The Children

Scan courtesy of Paul over at VHS Collector, hence the watermark.

1980's The Children was distributed on DVD by Troma.  Before you grimace, Lloyd Kaufman and associates had nothing to do with the production of the film.  This was just an acquisition, similar to 1990's Luther the Geek.  My, what a coincidence!  The Children was co-written by Carlton Albright, writer/director of Luther the Geek.  It's almost as if I knew that or something.  The other co-writer's name was Edward Terry (I suppose it still is), and he also had a hand in bringing the metal-dentured Luther to life; he played him!  I'm getting ahead of myself.  This is one of those "small town" fright flicks where even the convenient store clerk knows every detail of the Stevenson girl's menstruation cycle or the friar's...er, menstruation cycle.

I had fun with it.  It's fucking stupid.  The plot has more holes in it than the stuffed animals in your reclusive cousin's closet.  There is a miasmatic gas leak emanating from a nuclear plant and it has created a crawling cloud of effluvia that consumes an isolated road. You gotta watch out for that effluvia.  Shit's nasty!  Anyway, it sneaks up on a school bus.  When Sheriff Hart discovers the transport vehicle sitting diagonally, he boards to investigate.  The children? Gone.  The driver?  Gone.  If I were in his shoes, my heart would sink, but I would remain professional enough to "call it in."  Heh, listen to me spout off official police terminology.  I'm a regular Barney Fife.  Where's my bullet?

So Hart doesn't call it in.  Doesn't.  Does not.  He drives to the home of a parent and asks if Kid A (overrated record, by the way) has arrived yet.  The Sheriff of the Year takes the aunt (the mother is ill, if I recall correctly) to the school bus to retrieve the child's supplies. She doesn't seem to be terribly worried.  None of the legal guardians panic over the fact that a bindle of neighborhood youngsters have disappeared into thin goddamn air.  The main mama that The Children chooses to focus on shows concern, but I wouldn't call it panic.  I don't know why I'm writing so much about the storyline.  Again, it's stupid.  The kids are radioactive zombies.  But fuck it; I dug what I was watching.  It has that inexplicable drive-in charm.

It's worth noting that The Children was probably the first genre clump to depict brute violence against children (on-screen, that is). Pretty cool, huh?  It's not quite as extreme as Beware! Children at Play, but there are plenty of gunshot wounds.  Oh, and severed hands.  On the acting front, I was pleasantly surprised.  There are no outright embarrassments.  The make-up effects range from gruesome to gardyloo.  That's to be expected, especially with cinematic scum.  I'm treating The Children unfairly.  Apparently, it hatched ducats at the box office, a feat atypical of scum (well, b-scum).  What's my favorite plot hole?  They never find or mention the bus driver.  Wouldn't he have been affected by the gas in the same way?  There should be another zombie lurking in Ravensback.

Stupid shit.  I recommend it!


Skull Island in the Sun

Um, holy fucking shit?  I will say, I'm surprised that Warner is willing to reveal so much of Kong in the trailer.  Could be a mistake.  I'm hoping that there's a whole bunch of kewl shit in the movie that we won't know about until opening night.  Regardless, how badass was that???  I'm totally on board.  The cast is also to my liking, as I expect Tom Hiddleston to ably serve as the protagonist underpinning, just as I expect Brie Larson to serve as my celebrity crush (read: obsession) for the first quarter of 2017.  And she's a great actress!  Plus, you've got Sam Jackson with a military-grade weapon of some sort.  Now all I have to do is wait for nine agonizing months...KILL MY BODY AND SOUL.

For the record, I adored Peter Jackson's loving update of King Kong.  I had a couple of issues with it, but I am certainly at variance with the carping reaction it draws these days.  It wasn't bad, you guys.  Jack Black?  Okay, he was out of place.  I'm not suggesting that it measures up to the original, which very few films do.  I believe, by the way, that the 1933 King Kong might be the best film ever made, horror or otherwise.  Obviously, it's up for debate.  That could be an editorial for another day.


KATATONIA - The Fall of Hearts

My apologies, members of the press.  I wanted to have this review up sooner, but I've had nagging stomach issues.  Shitting.  Shitting issues.  I haven't been resting well either, so physiologically, I've been wracked with spoilage.  Emotionally, I've been in a low place. It's almost as if my heart...has fallen--fuck, you'd think I could clef a better segue.  Yes, clef, CLIFF.  Obviously, I'm building up to a piece on moody alt-metal.  What else could I be talking about?  As it happens, I'm categorically connecting to Katatonia's latest LP.  The Fall of Hearts came out earlier this year, so yes, I'm fashionably late on recounting its splendor.  I'm a wee bit late on discovering Katatonia as well.  Someone please smack my forehead.

I knew of them.  I knew of their ties to Opeth, one of my favorite bands of all time.  I liked a song here and there.  But it wasn't until recently that I discovered them.  The difference (to me anyway)?  I actually took the initiative to comb through their back catalog and, y'know, learn the Katatonia gospel.  A device clicked within me.  I still haven't heard every set released by these sullen Swedes, so I can't definitively say that Hearts is their paramount work.  I can't even say it's their best since so-and-so.  I've developed a druthers for their post-2000 material, but it's too fresh to contrast/compare.  All I know is that if I had it, I'd screw a chimpanzee.  Wait, strike that from the record...all I know is that it's really, really good.  There.  Much better!

Hearts does extend the parameters of 2012's Dead End Kings. The songs are longer and more involved.  You could actually say that in comparison to most of the band's recorded output since the 90's. Hey, I compared!  I hate to meld musical ligaments, but Katatonia recall Tool more on this album than any other in their history (don't pretend they haven't been approximated to Tool, however unfairly). Hearts is progressive hard rock at its finest. Opener "Takeover" is rooted in a gibbous, irregular time signature that is beautifully countered by a blistering solo courtesy of Anders Nystrom.  Want to hear something crazy?  SUPER crazy? "Takeover" is one of my least favorite tracks.  As a matter of fuck, I skipped it the last time I popped my vinyl pressing into...um, Spotify.

Okay, YouTube.  Fine, I don't own a computer.  I'm in a library right now.  I'm homeless.  I had rats for lunch.  I pissed on a slut last night. Just because!  I don't mean to mock the homeless; it's just that I was looking for a spot to modulate the classic "pissed on a slut" joke. Pardon?  What could be considered the main singles?  Well, you have "Serein," a straight-ahead rock jaunt with a driving chorus.  "Old Heart Falls" would be the radio hit if that were a possibility.  It has grown on me.  Speaking of growths I should have looked at, the mid-chunk of Hearts has grown on me.  At first, tunes such as "Decima," "Sanction," "Last Song Before the Fade" and "Shifts" blended together into a samey nodule of the mopes.  Now, I dig all that shit. It doesn't ring as mopey; it rings as gorgeous gloom.

You'll have to excuse the excessive semi-colons.  I find them to be underrated punctuation marks.  Anyway, "'Passer."  It's the best song.  This isn't up for debate, Cindy.  It starts with a fucking rage, as Anders lets loose and shreds his balls off.  On a sidenote, the dude needs to be let loose more often (or he needs to let himself loose more often).  I love the vocal melodies.  The lyrics...Wally Christ, they hit me hard on multiple levels.  I haven't said enough about crooner Jonas Renkse and his truly unique voice.  Or the keyboards, which never overpower the other instruments.

Katatonia fans already own The Fall of Hardee's.  But if you're curious, I recommend it to devotees of gnarled riffs, washes of glossy atmospherics and drums that keep you on your toes.  Before breaking them.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Today, we have Dark Wizard's 1984 EP, The Devil's Victim.  I won't act like a metal savant.  I had never heard of this band until a week ago when I saw one of their ditties posted in a Facebook group. They played no-frills heavy metal.  Just...metal.  I love this cover.  Look at that cutlass ("He's not a sailor, dumbass," Dom said to himself)! Look at that fiend!  I dig demons with fine strands of shock-white hair. Speaking of my coiffeur, I'll more than likely pull a music review out of my ass next, so watch this space.  Or the news, if you're into feeling suicidal.


The Soda Jerk Unbound: Part 3 of 6

I'm skipping the intro.  It's not necessary.  "Part 3 of 6" says it all, doesn't it?  Put 3 (three) and 3 together.


Lemmy?  As in Motorhead?  Lemmy Kilmister - late rock diety - peddled lemonade in his spare time?  Former Hawkwind bassist, architect of speed metal, cynosure of the ages...lemonade vendor? Wouldn't I have heard about this?  How is it that I'm the guy breaking the asthenosphere-shattering news?  Well, I looked into it for five seconds and discovered that this fizzy lifting drink has nothing to do with the Lemmy that metalheads exalt.  Sorry if I got anyone terribly excited.  No, I'm not.  "Alright, you've got me here.  What's the story with this lemonade, you bowed scrap of crippled corpuscles?"  It's not so much my corpuscles that are crippled; my joints are bowed, yes, but they are contracted because of fetal crowding.  You see, the...

Fuck, everyone left!  I don't know what kind of skit I'm trying to write here.  I'm just going to slip into "normal review" mode.  A mellow sweep through Lemmy Lemonade's official site reveals the company's impulse.  And it explains why I wasn't crazy about their citrus soda.  Yep, you heard me.  The Soda Jerk Unbound isn't doing me any fucking favors, and if I go 0-6, I'll be as angry as...I am on most days.  At any rape, there is a blurb that bashes lemonade "you buy at the store."  Why?  It doesn't taste like real, organic lemons. Y'know, the fruits that are so sour, they change your face.  I get that some people can suck on those juice vesicles until the cows come home from Iraq (#GodBlessOurCattle), but I can't.  A lot of human beings can't.

Lemons are only good for squeezin', teasin' and pleasin'.  Ew?

I, for one, enjoy lemonade, both storebought (depends on the brand) and homemade.  I prefer it sweet.  When it's made well, there is nothing better than a glass of cold lemonade on a summer day. There have been successful stabs at lemonade sodas before (a certain LINK comes to mind), but you typically see lemon-lime seltzer.  Ol' Lemmy...he's a lemon.  The smell?  Tart.  The flavor? Great!  Heh, I'm only kidding.  I ended up drinking quite a bit, but I'm putting the blame on the popcorn I was chomping.  It's too damn lemony!  It's almost dry.  Lemmy Lemonade exists, so I guess there is a contingent of people who slurp it down without a fuss.

I'm fine with the label, a navy blue 'neath a sunshine yellow.  I always mention the label, but it means more when the soda itself isn't a jerk. Look at the bottle!  That should be a refreshing drink, golldang it! What in tarnation is wrong with this world?  Suddenly, I've turned into Royal Dano at the beginning of Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

No.  I'm not feelin' lucky.  You're probably listening to The Shaggs.


Geek Out #124


Girlfriend: "Are we doing the right thing?  I've read the pamphlets, I've seen footage of the procedure, I've prayed, I've talked to God, I've talked to my family, I've talked to your family, I just...I just don't know.  My heart isn't sitting well."

Boyfriend: "Morton Downey."

GF: "What?"

BF: "He was one kooky cat, wasn't he?"

GF: "What the hell are you talking about?"

BF: "Y'know, he had Lloyd Kaufman on his short-lived talk show.  It was a nutty segment meant to promote 1988's Troma's War."

*uncomfortable silence*

BF: "Downey barely lets poor Lloyd speak before having him and his associate thrown off the set."

GF: "What are you trying to do to me?"

BF: "It's pretty obvious that it was staged, but it's still a gladdening vestige for fans of the weird and wobbly."

GF: "Gladdening vestige?  Who talks like that?"

*a nurse enters the waiting area*

Nurse: Miss?  It's time to kill your fucking baby.

BF: That reminds me; Dom said he's working on the next Soda Jerk.  Then he'll be reviewing a Troma-related film.  I wonder what it could be!

*the girlfriend begins to cry*

GF: *through tears* Who is Dom???

*the boyfriend gets up and leaves*


Blood Capsule #64


I don't care that Lou Ferrigno played Sinbad in a 1989 sequel, and I don't care that a truss of foreign unknowns made their own Sinbad sequel two years ago.  In this context, I choose to be stubborn. We're on Ray Harryhausen's turf, friends and neighbors.  This is serious bidna.  If you ask me, 7th Voyage is the first film of a trilogy, and it's utterly fantastic.  There is a long-held conspiracy theory that Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage" is about Sinbad's quest to coadjute the unification of sparring nations and to restore the stature of his shrunken princess.  Of course, that may just be the plot summary. Here's a little more!  Our stouthearted sailor runs across monsters manifold (that alliteration gets you wet/hard; don't deny it...yeah, that's right).

We are treated to a cyclops, a dragon, a two-headed Roc (a giant bird of prey), an eerie snake woman and a skeleton swordsman. The cyclops is the star of the show, for he is blessed with the most screen time.  The osteological duelist is truly stunning.  There would be an army of skeleton warriors in Jason and the Argonauts.  It's a scene that is fucking appendix-dropping, but the sword fight between Sinbad and a rather lanky fencer is...shit, I'm running out of ways to describe amazing things.  If you understand how stop-motion animation (or Dynamation, as it's presented in the credits) is achieved, you'll be speechless watching a great deal of the action in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

It's worth noting that there is a good movie wrapped around the special effects.  And Bernard Herrmann's score is badass.


The Soda Jerk Unbound: Part 2 of 6

Did you guess The Soda Jerk?  No one did!  I probably won't keep the series going beyond this six-issue run, unless I happen upon other rare, hard-to-find sodas.  Here's the thing(amajig); I found these bubbly waters at a Cracker Barrel of all places.  I mean, they usually sell sodas in glass bottles, but the last time I was there, I spotted a twat-ton of pops (this will be the only instance where I use that term, Mr. Hakari).  Without further bullshit...


I had never heard of the beverages that I'm spotlighting in this undead procession of editorials, but a few of them (maybe all of them) are regional favorites.  Moxie is a head-scratcher.  It's been around for a little while.  It was invented and patented in 1885 (!).  I mean, it was literally one of the first carbonated drinks commercially available in America, just beating Coca-Cola (rolled out in 1886). And it's still kicking.  It's popular among the residents of Wherever the Fuck, Midwestern State.  My question is, how?  How has it existed for 131 years?

I understand people are different.  I also understand that some (sick) fuckers enjoy bitter flavors.  My aunt tried a couple of swallows of Moxie at my behest and she couldn't stand it.  Theoretically, I have cut to the chase.  I hated Moxie.  The label refers to it as an elixir in a playful, chimerical way.  God, why didn't I see the signs?  FACTOID: This toxin was originally marketed as "nerve food."  It was sold on the strength of its medicinal properties, not unlike a panacea or a wonder drug.  The health angle was eventually dropped, but the image of looking bold and courageous?  A word became attached to it.  That's right, friends; moxy.  It's usually spelled with a "y," but that's where it came from...a shitty soda!

Now the back deck tastes like bitter root beer.

That's enough education.  More about Moxie.  It smells of root beer. The bouquet isn't offensive in the slightest, and to be perfectly honest, when this aerated birdlime first hits your tongue, it's not so bad.  That's because you haven't really tasted it yet.  The midtaste (I doubt that's English) brings with it a skerrick of bitterness.  The aftertaste...fuck, the aftertaste.  It's so bitter, I halfway expected the bottle to hand me a subpoena.  Like, dude.  My wheelchair didn't dent your sports utility vehicle.  Go fuck yourself, you cuntshark!  Um, anyway, I don't know how else to describe the notes.  It's a single note - BITTER.  Again, how has Moxie lasted for 131 years? How?????

The label is an eye-catcher.  Moxie's graphic design department is on point, I'll give them that.  I can't say I'm a fan of orange as the anchor color.  Probing their website, I kept getting the impression that this was supposed to be a traditional cola.  I don't know about you, but orange makes me think of...oranges.  Eh, I'm picking nits. The bottom line is that I wouldn't recommend Moxie to a terrorist.  I would kill a terrorist, but I wouldn't let them drink this slop.  What does that tell you?

Don't listen to this dead-eyed dick.


Godzilla Marathon OR How I Lost the Plot

Didn't I post about El Rey last week-ish?  Yeah, I did.  I'm doing it again.  I don't care for most national holidays, except Halloween. Independence Day fucking grates my peripheral nervous system because half of the bumpkin bushpigs in my taint of the woods probably don't know why we celebrate it beyond a surface understanding of AMERICA!  They see it as an excuse to load up on firecrackers.  I'm sorry; did I say firecrackers?  I meant professional fireworks, the kind you see at sporting events.  Hey, I love pretty colors, but these boastful explosives sound like cluster bombs, and they're freaking out our dogs.

It's ridiculous.  It's happened two nights in a row, and tonight is the actual holiday!  I know I'm hard on America (maybe that's more on Facebook), but we completely miss the point of almost every holiday. Thanksgiving?  Food and football!  Christmas?  Trees and presents! Easter?  Eggs and a giant fucking bunny!  Valentine's Day?  Flowers and chocolate, but only on V-Day!  Halloween?  Ah, that's why it's the best holiday.  The point of Halloween is to have fun.  Ideally, you would have fun in a horror-centric way, but it's not mandatory.  You can't fuck this one up, unless you simply hate fun.  Wait, what the hell was I planning to discuss before I took an off-ramp and turned right onto Fustian Blvd.?  Popped a vein and shit.

Just kidding.  My cock is as smooth as a baby's co...mmon sense.  El Rey!  Right now!  They're airing a massive Godzilla marathon to usher in the fourth.  Fourteen films, if I'm not mistaken, and one of them is Rodan.  Rodan is lousy.  But hey!  Thirteen Godzilla films! I've heard grumbling that they're not in order, but who gives a lick? Obviously, this writer is pro-randomness.  I'm going to get cracking on part two of The Soda Jerk Unbound.  It's a big deal!