Album Cover of the Whatever

It's back!  And thank Satan for that; I need a low-effort column.  Maybe you think I could have picked a better Mercyful Fate album cover.  That's subjective.  Maybe you think I could have picked a better Mercyful Fate album.  That's objective.  This isn't a long player proper, playa!  It's simply a compilation of b-sides and rare material.  While I detest the title font (I see they went with the "cheap paste" option), the artwork is a generic party.  As in Party City.  It's as dumb as a box of dumb, but it's fun!  It's cheese, it's Halloween, it's Subspecies II: Bloodstone, it's...you get the point.


A Cure for Wellness

After watching it back recently, I'd have to say that 1998's Gargantua isn't that bad.  It's very obvious, yes, and the CGI doesn't hold up, but it's agreeable enough to watch.  I don't know why you asked, though.  I thought I made it clear that this is a review of 2016's A Cure for Wellness, a picture that I pined for when it bedecked theaters.  This would have been a great flick to catch in theaters.  Alas, I wasn't able to make it out to the hippodrome.  Over six months since my last review, I can still use ridiculous words with the best of 'em.  Don't you refer to your local movie shack as a hippodrome?  You shouldn't.

Previews painted Wellness as a wholly unique experience.  And it is unique, but now that I've imbibed the film, it's a teensy bit more conventional than I was expecting.  In a disappointing way.  I'll get to the good stuff later (my opinion is broadly roseate), but everything felt vaguely Hollywood-by-numbers.  It's as though a studio executive was standing on the set, just off to the side, intercalating directives such as "Make the ending big!" and "She's the love interest!"  By the way, I don't know that Mia Goth was the nonpareil choice to play Hannah.  This is where I need to parlay plot details, isn't it?  Damn.

Dane DeHaan is Lockhart, a young upstart who is sent to Switzerland to bring his company's CEO back to America.  Apparently, Pembroke (the CEO) has stolen away to a sequestered rehabilitation clinic nestled in the Swiss Alps.  To get "well."  Ooooh, quotation marks!  That means something mysterious is happening!  Mysteriously!  Without diving into particulars, the sanitarium utilizes eels and gallons upon gallons of water.  It's totally legit.  Seriously, how does this place exist?  Aren't there codes and ordinances that would protect against the construction of a horror house such as this?  The town is cool with it?

The plot holes are noticeable, but let's put those aside for a minute.  Back to Hannah.  We are never told her exact age, but I swear to Jehovah's astragalus (it's one of the proximal bones of the tarsus, you monkey), the girl is barely pubescent.  Fourteen at the oldest.  The actress is older, but that doesn't matter.  She looks fourteen and yet, Wellness tries to pass her off as desirable.  The marked age difference between Hannah and Lockhart doesn't seem to rankle the film.  Ew.  The villain attempts to rape her and we see her breasts AND EW.  "Ew" is probably the point, and I get that.  It's just a very uncomfortable sit.

I liked this film?  Yeah, I guess so.  Gore Verbinski is a master of the visual arts.  Several images reminded me of his redux of The Ring, mainly the underwater shots of suspended bodies and furtive, double-dealing eels (I don't trust those creepy motherfuckers).  The cast is fine (nice segue, Dom).  Jason Isaacs should be the next James Bond.  Don't get me wrong; he's excellent here as a twisted doctor, but his gentility is quite winning.  Man, apart from this paragraph, this review isn't nearly as positive as I imagined it would be in my head.

Technically speaking, A Cure for Wellness is high-grade material.  I wanted to see how it ended, which is important.  Did the ending make sense?  Nope!  This is a lengthy feature, but it still feels as though scenes were truncated.  Robert Z'Dar says, "Give Gargantua another chance."


What the...? A video Blood Capsule?

I'm working on finishing up a (written!) movie review, but until the warm, flaky bun is out of the oven, please enjoy the first of a few seasonal videos highlighting a few seasonal movies.  Is there a dweller in your cellar?


Cripples ov Siberia

Hi!  Boy, my life has FUCKING SUCKED as of late, but I think I can find pockets of time to spend on this rinky-dink website.  It's October, after all.

I recently bought a few compact discs (a "CD" is an optical data storage format), and I realized something.  I'm done!  Sorry, bands.  I am finally done purchasing ringlets of music when half of the time - I'm not even kidding - the discs skip.  Brand new goddamn discs!  I have Alexa in my room, so with our Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, I can jam to almost any record.  No, this isn't a sponsored post.  I wish.

Between the bitch (Alexa), YouTube and Spotify, I'm alright in the metal department.  Look, I held out as long as I could.  Friends renounced ceedeez years ago, so I've been the old man out.  Not anymore!  I was moved to write on the topic after "spinning" I Loved You at Your Darkest, the latest Behemoth opus.  Man, it's a motherfucker.  I didn't go head over hooves for The Satanist, but this sick puppy does the trick.  It marks a seamless progression (and in some cases, amelioration) for the band, striking (dis)harmony between gruff death metal and forward-reaching black metal.

See you when I see you.


The High Ate Us

I've been thinking a lot about...life. lolz  Life, maaaaaan.  Time and how it's perceived.  That doesn't make a lick of sense, but basically, I need to work on other stuff.  Non-website stuff.  You know where this is going.  I hesitate to use the word "'hiatus" because that implies that I'll be back at some point.  And I might!  I don't want to scare anyone, but I'm fucking 33 years old.  That's human years!  I need to switch shit up.  If I do decide to come back for the fifth time, I'll let people know.  I'll let you know, bro!


Album Cover of the Whatever

What happens when you can't find the comic book you wanted to review?  Album cover of the whatever, baby!  Count yourself lucky.  I'll keep looking.  That comic is guaranteed to be a slam dunk.  But hey, this is a pretty good album.  The band is Unreqvited (sic) and the album is Stars Wept to the Sea.  It's (mostly) relaxing post-metal with an omnipresent blackness.  I don't know exactly what is happening on the cover, but if the title is prognostic, those are stars weeping...y'know, to the sea.  All I know is that I adore the base color.  I'm positive that "base color" is a hair styling term, but fuck it.  I'm too metal to care!



Rewatching this 90's favorite, I nearly choked on my dry roasted edamame (they were just peanuts) when I realized that Young Sil was played by Michelle Williams.  She was so cute!  So I have personal history with Species.  Seven years ago (!), I reviewed the film's comic book tie-in.  You can read that HERE, but be forewarned, I basically review the movie in the first paragraph.  Er, read this first.  Yeah.  Keep in mind, I read the four-issue comic series before seeing the motion picture.  I was deep in the throes of puberty upon my initial viewing of Species, so it was a flustering experience.  Stupid cock contractions.  I do remember liking the finished product.

Let's get this out of the way.  Natasha Henstridge was a firm 20 years old when she shot this thing.  It was her first acting gig!  Fresh out of the wrapper and all that.  She is a sweltering smokeshow, and due to the convenient skullduggery of the storyline, she spends a disproportionate (or proportionate, depending on how you look at it) amount of screen time either topless or naked.  That is not a complaint.  The feminist chunk of my brain is all, "Bitch, please."  The other chunks find Species to be a rather watchable update of Lifeforce.  Oh, and I enjoy boobs.  Sil could be seen as a feminist villain who goes after what she wants without any regard for men.  Of course, she also rips out the spine of a club chick.  That tends to disrupt the metaphor.

Positives!  Director Roger Donaldson brings a steady hand to the proceedings.  The plum, comfortable budget ensures that everything looks gorgeous.  Man, those opening credits are a sci-fi fanatic's nocturnal emission.  It's clear that MGM wanted this to be a success on the level of Alien.  They even deputized the talents of the late, great H.R. Giger to design their creature.  I dig Sil, but they pissed on her with dated CGI.  Even in 1995, it didn't look convincing.  The non-digital effects rawk, and there are gallons of gore to go around.  Speaking of Night of the Seagulls, it's my top entry in the Blind Dead saga.  Speaking of Chucky Voorhees, that ain't no river!

Sometimes, my marbles trip over themselves.  People get hurt.  The acting is passable, although I doubt that anyone knew why they were in this popcorn collage.  Forest Whitaker tries like hell to carry depth as Dan, an empath who knows which way Sil went.  I really don't think that screenwriter Dennis Feldman knows or understands the capabilities of an empath.  As a matter of fact, I sniffed out boxcars of plot holes.  They didn't bother me much as a teenager, and they still don't.  Species isn't the type of scare flick that is decided by nuance.  It's a fun, fast-paced grotesquery that feels like an R-rated episode of The X-Files.  Robert Z'Dar says, "Titties!"


Go Raptors!

I don't know how many times I've mentioned it (perhaps zero), but I'm an NBA fan.  The playoffs start tomorrow, and unlike most years, the winners won't be obvious.  An upset in the first round is practically guaranteed.  But who will be upset?  And in which conference?  As it relates to basketball, I follow three teams.  My local pick (Charlotte Hornets), my biased pick (Toronto Raptors...I've just always liked them) and my bandwagon pick (Golden State Warriors).  C'mon, we all have a popular team that we don't regard with contempt.  Plus, Steph Curry is a die-hard fan of my Carolina Panthers.

In the first round, the Raptors contend with a nervy, tenacious Wizards squad.  John Wall and Bradley Beal are nothing to scoff at, and in point, these two teams split their season series.  Did I mention that Toronto is the #1 seed in the East and that Washington is the #8 seed?  If you follow pro hoops, you already know this stuff.  I bring it up to underscore the fact that this kind of upset (#8 trouncing #1) has happened quite a few times.  I admit, I'm jittery.  Toronto's legacy reeks of inconsistency, but this is the best crew of carnivorous bipedal dinosaurs ever assembled.  Literally!  Their regular season tally of 59 wins is a franchise record, and head coach Duane Casey (my vote for Coach of the Year), thoroughly reshuffled the offensive M.O. to mirror that of the defending champions - the Golden State Warriors!

And I'm only talking about one series.  Out of eight.  They will all be worth watching, sweetie pie.  Don't worry; I'll get back to reviewing horror films next week.  Had to get this out of my system.  Go Checkers!


Wrestlemania 34 Part II

Let's finish this bitch!

7) D-Bry and Shane/Owens and Zayn ~ We saw a controlled burst of Daniel Bryan's offense on Smackdown, but this was his first match in three years.  Let me tell you, he went full-bore and it was obvious that he was having a fucking blast.  I had a blast, too!  It felt like watching a happy puppy playing in the snow.  Slushy simile, but c'mon.  This was feelgood wrestling.

8) Nia/Alexa For The Raw Women's Championship ~ Storytelling was paramount here.  Honestly, I can't recall many moves or sequences from the contest (trying not to use "match" a billion times), but that wasn't the point.  I did like the terse levity early on when both participants screamed simultaneously.  Alexa's slasher-worthy shriek elicited audible laughter from those in attendance.

9) Styles/Nakamura For The WWE Championship ~ Oh, baby.  This was the fight that I was looking forward to the most.  It was...alright.  Before I grill the meat, how about Nita Strauss jamming on Nakamura's entrance theme?  She rocked it!  Yes, I'm a fan.  So the match brought intense action and a sick heel turn, but for whatever reason, I wasn't feelin' it.  Things never went to that next level.  I'm not explaining myself very well.  One obstacle was the limitation on time (otherwise known as a "time limit").  Not the wrestlers' fault, but dude, it's fucking Wrestlemania.  Why not let them go for a half-hour?  Vince doesn't seem to understand the significance of a match's length.  I'm a stickler for that shit.  On the upside, we'll get more matches out of these two gentlemen.  Bring it, I say!

10) Braun and Nicholas/The Bar ~ I can see the reasoning behind plunking a lighter scuffle in between your main events, but I'm not sure how I feel about brushing The Bar to the side and devalorizing the Raw tag titles.  I'm conflicted.  Hemming and hawing.  Wishy AND washy.  Hey, I'll ease off.  Nicholas is a cute kid, and that's a memory that will never fade from his mental laundry.

11) Lesnar/Reigns For The WWE Universal Championship ~ Yeah, I didn't give a flapping fuck.  The crowd tuned out almost immediately.  No amount of blood (and it was actually too much) was going to change my mind.  Overall, this was a gratifying PPV, so it's a shame that it had to end with a galumph.

I didn't cover the pre-show, but it was adequate.  The women's battle royal was terrible, the cruiserweights were typical (I dug the gymnastics and Mustafa Ali's Max Moon-esque gear) and I missed the Andre the Giant battle royal, though I'm pleased with the results.  Billy goats urinate on their own heads to smell more attractive to females.  Bye!


Wrestlemania 34 Part I

First of all, NXT Takeover: New Orleans was flippin' awesome.  The entire card.  I wanted to get that out of the way before attempting to break down Wrestlemania (yes, I waited until I digested Raw).  Now, where is my silverware?

1) Rollins/Miz/Balor For The Intercontinental Championship ~ A logical choice to open the main show, as it bristled with pluck and vivacity.  In other words, it was energetic.  I have a feeling that were it not for the arrival of Monroe Sky Mizanin, The Miz would have retained and broken Pedro Morales's record for most combined days as IC champ.

2) Charlotte/Asuka For The Smackdown Women's Championship ~ I have given it thought, and I believe that this was the best match of the night.  Should it have been longer?  Yeah.  However, all that these two ladies could do was maximize the minutes in front of them.  They did.  Everything was clean and I can't remember any wasted motion.  Asuka is a polished veteran, while Charlotte's progress from where she was just five years ago is nothing short of remarkable.  Hopefully, this wasn't the last tussle between The Queen and The Empress.  They have SERIOUS chemistry.

3) Jinder/Randy/Bobby/Rusev For The United States Championship ~ There are a few matches here that I had zero investment in tailgating on the road to Wrasslemania.  I'm afraid that this is one of them.  Also, I'm not convinced that the winner wasn't chosen with a dart.  Orton?  I haven't cared about him since 2010.  Roode is fine, but he should never have lost the title.  Rusev has "Rusev Day."  Big deal.  I give this bland bout a Meltzer rating of piss out of shit.

4) Angle and Rousey/Triple H and Stephanie ~ This was way more fun than I was expecting.  That's, in part, due to all of the parties playing their roles to a T.  Say what you will about Trips and Steph, but they know how to be heels.  Plus, it's obvious that Ronda is committed to the craft.  I can't wait to see who she faces at next year's Mania.  How scorching hot did she look in that skirt?

5) The Bludgeon Brothers/The Usos/The New Day For The Smackdown Tag Team Championships ~ God, that's a lot of words.  Invariably, one (or two) of the title matches was going to be pared down, but I'm fine with it.  This fracas didn't need to stretch beyond five minutes.  The Bludgeon Brothers should have been booked this way in their days as Wyatt bondservants.  Better late than never?

6) The Undertaker/John Cena ~ I was against the "build-up" of this match from the jump.  Yeah, I know they'll eventually have to sell a major PPV without either icon, but I don't care.  John Cena cutting promos all by his lonesome for four straight weeks makes for shitty television, even if they were solid promos.  And yet, the match itself put a dense, doltish smile on my face.  It was essentially a classic Superstars showcase from 1992 where 'Taker squashed Cena.  How can I be peeved at that?  I sincerely hope that it was The Phenom's coda.  As a (huge) fan, I want closure.

Hmm, closure.  I'm going to hold off on giving you closure.  It struck me that Smackdown is tonight and the next match on the WM card involves a certain Goat Man.  I'll finish this tomorrow, yo.


Sex with Satan?

It occurred to me that it's been a tiny while since I've posted something, so...um, here's an episode of Tales From the Crypt starring Morton Downey Jr.  An early instance of "found footage" terror, only it's actually creepy in patches.  Boo!


Blood Capsule #88


There are too many Bigfoot flicks out there.  Way, way too many.  Demonwarp gives prominence to a Bigfoot-esque creature, but this isn't your stock, customary Bigfoot flick.  It's...different.  If you plan on seeing Demonwarp in the near future, skip this capsule.  I really need to spoil the shit out of it to make a case for it.  Okay?  Okay.  A spaceship crashes in the forest.  The lead alien (a demon with a scorpion tail) tyrannizes his underlings (rotting zombies) until they mend the identified flying object.  What if a person waltzes into the hollow where the ship resides?  Well, the lead alien injects a fluid into the victim (via scorpion tail) that turns the bastard into a sasquatch.

Let's recap.  Aliens, zombies, a cool cryptid...and those are just the topliners.  We also get boobs and a laughable cult sacrifice on a set built with cardstock.  It's fantastic!  I'm thumbing my nose at the production quality, but the practical effects are impressive.  All of the monsters look swell.  Isn't that what's most important?  Look, I'm not going to bore you by mentioning dinky snags (the superfluous daylight is a buzzkill) or detailing performance minutiae (George Kennedy is very George Kennedy).  Demonwarp is a badass b-movie.  Period.  The second act slumps a speck, but who cares?  What's your man got to do with me?  I'm not tryin' to hear that, see?


Album Cover of the Whatever

It seems that every day, I discover a cool band.  'Twas just 5 (or 447) days ago, I discovered Whispered, a Samurai death metal band.  Yeah, Samurai death metal!  If I were hooked up to a polygraph machine, I would call them a melodic death metal band, but truthfully, their vibe is hard to explain.  The closest cousin is Children of Bodom.  Speaking of Finland, Whispered is from Finland, and no, that doesn't make sense.  Maybe they really dig dragons and swords.  Who doesn't, right?

But that's not the point!  Check out the cover art.  Decapitate two of its heads, and that whipping wyvern could cosplay as King Ghidorah.  I'm into Asian imagery in general.  Oh, the album is called Metsutan: Songs of the Void.  I don't usually do this, but I'm including a video because I want to give Whispered an infinitesimal boost.  Thank me later, guys!


Giant From the Unknown

I was hoping to get this review out a few days earlier, but I didn't.  Shit.  It happens.  The string of heavenly b-movies produced in the 50's was just about to go kaput by the end of the decade, but there were still a few winners to be hatched.  For instance, you have 1959's The Monster of Piedras Blancas.  It's golden.  1958's Giant From the Unknown is...bronze?  It's nothing special, I grant you, but I couldn't hate it.  At least the storyline is whacked.  The grave of a centuries-dead Spanish conquistador is yawped by an electrical storm.  A lightning bolt disturbs his tomb, rousing the 6-foot-7 "degenerate" to leave his casket and plunge into a killing spree.

The actor behind Jack Pierce's make-up was actually 6-foot-7.  Trivia, bitches!  His name was Buddy Baer, and he was a professional boxer (not to mention the uncle of Max Baer Jr., who you might know as Jethro Bodine).  A word on horror legend Pierce, if I may.  He fortified his reputation applying make-up to the Universal monsters.  While his work here isn't bad by definition, it's certainly lacking.  My guess is that he wanted as much of Baer's performance to beam through as possible, but I want my monsters to look like monsters.  Yes, I'm nitpicking.  Monsters are my vocation, so I'm tough on them.  I assure you that it's tough love.

Let's see how many usages of "monster" I can cram into the rest of this disquisition.  As charming as Giant tends to be (I'll expound on this later if you mind your peas and queues), it does take its sweet time digging up its undead, armor-clad conqueror.  The exposition is pleased with itself.  And yeah, that's grating, but again, the whole thing charmed the Bermuda bloomers off of me.  Why, my jodhpur boots nearly kicked off in the prevailing winds of stupefaction!  I'm overselling, but I do find reels of this ilk to be amiable.  I was willing to brave the dry first half, and I don't recommend Giant to those without the same comportment.

Once the action picks up steam, our creature feature becomes an easier sit.  I have to hand it to screenwriters Ralph Brooke and Frank Hart Taussig for piecing a legitimate climax together.  Is it heart-stirring?  Is it as suspenseful as pissing with a kidney stone?  No.  No, no, no...nothing is that suspenseful.  However, the resolution presents as an honest-to-Dionysus battle.  I dug it.  People die, man.  The discovery of Indian Joe's hanging cadaver is surprisingly effective.  Um, about Indian Joe.  He's a carelessly, blunderingly racist character played by a white motherfucker.  I know I should have expected as much, but these itty-bitty issues instantly make the viewer dumber.  The film is also inclusive enough to feature pockets of sexism.  Why can't America be this great again???

Damn, that's a closing sentence if I've ever read one.  I'm ruining it.  So Giant From the Unknown!  It's a flawed, somewhat pedestrian drive-in spangle that I enjoyed a little more than most cult freaks would.  Robert Z'Dar says, "C'mon, Dom.  You're making Indian Joe shed a tear.  Go Redskins!"


Geek Out #136

This is the intro for The King Kong Show, a 1966 animated series produced by Rankin/Bass.  The actual animation was outsourced to Toei, a Japanese studio.  Technically, this was the first anime to be commissioned by an American company (thank you, Wikipedia).  I can't stand anime, but The King Kong Show isn't traditional anime.  No open jaws.

Hey, here's some more Kong trivia!  This series spawned Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (a.k.a. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep), which was originally a Kong vehicle.  Eventually, Toho made King Kong Escapes instead.


New (no)filter!

Three!  Three episodes!  We did it!  Okay, we're still working out audio kinks (MIGHT have those fixed in a couple of episodes), but overall, this one...is a thing!  We talk about 1994's Funnyman, a film that I'm shocked I haven't discussed on this website.  It's about a demonic fuckin' jester!  C'mon!  Make some noise!


Yes! Yep! Yeah!

It's practically old news by now, but Daniel Bryan has been officially cleared by WWE medical personnel to be injured again.  Alright, so he's not injured again, but I know I wasn't the only one wincing at the end of Smackdown last night.  I guess if you can go, you gotta go full-bore.  Man, seeing DB laying in some of his signature offense?  Goose flesh.

Where do we go from here?  Wherever it is, tread carefully.  I mean, you can't treat the guy like a fragile wineglass, nor should you book him in a Street Fight.  The obvious play is to pair him up with Shane McMahon against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.  That would work.  Initially, I had zero interest in Wrestlemania 34, but the card has shaped up nicely.  Styles/Nakamura, Charlotte/Asuka, Rousey/Others (a circus match, but I'm fucking watching), Cena/Taker (we all know it's happening)...when you factor in the bloat, it's almost too much.

If they shave needless video packages (they won't), the show should run a lean six hours.  After the pre-show.  Fuck.



I have known of this film's existence for several years.  Because I'm me.  This is what I do.  1988's Headhunter has ducked my custody until just recently.  I expected it to be a supernatural slasher, the kind that the late 80's were so damn adept at cranking out with a heavy right foot.  And it was, but it surprised me with a stunted shot of suspense.  Miami detectives Pete and Kat are assigned to a bizarre homicide investigation that involves dead chickens, a missing severed head and black people.  That's right, kids.  I'm talkin' 'bout love.  I'm talkin' 'bout VOODOO!  If you think about it, "voodoo horror" is very rarely mediocre.  From Angel Heart to The Serpent and the Rainbow, this stuff is entertaining.  I even dug 2005's Venom in spite of its conspicuous lack of Oliver Reed.

Anyway, to make a long story short, our sleuths eventually come face to machete with the malefactor, an ancient...spirit thing.  That's him on the cover.  Yeah, we aren't propounded with much information, aside from a name that I couldn't begin to spell.  It's super-duper powerful, naturally.  The ambiguity is frustrating, but what really seared my septum was the fact that we don't get to see it until the last 15 minutes.  For the most part, the villain is a roving POV camera.  In one scene, he "attacks" from underwater.  We see the machete rising like a shark fin (deepest, bluest).  Admittedly, I'm cool with the killer's rubbery look.  I was reminded of The Creep from Creepshow 2, and that's never a trouble.

Those last 15 minutes I mentioned earlier?  Remember?  Back when we were happy?  They do kick ass.  The climax is actually worth the wait, which I hear is the point of a climax.  The rest of the third act is spent on building tension, and you won't believe this, but it works!  Okay, it worked on me.  I'm a little dumb.  I felt that I owed it to the movie to meet it halfway.  After all, it kept me supraliminal.  I linked you to a definition, but it doesn't even make sense.  It kept me awake!  There.  This is what I get for trying to be literate.  Um, the acting is good.  It's unbad.

No, they deserve a better analysis.  Wayne Crawford plays the world-weary cop well.  Extra kudos for nailing moments that required vulnerability.  The foxy Kay Lenz is fantastic as Kat.  These two performances must have been choppered in from an a-movie.  Production-wise, Headhunter wears the mark of an a-movie.  The cinematography is silken, the locations are eye-popping and Crawford's moustache is the real deal.  This is where I tell you that I'd recommend Headhunter on a late spring night.  In the olden days, I would say "check it out if you can find it," but in 2018, you are more than likely to find a video game commercial that isn't cinematic.  So watch it on YouTube.  If you can find it.

ADDENDUM: I fucking forgot a major selling point.  Headhunter references The Hideous Sun Demon on more than one occasion.  As a matter of palpable truth, the 1958 "creature suit" shindig plays on a television during the payoff.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Sicarius is a black metal band out of California, but their sound isn't kissed by the clarion rays of the sun.  This is grimy stuff.  The riffs are lethal.  I dig it, and I dig the artwork that finds a sect of congregants worshiping either light (perhaps their only means of escape) or a knife-bearing goddess.  The cover is telling a story of some sort, but I like that it's open to interpretation.  And the title is killer.  Serenade of Slitting Throats...fucking metal!


Blood Capsule #87


Aww, yeah.  This is what I'm talking about.  It has been too long (like, a week) since I've enjoyed a frugal, prudential budget movie.  And this bastard has it all.  Dazed acting, awkward dialogue, a donkey dick plot and stop-motion effects.  You heard me right, dollface!  STOP-MOTION!  I'll start at the beginning.  This shouldn't take too long.  An astronomy professor takes a group of his most passionate students on a field trip to a small town where it has been reported that flying saucers are pouncing on pastures and mutilating cattle.  Mutilating.  Via...mutilations!

Ostensibly (ooh, we're high-brow today), Mutilations was filmed in 1986 and released in 1987.  I wasn't there, so I'm trusting web scriveners to guide me with good faith.  Most certainly, I will regret it.  This 50's throwback was stitched together with a demonstrable love for the genre, especially golden regalia such as Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and I Married a Monster From Outer Space.  It.  Is.  Fun!  You know what helps?  The running time, which spouts at anywhere from 67 to 70 minutes, depending on the version you are watching.  I have no clue what was cut or added, but I was able to peek at weirdo gore (see the above image).

Honestly, the "claymation" is well-mounted.  We get a tubular action sequence where the characters joust with the alien creatures, and the rear-projection imagery meshes alright with the robo-dinosaurs.  Yeah.  The monsters favor robo-dinosaurs.  I dig.  Mutilations isn't the best z-grade sci-fi/horror yarn I've ever seen, but fuck, it made me write the longest Blood Capsule to date.  Actually, that's up for debate, but I don't feel like counting words.  Sheep, on the other hand...


Dommy Impact?

So John Hennigan can just change his last name based on the company he's working for?  He has been Morrison (and Nitro) in ECW/WWE, he has been Mundo in Lucha Underground and ever since joining the Impact roster, he has been - you guessed it - Impact!  Readers, from hence and whence forth, I am to be addressed as Dom Random.

Ergh, nevermind.  I prefer my given appellation (Domstopher Valenzuela-Hakari Esq.).  So the other night, I decided to do the unthinkable.  I watched Impact Wrestling!  Apparently, I picked a good week, as the episode had a Crossroads theme.  It was essentially a 2-hour PPV with commercial breaks.  All but one contest was stipulated for a golden strap.  I will freely admit; I was impressed, although I had a feeling that I would be.  You see, management has been displaced again.  If what I'm reading is correct (it is), Impact's current bookers are Scott D'Amore and Don Callis.  And if I'm being honest (I'm not...okay, I am), the former TNA is in safe hands.

Then again, I was spared promo segments on account of the episode's match-only focus.  I'll watch again next Thursday to gauge the product and find out if it's still whackadoodle.  Other fans are into this shit.  Personally, I haven't watched Impact in years.  When I say it put me off, it really fucking put me off.  I don't expect to start watching it on a weekly basis because Satan almighty, there is a cunt-ton of wrestling in the ether!  Between NXT, Smackdown (I scarcely bother with Raw), NJPW and random (!) indie promotions that I follow, I don't have time to cum in my pants.

You caught me.  The truth is, I do have time to...let's change the subject, shall we?  The Sydal/Ishimori match was brain-melting, and it made me pine for the days of Evan Bourne.  Ha!  The main event was fucking killer.  Austin Aries versus Johnny Impact.  Need I say more?  They could have gone for half an hour.  Damn TV limitations.  I've mentioned this already, but I'm super curious to discover where this show is, really.  On a sliding scale from righteous X-Division wars to Dixie Carter sleeping with A.J. Styles, where are we exactly?  Which pole are we closer to?

PS-I don't get Laurel Van Ness.  Rosemary I get, but LVN?  She's tolerable in the ring, but something about the character isn't rendering for me.  My shoulders are shrugging.


DEATHWHITE - For a Black Tomorrow

I wouldn't normally review the album of a band I know next to nothing about, but I fucking love Deathwhite.  I do know that they hail from Pittsburgh.  I'm sure that the members have birth names, but they are credited as LM (vocals/guitars) and AM (drums).  In their only video, they are painted black.  Apparently, they have added a third member for touring purposes, but there are only two dudes on this year's For a Black Tomorrow, their debut full-length.  Aside from all that jazz, Deathwhite harken back to a simpler time when bands didn't say shit to the media.  Tool had that reputation, but if you do your homework, you'll see that they did their fair share of interviews in the olden days.

Not Deathwhite!  No, sir!  I realize that they just released Tomorrow, but they had put out a pair of extended plays (fuck you, I can spell it out if I want to) previous, of which I recommend 2015's Solitary Martyr.  So LM and AM have had plenty of time to speak to rock/metal journalists.  What do they sound like?  Yes, I would agree with you that I should probably touch on the music.  Their genus is more akin to a scent or character than a simple qualifier such as goth or prog rock.  They fall in between subgenres.  To be specific, they fall in between goth and prog rock.  Tool interbred with Katatonia?  Closer to the latter, if we're dealing with lyrics.  These songs are obsessed with suicide and depression.

I dig sadness as a topic.  Minor keys!  I dig those, too.  "The Grace of the Dark" is a sturdy opener that finds its narrator dying and wilting into oblivion.  A toe-tapper, that one.  "Contrition" is the heaviest track offered, and I can't help banging my fucking head whenever I hear it.  Sure, it causes irreparable damage to my neck, but I blame the power of the riff, for it compels me!  It also flaunts sweet guitar harmonies, as does "Poisoned," the first tune to take advantage of an acoustic guitar.  "Just Remember" has awesome vokill melodies.  By the way, those are the first four songs on Tomorrow, all sequenced and everything!

LM's voice brings Maynard James Keenan to mind.  I can sing like Maynard.  Big deal.  Whatever.  Single "Dreaming the Inverse" ends with an emotional crescendo, and I'd be lying if I said that the lyrics didn't hit home.  Usually, your enjoyment of a piece of art corresponds with your ability to relate to it.  That's what's happening here, but it's also just a good fucking album.  However, it's not perfect!  Things dissolve a tad after "Dreaming the Inverse," an apogee of sorts.  "Death and the Master," "Prison of Thought" and the title track are growing on me, though.  It matters none.  I'm recommending the shit out of For a Black Tomorrow.  I've listened to it nonstop for two weeks, if that tells you anything.


Mr. Stitch

Sometimes, when you decide to watch a particular film, you have no idea what you're stepping into.  I bought 1995's Mr. Stitch.  Okey-dokey.  It's a sci-fi thriller (getting sick of those, by the way).  Okey-dokey.  Hey, look at that!  It stars Rutger Hauer and Wil Wheaton.  Okey-dokey.  It was the first Sci-Fi Channel original movie ever made?  Oh dear Satan.  It all makes sense now.  There may not have been any sharknados or arachnoquakes, but Mr. Stitch is the special kind of rotten that only could have been brought to pass by that Comcast-branded magnate.  That knife-wielding Hitler youth.  That pillager of sacred ground (read: MST3K).  That...that!

I'm choosing to review it for two reasons.  1) It's a modified retelling of Frankenstein, so genre-wise, it's up to code.  You might even call it hep or hunky-dory.  2) It's an anomaly.  Mr. Stitch doesn't remind me of any other film in existence, except maybe for The Item.  They both begin with a dissuading, inhospitable strangeness that makes it difficult to finish the damn thing.  Like a bad piece of meat that is hard to swallow.  Halfway through production, Hauer began improvising his dialogue.  He snubbed the script entirely, forcing director Roger Avary (yes, that Roger Avary) to revise lines to correlate with whatever Hauer disgorged on set.

Knowing that, Rutger Hauer has leap-frogged to the top of my list of personal heroes.  I should try to put some of this into perspective.  Mr. Stitch isn't the worst tripe I've endured, but I definitely didn't enjoy a solitary second of it.  A group of scientists - led by Hauer's Dr. Wakeman - are tasked with concocting an android for use on the battlefield.  One of their experiments enlivens, and naturally, he has questions.  I say "he," but he's a hermaphrodite who identifies as male.  Wakeman explains that he is composed of 88 bodies.  That's 44 male, 44 female.  The experiment decides that he wants to be called Lazarus, a name he found in The Bible, one of two fictional works he was permitted to read.  The other?  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Lazarus confides in Dr. English, an attractive female scientist.  Through these interactions, English suspects that the experiment was stitched together with the flesh of former co-workers.  And her late boyfriend.  Now, I've just described an intriguing plot in theory.  The execution is way off.  The first 45 minutes are confined to a frost-white room.  That's all we see, unless you count the GIANT GODDAMN FLOATING EYEBALL, which is barely explained.  "Barely explained" is a running theme.  Lazarus is located in a top-secret, maximum security government facility, yet he faces no stumbling blocks escaping and driving anywhere he pleases.  He's never in a true pickle.  No pickles!

If you know me, you know that I'm not one to decimate a film for being modestly budgeted, but when Mr. Stitch doesn't leave an "examination room" for 45 minutes, I get testy.  You're supposed to hide your budget.  Fuck.  The concepts presented are compelling, but they're not compelling enough to cover for this frail, feeble Frankenstein monster.  I stretched for that alliteration.  Not my proudest moment.  NOTE: My rating might seem a bit generous, but there were spots where I could see effort.  I'm big on effort.  Still, don't watch Mr. Stitch.


Geek Out #135

I just realized that I used to format Geek Outs differently.  Text would go first; the video would follow.  Why I changed those dimensions is anyone's best guess, including mine.  Let's pretend that this is how I've always done it.  Okey-dokey?  Okey-dokey.  Today's Geek Out is the intro for the remake of Dark Shadows.  Funnily enough, I didn't watch either version, but I have vivid memories of seeing the modern variant while I was home sick from school.  It didn't freak me out or anything.  As I recall, it was one of the defanged moments that underscored the "soap opera" angle.


The Rowdy One

It isn't often (anymore) that I tune into USA on Monday nights to catch the beginning of Raw.  Rowdy Ronda Rousey, WWE's latest signee, made a ginormous fucking splash at Elimination Chamber, and I wanted to see the fallout.  Unlike in the Attitude Era, Vince doesn't start his shows with the big deal in 2018.  Ronda's the big deal.  Someone at Titan Towers has to know that.  When did the big deal finally emerge on Raw?  The last segment.  Of a three-hour show.  I figured that she would be used at the top of an hour, but fuck, I couldn't even get that right.

The segment itself was fine, albeit a tad clunky.  Triple H had no reason to punch Kurt Angle at that time.  It seemed random, and if anything, it made me giggle.  And it begs the question: how long until Ronda is either squandered or desecrated?  Monday night's "confrontation" doesn't bode well for her future as a pro-wrestler.  Listen, I'm cool with the proposed Wrestlemania match-up of Ronda and Kurt versus Trips and Stephanie, but what happens after that?  I suppose that it's a question of trust.  Friends, relatives, acquaintances, blacksmiths, silversmiths, knaves, cobblers, scallywags...I do not trust Vince McMahon.

I'm also conflicted.  As a fan of The Rousey, I want her to perform well.  As a fan of the women's division on both brands, I want the other challengers to the throne to be protected.  This is a good place to end what I would call a quasi-editorial.  There may be a wrestling-related rant in the coming weeks, but I shouldn't say too much.  It depends on week-to-week booking, and I may not be galled about it next week.  Until then, listen to doom and black metal.



This flick is barely worth reviewing.  It barely exists.  Out of respect for Bill Paxton (a.k.a. probably God), I will soldier on.  Woah, is Bad Religion subliminally fingering my mental anus?  I'm listening to "All Good Soldiers" off of Recipe for Hate and it may have prickled my subconscious, my immaterial marrow into typing "soldier."  Neat!  Anyway, 1993's Monolith is a mediocre sci-fi/action glob that more than likely went straight to videocassette faster than the speed of love.  Paxton plays Tucker, a rugged cop with a penchant for bending rules.  Wait, don't cringe yet.  Louis Gossett Jr. plays Mac, the boss of the precinct.  At one point, he actually says that the mayor is riding his tail.

The "buddy cop" cliches are FIERCE with this bitch.  Who is the buddy?  Lindsay Frost plays Flynn, a cute, yet attitudinal bluecoat.  Quality actors, but Christ in a bumper car, the dialogue is grueling.  None of it sounds natural, mainly because the screenplay forces Tucker and Flynn to butt heads without a good reason.  Oh, I didn't mention the sci-fi elements.  A vague, forgettable alien entity is in the possession of the government.  Obviously, it escapes.  How?  I'm glad you asked.  It jumps from host to host a la The Hidden and a googolplex of other genre films made after 1993.  To be fair, the premise of Monolith wasn't quite as generic as it is in the modern day.

If we got to see a gooey, malformed creature, that would be one thing.  But of course, we don't.  The only special effects in Monolith are streaks of "alien light."  As for gore, half of a man's face is mangled.  Eh.  Profanity is the most R-rated event that happens here, unless you count how violated I felt after the end credits rolled.  Can a copy of this movie be used as a rape kit?  I mean, it's all the evidence I would need to put director John Eyres away for life (and then let out after a couple months for good behavior).  The cinematography is plenty polished.  Everything seems professional, but again, if the script were any dumber, it would have to be watered twice a week.

I'm being careful not to berate Bill Paxton.  He's kewl, and hey, a job is a job.  That's the fuck of it.  The plot holes!  Tell me, how do you shoot down a helicopter with a single bullet from a rifle?  And what the hell does the government want with this alien?  Matters of espionage, I would presume, but the viewer learns next to nothing about our extraterrestrial menace.  CORRECTION: We learn nothing.  Thankfully, the pace is switched to the "chop-chop" setting, so Monolith speeds by without causing a disturbance.  It will leave my mind entirely as soon as I punctuate this sentence.  Also available on laserdisc.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Mammothor!  You would expect brutal death metal from that cover, but nope.  These guys play southern rock.  I only listened to half of one song.  It was okay.  Hey, I don't need to like the bands I feature with this column; I just need to like their album covers.  Diddley-do-cumbubble, I like this particular sliver of artwork.


Soska Sightings and Chokeslams

Well, thanks to busy days and too much sleep, this write-up is late.  I apologize.  Enough with the excuses.  On with the show!  Thanks to Josh for the spiffy pictures.

Leatherface skins me with his eyes while I browse movies in the dealer room.

It's that time again, apostles.  Over the weekend, a friend and I attended the Mad Monster Party horror convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  This is my fifth (possibly sixth) excursion to MMP.  I feel like a seasoned con-goer, though I know folks who have been to dozens of these blowouts.  This is a weird tangent to embark on at the beginning of this blurb, but autograph prices...what the fuck?  I admit that I don't go to conventions regularly.  One day, I'd love to be able to travel to Cinema Wasteland, but when did simple autographs skyrocket in perceived value?

I know these people need to eat (and some of them make a living off of conventions alone), but so do people outside of the entertainment industry.  $40 for the likeness of a moppet who impregnated a zombie squirrel in a direct-to-video slasher sequel?  I invented that person, but my point is valid.  And $40 was on the low end.  It's a good thing that I never cared about owning signatures.  "Pay top dollar for my precious calligraphy."  Fuck you, Rodney.  Rodney doesn't exist because apparently, I have a kink for inventing hypothetical humans, but no one has collectible penscript.  'Tis my two cents.  The memory of the experience of meeting genre notables is all I crave.

I hugged the Soska twins.  This is evidence.  I hugged the Soska twins.

One of my prime directives was to meet Jen and Sylvia Soska.  As soon as I noticed that they were on the guest list, I ordered my tickets.  The horror community has soured on them in recent years, and I understand it.  That has nothing to do with ME.  I'm just a silly cripple with crushes on both twins.  To be honest with you, I've only seen two of their works.  I do plan on rectifying that, but I'm more into their personalities.  And their boobs.  Having feminists out there writing and directing horror films can only serve to stimulate the latitude of the genre.

I asked to be choked.  No, it wasn't sexual, and yes, I forgot to act.

As you may be aware, the Soskas directed Kane in See No Evil 2.  It was a thin, yet highly entertaining "body count" cheese reel.  I can't believe that I've made it this far without screaming in all caps I MET KANE!  HOLY SHIT!  Back in 2011 (ah, to be semi-young again), I wrote a little tribute to Kane in celebration of a WWE storyline involving The Big Red Machine.  To sum up, I was a Kane freak in my freshman year of high school.  Actually meeting the man two decades later?  Goddamn surreal.  Of course, he was a chill gentleman.  Mellow and intimidating in equal measures.  By the way, do you see a scruffy dude in the top left-hand corner?

I fucking didn't!  I had a chance to say hello to Mick Foley, but I was so spluttered by the presence of Kane and the Soska sisters, I didn't know that he was sitting right behind my dumbfounded ass.

Me looking at...something.

While it's true that Robert Englund was at MMP, I didn't feel like waiting forever in line or coughing up mega-capital (we went over this already).  I regret it.  I do.  BUT later in the day, we found ourselves "behind the scenes," for want of a better maxim.  I was sitting in a hallway when someone shot me in the chest.  Shocked, I looked up from the bleeding wound to see my would-be assassin.  It was Robert fucking Englund!  Okay, maybe the scream king merely walked past me.  I did utter, "Holy shit, it's Robert Englund."  It came out sounding matter-of-fact, which must have amused Englund.  Several steps beyond me now, he echoed my "holy shit," only his was accented with scale and sonority.  It was awesome.

Robert Englund is awesome.

Yes, that deserved its own paragraph.  I presume that I had fun, as time zoomed by like a fast thing.  Yeah, I had fun.  I didn't bother with any other celebs.  Kismet or divine will (or...my mommy) invested a decent amount of money in this trip.  I mean, I had to spend it.  I HAD TO.  Without bogging this waffling, circumlocutory memoir down with specifics, I purchased...

  • Ten-ish movies.  I nabbed Delicatessen on VHS for $4.  Steal!  Who wants to fuck me first?
  • Two shirts, including a badass Goosebumps tee (get this - it's the cover of Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns).  Who wants to fuck me second!?
  • Universal horror plushies!  I picked up Frankie, The Mummy and Dracula.  The latter went to Booker, our adorable pitbull terrier.  Who wants to fuck a dog?  Please do not answer that question.
  • A small bottle of Coca-Cola.

I know for a fact that I bought more, but my brain is toast.  Sorry again for the delay.  You fuckers.

Bonus Soska!


Telegraph the Stars

I'm not going to explain this post except to say that...okay, maybe a mild explanation is warranted.  A) The above image is dumb.  In actual fact, it's dumber than I need it to be, but it serves its purpose.  B) What purpose?  To raise suspicion.  I'm foreshadowing tomorrow evening's post.  It's a floozy, sports fans!  Or a doozy.  I get those two confused, but I'm sure that I'm in the ballpark.  Anyway, come back tomorrow.  Same channel.