Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Happenings: Why Not Take All of Me?

Whew… Halloween sure is an extremely busy time of year around these parts. Outside of all the epic awesomeness that I have brought to you throughout Chucktober here on CNAMB, I have also had my devilish little hands dipped in all sorts of other wicked things that you should certainly enjoy on this All Hollow's Eve!!

First up, the master blaster of disaster, Aaron of The Death Rattle, was kind enough to ask me to partake in a special Halloween edition of 13 Questions. Aaron put together some fantastic questions that I truly enjoyed answering, so if you love you some me and would love to learn a whole lot more about what makes my blackened Halloween loving heart tick, then please take a moment to stop by The Death Rattle. And while you're there, check out all the other maniacal little goodies that Aaron always has up his sleeve (and sometimes in his pants)!

13 Questions (Halloween Edition): Matt House


halloween fifteen

Next up, Ryne of the always fantastic The Moon is a Dead World was gracious enough to ask me to partake in his super celebration of all things All Hollow's Eve with the Halloween 15, which features a slew of wonderful guest bloggers sharing their thoughts on 15 different films hand selected by Ryne himself. When Ryne sent me the list of films to choose from, one movie immediately jumped off the email: director Aldo Lado's Who Saw Her Die?, a Giallo that I have been itching to review for quite some time for reasons you will have to read about for yourself. 



Please take a moment to check out my thoughtful take on the near fantastic Who Saw Her Die? over at The Moon is a Dead World, and since your heading over there, you might as well take a stroll around and check out all the other Halloween horrors that Ryne has up his sleeve!

Halloween Fifteen #12: Who Saw Her Die? (Featuring Matt House)

That does it for the time being. Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you enjoy these egotistical Halloween treats I have brought you, but more importantly, I hope you are having a frightfully fulfilling Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I'll probably be sharing another Halloween filled post sometime later on this evening, but I wanted to be sure to wish all of you wicked little monsters a Happy Halloween!  

halloween 2

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hollow Gate (1988): Do You Like Meatball Sandwiches?

Hollow Gate 1988 VHS Cover

What happens when you mix a children's Halloween party, an abusive alcoholic stepfather who enjoys drinking in darkened kitchens and a stepson who's too much of a pussy to be successful at bobbing for apples? The answer is the greatest catalyst for a serial killer as well as the greatest opening to a movie ever. Well, at least the greatest opening to a shot on video Halloween themed Slasher flick titled Hollow Gate ever.

Written and directed by Ray Di Zazzo, who is best known for writing and directing 1988's Hollow Gate and absolutely nothing else to speak of, Hollow Gate is a shot on video Slasher that does in fact open with a scene that is quite epic. As little Mark and all his friends are enjoying an evening of fun, the lingering threat of a drunken abusive stepfather waits to ruin the evening for everyone. Things aren't going so bad at first; however, once the apple bobbing gets-a-going, the proverbial shit hits the fan when Mark's stepfather nearly drowns Mark when he is unable to come up with an apple. Naturally, this might seem like a bit of an overreaction on drunken abusive stepdad's end, but you have to realize that there were other kids, more specifically girls, who were able to properly dig their teeth into an apple. And I mean, c'mon bro, if a girl can bob for apples, anyone can.

Hollow Gate 1

Flash-forward ten years later, a couple are introduced as they're about to embark on an evening of lustful romance on a patch of dead grass in an open field. I suppose the backseat of the Delta 88 parked right next to them didn't cross their minds as an option, but then again the open air does feel pretty nice on one's backside. Anyway, after the couple copulate, they decide to make a quick pit stop at the local gas station to mess with the resident weirdo, Mark aka Mark the pussy who can't bob for apples and is only good at embarrassing his drunken abusive stepfather. Here's where things get strange (well, stranger); you see, the couple's idea of screwing with Mark is by doing sex shit in front of him, something that is supposed to embarrass him, I guess. But what these rambunctious sexual deviants don't know is, Mark isn't bobbing for apples anymore, and making a mockery of Mark only leads to their car being turned into a mobile Molotov cocktail, sending the sex-crazed couple on an explosive one-way journey to hell.  

Hollow Gate 2

Flash-forward two years later (that's twelve years now, for those of you not keeping track), and once again Mark is faced with adversity, except this time it's from a sexy little dime piece who refuses Mark's advances. Big mistake, babe, because Mark don't take no for an answer, and this unlucky lass finds herself on the wrong side of dead. After this event, Mark is placed in a mental hospital for a period of time but is eventually allowed to leave under the care and guidance of his grandmother, where he will be cared for at her palatial mansion, Hollow Gate. While staying at Hollow Gate, Mark does appear to be well enough. He's been taking his meds, reading books, wearing v-neck sweaters, and even loving his sweet dear grandmother. All the makings of a sane, logical young man. Or so it seems…. Who am I kidding? Obviously Mark is not taking his meds, and the whole v-neck sweaters, reading books and loving grandma thing is just an act he's put on to gain the opportunity to kill! Which he does, in incredibly entertaining fashion, I might add.

After this massive setup that spans twelve plus years, Mark is free to reign terror on all those who dare come to Hollow Gate, more specifically the group of partying teens who (for reasons too insane/awesome to even attempt to explain in a review less than 10,000 words) are sent to deliver a bunch of costumes for the supposed Halloween party that Mark is throwing. What follows is some incredible over-the-top mayhem from Mark, as he slices and dices his victims while spewing out some crafty dialogue. And when I say crafty, I mean awful. And when I say awful, I mean incredible.

Hollow Gate 4

Every serial killer has his or her own hook, and Mark is no different. Not only does Mark dress up in the various Halloween costumes, he also likes to take on the specific identity of the actual costume itself. This leads to some pretty brilliant moments, as Mark hysterically assumes the personalities of a Texas rancher, an English foxhunter, a doctor, and a Vietnam era soldier, who has a habit of referring to everyone as "gooks." While being a fairly decent concept, this costumed approach is actually quite familiar to a film I reviewed, 1987's Bloody Movie (aka Terror Night), where the killer dispatches each victim while dressed up as various classic film characters. I actually really like this idea, but both Bloody Movie and Hollow Gate are not really the types of movies where good ideas can be properly realized.

Hollow Gate 5

As a shot on video Slasher film, Hollow Gate delivers the goods in a way that people with poor taste should certainly appreciate. Most of the deaths are as laughable as the emotional performances given by the "teen" actors (who deserve a review all to themselves). It's not too often you get to see a combine (which goes a whopping 5mph) used to chase down a victim. More significantly, Hollow Gate brings about what might be the very first ever on screen dog attack featuring golden retrievers. It's truly vicious, and never will I look at Brandon the dog the same way again. Nevertheless, as great as some of the kills are, and as magical as most of the characters and their dialogue can be, the king of this poopsicle is without a doubt B-Action film director Addison Randall, who plays Mark. This guy brings it in a way that nearly brought a tear to my eye, but thankfully I was able to hold it back. Otherwise my drunken abusive stepfather would have kicked my ass for being such a crybaby pussy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Goosebumps at 33: The Haunted Mask Parts 1 & 2


The Haunted Mask

Goosebumps The haunted mask

Carly Beth is feed up. She's feed up with being such a little scaredy cat. She's feed up with all the other kids playing pranks on her because she's such an easy target. She's feed up with being the timid little goodie two-shoes that always follows the rules. But that's all going to change, because this Halloween, Carly Beth is done playing games, and she vows to turn the tables all who have dared to scare her. Carly Beth only sees one solution to exacting revenge on those who have taken advantage of her gullibility, and that is to find the most horrific Halloween costume she can and do a little scaring of her own. There is one major problem, though, and that would her mother has already made one for her, and seeing as it's a duck costume, it is far from frightening. In fact, unless Carly Beth plans on playing The New York Ripper with her classmates, a cute and cuddly duck costume certainly isn't going to do the trick.

Goosebumps The haunted mask 2

Carly Beth isn't sure how to deal with this whole duck costume fiasco, but things take a drastic turn when a few boys in her class decide it would be funny to put a worm in her sandwich during school lunch. Besides being incredibly unsanitary, it embarrasses the hell out of Carly Beth in front of the entire school, which sends her into full on RAGE MODE!! The first victim to fall to the wrath of Carly Beth is actually the duck costume her mother made for her, as Carly Beth tears it to shreds, leaving behind little more than a pile of yellow feathers and the faint sounds of muffled quaking.

This path of duck destruction that Carly Beth has gone on leaves her without a Halloween costume, so she goes to the local costume shop to buy herself the scariest mask she can find. Carly Beth is a little underwhelmed by what she sees in the costume shop, that is until she makes her way into a secret hidden room (aren't all hidden rooms secret?) that contains a handful of truly terrifying masks that Carly Beth knows will scare the doo doo out of her classmates. Unfortunately, the shopkeeper warns her that the masks aren't for sale, but Carly Beth cannot be stopped, so she throws down some money and runs out with the scariest mask in the store.       

Goosebumps The haunted mask5

Needless to say, Carly Beth is extremely excited to go out and frighten her classmates with her new mask, and she begins putting it to use almost immediately. However, things begin to take a strange turn when her behavior becomes erratic and almost dangerous, as she goes all out, scaring little kids half to death, smashing pumpkins and telling pissed off parents to basically eat a fat one. It's pretty awesome. One question remains, though: is this behavior due to Carly Beth's sudden rebellious ways, or is she being influenced by the mask itself (the title should be an indication, of course), which seems to fit her just a little too well?

Originally airing on October 27th, 1995, The Haunted Mask made its television debut as a two-part TV special that also doubles as the pilot for the Goosebumps TV series. What immediately stands out about The Haunted Mask is the fact that there is no actual opening theme, which is a staple of every other episode of Goosebumps made afterwards. Instead, the two-part episode is bookended with an introduction and some closing thoughts by Goosebumps creator, author R.L. Stine, from the very costume shop Carly Beth finds her "haunted" mask.   

Goosebumps The haunted mask4

As for the actual episode itself, The Haunted Mask might be one of the best episodes I have seen in my infantile time spent with the Goosebumps series. Of course it's the first episode, so they certainly went all out, but to be honest, a lot of familiar Goosebumps notes are hit with this one: pranks, bullies, revenge, and some sort of fun little plot twist are featured prominently. These are certainly attributes often found in 80% of Goosebumps episodes, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as these are traits that make the series as fun as it is. I will say, though, that it was nice to see my first two-part episode, as there was much more to take from the story and the character of Carly Beth. With the average episode running at 22 min, the stories are generally pared down quite a bit, and it was refreshing to have a little more meat on the bone.

Anyway, as I've stated, The Haunted Mask is a great episode of Goosebumps and an even better way to end Goosebumps at 33 for this Chucktober. So long for this season, and remember, if the mask fits, wear it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bad Trick or Treat Ideas: Box of Raisins

bad trick or treat ideas2

I suppose raisins could count as a fruit (which we already know is a big no-no!); however, they do come in a box (with a sexy ass chick on it) therefore disguising this "only good with bran" trick as a faux tasty treat. No matter how hard the California Raisins tried, children cannot be conditioned to believe that raisins are in any way, shape or form delicious (unless they are covered in chocolate). So do yourself a favor, raisin giver: take your raisins, throw them away, and buy some grapes. But don't even think about giving me those, either. Unless they're seedless. And green.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Happenings: Tales from the Front Yard!

I wanted to take a quick moment to share some of the front yard decorating my domestic partner in crime and I had done for Halloween this year. Unfortunately, however, as exciting as this should be, this post is plagued by sadness and despair. More on that in a minute, though. In the meantime, I'll go over these sick pics real quick so you can see what we did!

Here are a couple of jack-o'-lanterns that my slave lady and I carved up to ward off demon's during the Halloween season. This was only our second Halloween carving jack-o'-lanterns, and I think they came out pretty rad, especially considering we did them freehand. Ain't no stencils up in dis piece!


This is a quick glimpse of the rave to the graveyard we put together. This is certainly the most we've ever done as far as outdoor decorating goes, and I like how it all came together. I actually built the spooky looking dude on the left as well as the rave to the graveyard fence, both of which were done for under $10 in total.  

Front Yard

Here's a video that will give you a better look at what we did as far as decorating goes. Don't mind me being an idiot, because I don't.


Anyway, as great as all this Halloween decorating was, tragedy struck. Well, actually, lame Ohio weather struck, and because we live on the flat chested part of the country, most of these beautiful decorations took a beating from Mother Nature's unrelenting flatulence. No matter how well I reinforced them, all of the rave to the gravestones were uprooted two or three times, and no matter how far into the ground I stuck him, the grim reaper dude also kept getting blown over. To top it all off, our awesome $2 pumpkin light cover was blown away and into oblivion, never to be seen again. $2 or not, that shit pissed me off like you wouldn't believe. That thing delivered an orange glo powerful enough to clean any surface.  

In the end, I gave up on constantly trying to re-secure and reinforce shit, only to have it get rocked like a hurricane on a constant basis. I've taken out all of the rave to the gravestones as well as the grim reaper dude and away they have been put for the season. At this point, I'm over it. Though, for the record, we did carve the jack-o'-lanterns after all that shit went down, so that's helped make this disaster a little easier to deal with. Keyword being little.

Halloween 2012

RIP Pumpkin Light Cover Guy 

May your orange light glow oh so brightly in pumpkin light cover guy heaven.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

32-bit of Terror: Satan's Little Helper (2004)

32-bits of terrorborder

 Satans Little Helper 2004 poster

Jeff Lieberman's Satan's Little Helper has been on my radar since, well, since I first read about it in an issue of Fango some 8 years ago now. It's not difficult to figure out why such a film would grab my attention; it has an interesting idea, a cool looking costumed character and, most significantly, it's set on Halloween. But does Satan's Little Helper deliver a proper Halloween treat, or did it leave me tricked out like a $10 hooker in Hoboken? We'll just have to leave it to the 32-bits of Terror to decide the fate of this one, now won't we… 

Little Douglas Whooly (Alexander Brickel) is obsessed with one thing and one thing only: Satan. This fixation that Dougie has with the dark lord stems from his uncontrollable love for a handheld video game, fittingly titled, Satan's Little Helper. In Satan's Little Helper, the player is given the power to control Satan as he walks the streets, killing people for points with his loyal little helper right by his side. Now, while Dougie is totally "insane for Satan," he is also excited that his sister Jenna (Katheryn Winnick) is coming home from college to take him trick or treating later on in the evening. Unfortunately, however, things get a little ugly when Jenna shows up with her new boyfriend Alex (Stephen Graham), something that Dougie doesn't take all too well. In response, the clearly distraught Dougie takes to the streets in search of his idol, Satan, hoping he might be able to help Dougie get rid of his sister's new meatsicle.

As luck would have it, Dougie comes across someone who he believes is the dark lord Satan himself, and seeing as Dougie's already dressed up as Satan's Little Helper for Halloween, the two naturally become fast friends. However, what Dougie doesn't know is that this so-called Satan (played by Joshua Annex) is actually just a serial killer using Halloween and his mischievous Satanic guise to "decorate" the town with the people he is killing. Regardless, Satan and Dougie embark on an epic killing spree together, with the abnormally gullible Dougie believing it's all just pretend, just like in the Satan's Little Helper video game, where there are no consequences, just a high score. Unfortunately, what Dougie doesn't realize is that the final level in this game of death will be played in the sanctity of his home, with his own family's lives at stake.

Graphics: 6

The actual Satan's Little Helper handheld game is essentially nothing more than a cartoon being sold as a video game. So, outside of it being sort of charming in its low-budgetness, there's really nothing that impressive on that front. On the other hand, what keeps the score above water is the actual game itself, which is purposefully over-the-top in the most entertaining of ways. I mean, this is a game where you not only control Satan, but if you get enough points, you can rip someone's guts out (which brings incredible joy to Dougie)! And to top it off, boss battles consist of fights against angles and even the big man himself, God.

Sound: 5

To be honest, I didn't really notice the sound too much, so I can't really recall whether or not the score was any good, though I assume it's probably your standard low-budget horror film fare. Either way, if I didn't notice the music, then it mustn't have been either bad or good, so I'll give it a middle of the road score.

Terrortainment: 8.5

While there are moments when it comes close to being almost ridiculous, the overall tone is charmingly tongue in cheek, and the film is self-aware enough to where it never goes over-the-top and into a territory where the cynical humor feels cheapened in any way. It's not an easy task to pull off horror and comedy, and while the horror in Satan's Little Helper is far from actually being horrific, it does come correct with a deliciously black sense of humor that's difficult not to enjoy.

Replay Value: 9

I'll lay it straight out on the table here and say that Satan's Little Helper is a superbly entertaining little black-comedy that fans of horror, humor and Halloween should truly love. And I have to admit that I am a tad disappointed in myself for not having watched it sooner than I did; however, I am certain that I'll be revisiting this one a few more times, as Satan's Little Helper will definitely being going into the Halloween season rotation.

The 32-bit Rating: 7.125

Sorry, but the only trailer I can find is in Spanish, but it's sort of cool that way.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween: The Musical

I came across this Halloween theme song parody whilst scanning YouTube recently and thought that some of you might get a kick out of it. The whole thing is put together by a comedian named Andrew Goldberg (aka Goldentusk), who basically takes well known movie theme songs and adds lyrics to them. The results are pretty funny (and oddly hypnotic), and the lyrics actually do a good job of telling the story of Halloween in a very condensed way.

Check it out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Tall Man: I Believe the Children Are Our Future

the tall man 2012 movie poster

In the financially devastated mining town of Cold Rock, WA a community is plagued by the disappearance of numerous children, seemingly by the hands of a dark, mythical figure known as the Tall Man. As the town desperately tries to figure out where their kids have been taken to, a mother does whatever's in her power to get her missing son back, all the while unwittingly unraveling the truth behind the missing children, the Tall Man and an unexpected motivation that will throw a wrench into viewer's expectations.

Directed by French filmmaker Pascal Laugier, The Tall Man is a film that has sparked a small amount of debate from a number of people who have sat down to watch it. Naturally, The Tall Man hasn't called for the intense "discussion" that came with Laugier's previous film, 2008's Martyrs, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has seen that film (and if you haven't, then please do). Regardless, before seeing The Tall Man for myself, I had read various opinions that ranged from people who either love or hate it, or others who really like the first half but disliked the second half and vice versa.

the tall man 2012 

Since The Tall Man is filled with numerous unexpected occurrences (that's fancy talk for twists), I will keep this brief and say outright that I'm very happy that Laugier has been able to craft yet another film that is far from conventional. Naturally, as I've mentioned, this one has gotten pretty mixed reviews, but  there's certainly no denying that The Tall Man provokes a certain level of thought. The direction that the film goes in is basically impossible to predict, and I felt like I was never sure where the narrative could be going because it never once went where I thought it would.  

If there's a major theme strewn throughout The Tall Man, it is neglect. The neglect of children; the neglect of a town's communal, financial and physical structure; the neglect for one's own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. This theme of neglect is given time to flourish as the unpredictably captivating story plays out, but it is only in the end that it's truly brought to the forefront, making everything that has come before it seem all the more clear.

the tall man 2012 1

Jessica Biel gives a very strong performance that grows deeper and more impressive as the film moves towards its unexpected, and possibly alienating to some, climax. It's her character that I believe shows Laugier has a thing for writing complicated female characters who are much deeper than they initially appear to be. Something else the director seems to be keen on is making a pretty gorgeous looking movie. Like Martyrs, The Tall Man is a finely crafted piece of cinema with a visual style that becomes increasingly more appealing as the story progresses towards its climax.

Being a huge fan of Martyrs, I'm not disappointing in The Tall Man, mostly because I knew there was really no possible way Laugier could do something quite like that again. Regardless, I do think he has brought something very interesting to the table with a film that will not only catch you off guard but will make you put your thinking cap on real tight. And for me, the mark of a strong film comes from the thought it commands from me afterwards, and with The Tall Man, my thoughts led me to enjoy the movie infinitely more than if I had simply shrugged it off and moved on with my day.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Goosebumps at 33: The Cuckoo Clock of Doom!



Previously on Goosebumps at 33…






Welcome back to what is now the 3rd annual edition of Goosebumps at 33! This season we are starting this party off with a real bang, so why don't you kick off your hooves, grab yourself a warm cup of witch's brew and pull up a seat, because I am about to tell you the tall of…

The Cuckoo Clock of DOOM!!!

  Goosebumps the cuckoo clock of doom

The Cuckoo Clock of Doom originally aired on November 3rd, 1995 as a part of Goosebumps' 1st season. In fact, it's the third episode behind the two-part series opener, The Haunted Mask, so you could look at The Cuckoo Clock of Doom as being a truly OG episode of the ever enjoyable children's horror series. In any event, this episode focuses on Michael, a 12-year-old boy who simply cannot stand his bitch of a sister, Tara. Tara is constantly picking on Michael, humiliating him in front of all of his friends on a continuous basis, but seeing as Michael is the biggest pussy on the planet (did I mention that Tara is 6?!), there is little he has done about this problem.

Cuckoo Clock of Doom4

"Tara the Terrible," as she's so properly dubbed, has a vise like grip on Michael's balls, and he sees no chance for escape. That is, until one day when his father brings home an antique cuckoo clock and specifically warns Tara to keep her hands off. Michael sees this as an opportunity to get Tara in trouble, so he concocts a plan to take revenge on his sister by messing with the cuckoo clock and letting her take the fall. Seems like a great idea, that is, until Michael's prank on Tara goes horribly wrong, and after screwing around with the cuckoo clock, he finds himself trapped in a loop where he keeps reliving the same day over and over again. To make things worse, Michael is becoming younger and younger with every day that passes, and if he doesn't stop the process, he will soon become negative years old. Or become sperm. Not really sure how that works, exactly, but he must stop it before it happens.

Cuckoo Clock of Doom2

I suppose you could look at The Cuckoo Clock of Doom as being a cross between Groundhog's Day and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as told by R.L. Stine. It's a pretty good concept that works well enough despite the 22 minute runtime, and overall I think this is a pretty solid episode that actually has one of the better payoff endings that I have seen in my limited Goosebumps history. With that said, what really stands out in this episode is actually the first 2 or 3 minutes; a 2 or 3 minutes so great that it caused me to write down a half page of notes at a frantic pace. 

Please, allow me to elaborate…

It's come to my attention that a very high number of Goosebumps episodes feature a specific character being pranked and bullied by another character or group of characters. I think it's happened in at least three of the five episodes I have reviewed (not including this one), and I'm sure it'll be a very common theme as I continue on my Goosebumps quest. Anyway, while I've already been subjected to some pretty memorable (and not in a good way) pranksters such as *blech* Tasha (don't call me John) McClain from Calling All Creeps and *ugh* Stephanie from The Headless Ghost, Tara the Terrible brings the terrible unlike any Goosebumps bully before her.

Cuckoo Clock of Doom

Something that totally sets Tara apart from the pack is her introduction, which comes at the start of the episode. After Tara pulls a prank on Michael by squirting him with ketchup, she goes on to refer to Michael as a KREJ, which, as Tara so Canadianly explains, is a JERK spelled backwards. I mean, really?! Calling someone a name forwards is bad enough, but backwards? That shit isn't right, bro. Another key aspect to what makes Tara the Terrible so terrible has little to do with her actual bullying as much as it has to do with her target, Michael. The idea that a 12-year-old Michael allows his 6-year-old sister to pick on him is absolutely incredible to me. Like, how weak willed are you to let a child half your size piss all over your Cheerios then laugh at you as she forces you to eat it?! That doesn't actually happen, but I was going for dramatic effect. Anyway, if I were in Michael's situation, I would have snuffed that bitch in the chest and called it a day.

So anyway, in the end, The Cuckoo Clock of Doom is a solid entry into the Goosebumps cannon. And although she is only a small part of the episode, Tara the Terrible leaves behind a villainous legacy that firmly places her in the Goosebumps Annoying Bitch Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bad Trick or Treat Ideas: Fun Size Candy

bad trick or treat ideas2

Now, to be clear, fun size treats are totally fine, so long as you're handing out at least three pieces of that shit. On the other hand, try to give me one piece of something labeled "fun size," and you might find a fun size "you know what" in your "you know where," and see how fun it is then. When it comes to candy, size always matters.

Monday, October 8, 2012

32-bits of Terror: Brainscan (1994)


brain scan

When I originally came up with the idea of doing 32-bits of Terror, the first film that immediately came to mind was Brainscan. When Brainscan was released back in 1994, I absolutely loved it. I was around 17-years-old, and being a horror fan (as well as a teen heartthrob), I was easily swayed by a film whose central character reads Fango and has a bad-ass bedroom coated in horror paraphernalia. Brainscan was genetically tailor made for a kid such as myself at that age. But how does it stack up for the old man I would eventually grow up to be? Well, the 32-bits of Terror shall give us as good an answer as any…

Directed by John Flynn, Brainscan follows Michael (John Conner), a teenager obsessed with two things: his straight-bangin' next-door neighbor, Kimberly (Amy Hargreaves), and horror films. Much like most young horror fiends, Michael is obsessed with anything and everything horror related. When he learns about a video game called Brainscan, the most interactive and mind-bendingly realistic horror game ever created, Michael knows he has to check it out to see if it really lives up to the hype. 

As it turns out, Brainscan does deliver the goods, and Michael finds himself playing the ultimate first-person horror game; one where he is in full control of a sick and demented serial killer who is slicing and dicing his way through the neighborhood. Michael cannot believe just how intense and real this experience is at first. However, there's a pretty good reason why Brainscan is so immersive, and that's because Michael is actually committing these murders in the real world. Michael isn't doing it all alone, though, as he does receive some inspirational guidance from a character known as Trickster (T. Ryder Smith), a guy who... well, actually, I'm not actually sure what his purpose is outside of dancing around like a jerk-off and unsuccessfully pandering to a specific audience.


Pardon me.

 Graphics: 7/10

There are, unfortunately, no actual video game graphics to be judged here, so I'm basing this score solely on special effects alone. Brainscan came along at a critical time when CGI had really started to become integrated into the world of special effects, and while the CGI is certainly laughable, it's kind of fun to look back on the form in its early stages. It's like watching Clash of the Titans; It looks ridiculously fake now, but it nostalgically shuttles you back to a certain time while showing that there is always room for innovation (and in the case of CGI, there always is).

Outside of the random acts of CGI, Brainscan mixes in a multitude of other visual tricks. Optical effects, reverse photography and the gold standard in the medium, practical make-up, are all on showcase in Brainscan. And quite frankly, it's cool to see all these tricks(ter) of the trade being used in one film, as that is essentially the best way SPFX can be utilized; using all of the tools in the toolbox, instead of simply relying on CGI alone.    

Sound: 7/10

Despite the fact that the OST does reflect the time period nicely, outside of Primus' "Welcome to this World" and White Zombie's "Thunder Kiss '65," I cannot say that I ever really dug much of the music in Brainscan. The reason I give the film's sound a good score is mostly due to the fact that I actually really enjoy its main theme, which was scored by George S. Clinton. Something about the piano and the brooding guitar just work for me. Though, it very much reminds me of something that you would hear from a Nightmare film, which is fitting considering Brainscan was a poor attempt at pandering to the Nightmare crowd. Regardless, it's an awesome song. 

Replay Value: 7/10

Brainscan is one of those movies I used to watch quite often back in my late teen years, so that automatically garners it some points in the replay value cata-gory. However, I am surprised that after seeing it again so many years later, and so many years matured, I feel as if I could easily toss this flick in at least a few more times within my lifespan.

Terrortainment: 6.5/10

Whether or not I enjoy Brainscan, I cannot say that it's necessarily all that entertaining. Furlong's performance and some of the dialogue notwithstanding, there is little that's worthy of a laugh. Worse yet, the so-called main antagonist, Trickster, is such a poorly conceived villain in every way, shape and form, providing very little in terms of actual "entertainment," which was the point of the character. Amiright?!

Overall, the kills are mediocre at best, and even if it's the basis for the film's story, the video game presence is basically limited to a countdown screen. With that said, I do enjoy the first kill, which is shot much like a first-person shooter. Actually, it would have been great had they kept that first-person style the standard for the rest of the film's death scenes, as it would have given the movie a proper video game feel. 

 The 32-Bit Rating: 6.875

Brainscan has totally been judged with a nostalgic curve. Actually, that might be the case for a great deal of the older films and/or segments that will grace the demented corridors of the 32-bits of Terror. It is what it is, and I make no bones about it; Brainscan is not a great film, but it certainly isn't a bad one, either. It was and is comfort food that tasted good because I could sort of relate to it, and it still has a nice flavor even now due to the great nostalgia it brings to the table. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halloween Happenings: A Picture's Worth a Thousand Screams!

I wanted to share some of the Halloween happenings that I've been getting into so far during this horrific holiday season, and I think this is where being addicted to Instagram is really going to pay off. For as long as I've had an account, I've been using Instagram to take pictures of clouds and flowers (you know, like every other asshole who uses Instagram and thinks they're taking amazing pictures), but it's also sort of an extension of my personality, my interests and my hobbies, all of which directly correlate with CNAMB. For example, like I do with Dumpster Diving for Gold, I share any VHS and DVD finds I make (which I need to do more of around here), and sometimes I'll share a photo from a film I'm watching at the time, things of that nature.

Something else I've been using it for is to take photos of all the Halloween shenanigans I've been getting into for the past month or so. This is where Instagram's tagging feature comes in handy, as it's actually a great way for me to keep track of all the Halloween awesomeness that has polluted my life since the season began. So anyway, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the best stuff that Halloween has brought my way so far this season, and what better way to do it than with pictures?! Well, probably with a song and dance, but I'm in my underwear right now, and that would be pretty awkward, so I'll stick with pics for time being.

Here's some cheap Dollar Store crap and a jack-o'-lantern porch light cover from the "Big K."

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I picked up this kewl little decoration for only $6 at Horrorhound Weekend in Indianapolis (which was the best time EVER).

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As per usual, I've been enjoying my fair share of Sam Adams Octoberfest, but I've also completely fallen in love with Magic Hat's own brand of seasonal beverage, Hex (I might even be having one now…).

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I love Cadbury Creme Eggs with a fiery passion, and the discovery that Cadbury now makes "Screme Eggs" basically means I can die now. Well, not before I eat 70 of these things. Tonight. 

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It's a fact: I haven't been able to find Monster Cereals in local grocery stores for the past few years, which is enough to create a river of sadness. But this year, Wal-Mart has that shit in stock, and I literally found their Monster Cereal setup just as I was complaining about how no one sells them!

Also, I look like an idiot.

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Remember Bolo?! Well, that mo fo is back and WAYYYY bigger than he ever was before. Bolo is jacked up, bro!

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And here's just one of Bolo's babies, and one example of the three or four different varieties of gourd that bitch is producing. Sick! 

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And now it's my favorite part… decorations! We haven't quite started doing the outside yet (mostly due to rain), but the interior of our home is all ready to 'shock' and roll!

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Some of the stuff on this coffee table has changed around a bit, but I'm too lazy to take another picture!

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This handy bastard seems to find a new home every year, and each new home is a cause for a good chuckle, me thinks!

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And what it all comes down to is this: the cream of the crop, the pièce de résistance, the mother trucking highlight of this whole show! After my life partner came up with the idea of putting the rave to the gravestone on top of the fireplace, it set off a chain of events that led to what I think is without a doubt our coolest looking Halloween fireplace set-up yet! Looking at it really tickles my tender vittles, and I hope you dig it, too!


That's enough of this nonsense for this evening, but I do hope this was a somewhat enjoyable journey, and I'm sure I will do at least one more post like this as the season moves forward. There's still the outside of our house that we need to decorate (which we have epic plans for), and I'm sure there will be other cool shit that pops up that I will want to share with you! Kay, buh-bye!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chucktober 4: The Return of Matt-suzaka!


In case you haven't been paying attention to the calendar, today is the 1st day of October, which means the time has come for the 4th annual celebration known as Chucktober to begin! With Halloween being so near and dear to my rotten heart, the month of October is without a doubt my favorite time of year, and over the years, Chucktober has become a surprisingly integral part of my Halloween and all the goodies the holiday brings. I truly look forward to this day all year long, so I think it's safe to say that I am beyond mega-super-crazy-excited for this year's month long Halloween celebration!

For those of you who aren't aware of what all this nonsense is about, Chucktober (named after my favorite political food rapper, Chuck Roast) is essentially a month long festival of fear solely dedicated to all things All Hallows' Eve. Throughout the month of Chucktober, I shall fully commit myself to bringing you all sorts of creepy content focusing on all the Halloween and horror related tricks and treats your blackened heart could ever desire.

I've already spent some time prepping for this horrific event, and I think it's time I gave you a glimpse into the future of:

Chucktober 4: The Return of Matt-suzaka!

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Hollow Gate

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Satan's little helper



And that's just the beginning, boils and ghouls, so light up them jack-o'-lanterns and pop open an Octoberfest, because Chucktober starts now!

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