Go Bloodsuck Yourself

Depression, am I right?  Here lately, I haven't had any interest in activities I would normally be interested in.  No energy.  No real desire to go outside or even get out of bed.  That's fucking depression.  But hey, I've been dealing with it for over a decade now, and it pirouettes in crests.  Of course, the crest is the highest point of a wave.  I'm currently in a trough (that's the lowest point, for all you middle-schoolers out there).  Misery intensifies during the winter months, as it does for most folks who suffer from chronic depression.

What am I going on about?  Oh!  Don't expect the site to renew its strength until 2017 is mushrooming.  I've been sitting on an episode of Insomnia Theatre, and I have plenty of movies to critique.  I just watched 1976's Bloodsucking Freaks.  Probably should have reviewed it, but MEH.  See, that's the depression talking.  I did like it. It's supposed to be an uproarious comedy, right?


Christmas Corpse



New Wheelchair

Um, I have a new wheelchair?  It was delivered yesterday, and while I'm certainly grateful for my insurance picking up the tab, I haven't used it THAT much yet.  With every new chair comes a grace period. I have to learn how to drive it (it's usually not that difficult...usually) and some kinks have to be worked out.  Now, about that driving thing.  It's usually not so difficult, except for this time.  This is my fourth or fifth wheelchair as a human being, and for the most part, they have all driven the same way.  They were four-wheelers.  This one is a six-wheeler.

I have a deeper understanding of it than you do, but not even I can describe why it's difficult to steer.  Plus, it doesn't fit comfortably under my bedroom desk.  And the right leg rest needs to be extended.  I blame Jesus Christ.  His birthday is coming up, and I always get crabby/irritated around this time of the year.  Obviously, none of this concerns you.  I'm just letting you know why the fuck.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Mortification is a Christian band (!).  You can't tell by listening to them, so check them out.  It's funny in a way.  Doesn't the fact that you can't discern their religious values from listening to their music put the kibosh on starting a Christian band in the first place?  I thought that "spreading the word" was the whole point.  Whatever, man.  I haven't listened to Erasing the Goblin, in particular, but their early stuff is killer death metal.  Death!  Gore!  Yeah!


The Greasy Strangler

If I was pressed to describe 2016's The Greasy Strangler, I would remove my pants and shout arbitrary words.  Repeatedly.  That wouldn't tell you the plot, but you would feel like you had just watched the film.  I try to pay attention to tone and texture.  The tone here is slapdash sadism.  The texture?  Flabby, pendulous sheathing.  Ugh, I'm trying to keep it classy here.  We see a lot - A LOT - of naked flesh, and none of the actors are trim. Again, I'm trying to use hospitable language, as the bare-skinned cast members are male and female.  Elizabeth De Razzo plays Janet, the picture's love interest.  She's right cute, but her frame isn't exactly...trim?  Yeah, I'll stick with "trim" since I've used it once already.

I want to make something clear, not that I'm under any social obligation to explain myself.  Personally, I prefer curves.  I draw the line at morbid obesity (for reasons predicated on health), but I don't consider Janet to be morbidly obese.  Some might, I'm sure.  Father-and-son contingent Big Ronnie and Big Brayden impel The Greasy Strangler forward.  Obviously, they are the main characters; the anchor, the embryo, the seed, the nub, the heart, the nucleus...they don't look great naked.  Ronnie, the Big daddy, looks particularly rough, and I couldn't count the seconds of screen time allotted to his prosthetic member.  Floppy fake dicks are all over the place.  Ronnie is packing a massive third leg, while Brayden sports a micropenis because comedy.

Technically, the genre tag is "horror/comedy," but the horror is expatriated to laconic kill sequences.  I'll give director Jim Hosking one thing; his effects crew devised a handful of amusing gore twinklings.  So there's that.  I still haven't said much with regards to the storyline because the synopsis will tell you everything you need to know about The Greasy Strangler.  It's an experiment in drollery and travesty.  Imagine a collaboration between John Waters and Tim Heidecker.  I'm a fan of both gentlemen, but most of this lark's quirks coasted past me without registering so much as a simper.  It should be noted that I don't do gross-out humor (with very few exceptions). If an old man farting in the general direction of his son sounds funny to you, then by all means, have at it.

The title is a reference to some creep squelching lives around town. The only problem is that it's not a whodunit.  We know precisely who done it, and as a matter of fact, he/she admits to doing it in the first scene of The Greasy Strangler.  With ten percent more effort, the script could have been somewhat clever.  Y'know, it's strange; this is the kind of oddball fuckery I'd normally favor.  I dig aspects of it.  Sky Elobar and Michael St. Michaels are fucking committed as Brayden and Ronnie, respectively.  I questioned their sanity.  The score is memorable, if not...well, it's memorable.  I'll leave it at that.  To be (im)perfectly honest, I'm grappling with how many Z'Dars I should assign such a grody, disruptive undertaking.  I almost want to create a different rating scale.  Almost.



Gimme a week or so.  I haven't felt like writing anything lately, and overall, I haven't been FEELING myself.  Eh, I'm sure I'll get over it.


Geek Out #128

I love "fly on the wall" music documentaries where you're in the studio with the band, watching them actuate during the creative process.  It's just me living vicariously through cool people.  See, I've always wanted to be in a band.  A real band, not Dark Fuck or whatever the hell it was called (I was in a shitty "band" a decade ago; the three of us never met in the flesh and the "leader" found Jesus after one month and quit).  "Quotation marks."  So yeah, I geeked out watching the above clip.  Metallica has...eh, I need a new paragraph.

Found one!  Metallica has been posting "making of" videos for each track on Hardwired to Self-Destruct.  They did the same deal for Death Magnetic, and I think it's awesome.  There are only a handful so far, but it seems to be a weekly (or bi-weekly) upload.  No, I won't be reviewing the album.  I will say that it's their mightiest effort since 1991, and "Spit Out the Bone" is their best song since 1988. "Confusion" is my second favorite cut on the record.  It's as catchy as tuberculosis as Hepatitis B combined, yo!


Lord of Illusions

Remember when I reviewed that Clive Barker novel?  You should. It wasn't that long ago.  Jesus.  Maybe you found this page just now via Google.  In which case, I apologize for the chutzpah and self-importance, even though I am REALLY important.  Remember when I reviewed 1995's Lord of Illusions?  Trick question!  Antiemetics are never used to prevent post-partum hemorrhaging, you fucking idiot.  Anyway, I have owned the director's cut of this flick on VHS for years.  It was pretty easy to find in the latter stages of the video store era (somewhere in between the Pleistocene epoch and 2003). Yesterday, I decided that it would take too long to find the goddamn thing in my closet, so a friend and I watched the R-rated version instead.  I like to point out that I have friends.

There are ten minutes missing from the oh-so-Restricted rendering we watched, but having seen the uncircumcised variant, I'm confident enough in my recall ability to say that this is a review of Barker's cut.  And I can't stop thinking about cocks.  Dicks. Members. 'Member?  Berries.  Twigs.  Trunks.  Packages.  Purple-vein monster rods.  Shit!  Start the synopsis already.  As I'm sure you could guess, Lord of Illusions centers around the cryptic world of magic(k). Private eye Harry D'Amour casually staggers into a horror movie already in progress.  He winds up with a front row seat to the tragic accidental death of a popular magician (imagine an ostentatious Vegas act, only classier).  Was it staged?  If so, by whom?  Is it connected to a ghastly cult?  Where is my cock, and is it tied to the trigger of an airsoft gun?

This was Barker's third and final directorial outing, discounting shorts.  In my estimation, it remains his best.  I realize what I'm saying.  Hellraiser is a modern classic, and I'm not suggesting that it's an easy call to make, but I favor Lord of Illusions by a mite of chicken feed.  They are both flawed.  As for Nightbreed, I was never much of a fan.  Getting back to Monarch of Soothsaying, it has held up remarkably well.  You might sneer, "Big deal.  It's from the mid-90's."  Firstly, fuck you.  Secondly, you're forgetting that this is an effects-heavy genre film.  It could have been riddled with deformed CGI, but that mess is contained to a single awkward scene.  The rest?  A proliferation of practical gore and a few instances of good (!) CGI.  The make-up is fantastic throughout (love the part where Nix's proselytes sink into the floor).

By the way, Daniel von Bargen is seriously creepy as Nix, a cult leader "born to murder this world."  I was saddened to learn that he passed away last year from complications following an apparent suicide attempt.  Segue?  When I read The Scarlet Gospels, I saw Scott Bakula in my mind's eye as D'Amour, so that should fill you in on the validity of his performance.  Famke Janssen is hot.  I don't mean to objectify her, but Dorothea (her character) isn't explored in a meaningful way.  That brings me to a problem I have with the script. The love angle between Harry and Dorothea is so perfunctory, it feels like a studio note.  In that same vein, the ending doesn't want to end.  I can picture an executive stonewalling his case that the villain needs to come back several times.  "It will be scary!"

You can bet that the best chunks of Lord of Illusions reek of Clive Barker.  It may not be quite as Barker-y as Hellraiser, but again, I prefer it by a cunt hair (I tried not to use that apophthegm* earlier, but hey, Steve Austin uses it).  Even in 2016, it tells a fresh story. How many other fright flicks operate within the shrouded realm of professional magic?  Plus, it's paced well.  I'm a stickler for pacing.  I always bring it up, even at dinner.  Even in 2016, I bring up pacing. How many other crippled writers operate within the shrouded realm of cock-and-ball torture?  Damn it!  Cocks!  They're everywhere! Ahem.  I enjoy Lord of Illusions, and if I were propositioned with a rating scale of five Z'Dars, I would award it with...cocks.  Fuck!

*I doubt that I used that term correctly.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Ghooooooul!  Crossover death/thrash from right here in the United States.  Y'know, the only nation that God blesses.  Look at that cover; can you blame Him?  I've always been aware of Ghoul in a peripheral sense, but I'm just now digging into their muzak.  It's fucking cool!


Blood Capsule #68


I would have written a full review of this buttercup bambino, but my brain is in the backseat.  Apologies to no one.  Something strange that I noticed...the version of the movie that I watched ran for 100 minutes.  Will this be the American DVD cut of Shin Godzilla?  If not, why the pocky was it missing 20 minutes?  I'm wondering what exactly I was unwittingly blind to, aside from the hardcore sex scenes.  Even if this was the "variant" that will wind up on Best Buy shelves (lol), kaiju loyalists don't have much to worry about.  In short, I liked it.  If you need more reassurance, I liked it!  Does the exclamation point help?  I was a bit nervous, but the Toho logo put me at ease.  Of course, I also enjoyed the 2014 American Godzilla, so maybe you should disregard my opinion.

This motherfucker (trust me; Shin Godzilla is a motherfucker) begins with a salvo of detonation.  Monster action is only interrupted by monster action.  Yeah, there are humans talking, but that's one of the film's drawbacks.  There is no main character to which we can grow attached.  We simply observe scientists and politicians fluttering from afar, although poignancy is interchanged for a cerebral connection.  The social commentary (stop holding your nose) is handled in a crafty, shrewd way.  I wasn't expecting that, nor was I expecting a certain Godzilla "thing" that I'm afraid to specify.  Therein lies the other reason why I didn't stick to my usual four paragraph avocation.  I have plenty of spoilers to type, but I can't type them!

Damn honor code.  Here is all you need to know.  I was pleased with Shin Godzilla's central processing unit.  The special effects are jaw-dropping, the destruction is legitimately terrifying and Big G's design is fantastic.  The subtitles are hard to read at times, but that's not the picture's fault.  End of capsule.


Black Saturday

I know the holiday has come and gone.  Hell, it's not even Friday, but I had to post this image.  Made me snicker.  By the way, I stole it (in the night!) from a pal named Jayson.  Just what is the best Black Sabbath album anyway?  Are we sure that it's from the Ozzy era?  I don't think I have a favorite, for there are too many good songs spread across too many good albums.  So my pick is Born Again.


Bookworm Infested #8


A little over two years ago, I read (and reviewed) The Hellbound Heart.  I loved it!  I was highly anticipating this direct sequel, and while it took a sempiternity, I finally seized a copy.  Man, die-hard fans dressed it down, didn't they?  I identify as an exponent of Clive Barker, but I'm removed from brainy standpats in literary circles. That's not an insult, by the way.  I wouldn't mind being brainy; I'm just saying that I'm approaching The Scarlet Gospels from an outsider's perspective.  All of the vitriol beamed in this novel's direction is based on sound reasoning, and I agree with most of it. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait to turn the page to find out how Pinhead was going to raise enough bread to keep the Yakuza off his back.

I'll start with the positives.  Barker's prose has been compared to poetry, and I didn't notice a major downtick in writing quality. Remember, I'm only referring to word choice, his descriptive patter. I enjoy his custom of sliding blunt obscenities into otherwise baroque passages of action.  The last time I saw a non-spoken usage of "bleeding cunts," I was leafing through the latest R.L. Stine tome. You haven't heard of his new horror series for kids, Sex Ed With Count Nightwing?  Hmm, not a shabby joke.  I could riff on that for awhile, but I'll spare you the comedic sodomy.  If you don't already know, Scarlet involves Harry D'Amour, an investigator of the paranormal who has appeared in previous Barker creations.

The story threads are immoderately convoluted.  Suffice to say, the reader spends the bulk of the narrative in Hell as The Hell Priest (he hates his discumbered nickname) sets a plan in motion to govern Lucifer's kingdom.  Oh, and Earth.  I savored the scenes in Pyratha, the great city of Hell.  For whatever reason, the architecture and the caste system fascinated me.  I was especially interested in the tower that housed the Cenobites.  We do learn a tad about this ageless race of demons, and I treated these nuggets of lore like they were fucking cliffhangers.  But - and this is where the hooks fly out of the walls - there are no profound edicts or revelations.  In other words, I don't really know that much more about the Order of the Gash than I did before, apart from where they dwell.

You will see allusions to inferior editing in multiple reviews and that, my sweet, is because Barker's original manuscript was cleaved in half.  Half!  I get the distinct impression that it wasn't an artistic decision.  Parts of the book feel skimped on and hurried.  I would get specific, but I wanted to obviate the necessity for spoilers.  One last fuss, if I may be so bold; the dialogue is contrived.  Honestly, the characters converse as if they're in a corny Cannon movie from the 80's.  What's with the synthetic sarcasm during moments of extreme dread?  I can buy it from D'Amour, but not his supporting players. Speaking of which, folks such as Caz and Dale are not developed in the slightest.  Huh, I had a lot of bitching to do.

Following a rockslide of arraignments, you may not believe me when I say that I really dug The Scarlet Gospels.  I was sucked into the suspense, I was sucked off by Barker's style and I sucked--I don't care for where this sentence is heading.  Use your own judgment. This is definitely a flawed novel, but I don't regret bartering for it. Yeah, that's right; it was a trade.  The other party gave up a pristine copy of a mega-hyped genre release.  I gave up...um, money.  It's not important.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Japanese metal from 1986.  Yeah!  Dead End assisted in spearheading the visual kei movement alongside X Japan and Color. If you're not familiar with visual kei, just imagine Poison playing dramatic power/speed metal.  Dead End fell on the "horror punk" side of the spectrum.  This was their debut, and it's actually kind of catchy.  But this feature focuses on artwork.  Check out that ghoulish mania!  Is that a gargoyle sitting down in the background?  I'm legitimately asking.  Man, I hope that decomposing confrere finds his other eyeball.


The Vindicator

If ever there was a rainy day rental, it's 1986's The Vindicator.  Y'know, just something to take home and watch while eating pizza.  Bacon and green pepper.  Thin crust.  Or hand-tossed.  I'll leave it up to you.  This is an entertaining flick, but you should know going in that it's a square ripoff of The Terminator.  Reading reviews online, I kept seeing Robocop cited as a footnote, and it's plain to see why.  The two films share a plot summary.  They are both about a man who is fucked by life and subsequently turned into a mandroid against his will.  NOTE TO SELF: Check out Full Moon's Mandroid. Carefully.

You can't call this a Robocop ripoff, though.  The Vindicator was released a full year earlier.  The storyline elements are there, but I see it as Terminator larceny because, for one, The Terminator existed.  Also, you have a badass cyborg on the beat, liquidating anyone who impedes his forward momentum.  The twist here is that Frankenstein (that's his nickname in the movie) escapes from the "lab" without the panel that allows his creator to control his every move.  His control panel!  I wonder if it allowed his creator to modify accessibility options and turn on/off StickyKeys.  Get it?  It's a PC joke.  Cool; I'll go tether my noose to the garage door.  The creator?  Oh, he's the true villain. His name is Alex Whyte, and he heads up the weapons division that gouges funding from Carl's project (Carl = soon-to-be Frankenstein), which leads to poor Carl being defrauded into his death.  Ouch.

I used Carl's name a bit much, but look, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.  Does The Vindicator work?  Mostly, yeah.  The pacing is prompt, the special effects are convincing (more on them in a hot second) and the cast seemed sober.  Yes, I adjusted my standards.  So those effects were devised by Stan Winston's team of technicians.  How much do you want to bet that he was hired on the strength of his work on The Terminator?  I mean, I doubt it was due to his moonlight drudgery on his first genre gig, Zoltan: Hound of Dracula.  In any manner, The Vindicator is easy to digest.  There are a couple of pieces of business that rubbed my thistle sage the wrong way.  Our Frankenstein, as it were, marches and bustles like a clumsy human.  Isn't he supposed to be a robotic non-man?

Plus, I would have liked to observe a healthier dose of gore.  The death sequences aren't nearly as violent as one would think.  You know me; I love it when innocent blood is shed.  The climactic fight between Creator and Creation, the moment we've been building up to for roughly 80 minutes, is honestly pitiful.  It's a botched slugfest. No fireworks, no flashes of epinephrine, no fancy words for adrenaline...no nuttin'.  Still, I recommend The Vindicator to fans of 80's action and science fiction.  It's serviceable, and as I said in the opening paragraph, thin crust.  Or hand-tossed.  This film can be used in a court of law as demonstrative evidence to support the revival of video stores.


Insomnia Theatre #5

Warning!  This episode contains graphic sexual content.  Isn't that how the MPAA decrees it in their speechcraft?  It's just basic nudity, but I felt a responsibility to post a disclaimer of some sort.  You never know.  Anyhow, the selection is Invasion of the Bee Girls (Tyler's pick, the scumbag).  I'll get back to writing movie reviews soon, babes.


Pantera and Darkthrone = Trend Hoppers?

Aww, it's Baby Fenriz!

Call this an editorial.  I was pontificating on the pot, as I'm wont to do. We know that Pantera catches hell for their 80's output and image. In my eyes, 1988's Power Metal is their true debut.  That's when the "classic" line-up was solidified.  The music was beginning to show traces of the aggression that they would embrace full-bore on the very next album.  The common argument is that they switched to a sound that was gaining momentum, either for money or to be seen as badasses.  I disagree.  But that's not what this editorial is about. My question is, why doesn't Darkthrone catch the same flack for abandoning their style after one LP?

I want to be clear.  I DO NOT feel that Darkthrone "sold out" or anything.  This is just rumination.  Darkthrone formed in 1986 as a straight-up death metal band.  They released four demos and of course, 1990's Soulside Journey (which kicks almighty ass, by the way).  Image?  There was no real image.  They were dudes in shirts and - quite possibly - pants.  The next album was a complete overhaul, both musically and stylistically.  Sure, it contained death metal elements (mainly the riffs), but let's be honest; it's pure Norwegian black metal to the bone.  Don't forget the addition of corpsepaint!  "But what would they stand to gain from an about-face?"  I don't know.  Maybe they saw what was happening around them and wanted in on it.  Maybe they wanted to be on the left hand of metal history.

Obviously, that's bullshit.  Simply put, Fenriz didn't dig where the Norwegian DM scene was heading.  It was an artistic decision, so why can't we give Pantera the benefit of the doubt?  Why couldn't the jump from traditional heavy metal (and goofy outfits) to groove-anchored thrash have been an artistic decision?  If you listen to defeatists, they were chasing trends.  My rejoinder has always been...what trends?  Was groove metal a big deal when Pantera was writing Cowboys From Hell in 1989 and 1990?  "They wanted to look macho and tough."  Um, 98% of metal bands try to look macho and tough.  With Pantera, it felt genuine.  Phil Anselmo was an exceedingly metal individual from the get-go.  He was the guy wearing Deicide shirts and Celtic Frost shirts.  Maybe not in their 80's promo shots, but...

I believe them when they say they were just trying to get gigs.  I'm glad that they got those gigs because they built a following that lead to them roping Anselmo into the fold.  He was the catalyst.  It might have taken a wee bit of time, but they eventually shook off the spandex.  To be honest, I enjoy Power Metal.  Apart from the vocals, it's not THAT dissimilar to Cowboys From Hell.  Brings me back to my original inquest.  Why doesn't Darkthrone catch flack for pole-vaulting from one subgenre to another?

My theory?  Soulside Journey is tr00er than Power Metal.  That's all it comes down to - metalhead elitism.  Hey, you can't chide Fenriz. He's an underground metal GOD!  Nevermind the fact that he's good friends with Anselmo and they have recorded together.  He listens to every stripe of metal under the sun, so he probably likes Power Metal.  I know he listened to Agent Steel as a teenager.  It's not farfetched.

Were Pantera and Darkthrone trend hoppers?  No.  I love them both, but Darkthrone does seem to get a free pass for ditching death metal and donning corpsepaint.  Maybe it's me.

Woah, Vinnie Paul ALMOST looks cool.



Several days ago, a fucking piano fell on me.  From a great height! I've been in a coma since, but I just woke up.  Like, right before I started writing this review.  Something seems different.  Who died?  I thought that "world funeral" was just the title of a Marduk record. The skies are suffused with a trembling, blanched gloom.  I don't know what happened while I was out, but these misgivings are bumming ME out.  That cannot stand, as I'm extremely, extremely selfish.  All I can do is fence off the news (it's always depressing) and focus on stuff that makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Take music, for instance.

Twelve Foot Ninja is an Australian hard rock band that fuses djent riffs with every other genre under the sun.  If I had to describe their sound, I would say...imagine a djentrified Faith No More.  Look, I'm not a fan of "the djent."  It's a stupid term, for one.  I don't even listen to Meshuggah, although I do enjoy most of 1995's Destroy Erase Improve.  Twelve Foot Ninja manages to write songs strong enough to withstand any toxic elements.  And I should note that the djent-y elements are minor.  You will never confuse "Oxygen" or "Invincible" with a Veil of Maya tune.  Again, the songwriting is too fucking good. The vocal melodies latch onto your scrotal pouch, the arrangements know when to ebb and I'm craving Golden Grahams.

2016's Outlier is their second full-length recording.  Unfortunately, there was a four-year gap between this set and their perfect debut, 2012's Silent Machine.  Yes, perfect (in my opinion blah, blah). That's the one thing working against Outlier.  As much as I wanted it to, it doesn't - and possibly couldn't - equiponderate its predecessor. Er, match up to its predecessor.  I should have typed that instead. Seriously, Silent Machine is imbued with grand slams. Outlier is solid, and that's underselling it.  It's been on repeat in my bedroom since it arrived via whore and carriage.  But I have my nitpicks.  Chief among them, this long player isn't long enough!  A little over 38 minutes?  After four years?  An election season has come and gone in the time that--OHHHH.  I know who died now.

Anyway, Outlier isn't filling.  I'm left wanting more, and not in the desired way.  This is less of a nitpick, but the second half of the album isn't as habit-forming as the first half.  It could simply be my shoddy ears, I suppose.  Songs such as "Post Mortem" and "Monsoon," while entirely listenable, don't kickstart my heart. Skydive naked from an aeroplane.  Or a lady with a body from outer space. My heart, my heart.  Kickstart my heart.  "Sick" and "Oxygen" are the real winners, and those are the ones you should sample. Expect smooth harmonies.  Hell, even the second half of Outlier contains parts I love.  The unpredictable midsection of "Monsoon." The emotive (not to be confused with emo) chorus of "Adios."  It's a beguiling collection of sounds, is what I'm saying.

Check out their music videos.  They're pretty damn funny.  It's located on Silent Machine, but you must hear "Mother Sky."  Listen to me.  Listen!  You must hear "Mother Sky."  Argh, I don't trust you. Click HERE.


Satan Cake

I've been sick for a few days.  I've also had personal issues to trudge through, so I haven't felt like writing lately.  But I will soon!  Right now, my brain is on autopilot and I'm looking at pictures of Satanic desserts.  Hail Satan.  And chocolate.


Insomnia Theatre #4

I'm getting sick.  Pity me.  My throat feels yecchy.  While I try to stave off influenza, watch the fourth episode of Insomnia Theatre - Creature of Destruction!  I'm realizing now that I hate my voice. God, how can people stand it?

By the way, you can click on "Insomnia Theatre" up top to view past episodes.


Hallowed Be Thy Ween

I had planned on my next entry being a music review, but I wanted to post something horror-centric today.  After all, it's Halloween.  That reminds me; HAPPY FUCKING HALLOWEEN!  It feels good to be alive and dead inside.  Since I'm a lifer, I'll still be celebrating through Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I do enjoy the latter holiday a teensy bit, but fuck Turkey Day.  Fuck it and the snowflake potatoes it skeeted on.

Here are my succinct, hastily arranged thoughts on a few flicks I've taken in over the past couple of weeks.  I wish I could review everything that I watch, but if I did, I'd be mentally spent (moreso than usual).  Thanks to a penpal for the title.  Satan knows I'm not that clever.

Axe Body Spray has seriously recalibrated their promotional campaign.

Somehow, 1982's Pieces had escaped my prying peepers until just recently.  I expected an absent-minded bloodbath, and by (Christopher) George, that's exactly what was presented to me.  The gore effects are top-notch.  The pace is rapid.  I mean, the prologue is followed immediately by a chainsaw offing...in broad daylight, no less!  Now, I will forgive the villain for using Leatherface's weapon of choice, but only because Pieces came out eight years after my movie truelove.  This would be a good place to link to my review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Consider it recommended reading.

Wednesday?  Shit, I'll have to DVR Lucha Underground.

As much as I claim to love made-for-TV fright fritters, I had not seen 1973's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, possibly the most lauded of them all.  I have seen the remake, and from where I sit, it edges out the original by a slim margin.  Heresy, I'm aware.  Look, I wasn't a kid when this aired.  I didn't view it from behind a sofa and have nightmares about the little archfiends who want to shanghai Kim Darby.  Speaking of those pee-wee pests, I didn't find them to be creepy in the slightest.  Maybe it was the shot of them stumbling up the stairs, or maybe it was their traffic cone scalps.  I don't know, but they didn't do it for me.

That's not to say Don't Be Afraid of the Dark antagonized my senses.  It's still a fun chiller, the perfect genre treat to pop in on a drafty October night.  The opening credits.  Dude.  There is more eerie atmosphere packed into those frames than...well, I was going to insult modern horror filmmaking, but I know better than to generalize.  The credits are killer.  That's all I need to type.

This.  This is my soul.

I revisited Halloween III: Season of the Witch.  Even though I had this serotinal favorite stored in the ol' memory banks, I had only ever doted on my VHS copy.  No joke.  This gave me a reason to finally pull out my Halloween Blu-ray box set (alright, I may have pulled it out a time or two before).  It felt like a fresh viewing.  It's amazing to me how much this sequel's reputation has been rehabilitated in the last 15-20 years.  No longer is the cheesy, yet disturbing tale of a pagan warlock flogged as a whipping boy for the sins of low-grade slashers.  Fans figured out that this is a cool spectacle.  That's justice.  Street justice!


Geek Out #127

Here is one for the pro-wrestling crowd.  This is a veritable treasure trove, and I'm shocked that it made its way online.  Well, I'm not shocked; I just can't believe it exists at all.  The video above is handheld backstage footage of wrestlers essentially waiting for their match at 1988's The Great American Bash.  Out of character.  I mean, this is "fly on the wall" material.  As you might have guessed, the boys didn't wait around in measured peace.  They goofed off and raised H-E--gracious gosh, I don't know if I can type it.  Double hockey sticks.  There.

You get a peek into their real personalities.  Road Warrior Hawk is the class clown.  It's obvious that he kept everyone entertained on the road.  I'm sure the cocaine helped (we see him snort a bump* of blow at one point and "chase" it with water!).  Lex Luger is stoned into oblivion.  He holds onto his cock for dear life (!?).  Dr. Death is certifiably insane, and Dusty is...well, he's Dusty.  Paul Ellering is seen sitting far afield from the babyface buffoonery reading a book. Because of course.  It's so surreal to consider that he's still pegging away in the industry, now managing NXT's The Authors of Pain.

Heels and faces dressed in different locker rooms in those days. God, can you imagine the debauchery on the evil side of the building?  Actually, it looked the same, if shoot interviews are any indication.  I almost forgot!  Jim Cornette cameos and performs stand-up, so to speak.  His Rodney Dangerfield impersonation is spot-on.  Yeah, you need to click play as soon as possible.

*That's right.  I know the street slang.  I live on that fucking street, and it's called Google Blvd.  Step to me, bitch!



Story time!  Leprechaun came out when I was in 4th Grade.  A friend of mine was just as much of a monster head as I was, and when I first saw the TV spot for this charmed cult classic, we talked about it the next day at school.  As a point of fact, we talked it up for weeks.  "Will this be the new Freddy?"  "It looks pretty scary."  "I wonder how big it is."  A note on the last question - we were stoopid. I knew what a leprechaun was, but the dimensions of a movie leprechaun had yet to be furnished in my hampered head.  Hey, I was nine at the oldest!  Anyway, it mattered none, as Mom wasn't going to let me rent an R-rated horror film.  My friend didn't have this obstacle in his path, so he helped devise a scheme that would gull Mommy Dearest into bringing Leprechaun home for me to watch.

Basically, I told her about this kiddie flick called Leprechaun.  I flimflammed a plot involving a little boy who befriends the malachite gnome (I'm sure that I used the exact same loquacity), and together, they go on a shopping spree using a pot o' gold.  Not bad, eh?  "But didn't you feel guilty?"  Well, no.  But only because I didn't think for a solitary second that she would fall for it.  One look at the back of the box and there goes my jovial, G-rated rainbow adventure.  You might be able to see where this is going...while out running errands, she rented Leprechaun for yours truly!  She didn't look at the back of the box!  Believe it or not, I wasn't defrocked.  I wasn't even incarcerated.  She actually let me watch the tape, and some would say that was punishment enough.

Obviously, I have viewed Leprechaun a few times since 1993.  I'll be scrupulous and acknowledge the fetters of nostalgia connecting my ankles to this b-clover.  It's funny; the sequels are infamously heave-worthy, yet the original tries to be a "good" feature presentation. There was money behind this.  Granted, it wasn't an extravagant chunk of change, but compared to Leprechaun 4: In Space, it was Guardians of the Galaxy.  The special effects are quite reasonable. At the end of the film (spoilz oh no), Lep is reduced to melting framework, seeping grue in a very old school way.  You know what I'm talkin' 'bout.  Ain't talkin' 'bout love!  My love is rotten to the core. Ain't talkin' 'bout love!  Just like I told you before.  BEFORE! BEFORE!  AWWWWWAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the life of me, I can't figure out why Jennifer Aniston is so embarrassed by Leprechaun.  Okay, I guess I can, but it's not that bad.  She has since appeared in much more reprehensible offal. Besides, if it weren't for this puppy, she wouldn't have landed the role of crack-addicted board game tycoon Latisha Dickwell in Friends. Apart from Warwick Davis, Aniston gives the best performance of the lot by a country mile.  Mark Holton is beyond inconsistent as Ozzie, the developmentally delayed fellow who accidentally swallows a fucking coin.  I swear to Ross, there are moments where Holton simply decides to stop acting.  As if he didn't hear the call to action. It would be too difficult to cite specifics, but it's noticeable.  Honestly, I just want to move on.

The kid is annoying.  The "hunk" doesn't really exist.  And those are your supporting players, give or take a meager quantity of dead cops.  The pace is swift.  If I were a writer, I'd say that Leprechaun rolls along effortlessly like the tiny modes of transportation that Lep uses throughout.  See, it's that type of shit.  How am I supposed to deplore a motion picture in which an evil leprechaun chases Jennifer Aniston in a rest home while seated in a wheelchair?  I can't! Writer/director Mark Jones does his damndest to keep things visually interesting with sharp lighting and weird camera angles. After all these eons, I still appreciate his labor.  The whole package has an enterprising spirit that twists my arm.  You win, Mr. Jones.  I enjoy your movie, despite the spongy script.

In terms of plot holes, Leprechaun is a horn of Amalthea.  You were waiting for the Amalthea reference, weren't you?  Well, there it is! End.  This.  Review.


Insomnia Theatre #3

We're three episodes in, babies!  Yes, I plan to archive these on a shelf of some sort, but I need to adjust to my new schedule first.  My mumsy switched shifts at her place of work, and that directly impacts my agenda.  Thus far, I have either been sleeping too much or not at all.  I'm foggy.  By the time I become acclimatized to the new hours, Mumsy will switch back to the old hours.  Not her fault.  I'm only explaining why I haven't written much in the last week.  Excuses, excuses!  At least you have Insomnia Theatre to keep you company, and jolly good fellow, this is the strongest episode yet.  Join us as we watch 1971's Werewolf vs. The Vampire Woman!


Album Cover of the Whatever

Gosh, I could write a full-fledged paragraph about this one.


Blood Capsule #67


There isn't much to say about this modest, unvarnished slasher.  As muted as the film comes across, it could stand to be simplified even further.  We are "treated" to a subplot involving a crime psychologist and his cop lover that goes nowhere faster than a speeding seminal spore.  Technically, they don't collide with our psycho star, so they're useless anyway.  Who is our psycho star?  Thanks for asking!  Eric Binford (seen above realizing he has a penis), a sheltered cinephile who lives with his prune shrew of an aunt.  She's a real termagant, let me tell you!  Boy, what a bag!  You can see how Eric lives a soon-to-snap lifestyle, and it's not long before he does just that.  When he stalks his prey, he cosplays as his favorite characters from cinema's golden age.

Eric dresses up as a vampire and a mummy, but oddly, his Hopalong Cassidy get-up is the creepiest by far.  We only see his cumbersome silhouette hugged by fog.  It's a highly effective death sequence, and I must credit writer/director Vernon Zimmerman with parenting a hefty sheaf of cool set-ups.  But that's all I'll remember about Fade to Black.  The shots, the kills, Eric's costumes...Eric himself isn't exactly sympathetic.  No one is, really.  I haven't mentioned the plot holes, and yet, I still recommend this flick.  It's good enough to rent. Or download or steal or bliviodize (not a word).  Look, I review movies like I'm lost in 1995 since my mind is commonly lost in 1995.  In summation, Fade to Black is worth checking out on video.  I would suggest renting first!


2016's Halloween Special Spunktacular

I usually do something "special" every year during the month of haunted hayrides and slasher marathons otherwise known as October.  Usually.  This year, watch out!  Oh.  Man.  You won't believe what I have planned.  It might actually make you uncomfortable.  In fact, if you're pregnant, I would advise...that you keep reading.  The unlit austerity of this announcement may induce labor, so you can finally toss that fetus into the nearest garbage pail. Get on with your life.  Don't let a yowling purse of flesh suspend your enjoyment of Random Reviews Incorporated's Halloween Special Spunktafuckle.  Or whatever.

So what am I doing this year?  NOTHING!  Not a damn thing.  I thought about going all out this year.  Other sites/blogs indulge in "31 days of horror," but that's a drain to maintain.  I had several ideas.  I basically celebrate Halloween for twelve straight months, though.  In 2015, I experienced overkill as I went fucking bonkers, snorting lines of cheap decorations and miniature Krackle bars starting in early September.  By the middle of October, I was dead tired of the gimmick.  I also fell into a hollow of depression (which I doubt was related; who knows, Sally Jimenez?).  It was a really rough patch. You can check the archives if you don't believe me.

That's when I decided that next year (this year), I would just relax and take in the Halloween ambiance.  I don't want to work any more than I normally would.  It's no good for my goddamn anxiety.  Fret not, monster heads!  There will be a Blood Capsule in the skies tomorrow, and I have my next bundle of reviews preordained.  In addition, you never know when the next episode of Insomnia Theatre is going to jump out from behind a bush.  Because it's kind of an asshole.


Insomnia Theatre #2

Back by nominal demand, it's...this!  As Tyler notes in the description area on YouTube itself, there are minor issues with the audio levels. But they will be rectified by the next episode.  Also, I suck.  What I mean is that it takes me 15-20 minutes to "wake up" or something. Was I bobbing for Xanax in a barrel of cough syrup before recording?  We are our own worst critics, I know.  I get funnier as the film progresses (in my hilarious opinion).  Man, I'm really insecure.  I haven't said much about Tyler because CLEARLY, I'm the star.  Man, I'm really pompous.

Still finding our footing, but I honestly think IT #2 outranks IT #1 by a smidge.  Enjoy!


Phantasm: Ravager

Yesterday, I was driven a number of miles that I'm not comfortable broadcasting (thanks, Mommy!) to see two films.  Some called it a double feature.  The first attraction was the remastered version of 1979's Phantasm, a horror classic that I've had a lukewarm relationship with since I saw it at the grizzled, calcified age of 13.  It went right over my head.  That initial viewing does leave a mark.  I've wizened up a little, and man, seeing it on the silver sph...screen did the trick.  It probably didn't need to be remastered for me to enjoy it as much as I did, but for the record, the print was irreproachable.  I had tiny hearts in my eyes.  I was later told by my optometrist that this is NOT normal.  He has prescribed 46 eye drops twice a day for the remainder of my life.  Something called embalming fluid.

The crowd puller?  Phantasm: RaVager.  Look, I capitalized the "v" that time.  It means "five" in Spanish.  My expectations were fair.  I was expecting the new Philm to be lovingly kooky and somewhat confusing.  Um, how do I say this?  Let me tell you what I personally wanted from Ravager (that's right; one capitalized "v" and no more than one).  I wanted closure.  Just a mite!  A driblet!  Sure, I'd give my eyeteeth for all of the answers (or maybe my deciduous set; those milk chompers have to be around here somewhere), but this is a Philm.  I knew that I wasn't going to get all of the answers.  This is where I spoil shit.  If you want my general opinion, well, that's what my ratings are for.  If you want general adjectives, it's cheap and irritating.  And stupid, though well-acted.

Okay!  So how many answers did I receive in thine hands?  None! Closure?  What the fuck is that?  I'm wheeling ahead of myself.  The headmost hindrance is the shrimpy budget.  Ravager should never have been produced on a shrimpy budget.  It was shot on digital, for Alchemy's sake.  You shoot this series on film.  35mm, buddy.  It's the age of crowdfunding, so that should have been priority number uno (that's Roman for 1-ish).  You can't tell me it was an artistic choice.  I don't mean to belabor the point, but that really grinds my coffee.  The majority of the effects are lousy.  It goes without griping that CGI is used as an elementary unit, mainly for gags that could have been achieved via practical means.  Listen, if the CGI looks crisp, I don't complain.  My conservative estimation is that 80% of the cybernated pseudo-sorcery resembles actual shit.

But that's the candy wrapper.  I spoke to you earlier (on the phone, naked) about closure.  Ravager's fucking storyline is infuriating.  I didn't exit the theater angry, mind you.  No, I was much too deep in thought.  The asperity I am now directing at poor, innocent Don Coscarelli (I am aware that he didn't direct this sequel) didn't hit me until I returned home.  My home, Elaine!  We learn nothing about The Tall Man that we didn't already know, we learn nothing about his home planet, we learn...fuck.  Hold onto your genitals.  We learn that Reggie has been in a nursing home for years on account of his early onset dementia.  Mike and Jody?  They have never heard of The Tall Man!  Also, they're dead.  And alive.  ALSO, Reggie is fighting alongside wasteland warriors, as The Tall Man has successfully warped Earth into his home planet.

Bolides of fire, zombie mutants donning gas masks, big silver spheres, bigger silver spheres...I know it sounds rad, but we're talking video game graphics.  It's pitiful.  All of this shit happens simultaneously.  In my book, Ravager's worst offense is ignoring the ending of Phantasm: OblIVion.  The Tall Man was preening Mike (against his will, but it counted) to be his substitute.  He was passing the torch so that - it has been speculated - he could conquer another planet.  That plot thread may have squired the franchise to a universe-cuckolding confrontation between two Tall Men.  Yowza! Apparently, it was too costly an idea, so we got Raper instead.

Do I have anything positive to yelp on the subject of Ravager? Yeah. Christopher L. Stone's score is seriously amazing.  Outside of the main theme (which is still perfect), he steals dalliances with melodies that suit the scene and become glued to your encephalon. As I noted above, the cast is up to the challenge.  This is probably Reggie Bannister's best performance in a Phantasm movie.  I'm out on a limb, but there are key moments where I was genuinely struck by his emotive-ing.  Emo-ing?  Erm, no.  Acting?  Nah, that's crazy. He was really good; I know that.  Of course, Angus Scrimm is flawless.  How the hell was he both rigid and nuanced?  He was the only dude who could convey a Southern cordiality during flashbacks as Jebediah Morningside, while scaring the piss out of you as an alien mortician.

Oh, Dawn Cody.  I dug her.  She was the redhead.  I'm sorry, but the guy who played Chunk was the weakest link.  I didn't buy a word he said, and moreover, he's introduced past the halfway mark.  Why is that relevant?  Because Coscarelli and director/co-writer David Hartman decided that he would be the fucker to kill The Tall Man!  He celebrates, but for the death of me, I can't figure out why.  Minutes prior to his fulmination, The Tall Man clearly states that there are TENS OF THOUSANDS of Tall Men in other universes.  OblIVion already proved that he can't be destroyed.  This review is too long. In my defense, Phantasm: Ravager is too shitty, and I had too many comments to squiggle on the walls of my cell.