Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holy Hellboy and Batman tatoo, Batman!

I get asked every now and then to design tattoos for people. For some reason, folks like to think that just because you like to draw or doodle, that you have a magical pencil somewhere at home that can produce these amazing pieces of art, worthy of being permanently applied to another person's body. Me? I don't have anywhere near that level of confidence in my abilities. To these people, I normally give a "sure, maybe I'll give it a shot" or something along those lines, never actually intending to even make an attempt.

There have been a few instances over the years though, when I've been asked to draw something for somebody that I've actually gone through with it. Not for tattoo purposes, but just sketches for friends. To my amazement, some of them have even ended up getting framed and hung up on walls. I would never hang anything I drew on my wall, as again, I don't have that much confidence in what I do.

One friend in particular, who was the first person I really ever sent a sketch to, has done more to boost my confidence over the years that just about anybody except my mother. His name is Brandon, although I affectionately refer to him as Binky, and we met on an Xbox Live message board.  It started with a Batman drawing I did for him, which he seemed to genuinely love, as he sent me back a photo of it hanging on a wall in his basement. I followed that up with another Batman sketch for him. Earlier this year I got an email from him, asking me to design a tattoo from an idea he had. I was skeptical at first, as again, I'm not crazy about drawing things that might end up branded permanently on people, but I actually LIKE this person, and I'd hate to draw something and him end up being disappointed with it. When I heard the idea though, I knew I had to at least give it a shot.

The idea was to mix the animated universes of both Hellboy and Batman, which obviously share special places in my tiny black heart. The short version of this brilliant idea is that Joker somehow got ahold of some of Rasputin's books and accidentally summoned a giant monster, and Batman and Hellboy had to put a stop to it. Brandon gave a much more detailed story, which after I read it, I immediately wish actually existed in comic book or movie form. It immediately put an image into my head, and the next day I set out to try and get it on paper, which isn't always easy for me. I decided that seeing as how I didn't have any idea as to what kind of room the artist would have to work on Brandon's arm, that I would do two images, and he could resize and put them together the best way possible.

For Hellboy, I wanted him to be in the middle of the fight with the creature, I figured between he and Batman, he would be the muscle of the two, who would run head first into battle, ready to punch this thing in it's tentacled face. I used lots of reference material online for Hellboy, but the tentacles I just randomly threw in there, figuring the tattoo artist could add, delete, or change as needed. I also just for reference purposes crudely sketched in where Batman's arm would enter the image, grabbing Hellboy by the jacket.

Batman I assumed would be more interested in figuring out a way to get rid of the creature, sending it back to where it came from. Heading into battle head on with this tentacled beast might not be in his best interest. Knowing he would need Hellboy's assistance, I wanted him trying desperately to pull him from the fray to regroup and come up with a plan. For Batman, I didn't need much help, as I normally at some point or another sketch him daily. Animated Batman is especially fun and easy to draw. I envisioned him hanging off a gargoyle from a building in Gotham, with his grapple extended in one hand, and the other grabbing Hellboy. Again, not knowing what kind of room the artist would have, or how much of his arm Brandon was going to get inked, I decided it was probably best to focus on the characters and not so much with the other stuff. You can see again a basic placement of where Hellboy would enter the image.

Here's the two of them, only obviously separated.

I can honestly admit to being pretty happy with them, but I was very nervous when I went to send some pics to Brandon. I knew he had put a ton of thought into this tattoo, and if he wasn't happy with what I produced, I knew he'd be disappointed. I sent him the pics, and thankfully, he seemed to love what I had done. I can't even begin to describe how relieved I felt. I couldn't wait to see what the tattoo artist, a real artist, was going to do with them. 

I'd have to wait a while, as these things tend to take time to set up and actually do, but when I woke up this morning I had another email from Bink, with the completed work. I've been looking at these pics all morning. It's absolutely amazing to see something I did transferred to another human being, permanently. The colors are fantastic, and really improved upon the pencils I sent. I asked to share the photos here on the blog, and was given permission. Here's the finished product:

I'm assuming he will be reading this at some point, so to Brandon, I want to extend the biggest possible thanks for believing I could pull this off. Seeing the sketches I did end up looking so amazing has made me ridiculously happy this morning. I hope you enjoy the tattoo for years to come, it's truly incredible, and I'm insanely jealous of both your brilliant idea and your ink.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jason Goes to Doodie

I have once again been allowed to contribute to my homie Brobocop's blog, Back Online, Back On Duty. This year, he's been doing a series of guest posts from members of our horror blogger community, in which people talk about a movie that they once hated, but have since decided isn't so bad after all. The theme is brilliantly titled Back Online, Back On Doodie. For my entry, I went with Jason Goes to Hell, which at one point in my life I considered the worst film ever made, but I now like a good bit. If that sounds like something you'd like to read about, head on over and check out the post here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Conjoined Screener Review

I got in touch with director Joe Grisaffi about the possibility of reviewing his film "Conjoined" after reading several positive reviews elsewhere on the interwebs. As you may have surmised by the title of this post, I got to see it. While Conjoined might not be a perfect indie effort, what it lacks in other areas, it makes up for in terms of originality. That may not count for much to some movie buffs out there, but for me, it goes a long way.

Conjoined is the tale of Stanley, a lonely bachelor who doesn't have a ton of luck with the ladies. He spends most of his nights, and money, hanging out on porn sites. Things are about to change for Stanley though, as he's counting down the weeks until he gets to meet and marry his online girlfriend Alina. During an online chat session just days before the big date, Alina informs Stanley of a secret she's been keeping from him. Alina actually has a twin sister named Alisa, to whom she is conjoined. At first this comes as a shock to Stanley, but true love knows no bounds, and he goes through with the wedding, and lets Alina and Alisa move in with him. As if that isn't difficult enough to adjust to, it turns out that Alisa also just so happens to be a homicidal maniac. Yes, Stanley's new bride has an evil twin, and she just to happens to be conjoined to her. As Alisa's body count continues to mount, Stanley must continue to clean up her messes, in order to keep his wife from going down with her.

So the idea of the evil twin has been done many, many times before. However, as far as I've seen, this is the first time the twins have ever literally been connected at the hip. It's one of those brilliant ideas that seems obvious, and just makes you wonder how nobody's done it before. Conjoined is as low budget as low budget films come, but that doesn't stop it from being entertaining from beginning to end. It's filled with dark humor, a few practical effects which work well enough, and while it won't necessarily appeal to gore hounds, there's a good bit of the red stuff, and some fairly gnarly stuff going on, it just mostly happens off camera.

If you can look past it's flaws, and just accept it for what it is, Conjoined is a really fun movie. The performances are decent from most of the cast, and while a couple of scenes ran a bit long, I never found myself bored with it. Joe Grisaffi proves he's got some directorial chops, even with obvious budgetary constraints. Imagine a soap opera set in Hell that doesn't take itself too seriously, and you start to get the idea.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

First BB Trailer is Taking Over!

You've likely seen this somewhere already if you've been on the internet today, but on the off chance that you've managed to miss it, here's the first RED BAND teaser trailer for CJ Wallis' upcoming return to horror, BB...

Not familiar with BB? Check out this post and catch up! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Suitable Candidate

Remember a while back when I posted a video of a pretty damn impressive short film titled "Impetuous"? Of course you do. Well, director Dave Thorpe got in touch with me about his newest film, a horror/comedy short entitled "Suitable Candidate" and asked if I'd be interested in sharing.

Description from vimeo:

Two young women, Leah and Victoria, are called for an interview for the same job. When Leah discovers that Victoria is offered the position, she decides to eliminate the competition.

Suitable Candidate from Dave Thorpe on Vimeo.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Exclusive New BB Images!

I've got yet another BB exclusive to share, thanks to writer/director CJ Wallis. Below are the first images from his upcoming horror film, hot off the presses. Check out my early preview of the movie here!

I'm going to continue to follow BB's development closely and  update as much as possible. You can also keep up with the film by liking it's official facebook page here, and following the official twitter account, (@bb_movie). 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Never been a big Archie fan, in fact I think the only Archie book I own is the crazy Punisher crossover from a few years ago. The extent of my knowledge of Archie comics comes mostly from Kevin Smith's brilliant scene in Chasing Amy, in which Hooper X insists to Banky that Archie and Jughead were lovers. Still, my love for all things horror, and more importantly Francesco Francavilla's art, prompted me to give Afterlife With Archie a shot, and while there's only been one issue so far, I'm damn glad I did.

This book is just pure FUN. Jughead's dog gets hit by a car and dies, and in his distraught state, he visits Sabrina the Teenage Witch to ask her to get her Pet Sematary on and revive his beloved canine pal. She denies him in front of her Aunts, the older witches she lives with, but then secretly visits Jughead later and agrees. The spell works, but Hot Dog isn't exactly himself when he returns from the dead. He's a nasty, more aggressive version, and eventually takes a bit out of Jughead, which then begins to turn Jughead into a zombie! Just in time for the Halloween dance at school too...

I tell you, if Archie has always been this fun of a read, then I hang my head in shame as I have been missing out. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa handles writing chores, and while I know I've read a few of his books, nothing stands out in my mind as being particularly great, aside from his adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand. He also recently wrote the script for the movie remake of Stephen King's Carrie. The real star of the book though is Francesco Francavilla's beautifully creepy art. I'm so in love with Francavilla's work, it's ridiculous. The guy is a machine too, as he is somehow capable of not only drawing mutliple books monthly (his own Black Beetle, Afterlife with Archie, along with random Marvel books), but he's constantly throwing up sketches online. To say I'm a fan of his would be a gross understatement.

Check this book out!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Review

Ah, the anthology. It's been a staple of the genre for years, and yes friends, I love them. There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence of late, particularly in the indie market, with films like The Theatre Bizarre, Scary or Die, and V/H/S and V/H/S/2 all doing relatively well. All Hallows' Eve is the latest in this trend, and comes to us from writer/director Damien Leone. As with most anthologies, it both hits and misses the mark at times, but in the end is pretty entertaining, and may have just given us our next horror icon to obsess over.

All Hallows' Eve is comprised of three short films, with a wraparound segment that ties it all together. It begins with a babysitter who is watching two kids on Halloween. While arguing about what to watch on television, they find a mysterious VHS tape in one of the kids' trick or treat bags. Reluctant to watch it at first, the babysitter eventually gives in and pops the tape in the VCR. On the tape are three short films, all tied together by the presence of a murderous clown.

The babysitter and the kids are the wraparound segment, and it's pretty good, although nothing to terribly original. The sitter ends up letting the kids stay up for the first segment on the tape before sending them up for bed, at which point, although she looked disgusted through the first part, she continues on with the rest of the tape. Eventually strange things start to happen around the house, she begins to hear noises, and of course the line between the tape and reality begins to blur.

As for the short films, or segments, themselves, they vary in quality. The first one starts off with a pretty creepy scene with the clown, but turns into a "big idea, but poor execution" affair, which sadly takes away from the enjoyment. The second is the most original idea in the bunch, with an alien ship crash landing in a neighborhood. A home invasion flick, with heavy emphasis on "invasion". The last clip ended up being my favorite, as the clown, Art, takes center stage for a Hitchhiker-esque tale, that ups the creep factor, and especially the gore.

I'm not sure if Leone has plans for a sequel in mind or not, but I certainly hope so. For all the things All Hallows' Eve does wrong, there are things that it does brilliantly, and it's obvious that the main problems were budgetary. If nothing else, if Leone plays his cards right, he may have created the next big horror icon in Art the Clown. People love a creepy clown, and folks, Art is the scariest goddamn clown I've seen since Pennywise. If you're one of the more forgiving indie horror watchers out there, like myself, definitely give All Hallows' Eve a watch. Anthology fans will also find there's some fun to be had here, just don't have unrealistic expectations beforehand.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Big Ass Spider Review

Typically, once a sub-genre becomes over saturated, and things have well past run their course, the new entries tend to be each one worse than the last. But sometimes, admittedly rare, but sometimes, a movie comes along that, while it doesn't re-invent the wheel in any way, jams a syringe full of adrenaline into the long stopped heart and makes things fun again. The stopped heart in question is the giant killer animal sub-genre, and the syringe of awesome in question is Mike Mendez's latest, Big Ass Spider.

There is absolutely no need to go into a plot synopsis, you know everything you need to know straight from that title. You either want to watch a movie about a big ass spider, or you don't. For those of us who do, holy shit what a treat. Big Ass Spider simply is what it is, it doesn't take itself seriously in any way. There's a spider on the loose, escaped from the government, and it's growing at an accelerated rate. It's up to the military, with the aid of an exterminator and his sidekick, to put a stop to it before it destroys Los Angeles.

This is the kind of shit I used to write when I was a kid, that's the exact mind frame this movie put me into. It's at times pretty gory, when the spider spits it's acidic venom and melts faces for instance, it has some laughably bad CGI at times but some pretty decent stuff as well, and overall is just a downright hilarious good time. I laughed from start to finish. The cast is lead by Greg Grunberg, who I pretty much only remember as Parkman from Heroes, as the exterminator, and Lombardo Boyar as his trusty, and hilarious, sidekick. These two play off of each other perfectly, and they eat up every scene they're in together. Other notables are first and foremost Ray Wise(!) as Major Braxton Tanner, Lin Shaye, and Clare Kramer. Big Ass Spider also has a pretty hilarious cameo, which I knew nothing about until I saw it, and I won't spoil. You can check IMDB and see who it is, but I recommend just watching the flick and waiting for the scene.

It seems as if these killer animal flicks have run their course as of late, with the exception of the rare gem like Sharknado. Big Ass Spider may end up having something to say about that though. It comes as a hilarious breath of fresh air, and I absolutely loved it. If you dig monster animal flicks, especially the kind that don't take themselves too seriously and just have fun with things, Big Ass Spider is going to be right up your alley. The ending hints at a sequel, and you can bet I'll be first in line for it if/when that happens.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013 Trick or Treating

One last Halloween post for 2013, because you just know I'm going to show off my kids and their costumes...

As you can see, there ended up being sorta two costumes for the both of them. Obviously, my daughter went as a member of the Air Force and Jamie Lloyd from Halloween's 4 & 5. This is because I had her clown costume custom made, and it wasn't quite ready for our first Halloween outing. My son went as Darkman, which was the original idea, but it ended up being a bit too obscure of a reference for our little town, and we all got pretty tired of people asking what he was "supposed" to be. For our second outing, I added a pair of shades, and changed the bandages up a bit, for a "Invisible Man" costume, which as one would expect, was ALSO too obscure of a reference for our little town. I swear, if you don't just run out to Walmart the day before Halloween and pick up a cheap, lame ass store bought costume, then nobody knows what you're supposed to be anymore. Anyway, here are the pics...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Tales From the Batcave! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


It's common knowledge that I'm a pretty big fan of all things Twisted Twins. I've been in love with their work since Dead Hooker in a Trunk. I love the twins not only for their work though, but how gracious they are to their fans, and how well they treat us. I absolutely could  not believe it when they stopped by here upon my first mentioning Dead Hooker, which I knew absolutely nothing about, save for I thought the title was badass and I was dying to see it based on that alone. Not only did they comment on the post, but they offered to send me a copy of the film, which was making the rounds at festivals back then. I never get screeners, so not only was I stoked that I got offered one, but I was pretty excited that the director(s) had stopped by here and seen my post.

Since then, I've done as much as possible to promote, write about, share, etc. any and everything Soska. The twins have always been good to me, and for celebrities to not only acknowledge a bottom of the barrel little horror blog like this, but to even go so far as to give a shout out or two for the site, friend me on facebook and actually interact, well, it's just awesome to me.

Fast forward to when American Mary finally hit dvd and bluray, the Soska's offered to sign and return for free any fan interested in sending them the insert from their copy. I of course jumped at the chance, as I've sadly not had a chance to meet them in person yet. It's also worth mentioning that they did this at the same time they were working on their next flick, but more on that later. So yesterday when I got home from work, I found waiting for me in my mailbox a large envelope, with not only my returned American Mary insert, but the following...

To say the least, this made my day. Their insistence that Deadpool could kick Batman's ass notwithstanding, this was an absolutely amazing early Halloween treat. Even if I wasn't a fan for life based on their films alone, I'd love them forever just based on how awesome they are to fans. Can't say enough about how much I appreciate this, and love them all. 

Above I mentioned the twins are already hard at work on their next movie, a sequel to the 2006 slasher See No Evil, which you may remember starred WWE superstar Kane as the villain. Well, Kane is back for another round, this time with some pretty serious horror cred in not only the Soska's but Katharine Isabelle and Danielle Harris as well. Whether the first was your cup of tea or not, trust me, this sequel is going to be amazing. Be sure and like the See No Evil 2 facebook page, and follow the film on twitter if you're a tweeter.

As for the Twisted Twins, make sure you like their official facebook page if you haven't already, and join the Twisted Twins Army on twitter. As you can see, nobody is better to their fans. 

Hugest possible thanks for all the love ladies, it means a lot to me. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 Jack O Lantern

Went super easy this year, not out of laziness but because I saw this online and decided I wanted to do it, because it looked so groovy. I think it turned out pretty badass, even if it did only take a few minutes. We also decided to just do one this year, instead of the usual three. Here's the Batcave's Army of Darkness jack o lantern, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Win The Conjuring on Bluray!

I know what you're thinking, does this guy's generosity know no bounds?! It indeed does not, friends. Yet another awesome giveaway here at the Batcave! This time, win yourself a brand spanking new copy of one of this year's scariest flicks on bluray, The Conjuring.

My contests are normally pretty simple, but this time I'm gonna throw ya a little curve ball. If you follow me on twitter, you may remember that I joked that in The Conjuring, you'll cringe and shiver in terror as you watch ghosts desperately attempt to operate The Clapper, to no avail. See, the ghost hands clap twice in the trailer, and The Clapper was operated by clapping...nevermind. To win this contest, leave me an email address along with another television infomercial item past or present that it would be hilarious to watch an apparition futilely attempt to operate!

This contest will run until midnight on November 5th, at which time my lovely assistant will be drawing a name at random. The winner will be notified via EMAIL, so make sure you provide one with your entry. Good luck all!

The Conjuring 5 Things to know… INTERACTIVE GIFS! 

 1) The Conjuring is directed by the acclaimed James Wan, the Australian-born director of the fright-fests Insidious and the Saw series. His Twitter handle is @CreepyPuppet. Say no more.


 2) The Conjuring has been given an “R” rating by the MPAA. Not because of blood, gore, or violence, but simply because it’s just so scary from start to finish! 

 3) The Conjuring’s cast and crew experienced creepy events during filming. Scratches appeared out of nowhere on Vera Farmiga’s computer soon after she agreed to act in the movie, the crew were routinely woken by something in the “witching hour” between 3 and 4AM, and the real-life Carolyn Perron fell and broke her hip while visiting the  set.


 4) The Rhode Island farmhouse where The Conjuring is set once belonged to an accused witch, Bathsheba, who tried to sacrifice her children to the devil and killed herself in 1863. 

 5) Hold your applause! The Conjuring will make you terrified to clap! Whether it’s playing a traditional game of hide-and-seek by following the clapping sounds like the mother and daughter in the movie, or being terrorized by ghostly claps in different rooms of the haunted farmhouse, these claps throughout the movie will give you the creeps!


Monday, October 21, 2013

First Look at BB

For long time readers, CJ Wallis should need no introduction. He's the brilliantly talented mind behind Forty FPS Productions, the production company behind some of the most original film and music videos currently on the web. CJ is also an accomplished musician and actor. In short, if you're a fan of the kind of stuff that I write about here in the Batcave, chances are you've seen and been highly impressed by some of his work. He actually got in contact with me a couple years ago, after a blog post here spotlighting an upcoming album, and we have remained in contact since. He's currently preparing to begin work on a brand new horror/thriller titled BB, which he's writing/directing, and I've got an early look at it.

BB is the provocative story of a girl named Leah who, under the name "Candy Cummings", performs strip shows online from her apartment for thousands of strangers every day, never fully knowing the extent of evils that could be watching on the other side of the screen.

BB is set to begin filming in late November from filmmaker CJ Wallis (@fortyfps) , assuming all roles on the film's production & execution and introduces Jennifer Mae (@purplestar420) in the lead role of Candy. Two of Wallis' previous collaborators, Troy DeLottinville and Karen Kruper, have also been attached for small roles.

The film will be set to screen in festivals in early 2014.

I'll of course be following along with the film as it gets closer to release, and will continue to talk about it here. You can also check out the official Forty FPS website for updates on BB, as well as a look at all of Wallis' previous work. Also be sure and like Forty FPS on Facebook, and subscribe on Youtube

Saturday, October 19, 2013

13/13/13 Review

There's only a handful of directors who both impress and improve with each film for me. James Cullen Bressack is one of these. My first introduction to his work was the home invasion movie, Hate Crime, which blew me away. That movie has a mean streak a mile long. Next up, I got a chance to see a screener of his follow-up, To Jennifer, which was not only a good movie, but was even more impressive given that Bressack shot it entirely on an iPhone. Suffice it to say, after these two films, I am officially excited for any and everything coming down the line from this guy. Last Wednesday, I got a chance to see his latest film, 13/13/13 on VOD, and once again, I came away impressed.

13/13/13 centers around Jack, a man in the middle of a divorce, who is returning back to civilization with a group of friends after a camping trip. They stop by his soon to be ex-wife's house to pick up his daughter, and find that things are just a little bit off. He finds his wife attempting to remove the skin from her forearm in the kitchen sink, mumbling over and over again. He rushes her to the hospital, only to find even more strange behavior from it's inhabitants. Things begin to escalate, eventually turning into a full blown murderous riot, and only Jack and one other survivor, a woman named Candace, seem to be immune to the insanity. Together, the two of them attempt to escape the hospital, and make it back to his daughter, hoping that she too hasn't succumbed to the madness.

Chaos, plain and simple. That's what 13/13/13 is. Think The Crazies meets the comic book series Crossed, and you're on the right track. Things start off normal enough, but once the shit hits the fan, there is carnage all the way to the end. Too many times these kinds of movies purposely don't give any answers as to why things have gone to Hell, but thankfully that isn't the case with 13. I'm not going to spoil it like every single other review I've read, so if you want to know everything going into it, check out the user reviews at amazon.

Performance wise, I think is where 13/13/13 falls a little shorter than Bressack's previous efforts. The movie is much larger in scope than, say, To Jennifer, but I feel like it was a better acted film. That's not to say that the actors in 13 don't do an adequate job though. Erin Coker turned in my favorite performance as Candace, and Jody Barton, who also appeared in To Jennifer and Hate Crime, was once again impressive. One other interesting tidbit about the cast was Calico Cooper, as Jack's wife Marcy, who is actually the daughter of Alice Cooper. Yes, THAT Alice Cooper. Unfortunately she didn't have a big part, I would've liked to see more of her.

13/13/13 is yet another enjoyable flick on the resume of writer/director James Cullen Bressack. It's intensely violent at times, has lots of the red stuff for the gorehounds among us (including some EYE stuff!), and even has a laugh or two thrown in for good measure. I'm the kind of person who doesn't ask a lot from indie horror films, so anytime a 13/13/13 comes along, it's a pleasant surprise. It's entertaining from start to finish, and that's something that a lot of films with much bigger budgets can't say these days. Sadly, plenty of people will see Asylum on this one, and immediately dismiss it, which is a shame. Bressack fans will definitely have a blast, and there's some fun to be had here for fans of flicks like the aforementioned The Crazies, and 28 Days Later as long as you have realistic expectations going in. Recommended!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fans of AMC's Comic Book Men may remember during the show's second season that there was an episode centered around the gang at the Secret Stash pitching their very own comic book to Dynamite Entertainment. Of course, the show was edited and played up as this big dramatic thing, with the meeting with the powers that be at Dynamite, and attempted to have viewers believe that there was some chance that they would say no. Those of us who are "in the know" could easily see through the charade, being that their boss, Kevin Smith, was currently writing for Dynamite. The show also wanted us to believe that the book was the crew's first attempt at making their own comic book, and thus their "dreams were coming true", which was also a dramatic bunch of bullshit. Bryan and Walt have both worked in comics before, with two mini-series from IDW, Karney and War of the Undead respectively, and Bryan even went on to pencil two Batman mini-series written by Kevin Smith. Still, I guess it makes for good television, so I digress.

Last week, the very first issue of their Dynamite series, Cryptozoic Man arrived, and of course I was all signed up in advance to make sure I got it. Not because I'm a fanboy of the show, which I am, but no, I got it because I loved Karney and War of the Undead. Admittedly, it's hard to judge from a single issue, but Cryptozoic Man feels a little flat when compared to those two. The story centers around a man named Alan Ostman, who after suffering a great tragedy, was transformed by aliens into an amalgamation of cryptids from around the world. This first issue shows a battle between Crypto and the Pig Man, with a bit of origin thrown in via somewhat confusing flashbacks. I don't expect to be give the whole story in the first issue though, so while admittedly not having much of a clue as to what was going on, I dug it enough to keep going. If nothing else, I dig Walt's art and will buy it for that alone.

Cryptozoic Man may surprise fans of the light hearted television show Comic Book Men, as there's a bit of adult content, including some pretty nasty looking monsters, it's definitely not a book for kids. Only one issue out so far, so if it sounds like something you'd dig, or you're just a big fan of all things Comic Book Men, be sure and track down a copy and get signed up for the rest of the series. Don't know where it's going, but I know it's going to be one hell of a strange ride.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What Halloween Means to Me

I was asked by the Son of Celluloid himself to contribute to this annual "What Halloween Means to Me" blog event, wherein contributors from all corners of the horror scene talk a little bit about why Halloween is so important to him or her. If why I love Halloween sounds like something you'd like to read, you can do that right here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Win Pacific Rim on Bluray!

Pacific Rim was one of the best theater experiences I had this year, hands down. I freakin loved watching the big robots battle the giant monsters, destroying everything in their path. Check out my review here. See, FUN! Here's your chance to win your own copy on bluray. All you have to do is leave me a comment below, with your name, address, and just for fun, the name of your favorite big robot and/or monster.

Entries must be in by October 28th, so don't delay. Winner will be picked at random. Good luck!

"Each household is only eligible to win 1 Pacific Rim Blu-Ray via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Curse of Chucky Review

As a fan of franchise horror, of course I count myself among the legion of Chucky fans. I love Child's Play #'s 1-3, but I absolutely hate Bride and Seed. I'm talking like "Robocop 3" hate them. The reason is the exact same reason that I don't particularly dig the Elm Street films past 3 all that much. I will never for the life of me understand why studios take their horror icons and turn them into comedians. I do not like funny killers. Period. Curse of Chucky promised a return to the good old days of the franchise though, and while I've heard all that before, I'm happy to report that Chucky is indeed back, and back the way I like him.

The plot of Curse is one that can be enjoyed by anyone, but for long time fans has lots of winks and nudges that are fun. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm not going to say anymore than that regarding it, but do make sure you stay through the credits. 

When the first official trailer hit, I remember a lot of my fellow horror bloggers bitching about the "horrible CGI" on Chucky's face. Well, they're either way smarter than I am, or just looking for something to nitpick. I didn't think he looked bad at all, and in fact I could hardly tell his face was CG. In fact, I hardly noticed any CG, even with the kills. There was some, sure but most of the effects at least appeared practical to me, which I always enjoy. The kills were pretty good, the gore was great, and Chucky was a mean little bastard and laughed all the way through with his signature Brad Dourif giggle. 

Performance wise, Brad Dourif of course steals the show with only his voice. He isn't the only Dourif with some acting chops though, as his daughter Fiona turns in a great performance as the lead character Nica. The other notable for me was Danielle Bisutti as Nica's older sister Barb. She's one of those "so despicable it pisses you off" characters, and Bisutti totally nails it. 

When all was said and done, and the credits were rolling, Curse of Chucky had done exactly what I wanted it to do. It brought the franchise back to it's roots and completely re-ignited my excitement for the series. Why the hell this went straight to video I won't pretend to understand, I would have gladly paid to see it on the big screen. I ended up paying about the same amount to watch it on VOD at home anyway. I can't recommend this enough for fans of the original Child's Play movies, Chucky is finally back the way he's supposed to be. Now, give me more, Mancini.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Spit on Your Grave 2 Review

Rape revenge is a sub-genre that at one time I had a bit of trouble with. The act of rape is one that is unsettling for just about anyone I'd imagine, and I was no exception. Sure, I could watch decapitation all day long, and laugh all the while, but you put on Last House of the Left and I was queasy by the end. These days there's not a whole lot that gets to me that way anymore, and honestly it's kind of sad. I like it when a movie has some sort of effect on me.  I had a chance to check out the sequel to 2010's "I Spit On Your Grave" remake, and while it didn't necessarily make me wish I'd never been born, returning director Steven R. Monroe definitely came out swinging.

You basically know what kind of story you're getting with these films. A young woman is attacked by a group of men, barely survives, and comes back to get her revenge. I Spit on Your Grave 2 follows that basic formula, but does do a bit to set itself apart from the original and the remake, by doing it on a larger scale. Katie is an aspiring model, struggling to find work, when she's gets an offer to do a free photo shoot to add to her portfolio. She agrees, but doesn't go through with the shoot when she's asked to do nude photos. Later, at her apartment, she gets a visit from one of the guys, claiming he's just there to give her the photos that had been taken before she left. Things take a dark turn for the worse, and Katie is bound, gagged, and raped. Eventually, the other men from the studio arrive to clean up the mess, and they drug and kidnap her. She awakens naked, on a filthy mattress, handcuffed to a post in a dark Bulgaria, where she's forced to endure even more brutality, not only by the men from the photo shoot, but anyone willing to pay for time with her. Mercifully, she manages to escape, narrowly clinging to life and eventually returns to get her revenge.

I'm always rooting for the women in these kinds of movies when it comes down to revenge time, but people, I don't think I've ever wanted to see the attackers get their as bad as I did these fuckers. I suppose it's a testament to their respective performances as actors, but I absolutely hated these guys. That being said, the most important thing for a movie like this is for the audience to form some sort of attachment to the victim. To empathize with her as she is forced to endure whatever it is the movie has in store for her. In that regard, Grave 2 fell a little flat for me. Of course it was hard to watch what happened to Katie happen to any human being, but at the same time, holy shit was this woman stupid. Sorry, but what young, beautiful woman sitting on a bus in NY who gets a text from a random number offering to take pictures of her actually responds, let alone shows up for the shoot in this day and age? And that wasn't the only thing, but it's hard to talk about any more without spoiling some things. Jemma Dallender turns in a pretty damn good performance as Katie, it's just too bad the character was so fucking stupid.

Location isn't the only scale that Grave 2 improves upon from it's predecessor, the violence and brutality is also cranked up to 11. I remember saying after the initial rape that at least Katie didn't get it as bad as Jennifer did in the original. Then she came to in Bulgaria and I was shown just how wrong that statement was. She ends up not only physically broken, but mentally as well, and the movie doesn't shy away from any of it. Thankfully, when she finally gets her turn, she is equally as nasty, and almost every kill is oh, so satisfyingly brutal. With these two films now under his belt, I'd love to see Monroe get back to real creature features like "It Waits" and away from all the SyFy Originals crap he's been doing lately. The guy's obviously got some chops, I would love to see what he could do with a budget.

I Spit on Your Grave 2 isn't for the weak of stomach by any stretch of the imagination. It's got a mean streak, and parts of it will most likely be hard to watch for some. If you can endure Katie's torture though, the reward of watching her turn the tables is worth seeing through. An easy recommend for fan's of the 2010 remake of I Spit on Your Grave, and worth a look for anyone who will admit to being a fan of the rape revenge genre. I myself have another worthy addition to my annual Valentine's Day Rape Revenge Marathon tradition.