Sweet Starchild o' Mine

Woah, it's been a few days since I last saw you.  I didn't fall off the edge of the world.  Promise!  I've been busy with a couple of side projects.  Does "buying nerdy habiliments" count as a side project?  Today, I slipped inside of a gnarly comic shop that was new to me.  I left with a stack of horror books and a KISS-themed magazine from 1985.  80's KISS is unfairly maligned.  Sure, their sound was homogenized, but those are infectious records.  If you don't sing along to the chorus of "Tears Are Falling," you have a serpentine soul.  And Paul Stanley is a sex kitten.

I'm not quite ready to officially announce it, but I've started a band with a buddy of mine.  Time is working against us, as we can only record on weekends.  However, we might have something you can sample in the next month or so.  Don't worry; I'm still planning on sailing the river Koontz.  I'm stretching the margins of this particular review series by including a sequel.  Feel that?  That's anticipation.



I'm a dog person.  That's important for you to know because my opinion may be colored by my affinity for cute canines.  I mean, I turn into a barmy, foaming twit whenever I see one in public.  Try as I might, I had a similar reaction to Furface, the hyper-intelligent pooch in 1988's Watchers.  Indulge me as I piece together a semi-coherent synopsis.  Scientists developing weapons of war chance upon precipitance when their research laboratory erupts in flames.  Two experimental subjects manage to escape unscathed.  Guinea Pig #1: A snuggly golden retriever described as a homing device.  Guinea Pig #2: The missile being guided, a bloodthirsty creature who instinctively hates his quadrupedal counterpart.

I'm fighting the urge to label Corey Haim as the third subject.  Aw, I'll be nice.  He tackles the role of Travis, your average teenager.  Furface hitches a ride in his pick-up truck, unwittingly painting a bright orange target on the backs of Travis and his mother.  The requisite girlfriend is caught in the crossfire.  Her father is mutilated by the aforementioned missile, which brings me to a lamentable drawback.  The kills are mostly dry and cut in a ponderous manner.  At times, I felt like I was watching the edited-for-TV version.  I've read reviews that poke fun at the monster suit, but I thought it was up to snuff.  Of course, I live on a strict diet of disgraceful scuzz.  I'm not exactly an unbiased judge.

The pacing is swift.  I was generally engrossed in the storyline, and despite the predictable outcome, I was invested in following the third act through to its denouement.  Why is this thing called Watchers?  Grand question.  I'm hoping that the source material does a better job of delineating the specifics of how the shadow-wreathed beastie was hatched.  For what it's worth, I've heard that this adaptation takes a plurality of liberties with the Koontz tome.  The novel doesn't even star Corey Haim.  Or Michael Ironside!  If I could read, I would be super pissed.

And I have nothing else to say.  Consider this an extended blood capsule.  On the whole, I enjoyed Watchers.  Y'know, I was up for the role of Furface, but Sandy (the mutt thespian) slept with the studio brass.  Heady play, bitch.



Album Cover of the Whatever

I know very little about Ocultan, but I know that's a rad album cover.  The band plays competent blackened death metal.  If you're into that sort of thing.


Koontz Bloody Koontz

Pretend that I made this announcement a few days ago.  As you can surmise from the brilliant title, I'm going to survey a handful of Dean Koontz adaptations.  Ol' Koontzy doesn't get as much love as King or Barker, but he has spewed worthwhile monster books into the world.  Keep an eye on this space!



The late 90's are known to horror historians (heh) for discharging slashers at an exhaustive rate, but there was another trend at work - monster movies!  It wasn't a successful trend.  I stagger to confab how it became a trend at all, and you may contend that there was no modish furor behind it, but these films did exist.  The Relic, Mimic, Deep Rising, Virus...they refused to be brushed off as mild alternatives for those of us who tired of masked assholes wielding acicular silverware.  In the end, they were brushed off at the box office.  Whether or not they found legs on home video is irrelevant 25 years later, at least as irrelevant as this opening paragraph.  Let's talk about 1998's Phantoms.

A young Ben Affleck stars as Sheriff Bryce Hammond, a former FBI agent investigating the designs behind a dropped call.  He finds a pair of sisters and precisely no one else.  The setting is a desolate, hibernal town in Colorado that has been plundered of life.  Residents?  Vanished.  Cars?  Empty.  Cadavers begin to accumulate, however, and there are no clues to be found.  This is where I'll chime in with a note of praise.  The first act is beautifully set up.  You would never guess that these establishing moments of austere doom were directed by the same guy who manned Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.  Could it be that, independent of intrusive studio fingers, Joe Chappelle is actually talented?  Go figure.

The flawless build is short-lived.  You can almost smell the spot in the script where it realizes (yes, it's sentient) that it might have to explain away the mystery it took such great care to constitute.  We never get a clear answer.  What kind of heavy are we dealing with here?  Um, it's ancient!  How does it attack?  Um, off-screen!  How does it know the name of a random scholar, the exquisite Peter O'Toole?  Um, it's ancient!  Other points of uncertainty are left dangling.  Like Deputy Stu.  I don't mind Liev Schreiber, but what's up with this fucker?  He's the most childish, featherbrained cop in existence.  We are led to believe that he's under the influence of "phantoms," but I'm calling bullshit.

The CGI is spotty, though my nostalgia has intensified to where I'm almost fond of those bumbling, graceless varmints.  Would it be presumptuous to claim that early CGI spectacles are my generation's half-baked redactions of stop-motion effects?  It's something to chew on (and spit out).  The ending is scientific drivel.  Our ancient enemy is ravaged by a compound used to combat oil spills or some fucking shit.  There is room left for a sequel, but mercifully, it's been radio silence on that front.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I'm genuinely happy for Bennifer."



Quick note...

I realize that many, many things happened at last night's Summerslam, but I think we can all agree that the return of Io...er, Iyo Sky was the most significant moment of the evening.  We CAN all agree, right?  Just let me be happy.  I'll be honest; I didn't watch the bulk of the PPV.  Thus, I don't have much to say.  Edge's return was telegraphed, which isn't a drawback.  The fans called for him, so they should get him.  Likewise, the "WWE universe" is more comfortable with Becky Lynch as a full-fledged babyface.

It will take time for Triple H to steer his ship out of moiling, tempestuous waters, but we're already seeing the fruits of his labor.  For once, I'm hopeful.


The Anti-Review

Normally, I shun requests, but I entertained the notion of tackling 2018's The VelociPastor.  I was curious to see if it had the balls to approach its zany concept with earnestness and some degree of gravity.  It didn't.  It's still entertaining, though.  Unfortunately, it's review-proof.  The VelociPastor knows that it's a joke, so any holes I tried to poke in its pulmonary cavity would be dubious at best.  I feel like a failure!

I'm going to take a couple of days to rest my skull, but I'll return with a five-part review series that looks at...well, I shouldn't give it away.  Don't worry; it's not interesting.


Geek Out #155

You'll hear heshers defend their gatekeeping ways by insisting that you couldn't possibly understand because "you weren't there."  Oh, a hesher is a dyed-in-the-wool heavy metal adherent, usually associated with 80's thrash.  What does that have to do with The Mangler?  Well, I've often (maybe once) been asked why I've subjected myself to the film on multiple occasions.  My answer is simple, and it has nothing to do with laundry liturgy.  To be frank, you weren't there.  You weren't there, man!

1995 was the last year I can remember where flaky, ham-fucked b-movies could be given wide theatrical releases.  Imagine it.  Movies as splashy and preposterous as Tales From the Hood, Species, and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (eek) were consumed on a global level.  The infestation was widespread.  Clearly, The Mangler is deficient entertainment, but it's a token from a bygone era.  And I was there.  You wouldn't understand!