Blood Capsule #28


Dear fucking God.  This is one of the worst films I've seen as curator of Random Reviews Incorporated.  It stars a lazy, antiseptic John Saxon as a mad scientist who injects vagabonds with "superhuman" serum.  Naturally, there are uncomely side effects.  The professor keeps four of his mutated freaks within reach and stalks the hallways of a desolate campus.  First of all, what is this guy's deal?  His toxic vaccine of sorts doesn't work, and I'm certain that he isn't on a quest to rule the world.  Most highbrow lunatics at least try to advance medicine, but that doesn't appeal to...um, Dr. Saxon.  Yeah, I'm not going to look up character names.  Hellmaster is barely worth a grammatically correct capsule review.

The special effects are presentable.  That's the only affirmative amenity I can muster.  I'm pretty sure that I fell asleep during the grueling third act.  Hey, if you dig endless scenes of exasperating nobodies prancing about in the dark, rent this shit yesterday.  The dialogue is tepid, the leads are dull and the plot trips over itself ad infinitum.  I almost felt bad for the cast.  If you ever meet John Saxon at a convention, ask him to sign a copy of Hellmaster.  I fucking dare you.


Black Lagoon, eh? Is that the one where Brooke Shields gets naked?

I haven't pinned down what it is that makes us buy multiple versions of films we already own, but I know it has something to do with vanity.  Realistically, I don't need another copy of 1931's Dracula sitting in my bedroom.  The same goes for the other Universal Horror classics.  And yet, I had to (HAD to) procure the Essential Collection Blu-ray set.  Something interesting I noticed...American consumers have been quietly ripped off.  This glorious box of black-and-white nobility will cost you over $100 on Region 1.  The UK doppelganger is approximately $45 less.  The discs are region-free, and despite the gap in monetary value, I haven't found any differences between the two sets.

That's kind of shitty.  Still, I'm psyched to own these films on Blu-ray.  There is a good chance that I'll review The Mummy and The Invisible Man, seeing as how it's been years since I watched them.  More on this story as it develops.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #24

Werewolves and the Royal Rumble.


Star Wars

How's this for random???  I never want this site to be predictable, so it made perfect sense to review Star Wars.  That's not the only reason why I'm exscinding this near-mythical sci-fi saga.  I thought it would be interesting to offer an outsider's perspective.  Growing up, I rarely showed interest in the series.  I seem to recall catching a chunk of Return of the Jedi on television, but aside from that piecemeal encounter, I didn't watch a full Star Wars entry until Revenge of the Sith hit theaters.  And I only went to appease a friend.  What can I say?  It's not my bag.  However, I've been indulging in more unmitigated science fiction as of late.  2013 might as well be the year that I sit down and tipple 1977's Star Wars.

On some level, this was an opportunity for George Lucas's pet project to submit itself to a dogged litmus test.  Would it be industrious and accessible enough to click with an esoteric horror geek?  Would it stand up to draconian scrutiny?  I spoke to George beforehand, and man, he was a nervous wreck.  He knew that my opinion could make or break his career.  I have the final word on these matters, and he understands how valuable my endorsement has become (look no further than Rachel Ray...you're welcome, America).  In any event, I liked it.  It's a blithe, expeditive space adventure with leading-edge special effects and an intensely prismatic cast of characters.  I can definitely see how an adolescent might fall in love with it.

Young Dom's brain was deflected in a different direction, but I get the appeal.  It almost feels custom-built for formative audiences.  The script is crude, as it paints the narrative in patent shades of black and white.  Star Wars is basically a Saturday morning cartoon.  Of course, that's not necessarily a complaint.  It's a style that serves its core players, especially its villains.  Darth Vader is one of the best scamps in cinematic history, and Peter Cushing steals the screen as Grand Moff Tarkin.  In my oh-so-humble opinion, the rest of the acting troupe is dissonant.  Harrison Ford is too cold, while Mark Hammill is...shit, I just can't take him seriously.  Yeah, that's kinda-sorta the point, but I'll kindly ask you to remove yourself from my conscience, thank you very much.

I wanted to view Star Wars on VHS, but I had to settle for the baroque Blu-ray.  Yuck.  Of course, I detested the supplementary CGI, but that won't be reflected in the rating.  As the closing credits rolled, I noticed that I was curious to find out what happened in the sequels.  Congratulations, George!  You passed, or at least your film did.  Does that mean I'm a convert?  Not really.  I didn't adore Star Wars to the point where I would consider myself to be a fanatic in training (frankly, the ham-fisted allusions to Christianity were off-putting).  I think it's cool; that's all there is to it.  Having said that, I'd be open to renting The Empire Strikes Back.  I realize that I don't sound particularly enthusiastic, but I enjoyed the jerkey out of this flick.

Beef.  The jerkey, I mean.  My flavor of choice?  Teriyaki.  Now you know.


Album Cover of the Week


Matches That Time Forgot #50

Shane Douglas never prospered outside of ECW.  You can blame puerile gimmicks and locker room politics for the albatross he lugged around in the preeminent promotions, but there were other factors at play.  For instance, his first run with the WWF came to an abrupt standstill because of his father's moribund health.  I'm not talking about his doomed occupancy of the Dean Douglas moniker.  No, that happened five years later.  Shane debuted as a chipper babyface in 1990, and in an anomalous feat of improbability, he lasted 26 minutes in the Royal Rumble.  Apparently, he was in line for a hearty push.

What would have happened if he had stayed on board?  Taking care of a sick parent was commendable, but did his familial obligations have an adverse effect on his career?  In 1990, the dude was fresh.  He had talent to spare, as evidenced below.  Granted, today's match that time forgot is a forgettable (natch) bout pitting the future "Franchise" against Black Bart, but it does showcase Shane's crisp agility.  Those head-scissor takedowns are fucking fluid.  Hmm, I wasn't expecting to describe something as "fucking fluid" when I woke up this morning.  I move mountains on a regular basis, folks.  FACTOID: For better or worse, Black Bart trained Necro Butcher.


The Rejuvenator

There is nothing remotely original about 1989's The Rejuvenator.  The storyline will ring a bell for any studious genre junkie who has assimilated 1959's The Wasp Woman or 1987's Evil Spawn.  An aging actress wants to be young again, so she strongarms a reluctant scientist until he agrees to inject an experimental serum into her vainglorious veins.  I apologize.  That was an exploitative witticism.  It won't happen again.  Anyway, I'm sure that you can guess what happens next.  The agglutinoid has gruesome side effects, and our haughty anti-heroine transmutates into...well, the poster speaks for itself.  Naturally, the only way to reverse the pernicious chemical reaction is to feast on brain juice.

The paint-by-numbers script is predictable to a fault.  Every punch is telegraphed.  And yet, I enjoyed this guileless cheese.  I knew what was going to happen in the 1995 reboot of Gamera, but it still kicked my ass with authority.  Fuck, that's a cool trilogy.  Where was I?  Oh, The Rejuvenator.  It lays claim to a special something that is powerful enough to make any workaday creature feature watchable.  I'm speaking of gooey, viscous practical effects.  What's an 80's horror film without a payload of latex?  Syrupy.  Waxy.  Pasty.  These are buzz words for gore nerds, and they are the resin that keeps this direct-to-video quickie from imploding.

I don't want to give the impression that The Rejuvenator would be a plenary lemon without its F/X unit.  The production values are satisfactory, and truth be told, the acting is rock solid (relatively speaking).  It's just that I can't imagine any beggarly fanboy renting this flick in the hopes of riding an emotional rollercoaster.  Heh, emotional rollercoaster.  The death sequences are nice and moist.  We're even treated to a smidgen of boorish nudity.  Director Brian Thomas Jones has a handle on pacing, although his visual style lacks...style.  I was curious to see the rest of his resume.  Lo and behold, he presided over several episodes of Big Bad Beetleborgs.  I'm going to give you a minute to reflect on that.

I don't have much else to report.  In essence, The Rejuvenator is a modern take on The Wasp Woman.  And in its defense, it's preferable to the actual remake of The Wasp Woman.  May God have mercy on Roger Corman for inflicting a string of dolorous "updates" of b-classics upon Blockbuster shelves in the mid-90's.  Have you experienced 1996's Humanoids From the Deep?  Have you???  Until you have, don't castigate me with your judging eyes and your...your...judging ankles!  You don't know what I've been through, motherfucker!  Right, let's wrap this up.  The Rejuvenator is derivative of past sci-fi sleaze, but it's docile fun.  Lighten up, man.


Geek Out #77

Y'know, it figures that on the very day I announce my return, I get hideously sick.  That's why I was a no-show yesterday.  I'll spare you the details.  Suffice to say, it was messy.  Anyway, here's a Geek Out to tide you over until I write something substantial (it shouldn't be too long).  I just watched this flick earlier today.  I understand that it's divisive, but I fucking loved it.  The cast (Christopher Lee is a goddamn badass), the atmosphere, the score...The Devil Rides Out is Hammer encapsulated.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #23

I come clean about my dead girlfriend.


Shitty Webcam Site Update Movie Review I Have Heartburn #22

The major announcement.



I'll make an announcement tomorrow.  Watch this space.  I gotta figure shit out.


Foreseen Circumstances

I spoil you.


Album Cover of the Week


The Legacy

I've been in the mood for 70's horror lately.  It doesn't get much more "70's" than 1978's The Legacy, a supernatural conjuration starring Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott.  The docile opening credits are backed by some Roberta Flack-sounding bitch warbling about love.  And yes, I'm fairly confident that the chanteuse prefers to be called a Roberta Flack-sounding bitch.  Despite a schmaltzy intro, we eventually wade into darker waters.  An architect couple (Ross and Elliott) winds up at a stately manor in England after crashing their motorcycle.  What should have been a cumbersome inconvenience of an afternoon turns into a harrowing weekend laden with shapeshifting nurses, otherworldly chicken bones and winding roads that all lead to the same destination.

The Legacy wears its influences on its sleeve, and while it may not converge on the status of its forebears (The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, et. al.), I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It's worth repeating that I was craving a stoic, subdued genre film.  This decade took itself seriously.  I admire that, even if a considerable portion of its output was...wacky?  Getting back to the topic at hand, the screenplay was written by sedulous Hammer scribe Jimmy Sangster.  I'm a fan of his stuff, and I could tell that he was responsible for the script.  The characters are grounded.  Well, they're as grounded as they can be in melodramatic fright fare from the 70's.  As per usual, Sam Elliot's moustache steals the screen.  I'm as straight as the steel rod fused to my spine, but look, this is Wade from Roadhouse.

I'm just saying...oh, forget it.  You wouldn't understand.  Hold me, Sam.  Hold me.  Um, right.  I don't know how to comment on the storyline without divulging pivotal spoilers.  Most of you probably don't care, but The Legacy's merit is predicated on a mystery that unravels at a scrupulous clip.  I found it to be rather interesting myself.  Granted, there are loose ends.  The ending didn't answer my every question.  Hell, it neglected the majority of my questions, but I didn't need the details spoonfed to me via...a spoon.  It did take awhile for the plot to gain traction.  If you're not patient enough to imbibe a slow burn, I would suggest renting a more reckless vehicle.

The Legacy didn't fellate my socks off, but as I riffle my checklist (what, you don't have a checklist?), I don't see many negative annotations.  Acting?  Well-rounded.  Special effects?  Uneven, but it's 1978.  Editing and camera angles/movements?  Second to none.  Director Richard Marquand guides the action with steady fingers.  Apparently, he helmed a sci-fi spectacle entitled Return of the Jedi.  Intriguing.  Gore?  Eh, it's not that kind of creepshow.  Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend The Legacy to 70's horror disciples.  By the way, fuck Netflix.  How hard is it to check a disc for scratches before mailing it?  They're lucky that I'm still giving them business.  "Hey, let's raise our prices as our selection is dwindling!"  Sorry for the tangent.


Pop Qwiz

Watch this while I toil away on the next review.  I can't believe this existed.



I've been watching a lot of movies lately.  I don't have time to review all of them, so I thought I'd comment on a few of them.  Don Dohler's The Alien Factor is priceless schlock.  The various creatures made my millennium, and I appreciated the wonky twist ending.  I also revisited Friday the 13th parts V and VI.  Solid fucking slashers.  I realized that Tommy Jarvis is to blame for "zombie Jason."  Seriously, he single-handedly caused the tragic deaths of a hundred teenagers by exhuming a grave for no practical reason.  What an asshole.  Horrible (a.k.a. Absurd a.k.a. Monster Hunter) is a mediocre driblet of Italian horror.  The monster is just some guy who looks like he could be the bassist for Fleetwood Mac.

AVP is underrated, while AVP: Requiem is accurately rated.  The Predalien hybrid wasn't as regal as it should have been.  Still, I love the image of a xenomorph loitering on the premises of a Papa John's location.  NOTE TO SELF: Give their pizza another try.  Don't hold grudges, unless they involve American remakes of Japanese horror films.


Shitty Webcam Movie Review Site Update I Have Heartburn #21

I discuss Wrestlemania and I make a desperate plea.


Blood Capsule #27


I bought Playroom for one reason and one reason only.  It was directed by Manny Coto, the auteur behind a sentimental favorite of mine.  The sentimental favorite?  Dr. (motherfucking) Giggles...bow down.  Playroom is a different animal altogether.  Christopher McDonald plays Chris, an archeologist who returns to the site of his family's brutal murder.  The encampment itself is a tomb, an aporetic catacomb that boards a mummy of sorts.  The ancient occultist isn't swathed in bandages, but "mummy" sounds more fearsome than "petrified corpse."  You'll just have to indulge me.  Anyway, Chris takes a cue from Jack Torrance and slowly succumbs to the grapnels of insanity.

The first hour of Playroom pretends to be a pokerfaced thriller.  To be honest, it's a chore to swallow, save for the breathtaking scenery (the film was shot on location in Serbia, which stands in for Yugoslavia).  The third act shifts gears.  Suddenly, I was watching a dinky b-movie headlined by an animatronic zombie, a villain with an armory of wisecracks on retainer.  If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that his dialogue was written by Freddy Krueger.  It's jaw-droppingly laughable.  Playroom is a dishonorable failure, but holy shit, it's entertaining.  Of course, it doesn't approach the august grandeur of Dr. Giggles.  That, my friend, would be impossible.


Album Cover of the Week

This one goes out to Adam.  You crazy bastard, you.


Vanity Scare #13

Sorry for the delay, folks.  Please enjoy.

FANGORIA (#97, October 1990)

I used to subscribe to Fangoria.  It was my first horror magazine, as I'm sure it was for many fans.  As a kid, I didn't even know that there was a whole publication devoted to the things I held dear.  It was my Famous Monsters of Filmland, if you will.  Cynics are quick to point out that Fangoria cossets mainstream tastes, and compared to other genre rags, it does.  But it serves its purpose.  I resent the notion that elitist die-hards have no use for such a magazine.  I'm a magisterial fop, and I love flipping through back issues.  Apparently, I'm also British.

1990 was a good year for monsters.  Let's read on, shall we?

- As you can surmise, this issue was all about Tom Savini's remake of Night of the Living Dead.  It's funny to read Tony Timpone's "Elegy."  The market wasn't saturated with pleonastic reduxes, and the majority of films hitting video shelves were original (or adapted from a literary source).  Still, the prevailing attitude in 1990 struck a familiar chord.  I give you an excerpt from Tony's editorial: "What?!?  A remake of a landmark film that's only 22 years old?"  Oh, Tony...you have no idea.  To his credit, he goes on to solace readers by admitting that the crew is comprised of upper-crust talent.  Thankfully, NOTLD '90 turned out to be a worthwhile watch.

- A slight jeremiad against Fango's format.  This would change in later years, but the 'zine has no flow.  The big articles are clumped together, and they aren't broken up by reviews or side pieces.  In fact, Dr. Cyclops is solely responsible for video critiques.  I wanted more in the way of opinion-based journalism.

- According to The Terror Teletype, Clive Barker was attached to direct his own version of The Mummy at one point.  Fuuuuuuck, why didn't that happen?  I dig Lord of Illusions, but shit.

- I absolutely adored the feature on Child's Play 2.  It's interesting that director John Lafia was aiming for less camp.  Yeah.  I guess nothing could stop Don Mancini's wry, pungent sense of humor from bleeding past the camera.  For the record, I think this flick rocks.  It may be brainless, but it's a gelatinous orb of maniacal glee.

- The interview with Richard Stanley is rather enlightening.  I enjoyed Hardware, but I don't consider it to be a clinquant masterpiece.  Perhaps I should recuse myself, as I never did understand the whole "cyberpunk" deal.  Then again, I wasn't fond of Dust Devil either.  I wonder what Stanley could have accomplished without the interposition of censors and stumped studio executives.  I will say this; Hardware would have benefited from Bill Paxton's presence.  He was Stanley's first choice to play the lead.

- Eve of Destruction gets an extensive spread.  I skimmed it.  LOLZ!

- The doctor's half-glowing/half-bollixed reviews of Paperhouse and Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge piqued my curiosity.  I own the latter, so in all likelihood, I'll give it a whirl tonight.  Review not forthcoming (don't worry, I have something else up my sleeve).

That covers the bulk of Fangoria #97.  It was pretty goddamn sweet.  Man, the 90's were gnarlier than thou.


Geek Out #76

Honestly, I feel like this clip speaks for itself.


Jennifer 8

Today, I dilly-dally on the outskirts of the genre.  While Jennifer 8 wouldn't ordinarily fall under the horror umbrella, it would certainly appeal to fans of Se7en and The Silence of the Lambs.  Linear Hollywood "thrillers" rarely supplicate authentic ingenuity, so my expectations were, shall we say, demure.  I was nearly humbugged by the generic poster.  Thankfully, I kept my mind open enough for the film's stealthy script to adhere itself to my synapses.  If you're not in the mood to read a full-bosomed computation of Jennifer 8, try the curtailed version on for size.  Are you ready?  It might behoove you to take notes...I really fucking dug this flick.  It's good.  It's very good.

If you're still reading, congratulations!  You have just won a horehound-flavored bear trap signed by the fashionable Satchmo Gloopen.  TERMS AND CONDITIONS: The trap must be returned immediately.  In theory, Jennifer 8 doesn't have any right to be an inventive, spellbinding keeper.  Sure, the cast is laureate, but the plot doesn't exactly scream "Oscar bait."  Andy Garcia plays John Berlin, a lugubrious cop who settles into a small town by diving headfirst into a case that involves severed limbs in an ash heap.  He is convinced that this girl was murdered by the same psychopath responsible for a rash of grisly deaths a few years prior.  Each victim was blind (some partially, some entirely).  As the throes of irony would have it, Berlin's sole witness is - you guessed it - blind.

Our witness is a cute, taciturn Uma Thurman.  First of all, she disrobes, and we get a peek at the parts that matter.  She's also quite likeable.  Garcia turns in a grounded, believable performance, but I was most surprised by Lance Henriksen's showing.  I mean, I wasn't surprised that he could act; I was surprised that he was vouchsafed with a fairly substantial role.  This was one of his last dignified appearances in a motion picture.  Look, it's John Malkovich in an extended cameo!  It goes without saying that he soars above and beyond the call of duty.  If he decided to star in a string of infomercials, I would start watching infomercials.  Because I totally don't watch infomercials, like, constantly.  No, sir.

The suspense is volatile, the visuals are murky (I adored the shadow play) and Christopher Young's score is dismally fetching.  Jennifer 8 stands out amongst a myriad of nondescript "serial killer" movies.  We don't spend any time with the antagonist until the final thirty minutes.  To offer a bit of perspective, Jennifer 8 clocks in at over two hours.  And yet, I never shuffled my feet in a brume of lassitude.  The storyline is always driving forward.  Just when I thought I had predicted the ending, I was proven wrong.  So yeah, you need to rent this fucker.  It it flawless?  Sadly, no.  I was content with the conclusion, but I needed more closure.  My spoiler-free stance precludes me from elaborating any further.

I realize that I've spoiled other films, but this isn't The Maze.  Calm down.



I took a nap and woke up with a splitting headache.  Ergo, I'm retiring early tonight.  I'll be back in business starting tomorrow.  January is going to ROCK (and roll, time permitting) here at RR Inc.