Saturday, March 31, 2012

Song of the Week #15

Lindsey Stirling - Crystallize



So it's been a while since I've spammed you with a song so here's another one by Lindsey Stirling!

SHITTY FLICKS - BURIAL GROUND: THE NIGHTS OF TERROR

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis.

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.

Released in Italy in the early 80’s as Le Notti Del Terrore, this Italian grindhouse trashterpiece is hailed as such for one reason and one reason only: a midget thespian named Peter Bark. But, we’ll get to that in a few minutes.

An archeologist digs below in a crater, his beard the size of a small inland. Heavy Beard, human name being Professor Ayres, narrates to us about “the incredible secret” that only he knows about. What this secret is remains that way, because the narration abruptly stops.

In the crypt, or whatever he’s in, he begins to hammer away at a section of rock, but oh no! He is immediately accosted by large, sweater-wearing zombies that he mistakenly unleashed earlier in the dig.

"It's Tuesday, beard. You know what that means.
Wrasslin' time."

“Stay back, I am you friend!” he lies, trying to save his beard from their gnashing teeth. The zombies fall on him and remove healthy sections of his abdomen and feast on warm man meat.

We immediately cut to our title, complemented by some amusing and mood-breaking light flute jazz, and then we meet a small family. They pull their car through some fancy schmancy gates and stop outside a glorious villa, followed by a few other cars containing their friends.

Master of the house, George, makes idle chatter with his house staff as his wife, Evelyn, and their freak-looking son, Michael—who is supposed to be ten but looks the retarded kind of 30—walk into the house. It’s clear that a freak adult (Peter Bark!) has been cast as a child, but what’s not clear is why…at least for now. He then goes to bed, I guess, since he's a real child, you know. And not a freak adult man.

In the next room, James and Leslie make immediate whoopee and then begin a fuck session after Leslie parades around in her skimpy little sex outfit.

"You look just like a little whore, but I like that," James says romantically. Leslie doesn't seem to mind, because why would she? Don't be such a square.

And speaking of fuck sessions, George and Mommy Evelyn have one too.

During their show, the door to their bedroom is thrown violently open, and the shadow of a figure grows larger and larger, soon so big that any second one might expect a shuffling monster six feet high to enter.

And a monster sorta does.

It’s Michael, their freak son.

“Mommy,” he cries, spying her delicious body.

“Michael, get back in bed!” she responds, and instead of merely staying in the bed to cover herself from her son’s eyes, she jumps out of bed, buck naked, and runs halfway across the room to sloppily throw on her clothes, all the while revealing even more breasts and vagigi.

Michael flees the room to jerk away this sight.

MAN CHILD FREAK THING is available for parties,
bar-mitzvahs, job conferences, and terror.
 
And yet in another room over, Janet begins hastily packing her suitcase and crying.

“We’re all in danger!” she bellows, as her husband, Mark, tries to calm her. What scary event that preceded this scene to lead to such behavior remains momentarily non-existent, but after a bit of bullshit, we find it’s because she had suffered a nightmare of their impending doom. Mark quickly allays her fears, probably with his cock.

And in the next room over, lazy ghouls in their comfortable looking over-sized wardrobe shuffle to the exit of their tomb to see if they could find one of those all-night men to eat.

Gathered in the dining room, everyone discusses their night of sleep, as freak son Michael complains about being cooped up in the house and wishes to go outside. Soon all the couples disperse to explore the ground, and Michael stares freakly as they go.

Mark and Janet—the ones plagued with nightmares of doom—romp around the bushes as the man takes photos of his wife.

“You’re getting to be quite the model!” he says, laying the foundation for a boner joke.

“Then you getter give me a raise,” she says, accepting this groundwork of the boner joke and facilitating its path to a flaccid punch line.

“Oh, I’m giving you a raise all right, but it’s nothing to do with money,” he says, seeing the boner joke through to its completion, all the while not amusing anyone on Earth.

I’m sure it sounded much more romantic in Italian.

Inside the mansion, Nicolas and Kathy—the house staff—look spooked as all the light fixtures blink on and off, and then begin to explode.

Why those freak occurrences?

Beats me.

Maybe someone in this movie would have a clue if they weren’t all busy having clothes-on sex outside.

Speaking of clothes-on sex outside, Mark is still busy squeezing his wife’s ass, so he remains ignorant of the zombie who is pulling itself from the wormy ground to begin its painfully slow attack on them. It grabs Mark, who easily kicks himself free, and as the couple skirts backwards along the ground, the zombie doesn’t move a solitary inch, merely watching them recoil in fear.

“It’s a walking corpse!” cries Mark.

“I’m terrified!” cries Janet.

They flee back to the house as their robed and rotted adversaries slowly follow.

Back in the house’s cellar, George shows off the mansion’s statue collection to Evelyn—and then promptly shoots at them with his trusty handgun. We’re not sure why. Stupid wops.

“Mommy, this cloth smells of DEATH!” Michael oddly cries, having picked up an old rag off the ground.

“You have the strangest ideas,” Mommy states, moments before zombies burst in on them.

George takes aim with his gun and fires, shooting holes in all of their canvas outfits. Naturally, the zombies don’t die, their wounds emitting spurts of chocolate.

"George, I'm sorry... We ate all the pancakes."

Mommy and Michael flee as George gives all of his organs to the zombies.

Meanwhile, James and Leslie, busy necking and moaning out in the bushes, also remain unaware of the zombfoolery going on just beyond a garden wall.

The woman spots zombie hands reaching over as she blathers in fear.

“It’s a joke!” cries James.

“No, they’re real!” cries Leslie.

They make a break for it.

Mark and Janet, still fleeing in fear, make it to the inner garden and slam the heavy stone doors behind them. Just when they think they’re home free, the woman dumbly gets caught in a bear trap. The pain is intense, but at least they got away from the zombies.

Oh wait, there they are.

Mark attacks them with a pitchfork, stabbing them one at a time. When that fails almost instantly, the zombie grabs the man and begins to strangle him. Amusingly, it almost looks as if the actor playing Mark grabs the hands of the zombie to make it look like they’re fighting each other, but may have been actually guiding the otherwise blind zombie actor’s hands directly to his throat.

Either that or tepid acting.

What do you think, audience?

Mark, bored with his life, decides to take a series of
"mostly bad-ass" pictures.

Luckily, James and Leslie show up with some decent rocks and smash the heads of the attackers, and we’re treated to some serious rock-on-skull damage in full, slow-mo close-up.

Back with mother and freak son, they continue to thwart attacks from their own small horde of ghouls.

Backed into a corner with some nearby paint supplies, freak son points at something and says, “Mommy, we can set it on fire!”

And that they do.

All the couples meet up and make it back into the main part of the house. Once inside, the house staff begins to talk excitedly of how the bulbs had flickered and exploded, yet not a single time do any of the others respond with, “Monsters tried to eat us.”

The boarding of windows and doors ensues as Kathleen the maid investigates the house to look for any more unguarded weak spots. Welp, she spots one, and when she leans ALL the way out to close the outdoor shutters, one of the zombies flings a spike into her hand, pinning her to the outside. With the aid of a convenient scythe, the maid loses her head into the awaiting hands of the ghouls.

They then all take turns kissing it with their teeth.

James discovers Kathy’s headless body, and after briefly mourning, tips her body up and out the window, feeding the zombies and securing his own place in Heaven. He then boards up the window as the zombies search the maid’s body for the wettest of foodstuffs.

The zombies arm themselves with various gardening tools—including axes—and begin to chop their way through the door.

Ravenna's most notorious of zombie frats was rounded up by police,
and despite their hellish reputation, they surrendered fairly quickly.

“They can only be killed by blowing their heads off!” James deduces, and begins doing just that.

“Give me some more cartridges,” he says to Leslie, and kills a few more. He shoots an impressive number of them, but since we’re never given a master shot of the attacking ghouls, we don’t know how many there are.

“Give me some more cartridges,” he says again to Leslie, but no need, it seems. The zombies turn and run off in fear, but in the way that zombies do it, so, slowly.

Thinking they are safe for the night, Leslie opts to aimlessly wander through the house, but that decision is rewarded with the smash of a window and the grabbing of her head.

By zombies.

The dastardly ghoul drags Leslie’s Play-Do face across the glass, cutting her up and killing her instantly.

The occupants in the house arm themselves with various blunt objects as the zombies finally smash their way in. Janet begins to desperately stab at one of the zombies, but obviously that results in nothing.

Luckily THE MEN show up and beat the zombie heads to smithereens.

Freak Michael gets trapped in the corner by one and he shrieks “Mommy!” in his freak adult voice.

Question: Seriously, since the movie is making a concerted effort to make Michael seem younger, and since the entire cast has to be dubbed into English anyway, why wouldn't you take this opportunity to dub his voice with that of a young boy?

Mommy kills the zombie, and Michael, obviously grateful, sits down with his Momma on a bench and does what any thankful son would do: goes for the tits.

“I need to touch you,” Michael coos. “When I was a baby, you used to hold me to your breast. I need your breasts so much, Momma.”

Momma, disgustingly receptive, is okay with this until he goes for the momgina. A single slap breaks them both out of this incestuous tryst.

“What’s wrong?! I’m your son!” he exclaims and runs off, his outburst the sterling definition of a paradox.

During the grossness, the men agree on a plan to escape and set it in motion, so Mommy Evelyn goes to retrieve Michael. She finds him in the bathroom, his insides somewhat splattered on the floor, but mostly splattered in the mouth of the recently resurrected Leslie.

Michael's parties were known for being
the best on campus, but they always seemed
to end the same way.

“My son!” she screams, slamming Leslie’s head repeatedly into a pipe until turning it to a goo egg.

The zombies use a battering ram to enter the house and they continue their pursuit of arrogant and incestuous Italians.

Nicolas the butler is sent on a quick assignment to gather some supplies, but instead of following through with that task, he figures it might be better to be eaten by a ghoul (the suddenly-appearing Professor Ayes)!

The group becomes separated once again as James chases what he thinks is a priest. Well, he’s half right. He stumbles into a large group of hooded men sitting around a table.

If you weren’t born sideways, it’s already obvious to you that these hooded figures eat people.

James is eaten fairly quickly and the ghouls once again go after the remaining survivors. James wakes up minutes later, eager for some of that greaseball flesh.

Janet, Kathleen, and Mark flee down a small path and stumble into what “looks like some kind of model-builder’s workshop."

Luckily, someone is there to greet them: zombie. Once again, these hapless fools find themselves surrounded by their ghoul adversaries, and as the women barricade the front door, Mark attacks the one behind them with what looks like a large bone. Instead of going for the head, which would work, he goes for the shoulder, which doesn’t. But no matter, Mark flips the ghoul over the stairway and it hurdles to the ground in completely unnecessary and awesome slow-mo.

And just when things can’t get any more horrifying, Michael shows up! Evelyn welcomes him into her arms as Mark screams, “Don’t touch him! He’s a zombie!”

Michael, eye-level with Evelyn’s breasts, unleashes those beauties from her blouse.

“Oh, yes, Michael. Just like when you were a baby. Go on, Michael. You used to love it, so.”

Mark and Janet, despite the ghouls hammering their way in to eat them, still need to stop, understandably so, and just wonder what the fuck it is with those two.

Michael, sucking on Mommy’s boobs, takes a nice bite, borrowing a nipple for just a short time, as the rest of the zombies attack Mark and Janet.

And THAT'S why they cast a 30-year-old freak man boy thing for this role—he's gotta get tits in his mouth.

And, you know, the movie ends with everyone having just a really good time:

Michael continues to chew on his Mommy’s boobs.

Evelyn dies from being a nippleless pervert mother.

Mark gets shoved into a table saw.

Janet is torn apart.

And the ghouls go back to Macy's and return their sweaters because they're just way too big.


Friday, March 30, 2012

She's Back!

Tonight our prayers were answered in that Penny was found safe and sound! 

Apparently a neighbour found her curled up under a hedge on Thursday morning and took her in. What with him being an elderly farmer he's been looking after dogs all his life so she spent her time away sleeping in a barn being fed chicken and doggie treats!

When we got her back she was extremely happy to be home and loved the pampering we gave her. She was so so lucky not to get run over as his house is a fair distance from ours and across a main road.

It's amazing having her back and I just thought I'd let you know as well as thank you all for your positive words and prayers. It meant a lot!

ABC MONSTERS

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Heart Is Aching

It's amazing the difference 24 hours makes. Only last night I was enjoying a lovely night out in Belfast with Paul at Derren Brown's Svengali show only to come home and find out that my beloved dog Penny has run away.


We think the gate to the backyard was lying open all night and despite our best search efforts, she could be anywhere by now. Especially considering we're surrounded by a shitload of fields - something a dog would find hard to resist. We're going to search for her again later but we're seriously hoping she comes back when she's hungry. 

I'm really upset about this as you can imagine and worried about her because she's deaf and at least 90 in dog years so even if she does make it back, the journey will probably kill her.

But hopefully she's a fighter...

SLIT

Children walking alone at night may encounter a woman wearing a surgical mask. The woman will stop the child and ask, "Am I beautiful?" If the child answers no, the woman kills them with a pair of scissors. If they answer yes, the woman pulls away the mask, revealing that her mouth is slit from ear to ear and asks, "Even like this?" If the child answers no, they will be cut in half. If they answer yes, then she will slit their mouth like hers.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

HALFWAY

A rather nervous young man recently moved into a halfway house in the city. He had been in a hospital for the last several years, but after having worked closely with his psychologist, Dr. Gallagher, he was granted permission to leave and live a more independent life. His halfway house was only two miles from the hospital, which allowed Dr. Gallagher to see both his committed and independent patients.

The man recently released from the hospital was named Joey, and he carried on with his life like most other folks. He met with Dr. Gallagher for one hour every other day, and Joey discussed how being on his own again was affecting him.

It was on their second session that Joey had confessed to feeling nervous in his new home.

“It will take some time to settle in,” explained Dr. Gallagher.

“It’s not the settling in that bothers me,” Joey said. “It’s the woman.”

“The woman?” asked his doctor. “What woman? Is she a neighbor?”

“No,” said Joey. “The woman who lives in my kitchen.”

“Is she a roommate?” asked the doctor hesitantly

“No,” Joey said. “She was already there when I moved in.”

Dr. Gallagher specifically remembered helping Joey move into his new home, and he most certainly did not see any woman. In fact, based on the look of the place, it hadn’t been inhabited in years.

The doctor was very concerned about these hallucinations and worried they could lead to a psychological regression. However, after having seen Joey spend so much of his life in a hospital, the doctor was determined to try to work through the young man’s psychosis between the two of them.

“Does this woman try to hurt you?” asked Dr. Gallagher.

“No,” Joey answered, “but I get the feeling she wants to.”

“Does she ever speak?” asked Dr. Gallagher.

“Kind of,” Joey said. “But she doesn’t speak with words. She opens her mouth, but it sounds like wind or something, like when you hold up a shell to your ear at the beach.”

Their session ended, but as Joey was getting up to leave, Dr. Gallagher calmly explained to him that this woman Joey was seeing could not hurt him, and that he was not in any danger. Because of this, Dr. Gallagher advised Joey to ask this woman what it was she exactly wanted. The doctor had decided to wait to hear the answer Joey came back with before determining just exactly what kind of help Joey really needed. Before he had something more firm to go on, he would only assume these hallucinations of the woman were a byproduct of Joey’s release from the hospital and his subsequent new environment.

Two days later, Dr. Gallagher was in his office waiting for Joey to arrive. His phone rang, and when the doctor picked it up, Joey was on the other line.

“She won’t let me leave,” Joey said. “She wants me to stay.” His voice sounded very tired and scared.

“Joey, this woman is not real,” Dr. Gallagher finally said, in a calm voice. “It’s just a product of your new surroundings, that’s all.”

“I asked her what she wanted, like you told me to do,” Joey said. “She said she wants company. She says I’m not allowed to leave her anymore.”

“Joey, we have a session today,” the doctor said. “You must come, or I have to report this to the hospital.”

“I’m sorry, Doctor,” Joey said. “She won’t let me.”

The line clicked.

Dr. Gallagher hung up the phone, growing nervous. He knew it was his responsibility to report this to the hospital, but he wanted to give Joey one more chance. And if Joey refused to come to the office, then the doctor would instead go directly to Joey’s house and confront him.

Upon arriving, Dr. Gallagher knocked several times but did not receive an answer. He opened the door – which was unlocked – and he entered. He saw Joey sitting at his kitchen table and staring into a corner of the room.

“Joey, it’s Dr. Gallagher,” he said as he slowly approached. “Is everything okay?”

Joey didn’t turn his head to acknowledge the doctor’s presence, but he did speak. “Sorry I couldn’t come, Doctor, but she wouldn’t let me.”

Dr. Gallagher stepped into the kitchen and looked around. There was no one in the kitchen but Joey and himself. “Joey, there is no one here,” he said, patiently.

“She’s here, doctor,” Joey said. “I’m looking into her eyes right now. I have to look into her eyes. That keeps her in place. If I look away, she comes out from her hiding place to hurt me.”

“Joey, there is no woman,” the doctor countered, growing exasperated. “If you keep up this behavior, I’m afraid I will have no choice but recommend you be re-committed to the hospital.”

“Oh, she wouldn’t like that,” Joey said. “She wouldn’t like that at all.” He continued to stare forward, not even blinking.

“Joey, where is she right now?” the doctor demanded. “Where do you see her?”

“She’s between the refrigerator and the wall,” Joey said and pointed. “Do you see her?”

Dr. Gallagher looked where Joey had pointed—looked at the small space between the refrigerator and the wall, which was no more than three inches wide.

He saw a woman with long black hair and white eyes impossibly standing in that space. Her body was as thin as a broomstick, and her long fingers squirmed over the top of the refrigerator like snakes. She opened her mouth to speak, but the doctor heard only the wind. 


First Birthday!


Today Pablo's Angel turns one year old. I'm so happy I've achieved this as my last blog only lasted a few months! As part of reaching this blogging milestone, I want to give out my own Angel Award to my newest followers!

Steve Bailey / MM / Justin / Adam / Dav Crabes / Adam / Countess / Meow Moon Calvin's Canadian Cave of Coolness / Javid / Manju M / Jena / The Girl of the Sun / Sey / pEarL / Beliza / Sarah / Writing Bee / Rita / Cityscapes and Romance / The Chic Etoile / ReeBz / that20somethingvirgin / The Queen Bee / Eye_Spy / Elimy / Impy Kid / AYA / Becca / Ember Drake / Mayen / Bella Ana / Grace / Sumitra / Mona / tumbleweed.twine / Sarah / Baur / Coley / Zack / Charbuckss / Kate / Jessica Johnson / ChinkyGirlMel / Meesch / BragonDorn / Leon Kennedy / Sweetaholic Rachel / Helen / PaigrRoo / Claire / jimmyfungus / Sabrina / ricketyjo / Charlotte's Web / Althea / Megalolz / MelanieD / Afef / Ridx / Ralliskag / Drowning Phoenix / G / A Gaping Mind / Shockgrubz / Shaw W / T.Roger Thomas / Marie Rossi / Jeremy / MrGoodKat34 / Sarah Seal / Sophia / Angelique / Zeebz / Beulah McGillicutty / Teardrops On My Book / Morning Belles

Congrats guys and thanks for following!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bowties are cool...

Paul is currently, as we speak, in Cardiff for the Doctor Who Convention happening this weekend. As well as enjoying the beautiful sunny weather and gorgeous scenery, he'll be finding out all the Doctor Who gossip, looking at props/costumes, listening to Stephen Moffat, going on a tour of the Tardis and getting a photograph with current Doctor, Matt Smith. How awesome is that?!

I'm just gutted that I couldn't go with him, what with uni work piled up to my ears and being a poor little student I couldn't afford to go. I'm just glad he could still enjoy it though!



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Anybody still there?

Hey guys,

I've been an awful blogger lately I know, but blame the amount of uni work I've got and not me okay? I've been concentrating on that more than blogging this month but hopefully, if you can be patient, I'll have stuff to blog about it in the next few days or so. Then it'll be April and my A to Z posts will be published for you all to enjoy!

Thanks for sticking around...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DARK WORLD

 
“Call me Count Zakula—Banisher of Evil.”

Sigh.

I really wanted to like this book. The potential was definitely there—it’s about ghosts, abandoned places, and Zak Bagans. Three things I love! But it’s that third thing that’s the problem. Really, Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of the "Ghost Adventures" Crew, is a paradox. People previously unfamiliar with Zak Bagans and his uber-successful Travel Channel show "Ghost Adventures" would likely not give this book a second glance. For a general reader in the mood for “non-fiction” looks at the paranormal, there are hundreds of books out there on the subject. The Demonologist, for one. No, the ideal audience for Dark World would be those already quite familiar with Bagans et al. And that’s where the disappointment lies. Have you been following "GA" since the first season? Are you a devoted fan? Seen every episode? Then sadly, this book is not going to offer you much of anything new.

The book starts off strongly enough: Zak gets into more detail about the original haunting in his Michigan apartment—the haunting that set him on his current quest. To my knowledge he’s never been as explicit in his details in regards to this anywhere else. His recollection of the event is interesting and even a little chilling. Added to that, Zak talks about himself personally—his own upbringing, places he’s lived, and his own non-paranormal fears (he once had a people phobia—no bullshit!) He even name-drops his favorite movie (Bram Stoker’s Dracula). This, too, was pretty interesting; it’s a side of himself he’s never uncovered before on the show. It humanized him in a way—it was a nice counter to the overly-tattooed, somewhat ego-maniacal TV persona who runs around in tight black shirts and openly talks to ghosts like he’s about to punch them in the face.


Once all that “about me” stuff is out of the way, however, is where the problems begin. While Zak is clearly passionate about what he does, and what he believes in, his attempts to relay his experiences with the paranormal do nothing more than hark back to episodes of "Ghost Adventures" with which we've been made previously familiar. He relays instances at Sloss Furnace, Moundsville Penitentiary, and the Goldfield Hotel—places we’ve already been.

But that’s not the only problem. Zak provides information to the reader with the assumption that they have no knowledge of the paranormal, so some of it can be a little dry. Entire sections of the book are dedicated to orbs, mists, residual hauntings, intelligent hauntings, etc, etc, and after a while you begin to lose interest. I’m not suggesting this information isn’t important, because it is—they are all touchstones of paranormal investigation. But a red pen would have been a huge help in paring down some of the less-important details in order to keep the text flowing. Once you’re on your sixth straight page about orbs—floating balls of energy that may or may not be ghosts—you start to tune out a bit.

The last issue I had with the book was its “voice”—and this is where I think most fans of the book would be split. The book is very conversational in tone, which most fans of Zak’s would prefer, as that’s why they’re reading the thing in the first place. While he does utilize some of the same flowery language he uses on his show, it’s mostly pretty down to earth and simple to follow. Because of this, it’s an easy read. My qualm with this choice is that, again, like his show, you either like Zak or you don’t. As I once previously shared on this blog, a friend of mine who is way into paranormal shows once said that Zak was “kind of a tool.” I don’t think there’s ever been a person more appropriate for that term. Zak, though I do like him, and find him entertaining, is kind of a tool. What he may consider passion can very easily be mistaken for showboating and attempts to look extra macho. Like in the show, this also comes across in the book. A little too often. In one chapter, he mentions thriving in situations where he is absolutely alone in a dark room where he knows a spirit is nearby. He says it's a place where “amateurs” fear, but that he “loves” it. In another passage, he equates going into haunted locations where “bully” spirits are said to inhabit (Zak hates bullies, you see), with standing up to a crowd of bikers in a bar—a situation in which he would not back down. After a while, what may have been innocently said comes across as somewhat pompous and faux-alpha.

One has to realize something: At this point, Zak is basically the rock star equivalent of paranormal reality television. Girls think he's hot and guys think he's gangsta. If you Google "Zak Bagans," the following related searches pop up: zak bagans shirtless, zak bagans body, zak bagans tattoo, zak bagans girlfriend. Funnily enough, not zak bagans ghosts. And the search results for only his name reveal several pictures of him without a shirt, as well as pictures of girls with his own photo horribly cropped into them. Zak's audience aren't all tuning in for ghosts—some are tuning in for him. I think he realizes that, and I think it might be going to his head a bit.

An extension of this is something that's present both in the show as well as the book. Zak kinda thinks he is better than you—you, the fans, the audience—the people who give him a reason to keep doing what he's doing. He likes to remind us that we can't even begin to sense the true danger and evil the "GA" crew might be experiencing because we're at home watching it on our "little televisions." In fact, a snippet from the book says:
You have to remember—while you're at home chilling comfortably on your couch watching this stuff on your flat-screen TV, eating a Lunchable and stacking the cheese on your cracker sandwich, you can't feel what it's like to actually be in the company of one of these nasty spirits.
Seriously, Zak—what the fuck did we do?

Lastly, and this is more of minor criticism, but most of Zak’s “humor” really doesn’t work—it barely skirts by on the show, but in text, it’s even more awkward. (See the opening quote of this review—I didn’t make that up.) I’m pretty sure there’s even a fart joke somewhere in the book, too.

At this point I might be coming dangerously close to reviewing the author instead of his book, so I should probably move onto some positives.

In the earlier portions of the book, he speaks very candidly about his early life—not just of his people phobia, but of his somewhat aimless direction that led him to various colleges and jobs where he felt nothing but isolation and despair. It was refreshingly modest. 

Additionally, Zak addresses criticisms he or his crew have received in the past—criticisms that I personally have lobbed at the show. He admits to trying to fill in the gaps a bit too much when it comes to EVPs captured in the moment. For instance, the guys might think a voice is saying “GONNA KILL YOU” when in actuality the words are barely coherent. He also admits to coming across a little abrupt in some of his investigations, but explains that it’s the nagging of the skeptics that make him feel like he has to go above and beyond to show that what he brings to your TV each week is real.

For me, the jury’s still out on that.


As a disclaimer, I state that I love Zak Bagans and his "GA" crew. While the investigations alone are enough to get me to tune in, it’s Zak’s dynamic “performance” as host that makes it my number one paranormal show. Whether he is being bawdy or passionate or downright ridiculous, he brings a flavor to the show that there really is no denying. Whether we fans tune in to laugh with Zak or at him, we’re still tuning in…aren’t we?

P.S. Note to Aaron Goodwin: Please write your own book. I’d love to read it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wishlist #9


Amazon: Mockingjay Brooch : £54.99


UNTAPPED BLOOD


Is it fair to say the glory days of Carpenter, Romero, and Craven are behind them? Should they fade into obscurity with what little respect they have remaining and perhaps work on their memoirs? Admittedly, Carpenter will always get a pass from me, but even the most cynical movie fan has to admit his "Masters of Horror" episode "Cigarette Burns" was damn good, and though his latest feature, The Ward, may have been derivative and cliched, the direction showed signs of life and enthusiasm. Is it Halloween or Escape From New York? God no - it's not even Vampires. But it's not the train wreck people say it is. However, I'll admit the Carpenter of now is not the Carpenter of '77-'88.

I don't mean to make it sound like without these heavy weights the genre is dead. Likewise, there are plenty of fresh faces out there giving us horror fans exactly what we need: James Wan, Brad Anderson, Lucky McKee, and the less heralded Christopher Smith, Jim Mickle, and Patrick Lussier.

But there are directors out there who have already shown a knack for our genre. Though they have yet to make an outright horror film, something is clearly festering inside these directors that needs to be explored.

Let's start with the most obvious:

Mel Gibson
I'm going to avoid going for the more generic argument by reminding you just how violent and splattery Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was. It's a cheap shot to the filmmaker, and it's also pretty disrespectful to the genre we're all supposed to love. But time and time again I've seen people disparage Gibson's very red Passion as nothing more than a torture porn film. "He should direct a Saw sequel!" I once saw a moron saya moron who apparently believes that's all a horror film amounts to: chains and blood and flying limbs. It's an unfair statement on every level I can imagine. First and foremost, wherever your religious (or non-religious) views lie, there's no denying Passion was a powerful film. I personally don't have one faithful bone in my body my time on planet Earth has been pretty instrumental determining that but I was moved by Passion. Quite highly. And while the scenes of torture were effectively disturbing (and rightfully so), they are not the reasoning behind Gibson's potential as a genre director. No, I speak of the scenes where Jesus frequently sees Satan staring at him from within the crowd of the jeering and judging. And this Satan is not the Satan of biblical or mythical lore. It's not even the Satan created by Hollywood. This is a Satan whose body is emaciated, whose sex is indeterminate, and whose all-white skin makes him stand out as he floats smoothly throughout the crowd. He holds a too-large deformed baby in his arms, and he stares at Jesus with eyes filled both with spite and sympathy. And let's not forget the scene where Judas is harassed by demonic children with insane sharp teeth and monstrous sneers before the man hangs himself from guilt...


Perfect Project: The proposed Pet Sematary remake. And while I'd like for him to pull double-duty and appear in front of the camera as well, he's too old for Louis Creed. But he'd make a haunting Judd Crandall, wouldn't he?

 Sean Penn
Sean Penn's time spent behind the camera may be less heralded than Mel Gibson's, but that does not mean his films do not contain some genuinely creepy imagery. I speak primarily of The Pledge, the 2001 dramatic thriller not seen by too many people. It's the story of a retiring chief of police (Jack Nicholson) who makes a promise to a mourning mother that he will not stop looking for the maniac that took the life of her daughter. Early on in the film, Nicholson's Jerry Black has a nightmare in which he rushes into a church and sees before him a defiled altar covered in the blood of the murdered girl. And standing over her, covered in blood and with a completely insane smile on his face, is genre fave Tom Noonan. The camera rushes at his face with inhuman speed, forcing the audience up close against this walking nightmare. It is a scene that literally scared the shit out of me in theaters the first time I saw it. While The Pledge is a dark and somber movie for its entire running time, this nightmare sequence is the only jarring and graphic moment in the film. It is expertly assembled and crafted. While I get the feeling that Sean Penn would not work within our genre, figuring it was beneath him, I can't help but wonder what kind of output we could receive should he ever give it a shot. None of Penn's films have ever really been large in scope, as he instead chooses to focus on small and contained stories about flawed people. So find him something small and contained with horrific elements, and let him do what he does.

Perfect Project: While perhaps not obviously horror, I'd love to see what he could do with a fresh adaptation of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. It's a dour book with a not-too-optimistic look at our future, and it has an underlying political tone that someone like Penn could not resist. It would be a little outside of his comfort zone, but that might be good for him. Penn's last two directorial films were based on books, and his two films before that were original scripts. Him tackling the adaptation of the book himself could result in something bleak but wonderful.

Christopher Nolan 
At this point, I think Nolan can do no wrong. Now is the time for him to hop right into our genre and show what he can do. This man has run the gamut of all the genres thus far. He's given us thrillers and dramas, as well as both crazy mind-fuck and exhilarating action. What's left for him to do but a comedy? Horror, my friendthat's what. The melancholy tone present in all his films would mix well in the world of the horrific. I see him tackling quite well a Shutter Island-esque horror tale as you witness the psychological breakdown of your main character. But at the same time, he can go big, as he's proven with Inception and The Dark Knight. And speaking of Inception, the scene where Ellen Page's Ariadne first meets Marion Cotillard's Mal is shockingly creepy. Cotillard's glare as Ariadne and Cobb retreat back up the elevator - and those dark eyes follow for most of their ascension - is chilling. Besides, Insomnia (the director's most under-appreciated filmand my personal favorite) as well as The Prestige has shown the man can descend into darkness with the best of them and come out with something both thrilling and poignant. While his films may not be overtly horrific, it's the darkness that lie within his characters - and what they're willing to do to each other or themselves - that make him a perfect horror candidate.

Perfect Project: Guillermo Del Toro's first book of his vampire trilogy The Strain. Nolan has already proven he can handle the more fantastical with his Batman films, and it's about time Hollywood apologized for all the fairy vamps of late and showed that they prefer to rip off heads rather than go to geometry.

Nicolas Winding Refn
Bronson got his name circulating, but Drive put him on the map. Both critics and fans embraced the oddly quiet story about a mentally unstable Hollywood stunt driver who gets in deep with some very bad men. No, there's not a lot of driving in a movie called Drive, but that doesn't make it any less awesome, either. Refn has a creative mind, and there are shots in Drive that look ripped directly from Kubrick's version of The Shining. The motel room scene is incredibly suspenseful and dripping with red; and the scene where Gosling's character slowly approaches the entrance to Nero's Pizzeria wearing his humanoid face mask doesn't quite feel like it belongs in a movie that is essentially John Hughes' Taxi Driver. Shortly after Drive's release, Refn was courted for all kinds of Hollywood projects, including the now-filming Die Hard 5 (under the direction of John Moore - ugh). While it's probably best he avoided that particular project, you can't help but wonder what other Hollywood properties - actual or potential - that he would be good for...


Perfect Project: A adaptation of the videogame Alan Wake ("Eew, no!" you say). Refn's lead characters are unstable and solitary men on a not-so-typical journey. And there's no one more solitary than novelist Alan Wake, who begins to investigate his wife's disappearance, all the while set-pieces from his own novels seem to be existing in the strange town of Bright Falls.

Bill Paxton
I know, I know. The man already has Frailty under his belt and the movie is damn good. Perhaps it was the pitiful box office returns from his directorial debut that scared him away from the horror genre (I believe it was the first Resident Evil that was sucking up all the horror fans' money that season at the box office), but with a pedigree like Paxton's, I find it hard to believe the man has not revisited the horror genre. For a man who got his start in films like Aliens, The Terminator, and Predator 2 (and was killed by each titular monster), along with the incredible Near Dark, I have a feeling the man is itching to get back into the genre. Bill Paxton's last few roles in film and television have been rather subdued and quietkind of strange for a man who played all manner of quirky and obnoxious characters in the past, such as Aliens' Private Hudson or Weird Science's Chet. The last "fun" part he played was in 2004's Club Dread, and his role as Coconut Pete showed he still wanted to party.

Perfect Project: Jonathan L. Howard has authored three books now in the Johannes Cabal series, the first being Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer. It is a highly unusual book about the dark arts, the debate over the significance of the soul, and a wager between man and devil. And your guide on this demented journey is the ever sarcastic Joannes Cabal. The book is goofy, horrific and laugh-out-loud funny. Paxton has already showed he's capable of doing all three...now let's see him do it all at one time.

Honorable Mentions: Oliver Stone dabbled once in horror with his creepy cheapy The Hand starring Michael Caine, but his penchant for slimy characters (like, say, Natural Born Killers) makes me want him to take on author Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time.  And if Bill Paxton wouldn't want to take on Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer, I can see the Coen Bros. picking up the slack, as the book's odd tone would perfectly suit their own quirky style. Lastly, (and oddly), Adult Swim's Tim & Eric have proven in many of their skits that they have a truly macabre sense of humor. Give them something splattery and ridiculous to sink their teeth into—perhaps an Evil Dead 2-ish film of teen hijinks and flying body parts. One thing is for sure, it would be R-rated, original, and entirely fucked up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seriously?!

A while ago, the clothes store known as Peacocks went into adminstration. I was gutted because it was one of my favourite clothes stores. Now, I was given a £10 gift voucher for Peacocks at Christmas and before it shut for good, I decided to use it. 

Unfortunately, they weren't taking gift vouchers anymore which sucked majorly. They told me to fill out a claim form online instead to see if they'd reimburse my voucher to get the £10 on it. So I did.

And I've only just heard back from them now and apparently, due to some legal reason plus the number of claims they got, they're saying that for a £10 voucher they're only paying out 7p!

That's ridiculous!!

Though some Peacocks stores have been saved, does that mean the voucher is not void anymore?