Geek Out #149

If I could, I'd crawl to California to visit this place.  I would want to live there.  Okay, I do live there.  Watching the quick tour, I realized that I owned many of the same comics and videotapes.  Because I'm cool!  Yeah, that's why.


Blood Capsule #110


On some level, I created Blood Capsules to condense and depurate the films that defy description.  To reduce these aberrations to a savory vapor.  To win a staring contest with nonsensical bullshit.  Beyond the Door III blinked before I did, but it's still a mess of a nexus to untangle.  Like it even needs to be addressed; no, this flick has nothing in common with 1974's Beyond the Door or its alleged "sequel" (a.k.a. Mario Bava's Shock).  The title was a distributor's decision.  I don't know whose decision it was to make this a cloudy, ill-defined junker, but that fool...I have a problem with that fool.  He zimmed with the wrong darfklacker.

It's not all doom and gloom, though.  Maybe you can tell from the above photograph, but BTD3 is seriously stylish.  Director Jeff Kwitny took a saddlebag of locust intestines and turned it into something approaching scenic.  God knows he couldn't depend on the cast or the dialogue to retain the viewer's ever-shrinking attention span.  I was actually paying heed and I couldn't cipher the damn plot.  It's something about a Satanic cult, a virgin, train gore...there is quite a bit of train gore.  The effects are sick, dude.  Everything else isn't nearly as sick, dude.  Beyond the Door III was shot, at least partially, in Serbia, so I can say that having seen a Serbian film, it's a forgettable rental.  Nyuk, nyuk.


Rassle Inn #18

Over the weekend, NXT was in my house!  This trend of recycling archaic PPV themes is...well, it's awesome, but it's also the pinch of sugar to help the medicine go down.  Those mid-90's events were adorable.  Maybe it's nostalgia talking, but I care more about those main events than I do a goddamn five-way match where the winner is obvious.  Yes, I'd rather watch Diesel versus The British Bulldog (eh, maybe not)  I need to check my heat.  All told, I had fun with the 34th (!) Takeover flight of fancy.  Most of the card is fine on the yellow brand until you get to the supposed centerpiece(s).

I'm bored!  Karrion Kross is a cool champion, but he needs fresh challengers.  While I'm giving myself the book, he should to be an overt babyface.  Where are the true heroes in NXT?  Take last night's main event as an example.  Assuming a wrestler's loyalty to ethics and moral rectitude exists on a sliding scale, the "superstar" closest to the babyface end of the spectrum is Kyle O'Reilly.  Fantastic in the ring, awkward on the microphone.  Seriously, his current persona is curdled cack (ew).  Finn Balor is hovering over the midriff of our little scale.  There is no reason for him to be a tweener.  Likewise, there is no reason for Adam Cole to be a heel.

Of course, the rest are heels.  Where do the badass good guys reside?  Look, I'm sure that the spots were neat, but I didn't stick around to catch the five-way fray.  I didn't have to observe it.  Why is it so difficult for promoters to recognize their own talents as either heels or faces?  At Double or Nothing, it seemed that AEW's women's division was on the periphery of coming greatness with new champion Britt Baker leading the way.  The fans were behind her.  Were.  The very next week, she was right back to being a heel during her fucking cheeseburger celebration.  What the fuck was that shit?

So Britt is faced with a virtuous contender, right?  Nope!  Heels gonna heel, baby!  As of right now, the woman slotted to vie for the lady strap (let's keep our minds out of the gutter) is Nyla Rose, a heel managed by Vickie Guerrero, the most despised manager in all of AEW.  Hey, I don't play favorites.  I do prefer the TNT program to the USA/Fox program, but I call 'em like I see 'em.  Tony Khan better sort this division out pronto.  Where is Jack Tunney when you need him?


Album Cover of the Whatever

Preeeeettttty.  That's the cover of The Sorrows of Centuries Past, a cool record by Ancestral Shadows.  Recommended to fans of early Emperor.  Also, preeeeettttty.


The Soda Jerk Rides Again: ALE-8

What happens when you find a couple of random, obscure soda pops in the wild?  You purchase them and you reanimate your ancient, calcified beverage column to write about them.  Ale-8 is not the eighth malt I've imbibed on this good day.  No, it's a citrus/ginger soda that was developed in the 1920's.  The peculiar name?  Well, creator (and bottler by trade) G.L. Wainscott held a contest to find the perfect eponym.  The moniker chosen was "A Late One," as in the latest in tasty drink technology.  Naturally, "Ale-8" became manifest, at least colloquially.  The full name is written as "Ale-8-One," but we don't use that language in this house.  Do you understand me?  So help me God, if I catch you...

...what happened?  I hit my head on a block of pixels.  Anyway, I think I was preparing to say that I was reticent to put my lips to a sleek decanter of bubbly water.  You may not recall, but the majority of my Soda Jerk reviews have been either tepid or negative.  My batting average isn't so hot, brother.  Sister?  Sorry, I'm a sexist.  And a racist.  JOKES!  THESE ARE JOKES!  Okay, I'm moving on.  I was pleasantly surprised by Ale-8.  It's not the most delicious swig in the known universe, but it does give you a cooling sensation.  It acts as a restorative roborant (tragic alliteration is tragic).

Specific notes of lime and ginger don't present themselves immediately.  At first, you're met with a general sweetness.  The aftertaste is where this tonic transforms into something distinct.  Normally, I'm not terribly partial to ginger ale, but I must admit, Ale-8 is a bit of alright.  I dig!  I may start drinking more ginger stuff, even the pale variant (Canada Dry, yo).  It's quite the mellow soda, which I appreciate.  Compared to a root beer, for instance, the carbonation is light.  It pairs well with pasta.  Granted, almost any liquid pairs well with pasta, but I just so happened to be enjoying a spaghetti dish when I sipped my Ale-8 and I don't have a bowl of complaints.

The packaging is fine.  Honestly, there isn't much to say.  Green and yellow makes sense, given the product.  Please forgive the wretched lighting in my photograph.  Light bulbs are irritating.


Sheiky Baby

This isn't a formal review, but last night, I caught 2014's The Sheik.  I'm fashionably late on this one.  At any rate, it's a bio(graphical)-doc(umentary) on Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri.  You may know him better as The Iron (fucking) Sheik.  For over a decade now, he has cultivated a brash, diverting persona on social media, but as the film illustrates, there is a real human being underneath the gimmick.  He's a very proud and very complex guy.  Every "old school" wrestler can account for Sheik's demons, as they all partied with him back in the day.  Shit, he did more blow than the entire guest list of Live-Aid.

Hmm, I'm not sure how I feel about a Live-Aid reference, but I'll leave it.  I would have liked to see more coverage of Sheik's post-WWF wrestling career.  His brief stop in WCW is omitted, and now that I'm ruminating my way through it, the doc glosses over his tag title run with Nikolai Volkoff.  The championships aren't even mentioned.  It seems to me that - barring the WWF title win over Bob Backlund - his only other reign (in American pro-wrestling, that is) would be significant enough to warrant an allusion.

Maybe that's just me being a nerd.  I dug the interviews.  The absence of a certain promoter was rather conspicuous, though.  Did they ask and he rebuffed?  Were they too intimidated to ask at all?  I doubt it.  I mean, The Rock is sprinkled liberally from end to end.  The Great One was great, by the way.  I don't know if I would describe The Sheik as great, but it's greatly proficient.  Well, I almost wrote a formal review, didn't I?  Fuck.  I'll probably take a few days off, but when I return, I will be carbonated.  Don't worry; it's not a hiatus.  Think of it as an extended guitar solo.


Fanta Orange is surprisingly delicious...

This isn't much of a post.  Sorry about that.  I just wanted to report that AEW's Double or Nothing was impossibly fun.  The crowd...wow.  That crowd was a draw!  Most of the matches worked.  By that, I mean they did what they were supposed to do.  Overall, the card was a tad bloated (I had to check out after hour three), but you have to believe this was a resounding success.  Kudos to Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.!  Why can't she be my dentist???  And why aren't all sodas available in those adorable mini cans???


Ginger Snaps

Poster found on Etsy.

Has it been twenty years already?  I remember reading about Ginger Snaps in the pages of Fangoria before it came out.  The film's novelty was readily apparent; its quality was not.  It could have sizzled and faded.  I had no idea that two decades later, it would be couched as a generational barbican from which other teen-centric genre affairs are judged.  Would it be improper to call it a contemporary of The Lost Boys?  How about The Craft?  Because I don't think so.  Granted, I didn't experience adolescence in the 80's and I was never a goth chick, but this lycanthropicture nails the ticklish discomfiture of tatterdemalion youth.

Wait, tatterdemalion?  Goddamn it, I'm throwing my thesaurus away.  What I'm getting at ~ I fancy Ginger Snaps.  It's excellent.  I'm not certain that a synopsis is necessary, but here goes nothing.  The Fitzgerald sisters are inseparable.  They are both ostracized at school, they are both mocked for their appearance, and they share a morbid, trenchant sense of humor.  "Dark" would be an understatement.  Hell, they often fantasize about their suicides ("Out by 16 or dead in the scene.").  Ginger, the slightly older sister, is blossoming into her catamenial cycle (forgive the dopey turn of phrase) a bit late, but she's still developing ahead of Brigitte.  As you can infer, Brigitte is the younger sibling, and she feels a twinge of resentment when she sees Ginger beginning to chum with boys.

See, that's what the best horror films establish.  Character!  These are people with personalities and stories to tell.  And that's without adding fucking werewolves to the mix.  While loitering past the bewitching hour, Ginger is attacked by a sinewy, brutish beast.  Ginger Snaps runs with one of the most clever metaphors in the history of horror cinema.  I don't need to drub your skullcap with the parallels of transformation that our titular lead undergoes, at once turning into a woman and a werewolf.  The script isn't too forceful with its subtext either.  We are given plenty of breathing room to find our own meaning and make our own connections.

There are so many damn things I love about this flick.  You don't have to be a teenaged girl to enjoy it.  Moreover, it never forgets that it's an old-fashioned monster mash.  The practical effects are tubular (props to director John Fawcett for taking an anti-CGI stance), the autumnal atmosphere is Halloween-ready, and the gore looks gory.  But is the acting up to snuff?  Um, yeah.  You will believe that Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle are sisters.  I want to go back to high school and hang out with them in an alternate dimension.  I mean, without the werewolf carnage.  Riveting!  Bruce Willis has done it again!  Magnificent!