23 November 2014

American Godzilla

As you probably knew, I'd be eagerly anticipating the Gareth Edwards Godzilla release this year. I saw it on its first showing in IMAX 3D after filling my belly full of sushi with my better half. As we settled into our seats and donned our 3D glasses the THX 'The audience is now (deaf) listening" promo began but instead of the usual  logo music I got the booming bellow of the Big G himself. It sent shivers all through me and I felt the first welcoming tears well up at the corners of my eyes: The King had Returned.

See to some there's Jesus, some there's Elvis, others there's Kong... but my King, my God will always be Godzilla and this was His Return finally.

For what felt like an eternity all any of us had to go on was a shadowy outline in a cloud of dust to whet our appetites... some of us lurked in fear it would be a dreaded re-hash of the 1998 fiasco, more than half my lifetime ago... others were enthusiastic at the mere notion we were getting more Godzilla finally.... then the teaser dropped and I was 90% positive we'd had a winner on our hands. So since it's still semi current I'll try and keep this review sweet and as spoiler free as possible.

You know, as a hardcore Godzilla fan overall this was the movie I'd hoped it would be, it redeemed the idea of the American Godzilla, they pit him against not one but two monsters, they utilized his greatest offensive weapons well , they handled his origin with respect and left it wide open for a sequel.
Should've stayed in the RV Heisenberg

As far as all the complaints go: Yes the human drama element leaves lots to be desired... but that's not why I'm watching a GODZILLA movie. I have always and probably will always watch a kaiju movie, just for the monster or even the monster battle... or even better yet an all out royal rumble like what we saw back in 1968's Destroy All Monsters... I honestly could care less really what's going on with the human characters.

Giving Godzilla the Jaws treatment and keeping him hidden made sense to build suspense, I get it. I still wanted more though. It'd been almost half my lifetime ago I'd seen an American Godzilla ventured, I wanted my money's worth out of it.  Like I stated though this hit all the points it needed too and excelled in others.

'Gimme yer best shot coppers!
I'm the King of the Monsters see!'
- Edward 'Godzilla' Robinson
Plus if you are familiar at all with the lost Fred Dekker/Steve Miner Godzilla project, this hits several of the points that were destined to be part of it, so I felt a certain gratification at that as well. Namely how the big showdown was in San Franciso, I would've jumped out of my chair had that happened. I'll get to this lost project in a later column though.

But we can't talk about the current incarnation of the American Godzilla without bringing up the 1998 Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin turkey of a film they passed off as Godzilla. Maybe it was just me but I picked up on a few nice small jabs at GINO (Godzilla In Name Only, or the moniker given by Toho Shin-Goji otaku) that are shown in the trailer so I can spoil.away.

Say I'm fat one more goddamn time... I dare you
Godzilla surfaces at the Golden Gate Bridge and is promptly attacked by the panicked military that nearly take out said bridge, whereas GINO was stranded and killed on the Manhattan bridge by way of missile, this Godzilla stands up directly into the blasts but he rips apart the bridge as well. This Godzilla isn't going to let a little suspension bridge or a few missiles stand in his way, oh ho no no. But, mild spoiler, in taking the direct blows Godzilla actually saves a bunch of citizens that were stopped on the bridge (including a bus full of cute little kids). 

Size Does Matter
...and apparently your lack of it
is your fatal downfall here new guy

Gino was moreso a lift from King Kong meets Jurassic Park than an actual Godzilla movie. Looking back now, 1998's Godzilla is timepiece with the emphasis on disposable Kodak cameras, Taco Bell, and a heavy rotation on the Puff Daddy/Jimmy Page collaboration on the soundtrack as well as the David Bowie cover by The Wallflowers helped push the film but couldn't help it thrive. It was a summer popcorn movie and just like the camera it pushed in the movie: entirely disposable.

But I did notice a few other similarities to the two. Observe. Again nothing spoiling here as it's all trailer material.

About to surface in San Fran (2014)
Ol' Joe caught a bit more
than he bargained for in the East River (1998)

I always wondered how the hell he made that hole
I mean did he just dash right through it? (1998)

 This was a bit more obvious... (2014)

Zilla 'triumphant'
A New Reign of the King

In final summation: I say give it a shot.Especially with the holiday season upon us what's but a little more reflection on that childhood nostalgia? No better time to break up the old holiday reruns and Christmas specials and odd number variations on the tellings of Dicken's A Christmal Carol?

But if you're sharp-eyed enough you'll notice some definite foreshadowing nods and hints of things to come... of course if you were on Twitter around the time of Comic Con you caught this:

Then there's been this image floating around heavily as well: 

Bur right around this time Legendary also announced their take on a new King Kong movie... meaning they have the rights to both Godzilla and Kong at the same time... this can only hopefully mean we get another epic rematch I've waited a long time to see as well....

 This goes on my Christmas wish list as something I want to see happen.... right up there with a Resident Evil Capcom beat-em-up arcade game and an Aliens vs Predator reboot... 

04 November 2014

Cult movies that ruin perfectly good songs

That face you make when the wrong song comes on
or when you've just been Rick Rolled, again

 If you're horror-mined like me, the simplest of things can take you back to a horror movie... when I'm at work it's typically the music... sometimes that's not always a good thing depending on the song or my own mood... here are some classics of shudder-worthy songs if you've seen the right movie:
This can be because of his theme song of impending doom or just when someone is getting their sick jollies with a sharp object... on that note... how about a little fire scarecrow?

Reservoir Dogs
"Torture you? That's a good idea. I like that."
 Song: Stealer's Wheel - Stuck in the Middle With You [Scene: NSFW]

After a botched jewelry heist, psychotic Mr. Blonde is left to his own devices, namely a straight razor alone with a cop. The results are something similar to the outcome of the Tyson/Holyfield fight... intense for it's time and even now for it's brutality

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes anyone?
LeadBelly - Where Did You Sleep Last Night 
What is it about old tinny music being played in a horror movie that does it every time? Jennifer Love Hewitt goes looking for clues about ol Billy Blue and this happens to be playing on the record player shortly before being threatened by a knife wielding Anne Heche.You might be more familiar with the Nirvana cover version from Unplugged in New York [And this version is fucking brilliant too if you ask me]

Blue Velvet

Roy Orbison - In Dreams [NSFW: Dennis Hopper's Language]

Everything about Lynch's Blue Velvet is completely surreal and dreamlike/nightmarish already.. Seeing Dean Stockton lip sync this one while watching the twitching raw nerve that is Dennis Hopper's mood shift from complacent to near violence all in one as Kyle MacLachlan stares on in confused horror, we're right there with him. Later Kyle gets his face worked over to this song before being humiliated at the hands of Hopper to this tune.

American Psycho

"Do you like American Psycho, Al?"

Huey Lewis - Hip To Be Square [NSFW: Violence]
After being slighted and mildly offended on more than one occasion, Christian Bale takes coworker Jared Leto out for dinner, gets him drunk and takes him back to his apartment. Then while discussing the merits and message behind Huey Lewis and Hip to be square calmly dons a plastic rain slicker. He then pops an unknown prescription pill, grabs an axe, and casually moonwalks back to his victim and buries said axe in his face without so much of a hint of expression save for a quick glance in the mirror before killing time.

[Huey Lewis himself would parody this scene getting his revenge on Weird Al for I Want A New Duck

Pulp Fiction

"Bring out the gimp"
The Revelers - Commanche

Watch every straight male in the room clench in fear when this comes on if they're paying attention. Violent gangster Rhames suffers being hit by a car and beaten by boxer Willis, then kidnapped by a redneck shop owner and sodomized by his cop friend. Bad day. Thankfully Willis does the right thing and just-so-happens to find a Hattori Hanzo sword just sharp enough to get some revenge with...

Kill Bill
Bernard Herrmann- Twisted Nerve [Whistling Song]

Nothing like a one-eyed whistling psychopath signaling your imminent doom if you've heard them do it a hundred times before... plus I've heard enough weirdos downtown doing this trying to be hip or cool and I get it everytime, it was clever once. Now, not so much anymore. All the same still creepy the one time I heard it reverberate across a few floors of the plaza I was working in serving coffee once upon a time.


The Rolling Stones - Time Is On My Side

Great. A pyscho with a taste for the classics. This time it happens to be the (literal) immortal anthem of a serial killer played by Elias Koteas (Casey Jones, how could you??) or by anybody (again, literally) his spirit happens to be inhabiting at the time much like Wes Craven's little known classic Shocker

Jeepers Creepers
Why thank you, they're from That Apple Guy
Four Modernaires- Jeepers Creepers

Forget classic rock and roll. See aforementioned comment about old tinny music being played at a time of terror. This song announces the coming of The Creeper. With the ending of poor Justin Long and hearing the same tune playing over and over throughout the movie, we should've... seen it coming

A Clockwork Orange


Malcolm McDowell - Singing in the Rain [NSFW, TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual violence, rape]

Malcolm and his droogs ransack a writers flat and beat him senseless all the while in time and tune to Singing in the rain before making him watch as they rape his wife. Later in the film when he is miraculously rescued by the same writer some years later, he belts it out in the bath this making the man remember just who he is. Suffice to say its the most disturbing musical scene in a movie but a Kubrick classic nontheless but still hard to stomach.

27 October 2014

Double Tap Reviews: Double Dose of Dekker - Night of the Creeps vs Monster Squad (THRILL ME!)

Fall always meant October which meant monsters and horror movies but it also meant back to school (which had usually begun just after Labor Day). Me being me and a lover of the classics Fred Dekker brings them all back in a lovely pair of my favorite films: Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad released in 1986 and 1987 respectfully; they stand out as a pair of rare classic gems of the 80's. The 1980's was a period in horror movie history that tried almost desperately to separate itself from its origins and move away from the vampires, werewolves zombies and mummies and had become overly saturated and fascinated with slashers and gore.
Monster Squad hooks us with this backstory that gives us every indication how this movie is going to be taken, and it is Excellent!

If this doesn't at least make you chuckle then move on to Night of the Creeps. That said however, it's a pretty fun movie about how Dracula assembles the cast of the classic Universal Monsters (Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and even the Wolfman) to try to take over the world in the name of darkness and the only ones to the stand in their way are the kids you picked on at the playground who read Famous Monsters of Filmland and played Dungeons and Dragons.
Aren't they cute?

My friend TJ from over at Warning Signs  and I had something of a debate/quick capsule summary about this movie some time ago:

 "Monster Squad" is not just about a fight with Dracula and his gang of monsters. It is also -- and more importantly -- about facing bullies, dealing with disintegrating marriages, struggling with the remnants of fascism, and coping with puberty. Didn't know that, did you? (OK, Single Bullet Theory, you probably knew.)

My response: It's also the fact that the Wolfman's got Nards, the Creature steals Twinkies, Mummies prefer the closet, the Monster makes for a good babysitter, Dracula made the name Alucard cool before Castlevania 3, your first isn't always your "First" since that one doesn't count and one sticky-fingered teenage delinquent can take on a small band of monsters near single-handedly. 

That about sums about The Monster Squad quite succinctly. Next up is Night of the Creeps which is another treat of a flick. It starts off in black and white 1950's sorority row like the fabled escaped maniac on the loose with an axe campfire tale and a UFO crashing with a bizarre alien experiment. Fast forward to modern day 1986: Chris Romero (as in George) and James Carpenter (JC) Hooper (like Tobe Texas Chainsaw Massacre Hooper) are trying to fit in, or at least, JC is trying to help Chris fit in to get Cynthia Cronenberg's attention. To do so they have to steal a corpse and drop it on a frat's doorstep, easy enough as far as pranks go right? 

"Hi I'm Johnny Knoxville
and this the 'Zombie Apocalypse'!"
Interesting point of trivia: Note the tag on the wall
 Well, yeah, assuming though you didn't just UNcryogenically freeze the literal patient zero that's loaded to the cranial gills with the sluggy Creeps and about to burst. If you've never seen Night of the Creeps you're probably familiar with this concept that was revisited/ripped off (depending on your camp) in James Gunn's 2006 creepy crawly horror dark comedy Slither.

The slugs infest some the local pet life and cause all sorts of hell... one of the best scenes is when a zombie dog sits in the middle of the road causing a busload of drunken frat boys on their way out to the big dance wrecks it, allowing the dog to go on his merry way infected the whole lot of them. 


After that it's up to little ol Chris and the overcoat sporting, one-liner uttering, cigarette smoking, whiskey drinking
hard-boiled noir-styled detective throwback of Ray Cameron played expertly by Tom Atkins to get the right tool for the job for handling a shitton of zombies (naturally): a flamethrower

Did I mention real fucking ugly zombies?

From there it's loads of head exploding, slug igniting and assorted zombie carnage, well worth the revisit to the college days of the 1980's and a definite throwback/homage film. 

Drive in totals for both flicks:
-Too many dead bodies walking around either filled with slugs or trying to suck your blood than you can shake a severed limb at
-Flamethrower SlugFu
-Werewolf Nut Fu
-Two classic 80's montages, one with a catchy tune and several counts of juvenile thievery and the other with 6 boobs for a total of an 8 in-movie total (likely to be censored on TV, shame on you Ted Turner, thank you and don't sue me Joe Bob)
-Enough nostalgia to make you dread getting up and going to school er work in the morning and crave a bowl of cereal and wish for Saturday morning cartoons again

Monster Squad - 0 splatter 3 skulls

Night of the Creeps - 7 splatter 3 skulls

21 October 2014

Year of NECA

Time was that McFarlane Toys was the absolute shit when it came to movie authentic looking toys... and NECA had lots of ground to cover... well with one well-timed toy at San Diego Comic Con 2013 they kickstarted a whole new revolution of toys with figures in their 8-bit color schemes which has taken off like wildfire. It started with Jason then it went to Freddy then it went onto Robocop
and then the Predator...
NECA toy above and NES screen below
...then they went all out on the Mego-styled Jason known as the #trujason which was a Toys R Us exclusive and hard as fuck to track down but was a bigger and slightly different variation from the SDCC '13 exclusive figure....

Next up in this great series of releases are Batman
...why yes Castle Geekskull, suddenly Wild! Berry Pop-Tarts
do sound good all of a sudden...
and Rambo

My only hope is someday for an 8-bit Godzilla...


19 October 2014

The Great Pumpkin Part II: The Revenge - Taking Matters Into My Own Hands

Yeah, this is about how I feel about the whole "Pumpkin Spice" concept
Having been fed up with what is being mass marketed as "pumpkin spice" I decided I'd try my own hand at it and see what turned up. Little known fact is I can be quite handy in the kitchen when it comes to cooking and baking from time to time if I do say so myself quite modestly and humbly. This, however would be something entirely different. I've never cooked with pumpkin before.
Thankfully there's boxed mixes for this to help people like me at times like this too lazy to pick and choose from the multitude of recipes from the internet!
First up was the reason I decided to give this whole crazy idea a whirl in the first place:

Never saw this brand or this kind of thing until I saw it on a discount rank at the store and the proverbial Last of the Mohicans and figured like ol' Jack Burton: What the hell. There was a recipe for pumpkin bars on there, add part of a can and voila. So I went home and did just that and they didn't turn out too bad. But it needed to look like the box, so I added a layer of cream cheese icing. Then I decided to get creative: so I made a maple syrup glaze for some pumpkin seeds I that toasted in the oven to top it with. The maple was a nice counterpoint to the creamcheese which went nice with the pumpkin bar overall. Though never satisfied with my own results I tested them out and was met with favorable reviews, so huzzah!

Next up: Good old fashioned Pillsbury Quick Bread, simple enough right? Yeah well, cooking with part pumpkin and part egg makes for strange cooking times and stranger results... let's just leave it at that and chalk it up as a mulligan and a to-be-continued later.
How could I fuck that up you ask? Skill my dear reader, pure skill on my part to ensure that I leave chaos in my wake whether I choose to or not. It's my curse at times.

My other curse at times is to want to try some of the things I see on TV or the internet... sometimes they lead to great things! Other times... like all those years in shopping carts... not so much... this on the other hand looks like a bit of pure genius and I want to try it:

So this is in the works at some point in the very near future having just come back from an excellent day at the pumpkin patch with my pumpkin queen, who was the one who decided we needed to try this idea after having shown her the clip. Let you know how this turns out!

12 October 2014

Halloween Munchies!

I'm no stranger to raiding the kitchen cupboards at all hours of the night whenever I'm working... school or for pleasure here... Halloween offers the once a year opportunity to not only shop for household decorations finally but also have spooky fun munchies to go along with our inevitable candy caches. First up the Cheetos Bag o' Bones. These white cheddar puffs are in the perfect shape to form  human skeleton or if you're warped like me or Dr. Moreau, you begin playing God with them!

I saw these in an article by Dinosaur Dracula and knew then I need some, badly. Then about a week ago my beautiful partner in crime brings me a bag without even knowing these were on my shopping list for when I went on my annual Count Chocula Hunt. Have I ever mentioned I love her?

Mike and Ike Vampire Variety and Mummy's Mix:

Mike and Ikes were one of my favorite non-chocolate candies growing up.
The Mummy Mix is delightfully fruity mix that will fill my Yummy Mummy void with it's Lemon, Orange, Grape, Lime and Raspberry flavors while the Vampire Variety is equally good but not as vibrant with the flavors of Cherry, Raspberry, Grape Watermelon and Fruit Punch, but they are varying shades of red and purple... so I get where they were going.
Last I had heard Mike and Ike had since gone their separate ways due to 'creative differences'... but looks like I was wrong thankfully, I mean Twinkies going extinct temporarily was one thing (I've since heard they've been removed from the Endangered Snack Species List and are thriving in the wild once more), but Mike and Ike divorcing? That's almost too much...

...but speaking of comebacks! Ho-ho-ho was I in for a surprise when I spied with my little eye at the store the other day, none other than Scary Cakes!! (Dinosaur Dracula strikes again!)
Hello childhood my old friend
I've come to talk with you again!
Something about Hostess cupcakes and that oh-so-delicious orange icing... it's like the crack of my childhood...

Sadly there is no Yummy Mummy or Fruit Brute despite being told by the GM people otherwise... but there are these yummy treats however!
Count Chocula Treats
Boo Berry & Frankenberry Fruit Rollups
I need a small cache of all of these to munch sometime in February or March when the weather is miserable and Halloween couldn't seem any further away. The Count Chocula Treats definitely hit the satisfying craving for chocolate and the Berry flavored roll ups are the same fruity chewy gooey goodness you remember from lunch as a kid.

Speaking of which, the only thing still on Every Halloween Lover's Wishlist is the RETURN OF ECTO COOLER ALREADY!! The best we have currently is a recipe from Ghostbusters Chicago and a
  protest on Facebook to bring it back (which seems to have worked for Surge *HINT HINT Coca Cola*)

Embracing the Great Pumpkin Season

The Great Pumpkin Massacre from
Fright Rags
Tis the season for fall colors, bags of leaves, hoodies, horror movies and home cooking... but also Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING. See after nearly 3 years of working at a certain green-aproned coffee chain I grew to hate the mere idea of pumpkin anything (except the bread, I could nosh on that all day). So as part of my full embracing of the season (something I decided to do early this year post-Williams suicide as a means of snapping out of my funk) I have decided to try everything pumpkin I can come across this season.
First stop: Krispy Kreme.
The first offerings of the season are the Pumpkin Cheesecake glazed donut and the Pumpkin Spice cake donut. The latter is AMAZING and I'm always a sucker for a good cake donut. It had just the right amount of pumpkin spice to it and the texture was amazing fresh out of the oven. I just wish I could've said the same for the Pumpkin Cheesecake. The brown crumbles on top I can only suppose were either supposed to be the spice or the crust of the cheesecake, I couldn't tell for sure. As I bit into the creme-filled donut my pallete was immediately overtaken with the sharp cheesecake tang with little to no noticeable pumpkin notes. If they were there they were lost in the cheesecake part. Stick with the pumpkin spice cake donut.

I tried for redemption on the pumpkin cheesecake by turning to Sara Lee... because I mean who doesn't like Sara Lee?
I don't, that's who
'Product may appear differently than pictured' has been said for good reasons sometimes

So next up I happened across these two odd flavors of M&M's: Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn, which I will summarize as succinctly as possible:

"Hmm... ok, not bad, tastes like crunchy chocolate candy corn."

*munch munch* Gah! *ptoo!*
Ok... I knew this was not going to be easy... pumpkin can be a difficult flavor to pin down at some points... I might just have to take matters into my Own hands if I want this done right.