7 Jun

Suicidal Review: John Dies At The End

Posted by Bryan White | Friday June 7, 2013 | Reviews,Uncategorized,Youtube

This week I take a look at the latest from Don Coscarelli, John Dies At The End, adapted from a novel by David Wong. If slacker humor with a heavy tilt toward H.P. Lovecraft and doorknobs that transform magically into penises are your bag, you’ll want to have a look at this one.

I also get excited about the first trailer from the upcoming, Machete Kills as well as the trailer for the upcoming NBC limited series, Dracula.

This week’s music is Southern Belle and was generously provided by The Midnight Ghost Train from their album, Buffalo.

24 May

Suicidal Review: Found

Posted by Bryan White | Friday May 24, 2013 | Reviews,Youtube

This week’s episode of Cinema Suicide takes a look at the trailers for A Field In England by director Ben Wheatley and La Danza De La Realidad from director, Alejandro Jodorowsky and then I give you the lowdown on the recent indie horror movie, Found adapted from a novel Cinema Suicide alumni, Todd Rigney.

This week’s music bed was generously provided by the band Calabrese!

17 May

Suicidal Reviews: Fever Night aka Band of Satanic Outsiders & The Whisperer In Darkness

Posted by Bryan White | Friday May 17, 2013 | Reviews,Youtube

This week’s episode is up with two new reviews. One, a seriously fucked up psychedelic experiment in horror, the other a throwback to a more stylized time in Hollywood. I’ll let you decide which is which. I look at Fever Night from director Andrew Schrader, which you can find on Netflix and then I take a look at The Whisperer In Darkness from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

10 May

Suicidal Reviews: Manborg & Maniac

Posted by Bryan White | Friday May 10, 2013 | Reviews,Youtube

This week I review Manborg, the latest from Astron 6 and the remake of Maniac starring Elijah Wood. I also drop some commentary on the trailers for Ender’s Game and The World’s End and heap praise on the Judge Dredd fan film, Judge Minty.

26 Apr

Suicidal Reviews: I Am A Ghost & Hemlock Grove on Netflix

Posted by Bryan White | Friday April 26, 2013 | Reviews,Youtube

We’re back this week with a look at the spooky indie horror flick, I Am A Ghost and the new original series on Netflix, Hemlock Grove featuring music (which I am told is too loud) by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats.

15 Oct

Biker flicks – A Tank Riot supplement

Posted by Bryan White | Monday October 15, 2012 | Reviews

I’ve been a fan of the Tank Riot podcast for years and when I’m a fan of such media, I have a tendency to talk and talk and talk about it in the interest of promotion. I am a fan to such a degree that when their last Facebook page admin decided that he was “addicted to facebook” in the literal sense of addiction and had to walk to away in order to get his life in order (I swear I’m not making that up) they came to me about maintaining the group as people actually use it and it’s a good way to stay in touch in the event that you have no idea to what purpose an RSS feed serves (they have one – so do I, as a matter of fact). Every now and then the Tank Riotists will do an episode about a topic I’m rather versed in and I spend the entire podcast yelling at the radio about whatever it is that they forgot. They have a podcast about zombie movies and adequately cover the spectrum from the perspective of a trio that is unaware that Italy and Spain also produced some great flicks and the whole time I was all “OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS! THE BLIND FUCKING DEAD! HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF THE BLIND DEAD? GOD! SOMEBODY SAY THE BLIND DEAD!”, but I also can’t claim that I’m bitter or anything. I’ve actually been on the podcast twice. I’m featured at the very end of ‘Conspiracy Theories 3‘ talking about The Bohemian Grove and I was asked to chime in on my top 5 ‘so bad they’re good movies’ in their episode ‘Best Worst Movies‘. Recently they slipped past me again with their latest episode, Motorcycle Movies. A certain distinction has to be made, this being Cinema Suicide and all, that these are not necessarily Biker Flicks. Though Biker Flicks make up the bulk of the podcast’s conversation, it’s not necessarily the focus. A few movies discussed are simply movies which have a rather prominent bike in them. However, again, this was a podcast where the bulk of my commute to and from work, where I tend to listen to most of my podcast subscriptions, was spent yelling at the radio. So I figured I’d do a supplemental article here to go along with the Tank Riot

Mad MaxMad Max
Tank Riot’s Sputnik mentions this one and it’d be hard not to but very little is said about it. Sure, most people know about Mad Max at this point. Mel Gibson being such an anti-semite movie star these days it’s hard not to know this flick. There’s a ton of confusion over it since the Max sequels go off into post-nuke territory but this entry in the series, the first, is all taking place before any sort of disastrous cataclysm sends Australia down the toilet. As a matter of fact, without the context of the Australian outback, Americans are easily confused. Sure, this flick is pretty dystopic and things in Australia are clearly coming apart but the outback is really remote, like the American southwest was during the westward expansion. It’s not at all inconceivable that roving gangs of marauders could make life miserable for people out there with the police having a hard time keeping a lid on things. Check out Red Hill for a recent example. The Toe Cutter’s gang in this flick is a nasty bunch and totally on par with the usual gang of suspects found in any given American biker flick where the bikers are the bad guys. There’s a lot of crossover between American exploitation movies and Australian exploitation movies so this comes as no surprise. But like most of the great biker movies that aren’t trying to ape Easy Rider, they play as your typical western movie analog where a lone representative of law and order has to go balls-out in order to thwart the bad guys. Mad Max does it with aplomb, though. This is a movie best characterized by a soundtrack of roaring engines and clouds of flying auto parts as all manner of automotive crashes shatters vehicles and bodies go flying. It’s a beautiful thing.

StoneStone
Heading back to Australia, here’s Stone. If Mad Max is a Western where the bad guys ride motorcycles rather than horses, Stone is closer to an actual biker flick in the way that we understand it. At its heart, Stone is a murder mystery but it takes a sympathetic approach to the biker lifestyle where most people regard bikers as The Other and turn away from them, assuming the worst. Stone isn’t exactly Easy Rider, where the biker lifestyle is equated with the true American Dream of living free and doing as you please, the bikers in this flick, The Grave Diggers, are a rough motherfucking lot and their behavior is, in fact, deviant, but it’s probably the closest thing that Australia could come up with while still maintaining the exploitation vibe that film financiers were expecting. It’s filled with lurid scenery and violence and while it’s a definitely play to capitalize on the popularity of biker flicks, it’s just alien enough to register as original. It’s also a lot of fun to watch.

PsychomaniaPsychomania
England has never been a hotbed of motorcycle activity. It’s an entirely different culture fixating on different parts of its own industry. In the US it was easy to fetishize motorcycles as we have a tendency to fetishize anything with wheels and the lifestyle of the biker has a certain romance to it that symbolizes the true spirit of America, warts and all, but it never really hit in England even though England is the manufacturer of a popular line of bikes, the Triumphs. So it’s really weird that one of England’s coolest cult items, Psychomania, featured such an American paradigm in the role of its film’s villains. Psychomania is pure exploitation only it takes a really weird route on its way to a quick box office cash grab. This one attempts to exploit the popularity of A Clockwork Orange but throws in all this insanity involving a satanic biker gang called The Living Dead. They make a pact with Satan to become the living dead as long as they kill themselves. It’s about as ‘biker-flick’ as a British movie can get and man alive is this flick British!

Werewolves on WheelsWerewolves on Wheels
It comes as no surprise that the biker movie machine milked as much coin as they could from the paradigm so it didn’t take long for producers to starts mashing up genres. Biker movies already had a really mild horror vibe to them, the ones where the bikers were malicious sadists, at least. Werewolves on Wheels came right in the middle of the satanic hippies panic that was an unfortunate result of the Manson murders. Bikers already had a weird crossover with hippie culture at the time so it’s a natural pairing to be made when you’re trying to come up with something original to frame your drive-in movie presales meetings with. Well, yeah, we have this idea for a biker flick but it’s like no biker flick you’ve ever seen before! This one has satanic hippie bikers and, wait for it, werewolves. Every shifty exploitation movie financier suddenly showers you with dollars. The plot of Werewolves on Wheels, for such a piece of garbage, is remarkably convoluted that involves satanists poisoning bikers so they can curse this gang’s old lady so that she turns into a wolf by the full moon and then she turns her boyfriend into one, too. The poster is misleading. So is the title. There’s not a whole lot of werewolves riding motorcycles, which would be fucking awesome. As a matter of fact, it’s an early example of horrific body count movie as bikers are picked off night after, in what is the world’s longest recorded full moon period ever.

The Pink AngelsThe Pink Angels
Now, where each of the previous entries in this list weren’t pure biker flicks, each one had an element that would sell them to a wider audience or were barely a biker movie to begin with, The Pink Angels marks my fifth and final entry and it’s actually pure biker. The Pink Angels is named so because it’s rough and tough group of dudes on bikes is, in fact, gay. Very gay, as a matter of fact. The entire movie is a series of ridiculous gay jokes.  It’s like 80 minutes of zany stereotypes and gay jokes but for the most part it keeps a remarkably soft tone to its humor. This flick and it subject matter could have been incredibly mean spirited and trotted out its characters like morality freak show hitting low for the easy gay jokes and while it dances dangerously close to that territory at times, it follows the biker lifestyle of dudes on bikes living free how they want to and then it goes completely off the fucking rails in the end and has this insane, unbelievably sad ending that makes me wonder if director Larry G. Brown and I were laughing at the same thing. Seriously. It’s completely fucked up.

15 Apr

Everything you know is wrong. The Cabin In The Woods.

Posted by Bryan White | Sunday April 15, 2012 | Reviews

The Cabin In The Woods ReviewI’m about to break the dry spell. I haven’t written a review in a long, long time. What’s more, I haven’t covered a horror movie since last year at some point so it is with great joy that I break the trend with a movie I’m not likely to stop talking about for some time. See, horror movies suck. It’s true! Well, wait. New horror movies suck. Hollywood hates the genre but they love the money the by-the-numbers stuff rakes in at the box office so, like most movies in wide release today, they play the safe game and do nothing but release a parade of sequels to movies that were hugely successful only a couple of years prior. But every now and then something comes along that manages to slip through the cracks. Thanks to studio politics, someone owes someone a favor and the most offbeat, original genre picture, rated R, no less, manages to find its way to the megaplex where it spends a couple of weeks playing in front of a handful of savvy genre fans, drunks and people who thought they were seeing something else before it shuffles its way off to DVD where it finally finds it audience. Or, in the case of The Cabin In The Woods, your movie stars a cast member of this summer’s blockbuster season opener and happens to bear a producer credit from said blockbuster’s director. Though, I’m sure studio suits thought that they were priming the box office money pump with some goofy horror flick that has been gathering dust in the vault for a couple of years but in the process of trying to squeeze as much money out of the Avengers and Joss Whedon’s name, they inadvertently released a horror movie into the wild that is among the most original, funny and relentlessly awesome flicks I’ve seen in a very, very long time.

Now for the bad news. I have no idea how I’m going to discuss the endless list of good things about The Cabin In The Woods because the entire movie is a giant horror movie in-joke that hinges on a very basic premise that unfolds very early on, but the central gag is so important to the rest of the movie that talking about it all would spoil horror’s best idea in years. So please excuse me if I’m being vague, but I want you to like this movie as much as I liked it Continue Reading »

18 Sep

Well you know, Mean Gene… Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’.

Posted by Bryan White | Sunday September 18, 2011 | Reviews

Memphis Heat ReviewYou probably don’t know this because I haven’t made much noise about it since I first launched the site back in 2007 but the slogan of this site – a sort of requirement for a WordPress blog – is: A celebration of cheap thrills. I’m known for my criticism on the horror genre but I’m actually all over the map in terms of what I deem cheap thrills. This is evident in my occasional feature of martial arts, sex comedies and science fiction. If it’s pulpy and low brow (and sometimes high brow), it’ll probably appeal to me in some way. When it comes to professional wrestling, though, you just don’t get thrills any cheaper. Don’t misunderstand me, either. I don’t mean that in some kind of pejorative sense. I love pro wrestling! My tastes in the sweet science tend to run in international flavors, though. I’m more a Mexican Lucha Libre and Japanese Puroresu fan. Both are high flying and extremely innovative in terms of showmanship in the ring. They don’t do heels and faces (bad guys and good guys, respectively) quite like Americans do but Americans don’t do the top rope acrobatics quite like the Japanese and the Mexicans, so it’s an even trade depending on what facet of the ring you like.

Another thing about pro wrestling that I love so much is that it has a rich folk history associated with it. Even though it’s not really a sport in the traditional sense, pro wrestling is a sport that has always belonged to the people, you know? It has humble (and shifty) beginnings in the traveling carnival circuits of the late 1800′s and early 20th century and then shed its nomadic origins, taking root in communities that rabidly supported its local heroes while turning out its colorful local villains. It remained this way for decades until WWF (now the WWE) started signing the best and brightest from promotions around the country that local wrestling promotions began to collapse and it transformed into a major global entertainment empire. Of all the regional promotions out there, none were as colorful or as massively popular as the wrestling culture of Memphis, Tennessee. Pro wrestling has always been a loud-mouth, garish event but the folks of Memphis, Tennessee took it to a whole new level and paved the way for the flashy and ridiculous antics which constitute professional wrestling today. Memphis Heat documents this unique legacy in the words of the people who lived it.

Continue Reading »

11 Sep

Fuck it. Let’s start over. DC launches the new 52: Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Static Shock, Batwing

Posted by Bryan White | Sunday September 11, 2011 | Reviews

I’ve been disconnected from comic books for a long time. It’s why I really only read a couple of modern monthlies in trades, the occasional graphic novel and shitloads of old-ass back issues. Decades of gnarled canon have left writers with nothing to do but scrape the bottom of the barrel and I can’t help but hate the results. Back in the 80′s, DC hit the reset button on their own titles with Crisis on Infinite Earths, which basically started everything over en media res and Marvel dipped a toe in total creative overhaul with their line of Ultimate comics but, wouldn’t you know it, they couldn’t commit and left their Ultimate titles running alongside their regular Marvel U titles. Both Crisis and Ultimate titles were free to do their own things and while both had varying results, I always felt like the end-product of both had more positive than negative going for them. Now DC is doing it again. It probably has something to do with sagging sales and since killing off Superman and Batman were great publicity stunts in the past, why not just do the Crisis all over again and start fresh?

I do say, good sirs and ladies, why the hell not?

Let’s assume that you don’t know what’s going in DC because you don’t usually read comics or you’re one of those prejudiced Marvel-only fans. Both of the majors do a big summer crossover event where one major story arc winds through a central title and then through all their other books. This year’s DC event was called Flashpoint where The Flash and the other iterations of him (Kid Flash, Impulse, etc.) found themselves in an alternate timeline where everything in the DCU is drastically different. It turns out that Flash went back in time to save his mother from her death and succeeded but the old butterfly effect fucked with everything else, started a very bloody war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans and is going to result in pretty much the end of all things. So he goes back in time to fix it and… Here we are.

DC, who graciously sends me copies of their horror-related books, has sent me four of the latest 52 (hopefully with others still to come). Each one is a jumping off point for the new DC Universe but where some allege that supers in the DCU are a new paradigm, others leave you with the impression that they’ve been around for a while or existed long in the past. I’ll explain in my thoughts on some of these books.

Swamp Thing New 52Swamp Thing #1
Ripped from the headlines! Birds, bats and fish are dying in large numbers all at once, all over the place. Superman seeks out Dr. Alec Holland, a botanist who turned his back on his profession for obtuse philosophical reasons to hopefully gain a little insight into what is happening but Holland will have none of it. He wants a simpler life where he’s not reminded of the fact that even the plant world is as chaotic and as violent as the human world. He is also haunted by mysterious memories of being the monstrous Swamp Thing and he seems to understand that it all actually happened to him but he is not that thing anymore. Holland is haunted by dreams of Swamp Thing and in a fit of rage he nearly throws his biorestorative formula into the swamp but he’s stopped by the freakin’ Swamp Thing!

I was really looking forward to this one since the Alan Moore/Steve Bissette books from the 80′s are some of my favorite comics ever. I break for Swamp Thing. The relaunched title boasted some great art by Yanick Paquette but the story, admittedly a set up issue since it’s a number one, is mostly Superman arguing with Holland. It’s clearly leading up to the trademark dark horror that Swamp Thing is known for but so many pages are wasted on Holland turning Superman down for a date. It was a bit of a let down. Good looking book with a hint of good things to come in the form of a villain who makes his victims something akin to the Invunche of some of those great Moore issues.

Animal Man New 52Animal Man #1
In the New 52, Animal Man isn’t the hero that he used to be. It’s been a while since he’s put on the costume and these days he has a family, is an animal rights activist and starred in an upcoming indie movie. However, his past as Animal Man is intact. Everybody knows who he is and what he can do. When insecurity strikes, he puts on the costume once more and intervenes in a hospital hostage situation that leaves him bleeding from the eyes. That night he is haunted by creepy dreams of The Red, the source of his powers but the book ends on a seriously creepy note as it is revealed that Animal Man isn’t the only one in the family with powers.

I’m not familiar with artist Travel Foreman or writer Jeff Lemire and while Animal Man may not have made me a fan of Foreman’s art, a sketchy thin-line style that’s heavy on action panels, Lemire’s writing fucking stellar and in a single issue introduces you to who Animal Man is, what kind of person he is (remarkably complicated) and why you should like him. It also sets up the story for where the rest of it is going. No small feat. I usually curse out number ones because they reveal so little in their quest to hook you for future issues but Animal Man #1 is the shit! The family dynamic,  a truly compassionate hero, a cool power and sweet action panels make the lead up to the horror qualities of the book something I am seriously anticipating. Animal Man #1 is not to be missed!

Batwing New 52Batwing #1
Set in the Congo, Batwing continues the adventures of African Batman from the pages of Batman, Incorporated as he establishes himself as the only force of law in a country whose police are completely powerless and corrupt in the face of drug slinging warlords. Here, Batwing faces off against Massacre, a massive killing machine with unstoppable urge to murder everyone. He finds himself on the trail of a killer who brutally murdered a pack of hardcore gangsters as well as a member of the African equivalent of the Justice League. The final pages of the book leave you wondering  how anyone could survive a wound like that.

It may seem a little tasteless to set a superhero story in a nigh-lawless African nation but if you’re going to do it you had better do it right. Boasting the best art of the four books reviewed here with pencils by Ben Oliver and outstanding colors by Brian Reber, Judd Winnick’s story wanders a bit starting at the end and ending at the beginning but the feel of the setting and the circumstances of pitting seriously hardened criminals who’ve seen it all against a guy in a bat costume is so gritty and different that you’d be hard pressed to find a book like it anywhere. Black Panther is sort of the Marvel equivalent but Black Panther is ridiculous by comparison. Winnick’s story and set up, similar to Batwing’s actual pre-New 52 origin, is compelling enough to make you forget that he came up as a member of The Real World cast.

Static Shock New 52Static Shock #1
Black Spider Man.

Sorry. This book was stupid. Dwayne McDuffie must be PISSED!

26 Aug

Buckshot over Tromaville! Hobo With A Shotgun.

Posted by Bryan White | Friday August 26, 2011 | Reviews

Hobo With A Shotgun ReviewI’ve said it before and as much as I hate making exceptions, I really feel as though I must. Honestly, you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water but where do you draw the line? There’s nothing in modern exploitation that twists me out of shape more than what I consider a wave of forced grindhouse. It never fails to come off as false and as much fun as it is to infuse your feature with sex, drugs and rock and roll, it looks shoddy and stupid when you run down your checklist of must-have qualities. I was pushed over the edge a while back when I reviewed the big-hype sleazefest, Bitch Slap (Review), and implied that it was one of the worst movies I’d ever seen. I have no patience for it and if you went to film school with the intention of coming out and jamming on scuzzy exploitation riffs in your future feature films, kindly fuck off a cliff.

It’s simply unfair of me, however, to lump all of these guys together and label them grifters. Everyone has good intentions but there’s a saying about that. I wish they wouldn’t but they do and people pay for it. So I have to sift through them all and try not to be a jaded dick about every grindy flick that finds its way to my mail box and goes for that wonky washed out scumbag aesthetic. Sometimes they surprise me. Sometimes I am impressed and sometimes I have no choice but to come here and tell you that someone managed to pull off this high-wire act that manages to balance bargain sin-bin storytelling while pulling off the aesthetic because most of the time, these filmmaker assholes with their popped collars and Rayban Wayfarers fail miserably, making sure to add film damage and feature presentation bumper with Funky Fanfare playing over it.

Continue Reading »

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