Album Cover of the Whatever

I'm currently listening to Polish death metal, which...has absolutely nothing to do with Savatage.  Thought I'd throw you scraps.  Go Panthers!


I Forgot

I knew I'd forget at least one record for my Top 5 list.  I don't know if I'd place them near the spire of the list, but I should have mentioned Veruca Salt's Ghost Notes and Black Breath's Slaves Beyond Death.  There.  I feel better now.

About a week until the film list.  Of course, I'm allocating vacation days to myself.  Don't rush me.


Top 5 Rock/Metal Albums Of 2015

Well, I managed to do it.  I've narrowed the field down to five (and a half...I can do that).  While preparing for this piece, I realized that there weren't many records from the last calendar year that I LOVED.  Also, this was a strange year for me, from a musical perspective.  Because of our financial situation, I haven't been buying much music, and it's vexing as hell.  I haven't been buying much of anything.  That's not to say that I haven't heard a bunch of stuff; I have.  Nonetheless, I haven't guzzled a considerable amount of long players that demanded repeated spins.  Just my two pennies.

Let's start at the top.  Because?

1. Alkaloid - The Malkuth Grimoire ~ This band includes within its ranks members of Obscura and Dark Fortress.  To me, it feels like the natural successor to the former's Omnivium.  There is plenty of Obscura happening here, which is an orgasmic thing for a chick like me.  I obsess over melodic, progressive death metal, and this is a prime example of dat shit.  Every instrument is played with stringent precision.  The drumming (as contributed by Hannes Grossman) is goddamn binary, and I'm not 100% clear on what "binary" means.  It doesn't matter!  As for guitars, scope the solos on "Carbon Phrases" and "Alter Magnitudes."  Why can't more extreme bands figure out that aimless mongrel shredding doesn't cut it these days?

2. Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss ~ I got turned onto this pale goddess a couple of years ago, and I've been addicted ever since.  There may be extant restraining orders.  Just kidding!  Nervous laughter!  In my churlish opinion, Abyss is Chelsea's magnum opus.  She keeps topping herself and finding ways to broaden her sonic base without striking insincere chords.  This is easily her heaviest record yet, piling sunken doom riffs atop sparse electronic beats and cantering sounds that fill the room.  And then you have Chelsea's fragile voice hovering over it all acting as the ribbon that ties the music together.  Abyss was so fucking close to being numero uno.  It's almost a tie.

3. Faith No More - Sol Invictus ~ I'll come right out and say it.  I have problems with this album.  For starters, it's too fucking short (we only waited eighteen years, guys), and there are a couple of tracks that I skip outright.  So why is it my third favorite compact disc of 2015?  Because the quality material is so FNM, it hurts.  Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but this doesn't sound like a group of fortysomethings.  Sol Invictus could have been released in the mid-90's.  "Separation Anxiety" and "Matador" make me feel the way that "Caffeine" and "Ricochet" made me feel when I first heard them.  Honestly, I didn't think that was possible.  Feel the feels!

4. Unleash the Archers - Time Stands Still ~ I've scribbled a bit about this Canadian collective on this here site, so I won't burble into the night.  Having said that, you need to know that this was the best speed metal release of the year.  But it can also be considered a fantastic power metal release.  And yes, death metal is sprinkled betwixt the excavations.  Vocalist Brittany Hayes/Slayes is the star of the show.  She fucking defines "powerhouse," hitting notes that murder bats (as of this writing, I lack forensic evidence, but the court of public opinion finds Ms. Hayes guilty of premeditated bat murder).  Her Halford-esque screams will induce labor, whether you're pregnant or not.

5. Horrendous - Anareta ~ I'm actually jamming this one as I type.  I might prefer 2014's Ecdysis, but this is a vigorous follow-up.  If you're not privy, these Americans (split between Pennsylvania and South Carolina) ply their trade with old school death metal.  However, there is a kicker.  The tunes are technical and super melodic.  Think Pestilence or latter day Death.  There isn't a word for how catchy "Ozymandias" and "Polaris" happen to be.  I do have issues with the production, but I love Horrendous anyway.  Despite wearing their influences on their sleeve(s), they have a fresh identity, and they are completely unaffected by trends.  Fuck.  Yes.

94. Leviathan - Scar Sighted ~ This is my #6, but I wanted to give it a healthy mention.  If we're talking "one-man black metal" projects, Leviathan takes the red velvet cake.  Wrest (a.k.a. Jef Whitehead) does everything by himself.  That's nothing short of phenomenal, as this album is a dense colossus of intricate nightmare bebop.  Now, when I say "bebop," I mean "suicide music."  The ambient sections are scary.

Here's a quick tally of other 2015 records to engage...

Xibalba - Tierra y Libertad (hardcore/death metal)
Nile - What Should Not Be Unearthed (heavier than Satan)
Turnstile - Nonstop Feeling (alternative hardcore, very 90's)
Spylacopa - Parallels (experimental hard rock)
Gruesome - Savage Land (old school death metal)
Dolven - Navigating the Labyrinth (acoustic black metal)
Violet Cold - Desperate Dreams (poppy black metal)


Blood Capsule #56

976-EVIL (1988)

My mehtulz Top 5 list will be posted towards the end of the week, so I thought I'd machinate a blood capsule in the meantime.  Motherfucking 976-EVIL, motherfuckers.  It's not just a sweet Deftones song.  No, it's a supernatural slasher directed by Robert Englund in between Freddy engagements.  I'm wishing that he jumped behind the camera more often.  Not because I can't stand to look at the guy, but because this is a stylish little picture!  I loved the lighting, and man-o-man, there are a handful of cool angles that kept my pupils diverted.  Obviously, the film is about a demonic telephone line.  How does it work?  Um, evil!  That's how!

Stephen Geoffreys (yes, Evil Ed and the gaping star of innumerable gay pornos, my favorite being Halfway House Hunks) is Hoax, an awkward teen who is bullied to shit.  His performance is topflight, but I didn't quite understand Hoax's...mental constitution?  He's depicted as slow early on, a bit "simple" even.  And yet, he seems "normal" (untoward choice of words, my apologies) later in the narrative, and it's before he becomes possessed by The Bell South Demon.  Rotary joke!  Anyway, the first half of 976-EVIL is a rollicking wedge of 80's horror.  The second half doesn't suck outright, but it isn't nearly as fulfilling.  Certain characters are introduced that serve no purpose whatsoever.  Screenwriters Brian Helgeland and Rhet Topham should have stuck with the dynamic leads who anchored the exposition.

Overall, this flick is worth a Saturday afternoon rental.  I'd say Halfway House Hunks is a judgment call.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Since this is no longer a weekly feature, I just post cool album covers as I come across them.  This one made me do a triple take.  The band is Big End Bolt.  Would you believe that they play brutal, fetus-crunching death metal?  I know.  Shocked me, too.


Year-End Lists???

I get tense around the end of a year.  I know the time is coming...the time for bloggers and website-havers to compile best-of lists from the year that just crapped in front of them.  I'm terrible at this!  I hate ranking shit!  I know I don't have to rank them per se, but I do enjoy separating the baubles from the husks.  That's not a real saying, so please don't use it in public.  I'm embarrassed.  Great, now I'm crying.  GREAT, now I'm shitting!

Another quandary is the field of candidates.  For example, I didn't listen to every rock/metal album of 2015.  And there was a jumble-crag of quality releases, a veritable mesa of mondo music.  How do I narrow it down, gang?  Fucklebean!  That's not a real expression, so again, please don't use it.  Oh, God.  Here come the tears followed by the bowel munitions!

Okay, here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to post two lists before the eve of the new year: A top five (I can't handle ten) for music and a top five for horror films.  I'll probably hit music first to give myself time to watch more of 2015's genre fare.  Could someone hold my hand?


The Loreley's Grasp

Oh, you love it when I get foreign, don't you?  You love it when I get obscure and use the Spanish poster for no goddamn reason.  Actually, there is a reason.  1974's The Loreley's Grasp (a.k.a. When the Screaming Stops) was shot in Spain by a real-life Spaniard.  I'm speaking of Amando de Ossorio, he of Blind Dead fame.  No one ever talks about his contributions to the genre outside of the Blind Dead series, which is a flagrant shame.  I dig the Templar Knights as much as the next pantaloon, but his other experiments in terror deserve a day in the midnight sun.  Most of them are on DVD/Blah-ray.  If you can't find Grasp, try on 1975's Demon Witch Child (a.k.a. The Possessed).  You're welcome.  And yes, Ossorio's films have multiple titles.  Get with the times.

This baby feels Italian.  To be specific, it feels like a giallo, but it's a monster mash.  It combines the "creature suit'' horseplay of the 50's with the dubbing and bloodletting of Opera or Deep Red.  Personally, I would describe it as The Monster of Piedras Blancas...if it were directed by Dario Argento.  So yes, it's pretty cool.  Something is stalking the beautiful students at a boarding school in Germany.  There are whispers of a local legend, a sea siren who transmutes into a scurfy, furfuraceous beast when the moon is full.  Loosely based on real myths (now that's one fuck of an oxymoron), the story is somewhat refreshing, seeing as how the villain is neither a vampire nor a ghost.  Nor a dude!

Surprisingly, there isn't much nudity on display.  We see boobs, but only when they are being ripped asunder.  It's not a pleasant sight, folks.  The women are stunning, but unfortunately for them, they are fucking dolts.  A bodyguard is hired to patrol the area and he gives the lodgers of the academy very basic instructions.  VERY basic.  Just lock your doors, lock your windows and don't flap your wings outside at night.  Maybe it was simply "don't go outside at night."  Whatever.  My point is, dear reader, a distressing majority of the apprentices (?) choose to ignore these safety measures.  I get that characters need to die, but find a more creative way for the Loreley to probe the institution.  Know what I mean?  Like, try harder.

Furfuraceous!  Sorry, I love that word, and I'm going to jam it into as many sentences as possible.  The definition?  Fuck off; you have an Internet connection.  Use it.  Bitch.  Give me your Wi-Fi password!  Insert segue here...the dialogue is awful.  The only players I found to be inviting were Old Professor and Blind Violinist (traditional German names, I guess).  Of course, they are both mangled.  The gore effects are winsome.  Slightly shitty, yes, but once you witness a beach lizard in a hoodie literally break a man's heart, you stop caring about the superficial.  Okay, it's a robe.  No, it's a hoodie.  It's a fucking hoodie, and I dig it.  I dig The Loreley's Grasp, too.  No one will agree, but in my opinion, it tops the first two Blind Dead chapters.

Calm down.  I realize that this is not a seamless shocker, but it does gallop a bit quicker than a Templar Knight.  Undead Robert Z'Dar says, "I use moisturizer daily to keep my chin from becoming furfuraceous.  There, I used it in a sentence.  Now give me my fucking money."


Scott Weiland R.I.P.

Just the other day, I was mind-drifting on all of the dead rock stars that I love.  It occurred to me that it's AMAZING that Scott Weiland isn't dead yet.  And now, this happens.  Fuck.  I have sentimental ties to STP's 90's output.  Core was one of the first albums I legit owned.  I first borrowed it from my cousin and immediately loved every track, even the cursory instrumental.  Of course, Purple is flawless.  I've heard "Big Empty" too many times, but who cares?  Again, every track is immediate and catchy as sin.

The only other STP record I can vouch for loving is No. 4, which I'm listening to as I write this panegyric.  You have to give Scott this much; he gave his demons a fierce battle.  The media pegged him as the next grunge corpse (at least) fifteen years ago.  It's frustrating to read how many times he was able to get clean only to relapse a year or two later.  Really fucking frustrating.

Thanks for the music, Scott.  Rest in peace.


Album Cover of the Week

90's alt-rock forever!


Neon Maniacs

Okay, I'm back. We'll see what happens. I've been watching a lot of movies lately, and yesterday, I gulped down a steaming tankard of 1986's Neon Maniacs. You know what it reminds me of? A "retro" slasher that would have been made...well, today. There would have been a poster for each colorful villain, packaged alongside an action figure. If you're ever in the mood to ingest 80's horror without any specific guidelines (as I was), this is the b-stew for you. It jumps right into the action, introducing us to most of its multiformity of twelve creepers. Silly me. I kept waiting for an explanation or an origin story of some sort, but nope. No clue what these things are, where they came from or why they selected the Golden Gate Bridge as their biosphere.

They have trading cards, though! Within the film. Their own fucking trading cards. Did they escape from a game? That could be a plot, but that's a negative.  No plots allowed! Let's just move on to the human characters. Natalie is the main heroine, of which there are two. That's one of Neon's selling points. Our leads are believable, and the female cast members are presented as three-dimensional beings. Paula is a little bit younger. Get this...she plays the Tommy Jarvis archetype of a horror freak and budding make-up effect artisan. Her room is wreathed in masks, one-sheets and video equipment (she's directing a z-grade vampire flick). It was so refreshing to see a prepubescent girl pitched as the monster kid. She's awesome.

Steven is Natalie's love interest. They have adorable chemistry, and yes, I am turning into a vagina. The script is alright, but it feels like there are chunks missing. I'm in an apoplectic stupor because I discovered that it was penned by Mark Patrick Carducci, the very guy who authored the screenplay for Pumpkinhead. Pumpkinhead is goddamn perfect! Something must have happened here. I would be interested in learning more about the production history. The ending leads me to believe that an immediate sequel was either planned or promised by producers. There is a rockin' climax at a Battle of the Bands (it's nearly a stalemate, but I'd vote for Jaded) where the majority of the not-so-neon maniacs are liquidated. The rest?

Well, the cops search for them to no avail. The end! What, you wanted closure? No closure allowed! If any modish cult classic required a swell finale, it was this sumbitch. I really enjoyed the first 80 minutes, but the film signs itself out with an inelegant plop. I should only hear that kind of plop in my bathroom. Since you asked, I tried Movantik to treat my opioid-induced constipation and honey, it transformed the opening at the lower end of my alimentary canal into a delivery system for collywobbles. The fucking shits. I had bad diarrhea. It was bad. AND I recommend Neon Maniacs for fans of Nightbreed, Spookies and 80's gook in general. Apparently, Andrew Divoff played the doctor "maniac." That, my friends, is range. Respect.


31 Days of Soul-Crushing Depression

I'm digging all the October stuff, but when it comes to producing content and BEING A PERSON, I'm sapped.  Fuck this shit.  And it's so goddamn frustrating because I want to write reviews.  I just can't.  Hell, I couldn't even find my copy of The Exorcist.  That was a "throw your middle fingers up" moment where I realized it was time to pull the plug.  Again.  I apologize, people.  It feels pointless to apologize.  I feel like I'm always apologizing to someone for failing to see something through.  Doesn't help the depression, not one bit.

So I'll fuck off into the sunset.  As per our agreement (???), I'll let you know if/when I return to maintain this place.  I'm not doing well.  No, I'm not suicidal; I'm just...I'm just.  Don't fret for my Halloween spirit.  It has remained oddly unscathed.



The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ('74)

Image created by StuntmanKamil on Deviant Art.

Finally!  I can't believe that I have never reviewed 1974's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, what with it being my favorite film of all time.  Why did I wait so long?  I wouldn't call it waiting per se; it was always a daunting task that I enjoyed putting off.  I majored in Procrastination at Asshole Academy with top honors.  If you need substantiation of my puttering, it's already the seventh of October, and I'm just now tossing up my first review of the month.  I don't like doing stuff.  This much is patent.  I do like Chainsaw (even my segues are laggard), warts and all.  In fact, the warts play a pivotal role in why I love this flick so much.  It has grit.  It has character.  It has a dude in a wheelchair.

You see, Chainsaw is based on the true story of...heh, just kidding.  I believed that bullshit for a long time as a teenager.  Here is something you may find interesting - upon my initial viewing of the film, I wasn't crazy about it.  It was a chaotic blur.  Chainsaw's 83 minutes rushed past me, and I wasn't really sure what to expect to begin with.  Maybe it was the ceaseless screaming that prorogued my appreciation for Tobe Hooper's debut set of scares.  Today, Sally (Marilyn Burns) Hardesty's wails don't rasp my nerves, although I do turn the volume down during certain scenes.  Between her and the saw, it's enough to make your ears bleed.

Over the years, I've often asked myself why this particular movie resonates with my wheels, and I still don't have a lucent answer.  My best guess...it's horror.  Pure horror.  There are no supernatural elements, but Chainsaw never pretends to be anything other than a horror film.  The opening reels are an effigy of death.  The spooky text scroll, the ingrained image of a corpse shackled to a headstone, the dead armadillo...it's almost as if Hooper is clearing the decks with reserved stillness to ready your mind for the entropy that is to come.  It's masterful.  You wouldn't know it from watching 1990's I'm Dangerous Tonight (ergh), but Hooper is talented as hell.

Can we talk about the characters for a minute?  Burns (rest her soul) is never brought up as one of the original scream queens, but I have no idea why.  Her performance is natural.  Her body (and psyche, I would imagine) was put through the wringer on set, which could be said for most of the cast.  The infamous chase sequence is fucking INTENSE.  A fair share of genre enthusiasts despise Franklin, and look, I get it.  I do!  But for obvious reasons, I was able to empathize with the guy.  That's a testament to Paul Partain's method acting.  He was so method, in fact, that Gunnar Hansen hated his guts for years, not realizing that he was basically acting all the while.  Yeah, it was a rough shoot.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed in Texas in the strangling calefaction of summer.  As a result, the celluloid sweats.  It reeks!  You can see the swelter shedding off of the television screen.  It's the polar opposite of Carpenter's The Thing, a shocker that freezes you numb.  Polar opposite.  Is that a pun?  Did I make a funny?  I don't care.  I'm tired.  I hope you have already seen this mortifying classic.  If not, don't look me in the eyes; I will turn you to stone!


A new Halloween tradition...

Yes, the first review of the month is on its way, but before we show up to that party, here is a party of a different nature.  The Halloween mood table!  This was an idea brainstormed by Matt over at Dinosaur Dracula.  I don't want to take any credit for it because Dino Drac is, like, the best site in the history of the internetscapez (navigatorz).  It's basically Random Reviews Inc., only...good.  I'm being too hard on myself, I know, but Dino Drac is so goddamn rad!

Anyway, a mood table is something you can come to whenever you need to lift your Halloween spirit.  Even though I have a Halloween mood room, I was still moved to create one.  The sole requisite is a table.  The rest is up to you.  It can be quaint; it can be epic; it can be themed (clowns, werewolves, candy, etc.); it can be anything!  Most importantly, your mood table should represent YOU.  Whatever makes your horror heart quiver.  Do hearts quiver?  Beat.  Whatever makes your horror heart beat.

Without further ado, here is my 2015 Halloween mood table.

Click to see it slightly larger.  The figures across the top are Hedorah (The Smog Monster, yo) and The Gillman.  The VHS tapes are Shadow Creature, The Regenerated Man and Winterbeast.  I could have chosen a Halloween sequel, but what can I say?  I live for obscure b-movies!

Frankenberry head alert!  Also, a big box VHS to the left and a scale replica of the house from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Freddy and Jason are in town for a BBQ).  To the right, you will see a partially obstructed graphic novel.  It's a collection of Marvel's horror anthologies.  I have cool stuff.

Thanks to my mummy for helping me decorate!


Blood Capsule #55


I've been a casual KISS fan for awhile now, so I figured I should finally watch their bizarro made-for-TV movie that solidified their cartoon cachet.  I expected cheese, and yeah, it's cheesy.  On a scale from almogrote to cervelle de canut, Phantom of the Park is...well, it's cheesy.  Supposedly, it's based on a KISS comic book.  Man, I need to read that motherfucker, if only to see if the plot holes are similarly stretched beyond the limits of wisdom.  The "phantom" is a mad scientist by the name of Abner Devereaux.  He creates robot monsters in the bowels of an amusement park.  In substance, he's a Scooby Doo villain.

Anthony Zerbe's performance is so over the goddamn top, you have to dig the guy.  Fuck the teenagers.  I want Abner's battery-operated superghouls to rule the world!  We get chalk-faced panther humanoids (!?), kung-fu masters and Universal knock-offs (Dracula, The Mummy, a bloated Frankenstein, etc.).  Oh, and KISS makes several appearances throughout the film.  As the band's votaries already know, Ace Frehley didn't bother to show up to shoot half of his scenes, so his African-American stand-in (no, that's not a joke) handled the fight choreography.  Peter's dialogue is dubbed.  Gene's voice is distorted, so you can't understand anything he says.  Fuck.

Right now, I'm wishing this wasn't a blood capsule.  I could continue clacking about Kiss Meets Blah Blah under the proviso that I would be killed afterward, but hey, quality of life and all that.  Do I recommend it?  Of course.  It's terrible.  Paul Stanley has special laser powers, people.


31? You mean the Rob Zombie movie?

Whoosh!  I took a whole damn week off, didn't I?  A couple of reasons for that.  RAISIN ONE - Yesterday was my 31st birthday, and I spent the whole weekend celebrating with family from out of town.  It was fun!  Actual fun!

RAISIN COUPLE - Resting up for October.  I'll be posting a blood capsule tomorrow, but after that?  All bets are off, pal!  This Halloween, I'm going to review my favorite films of all time (that I haven't reviewed yet).  I've hit Creepshow, but somehow, I have never covered my numero uno scare flick.  How is that possible?  Don't ask this dude.  I will try...TRY to cover five.  We'll see if that happens.  Again, that doesn't start until after the next blood capsule, which is a doozy in and of itself.  Heh.


Night Train to Terror

1985's Night Train to Terror reminded me of a couple of things.  For one, it reminded me of 1957's The Story of Mankind, a morality piece where Vincent Price (as Satan) debates whether or not humanity is inherently pernicious in a court setting.  It's a duffer.  Secondly, it reminded me of my uncle Slobberberry.  The last time I saw him, he shit on his foot to put out a "political fire."  Ol' Slobber spends his days in a madhouse.  He's also not real, but Night Train to Terror is evocative of a mental patient.  It's goddamn wobbly.  You know how Spookies is a composite of two different shoots?  Well, this flick feels like ninety different movies edited together.  In reality, director John Carr united three fright cheapies into a single ludicrous viewing experience.

Carr didn't have to worry about a running narrative; this is an anthology.  We get three "cases" and a wrap-around segment starring God and Satan as themselves.  On a train.  In outer space.  Basically, they are locking horns to see who will collect the souls of people on a night train to terror (sorry, I had to) that is fixing to crash.  So many questions.  Answers?  Yeah, right.  Let's do this!

"The Case of Harry Billings" ~ After an auto-accident, Harry wakes up in a hospital bed.  The nursing staff inoculates him at odd hours, and eventually, he is used in a grisly plot to corral cadavers.  I would say that this is a weird vignette, but they're all fucking weird.  You can tell that there are scenes missing.  On the bright side, the pacing is breakneck.  Richard Moll sighting!

"The Case of Gretta Connors" ~ This is where the b-fun kicks into superlative spurwheels (just roll with me, kids).  Some dude and a porn star are decoyed into an underground death club.  It's a group of rich folks playing outrageously dangerous games, games that involve wrecking balls and Tanzanian stop-motion dragonflies.  Gore is ramped up, though the ending is gloriously daft.  The story simply ends, and we're told that the main couple lived happily ever after.  Okay?

"The Case of Claire Hansen" ~ Um, a Satanic...evil guy attacks various people.  I try to write a synopsis that matches the film, and this shit is brainless.  But fun!  I spotted three stop-motion beasties (!), and on a sidenote, Robert Bristol is AWESOME as Evil Satan Guy.  I'm positive that the character has a name.  Here again, the ending is hysterical, but I wouldn't dare spoil it for you.  Bonus Richard Moll sighting!

"The Night Train" ~ This is the framing device you ordered.  It's fine.  However, it keeps cutting back to a pop/rock music video on the train itself.  We bear its hardships on at least four occasions throughout Night Train to Terror, and each time, it's the same fucking song.  You're telling me that Mama's shoppin' for shoes, huh?  Fuck you!  And fuck your mama!  I don't care where your daddy is, you Loverboy-sucking tosspot!  Man, I'm riled up.  I didn't expect to get angry because I dug this motion picture.  That fucking song.  Great, now I want to fuck.  I really hope my mother doesn't read this review.  Where the hell was I???


October Day

Aren't these kids adorable?  They're dead now, but weren't they adorable?  Hey, they were getting on my nerves.  Ease off.  Nah, I'm just kidding.  They died of cancer.  Again, kidding!  Calm down!

I've been thinking about Halloween a lot lately, and I decided to do something "special" for the site next month.  So for those of you wondering, yes, I'll be doing...something.

Alright!  I'll announce it...sometime.  Before October.  Okey-dokey!  Movie review tomorrow!


Album Cover of the Whatever

You thought I forgot about this "column," didn't you?  Well, I didn't.  I'll just post a cool cover every now and then.  Like this one!  FYI: Vampire is a Swedish death/thrash band.



I recently viewed Luigi Cozzi's Contamination, a decent Alien ripoff.  There, the setting was Earth.  1981's Inseminoid is very nearly the same movie, only set in space.  I can't recall if the planet has a name (LV-Sham?), but the idea is that cosmonauts are traversing grottos on a reconnaissance mission for...jewels?  Signs of life?  Signs of jewel-encrusted life?  Something.  Y'know, it's a generic sci-fi scenario where they don't spell too much out.  I say "they," but the screenplay was drafted by the husband-and-wife team of Nick and Gloria Maley.  This is the sole script they authored.  Typically, they worked as make-up artists on cool flicks such as Arena and Krull.

After Inseminoid, they opted to stick to their day job, and it's easy to see why.  Actually, that's not fair; the script isn't the problem.  I don't dislike this wad of cognate crud.  To be completely honest with you, I can't diagnose Inseminoid's ills or finger the infected areas (ew).  They are simply not palpable.  It's hard to describe what makes this a pedestrian film, but I know that it is.  And yet, I dig what it's serving.  Look at the goddamn DVD cover.  Is it any wonder?  In cinephile parlance, this is a monster movie.  Before you jump out of your suspenders, just know that the monster is...eh.  We see a blurry background shot of Daddy Inseminoid and later on, we see his Full Moon-sized grandpups.  It's disheartening.

Essentially, Peepaw Inseminoid (holy fuck, that's an epic band name) rapes and impregnates Sandy, one of the aforementioned cosmonauts.  She doesn't experience contractions or writhe in the throes of parturition until the closing twenty minutes, so until that happens, she's your slasher.  Sandy goes nucking futs.  Credit Judy Geeson for giving a genuinely impressive performance.  I believed that she was losing her mental faculties under duress.  I'm picturing you wrinkling your temples, but it's more nuanced than you think.  Unfortunately, Sandy is alone in the nuanced department.  The other characters are interchangeable, and the fact that two of the men look alike does NOT help matters.

As you can infer, Inseminoid is a patchwork of pros and cons.  Results may vary.  The pace, however, is an incontrovertible quotient.  It's demonstrably fast, and I do mean fast.  The running time was all used up with gas left in the tank.  This baby is a mover, a shaker, a hyperactive undertaker (?).  It's an easy sit, is what I'm trying to say.  I recommend it, but you will have to deal with halfhearted acting (Geeson excluded), flabby creature effects and questionable narrative jukes.  Did she really need to saw off her foot?  I mean, yeah, it looked alright, but you might as well extirpate yourself.  Heh, extirpate.  I'm such an asshole.


More Stuff I'm Listening to

I remember distinctly saying that I didn't want to create a new "feature," yet here I am collating a second edition of Stuff I'm Listening To.  This is your fault.  I should point out a couple of things.  1) This feature (damn it) spotlights bands I have recently discovered.  This is literally stuff I'm listening to NOW.  Well, maybe not RIGHT NOW as I'm typing.  You know what I mean.  2) It won't always be Christ-raping metal; I dig that shit, but I listen to a wide conglomeration of muzak.  Today, I have two (very) different bands on the docket.

Social Distortion - I kept hearing "Ball and Chain" on Music Choice and thought to myself, "Oh yeah, I remember those guys."  I don't normally go for straight-up punk, but SD doesn't play straight-up punk.  This is punk meshed with blues meshed with rockabilly.  And even outlaw country!  1996's White Light, White Heat, White Trash (my album of choice) is more country than anything on CMT.  It's all depression, whiskey and...well, life.  "Dear Lover" is catchy on an endemic level, as is MTV hit "I Was Wrong."  I love Mike Ness's weathered voice.  Slick your hair back, dangle a cigarette from your lips and blast this American-made gut rock from your Chevrolet.

Jungle Rot - I'll be perfectly honest.  I have only heard one Jungle Rot record start-to-finish, 2015's Order Shall Prevail.  And it's fucking ferocious.  Prime death metal with a clawful of Dying Fetus-style slams thrown in for good measure.  They also remind me of Exhumed in the way that they knit tasty leads into organ-scrunching thrashers.  Which organ?  Pick one.  Then let Jungle Rot scrunch the shit out of it.  The main riff of "E.F.K." should do the trick.  EAT!  FUCK!  KILL!


The Kiss: Mini-Capsule

Unfortunately, I don't have much time to write about 1988's The Kiss, and I'll be offline for most of the weekend.  But!  That doesn't change the fact that this film was much, much more palatable than I was expecting.  I don't know why, but I was under the impression that The Kiss was a lowborn bathing b-beauty.  Like, the cinematic equivalent of a gutter slut.  Make no mistake; it's punctured with slip-ups, but it actually has a budget in the seven-digit range.  The first act is intriguing, and the special effects are primarily solid (the less said about Demon Cat, the better).

Plotty-plot-plot?  Um, raging voodoo cunt tries to pass curse to cute niece.  Why did I compile the synopsis as if it were a newspaper headline?  I told you I was pressed for time.  Stay at my level.  Anyway, this is fun stuff with a finale so over the top, you have to giggle.  Pure 80's creamer.

Maybe on Monday, I'll finally get around to another Stuff I'm Listening To.  Maybe!


Blood Capsule #54


I was held at gunpoint and told to watch this film.  I had seen the title (several times, in fact), but I knew very little about the plot.  Turns out, Byzantium is a unique vampire swivet that follows two "sisters" as they gull men and attempt to scrape by without being smelled out as bloodsuckers.  The story is told in the present day, though it's often plaited with flashbacks.  Honestly, I don't want to say too much as it relates to the mechanics of the narrative.  I enjoyed watching it unfold myself, and I think it's one of those movies where it's best to arrive blindfolded, so to speak.  My, this is getting kinky.  If this capsule gets too ribald and rascally for you, you might want to consider getting laid.

Right, so Byzantium was directed by cult maverick Neil Jordan.  I like it when he dips his toes into horror waters.  Naturally, it's just as much a drama as it is a fright feature.  I'm tiptoeing around a certain word - "romance" I believe it is, but don't let that preclude you from Netflixing this histrionic production.  The acting is fantastic (Saoirse Ronan should be far more popular; the same applies to Gemma Arterton's boobs), the score is handsome and the ending gratifies.  I had questions here and there, but I refuse to spoil anything.  You better rent Byzantium.  I'm holding a gun to your head.


Geek Out #120

Has it really been twelve years since Freddy vs. Jason was released?  My God.  I actually get nostalgic about it.  Hey, it was a fun flick, and the promotional lead-up was just as fun.  Take this Vegas weigh-in, for example...


Microwave Massacre

So I'm beaming at 1983's Sledgehammer with intentions to review it, and Allah drowning in a gravy boat, I can't finish the goddamn thing.  I tried.  Twice!  It's too awful.  I know I don't necessarily have to enjoy a film to review it for this lovely site, but I do need to be able to view all of it without immolating the videocassette.  Since Sledgehammer was a no-go, I looked to the socketed meadows of YouTube for inspiration.  Of course, I found Microwave Massacre, a b-snack made in 1981 but released the same year as shot-on-video slog Sledgehammer.  This is the better watch by far, but it's not quite as advertised.  To be clear, it's not quite a horror movie.

There is dismemberment, cannibalism and a severed head with vague supernatural powers, but no, Microwave Massacre is not quite a horror movie.  It's a comedy!  Okay, by looking at the various DVD/VHS covers, I could tell that this reel didn't take itself too seriously, but I still expected, y'know, horror.  It's only "horrifying" in snippy fusillades, and even then, it's pretty much played for laughs.  On the bright broadside, the snorts are actually funny.  I didn't snort myself, but I did laugh.  Hey, maybe you'll snort.  There is no shame in snorting, unless you're snuffling lines of cocaine off of an aborted fetus.

MAN, that was dark.  Let's get back to talking about a guy who kills his wife and eats her.  In his defense, the murder was accidental, although he spurned her (sapid, full-flavored) guts.  Why did he abhor her so much?  Because she prepared fancy, haut monde meals for him day in, day out.  That's a sensible justification for parching hatred, right?  No.  No, it isn't.  That's one aspect of the plot that dashed my enjoyment of Microwave Massacre, another being the ease with which graceless halfwits bed beautiful women.  Our main characters are construction workers, and their stereotypical catcalls work.  They fucking fuck unbelievably hot chicks after putting in zero effort!

Speaking of the hot chicks, oh my goddamn.  Two words, laydeez and gym rats...Marla Simon.  If you've seen the film, she's the busty blonde at the beginning who nudges her bodacious blinkers through a knothole.  It's not just her mazabas (I don't know...it's on Urban Dictionary); all of her flesh is to my liking.  Wow, I sound like a serial killer.  Moving on!  This flick has a fun energy that marries one scene to the next.  It has a sweet flow that fathers a festive pace.  Why, it's so festive, that you're surprised when the script runs out of pages.

Ironically, that's the biggest problem.  The ending sucks eggs, eggs laid by a free-range hen with an unpredictable diet.  And yet, I recommend Microwave Massacre.  It's a gas with tits, shitty effects and Marla Simon.  Did you know that the albumen of a quail egg is eighteen percent Jell-O?


Wes Craven 1939-2015

"You haven't seen Shocker???"

I learned of Craven's passing early, early this morning.  In fact, I was still enveloped in the throes of sleep.  I was able to say "damn," but the gravity of his loss didn't occur to me.  My favorite directors are Bava and Cronenberg, but if I'm being honest, Craven might have been the most consistent scream king.  Sure, his resume is pocked with busts, but whose isn't?  He helmed four - four - fright flicks that are considered classics.  Of course, I'm referring to Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Motherfucking Elm Street, Scream and Vampire in Brooklyn.

I wish I had met the man and thanked him for creating Freddy Krueger.  The Crispy One scared the shit out of me until I was, like, 11 (okay, maybe 12).  My parents can attest to that.  I can't count how many times I woke them up from shrieking because Freddy was under my bed or stalking the hallways of my school.  In my dreams, that is.  The first Craven-tilled Elm Street entry that I watched AND loved was New Nightmare, which is still my most revered Freddy feature.

He made other solid works.  I dig The Serpent and the Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs, Shocker (fun cheese), Deadly Blessing (goofy cheese), Swamp Thing and yep, Red Eye.  Has Romero churned out a lean thriller in the last decade?  I think not.  But I didn't know him personally, and I'm willing to wager that most of you didn't either.  I can only offer my condolences to his friends and family.  Had no idea that he was badgered by brain cancer.  Hmm, "badgered" is probably underselling it.  Even when sincere, I'm a dickweed. *slaps forehead*

The horror community will miss you profoundly, Wes.




If pain was a woman's voice, it would sound like Chelsea Wolfe.  That's a compliment.  I should stipulate that she doesn't always strike as being pained, but listen to the tortured moments of "Dragged Out."  That's fucking pain.  It's excruciating!  I was nearly brought to tears the first time I heard the second verse.  When she intones "I'm so tired/I'm so tired," you believe her ass.  You can picture tears fluxing down her delicate, milk-white face in the vocal booth.  Have I said that I'm in love with Chelsea?  Because I am, and I'm currently fighting over her with two of my female Facebook buddies.  Back off, girls!  She's mine!

If you haven't heard of Miss Wolfe, I don't want to waste time on you.  Sorry.  I know that's blunt, but I think of Wolfe as a modern day Tori Amos, only less pretentious.  She appeals to metalheads, and this album is especially heavy.  Sonically, it's half-ambient and half-doom.  That doesn't begin to describe the olfactory bassinet of genres at work.  There are ribbons of experimental noise, electronic beats, acoustic guitars and black metal mist suffusing the sludge of Wolfe's otherworldly despair.  With titles such as "Simple Death," "Grey Days," "Color of Blood" and of course, "The Abyss," you can bank on Abyss sucking the life out of you.  In a good way!

These are terribly depressing tunes, which is one of the reasons why I heart them.  I'm not saying that this is a perfect record.  Well, maybe I am.  I don't know what I'm saying.  I do feel confident intimating that Abyss is Chelsea Wolfe's most realized long player yet.  She seems to be annealing as a songwriter.  2013's Pain is Beauty was an artistic apogee that saw the former folk singer nuzzle techno vibes, and I fucking dug it.  Heh, techno...what a 90's word.  Does anyone say "techno" anymore or is it trap?  Dubstep?  Trance?  Argh, you kids with your rave drugs and your Die Antwoord dotage.

Abyss opens with the braying industrialization of "Carrion Flowers," a ditty that serves as this disc's "Feral Love."  From there, the listener is clubbed over the head with a pair of distortion dirges.  "Iron Moon" was the first track manumitted onto the webbed nets, and yeah, it rocks.  I already told you about "Dragged Out."  "Maw" is our first encounter with balladry; it reminds me of something off of Unknown Rooms, Wolfe's set of unplugged rarities.  Favorites?  Holy shit, people.  Promise me you'll hit YouTube to savor "Simple Death."  Here...HERE.  I just did the legwork for you, and I can't use my goddamn legs!  What's your excuse now?

Oh, you don't give a shit?  That's actually a decent excuse.  I do give a shit, so I'm breaking out five fresh Abbaths.  Cue the drumfire.