NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Session 3.18

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The Randomizer has been turned on, and thus it’s time for another Session of the Brutal Music Therapy you didn’t know you craved!

featuring cuts from:

All Is Vanity, Antestor, Arjanco, Armageddon Holocaust, Barnabas, Boarders, Children Of Light, Cryptic Embrace, Eternal Mystery, Heart Of Darkness, Heaven’s Rage, Horrific Majesty, Nomad Son, Resurrection Band, Jeff Scheetz, and Soul Embraced…

::END TRANSMISSION::

Songs That Suck: “RUDE” (Magic!)

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Rude

Having forsaken all of Top 40 radio for nearly 25 years now, most of my exposure of pop music comes from having to put up with it as background music at supermarkets or whatever’s piped into restaurants and the overhead at my place of employment. Due to the mostly homogeneous nature of the music, I can usually tune it all out. So, it takes a special type of suckage to pry its way past all the mental safeguards I have in place and annoy me on my outing in the real world. “Rude” by some band named Magic! is one of those songs.

First of all, that band name. It’s not just the laziest sounding name, but by adding the exclamation point at the end, it seems that someone came up with that in Junior High, and suggested it when it came time to form the band, and no one could think of anything better for whatever reason and went with it.

Second, after some research on the band itself (translation: 10 minute Google search), it looks like Magic! is a “Canadian reggae fusion” band…which roughly translates to “White guys playing lame reggae”. Well, okay, granted the head of the band is from Palestinian decent…but he was born in Canada, so he’s an honorary Caucasian. I’m old enough to remember the first time this kind of things was foisted upon our collective pop sensibilities: back in the 1980s, by this British band named UB40. They, too, were a bunch of white guys affecting a fake Jamaican accent, with two songs that you couldn’t get away from–“Red Red Wine” and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love (With You)”. Genuine reggae is one of my least favorite styles of music (running neck-and-neck with ska, but still preferable over hip-hop country and dubstep); I’d rather have that over this homogenized style of fake reggae.

Third, oh sweet mother of Elvis, that song. It’s basically a whiny guy who asks the father of his girl for her hand in marriage, is told no, and then fires back with a passive-aggressive catchphrase from one of the Tanner girls from the original run of Full House. Which is followed by the proclamation that he’s “gonna marry her anyway.” Yeah, that’s gonna work out, there, you douchenozzle.

“Rude” manages to hit the trifecta of suckage. This is one Canadian import I can do without.

::END TRANSMISSION::

Book Review: CARRIE

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CARRIEStephen King
Doubleday
1974

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed… But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction…

The first published novel by Stephen King, Carrie was one of the King books I read while a Freshman in High School. Mind you, saying it like that makes it sound like I read the thing straight through; I assure you, tender blog peruser, that–like any other book I was reading outside of those assigned to me by my High School taskmasters–my reading habits at the time consisted of Begin Reading Book>Get Through A Couple Of Chapters>Get Bored And Distracted By Something Shiny>Forget Book Until Weeks/Months Later>Lather, Rinse, Repeat As Needed. I did manage to finish the book my Freshman year, though the start/stop times were pretty frequent. Fortunately, the relatively brief length of the novel helped in that regard.

In modern horror literature, Carrie is very much a classic of the genre. However, even now as I revisited it as a more seasoned reader, Carrie still seems a bit stilted and cardboard than dynamically scary. Off-putting, yes, and if you want to count the drama and traumatizing effects of just being the recipient of high school politics and bully-ing, then yes: Carrie is a horror novel. However, given that I picked up the book because I was told that this was about a girl that could make stuff move with her mind–which is the #2 super power a 14-year-old boy would want (#1 being invisibility, for the usual stereotypical reasons)–the whole telekinesis thing was merely the secondary horror, here. The main horror portrayed is the teenage girl dealing with a daily life that consisted of being bullied at school, and then coming home to a beyond fanatical ultra-religious mother whose grasp on reality not only packed up and left a long time ago, but has also filed a restraining order.

Looking back at it now, I can’t say that I would necessarily recommend reading Carrie first when you’re just checking out Stephen King’s vast bibliography. I can understand how some would feel weird if they don’t start at the first thing King has written and work their way up; Carrie, I’ve found, while still pretty much required reading eventually, is a bit wooden and suffers from First Novel Awkwardness. It’s still a rather good novel, and should be read eventually. It’s a good early glimpse at what was to come from the writer.

Book Review: FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT

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Book Review: FOUR PAST MIDNIGHTStephen King
Viking / Signet
1990

You are strapped in an airline seat on a flight beyond hell. You are forced into a hunt for the most horrifying secret a small town ever hid. You are trapped in the demonic depths of a writer’s worst nightmare. You are focusing in on a beast bent on shredding your sanity. You are in the hands of Stephen King at his mind-blowing best with an extraordinary quartet of full-length novellas guaranteed to set your heart-stopwatch at- FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT.

Four Past Midnight is the second collection of novellas written by Stephen King. Novellas are an interesting thing, really; they’re too long to be considered “short stories”, but not enough of a word count to be considered full-length novels. Though you could probably argue what exactly constitutes a “full length novel”, the point is we have another bunch of Stephen King stories to look at.

Like the Different Seasons collection (and to a certain point, The Bachman Books), Four Past Midnight has four separate novellas written for this collection. Unlike Different Seasons, though, the stories here are all uniformily of the horror/supernatural variety, all designed to give you some spine-tingling sleepless nights. Well, attempt to, anyway. Not that I’m knocking the quality of the stories…well, let’s take a look at what’s inside, shall we?

“The Langoliers”
Ten passengers on a red-eye flight wake up to find that they somehow slipped through a tear in the space-time continuum maybe a split-second or so after normal reality, and try to find a way back to said normal reality before the After-Reality cleanup crew arrives…before everyone goes stark-raving mad, that is…

“Secret Window, Secret Garden”
Kind of a companion piece to the previous novel The Dark Half, a writer is confronted by a rather angry guy from Mississippi claiming he had plagerized his story…only, it turns out to be a bit more complicated than that…

“The Library Policeman”
Sam Peebles has a phobia about public libraries. This is compounded when he has to go to one to check out a couple of books on speech writing, and discovers the new librarian has this thing about feeding on the fear of children…

“Sun Dog”
Fifteen-year-old Kevin Delevan receives a Polaroid Sun 660 instant camera for his birthday, only to discover that it has a glitch of some sort: it only produces picturs of a vicious looking black dog that seems to be trying to break out and do some damage…and Kevin can’t seem to stop taking pictures…

I received my copy of Four Past Midnight as a Christmas gift in 1990, while it was still just a hardback in stores. And despite the length, and the fact that I was only 17 at the time, I read that thing in less than a week. I probably would have read it in less time than that, had I not have to read it around my usual high school work and farm life business. Point is, I more or less devoured it, and the stories still have stuck with me decades later. In case you’re wondering, yes, I have seen the movie versions of both “The Langoliers” and “Secret Window, Secret Garden”, and I’m glad I read them long before I watched them, as the stories are the top two favorites in this collection for me. “The Library Policeman” falls on the “more bizarre but still interesting” side of things (“Chow-de-dow”?), while “Sun Dog” once again takes a bit of harmless nostalgia and makes you afraid of it. Also, it’s the second-to-last Castle Rock story, so there’s that.

Anyway, I rather enjoyed reading this back in the day. I recommend picking it up, as I think it falls in that period where Stephen King was sobering up and getting back to his stride.

Movie Review: X-MEN

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Movie Review: X-MEN20th Century Fox
2000
PG-13

Born into a world filled with prejudice are children who possess extraordinary and dangerous powers – the result of unique genetic mutations.  Cyclops unleashes bolts of energy from his eyes.  Storm can manipulate the weather at will.  Rogue absorbs the life force of anyone she touches.  But, under the tutelage of Professor Xavier, these and other outcasts learn to harness their powers for the good of mankind.  Now they must protect those who fear them as the nefarious Magneto, who believes humans and mutants can never co-exist, unveils his sinister plan for the future!

It’s easy nowadays to take a film like X-Men for granted. I mean, sure, it’s one of the earlier entries of Marvel-based comic book movies that have seemed to saturate much of the first two decades of the 21st Century. And for any of you so-called Millennials reading this, it’s hard to really explain how dark of a period it was in most of the 1980s and 1990s when it came to good comic book movies, without the benefit of having lived through it all. Sure, there were the first two Superman movies, plus the Batman movie in 1989, as well as Blade in 1998. But then, there was Batman Forever, followed by Batman & Robin, the shiny travesty that was Spawn, not to mention the lesser known Tank Girl and Barb Wire atrocities, to say nothing of the made-for-television movies for JLA, Generation-X, and Captain America. So you can probably understand why, when the news of a live-action X-Men movie was finally going to become a reality came about, there was a bit of cautious optimism about the outcome.

I’ve never collected or read the X-Men comics. I have a firm running knowledge of the history of the comics and the characters due to my being a general pop culture junkie; instead, my knowledge of everyone’s favorite Marvel Mutants stemmed from the cartoon from the 1990s. Classic stuff, that. I knew of the core classic characters, but I didn’t really go beyond the televised version. You might say that I went into watching the X-Men movie as a rather novice, one might say “casual” fan.

I watched the movie twice the day it opened. Once at a matinee, and then once more in the evening with a couple of friends. It was–as it is now, after so many years since opening night–a rather well-made and entertaining comic book-based action movie that finally proved that we can make something based on four-color funnybooks and not make it a joke. Most of the cast were well-picked to play the iconic characters–I do still hold that Halle Berry wasn’t the right pick for Storm, and as much as I detest the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, I do consider Liev Schreiber to be the better Sabretooth–with a rather solid story that went deeper and had more texture than your standard cardboard-cutout Good-Vs.-Evil trope, and compelling character development. And, oh yeah, the action was awesome as well.

X-Men can be looked at as the movie that signaled Marvel’s rise as the comic book movie titans we all know them as now. As I’ve mentioned before, it still holds up as a great film after all these years, and one that, if you still haven’t seen it, you really should.

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