Blood Capsule #96


The Carpenter is a threadbare slasher and a wry, oblique black comedy collimated as one chief constituent.  It doesn't quite know how to enmesh the genres.  Horror and comedy merely play "hot potato" with the script and you never get the sense that you're watching a cohesive whole.  I'm not throwing this b-lumber under the bus (or into a proverbial woodchipper...man, I should have just went with that awful joke).  No, I had a decent time with The Carpenter, and yes, the plot is as gangly as it sounds.  A couple is renovating their home, but the bulk of the carpentry work is completed at the bewitching hour by a phantom artisan.  Is it Jesus Christ or is it Wings Hauser?  Same difference, stupid!

If the titular madman were played by anyone else, this flick wouldn't have eked out a passing grade.  Wings Hauser is so--let me rephrase myself.  Wings Hauser fundamentally Wings Hausers the fuck out of this thing.  He steals all of his scenes.  Through cruel mockery of God's animus, he even steals scenes that he does not appear in (i.e. filler).  You haven't lived until you've witnessed Wings Hauser woo and butter up a forlorn housewife while frazzling the intestines of a corpse with a power drill.  It's charming!  Unfortunately, half of The Carpenter is a shambolic study in stagnation.  For a bloody ordeal where circular saws and belt sanders are weaponized, it's pretty damn sleepy.  Wings Hauser, tho!


Album Cover of the Whatever

Technically, the is the reissue artwork, but who is counting?  That's just badass!  Evil, evil, evil!  Yay!


Panels From Beyond the Grave #34

THE X-FILES: HALLOW EVE (Annual #1, 1995)

Towards the end of the vernal springtide, I became immersed in The X-Files.  I always liked it.  I could even name a couple of episodes that stuck with me from childhood to adulthood ("Humbug" is a keeper).  And yet, I was far from an expert.  For some metaphysical reason that perhaps only Mulder can explain, I wanted to binge the whole damn series.  It's taking time, as my routine is not conducive to true, millennial-style binging.  Hell, I finished season eight just last night.  What's my point?  My point is that I fucking love The X-Files!  It was only a matter of time (and space) before I scarfed down an x-comic.

Released through Topps, the inaugural series contained an Annual (a special double-sized issue) one-shot entitled "Hallow Eve."  It basically serves as a "monster of the week" episode.  You don't need prior knowledge of the television program's core arcs to enjoy it.  That's a hearty plus, in my estimation.  When it comes to the TV show, I prefer the M.O.T.W. serials that exist independently of Mulder's search for his sister or muddled, labyrinthine government conspiracies.  Not that those storylines are entirely without merit.  I'm simply into...y'know, monsters.

Our script was penned by Stefan Petrucha.  At first, the dialogue felt rustic and rudimentary, but like a tight rhythm section, the words found a groove pocket.  That's a dumb way of saying that it got better as it went along.  Petrucha does seem to understand the characters.  It's a comic, so you have to meet it halfway.  I mean, it has to be frustrating writing for such complex people with very limited room to stretch.  Talking about word count.  Ain't talkin' 'bout love.  My love is rotten to ANYWAY.  Mulder and Scully are assigned to an offbeat case wherein an archaeologist is murdered and the suspect has extraneous ties to the mitochondrial DNA of Eve.

This shit would make for a great concept album.  Definitely prog rock.  At any juncture, the plot throws a nice amount of twists at you in a manner similar to that of The X-Files (the show, obviously).  It's quite clever, especially the dour ending.  Customarily, I don't have bounteous groans as it relates to the artwork.  There were two or three panels where I couldn't figure out what was happening or where a character was standing.  Perception?  Look, I'm not an artist.  I try to mention my ignorance in comic book reviews because I need to give the artist (in this case, Charles Adlard) the benefit of the doubt.  Again, me not artist.  Me bad at draw.

Overall, "Hallow Eve" was totally worth seeking out online.  I should pick up more X-Files comics.  If you're wondering (you aren't), I have viewed most of the tenth season, including the series finale.  It wasn't unsullied, but I'm glad that they ended up together.  You know who.  I'm such a fangirl.



This is foreshadowing!  I'm exhuming an old column tomorrow.  Aren't you excited???


A Band: The Ruins of Beverast

I don't know exactly how obscure The Ruins of Beverast are/is (it's a one-man project), but I feel confident in saying that this German black metal composite deserves a signal boost.  Simply painting Beverast with the "black metal" brush doesn't do the music justice.  I'm currently listening to 2009's Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite (dude's title game is strong), which incorporates doom, blackened ambiance, and of course, atmosphere.  Fuckin' loads of atmosphere.  I haven't put much effort into decoding the lyrics, so all I know is that this is creepy stuff.

Look at that artwork!  The Ruins of Beverast reminds me of being a kid mystified by Tool (heh) because I didn't know anything about them.  I'm divagating from the trail.  Vocally, you will hear growls, pained squawks, chants and baritone cleans.  The songwriting never forgoes accessibility.  In other words, ringmaster Alexander von Meilenwald avoids burying the actual music.  The fact that he plays every single instrument is soul-boggling.  Take 2017's Exuvia, for instance.  It sounds fucking massive, and all of that stridency comes from one human.

Beverast has featured on two splits this year, one apace with Mourning Beloveth (doom/death) and the other in company with Almyrkvi (cosmic black metal).  Listen to them both.


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

I rented Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark from a Redbox kiosk.  It marked the first time in five-ish years that I rented a movie outside of the Internet.  Didn't have the same pizzazz as a Blockbuster rental, but it tickled the same tract in my brain.  And that...has nothing to do with the film itself.  Man, how many centuries had we been promised a cinematic adaptation of these anthology books?  Personally, I never read them.  I thought they looked cool.  I possessed the knowledge that the illustrations were materially and altogether smacktabulous.  But I never read them, dag-nab it.  Okay, liberal use of words such as "dag-nab" and "smacktabulous" are hereby prohibited for the rest of this review.

Technically, Scary Stories is a period piece.  We open in 1968 where a shy girl named Stella discovers a tome in a tall, caliginous mansion on Halloween night.  So at least the atmosphere is sweet.  The narrative is unique in the way that it unspools each story.  Clearly, this isn't a traditional anthology furnished with a connective wrap-around segment.  I dig how the tales are essentially death sequences.  If there exists another fright flick with this exact gimmick, I can't place it.  This particular VDM (Vignette Delivery Method...my secretary is filing the copyright paperwork this very second) allows Scary Stories to avoid a common anthology pitfall.  Usually, pacing becomes stale as you flip pages, so to speak, from one short to the next.  Here, we are spared a handful of expositions.

Am I making any sense?  I just thought it was refreshing to see an entire story relayed in a spurt of dialogue.  "That monster is looking for her missing toe."  Done.  That's all you need to know!  It keeps things bristling at a perky step.  Of course, the actual monsters are divine, provided that they manage to sidestep shady digital effects.  I was pleasantly surprised to find moments of creepy menace.  The PG-13 rating doesn't take the teeth out of this ghoul, but I want to make sure that I don't send the wrong message.  I'm not gaga over Scary Stories to tell in the Dark.  I haven't seen any other reviews complain about the acting, but Zoe Margaret Colletti (Stella in the flesh) comes off as stagy.  To me!  Ugh, I feel like I'm being mean.

Plus, she's a fucking whore.  That was a joke.  I mean, she's fine most of the time.  She loses me when the script goes the simpering, dewy-eyed route, which it does in the closing ten minutes.  The climax has a perfunctory vibe to it.  As I was watching it, I couldn't help but ask, "Is this the ending of a different movie?"  I get bent out of shape when villains turn out to be good-natured people who were abused into being evil spectres.  Haven't we been through this enough already?  Fuck, "spectres" is underlined in red.  It's not misspelled, you shitheel.  That's the British spelling.  I'm British!



Family, family, family!  Basically, I'm being inundated with family gatherings, as family is in town.  Family!  Just letting you know, I probably won't write anything substantial until after the family thing has run its course.



Originally, this was going to be an edition of "A Band," but that can wait.  Haven't you heard?  Io Shirai has become the NXT Women's Champion!  Last night, she fought in a three-way dance against Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair.  I'm an Io mark.  I wanted her to win.  Going in, I knew that she had the least chance of winning because this was presented as enmity between Rhea and Charlotte.  That was the story.  Io was the third wheel, the potential wrecking ball.  If booked properly (...), a cool program can spring forth from this perceived "upset."

But that's the thing.  This hasn't been booked properly.  Right now, I don't care.  My girl won.  She has deserved to be the champion - of any brand - for roughly 18 months.  The fact that Asuka and Kairi Sane beat her to the punch in America did count against her.  Plus, you have the language barrier.  God, that's another post altogether.  Maybe someday, I'll analyze the way that minorities are treated (read: booked) in WWE.  That day is not today.

Respect The Ace of Stardom!  Respect The Genius of the Sky!  Respect Io Shirai!


Blood Capsule #95


What do you do when you're in a pandemic and riots erupt all across the country?  You watch a movie!  Hey, I'm doing my part.  By sheer coincidence, the plot of Stake Land bears striking similarities to life in 2020.  A vampire contagion has reconditioned the guts of America, and from where lead protagonist Martin is standing, the apocalypse has arrived.  Watching the news, this place certainly feels apocalyptic.  Oh, I'm talking about reality again.  For you HTML nerds out there, I need a synopsis tag to denote when I'm dipping in and out of "plot summary" mode.  {story} Just as precarious as the vampires, sects of religious fanatics continuously stymie efforts to find peace (not to mention a dry, warm bed). {/story}

Y'know, something like that.  Anyway, Stake Land is a tense, portentous joint.  The atmosphere is grim, and director Jim Mickle does an admirable job of reminding the viewer where his fare falls on the genre spectrum.  It's a rather particular affection, but I like it when horror proudly avouches, "I'm horror!  Spooky, spooky!  Boo!"  It probably wouldn't use those words, huh?  You know what I mean, damn it!  But I digress...again.  The acting is sharp.  Connor Paolo is subtly multitudinous as Martin.  I dug how he pulled off his character's arc, as the development felt natural.  Co-writer Nick Damici kicks ass as Mister, a stoic, yet ass-kicking ass kicker.  The pacing is fine.  Essentially, everything is fine, though I hear that the sequel mucks it up.

Join us next time when we found out if Dom reviews Stake Land II.*

*He doesn't.



Wrestling night!  And I've had no time to write.  Only fellow X-Files fans will get this joke, but it seems like when I have a productive week, it's just a...


Geek Out #139

The rare music-related Geek Out.  Look at Sebastian Bach's fucking hair!  I don't mean to single him out; every band member here looks ridiculous (the lady guitarist less so).  Jeepers, Madam X had plans.  I suppose that Baz was destined to front Skid Row, not that I believe in fate.  Back to the germane point - look at the fucking hair!