Hey fungi enthusiasts! If you’re looking for something truly stange & spooky to check out this Halloween season (and I know you are) then look no further- It’s time to take a trip of the sea shores of Japan to an uncharted incredibly creepy deserted island in 1963’s psychotronic horror: Mantango! I’m going to admit I haven’t really explored a lot of 1960s horror especially from Japan. However I’m a huge sucker for “stranded on an island” movie concepts and this one looked like it hit all the right beats from the trailer I saw. Essentially it’s like a demented episode of Gilligan’s island and much of the movie actually does actually kinda feel just like it, in all the best ways.
Visionary director Ishiro Honda paints an incredibly atmospheric nightmare landscape on the open sea, with a band of tourists on a fancy yacht who find themselves in the midst of a violent sea storm. Tired and hungry they take refuge on on a mysterious exotic tropical island infested with strange colorful mushrooms. There’s something extremely unsettling yet whimsical about the whole endeavor as the crew struggles to get along and and also find food that’s safe to eat there.
The most of the characters here I found to be a bit on the bland side, but it really doesn’t matter much because the beautiful bizarre portrait on display here of the island itself ends up as the true star of the entire show. The quietness of the foggy remote island lends much to the impending dread in the thick air as soon our cast of characters find themselves with hungry bellies, drawn to consume the beautiful fungi. It’s like they’ve spent the week in the garden of Adam-and-Eve but instead of colorful fruits instead enticed by mind altering fungus!
Matango is somewhat of a slow burn, but it’s a really fun “trip” right from the get go. All of the set pieces from the on the ship and especially the island are truly a spectacle to behold. It really makes me miss real practical sets, as many of the movies now in the fantasy genre just resort to bad CGI green screen backdrops. Being made in 1963, everything has that special earthy but put together carefully by hand look to it of that era, looking like some high budget theme park attraction, blanketed in roaming fogs.
There’s also some some legitimately creepy visuals to behold, every bit of Matango’s landscape looks like at any moment could come alive and grab you. As the tourists become more restless and frustrated it’s clear something sinister has taken hold of their psyche. And while the movie secondary moniker is ‘Attack of the Mushroom People’ I would say that’s a bit of a stretch here. There’s really Not a helluva of a lot of “attacking” going on until maybe the movie’s final 10 minutes, but it’s definitely worth the wait once the mushroom people do arrive.
Even by today’s standards these creatures look quite incredible, feeling like something materilized from a strange fever dream. Matango has definitely peaked my interest in Japanese movies from this era, this is a cool little mind bending bit of eye candy that’s that is most definitely worth a watch this Halloween season if you’re in the mood for something truly unique! I got it on blu ray recently from Far East Flix!
After getting a good look at what is supposedly the MCU design for iconic Marvel Comics villain Modok I can honestly say my childhood fantasies have been smashed! Easily one of my favorite villains of all time for his bizarrely offputing look, Modok deserves so much better than THIS!
That is what is supposedly his design for the upcoming Ant-Man movie. His big movie debut look unfortunately does not feature any of the grotesque charm of the classic villain.
My hopes here are that he is merely wearing some sort of protective helmet. I’m also fairly certain that they will be featuring the character as some sort of ridiculous joke Instead of utilizing him as a terrifying monstrosity that he truly is.
I also think if they were to have designed the character using practical animatronic effects just how amazing he could really be on the big screen. Time will tell but in the meantime here are a few of my favorite images of one of Marvel’s most grotesque creations!
I just gotta love a crazy 90s Hong Kong action flick, especially one where the main character is a ten year old master of martial arts who beats the snot out of anyone who steps to him or his damn dad! I’m not entirely certain why this sweet ass kicker from 1995 is called “Teenage Master” when the master is not a teen, but hell just go with it!
This is easily one of the most fun Hong Kong flicks I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s non stop fun, action and legit laughs!! I’m sorry to report however the kid doesn’t actually don a Superman costume at any time in this movie! Just on the poster…
This witty actioner Is totally ALL over the freakin’ place like many Hong-Kong movies of this era can be. One minute It’s spoofy slapstick comedy, the next it’s a dangerous highstakes buddy flick featuring a father/son duo who excel at one thing: kicking all the ass!
A kung fu obsessed father (Collin Chou) and son (Tse Miu) are like two peas in a pod, living out in the country all by themselves. They hang out all day practicing martial arts, playing tic-tac-toe and eating tons of rice. That is until they’re lured into the big city of Hong-Kong to take care of some family business with their elderly martial arts master, who’s locked up in a mental ward.
However it doesn’t take long for these two to get mixed up into some risky business with some truly evil murderous gangsters. Luckily these guys Aren’t anywhere prepared for the frenetic skills of THIS wild father and his 10 year old son the “teenage master” (for some reason)!!
Amidst a kick ass crazy confrontation in an apartment building the father and son get separated during the mayhem and goes straight to jail. The movie at times doesn’t make a lick of sense but anything lost in translation doesn’t matter much once the action kicks in and you get your witness the wild child deliverr some of the most hyper intense Kung Fu craziness set to screen. The teenage master wanders the streets by himself and is of course quickly adopted up by ridiculously idioticly entertaining family.
Yes some of the shenanigans in this movie are truly bizarre, sometimes veering into the Airplane/Naked Gun territory. Teenage Master however seems to seems to execute it’s strange tonal shifts almost perfectly And imo a lot of the jokes seem to for the most part stick to the wall. I suppose this might be fitting in style with something like ‘Shaolin Soccer’.
The main attraction here is seeing “teenage master” Tse Miu going nuts on the bad guys with his dad. The fight choreography is nuts and a total blast to behold. The comedic details sprinkled in each confrontation is the extra icing on the cake here to. Wheelchair chases, steroid drinking, crazy mental ward murders & insane acrobatics make this a truly forgotten diamond in the rough.
There’s so much going on in this movie comedically visually and physically to love for true fans of obscure, bizarre cinema it’s well worth it to grab a copy or find it somewhere streaming. I got a copy on DVD from Far East Flix, for a mere $8! Grab s case of beer and your best buds, cuz Teenage Master is a full on Kung fu hyper-blast!
There are some epic comic book artists out there in the world, true legends who produced some of the most iconic artwork of all time. I’ve always wondered if any big name comic book artists were employed by rock bands to make album covers? Let’s face it, one of the most important things as a musician is having an unforgettable album cover. So I did a little research of my own to see who, if any, throughout time had actually enlisted these talents! Here’s what I found!
Mark Texiera: Public Enemy, Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (1994)
Texiera takes a break from the pages of comic books to spice up Public Enemy’s 1994 release with an awesome LP cover. This is a great example of how wise it is to hire a comic book artist to craft a freakin’ masterpiece cover for your band.
Barry Windsor Smith: The Byrds, Preflyte (1973)
Barry is easily one of the greatest comic book artists of all time, who the hell wouldn’t ask the guy to do the art work for their record? This one though was a real surprise I had no idea he dabbled in the music genre with his skills!
Bob Camp: Newcleus Jam On Revenge (1984)
Bob Camp did some great work with Marvel Comics in the eighties on titles like The ‘Nam, Conan the Barbarian and G.I. Joe. But what a lot of people forget is that he actually did this iconic cover art for rap supergroup Newcleus!
John Byrne: Joe Satriani, Surfing With The Alien (1987)
Superstar comic book artist John Byrne’s rendering of the Silver Surfer was used for Joe Satriani’s most famous guitar rock album. Apparently no one talked to him about using the artwork and apparently he remains uncredited in the album liner notes!
Todd Mcfarlane: Korn, Follow the Leader (1998)
I’ve gotta say I’ve never liked Korn, at all. In fact I can admit that I actually hate their music. But when I found out they hired Todd McFarlane to do the cover art for their album they won me over just a little bit..
Bill Sienkiewicz: RZA, Bobby Digital in Stereo (1998)
Getting Bill to do your cover artwork Is probably about the wisest thing you could do for your damn musical career. The guy is a living legend and one of the best cover artists in all comic book history! He nails it for RZA!
Richard Corben: Meatloaf, Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Corben is responsible for some of the grittiest comic book art out there! He hits a home run here with Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Out of Hell’. Recently I had to come to my own conclusion about Meatloaf, and I find myself in the same frame of mind as I did with Korn. NOT A FAN! But still Meatloaf wins me over employing Corben to make this iconic album cover…
Vincent Locke: Cannibal Corpse, Butchered at Birth (1991)
Legendary gore artist extraordinaire, Vincent Locke is best know for his crazy artwork for 80s horror comic Deadworld. With his unforgettable awesome LP cover for Cannibal Corpse he essentially just drew a cover for Deadworld and slapped on their logo and somehow created a truly gore-tas-tic metal massacre masterpiece!
Alex Ross: Anthrax, We’ve Come for You All (2003)
Mr. Ross is a true legend and Anthrax made an excellent choice in getting him on deck to craft this beautifully mysterious album cover. Ross is in league of his own and this adds more proof of that bold claim.
Jamie Hewlett: Senseless Things, The First of Too Many (1991)
An amazing power pop punk album from the Senseless Things! This one was in heavy rotation for me when I was in high school. I didn’t make the connection until recently that this artist went on to produce the iconic Tank Girl comic book series!
Brian Bolland: Beautiful Happiness (1988)
Who’d have ever thought that Brian Boland, comic book artist extraordinaire, most well known for Batman: The Killing Joke, was a punk at heart? Easily one of my favorite comic book artists/cover artists of all time, this shows his true skill in crafting the ultimate punk rock compilation cover!
I think Marvel’s Mister Hyde is easily one of the creepiest villains in their ranks of baddies! He’s a more fucked up version of the Banner/Hulk dynamic and he even wears a weird ass old school suit and cape like the original literary character. The dude can go head to head with The Incredible Hulk and is one of the loosest cannons in all of Marvel comics! I have always adored the cover of The Amazing Spider-man #232 and think its a certifiably sinister depiction of the villain! Brilliantly drawn by Al Milgrom and John Romita Jr way back in 1982- Hyde is a perfect villain for the Halloween season!
Hey happy damn 4th of July America! So today it’s just all about the USA right? You bet! Well let’s take a quick break from all of the red, white & blue festivities to pay some tribute to four lesser known superheroes who are NOT Captain America that also have an unhealthy but awesomely bizarre obsession with the United States! There’s just nothing quite like a patriotic weirdo superhero on the 4th!
The Spirit of 76
Yeah this guy is indeed a weirdo, I mean look at his utterly ridiculous costume he came up with and thought would scare the bejeezus out of all of the nasty supervillains who come to threaten the good ol’ USA! William Naslund came on the Marvel Comics scene back in 1977 and for a very brief period even assumed the mantle of Captain America! WOW. He has no superhuman powers but did manage to fashion himself a bulletproof cape!
Ok so if you thought Spirit of 76 had a dumb look, well DC Comic’s Uncle Sam has taken the patriotic thing to the god damn extreme! This guy would put fear into the hearts of evil doers just by the possibility of how crazy he’d have to be to don a costume that ridiculously yet awesomely pathetic! He first appeared WAY back in Quality Comics in 1940 and then was brought into the DC universe officially in 1973. Get this, Uncle Sam is described as a spiritual entity created through an occult ritual by the Founding Fathers. Damn, no wonder why he’s so freaky. Sam’s got super strength, invulnerability, the ability to alter his size, enhanced speed, along with some degree of clairvoyance. He also can teleport to a pocket dimension called ‘The Heartland’. Whatta guy huh?
Well here’s a dude who I can finally get behind. American Eagle is a total badass and deserves more love in Marvel Comics. Born as Jason Strongbow, a name he should have just used instead of American Eagle IMO, he first appeared in a team up with The Thing back in 1981. A member of the Navajo Nation, American Eagle possesses superhuman strength, enabling him to bench press approximately 15 tons! He also possesses superhuman speed, agility, stamina, and sturdiness as a result of radiation-induced mutation. He later got a less cultural looking costume:
He’s featured, along with our next hero in one of my favorite modern Marvel Comics stories featured in Thunderbolts #112-115 from 2007 that is a MUST read!
Here’s another guy who just could never quite get the recognition of his idol Captain America. He even settled for a second rate moniker to fight crime. Yet Jack Flag is still a pretty cool guy, even if he’s obsessed a bit too much with his country. First appearing on the scene on 1994 as part of Captain America’s computer hotline network, Flag has proven himself to be an interesting character, who was inspired by his hero Captain America to become one himself. In that same Thunderbolts run I mentioned above, where Jack Flag like The American Eagle both stand up for their Constitutional rights against the United States government during the superhuman registration act! As you can see in the picture he has been noted to go the full distance dying his hair red white and blue!
I love a great 80’s flick and I love it when I see something from the era that’s somehow eluded me throughout the years. So I was pretty stoked to get a copy of 1989’s Blue Vengeance on Blu Ray, a movie I’d never even heard of until recently. How the heck was that possible? Well from what I understand the movie was never given a proper domestic vhs or dvd release back in the day so I’m giving myself a pass for being clueless this time on this one!
That being said, let’s get to it! Ok if you’re a fan of 80’s metal and underground music in general you’re going to immediately find something to love about this movie. Not only is the deranged psychopathic villain a full on metal head, but he’s basically triggered into a serial killing spree of former band members whom he proclaims have “sold out”. I dig his motivation, as I’ve never heard of a slasher with passion for metal ideals like this dude! He seems also totally obsessed with his old band’s song lyrics as well, like they’re the damn holy grail writings of satan himself! He escapes from prison and heads off to NYC to raise some hell and then jam some riffs in his old bedroom at his mom’s place before going on his poser killing spree. Then there’s a cop who’s got PTSD who jumps on the case, leading him to some cool indie hot spots like CBGB’S where punk rock band The Lunachicks are on stage performing was quite a pleasant surprise.
There the cop meets a young female punk who attempts to help him crack the case of the metal maniac killer roaming the streets. Yeah, Blue Vengeance has got some pretty fun and colorful characters at it’s core that bring a certain odd charm to the whole viewing experience. The killer has delusions of being stuck in some midieval fantasy of swords and sorcery that drive his rampage further down a rabid rabbit hole. While the cop and his underage punk rocker sidekick have a sort of weird romantic relationship going on that somehow works without getting too creepy. The movie’s pretty cool on it’s own as a basic low budget 80’s cop thriller with some strong horror themes for most of it’s duration but it really ramps things up in it’s glorious final act. That’s when things go in ultimately ridiculous directions in it’s final showdown and it’s well worth the wait. There’s some surprising moments of gore to behold here as well and some really entertaining dialogue, while none of it can be taken too seriously, I truly admire how surprisingly straight it’s all played. Check this one out, I think it’s on Amazon Prime now and also available on blu ray! A great hidden late 80’s gem!
Wolverine’s easily one of my all time favorite comic characters & lately I’ve been thinking about the possibility of him entering the MCU and how I hope they go a different direction than the hunky handsome Hugh Jackman version. Don’t get me wrong I like Hugh in the role but this time I hope they go with a shorter, weirder looking actor to portray everyone’s favorite feral mutant.
One of the most important parts of Logan they need to get right is his damn hair! This lead me down the rabbit hole of Wolverine’s hair-do’s and just how crazy they’ve been at times throughout his many years of ass kickin’. Lets take a look at some of his weirdest and wildest do’s!!!
- This one here below is one of my favorites, I like his hair weird and shaped, like it just naturally grows in a way he can’t control, I remember as a kid the first time I saw his hair on this cover I was blown away at how crazy it looked. I like the idea of seeing a dude like this randomly walk into a bar and people being like WTF is up with this guy?!
2. Ok this next one shows just what happens when Logan goes a long time without a hair cut and he’s been under a ton o’ stress! I love his unkempt, insane off the hinges hair-do for sure, I only wish I had hair that could look THIS bad ass!!
3. Well here we have Wolverine with his hair combed pretty neatly & nice, but also we notice that he has an EXTREME widow’s peak. Nice! He must have later decided to shave it off?! I don’t think he should be self conscious though as no matter what, he’s always got that animal magnetism workin’ for him!
4. Ok, now shit’s gotten real extreme, Wolverine must be using some sort of hair gel because his hair here is absolutely NUTS. That’s not to say I don’t dig it, I think it’s kinda punk actually and it’s gonna turn some heads for sure! It’s almost like he’s got two dreadlocks going? Whatever the case I’m a fan of this hairdo but I’m sure he knows it really may not be for everyone!
5. Well here Logan has really decided to start parting his hair down the middle perfectly! I like it. I notice he’s really going for the extreme “chops” / “wild burns” which is also a nice touch, it makes him look especially unhinged, as we can clearly see he spent some serious time in the mirror combing it perfectly to get it to look this way. It’s kinda nice to know he’d take the time to do that.
6. Ok now the “hairspray look” I’m NOT really feeling, I think he got a little too carried away here with his style. I don’t think he could even fit his mask on his head if he tried. Still this look shows he has some real guts and likely really doesn’t care if anyone makes fun of him, I respect that. I guess If I saw him in person I’d tell him it looked pretty rad just to make sure I didn’t piss him off.
7. Yowza!! Here he’s got kind of a different look altogether with his wild hair just kind of freely flowing, I’m still guessing that he took some time with those front strands to get them so nice an curled, I like it, but prefer when it’s slightly more contained, it also makes his face look a bit “gaunt”?
8. Ok, ok this time he’s clearly went WAY too far with the long ass hair, I mean everyone has the right to try and grow it out but this time it seems like it might actually hinder his fighting ability. Still it’s nice to see what happens if he was ALL in on NOT getting a hair cut! It’s not my favorite, but it is pretty damn impressive that he could pull this shit off!
9. Well here it looks like he maybe went to a salon and had his hair relaxed and straightened professionally by a stylist, either that or he spent most of his years going through a LOT of trouble to make his hair stand up the way it had. Who know’s though, it kinda looks like he might’ve went on a meth binge or has the flu or some shit which could explain things as well here. I’m pretty certain though he just felt like trying a whole new look altogether, while I like his obvious effort, I think he just looks too damn average and should always let those locks grow up and away!
10. Clearly here he decided he just got 100% tired of his wild hair finally and just didn’t want to deal with it any more at all. I think he might have ran into the Punisher and decided to copy his look. Like I said above he looks too much like an average Joe with claws. But what the hell do I know, at least he tried something different right?
Well that’s it, I think Wolverine has the best hair in comics, I always have. The proof is there as well because there’re many characters in Marvel comics who’ve copied his damn style! The Beast & The Owl to name a few fully ripped his look off! Did I miss any of his extreme hair-do’s?! if so please chime in!!!
1988’s ‘Magic of the Universe’ (Originally released as ‘Salamamgkero’ in 1986) is one HELL of a bizarre horror adventure! Shot in the Philippines and chock full of dark creepy tropical locations, you surely get a lot more than you bargained for with an odd film that clearly must have had a pretty decent budget to work with. The plot itself is pretty sweet & simple, a talented circus magician named Jamir while doing his seemingly routine disappearing act to an eager crowd, accidentally makes his assistant/daughter disappear not only into thin air but from our reality entirely.
Perplexed, Jamir decides to search for answers, heads off in search of a creepy, mysterious shaman whom he’s heard rumor of residing deep in a nearby forest. The Shaman mixes him up a concoction of some sort from the severed head of a monkey (some serious ‘Temple of Doom’ tones here) and then ventures into a danger filled alternate dimension, to try and rescue his lover & kid sidekick who also go missing shortly after his daughter does. I’m guessing the monkey brain drink (some sort of DMT type concentration) opened some sort of portal, enabling Jamir to cross over. Once on the “other side” he discovers his loved one are captives of a powerful witch named “Mikula” who’s got a huge, sweaty pulsating head and commands a grotesque army of freakish animal people minions, swamp monsters and a plethora of gooey, gross things that go bump in the night.
The whole romp is a giant, cheezy ass fever dream, full of fog, colorful yet dark sets draped in blue & pink lighting and of course some unsettling puppet creatures. One in particular is “Globo”, a weird ass gremlin type puppet with a tv screen for a stomach. Globo’s even featured in the opening credits as “himself” as they decided to show every actor in their role, with their characters names in the opening credits of the movie, something you’d expect normally at the very end. There’s so much weird shit going on here once Jamir heads off into the alternate dimension that whatever story it’s supposedly trying to tell becomes utterly lost, making the whole thing seem even more dreamlike with every minute that passes. There’s even a weird ass party / dance scene with a full band that curiously resembles GWAR in all their monster glory. I guess I’d say this flick also brings to mind a more demented & confusing version of ‘Labyrinth’ and I mean that in the best way possible. Also at a lean running time of 84 minutes the pace rarely lags, there’s easily enough eye candy to go around here to keep horror fans guessing what oddities will present themselves next onscreen. It’s main villain, (the witch Mikula) is pretty damn entertaining too, I never got tired at looking at her fleshy bulbous head bubbling and come the end of the movie you get some great gooey, 80’s style neon action in the final battle.
If you’re a fan of weird ass cinema ‘Magic of the Universe’ definitely won’t disappoint, it’s tropical, humid nightmarish sets are worth the price of admission alone. Director Tata Esteban is fully ambitious here with his grand horror fantasy vision, perhaps not the most easy to comprehend but hey, this is a perfect movie to check out with a few too many drinks & a gang of trashy cinefiles on a Saturday nite! No one will need to pay too much attention to plot either! It’s available to watch on Youtube or you can also hunt down the dvd version of the movie on a horror double feature! I’m certain there’s a VHS copy of this one out there somewhere still but it’s probably a challenge to track down. I watched this one from my Netflix DVD service (yeah, I still do that! For movies like this!) Check it out if you’re feelin’ crazy..
‘White Fire’ from 1984 is one helluva bizarre movie, it’s not only filled with a ton of crazy ass action sequences but it’s also got a complete WTF plot going for it that you kinda just have to see to believe. ‘White Fire’ starts off with two siblings (Bo and Ingrid) who witness a gang of crazed soldiers sadistically murder their parents. There’s fully over the top action kicking into gear right from the very start including a bonkers attack on the kid’s dad with a flame thrower that you just gotta see to beleive. It’s one of those “rewind & watch it again” scenes as the stunt dude is completely bombarded with a flame blast with no head or face protection, and for an instant the guy is fully engulfed in flame. Anyway only the two kids manage to survive the bloodshed. Flash forward twenty years later… Bo and his beautiful sister are grown up & employed at a hi-tech diamond mineshaft operation located in the desert that looks straight out of a 1960’s sci fi flick. The inseparable pair soon stumble upon the discovery of a legendary supernaturally powered diamond, called the “White Fire.” Both are immediately pursued by a gang of evil villainous thugs who’re dead set on getting their grubby hands on the diamond themselves. Check out this radical poster/box art for the flick:
Well once the pursuit starts, things get outta hand pretty quickly and we witness the bro and sis duo’s bizarrely epic kung fu skills & brother Bo even resorts to grabbing a chainsaw to fuck up a whole gang of goons on a dock. They’re a great team and soon we get to the real weird shit, lots of his sister Ingrid fully nude at a private swimming pool and Bo comes around afterward and rips his sisters towel off her refusing to give it back. They proceed to laugh about it while she’s completely exposed in front of her brother for far far to long. Ahhh that good old innocent brotherly love! Shit gets even weirder when his sister dies soon after while kung fu fighting a whole gang of villainous goons while still sporting her towel, that now refuses to fall off.
Naturally Bo is super duper bummed out to find his sister has been murdered but the next day he runs into a random lady in a bar while greivin’ n’ drinkin’ whom he ends up approaching with an offer she just can’t refuse! 50 grand to get a face transplant from his dead sister and learn to imitate her! Naturally the woman goes for it, because for some reason I’m a bit confused about still, having his sister alive will help them get the diamond or some shit? Whatever, Bo naturally falls in love with the woman and when she gets the face transplant things get mega awkward!! Now she looks identical to his dead sister, but what’s he to do, he’s already madly in love with her!
The rest of the movie’s a blast, iconic bad ass Fred Williamson shows up as a hired bounty hunter dude to raise some hell for the duo and there’s action a plenty to behold, even a dude who gets his crotch fully mangled by a table saw! There’s a surprising amount of gore here sprinkled throughout to compliment the bonkers plot that will leave you continuously scratching your head in confusion. White Fire’s got some rad locations too, most of it takes place in Turkey and it’s a treat to see the city of Istanbul in the 1980s. Directed by Jean-Marie Pallardy, who mainly directed porno flicks, ‘White Fire’ is definitely a party flick worth a watch with a gang of rowdy cinema fiends!