Friday, June 20, 2008

Victor Halperin - "Revolt Of The Zombies" DVD

This 1936 film, by noted 'White Zombie' director Halperin, depicts an upstanding young military man named Armand Louque, who, while in Cambodia during the war, happens across the lovely Claire Duval, who he is instantly smitten by. Well, his love turns to jealousy when she is found to love another. Fast forward, and Louque (played by the likeable Dean Jagger) accidentally comes across an ancient scroll that details a spell to create an army of nonthinking, subservient zombies. Well, he uses this for his own ends, as a means to get even for his scorned love, and, eventually, his plot is discovered. The punishment for 'not playing a gentleman's game' (a great quote from the movie) is swift.

Really, this is as much a love story as it is horror (though the title promises otherwise). 'Revolt Of The Zombies', at a mere 65 minutes, is still rather slow, and some scenes - particularly one of the actors superimposed in a 'swamp', are downright laughable. But that's part of this film's charm. It's no classic, but it's not horrible, either.

This is a budget DVD release, in-print by several companies, so picking this one up for a buck or two should be no challenge.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Free Form Funky Freqs - "Urban Mythology Volume One" CD

Led by the masterful and incendiary guitar voodoo of Vernon Reid, this new trio project with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer G. Calvin Weston mines a muscular jazz/rock stratosphere that goes pretty well crazay, maaan. These dense compositions (like the scalding 'Over And Under') re-imagine Hendrix in a way-out jam session with Miles Davis. Other cuts resemble Bill Laswell's old Massacre project. 'Chump Champ Chunk' is a little more easygoing, though Reid's signature fretboard pyrotechnics are unleashed later in the cut. If the term 'jazz rock' conjures images of pretentious daytime radio office muzak, let Reid (obviously the focal point of the group) and company show you that it can be as heavy and muscular as metal. Killer!
(Thirsty Ear)

Black Angels - "Directions To See A Ghost" CD

Taking from the more noise-drenched psychedelic aspects of the Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3, this Texan group's second full-lengther is a dark and deep acid-drenched collection of songs that evoke a stoned-out ritual. There's the tremolo drones and space-freakouts of guitarist Christian Bland (imagine if early Spacemen 3 met Helios Creed), and the powerful tribal drums of Stephanie Bailey, and the distant, reverbed vocals of Alex Maas, all escorted to other planets alongside bandmates Nathan Ryan (bass) and Jennifer Raines (organ). The album culminates in the 16 minute closer, 'Snake In The Grass', which almost approaches a kind of motorik kraut mantra. Beautiful! These guys aren't heading towards any pop-radio play at all, this is heady stuff for phasing/blissing out to. More, please! (Light In The Attic)

The Beer of Things To Come - Beer Reviews For July, 2008

Here you are privy to the latest and tastiest...the numerals are ratings, 5 being the pick of the (kitty) litter, 1 being the scum of the Earth. Unnastand?

Seriously, this one's not as bad as you might imagine, but it is an odd and unusual beer that's probably best described as a novelty (or 'extreme' beer). This golden ale infuses oregano, basil, tomato, and garlic into the mix for a 'pizza' kind of flavoring. The aroma (basil and oregano) is appealing, and the taste (more of the tomato and garlic) is strange, but drinkable. Nonetheless, not something you'll be chugging anytime soon. Worth a try, at least, and points for, umm, originality!

Wow. This is a hella-potent (9% ABV) brew that pours a deep, bourbon-like amber. Definitely not the usual Belgian-style here, as this strong and sturdy brew has a very sweet, malty taste (kinda fruity) that attempts to mask the strong alcohol presence. Good stuff for the experienced drinker.

This cloudy, but well-balanced beer is smooth, with a very even, consistent followthrough. A kolsch is kind of a middle-ground between ale and lager, so this one would be a good 'beer tour' type for someone looking to branch out from the mainstream. A solid mix of hops and malts, and a tasty drink.

A nice, sweet bouquet, and a crisp, clean appearance. Prominent honey infusion. A palatable and agreeable lager, and there's nothing wrong with that.

BODDINGTON'S PUB ALE (Ludon, England) - 1
The novelty of the pressurized can wears off as soon as this ultra-fizzy, bland, plain beer hits to palate. Ugh. The weak, artificial taste just kills this one. Nasty stuff.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ernest Dickerson - "The V Word (Masters Of Horror)"

Hmm. Dickerson's a 'master of horror'? Doing some quick imdb research, I see he's been behind TV episodes of shows like 'ER', 'Heroes', 'Weeds', and 'The Wire'. Some good shows, perhaps, but..ah well. Give the guy a chance, right?

In this case, 'The V Word' is a tale of a couple of teenage thrillseekers who break into a funeral home. You can guess what that becomes. They accidentally unleash a vampire, and things, from there, go awry. Bland story, predictable script, average acting. Another sore disappointment from this series.

If you're wondering why I still watch 'Masters Of Horror', there are episodes like 'H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams In The Witch House', by director Stuart Gordon, that are righteously good, or Dario Argento's 'Jenifer', which goes nicely to the extremes of sex and violence. These are easily recommendable, if you're looking for a quick (hour-long) slice of good, gory horror that doesn't presume you to be an ignorant fool. 'The V Word', though, is trite and entirely unnecessary.

Mindless Self-Indulgence "If" CD

I've never been much a fan of MSI, but they have had some catchy and pretty trashy punk-industrial bits in the past. This new one, produced and mixed by Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Delerium, Conjure One) and Greg Reely - has been labeled a sort of sellout, it seems, to some hardcore fans. I dunno about that, but it is pretty slick, and actually not all that offensive. Well, unless you count songs like 'Money' (as in 'I'm so money'), which are, to my ears, kinda offensive in their mundanity/stupidity. I can hear this stuff being big with teenage Hot Topic people. And that kinda sucks. People who listen to Marilyn Manson or Orgy may appreciate this, but I probably won't bother with a second spin. (The End Records)

MSI site