Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tales from the Darkside Christmas Trilogy Part 3: The Yattering and Jack

With the new year just around the corner, it's time for one more adventure to the Darkside. The final season once again returned to offering up both Halloween and Christmas episodes. Sadly, while that autumn special was quite enjoyable, the holiday tale was the weakest so far.

“The Yattering and Jack” is based on a story by Clive Barker, but don't think for a ,inute that it's filled with the usual religious symbolism and gore. This is a silly tale about a man named, you guessed it, Jack. Old Jack has a problem. Shit keeps going south in his house. Electronics blow up, fish boil in their tank. Anything that can go wrong usually does. Much as this would torment normal folk, Jack keeps the blues away with the old song “que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be.” Before long we're treated to the cause of all this trouble. A tiny demon called a yattering played by Phil Fondacaro. It's always great to see Phil in action. Perhaps it's a sloppy choice of words but he's one of the titans of little actors.
So the Yattering is doing his damnedest to Drive Jack crazy so the guy will curse god. This is all a ruse by the devil who really wants Jacks' soul for some reason. Yattering feels like he's making zero progress. No matter what he does to Jack, the old fool just repeats that same damn song. If only the little devil could up his game and strike at Jack directly. The devil notes that physical contact is a big no no.
Before too long, Jack's Daughter shows up. She wants to spend Christmas with her dad though she notices that his house is a disaster. Jack tries his best to come up with excuses and draw her away from the house to do some grocery shopping. This leads to the best part of the whole episode where the yattering takes control of an uncooked turkey, making it wear pearls and fly about the room before finally settling on top of the Christmas tree and gobbling the whole time.

Jack continues to ignore most of the irritations which makes the yattering go crazy in his quest to terrorize the old man. In his fury he mistakenly breaks that special rule and touches his pray which makes him Jack's slave, forever.
We learn that Jack knew about the Yattering, the bid for his soul, everything. And he'd been trying to make the demon screw up this whole time. Apparently the devil wanted his soul because his mom or grandma, or whoever (can't remember) was a high end witch and screwed the devil out on a deal. Jack doesn't care about any of that though. He's got a supernatural slave for a all of eternity. The yattering remarks that Jack probably won't get into heaven with a demon slave but you can guess the old dudes response.
Notice how I hardly mentioned Christmas? Yea, this one uses the holiday more as set dressing than anything else. That's a shame as a little more merriment would've helped immensely. Darkside tried its hand at comedy every now and then, usually with lackluster results. While this one isn't terrible, it's not all the special either. It tries to be funny without much luck and is only scary for those awful people who get freaked out by dwarfs. Yet there's still a certain charm to the whole endeavor. Maybe it's the simple storyline or Jacks upbeat attitude, Ok, it's probably the possessed turkey. Just keep expectations in check for this episode to not live up to the other Christmas tales. I'd even suggest viewing this one in the middle of the trilogy so you end on a better note.

That's it! More than likely this will be my last post of 2014. I have no plans to recap the year cause frankly, even with everything I accomplished, this year sucked and I'm stoked for a fresh start. Got a nice job interview next week, and I aim to accomplish even more of my big time goals in the coming year. So to my small readership, I hope you all have a decent new year's celebration, and I'll see you in January.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tales from the Darkside Christmas Trilogy Part 2: Seasons of Belief

Continuing from the other day, we move on to Season 3 of Darkside. This was the first and only season to not have a Halloween episode which was countered by going full speed with the Christmas tale. While the other holiday eps simply happen to be based around the same time as the Christmas, this one is wholly dependent on the day.

The entire episode takes place in a happy little home with an even split population of mom, dad, son, and daughter. Though you might be confused as the age difference between ma & pa is bizarre. To put it in proper context, the dad is played by E.G. Marshall who was one of the grandparents in Christmas Vacation just a few years later. Dude's got close to forty years on the actress playing the mom! Maybe they just had E.G. on contract and threw him in wherever. Still; you can't watch this one without getting some weird vibes about the parents back-story. Definitely a sugar daddy situation.
Anyway; it's Christmas eve and the family's just chillin at home. Diner's over and now comes the long wait for Santa Claus. As the parents have decided to have an old fashioned Christmas the family won't be watching TV or anything like that. They have to deal with each other tonight.
It's established early on that the kids are a little mouthy and the parents are big fibbers. They give the kids some story about Santas switch that breaks your gifts when you insult him. Naturally the toy train set kicks it then and there. Foreshadowing!

Eventually the lil brats get bored and start begging for a story. Problem is, they already know all of them.....or do they? Mom & Dad commence telling them the scariest of all Xmas tales, about a hideous beast known as the grither. Oh and don't say that name out loud or else he'll hear it and come for you. Not to mention that every subsequent utterance makes him hasten in reaching your house to eat you.

This is both the strength and weakness of the tale. It's essentially watching someone set up the biggest joke they can think of. In scene after scene the parents come up with more B.S to back up their story. They even go so far as to change the lyrics of “Come All Ye Faithful” to “I Am The Grither.”
Before long, the kids are close to pants wetting levels of terror which peaks when their uncle burst through the front door looking like a mutant Sherpa. It's at this point that the parents decide to defuse the situation by telling the kids that just like Santa, the grither is make-believe and thous neither of them are coming to the house tonight.
Daughter dearest reminds everyone of some arbitrary rule about finishing the grither's story before he arrives. As if on cue, a freak blizzard opens the front door blowing people to and fro. Once the snow has settled and everyone thinks it's safe, two enormous white and veiny arms burst through the windows and grab ma & pa by their heads before snapping their little necks. Which leaves everyone else with unopened presents and a lifetime of therapy sessions. 
While it lacks the variety and symbolism of “Monsters in my Closet,” “Seasons of Belief” works on it's pure Christmas setting and the odd sensation of watching two people go out of their way to torment their own children. Those kids should probably thank the grither for sparing them of future holidays with the pricks they call parents. Maybe that was the greatest gift of all.
There's still one more episode to cover. Depending on how much stuff is going on, I may be able to get that to you all late Christmas night. Otherwise I wish you all a very merry day. Hopefully you get some good gifts and a few nice memories. Failing that, you can always get bombed on eggnog. Have a good one everybody.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tales from the Darkside Christmas Trilogy Part 1: Monsters in my Closet

Tales from the Darkside may not have the pop culture cache or star power that Tales from the Crypt flaunted but it had low budget heart. Like it's more popular competition, it also spawned plenty of lame duck episodes. When it got its shit together though the result was some outstanding TV.
With Christmas starring us right in the eye, let's take a trip to a place that is “just as real, but not as brightly lit” for some yule tide misery.
Monsters in my closet stars a creepy young Seth Green as Timmy. Tim's a pretty standard weeny. He collects stuffed animals, doesn't have many friends, and lets mommy sing him to sleep at night. He's fine with who he is but his step-dad sure aint. Biff is a full time nutsack. Every second with him is about beer, football, guns, and old sea chanteys. And we all now nothing says manly like musically inclined sailors. Biff only has one discernible goal in life, to man that boy up.

At the start, the gab between Timmy and Biff isn't too much of a problem. They have at least one awkward conversation per day while the mom continues to tell each of them to give the other a chance. Frankly I don't understand Biffs' persistence. Couldn't he just give the cold shoulder like any emotionally abusive step-father?

Things really start to get out of hand on Christmas. Biff gives Timmy a toy machine-gun which the kid feigns just enough interest in it until mommy gives him this giant stuffed Panda of his dreams. Normally, I wouldn't judge the kid as I once saved up thirty clams for a stuffed tiger that totally kicked ass. However; Timmy's panda is scary as all fuck!
It's about this time that various monsters we've only briefly glimpsed before decide to go after the poor kid. His collection if tormenters include a troll guy that lives in the closet, an octopus under the bed, and a buzzsaw. Now let's make it perfectly clear that I don't mean some kind of chopping mall style killer robot, it's just a big round saw blade that rolls across the kid's room at full rotation. These creatures send Timmy into a tizzy that naturally makes his step-dad act like an even bigger dick.
Eventually Timmy overcomes his fear of the monsters since, let's face it, they're not as bad as the drunk guy who bitches about him every night. We've got some symbolism going here folks and we're about to add to it. After getting in a fight with Biff where the kid tells the old man how him and his mom are strong and Biff's a weakling, the kid proceeds tell those spooks what's what. All that yelling leaves him in need of a trip to the thunderbucket where he encounters a new one in the guise of a witch. His resolve suddenly lost, Timmy tries to go to the other bathroom which Biff isn't having. The guy follows Tim back to his room for a good old fashioned whooping. He never gets to strike the kid as the witch and her minions descend on the poor bastard.
Biff's death is blamed on a heart attack no matter how much Timmy tells everyone that the monsters did it. The last shot is him being sent to his room which now has a sign warning of monsters.

This isn't one of those stories that really has much to do with Christmas, but it benefits from taking place during that time. Like many other Darkside tales, there's a lot of stuff that could be built on. Like what the hell happens next? Will the monsters come back for Timmy? Are they now his servants who dispose of anyone that displeases him? Where they real, or some psychic projection? You can't deny how the timing of the witch appearing after Tim defends his mother. That's part of the charm to these shows though, you're not meant to fully understand so much as piece things together and maybe even create your own wrap up. I like to think of Timmy entering high school in command of a secret army of night terrors.

Tomorrow we're moving onto season three to meet a fine fellow called the Grither. See you then.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Almost Xmas

Now that's more like it. When I started this entry, my holiday cheer was running pretty low. As luck would have it, I've come across a fair share of holly jolly junk food, wrapped some gifts, and gotten some cards from strangers. After a few weeks of the holidays feeling off, it seems like everybody remembered it's celebration time. Naturally this means revisions in order to scare up some cheer for any of you out there feeling festivly challenged.
Those goodies I mentioned; the majority of them were nabbed in one go through wally world. Pretty much everything you see was a success. Oh, and let's not forget the peppermint drumstick variety pack. It was a fine feast after breaking through the previous nights bout of venison flavored food poisoning. Now I can't say anything positive about the soda flavored candy canes just yet. We try to keep those on the tree for as long as possible until candy lust overcomes our better judgment. Once that process has taken place, I'll report back to you.

Tonight brought in another round of goodies and by god, I finally found the Christmas cereals! Just had a bowl of Sugar Cookie Toast crunch and it was surprisingly mellow. Very much like a batch of homemade cookies it wasn't overbearing and it was just a tad dry. I imagine the cookie crisp will lean towards the more headache inducing store bought style cookies. That negativity is mostly coming from years of wondering whether regular cookie crisp was always so gross or if one of us changed. The chocolate covered potato chips and gingerbread latte are fine and dandy. Really haven't encountered a single dud in on the seasonal food front so far, which leaves me somewhat more comfortable in how I waste my cash.

There's also been two new additions to my usual line up of holiday traditions. First up is a secret Santa program through my thrift guild on Boardgamegeek. Already finished buying and shipping for my target and made some deals with other members to get even more items shipped out to him. The whole thing has me feeling good overall with the downside being that I've seen/heard nothing from my own Santa. Here it is with less than two weeks until the big day and it's driving me nuts. It's almost like being a kid again in that you have very little clue what's coming but you want it right now!
The other new addition is from the same website only it's a card exchange. Never been much of one to send out cards. Mostly see them as a cheap replacement for actual generosity, yet mailing em out to strangers is downright pleasant. Maybe it's that you've got no baggage with these people. You're not gritting your teeth thinking of how they didn't come to your barbecue because of course they didn't come to your barbecue! They live half a world away! It's such an inexpensive way of sending out some good mojo and getting some in return. Originally I wanted to make up a CD of some obscure Christmas music I.E “Here Comes Santa in a Red Canoe, but as you can probably guess, I slacked off and just sent out mildly personalized cards. The first two cards I received were also of the standard variety, nothing wrong with that. Then the third had a CD, though with more notable songs like Rudolph. Than the forth put us all to shame. A couple from Poland sent me a homemade card with it's own unique message along with a quote by Ben Franklin and it was adorned with a homemade ornament. No fooling. Complete strangers from eastern Europe made an ornament for me. Gonna use them as inspiration for next year cause they don't fuck around when it comes to Christmas cards.

Ohh I know there's so much more to report on. Every item in this entry could easilly be covered in greater detail. I'm just so excited for this week. Dunno if anyone reading this lives in a multi-generational home but anytime a few people flee for a few days is like a vacation, and I haven't had one of those in forever. It's amazing how much difference the absence of two people can make for just a few days. There will be less chores, a lot less noise, pure comfort. What a great little gift from the universe. And it gives me the perfect opportunity to work on my Christmas special. I'm actually considering making a weekly show starting next year. I mean my show's aren't great and Christ knows if I've got any viewers but just the knowledge that I have my own show is pretty invigorating. And sure I don't get paid but that frees me from feeling like I have to live up to expectations. Cause really, what can anyone expect from a one man show with exactly zero budget? Any episode where I don't sit around in my boxers drooling on myself should be considered a hit.

I'd better wrap this one up before sleep takes over. I've got some more stuff planed before Christmas strikes,so stay jolly out there and see you soon.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Fallout 2014

So the site's been a little neglected lately, yea? It's true. My bad. November rushed past in a sleepy blur, and boy do I mean sleepy. Swear I must have spent at least one whole week in bed for no reason other than why not? In truth I accomplished quite a few things in turkey month (though novel progress has stalled dramatically). From another tv special, work, some more personal PC education, and even a couple of first time experiences, it wasn't an awful month, just awfully short lived.
I'm sure most of you are probably still feeling the leftover pangs of Thanksgiving in your guts. While not my favorite holiday by quite a long shot, I still look forward to the few traditions I've attached to it. The first one to be indulged this year was my new booze gift set. This year I went with the shine.
Midnight Moon. Hadn't really tried it before outside of this one goofy mixed drink I took down during my nephews birthday (thank you Logan's Roadhouse!) which already put it high on the interest list. What put it through the roof and right in top place were the teeny tiny mason jar shot glasses along with a mason jar pour spout. The shot glasses are just straight up fun. Makes you fill like a giant sized hillbilly. the spout presents a much more interesting project as I can now store any homemade krupnik or candy vodkas in jars with easy access come drinky time.
Now I ended up with the apple pie variety, which seems to be the only kind in gift set form. I would've liked some choice in the matter but lucky for me it ain't half bad. Sorta has a melted candle/cinnamon candy aura to it without being overpowering. Mixes decently with other stuff, especially ginger ale. Trick is, it's a major sleepy time drink. While it's low in alcohol, there's a whole warming medicinal quality to it that just makes ya start to drift off into slumber. I'd mark it as a success though cause I'm willing to give other flavors a go...just not during gift set season. There's a big box of tequila that's calling my name. God am I ever thirsty.
So the Macy's parade was more painful than ever this year. I usually DVR it as an endurance test to see how much corn my body can take but this one nearly took me down. Never ceases to amaze me how many musical acts they can put together out of people I've never heard of. Seriously folks; if you want to feel detached from modern pop culture just go to Macy's. All in all our favorite piece of the whole show was the absolutely horrid lip synch on seemingly all but one of the performers. Best ones were the people who just shoved the mic into their face so you couldn't see their mouth movements. That's the sign of an ace performance.
The third and final of my Thanksgiving traditions is the cinematic turkey. This year we laughed our way through Samurai Cop. Oh what a beauty this thing is. Absolutely getting a full article on here soon. I haven't had a smile that big since Flesheater. Found it a little odd that my brother kept turning to me to report that the movie was shit. Guess he doesn't get the meaning of “let's turn on a bad movie.”
There's other stuff I want to cover, but let's save that for a second post in a day or so. Gotta run into work, pour some coffee down my throat, and deal with some personal bizz as well. Should be a lot more updates this month, so stay with me folks.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Milk Chocolate Pringles and Candy Booze, Amongst Other Things.

Hiya folks. Been a while, hasn't it? Yeah....sorry bout that. Been trying to stay busy and catch up on a few things and then I realized this page hasn't been touched for a few weeks. Let's remedy that shall we?
How was Halloween for everyone? Mine wasn't bad. The weather was a tad saucy and there were lil tidbits I'd like to have been different but there lies the charm with every holiday. Those small things you want to improve on help to make each one unique. Still had a good time handing out candy with nearly the whole family dressed up as assorted monsters, watching a nice stash of flicks. Even got to tune into my public domain special, which yes I neglected to post on here, I'll try to do better for the Thanksgiving one.
One little treat I prepared for myself that night was my first experimentation in the field of candy infused vodka. I've had a fondness for that particular fire water for most of my life and love the fact that like me, it eats candy. I made four small batches to try. Red skittles, green skittles, candy corn, and it's uglier cousin Indian corn. Overall the results were successful though I need to readjust my proportions a bit. Both skittles versions came out quite nicely and make for some damn fine screwdrivers with the side effect of looking like witch's poison which only added to the Halloween vibe. The corns on the other hand were more of an acquired taste. Anyone who's ever had them knows the strange film left in your mouth afterward. Well, whichever oil causes that translates directly to the vodka. Still; I'd recommend the regular candy corn vodka but not Indian corn. That twisted black juice was not meant for human consumption. I'm definitely planning on trying more candy vodka to go along with the onslaught of Christmas foods. I mean all those special candy canes need some loving too.
A few nights of being restless meant it was time for a late night wonder through walmart. Seeing as the journey involved riding a moped in twenty degree weather, I was determined to bring something home with me. Lo and Behold new Christmas Pringles and Lofthouse cookies were there to greet me. I figured there was a strong chance that at least two of these items would be pure shit but let's call it a Holiday miracle that everything worked out nicely.
I started my trip through flavortown with the caramel apple cookies. Upon opening the case I was met with an overpowering smell, a bit uncharacteristic of traditional lofthouse offerings. Biting into the beast offered a surprisingly smooth flavor. Neither the caramel nor the apple takes center stage. The only thing that threw me off is that these are more solid than their regular cookiesm dryer too, which could be a plus depending on what you want from a cookie. These are not game changer, but a decent way to spend some snack money.
Cinnamon Sugar Pringles Tortillas were something I actually figured would be ok and they actually exceeded those expectations. When we popped open the tube there was a fairly normal tortilla smell. Nothing at all like you'd expect given the name. Eating one revealed a flavor similar to classic cinnamon laced treats like elephant ears or empanadas just not as strong. I'd say it makes for a fine choice when you want that seasonal cinnamon vibe but just a little lighter.
The big nasty of tonight’s shopping trip was easilly Milk Chocolate Pringles. Having tried the white chocolate version before and being generally unimpressed left me thinking that these would be tried and then tossed. It is trash night after all. The smell is pretty rank and artificial but I continued on and found the chips to be of all things, fucking awesome. Don't go in expecting milk chocolate flavor. This is a smore chip, plain and simple. There is chocolate with a hint of something creamier. The salted chip fills in for graham crackers and the result is nice & tasty. One day these will be included in the grand museum of things that have no right to be good but are.
Obviously a man needs something to wash all that sugary stuff down with, and what could be better than more diabetes sauce? Found Swamp Pop last weekend at World Market. No Real details are needed, This shit is outstanding. If you find it, buy it! Monster Ripper doesn't get an outright recommendation though. It was good, don't get me wrong there. It just lacked something for me. What it could be is that this is smoother (I.E. less bitey) than other Monsters. This could be a huge win for someone else but I'd sooner pick up the more powerful M-80 or Nitrous versions over this one. Hell; let's blame that crazy lady who thinks monster in a tool of Satan. She colored my expectations for the whole week.
I gotta skate for now kiddies. I'm aiming on getting some better employment which means I've got an app to fill out. Ugh, no fun. To tide you over until the next update, does anyone have a good tip for what should be on my Thanksgiving special? I've got Plan Nine from Outer Space lined up along with the Liberace thanksgiving special. I need a second public domain flick but I can't even pick my genre. Should I do some sort of old Muscle Man flick? Kaiju? Kung-Fu? Gimme some hints.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Madness 2014

It's almost time everyone. As we speak The big day isn't far away. Currently a thunderstorm is raining down during a double feature of The Hitcher and Evil Dead II. The candy bags are ready, the tote of animatronics prepared, pumpkins at the ready to be carved. Halloween is here.
Check that out folks! That's some full on branding right there. After years of talking about making a public domain movie show I finally got off my ass and did it. Lo and behold the public access channel even made this lil advertisement slide for me. Feels good to see something like this on the screen. Now I'll admit there's barely any host segments to this special as it was made on the fly with the possibility of not being finished in time. Now that I've learned my way around the editing, rendering, copying, etc, I feel confident in making the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials bigger and better. You fine folks need not worry about missing out either as I have plans to upload the specials and post them right here.
Another pleasant sight was this bad boy. A sheet of Scream Factory magnets from my recent company direct order. Yes everyone is able to get these, and I'd suggest you get yourself some right now. The feeling plasturing these all over the fridge is some major icing for a decent season. (Edit: looks like these are out of stock now. Sorry for rubbing them in your face).
Speaking of the season, there was a very good night spent out with my people at the Shawhaven haunted farm in Mason Michigan. Overall it's one of the best values I've ever encountered in the horror attraction world. 25 bucks will get you a hayride, cornmaze, and haunted house. An extra five bucks will net you a ride in a coffin that simulates being buried alive. You better believe I paid for the whole package. I try not to put out too much personal stuff but suffice to say it was a great time with my friends and it was a night I'll be looking fondly back on for quite some time.
A new activity for my current Halloween festivities has been puzzles. Don't mistake me here, puzzles suck, and for years I just stunk at them, yet something seems to have been rewired in my nigget so that I'm fully capable of knocking one out. An exciting development? No. I still think it's neat though.
Next up it's food and (mostly drinks) ahoy! There's been no shortage of new tastes lately. More than likely a few things will simply end up being forgotten before I even write about em but let's give it a shot eh?
Angie's Candy Corn Kettle Corn is absolutely outstanding! I don't care if you have nothing but pure venom towards candy corn or its Indian cousin, this stuff is smooth, creamy, sweet. Ohhhh it's got the flavor and texture confectioned corn was always meant to have which when drizzled over popcorn is just awesome. Not sure how easy it is to find in most areas. Strangely enough I came across it at a health food store of all places.
What didn't need to be bought from a hippie emporium was the Harvest Pumpkin tortellia chips. The brand that makes these things is called Food Should Taste Good which almost serves as a review. The chips do in fact taste good...not amazing, definitely wouldn't make nachos with em, but they are good...........as they......should be?
All of the new taste sensations don't necessarily belong to the seasonal food category. For instance these Dry brand sodas started poppin up around here. Being the adventurous type I began my sampling with they're strangest flavor. Believe it or not, Cucumber soda is actually pretty good. Not as good as celery soda but I can easily see myself snatching one up every now and then.
Also from Dry brand, this vanilla bean soda was disappointing. I mean if you can get cucumber right, how could you possibly screw up vanilla? Yet they did with a thoroughly uninspired drink that is only made interesting when drank alongside various candies.
For as daring as the cucumber nonsense may seem, nothing came out of left field quite like Rockstar Horchata energy drink. Yes sir, a horchata energy drink. Against all odds, this not only exists, but is pretty good to boot. Before I get to the positives, it would seem best to warn you that this stuff inspires more wee wee runs to the bathroom than anything I've had in a while. I suppose this could be considered a plus for anyone attempting to detox or prepping for a drug test. There's your endorsement potheads. Another issue is that no matter how much you shake it, all the lil rice bits just settle right back to the bottom thous leaving you with a soggy lump at the bottom of every can. Otherwise the taste and consistency is great and the cinnamon helps to keep your sugar from bombing out as is the case with so many energy drinks.
Coco Fizz is yet another attempt at making chocolate soda which comes to us via Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (if there's a better name for my butthole I have yet to hear it). While this is a cut above other chocolate sodas it's still kinda gross and weird.....to me at least. Honestly I didn't feel it was terrible, just not good. My friend on the other hand really enjoys it. I suppose if you've been searching endlessly for the top coco soda you at least owe this stuff a shot.
Saugatuck Neapolitan milk stout. Let it be known far and wide that milk and beer are great friends. While this isn't the best milk stout I've come across, it does live up to the promise of having three flavors floating around. Unfortunately it's impossible for those flavors to be layered, making it less Neapolitan and more chococerynilla.....I suppose that'd be harder to market.
Pumpkin Chai beer from....can't remember, is based on sound logic. All three items are delicious on their own, and have frequently worked well together. Why not shove all of them into one bottle? Ohh but the results (shakes head). I still think this could make for something tasty but this particular batch doesn't leaves zero taste of pumpkin or chai, just dark beer. I wish there was more detail to add but this was just a total disappointment. Save your money.
Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask ale is just so gross. Wood polish with honey. Nice cap though.
Smutty nose pumpkin ale is good and basic stuff. Nothing too remarkable but nice. Seems like it'd go along quite well with fishing. Which I find odd as I associate very few things with fishing.
Woodchuck out on a limb is something quite surprising. Normally the woodchuck brand means passable taste and maybe a headache to go with it but here that's not the case. There's some real effort put into this stuff that makes the flavors of chocolate & respberry really stand out without any of the usual cider side-effects. Good stuff that's worth a shot if you come across it.
Oh boy. As is far too often the case, this entry has taken a couple nights to finish up. Now it's the morning of Devils Night. I've got carving to do and a list minute inventory/prep of the final wave of decorations. Not to mention it'd be a mistake to miss out on one more spooky walk, oh and I might hit up the thrifts stores.....I've got a lot to do. In case I'm not back on here in time I'd like to wish all my small readership a great Halloween. Go scare up some fun.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Sale 2014!

It's that time again folks. For anyone who's read this site for a while you may remember my yearly binge at the local library book sale every October. For the past 4 or 5 years this sale has served as an excuse to hunt for some horror literature along with whatever other oddities I can dig up along the way. Really, I can't imagine Halloween without this sale. It's as much a part of the season for me as carving pumpkins and nightly horror flicks. This year easily ranks as the best haul I've ever had, with over 20 items obtained from two separate visits. Given my average reading speed, I'd say I'm covered through Valentines day at the very least. Let's check out the swag shall we?
First up is the horror selection. Last year was somewhat rough on this front but there were no issues this time around. In fact; there was actually enough choices available that I had to leave some things behind. When you can feel confident in shrugging off a killer doll novel, you know it's a good day. So What do I have here?
The very first title I picked up was harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. My sister actually pointed this one out and it took me a moment to recall that Tryon was responsible for old Monstervision favorite “The Other.” Couldn't be more excited to go through another of his folksy horror tales, but another book takes precedence above all others.
Crooked Tree: Honestly; I was already feeling pretty confident in my stack of spooky stories but this baby shot straight up to priority #1 based on two simple factors. One is critical praise by Frank DeFellita, the awesome writer and sometimes director of tales like Audrey Rose, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, and the Entity. About the only praise from an author that could garner this much excitement from me is if I saw a quote from Graham Masterton proclaiming a book to be gory.
The second shining element of this book is there inner cover which reveals the main threat of the story. See that bear in the tree, well check this out!
It's a werebear! A sexy lady werebear at that! God almighty this thing is failure proof! I mean how could a book about a bear woman not be at least marginally entertaining? If this sucker pans out expect an entry about Werebears any day now.
Other than those two highlights, I've got some thrillers and my first attempt at plowing through John Saul, plus some kind of horror comedy (a genre I've never taken on in book form.) Like previous sales I'm sure most of these won't get touched for months (cough) if ever. That's the joy of these sales though. You can just go crazy and try out whatever you feel like getting.
The sci-fi/fantasy area is always a tad trim at these sales yet I managed a few cool pick-ups. The Galactic Arena looks like classic style trash, alien gladiators and all. On Stranger Tides is a fantasy pirate adventure I've been wanting to read for a few years now. Yes it was bought by Disney as the basis for some of the stuff from the Pirates movies, mainly the Blackbeard looking for the fountain of youth bit. Hopefully this will be more consistent. The winner in this category is easily Starrigger; the beginning of a trilogy about space trucking. I always know a title is worth picking up when everyone who reads the description instinctively shakes their head in disbelief.
Nabbed a couple of semi-normal books as well, fist being Pillars of the Earth. Under normal circumstance I would never spend a penny on a book about a bloody church yet a friend of mine breezed through it last year and gave it some major props. At the very least that endorsement has earned it three chapters before deciding if I'm gonna bail for some comic books. Berlin Bed Rooms on the other hand is very much the opposite of classy best-sellers. What we have here is some Cold War red scare pulp about German sex nymphs luring witless dudes to the other side of the wall. Behold the promises of filth on the back cover.
One of these is going to serve as my post Halloween refresher and I'm sure if I'll lean towards historical epic or trash....probably trash.
The biggest spot of fun during the whole sale was searching through tables of old VHS flicks. I started a very tiny collection of tapes last fall and this was the perfect opportunity to build on it. During the first few days, each tape was a measly ten cents but Saturday brought the grab bag deal. Oh boy howdy was that a lifesaver. That picture isn't even everything I bought as a few other items were gifted out to people. It's gonna be tremendous fun to have a VHS night introducing my nephew the pee inducing nightmare that is Fire in the Sky. Not to mention Karloff's Mummy and The Fog which may be in better condition than my vastly overused DVD.
Above everything else is Shattered Silence. I picked this tape off the table on a whim and instantly recognized it under it's alternate title “When Michael Calls.” Years, ago I spent Halloween night with my sister and her friends at one of their homes and this was one of the main flicks for the night. They only vaguely remember that night but I still have some recollection of this movie and I'm just stoked to watch it again. The find only gets better as this is one of those hard to find cult flicks waiting to be rescued by something like Scream Factory.
After the sale we hit up a few thrift stores and wouldn't you know it, I turn my head for a few minutes and my sister works out a deal with another shopper for two garbage bags filled with paperbacks! I ended up with a few titles from this massive haul though I'm a tad gun shy as they stink a good bit of basement and funk. There's The Deep, a 30 Days of Night spin-off, and some book about alien parasites during folks into crazed zombies. Think of a serious version of the Night of the Creeps/Slither situation. Most of the reviews on Amazon are terrible so god only knows what I'm in for with this.
Alright. It's time to finally wrap this up. I've been slowly writing it up for days now and the collection of novelty foods and decorations to cover is starting to pile up, not to mention little adventures to art shows and haunted attractions (one of which I plan to visit this weekend.) We're in the heart of spook season people, get out there and have some fun.

Monday, October 6, 2014

October Sampler

This was how I started my October.
Spook season is in full effect folks. Leaves crunch and crinkle under every step, the sky turns shades of orange and gray, and every corner could reveal any type of bizarre sight. I'm starting this when I really should be sleeping. Another morning shift awaits yet I find it difficult to separate from the ridiculous ghost shows of Destination America. In just a few days, the annual library book sale starts up, which means I'd best cover some loose items before antiquated book finds fill this page.
Most years, I attempt to get at least one game that matches the mood of the season. More often than not, I end up replaying a classic like costume quest or Symphony of the Night. Currently I've been catching up on more recent Castlevania antics with Lords of Shadow. In case you haven't heard, this is neither straightforward action like the originals nor is it the sprawling lite RPG of later titles. What we've got here is more of a grab bag of ideas from a multitude of games. You've got the combat of god of war, boss fights like shadow of the colossus, with other generic tidbits like quick time events tossed here and there.
The art design is almost like a Del Toro movie except nothing looks like it's drenched in urine. It's a big departure from the beautiful girly men of the most entries in the series. Now you play a dude who wouldn't look out of place in NFL Blitz (did I just date myself?). This dudes' shoulders are wider than my bed! Plus he's got some tight Swayze hair to shield him from evil. Oh, and he's voiced by a very sleepy sounding Robert Carlyle who just stopped in for a paycheck. I don't think he performed the battle sounds which greatly resemble a frat dude vomiting.
You won't be getting anything close to a full review from me, especially since I'm two stages away from being finished. Overall it's an odd duck. It's repetitive, old fashioned, pretty much requires a guide, and it can be just stupid hard, yet it's fun all the same. Even though I've spat at the screen multiple times eith pure malace in my heart, I keep coming back for another helping. There's enough joy to exploring this big scary world and slaughtering monsters to bring a smile, though that smile will be tainted by a platform puzzle or just yet another moment of scratching your head, wondering what the fuck you're supposed to do. Ohhhh and that fucking music box stage! That's the worst! So I kinda hate the game yet I'm thinking of buying the sequel. Consider that a triumph of the whole over its' parts.
Of course those Castlevania fueled rage dumps make a man thirsty. And what better way to replenish cursing strength than milk? Not just any milk mind you, but orange scream milk from Trumoo. Does anyone find it strange that citrus fruit have become a staple of Halloween based solely on color? No one associates mold and blood with Christmas so why would oranges and limes ever be considered spooky? Suppose there's no point in rebelling against it. All there more so since this stuff is actually pretty good. Consider a cup of melted dreamcicles but remove the sting of the orange part. Sadly I ran out of crunch berries before I could cross the line into using this stuff on cereal. My body will thank me by not developing diabetes.
That is a oreo no bake sandwich......I wouldn't recommend it.
Wouldn't be fall if we weren't being bombarded with new cookies. First up are pumpkin spice Oreos. Far less obnoxious than other Oreo flavors, I could see these becoming a tradition. There's not too much spice to them though I wouldn't mind a tad more pumpkin added to the mix. It's just a nice creamy flavor and damn it's good with coffee which as we know is the defining factor in the value of any baked good.
I broke in the new stove with Candy Corn cookies from Betty Crocker. Now before you run off in disgust, these aren't very candy corny (I like that phrase). It's actually a more flavorful sugar cookie that smells....well they smell awful but they are tasty. I wasn't thrilled with them yet my candy corn hating sister took down a good quarter of the box. Not sure if that constitutes a win or not.
Washing down the cookies we move onto Leinenkugel's Shandy Sampler. We're talking about a 12 pack of 3 new flavors that can only be bought in this sampler. Therein lies the problem. Ya see, Harvest Patch Shandy is really good. It's refreshing and leaves behind this nice pumpkin pie taste. I'd easily buy a bunch of this stuff. Cranberry Ginger Shandy is a step down. It doesn't have much ginger punch and the cranberry is just kind of meh. Think of it as a beer version of Sierra Mist Cranberry splash without all that tasty sugar. Lastly is the Old-Fashioned Shandy. What's old-fashioned about it exactly? Good question. I have no answer. This is floor wax, straight up floor wax without the joys of lemon scent. In the end, you have to decide if the equation of one third great, one third weak, and one third awful is acceptable to your wallet.
Seeing as it's five hours before I gotta be to work...I should probably wrap this up. If anybody has some nice tips for spicing up the season, drop a comment. This is a season for adventure no matter how big or small.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Flesheater Review

Halloween always means an extra influx to my horror collection. Let's face it; August through October is an absolute tidal wave of releases both new and old. Originally I was planing to write about the 650th addition to my treasure trove but not only is the Mangler not here yet, I've found something so much more important with number 647. Join me wont you?
Flesheater is the brain child of Bill Hinzman. Bill's biggest claim to fame is being the first onscreen zombie in the original night of the living dead. Most of his career past that point consisted of more bit parts in Romero flicks or just riding the fame of being such a noteworthy minion of the damned. Eventually the old boy got the idea to start making movies of his own. First up was the Majorettes, which I have yet to see though you'd better believe it's on the “to-watch” list, then he decided to revive the undead act and...my god.. it's beautiful. Not in the way of sunsets or your favorite memories. No, it's beautiful like early nineties USA network. If you've ever seen Up All Night I expect you to be hopping with anticipation by now.
The credits set the scene perfectly with the animated Hinzman snarling at us along with the only musical arrangement in the whole damn movie. Hope you like it, cause it plays on an endless loop. After that we open on Halloween afternoon as four couples take a hayride out to spend the night in the woods drinking and screwing. It's a mostly forgettable lot of zombie fodder which is fine since only a couple of them live past the half-hour mark. Don't think of that as spoilers. The whole movie is just a gravy train of new people for the zombies to chew on.
Anywho. While the kids get settled for their night of debauchery, old man farmer works on removing a tree stomp from his property, under which he finds a warning sign about the evil buried below. He complains to no one that this better not be some joke. A completely understandable statement when you think of how many prankster excel at burying things under old tress in the hopes of pulling a fast one on aging farmers. Ignoring the warning, he continues to dig and opens a coffin to reveal Hinzman who's quite hungry. Farmer goes down only to wake a few minutes later as a zombie.
Not far away we are treated to one of the least captivating love scenes I've ever witnessed. The girl (if she is indeed a girl) has the voice of a Tennessee trucker and the hands to match. Lucky for us, Hinzy breaks up their fun right quick. After that we get a few scenes of the kids figuring out what's going on and being attacked which leads to them hiding in an old shack and calling the cops. Their last stand for survival is mercifully short as they get devoured in short order except for the two that were forced to hide in the cellar.

Next we move on to a nice house where a girl showers for us in order to break up the scenes introducing some family. None of them last more than ten minutes. Of course Hinzman gets to attack the shower girl, and rip her towel off in the process. Ahh, the perks of being a director. While this is going on we get a few scenes featuring the local police force and their shining star Harv. Harv is the straight up shit. Most of his dialogue was recorded after the fact allowing him to talk like some smooth radio DJ from an easy listening station. Sadly, as with everyone else, his time in the sun is short lived before he bites the dust, though not before taking a few deadheads with him.
Next we met a new couple (what'd I tell ya?) who take in the two survivors from the initial group of kids. Can you guess what happens next? Maybe a zombie attack? Ten points! Good for you! The two survivors, whom I suppose you could call the main characters by this point run off to another local, and man did they ever save a good one for so late in the game.
There's this lame duck college party being held in an old barn. The attendees are some of the most delightfully sad creatures ever to walk the earth. The king of them being the kid dressed as a vampire who is struggling to pretend he's drunk. Meanwhile girls complain about the guys checking out other girls and some other dingbats hook up. Possibly the best line of dialogue is uttered here which goes along the line of, “my friend told me not to come here. Said you boys would just get drunk and rape us girls.” Imagine this being said playfully before a make-out session. Wonderful, isn't it? So the two main kids show up looking for help, followed closely by the ghouls and yet another blood bath ensues! Some of the biggest effects were saved for this one. Of particular note is when Hinzman shoves his hand through a girls chest.
After that we switch focus to the local mob that's formed to kill the zombies. We spend about a good ten minutes watching people walk around an old farm, shooting the creatures which really just means we get to watch the whole cast get murdered again! I won't spoil the ending for you. That's something reserved for those with the pain tolerance to watch the whole flick.
I bet you're wondering why I'd speak so glowingly of something that's obviously crap. Indeed it is crap of the highest order. This lil gem is going to sit alongside the titans of garbage cinema like The Room, Troll 2, Birdemic, and Ninja 3: The Domination. It's a testament to the power of shit. All the more it serves as something of a dictionary entry for describing what a zombie movie is. There is nothing pretentious, meaningful, or unique about it. It's just straight up simple filth that brought a bigger smile to my face than I've had for a while.
A huge part of it's success is the atmosphere. There's an undeniable charm to the cheap honesty of the production. From plastic pumpkin pails to home made costumes. Nothing is ever too outlandish or high brow. Combined with obviously improvised dialogue and a storyline that never goes beyond zombies eating people, it always feels like watching a Halloween flick you could have made with your friends and god help me I love it.
If you've got ten bucks handy, really just want to get trashed with some friends and watch some dumb seasonal fun, I can't recommend this enough. I'll even throw in a drink tip. Mix Pinnacle Caramel Apple Vodka with Coke, and maybe garnish with caramel apple Twizzlers if you're feeling extra destructive. Both the movie and the drink greatly resemble the party within said film. We've all been to that bash. It's gross and unhealthy but we'll never forget it.