxie of a shingles-flecked paleolith.  The next time you argue with your grandmother, be sure to call her a shingles-flecked paleolith.  That blue-haired cunt.

The script had potential, man.  It was co-scribed by Dennis Paoli, the badass who wrote Re-Animator, From Beyond, Body Snatchers ('93) and Castle Freak among others.  The seeds are there, but they fail to germinate.  I couldn't stand the people involved.  At a certain point, the leads are forgotten and nearly become supporting hambones.  I did appreciate the fact that they are brother and sister.  Spellcaster spares us a strained love connection.  What else falls in the "pro" column?  John Carl Buechler's radical creature effects.  He provides musty zombies, a pig transformation (don't ask) and a demonic chair lion (seriously, don't ask).  I enjoyed the hell out of the offbeat death sequences.  I wish that Buechler had directed this baby.

Alas, the running time in between the carnage is flat and boring.  Spellcaster doesn't adequately milk the cheesy pop/rock angle, nor does it exploit its archetypal slut.  You see, we have a French whore on our hands, but she neglects to strip down to her birthday suit.  Unforgivable.  But hey, if this sounds like your kind of fluff, go ahead and rent it.  It's not on DVD, so you'll need a time machine to take this waggery home from the video store.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I chin-fucked Adam Ant backstage at an arena show.  It was last week at a Justin Bieber concert.  What can we say?  Our kids adore The Biebz.  And we don't blame them!  What a polite, well-rounded young man.  He signed my chin.  After I fucked him with it."


Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #40

This video is pretty important.  I would say that, yeah, it's important.


Busy, busy, busy...

Video tomorrow.  A bunch of cool shit in the pipeline.  Hang in there!


Dead Links #13

In these troubled times, there are few vestiges of tangible geekdom remaining on native soil.  The video store is dead.  Even Netflix is a sinking ship; most of its subscribers use the service for TV shows instead of movies anyway.  If you're like me and you live in the middle of nowhere, Goodwill stores are a lost cause.  They merely subsist as a once-rich basin that dried up years ago.  For the nostalgic horror freak, the yard sale is the last bastion of VHS falconry.  Great finds may be scattered, but they're out there.  You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and plunge elbow-deep into the birth canal of America.

Which brings me to our dead link...Yard Sale Treasure Map is a simple tool that notifies you of upcoming yard/garage sales in your area.  Each listing includes brief information, so you can easily locate potential cool shit.  The days of aimless, thankless driving are over.  You still need to get up early, though.  Every silver lining has its cloud.


Album Cover of the Week

Just so you know, I'll be reviewing this album in the coming weeks.  I'll tell you now that you need to buy it.


Geek Out #89

You may have noticed that I didn't post anything yesterday (God, I hope someone noticed).  I wasn't feeling so great, so I applied a "fuck it" attitude to life in general.  Y'know, like how the people behind Ice Cream Man had a "fuck it" attitude towards filmmaking.  Hopefully, I'll feel better over the weekend.  We'll see what happens.  Just be grateful that I'm delivering this delicious trailer to your doorstep.


What Have You Done to Solange?

Recently, I've had an inexplicable desire to give giallo flicks another chance.  In the past, I had only caught two or three gialli that I genuinely enjoyed.  My favorite would have to be Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling, a heartrending whodunit that forgoes zombie-derived putrescence in favor of linear storytelling.  As for Dario Argento, I have to recuse myself.  I simply don't care for his style, although I've developed a taste for SuspiriaWhat Have You Done to Solange? was helmed by Massimo Dellamano, a relative unknown amongst casual horror apostles.  Is there such a thing as a casual apostle?  Nevermind.  Hey, I said nevermind.  Drop it.

I should warn you that this review will contain partial spoilers.  I won't spell out the ending in explicit detail, but it's really best if you go in fresh, so to speak.  First, a blithe, air-conditioned synopsis.  The students at an all-girls school are turning up dead, their genitals butchered.  A professor takes it upon himself to investigate the murders after his teenaged paramour is defiled.  He's married to a hot Russian blonde, but that's not enough for him.  No, he must sample one of his pupils.  I'm not trying to sound bitter; it's just that Enrico isn't the most sympathetic protagonist in the world.  Anyway, the unspeakably savage slayings seem to be tied to a missing girl by the name of Solange.

This is a flawed film.  But before I scrutinize Solange's shortcomings, I want to stress that I quite like it.  The script is easy to follow.  These spaghetti slashers tend to get bogged down in circuitous parquetry and dispensable plot points, but Dellamano only divulges information on a need-to-know basis.  We learn clues as the characters do, and in consequence, the mystery becomes compelling.  For the most part, the pacing is kept in check.  Solange does sag in the middle (somewhere, a 13-year-old just snickered), but the eerie finale stitches up the storyline with verve.

Without promulgating key twists, I will say that the actual denouement is a little...shiftless?  That's not the right word.  Because of the killer's motive, the leads are never in real danger.  They are mere bystanders.  Suspense is practically non-existent.  I wish I could reveal more, but again, you're better off finding out yourself.  And now, the important stuff.  The gore is adequate, and the female cast members disrobe with great frequency.  The screen is crawling with nubile flesh.  Ironically, a young Camille Keaton remains clothed.  Ha!  The bottom line is that What Have You Done to Solange? is worth checking out if you're fond of Italian giallo pictures.  End of.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #39

Hogan/Andre or Savage/Steamboat?


Mountain Dew White Out is pretty good...

Aaaaaaahhhhhh!  It's a werewolf!  I'm fucking scared!

Video tomorrow.


Album Cover of the Week



A few hours ago, I returned from seeing Pacific Rim.  It was my most anticipated film of 2013, and I didn't expect to be disappointed.  I wasn't.  This is basically a 90's-style summer blockbuster, only good.  In fact, I noticed striking similarities to Armageddon and Independence Day.  The ending is (perhaps unavoidably) maudlin, and I was able to predict each beat.  But hey, audiences have had enough of doleful, cynical action epics.  I suppose it was time for someone to deliver honest-to-Odin fun.  Guillermo Del Toro is certainly qualified, as this popcorn flick fits nicely next to his other big-budget outings.

The CGI is downright jaw-dropping, the action sequences kick ass and the characters are grounded (relatively speaking).  I wanted to see more of the "Category 5" kaiju, but overall, I dug the monsters on display.  I totally need a Knifehead figure.  I think it's pretty goddamn awesome that Del Toro drew inspiration from the original Gamera series.  I mean, I'm assuming.  I was reminded of Guiron and Zigra, in particular.  My favorite scene involved Ian Ziering lobbing explosives into a tornado teeming with sharks.  Wait, that was Sharknado.  I get those two confused all the time!

I missed this milk curd when it premiered on Syfy, but I made sure to download it.  I wasn't going to miss Snarknado.  No, ma'am.  It doesn't become a true b-movie spectacle until the third act.  It definitely tested my already limited supply of patience, but I'm glad that I stuck with it.  It was worth it just to observe Tara Reid trying to act like a normal, responsible adult.  If you can withstand the scurvy dialogue and the enervating exposition, you might as well Redbox it.  Yes, the below image is an actual screenshot from Sharknado.  Oh, Asylum...can you imagine if this was a ripoff of a major studio "shark tornado" vehicle?


Geek Out #88

A little Thaiju to prep me for kaiju.  I'm seeing Pacific Rim tomorrow.  I'll be sure to report back with my thoughts.  For now, here's a sampling of Garuda, a dandy "bird monster" flick that slipped under the radar.


Tongue Splashers

Remember these?  Why the hell were they discontinued?  They gave you multi-hued saliva, for Christ's sake.  No, this post doesn't have a salient point.


Blood Capsule #34


Sweet holy spirit, this flick is fucking insane.  You need to watch it.  But don't read the synopsis!  Don't even go to the IMDb page.  I didn't know anything about the plot before I hit play, and I was delightfully discountenanced by the flighty twists.  Shrunken Heads begins as an austere "coming of age" drama akin to Stand by Me.  Pretty soon, the viewer is assaulted with aberrant Haitian voodoo, a dyke-squired crime syndicate, humanitarian zombies and oblique traces of statutory rape.  By the way, the aforementioned dyke is Meg Foster in a fat suit.  Have I mentioned that this flick is fucking insane?  I'm not sure if it's brilliant or defective, but I had a blast with it.  It's goddamn gorked.

Shrunken Heads was shepherded by Richard Elfman, brother of Danny (bro-bro provided the propulsive main theme).  I'm not all too familiar with Richard's work, but I dig his style.  The camera movements are kinetic, and the rainbow cinematography pops like the blood-filled balloons in It.  Beep, beep...holy shit, his name is Richie!  I've unintentionally concocted the world's most perfect joke!  In closing, this fatuous, incongruent convoy demands your attention.  It comes equipped with a marvelous edition of VideoZone.  Man, Charles Band really thought that Oblivion would be a hit, didn't he?


Panels From Beyond the Grave #29

 CREEPSHOW (One-Shot, 1982)

December.  I haven't written a comic book review since December.  Apologies to the imaginary people who fancy this column.  In truth, I haven't bought or thumbed through many comics in the past six months, and I've been sitting on this one for awhile.  This is a "special occasion" title.  What was the special occasion?  Er, I wanted to consume it.  If you're new here, I'm a Creepshow freak (read my review of the first film HERE, bitch).  I'm starting a modest collection centered on the resplendent anthology.  I own the t-shirt, I own the Blu-ray, I own the VHS tape (signed by George fucking Romero), I own the rad Italian poster and I own the shit out of the graphic novel.

I'll never forget the day I found it.  Sure, I could have procured it on eBay years ago, but anyone can do that.  I just didn't feel like disbursing the fifty greenbacks it would have cost me, and besides, ordering a rare collector's item online is oft-times a clinical transaction.  You might even call it passive or quiescent.  Y'know, if you were a dick.  Anyhow, my mother schlepped me to an exanimate consignment shop on an otherwise drab autumn day.  We hit these joints every other week, and I rarely spot widgets of interest.  You know the score.  The movie section is comprised of Disney clamshells and eighteen copies of The Fugitive.  Kill me.

This particular promptuary was conjoined with a bookstore.  Nothing grabbed my eye...until it happened.  I saw it.  I literally gasped.  Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that I need to paw and encroach upon a female body, but for now, let's overlook my exacting melancholy.  I've coveted this damn graphic novel ever since I found out that it existed.  I couldn't believe that I located it in the wild.  Without prevarication, I can say that it's in slipshod shape.  Some of the pages are half-stapled and the colors have been drained of their spangle, but I couldn't care less.  My Creepshow comic ain't for sale, ya heard?  If it was in mint condition, I still wouldn't dare part with it.

It was always my intention to read this omnibus.  I can't imagine propping it up on a shelf untouched, left to age in a perpetual state of vainglory-fueled quarantine.  No, it had to be enjoyed.  And I did enjoy it.  There are no advertisements, no fan mail, no foreword/afterword.  The meat itself is nearly identical to the film, a few odd tweaks notwithstanding.  The order of the stories has been switched.  "Something to Tide You Over" and "The Crate" have swapped bearings.  Strangely, the opening dialogue between Ted Danson's Harry and Leslie Nielson's Richard in "Tide" is relayed via flashbacks.  Upson Pratt's grotesque demise in "They're Creeping Up on You" is diluted a bit.  The hissing cockroaches merely pile out of his mouth instead of erupting from his chest.

As evidenced, the changes are miniscule and seemingly insoluble.  They don't affect the comic's readability, though.  It's Creepshow.  It's fucking awesome.  Bernie Wrightson's artwork is grandiose in a pulpy way (???).  The visuals are more dynamic than those found in EC anthologies.  Ironic, seeing as how Creepshow is a direct homage to Tales From the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear and similar titles.  The Creep is essentially The Cryptkeeper, which is my sole complaint about this tattered tome.  He doesn't have his own personality.  Hell, he refers to us - the dear readers - as "kiddies" at least once per vignette.  Naturally, alliteration is scattered all over the fucking place.  I should probably let that slide.

Is it any wonder that I'm awarding the Creepshow graphic novel a high rating?  Savage Dragon says, "Christ, go outside for once in your wretched life.  Diptwat."


Album Cover of the Week

Did I say that a special review would be published on Sunday?  I meant Monday.  Yeah.  That's what I meant.  Monday.

Thanks to Matt "Metal God" Hill for bringing this killer cover to my attention.


Everyone Has a Price to Pay; Mine was $22

In my head, there is a list of wrestlers I would like to meet.  Slowly and surely, I am crossing names off of said list.  Earlier this year, I met Jake "The Snake" Roberts at the Mad Monster Party horror convention in Charlotte.  Earlier tonight, I met "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase at a minor league baseball game.  We're a nowhere town, so we only have a dinky single-A team, but every once in awhile, they nab an agreeable celebrity to sign autographs before the game.  Technically, it's a meet-and-greet.  Last year, the powers that be managed to cajole Jerry "The King" Lawler (I'm assuming that he was enmeshed with the promise of tight, virginal jailbait).

I didn't get to see Jerry, but come Hell or high water, I was going to see Ted.  First, the picture...

Forgive the pre-thunderstorm bulwark of brazen sunlight.

I never know what to say when I'm lucky enough to accost a public figure whom I admire.  Usually, I manage a lifeless "hello" while trying to emulate the behavior of a normal human being.  I distinctly recall my brain deflating during a chance encounter with George Romero.  But that was years ago.  I'm a mature adult now.  I can quell mortifying fanboy urges at will, which is why I was confident in my ability to conduct myself with a measure of gentility in the presence of a WWE Hall of Famer.  When the bell rang, I looked my opponent square in the eye.  No fear, motherfucker.  And...I was able to keep my cool.  What, you suspected that I choked?  Ha!

Actually, I thought that I would be left groping for words, but we shared a nice, brief exchange.  He proceeded to sign my shirt (along with a couple of photos).  Out of curiosity, I asked him if he had kept in touch with Matt Bourne over the decades.  As it turns out, Ted saw Matt a mere week before his untimely passing.  Chilling.  Our tickets included a substantial meal and a seat for the ensuing ballgame.  Honestly, I didn't care about the game, so we departed in the midst of a rain delay.  Curse my haphazard disdain for school spirit.  Bandwagon fidelity is underrated.

PS-Ted cut a wicked promo while throwing out the first pitch.  Well, he didn't throw it out; he paid a pitcher to do it for him.  That's "old school" showmanship, kids.  Always work the gimmick!


Ohhhh yeeeeees...

Ran across this old picture of Paul Bearer.  I don't know about you, but I had always assumed that he was born a pasty, orotund mortician.  Anyway, I'm prepping a rather sizeable review.  It may not be ready to publish until Sunday.  I promise that it will be worth the wait.  Let me rephrase that; I promise that you will have to wait to read it.


Matches That Time Forgot #55

The less said about Hulk Hogan's 2003 run as Mr. America, the better.  Allow me to contradict myself by talking about it.  Just a year prior, Hogan worked his watershed match at Wrestlemania 22 against The Rock.  He was back on top in the company that put him on the map.  So Vince dandified him as a batty, borderline-plagiaristic midcarder on Smackdown.  Granted, the blue brand held more sway in those days, but as Sean O'Haire can attest to, The Hulkster wasn't battling all-stars.  To be clear, I'm not pissing on O'Haire.  That dude had raw talent (pardon the blighted pun), and he was given a sweet gimmick.  For whatever reason, he amounted to Mantaur-levels of nothing.

The story here is that a heel Mr. McMahon tried desperately to prove that "newcomer" Mr. America was actually Hulk Hogan.  Admittedly, it was an entertaining angle.  Roddy Piper was even brought in to spar with The Red And Yellow Godhead, but crowds didn't take to him as a villain.  He was already too much of a fun-loving legend.  Oh, the match that time forgot.  The stipulation?  If O'Haire wins, Hogan has to submit to a lie detector test.  It's...alright.  What can I say?  There is some estimable action in between reiterative rest holds.  If you're wondering, Mr. America passed his polygraph with flying colors.

The program was abruptly dropped when Hogan left the WWE over contract disputes.  Sadly, his last appearance in The Fed involved Hornswoggle and The Great Khali.  Ugh.


Join the fan club, losers!

Join RR Inc.'s Facebook fan club if you haven't already.  You might see bonus content pop up every once in awhile.  It's fun!  It's spooky!  The membership fee is a paltry $700 per week!


Gods and Monsters

Bill Condon is an interesting director.  How does an artist(e) go from presiding over a slasher sequel to quarterbacking Oscar bait?  Stranger still, how do you go from 1998's Gods and Monsters to a dyad of milquetoast Twilight flicks?  And I didn't even mention Dreamgirls.  One thing is for sure; Condon can't be accused of sticking to a safe, punctilious formula.  I can, however, accuse him of being a talented dude.  Don't you dare try and stop me!  In my opinion, 1995's Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh is an underrated follow-up.  It doesn't touch the original, but it does retain a certain macabre class that suits its bee-clogged libertine of a villain.  By the way, I'm starting an indie rock band called Bee-Clogged Libertine.  Our debut album will be nine hours long and violently self-aware.

If you've been living under a rock-shaped impediment, Gods and Monsters is a semi-fictitious biopic of James Whale.  Of course, Whale helmed Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man.  If you weren't privy to that information, get off my website this instant.  Now, I don't know which parts are fictitious, but it matters none.  Was I engrossed by the story?  For the most part, yes.  Ian McKellen didn't have to reach very deeply to play an aging homosexual with a love/hate relationship with Hollywood.  I don't mean to belittle his performance.  I couldn't believe it was the same thespian who disturbed me to the bone in Apt Pupil.  McKellen is effortless, and I wish I could say the same for Brendan Fraser.

I'm conflicted.  I don't care for Fraser's acting style, but I can't deny that he played his character well.  Clay Boone is a gruff, parochial man's man.  If Fraser comes across as flat, it's because he's portraying a fairly one-dimensional person.  His curt dialogue doesn't help his cause, though.  Poor George (of the jungle, that is) has "I'm acting" carved into his brow, whereas McKellen...well, it's like I said.  He's effortless.  There are moments of forced histrionics that disrupt the organic cadence of the script.  Fortunately, these undesirable bits don't make James Whale any less fascinating.  I was genuinely moved by his mental and physical breakdown.  Having knowledge of the plot's eventual denouement didn't rob the climax of impact, although I could have done without the epilogue of sorts.

Clearly, this isn't an out-and-out bloodbath, but it will appeal to genre addicts for obvious reasons.  We visit the set of Bride of Frankenstein through brilliant flashbacks.  Blatant fan service?  Perhaps, but I don't mind.  I have to wonder why Condon didn't give as much attention to Whale's other works.  They're mentioned in passing, yes, but only Frankenstein is used as a stylistic motif.  The Invisible Man, in particular, is seemingly rich in relevant subtext.  I sigh in abashment.  Overall, Gods and Monsters is a strong film that offers a provocative peek into the dying days of a dignitary.  Man, they should put that on the DVD cover.  Not that I'm swayed by corporate handouts.  Where was I?  Oh, I remember.  I laughed, I cried, I shit the bed.  Four stars!

Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #37

The ultimate challenge?


Holy Wow

Wow, I'm tired.  I'm calling it a day, but don't worry.  I'm posting two...yes, TWO items tomorrow to make up for my soporific torpor.  Here's a hint; I'm reviewing a Bill Condon film.  That could go anywhere, couldn't it?