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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Austere-To Lay Like Old Ashes(2009)

To Lay Like Old Ashes was one of my favorite metal albums of 2009. It's hard to think of Black Metal as beautiful sometimes, but this Australian band captures that easily. The music is atmospheric, cold, desolate, and beautiful all at the same time. The most important thing to me in music(and film) is atmosphere, and it here by the bucket load. Almost like a musical translation of Werner Herzog's classic adaptation of Nosferatu, sometimes it can be suffocating. If you are not a Metal fan, I suppose that the vocals here can be off putting, but they really capture that agonized feeling of desolation. The track "This Dreadful Emptiness" is one of the best atmospheric BM songs since Burzum's mighty "Dunkelheit". There are moments of clean vocals here and there and the album closes with "Coma II", a 20 minute ambient/acoustic song that is beautiful. It's almost a respite for all the emotional torment you endure through the first part of the record, and I revel in every moment of the misery.

Professing My Love Of A Muppet.

Even us gay guys have crushes on women. From a young age, the object of my affection was Janis the Muppet. She was the coolest thing that my 5 year old eyes had ever set upon. She had beautiful blond locks, she played guitar, and she always seemed stoned. Janis was heroin-chic before there was such a thing. When her band played, my eyes were always on her. While other kids were wondering if Kermit & Piggy were ever gonna hook up, I was wondering if Janis actually had eyes. Oh the joys of childhood.........

Horror Movie Badasses #5

Bobby Rhodes, or Tony in Lamberto Bava's Demons, was a pimp and a badass zombie slayer. He might not have survived the carnage in the movie theater, but he was so popular, he returned in Demons 2, as a gym instructor. That white leisure suit, and shiny black head earned him a spot in horror movie fans hearts forever.

Horror Movie Baddasses #4

Reggie Bannister, Reggie from the Phantasm series, might have had a sensitive side, but he still kicked tons of midget ass! He had a penchant for acoustic guitars, skullet hairdos, and girls named Alchemy, but I would definitely want him on my side, in the event of a Tall-Man invasion.

Horror Movie Badasses #3

Evelyn(Anna Chappell) didn't let old age hamper her in Mountaintop Motel Massacre. She might've been a card carrying member of AARP, but she still had the energy to ram scythes through faces, kill guinea pigs, spread roaches and rat and snakes. She knew the tunnels under the motel like the back of her hand, and you almost hoped that she got away with it!

Horror Movie Badasses #2

Stuart Devenie kicked ass for the lord in Peter Jackson's Dead Alive(aka Braindead), and looked damn cool doing it. Father McGruder didn't let death stop him, he was even getting busy as a zombie!

Horror Movie Badasses #1

Is there any MoFo badder or more suave than Robert Shaw's Captain Quint in Jaws? I didn't think so......it's just such a shame that he had to meet such a grisly demise.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Haunting Of Winchester House(2009)

Wow, I haven't seen a film this hated on since Uwe Boll was putting out 2 movies a year! I usually try to read up a bit on a film I am going to watch, just so I know what I am getting myself into. I saw this movie on Netflix watch instantly and added it to my que, because I am a sucker for Haunted House films. In no way did I think I was getting a Ghost Story, or The Haunting(the original, you fools!), so I went over to IMDB to see what people thought. Holy Hell, I know there are a lot of armchair critics over there that like to give movies a low rating to just to piss people off. But this film had like a 2 rating!! I read through the reviews, the usual complaints.....bad acting....bad effects....stupid story, OK I can handle this.
I think that this generation is just so used to bad CGI effects, that they can't handle a film that doesn't rely on them. I found The Haunting Of Winchester House, to be pretty damned entertaining. Yes, the acting was pretty atrocious, but I have seen far worse. The worst part to me was that the Mother character only looked to be about 10 years older than the daughter character. But I am man who has seen the bottom of the barrel SOV films that make this look like Gone With The Wind. Actually, this film relies heavily on the grand tradition of "old dark house" films of the 40's and 50's. Lots of creepy ghosts flittering in front of the camera, or leering from a darkened corner. Lots of torturous groans and cries, and atmospheric shots of the house. Sure, there are a few scenes of CGI, but not enough to detract from the film. I read online that the DVD version is in 3-D, but I couldn't see any evidence of that from the version that I watched.
The story concerns the Winchester House, of Winchester rifle fame. It seems that the ghosts of victims killed by said rifles haunt this house and it's owner Sarah Winchester. When a thirty-something couple and their daughter move in to be caretakers for the summer, they are haunted by the ghosts of the victims, and the ghosts of the Winchester family. What do the ghost want? What does Sarah want? I didn't find it too predictable at all, and I thought the "twist" ending came out of nowhere and surprised the hell out of me.
In closing, I am not saying that this is a "good" movie technically in any way, or by any standards. But if you like ghosts films, and can handle bad acting, there are worse ways to spend 80 minutes. Hell, this is far better than those 2000's ghost movies like 13 Ghosts, House On Haunted Hill, and The Haunting by a mile!! Check it out if you dare!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Space Raiders(1983)

Wow, do you ever go back and revisit a movie that you loved as kid, and it doesn't quite hold up to your lofty remembrances? It happens to me quite a lot, and sometimes I could just kick myself for tainting those glorious childhood memories. Movies are always better in memories or retrospect, and that is exactly what happened when I revisited Space Raiders. I was eleven years old when this film came out. I remember my Dad and myself going to see it, and loving the hell out of it. My Dad went because Vince Edwards was in it, and he was a character actor that had many war movies and westerns under his belt, and the old man loved "shoot em' up" pictures as he called them. The following summer Space Raiders was all over HBO, and I watched it every time it came on. The mixture of aliens, action, and space bugs were enough to warrant repeat viewings from me. Well, watching it as a cynical, seen it all 37 year old, had me fidgeting to stay in my seat, when I wasn't busting a gut at how bad it was. Don't get me wrong, it's still a fun watch, and I am sure if Warners get of their ass and release it on DVD, i'd still buy it. But only for collector nostalgia-geek purposes. But unless David(Over The Top) Mendenhall makes a comeback, I don't see them releasing this obscurity. So next time you are pining to watch that "great" childhood film, maybe you should just let it go, and hold on to those memories.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Slayer(1982)

The Slayer is another one of my "sleeper-slasher" favorites. This is a very overlooked and underrated title to most horror fans. If you love true, atmospheric, horror films, I think you will like this one. Made on a low budget, but has very good sets and scenery and plays up the atmosphere to the hilt. Plus, The Slayer introduces the "dream killer" idea that Wes Craven would expound upon a few years later with A Nightmare On Elm Street.
The story centers around Kay, a very kooky artist, her boyfriend, her brother and his wife, who go to Tybee Island, Georgia for a vacation. Kay has been having horrific dreams her whole life, and now it seems as if the dreams are materializing. There is lots of dialogue, and a low body count, but every kill counts. After some chatting the vacationers start dying off in bloody ways(an oar splitting a head, a head decapitated in a trap door, human fishing, and an awesome pitchfork death!). Kay repeatedly tries to tell the others that she has dreamed of this, but no one believes her(too bad no one ever believes the semi-psychic kooky girls in horror). We really only get to see the namesake creature for about 15 seconds, but god damn, the thing looks really freaky and scary. Had I made this movie, I probably would have shown that scary S.O.B. more than the characters, but then the film wouldn't be as atmospheric. The "twist" ending really is silly, and it's the only really bad thing I can say about The Slayer. Us Americans still haven't received a DVD release of this treat, but there are budget Euro versions of it out there. I'll be fine with my DVDR rip until they release a Special Edition for us(wink wink Code Red). If you value atmosphere and suspense more than a big body count, definitely check this one out!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

R.I.P Jay Reatard

The Punk world lost one of it's most brightest and uncompromising stars yesterday. Memphis' Jay Reatard was found dead in his home yesterday, he was 29 years old. I had the pleasure of communicating with Jay many times via Myspace, and was a vital and very funny guy. In my opinion he was the Iggy Pop of the post-millenium age, and I am gonna miss joking with him, and listening to his new records. I hope you are partying in a better place, Jay.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Awards.....Oh My!

I just wanted to thank Amanda By Night over at Made For TV Mayhem, and Micheal Meep, of Cinema Du Meep, for bestowing VB with some lovely awards. I am HUGE fans of both of their work, so to say that I am humbled is an understatement. If you haven't read either one of their blogs, I suggest you go right on over and do so now!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Decade In Horror:1989

By 1989, everyone thought that horror was truly dead. Surprising in that 1988 had so many horror releases. 1989 was back down to only a handful of quality releases, and we all know what the 1990's brought. Here are my faves from the last year of the best decade for horror:

The Decade in Horror:1988

1988 was the year of cheese, there were TONS of straight to video horror releases. Most of them bad, but a lot of them were a lot of fun. There were even some big budget films that were decent(The Blob remake). Some of my faves that didn't make the list were Iced, Psycho Cop, and Evil Dead Trap. My faves were:

The Decade In Horror:1987

Wow, I never realized just how many horror films were made in 1987! I had a tough time just picking 5 of my favorites, I could have easily did a list of 15. In 1987, I was 15 years old, and I can't recall what caused an increase in the horror that was produced that year, but I am thankful for such an awesome year. Some good one that I didn't pick were Evil Dead 2, Ghoulies 2, Dolls, and Creepshow 2. Here are the five films I loved the most in 1987:

The Decade In Horror:1986

In 1986, horror made a bit of a comeback, the independents were turning out the horror like it was the old days. A few major studios also produced a few worthy entries as well. 1986 also marks the first year of the eighties that a Friday The 13Th film didn't make my list. From Jason Lives on, they kinda lost me, and although I saw the films, I didn't enjoy them like the first 5. Here are a my faves from 1986:

The Decade In Horror:1985

Sorry for the delay in continuing this series, I have had a rough time personally lately, when my Mom finally passed away last weekend. But back to the horror, the best thing to keep your mind of more serious matters.
1985 had pretty slim-pickings for horror, the studios weren't releasing anything horror related, because of the deluge of horror in the early 80's. Even independent and the straight to video market didn't produce much in 1985. Here are my five favorites from that year, and I think they are all high quality releases(except for Hills Have Eyes Part 2, which is just fun!):