Guts and Grog Tooned Up

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Did You Just Queef In My Mouth? A Night In Tromaville, And A Return To Nuke 'Em High

I have been a Troma kid pretty much my whole life. Many evenings were spent digging through the TV Guide looking for any and all horror, cult,and  B films. It was a different time, and I didn't have the internet, so the guide was my best option. I started noticing Troma pretty early on. That intro, the music, the logo. It stuck with me. I would see it on Cinemax. I would see it on USA Up All Night, and I would see the logo at the video store. It quickly became something I had to get if I saw the logo. That of course failed me a few times, but overall if it had the Troma logo, I was more excited than Victor Salva on the set of Little Rascals.

Outside of Toxie, Class of Nuke 'Em High and its subsequent sequels became favorites of mine. I loved the Cretins, I loved the theme song, I loved the boobs. I could pop in any of the nuke 'em movies, and just get lost in the post apocalyptic world that I had grown to feel was a glimpse into the future, or at least I hoped it was. I know that is probably not the intention of the films, but I wanted to go to Nuke 'Em High. I wanted to become a cretin and fuck up everyone's day. I wanted to hang out with all the sexy cretin girls, and party with the dudes, hell if I had enough grog, we would probably work something out for everyone, but that is a different story, saved for my cretin erotica book I am working on. Anyways, I am a Troma kid, and last night I was lucky enough to see RTNEH on the big screen along with plenty of antics from Lloyd Kaufman, and his wife the former New York film commissioner. I along with a group of the grogsters including, but not limited to, Steph Infection, Seth The Zombie, and Toxic Tony headed out to witness this new Troma film, that is part sequel, part re imagining, dare I say it, part remake, to one of my favorite films from the eighties.

Which one did I go to? You decide.
The film opens with a little flashback to original, and explains that the power plant is gone, and the new Tromorganic food stuff plant took its place. I assume this is their way of saying we aren't in an age where we aren't scared of power plants, we are scared of all that evil food. As I mentioned before, this is an updated version. Yes, in a way it is a remake, but mostly it is a new story for a new era, with all kinds of nods to the original. I had goosebumps within seconds of it starting. Boobs, blood, cameos, bad puns, melting flesh. This was indeed a Troma film, made for Troma fans. Once a few of the kids get infected the fun really starts.

As with most Troma films, specifically the ones that Lloyd is directly involved with, this film has social commentary oozing out its anus. Yeah it is sandwiched in between queefs, penis monsters, dick and fart jokes, sex, exploding pregnant woman. You know? Important things. Seriously though, I have always loved Kaufman's ability to bring serious issues to the forefront using tools like vaginal farts and what have you. Obviously there is plenty to be said about the state of the food industry, as well as LGBT rights, net neutrality, corporations, and everything else.

The effects in this thing straight kill it. I saw Drew Bolduc listed as one of the credits for special effects in the beginning. You may recognize his name as being the director of the masterpiece The Taint, and the upcoming Science Team. I always love the effects in Troma films, but seeing his name got me all wet, and a bit worried that my cock may explode from the awesome. I was right, minus the exploding cock, which is fine by me. Still a few years left in this bad boy. There were a few digital effects, but for the most part it was all old school slimy, oozy, exploding awesome. There are definitely some gross out moments in this beast.

The acting is perfect for Troma, overacting multiplied by eleven. Every person in this puts their all into it. Whether it is Lloyd himself portraying the president of Tromorganic, the glee club singing and slicing up Tromaville's citizens, or the leads falling in love, fucking, and queefing.

Cameos and references a plenty. So many shout outs to Troma films of every decade, as well as other classic cinema and pop culture. I don't want to ruin the cameos, as there are some pretty epic ones, and surprise is definitely part of the fun, but I would say there are at least thirty rocking, obscure cameos. 

I spent last night in Tromaville. With friends, family, and the king himself. I was blown away by the feelings it caused me. I am not solely talking about the bulge in my pants, although that was definitely there, as there are some beautiful people undressing, and having a blast as has come to be expected from Troma, but also just moments of pure bliss. I am impressed that thirty years later Troma can still make me feel the way I did in my room as a child, staying up late to catch them on cable. I laughed, I smiled, I was truly happy, and felt like I was witnessing history being shat on the screen in front of me. Return is a return for Troma. A return to the anarchist, fuck the system cinema they helped create so many years ago. As a dude in his thrities, I have not wanted to re-enroll in high school this much, well since ever.

This is volume one. It is half of the story. It doesn't end. It is like a to be continued episode of your favorite show, just one where you have to wait longer. It is killing me that I can't watch part two right now. I am insanely excited for volume two, hell I am bummed I have to work tonight, as if not I would definitely be returning for a second screening.

Catch Return at a screening in your city, or pick up the Blu, which hits later this month. Hell, do both. Buy two.



Friday, March 7, 2014

Condiment Bukkake: A Look At Time To Kill By Brian Williams

Sara finds out she has one day left to live, so she does what any self respecting person would do in that situation. She makes the best of it. Sure, making the best of it for her is killing everyone in her life who has wronged her. This makes sense. Granted, my grandma told me many times that if she got diagnosed with a terminal disease she would go on a killing spree. Secretly I think I may of been on her list, actually depending on the day, she would tell me I was first, that is a different story though.

This new trend of modern throwbacks to the grindhouse era is nothing new. Throughout film history many have tried to recreate an era. Is it gimmicky? Well, yeah. Is it overdone? Well, yeah. Does that mean that it is impossible to make a film using the grindhouse aesthetic and have it kick the ass? Hell no. Like all things that the market is saturated with, whether it be found footage, or remakes. A good one slips through from time to time.

Time to Kill is not a perfect film. At times it feels more like a mix tape I would have made back in high school using scenes from many of my favorite films full of blood and boobs, than a movie. Is that a bad thing? It can be, but not this time. Sure it's not a linear, plot driven film. It probably won't change film history. It is however, more fun than switching out a metal hanger with a plastic one on that special someones abortion day. The look on her face. Priceless! Anyways, back to the film.

The soundtrack is pretty great. Part Casio, part soul, with some rock and roll, and go go thrown in for good measure. The editing is spot on for the feel they seem to be going for. As mentioned before. This film doesn't follow the linear path, but a more chaotic experience. You will definitely feel as you have entered the drive in. Not just the style, but Time to Kill comes complete with an intermission full of snack bar adds, PSA's, and animated bumpers. The acting is just what you want from this. A bit campy, but fitting for the subject matter.

Brian Williams has harnessed the power of Al Adamson, Ted V. Mikels, H.G. Lewis, and Russ Meyer. He made a low brow, politically incorrect film full of slow-mo montages of woman bathing each other, men and woman losing appendages, and drug trips that would frighten Hunter S. Thompson. Invite your friends over, warm up a wiener sandwich, crack open a cold one, grab a beer, and let yourself be at the center of a condiment bukkake of awesome.


- Tromeric

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ass To Mouth With Kimmy Gibbler: A Look At Atom The Amazing Zombie Killer- Zack Beins/Richard Taylor

Atom is just your everyday horror nerd. He loves zombies, horror, kicking it with his friends, and bowling. He has a girlfriend who loves to fuck, but doesn't appreciate any of his passions. She thinks his friends are useless, that his life is lacking purpose, and wants nothing to do with zombies, or horror of any kind. She is a horror hating whore basically. After Atom is kicked out of the bowling league thanks to those asshole slashers, his girl convinces him to skip movie night with the boys to go to some bullshit ass shit RomCom. He uses some tomfoolery to get her into the new zombie film. She is not amused. She pukes, he motorboats it. It's not enough. She leaves him for Dario. What is he to do now? Save the world from the zombie apocalypse? That is, if there is a zombie apocalypse. We will take a journey in and out of reality with Atom to find out what the true threat is.

Within seconds of popping this bitch in, I felt like I had taken a time machine back to my childhood. Sitting in my bedroom, watching the VHS I had rented. Or even recording it off of "USA Up All Night."
Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer is reminiscent of  many of the Troma films I grew up on. It is in your face with obscenities, disgusting sound effects, gore gags, references, taglines, puns, and hilarity.

The acting is the fun kind of bad. Not trying to hard out of nervousness, but trying to hard, because it's fun. The costumes and set design are often used as a punchline, and they aren't just tongue in cheek with the dialogue. They take their tongue, and forcibly shove it down your throat, until it comes out of your asshole, and sneaks up on your friend. It then starts giving your friend the best rim job they have ever had. They look satisfied, but ashamed. You may be worried, but you will quickly realize that shame is easy to get over, and you and your friend are having the time of your life. I may have gotten a bit off track. Basically I am saying this movie is pretty funny, and share a rimmy with your friend.

This is a film for people who enjoy taking low brow, and finding a way to stomp it into the ground. It has a ton of heart, sure when you poke the heart with a stake it oozes fecal matter, but it still has heart. It wasn't made to change the world. It wasn't made to win an Oscar. It was made because some dudes love horror, and wanted to share that love with the world. They wanted to have a good time making a film, and in turn you will have a good time watching it.  It is gross, fun, hilarious, slimy, oozy, ridiculous, and more over the top than a semi truck in an arm wrestling match.



Friday, February 14, 2014

This Is So Not Good: Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark- Emile Edwin Smith

Another shark movie. Didn't see that coming. The Asylum unleash more beasts onto the small screen. This time one of them happens to be made of metal, and will not be used for chum.

The megalodon is back. This time it is tearing up Australia. Good thing there is a married couple driving a metal shark. They are accompanied by Nero, an operating system with a little more control than probably necessary. They don't take kindly to megalodons, and spend like an hour trying to destroy it. Unfortunately they have no luck. The good news! Debbie Gibson took a  break from masquerading with the Circle Jerks to do some science. With the help of a couple beakers and a computer, she finds out the shark just really wants to bust a nut. He has some massive build up of shark sperm, and it is making him see red. The only cure. Find a sexy shark, bang, and fill the sea with BP levels of goo. They decide to use the metal shark as their own personal black widow. It plays out like an episode of Loony Toons where Bugs dresses up like a lady to arouse Elmer Fudd long enough to end him.

As has been stated many times. When it comes to these giant creature films. You already know what you think. They are not high art, and never were meant to be. If you enjoy the shenanigans of video game sharks and hilarious one liners, this is for you. If you prefer something original and well thought out, probably want to skip this one. If you want to let all your reservations go, turn off your brain, and put yourself in an entertaining coma, can I recommend Mega Shark vs ............



Knights Of Badassdom- Joe Lynch

I was finally able to head out and see a film I have been hearing about for a couple years now. It, like many films before, and most assuredly many after, was lost in developmental hell for a while, and in the end came out without the full blessing or participation of the director.

I would say I am a Joe Lynch fan, yet I really haven't loved any of his movies. "Wrong Turn 2- Dead End" had some amazing gore, and a cartoonish(in a good way)  feel, but overall it did nothing for me. "Chillerama" had some fun moments, but as a whole was not on any of my top lists. In fact, Lynch's was easily my least favorite part of the anthology. Even though I haven't necessarily loved these. I still enjoyed them, and appreciate the passion that is present. Personally, "Holliston" is where most of my Lynch love comes from. It takes the nostalgia I have for shitty eighties sitcoms, and fills it with horror references, and Gwar. 

Most have heard that this was taken away from Lynch,
and cut down to help make it more "accessible." This of course bums me out, as it does anytime a director isn't given final cut, or is generally fucked with by the suits. With that said, I am basing my opinion of the cut I saw. I would love to see Lynch's vision hit the public sometime, but until it does, this is what we have.

Knights starts off with a pretty standard premise. Dude loses girl, so he goes back to having fun with his friends.  In this story fun is drugs and Larping. Joe(Ryan Kwanten), who is our protagonist for this journey used to be an epic Dungeon and Dragons player, but hasn't been paying much attention to it lately. He found a new dragon to chase, its name is vagina. Sure he still lives with his friends in a castle, works with Brian Posehn, and plays in a doom metal band(I think he may be slightly confused on the term), but overall he has given up a good chunk of his life for a warm place to hide his dragon. Now that he is single though, he agrees to head out to an epic battle. While there, his friends accidentally unleash a real life succubus. They now must stop the bitch.

To say this is a perfect film would be insane, granted I am insane, but not completely. It feels rushed, some of the pacing is a bit off, and some of the jokes fall flat. To say this is a horrible film is also insane. I laughed my ass off. As mentioned, not all of the jokes work, but many do, and well.

The effects are overall pretty fucking solid. Mostly practical, and full of fun deaths. There is a creature at the end that had me standing up and cheering. I am talking punching the air excited. Granted the entire last act had me punching like a mother fucker. I felt like I was watching an eighties live action interpretation of Metalocalypse.

The cast is great, and all seem to take their roles the right amount of serious. Peter Dinklage is on top oh is game. Hilarious, badass, and tripping balls. Summer Glau is sexy and believable, while still being pretty badass. Ryan Kwanten and Steve Zahn fit well in the leading roles, while Danny Pudi and Jimmi Simpson support the shit out of everyone. A few cameos in there as well that I will leave unmentioned for your enjoyment.

I hope someday we get to see the intended version of this, but until then. There is no need to not fill your stein with grog, your pipe with herb, and your stomach with shit grown fungus, while spending eighty minutes slaying dragons and falling in love with battle damaged Summer Glau.



Monday, February 10, 2014

Fantasm- Kyle Kuchta

I remember back in the eighties and nineties, I would read through Fangoria and constantly see adds for conventions. It blew my mind. The thought of meeting Freddy, Jason, The Tall Man. I would have killed at least seven orphans to make it to one. The thing is, I was in Washington, and most the conventions seemed to be East Coast. There were occasionally one in California, but for a ten year old that was about a days worth of driving I couldn't pull off. I dreamed of the day I could finally hit one of these beasts. I made it to few smaller comicons, and even went to Twin Peaks fest five years in a row, which was amazing, don't get me wrong, but I longed for a real horror con. Just thinking about it had the same effect that seeing Phoebe Cates in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" had. Lots of boners, if you didn't catch where I was going.

Jump ahead to the new millennium. I heard about Crypticon Seattle. A full fledged horror convention coming to Seattle. I was living about a hundred and fifty miles away at the time, but knew I had to make the trip. My mind was blown. So many people in one room, talking horror, selling horror, and hanging out with so many people I had only known through films until that point. My life was different for the better.

We now get to Fantasm, finally. Kyle Kuchta sets out on a journey to a handful of horror conventions. Interviewing celebrities, vendors, and fans. Most of the time all are one in the same. He digs into why they are such a hit?, if the popularity will ever go away?, and most importantly, why everyone loves them so much?

The interviews stay interesting throughout, spliced with him explaining his love, and why he set out on such a project. I found myself intrigued the whole time, never bored, but just wanting more.  My biggest complaint would be that the run time is under an hour. With that said, I also appreciate it not being overkill. Many filmmakers are so afraid to cut things, that it becomes less entertaining,and more of a chore to finish. I guess what I am saying is that a short run time is not always a bad thing. I am looking at you "Terror Toons."

If you have ever been, or just wanted to attend a horror convention, I can't recommend this enough. Kuchta has captured the feeling you get from a convention and locked it onto celluloid. I can't thank him enough for this.

"Fantasm" is playing at select film fests and conventions now. You can also watch it for free this month(2/14) online as part of the New Hollywood Online Film Festival.


- Tromeric

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013: From The Journal of VonKlingele

Well, here we are at the end of another year. And of course that means it's time to compress everything down to an attractive list of the best and worst of the last 365 days.  I decided to forgo the list format again this year and just ramble incessantly until you say "fuck it" and go back to watching your tri-racial, tentacle rape midget porn, or whatever it is that you're into.  So, open up a new window and lets get it on.

It's been a hell of a year in the House of VonKlingele this year.  A lot of ups and too many downs.  Had a blast as a first time vendor at Crypticon Seattle this year with Guts & Grog and Critters & Gods.  We did a lot of things wrong, but we learned a lot for the next time around.  I released my first limited run figure in my Jason inspired horrorball, with another one on it's way,  and fulfilled one of my life long dreams.  Made some new friends on these here fancy interwebs and in the real world.  At the end of the day it was a good year and gives me hope for next year.

Ok, lets move on to the really important stuff, what happened in the wonderful world of pop culture this year.  I'll kick things off with my first true love, toys.  We finally saw horror toys gaining some more ground this year.  It's seems like it's been a downward trend the last few years, but I think we've finally turned a corner.  Neca brought it hard as usual this year giving us some of their best offerings in the last few years.  The real stand outs are the 8 bit version of Jason and Freddy. An idea that seems obvious in retrospect, and was a really nice breath of fresh air for two characters we've seen a thousand times before.  Add in their retro MEGO style figures, power glove Freddy, and the continued Aliens and Predator lines and Neca ruled the aisles this year.  They weren't the only ones though.

What really warmed my heart this year was seeing some new original properties pop up this year.  Nothing frustrates me more than the fact that every toy on the pegs has to be from some existing franchise.  Growing up in the 80's some of my favorite toys were the ones that were made just to be toys, I mourn the loss of creativity and inspiration in plastic form.  It's the same feeling I get from an endless parade of sequels and remakes.  This year we got two new toy lines that try to change that. 

First up, we have Ugglys.  The spiritual successors to Boglins.  These are ugly, slime covered dog head puppets that make burping and farting noises when you open and close their mouths and they make my inner ten year old giddy every time.

Then we have Monster 500.  In a just world these would be the next Garbage Pail Kids.  A series a Rat Fink inspired racers based off of a who's who of monsters, mutants, and red neck hillbilly killers.  These have a great design and the final product is really nice.  There's also an accompanying app/game to hopefully hook these short attention span kids and pull them away from tweeting pictures of there dicks to their teachers, or whatever it is kids do for fun these days.

Another style of toy managed to enter the realm of "shit I care about" this year.  Blind package toys have been a big thing for a long time, but I usually don't care about it unless it's a Lego.  This year we got two lines that's I'm all about though.  Funko released a series of stylized horror icons, and they look amazing.  For the most part I really don't care for Funko's designs on their bigger figures, but these smaller ones really work.  The one I've been buying the most of this year though have been the Garbage Pail Kids minikins.  You get a couple roughly 1 inch rubber figures in different colorways based on some of the best GPK cards out there.  These are a great way to display my love for the king of 80's gross out humor.

Hands down my favorite figures this year come from Super 7.  The vintage Alien line is a thing of pure beauty.  Super 7 managed to get access to the molds for the planned, but unproduced, line of Alien figures from Kenner.  Originally planned to continue Kenner's success with the Star Wars line that was dominating everything, they ultimately decided that a terrifying, rape monster from space wasn't the best way to go for a line of toys for the kiddies and canceled it.  The final product perfectly captures that vintage feeling, from the package design to the spot on paint apps.  Also exciting is the news that Super 7 plans to continue the vintage treatment for some more cult movies Like Predator and Escape from New York, so hopefully I'll be writing about those here next year.

Lets move on to music.  Like most years in recent memory I find that I find less and less new music that excites me.  That's less a statement on the music industry and more me being a grumpy old man.  There were a few gems that got regular play this year though.  We got a really solid new album from Motorhead.  Lemmy just won't quit making good solid metal.  There were a couple soundtracks that served as regular back ground music to sculpt to.  The Maniac score is one of my favorites of the last few years and the score for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was pitch perfect 80's synth. In the world of hip hop Sadistik's new full length Flowers for my Father was pure art.  Beautiful and haunting, it would have made the top of my list if not for one album.

Anyone who knows my surely saw this coming, but Hesitation Marks, the new album from Nine Inch Nails, was amazing.  Trent Reznor has stayed busy in the past few years since he put NIN on hiatus and he's put out some of his best stuff in that time.  The full length How to Destroy Angels was fantastic and could have taken this spot any other time.  I had a lot of expectations for a new NIN album, and the fact that it was announced out of nowhere didn't help matters.  Some of the singles released for the album didn't quite ease my uncertainty, but once I had it in my hands and the head phones on that all washed away.  It's a very different album, and not all of the songs work, but as a whole it's some of the best raw, emotional work NIN has produced in years.  Add in the awe inspiring live show I was lucky enough to catch and it's clear Reznor still has plenty to offer.

And now on to the main event, movies.  As usual I didn't get to see everything I wanted this year, but most of what I saw I really enjoyed.  There were really only a couple of movies that didn't live up to my expectations.  Elysium was a good movie, but it really wasn't on par with what I wanted as a follow up to the amazing District 9.  My biggest disappointment this year was easily Man of Steel.  A visually beautiful movie, that really showed what Zack Snyder can do when he reigns it in a little.  Unfortunately they manage to completely miss the point of who Superman is and what he stands for. 

Spoilers and ranting ahead 

Superman doesn't let his dad die for no reason after repeatedly being told to hide and not help anyone by his gaping vagina of a father, he doesn't lay waste to a densely populated urban spread without once trying to save any of the millions of people in very real danger, and he doesn't murder someone unless there is absolutely no other option.  I'll leave it at that and move on to greener pastures.

Lets start with the comic book movies we got this year.  Outside of Man of Steel, I was pretty pleased.  I really liked that they tried something different with Iron Man 3.  Instead of trying to compete with the spectacle of the Avengers we got a story that reminds us why Robert Downey Jr. is awesome and why Tony Stark is the smartest guy in the room.  At the end of the day though, the most fun I had in the theatre with a superhero was Thor: The Dark World.  Equal parts Lord of the Rings and Star Wars it's a entertaining, brisk movie with a great sense of humor and two great leads.

Outside the world of comics, sci-fi and fantasy were everywhere this year, and a lot of it didn't really deliver.  Like Elysium above, Star Trek: Into Darkness was a fun movie, and I really enjoyed it, but it just didn't live up to it's potential.  We did get a couple of goodies though.  G.I. Joe was fun as hell and had some sweet ninja action, plus The Rock, Europa Report was surprisingly good for a found footage flick, Manborg was a really fun reminder of the days of ridiculous 80's movies churned out to capitalize on the popularity of VHS from Astron 6, The World's End was a great mix of comedy, sweet sci-fi action, and surprisingly heartfelt emotion, and Ender's Game was one of my favorites of the year.  The one that stood taller(heh, heh) than the others for me was Pacific Rim.  A simple idea, executed with a genuine love for the material by Del Torro.  It has it's flaws, but damn if it isn't fun as hell.  Plus you have to love something original and new in a sea of remakes and sequels, that reminds you of the wonder of the movies. 

This year, as usual,  the world of fantasy tends to be geared toward tweens or brain dead overweight children, and gets churned out in the hopes of making a quick buck.  Thankfully we have Peter Jackson to help remind everyone that fantasy movies don't have to be shit, and you can still sell out for money.  The second Hobbit movie was an improvement over the last one in almost every way, and I loved the first one.  The Desolation of Smaug really got it's groove back.  It felt like we were finally getting a story worth investing all this time in.  We finally get a little less walking and talking and more escaping from elves in barrels, plus Benedict Cumberbatch straight kills it as Smaug.  Easily one of my favorite movies of the year, I can't wait for the final chapter next year.

It's not all lighthearted fun in the VonKlingele living room.  I still like to put on my pretentious hat and watch some solid cinema.  This year a good chunk of my favorite movies fall into this category.  First up we have Only God Forgives.  I've got to say I really don't understand the hate for this movie, I loved it.  The only thing I can figure is everyone was expecting another Drive, and instead they got a slow burn, beautifully shot, with some great moments of brutal violence.  Another highlight that I barely managed to catch before this list was The Iceman.  Michael Shannon is incredible in this movie and really elevates it to the next level.  These next two movies really fought for my top spot this year.  Springbreakers was a movie that threw 3 or 4 different movies into a blender and somehow made an immensely enjoyable movie, with an amazing performance by Franco.  Antiviral just edges it out and honestly everything else on this list as my favorite movie of the year.  I love the , all too believable, concept behind the move, and Cronenberg the younger really pulls it off.  Beautiful sterile set designs, convincing and squirm inducing effects, and a brilliant lead come together for a bleak, affecting movie.

OK, lets move on to horror and finish this long winded crap up.  I'll preface this by saying I didn't watch near the amount of new horror I intended to, but what I did watch was an improvement over last year.  There was a lot of fun to be had with horror movies this year.  Sharknado was amazing in the worst way possible, despite the Internets best efforts to completely ruin it.  Hatchet 3 was exactly what I wanted in another sequel,  ridiculous gore and good laughs, and This is the End gave us some straight up laughs and demon cock.  We saw a really, really solid return from Chucky, ditching the humor of the last two and bringing the franchise back to it's roots in a totally genuine way.  Hell, even V/H/S/ 2 managed to be an improvement over the mediocre first one.

There were two movies that were in a whole different league though.  I've been back and forth on my thoughts about Rob Zombie as a film maker.  I like a lot of what he does, but it starts to feel a little one note after awhile.  Because of that I went in to Lords of Salem with pretty low expectations and had them completely blown away.  Just imagine Roman Polanski and Stanley Kubrick making out while David Lynch sits there and watches, then Polanski starts talking about little girls and everything gets really awkward so Rob Zombie steps in and attempts to lighten the mood. That's this movie, mesmerizing and strange as hell.  It's always nice to see the more cerebral horror turn it's head every so often.  Now my favorite horror movie of the year...

If you had told me this time last year that I would be getting ready to type up a paragraph about how fucking good the Maniac remake was I would've slapped you right square in the balls.  And yet here we are.  To say my expectations were low for this would be a huge understatement.  Then I heard the score and was really impressed, even picking it up before I had seen the movie, and thought maybe I'll give it a watch some time.  Jump to one of my visits down to the land o' hipsters to visit Tromeric and he insists I have to watch it.  I roll my eyes, finish my special rice krispie treat, and settle in for what I was sure would be a waste my evening.  Then the movie starts and I can't take my eyes off of it.  It's a beautiful movie, and the use of first person is shockingly good.  One scene in particular where the camera shifts to a third person view in one smooth, seamless move in the middle of a kill was worth watching all by itself.  Elijah Wood somehow pulls off a genuinely threatening killer and they tell the same story without shitting all over the original.  It stands on it's own, which  is one of the largest problems facing remakes. So, in closing, if you've been putting this movie off, don't.  It's well worth your time.

Man, I really let this one get away from me.  I guess last year was a good year in pop culture.  If you actually made it through these ramblings, thanks for reading.  I've got big plans personally next year and there looks to be some pretty fantastic stuff coming up in the magical land of pop culture.  Lets meet back here next year and see what I can bitch about from 2014.

- Jacob VonKlingele

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: The Films

Another year passed. Every year I think it is going to be a weak year, then at the end I start listing all my favorites and can't believe how many I have loved. You would think I would figure this out, but not so much. In fact you can probably go back over the last few years lists, and I have a similar intro to every one. The human brain is a funny thing, mine is funnier. 

My initial list was over fifty titles. Cutting out some of them was quite painful. It just comes with the territory. Twenty five is a ridiculous enough list, I wasn't going to make it any longer.

To get it out of the way. These are a favorites list, not arranged by quality, or importance. That is up to you to decide. I have never claimed to be a critic. I am a lover of celluloid, A drunk asshole with an addiction to all things movies. I spend insane hours in theaters, at home glued to one of my many screens, or with my face in a book, most likely about films. 

This is also, like past years, not exclusive to horror. I tend to mostly incorporate horror around here, but when it comes to the year end, I like to take on all of cinema.

I also have to mention, that there are still plenty of films I have yet to see that may have changed this list. Some have only been available at festivals I wasn't able to attend, while some have laziness/procrastination as the culprit. As much as I love the cinema, I work graveyard hours, so sometimes it is a challenge to make it to all of the films released. I do my best. I am mainly missing some of the big Oscar buzz films. I will make sure to see them by awards season, but for now. I bring you my year in film. 

Asylum is not for everyone.  I know the shark gimmick is getting out of hand, but occasionally something comes along that is just so badass that you have to drop all of your reservations and just let it fuck you, hard and good. That is what Sharknado did for me. I waited anxiously for it to hit prime time. It finally did, and Mortician Matt and I ate a special cookie and lost our shit. Tara Reid has become one of my favorite batshit insane people. Ever since she started hanging out with Uwe Boll, she has become pretty awesome. Did anyone see her appearance on Shark Week? Holy shit. Priceless. 

25. Tie

I had such a blast with the first Birdemic. Saw it multiple times, with and without Rifftrax. When I saw the first teaser for the sequel, I shit, not too much, but enough. Jump ahead and I was at Crypticon hustling some Grog merch, the cast of Birdemic was there showing part two. I unfortunately missed the screening at that time, but as soon as I got home I rented that shit on demand and lost all the shit. Sure, the first one was magic, while this was planned to be a shit fest. It was still a lot of fun and has brought me much enjoyment this last year.

My mom is actually the one who brought this to my attention. She had heard about it on the radio. I initially was intrigued as I saw the cast, and how full of win it was. I then watched the trailer and knew I had to see it. Just a fun movie. They definitely did a great job making you beleive it was a musical of the fifties, but full of aliens, singing, dance, and horror. 


I don't usually include short films on my list, but I was just too excited to have a new Van Bebber. The grittiness and gore are two of many reasons I have been a fan of this dude for a while. Word on the street is that it is becoming a full length. I hope so. Definitely has potential to become a classic, hell as a short it became one of my favorites of the year.


Like most sane people, I have never really been a fan of Sandra Bullock. That however, was never going to stop me from seeing a movie that looked this beautiful. I opened up my mind and got lost in space with two of Hollywood's biggest stars.The feeling of emptiness and dread is pretty strong in this beast. I instantly was engulfed in the world created. Did it add anything having such superstars? Outside of getting noticed, probably not, but I promise you, it didn't hurt it. 


Found footage has become as much of a dirty word as remake in the film world. Like anything, once something works, everyone and their inbred cousin tries to recreate it. Sure most turn out like shit, but it is inevitable that a few will slip though with their integrity and awesome intact. This is one of those. Set up as a live broadcast from 1987, this will have any nostalgic horror nerd feel some things in their pants that may confuse them. 


Another found footage film makes it on my list. Who knew? This time Bobcat Goldthwait is behind the directors chair. I saw this with Bobcat in attendance. He of course was hilarious, and had some interesting shit to say, but mostly the movie spoke for itself. It was funny as hell, but managed to be tense and creepy when needed. Don't look into this too much, just check it when you get the chance. 


The acting, the tension, the lack of music, the bond these friends have is definitely what made this movie work so well. Best if left unsure of much when entering a viewing, so that is all I will say. Definitely an achievement in the genre.


I actually enjoy Michael Bay films, sure they are mostly explosion porn, but they entertain me. Sometimes that is all I want. Pain & Gain however, is a very different beast for Bay. Sure it has plenty of action, but it is mostly a dark comedy full of despicable characters. The cast is all around great, and The Rock's love of Styper kills me. Best use of Stryper in a movie since Night of the Creeps. 


I really had no interest in seeing this. I am not usually a fan of the big budget possession/haunting films. I also have never really been a big fan of Saw, not saying James Wan hasn't made some solid films, just not my favorite by any means. One night I decided, why not? So I popped this bitch in and instantly was sucked into this world. Everyone in it plays their part so well. It is shot fucking beautiful, and is as close to "scary" as a film can be for me these days. Not perfection by any means, but goddamn is it a lot of fun that leaves you wanting more. 


Kept hearing some pretty amazing things about this. Wasn't able to check it until it finally dropped on DVD. Blurring the lines between reality and drug infused insanity, this is one of the most unique films of the year. Like many great films, best to know very little beforehand. 


Full of some of today's funniest comedians, as well as a slew of cameos. It has been a long time since I have laughed as hard as I did while watching this. Love the satirical take on everyone, and the surprises are endless. Definitely the best comedy in a long time. 


I have always been a true crime junkie. I was very familiar with the case of Richard Kuklinski beforehand, but when I saw Michael Shannon was portraying him, I knew I had to seek this out. The entire cast is great, but Shannon steals the show. I was excited to see Winona Rider back in a starring role. It has been a minute.


Another one that seems to be mostly disliked. I am not sure if people just wanted another Drive, but for this movie slayed me. So brutal and beautiful. More reminiscent of Valhalla Rising, which is my favorite of the Winding Refn films. 


Malick is definitely one of my favorite directors. This one skipped my radar until I noticed it for rent. Maybe not quite as epic as Tree of Life, but a solid follow up. Looks like he has three more films in development. For a man that usually makes a movie every ten years, he is sure shitting them out. I will be here to roll around in them as long as he allows. 


Chan-wook Park makes his English language debut with this nasty piece of beauty. Such a beautiful, but uncomfortable film. Excited to see where he goes next.


I am not a hater of remakes. I am however leery most of the time. I actually haven't seen the original Mexican film. I always meant to, it just kept escaping me. Normally I wouldn't want to watch the remake without seeing the original, but I love Jim Mickle too much to not check this. As with his last couple films Stake Land, and Mulberry Street, this was amazing. So pretty, bleak, and disturbing. This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite modern horror directors. 


Brilliant home invasion flick. Brutal and unique for such an overused genre. Love Wingard these days. 


Been wanting to check this for a while. I loved Kill List, even if it was just a cult version of A Serbian Film. Wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but in the end I laughed my ass off, and kind of hated myself all at the same time. That means it did its job. Looks like Wheatley already has another one out. Keep 'em coming sir. 


Not really sure how or why this made it on my list, or how it made it so high. I like Snyder, but have never really been a huge Superman fan. I also am pretty picky on superhero films. Some are fun, but only a few have I loved over the years. Anyways, I put this on and was blown away. It looks like a Malick film, Superman actually does things instead of being a whiny goodie goodie. He causes so much ruckus and destruction, and it is definitely one of the most beautiful films of the year. 


This popped on my radar after a bit of buzz on the net. I ordered a watch and instantly saw why everyone was raving. A zombie film, that has so little to do with zombies. Don't look into it, just get online and rent it. It is like five bucks on their site. Worth that five times over. 


I have been in love with Mike Mendez's work since I first rented Real Killers off the shelf back in the day. While not insanely prolific, he has yet to disappoint me. On top of that, all of his films have been so different. This one is his take on a giant creature movie. It is fun from start to finish. While I am unashamedly a fan of shitty creature films, for example any Asylum film, this is not one of those. This is a great film that you actually enjoy, not just fun, but well made taboot. 


A solid follow up for the Soska sisters. I enjoyed Dead Hooker in a Trunk, but I loved this. Katharine Issabelle steals the show. Unique and full of great gore and body mods, as well as the sexiest Betty Boop looking lady ever. 


I feel dirty. I never anticipated liking this as much as I ended up. 1980's Maniac is one of my all time favorites. So sleazy and amazing. Elijah Wood? Didn't see that coming. They did this right. They made it their own. Not trying to have Frodo try and recreate Spinell, but making the character completely his own. The music is so fucking good, the gore flows a plenty, and there is just the right amount of homage, without shoving it in you like a painal video. 


Brandon Cronenberg is definitely his fathers son. You see that within seconds of this opening. With that said, he is still his own entity. I don't even know where to begin. This blew me out of the water. Such an interesting idea that is only outdone by its execution.

1. Tie

Korine splits people right down the middle. Many live by him, many detest him. This film seems to even separate Korine fans. Satirical, hilarious, and beautiful. The stunt casting worked this time, and Franco in the role of his lifetime. 

1. Tie

Zombie, another filmmaker who definitely splits people right down the middle. This is a very different film for him. Much more of a European feel than his normal trashy American portraits. The visuals in this are mind bending, and the entire cast kills it. You have already decided what you think, and that is fine, but for me this along with Spring Breakers were by far my favorite films of the year. I couldn't decide between the two, but knew they would both be at the top. The sheer amount of times I watched these two films would  battle the other twenty five on the list.

Another year has come and gone. Some amazing, some garbage, as to be expected. There were plenty I wish I had room for on this list. When I was cutting it down to twenty five(27 technically), it was painful. I mean I cut things like The Worlds End, and Under the Bed. Many, many more were great efforts this year, and of course the batch I have yet to see wasn't included in the running. Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out all the other year end list goodness we have for you.

Thanks for reading. 

- Tromeric