Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Ten Movies of the Oughts: Number 7

7. Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt (2004)

My sister, my mom and my main man Bruce Gibson are long time Townes van Zandt fans, and I honestly didn't get it until I saw this movie. I remember being in my early 20s and just thinking 'this music is depressing' when I heard it. A little growing up and a whole lot of dark times later and I see this movie, summer of 2006. As soon as the opening song "Rake" kicks in, I'm a fan for life. Van Zandt is one of the most truthful singers ever, and you can tell he's been through it when you listen to him. I would place him at the very top of the folk/country canon. I think he's better than Dylan, which is of course, saying something. Steve Earle said "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that!" Upon hearing that Earle said this about him, Townes replied "I've met Bob Dylan, and his bodyguards wouldn't let Steve Earle anywhere near his coffee table." A typical Townes quote: succinct, simple and funny on the surface, but packs in some meaning underneath. This is not only good-natured ribbing towards his friend Steve Earle, it is a subtle jab at Dylan. Dylan was a huge Townes fan, and Townes turned down offers from Dylan to write songs together. Townes liked Dylan's early music, but didn't admire his celebrity status. Dylan, in turn, doesn't seem to admire his celebrity status as well, so you could make the assumption that Van Zandt is the real McCoy. He's the musician Bob Dylan wishes he was. Which of course, put Van Zandt at the top of the pile.
Townes Van Zandt is a bewildering, completely mind-boggling subject. Become a fan and its not hard to become obsessed with this man and his music. You could listen to any of his songs and write a huge essay about that one song. The stories about the man himself are just as incredible as the songs, so he was long overdue for a quality documentary. This film was Margaret Brown's first, and its a true labor of love. She loved his music and thought that it was under appreciated. So, she went out there and interviewed Townes' family, friends and fellow musicians. She came away with a truly beautiful film, a documentary that is as heart breaking and profound as Townes' music and his life. Anyone who hasn't discovered the undiluted genius of Townes Van Zandt, see this film and if you aren't affected by it, you probably are dead.

Top Ten Movies of the Oughts: Number 8

8. Stepbrothers (2008)

This is not only one of the funniest movies of the past decade, its Will Ferrell's funniest movie. Which is saying something. Anchorman was a tour-de-force, showcasing not only Ferrell's comedic prowess but also a great ensemble cast including Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Chris Parnell, Christina Applegate and more. That movie is pee your pants funny, but this movie is even funnier. This is poop your pants funny. The equally hilarious John C. Reilly comes in with more than an assist, Ferrell and he share the spotlight, and their back and forth idiocy is up there with the all time great comedy duos. This is a laugh riot! Sorry, I just wanted to sound like Bill Diehl for a second. This movie is hilarious from the beginning straight through the end. There is no lag time. It hits the ground running and just increases speed. The dialog is so good, you will catch hilarious lines that you missed from laughing hard at the line right before it. I think I've seen this movie 9 or 10 times, and I catch little, hilarious throw away lines every time I watch it. Reilly and Ferrell are masters of taking a concept and pushing it as far as it will go, catching the energy of improvisation and applying it to the scene and maximizing the comedic potential. This is one of my favorite movies of the oughts (obviously, its on my top 10), I can't recommend it enough. Beware, however, you may poop your pants and drool all over yourself from laughing so hard.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top Ten Movies of the Oughts: Number 9

9. Jackass Number Two (2006)

Its strange to think that one of the greatest TV shows of the past decade basically consisted of a bunch of somewhat insane, non sober dudes doing terrible things to each other and themselves. When historians look back that this era, I'm sure they will hold Jackass up as an example of the decline of western civilization. Whatever, the shit is funny. And gross, and insane and awe-inspiring and sickening. Basically its awesome. I was really bummed after the first Jackass movie. It seemed like that was it. The Wildboyz with Chris Pontius and Steve-O was pretty hilarious, the Bam show made me not really like him that much and Johnny Knoxville tried to make regular movies. It looked like the end of an era. Then, WHAM! A week or so before it hit theaters, the trailer for Number 2 hit the internet and TV. I was very excited. I was also skeptical of the film, would it eclipse the first one? It not only was better than the first one, it was the best thing these guys have ever done. They raised the bar so high with this movie that I'm a little worried about next year's Jackass 3. If they get even crazier than they did with this one, somebody is probably gonna die.
I remember going to see Number Two with my friends, we may have smoked some semi-legal cigarettes before going in, and we may have brought beers into the Wellfleet Cinema. (Note: One of the creators of Jackass and Executive Producer Trip Taylor is from Wellfleet.) I remember being simultaneously revolted, shocked, amazed and I, of course, laughed my ass off the entire time. Johnny Knoxville, who had been called a 'pretty boy, hollywood' type by skeptical fans, emerged as the bravest, most batshit insane of the bunch, and everyone else followed suit, upping the ante with each imbecilic prank or stunt. It was easily the best time I had at a movie in 2006, and probably ever. Jackass isn't for everyone, obviously, but even people who don't like it have to admit that these guys have created something that borders genius when it comes to moronic humor. They have taken stupidity to heights undreamed of. And I love them for it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Top Ten Movies of the Oughts: Number 10

2000 to 2009. A decade that I rank as pretty lame, as far as pop culture goes. 9-11, cell phones, the death of the recorded music industry, George Bush destroys the world, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, Obama. That's basically it. For a cinephile, the past ten years make the 70s, 80s and early 90s look like an amazing golden age of amazingness, which they were. Amid the crappy remakes, CGI fueled brainlessness and nonstop plundering of past eras which were far more creatively fertile, there were some really, really good movies. Or at least movies I liked. Here's my list of the top ten, in installments. I promise I will finish this list by the end of this rad decade.

10. Wrong Turn (2003).

Female lead Eliza Dushku is from Arlington, MA. The lighting in this movie strangely seems to highlight the area just below the nape of her neck and above the beginning of her tank top. The lighting technicians were either European or just rascals.

Horror nerds and Rue Morgue Magazine subscribers (same thing) are no doubt turning their noses way up right now, but I'll tell you something. For you spoiled little pricks that just got into horror movies yesterday because the tranny you are dating likes them, there was a time when hardcore, gory, gritty, horror movies were a thing of the past. I've been a horror movie fan my entire life, and in the late 90s, early 00s, the genre was dead. I had no interest in the endless stream of lame teenie bopper horror films like I Know What You Did The Last Time You Frosted Your Tips, Urban Blemish, and so on. Basically every single 'horror movie' from 1997 until this one featured about 6 or so faces that would be recognizable to basic cable subscribers on the cover all in the same lame lineup. Lame. The whole idea of 'grindhouse, hardcore, gory, shocking' horror was completely missing from theatrically released films. I was "helping" my friends move out of our house on Logtown Road in Amherst, summer of 2003. I was mainly helping by going to Video Gallery in Belchertown (they had weird, crappy stuff that Video To Go didn't even have) everyday and renting 5 horror movies, then getting drunk and watching them with my friends at the house. Needless to say, we didn't get our security deposits back. I glanced at the free, weekly tome of effete bullshit (except for Jon Keane's old food column) which was "The Valley Advocate" and saw a review for something called Wrong Turn. Those snobby pricks gave it 1 star and said that it was a trashy, gore-filled, brainless backwoods slasher film that harkened back to the 80s and 70s. I showed it to my friends, and we immediately agreed that we needed to see it. Horror movies were so incredibly lame at this point in time that we were completely prepared to be let down. We made some mixed drinks, and just settled in to watch some crap. We were surprised. That movie kicked ass. Supremely gory, suspenseful, just cheesy enough but not intentionally cheesy.... I remember being really impressed with how irony-free this ridiculously gory and nasty film was. It really was the first American horror film that ushered in this "let's take it back to the 80s" movement. I feel that that trend has run its course, with everything down to Nail Gun Massacre getting a big budget, music video director remake these days. Not to mention all the wussy Twilight style crap out there. (I like True Blood, but that show is awesome and not wussy and lame at all.) On that August night, which does not feel like it was 6 and a half years ago, in the Hadley Mall, with a rum and coke in my hand, I had one of the most fun times I've ever had at a movie. Sneer all you want, horror nerds, but I love this movie, and it holds up really well. You can watch it today and its way better than many of the other 'throwback' horror films that followed in its wake. People love this movie, as well. Nobody I've ever shown it to for the first time has not liked it. Including people that thought it looked terrible.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Top People Of The Year

Well, the 2000s are over. This decade was kind of wack chaperone. But, there are still great people out there, trying their best to elevate mankind and make life better for us all, or just being awesome. Here is my list of the best people of 2009.

Tommy Wiseau

Tommy Wiseau's self written, directed and starring first feature film, The Room exists on a plane of terribleness that is nearly incomprehensible. This is, without a doubt, one of the worst movies ever made. Extraneous exterior shots that have nothing to do with the story, subplots that go nowhere, extremely terrible softcore love-making scenes with hideous R&B slow jams theme music, stilted dialog, horrible pacing, no linear logic, you name it, this film has it in spades. Just released commercially, the movie was made in 2003 for 6 MILLION dollars and comes across as a vanity project for this eyebrowless, monster looking weirdo. I don't know whether to applaud his misdirected audacity or just shudder in disgust, but either way, he has given me a movie I will no doubt watch countless times in my life. It comes across as an R rated Lifetime movie made by a retarded person. I want to thank Bridie Johnson and Abby Ruby for bringing this film to my apartment last weekend and changing my life. Tommy Wiseau, you are a freak, and I salute you and am simultaneously disgusted by you. Not too many people can illicit that strange blend of emotions in me, so you are a top person of 2009.

Steven Seagal

After a decade plus-long run as a box office action movie sensation, beginning with 1988's "Above The Law" and ending with 2001's "Exit Wounds", Seagal fell into the world of mostly horrible straight to DVD films. Releasing as many as 4 a year, the now older, overweight Seagal looked like he was bound to fall into low budget near-obscurity. Then, out of nowhere like a lightening fast Aikido kick to the nuts, he comes roaring back into the mainstream with his new reality show, "Steven Seagal: Lawman", which exists on a plane of awesomeness that is nearly incomprehensible. Seagal is a real New Orleans cop, and has been for 20 years. Who knew? Now we are treated to a television show that is basically like "Cops" times a million awesomeness points times Seagal, which equals infinity awesomeness. Plus 1. Basically Seagal is a top person of every year from 1988 to 2001, then he kind of fell off the list for a few years, except for 2005, when he released his first album, "Songs from the Crystal Cave", and 2004, when he released his own energy drink... yeah, I think Seagal is pretty much permanently on my top people's list.

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

Tim and Eric are an incredibly original comedy duo, and they just keep gettin better. Their influence is wide-spread, even Saturday Night Live has been biting their steez of late. They are the masters of just completely insane, maddening, sometimes extremely dark and disturbing humor. When I first saw the "Tim and Eric Awesome Show! Great Job." in 2007, I was so thankful that something this original, bizarre and wild was on television. Its a breath of fresh, disgusting air. 2009 saw the 4th season of this show's 11 minute long blast of humor episodes, and its just as insane and uncompromising as ever. They even had another member of my Top People list (Tommy Wiseau) guest-direct an episode. That's showing cajones right there. These guys are really to be commended for putting their wholly individual vision out there, as messed up as it is. They've been slowly but surely getting more and more popular, and they say the next season of T and E will be the last one, followed by movies and other projects. I can't wait to see what these mad geniuses do next.


T-Baby's amazing song and video "Its So Cold In The D" was apparently posted to youtube in 2008, but I discovered it in 2009, and I've had it stuck in my head for the entire year, so she gets to be on my Top People of 2009 list. The story behind the song is sad, its about one of her friends that got killed, but the song is so incredibly annoying/catchy that I am in awe of her. The video is incredible, the dance moves are amazing and the chorus of the song is one of the most simultaneously grating, catchy, annoying, offensive and heartfelt things I've ever heard. T-Baby, I wish your music career all the best, but I honestly don't think you'll ever be able to match the power/annoyingness of this song.

That's all I can think of right now, and I want to eat a leftover turkey sandwich, so that's it for now. Happy Day After Thanksgiving, and I'll be adding to this list as I remember more Top People. Ciao.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If You Aren't My Friend On Facebook, Let Me Tell You Something You Might Not Know Already: Steven Seagal: Lawman is The Best Show Ever.

No, seriously. This show reaches levels of amazingness never even dreamed of by even hardcore Seagalogists like myself. Vern, you need to write another book. Seagal has unleashed another level of awesome for us all. Basically, its Cops, but with Steven Seagal. "Big Deal," you might say, but have you given this any thought? Have you really pondered just how awesome that is? Well, if you haven't, let me tell you, its pretty awesome. Now you don't have to ponder.
In the late 80s, Seagal was filming a movie in New Orleans. The police of Jeffereson Parish asked him to teach them some self defense moves. They hit it off and made Seagal a deputy. Ever since, Seagal has made some classic movies, and tons of pretty bad straight to DVD movies (though I consider many of these classic as well), but the whole time, he was secretely a New Orleans cop!!!
So, basically, Seagal rolls around in an S.U.V wearing cool yellow sunglasses with his fellow cops in "The 'jects" (his words, not mine), busting criminals, being wicked awesome and saying things like "Aikido is the way of peace and harmony. What we are doing out here is bringing peace and harmony to these areas by removing the crime." (Might not be an exact quote, I watched the first episode last night and I was pretty drunk.) I think when I heard that, my mind was made up. Best show ever.
He doesn't beat people up, like you'd think, he's like a real cool cop. When the other cops are tazing the hell out of a suspect, Seagal stops them by yelling "Everyone just cool down!" And they stop tazing him. Awesome. On a domestic disturbance call, everyone winds up laughing and asking Seagal for his autograph. This plus sized older black lady keeps yelling "Get back here, Steven, I need you!" as he's leaving. She also shakes his hand and says "Damn! That's a big hand!"
The power of Seagalogy brings peace and harmony to very ugly situations. In some of his movies, Seagal talks with a southern accent, I always thought it was just him hamming it up, but it kind of makes sense now. I mean, he really is a New Orleans cop.
There's a scene in a police conference room where they are going over things to look out for, etc., before they go out for the night. Seagal is really studiously asking questions about suspects and taking notes and wearing eyeglasses. In a voiceover he says "Information is golden. The more we know, the better cops we will be." (Again, this is a wine-influenced memory of the quote, so it might not be exact. I know he said "Information is golden," which is awesome.)
Oh, and also he's an incredible handgunner and he teaches his fellow cops to use Aikido concentration techniques to shoot better. There were tons of awesome quotes during the gun training, and Seagal looked amazing with a towel wrapped around his neck and yellow safety glasses, peering down the barrel of one of his trademark 1911 .45's.
I'm Seagal's friend on Facebook, and he invited me to watch the sneak preview last night online. The show will premiere on December 2nd on A&E. If you don't watch it, you are doomed to never experience how awesome it is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Esham Puts Out Awesome Horror Album

Esham, the rap kingpin of Detroit, isn't for everyone. The only other person as bizarre as he is in hip hop is probably Kool Keith, and Keith is probably even more bizarre, but they are very different. (Keith and Esham collaborated on Keith's classic album 'Spankmaster'.) Esham is pretty straightforward, a straight gangsta rapper, but his natural eccentricity comes through on all his projects. The beats are on some other, other, other isht and Esham raps alot about demons, ghosts, evil spirits and so on. I haven't peeped too much of his stuff in recent years, mainly because he aligned himself with the ICP crew... though he recently made an album dissing ICP and distributed it at the Gathering of the Juggalos, which is pretty awesome and ballsy. ICP would be the first to admit that they wouldn't exist without Esham. I know to most people that probably makes Esham sound somewhat terrible by association. Esham's first album "Boomin Words From Hell" came out in 1990, when Esham was like 13 years old. I have it on cassette. You can't really blame him if some lame people were influenced by him. I mean, Eminem was influenced by him. So, he was one of the very first 'Horrorcore' rappers, he's from Detroit, one of the scariest places, period, and he has just released a horror concept album. Each track is about a different horror icon/theme and this has to be the only rap album to ever sample "Ichi The Killer". Its pretty obvious that I love it. Its pretty amazing. Who else besides Esham would make a rap song called "Attack Of the Blob", where he rhymes about being not only the blob, but a crime kingpin. Yeah, he's got the whole city covered, so he's the "Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah blob!"?!
Then there's a song called "Evil Dead", where one of Esham's boys with a wicked cool accent raps about being Ash and he takes it right from 'Evil Dead' through 'Army of Darkness'.
Then there's "Freddie Krueger" where someone named Dr. Hustle rhymes "I'm Freddie Krueger with a brand new Ruger/leave that ass stinkin like a pile of manure". Horror nerds would argue that Freddie would never just shoot someone, but I think that's a pretty good rhyme.
Then there's "The Invisible Man", which is, of course, about what the Invisible Man would do in a strip club. Seems like a wacky premise, but remember, Esham is from Detroit. This is a family oriented blog, so I won't go into some of the racier details, but a guy at the bar says "Yo, who just drank my drink?!" and Esham says "The Invisible Man!" Awesome.
This is a very entertaining horror-rap album. It kind of tries to be serious at the same time as being 'creepy', which might turn some people off, but for me it just kind of made it more fun. My favorite horror-rap album of all time is Kool Keith's turn as Dr. Dooom: "First Come, First Served". Keith's brand of horror-rap is more like a totally over the top Troma movie, so out of control that it is impressive but doesn't actually scare you (although some of the tracks reach such a level of dementedness that they actually are pretty disturbing.) This is more like a gangsta guy that loves horror movies paying homage to the genre. Might not be for everyone, but I like it. If you like hardcore rap and horror movies, you'll probably like it too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Movie About a 13 Year Old Boy with Male Pattern Baldness. What's Not To Like?

So, I have the Netflix thing going on now. (I'm late in the game, just joined like a month ago.) Its really cool because you can watch movies on your computer. Now before you accuse me of being some corporate shill for them, I will say that the selection of movies they have for instant viewing is pretty bizarre. Like, you can't watch this but you can watch this . Or this movie Harold, a comedy about a 13 year old boy with male pattern baldness. He's bald, he's got bunions and he dresses like an old man. He moves to a new town and has trouble making friends. The movie is really not that funny, but there is just something so awesome about this premise that it kept me glued to the screen. Cuba Gooding Jr., continues his non-Oscar worthy material spree as a cool janitor that befriends Harold. Everyone in the movie thinks he's 'creepy'.
This is basically a kid's movie, but with lots of swearing, inappropriate humor and weird, gross sexuality. Its PG-13 but almost seems like it should be rated 'R'. So basically I liked it. If you have nothing better to do, its worth a peep. Tons of high-profile guest stars are in it as well, like Chris Parnell, Dave Attell, Rachel Dratch and Colin Quinn. Like I said, not amazing or anything, but definitely not a waste of time, either.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Top Ten Movies of the Oughts: Number 10

2000 to 2009. A decade that I rank as pretty lame, as far as pop culture goes. 9-11, cell phones, the death of the recorded music industry, George Bush destroys the world, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, Obama. That's basically it. For a cinephile, the past ten years make the 70s, 80s and early 90s look like an amazing golden age of amazingness, which they were. Amid the crappy remakes, CGI fueled brainlessness and nonstop plundering of past eras which were far more creatively fertile, there were some really, really good movies. Or at least movies I liked. Here's my list of the top ten, in installments. I promise I will finish this list by the end of this rad decade.

10. Wrong Turn (2003).

Female lead Eliza Dushku is from Arlington, MA

Horror nerds and Rue Morgue Magazine subscribers (same thing) are no doubt turning their noses way up right now, but I'll tell you something. For you spoiled little pricks that just got into horror movies yesterday because the tranny you are dating likes them, there was a time when hardcore, gory, gritty, horror movies were a thing of the past. I've been a horror movie fan my entire life, and in the late 90s, early 00s, the genre was dead. I had no interest in the endless stream of lame teenie bopper horror films like I Know What You Did The Last Time You Frosted Your Tips, Urban Blemish, and so on. Basically every single 'horror movie' from 1997 until this one featured about 6 or so faces that would be recognizable to basic cable subscribers on the cover all in the same lame lineup. Lame. The whole idea of 'grindhouse, hardcore, gory, shocking' horror was completely missing from theatrically released films. I was "helping" my friends move out of our house on Logtown Road in Amherst, summer of 2003. I was mainly helping by going to Video Gallery in Belchertown (they had weird, crappy stuff that Video To Go didn't even have) everyday and renting 5 horror movies, then getting drunk and watching them with my friends at the house. Needless to say, we didn't get our security deposits back. I glanced at the free, weekly tome of effete bullshit (except for Jon Keane's old food column) which was "The Valley Advocate" and saw a review for something called Wrong Turn. Those snobby pricks gave it 1 star and said that it was a trashy, gore-filled, brainless backwoods slasher film that harkened back to the 80s and 70s. I showed it to my friends, and we immediately agreed that we needed to see it. Horror movies were so incredibly lame at this point in time that we were completely prepared to be let down. We made some mixed drinks, and just settled in to watch some crap. We were surprised. That movie kicked ass. Supremely gory, suspenseful, just cheesy enough but not intentionally cheesy.... I remember being really impressed with how irony-free this ridiculously gory and nasty film was. It really was the first American horror film that ushered in this "let's take it back to the 80s" movement. I feel that that trend has run its course, with everything down to Nail Gun Massacre getting a big budget, music video director remake these days. Not to mention all the wussy Twilight style crap out there. (I like True Blood, but that show is awesome and not wussy and lame at all.) On that August night, which does not feel like it was 6 and a half years ago, in the Hadley Mall, with a rum and coke in my hand, I had one of the most fun times I've ever had at a movie. Sneer all you want, horror nerds, but I love this movie, and it holds up really well. You can watch it today and its way better than many of the other 'throwback' horror films that followed in its wake. People love this movie, as well. Nobody I've ever shown it to for the first time has not liked it. Including people that thought it looked terrible.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer + Ten High + Bubba Cola= A Good Afternoon

I recently moved to the scenic, tree lined streets of Roslindale, a Boston neighborhood that borders Roxbury, JP, Mattapan and Hyde Park. You can look it up on wikipedia if you need to know more about it. I haven't found a job yet, so I decided to hit Save-A-Lot in Roxbury and buy, among other things, a 2 liter bottle of Bubba cola. How much, you ask? 79 cents. Yep. A bottle of Ten High bourbon, left over from my boy Jayck Deez' visit last week and some star and heart shaped ice cubes from my dollar store ice tray, served in a TWA Germany glass (one of a complete 'Cities of the World' glass set that my girlfriend's mom so graciously donated to our apartment) kept the cold wetness of the afternoon at bay. To watch, a straight to dvd horror flick entitled "Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer".

This movie is the rare modern horror film that gets the horror/humor thing just right. The humor is light, and not too cheesy, which all too often takes away from the horrific aspects of films that attempt to blend laughs with screams. The horror is gory, and very well done. Its basically about a plumber named Jack Brooks, who is messed up in the head because his family was killed in front of his eyes by a monster when he was a kid. He goes to community college, where his professor is Robert Englund. The professor turns out to be evil and insane and has Jack over to do some plumbing work, where the mayhem begins. There is very little CGI, which made me very excited. A good rubber suit looks better than CGI any day of the week, and this film proves it. The story moves fast and is surprisingly intelligent. The direction is good, the film looks great, the acting is good, there is basically nothing wrong with this movie. The DVD cover art is wack, with an obviously fake 6-pack plastered on the hero's torso. Why the hell didn't they use the cool-ass art that I included at the top of this bloggin? Don't worry, there is no homo-erotic chest baring going on in the movie. No homo-erotic male nudity, no CGI, this movie is just about the polar opposite of "300", and that's a good thing in my book!

This is basically a great movie to kick back with some cheap cola and cheaper whiskey and have a great unemployed afternoon with. The ending leaves the opportunity for a sequel wide open, and I hope they make one! This is a fun horror movie, under-hyped and under-seen, and I couldn't recommend it more! I really look forward to anything new from the creative team of Jon Knautz and John Ainslie. This movie kicks major tookus.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bun B Is A Genius

The always great blog Cocaine Blunts has featured an excellent interview with Bun B about the classic album Soul Food by Goodie Mob. This interview is incredible, especially for fans of the album. Bun B is an incredibly smart guy, and his insights into this great record are the kind of insights that are needed in this culture that tends to completely overlook just how powerful, intelligent and creative good rap music can be. This album has a ton of sentimental value for me because I was listening to it a ton back in 96 with my boy Rob Joyal who left us here in the mortal world in 1998, at the age of 18. This album is a bonafied hip hop classic in my mind and 20,000 times better than that Cee-Lo Green crap that Cee-Lo went on to barf out. Click here for the realness.

If You Haven't Seen Enough Subway Horror Movies, Check This Out

End of the Line is a surprisingly good horror film that takes place mostly in a subway, and I don't mean the chain deli where Jared lost weight. I'm not one of those reviewers that likes to give you the whole plot of the movie (unless its a movie so terrible you would never watch it anyway.) In this case, the film unfolds very unpredictably, and to give anything about it away would possibly ruin your enjoyment of it. Halloween is coming up soon, and it seems like people of all walks of life love to watch horror movies this time of year (unlike horror nerd weirdos like my friends and I who watch them almost exclusively.) There are alot of highly hyped up new films out there, and most of them seem to be consisted mostly of hype. This film is pretty unheard of, and its really, really good. Its Canadian, maybe that's why American fans haven't eaten it up yet. The film has its flaws, but none that would offend the sensibilities of people who like to watch horror films. Some of the acting is really bad, but for me, that kind of just adds to the fun. The gore is surprisingly excellent, the story is great, and the concept is very original and turns some conventional horror themes on their respective ears. If you need a good, scary horror movie that most likely nobody you know has ever seen, snag this little gem. Its on Netflix.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I have a feeling that the current version of this ad would go something like this: "The candy wrapper you drop on the ground will kill us all. The polar ice caps are melting. Please support a giant government program to save the world." I guess I'm just a product of the radical, "think for yourself' 80s.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Damned Rules

In my opinion, newer punk rock music sucks. Punk was so vital and amazing in the late 70s and early 80s because it represented a complete breakdown of all the norms of society. It wasn't a set genre, the best bands were the ones who kept pushing the limitations of it to the breaking point and veering it into new territory. Like D. Boon from the Minutemen said: "Punk was whatever we made it to be." The Minutemen, by the way, are not only one of the greatest punk rock bands ever, but one of the greatest rock bands ever. And how brilliant of a philosophy is that? Taking the idea of punk and folding it in on itself. Its not only the energy and the 'lets tear down the walls' attitude, but also a canvas for 100 percent personal expression and invention. Lets tear down ALL the walls, not just the easy, cheesy ones, like square parents and the establishment, but the walls that keep people divided and keep people from being the best person they can be. Not trendy, in other words. The trendy, hipster aspect of it is of course the worst aspect of punk rock, and of course the aspect of punk rock that continues to this day. When I was a teenager in the mid 90s, there was a really amazing music scene on Cape Cod. Bands like Cheesewheel, No Siento, The Fleece and more represented the non-trendy, D Boon style philosophy to the fullest. These bands all sounded different, looked different and were all amazing. For some reason, punk rock back then was attitude that was all encompassing. Sort of like how you would say something was "awesome", you would say something was "punk rock". For example: when the Beastie Boys released "Licensed to Ill", that was punk rock. NWA was more punk rock than some new crappy punk band, because of what they represented and their attitude. NWA in the late 80s scared people to the core, and definitely represented a complete breakdown of society's rules. My Chemical Romance or whoever will never do that. Maybe that's why punk is dead, because all the great shit has been done already. Maybe its because not being a trendy, hollow jerk is no longer cool, and being a trendy, hollow jerk is just so cool now.

And furthermore, The Damned is amazing. They really represent that strain of punk rock that was extremely experimental and intelligent. My sister gave me their greatest hits tape (might have even been a double tape) when I was 10 years old and I loved it. I remember telling my friend's parents that they were my favorite band and seeing the parents' shock and confusion. Check out these videos, and enjoy. (Keep in mind that "Smash it Up" is from 1979. That video looks at least 15 years ahead of its time.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

R.I.P Robert Ginty

Robert Ginty, the star of The Exterminator, The Exterminator 2, Warrior of the Lost World and countless other 1980s B Movies died on September 21st, 2009. As a giant fan of his work, I would like to put my condolences out here on this blog for everyone to see. Rest in peace, Mr. Ginty, Hollywood has lost another shining star.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Greatest Interview Ever

This is by far the best interview I've ever read. When people ask me why I say Kool Keith is the best rapper of all time, I wish I had this interview to wave at them. It doesn't get good until the second page.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Gum Crisis

So what with health care, the economy, war, impending environmental meltdowns, etc., a lot of terrible things have been happening lately, under the radar. What if I was to tell you that chewing gum really makes me angry and worried lately? Would you merely shake your head and call me 'incorrigible' or some other 24 point Scrabble word? (If it was on a double word score. I hate Scrabble, by the way, but that is another subject, for another blog.) Would you go on, clicking your way, webpage by webpage, blog by blog until your life collapses around you? Your houseplants dying, your pets starving, your kids getting into Magic Cards, your wife taking aromatherapy classes, all because you are lost in your little internet world, and can't OPEN YOUR FUCKING EYES? Well, click no further, this is the blog where we tackle the big issues. In this installment, I take a big bite outta chewing gum.
It seems like only yesterday that a 5 stick pack of Wrigley's was 25 cents. The commercials were plentiful, the gum was good and cheap, and everyone was happy. Then, as all things must progress on this fast train to oblivion we call life, the price rose to 35 cents. Then, all those fancy gums came out. "Dentyne Ice", "Orbit", "Bacon Flavored", etc. All of a sudden, a fancy piece of gum meant more. If you were on a date and you offered the lucky guy, girl, transgendered or no gendered person a piece of "Arctic Chill", you were gettin some action! No little peck on the cheek for old Snyder's Onion and Garlic Sourdough Pretzel Pieces over here. We're talking french kissing. Like Chocolat style. All of a sudden, gum was more than something I absent-mindedly chewed on all day, it was like a drug, a high. The flavors were so intense that they would bring me to a higher state of consciousness, and sometimes they would even lead to make out sessions.
Those carefree (pun intended) days of my 2 or 3 years ago youth are gone. I'm taken now, and I work hard for the money. Sometimes after several coffees and an Italian hoagie, I just want a damn slice of gum. Used to be, I'd find me a little pack of Wrigley's, whether it was Juicyfruit, Doublemint, Spearmint, Winterfresh, or for those days when I was just livin on the edge, Big Red. 35 cents poorer, I was happy to absentmindedly chew my gum for the rest of the day, happy as a pig in shit. No longer.
Now, If I want to get some friggin Juicyfruit, I gotta buy this unwieldy 15 piece pack for like a buck 50. This is bullshit! This pack of gum is so big and awkward that pretty soon I will have to buy a fanny pack just to store my gum. Not to mention that just a few years ago, 15 slices of gum would have cost half as much. Nowadays, if you're lucky enough to find a store that sells the gum 5 pieces at a time, it would only cost you a buck-o-five for the same amount of gum. But, since it comes in a big package and looks like a fancy gum, its a buck fifty. As if this wasn't terrible enough, don't even get me started with Big League Chew and Bazooka Joe. Oh, and Juicyfruit is bright yellow now? What the hell is up with that? With this level of shenanigans going on with our gum, how long till the people say "we've had enough!" ?!
I wonder about the future of gum. Will it someday be a treat only for the rich and powerful? Will people evolve and grow cud things that they can chew on in gum's absence? All I can say is that I hope the people in charge of America's gum firms look at this blog and hear my plea for cheap, plentiful gum. Don't tread on me, gum makers, don't you tread on me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

See 'Adventureland", if you want to stab yourself in the eyes with a sewing needle

My girlfriend is a good sport. She's a trooper. I usually am making the movie decisions on nights in, and as you can guess from this blog, I lean heavily towards extremely violent movies. She puts up with it very well, sometimes even enjoying the film. Last night we went to the RedBox in my local Shaw's and it was her turn to pick. She chose Adventureland, which I thought looked like it had some potential. Someone from the incredibly funny Superbad was involved and it is set in the 80s at a cheesy theme park. It is advertised as a comedy. If its a comedy, its the least funny comedy ever, and even if it was supposed to be presented as the romance film that it is, this cornball flick's minor attempts at comic relief fall flat.
From the first 5 seconds of the film, I knew I wasn't going to like it. There is an extended shot of leading man (boy) Jesse Eisenberg's face as he stares longingly at his girlfriend. If this was Michael Cera, (as I suspect it was supposed to be) this could have actually been funny. Because Michael Cera is funny. Cera can affectively combine the awkward sympathy romance angle with comedy. Eisenberg can't. As a leading man, Eisenberg comes across as a pretentious jerk. And furthermore, I don't like his face. In fact, there is something about his face that just makes me want to plant one of these in his suckhole. (Author's note: I'm shaking my fist in the air right now.)
Eisenberg goes to work at a theme park the summer after he graduates from college, and we are introduced to all the 'wacky' people he works with. He meets the chick from Twilight and the rest of the movie follows an extremely predictable route that ends up with them being together. The normally very funny Bill Hader, as the park's manager, attempts to liven up the proceedings and was either having an off-day or the script was just extremely unfunny. The chick from Twilight acts the exact same as she always does and doesn't make a very compelling female romantic lead. The only thing I liked about her was her T Shirts. There is a "dumb hot girl" character named Lisa P who I actually liked way more than the chick from Twilight. She wears rad clothes and does synchronized dance moves with this black chick. She's cool. Meanwhile, the chick from Twilight is banging Ryan Reynolds, who continues his career of being not-funny.
Basically, I could only recommend this movie to people who have a strong desire to stab their eyeballs out with a sewing needle. I half wanted to do that and half wanted to punch Eisenberg in the face. If you are say, entering a charity boxing match where you will be fighting Jesse Eisenberg and you need to watch something to get you pumped up to punch him in the suck hole, than this would be recommended, as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Year Anniversary, Eight Year Anniversary, Content Shift

Thanks to everyone for making the past year of drinking and watching movies then writing about it fun. I'm pretty bored with the blog just being about that, so I've decided to expand the content. Now, you'll get not only strange and interesting movie reviews, but all sorts of crap on here. (Ie: you'll stop checking it. Like you ever did before.)
Not to be all grave voiced: "Its 9-11, time to be solemn, bow your head, look at your feet, think about the problem then step back..."
But here's a little thingie I wrote on the 5th anniversary of the attacks:

Well, the fifth anniversary of the horrific 911 attacks has brought many things to the fore. Shitty movies, shitty TV movies and shitty shit in general. And, this blog. To say that 911 was a momentous, huge event that forever changed life in America would be....the truth. America hasn't been the same since, to me it feels like we lost a great deal of innocence. That this event occurred at a time when my generation was reaching adulthood, an event with disillusioning aspects of its own makes it an archetypical event for our generation.
That said, here are my recollections from the day.
I awoke to “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin on my clock radio. It was about 9 a.m. I thought to myself, man, what a great way to start the day. I decided to lay in bed and listen to the whole song. I could tell it was beautful out and I knew that I was entering a fun and exciting era of my life. It was the first week of my senior year of college and I was living in the soon to be infamous 127 Logtown Rd house. At the end of the song, the DJ came on, audibly shaken. He said something to the effect of “We have no idea what is going on, but apparently a plane has crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers!”
I woke up my roomates and I was pretty panic stricken myself. We turned the TV in time to see the second plane hit the other tower. We were all in shock. Classes were still going on at Umass, so I went to school. People were gathered around TVs everywhere, hugging, crying, etc. I hugged alot of people that morning.
I kept calling home because my uncle Tony worked in the financial world in NYC and sometimes had meetings in the WTC.
The first person I heard voice any Anti American criticism that day was a friend who said basically that it was bound to happen. That America almost had it coming, etc. I remember being pretty shocked by that.
I went to class with the great, crazy old School of Communications Black Sheep, Vincent Bevilacqua. He had many extremely off color, morbid things to say. He told us to stay away from the library because it might be the next target.
After that first period, school was cancelled.
I drove home and my roomates and I decided it would be a good idea to start drinking. Our nerves were all shot to shit. I went and bought some beer and whiskey and I remember the liquor store being busy for a Tuesday afternoon. Jason Koning was the first person I heard theorize that Osama Bin Laden was most likely behind it.
My initial reaction to the attack was that America should pursue the perpetrators in a police investigation style, instead of waging full blown war on the Middle East. This sentiment was echoed in “Farenheit 911”, which I liked while caught in the political fervor of 2004, but now regard as a pile of horseshit.
I still stand by that belief, though, that the right way to go would have been a worldwide police investigation to find who did it and where they got their money and punish the guilty in a court of law. Its obvious that cooler heads didn’t prevail in the aftermath of 911, though.
I definitely felt like it was the darkest day in the history of America, and maybe the darkest day this country will see in our lifetime. You could sort of feel the paradigm shift going on around you in the days after. Reality took a sharp corner right then.
That’s my take on it, I’ll save all the conspiracy theory and conjecture for people who like being frustrated and pissed off.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Toolbox Murders

The once-great Tobe Hooper remade this little 1977 psycho potboiler a few years ago and his interpretation sucked. I always thought the original looked cool. Guy in a ski-mask, power tools being not used for their intended purposes, a blurb from Stephen King on the cover, probably written back when he was awesome and had a major drinking problem. I like how King calls it "one of the 10 scariest movies on video cassette." You get the feeling that there were only 20 horror movies on VHS when he wrote that.

The film's opening is great. There is about a half hour straight of nearly non-stop carnage. Easy-listening music is used wonderfully as young ladies are power-drilled, screwdrived and nail-gunned. The direction is kind of weird and artsy, sort of Giallo- American style.

(Minor Spoilers Ahead):
If you couldn't figure out by looking at the back of the DVD case that Cameron Mitchell is the killer, guess what? Cameron Mitchell is the killer. He kidnaps a 15 year old girl and ties her up, making believe that she is his deceased daughter. There are many genuinely scary and disturbing moments where Mitchell sings to her, feeds her and asks her what it was like to die.

It turns out that Cameron Mitchell's nephew is in on the whole thing and he has to kill some people as well to cover his uncle's tracks. The film's strongest sequence is the first third, it slows down considerably in the middle, and the ending is just okay. Overall it is a fun little piece of 70s shlock slasher horror, with extra points for intense creepiness. It is also about 10,000 times more fun that the 2003 remake.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flesh Burns and Infected Ingrown Toenails Hurt

So, here we are after a lengthy hiatus. You, my legions of fans, and I, that would be.... me. I haven't been writing this thing lately mainly due to laziness and from passing out at 9 p.m. every night after working hard all day. Today, my toe was operated on for a nagging, insanely painful infection that has bothered me on and off since January. I had an ingrown on the side of my toe, but it wasn't the nail itself that caused the problem, it was my toe's reaction to the nail and the subsequent infection. The Dr. said that I had the worst toenail infection he had seen so far in 2009. I'm proud of that. Pride goeth before a fall, so I felleth on my couch this afternoon with my foot elevated and watched "Fleshburn".

"Fleshburn" is yet another VHS purchase from the late, great Video Galaxy XVI. I will be watching the many VHS tapes I bought during their closing sale for a lonnnng time. "Fleshburn" is an obscure revenge flick about a crazed Native American Vietnam vet who escapes from an insane asylum and vows revenge on the psychiatrists who sent him there. The crazy vet is played by Sonny Landham, who, if you are like me and watch "Predator" several times a year, you will recognize as "Billy", the bad ass Indian tracker.

Its a promising premise, and for the first 25 minutes or so, it really seems like the film will deliver. I mean, what's not to love about Sonny Landham on a crazed rampage? Well, he kidnaps his old doctors, dumps him in the desert and then the bickering between the shrinks begins. You know who are annoying? Self obsessed yuppies. You know what's annoying to watch? Self obsessed yuppies bickering. One character, Sam, is pretty cool, he's the survivalist type that is gonna survive come hell or high water. Unfortunately, the other three doctors are super annoying. There's Jay, who bitches about everything and is played by a bad actor. The female doctor whose name I can't remember and isn't worth looking up on IMDB because I don't care, gets to be the super whiny hysterical type. Then there's the gay guy who breaks his leg and finds God and gives Sam a bunch of crap about wanting to kill Sonny Landham. "You're only concerned about proving that your power is greater than his," he says. Shove it, God boy! That's what I would have told him.

The middle to end of the movie is at turns boring, aggravating and disappointing. Although it is great to see Sonny Landham as a crazy bad guy, he is criminally underused. There are usually just shots of him chanting and painting his face before the film gets back to what its really interested in: a bunch of jerky shrinks bickering with each other and Sam making things out of rocks and pieces of metal.

Overall, not very good. The premise is blown by the underuse of Sonny Landham and the ending really sucks. Hope my next entry doesn't take me a month and a half.

I was wondering what Landham has been up to, as he was a great 1980s cinematic badass... came up with this... no wonder he hasn't been in anything lately.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Don't Go In The House

I currently have Fridays and Saturdays off. This leads to some strange Thursday nights. All my friends have to work on Friday, so Thursday night is usually a little pocket of solitude to kick off my weekend alone. 1:30 a.m., Thursday night: the girlfriend is asleep, the beer is cold, and I am scouring my shelves for something to watch. I need something sleazy, degraded, preferably from the late 1970s or early 1980s. It needs to be exploitation, but not too cheesy. I need something dark, something bizarre, something that stands the test of time but is so of its time that it takes me away from these foul times we inhabit. The answer is found with the "Grindhouse Psychos" box set and "Don't Go In The House".

This film is much better than any other film that I've ever seen with a title that begins with "Don't". Yes, it is even better than "Don't Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood", but that's sort of an apples and oranges comparison, isn't it. This particular "Don't" concerns a young man named Kohler, who lives with his mother in her giant, creepy house. We learn through flashbacks that she would burn his arms over the gas stovetop as a boy to "burn the evil" out of him. He now works at a giant trash burning incinerator plant. The film opens with a fellow worker of Kohler's tending the raging fire, not noticing a highly flammable aerosol can, presumably placed in the incinerator by the intently observant Kohler. The can explodes, dousing the worker in flames. Kohler does nothing but stare at the writhing, burning man. The fire effects are excellent and look way better than today's CGI cartoon blazes.

Kohler's superior berates him for not helping the man, calling him a "faggot" in the locker room. Kohler's buddy, who could easily be played by Michael Showalter if they ever remade this film, tries to get him to go to a bar after work to talk about the situation. As they stand outside the incinerator plant on a cold New Jersey or Long Island winter night, I realized that this film boasts some excellent photography. The darkness and swirling snow really captures the lonely weirdness of the small town Northeast winter experience. The winter setting also creates an interesting contrast to the fire that burns inside of Kohler, the fire which later manifests itself when he starts chaining up girls in a fireproof room and setting them ablaze. First, though, there is the matter of Kohler's mother.

He returns to work to find her dead in her chair. He is sad at first, then the voices in his head tell him that he is free at last. So he starts partying, turning his music up loud, smoking cigarettes in the house, jumping on the furniture. The voices goad him on. The sound of his mother screaming at him put his party to an end.
The whole look of the film is really great for what it is, a disturbing little psycho potboiler. But the house looks genuinely creepy, his room looks like what a disturbed man-child's room would look like, and so on. Once he fireproofs a room and buys a fireproof suit from an Army Navy store and starts convincing attractive young women to accompany him back to his house, often to see his "sick" mother, the film takes off. We watch his already damaged psyche erode as he kills the girls and keeps their scorched carcasses in a special room upstairs.

The psychology is right on the money, as far as the serial killer model goes. Child abuse is the first and foremost creator of serial killers, and this film really captures that. This is a non-exploitative exploitation film that had my eyes glued to the tube all night. There are genuinely frightening moments and the whole thing keeps a sustained tone of creepiness that will keep you watching intently. Definitely excellent viewing material for a late night beer session.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I shall Returneth

I'm sorry, to all my millions of fans out there, that I haven't written a new blog lately. There are many extenuating circumstances, including returning to my job after a two month Worker's Comp funded break/bender. Returning to work after having absolutely nothing to do for two blissful months is quite a challenge. I'm just getting back into the groove after three weeks back and I have used some of my hard earned money to purchase no shortage of awesome and exotic new reviewing material. In the past week I have purchased 12 Sonny Chiba movies, and nips of Crown Royal are a dollar a piece at the package store across the street. Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen, for an onslaught of bone breaking, face bruising, ass whuppin, liver damaging prose, done in my signature rough-hewn style. Here's a trailer to keep your interest up:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Seagal Vs. Zombies and My Unnatural Thirst For Red Wine

So far on this blog, when I drink some hooch, its usually just that, hooch. Cheap beer or hard booze, likker. Recently I have come to the realization that rye makes me completely insane a la Jim Lahey, so I've decided to give the hard stuff a break. What do you drink when you can't drink hooch? Wine. Cheap, strong, red wine is the best place to go in such situations. In my younger days I tangled with the Carlo Rossi and the Livingston Cellars and the Franzia. In fact, my expertise in the cheap wine category led to the crap wine area in the liquor store where I worked to be named after me. It is still referred to as my wing at this particular store, which brings me no shortage of adulation.
I am older and more refined now, so I passed up the opportunity to get poisoned and hungover for two days by drinking a jug of Rossi and went for the Georges Duboeuf's Cuvee Rouge. At most fine package stores, this French red table wine is cheap as hell. Mine was $4.99 a fifth or two for $9. Noting this value, I went for the twofer. This stuff is no joke. Its not the greatest wine you'll ever taste, but its leagues better than Rossi and them. After feeling very buzzed after only two or three glasses, I noted that the wine is 12.5 % alcohol. Lots of bang for your buck.
click for full size

I settled down with my classy beverage to watch what looked like a very promising film. Steven Seagal versus vampires, as the synopsis on the back of the case describes it. Its actually Steven Seagal versus zombies. Holy moses, if done right, this could reach new levels of awesomeness not known to human beings. I felt like this was the OT VIII of Seagology. Unfortunately, like my life, this blog and the new Tacos at Midnight Doritos, this film is an exercise in blown potential.

I had a hankering that this film wouldn't be as awesome as it should be when I realized that there were tons of central characters besides Seagal. We watch Seagal movies to see Seagal. Sure, there are zombies in it, but they are just things for Seagal to destroy, in hopefully very gory ways. Instead, we have all these survivors walking around an abandoned hospital and having the exact same conversations that zombie survivors in approximately 1,000,000,999 zombie movies have had. Nobody is watching this lame zombie film for the lame zombie film in it, we want Seagal. Big, fat Seagal, in his three quarter length coat and his samurai sword. BUT no, either he didn't get paid enough to be in most of the film or whoever wrote and directed this is a commie and wants Seagal to share the spotlight with a bunch of other people. Never a good idea. Seagal is too big of a celestial body, all smaller things that enter his orbit get sucked in by his greater gravity and burn up in his atmosphere.

Not only are there lame survivors, but Seagal is part of a team of zombie hunters. Lame. It should be Seagal alone, protecting the survivors and slicing and dicing and kicking the crap out of the zombies. The Seagal inflicted violence just isn't there, as well. How come they can show zombies eating people's guts, but not show Seagal poking their eyes out and breaking their limbs? Talk about your screwed up values. Its fair to say that the zombie genre is dead, when even a force like Seagal can't breath new life into it. Its not his fault. About two or three straight to video Seagal movies come out a year and it seems like every single day, two or three zombie movies come out. That's around a thousand or so zombie movies a year versus his two or three movies. Even a monster like Seagal can't turn the tables on the never-ending tide of zombie movies. Damn, this could have been good though. Will somebody cool make a Seagal movie, please? Quentin Tarantino or Rob Zombie or somebody cool, please save this fat old bastard's career, thanks.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crappy Movies Forever

So, I received yet another collection of obscure straight to video, mostly shot on video horror films, this one entitled "Catacomb of Creepshows".

I continued to nurture my injured ankle and damage my brain by watching more of these atrocities.

Curse of Pirate Death
Yet another flick from Brain Damage Films, a no-budget studio that churns out gory trash. This film was edited by Mark Polonia, brother of the late John Polonia. I have been a "fan" of theirs for years now. They made some of the worst/best shot on video films ever, starting with the ludicrous, disgusting "Splatter Farm" in the 80s.
This film concerns a pirate named Pirate Death who, back in the dayz, had a witch cast a spell on his hidden treasure. Whoever tries to take it gets killed by the retarded looking zombie of Pirate Death. This film stars Syn Devil, an actress seen mostly nude, who has boobs that are so giant and fake that they approach grossness. She appears in tons of these no-budget horror films. This film is filled with pointless nudity, terrible dialog, horrible acting and lame gore. That said, I kind of liked it. Its just stupid enough to be funny and contains enough completely idiotic scenarios to hold my attention. It loses steam towards the end, but over all I found it "enjoyingly retarded". (Quoted from my viewing notes.) Oh, and Ron Jeremy makes a random appearance as a pervy college professor.

Super Hell 2
This Cannibal Friends production was shot in and around my old stomping grounds of Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is across the Ohio river from one of the nastiest places on earth, southern Indiana. People think of Kentucky as being a little bit redneck, which it is, but its like Mid-Town Manhattan compared to southern Indiana. The people even look different over there, like the gene-pool is tainted or something. (No offense to any of my friends that I worked with in Jeffersonville.)
The movie is basically completely retarded and totally pointless. I did like how it was set in hell, and hell is depicted as being Southern Indiana. That part of it struck a chord with me, because I thought it was about the worst place I'd ever seen next to Detroit. Syn Devil makes another appearance here, showing off her gross boobs. The movie basically consists of random, sometimes "disturbing" imagery and makes zero sense. It reminds me a little of the movie my friends and I made in High School. This dvd is available for free rental at Wild N Woolly video in Louisville. Wild N Woolly is the best video store I've ever had a membership to and I actually remember seeing this on the shelf there.

I've recently bought some bad-non shot on video DVDs, so my next column will be a break from these mind-numbing box sets.

Friday, March 20, 2009

And the Crap Goes On....

So I had just about worn out my 100 movie "Bloody Nightmares" box set, when a look on amazon revealed something terrifying and interesting. Pendulum Pictures and Mill Creek had released TWO more 50 movie box sets recently. I bid on them and unfortunately won both on ebay.... I dived into the first set to arrive in the mail, "Mortuary of Madness".
50 more terrible, mostly shot on home video horror movies. How long, o Lord, how long....

Kill Syndrome This youtube quality ripoff of "The Devil's Rejects" was the first flick I watched from the "Mortuary of Madness" box. I was going to try and watch all the movies in the box in sequential order, but so many of these are completely unwatchable. If one of these flicks winds up on this blog, even if I tear it to shreds, it was better than some of the other films in these sets. I'd say two out of every five of these movies are completely unwatchable. This movie concerns a demented family that kidnap people, then torture and kill them in a storage unit. They film their nefarious deeds then sell the tapes to a snuff dealer. The bad guys are creepy looking and gross, but the endless scenes of ugly girl victims screaming and being tortured are extremely boring. I watched most of the torture scenes in fast forward. Some of the already boring and long torture scenes are shown in slow motion, only drawing them out further. This movie manages to feel very long for its 50 minute running length, maybe because its boring as hell. The ending is beyond lame and leaves the possibility open for a sequel. Yay.

Dead Teenagers Yet another film from Brain Damage studios. I went to their website and was surprised to see that a huge amount of their films are included in these Mill Creek box sets. In this film, a student in the library finds a notebook with 4 horror tales written in it. He reads em, and we watch em. The first one is called "The Boo Men", and though it is decently shot and pretty well put together, it is way too short and ultimately makes no sense. The second one is called "Full Moonlighting", an okay little werewolf story. Again, this one could have benefitted by being a little longer.
The third is a pretty bland haunted house story called "Skeleton Keys". The fourth and best story is called "Suckers". This one takes place in a real movie theatre, so it must have had the biggest budget. Its about Brian, a nerdy guy who works at the theatre with a very funny black kid named Kevin. Kevin is played by Joe Bahar, a young guy that should stick with acting. He's effortlessly funny. Kevin and Brian find a creepy old film reel in the theatre and strange things start happening. This story is the best out of this anthology because the people in it are interesting. Overall this was a decent, watchable horror anthology. The guy who made it, Chris LaMartina, must be pretty cool, because he thanks Mike Watt in the end credits.

I watched two more of these things today, so this shall be continued soon....

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Crap Keeps 'Splodin'! Straight to Video Mind Torture Continues.

As my ankle takes it time healing, I continued to wade through the dark underbelly of the sub-film sewer known as the Pendulum Pictures 100 movie set "Bloody Nightmares"...

Dead 7 Contrary to the horrendous cover art, this was actually one of the more technically competent movies I've seen so far in this box set. Once you get past the retarded intro by a severely annoying punk rocker in a leather jacket, this one is surprisingly okay. There is a frenetic style of camera work here, most likely influenced by early Raimi and Peter Jackson. The acting, is as usual, very bad, but there is some surprisingly good gore. The story concerns an evil meth dealer who kills an underling and dumps him down a mineshaft. A strange boy who lives in the woods witnesses it, so the bad guy tosses him down the shaft as well. For the rest of the movie, we witness just how much of an asshole the villain is (he strangles his girlfriend for getting fingerprints on a Steely Dan CD!). Towards the end, a mysterious person starts killing all his friends. Take a wild guess who it is. Anyways, this was somewhat enjoyable.

Dr. Shock's Tales of Terror
This collection of four zero budget horror tales comes from Ohio based Aftershock Studios. What is it with the mid-west and no-budget horror movies? The opening credits and the wacky host, Dr. Shock, are painfully lame. The short movies themselves are pretty fun, however. The first is an okay Mob/Vampire tale called "Bullet for the Vampire". Okay gore, and decent video quality and production values, in comparison to most of the other trash I've been watching. The 2nd is called "The Town That Loved Pizza", basically a Texas Chainsaw rip off about two hulking inbred brothers that kill people and put them on pizzas. Fun and stupid, without pretense to be anything more. The 3rd would be "The Garden Tool Murders", my favorite out of the four because it has the least story and the most gore out of all of them. A landscaper kills people with different garden tools. Thats it. The 4th and worst one is called "Demon's Day". There is a prostitute in this one that for the life of me I couldn't identify as a man or a woman. This one was pretty painful and retarded. Not like anyone reading this will ever watch it anyway. This flick was overall a somewhat entertaining experience.

Hell's Highway
This was definitely one of the best movies that I have seen so far on my excursion into the depths of straight to video crapfests. It even has a big star in it: Ron Jeremy! He's in it for all of 2 minutes, but he gets his dick bit off, so its pretty memorable. This one is about a stretch of highway in Death Valley where an evil hitchhiker kills people trying to pass through. There is plenty of impressive gore and even a totally bizarre surprise ending that I didn't see coming a mile away. Oh, and everyone is drinking Mickey's Malt Liquor the whole time, which I liked. Definitely a cut above most of the crap in this set.

The Invitation
This started out promisingly enough. The video quality and direction is decent and the girls are actually pretty good looking. It actually succeeds in being creepy, which is saying something. A group of kids accidentally kill a kid they don't like when they are little. 14 years later, they get an invitation for a reunion at a country resort. Then a bunch of ghostly mayhem begins. I would have liked this more if it was a straight ahead slasher flick, as cheesy ghosts don't do anything for me. In fact, I wrote in my notebook: "Ghosty Borey". The film completely falls apart towards the end and has an extremely lame ending.

Las Vegas Blood Bath
I'm extremely surprised to find that this sells for $31.98 used on VHS on amazon! This is basically a plotless rip off of Maniac, with some dork named Ari Levin trying to be Joe Spinelli. Its from 1989, and has many unintentionally hilarious things on display. Ari's wife cheats on him, so he cuts her head off and rides around killing women and talking to her head on the Vegas strip. Just as you are starting to enjoy this movie, there is a pointless, half hour long scene of a girl's baby shower. I know they were just trying to pad out the running time, but this is truly ridiculous. There are also scenes of oil wrestling by "B.L.O.W.", the "Beautiful Ladies of Oil Wrestling". This film is so incredibly inept, stupid and sleazy that it gets my recommendation, if only to see just how bad a movie can be. The end theme song, by Chris Crump and David Royal Dalton, is incredibly funny, as well. Phew, I need to go wash my brain now.
The amazing end theme:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Straight to Video Crap Explosion Roundup

If I didn't have an injured ankle that made my leisure time options limited to sitting around, this kind of behavior would make me a severe mental case, a retarded person, a sick sado-masochist, a depression case, or all of the above and more. But, I have to keep my foot elevated, and I feel like I am riding on a magic balloon carpet due to the painkillers I am legally taking for my ankle. So, I decided to keep forging ahead through this box set of 100 straight to video horror films that range from bad to the worst things ever captured by camera. Here we go:

The Crate
This one opens with two crackhead-like actors fishing by a river. These actors appear to have come straight from a group home, and they captured my attention. Their acting is hilarious because they are not playing crackheads, they are playing a museum curator and, (this is where the film really got me) THE MAYOR. The mayor is the more entertaining of the two crackheads, because he has this great gravelly voice, that I suspect came from smoking tons of rock or drinking tons of booze or both. They catch an ancient crate (looks like a produce crate to me). The museum curator cuts himself while opening the crate and an evil demon jumps out and starts killing people. The audio is really horrible, with crappy sound effects repeated over and over at deafening levels.

The two crackheads/actors think that they have killed the demon after a hilarious battle, and the gravelly voiced rock smoker/mayor decides that they have to cover the whole thing up. Of course, the demon escapes again and goes on a rampage. This movie is piss poor in every respect, but the truly horrendous acting and special effects put it in the so-bad-it made me laugh category. It was like a Stella short with non intentional humor. The end of the movie really sucked, because we never get to see what happens to the Mayor/crackhead. He was by far the best character in the movie.

This one surprised me with its professional look and film quality. Beyond that, no surprises. This was under an hour long and it felt longer than "Schindler's List". Probably the worst pacing I have ever seen in a movie. Absolutely maddening leaden pacing, even during the killing scenes. Its like whoever edited it was sippin sizurp. The granny-masked killer was creepy looking enough, but the tediously slow pace made this just about unwatchable. The professional look of it actually made it worse, as well. At least in the more amateurish ones, the crappiness of the proceedings can lead to some unintentional laughs. This was terrible.

Shower of Blood
This vampire tale had somewhat decent production values and nearly non-stop nudity. Its basically a softcore nudie flick with vampires. A group of hot ladies and their men go to one of the girl's Uncle Morty's house for the weekend. Morty returns and and it turns out he's a vampire. Lots of girls taking blood showers (hence the title) with rose petals falling on them ensue. If there wasn't a naked scene about every 5 minutes, it would be unwatchable. Nothing to recommend, but the shear amount of nudity kept me awake, at least. Also scores class points for overdubbed fart and burp noises every time one of the girls, who is supposed to be drunk, appears onscreen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Straight to Video Crap Explosion Continues...

I really thought I could never watch another crappy straight to video, shot on video film.... then I sprained my ankle. I was given a prescription for magic pain pills which make these utterly retarded "films" somehow strangely watchable. These reviews are a continuation of an earlier series about this gigantic diarrhea explosion of a boxed dvd set I was stupid enough to buy...
Aided only with prescription painkillers and my natural sadomasochistic viewing tendencies, I forged ahead....

Mayhem Motel
I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was shot on film. That's about where the pleasant surprises ended. If I had known the cover art looked like this, I would probably have liked the film significantly less. Its not a horror film by a huge margin, and this artwork makes it look like one. The movie is a bunch of vaguely connected vignettes that revolve around one hotel and range from unpleasant to disgusting to strangely hilarious.
One of the first images in the film is an overweight, hairy man getting into a bathtub. He leans forward and pukes into the water. It looks completely real. Then it cuts to another scene. The movie proceeds like this, showing you something disgusting then cutting to something "hilarious" like two mimes having sex. There is tons of disgusting sex humor, and I ain't gonna lie to you, some of it made me laugh. The movie ends with some good ole necrophelia, then a guy randomly shooting himself. This movie made zero sense and was very disgusting, but it kept my attention. I gleaned some interesting information from the closing credits:
"Some characters and concepts from Matt Biancaniello's one man performance 'purge'" Wow, that must be an incredible one man show. The cheesy nu-metal end theme song was by "Pleasurecrush" which is almost as cheesy as a name for a band as "KandleKrush" from Tom Goes To The Mayor.
And, most telling of all: "Special thanks to all of the motels and thier owners... ... they had no clue." Their misspelling is thiers not mine.

Next on my brain punishing double feature was "Dead Body Man" by some dude named Ryan Cavelline who made a bunch of the crapfests in this set. This one is basically a horror comedy about a wacky serial killer named Willie who wears a Freddy Kruger sweater and kind of looks like Bam Margera. The movie opens with a retarded guy picking up a hooker. Guess what? He's not really retarded, he's Willie the serial killer! He chops up bodies and sells them as meat, and all for God, who lives in his closet and tells him to kill. The movie turns out to be a ripoff of "Basket Case", as Willie has a deformed twin brother attached to his side. Although seemingly endless and pointless, there are some things that deserve a little bit o praise. Eddie Benevich's extremely over the top performance definitely kept my attention. He has some golden dialog, like when he tells a captive victim "You've never had sex till you've had sex with a chicken!"
There is basically zero special effects and the gore is extremely lame and amateurish. I would never recommend this to anyone in a million years, I'm just trying to keep you people abreast of what I'm doing with my life so that I don't lose my mind. I was surprised to see that there are TWO sequels to this already out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The OTHER Best 2008 Comeback for A Grizzled Veteran

Everybody's talking about Mickey Rourke and "The Wrestler". I haven't seen it yet, but I am a fan of Mr. Rourke. Afterall, he starred in "Barfly", one of the best movies about drunks ever made and by far the best cinematic interpretation of Charles Bukowski's writing. Well, another grizzled veteran of the silver screen made a comeback in 2008, and not too many people know about it. Maybe its because he moves in silence, clad in black, his black hair greased back and his dark scowl distorting his visage into a hate mask of destruction. Yes, it is Steven Seagal I am talking about, and though his comeback didn't warrant interviews on NPR and a pictorial in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, it made die hard Seagalogists like myself take notice.

Seagal was once one of the all-time great movie bad asses. His rebellious attitude, the amount of gore and violence in his movies and his crazy conspiratorial politics all made for an intoxicating cocktail. From 1988 until 2001 (barring "Ticker" and "The Patriot") everything he touched turned to gold. Or if not exactly gold, at least movies that are entertaining as hell and just about the best thing to watch while stripping your mind of unneeded brain cells. Look, I could wax poetic about my love for the Ponytailed One, but you might be better off just reading this incredible book: Seagalogy. I can tell you, if Seagology was Tom Cruise's cult, he'd be making way better movies.

Ever since his last turn as a big screen action star, the crappy Ja Rule team-up "Half Past Dead", Seagal has churned out an endless succession of straight to DVD action flicks. They range from the fun ("Belly of the Beast"), to the palatable ("Black Dawn") to the downright horrible ("Submerged"). They've all had one thing in common, however. They are bad, bad movies.

Recently, however, Seagal has staged a mini-comeback. First he made "Urban Justice" in 2007. Now, by no means is this a good movie, but it is entertaining, and has a fairly straight ahead story. The problem with most of the worst of the Seagal straight to video films is that they have been extremely convoluted espionage tales. Nobody watches Seagal for the plot. The more stripped down the better. HIs best movie is "Out For Justice", and that has the simplest story out of any of his films. We watch Seagal, much like Jason Voorhees, because we want to see how he will dispatch large numbers of foes. In the classic Seagal films, he would never disappoint in this department. Hitting people with salamis, pool cues, pool balls, throwing people through windows, legs and arms breaking left and right. A perfect symphony of violence conducted by a large man with a ponytail and a penchant for wearing fancy three quarter length coats.

Seagal is getting old now, and it shows. First off, dude is fat. Second off, his face is looking pretty haggard. Now, i've been thinking for awhile that he could still make some decent films if he played his look right. Instead of being some dapper international spy and looking ridiculous, have him play an old burn out. That's just what they do in "Pistol Whipped" and it makes for Seagal's best film since "Exit Wounds".

Seagal plays a burned out drunk, a compulsive gambling disgraced cop. The great Lance Henriksen plays a powerful and mysterious guy who hangs out in an abandoned theatre and buys all of Seagal's gambling debts, which are over a million dollars. Seagal has to pay him back by killing a bunch of crime lords. Decent premise, right? On top of the decent story and brief but effective fight scenes, this film actually contains some of Seagal's best acting, ever! Not too impressive to some people, but for me, its a revelation. When you see a Seagal scene that actually approaches the universe that the planet Touching inhabits, you are seeing his best acting ever. Its a compelling character as well. Seagal pretty much looks like a fuck-up these days, so why not have him play a fuck-up?

I really liked this movie and I heartily enjoyed the Jim Beam Rye Whiskey that I sipped while watching it. I had only had Rye once before, some time when I was 21, I had a couple of glasses of Old Overholt and was not very impressed. I decided to give it another shot while watching this on my day off, and I was pleasantly surprised. Beam Rye has a sharp, spicy flavor, a pleasant aftertaste and a great, clean finish. It tastes way better than the Beam white label bourbon. The scary thing is, now there is a whole 'nother world of whiskey out there that I have to explore. Beam Rye, thank you for opening the doors to an even deeper level of drunken hell in my life. (That last sentence is a joke. My life is great, this blog is proof.)

Seagal drinks a lot in this movie, which is awesome. He walks into a bar and orders, in his trademark near unintelligible whisper, either a "Double dragon rock on the rocks" or a "double Jack and rocks on the rocks". Either way, impressive order. There is only one other line I felt the need to scribble down while viewing this and that was, of course, "You're cremated now, muthafucka!" Which is of course, a great line.

Anyways, this a wholly positive review, as I really liked the movie and the whiskey. See you in the funny papers.

Friday, February 13, 2009

File Under Crappy Remake

I was excited for this, I really was. I'm a huge Jason fan, and I've always thought that in capable hands his story could be a great, classic horror tale. And, more realistically, given the right treatment, Jason could kick serious tail in a new film. Think "Freddy Versus Jason" without Freddy. A well-directed, big budget homage to the man behind the mask. My friends Tim and Jill Voorhees, almost if not greater horror nerds than myself, invited me to join them for the super special midnight screening last night in Boston. (Not true, I totally invited myself.) My ladyfriend, a true trooper, (a "trueper" maybe? No? You sure?) came along for the ride, even though she had chased 5 year olds around all day (she is a child murderer.) (Joking, its for her job.) (At a child labor camp.) (Still joking.) We met up with our friends Ian and his ladyfriend, who I for no particular reason will call "Manda Bo Banda" in this column. (That's class, when you call your crappy blog a "column". I still want to see this damn thing get published. Too bad all the alternative weeklies in Boston blow donkey scrotum.) (I really need to chill out on the parenthesis.) We had a number of drinks at the Beacon Street Tavern, a stylish little bar with a great Irish bartender who gave me a free Miller High Life, which Milady and I impressed everyone at the bar with as we inhaled it scarily fast.

We walked over to the theater, all in great spirits and a little tipsy, excited and hoping for the best. Maybe I was a little drunk, but everyone there seemed drunk as well. In fact, the deep voiced black guy sitting behind us who wouldn't shut up said to his girlfriend after everyone shushed him, "I'm tipsy, I ain't shuttin up." His girlfriend threw popcorn at me as I left the theater, as well. I did my best menacing stare and pointed at her. I'm getting off track here, must be the day off hangover beers I'm sipping. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was drunk in a theater with a bunch of drunks about to be very disappointed.

I had a bad feeling right from the get-go. The film uses that extremely annoying newer trend in direction where the action is shown in ultra-closeups with herkity jerkity camera movements. This basically renders it impossible to tell what the hell is going on. On the big screen, it leads to a ripping headache, as well. Even with a solid buzz and a pocket full of rum nips, this film was hell to look at. One of the only things I liked about the film was that Jason dispatches an entire crew of campers before the opening credits. You think that the movie is going to be about these jerky, horned up kids (as that is what all these movies are about), then Jason, with a rag on his head, kills them all. THEN it says "Friday the 13th". Everyone cheered. That was the best part of the movie.

One of the biggest problems with this film, and it has many problems, is that it focuses on the campers. Nobody cares about the victims. We like Jason. The victims are disposable, almost like props. Introduce a group of campers, show them naked, then have Jason kill them. We don't care about them. Maybe in the old ones, we cared a bit, because they are sometimes likeable, like Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover in Part 4. In this movie they all suck, really, really hard. There is one likeable Asian guy that actually has some funny dialog. That's it. Everyone else sucks and you just wish they would die right away. Nope. Jason takes his sweet time. The movie was hyped up to be a "re-imagining" of the first 3 films, a focus on Jason's journey from little retarded boy to king of the slashers. Where the film really disappoints, for hardcore fans of the series, is that it fails at being about Jason. Its about these lame college kids that you just wish would hurry up and die.

I don't really want to continue writing about this movie. It is that bad. It actually pisses me off just to think about it. Its about as horrible as a Jason movie can be. Its like a remake of all the bad parts of the Jason movies of old. Here they hit all the wrong notes and failed to make an evocative, even halfway decent vision of the Voorhees legacy. When you consider how truly bad most of the Jason movies were, its not a surprise that this is a cheap, crappy movie. I just hoped that by 2009, a film 6 years in the making, after a latter day gore renaissance, Jason would come back to take his rightful seat at the throne of the slasher king. It could have happened. Easily. But it didn't. This movie sucks and is an insult to all the fans of the series. My recommendation for anyone who has a hankering for Jason is go and watch "Friday the 13th Part 2", that's my favorite in the series and its about 20 million times better and more fun than this turd.

Author's Note: Proving that he is an even bigger horror nerd than me, Tim went and saw this again yesterday. He said it was way better on a second viewing without high expectations. I'll wait until it comes out on DVD and compare notes. 2-15-09