How Cons Are Conning Fans

After the disaster that was Megacon and the lovely bout of Covid Both my daughter and I got, you’ll be surprised to know we are attending one day of Florida Supercon. I’ve been with Supercon since 2005 or 2006. From that grubby fleabag hotel on Hollywood Beach, to the insanity of Invarrary (this was the con where I got trapped in a stall while two kids went at it on counter!) to the MACC (which was the best) to the Miami Convention Center and the Broward Convention Center (the worst).

I know it’s going to be a clusterfvck but there are several voice actors Sara wants to meet. And I signed up for a table signing with Michael Rooker and this business of signing up and paying beforehand kinda pisses me off. I know a lot of this is Covid related but these photo op people are robbing fans blind.

I’m still super angry @megacon. The main reason I went was for Brendan Fraser and I got maybe 3 seconds with him in these awful photo shoot. I wish I’d known about having to buy your table signing ahead of time or about those stupid partitions. I would never have wasted my money on either of those two godawful pictures.

While God laughs hysterically
At least I *think* he knows we were there this time

I don’t want to tell you how much I shelled out for that debacle. I wish I knew about buying table signings before hand because you know, I kinda wanted to talk to him. It breaks my heart that this happened.

I know every one of us wanted to go back to normal and have fun at cons again. But overselling tickets, turning ticket holders away at the parking garage.

The fire martial was ready to shut it down. I heard this happened at Anime Expo in LA too.

I’ve been going to conventions since 1983 – oh how I remember walking into this magical land where there were people *just like me* all around. It was like coming home. The only money we paid out was for the tickets and autograph were free. If you wanted a special picture signed it was $5.

These cons were there to bring fans together and celebrities were like icing on the cake.

After Omnicon’s demise there were always Trekons and Vulcans. The picture signings wee not always free but I can’t remember paying ove $10-20 bucks.

Even San Diego Comic-Con (yes I made to fan Mecca). But you know what? For the 4 days plus preview night it was $50 bucks. I snagged this off the official SDCC sight and it’s ghastly! They tell your badge is pretty much useless.

What a joke, right?

The badges are all sold out but I give them props, the most expensive badge was like $60.

Supercon Sunday pass alone was $51!! Yeah, I know I’m a fool for going. And I hope Sara meets her voice actors.

I’m wondering if they give you your money back if they oversell and we end up screwed.

This is a freaking corporate racket, at least here in Florida. I know I’m never going to Megacon again. And I have a feeling I won’t be going back to Supercon either.

I know it’s tough but we have to start holding the conventioneers and the photo op people accountable for the sake of all fans, of all ages.

Someday I’ll give a go to running one again. I did it twice and they were both successful (thank you to all the people who volunteered, donated prizes, brought in a guest, and helped run our snack room).

I think it’s time to stop the con Con and get back to our roots!

Hodgepodge Part Two

Although there were some standout moments, May pretty much sucked.

As mentioned in my previous post, I went to Megacon. My Star Wars Friday was awesome, but Saturday was a nightmare.

A week later I tested positive for Covid.

The first week was pretty much hell – fever, extreme body aches, fatigue, upper respiratory issues. My doctor prescribed me Paxlovid and I think it helped (that and being vaccinated and boosted) keep me out of the hospital. So I was miserable but I wasn’t dying (always a good thing, not dying).

So my May round up is so super short…

I read two books- Hard Core Logo, a novel in verse, about a washed out punk band trying to pull off one last show. If you liked Daisy Jones and the Six, you would enjoy this book!

I also read volume 1 of That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime. An inventive, hilarious manga about a human who was killed saving a friend and reincarnated in a different universe as a slime. It’s so unlike any manga I’ve read and Rimuru is so adorable! He’s Japanese so he has these little slants for eyes.. so clever!!

FUSE is amazing!!

There are light novels as well (I believe the novels came before the manga) and oh my gerd there’s a plushy and I’m so doomed.

TV wise, I finished season 4 of The Rookie (I finally got some cred with my family, because my cousin was so impressed that I met him) and the first 7 episodes of Season 4 of Stranger Things.

Epic! The kids (now teenagers) give A+ performances and everything is so gripping. Content warning: kids are murdered. It’s a tough watch, but the whole plot hinges around that incident. I won’t say anything else to keep things spoiler-free.

All I can say is that in July when the last two episodes drop in July, we’ll probably crash the site!!

I only watched 6 horror movies this month.That’s the smallest amount since the pandemic started, over 2 years ago! That should tell you how lousy I felt. Looking at the screen gave me a headache and made me nauseous — like the worst migraine ever.

Part of it was due to the Saw franchise. The cruel and brutal sadomasochism almost put me off horror movies forever. But schlock horror came to my rescue with Brain Damage and Popcorn. Popcorn is everything I love about horror.

An homage to William Castle

I also saw The Sadness — oof was this violent and depraved. It’s being referred to as a zombie movie, but that’s not accurate, because the people are still sentient; they know what they are doing and just relish all of the pain and suffering they cause. It’s more like the people have been reduced to feral beings, the lowest a person can go. The body horror is over the top and definitely not for the squeamish.

There is a scene in a train car where the carnage is so bad it coats the ceiling and then rains down on everything and everyone. Pretty epic visuals.

And all of this is due to…. You guessed it! A virus.

Musically I’ve gone for comfort listening – John Denver, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton John, Melissa Manchester.. all my beloved 70s music!

I finally tested negative last Friday so hopefully things can start going back to normal… whatever passes for normal around here! But whatever I do, I will be masked and getting my second booster. I don’t care if I get mocked or not. I’m usually the black sheep anyway so that will be nothing new.

And now I’m going to get my plushy Rimuru!

Chapter 327 of “I’m Too Old For This Sh*T”

So I went to Megacon Orlando 2022 and I deserve combat pay for Saturday. They oversold the event, packed people in like sardines, over-charged for everything and in general was like, “Covid? What Covid?” It was absolutely ridiculous- and they put the celebrities behind plexiglass (which we was not disclosed up front). But by mid- Saturday it really didn’t matter because of how closely packed we were; plus all the table signings were maskless.

All I did Saturday was stand in line, or sit and wait to stand in line. Nathan Fillion wouldn’t quit his signing until every last person got their picture and then there was a medical emergency and he wouldn’t leave until he knew she was ok…. Which made him over 2 hours late for photo ops. I guarantee he stayed until every last person got their pictures.

I did not get Brendan Fraser’s autograph because you had to pre-buy table signings and he was sold out. I mean WTAF is that all about?!

Two terrified hobbits and an ent
They did let us retake it

Nobody even noticed our Good Witch/Bad Witch hoodies. Bummer.

With Nathan Fillion

Please don’t make any short jokes; I’ve put up with them all weekend. (Insert epic eyeroll.

I’m an old school fangirl. I started going to cons in 1983. Pay for autographs? What was that? You could buy an 8×10 for $5 if you wanted one; or you just got your program book signed. Pictures with guests were free.

Come, take a stroll down memory lane with me….

The photo has really deteriorated but that’s s my first with George Takei, 1983 FREE
I cherish this. The late Jimmy Doohan (FREE)
Better one with George. Not a photo op
Program book & signatures (you guessed it, free)
The Second Doctor (Who, that is)cheap paper

Our badges were cheap. As late as 2017, Megacon gave out wristbands and not some over priced RDIF badges – they literally track your comings and goings.

To be fair, Friday was doable and fun. I knew we’d be meeting Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter also on that great, underrated, gone too soon show called Timeless) so I wore my Rebel Scum shirt. I got a really cool looking blaster and then took on Darth Vader.

I won, and you’re welcome

Oh and I met Alligator Loki!! This is a real alligator- specifically a Chinese alligator-

When you can’t get Tom Hiddleston

Our photo ops with the Star Wars voice actors, and with Matt “Wyatt” Lanter

Obi-Wan, Atin Cardera
(aka my daughter), Ahsoka, Lizzmere Valdash (aka me) and Anakin
Short person & Wyatt

Friday lulled me into a false sense of security. I was not prepared for Saturday, mentally and physically. The last time I was in that horrible of a crush was DragonCon 2013 (my first and last DragonCon). I mean I could actually smell the BO and people funk in the air. My day was stand in line for Brendan Fraser, had to stand in for the reshoot, stand in line for Nathan’s signing, eat a fast food lunch, let the crowd just float me down the exhibition hall, run for Nathan’s photo op and waited, and waited. At least 2 hours.

Every time I stood up, I felt it in my herniated disc, I also felt it when I stood up. I was so miserable and in so much pain.

I didn’t go back on Sunday. I couldn’t deal with all that all over again.

Like I said, I’m too old for this sh*t.

Anime, Manga and Me – A 50 Year Love Story

Like a lot of us, I was watching anime before we even knew what anime was, or “Japanimation” or Japanese animation. I suspect that most of us barely even knew where Japan was, or even what animation was. They were cartoons that we loved back in the 60s and 70’s – Speed Racer, Gigantor, and two of my all time favorites, Prince Planet and Kimba the White Lion.

Oh, I was so obsessed with both shows! Prince Planet which first ran in the mid 1960s. It was about a boy from the planet Radion and the Universal Peace Corps, coming to Earth to see if we met the standards for membership in the Galactic Union Worlds. Taking the name Bobby he and his new friends, Diana (in English) and her father Pops Worthy, and wrestler Dan Dynamo. Their adversary was Warlock. It has most of the themes and tropes common to anime- fish out of water character, magical boy, found family and honor and morality. When I was a kid, and it was my turn to pick a game, it was always “let’s play Prince Planet! (I was always Diana)! I don’t remember much else, but I do remember one episode that took place in a department store with this creature who could morph into anything and wreak havoc in the store. At the end he turns into a train and gets shot (I think) and as he melts he says “all I wanted to do was play.” That may not be 100% accurate, but whatever it actually was, it was the first (but not the last) anime to make me cry.

It’s Priiiiince Planet!
A friend made a drinking game while watching the DVDs – take a shot every time someone moralized. I think they were shitfaced by the second episode!

I don’t have to say too much about Kimba the White Lion, by legendary artist/author Osamu Tezuka, because of the attention it got when Disney released The Lion King. Kimba is an orphan whose father was killed by a hunter named Ham Egg (hey, I don’t write this stuff). Panja, Kimba’s father is captured when the hunter kidnaps his pregnant wife Eliza and uses her for bait. As he is dying he tells Eliza to name their child Kimba. Ham Egg gets his hide and Eliza gets put into a zoo (good Lord, this was a children’s show ??). So one again we have an outsider (Kimba), who ends up with found family, a parrot and a baboon, and Bucky the deer and others that I don’t remember, and a human named Roger Ranger. It was called Jungle Emperor Leo in Japanese, and basically has nothing more to do with The Lion King, except the closeness of their names.

Flash forward to the 1980s, when I discovered conventions (my found family!) and met others who loved “Japanimation” – a term considered derogatory now – as much as I did. At the time there was very little anime in the states compared to Japan, so there was a black market of titles on VHS. We watched them without subtitles so I really don’t remember much – a boyfriend who loved Vampire Hunter D, and watching hentai for the first time. There were comics out (not caked manga in America yet and I collected of the Valley of the Winf – my first encounter with the legendary Miyazaki. I still have them somewhere.

In the late 90s I noticed manga on bookstores shelves like Sailor Moon and Pokémon. They were all flipped to accommodate American readers. Also in the late 90s my little girl discovered anime via Pokémon and Sailor Moon, so once again manga and anime was part of my life!

My boys Dee and Ryo and I’m not ashamed to say I love boys love manga

Jump ahead to the 2000s, when as a librarian I went to a workshop led by fellow librarians and friends Liz and George Pearson on anime and manga, and the floodgates just opened! I totally fell in love with this title: Fake by Sanami Matoh a tale about two NYPD cops, Ryo a newbie to the force, and Dee, a charismatic pain in the ass named Dee, who had the hots for Ryo. They spend more time flirting than solving crime and I was completely and irrevocably hooked. I have all 7 American volumes and all 7 Japanese volumes and a Sanami Matoh art book, which had an exclusive Dee and Ryo short. About two years ago I was scrolling through Amazon and what the heck, I looked up Sanami Matoh and almost fell dead on the floor! There was a Fake 2!!! Only available on Kindle, I bought them all! I understand there’s a Fake 3. It’s wonderful to know others love this as much as I do!

Moving along, I must have bought hundreds of manga during this period. Wednesday was release day at Waldenbooks and I was there every Wednesday afternoon to pick up our series.. Pet Shop of Horrors, Rebirth by Woo ( which never finished) about a vampire named Desh. Volumes 5 was his backstory. Desh was pretty despicable up til then, but wow, his backstory changed everything. (I read it in the store and was the only manga that made me cry in public. We also loved Saiyuki, Descendents of Darkness, Weiss Kruse, Card Captor Sakura, Rayearth, Sorcerer Hunters, Banana Fish and oh so many more.

I became the anime/ manga librarian at our Main Library, started a manga book club and eventually an anime club. It all culminated in this –

Librar-actions, an anime conversation.

I was terrified no one would show up after all my hard work and the hoops I had to go through to get administration to go along with this crazy idea.

I got onstage in our auditorium for opening ceremonies, I and I nearly crapped myself! looked out at a packed house, which was almost 300 people, and even more were standing and I almost crapped myself, if you can crap yourself with joy. We made the news and newspaper.

I became kinda famous, I got to speak at the Miami Book Fair and was one of the founding members of the Graphic Novels Committee, submitting new manga releases. I’ve been a guest at conventions and best of all was sent out to San Diego Comic-Con in 2007.

All good thing must come to an end, as they say. After doing a second convention in 2008, it was taken away from me. And so in 2099 I left Youth Services and Main Library and became a branch adult reference librarian. Eventually I wasn’t able to do the committee anymore.

I then met my second husband and anime/ manga took a very back seat in my life, even though I attended local conventions on occasion, it wasn’t the huge part of my life as it was in the aughts. Fortunately my daughter kept the flame alive with Yu-Gi- Oh, Naruto, Bleach and always Pokémon (she almost got kicked out of school over Naruto (that’s a story for another day).

Sadly my husband died in 2014 and I was pretty desolate. In 2015 I became an entertainment writer and started going to conventions again. Anime and manga were pretty much still my daughter’s domain until now.

I had a stroke in October 2021 (yikes, this article got depressing) and it effected my vision. I can still read, but it’s a really slow process. Someone in BookTube raved about Yona of the Dawn and I thought hey, manga is a good idea because if sometimes even if I can’t read all the words, the art still tells the story. I finished Yona and Fangs Volume 1, and just started “The Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime” and so far it’s just totally awesome!

This is the end of this long winded article (making up for all those days I didn’t blog) but definitely not my love affair with manga and anime. I’m so very grateful for all of the friends I made along the way, my “library kids” and all the epic experiences I’ve had as a result of anime and manga. My heart goes out to all of the anime and manga creators: If not for you, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I love you.

And my least favorite horror franchise is…. SAW

I honestly don’t know how I made it all through Saw 1-7, Jigsaw and Spiral. While I still think the original Saw is a masterpiece of low budget horror and has a plot twist more devious than the Sixth Sense. It’s probably the least gory of the bunch, because they up the gruesome ante with each film.

Saw II is very different and contains the notorious needle pit, which is pretty much agreed that it’s one of the worst sadistic traps. (Unfortunately because of health issues I’ve been stuck so many times needles no longer make me cringe.) it’s a solid sequel and while more savage. It’s still not as egregious as the films that follow.

Saw III is where it all the blood hits the fan. Jigsaw (John Kramer) kidnaps a neurosurgeon, Dr Lynn Denlon. He orders her to extend his life or his protege Amanda Young, will detonate the bomb encircling her neck. Meanwhile her husband is being tested as well, to see if he had the guts to confront his child’s murder. The most disturbing trap for me was the Angel Trap, which was placed on a detective, Kerry. It is all kinds of gross, gory and sadistic. The freezer trap freaked me out and you’d have to twist my arm to ever watch the rack scene again (that’s an in joke.).

By now I’m sure my dear readers know I’m pretty hardcore as a horror fan. I watched all the super tougies like Green Room, Starry Eyes, Haute Tension, Martyrs and the Human Centipede. I have also watched a ton of gory comedy horror (looking at you, Dead Alive). I can handle gore until I met my match with Saw IV.

It opens with an autopsy that I’m sure is the most accurate and believable depiction of an autopsy I’ve had the misfortune of viewing. When the ME peels down John Kramer’s face I lost my lunch. Oh my god the human face without skin and cartilage is…. Stomach turning. (This is why I could never work in the medical field, much to the disappointment of my mother the nurse) I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it. 🤢🤮

Saw 4 also has one of the best jump scares in the entire franchise. It nailed me, I yelped and the phone in my hand went flying. The worst part? I had to rewind the film just to make sure I didn’t miss anything … and the same jump scare nailed me again, even though I knew it was coming. Now that’s a good jump scare.

Saw IV and V are tied for grossness; the trap that gets the most vomitrocious award is the trap that crushes Peter Strahm and the pendulum.

Jigsaw is both set in the future, 10 years after John Kramer’s death but spends a lot of time in Logan, the ME’s past. At this point the films are just murder porn as non of the traps are escapable.

The whole concept of these traps is ludicrous. They would take day, weeks, even a year to construct the more elaborate of the traps. By Saw 4 the games become unwinable, which defeats Kramer’s original purpose, such as they were. By the end of V it’s just pure stomach churning PWP (plot what plot). just the scene where they open John’s casket in Jigsaw and Edgar is in there— come on, to dig John up and replace the body would take a backhoe which would hardly go unnoticed. This is definitely the stuff of sick fantasy and I’m not sure why it pushed my buttons so hard.

It’s super easy to Google all of the traps, if you want to know where they are without actually having to endure the gore. This is 100% pure torture porn and I felt like taking a shower with a Brillo pad. I guess I found my limitations!

Do you have a franchise that is just not right for you? Let’s discuss in the comments!

RIP Taylor Hawkins, the charismatic drummer for the Foo Fighters

When I was writing for Talk Nerdy With Us, one of the things I hated was doing obituaries. I will totally agree that obituaries are a way to honor and celebrate the life of the deceased. I made sure I was respectful and yes, loving. None of it was easy (I usually ended up making myself cry) but some were so legendary and beloved that it was painful to write.

Taylor Hawkins was one of the legends. Most notably he was the drummer (and sometimes singer) for the Foo Fighters from 1997 until his untimely passing. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1972. His full name was Oliver Taylor Hawkins. At one point prior to the Foos, Taylor was drumming for Alanis Moreisette.

In 2004 Taylor fronted a side project called Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders. He sang and played drums for three studio albums, released between 2006 and 2019.

Taylor was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Foo Fighters. He was named Best Rock Drummer by the British magazine Rhythm in 2005. All of this combined with his good looks made him a force to reckon with.

He co-starred in the Foo Fighters’ feature film, Studio 666. I feel fortunate I saw the movie in an actual movie theater because I don’t know if I can ever watch it again. In the film he was charismatic and easygoing and very sweet (that’s my fangirl talking).

Sadly, he left people who loved him; a wife and three children, plus Dave Grohl, his “brother from another mother. My heart goes out to all of them, and to the rest of his band mates. I think his passing left half the world’s broken hearted.

Unfortunately, drugs played a part in his passing, and it makes me super angry to see him written off as another rock druggie. I hate victim blaming as a general rule; and of course the press exaggerates.The contents of the drugs he was taking- a benzo, Klonopin, an antidepressant and THC.

Well here’s some perspective: if I were to undergo a tox screening today they would find THC (I have a medical card, an opiate Tylenol 4, 2 benzos for anxiety and PTSD – Ativan and Ararax. I take an antidepressant, and a bipolar med that also helps me sleep. The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s a cruel assumption to say that Taylor was a junkie. And truthfully, whatever the reasons, we should be remembering his talent, his children and his Foo Fighters family.

What a loss, and so young too. Without a doubt, he will be sorely missed.

In case you may be one of those who totally disregard celebrity deaths and the fans that loved them, I address that in the obituary I wrote for Chris Cornell (another hard one to write). Here’s the link:

Rest In Peace, Taylor and RIP to Chris as well. Know that your voice and your artistry will make you immortal.

imageSPACE/Sipa USA

Love you, Taylor. We’ll always miss you.

It’s National Poetry Month!

First off, I apologize for neglecting my little blog for so long. I had one of my bipolar depression spells and I was pretty much non-functioning. I’m doing better, thankfully.

This month is National Poetry Month which I have been promoting for decades. I was once told only elitist people read poetry and I hope to God that’s not true. Because just like prose, there’s something for everyone, from William Blake and Wordsworth to Mary Oliver and Rupi Kaur. You can sing poetry, you can rap poetry and you can pick a specific style to write in. Haiku, iambic pentameter, concrete, rhyming or free verse.

I don’t know when I actually started loving poetry but I do know how. My mom had a book on her shelf called The Best Loved Poems of the American people. It’s archaic and yet timeless.

I still have that book

My mom wrote poetry when she was young, so maybe I got it by genetics or osmosis or something. Or maybe just teen angst, I don’t know. They didn’t have the term “Emo” when I was a teen, but looking back, yep, I was Emo!

I was also very much inspired by my late cousin Howard Zogott, who definitely was taken too soon, was an ardent poetry lover and would always help with critiquing my work to help make it stronger. Ironically, he became my librarian mentor later on. Miss you Cuz.

My first favorite poet was Sara Teasdale. I did my first real research paper on her. While much of her work is dated, I still love her


By Sara Teasdale

They came to tell your faults to me,

They named them over one by one;

I laughed aloud when they were done,

I knew them all so well before, —

Oh, they were blind, too blind to see

Your faults had made me love you more.

This still has deep personal resonance with me (especially because I always picked the bad boys).

Alice Osborn tells us why poetry is important today: Poetry is so important because it helps us understand and appreciate the world around us. Poetry’s strength lies in its ability to shed a “sideways” light on the world, so the truth sneaks up on you. No question about it. Poetry teaches us how to live.

All I can say is EXACTLY. While technology and automation and social media are chipping away at our humanity, it may just be that poetry can save us.

I’m a terrible poet, but every now and then I chuck out one or two decent ones. (If you look back through my blog’s archives you can find a few I put up. And I did recently write a short poem for a friend.

I still have my teenage poetry collection. I think I’m going to take a deep dive to see if I find any gems. At the very least it could be a good laugh!

This one has always been my favorite.

Bittersweet Surender

Arlene Wicks Allen (undated)

Rolling Rivers

Turning Stones

Passing Summers

Memories Gone.

Echoed laughter

Stacked up miles

Unforgetton kisses

That traveled miles.

Moving traffic in my mind

Surrendered peace

Is hard to find.

Crying faces

Broken hearts

Lovers parted

Sorrow starts.

Goodbye, goodbye

Burdened breath

I hope you find your peace in death.

I remember writing this poem so clearly. I was sitting on my grandma’s couch, waiting for my mom to get ready to take us home when I just picked up my pen, had a complete out of body experience and when I “came to” there was this poem. I didn’t even know what it meant at the time. (I do now). Anyway if you ever hear an artist or writer say that their work just came out, and they were just the vessels that brought it here, believe them. I know what it feels like.

I cheated on this page and omg I used the word “forsooth” William Shakespeare is doing a 3860 in his grave.

Poetry can bring people together, and make memories live again. (I just found a poem by my childhood best friend (51 years strong)!

I hope you have had your interest peaked and will go read some poetry – or maybe even write your own!

I will leave you with a line from very favorite modern poet, Mary Oliver:

The poem is called When Death Comes:

When it's over, I want to say: all my life 
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Let your love affair with poetry begin now!

I Like Schlock Horror and I Cannot Lie

After reviewing my reaction to Titane (on Hulu now), I realized that art house horror just isn’t my thing. I will watch them because I want to keep up with horror trends, but very rarely do I like them. (For my full review of Titane check out my Instagram page, screamqueenArlene @sleepingkoala45).

But schlock horror- especially schlock horror comedies- is definitely my thing. Yes, I’m a plebe, a heathen but give me movies like Maniac Cop, Basket Case, Bad Taste & Dead-Alive by Peter Jackson are just my speed! So here’s a list of some of my favorites, my go tos when my depression gets me down. In no particular order:

Dagon – I just watched this 2001 film today and adored it. Based on the H P Lovecraft story of the same name, a lovable nerd tries to rescue his friends from a village filled with Cthulhu worshippers. He really gives it his all, against tentacles and face stealers and half fish-like humans. It’s pretty gory in parts; I had to actually look away once!

Unmasked Part 25 – a deformed serial killer named Jackson (read Jason of Friday the 13th fame) falls in love with a blind woman, the first person to ever love him for who he really is. It’s such a weird little gem – characters recite Byron and Shakespeare in between the blood baths. It has a Phantom of the Opera vibe and it’s really sweet and charming. You really feel for poor Jackson. 1988, on Tubi.

Studio 666 – The band Foo Fighters attempt to create their next album in a haunted and demon filled house. It’s funny and gory with some super creative kills, but Oscar material it is not. I confess to loving Dave Grohl so part of my enjoyment was in watching him, but the rest of the band did a great job as his victims. 2022, in theaters now.

Bad Taste (1987) & Dead-Alive (1992) from Oscar winning director Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame. Dead-Alive is considered one of the goriest movies ever made, but it’s so over the top it’s hysterical! Bad Taste is definitely just that, and in addition to the gore other body fluids make the rounds.

Frankenhooker (1990) & Basket Case (1982) – both by Frank Henenlotter, who’s probably the king of schlock comedy horror. They are funny and over the top and immensely enjoyable! Frankenhooker is just that – a hooker made from the body parts of other (dead) hookers. There’s no explaining Basket Case; you just have to go with it!

Zombeavers – 2014 – the title says it all. I thought it was going to be just awful and exploitative but while it does have its share of sexual innuendo, it knows what kind of film it is and definitely doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s also really, really funny!

The VelociPastor – 2018 – A priest grieving his deceased parents travels to China and discovers he can turn in to a …. dinosaur. He is befriended by a hooker who encourages him to fight evil in the form of … ninjas. Dinosaurs! Ninjas! And lots of laughs.

Deathgasm – -2015- There must be something in the water in New Zealand (Bad Taste, Dead-Alive, What we Do In the Shadows all came from New Zealand). This one has got to be my favorite because it combines a great metal soundtrack with its comedy. Two teen rockers unwittingly unleash demons from a set of long missing Satanic rock lyrics. This movie has one of the most original and hilarious fight scenes ever. I laughed so hard I peed myself a little.

I just found a list of more schlock horror so you can guess what I’ll be watching for the next few days!

Do you like schlock horror? What are some of

your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

PS. I forgot to include my very first schlock horror love: Chamber of Horrors (1966) with its horror horn and fear flasher! I love wax museum horror because wax museums are kinda creepy to begin with so its doesn’t take much to make them even scarier! (I love Waxworks and Waxworks 2 as well.)

Hodgepodge Part One

Just some randomness that I would like to share! First of all, I discovered a new book genre, called Gaslamp Fantasy. It’s set between 1800 until WWI. Here is an in-depth look at this fantasy subgenre from one of my very favorite bookish site, Book Riot. I already own all the books mentioned in the article in one form or another so in between my Hope Punk, I’ll be doing some Gaslamp Fantasy. I’ll also check out the Feel Good Fantasy list next, because goodness knows, we can all use uplifting right now.

Also check out their Read Harder Challenge. I try to do at least some of it every year!

I didn’t post my February Media Round-up. In a nutshell- watching The Rookie, Servant, Peacemaker- which you know I loved, loved, loved Peacemaker. I’m also still jamming to that soundtrack and I just created a radio station on Pandora for more of the same headbanging goodness. I really love the group Wig Wam (Do You really Wanna Taste It). I’m looking forward to a road trip just to listen – immerse myself in some good old rock and roll. Interesting that metal gets so much love in Europe than here in the States. Some insomnia driven research into why this might be. (Or one of my Dear Readers can tell me!

Books… uuuhhhggg I’m reading so slowly still. For those of you just tuning in, I had a bilateral occipital lobe stroke. At one point we all thought I’d never read again but nothing gets between me and my books. I actually astounded my neurologist- she said she’d never seen anyone come back from that kind of stroke so quickly. So I’m definitely grateful to be reading at all, but oh so slow. It didn’t help that I absolutely hated The Silence by Don DeLillo. I couldn’t even finish it, I hated it so much. Here’s my review from GoodReads:

I hate trashing anything so you can imagine it wasn’t easy to read or write about it.

I watched 25 horror movies, including Studio 666. Was it the best movie in the world, but it had a few things that really made the movie fun to watch; the camaraderie between the Foos, the humor and totally epic kills! And of course my man Dave Grohl. 🥰😍

I also started my new horror movie journal. I can’t draw for shit, so I’m putting horror stickers in that space!

Cool cover, right?
The inside

The last little thing- I watched Scream 2022 and while overall I really enjoyed it; it was well crafted, a very meta deconstruction of the Scream (or Stab as it’s called in the movie). It’s a very sharp (no pun intended), smart horror movie. One of the best of the “requels” of the past couple of years (Spiral, Halloween Kills, Candyman, Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

Until the absolute WTAF ending. I’m not going to spoil it but my first thought was “that’s the stupidest thing I think I’ve ever heard.” But then I stepped back, realized it’s 2022 when everyone and everything is just nuts. So yeah it worked. And I’m definitely on Team Tara regarding The Babadook.

The film had two of my pet peeves in any genre: you can’t get shot point blank four of five times and then just get up and going right back to stabby-stab. You’d be in pain. Out of commission for awhile. Walking funny. I know movies use shorthand so we’re not stuck in a movie theater for a day or two.

The other thing that just drives me nuts is when someone wakes up in a hospital bed and decide to pull out all their tubes and wires and it instantaneously pulls out, easy peasy. Not so in real life. Taking out an IV line out like that would hurt, and probably spurt, and there’d definitely be a bruise. Again I know, movie shorthand but as someone who’s had more IVs than I can even count, it annoys the heck out of me!

That’s it for now. I’m going to give my brain a nap! Do you have any movie pet peeves, let me know!!

Thanks to all my readers for your support!

The Rubic’s Cube that is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

I know I haven’t been keeping up as I should but I have a lot of personal crap going on and I haven’t been able to concentrate. I’ve been pretty good with keeping up with horror (if I could bottle the catharsis I get from horror movies I could make a crapton of money). Anyway to celebrate the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot, I went back and watched the whole franchise.

There is so much wtfery there that I don’t even know where to start, but I guess Leatherface’s name. He has at least 3! In TCM 2 his name is Bubba Sawyer. In the 2003 remake, it’s Thomas Brown Hewitt, and in Texas Chainsaw 3D it’s Jedediah “Jed” Sawyer. He’s Leatherface Sawyer in TCM: The Next Generation (the wackiest film of the bunch. I wish I knew how to make TikTok videos because I’d do “That’s Not My Name” for the poor mixed up dude.

Yes, I have some sympathy for the devil, you might say, but honestly, once you meet (meat) his family you figure out he might be the sanest one. I’m going to start with TCM: The Next Generation. It is totally off the chain and probably only worth watching for Renee Zellweger telling Leatherface to “sit down and shut the f**k up.” And he does! Then there’s his older brother Vilmer (I know, wtf is Vilmer?) who is played with insane gusto by Matthew McConaughey (in other words, he’s playing himself). He has a pneumatic leg brace (hey, don’t ask me, because I’m totally clueless). Then the MIB show up, although these Men in Black are…. Wait for it…. Illuminati. This is some batshit crazy nonsense, At the end of the film he yells I AM VILMER and I yelled back WHO CARES? I’m telling you, I really feel Leatherface’s utter confusion. I think Hollywood must have the best drugs, because this film is nuts.

My favorite of the originals is Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, which really doesn’t get enough love. Stretch is my favorite final girl of the whole franchise. She’s a DJ, she’s brunette, and she isn’t stupid. She also doesn’t scream the entire time (sometimes I think, can you just kill them already just to shut them up?). Leatherface falls for her, and the cinematics give off a Phantom of the Opera/Beauty and the Beast vibe.

I also really liked TCM: The Beginning, which really pulls some emotional strings. The friends are going to a concert as one last hurrah before one of them is shopped off to Vietnam (and one of them burned his draft card. This film shows that you can have a decent subplot without going off the rails.

My last favorite is the stand alone “Leatherface” movie. I know I’m in a minority here, but I really liked the backstory, the characters, plot and cinematography. It’s always fun to see a character totally deconstructed. The film focuses on the sick af family, and Jed (he’s Jed here) and it is also one of the goriest (yay, gore!). The house in the film is the original 1974 house rebuilt.

Lastly, I’ll comment on the 2022 reboot. I’m sure it will be a controversial opinion (because isn’t everything these days) but I didn’t like it. The characters (except for maybe the cowboy, but they pound his gun love and his Confederate flag in your face so you have to hate him too . The main character, Dante, a hipster who “bought the town” to remake into a trendy hipster designation for rich people. He kicks Ma Leatherface out of her home along with LF, saying he owned the deed (spoiler: he doesn’t). On the drive to wherever they take unwanted humans, Ma has a heart attack and LF gets mighty pissed off – and I don’t blame him. Truthfully, they all pretty much get what they deserve.

Of course I doubt that is the end of the franchise. I’m sure they will make more, when the timing and money are right. This was a fun little foray into a franchise. (I’ve also done the Final Destination franchise and all of Hostel). What franchise should I do next?

This post is Leatherface approved