Tuesday, May 28, 2013

From The Dead Letter Office (A Non-Update)

Heya, Hipsters!

There hasn't been a lot of activity around here lately, because I've been working far too much and haven't had a lot of time to indulge myself in the horror genre.  Hopefully things will calm down soon and I'll have a few hours of free time to piece together a new review for you all.

This Friday through Sunday is the Denver Comic Con, and I'm completely pumped.  Stan Lee had to back out because he's busy filming his cameo for an upcoming Marvel movie, and he has been replaced with William Shatner.  Which is really not quite the same thing, but it is better to be Shat on than nothing at all.

And finally, I have gotten off my narrow ass and created a Midnite Media Facebook page.  I invite you all to check it out and "Like" the shit out of it.  There's not a whole lot there at the moment, but that's because I'm still figuring out how the whole thing works.  Please bear with me.

That's about all for now.  Definitely a non-update, I know.  I'll be back at full-power soon enough.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

TV Review: Tales From The Cryptkeeper S2 Ep.05: All The Gory Details (1994)

Tales From The Cryptkeeper
Season 2, Episode 05
All The Gory Details
TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER - All The Gory Details - Cryptkeeper selling papers

After the Cryptkeeper and the Vaultkeeper fight for dominance at the local newsstand, Crypty tells us today's terror tale, All The Gory Details.

TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER - All The Gory Details - Title card

Two newspaper reporters--one a newbie, and one an experienced pro--venture into Smalltown America in search of a mad scientist who has supposedly been attempting to create artificial life for the past five decades or so.  Everything seems quaint and perfect in the area.  Perhaps a little too perfect.

TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER - All The Gory Details - Headlines!

In short order, they find themselves investigating a mysterious abode where they find much more than they're looking for...

TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER - All The Gory Details - Frankenstein's Monster

It's a decent episode, nothing fantastic but better than a lot of the others in the series.  There are a few cool monster designs, even if a few of them are absolutely inexplicable.  Does that Frankenstein monster have eight fingers on each hand?  That hardly seems necessary.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

TV Review: Tales From The Cryptkeeper S2 Ep.04: The Weeping Woman (1994)

Tales From The Cryptkeeper
Season 2, Episode 04
The Weeping Woman
Tales from the Cryptkeeper S2Ep04 - THE WEEPING WOMAN
"What do you get when you cross a witch with an igloo?  A cold spell!"

The Cryptkeeper's evening at the opera is interrupted by the Old Witch, and they exchange a little "witty" banter before Crypty begins tonight's terror tale.

Tales from the Cryptkeeper S2Ep04 - THE WEEPING WOMAN

Camille and Mildred, a pair of intrepid young ghost hunters, have recently retired so that Mildred can pursue her dream of collecting teddy bears.  Seriously.  While on a road trip, they suffer car problems during a thunderstorm, and are forced to take shelter in a spooky old manse at the top of a hill.  Nothing bad can come from that, right?

Tales from the Cryptkeeper S2Ep04 - THE WEEPING WOMAN

That night they are visited by the angry specter of a woman, and despite their retirement, Camille and Mildred have to figure out a way to help the spirit find peace and be laid to rest.

Tales from the Cryptkeeper S2Ep04 - THE WEEPING WOMAN

This is an extremely slow episode, and the story is mediocre at best.  Anyone who is the least bit familiar with ghost stories will figure out exactly how the episode ends long before it actually does.  It's kind of like Mama for kindergartners.  Only much more tiresome, tedious, and snooze-inducing.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Watch the Trailer for a new Larry Cohen Film (sorta)

Click HERE for more information.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: Dresden Files #3 - Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

Dresden Files #3: Grave Peril
DRESDEN FILES #3 - Grave Peril by Jim Butcher - Cover Image
By Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden, professional wizard, has surely seen his fair share of vengeful spirits...but he's never seen this many of them, and he's never seen them this vengeful. Something has been getting the spirit world all riled up as of late, which has kept Harry and his new pal Michael Carpenter quite busy on the ghostbusting front. When they learn that a demon-like creature they call the Nightmare has been tormenting these already-tormented spirits, they set out to discover what is the Nightmare's endgame.

There are a number of side-plots here as well, including Harry's (literal) fairy godmother trying to cash in on a long-owed contract for Harry's soul, Harry's increasingly-serious relationship with tabloid journalist Susan Rodriguez, and political intrigue and upheaval in the Vampire Court. It's a lot to squeeze into a single novel, but Jim Butcher weaves it together with a deft hand, making it a cohesive story with multiple solid branches.

Detective Karrin "Murph" Murphy is here again, but she doesn't play as important of a role as she has previously, which is fine. I enjoy Murph as a character, but her taking a backseat allowed for the introduction of Michael, who is a welcome addition to the stable of characters. Michael is a Christian Knight, wielding one of three swords bestowed with Holy power to vanquish evil. His beliefs are often at odds with Harry's but the two make a great team, kind of like a magical odd couple. And, as always, Bob the Skull is a pleasure to behold.

There is a standout scene in the novel where Harry and Michael attend a vampire masquerade ball. It lasts for multiple chapters and was simply outstanding, and I'm wishing that the SyFy Channel would bring back The Dresden Files as a series of TV movies so that I could see it play out on screen.

This is far and away the best novel in the series so far, and after the disappointment of Fool Moon, I'm glad to see that Butcher is out of the sophomore slump and back in the saddle. The end of Grave Peril should have definite repercussions in the series, so I'm looking forward to moving on to book four.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Help Fund A Larry Cohen Film

I received an e-mail the other day from Steve Mitchell, the writer and second unit director of the cult classic 80s cheeser CHOPPING MALL, asking for some help.  No, sadly, he's not trying to get CHOPPING MALL 2: BACK IN THE HABIT off the ground.  But he is trying to find financing for his latest project, a full-length documentary about Larry Cohen.

Who's Larry Cohen, you ask?  Well, if you don't know who Larry Cohen is, then you're probably not even reading this blog.  But just in case, here's a small sampling of Cohen's work.

This isn't going to be some amateur fan film.  Steve Mitchell is a professional, and Larry Cohen himself is on board, and will be appearing in the documentary.  Larry Cohen has long been a favorite of mine, and I know that many of you feel the same way.  If you want to see this film get made as badly as I do, please visit the A LARRY COHEN FILM indiegogo page by clicking HERE to learn more and to donate.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

From The Dead Letter Office

Every once in a while, I like to write up a blog post to let all three of my readers know what's been going on around here. Consider it a glimpse behind the curtain that nobody asked for, but that is forced upon you anyway.

I recently landed myself on the critic's list for Universal Home Entertainment, which is a pretty big deal for me. The first screener they sent me was the Blu-Ray/DVD combo of the uneven ghost story Mama, the review of which can be read by clicking HERE. Look for more reviews of their releases in the future.

On a personal front, my wife and I just celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary by spending the night in a cabin in Estes Park. There's nothing more relaxing than sitting next to the river high in the mountains by campfire light.

My oldest friend and occasional contributor to the blog, Jimmy Retro, has landed himself a new job and will be moving to Arizona. This weekend we'll be having our final Debauchery Days celebration for the foreseeable future, so we're really going to put our hearts and lungs to the test. Click HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE for pics of a previous DD to see what I'm talking about. And while you're at it, click on the links below to read Jimmy's contributions.

Hopefully it takes less than three weeks to recover from Debauchery Days, because on May 31st-June 2nd, the wife and I will be attending the Denver Comic Con with a friend of ours. I've never been to a con of any kind before, so I'm not quite sure what to expect. Scheduled to appear are Peter "Chewbacca" Mayhew, Chris Ware, Jeffrey Brown, Neal Adams, George Perez, Jim Steranko, Herb Trimpe, and Stan "The Man" Lee (among many, many others). It should be a blast.

Other than all that, it's business as usual in these parts. Thanks for letting me ramble.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: Horns by Joe Hill

HORNS by Joe Hill - Cover Image
By Joe Hill

Ignatius Perrish may seem like an unlikely name, but then again, he's an unlikely hero. After a drunken (and frankly blasphemous) night in the woods, Ig wakes up to discover that he has suddenly sprouted devil horns from his head. It would be easy to pass this off as a hallucination, if not for the fact that others can see them, too. Such is the power of the horns, though, that nobody flees in terror at the sight of them. Instead, they feel the need to confess their darkest deeds and deepest secrets--much like one might do to a priest, only seeking approval rather than atonement.

After discovering how his family members truly feel about him, he realizes that he may be able to use his horns to solve the great mystery in his life: who raped and killed his long-time girlfriend Merrin Williams, a crime for which the entire town believes him guilty.

A good deal of this story is actually backstory, flashbacks to the past that explores the burgeoning relationship of Ig, Merrin, and their third-wheel friend Lee Tourneau. These flashbacks are scarcely dark or horrifying except when viewed in the light of what's to come.

We're actually told who murdered Merrin fairly early in the story, so as a mystery, it leaves something to be desired. However there is still a great deal about that night for Ig to discover, and a great deal of vengeance for him to dish out.

This is Hill's second novel (following Heart Shaped Box) and is far from a sophomore slump. Quite the opposite. While I enjoyed Box quite a bit, I found Horns to be even more enjoyable--kind of an urban legend rendition of Kafka's Metamorphosis, with a dash of noir and a smattering of American gothic.

Ig is a great character, and we see him go from something of an angel to something of a devil over the course of the story. Even when he does terrible things, we still find ourselves rooting for and sympathizing with him. Lee is a suitable friendly-foil, who grows into something of a direct opposite of his pal Ig. Merrin, though dead for most of the story, never fully feels fleshed-out, unfortunately. We only know her through the eyes of others, and all of their views are slightly tainted with fantasy. She comes across only as a dream woman, and never feels quite real.

There are a number of pro-Satan passages in this book, which are bound to offend some people--but the lead character is a devil, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise. If you are an easily-offended believer, you may want to skip this one, but the rest of you should definitely check it out.

Even if a few moments are just a little too pat for its own good, and the ending is a little weak compared to what came before it, the ride to get there was so much fun, I still recommend it highly.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Top Five on Netflix Instant Watch

Heya, Hipsters!

I was browsing the current offerings from Netflix's Instant Watch service, and found a great bunch of films to share with you.  A couple of them may have shown up previously in similar posts, but they're just so good that they deserved to be spotlighted again.  If you're bored and looking for something to stream, then look no further.  All of these movies are Jonny tested, Jonny approved.  Click on the title to be whisked away to the Netflix page.

John Dies At The End: Promising a trip that transcends time and space, a drug called Soy Sauce is sweeping the landscape -- and quietly robbing users of their humanity. Now, it's up to a couple of slackers to stop the psychotropic invasion before it's too late.

The Cabin in the Woods: In this surprising spin on a classic horror setup, five friends arrive at a secluded cabin with clear instructions for their anticipated mountain getaway. But when the rigid rules are broken, punishment is swift -- and everyone will pay.

The Grey: After narrowly surviving a deadly plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, a band of oil riggers must fend for their lives in the ice and snow. But thanks to wolves that view their presence as a threat, they aren't alone.

Safety Not Guaranteed: A team of journalists are dispatched to find out who's behind a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel, with payment on return. After tracking down their oddball prey, the team has to decide how best to approach their subject.

Compliance: Based on a true incident, this tense drama unfolds as a prank caller pretends to be a cop and convinces a restaurant manager to interrogate her teenaged employee about a supposed theft from a customer -- a situation that soon spins out of control.



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