Friday, January 28, 2005

magazines, hardcore, internet!

New discoveries have been made. I was informed today of a site called I guess everybody knows about it. It kind of reminds me of our old website where I took pictures of kids at clubs and wrote about them. We even had a picture of a sleeping homeless guy on our site, though that was of questionable taste and I would not post it now. This site is all Hollywood party pics and homeless guy pics. I can't say they copied us. I can say we didn't copy them. Scenefashion was such a good idea, I should have gone with it until someone offered us ad money, and that almost happened. Of course, having real friends was more fun than taking pictures of people you sort of knew and then sitting in your room alone making websites about them. No one bothered to make more content for the site, and in the end it was just pictures of me and Cub on dates. Now I type and type here for my five internet fans. I have a better work ethic, but no popular website. is now and the pictures are great - better pictures than I could take, I've tried.

On the subject of links, there is a blog that I like by the famous Jessica Hopper. I doubt she would care for my blog, but I think her writing is awesome. She wrote the famous article about emo being sexist and her interview with the Locust contained the most famous question about them ruining hardcore for overweight people. I made a comic about this phenomenon (though it was not based on her interview or about specifically the Locust) and it offended many people who thought I was bashing fat people. No, I was making fun of the hardcore sheep mentality ...obviously.

Jessica Hopper's

I read magazines on my break at work. This may be a waste of time as I don't retain much of this information, but one article I will remember is in this month's Revolver and it's on the subject of New York hardcore. It's not so much an article, as it is a collection of testimonies from key players. Their short accounts of incidents, when put together, paint a picture of what that scene was like in the 80's. The people include Roger Miret of Agnostic Front, Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags, and Jimmy G of Murphy's Law. It was a lot of fun to read about this period that produced the sounds and lyrics that I want to hear. When I wrote my list of the top hardcore vocalists of all time (for this site a couple months back), five of them were from New York.

Anyway, I don't know if I could have hung with those guys in Tompkins Square, it sounds like rough times. For me, listening to that music is like an escape to world that is not my own, kind of like listening to metal songs about battles. It's not my reality.

A point was brought up, I'm not sure by who, the magazine is still in the break room. It is mentioned that the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame skips from early British punk to Nirvana in it's punk history. This New York time period is rarely mentioned by rock journalists. I wrote about this on an older website of mine, (yup, though I don't know why I expected scenesters to care about punk or anything other than indie rock and metalcore. I'm sure people skipped over this short essay, they were invited to, because I had four other essays about shitty phenomena, written right after it. So now is your chance to read something nobody wanted to read two years ago. I talk about New York towards the end.

Around the end of the millennium we've come up across loads of TV specials and magazine articles describing the history of punk. The first I saw was a PBS episode in their history of rock series. All histories since have followed about the same pattern. Begin with references to the Stooges, MC5, and NY Dolls before going into detail about the Sex Pistols. Then a bit on The Clash, Gen X, and the Damned along with New York coverage of The Ramones, Blondie, and the Talking Heads. American coverage continues with a profile of the L.A. scene, X, The Germs etc...

Then skip to Nirvana, skip to Green Day. Whole eras in punk are missing. What I've never seen included in any of these histories (magazine issues include Spin, Q, Pulse, Alternative Press, Total Guitar and many guitar magazines) is much or any attention given to the big spiked hair bands. Any kid who is a punk rocker today does listen to The Exploited, G.B.H., Discharge, Chaos U.K. etc... Their influence, especially in fashion (big mohawks, studded leather, more hair coloring) cannot be denied. I suppose the U.K. in the early 80's was considered dark days with punk being declared 'dead' by many in the music press. No one from the before mentioned bands moved on to commercial pop/new wave success like some of 77' punks on both continents did. Another factor that might make the media show less interest in the relevance of such bands would be their faster, more hardcore, more metal sounds. I've rarely seen metal analyzed in a respectful way by intellectuals (or give historical relevance).

Perhaps the messy topic of skinhead violence scares writers off. I was shocked to see a best of oi album in Spin's list of top punk albums of all time. Media confusion about skinheads probably has a lot to do with the absence of coverage of the NYHC scene in all documentaries. How is a reporter gonna explain that scene? "Well they are not nazis, but they are very right wing. They beat up punks, but they play punk music." That's too confusing. Anyhow, the Cro-Mags and Warzone all my friends and I talk about, so they should be mentioned.

I would expect the Crass Records related scene would be subject to much historical documentation, but no. Neither do revolutionary hardcore bands like the Bad Brains and Minor Threat get deserved attention (though that may be because of geographical separation from the happening L.A. scene.)
The bottom line is that punks know punk history and journalists do not.

So that is that, I write better now, don't I?

Terrifying Tales (1989)

What is this? An 80's-looking mysterious tape that I've seen in sale bins time after time. The description on the back is vague. There are no pictures showing scenes from the movie. I never picked it up until recently winning it on ebay. Could it be that I feared the horrors within? Or... could it be that a sixth sense was telling me that this was a bizarre tape. A tape few would enjoy watching. A tape that sucks.

Collectors note: Often I take a digital picture of my copy of the tape to post with the review. Well, if I find a good shot of the tape on an auction site, and the cover is the same, it saves me time to just grab that image. Well this Terrifying Tales box is different than mine. It's the version I've seen most frequently in stores. My tape has a science-class type skeleton on the cover (holding a noose) and a slightly longer version of the quote about the FX.

Three short films, three different directors. The credits role after each film, which is unusual for a horror anthology, so I felt like I was watching television shows. The last film was quite dull and won't be discussed here. The first film is pretty bad, but features all of the good effects. Space ship models, a model town (actually not a good effect), and a monkey on life support. This monkey looks neat, and moves, it's not a stuffed prop. When the first film ended, I was not sure what the hell had happened. I could say the same about the third film, but as I put it before, I'm not discussing that one. The second film, that one is ok.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

book report 1

I just finished reading 'Nothing Feels Good - punk rock, teenagers, and emo' and the first statement I'd like to make about it is that I believe it is a very good book. This is surprising, as the writer is from Spin magazine, a totally shitty mag. Alternative Press is better than Spin because it does not pretend to be anything but a sharp looking trendy mag for fifteen year-olds. Rolling Stone is better because it's Rolling Stone, there is some real journalism in there. Spin is in the middle, sharing only the bad qualities with those two mags.

This diagram illustrates where the mags stand on the spectrum...

So this writer, Andy Greenwald is a good one. He's smart, he sees the big picture, from Dischord to the mall. Fans can't do that, they are too biased. They would deny some stuff, say "this is emo, that isn't" in order to paint a positive picture of their scene. I see Greenwald as cynical, but maybe I'm just throwing my own cynicism into the mix. Perhaps an emo kid would find this book to be and emo-love-in. The answer is probably that Greenwald is an objective observer who is not one with the kids, but can relate. He does not identify as 'emo', claims not to be a fan of the music, but likes similar stuff like the 90's indie rock of Superchunk. I think that puts him in the perfect place to write this book.

I learned about the author here, good interview -

Is the book relevant? Yes, but it must have dropped before Friendster and MySpace hit, since they are not mentioned. However, everything he mentions about makeoutclub, lipstickandcigarettes, and livejournal, can now apply mainly to those powerful sites, or rather mainly to the dominant MySpace. The story of makeoutclub was very entertaining to me, since I lived in Boston at the time the site was most popular. Too bad Greenwald never saw our site, though it was more of a regional Hollywood site that a national mega-site. Also, though we probably never mentioned emo on the site, my friend who co-founded scenefashion with me went on to make a site called Sure it was a joke name, but how about this? He was also a former roommate of makeoutclub founder,Gibby, a person who is written about in the book. See the connections!

I was least interested in the parts of the book about livejournal since I've never had one. This here is the closest thing I've had to it. Here was my opinion on livejournal that I posted on a previous site of mine.

warren speaks - "Live Journal etc... - I hate all of these. It would appear to be a way to tell a boy you like them, kind of like passing a note in class. I did not grow up on the interweb since I'm 24. If you have one of these it's because of how you were raised."

Here was my take on AIM...

warren - "The Live Journal - AIM combo - Why go out in the real world when you interact on AIM and write about the (AIM) drama in your live journal? A new kind of life that starts when you get home from work and ends when you go to bed."

Back to the question - is the book relevant? Well Greenwald also does not get to comment on the pop punk bands (even some established ones) changing their styles from NOFX-inspired to emo/screamo/hardcore. That happened mainly after the books release as did much of the mainstream buying into emo, sending the kids running to more obscure scenes. 'Nothing Feels Good' hints at the fall of emo, but waiting around for the story to end would mean never finishing the book. The only solution would be to release updated editions of this book every so often as time passes, to put the phenomenon in proper context.

I do think that emo is over and the kids have moved on. The hip people move on first, then the more-aware older kids, and then the little ones. It fascinating to see trends change and I talk about it all the time. Cub says to me. "Why do you even care about this stuff? You don't even like it. It's stuff my (little) sister's friends care about." Well I'm fascinated with the changes. Yeah, I hate emo music (you all knew that, didn't you?), but this book is certainly food for thought. It documents ideas being twisted and perverted, into new things with completely different meanings, but all the same names. "Emo" at the beginning of the book and "emo" at the end are like night and day and this book is confrontational enough that no reader will be able to ignore that point. It also celebrates all of the controversy and the drama. Greenwald does not call his subjects hypocrites, but the makes it clear that some people out there would. It's juicy stuff.

I'm going to write about this book some more over the next few weeks. I have some views and experiences involving emo and I'd like to share them.

On they did the piece on the worst albums of 2004. They did the best, but I don't care. I would not care or even know about these worst albums if I did not work in a record store. There are so many things written in their worst-list that I agree with. I have no choice but to give it a general endorsement, not that they need it. -
best and worst of 2004

bonus: more warren quotes from an old website, about 2 years ago...

"I.R.L. - "in real life" cute interweb slang that refers to the real world as opposed to on-line socializing. Hopefully everyone still lives there."

"I (heart) this or that - Bad interweb slang. Lame. Especially bad if someone says they "heart" something in a spoken conversation."

Monday, January 24, 2005

Drive-In Massacre (1976)

This movie starts off with two great kills, but it's all downhill from there. It's not awful, but every scene drags on for about three minutes too many. I like the characters. The two inept cops and the peeping tom suspect are all funny, but they each have a bit too much to say. The gimmick ending is a product of the times. I liked it, but most viewers will groan. I'm not going to give it away.

Drive-In Massacre

In horror news, the super shit fest Alone in the Dark is coming out and Fangoria is excited. They (breifly) mention Uwe Boll's House of the Dead, saying it disappointed some fans. No shit? It's the most hated zombie movie ever made. The rest of the article is a dick-sucking puff piece about the CGI garbage we are about to get from Boll. Fuck this guy and his video game garbage. What a waste of resources. Fuck Fangoria. This article contradicts itself, first saying that making movies based on games is financially a "no brainer", but then saying that Boll is taking a big risk because these movies sometimes bomb. Well this one better bomb. Oh yeah, they went for a PG-13 rating.

Sorry about that off-topic rant.

Drive-In Massacre was partially written by the mysterious film star, George 'Buck' Flower, learn about him at my favorite website -
Critical Condition Online

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Most of the time I tell personal stories to illustrate a point, or to give background information as to where my opinions are coming from. Well forget about that, because this story I'm just telling because I'm happy. I know, I know, stories of misery are more fun, but please read anyway. I swear one crappy thing does happen to me towards the end.

So we were sitting around Saturday, feeling crappy, but not too crappy cause we would be leaving for our vacation in an hour. Newlyweds was on MTV and we were munching cereal and soy milk. The TV couple was down about being followed by fans and photographers and they planned a getaway. Before they could say where to, Cub and I both shouted, "Palm Springs!". No we had not seen the episode before, we are not total losers, but it's just so obvious where cool California people go to relax. Nick and Jessica were off to Palm Springs on the show and Cub and I were on packed to go there for real. What a coincidence? Well we are that fashionable.

I still don't drive so the ride was pretty painless for me, although we did go through some of the most boring parts of California. The scenery became more impressive towards the end of the journey where the mountains meet the desert and fortunately that's also where the KROQ signal fades out. For some reason we tortured ourselves with that shitty station most of the way there, kind of like how we were watching MTV for a good chunk of the morning. Cub had a game where I had to say what band was playing each song that came on. Since I work in a record store I should know them all! Yeah, it's an easy game. I know so much about music that I really don't care for. I have such a wealth of information inside my brain and that's why I write this blog to share with all of you.

Annoying stuff went down, like finding a hotel, but we got one. Then we were off to Native Foods as a treat for Warren. This is my sometimes favorite restaurant, a place for vegan feasting. On the first birthday Cub and I celebrated together, mine, she treated me to Native Foods in Westwood. This year we continued the tradition at the local Native Foods in Costa Mesa. It was tough to find the Palm Springs location. It's in the back of a strip mall, but it's also the most formal of the three restaurants. Everyone there was a senior citizen, not scenesters or new age ladies, like is typical of the two Native Foods we had visited before. You don't order at the counter, rather they have waiters bring the menus to your table which is candlelit. The meal was great and the deserts were huge. One more good thing about this restaurants, is that even at this more formal location, they still had up animal rights posters and literature. In fact they have their own Native Foods signs about being vegan for ethical reasons. It's awesome.

Back at the hotel we went swimming. The pool was warmer than the one at our complex has been for the past few chilly weeks. I get a strange feeling of euphoria when I swim and I got even happier than I had been at dinner. Back in the room we chose to order The Grudge on the TV system for $12.99. It's not on DVD yet, so that seemed like a good deal. We both liked it, but agreed that the Japanese version is better and scarier. The original never lets up for a second. It is so packed with ghosts that it almost made me vomit in the theater. I'd say watching it is more like psychological warfare than enjoying a horror movie. I did have a few nasty nightmares last night, so the American one did get to me at least a bit.

Cub was asleep before the credits were down rolling, but I watched a little more TV. Wicked buff guys were breaking baseball bats with their bare hands. Others blew up hot water bottles with their mouths and it was explained that when they popped, they would get lacerations on their faces. I though this was really sick and cool. These guys had me say a prayer along with the them. I don't usually watch shows like this, but I'm reading a couple books about religion right now, so this was right up my alley.

In the morning we headed to the cable car that takes people up the mountain. At the base we saw that lots of people had sleds and skis. What gives? We'd been up there before, but this time it was total mayhem. The trails were covered in snow so no one knew which way to go. People were stomping off in every direction, and sledding down anything that resembled a slope. Unfortunately, the mountain men took advantage of the situation and were able to massacre a bunch of the visitors. We made our way off towards a secluded part of the forest to put some distance between us and the agonizing screams of the slaughter. It was here that I proposed to Cub and she said "yes". It is true love.

Cub at the site of the proposal.

We headed home since it would be hard to top what had just happened. We were so happy that we got confused and took the loooong way home, almost going back to Newport Beach via Los Angeles. We went through every city in Southern California and my luck ran out. A cop car pulled up beside us and I made the mistake of looking at the officer. God knows, people hate being looked at. I got a ticket for not wearing my seat belt in the proper manner. Yes, I was wearing a seat belt, but evidently not in the right way and now I have a court date in a city I've never been too. It does not matter, they can't bring me down, I'm way to happy.

More reviews coming soon, including Drive-in Massacre and the mystery that is Terrifying Tales.

House of Psychotic Women (1973)

The is an A++, 1st rate movie. Some people don't like it. Do they call themselves horror fans? What we've got here is the Spanish equivalent of Deep Red. A movie with all the characteristics of a giallo, except that it isn't made in Italy. Here is a run down.

strange lounge/jazz soundtrack... check

Artistic surreal scenes... check

surprise killer... check

very strange people... check

lots of female victims... check

zooming in on deaths and blood... check

you gotta see it... check

The only trait missing would amateurs trying to figure out the mystery. The cop is the one who figures it out, while in other giallo films an ordinary civilian often discovers the identity of the killer.

The box art is ok, but misleading as usual. I found this poster image on the internet and like it a little more.

This movie stars, and is written by, Jacinto Molina, aka Paul Naschy, number four on Warren's list of "top horror actors..."

A decent review of this movie at - this site has forums where you can interact with four different actors who played Jason in the Friday the 13th series.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Mafu Cage (1978)

Cub was worried this was going to be one of my crazed ape-on-the-lose movies, but I assured her, this looked to be a weird one we would never forget. In this rare movie, a mentally ill girl, Sissy, demands a new 'Mafu', an ape companion. It seems she has killed all the other Mafus. Well I would not have given her a new one, but Sissy cuts herself, so to stop further mutilation and suicide, a large ape is brought in. This ape is beaten to death with a chain in an unconvincing scene that at least makes it obvious that there is no any animal cruelty in this movie. The animal actor, an orangutan I believe, does not get much screen time As you should have guessed, for the rest of the movie, trapped humans become Sissy's Mafus.

"...a terrifying love story" it says, I would not call this one a "love story", sorry

Cub, what would Warren prefer, a movie where humans kill apes called Mafu, or a movie where apes, bigfoots, and the wearbear, team up to kill humans?

I know you my dear pretty damn well and I know that you would prefer to watch a movie where the apes and bigfoot team up and kill humans as opposed to the humans killing the Mafus. I mean, where's the fun in humans killing apes?

Can we build a Mafu Cage in our apartment?

No, we can not build a mafu cage in our apartment because I may be all too tempted to put you in it when you are really naughty!

Cub, what is your new nickname for me?

Your new nickname is Mafu :)

Naked Vengeance (1985)

This movie is like I Spit on Your Grave with a higher body count. The rape scene is shorter, but still pretty nasty. Elderly parents and an unlucky boy are blown away right afterwards, so I suppose the need for revenge is even greater. Yes we are treated to a castration and it's just about as sick as the bathtub scene in Grave. Other scenes reminded me of Straw Dogs. This movie's only crime is being derivative. We could debate weather these rape/revenge movies empower or exploit women, but that's been done to death. I doubt I could shed much new light on the matter. I tell you what I do know. This movie is fun to watch.

The box cover makes it look like there are two girls out for revenge, but it's the same girl in two outfits!

In L.A. there is a video rental place, Mondo Video I think it's called, that actually has a Rape/Revenge section. There actually are quite a few films in this genre. If you think that's fucked, well remember that it's healthier to watch this type of movie than it is to watch reality TV. All those Americans who get their little thrills from talking about what Paris Hilton did, or hearing about 'tossed salad' on Oprah, would probably be shocked by this shit, but they are the real deviants.

Monday, January 17, 2005

when I first got into horror - pt 2

In October I wrote in this blog a piece called 'when I first got into horror', where I talked about my life in the early 90's, when all the horror hitting the theaters and video stores was complete crap. Nonetheless, I declared horror to be my favorite type of movie. I promised my readers that I would talk about the rest of my formative years, the years I thought I had everything figured out. We will continue with the end of middle school and early high school in Lexington Mass.

Around age 14 I was real into Poison, Slaughter, and Queen, and bands like that. I'd read Metal Edge and Hit Parader and put posters of the bands up on my walls. There was this one year when Guns N' Roses took over the world. They were the biggest thing to ever hit and were on the cover of Circus four months in a row. I saw them at the Worcester Centrum on the Use Your Illusions tour and I swear we were about five rows from the back, but they played every song I wanted to hear and then some. Duff's bass had a Social Distortion sticker on it and that gave them the G N' R seal of approval. Here in Orange County they would not need it, but far away on the east coast that was a real incentive to check them out. They did have a couple of songs on rock radio. 'Bad Luck' and 'Cold Feelings' sounded pretty good on the playlist next to Kix, Firehouse, and new bands like Soundgarden. Magazines were calling Social Distortion 'the last punk band'. I'd heard of punk before, what kid had not seen a punk Halloween costume or Chipmunk Punk, but I would not have been able to name a punk rock band if asked. An ad in the paper showed that Social Distortion was opening for The Ramones and that honestly was insensitive enough to buy a couple Ramones CDs. I liked those albums too and continued to learn about other bands through their associations with the first few punk bands that I'd heard of. I'd learn by reading books about punk at the Newbury Comics in Harvard Square and then running over to check the bins and see if these CDs were available. Or I could just buy anything from the Taang! store. Soon I was only buying music that could be labeled as 'punk rock'.

I'm supposed to be writing about horror movies, but went off-topic for a reason, to show that my interest in punk eclipsed my interest in horror movies throughout my high-school years. I went off to a boarding school full of punk rockers, and punk became more about belonging than standing apart. It was the be-all and end-all. I had very few non-punk interests. As for movies I was most interested in those that had punks in them, or referenced punk music in some way. Outside of school my interests were going to The Rat for shows, or doing animal rights work, with others who's musical interests defined their political beliefs.

At this time horror was beginning it's Scream inspired, 'smart', 'ironic', teen slasher phase. This period has been disowned by the horror community and I can honestly say it had little impact on me.

The first year of college was a shocker. I was as politically correct as one could be and dropped into a school considered to be one of the most conservative in the country. There was nobody like me, period. No punks, no straight edge kids. My roommate, to my absolute horror, had a confederate flag on the wall and pinups of Sport's Illustrated swimsuit models. Looking back, it's absolutely hilarious to see how freaked out and horrified I was at the beginning of the year. I felt like a victim, but my rights were not being infringed on in any way. My (over)reaction was to move into the one safe spot on campus, the 'vegetarian' co-op.

I was 19 and that was the year I changed the most.. I felt at odds with the hippies and activists (a minority on campus, but a handful existed, I mean a College without hippies is like a horror convention without overweight people) in the co-op dorm. Their priorities seemed all mixed up to me. Everyone wanted meat and cheese in their food. The vegan food prepared for me was like the non-vegan food, but without the flavor. I got real skinny and resentful. If they did not care about my cause why should I care about theirs? For the first time since Sophomore year in high school I decided to make up my own mind on issues, and not just follow the peace punk, left wing, path. My awakening began as a sort of backlash against the progressive community. Particular individuals became my targets. I referred to my pot-smoking, bearded R.A. as 'Charles Manson'. I decided that one of my super-liberal, yet very wealthy, professors was the antichrist (recent media events involving her, as well as reading 'People of the Lie', have strengthened this view). My 1st website, Total Liberation, which I worked on in my dorm room, was very popular at the time. This was due to there being less websites in existence, worldwide, but also because of my unorthodox opinions and shit talk about bands, politics, and individuals that I knew. This website (the horror blog) has the potential to get out of hand as well, though so far I am showing more restraint. Eventually I am sure to preach about my correct world views and I will no doubt condemn others. But back to the story..

I dropped out, moved back in with the parents, and got a job at the big Tower Records that dominated Newbury Street in downtown Boston. The first floor held a massive video department on the first floor, and I, an employee, was allowed three free rentals per night! However, I was short on time. My commute was about an hour and one half each way, with some walking, a bus down Mass Ave., a subway ride, and a trolley ride. Most of my rentals did little other than make my bag more full and make the packed trains more crowded. What's worse is that I was wasting my time renting videos of rock concerts. Some were memorable like the Black Flag Flipside video and the S.O.D. live tape, but most I've surely forgotten.

this was the best picture I could find of the S.O.D. video

I remember that our store had a copy of Last House on the Left. Somewhere I head that was a good one, but did I rent it, no! I was grabbing stupid stuff because the covers were flashy, the ultimate example being Uncle Sam, with it's moving image on the box. Seriously this store was famous for it's collection and I barely made use of it. The most obscure thing I rented was probably Skinheads: The Second Coming of Hate, an action b-movie where teens and a WW2 vet have to defend themselves against crazed skinheads in the woods. It sucks, but you gotta see it, you know? Definitely a genre classic. There is an S.O.D. poster in that movie.

I did have one life changing experience, up on the rock floor, far from the video rental desk. We played CDs over the speakers, but like many large record stores, we had TV monitors everywhere. The floor manager would grab a tape from downstairs and play it on repeat for the whole shift.. One day I got to see a nasty Troll raising hell over and over again. "Wow he looks cool, I thought, much cooler than the effects in movies today." Ordinarily on the TV screens would be the movies that just came out like the new Lost in Space or The Mod Squad with Claire Danes. This stuff sucked pretty bad. I decided then that I preferred puppets and rubber-suited monsters to computer effects and animation. From that point on, I said not just "I like horror movies", but "I like horror movies with puppets". This lead to me specializing in one field of horror knowledge, which opened the door to more fields that I am still exploring today. I'll always like puppets, and though I no longer carve them out of foam rubber in my spare time, my recent Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys review reveals that I still consider those movies to be an important part of my life.

Becoming a horror fanatic was still a couple of years away. It's only for the last four years that I've been a true horror fan. In 1999 and 2000 I had some dark spells where I moved back in with the folks and didn't work or go to school much. I remember that either myself or a friend declared that to leave one's house in sweat pants, even if just to go to the video store or to the convenience store, meant that you had given up on life, and planned to commit suicide. I know that I did indeed walk to the Lexington Videosmith from my parents' house in my sweats, and that it was a bad sign.

There was a guy a video store that I did not care for. He was older than me and looked like John Travolta, the current John Travolta, not the younger one in Saturday Night Fever. He would chat with all the Lexington High kids who hung around downtown at night. I hated the kids cause I was older and got suspicious that this Travolta guy was secretly laughing at me when I rented wrestling videos. Was he my enemy? One day he confronted me and asked why it was that I now came to the video store everyday, but had been seen there zero times prior to making it a daily routine. I explained that I had lived in the area for a while, but my movie fix was covered by working at Tower Records up until I left that job. Only since then had I made Videosmith a habit. I think I even realized then that I was saying something 'cool'. Travolta looking guy dropped his guard confessed to me that he loved that Tower and spent hours and hours there whenever he could. Is a guy that spends five consecutive (or total) hours in Tower worthy of being my nemesis? No. And then the ultimate victory came to pass. One day I came to drop off my tapes and saw that he was wearing sweat pants. Wearing sweat pants to work is way worse than wearing sweat pants to the video store! He was more depressed than I was! I did not hate the Travolta guy anymore.

My dark period did not end until the fall of 2001 and it included some semesters back at the same school that had fucked up my life the first time. The summer of 2001 was when my true horror appreciation started. I had dropped out of school for the final time and was holed-up in an apartment in Alston watching three horror tapes a day. Yes, depression during that summer was the reason I watched some many movies, but it was then that the foundation for everything I know about horror was laid down. When the depression lifted, I had all the background knowledge to be a true horror scholar. I believe that every film expert or genre nerd had to have a period in their life like that, a period where they immerse themselves to escape from real life. Without it they never would have become more than a casual fan. Most of these eccentrics probably went through that phase at a younger age, but my journey was long and it's now been documented here. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Scanners 2 (1991)

About a year ago we saw David Cronenberg speak on two consecutive nights at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. They played Videodrome, They Came from Within, The Brood, and Dead Ringers. Actually I think they played every single one of Cronenberg's movies, we just couldn't make it to every screening. (Read: We could not afford to buy that many tickets...) Anyway, the subject of the Scanners' sequels came up and Cronenberg mentioned that he had nothing to do with any of them. What's more, he had not even watched any of them. Well I don't know about Scanners 3 and those Scanner Cop movies, I haven't seen them either, but as for Scanners 2, he's missing out on a fun movie.

The movie begins with a bad Scanner taking out a video arcade. Before everything is blown to bits he plays some 'Operation Wolf', operating the machine gun with his mind. I remember when I first saw that game at the local bowling alley, I thought it was the sickest, most realistic, shit I'd ever see. Well more than a decade later it looks very, very primitive. More advanced than 8-bit Nintendo, but very primitive. Don't get the wrong idea, my favorite games are from that time period. I recently got hooked on this one game, 'Total Carnage', a 'Smash TV' sequel that you can get for X-Box on a disc with a bunch of other Midway arcade classics. I'm also a big fan of the first generation of NES games, the ones before 'Zelda', 'Kid Icarus', and 'Metroid'. Mainly I'm talking about the games on that famous Nintendo poster with Rob's (Robotic Operating Buddy) head at the bottom. I believe that these simple cartridges are problem solvers, aimed at adults. 'Donkey Kong Jr. Math' must be for the kids though. No grown-ups would pick that one for themselves.

Back to Scanners 2 - In the next scene, the Scanner is hiding in warehouse full of mannequins. I was worried that he'd blow up a plastic head by scanning it. Fortunately, he did not. The movie does not make a lot of bad decisions. Only the dialogue is weak. Check out this bit I wrote down. "Ever since I was a little kid I've been able to do things..." the good Scanner tells us while a sad saxophone plays on the soundtrack. "Things with my mind." I hope I got that quote right. If I didn't, I was close. My point is, that this movie explains itself to the viewers, while Cronenberg's Scanners was challenging and could require multiple viewings to be fully understood.

The make-up in Scanners 2 is first rate as are the head explosions. It's no less violent than the first movie. I'm glad this sequel was made. However, if a remake of the original Scanners is in the works, one made without Cronenberg's consent, I'm not down for it.

One last story. We brought a Videodrome beta tape and a Dead Ringers Belgian mini-poster to the Cronenberg event for signing. Overzealous security prevented my roommate from getting the job done. We are all still bitter about what went down. I have no doubt that Larry would have gotten Cronenberg's signature tattooed-over on his leg, had he got that body part signed. Larry has Paul Verhoeven's signature tattooed on one of his legs, from an appearance at the Egyptian.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Night of the Howling Beast (1975)

Stars Paul Naschy, number four on my 'top horror actors of all time' list. He's been mentioned several times in this blog already. Why? Because he sure can pick the craziest movies to star in, or in this case, can write the weird script as well.

An expedition to find the Yeti in Katmandu is ambushed by the henchmen of a sadistic warlord. Naschy, who traveled ahead of the group, is already a werewolf, a good werewolf, who must rescue the survivors from the castle. Yes there were evil werewolves before, two sisters whom Naschy had to kill, but don't worry, he did have a three-way sex scene with them first.

from Super Video, no Yeti, just werewolves

My favorite scene (here comes a spoiler!), and probably the favorite scene of most genre fans, involves the warlord's cruel mistress. She has been trying to cure the nasty soars (or ebola) on the warlord's back. The mistress strips down a captive girl, chains her to the torture rack, and slices all the flesh off of her exposed back. Then she puts this large flap of skin on top of the warlord's soars. A transplant! Also, I might add, she dies from an off-screen sword-to-the-vagina death.

The verdict: very good! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Night of the Sorcerers (1974)

From Amando de Ossorio, maker of the four Tombs of the Blind Dead films, this movie is pretty forgettable. It is of interest to horror completists and those who like to see women bound and whipped, though the amounts of gore and nudity are not excessive. For horrors this one's got leopard-vampire women and native zombies wearing large masks.

While the Blind Dead movies have extended slow motion shots of the Templar Knights riding their ghost horses across the country side, this movie has similar shots of the vampire women leaping through the jungle and making snarling faces with their fang-toothed mouths.

xx Unrelated horror news! xx

I read use the message board at, but rarely do I agree with or care about anything in their features or news sections. Well in December Mr. Disgusting wrote a piece that I have to say is dead on about the greedy techniques the major studies use to take advantage of horror-addicted fans.

Find out about the ratings board, uncut DVDs, and the process of "double dipping"

Despite a proposed boycott of this movie by Mr. Disgusting, I went to see Darkness anyway. Dimension studious butchered it by removing the gore and leaving massive plot holes. See what problems they are going to pose for horror fans in the future

By the way, Darkness is one of my picks for 'least favorite of 2004' along with the new Stepford Wives and Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow.

Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys (2004)

In some houses the Superbowl is a television event. In others, the opening ceremonies of the Olympics are a big deal. I got a call from my girlfriend about fifteen minutes into the Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys premier on the Sci Fi channel. "You better be taping Puppet Master...!"

"I am. It looks really cool."

"You'd better not watch it without me!"

"Oh, no, of course not, the sound is turned down..."

It would not be fair to her if I watched it alone. The Puppet Master series is our favorite. I even wore a Full Moon-issued Blade costume for our first Halloween together.

Yes, I have one of these. It looks cooler in real life, this model has the hat pulled down too low or something. Obviously they don't make these anymore so it's gonna be hard for you to get one just like it's gonna be hard for me to get the costume they made of Torch.

Conflicting schedules made watching the movie impossible before we left for a Christmas trip to Chicago. The anticipation built and built until New Years Day. With holiday festivities behind us, we could finally put on the tape.

And then.... wait, I'm not finished building up the hype. I was not the only one who had waited for this movie. The horror community had been waiting eleven years. Yes, 1993 was the year Full Moon first mentioned the idea of a crossover between the Puppet Master and Demonic Toys franchises. Then what? They made other movies, bad movies. They kind of went under for a while. Full Moon upset the distributor (Paramount), by cooking the books. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but eventually Full Moon came back to life and just a little over a year ago this movie was mentioned again. Sci Fi would put up half the money if Full Moon would cover other half. Well Full Moon didn't have the money, the project was canceled again. Then Sci Fi went a head without Full Moon, though Charles Band is still credited and Full Moon regular Ted Nicolaou directs. Some of my details may be totally off, but you get the idea, this movies was long awaited.

Big disappointment! At least TV movies are free. I think the main problem with this movie is Corey Feldman as an old man, the puppet master in this movie. Feldman is not an old man yet. In this movie his old-man hair looks like a wig from Spencer Gifts. His old-man voice is equally unconvincing An internet search showed me that some horror fans liked this campy character. Well I didn't.

If you've read this blog before you know that I like to drop little stories about meeting the stars. I did not meet Corey Feldman, though he came into a store I worked at twice. Unfortunately I was working at the satellite store down the street both days, but I was there when his pregnant wife came in to buy Corey his birthday present. How did I know she was his wife? She told me.

Here is the pic that was floating around the internet years ago to promote what was going to be the Full Moon movie of Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys. Torch is not in the movie that was actually made and neither is the demonic robot. I thought that the puppet action in this movie was just fine, though I read that production was rushed and they did not get to do any stop-motion animation. Some of the puppet action in the previous movies was better. This movie featured advanced Cyber Puppets for the final battle, which sounds like an absolutely awful idea, but was actually kind of cool. An unused plot for Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys involved someone buying the puppets on ebay. Seriously. One scene in this movie did feature computer hacking, which someone probably though was pretty cutting edge.

Time for Cub's segment.

Were you sad that your favorite puppet Leech Woman was not in the movie? Is Leech Woman just your favorite because she is a girl?

Yes, I was very sad that leech woman was not in the movie because she is the coolest puppet and yes I do favor her because she is the only girl. Plus, how she came to be is sweet, don't you agree?

Cub speaks of Puppet Master 3, where the origins of the puppets are revealed. Leech Woman was Toulon's wife.

How come you liked the scenes with Corey Feldman more than the scenes with the puppets?

I did not like the scenes with Corey Feldman! There was way too much of him in the movie and not enough puppet action. That made me mad. We want to see the puppets kill and not watch some ex-child star actor perform.

Why did you root for the Demonic Toys? I thought you were a puppet fan!

I am certainly a puppet fan and am behind the puppets all the way. The demonic toys were a disgrace. Long live the puppets (go leech woman!)!!!!!!!!!

I do like the Demonic Toys, though the first Demonic Toys movie sucks, skip to Dollman vs. Demonic Toys to see Baby Oopsie in all his glory.

The Demonic Toys at

The best Puppet Master website at

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

To All a Good Night (1980)

Christmas may be over, but the decorations were still up at the sushi place we ate at this evening. Plus most lazy families won't be talking their trees down until the fifteenth or so... What I'm saying is that this holiday horror review is totally appropriate. The film, To All a Good Night (get the X-mas reference?), is directed by David Hess, star of Wes Craven's Last House on the Left and Ruggero Deodato's House on the Edge of the Park. In both movies he plays a sadistic rapist, which does not sound all that impressive, but something about his convincing performances has made him a cult star. Also, he's number 5 on my 'top horror actors of all time' list... as all you loyal readers surely know!

This is the only movie Hess ever directed. It's clearly got a limited budget, they had no money for lighting, so the night shots were shot when the sun was still up. Otherwise it's a competent film with decent gore, an obvious twist, sorority girls, and a killer Santa.

My tape looks like this, but has a pink border. I was excited to possess this rare video, but upon opening the clamshell case for the first time, found that this was a bootlegged copy. Closer inspection revealed the box art to be a color photocopy. Tape quality was barely adequate, the dark scenes were just brown/black fuzz.. oh well.

Let's see what our corespondent, the Cub, had to say.

Cub thanks for joining us. So, did you think the girls in the sorority were kind of slutty?

Yeah, so the girls were slutty, but what do you expect... innocent sorority girls? That would be a first. The sleaze is also what makes the movie so entertaining. Too bad this movie did not have any gorgeous women that are typical of the 70's genre. The cast could have been a whole lot better if you ask me.

Did you like the airplane propeller death as much as Warren did?

The airplane propeller death was the best part of the movie hands down! Guts flying everywhere! The ending of the movie was too predictable. Maybe I just watch way too many of these horror movies that nothing seems to be a surprise anymore.

Thank you Cub for your insight.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

the year in shit

All across American we've got the best of this and that, 2004. Well fuck that.

There is not much best to talk about for horror, unless we are talking 'best 70's movies discovered by Warren in 2004'. Worse than the new films would be the people's taste. I swear, all you horror fans have the same 1000 Corpses dvds on your shelf, the same ill-fitting Slipknot shirt on your pear shaped bodies, and the same Suicide Girls on your computer screen. People still look like shit in the USA. Despite the male celebs wearing clothes that fit, it's impossible to get anything that's not oversized in any of the affordable stores. I don't live in the middle of Wyoming! Seriously, after a couple of years of retail in fashionable Hollywood stores, I've discovered what's up. It the older males who are reluctant to buy anything other than a dumpy XL t-shirt or hoodie, and they've got more money to spend than the better dressed young set.

Fangoria editor Tony Timpone, possibly the mouthpiece of million horror nerds, slammed the summer movies we all hated, but his critique was was weaker than the films. The determinating factor as to whether a horror film is wicked sick or corny bullshit would be the gore and the shocks. Exorcist: The Beginning = a kid getting ripped apart by wolves = "You want the whore, don't you? You wanna stick your big round cock up her juicy ass?" = must see movie of the summer. I can't remember what Timpone said, but I read his short piece twice, and it struck me as a bunch of wimpy shit both times. Rock legends Anal Cunt wrote a song called 'Punching Joe Bonni's Face In' about the Pit Report writer and editor of the same name. When asked in an interview about the story behind said song, Seth Putnam said something to the extent of how he just couldn't stand the guy's writing. How about 'Punching Tony Timpone's Face In'? Let's have that one.

this is the year in shit - nothing really new sucked this year, it just the things from the past through years that sucked and for some reason did not go away this year...

18-19 year old kids with full sleeves, tattoos on the neck, chest pieces, etc.. Ok, so your favorite bands are covered in tattoos, well it took them 15 years to get all of those, not 15 months. There tattoos have meanings, and can be tied to a lifetime of different times and places. Tastes change and fashion changes over time, and some stuff is dated or out of style. If I had gotten all the tattoos I'd wanted when I was eighteen, oh my God, my life would be a living hell right now. Look at the sellouts with their straight edge tattoos. Look at the massive tribal designs on some of your older friends. Learn from the mistakes of others. Most people regret some of their tattoos, but to hate all of them would surely launch severe depression. Getting too much ink at one time, especially in one style or with one theme that seems so important right now, is very risky, and very stupid.

"In our minds and in our hearts, we feel that hardcore music should stay out of big business and stay in the streets where it belongs. " That quote is from the late Raybeez of Warzone and I'm sure we all agree with the sentiment. With that in mind...

I heard a rumor today a work, and all rumors are true, that Equal Vision Records bought one of their new bands a house. I'm happy for the kids in the band and all, own a house and you're set for life, but this just shows what kind of money these labels have, especially when they sell off their talent to the majors. This label was allegedly first run by Krishna devotees, at least according to an article I read. I'm talking about monks here! Yeah it changed owners years ago, but would have thought?

The scene and the top 40...

Everyone is making the the big jump to post punk, from the now flailing pop punk and rap metal scenes. Look for all your favorite jackasses to all of the sudden become 'mature'. That's the right word too. Indie Rock is the new adult contemporary, though no doubt the teeny boppers dig it too. We are looking at a whole new paradigm here, like when the Seattle Sound replaced arena rock and glam metal. Remember what happened. Fake 'grunge' (I hate that word) bands popped up, Collective Soul, Days of the New, Staind. That's not all, somehow the raw music of idealistic Nirvana paved the way for brainless outbursts from Korn and their angry friends. What horrors await us now that Indie Rock is the new mainstream (aka the O.C. soundtrack)?? Expect the results to be even worse than the first of the new batch of rip-off rockers, Jet.

Speaking of music, I've been getting a lot of it for free lately, and that reminds me of a point I often make, about how spoiled rotten I we are today. I can't speak for everybody, if you are reading this crap and live in East Moonshine, you maybe have to pay full price for cds at your local Wall Mart. Then again, you've got the internet, you've got ebay where you can save money and the resources with search engines to find even the most obscure hardcore test pressing out there. You don't have to ride your donkey down to the rail yard and hop six trains to get to the city where the punk rock shops are. Horror movies? Who cares what dvds Ma and Pa's Christian Video Depot on main street stocks? Every fucking movie in the world is a click away at Netflicks. I don't even have Netflicks, because I own every fucking movie in the world. How did I pull that off making retail wages? Cause tapes are cheaper than ever. Some of the older videos I've got for two bucks a pop have stickers affixed to them were probably put there when I was a child. $59.99? $99.99? (check out the adds for tapes tapes in old issues of Fangoria and Gorezone) When vhs was new, movies cost that much, the ten dollar tape was a late 90's phenomenon. I feel sorry for the people who were around back in the early 80's. Today some dvds will run you over twenty dollars, but that's with an obscene amount of bonus footage, ten hours of extras, not something you could even dream of in the 80's.

Free cds, yes I work at a record store, I get promos of all the hip new bands. This week I got a grab bag with the new Blood Brothers, Depeche Mode, Moving Units, Franz Ferdinand, and the Muse. I also got to take five discs out of the promo bin at work. Then we've got the holiday bonus program, three cds from the store stock. I got my pick of anything, so it was UK punk, 999, the new Partisans, and Sham 69. I also earn store credit for exceptional service. I won big as December's employee of the month!

Last night my friend gave me nine hardcore cds from a huge box he was going to throw away. Some of my favorite shit, Sheer Terror, Unity, 'Only The Strong' comp. Why was he going to toss these? He gets too many free cds as well. If you are keeping a tally, that's twenty two cds this week, and some of these rewards happen every week. Add to that my supervisor burning copies of Gwar and Life of Agony albums for me, just cause he is nice, and you see that I'm clearly, spoiled rotten.

Oh, but don't get the wrong idea, I'm not sleeping on a mattress stuffed with money. Each job I've taken this year was a decrease in pay. If you count temp work, it's dropped four times. There was an out of work period too, a very bitter period. None of my friends are doing well for themselves, girlfriend excluded. My male friends are all pretty bright, yet are stuck in their ruts, not working, or working hip jobs that would rule if the pay wasn't bottom of the barrel. So who is a success? Even smarter people? I don't think so, intelligence and creativity can be a curse. It's not as painful for dumb people to become corporate monkeys as it is for someone's who's brain is highly active. That's what I think, clearly I'm biased, and it's often stupid people who call others 'stupid'. Anyway, I'm changing the game for 2005 and with my new semisecret plans I'm going to be seeing many more people and trends to report on. I live in the O.C. now and it's just getting bigger and bigger and more happening. After all, we are sold out of that show's Season 1 box set at work once again.

5 things I would buy if I had more money...

1. An engagement ring for Cub (Canadian diamonds)

2. full sleeves

3. start a clothing company - I got ripped-again, another idea stolen from inside my brain. I wanted to make Kill Em' All, Let God Sort Em' Out shirts with the Kool Aid guy on it instead of a the skull in a beret. Saw a Paul Frank version of this with the monkey on it on a customer today. Not sure what it said, something not funny I'm sure.

4. an I-Pod

5. Netflicks - It's not that expensive, but I don't want another monthly bill.

Let's hope I've got all those things by the end of 2005 and though I'll surely have to make a complaint list a year from now, let's hope it at least has completely different things on it.

One more note (I wrote this over a period of several days) - Critics did not like the new Phantom of the Opera movie. Big surprise, they prefer amateur movies. It's like how music critics prefer Modest Mouse to Meat Loaf. Film critics prefer Garden State to Phantom. Come on, sometimes bigger is just way fuckin better.


Chas. Balun - horror artist and Deep Red Magazine founder

HAIKU_ASSAULT - my brother's new blog, very funny