Saturday, January 17, 2015

Flashback to B-Movies and Rotten Corpses - Review of Horror Show by Greg Kihn

A young horror fan has a burning question for aging b-movie filmmaker Landis Woodley, a question that has been rumored for over thirty years: Were actual corpses used in the film CADAVER?

In a nutshell, this is the premise surrounding the meat of Greg Kihn's HORROR SHOW, a book that takes the reader back to 1957 and into the lives of a ragtag group of misfits who were involved with Landis Woodley, b-movie filmmaker and Hollywood pariah, and the events that led to the making of Woodley's greatest achievement, CADAVER, as well as the horrific aftermath.

HORROR SHOW is one hell of a book, particularly for those who have a vested interest in old horror films, though I would argue than anyone who digs a good horror yarn will have a good time with this one. There are obvious and unabashed parallels with Ed Wood and his legacy (my guess is that Kihn gleaned a lot off of Tim Burton's excellent movie ED WOOD), but this isn't some kind of wannabe or ripoff. HORROR SHOW is an homage to those wonderfully awful drive-in movies from the fifties and sixties as well as the behind the scenes madness that went into filming those inglorious gems. I happen to be a huge fan of old horror films, so this book was absolutely enthralling. My only complaint would be that I was scratching my head at the end. Seems to me that Kihn left it open for a sequel. I'm not a fan of that sort of ending. Then again, the book was so damn cool that I found myself forgiving the weak ending and immediately ordering the next book Kihn had published at the time, BIG ROCK BEAT. Arrived in the mail the other day. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Robert's Random Musing #3

Am I getting Old or Does Music Really Suck this Bad?
I'm 33...I think. Yeah, that sounds about right. I've been a fan of music since I can remember. Started with lame-ass rap and moved onto rock 'n' roll and heavy metal and eventually I opened my mind enough to realize that there's no shame in liking any kind of music in the spectrum. If it sounds good, listen to it. Damn the haters straight to Hell. As I've grown older and am now married and the father of a five-year-old I've realized just how awful modern music has become. I'm mostly talking about popular music. You know, the shit you hear on the radio, the junk playing in the background of so many television commercials, and namely the god-awful noise I heard on the Dick Clark Waiting for the Ball to Drop Extravaganza Whatsitcalled playing on my TV in the background during my mellow New Year's Eve.
I'm not going to name names, but my wife and I would give each other a look every time some photocopy "artist" lip synced a song. There was a boy band that kept coming back like herpes and it made me itch just listening to their put-on. Made me reminisce of a truly talented group called the Beatles, a group that could possibly be considered the first boy band phenomenon, who consequently became tired of the screaming crowds and the fact that they couldn't hear their instruments and eventually stopped playing live. Early Beatles music is golden, but they didn't stop there. It just got better and better. These modern day synthesized and over produced boy bands play what they're told, wear what they're told, and make me want to jam a screwdriver in my ear. They're not going to get any better. When you suck that bad, you have no chance. Maybe one of the guys'll have a brother who will become a decent movie star.
And then there's the pop "singer"s. Or is it hip hop? I'm not sure. They have a bunch of goons dancing on the stage to draw attention away from the fact that they're quite obviously lip syncing a song that has been done over and over and over again. The beats are all the same, only the lyrics have changed, and in some cases they've only been rearranged. Pathetic, no talent hacks.
Elton John played. They only showed one song, but I think he played more. What a shame. That would have been something worth watching. He actually sings. And there were a few others who actually stretched their vocal chords. I applaud those musicians. To dance around like a marionette and pretend you're singing your wretched song has got to be an act one is subjected to in a specialized ring of Hell even Dante hadn't written about.
How they call it Dick Clark's New Year Rockin' Eve, I cannot understand.
It really doesn't matter though. My son likes to listen to a lot of music that I feel is complete garbage, but I don't give him a hard time. He's five. I don't even remember liking music at that age. Besides, when I was young I listened to MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, LL Cool J and Digital Underground. I can't account for dumbed down tastes. Been there, done that. I just hope my boy begins to understand what good music is, and if, to him, good music is the tripe that is popular when he's a teenager ('cause you know it's going to be far worse than what's out there now), well, I'll do my best not to complain. But I know I will. And I know I will instill in him all of the music that I have been listening to for the past twenty years, and maybe he will be able to appreciate that there used to be good music...once upon a time ago.
Keep on rockin' in the greed world!
Elvis has left the building.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Books I Read in 2014

I like seeing what people have been reading throughout the year, so here's a list of the books I read in 2014. These stories were consumed in a variety of formats including ebooks, paperbacks and audiobooks.

1. Lost Echoes - Joe R. Lansdale
2. Savage Season - Joe R. Lansdale
3. Mucho Mojo - Joe R. Lansdale
4. Two-Bear Mambo - Joe R. Lansdale
5. The Summer I Died - Ryan C. Thomas
6. By the Light of the Moon - Dean Koontz
7. I am Legend - Richard Matheson
8. The Shrinking Man - Richard Matheson
9. The Reverend's Powder - Erik Williams
10. Blood, Bones and Bullets - Tim Curran
11. Animosity - James Newman
12. SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror
13. The Stork - Shane McKenzie
14. Pus Junkies - Shane McKenzie
15. Dead Streets - Tim Waggoner
16. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
17. The Summer of Winters - Mark Allan Gunnels
18. Act of Love - Joe R. Lansdale
19. Induction - Shana Festa
20. Toxicity - Max Booth III
21. Sunfall Manor - Peter Giglio
22. Rot and Ruin - Jonathan Maberry
23. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
24. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
25. The Island of Dr. Moreau - HG Wells
26. Relentless - Dean Koontz
27. Death and Decay - Jonathan Maberry
28. Magic Street - Orson Scott Card
29. Kayla Undead - Bryan Smith
30. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: More Stories for Late at Night

Too many books, too little time!

As always, I hope to read more this year.

Have a great New Year, everyone!