Friday, July 26, 2013

SWF's Favorite Monster Designs

There may be no shortage of monster movies these days, but how many of them are actually good? This is no way meant to be an exhaustive list, just a sampling of some of my all time favorite monsters in film.
Cronenberg's The Fly remake was chock full of amazing special effects created by Chris Walas. The fully realized Brundle Fly at the climax was sick.
 Likewise, Rob Bottin made a several crazy effects for the shape shifting creature in Carpenter's The Thing. The spider head has creep factor of 10.
Special effects all star Stan Winston made his directorial debut with Pumpkinhead. Though it wasn't well received upon release, Winston's backwoods monster/revenge tale is pretty effective.
 Godzilla may be the king of monsters, but you can't f- with Giger's Alien. Even in the worst sequel, the xenomorph itself remains a king hell bad ass. Weird and sleek, vicious and uncompromising.
 And so the king of all monsters, Godzilla is about to get another American reboot, and by the reports so far it sounds like this one is going to do it right. Godzilla served as a metaphor for the real nuclear devastation that Japan had suffered in WWII. Through the years and several films, the big guy evolved into sleeker meaner versions, look to the left to see one of my favorite takes.
 Of all the versions of Frankenstein's monster to grace the screen since Edison's silent I'd call Christopher Lee's take in Hammer's first Franken- film the best.
 After Frankenstein's monster, the Creature From The Black Lagoon is my favorite monster of all time. There have been few man-in-a-suit monsters that have been as original and cool as the creature. (the version in the Monster Squad rivals the original, for sure.)

After Leia's slave outfit, the best part of Return Of The Jedi has to the Rancor monster. A hulking carnivorous beast that's apparently immune to Jedi powers, but not big doors.
What's yours, fiends?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

King Vulture's Sound Attack 7.25.13; High on Fire, Red Fang, Huntress, Pig Destroyer, Orange Goblin

High on Fire...Fertile Green
Red Fang...Prehistoric Dog
Huntress...Spell Eater
Pig Destroyer...The Diplomat
Orange Goblin...Red Tide Rising

Monday, July 22, 2013

AMERICAN MARY Spoiler Free Review

 Jen and Sylvia Soska's second feature American Mary lives up to the hype that's been building over the last several months. Let me just get that out of the way right now. Before beginning this review, I was doing a little internetting and noticed that Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB had American Mary getting roughly a 60% rating on both sites. This gave me pause. I needed to find out exactly why this, one of the better films I've seen in a while, wasn't scoring higher.
Rotten Tomatoes seemed to think the acting was uneven and the climax a let down.
Well allow me to retort.  Katherine Isabelle (Mary Mason) and Tristan Risk (Beatress Johnson) are absolutely magnetic and surprising throughout the film. Isabelle carries the movie with a deftness you'd expect from a seasoned actress, giving an emotional gravity to her scenes that help keep the more outlandish moments focused and real. The supporting cast is constantly confounding your expectations as they evolve throughout the film, practically no one is who you expect them to be. And in the midst of the sex and blood, we look into the misunderstood/marginalized world of
body modification and find humanity where we would normally see a freak show.
American Mary is about class and gender struggle and about how the only true freedom is forging your own path, creating your own you, and defying the world's expectations as often as possible.
The only criticism I want to offer is that I wish there was MORE. Mary Mason's story was exciting and The Twisted Twins introduced many great characters that I'd loved to have seen more of. The only way the climax was a let down is that it came too soon.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


I've got to say I was a little put off by the title of Oklahoma Ward's film, starring Nicole Alonso, but this trailer caught me off guard and I'm really looking forward to seeing this claustrophobic horror thriller!
For my money I don't think the comic is better than the show, or vice versa. They both have their highs and lows. I'm enjoying following the parallel stories of Rick Grimes and company. The 4 minute trailer for season 4 looks pretty damn good!
Walking Dead Season 4 from Comic Con
From Glass Eye Pix, the great Larry Fessenden returns to the director's chair with this tense looking killer fish film. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

King Vulture's Sound Attack 7.19.13; Detroit Edition

It is a shameful failure of government that a major American city has had to file bankruptcy. I'm not going to get all political here, I just want to say my heart goes out to all the people in Detroit who's lives will be negatively affected by this nonsense. Detroit is called the Motor City, but it could just as well be called Music City, with it's deep rich and varied musical history. Let's sample a bit of the awesome that is Detroit Rock City!
MC5...Kick Out The Jams
The Temptations...Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Detroit Cobras...Cha Cha Twist
The Dirtbombs...Candy Ass
Gore Gore Girls...Fox In A Box
The Supremes...Come See About Me
John Lee Hooker...Motor City Is Burning
Alice Cooper...Detroit City
Necros...I Hate My School
Iggy and the Stooges...Search and Destroy
Negative Approach...Ready To Fight
Street Lordz...Come Roll (NSFW)
The Gories...Nitroglycerine
White Stripes...Jolene
And of course...KISS...Detroit Rock City

Sunday, July 14, 2013

King Vulture's Bloody Coloring Pin Ups...Coming Soon

Hey, fiends and fiendettes! Your old pal King Vulture is set to release his Bloody Coloring Pin Ups real soon! Featuring 10 loose black and white images printed on card stock ready for your devious little hands to add your own color to and display.
On top of that, you'll get 2 free HELLO, MY NAME IS stickers with your favorite monster drawn by King Vulture, one of a kind, totally unique, hand drawn.
And there will probably be some other mystery goodies tossed in too!
We're getting ready to start printing the sets up and stocking up on stickers. I'll have ordering info revealed soon, and we'll be live!
Sharpen your colored pencils, shop lift some magic markers or swipe your kid's crayons-just make sure you've got plenty of red!

Keep watching the sky, nerds!
Above images 2013/2012 King Vulture

Trailer Park 7.14.13; Frankenstein's Army, Old Boy, Truth or Dare

Frankenstein's Army Red Band
Spike Lee's Old Boy

Truth or Dare Red Band

My Heroes Have Always Been Monsters Part 36; George Romero's Dead Films

There was one Halloween in particular where the allure of horror films finally became too much for me to bear. One channel was playing Halloween 2, which I was forbidden to watch, and another was playing The Thing, which I'd already snuck and watched a little of after everyone had gone to bed. A third channel was playing some old black and white film which I didn't have much interest in, probably wouldn't have any blood.
I spent that night aimlessly wondering around the house, occasionally sneaking off to one of the back bedrooms to watch a little Halloween 2 on a tiny, 3rd hand black and white tv. By the time my parents had finally fallen asleep in front of the tv and my brothers were occupying themselves with the Nintendo Halloween 2 was almost over and I'd only seen about half of it.
I sat on the edge of the bed, pretty annoyed and started flipping channels, right in time to see a car driving up a country road and the title Night Of The Living Dead flash across the screen. What the hell, I thought. It's not like I don't like black and white movies, just wanted to see one of the slasher films I've been reading about in my friend's copies of Fangoria.
Black and white horror movies are supposed to have cheesy over acting, off screen kills, no blood, and a happy ending. This director apparently didn't know anything about making a black and white horror film; the actors seemed like real people in a documentary, kills were on screen, there was blood and gore, and a happy ending? HA!
Night Of The Living Dead rattled me and left me breathing hard on the edge of the bed. Over the course of the credits with the montage of grainy black and white photos it sunk in that I just saw
something very adult and hopeless and I probably wasn't ready for it. I didn't know the word 'nihilism' or any other word to describe how NOTLD made me feel and that was exciting. I couldn't get the movie out of my head and talked about it all the time. It had nothing to do with the zombies either, it was the characters. The zombies were background, like a storm or a flood the people were trying to survive.
My fixation was on the characters and how they fought to survive together and to survive each other. Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees were scary but Harry Cooper was willing to feed fellow humans to the ghouls to save himself and his family and yea, he was probably a bit of a racist too. Imagine having to count on that guy under those circumstances! I think Barbara was the one I identified with the most; like me she had no idea what she was stepping into when the film began then the poor girl spends the whole movie terrified and bewildered as the world collapses around her.
Director George Romero had already scared the shit out of me more than a few times with his tv series Tales From The Darkside, but I wasn't aware of directors names, besides Spielberg and Lucas. I actually didn't focus on Romero's name for a few more years until an issue of Fangoria hit the stands with some kind of special feature on '78's Dawn Of The Dead, Night's sequel. My heart raced looking at all those blood splattered pictures and the excellent writing really had me jumping out of my skin to find this movie! And to find out there was a third? I was in ecstacy.
Well, I easily found Dawn Of The Dead at our local video store, in fact had glanced over the cover weekly without ever making a connection and felt pretty stupid. I brought it home with high hopes and got more than I bargained for.
I thought I'd seen gore, I mean Robocop...The Thing...No. This was intense. Exploding heads, flesh eating, gut munching, spilled entrails. And it was smart, well written, well directed. Dawn actually evolved the story of Night rather than just cashing in. And as gory and violent as the film was it never felt exploitative.
Dawn became an obsession of mine. I literally rented the film on a weekly basis for months. It was the standard by which I would judge all movies for a long time. Day Of The Dead impressed me as well, though it took longer for me to warm up to and I don't watch it as often as Dawn. (The year Day was released Return Of The Living Dead also came out, a sort of reboot that referred to the original as a film based on fact. Great film highly recommended!) To this day Romero's original three Dead films remain among my favorite films of all time (for a comparison other top films for me include Robocop, Taxi Driver, El Topo, Apocalypse Now, Deep Red, The Fly, The Warriors, Re-Animator, Videodrome, and The Bride of Frankenstein).
Romero's other films, like Creepshow, The Dark Half, The Crazies, Martin, etc. were films I enjoyed but the Dead films spoke to me on a visceral level. It was disappointing to get all the way through the
90's without another Dead film. I'd assumed Romero had said what he had to say and had moved on. Then out of the blue Land Of The Dead was announced and there was some hints that it was going to fulfill some of what George had been unable to pull off with Day due to massive budget cuts. Ah, now we're talking!
Land Of The Dead was released in 2005, a year after Zack Snyder's better than it should be remake of Dawn. In Land the dead seem a bit more manageable, almost like homeless people and the living are getting on with their lives the best they can. Starring John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Simon Baker, and Asia Argento (Argento's father Dario produced Dawn and Day and made Two Evil Eyes with Romero), Land deals directly and sometimes heavy handedly with class. Reviews were mixed, as were my emotions. By the time Land came out I'd changed. I'm jaded, I've seen it all. Over the years I've plowed through so many zombie movies, comics, novels. I have zombie toys on my shelf, zombie t shirts. And as good a film as I think Land is, it wasn't the film that transported me back to my youth where things were still new and exciting and I was still discovering the world. I guess that's asking a lot of any film.

Watching Dawn Of The Dead was a life changing event and definitely helped shape me as an artist. I'm forever indebted to George Romero for what he taught me about storytelling and pushing the limits.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

King Vulture's Sound Attack 7.13.13

My man Bo Duley (@BoDuley) gets credit for this edition of Sound Attack! It's all Psycho Charger, fiends. Didn't know them before yesterday, but I've been hitting Youtube hard. Tell yer mama to shut the hell up and play it LOUD! 
Blood! Shock! Kill! Rock!
Channel 13
Grave Robbers From Outer Space
Return Of The One Percenter