Friday, April 30, 2010

Hunter's Vests Jersey

Pity the New York Islanders. Ever since their success in the early 1980's, they have been a franchise on the decline and they can't seem to get up. From the single most criticized makeover ever in those Fisherman jerseys in 1995, which coincided with the team's initial demise, to now, and their troubles of being competitive while awaiting word on a new arena on Long Island, they just can't catch a break.

In between the valleys, they managed to get their heads above water in the early 2000's, when ownership changed hands and they made a couple of big trades, both of which would actually come back to bite them in their rears years later. First would be the trade with Ottawa Senators, which saw Zdeno Chara and the first round pick in 2001 that would become Jason Spezza go to Ottawa for disgruntled Senators star Alexei Yashin. Chara would have some success as a Senator before winning the Norris Trophy as a Boston Bruin while Spezza is currently the Senators' top center. Yashin had success early on, but the ridiculous signing of a 10 year contract by the Islanders caused Yashin's numbers to drop and the Islanders are still on the hook for that contract even though Yashin is no longer on the team. The other move involved Roberto Luongo, who was deemed expendable by the team and shipped to the Florida Panthers. There, he put great numbers despite a bad team in front of him, and before the 2005-2006 season, he was sent to Vancouver in another trade that is one of the worst ever, but that's a story for another day. The guy the Islanders kept? Rick DiPietro, who looked like a superstar before signing a 15 year deal and getting hurt...often.

Things did not look any better for the Islanders in 2002 when they introduced their third jerseys. Look at the picture and ask yourself who the creative genius was behind that. The navy blue darts that are on either side of the Islanders logo look horribly out of place and the orange rarely ever works on any jersey except for the Flyers. Not as evident, but still noteworthy is the rather skinny numbering on the jersey, which from a fair distance, would make the numbers hard to read.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

NHL Playoffs update

So, the Capitals choked...yet again. There goes half of my Stanley Cup Predictions, and now on to the second round. The following are the match ups and the predictions for those series, with the numbers following representing the games each team will win.


Montreal Canadiens v. Pittsburgh Penguins (1-4)

Philadelphia Flyers v. Boston Bruins (4-3)


Detroit Red Wings v. San Jose Sharks (4-2)

Vancouver Canucks v. Chicago Blackhawks (4-3)

On a different note, fuck off, Phoenix Suns.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Taking a few days off...

I got back into town last night, and there is a lot of catching up to do, namely transcribing the Moonsorrow interview, compiling a show review for the show that is displayed on your left, and numerous album reviews that I have now officially fallen behind on. So, a lot of things will have to wait until the load gets lighter, like this blog. That means no movie musings, hockey talk (other than the Canucks), and no complete and utter idiocy for a few. Until next time, only twelve more wins in the Operation 16W for the Canucks and keep fighting the good fight, Portland Trailblazers.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kansas City Scouts

Ever wonder why Kansas City has had trouble as far as attracting a pro hockey team? Whether it was the Penguins back in 2005 before they reached an agreement for a new arena in Pittsburgh or the Predators, who may still be a reality if ownership follows through (this also goes for the Islanders), Kansas City just simply cannot get a hockey team. When they have had a hockey team, they fail after a specific period of time, whether the reason is the league folding (the Blades of the IHL), or just being set up to fail (Outlaws of the UHL), the city just simply has some hard luck with hockey teams.

Now, the failures haven't been limited to just hockey, with the Athletics calling Kansas City home before leaving for Oakland in baseball and the Kings moving to Sacramento in basketball. However, no pro team failure looms larger than the NHL team that the city had called the Scouts. That team lasted only two years (1974-1976) before moving to Denver to become the Colorado Rockies. Of course, that incarnation didn't last long either before moving to New Jersey to become the Devils. Poor attendance and poor on-ice performance were cited as the biggest reasons for the failed stint in the NHL pool for Kansas City. However, one could surmise that the jerseys that the team wore were an ugly combination of the primary colors. Now, look at the jersey and ask yourself if the combination would have benefitted from one less color. Perhaps, but that's a moot point now, as the Scouts are merely a footnote in the now-New Jersey Devils history.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tales From the Loony Bin

To mark the occasion of this, the third time that I have been in Portland, OR, today will be a look at a movie that is quite obscure, and has gone under quite a few names since its release in 1972. The Roy Ward Barker directed Asylum is a movie that is divided into four short stories about a prospective doctor whose job is to find out who is Dr. B. Starr by interviewing four different people who are in confinement at the asylum.

The first story involves a woman and her plot to get rid of a woman who was betrothed to a man she loved. Unbeknownst to her, the woman had studied voodoo, which meant that after she was hacked to pieces, she somehow killed the man and the parts started going after her. The second story is told by a tailor who had tried to make a suit for a person using an unusual fabric that brought anything to life, even the dead. The third story is told by a woman who had been in the asylum before and was being monitored after the first release. The final story is told by a doctor who tries to transfer his soul to an automated miniature version of himself, complete with oversized head.

The movie itself is pretty campy and often makes no sense if you don't go through the entire stories. Also known as House of Crazies, this movie is a little slow in its pace, and there isn't much in the way of gore to speak of, but the overall camp value is pretty good if you need a change of pace from the usual fare of gore and violence.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Lost Canucks Jersey

I'm in Portland, and I have no movie planned for today's musings. The NHL playoffs are still going, and my Canucks will still be playing by the time I get back home, so to that end, why not do another jersey. I know I covered a Canucks jersey earlier (you know the one, the Flying V jersey), but today's piece covers one of the more obscure Canucks jerseys in their 40-year plus history.

This jersey (see picture) was worn in 1996 as the team's third jersey that year. Like the ill-fated "Burger King" jersey and "Wild Wing" jersey, this jersey lasted just one season and likely was worn for the minimum number of games required. Unlike many of the other jerseys though, this is one of the least remembered jerseys, as it wasn't particularly bad, nor did it extend beyond the season in which it was introduced. The black and orange half design was kind of odd, like many of the other jerseys introduced at the time, and while it wasn't particularly creative, it wasn't either cartoonish or a big mess.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

After Forever interview from January 2008

With only a few more hours until I leave for another metal music weekend in Portland, OR, I bypassed the horror film review in favor of reprinting an old interview I did for a webzine called Living For Metal. Even though the webzine, and the band I interviewed here After Forever, are no longer around, both things provided an opportunity for me that I am grateful for having. The following After Forever interview with vocalist Floor Janssen was conducted in late December 2007 and was published in January 2008 on Living For Metal.

Peter Santellan: For those who are just getting into After Forever, would you say a few things about the band that they should know?
Floor Janssen: We are a melodic female fronted metal band from The Netherlands, started in 1995, and released 5 full length albums, a mini album and quite some singles. We are one of the heaviest female fronted bands, have a very energetic live show and a cool website ( with all info you can think of, cool pictures, videos, etc.
PS: This year, the band released the self-titled album on Nuclear Blast. In what ways does the band benefit from having a relatively large record label compared to your former label, Transmission Records?
FJ: Our music is suitable for a very international market and with that smaller label, we noticed we couldn’t grow any bigger across the border (or in our own country).
With a better promotion and especially distribution, we can take that step forward. Next to that, NB is very experienced in metal and also female fronted metal; and we found that important as well.
PS: In addition to the album, the band made a video for the first single “Energize Me.” Would you give some of the details about the making of the video?
FJ: First of all, that it was an awesome experience! Especially for me in that water tank. I had to learn to dive in 30 minutes. It was 4 meters down which causes quite some pressure on your ears if you don’t know what you’re doing and it still had to look good.
Also the fire takes where fun, fire and cameras all around me. The take in the wind with the band was great to do as well, and also where we lie down in a layer of soil, we were freezing! But the results were so amazing that I look back to two amazing days (and one of them was my 26th birthday!).
PS: One of the strongest points on the album, at least according to me, are the ballads, particularly Cry With a Smile and Dreamflight. How do you think they fit in with the style of music that the band is striving for and what are some of your favorite songs off the album?
FJ: I can’t say Dreamflight is a ballad though. This 10 minute epos shows all facets of the bands music, from small and ballad like to heavy, to symphonic and classical, to progressive… this very song contains all AF ingredients and that kind off answers the question, we write music with many faces, very diverse to keep it interesting and because we can and we like it!
PS: First impressions are often the hardest things to make, particularly when it comes to a new label. Having said that, the choral and orchestral arrangements on the album are well done and amplify the band’s sound. What thought processes go into making such arrangements work?
FJ: A lot. We didn’t start writing with the knowledge we would be able to work with an entire symphonic orchestra. We always have had more orchestral things, but now we had the chance to really work out complete scores for an orchestra. Joost, our keyboard player, also wrote the arrangements so we have someone within our own band that can do this (which makes us special again because most bands need to hire people for this).
Being able to do this ourselves has lots of advantages because we, as band members, always know best what we want and we got the maximum out of it!
PS: Along with a new album comes a tour. The United States tour kicked off with ProgPower USA. How did that experience go for the band as a whole?
FJ: Great! We had never toured the US before and we kicked off as headliner of the ProgPower festival, a huge honor! After that, we did some club shows as headliner and in support of several bands (Overkill, Sonata Arctica, and Finntroll). We noticed the differences in club tours between Europe and the US in many ways and felt how it is to go back to playing in front of an entirely new audience. But we were so surprised to see how many people already knew us, how many older albums we have been signing, great!
And as you all know, the US is kind of big, so we want to come back ASAP to discover more about it and to meet more people!!!
PS: During the band’s set, there were some technical problems, yet the band managed to keep it going. Has there been anything similar that has happened in previous shows that you can recall?
FJ: You mean at ProgPower, yep, we had them before, many times. Every band is dependent on electric machines. Hired stuff is always a risk (your own equipment, you know better and is more reliable) but it’s impossible to take an entire backline with you as a band who flies overseas. So we had some trouble, but I sang with the audience, which was fun and it soon was ok again.
PS: The evening ended with the All-Star Jam, which included some musicians from the bands that played over the three days. What were some of the memories that you take from the event?
FJ: It was, to start with, great to be on stage with the band that played all the songs, which was mostly singers from other bands as guests and the Norwegian band Pagan’s Mind played all the stuff. They were amazing and had an awesome sound and we had a great connection from the first moment off at the rehearsal already. I was very excited and nervous even, but it all went great. I started the jam with Europe’s Final Countdown. Unfortunately my microphone didn’t work on the PA (but did on my in-ear monitor and all other monitors on stage). So on stage, we had no idea we did an entire song without my voice on the PA. They made us do the entire song and at the moment we stopped someone came running on the stage to give me another mic, that was the moment I realized no one heard a single note, but the audience really wanted a second chance so we did the song again, with my voice hearable for the audience as well.
After that, I sang Alone from Heart (my personal highlight of the evening!) and I sang the Ayreon/After Forever version of the Queen song ‘Who wants to live forever’ together with Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear. It was great to be amongst such a talented musicians that day, a wonderful experience!
PS: Are there goals that the band would like to achieve in the near future?
FJ: Many J Our world became bigger with more opportunities in more countries, the US is one of them (and the biggest of course) so we want to keep on touring as much as possible to keep spreading the word! We also have had the desire for many years to make a live DVD. Hopefully we can finally make one coming year, we are depended on our previous label who has been the reason its still not there yet. We work really hard to get it done though!!!
PS: Are there any words of wisdom that you would like to give the readers?
FJ: Stay metal and keep on buying albums and keep coming to concerts!!!
This music industry is dying because everybody seems to think music is for free on the internet. Well, it’s not and the more cd’s you download, the less chance there is for a new one to be recorded. Think about that and I hope to see you all very soon at one of our concerts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Baby Food Jersey

In the early 2000's, the Nashville Predators felt the need to introduce a third jersey to the world. Given that their home and away jerseys were unique, to say the least, one had to wonder what the team would unveil that could possibly get people's attention. The end result is what you see in the picture above.

Now, stop and tell me if a mustard colored jersey can intimidate anybody. No? I didn't think so. The fact that the mustard color looks like someone threw up on the jersey doesn't help matters, nor does the altered logo, which actually looks less intimidating than the primary logo. The collar design is weird, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is too bad that the jersey's mustard color dominates the view, as one would need sunglasses to reduce the glare of something that just screams vomit.

Running With the Idiots

Finally, after about six and a half years of having a DVD case that was chewed up by a friend's dog handed to me, I got around to trying to watch the movie that was encased within the mangled cover. And as you can probably imagine, it was an exercise in trying to get through Shatter Dead, emphasis on the word "trying."

The plot, with the source coming from the ever reliable Wikipedia:

Shatter Dead is a zombie film set in an unknown area following a woman named Susan's (Stark Raven) attempt to return to the apartment of her boyfriend (Daniel 'Smalls' Johnson) in the midst of the return of the dead to a semblance of life. On her way, she is harassed by a preacher (Robert Wells) and a dead woman named Mary (Flora Fauna) intent on convincing her that being undead is preferable to life.

The director of this debacle is one Scooter McCrae, and this film looks like it was definitely made on a $500 budget, as the camera used was likely one that a vacationer would use in capturing something for home movies and the makeup and blood effects look even worse. Acting is almost nonexistent, which is best (or worst) displayed by some guy that calls himself The Preacher Man. If I wanted someone to convert me to their way of thinking, I would not want to call on this guy, as he is the least convincing preacher ever. On paper, the storyline is excellent, but one has to execute such a story, and that is where McCrae falls woefully short. Not helping matters is a scene where a couple of fruitcakes start shooting up the house where Susan is holed up in, with one of them saying as he kicks in the door, and I quote, "Prepare to be physically challenged!" Since when did Double Dare become associated with a zombie movie, anyway? The violence is wonderful and there is some full frontal, so parents should hide the children when watching this film. However, that is not enough to make Shatter Dead anything more than a curiosity watch.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lost My Mind

Yesterday was to have been a toss up between Shadow: Dead Riot and Shatter Dead. However, I got sidetracked and never got to either one. Of course, it's easy to be distracted this time of year, with the NHL and NBA playoffs going on, that I haven't even warmed up to the MLB season that's going on now. So, today is a trip back through the mental vaults and a movie that I was deeply disappointed with after it was over. It's worse than Andrew Alberts taking a dumb penalty that kills my beloved Canucks' chances of winning a game and maybe as bad as the Sharks choking in the playoffs (again). Yes, the movie in question is Unhinged.

Some back story on this movie, the film was banned in 1983 due to its graphic violence and nudity, and was literally pulled-off shelves nationwide. It was later given a DVD release in 2004. I don't necessarily know about the former, but the latter would probably have been the bigger reason for such a move by Britain. To say that this movie was sorely lacking in the violence department would be an understatement. The plot is rather clichéd, as three women on their way to a jazz festival crash their car in an abandoned area, and I seriously doubt that a stick would cause such a huge wreck. The women find a house and stay with a family there. What they don't know and will find out soon is that the family holds a rather murderous secret.

Aside from the women taking showers and one of the women taking an ax to the stomach and brutalized, there just simply isn't anything really worth seeing in Unhinged. The secret of one of the family members is quite disturbing, which at least, makes the ending worth watching for curiosity purposes. The filming is quite shoddy, as it is rather lo-fi, especially when one of the women meets her demise in bed with an ax to the head, which I might add, looks like someone glued the ax to her head and isn't graphic at all. Talk about false advertising!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The beginning of an era

Anyone who has followed the career of one Bruce Campbell knows all about some of his exploits. Well, if someone were to ask me where it all began, I would simply direct them to the 1981 classic Evil Dead. The success of this film not only spawned two sequels that were just as good, but also brought Campbell into the consciousness of many a horror fan, as well as a well documented following.

Evil Dead was shot on a $375,000 budget that was raised by a group of friends from Michigan and was filmed in a small town called Morristown, Tennessee. In the movie, five college friends Shelly, Linda, Scott, Cheryl, and Ash travel to an abandoned cabin in Tennessee where they discover a book of the dead and soon find out the horrible secrets that the cabin held via the recording device. The plot is simple enough, but it the movie begins in earnest when Cheryl gets lost in the woods and raped by trees. Read that last part and tell me if the movie gets any better than that. It gets better, as a now possessed Cheryl is locked in the basement and soon, everyone except Ash is possessed by the spirit that was unleashed from the book of the dead. Comedy moments come in the form of the possessed Cheryl mocking Ash as he tries to tend to an injured Scott, as well as a hacked up Linda still trying to move.

There aren't many people who consider themselves horror fans that haven't seen this movie and if you are one of them, it would be wise to remedy that right away.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Inside the Perimeter

Another side effect to yesterday's events is that now, I have the ol' writing pipeline backed up. So, in an effort to get it back to normal, I will subject you to a second dose of writing today. Helping out is that I managed to finish yet another disturbing piece by relative newcomer Alan Spencer. Having released his first book The Body Cartel back in September 2009, it didn't take long for him to come out with another book in the form of Inside the Perimeter: Scavengers of the Dead.

Inside the Permieter is a departure from The Body Cartel in the sense that this one has more of a B-movie feel to it. Imagine Night of the Living Dead in literary form if zombies had somehow found a way to keep living even after being shot in the head. The central story surrounds Boyd Broman, a detective that was falsely imprisoned for murder and eventually thrown into what is called "The Perimeter" under the premise of finding Hayden Grubaugh and capturing him in exchange for his freedom. However, "The Perimeter" is an enclosed area that is the size of a small town that is infested with zombie-like creatures who can only be killed by being set on fire. Since these creatures are hard to kill, many who are thrown into "The Perimeter" are often prisoners whose sole purpose is to provide parts for the creatures. Aside from a few of the prisoners whose deaths are detailed in single chapter segments, much of the story focuses on Boyd and Hayden, with only a couple of other characters joining the story halfway through to provide some depth to the story. One of the things that makes the book worth reading is that it gives the viewer little time to breathe, as the constant attacks from the zombie-like creatures keep things interesting. One could argue that Inside the Perimeter takes some of its cues from director George Romero, in that the book also includes some social commentary. While it is more obvious than any of the Romero films, it doesn't detract from the overall content of the book.

In many respects, Inside the Perimeter is an improvement in that it focuses more on the central characters instead of bogging down the story with multiple characters. However, like The Body Cartel, there is an inordinate amount of graphic violence that would definitely not be recommended for the younger set or for the weak of stomach.

Day Old French Cheese

So, yesterday morning brought about some unexpected news and as a result, the scheduled piece for that day had to be pushed today. From the land of wine and cheese comes a piece of rather perverse horror from Jean Rollin. While I have never really checked out most of his films, I have in fact, checked out today's movie La Morte Vivante, or as the English speaking folks like to call it, The Living Dead Girl.

The beginning of this movie cuts to an industrial plant where a van with chemicals makes its way to an abandoned house to drop off chemical drums in the basement. Two of the three do this and decide to rob the coffins that house a deceased mother and daughter. A tremor and some chemicals that spill as a result awaken the daughter, who in short order pokes out one guy's eyes with some incredibly long fingernails and uses those same fingernails to poke through another guy's throat. A third guy gets badly burned by the chemicals. I don't know about you, but I don't unless the guy magically inhaled the gas from the chemicals, the worst that could have happened to him would be having part of his face disfigured. The daughter's friend arrives at the house after hearing a music box over the telephone. I can waste more time trying to make sense of the plot, but it sounds rather irrelevant compared to some of the gore in the movie, and did I mention naked people? The movie itself is mostly in French with no option for English, so subtitles are provided for the non-French speaking crowd. The daughter is somewhat wooden in the performance, but given that she doesn't begin to speak until halfway through the film and would likely have to have had an adjustment period after being dead for a few years, this is forgivable. For the most part, outside of the visuals, this movie is somewhat lacking in the subtlety department.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peter Steele 1962-2010

In light of what happened last night, today's piece on the Jean Rollin film Living Dead Girl will be put off for at least a day. Rather, today is a day of mourning, for I had lost a piece that had gotten me through the high school years. Type O Negative front man and former Carnivore vocalist Peter Steele died last night from heart failure at the age of 48. When I read that other people were talking about it this morning, I didn't want to believe it. However, as more sources were confirming this, I found it much harder to put into words what the loss meant to me.

For all the crap that I went through in high school and part of my college life, I found comfort in Type O Negative's music. Even when I finally broke out of those doldrums, the band's music has stayed with me right up to now. I feel especially privileged to have actually seen Type O Negative live, as now, that opportunity will never happen again. Rest in peace, and know that your music will be part of your legacy as much as it was a soundtrack to my horrible years.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Love is the End of Everything

While there are many movies with the name Possession, today's piece takes a look at the 1981 movie with that title. The film was directed by Andrzej Zulawski and was inspired by his divorce. The basic story centers on Anna and Mark, a married couple whose marriage begins to unravel shortly after Mark returns from a mission as a spy in 1980's Berlin. Obviously, this makes both Anna and Mark insane, as in one sequence, Anna tries to cut her own neck with the electric carving knife and a minute later after bandaging Anna's neck, Mark proceeds to take the same knife to his left arm. Strangely, this isn't the most bizarre thing in the movie. Rather than try to describe it, I'll let you decide:

That thing you see beyond the door not only decides to have sex with Anna later in the movie, but it also mysteriously turns into an exact duplicate of Mark. Whereas that would be labeled as bizarre, what would be labeled as disturbing is Anna's total breakdown in a subway tunnel, where she somehow manages to ooze out red and white fluids. Whether it was that thing she was giving birth to is unknown.

Further complicating this movie is Mark and his sudden affair with Helen, a school teacher that looks just like Anna, only with green eyes. Other characters in this movie are just that, as Heinrich is a bisexual that is the definition of "fruit bat" while there is a detective that wears pink socks. Take that for what you will. Overall, this isn't necessarily a horror film, but considering that this is undoubtedly one of the weirdest movies ever, it wouldn't surprise me if it was labeled as such. All normalcy should be thrown out the window for Possession, as should any clue as to what is going on with the end of this film.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Real Shocker

Another day, another horror least until next Wednesday. Today's movie is rather atypical fare for me, since I prefer my horror movies either along the lines of giallo or mindless zombie blow 'em ups. Having said that, it would also be hard to argue with today's selection Shock, as it also marked the final film directed by legendary Italian director Mario Bava.

Technically, even though the credits show that Bava was the director, the film actually had two directors, as his son Lamberto had a hand in this movie. In many ways, this was a transition film, as not only was it the elder Bava's last directed film, but also the first film that the junior Bava would be directing in what would become a respectable directorial career.

As for Shock, the film stars John Steiner and Daria Nicolodi as a couple who move into a house with their son. Before I continue, read that last sentence and tell me if those names sound familiar to you. *pauses* For those that don't know, Steiner would later be in the Dario Argento film Tenebre while Nicolodi was in quite a few of Argento's films in addition to being his girlfriend at the time. Back to the plot, the couple Bruno and Dora (Steiner and Nicolodi, respectively) and their son Marco move into a new house, except that it isn't exactly new to Dora, as a few years ago, she had lived there with her first husband Carlo, who had supposedly committed suicide. Carlo had also been rather abusive to Dora, which eventually would lead her to the asylum. Things begin to get weird when Marco starts to talk to his imaginary friend in the basement, who would later turn out to be the dead father. Soon, Dora begins to have nightmares about Carlo and has to face Marco, who channels the deceased Carlo in many respects, going as far as doing among other things, ripping up Dora's underwear in the drawer, sending five roses with a note that read along the lines of "a rose for each year despite yourself," and even cutting up a picture of Dora and Bruno. The last action sees Marco pinning the head of Bruno on a swing and pushing it, mysteriously causing the airplane Bruno is flying to suddenly lose control. Eventually, the secret Dora is hiding comes out in a drawing Marco makes, which depicts Dora killing Carlo with a utility knife. This causes Bruno to try and dispose of the body from the wall in the basement that it had been hiding in, but before he can, Dora goes insane and kills Bruno with an ax. The insanity reaches a climax when Marco runs to Dora, only to turn into the corpse of Carlo. In the end, Dora ends up slashing her own throat with the utility knife and Marco is outside playing with the imaginary friend.

The film as a whole does plod along rather slowly, and the most astute followers of both Bavas will notice the different styles throughout the movie. What makes this movie great is the fact that even though the viewer knows what to expect as far as the supernatural, there is still no way to really brace for it, such as when Marco mind tricks the window shut on Dora. The razor between the piano keys is a subtle trick that also plays into the overall motto of "expect the unexpected," but the signature of this movie is when Marco runs to Dora and turns into the corpse of Carlo. In that scene, Marco is running and is just out of camera shot when Carlo jumps up at Dora. Folks, this is exhibit A on how to effectively use the camera angles to make a great scene. Overall, Shock relies more on scare than violence, so in a sense, it is more of your traditional horror movie that doesn't have the bells and whistles that others may have, but still worth your time nonetheless.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Playoff Season is Now!

It's that magical time again. In a few days, the NHL playoffs begin and so will what will likely be many sleepless nights due to staying up late to watch the games. Before I continue, here are the matchups for the first round of the NHL playoffs with the numbers in parentheses indicating how many games each team will win in that series:


#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens (4-1)
#2 New Jersey Devils vs. #7 Philadelphia Flyers (4-2)
#3 Buffalo Sabres vs. #6 Boston Bruins (4-3)
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Ottawa Senators (4-0)


#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Colorado Avalanche (4-0)
#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Nashville Predators (4-3)
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 Los Angeles Kings (4-2)
#4 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings (2-4)

Predictions? I think Washington will be the Eastern Conference representative, beating the Penguins in seven and will face the Canucks, who will beat the Red Wings in six. The Canucks will take the Stanley Cup in six over the Capitals.

Yes, the eggs will be flying and some may even fry on the face, too. And some predictions will go wrong at some point, too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What's Going On Here?

From the same guy that brought the epic disaster known as Troll 2 comes yet another movie in the Zombi series, only that none of the movies in the series are related to one another. Yes, Claudio Fragasso is at it again, this time forcing Zombie 4: After Death onto us viewers. Now, admittedly, this movie is actually better than the Fulci/Mattei effort Zombie 3, which was a total trainwreck. Of course, that isn't saying much, either.

The plot of the movie is quite convoluted, as there is way too much in the way of an actual storyline, but I will try to cut through it anyway. Basically, a woman who was on the island that the zombies (who look strangely like ninjas) inhabit had escaped the island 20 years earlier as a child as her parents along with some other scientists were eaten. Now all grown up, she returns with some military buddies and another woman. Also on the island are more scientists who open up "The Book of the Dead" and read something that magically unleashes more zombies. One of them survives and manages to meet up with the remaining group of military folks and it is up to them to stop the invasion before it is too late.

If that last paragraph was confusing to you, imagine this all playing out on the screen. Like its predecessor, logic has to be thrown out the window and run over repeatedly as somehow zombies can perform ninja tricks, talk, and wield M-16s. Again, don't ask how the hell zombies can suddenly shoot M-16s with precision. The music score to this film is actually the worst part of the film, as somehow, Survivor-inspired pop music doesn't quite fit in with zombies eating people. Zombie 4 was actually released after Troll 2, which in some ways, made up for Fragasso's idiocy, though again, that isn't saying much.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Green Stools and Fruitcakes

Some time ago, I posted about the unintentionally worst movie ever in Hell of the Living Dead. Well, that movie still has that title, but not by much. I know you're asking yourself: "What could possibly challenge a Dawn of the Dead ripoff as the worst horror movie ever?" Why, it's Troll 2, of course.

Seemingly everyone I know has at some point or another, known about this movie, so I won't get into major details about the plot. Instead, I will give the short version of what this film is about: no trolls, people eating green crap and turning into either trees or sweating green goo, and a little boy that should have probably been locked up in a mental hospital. Also in this film are quite possibly the stupidest parents in a movie, what could pass off as the first gay orgy caught on film, and the best line delivery ever (see the end of this piece).

Yes, this movie is terrible, and likely the worst movie that everyone knows about, but it's hard to think of this movie without actually laughing at part of this movie. From the awful script writing to the overall horrid concept of "goblins" instead of trolls (cue Cheech going, "Hey, that's false adverstiement.") it would be difficult to hold in a chucke or two. However, it is not advised for anyone to actually sit through this movie without at least getting a break or two to take in the mess that this movie leaves behind.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paradise Lost

No movie for today's piece, and really, no sports to speak of until the NHL playoffs begin. So what do I fill this space with today? How about some metal music? I haven't really touched on this subject since the debate about going to Maryland Deathfest, which by the way, I'm not going to, as I am saving for Iron Maiden in Albuquerque, which will follow Finntroll/Moonsorrow in a couple of weeks. Since much of the metal music pieces are on Metal Psalter, that usually doesn't leave me much to talk about on here. However, today is a little different. You see, I had been getting the itch to review a music DVD and what better way to start than with a Paradise Lost DVD.

In 2008, the band released a live DVD called The Anatomy of Melancholy, which coincided with the band's twenty year anniversary as a band. The live show was filmed at Koko in London and the set list spans much of the band's lengthy discography. Obviously, the band knows that the set is being filmed and plays that fact up with the audience, which makes for a fairly enjoyable set. Highlights on the live set include "The Enemy," "Sweetness," "The Last Time," and the classic "Gothic." Also included on the two disc set is a documentary and music videos for "The Enemy" and "Praise Lamented Shade." Highly recommended for fans of Paradise Lost.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Go Stuff Yourself

I know that I'm falling a little behind on the horror fest that is supposed to end the day that I leave for Portland, OR. However, that isn't necessarily going to stop me from going back into the vaults of the mind for movies. So, with that in mind, today's piece will talk about stuffing your loved ones. Yes, I am talking about Buio Omega, or as the Americans called it, Beyond the Darkness.

The 1979 exploitation flick was directed by Joe D'Amato and the central plot of the story surrounds Frank Wyler and his dying girlfriend. Eventually, his girlfriend dies (at the hands of a voodoo doll wielding maid Iris) and Frank sneaks into the morgue to steal her body and stuff it. You see, Frank is a taxidermist (you know, the guy that stuffs dead animals). After stuffing her, Frank puts her in his bed and soon, he has to fend off the women that cross his path. Naturally, Iris is unhappy with this, and has to help Frank dispose of the other women.

I won't go too far into the plot, as it takes a back seat to the action in the film. From a hitchhiker woman getting her nails ripped out by pliers and getting hacked up to having the body parts thrown into a tub of acid to the incredibly graphic stuffing of the dead girlfriend, D'Amato leaves no disgusting stone unturned. This was one of the more disturbing films that I have seen, yet I could not turn away in fear of missing something. The morally right and weak of stomach will want to stay away from this film, though.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Predictions for the MLB season ahead

Fresh from the Easter that saw the Vancouver Canucks claim the Northwest Division title and the Philadelphia Eagles trade away their star QB to their division rival Redskins (!), baseball season officially kicked off yesterday, but it begins in earnest today. Since I forgot to make predictions, I'll get into it now.


Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

Just like last year, this year's Cy Young race will be close. I pick Hernandez this year because the Mariners are better this year, and most of the other candidates will likely have something going against them, whether it is a slow start (CC Sabathia) or bad team (Zack Grienke).

MVP: Evan Longoria, Tampa Ray Rays

This year has no clear cut leader going into the season, so it's really anyone's guess who will win the MVP in the American League. Longoria will win it, but put this prediction down in pencil.

Rookie of the Year: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

Honestly, I have no idea who will even be on the opening day rosters that are rookies, so I'm basically picking a name out of a hat here. Santana looks like a sure bet to crack a major league roster by the time of this writing (I'll have to look at the rosters and edit this part), so I'll go with him.


Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

The consensus pick here seems to be Halladay. I would not argue with this one, as he has been a dominant pitcher the last few years while playing for a bad Blue Jays team in the toughest division. This year, he has a great team behind him, and he won't have to face the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Evan Longoria for at least three or four games a year.

MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Yes, I know it's a homer pick, and yes, I know Albert Pujols is the reigning MVP and a favorite to repeat...again. However, I refuse to pick any St. Louis Cardinal for this honor, and I think this is the year Tulo takes it to another level.

Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves

Stephen Strasburg may sound like a trendy pick here, but the fact that he's starting in the minors combined with a bad Nationals team will likely hurt his chances here. With Heyward, he's the opening day right fielder and he looks like a surer thing to put up the numbers.

WORLD SERIES: Philadelphia beats New York Yankees in seven

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Flaming Horse

Imagine the New York Yankees suddenly deciding that the interlocking "NY" wasn't good enough for their hats or deciding that they wanted to do away with the pinstripes. Odds are that the people who decide to do this would likely have legions of fans offering a bounty for their heads on a pike. Now, it obviously will not happen (nor should it), but other teams that have had logos synonymous with their teams have tried this kind of thing before. Remember the New York Islanders and their move away from the "NY over the Island" logo to the "Fisherman" logo in 1995? That didn't last very long.

Today's jersey isn't quite on that level, as the Calgary Flames didn't go away from the "Flaming C" logo entirely. In fact, today's jersey started out as a third jersey and was originally supposed to be a one year deal, seeing as it was introduced during the Year of the Cowboy. The jersey is black with red and gold going across the bottom and the lower sleeves with a horse breathing fire from its nostrils. The jersey became the roadies for the Flames for a couple of years before being the third jerseys after the team introduced a red jersey with the black "Flaming C" with the same striping on the sleeves and bottom. Looking at the logo, it does look silly and perhaps the horse should get the "fire from the nostrils" condition checked out, but give the designers credit for trying to fit in the spirit of the city of Calgary on the design. Like many of the third jerseys made prior to the lockout, this one was permanently shelved once the lockout was over.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Zombies and a Jive Talkin' Turkey

Since I didn't bother with a movie last night, and given that I'm all sportsed out until Sunday, I decided to go back into the already seen section of my DVD collection. Today's "masterpiece" is another Andreas Schnaas film. Schnaas, as you remember, directed Zombie Doom aka Violent Shit III. Today is a look at an earlier work of his called Zombie 90: Extreme Pestilence. Those fortunate enough (or unfortunate, depending on your point of view) had this movie included with the Zombie Doom release.

If you're looking for a story line, it is that a plane carrying a vaccine for the AIDS virus crashes in some forest and the vaccine causes people exposed to it to turn into zombies. It is up to Dr. Burns, who was Dr. Senius in Zombie Doom and who for some reason, sounds like a jive talking black guy, and his assistant Dr. Simon (who sounds like an effeminate version of the Pilsbury Doughboy) to stop the zombie invasion. The story line is simple enough to allow for lots of zombie action and violence, which is all this movie is for the most part. As far as the violence is concerned, there is one guy that gets stranded in the forest and gets cut in half by a chainsaw wielding zombie. Another one has a baby (obviously a doll, so don't write complaint letters) getting ripped apart while the mother gets decapitated by what looks like an ax, but somehow looks like the head was put on a tee and knocked off by a baseball bat. The voice dubbing is obviously done strictly for comedic purposes, with a highlight being "Jimi Hendrix" and "Jim Morrison" somehow getting involved in a German film. There are also editing issues, as in one scene, a guy gets cut in half by the chainsaw and following that, the chainsaw wielding zombie is just waving the chainsaw around, all clean. There are a lot of issues with this film, many of which actually inspire laughter, but the entire purpose of this film: gore and lots of it. A sense of humor is a must if you plan on sitting through this movie.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cemetery Man

Another day, another zombie to send back to the grave. This is the story of Francesco Dellamorte, a cemetery night watchman that has to beat back the recently deceased that have come back to life.

Cemetery Man is a dark comedy horror film that stars Rupert Everett as Francesco and is a Michele Soavi directed effort. In the opening moments, we are introduced to Francesco, whose job is to send any recently deceased that come back to life back to their graves. He is ably (or not) assisted by Gnaghi, who looks like the love child of Curly and Ralph Wiggum. One day, Francesco meets a widow, with whom he eventually has a tryst front of her late husband's grave, no less. She meets her fate at the hands of the zombie husband, and Francesco slowly goes through a life change. Eventually, the woman reappears, first as a zombie, then as a mayor's assistant, then as one of the roommates. All of this, along with Gnaghi's infatuation with the mayor's daughter and Francesco's killing rampage, causes Francesco to rethink his life philosophy.

Cemetery Man is one of the darkest movies that I have seen. Some horror elements and some comedy moments such as the relationship between Francesco and Gnaghi actually make this one of the most underrated Italian horror movies. The only thing that would have made this movie better would have been having some doom metal band provide the soundtrack for this movie, as it would fit perfectly with the movie.