Friday, September 28, 2012

Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust

I don't dig a lot of anime, every now and then I see something that catches my eye, but overall it's not my thing. I do however love me some Vampire Hunter D. I caught the first one on MTV one night way back when I was in high school, and it floored me. In 2000 a sequel came out, and I ran out to Best Buy on day one to grab it. Come to think of it, I think it's actually the last anime I ever bought too. Anyway, enjoy this sequel, which features even MORE Dampir-riffic action!

Taking on a vampire at night is a mission for morons and fools. Which are you?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lots of good stuff this week, as "Zero Month" rolls along at DC, a new issue of Goon shipped (and was wonderful), as well as new BPRD, and the fifth issue of Matt Kindt's absolutely amazing Mind Mgmt. I really need to do a Fresh Ink post about that book, it's blowing me away. The book I wanted to spotlight this week was the first issue of a collaboration between Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, Happy!

Happy! is the story of former detective Nick Sax. Once a highly decorated police officer, Nick has since seen better days. He spends his time now as a gun for hire, constantly drunk and suffering from eczema. Unfortunately for Nick, things get worse. A mob hit goes wrong, leaving Nick as the sole survivor whom the mafia believes knows a secret password to a safe that contains a small fortune. After being injured during the hit, Nick find himself hospitalized, and is visited by a tiny, blue, flying pony named Happy, that only he can see. Seems this pony is the imaginary friend of someone named Hailey who seems to be in a bit of trouble, and Nick is the only one who could help her. Happy's first order of business, though, is to help Nick escape the hospital before the mob gets to him.

If it sounds insane, it's because it is. But that's Grant Morrison, folks. He writes crazy shit, and while I can't always say I like it, or that it works, I can say that it's almost always entertaining. Handling the art is Darick Robertson, who's work I first noticed in Warren Ellis's spectacular Vertigo series Transmetropolitan. He's most recently worked with Garth Ennis on a book entitled The Boys, which I hear was great but I actually never got into. Happy! is a four issue mini-series from Image Comics, and from what I've seen in this first issue, looks to be a lot of fun. It's extremely violent, full of foul language and despicable characters, but smack in the middle of all that is a super cute, imaginary flying pony. See? FUN!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yeah! Guns N Shit!

Remember the Slaterocalypse I took part in over at Back Online, Back On Duty? Yeah, you do. Well, it's time for another theme week over there, and I'm lucky enough to have been asked to contribute again. This time, it's a celebration of 80's Action movies entitled "Yeah! Guns N Shit!". I actually contributed to two different posts this time, which you can view at the links provided below. Whether you care anything about reading my nonsense or not, I urge you to visit Back Online, Back On Duty during this week, as there the talent lined up to contribute to this theme week surpasses even the A-list group that was the Slaterocalypse. To say Yeah! Guns N Shit! is going to be special, would be an understatement of mammoth proportions.

First up, my collaboration with Frank Browning, in which we re-imagined regular everyday products as action films. This idea started out as something I was going to do for the Batcave, but when I heard about 80's Action Week, I thought it might be a better fit there. I was in Dick's Sporting Goods one day, and randomly spotted a brand of golf balls called "Raw Distance", I immediately sent a text to my homie Mike, asking him if it didn't sound more like the title of a Steve Segal flick than golf balls. He agreed, and we proceeded to spend most of the rest of the day sending texts such as "Ralph Macchio is..the Bacardi Breezer" and "Gregory Hines in... D-Con". I knew only one person could create the faux posters for this idea, graphic designer extraordinaire, Mr. Frank Browning. He absolutely killed it, once again. You can view the posters, and read the plot synopsis for each film here.

When you're done with that, if it strikes your fancy, you can read what can only be described as the single longest thing that's ever been written about Rocky IV, other than the script itself maybe. I knew I loved the movie, but had no idea I could ramble on about it like I did. If you dig the flick, you may enjoy skimming through all of this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bait 3D

I first found the trailer for Bait in July of last year, and I had been waiting impatiently since then to see it. The dvd is finally out,  and I got my chance last Wednesday. Was it everything I hoped it would be, and totally worth the long wait? Putting it bluntly, no. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, just that I was hoping (admittedly a bit unfairly) for more. I wanted what was basically a SyFy-budget level flick to be the next Deep Blue Sea, instead Bait ends up being all that it can be, given what it had to work with.

A freak tsunami hits the Australian coast, leaving most of Queensland under water. Just prior, an armed robbery was happening at a local supermarket, which was interrupted when the water hit. Sitting atop the shelving of the flooded store, the survivors soon realize they have more than the armed criminals to deal with when the fin of a 12 foot great white shark emerges on aisle 7. If they are going to have any hope for survival, they will have to work together to figure out a way to get past the hungry man eating beast and escape to the safety of the streets outside the store.

Finn Dixie, anyone? Zing! Ahem, so as I touched on before, it's main problem ends up being that it's just a little too big for it's britches. I wish the 3D idea had been scrapped completely, as there are times when the already questionable CG ends up looking laughably bad when it's obviously supposed to be jumping off your screen in 3D, but isn't because your broke ass only has a 2D television. I'm not saying it's as bad as Jaws 3D, but if you've seen that hilarious mess, then you're on the right track. 20 million dollars may sound like a decent budget for an indie flick, but when you factor in 3D, CG sharks, CG tsunami, underwater sets, etc. you run out of money real fast.

There was also a huge cast, way more people than necessary, up to and including Dr. Doom himself, Julian McMahon. I've seen the movie twice now, and both times I got confused as to who exactly was who, and where they had come from prior to the tsunami. Now, if you're like me, and you see how many people are in this thing, then you might be thinking, "oh shit yes, all you can eat people buffet for Mr. Shark". Sorry, friend, yet another misstep from Bait. All these damn people, and only you can pretty much count on one hand how many end up eaten. In fact, if you've seen the red band trailer, you've already seen most of them. This ended up being my biggest disappointment with the movie.

Up to this point, I've been mostly negative, but when all was said and done, I actually did enjoy Bait. Despite the seriousness of the situation, it still feels like a lighthearted movie. There are plenty of laughs to go along with all the fin action. The gore is decent too, this isn't one of those "water bubbling then turning red" kind of shark movie, more often than not, the camera follows the shark under water and we even get to see him chew his meal. There might not be a double digit kill count, but the few we get are pretty badass, with some displays of savagery from the great white. The cast is mostly forgettable, but none are so horrible as to really annoy or ruin the proceedings. My favorites ended up being one of the lifeguards, Josh (Xavier Samuel of The Loved Ones fame), and the preppy couple who spent most of the movie in the parking deck, stuck in their car.

In closing, Bait 3D is unique in it's premise and location, but unfortunately ends up falling into most of the same old shark movie trappings we've all seen a million times before. It had potential, and good intentions, but it's ambitious nature ends up being it's downfall. Still, I'd recommend shark movie addicts, like myself, to give it a shot. It may not be the next Deep Blue Sea, but it's still way better than Shark Night.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

Been in the mood for all things Myers lately, and have been working my way through the series again. I know a lot of people don't care for The Return of Michael Myers, but I will always have soft spot in my heart for it, because it was the first "new" Halloween movie that I got to get excited about. I had only been into horror movies for a little while when it was released, and I just knew that a new movie in the Halloween franchise was going to be awesome. And you know what? For a 10 year old, it was.

We are talking about Evil on two legs.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

There's a new Cal McDonald original graphic novel out this week...did you really think I was going to be talking about anything else? Steve Niles of course writes, and super special guest Scott Morse handles the art on "Iron Spirit", and it topped my "must read now" pile this week.

For those who may be unfamiliar, the Criminal Macabre series from Dark Horse follows private detective Cal McDonald, a pill popping, liquor guzzling, bastard of a private detective who will take absolutely no shit whatsoever from anybody, be they living, dead, or undead. With the help of his trusty sidekick (and more often than not, caretaker), a ghoul named MoLock, Cal takes all manner of cases, most ending up being of the supernatural sort. Cal's hunted everything from werewolves, ghouls, and ghosts to Nosferatu himself. In a personal favorite of mine, "Love Me Tenderloin", Cal has his hands full with a string of missing person cases, which ends with him and Mo at a slaughterhouse in a fight to the death with a Meat Monster. Yes, a monster, made up of meat. Meat Monster.

As for Iron Spirit, Cal is having a bit of trouble coping with recent events from the regular comics (Cal now counts himself amongst on of the undead), when he's approached by an elderly Air Force Captain who informs him of the deaths of several innocent people, which he blames himself for and wants to atone. Turns out the military has a top secret bunker below LA, in which the perform certain types of experiments that the public probably doesn't need to know about. Also turns out one of these experiments went horribly wrong, and people are dead. The Captain is looking to enlist Cal's assistance in tracking down the killer, and making things right again.

Steve Niles should need no introduction if you're a regular here, he's the guy who wrote 30 Days of Night, Remains, Wake the Dead, Freaks of the Heartland, etc. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Basically as far as I'm concerned, the guy's a genius. Scott Morse you may not be as familiar with, as he's a bit more obscure. I've admired his work for years though, particularly Spaghetti Western, The Barefoot Serpent, and his contributions to the Hellboy world of comics. For Iron Spirit, he seems to have changed his style a bit to fit into the look of the Criminal Macabre universe, and I must admit, it works out quite well for him. This is a beautifully painted book.

For the money, Iron Spirit is well worth pulling the trigger for we Cal McDonald regulars. For those not familiar with the series, while there's obviously things you may not fully get, like Cal being undead now, there's still a solid story here, with a beginning and an end. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bloody Cuts Films

So, once again, I owe thanks to my brother from another mother, Mikey. He linked me up on FB to a short film titled "Dead Man's Lake", which I checked out, and thought was freakin awesome. Sadly, I must admit to being somewhat lazy when it comes to short films online. It's not that I don't like them, in fact I like the quite a bit, it's just that there are SO many and it becomes overwhelming. Plus, the sad fact is, a lot of what I have seen online wasn't very good anyway, and I've basically just wasted 10 to 20 minutes of my life. I'm not getting any younger, people...I can't afford to waste 20 minutes very often.

Anyway, back on topic, so I checked out Dead Man's Lake and enjoyed it. I also noticed that it was a part of something called "Bloody Cuts Films" who has their own youtube channel, and I went and checked out their other stuff. Turns out I actually enjoyed all of them. They're not overly long, and most of them have that little twist somewhere that reminded me of Tales From the Crypt episodes. Then I went to the official website, and fell in love. Most of the movies have retro style posters, there's behind the scenes videos, a podcast, and all kinds of other badassery. From what I gather, there will be 13 shorts in total, and all available as a part of an online horror anthology.

 If you've "liked" the blog over on Facebook, you may have already noticed that I posted Dead Man's Lake, but after watching the rest, I decided to do a full blown post. Do yourself a favor and check out the Bloody Cuts Films short films below, then be sure to visit their website here. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Backwater Gospel

Props to Mikey for coming through yet again with something supremely awesome. Fucked up too, but mostly awesome. Check out this animated short, The Backwater Gospel.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Night Drive-In

This movie came along at a time when there just wasn't a lot going in the werewolf flick department. Me? I love me a werewolf movie, I give them all a shot, no matter how bad they end up being (I'm looking at YOU Werewolf '96). Ginger Snaps not only managed to be a pretty decent little lycanthropic frollic, but it went the extra mile and even tried to do something a little different. It might not be for everybody, but I simply love it. Plus it introduced me to Katharine Isabelle, and for that, I'll be eternally grateful. Enjoy Ginger Snaps...

Suicide is like, the ultimate fuck you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Haven't done one of these posts in a while, but I'm overly excited about the newest Batman Black and White statue, which came in this week, Joker designed by Brian Bolland. Comic fans need no introduction, but for those who may not be familiar, Bolland is the genius artist behind The Killing Joke, amongst other things, and more comic book cover art than I could possibly name. He's long been a favorite of mine, and to this day whenever I'm asked what my favorite Batman story of all time is, I answer Killing Joke.

Anyway, the statue itself is simply magnificent. The sculpt is superb, I love the design, love the posing, and there is some insane detail in the paint job. These Black and White's aren't cheap, but when they look this good, I definitely feel like it justifies the price tag. There have been several statues in the series that weren't Batman, but other characters like Catwoman, ManBat, Bane, etc., and this is the first I've actually ordered. I passed on a Jim Lee Joker, another Bolland statue of Penguin, and I came very close to ordering a Lee Bermejo Joker, but decided against it at the last minute. I couldn't resist this one though, knew I had to have it as soon as I saw it. One final side note, this is Brian's third Black and White statue, which puts him in the lead as far as number of times artists have been asked to contribute designs. Makes sense to me.

Huge thanks once again to Frank Browning for yet another graphic. He hooked up the all new "WDHGTWT" banner at the top of this post.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Holy Hollywood, Batman!

A while back I was on Twitter, and one of those "Put in my pants in a movie title" things was trending. I rarely get involved with these, but for whatever reason I was bored, so I threw a couple out there. Things like "Let The Right One In My Pants", "I Saw the Devil In My Pants", or "The Great White Hype In My Pants". I chuckled for a second at some of the ones people were tweeting, but then my comic book saturated brain began to wander. What if instead of "In My Pants" I put Batman Villains into movie titles? So I came up with a few, and then it turned into a full fledged idea for a blog post, "What if Batman villains had decided to become movie stars instead of criminals?". The only problem with that being that, again, I have no photoshop skills whatsoever. So the idea sort of went away.

If you've been keeping up with the circle of horror bloggers I currently sort of run with, you're already familiar with Frank Browning. The guy does amazing things with photoshop, and has contributed to Dr. Terror's Italian Horror Week, Back Online, Back On Duty's Slaterocalypse ( during which he did some work for my True Romance entry), as well as a number of other places. What's even more impressive is how quickly he can get these things done, put simply, the guy is a machine. He does not eat, he does not sleep, he photoshops. As I know how busy he stays, I was hesitant to run this idea by him, but I ended up shooting him a  message about it. To be perfectly honest, I didn't ask him just because I wanted to do the post, but also because I knew he was really going to come up with something special and I wanted to see it.

Frank wasted absolutely no time in agreeing to help me out, and before long I started getting the images. They are exactly as I'd imagined them, only better. But enough with the blabbering, let's get on with it. Ladies, gentlemen, and the rest of you...feast your eyes upon...

What if Batman's Villains Had Decided to Become Movie Stars Instead of Criminals?

And without a doubt, my favorite of the bunch, one of my first ideas which turned out way better than I'd imagined it could. I love every single one of them, but Frank absolutely killed it with this one...

While I can take a little for the idea and most of the movie titles, all the credit for this post goes to Frank. I am insanely jealous of his artistic talents, and eternally grateful for his help in making this post happen. It's my favorite thing that I've posted here in the Batcave, hands down. Do yourself a favor and check out his other works at the links above, all are awesome and worth your time. Frank and I are also collaborating on a post for Back Online, Back on Duty's next theme week which is coming at the end of this month, so be on the lookout for the announcement soon. It's another fun one, I can't wait for everybody to see it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I had been keeping an eye on this one for months, as I'm a fan of Adam Wingard and Ti West, which you already knew if you've been visiting the Batcave for any length of time. Their work isn't for everybody, but personally I have yet to be disappointed by either of them. Enter V/H/S, the much hyped new horror anthology which features the talents of the aforementioned writer/directors, as well as a few more of the newcomers on the indie circuit including David Bruckner, Radio Silence, Glenn McQuaid, and Joe Swanberg. Some of them I'm fairly familiar with, some I'd never heard of. So I didn't really know what I was getting into with a few of the installments, but what I did know was that I enjoy a good horror anthology, and I felt confident that I would at least be able to call V/H/S that. Did it deliver? Yes and no, as with most anthologies, it's a bit of a mixed bag.

I've been reading all of the reactions from around the net, and overall it seems as if most people see this movie as a bust, in a big way. Me? As usual, I find that I'm a bit more forgiving than most, and there were things about the movie that I really liked. The parts I didn't really like didn't necessarily make me hate the movie though. I'm not going to bore anybody with yet another segment by segment breakdown, nor am I going into yet another overly wordy synopsis of the plot. The thing is, it's pretty simple, guys break into a house looking for a particular tape, while looking for said tape they watch other tapes, which end up being the segments. We aren't told why they're looking for the tape, what's on the tape, etc. That's the plot follks, how other bloggers and reviewers have managed to analyze and bitch about this for paragraph after paragraph is beyond me. These are people who aren't happy regardless, if they had been given an explanation, or actually even shown the tape being searched for, they would've bitched about that too. This is why despite reviews, I tend to watch anything I'm interested in and form my own opinion, which I sometimes take the time to write down here in the Batcave, and fully expect to be ignored. But I digress.

In keeping with being as simple and to the point as possible, I'll just say what I liked and what I didn't. First, the bookend story, Tape 56, with the guys looking for the tape was done by Adam Wingard. Being as it wasn't really a segment, but more of a little way to transition from segment to segment, I had no problems with it. Wasn't expecting much, so for it to have been as involved as it was, I felt was a nice touch. The first segment from David Bruckner, Amateur Night, ended up being the creepiest and my personal favorite. If that chick had looked at the screen one more time and said "I like you" I probably would've screamed and thrown my remote through the tv. The second installment, Second Honeymoon, from Ti West, was my second favorite. It was simple, I enjoyed the camera work, it was creepy, and it had a twist ending. In short, it was a fucking Ti West film, only shortened. What's there to complain about? 10/31/98 from Radio Silence was the footage from the trailer that had me the most pumped, the ghost hands on the walls and shit? Creepy! This one had a group of college guys trying to find a Halloween party, and inadvertently interrupting a sacrifice ritual that would've stopped all the supernatural shenanigans that ended up going down. It wasn't quite as creepy as it looked in the trailer, but I still enjoyed the hell out of this one, and effects wise, it was probably the most ambitious.

What I didn't like, or "the rest of the film". Tuesday the 17th wasn't necessarily bad, it just wasn't particularly good either. It was the most generic, safest entry. I suppose being that the title of the movie is V/H/S, that's the reason the killer's face was always shown as some sort of distortion? Or maybe I'm reading too much into that, I dunno. But I didn't really care for it, yet another "teens go into the woods and fall victim to a supernatural killer" movie. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger ended up being my least favorite installment, simply because when it ended all I could say was "what the fuck?". I had no idea what I'd just watched. Skyping with her boyfriend about her apartment being haunted, but it turns out it wasn't haunted and he was behind the whole thing, and there's a tracking device in her arm, and her boyfriend has to cut some weird thing out of her repeatedly? And she's not the only woman he does this to? Huh?

A lot of the negativity surrounding V/H/S seems to be coming from people who are quick to admit they're tired of or have never liked found footage films. I can't help but wonder what the fuck these people even watched the movie for. I don't like fantasy stuff, dragons, wizards, and knights don't do shit for me. So guess what? You won't be seeing a review of The Hobbit here in the Batcave, as I already know I don't like it. When all was said and done, all my first viewing of V/H/S did was leave me wanting to watch it again. I'd call that a success. I've seen it one more time since, and again, I had pretty much the same reaction. There were parts I liked and parts I didn't. But I can't help but feel like this movie is getting a ton of hate simply because of how much it was talked about from the festival circuit before it was released to the masses. To me, that isn't fair, but that's the internet.

V/H/S isn't exactly the new Creepshow, but it's a solid enough horror anthology with work from some of the best of the upcoming generation of filmmakers. It doesn't fire on all cylinders, but it never stops being entertaining either. The entire thing is done using the found footage method, which I dig, but can completely see the merits of all the arguments against. If it's not your thing, I doubt you'll find much to like here. If you're like me, and still enjoy a good found footage flick, by all means give V/H/S a watch. I'm anxiously awaiting the day that I can add it to my collection.