Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #2

This one's (slightly) better.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #1

I apologize in advance. And during.


Announcement Coming Soon

It's major. Well, kind of. It's minorly major. In a majorly minor way.


Dead Links #4

Here's another site for all you tapeheads out there. VHS Wasteland doesn't focus on any particular genre. It's a blog-style archive of bitchin' VHS cover scans that underscore artwork of a bygone era. In the 80's (and half of the 90's), box covers served as billboards for the movies housed within. Studios relied on eye-catching imagery to sell their videocassettes. Back in the day, if you were perusing a rental joint, you were more likely to pick up a flick that grabbed you with prismatic streaks of color and a bold, mannered title. VHS Wasteland is devoted to these tawdry cases. I check it every day, for it's a great way to discover obscure schlock that palpitated under the radar.

You'll notice that VHS Wasteland is a byproduct of a website called Serial Killer Calendar. It has something to do with...serial killers. Honestly, I haven't delved deeply into SKC, but hey, if you're a true crime buff, think of it as a bonus Dead Link. Yay for you!


Mediocre Taste

That's what my head feels like. I'm still working on the outside project, but I'll have something up tomorrow. It shall be tasty.


Album Cover of the Week


A Changin'

A few things.

1) You may have noticed a bundle of links (and soon-to-be links) at the top of the page. That's the project I was talking about several weeks ago. If you click on "Movie Reviews," you will see listed all of the full-length movie reviews that I have posted on RR Inc. So now, you have two ways to comb through the site's content (well, three if you count the halfway-functional search engine). You can always break shit down by year/month, but this will make it easier to find specific items. Clearly, this is a work in progress. Soon, I will begin cataloging Blood Capsules, Geek Outs, Vanity Scares, etc. I'm not going to create a page for every single thing I've ever posted, though. For instance, I plan on bypassing retired columns, and I doubt that I'll bother archiving the Album Covers of the Week.

B) Speaking of which, I'm temporarily transferring the Album Cover of the Week to Saturday (tomorrow). Reason being, I'll be occupied with an outside writing gig. Looking to the rest of August and the bulk of September, I want to get cracking on the imposing stack of flicks that is currently residing on my bedroom floor. Expect (slightly) more movie reviews than usual. I'm going back to my roots, man.

Acute Posterior Multifocal Placoid Pigment Epitheliopathy) Starting in October, I will be introducing a video component to the site. Fret not; I remain steadfast in my commitment to the written word. I'm just trying it for fun.

Hail Satan) Buy THIS for me.


Geek Out #63

A form-fitting suit? Oh, the ungodly horror!


Matches That Time Forgot #43

Madusa made waves when she unceremoniously dumped the WWF Women's Championship into a trashcan on Nitro. Excluding that ill-mannered gesture, what do you remember from her WCW run? My guess? Next to nothing. You didn't miss much, but in her defense, neither Bitchoff nor Vince knew what to do with female athletes until Sunny (and yeah, Sable) narcotized the industry with dissolute sex appeal. Still, it's easier to reminisce about Madusa's time spent as Alundra Blayze. The WWF had a bite-sized roster compared to Ted Turner's hefty inventory of all-stars. Plus, Vince squeezed her into an actual feud.

"Alundra" wrestled joshi legend Bull Nakano on several occasions throughout 1994 and 1995. When the wiry blonde jumped ship to WCW, Bitchoff figured it would be a gainful idea to take advantage of the chemistry she had developed with Nakano. Credit Eric for paying attention. Tragically, their series of matches would be blighted by clumsy booking. Case in point, today's match that time forgot, a bizarre bout with convoluted stipulations. We're outdoors. It's a theme PPV. The event is called Hog Wild (later renamed Road Wild), and it's the first of four annual advents held at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. The commentators neglect to mention that the winner will be allowed to deface the loser's motorcycle with a sledgehammer.

Okay. I get that Madusa is a motorist in real life (she competes on the monster truck circuit), but was there a reason for this stipulation? Nakano doesn't seem to give a fuck about her own bike. Instead, Sonny Onoo revs it up and freaks out when Madusa begins to dismantle it. The match itself is strong, if not gauche. These chicks could outwork 95% of the Divas/Knockouts currently bumbling around on live television. Oh, Layla...you're hotter than a solar flare in a mini-skirt, but you wouldn't be able to distinguish between a German suplex and a German Shepherd.

Madusa vs Bull Nakano-Bike Match by TSteck160


Frankenstein '80

Public domain. The term has almost become a stigma. Personally, when I discover that a film is in the public domain, my asshole puckers like the lips of a proselytized preschooler on Toddlers & Tiaras. Why, you ask? Because I know it will be damn near impossible to find a DVD that comes equipped with a seemly, speckless transfer. When copyrights are a non-issue, distribution shingles come skittering out of the woodwork to release their versions of, say, Carnival of Souls
or Night of the Living Dead. Out of the dozens of companies to profit off of public domain titles, only a diminutive fraction of those racketeers will bother to put any effort into manufacturing a dignified product. And I'm not just talking about extras.

No, I'm talking about prints, assuming that the studio groused for actual film. The majority of public domain DVD's are sourced from videotapes (or laserdiscs), and sometimes, the sources themselves are bootlegs. I made a point to dredge this topic up for a couple of reasons. Well, one reason...Frankenstein '80 is in the public domain. Ironically, a cursory search on Amazon lists a whopping two discs. That's a subjacent number, especially considering that the most recent DVD was released today. What's the deal? Why haven't b-movie merchants jumped at the opportunity to append their logos to an Italian exploitation flick bursting at the seams with karo syrup, spotty dubbing and Frankenrape? Yeah, Frankenrape. That's a word now.

1972's Frankenstein '80 bears no relation to 1958's Frankenstein 1970 or 1984's Frankenstein '90. Man, that sentence wrenched my optic nerves. Due, in part, to the success of Hammer Films, a lymphatic flurry of Spanish/Italian Frankie features cropped up in the late 60's and early 70's. This production fell on the sleazier end of the spectrum. A mad scientist needs fresh organs for his patchwork of defunct flesh (the monster is referred to as Mosaic). In order to combat body rejection, he pilfers an experimental serum that keeps his creation from running through livers ad infinitum. The bulk of Frankenstein '80 functions as a police procedural. Who stole the serum? And why? Hey, who raped and murdered that prostitute? Was Ross justified in cheating on Rachel? Should Niles tell Daphne how he really feels?

If you can overlook the woozy script and the glazed acting, this is a rollicking time at the cinema. There is a scene where Mosaic bludgeons a topless demigoddess with a bone in a meat freezer. Literally. He uses a bone (see the badass cover art). The characters are obtuse twits, but I'll make allowances for the questionable writing. In all fairness, we do get a few instances of comedy that are genuinely funny. The lighter moments balance out the salacious depictions of rape and testicular expulsion. But at the end of the day, this schlocktail is review-proof. You know what you're getting yourself into, and while I wouldn't go so far as to call Frankenstein '80 a crowning achievement in Eurotrash, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to fellow genre goons.

ADDENDUM: From what I understand, the DVD released by Apprehensive Films is just another bootleg. My advice would be to save your clams and splurge for the Gorgon Video clamshell. She's a beauty.


In Your House 29: Here Comes the Pain

"Don't give up, yo. "

I've been watching Raw, but since nothing interesting is happening, I'll go ahead and jot down my thoughts on SummerSlam. Remember when this was an epic PPV? Remember 80,000 strong erupting with alacrity when The British Bulldog won the Intercontinental Championship in 1992? Remember the enthralling ladder (re)match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels from 1995? How about 2000's vanguard TLC fray involving Edge/Christian, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz? No one had ever seen anything like that before!

Last night, WWE delivered a succession of lively, evenly paced matches, none of which broke the 20-minute mark. There were no emotional peaks. There were no climactic capstones. There were no "holy shit"' moments that evinced sustained applause from the crowd. 2012's SummerSlam amounted to nothing more than a handful of good matches, and listen, I'll be the first to admit that it could have been worse. This would have made for an exceptional Cyber Sunday. But c'mon, it's SummerSlam.

Still, I won't bitch for the sake of bitching. I'm glad that Santino finally dropped the U.S. title, though I'm waiting for WWE brass to wise up and pair Antonio Cesaro with Kassius Ohno. The curtain-jerker was fabulous. Lion tamer sighting! Some are lamenting the fact that Ziggler tapped out, but I honestly don't see this loss hindering him in the long haul. The Miz's title defense against Rey Mysterio was surprisingly fun to watch. The "Kobe Bryant" chants kept the tag title match from deteriorating, and I hear that A.W. signs were confiscated. So there's that.

In my book, the Punk/Cena situation is officially blah. As for Paul Heyman's client, it's obvious that Mr. McMahon is trying to unfuck the damage caused by his loss to John Cena. Too little, too late? Time will tell, but that was a piteous ending. Poor Trips. "You're supposed to cheer for me now. Don't you realize that I'm profoundly shamed and that this could be my last hurrah? It's okay; I'll wait for the proper reaction." And who the cock is Kevin Rudolf? Was it his intention to look disinterested? Actually, he looked like an unfulfilled Staples employee in the process of becoming a woman.

Be a star!


Album Cover of the Week


Vanity Scare #10

RUE MORGUE (#125, August 2012)

- I do plan on incorporating other magazines into this column (I still have a Gorezone that I need to read), but for the time being, I'm going to review the horror rag that befouls my mailbox. Hmm, I made it sound creepy. Nevermind the nefarious undertones. RM125 is one of the most gratifying issues they have published in recent memory. Of course, I only say that because it happens to cater to my savant-garde (get it?) interests. The cover is exquisite. I love how the Bradbury-inspired artwork contours Ray's countenance. The clean formatting coupled with the autumnal color scheme placates my senses. It screams "Halloween."

- Let's talk about the cover story itself...wow. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's one of the best interviews I've ever read. Tim Sullivan asks all of the right questions, and he doesn't falter in countering Ray's terse rejoinders with appropriate follow-ups. As for those terse rejoinders, Ray had a way of saying A LOT with few words. Nearly every word he offers is profound and deeply moving. The fact that this was his last interview makes his comments on mortality doubly recondite. In addition to nuggets of penetrating pansophy, Ray also relays the story of how he wound up directing 1983's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Fucking read this interview, I command you.

- I enjoyed Aaron Von Lupton's piece on "The Shark is Still Working," a new documentary that can be found on the Jaws Blu-ray. However, I felt silly reading the behind-the-scenes tidbits of a behind-the-scenes featurette. What's next, an article covering the article I just read? But I digress. Jaws fanatics will eat this shit up.

- A few notes on this month's Cinemacabre. A) Ron McKenzie's review of Prometheus is fair. I stand by my assessment of the discordant prequel. It's a grand epic steeped in sci-fi tradition. I wasn't bothered by the fan service (I am a fan, after all). B) A friend of mine keeps recommending REC 3: Genesis, so I giggled when I read Monica Kuebler's lukewarm opinion of the "found footage" in-name-only sequel. Take that, Christian. C) The Devil's Carnival looks ridiculous. Sorry. D) I didn't realize that Samson vs. the Vampire Women was the last MST3K episode to feature Frank. Gotta check it out. Like, right now.

- The Late-Nite Archive is trying very, very hard to become my favorite RM column. In this issue, Paul Corupe tackles 1954's The Mad Magician, a Vincent Price bone-chiller that I haven't seen (!). Ostensibly, it's a vapid riff on House of Wax, but I'm going to track it down anyway.

- I don't have a critical eye when it comes to art (well, I have opinions; what I mean is that I'm a cretinous, uncultivated nitwit in the field), but I dig Godmachine's work. Who is Godmachine? Read the magazine. Or Google him. Whichever.

- The Gore-Met takes a gander at a pair of retro-grindhouse flicks. I plan on renting Dear God No! when I reactivate my Netflix account. Ditto for The Turnpike Killer, which is generating quite a bit of buzz in VHS collector circles. It's heralded as a grisly composite of Pieces and The Toolbox Murders.

- Vampires Everywhere has a new record out? LOLZ!


Dead Links #3

These days, it's hard for a geeky fansite to stand out amongst the crowd. The blogosphere is saturated with b-movie worship and outmoded memes. In order to gain any traction, you need to approach familiar topics from a unique angle. At the very least, your site needs to have a distinct look. Dinosaur Dracula is both original and visually palatable. Webmaster/freelancer/prime mover Matt talks about things that interest most 11-year-old boys. Horror movies, action figures, cartoons, candy, board games...y'know, things that we are supposed to repudiate as we stride into adulthood.

I can only speak for myself, but I still dig those innocuous leisure pursuits. Matt does, too. He has written great articles that explore such varied subjects as the Friday the 13th franchise's VHS cover art (my favorite is Jason Lives, by the way) and Krang. If you don't know who Krang is, please remove yourself from my website. Look, I'm not a violent person. Just back away, and no one has to get hurt. Where was I? Oh, visit Dinosaur Dracula. The guy builds robots out of Twizzlers and marshmallows, for crying out loud.


Blood Capsule #18


If it weren't for stale death sequences and dilatory padding, Blood Cult would be one of the finest SOV (that's "shot on video," for the uninitiated) genre romps ever committed to tape. The plot is markedly simple. A creaky, doddering sheriff is entrusted with the task of solving the brutal campus murders of two young women. He notices that a flaxen-gold medallion is left at the scene of each crime. As it turns out, the image impressed upon the emblem bears a striking resemblance to the symbol of an antiquated blood cult (!). And that pretty much covers the 89-minute running time, save for the big reveal. NOTE: The big reveal is neither big nor revealing.

SOV specialist Christopher Lewis does wonders with a wispy, attenuated budget. The camera angles are - for lack of a better term - cinematic. All of the nighttime shots are swabbed in a navy blue lacquer that nuzzled my eyeballs. It's worth mentioning that I watched this atmospheric slasher on VHS, so some of that warmth may not translate to DVD. I can't say for sure. The acting is sharper than expected, considering that the cast is bounteous with amateurs. Unfortunately, the pace collapses at inopportune times. Blood Cult should have been pared down to a spry, sturdy hour of methodical butchery. It probably won't conciliate gore nuts, but if you call yourself a dedicated horror fan, this is requisite viewing.

Try to find the United Home Video clamshell release. There is a heavenly clump of trailers after the feature presentation.


The New Dicks

I read that Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins will be sporting a "male stripper" gimmick on Smackdown. The good news is that they soundly defeated a pair of jobbers. The bad news...well, there is a reason why The Dicks were not an efficacious tag team. We'll see how this turn of events transpires. I must admit, SummerSlam looks halfway decent, so I'll review it on Monday. Hey, at least Santino's title defense was relegated to the pre-show.

There is a Blood Capsule and a Vanity Scare in your immediate future. Don't touch that dial!


Geek Out #62

Vincent Price: Muppet Vampire Hunter


Lady Terminator

Indonesia. It's a country. Um, movies were made there sometimes. I'll level with you, dear reader; I wasn't sure how to open this review. Truth be told, I haven't seen many Indonesian horror films. I seem to recall renting Mystics in Bali through Netflix years ago (we're talking eons...Netflix was actually a respectable company at the time). Coincidentally, the guy responsible for Bali also engendered 1989's Lady Terminator. If this sounds like a wonky, diaphanous riff on a certain James Cameron vehicle, that's because it is. "Hey, Dom! How wonky and diaphanous is it?" Oh, more than a diabetic whore in your mother's bedroom, let me tell you. What does that mean? It matters none. Paragraph break!

In a baleful prologue, we see a brawny Lothario (otherwise known as a "smooth operator") successfully woo the South Sea Queen. After being brought to a crashing orgasm, the merciless witch realizes that she has been hoodwinked. Her robust fucktoy tries to slay her. Gasp! The assassination plot is stymied, but instead of simply killing her would-be executioner, the Queen places a curse on his great granddaughter. Cut to present day. The rest of Lady Terminator mirrors The Terminator with a savory pop singer (the great granddaughter) being hunted down by a cyborg eel goddess. Okay, maybe the specifics have been transfigured, but the fact remains that this is a blatant ripoff.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, I have a perverse predilection for Alien(s) ripoffs. I've seen Xtro 2: The Second Encounter on multiple occasions, for cunt's sake. I can't explain it, but derivative trash is appealing in a deleterious way. Why else would there be so many Asylum mockbusters? People dig shit, and it's not just b-movie hounds. At any rate, Lady Terminator is an unintentional playhouse of schlock tropes. The dubbing is horrendous, the editing is oafish (I suspect that the raw footage was sutured together by a headless chicken) and the "characters" are straight out of a Funny or Die sketch. Wait until you meet Snake, blonde mullet and all.

Director H. Tjut Djalil crammed this tawdry production with low-grade action sequences. You can't get bored watching this stuff. It's physically impossible. On the irriguous side of the pelvic sling (hmm), Lady Terminator failed to meet my expectations. It's my fault for hyping this fucker up for myself. I was hoping for a heavier serving of gore, but aside from arbitrary mottlings of blood, the nastiest deaths are either vague or implied. Overall, the film isn't terribly explicit. Barbara Anne Constable does grace the camera with full-frontal nudity, and I thank her from the bottom of my seminal vesicle. I struggled with the rating. I'm man enough to admit it. A three-and-a-half on the Z'Dar scale feels alright...Lady Terminator is sleazy fun.

I've read that crew members died on the set. Can anyone corroborate these suppositions? Where was John Landis when all of this happened?


Album Cover of the Week


It was only a matter of time...

I said that I would never do it. "I'll never do it." That's how I said it. But I just did it. I'm one of them now. I'm on...Twitter. Click HERE to follow me. If anything, it will be an efficient way to promote the site. My sellout was inevitable, I'm afraid. I hope you don't think any less of me.


Matches That Time Forgot #42

I've posted matches from WWE/F, WCW, ECW, TNA and even New Japan. I doubt that I'll get to every wrestling promotion under the sun, but if this column is going to travel abroad, why not head north? Let's peek at Stampede Wrestling, the Canadian promontory where mat technicians such as Bret Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and The Dynamite Kid cut their teeth. It's a doctrinal vestige of tradition. Nevermind the fact that I'm choosing to floodlight a one-fall contest over the WWF Intercontinental Championship. That's not the point. The point is, this is a Stampede skirmish involving Owen Hart and Razor Ramon.

There is no year listed, but a heelish 1-2-3 Kid run-in indicates that this match took place in the fall of '95. Owen was out of the heavyweight title picture at this juncture, having feuded with The Hitman throughout most of '94. To be perfectly honest, I never saw him as a main event guy. His tragic death cemented him as an arcane legend, but smarks forget that he labored in the midcard. He was only relevant in '94 and '97. In both instances, he was enmeshed in a program with his brother. Before you send me hate mail, I will say that I'm a fan of Owen Hart. He was a fantastic villain, and he could school just about anyone inside the ropes. Hell, I'm one of the (very) few High Energy advocates traversing this mortal coil.

Owen was a decent talker. As a matter of fact, his promos usually exceeded Bret's where conviction is concerned. But at the end of the day, he didn't have "the look." Daniel Bryan suffers from the same malady (if you ask me, D-Bry and Punk are the modern day equivalents of the Hart brothers). I veered off course a bit...this is a crowd-pleaser. The referee restarts the match towards the end without notifying said crowd, but nonetheless, those in attendance seem to be enjoying themselves. See, the New Generation wasn't so bad, was it?


Panels From Beyond the Grave #25


So we've reached panel numero...um, Spanish for 25. I thought I'd go all out for this edition by reviewing a tie-in to a movie that I don't care about. In retrospect, I probably should have chosen a comic that lubricates my spindles and tallows the synapses that mobilize my geekdom. But Blair Witch: Dark Testaments was on top of the stack. That tends to make my selection process a bit easier. Let me fill you in on where I stand as it relates to Blair Witch regalia. I saw The Blair Witch Project in 1999, and since I had read countless articles delineating the concept of the film beforehand, I was left inexorably unmoved by the final product. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. It was just there.

I saw Book of Shadows the following year. Yeah, I didn't care for that one. Since then, I haven't given an allusive thought to the squib-like success of the Blair Witch saga or the enduring stream of vendibles inspired by its ersatz mythos. These movies were shoved down our throats. It doesn't take much to browbeat me into submission (I'm referring to marketing here...get your mind out of the gutter), and unless the motion picture in question is positively peerless, the mere utterance of the title will impel me to tune out. That's partly why I haven't bothered with the Paranormal Activity franchise. I'm fucking tired of seeing the same TV spots over and over again. Know what I mean, Vern? Woah...I don't know where that came from. It won't happen again. I promise.

Oh, this is a comic book column, isn't it? Dark Testaments is a snappy, sententious prequel that delves into the story of Rustin Parr. In my write-up of Pumpkinhead: The Rites of Exorcism, I opined that its plot should have been used as the foundation for a sequel. This backwoods tale of murder and mysticism presents a similar conundrum. While Dark Testaments has its fair share of pockmarks (and I'll get to those in a second), it would have expedited a more engrossing film than Book of Shadows, provided that it was tailored by qualified artisans. At least it does something with the actual witch. Writer Ian Edginton postulates that the titular enchantress gifts barren women with children in exchange for stillborn infants. Naturally, the anagogic anklebiters grow up in the grip of her malevolence.

It's a neat idea, and I'd be interested to see where it could be taken. Unfortunately, a hefty chunk of the comic is encumbered with awkward dialogue and erratic pacing. Too many pages can be summed up by saying, "A lot of weird shit kind of happens." There is no urgency, no sense of direction. I dig one-shots, but only when the writer deflects formalities. Don't fuck around. You are proffered a finite amount of ink to exploit, so deliver the goods with a quickness. The artwork? It's alright, I suppose. I didn't pick up on any standout images, which is a tough detriment to excuse. After all, this is a visual medium. Personally, I would have thrown in a few random profiles of Mothra to leaven the yeast, so to speak.

Blair Witch: Dark Testaments won't bowl you over, but it's a serviceable read. Fans of the series probably got more out of it than I did.


Random Thoughts About Dream Warriors

This isn't a formal review. I just wanted to scribble down a few thoughts on A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors since I revisited it earlier today. Unlike most of the films in this series, I don't have nostalgic ties to this sequel. And yet, I love it so. That leads me to think it might be the best Elm Street entry. Might. I still say that New Nightmare rules the roost, but Dream Warriors did the most meritorious job of blending visceral horror with colorful camp. Wes Craven and Chuck Russell were able to synchronize sight gags with legit scares. That's no small feat.

Look at The Dream Master. Sure, it's a convivial amusement park ride, but it was far too polished. Case in point, the end credits are accompanied by a euphonious Sinead O'Connor arrangement. Fuck that shit! Plus, they killed off Kristen, and they deemed it necessary to devalue her character before feeding her to Freddy. Who needs that dreck when Dream Warriors submits Dokken, marionette torture, Patricia Arquette, a syringe glove, an astonishing pair of breasts (courtesy of Stacey Alden), Laurence Fishburne and a souped-up wheelchair for our approval?



To make up for no-showing last night, here's a whole fucking episode of MonsterVision. The world needs more Joe Bob Briggs. Here, he hosts The Stepfather, one of the best domestic thrillers of all time. Why can't TCM add a horror host to their network? They already air sci-fi/horror films on Friday nights. Toss in a guy like Joe Bob, and you've got must-see TV!


C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud

Yeah, I was going to post this last night. It's a long story. Just read it!

C.H.U.D. is considered to be a cult classic. Why? No, seriously. Riddle me this, Batshit...why is such an arid, drudging sedative considered to be a cult classic? The script is fettered by insipid dialogue, the pace is spleen-pissingly (eh, just roll with it) slow and the titular creatures are absent from the bulk of the picture. It's a crying shame, too. The septic sewer tramps are rad, and the crew had Daniel Stern at their disposal. How did they manage to frivol Daniel Stern away??? It's rumored that C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud was initially conceived to be Return of the Living Dead 3. I can definitely see that. This is practically a refurbished reiteration of Return of the Living Dead Part II. There is even a scene where the zombies dance like Michael Jackson.

Of course, screenwriter Ed Naha asserts that Bud isn't a zombie, nor are the enkindled stiffs that assist our chief chud in marauding a high school on Halloween night. No, they couldn't possibly be zombies. They are revivified hunks of dead tissue. There is a big difference. You can't tell me that this was a zombie movie hewn and whittled into the shape of an in-name-only sequel. Fat chance! Anyway, the plot follows a couple of jocose teenagers who inadvertently misplace a study corpse for tomorrow's science class. They do find a replacement, but as luck would have it, they culled the one carcass at the center of a government-funded experiment. After being electrocuted in a bathtub, the sapromyiophyllous reliquaie (dubbed "Bud") is shocked to life.

I dig Gerrit Graham, and it's obvious that he had a blast playing the role of Bud. He boosts C.H.U.D. II's camp appeal, though his resume has seen better days. He was Beef, for Christ's sake! Perennial goofball Brian Robbins does his job. The cast also subsumes the talents of Robert Vaughn, but this isn't a film you are likely to rent for its ensemble of cultivated thespians. You would probably want messy bloodletting, gratuitous nudity and an amplitude of funhouse horrors. You would be...disappointed. C.H.U.D. II is a lighthearted comedy content to wallow in quotidian mediocrity. That's right; regular mediocrity doesn't begin to describe the trials and tribulations of dear old Bud. This shit is quotidian.

Admittedly, the climax is entertaining. The stakes are raised, and there is a significant tonal shift. The film becomes less daffy, exchanging witless tomfoolery for affecting suspense. I'll give C.H.U.D. II this much; it's never boring. We do get suitable special effects every now and then. Alas, this is a sequel that fails to capitalize on the few high points of the original. Why couldn't someone craft a visceral splatter epic about cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers? In closing, I'm split on C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud. It seems to partition genre fans into love/hate camps, so I'm creating a new camp. Join me, brothers and sisters. Let's take a stand for weak-kneed indecision!

Dead Links #2

If you're a serious metalhead, you already know about this website. It's basically the IMDb of metal. The Metal Archives (a.k.a. Encyclopaedia Metallum) is a sprawling, full-dress database of every "kvlt" band in existence. Nowadays, when a band forms, creating an entry on this virtual file cabinet (of eeeeeeevil) is on their checklist. You do have to meet certain criteria, but these screeds aren't particularly stringent. You just need to be...metal. That's it.

As you can imagine, it's easy to spend a tidy sum of hours leafing through The Archives. It's a great way to smoke out new music or discover older bands that you haven't acquainted yourself with yet. Generally speaking, the user-generated content yields helpful album reviews, but be wary of bias. Anything closely resembling groove metal (including Pantera and post-Arise Sepultura) is bound to be derogated on the spot. It seems that the most prolific critics only gush over fourth-tier black metal out of Scandinavia. "My favorite bands are more obscure than yours!"

PS-Thanks to Ike for naming this column.

PS II-Check back late tonight for a movie review. Yep!


Album Cover of the Week

Day Late, Dollar Short

Technically, it's 1:15 AM, which means I skipped Saturday. Don't hit me! What has Saturday ever done for me anyway? I do have plenty of content lined up for this week, so bookmark the shit out of this page if you haven't already.



Something occurred to me last night while I was watching the remake of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Well, two things occurred to me. 1) Guy Pearce is bland. He is a functional actor, but aside from his engaging performance in Memento, he has never struck me as remotely indelible. 2) I no longer possess the strength to be a buoyant proponent of remakes. Now, I've always discouraged the idea of regurgitating past successes. I prefer original content, but I could usually be swayed to give a remake the benefit of the doubt. "Hey, we haven't seen it yet. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised." Fuck that. I'm done.

2010's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark wasn't too shabby. In fact, it was outright decent. I'm just fucking sick of seeing every horror title under the sun go through The Dumb Down Machine. This sentiment is nothing new. Die-hards have been fed up with this shit for years, but I try to maintain a high threshold for repugnance. I...I can't do it anymore. If it exists, it simply must be diluted and modernized for the lowest common denominator. I mean, Maniac Cop? Give me one goddamn reason why Maniac Cop should be remade. Before you avow your deference to John Carpenter's The Thing and David Cronenberg's The Fly, let me remind you that the 80's cannot be compared to any other decade.

The ratio of remakes to fresh, innovative films was lopsided in favor of the latter category. A remake here and there is no big deal, especially if it's helmed by a true maverick. Murgatroyd mackerel, did this rant have a point? Fuck if I know. This was meant as a mere cry of dismay. I'm not suggesting that we blackball all remakes. Actually, that's not a bad idea. Can't we at least entertain the thought of imposing a moratorium on this daft balderdash? Balderdash is a kickass board game.


Geek Out #61

Do I need a reason to post a scene from The Mighty Gorga? I didn't think so. Bitch.



Pharaoh is the secret weapon of America's metal underground. There are dozens of arcane, unheralded acts spuming beneath the mainstream mantle, waiting to spout and splinter with the tempestuous fury of a thermal spring. I listen to many of them, but I feel different when I listen to Pharaoh. I feel like I'm privy to timeless music that could shape a generation of metalheads if it weren't for impermeable ramparts that govern success and bridle it for bands on the bottom rung. Some of these obstacles are unique to the modern age. Iron Maiden would never amass an ecumenical following in 2012 (or even 2000, for that matter). The music industry is in an advanced state of atrophy, a declension so crippling, that platinum records are rarefied things of wonder.

In consequence, progressive groups on the fringe are hardly ever broached in the pop culture vernacular. This has always been the case to a certain degree, but has America's collective taste for fluff ever been this pronounced? I name-dropped Iron Maiden earlier (yeah, I'm bowling buddies with Bruce, whatever); I honestly believe that Pharaoh is their contemporary obverse. Now, either I have a flair for vaunting gasconade OR this Pennsylvanian four-piece is the real deal. It's actually a little bit of both, but who's keeping score? Bury the Light is the fourth Pharaoh full-length. It's also their fourth badass album (fifth if you count the Ten Years EP and sixth if you count their contribution to the Tribute to Coroner split). I'm sick of parenthetic statements (enough is enough).

2006's The Longest Night remains my favorite Pharaoh outing, but this fucker is a close runner-up. To tell you the truth, my initial reaction to 2008's Be Gone was marginally downcast. I like it when these guys play with off-kilter time signatures and adventurous arrangements, so the traditional leanings of said opus didn't digest properly deep within my finicky gut. Don't get the wrong impression; it was a lethal collation of meaty metal tunes. Still, I was hoping for a more challenging follow-up. Something dense, something jagged, something gently mathematic...by hook and/or by crook, Bury the Light met my demanding expectations. This album is fucking amazing. How do I convey the grandeur therein? I mean, without boring you? It's too late, isn't it?

If you've never heard of Pharaoh, I can't blame you. I can look down on you with factious castigation in my eyes, but I can't blame you. Imagine tossing Iron Maiden, Control Denied and Angel Dust into a blender. Presto! You've got yourself a Pharaoh smoothie that pairs well with...oh, fuck it. It's metal. Ex-Control Denied vocalist Tim Aymar delivers an outstanding performance. I can't believe that he hasn't lost a scintilla of range over the years. To say that guitarist Matt Johnson is criminally underrated would be an affront to his staggering talent. His leads are expressive, his phrasing is highly creative and his riffs are gritty when the song calls for it. He has an ear for melody that simply fucks my soul. Matt, if you're reading this, you fuck my soul. Hard.

Highlights? Christ spread on a cracker. Sample the jittery percussion of "Leave Me Here to Dream," the frenzied assault of "The Wolves," the anthemic chorus of "Castles in the Sky," the sheer enormity of "Year of the Blizzard" and the pained wails of "Cry." Here's an idea; add Bury the Light to your metal library. If you're not sold after reading this review, you might want to hone your powers of inference.