Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ginger Snaps (2000)

Caution: Spoilers Galore, Eh?

Brigitte was out in the garage, rounding up supplies, when her neighbour began to shriek hysterically. “It got our dog! It got Baxter!”

“Baxter is fertilizer… And everyone is, like, staring.” Brigitte (Emily Perkins) explained a moment later to her sister, who was sitting hunched over on her bed, applying a vicious-looking knife to her pale, narrow wrist. Brigitte goes on about the attack, but she is speaking primarily to herself. Her sister, Ginger (Katherine Isabelle), has other preoccupations.

“Wrists are for girls,” The pretty redhead exclaims, falling backward onto her bed in a way most befitting a teenage angster. “I’m slitting my throat… You should definitely hang.”

The twisted sisters are close, perhaps too close. The younger, more rational Brigitte can’t seem to find her way out from under big sister Ginger’s shadow. They do everything together, and have no friends but for each other. They even share a room. They also share a secret death pact, first declared when the girls were small children: “out by 16 or dead in the scene, but together forever. United against life as we know it.”

The girls have put together a pictorial for an assignment they have been given in class on Life in Bailey Downs. The sisters produce a slideshow featuring shockingly gruesome images of the two of them cloaked in grim death, their lives used up in a variety of ways, ranging from profuse pill hunger to lawnmower entrapment. While their teacher, “sickened” by the display, requests that the girls report to the Guidance Office, one of the Jock Cocks in the class (Jesse Moss) requests to see the photographs of Ginger again. The eldest sister smiles coyly. Her powers of sexual attraction are new to her, and she is yet unsure how to use them.

The Fitzgerald sisters are in a class all their own, really. They have no desire to fit in with their schoolmates, choosing instead to huddle together as though in a protective stance against all possible intrusions. To say they’re not the sort of girls who get invited to a lot of parties would be a fierce understatement. “High school is just a mindless, breeder machine. Total hormonal toilet. I’d rather wait it all out in our room.”

Unfortunately, Brigitte’s wish simply cannot be. After a field hockey altercation with Miss Teen Popularity, Trina Sinclair (Danielle Hampton), the Fitzgerald sisters vow revenge. Or, rather Ginger vows revenge, while Brigitte merely goes along for the ride, as is her usual practice.

"You let idiots get away with fucking you up.
That’s why the Big Buddha made me; to stop them.”

The prank the girls have in store for Trina is diabolically mean: they take some of their leftover photo shoot gore, and go out on a late night mission to swap the bimbo’s dog for a pile of quivering “remains,” to make the snob think her poor pooch has been claimed by the Beast of Bailey Downs. On the way to Trina’s house, the girls stumble across something much better than their plastic bag of makeshift meat: a fresh, mangled kill, presumably that of another neighbourhood dog. Brigitte notes that the carcass is still warm.

Out of the surrounding trees comes a lightning-quick predator to snatch Ginger, screaming, out of sight. Calling desperately to her sister, Brigitte enters the woods to find Ginger pleading for her life while a giant wolf tears her to bloody shreds. Brigitte finds the courage to fend off the animal with a bludgeon, and the girls flee the woods together. The wolf creature is hot on their tracks, until a speeding van finally comes between them. In shock, the sisters continue to make their way home.

Oddly, by the time they reach the safety of their room, Ginger’s wounds have already begun to heal. She convinces Brigitte not to call for a doctor, and more importantly, not to tell Mom.

Ginger is going through a difficult time, developmentally. She’s recently been blessed with a functioning menstrual cycle (better late than never), and she is just now coming into power as a sexual being. She suddenly finds she has a lot more time for the Jock Cocks. But there are other things, too. Weirder things; like the white fur growing out of the wound from her animal attack.

“I can’t have a hairy chest, B. That’s fucked!”

Brigitte lays the werewolf card out on the table, but Ginger only laughs, and thanks her sister for taking her hormonal problems so seriously. The two of them continue drifting apart as Ginger’s hunger to blossom into wolfey womanhood deepens. She can’t help it if Brigitte is immature, and not ready to move on yet.

In a schoolhouse scene reminiscent of Scott Teen Wolf Howard’s triumphant showing at the Spring Dance, Ginger shows up in locker alley with a new attitude, and hot new look, to boot! All her peers drop what they are doing in order to: stop, stare, and go: “Ooooooo!”

Her sister Brigitte is not amused, but she’s got other pots boiling on the stove. Suddenly, she’s a major point of interest for the cute Campus Drug Dealer, Sam (Chris Lemche), who hit the animal that attacked Ginger on that fateful night. He produces from his pocket a Polaroid snapshot of the beast that Brigitte had dropped near his van. He mentions the word “lycanthrope,” and Brigitte’s blood runs cold.

“That would explain the huge, uncircumcised dick,
and why you were running for your life from it.”

Fearing he is getting too close to the topic she has been secretly researching on her sister’s behalf, Brigitte rushes off without giving the boy any more of her time, or even her name. Later that night, she realizes the stakes are much higher than she estimated, when she discovers her sisters’ little nub of a tail.

She is forced to seek out the Campus Drug Dealer in the morning to enlist his help. For the sake of protecting Ginger’s secret, she tells him that she was the one who was bitten. Brigitte knows she hasn’t much time to stop the change, as the moon is nearing the completion of its cycle. On top of that, Ginger is ovulating, and suddenly the easiest girl in school. In the backseat of Jock Cock’s car, a certain kind of magick happens.

“I get this ache… I thought it was for sex,
but it’s to tear everything to fucking pieces.”

Ginger leads Brigitte to her victim’s final resting place, next door. The fat kid in the hockey outfit just won’t be the same without his yappy, little dog, Norman.

Brigitte takes Ginger to meet with her new friend Sam, as Ginger is suspicious of his willingness to help. The young apothecary produces a horticultural text on the benefits of monkshood in curing humans of uncharacteristically wolfish behaviour, while Ginger engages in territorial pissings with her sisters’ new boyfriend before taking off in a jealous huff.

A terrible accident occurs during yet another altercation with Trina Sinclair, who finds herself unable to cry over the spilled milk she slips on, mostly because she is irrefutably dead. Brigitte and Ginger scramble to clean up the mess before their parents get home, oh-so-narrowly avoiding catastrophe.

“If I wasn't here, would you eat her?”

“No! God, that’d be like fucking her!”

Brigitte lays down the law: keep Ginger hidden until her fate is certain, then get the fuck out of Dodge, together. Just as they had always planned.

Things continue to unravel for the Fitgerald sisters. Their mother knows that the police are seeking to question them about Trina Sinclair’s disappearance. It is during a fumbling lecture that Brigitte discovers a bunch of monkshood, which Mrs. Fitzgerald (Mimi Rogers) has just purchased from a craft store for a flower arrangement. Brigitte promises her sister that she will learn how to use it, and that the two of them will run away together, before it’s too late. When Brigitte slips out to confer with Sam, she barricades Ginger in the bathroom.

In a tender moment following numerous scenes of alchemistic eye candy, Sam indicates to Brigitte that he has seen through her rouse all along: "Understand that you may kill her trying to save her." Brigitte leaves Sam, and returns home to find that Ginger has broken out of the bathroom. The hunt begins…

Did I mention it just happens to be Halloween? Brigitte encounters Jock Cock, who has come down with the same illness as her sister, assailing a little trick-or-treater, and is forced to use her anti-werewolf potion on the foamy-fanged lad. She is relieved to discover that the solution Sam cooked up for her works! Cock Jock wakes up from his wolven frenzy, as though from a bad dream. Now that Brigitte has the cure, it is even more imperative that she find Ginger before it’s too late.

Ginger is in the Guidance Office, pretty far-gone on the lycanthrope scale, standing amid the bloody aftermath of her latest kill. Once again, younger sister must help big sister clean up after her indulgent atrocities. Meanwhile, in the midst of a little backyard gardening, their parents unearth a chunk of Trina Sinclair. Mrs. Fitzgerald assures her husband that the severed fingers are merely props left over from the girls’ death project, but the look on her face suggests that she isn’t buying her own excuse.

Before Brigitte can make it back to the Guidance Office with some commercial strength cleaning supplies, Ginger finds herself another chew toy. This time, it's the kindly, old Asian janitor who has taken a shining to the younger Fitzgerald sister.

“It feels so good, Brigitte. It’s like touching yourself,
you know? Every move, right on the fucking dot...
I’m a goddamn force of nature.
I feel like I could do just about anything..."

Ginger eyes her sister strangely, almost sexually. Eating her would be like fucking her. A look of panic washes over Brigitte’s face, but Ginger doesn’t want to eat her. She wants to be with her, always. Like a new pact.

“I said I’d die for you!”

“No, you said you’d die with me,
because you had nothing better to do.”

Ginger erupts in anger and takes off, leaving Brigitte lying in the corridor to contemplate the final showdown, which is inevitable. The stage is set: there is a big, Halloween bash going down at the greenhouse where Sam the Knowledgeable Drug Dealer cultivates his herbs. As soon as she can get to her feet, Brigitte puts her combat boots to pavement and races there. A van pulls up beside her as she attempts to hitch a ride. It’s her mother. She knows about Trina Sinclair, and wants to help. She isn’t about to let anything happen to her Tiny Babies.

Mrs. Fitzgerald waits in the car while Brigitte makes her way inside the greenhouse to claim her sister. She finds her in the back room, making advances on Sam. Brigitte has had enough of her sisters’ selfishness. She takes up a blade, and exchanges blood once again with Ginger.

“You wrecked everything for me
that isn’t about you...
Now, I am you.”

Suddenly, Ginger’s voice takes on a considerably more testosteroney quality, and they realize that the sand has nearly drained from the hourglass. Soon, the moon will be full, and if Ginger’s transformation isn’t stopped before then, there will be no turning back for her. They leave their mother at the party, and take off with Ginger in the back of Sam’s Mystery Mobile to “get the stuff” (monkshood). Wolfed to the Max at this point, Ginger breaks loose from the vehicle and heads into the house for a game of hide and seek.

While cooking up a batch of Werewolf B. Gone in the pantry with Brigitte, the dashing, young Sam slaps her with a tempting proposition: take the cure herself, and run away with him. But Brigitte already belongs to another. True to her sister to the foreseeably-bitter end, she insists they persevere.

Kiss your boyfriend goodbye, Brigitte…

Ginger serves Sam up as an offering to her little sister. Brigitte tries to resist the allure of his syrupy, crimson essence, but suffers a momentary lapse of reason due to the fact that she is feeling somewhat wolfey herself, of late. Sam is choking on his final breaths while the Fitzgerald sisters lap up the blood flowing from his wounds.

Her humanity returned to her in an instant, Brigitte refuses to become what Ginger has become. The climactic final showdown between them takes place, appropriately enough, in the bedroom they shared for so many years.

“I’m not dying in this room with you!”

Ginger lunges, falling on Brigitte’s blade. The broken beast that lies gasping in a pool of its own blood dies in her sisters’ arms.

I always cry when I watch this movie through to the end. I am wiping a salty stream from my face even as I write this, in fact. Ginger Snaps triggers my empathic nerve because of the fact that I see so much of myself in it. My own sister and I are a lot like Ginger and Brigitte, right down to the colourful, oh-so-typically Canadian lingo which spews from their mouths in every frame. We look out for one another, protect one another, and love one another almost to the exclusion of all else.

The taut tale, written by Karen Walton, was lighthearted and comical at times, while never losing sight of the end goal, which was to produce a serious horror film. Ginger Snaps delivers top-notch tension and suspense, teamed with fabulously-gory makeup effects. John Fawcett’s direction of this picture is superb; the only complaint I have is that some of the scenes ran a little long to me, and could possibly have benefited from being edited down. However, I can’t help but feel that the long, loving gazes the lens would fix on the Fitzgerald sisters was an indication of the director’s obvious passion for the story, and the characters which live in it.

Or, perhaps he was simply as captivated as I was with the unmistakable chemistry between Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins as Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald. While both of the young actresses did a remarkable job in the realization of their respective roles (particularly with regard to the special bond they shared as not only sisters, but also social outcasts), Ms. Perkins’ star outshines that of Ms. Isabelle considerably. Her execution of the strong, conflicted character, Brigitte, is nothing short of brilliant. While Isabelle’s performance hits all the right notes in leaving the viewer with a lasting impression of Ginger slowly becoming a sleek, sexy killer wolf, Perkins is absolutely effortless as she delivers one of the meatiest female performances in recent genre memory.

Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to say a few words about Mimi Rogers in the role of Mrs. Pamela Fitzgerald: Fan. Fucking. Tastic. A true, comedic ninja, Rogers nails the cookie-baking, heart-to-heart talk-having, holiday print shirt-wearing mother directly and accurately to the wall, while John Bourgeois props her up as the Clueless Husband.

A number of sequels (and even a prequel) have followed this original title, but none of them have even come close to achieving the perfectly-balanced level of technical prowess, artistic brilliance, and undeniable screen magic as the initial effort.

5/5 Kitty Skulls = Pick of the litter!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ministry & Co-Conspirators: Cover Up (2008)

"We don't just bitch about Bush and global oligarchies.
We're still a rock band, and COVER UP is the Ministry party album."

Al Jourgensen

On March 28, 2008, industrial rock pioneers Ministry kicked off their C U LaTouR in Vancouver, British Colombia, featuring the likes of Co-Conspirators: John Bechdel, Burton C. Bell, Tony Campos, Jimmy DeGrasso, Sin Quirin, and Tommy Victor. COVER UP was released on April 1 in order to coincide with the "farewell" tour, and the 12 tracks included therein are nothing short of genius borrowed from genius.

Personally, I have a hard time believing that we've heard the last of this band. It's just not like Al Jourgensen to keep his mouth shut indefinitely.

Walk with me, through the haunted wood lit only by strobe lights...

"Under My Thumb"
The Rolling Stones

One of the hottest songs in the tradition of Master & Servitude receives a sweaty, steamy makeover, courtesy of Al & the Crew, with the sweet assist going to Fear Factory frontman Burton C. Bell. The hungry guitars, reminiscent of the beloved PSALM 69 era in tone and texture, lead the way through the thick of the plot, while the vocals drip with a delectably sweet/sour Bell/Jourgensen combination. Simply unable to let me down, Ministry comes through with the unholy lyrical re-jig: “Her eyes are just kept to herself… Well, I can still fuck someone else.” This track is hot. White-hot.

"Bang a Gong"
T. Rex

Perhaps the most true-to-original-form of all the selections on the album, this song is sexy, snarly, and superfline! The beat takes on a punkier persona, as Josh Bradford of Burlington, Ontario post-hardcore band Silverstein steps into the vocalistic limelight. The bass drum is particularly fierce on this track, while the electric gee-tars project a decidedly gritty, guttural sound quality. The result is like lickety-split. But wait! There’s more! The next track promises to crank the thermostat even higher...

"Radar Love"
Golden Earring

Bradford lends his vocal stylings again in this masterful re-working of the quintessential Golden Earring tune, which easily falls into my Top 3 picks on this album. One must understand that this is high praise, indeed, given that I had been previously exposed to a most-almighty version of this song, performed by black metal legend King Diamond, with his pre-Mercyful Fate band Black Rose (which is pretty much all that I listen to when tending to the Altar). About 100 x louder than anything that Radar Love’s original Masters could ever have envisioned for it; please be sure you are adequately prepared to handle the face-melting solo that rides like the RCMP! Thundering drum machines a-plenty, and they’re running at full capacity on this track.

King Diamond & Black Rose :: Radar Love (MP3)

"Space Truckin'"
Deep Purple

From driving drum machines to hypnotic cowbell, Space Truckin’ sounded like something I wanted to skip through, until I came face to face with the breathtaking falsetto of Prong’s Tommy Victor. The beats are also pretty cool, with an energizing, RevCo-reminiscent twist! Now, hush! Falsetto is speaking.

"Black Betty"
Ram Jam

This song could (and unfortunately, probably will) be used as an Athletic Event Crowd Revitalizer; it’s just that straight-up hardcore. This cover is Ministry at its loud, proud, barn-burning best.

"Mississippi Queen"

Tommy Victor is back in the guitar/vox hot seat in Mississippi Queen, and you know what? I want to skip tracks again. I think it’s personal now, Tommy. Just leave.

"Just Got Paid"

This hard and fast cover of ZZ Top’s Just Got Paid kicked me in the stomach within the first 10 seconds of the track. Machine gun blast beats lay down a brutal rhythm, while a super-tight guitar riff whines sharply overhead. Jourgensen’s vocals are at their thick, throaty best here, showcasing his unique talent to near-fatally assault me in whatever mode of caterwauling he so chooses. There is no Guest Death Metaller assisting on this track; the voice you hear is that of Papa Al, my Sweet Baboo.

"Roadhouse Blues"
The Doors

One-word summary for this track: whiplash. Featuring Casey Chaos of Amen, there is a latent energy present in this song which is very reminiscent of that which lives and breathes in Ministry’s gear head classic of religious proportions, Jesus Built My Hotrod. Mr. Chaos gets lost somewhere in the background, while the One-Begotten Jourgensen shrieks: “Let it roll… All night long.” Whatever you say, baby... I am in your command.

Black Sabbath

This song originally appeared on the first installment of NATIVITY IN BLACK. In spite of my deep hatred for bands who expect me to keep buying the same track over and over again as it appears on a multitude of releases, I am glad that this homage was dusted-off for the purposes of COVER UP. Al’s vocals of 10+ years ago are fresh, and crisp, and remind me of bygone days of cutting class to go smoke a joint down by the lake.

"Lay Lady Lay"
Bob Dylan

It’s not the catchiest, or the kickiest, or the heaviest, or the baddest, but for personal reasons, I like it the best. Ministry lends a whole new atmospheric quality to Bob Dylan’s tender ode to the fair sex. I grew up surrounded by Dylan’s vast repertoire courtesy of my Father, who I truly believe was a life-drinking nomad in a previous life (before he became My Dad). Given my degree of exposure and, in due course, worship of the iconic American songwriter, it was only natural that I should latch on to Ministry’s tart, almost desperate rendition released decades later.

Making its debut on the often overlooked and underrated FILTHPIG album in 1996, this track smacks of pure longing. The electric strings are left with a little more slack, while a humble acoustic cries more softly underneath. Enjoy it while it lasts, for this is one of the few times when Ministry’s guitars call to mind the sound of a kitty purring. Grinding, driving, and relentless is the almost-unbroken musical refrain, while Jourgensen convincingly begs the (modified) question: “Why wait any longer for the one you love when he’s standing over you?”

"What a Wonderful World"
Louis Armstrong

Is it just me, or does every band cover this song any time a member of their lineup is getting ready to beef it, full throttle, into the Great Beyond? As much as I love it when Ally Dearest puts on his romantigrowl for me, I still have to pass on this song. I was never really moved by the original, nor am I moved by this one. It’s over, please let it go. Sure, 50% of Ministry's version is played at the speed of light, but the gushy lyrics remain intact. Therefore, it doesn’t even come close to rivaling the best version of this song in existence, recorded by Ghoul, one of the Kittster's favourite scary-metal acts.

The following 2 "hidden" tracks are also re-works of this "Wonderful" Armstrong hit. The 3rd and final "hidden" tune is something significantly more special.

John R. Bell
(no relation to Burton C.)

A fan’s loving tribute to the greatest heavy/industrial rock band of all time.

5/5 Kitty Skulls = Pick of the litter!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ratman (1988)

Caution: Spoilers Galore

“I hereby confirm that I will present to the next International Genetics Congress the new hybrid I developed, by introducing the sperm of a rat into the ovum of a monkey.

This hybrid has – in its teeth, and under its nails – a very potent poison, one that produces a kind of instantaneous Leptospirosis. Its bite or scratch will kill a human being in just a few seconds.”

The lead-in is impossible to miss. Mad Scientist gives his Greasty Manservant feeding instructions for the beast, who reveals that “Mousy” has been growing crazy-strong on his strict raw meat diet. The Scientist and Greasy leave the rat warehouse, and in the very next frame, Mousy’s cage is empty! Buckle your seats, kids. Giuliano Carnimeo's Ratman is going to be a gnarly ride!

The flesh-eating hybrid snacks on a tasty, meat Popsicle while peering through tropical foliage at a sunny scene of swimsuit models frolicking on a beach for a sufficiently douchey photographer named Mark (Werner Pochath), who is snapping off shots of their sand-covered crevasses. Everything is going along swimmingly with the shoot until the lovely Marlis (Eva Grimaldi) discovers a decomposing body hidden within a rock formation. Team Beach Baby recovers from the gruesome find quite well; there are drinks to be drunk at the sand bar, and island men to be had.

Peggy (Luisa Menon), the New York Doll, is already running late for a date when the taxi cab she is riding in blows a tire. Incredulously, the driver tells her that “it’s the third one today, and I just don’t have any more spares!” She will, most unfortunately, have to walk the rest of the way. At night. Through the rough part of town. In a backless, mock snakeskin dress, and plastic pearls. To cap it all off with a glass of Pee Soda, the cabbie still makes the Senorita pay for the ride! Ahhh, ZUT!!!

While on her midnight stroll, the Doll hears an unearthly screeching sound coming from one of the buildings. She peers in the window just in time to see a fresh corpse being dragged out of view. Just then, she realizes that there is a brooding, shadowy figure approaching, so she runs off in search of a place to hide. Ducking inside a remarkably well-kept abandoned house, she huddles in a dark corner as the marauder drags the dull blade of his big, scary knife across the building’s frame. Screeeeeech. The tension of these several minutes’ worth of stalking is most delicious.

Peggy's would-be assailant turns out to be a sketchy-looking Latino dude with huge he-hooters. Definitely not the kind of guy you want to have to do a striptease-at-knifepoint for, if ya know what I mean! Unfortunately, the New York Doll snags her string of pearls, and the beads come crashing to the floor around her, one by one, in a violent cacophony of unwanted sound. Luckily (for the viewer, not so much for the broad), Ratman gets to taste her pretty flesh before the creep-o with the ugly knife does. The model’s blood-curdling screams cause the lurker to think twice about fucking around in abandoned buildings, and he takes off back into the night.

Fade to an airplane landing in the late afternoon sun. Fred Williams (David Warbeck), All-Amerian Writer Hero, shares a taxi cab with a stunning, young woman named Terry (Janet Agren) on her way to the morgue to identify the body of her missing sister. A true, old-fashioned gent, Fred accompanies the woman while she attends to the loathsome task of seeing a loved one laid out on a slab like cold cuts at a cheap buffet. But, wait…

“This isn’t my sister.
You’ve frightened me for no reason!”

The police are dumbfounded. Who can it beeee now?? Although they have no idea who the victim is, they believe they have caught the murderer, and instruct Fred to leave the investigating to “us professionals.” Yeah, buddy. Okie dokie. Later, the odd couple are forced to endure a do-over when the cops invite them to identify the body of yet another dead, blonde, clawed-to-shit girl that could be Terry's sister.

“This isn’t Marlis, either.
She’s in the jungle, on an assignment!”

“Feel the jungle! You’re an animal! You’re wild!”

Back to the modeling… The next shoot is a steamy (if not a bit jerky), full 4 minutes’ worth of Marlis prancing around, wet and braless, in an ill-fitting tank top, and (hello!) cut-off jean shorts. A walkman is clipped to her hip for added flair and a hip, sporty jaunt. Accessorize!

After slipping into a nearby cave while possessed by the driving, primal urges conjured by the photo shoot, Marlis discovers her second body on the job. Who's a lucky girl?

She blows off with the photographer (never in any hurry to inform the authorities about their grizzly finds) to grab their pal Monique, and get the fuck out of Dodge. But lo, and behold: Ratman climbs up out of the toilet and attacks poor Monique just as the dude is getting to her door (which rests at the end of a labyrinth of dangerous safety hazards, I might add).

“What happened to her?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s horrifying!”

Coincidentally, shortly after discovering Monique’s body, The Mad Scientist, Ratman’s creator, smokes Mark with his car and then takes him to his swanky lair so that he may attend to his wounds. Meanwhile, Marlis engages in one of the most viewer-friendly shower scenes these glow-in-the-dark Kitty eyes have ever seen. Post spritz-bliss, she hears some freaky, squealing noises coming from outside the window, and bolts out of the bathroom in fear. The beast's shadow is spotted darting across the hallway. At last, the hybrid has returned to his Master!

It’s Marlis’s presence; the Ratman is drawn to her, because he wants to spawn with her. It’s typical rodent behaviour, really. After narrowly escaping his bestial advances in the boudoir at The Mad Scientist’s lair, she rushes to Mark’s side for comfort and safety. After climbing into bed with him, she realizes that he’s already been shredded up pretty thoroughly by the Ratman. At this point in my discussion of the film, I should add that Eva Grimaldi is quite adept in the Art of the Terror Face. A face like hers makes one long for the next bloody disposal, simply to catch a glimpse of the wonderful ways in which her sinuous features will contort.

Mark the Photographer lies dead on the bed (his chest still moving up and down quite perceptibly, however) while the Scientist and his Manservant begin combing the joint for Ratman. Don’t worry, baby. I’ll explain it all to ya later.

Silly mortals! You think you can foil Ratman in his desperate search for world domination and bloody revenge on those who first created, and then caged him? Nofuckingway! The hybrid brute goes on a feeding frenzy while his unliberated rat pals look on from their cages, crying to get in on the action.

“Mousy” finally bites the hand (erm, face) that used to feed him, tearing a big ole strip off of the Scientist before taking him down to finish the job on the floor. Nice moves, little guy! Marlis hears the commotion from outside, and realizes that she is now alone with the horny, hybrid murder-monster. And also, that the recently departed Dr. Demento has the car keys on him! She makes a valiant attempt at retrieving them in order escape, but everything is coming up Ratman!

Marlis manages to put some wood between them (pardon the pun), but the Ratman claws through the door like it’s made of cardboard, which actually appears to be the case. Again, she stealthily gets away, and rewards herself by going into the fridge for a cold, refreshing Coca Cola Classic. Seriously! Meanwhile, Fred and Terry are still tooling around like a pair of idiots, trying to solve The Mystery of the Model’s Whereabouts.

Finally, day breaks back at the Rat Ranch. Marlis greets the dawn in a pair of pastel yellow shorts, and a flirty blouse tied at the midriff. Back to the fridge for some more… Ratman!!! Starsky and Hutch finally zero in on the missing model, just in time to find her lifeless corpse lying face-down and bloodied in the kitchen, having fallen prey to Ratman’s mighty paw.

The pair (who actually don’t seem that perplexed upon discovering Marlis’ body) head to the police station with some information that could crack those other homicide cases wide open. For some reason, the po-po just don't want to buy a story about a half-rat/half-monkey creature who feeds on human flesh. They are given Marlis' personal effects (which contain a Super Terrific Bonus Prize), and instructed to go back to America and get on with their lives.

All aboard Flight 106 to Ratsville! Please be sure to check all your flesh-eating monsters at the baggage claim. Thank you for flying Bloodcrazy Hybrid Airways, and have a safe and pleasant journey!

3/5 Kitty Skulls = Wait for this one to hit the Bargain Bin.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Possession by Post

On most days, poor Kitty only gets bills, flyers, and veterinary hospital closure notices in the mail. Under the right circumstances (full moon, the presence of an unbaptized male child), and under the rarest of conditions (Sabbat, at midnight, full moon thing still in full effect), better mail is sometimes obtained.

My cotton-o-riffic T-Shirt from The Horrors of it All is more than just an item of clothing. It has a lifeforce all it's own, which I hope people are prepared to handle. Currently, I am only beginning to pick up the jagged pieces of my life, left in the wake of a sudden and "mysteriously" inspired feeding frenzy. There go my summer holidays!

Mr. Karswell... thank you? You know how I've been trying to eat less meat. Back to the clawing board -- drawing board!

I need to rest now... I hear there's a Ratman loose on the premises...

{Psst -- ratty radness coming soon!!}

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Interview With Bill Moseley (Circa. 1999)

Thanks to my longtime friend and web host with the most, Jason, the following interview, which I thought was lost forever, has at last been restored to me. The following piece means a lot to me for a number of reasons. It was originally posted on a web site I hosted in a previous life, at a time when the Internet was still gaining momentum toward becoming the one-stop media powerhouse that exists today.

It is my pleasure to re-present the interview I did with Bill Moseley, best known for his portrayal of "Otis" in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses, and The Devil's Rejects. While Mr. Moseley is hot!hot!hot! genre meat right now, he wasn't nearly so well-known at the time he gave this interview. He had TCM 2 under his belt, and was just gearing up to film Corpses.

On February 12, 1999 my year-long search for the phenomenal actor who gave me one more reason to love chainsaw movies ended! After viewing Bill Moseley's comments in the guestbook here, I decided to pester him into giving an Interview via email for Arachnia's Den of the Deceived. Not only did he comply, but he complied with kindness.

To the seasoned Horror fan, Mr. Moseley needs no introduction, but for those who aren't familiar with his work, you can catch him in the absolutely amazing Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 as "Chop Top", the lovable maniac who enjoys nothing more than a little head cheese and carving himself up like a turkey. Of course, he's also made notable appearances in other Horror greats such as: Night of the Living Dead '90, Silent Night Deadly Night III, and The Blob. This is by no means his full repertoire, but I could spend all day talking about the man. I'd rather you read the interview, you've 'read' enough of me at this point!

Q: Most people will list the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as being one of their most memorable film experiences ever. Did this factor come into play at all in terms of feeling like you had some big shoes to fill with TCM 2? Or was it viewed amongst cast & crew as being something entirely different and separate from the original concept (which I actually think it ended up being, quite effectively)?

A: Did the original "chainsaw" make for big shoes to fill for "Saw 2"? Definitely. We were all excited about carrying on the tradition; I think the idea of ":Saw 2" fired up the morale of the cast & crew, but it never overpowered or cowed us. Can you imagine a more FUN job? Tobe Hooper at the helm, Kit Carson at the typewriter, Tom "King of splatter" Savini and his henchmen (Mitch DeVane, John Vulich, Gabe Bartolos, Gino Crognale (sp?), Sean McEnroe (sp?)) there to greet you every morning before dawn with cold glue and rubber appliances? No, you just can't beat fun at the old Chainsaw factory!

Q: In my own personal opinion, the Leatherface we are introduced to in TCM 2 actually surpasses Gunnar Hansen in overall creepiness. Do you have any thoughts on this yourself, or any comments about the transition we saw the leatherface character make from the original film to it's sequel? (He seemed to go from a supressed cross-dresser to 'product of brother and sister sleeping together' chansaw-wielding romantic-freak)

A: I never worked with Gunnar Hansen, but I loved everything about him in Saw 1, his fretting, his violence, the wide wide turns he made with smoking saw, his authority with the sledge. Bill Johnson was my Bubba, and we bonded like brothers on the set and off. The first nine days on the set for us, we sat in his or my little trailer cubby playing gin rummy. nine days in full makeup and wardrobe, and they NEVER used us! We got to be pretty good friends, and pretty good gin sharps. Bill lived in austin, a "local hire," married, worked as a bartender- you can see him for a second or two in the opening of "D.O.A."- he's the desk cop. anywho, what he did in the radio station with Stretch was one of the creepiest seductions I've ever seen - and man, that boy could really use his tongue!

My idea of "Saw 3"- conceived about a week after I'd gotten back to New york City from "Saw 2"- had Leatherface and Stretch married, living in New york, Stretch pushing a bone baby carriage with a baby in a cute little leather mask. Bubba had gotten "discovered" by the artsy fartsy crowd for his "sculptures," the Cook was chef of the best Tex-Mex chili parlour in town, and ChopTop had made it big as a rapper ("he-he-he-head cheese!") after a stint pushing a hot dog cart in Central Park. Whoops, I'm getting off the subject. Bill Johnson gave Bubba soul - and as his older brother, I deep down appreciated that he "turn traitor for a piece of tail."

Q: Along the same lines, what was the basis for the Chop Top character in TCM 2? Is he the same person we were introduced to in the first film (the "hitch-hiker" with an affliction for self-inflicted injuries) or is it another Sawyer brother that's just been locked in the attic until this movie was shot? If in fact, it's the same character, to what extent did you study Edwyn Neal's protrayal of the role? For what it's worth, I think a tremendous job was done on your part in carrying on the same basic character type (i.e. mannerisms, disposition, etc.) if in fact this was the objective.

A: ChopTop was Hitchhiker's twin brother who'd been fighting for his country in VietNam while Saw 1 was taking place. Thanks to a lucky head wound, courtesy of "a gook with a machete," I got a big payout from Uncle Sam, more than enough to bankroll the family chili business, buy the "Rolling Grille a go go," our cool pickup truck and some gasoline and oil for Bubba's chainsaws. Not only did i come back with a plate in my head, an itchy one at that, I came back with an attitude. Used to be that Drayton, the oldest brother, ran the family. but seeing as how I was bankrolling the operation, I got some big ideas about realizing MY dream, Namland! Vietnam theme park! Hell, we were already living beneath Texas Battleland- Namland would have been a snap to pull off!

Ed Neal rules. I met him at Universal Studios, LA, when he and the Saw 1 bunch were inducted into the Horror Hall of Fame. What he did as hitchhiker will forever blow my mind. For me, the first thing I found as Chop Top (originally named Platehead - but I think there was already a Masters of the Universe character registered by that name) was that VOICE. then when I came down to austin and they SHAVED MY HEAD, the twitching began. I was fully willing and able to be a geek for the two-plus months we shot Saw 2. I had a beautiful girlfriend at the time (the mother of my now 11-year-old daughter), so I didn't sweat the girls all running in the opposite direction. Baldness runs in the family, so I found it cool to be Mr. Cueball, knowing (and hoping) that my hair would indeed grow back.

I worked so many hours a day - four hours of makeup each morning, hour and a half to remove it, hour to and from the set, plus working time - that my brain just melted somewhere along the way. i never BECAME ChopTop off the set - I didn't slash anyone, stomp kittens, etc. but I've always loved him.

Q: One of the things that influenced my opinion of TCM 2 was the fact that it put a different spin on the "damsel in distress" situation. Caroline Williams (Stretch) wasn't the stereotypical "screaming beauty" we've been exposed to in the past (PJ Soles immediately comes to mind). On the contrary, she was brave (but not to the point of being blatantly stupid), tough as nails, and when she screamed, you didn't just feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, you felt it right in your gut. Now that's a Scream Queen! Was this "new approach" to the woman in danger aspect of the film intentional, or am I just imagining it because Ms. Williams did such a great job with the role? (Also loved her in Leprechaun 4)

A: Caroline williams was so a blast to work with. She was a local hire out of Dallas. She told me for for her audition, she ran screaming into the office where Toby and Kit were waiting for her, slammed the door behind her and piled up all the furniture in the room against the door! We've been great good friends since Saw 2, live in the same town, still keep working as actors, talk as often as we can. I stay in touch with Tobe and Jim Sidedow, too.

Q: I've often wondered, does an actor have to be equally as twisted to do a good job with a slasher role as the people who enjoy watching the performance, or does it only seem that way? I mean, am I wrong in assuming that you must have felt just a little different about yourself, carried yourself a bit differently, after hacking the Hell out of L.G. in the radio station lobby? In a nutshell, does it help to be just a little bit looney?

A: Yes, I am a bit looney. I've always loved horror films, monsters, dinosaurs, space travel. when I was a kid of 8 or 9, I founded the Hairy Monsters Club in my hometown of Barrington, Illinois, still have my membership card! I loved Famous Monster of Filmland, disobeying my parents and sneaking into the library long after I'd been put to bed to watch Boris Karloff on our black & white TV - in chicago we had "Shock Theater."

I loved making faces of sheer terror in the bathroom mirror. And I always felt an obligation when I acted in horror films to give the audience the real deal, no fake stuff, because as a young horror fan, the real stuff was what gave me the four-star chills. I guess fear was my first drug of choice - right, Sigmund? I loved throwing snowballs at passing cars, getting them to stop and maybe, gasp, chase me and my little pals. Making a living being a monster was for me a dream come true! You just can't beat fun at the old boneyard!

Q: You mentioned when you signed the guestbook here that Mr. Hooper and yourself are in the midst of discussing a possible comeback for the guy who's plate we'd all love to lick. Is this for real? Anything you can say about it, is it under wraps, or still just a vague semblance of an idea? Would Chop Top get the floor to himself or be spazzing it up once again with Leatherface and the gang? (By the way, I absolutely ADORE Jim Sideow, I hope he'll make it back for a new installment in the series if there is to be one.)

A: Tobe and I are talking about doing something together. I just did a Chop Top cameo for his son, Tony's 10-minute digital video called The All-American Chainsaw Massacre. ChopTop as an older man, with flashbacks using a ChopTop lookalike named Tod Bates. Hell, I'm not that old, but Tod was willing to work for the thrill of it, and I'm getting used to money. I'm not sure what the story will be with tobe, but I'll keep you posted as things progress. It will focus on ChopTop, or whatever his name will be to keep us legal and independent. I just got back from Haiti, and down there i was sketching out some ideas that are fun, scary and very very weird.

Finally, pant, pant, I just want to say that Jim Siedow is god. He's old as the hills, so i'm not sure what his future holds in terms of feature films, but I'd love to fly down to Houston and shoot some home movies of him and wife Ruth kicking back in their hammocks or lawn chairs or whatever they do down there in the cactus belt. When I first got to Austin, full of excitement and fear in equal parts, just seeing Jim walking around the motel was so uplifting, such a psych that it gave me LOVE for Chop Top and Chainsaw. The only other time I've had that feeling was when I happened to see Muhammad Ali walking through Chicago's O'Hare airport one time. Without thinking, I gushed, "It's the champ!" He looked up and smiled at me as he passed. Same feeling seeing Jim Siedow. My heart leaped up. And hell, he's a dirty old man with some sick jokes and a great sense of humor.

Well, my fingers are bleeding and my morning coffee's starting to wear off. My kid's still sleeping (day off for Lincoln's Birthday) and in the distance I hear what may well be a chainsaw laboring through a tree (a human body?). So I'll say ta-ta, and for all you fans, LICK MY PLATE, YOU DOG DICKS!!!!

Bill Moseley

Friday, August 1, 2008

"A higher heaven, a deeper hell."

The contents of this dirty, little book seem to get hotter with every re-reading. That's why they call him The Great Beast. Lie back, unzip your pants, and close your eyes... It's gonna be a long night.

Reprinted without permission. Sue me, sack me, and send me to Hell.


All night no change, no whisper. Scarce a breath
But lips closed hard upon the cup of death
To drain its sweetest poison. Scarce a sigh
Beats the dead hours out; scarce a melody
Of measured pulses quickened with the blood
Of that desire which pours its deadly flood
Through soul and shaken body; scarce a thought
But sense through spirit most divinely wrought
To perfect feeling; only through the lips
Electric ardour kindles, flashes, slips
Through all the circle to her lips again
And thence, unwavering, flies to mine, to drain
All pleasure in one draught. No whispered sigh,
No change of breast, love's posture perfectly
Once gained, we change no more. The fever grows
Hotter or cooler, as the night wind blows
Fresh gusts of passion on the outer gate.
But we, in waves of frenzy, concentrate
Our thirsty mouths on that hot drinking cup
Whence we may never suck the nectar up
Too often or too hard; fresh fire invades
Our furious veins, and the unquiet shades
Of night make noises in the darkened room. [45]

Yet, did I raise my head, throughout the gloom
I might behold thine eyes as red as fire,
A tigress maddened with supreme desire.
White arms that clasp me, fervent breast that glides
An eager snake, about my breast and sides,
And white teeth keen to bite, red tongue that tires,
And lips ensanguine with unfed desires,
Hot breath and hands, dishevelled hair and head,
Thy fevered mouth like snakes' mouths crimson red,
A very beast of prey; and I like thee,
Fiery, unweary, as thou art of me.
But raise no head; I know thee, breast and thigh,
Lips, hair and eyes and mouth: I will not die
But thou come with me o'er the gate of death.
So, blood and body furious with breath
That pants through foaming kisses, let us stay
Gripped hard together to keep life away,
Mouths drowned in murder, never satiate,
Kissing away the hard decrees of Fate,
Kissing insatiable in mad desire
Kisses whose agony may never tire,
Kissing the gates of hell, the sword of God,
Each unto each a serpent or a rod,
A well of wine and fire, each unto each,
Whose lips are fain convulsively to reach
A higher heaven, a deeper hell. Ah! day [46]

So soon to dawn, delight to snatch away!
Damned day, whose sunlight finds us as with wine
Drunken, with lust made manifest divine
Devils of darkness, servants unto hell--
Yea, king and queen of Sheol, terrible
Above all fiends and furies, hating more
The high Jehovah, loving Baal Peor,
Our father and our lover and our god!
Yea, though he lift his adamantine rod
And pierce us through, how shall his anger tame
Fire that glows fiercer for the brand of shame
Thrust in it; so, we who are all of fire,
One dull red flare of devilish desire,
The God of Israel shall not quench with tears,
Nor blood of martyrs drawn from myriad spheres,
Nor watery blood of Christ; that blood shall boil
With all the fury of our hellish toil;
His veins shall dry with heat; his bones shall bleach
Cold and detested, picked of dogs, on each
Dry seperate dunghill of burnt Golgotha.
But we will wrest from heaven a little star,
The Star of Bethlehem, a lying light
Fit for our candle, and by devils' might
Fix in the vast concave of hell for us
To lume its ghastly shadows murderous,
That in the mirror of the lake of fire [47]

We may behold the image of Desire
Stretching broad wings upon us, and may leap
Each upon other, till our bodies weep
Thick sweet salt tears, and, clasping as of yore
Within dull limits of Earth's barren shore,
Fulfil immense desires of strange new shames,
Burn into one another as the flames
Of our hell fuse us into one wild soul:
Then, one immaculate divinest whole,
Plunge, fire, within all fire, dive far to death;
Till, like king Satan's sympathetic breath,
Burn on us as a voice from far above
Strange nameless elements of fire and love;
And we, one mouth to kiss, one soul to lure,
For ever, wedded, one, divine, endure
Far from sun, sea, and spring from love or light,
Imbedded in impenetrable night;
Deeper than ocean, higher than the sky,
Vaster than petty loves that dream and die,
Insatiate, angry, terrible for lust,
Who shrivel God to adamantine dust
By our fierce gaze upon him, who would strive
Under our wrath, to flee away, to dive
Into the deep recesses of his heaven.
But we, one joy, one love, one shame for leaven,
Quit hope and life, quit fear and death and love, [48]

Implacable as God, desired above
All loves of hell or heaven, supremely wed,
Knit in one soul in one delicious bed
More hot than hell, more wicked than all things,
Vast in our sin, whose unredeeming wings
Rise o'er the world, and flap for lust of death,
Eager as anyone that travaileth;
So in our lusts, the monstrous burden borne
Heavy within the womb, we wait the morn
Of its fulfilment. Thus eternity
Wheels vain wings round us, who may never die,
But cling as hard as serpent's wedlock is,
One writhing glory, an immortal kiss. [49]