MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Cover Draft

I’m still toying with cover ideas for MONARCHS OF MAYHEM, below is one. the photo was taken by yours truly. I’m relatively proud of it. I’ll post more ideas as they pop up.

momearlycvrdesign

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM is a book full of interviews with writers of the weird and pulp and strange. From the pulp stylings of Ferguson to the subtle horror of Gavin to the breakneck thrills of Olden.

It takes the existing five interviews you can find here, updates and expands them, and adds five more interviews not previously published, and combines it with extensive photos of the authors own works but more than that their inspirations, their loves, their peers to bring a strange and evocative book filled with posters, book covers, DVD and CD recommendations and much more. 96 pages, hardcover, limited edition.

Sounds really intriguing? I think so.

To make it happen I need you (yes you! :)) to swing by the Indiegogo page linked to below, take some of your friends and support the project at the $35 level. At that level you get the hardcover book.

You make it happen here!

http://igg.me/p/437605/x/2628928

DVD Reviews: Winners and Losers

Recent DVD winners and losers

Winners:

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER
This movie is far better than the exploitative popcorn title would have you believe. It mixes (surprisingly elegantly) outrageous fantasy and monster tropes with still redolent historical moments, and wraps it all in mesmerizing action and brilliant direction. I was and remain hugely impressed. Timur Bekmambetov continues to be a director to watch. And writer Seth Grahame-Smith surprises with a script that for all its action and outrageousness is surprisingly heartfelt and earnest and full of the import of those years of civil war. Highly Recommended.

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INSIDIOUS
I think far more movies in general, and horror movies specifically, disappoint than satisfy. INSIDIOUS fortunately falls into the latter category. Being from first frame to last a downright compelling, creepy, and scary horror film. It’s a keeper.

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REDBELT
David Mamet on his game is a joy to behold, and here in REDBELT he is plain superlative, in this tale of a Jujitsu instructor, played mesmerizingly by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the lives that intersect one night, and the ramifications of that intersection. It’s a wonderful drama, that also happens to have some thrilling sequences of… prevailing. A movie to own. Highly Recommended!

So if these are this week’s winners, what are the losers? Glad you asked, they are:

A PERFECT GETAWAY
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BLACK MASK
JULIA’S EYES
IF

That’s all for this run around. Check back later for more.

2013: Day 12- Remembering Director Lucio Fulci

Rough Draft
UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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perversionstory

Lucio Fulci is remembered today, when remembered at all, by a nuance lacking population for his lowest common denominator gore films such as THE BEYOND and ZOMBI.

But before Fulci, by his own estimation became a maker of z-grade garbage to pay the bills, he aspired to more. He aspired to be a filmmaker.

And I am here to say he was one. And I would go further to say he was a great director. An extremely versatile director, leaving his mark on everything from Comedies to Westerns. However, it was in the new Italian form of thriller, the Giallo that his skills would reach their zenith, and his star shine the brightest.

In his heyday creative period, when the muses of inspiration were upon him (approx from 1966 to 1977), he made seven influential, stylish, challenging and even ground breaking films.

Tempi di Massacro/Massacre Time (Would predate and arguably inspire the dove laden, blood ballets of John Woo)

Una Sull’altra/Perversion Story/One On Top Another (even hampered by a poor title, and an awkward, even clumsy soft-core opening, this reworking of Hitchcock’s Vertigo builds to something great. Beautifully filmed it is Fulci’s best looking film, and is a clinic in style. It is a film I consider even better than its inspiration, and that is saying a lot.)

Beatrice Cenci
A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Don’t Torture a Duckling
Four of the Apocalypse
Sette Notte in Nero/Psychic

Fulci Frenzy
Browse and/or buy Lucio Fulci DVDs Here!!!

None of the above films were adequately appreciated upon release. However with the advent of DVD you have the chance to reevaluate Fulci’s largely pre-gore work (before he gave completely into his excesses and the lowest common denominator) and see these films for what they were and are, visually stunning landmarks of a time and a place.

— to be continued

2013: Day 11- 15 Best Movie Remakes! Remakes that are better than the original!

Okay, here is a list of Remakes for people who think they don’t like Remakes

or

FIFTEEN movie remakes that are superior to the original.

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John Carpenter’s THE THING
Daniel Craig in CASINO ROYALE
Francis Ford Coppola’s DRACULA
Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE

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David Cronenberg’s THE FLY
Zack Snyder’s THE DAWN OF THE DEAD
Al Pacino in Brian DePalma’s SCARFACE
Sturges’ MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED

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Branagh’s HENRY V
Eddie Murphy’s THE NUTTY PROFESSOR

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Bogart’s MALTESE FALCON (The third film attempt, finally got it right!)
I AM LEGEND, while I have a lot of respect for the Vincent Price and Charlton Heston versions, Will Smith’s I AM LEGEND moves it into big scale territory with out losing the intimate horror inherent
Cameron’s TITANIC
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH Hictchcock Improves on himself in this Stewart and Day remake of his earlier film

Movie Trailers of the Day!

A quick recap of some movies trailers I sampled today. Here’s the lowdown on the winners, the contenders and the losers!

THE BEST:

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN- I’m not a fan of the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER movies at all. Thought the first movie was mediocre at best, so imagine my surprise going into this trailer. It seemingly has very little to do with UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, which in my book is a good thing, and the trailer comes across with very much a horror, off-kilter vibe. UNIVERSAL SOLDIER by way of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. If the ultimate goal of a trailer is to make you want to pay to see the film, then this trailer succeeds.

IRON MAN 3- No doubt everyone and their grandma has seen this trailer now, but let me just jump on the bandwagon and say it looks great.  I’ve enjoyed all the previous MARVEL STUDIOS movies, and this appears to be no exception.

MAMA- is the latest by the director of BLADE II, PAN’S LABYRINTH etc, and looks like a worthy and creepy addition to that body of work. It’ll get my theater dollars.

LINCOLN- A bio-pic on Abraham Lincoln done by Spielberg, with a huge, high profile cast. Of course this is a must see in the theaters.

 

THE UNDECIDED/WAIT FOR VIDEO PILE:

REACHER- Tom Cruise’s latest looks interesting, though nothing you haven’t seen before.Though the ageless Mr. Cruise finally begins to show some age, which probably works for the weathered character he plays. I’m not bowled over by either trailer, nothing that screams see me in the theater, but one I’ll rent at least.

PUSHER- The trailer of this remake does nothing for me. But it has some heavy hitters behind the camera so the film may surprise. Worth a rental maybe.

BIGFOOT- A found footage BIG FOOT film. I’ve liked Big Foot related items since the old SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN TV show, so the premise is enough for me to give it a look. But nothing worth seeing in a theater or buying. Particularly considering the trailer makes it look even stupider than Blair Witch (which I disliked).

STOKER- Well when I heard the title STOKER I was hoping this had something to do with Bram Stoker, but no such luck. The trailer makes this seem like a drama/thriller about a young girl and her serial killer uncle, something of a distorted reworking of Hitchcock’s brilliant SHADOW OF A DOUBT. Quite frankly the trailer is pretty uninteresting, the only saving graces it has are… Nicole Kidman (she’s such a captivating beauty and actress, even here when she should be playing a worn, mother figure. If the purpose of a star is to make you want to look at them… all the time, then Nicole Kidman is a star of the highest order) and the director Park Chan Wook, of OLD BOY fame with his first English language film. So STOKER, poor trailer or not, is definitely worth a look when it hits video.

TAICHI- A steam-punk martial arts film by the creators of IP MAN and DETECTIVE YEE. I’m sold! :) Not something I’m going to pay theater prices for, but it is definitely a future rental.

EVIL DEAD REMAKE- That’s a gory trailer, jury is still out whether it is a good trailer, much less a good movie. Off the bat none of the actors come across as interesting which already puts you at a HUGE disadvantage. Bruce Campbell’s performance and likeability is a huge part of the success of the original EVIL DEAD, so to toss in some stock CW actors, with the depth of pond water (just going by the trailer, they may be Oliviers in the finished film) and think you earn the right to call it an EVIL DEAD film… could be a problem. This is going to be worth a look on video, but not in the theaters.

 

 

THE WORST:

HAUNTED HOUSE- A Marlon Wayans comedy/spoof on PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. The trailer is as stupid and uninteresting as you think it would be. Avoid.

THE COLLECTION- by the SAW creators. Seemingly their SAW franchise is dead, so they are trying to jump start a new one, using the same torture porn premise. Going just by the trailer… utter garbage.

CLOUD ATLAS- The easiest way to get me not interested in a film is to put Halle Berry in it. Tom Cruise doesn’t help either and an unfocused time-hopping storyline leaves me equally uninterested.

SMILEY- Seemingly an urban legend Serial Killer film. A killer with a smiley face made of flesh? Ugggh. It’s an effective trailer for this type of movie, I’m just not the audience for it. I hesitate to put this in the worst category until some of the reviews come in. It may actually have a story to it, and some craft, unlike something like THE COLLECTION.

That’s all for this installment of the best and worst in movie trailers! And you can view all the mentioned trailers for yourself here! Just say NO to Flash/streaming web trailers, which are always slow and crappy, and get them in downloadable quality at the link above!

And come back soon for more!!

Quote and Short Story of the Day: OUT OF THE STORM

“The sea is laughing. As though hell cackled from the mouth of an ass.”

OUT OF THE STORM by William Hope Hodgson

Courtesy of SFF Audio. Listen to it here! It is absolutely brilliant. This is the writer who inspired Lovecraft, and what Lovecraft learned from him (a man plagued by his own demons)… is clear…. and horrible.

Touching on that ‘plagued by demons’ statement. If this recounting of Hodgson’s meeting with Houdini be accurate, Hodgson comes off as more than a bit sadistic.

Links of the Day! Spotlight on Dark Horse Comics and Books! and NY Comiccon Update!

Well the idea was to hit the NY Comiccon this weekend, but that is clearly not going to happen. Darn job and 12 hour days over the weekend. Combined with not getting my press-pass ironed out in time, translates into me… not going.

Oh well, best laid plans, and all that.

I’m emailing in turn those I was hoping to network with over the extended weekend, and making alternative plans.

But enough of me yakking, onto the links of the Day!

Dark Horse, a name synonymous with quality publications and books, has quite a few books and hardcovers that are grabbing my attention, and today’s Links of the Day is devoted to them:

The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine- Dark Horse releases a brand new pulp magazine entitled The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine TPB. You can view a sample here. There’s not enough there for me to really decide if it’s my cup of tea, but artwork by Geof Darrow is always a reason to at least take a look.

Somethings I’m far more intrigued of from Dark Horse are:


THE MASSIVE – Brian Wood follows up his long running series DMZ, with something that I find far more intriguing. Preview it here. Buy it here.

THE STRAIN GN – a gripping 10 page preview by filmmaker and writer Guillermo Del Toro. Preview it here. Buy it here.

RAGEMOOR HC – Anything by Richard Corben is a must buy! Preview it here!. Ragemoor:Buy it Here!

DVD / BLU-RAY Review: THE WOLFMAN (2010)


Lawrence Talbot: Are you expecting a war?

Singh: A Sikh is a warrior of God. He must always arm himself against evil.


or


Sir John Talbot: You’ve done terrible things, Lawrence. Terrible Things.

The quotes come from the 2010 Joe Johnston film, WOLFMAN. I was a huge fan of this film when it hit the theaters a couple years ago, see my original review here, and have been meaning to pick up the unrated Blu-ray Director’s Cut for sometime.

I own very few Blu-Rays, I find on a whole it to be only a marginal quality difference to DVD, and all other things being equal, I’m unwilling to shell out more for a Blu-Ray

The exceptions being a movie deserving of the extensive and elaborate special features and dissection/discussion that a Blu-Ray can bring to bear.

I find the WOLFMAN to be one such film. Unlike many I was a huge fan of the film in the theaters, and I’m happy to say the Blu-Ray experience, with the Director’s Cut, only solidifies my enjoyment and praise for this film.

I won’t get into specifics of the film except to say the additional 15 or so minutes of the Unrated Director’s cut helps to make more cohesive and strong a film that did suffer from unevenness and feeling rushed. Particularly Benicio Del Toro’s unfairly maligned portrayal, is expanded and fleshed out, as well as his relationship with his father played by Sir Anthony Hopkins.

They both, in my opinion did well in the theatrical version, and shine in the Unrated Director’s Cut. And all the parts are likewise… raised.


Lawrence Talbot: Why did she do it?

Sir John Talbot: She struggled with life, as we all do. She lost.

The only minor qualm in the Unrated version is, it is less subtle in terms of the villain, for this reason it may be more prudent to see the theatrical version first, then graduate to the Unrated version.

But that minor issue aside, in every other way the Unrated version makes more compelling an already very good film. I’d go so far to say the Unrated version makes it a great film, particularly if you take into account the wealth of extra features.

Now picture wise, the WOLFMAN Blu-Ray is a negligible improvement over DVD, owing much to how it was shot, it’s a muddy, subdued, grainy type of film that does not play to the strengths of Blu-RAy.

But the extra features, interviews with Rick Baker, etc., and some nifty new interactive features makes this well written, beautifully filmed, wonderfully directed, masterfully edited (really effective jump scares, that no matter how many times I see the film… stay scary. That takes talent!) and well performed Horror/Monster film… a fun addition to anyone’s library.

Grade: Recommended! B+.

The Wolfman (Two-Disc Unrated Director’s Cut) [Blu-ray]

BOOK OF THE DAY: GRAHAM MASTERTON’s FESTIVAL OF FEAR! Plus Food poisoning and hamburgers!

So I almost returned Graham Masterton’s short story collection FESTIVAL OF FEAR to the library, relatively unread. The reason being the first story, PRESS, was just not grabbing me.

It felt very opaque, I couldn’t get into it. A short story, the first couple pages I just found incredibly un-engaging, and found myself rereading them to try to get into the story.

So I was all set to just call it a day, as I have no shortage of books on my towering ‘to-read’ pile, awaiting my attention; so there’s very little reason to force myself to plow through a book that is not grabbing me. However, for whatever reason when I went to take the book back, it ended up coming back home with me.

I think the Library (greatest human invention) was closed. So getting back home, I finally gave that first story a full reading, managing to finish it this time, and it, PRESS, wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, ending with one of those ‘O’Henry’ type puns. However, while not great, it was… good. And I do appreciate a good pun.

The second story, THE BURGERS OF CALAIS, was even better, far more insidious and smart, but likewise ended with an almost groan inducing pun, one so old it should creak. But rather than put me off, the seemingly irreverent, tongue-in-cheek nature of the writing… I felt growing on me. And coming as it did right before my bout with food poisoning, the story now seems particularly apt.

So two stories in, FESTIVAL OF FEAR is today’s book of the day. I’ll keep you gals and gorillas apprised as I work my way through the rest. But for right now it is recommended!

************
(The squeamish should avoid the following! You have been warned!)

Regarding the food poisoning, since I said I would mention it, here’s the 2cent version.

To be brief, a hole in the wall pizzeria, 2 slices of cheese pizza, the usual shady/sundry counter types who you are trusting to be clean enough to actually touch/prepare food, and someone who obviously wasn’t clean enough. My body is pretty much well tuned, so to be not too involved, I’m regular and efficient as a swiss clock.

Uhhh, I’ll never look at Swiss clocks the same way again. :)

Meaning I’m in and out with precision (how did we get on this subject?). The trains must Roll!!!!

So I don’t get the idea of people who spend enough time in the bathroom that they have time to read.

What the heck is that about?! If you’re on the toilet that long, you need to get yourself checked.

Plus I think any paper in your bathroom should only be for flushing, otherwise it’s nothing but a germ collector going from hand to hand. Could there be anything more disgusting than reading material sitting in a bathroom, use after use, bowel movement after bowel movement, flush after flush?

Answer: No there’s nothing more disgusting. :)

You want to read that’s what a bloody library, or your bedroom, or a living room couch is for. Reading material should not be in the bloody bathroom!

SAVAGES!!!!

:) (Yes, I am evil)

Anyhow all that to say, when something disagrees with me I notice, and there is no guesswork involved. I think a lot of people don’t listen to their bodies, and they accept as normal, reactions that are screaming to them… huge warnings in large brightly lit neon letters.

So yeah, needless to say that pizzeria joins a list of blacklisted places. a full list of which I’ll be happy to provide. Heh, heh heh!

*****************


‘You’re right, Velma. It’s weird, but it’s not unusual for hamburger meat to be contaminated. In fact it’s more usual than unusual, which is why I never eat hamburgers.

‘I don’t know if I want to hear this, John.’

‘You should Velma. See — they used to have federal inspectors in every slaughterhouse, but the Reagan administration wanted to save money, so they allowed the meat-packing industry to take care of its own hygiene procedures. Streamlined Inspection System for Cattle, that’s what they call it — SIS-C.’

‘I never heard of that, John.’

‘Well, Velma, as an ordinary citizen you probably wouldn’t have. But the upshot was that when they had no USDA inspectors breathing down their necks, most of the slaughterhouses doubled their line speed, and that meant there was much more risk of contamination. I mean you can imagine a dead cow hanging up by its heels and a guy cutting its stomach open, and then heaving out its intestines by hand, which they still do, that’s a very skilled job, and if a gutter makes one mistake — floop! — everything goes everywhere, blood, guts, dirt, manure, and that happens to one in five cattle. Twenty percent.’

‘Oh, my God.’

‘Oh, it’s worse than that, Velma. These days, with SIS-C, meat-packers can get away with processing far more diseased cattle. I’ve seen cows coming into the slaughterhouse with abscesses and tapeworms and measles. The beef scraps they ship out for hamburgers are all mixed up with manure, hair, insects, metal filings, urine and vomit.’

‘You’re making me feel nauseous, John. I had a hamburger for supper last night.’

‘Make it your last, Velma. It’s not just the contamination, it’s the quality of the beef they use. Most of the cattle they slaughter for hamburgers are old dairy cattle, because they’re cheap and their meat isn’t too fatty. But they’re full of antibiotics and they’re often infected with E.coli and salmonella. You take just one hamburger, that’s not the meat from a single animal, that’s mixed up meet from dozens or even hundreds of different cows, and it only takes one diseased cow to contaminate thirty-two thousand pounds of ground beef.’

‘That’s like a horror story, John.’

‘You’re too right, Velma.’
—-THE BURGERS OF CALAIS by Graham Masterton