7/22/17

Moonflower


Obviously, my NXT Round-Up was on vacation this past week.  It will return Thursday, but I wanted to pop in to say that the match between Ember Moon and Ruby Riot was a house toppler.  Is that even a term?  I don't think so.  My point is that the match was fucking AWESOME!  It was so gratifying, that the main event played to a quiet, spent crowd.  Both ladies deserve credit, but dude, I'm turning into an unapologetic mark for Ember Moon.  Outside of the Mae Young Classic (and aside from Asuka), she might be the best female wrestler in the company.  If you didn't catch NXT on Wednesday night, go back and check it out!

7/21/17

Centipede Horror


First thing's first.  The above image is the poster for 1982's Human Lanterns.  I'm not reviewing Human Lanterns.  That may not seem very professional, and it's not, but hear me out!  The only one-sheets (and even DVD covers) for 1982's Centipede Horror that I could locate were either watermarked or faded to shit.  Both films are weirdo tales of the supernatural from Asia.  In addition, they were both disseminated to the public in the same year, so...yeah, I'm not a professional.  I never claimed to be a citizen above suspicion, though.  If you scroll down a bit, you'll see that I did include a screengrab, the likeness of which will turn your intestines sideways.

C'mon, what did you expect?  It's called Centipede Horror, and yes, that poor actress hawked up live centipedes.  She works hard for the money.  Anyway, said actress is Tien-Lang Li (a.k.a. a million pseudonyms, more than David DeCoteau), and I can't knock her commitment.  Honestly, it's hard to gauge the performances.  The version I watched was subtitled and dubbed. Translation-wise, the dialogue is stilted, so when you consider all of those factors, the human element of Centipede Horror feels distant. Certain scenes are rendered unintentionally hilarious.  "I am the king of the centipedes!"  That line is uttered out of goddamn nowhere, man.

Fans familiar with this title know that it's a Category III exploit, a hard-edged extremity tailor-made for a select few in our niche.  I've dabbled.  I'm a masochist in that I like to pulverize my senses at wolfish intervals (???).  Centipede Horror isn't exactly bloody, but as you can imagine, it's a grody fucker.  An iniquitous sorcerer curses a man's lineage after a consumptive village fire.  He calls it the "centipede spell."  Lawdy, they have a spell for everything nowadays, don't they?  It causes the victim to become deliriously ill, and at the moment of death, they retch.  Centipedes (there is also an instance with scorpions) are hurled from the mouth.  It's fucking gross.

As off-putting as the film can be, I have to wonder if it was censored. I've eyeballed disparate running times stretching from 80 minutes to 102 hours.  I mean, minutes.  The cut we viewed (I was joined by a friend) lapsed at the 93-minute mark.  Who the hell knows?  Director Keith Li (no relation to Dee Snider) has a flair for the melodramatic. The evil wizard's lair is boss, what with its imposing spiderweb and its haunted backdrop drenched in geranium lighting.  Villain Guy - sorry, I can't find any character names - is a creepy badass.  For what it's worth, I wanted the protagonists to win out.  And yet, I'm unsure of how much I relished Centipede Horror.

I have a feeling that my pal dug it more than I did.  It wasn't quite as SHOCKING as I was expecting, although it was nauseating.  Still, I'd recommend it to exponents of Hong Kong madness such as Dr. Lamb, The Untold Story and Black Magic.  Robert Z'Dar says, "When we were scouting locations for Maniac Cop 2, Bill Lustig mentioned that he had always wanted to shoot in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, he had unresolved issues with triad members.  I did, too.  I fucked all of their women."




7/18/17

Sickens

I felt like shit yesterday, so I did less than nothing.  I still don't have much energy.  Maybe just enough to send my condolences to the loved ones of George Romero.  I met him over a decade ago.  He was one of the first horror celebrities I had ever encountered, so I was awestruck.  I wish I had said something approaching intellectual, but as I recall, I could only muster up a hello.  Now I must say goodbye.

Thanks for the movies, George.  Especially Creepshow.

R.I.P.

7/15/17

Blood Capsule #74

THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL (1960)

Stop talking, you guys.  I need to focus.  I'm tackling another Hammer heavyweight (well, it's akin to a middleweight, if I'm being honest), and my editor will have my anus flesh if I don't personally deliver this capsule to his escritoire by tomorrow morning.  The fact that I am my own editor is beside the point, and quite frankly, it's none of your business.  It's none of MY business.  So let's get down to business!  The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is one of three Hammer adaptations of the Robert Louis Stevenson novella.  I haven't seen the other two, but whether I visit them or not, there are entirely too many variations on the Jekyll/Hyde theme.  Wasn't it fundamentally perfected before World War II?

Paul Massie is tasked with carrying the dual role.  He gives a strong performance, but he doesn't hold a gas lantern to John Barrymore or even Fredric March.  The plot is detail-oriented.  The viewer hears a great deal of dialogue that, while admittedly well-written, is prioritized at the deprivation of atmosphere.  This is going to sound idiotic, but I wanted more fun stuff.  Faces barely feels like a horror film.  I couldn't tell that it was directed by Terence Fisher, a Hammer padlock who may have been spread thin around this time.  Maybe he wasn't.  I'm just trying to think of a reason why The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is visually barren.  It's not a total loss, however.  Christopher Lee is clearly enjoying himself as a randy dog.  Sans fangs.

7/13/17

NXT Round-Up


ALEISTER BLACK VS. BOBBY FISH ~ This is interesting.  Fish does the job in his debut, and without spoiling too much, Black beats another debuting superstar next week, one who...argh, I'm spoiling too much!  I'm not sure where this is going, which is nice.  The bout itself was fantastic.  Black is quietly smooth, and while I've only seen Fish's tag team exploits in ReDragon, it's clear that he has a future as a singles wrestler if he wants it.

MAE YOUNG QUALIFYING ~ The green-tinted Vanessa Borne (I'm not referring to her attire) takes on the brawny, bruising Jayme Hachey.  Borne isn't bad or distracting, but I'm curious as to why she went over.  And why the lone televised qualifying match?  Questions, questions, questions...

DAIN ALL OVER ~ Killian Dain is booked to face Drew McIntyre in a numero uno contender's match in seven days, but this episode concludes with them ("them" lolz) teasing a feud between Sanity (specifically, Dain and Wolfe) and The Authors of Pain.  I'm assuming that Eric Young will step in at some point.  He was absent at the taping because of a death in the family.

JOHNNY WRESTLING ~ Gargano returns!  He cuts a generic, yet perfectly acceptable babyface promo.  Honestly, I'm more excited about his main squeeze - critically-acclaimed cutie patootie Candice LeRae - entering the Mae Young Classic.  Abbey Laith (the former Kimber Lee) is my winner pick, but it wouldn't surprise me to see LeRae carry the torch.

STREET PROFITS ~ A vignette for an upcoming tag team!  Shades of Cryme Tyme in that the gimmick seems to be identical.  Whatever. I'm on board.

HEAVY MACHINERY VS. AUTHORS OF PAIN ~ Satisfying main event.  No one expected Otis and Tucker to win the tag straps, but they had a strong showing.  Being the first team to truly bearhandle the Authors is a significant achievement, win or loss.  More talent with a bright future.

7/12/17

My Wheels Are Worse



I couldn't decide what to post, so I'm posting the latest episode of Best of the Worst.  I'm hoping to round up NXT tomorrow, but I might be too busy.  Hopefully, that won't be the case.

7/11/17

Fender Bender


Remember Mark Pavia?  Probably not.  I do because he directed 1997's The Night Flier, one of my favorite films of all time.  That was twenty years ago.  Once I fell in love with said picture, I waited and waited (and waited) to see what Pavia would do next.  Whispers of a sequel surfaced (or sloped skyward, if you will) only to dematerialize straightaway.  You can bet your bottom dollar that I kept waiting like a good cripple.  I waited until last year.  Italicized for emphasis.  Look, I don't want to blame Pavia.  The filmmaking industry is cruel and loony like a perambulating zeppelin punching small children for antelope treason.  KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

So Fender Bender.  It's no The Night Flier, but I didn't go in with a "compare/contrast" mentality.  This is a different animal.  In fact, it's a different subgenre.  It's a slasher!  I wish it were a little more original, I must say.  A serial killer rams into the back of vehicles driven by pretty goils (sexist!).  Eventually, he stalks his way to their house and knifes their caboodles.  That sounded filthier than I intended.  He just stabs chicks.  No particular body part.  Any-fucking-way (get me out of this paragraph), it reads as a milquetoast, heavy-handed reshuffling of Joy Ride and The Hitcher.  And Jeepers Creepers. And Duel.  "Road rage" horror, basically.

But that's just how it reads.  In actuality, it's a well-shot, well-primped platter of suspense that recalls John Carpenter without plagiarizing him.  There are plenty of steadicam shots that establish mood, and while Fender Bender could have been set during any season, it did feel awfully autumnal.  The lighting is on-point.  That's the one thing this movie has in common with The Night Flier; both productions look fabulous, taking lithe budgets into consideration.  Ah, I misspoke...they have two things in common.  I forgot about the excellent leads!  Makenzie Vega gives a warm, rounded performance as the vulnerable heroine.  Also, kudos to the intimidating Bill Sage. Fucking creep.

If you hop over to IMDb (don't), you'll see a lot of the same complaints spring up.  They're not wrong.  Fender Bender is discernibly flawed, from the leaden pace (the second act dies) to the boorish dolt characters (make sure the fucker's dead).  The bitch of it is that Vega's Hilary never comes across as a boorish dolt until the climax.  She deserved better writing, damn it.  All in all, I'm torn on Mark Pavia's second feature-length chiller, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend it.  It's a solid Saturday night rental.  If I may be candid for a flash, I merely need Fender Bender to do satisfactory business so that Pavia can bankroll another project.  Maybe The Night Flier 2???

7/7/17

Album Cover of the Whatever


Cool shit, right?  There is one reason why I picked this album cover instead of something else.  Can you guess?  You got it!  It reminded me of Spookies, the best film of all time!  The band is Vesaeleth, if that's of any consequence to you.  They play middling death metal. You know what ISN'T middling?  Fucking Spookies!

7/6/17

NXT Round-Up


Oh, shit.  It's time for the round-up.  Oh, man.  Oh, shit.  OH, MAN.

SANITY VS. OHNO/ITAMI ~ After introductory packages (more on packages later), we dive right into a tag team match book-ended with storytelling.  Last week, I told you that Itami was on the verge of heeling up the place.  This week, we're closer to that eventuality, but the fight ended with a vague, doubtful disquiet.  They're postponing the former KENTA's badass explosion.  Again, I like it.  Am I the only one giddy about Itami snapping and ripping heads from their hosts?

FUCKING FILLER ~ This episode was contaminated by "earlier today" bullshit and WWE-style video packages that didn't need to be there.  I can live with the interviews with Ember Moon and The Iconic Duo on account of them being fresh footage.  I can not live with the 2,000-minute recap of the feud between Bobby Roode and Roderick Strong.  Which...yeah.  I guess that means I'm dead.

STRONG VS. ROODE ~ Thankfully (and as to be expected), the main event was extraordinary.  It was a competitive row, and I dug how each man focused on a specific part of the human anatomy. Panning over to Roddy's fiancee (just imagine an accent mark) was a nice touch.  It allowed Roode to be extra prickly.

ONLY TWO MATCHES  ~ I realize that both matches were lengthy, but if you excise the (fucking) filler, that's plenty of time for, say, a Sonya Deville squash.

7/2/17

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb


Are you down for mummy schlock?  Even for Hammer in 1964, this was treated as schlock.  The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb wasn't imparted the posh, ritzy budget of 1959's The Mummy, and it shows.  This is less of a sequel and more of "another Mummy movie."  Hell, it's almost a remake, save for teensy-weensy ripples in the plot.  Don't worry, comrades; I won't spoil twists.  But like, would anyone care if I did?  I could post a facsimile of the script, and I doubt many people would give (or take) a fuck.  My mom says I use too much profanity on here.

The motherfucking plot is by-the-numbers stuff when it comes to sand, sarcophagi and the bandaged undead.  There is an archaeological dig in Egypt, Montana. HOLD THE FORT.  I've just been informed that Egypt is a country in the Middle East and not an American city.  Huh.  So they excavate the remains of Ra, a prince whose assassination was ordered by his twin brother.  An American swindler wants to put the prince and his treasure on display in London.  Y'know, make a roadshow out of it.  The locals warn that this might provoke the curse of the mummy's tomb.  Hey, whaddya know?  That's the title!

As automated as the narrative feels, the viewer has time to warm up to the main characters.  That doesn't mean that everyone is well-developed (that's certainly not the case), nor does it mean that the acting is stout across the board.  Terence Morgan is frankly disinterested as the vanilla protagonist.  But the exposition puts us in the room/cave with these prehistorians and we pick up on their gimmicks, if I may use a wrestling term.  For a film of this nature, that's good enough.  I enjoyed the build-up.  Of course, I popped (wrestling term numero dos...my insincere apologies) for the mummy horror, and I dug Ra's aesthetic.  He is presented as a lumbering Fulci fragment, as opposed to Christopher Lee's wiry performance in the original.

Kudos to the prologue.  It features wet gore in the guise of a severed hand.  Caught me off guard, but that's the sole instance of on-screen violence made manifest.  Despite the subjacent funding, writer/director Michael Carreras managed to cobble a sleek picture together.  The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb is easy on the stomach.  Now, was the "big reveal" predictable?  Yes.  Is Jeanne Roland about as annoying as she is alluring?  Yes, and she's extremely alluring.  Apparently, she was dubbed, but I couldn't tell. I'm merely including the factoid as bonus material.  That's right; my reviews contain bonus material.  In addition to factoids, this sleigh ride is enriched with a full frame transfer.  I should be charging you!