Wrestling #11: Wrapping Up 2007

As the year comes to a close, I find myself reminiscing about the goings on in the world of wrestling in 2007. I thought I would give out some awards on the shows I watch on a regular basis.

RAW MVP: Randy Orton
SMACKDOWN MVP: M.V.P. (how fitting)
TNA MVP: Christian Cage
RoH MVP: Jay & Mark Briscoe
AAA MVP: Cibernetico
Best Tag Team (WWE): Paul London & Brian Kendrick
Best Tag Team (TNA): TIE - Motor City Machine Guns and LAX
Best Tag Team (RoH): Jay and Mark Briscoe
Best Female Wrestler (WWE): Mickie James
Best Female Wrestler (TNA): Gail Kim
Best Female Wrestler (SHIMMER): Sara Del Ray
Best Female Wrestler (AAA): Fabi Apache
2007 Breakout Star (WWE): CM Punk
2007 Breakout Star (TNA): Robert Roode
2007 Breakout Star (ROH): TIE - Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero
2007 Breakout Star (US Indies): Necro Butcher
2007 Breakout Star (AAA): El Zorro
WWE Feud/Angle of the Year: MVP vs Matt Hardy
TNA Feud/Angle of the Year: The Christian Coalition falls apart
RoH Feud/Angle of the Year: The Briscoes vs Kevin Steen & El Generico
AAA Feud/Angle of the Year: El Mesias vs Cibernetico
Best WWE PPV: Wrestlemania 23
Best TNA PPV: I have no idea, haven't seen enough
Best Roh Event: Glory by Honor 6, Night 2
Favorite Title Change: CM Punk winning the ECW Title
Most Magical Moment: Mike Quackenbush winning the TPI
Most Shocking Moment: The death of Chris Benoit

Top 8 Favorite Moments of 2007
1. Glory By Honor 6, Night 2
Sitting front row in the Manhattan Center for this annual RoH event was made even more special by the appearance of Misawa. However this ended up being one of the most incredible events I've ever witnessed live.
2. IWA:MS Ted Petty Invitation Finals
While watching the emotion over come Mike Quackebush, you couldn't help but get emotional too. The entire night was a great journey for one of the US indy's favorite wrestlers.
3.Wrestlemania 23
My first 'mania was a cap off to a great weekend of wrestling with friends. It wasn't the best show I attended over the weekend, but it was the most memorable.
4. The return of Chris Jericho
Yeah, it was a little underwhelming, but it was still Chris Jericho returning.
5. HBK vs John Cena (RAW match was London)
This match just proved that when the WWE let's some of their guys go long in matches, they can wrestle. It was the best match the WWE had in 2007.
6. RoH Doubleshot during Wrestlemania weekend.
Two nights of great wrestling action from the Motor City. RoH out does itself once again. And all the extra events with friends made the weekend that much better.
7. RAW 15th Anniversary special
A fun night, showcasing some great moments in the WWE.
8. Realizing TNA is never going to change
It finally occured to me during late summer after TNA debuted with a two hour progrm. Even though the promotion has a great talent roster, they are not going to alter their haphazard, full speed, comical booking approach. It still saddens me. And I fast forward through much of the show ever week.


My 2007 Horror Wrap Up

Another year is coming to an end. What did the world of horror have for us fanatics in 2007. A little of everything, I suppose, and much of the same as always.

The big studios continued to put out crappy sequels, remakes of vintage horror flicks and movies from Asian in 2007. Most of the ones I watched, aren't worth my time. I learned to use the fast forward button more this year and wait for them to hit cable so I can use my DVR. Yet they continue to make enough at the box office to warrant more of the same for 2008.

But that's to say all was lost in 2007. The good and original horror continues to made on a low budget level or from other countries. Movies like Hatchet, Fido, The Believers, Bug, Severance, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, The Host, Reincarnation, The Abandoned, Pan's Labyrinth, Unrest, The Hunt, Altered, Wilderness, 13 Tzameti, The Hamiltons, The Fountain, 1408, Death Proof, and Planet Terror are all movies that came out on DVD this year that I can recommend.

There's a lot of programs with a horror element about them. I only watch a handful on a regular basis (Lost, Supernatural, Heroes, Dexter, Masters of Horror, and Nip/Tuck). There's many more that I hear are good shows, but I dont have the time to get involved with them (Ghost Whisperer, Medium, The Dead Zone, The 4400, Bones). Of course you can find more on DVD from TV's past.

I actually started getting into documentary type series this year such as Monster Quest, Destination Truth, Weird Travels, The Unexplained, and Haunted History . Some are better than others, but each entertaining in their own right. And again there are a few more in which I dont watch often, such as Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters.

I read a lot of books this year, but cant recall any that was released in 2007. I'm normally behind on reading current novels. For some news on the best ones from the year, go to the Horror Writers Association website.

That's my quick and not very detailed review of 2007. Hopefully next year I can commit more time to this blog.

Until next time...

Love on the Web?

I admit it. I've tried an online dating service. Actually at one time or another, I've signed up to a few of the big ones. Hell, I've even paid for a full membership before. You really have to in order to receive full benefits of the web site. And I guess if you compare the number of different women I've went on a date with (2) compared to the number of months I've paid for full privileges (5), the success rate over the years in minimal. Then again I haven't been on a lot of dates from not using a dating site during that time either. That percentage is even lower.

Is there still a stigma attached to online dating? I guess it depends on your comfort level with it. I used to feel awkward about it, but could care less anymore. The reasons are simple.

I'm an introvert and a very hard person to get to know until my comfort level is high. Sometimes, that takes months and I haven't been many relationships that cover a long period of time. I also don't go out much, because I don't enjoy going alone. I never feel like going to a bar and setting around a bunch of strangers while sip a beer and watch the tv. I can do that at home. Plus, I have zero cold walk up skills. If a women sits and talks to me, I can hold a decent conversation for a short time, but I cant start one to save my ass. Also most of my close friends live an hour or more away. They're lazy and don't like to visit or drive. Cant blame them really. I don't enjoy it either, but I try to go stop in at least once a month to few places. So for me, online seems like the easy way to go and try to meet women. I can baby step it and send emails, then a phone call (which I hate too), then hopefully a date. It's all a gamble.

Maybe I'm crazy, but there are a lot of dating sites on the internet and a lot of people searching for a companion. Naturally there are also many fakes out there too. I'm a naturally hesitant person anyways, but some of the scams I've been sent are ridiculous. Girls email saying they are from Russia searching for love or a model stuck in Africa because the promoter is holding their passport for ransom. I wonder what poor sucker falls for this shit.

It's tough in the dating world. Sometimes it seems hopeless. But you cant give up or at least I cant. I'm at the age now where many women are either divorced with kids and starting a new path in life or for whatever reason never got married young. I'm fine with either, as long as it's the right lady. Hell, I've never been married or have children. It takes searching to find another who will put up with all your weirdness and you have to tolerate them too. But it's not impossible. There is not "the one" for you. The earth is too large and populated. All you can hope for is to find "that special someone." There a probably several candidates.

I was never ready for a serious long term relationship in my twenties. I was having too much fun, for the most part. I'm probably behind the curve when it comes to dating, but I have to accept that. Now in my early thirties, I'm ready. Now I just need to start taking more risks to find another.


The Perfect Snow

The holiday season is upon all of us. This is the time we show how much we care and love our family and friends by purchasing them gifts that probably be recycled, exchanged, or forgot about soon after the unwrapping. A person is bombarded with advertisements during the last weeks of the year. And I love how every one of these commercials show "the perfect snow". Light fluffy snow with no wind and just cold enough to not be wet or icy. It's amazing.

I've lived in Indiana my entire life. I been through snowstorms. The "perfect snow" rarely exists. Maybe once or twice in the winter, if you're lucky, the meshing of weather conditions occurs to give this type of look. It's awesome when it does happen, but more often than not snow means cold. Snow means wind. Snow means ice. Snow means I must shovel my drive.

Too bad the perfect snow doesn't visit more often. Maybe winter wouldn't be as bad.


Beauty and Age

In a couple short weeks my birthday roles around. I'll be thirty-four. Not old by any means, but not as too young either. Getting older is not a big deal to me. It's another year of gained experience and knowledge gained that continues to add my over all puzzle. Reflection on my life's hits and misses is what gets me thinking and occasionaly depressed, not the aging.

Maybe I'm a rarity. Some people cant deal with aging and looking older. I've have a couple of friends that way. The mildly flip out about a wrinkle or noticing the maturity gained in your appearance. I'll never understand the reason why they act in this manner.

You also see this often Hollywood, especially with actresss around the age of 40. They get plastic surgery to straighten out wrinkles, shave access fat away around belly, and cut flappy skin off their body. They shoot botox and other drugs into their system to curb the process of aging. And many times, the work is very noticeable and does not look good. You can tell when a one time beauty now has an expression-less face pump full of chemicals, non-blinking eyelids, and constant half smile. Who convinced these once ravishing women that was the way to go? It's not a good look for any person.

Meg Ryan is a perfect example. She was an amazingly beautiful woman. Then one day, her appearances wasn't the same. It wasn't the fact that she was older, it was painfully obvious surgery had happened. Her lips were puffy and facial skin was too tight. The natual beauty was now gone. But not at the hands of father time, instead a knife was to blame. Jenna Jameson is another example and she's only in her early thirties.

Again, I honestly dont understand the thought process behind a person who wants to do that to themselves. I think maturing is sexy and elegant, even if you dont look the same as you did when you was twenty. Hell, most people dont expect it. And those that do..."paging Dr. Knife."



I'm sitting at home and I have the NFL Network. Not watching, just want some noise in the background. I hear the commentators talk about Sean Taylor being killed, the mall shooting in Omaha, and the constant reminder of senseless violence. My mind starts racing about my own mortality and the legacy in which I'll leave behind.

Right now, I'm only a couple of weeks shy of 34 and there's not much of a heritage. No children yet. And since I am the last male in my bloodline, the Kimmel branch dies out with me. Friends and family with and their memories are all that will keep me immortal. But only for while. Eventually those memories will fade out.

If you ask a person how they would like to die, the most popular answer is probably peacefully in your sleep. No one wakes up in the morning and says, "Today I'll slip down the stairs and break my neck" or "How about I get stabbed in the face this afternoon". On occasions I think about how I will die. I'm hope for the old and peaceful thing, but a car accident seems more accurate.

For me, it's hard to live each day as its your last. I'm wake, go to work, come home and do various things. Certainty it's not living life to its fullest and exploring. I'd love to have my bills paid off, a modest house with conveniences, and enough money just to travel across this fantastic world we live in. But I dont. I live pay check to pay check like so many of us in America (which is better off than many places). Maybe I dont understand the concept of "living life to its fullest". And perhaps until I do comprehend it, I wont find another to share this life with and leave a proper legacy.


Wrestling #8: A Tale From the Road

For a couple of months some friends and myself had a road trip planned for Glory by Honor 6 events. Load up in a car and head out from the Midwest to Philly, then NYC to catch our favorite promotion Ring of Honor, and then back home. Often what you plan doesn't actually occur. One guy changed his mind because a few other people he knew wanted to go and decided to lead another group. Another guy couldn't make it because of a commitment that had to be done on Saturday morning. That left two of us. It was going to be more expensive, but we decided to do it anyways. Come on, it was Misawa and his first (and possibly last trip) to the US. Then last week, my traveling partner called me and found out he couldn't get off work on Friday. Another monkey wrench thrown in the plan. We decided to skip Philly and target NYC after we get off work. Unfortunately he couldn't leave until 9pm. So we met up along the toll road at about 11:30pm and the trip officially began. I forgot to mention that a couple of days before we leave, we discover the NYC Marathon is over the same weekend and will be invaded by several other visitors from other countries. This will be fun.

My friend says he can drive all night and then I'll take the day shift until we roll into NYC. After we talk and realize it's about 2am, I better get some sleep or as much sleep as you can get in a car going down the interstate. At about 5:15am, my friend cant drive any longer. On about two hours of sleep I take over. Man I am tired. But start loading myself up on caffeine and drive in the early morning twilight through Pennsylvania.

The sun never really comes up this morning as a dark gray overcast covers the sky. The time was 8:45am and we're about an hour from being out of the state. I just want to get through to outside the city and let the other person take the wheel. I let out a big yawn and rub my face, taking my eyes off the road for a few short seconds. It's too long as I hear the thumping of the car on median rumble strips. As I regain attention, a guardrail enters my vision as the front corner of the car scrapes up against it. I regain control of the vehicle and pull off the road. I am pissed. My friend abruptly wakes up and tries to figure out what happened. I am pissed. I get out of the car, my friend's car, and check out the damage. The door wont open all the way as the corner panel is pinched against it. Scraps are all down the side from bumper to bumper about 8 inches wide. I am beyond pissed. Looking around, I see no fluids leaking out or flat tires, so we jump into the vehicle and head to the next exit for further examination. Driving a mile down the highway, the vehicle doesn't sway. A good sign, but am fuming at myself as I explain what happened. We get stopped and do a further inspection on the vehicle. It seems drivable and only has damaged to the body. I am beyond angry at myself. My friend is super cool about the whole situation. Obviously, I tell him the repair bill shall be on me. This little accident bothers me the rest of the weekend.

We grab some breakfast and head off to another buddies house in Queens to park the car. We make great time as traffic isn't as bad as what I expected and get their in about an two hours. We meet up with a bunch of other fellas we know and decide it's time to go to the fan gathering. We get what seems like easy directions for the subway. One train to Manhattan, then jump on another to get the gathering. Well, the it's not. The 7 train isn't a big deal. But we find out the C train we need to connect to isn't running that day. We have no clue on which train will get us where we need to be. It's about twenty blocks and we have time, so we foot it.

At the fan gathering I see more familiar faces of the other fans I've gotten to know over the years and our gracious host Greg has once again purchased enough food and drinks for an army. We fill our bellies and hang out for a couple of hours. A group of us try and decide what to since we have a plenty of time before the show. One of the Boston guys leads us on a tour of Central Park, then we walk about thirty blocks to the Manhattan Center. That's a lot of walking! Going through Time's Square at night is amazing to see. This is my second time to New York and the first time I didn't get to see hardly anything as I was in town for work. We eventually get into the venue and it's almost wrestling time.

I love the look of the Manhattan Center. It's much bigger than it comes across on DVD. The audience is hot before the the show even begins. I'm not going to go into the details of the show. But a couple of quick notes. As one of the guys in our group stated, it's like RoH jumped in a capsule and its ECW 97 as it was an unusual show with run ins, dusty finishes, violence, blood, and normal kick ass wrestling. What most impressed me was Misawa. He was on tonight. The 42 year old was doing plancas, diving off the ropes, and brought his usual hard hitting style. At one point in the match, I thought Kenta had won and we just witness history of the GHC Title being changed on US soil, but the crafty Misawa kicked out at about 2 and 3/4's. My one beef with the show was the placement of honoring Joe Huiguchi. The crowd was violently hot after the Briscoes and Age of the Fall match went to a quick double DQ. I thought a riot would break out. To put Joe and Harley Race in the ring after that segment was odd. The crowd was very disrespectful though most of it. However when all is said and done, this may be the best RoH show I have ever seen live. And I've seen many sent 2004.

After the show we decide it's best to get on the road again instead of the after party. We say our goodbyes and hit the subway again. About an hour later, we are on the road. We get out of NYC and I try to sleep as my friend wants to take the night shift. We get into Pennsylvania about an hour later and he cant drive anymore. I take over for about thirty minutes later decide I shouldn't be driving either. It's around 3:30am and we get an overpriced hotel room to get a few hours of real sleep.

I wake up just before 8am. If I go back to sleep it may noon before I wake again. As I see the sun shining and go get some coffee. I wake my buddy up, get some food and lots of caffeine (Java Monster & Rockstar Juice = goodness), and we are on road once again. He sleeps and I drive. I get us into Ohio (about 4.5 hours) and he takes over so I can sleep, but only for a short time. He is totally wiped out and wants to pull over and nap. I am not happy about this, but since I wrecked his car don't complain much. I take back over and with the help of several stations carrying football scores and highlights make it to the place we met about 5pm. I've got over an hour left and he's get about two. We part ways and I hope he can make it home alright. I take one last look at his damages car and realize the irony. It would have been much cheaper to fly from Fort Wayne. I hope the repair bill isn't too bad. With the help of the Colts game on the radio, I make it home and can watch the second half of the game.

All in all, the time in New York was awesome. An outstanding show with good friends is more than you can ask for. I love wrestling, but more and more it's becoming about the comradeships built with others over the years. Now the driving out with two people on hardly any sleep...that need to change for next East Coast trip. I'd love to Final Battle weekend, but now don't know if I can afford it. Guess I'll wait for the repair bill. Man, I am pissed!


120 Essential Horror Films (part 1)

With Halloween only a few days away, the US is gearing up for all things frightening. Personally I find any day a good day for a scare, but that's just me. For some time now I've been toying with the idea of compiling a book The Essentials of Horror Cinema, a massive collection of horror cinema's best and sometimes worst. But as most stuff in which I am currently involved, it is a constant work in progress. However, I have decided to write out a small part of the concept out for those of you who care to read in a much abridged form. After going through my huge pile of notes and trimming down the list, I came up with a list of 120 movies (because 100 is boring). Some of the films on the list you may argue are not horror films, but I go by the philosophy that horror is a strong emotion. One feels horror One experiences horror. A horror movie is not always a creature, ghost, or a slasher roaming about the screen that seems to be the common niche these days.

And now here's the first part.

The beginning of films to 1960: Our first selection of films covers a lot of ground. After the creation of this new art form and early directors were trying new techniques. Then sound came along and blew everyone away. Unfortunately other than There German Expressionism, Lon Chaney Sr., and Universal Studio's creature features, then a not much happening in the horror genre. Plus not many movies were being made back then. Anyways, here we go.

1. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)

One of my favorite flicks from the German Expressionism era. The lighting, angles, and shapes are memorizing, which adds to the eerie element. This movie must have had people running from the theater when it was released.
RELATED FILM: Der Golem (1915)

2. Haxan (1922)
This strange Swedish movie is part a documentary on witchcraft and part a vignettes on the same subject. It's a wild one. Watch the 2001 Criterion Collection DVD release which includes the re-cut film in its entirety.

3. Nosferatu (1922)

FW Murnau's vampire tale still packs a bunch today. Count Orlock is one of the most frightening creatures to every make the screen. A true classic.
RELATED FILM: Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

4. Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Lon Chaney Sr. has an impressive resume of work, this one is my personal favorite. The master of facial expression and body contortion, Chaney makes the phantom character is a startling figure.

5. Metropolis (1927)
Probably more of a science fiction movie than a horror movies, there are still some moments in this which can put you on edge. It's a great concept with a master filmmaker Fritz Lang at the helm.

6. Dracula (1931)

One of the first of the classic horror flicks from Universal Studios. No one does Drac like Bela Lugosi. One of Tod Browning's best.
RELATED FILMS: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Horror of Dracula (1958)

7. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1931)
My favorite version of this classic tale. I think it packs a slightly better punch than the later version with Spencer Tracey.
RELATED FILM: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1941)

8. Frankenstein (1931)

An all time favorite of mine. For me, the monster is a very endearing character and I find myself wanting him to destroy the villagers at the end.

9.M (1931)

Peter Lorre as a child murderer with Fritz Lang behind the camera, how could this movie fail. It cant. This is a great piece of cinema.

10.Vampyr (1932)
A fantastically shot masterpiece where you cant really tell where the lines between dreams and reality are hard to tell for the audience. A classic vampire tale.

11. Freaks (1932)
Never before or since has a movie like this been made. A strange love story turned back with actual carnival performers. Unique and a must see.

12. The Mummy (1932)
There were a lot of movies made with Boris Karloff during this time as he was one of the big three horror actors for Universal. This is the classic tale of Im Ho-Tep, who comes back to life to find his reincarnated lover.
RELATED FILM: Bubba Ho-Tep(2002)

13. King King (1933)
The original version of King Kong is very enjoyable flick of a gigantic beast's love for a women. Love it when he fights the snake!
RELATED FILM: King Kong(2005)

14. Island of Lost Souls (1933)
A great take on the classic H.G. Wells tale of a mad scientist altering human genes. The creatures are great as is Charles Laughton's performance.

15. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

In some ways, this sequel is better than the original. Much of the same as the original, except this time around Dr. Frank is also a sympathetic character. And what a magnificent harido.

16. The Wolf Man (1942)

Lon Chaney Jr. was one of the big horror actors of his generation. This movie has my favorite performance by him. Watch out when the wolfsbayne blooms!

17. The Cat People (1942)
Jacques Tourneur was a master at suspense. All his films are full of great imagery and leaving what is in the shadows stay there. He lets your imagination take over. Producer Val Lewton also has a big hand in this as well as RKO studios put out awesome movies during the time. This is one of their best combined works. Is she a cat or is she person? I dont's up to you to decide.
RELATED FILMS: {by Tourner} I Walked with a Zombie (1943), Curse of the Demon (1957)

18. The Uninvited (1944)
A fantastic haunted house tale with a nice mystery.

19. The Spiral Staircase (1946)
A movie about a serial killer taking prey on disabled women. Very suspenseful.

20. House of Wax (1953)
A list would be incomplete without the awesome Vincent Price. This is my personal choice for his best effort.

21. Godzilla (1954)

Go straight for the recently released, uncut Japanese version. It is a very dark and bleak movie which gives off a totally different tone than the US cut of the film. Listen to the Blue Oyster Cult before hand and get really pumped up!

22. Les Diaboliques (1955)
Talk about on the edge of your seat suspense. This intense French movie is it! The wife and mistress of a Boarding School's headmaster come up with a plan to murder him, but after the deed is done the body disappears. Then the fun really begins.

23. Night of the Hunter(1955)

Robert Mitchum had many noteworthy performances in his strong career, but this one may be his best. He is sadistic, menacing, and pure evil. Do yourself a favor and see this movie today.
RELATED FILM: Cape Fear (1962)

24. The Bad Seed (1956)
A mother suspects her daughter may be a killer. Trust me, this is one spooky kid.
RELATED FILMS: The Innocents (1961), Village of the Damned (1960)

25. Eyes without a Face (1959)
Another strong outing from France, this tale of surgeon kidnaps women and grafts their faces onto his horribly disfigured daughter.
REALTED FILMS: Faust (1926), (Open Your Eyes (1997)

120 Essential Horror Films (part 2)

Hopefully you've gazed upon the first section of this list and also know the reasoning for the posts. If you haven't, then go take a look as repeating the short paragraph seems redundant.

Here is the second section (of four total). These selections fall between the years 1960-1975, which was a great time in American cinema. Many of the first film school grads were out making extremely independent and personal movies. The Hollywood system was spreading money out to different places for these new and creative piece. That is until one summer, it all changed and the blockbuster era was upon us. Then Hollywood changed their thinking and began dumping huge amounts of money into a select few films a year. Around the globe during this time, many other countries were spratically making films. The exception was in Europe, which seemed to the other place making movies consistently. England's Hammer Studios were cranking out fright fest by the boatloads while Italy introduced giallo to the world.

26. Black Sunday (1960)-
What's a horror list without Mario Bava. He is commonly known for creating giallo. However, this film about a witch and possession is more towards horror.
RELATED FILM: {also Bava} Black Sabbath

27. Little Shop of Horrors (1960)-
If you want to talk about an influential person in cinema history, then Roger Corman could be that man. As a producer he gave opportunities to many people within the film industry that would shape the next several decades. There are many great Corman produced horror movies during this era, this one is my favorite (and not just for Jack Nicholson's performance).

28. Peeping Tom (1960)-
This fantastic movie was probably ahead of its time. It freaked many people out when first released. The main character (who resembles Peter Lorre to me) is downright creepy as he films himself murdering women.

29. Psycho (1960)-

Hitchcock isn't called the master of suspense for no reason, most of his films have you on the edge of your seat. He often dabbled with the horror in ordinary people. This film is one of his best known and scared the shit of many people when released. The foundation for so many future movies.

30. Carnival of Souls (1962)-

This movie is like a long, weird dream. You soak it all in and try to make sense out of it...if you can.

31. The Haunting(1963)-

For my money, the best haunted house movie ever. It's all about what you don't see on the other side of the door, which can be far movie frightening then what you can see.

32. Kwaiden (1964)-
Japan was very into period pieces at this time, this contains four separate tales based on Japanese folklore. A wonderful movie.
RELATED FILM: Onibaba (1964)

33. Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)-
What can you say about Herschell Gordon Lewis? He made some whacked out movies during this time, all fairly gory and morbid. This one is about a town of crazy hillbillies. HEEYAWW...great fun!


I find most of Roman Polanski films outstanding, especially his early stuff. This movie about a woman slowly falling into madness contains little dialog, amazing visuals, and is highly claustrophobic.

35. Wait Until Dark(1967)-
Thugs terrorize a blind woman. The movie is pure emotion and the beautiful Audrey Hepburn was never better.

36. Hour of the Wolf (1968)-
Ingmar Bergman was a special director who had a gift for putting images on the screen. This is labeled his only true horror film, it's surreal nature has one thinking...just like all of his movies.
RELATED FILM: {Bergman} Persona

37. Night of the Living Dead (1968)-

The George Romero classic that started the zombie rage. Highly gory for its time and very moody. This is one is a classic.

38. Rosemary's Baby (1968)-
Roman Polanski gets another entry here in this incredibly suspenseful movie about a couple who's unborn baby just may be the offspring of Satan. This is one of the rare cases where the movie follows the book almost to the page. The movie is jam packed with stars creating one perfectly intense scene after another as we watch the mother slowly unravel.

39. Targets (1968)-
The last movie of Boris Karloff's career where he plays an aging horror star who feels the horror business has passed him. His tale in woven with that of an abused man who goes on a mass murdering spree at a drive in theater. This movie is a little known masterpiece.

40. A Clockwork Orange (1971)-

A story about a sociopath who after committing murder and rape undergoes a special new therapy to cure him. A crazy ass, off the wall movie...and I enjoy every second of it.

41. The Omega Man (1971)-
The second version of a Richard Matheson tale of I Am Legend, is about the last known man on Earth battling the remainder of the population who have turned into vampiric creatures. This funky 70's version has Charleston Heston and is a blast to watch.
RELATED FILM: The Last Man on Earth

42. Straw Dogs (1971)-
Director Sam Peckinpah was known for violence in his films (though he usually stuck to westerns), this one is be his most violent. An American and his wife decide to get away from the US and take residence in the England countryside. They get harassed, raped, and beaten by some locals. When they decide to fight back, the battle gets very interesting.

43. Twitch of Death Nerve (1971)-
Another Mario Bava flick, this one heavily influenced many future slasher movies.

44. Blood for Dracula (1973)-

Andy Warhol's Factory made this whacked out version of Dracula, in which the count hunts for virgin blood. You have to watch the movie to believe it.

45. The Creeping Flesh (1973)-
I couldn't have a list without a strong representation from Hammer Studios/ As most, this one starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. It's about a scientist who discovers the skeleton of a prehistoric man which is pure evil.

46. Don't Look Now (1973)-
A couple keep encountering the spirit of their recently drowned daughter. An eerie movie where nothing is as it seems.

47. The Exorcist (1973)-

It's the grand daddy of all possession movies! Personally I think it still holds up well today and I still get chills up my spine watching this one.

48. Wicker Man (1973)-

A policeman is sent to a Scottish island to find a missing girl, only discover the people living their are pagans. There is a great twist at the end of this surreal adventure.

49. It's Alive (1974)-
Larry Cohen has made some strange ass horror flicks over the years. This one is about a couple's newborn baby who goes on a murderous rampage (it turns out the baby was transformed from fertility drugs taken by the parents). Does it sound fucked up? Well it is but the movie is campy goodness at its best.

50. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)-

Another of my all time favorites. This movie so damn intense and still provides good shock value.

That completes round 2, next week the third section.
Until next time...

120 Essential Horror Films (part 3)

Hopefully you've gazed upon the first two sections of this list and also know the reasoning for the posts. If you haven't, then go take a look as repeating the short paragraph seems redundant.

Here is the third section (of four total) from 1975-1990, or what I call the blockbuster years. After studios realized they could put more money into producing
fewer movies in hopes of a big hit, they did just exactly that very thing. They tried to score big with a movie and build a franchise, by offering up sequels. In the US horror world, after the success of Halloween the early 80's became slasher mania. All was not lost though as some very unique horror flicks came from this era.

51. Jaws (1975)-
A classic suspense tale of man vs shark. Be afraid to go into the water.
RELATED FILM: {Spielberg movies} Duel (1971)

52. Carrie (1976)-
A high school girl coping with her psychokinesis makes for a messy prom. One of the best Stephen King tales to be translated to film.
RELATED FILMS: {based on King's work} Salem's Lot (1979), It (1990), The Stand (1994)

53. The Omen (1976)-
What happens when your adopted son is the spawn of Satan? You get Gregory Peck trying to kill little, evil Damien.

54. Eraserhead (1977)-

David Lynch is the king of surreal movies that mix in horror elements. This is his first full length feature and probably one of his weirdest.
RELATED FILMS: {Lynch movies} Blue Velvet (1986), Lost Highway (1997)

55. Suspiria (1977)-

One of the Italian masters, Dario Argento, makes his way on to the list with a supernatural giallo movie. If it sounds strange, then just wait until you watch it.
RELATED FILM: Inferno (1980)

56. Dawn of the Dead (1977)-

Another strong zombie outing from George Romero that has style, wit, and a message all its own.
REALTED FILM: Return of the the Living Dead (1985)

57. Halloween(1978)-

58. Alien (1979)-
"In space, no one can you scream." I still remember the tag line for this horror/sci fi hybrid. For me, this movie is perfect. Still has one of the most shocking scenes in horror history.
RELATED FILM: Aliens (1986)

59. Phantasm (1979)-

What a whacked out trip. A tall man from another dimension posing as a funeral director to take the dead and make them jawa-like demons. And dont forget about those spears. There's nothing not to love about this classic.

60. Zombi (1979)
Lucio Fulci makes a entry here, because his work is hard to overlook. Some say his films are a muddled mess, while others love them. You be the judge. There are wild to say the least.
RELATED FILM: {Fulci movies} Seven Doors of Death (1981), House by the Cemetery (1981)

61. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)-
Around this era, several "cannibal" movies came out. Most were from Italy. All were shocking and disturbing. This is my pick for the best of the bunch.

62. Dress to Kill (1980)-
Another entry on the list from Brian DePalma, who has made a great career out of repacking movies he grew up on for a modern era. This is his take on Psycho and its quite disturbing.
RELATED FILM: {DePalma movies} Sisters (1973)

63. Friday the 13th (1980)-

The film that started it all, doesn't even include Jason. This one is all about his deranged mother getting even.
RELATED FILM: {Bob Clark movies} Black Christmas (1974)

64. The Shining (1980)-

Stephen King may not care for this version of his novel, but I think its fantastic. Nicholson has never been better. This film has a creepy atmosphere...and an annoying Shelley Duvall.

65. American Werewolf in London (1981)-

Jon Landis makes a darkly funny horror film. If for no other reason, watch this for the transformation scene which remains outstanding.

66. Evil Dead (1981)-

This movie scared the shit out of me the first time I watched it, but I was only a teenager. Over time, still holds up well. And come on, Bruce Campbell kicks ass.
RELATED FILMS: Evil Dead II (1987), Army of Darkness (1992)

67. The Howling (1981)-
Another darkly comedic horror flick about werewolves. Though there are some parts of this one, which are just plain creepy.

68. Poltergeist (1982)-
A classic ghost story which teaches us not to ever build a house on an Indian burial ground. Spirits get pissed.
RELATED FILMS: The Changeling (1980), Ghost Story (1981)

69. The Thing (1982)-

One of my all time favorites. Why? Great special effects, which stand the test of time, and the best ending of any horror movies ever. Period!

70. Videdrome(1983)-
Crazy ass David Cronenberg mixes horror and sex like no other. He's made many great movies in his career, this one may be his best.

71. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1983)-

The first time Freddy entered our lives and scared the hell out of us. I didn't want to sleep after watching this one. Of course it was Kruger became a smart ass.
RELATED FILM: Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

72. Fright Night (1985)-
An incredible and often overlooked vampire movie. Creepy, ugly ass vampires.

73. Re-Animator (1985)-
Stuart Gordon has made a career from translating H.P. Lovecraft tales to the big screen. This is his best and made Jeffrey Combs a horror star.
RELATED FILM: {Gordon films} From Beyond (1986)

74. The Fly (1986)-
RELATED FILM: {Cronenberg films} Dead Ringers (1988), The Dead Zone (1983), Scanners (1981)

74. Toxic Avenger (1986)-
Good ole Troma Entertainment. The kings of the B-movie. They have produced some of the most off beat horror flicks you can think of in the last 20+ years. Toxie is just one of them.
RELATED FILMS: Terror Firmer (1999), Cannibal the Musical (1996)

75. Angel Heart (1987)-
Voodoo, murder, Robert DeNiro playing the devil...sign me up. A twisted tale.

76. Hellraiser (1987)-

Pinhead makes his debut in this flick based on a Clive Barker novel, though his sceen time is very limited. This one deals more with the lust for the magical puzzle box.

77. Near Dark(1988)-
A vampire/western/action flick hybrid that delivers the goods.

78. Beetlejuice (1988)-
Tim Burton often makes off the wall movies with a horror overtone. This one just happens to be my favorite of his movies and Michael Keaton has never been better.
RELATED FILM: {Burton films} Sleepy Hollow

79. The Vanishing (1988)-
Watch this Danish version, not the US remake. It's gripping and has you on the edge of your seats.

80. Meet the Feebles (1989)-
Before Peter Jackson made the LOTR trilogy, he was down under making kick ass, strange horror movies. But this takes the cake. The characters are muppet like creatures from a variety show who deal with human problems like murder, drug addiction, know, the usual wholesome family entertainment.
RELATED FILMS: {Jackson movies} Dead Alive (1992), Bad Taste (1987)

120 Essential Horror Films (part 4)

Welcome to the last of my series on essential horror flicks. If you dont know the reasoning behind the list by now, go back to the first entry and start from there.

This section is from 1990 to present day. During this time period, the Hollywood studio system became even more restricted and became more dedicated to the big box office receipts. The good news is the US independent film scene exploded with thoughtful and innovative movies. We also saw an explosion in world cinema with more countries producing more films every year.

81. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (released 1990, made in 1986)

This one is odd. It was made in 1986, but censors -- I mean the MPAA -- deemed an X rating. Finally it was released in 1990 with the new NC-17 rating and found a cult following on video. This is one of the best movies about a serial killer ever made. No glam or glitz, just pure dark emotions that unravel the viewer.

82. Misery (1990)-
The sledgehammer scene still gives me the chills. A great acted film which is very intense.

83. Scream(1990)-
A true classic that sprung new life into the genre by breaking all the rules the genre created...and letting the audience in on the joke.

84. Tremors (1990)-

What's not to like about this creature feature. It has aged well with time.

85. Begotten (1991)-
I'm not sure how to even describe this work of art. Gruesome imagery is all I come up with
in this story with no dialog.

86. The Resurrected (1991)-
A great H.P. Lovecraft tale which makes an outstanding flick. One of several entries by screenwriter Dan O'Bannon on my list.

87. Candyman (1992)-
This may be the scariest movie based on a Clive Barker story ever made. Just dont say his name three times!

88. Cemetery Man (1994)-

Love conquers all...even death. Or does it? This cemetery caretaker attempts to find out and make sense of it.

89. The Kingdom (1994)-
This Dutch masterpiece is down right freaky. One of the most terrifying flicks about hauntings.

90. Mute Witness (1994)-
An interesting movie set in Russia about a mute who witnesses a snuff film being made, then the makers come after her.

91. Seven (1995)-
This movie puts you on the edge of you seat. Beautifully filmed and well acted, it is evil at its core.

92. Tokyo Fist (1995)-

A Japanese entry here about fighting, love, and body mutilation. The damage this trio does not only to their body, but their minds is terrifying.
RELATED FILMS: Fight Club, Tetsou II

93. Funny Games (1997)-
Some kids in a remote village terrorize a couple on vacation. Truly horrific because it could easily happen (and does). Another foreign entry.

94. Ringu (1998)-
Japan came up with an overabundance of long haired, spooky female ghost movies over the last few years. It's part of their culture. I think this one is the creepiest.
REALTED FILMS: Dark Water, Phone, Ju Dou: The Grudge

95. Audition (1999)-

If you love bizarre and possibly even offensive movies and have not yet discovered Japanese director Takeshi Miike, you must do so immediately. He is fantastic and many of his flicks have to be seen to be believed. This is no exception.
RELATED FILMS: {Miike films} Vistor Q, Gozo, Ichi the Killer

96. The Blair Witch Project (1999)-
This is an example of great marketing for a movie that cost damn near nothing to make. A simply concept, lets make a documentary about a witch by going into the woods where it is suppose to live. Sounds like a great time to me.

97. The Sixth Sense (1999)-
After you set through the movie, you want to beat yourself in the head for not figuring it out. It's that simple. Guess it proves how much a person can get sucked into a good film.

98. Battle Royale (2000)-

A Japanese movie about a game show which puts a bunch of kids on an island in a fight to the end. There can only be one winner. It's Lord of the Flies on octane!
REALTED FILMS: Suicide Club,

99. Ginger Snaps(2000)-
This is a darn good werewolf movie. Enough said.

100. The Isle (2000)-
A Korean entry by Ki-duk Kim that's borderline horror, but I love it. Love and suicide can sum it up best.

101. The Devil's Backbone(2001)-
Guillermo Del Toro made this ghost tale in Mexico before moving onto big budget Hollywood pictures. The man has a gift for storytelling threw a lens.

102. Donnie Darko (2001)-

It's just a weird damn movie that's sort of about time manipulation.

103. Frailty (2001)-
A father believes he is on a mission from God to destroy demons in human bodies. Needless to say it has some affects on his two sons.

104. Session 9 (2001)-
This is creepy film about a haunted psychiatric ward being renovated.
RELATED FILM: The Machinist

105. 28 Days Later (2002)-
A zombie movie that's not really a zombie movie. Turned the genre upside and never looked back.

106. Dog Soldiers(2002)-
A group of soldiers run moves in a dense forest which happens to be inhabited by werewolves.

107. In My Skin(2002)-
This French movie is about a woman who become obsessed with her body after a life altering accident.

108. Irreversible (2002)-

Another French movie that is very hard to watch because of one scene. It plays out so real that it's scary. A very unique movie.

109. Requiem of a Dream (2002)
The horrors of drugs and its users. Simple enough.

110. Haute Tension (2003)-
A surreal serial killer flick from France which will have you shaking your head at the end and thinking.

111. Open Water (2003)-
Ever been lost at sea. Without a boat. And sharks circling you. Me neither, nor do I want to.

112. Club Dread (2004)-
An awesome horror comedy which plays up the serial killer subgenre.

113. Old Boy(2004)-

Another movie from Korea, this time for Chan-woo Park. He loves revenge flicks and this is an entertaining one.
RELATED FILMS: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance

114. Saw (2004)-
It didn't event torture in movies, but it started a whole new subgenre in the horror realm. An outstanding picture.

115. Shaun of the Dead (2004)-

Horror and comedy at its best in this send up of the zombie movie.

116. The Descent(2005)-
Claustrophobia sets in as a group of women get trapped inside some caves and find out their are not alone.

117. Feast (2005)-

A nice creature movie that has a little bit of everything, some scares, some gore, some comedy, and some skin.

118. Hard Candy (2005)-
A movie that's difficult to watch because of its subject matter. It makes you think after watching it.

119. Slither (2006)-

All that is good about horror is rolled up in this one.

120. To be announced at a later date. Surely there is something for 2007 that deserves to be on here.


Wrestling #7: One Helluva Tournament

Last weekend, IWA-MS had its annual Ted Petty Invitational Tournament in Chicago. For the third straight year I was in attendance and once again, not disappointed.

There is a strong history with the tourny, from the beginnings when it was called The Sweet Science Sixteen to the name change in 2003 after the death of Ian's close friend Ted Petty aka Rocco Roc and expansion to 24 wrestlers through today. Some of the best indy talent has made their way through this tournament over the years and the list of names to win the event is quite impressive: Chris Hero, CM Punk, BJ Whitmer, AJ Styles, Matt Sydal, and Low-ki. The tournament used to feature mainly IWA-MS talent, which has been plentiful in the promotion's near eleven year existence. What began as a tournament to showcase wrestling skills for the performers of his own promotion (with an occasional big indy name thrown in the mix), Ian has turned this into one of the top events on the US wrestling scene. The changed occurred in 2004 when the event featured a who's who of young performers who would make a name for themselves only a few short years later. Part of that years list included Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Alex Shelly, Claudio Castagnoli, Matt Quackenbush, Chris Sabin, Super Dragon, Petey Williams, Matt Sydal, Homicide, Nigel McGuinness, Chris Hero, CM Punk, Jimmy Rave, Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries, and Roderick Strong. Some called it the best tournament of all time.

The last three years have all promised their share of big names, which led to a few drop outs every time, trying to live up to the standard 2004 created. This year was no exception as the initial twelve were awesome. However because of certain issues and money problems, several wrestlers announced months were changed. Many fans were pissed off when the announcement was made about a week before the event.

Even though I was disappointed in the changes, the tourny still looked very good on paper. I viewed the changes as a return to the event's roots as Ian had to use more of his normal IWA-MS talent as fill ins for the dropped wrestlers (Chuck Taylor, Josh Abercrombie, Brandon Tomaselli). The event still had former regulars Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Nigel McGuinness, Nate Webb, and BJ Whitmer along with Eddie Kingston, Davey Richards, Mike Quackenbush, Brent Albright, Human Tornado, Joey Ryan, and (2 Cold) Scorpio. I was still pumped for the show and the chance to hang out with my wrestling buddies.

Going into the event, Mike Quackenbush was the fan favorite to win this year. The masses love this guy and for great reasons. This was the first time the Lightweight champion (Quack) and the IWA-MS champion (Taylor, who has held the title almost one year to the day) were both in the tourny and both men defended the title in each of their matches. Before going any farther, please note there are spoilers in the rest of this article.

The first night was a good time. Lots of entertaining matches with different styles; a little high flying, a little brawling, a little violence, and a little mat work. If you ask five different people what the best match was, you'd probably receive five different answers. My favorite three matches were Chuck Taylor vs Jimmy Jacobs, Brent Albright vs Tank, and Chris Hero vs Scorpio. A Kingston vs Hero Last Man Standing match was set up for night two and both champs kept their title and moved on.

The second night was when the emotional ride really started. As stated, nearly all wanted Quack to be victorious but no one was 100% sure he would win. The quarter finals saw Taylor again make a successful defense, this time against the veteran Scorpio (which surprised some). Claudio Castagnoli beat Davey Richards in a rapid fire event. Human Tornado bested Nate Webb in not only a match, but a dance contest (though Nate would probably disagree on the later). Also winning were Josh Abercrombie and Brent Albright. Not to be forgotten, Quack took a victory against Joey Ryan. During the match Quack dove outside the ring and his foot caught the ropes. He hit the floor hard and the crowd was silenced. He got up and finished the match with a glazed look in his eyes and moving on instincts.

After intermission, Ian informed the crowd that the NWA representative Ed Chuman said Quack wouldn't be able to perform any longer tonight (yes IWA-MS is a member of the NWA). The crowd went silence for the next two matches as their fallen hero would come up short yet again. Lost in the mix was another title defense by Chuck Taylor beating the Human Tornado and a great match with Claudio winning over Albright. Abercrombie came out to get announced as the last man in the finals. Suddenly Quackenbush burst through the curtain and the venue exploded in cheers and chants of "Quack". He was going to have his match. In a spectacular technical match, Quack come out on top. Ian came out and said he wanted to thank Quackenbush because by him wrestling, it got IWA-MS out of it's NWA affiliate contract. Storyline or shoot, I could care less as I was caught up in the emotional rollercoaster of the tournament.

The last man standing match was brutal as Hero got the early advantage and pounded Kingston. It all came to an rather abrupt end with one big spot as Kingston got the victory over his nemesis. Next up was the IWA-MS Tag Champion match with the Tomaselli's (champs) vs Nigel & Whitmer, who agreed to help him out. The lost and Albright did a run in setting up a possible Whitmer & Albright vs the Iron Saints match in the future. Onto the finals.

Quackenbush vs Chuck Talor vs Claudio Castagnoli for both the IWA-MS Lightweight and World Championship belts and the 2007 TPI title. The match was fast paced and rapidly moving along with hardly any wasted time. Claudio was the first man to go down, which left champion vs champion. Shortly after Quackenbush got the victory. Choking back emotions Quack gave an emotional speech, which nearly had me in tears as I was completely lost in the moment. Ian gave a speech of his own and said he was proud to have a class act like Quack not only as his champions and the TPI winner but as a friend. The show ended with chants of "Teddy", a thing the crowd does to honor Ted when they witness a great moment or spot. And what an incredible moment it was.


Low Budget Originality

I'll be honest. I tend to be more forgiving on an average lower budget horror movie, than a big budget studio movie that is equally as mundane. Let's explore why I have this mentally (other than my slight negative bias towards the stifling Hollywood system).

The independently produced film usually has more freedom for the players (I use this term to some up the entire crew from writers, directors, producers, actors, and other staff) to work freely and express ideas which could be shied away from by the constraints of Hollywood. This freedom can result in a new twist on an old story, exploration of a taboo subject matter, and loads more of gore. It also forces these players to use innovation and their brains to get the most out their money.

The other place to find this items in other countries. I often turn to horror movies from other corners of the globe to see new, refreshing ideas. It's fascinating to me to watch horror from another cultures unravel, though many Asian Horror films these days have been following a trend of the haunted object and creepy ghost child.

The above statements do not apply to every film. Many low budget and foreign movies are absolute crap, just as some Studio flicks are damn good. I guess it all comes down to the fact that with all the extra money spent one a big budget Hollywood movie, the end results should turn out better. And originality instead of regurgitated material.

I'd like to expand more on this subject, but just wanted to lay out the ground work right now. In the meantime...

Here's some lower budget horror, sci-fi, and foreign made movies I've seen recently that grabbed my attention. You may want to check them out.
- The Hunt
- Altered
- The Fountain
- Wilderness
- 13 Tzametti
- Roman
- Dark Remains
- Head Trauma
- Strange Circus


Wrestling #4: The Tragic Death of the Benoit's

Like many fans in the wrestling world, the death of Chris Benoit and his family has left me deeply saddened, pissed off, and confused.

When the news first broke that Benoit and his family was found dead, I felt heavy hearted because a great performer was gone. A man who gave it his all each and every time out would never be seen again. I teared up. I was emotional. But not as emotional as maybe I should have been. This guy was one of my favorite workers. And I knew the reason why...the way the police found the bodies. Deep down, I knew it was going to be grim. Either they entire Benoit family was murdered by an outside source or the brutality was committed by one of the parents.

I watched the RAW tribute to Chris Benoit. I cried. I listened to his peers talk about how decent of a person he was and he loved his family to his fullest extent. When the show was over, I turned off the TV and waited until morning, with an uneasiness in my stomach, for more news to break.

On Tuesday the details of the event came to light. It was in fact my worse fear, a murder-suicide. Benoit strangled his wife Nancy, smothered his son with a pillow, then hung himself in the weight room. Steroids and human growth hormones were found in the house and the police tracked down where the substances were purchased. Track marks were found in 7 year Daniel's arm; the speculation is that since the child was undersized Benoit felt the need to put chemicals into his system. All of this makes me sick to stomach. How could a man who appeared to be so noble on the wrestling stage, be such a monster in real life?

And rightfully so the media has turned this into a crusade against wrestling. This form of entertainment is being put through the ringer. It's no secrets steroids are rampant in the industry, especially at the top levels, and some measures need to be taken as too many performers die too young. But that is a topic for another day.

Certainly more details of this horrible event will unfold in the weeks to come and I wont like hearing one bit of it. My opinion on Chris Benoit the wrestler will never change. He was one of the greatest in ring performers to lace up the boots. But my opinion of the man Chris Benoit is forever altered. I am disgusted by the actions he committed and because of this, I'm not certain a match of his will ever again be viewed by eyes. It will take a long time for the wound to heal.

It brings me to a thought about people in general: No matter how close you are to another person or how much you think you know another person; you truly never do.


Wrestling #2: Candido Cup Thoughts

I went to IWAMS's first annual Candido Cup Tournament, held over Friday & Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. The show had some great tag teams from the indy scene with the likes of the The Basham Brothers, 2.0, North Star Express, Tomaselli's, Blackout, and the Havana Pitbulls (unfortunately Arrogance had to pull out due to an injury to Scott Lost). Throw in Homicide & Lowki with Axl Rotten & Mickie Knuckes with BJ Whitmer & Davey Richards with an appearance of legendary Ricky Morton, this was shaping up to be a nice tourny. This time around, the winner would also win the IWAMS Tag Champions.

If you want until to watch the event spoiler free, then skip the rest of the post.

Going into it, I figured one of the regular teams would win like the Tomaselli's or Bashams (thus setting up a kick ass feud with Bad Breed once Ian returns from injury --- something which will probably still happen). So I wasn't all that surprised to see Vito & Sal Tomaselli win the titles back. And in Chicago, these guys are hugely popular. I works for the promotion. The big surprised were some of the teams that advanced, like Cheech & Cloudy in the finals. I admit, these guys are entertaining but I'm a little confused on why they made it that far. And the whole run by Whitmer & Richards just seemed to set up a first round match for the TPI, which I find fun how the story was incorporated with their big singles tourny, but it could have happened early in the tourny.

Directly after the two day show, I came away entertained but a little disappointed. Maybe I expected a little more from this tournament. Maybe I was a little angry it didn't play out the way I thought it should. Maybe I was over thinking the whole thing and should just be content. I still suggest getting the DVD from Smart Mark Video when it's released. You could do a lot worse for indy actions and as I said before, it is an entertaining wresltling show.

Get the DVD at Smart Mark Video


Wrestling #1: A change in the US scene

Talk about a huge announcement that came out of thin air!

Last week Ring of Honor Wrestling ( told the world they have come to an agreement with EchoStar, InDemand, and TVN to air six PPV's throughout 2007-08 (1 every 60 days). This statement prompted a domino effect on the US independent wrestling scene. Mainly due to decision made with in TNA.

The report prompted to immediately pull all TNA talent from RoH, which was down to only Austin Aries and Homicide. Unlike the previous situation when TNA did this (see Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, etc), this time I can completely understand. They want to protect their investment and their company. Having TNA wrestlers on another company's product that will be available national would be a bad idea. RoH has seen this coming and slowly started phasing the TNA workers out of main angles over the past few months.

What I don't get is the TNA verdict to pull talent from PWG ( because they make their DVD's available through High Spots (, a website that also distributes TNA merchandise. Unlike RoH, PWG uses a lot of TNA midcard talent in major storylines. Only time will tell, but it appears that if a promotion sells DVD's on a outside distributors website like High Spots or Smart Mark Video (, then the TNA will be pulled. For the record, Smart Mark tapes and sells DVD & tapes for various promotions including IWA-MS, IWA-DS, CZW, Chikara, and several others.

Who gets hurt most by this...well the answer right now is both fans and wrestlers. TNA westlers will suffer because they wont be able take other booking to subsides their incomes. With TNA only doing one PPV and two TV tapings a month, that's not a lot money for some of the workers, especially low card workers. The fans may get resentful because they cant see these workers anywhere but TNA. Unless TNA plans to start running house shows on a weekly basis, which I cant see them doing, the potential backfire could be immense.

Back to the Ring of Honor. The huge difference with RoH's deal is these are NOT LIVE events. These will be taped shows, edited down (though no editing will occur in a match itself, just the entire card) to meet the two hour time slot. This gives the company the chance to create this event for DVD release, then make the necessary changes for the PPV. Not much extra work will go into the process.

This can only be a good thing for the company. If the deal fails, they can always go back to the original business model and try again later. But if the deal succeeds. We could have another national alternative in US wrestling...which is a great situation to have if you're a fan.

RoH has said they have no interest in taking on the WWE. They cant. They don't have the financial backing. They just want to carve out a piece for themselves. The promotion is different in how it presents itself than both the WWE and TNA (which are very similar in styles). As a fan of wrestling and of Ring of Honor, I hope the promotion gains new fans and makes more money thus making all wrestling fans the winners.


Horror on the Tube

If you're a fan horror, you will notice a decent amount of TV shows which contains the elements of horror in them on a regular basis. I'm only making note of this because the number seems to be higher than usual...and for the most part, these are great programs. Let's take a look.

Masters of Horror - Horror fans can be a very finicky bunch of people to please. Rarely do they get blown away by a movie or program. The critics for MoH are no exception. Most episodes are either loved or loathed. I seem to be in the minority because I've enjoyed every episode, some much more than others but all are watchable (though I believe Season 2 had a slight drop off). You get combine some of the best horror directors and writers together with a minimum budget a enjoyable stories should unfold. Hopefully the series keeps going for a few more years, which a variety of directors and writers so it doesn't get repetitive.

Favorites from Season 1: Jenifer, Cigarette Burns
Favorites from Season 2: Sounds Like

Supernatural - I compare this show to the X-Files in the fact there are two types of episodes. The ones which deal with monsters, urban legends, and things that go bump in the night; and ones which advance the main storyline of a powerful demon's plans to end mankind. At the heart of the program is the relationship between the Winchester brothers and how they deal with this responsibility. This is simply fun television, with some decent scares thrown in the mix.

Lost - This show helped to change television. After the explosive pilot, every week felt like a must see movie premiere. Characters are the soul of the program, but almost every episode features elements of horror - ghosts, mysterious creatures, strange noises, premonitions, on the list goes on and on. The shows gives very human characters with strengths and flaws, but makes the viewer care about each one. So many questions have opened up on the series, and for every one answered it seems a new questions open. Now the writers have an end point, I can see everything coming together to hopefully satisfy our curiosity.

Heroes - Taking a spin from Lost, the program puts an array of characters together with super powers and manages to humanize them all, regardless of intentions. It asks a lot of questions and sets up many scenarios, but it also gives the viewers answers. The very nature is more of a fantasy, but hey fantasy is horror's first cousin (along with science fiction). A rewarding show, which had me hooked after the first episode.

Nip/Tuck - I love this show, but I debated on adding it to the list. Then thought why the hell not. The horror that lies with in this program is the horror of human nature and what people are capable of doing to each other. And on this show, that is a lot. Last season was a small dip from the previous ones, which included Dr. Troy and Dr. McNamara dealing murder, feeding bodies to alligators, transsexuals, drug smugglers, white supremacists, porn, and so much other strangeness; but Season 4 still had organ smuggling.

Dexter - The concept alone had me from the first episode. A forensic detective who also a serial killer, but he only murders the extremely bad people. I caught the first few episodes when I had free Showtime for a week, no I cant wait for it to come out on DVD.

The Dead Zone, Ghost Whisperer, Medium - Honestly, I've never seen theses show. But it's are still on after their first season...may be I should check them out.

Check these past favorites (alright I didn't watch all of them on a regular basis) out on DVD: X-Files, Twin Peaks, Tales from the Crypt, Dead Like Me, The Twilight Zone, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Charmed.

I'm certain there are more out there, just cant think of any at the moment. Let me know if I've missed any.


Welcome to my Grindhouse

Being a huge Quentin Tarantino fan and always entertained by Robert Rodriguez movies, I'm surprised it took me a couple of weeks to make it out and watch Grindhouse. Hey I've been busy, but with poor box office results I figured that it'd be pulled from the theaters in the next couple of weeks. So say goodbye to gorgeous spring weather made for yard work and say hello to the Sunday matinee!

I grew up in Northeast Indiana, which was fairly rural back in the day (now it's more saturated with suburban sprawl then ever, but still fairly rural). The closest thing to the "grindhouse" experience I ever came was the drive-in theater showing triple bills, with at least one of the flicks being low budget horror, kung fu, or sexplotation flick. The funny part is my mother would usually sit in the back seat, with me and my step-father in the front, so she could cover my eyes during if too much gore or nudity happened. Hey I was a pre-teen kid. With the Video Age rapidly growing in the late 80's, many of these cult and underground movies I would watch in my teenage years and beyond. Even today I am still discovering gems from the era...and many bad ones too.

Anyway, here is my take on Grindhouse. A few basic plot ideas are exposed, but nothing major or that causal readers probably don't already know. With that stated, you are warned.

Planet Terror - This is not Rodriguez's first foray into the horror genre. That would be The Faculty, which is essentially a different slant on Invasion of the Body Snatchers only with teenagers as the focal point (and yes, I liked the movie). Not surprisingly, Rodriguez says the idea for Planet came during the filming of that movie and years a head of the zombie explosion in horror.

The movie is rehashes some familiar ideas from Return of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later, with bio terrorists unleashing chemicals that infect the normal population turning them into zombies. Though here is that the infected aren't really zombies, they're just sick due to the chemicals. In typical Rodriguez fashion, the movie opens up with action and is action packed until the end. Even the over the top sequence with Cherry's machine gun leg is acceptable in the world of survival. And if you want gore, this one is full of blister popping and bloody explosions full of goodness.
Every time I watch a Robert Rodriguez film, I know that I can walk away satisfied. If for no other reason, he makes watching movies fun again. You don't have to think very much, just sit back and enjoy. And I respect the man even more because he does it outside the constraints of the Hollywood machine, proving to film makers all over the globe that you can be successful with out a major studio.

Death Proof - One thing you get with Tarantino is talking. Lots of talking. Usual about stuff normal people talk about...with heavy references of pop culture from the 70's into today mixed in. This flick is no exception.

The first part was all talk. Introducing a group of female characters and getting to know the villain and his weapon, Kurt Russel in a fabulous role. Then just when you think nothing else is going to happened. BAM! The the big whammy hits and hell breaks loose. An amazing sequence of the killer and his tool doing damage.

Then more talk begins. Introducing new female characters, establishing a new group of pals. You are left waiting. You are wanting anything to happen. You are begging for anything except more talking. As the story builds up, all the talking and waiting is forgiven with one of the best chase scenes ever filmed. It ranks right up there with The French Connection, Two Lane Blacktop, Bullitt, Vanishing Point, and Beverly Hills Cop. Alright, the last one I lied about since nothing else popped into my skull but you get my drift.

But it's not over yet. With a sweet twist of irony, another chase begins and the climax happens. Abruptly the credits role. While at first this abruptness seemed a bit strange, upon reflection it worked for me. Tarantino managed to again entertain me in a way no other director can.

The wrap - While I enjoyed the movie as a whole, and the fake trailers were awesome if you got the references, I found myself wondering. Would all the praise for the film still be occurring if it was directed by a random, unknown director or would it have been released directly to DVD? Guess we'll never know.


Movie Remake Mania

Let me be about the millionth person to utter the following statement: Hollywood, please cease with the horror movie remakes. Since we all know it’s never going to happen, can we at least a reduction in the amount being green lighted or fraction of common sense to the process. I can understand Hollywood wanting to make US versions of foreign movies. Many Americans refuse to watch movies from other countries because they “don’t want to read the screen” or “cant handle the bad dubbing” – the latter of which isn’t much of an issue anymore. It is a shame however. Over the last few years, other countries have made more original and better horror movies than here in America. But to remake all of these US movies from the 70’s and 80’s is silly. No one will ever convince me there is a shortage of good and original scripts collecting dust on a shelf that couldn’t be made instead.

Let’s face the truth. The track record of remakes, or my favorite movie term “re-imaging”, and pointless sequels isn’t very good. Once in a while you get one better than the original. The Hills Have Eyes is an example, or least from what I can remember about the Wes Craven version. But most of the time, the results are far worse. Take a number of examples over the last few years The Fog, Pulse, The Hitcher, The Grudge, Black Christmas, Dark Water, The Wicker Man, and the hits keep rolling on.

The problem is these bad movies are actually making the studios money. Most of the time they are fairly inexpensive to make (unless a big named actor is involved – another increasing trend) and requires little in box office revenue and DVD sales to make money. The studios make sure the movie is released as PG-13 (like just about every thing else released anymore) so a wider audience will have a chance to spend money. Then the movie gets released on DVD as unrated with scenes not seen in theaters. What a f***ing joke! And with Premonition, Motel Hell, The Eye, Funny Games, One Missed Call, The Invasion, Prom Night, I Am Legend, Sisters, and Friday the 13th (a "re-exploration", which is another great term) all slated in the to be released in the next year, there is no end in site.

The US is in a horror rebound! The genre is back and it’s cool as ever. And maybe that’s the problem. The subject matter that was once taboo and not made for teenagers are now being remade for that same audience, only in a lighter themed version which requires little thought. It boggles my mind how a script, worse than the original movie, get produced. And it pains me to see certain CLASSIC movies get remade.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, though all right thanks to R. Lee Ermey and the white painted-on tank top of Jessica Beil, was not needed. Gus Van Zant remade back in 1998 almost entire shot for shot, which the exception of a masturbation scene. That movie was a complete waste of money and not needed. Now Rob Zombie is remaking Halloween. While I am a fan of his previous efforts and was kind of excited until I found out the movie wasn’t a sequel. Instead it will be a “retelling” (another one of my favorite movie terms), but the original is perfect. There is no need to remake it. Hell I’m sure some egghead has the bright idea to retell Citizen Kane too.

If Hollywood really wants to remake some horror movies, then dig a little bit. Pick some obscure flicks, one that could use another go around. Make sure the screenplay works before going on to production. And leave the great ones alone. Maybe try and update some movies from 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Now I’m a big fan of the Jacques Tourneur movies I Walked with a Zombie and Night of the Demon, why not give these the ole remake try. On second thought, CGI monsters or a serial killer would just replace the moodiness of those films. Just forget the whole damn idea.