Unlucky Charms

I don't know if this warrants a disclaimer, but I've been sick for a few days.  I believe I may be coming out of the "bug fog."  Congestion persists, as does the loblolly (it's a word, I swear on my own grave) secreted by my mucous membranes.  I mention these yucky details to point out that my dragging condition could very well color my opinion of 2013's Unlucky Charms.  I'm fucking irritable.  However, it's likely that a healthy Dom would find the exact same faults.  I thought it might be nice to conclude my Full Moon Five experiment with a recent production minted by the b-budget studio.  This one was directed by Charles Band himself.  We can blame him, just like I can blame myself for deciding to watch. Because I thought it would be "nice."  Hold up; I need my DayQuil hit.

On Full Moon Streaming, the running time is 70 minutes.  On IMDb, there is an uncut version listed at 80 minutes.  In fact, it's the only version listed.  What gives, Charlie?  Are you holding out on us?  The cuts would have to be related to the plot, as the death sequences don't leave room for extra gore.  Maybe extraneous characters crop up only to be carved up (think F13 Part IV...the hitchhiker).  Either way, I'm fine with Unlucky Charms being a spuddy, abbreviated sit.  It was marketed as yet another "killer leprechaun" romp and Mr. Band had the foreskin to sell Special Edition copies in a cereal box.  He's one hell of a huckster, you have to give him that.  As it turns out, the lep-dude is one of four "villains."  Quotation marks denote sarcasm, which means...

They're the good guys!  Look at the poster again.  Those are the good guys.  They lost their precious gemstones above ground (on Earth), and that's terrible news for humankind.  Whomever possesses said bangles wields power over the four sprites, and of course, the current owner happens to be a miserly narcissist.  Farr Darrig (the red leprechaun) doesn't want to commit acts of evil, but is his will strong enough?  Is he strong enough to be my man?  For some Band-y reason, this cinematic picador is known as Miscreants on Full Moon Streaming.  He has done that with more than a couple of flicks, I've noticed.  "Which title shall I change today?  I'm goddamn God!"  Oh, is it worth watching?  I forgot that part.

It's enjoyable to a certain extent.  The bulk of the acting is wretched, but Jeryl Prescott gives a standout performance as a Tyra Banks type.  She's the true antagonist.  It doesn't surprise me to learn that she was on The Walking Dead because I kept thinking that she was too talented for Unlucky Charms.  The make-up effects are weak.  Farr Darrig does not - I repeat - DOES NOT resemble the imp on the cover.  He's merely a guy with bad acne.  We are treated to bare flesh, though the lovely Anna Sophia Berglund seems to cover her breasts during a sex scene after we've seen her breasts.  It's odd.  She's on top.  There is no conceivable reason for her to obscure her nipples with one arm.  What the cuntiferous jizm???

To top it all off, the pace...actually, the pace is dandy.  There are plenty of lapses in logic I could dislimb, but I've reached my flagellation quota for the day.  Unlucky Charms is stunningly average.  The ending is rushed, so taking the running time misinformation into consideration, I'm willing to bet that a "Director's Cut" will surface, if anyone gives two fickle fucks.  And that!  Was!  The Full Moon Five!  I hurt!  Inside!


Geek Out #123

I'm under the weather, so I don't feel like writing much of anything today.  The next item I post will most certainly be the last gasp of my Full Moon Five spree, but first, you gotta...GOTTA see this.  It's the trailer for 1992's My Grandpa is a Vampire.  The vampire is played by none other than Al motherfucking Lewis!  I use too much profanity, don't I?  In a sense, Lewis was Pappy to all of us.  He may have been typecast as Grampa Munster, but that's because Grampa Munster was the straight dope.



That isn't the image I wanted to use.  I wanted the original VHS cover, but the only version that I could find kept uploading as grayscale.  I didn't convert it to grayscale.  No, I did my usual resizing routine, I boosted the contrast a smidgen (these are cabalistic insider tricks of the spade) and it was goddamn grayscale.  Apparently, it was a problem with that specific file.  Could it be that 1999's Totem cursed my machine?  It's plausible.  Back when I reviewed the entire Puppet Master series, a friend of mine - I'm not mentioning any Mexican names - jokingly suggested that I review Totem since it's tangentially related to Charles Band's tentpole franchise.  I told him to suck a taco.  NOTE: I'm a horrible, horrible racist.  Not really.  Please don't forsake me.

Of course, the plot has nothing to do with Puppet Master.  I'm not even sure it has anything to do with the Totem creatures in PM 4 and 5.  At.  All.  More than likely, I'll kick my friend's ass later, but that doesn't concern you, dear reader.  Where does Totem take us?  A cabin in the middle of nowhere.  We join six folks already in progress, most of them teenagers.  None of them know why they are there or why they felt the clamant compulsion to run in the cabin's direction.  An enclosure of charged "kill-owatts" won't let them leave the premises.  They can walk a few miles, but that's it.  While shuffling in the open night air, our dick squad (I'll explain in a minute) chances upon a graveyard.  They notice a totem pole standing to the side.  It's gilded with three soulless kobolds.  Hmm, that's probably not the right term...let's go with "bullies."

In any event, Totem is nonsensical, cheese-budget gab.  Three-quarters of the characters are dicks, and yeah, the majority of the dicks are male.  When the film starts, these people are strangers, so they have no reason to be dicks to one another.  But they are!  The dialogue is rasping and incessant.  The acting ranges from solid to inanimate.  By that I mean, I mistook a lass for a butane torch.  I was going to say "dishwasher," but golly, I didn't want to come off as misogynistic.  It could have been any home appliance.  Actually, it could have been any inanimate object period, so I suppose a football would have worked.  Fuck.  Listen, she's a dreadful actress, whatever her name is.  Be upset with her, not me!  I wonder if the characters had names.

Totem's biggest flaw (and I count it as a single scrape) is its vague demons and their vague backstories.  When the beat comes for mud to be made clear, we are shown stock footage from B&W viking flicks poorly superimposed over newly-shot footage of fire.  Oh, and it's narrated.  Something about spirits of war being unleashed.  I don't know.  I have a feeling that it was compiled in post-production.  Call it a convalescent's intuition.  The Totemites look neat, unless they're in transit.  I know for a fact that they had multiple puppeteers toiling behind each puppet, so why is the movement shoddy?  For twat's sake, you can see wires!

Thus far, this has been a 1-Z'Dar review.  I'll get to the stuff I enjoyed soon, but Charles...CHARLES.  You know as well as I do these pole-smokers didn't need to be midgets.  What is your obsession with tiny terrors?  It would have been cheaper to toss a guy in a suit!  Get help.  Band didn't direct Totem, by the way.  That distinction belongs to Martin Tate (a.k.a. David DeCoteau, of course).  The stuff I enjoyed?  The climax is straight out of a Halloween theme park.  It's ridiculous.  Would it shock you to learn that zombies are involved?  I'm assuming that authentic make-up effects were too exorbitant, so the undead actors are forced to wear zombie masks (!).  The last 15 minutes straddle the line between epic and insulting.  This freelancer is leaning toward epic.



After being threatened with violence, I finally watched Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.  It was good.  It was a good thing.  Almost frustrating, though.  The target audience is mootable.  The film was primarily made for children, yet mature enough for adults.  TV-Y7?  My point is, where do I go with any complaints I may or may not have?  Should I even bother "critiquing" it?  Then again, most of the people who own Mask of the Phantasm are probably adults.  They enjoyed it, and hey, so did I!  But this fucking Phantasm character.  Don't worry, citizens of Gotham; I won't spoil the villain's identity.

He/she can disappear at will.  How?  Imagine a cripple shrugging their (crippled) shoulders right now.  He/she is seemingly followed by a fog machine, unless the fog is expended through some sort of intubation system.  A catheter?  But it would have to be the inverse of a catheter.  Does Phantasm piss steam?  If that were the case, then why-OH FUCK, I FORGOT TO POST PICTURES!

KO...a.k.a. the fucking man.

The weapons atop Dean's Asylum.  Notice Mitch in the back.

Looks like they're standing in milk.  HEY, BECKY!

The New Day pre-time travel.

The Bulletproof Balor Club of Styles.  Or whatever.  They need their own name.

Natty was fly.

Sad RomanTron is sad.

Cesaro post-strip.

Stephanie checking me out.

If you click on each image, you will see a version that is exactly the same size. lol Fuck off. lol


The "I Attended Raw" Write-Up

I'll try to post actual pictures tomorrow.

I had a blast!  That's all you need to read, but I worked too hard on this (no, I didn't).  Please read the whole thing, or I'll kick your ass (no, I won't).  In retrospect, I feel a little silly telling friends to tune in and look for me, not realizing I would be behind the camera.  That's where a block of "wheelchair people" were sitting.  I could barely see the TitanTron, and the poor Crips next to me couldn't see it at all.  There were other wheelchairs in the audience.  I can only hope they had more RESPECTFUL seating.  NOTE: I'm not talking about the view of the ring.  Our view was great.  I'm not going to bash WWE here, as it may have been the fault of the venue (in this case, the Greensboro Coliseum).

Let's talk about wrestling, shall we?  I've watched clips on WWE.com, and yeah, that's pretty much what the crowd sounded like.  I'm proud of us.  North Carolina is the fuck-up at state family gatherings.  The other states stop talking when NC walks into the room because they were prattling on our recent arrest, our pregnant stripper girlfriend and our discriminatory bathroom bill.  BUT we're a wrasslin' state.  Right now, as a Carolinian, that's all I have to cling to, aside from campestral mountain ranges and shit.

It is time.  For a list.

~ The crowd loved A.J. Styles.  Early on, they were booing the fuck out of Roman Reigns.  By the end of the Uso/Club match (which was awesome), the crowd was split evenly.  I dug the post-scuffle scuffle.  Styles Clash on a steel chair, bruh!  This feud is working.  I'm convinced that Reigns is the next Cena, but fuck that.  Turn him heel.  Soon!

~ Zayn/Owens versus Miz/Cesaro was the bout of the night.  All four guys understand storytelling...yes, even Mike.  At some point, they will have to make KO a babyface.  That's his only flaw as a heel; he's too likable!

~ The Shining Stars!  And so Raw became mediocre for a spell.  You can only repackage talents so many times before momentum is at an impasse.  Viewers know that these courtly Puerto Ricans are Los Matadores, and they still don't care about them.  Needless to say, the crowd was deceased for this one.  Beg Carlito to come back.  That's Epico and Primo's only hope.  I suppose you could run an angle with their grandfather.  Have him pay off a contract killer to stab Dana Brooke in the shower.  I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

~ Since I'm on the topic, Dana was fine in her match against Becky Lynch, but why did she win?  Why???  I understand that my precious Emma is injured (back surgery...son of a shit), but Dana?  And a roll-up?  Did Becky pay off a contract killer to stab Linda McMahon in the shower?  What the fuck?  If I had to wager a guess, creative wants to send Becky on a losing streak while the title picture sorts itself out.  This would also include beating the women who defeated her on her way back up the ladder.  Hopefully, it ends with Becky taking on Sasha Banks for the WWE Women's Championship.  Hopefully.

~ Jericho and Ambrose.  Whatever.  I'm loving Jericho's heel work.  I'm a fan.  I dig Ambrose.  But...meh.  They're trying so hard to push Dean as the new Mick Foley, the hardcore legend for this generation.  I'm not buying it.  Christ, he revved up a chainsaw in his match opposite Brock Lesnar.  What, was he going to chop him in half?  An Asylum Match.  Because he's crazy, remember?  One of the weapons hanging from the top of the cell was a mop.  Is goddamn Perry Saturn going to pop up out of nowhere?

~ Not entirely sure how it played off on TV, but the crowd erupted after the Golden Truth montage.  They're finally a tag team.  I was skeptical at first, but it clicked.  Okey-dokey, so book a confusion finish where R-Truth kicks Goldust in the face.  Fucking what!?  If they break up in the coming weeks, I will find a random child and remove his/her skeleton.

~ Kofi's callback to his old gimmick was hysterical.  I'm cool with The Vaudevillains standing tall, even though it's painfully obvious that they're not winning the belts on Sunday.

~ A word on the pyrotechnics.  My ears are sensitive, but I basically knew what to expect.  You can brace yourself, unless it's supposed to be a surprise.  Like The Dudley Boys.  They interrupted Big Cass, and my dick jumped into my nasal cavity.  My poor mom almost pissed herself.  There were little kids sitting close to the bang-boom illuminations.  Fuck them, I guess.

~ The ending was a riot.  I couldn't believe I was hearing a "Steph-an-ie!" chant.  In Flair country, of all places!

~ We didn't stick around for the dark match, but I know it was Jericho/Ambrose.  You could hear Y2J shitting on everyone throughout the coliseum.  Heh.

Oh, and Kalisto died.



This weekend-ish, I will work toward concluding my Full Moon Five (and all the girlies scream), but on Wednesday, I'll be reviewing Monday Night Raw.  Why not tomorrow?  I'll need a day of recovery.  See, I'm not just reviewing an episode of Raw.  I'll be attending the fucking thing.  Kind of a big deal because this is my first WWE/F event ever.  Am I fangirling?  MAYBE.


IHSAHN - Arktis

Vegard Sverre Tveitan, you son of a bitch.  You've done it again!  Oh, I'm sorry.  That's Ihsahn's birth name.  Only true metalheads would know that.  True metalheads...with access to Wikipedia.  But that's not important!  I could have whipped up this review a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to sit with Arktis.  I wanted to absorb its flavors as though it were marinating me.  And there are a lot of flavors here.  My God (er, Satan), Ihsahn cranes his blackened wings and interposes everything from black metal to witch house.  From 80's traditional metal to piano balladry.  From Weather Channel jazz to killer shit you can't even categorize (I'm looking at you, "Frail").  From here to eternity!  Fret not, votarients; the whole of Arktis sounds like Ihsahn.

This album is so fucking good.  Can I just end it there?  No?  Aw, piss.  2013's Das Seelenbrechen was highly experimental to the point that at least half of it was improvised in the studio.  I didn't care for it, but I recognize Ihsahn's need to make that record and I would never begrudge him artistic freedom.  Thankfully (for me), Arktis is more song-oriented.  The arrangements are "pop-influenced."  I use quotation marks because I don't want to scare off any obstinate metalheads.  This isn't a pop opus, you goons.  You know what it is?  It's MUSIC.  The three opening numbers bring you the kind of commotion one might expect from a regulation Ihsahn disc.  "Disassemble" features melodic vocals from Einar of Leprous fame (those dudes are frequent collaborators).  Sweet leadoff track, and then...hold on, let me break this paragraph.

There we go.  "Mass Darkness" cleaves your cock/clit off and spits it down your mother's throat.  Too much?  I'm laughing out loud.  The riffs are mean-spirited, and overall, the song simply feels apocalyptic.  The kicker is that Matt Heafy (yes, the Trivium lad) helps out on the chorus.  If it's any consolation, I couldn't tell it was him.  Skipping ahead to "South Winds," this is where Arktis gets expansive.  Electronic elements are introduced, and somehow, it feels like they are supposed to be there.  Righteous stuff.  My favorite ditty is "Until I Too Dissolve."  Holy shit.  This is King Diamond spliced with Van Halen spliced with, well, Ihsahn!  Musically, it's the 80's traditional metal I was yacking about earlier.  Vocally and lyrically, it's gorgeous.  It's one of those songs that aims directly for the ticker.  Or in this case, my ticker.  Your results may vary.

"Frail" is experimental art rock?  Avant-garde?  Avant-prog?  Avant-art experimental progressive black metal?  Look, I don't fucking know what to call it, but it's amazing.  Smooth harmonies, a succinct solo and optimal weirdness.  Einar handles lead vox duties on "Celestial Violence," a lovely madrigal (I'm totally misusing that word, and there is nothing you can do about it).  It closes Arktis with tampation (I totally made that word up, and there is nothing you can do about it).  If I haven't made it clear, I love this album.  You should purchase it with the currency of your country.  I'm honestly not sure where I would personally rank Arktis in Ihsahn's solo discography.  It's awfully close to being the best, but I hold Angl close to the chest.  Now I shall rest.  In my nest.  And await the results of my blood test.

I can't be a father right now.  I swear to Christ.  She needs to shut the fuck up.  She knows I don't understand Mandarin!  Goddamn.


Album Cover of the Whatever

At least the logo is easy to read.  This is German death metal from 1992.  It was Fleshcrawl's first full-length release, and it's a skullfucker.  Super doomy.  But I picked it because of the cover.  Giger-esque architecture (balls and cocks galore), an apocalypse-orange sky, an ominous city in the distance...this is no-nonsense metal art!


Blood Capsule #62


We're smack dab in the middle of my Full Moon Five experiment.  I knew I'd be employing a Blood Capsule amid this muddle, so I saw this as an opportunity to bonk one of the few short films on Full Moon Streaming (once again, I'm not being grease-palmed by the Band dynasty).  Hopefully, you know the story behind Pulse Pounders, an anthology produced by Empire Pictures just as Empire Pictures was splintering.  It was ultimately lost for 26 years until the workprint was found.  Isn't it fucking enchanting how Charles Band manages to find stuff?  Aw, I believed him.  This time.  Anyway, The Evil Clergyman is a vignette nicked from Pulse Pounders.  Because for whatever reason, the whole assemblage couldn't be released as a conjunctive state of affairs.

That's dry information.  What you need to know is that this 28-minute segment of Lovecraft-based (that's right, daddy-o) horror is startlingly good.  It kicked my wheelchair's nugget!  Fuck a synopsis.  It has a plot, but the less you know, the better.  Besides, the title is self-explanatory.  The cast is iniminiminiminimitable.  Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, David Warner, David Gale...I nearly spurted typing their names.  Man, what do I say about The Evil Clergyman without spoiling the best shit?  It's packed with twisted ideas, Richard Band's score is hauntingly serene and Crampton, well, she is at her absolute creamiest.  My.  God.  Yes, that's a bovine, insolent comment to include, but I did notice her incredible performance.  So there.

Let's say Pulse Pounders hit shelves on schedule in the late 80's.  Granted, its insertion into an anthology would have clouded its visibility, but I believe that The Evil Clergyman would be seen as a cult classic in 2016.  It's too rad.


Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye

Euroshock!  I don't know what it is about Italian genre films and numbers, but those 8-bit plumbers sure do love to count, don't they?  Calm yourselves; I'm part-Italian.  I'm just saying.  Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, Seven Notes in Black (a.k.a. The Psychic)...and then you have today's subject, 1973's Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye.  As you might have fathomed, it's an illicit giallo.  Almost every character is culpable, but there are dotty, off-center measures taken to give this spaghetti slasher its own method of functioning, as it were.  It's weird shit.  Why don't we analyze this weird shit and try to determine if it helps or hinders Seven Deaths?

On the surface, the plot appears to be orderly.  There is a killer killing people.  Beneath the surface, this is a giallo itching to chip away at the confines of Italian horror filmmaking.  A high-minded tenet, but the screenplay botches the spot (wrestling vernacular; I'm convinced I can make it a popular turn of phrase).  Perimetric story details are so goddamn goofy, I can't imagine how the team of producers at the bottom of this sideshow ever expected it to be taken seriously.  Maybe they didn't.  Our heroine is visiting her family at their castle, and her cousin casually reveals to her that he has caged (you might as well say indentured) a circus orangutan.  Also, he wants to fuck her.  The cousin, not the ape.

The ape subplot is militantly useless.  My guess is that the totally-not-a-guy-in-a-suit is supposed to be a suspect, but we know without a shadow of a doubt that the offender is human.  Help?  Hinder?  Both.  It's fucking ludicrous, but it has z-grade appeal.  Hey, there's a cat.  I'm trying to cross all of the "freaky feline" flicks off of my list.  I'm getting close!  Seven Deaths positions a tabby (?) at the scene of each crime.  What does that mean?  Is the pussy unhallowed?  Oracular?  Is it just a dumb dick coincidence?  Well, the movie didn't tell me, so I don't know.  I'm going with "hinder" on that one, as it adds absolutely nothing to the feature presentation.

I'm shitting on the celluloid, but I actually had fun with Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye.  I've done a masterfully poor job of interspersing positive comments, haven't I?  Look, this is my first review.  Ease up.  The gothic atmosphere is refreshing, and there are several sweet exterior shots.  Props to director Antonio Margheriti (credited here as David DeCoteau - I mean, Anthony Dawson).  He had a firm grip on spooky stuff, as opposed to whatever the fuck The Snow Devils was.  I'm eager to watch more of his analects, especially Castle of Blood.  At any rate, I was entertained throughout.  Despite ubiquitous flaws, I wanted to see how this puppy ended.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I bet the killer did it.  The son of a bitch."


Geek Out #123

No explanation necessary.