Before the Blonds went to Hollywood...

Those are The Varsity Blonds (including Julia, their cheerleader).  The dude on the right is Brian Pillman Jr., and if you are a wrestling fan, you know that his father was a badass who challenged the status quo.  I'm a Pillman mark, but that's beside the point.  Junior is finally finding his footing.  The Blonds are one of my favorite "acts" in AEW, and I hope they bedeck the card...when I attend a live taping of Dynamite in late June!  Booyah!  This will be my second AEW experience, and I had a blast the first time around.

Speaking of the first time around, Mom and I lucked into meeting the Rhodes family.  My God, Brandi is beautiful.  My God.  Anyway, we'll see what happens, but I'm not going to set my expectations too high.  Also, YAY!


Edge of the Axe

Director Jose Ramon Larraz considers 1988's Edge of the Axe to be his worst film.  To me, that's just weird.  I respect his opinion.  It's obviously an informed opinion, and I would surmise that he has sapient, discerning insight into his own works.  But this flick isn't too shabby!  Perhaps when he made that judgment, he was skimming the surface.  On its face, Edge is a suit-and-tie slasher.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It's not as challenging as, say, 1980's Stigma or 1974's Symptoms, but there exists a cadre of disreputable rubes who enjoy slummy, unkempt b-pictures.  Y'know, shitheads.  A congregation of which I am a member.

Ol' Jose wasn't thinking of the underbelly of the film buff community.  Actually, it's more likely that Edge was concocted with us in mind.  This is basically a lost Friday the 13th sequel, minus camp counselors and a hockey mask.  Oh, and nudity.  A baffling omission, that.  If I may, I'd like to go back and talk about masks.  Our killer's cloak is cool (so is Coca-Cola and concubine kiosks), and while I understand the comparisons to Michael Myers, I think the general outlay passes muster.  It has its own vibe.  The huge fucking axe helps.  One would assume that such an implement would set in motion an array of messy death sequences.  Nah.

Don't get me wrong, my pet; blood is spilled, but the gore is limited to streaks of plasma.  There is a severed finger.  It's really exciting.  So, so exciting.  I wish it was easier to convey sarcasm in print.  I haven't sold Edge as a festive sit, but I did enjoy those 91 minutes.  Can you believe that the characters and their synergy are more involving than the horror happenings brought to light?  Not by much, but it's true.  Barton Faulks and Page Mosely (no relation to Bill, as far as I can tell) play the male leads as decent fellows, so it's easy to root for them.  Christina Marie Lane is warm and cute as Lillian.  Here again, you're in the protagonist's corner.

Somewhere between the halfway point and the big reveal, I was reminded that I was scoping a whodunit.  Was I successful in guessing the identity of the larvate evildoer?  No.  Was I satisfied with the ending?  No.  Did it make sense?  No.  Do I recommend Edge of the Axe in spite of these - and other - snags?  Yes!  This is popcorn entertainment.  I streamed it late at night, and yet, I didn't fall asleep.  If you're Dom, that's worthy of note.  Robert Z'Dar says, "I'm edging."



Album Cover of the Whatever

Need I say more?  The cover of this German thrash record is more metal than...erm, a bolt cutter.  An eyelash curler?  A spoon?  A whistle?  All of Norway?  You get the idea.  By the way, the band is Eliminator and the album is Krieg Thrash.  Because of course that's the title!



Ever flitter around on eBay?  Y'know, just to see what you can find?  If you're bored, it's a posh, dandy way to kill time.  Earlier, I was clicking (much like a cicada) through ragged WWF merchandise in search of Undertaker bagatelles that have been carelessly tossed aside by the unsuitable.  That's what I call normal people.  Ick.  Anyway, I stumbled upon a gimmick catalog from 1994.  That's one of my best years!

Now would be a great opportunity to mention that I "collect" Doink manavelins in addition to other wrestling knick-knacks.  I used quotation marks because I don't buy stuff left and right with the mania of a true collector.  If I spot something cool (and I can afford it), I buy it.  Simple as.  So this fucking catalog contains...get ready...Doink teddy bears.  DOINK BEARS.  With Dink included, you cocksuckers!  Woah, I don't know where that came from.  Sorry.  I'm hyped up on Pepsi and Doink energy.  Yes, I realize that I'm essentially proselytizing the shitty babyface Doink and his causeless sidekick, but it's still Doink, man.  Doink bends my will.  All is Doink.  Doink is all.

I can't find any Doink bears online, though I haven't spent many days minutes looking.  Undertaker bears are easier to locate, and I do want one, but dude, Doink bears.  Until today, I didn't know they existed.  If you have a spare or you know where I can grab one, please let me know.  I will gladly pay in American currency for that sweet, sweet baby.


Dead Review Collection #4 - BLEEDING!

My personal ranking of Cannibal Corpse compendiums has waffled over the years.  If you're a CC freak, I'm sure your opinions have fluctuated with the elapsing course of time.  The whitecaps, the breakers...this is already too goddamn philosophical.  Point being!  I used to regard Tomb of the Mutilated as the stateliest, most measured offering of the Barnes era.  Nowadays, my death metal compass leads me to 1994's The Bleeding.  It's not my favorite CC record overall, but we can burn that bridge when we cross it.  After we cross it?  Eh, viaducts and cantilevers are above my pay grade.

Against my better judgment, I'm going to start by focusing on the album's principal flaw.  Chris sounds fine.  You could tell that he was losing something, but he still had something to lose.  My beef relates directly to the lyrics.  Yes, they're as abominable as they ever were ("Fucked With a Knife" and "She Was Asking For It" are not U2 songtitles), but compared to earlier material, they are dumbed down to a disquieting degree.  The dude was running out of ideas.  What is "Pulverized" about?  It's about killing someone.  And "The Pick-Axe Murders"?  Killing someone, but with an axe!  The actual phraseology is dry and hampered.  Maybe this wouldn't bother me so much if I wasn't a writer.

Can we get to the music now?  Stop bossing me around, me.  The band unlatched their aural hoofprints on The Bleeding, experimenting with melody and technicality.  I use the term loosely, but the tracks here are accessible, at least from an arrangement standpoint.  It's easier to finger the chorus (ew, sorry).  You can distinguish a beginning, a middle, and an end.  To be frank, that's how I like my extreme metal, although it may not be the preferred "kvlt" way to compose music.  Riffs?  Sweet lobotomy Mary, the riffs on this thing are heavier than Heather Feather.  After "Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead" raises the (presumptively flesh-woven) curtain, "Spooned With a Knife" rattles your cervix with a rifftastic riff.  It riffs you.

"Pulverized" plays on every strength of The Bleeding.  The tempos vary, the vocal patterns are memorable, and those fucking riffs are lethal.  Speaking of tempo, the catchy "Return to Flesh" and the sinister, atmospheric "Force Fed Broken Glass" slow the violence down a notch.  Like I said, the cannibalistic corpses were ready to prod their routine, to tread alfresco of their comfort zone.  No, not Fresca.  Yes, they still make Fresca.  Yes, I have been known to crack open a bottle at random intervals.  It's not bad!  Fruity.  Refreshing.  But that is neither here nor there.  I get distracted so easily these days.  Sorry?

In summation, citrus soft drinks-OH, GODDAMN IT!  I have yet to utter the adjective that I believe best describes The Bleeding.  That would be "fun."  I don't know why exactly, but I have a blast cranking this album in a cross section of assorted environments.  Admittedly, it's attached to fond memories of a trip to Disney World, of all places (if I'm not mistaken, I picked it up at a record store near our hotel).  Bereaved of nostalgia, I know for a fact that I'd still love The Bleeding.  I am deducting a half-Abbath for the frontman's waning commitment to the group collective.  Today, it's obvious.  I wonder if it stuck out like a sore thumb in 1994.  Hey, the vocals are decent.  I'm certainly not complaining about his replacement.



Um, foreshadowing?

Just dropping in to say I haven't forgotten about...y'know, writin' stuff.  I have something cooking right now, which I'll share with you tomorrow night-ish.


Geek Out #149

If I could, I'd crawl to California to visit this place.  I would want to live there.  Okay, I do live there.  Watching the quick tour, I realized that I owned many of the same comics and videotapes.  Because I'm cool!  Yeah, that's why.


Blood Capsule #110


On some level, I created Blood Capsules to condense and depurate the films that defy description.  To reduce these aberrations to a savory vapor.  To win a staring contest with nonsensical bullshit.  Beyond the Door III blinked before I did, but it's still a mess of a nexus to untangle.  Like it even needs to be addressed; no, this flick has nothing in common with 1974's Beyond the Door or its alleged "sequel" (a.k.a. Mario Bava's Shock).  The title was a distributor's decision.  I don't know whose decision it was to make this a cloudy, ill-defined junker, but that fool...I have a problem with that fool.  He zimmed with the wrong darfklacker.

It's not all doom and gloom, though.  Maybe you can tell from the above photograph, but BTD3 is seriously stylish.  Director Jeff Kwitny took a saddlebag of locust intestines and turned it into something approaching scenic.  God knows he couldn't depend on the cast or the dialogue to retain the viewer's ever-shrinking attention span.  I was actually paying heed and I couldn't cipher the damn plot.  It's something about a Satanic cult, a virgin, train gore...there is quite a bit of train gore.  The effects are sick, dude.  Everything else isn't nearly as sick, dude.  Beyond the Door III was shot, at least partially, in Serbia, so I can say that having seen a Serbian film, it's a forgettable rental.  Nyuk, nyuk.


Rassle Inn #18

Over the weekend, NXT was in my house!  This trend of recycling archaic PPV themes is...well, it's awesome, but it's also the pinch of sugar to help the medicine go down.  Those mid-90's events were adorable.  Maybe it's nostalgia talking, but I care more about those main events than I do a goddamn five-way match where the winner is obvious.  Yes, I'd rather watch Diesel versus The British Bulldog (eh, maybe not)  I need to check my heat.  All told, I had fun with the 34th (!) Takeover flight of fancy.  Most of the card is fine on the yellow brand until you get to the supposed centerpiece(s).

I'm bored!  Karrion Kross is a cool champion, but he needs fresh challengers.  While I'm giving myself the book, he should to be an overt babyface.  Where are the true heroes in NXT?  Take last night's main event as an example.  Assuming a wrestler's loyalty to ethics and moral rectitude exists on a sliding scale, the "superstar" closest to the babyface end of the spectrum is Kyle O'Reilly.  Fantastic in the ring, awkward on the microphone.  Seriously, his current persona is curdled cack (ew).  Finn Balor is hovering over the midriff of our little scale.  There is no reason for him to be a tweener.  Likewise, there is no reason for Adam Cole to be a heel.

Of course, the rest are heels.  Where do the badass good guys reside?  Look, I'm sure that the spots were neat, but I didn't stick around to catch the five-way fray.  I didn't have to observe it.  Why is it so difficult for promoters to recognize their own talents as either heels or faces?  At Double or Nothing, it seemed that AEW's women's division was on the periphery of coming greatness with new champion Britt Baker leading the way.  The fans were behind her.  Were.  The very next week, she was right back to being a heel during her fucking cheeseburger celebration.  What the fuck was that shit?

So Britt is faced with a virtuous contender, right?  Nope!  Heels gonna heel, baby!  As of right now, the woman slotted to vie for the lady strap (let's keep our minds out of the gutter) is Nyla Rose, a heel managed by Vickie Guerrero, the most despised manager in all of AEW.  Hey, I don't play favorites.  I do prefer the TNT program to the USA/Fox program, but I call 'em like I see 'em.  Tony Khan better sort this division out pronto.  Where is Jack Tunney when you need him?


Album Cover of the Whatever

Preeeeettttty.  That's the cover of The Sorrows of Centuries Past, a cool record by Ancestral Shadows.  Recommended to fans of early Emperor.  Also, preeeeettttty.


The Soda Jerk Rides Again: ALE-8

What happens when you find a couple of random, obscure soda pops in the wild?  You purchase them and you reanimate your ancient, calcified beverage column to write about them.  Ale-8 is not the eighth malt I've imbibed on this good day.  No, it's a citrus/ginger soda that was developed in the 1920's.  The peculiar name?  Well, creator (and bottler by trade) G.L. Wainscott held a contest to find the perfect eponym.  The moniker chosen was "A Late One," as in the latest in tasty drink technology.  Naturally, "Ale-8" became manifest, at least colloquially.  The full name is written as "Ale-8-One," but we don't use that language in this house.  Do you understand me?  So help me God, if I catch you...

...what happened?  I hit my head on a block of pixels.  Anyway, I think I was preparing to say that I was reticent to put my lips to a sleek decanter of bubbly water.  You may not recall, but the majority of my Soda Jerk reviews have been either tepid or negative.  My batting average isn't so hot, brother.  Sister?  Sorry, I'm a sexist.  And a racist.  JOKES!  THESE ARE JOKES!  Okay, I'm moving on.  I was pleasantly surprised by Ale-8.  It's not the most delicious swig in the known universe, but it does give you a cooling sensation.  It acts as a restorative roborant (tragic alliteration is tragic).

Specific notes of lime and ginger don't present themselves immediately.  At first, you're met with a general sweetness.  The aftertaste is where this tonic transforms into something distinct.  Normally, I'm not terribly partial to ginger ale, but I must admit, Ale-8 is a bit of alright.  I dig!  I may start drinking more ginger stuff, even the pale variant (Canada Dry, yo).  It's quite the mellow soda, which I appreciate.  Compared to a root beer, for instance, the carbonation is light.  It pairs well with pasta.  Granted, almost any liquid pairs well with pasta, but I just so happened to be enjoying a spaghetti dish when I sipped my Ale-8 and I don't have a bowl of complaints.

The packaging is fine.  Honestly, there isn't much to say.  Green and yellow makes sense, given the product.  Please forgive the wretched lighting in my photograph.  Light bulbs are irritating.


Sheiky Baby

This isn't a formal review, but last night, I caught 2014's The Sheik.  I'm fashionably late on this one.  At any rate, it's a bio(graphical)-doc(umentary) on Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri.  You may know him better as The Iron (fucking) Sheik.  For over a decade now, he has cultivated a brash, diverting persona on social media, but as the film illustrates, there is a real human being underneath the gimmick.  He's a very proud and very complex guy.  Every "old school" wrestler can account for Sheik's demons, as they all partied with him back in the day.  Shit, he did more blow than the entire guest list of Live-Aid.

Hmm, I'm not sure how I feel about a Live-Aid reference, but I'll leave it.  I would have liked to see more coverage of Sheik's post-WWF wrestling career.  His brief stop in WCW is omitted, and now that I'm ruminating my way through it, the doc glosses over his tag title run with Nikolai Volkoff.  The championships aren't even mentioned.  It seems to me that - barring the WWF title win over Bob Backlund - his only other reign (in American pro-wrestling, that is) would be significant enough to warrant an allusion.

Maybe that's just me being a nerd.  I dug the interviews.  The absence of a certain promoter was rather conspicuous, though.  Did they ask and he rebuffed?  Were they too intimidated to ask at all?  I doubt it.  I mean, The Rock is sprinkled liberally from end to end.  The Great One was great, by the way.  I don't know if I would describe The Sheik as great, but it's greatly proficient.  Well, I almost wrote a formal review, didn't I?  Fuck.  I'll probably take a few days off, but when I return, I will be carbonated.  Don't worry; it's not a hiatus.  Think of it as an extended guitar solo.