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.


Album Cover of the Whatever

A jester-in-the-box!  In a human body!  That's fucking mortifying, I'm sorry.  It's also a great album cover.  That is Bruce Dickinson's fourth solo jam you're eyeballing, and for some unforgivable reason, I have yet to hear it.  I'll spin it eventually.  Get off my case, maaaaaaan.


BLACK SITES - In Monochrome

Ooh, a whole band dedicated to websites maintained by black people.  Saucy!  No, a "black site," as I discovered through backbreaking research, is an undisclosed location where the CIA (or the government in general) conducts highly classified...er, stuff.  This could be anything from hush-hush weapons development to the interrogation (torture) of detainees suspected of terrorist activity.  The more you read about black sites, the scarier it gets.  Thankfully, I'm only touching on Black Sites, a Chicago-based metal band led by vocalist/guitarist Mark Sugar.  This guy is talented, as evidenced by his other outfits, most of which have folded their respective tents.

It's clear that he listens to a wide ambit of mehtalz.  Trials was a thrashy, quasi-metalcore beast and they were damn good.  Bear Mace, an ongoing venture, is listed as a death metal collective, though I haven't listened to Butchering the Colossus, their 2017 affair.  I have listened to In Monochrome, the only Black Sites boogie kit to date.  It's a hard son of a bitch to classify.  If I had to propel a dart in this long player's direction, it would land somewhere between groove metal and hard rock.  Off the top of my head, I can't name another band that serves as a sonic double.

Ironically, the music is simple and straight to the point.  You've got riffs, mostly mid-paced drums and a dude singing over it all.  "Singing" is a key word.  Sugar employs clean vokills for 85-90% of In Monochrome.  For me, that's refreshing.  It seems like every modern band either grunts or squawks at you as if it makes them appear tough.  Y'know, one of those flinty, hard-bitten American Gladiator types that kids moon over.  This is 1990, isn't it?  Not the point!  After awhile, hearing hoarse, atonal screaming becomes old hat.  Nevermind the fact that I love black metal; I may (or may not) be jamming to something tr00 and Norwegian this very instant.  Again, not the point!

Let's examine songs, shall we?  "Dead Languages" is the opener proper after a non-germane intro and it washes my dishes.  By that, I mean it rocks.  Nifty riffage, a catchy pre-chorus, a full arrangement...this is a vital example of strong songwriting.  In my younger days, I didn't understand what music journalists meant by "songwriting," but the best records spell it out for me.  It comes down to dynamics.  Whomever mapped out the 8-minute "In the Woods" is an excellent songwriter because they knew the right time to intercalate a plush twin-guitar harmony (it submits itself at the end of the chill breakdown, for those curious).

I was shocked to learn that said tune ran for eight minutes.  Likewise, I was shocked to learn that "Monochrome" ran for seven minutes.  That's how well-written they are, and the same applies to the entire aural registry itself.  It flies by with the gait of a winged wing.  Sour notes?  Well, none of the tracks are crude or meager, but I do remember the first half more fondly than the second half.  No real reason.  The lyrics are bland, but I don't pay attention to lyrics unless I'm dealing with a personal deity-level group (i.e. favorite).

Yeah!  In Monochrome has replay value.  I've already popped it into the ol' CD player six times since its date of release, February 17th, 2017.  Of course, I only purchased it recently, but forget what the numbers tell you, Carmen.  This is a solid buy.


It Gets Worse

This will be a weird post.  I want to start writing more music reviews.  That doesn't mean that I will, just that I want to.  Why is it hard for me to write music reviews?  Here's a better question, you fiddle-footed fuck (I'm cursing myself, not you); why is it hard for me to write period?  I never actually wanted to be a "professional" writer.  It's one of the things that I can do, and it just so happens that I do it marginally well.  It doesn't help that I'm constantly feuding with my brain.  If I could, I'd stay in bed all of the time.

That's the scary part of the matter.  I COULD stay in bed all of the time.  I mean, I'm sure that my mother would force me out at some point, but pragmatically speaking, I have no reason to get out of bed.  No job.  No social life (on a day-to-day basis anyway).  I'm taking you deeper into the recesses of my mind than I'm comfortable with, but hey, this is what I wanted to write.  I won't take you any deeper, though.  It gets worse.  Darker.  On a dumbhearted note, I watched 1994's No Escape earlier today.  It's a sci-fi actioner starring Ray Liotta, Lance Henriksen, Kevin J. O'Connor and Kevin Dillon.

Set in the future, the film follows convicts on a jeopardous prison island.  Remember TBS's "Movies For Guys Who Like Movies"?  This is one such movie.  It will make you feel like a man, even if you're a bicycle.  Or a kettle!  I enjoyed it.  Music?  Oh, I'm currently listening to Marduk's Heaven Shall Burn...When We Are Gathered.  I'm letting you know so that you think I'm cool.  I'm cool.


Blood Capsule #86

LEGEND (1985)

Meg Mucklebones is a bitch.  She gets under my skin.  My God, if I had seen her at age 9, I would have shit trauma scissors and a chest decompression kit.  Mucklecunt is a minor villain in Ridley Scott's Legend.  I watched the director's cut, and I'll be forthright to say that I'd never seen it.  I've only peeped eyes at small chunks of the theatrical version on TV, but that was years ago.  The rubric of "adult fairy tale" is quite fitting.  Fantasies were all the rage in the 80's, but this one stood out from the pack.  Yes, even the lopped variant.  It's a beautiful film where all of its magic(k) is in front of the camera.

Tom Cruise is serviceable as Jack, a forest boy who must save a princess fairy (or whatever the fuck) too rapacious for her own good.  Mia Sara is flawless as Lili.  If you would have told me that the casting department located an actual princess fairy, I would have believed you.  Her face is so pure and expressive.  It goes without blabbing that Tim Curry kicks unholy ass as Darkness.  Blix is a cool goblin dude, Gump is an inscrutable sprite (David Bennent's performance is chimerically grand, by the way) and Meg...goddamn Meg.  I'll admit that the prosthetics are neat.  I could write a full review of Legend, but I'm not gonna.  Heh.  Suffice to type, I had fun.  Here is more text to prevent a widow.


They did another episode???

A quick break into the mainstream.  #NoFilter goes to the Oscars!


The Shape of Water

I've been pining to see The Shape of Water ever since the trailer dropped.  I saw it as Guillermo del Toro's version of Creature From the Black Lagoon (he was once attached to the remake of said Universal classic).  Now that I've finally seen it, I can safely say that while it's heavily influenced by the 1955 film, it is its own creature.  Pun?  Punny pun-pun?  Forget it.  Sally Hawkins plays Elisa, a mute custodian at a top-secret laboratory.  It seems that the government has captured a strange "animal" for experimental purposes.  If this were the 50's, Water would be a middle-course b-movie that warns us against tampering with nature.

And of course, it would be awesome, but this is something more cerebral.  More psychogenic.  More...romantic?  Water is barely a horror item, but for obvious reasons, it's designated for inclusion on this website.  If we're being 104% honest, it's a sci-fi romance.  A good one!  You have to know what you're signing up for in order to truly dote on the thing.  I say that because I've seen it smeared for being a touch saccharine.  Did these folks not understand the numbles, the sentimental encumbrances of del Toro?  I'd imagine not.  This was never going to be a straight-up genre picture.

I guess that the gorgeous cinematography, the brilliant pace (yes, brilliant...two hours buzzed my tower like an antsy knife thrower) and the magnificent cast didn't count for anything.  Water is quality.  I don't want to give the impression that it's irreproachable or that all hands on deck are clean.  A couple of scenes struck me as immoderate.  Recrementitious even.  EDITOR'S NOTE: Dom has no idea what that word means.  Also, he may or may not be the editor.  The musical number choreographed to mimic a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers bunny hop took me out of the film's downcast atmosphere, although a tiny part of me dug it.


Then there is the sex scene.  Just the concept alone.  Maybe they could have consummated their relationship in a subtle, metaphorical way?  Instead of amphibian penis?  Thankfully, it's only described, but still.  Outside of those sequences, The Shape of Water is pokerfaced.  Not that it's a lusterless affair without a sense of humor.  At the end of the day, del Toro's homage to The Gillman is a strong showing.  As a child, he wanted the monster to get the girl.  As an adult, he peers at the substantiation of his imagination.  Here, the monster doesn't merely run off with the girl draped over his shoulder; he fucks her!