Halloween Scene: Fear No Evil (1981)

fear_no_evilWhen my buddy Rickey recommends I check out a movie, I do it. He also loved Housebound and also recommended I check out the excellent The Shortcut among many, many others over the years. So when he handed me a stack of horror DVDs, I decided to start immediately with Frank LaLoggia’s Fear No Evil.

I’d never heard of this film before, but it’s got elements of The Omen, Carrie, Night Of The Living Dead and even Grease. That might sound like rip-off-central, but the end result is a strangely unique, dark and creepy movie featuring the reincarnation of Lucifer as a high school nerd who raises the dead to help in his evil mission with a soundtrack featuring The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Talking Heads!

I went in knowing absolutely nothing about this film and unfamiliar with just about everyone involved, but was surprised by this tale of biblical epic that also marks LaLoggia’s very first directorial effort. I watched a DVD, but I can easily imagine a Blu-ray version that would look absolutely stunning (assuming there’s a good print bopping around somewhere).

Overall, there were just so many elements that I enjoyed about this film, that I’m just going to go through them for your reading pleasure. The main kid who plays Andrew-Lucifer (Stefan Arngrim) is just perfect in this part. He’s super weird and disconcerting, maybe a bit over-the-top, but we all knew a kid like that in high school. Speaking of the setting, it feels a little Grease-y (the main guy wears a leather jacket, his girlfriend an orange Pink Lady-esque shiny jacket). In fact, the boyfriend is a real piece of complicated work, with a macho pose, but an incredibly androgynous look. He even kisses Andrew in the shower in front of all of his friend at one point in one of the more surprising moments that could be unpacked for days. Oh, and again later after Andrew makes him grow breasts.

Other scenes that were surprising, but not in an exploitative way, include one where a baby starts bleeding during baptism, the use of a dog for an evil spell and the most bonkers dodge ball scene of all time. I’m not getting too far into the details of the film because I don’t quite remember everything, but I am very excited about it and want the world to get in on this train. Do yourself a favor and go check Fear No Evil out as soon as possible (or wait until a dark and stormy night).

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The Trade Post: A Big Ol’ Pile Of Library Books

comic pileLongtime readers might remember a time when I was reading so many books a week that I would simply take pictures of them in a stack and do a quick hit kind of report on them. Well, I’m not knocking down nearly as many books these days, but I did read through a good number from the library and figured I’d return to that form for this post. Let’s hit it! Continue reading The Trade Post: A Big Ol’ Pile Of Library Books

Casting Internets

You might have noticed a lack of Casting Internets posts lately. That’s less because I kept forgetting to do them and more because I haven’t been going through my Pocket app for ,well, most of this year. Anyway, here’s a bunch of stories from the past few months that tickled my fancy. manziel browns draft

I’m pretty excited about Johnny Manziel heading to the Browns. They’re not my main team, but I have a special place in my heart for them because my mom’s from there and my grandma was a fan her whole life. (via ESPN)

Rivers Cuomo called Rolling Stone to talk about his love of Nirvana and how the band changed his brain. Fun read for Weezer fans, especially the ones who’ve been hearing for years that he converted Kurt Cobain’s songs into an equation and then wrote his own songs with that formula.

I’m not much of a Buzz Feed fan, but I really dug Kate Aurthur’s interview with Real World San Francisco‘s Rachel about her time on the show.

08-MosEisley

I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to go through this entire post of on StarWars.com about Ralph McQuarrie’s Star Wars art, but maybe you will!schleprock america's dirty little secret

My buddy Jesse sent me this link to Jason Heller’s AV Club piece on punk in the 90s because he talks about that band Schleprock I reviewed a while back. Even without that, it’s a really solid read on a subgenera of music I still love.

Esquire‘s Jennifer M. Wood talked to director Walter Hill about his classic The Warriors. As you might expect, this is a thing I love.

I’m a big fan of Michael Ruhlman and Anthony Bourdain, so when the former interviewed the latter about modern chefs on his blog, I was interested. Personally, I like how conflicted Bourdain is about things like authenticity. It points to the fact that these issues are trickier than some might otherwise present.

Jimmy Page told Rolling Stone that he’s going to start working on his second-ever solo album. Also, I fully support the idea of a Jimmy Page/Jeff Beck tour. Yardbirds Revisited?

Casting Internets

My Pocket is overflowing with stories I want to read, so I figured I’d spend New Year’s Eve cleaning things out and creating one last Casting Internets post for the year. inspector-gadget-2

One of my all-time favorite toys, Inspector Gadget for the spotlight on Fwoosh. I had two different versions of this toy, but both broke. Wah wah.

In 1963 a kid sent a bunch of authors a questionnaire about symbolism. Most of them said it just kind of happens, which I’ve always suspected. Thanks to my wife for sending me the link and Mental Floss for posting about it.

Back in October, Clive Barker wrote a piece for THR about the time he gave up on watching horror movies because the experience was just too intense.

This one’s also from October, but I loved reading Fred Armisen talk to Esquire about filming the above video with the Clash.

I heard about all the craziness that went down with the Kim’s Video VHS and DVD collection after the store closed on an episode of Killer POV, but reading the actual Village Voice story from 2012 is long yet fascinating.

Joe Dante’s using FundAnything to help make his next movie Burying The Ex starring Anton Yelchin and Ashley Greene. I don’t have any extra money, but I hope this one gets made. (via Deadline)third man paramount set vol 1

Jack White’s The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records Volume 1 vinyl set is insane. Just look at it and if you have an extra $400 buy it from Third Man Records.

Esquire celebrated Nirvana Week back in October by talking to Rob Sheffield about the band’s lasting legacy. The Kurt Cobain/Taylor Swift comparison therein is pretty right-on.

According to Rolling Stone, there’s a never released Johnny Cash record from 1980 coming out called Out Among The Stars coming out on March 25. This seems like pretty good news to me.

Here’s something I never thought I’d write, but this Joe Jonas piece on Vulture is pretty intriguing.

And finally, enjoy 9 minutes of rad action movie lines. (via The Mary Sue)

Casting Internets

Every morning I go through my RSS feeds for my day job. My main goal is to figure out what will make for good stories over on Spinoff, but I also keep an eye on toy news and look for fun stories to read later. I have a ridiculous backlog right now that I’m slowly going through, so you’ll see a few older interviews and news bites here, but I’m still jazzed about them.raid-2_42098472

The Raid 2 is getting a US release! We don’t know when yet, but that’s awesome! (via Variety)

how i met your mother season 9

TVLine put together a list of 15 questions they’d like to see How I Met Your Mother answer before ending this year. I agree with about 10 of them, but still a fun rundown.

I’m a big fan of the Ramones anthology that Rhino put out several years back, but I’ve got to say, this box set that Rolling Stone talks about bringing their first six records into one package for under $40 is awfully appealing.

I’m a big fan of the National Treasure movies, so when I read this brief interview on Collider with director Jon Turteltaub about one filming in the next few years, I got pretty stoked.led zeppelin

New Led Zeppelin tracks? That’s not enough for me to re-buy all the records, but I’m definitely intrigued by this Rolling Stone story about songs with John Paul Jones vocals.duplassbros-group

I’ve become a big fan of the Duplass Bros. in the past few years, so I enjoyed this interview with them about what they’re up to these days over on Variety.

It would have been pretty cool to be at that small, career-spanning Blink-182 concert they talked about in this Rolling Stone interview.bootlegsupes1

I’ve always enjoyed reading about wacky bootleg action figures like the one I found above. The Fwoosh contributor TheManInTheAntHill did a pretty great one recently that’s worth a look.

Dave Grohl opened up to Rolling Stone about the waning days of Nirvana. I’m alway up for a Nirvana interview, you guys.Halloween blu-ray

Halloween is one of those movies where you’re never quite sure which version to buy, so I’m glad that HMAD got around to not only reviewing the latest offering, but saying that it’s the one to buy. Much appreciated!mister-rogers

Little Ms. Sunshine was a really emotionally honest film, so I think it’s directors are great choices to make a Mister Rogers biopic. (via TheWrap)

I discovered this old Mental Floss article about the 10 coolest Disney park attractions that never got made while doing some research for a story. Fun stuff!foreverly

Whoa, Rolling Stone is reporting that Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day have joined forces to cover an Everly Brothers record. It’s called Foreverly and I’m incredibly intrigued.beach party

The CW sounds like the perfect place to set a drama revolving around California’s emerging surf scene in the 60s. Scheduling conflicts aside, I’m…on board. (via Deadline)

Casting Internets

shootfirstIf you don’t buy my friend Justin Aclin‘s upcoming Dark Horse comic S.H.O.O.T. First, you suck.

I recently discovered a site called Humans Of New York that I can’t get enough of. A photographer walks around NYC, snapping pictures of people and asking them questions then presenting them on the site. Sounds simple, but that’s why it’s so interesting.

Oh my goodness, you guys, this Screen Junkies Honest Trailer for Batman & Robin is super-great-fantastic. Thanks to The Mary Sue for bringing it to my attention!

As a kid, I read The Giver more than any other book. The adaptation is shaping up to be quite a film. Jeff Bridges is in it and according to Deadline, Meryl Streep’s on board too. I will certainly see this flick.

Not quite sure what to think about the CBGB movie. If it’s got even a fraction of Please Kill Me in it, it should be alright. The Ramones look like gods in the first trailer over on THR, so that’s a step in the right direction.

Variety‘s telling me that there’s going to be a Disney Imagineering documentary. I went on the Behind the Magic tour at Disney World which was fascinating, so this should be even better.ace mccloud centurions custom

Not too long ago, I talked about how much I enjoyed the concept of Centurions and wondered why it never made a comeback. Now there’s a killer custom of Ace McCloud by Hemblecreations as posted on ToyNewsI that looks all kinds of rad. That’s internet synergy, yawl.

Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer is hilarious, you should check it out. I will definitely check out her Judd Apatow-produced film, Deadline reports.

Transworld Business, an action sports website I recently discovered, tells me that Oakley’s doing a 6-part web series featuring skateboarder Bob Burnquist showing off his own personal skatepark. The part where he skates around a helicopter made me super nervous.

Right after the X-Games, Nyjah Huston wrote this fantastic column for THR about the greatness of his sport and its potential for inclusion in the Olympics. I’ll throw my vote in for that idea right now.

Danny Way told ESPN might return to the X-Games, bringing a whole new gigantic ramp thing to the proceedings. Yes, make this happen.

I’ve always been interested in how Alice Cooper balances his normal life with his stage one, something he talked to Esquire about recently.walmart-library-5

Web Urbanist posted these amazing pictures of a Texas Walmart that was converted into the largest single floor library in the country.

I picked up The Tom Tom Clubs’ latest record Downtown Rockers this year and have really grown to dig it, so I’m glad to hear they told Rolling Stone they’re likely to get back together and record later this year.

Brilliant physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talked about science and how it needs to be more prevalent during SDCC. (via Spinoff).

If you’re like me and wondered why the producers on Real World and The Challenge don’t seem to be interfering as much when things get violent, Variety did an interesting write-up on why.sam bosma-lisbon

Finally, go check out the larger version of Sam Bosma‘s Lisbon drawing. It’s wallpaper-worthy, no doubt.

The Music Box: Schleprock – (America’s) Dirty Little Secret – 1996

schleprock america's dirty little secret Longtime readers might remember a semi-recurring comic reading project I kicked off a while back called simply The Box. I’d gotten a box of comics from my inlaws, would reach in and pull out a few random issues, give them a read and write a review. Well, I recently found myself in a similar situation, but with CDs thanks to an awesome package from my pal Jesse. In an effort to not only make my way through the discs, but also create some kind of record of what I liked and didn’t like about them and also sharpen my music-writing chops a bit, I’ve created The Music Box. I select a disc at random, listen to it without doing any research, write a review and then look the band up. Should be fun.

The first entry comes from a punk band called Schleprock, specifically their 1996 album (America’s) Dirty Little Secret. I was excited when I pulled this one out because it reminded me of some of the pop punk records I bought in high school and into college. I still listen to Green Day and Sublime. I enjoyed my fair share of records by bands like Suicide Machines, Blink-182, Sum 41 and some of the ska groups like Goldfinger, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Save Ferris and Reel Big Fish. There was an earnestness and passion there that wanted to break away from normal society and just do their own thing. As a teenager who felt far from normal, it’s hard not to relate to those themes, especially when they’ve become popular and burst forth from the radio and MTV on a regular basis. Plus fast easy-to-play guitar riffs are just fun.

So, Schleprock. Part of me wondered if this would be some forgotten gem. The kind of record that was produced by a band that fell apart for some reason or decided to shirk off the responsibilities of recording for a major label like Warner Bros. But, the far more likely seems to be the case: this band was picked up and produced to cash in on the popularity of the bands I mentioned above. After doing a little research — I had to resort to Google because there’s no Wiki page — I discovered that these guys not only took their name from a Flinstones spinoff character, but also formed in 1989, got signed to WB the same year this record came out and broke up in 1997.

First and foremost, I’ve got to say that (America’s) Dirty Little Secret isn’t a bad record. Vocalist Doug Caine, guitarists Jeff Graham and Sean Romin, drummer Dirty Ernie and bassist Dean Wilson made a good sounding record. They play well together and, musically, created some interesting songs that do a lot of the things you’d expect from a SoCal punk band from the 90s: rapid fire snare drums, bright bass parts, gang vocals, occasional surf rock inspired guitar lines, chunky riffs and solos that honestly surprised my with not only their presence, but their quality.

But, that’s kind of the problem, this record and this band just sound SO much like what you’d expect them to sound like (aside from the out-of-nowhere steel drum solo on “TV Dinner”). While those elements might have brought me into the world of SoCal punk back in the day, now they set off recognition alarms in my head that I can’t always trace back to the source, but still recognize. Sometimes they sound like Goldfinger, sometimes it’s Suicide Machines. Other times lead singer Caine decides to sing like Johnny Rotten. It’s cool to make nods or musical references to your heroes — I still remember how cool it was realizing that Billy Joe Armstrong said “problem” just like Johnny Rotten as a kind of nod — but you can’t do it too much because it comes off as copycat-ish.

Making matters worse, while I the instrumentation of the tracks was solid, the songs themselves didn’t do much for me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s cool to mess around in a genre, but you’ve got to bring something new or different to the table and I don’t think this record did that. On the other hand, the video for “Suburbia” above is actually unique and interesting. These kinds of songs all sound fairly familiar and just don’t do a lot for me, aside from the album’s final track “Back With A Bang” which focuses on a Unabomber type individual. And even that one devolves into the whole band singing the chorus over and over and over again until they hit the three minute mark and bounce. In fact, a lot of the songs used that trick which made me think there was a good deal of filler on this record.

schleprock album stickerSo, my first listen to (America’s) Dirty Little Secret didn’t exactly feel like uncovering a buried treasure Indiana Jones-style. It didn’t insult or offend by any means, I just felt like I’ve heard these tricks done better by other artists. Then, I played the record again while doing dishes and a little work and it was fine. This music makes for great background music because you don’t really have to focus on it, especially if you have a history with this style.

Here’s the thing, this music has a series of tropes that everyone played with that don’t necessarily age well. Since the bag o’ tricks is fairly limited, you associate them with certain artists, songs and records you heard first. Had I listened to Schleprock when I was 13, I probably would have loved them and added them into the punk rock section of my CD collection, but since I’m 30, I don’t know if I’ll even think to listen to them again.