Makin’ Corpses

I couldn’t be more excited for Halloween falling on a friday this year and I hope everyone has a ghoulishly grand evening, but let me remind you that October 31st isn’t just a day of candy and costumes, why it also happens to be the anniversary of one of this world’s most sick and twisted inhabitants. Rising from the murky bays of San Francisco 45 years ago today, it’s Rob Schneider’s birthday and that means no one’s safe… But don’t let it get you down because he feeds on human tears and we don’t want him growing any stronger. Times have been good lately with Rob’s latest movie Big Stan being delayed until early 2009, but who knows how long we can truly be safe. It could be any day now that he could make another Deuce Bigalow, so watch yourselves.

So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repair man, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. ‘Cause you never can tell, Rob Schneider just might be in your house. Enjoy all the festivities and have a Happy Halloween my children of the night.


I hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween. Surely someone will come up with some clever holiday post later, but some craziness went down in the gaming industry this week and I just wanted to mention it to anyone who missed it.

Mercenaries 2 came out a little while ago. While the game seemed like it would be great, the demo left me fairly underwhelmed, so I passed on it. I’ll have to remedy that soon, since Sarah Palin and Barrack Obama have been announced as new downloadable player characters next week. Awesome. Just awesome. Who doesn’t want to see Palin jack a helicopter, or the O-bomb drop an A-bomb? That last joke may have been in poor taste.

This DLC is coming out because of next week’s presidential election, but Mercenaries 2 isn’t the only game to capitalize on that. On November 4, Rock Band 2 players will be able to download the 20 free DLC tracks, plus there’s a rumor going around that there will be a Presidents of the USA track pack. That’s still just a rumor though.

Speaking of Rock Band 2, Harmonix, the developers, have been tasked with creating a Beatles game. Yes, The Beatles. That’s huge. But what’s interesting is that this game does not have “Rock Band” in the title, since they want this game to be a real, career-spanning Beatles experience. That’s all well and good as long as they let us download the tracks to our system and play them in RB2.

Oh, and the Mirror’s Edge demo is out now. I haven’t played it yet, but I’m sure it’s fun.

That’s all I got, happy Halloween!

T3: Truly Terrifying

For anyone who doesn’t already know, I’ve been doing a timeline of horror movies on my personal blog, so for this week’s top ten I though it might be fun to watch some of the infamously bad entrees of the horror world… Oh how wrong I was. I’ve basically spent the past two days or so watching some of the worst horror/sci-fi movies ever to complete a list of my least favorite horror movies. I mean what’s scarier than a bad movie? But first off I got to set some ground rules and they are as follows

– I’m only gonna review movies I’ve seen all the way through.
– All of these movies must of been theatrically released in some form or another. So sorry Frankenfish today ain’t your time to shine.
– All of these films must be somewhat regarded as terrible by most.

Now I’m pretty confident with my top 6, but the last 4 could of gone any which way. I’ve seen lots of crap so it’s tough to sort through em all, but I trust you all these films are all worthy of this list.

10. Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch Project II (2000)
Synopsis: Obnoxiously revealed through flashbacks, this god awful sequel tells the tale of five annoying young adults looking for that legendary Blair Witch.

My Thoughts: More or less a pathetic attempt to capitalize off of the success of the first film, this hardly has anything in common with it’s predecessor. It’s basically just another sub par teenage horror flick but with no kind of payoff or anything. There’s probably a lot of other horror movies that I hate equally but this one has always haunted me.

Behind the Screams: Director Joe Berlinger ‘s previous experience was only with documentaries, maybe he should of stuck to documentaries.

9. Dead Silence (2007)
Synopsis: A Man returns to his hometown to search for answers to his wife’s murder, which may be linked to the ghost of a murdered ventriloquist.

My Thoughts: I know this one is pretty recent but it left quite an impact on me… The impact being that I was shocked that this was made and released in theaters. Probably one of the worst horror films I’ve seen in years. What’s scary about dummies? I mean there’s some ghost stuff going on but seriously dummies? They made a movie about a deceased ventriloquist and her menacing dummies in this day and age? It sounds like an R.L. Stine novel and I can’t believe how cliche and ridiculous this movie is. Non stop cheap scares where they just flash one those retarded dummies in your face accompanied by an incredibly bland and juvenile story. I don’t even want to think about it, makes me want to throw up.

Behind the Screams: Saw creator James Wan’s first attempt at a new film reveals him to be a one hit wonder. After this he made that critically panned Kevin Bacon movie.

8. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Synopsis: Four college students intrigued by the legend of the mad scientist Dr. Satan travel through rural America ending up in the clutches of the murderous Firefly clan… Then a bunch of other avant garde horror shit happens.

My Thoughts: Rob Zombie creates a gritty atmosphere with absolutely no redeeming qualities. All the characters bring annoying to new heights leaving you with virtually no one to root for. I just don’t care what happens to anyone in this film. I feel completely detached and uninterested in anyone’s motives and can’t find a single absorbing aspect in the whole film. Zombie is basically just looking for an excuse to show blood and guts, like we haven’t already seen that, and has absolutely no talent for the written word. The movie has about 20 minutes of story and 60 something minutes of nonsensical violent images, it’s a disgrace to filmmaking.

Behind the Screams: Shock rocker turned filmmaker Rob Zombie tries his hand at making his own gory exploitation film, resulting in a universally panned pile of cheesy moments and meandering plot threads.

7. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Synopsis: There is like this cult of Druids and people get killed and it sucks. It’s just too complicated to explain the story.. If you can call it a story.

My Thoughts: So how can we further ruin yet another mindless installment to series that’s really only had one good film? Well we’ve killed Michael Myers like four times already… How about we say that Michael Myers is possessed by “The Curse of Thorn” and add in a murderous group of Druids. What the hell kind of direction is that? I could’ve of easily picked a terrible Friday the 13th movie but this flick is far more annoying and idiotic than any slasher flick I can recall seeing. Bringing in the element of the supernatural completely ruined this series and was a laughable explanation for Michael’s behavior.

Behind the Screams: This was Donald Pleasance’s last role and as much as I love the guy, he was just getting too old for this shit. He just slowly wheezes and putters around trying to help Paul Rudd defeat the now superhuman Michael Myers, it’s a sad way to see a talented actor go, I hate this movie.

6. Hobgoblins (1988)
Synopsis: A group of Hobgoblins, who allow you to live out your fantasies and then kill you, escape from a studio vault, and a security guard and his friends must stop them before dawn.

My Thoughts:There are bad 80s movies, and then there are bad 80s movies. Hobgoblin definitely came out of that “Little Creatures” sub-genre that Gremlins created in the mid 80s. There was Critters, Ghoulies, Troll but none of them quite rivaled the confusing and sleazy mess that was Hobgoblins. All the sexual fantasies that these creatures create seem to be the main reason this movie was made leaving for an incredibly dull and insufferable viewing experience.

Behind the Screams: At least exploitation filmmaker Rick Sloane was aware of how bad this was, I mean he submitted it himself to Mystery Science Theater 3000. He likes making “Classics of Trash” as he prefers his films to be called, well I’d prefer he was dead. I keed, I keed but seriously he should never make a movie again.

5. Robot Monster (1953)
Synopsis: The evil alien “Ro-Man”, who I guess is also robot, has killed all but eight people left on Earth with his death ray and must complete his mission.

My Thoughts: First off why is the supposed “Robot Monster” a guy in a gorilla costume with a space helmet? What is he the lost member of The Banana Splits? He’s supposed to be some fearless, emotionless destroyer yet he falls for a woman in the flick of a wrist and can’t even destroy an innocent family. Your telling me this guy destroyed everyone else on Earth? C’mon everyone in this movie is a complete moron yet there all that’s left? This is just highly illogical and cheesy to the max.

Behind the Screams: Writer/Director Phil Tucker was only 25 years old when he made Robot Monster and shot it in four days on a minimal budget. That may show some great initiative, but that doesn’t change the fact that final product is embarrassing. The dialogue is juvenile, laughable and the rhythm of the film falls flat, though it has gained somewhat of a cult following for appearing on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

4. Alone in the Dark (2005)
Synopsis:Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) is a detective of the paranormal, who slowly unravels mysterious events with deadly results.

My Thoughts: This just makes me feel sorry for everyone involved. To see former star Christian Slater reach an all new low in this god awful Aliens wannabe makes me weep. I don’t even remember why there were monsters or what the hell was even going on. The script is a muddled mess of cliches and terrible writing and the acting is pretty weak. I don’t know how Uwe Boll has made a career for himself, all I know is he needs to be stopped.

Behind the Screams:Infamous for making completely unfaithful adaptations of video games, Uwe Boll is probably one of the worst filmmakers of our generation and simply has no idea what he’s doing.

3. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Synopsis: Extraterrestrials decide to cause chaos on Earth by implementing “Plan 9” a scheme to bring back the dead.

My Thoughts: It’s like this movie is nothing but errors, you got actors reading from the script, ufos hanging from strings, people knocking over cardboard tombstones, extreme continuity errors and the list goes on. The story is confusing and ridiculous resulting in an embarrassingly cheesy sci-fi disaster.

Behind the Screams: Often noted as perhaps the worst director of all time, Edward D. Wood Jr. may of had a lot of enthusiasm for filmmaking, but his rushed and extremely flawed techniques led to some of the worst movies of the 50s. The sets and effects were highly amateur and Ed really wasn’t working with much of a cast. His star in Bela Lugosi had passed away leaving only a few minutes of footage Ed shot of him (his part being completed by a chiropractor with a cape over his face) while B-movie legends Tor Johnson and Vampira completely camp it up. This one is kind of a laugh to watch, but man is it bad.

2. The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
Synopsis: A noted soviet scientist Joseph Javorsky (Tor Johnson) arrives in Yucca Flats, Nevada only to be ambushed by a pair of KGB assassins. Fleeing into the desert, Javorsky accidentally wanders on to a nuclear test site and is turned into an atomic beast who goes on a rampage.

My Thoughts: This low budget and infamously terrible Coleman Francis flick actually manages to top Ed Wood at his worst through some huge plot holes and terrible direction. Filmed without sound, the film makes heavy use of narration. The only thing is that the narrator never tells us anything we can’t already figure out. The film is so mind numbingly simple yet still contains some huge errors. For instance, our protagonists which are two cops set out after the beast with virtually no leads. They don’t know what it looks like (leading to a hilarious scene where they shoot a civilian with a rifle from a plane) they don’t know where they are going and how do they even know it’s a “Beast”? No one has any evidence in the film that the killer is not human, they just automatically assume it’s a monster… And that’s just a little taste of some of the errors.

Behind the Screams: Coleman Francis was highly known for his abysmal productions of the 50s and 60s but this one tops the cake. It was more or less an excuse to put the intimidating Tor Johnson into the role of a monster to make a few bucks, but Tor really doesn’t do much of anything here. He was severely overweight and could barely move, especially out in the desert. You basically just watch him wander around the desert for 50 minutes.

1. Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
Synopsis: A family of three take a road trip through Texas but end up taking a wrong turn, becoming the victims of a Polygamous Pagan cult.

My Thoughts: Harold P. Warren starred, directed, produced and wrote Manos forever proving to audiences that he was a complete moron. I don’t know where to begin with all the problems in this film but here are a handful.

– The film was shot without audio and overdubbed later. Thus the timing and pacing of the dialogue is always off.
– The score never seems to hit the right cues and constantly segues in and out of place.
– Endless shots of pointless scenery and characters awkwardly standing around. It’s nothing but cheap filler.
– Plot holes and technical errors? Forget about it.
– The dialogue is incredibly wooden, none of the characters motivations or decisions ever make any sense
– Actually ends with “The End?”

Behind the Screams: The story behind this stinker starts in 1966 when theater actor/fertilizer salesman Harold P. Warren made a bet with future oscar winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant that he could make a successful independent horror movie. So he arranged a crew and cast of people with little to no film experience and made what’s probably one of the worst films ever to be seen by man. I’ll admit that the first twenty minutes are pretty funny but after awhile I found myself slowly slipping into a depressed state as the film got more and more out of hand.

Other Notable abominations
Anything else by Ed Wood or Rob Zombie, I really should of watched Troll 2 but I ran out of time.

Looking at the genre it’s unfortunate that there are probably more bad horror movies than good ones, this list could of been endless. So we should be thankful for the quality freaky flicks that we have receive, and hope there will be some more classics waiting somewhere out on the horizon. So I hope you enjoyed the chronicling of my painful viewing experiences, happy haunting everyone!

Heads Up

Off with Their Heads – Kaiser Chiefs

Well it sure was a gas pumping up the rock and roll rhythm of this Leeds quintet’s latest album. Though it’s physical release has been continually delayed here in the US, it’s now due out November 19th even though it came out in the UK on October 20th, I still managed to find the album online and I believe it’s already on the US iTunes store. So what does this energetic gang have to offer us this time around? Where their last album was mostly guitar driven hard rock, Off with Their Heads shares more similarities with K.C’s first album. Now it may not have as many catchy melodies as their debut but there’s definitely some instant Kaiser classics here and plenty of fist pumping arena rock to fill up an electrified 35 minutes.

“Never Miss a Beat” is the album’s leadoff single and is a perfect representation of what this band is all about. With a grooving rhythm, sharp guitar, poppy keyboards complete with a rowdy sing-along chorus it’s K.C. at their best. The string heavy “Like it Too Much” is also a highlight and probably my favorite track on the album. I have a slight fondness for some other tracks but frankly only a few really leave an impression on me, and though I like it I still prefer the first two albums.

Something that hit me on this album is the heavy emphasis on percussion. You got woodblocks, bongos, cowbells , basically the whole shebang. So if the songs don’t immediately grab ya they’re still good to groove to. Nick “Peanut” Baines the groups keyboardist also gets to fiddle with a lot of new synths and sounds on the album, where on the last album he mostly stuck to piano, he’s playing with all sorts of crunchy and bouncy textures here and it sounds pretty cool. I’d also say there is a stronger emphasis on Simon Rix’s bass while Andrew White’s guitar playing seems to be a little less prominent and Ricky Wilson along with drummer/backup vocalist/head songwriter Nick Hodgson are fine vocal leads to these energetic Pop/Rock rumbles.

It’s funny that this is probably their best reviewed album yet, though I’m not sure why. Where it lacks in songwriting I suppose it makes up for it in the overall polished sound perfected by producer Mark Ronson and Eliot James. Off With Their Heads is probably K.C’s most accessible album, so I guess it’s good to see the gang widening their audience and hopefully they can reach a higher popularity in the states someday.

Favorite Tracks: “Like it Too Much”, “Never Miss a Beat”, “You Want History”

C.A.T.: Thriller

Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

In honor of Halloween I’ll be reviewing an album whose title track and it’s video is somewhat of a favorite this time of year, Michael Jackson’s 1982 mega-hit album Thriller.  This is the album that transformed Michael Jackson into the biggest artist of the decade, and brought him the title of the King of Pop.  There are few albums that have as much of an influence on popular music as Thriller and none that have reached it’s level of success.  It’s still the all-time best-selling album worldwide and it’s sales continue to grow as people keep coming back to it for it’s undeniable charm.

Thriller builds on the disco-influenced dance-pop sound that Jackson had established with the equally great Off The Wall album.  Quincy Jones’s production definitely has a very polished sound with lots keyboards and brass along with some undeniably catchy pop songs (four of which where written by Jackson).  M.J. was also able to have a cross over rock hit with “Beat It”, which features a sweet guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen, which only added to the massive appeal of Michael Jackson’s music at this point.
Really all of the upbeat songs here are great slices of 80’s dance pop, and even Jackson’s slower ballads like “Human Nature” and “The Lady In My Life” are have a nice soulful quality to them. However, what really makes Thriller so great are the three huge hit songs at center of the album, “Thriller”, “Billie Jean”, and “Beat It”, these are arguably the strongest singles of Jackson’s career as well as his most well known. Not to mention that their success was further enhanced by their iconic music videos.  Also the fact that 7 of the 9 tracks on the album where top 10 hits is just further proof of how incredibly huge this album was.
So after having sold over 100 million albums worldwide (no other albums come even close to that), and being an influence on every popstar wannabe that has come since, I’d say Thriller is still an album that is deserving of it’s reputation.  I guess the only complaint I have is that “The Girl Is Mine”, a duet with Paul McCartney, is pretty cheesy.  But besides that it’s easily one of the best albums of the ’80s as well as one of the best pop albums of all time. 
Favorite Tracks: “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”, “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”

Free Taco Day 2

Once again, a base has been stolen in the World Series. And while the game might have been rained out, our friends at Taco Bell are not discouraged. Which means America gets free tacos, the most American of all food.

That’s right, stop by any Taco Bell between 2 and 6 this afternoon and you’ll get a free crunchy taco. If that’s all you get, well, good on ya.

It’s true, it’s these little things in life that we really treasure.

National Media + Post Season = D’oh!

Whenever October rolls around there is always a different atmosphere in the air. The leaves are falling, it is starting to cool down and the football is in full force-but before the national pastime is put to hibernation, a champion must be crowned.

Like the Dane Cook has said in the past, there is only one October. Four teams from two leagues come together to resolve the last six months of grueling play, but as different as the national media will lead you to believe this baseball is, it is still the same game. Same rules, same players, same game.

It seems like as soon as the calendar flips to October, baseball changes completely. Television analysts throw out all of the common sense that they have learned and start using a completely different set of guidelines on how to break down what is happening in front of them.

For starters, take statistics. The regular season statistics are not shown in post-season broadcasts. Instead of just using the numbers from the regular season, which represent an accurate description of what kind of player they presently are, they give all the players a clean slate. So if Player A is 1-for-11 in post season play and Player B is 7-for-8, the former is going to be recognized as a bad player, while the latter will be praised for a heroic October performance. This sample size is absolutely ludicrous, and if it was used in a regular season context, it would have zero credibility.

Something that the national media loves to talk about is experience-but does experience really matter? What about the 1968 Mets? The 1997 Marlins? Even the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are four wins away from going worst to first. The list of teams with very little experience, but still able to perform in October goes on.

Teams that do well in the post-season do it for one reason. They do not care what month it is. They do no let pressure get to them. They realize that this is the same game they have been playing since they were little kids and these games are no different than the ones that they played in April. Good teams play good baseball no matter what the situation.

Why do people like Jayson Stark pick teams like the Angels to win the World Series over the American League East Rays or Redsox? If only baseball writers could look a little closer. The Angels played 46 percent of their regular season against three of the worst teams in baseball that call the American League West home. Texas had the next best record in the division at 79-83, four games under .500. That is pretty pathetic considering the Rays and Redsox played all year against the AL East who only had one team under .500. As for the National League not one of ESPN’s eighteen baseball experts picked the Philidelphia Phillies to go to the World Series.

A lot of writers choose predictions based on nothing but childish nostalgia and what would make their stories easier to write. Just because the Cubs have not won in a hundred years, does not mean that they are going to win, no matter how round that number sounds. Just because it would be great to write about Manny Ramirez and Joe Torre heading back to Fenway for the World Series, does not mean that it is going to happen. Predictions should be based on in-depth analysis of teams, not off of silly storylines.

So while the post-season is great, the coverage is not always the greatest. Always watch baseball objectively. The truth is out there, you just have to do the math.