Geek Out #134

Did you know that Rick Moranis had his own cartoon?  It was Gravedale High, an NBC production where he voiced the only human at a monster school.  He was a teacher who looked like...Rick Moranis.  Anyway, I wish I had known about in 1990 because this show rocked!  I have presented to you, dear reader, the first episode.  Every type of monster is covered.  My favorite is Gill Waterman, obviously inspired by Creature From the Black Lagoon.  He's a surfer voiced by Jackie Earle Haley (!).  Elsewhere, Cleofatra (as voiced by Ricki Lake) is a plump mummy.  Mr. Tutner is another rotund mummy, only he's voiced by Tim fucking Curry!


You'd expect The Amazon to be taller...

I was considering doing a video review of the Royal Rumble, but ick.  Don't get me wrong; the Rumble (PPV) was great, but I'm not jumping at the opportunity to spend time on wrestling content.  I see the numbers.  No one really reads that stuff.  I'm not saying that I'm done with NXT Round-Up, but for right now, I'm sticking to bread and butter.  Between the two of us, they picked the right guy and gal to win the Rumbles.  Everything else was booked to perfection, though I think it's time to give Braun the title.

And holy shit, there was a massive Bullet Club shake-up over the weekend.  Maybe I need to write a blurb on New Japan.  Maybe.


Mountaintop Motel Massacre

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (hereby referred to as MMM) was forged in 1983 under two different titles.  It didn't scare up much coin, so three years later, Roger Corman's New World Pictures offered to release it under the more exploitative banner that we know today.  I think it was originally dubbed Mountaintop Motel, which sounds like a laborious Hallmark Channel abscission.  Are you familiar with that term?  It involves cutting.  Maybe it's not fair, but I'd compare Hallmark's in-studio movies to a castration.  Look, my mommy has been addicted to those things since Thanksgiving, so my anti-Hallmark rage has been building for awhile now.  Fuckin' arrrghh!

MMM is precisely the type of flick I would have rented from Community Video in the late 90's.  The cover, while charming, doesn't do the film justice.  It makes it look like it was shot on 8mm.  In reality, it was shot on 35mm, and the budget topped $100 million.  Okay, it wasn't that humongous, but it wasn't chump change.  The whole shebang looks appetizing with the exception of Evelyn, the minx behind the door.  At the very beginning, she is discharged from a madhouse and sent to live with her...daughter?  Granddaughter?  She seems too young to be Evelyn's offspring, so I'm going with granddaughter.  Final answer!

In a bizarro plot turn that is dropped as soon as it's decreed, the granddaughter performs some kind of ritualistic seance.  Evelyn sees it, disapproves, and starts swinging her sickle AS YOU DO.  The little filly dies, but Granny convinces the (dumb) sheriff that it was an accident.  Bear in mind, I've only described the first five minutes.  The body of MMM is fleshed out with a string of characters checking into Evelyn's motel and succumbing to her trusty sickle.  She doesn't go for the throat right away, though.  At one point, she releases rats into a preacher's cabin.  Likewise, she sends a poisonous snake into the room of a recently married couple.

But why?  The snake bite isn't even fatal.  The answer?  I don't know, man.  Director Jim McCullough Sr. must have been aiming to pad the running time.  Aside from her killing implement, Evelyn uses a sweet gimmick to access her victims.  She hoofs it and percolates (read: boogies) through an underground tunnel that connects all of the cabins.  It's a neat idea.  That's where Mountaintop Motel Massacre gets most of its atmosphere.  Well, that and the rainy night sky.  This is a dark film, but your eyes won't have difficulty adjusting to the lighting.  Visually, it's well-sorted.

Principally, MMM Bop is the consummate "good-bad" movie.  On the other side of the flophouse termite, it may also be a "bad-good" movie.  The polished production values and interesting premise are dehydrated by bush-league acting coupled with mediocre everything.  Either way you slice it, this is a 3-Z'Dar presentation.


Panels From Beyond the Grave #33

PINHEAD (#1, Dec 1993)

I was going to apologize for this review being late, but then I realized, I'm always apologizing for being a shitty writer.  Enough is enough, y'know?  Cut.  It.  Out.  You got it, dude!  The above image isn't the most accurate representation of the cover for Pinhead.  To be clear, I'm reviewing the first issue of the series.  You should see it in person.  Candy red, foil-embossed...she's a dream.  I never would have guessed that this comic was nearly 25 years old.  On a sidenote, did you catch the 25th anniversary edition of Raw?  I loved the Manhattan Center shows as a kid, and I don't understand why they couldn't hold the entire episode there.

"That's old news, Dom."  I know, I know.  Back to more relevant subject matter, a comic book from 1993!  I'm topical up in this bitch, like so many analgesics and ointments (consult your doctor if blood blisters develop).  Technically, Pinhead and other Cenobites are part of the MCU.  This is a Marvel/Epic title, Epic being a Marvel imprint.  I like Pinhead's chances against Thanos.  But I digress.  Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth had just come out and everyone's favorite metal-scalped Hell Priest was being pushed as a Freddy-level icon with the merchandise to prove it.  Pinhead, for instance, enjoyed a six-issue run, taking us on a field trip through time.

Oy, time travel.  It didn't work for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and in my opinion, it doesn't work too well for Pinhead.  First, the pros.  The artwork is bold and intense.  Any scenes depicting Hell are hellish indeed.  The detail is outstanding, and when you're drawing/shading the Lament Configuration, detail is key.  Can you appreciate how I wrote that as if I were an artist myself?  Ha!  I also dug the general vibe of the piece.  It feels Clive Barker-y.  For what it's worth, I wanted to get into the storyline, but muddled plot devices (or perhaps my own stupidity) made it impossible.  Again, I blame the time travel.

We bare witness to the creation of the Configuration.  I think.  Some force is threatening the hierarchy of Hell, and I suppose it's up to Pinhead to stop it.  I guess.  I think, I suppose, I guess.  In my defense, there are scores of characters and they all have weird names.  Towards the end of the issue, we are acquainted with a new passel of Cenobites who rally 'round Pinhead in the Old West.  This past incarnation of the titular demon is known as Arrowhead.  See, he has arrowheads in his...in his head.  Because Native Americans.  And uh, cowboys.  It's actually clever, so I shouldn't bash it.  I'm bashing the non-explanation for how that shit happened.

Those are my main questions.  What is happening?  How is it happening?  You don't want the reader to have those questions, especially after a single issue.  Certainly, you can't elucidate the mystery out of the narrative, but I should have a few morsels to lean on.  I hinted at this earlier, but it's possible that I'm too fucking dumb to comprehend Pinhead.  Without sounding self-important, I doubt it.


SOURCES: Tom Brady Gives Commissioner Roger Goodell, Like, The Best Head

Sorry, I had to.  Man, fuck Tom Brady for being the best quarterback maybe ever.  I'm not a fan.  I'm not a hater either.  I recognize the sheer sublimity of the team, and I know that Belichick is the greatest coach currently breathing.  But like, shit!  I am officially pulling for the Vikings.  How cool would it be to see Minnesota reach the Super Bowl in their own stadium?  And vanquish New England?

Oh, I'll have a comic book review ready for you tomorrow, ma'am.


Blood Capsule #85


Why am I reviewing another Anthony Perkins flick?  I don't rightly know.  I do know that this is a favorite of Phil Anselmo, so I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.  Ten minutes in, and I realized that I had seen it years ago.  How Awful About Allan is...okay.  Perkins plays that Allen fellow, a music lecturer (???) who enters a mental facility after an accidental fire claims the life of his father and maims his sister.  Eight months later, he returns home under his sister's care.  Oh, and he was blinded by guilt.  Is that a real thing?  Can you be blinded by guilt?  The film never mentions the fact that he isn't 100% blind; his vision is just severely blurred.

Eh, nevermind.  This is a made-for-TV jobby and it looks/smells like one.  It's a fairly bland production.  The acting is understated, even from Perkins.  Imagine that!  I don't want to pick on the man because technically, his performance is character-appropriate.  However, apart from a fistful of pictures (including The Edge of Sanity), he's always in "low key" mode.  A mere observation.  The ending is easy to calculate.  I remember guessing the twist during my first viewing and being let down.  I'm moping to a supererogatory extent, aren't I?  Let's end this fucker on an upbeat note.  How Awful About Allan was directed by Curtis Harrington, a bloke responsible for Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell!  Don't you feel better now?



This website has taught me something about myself.  In the eight years (holy shit) that I've been writing junk and plastering it here, I've picked up on patterns.  Sometimes, my depression intensifies and I become useless.  I can't write.  I won't prattle on about it.  It just pisses me off because I was supposed to post an NXT Round-Up.  Zero people noticed that I didn't, but that's beside the point.  I'm also pissed off because I don't like dumping personal "bloggy" nonsense onto RR Inc.  Fuckles.

No, I'm not taking another hiatus.  I'll be back with...a thing!


Album Cover of the Whatever

I AM going to post an edition of NXT Round-Up, but probably not until tomorrow.  So yeah, it's late...because...me.  But I'll have plenty to chat about.  The album cover!  I don't listen to Lords of Acid, but tell me that's not a badass piece of artwork.  C'mon, devil babes!  Who doesn't love devil babes?

No filter?

No filter?  Actually, make that #NoFilter.  That hashtag will soon infest Twitter.  And Facebook.  We're going for the Internet, basically.  I have no idea when the next episode will be posted (they take awhile to put together; more on that in a second), but the idea is that #NoFilter will be a movie review series.  For the most part, we'll be covering cult films.  I keep saying "we," don't I?  That's because this series is just one fragment of a massive project conceived by Josh Lloyd, a guy I've known since high school.  #NoFilter is kinda-sorta my little part of the project.  Visit The Ridge Journal to see much more of...well, the project.

I'll be importing some of this site's content over to the journal.  Don't worry, all two of you.  I'll still be posting shit here first.  Yay!  #NoFilter may be my hermitage, but Josh does all of the heavy lifting.  I give him all the credit in the world for erecting The Ridge Journal (and it may be a magazine in the future).  Again, it takes serious time to edit "my" videos alone.  I sure as shit don't do it.  But as I jape in the review above, this web series is as much mine as it can be.  It's my fucking show!  Motherfucker!


Edge of Sanity

1989's Edge of Sanity straddles a couple of oft-jilted subgenres: the Jekyll/Hyde legend and Anthony Perkins films.  Or rather, Anthony Perkins films that are not Psycho.  After the surprisingly competent sequels to Hitchcock's slasher standard, Ol' Tony was in vogue as a cost-efficient scream king.  A Demon in My View, The Ghost Writer (not to be confused with the misaligned, skew-whiff PBS series), Destroyer, Daughter of Darkness...he certainly kept busy.  Out of all of these spook-thrillers, Edge of Sanity was the one that screamed "ersatz Psycho" the loudest from video shelves.  Even at 13 years of age, I noticed the kind of skanky marketing that you would associate with a whore.

Whores!  Let's talk about 'em.  Perkins plays Henry Jekyll, and when his consciousness is obfuscated by Jack Hyde, he gets a charge out of killing whores.  I'm not passing judgment on whores, by the way; I just think it's a funny word.  Like Coccaro!  Unlike the stories you are no doubt familiar with, Jekyll doesn't need a potion to regress into a primal monster.  Here, the pharmaceutical catalyst is super crack!  I think.  It starts out as freebase cocaine, but its chemistry is recalibrated with what appears to be ethanol.  Look, I have no fucking clue.  I am neither a scientist nor a crackhead.  This is movie science, folks.  B-movie science!

I use the term "b-movie," but in actuality, Edge of Sanity is plated in an opulent glaze.  It's as if the film had a sugar daddy who pampered it in furs and diamonds.  Well, I suppose the truth is less interesting.  A production company simply decided to throw cash at a Psycho riff.  Director Gerard Kikoine, an artisan who made porn throughout much of the 80's, uses every trick up his sleeve to whitewash a sleaze script and overdress it with grace.  I'm talking brash lighting, innovative camera angles and stark set pieces (the climax is a feast for the eyes).  Is Edge of Sanity a case of style over substance?  Almost.  I will say, the scales tip in favor of style, but not to an offensive degree.

Outside of the Psycho quadrilogy, this might be the best Anthony Perkins performance that I've seen.  It's right for the role(s).  As Jekyll, he is urbane; as Hyde, he's an itchy creep.  As a matter of fact, I'm surprised that the prostitutes didn't turn him away.  Look at the box cover!  Hyde has all the earmarks of a barfly with AIDS.  "Too soon, asshole."  Hey, I didn't know he was a barfly.  Why don't we move on?  I've made myself uncomfortable.  The rest of the cast is on-point, especially Glynis Barber as Mrs. Jekyll.  I believed that she loved the reclusive chemist.  Sarah Maur-Thorp is uncaged as Susannah, a fancy-free harlot who is harboring a darkness of her own.  Again, she is convincing.  Susannah reminds Henry of...wait, why am I relaying every little plot nugget?

Watch Edge of Sanity for yourself.  I should warn you that it's not without its faults.  We are allowed a glimpse into the skullduggery of Hyde's constitution, but in my opinion, we don't learn as much about Jekyll.  Sure, we know about his warped childhood, but who the fuck is he?  He merely comes off as Posh Gentleman #38.  Also, the resolution leaves oodles to be desired.  I have nothing against unorthodox endings, but the (motion) picture drops anchor so abruptly, I got whiplash.  And the molloscum contagiosum virus!  On second thought, that may have been down there for awhile.  My point is, Psycho is a classic.  Keep Anne Heche on your radar!


Wrestle Kingdom 12 > Royal Rumble?

Now that the dust has settled and wrestling fans have had a chance to assimilate New Japan's Wrestle Kingdom 12, I feel that I can comment on it with some objectivity.  Of course, everything I'm about to say is opinion.  Still, it's MY objectivity.  If I had tried to pen this piece an hour after watching the main event(s), I would have approached the subject matter as a partisan dickbag.  I would have typed, "WK12 was the best pay-per-view since WWE's Money in the Bank 2011."  But with the leverage of time (plus distance) on my side, I can calmly and rationally state that WK12 was the best pay-per-view since Money in the Bank 2011.

This is how it's done.  I will try not to piss on Vinnie Mac too much.  After all, I am a WWE fan.  I do enjoy the bulk of their programming, especially NXT (and yes, the Round-Up returns next week).  However, there is a considerable difference between these two promotions as it relates to booking.  The Mixed Match Challenge on Facebook Live...goddamn.  Solid idea, but have you seen the videos where the pairings are announced?  Kurt Angle invites a superstar into his office.  He says, "Here is your partner!"  Then a wrestler - let's use Braun Strawman as an example, seeing as how he's the size of a fucking sequoia - steps into frame from what couldn't have been five feet off-camera.  The superstar - in this case, Alexa Bliss - is surprised.  Surprised!

How in the leapin' landlord did she not see him???  Nitpicking, quite possibly.  Yet this is a microcosmic sampling of WWE's foremost stickler.  Their fundamental headache is stupid writing.  I don't even like the word "stupid," but I'm forced to use it here, as it applies.  McMahon clings to outmoded wrestling tropes that the rest of the world find laughable.  The way backstage interviews (hell, all backstage segments) are shot, the way sets are dressed, the way levity is used...if comedy is implemented, 97% of it will be fatal.  Wow, I spent two whole paragraphs pissing on Vinnie Mac.  That's exactly what I didn't want!

Moving on.  I don't mean to suggest that NJPW is perfect, but comparatively speaking, it's miles above the North American competition.  If you don't know, Wrestle Kingdom is the company's tentpole show.  It's their Wrestlemania.  Their Triplemania.  Their Bound For Glory (that was tough to type with a straight face).  Casual admirers might only inject this event into their system before going back to discounting New Japan altogether.  I started with WK9.  It was good.  WK12 was great.  The card was a killer.  Every single match had something to offer, even if you didn't particularly care about the angle or the people involved.

Personally, I didn't have much investment in the Goto/Suzuki "hair match," but aside from the pre-card New Japan Rumble, it was the only bout that I considered skipping.  No bathroom breaks.  For the most part, I agreed with the decisions.  I loved The Young Bucks winning their seventh set of IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.  Cody and Kota Ibushi worked one hell of an American-style match.  I dig the fact that Brandi Rhodes is finally heeling it up and calling herself the most beautiful woman in professional wrestling.  Because damn, she isn't far off.  Yeah, yeah...she's playing a character, but this is where I'll slide another picture.

That ain't no Eartha Kitt, y'all.

There was a four-way scrap for the IWGP Light Heavyweight Championship featuring "The Villain" Marty Scurll, Kushida, Hiromu Takahashi (w/ Daryl, natch) and Will Ospreay.  I won't spoil it, but the accelerated pace and the hypersonic, air-happy spots are worth a gander.  This division puts WWE's cruiserweights to shame.  Okay, that was the last reference to Stamford, Connecticut.  I promise!  Hiroshi Tanahashi put his IWGP Intercontinental strap on the line against a rechristened Jay White.  I was looking forward to seeing White take his "Switchblade" persona for a spin and I wasn't disappointed.  He may be wrestling Kenny Omega next, so you know that elder chieftains spot his potential.

The co-mains.  I'm not going to elucidate a grand...er, elucidation on Okada/Naito.  It was the match that everyone thought it would be, which isn't necessarily an aspersion.  It was fine, but this is my site, and I was slavering over Alpha versus Omega.  Chris Jericho versus Kenny Omega.  If you can't see why this fight is a big deal, like, where are you?  If you weren't excited to witness it, I would have to seriously question your status as a wrestling fan.  I thought it kicked ass.  The first three minutes alone are more exhilarating and electrifying than--NO, I PROMISED!  But it did rule.  We got blood, profanity (f-bombs are not a must, but it's refreshing to hear adults sound like adults), and assuredly, signature moves from both combatants.

Match of the year!  Well, it's early January, but I guarantee that it will materialize on several year-end lists.  NJPW has already progressed certain storylines.  White is a member of Chaos (!), and Jericho has made it clear whether or not he's staying in Japan (!!).  If I were you, I'd sign up on New Japan World, NJPW's streaming service.  This isn't a sponsored write-up, you asshole.  You do what I tell you to do!


Panels From Beyond the Grave #32

THE EUDAEMON #1-3 (Fall, 1993)

I couldn't think of a better way to recommence hoopla here at Random Reviews Incorporated than to disembalm a rad comic, and in turn, disembalm an inert column.  Really?  I couldn't think of a better way?  Step it up, Dom.  So I'm not reviewing one specific issue of The Eudaemon (a Dark Horse title).  No, I'm covering the entire series.  It's just a three-book run, as nothing happened with the character afterwards aside from cameos twain in Vampirella and something else.  What, you expected me to do research?  I suppose that I should mention that The Eudaemon is that red-purple barbarian to the left.

The other boorish biped?  Mordare!  In my cocky, ill-bred opinion, Mordare - the literal spawn of darkness - is the star of the show.  The Most Valuable Player!  Look at him!  He's fucking cool.  Kudos (or props, if you prefer) to Nelson for his provenience and imaginative creature design.  Yes, the creator of this comic's macrocosm is named Nelson.  Unless I am to believe that The Eudaemon was shaped by an oil-slick glam rock band from the late 80's (sidenote...when I was 6, I knew every word to "After the Rain"), then this Nelson fellow never needed a first name.  Or last name.  Whatever.  Either way, Nelson had a knack for "world building," at least from a visual perspective.

He also wrote these issues, and that's where this doohickey shorts out.  Nelson's dialogue is as awkward as a cockerel swallowing water pills.  The attempts at humor hurt.  In response to a stranger disparaging his appearance, The Eudaemon reciprocates with, "You're not exactly Cindy Crawford yourself."  To a man.  God, what a miserable reference.  I mean, if you're dealing with a dark monster tale, it's best to dismiss current pop culture.  The plot has Bobby mutating into a plum ogre after running into his long-lost father and watching him disintegrate.  Apparently, this "eudaemon" schtick is a family curse.  Bobby is the last in line.

We don't get more explanation than that, and we sorta need it.  I gather that this series was meant to be expanded.  Surely Nelson was planning on revealing what the fuck...that's the end of the sentence.  Mordare dwells in his own dimension, domineering a pack of skeleton dogs.  A pair of portals open in the city and it's up to The Eudaemon to close those sumbitches before Mordare can wreak havoc on the real world.  But even if he manages to close the portals (let's say he does), what's to stop them from reopening?  That's my main gripe with this three-issue arc; the storytelling is impotent.  Still, I recommend acquiring these shaver-sprouts online.  The Eudaemon is fun to read, the artwork is badass and Mordare is the best villain you've never come across.

Savage Dragon says, "Shit, I forgot I was an icon on this site."