June 30, 2015

Movie Review: Stitches

There have been some great some great killer clown movies over the years. At the top of the pile has to be It, but then you have the likes of Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and perhaps Amusement, The Houses October Built, and even Killjoy (as uneven and low budget as the series is). Then you have your films with influential clown elements, like Poltergeist, Zombieland, and House of 1000 Corpses. Now we have a new contender on the battle for killer clown supremacy with Stitches. I doubt it will ever be able to climb to the top of the heap, but there is no denying the entertainment value and the effort put on display here.

June 29, 2015

Movie Review: Ted 2

It was just about three years ago that Family Guy/American Dad mastermind Seth MacFarlane made the jump from the animates small screen to the live action big screen with the first Ted film. Now, these are not to be confused with Ted Talks, those are quite a different thing. Ted seems to be much more like the grown up adventures of Stewie and his teddy bear, Rupert. Of course, the names were changed to protect the innocent, but the thought process seems pretty on point. Anyway, the sequel picks up some years later with Ted marrying his girlfriend from the first film, Tami-Lynn, and then the couple deciding to have a baby. Comedy ensues.

Screening Report: Nurses for Sale (6/28/15 Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers, NY)

If there is one thing to be thankful for, it is discovering screenings of old, cult, classic, obscure, and forgotten films. Over the past five or six years I have been able to see some great and some not so great movies in a theater projected from original, or at least older 35mm sources. There is just something about seeing these things on the big screen, there is history to these prints and that adds to an experience that cannot be replaced. The latest film I had the opportunity to see was a little known film called Nurses for Sale, better known in its original form as Käpt'n Rauhbein aus St. Pauli and then as Captain Typhoon.

June 28, 2015

Movie Review: Combat Shock

Do you ever watch a movie that, once finished, you feel rather meh about? A movie that may have some good stuff, but you wonder about the execution and whatnot? I am sure you have, everyone has, whether you recognize it or not. Now, have you ever had one of those movies stick in your brain, rattle around a bit and ultimately leave you with a changed opinion of said movie, for better or worse? Well, Combat Shock is one of those movies for me. I came out of it with a middling feeling that changes into something that I really liked. Although, it is certainly not a movie for everyone.

June 27, 2015

Sound Byte: Pro-Pain - Voice of Rebellion

I remember when my music tastes were beginning to expand beyond glam metal and grunge in the early-90’s, I felt encouraged to try stuff based on cover art. You remember, back in the day when you could go to a music or movie store and browse stuff, there really is no better way to find some new stuff. Doing this I was turned on to bands like Pantera, Sepultura, Biohazard, and Pro-Pain. I remember listening to that first Pro-Pain album, The Foul Taste of Freedom. That was a pretty solid album and certainly a little different than I was used to, not being much of a punk or hardcore fan. It was also early in the rapping metal days.

June 26, 2015

Sound Byte: Shardborne - Living Bridges

As much as I like music, I do not listen to a whole lot of instrumental music outside of film scores. However, that is not to say there is not a lot of great instrumental music out there. One of my earlier CD's was a well played copy of Steve Vai's Passion and Warfare, an early favorite that featured some great playing and experimentation. Also, one of my favorite bands is all instrumental (Goblin). Still, instrumental is rarely a go to for me. I guess I should be glad that the latest from Shardborne crossed my desk. Living Bridges is a rather exciting work.

June 25, 2015

Sound Byte: Eskimo Callboy - Crystals

Have you ever listened to an album and been utterly confused as what they were supposed to be or what they were trying to do, or simply just it was in general? Well, that just happened to me as I was listening to the album Crystals by a band called Eskimo Callboy. Granted, I was wondering “What?” just based on the band name. What does that even mean? I don’t know, I am not sure I want to know, and ultimately don’t think it really matters. The music, on the other hand, just leaves me shaking my head. I do not like it, but it is rather infectious.

June 24, 2015

Movie Review: Preservation (2014)

Survival horror can be an entertaining sub-genre of horror, it has turned out some excellent films of the years, from classics like The Evil Dead to more recent entries like You're Next. They can be grueling, horrific journeys into the lengths people will go to, the depths of being, in order to survive. Then there are movies like Preservation, on the surface entertaining enough, but feels like it could have used a few more rewrites. On one hand it tries to be realistic, on the other hand it goes a little over the top. Neither side goes to far and they kind of trip each other up, resulting in a middling affair.

Sound Byte: Enforcer - From Beyond

Thrash and the classic metal sound, I am convinced will never go away. Just like there are singers and bands keeping the sounds of Sinatra, The Beatles, and others alive, that classic sound of metal pioneered in the 1980’s will never go away. Whether you are talking about acts like Warbringer, 3 Inches of Blood, or the fact that bands like Iron Maiden are still releasing new music, metal will never die. This cannot be in more evidence than when you check out recent releases from bands like Ranger, or this new one from thrashers Enforcer. From the old school cover art and logo to the execution of the sound, be ready to put your horns up high.

June 23, 2015

Movie Review: Dope (2015)

Some movies like to sneak up on you and surprise you when you least expect it. It can be a pretty great feeling, can't it? Think about all of those movies you saw that you did not have any expectations for or even knew anything about beforehand. When the credits role, you sit there contemplating what it is you just saw. Well, I just experienced one of those movies. Dope is a really good, almost great, film that blends reality with an easier to digest fantasy to make its point, a point that is spelled out in the final moments, if you did not get it earlier, or rather, gave it a punctuation point. It is funny, dramatic, and genuine.

Sound Byte: Native Construct - Quiet World

Over the years, I have listened to my fair share of strange music. You know, the stuff that exists outside the mainstream and could be termed a little eclectic. I would include acts like Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs III, My Own Private Alaska, and some of Les Claypool’s projects among them. I now have another one to add to the mix, Native Construct. This is not a bad thing. There is something to be said about those who experiment outside of the usual some structure and try to create something new and different. Native Construct is certainly different, and I think I kind of like it.

June 22, 2015

Movie Review: Inside Out and Lava

Pixar has returned to the big screen for the first time since 2013, when Monsters University graced the big screen. It is also the film that has helped restore my faith in the groundbreaking and inventive studio, as I feel they had been slipping since the excellent Toy Story 3 back in 2010. Inside Out is simply fantastic; however, it also feels a bit like they are trying to show off their uber-creative side again. It is not that I feel they are trying too hard, it is just that the concept they are playing with is not an easy one to visualize. It also feels a little like they left the young audience behind with a movie that is a touch more mature and slower paced.

Sound Byte: Ranger - Where Evil Dwells

My journey through the musical landscape has been a strange one, not unlike my cinematic journey. They both began late, did not have a lot of outside guidance and required a lot of floundering around by me. To that end, my discovery of certain bands and styles has been roundabout to say the least. My experience is vastly different than that of many of my friends. I am not sure if that is good or bad. In any case, one of the recent albums to cross my desk is the debut full length from Ranger, a modern throwback.

June 21, 2015

Sound Byte: Corpse Garden - Entheogen

Hailing Costa Rica, Corpse Garden is ready to unleash their second full length album on an unsuspecting worldwide populace. I must admit, prior to learning of this release, I had never heard of them. I am somewhat glad that changed. While, I do not think they will ever become a favorite of mine, there is no denying they have some definite skills to allow them to compete on a global scale. Not to mention, their band name is pretty cool. If you try to search it on Wikipedia, you will be directed to the body farm page, where you can learn about facilities that study human decomposition.

June 20, 2015

Music Review: Goblin Rebirth - S/T

Every once in a while you stumble across an artist that changes your world. That happened to me some years back when I discovered Goblin. There is something about there music that is downright beautiful, entrancing, mesmerizing, you name it. I can pretty much listen to them at any time and be a happy man. My go to album has always been one of their Best Of type collections, but throw on Suspiria, Contamination, Profondo Rosso, pretty much any of them and I am good to go. Now I have another one in the mix.

June 19, 2015

Movie Review: Leprechaun - Origins

It was just a few weeks ago that I subject myself to the original run of the Leprechaun series. Overall, they are not good movies. Seriously, some are downright awful. Still, through it all there was always Warwick Davis, the only reason to give the series any time at all. Sure, I liked a couple of them enough that I would be willing to revisit, but not all that often. As if on cue, Netflix now has the one movie of the "franchise" I had yet to see, Leprechaun: Origins. You know, the recent WWE produced reboot/remake in an effort to get the series going again.

June 17, 2015

Screening Report: The Beyond (6/16/15 Alamo Drafthouse, NY)

Comparatively speaking, I have not been a horror aficionado for very long. I have covered a lot of ground, but always feel like I am playing catch up. Still, in that time I have come to love a fellow named Lucio Fulci. I may have only seen a handful of his movies to this point, but there is no denying that he has risen through the ranks of favorite directors. Among that handful, one has become one of my all time favorites, The Beyond. A masterpiece of surrealistic, gory horror, so any chance to see it on the big screen must be taken, of this there is no question.

June 15, 2015

Convention Experience: Eternal Con 2015

This past January, I took a trip down to Long Island in such treacherous conditions that most would consider me crazy for even attempting. I am serious about this, I am not sure I have ever seen that many wrecked cars (including a couple on their roof) in my life. Still, I went. My target? NY Horror Show. I went specifically for three autographs. While there I got a postcard advertising another show. Guess where I went for a day this past weekend? Eternal Con, the show being advertised. Fortunately, the weather was better.

Hudson Horror Show XI – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the woods on Elm Street with a .45...

Year six has begun for Hudson Horror Show. the show that never expected to make it past 1 is now in its sixth year of delivering a show that our horror brethren flock to on a biannual basis. This is the one show I would lament to loss of, but that is not going to happen now is it? There was a scare last year, but the guys bulled through and we are surging forward with a renewed passion, vigor, and passionate fan base. This show sold out in a record 88 minutes (give or take depending on who you talk to). There is no denying the following Hudson Horror has earned over the years.

June 12, 2015

Movie Review: Back from Hell (1993)

Some movies beg to be skewered. Some movies fail on pretty much every level and are made with an astounding level of incompetence. However, not all movies can be judged the same way. You cannot just parse the elements, you have to put them into some manner of context. The thing is, it may be easy to rip into a bad movie, but you have to ask if it is truly deserving of the ire you can bring to the table. This is where a movie like Back from Hell enters the picture. It is not a good movie, but I found it incredibly entertaining.

Movie Review: Jurassic World

With the release of Jurassic World upon us, allow me to say that I had a hard time getting into the hype. Don't get me wrong, Jurassic Park is a classic, a great film that amazed the eyes upon its release back in 1993. Its use of animatronic and computer effects was second to none and still holds up today as an illustration of CGI used properly. With that said, it is not a franchise that has sparked the nostalgia factor like, say, Mad Max (not that I am comparing the two), so, I could not get wrapped up in this new one. Besides, I did not think the trailers looked all that great, and the effects far from wowed me.

June 10, 2015

Movie Review: The Connection (2015)

In 1971, William Friedkin gave us the first R-rated film to win Best Picture, The French Connection. It is a pretty amazing thriller that gives us a fictionalized version of an actual reality where a couple of narcotics cops stumble onto a drug smuggling ring with ties to France. It is a gritty thing of a movie that has to be considered among the best crime films. Now, knowing what was going on in New York City and the ties to France, could there be anything similar going on on the other side of the ocean? Enter The Connection, a French production that takes a look at the French investigation in Marseilles into the massive drug operation.

June 9, 2015

Movie Review: Insidious - Chapter 3

Four years ago director James Wan re-teamed with his Saw co-creator, writer Leigh Whannell, to give us his first take on the haunted house story. The resulting film was called Insidious, and it was really quite good. Two years later, they gave us another go around with Insidious: Chapter 2, which proved to be another successful stab at involving mainstream horror. Of course, both films being successful at the box office, it was not that much of a stretch to see a third film in the franchise to hit theaters. However, with James Wan off making Furious 7, writer Leigh Whannell decided to pull double duty and make his directorial debut.

Movie Review: Tomorrowland (2015)

It seems like the art of trailer making is long gone. Yes, on occasion there are good ones, but more often than not, we get the movie condensed to two and a half minutes. A good example of a bad trailer would be last year's Carrie remake, sure a good portion of us know what happens in the movie, but the rest just need to watch the trailer, it tells you everything. Then there are trailers like the one for Tomorrowland, it intrigued me, it got my interest, yet I had absolutely no idea what the movie was about. It is a trailer that wants you to see the movie to find out just what it is. It worked.

June 4, 2015

Cinema Theory: Tapestry of Experience

Have you ever thought about what makes you watch the movies you watch? What makes your cinematic clock tick? What itches that filmic scratch? I do, on occasion. Every so often I think about what it is that drives me to watch movies, what movies to choose, how to process them, how to rate them, and any other number of things. They are often not deep thoughts, but they are interesting to dwell on. We all do it, whether we recognize it or not. We all make choices in our avenues of entertainment, be it movies, games, books, cooking, toys, comics, whatever. Welcome to Cinema Theory where I will occasionally look at some aspect governing my choices and processes. For better or worse.

June 2, 2015

Movie Review: San Andreas

When I first saw the trailer for San Andreas, I cannot say my reaction was positive. It was not exactly negative either, it was more the equivalent of an eye roll when no one is looking. Upon further reflection, my eye roll stance somewhat softened. I figured, why not? I feel it has been awhile since I've seen a disaster movie, that is, a movie that wasn't a disaster, but rather about a disaster. How bad could it be? On the other hand, it is also nice to see some different landmarks getting destroyed than the usual ones in New York and DC.