Album Cover of the Week

Ooh, a black-and-white cover!  Have I ever featured one of those?  This one belongs to Erebos, a Polish black metal band.  Their stuff is quite atmospheric.  It's 100% instrumental.  Faded into the Shadows is their latest release, and I fancy it, though I admit it can be hard to listen to straight through.  I don't think I was built to digest instrumental music, but I can still promote it.  Hail Satan!


Blood Capsule #81


2013's Curse of Chucky was welcomed with open doll parts (hey now), as it brought a morose tone back to the series.  From a cursory skim of IMDb, I glean that Cult of Chucky - the fresh, piping hot installment - is also popular amongst fans.  Maybe a little less, but still, a sprightly consensus.  The film relishes in keeping the viewer guessing.  Can you guess if I dug Cult?  I did, actually.  I like the fact that the plot picks up right where Curse left off.  Nica (the still-sexy, still-infirm Fiona Dourif) has been adjudicated and sentenced to a stay at a mental institution by way of her "insanity" plea.  After a few years, she has convinced doctors and orderlies that she has come to grips with reality, accepting the verity of her involvement with the murder of her entire family.

That was very nearly a run-on sentence.  If you see it happening again, stop me.  Before it's too late!  Anyhow, an unabridged synopsis would be a monotonous read.  All you need to know is that stuff happens at the loony bin.  Chucky stuff.  And man, Mr. Lee Ray has a ball this time around.  The kills are wicked.  I mean, Cult may not be as gruesome as American Guinea Pig, but as far as mainstream slashers are concerned, the barbarity peeled back is goddamn explicit.  How can you not love the "glass ceiling" bit, a lurid homage to Bride of Chucky?  Speaking of bitch--WHICH...speaking of which, the bride is accounted for.  Jennifer Tilly, man.  Jennifer fuckin' Tilly.

Performances are strong across the advisory board.  I wouldn't mind being a Dourif when I grow up.  Fiona is fine-tuned, Brad is just as sharp as ever and Nica's fellow convalescents are suited to their roles.  Objectively, I can't point to a specific thing as a defect or a failing, but for whatever reason, I prefer Curse of Chucky over Cult of Chucky.  Perhaps it's the ambiance.  Not all of the humor snaps into place, but as it stands, I'm cool with this factory-made movie.  The pace is swift and...aww, fuckity!  I want this to be a mini-review.  Keep it concise, cuckold!


Blood Capsule #80


The full title is American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore.  Yes, this is a western accrual of the legendary Japanese series of exploitative nightmares captured on film.  Others have been produced since, and the probability of you hunting them down is tied directly with your opinion of baseless violence.  It's fictional, sure, but this shit doesn't always feel fictional.  It would be more effective without the hokey dialogue ("I had to change my underwear.") and the substandard acting.  I did more laughing than I expected.  Maybe that's a good thing, as I came away with my sanity unscathed.

I don't mean to overstate American Guinea Pig's brutal nature, and yet, I really haven't.  The guts and gore of the subtitle are laid on thick, often within a sexual lexicon.  You're basically watching two girls being flayed, dismembered, disemboweled and worse for 70+ minutes, all while kept alive with drugs and tourniquets.  The practical effects are outstanding.  Seriously, there is no substitute for in-camera "movie magic."  American Guinea Pig has a narrow audience, but fans of the Japanese series should be pleased.  I'm not sure what drove me to view this dementia, but my curiosity is slaked.  Um, the gore is gory?  Yeah, that's my review.


Switchin' it up mid-stream, bitches!

It's fucking October.  Still!  Here in North Carolina, we wouldn't mind a few autumnal days.  Hey, summer...WHY WON'T YOU DIE?  I've been reviewing Frankenstein movies, but as with any restrictive theme, I'm feeling restless.  I want to talk about a vast assortment of horrors.  So I will!  Thing is, most (not all) of the reviews from here on out will be Blood Capsules.  They are easier to write, and I'll be able to get to more movies.  Don't worry; I plan on hitting a couple of Frankenflix.  I just wanted to hit other oddities along the way in time for Halloween.

Why Bigfoot?  I never need a reason.


Blood Capsule #79


"ALLLVIIIIIIN!  Come here, you little fistfuck!  I'm gonna chain you to the pole again!  That's right.  Where did I leave my handgun?  I'm gonna put it to your head, you piss rodent!  And I swear to God, if you don't suck my intestines out through my dick, I'm going to blow your fuckin' brains out!"  Sometimes, I wonder if I cross the line.  Naaah.  Apparently, this was the first Chipmunks movie since the 80's.  They met The Wolfman the following year, and if the general consensus is to be believed, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein is the inferior product.  Just my luck!  I swear to God, if you don't suck my--woah!  I'm worried.  About me.

There isn't much to say here, folks.  If you were a fan of the Chipmunks as a tiny human (as I was), you'll dig this flick-a-dee.  It's fun, and it seems to have been made by fans of the Universal monster mashes.  Why, it's even - I can't believe I'm admitting this - cute in spots.  Simon has his teddy bear, while Frankenstein('s creation) sleeps with a Frankie action figure.  Hey, that's adorable, and you know it!  Needless to type, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Hitler Youth isn't flawless.  Alvin is annoying (I never liked that son of a bitch) AND I'm tired of writing.  I wasn't cut out for this gig.


Forces of the North Carolinan Night

This isn't a "real" review or anything.  I just wanted to talk about the DVD I watched through exceptionally legal means.  Right.  Anyhow, I jammed out to Dimmu Borgir's Forces of the Northern Night, a live recording from five years ago.  Why did it take so goddamn long to release this thing?  Currently, Dimmu Borgir's momentum is set to zilch.  Their last full-length - 2010's iffy Abrahadabra - is a distant memory in metal's collective mind.  You'd think that if they were going to put something out, it would be new music.  Nope!

The die-hards will want to know if the content is worthwhile.  Well, the die-hards have seen Northern Night by now.  How did I rate it?  Thank you for asking.  The concrete performances are astounding.  Shagrath's vocals are tirelessly thunderous (I've read that he uses backing tracks, which is disappointing, but he himself sounds magnificent), the drums are mixed smoothly and the orchestra...fuck, the orchestra kicks unholy ass.  It must have been a nightmare to engineer this monstrosity of noise.

The setlist is boring.  Half of the tunes appear on Abrahadabra (I do enjoy "Dimmu Borgir" and "Born Treacherous") and the other half are expected.  Y'know, "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" and "Mourning Palace."  I will never gripe about hearing "Kings of the Carnival Creation," as I believe it to be one of the best black metal compositions of all time.  Fight me.  At the end of the day, Forces of the Northern Night is an alloyed rucksack.  You might even say that it's a mixed bag.  Again, fight me.  Actually, I hate myself for that joke.  I deserve a proper thrashing.


The Horror of Frankenstein

It has been a couple of days since I watched 1970's The Horror of Frankenstein.  I will normally review a film one day later, so as to retain shade and nuance.  Believe it or not, those extra 24 hours do make a difference.  I was going to can the notion altogether, but no!  I shall power through.  In any case, this...uh, movie - yes, I'm reviewing a movie; I knew that - centers around a gynecologist?  Why am I asking?  I'm quite familiar with...could you give me just a second?  A-ha!  I'm sorry you had to wait for three months, but I was looking for...my child!  Yes!  My child went missing!  Jesus, who am I kidding?  Everyone knows that Dom Jr. died in The Great Strip Club Fire of 1989.  That I started.

You think that's bad?  He wasn't even born yet!  Alright, enough eyewash and horsefeathers.  This flick is the undesigned dissident of Hammer's Frankenstein franchise in that it doesn't follow the Peter Cushing Frankie features.  Literally.  It's a stand-alone picture, and if you want to get technical, it's a remake of 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein.  Maybe not "to the T," but that was the idea.  Jimmy Sangster signed on to direct because he saw that the project was going to suck the testicles out of a sevenstar flying squid.  He and fellow scribe Jeremy Burnham injected personality into a rigid script.  The result?  Well, it has a dodgy reputation.

Now that I've seen Horror, I can't help but feel that hardcore fans are being too fussy and captious.  Like me!  While I understand that it doesn't have the same deportment as "The Cushing Six," it's still an entertaining ride.  The added levity works.  I dig this interpretation of the doctor as a nearly amoral maverick.  He isn't the cuddliest lead character in the world, but that didn't bother me.  The constant shots of Kate O'Mara and Veronica Carlson in revealing provisions didn't bother me either.  Imagine that.  Still, there is no outright nudity, but we get a glimpse of irriguous gore whenever a limb is severed.  Lotsa severed limbs.

Sangster, my favorite Hammer-friendly writer, always had a knack for smart pacing.  Horror is almost too quick, but that's better than the alternative.  Remember Alternative Nation?  Nevermind, I'm deviating.  On the downer side, it takes awhile to get to the monster.  I realize that's the complaint of an 8-year-old, but newsflash!  I'm an eight-year-old!  What's more, I wasn't crazy about the look of Sir Creature, as portrayed by David Prowse.  He's just a guy with a few scars.  He has muscles, I guess.  Hammer was coveting a younger demographic with The Horror of Frankenstein and I presume that they succeeded.

The question is, did they succeed with ME?  Yes.  I already said that.


Wonder Woman

NOTE: This review was written a few months ago for a separate publication.  I held onto it, but today is a good day to post it.  I got nothing else right now.  My "Frankenfiles" reviews will continue next week, probably Monday.  Keep in mind, this piece was written for a completely different audience.  That's why it has an introductory tone.  No rating, but I'd give Wonder Woman 4 Z'Dars.

I'm an unapologetic nerd.  I collected comic books as a wee mutineer, but I had picky, specific tastes.  Most superheroes bored me to napalm death.  I did make exceptions for Spider-Man and Batman, but all told, I sought out the weird stuff.  That predilection for the obscure was nurtured with age.  I became a 32-year-old horror buff who brushed off the MCU, and yes, even the DCU.  I don't know why I'm talking in past tense.  I AM 32.  What a stupid age.  EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm 33 now.  That's a stupid age.

Anyway, you're not reading this to learn about me, although it will help you to see where I'm coming from.  Just where am I coming from exactly?  I'm coming from the place of an outsider, a pop culture insurgent who doesn't give a hard fuck about the mainstream. Maybe you're the same way, or maybe you feel like you would have to see every other DCU flick to absorb the finer details of Wonder Woman. Let's be candid; watching those overblown adaptations is an imposing prospect.

I have good news!  You don't have to do that kind of "homework," so to speak.  I certainly didn't, and I enjoyed the hell out of Wonder Woman.  From the onset of early trailers, it seemed to be spun of gossamer (or at least a more delicate fabric than its DCU predecessors).  I had a sneaking suspicion that it was a different beast altogether.  While the film's color palette is analogous to that of most summer blockbusters, the machinations beneath the glossy veneer zero in on pacing and character development.

Gal Gadot is functioning at an expert level as the titular hero.  She effortlessly communicates Diana's naivete, which leads to effective "fish out of water" humor.  Mind you, that's coming from someone who detests "fish out of water" humor.  Wonder Woman is simply well-written.  Each player has a purpose and no one is built too thin for their role in the narrative.  Oh, and Gadot is goddamn gorgeous. She may actually be an Amazonian warrior.  Jesus Christ.

The action sequences are set to kill.  Badass fight choreography, cool (or kewl, if you prefer) weaponry and an excellent use of slow-motion...until the ending, that is.  The last 15 minutes are mired in ostentation and cornball dialogue.  "Feel the power of love!" Really???  Are we supposed to believe that a Greek god can be trounced by the power of fucking love?  It's a trivial infraction, but I was really hoping for a killer climax.

Luckily, the rest of Wonder Woman lives up to the hype.  I don't know when this article will be published, but if this slice of the DC Universe is still playing at a theater near you, go see it.  Now!


NXT Round-Up

So there will be matches "over the coming weeks" to determine the participants of a Fatal 4-Way at the next Takeover event for the vacant NXT Women's Championship.  Cool!  I'll be curious to see if any of the Mae Young Classic competitors will appear in these qualifying matches.  I somehow doubt it, but you never know.  And I'll reserve my pick for the winner.  Too soon.  I mean, I've made my pick, but it's too soon to reveal it.

LARS SULLIVAN VS. ONEY LORCAN ~ Oney has been put over as a deranged, tough-as-nails opponent, and he got a few clean shots in.  It didn't matter.  My God, did it not matter.  This was the equivalent of Lars being shot in the head and spitting out the bullet.  As I typed a few weeks ago, there is only one direction a monster heel can go, if you're following logic.  Up!  They have invested a great deal in making Lars seem indestructible, so they'll have to tread very carefully going forward.  Post-match, Mr. Lorcan was saved from further thrashing by none other than Danny Burch!  Could my wish be fulfilled?


LIV & LET LIV ~ Liv Morgan (the petite blonde hottie) squared off against Vanessa Borne.  To be clear, this is not one of the preliminary bouts to decide three of the four spots in the Fatal Four Way at Takeover: Houston.  The match itself was mediocre.  Liv still doesn't have much offense, while Borne is still green.  But they're both inexperienced.  My jury is out.

KASSIUS OHNO VS. FABIAN AICHNER ~ Ohno excels at letting the other guy "get his shit in."  And he does it without losing too much.  Aichner was an impressive lad from the Cruiserweight Classic, and he spent the bulk of this encounter on top.  Good stuff.

YOUR MAIN EVENT ~ Cole and Young tussled for 5-6 minutes, but it was nothing to write home about.  Mere storyline progression.  If you already know the basics of this feud, you can skip the match altogether.  Cole did announce the name of his squadron.  They are Undisputed.  I am Dom Coccaro.  I am tired.  Signing off!


Blood Capsule #78


This was a pleasant surprise.  It's one of the more unique adaptations of the Mary Shelley novel, as it tells the story from the assistant's perspective.  Here, the assistant is given the cognomen of Igor, a name that didn't exist in the source material or 1931's Frankenstein.  Screenwriter and social media plutocrat/catchpole (those words bear no relevance; I merely wanted to use them) Max Landis draws from a motley well of Universal horror influences, including even the farcical, yet brilliant Young Frankenstein.  But Victor Frankenstein is no comedy.  In fact, there isn't much levity to be found.  The PG-13 rating does hamper the bloodletting, I'm afraid. Those two thoughts aren't connected.  Can I borrow Victor's cables?

I haven't really arrived at my point, which is...I'm a happy customer. Victor covers its bases.  The atmosphere is appropriately goth-stained, the storytelling is concise and the acting is nonpareil.  It seems like I just finished praising James McAvoy for his robust performance in Split.  He plays Dr. Frankenstein on the rails of volatility, beautifully bouncing off of Daniel Radcliffe's prim demeanor. Everyone is in tip-top shape.  I dug the use of practical effects for the laboratory's fleshy experiments.  Lest I forget - Prometheus!  No, not the Alien prequel.  The monster looks ferocious and fantastic.  Of course, we only snoop at him during the film's closing 20-minute stretch.  And that's all we need.

Remember, this one is about the people.  Highly enjoyable.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Fuck yes!!!  In the 80's, Jag Panzer played clits-to-the-wall METAL. No filler, no bullshit, no synthesizers, no frippery, no fandangle METAL.  They still play metal, and from what I understand, most of it is quite acceptable, kind sir (I've only heard the sporadic song here and there).  But dude, their 80's output is unfuckwithable.  Strangely, their 80's output only consists of one EP and one LP.  The EP is Tyrants, your album cover of the whatever.  A big-boobed babe with a chainsaw, a full (and apricot-colored) moon, bats, a city reduced to rubble...that's METAL.

The LP is Ample Destruction, and I'm listening to it right now.  If you dig straightforward heavy/power metal from the 80's (1984, to be exact), look into this shit yesterday.  It's the most!


NXT Round-Up

Best we start at the beginning.  And yes, this is late.  Thank you for noticing.  I apologize.

GARGANO VS. SABBATELLI ~ Not much to say about this match. I did like the "subplot" of Johnny Wrestling rediscovering his...mojo? To be specific, he won the match with his submission (I think it's called the Gargano Escape).  Actual character development.  Huh.

BIANCA BELAIR VS. LACEY EVANS ~ Two of the younger stand-outs from the Mae Young Classic went toe to toe in an impressive bout.  They are both living proof that the WWE Performance Center is turning out consistent talent, and damn, these ladies can go.  I'm really digging Belair's unique finisher, a reverse powerbomb.  As for Lacey, she is future Championship material.  No doubt about it.

BLACK GETS DREAMY ~ So this was supposed to be the first time we heard Aleister address the NXT Universe.  Okay, but in my estimation, he didn't disclose anything of compelling value.  I was expecting more and then The Velveteen Dream came out to make me question my own sexuality.  This feud should be interesting.  I want to be excited, but I haven't seen Dreamy wrestle a longer match.  Can he keep up with Black?  Overall, this was a cool segment that educed female screams from the crowd, but I admit, I have reservations.

LARS SMASH ~ No Way Jose gets in a little offense, but it's no use. I kept thinking to myself how Lars literally looks like a lost Universal monster.  If that dude roams the countryside, I'm fucking moving.

MOUSTACHE MOUNTAIN VS. REDRAGON ~ First of all, give Fish and O'Reilly a name.  I somehow doubt that it will be ReDragon (it makes no sense in this context), but they need a damn name. Maybe NXT Creative has plans in store.  At any rate, great match. Duh. Sanity surprising the Ring of Honor chaps (see above) was a nice move.  It keeps the tag titles at the fore of business.  Also, Drew McIntyre versus Adam Cole will be a thing.  Sign me up!


The Brain

There was an "in memory" card at the beginning of Raw last night. In my opinion, there should have been more emphasis on paying respect to the late, great Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.  Clips interspersed with words from talent on the main roster, clips of Bobby doing his thing.  Hell, you could have even aired footage of The Weasel wrestling.  Because he could, y'know (before he realized that he had to wrestle like a manager).  He could do anything.  Ever wondered why Paul Heyman calls himself an advocate?  Because in his mind, Heenan already perfected the role of the manager.

This is where I'll sound incredibly fucking old, but KIDS TODAY have been robbed of the manager.  They don't understand why a wrestler would need a manager.  Sadder still, they don't know how entertaining a manager can be.  Could you imagine if Jim Cornette was cutting promos on a weekly basis?  On live television??? Cornette is great.  Heyman might be better.  But neither gasbag mouthpiece (I say that lovingly, of course) can match up to Heenan, and they would be the first ones to tell you so.

My first memory of professional wrestling was none other than the main event of Wrestlemania III.  I was rapt.  Now, I couldn't comprehend the gravity of that PPV at the time, but it's considered to be legendary for several reasons.  Millions watched.  The main event was a draw.  But who - aside from Vince - was the most responsible for WM3's grand success?  Hogan and Andre played their parts, but the answer is Bobby motherfucking Heenan.  In the months leading up to the event, he was the chief storyteller.  It certainly wasn't Hillbilly Jim!

Well, Gorilla and The Brain are finally together again.  We all knew that Heenan was ill, but for whatever reason, his passing hit me pretty hard.  I'll always be a Bobby Heenan guy.


Frankenstein ('31)

I realized the other day that I had yet to review 1931's Frankenstein. How can that be when I reviewed 1935's The Bride of Frankenstein at 18 years of age?  What's the fucking hold-up?  In truth, I don't get to bespeak every film I prize.  Life is stupid that way. By the by, be forgiving when perusing my Bride blurb.  Admittedly, it holds up well, but it still makes me quiver.  I shouldn't be talking about myself, though.  I have a cross-stitch of cadavers lying on my operating table, and it's motioning for my typing wand (yikes).

I don't see the point in contriving a ziggurat (word of the day; look it up, bitch) of words detailing the things that you already know.  To that end, all I can do is tell you why I love it dearly and why it's one of my favorite films of all time.  I don't remember when I saw it first, but that's a testament to Frankenstein's iconography.  At autumn's point of departure, you begin to see versions of Karloff's sunken visage everywhere.  Growing up, I saw "Frankies" in cartoons, storefronts, newspaper ads...not because this was the first adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel (it wasn't), but because it was definitive.  The tongue-in-cheek prelude warns us that the picture might shock us, but it's almost as if James Whale himself is crowing that this is what you'll think of when you hear the word "Frankenstein."

And hey, it's not bragging if it's true.  Over three quarters of a century later, it's still true.  The opening scene is an entrenched mood-setter. The good doctor quietly waits for a funeral to finish up while huddled behind a cenotaph (it may not have been a cenotaph; I don't know where the body was buried, baby).  He is shadowed by Fritz, his unstable assistant who indirectly inspired Igor (or Ygor) in dozens upon dozens of Gothic horror fables to follow.  Dwight Frye is Frankenstein's secret weapon as Fritz.  I dig his corybantic, wide-eyed performance, as it counters Colin Clive's comparatively mellow turn as Henry.

In my correct opinion, Fritz is the true villain here.  It's his fault that Henry is consigned to using an abnormal brain, it's his fault that the monster lashes out and it's his fault that my left nut is implausibly itchy.  The experiment - even with the abnormal brain - could have worked.  That's a fascinating item.  Our perceived antagonists (Dr. Frankenstein and his creation) are not antagonists at all.  Take the most hideous act in the film, for instance.  The monster tosses a little girl into a lake, drowning her.  Before that, they were tossing flower petals into the water and smiling as they floated.  He thought she would float, too.  You'll float, too.  YOU'LL FLOAT, TOO!

Oops!  I backtracked right into my review of It.  Anyway, once he realizes his grave mistake, he's visibly mortified and penitent.  To the villagers, he's just a child murderer.  The scene in which the little girl's father walks onto a revelry-soaked street carrying the limp remains of his daughter is profoundly sobering.  The look on his face. My God.  Whale had several tricks up his sleeve to ensure that Frankenstein would go down as timeless.  The tight editing, the roving camera, the expressionistic interiors of the watchtower...this is a cool flick.  I do prefer it to The Bride of Frankenstein.  In fact, I prefer it to Dracula, a classic in its own right.  Eh, I'm done here.


Geek Out #133

This is just fucking awesome.  No paragraph necessary.


Badass Birdies

Before I potentially piss people off, let me make it very clear that all in all, the Mae Young Classic was a resounding success.  It did what it set out to do, and I can't wait to see some of these badass birdies compete in NXT and/or WWE.  If Mae herself was still grabbing holds above ground, she would definitely be proud to be associated with this tournament.  Hell, she would want to be IN the tournament, senescence be damned.

I do have a problem with it, though.  It's both major and minor.  None of the matches in the tournament reached the 15-minute mark.  I think the longest bouts were...12 minutes?  If that?  Now, that doesn't speak to the quality of the matches.  There were some absolute barn burners such as Mia Yim/Sarah Logan, Kairi Sane/Tessa Blanchard, Toni Storm/Piper Niven and several others I'm forgetting.  Even the green, inexperienced girls fared well (watch out for Rhea Ripley). This is minor because, like I just said, the matches still germinated into something quite beautiful.

However, it's a major issue because of what it represents.  This whole shebang was about gender equality, was it not?  Anything they can do, we can do better?  Think back to the Cruiserweight Classic. The best matches were at least 15 minutes long.  Those guys were given time to play, time to feel each other out, time to arrive at a fever pitch and maybe toss in a few false finishes.  Folks, the finals of the Mae Young Classic failed to eclipse 12 minutes (11:54, to be precise).  In my opinion, it was Kairi Sane's worst showing in the bracket.  Am I the only fucker who noticed that she didn't bother selling her arm?  She was outperformed by Shayna Baszler.

Yeah, Baszler.  The brute bitch surprised the hell out of me, and I expect her to do incredibly well in NXT.  A lot of the MYC ladies will thrive in developmental, which is why I called the tournament a resounding success.  But shit.  If just one or two matches ran for 15 minutes (or 20-30 in the semis), it would have made a huge difference.  I leave you with Mia Yim being a smokeshow.

PS-NXT is a full hour now.  The round-up will return next week.


It (2017)

Our relationship - mine and yours - is important to me.  I value your thoughts.  I mean, they aren't nearly as precious as my thoughts (natch), but you serve a role.  No, I'm dicking around, but for this review to work, you need to know my thoughts on 1990's It.  As a wee lad, I loved it.  Strangely, Pennywise didn't scare me, but Tim Curry's priceless performance intrigued the shit out of me.  Curry (the actor, not the Indian dish) nailed every single project he attached himself to, especially It.  It always dumbfounded me how he was able to switch from whimsical to fearsome on a dime.  He disappeared behind the maquillage.

As a somewhat larger, slightly more mature lad, I regard It as a fun, yet deeply flawed skiff of nostalgia.  The second half really falls apart, doesn't it?  You can say what you want about what should or shouldn't have been excised from the novel, but that wouldn't begin to fix the overly maudlin script, much less the exaggerated acting.  If I'm ever in the mood to watch the It miniseries, I usually stick to the first half.  2017's It?  It's almost long enough to be aired as a miniseries.  Perhaps a touch too long, but the final verdict is positive. I'm mostly happy with it (y'know, It).

Good Lord, where do I start?  Let's go straight to the cast, docked by a troupe of child actors perceptive beyond their years.  Finn Wolfhard (coolest name ever) steals every non-Pennywise scene and gets the opportunity to play someone completely different from Mike Wheeler, his character from the excellent Stranger Things.  To be specific, he plays Richie, the insouciant wisecracker plagued with coulrophobia (a fear of - you guessed it - clowns).  His dialogue is sharp, but he isn't the main character.  That would be Bill, as rendered by Jaeden Lieberher.  The kid is immediately sympathetic, and you want him to win.  Everything.  That includes Beverly!

Sophia Lillis is adorable and nuanced as the female Loser.  There is one weighty drawback, though.  Did we really need to see the notorious orgy from the book?  And in such graphic fashion?  The film's momentum is ditched for FIFTEEN MINUTES while the viewer is forced to watch coral-flush baby fat flop and flap against itself.  To make matters unbecoming, Pennywise watches in the shadows and pulls his pasty pud.  They actually show his...er, its clownhood! Greasepaint prick!  He's a hung harlequin!  Okay, I'll stop now.

Now, that Pennywise.  It's hard not to compare Skarsgard to Curry, so I will.  One performance isn't "better" than the other.  They stand next to each other.  Skarsgard himself idolizes Curry's iteration of the interplanetary gagster (ew) and knew that he couldn't mimic any of Tim's affectations.  Curry's dancing clown was a pinch jocose; Skarsgard's dancing clown has jocose in his marrow (yes, I used an adjective as a noun), but he is a pinch more...sinister? What's the word?  I know.  He's fucking malignant.  Even now, a couple days removed from the screening, I still see his goddamn face.

Some of that is the performance, but some of it is the film's audio terrorism.  Egads.  I'm sorry, but there are too many jump scares, and I saw Carmike's "Big D Experience."  It's similar to IMAX where, like, the movie is in your head.  It doesn't need to resort to cheap tactics to rattle audiences.  A minor animadversion, but it was annoying.  My only other stricture has to do with the swollen running time.  The second trip to Pennywise's hideout felt unnecessary.  Still, I rate 2017's It as vastly superior to 1990's It, which I do fancy.  Both sets of kids are genial and engaging enough.  I'll tell you this much, junior; the book sucks.  I didn't read it.

I read half of it, but that's not the point.  I dig how the script focuses on the bond between the Losers.  It's paced beautifully, as it takes its time bringing these fledglings together.  A few of the kids are neglected, but look, this could have been a trilogy of trilogies.  You can't shoot all 5,903 pages of Stephen King's novel.  Personally, I thought that Andy Muschietti did a bang-up job.  With the exception of the orgy scene.  Line.  Crossed.  Amirite or amirite?


Blood Capsule #77


Also known as Plankton, this Italian puddle crossing should have been a humdinger.  It features fish mutants (always a safe bet), stop-motion animation and ridiculous gore.  Lamentably, Creatures is less of a grandiose wassail at Red Lobster and more of a last-minute morsel at Frankie's Fishin' Net.  I will admit to the jury that the production quality is spiffy for such a bottom-feeding budget, but that doesn't mitigate the...wait, I'm the jury.  And the judge.  And the executioner!  I wouldn't hesitate to drop the guillotine on this blockheaded barge.  For one thing, the dubbing hurts.  The main character, Mike, has an insufferable, high-pitched voice that stabbed my dickhole.

The dialogue?  Piss.  I'm of the belief that the crew saw the looping process as an opportunity to putz around.  "Professor, how long have you been fucking fish?"  That's an actual line, and no, it's not meant to be humorous.  Of course, I would have snatched extra enjoyment out of Creatures From the Abyss if I had been accompanied by like-minded compatriots and/or well-wishers, but that wasn't the case.  I genuinely dug the kooky monsters and primo kills (at one point, a girl gives birth to caviar).  It's just that those moments are few and very far between.  Would I recommend this clam?  Only if you're hosting a bash where the goal is to get blackout drunk.


NXT Round-Up

ZELINA VEGA SCARES ME ~ The show opened with Andrade "Cien" Almas taking on Cezar Bononi.  Fine match, but damn, something about Vega intimidates my balls.  When she shrieked at her client to finish Bononi, my gizzards winced.  Y'know, my chitterlings.  My sweetbread!  I'm not saying that I wouldn't let her ravage me; I'm just...I'm just going to move on, alright?

LARS BREAKS THREE LOSERS ~ This guy has enjoyed NXT's most destructive launch since Baron Corbin's debut.  The only problem I have with monster heels is that if they don't win the title within 4-6 months, how monstrous are they?  Beyond their initial efflux, they either soar to the top or they linger like Bray Wyatt. Here's hoping they handle Lars Sullivan with care because I fucking dig him.  And I'm super important.

ZEDA VS. SONYA DEVILLE ~ Mae Young Classic competitor Zeda is still green-ish, but she shows promise.  Sonya always looks legit.  I wouldn't mind seeing her go toe to toe with Shayna Bazszszszler.

HIDEOHNO DQ ~ Get it?  It was a No Disqualifications match between Hideo Itami and Kassius Ohno.  Hideohnodq...huh?  Joke? Yes?  Uncomfortable?  Anyway, this was a superb, hard-hitting bout. I'm curious as to the future of this feud, assuming there is one.  You could justify one or two more gimmick matches, but Itami needs a win soon.

ASUKA ~ So the Women's Championship is vacated.  The crowd gave her one hell of an ovation, as did a whopping dollop of the locker room.  I predict a scorching run on Raw.  We won't see her for awhile, but when she rises again, she will automatically be the top babyface on her brand, male or female.  No one is ready for Asuka!!!


Album Cover of the Whatever

Sourvein is a sludgy, sludgy sludge band that a friend turned me onto...thanks, Tom!  I've only spun two of their records (er, digitally), but I'm loving Black Fangs.  Aquatic Occult is a quality release, but it doesn't bring the fucking sludge quite as much.  Of course, that doesn't matter if we're talking about album art, which we are.  As it relates to handicraft and acrylic polymer emulsion (?!?), Aquatic Occult is the clear victor.  Judge for yourself HERE.  I think you'll agree, though my well-documented love for anything turquoise or seafoam green is swaying my decision.

Dear Satan no.  Is that--it is!  In the top-left corner, you'll spot a hurricane.  How did Irma waft her way onto an album cover?  That bitch!  NOTE: I don't mean to make light of a violent storm that is sure to kill everyone in Florida.  Damn, even that was a tasteless joke.  I never should have mentioned the hurricane.  Ignore me and stay safe, friends.



What happens when you can't find the movie you were planning on watching?  You watch the movie you missed in theaters last year.  I was supremely interested in Split for two reasons.  1) It's an M. Night joint.  Yeah, he lost his footing for a stint, but my ears perk up whenever he trifles with the horror genre.  He has an intrinsic aptness for suspense.  Don't argue with me.  2) The film stars my beloved Anya Taylor-Joy!  Joy bewitched me in 2015's The Witch, and I already regret my choice to use "bewitched" as a blotchy non-quip.  Oy.  In times like these, I want to shove myself into a locker and poach my lunch money.

Where do you think you're going, Coccaro?  Huh, f*g?  Wow, sorry. I'm still in bully mode.  I'm a method actor, I suppose.  On the subject of acting, James McAvoy blew me away as the caitiff with a dissociative identity (disorder).  That he portrays multiple characters is impressive enough; he shows true commitment to each personality and slides into their skin, so to speak.  But Split is a little too spooky for Oscar consideration.  I mean, it's not, but WHATEVER.  Fucking charlatans.  I haven't said it clearly and audibly yet, but I adored this tense gust of dander.  We don't usually get dander storms in a serotinal season.

Joy is wonderful as Casey, one of three teenaged girls kidnapped and held captive by a man with twenty-three (or 23) personalities, all jockeying for position in the "light."  The "light" is center stage.  The girls are warned by McAvoy's horde of identities that a 24th personality remains hidden.  A beast.  And it's coming for them. Man, I thought for sure that I had the obligatory plot twist decrypted as soon as the first trailer dropped.  Alas, Split is not a werewolf flick. Wouldn't that make perfect sense?  Werewolves improve everything, even shredded bubble gum.  I'm glad that I was wrong, though. Likewise, I'm glad that I managed to eke out an existence for eighteen months without spoiling the ending for myself.

He was a dead alien the whole time!  Just kidding.  I won't write another word about the storyline, but suffice to say, I dig where it goes.  Going back to the cast, I have zero complaints.  Joy excels at playing complex characters, and Casey is realistic in a sobering, dispiriting way.  Betty Buckley is empathetic as Dr. Fletcher.  You don't want her to be harmed.  Jessica Sula and Haley Lu Richardson are more than adequate as the other two abducted birds, and while they don't receive the lion's share of the attention, they manage to maximize their minutes.

I'm actively trying to come up with a blemish to anatomize, but what if there are no blemishes?  Split isn't perfect.  Is it?  Shit, I take perfect ratings very seriously, so I'm fourth-guessing myself here.  Fuck it.  I loved this film just as much as I loved M. Night's early work.  It could be his finest endeavor.  Yup.



Between NXT and the Mae Young Classic, my head has been full of women's wrestling.  There are men on NXT, but Wednesday's episode opened with a hellacious bout between Ruby Riot and Peyton Royce.  It was so good that the crowd is starting to get behind Royce, an abiding heel.  But I don't want to harp on pro-wrestling.  My holiday is approaching!

I want to do something "special" for Halloween since I normally don't do anything for Halloween.  I'm kicking a few ideas around.  You will be kept in the loop.  As for the pressing times, my next review should be an interesting slog.  I can't believe I haven't reviewed it yet. Anyway, will you go trick-or-treating with me?


Atomic Chainsaw

Guess the kaiju!  Wrong!  Sorry, I'm assuming that you didn't guess Agon of Agon: Atomic Dragon fame.  I just discovered the squamate schoolboy myself among the mysterious tides of YouTube. What a strange, fantastic place.  Anyway, Agon is the most blatant Godzilla ripoff that I've ever encountered.  Begat by nuclear testing? Check.  Given to fire-breathing?  Check.  Demolishes Japanese cities and walks them dry?  Check.  Incapacitated by cocaine?  Che--hold up, son.  The lead character in Agon, a professional goofball, suggests a plan to feed a suitcase full of illicit drugs to the monster. I'll be a monkey's cum slave, it works!  Mostly.  Not really.

If Agon feels like a serial at times, that's because it was shot as a four-part television miniseries scheduled to air in 1964.  Toho blocked it from being released until 1968 for...well, obvious reasons.  It's not bad.  I've certainly imbibed worse "giant monster" movies.  This is going to be inappropriately abrupt, but I have to say something about Tobe Hooper.  The idea was to discuss Agon: Atomic Dragon and the sudden loss of an accomplished filmmaker, but I have no clue how to do both.

I've mentioned before that the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my favorite flick-a-dee of all time.  I don't care what kind of missteps you take as an auteur (ahem, I'm Dangerous Tonight); if you direct a film as impactful as Chainsaw, I have no beef with you.  You afforded yourself the right to do whatever you want.  We've lost Marilyn Burns and Gunnar Hansen in recent years.  I can only hope that they have already reconvened with Tobe and are shooting an exploitation classic for afterlife audiences.

Please rest in peace, Mr. Hooper.  Here is an inappropriate picture.


Blood Capsule #76


I held off on viewing this London-lensed vampire romp for years.  It didn't seem like my goblet of blood.  In my head, I had it pegged as frigid, formal "designer horror," and I don't think that's even a real thing.  Where on Neptune do I get my ideas?  The Hunger is great! Damn it, I should have watched it sooner.  The late Tony Scott directs with erudite style, an acute savoir-faire that also permeates the script.  This is a thinking man's picture.  Every aspect from the editing to the lighting is willfully premeditated.  Even the performances are deliberate, and the cast is docked by one hell of a ternion of thespians.  "Ternion of Thespians."  That's a book title right there. You're welcome.

David (motherfucking) Bowie and Catherine Deneuve play fanged lovers.  Their love was supposed to be immortal, but it isn't.  When John (Bowie) withers away, Miriam (Catherine) decides that she wants to scissor Susan Sarandon.  Who doesn't?  This presents conflict, but I don't want to dwell on the plot.  The Hunger is a cult classic, yes, but maybe you haven't seen it.  Maybe you're like me, you poor schmuck.  I recommend it with all four chambers of my heart, especially the first and second half.  Heh, I made a funny.  The tragic climax is a direct hit - a clean sweep, if you please - and the ghouls...oh, the ghouls!  Sweet effects.  Fantastic; now I'm hungry.


NXT Round-Up

NXT's taping schedule can be maddening.  Coming off the hottest Takeover event yet, last night's show featured matches taped ahead of said event.  There was a camel train of clips from Saturday's centerpiece, but we won't see the real follow-up until next week. Could you imagine if Wrestlemania was treated the same way?  You must iron the frilly nightclothes while they're hot, and no, you don't get to correct me.  That's almost certainly the right precept (something about iron, right?), just as Sarah Logan is almost certainly my girlfriend.

LARS DESTROYS ALL ~ Lars Sullivan is a mammoth motherfucker. He dismantles No Way Jose before the bell rings and the decision is thrown out.  So creative still doesn't know what to do with Jose, unless he has found a rather unfortunate role.  Meanwhile, Lars seems sculpted for success.

PEYTON ROYCE VS. SARAH LOGAN ~ Logan was plucked from the Mae Young Classic, though she has appeared on NXT in the past as an "enhancement talent."  I am a fan.  I don't know the end game for Royce (likewise for her partner, Billie Kay), but she's clearly talented.  This was a solid match wherein Royce reigned victorious with a Perfect Plex.  Odd choice for a finisher.  I question everything, don't I?

THE UK DIVISION ~ Our main event was a tag team match that saw Wolfgang and UK Champion Pete Dunne (holy shit, this kid's pop) battle Trent Seven and former champ Tyler Bate, collectively known as Moustache Mountain.  First off, the latter team already has matching tights and a history as a duo, so why not add them to the tag division?  NXT does need fresh teams, after all.  I'm picturing Moustache Mountain wrestling ReDragon and I'm ejaculating.  You're welcome for the visual.

Obviously, these four cats can work.  They truly maximized their minutes.  Dunne is the star of the bunch, but they all have distinct characteristics.  And...that's all I have to say on the matter.  The two legit matches are worth watching, but again, the taping schedule needs revision.  If there is any promotion that doesn't require filler, it's fucking NXT.  I can't wait to see what Adam Cole does next week, BAY BAY!



NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III, Summerslam, Raw, Smackdown Live and tomorrow, NXT.  That's a lot of wrestles!  I think I've made it clear that I find NXT to be astonishingly more consistent than WWE. They're almost different companies.  Brooklyn III was the best Takeover event yet, in my humble opinion.  Summerslam was Summerslam.  Bloated, lustrous, bogged down with cold matches...in other words, half of the card was meaningless.  Sitting here right now, I can't even remember who John Cena beat.  Oh, Corbin.  Why did they wrestle again?  Why did Orton essentially squash Rusev? I'm being honest when I say that I can't fucking remember half of Summerslam.  SUMMERSLAM!  Isn't it supposed to be, like, memorable?

And yet, it wasn't outright substandard.  Smackdown is finishing up as I type, and it seems as though they have filled the Cena void.  I won't spoil anything here, but I'm optimistic going forward.  Apologies to those who don't follow wrestling; the next post will be an NXT Round-Up, which has (inadvertently) become a bi-weekly column. Argh, what do you care?


Album Cover of the Whatever

Let me get something out of the way.  The Haxans suck.  It's a side project of some douchetwizzler (he could be a swell fellow; I'm trying to be judgmental, so back off) and Ash Costello from New Years Day (sic).  In my opinion, they sound messy and unfocused.  Imagine a hazy Rob Zombie, and no, I'm not a fan of Zombie's solo work.  I don't like anything!

Having secreted all of that negativity, The Haxans clearly have their hearts in the right place.  I mean, look at that cover!  It is Halloween crystallized.  My favorite mask might be the mummy (second row, fourth column, turquoise square), only because you don't see many mummy masks, unless they're makeshift toilet paper creations. What's your favorite?  Hmm?


Killer Campout

A disclaimer is in order.  One of the blokes who wrote 2016's Killer Campout is Matt Hill, a good buddy of mine.  I've been in these situations before as a "critic," but as I've said in the past, I remain unbiased.  I am equitable to a fault and I would harbor zero compunction about ripping this flick a new puckered starfish.  Even if you doubt my journalistic integrity, you don't know the nature of my relationship with Mr. Hill.  I could hate the motherfucker.  Sure, I said we were buddies, but you are not privy to my TRUE feelings.  Oh, if he only knew how much I wanted to scalp him and gnaw on his ribcage.  Eat him!  Yeah, I want to eat his intestines!  Nah.  Just joshing.  But that's the kind of stuff that goads his villain's gonads. This is one sick slasher.

Sick slashers are cool.  I'd usually save my recommendation for the end of a review, but I'm sticking it here.  Rent Killer Campout if you're in the mood for mindless debauchery, but don't watch the trailer.  It gives away the most rewarding death sequences.  The budget was obviously paltry, but the effects technicians turned out top-drawer gore.  Seriously, the kills are emphatic.  My favorite bit of top-drawer gore (I need to trademark that shit) sees a hapless dude being chopped in half.  "Chopped in Half" is a sweet Obituary jam. We should discuss Obituary sometime, you and me.  I digress!  So I have established that the blood flows like spirits, but what of nudity?

Fuck, there is nudity all over the place!  Honorable mentions go to Nadia White and Lindsey Day.  White has slammin' (also suitable: bitchin') knockers (also suitable: bazooms), while Day is a goddess across the board.  I blushed when she was on-screen.  In any event, Killer Campout knows what is important.  It knows what schlocksuckers look for in a slasher.  Moreover, the pacing is vivacious.  This is a quick...er, quickie.  Not all is savory on these cruor-sodden campgrounds.  To be honest, the film's biggest flaw is the looping.  I don't think I've ever said that about a genre dish that wasn't foreign.  The dubbing is absolutely atrocious, which threw me for a major loop (pun intended).

Of course, 60% of the acting is dreadful, and that's being somewhat generous.  My future ex-girlfriend - y'know, Lindsey Day - actually gives one of the more believable performances, as does Julio Bana Fernandez and Luba Hansen.  The rest of the cast gets a failing grade.  Also, the mechanics of the plot don't strike me as wholly fresh.  It's an incredibly simple tale of "teenagers" dying amongst timber at the hands of a maniacal backwoods nutter.  Through a singular coincidence, I've viewed a high number of movies in the span of a month that bear the same basic storyline.  That's not Killer Campout's fault.  It's definitely my fault.  I am shamed.

Still, I endorse this infectious insanity.  It delivers on its promises, and I appreciate that.  I've seen too many damn slashers that can't seem to leave the gates on the right foot.  Killer Campout puts its best foot forward and proceeds to sever it.  That's a compliment.