Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Blood Fire Death According to Blabbermouth.net Quorthon, the founder of legendary Swedish black metal band Bathory, passed away due to an apparent heart failure Monday. He was considered one of the most influential black metal musicians in the world, having inspired countless bands with albums like The Return and Under the Sign of the Black Mark. He will be missed.

Qurothon had been planning to record a new Bathory album, although if any recording actually took place. However, there is a ton of unreleased Bathory material, so we haven't heard the last of the band just yet.

Also posted to Blogcritics

THX 1138 coming to DVD in September It has CGI effects added (boo!), but it is one of George Lucas' best movies, so it's nice to see it on DVD. The two disc version looks especially cool, as it includes a documentary on American Zoetrope as well as the original short film that was the inspiration for the movie.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Not that murderous rampages are a good thing...
...but if you're going to go on one, do what this guy did. Grab a bulldozer and then drive it through buildings while shooting at people. It's nice to see that American ingenuity is alive and well.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Speaking of conventions If you're in the Philadelphia area, be sure to stop by Nerd Con 2004 on July 10. It's not a big convention (looks like it's just guys selling comics and science fiction memorabilia), but admission is free. And you can't beat that.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Heidi McDonald on Wizard World East Is the comic blogosphere still feuding with Heidi McDonald? I don't remember.Anyway, her column on WizardWorld East is spot on. The convention could use a little more pizazz, especialy since Wizard is going to be expanding the number of shows they're putting on, or it's going to end up getting lost in the shuffle. Personally, it's getting harder to justify the high ticket price when I can just as easily get cheap comics at the Philadelphia Comic-Con.

The George W. Bush conpsiracy generator Who made Steve Guttenberg a star? Haliburton.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Tear this Safeway apart until you've found those plans! And bring me the prisoners, I want them alive! Imperial stormtroopers go grocery shoping, with sexy results. And check out the other pictures here. Who knew the Live 105.7 Towson Town Festival was such a wretched hive of scum and villany? I have to say that I'm extremely impressed with the craftsmanship that went into making these costumes; they're by far the best fan-made Star Wars costumes I've ever seen.

Pop Music Gives me an Earache The pop music of today mixed with classic songs from the early days of Earache records. Now you can find out what Terrorizer would sound like with 50 Cent on vocals. Word on the streets is that the guy who did these was one of the members of the band Monostat 7, so be sure to play your copy of Now Available Without a Prescription extra loud in his honor.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Sin City soon, Madman on the way? It looks like after Robert Rodriguez wraps up filming Sin City, one of his next projects could be a Madman movie. Or so says Madman creator Michael Allred. I'm still not clear as to what extent Frank Miller is "co-directing" the Sin City movie, as I can't imagine the Director's Guild being too happy with a non-Guild member being given a director's credit. Allred does mention that there's a script for Sin City, which makes more sense than the reports that Rorgiuez was filming using issues of the comic book as a "script". Speaking of Sin City, Comics Contiuum has screen captures of an Entertainment Tonight feature on the movie (scroll down the page to see them). Personally, I think Jessica Alba is overdressed for the part.

Wizard World: the Aftermath
I didn't spend as much time at Wizard World East this year as I had in previous years, but I still had a pretty good time. If you're looking for cheap comics, Wizard World East is the place to go. However, this year many comic publishers either stayed away or had a reduced presence at the convention, which leads me to worry that Wizard's not going to be able to keep this convention going in the years ahead. Still, even though the big name guests like Kevin Smith or Alex Ross weren't there, everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Marvel and DC were both there, although it seemed like DC almost considered the convention an afterthought. DC's booth was much smaller than last year, and most of big new announcements of the weekend were coming from Marvel. I didn't go to any of the panels, but according to Augie DeBleck's column this week, DC was not exactly ready for prime time.

CrossGen had a pretty impressive booth the first year of Wizard World East, but they were nowhere to be found this year. Taking over their space was TokyoPop, who had the best setup at the convention. They had various TokyoPop manga volumes lying on tables for people to peruse, and they had a big video screen on which they were playing anime. They were even handing out free sample volumes with excerpts from their various series to everyone who walked by. Note to DC and Marvel – when your competition is doing everything in its power to get the word out about their products, you should do something similar. Its no wonder the manga companies are wiping the floor with the American comic publishers.

After spending some quality time with Eliza Dushku at her Q & A, I spent the rest of the day wandering about the convention. The DVD dealers were out in force, selling everything from the Star Wars Holiday Special to the Paris Hilton video. I couldn't really afford to buy any DVDs this year, although next year I'm definitely going to pick up the two-disc version of David Lynch 's Dune. I wouldn't mind getting those bootleg DVDs of the original Star Wars trilogy either.

Some of the comic dealers I was hoping to go to weren't there this year, but I was still able to find some bargains. It was nice being able to buy graphic novels at 50 percent off, and it was really nice being able to get all of Paul Pope's 100% series for two bucks an issue. I didn't really find anything particularly rare, but I was able to get some things I was looking for, like the Alan Moore's Twisted Tales graphic novel and the third Tick omnibus, so I was happy.

After looking at the guest lists for the other Wizard conventions, I'm kind of jealous. It would be nice if Philly could get someone like Joss Wheedon or Brian Michael Bendis to visit. But, as long as there are cheap comic books to be had, I'll definitely be going to the convention next year.

Grindwar 2004
R5 Productions handles a lot of the independent concerts in Philadelphia, with most of them taking place in the basement of the First Unitarian Church at 22nd and Chestnut. A lot of their concerts don't really hold much interest for me, but sometimes they get good shows. For example, last Thursday's show with Phobia and Rotten Sound was really cool.

I didn't get to the show in time to catch opening act Syslak, but I was able to see all of Strong Intention's set. Strong Intention plays fairly straightforward hardcore. I'd never heard them before, but they were really good. If you're tired of all that weak, pseudo-death metal nonsense that passes for hardcore these days, give Strong Intention a try. After their set, I realized I had my camera in my bookbag, so I decided to take some pictures.



Rotten Sound in action. The band played some songs from Murderworks, and Still Psycho, but I don't feel like digging through my CD collection to find out which ones. I do know they finished with a cover of Carcass' "Reek of Putrefaction." I've always though Rotten Sound was a good band, although they're unlucky enough to be signed to horribly-managed Necropolis records, which means it's a chore tracking down their albums. Still, it was nice the band traveled all the way from Finland to do some shows here. They sounded great, and they got a really enthusiastic response from the crowd.



The lead singer of Rotten Sound relaxing between sets with the Phobia merchandise guy and someone from Victim 88, the T-shirt company run by one of the members of Phobia.



You can't really tell from this picture, but there's a guy inside that washing machine box. Why did he have a washing machine box with him? Hey, I don't ask questions.



Phobia – taking care of business. They've never been the most popular grindcore band around, but they've always been a quality act with many fine releases to their credit. I especially recommend their albums Return to Desolation and Serenity in Pain. I can't remember all the songs they played, but they did do a few from their great new release Get Up and Kill. Fun fact – Phobia was featured on a segment of the television show Real TV, in which the guitarist was filmed hitting a rowdy concertgoer in the face with a guitar. Good times.



Kids go crazy for the great taste of gindcore!

There wasn't a big turnout for the show, which is unfortunate, because all the bands were excellent. And since tickets were only seven bucks, I definitely feel like I got my money's worth. I'm not sure how many dates are left on the tour, but if Phobia and Rotten Sound are coming to your town, you should make every effort to go.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Start saving your pennies Because the Criterion Collection is doing a special edition DVD of David Cronenberg's Videodrome. This is one of Cronenberg's finest movies, and I'm thrilled it's finally getting the treatment it deserves. I heard that Cronenberg also wanted to do a special edition of The Fly, but 20th Century Fox won't let him. Idiots.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Wizard World East returns to Philly
Can you make a successful saving throw against the excitement of Wizard World East? Me neither. This year's convention should be fun, although I'm a little disappointed there's such a heavy Marvel focus to the guest list. Would it kill DC to send some Vertigo people to hype some projects? Someone needs to tell Paul Levitz to stop spending money like he's the president of CrossGen and buy a plane ticket to Philadelphia for Brian Azzarello or Garth Ennis. I know I'd appreciate it.

It doesn't look like Dark Horse or Image will even be showing up, although I note that Jinky Coronado will be appearing for the third year in a row. I don't really know anything about Ms. Coranado or her comic Banzai Girl, except that I occasionally see ads in Previews for Banzai Girl thong underwear. I think only in the comic industry could that be seen as a legitimate piece of merchandise; you never see someone like John Irving selling A Prayer for Owen Meaney crotchless panties or Tom Wolfe hawking a Bonfire of the Vanities bustier. I guess that's why that their books aren't as popular as Banzai Girl.

Wizard World doesn't have a costume competition as far as I know, although there are usually a few people dressed up in some pretty cool-looking outfits. Personally, I plan to smear some mascara on my face and put some eyedrops in my eyes and go dressed as a woman who was sexually harassed by Julius Schwartz. Then, when Gary Groth comes snooping around, I can put him in headlock and get some answers as to why Fantagraphics only released the one issue of George Alec Effinger's Neil and Buzz in Space and Time. Inquiring minds want to know.

I'll probably only be going on Saturday, but that should give me enough time to scoop up some bargains and get some pictures of Eliza Dushku. It should be fun.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Amen

Han Shoots First.org

Link courtesy of Rob

James Brown on drugs Papa's got a brand new bag. A dime bag of cocaine, apparently.

Friday, May 14, 2004

If it wasn't for bad taste, I wouldn't have no taste at all
If Robert Evans worked at Abu Ghraib:

As I was shoving the third glowstick into the prisoner's butt, it hit me – this kid's the next Bobby DeNiro. I paused for a cup of coffee. I take it black, black like Warner Brothers' books were after I convinced them to make Love Story. Mohammed was going to be a star: I could feel it in my bones. I unleashed the Dobermans to gnaw on him for a while, and then I called up Francis Ford Coppolla
"Hey kiddo, it's me," I said
"What's up?"
"I got this guy. He's hot. I'm talking Jimmy Caan hot. I think he should be in your next movie. He's an Iraqi prisoner of war and he can do it all. Naked man pyramids, standing on chairs trying not to get electrocuted -– he's incredible!"
"I don't know, Bob. I've already got Lynndie England signed to a three-picture deal. I don't know if I can afford to take on any more new blood".
"Believe me, Francis, you pass on this guy, it'll be a mistake. An even bigger mistake than The Godfather was before I told you to re-edit it."
"Bob, I gotta go. I got to get back to the vineyard".

He hung up. I was taken aback, even more so than when I watched John Belushi try to inject a syringe full of ham into his left butt cheek at the premier of 1941. I had failed with Francis. He had not taken my advice before; where do you think One from the Heart came from? But I was still feeling down. I resolved to try again. I was going to be back on top in no time. Could I make it happen, not only for me but for the young Iraqi on the floor with Hollywood dreams in his eyes and a dog's teeth wrapped around his testicles? You'd better believe it, baby.

I called up Roman Polanski. Would he be unwilling to work with me after I sullied the reputation of Chinatown with The Two Jakes? Not by a long shot.
"Roman, buddy, I got a kid who can act and doesn't mind wearing a leash. How about you put him in your next picture?"

"I am an artist," said Roman. "I can't just put someone in a movie just because he's willing to wear a leash""
"But Roman..."
"No! Walter Matthau loved wearing leashes and look what happened with Pirates. It won't work."

I decided to pull out my trump card, much like I pulled Warren Beatty's fat out of the fire for much of the 70s. But would it work? Would I be able to convince Roman to take my guy on? You bet your sweet ass I would.

"Roman, look we've got this guy in a dress. When you slick his hair back, he looks like a 14-year-old girl."
"Oh?"
"And Roman, we've been making him touch other men's wee-wees for several hours a day for the past three months. The guy's a pro."
"Sold!"

I had done it. In the crazy world of Tinseltown, I'd been up and I'd been down. And when I was down, I was really down. I mean I didn't have two nickels to rub together. But I always knew I'd be back on top in no time. And now I was back and ready to take the town by storm again.
"You hear that Mohammed? Your name's gonna be in lights."
Mohamed stirred. "Please give me some food. I am very hungry."
"Mohammed, you're going to have lots of food. And women. But first, it's time for your daily urine soaking."

It felt good peeing on Mohammed. I've urinated on a lot of people in my time -– Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, the incomparable Sharon Stone -– but it always felt best being able to shower a young up and comer with my golden spray. This kid was going to be hotter than a Kid Notorious DVD box set, and I was going to be there for the ride. Believe it, baby.

Movie reviews of the day
City of the Living Dead - Or, if we want to be accurate, Small Town of the People with Unconvincing Make-Up. This is a Lucio Fulci movie from the late 70s, and despite the title, it has more in common with his movie The Beyond than Zombie. A priest commits suicide in the small town of Dunwich, which opens up a gateway to Hell, thus causing all sorts of creepy stuff to happen.

City of the Living Dead is not a very good movie. The acting is bad, the story is barely coherent, and the zombies don't actually show up until near the end of the film. However, a few things in the movie impressed me. I thought the scene in which a man was killed with a power drill to the head was very cool, and the scene in which our heroes face a storm of maggots is even cooler. And of course, I absolutely adored the scene in which a young woman vomits out all of her internal organs (in anatomically correct order, no less).

The movie feels like a dry run for The Beyond, which I liked a lot more than this. The gore is cool, but there's not enough of it to make it worthwhile. City of the Living Dead is recommended only for hardcore Fulci fans, and only if you find a place to rent it cheap.

Vampire Circus - This is one of the lesser-known Hammer Horror films, although many who've actually seen it consider it one of the most underrated movies to be released by that studio. A town rises up against a vampire that's been preying on their children, driving a stake through his heart and burning his castle. However, years later they find themselves the victims of a mysterious plague. A traveling circus comes to town, which the villagers see as a way to take their minds off their trouble. But pretty soon the corpses of the children start piling up again.

I haven't seen many Hammer films, but this is one of the better ones I've seen. It's got decent acting, an interesting story, and some nice special effects, and for a low budget B-grade movie, that's a lot more than I expected. The movie is simple yet entertaining, and as far as I can tell, there was a lot more care and effort put into this than Van Helsing. Science fictions fans will also be interested to know that the movie not only stars David Prowse of Star Wars fame but a young Lalla Ward, who later played Romana on Doctor Who. This movie is not available on DVD in America yet, but it deserves to be. The movie is obscure, but it is great example of why the Hammer name still has such reputation years after they shut down.

Mona Lisa Smile - I wish some sort of insect would crawl inside Julia Roberts’ ear and lay eggs in her brain. The eggs would hatch, and the bugs would have to burrow their way through her face to get out. Then she’d be ugly and no one would want to see her movies any more, and then we wouldn't have to put up with movies like Mona Lisa Smile. The movie isn’t so much bad as it relentlessly mediocre. Julia Roberts plays a free-thinking art teacher (are there any other kind?) who takes a job teaching at Wellsley college in the 50s. And then it turns into Dead Poets Society with an all female cast, except it's not as good. You can see every plot twist coming from miles away, and it doesn't help that the movie is saddled with a horrible performance from Juila Roberts. Surprisingly, Kirsten Dunst's performance is almost as bad as Roberts. I might have enjoyed the movie if someone had been hacking the girls to death with a chainsaw, but no such luck. Mona Lisa Smile is a waste of time, and it’s a good thing I love Lisa so much, or else I’d punch her in the face for asking me to rent this.

Xtro - This British film caused a bit of a stir in the early 80s in its native country due to the gory special effects, but there is very little to recommend it. A boy's father is kidnapped by aliens, and then mysteriously returns three years later. But surprise, surprise, the kid's father may not be all that he seems. The movie shamelessly rips off E.T, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Alien, and to be quite honest, it makes very little sense. There are some very nice effects for such a low budget, but the movie itself is an incomprehensible mess. Even the fact that future Bond girl and star of TV' s Something is Out There Maryam D'Abo spends half the movie naked can't save this flick. However, I did think the scene in which a woman is raped by an alien and then gives birth to a fully-grown man was pretty damn cool.

Title bout Eve Tushnet is asking for everyone's favorite titles. Here are mine:
Rectal Anarchy
If I Were Britannia, I'd Waive the Rules
We All Died at Breakaway Station
The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth
Never Mind the Pollacks
The War Hound and the World's Pain
The Midnight Meat Train
Shatterday
Stars in my Pocket, Like Grains of Sand
The Word for World is Forest
The Sliced-Crosswise Only-on-Tuesday World
Black Klansman
Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires
The Rats are Coming! The Werewolves are Here!
They Came From Within
Southern Hostility
From the Cradle to Enslave
Hold me Closer, Tony Danza
Hot Cars and Spent Contraceptives
Let's Start Another War So I Can Sing About Stopping It
Born Toulouse Lautrec
Parade of the Decapitated Midgets
You Give Drugs a Bad Name
The Technicolor Time Machine
Zack McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders
Tass Times in Tonetown
On Venus, Have we Got a Rabbi
The Whimper of Whipped Dogs
Blood, Guts, Bullets, and Octane
Dance of December Souls
I would also like to add the titles of pretty much every short story Cordwainer Smith ever wrote. That is all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Free Death Metal Demilich's one and only album Nespithe was truly awesome. And now you can download it in mp3, ogg, and flac formats. Not only that, you can get their demos and rehearsals here. Good stuff.

Only one arrested after brawl in East Liverpool
Boy, this takes me back. I lived in East Liverpool while attending pre-school and kindergarten, and violence was a constant part of my life. I'll never forget the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex versus Stegasaurus brawl that erupted in an area sandbox, or the valiant fighting of the Lego astronauts against their foes, in this case the perfidious Hot Wheels. Although I think it's weird that only one person out of 300 was arrested for this fight, I note that there wasn't even an police investigation of the invasion of the Glamor Gals cruise ship by Boba Fett and the other Imperial bounty hunters. I left East Liverpool after kindergarten for the mean streets of Little Rock, Arkansas, which as we all know, is no walk in the park. I'm not going to comment on my time there, but if there are any members of law enforcement reading this blog, I'm just going to say that any sounds of gunfire coming from my house came exclsuively from episodes of the PBS series World War 2:GI Diary. Honest.