RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: April 2014

Faith Killer (1991): No, It’s Not Christopher Hitchens

Josh Webster, Faith Killer (Zebra, 1991)

[originally posted 6Dec2001]

An image of the title page replaces the normal book cover here.

This book is now so obscure that this is the best cover image I could come up with.
photo credit: Google Books

The best thing about this book by a longshot is the title. If you pick it up, just stare at the cover for a while, then put it down and walk away. Because once you’re inside, you’ll find there’s nothing worth having.

Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010): The Teeth of a Clown

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Troy Nixey, 2010)

Bailee Madision descends a massive spiral staircase on the movie poster.

Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there.
photo credit: IMDB

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark didn’t leave a huge impression on me, despite my having heard some pretty good things about it (and, of course, having Guillermo del Toro’s name attached as a producer didn’t hurt any). I certainly don’t mean to imply that it is in any way a bad movie; there are far, far worse ways one can choose to kill ninety minutes, and I have reviewed more of those over the past twenty-eight years than I care to think about. But it felt more than once as if there was a great deal more that could have been done with this movie and never quite surfaced—with the end result being I found myself wondering on a few occasions if this wouldn’t have been a better film if del Toro hadn’t stepped into the director’s chair. Talk about having your marketing backfire on you.

Read the rest of this entry

The Fangs of the Morning (1994): Gallowwriters

Leslie H. Whitten, The Fangs of the Morning (BMI, 1994)

[originally posted 6Dec2001]

A pair of fangs unsurprisingly adorns the book cover.

Insert your favorite fangs pun here, I can’t decide between about half a dozen.
photo credit: Amazon

Picture this. You have one of those 2-novels-in-1 books with both novels from the same author. How bad does novel #1 have to be to make you not want to expend enough energy to read novel #2?

Read the rest of this entry

One-Track Mind, vol. 4

A week late and a dollar short, but finally here…

STANDING DISCLAIMER: It would be ridiculous to try and do Full Disclosure on these. Just assume I know everyone here at least via the Internet, and most of them in person. You’ll be right far more often than wrong.

* * *

Read the rest of this entry

What Is Wrong with These People? (2001): Everything, And Then Some

Broken Gadget, what is wrong with these people? (self-released, 2001)

[originally posted 6Dec2001]

a washed-out picture of the artist graces the CD cover.

We run around in the acid rain.
photo credit:

The first thing to be said about this disc is “don’t let the song titles throw you.” What you see is definitely not what you will get.

Read the rest of this entry

The Initiation of Sarah (1978): UnsCarrie


The Initiation of Sarah (Robert Day, 1978)

A co-ed clings to the corner of a building on the movie poster.

photo credit:


NOTE: This review contains some spoilers for the film. Proceed with caution.

Ah, the seventies—the golden age of what has come to be known as the Satanic Panic film, though the repercussions of same would not be felt until the eighties and early nineties, when Satanic Panic leached into American culture, with shysters coming up with all sorts of things to keep a newly-freed-from-Red-Dread country checking under their beds for boogeymen at night. Instead of commies, we were told, we needed to watch out for devil worshippers kidnapping and molesting our children (or even doing it right at the day care). All of it absolute bunk, of course, cooked up by the morally bankrupt in order to make themselves a few bucks. And as a result, I feel like I should take every Satanic Panic movie made in the seventies to task for foisting these monstrosities on us. But instead I watch a movie like The Initiation of Sarah and I just wonder to myself, “people eventually thought this sort of thing really happened?” (An amusing side note: I did not know until just now that the movie had been remade in 2006, starring Mika Boorem and Summer Glau. Satanic Panic has indeed returned, at least on celluloid.)

Read the rest of this entry

Dirt (1998): Help Me Unravel This Knot

Dirt (Chel White, 1998)

[originally posted 27Nov2001]

photo credit:

We can’t show it to you because the Internet fails us (it may never have gotten a DVD release).

Chel White (The PJs) directs his first live-action piece, a short based on a small clip of Joe Frank’s amazing radio play The Dictator. Evan Knapp (in his first screen role since 1988’s Permanent Record) plays Frank’s dictator, but only a single aspect of him, the dirt-eater. While it’s probably unfair to judge a four-minute film against a three-hour radio drama, it should be obvious that White’s dictator is a bit less developed than Frank’s. However, White does an excellent job of getting across the bleak dadaesque feeling of Frank’s low-key comedy with his straitlaced delivery; given the subject matter, any director would be tempted to go over the top, but White plays it nice and easy, and comes up with a more effective piece in the process.

Read the rest of this entry