Album Cover of the Week

Parts Unknown #103: Shareholders Meeting

Have I gone back on my word?  Is this a review of a WWE product?  Well, kinda-sorta.  The 2012 Annual WWE Shareholders Meeting was posted online earlier yesterday, so I watched it to glean a better understanding of where this company is heading.  Fret not, dearhearts; the next edition of Parts Unknown will return to familiar territory (I'm eyeballing a vintage episode of Raw).  This is merely an experiment, a pragmatic undertaking intended to mix things up.

A pro/con format doesn't seem apropos.  Besides, I didn't spot many pros.  Pull up a chair and gird your bullshit sensor for the Q&A session.  It's clob...er, meetin' time!

~ I have to get this off my chest.  The eremitic virgins audacious enough to raise their hands had me in stitches.  What message boards do these smarks hail from?  I expected one of them to implore, "Mr. McMahon, I was wondering what prompted Mabel's heel turn leading up to 1995's King of the Ring tournament.  Also, is it true that Waylon Mercy's vignettes were filmed by an actual earthworm?"  I cracked wise at their expense until I realized that I, too, was a scurvy geek.  God, I'm so lonely.

~ Boy, Vince loves money, doesn't he?  I cringed upon hearing his response to a reasonable suggestion.  The suggestion?  Lower PPV prices.  The response?  No.  In fact, he intimated that making events such as Survivor Series and Royal Rumble more affordable would indicate weakness.  Vince also scoffed at the proposal to air Wrestlemania on television (for free, of course).  It's not a bad idea, in my opinion.  After all, Wrestlemania is the Super Bowl of wrestling.  When was the last time you paid to watch the Super Bowl?  The ad revenue would be staggering, but since PPV's rake in slightly bigger bucks, it won't be happening anytime soon.  To me, a free Wrestlemania on national television would go a long way in streamlining sports entertainment.  But what do I know?

~ Sit down.  No, trust me; this is earth-shattering news.  You need to be sitting down.  The WWE is concentrating on bolstering its film division!  Their upcoming batch of motion pictures will appeal to a wider range of moviegoers.  That's not all.  Get this...they plan on partnering up with other studios to bankroll sequels and remakes!  Maybe I can finally pitch my treatment for Ghost in the Machine 2.  You see, it doubles as a Max Moon biopic.  I'm hoping that Hunico will headline an all-star cast that includes the usuals (y'know, Yahoo Serious, Randy Orton, Kevin Nealon, Gene Wilder, Wanda Sykes, Anna Chlumsky, Nikki Bella, etc.).

~ The suits did their best to assure shareholders that the future looks bright.  The WWE Network is still without a launch date.

~ WWE's stock price has dipped in the past year.  However, Vince quashed any lingering doubt by delineating that those numbers are isolated hiccups.  He was very clear when he stated that the stock price was on the verge of pole vaulting through the stratosphere.  Don't worry.  What more do you want, shareholders?  A reason to believe him?

I would have asked him to yell, "1, 2 AND!"


Vanity Scare #5

RUE MORGUE (#121, April 2012)

- This year marks the 30th anniversary of Poltergeist, which means you'll be seeing a lot of retrospectives floating around in the coming weeks that hoof it through trodden terraces of well-documented anecdotes.  How many different ways can you approach the specious "curse" that plagues this franchise?  How long can you speculate over the identity of the person who occupied the director's chair before you lose reader interest?  Hell, I lost interest in this paragraph three sentences ago.  So does the cover story measure up?  I'll get to it later.  First, the cover...simple and classy.  Imbued in a smoky periwinkle that percolates from the nihility of the black background.  They're here, bitches!

- I always look forward to the editor's note in any magazine.  Here, Dave Alexander opines on the revelry of drive-in nostalgia.  Contrary to popular belief, drive-in theaters are not dead yet.  Endangered, sure, but they have a chance to outlive the South African Pussy-Eating Condor (there is a reason why those damn birds should never be domesticated, and unfortunately, my ex-wife learned the hard way).

- One of the comic books that I reviewed under the Panels From Beyond the Grave rubric was Dark Horse's Creepy relaunch.  It was quite enjoyable, so I was thrilled to find out that Eerie (a sister publication) will be given the same treatment.  EC wasn't the only company pumping out whimsical horror anthologies, you know.

- Michael Doyle's Poltergeist spread was fresh and informative.  The interviews with cast and crew members alike relayed germane nuggets of anamnesis without regurgitating common knowledge.  For all intents and purposes, I gather that directorial duties were split down the middle, even if the film bears an unmistakable Spielberg glow.  It's sad to hear that Zelda Rubinstein was, shall we say, cantankerous in her old age.  Illness and depression took their toll on a unique, superlative actress.

- David Konow and Chris Poggiali take a loving look at Crown International Pictures.  I dug their assessments of Nightmare in Wax (fun flick), Stanley and The Crater Lake Monster among others.  Crown may have been a cheap knock-off factory, but compared to modern day equivalents (Asylum anyone?), it ruled the roost.

- I'm not big on Ministry, but Trevor Tuminski's sit-down consultation with Al Jourgensen was entertaining.  Fix has piqued my curiosity.

- Last Chance Lance convinced me to rent The Puppet Monster Massacre.  A crossbreed of Team America and Meet the Feebles?  Where do I sign up?

- Bowen's Basement delivers once again.  And that's coming from someone who doesn't give a courtesy fuck about The Boogens.  Divine poster, but the movie itself is more mundane than a church luncheon held at The National Institute of Cardboard Boxes.

- The Classic Cut continues the trend of spotlighting belletristic works of art.  Hey, Beowulf is relatively gnarly, but this column smacks of pretense.  Are they trying to prove how intellectual they are?  Because I'd be just as happy with a blurb on Slime City or Houseboat Horror.  But I digress.

Go ahead and buy this issue.



So I'm finally done with my other writing project. And I'm sick of writing. Give me a day to rest, and I'll bounce back into the swing of things. RR headquarters will be super busy over the next month. Hold onto your genitals!


Matches That Time Forgot #35

It has been far too long since I posted an NWA match.  Let's take a gander at some old-fashioned tag team wrestling circa 1989.  We have The Road Warriors versus The Samoan Swat Team (a.k.a. The Headshrinkers before they were The Headshrinkers).  Sweet piss, that crowd is hot.  To be honest, they would probably clamor and vociferate at glass-shattering decibels regardless of the in-ring action.  These beer-swilling rednecks are revved up, and they are ready for wrasslin'!  In all fairness, I would be just as disorderly in displaying my overt, unabashed love for high-octane ass-kicking.

You already know about The Road Warriors.  Most of you are familiar with Fatu and Samu, but damn it, they are criminally underrated.  I'm repeating myself, I know.  In fact, I may have praised this neglected team in this very column.  If that annoys you, stop reading.  The Headshrinkers existed under different names for the better part of a decade.  They won major championships in several territories, not to mention WWF.  I guess my infatuation stems from the fact that they were consistent workers boasting a cool gimmick.  As for this brawl, L.O.D. handles the bulk of the offense.  It is what it is.

Duck!  It's a Freebird run-in!


Don't Go in the House

Don't Go in the House has the makings of a threadbare slasher. Going in, all I knew about the plot was that it concerned a psychopath who torched women alive with a flamethrower. Couple that with the year of release (1980), and I figured that this would be a picnic. Well, a picnic where bubbly, ebullient teenagers were indiscriminately roasted by a combustible schizoid. I certainly wasn't expecting a grim character study a la Maniac, but that's what I got. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Bill Lustig's rhapsody in sleaze was employed as a point of reference. However, the two grindhouse darlings were unleashed around the same time. In fact, House may have beaten Maniac to the punch.

The script circumvents the typical, yet tried-and-true standard operating procedure established by Halloween and Friday the 13th. Instead of focusing on a cartel of future victims, this film follows the killer. In this case, the killer is Donny Kohler, a Norman Bates-esque mama's boy who slogs away at an incinerator. We know he's skittish right off the bat. In the opening scene, he stands and stares as a co-worker is enkindled near a furnace grate. After enduring a tongue lashing from his boss, he goes home to discover that his mother's body is cold and lifeless. His first instinct is to dial 911, but a flurry of bated voices in his head encourages him to act out. Literally. I mean, he lights a cigarette and listens to loud rock music.

It would be hysterical if the rest of House saw Donny "rebel" against his dead mother in docile, milquetoast ways. In a sense, he does defy the old hag, but there is nothing docile or milquetoast about blowtorch slaughter (he doesn't use a blowtorch; I just had to take the opportunity to squeeze in a Cannibal Corpse songtitle). The plot runs parallel with that of Maniac, the only differences being the nutcase's occupation and the nature of his crimes. Also, House isn't quite as graphic. Don't get the wrong impression; this is a grisly, harrowing fright flick. The sequence in which Donny scalds the naked flesh of a helpless girl suspended from the ceiling is - for lack of a better term - rough.

Overall, I liked House considerably more than I disliked it, hence the benign rating. Rookie writer/director Joseph Ellison builds tension with the professionalism of a neophyte raised on late-night screenings of Hitchcock classics. Moreover, I dug the outlandish finale. The final product suffers from discernible flaws, though. Simply put, Don Grimaldi's performance as our rattled lead is affected, theatrical even. It doesn't gel with the gritty realism of the film. I was equally put off by the lapses in logic that crept into the narrative as soon as Donny set his first casualty ablaze. Where the hell were the cops? Where the hell was Batman?

In summation, Don't Go in the House is an engaging entry in the "don't" sub-subgenre. It's not oozing with gore, but it serves as a swell companion piece to Maniac. I'm currently writing a sequel entitled No, Seriously...Don't Go in the Fucking House.


Bear with me...

There is a brand spanking new movie review coming your way tomorrow, but tonight, I'm working on something special. It's a writing gig outside of Random Reviews. Once it's been published, I'll tell you more about it. To make up for the dearth of content, here is a picture of Amy Smart...


Album Cover of the Week


Geek Out #51

It seems like just yesterday, I was posting the 50th installment of this series. In reality, it was eight days ago, so let's get cracking on cruising to Geek Out #100! Here we have something skull-numbing in its savagery...the German trailer for The Dentist 2: Brace Yourself. I do not recommend watching this video under the influence of Allegra.



Five years ago, I attended a Cannibal Corpse concert. Make no mistake; I was there for CC, but I was interested in the opening acts as well (save for The Black Dahlia Murder...they're not my cup of semen). My principal curiosity was to find out if Goatwhore delivered the ruthless, skin-flaying live experience that had won them ubiquitous plaudits. It's not that I didn't believe the metal community. I had to see it with my own two eyes. The verdict? Goatwhore is fucking brutal. Since that fateful night, I've been a staunch fan of the Louisiana-based thrashers. Of course, the term "thrashers" doesn't do them justice. Drummer Zack Simmons, bassist James Harvey (a late addition to the line-up), guitarist Sammy Duet and vocalist Ben Falgoust II peddle a Cajun-laced strain of blackened speed metal.

You could also toss "sludge" and "hard rock" into this adjective urn. NOTE TO SELF: Write a treatment for a 50's-style educational short film starring The Undertaker called The Adjective Urn. Anyway, Goatwhore rules the planet. Carving Out the Eyes of God was my favorite album of 2009. It was an artistic apex of sorts, an annex of the band's overall sound. It amplified (and augmented...alright, I'll knock it off) the manifold facets of the three preceding long players. But with every peak, there is a valley. I won't call Blood for the Master a flop, but it doesn't take Goatwhore to new heights. Honestly, it comes across as a sallow sequel to Carving, which is exactly what these guys were trying to avoid.

Look, there are strong numbers here. "In Deathless Tradition" and "Beyond the Spell of Discontent" hint at the progression I was expecting to hear on this record. And this isn't a case of yet another underground mainstay selling out. Not even close. Master is full of grinding riffs (gotta love Sammy's sandpaper guitar tone), scrupulous blastbeats and acrid vocals from the recesses of Satan's asshole. I can listen to it without getting bored. Is that the kind of compliment that Goatwhore was hoping to elicit from loyal devotees? I would dispute such a claim. My biggest complaint about this compact disc is...well, it's extremely standard. There is an inveterate sense of sameness hanging over each track like a black cloud pouring sheets of rain onto Charlie Brown's scalp.

Master strikes me as a wooden, perfunctory collection of b-sides. That's not easy for me to type, and I still worship Goatwhore, but I think they would agree that they set the bar too goddamn high. It's their fault! If their first four albums weren't so righteous, Blood for the Master would have blown my mind. In closing, all I can offer is a plea for evolution the next time around. There was a great deal of growth in between 2000's The Eclipse of Ages into Black and 2003's Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun. Ditto for subsequent releases. If you're just now discovering Goatwhore, this is actually a decent place to start. Sample "Collapse in Eternal Worth" and "When Steel and Bone Meet." If you dig those tunes, buy the whole back catalogue.


The contest has ended!

And the winner of the Random Reviews Giveaway is...Todd Crawford! Congratulations! Send me your address so that I can mail you a box of happiness!

PS-I just received a picture from the future. Here is a shot of Todd receiving the good news...


Blood Capsule #11


Cult maestro Bill Rebane concocted such salient schlocktails as The Giant Spider Invasion and Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake. Towards the end of his career, he tried his hand at the latest trend scaring up big bucks at the box office - slashers. Maybe it's because I haven't indulged in a frowzy 80's "body count" flick in a month of Sundays, but I got a mild kick out of Blood Harvest. Yes, that's Tiny Tim. And yes, he plays a deranged clown by the name of The Marvelous Mervo. It goes without saying that he outcreeps most greasepainted goons. Strangely enough, Mervo doesn't do any killing in this agrarian shocker. I won't spoil the (sluggish, drawn out) ending, but suffice to say, Blood Harvest isn't the "evil clown" epic it purports to be.

Rebane poisons the script with hackneyed characters and obvious twists. In all fairness, those flubs are cushioned in between moments of austere trepidation. The plot? Insignificant. Tighter pacing and a higher death toll would have nudged Blood Harvest into "must see" territory. As it stands, it's mannerly b-movie sediment. Tiny's quaking falsetto is the stuff of nightmares.


Panels From Beyond the Grave #17

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (#40, February 1954)

You had to know that I was going to review an EC title at some point. I'm shocked that it took this long to assess the one comic book that is synonymous with terror in four colors. Tales From the Crypt was the Elvis Presley of genre comics. It pissed off parents, galvanized controversy, appealed to spastic youths and thrusted its groin into America's prurient lens (well, figuratively speaking). This was a primer for cool kids. I own several issues of Crypt, but sadly, most of them are reprints. I haven't read enough of EC's other series to determine a favorite or single out the nonpareil of the bunch. In terms of popularity, it's no secret that Crypt takes its sibling publications to the cleaners.

It's certainly the most celebrated horror comic of all time. If you've never apprised yourself of the original Cryptkeeper, there are a few things you should know. For starters, each issue is heavy on dialogue. Regnant whippersnappers who were raised on Image and Dark Horse are accustomed to breezing through a comic in 10-15 minutes flat. You'll have to set aside 30 minutes to ingest this tome, unless you happen to be a speed reader. Me, I'm stupid, so I need a full half-hour. The panels are varnished in call-outs and text bubbles. You'd think that the artwork would suffer as a result, but there is a prosperity of space for gruesome detail. Dig the bloated, waterlogged corpse in "Pearly to Dead."

Something else you may not be privy to...The Cryptkeeper isn't the only ghoul spinning yarn up in this bitch. He is joined by The Vaultkeeper and The Old Witch. They take turns delivering cheeky puns and illustrative alliteration. Crypt is entrenched in cornball humor and serpentine tales of revenge. Invariably, the revenge is fueled by lust, greed and betrayal (it's usually a combination of all three). Hmm, I guess I should break down the stories on tap. Kudos to writer Al Feldstein and his contingent of artists (Jack Davis, George Evans, Bernie Krigstein, Graham Ingels) for their gnarly contributions to this particular batch of scares.

Food for Thought ~ A husband-and-wife circus act is wrenched asunder when adultery is suspected. We get telepathic torture, a mauled lion tamer, a premature burial and a cemetery goblin. Sweet ending. The hippodrome backdrop is a refreshing change of pace.

Pearly to Dead ~ Underwater demolitionists discover a bed of pearls while rigging explosives. Set during World War II, this Vaultkeeper episode finds a Navy diver murdering his best friend to lay claim to an untold fortune (not to mention the poor bastard's main squeeze). Again, the final panel makes for a great payoff.

Prairie Schooner ~ Less horror and more "cruel irony." A discharged sea dog moves in with his sister and slowly goes insane. Eventually, the raving tarpaulin converts the basement into the stern of a ship. Grab the comic to see how he winds up sinking his makeshift vessel and drowning...in the middle of Kansas. Clever narrative.

Half-Baked ~ An angler off the coast can no longer feed his family. Why? For weeks, his lobster pots have come up empty. Meanwhile, a sadistic entrepreneur delights in the dissection of briny creatures later served at his seafood restaurant. Another instance of morbid comeuppance. Not quite as fulfilling as the similarly-themed "Schooner," but it was unpredictable. Plus, there is quite a bit of character development for seven measly pages.

With the exception of "Food," Tales From the Crypt #40 milks a nautical motif for all its worth. I enjoyed the hell out of it. Expect further EC editions of Panels From Beyond the Grave. There is plenty of material to work with, to be sure.



I was going to try to write tonight, but my body is simply not cooperating with me. I'll be back tomorrow. And enter the contest. Yeah.


Album Cover of the Week

PS-The giveaway ends in four days!



I went thrift store hopping today. Found a few decent VHS, but at our last stop, something magical happened. This particular Habitat for Humanity location housed a sizeable library. I browsed for several minutes while my mother looked at furniture. They had special items in glass cases, but the prices were rather exorbitant. I didn't think much of it. I saw a cool book here and there. As I was preparing to exit the analgesic calm of the media center, I spotted it. I gasped. Literally. I've been coveting this tome since I was a kid, and while you can find it online for $75 (or cheaper if you're lucky), chancing upon the genuine article in "the wild" is damn near orgasmic.

If you haven't figured out what I'm salivating over, I found the rare Creepshow graphic novel whose release coincided with that of the film (first edition, bitch). If you know me, you know that this is a big deal. Creepshow is one of my favorite motion pictures of all time (read my review HERE). The book is not in fantastic shape, but I don't care. I'm never selling it, unless I wind up on the streets. Even then, I would resort to sucking cock before I gave this fucker away.

Onto other pressing matters...my schedule has been rickety as of late, so I haven't been able to focus on music reviews like I had planned. I'll rectify that next week. You'll also see new editions of Vanity Scare and Panels From Beyond the Grave. Fast-forwarding to May, it will be a fun month for RR Inc. It shall be themed. Given the random nature of the site, I don't usually go for themes, but I make exceptions for random themes. Hmm, that's an oxymoron. It will make sense once I formally announce all of this nonsense. Sensical nonsense...damn, I did it again! Just trust me on this one, okay?


Geek Out #50

Fifty? Gee whittakers. This is actually my favorite column on Random Reviews Incorporated, so I hope that others have enjoyed it along the way. The 50th edition of Geek Out has to be spectacular. It has to be special. It has to be worth geeking out over.

Without further ado, here's a whole fucking movie! I still haven't seen this flick, but it has been glued to my chopping list for years. One day, I'll sit down and watch it on my very own website!


The Woman

Seeing as how Lucky McKee's The Woman is the latest shocker to cloy credulous, unsuspecting film festival attendees, I felt obligated to review it. I'm always curious to find out if these films are as sadistic as fire-eating dissidents claim they are. Vocal curmudgeons have upbraided those responsible for what they deem as baseless misogyny, even going so far as to suggest that McKee should be detained and/or excommunicated. On what grounds? Well, The Woman depicts violence in a disturbing way. The nerve! Unlike A Serbian Film or The Human Centipede, this flick could have been made in the early 70's. In fact, if it was shot on 16mm back in the day (and subsequently re-discovered during the VHS boom of the 80's), I have a feeling that it would be hailed as a classic.

But it's 2012. This isn't a surefire classic. To a certain extent, I liked The Woman. I'll get to the positive comments later, but the lowlights are resonating with me at the moment. This is scummy exploitation at its ballsiest. In consequence, I wasn't fond of the hygienic, laundered production values. Everything is too clean. A more deleterious drawback is the shortage of empathetic characters. I couldn't relate to any of the protagonists. My brain acknowledged the swell acting and Lucky's proficient handiwork (the shot composition is to die for), but where does that leave my heart? I wasn't invested in the proceedings that were unfurling before my vitric eyes. Woah, those two sentences were cheesy as fuck. I'll keep 'em!

On the technical side of things, The Woman has all of its ducks in a row. Lighting, set design, sound mixing (yeah, sound mixing), cinematography...this is a lustrous parcel of textbook filmmaking. That shouldn't surprise you. After all, we're dealing with the same guy who crashed onto the scene with 2002's May. Lucky's aciculate acumen wouldn't mean much without a capable cast, but thankfully, our central players are up to snuff. Pollyanna McIntosh's performance as a savage, sullied cave dweller is mind-boggling. In a perfect world, she would have nabbed an Oscar for this role. I'm dead serious. Watch the making-of featurette and take note of the transformation she undergoes to nail her part. I'm not just referring to her "jungle captive" garb either.

Angela Bettis and Sean Bridgers are appropriately unhinged as a couple on the precipice of insanity. Obviously, I haven't bothered with a synopsis. That's because you don't need to know anything about The Woman prior to hitting "play." Truth be told, I was too familiar with the plot devices going in. Did that affect my opinion of the film? Who knows? Overall, I feel comfortable in giving The Crazy Bitch Who Was Raised by Wolves my stamp of approval, albeit a provisory recommendation. I'm somewhere in the middle. I do think that it's good enough to be evaluated via Netflix, so by all means, give it a go. Robert Z'Dar says, "Only one rape scene? Blasphemy!"



I took the day off, but I'll be back tomorrow with a movie review. In the meantime, here is Blacula being a badass.

PS-If you haven't entered the Random Reviews Giveaway yet, what are you waiting for???


Parts Unknown #102: Nitro

See, I told you that Parts Unknown would return. Incidentally, WWE has slightly improved since I stopped reviewing Raw and Smackdown, but Vince will have to promulgate a trifle of consistency before I go crawling back to that abusive relationship. Until then, the Internet is profuse with archived episodes of any wrestling show that my disheveled heart desires. Do you hear that? It's Nitro calling my name through the cream. This episode aired on January 27, 1997. WCW's stranglehold on the "Monday night wars" was in full swing, but that doesn't guarantee quality programming, now does it?


~ The opening segment finds Bischoff (flanked by The Outsiders) firing a referee for doing his job and designating The Steiner Brothers as the new tag champs. Apparently, the PPV match in question involved a ref bump, so this poor sap ran down to the ring to officiate the pinfall. Say what you will about Bischoff (and I have), but he's a great heel. I love the fulsome, heartless way he terminates a guy with four children. Awesome. The NWO was badass when the booking was actually coherent.

~ The Giant dropkicking Roadblock over the ropes and onto a table. Goddamn! Bear in mind, Roadblock was only two inches shorter and fifty pounds lighter than The Giant. I dug his selling.

~ The US Championship bout between Jeff Jarrett and Eddie Guerrero was solid, but I'm deducting points for interference. And it's not just any interference; it's Mongo interference. Egads.

~ Ultimo Dragon in action. That's an automatic pro.

~ It's a shame that they were forced to make Mongo look good, but if it's any consolation, The Amazing French Canadians (a.k.a. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers a.k.a. The Quebecers) were allowed to demolish Arn Anderson. Fun match. Fuckin' Mongo. Why did the fans love him so much?

~ So...many...tag...teams.

~ Hugh Morrus grapples with Chris Benoit. Decent, if not creepy. Decent because of the competent wrestling. Creepy because Woman is the valet, and I think that her subhuman stare might have blackened my soul. It would be funny if Chris randomly grabbed the mic and said, "Mean Gene, I'm gonna kill my family in ten years."


~ Faces of Fear and The Steiner Brothers rule, but man, their match was an abridged edition of Botchamania. Terrible.

~ In WCW, the jobbers were granted televised entrances, but at the end of the day, a squash is a squash. This particular Nitro featured an excess of squashes, the most pointless being The Taskmaster's one-minute shellacking of Joe Gomez.

~ Speaking of The Taskmaster, what the fuckety-fuck? We get an interview segment where a debuting Jacqueline professes her love for Sullivan. Seriously, this promo is beyond laughable. Afterwards, the commentators (heel and face) agree that women complicate things, and that there are too many of them in WCW. Wow.

~ The so-called "main event" between The Giant and Hollywood Hogan. It didn't take long to break down into a convoluted mess. For whatever reason, Roddy Piper receives a title shot at Superbrawl despite the fact that Hogan has been feuding with The Giant.

Time for a nap.


Matches That Time Forgot #34

How about some fluff? Here we have a well-oiled Ahmed Johnson (he must have hugged David Otunga before the match) squaring off against Shinobi. Who the hell is Shinobi, you ask? Why, it's Al Snow working one of the several ludicrous gimmicks he was encumbered with on his path to becoming the Al Snow we know and love. This is just pure comedy. The botch at the 3-minute mark almost made me spritz Pepsi-flavored sputum all over my keyboard. If that wasn't enough, Vince has Goldust on the phone. The Bizarre One recites a poem that effectively expresses his desire to play Roddy Piper's bagpipes, if you know what I mean. Oh, mid-90's WWF...I heart you so!

I can't believe that Ahmed was an Intercontinental Champion. Dig the Mankind vignette.


Album Cover of the Week


Slaughter of the Vampires

The success of Hammer's Horror of Dracula kindled a spate of Gothic vampire films in Italy. Mario Bava's Black Sunday tends to obfuscate this lot of knock-offs. Perhaps "knock-off" is a tad harsh. Not all of these productions adhered to a prevailing formula, but 1962's Slaughter of the Vampires (a.k.a. Curse of the Blood Ghouls) doesn't jump at the opportunity to color outside of the lines. In fact, it's essentially a mock-up of the second half of Horror of Dracula. The names have been changed to sidestep copyright infringement, but writer/director Roberto Mauri isn't fooling anyone. "Van Helsing" is beckoned to convalesce a frail, bedridden newlywed who has fallen ill. After noticing bite marks on her neck, he puts two and two together.

Skimming through the user reviews on IMDb, a plurality of genre enthusiasts don't care for Dieter Eppler's turn as the innominate vampire (herein referred to as Totally Not Dracula). I, for one, enjoyed his wild-eyed performance in spite of gaudy make-up and an unflattering characterization. Why did Mauri write his bloodsuckers as languid, lily-livered pantywaists? The opening scene finds Totally Not Dracula and his concubine cowering behind a partition of foliage while a mob of villagers stalks the hillside in the hopes of driving a stake into his heart. Dude, you're a vampire. Sprout bat wings and skedaddle! Even if you can't shapeshift, you should be able to hold your own against an assembly of farmers. Don't act like a little bitch in front of your chick.

All told, Slaughter is a harmless exercise in old-fangled (pun fucking intended) gaiety. It's so simple and conventional, it's hard not to crack a smile every now and then. You could play it on mute at a bustling Halloween party, and most of your guests would be able to follow the plot. I say "most" because I'm taking the plastered tosspots into consideration. Who knows? Maybe you're one of them. If so, behave yourself. You have to get up early in the morning to go to work. If I'm being candid, Mauri is nothing special behind the camera. I wonder how atmospheric this film would be without the nebulous black-and-white cinematography. Regardless of sketchy craftsmanship, Slaughter does boast a convivial Universal vibe. I almost expected to see a shot of a biplane circling the globe before the feature presentation.

Strangely enough, this flick has yet to be released with the original Italian audio track intact. And it's unfortunate, as the dubbing is heinous. It's doubtful that the authentic audio would have made the characters more interesting, though. The impassive dialogue doesn't allow for any personality to illuminate the screen. Eppler is the only actor guaranteed to leave an impression, be it positive or negative. His co-stars barely exist. The ending is underwhelming, and it exhibits a profound lapse in logic. Who can tell me why Wolfgang escorted the gardener's daughter to the wine cellar? If he was hypnotized, he wouldn't have tussled with Totally Not Dracula. But I digress. Slaughter of the Vampires serves its purpose, but if you're hankering for Gothic Italian horror, you'd be better off pulling Black Sunday down from the shelf.


Cannibal Corpse - TORTURE

Off the top of my head, I can't remember whether or not I've reviewed a Cannibal Corpse album. I've written thousands of words for this website, so you'll have to exculpate my dodgy memory. Assuming that this is my first formal critique of a CC opus, I should make one thing clear. This is my favorite extreme metal band. They are my second favorite band across all genres, ranking just below Alice in Chains. It kills me to say it, but 2009's Evisceration Plague left a bitter taste in my mouth. In hindsight, I concede that my expectations were nearly impossible to meet. I can be a fastidious fucker when I want to be. Still, I gave EP multiple chances to infect my body tissue with the gruff alacrity of a communicable pathogen, but it failed to rape my receptors.

My main problem with the follow-up to 2006's Kill was the fact that it didn't mark a progression from the band's most recent output. Honestly, it struck me as a diluted, mechanical version of Kill. A rehash, if you will. The production was too similar (Erik Rutan is hit-and-miss as a sound engineer), the tone was too similar (I didn't pick up any traces of evolution), even the artwork was too similar...obviously, I got nervous when it was announced that Rutan would be returning to twiddle the knobs during the recording sessions for Torture. My fears were unfounded. Rob, Pat, Paul, Alex and George sound rejuvenated on the new disc. These songs destroy. In my opinion, Torture is an extension of the few stand-outs on its predecessor (namely "Priests of Sodom" and "To Decompose").

I can't put my finger on it, but the cuts on display are motherfucking focused. Every idea is fleshed out to its natural adjudication. There is a palpable emphasis on riffs. Take "Encased in Concrete," for instance. Better yet, check out the malignant, baby-stomping march of "Scourge of Iron." If you don't headbang as soon as the groove sets in, you're a pussy. Fuck you. I have arthritis in my neck, but it doesn't matter when I hear the stentorian double bass that anchors "As Deep as the Knife Will Go." Ditto for the unexpected breakdowns that bolster the dynamics of the aforementioned "Concrete." Unique vocal patterns garnish a pair of choice shredders in "Sarcophagic Frenzy" and "Caged...Contorted." As you can tell, each track is a winner, and the all-inclusive delegation of songwriting duties ensures a sweet variety of moods and tempos.

If you haven't peeked at my rating yet, you're probably counting on seeing five shrieking Abbath's plopped underneath this review. However, I have a couple of nagging issues with Torture. Corpsegrinder's growls are stellar as usual (I would sell my soul to perennial douchebag Bret Michaels to have George's voice), but where are his patented high screams that last ten seconds? If you'll notice, he has been taking advantage of his godly upper register less and less as albums pile up. It could be age, it could be wear and tear (very likely), it could be intentional...I don't know. I do know that I miss the kind of wail that opens "Devoured by Vermin" and closes "They Deserve to Die."

Also, I wouldn't mind if Torture put melody a little higher on the priority list. It needs the catchy hooks of Bloodthirst to be complete. Nonetheless, this album serves as a resounding mission statement (the statement being, "We are badass!"). Cliches be damned, Cannibal Corpse is at the top of their game. Early contender for best long player of 2012. Believe it.


The Random Reviews Giveaway

Holy shit! It's time for a contest! Would you like to win a care package of geeky (not to mention random) goodies? Easy! Guess how many jelly beans are in and around this jar. E-mail your approximation to me with the subject heading of "NOT A CONTEST ENTRY." Read the rules below.

I don't know how many jelly beans are pictured above, so how will I determine the winner? Well, I've already made my guess. Whoever comes closest to my guess without going over is the winner. That's right; I'm borrowing from The Price of Right's rulebook.

What do you stand to win? That's for me to know and for you to find out. U.S. residents only! You have until the 19th of April to enter your submission. The winner will be revealed on the 20th.

Good luck!


Blood Capsule #10


This film is just as cryptic and tight-lipped as its 13-year-old point of convergence. On the surface, it manifests the criterion of a glum, overcast tale of the supernatural. One look at the poster nearly fried my horror barometer, and it's a trustworthy gauge of a picture's inherent "spookanymity." I like that word. I'm going to start using it. At any rate, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is not what it appears to be. Since I wouldn't dare spoil the script's furtive susurrations, I'll stick to a vague synopsis that doesn't stray too far from the plot summary on the back of the DVD. A tenderfoot Jodie Foster plays Rynn, a quiet girl who lives by her lonesome. What's the catch? The townspeople are led to believe that she lives with her father.

If you ask Rynn, dear ol' Dad is never available. He's either sleeping, working intently in his study or keeping busy out of state. Meddlesome nearby residents (a frigid cunt and her pedophile son) are growing suspicious. They don't take her concessions at face value, and as it turns out, their misgivings are justified. Where is Rynn's father? For that matter, where is her mother? And what is she hiding in the cellar? If you're intrigued, you'll probably dig this flick. Foster's performance is outstanding, and Martin Sheen is believable as a slatternly pervert. This is a perfect example of 70's suspense. The violence is muted, the exposition is driven by dialogue and the pacing is painstakingly systematic (in a good way).

Certain scenes are uncomfortable, but that's because they're realistic. If you haven't seen The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, I would advise acquiring it with a quickness. Whatever you decide to do, don't expect a full-scale bloodbath.


Geek Out #49

I thought this would be appropriate, what with Easter around the corner and all. The next Geek Out will be a milestone of sorts. I have something special (and probably illegal) up my sleeve.


Vanity Scare #4

GIRLS AND CORPSES (Volume 6 Spring, 2012)

This edition of Vanity Scare requires a preamble. If you make a habit out of perusing horror sites, you've probably seen ads for Girls and Corpses magazine. A nifty title, a cool logo, eye-catching imagery...I had always assumed that it would be up my alley, but up until now, I had never read an issue. Luckily, editor-in-chief R.S. Rhine had a booth at the Mad Monster Party convention, so I was able to procure a copy. What can you expect from this formaldehyde-sodden rag? Above all else, it's a humor tome that touches on grave issues. I like to think of it as a piebald amalgamation of Mad, Maxim and Rue Morgue. Basically, you get jokes, hot chicks and horror-centric journalism (articles, reviews, etc.).

Slap on a pair of goggles as I perform an autopsy on this stiff carcass.

- Right off the bat, I was impressed by the polished graphics and the smooth layout. It costs a lot of money to mass-produce a thick color magazine, so I tip my scalp to Rhine (a.k.a. Corpsy) for knowing how to allocate his resources with the utmost efficiency.

- Neckromagickal (intriguing sobriquet) offers up an engaging editorial on the circumstances surrounding the death of Edgar Allan Poe. To this day, no one knows the cause of his expiration date. Some claim that the remains in his casket don't even belong to him! Go figure. An eloquent, enlightening read.

- Weyline Coyote Wegner's interview with "death rapper" Necro is amusing, to say the least. I'm of the mind that Necro is an assclown (I listened to his stuff years ago, and suffice to say, I wasn't exactly bowled over with orgiastic consternation), but he does give an entertaining interview. I can't believe that he actually credits himself as the pioneer of anything.

- Night of the Living Dead 3D stars Andrew Divoff and Jeffrey Combs? Fuck, I might have to watch it.

- Hot chicks. There are plenty of them. Did I mention that there are plenty of hot chicks?

- I really enjoyed Corpsy's conversation with a real-life mortician. The job is just as grody and stomach-churning as you would imagine. Naturally, the interview subject is yet another hot chick. Hey, I'm not complaining.

- There is a Zombie Research Society? Where do I sign up?

- It's fun to use Charles Band as the genre's whipping boy, but I must admit, I'm looking forward to The Dead Want Women (the next Full Moon venture). It's shaping up to be a righteous take on the undead. Speaking of which, I'd love to see G&C explore the sweeping breadth of horror films. Zombie flicks aren't the only fright features that comment on the finality of mortality, though I understand that Romero-style brain-munchers are "in."

I rest my case, your honor. If Girls and Corpses sounds like your kind of 'zine, click HERE to order an issue or five. No, I wasn't "persuaded" to write a positive review. However, I can be bought. Mr. Rhine, set me up with one of the babes on the cover, and I'll oblige you with an endless supply of free publicity.

Youth movement? What youth movement?

The snarky title notwithstanding, I enjoyed Wrestlemania 28. I truly witnessed the end of an era. Sure, the two major champions are up-and-comers, but Vince has devalued the titles to such a degree, that both main events were grudge matches. There was no gold on the line. Why? Because Rock, Cena, HHH and 'Taker are "above" it. So is Jericho. The most memorable moments from last night's grandiose event involved veteran stars (namely from the Attitude Era). This is a problem. At present, the WWE doesn't have a long-term future. If all four headliners were chasing the WWE Championship (and they should be when we are told on a weekly basis that it's "the biggest prize in sports entertainment"), then CM Punk retaining the belt would actually mean something.

You'll have to forgive my circuitous tangent. I have mixed emotions regarding the $65 promenade that dazzled/razzled me with emotional highs (Hell in a Cell) and MTV-style pageantry (if you're going to rap over pre-recorded audio, have the common decency to squelch the vocal tracks...Jesus, you might as well lip-synch). First off, how great was Shawn Michaels? He probably won't get enough credit for his performance, but the guy was in tears by the end of the match. Best guest referee ever? I think so. The Undertaker looked badass. I loved the spiked entrance attire and the subtle mohawk. If he retires tonight, you couldn't ask for a better swan song. Oh, and I guess Triple H was alright.

I was caught off-guard by the 18-second curtain jerker, but it makes sense. Four epic, protracted matches would have been overkill. Plus, this will go a long way in developing Daniel Bryan's heel persona. Punk/Jericho was rock solid. Honestly, it wasn't the show-stealer that fans assumed it would be. The rest of WM28? Ugh. Aside from a surprising victory for Kane, the undercard was nondescript. I completely disagree with the Intercontinental Championship changing hands. Give The Big Show a win, but don't give him the title. He doesn't need it. The Diva's tag match was embarrassing. The crowd couldn't care less, and for shit's sake, before you rope a celebrity into the picture, make sure their ribs aren't cracked. Numskulls.

The one thing I appreciated about Rock/Cena is the deliberate pace of their encounter. It was an "old school" brawl. I'm talking 1987...bear hugs, headlocks, the traditional arm check ("Gee, I wonder if he'll snap out of it on the third try!"). The finish was bullshit, though. Rocky is supposed to pass the torch. Y'know, like Andre passed the torch to Hogan? Like Hogan passed the torch to The Rock? The current roster is second-rate, or at least that's what Vince wants casual fans to think. Fuck, I don't know. I do plan on tuning into Raw, but I'm still not reviewing it. Parts Unknown will be paying a visit to the set of Nitro pretty soon.


Dark Match > Main Event

So I broke down and ordered Wrestlemania 28. It starts in ten minutes. Here goes nothing!

I'll be posting a couple of different items tomorrow. Stay tuned...