Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Review - TerrorVision


TerrorVision is one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen.

After installing a janky new satellite, a family of caricatures accidentally tune in to a rogue interstellar beast; seeping through the TV itself as it lusts for death. After taking down every adult - ranging from a psychotically war-headed Grandfather, to an exaggeratedly suave Greek swinger - the children manage to communicate with it, bringing to life their own version of E.T. However, the monster quickly remembers his lack of temperament, returning to his killing spree; leaving the remaining brother and sister to take him down with a ridiculous artillery of heavy weaponry... including a midnight TV schlock-star.

If that made as much sense as the rambles of your drug-addict neighbor, welcome to the dimly-lit, neon-painted, sexually insane world of TerrorVision; the epitome of 80’s splatter horror.

Films such as Ship of Monsters take their imaginative flair in stride, bringing forth a cartoony world full of goofy surprises. Others, such as Little Monsters, revel in grime, distorting all suburban values. TerrorVision lacks the respect to stay even remotely as grounded as these similar features - what begins as a Burtonesque parody of family ends as a non-sequitur, rendering half the film delightfully pointless. Not only will it offend you, it’ll twist you, turn you, and spit you right back out in a gory pile of slimy guts. If the worst of Elm Street crossed paths with Bad Taste, even it’s terrible lovechild would be disgusted by TerrorVision.

Every single aspect is kicked past 11, beating you over the head like a manic axe-murderer. Not a single character is likeable; let alone realistic. Every death is as gross as possible. Exposition levels out to absolutely hilarious simplicity - in nothing but admiration, it may as well be ad-libbed. Every expectation is tossed out the window and blown up by a barrel full of grenades, spurting greenish blood across the makeup-coated faces of each screaming cast member. It's stupid, it's amazing, it's awful, and you can't look away. Even when you really, really want to - especially when the film's vile star of a monster is onscreen, resembling a burnt Pizza the Hutt mixed with a Critter; grody.

TerrorVision is a clear love-letter to the ditzy monster films of old; even featuring stock footage from Robot Monster and The Giant Claw narrated by Medusa - a clear parody of hosts such as Svengoolie or Elvira. It takes everything an impressionable mind obsessed over from the genre, and blows it up past inflation - exploding in a cacophony of tubular cheese. The entire picture seems to have somehow been written by it's mindlessly dumb characters, specifically punk teens O.D. and Suzy - both of which are beautifully retro.

I want to frame this movie, hang it on my wall, and bow to it each sunrise. It's so insane - so unfathomably reckless - that it deserves all praises.


5/5

Review - Ship of Monsters



Venus needs Dads, as two women are sent across the galaxy to collect any & all species of male - desperate to repopulate their decimated species. After collecting an oddball gallery of interstellar rouges (A Martian prince with a gargantuan brain, an insect-like venomous beast, a Cyclops straight out of Homer's Odyssey, a ghastly animated skeleton, and a helpful robot), they find themselves crash landing on an unknown planet - Earth. There, they discover their greatest catch yet - a giddy Spanish man delighted to inform the pair about the foreign concept of love. Through song, of course. As evil intents unveil and lusts build, the monsters reign loose upon a small Mexican village... leaving only the powers of dance & destruction to save the planet.

Ship of Monsters is everything you'd want it to be, and more. It's a musical - a horror - a sci-fi - a western - a romance - an Ultraman episode - a goofy sitcom - a Disney-esque fantasy. With an endearing charm, it manages to tie every aspect together in a neat, colorful package; a slice of cheese that ends up being far better than it deserves to be.

In a childish fashion, Ship refrains from the drab staleness of exposition; far more excited to lead us head-first into a comic book adventure. One minute, we'll watch our male lead (played by famed comedian Eulalio González) joke among a crowd of heckling drunken cowboys, telling goofy tales of quick-draw bandits and amazing gunslinger feats; the next, we'll be face-to-face with a crowd of oddballs, steepling their rubber claws as they formulate a plan to overrun our world and escape their imminent death. In between, we'll have learned what it is to find the one - with a dash of spicy humor, of course.

For many a horror fan, the crew of weird aliens will be a great delight; from the team of tight-suited space women (one of which had won the 1960 Miss Mexico Pageant), to the rubber suit menagerie that serve them. Though the effects on these characters aren't anything to marvel over (although, by comparison to the creature suits' reappearances in unrelated film Santo & Blue Demon Vs. The Monsters, they aren't half bad), the designs are groovy enough to remain at least interesting. I especially love Zok, a skeletal dog-man puppet who seems to constantly be laughing the same deep giggles as your typical grim grinning ghost.

Because it never takes itself too seriously, we, as an audience, never expect it to. We accept the film's whimsical reality because, in it's simplicity, we don't need the nitty-gritty details - just as the film does, we really just want to see more zany antics. The plot is loose and sometimes nowhere near logical, the effects are laughably unimpressive, and the comedy is usually only as good as the occasional one-liner ("You're aliens?! I thought you were just white girls.") - but I'll be damned if the whole isn't a load of fun regardless. The movie never asks for thought, and thus, it's not necessary to analyze; simply to plow down the popcorn and join the wild ride. How can you say no to a film whose climax is a sensual dance between a twisted Vampire and a frightened Gaucho?

As much as I hesitate to simplify, Ship is nothing but pure fun.


5/5

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review - The Corpse Vanishes


A bustling reporter follows a series of mysterious kidnappings, occurring to brides who inexplicably die mere seconds before their marriage. Following a small trail of clues, she discovers a prime pair of suspects; An odd woman, and her renowned husband. The strange crimes have a strange purpose - one not even deduction can unravel. Death, deceit, and betrayal come together in an unholy battle for life itself.

Famed horror icon, Bela Lugosi, stars among a crowd of relative no-names (besides poverty row mainstay, Angelo Rossitto) ; a trend during his downward spiral. To the popular eye, his name is about all that matters of this film - and, to be fair, they aren't missing much.

Vanishes stays consistently interesting, taking many twists and turns throughout it's admittedly upfront plot. It's about as close to a silver-screen haunted house as you can get - it may be fun, but in the end, most of it's tricks were rather by-the-numbers. Almost every of-the-era trope seems to be checked; the mad doctor, the Igor, the reporters, the hypnotist, so on and so forth. Many times, I was even reminded of other films, which managed to make use of elements glazed over here in much more engaging fashions. This is not to say the film is bland - as, again, it remains enjoyable. Simply, that it has very little to offer.

However, besides predictability, there were some prominent issues. The tone seemed a bit inconsistent, bobbing between House on Haunted Hill spooks and Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster sleuths... neither offering enough of their respective traits to fill my appetite. It attempts to mix perky skepticism with horrific imagination, yet fails in that neither interact as compatibly as possible - as soon as it dips it's toes in mystery, it seems to strike out of the water before making any true plunge into ambiguity. In fact, many times, my own imagination seemed to trump what the film purveyed; specifically concerning turns of events which one would very much assume to be somehow subverted, or at least imaginatively played with. Events within the story went painfully smoothly. A prime example is when our leads undeniably discover the mad scientist's secret, within his very presence, yet land in no peril whatsoever. No eerie hauntings, no terrible chases, nothing - at least Lugosi's creepy charm keeps things alive.

I like Vanishes well enough - it's something of a 'best-of' for a selection of classic horror ideas. Still, besides that charm, there's not much there; no especially interesting characters, no thought-provoking concepts... hell, hardly any frights. I suppose my biggest complaint is also my biggest laud... I wanted more, as there was clearly more to give.


2.5/3

The Irma Chronicles - My Struggle


Hurricanes don't phase me anymore. "Didn't" would be the more proper word to use in the above sentence, though, I suppose it remains true in the aftermath of Irma.

I first heard of the storm a week before it hit; a friend briefly alluded to it's arrival, unsure of whether or not it would impact our area. Myself, used to the constant 'threats' reigned upon Florida, assured them otherwise - it'd be just like last year's flop of a disaster. A tree strewn, some pits flooded, no more damage than a particularly rainy night. 'Serious' was the last word that came to mind, as I imagined the onslaught.

I suppose it can be simplified as a "Boy Who Cried Wolf" situation. The danger is as imposing as ever, but the repeated promises of it make the anticipation more annoying that dreadful. However, at the end of said tale, the Boy learns not to dull a valid threat... And, likewise, the people find their livestock torn to shreds.

"Shreds" doesn't quite describe the outside world; frankly, my predictions were mostly correct. Many trees have fallen, power has disappeared to the area, and floods - while small - are common. Resturaunts and basic amenities remain closed, as cars hopelessly search the salty emptiness for a living McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts - only to be dissuaded by the unbelievably long lines cluttering through entire parking lots. On the radio, Drew Barabalo yammers humorously amongst a league of hosts, begging callers to report available gas stations... Preferably, with appetizing varieties of snacks.

Currently, I write against the glow of my quickly draining phone - one of the few light sources in the pitch black abyss of a house. The grimy heat is thick, the tension is headache-inducing, and the hassle is larger than the sacrifice. It's certainly no catastrophe... But I'll be damned if it's not an annoyance. Call that luck, ungratefulness, or a first-world problem. I, however, simply wish I could call up a Pizza.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Artist


It's strange who you naturally become.

I'm self-absorbed; sometimes hot headed; usually a little brash. People I've never met think I'm older than I am. People I have, admittedly, probably think otherwise. Something about the air changes who I am. In a distant setting, I'm subdued; colorless. Upfront, logical. In another, I'm erratic. Unrealistic. It's hard to determine which is better - and, moreso, which is the truth. Glimpsing into a parallel world - seeing the lives of others, uncensored - is a challenge. My high horse is inescapable. And, unsurprisingly, it's a padded prison. A prison, but one I can manage a certain peace within. I have too many faces - too many that never truly make themselves apparent. Too many that are too strong, in their rare emergence.

Being separate seems natural - and, yet, I'm far from it. No matter how hard I may convince myself, I am one with everything around me. It's far from a negative connotation; in fact, it's precisely what has brightened my spirit. It's precisely what makes up my honest, face-to-face world. It's what divides me, emotionally, from the hopelessly introverted. It's the smiling fire that can manage a beating heart.

Still, something in me - the sputtering, distorted radio tuning in to long abandoned stations of thought - is isolated. Alone in the rain of Bill Evans; the silent tranquility standing alone, ghosting between the smokey bar and the cold cellar. Always an image.

It's why I'm an artist.

Again, as I delve back into a static state of midnight emptiness, I'm happy. The jazz ties you to reality - your reality. Faults fall into the sandy drums, imperfections into the murky bass. What remains is how you choose to lead the anomalous path of your Earthly life. Whether you've found happiness, or not. Whether you can find your own Heaven.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Thoughts on Social Media, and Brainwashing


It's grown increasingly apparent to me that the internet is the heart of current mainstream society; within all "modern" generations, the internet is vital. I've been asked and potentially even been required many times this week alone to provide an active social media; FaceBook, Instagram, SnapChat. Whether it be to interact with the masses, or to properly 'follow' School events.

However, I actively do not use social media. I have a FaceBook; I also have had an Instagram, SnapChat, and countless other sources of digital social interaction in the past. But really... who doesn't? It's a necessity, as sick as that is.

So why don't I use anything?

Because it is specifically designed to encourage conformity, lack of general thought, and an ever-declining mass intelligence. Think about it. Entertainment-based technology has evolved specifically to enhance distraction - or, as producers would word it, immersion.

  • The book relied heavily on the reader's unique mind, thus inspiring inquisitive thought. On one hand, to the creator, this could potentially neuter translation of a concept... in other words, the intrusion of free cognitive awareness made translating a forced concept - whether it be an image, or an ideal - neigh impossible. 
  • This was followed by the radio; a fast-paced alternative, eliminating the thought and enhancing the need for utmost focus on the words being said. A mechanical god telling it's prophecies through the airwaves.
  • Next came the television. No longer was any inkling of imagination applied to entertainment - follow the images, hear the words, stay still. Focus on what it said, register it, and accept it.
  • But that wasn't enough; it may have been able to encapsulate the mind, but it was not totally immersive. The Internet, however, was. It's a totally fictitious world, almost perfectly built for obsession and self-relatability. 
  • This new world needed to stick - not be trapped in a monitor. So it became a modern smartphone. A haunt tied to your soul at all times, an inescapable aspect of modern life, as it is portrayed. No longer is one able to resist the falsified world that is the Internet. A mobile distraction.
  • And soon, virtual reality will literally provide a better alternative to our God-given perception. The end all be all means of taking over the mind.

Book, to radio, to TV, to Internet, to Phone, to now VR --- taking us away from any semblance or awareness by giving us a more pretty alternative.

And it's not just escapism. It has melded the minds of society without fail. As a very common example, note how centralized relationships are to the modern hivemind - and, likewise, note their constant focus within the false worlds. Every single modern TV channel aimed at children places a centralized focus on something sexual, usually guised as comedic, playful relationships. 'Love' is an achievement that must be studied, followed, and won; devoid of legitimate social value, as is all interaction within the media focused society. Another hopeless dream for the entranced human to follow - more on that later.

Why is this constantly being portrayed as a normal part of life? Is this a simple aspect of honest storytelling? Sure. Is it communicating a forced message to easily influenced minds? Sure. However... does it need to be a simple aspect of honest storytelling? Absolutely not - and the only reason it is seen as such is because of years of media-based influence. Humanity, while social, is never defined - by my religion's standards - as centralized on these interactions. It can even be argued that those without them have more religious success; and while neither choice is without it's shame within scriptures, neither is also end-all be-all defined as 'key'. The godlike media has decided and forced this upon our psyche instead. There is no artistic integrity. There is unspoken agendas. Even within entertainment aimed almost squarely at those who avoid mental submission - it's there. Because the media is not something that will be destroyed by it's own product. It toes the line of revelation so as to make believers appear all the more unbelievable.

It applies to us all. Waste your day learning useless information, or performing similarly useless tasks; run home to the sugar that is your form of escapism. You accept this as your personal Heaven. It's your goal for the day. Your goal is to finish life, and get back to the false world. Back to the distraction. It gives you dreams - become this, gain that. Do this to get that. A capitalist-influenced model of life that almost always traces back to supporting the endless cycle of money and neutered intelligence through very simple brainwashing.

Social interaction becomes nothing more than a constantly nodding lineup of bobble-heads. Agree with this, or you'll be seen as a bigotry-fueled psychopath. Join the club, or you're missing out. I've been there. I've been a knick-knack on the shelf.

Behind every Social Media zombie, there is a deeply rooted sadness. Somewhere, a subconscious need for acknowledgement. Perhaps to please a crowd. Perhaps to 'prove' something. Perhaps to become someone. It's a sadness encouraged by the aforementioned hopeless dreams - if you can't manage this, the least you can do is manage that. On a large scale, it becomes pathetic - a way to imitate the glamourous life of a celebrity... of the images flaunted on the screens. Is it truly self expression when it's for an ulterior audience? Where is the true, unexaggerated line between expression, embellishment, and compliance?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Is Wastelnd too Dramatic?


Reading back on various posts, It's apparent to me that some carry an air of melodrama... whether that be my wordy writing style, or the 'broad' strokes within most of my thought-centric posts, is debatable.

I'm more of a creative writer, despite the consistency I've had maintaining this blog; Though I am currently working on carrying over this dedication into the imaginative setting with which I'm more accustomed (as evidenced by the addition of a "Coming Soon" poster along what is currently the left sidebar), It's naturally leaked into these writings. What is a colorful simile within the world of fiction becomes an exaggerated rant when concerning a reality based reflection. Though it may seem discrediting, it isn't too far fetched to call some of my Wastelnd writings embellished; 'repainted', so to speak, to express emotions in an oversaturated, honest fashion. I've always believed art is more about the influence of a work than the content... likewise, when I'm feeling particularly critical, a blog post is going to aim it's best at making the reader feel that way, too.

However, It's also worth noting - well, yes, this is a blog. Really a design-heavy journal, more than anything. Wastelnd's former months were mostly very complicated, difficult times for me, for reasons probably very apparent in the content of their personally focused posts. In fact, this and the previous month have really been the best in consideration tomy total sense of optimism; although I obviously still face issues here and there, more worldly concerns have fallen out of focus to the point where I'm comfortable with 'reality' anew. My concerns grow less thought based, and more action based.

Many of these posts are nothing more than reflections, ones written without a lot of concern for impact. Seeing as I essentially babble into my own void, tone is not always in mind - concerning this blog specifically.

Are some past posts a bit overbaked in their dramatic tones? I'd say so - although, I'm my biggest critic. Still, they hold their initial ulterior purpose just as well, and stand as developmental writings regardless of what I now consider them. It comes with a long-term creation; you must be able to look back and accept the flaws. Accept the awkwardness. Hell - maybe even acknowledge that something you once thought you did wrong, wasn't so bad after all. I've realized this with my art - I'm realizing it with my writing - and maybe I've subconsciously realized it in my life.