My Favorite Newer Horror Discoveries Of 2017

I watch a lot of horror movies, as you probably know. I stumble upon some of them on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, while others I’m given by friends or hear about on the fantastic Shock Waves podcast. In 2017, I also had the pleasure of writing for which lead to plenty of great viewings for fun and profit.

Continue reading My Favorite Newer Horror Discoveries Of 2017

The Midnight Comic Club Episode 10 – A Sinister Six Pack

Welcome to the tenth meeting of The Midnight Comic Club! After the extensive look at Frankenstein over the past three episodes (and a week off due to illness), we’re back with a new segment called The Sinister Sixpack wherein I grab a half dozen horror comics I’ve never read before and see how that goes.

Most of today’s entries happen to not be available in digital formats. However, if you’re interested in checking them out, I’ve provided the MyComicShop links here: Tomb Of Darkness #18, Night Force #1, Marvel Chillers #2, Secret Origins #15, Unexpected #166 and Vault Of Evil #7.

As I mentioned in the episode, the original Night Force series has been collected into a very handsome volume that I’m hoping to check out in the near future. For a less expensive taste, you could also try out the DC Comics Presents Night Force 100-Page Spectacular digitally which collects the first four installments. Finally, the Secret Origins issue featuring Deadman and Spectre can also be purchased on Comixology!

If you’re curious to read my series of Jack Kirby-related monster posts, you can check out the Unleash The Beasts archives on here.

I had it in my notes, but totally forgot to say that Modred would have made a delightful Amicus or Hammer horror feature in the 70s!

My Favorite Things This Week: Tokusatsu, That 70s Show & Pure Cinema

This week I find myself captivated by a Japanese genre from the 60s, a sitcom set in the 70s and a podcast that spans all decades to bring listeners a variety of must-see films. That’s right, this week I’m obsessed with tokusatsu, That 70s Show and the Pure Cinema Podcast! Continue reading My Favorite Things This Week: Tokusatsu, That 70s Show & Pure Cinema

HDTGM Triple Feature: Jingle All The Way (1996), Street Fighter (1994) & Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

jingle all the way poster One of the highlights of my podcast-listening week is seeing a new episode of How Did This Get Made pop up. I’m a huge fan of this show about wacky movies hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas. Sometimes I watch the movie before the episode goes live, sometimes I’m pretty familiar with them already and other times, I just go along for the ride and check it out later. In the past few weeks, I’ve actually watched a trio of films inspired by the podcast and figured I’d group them all together. I also just realized that these three movies feature three of my favorite action stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone in some of their most bonkers movies ever.

The gang covered the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Sinbad holiday comedy Jingle All The Way on their first Christmas episode back in 2011. I watched this one a few weeks back, but thankfully took notes to help jog my memory. The movie finds workaholic dad Schwarzenegger going crazy trying to find an action figure for his son, played by future Anakin Skywalker Jake Lloyd. Sinbad moves in an out of the movie doing the same thing. Meanwhile, it seems like Phil Hartmann is moving in on Arnie’s wife Rita Wilson and this is all leading towards a huge holiday parade in what’s supposed to be a snow-covered town, but is clearly a side street in LA in the spring.

I thought I had this movie figured out for the first 20 minutes or so. That part is basically a movie for kids with over-the-top, cartoony style gags. Heck, there’s all kinds of talk in the first 10 minutes that set up the entire film (toy, parade, snow, etc.). Cool, I got it, let’s roll. And then things start getting weird and dark. The whole Hartman thing was pretty crazy, plus Sinbad is a nutso postal worker (remember when that was a thing?) who actually hands a cop a bomb that explodes! Luckily, he’s okay because he’s apparently facing off against the Road Runner. The whole thing culminates in a big parade where Arnie dresses up as the action figure hero and has a pretty epic fight with Sinbad. I feel like I could use the word “bonkers” to describe roughly everything in this movie. I wound up watching the end with my kid and I’m pretty sure she didn’t pick up on any of the insanity, so maybe you can get away with this one with a tyke if you have one. Maybe just cover their eyes when Arnie punches a reindeer in the face. That might be damaging.

Before moving on, if you’re looking for any kind of message, don’t. The obvious and seemingly intended point is that commercialism is not the point of Christmas, but that being with people is. And yet, the ENTIRE MOVIE is actually about commercialism, getting things, taking them away from other people and keeping them. You can’t just tack on a nice moment from Lloyd at the end and flip the whole script, you know? Ah well, moving on…

street-fighter-the-movie-poster This spring, HDTGM covered one of the greatest bad video game movies around when they did Street Fighter starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen (who’s as wooden here as she is on S.H.I.E.L.D., zing!), Kylie Minogue and Miguel A. Núñez Jr. who was in both Return Of The Living Dead AND Friday The 13th: A New Beginning. I’ve probably only played a Street Fighter game for about an hour in my whole life and know next to nothing about the franchise, but it’s still clear from watching this movie that the writers didn’t really care about any of that as far as plot goes and instead decided to just shoehorn in nods to the games.

Basically, Julia plays a guy who wants to not so much rule the world, but his own country. JCVD isn’t down with that, especially after Julia captures one of his pals. Thankfully, JCVD leads some kind of UN-type military group that wears bright blue camouflage for no reason. I honestly can’t remember many of the details beyond that because every single character in this movie is lying about what they want or why they’re there. So many of them switch sides that you practically need a score card. Actually, that’s an overstatement as the good guys are clearly good and the bad guys, well, usually wear masks, hats or have crazy blades on their hands.

The funny thing about this movie is that, I was pretty sure I’d seen this back in my high school days or maybe when I lived with my buddy Rickey and we watched a ton of JCVD movies. When I went to Netflix to give it watch, I laughed because it asked if I wanted to watch again and the screen capture was of the end credits. Guys, I can’t stay away from a good-bad JCVD movie and this is one of the best-worst. If you do watch this movie, please do yourself a favor and listen to the episode. They point out so many awesome bits of craziness that I kind of want to listen to it again right now.

stop or my mom will shoot I realized yesterday that Netflix Instant is about to cut a ton of titles on January 1st. Turns out there are 25 of those soon-to-be-gone flicks in my queue so I figured I’d watch a few when I can. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot popped out from the batch because of one thing: How Did This Get Made (episode 61 to be exact). Since Lu had laid claim to the big TV, I actually broke out the Kindle Fire and watched that way which worked pretty well.

Sylvester Stallone plays a supercop in this one whose mom — Estelle Getty — comes for a visit only to witness a murder that she teams up with her son to solve. This movie is so all-over-the-place that it’s really hard to get a handle on. It starts off with a solid action scene which eventually leads into an airport scene where a group of stewardesses comment on his physique based on pictures — many of them baby pics — that Estelle showed them. One of them even says something about him being attractive in a diaper which is just so weird and gross that it’s hard to handle. In fact, there’s a lot of awkward sex jokes that leave you off balance.

Keeping you further off balance is a scene where Estelle — who is super annoying in that way that moms of this time were on TV and film — actually washes his gun with soap and water in the sink. Up to that point she was just overbearing, but at this point she’s dumb verging on insane. That gets compounded by the fact that she brought an entire suitcase of canned pineapple as well as another one with cleaning products. That’s obviously pre-intense airline security, but I’m fairly certain you can make something terrible with at least one of those cases.

Oh, I forgot to mention that his house is kind of crazy too. He’s got a ton of random stuff all over the place from a ceramic pumpkin and a rubber ducky to a bunch of board games and a tiny red gumball machine. And there’s a dream sequence where Stallone’s in a diaper. And Estelle Getty shoots a guy. And there’s a henchman thrown out a window. And, and, and. None of this is actually about story so much as the crazytown things thrown in to launch an admittedly silly plot over-the-top into bonkersville.

Again, do yourself the service of listening to this episode if you decided to watch the movie (or even if you don’t, it’s that good). They point out a lot of the elements I noticed but also so many more. And remember, while you’re watching this one, remind yourself that Stallone has an Oscar for writing.

Never Forget: Wonder Woman Is Awesome


Guys, Wonder Woman is awesome. She’s been holding her own in the DC Universe for decades alongside the likes of Superman, Batman and Green Lantern and even become one of the more iconic heroes of the 70s thanks to her TV series. Unfortunately, aside from some brief (but rad) appearances in Justice League, JLU and the Wonder Woman straight-to-DVD animated feature, she’s been out of the public eye for a while. People all over the internet have been calling for Warner Bros. to get off their butts and bring Princess Diana to the big screen.

We here at Explosions Are Rad fully support the idea as does Fast & Furious 6 and Haywire star Gina Carano. It’s a subject the real life fighter-turned-actress recently talked to about:

That’s the ultimate superhero for a woman. No matter what, no matter who ends up being Wonder Woman someday, I just hope it’s something that is done correctly. I know it’s there and that it could definitely be done correctly. It’s just a matter of getting the right people and having the right vision come together. A director and producer and writer have to see the beauty in it and make it real.

For what it’s worth, we fully support the idea of Carano playing Wonder Woman. Someone needs to make that happen.

Meanwhile, for a cool, but different look at the character, check out the three shorts created by Robert Valley (Aeon Flux) for Cartoon Network’s comic-centric DC Nation block of programming.

Finally, if you’re interested in hearing what Grant Morrison has planned for the Amazon in his Earth One graphic novel with Yanick Paquette, download Kevin Smith’s Fat Man On Batman Episode #44 and give it a listen. Sounds like he’s got a great handle on the character, one that might translate well to the big screen, even.

[Via The Mary Sue & The Mary Sue]

Casting Internets

This is from before the season finale, but I think it still holds true. Courtney Enlow over at Pajiba completely nails the problem with How I Met Your Mother: the creators seem as obsessed with Ted and Robin as Ted is. Also, I completely agree with her inability to really let the show go because we both love these characters so much. Sigh.

This is also pretty old at this point, but I finally got around to reading Robin Williams’ tribute to Jonathan Winters from The New York Times is a really great read.

Brian Collins’ Horror Movie A Day review of Rob Zombie’s Lords Of Salem actually makes me kinda want to watch that movie, something I’ve never said in my life.

Do yourself a favor and read my buddy Alex Kropinak‘s look back at the very first What The-?! he did for

fob perillo

I like Fall Out Boy and I like artist Dave Perillo, so the two coming together in the form of this Perillo-created FOB poster is fun.

While on the subject of FOB, Andy Greene’s Rolling Stone article about what went on between their last album and Save Rock And Roll was pretty fascinating.

Ron Marz is a whole heckuva lot busier than I am and on a completely different level as a writer, but there’s a lot I can relate to in his “day in the life” piece for CBR as a comic writer.


Man, I have got to see Miami Connection. Not sure if I want to buy the film from Drafthouse without seeing it, but these packs are awfully tempting.

Mental Floss took a walk down memory lane by digging up memories of the Nickelodeon time capsule buried back in 1992 supposed to be dug up in 50 years. I wonder what comic book is in there.

I’ve often wondered what the collaboration between Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis would have sounded like. Rolling Stone says Paul McCartney was also possibly going to be involved. That might not sound super exciting, but then think about how Paul’s weirdness would have bounced off and been morphed by those guys. Epic.

Bloody Disgusting says a new Gremlins movie might be in the works. I like this news quite a bit.


Hey, speaking of Chris Columbus (he wrote Gremlins) has anyone read his House Of Secrets book? He says it’s the thematic cousin of Goonies in this THR interview which definitely sounds intriguing.

I just read that Alton Brown‘s going to have a podcast on Nerdist Network. This is very good news.

Finally, this is pretty heavy, but if you’ve ever felt depressed, you can probably relate to the most recent Hyperbole And A Half post. It’s long, but it’s really well done too.

Preferred Podcasts: Weekend Confirmed

Weekend Confirmed

As I mentioned when talking about Hear Me Out, now that I’m relatively caught up on most of my podcasts, I’m on the hunt for new ones to add to my weekly listening experience. I don’t usually actively look for new shows to listen to or watch, they tend to come organically from hearing the host on another podcast. That’s how I first heard about Hear Me Out as well as Weekend Confirmed.

Totally Rad Show was one of the first podcasts I ever started watching and it was easily a favorite. In fact, I used to turn it on while my daughter and I ate lunch. She dug it so much that she even learned part of the theme song. Well, as you probably know, TRS is no longer with us, but I did remember hearing one of the hosts Jeff Cannata was also on a video game show called Weekend Confirmed, so I gave it a download and have been enjoying it ever since.

WC is basically a video game radio show where Cannata and fellow regular host Garnett Lee talk about the week’s news and games with a rotating cast of other video game journalists and professionals. While I enjoy video games, I’m far closer to the world of casual gamers than hardcore ones — I’m perfectly content waiting for a game to make it to the $15-25 range used at Game Stop and don’t spend nearly as much time playing these days — but I still like listening to people who are really into this format talking about what they like and why.

Since I’m not a huge game guy, I will admit that a lot of what they talk about goes over my head. But I’m okay with that. There’s a whole world of games out there that I don’t know about, so every now and then I have to look up what a kind of game is. But, I don’t expect them to explain every little thing, I imagine I’m not exactly the audience they’re going for and I get that. I’m learning as I go which is pretty fun and reminds me a little bit of when I first got into comics, just diving in with both feet trying to figure out what’s going on.

While I like listening to smart people intelligently talk about any subject that I’m even remotely interested in, I will admit that Cannata’s presence on the show is what got me there in the first place and probably coming back for the first few listens. Unlike a lot of other podcasts, I decided not to go back as far as I could with episodes, but instead just started with whatever the latest episode was and went on from there. I will admit I was disappointed when I got to a few episodes that Cannata wasn’t on, but by that time I was enjoying the whole of the show enough where I stuck with it and now I can easily say I’m a Weekend Confirmed fan. If you’re into games, give it a listen!

Preferred Podcasts: Hear Me Out

hear me out Guys, I love podcasts. I got way behind on them last year and slowly got caught up as I went along. After clearing out dozens of episodes, I did something crazy: started looking for new shows to listen to. I actually wasn’t even looking for another podcast when I tuned into this week’s episode of Matt & Brett Love Comics featuring Winston Noel. Noel plugged his own podcast called Hear Me Out where he and his co-host Alden Ford talk about some of their favorite bad songs. Even though I love music, I don’t actually listen to any podcasts about the subject and this one sounded right up my alley so I decided to check it out. Much like M&BLC (which I’m a big fan of) Hear Me Out doesn’t examine these songs with a super-cynical eye, but instead looks back with the same kind of knowing smile you get while flipping through a photo album from high school. Each episode features the hosts and a special guest presenting their chosen song to the group and discussing it.

Here’s how they explain it on their site:

We are not music officials. We are not music critics or music snobs. We are unqualified on every level to provide any cogent analysis of why a song is good or bad. All we know is, there are songs we just can’t stop loving, even though the world passed its harsh judgment on them long ago. So every episode we sit down with one choice for each of us, along with our guest, and discuss the sublime highs and humiliating lows of these gentle pariahs of pop music. Join us, won’t you? And we know what you might be thinking about some of our choices. But just hear us out. We might win you over.

I love the approach Noel and Ford take to these songs, they’re like the antithesis of the guys from High Fidelity. Yes, they understand on an intellectual level that these songs aren’t objectively good and can joke about their badness, but also explain why they love these them to begin with. Both hosts admit to coming from non-musical backgrounds, so when they did start getting into music, they were open to pretty much everything. I’ve been a longtime music junky and, while I may have had my music snob days (read: years), I’ve found myself looking back on the music from high school and college with a fondness I might not have had at the time. For instance, I despised Third Eye Blind’s singles “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” for being poppy nonsense, but if I hear those songs today, I’m hollering the words along with the track as best I can.

It also helps that the show is super funny. I burned through all eight episodes in two days and got at least one solid belly laugh out of each one and probably a lot more. Noel and Ford are Upright Citizen’s Brigade folks — who seem to be taking over the podcasting universe at the moment — so they and their guests are quick with a joke, but never get too mean about things.

That mix of nostalgia, hilarity and honesty makes Hear Me Out a new favorite in my ever-growing stable of preferred podcasts.

Casting Internets

My pal Jim McCann was on The freaking Price is Right! It was so cool watching him, unfortunately he got robbed. Dude gives great face, though, doesn’t he?

Reading my buddy Sean Collins‘ review of Contagion makes me want to get it from Netflix again and hope for a copy that isn’t scratched to crap.

I feel strangely proud that Dan Trachtenberg is going to direct a Y: The Last Man movie. I was a big fan of The Totally Rad show and miss the podcast more than I thought, but am happy those guys are getting out there and doing their respective things. Also, that’s just a great book that I know he gets. (via THR)scott c showdowns the stuff

I love Scott C’s Showdowns, I also love when I happen to have seen one of the more obscure movies he does for the first time a few months before he draws things like this one based on The Stuff.

Crank and Gamer in 3D? I would love to see that. Don’t know if my brain could handle it, thought. (via THR)

Rolling Stone reports that Jack White found a recording of his pre-White Stripes band Jack White and the Bricks from 1999 recorded in a Detroit bowling alley. It’s going to be presented on white vinyl but is exclusive to TMR Vault members. Anyone have an extra $240 I can just have to get all their releases this year, that’d be rad. mike mignola catwoman

Gah, Mike Mignola drew Catwoman! Don’t know if I’ve seen this before, but I’m glad The Mary Sue posted it cause it’s radtacular. Much as I love Hellboy, I’d love to see him get back into the Big Two every now and then.

There’s going to be a Doctor Who audio drama starring Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann called “The Light at the End.” I very much want to hear this. (via Hero Complex)

I really enjoyed Charles P. Pierce’s “The Chris Christie Conundrum” on This opening sentence is fantastic: Ever since it realized that the entire Republican nominating process was a competition between grifters and fools that only made sense if it produced the one man in the field whom nobody really liked, America’s courtier press has been turning itself into a pretzel trying to avoid the obvious fact that the Republican party has become demented.”

Sean Lennon’s noise rock duo Mystical Weapons sounds pretty interesting. I have no idea what noise rock means, by the way. (via Rolling Stone)

Disney’s Infinity game sounds pretty interesting. I like the concept of trying to recreate playing with a bunch of toys from different lines in video game form. Not excited about having to buy actual toys to play in the game I assume you’ll have to pay for, though. (via THR)

I love seeing trailers for Jason Statham movies on TV and have therefore had a great time seeing all the Parker ads. Anyway, while he talked to Collider about that movie, they also got updates on Homeland and Expendables 3. I think it’s rad how he’s gotten in with the old guard of action guys to the point where Stallone is rewriting scripts that he intended to star in for Statham. That’s got to feel awesome.

Whoa, Tom Morello’s filling in for Stevie Van Zandt on Bruce Springsteen’s Australian tour? I would like those shows recorded, someone make it happen. (via Rolling Stone)

Lastly, I’m excited that DC‘s reprinting Jack Kirby’s In The Days Of The Mob! I wonder how much more of his material there is to reprint, anyone know?

Preferred Podcasts: The Derrick Kosinski Podcast/Ultimate Challenge Radio

As anyone even remotely familiar with me or will know, I’m a big fan of MTV’s The Real World and The Challenge. I’ve been watching these shows since I was a kid and it’s such a great system because Real World leads into The Challenge and then, if they continue to appear, you get to keep up with their story or at least the story that they’re able to portray through their characters on the show.

It might surprise some people, though, that my interest pretty much ended there. Much like comics up until the time I interned at Wizard, I would absorb the material and then move on. But, a few months back I somehow discovered The Derrick Kosinksi Podcast/Ultimate Challenge Radio (it’s known by the former on iTunes if you’re looking, but referred to by the latter just about everywhere else). I listened to an episode and instantly fell down the rabbit hole, going back and downloading as many episodes as I could from iTunes and blazing my way through them.

The podcast’s focus, for the most part, is all things Real World and Challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with Kosinski, he’s one of the few people to play this game that just about everyone respects and likes which is a rare breed in a game filled with back stabbing and talking out of both sides of your mouth. This gives Kosinski the cred to have pretty much anyone who’s ever been on either show on his podcast to talk about their experiences and sometimes clear up leftover drama from the show.

Of course, you also get dosed with Johnny Bananas, a character who has become less offensive over the years, but still drives me a little crazy. A few episodes have even been dedicated to just letting him complain about stuff and this dude hates everything. However, while my opinion of Johnny hasn’t changed, mine has flipped on several other cast members who get a little bit more time on the podcast to explain their side of the story. I tend to roll my eyes anyone a reality show person says they got a bad edit on their show, but I do think it’s difficult to get your entire persona across when someone else is piecing their version of your experience together.

The show doesn’t seem to have much of a regular schedule, but there have been three episodes since The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons started about five or six weeks ago and all three have gone pretty deep into what was going not so much behind the scenes, but on the cutting room floor. I won’t get too much into it, but there are whole characters making deals and moves that we’re not even seeing! It’s a bummer if you’re like me and find this season to be kind of boring. I will say that listening to the new episodes does round the experience out, which is nice.

Want to know the most interesting piece of information I’ve learned about BOTS? There was going to be a Team Road Rules. Kosinski said it was going to be him, Susie, Darrell and Katie Doyle. Unfortunately, he didn’t say WHY that team didn’t materialize. He did say that Susie was pregnant or had just given birth around the time of filming, but the whys were not fully explained for the rest of them. It didn’t get as far as the Real World Sydney team which was chosen and sent to Turkey, but then sent home, which is why the Fresh Meat squad was brought in so last minute. THESE are the kinds of things you can learn form listening to Ultimate Challenge Radio!