Friday, 28 November 2014

Cheapo DVD Review: Killer Pad (2008)

 Best buds Craig, Doug and Brodie have come out to California to start new lives and meet lots of hot girls. 
However, they find themselves in need of accomodation. So a totally not-shady letting agent finds them the perfect place.
I would happily live here. I like the architecture - it's modern and interesting.
I would live here if it weren't for the address.
At this point anybody who's ever watched even a single horror film is going "Uh-oh"

The lads make themselves at home. There's plenty of space, a nice big kitchen and even a swimming pool.
Cool neighbours too.
 The lovely Lucy pops round with a cake. 
You don't get that round my way. Instead you get drunks shouting "Yerrrr wankerrrr" at each other at 1 in the bastard morning. 
Sometimes they leave little presents. Kebab wrappers and broken glass mostly.


Obviously the next step is to hold the most awesome Housewarming party of all time and the boys begin dishing out flyers.
Just so you know, those leather pants have the butt-cheeks cut out. 
If I have to deal with that mental image so do you. 

There is one potential problem though.
The weird, glowing red pool thingie in the basement.
Don't get too close you idiot. You know that's gonna be some evil shit in there. 

But after the Fire Marshall unaccountably vanishes, the party is on!

Lots of people show up. Some of them are hot.
Catholic School Girls in glasses
Nobody actually believes these girls are 16 do they?  

Lucy even brings her mates round.
Boys, meet Delilah and Jezebel. 
I don't see why they don't just have "We are evil succubii" written across their foreheads in Magic Marker.
Except nobody would read it.You'd need to write it across the boobs to get anybody to notice.

Everything seems to be going according to plan...

Until people start having weird "incidents"
Like getting stuck in the toilet.
Really getting stuck in the toilet.   
  Unfortunately her evening just continues to get more shitty. 

The couple of drunk bros who hit on Lucy have it worse.
I wonder what Lucy is short for...?
Now that's just wrong.
Everybody know you put fresh meat on the bottom shelf. 

Can Doug, Craig and Brodie save the party?
Can they avoid having their souls eaten by hot demon bitches from hell?
Is that really Joey Lawrence, star of 80s sitcom "Blossom"?
Anybody know what happened to Jenna Von Oy?
Six was always my favourite character. 

  I picked this DVd up for £1 from Poundland and I'm rather glad I did. You see, I came very close to buying "Killer Pad" from HMV for a whole £7.99 -  in which case I would have been rather annoyed. 

 When all is said and done, "Killer Pad" did not make me laugh once. Not a single titter. 
Come to think of it, I barely cracked a smile. That's a significant failing in a comedy. 

 I can't really fault the cast, most of whom do a decent job with what they have to work with. In the case of the three male leads that's mainly "Be stoopid. Really, really stoopid. Can you do gormless idiot? Lots of that." While the girls get a much harder acting job. "Try and look like you're attracted to these muppets."
 Full marks for trying, guys, and lord knows you almost managed to make this film more entertaining.

 Problem is, "Killer Pad" could best be described as "Dude, Where's My Car?" mashed up with...I dunno...pick any 80s demonic horror.  And it doesn't work. 
 It should work. Just because a movie is cliched and a bit stupid doesn't mean it can't be entertaining. I have an entire shelf full of low-budget films that are fun to watch with a few beers and a kebab.
 Maybe the writers should have put more actual funny bits in it. 
Did I mention that I didn't laugh once? 

How much did I pay for this? £1
Was it worth it?  Not really. "Killer Pad" isn't as painful to sit through as the "Meet The Spartans" and all that "Date Movie/Epic Movie/Disaster movie" shite but unless you're seriously baked and have a comedy age of 12, avoid this one.

 Let's finish with another pic of the lovely Emily Baldoni.  
Emily Foxler sexy

 I'm not going to bother posting the trailer. I don't want you accidentally getting the idea that I endorse this film. 
  That's all folks.  

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Metal Project: Paraguay

 The Metal Project World Tour continues with a visit to Paraguay. Bordered by Brazil and Argentina, both of which have sizeable Metal scenes, Paraguayan bands might be easy to overlook.
 I think I can do something about that.  Here's a selection of songs for your perusal. Enjoy.

Caceria - Ataque Frontal De Metal (2009)

Honour to: necroziur 

Patriarca - El Poder Del Metal (2001)

Honour to: Nelson Cabrera

Khymor - Metal Forces (2013)

Honour to: Gabriel Galarza

The Force - Neckbreaking Metal (2011)

Honour to: Alexlayer666

By now you may have noticed that Paraguayan metalheads clearly worship at the altar of Thrash.
Services are guaranteed to be over in 28 minutes or less and always end with a circle pit.

Evil Force - Speed Metal Evil (2013)

Honour to: EvilFerpy

Toxic Avenger - Thrash Metal Addiction (Demo 2013)

 Honour to: Carlitos Luque Thrasher

And finally...

Post Mortem - Metal Force (2011)

Honour to: Ati Fernandez

A big thank you to all the bands here and to the fans who posted these songs on line.
Check out their channels, like, favourite, subscribe and support.

That's all folks..

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Book review - Nathan Long: Jane Carver of Waar (2012)

redhead with sword
Picture courtesy of
"I'd just killed a man in Panorama City and the cops were on my tail"

 Jane Carver is a big, no-nonsense biker chick who just wanted a few beers and a game of pool. But when somebody tried getting gropey in the car park she saw red. The guy went down and wasn't ever getting back up.

  Hunted by helicopters, dogs and way too many police Jane ducked into a handy cave...

And woke up butt-naked on another world.

 Before she can get back home, Jane has to deal with tiger-centaurs, pirates, slavers, gladiators and while she's at it, help a hapless, helpless groom get his bride back.

I was poking about on - a site I can heartily recommend -when one particular cover caught my eye. A ferocious redhead in the classic iron bra/dangly loincloth ensemble was laying into a tiger/man thingie with particular gusto.
"I would rather like to read this." I said to myself  "To Amazon at once!"

  As you've probably guessed, "Jane Carver..." can be best be described as "John Carter Of Mars" - but with a 6 foot plus, ex-army, biker broad in the starring role and is described as "both loving tribute and scathing parody"
  I can't say I picked up on the parody although Jane's ongoing narration is frequently sardonic if not downright annoyed, especially when sidekick Sai is being an utter muppet.
 If you like, try and picture one of the old-school pulp swashbucklers through the eyes of a 21st century woman.
 Jane herself is easy to like. Sophisticated she's not, but that doesn't mean she's dumb either and her motivation is a blend of honest self-interest and wanting to do the right thing. Well, that and revenge on one particular asshole.
  You get the impression she'd be a good buddy to go drinking with but not somebody you want to piss off.

 The story moves through the usual cliches you always get in this kind of story. Jane arrives, realises she's not in Kansas anymore and then gets shunted from point to point meeting all sorts of interesting people and occasionally killing them. Pick up a cheapo paperback from the 1960s/1970s and if there's a bloke with a sword on the cover, chances are it's very similar to this. "Jane Carver" even uses the classic I-got-a- manuscript-in-the-mail device.
 Luckily Nathan Long is good enough that he manages to make the whole thing entertaining while tipping the wink to the old-school. He also manages to take us through his new world without getting bogged down in the details. I need to know where our hero is and who's currently trying to kill her, not all the details of this cool new game the author has just created.
 You' also be relieved to hear that Nathan Long doesn't fall prey to the same kinkiness certain other authors fall prey to. (Looking at you John Norman...)
 Things move along at a steady pace enlivened by liberal splashings of swordplay, there's enough characterisation to make these people interesting and if Jane gets the bulk of the development, well it is her book.

To sum up: Not the sort of book you rave about but an entertaining read that makes me want to pick up the sequel.
And any book that has flying pirate ships is always worth checking out.

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Mermaids

Evening all. Time for another small but select collection of Rock/Metal album covers for your entertainment.

 This time the theme is: Mermaids.  
Forget Ariel. These gals are more like the comely-but-lethal predators from the last Pirates Of The Caribbean movie.
 And I just have to ask...

How do they all get their hair looking so nice?

My Legal Crime - The Siren (2014 Russian?)

Metal album cover sexy mermaid
She looks peeved but I suppose if somebody dumped a 
trawler in my back garden, I'd be annoyed too. 

Band are more Rock than Metal but not bad at all.  

Syren's Call - Fantasea (France 2000)

Heavy Metal Cover Girls Mermaid
To a mermaid, nothing is more humiliating than being stuck on land, naked in public..
and you can't remember how to transform fins to feet. 
Just out of shot - all her mates laughing their gills off.
Luckily mermaids haven't invented cameraphones otherwise she'd never live this down.    

Siren - A Kingdom Aflame (UK 2014)

metal artwork mermaid siren storm
Now this girl has mastered the art of "Legs"
Still working on the next lesson ("Clothes") but give it time.
Right now she's busy drowning some sailors that pissed her off.

I'm always delighted when I can feature a British band on here so please check them out.

Broken Arrow - Abyss Of Darkness (Italy 2003)

Mermaids like tinned food too. 

Err..why is there a monkey in a spacesuit on this album cover?
A dead monkey even?

Honour to: Patrik Matsson

The next two feature mermaids basking. They seem to do that a lot. 

Lyraka - Vol 1 (USA 2010)

album art mermaid blonde

 A concept album featuring some quite high-profile names - Graham Bonnet (Rainbow), Veronica Freeman (Benedictum), Al Atkins (Judas Priest) Tommy Heart (Fair Warning) and Mark Boals (Everybody!) - IIRC, there was a comic involved too. 

Honour to: Lyraka

Trelleborg - In The Name Of Love (Single 2011 Russia)

Clearly posing for the annual Mermaid Page 3 calendar.

The song itself is rather interesting.
It's sort of ...Sea-shanty-Symphonic-Folk-and-other-stuff - Metal
See what you think.
Honour to: Metko Vizigot

And finally, a reminder that mermaids have to fight for their place on the top of the food chain.

Siren's Legacy - The Kraken (Germany 2013)

One of these two is going to get eaten but which?
My money is on the mermaid.
Does she look frightened to you?

And I'm going to go burn my swimming trunks because there's no bloody way I'm getting
anywhere near the sea until somebody offers conclusive proof that this squid thing doesn't actually exist.

Honour to: Siren's Legacy

If you have a theme you'd like to see, I'd love to hear it.

That's all folks.  

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Comic Review: War Stories - Castles in The Sky 1&2

  All-American college boy Leonard Wetmore is sent across the Atlantic to serve his country. While getting used to his new life, Leonard meets a beautiful young British widow and her grieving, angry son.
 But culture shock isn't Leonard's worst problem.  You see, Leonard Wetmore is a gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. And before he can go home again, there's an awful lot of dangerous missions left to fly.

 I've been eagerly waiting for this comic to come out ever since I found out about it. I'm a big fan of Ennis's 21st century take on the classic War Comic so I was curious to see how he'd approach the savage air battles between the Luftwaffe and the 8th Air force.  

 Things open gently, with young Leonard waxing poetic on his journey across the USA.

Then meeting the locals
The lovely Paula Pritchard. Very, very British.  
Then just to remind us that this is  war comic...

 I think that's one of the reasons I've liked the War Stories/Battlefields comics so much. Garth Ennis takes a bit of time to make his characters human so when things suddenly get brutal and ugly, it hits us harder.
 Issue two sees more of the same, albeit with more action.
  Leonard also finds time to get to know Mrs Pritchard a little better, leading to some interesting commentary on America's and cultural differences, all over a nice pot of tea.

 As you can see from the snippets above, artist Matt Martin isn't bad at all. Maybe better at dogfights than he is at people, if I want to be picky, but definitely getting the job done.
 I like the way the story moves along too. Bursts of action broken up by quieter personal moments. You could maybe describe the combination as "jarring" but I'm sure that's deliberate. From everything I've read, the life of a WW2 airman was a strange blend of domesticity and deadly peril.
 If like me you grew up reading the old British war comics then this is a nod to the past and at the same time, moving away from the cliches and into something more grown up.

 So to sum up: I enjoyed these two issues a lot. Not my favourite Ennis war story ("Nightingale" or maybe the heartbreaking "Dear Billy", if you're interested) but definitely worth a  read.

 The thing is, I'm looking forward to issue 3 but at the same time, I have this horrible feeling I'm about to get punched in the heart yet again...  

That's all folks. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Book Review: Simon Webb - The Suffragette Bombers: Britain's Forgotten Terrorists

"During the early hours of 19th February 1913, a powerful bomb wrecked Chancellor Of The Exchequer David Lloyd George's new house. It was the opening shot in 20th Century Britain's first terrorist campaign, and it was carried out by women in ankle-length skirts - the suffragettes."  

If I were to sum up this book in one sentence it would be:

Everything you think you know about the suffragettes is wrong.

 Simon Webb takes a crowbar to several longstanding myths about the Suffragettes and in the process discovers some unpleasant facts that have been airbrushed from history.

Myth: Edwardian England was a Golden Age of peace and stability.
Fact: The United Kingdom was wracked by political and social unrest and on several occasions, came very close to Civil War.

Myth: The suffragettes were a widespread popular movement.
Fact: That would be the suffragists - a genuine, grassroots, movement that was peaceful and law-biding. You know, the ones you've never heard of.

Myth: The Suffragettes fought for women to be given the right to vote. 
Fact: Emmeline Pankhurst made it clear early on that she had no interest in Universal Suffrage for working class men and women - only extending the vote to women with property. Like herself.

Myth: The suffragettes were essentially non-violent activists who confined themselves to heckling and vandalism.
Fact: In the years leading up to the First World War, the suffragists waged an enthusiastic campaign of bombing, arson and vandalism that targeted stately homes, churches, sports-grounds and public buildings while paying no thought whatsoever to potential casualties. In the most chilling example, suffragettes attempted to blow up a dam. 

Myth: The suffragettes got women the vote. 
Fact: The general public - including most women - found the methods of the suffragettes so appalling that their antics actually set progress back by years.

"The Suffragette Bombers" is a fascinating book. Britain in the early years of the 20th Century was a more complicated place than Downton Abbey would have you believe and the struggle to get women the vote is particularly complex.  Simon Webb manages to explain it in a way that's accessible for the layman, kicks some long-cherished sacred cows in the ribs and asks why a small, radical group of fanatics are now revered by historians.
The whole thing is squeezed into a book that can be read in an afternoon, remaining informative and entertaining throughout.

 Highly recommended to anybody fascinated by social history

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Metal Project: Ecuador

The Metal Project

 So here's the deal. I trawl through Youtube looking for songs that fit some simple criteria.
1. It's by a Metal band. Black Metal, Death Metal, Neo-Babylonian Astrological Metal, whatever. I have even been known to sneak in some Hard Rock when I think I can get away with it.
2. No NSBM though. Bollocks to Nazis and their music can fuck right off too.
3. No instrumentals (Unless I really like them) No live tracks (Unless I really like them) and no bedroom projects (Unless I really like them)
4. And most importantly...
It has to have the word "Metal" in the title. 

 Today's batch of songs are also united by another factor. All of them are by bands from Ecuador 
There's not as many as I'd like but I hope that you'll find something new and exciting. Enjoy.

 Zidiz - Intro/Satan Speed Metal (2014)

(If you can imagine a cleaned up Venom with Black Metal vocals you are in the right area. 
I like this one.)
Honour to: Le Mat

Wizard - Eterno Metal (2001)

(Traditional Heavy Metal)

Honour to: GeorgBlackThrash

Spectrum - El Metal Es Mi Sangre (2005)

(Bombastic Power/Prog with interesting flourishes)
Honour to: guitarismysword

Resistencia - Juntos Por el Metal (2007)

(A melodic semi-ballad - lighters in the air stuff.)
Honour to: BlackieDiegoRock

And finally...

Extreme Attack - Thrash Metal (2013)

(No-nonsense Thrash)
Honour to: ExtremeAttackBand

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

DVD Review : The Lost Legion (2014)

  Normally I put the back-cover blurb in here but since it's rather economical with the truth, I shall instead give you a quick rundown of  what "The Lost Legion" is really about.

 Pannonia 475AD

 In the dying days of the Roman Empire, Governer Maximus Antonius Albanis is in need of allies against the barbarian horde who've set up home next door.
 Since Suevi warlord Taranis and his wife Gisa are also looking for some military support, an alliance seems like a good idea for everybody concerned.

 What Maximus doesn't know is that his wife has a plan to put her obnoxious son on the Imperial throne.

And it doesn't involve Maximus or the Suevi.

 I wanted to like this film. I really did.

The opening scene was promising: A group of Romans and Suevi are escorting a beautiful young woman through a forest when they are jumped by fur-clad yobboes.
 At which point the lovely Gisa leaps off her palanquin. grabs a mace and begins twatting bad guys with enthusiasm and panache. "Ok" I thought "This could be fun."

 Sadly the Lost Legion never quite lives up to that initial potential.  

 I have this theory that somebody had been binge-watching  Spartacus on Netflix and went "Bloodshed, boobs and backstabbing...I could do that."
 Boobs and backstabbing there are a-plenty. If there isn't a pair of bare breasts on display, give it ten minutes and the next scene will make up for it. Meanwhile the Romans are unable to speak an entire sentence without 4-letter words and come across as spectacularly short-sighted. When you have 10,000 Goths over the road sharpening their axes, arguing over who is in charge seems a bit dumb

 You have to wonder if the real  Empire might have lasted a bit longer if the Romans weren't so terminally addicted to knifing each other in the ribs.

 Bloodshed? Not as much as you'd expect from the cover. After the inital punch-up things mostly settle down to verbal sparring which only occasionally escalates to drawn swords.
  You do get to see somebody beaten to death with a particularly novel blunt instrument though. I'm not going to go into details but you'll either be horrified or burst out laughing.

  So far this sounds like the sort of thing I should love. Certainly all the ingredients are there: Gratuitous boobage, Romans coming up with creative ways to say "fuck off and die", and of course the definite possibility that we're going to see lots of angry Germans running amok. But for some reason it just doesn't work.

 The actors are mostly decent -with one glaring exception who made me wince every time he opened his mouth -  and somebody has done a bit of research so "Lost Legion" at least tries to be historically correct.
  So why didn't I get into this film? I'm not entirely sure.
Ok, so if you've seen "Spartacus" or even "Rome" then this does seem awfully familiar and having the one guy you might actually root for offstage for most of the middle third struck me as a tactical error.
It would have been nice to see more of warrior-princess Gisa too.
Um, not in that sense. Lord knows you couldn't see any more of her without a Triple-x rating. I mean that I was hoping to see more of her in action.
No... wait... that's not quite what I meant either.

Look, I wanted to see more of Gisa with a sword in her hand....

Stop sniggering, godammit.  

Then there's the ending. Now that did piss me off.

 At the risk of giving too much away, the climax I was expecting came and went without actually being climactic and the film kept going, only to wrap up a couple of scenes later with things left undecided.
  I don't mind it when a film leaves me asking "What happened next?" but I get annoyed when a film suddenly decides "Screw it. We had another 40 minutes planned but we ran out of money and can't be bothered anyway."
 Maybe you shouldn't have spent so much time faffing about earlier then, huh?

Maybe the team were deliberately going for a downbeat, cynical ending.

Maybe I should have just picked up that DVD about the killer cheerleaders instead.

To sum up. Some decent ideas, some decent acting - one guy excepted, You know who you are - but not as good as it could have been.

That's all folks
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