Thursday, January 22, 2015

KING VULTURE'S SOUND ATTACK 1.22.15 ZOMBIE SAUSAGE JUNKY MIX

VOYAG3R...IL GUANTO NERO
IRON MAIDEN...2 MINUTES TILL MIDNIGHT
MINISTRY...JUST ONE FIX
DOWN...GHOSTS ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI
TIMEWORM...LUMINESCENT WAKE
THE SWORD...HOW HEAVY IS THE AXE
METALLICA...ONE
MORTALS...DEATH RITUAL
THE FLESH EATERS...EYES WITHOUT A FACE

Thursday, January 8, 2015

KING VULTURE'S SOUND ATTACK 1.8.15; THE GUN CLUB +OFF!

WALKING WITH THE BEAST
FIRE SPIRIT
CALLING UP THUNDER
THE STRAITS OF LOVE AND HATE
ST. JOHN'S DIVINE
SEX BEAT
THE STRANGER IN YOUR TOWN
RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE
SHE'S LIKE HEROIN TO ME

and from OFF!
JEFFERY LEE PIERCE



BOOK to FILM; VAMPIRE$ vs JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES

Vampire$ is one of two novels by Texas born writer John Steakley. It's about a team company called Vampire$ Inc who are in the vamp hunting business, partly funded by the Catholic Church. The team is led by Jack Crow, a hard drinking three year veteran of the business, who came from the shadowy world of the CIA and DEA. Vampire$ was the basis for John Carpenter's Vampires. JC's version was quite good and I enjoyed it when it came out. I probably watched the tape 3 times the day I rented it and caught it a few more times over the years. The only complaint I have about the film is James Woods' performance as Jack Crow, which comes off as more a parody of a tough guy, spewing lousy dialogue. Now I love Woods in Videodrome and Cat's Eye, so I know he can act, so we'll chalk this up to an artistic decision on Carpenter's part. 
The novel, as many novels do, goes off in different directions than the movie, giving more background on characters, leading them in different directions, and giving them more depth than the movie can achieve. That's pretty standard for book to film adaptations, but Vampires really gets pretty far from the book after the first two scenes. There are major characters in the book that don't even get a mention in the movie-characters that are story tent poles. In fact, Jack Crow is just about the only character from the book that appears in the movie, even the main vampire is a completely different character. That doesn't make Vampires a bad movie, it just makes Vampire$ really worth seeking out.
Less than halfway through the book we're introduced to Felix via a story Jack Crow tells his team and a few chapters later we meet Felix and he becomes almost the focus of the novel after that. Felix is important to the story in relation to the movie, because as I mentioned above, Woods portrays Jack Crow in an almost parody of the macho Stallone/Schwarzenegger model of '80s action hero. Crow, in the book, is the same model, but doesn't feel like much of a parody. He's a real bad ass, kind of a dick, but given his line of work you can forgive him that. Crow feels absolutely authentic, even when he has an emotional breakdown early in the book. He still bounces back and walks around like he's hung like a horse and a bit of fear or self doubt just fuels him to go harder and think bigger. It's when Felix goes out with the team that Wood's portrayal of Crow begins to make sense. He calls Crow out on all his macho posturing. Calls bull shit on his 'C'mon! We're gonna die anyway!' Cavalier attitude. To me this is so important to the story, because unlike the movie-which is a race against time horror western-it is about very human characters living in an impossible reality. I completely understand the changes Carpenter made. He boiled the story down to its tastiest bits, but without a Felix and a stronger back story, Woods' Crow is just too flat. 
Also in the book, the team has some damn cool equipment they go hunting with, like chain mail suits with light up crosses on the chest. I'm sure there was a budgetary issue, but man, it's hard knowing what could have been! 
I don't think it'd be appropriate to say the book is better than the movie, when they're so different, but the spirit is there. Vampires has a great cast (Mark Boone Junior!), some good gore, and tension to spare. Maybe it's not Carpenter 's best mid period film (that's In The Mouth of Madness), but it's strong.
Vampire$ is an above average pulp horror novel. Steakley's take on vampire hunting and the men and women who do it is as good as any vampire book I've ever read (and a hell of a lot better than most of them.) he digs so deeply into the lives of the characters that you have to care about them , you worry for their safety, and you're relieved when they make it out of a tight spot. Also the way Steakley writes is pure Texas rock and roll. It's got the sort of bluesy , tough, mid tempo groove you'd find in the music of Lightning Hopkins, Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Pantera. If I knew Vampires was based on a book, I'd long forgotten it. My friend loaned me his copy a month ago, and I was surprised it existed and after finishing it I'm even more surprised I've never heard anyone talk about it. 
No, Vampire$ is not Shakespeare, but I don't know how The Bard could've improved it. And Vampires isn't as good as The Thing, but how many directors were still making really cool, highly watchable movies more than twenty years into their career? 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

ALIEN; ISOLATION DOES THE FRANCHISE PROUD

Alien; Isolation is the sequel to Ridley Scott's original Alien fans deserve. That's not hyperbole, fiends. It's so tense and beautifully rendered. I'm not much of a gamer-in fact, I don't really care much about many games outside of the Arkham and God of War games. I'm a huge fan of the Alien franchise, though, whether it's the films, comics, or toys. I've been fairly disappointed with Alien's representation in video games, but Isolation is just so damn good.
Taking place a few years after the events onboard the Nostromo, Isolation picks up with Ellen Ripley's grown daughter, Amanda, going off to investigate a ship that might have found a clue to what happened to her mother. Amanda is a really fun and very different type of video game character. She's not a Colonial Marine, just a worker like her mother, so she's out of her element when the shit hits the fan, but like her mother, she rises to the occasion and in a wholly believable way. Amanda is smart and quick on her feet, the kind of heroine I'm very comfortable with my daughter playing as. 
Overall, I really don't have anything negative to say about Isolation. We're about half way through the game I think, and there have been plenty of moments where I'm standing up to play, because I'm too keyed up to sit still. The jump scares are legit and unlike Aliens; Colonial Marines, the xenomorph feels like a real world ending threat. ACM was a fine game for what it was, I guess, and had a comic book action feel, but something about it left me kind of disappointed once we beat it. 
Isolation has all the horror and atmosphere of the original film without feeling like a retread of that story. It deepens the Alien lore and respects the source. When people talk about video games becoming interactive movies, Isolation is the perfect example. And check out all the awesome tech easter eggs-like it was made shortly after the original film, there are cassette tapes, boom boxes, arcade games-god, it's awesome!
If I have a gripe, I guess it's the lack of save spots. Seriously. There have been some long runs between save spots that are really annoying the fifth or sixth time.
I've heard talk about a possible Friday the 13th video game, if that's happening, I hope creators take some cues from Isolation!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

"THE TRIBE'S OF THE MOON EMBRACE YOU" NIGHTBREED DIRECTOR'S CUT IS AMAZING

The thing that I connected with Nightbreed the first time I saw it on VHS almost twenty five years ago was the story of outsiders fighting rednecks. I came from a small town and grew up getting bullied by jocks and rednecks on a daily basis. For a while I had shaggy hair and listened to metal and later I cut my hair short and listened to punk, but I always had my nose stuck in a book. I stuck out like a sore thumb and was punished for it. I always wanted a Midian to escape into.
For those unfamiliar with Nightbreed, it's based on Clive Barker's novel Cabal and tells the story of a troubled man named Boone, who is framed for a series of gruesome murders. He's unsure of his own innocence and tries to escape to Midian, a place where monsters are rumored to dwell and all your sins can be forgiven. I don't want to give away too much more of the plot and ruin any surprises, I think this is enough to get you going.
This was a film for all of us who got called faggot, freak,  and pussy and had nothing but dread at the beginning of each day for what abuse lay ahead. The producers wanted a monster movie and didn't understand the monsters weren't the bad guys. Did they read the book? So they took the film away and changed it and released a lesser film than author/director Clive Barker had originally made. (I want to make it clear though; regardless of what faults may have lain with the original cut, I always loved it.) As a result the film fared poorly, but gained a cult following that grew over the last quarter century.
A couple of years ago we got the Occupy Midian movement, with fans demanding the release of a director's cut, or Cabal Cut, and the announcement that there would indeed be a director's cut coming to Blu Ray. It felt like another twenty five years between the announcement and Scream Factory's release of Nightbreed the director's cut, but by god it was worth the wait.
Until now I've only watched Nightbreed on VHS, so the Blu Ray adds an even greater feel of "newness" and the there's the more than 40 minutes of new footage. It's bigger, deeper, more sweeping, and beautiful and still just as mean and scary. I rented Nightbreed the week it came out on VHS originally and read it's source novel, Cabal, immediately afterwards and of all of Clive Barker's work it's my favorite of his stories. So this release definitely has a great emotional weight for me, and I'm so grateful to Scream Factory, Mark Allan Miller, Andrew Furtado, and everyone else who helped bring Barker's original vision back to life.
As far as a critique goes, I've got nothing bad to say about this film, at all. Except that it's too short and I want a sequel. If there is anything wrong with Nightbreed, I've been blind to it all along. Some people have knocked director David Cronenberg's performance as Dr. Decker as wooden, but I think that was purposeful, because he's far from wooden once he dons the  mask, before doing so he's cold, clinical, detatched-as if he's trying to force a 'normal' facade until he can put his real face back on.
Living in your true face is one of the themes running through Nightbreed. Narcisse (Hugh Ross) tells Boone (Craig Sheffer) he needs to show him (Boone) his true face and the residents of Midian spend there lives hiding from the daylight and the 'natural' world. As a metaphor that reaches across a wide cross section of marginalized people.
For me, coming from a small minded small town, a broken home and living under strict rules against having long hair and listening to certain music or wearing certain kinds of clothing, Nightbreed really resonated with me. Eventually punk rock became my Midian and I started living at night more and more until putting on a work short and combing my hair down felt like putting on a mask.
Nightbreed is the type of sweeping epic we need more of in the horror genre. With so many mindless zombie, remake/reboots and cookie cutter found footage films out there, Nightbreed is a breath of fresh air and sets a standard to strive for.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

HOTH RELEASES CASSETTE EDITION OF EPIC "OATHBREAKER" WITH AWESOME BONUS TRACK!

(press release from Blackout PR)
Blackened extreme metallers HOTH have reissued their highly-acclaimed sophomore album "Oathbreaker" on cassette format via Portland-based Death Culture Tapes.  It is available to order here.

The limited run of 100 cassettes will include a free sticker and an exclusive bonus track (a Chiptune version of "Serpentine Whispers", which you can check out here).     

"Oathbreaker" is an 8-song, 55-minute opus that "follows the story of an individual from his conception and follows him down a path that grows darker and darker. We wanted to create something that sounded mighty and hopeful in the beginning but spiraled into dreary, black despair by the end."

The Seattle-based duo, consisting of David Dees and Eric Peters, formed in 2011 and released their debut album "Infinite Darkness", the following year. More than just a follow-up to it's precursor, "Oathbreaker" is the work of a matured band possessing the rare ability to fully realize an artistic vision.

 Tracklist:

1. The Unholy Conception (7:22)
2. A Blighted Hope (5:26)
3. Cryptic Nightmares (6:27)
4. Serpentine Whispers (5:24)
5. Acolyte of the Tenebrous Night (7:11)
6. Unending Power (8:11)
7. Oblivion (6:20)
8. Despair (8:56)
9. Bonus: Serpentine Whispers [Chiptune Version] (4:54)

For more info and latest news, visit Hoth on facebook or check out their sitehttp://hothmetal.com.

I have to admit, I really like this a lot...


Friday, December 12, 2014

BEST MOVIES OF 2014

No matter how many movies I watch, there are so many more that I get farther and farther behind on! I feel like I spent most of the year trying to catch up on last year's movies, but I do have two strong picks from the year.

Here Comes The Devil (read my review here)

The Sacrament (read my review of all of Ti West's film here