Friday, August 27, 2010

Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed American History

I've been a huge Joe Bob Briggs fan since his days of MonsterVision on TNT. I remember being a young kid tuning in every Saturday night watching that show. They just don't make television that entertaining these days. So when I happened upon his book, Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed American History, I had to pick it up. The book is a collection of essays written by Joe Bob himself regarding such classic films like, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Exorcist, Blood Feast and many, many more. Each entry is an in depth look into the making and back stories (some famous, some not so much) of many of the films that I grew up watching and adoring.

With Joe Bob Brigg's wit and his sense of humor, this book will please any horror or film fan. This book is a testament as to what kind of a fan Joe Bob really is. If you've enjoyed anything he's ever done, this book will certainly satisfy your horror reading fix. It's loaded with knowledge and fun facts from a guy who simply loves movies.

Joe Bob says check it out and I agree.

Deth Red Sabaoth

Track listing.
1. Hammer of the Gods
2. The Revengeful
3. Rebel Spirits
4. Black Candy
5. On a Wicked Night
6. Deth Red Moon
7. Ju Ju Bone
8. Night Star Hel
9. Pyre of Souls: Incanticle
10. Pyre of Souls: Seasons of Pain
11. Left Hand Rise Above

Danzig's newest edition of foreboding evil lies within the tracks of Deth Red Sabaoth. Deth Red Sabaoth is Danzig's ninth studio album. It was in the works for roughly two years and was finally released on June 22, 2010. The album was welcomed by fans, new and old, and received positive reviews from critics.

Some... let me repharse that, most people say, that Danzig hasn't put anything good out since Danzig 4P. I've got an opinion for people like that: They're not true fans. Stop trolling the internet bashing the guy just because you're not happy that he doesn't still work with the original line up. Get over it! Granted, Danzig 5 and Circle of Snakes were weak and lacked for a number of reasons. However, Satan's Child and 777: I Luciferi are pretty damn good albums if you ask me.

With this latest epic, Danzig focused on getting a real sound. He went out and purchased 1970's Kustom tuck and roll bass amps to play the guitars through. He wanted a natural sound that you can't get with modern computer equipment. I'm pretty sure he accomplished that as this sound is different from his previous work.

Danzig stays busy on the album and contributes vocals, piano, guitars and bass. He also drums on the track, Black Candy. Tommy Victor returns with lead guitar, guitars and bass. And Johnny Kelly dutifully commands the drum kit. In my humble opinion, he's the best drummer (for Danzig) to date. Yeah, yeah, I know, most will disagree and say Chuck was but fuck off.

The album opens with the track, Hammer of the Gods. Although this wasn't the best of tracks to open with, it had that classic, big and full chorus that Danzig loves. The next seven tracks are worth my money and not a single one of them are skipped through when I listen to them. The Revengeful is the second track and probably my favorite on the album. The instruments all blend together perfectly and stands out as one of the better tracks. Rebel Spirits has great lyrics and a phenom of a guitar solo in it. Black Candy is simple, yet sinister like only Danzig can do. On a Wicked Night is about death; slow and meaningful with some great guitar work. This song should please any fan of Danzig. Deth Red Moon's chorus is surprisingly reminiscent of the old Misfits and the beginning measures sound a lot like that of his classic song, Mother. Ju Ju Bone could be considered a homage to Elvis and has some of Danzig's best vocals on the album. And Night Star Hel has a black Sabbath feel to it. This song is slow and dirty, yet very full and thick.

The next two songs sound related to his classical Black Aria stuff. I'm not a huge fan of them because they drag on way too long and almost become a bit redundant. But the closing track, Left Hand Rise Above is absolutely the best chosen for the closing track of a great album. Danzig bellows in the chorus, "Left Hand Rise Above" and it is quick to send shivers down the spine of any loyal, true fan.

Danzig has said that this may be his last album. What with record sales and all. I'm just hoping he's not going the route of Rob Zombie and releasing everything via download. Maybe if Rob would put something out decent, we'd buy the shit. But when you got him singing songs like, Sick Bubble Gum, I have to wonder how much he still cares about the product he's putting out.

Deth Red is different though. Here you have a great album and it ties in with most of Danzig's other work. If you're a fan of Danzig's older stuff than you'll be pleased with his return to form. He's back on his throne and he's staying there for quite awhile. And for those of you that said his vocals have become a great thing of the past... you are sadly mistaken. These Danzig vocals are some of his best and a variety for each track.

Go buy this album on my highest recommendation. You won't be disappointed that you did.

Here is a rating of each track.

Excellent ***
Good **
Skip *

Hammer of the Gods - **
The Revengeful - ***
Rebel Spirits - ***
Black Candy - ***
On a Wicked Night - ***
Deth Red Moon - ***
Ju Ju Bone - **
Night Star Hel - ***
Pyre of Souls: Incanticle - *
Pyre of Souls: Seasons of Pain - *
Left Hand Rise Above - ***

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Vanishing (Spoorloos)

*** (out of 4 stars)

This Dutch/French film grips taut around the neck and doesn't let go. Even after the credits roll you're still left with the feeling of hopelessness.

It's the story of a young married couple on there way to a biking trip in rural France. Rex Hofman (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia Wagter (Johanna Ter Steege) run out of gas in a dark and lonely tunnel. The two argue, eventually leading to Rex going back for gas alone. As Saskia pleads with him to not leave her, she is ignored. When he arrives later, with a full gas can, she is gone. He drives to the end of the tunnel and there she waits. They kiss, make up and head to a gas station to insure they won't run out of gas again.

Once they arrive at the gas station the story really picks up.

Saskia goes into the station for a beer and Coke but never returns. Rex tries his hardest to find her and with little to no help from authorities he's left to investigate by himself. He soon starts to ask people if they saw his missing wife. The clerk tells him she was last seen with a man standing next to the coffee machines. Others say she got into a car with a man. Finally he stumbles upon a piece of evidence. A picture he had taken while standing outside the store. In the polaroid is what he thinks is his wife, walking with a man.

Three years pass and Rex is still trying to uncover the missing pieces to the puzzle of his missing wife.

In a series of intermittent flashbacks we see Raymond Lemorn (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) practicing manuvers to kidnap women. He has a method of approach and fails in most of his attempts. He seems to be a loner, yet has a family and is a respected Chemistry teacher.

The truth is finally uncovered when Rex goes on the T.V., kind of challenging, the suspect in coming forward. When Raymond Lemorne meets up with Rex it leads to the unsettling truth of what actually happened to Saskia. Raymond tells Rex the only way to find out what happened to her is to go through what she had to go through, then, he'd know the truth. Rex's impulses get the better of him and he drinks a cup of coffee laced with a sleeping pill that Raymond concocted. Rex eventually wakes up to find himself buried alive.

This film has one of the best movie endings. It's utterly haunting.

The Vanishing
Cast: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets and Johanna Ter Steege
Dir: George Sluizer

The Legend of Boggy Creek

*1/2 (out of 4 stars)

The Legend of Boggy Creek is a documentary style drama about a Bigfoot monster in Fouke, Arkansas. The film's director, Charles B. Pierce, apparently raised the funding for this movie from borrowed cash supplied by an Arkansas trucking company. For a guy who never directed a film before this, he must have been sly to round up 160,000 bucks to make a film about a big, hairy beast.

The film's narrator (Vern Stierman) gives us little snippets of detail before each scene. I kept thinking that this film reminded me of Unsolved Mysteries or In Search of, because that's what it felt like. The film itself has very minimal dialogue and thankfully so, as the acting isn't the greatest. The worst part of the film has got to be that dreadful folk song called, "Travis Crabtree", which was also sung by director, Charles B. Pierce. Wow! That song is so bad it takes away any realistic scares that the film tried to convey.

The cast consists of actual eye witnesses that had encountered the Bigfoot in real life. The film has a lot of interviews, including a funny one with a toothless hillbilly who doesn't believe in "no Bigfoot". Quite frankly, you can't understand what the hell he's saying anyway.

There is very little acting and most of it is when the towns folk are being terrorized by the Bigfoot. In many scenes the Bigfoot sticks his massive hairy arm through a window, causing a screaming uproar. In one particular scene, a poor guy is trying to take a dump, when an ugly, hairy hand reaches in the bathroom window. He's scared off the crapper and doesn't even get to wipe. Poor bastard!

They did a good job keeping the Bigfoot out of sight. There isn't much we see of him and that part of the film is effective. To show him would just prove to be a man in a gorilla suit. It would look fake and leave no redeeming quality left to the film. But, like in many actual cases, people only get a glimpse of the creature. Never will it stand there; waving and posing for a picture. When the Bigfoot actually does cause mischief it's only punching through windows, messing with the garbage, scaring a cat to death and sending a guy to the hospital because of "shock". Other than that, he's just seen stalking which helps with the mystery and atmosphere of the film.

Surprisingly enough, this film made its money back and then some. When it opened in drive-ins it brought in an impressive 22 million. Being the first of its kind, the film's success paved the way for future "Bigfoot" movies.

If you're a Bigfoot enthusiast, then give it a shot. If you're not, don't waste your time, chances are you probably won't be into it.

Directed by: Charles B. Pierce

Written by: Earl E. Smith

Starring: Chuck Pierce Jr., William Stumpp

Running time: 87 mins


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mister B. Gone

*1/2(out of 4 stars)

One question remains with Clive Barker. Where the hell is Abarat? I want more. I want more soon... damn it!

Back in October of 2007, I was a newly wed. My wife and I tied the knot on the 6th and I was looking forward to opening up a great new chapter in my life. I remember that October breeze gusting up and turning the leaves. The foliage in the hillside and the variety of different colors lining the streets as the leaves fell to a quiet and solemn death.

I was in Barnes and Noble one night right around Halloween time. I saw that the shelves were donning a new Clive Barker book. I was enticed and picked it up. The book looked tattered and burnt, obviously a great marketing gimmick. It looked awesome! Mister B. Gone was the book and a new release from Clive Barker. It was Halloween! What more could you ask for? Um.. Abarat, maybe? Anyway, Barker+Halloween= Sweet deal!

Truth be told, I didn't get the book until Christmas that year. And when I read it, I was ready to call Santa and tell him to take the book back and shove it right up his red, fat ass. Now, I love Clive Barker and most of his works. He's a talented artist and his films, paintings and novels are nothing less then inspiring when I delve into anything Barker is doing. But this book, to put it lightly, is boring, redundant and uninspiring.

Mister B. Gone is a book where a demon named, Jakabok Botch, has possessed the pages. He frequently and tiresomely warns: "Burn this Book". (Doing this kind little favor will set the demon free from the pages.) After awhile, you're willing to comply with his wishes, only because he becomes an annoying little shit. Jakabok, after failing numerous times to pursuade you to burn the book recounts his story. He's from the ninth circle of hell - where the most sinister of sinners dwell. His upbringing was fierce; with unrelentless parents that hated everything about him. After escaping the annuals of hell and witnessing his father's death, Jakabok ends up in the 14th century via a fishing net, no lie.

There he is captured by a priest and his henchmen. Eventually he escapes the clutches of the corrupt clergymen and meets up with another powerful demon named, Quitoon. I know, weird names, huh? The two create havok on their hundred (yes, hundred) year journey. Soon, the duo part ways because of ego/disagreements, resulting in Quitoon threatening Jakabok. I don't know, I guess demons have egos too. But the way they argue you would swear they were demonic lovers.

I won't go into detail about the ending of the book or how Mister B. (what he goes by later in the book), gets stuck in his prison within the pages of the book. You'll have to read to find that one out. I will say that it's a really good idea and hasn't been done yet. Very interesting premise.


I hate to be negative on Clive Barker as I think he's one of the most gifted human beings alive. I just couldn't get into this novel. I will say that Jakabok's threats keep you entertained and turning the pages, but after awhile it just become annoying. Hell, if you're on the 100th page and this guy's still trying to get you to burn the book, why go on with the story? Just stop being a pretentious little demon brat and stop talking. What would've been funnier would be turning the pages and having the rest blank. Then the demon would've won me over. His constant barrage of threats would've meant something, otherwise he's just talking a whole lotta shit and not following through. Regardless, he's a victim of his own game.

I did not burn this book, thus resulting in Jakabok still being confined in the pages.

I will however, hand this book to my worst enemy and let him deal with the little shit.

Mister B. Gone

Written by: Clive Barker

Published by: HarperCollins

Slumber Party Massacre

Reviewed by: R. K. Hook
***(out of 4 stars)

Slumber Party Massacre was intended to be a parody of the pethora of slasher films that came out in the 80's. However, the producers had a change of heart and intentionally wanted to shoot this as a serious, genre piece. It has been said that this was one of the reasons for the underlining humor thoughout the film. I, however, have enjoyed this film since first viewing it back when I was a wee little one.
The film's plot is simple enough. The local girls basketball team is throwing a slumber party for "old times sake". Little do they know, Russ Thorn (Michael Villella), an escape mental patient is looking for a good time too. He's murdered before and tonight his target is the scantily-clad, beautiful high school party animals. When Russ shows up weilding his drill, the girls fall victim one by one in the ordinary formula of the slasher film. Trish (Michelle Michaels), and the rest of her friends must fight to stay alive.

If you're looking for a bit of T&A you've popped in the right film. The cast consists of some of the more beautiful women in any slasher film of the 80's. The late Robin Stille is my favorite and is absolutely gorgeous. She does an adequate job playing Valerie, the coy teenage girl next door.

Screenwriter and feminist author, Rita Mae Brown, penned this classic and depicts the men as whiney wimps that get slaughtered easily; without contest. The two boys, Jeff (David Millbern) and Neil (Joseph Alan Johnson) are portrayed as the two horny teenagers spying on the women in their meager hopes of scoring. The two are picked off rather quick and effortlessly by Russ Thorn. Now, I'm certainly not one of these guys who believes that women are portrayed as the lesser sex in these films, because in any horror film most of the time, the woman lives to tell the story. I think in slasher films, both men and women are put in situations that try to heighten the plot. When a women is scene running up the stairs and not out the door, I'm just thinking that we are being set up for something else. I don't necessarily look at it as making anyone look stupid. It's a horror movie. Somebody has to die, right? Why not pile the bodies to the sky? Regardless of what they got under their pants.

In one scene we see Russ Thorn standing over a would be victim with the drill in between his legs. Wonder what that could stand for? And with Russ saying lines like, "I do this for love," and "You know you want it." It's hard not to notice the underlined message. Men are evil pigs. Yeah, I get it.

Trish, Valerie and Valerie's younger sister, Courtney (Jennifer Meyers) gang up on Russ in the film's climax. After chopping his hand off, and castrating his drill, the killer is less effective and proves to be just another hack without his weapon. Russ meets his demise by the young, beautiful scarlets and girl power prevails. Chalk another one up for the women. And even if they are battered and bruised - they still look pretty damn good and can kick some ass.

If you've gone through life, without seeing this film, you shouldn't worry. But if you're a slasher fan, or just a plain old horror fan, I'm not sure how this one slipped under your radar. Keep an open mind and enjoy this flick. It's growing in cult status and should be viewed by any fans of the genre.

You've got my opinion, now check it out.

A new edition of SPM and its two sequels will be coming out this October in one box set. Special features include, cast interviews, "Making Of" featurettes and a lengthy documentary on all three films. Can't wait for that release.

Directed by: Amy Jones

Screenplay: Rita Mae Brown

Cast: Michelle Michaels, Michael Villella, Robin Stille.

Released: 1982

Running time: 77 mins.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies

***(out of 4 stars)

Back in the early 90's, Director Todd Phillips (Hangover, Road Trip) was a film student at NYU. The idea for a documentary was something that Todd had pondered for quite awhile. Todd needed an interesting subject, as most documentaries thrive on good subjects. The question was what? Or who?

Well, Todd found the end all to be all in subjects. It was the self proclaim messiah of Rock 'n' Roll, GG Allin. Now, I don't know if shit, piss, self mutilation and assault are what you're looking for the next time you go to a club to see a show, but if that's what you were looking for in the late 90's, GG Allin and the Murder Junkies was the band to see. Of course, you also hear some punk rock thrown in the mix. That's only if you survived the first line of, "Bite it, you Scum".

Whether you liked or Hated GG Allin, there's no denying what an interesting guy he truely was. His onstage antics were brutal, disturbing, dangerous and more often than not, violent. He was a lunatic on stage and gained notority with appearences on such day time talk shows like, Geraldo, Jerry Springer and The Jane Whitney show. Cops hated him, parents feared him; yet others found him intriguing and certifiable. He would often threaten parents, saying that their kids where his kids and that he was going lead the youth to a revolutionary revolt resulting in violence and mayhem. He also stated on numerous occasions that he would kill himself on stage and take his followers with him.

Now, you tell me that this guy isn't an interesting subject for a documentary. If I haven't pursuaded you yet, read some more.

It's a Friday night. You and a friend are aimlessly walking the city in hopes of doing something that takes you away from the mundane world you live in. You see a sign in front of a club that says: GG ALLIN AND THE MURDER JUNKIES: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. Being young and adventurous you don't see the harm in entering the show. You lead the way; as your friend follows with a big, cocky grin on his face.

Once inside, you see a naked man with a very small penis, screaming his lyrics. You and your friend look on and are enticed. This may turn out to be an interesting Friday night after all. Next, the naked singer proceeds to defecate on stage. After shoving a pile of his own feces in his mouth, he throws it in the audience. It hits your friend right in the face! Bullseye! His grin turns into a (literal) shit eating grin. The naked man screams the chorus, BITE IT, YOU SCUM, as he viciously beats himself in the head with his microphone. His face is bloody and his eyes are wild. He ventures in the audience and your unsuspecting friend is caught off guard with a fist to his shitty face. His nose is busted and gushing blood. This onslaught goes on for a few more minutes until the club's owner finally cut the sound.

You see this type of stuff in this documentary. But it also takes you inside the mind of GG Allin and how he interprets the world. You travel with him from town to town and gig to gig. The interviews conducted are with his bandmates, teachers, fans, close friends and of course, Allin himself. Todd Phillips did a decent job documenting the times of this one of a kind type of guy. We see several live performances, an NYU spoken word that turns ugly, and many scenes of bodily fluids being consumed in someway, shape or form. In GG's mind he was bringing violence and chaos back to Rock 'n' Roll. And he was doing it all because he believed that's how music should be. He truely believed this and he truely believed in himself and the words he spoke. Never conform, never put restrictions or boundaries on music and never forget that he was GOD and that his word was, THE WORD!

Take that how you want to take it. This documentary was interesting enough to sit through. I watched it, not really being a huge fan of Allin, but more of wanting to see something disgusting. I feel that if you're a music fan, chances are you should see this. If your a film fan, or just like documentaries - check it out.

You got my recommendation. Go see it.

Starring: GG Allin, Merle Allin
Director: Todd Phillips

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some Films Worth Mentioning.

About two weeks ago I went home to Pennsylvania and visited with friends and family. On the first night, I stopped by my friend's video store. We chatted for a bit; just catching up, nothing more. I was shocked to see that he had Moon on sale for the cheap low price of 4.99. With wide eyes and a sense of fantastical excitement, I picked it up. Not a bad deal for a great film, huh?

That weekend also saw me walking around in Wal-Mart where I got to pick up (for only five bucks) Once Upon a Time in the West. Great western, and if you haven't seen it I suggest you do. Other than that I've been watching films like, City of the Living Dead and Werner Herzog's version of Nosferatu: The Vampyre. I enjoyed both films. Herzog's Nosferatu was astonishing. The atmosphere, lighting and Klinski's portrayal of the Count are a must see for any vampire fans.

Which leads me this next bitch. Whatever happened to vampires who sucked blood and not dick? It's beyond me, but for the past five or six years (and yes, I blame Anne Rice too!) there hasn't been any good Vampire flicks. Just goes to show where films are being taken. I'd say a negative direction. But hey, when all your fans are little kids salavating over Edward and Jacob, who am I too complain? Just a Vampire fan wanting something wicked for a change and less oriented with the sexy man-beasts taking off their shirts the entire film.

So, to the twatlight saga, Fuck YOU!

The Boogeyman by Stephen King

A distraught man named, Lester Billings sits in a psychiatrists office, telling a story surrounding the mysterious deaths of his children. As the story unfolds we get a glimpse of Billing's character. At first glance he seems a bit off the wall and his story crazy. He's sure that nobody will believe his story and that he'll go to jail. He constantly worries about the closet door in the doctor's office being open. And only after making sure that nothing is inside, is when he ligtens up and continues his story.

Lester continues and says that he blames himself for the deaths of his kids. All the children (before their death) said that they saw something come out of the closet. The boogeyman! And when they are murdered, Lester finds the closet door ajar. He's quick to point out that he closed the closet door before putting his kids to bed and leaving the room. Lester begins to think that, like his kids, the boogeyman is at fault and is now coming for him.

The short story ends with a pretty great twist that I didn't see coming. So I won't ruin it here on this blog.

This story was published in March of 1973 and later put in the Night Shift collection. This was a story that grabbed a hold of me and never let go. From start to finish, you're not sure whether Lester is just out of his mind, or if in fact, he's telling the truth. Of course, all your questions will be answered by the end. The story runs at about 11 pages long, so it's relatively short and to the point. It doesn't suffer the usual King treatment; being too wordy and concentrating on an abundance of back story that really doesn't need to be there. Like I said, straight and to the point. Any King fan will appreciate this classic. When King is on, he's really fucking on! This short is just one of many examples of why he's earned the name, Master of the Macabre.