Guts and Grog Tooned Up

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jacob VonKlingele Takes A Look Back: 2012

This time of year, as I sit back in my faded lawn chair on my back porch and watch the endless rain of a Pacific Northwest winter. I like to partake in a fine, newly legal, jazz cigarette and reflect on the year gone by. What follows is a random list of the stuff I found interesting this year. No particular rules, just my rundown of what piqued my interest.

This being the Grog I figured I should start things off in the Horror world. Truth be told I didn't watch near as much new horror as I should have this year. A lot of it just hasn't grabbed me, that and I never have the time. There were a few goodies in there, like the beautifully bad Nazis at the center of the Earth , Abraham Lincoln Vs. Nazis, and my son's favorite 2 Headed Shark Attack. I really liked Beyond the Black Rainbow a lot, also. It was a nice mix of pretentious and weird that I dig. Plus, the score was fantastic. I did re watch a lot of 80's horror, with some fancy new releases of some great old stuff. Scream Factory in particular knocked it out of the park this year and looks to be doing the same next year. Plus I finally got the C.H.U.D. II and Ghoulies 3 DVD set and you can't go wrong with that. Which is a big part of the reason Father's Day was close to being my favorite horror movie of the year. It was nice to see a Troma movie done right, good inappropriate humor and fun gore. Another highlight for me was a last minute watch that I had been looking forward to for a long time. John Dies at the End definitely lived up to my expectations. I read the book earlier this year and loved it, but I wasn't sure how well it would translate to film. Luckily we had Coscarelli behind the camera and he made it work. Part of what doesn't interest me about newer horror is the lack of new ideas, but Cabin in the Woods brings something new to the table while going back to basics at the same time. Not a lot of movies can pull that off, with the humor and decent gore(minus some questionable CG) of this one.
That's why I'd put this at the top of my list this year.

It was also a great year for kids horror at the movies this year. I haven't seen Hotel Transylvania yet, but Frankenweenie was really fun, especially compared to what Tim Burton shits out lately. Paranorman was easily one of my top movies this year. It's as close to a real kids horror movie as you're bound to get. The grindhouse style opening and the Halloween reference were fantastic, plus I can never get enough of stop motion animation.

Outside the world of horror was full of big blockbuster movies. Most of which more or less lived up to expectations, which is rare. It actually made it a little hard to narrow this one down. Obviously Avengers owned the summer, and with good reason, but some of the other guys made some decent movies. Ghost Rider and Amazing Spiderman both made for better than expected movies. Any time I can take my daughter to a movie for her birthday and watch Nic Cage act like a lunatic and slam some dude back to hell with his fiery hell chain is a win in my book. Hell, Dark Knight Rises even managed not to suck. It really comes down to two movies for me though, Prometheus and The Hobbit. Prometheus was amazing and very under rated in my opinion, the design of the movie is beautiful, but The Hobbit was just too damn good. I had an unreal amount of anticipation for this movie. I've loved the Hobbit since I was pretty damn young and this is the exact movie I wanted to see. Fun and epic at the same time, good humor, and amazing effects, it all comes together just right.

There were also some great smaller releases this year. Action movies in particular got some goodies. The Raid was fantastic and Lockout ended up being a really fun Die Hard/Escape from New York mash up in space. Dredd ended up being way better than I was expecting and out Raided The Raid in my book. There were ever a couple good laughs to be had. God Bless America was hilarious and The FP is easily one of my favorite movies of the year, or hell the last ten years for that matter. Looper was the real stand out for me though. I loves me some sci fi and holy shit did this movie bring the sci fi hard. Great acting, great story, and a cool understated “futuristic” design.

This year was a really light year for me as far as new music goes. Maybe I'm just turning into a grumpy old man that only likes music from “back in my day”, but there just wasn't much new music that really grabbed me this year. We got some really solid new albums from Testament and Kreator that are both worth a listen and 3 Inches of Blood decided to surprise me and make an album that I can actually stand listening to and even enjoy quite a bit. The two metal albums that spent the most time playing on my computer were The Sword's Apocryphon and Municipal Waste's The Fatal Feast. I'm not sure exactly what it is about The Sword that I dig because it's not my usual helping of Thrash metal and fantasy power metal I tend to listen to, but there's something about the mix of that old school Sabbath feel and more modern sounds that works for me. It couldn't compete with the straight up fun of a new Municipal Waste album though. They keep it true to old school thrash with a little hardcore peppered in there, and these days that's a rare find. Throw in a big heap of sci-fi/horror themes and you can't lose.

Over the last couple of years I have really started to get more and more into soundtracks and instrumental stuff. Even a little electronic music here and there, I know that's like blasphemy coming from a metal heads mouth, but I like listening to robot music, so tough shit. A great one I stumbled on this year was DROKK: Music Inspired by Mega City One. It's a score to a fictional Judge Dredd movie, that started out as the score for the new Dredd movie, by Geoff Darrow(from Portishead) and Ben Salisbury. If you dig the old synth heavy scores of the 80's then you'll love this. I just wish they would have kept this as the score for the new Dredd movie so it could have kicked that much more ass. My favorite album this year though has to be How to Destroy Angels EP An Omen. I love basically anything Trent Reznor does and this is no exception. Great ambient music, that I always have playing in the background while I'm working on my customs. It's a great mix of electronic sounds and almost acoustic instrumental work that sounds great with the low key vocals.

Lets finish this up with my favorite toys this year. Luckily for my wallet it was a pretty light year for toys. That's part of the reason I'm not doing my usual best of list for toys. There just wasn't enough to justify a list, especially when it came to horror figures. Neca continued their Nightmare on Elm Street line and it's still top notch. They also had a some solid video game figures. The real stand out from Neca this year is the Prometheus line. The Engineer in flight suit is easily the best figure I picked up this year. I've always loved the design of the Space Jockey and to have a highly detailed, surprisingly articulated figure is a dream come true for me. We also got some unexpectedly nice figures for The Hobbit. They're from a company I had never heard of, but they are some of the nicest smaller figures to come out from someone other than Hasbro in a long time. The likeness are spot on, as are the sculpts. The basic paint jobs are the only thing keeping them from being really stellar. We got some fun figures from Adventure Time and Regular show, but some iffy quality holds them back. The real highlight of the year for me was the Monster Hunter line of Legos. I was lucky enough to pick up the Vampire castle and the Ghost Train for X-mas and I love them. Nothing makes you feel better than sitting around in front of your kids selfishly building your Lego sets while they just watch. It makes you feel like a real man.

Well I'd better wrap this up before I keep rambling all night. Mixed with all this good there was plenty of shit out there. A bunch of garbage Hollywood horror movies and half assed action figures. And don't even get me started on the state of popular “music”. I broke down and bought my wife the new Ke$ha album and holy shit does it suck. I'll never understand what anyone sees in this hood rat skank, looking at you Tromeric.

All in all it was a pretty good year in the VonKlingele household. A few down notes, but that's to be expected. I'm looking forward to a new year and hopefully I can get off my lazy ass and accomplish some big projects this year. It looks like there's some great stuff headed our way next year, so I'd better get ready.

- Jacob VonKlingele

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012: A Drunken Overview In Film

2012 has come and gone, and John Cusack didn't even have to rescue me. It has been a crazy year nonetheless. Had a lot of epic events here at the grog. Got some of the best contributors in the world to help out with Horror With Training Wheels, which turned out even better than I could of ever hoped. Had a few bad ass contests, and my readers grew more than Roman Polanski's penis at the sight of a thirteen year old.  I moved the House of Grog to a new location, that has been a great place for all kinds of grogtastic events. I was able to pitch in to some awesome theme weeks for some of my favorite sites, and started writing for CouchCutter, where I also had my first guest spot on a podcast for Drunk On VHS.  This is a very quick rundown of the awesome that has happened this year, but that is not why I am here. So lets move on to the movies. As I was preparing to compile the list, I had a feeling that it had been a pretty weak year for film. Boy, was I wrong. My initial list was almost fifty titles, and that doesn't even include the twenty four films I have on my "need to watch" list. Well, enough ramble. I give you 2012.

Here are the films that I have not had the chance to see that I feel may have a chance to make the cut. I wish I had seen them all, but with time restraints, availability and timing. I just couldn't get them all in.

 Next up, a small list of some of the runners up.

And now onto the top twenty five films of 2012......... There were all movies I saw in 2012. Some were made before, but I was not able to see them until this year.

25. Puppet Master X: Axis Rising

A lot of people were down on this. I admit it is nothing compared to the first three. The puppets will never look as good as they did back in the day. I loved all the new puppets and thought it was a huge step up from the previous six. You can check my review here.

24. 2 Headed Shark Attack

I love The Asylum, I love sharks, I love things with two heads. Math equals this rules. Check my review here.

23. Grabbers

Modern day "Tremors." Just a fun ride, full of monsters, drunks, and awesome.

22. Killer Joe

Matthew McConaughey straight up kills in this. Easily his best role since "Dazed and Confused."  Juno Temple is incredibly sexy, and definitely Friedkin's best in decades. Dirty, sleazy, Texas awesome. A surprise for the year. 

21. Cosmopolis

Definitely one of Cronenberg's most unique films. More of a dark comedy then anything I have seen him do. Pattinson may be a douche in the "Twilight" films, but he kills it in this, as well do the supporting cast. 

20. Looper

Easily one of the best Sci-Fi films in a Chirst age. The cast is excellent, and it is super full of win. If you haven't seen this, don't look into it. Go in blind. 

19. ParaNorman

This year brought us three big kiddie horror films. I have yet to see "Hotel Transylvania," and "Frankenweenie" was definitely Burton's best in a long time, but this had my heart, black it may be, but it's still a heart. The animation is unbelievable, and I was hooked from start to finish. 

18. The Cabin in the Woods

I, like many, had been waiting on this for a while. I knew very little, but have always been a fan of Joss. I made sure to stay as uninformed as possible. A choice I am very happy with. The less you know the better. This is a straight up popcorn movie for horror nerds. It is not perfect, some of the CGI is awful, but goddamn it is a fun ride. 

17. Nazis at the Center of the Earth 

This was one of my most anticipated movies of the year.  When it finally hit, so did the shit, in my pants, from excitement. Very few movies have had a "what the fuck" moment like this. I love The Asylum pretty much always, but this may be their most brilliant work of art ever. Check my review here. 

16. God Bless America

Bobcat is such a badass. This is such a smart and funny movie. I relate way to much to so many of the rants. Granted I am not a complete crazy person, so the mass homicide thing isn't on my bucket list, but if it was, people who text and talk at the theater would be high on the list.  

 15. The Avengers 

This is a perfect super hero movie. The action is only outweighed bthe character development, interactions, and dialogue. Still shocked by how well this did, but I am OK with it. 


14. Livide

 One of the most beautiful films of the year. The follow up from the directors of "Inside." If you expect another film as brutal, you may be let down. If however, you want to sit back and be amazed by visuals, and story I can't recommend this enough. Almost felt like a modern day Jean Rollin film. Check my review here

13. The Raid: Redemption
Holy shit! This is how you make a fucking action movie. My eyes were glued to the screen like my friends dick was to his hand that time I switched out his lube with bonding glue.  

12. The Theatre Bizarre

My favorite anthology since "The Willies." This is another one I know many did not enjoy. I liked all the segments and thought they were diverse enough to make it interesting. Douglas Buck and Karim Hussain had the stand out stories for me though. Check my review here. 


11. Thankskilling 3

I saw the first one three years back on Thanksgiving. I loved it, but mainly for the bad puns, and cheesy one liners, and it was just nice to have a killer turkey movie. It was however, pretty basic. When I first hear that three was coming out, I was confused as I didn't remember a two, and just assumed it would be another cheesy killer turkey movie. I was wrong. This is one of the most bat shit insane things I have ever witnessed. We had a Grogsgiving party here at the house of grog and this was the featured film. It blew everyone's minds. I have been wanting to review it since I first watched it, but just didn't even know where to begin. It is full of crazy puppets,  house music to montages of insanity, so many puns and references, and one of the greatest sequel plots ever.

10. Where the Dead go to Die

The craziest animated movie I have ever seen. It is like "Waking Life" on drugs. It is what would happen if "Subconscious Cruelty" had been animated. There are scenes in this that blew me brains out into the atmosphere, then somehow came back into me. Well, at least that is what it felt like

9. Excision  

This came out of left field for me. I somehow hadn't really kept up on it. Then when it hit on demand I clicked the link, and bam. Awesome hit me in the face like a porn star on set in Silicone Valley. The cast is unbelievable. John Waters, Malcolm McDowell, Ray Wise, and Traci Lords in her most powerful role, ever. Not to mention the highlight lead by AnnaLynne McCord. Some great imagery and a smart script pushed this high on my favorites list. 

8. The Dark Knight Rises 
 A perfect ending to this trilogy. And yes, even though I said perfect, I know it's not. I can look past the moments of plot holes and less than stellar action sequences  because as a whole I love it. Bane was so bad ass, and Anne Hathaway straight killed it as Catwoman. Who would of thought that the girl I watched "Havoc" to see naked would grow into such an amazing actress? The score is epic, the performances are strong, and it kept me entertained the whole time. That is what I look for in a Batman movie, and I got it. 


7. Cell Count

I had been hearing about this for a while, but finally had a chance to check it out on Amazon. I knew very little, but it blew me away. I was also presently surprised to find out it was filmed here in Portland.  Very Cronenbergian. Not a rip off by any means. It stands on its own as powerful film. The visuals were unforgettable, and the entire cast was spot on. The Dr. is one creepy mother fucker, and how can you not love that poster from The Dude? Highly reccomended. 

6. FDR: American Badass

Ross Patterson is quickly becoming one of my new favorite directors. "Poolboy" was hysterical, and I want "Helen Keller vs Nightwolves" to happen more than Jesus wanted his crown to be made out of Aloe Vera. FDR had the whole house of grog spitting up booze all over the place. I spit whiskey out me nose, which caused Gabe Nye to leak beer out his ears, which caused Steph Infection to drip vodka out of places I don't wanna talk about, which made Mortician Matt vomit up some Rainer, which caused Peter Poison to choke on his smoke. It was like "Stand By Me," but with not quite as much puke, and less dead bodies. The Axis of Evil are werewolves, and FDR is a badass. What else do you need to know?

5. Hate Crime 

I have been sick of the found footage epidemic since "The Blair Witch Project." It rarely does anything for me . I went into this very hesitant due to that. I put it in late after everyone went to bed, and within minutes was doing research to make sure it was a movie, and not some sick snuff film. One of the rawest, most brutal films I have ever seen. Not for the faint of heart. Check my review here

4. The FP 
A post apocalyptic world were they use DDR to rule the town. Very few movies have created such a unique world. It has its own dialect, reality, people. The music is amazing and the cast is great all the way around. Check my review here. 

3. The Bunny Game 

I had to watch this movie over and over when I first got it. Within the first week I had seen it like six times. It is not entertainment by any means. It is challenging, yet somehow beautiful.  I can't recommend this enough. Well unless you have feelings. Check my review here. 

2. Father's Day

Father's Day is a modern masterpiece. It is as funny as it is brutal. Every time you think you have an idea of where it is going, it slaps you in the dick and reminds you that you have no fucking clue. This is what independent cinema should look like. Check my review here. 

1. John Dies at the End 

All year I assumed "Father's Day" would be my number one, and it was until last week when this hit on demand. I had been waiting for a few years. I had met Coscarelli at a con like five years ago, and he told me he had bought the rights. Jump ahead to this summer and I met him again, and had the chance to see this at Seattle International Film Festival, but opted not to as I wanted to drink and relax. Coscarelli himself told me I wouldn't have to wait too long. So I decided to wait. I wish I hadn't, but now that I have seen it. I can't stop watching it. I had a two day rental on Amazon, and watched it three times. I plan on seeing it in the theater next month as well. This is one of me most unique, awesome, entertaining films I have seen in ages. I do not want to ruin anything, but please. Check this out. 


As per usual, what I thought was a weak year, ended up pretty badass. Looking forward to hearing why I am wrong. Thanks for reading. Let me know of some that you loved that I may have missed. I will leave you with a few of the movies I am most excited for in 2013.

- Tromeric