Blood Capsule #58


Another blood capsule!  Lucky you.  Actually, I'm fulfilling my duty as a friend.  You see, I picked out this junker to watch with a buddy of mine, and well, let's just say I feel guilty for what we had to endure.  My punishment?  This mini-review.  Prototype is a futuristic "killer robot" ragbag that came to berth in the wake of T2: Judgment Day.  There were gobs of these direct-to-video litter reels trammeling local rental showrooms (yes, showrooms...that's the choice I made), and it was glorious.  It wasn't quite as glorious on a case-to-case basis.  You could get stuck with real wreckage.  Like Prototype!  An infirm veteran (who may or may not be able to buy beer legally) volunteers for a chancy program that promises to restore his mobility.  And it does, but it also turns him into a cybernetic drudge.  He's all touchy-killy and shit.

How does this laundry list strike you?  Uninterrupted smoking (apparently, the year 2057 isn't far removed from 1957), cumbersome editing, extrasensory sex (okay, that wasn't terrible), a prosaic pace, incestuous undertones (for fuck's sake, the boy is barely a teenager) and a psychic yoga ninja who doesn't relate to the plot in any goddamn way.  Seriously, who the fuck was that prickhole?  He materializes out of thin air in the final act.  Ugh, fuck Prototype.  It's bad.  I mean, the lighting is cool, and the acting is harmless.  But fuck Prototype.  Happy now, Paul???  Shuffle this deck!


Blood Capsule #57


What we have here is a "lost" Universal horror film.  It's not really lost, though.  And it's not really a horror film, but in my judgment, it's within the classification contiguity that dovetails the dimensions of Random Reviews Inc.  Got it?  Good.  Blue Room runs on "old dark house" tropes to tell the story of a supposedly haunted bedroom.  Three bachelors offer to spend the night in this place to prove their gallantry to the delicate Irene von Helldorf.  Obviously, calamitous things happen, but who is responsible?  As a whodunit, the narrative is suitable.  I dug the twists, I must say.  However, Blue Room folds when it comes to pretending to be a fright flick.

Director Kurt Neumann whips up juicy exteriors (those squally typhoons are to die for), and I'm cool with the manner in which key scenes are framed, but - fuck, this sentence is too damn long.  The atmosphere isn't bleak enough for me.  The Old Dark House is more sinister, and that's practically a full-blown comedy.  In addition, I bore witness to subplots being dropped off the side of the crag in the movie itself.  Figuratively speaking, but still!  Would I recommend Secret of the Beryl Enclosure?  Yeah.  It's entertaining, and it stars Lionel Atwill.  Actually, the whole cast is methodical, if not a teensy bit stagy.  What's a Universal classic without blood and thunder?


Album Cover of the Whatever

As per the incoming ambuscade of snowfall, our power may go out in the next day or two.  Personally, I doubt it.  But just in case, I thought I'd pacify my hungry fanbase (lolz) with...well, this.  It's all you're getting.


The Comedy of Terrors

Ah, this is what the doctor ordered.  Look at that cast!  I've recently become a big fan of Peter Lorre, and Vincent Price is my favorite actor period.  Of course, Boris Karloff is nothing to sneeze at.  You have Basil Rathbone hamming it way up and quoting Shakespeare pole to pole.  Joyce Jameson's cleavage is ace.  Let's be honest; that's all women are good for, am I right?  Just joshing!  Actually, her performance is quite droll.  Her forced bad singing made the faucets in my house tap out (that joke should be framed).  Thus far, I've been raining plaudits down on 1963's The Comedy of Terrors, but it pains me to say that I wouldn't recommend it.  It's a comedy above all else, and yet, it isn't particularly funny.

Humor being a subjective thing, I doubt that I can substantiate my claims other than stating...I didn't laugh.  Much.  Price heads a well-worn premise that finds his character running his father-in-law's funeral parlor.  Business is sluggish, so Price (Waldo, the autocratic scuzzball) and Lorre (Felix, the second-in-command pushover) create their own customer base.  It's The Body Snatcher, only they aren't selling the corpses to a scientist.  Waldo needs to pay his yearly rent (!).  Then it hits him; why not waste the landlord?  "We'll kill two birds with one pillow."  Naturally, shenanigans follow.  This mischief is shockingly arid.  You might even say it's hoary!  I wouldn't, but you might.

The main problem is that there are three, maybe four jokes in the whole movie.  Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay, which is why it chafes my rind to level these scurrilities, but are they not deserved?  Am I not human?  The wife has a terrible opera voice, the sidekick is a stumbling oaf and the landlord refuses to stay in his coffin.  Boom.  I have just outlined The Comedy of Terrors.  Granted, shards of other epigrams squawk through, but the film's plane of camp comes off as too one-dimensional.  Was it snobbish of me to expect something a bit more...intellectual?  Again, look at the cast.  I tried to "let my hair down" and go with the flow, but honestly, I wasn't entertained.

That's not to say that The Comedy of Terrors isn't a well-lubricated affair.  It certainly looks grand.  And it should, as the camera is guided by Jacques Tourneur.  That bad motherfucker directed 1957's Night (or Curse) of the Demon, one of my favorite horror-themed moving pictures of all time.  I don't have to tell you that Price excels at owning the scenery.  Lorre and Karloff are equally glorious, as are the polymorphic sequences of hardcore pornography.  Goodness gracious, those Asian tarts were absolutely pulverized.  I'm sorry; I may be thinking of a different DVD that I...do not own.  Let's wrap this up, shall we?

The Comedy of Terrors is MEH.


Matches That Time Forgot #66

I was going to post a match from the idiosyncratic world of the indies, but then I saw this beauty. "Stunning" Steve Austin versus Scott Steiner?  Who in their right mind would pass this up?  First of all, there aren't many Steiner singles bouts on record before 1997, so if you see one, lap it up.  As expected, Scotty uses every suplex known to man.  Jeepers, what I wouldn't pay to watch him (in his prime) take on Brock Lesnar.  But that would be another blurb!

Of course, Austin is distinguished.  I love that he's paired with Medusa.  Apart from Paul, they are probably my two favorite members of The Dangerous Alliance.  Can it get any more orgiastic?  Yes, it can!  On commentary, we have Sir Heyman and Jim Ross!  Exclamation point!  Y'know, Austin has razzed and downplayed his actual wrestling ability, but it's clear that he knew what he was doing.  I get a charge out of the technical side of things, as it relates to both wrasslin' and death metal.

PS - Check out Dogface Gremlin going for the pin after the match had ended via disqualification.  Yes, I said Dogface Gremlin.  "Not my match?  Whatever, I'm gonna win!"


Dead Girls

Wasn't I just growling the praises of this sub-subgenre in my rundown of last year's Deathgasm?  I love "heavy metal horror," especially if it comes from the 80's.  In the case of Dead Girls, it comes from 1990.  The fashion is the same, but instead of demonic soothsaying (for obvious reasons, these flicks have a thing for the black arts), the characters have to deal with a masked stalker who may or may not be...well, anyone.  That's right, lovelies; it's a slasher!  Slashers are fun, right?  Well, this one isn't so much fun!  I'm still shouting, and I don't know why!  Dead Girls does have a pro or two in its corner.  Stealing a page from the giallo notebook, the whodunit angle makes the entire cast a veritable turnstile of suspects.  I thought I had the killer pegged in the first act, but I was way off-base.

So the ending is unpredictable.  I'll give the movie that much, but simply reaching the ending was a trying drudgery.  The 105-minute running time didn't help.  105!  I swear to Percunas, Dead Girls wanted to torture me.  It starts out on the right cloven hoof.  We see a band (The Dead Girls, natch) bitching back and forth with their pomaded greaseball of a manager.  Apparently, a group of teenagers formed a suicide pact because of their lyrics and all but one troubled youth succeeded in perishing.  Who survived?  Our lead singer's little sister.  Gina - the lead singer, stage name Bertha Beirut - travels back home with her bandmates in tow.  Suffice to say, they receive a cold welcome.  The idea is to whisk Brooke - the little sister - away to their family cabin for a heapin' helpin' of relaxation.

Shit, this synopsis is a drone.  That's the basic set-up.  As mistrust would betoken, there are quite a few underhanded scoundrels afoot, which means there are also quite a few potential victims.  Unfortunately, the death sequences are square.  The goriest kill happens to befall the coolest character, and that just doesn't feel right.  The others are stabbed, drowned or shot.  Booooring.  Nudity should be a no-brainer, but all we are offered is a long-distance view of sideboob.  You can barely make out the nipple!  The fuck?  I scoff at thee!  Man, Dead Girls is in urgent need of exploitation.  The storyline isn't strong enough to support its own weight.  And unlike Black Roses and Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, we aren't treated to cheesertaining live performances.  Even Monster Dog had a music video, bro!

I laughed in a number of spots.  Take the introduction of Elmo the Retard, for instance.  I'm a horrible person, so I thought it was funny when the strapping bodyguard nearly beat the plasma out of him.  It's okay.  I'm retarded, too.  What's with the incest couple?  No shit, one of the "dead girls" bangs her brother (the drummer).  She doesn't try to hide it, but nobody seems to care.  Whatever, Cynthia Slain.  On second thought, it might have been Lucy Lethal.  Dear Lord, crush my skull with a millstone.  Smite me hard in the ass!  I did not enjoy Dead Girls.  Portions of it are competent, and I'm sure it's tidy with a friend, but I wouldn't recommend it to my most reviled archfoe.  Yet somehow, it's slightly more watchable than Terror on Tour.


Geek Out #121

An atmospheric clip from 1968's Even the Wind is Afraid, a Mexican film that I doubt I'll be able to find.  On a sidenote, these ladies really need to brush up on their sleepwalking etiquette.


Top 5 Horror Films of 2015

Needless to say, this is less of a true best-of list and more of a "favorites" recap.  Don't get me wrong; for all intents and purposes, this is my list of the top terror treats from the preceding twelve months.  Some of the release dates are hairy, but I feel like I stayed within the accepted parameters of these types of inventories.  Remember when I said I had one more film to watch?  One more horror nugget to chock into my brainpan?  I'm glad I fit the sonuvabitch into my schedule because it ended up being #1!  Let's dig deeper...

1. He Never Died ~ Technically, this dandy hits DVD in February, but it has already kissed the festival circuit.  I'm betting that it will land on next year's terminal indexes.  Too bad!  I'm ahead of the fucking curve!  I really, really enjoyed all five selections, but Died was the only choice cut to blow my mind in 2015.  I'm not hyperbolizing or romanticizing my pick.  It's that good.  Without giving crucial plot details away, Henry Rollins plays Jack, a levelheaded loner implicated in seedy acts of malfeasance.  He doesn't want to hear from his ex-wife.  If pressured, he'll spend time with his grown daughter (who he has known for two months), but don't expect jovial conversation.  Oh, and he doesn't die.  Ever.

"Why doesn't he die, Dom?"  That's for you to find out, asshole!  All I wanted from this flick was Rollins being a badass and fucking shit up.  I got that and so much more.  The dialogue is expertly crafted, the concept itself is unique, the characters are fleshed out (even the ancillary players) and writer/director Jason Krawczyk broaches themes that force you to think.  Yep, it's a psychological piece.  Luckily, there is also a freezerload of brute violence.  Find a way to eat this film!

2. The Final Girls ~ If the "retro slasher" fad is ever going to perish (and it should), this is the vehicle to put a period at the end of that sentence.  It's basically perfect.  There is a common denominator shared by these five creepers, and it's character depth.  I cared about these folks, so guess what?  I was invested in their plight.  Whuda thunk it!?  I'm not saying it's easy to write this well, but so many filmmakers don't even try.  Screen authors (I'm tired of typing "writer") M.A. Fortin and Joshua Miller fucking nail it.  The narrative is surprisingly emotional, and it's that sentimental core that motors the rest of this woodsy Winnebago.  Another car reference...something is wrong with me.

The actors are genuinely funny.  And hot.  Malin Akerman sizzled so much, I thought our heat pump had conked out and overheated.  The (non-Malin) visuals are breathtaking.  Take the climax, for example.  It's moored to flashy, florid colors that command the scene.  NOTE: Girls was originally my #1 before I caught He Never Died.  I don't typically go for self-aware genre fare, so you know I'm giggity over this galbanum.

3. Clown ~ Here we have another "hairy release date" situation.  A near totality of global markets released this film in 2015, in spite of the fact that it hasn't seen the light of day in America yet.  It was produced by Eli Roth, so some sort of studio should be jumping to obtain distribution rights.  Or maybe his name is a hindrance.  I don't know.  Right this very second, I don't care.  I just want to tell you how rad Clown is, not that it will need selling once it gains exposure.  As far as killer clowns are concerned, this is the best reel-to-reel exploit since Killer Klowns From Outer Space.  Bold words?  I hear you, but IT was inconsistent, and you know it.  What's left, aside from dozens of straight-to-video cheapies?  Plenty are entertaining, but they do not approach Clown.

Don't let Eli Roth's association scare you; he had zero creative input.  Again, it comes down to style, ingenuity and character development.  Clown is smart.  If you find greasepainted goons creepy at all, then holy shit.  The central antagonist's final form is goddamn monstrous, and I relished the journey that Doomed Dad (that's my name for him) takes.  In other words, I was never bored with the exposition.  Formidable flick.  Keep it on your radar.

4. Stung ~ Yes!  Nowadays, it's enlivening to see a "giant insect" entry that isn't crawling with CGI and doesn't have the Syfy logo branded onto its ass.  There are digital effects, but they aren't pervasive.  Besides, the mutant wasps on display are equal opportunity offenders, meaning they also manifest via practical means.  Stung has a 90's vibe.  Mosquito did spring to mind, but this is the superior creature feature.  The cast is docked by Jessica Cook and Matt O'Leary.  They help make the movie (their chemistry is a bullseye), as does Lance Henriksen as a cogitating codger.  I've given Lance a tough time in recent years for appearing in literally anything and everything, but Stung prodded my better judgment.  The man is still a bad mutha.

I don't need a second block of text.  View Stung.  The end.

5. Deathgasm ~ Do you miss heavy metal b-movies as much as I do?  I'm hoping that this Kiwi splatter fest reignites the flame lit by Black Roses and Rocktober Blood.  This isn't exactly an 80's throwback, though.  Well, it is and it isn't.  One will notice strains of Demons and The Evil Dead, but the bands in our favorite nostalgic cheesers weren't this extreme.  Brodie forms a black metal collective with a neighborhood malcontent and together, they inadvertently beckon a gnarly demon slicker.  The Wal-Mart title is Heavy Metal Apocalypse.  Ugh.  To be fair, Deathgasm is essentially an apocalypse story, but it's a better sit than that title would suggest.  Frankly, it's a blast.  A fucking bloody blast.

Honorable mentions!

Bone Tomahawk - Came so goddamn close to breaking into the top five.  Hell, I could make an argument for its deployment into the top three.  But life is about tough decisions, Larry.  I'm not going to explain why it's worth renting/buying.  If you haven't seen it, you are going to see it.  Larry, listen to me.  You are going to see it.

Tales of Halloween - You know I'm an anthology nut, Agnes, and this one is above average.  An opulence of fun spooks, even if some vignettes are weaker than others.  Reasonably awesome sauce.

The Hallow - A novel premise buttressed with nifty beasties.  Bobby Joe, once you figure out where it's going (it won't take terribly long), you're simply waiting for it to get there.  That's the only real drawback.  Still rock solid.

We Are Still Here - Barbara Crampton throws down in this moist "haunted house" picture show.  If we're adjudicating purely on acting skills alone, she's the top scream queen of the past thirty years.  Don't you dare disagree with me, Alan.  Oh, and I dug the villains.  They're nasty fuckers.

Headless - Skullfucking.  Incest.  Necrophilia.  Bowling alley.  It occupies the same subgenre as The Final Girls, but the two slashers could not be any further apart in terms of tone and budget.  It made me happy, Gus!


Just one more movie!

I'm about to watch a 2015 horror film, and then I can feel okay with compiling a list.  See, this is why I don't like year-end lists!  I feel like I need to watch EVERYTHING.  I do, don't I?  I don't know the rules!  Are there rules?  Fuck!  I know one thing; my best-of list will grope and destroy all of the others, and not necessarily in that order.  Hang tight, kids!