Okey-dokey.  I haven't written anything in a little bit, but I'm hitting the reset button on the dusty Nintendo console that is my life.  No need to tailspin into details, but as I've avouched before, I do struggle with depression.  Every so often, I ebb into a retroflux of social activity.  It has been a week of restless repose, and yet, I am emerging at the other end with renewed focus.  Again, without bogging my readership down with particulars (this ship is damn near marooned to begin with), I plan on touching base with my doctor to map out a measured treatment plan.  The appointment has been made.

The site should be coasting soon, business as usual.  In fact, I have the next movie review picked out, and let me tell you, it does not seem enjoyable.  Seriously, why did I pick this out?  No, the above image is not foreshadowing; it's merely a RSOJSA/OHE (Random Sighting Of Johnny Sokko And/Or His Enemies).



Motherfucker.  I was going to write an in-depth article that tied three things together, but for stupid and personal reasons (some involving my stomach...resist the urge to ask questions), I haven't had time to write shit.  Motherfucker.  Hang in there!


Rassle Inn #11

On Sunday, Survivor Series will mark thirty years of deadened dominance for The Undertaker.  The career of one Mark Calaway cranes back even further than three decades, which is astounding to consider.  He possesses every trait that you would need to be a superlative, distinguished professional wrestler.  He checks all of the boxes.  And then you realize that he has always put the business first, ahead of politics and ahead of self-serving vainglory.  Hey, all due respect to Shawn Michaels, but that's why I rank The Heartbreak Kid behind The Phenom when it comes to placing the best of the modern era in formation.

'Taker has stated - definitively - that he is retired from in-ring competition.  Naturally, I expect him to engage with a few superstars in acutely physical ways at Survivor Series.  But whom?  And how?  I've read rumors and guesstimations.  It wouldn't surprise me to see The Fiend make himself conspicuous, but technically, he's a babyface.  Good God.  That opens a can of sandworms.  The comic, cosmic audacity of Vince McMahon's logic-defying booking is tantamount to that of Superman's gravity-defying bullshit.  You know that Superman is an asshole.  Don't argue with me.

My point (???) is that anything could happen.  I sincerely hope that Calaway isn't pressured into working "one more match."  The only dream bout left is opposite Sting, and no, I don't want to see it.  Ten years ago?  Fuck yeah, I'd pay the full pay-per-view price to order that sumbitch.  Even five years ago!  In 2020, it's not worth it.  Let the man rusticate to his native Texas.  Let him REST...I can't believe I'm actually using the catchphrase...IN...this is far too cheesy...PEACE...you dicks, you didn't stop me.  Here's a badass picture of The Undertaker leaving the 1993 versions of Crush and Bob Backlund in the dust.  I made that sound intense.  But they're just, like, walking.


Album Cover of the Whatever

Morwinyon!  They play atmospheric black metal and they do it pretty damn well.  The cover is essentially perfect.  I mean, that's what the record sounds like.  So there you go.



You wouldn't normally associate Ricki Lake with Traci Lords, but they have actually appeared in two films together.  First, they played cool "'drapes" in Cry-Baby (man, I want to be in an awesome gang).  Then they starred in 1993's Skinner.  Traci Lords.  Really, just...I want to talk about Traci Lords.  I mean, I can review Skinner if you want, but Traci Lords.  Back in the 90's (my favorite decade), she might have been the hottest human to have ever existed.  Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or am I right here, you guys?  She's currently 52, and I would still bang her bathtub.  Remember that mediocre industrial rock record she released in 1995?  That was weird, huh?

So Traci Lords.  Goddamn it, no!  I'm going to discuss Skinner now.  Besides, that's why I summoned you to this unsettled, far-flung alcazar of substantial enormity.  Pay no mind to the miniature coffins.  Anyway, this is a sleazeball slasher that finds Ted Raimi flaying all manner of prostitutes.  I should mention that Raimi is playing a character named Dennis, not himself.  It's a compelling performance.  The script attempts to be an abstruse, intellectual study of psychosomatic maladies, but despite admirable efforts, it doesn't know how to carry its own thematic weight.

Let's be honest.  Horror hounds only rented this tape to see estuaries (or tributaries, if you prefer) of blood and acres of female flesh.  To Skinner's credit, it does yield a surplus of both elements.  Lords holds fast to her articles of clothing, and yet, it didn't bother me.  The woman is a work of art, whether she's nude or not.  She fares well as Heidi, a disturbed, deformed lady in black who seems to be stalking Dennis.  Hmm?  It's not as intriguing as it sounds.  She swears to get revenge on the unglued schizoid, but she wastes a zillion opportunities to hack the fucker to pieces.  Does that constitute a spoiler?  I promise that you don't care.

For a movie that didn't leave indissoluble indentations in my seat of affections, Skinner was well-manicured.  Props to director Ivan Nagy for making everything easy to ogle.  He uses jazzy, chromatic filters for nighttime exteriors, and it helps mundane sets pop.  Of course, I don't know if he used filters.  I'm a buffoon when it comes to the technical side of filmmaking, but ah, I know when colors are pretty.  I'm basically an expert.  As I was expertly saying, Skinner isn't too shabby.  The cast is committed, the KNB effects are grotesque, and I suppose I wanted to learn how the plot resolved itself.  That isn't quite the same as being hooked, though.

I wasn't stupefied by anything that this film was offering.  Was it overtly, hawkishly crummy?  No.  My rating is somewhat altruistic because, y'know, Traci Lords.  Traci Lords.



Kiefer Sutherland Sounds Like Adam Carolla

So I watched Shudder's Creepshow animated special.  I didn't want to do a big review or anything, but my opinion is twofold.  On the "yay" side, I love the fact that they are keeping the property active in between seasons of the anthology series.  An animated jubilee is a great idea.  On the "nay" side, still-frame animation?  Why can't it be a standard cartoon?  While "Survivor Type" is a gripping character study, the animation style pulled me out of the narrative on more than one occasion.  And "Circus of the Dead" is just lackluster.

Up next...in the coming days...on this very website...er, something!


Blood Capsule #102


I said that I wasn't reviewing the rest of this series, but Son and Ghost of Frankenstein reside on the same disc.  Why not?  This is where the momentum is fossilized anyway.  I can't execrate the last monster mash to be shot by Universal's A-unit.  The atmosphere is still ghoulish, the cast is still aureate (though a truant Karloff is missed), and the pacing is still alert.  Seasoned director Erle C. Kenton is clearly comfortable framing a genre spectacle.  I didn't know it, but he also helmed 1932's Island of Lost Souls.  Here, the plot feels a bit familiar.  Ygor wants Dr. Frankenstein (that would be the original doctor's other son) to redress and rehabilitate his friend (that would be the monster).  I'm tired of parenthesis.

As with Son, the real villain is Ygor.  Lugosi is captivating, even if he doesn't have quite as much jerk-infused lunacy to feast on.  I'm sorry; I'm referring to the style of cooking native to Jamaica.  Personally, I'm fond of dry-rub jerk spices, but I'm down for a good marinade.  What?  Oh, the movie.  Evelyn Ankers is essentially wasted as Elsa Frankenstein, the generic wife.  That's the thing.  Everyone present is punctually talented, but you get the sense that the congregation is going through the motions.  The precursive film told the story to its natural conclusion.  There is no more tale to tell!  Be that as it may, Ghost is a worthwhile way to keep your corpse on ice.



Ideally, a band will evolve from one album to the next.  I can't believe that this is a hard concept for some bands to grasp ("some" is italicized so as not to implicate Type O Negative).  Metallica seemed shocked by the boomerang recoil fans responded with in answer to their queue of streamlined rock releases in the 90's.  And I don't mean to pick on Metallica; I just need an example.  I remember an interview with Lars where he intimated - I'm paraphrasing here - that they felt damned either way.  "We can't change OR stay the same!  Wah!  I'm a whiny bitch!"  I'm confident that's a direct quote.  In any event, he completely garbled the wishes of his adherents.

Nobody wanted Ride the Lightning IV: Dream Warriors.  By the same token, nobody wanted a collaboration with Mary J. Blige or Montell Jordan, although I contend that "This Is How We Do It" is a sick jam.  Die-hards merely anticipated evolution.  Impose a few tweaks here and there, but leave the core unmolested.  You should never have to return to your roots.  Deracination* kills trees, you dummy.  My point (finally!) is that Type O knew how to evolve, musically and even spiritually.  There is a character arc ranging from Slow, Deep and Hard to Dead Again.  It's a plot without holes.  Somehow, each Type O disc is spun of high quality, and yes, I'm doing a celebratory dance over that pun.  Touchdown, suckers!

The group would have been forgiven for delivering a mellow coda.  Sure, we couldn't have possibly known that this was their swan song, but we knew they were getting older.  I can only speak for myself, but I definitely wasn't envisaging Peter Steele reaching back into his Carnivore bag of tricks and parenting a nest egg of pissy, crotchety riffs that would feel right at home on...well, a Carnivore omnibus.  The title track launches the record with a bombardment of speedy stuff (after the requisite doom intro).  "Tripping a Blind Man" is a top-tier Type O tune.  It has swagger, impassioned vocals, bayonet-sharp lyrics ('You think it's your place to dispense justice/Well, I've been sent to judge the judges'), and canorous harmonies.

"The Profit of Doom" is heavier than a fucking fuck.  Is it a minute or two on the bloated side?  Yeah, but I can live with it.  The songwriting is strong enough to carry protracted track lengths.  "These Three Things" is the sole instance of an epic number being sustained past the point of necessity.  Still, it features gnarly moments that justify its inclusion (Pete screams his giant head off, and it's magnificent).  The pensive "September Sun" can be cloying until the near-supernatural guitar solo soars beyond speakers and into the outer realm.

Kenny Hickey, man!  I'm telling you.  He rips another badass lead in "She Burned Me Down," a sentimental favorite in the Coccaro household.  In totality, I almost want to say that Dead Again is a sentimental favorite.  It comes dangerously close to scoring five Abbaths.  For a Type O Negative experience, it's practically perfect.  You can award your own ratings.  Like every other energized listener, I've always wondered where those four dicks from Brooklyn would have transmigrated as a creative collective.  Would they have looked to October Rust and subsumed their 80's goth influences?  Would they have heaved their hardcore base and focused on their 60's psych influences?  Would they have killed each other???

*The act of uprooting.  The more you know!



Geek Out #143

I'll be finishing my Type O discography review soon, so check this out!  I imagine that if you're a fan of the band, even from a casual standpoint, you've seen this beauty.  If not, it's a very cool, very 90's trip into the mordant minds of the Drab 4.  This was where I first saw the video for "Everything Dies."  Thanks for nothing, MTV!


Son of Frankenstein

Eons ago, I reviewed Bride of Frankenstein.  Epochs ago, I reviewed Frankenstein (because apparently, I like to do things out of order).  I might as well cover 1939's Son of Frankenstein, and no, I don't know if or when I'll get to the rest of the series.  Universal didn't plan on making a third Frankie feature.  Classic horror fans are indebted to the studio for fleshing out a trilogy, as this is the most consistent ternion of fright flicks ever committed to celluloid.  Go ahead; name another.  You can't!  Okay, aside from Maniac CopFACTOID: Robert Z'Dar was approached for the role of Ygor, but he wanted to be paid in Yikes pencils and empty boxes of Hidden Treasures cereal.  Plus, he wasn't alive yet.

Factors aligned to fashion Son into a colossal mega-epic that paired a burly budget with an impregnable cast.  Boris Karloff returns to grant his creature a plaintive pathos, while still being the badass slasher villain of his day.  Basil Rathbone is game as Wolf, the son of Dr. Frankenstein.  Fuck, that's a cool name!  He brings guileless enthusiasm to the role, and you want to root for him.  Lionel Atwill dignifies his fellow players as Inspector Krogh.  His presence is enough to get the job done, not that his performance is noticeably inadequate.  I admit that it's hard to shake Young Frankenstein from my mind whenever Krogh adjusts his prosthetic arm.

The star of the show may be Bela Lugosi as the dowdy, yet calculating Ygor.  Watching Son, I couldn't help but feel this was the second best turn of his career, following his iconic portrayal of Dracula.  That's saying something.  He kicked just as much ass in White Zombie and The Black Cat.  Reading other reviews, I gather that my opinion is shared by some of the most distinguished nobodies on the web.  There is a certain intensity to Ygor, a dithyrambic (dithyrambic, I say!) volume that only Mr. Lugosi could have instilled in the character.

I don't see the point in writing a bullet-by-bullet plot summary.  You know Frankenstein, right?  It's about his son.  The storytelling is fine.  Apart from the exceptional acting, my favorite aspects of the film are the optics.  Director Rowland V. Lee strides in full gallop to push his needles all the way through the "spooky" scale.  Nevermind my confused analogy and use of present tense.  The castle is foreboding, the night sky is almost always zipped with lightning, and the angles...dude, the angles.  It's clear that Lee was heavily influenced by German expressionism.  The bizarre lighting and architecture act in service of the atmosphere.

At a robust 99 minutes, Son of Frankenstein is the longest Universal monster movie.  The pace is measured, but I wouldn't call it slow.  Would I recommend a midnight viewing after a grueling day of brick masonry and/or commercial diving?  No.  It's fairly easy to digest, all the same.  This is the stuff that constitutes the genre.  As a matter of fact, it's "the shit," as kids proclaim.  I'm current.  I'm relevant.  Robert Z'Dar says, "My requests were reasonable."




Hot pink!  It's my second favorite color (behind turquoise), especially when it occurs in nature.  I should just end the post right there, if only to make myself snicker.  No, I do have a point.  The VHS/Blu-ray cover of 555 is stippled and swabbed in hot pink.  Actually, all of the promotional material for the film is punched up with pink.  It's as if the commodity itself is blushing.  So what the fuck is 555?  It's a shot-on-video sleazoid slasher from 1988.  As I mentioned yesterday, I haven't had access to the Internet for several days, so I'm not comfortable writing a proper review of this thing (it has been too long now since I've seen it; my brain is faulty when it comes to absorbing visual information).  However!

Wait, let me try that again.  However!  I did want to document the fact that I dug it.  555 falls short of handheld heavyweights such as Video Violence and Blood Cult, but its procedural approach is intriguing enough.  You see, five couples are butchered for five consecutive nights every five years.  Whodunit???  The answer is anticlimactic.  I had mild fun on my way to the answer, as most of the on-screen kills are irresponsibly bloody.  One decapitation, in particular, made me goddamn giddy.  Here's a spooky knife...