7/8/20

Trapped Alive


1993.  The year that Monday Night Raw made its debut on the USA Network.  Those early episodes are fucking golden.  Don't let anyone tell you that a show where "Macho Man" Randy Savage AND Doink the Clown might appear isn't golden.  Those people...they are bad people.  Anyway, Doink--wait, fuck!  I have to review Trapped Alive, don't I?  I don't have to, but whatev(er).  This wintry, niveous knuckle-duster was actually shot in 1988, but it was condemned to the shelf for five years.  Because.  Eons ago, I saw the trailer and for some reason I have yet to ascertain, I decided that I longed for Trapped Alive.  This has not been a tidy movie to track down.  Thankfully, Arrow has given it the Blu-ray treatment, and fuck-flavored semen berries, it didn't deserve such stately, resplendent treatment.

I almost went with "semen-soaked Scooby snacks."  I'm a writer.  The plot involves a pair of giggly girls being carjacked after leaving a Christmas party.  This wasn't just any Christmas party.  It was attended by Cameron (goddamn) Mitchell!  He appears for two minutes total.  Not even worth mentioning, but here we are.  The carjackers have just escaped prison, and I'm sure they had grand plans of dereliction.  Unfortunately, the car they jacked skids into a mine shaft.  We're underground, folks.  You know what that means.  If not, I'll spell it out for you.  The viewer's eyes are privy to darkness, near-Cimmerian lighting and more darkness.

That could be a huge piss-off, but Trapped Alive is a well-cobbled production.  Don't get me wrong, kid; the budget is low, so low that it impairs the film in other ways (more on them later).  However!  Director Leszek Burzynski keeps everything crackling on a professional tip.  I like his camera spacing.  A bizarre, random compliment, but yeah.  The action isn't too far away, nor is it too close to the camera.  Yeah.  Several cast members have this grotto gathering listed as their only credit, but on the pothole (get it???), the acting is solid.  Sullivan Hester fares well as the cute final girl.  Oh, you'll never believe this, but one of the villains is a giant, toothless oaf named Mongo.  Wrestling fans will appreciate that, although he meets his end in the first act.  Inexcusable!

Speaking of villains, I haven't said much as it relates to the main heavy.  Technically, he's a monster, but he's painfully human.  You can pretend that he was created in a laboratory, I suppose.  Still, he's fucking dull.  The death sequences?  Dull.  The worst thing you can say about any genre flick is that it's untenably dull and that's precisely how I would paint Trapped Alive.  It has its moments.  Thanks to Arrow, the colors are gorgeous, but that's the veneer.  I don't see anyone jumping for joy over the product itself.  It needed more Cameron Mitchell.  And Doink!  It needed more Doink, "the most evil clown that ever lived."  That's a Savage quote, by the way.

  

7/6/20

Album Cover of the I'm Lazy



It's not that I'm lazy; I just...took the weekend off?  Yeah, that sounds alright.  That's why you're getting another Album Cover of the Whatever.  This time, it's Teitanblood's Purging Tongues EP.  Superlatively evil, and it stands out like a motherfucker.  I'm going back into my cave of wonders to churn out the next movie review.  Brace your stitches!

7/2/20

Rassle Inn #4



Do you know how hard it was for me NOT to use a picture of Penelope Ford?  I'm trying not to be a scumbag.  It would be easy to view today's topic entirely through the "male gaze," but again, I'm trying.  I may fail later in this very tract.  Oh, that's Wardlow.  He tagged with M.J.F. against the Jurassic Express in the fun opener of last night's Fyter Fest.  Obviously, there was a lot of wrestling to absorb.  WWE fast-tracked the yellow brand's Great American Bash, and I must say, AEW took the prize on night one.  The ratings disagree.

I dug NXT's show.  But I...oyk, I didn't want to break down each and every match.  Look, here's the nutshell version of my opinion: With Fyter Fest, I don't have any substantive grouses.  With GAB, a couple of matches didn't sit well with me.  The strap match...why the gimmick?  What is the actual feud?  Is this the best way to utilize Roderick Strong right now?  And the handicap match.  I found it to be entertaining, but it was way too long.  It's pathetic because Robert Stone was poised to become a formidable manager overseeing a formidable stable.  At present, he's a punchline whose only client is Alayhiaalyala.

I'm shockingly old (I refuse to believe that I'm only 35), so my eyelids were weakening against the tremendous strain of gravity during the Fyter Fest main event.  It wasn't the product's fault.  I admit that I'm not a softhearted proponent of Best Friends, but all in all, they crafted an engaging contest with Omega/Page.  My favorite fyte of the nyte (perhaps on either show) was the AEW Women's World Championship match between warrior queen Hikaru Shida and emulous challenger Penelope Ford.  This one took me by surprise.  I already knew that Shida kicked ass, but Ford milked the most out of a great opportunity.  Hell of a showing.

My precious Io Shirai did battle with Sasha Banks in what should have been a killer 20-minute brawl, but it felt like simple angle advancement.  Don't get me wrong, dude; shit was solid, but it was used to prop up other titles.  And it was the main event!  It was cool to see Io and Asuka "reunite," as it were.  Next week, we get more Fyting and Bashing.  Will I write about it?  Depends on the ratings.  If my column doesn't do a number, I may have to introduce new characters.  To kill off.

7/1/20

Busy night...

I shall post my impressions tomorrow!



6/27/20

Blood Capsule #96


THE CARPENTER (1988)

The Carpenter is a threadbare slasher and a wry, oblique black comedy collimated as one chief constituent.  It doesn't quite know how to enmesh the genres.  Horror and comedy merely play "hot potato" with the script and you never get the sense that you're watching a cohesive whole.  I'm not throwing this b-lumber under the bus (or into a proverbial woodchipper...man, I should have just went with that awful joke).  No, I had a decent time with The Carpenter, and yes, the plot is as gangly as it sounds.  A couple is renovating their home, but the bulk of the carpentry work is completed at the bewitching hour by a phantom artisan.  Is it Jesus Christ or is it Wings Hauser?  Same difference, stupid!

If the titular madman were played by anyone else, this flick wouldn't have eked out a passing grade.  Wings Hauser is so--let me rephrase myself.  Wings Hauser fundamentally Wings Hausers the fuck out of this thing.  He steals all of his scenes.  Through cruel mockery of God's animus, he even steals scenes that he does not appear in (i.e. filler).  You haven't lived until you've witnessed Wings Hauser woo and butter up a forlorn housewife while frazzling the intestines of a corpse with a power drill.  It's charming!  Unfortunately, half of The Carpenter is a shambolic study in stagnation.  For a bloody ordeal where circular saws and belt sanders are weaponized, it's pretty damn sleepy.  Wings Hauser, tho!

6/25/20

Album Cover of the Whatever



Technically, the is the reissue artwork, but who is counting?  That's just badass!  Evil, evil, evil!  Yay!

6/23/20

Panels From Beyond the Grave #34

THE X-FILES: HALLOW EVE (Annual #1, 1995)

Towards the end of the vernal springtide, I became immersed in The X-Files.  I always liked it.  I could even name a couple of episodes that stuck with me from childhood to adulthood ("Humbug" is a keeper).  And yet, I was far from an expert.  For some metaphysical reason that perhaps only Mulder can explain, I wanted to binge the whole damn series.  It's taking time, as my routine is not conducive to true, millennial-style binging.  Hell, I finished season eight just last night.  What's my point?  My point is that I fucking love The X-Files!  It was only a matter of time (and space) before I scarfed down an x-comic.

Released through Topps, the inaugural series contained an Annual (a special double-sized issue) one-shot entitled "Hallow Eve."  It basically serves as a "monster of the week" episode.  You don't need prior knowledge of the television program's core arcs to enjoy it.  That's a hearty plus, in my estimation.  When it comes to the TV show, I prefer the M.O.T.W. serials that exist independently of Mulder's search for his sister or muddled, labyrinthine government conspiracies.  Not that those storylines are entirely without merit.  I'm simply into...y'know, monsters.

Our script was penned by Stefan Petrucha.  At first, the dialogue felt rustic and rudimentary, but like a tight rhythm section, the words found a groove pocket.  That's a dumb way of saying that it got better as it went along.  Petrucha does seem to understand the characters.  It's a comic, so you have to meet it halfway.  I mean, it has to be frustrating writing for such complex people with very limited room to stretch.  Talking about word count.  Ain't talkin' 'bout love.  My love is rotten to ANYWAY.  Mulder and Scully are assigned to an offbeat case wherein an archaeologist is murdered and the suspect has extraneous ties to the mitochondrial DNA of Eve.

This shit would make for a great concept album.  Definitely prog rock.  At any juncture, the plot throws a nice amount of twists at you in a manner similar to that of The X-Files (the show, obviously).  It's quite clever, especially the dour ending.  Customarily, I don't have bounteous groans as it relates to the artwork.  There were two or three panels where I couldn't figure out what was happening or where a character was standing.  Perception?  Look, I'm not an artist.  I try to mention my ignorance in comic book reviews because I need to give the artist (in this case, Charles Adlard) the benefit of the doubt.  Again, me not artist.  Me bad at draw.

Overall, "Hallow Eve" was totally worth seeking out online.  I should pick up more X-Files comics.  If you're wondering (you aren't), I have viewed most of the tenth season, including the series finale.  It wasn't unsullied, but I'm glad that they ended up together.  You know who.  I'm such a fangirl.

6/22/20

X


This is foreshadowing!  I'm exhuming an old column tomorrow.  Aren't you excited???

6/19/20

A Band: The Ruins of Beverast


I don't know exactly how obscure The Ruins of Beverast are/is (it's a one-man project), but I feel confident in saying that this German black metal composite deserves a signal boost.  Simply painting Beverast with the "black metal" brush doesn't do the music justice.  I'm currently listening to 2009's Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite (dude's title game is strong), which incorporates doom, blackened ambiance, and of course, atmosphere.  Fuckin' loads of atmosphere.  I haven't put much effort into decoding the lyrics, so all I know is that this is creepy stuff.

Look at that artwork!  The Ruins of Beverast reminds me of being a kid mystified by Tool (heh) because I didn't know anything about them.  I'm divagating from the trail.  Vocally, you will hear growls, pained squawks, chants and baritone cleans.  The songwriting never forgoes accessibility.  In other words, ringmaster Alexander von Meilenwald avoids burying the actual music.  The fact that he plays every single instrument is soul-boggling.  Take 2017's Exuvia, for instance.  It sounds fucking massive, and all of that stridency comes from one human.

Beverast has featured on two splits this year, one apace with Mourning Beloveth (doom/death) and the other in company with Almyrkvi (cosmic black metal).  Listen to them both.


6/17/20

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark


I rented Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark from a Redbox kiosk.  It marked the first time in five-ish years that I rented a movie outside of the Internet.  Didn't have the same pizzazz as a Blockbuster rental, but it tickled the same tract in my brain.  And that...has nothing to do with the film itself.  Man, how many centuries had we been promised a cinematic adaptation of these anthology books?  Personally, I never read them.  I thought they looked cool.  I possessed the knowledge that the illustrations were materially and altogether smacktabulous.  But I never read them, dag-nab it.  Okay, liberal use of words such as "dag-nab" and "smacktabulous" are hereby prohibited for the rest of this review.

Technically, Scary Stories is a period piece.  We open in 1968 where a shy girl named Stella discovers a tome in a tall, caliginous mansion on Halloween night.  So at least the atmosphere is sweet.  The narrative is unique in the way that it unspools each story.  Clearly, this isn't a traditional anthology furnished with a connective wrap-around segment.  I dig how the tales are essentially death sequences.  If there exists another fright flick with this exact gimmick, I can't place it.  This particular VDM (Vignette Delivery Method...my secretary is filing the copyright paperwork this very second) allows Scary Stories to avoid a common anthology pitfall.  Usually, pacing becomes stale as you flip pages, so to speak, from one short to the next.  Here, we are spared a handful of expositions.

Am I making any sense?  I just thought it was refreshing to see an entire story relayed in a spurt of dialogue.  "That monster is looking for her missing toe."  Done.  That's all you need to know!  It keeps things bristling at a perky step.  Of course, the actual monsters are divine, provided that they manage to sidestep shady digital effects.  I was pleasantly surprised to find moments of creepy menace.  The PG-13 rating doesn't take the teeth out of this ghoul, but I want to make sure that I don't send the wrong message.  I'm not gaga over Scary Stories to tell in the Dark.  I haven't seen any other reviews complain about the acting, but Zoe Margaret Colletti (Stella in the flesh) comes off as stagy.  To me!  Ugh, I feel like I'm being mean.

Plus, she's a fucking whore.  That was a joke.  I mean, she's fine most of the time.  She loses me when the script goes the simpering, dewy-eyed route, which it does in the closing ten minutes.  The climax has a perfunctory vibe to it.  As I was watching it, I couldn't help but ask, "Is this the ending of a different movie?"  I get bent out of shape when villains turn out to be good-natured people who were abused into being evil spectres.  Haven't we been through this enough already?  Fuck, "spectres" is underlined in red.  It's not misspelled, you shitheel.  That's the British spelling.  I'm British!

6/11/20

Family

Family, family, family!  Basically, I'm being inundated with family gatherings, as family is in town.  Family!  Just letting you know, I probably won't write anything substantial until after the family thing has run its course.


6/8/20

Iooooooo!


Originally, this was going to be an edition of "A Band," but that can wait.  Haven't you heard?  Io Shirai has become the NXT Women's Champion!  Last night, she fought in a three-way dance against Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair.  I'm an Io mark.  I wanted her to win.  Going in, I knew that she had the least chance of winning because this was presented as enmity between Rhea and Charlotte.  That was the story.  Io was the third wheel, the potential wrecking ball.  If booked properly (...), a cool program can spring forth from this perceived "upset."

But that's the thing.  This hasn't been booked properly.  Right now, I don't care.  My girl won.  She has deserved to be the champion - of any brand - for roughly 18 months.  The fact that Asuka and Kairi Sane beat her to the punch in America did count against her.  Plus, you have the language barrier.  God, that's another post altogether.  Maybe someday, I'll analyze the way that minorities are treated (read: booked) in WWE.  That day is not today.

Respect The Ace of Stardom!  Respect The Genius of the Sky!  Respect Io Shirai!

6/5/20

Blood Capsule #95

STAKE LAND (2010)

What do you do when you're in a pandemic and riots erupt all across the country?  You watch a movie!  Hey, I'm doing my part.  By sheer coincidence, the plot of Stake Land bears striking similarities to life in 2020.  A vampire contagion has reconditioned the guts of America, and from where lead protagonist Martin is standing, the apocalypse has arrived.  Watching the news, this place certainly feels apocalyptic.  Oh, I'm talking about reality again.  For you HTML nerds out there, I need a synopsis tag to denote when I'm dipping in and out of "plot summary" mode.  {story} Just as precarious as the vampires, sects of religious fanatics continuously stymie efforts to find peace (not to mention a dry, warm bed). {/story}

Y'know, something like that.  Anyway, Stake Land is a tense, portentous joint.  The atmosphere is grim, and director Jim Mickle does an admirable job of reminding the viewer where his fare falls on the genre spectrum.  It's a rather particular affection, but I like it when horror proudly avouches, "I'm horror!  Spooky, spooky!  Boo!"  It probably wouldn't use those words, huh?  You know what I mean, damn it!  But I digress...again.  The acting is sharp.  Connor Paolo is subtly multitudinous as Martin.  I dug how he pulled off his character's arc, as the development felt natural.  Co-writer Nick Damici kicks ass as Mister, a stoic, yet ass-kicking ass kicker.  The pacing is fine.  Essentially, everything is fine, though I hear that the sequel mucks it up.

Join us next time when we found out if Dom reviews Stake Land II.*

*He doesn't.

6/3/20

s02e02

Wrestling night!  And I've had no time to write.  Only fellow X-Files fans will get this joke, but it seems like when I have a productive week, it's just a...


6/1/20

Geek Out #139



The rare music-related Geek Out.  Look at Sebastian Bach's fucking hair!  I don't mean to single him out; every band member here looks ridiculous (the lady guitarist less so).  Jeepers, Madam X had plans.  I suppose that Baz was destined to front Skid Row, not that I believe in fate.  Back to the germane point - look at the fucking hair!

5/31/20

The Devil's Advocate


In middle and high school, I would rent horror movies almost every weekend.  I'm ashamed to disseminate this for public consumption, but I would base half of my rental choices on which films might contain nudity.  Good God.  Please tell me I wasn't the only one.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't, but I'm not proud of my past as a teenage boy.  Ugh.  Were we even human?  Anyhow, I bring up my licentious lunacy to form a trestle to 1997's The Devil's Advocate.  I had a feeling that it contained boobage.  And it does.  For some unidentified reason, I would always pass it up.  Looking back, I think the title's posture as a major studio grabber turned me off.

Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Al Pacino as Satan...that's serious cachet.  I was green.  I didn't see how an "a-movie" could be a cool, genuine horror treat.  Of course, commercials told us that The Devil's Advocate was a thriller, but we knew better.  Reeves plays Kevin, a cut-throat attorney scaling the corporate ladder at a meteoric pace.  He finds himself in the big city (New York, what else?) working at a big firm.  Pacino plays John Milton (a little on-the-nose), Kevin's boss.  This guy speaks every language and seems to know everything.  He's also a bit of a playboy and enjoys the finer...er, details of ornamental...um, the sublime FUCK.  He likes to fuck.  With his dick.

Gradually, Kevin is lured into a cycle of sin.  One of the few problems handicapping The Devil's Advocate is the obvious nature of the story's selling point.  You can blame the advertising.  It's just plain to see that Milton is The Morning Star.  In spite of this hindrance, the narrative has a nice flow to it.  With the exception of the final half-hour, this courtroom curtain caper flies by with the latitude of an aphid.  Man, that sentence was a mess.  You know what I'm trying to say.  Personally, I never felt the weight of the 144-minute running time.  Until the conclusion, that is.  As I alluded to earlier, Advocate doesn't know when to go home.  I could easily shave 20 minutes off of the third act.

There are other deterrents.  The CGI is outdated, for one.  Still, I dug this demonic edict.  It doesn't really need to be asserted, but the cast is exquisite.  Reeves actually emotes.  One scene in particular (that I won't spoil) is exceedingly heartrending.  Pacino is motherfucking Pacino.  He can steal a moment, but he also knows when to pull back a hair.  I was most impressed by Charlize Theron's manifold performance.  At first, her turn of Mary Ann comes off as thin and one-dimensional, but you quickly realize that was the point.  Her downward spiral is harrowing stuff.

There are flaws, but I highly recommend The Devil's Advocate.  Pacino is back!  A thrilling time at the movies!  Watch out, Oscar season!  I almost dropped my popcorn!  Rabble, rabble!  Derp!

5/28/20

Rassle Inn #3


Originally, this edition of Rassle Inn was going to have a (slightly) different focus.  Then time happened.  What can I say?  I can be as lazy as I am eloquent, which puts a sizeable crater in my pride.  Anyway, I was moved to write on a (slightly) different topic when I listened to the latest episode of Jim Cornette's podcast.  He reviewed AEW's Double or Nothing, and I wonder why I bothered.  I predicted - to the letter and to the magniloquent turn of phrase - what ol' Corny would say.  I knew which matches he would extol (two of them, basically), which matches he would execrate and which wrestlers he would verbally mangle.

So why did I listen?  For the same reason he hasn't been socially exiled despite saying all manner of controversial, near-deplorable (I'm being generous) things that classify as "over the fucking top."  He's funny!  Not to mention knowledgeable.  I don't agree with many of the claims he makes, or at least the way he makes them.  How about the Dana Brooke comments?  Most folks agree that men and women take plastic surgery too far.  In private quarters, most folks (yes, most) pellet aspersions onto others for their looks, especially celebrities.  Cornette mentioned that it seemed as if a mad pyromaniac had set fire to Dana's face and put it out with an axe.  Yep.

He doubled down, but the point is that this was one of his less infamous cracks.  With regards to the in-ring product, he fucking loathes All Elite Wrestling.  Hell, he has loathed Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks for years now.  I can't comment on personal dealings (every "star" could be a dickhole for all I know), but from where I'm sitting, his issues with their presentation of professional wrestling is easy to figure out.  The business evolved; Jim Cornette did not.

However, that doesn't mean that 100% of his ravings are rooted in falsehoods.  He is extremely old-school, yes, but his approach to booking and laying out a match does hold merit.  Tony Khan would do well to utilize some - some - of Corny's ideas.  I wish I had time to be more specific, but I don't.  I'll attempt to tie this up with one word.  It's a word I used in the first paragraph.  Pride!  For better or worse, Cornette is a prideful son of a bitch.  If he takes pro-wrestling too seriously every once in awhile, I can understand why.  For decades, it's the business that fed and supported his family.  He grew to love it.  After loving it, he became protective of it.  Makes sense.

Unfortunately, wrasslin' as it existed in 1985 does not exist anymore.  The same goes for 1995.  To be honest, Corny should probably shy away from annotating modern stuff, be it WWE or AEW.  Satan in heaven, I have to admit that the pull-apart brawl between Mike Tyson and Chris Jericho was godawful.  We don't need that shit to go viral.

5/23/20

Album Cover of the Whatever


Originally, I was going to showcase Esoctrilihum as a band to watch with my "A Band" feature.  Who knows?  I still might.  This is the cover for his/their new opus (it's a one-man project, natch), Eternity of Shaog.  Most of Esoctrilihum's artwork is handled by the same dude, a chap by the name of Alan Brown.  Perusing his portfolio, he seems to dabble exclusively in hideous creatures and babes in swimwear.  A wise man.  Clearly.  At any rate, I dig the colors he uses and the odd touches that manifest in all of his creations.

PS-Shaog is a fucking beast of an album.  Pick it up!

5/21/20

Blood Capsule #94

THE TERROR WITHIN II (1991)

This is an in-name-only sequel.  Hell, it's almost a remake.  Why does it exist?  No one knows, not even writer/director/star Andrew Stevens (I'm assuming).  There wasn't a soul on Earth clamoring for a sequel to The Terror Within, a so-so, yet amiable "rubber suit" cheapie.  Stevens plays David, a scavenger floundering in the desert for vaccine supplies.  Need I mention that there is a plague and that the barren landscape is post-apocalyptic?  Bleak portraitures of the future ruled the roost during this time period.  I think filmmakers forgot that such depictions of our world were prevailingly depressing and sour on the stomach.  A scant few genre fiends were willing to sit through these doldrums.

Mad Max: Fury Road perfected the formula, but it was off in the distance.  The Terror Within II is...well, it's not perfect.  It's entertaining enough.  The gelatinous effects are alluring, the production values are first-rate (relatively speaking) and boobs happen.  Yaaaay!  This sci-fi tryst checks all of the boxes that it must to keep your attention for 90 minutes.  Regrettably, it doesn't exert itself beyond the bare minimum.  You could do better, Gregory.  Have some dignity.

5/19/20

A Band: Benighted in Sodom


So this is an interesting one.  Benighted in Sodom is a one-man project, the man calling himself Matron Thorn.  This started out as a depressive black metal experiment, but recent releases have espoused doom and goth rock.  2019's Carrier of Poison Apples (pictured above) is poles apart from noisier fare such as Plague Overlord and Death in Space.  For one, there is no shrieking to be found.  Matron sticks to an emotive baritone filtered through foggy effects.  I dig it.  The vocal lines are catchy and prone to attach themselves to the base of your spine.

I will readily admit that I haven't listened to half of Benighted in Sodom's recorded output.  Before you judge me, know that Mr. Thorn has dished out seventeen long players under the BIS banner.  Seventeen!  In thirteen years!  Dude, that's not even counting EP's and splits.  I have glommed onto his more melodic stuff, but there is something for everyone, provided that you're into extreme metal.

If this Matron Thorn character sounds busy, bear in mind that I haven't told you about his other bands.  Yeah, he has close to ten "groups" in varying states of functionality.  Most of them are active.  I recommend checking out Aevangelist, Andacht and Death Fetishist.  Maybe this "A Band" entry should have been called "Bands."

5/18/20

Riding and Dancing

'Taker assisting in a trick dunk at a Globetrotter game.

There are serendipitous times when pop culture aligns with itself.  Lovers of documentaries should be tickled fuchsia right now (or perhaps a hot shade of rubicund), as WWE and ESPN have synced up pro tempore in their efforts to honor legends of their respective fields.  At the outset of 2020, we started seeing teasers for a deluxe-as-fuck docu-series looking back at the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 90's.  More specifically, it would chronicle Michael Jordan's final season in the red-and-white.  The last dance, so to speak.  Everyone was interviewed, and I mean everyone.  In fact, I'm surprised that I wasn't asked to participate.

About a month ago, give or take, wrestling fans caught wind of a docu-series that would be premiering immediately after the Money in the Bank PPV.  It would catalog a chunk of The Undertaker's storied career.  Like the Bulls film, this was a momentous occasion.  Mark Calaway (y'know, The Undertaker) is as "old school" as it gets.  He was the last of the old guard to step out from behind the curtain and admit that he was a regular person.  For decades, he kept to kayfabe, appearing out of character only when the evolution of his character dictated such adjudicatory decisions.  He did grant interviews as The American Badass, for instance.

In 2017, 'Taker came to Vince McMahon and told him he was ready for his private life to be documented.  Obviously, he sensed that the end was near.  The film has been airing in 60-minute chapters every Sunday.  Sound familiar?  Of course, The Undertaker: The Last Ride is not circulated via ESPN, but the parallels are hard to miss.  At one point, an interviewee (boy, I wish I could remember their identity) compares The Phenom to MJ, saying that Calaway is the Air Jordan of professional wrestling.  Okay, he might have said "sports entertainment."

As a 90's kid, I'd have to agree.  Since rediscovering wrestling in my mid-20's, I've settled on The Undertaker as my favorite, and I'd definitely go so far as to say that he is the greatest of my lifetime.  The G.O.M.L.T?  Doesn't roll off the tongue.  Fuck it; he's The G.O.A.T.  It may be shorthand, but he tops my totem pole.  Or Mount Everest, or whatever rubric you want to implement to determine royalty.  This isn't much of a sports blog, but yes, Jordan is my basketball goat as well.  Wilt approaches the throne, as does Kareem.  Magic?  I could see it.  But did any of them have the global impact that Michael did?  Don't even think of uttering LeBron's name.  Not in my house.

What was my point?  No, seriously.  Where the hell was I going with all of this?  Oh, the documentaries.  Watch them.  Take a beat to consider that you were there to see them perform (if you were, that is).  I'm very thankful that I grew up watching The Undertaker and Michael Jordan on my television.  Pop culture matters.  By the way, it wasn't easy finding images that tied these two subjects together.  That's 'Taker on the left, down below  I guess injuries aren't always an obstacle.


5/15/20

Children of the Corn


At first, I wasn't going to touch this motion picture.  Not with a ten-foot pole, a tentpole, a utility pole or any other kind of pole.  As far as I'm concerned, I have done my due diligence.  Corn and its derivatives?  No concern of mine.  But then I thought back to a late-90's Christmas party whereupon I was gifted 1984's Children of the Corn on VHS.  Did I ever really give it a fair shot?  And what about the relative who endowed me this demure pittance (a somewhat-distant cousin, if I recall)?  Does...well, does he remember buying the goddamn thing?  It's debatable.  In all likelihood, none of this bullshit matters.  The point remains...I was curious.

I'm not curious anymore.  Corn is just as mediocre as I suspected.  Maybe a half-Z'Dar better.  Maybe!  Probing this series with the most sterile of colanders, I have been continually floored that it has lasted so long, and with no end in sight, it seems.  Eight sequels mothered from a nothing thriller?  Oh, and a remake???  The Stephen King association is the only factor I can chide.  Someone must be held accountable.  You can't pin the blame on a vanguard, groundbreaking premise.  Pop culture has had fun with the "evil kids" trope, but it wasn't invented by this film or its source material.  Just a few years prior, The Children set killer brats loose on a small town beleaguered by a nuclear gas leak.  That was schlock, though.

I would have to be blind not to see that Corn is a legitimate studio crop (I feel guilty; that word play is tantamount to masturbation).  Every once in awhile, it's nice to watch a movie that resembles, y'know, a movie.  Linda Hamilton is game as Vicky, one-half of our outlander couple.  The other half is Burt, as portrayed by Peter Horton.  I have to hand it to them.  They're excellent as normal, happy fuckers.  They know how to play off of each other and their chemistry is palpable.  Yes, they are prone to making dumb decisions, but if they don't, we aren't left with much.  The genre feeds on character folly.

Random scenes are narrated by a motherfu--okay, I need to muzzle my profanity.  This saga of sorts is getting to me, and I can't let it win.  Anyway, the narration is incredibly useless.  An event will transpire, then a dopey jackanape will tell us that said event transpired.  Can you appreciate how hard it is for me to use semi-coherent English to describe Children of the Corn?  Eventually, I will break down and resort to "the shit's fucking shit."  What's sad is that I haven't really centralized my rage on the film's most prominent drawback.  It's boring!  It takes way too many minutes to get where the script is going to go.  Suspense?  Not a chance.  It's dawning on me that I'm the wrong horror freak to be reviewing Children of the Cunt.

Somehow, I've typed a smattering of positive remarks.  Buh.  Life is clear now.  I have emptied my chamber (or barrel...I don't know anything about guns) as it relates to Corn criticism.  There is nothing else to say.  I am moving on, and beek-bum-whang, there are a squillion b-toasters that I'm looking forward to penetrating.  Sexually.  Did enough damage here.  You can always review the others yourself.  Or you can suck all of my cocks.  You yellow, greas--wow, this franchise changes you on a molecular level, doesn't it?

5/10/20

Geek Out #138



I haven't posted one of these puppies in awhile.  This clip contains three trailers, but the real Geek Out (for me anyway) comes 'atcha live in the form of the first trailer.  It's for 1981's gloriously sleazy Nightmare.  Fun times!

5/8/20

Swim Back to Japan


I said I would talk about this match, an NXT Women's Championship bout between Charlotte Flair and Io Shirai, and so, I have returned to do just that.  Huzzah!  As I predicted, the wrestling itself was fluid.  If these two grappled at a major PPV, the (empty) arena would crumble.  Unfortunately, the result was bullshit.  I shouldn't have to include a spoiler warning, but if you don't want to know how the match ended, here's your warning.  Watch the fucking thing already!

Why on Earth would Charlotte risk disqualification by brandishing a kendo stick?  A DQ finish?  Really?  First off, it doesn't fit her character, not even her heel persona.  Secondly, Io should have been champion by now.  If she isn't outfitted in gold by the end of 2020, she should swim back to Japan where they recognize her excellence.  What reasoning do they have?  I'm genuinely curious.  Too soon?  Nonsense.  And she's certainly over.  She made a fairly emphatic heel turn, but the crowds eventually started to cheer for her anyway.  It's plain to see that she's a badass.

Assuming there is another Takeover event, signs are pointing to a three-way promenade involving former champ Rhea Ripley.  I dig Rhea.  She should not have lost the title at Wrestlemania.  Having said that, Io needs to wind up at the top of this division.  I fear that her character is in danger of being Asuka'd.  Oh, poor Asuka.  An otherworldly talent has been relegated to annoying dancing and screaming on Raw.  I don't believe Vince McMahon to be a racist.  However, when it comes to booking Asian wrestlers, he is a goofwad.  Look no further than Shinsuke Nakamura.  That dude is a fucking rock star!  How did they fuck that up?

There was a point in time when I was ecstatic to read that Io Shirai was finally - finally - signing with WWE.  I was naive.  All I can do is hope for the best.  It's kinda like the pandemic situation.  Maybe Io should attend "creative" meetings wearing a facemask?  Practice social distancing from any of Vince's ideas?  I'm out of awful jokes.  WHY WAS THERE A RANDOM KENDO STICK UNDER THE RING?

5/6/20

Blood Capsule #93

CHILDREN OF THE CORN: REVELATION (2001)

See the dead expression in their eyes.  Sense the lifeless oscitancy emanating from their pale faces.  You know it's true.  You know they have seen Children of the Corn: Revelation.  The horror!  Our youths have been--okay, enough stagecraft.  In all seriousness, this flick has about as much energy as those two bantamweights.  How much does a bantamweight weigh?  Fuck it.  I don't care.  Revelation finds a woman visiting a tottering, condemned apartment complex in search of her grandmother.  Needless to say, she discovers a secret and a town curse.  I wonder if I could mount a scythe to the tip of my typing wand and eviscerate myself.  Just fucking gut away at...

Oh, sorry.  The film isn't particularly engaging, as you might imagine.  I can barely recall the details of what happened, and I watched it only hours ago.  It's stunningly bland.  Even the color palette seems bored, offering a purview of suntan and spinach-olive.  I could vomit right now and produce something more visually appealing.  The lead actress is fine.  She's in front of the camera.  I got nothin' else, gang.  Nothin'!

5/4/20

You can bet your sweet...

I'm torn on what to write.  On one hand, this coming Wednesday's edition of NXT is a big deal (to me).  Charlotte Flair will be defending the NXT Women's Championship against Io Shirai.  Io!  That's my girl!  Since coming to WWE in 2017-ish (an injury delayed her debut), she has kicked ass and made a case that she deserves the strap.  Of course, I've been a fan since her Stardom days, and in conversation, I always bring up the fact that at one point, Shirai was considered to be the best wrestler on the planet - male or female.  You can bet your sweet cunt that I still consider her to be the absolute best.  Okay, one of the best.  It's nearly impossible to single out a modern day G.O.A.T.

I will write a few words about the match after it has happened.  Who knows?  Charlotte may retain.  However, we are guaranteed a classic bout.  Say what you want about Ric's little queen, but she can fucking work.  If you look at the ladies that McMahon has under his employ, she and Becky Lynch are clearly vying for the top rung (putting the Asians aside, that is).  Oh, and Candice.  Don't forget Candice.  She's evil now...yaaaaay!

The other hand is a little more complicated.  Could it be that I'm stalling because I don't want to confront my next review?  You heathens?  You're not all heathens, but you know who you are out there.  Making me finish the Children of the Corn franchise.  Ugh, it hasn't earned the right to be called a franchise.  I'm speaking this paragraph through gnashed teeth, by the way.  I want you to feel my disdain.  Grrrr!

"I don't get paid enough for this shit."

5/1/20

Under Wraps


This was the perfect refreshment to peck at during my one-movie excursion away from Kids of the Maize (nyuk, nyuk).  If you're a fan of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, you know how appropriate my usage of "excursion" is, and hopefully, you have inferred that watching the Corn series is analogous to attending a brutal dojo.  I'm a young lion!  Right, so now that I've alienated at least 64% of you, let us continue.  1997's Under Wraps was the first Disney Channel original to premiere on the network.  I was thirteen years of age, but we didn't get The Disney Channel.  My gratification with this flick has nothing to do with nostalgia.

Under Wraps presents a certain purity.  It's an innocence I can support, though the plot does become a wee bit too saponaceous in the third act.  Oh, sorry.  It becomes too soapy.  I tend to forget how heavy these university words can be and I drop them all over the place.  Did I clomp your toe?  I do apologize for being so goddamn erudite.  My brain is so big, my crotch is jealous.  Speaking of my penis, this is a fun family movie.  The lead tweens - those pictured above - unintentionally break into their neighborhood's creepy house (every development has one...I guess?).  Of course, they find an open sarcophagus.  They also stumble upon the mummy that once dwelled within!  Exclamation point!

This is an opportune spot to mention the fact that the version I viewed seems to be bereaved of a few minutes.  Why?  I don't know, Cap'n.  The running times don't correspond, and unless my eyes were ossified, key scenes are missing.  I can't fault the film itself.  Express story details remain unaccounted for, and yes, that's a hindrance.  However, Under Wraps manages to entertain.  The pace is vigorous.  Many jokes fall flat, but even the meager attempts at humor possess a modicum of charm.  That purity I talked about earlier?  Yeah, that stuff.  Gets all over your clothes.

I dug the mummy.  Harold (as he is named by our protagonists) is played by Bill Fagerbakke.  You may know him as Dauber from Coach.  He was the dumb dude.  Here, he makes noises that pass for "mummy speak."  Actually, he delivers a strong performance and his make-up is gnarly.  I understand that my rating doesn't scream enthusiasm, but it feels right for Under Wraps.  It's a simple watch, and to be honest, I don't have a laundry list of nitpicks to add.  I already said that the ending is a drippy mess.  Just take my recommendation without second-guessing me.  That's my advice.  To take my advice.  I can do that.