Dom Meets 2013

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is on TCM.  Score!  I've never seen it.  Can you believe that?  Anyway, I'll meet up with you next year.



I think the most accurate review of 1989's Things that I've skimmed over said something to the effect of, "I don't even know if this is a real movie."  I've given it ample time to sink into my marrow.  It has passed through my urethra and may have caused irreversible damage to my endocrine glands.  Currently, this DIY abscess of homemade horror is lodged in my bowels.  And yet, I have no clue what to type about it.  Things defies perception.  It defies...the laws of physics.  The actual synopsis doesn't begin to tell the story.  On paper, a barren couple employs a mad scientist to mount a pregnancy through artificial insemination.  I would mention that it's an experimental procedure, but you probably already knew that.

Approximately fourteen days later (don't ask), demonic ants erupt from the expectant mother's distended belly.  Okay, that could be a decent creature feature...in the hands of normal filmmakers.  Where the fuck do I begin?  Things was shot on Super 8.  That's not an issue, but director Andrew Jordan (alongside star/co-writer Barry J. Gillis) ditched the audio.  Apparently, the tracks weren't up to their lofty standards.  So each actor dubs every single line.  Horribly.  The dialogue is more random than the contents of Satchmo Gloopen's velvet quiver.  Who?  Exactly!  The two main characters tell corny jokes to one another moments after witnessing the death and subsequent dimensional dissipation of their friend.

Oh, did I fail to broach the subject of Fred's contingent slip into a mouse hole that doubles as a portal to a parallel universe?  Because that happens.  He crops up in the third act out of fucking nowhere wielding a chainsaw.  Trust me, it's not as cool as it sounds.  We spend the bulk of Things following Don and Doug as they drunkenly stumble around in red-tinted rooms.  There are a couple of cutaway scenes.  Porn star Amber Lynn isochronally interrupts the "exposition" as a news anchor doling out useless tidbits of celebrity trivia and confusing plot points.  To add insult to injury, she's fully clothed.

We also visit the mad scientist's lair, so to speak.  I must admit, it's pretty damn warped.  The doctor's crepuscular cubbyhole is littered with flesh and bone.  It's wall-to-wall torture.  After giving it minimal thought, the whole scene reminded me of The Burning Moon.  See, that's an example of quality z-grade exploitation.  I don't mean to slag Things as unwatchable tripe.  I had plenty of laughs, and I can picture myself popping the DVD in with a friend nearby.  Still, it tests the boundaries of "so bad, it's good."  It really, really tests those boundaries.  I honestly couldn't settle on a rating, hence the two-and-a-half Z'Dars.  This flick is rating-proof.  Hell, it's review-proof.


Album Cover of the Week

I've always liked this cover.  I don't know why.  Movie review tomorrow.  Whore.


Bookworm Infested #1

NOTE: The (stupid) title of this column is a reference to a Cannibal Corpse song.  You'll learn to love it.

MEG (Steve Alten)

I know that I'm being needlessly reticent, but I do want to warn you that I've never written a book review before.  I'm winging it.  In a sense, it's no different than reviewing movies.  Still, I don't consider myself to be an avid reader, and I fear that I'll come across as an obtuse lunkhead.  Argh, whatever.  I should just start typing about Meg.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  However, that could have something to do with my innate fascination with prehistoric creatures.  In elementary school, I checked out every dinosaur book that our library had available (and there were several).  I was a complete dino freak.  I don't think I'll ever be as breathlessly rapt as I was on the opening night of Jurassic Park.

Seriously, I was on tenterhooks throughout, and the same could be said for any Godzilla flick that my parents were kind enough to buy for me.  Hell, I even tuned in to Denver, the Last Dinosaur with religious fervor.  One could argue that Meg shouldn't appeal to prospective paleontologists.  After all, it's nothing more than a Jaws riff, right?  Yes and no.  While it's basically Jaws on steroids, it's also supported by hard science.  The Megalodon actually existed millions of years ago, and Steve Alten posits that the primal beast could survive in the Mariana Trench, undetected by humankind.  Well, the author himself doesn't canvass this wild theory.  He speaks through Jonas Taylor, his main character.

Farfetched?  Sure, but it's scientifically possible.  It's clear that Alten did his research, and for what it's worth, he convinced me that a 60-foot shark could conceivably skulk the ocean floor in the face of racking water pressure and a presumably finite food supply.  I've used the word "could" three times.  That kind of pisses me off.  Moving on!  I've read manifold reviews that animadvert on Alten's prose.  It's true that he doesn't possess a wide range of flowery adjectives, but the remote repetition in his descriptive passages was easy to overlook (for me anyway).  Why?  Because for the most part, I was lost in the story.

Despite his dubitable shortcomings, Alten knows how to build suspense.  Not counting the prologue, the first encounter with the titular critter is positively pulse-preening.  It's a palatable page-plucker (alright, I'll stop).  The characters are fleshed out, although too many ancillary players are introduced in the second half of the novel.  I lost track of who was who.  The only other gibe I can muster involves the ending.  Without resorting to spoilers, the closing pages feel flat and - for lack of a better modifier - anticlimactic.  I totally misappropriated "modifier," but this isn't a narrative, now is it?  Boom.  I just owned your ass.

In a dehydrated nutshell, Meg is fun.  I wanted Alten to make the central shark sound fucking badass, and he did.  The action sequences are gargantuan.  Man, why hasn't a silver screen adaptation weathered the brambly afflictions of pre-production?  I'm not content with Shark Attack 3.  You shouldn't be either.


Geek Out #75

Call it foreshadowing.  Tomorrow, I post the new column that all the kids are raging about.


Parts Unknown #111: Thunder

I'm writing this at 6:24 AM, but I'm cheating.  The records will show that I wrote it last night.  See what I did there?  I pulled back the curtain.  I'm revealing all of the secrets of the blogging business!  Okay, so I'm a little enervated, but if you're going to discuss Thunder (a b-show in every sense of the word), you need to be in a dusky, rachitic headspace.  I've only reviewed one other episode of this irresolute expo.  It took its toll on my sanity, as well as my marriage (???).  Today's Thunder aired on December 23, 1999.  I need to set the scene.

Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara had just left WWF as principal writers.  They enjoyed a three-month stint with WCW and actually managed to improve the ratings of both Nitro and Thunder.  Bear in mind, Eric Bischoff was out of the picture.  This episode, in particular, has Russo's fingerprints all over it.  The matches are laconic, the promos are laced with profanity and the storylines allude to real-life drama.  For instance, the Montreal Screwjob is brought up here and there.  Hey, say what you will about this strain of wrestling, but for an ephemeral breathing of time, "crash TV" worked.

Let's dig in!  I'm bypassing the pro/con format, as Thunder is neither good nor bad.  It is...yeah.

~ The NWO has reformed, and they are lead to the ring by the recently-turned Bret Hart.  Most of The Hitman's run in WCW was depressing to watch, but this angle seemed to have enkindled his character.  Our main event pits him against Chris Benoit.  It's a solid match, but wrestling is not a priority tonight.  There are eight matches on the card.  Two of them are decent.  None of them pass the six-minute mark.  Normally, that would piss me off, but they're launching an epic battle.  The players and their motives need to be established.

~ A random tag team match?  I can hardly contain my glee!  We have PG-13 (apparently, this is their WCW debut) versus The fucking Varsity Club.  Yes, that Varsity Club.  Why not?  Rick Steiner and Mike Rotunda beat the ever-loving ecto-jizz out of their malnourished opponents.  It's hilarious.  Afterward, their Hawaiian cheerleader shakes her shithouse because that's what women in sports entertainment did in the late 90's.  The more things change...

~ The Filthy Animals coadjute with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan to take on The Revolution.  Don't care.  Seriously, I couldn't care less.  We get USA chants and Perry Saturn waxing nonsensical.  Kill me.

~ Creative Control wants to be known as The Harris Brothers.  They squash Curt Hennig.  Poor Mr. Perfect.

~ Tank Abbott fucking destroys La Parka.  Christ, did the bell even ring?  I understand the crux of "crash TV," but when each match ends before it starts, it dilutes the impact of a monster like Tank.  By the way, I demand to see some incarnation of La Parka on Raw.  That would kick ass.

~ The Maestro squares off against Bam Bam Bigelow.  For whatever reason, post-Mortis Chris Kanyon is at ringside.  God, this whole segment is awful.

~ No way.  Could it be?  Yes!  It's...it's...the birth of 3 Count!  Is that Shannon Moore or the chick from Hanson?  I kid, but I always thought this was a commendable idea for a heel stable, even if it didn't exactly prosper.  Aside from a few sweet matches with The Jung Dragons, 3 Count contributed jack to the industry.  I mean, it did give us The Hurricane, but c'mon, Kane has had better oddball tag team partners.  I know it.  You know it.  Don't argue with me.

~ Goddamn, Daffney was hot in WCW.  I wonder if David Flair hit it.  He does have Space Mountain DNA!



Eve of Destruction

Tomorrow, I'll talk about all the cool stuff I got for Kwanzaa.  Today, I'm fucking right off.  In years past, I tried to post actual content on holidays, but I need to rest up anyway.  RR Inc. is nearing a groundswell of activity.  It shall be insane.  The next two months will be exquisitely busy.  I'll see you later...remember, if you think you hear someone stomping around in your living room in the wee hours of the morning, it's most certainly a home invasion.


Album Cover of the Week


Panels From Beyond the Grave #28

TOXIC CRUSADERS (#3, July 1992)

I vaguely remember watching the Toxic Crusaders cartoon as a pernicious youngster.  Of course, I had no idea that it was based on a film series so debauched, that it helped redefine exploitation.  Let me get this out of the way; I can take or leave Troma.  I don't despise Lloyd Kaufman's brand of lavatory humor, but I can't name a single title that I genuinely love.  If I had to pick a favorite, I suppose The Toxic Avenger would win the blue ribbon.  I still have blue ribbons that I won in the Special Olympics.  That's how I see Troma pictures.  I envision them as mentally challenged children being extolled by a crowd of supercilious onlookers for placing first in the ring toss.  Not that it matters, but I totally kicked ass in all of the wheelchair races.

There were only thirteen episodes of the cartoon, but it precipitated an influx of merchandise.  Marvel published eight comic books.  I own one.  That's right.  Touch me, motherfucker.  TOUCH ME!  This issue is about a hulking, amorphous custard creature.  In a stroke of atypical serendipity, Dr. Killemoff (insectoid archfiend numero uno) and Czar Zoster (insectoid archfiend numero dos) unwittingly create the tapioca titan by shipping the wrong chemical to a pastry factory.  Initially bewildered, the evildoers decide to allow nature to run its course.  If everything goes according to plan, the devastating dessert will ravage Tromaville.  Will Toxie and the gang be able to thwart the onrushing vicissitude?  What do you think?

I'll say this much; the writing is fairly clever.  The blob-like menace doesn't harbor nefarious intentions.  It merely wants to be eaten.  Unfortunately, the artificial enzymes can't be digested by humans.  God, why am I still banging out a synopsis?  The plot is the kind of callow bilge you would expect, which isn't to condemn the comic as a whole.  It serves its purpose.  The artwork is frowzy, garish and appropriately disgusting.  I wasn't blown away, but if I had read this insanity in 1992, it would have ruled my life.  Oddly enough, the opening page is a comic strip advertisement for Apple Cinnamon Cheerios christened "The Adventures of Apple and Cinnaman: Defenders of the Sprinkles."  Yep.

Speaking of ads, I enjoyed them more than the feature presentation, if I may be so candid.  Spy sunglasses, pills that give you "Hercules muscles," whoopee cushions (billed as whoopee devices), magic tricks, snake eggs, mental floss...obviously, I ordered each furbelow.  I made sure to send extra coinage as an incentive to expedite the shipping process.  In summation, Toxic Crusaders #3 is hardly mandatory reading material, but it's a bit of a blast.  I'm tacking on a half-Dragon for those gnarly ads.  Honey, I Blew Up the Kid is opening this summer?  I'm fucking there!


So where is Jeepers Creepers 3?

I'm using the rest of my Friday to rest/recuperate/rejuvenate.  I feel like The Phantom looks, like I might be coming down with something, but I can't be too sure.  Regardless of an oncoming bout with cancer pox, you can expect to see a Panel From Beyond the Grave in the near future.  Maybe I'll do more archiving.  Maybe.


Blood Capsule #26


I have good news and bad news.  The good news...After Midnight is an anthology.  The bad news...it's inadequate.  A reasonably circumspect premise is expunged by idiotic characters (these dolts could be outwitted by slasher airheads), PG-13 violence and a ridiculous ending that strains to reticulate all three vignettes.  The weak stories are quartered by an even weaker framing device.  High School students are invited to their professor's house to learn about fear.  Red flag!  How did he manage to convince so many teenagers to sojourn at his humble abode?  At night?  After he already pistol-whipped one of his students in class?  Jesus Christ, that's creepy.  Fuck.

In any event, the characters take turns telling "scary" stories.  My biggest problem with After Midnight is its utter lack of horror.  There are no supernatural elements.  Our villains - and I use that term loosely - range from a celebrity stalker to a pack of dogs.  Normal, non-rabid dogs.  Listen, I realize that the genre doesn't need ghosts or zombies to be enthralling, but it does need style.  This flick is bone dry.  At least the cast is teeming with cute chicks.  Normally, I would break down each segment, but After Midnight doesn't deserve such finicky, demiurgic treatment.  If I took something positive away from its sloth, it was the desire to revisit a better anthology.  Now, where did I leave my copy of Cat's Eye?


Geek Out #74

I know that this clip isn't exactly obscure, but it's legendary.  C'mon, give it up for Gorn!  His creature suit is tubular enough to power a million b-movies.  I'm not a Trekkie by any stretch of the imagination, but the original series is incontrovertibly enjoyable, if only from a cheese standpoint.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #18

Movies and "Hollow."

Unmasked Part 25

Bear with me.  I've been told that I'm an exceptional writer, and I appreciate the accolades, but I maintain that my chops are pedestrian at best.  Why?  I have a hard time articulating my thoughts on films that I dislike.  Now, it's easy to rant about shit that I fucking hate.  Preparing edicts of enmity has never been a dicey, precarious enterprise.  I'm tripped up by vague ambivalence.  I'll give you an example.  I didn't care for Unmasked Part 25 because...blegh.  See what I mean?  It's just there.  I didn't enjoy it, and I wanted to immolate the cast forthwith.  Throughout the course of this review, I'll try to elucidate my disdain.  Maybe I'll learn something.  Hey, maybe you'll learn something.  This could be a changing day in your life (that was meant to be read aloud by Dr. Phil).

Released in 1989, Unmasked Part 25 is not a sequel.  Duh.  It's a slasher parody, although it doesn't have much in common with Student Bodies or Saturday the 14th.  Director Anders Palm doesn't commit to barmy, outrageous gags.  Instead, he weaves in and out of incommensurate genres.  The script touches on blue humor, stratospheric splatter and cumbrous introspection.  It wants to be a funny drama with loads of sex and gore.  As you might have guessed, I didn't find Unmasked Part 25 to be particularly comical.  And I rolled my eyes when it attempted to be "deep."  Look, I get it.  The film is a comment on our habitual behavior and mankind's impulse to damn itself to redundancy.  Big deal.

I'll give credit where credit is due.  The plot anticipates the self-referential musings of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.  A masked slasher by the name of Jackson is growing weary of mincing morons, but he doesn't know how to do anything else.  He is far too diffident to interact with the public at large without his hockey mask (yes, his hockey mask).  His face is deformed, you understand.  However, a chance meeting with an enticing blind girl may reverse his misfortune.  It's a solid premise in theory.  If only there were intriguing characters or smooth transitions between acts.  "Okay, the first 30 minutes will be a typical horror flick, and then blammo!  You've got a romantic comedy on your hands!"

Unmasked Part 25 is a rare VHS collectible.  More than likely, it's going to stay that way.  I won't claim that it's entirely without merit.  The death sequences are fun.  Plus, I grinned at a few lines, but honestly, I couldn't wait for this facetious pasquinade to expire.  It was almost painful.  I'd rather watch Leonard Part 6.  It's worth noting that this is a British production.  I haven't developed a taste for pure British satire, so that could explain some of my dissatisfaction.  As it stands, I cannot and will not recommend Unmasked Part 25.  But I doubt that I'll ever part with my copy.  Man, I have serious issues.


Dead Links #10

It occurred to me that I haven't written about wrestling in awhile.  There is plenty to discuss.  The Shield made a smashing in-ring debut at TLC.  Earlier tonight, The Boogeyman, The New Age Outlaws and Ric (fuckin') Flair all surfaced on Raw.  Exciting things are happening in WWE.  Be that as it may, the industry will never arrive at the fever pitch of public interest propagated by territories.  Remember those?  Perhaps I should recuse myself, as I was born one year before Wrestlemania separated the major leagues from the minor leagues.  Despite my age, I find the olden days to be fascinating.

This dead link deals almost exclusively with "territorial pissings."  It deals with Memphis, to be exact.  Kentucky Fried Wrestling is a blog authored by Scott Bowden, a former referee-cum-manager.  He grew up idolizing guys like Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee and Austin Idol (pun probably intended).  Later in life, he would get the opportunity to work for The King, so it goes without saying that he has a litany of stories to tell.  KFW isn't updated as regularly as it used to be, but it contains three years worth of editorials to sift through.  I recommend searching for any article on "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  It's readily apparent why he was considered to be a consummate professional.

Hmm, I am second-guessing my choice to upload an image of The Fabulous Ones.


Go Panthers!

TWO...count 'em...TWO posts tomorrow!  That includes a movie review.  Tell your enemies.


Album Cover of the Week

I'm out of town today, so here is a special Saturday A.C.O.T.W.  Breathe it in!


Matches That Time Forgot #49

The Yeti has become one of wrestling's greatest jokes.  The Dungeon of Doom was goofy enough without adding an icebound mummy to their ranks, but Eric Bischoff was determined to hit rock bottom.  I won't dwell on the subject.  Others have scribbled at length about the cross-eyed fatuity of 1995's Halloween Havoc.  I wanted to take a look at the behemoth behind the bandages.  His name was Ron Reis, and WCW impeded him with a melange of batty gimmicks.  Perhaps the most straightforward persona wound up being the worst.  In 1998, Reis was simply known as Reese, the towering, yet sensibly dressed (dig those casual threads) enforcer of Raven's Flock.

Here, he battles Juventud Guerrera.  I'll level with you.  I have no earthly clue what the story was leading up to this match.  The fight itself is prefaced by a hypnagogic, avant-garde vignette that finds Juvie flittering aimlessly in a matted field.  As you would expect, this is hyped as a David/Goliath encounter, but despite faint crowd noise, it doesn't feel very grandiose.  Reese shoves the unsung cruiserweight into the ring posts a few times before applying the inevitable bearhug.  This match proves that The Big Show is an incredible athlete.  How?  Yeti Man moves like a laggard cooter.  Imagine, if you will, Honey Boo Boo's tree trunk of a mother jumping hurdles with broken femurs.  On second thought, don't.

Van Hammer makes the save (???) and Tony Schiavone acts as if Juvie has just won the Little League World Series.  FACTOID: Giant Gonzalez was the first choice to portray The Yeti.  God, that would have been brilliant.


Quist, Kessler & Talbot LLP

The title of this post refers to a werewolf law firm.  It's an actual place of business that I made up.  My point is, I'll be reviewing obscure werewolf movies in either late January or early February.  Don't get too excited.  You probably haven't seen any of them.  No one will care.  Everyone is going to laugh at me.



Midnight is creeping, and I'm writing about a latter-day Full Moon film.  Can you imagine the piercing disappointment in my parents' eyes?  They probably feel like Charles Band's parents.  Alright, that was a low blow, but I needed a creamy, agrestal segue.  It's sad to see where this humble horror studio was just three years before Shrieker was unleashed.  To wit, Castle Freak came out in 1995.  It had tenable production values, an erudite cast and permissible special effects (actually, that's an understatement).  If you ask me, it's one of the best monster movies of the 90's.  Fast-forward to 1998.  The distribution ties to Paramount had been severed.  Interest waned in key franchises.  The video rental market, a crucial boon to Band's success as a producer, was drawing its last breath.

Obviously, the spending budget was considerably smaller.  Most of the pictures lensed during this era were nugatory, lightweight b-flops confined to a couple of cheap sets.  Shrieker is not the exception to the rule.  Having said that, I enjoyed it more than I thought it would.  The script follows a group of squatters living in an abandoned hospital.  Ah, gritty realism.  Maybe they're drug dealers strung out on heroin, eating roaches and bathing in piss.  No, they're pulchritudinous college students.  The girls have shapely measurements and the guys...well, I'm pretty sure that they are gay porn stars.  Not that there is anything wrong with that!  Predictably, this destitute drive-in escapade was helmed by David DeCoteau.

In a rare display of attrition, DeCoteau decided to direct Shrieker under a pseudonym.  Brace yourself; he chose the name, Victoria Sloan.  David, you sassy bitch.  To be honest, I couldn't tell that this flick was directed by anyone.  It's redeemed by a halfway absorbing whodunit angle and an amiable creature suit ("suit" isn't really the word; it's a Halloween mask paired with an olive tallith).  I'm sorry, I don't usually do this, but I'm going to elaborate on my parenthetical statement.  The shrieker seems to be wearing a Jewish prayer shawl.  I don't know how to describe it.  Why didn't they construct a full ensemble?  Gee whiz.  At any rate, it's a demon with two heads.  Let's move on.  Together.

If you're hankering for a real synopsis, read the plot summary for 1957's Night of the Demon.  It's basically the same deal.  I'll give Shrieker credit for colluding to create characters who manage to avoid becoming boneheaded clich├ęs.  After putting it to a vote, they opt NOT to split up in a creepy building.  Send my compliments and felicitations to these fake, yet smart people.  And for what it's worth, the film is never boring.  That doesn't change the fact that there are oodles of loose ends, the supporting players are asleep and the climax is a buzzkill.  Literally.  The shrieker is killed way too easily.  Still, I'm the kind of guy who would recommend a Full Moon movie because it's a Full Moon movie.  Robert Z'Dar says, "That is sound reasoning, bro."


Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #17

The seventeenth episode?  Good God.


Geek Out #73

I don't always watch slashers, but when I do, it's usually shit like this.  That should be a meme.


Chris Cornell - SONGBOOK

Each rock god is allowed a misstep.  For Chris Cornell, 2009's Scream served as his ill-conceived blunder, a lapse in gumption that many deemed a career killer.  While the oxhide-throated warbler has yet to disavow the Timbaland-produced R&B "joint" or show any remorse in public, you get the sense that he has seen the error in his ways.  He has since reformed Soundgarden, and in late 2011, he released this set of live performances.  You should know that I'm a fan of Chris Cornell, the solo artist.  1998's Euphoria Morning is one of my favorite albums of all time, although 2007's Carry On was incongruent at best.  Songbook includes tracks from both records, but it also touches on Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog.

To be clear, Songbook amounts to nothing more than Chris and an acoustic guitar.  That's all it needs.  I have to chortle at the parental advisory sticker.  There are only swear words on two cuts.  During stage banter, at that!  Actually, that's something that hinders the whole shebang.  Chris sounds uncomfortable in between numbers, so he emits f-bombs to diffuse his awkward delivery.  It makes it difficult to play the CD at family gatherings.  But hey, fuck your family!  It goes without chirping that Songbook is exceedingly relaxing.  I can definitely fall asleep to it, but then again, I can fall asleep to Autopsy.

Okay, the highlights.  Oddly, a leftover from the Scream sessions winds up being a candidate for Best Rock/Pop Vocal That Makes Me Want To Cry/Drink (this is Chris Cornell's first nomination).  The tune, "As Hope and Promise Fade," opens Songbook with plaintive chords and heart-rending melodies.  "Call Me a Dog" is fucking amazing.  If you don't recognize the title (you pitiful bastard), it's a Temple of the Dog ballad that exploits the entirety of Mr. Cornell's range.  The guy is 48 years old, and he can still murder those high notes.  His stirring rendition of Audioslave's "I Am the Highway" might be my favorite song.  I dig the little ad-libs here and there.

"Scar on the Sky" and "Wide Awake" are superior to their studio counterparts.  "Cleaning My Gun," a brand new ditty with country tinctures, gets an honorable mention.  I do tune out toward the end of Songbook.  Frankly, I'm tired of hearing "Like a Stone" and "Black Hole Son."  The cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" is just pointless.  Sorry, but I despise it, unless we're talking about A Perfect Circle's deviceful retooling (no pun intended, motherfucker).  On the whole, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Songbook, especially as a stocking stuffer.  Chris Cornell's voice is in rare form, and the selections are well-selected.  For the most part.  This is a canorous companion piece to King Animal.



I'm busy writing, but you won't be able to read any of it until tomorrow.  Patience!


Tape Mold

What is Tape Mold?  It's an underground DIY zine aimed at VHS collectors.  The horror-leaning rag is spearheaded by Dan Kinem of VHShitfest.  I just finished reading the second issue, and I don't mind giving it my Robert Z'Dar-shaped stamp of approval (a distinguished insignia, to be sure).  One of the reasons why I wanted to plug it is because I'm actually writing a review for an upcoming issue.  Like I said, Tape Mold leans in the direction of the horror genre, but it covers VHS oddities of all stripes.  I particularly enjoyed Kinem's laudatory portrait of BBW porn star pathfinder Big Bad Bertha (pictured above).  I can't say that I'm in a hurry to acquire a copy of Oil of L.A., though.

I'll let you guys/gals know when my work is published.  In the meantime, pick up the second issue of Tape Mold HERE.


Vanity Scare #12

RUE MORGUE (#127, October 2012)

It's only fitting that I sieve through the Halloween issue of Rue Morgue, what with Christmas approaching.  And sieve I shall, like a colander filtering the parching water from a bowl of corzetti.  What, you've never had corzetti?  It's a flat, embossed delicacy that typically pairs well...I feel that I'm in danger of meandering astray.  Look, I'm going to try to keep this column curt and condensed.  Being that this particular sliver of Rue-scented rectitude is forty pages longer than your average issue, I couldn't possibly cover everything.  These are just the bits that stiffened my fuchsia birch (plus a couple that didn't).

~ As I'm sure you've gleaned from the cover, RM #127 celebrates the hundredth anniversary of Universal Studios by drawing attention to the monsters that every genre hound has come to know and love.  I'll get this out of the way right now; the pages devoted to Dracula and company are worth the price of admission alone.  Maybe you have to be a fan.  Maybe not.  James Burrell's recital of Universal's nascency and proximate supremacy is studiously compiled.  His subsequent interview with film historian David J. Skal is just as interesting.  I loved the side panels, compendiary biographies of "unsung horror heroes" such as Dwight Frye and Hans J. Salter.

~ The Gillman gets his own goddamn bulletpoint.  I absolutely adored the chat with aboriginal scream queen Julia Adams.  Elsewhere, we are shown a snippet of test footage revealing The Gillman's initial design.  Wow.  I'm glad that revisions were made.  And no, I still don't own the fan-fucking-tastic Universal Classic Monsters Blu-ray set, but it's glued to the top of my Kwanzaa list.

~ There is a movie called Big Tits Zombie.  Mm-hmm.

~ To me, Cinema Apocalyptica: A-Z of End Times on Film screams filler.  It's a blah piece.  The concept?  Match each letter of the alphabet up with a cause for Armageddon.  Certain letters are obvious ("E" is extraterrestrials, "D" is disease, etc.), but others...man, I'll give the staff credit for creativity.  "G" is gender.  "L" is language.  "S" is shadows.  Right.  Personally, I would have given this section the axe.

~ Stand back!  Michael Doyle's article on Halloween III: Season of the Witch is more tantalizing than a bee's knees.  I should know.  I dated a hornet back in college.  A gentleman is precluded from kissing and telling, but suffice to say, that bitch could pollinate the compound pistil of a tulip blindfolded.  She put the "gyno" in gynoecium, if you know what I mean.  My sex life notwithstanding, director Tommy Lee Wallace reflected on the divisive sequel with a congenial attitude.  I had no idea that Nigel Kneale wrote a draft of the script.  Apparently, he hated the final product and referred to Wallace as a hack.  Talk about sour grapes!

~ I want Kirk Hammett's collection of horror memorabilia.

~ The Late-Nite Archive takes a look at TCM Underground, the exalted channel's Saturday morning time slot (it usually starts around 3 ante-meridiem).  I always try to catch it myself.  I almost always miss it.  It's worth taping, though.

~ Classic Cut profiles Rondo Hatton, an underappreciated screen heavy.  He played The Creeper in three pictures throughout the 40's, including a Sherlock Holmes mystery.  Tragically, he died young as a result of acromegaly, the same condition that gave him his Hollywood features.  I should rephrase that.  It gave him the features that Hollywood exploited, even after his passing.  I suggest viewing 1946's House of Horrors.

I'm pulling the plug on this edition of Vanity Scare.   The moral of the story?  Subscribe to Rue Morgue.



I tried to motivate myself to write tonight, but I'm just feeling too shitty.  My deepest, sexiest apologies.  I'll be back tomorrow night, though.  Hang in there!



The Fishtones? NONE HEAVIER!

That is Batley.  From Eureka's Castle.  He is your God.  But he's not here for any particular reason.  I'm just writing to say that I may be adding a new column to the site.  Yeah, I know...I can barely keep up with the columns that presently exist.  I have a lot on my plate (more archiving, a non-site writing project, etc.), but I have made a concentrated effort to set time aside for reading.  It's a hobby I spurned for most of my adult life.  For various reasons, I have become inspired recently to pick up a ghastly tome or two.  You know what that means, don't you?  Book reviews!

I've already selected the rating icon.  It's fucking special.  I'll go into further detail about this endeavor tomorrow.  In (kinda-sorta) related news, I'll probably post a new Vanity Scare on Wednesday.  Hold onto your feminine hygiene!


Album Cover of the Week


Blood Capsule #25


This 1972 made-for-TV spookshow premiered on BBC and promptly vanished into the subaqueous banks of obscurity.  It's held in high esteem for its claustrophobic atmosphere and its inventive premise.  While it didn't meet my expectations, the plot is undeniably cool.  An electronics firm holes up in a grimy, tottering chateau to develop a new recording medium.  Naturally, the dishabille manor seems to be haunted.  After seeing and hearing evidence of paranormal activity (search engine bait), the team director hypothesizes that ghosts may not be the guilty parties.  He believes that the stone walls "recorded" traumatic events and that his tacit lover's telekinetic abilities invoked a playback of sorts.

Okay, the storyline is hard to describe.  It boils down to metaphysical balderdash, but I promise that it makes sense when you actually see the film.  Anchored by Nigel Kneale's phrenic script, The Stone Tape is challenging and intellectually stimulating.  Peter Sasdy wields the camera with understated panache.  However, the pace trails off toward the final reckoning.  The characters are a big part of the problem.  Everyone is unduly melodramatic, although you can understand why the leads are driven to delirium.  I just didn't enjoy getting to know these people, and as a result, I didn't care what happened to them.

This taint-chilling morsel of vintage British horror is durable enough to recommend to fans of...well, vintage British horror.  I would also advise tracking down a copy of 1973's The Norliss Tapes.


Dead Links #9

In 2012, the Internet is saturated with fansites.  You can find a review of virtually any movie that was ever released (and some that weren't).  For would-be journalists such as yours truly, it's hard to stand out amongst the crowd and make a dent with your own findings.  I'm old enough to remember when there were only a handful of sites that catered to bizarro, singular tastes.  Okay, it wasn't that long ago, but I sure do feel ancient.  Badmovies.org was one of the haunts wherein I would perch in the days before there were enough blogs to constitute a "blogosphere."  There was no Facebook, no YouTube, no Random Reviews Incorporated...God, can you imagine?

I was pleased to see that Badmovies.org is still kicking.  Obviously, they specialize in cheese, as evidenced by the example I have given (I'm not convinced that Munchies and Munchie exist in the same universe).  The reviews are fun and exceedingly detailed.  Check it out when you're not busy writing Harvey Korman fan fiction.


Title of Post

I'm giving myself an off day.  I think I deserve it.  Obviously, I still have quite a bit of archiving to do, but I hope to knock some of it out over the weekend.

PS-If you've never read one of the many Batman vs. Predator comics, you should.  Make it happen.  I'm serious.


Carnosaur 3: Primal Species

This is the end, my only friend.  The end.  Ew, that's how suicide notes start.  Wouldn't it be funny if some guy killed himself and left a review of Carnosaur 3: Primal Species as his suicide note?  That would be awesome.  I would do it if it weren't for the whole "dying" thing.  I'm veering off-course...while putting this trilogy to bed enchases a dispiriting wrinkle into my brow, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't itching to leave this abstract mezzotint behind me.  I need to spend time away from crass, churlish schlock.  It's for my own good.  But these reviews were necessary.  I had to get them out of my system.  Carnosaur 3 is a film I hadn't seen since I was an ostracized teenager, so I was looking forward to revisiting an old friend.

Now I know why we lost touch.  This direct-to-video washout is more generic than those jugs of brand-free juice you see at the supermarket that are only identifiable by their flavors (or rather, their colors; they all taste like sugar water).  The first act consists of military grunts wielding modernized muskets.  The second act consists of military grunts acting tough and slogging afoot in a dingy warehouse.  The third act consists of military grunts dodging dinosaurs on a ship.  By the way, the pluvial climax is accompanied by a score "modeled after" Alan Silvestri's tribal Predator theme.  Man, these flicks laugh in the face of dignity.

If you've seen Carnosaur 2, then Carnosaur 3 will give you a few reasons to scratch your head.  What's with all the references to itching and scratching?  Anyway, the late Rick Dean played a major role in the second entry.  He wasn't the lead, mind you, but he was one of the last people to be dispatched.  Here, he appears in another major role...as a different character.  The fuckity-fuck?  Moreover, the two characters are practically the same dude.  They are both bawdy, chauvinistic class clown types.  Again, the fuckity-fuck?  Dean isn't alone in his duality.  Mad TV regular Michael McDonald has bit parts in Carnosaur 2 and 3...as different characters.  I demand an explanation!

On the upside, the effects are decent, and I managed to stay awake until the closing credits crept onto the screen.  The action sequences are competent, which is how I would describe Carnosaur 3: Primal Species as a whole.  Have you ever recommended a movie on account of it being competent?  It's just bland.  I watched it three hours ago, and I can barely remember plot specifics.  It's not terribly gory.  Ugh.  If I was forced at gunpoint to hazard a guess, I would wager that the crew was comprised of "C" students.  That may seem harsh, but it's most likely true.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I'm honestly surprised that I didn't star in at least two of these fuckers."


Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #15

Click HERE to listen to the podcast that I guested on.  I talk about it in the video, as well as Dean Ambrose.  And not much else.  It's pretty boring.


Panels From Beyond the Grave #27

Guess who's back?  Bob!  That's right, kids...part-time Random Reviews contributor Bob Ignizio returns to help out in the comic book department.  Personally, I'm not terribly familiar with Deadpool, but cripes golly, that cover is badass!  I may have to pick up a copy.  As always, I will advise you to click HERE to check out Bob's movie-oriented website.  Take it away, daddy-o!

DEADPOOL (#1, November 2012)

Deadpool is one of those comic book characters that I never really bothered with in the past. I read a few issues of Daniel Way's run of the character and thought they were okay, but even with having access to the series for free at my local library, I didn't bother sticking with it. Before all you fans jump down my throat, I'm not saying the book was bad; it just didn't grab me personally. However, when I heard that comedians Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan would be writing the first issue of Deadpool for its "Marvel Now" relaunch (with original Walking Dead artist Tony Moore handling the illustrations), I figured I'd give the book another chance. As it turns out, I'm reasonably glad I did.

No familiarity with Deadpool's previous exploits is necessary to jump right in with Deadpool #1. Duggan, Posehn and Moore follow the old axiom of "show - don't tell," laying out the basic premise of the “merc with a mouth” in a sequence teaming Deadpool (a.k.a. Wade Wilson) with Thor to dispatch some hapless Godzilla wannabe in gleefully gory fashion. With just a few panels, you get an understanding of Deadpool's personality (smart ass), powers (healing factor) and weaknesses (permanently disfigured and slightly insane), as well as where he stands in the larger Marvel universe (not exactly Mr. Popular) without a single panel wasted on bland exposition. That's how it should be with a first issue starring an already established character.

The story proper concerns a necromancer unhappy with the current state of America who decides to resurrect all the dead presidents, which sounds almost rational compared to some of the things Republicans have been saying and doing since Mitt Romney lost the election. Anyway, Captain America is on the scene and manages to take out zombie Harry S. Truman, but it's decided that it just doesn't look good having America's most patriotic superhero decapitating her former leaders. The job of putting the undead presidents back in the ground needs to go to someone not directly connected to the government, someone whose actions can be plausibly disavowed when things get ugly. Someone like Deadpool.

Deadpool is a character who has always walked a fine line between comedy and more straight-forward comic book action, with the character especially known for his habit of “breaking the fourth wall” and addressing the reader directly. The issues by Daniel Way that I read tended to tilt more to the latter than the former. Duggan and Posehn, as their background in comedy would indicate, take the opposite approach. The general tone here is like an early Peter Jackson film or maybe something from Troma if Troma had budgets and decent scripts (in other words, there's a lot of violent, tasteless humor).

Moore's artwork further accentuates that approach by utilizing a more overtly cartoony style than generally found in mainstream superhero books. It all adds up to a fun, if not exactly essential, read. Basically if you're looking for a comic book that offers superhero action, laughs and gross-outs in about equal measures (and you've already read Garth Ennis's far superior and more overtly satirical The Boys, which recently came to an end), Deadpool #1 is worth checking out.