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Saturday, October 29, 2011

FEAR AND LOATHING AT ROCK AND SHOCK


Once again I found myself in good old Worcester, MA for the Rock and Shock Festival. Held every October this combination rock/metal show and horror convention is one of the most fun times you can have. I certainly was in all of my glory with the combination of two things I love dearly.


I was really only interested in the Friday night lineup of bands and I saw a bunch of great ones. From THE OCEAN, EARTH CRISIS, OTEP, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY and the headliner MUSHROOMHEAD; everyone put on a good show. I especially loved seeing Otep Shamaya, Devin Townsend and Max Cavalera; three of my musical and lyrical heroes back to back to back on the same stage. Mind blowing! As I said I had no interest in the other musical acts although a funny thing happened to me the next night when I bumped into some ICP fans. You can read about the loathing part here. You can read about the loathing part here.

Max Cavalera leads the way!

I spent the rest of my time at the convention hall checking out all of the celebrities, vendors and fans. Rock and Shock is a great even for people watching and meeting new and old friends alike. Even though there were some last minute cancellations by some notable folks (I'm bummed The Walking Dead folks never made it) people like Robert Englund, William Forsythe, Ace Frehley, Lance Hendricksen, Camille Keaton, Gary and Jake Busey and many more were big draws and many more made it all worth it.

Gary Busey plays drums with MUSHROOMHEAD.

Besides all the cool vendors and scores of people in costumes and cosplay outfits Rock And Shock is a place where the industry gathers. I got to talk to many folks like two of the editors of Fangoria at length about horror films and take part in their panel discussion. The fest also shows horror films, including some premieres. On Saturday night I attended the screening of Robert Englund's new film INKUBUS (review to follow) co-staring William Forsythe, Jonathan Silverman and Joey Fatone! It was really cool to see the cast up close at the screening and take part in a few Q and A's. There are already planning a sequel. Sunday at the festival saw the debut of IWRESTLEDABEARONCE's horror film A BEARY SCARY MOVIE (review to follow). The flick was excellent and the band hung out with everyone and generally were awesome.

Pretty Tied Up.

Vendors ranged from legendary (TROMA) to local.

Larry from Three's Company as a Zombie?

Obama's approval rating would improve as a zombie.

Many Q&A panel's were held. like this one for the Freddy movies


Jake Busey and IWABO hang after their screening. 

Lance Henriksen

Mother and child?


I'll definitely be back next year!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

FILM REVIEW: RED STATE

Written and Directed by Kevin Smith (Harvey Boys/Smodcast Pictures)


Right in time for Halloween is one of the most suspenseful movies I have ever seen in the form of Kevin Smith's new movie, RED STATE. Earlier this year Smith (CLERKS, CHASING AMY, DOGMA) caused an uproar at The Sundance Film Festival when he announced he was going to stop making films entirely. He took his finished film on a D.I.Y. tour across the country, holding his now familiar Q&A sessions to raise money to release it himself. I took in the film some months back at a screening At The Wilbur Theater hosted by Smith. Between the tour, pre-release paid VOD viewers and special packages, he has already made back his money in time for a limited wide-release.

Michael Parks as
Rev. Abin Cooper
Based on the controversial Westboro Baptist Church and their leader Fred Phelps, Coopers Dell is set in the rural Middle America and is home to the Five Points Church. Led by fanatical Rev. Abin Cooper whose views are so extreme that even the KKK distanced themselves from him. The church gained national attention by protesting the funerals of reported homosexuals. Although those actions are deplorable enough, it is what goes on inside the compound that is real cause for alarm. Church goers abduct suspected local sinners and torture them and worse. When an investigation uncovers the truth, the ATF is called in. A fracas breaks out and quickly devolves into a Branch Davidian-type, no-win scenario. Undergoing a third stylistic change in under an hour and a half, several shocking plot twists and turns are revealed as the film comes to a gripping end.

Smith does a masterful job making a huge feeling film with just original script writing and fine camera work for a mere four million dollars. There are many great performances in the film such as Michael Parks as Rev. Cooper, John Goodman as Agent Keenan, Melissa Leo as Sarah Cooper and in lesser, but worthy roles Kerry Bishe', Stephen Root, Kevin Pollack, Matt L. Jones and Kevin Alejandro. Virtually the entire cast will return in Smith's final directorial turn (in 2 parts) HIT SOMEBODY, due next year.

Smith and his hetero life-mate Jason Mewes will
be at the Wilbur Theater on October 7th.


OCTOBER MEANS HALLOWEEN



Next to Thanksgiving, Halloween has always been my favorite time of the year. I celebrate the entire month long in some form or another. Decorating the house, watching horror movies, costume parties, various parades, haunted houses and of course candy too.


Halloween in the hood was a bit of a mixed bag for a me growing up as a kid. My family always decorated the house. My mom made individual candy bags to give out. For a costume I often wore a homemade get up, like being a clown or a cat. One year I got a “fancy” Spider-Man costume from Woolworth's. Oh those suffocating plastic masks with strangulating rubber bands and costumes made of sweaty plastic. My costume was torture, but I was so happy. Growing up in the “Summer of Sam” my dad had to take us around for candy. Older kids would go “bag snatching” “egg bombing” or other forms of mischief to terrorize little ones.

Halloween also means horror films! I grew up on the classic Universal Monster movies, from there it was the Hammer Dracula movies and finally slasher films. The 1980s brought me THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, FRIDAY THE 13TH, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, HALLOWEEN and the Steven King novel films. As a teen, inspired by my favorite Vincent Price role I went to a party as “The Red Death” from MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. A simple red hoodie and red face paint is all I needed. Sadly, nobody understood what I was since it was so obscure.   


I will surely hang out with my friends on October 31st, put on a costume and help take their kids Trick or Treating. Last year I had just seen ALICE COOPER in concert, so my costume was a homage to him. This year I will be either Beetlejuice or a member of KISS as suggested by my friend, 7 year-old Kennedy Mae O’Neil.

I swear I am ALICE COOPER damnit! Sigh. 


Here are some cool Halloween themed events around the Boston area worth checking out!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

THE FLOOD

When the morning Sun bakes my eyes awake
I do not know what this day will bring.
Still, I cherish every moment
of this unpromised, uncompromised life.
I rise day after day like a ritual since
not living life is also a form of death.
The paralysis of analysis
can cripple or empower.
What you do when you choose to
know the ledge is crucial.
I choose to live unbound in the water
rather than feast on mental slavery
in the burning wastes of life.
I long to sleep on a pillow of winds
and not the thorny brush of memories.
I will do what I must to get by with devotions.
Not of gods or false masters, just my free will.
Guiding me straight and real as ever.
And continue to hope someone hears
my whispered pleas of “what if, this time.”
I will not play Apollo’s lyre of woe
or feel the chariot lash on upon my back.
As I toil on this coil braced for fire,
I push the bloody pen along the page.
Trying to reason with the deaf,
blind, yet wise ghosts of history.
Until exhaustion sets in again
and I greet my friend the Moon
with cooling shades.

"drowning in an ocean to find my soul...."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: BELLFLOWER

Written and Directed by Evan Glodell (Oscilloscope Laboratories)


I had the opportunity to screen the new indie film BELLFLOWER and I must say it is a powerhouse of a flick. The film is released by Oscilloscope Laboratories who is building a reputation for great out-of-the-box movies that make you think and produced last years HOWL which I loved. Written, directed and staring Evan Glodell (BEFORE BREAKFAST); who is not just a triple threat here, but may be bringing back the Auteur Theory in the best sense of the concept. Glodell turns conventional film making on it's ear with an exciting visual style, original story-telling and his own emotional performance.

The Medusa Car is one more step to awesomeness..and ruin. 

As for the story it is eye-opening and full of smart left turns. It centers around two best friends Woodroe (played by Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) who grew up together in Wisconsin obsessing over the Max Max films and plotting a more interesting life. The duo grows up to become gear-heads and inventors following their own twisted muse. Traveling across the country and settling in California, they spend their time, collecting guns, building weapons and vehicles with an eye toward an apocalyptic future laid out in their favorite film. Aiden especially envisions the two as future “Lord Humongous of the Wasteland” in the event of world collapse and their “Medusa gang” complete with badass and suped up cars, just like their inspiration. They don't seem to work other than on their projects and spend a lot of time imbibing copious amounts of booze and some drugs. Although they seem like men-children on one hand, they don't seem the least bit bothered by their station in life. They share a steely cool demeanor, although Woodroe is clearly the more sensitive and less braggadocios of the two friends, This sets up a neat dynamic for later on. Their rock solid bromance is interrupted when they meet smoking hot and mysterious Milly (Jessie Wiesman) at a bar one night. Milly and Woodroe have an instant attraction and after Milly beats Woodroe in a live cricket eating contest (eww), they bond and he asks her out on a date. The next night rather than go to a nice place they go to the worst, grossest place Woodroe can think of, an awful truck stop diner. This diner is in Texas and over the next few days on the road they fall for each other. Milly tells Woodroe that she ends up hurting everyone close to her and he disbelieves her, setting up a foreshadowing of later events that is the only thing in the film that is really telegraphed. Upon returning to to California in time for Milly's best friend’s Courtney's (Rebekah Brandeis) birthday party. Aiden is there since he is pursuing Courtney and the party is hosted by Milly's brooding roommate Mike (Vincent Gradshaw). At this point the viewer doesn't realize that the paths of these five characters are on a collision course with misery, but it starts to unfold quickly. While Woodroe and Aiden perfect their flamethrower (!) and plot other creations, the relationship between Milly and Woodroe quickly becomes obsessive and complicated. Milly does in fact hurt and betray Woodroe and he becomes unhinged. This sets up a chain reaction of events that are fairly unpredictable and exciting. Leading to a catastrophic ending with consequences none of the friends and lovers envisioned, the viewer is taken on an emotional roller-coaster ride of lust, rage, trepidation and revenge.

"Sometimes love just ain't enough."

As a story teller Glodell is masterful in his use close and far shots, grainy film grades and alternate focus takes. Flashbacks and sideways time shifts as well as depicted alternate "what if" possibilities shape the story line and make the watching experience unique. Clearly this is not the director's first rodeo and it seems to me his vision of the film might have been complete from the earliest beginnings. I also have to single out some of the locations and the music used as subtle extra characters in the film. BELLFLOWER is not a movie for the faint of heart for some of its well executed violence and gut wrenching emotions, but it is a rewarding watch. This movie definitely rivals anything I have seen this year dramatically and cinematically as well.

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PERPETUAL RECOVERY

How do you ever heal in this life
if you never let the wounds stay closed?
How does your resolve fade away
if you never had a spine in the first place?
When lies and heartache are your currency
it doesn't matter what your intent is or was.
I have whittled away every visage of your countenance
only to be tortured by inescapable thoughts of madness.
You were a weapon of choice I could not stand against.
All my powers of deduction rendered ineffectual.
An army of spirit warriors by my side could not save me.
Shattered confidence on the shores of self-discovery.
Alone in a sea of desperate narcissists and mental invalids
I just want to breathe the soft air of kindness again.
Feel the lasting embrace of someone dear.
Someone to rebuild the wreckage with and reclaim the chi.
I want to smile on the outside and be more than a mannequin.
Shallow footsteps echo the coldness of a reality I snap back to.
My face is ever the convenient liar, apologizing for
the many fallacies I perpetuate just to stay alive.
Is this the meaning of life or a life worth wasting?
Do I hit bottom with a grin or rise once more?
To ask the question is as damaging as anything I must endure.
I'll never know as long as the screaming in my ears
drowns out all reason, passion and peace.

It wouldn't be so bad if I could just scratch my nose...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stop Request



I barely ever sleep,
but often I dream of my funeral.
The day I am laid to rest.
Goodbyes said in silence.
Empty prayers to an empty sky.
Curses under swallowed breaths.
A bronze urn to hold the remnants of my person.
Who will weep for me and who will piss on me?
True loves, true friends and the truly fake.
All gathered together sharing a begrudged moment.
Regrets, lies, blinding truths and the inescapable finality.
Knowing that time is up and things don't get resolved nicely.
The dark danse macabre of the moment beguiles the sufferer.
The pretentious and the false will offer the aggrieved
to “be there for them if they are needed”.
Even though few were there for me when I needed them in life.
Meanwhile a few selfless pilgrims will do what must be done.
Some will sob, others will make inappropriate jokes.
Others still will reminisce over me in uneasy low tones.
Few will come to understand the measure of this man.
Frenemies I never showed a glimpse of solace to
will tell stories of how close they were to me.
Knowing I hated with same nerve endings I also loved with.
Those that loathed me will push platitudes past gritted teeth.
Dearest friends will weep, some will know I am in their hearts.
Know that I tried my best, but often came up short in hindsight.
It rains on us all sometimes. The just and unjust alike.
I don't want a party in my honor nor a somber affair.
Because I've always had an uneasy alliance with life.
A span of time in between to poles marking a journey.
All that's left when a soul burns away for good.
This now concludes our regular broadcast life...


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Empty

There are nights when I feel unstoppable.
Tonight is not one of them.
Sometimes I could rule the world with an iron fist.
But often my hands are covering my wet eyes
and wiping my foaming mouth.
I'd like to be as armor plated on the outside
as I feel vulnerable on the inside.
For once I'd like to hone my aggro
instead of giving in to my inner emo.
Talking loud and saying nothing.
Self-absorbed brilliance is a fake reality.
If I could quiet the noise in my head 
I might hear what my heart is trying to tell me.
I'd stop plugging up my ears 
if I knew what else to do with my middle fingers.
Master of a destiny as yet unwritten.
Weighed down by the crutch of yesterday.
Holding on to nothing right now.

Creating the perfect monster. Me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

TRUE BLOOD RETURNS



TRUE BLOOD returns to HBO tonight and you can color me excited! I recognize we are all hitting the high time where supernatural TV shows with themes of vampires, zombies, mutants, aliens and everybody else is due to suffer a cultural burnout any day now. As for me and the other “Truebees” I think we will survive just fine. Tonight kicks off Season 4 and while I won’t give away too many secret plot points (Witches? Check! Do Sookie and Eric hookup finally? Yup!) I’ll just say I’m psyched to see where the show is going next.

Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse.

Based on the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries series of book by Author Charlaine Harris, TRUE BLOOD hit the scene like a lightning bolt in 2008 and has grown in popularity exponentially ever since. Since Executive Producer and show creator Alan Ball optioned the show following his run on SIX FEET UNDER he has vastly improved over the stories in the books to create a mature, sexy show full of exciting plot turns and the high production value HBO programming is known for. Honestly I tried reading the books and got about through two and a half before giving up. The writing of the show is so superior to the books I’d say don’t bother with them at all unless you feel you need to. Every season has elements of the plot marrow of those books, but is vastly different overall.

True Blood does a lot of "viral" marketing heh.

The majority of the cast is back with star Anna Paquin as the telepathic fairy Sookie (now married to her costar) and Stephen Moyer as the brooding  Vampire Bill Compton.  Two of the main story arcs of season four will be Sookie's growing relationship with Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgaard) as well as her other suitors and usual enemies, plus some new ones. Although the series definitely has its moments that are too campy and silly for words, they are balanced perfectly by the sexuality and violence of the world of the greater ensemble cast. There are also underlying themes in the show such as racism, sexuality, misogyny, gay rights, ethical relativism, philosophy and politics which from time to time take over and give the program more emotional depth than your average show.  

Last fall at Boston University, The School of Communications welcomed in the shows’ Executive Producer Greg Fienberg to visit the school and host a presentation. He detailed how episodic television shows run during production, script writing and also to talked about the coming season. He also revealed some key insights to how the show continues to reinvent itself and grow which has added to its popularity. He talked about the how the roles of staff are defined and how intensive a show like TRUE BLOOD works behind the scenes. 


Another thing I really love about the show (and this is true of most HBO series) is the brilliant advertising and marketing campaigns leading up to every season has tied in perfectly and energized the fans. From the minisodes leading up to tonight’s’ premiere as well as the Twitter hash tag #waitingsucks that really suck (pun intended) in the fans. I predict as long as the show remains interesting it will last and considering the axing of many recent fantasy/sci-fi programing like V and HEROES last year, TRUE BLOOD is your destination for amazing story telling.   

Saturday, June 25, 2011

PALESTRINA

"if  I can't have everything  then  just  give me a  taste"
Tall as the trees
and twice as graceful.
You danced like a feather
trying not to catch fire.


Entranced by you.
Eyes, lips, arms and hips
write a silent plea in the air.
Telling tales of a secret pact.
Everyone captivated by
a dazzling display of symmetry.
A narcotic has less traction on the soul.
A narcissist to the very last drop.

Only one saw the soft underbelly.
Past the desperate longing
and through to the pain.
When we met I was a child.
You were the learner.
Another was the master.
The mentor to your mission
gave encouragement and accolades.
But not the love you needed.

Spurned, yet sanctified.
Your pursuit doubled in effort.
Already a slave to unrequited passions.
They threatened to engulf you.
Caught up in the moment
a declaration is made.
A vow hangs in the air unanswered
and now you can’t take it back.
A promise made is a promise dead
when a promise wasn’t required
in the first place.