If you've been following me on Twitter like you're supposed to, you've probably seen the icon next to my handle and thought, "What is that delightfully stylish orange thing in the square next to all the charming and witty things that this fellow keeps saying?" Well, if you're a frequent follower of this blog (and our stats say there may not be any such thing) then you probably remember this post which explains all about that. And if not, I just linked it, so I saved you years of faithful diligence!
Yes, Jesus lives in my floorboard. Since I look a little like Jesus (or at least Vlad The Impaler without the funny hat, which I think is basically the same thing) I figured that was an appropriate icon to use. And I'm gonna stick with it 'cuz I've figured out there aren't many orange icons on Twitter. It makes my stuff easy to spot in a stream, and that's handy if you need a pooping-zombie-midget joke in a hurry! Y'know, like, if your Grandma wants to hear one or something. Anyway, this week I discovered that something even more sinister dwells in my flooring. I had to move a rug to help some guys bring in a freezer to replace the old one that had the door held shut by duct tape, and lo and behold, I saw what had been hiding below that rug. And it was...
THE TERRIFYING FACE OF AN EVIL CLOWN!!!!
Click it and it'll get really big (or at least that's what I keep telling the ladies! (see why you should follow me on Twitter now?! Jokes like that! Wheeee!))
Now, if that doesn't fill you with terror such that your butthole puckers, then your butthole has no soul.
He's maybe not quite as clear as Jesus Parting the Waters, but it's still eerie. He's got a lonnnnnng funhouse mirror chin and chubby cheeks, with Emmet Kelly whiskers around the clown-paint around his mouth, and he's got a big, sinister, smirky kind of smile, there. His clown nose is kinda smooshed down under that, what is it, part of an inverted cross or something between his eyes? The burn-scar where a priest pressed one trying to exorcise his malevolent spirit? The eye on the left is all squinty, while the eye on the right is leering malevolently at ya from under his arched Jack-Nicholsonian clown-eyebrows. His forehead is even shaded almost perfectly.
Anyway, I'm totally covering that thing back up with the rug 'cuz I'm tired of the vile shit that he whispers to me at 3 a.m. in that hoarse squeal of his.
Anyway, I figured this week I'd just throw random shit at ya and try to make everyone happy. That always works out so well! First up, I was going through a drawer and found some old Super Rock magazines from the 70's. Super Rock was a sleazy trash mag that I mostly bought for articles on Kiss, but they covered lots of bands and also included smutty gossip from groupies. Amidst articles on bands nobody remembers, like Starz, Piper (one article on them included a photo of Bon Scott mis-identified as Billy Squier, whose name was also misspelled throughout), Deaf School, NRBQ, Player, Flame, Rex Smith, the Babys, etc. and other nobody-cares-anymore stuff like Rick Wakeman, Pat Travers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Peter Frampton, Johnny Winter, Hall and Oates, etc. I can probably mine these for more amusing pictures later on, but one picture of the J. Geils Band always struck me when I was a kid, because... what the fuck kind of band gropes each other?
Hey, when your baby is the centerfold, I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
A few other funny things, while I'm scanning. I should get a Tumblr account for this junk, but, until I do, might as well put it here. Here's Tom Petty of the triangular head and mouth, ready "melt your jeans off," girls!
And here he is sitting on some dude's lap. Good thing it's not a member of the J. Geils Band or he might be getting molester-ed.
Ever wondered what Alice Cooper looked like sitting around at home in his shorts? Probably not, but you get to find out anyway:
(And remember, all the ladies agree - Foghat is one handsome band!)
Here's some of the groupie sleaze, with a rather nonsensical story about somebody or other - I *think* it's somebody in Rex Smith's group but the writing doesn't make it clear, probably to leave a litigation loophole:
Anyway, enough of that, on to some other stuff. I was glad to see Kicker of Elves putting up some book reviews. I haven't read any Simmons since The Terror, which I thought was good, although kinda overlong. I'm hoping Igor's going to review Flashback, which I understand's pretty awful. Simmons is a good writer, but oh hell yeah he needs somebody to yank his chain when he goes past 300 pages or so. His best book is definitely Song of Kali, which is maybe his shortest. That one's a masterpiece, one of the best horror novels I ever read. But he also wrote Carrion Comfort, which was one of the worst pieces of shit ever slapped between two covers. He took an (overrated) short story he wrote and expanded it to 800-some pages, and it was fucking *excruciating.* Seldom have I hated a book as hard as I hated that one. So, he's a wildly-variable author. And apparently he's lost his goddamn mind and turned into some kind of Glenn Beckerhead, so I dunno how likely I'm gonna be to buy any more of his stuff. But, we'll see.
I did read a good book lately, though, and you should seek this one out, monster kids...
Homeplace - Beth Massie (Berkley, 2007)
Creepy old-school haunted house novel done with Massie's genius style has an artist, Charlene Myers, moving into her great-grandmother's dilapidated house in the Virginia backwoods to try to paint some family history before selling the place. She has enough trouble with her desperate financial situation and the decrepit conditions of the mouse-filled house, but soon discovers worse problems. She has reoccurring nightmares of a hag feeding her worms, hears noises in a boarded-up room, and deer and rabbits batter themselves to death at her door (and keep moving even after they're dead and burned). The townspeople fear her because her ancestor was a notorious witch, and the only friends she can find are an old lady who tends a graveyard and a lawyer/would-be-novelist with whom she forms a romance. The hauntings, witchcraft, and possession intensify and Massie comes up with some very chilling stuff that will get under your skin. There's Southern gothic atmosphere and a pervasive sense of dread that make this one a heavy hitter, despite a finale that could be stronger. Horror fans should seek out all of Massie's work.
And, just to cover all the bases, here are a few movie reviews, in case I feel like slacking again next week or somethin'. I'm paid up, yo!
Thundering Mantis (C, 1980) aka Mantis Fist Fighter, Dian Tang Lang, Mantis Fist Boxer. One of the best kung fu movies ever made, more for its powerful overall effect than the fighting (which is really good) or for the filmmaking (which is crude). The charismatic Leung Kar Yan (affectionately known to fans as "Beardy") stars as Ah Chi, a hot-tempered but good-natured fishmonger who's come up with a unique "shrimp fist" kung fu style by catching fast-swimming shrimp in a bucket all day. He stays in trouble with his boss, and forms a friendship with a street urchin scam artist and his kung-fu master grandfather. Local merchants are being picked on by a dangerous local gang, and Ah Chi can't stand to watch anyone being bullied so he gets in fights with them even though it's ill-advised. Sparring with the grandfather, Ah Chi picks up a little mantis fist technique, which gives him an edge against the gang. Eager to learn more, Ah Chi tries to get the grandfather to teach him, but he's refused until an old enemy of the grandfather almost kills him. Then Ah Chi starts training and the movie goes through a lot of diarrhea and drunken-child humor, but that's just setting you up for a plot turn so tragic that happy-go-lucky Ah Chi will be driven completely insane from the cruelty he'll witness. You won't be ready for it. The sudden change in tone is powerful and even though this film should be just another low-budget kung fu flick, it ends up packing a punch like few other movies I've ever seen. The audience is not prepared for what they're finally hit with, and the finale is crazy. Even revenge is just more tragedy because of what it costs our hero. It's like the end of a comedy getting replaced by the final act of a Shakespeare tragedy... Titus Andronicus, even. You're gonna be walloped. Grindhouse gold.
You really should watch the whole movie and not cheat yourself of the effect the rest of the movie will set you up for, but if you just can't stand it, here's the end fight craziness. But it really won't mean as much to you if you haven't gotten to know these characters and understand how tragic this is.
Cut Throats Nine (C, 1972) aka Condenados a Vivir, Bronson's Revenge Being remade even as we speak, this notorious spaghetti western provided viewers with "terror masks" so they could shield their eyes from the gore, which is of a Lucio Fulci level. But no mask could stop the extreme nihilism. An army sergeant is guarding a chain gang of seven of the most vicious killers in the country. In a very unwise move he's brought his daughter along for the ride. The wagon carrying them crashes and the sergean is stuck with trying to march them all the way to a fort that's three days distant, but the killers are all planning to give him an ugly death the first chance they get. When they discover that the chains connecting them are actually a disguised gold shipment, the predicament gets even worse. Also, the sergeant knows that one of these men -- he's not sure which - murdered his wife, and he wants revenge. Because this movie is so misanthropic and transgressive, it hits you with some heavy, unexpected surprises that I haven’t seen any other movie dare to pull off. The meanspiritedness of if should make it a standout even without the gore, but that’s there, too, and the effects are nasty, including smashed heads, slashed throats, bullet-shattered faces, burned corpses, hacked-off feet, stabbings (with protruding intestines), and, thanks to a hallucination sequence, there’s even some zombie action. And then there’s a meathook-hanging before Texas Chainsaw. As sick as the gore is, though, it’s the relentless nothing-but-evil-scumbags tone of this thing that’s likely to get to you. And the ending works perfectly. The music score bears an extreme similarity to the one Werner Herzog later used in his Nosferatu remake.
Matango: The Fungus of Terror (C, 1963) aka Attack of the Mushroom People, Curse of the Mushroom People. This ain’t no Godzilla film. This Japanese variation on William Hope Hodgson’s “The Voice In The Night” will surprise you if you’re used to old Japanese horror films being goofy. A small yacht full of partiers is torn up in a storm, and the passengers and crew take shelter on a misty island. They find an old ship that’s been covered with a nasty fungus. An exploration of the island uncovers lots more fungus and huge mushrooms... some of which walk. And there are other former-humans on the island who’ve become knobby (and brittle) with fungus. After a while everyone’s so hungry that they start eating the mushrooms, which give them psychedelic visions and cause them to start sprouting. This one gets creepy quickly and only becomes more nightmarish as it goes, sporting amazing sets and special effects. Extremely weird and effective horror is a must-see for fans of scary stuff, this deserves a much bigger reputation and would make a great double feature with Goke: Body Snatcher From Hell.
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (C, 2006) Pretty highschooler Mandy Lane (pretty actress Amber Heard) is the object of every asshole teenage boy’s lust, but she’s not a shallow drunken druggie idiot like everyone around her, so, bad as they want her to, she doesn’t fully fit in. Mandy’s only real friend is an unpopular kid who became even more unpopular when he tricked a drunken jock into killing himself while showing off for Mandy. She’s trying to distance herself from him and make some new friends, so she accepts an invitation to a party on a ranch, and all the guys there are conniving to be the first one to get with her. She’s not very comfortable with what her new friends are doing, though, and she seems more interested in the mature ranch hand... even though he’s a bit strange. And then it becomes a slasher film and people start dying unpleasantly. This film has gathered a big reputation mostly by being unobtainable for some stupid reason. It hasn’t been released theatrically in America and there are no DVDs, but luckily the British BluRay discs will play on American BluRay players (although the special features are in PAL, so we’ll miss the trailer and Amber Heard interview, but you can see parts of those on YouTube). Even though this really isn’t all that surprising or different from most slasher films, it is very well done and involving, and Amber Heard’s performance is great (it’d be hard not to like her nice-girl-in-the-midst-of-a-bunch-of-assholes character, though). And the end does pack a big twisted twist for you. Deserves a legit American DVD release already and worth tracking down on UK BluRay in the meantime -- Amazon marketplace can hook you up fairly cheaply.
(I hope the links work this time... something apparently has changed and fouled up the code on here and made getting anything done even more frustrating than usual... which, lately, is almost more than I'm willing to put up with anyway...)