Okay, I've put this off long enough. For the past few days, I have been living in denial. I didn't want to accept the fact that I was jumping from a Troma film to a Full Moon film. But I am. I swear to Satan, once I have bulldozed my way through this precarious trilogy, I am committed to bowing out of z-grade territory for a little while. Don't worry; I'll eventually crawl back to no-budget cheese. I always do (now I know what it feels like to be a battered spouse...Charles Band promised me that he would change!). Killjoy has a despicable reputation. Was it the mephitic stalemate that I feared it would be?

Yeah. It was. If I'm being honest, it wasn't quite as reprehensible as I thought it would be, but it's still a mess. Because I'm such an affable guy, I'll whip out my positive comments first. Killjoy is reasonably well-produced. The photography is sharp, the acting is suitable (this was the biggest shock) and the titular clown can be creepy when he wants to be. Unfortunately, he doesn't want to be creepy. Angel Vargas plays Killjoy with the peppy exhibitionism of The Riddler and Ace Ventura. This leads to a fuckload of dismal one-liners, half of which don't even make sense. What's worse, the script never decides if Killjoy is supposed to be a villain or a sympathetic anti-hero.

The plot holes...Jesus Christ, the plot holes. Where did this clown come from? Why did it take a year for the black magic to manifest itself? Who is the homeless ghost (yes, there is a homeless ghost), and how does he know everything? I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the sequels don't answer any of these questions. Boy, I can't wait to find out. What the hell did I get myself into? Do the sequels answer that question? This jerry-built tilt-a-whirl is content to fork out the bare minimum with regards to ignoble slasher fixtures. You know what that means, don't you? Off-screen kills.

The kills that happen in front of the camera are instantly forgettable. Killjoy does deliver gratuitous nudity, so there is that. Believe me when I say that the shower scene is worth at least one Z'Dar all by itself. In the words of the wannabe gangster side characters, "That bitch is fiiiiiine!" Fore and aft (it's a nautical expression; try to keep up), this b-movie doesn't offer a whole lot. I will be a sad fucking puppy if this turns out to be the best entry in the Killjoy saga. RANDOM FACTOID: Angel Vargas portrayed Tito in The Jacksons: An American Dream.

God Save Us All

Tonight...it begins...


Parts Unknown #81: Ring of Honor

This won't be a recurring theme, but since ROH made its re-debut on national television under the banner of Sinclair Broadcasting, I thought I'd take a look at the premiere episode. Check your local listings. Regrettably, this show doesn't air in my neck of the woods, but you can catch it for free on ROH's official website every Thursday.


~ The wrestling. This is a no-brainer. There were only two matches, but they added up to roughly 25 minutes of action.

~ The focus on the tag division. Both matches featured actual tag teams. Think about that. I'm sure that some of the folks who tuned in last weekend have never heard of this modest promotion, and the key stewards in charge of booking this "pilot" have chosen to introduce a product that thrives on the success of tag team wrestling. It's kind of brilliant. WWE and TNA are currently struggling to build a respectable tag division, so it makes sense to highlight an aspect of ROH that sets these guys apart from the competition.

~ The well-chosen clips from PPV's and live events. More fans need to know that Eddie Edwards versus Davey Richards at Best in the World has been the best match of 2011. Yes, it was better than John Cena versus CM Punk at Money in the Bank.

~ The commentary. I've always liked Kevin Kelly, and while Nigel McGuinness has room for improvement (he didn't contribute much in the way of levity or analysis), he is light years ahead of Taz. And Booker T. And Michael Cole.

~ Jay Lethal's promo. I'm shocked that the WWE hasn't spotted this motherfucker's talent on their radar.


~ I hate to say it, but Lethal cut the only exceptional promo of the night. If ROH is serious about evolving, they have got to put their sweet talkers front and center. By the same token, keep the microphone away from stilted orators such as The Bravado Brothers. Hey, I dig their gimmick, and their moveset kicks ass. But they were not blessed with the gift of gab.

That's a wrap. I don't mean to fellate myself (yes, I do), but I'm pleasantly surprised. I managed to squeeze plenty of content out of 51 minutes of entertainment. This column just might revisit ROH from time to time.


Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills

How do I find these movies? I've been asked that question before, and I honestly don't know the answer. Perhaps they find me. For what it's worth, today's film of interest is entitled Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills. It was produced and distributed by Troma Entertainment. Does that surprise anyone? Because it shouldn't. In general, I don't consider myself to be a Troma enthusiast, although I do enjoy battle-scarred relics such as The Toxic Avenger and Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. Despite its asinine salutation, this little b-flick that could comes across as civilized in comparison to most projects that are associated with Lloyd Kaufman.

That's not to say that Pterodactyl Woman isn't dippy; it's just dippy in its own way. Look at the cast. Beverly D'Angelo, Brion James, Moon Unit Zappa...quite the quizzical roll call, eh? The synopsis seems conventional upon first glance. A paleontologist pokes around for fossils on the site of an Indian burial ground (yeah, we're going there). His eager excavating is interrupted by a hoary soothsayer, an anagogic shaman, a moth-eaten necromancer, a...er, an old Indian guy. The ancient fuckhead gets pissed off and places a curse on the paleontologist's wife. Long story short, Ellen Griswold is turned into a were-dinosaur.

This film is a mixed bag. The good news is that it's genuinely funny. The script is self-aware, and each actor has a blast with the fanciful material (at one point, D'Angelo literally chews the scenery). Director Philippe Mora matches the heady pace of his sci-fi carnival by utilizing quick cuts and inventive camera angles. If that name sounds familiar, then you have probably had the misfortune of watching The Howling II and III. Inspired career choices? In any event, I was never bored with Pterodactyl Bitch, but I can't see myself revisiting this strange land. I would sooner revisit Strangeland.

I didn't think it was possible, but this flick is too crazy. I felt like I was watching a cartoon. Look, I dig cartoons, and I dig crazy. I am crazy. But this...this is just too much. Everything flew right over my scalp. I knew that I was renting Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills, so I can't blame it on inconsonant expectations. Maybe the image of Beverly D'Angelo in full reptilian make-up (wings and all) dry humping some poor sap disturbed me more than I realized. I'm stumped. I can't pinpoint why exactly I didn't fall in love with this Troma product, but it's good enough to recommend. Be wary of atrocious CGI, though. Yuck.


Matches That Time Forgot #17

I'm skipping Raw this week, but fear not, good soldiers. I will still supply you with your wrestling fix (assuming that you need one). Today's match that time forgot is another random encounter from the olden days of the World Wrestling Federation. If it seems like I fixate on the WWF, it's only because this is the shit that I was raised on. I'll traverse other promotions in the near future, but for the time being, how about a rare match plucked from Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's second tenure under the McMahon regime? I can't believe that Vince actually tried to present The Dragon as a new addition to the company. It had only been four years since he won the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania III.

It goes without saying that Ricky's run as The Dragon was less than prestigious. From what I gather, he wasn't even involved in any actual storylines. Here, he fights Smash (yes, Demolition Smash). It's a solid back-and-forth that calls attention to brawling, submission holds and tasteful high spots. If it weren't for a mental slip-up (see if you can spot the botch; Heenan and Monsoon do a splendid job of saving face), this bout would be damn near perfect.


The Breeders - LAST SPLASH

I wish that I had bought Last Splash a few months ago. I guess I should have procured this album when it was released seventeen years ago. Either way, I could have been jamming to this tawdry, eclectic batch of songs all summer long. It was made to be cranked on the Fourth of July. This is a seasonal affair in the same way that Immortal's At the Heart of Winter is a seasonal affair. The latter brings hypothermia and snow-capped ridges to mind, while the former conjures up images of beach towels and volleyball nets. Well, for the most part. The Breeders do have a mean streak. Lest we forget; we are knee-deep in Deal territory.

If you're not familiar with the Deal sisters, shame on you. Once upon a time, Kim was a member of The Pixies. She launched a side project to stay limber in between album cycles. She was joined by her twin sister Kelly, and thus, The Breeders were born. Last Splash was their second full-length studio recording. It's buttressed by "Cannonball," one of the most overplayed hit singles of the 90's. I can't go any further without talking about this tune. Did I get sick of it when I was in Elementary School? You bet. But is it a great little ditty? A thousand times, yes! The slinky bass line, the explosive chorus, the playful lyrics...it's fucking killer, which is why it's still played on modern rock radio.

Unfortunately, most people didn't take a chance on the rest of Last Splash. It's their loss. This album is a coy peregrination through grunge, surf rock, bratty punk, ambient noise, lo-fi indie/garage rock and even country music. The arrangements are just as unpredictable as the blithe genre hopping that the Deal sisters enjoy experimenting with. Leadoff track "New Year" is almost metallic in its delivery. Those riffs are nuclear. "No Aloha" is a tranquil standout that makes me want to move to Hawaii. "Roi" is a dense, feedback-laden curveball. I love it, as it cements Last Splash as a largely inaccessible long player. It's proof that The Breeders didn't go to MTV; MTV came to The Breeders.

At first, I had trouble warming up to this record. It requires repeated listens. There is a certain aspect of the production that I must file under "cons." It's far too quiet. It's not uncommon for older CD's to sound - for lack of a better word - soft, but Last Splash is softer than soft. For instance, listen to the rhythm section on "Divine Hammer." The song itself is infectious, but it seems like the drums are being played in a building across the street. They barely exist. I can't tell you if it's the mixing or the mastering because I'm not an audio technician. All I know is that something is off. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that Last Splash is worth owning. What in the blue hell happened to mainstream rock?


Album Cover of the Week


Parts Unknown #80: Smackdown

I couldn't help myself. I had to review Smackdown this week because it featured eight (!) matches, most of which were superlatively random. Without any further ado...


~ The Sheamus/Heath Slater match. Man, creative insists on shoving The One Man Southern Rock Band down our throats, don't they? I could think of more deserving bottom feeders to underscore (Yoshi Tatsu has been tearing it up on NXT), but I'll concede that The Wendy's Chick has talent. I dug the way he sold his alabaster opponent's power offense. This is merely a cosmetic comparison, but he flies around the ring like a young Shawn Micheals.

~ Justin Gabriel's balls. Wade Barrett doesn't do much for me, but that South African fucker can go. He should have been the fake Sin Cara (no disrespect to Hunico).

~ Have I told A.J. Lee lately that I love her? It's too bad that the Diva's Championship is meaningless. A.J.'s first title reign should be a momentous occasion. She may be inexperienced in the major leagues, but she could school the majority of her peers.

~ A well-placed DQ finish means that Cody Rhodes has beaten Randy Orton twice in a row. Extraordinary booking.

~ An actual tag team match! Holy cock! It wasn't a particularly lengthy match, but then again, none of the matches were particularly lengthy. It's always good to see The Uso's gain some exposure, even if they are jobbing to the champs. I'm still confident that they will have an opportunity to stand on top of the tag division at some point.


~ I wasn't fond of the opening segment. Johnny Ace is an awkward talker, and the heel-on-heel main event didn't make any sense to me. I was saddened by the fact that half of the so-called Smackdown roster never appears on Smackdown.

~ Jinder Mahal should have beaten The Great Khali. Where does he go from here?

As for why I didn't mention the Sin Cara/Daniel Bryan match, I'm waiting for this angle to unravel before I judge it. As it stands, I'm on the fence. It could bomb or it could lead to a series of awe-inspiring matches. I'm playing it by ear.


I just got back from a strip club...

Wicked screenshot, no? It's from Opeth's new video for "The Devil's Orchard," the leadoff track on Heritage. I've only listened to this divisive album once, so I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's not as immediate as Damnation. It will be easier to gauge its worth when I know what Mikael Akerfeldt decides to do next. That's what I'm curious about. Was this a one-off experiment? Will Opeth ever release another death metal album? Much of the band's appeal hinged on the dynamics of songs like "Bleak" and "Damnation." In my opinion, the mellow stuff isn't as hypnotic without the heavy stuff providing a counterbalance.

Heritage is definitely a strong album. That's obvious. I need to spend more time with it before I give it my stamp of approval, though. I have no plans to review it, which is why I authored this blurb. I'm also writing this to tell you that I'll be covering Smackdown tomorrow. Yep, Parts Unknown will be revisiting the blue brand. Yippee!


The Colossus of New York

On the surface, The Colossus of New York seems like run-of-the-mill dramaturgy. "Evil brain" flicks were a dime a dozen in the 50's. As far as oddly specific trends go, I would compare it to the deluge of "talking vagina" flicks in the 70's (that's an oblique shout-out to The Cinema Snob; someone should force him to read this review). This sci-fi bender borrows from Donovan's Brain and The Brain That Wouldn't Die. A brilliant altruist by the name of Jeremy Spensser (sic) dies an untimely death mere moments after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. His father, a slightly mad neurosurgeon, stores his son's brain in a tank in an effort to preserve the synaptic impulses that made the honorable Dr. Spensser a genius.

What could possibly go wrong? For starters, Dr. Spensser Sr. convinces his other son to help him perform a brain transplant. The idea is to put Jeremy's grey matter into the body of a hulking, unwieldy robot. Naturally, the robot spazzes out, but the transition from "bewildered automaton" to "demented brute" is a smooth one. We see an actual character arc develop. I was ready to write this off as a haggard riff on Frankenstein, but a clever script sets Colossus apart from the garden-variety b-movies that defined this decade. I'm not knocking garden-variety b-movies. Believe me; I live for schlock. I have the posters for Popcorn and The Mole People to prove it.

Now, for a film like this to succeed in entertaining the viewer, the robot needs to look cool. Does our Big Apple-bound humanoid meet those requirements? Fuck. Yes. I don't know why they felt it was necessary to throw a cape around the big lug's shoulders, but it works. Director Eugene Lourie knew exactly how to capture his monster. I adored the shots of the "colossus" rising from a squalid river, and the climax is particularly badass (gotta love those laser beams). By the way, kudos to Olive Films for releasing this rarity and giving it such a crisp transfer. This is a company you will want to keep tabs on.

It goes without saying that I recommend The Colossus of New York, but I would be remiss if I didn't touch on the flaws that tarnish this cult favorite. After all, there are reasons why you probably haven't heard of it. A telepathy subplot is dropped in the second half of the film. Likewise, we learn that Jeremy Bot can hypnotize his victims, but this little tidbit is never explained. It just doesn't go anywhere. The exiguous running time (70 minutes, and that's including the credits) doesn't give the exposition much breathing room, which is a red flag when you're dealing with a story that spans an entire year. Okay, I'm done bitching. Watch this motion picture. It's fun.


Panels From Beyond the Grave #7

Welcome to another installment of Panels From Beyond the Grave, this issue courtesy of Bob. You might not think of Batwoman as a horror title, but as Sir Bob explains (that's what I call him in my head), this series offers plenty of bumps in the night.

BATWOMAN (#1, November 2011)

I know at least some of you are thinking, “wait, isn't it Batgirl?” While there is indeed a Batgirl fighting crime on the streets of Gotham, that's not the character we're dealing with here. Batwoman is Kate Kane, a Jewish lesbian who got kicked out of military academy after being “outed.” Although the character made her debut during one of DC's big “event” comics in 2006, her first real turn in the spotlight took place in 2009 when she took over as the main feature in Detective Comics for about a year. What's most important about the character in the context of Panels From Beyond the Grave is the fact that those issues of Detective were overtly horror-themed and included supernatural elements like werewolves.

That tone of supernatural horror continues in issue #1 of Batwoman's own series, part of the much-ballyhooed DC Comics “relaunch” known as The New 52. The issue begins with a father recounting the abduction of his children by La Lorona, the “crying woman” of Mexican folklore. Our heroine arrives on the scene and tries to save the kids, but the spirit simply disappears, taking the children with her. Batwoman promises to save the children, but with few clues, it may prove a difficult promise to keep. The father has been telling all this to police detective Maggie Sawyer, who makes a more realistic promise; she can't guarantee that she'll find the children, but she will never stop looking. After this gripping and eerie set-up, illustrated by co-writer J. H. Williams III in typically stunning fashion, the issue begins to falter. Badly.

The main problem is that Williams and co-writer W. Haden Blackman try to do too much in one 21-page comic. They try to establish Kate's love life (and hint at a past flame that's still burning), introduce a shadowy covert government agency that wants to capture our heroine, bring in a sidekick with her own backstory and finally attempt to cram the entire Detective Comics storyline from 2009/2010 into two pages of clunky exposition. And then, just because there wasn't enough going on already, Batman shows up on the last page. Out of the last 13 pages of this comic, only 2 deal with the storyline we started with. Talk about killing the momentum.

Despite these issues, the book does have some things going for it. The first 8 pages that focus on the supernatural kidnapping storyline deliver on both traditional comic book action and genuine creepiness. And if there's a better artist working in comics these days than Williams, I don't know who it would be. But given that one of the stated goals of DC's New 52 is to make the company's characters accessible to new readers, it can only be said that Batwoman is a colossal failure in that respect. Simply dumping a ton of information all at once in the misguided notion that it will somehow get everyone up to speed does not make for accessibility. Rather, it makes for confusion. Better to simply tell a good story that will grab a reader and parcel out the important bits of backstory in a more natural, less hurried manner over the course of a few issues.

Batwoman became one of my favorite characters with her run in Detective Comics, and I've been eagerly looking forward to her own ongoing series ever since. Unfortunately, the guy who wrote those issues of Detective, Greg Rucka, is now writing for Marvel Comics. Williams may be a great artist, but he clearly needs some improvement in the writing department. Teaming him with someone else until he finds his legs is a good idea in theory, but if this first issue is any indication, Blackman isn't the right partner. I'm willing to stick around for a few more issues to see if things improve, but with so many comics on the shelf vying for my limited dollars, my patience can only hold out so long.


Parts Unknown #79: Raw

Hell in a Cell is only two weeks away? I realize that the WWE depends on PPV's to generate revenue, but this is just overkill. There isn't enough time to build matches the right way, so the television programming suffers as a result. Aside from the main event, there was a dearth of in-ring action on last night's episode of Raw.


~ Miz and Truth getting the shaft. It was unpredictable, and it kept the denouement of the Nash/Punk/HHH misadventure from flatlining. This angle needs to draw to a close as soon as possible, though. Bring a McMahon into the fold (maybe Shane?).

~ The 8-man tag match. It took awhile, but Air Boom finally looks like a tag team. I love their gear.

~ Fans are pissed off about Alberto Del Rio's apparent burial of John Morrison, and while I would have liked a more competitive match, I couldn't care less about JoMo's future (or lack thereof). He will never be a top-shelf superstar. Don't get me wrong; I'm just as impressed by his athleticism as anyone would be, but he isn't main event material. His character hasn't evolved one bit since he put Johnny Nitro to bed. He hasn't done a damn thing to improve his mic skills, and from what I gather, he needs a real-life attitude adjustment.

~ Hugh Jackman had fun trading barbs with Dolph Ziggler. He seemed like he wanted to be there, which is more than I can say for 75% of the "guest stars" who have crashed Raw. Moreover, Zack Ryder picked up a win.

~ Jerry Lawler taking a brutal bump for the team. Mark Henry's hot streak continues.

~ Jack Swagger's video package. I never cared for his gimmick (they might as well call him Kurt Angle Jr.), but he's a solid worker who deserves another push.


~ What was the point of dragging Cody Rhodes to the ring? They should have waited until after the match to stage a Real Cara/Fake Cara stand-off.

~ Not enough wrestling.

Don't let the profusions of pros fool you. This was a middling show. I want a three-way ladder match between Air Boom, The Uso's and The Kings of Wrestling at Wrestlemania (with the tag titles on the line, of course).


Geek Out #30

One day, I'll review this film and tell the crazy story behind its production. In short, this is a Korean monster movie that was produced by Kim Jong-il. Yes, that Kim Jong-il. Back in 1985, the infamous dictator kidnapped one of his favorite directors and forced him to make Pulgasari. I shit you not!

All donations will be donated to my favorite charity...my bank account!

Click HERE because it's that time of the month. I'm cranky, I'm bloated and I need money. God, I probably sound annoying.

PS-I have two Laserdiscs on eBay. Click HERE and HERE.


Album Cover of the Week



I just found out that the director of Skeeter had a sizeable role in Funland. Remember how you felt on the morning of September 11, 2001? That's how I feel right now. I'm holding up pretty well, all things considered. It makes perfect sense. Skeeter is about as enthralling as Funland, which isn't saying much. This "nature runs amok" flapdoodle defies logic and reason. It's a paradox that disrupts the harmony of nature. Why? Because it suffers from a glitch that you won't come across very often in the macrocosm of b-movie splendor. It's too good. I know, I know; I can't believe it either. Hear me out.

Skeeter hit American video shelves in 1994 (it was released a year earlier in Italy). 1995 saw the inception of Mosquito, a similarly-themed film starring a shopworn Gunnar Hansen. The two creature features are polar opposites. Mosquito works as an explicit, outlandish hunk of cheese. The special effects are ridiculous, the acting is stale and the gore is off the charts (pending further evidence, the jury is dithering on whether or not the gore is "off the chain"). It knows that it's a b-movie. Skeeter on the other hand...well, let's just say that the crew was trying too hard.

For all intents and purposes, this isn't your average straight-to-video bungle. The cast is competent. A couple of the characters are even amusing (Michael J. Pollard is given the best lines). The screenplay is bound and determined to develop its principal players beyond an unavailing stereotype. And I admire the effort, but a methodical exposition will always suck the blood out of a "giant mosquito" flick. The pace stagnates, and when the horror elements kick into gear, Skeeter plays it safe. Hell, our hero doesn't learn of the mutated mites until the tame finale. "Tame" also describes the violence on display.

Visually, I don't have any objections. The cinematography is polished, and the budget seems to be adequate (relatively speaking, of course). I hate to pander to the fratboy contingent, but Skeeter is like a hot chick with no personality. Actually, it's worse; I can't fuck this movie. If you're interested in renting it, however, I would advise opting for Mosquito instead. Now THAT is a schlocktail that delivers on the promise of camp. Plus, it doesn't bother with a pointless subplot involving Micheal J. Pollard and a caged mosquito. Don't ask. If you're wondering if I've seen Mansquito or Mosquito Man, I haven't. I won't lie, though; I'm curious to see how they stack up against their antecedents.

Did I mention that I have a birthday coming up? Wink? Nudge?


Parts Unknown #78: Superstars

This "review" pertains to an episode of Superstars dated June 6, 1994 (I believe that the actual airdate was June 4). I'm forgoing the pros/cons format in favor of something more simplistic. This is a simplistic show, folks. Up until 1996, Superstars featured jobber squashes 85% of the time. You'll still discover golden nuggets here and there, which is why I enjoy exhuming these time capsules. And away we go!

~ Oh, fuck. Vince is dancing to Mabel's entrance music. Men on a Mission were still a legitimate tag team by this point, but for whatever reason, Mr. McMahon was experimenting with a Mabel singles push. I'll never understand it. Viscera was badass (Big Daddy V I can take or leave), but of all people to crown King of the Ring, they chose Mabel? Whatever. Iron Mike Sharpe gets squashed harder than the left side of Taker's face. Cue ICO-PRO commercial.

~ Nikolai Volkoff? Really? Admittedly, he could execute a handful of power moves, but I can't imagine a 10-year-old boy jumping out of bed on Saturday morning to watch Volkoff manhandle Derek Domino. I get that they had to peddle the "fake Undertaker" angle, but DiBiase managed other guys they could have sent to the ring. The terse Paul Bearer promo is gnarly. "I haven't even seen my Undertaker!"

~ King of the Ring report! Usually, these are throwaway segments, but this one is a dandy. Roddy Piper cuts a fierce promo in the privacy of his own home. We also learn about an upcoming live event where Bret Hart will square off against Owen Hart in a 60-minute Iron Man match. Holy fucking shit. Where can I find that beauty? Seriously, I'd give my spleen to see that match.

~ Tatanka versus an animated Reno Riggins ("I have no reservations about beating up this Indian!"). Nice.

~ Finally, the mid-show main event...Adam Bomb takes on Kwang in an encounter that Dave Meltzer described as "a match." Obviously, Bomb's face turn was one of the most important moments in wrestling history. It changed the industry. The match itself ended in a countout after three minutes of sloppy brawling.


The Charles Band From the Black Lagoon

I've never done this before, but seeing as how I have nothing to review today, I thought it would be fun to give you guys (all two of you) a sneak peek into the next month of action here at Random Reviews Incorporated. Think of it as my version of Videozone. Now, I won't be revealing any specific titles with one AMAZING exception. What's the exception? Well, let's see what this bulleted outline has to say...

  • I decided to tackle an entire series. In keeping with the theme of this website, I chose the most random triptych of films that I could think of - the Killjoy trilogy! I ordered the box set, which is on its way as I type. I can hardly contain myself. Aren't you excited?
  • I'll also be reviewing two movies from 1994. Why 1994? It was just a coincidence. You can try to guess what they are, but in all likelihood, you won't be able to.
  • On the music front, I'm going to review an album whose cover was featured as an Album Cover of the Week. Expect a couple of other music reviews as well.
  • My mission to expand the reach of Parts Unknown will continue. In fact, that might be my next project.
  • My birthday is just around the corner, so don't be surprised if I beg for donations. I doubt that it will make a difference, but you never know.
And there you have it.


The Soda Jerk #9


What the hell is Ocean Water? It's a tropical fountain soda that can only be found at Sonic, everyone's second favorite retro fast food joint (sorry, but Checkers edges it out for the top spot). To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not big on Sonic. The food is average, the carhop service is hardly novel and the prices are inflated. I'm shocked that they are still in business. When you break it down to brass tacks, Sonic has two claims to fame. First, you've got your hit/miss commercials. Secondly (and more importantly), you've got a sweet selection of beverages to choose from.

Ocean Water was introduced years ago. Like any decent menu item, it disappeared for awhile, but from what I understand, it's now considered to be a Sonic staple. The recipe is achingly simple. It's basically Sprite augmented with coconut flavoring and blue food coloring. You can't buy it in stores, but you can make it at home with relative ease. I imagine that you could use any lemon-lime soda as a substitute for Sprite (now that I think about it, a Sun Drop experiment may be in order). Until today, I had not imbibed Ocean Water for what seems like an eternity. Was it as refreshing as I remembered it being?

Pretty much. The Sprite had a bitter aftertaste, but I chalk it up to a flawed fountain system. Certain drinks have different qualities when they come from different sources. In my experience, Sprite is going to taste funny if you order it from Wendy's or Burger King. Then again, I have a flighty, coquettish tongue. It cannot be trusted. If you enjoy the occasional Pina Colada, you're bound to dig Ocean Water. Ironically, the opposite holds true. I don't care for coconut(s) at all, and I get enough of a kick out of this stuff to write a column about it. That should tell you something.

Plus, it's blue! How can you turn down a blue beverage? It's worth noting that I couldn't find a satisfactory image of Sonic's Ocean Water, so I settled for a picture of Sonic the Hedgehog drowning in an oceanic body of water. It was either that or a shot of me pissing on a Sonicare toothbrush.



I like Brian Yuzna. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I like Brian Yuzna, and there is nothing that you can do about it. If I come off as defensive, it's because I get weird looks whenever I exculpate the man most famous for producing Re-Animator. In my humble opinion, Yuzna is underrated as a director. Let's skim his track record, shall we? The majority of horror fans seem to enjoy Bride of Re-Animator. It's not a patch on the original, but it's an entertaining popcorn picture. The Dentist rules, and while The Dentist II: Brace Yourself gives credence to the sophomore slump (forget AIDS research; where are all of the sequel-itis fundraisers?), I still had fun with it.

Ever heard of Progeny? It's an above-average "alien abduction" flick that holds its own against similar titles such as Communion and Fire in the Sky. See? Yuzna isn't so bad. Sure, he went through a drought like any other filmmaker (*bloody cough* Wes Craven *bloody cough*), but by and large, he has forged a sound body of work. 1989's Society was his directorial debut. It's no surprise that it bears some resemblance to the films of one Stuart Gordon, namely From Beyond. It takes awhile to get to the gooey stuff, though. The first hour concentrates squarely on Bill, an awkward teenager who senses a disconnect within the scope of his family domain.

We've all been there. "My parents don't understand me. I think I was adopted." For the lot of us, it's just a phase. In Bill's case, his angst may not be unfounded. He hears disturbing things in a taped conversation between his sister and his folks. They speak of an initiation, a rite of passage. At this "party," there will be food, beverages and copulation. "First, it will be someone your own age," explains Daddy Dearest. "Then, we all join in." I'm paraphrasing, but WHAT THE FUCK? Did I hear myself right? Yep. Society deals with incestuous orgies, but that's just the lubricated tip of the iceberg.

This film is fucked up, but again, you have to be patient to get to the notorious climax. It's definitely worth the wait. And honestly, I didn't mind waiting. I found the exposition to be intriguing and well-paced. The acting is decent, the visuals are surreal and our main character is sympathetic. Obviously, the special effects are cool. How about a round of applause for latex guru Screaming Mad George? I can't say that the instances of "extreme fisting" looked terribly realistic, but fuck, it was the 80's. This was the decade that brought us Rawhead Rex.

Initially, I was only going to award Society three-and-a-half Z'Dar's, but in writing this review, I realized that I didn't have many complaints about Brian Yuzna's first foray into cinematic skullduggery. That's why I never settle on a rating until after I've written my essay for the day. As for the complaints I do have, there are a few loose ends left dangling. I won't get into details, but suffice to say, I had questions that the film didn't answer. Overall, I appreciated how the script used gross-out horror tactics to comment on class warfare. There is plenty of substance bubbling beneath the curdled, gelatinous surface.

A friendly reminder...if you're ever invited to a "shunting," TURN and RUN.

Parts Unknown #77: Raw

That was a go-home show? Could have fooled me.


~ It's always good to see Bret motherfucking Hart, even if he does look homeless (just shave your head, dude). Believe it or not, John Cena didn't aggravate me last night. His mic work has improved in recent months. CM Punk has forced everyone to up their game, and that includes The Game.

~ The tag match between Ziggler/Swagger and Riley/Morrison. It should have been longer, but all four participants made the best of a mediocre situation.

~ I like The Miz beating Kofi Kingston clean. It stresses the significance of having a tag team partner. If Air Boom wins on Sunday (which they should), it will make them look strong as a cohesive unit. Of course, if they lose, it will render their push null and void.

~ Mark Henry playing mind games with Randy Orton. This segment did three things right. 1) Cody Rhodes beat the World Heavyweight Champion. 2) The World's Strongest Man was dominant. 3) The match that was going on in the background was a solid back-and-forth. 4,833) The Nasty Boys were sodomized by The Natural Disasters.

~ The ending.


~ The Otunga/McGillicutty/Sheamus/Lawler clusterfuck. It didn't advance the storyline. Sheamus rocks, but he needs to be involved in a real feud (where was Christian?). The only upside was the passing reference to Mr. Perfect. They could go somewhere with this angle, but again, this match did nothing to progress the plot thread.

~ Kelly Kelly versus Vickie Guerrero? I'd rather watch CZW.

~ Why won't they let Ricardo Rodriguez wrestle? The kid has talent. Actually, it would have made the non-match between Del Rio/Rodriguez and Hart/Cena much more entertaining if Little Ricky surprised his opponents by pulling out a few dazzling Lucha moves. He becomes a fan favorite, ditches Del Rio and starts tagging with Sin Cara. Just a thought.

By the way, I plan on cashing in my Money in the Bank contract at Taboo Tuesday. Be forewarned.


Manic (Depressive) Monday

I'm short on time today, so tomorrow, I'll be delivering TWO blog entries to your doorstep. First up, my Raw review. After that, I'll post a movie review. Which movie? The image pictured above is a hint. If it looks disgusting, that's because...well, it's disgusting

PS-I'll be announcing something exciting this weekend. Whatever could it be???


Album Cover of the Week

I'm not big on The Black Dahlia Murder, but their album covers are metal as fuck.


Matches That Time Forgot #16

I created this column for the sole purpose of showcasing matches like this. What we have here is Bret "The Hitman" Hart squaring off against Rocky Maivia. Most people probably don't realize that these two living legends faced each other in early 1997. Rocky was transitioning from "bubbly babyface" to "stoic heel." He didn't have much of a personality at this point, but he was competent enough between the ropes to carry a match. Of course, you don't need to carry a guy like Bret.

This is an Intercontinental Championship match. It was the main event of Raw, and while it was a solid contest on its own, the various run-ins afterward make it a must-see segment. Austin, Bulldog, Owen, The Legion of fucking Doom...an epic melee, to be sure.



Technical death metal, mathcore, jazz fusion, experimental noise...whatever you want to call it, this kind of music is an acquired taste. I have to be in a certain mood to listen to it, and even then, I'm terribly picky. In my opinion, the most palatable bands from this subgenre (quasi-genre?) are instrumental outfits. What's the point of creating abstruse, sophisticated walls of stridency if you're just going to scream over them? That's why I'm partial to Blotted Science and Animals As Leaders. They don't need vocals to get their point across. Of course, this wouldn't be an issue if bands such as Psyopus, Origin and Gigan had distinct vocalists.

If you're not familiar with Gigan, they're a tech-metal trio hailing from Florida. Did you think I was referring to kaiju? I wish I was. Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes is their second album, and it falls under the same traps that most algorithmic metal bands succumb to. I don't mean to harp on frontman John Collett, but the metal community is disenchanted with standard growling these days. I know I am. Anyone could have recorded the vocal tracks on this album. There is nothing unique about Collett's voice, and it hampers an otherwise respectable batch of songs. The music itself is regnant with off-kilter time signatures, dissonant melodies and ambient sound effects.

Again, if I'm in the right frame of mind, Landscapes strikes me as a kinetic barrage of extremes. It certainly works as background music. However, if I sit down and concentrate on numbers like "The Raven and the Crow" and "Fathomless Echoes of Eternity's Imagination," I get restless. There isn't much weight behind the dizzying arrangements and the orotund songtitles. I kept waiting for a catchy hook to pull me into the meat of the album. I waited and waited...until finally, I came to the conclusion that this was not five-Abbath material (or four-Abbath material, for that matter). It's not bad; it's ungood.

No one can deny the immense talent of drummer Keseva Doane and bassist/guitarist Eric Hersemann. I thought that their limbs were going to fly through my speakers during "Mountains Perched Like Beasts Awaiting the Attack." Chops do not translate into songwriting skills, though. While Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes left me frigid, I dig it enough to recommend it to fans of Psyopus and Blotted Science. Perhaps you'll enjoy it more than I did. If it rocks your world, sample 2008's The Order of the False Eye. It's a less polished affair. Actually, I might sample it right now.


Geek Out #29

I was going to post something "special" today. Why? Because this blog recently passed the 10,000-hit milestone. I decided to post a simple Geek Out instead. I think that my super-deluxe review of Creepshow should serve as the unofficial commemoration of this achievement. It feels appropriate. Random Reviews Incorporated will turn two years old on October 8th. If it weren't for a dreadful surgery in early 2010, RR would probably be a little more popular today, but I'm not complaining. I'm proud of this site. And I want to thank EVERYONE who has ever read ANYTHING that I've posted here.

Next month, I'll write a detailed piece on the history of Random Reviews Incorporated, but for right now, check out this TV spot. Freddy's Revenge is one of the most underrated sequels of all time. "You are all my children now."


Creature With the Atom Brain

Well, that was 69 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. I could have done so many other things during those 69 minutes (get your mind out of the gutter). I could have watched The Giant Claw. Incidentally, both films appear in Sam Katzman's "Icons of Horror Collection," a box set comprised of four genre novelties. I don't mean to sound dense, but did Katzman's credits as a producer warrant a swanky, thriftless DVD bundle? This isn't William Castle we're talking about. If I'm being honest, I couldn't tell that Creature With the Atom Brain was produced by anyone. Too harsh? You be the judge. No, strike that; I'm the fucking judge. Where did I leave my gavel?

On paper, this flick seems like a walk in the park. An extradited gangster named Frank meets a scientist on the verge of a neurological breakthrough. The scientist, a mild-mannered sage, has discovered a way to re-animate dead tissue. In addition, he has cultivated the ability to communicate with his zombies. These "creatures" have no will of their own, so they act and react at the behest of our good doctor. Creature is unique in that the archetypal role of the Frankenstein-esque chemist is not the villain. That's where Frank steps in. Since he funds all of the experiments, he blackmails his reluctant business partner into doing his evil (pronounced "EEEEEEVIIIIIIL") bidding.

The radioactive undead. That should have been the title, and it should have led to an entertaining b-movie. But it doesn't. The main problem here is the saturnalian banality of the script's presentation. Creature is so goddamn boring, it's almost immoral. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that the movie was boring me on purpose just to piss me off. The characters are flat, the camerawork is apathetic and the zombies wouldn't scare my niece. Nevermind the fact that I don't have a niece. I was hoping that I would get fun special effects out of the deal, but apparently, a creature with an atom brain is just a middle-aged man with a prim row of stitches on his forehead.

I expected more out of director Edward Cahn. After all, he brought us It! The Terror From Beyond Space and The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake. He went through the motions on the set of this clunker, as did Richard Denning, an actor who I can usually count on. On a sidenote, if you want to see Denning in his element, watch The Black Scorpion or The Creature From the Black Lagoon. If you want to see a badass cult classic from the 50's, watch The Black Scorpion or The Creature From the Black Lagoon. I didn't take anything away from Creature With the Atom Brain. Nada. Zilch. Synonym for zero. I'll give it one Z'Dar out of pity.


Parts Unknown #76: Raw

This episode of Raw probably left a lot of people scratching their heads, but I loved it. It focused on the low-to-mid carders. Sure, most of the matches didn't advance storylines, but that's how it was back in the day. Bob Backlund versus Papa Shango didn't need to have a meaning; it simply established two characters and entertained the target audience. Is Air Boom limited to wrestling one tag team per month? Of course not.


~ The tag match between Air Boom and Eastern Winds (that's what I'm calling the fearsome duo of Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali). I dug Mahal's offense. The champs pick up a clean win, proving that they deserve the titles. They still need matching ring attire. It may seem trivial, but it bothers the shit out of me.

~ Del Rio playing mind games with his fellow heels.

~ The Punk/Truth match. I'm okay with Miz/Truth challenging for the tag titles, but shouldn't there be a Number One Contender's match or something?

~ Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins, huh? Why not? I'm curious to see where this goes.

~ Zack Ryder's day in the sun. Plus, this keeps another tag team in the spotlight, even if it leads to a premature burial. I'd like to see Otunga/McGillicutty attack Jerry "The King" Lawler next week. Flesh them out. Give them a chance to spread their wings.

~ The match pitting Randy Orton against Heath Slater. It didn't make any fucking sense, but every once in awhile, you need to remind the WWE Universe that a signature move can be executed without being countered or reversed. The big dogs need to be dominant from time to time. Don't underestimate the importance of reintroducing (and in turn, putting over) a deadly finisher.

~ The main event. It was actually the best match of the night, as it should be.


~ All of the Nash/HHH/Punk material. It's beginning to feel like the same segment week in, week out. Punk could have delivered that promo in his sleep.

~ Why can't Eve and Beth Pheonix work together? They have wrestled twice in the past month, and both matches were terrible. Individually, they are competent performers. I don't get it.

Good show, good show. This is how you utilize a full roster. Ideally, you want every single talent to be involved in an angle. Granted, we didn't see Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan or Sin Cara, but I'm sure that they will feature prominently on this week's episode of Smackdown. Bring it on, I say!