Parts Unknown #93: Smackdown

Does this count as a go-home show? Regardless, it was average. We're starting to see fresh faces on Smackdown, and I, for one, couldn't be happier.


~ I loved the verbal exchange between Cody and Booker. They should have scheduled the match for a certain PPV (starts with "Roy" and ends with "al Rumble"), but this has been an engaging feud all the same. I'm somewhat of a Goldust mark, so I ejaculated on my orphan slave when his entrance music blared throughout the arena. Nice touch. For the record, my orphan slave was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was nothing personal.

~ The Ted DiBiase/Jinder Mahal match. It was well-paced, well-timed and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. He may be weighed down with a one-note gimmick, but I dig what Mahal brings to the table.

~ Tamina's superkick.

~ So they're finally doing something with Drew McIntyre. Losing to Big Zeke isn't an ideal way to charge out of the gate (especially for a lad who was once "preordained" to emerge as the cream of the crop), but hey, it's...something.


~ I don't mean to deprecate Hunico, but another Latin tag team? Really? What's the deal? And why are they trying to pass off Haku's son as a Mexican? Are they going to feud with Primo and Epico? If so, why are they heels? This doesn't add up. Look, you know me. You know that I'm game for new tag teams, but this is analogous to debuting The Smoking Gunns a mere month after debuting The New Blackjacks.

~ What are they doing with Daniel Bryan? Why is The Big Show feuding with David Otunga? Why is Mark Henry hellbent on evening the score with Mr. Wight instead of focusing on reclaiming the World Heavyweight Championship?

~ Keep Hornswoggle as far away from Sheamus as humanly possible. Their little skit was fatal. The Great White should be challenging for the belt right now, but who is he beginning to quarrel with? Heath fucking Slater.

~ No Uso's.

Well, Orton is on the sidelines. The future is bleak for Friday nights. Hopefully, The Undertaker will rise from the dead and give casual wrestling fans a reason to tune into Smackdown. A returning Y2J will help, but I imagine that he will be a mainstay on Raw. Where is The Missing Link when you need him?


Blood Capsule #2

CRY-BABY (1990)

I wish that John Waters was my grandfather. How could any self-respecting exponent of off-kilter cinema turn their nose up at the man who bedizened the art of exploitation? In my opinion, Pink Flamingos is the best underground movie of all time. Even the peaches-and-cream escapades that were spitballed out of John's "mainstream" era are leagues above the Hollywood botches that pass as crowd pleasers in 2011 (oh, Happy New Year...or whatever). Cry-Baby was the last film he dished out that could be considered fun for the whole family. Rival gangs butt heads over a fair-haired chick-a-dee who can't decide whether she's a Drape (Depp's clique of leather-bound heathens) or a Square (the jejune and the righteous, her grandmother's ilk).

This is basically Grease, only less annoying. It's not terribly unique, but it gets by on presentation and personality. The characters are memorable, the pace is lively and the girls are sweltering. When Traci Lords appears on screen, I don't see or hear anything else. My God. Shortcomings? There are too many musical numbers, but bear in mind, I'm not big on musicals. I'm too hep.


Matches That Time Forgot #26

I come bearing gifts. To be more specific, here is an entire episode of Monday Night Raw from 1993. Today's match that time forgot starts at the 10-minute mark (I couldn't find it in a clip by itself). Needless to say, all 45 minutes are worth sitting through, but I'm going to blab about the tag team contest between Tatanka/The Nasty Boys and Shawn Michaels/The Beverly Brothers. The actual tag teams on display were loitering at this point. Dallying and dawdling, if you will. The Nasty's left for WCW shortly after 'Mania, and The Beverly's...well, were they ever relevant?

The interesting story concerns the other two talents in action. As we all know, Shawn and Tatanka worked one of the better matches at Wrestlemania IX. On second thought, it was actually the highlight of the much-maligned PPV, but did you know that Tatanka was initially supposed to win the IC strap in Las Vegas? It would have made sense. He was still undefeated, and aside from Bret Hart, he was eliciting louder pops than the majority of his fellow babyfaces. For whatever reason, his career took a brusque nosedive heading into 1994. Perhaps a midcard title reign would have launched him into the main event. Who knows?


The Resurrected

I don't read (I'm too fucking A.D.D. to lose myself in a book), but if I did, I would most certainly have the works of H.P. Lovecraft under my belt. His most vocal partisans cite 1992's The Resurrected as the best cinematic adaptation of one of his unearthly yarns. Ostensibly, this Dan O'Bannon feature is faithful to its source material, a novella entitled "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." But I wouldn't know anything about that. I can only judge the film in question on its own merits. While From Beyond holds a special place in my purulent heart, I don't mind going on record as saying that The Resurrected is the sweetest piece of Lovecraftian ass that I have tapped to date.

Woah, I didn't mean to wander into Arrow territory. Sorry, Ike (it's an in-joke...let's move on). I hesitate to disclose too many plot specifics, but all you need to know is that a nonplussed woman enlists the help of a private investigator to find out what her husband has been up to. You see, he has been acting strange and conducting strange experiments in a makeshift laboratory. Strangely. I wouldn't be comfortable divulging any more information than that. At its core, The Resurrected is a mystery, and half of the fun hinges on the viewer being ignorant to the script's crowning twists. The storyline kept me on my toes. Impressive, seeing as how I can't even stand. Zing!

I wish that Dan O'Bannon had directed more movies during his laureate career. This genre treat (as well as his rookie endeavor, the almighty Return of the Living Dead) proves that he had a keen eye for striking visuals. Here, he plays with darkness in a clever way that would be aped countless times after the turn of the millennium (cue up The Descent, Pitch Black or any other horror flick involving the absence of light). We also get substance with our style. The acting is first-rate, the characters are believable and the acting is first-rate. Yes, I repeated myself. Chris Sarandon owns the fuck out of his role as Charles Dexter Ward.

Seriously. His tortuous, layered performance might be my favorite thing about The Resurrected. I never thought that the guy who portrayed the dapper vampire in Fright Night could pull off a prickly, misanthropic Herbert West type, but guess what? He does! His co-stars are just as talented. Ross's lesbian ex-wife from Friends is sympathetic as the heroine of sorts. I'm sure that she has a name. The pace is methodical, and truth be told, I enjoyed the patient exposition. However, the running time is ever so slightly distended. Lend me a pair of scissors, and I would evict 5-10 minutes worth of excess padding.

I forgot to mention the rad stop-motion effects. Cripes, The Resurrected rocks! If you haven't heard of it, I can't say that I blame you, but you should buy it pronto. End of.



It's been a long, depressing day, but I'll post a movie review tomorrow. Fucking Christmas, man.


Goldberg knows when you are sleeping...

This may come as a shock to some of my readers, but I never get movies for Christmas. The movies I want can only be bought online, and most of my immediate family members don't know how to operate a computer. The upside is that I get a lot of gift cards around the holidays. In fact, Santa gave me an eBay gift card this year, which I'll probably spend on movies. The coolest present I received was an Ultimate Warrior action figure (it's from WWE'S Defining Moments series). He is wearing his multi-hued entrance attire from Wrestlemania XII. Fucking SWEET!

What did you get me for X-Mas???


Album Cover of the Week


Parts Unknown #92: Smackdown

Unify the titles. Quick.


~ While I feel that it's too soon to give Daniel Bryan a major title, I'm not going to complain about it. However, this does expose the Smackdown roster as an inventory of "b" talents (the obvious exception being Randy Orton). The title picture is fucking weak. Either unify the top belts or send a couple of Raw guys over to the blue brand. Oh, right...this is a pro, isn't it? I dug the opening segment. It created enough tension to where you could buy a heel turn from Show or Bryan.

~ The Ryder/Rhodes match. They might as well milk Booker's last run as an in-ring competitor for all it's worth. Plus, it perpetuates Zack's hot streak without saddling the Intercontinental Champion with a clean loss.

~ Sheamus pinning The Miz's shoulders to the mat. I don't care for The Awesome One.

~ The match between Primo and Kofi Kingston was sick. These two gentleman (and the tag teams that they represent) have quietly been tearing down the house for two weeks straight.

~ The main event(s). I want to see Bryan and Ziggler work a 60-minute Iron Man match.


~ We needed to see The Uso's, and more importantly, The Uso's needed to be seen. A run-in would suffice. Maybe they save Air Boom from a post-match beatdown. Use your heads, creative team. You have got to push your best tag team to the next level. Those Samoan pups can only do so much with senseless booking.

~ Did they have to ruin the main event by turning it into a typical tag match? It could have been a Match of the Year candidate.

~ Aksana? Fuck off.

All in all, this was a strong episode of Smackdown. And that's all you need to know.


Panels From Beyond the Grave #13

I realize that I haven't written a comic book review in awhile, but hopefully, I'll knock one out early next year. Until then, please enjoy another issue of Panels From Beyond the Grave sent in by part-time RR Inc. contributor Bob Ignizio (visit his movie blog HERE).

SWAMP THING (#4, February 2012)

I've been meaning to return to the horror titles in DC's New 52 since I covered Batwoman #1 a few months back, but got sidetracked. I'm getting back on this time around with one of my favorite titles to come out of the DC relaunch so far: Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing. In an odd editorial decision (considering that the New 52 was supposed to make jumping into the DC comics universe easy for new readers), the company decided to bring Swampy back into the fold a few months before the New 52 launched.

To make matters worse, they did it in a really cheesy and convoluted way, first having the character act as a deus ex machina in the conclusion of their "Brightest Day" maxi-series, and then following it up with the amazingly bland "Search for Swamp Thing" mini-series. Frankly, it didn't bode well for the character. But leave it to Scott Snyder, one of the best writers currently working in the biz, to take those lemons and make exceptionally tasty lemonade.

The main thing readers need to know about the new Swamp Thing is that, for now at least, he's a flesh-and-blood human being. Specifically, he's Alec Holland, a botanist who - in the original series - died in a lab explosion only to have his memories and personality serve as a template for a big, shambling Earth elemental. Now that Holland is back among the living, he finds that he possesses the memories of the previous Swamp Thing. It's a twist that turns Alan Moore's classic run on the series upside down.

Instead of a walking vegetable that remembers being a man, we have a man who remembers being a walking vegetable. Despite these unwanted memories, Holland is just trying to lead a normal life. However, The Green, the elemental force that created the previous Swamp Thing as well as others throughout history, wants Holland to become its new champion. Apparently, he was meant to do so originally, but since he died, The Green was forced to replicate him the best they could, resulting in the Swamp Thing whose adventures fans followed in DC/Vertigo comics for many years.

As the fourth issue begins, Alec Holland has met up with the previous Swamp Thing's girlfriend, Abigail Arcane. Both Abby and her younger brother, William, are tied to another elemental force known as The Rot, which seeks to bring death to the world. Abby is fighting her destiny, but William has embraced his. Just as Earth elementals like Swamp Thing have the ability to control plant life, servants of The Rot have the power to control dead matter. And not just completely dead either. Even something as minor as a bit of dead skin or a dead tooth can be manipulated in living beings. We see this illustrated in spectacularly gruesome fashion in the first few pages of this issue. As with the best past issues of Swamp Thing, the horror here is genuinely creepy and chilling on a visceral, yet intellectual level.

Swamp Thing #4 then spends a good bit of time on exposition, explaining the ages-old battle between The Rot, The Green and another elemental force representing animal life called The Red (The Red factors heavily in fellow DC title Animal Man). This kind of stuff can easily bring a story to a screeching halt, but Snyder is too good a writer to let it get boring. It also helps that artist Marco Rudy, filling in for regular penciler Yanick Paquette, does a great job with the visuals.

Even though there is an awful lot of verbiage here, the art has a power and sense of movement to it. Surprisingly, given the degree to which continuity is important on this series, I think a new reader could start here and have a pretty good idea of what was going on. Snyder does a good job inserting the most pertinent past details into the present story in a natural way that gets readers up to speed while still smoothly moving forward.

I know that some long-time fans of Swamp Thing (of which I am one) were concerned at seeing the character returned to the mainstream DC universe, complete with superheroes and all. Well, those folks can rest easy. This is a full-on horror book, and although it may not carry a “mature readers” label, this is every bit as edgy and sophisticated as Moore's work. And remember, Moore had The Spectre, Deadman, The Phantom Stranger and The Demon guest-star several times during his tenure on Swamp Thing, and even had a notable guest appearance by Superman in one issue.

Swamp Thing is also one of the few titles in the New 52 that has kept all of its previous history, so you don't have to worry about your favorite stories from the past not mattering any more. At the same time, the character is starting off fresh in many ways, and knowledge of previous stories is in no way essential to enjoy what's going on now. I wish something could be done to change the cheesy explanation for Alec Holland's resurrection, but aside from that one annoying detail, this is a first-rate horror comic.



It's been awhile since I reviewed a shot-on-video horror film. I can't imagine why. For better or worse, I am rectifying my tactless neglect as it relates to handheld b-movies. When it comes to this underground estuary of cinematic mildew, there is no middle ground. Titles can range from the totally tubular (Video Violence, Cannibal Campout) to the radically rancid (Shatter Dead, Five Dead on the Crimson Canvas). While I don't intend on sticking with surfer slang, I will say that 1993's Goblin is a bummer, man. I wanted the movie on the front of the box. Instead, I had to settle for the movie inside of the box.

Ever heard of Todd Sheets? Apparently, he is the king of shot-on-video splatter flicks. Goblin is just one of twenty-eight feature-length SOV (yeah, I'm abbreviating now) cheapies that he has sired. I like to think of him as the third Polonia brother. His passion for the genre could be sluiced through every pore of this no-budget grandstand. Miners use sluicegates to wash ore. You see, a sluice is an inclined trough with riffles on the bottom to trap heavy particles. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China, you ask? Don't change the subject. Anyway, Goblin was a labor of love, and it certainly has its heart in the right place.

That's the only positive thing that I can bring myself to type about it. Sheets proves that you don't need money to craft an engaging motion picture; you need all of the other stuff that he lacks. A sense of pacing, believable dialogue, a coherent plot, well-rounded characters, a basic understanding of editing (what it is, how it works, etc.)...when you buy Goblin, they don't tell you that these vital habiliments are sold separately. I haven't bothered with a synopsis yet because there isn't much of a story to impart. A couple moves into a house. A monster kills their friends. The couple seeks help from their new nextdoor neighbor. The neighbor - without flinching - explains, "Yeah, it's a goblin."

Literally! That's what happens! The mentally handicapped script wouldn't be an issue if Goblin was the least bit entertaining. Apart from a couple of amusing death sequences (the kills are shot in the style of Violent Shit...yippee?), I found the final product to be gut-fuckingly boring. The film comes to a screeching halt at the halfway mark to follow a soon-to-be corpse that we haven't had the (dis)pleasure of meeting as he walks around in the dark for ten minutes. Good grief. To add insult to injury, the "creature" effects are risible at best. Look, it's obvious that the cast and crew had a blast on the set of this mishap, so I'm being somewhat generous with my rating.

PS-It would be two full Z'Dar's if the trashy blonde took her top off.


Geek Out #39

I found a lengthy Lucio Fulci interview on YouTube (subtitled!). Consider it an early X-Mas present. To see the rest, simply search for it. You lazy prick, you.



In 2011, half of Bush reunited and released a mediocre album. I think it was called Gwen, Honey, Why Should I Record a Soulless Solo Album When I Can Cash in and Record a Soulless Bush Album? or something like that. I'm putting my metalhead credentials on the line here, but up until their azoic, disreputable "comeback," I dug Bush. Then again, I listen to a lot of the post-grunge bands that critics sneered at following the untimely passing of Kurt Cobain. Say what you want about Gavin Rossdale, but he knows how to write a tuneful rock song. Admit it; "Everything Zen," "Little Things" and "Greedy Fly" are memorable jams. Admit it, I say!

I could have reviewed Sixteen Stone, Bush's squillion-selling debut that propelled some of the most overplayed radio hits of the 90's (if I hear "Machinehead" one more time, I swear to God), and I very nearly did. However, I thought it would be more interesting to survey 2002's Golden State. Sonically, it's a meat-and-potatoes hard rock album that strips away much of the mechanized experimentation of 1999's The Science of Things. Gone are the cold industrial flourishes of ditties such as "The Chemicals Between Us" and "Letting the Cables Sleep." This is no-frills grunge. Yes, grunge. It would have been huge in 1995.

Of course, it slipped under the radar, and I can't understand why. Was it the marketing? Rap metal was already dying a humiliating death, so I can't point the finger at Limp Bizkit or Crazy Town. Hell, Bush was still popular when "Nookie" was in heavy rotation on MTV. So what gives? I'll leave infecund scrutiny to the scholars. I'd rather talk about the individual tracks on Golden State. "Solutions" and "Headful of Ghosts" are slow-burners, yet they constitute the opening ceremonies. They didn't infect me at first, but now, they are permanently etched into my brain. Talk about deceiving melodies. You'll be humming these choruses for days.

"The People That We Love" is an instant classic. Seriously, it's just as good as "Everything Zen," which is why it was chosen to be the first single. "Superman" and "Hurricane" are catchy mid-tempo numbers that occupy the midsection of Golden State. We don't hear a ballad until "Inflatable," and holy smegma, it's gorgeous. Maybe I'm a pussy, but if I imbibed enough vodka, I could put this fucker on repeat and cry myself to sleep. Other highlights include the frantic "Reasons," the expressive "Out of This World" and the groove-centric "Float." We even get a fuming, meteoric punk song in the form of "My Engine is With You."

On the dark side of the moon, Gavin's vocal patterns/intonations begin to blend together towards the end of the record. His bag of tricks is only so spacious. And I still haven't warmed up to "Fugitive" or "Land of the Living." There is nothing innovative here, and if you don't care for Bush, you won't care for Golden State. This isn't the kind of band that will win over a naysayer with warped time signatures or meticulous guitar solos. But hey, I have fun revisiting their first four efforts. This one, in particular, failed to catch on with the mainstream, but at least it sounds like Bush. That's more than I can say for The Sea of Memories. Blech.


Matches That Time Forgot #25

Time hasn't forgotten many matches involving the four men that I'm spotlighting today. I bet you didn't know that they all wrestled each other, though. Here we have a tag team match from the territory days. It's Jerry Lawler/"Macho Man" Randy Savage versus Rick Rude/King Kong Bundy. I know, right? This match took place in 1984 before any of these gentlemen entered a WWF ring. Top reasons to watch...

- The pre-match promo. Savage randomly walks in front of the camera and heaves a cloud of confetti into the air. Why? Because he's fucking awesome.

- Bundy was an underrated worker. As far as monster heels are concerned, he was more technically sound than most.

~ Double axe-handle galore. This match proves that Savage was a self-made superstar. He already had the look, the catchphrases and the move set by the time Vince found him.

~ Lawler's piledriver.

Oh, and Rick Rude isn't so bad either.


Album Cover of the Week

Shut up. It's a cool cover.


Parts Unknown #91: Smackdown

Parts Unknown is back and in full effect! For the time being (READ: until Raw stops sucking), this column will exclusively focus on Smackdown. It's nice to see you again, blue brand. I haven't figured out why your writing team is more sensible than the blundering rubes behind Raw, but why ask why?


~ Booker T can still cut a promo. I love how they are building up to this match. While the outcome may seem like a foregone conclusion, this feud has been an effective one. Don't be surprised if Cody and Booker steal the show tomorrow night.

~ The Rhodes/Bryan match. The finishing counter was sweet. However, The American Dragon needs to move on and spar with someone that he can dominate.

~ Primo and Epico have new ring gear! I can't believe it; there are three legitimate tag teams in the WWE. You've got the right idea, Vince/Hunter. Keep at it. The match itself (against my Uso's) was solid. I understand why P&E picked up the victory (Air Boom needs to drop the titles to a pair of heels), but I hope that Fatu's offspring gain momentum heading into 2012. With the right booking, they could be over in a major way. I say, give them a lovable manager...perhaps their father?

~ To be blunt, I'm not interested in the Big Show/Mark Henry rivalry, but I'll give credit where credit is due. Show managed to work smoothly with Jack Swagger. But I'm not interested in Swagger either.

~ I'll admit it. Ted DiBiase is decent as a babyface. Jinder Mahal's interference was weird, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. At least they didn't axe him after Khali decided to go home.

~ The main event. Yep.


~ Another Diva's match, another roll-up win. What the fuckety-fuck? I'm starting to dig Alicia Fox. She's athletic enough, but what's the story here? What are they doing? You can't base a division on 2-minute matches, and Fox will never amount to anything with the shit they're feeding her ("You're synthetic and pathetic."). And why do they insist on burying Natalya? Inexcusable, every bit of it.

See you next Saturday! Well, I'll see you before Saturday because I update the site on a daily basis, but you know what I mean.


Monster X Strikes Back

This movie is almost as random as this site. By default, I have to like it. It's just...I don't even...maybe I should fill you in on the oddity that is Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit. Remember 1967's The X From Outer Space, a kaiju reel about a Martian spore that mutated into a giant chicken lizard? Probably not. It was released in America by AIP (yes, the same company that financed all of those Corman-flavored Poe adaptations), but it has since decamped into the folds of time. I rented it years ago, and I had fun with it. I thought that the monster was cool enough to deserve another stab at cinematic immortality. Apparently, I wasn't alone.

Meet 2008's Monster X Strikes Back. It's not a remake. It's not an official sequel, although it's beginning to be accepted as canon. So what the hell is it? I don't know. Technically, it's a parody that borrows its baddie from another film. This has happened before. 1981's Scared to Death and 1990's Syngenor share the same creature, but apart from cosmetic similitude, the two productions have nothing in common. Now, I won't say that this low-budget raillery improves upon its "source material" because I'm dealing with apples and oranges. The X From Outer Space was a formal, stone-faced sci-fi undertaking; Monster X Strikes Back is a self-aware spoof. They're both entertaining for different reasons.

When leaders from around the world are summoned to discuss political issues at the G8 Summit, an enormous alien invades Japan. Of course, Japan just happened to be the host country for that year's Summit. The high-ranking dignitaries take turns plotting the annihilation of their uninvited guest, but they fail in humorous, yet catastrophic ways (the script actually puts a fresh spin on how we perceive the death toll in a genre film of this nature). Like most comedies, some of the jokes bomb, but I did laugh quite a few times. The humor tickles you with stupidity and cartoonish stereotypes.

You can tell that Monster X Strikes Back was born out of a love for classic kaiju tropes. It may be a parody, but it never struck me as a condescending jab at horror nerds. Having said that, it's far from perfect. The second act loses sight of the main objective. It becomes too sappy, and the pace keels over to pad the running time. While the special effects are cheap in a charming way, I wasn't crazy about Take-Majin's suit. I wasn't crazy about the design either. Try to imagine a golden statue with the visage of George Lopez. Yuck. Lopez be damned, I'm recommending Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit. I'm also recommending The X From Outer Space. Make it a double feature.


Thanks a lot, flu shot!

I'm battling a mild case of "head and throat full of crap" disease, but I shall return tomorrow with a movie review. The weekend has a Smackdown review in store for you. I'll be posting a music review on either Sunday or Monday. And then, um, I don't know yet.

Feel free to donate to the site. In the meantime, I'm going to heal myself with prayer and chicken soup (pictured above).


The Red and Black Attack

I whine a lot on this site, especially when it comes to the WWE. If you've read any of my recent wrestling columns, you know that I'm disgusted with the current state of the product. It's not just nostalgia either. The writing/booking was simply more effective when I was a teenager. It makes sense that the most promising angle on Raw involves an "old school" character. Everything about the new and improved Kane screams mid-90's WWF. The hokey ring attire, the overkill approach to the mask ("Oh, shit! It's Predator! Tell Cena to get to the nearest choppa!"), the evocative entrance music...IT'S FUCKING KILLER. And it's precisely what the WWE needs right now.

I watched wrestling as a wee one, but it wasn't until the Attitude Era kicked in that I became a WWF junkie. WCW didn't register for me. Hell, it didn't even exist in my little world. Like most sprouting horror freaks, I gravitated towards the dark side of the roster. In other words, I was an Undertaker mark. Okay, I'm still an Undertaker mark, but strangely enough, The Phenom wasn't my favorite wrestler in High School. No, I was a full-blown Kanenite. Why? Bear in mind, I was naive and credulous. I didn't want to believe that wrestling was scripted, and for years, I bought into Kane's outlandish backstory. That may be hard for younger fans to swallow, but hey, kayfabe wasn't a lost cause in those days. Plus, I was 13, so lay off.

I saw Kane as a tragic figure, a sympathetic monster comparable to Frankenstein's creation and King Kong. In early 1998, he was an unstable wreck after being forsaken by Paul Bearer. He had no one to turn to, so he fell for the first person who showed him affection. Remember Tori? That bitch. How could she take advantage of him like that? Don't get me started on X-Pac. You can see how an impressionable 13-year-old would get wrapped up in the soapy storylines. Of course, I eventually grew up. Once I realized that Raw was a predetermined, well-rehearsed show, my relationship with professional wrestling soured.

Looking back, it's frustrating to see that Kane was never given a fair shake. His first title reign lasted all of twenty-four hours. His older brother dominated every feud, which makes you wonder why they bothered building Kane up to be a dauntless, fire-eating demon in the first place. Was the character merely concocted to make 'Taker look better? If so, did Glen Jacobs ever have a shot at headlining PPV's? Last year, he was handed a lengthy title reign, but it almost came across as a proverbial pity fuck. Some fans insist that Jacobs hasn't done anything to deserve a push. They say he can't work, he can't talk, he can't move...I dub thee bullshit!

In my opinion, Jacobs is one of the most underrated talents in the business. He can still go, and for a man his age/size, he's in great shape. I honestly don't know what his detractors are seeing. Promo skills? Shit, The Big Red Machine can emote circles around 75% of the banal amateurs that populate the midcard. But those are just my two cents. I'll end this editorial by avowing that Kane should end The Undertaker's streak at Wrestlemania 28. Deep down, you know I'm right.


And the Slammy for "Worst Opening Segment" goes to...

So I stop watching Raw after two hours of UNBELIEVABLY SHITTY SHIT, and I miss Kane's return? Are you kidding??? Fuck you, WWE! Yeah, I've seen the video online, but it's not the same as catching it live. Motherfuck.

Clearly, I'm not reviewing Raw today. I'm considering jumping back to Smackdown and swearing off the red brand for the foreseeable future. Speaking of red things, I will be posting my Kane retrospective tomorrow. That's also where you will find my thoughts on last night's epic return.


Geek Out #38

If anyone knows where I can find the original Japanese cut of Half Human, let me know. This trailer advertises the butchered American version. I'm dying to see the film as it was intended to be seen. For those wondering, this was the project that Ishiro Honda tackled after helming Gojira.



I'm a fan of Freddie Francis. He directed a number of Amicus anthologies, the most notable being Tales From the Crypt (incidentally, Torture Garden and Dr. Terror's House of Horrors are also worth scoping out). He knew how to craft a toothsome genre treat, and I think that's why I was disappointed in Girly. I was slabbering for sweet horror candy, but Francis snuck an apple into my trick-or-treat bag when I wasn't looking, worm in tow. Allow me to explain my mincing, self-aggrandizing analogy. Girly isn't much of a horror flick. It's barely exploitative, which wouldn't have been a problem if I wasn't all psyched up for an abject bloodbath. I mean, look at the DVD cover!

I was hoping to get down and dirty with a grindhouse-style b-cheapie, but in short, Girly is a suggestive black comedy. The story deals with an affluent British family comprised of a dainty matriarch (Mumsy), her chambermaid (Nanny), her voyeuristic son (Sonny) and her amorous tart of a daughter (Girly). They like to think of themselves as a perfect family. The only thing missing is a father figure. The quick fix? Every once in awhile, Mumsy sends her dear children out to fetch vagrants and stewed gutterpups to fill in as the reluctant "man of the house." If the victim refuses to be a plaything or tries to escape, the family partakes in a rousing game that usually ends in a fatality.

We only see the (20-year-old) kids abduct two hapless men. The pace is stubborn. Almost nothing happens for prolonged stretches of time. I dig black comedies, but this one isn't particularly funny. We're supposed to laugh at how demented the characters are, but that's just a single gag. And it only goes so far. Despite vapid dialogue, Vanessa Howard is divine as the titular strumpet. She has "jailbait" written all over her. The rest of the cast is adroit, even if they aren't as yummy as Howard. Y'know, taken out of context, that sentence is troubling. I could be talking about anyone. Howard Stern, Howard Finkel, Howard the Duck...well, I concede that Howard the Duck is pretty fucking yummy.

Francis shoots the script with a firm hand. The scenery is comely, the cinematography is crisp and he manages to drum up suspense in the absence of hawkish violence (Girly is surprisingly intimidating when she is brandishing a pool cue). Still, this flick failed to dazzle me on a gut level. The plot holes didn't help matters. The main hostage (credited as New Friend) doesn't try too hard to flee his captors, and from where I'm sitting, he never seemed terribly disturbed by his surroundings. Does he realize that he was snatched up by sociopaths? Girly makes for an okay rental on a slow weekend, but if you want to get acquainted with the works of Freddie Francis, I would start somewhere else.


Album Cover of the Week


Matches That Time Forgot #24

2007 was the last decent year for WWE's tag team division. I have the proof. This match involves Londrick (the most underrated tag team in the past decade) and The World's Greatest Tag Team. But it's a 6-man contest. Joining the babyfaces is none other than...Cody Rhodes? The hell? He looks more out of place than a vagina in a Goldust sex tape. Joining the heels is none other than...Daivari? Was this match booked with a dartboard? Probably, but it serves its purpose. It should have kickstarted an epic feud between Londrick and WGTT, but both teams were unceremoniously torn asunder in 2008.

Because no one cares about tag teams, right? Right???


Blood Capsule #1

New feature alert! I don't review every film that I see. There are various reasons for that. For one, it may be something that I've written about before (I had amassed a wealth of horror movie reviews before I put this site together). Or maybe I don't have anything interesting to say. In some cases, I'll refrain from reviewing a certain flick because I have too many irons in the fire. So what is a blood capsule, you may ask? It's a mini-review of a motion picture that, for whatever reason, I won't be devoting four paragraphs to. You can expect a new capsule every 8-12 days. Giddyup!


This Lee/Cushing collaboration just made its debut on Blu-ray. The film is just as wonky and diverting as I remember. Surprisingly, the image quality leaves much to be desired. There is an abundance of print scratches, and the colors are preposterously bright. At one point, I was bedeviled by a sustained close-up of the sun until I realized it was Terry Savalas's scalp. Don't upgrade your DVD collections just yet, fellow cinephiles. Of course, the movie is what matters, and Horror Express is one of the best Hammer productions that Hammer had nothing to do with.

An alien caveman (astro-erectus?) pesters a train full of important people. We get eidetic eye fluid, random zombies, hints of espionage, witty dialogue (Cushing is rewarded with the funniest lines), gnarly creature make-up, brazen gore, stunning exterior shots and a Satanic priest. Don't miss it.


Pal Plug

Friend of the site Todd Crawford just created an Artist page on Facebook, and he wants you to "like" it. Todd is a published author who is wise beyond his years. If you're into trippy sci-fi fiction, you might dig his work. He actually reminds me of myself when I was a teenager, so I don't mind promoting his latest endeavors. Plus, he knows his way around anal beads.

Click HERE!

PS-New column. Tomorrow.


"Your brother is coming!"

For those wondering why I haven't mentioned the abstruse Kane vignettes in my wrestling columns, it's because I have something up my sleeve. I've been a Kane mark since I was a teenager, and his upcoming "resurrection" gives me a good reason to write an editorial about The Big Red Machine. I'll explain why I love the character and why I feel that Glen Jacobs is one of the most underrated workers in the business. I'm going to wait until Kane makes his triumphant return before I post this piece. And yes, if he returns with the mask (or any mask), my wheelchair will explode.

Parts Unknown #90: Raw

No. No, no, no, no. No!


~ The Miz and Randy Orton have worked together before, so their match was going to run smoothly. That's a given. I'm not crazy about making your top babyface look like a moron, though. "Damn, a count-out? How did that happen???"

~ The idea of pitting John Cena against Zack Ryder. The idea, not the execution.

~ Ziggler and Sheamus are aces. What else is new?


~ Oh my fuck. Somehow, "creative" has managed to center Zack Ryder's push around John Cena. I'm absolutely sick of Cena's good guy act. If he was actually selfless, he would have done the clean job. Winning a match for Zack Ryder is not tantamount to putting Zack Ryder over. If anything, it made Zack look weak. Do they think that this will curb the booing? Cena haters will never stop booing the guy, and this is a prime example of why. Awful booking.

~ Gee, another Daniel Bryan loss. What was the point?

~ Kelly Kelly's roll-up victory. It's almost as if the WWE has thrown in the towel as it relates to the Diva's division. For cum's sake, Pin-Up Strong's video package was interrupted by Jericho's vignette (let's not kid ourselves; we all know it's Y2J), and the commentators didn't even acknowledge it.

~ And here I thought that Kevin Nash would be working a match. Predictable. It's pretty sad that Diesel hasn't added a single move to his repertoire since 1995.

~ Punk still rules, but he couldn't save the bland contract signing.

In conclusion, no.


Panels From Beyond the Grave #12

I bring to you another comic review courtesy of part-time Random Reviews Incorporated contributor Bob Ignizio (click HERE to visit his blog). Fair warning...this review will make you spend money. After reading Bob's gushing praise of this issue of The Goon, I am bound and determined to find a copy. You can't argue with five Savage's!

THE GOON (#36, November 2011)

Everything I knew about The Goon made it sound like my kind of comic book. I even picked up a reprint of the first issue for a dollar, and yup, it was my kind of comic book. And yet for some reason, I didn't immediately start buying up subsequent issues or even add the title to my pull list. I finally checked in with the series again with the most recent issue, number 36, and from now on, I'm mending my ways and signing up for regular installments of writer/artist Eric Powell's potent blend of classic comic strip art, pulp action heroics, monsters, zombies and sexy sirens.

The best thing about this particular issue of The Goon is that it requires absolutely no prior knowledge to enjoy, nor does it require that the reader continue buying the book – the story is over and done in a fully satisfying 22 pages (plus a bonus pin-up and text piece). Powell's writing is a perfect blend of gripping action and clever humor, and his art is pure classic comics goodness, looking like a cross between Al Capp and Will Eisner.

As for the title character himself, there's not much in the way of complicated back story you need to worry about. He's pretty much what his name suggests, a big tough guy who would probably be some super villain's henchman in another book; here, he's the hero, or at least anti-hero.

The plot concerns real-life burlesque performer Roxi DLite and her manager crash-landing their airplane in The Goon's dilapidated stomping grounds while on the run from (also real-life burlesque performers) The Pontani Sisters. While Roxi is plotting ways to make a fast buck and get out of this one-horse town, The Goon and his faithful sidekick, Franky, are busy separating the world's most valuable knick-knack from its rightful owner.

The two parties come together when The Goon goes to fence the trinket at the nightclub where Roxi is performing her striptease act. As soon as she realizes what The Goon has in his possession, Roxi figures it's her ticket out and sets about trying to get her paws on the knick-knack. Along the way, there's a lesbian human/harpy threesome, old rich people getting blown up and a giant talking spider. There's also plenty of risque banter and naughty striptease, though it's all handled in a way that's fun and sexy without being sleazy and exploitative. Think classic “pin-up” art a la Vargas and Livgren as well as 50's striptease artists like Betty Page and Tempest Storm.

There's nothing deep going on here, just good old-fashioned fun. In fact, The Goon is so old-fashioned, that the curse words are bleeped out, and any time actual nudity might show up on a page, it's covered up with a black rectangle. Which is exactly how it should be, given the book's retro vibe. Besides, I've always felt there was more of a sense of the forbidden to the tamer exploitation fare of the past than today's “anything goes” approach to sex in the media. Bottom line is, for me, this is a full 5-out-of-5 Savage's.


Album Cover of the Week