Monday, December 30, 2013

Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries And Mentors Of Ricky Jay

Honestly, I'm a little unnerved by this documentary. Powerful wizards like Ricky Jay shouldn't just be walking around like he does. What if he decides to become a super-villain? The Earth would be destroyed. He can make all sorts of things disappear, and he can use playing cards as weapons.

He should be locked up in Arkham Asylum or the Phantom Zone. He's a menace.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Holiday traditions

I know you'll find this hard to believe, but the Deathrage household has quite a few winter holiday traditions. Like many households, we deck the halls. Begrudgingly, every year I head into the storage space and drag out our tannenbaum, which is the Charlie Brown tree they sold one year at Urban Outfitters.

I removed the red glass ornament that comes standard and replaced it with one in the shape of a pickle. Apparently, there's some sort of holiday tradition called weihnachtsgurke. I'm not fluent in German or phony holiday traditions, but I believe this translates to "hide the pickle", and I don't want anyone to be confused as to where the pickle is located.

Anyway, did you know there are stores that sell things that only cost a dollar? Neither did I! They're called Dollar Stores. I had no idea they existed, and I thought they stopped making dollar bills some time ago. Didn't the government stop making small bills because no one used them? I don't know.

Anyway, at the beginning of December, I ventured into a Dollar Store and purchased some festive garland and lights and other holiday crap and flung it willy-nilly around the penthouse. I got 25 feet of red and green fringed garland that wouldn't look out of place on a used car lot and a light blue Hawaiian luau-esque banner that was misspelled. Instead of "Merry X-Mas", it says "Happy Retirement".

Like many other families at the holidays, we play games to entertain ourselves because we're trapped in the penthouse with no escape because everything is closed for reasons I just can't seem to fathom. This year we held "The Deathrage Family ChristmOlympics", and everyone had to create a persona and dress in costume. Because she's a marathon runner, Mrs. Deathrage dressed as a 1928 female Olympian, and her name was Hilda Grembo Fallimento, which means "Hilda Womb Failure". Fun Fact: After the 1928 Olympics no female long distance running events were held until 1960 because of the perceived threat of women's wombs falling out. I'm no expert on running or the Olympics or wombs, but I would have to think the running officials wanted to keep the running field clear of wombs and placentas to protect the participants from a slipping hazard.

Some of the other events included "Create The Best Mixed Drink And Then Chug It Without Dropping The Decorative Plastic Mermaid And Tiny Umbrella", "Most Offensively Decorated Sugar Cookie", "The Person Who Can Do The Most Pushups Gets To Reach Into The Surprise Gift Box", and Cards Against Humanity. I was super-pumped about playing Cards Against Humanity, but I thought it was a game that destroys humanity, but it turned out to be just a vulgar card game.

After everyone went to sleep, and by "went to sleep" I mean "passed out", I sipped some egg nog watched some classic holiday movies, and by "sipped some egg nog and watched some classic holiday movies" I mean "retched while trying to force down egg nog and stayed up all night watching movies that are only vaguely holiday themed while making myself sick on offensively decorated sugar cookies". X-MAS!

The Thin Man

The Thin Man is the story of a couple of high society drunks who solve a screwball mystery. The film takes place at the holidays. It's witty and smart and one day I hope to be as suave and drunk as William Powell. I have a lot of stuff going for me in that department, so it should happen sometime soon. Maybe in 2014.


Elf is the story of a successful businessman who is pestered by a psychopathic manchild who thinks he's a holiday elf. There's no skimping on the holiday cheer with this horror film, as carols are sung, snowballs are flung, and syrup is applied to everything. Elf has its surreal moments, but it's pretty much a treacly, elf-filled nightmare.

Die Hard

Bruce Willis runs barefoot through a douchey, high-rise holiday party while things explode in this classic holiday action film. I'm not sure why Willis is dead-set on ruining the the holidays for a Japanese businessman and a German terrorist, but he does. While barefoot. Put on some damn shoes, Willis.

A Christmas Carol (1951)

And finally, another successful businessman is being tortured during the holidays in this horror film, only this time by 4 ghosts. It's pretty terrifying, especially as Jacob Marley drags his whiny ass into Scrooge's house, interrupts his sleep, gets all Judgey McJudgerson on Scrooge's dinner choices, and howls like a banshee while rattling chains. If I had a nickel for every time some holiday specter visited me in the night and tried to change my ways, I'd have 35 cents. I already have 35 cents, and it was the change for my Dollar Store purchase.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Little Debbies, robots, and an epiphany

I stopped at the small grocery near Deathrage Towers yesterday to pick up a couple of things for dinner. As usual, I was feeling lazy and bought stuff to throw together some burritos. Grabbing a basket, I threw in tomatoes, leafy greens, tortillas, and refried beans. Rounding the corner of one of the aisles, I saw my downfall.

I felt it was safe to go back into the grocery stores because I thought I had bought all the remaining boxes of Little Debbie Cherry Cordials. Alas, I did not. I scooped the remaining boxes into the basket, and checked out. When I got back to the penthouse, I prepared dinner. I don't know what you put on your burritos, but you're probably doing it wrong. Beans, greens, a variety of cheeses, sour cream, Cholula, and more pickled jalapenos than you can shake a stick at goes on my burrito. I ate two enormous burritos, then washed it down with half a box of Little Debbies. I can't help myself. I just love those awful, phony, cherry-like cookies. It's a shame they're only available at this time of year, but I'm also very glad. I probably wouldn't stop eating them year round. And those pickled jalapenos! I love those, too. I'd sit on the couch and eat them out of the jar with a fork if I could.

After a few minutes, I began to feel strange. I think I might have started to feel the human emotion known as regret. Emotions confuse me, and I try not to have them. Since I'm not very familiar with this emotion, I'll try to describe it to you. From what I gather, regret is that full, uncomfortable feeling when your stomach has expanded from eating two burritos bigger than your head and half a box of cough syrup-flavored goodies, but then again, I could be wrong.

Dressed in sweatpants, feeling slightly regretful, I settled in to watch some movies. I watched Goremet: Zombie Chef From Hell. Actually, I've watched several movies the past couple of days that I haven't reviewed here. I will include them in my next book, which will have a total of 100 completely new and unpublished reviews. You will have to pay for them if you want to read them. Sorry, but that's the way it is. You'll have to shell out some cash if you want to read my reviews for Viva Knievel, Meat From Satan's Icebox, and Ass Zombies: Toilet Of The Dead.

Unfortunately, doing the research for my review of Goremet: Zombie Chef From Hell is when I had my epiphany.

Apparently, none of you exist. It came to my attention that the only people who read my blog aren't people at all, but are vampire and zombie robots who troll the blogosphere reading blogs in preparation for their eventual conquering of the world. At first I was super pumped. While I don't exactly understand their seemingly ridiculous plan to overthrow the planet by reading blogs about bad movies or kittens or woodworking, I welcome our robotic overlords. But then I started thinking, which is rarely ever a good thing, that if most of my visits are of vampiric robots, then no one is actually reading my blog or buying my book. The vision I had in my head of the one dude in Russia who sits around his 12" black and white television in a state-controlled apartment wearing one of those furry hats in Siberia reading my blog is a sham.

What I thought was a carefully calculated effort to build a regular readership of people who could possibly purchase my book is a lie. What appeared to be a gradual increase in readership over the past couple of years is a fantasy. However, I'm not disappointed. If zombie robots like my blog, then so be it. I'll continue writing terrible reviews for zombie robots about terrible movies probably starring zombie robots, but if there are any actual human beings with cash out there reading this blog, buy my book. It makes a great gift for people you don't like very well.

Rewind This!

The history of the VHS format is outlined in this interesting but somewhat monotonous documentary. I found I became somewhat bored with the continuous stream of interviews with VHS collectors and low-budget film-makers, but I loved the clips of obscure and forgotten films from the VHS heyday of the 70s and 80s. I'm going to have to find some of the films featured in this documentary.

I'm particularly intrigued by David "Rock" Nelson's monster movies. The Devil Ant, Conrad Brooks Vs. The Werewolf, and The Giant Horny Toad Monster are all available from him via mail order, but I'm a little wary about purchasing a $20 burned DV-R. I've spent more money on less, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013



A young man leaves Yale to pick apples in this well-shot film based on an autobiographical essay by David Sedaris. Featuring the awkward, sad quirkiness of David Sedaris' writing but lacking his acerbic wit, I was expecting a laugh-out-loud riot of a film. C.O.G. is not a laugh-out-loud riot, however it does feature a beautiful score with music by Steve Reich.

GLOW: The Story Of The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling

The story of the syndicated wrestling television program is examined in this touching, bittersweet documentary. Featuring bleached perms, outlandish eyeshadow, skimpy leotards and at least one gruesome injury, the campy show was wildly popular for 5 years and then was abruptly cancelled, but not before performing some atrocious raps...

...or chasing a titillated Bob Eubanks around a podium.

What's odd about that video is that I could have sworn it was Wink Martindale.

It wasn't, but I'm always looking for a reason to say Wink Martindale.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Terminal Invasion

Bruce Campbell stars in this low-budget TV movie where people are holed up in a small airport when an alien invasion strikes, and by "alien invasion" I mean "an elderly preacher goes on a men's room rampage and then dissolves into a Pepsi-like CGI puddle", but that makes it sound more exciting than it is. Cheap, stagey, and irritating, Terminal Invasion is a lot like the 90s television show Wings only with unbearable bickering characters that have to undergo an unusual X-Ray baggage scan, so yeah, it's totally like the TV show Wings.

For some reason a vending machine is destroyed, and a bunch of Oh Henry candy bars go to waste, which is a shame because I really like those.

So yeah, I would avoid Terminal Invasion unless you like Sartre-esque alien invasion horror films, and even if you do like those you probably won't like this.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lair Of The White Worm

Ken Russell directs what starts out as a fairly bland British film, but because Ken Russell directs it you only have to wait a couple of minutes before the nun-raping begins. Sometime later there's a sudsy, leather-booted bubble bath, but that's because Ken Russell is directing. Then there's some very subtle penis metaphors, and when I say "very subtle" I really mean "flat-out and couldn't be more obvious" because Ken Russell is directing. Hugh Grant takes second billing to Amanda Donahoe and plays against type as an snooty British fop with enviable hair, and by "plays against type" I really mean "plays every role he's ever played". Lair Of The White Worm is gory, silly, and excessive, but very stylish.


Irritating people take the elevator with some sort of vague, menacing presence in this claustrophobic, implausible thriller, and I'm saying it's implausible because I always take the stairs. Even though my penthouse is on the 42nd floor, on the rare occasion when I do leave the building I try to take the stairs. Yes, it's a lot of stairs to climb, but it's great for cardiovascular fitness. When you sit a lot, it's important to keep fit. Also, I don't particularly like people, and I'd rather not be near them. All those people crammed into a tiny space, with the looming threat that someone might accidentally touch me, or the real possibility that someone is going to breathe on me; well, that's a situation that I find completely unacceptable. Plus, even if I wanted to murder someone, I sure in the heck wouldn't do it in an elevator. It's too messy. That's the reason why I installed the open elevator shaft. One quick shove, and down they go. No splash-back at all. I won't have to worry about all those messy human liquids and particulates getting all over my rock t-shirt, and Tide doesn't grow on trees. I don't have all day to do load after load of laundry, and brains stain. So next time you're in a high-rise building, take the stairs.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Beast Of Bray Road

A werewolf disembowels rednecks in this early Asylum film. Surprisingly well-shot for an Asylum film, The Beast Of Bray Road was hardly Sharknado-esque at all. It's still not very good, however. There's lots of entrails, bad dye-jobs, and some unconvincing machismo. There's also one of the most awesome pickup lines ever, which was "Let's go sit next to the creek and listen to the frogs". How romantic! If that's not a pantydropper, then I don't know what is. Anyway, various locals have a delicious Pudwiser at the neighborhood bar when the aren't being devoured by a monster that looks suspiciously like a pile of dryer lint with teeth, and it's not as exciting as it sounds. One remarkable thing about The Beast Of Bray Road...there's no prerequisite Asylum helicopter scene.

It's the craziest thing. Maybe they couldn't figure out how to get a werewolf in a helicopter, or maybe they just couldn't afford to rent one.

Event Horizon

I have never claimed to be a fortune-teller, and I don't really know how space travel will work in 2047. However, I have seen a lot of outer space movies, and I know for sure that if Sam Neill says, "Hey, could you do me a solid and fly to Neptune with Laurence Fishburne so we can haul back my kinky, pointy, rubber-coated sex-torture dungeon space hooptie which causes nightmarish hallucinations? It'll be fun!", I'm probably going to be busy that weekend doing something that isn't that, because I can't think of a single time when doing something with Lawrence Fishburne didn't turn out to be problematic and awkward.

And hanging out with Sam Neil in outer space is only going to result in sparks, flashing lights and explosions.

Anyway, Event Horizon is one of those big explodey outer space adventures where outer space mishaps happen every few minutes as various CGI things go floating or flying by the screen, and you can expect a noisy jump-scare just as often.

I'm only fairly certain about one thing in regards to future outer space travel. You don't have to go to outer space in the future to go to Hell. Hell is here on Earth right now, and it's at Walmart.

Oops, sorry. I didn't mean to post that. I meant to post this:

For The Love Of Movies: A History Of American Film Criticism

Smarmy, elitist movie reviewers explain how their opinions are better than everyone else's and how they just sort of lucked into the job in this average documentary about movie reviewers. Did you know there are no real qualifications to be a movie reviewer? I know, right? With so many reviewers all giving opinions, you would think there would be some sort of standard. Not so. My eyes were opened during this documentary, when several of the reviewers interviewed plainly stated they often had no intention of becoming a reviewer, and just sort of started doing it. Fascinating!

I find that to be simultaneously heartening and dismaying. From what I gather, to be a film critic all you really have to do is watch movies in your spare time, have a different career than criticism, and just fling reviews willy-nilly until someone takes notice who'll eventually pay you. Sweet. I'm looking forward to that gravy train rolling in soon, as I'm exceedingly qualified. Start cutting those m'f'n movie checks. I have a lot of very expensive opinions.