27 December 2015

Movies: Eegah

A drizzly Sunday, far too warm for this time of year, coffee, paper, and now Eegah (1962).

Eegah (1962)

Cute woman in nice car, chats to boyfriend who pumps gas. They arrange to meet up, but shock, horror, she drives into a giant. A prehistoric giant. Thankfully her boyfriend and father discuss over her head and agree she's probably wrong, patriarchy rules ok. His hair is completely ridiculous, and he looks like a bonus chromosome kid. 
They go up in a helicopter to try and spot him, there is an awfully long scene of helicopter shots. Her father finds the giant and begs for his life. We cut quickly to a swimming pool scene with bonus c/some kid is singing in a richie valens/teen angel kinda way. This song goes on and on. Make it stop. 
The kids are going out to find Daddy, he's got a dune buggy and so now we get some garage surf music. She appears to be having an orgasm as they go over the sand in his water filled tyres. This scene also goes on for some time.  
They decide to get some rest, so it's obviously time for another painful song, which has full backing band except it's just him out in the desert. Mind. Blown.
they find her fathers camera, pouty c/some boy decides they need to look in the next ravine, cue more shots of dune buggy drives. sigh. He really is a whiny little fuck.
Plus side, Roxy (the chick) is carried off by the prehistoric giant, and taken back to his cave - where her father is. Ahhh, sweet. Our giant appears to have electric spot lighting, and is thoughtfully checking Roxy for lice. Caring. Roxy shaves her father and the giant. That was unexpected. There are a number of shots of native lizards, so it's kinda a bgrade movie, with porn, for me.
They escape. Giant pissed. Rampage. Cops. Swimming pool and more bad music. 

As I said, bonus chromosome (this is his general look throughout the movie)
And the trailer

And because I'm vindictive, here's 90min of campy giant fun. There's also a MST3K version around...

23 December 2015

Movies: The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
We open with a woman being strangled. The credits roll. A voiceover tells us a Hungarian defector is coming to Yucca Flats to talk with the 'top brass', some Kremlin agents are awaiting him (and his briefcase). The world's worst shoot out ensues, and our (presumed) hero is driven off so we can have a car chase. The music is dramatic, the voiceover dramatic ("Flag on the moon, how did it get there?') and oddly poetical, the car chase dire. I can feel myself drawn in, to both the glass of red in front of me, and the movie.
Distinct lack of monsters tho'.
"Yucca Flats. The A Bomb". The briefcase is destroyed. A car drives off into the night. Now I'm writing like the voiceover, or William Shatner. "Vacation time. Man and Wife. Unaware of scientific progress", this really is superb stuff. The man and wife and no longer with us, a pair of poorly manicured hands has seen them off.
Our voiceover has popped up to point out the beast is the noted scientist we met *just 12 minutes ago*.  Apparently the beast is Tor Johnson (ex Swedish wrestler) - trivia from Wikipedia, George The Animal Steele played Tor in 'Ed Wood', think I'll try and find some wrestling footage for this post. I couldn't. I've failed you all.
There is a lot of chasing, shooting (and generally missing), and voiceovers in this short (53min) movie. Everyone is named multiple times, but no character development and the music is exhausting!
Great stuff.

20 December 2015

Movies: Track of the Moon Beast

Coffee. Post gig Sunday. Papers finished, nice xmassy type music (Gesuldo's Madrigals) finished. Must be time for bgrade happiness.

Today - Track of the Moon Beast (1976). We have an asteroid going to hit the moon, a native american dancing, and a small man sitting at a very large desk. The credits suggest the producer had three assistants, and a script assistant, this bodes well...

We open with a wide long shot of a motorbike coming towards us, an nice homage to Mr Arabia, our motorcyclist appears to be an archeologist...oh cock, I have seen this flick before. Ah well, in for an espresso...  Some forced exposition to introduce characters (tick mark). I think I watched the MST3K version. Oh there's a lizard. No really, I suspect that'll be a highlight.
Kathy, a photo journalist is hitting on our archeologist Paul. I know his name now as Kathy has said 'Paul' about 5 times in the last minute. Yikes!! A meteorite has fallen and hit our hero, sadly this hasn't improved his acting, or hairstyle.

We have a song now. It's so bad I'll include it below.

Paul is changing. (part of me wants to complete that by saying, becoming cosmic). And he's beginning to nibble on people, not in that sexy toe-sucking way. Thankfully the cops have pulled in our native american as an expect (cos the cops had seen something they'd never seen before, at which point I know I'd call in an native american).
Apparently the man was killed by a Tyrannosaurus rex. Yes. Their reasoning was as good as you'd expect.
there is an awful lot of nodding in this movie, which is certainly better than their dialogue, so I'm not complaining. Now our NA remembers an old legend he heard about the same thing happening. Wise NA. The lizard who walked like a man. Only 30mins to go. Be strong. Paul's weird brain growths are multiplying, and he's dominated by the moon. Everyone is very worried. Why god why [a question the script assistant shoudl have asked themselves]. Things are now dire - from a viewing perspective - I hope it ends soon. The tension is too much.

13 December 2015

the 2015 music longlist

Righto, I've done the initial cut and have a list of 32 to cull to 10 (ish).

Because I know you all care, here's the full 32.
Admiral FallowTiny Rewards
AmorphisUnder the Red Cloud
AnekdotenUntil all the ghosts are gone
Bruce SoordBruce Soord
Crippled Black PhoenixNew dark age
David GilmourRattle That Lock
Delaney DavidsonLucky Guy
Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear
GloryhammerSpace 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Godspeed You! Black EmperorAsunder, Sweet and Other Distress
Iron MaidenThe Book of Souls
Julia HolterHave you in my wilderness
Kamasi WashingtonThe Epic
KarnatakaSecrets of Angels
Mark KnopflerTracker
Mountain GoatsBeat the Champ
NightwishEndless Forms Most Beautiful
Nordic GiantsA Seance of Dark Delusions
Ozric TentaclesTechnicians of the Sacred
Phoenix FoundationGive Up Your Dreams
Public Service BroadcastingThe Race for Space
Redtenbacher FunkestraDr Hypenstein
Sam Hunt & David Kilgour & The Heavy 8sThe 9th
ShoogleniftyThe Untied
SJDSaint John Divine
Susanne SundforTen Love
Tim BownessStupid Things That Mean The World
Trembling BellsThe Sovereign Self
WilcoStar Wars
Zero She FliesThe River
Steven Wilson : Hand. Cannot. Erase.

Movies: Manos, Hands of Fate

I've seen this before, at least twice. And it's dire. I'm approaching this highly caffeinated and hoping I can cope.

Manos: Hands of Fate (1966)

This movie is rated as #5 on the all time worst by IMDB. It's not an unfair comment. The rockabilly type soundtrack is quite fun, but the scripting is appalling, the dubbing worse, and really everyone should watch this, more than once. Who-ever was the editor for this movie deserves a bullet (or medal) for the cuts...

A nice wholesome American family head off in the car, ending up on some backroads, which as we all know, means CULTISTS !! [you'll note that True Detective used the same theme as Manos, see influential]
The Master is away! But the wholesome family is lost! woe! The master likes her, this bodes well for her, not so much for the husband. The daughter (and fluffy black poodle thing) are happily playing until, ARGGHHH, the dog is killed. 'Get back in the house damnit!' it's all on for young and old [(c) BHR].  FFS the acting in this movie makes Orlando Bloom look like an academy award winner. Oh dear, it's only 20mins in, I've still got 48mins to go. Pray for me dear readers.
Again with the old man and young wife thing. Ahh the 60s. And the demands to do stuff to the mexicans, ahhhh cultural awareness.
They won't let them escape, and now the child has run off. Cue much wailing from the woman.
I will say Manos has surprisingly good taste in women, even if the Master looks like a bad mexican impersonator.
oh manos, thou you dwelst in the deepest caverns...
superb stuff. Hang on, did the Master just rub his nipples?? I don't need to see that! Shocking stuff. The Master is now pissy that his harem keeps arguing, well what the hell did he expect? And now, in a surprise to no-one, the harem are fighting each other - to some quite cool sax lead jazz. Sadly no jelly wrestling, think they missed a trick there.
(25mins to go, I can do it! I can !!)
Ahhh another wife fighting scene. If one went well, two will be better [Iron Maiden adopted this approach for guitarists, see influential].

The Master now has a burning hand. It's getting very biblical. But he's getting more crazy, and his wives are getting very very lippy. Our slightly less wholesome family are now making their escape, although the wife is complaining a lot, thankfully she's got a strong man to help.

Ahhh superb stuff. You all need to see this.

I am too good to you lot, here's the complete movie:

12 December 2015

Movies : Brain Twisters

I've damaged myself, again. My ankle has decided doing ankley things is well beyond it, and is staging a collapse.

Therefore I'm watching movies. First up, Brain Twisters from 1991. The director appears to have a lot of roles in teh credits, which is an excellent sign.
Oh noes, cute jogging blonde (complete with cassette walkman! and those stupid headphones that floated off your head all the time) has been knocked over by a car. We cut to a geeky looking guy staring at comp/video screens. We know he's geeky as he looks like Seinfeld. oh dear his research project might get cancelled.
We've cut to a couple of college students, Ken doesn't seem alright.
A period of what may loosely be termed character development occurs, followed by the end of Maisie, a rapidly introduced and dispatched character.
The doctor (the earlier geeky guy) appears to be a nefarious character, but refuses to sleep with a slutty student to help her grades. But he does recruit her into his research programme, he works with computer programs. And we all know they lead to bad stuff, he also uses peoples heads when they're dead. People behave oddly, more murder, incompetent cops, irrational behaviour. It's all here. With perms. Lots of perms. And pacing which a glacier would look askance at. Laurie is getting suspicious of the doctor tho', and she doesn't like vanilla icecream. That may come back as highly relevant, but I doubt it.
Slutty girl is now showing she's able to use computer programs. Exciting times, except she's gone a bit crazy which won't end well for her boyfriend.  Laurie is now watching a video she stole from the doctors lab, he's now gone around to her place with nefarious intents. Woohoo 8bit graphics, surely by '91 we were past that? But set up for a sequel, which is probably the most terrifying aspect of the movie.

The movie is 91mins long, but feels much much longer.
The full movie is also on youtube if you look really hard ...

6 December 2015

Movies: Prime Evil

Sunday. B-grade, horrors.

Prime Evil (1988)

We open (the voiceover helpfully informs us) in the middle ages during the Black Death, with a bunch of priests who are pledged To Satan. We quickly switch to the modern day, in New England, where more priests are sacrificing a naked virgin for 13 years of more power. Woohoo there's even dirt spot on the camera for one scene.
Oh dear god, there's a woman wearing lycra looking like superman, it's not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Two girlfriends are discussing sex, they end up fighting concluding with the throwaway line "Don't you want to get poked?".
A nun is going to be sent undercover to the satanists, for some highly convenient reason she knows all about it. We switch to some trendies shagging, with a Lurch like character snaking around. Things end badly. Ohhh the non Lurch guy knows karate (well it is the 80s).
Sleazy priest is making moves. smooth (this is one of the satanic priests). The nun has been accepted into the Satanists!
it's fair to say this movie doesn't rock along. There's a lot of bad 80s stuff. Painful stuff.

The devil has appeared, he's either got cornflakes stuck on his face, or some serious acne issues. It's tough being the devil.
Bad priest is successfully making moves on the chicky babe (Alexandra). I've kinda lost the will now, but the end is in sight.

(note: you *might* be able to find the entire movie on youtube...)

22 November 2015

Movies: Satan's Slave (1976)

It's cold, I've done exercise, I now have a smoothie (coffee already imbibed, and more on the way), so it must be time for a classy movie...

Satan's Slave (1976)

Ready? Righto, we open at what appears to be a dark mass, where an attractive nude blonde is on an alter, and things don't look good from the devil/goat masked gentleman who keeps throwing devil horns with his hands.  
We cut to the inside of an English country house. Which seems very similar to the last movie, oh well. Things don't end well for her. 
Soundtrack is very avante garde, liking it.
Everyone has RP, which is all quite disconcerting.

A family heads out to the country to see a relative, weird things happen and they crash the car. This also ends very badly. Actually, this movie is also hanging together better than expected. Kathryn, our heroine, gets a lot of flashbacks and appears quite nuts. And she's lost in a what the English term 'a forest', there's even a couple of trees in it. Things potter along quite well, and now there's body painting and erotic stimulation using a sword. The Satanists have *all* the fun.
If I'm following the relationships, we now have incest. I'm not entirely sure I am following it, but still ...
Ahhh clearer now after some exposition, and a lot more boobies, and yes it's still hanging together nicely. Kathryn is now 20, the same age as the wife who was killed. Kathryn is looking to follow this lead in an attempt to bring the wife back to life. It's like Morse...Oh her father is back (he who died in the car crash), this is confusing for all of us. 

A lot better than I expected, nice twists. 

21 November 2015

Movie: Terror (1978)

This one opens with a bunch of arty out of focus shots for the credits, with some reasonable psych-prog widdling along in the background.

Terror 1978

Great start to the movie - mob carrying flaming torches, and dodgy character setting a bear trap, while a young woman (with clothes still technically on) evades the torches - oh noes!!! she's found the bear trap.
Inside of a mansion now, and some glasses are rattling, ominously. My god the cuts are already confusing, our bear trapped woman is apparently a witch and is being burnt on the stake while she calls on satan to help her. Things go poorly for the townspeople. Sadly she's still got clothes on. Her screams do not match up with her mouth being open, I guess she's some form of ventriloquist witch. But we've got a death now! Lord of the mansion is no more, and witchy babe is laying vengence down.
Followed by 'The End', apparently this was all a movie screening. Goddamn I was really getting into it. Bunch of 70s people not wanting to re-enact events from 300 years ago. No really, I've got no idea where this is heading...
First up we have hypnotism. Anne appears to be possessed and she's found a sword!!! Apparently all members of this family die in horrible ways....

Actually, this is developing into a nice low budget horror movie. Atmosphere is well done, and there's a strong undercurrent of tension. Most of the deaths are quite gruesome, and so far, very little redemption. Nice find this one.

and the opening credit music

Movie: Stanley (1972)

Continuing our odyssey into the lesser travelled byways of the movie business...

Stanley opens with shots of resting alligators and a strange man wandering around (he's wearing a bizarre top), he stops, cuts his leg and tries to get something out of it. Unsuccessfully. The credits roll with a very 70's singer/song writer track. I guess we're supposed to think this chap is at one with nature. I'm getting a bit bored of the shots of american wildlife bouncing through glades/forests/rivers. The man talks to his snake. This is not a euphemism. We learn he's a native american and therefore *at one with nature*. The director cannot stress this enough. Right on.

There are a lot of snakes. Indy wouldn't be happy. Finally some conversation, and guess what, it's exposition - the white man has wronged him. He doesn't want to rejoin his tribe, and now there are white men coming to bother him, we've also learnt his name is Tim. Woohoo more exposition and racist background. I'm sure the writer & director felt it was very 'aware'.

Ahhh he collects snakes so the venom can be used for treatment.  And now he wants to avenge his fathers murder. With snakes. It's fair to say this movie is not rocking along. I'd make a pun about slithering along, but snakes do move very quickly...

This movie clocks in around 1h45min. It feels like 3-4 hours.

15 November 2015

Movie: The Madmen of Mandoras aka They Stole Hitler's Brain

Yes. This is a classic. Ticks so many boxes, and pleased to have the chance to see it again.

I knew this one as 'They Stole Hitler's Brain', but apparently it's also known as Madmen of Mandoras.

The movie starts off with something similar to a public science info movie about nerve gas. Brilliant. All male scientists, of course, with broad and significant chins. But huzzah, they've found an antidote to the nerve gas, it's known as PAM.

There's an abduction of a professor, murder, confusion. Damn you Mandoras! And now some flashbacks to Nazi Germany, along with a story about how a lab tech was there during the final days. Adolf, or Mr H, as he's known as, has a very large nose, which I find amusing for all the wrong reasons.
Ohhh some nice jazz now. Things potter along, with more kidnappings. Mr H seems very peripheral. Our man in Mandoras / Cpt. Renault, and now more exposition by the Excellency. Still very limited Hitlering.
Some aural torture of the Professor, thankfully he's still alright. He assures us of this.
Mr H is here!!! he's floating in liquid, and blinking! Gasps abound from our captives. The Excellency is also a prisoner (I hope you're following this, there will be a test). Hitler's box comes with a carry handle, those clever Nazi's. After some planes, cars, and grenades, Mr H appears to be melting.

Worth watching? well yeah kinda. i still like it.

Movie: The Devil's Hand

I'm making the xmas cake today. So while the cake does the cooking thing, I'm sliding back into sordid b-grade goodness.

The Devil's Hand (1961) 

Another B&W, this opens with some lovely rockabilly, and then some serious exposition. He isn't sleeping and has handed in his notice at work. She wasn't told this. We're all shocked. Cut to him dreaming of blonde dancing. Oh yeah, a soliloquy !! Apparently he'd never met this blonde he's dreaming of. There is an unknown force. There's a doll made up of the blonde, and his partner. Everyone is confused. No-one brought in any photo's. He's found her! Her name is Bianca (I knew a Bianca once, she wasn't blonde). The movie does have some style, he's very Don Draper / Bogart. And now she's transparent.
the god they are praying to, the great devil god, appears to be called gambon :D There's dissent in the ranks, someone is trying to get out of the dark whatever it is. Oh hang on, it was a test. I barely survived that, too stressful. We're back in the temple, apparently the great Gamba (sadly not Gambon) is displeased, there's a traitor in the midst !! Additionally, their bongo player is possibly the most boring bongo player ever. Oh the (original) girlfriend is going to be sacrificed. There's tension, drama, and more double-crossing. I don't like his striped tie, although the suit is well cut.
It ends weakly. Much as it began.

Here's the movie (from movie archive), which is free !!!

And the trailer:

And the rockabilly:

8 November 2015

Movie Review: Terrified

Yep. More.

Terrified kicks off with someone getting buried in cement, and someone else laughing (I hardly need add manically), with oddly human versions of howling wolves.
We switch to an elderly couple driving, who swerve to avoid a head-on crash. This has some of the worst acting I've seen, the woman made Orlando Bloom look good.
They reach a diner, and we have a lot of exposition, and introduce the concept of Crazy Bill. There is a lot of mention of Crazy Bill, and soon those krazy kids go out to 'Ghost Town' to meet him.
Still looking for Crazy Bill, the KK's have moved from a house of rotten floorboards, to a cemetery.

Bill has met an unfortunate, spiky, end. The other KK turns up (Ken) and decided to stay and look around for the murderer.
We view the murderer, he's wearing a balaclava. They fight, badly. I'm yet to be terrified. Although Ken is now hearing voices.
I'm your oldest friend, terror.
This didn't work as intended - we laughed.
It's still going. Tedious! I'm also confused. And still no-one appears terrified.

25 October 2015

Movie: Blood of Dracula's Castle

And we've moved onto the Gorehouse Greats Collection - 12 movies.

First up, Blood of Dracula's Castle. A young couple inherit a castle, we know they're young and hip as he's a photographer and she's a model. Cue lots of music and cavorting with animals at Marineland (USA not Napier). The castle is already inhabited by a butler (John Carradine), Count & Countess Dracula - and babes they've chained up for those peckish times.
This one appears to have been transferred from a very grubby print. Colour is fading in and out, lines over the screen, brilliant !

Long chase scene for no apparent reason has just resolved into view of a cute woman sunbathing in bikini, who has been snatched by the person being chased. This made no sense to me either. Oh hang on, he's drowning her now. In the space of 5 minutes he's knocked off three people and is now eating (raw) one of them. Ahhh he's Johnny, their son.

the young couple have reached the castle and will meet the Count/Countess, however:
They are not available till after sunset. 
(that was, by far, the best line of the movie)
Things get very slow and predictable from here. It drags something chronic for the last 30-40 minutes, which is saying something for an 81min movie.

The initial soundtrack isn't too bad - after that, not much to write home about.


24 October 2015

Movie: The Unholy (1988)

Bgrade horrors continue. This morning it's The Unholy. A priest is seduced and killed (it you like red heads, you'll like this scene), then we move forward 3 years and Fr. Michael is called to save a suicide. He gets thrown out a window. And is unharmed. He is the one.
Fr. Michael goes and investigates, and reopens the church (where priest#1 died). It's going for atmospheric, but comes across as a daytime soap.
Oh we've just found out the nightclub owner is the devil. Bloody nightclubs. Bloody yoof.

Michael won't sleep with the virgin to save her soul. He's such a soultease.
"dear god what will you have me do"

Midget demons!!! they've got fucking midget demons!!!
Papa demon is now feeding Fr. Mike some of his flesh, and burning his eyes out. As you do. There is an awful lot of dry ice, flashback scenes, and, oddly, reference to a dentist. Millie (our simpering virgin) has returned, and is breathlessly screaming and shaking her head while papa demon comes for her white meat. The demon has a very Gene Simmons tongue, and now Fr. Mike - having got a Hulkamaniacs power up (from god) is ripping out the nails that bound him, and laying the smackdown on the papa and midget demonoids. The church is collapsing into a portal to hell, and so the demons are vanquished. Millie rushes to the good fathers aid.

This was truly a trial to sit through. 

19 October 2015

Movies: Class of 1999 & Chopping Mall

The odyssey of Bgrades continues. Yes, I know, if I were more manly I'd have set them up for a marathon, but yknow, life.

Class of 1999
I've seen this, many years ago.
It's MadMax for school kids. In the US. Authorities have decided that due to rising violence in schools, that they will no longer defend schools - rather they're a free fire zone. Y'know, similar to Cardiff on a Fri/Sat night.
Malcolm McDowell and Pam Grier were obviously still in the wilderness. I've now found out this is a sequel to a 1984 flick, and that there's a sequel to this 1999 II. I'm not rushing to find them.
Another plan is hatched, replace the teachers with Terminators/Robots who teach. How can it fail?! Oh yeah, these are repurposed military robots. Maybe that's something of a problem with the plan?

It was. Things go bad. The two rival gangs eventually work together. Life is beautiful.
Fun movie. Worth a watch.
Oh yeah, music is by Michael Hoenig, so there's a slight Tangerine Dream link.

Chopping Mall
Ohhh it even starts off looking like a straight to video! Guy robbing store in a mall, is chased by an armed robot, which appears to have a taser. WTF? there's a bikini clad babes going for a walk through the mall? oh yeah, the 80s. huzzah the 80s.
It's coming clearer, it's produced by Julie Corman (wife of Roger).
Class: to cut between scenes, there is a lightening flash/thunder crash. Everytime.

The mall is about to close, and so the tension builds. All the overly permed kids are planning parties, which are 'bitching'. There is a significant emphasis, by everyone, on pizza. The robots appear to be gaining sentience, it's like a scene from panto "it's behind you", and so dies the first scientist. The kids are blissfully unaware, and are dancing to synth heavy bad beats, and 'necking'. There are a large number of posters from the directors previous flicks (subtle). BErnie and Alison have been set up, they're clicking. I can tell from the music, however they are also partying in the mall. The terminators/robots are unhappy about this - more pizza references!!! As the massacre begins, the surviving kids go to the sports store, which being America, is loaded with guns. Pink (?) lasers compete with shotguns, and no-one appears to hit anything, until they roll a gas canister under a robot. Hmmm it's like George Romero meets Jaws. But with *even worse* acting, except for the robots. The kids have decided crashing the computer will be the solution, at which point they loose another one - and the robots can go up escalators, which is one in the eye for segways.
Eh, it's fun. And doesn't outstay its welcome (76mins).

17 October 2015

Movies: Waxwork

The fourth movie on DVD1, yes, this bundle thing is of that high quality, is Waxwork. Oddly this has a rating of 6.5 on imdb, which is concerning.
"But ma, I need the caffeine now."

Starts off in a rich house, preppy boy, butler, mother who looks like the mother from Brazil. And a *very* 80s sounding soundtrack. Pretty girls come across a waxwork, which has magically appeared - along with David Warner (probably not the cricketer...).
A number of nazi references - even a flag - occur in class. But to emphasise they're at college, we now have a college football scene. Lots of slow motion tackling, along with synth driven music. Brilliant.

The scooby gang are heading to the waxwork museum (y'know, the one that had just popped up - keep up) late at night after drinking clear liquid labelled as beer - I guess that's more evidence of it being american...
College boy has been sucked into another dimension, after following his lighter. Look, I guess it's a plot point, and so far, it's been one of the stronger ones.
WOOHOO It's got John Rhys-Davies !!!

We now have a discussion on steak tartar, and sauce. Painful. Really painful. but she did make the vampire explode, while chopping off someone else's leg. swings and roundabouts. Another vampire is now gushing either water or milk, it's hard to tell. I'm not sure I want to find out. I've lost track, but there's now a shadowy cabal involved, and 18 items between 3 people (ie 666) and now a mass fight scene, including an armoured wheel chair.


15 October 2015

Whisky : Edradour and a SMWS

I was up in the Highlands the other week, and it seemed sensible to drop into Blair Atholl and Edradour while in Pitlochry. Speaking of Pitlochry, we usually stay at the Moulin Hotel, which has the added benefit of a pub + food, and an attached brewery, but for various reasons we stayed at the Ellangowan Guest House.  We'd definitely recommend both of these places. The pub/brewery is all win, drink til late, stagger upstairs. But the EGH was lovely and quiet.

Anyhoo, the whisky. Blair Atholl didn't have any of their distillers edition, which having tried at Neil's I was keen to grab a bottle (and he to replenish supplies). Sadly they had none left. Their only single malt is nice enough - I'd add it to the Pub Whisky List - but nothing great. However, it is a lovely distillery and well worth a visit - 10 min walk from the Pitlochry train station.
They are one of the main distillers for Bell's, but the tour guide was very dismissive of that :) Afore ye go

And so to Edradour. They've become far less quirky, and far more tourist trap twee, which I think I remarked on last time I was up there (with Rich, Neil and Michelle).
But since it was a quiet time they were happy for me to just potter off to the tasting room.

10 year old Ballechin 
Nose: smoke, peat, honey, warming
Palate: warm, manuka honey, pepper, smoke
Finish: med-long
6.5/10 an interesting and moderately complex smokey whisky. I'd definitely drink it again.
Their website doesn't have a picture of this.

2003 Port Finish 
Nose: wine, alcohol, not very interesting
Palate: smooth and drinkable, not very complex, too young? quite zingy in the mouth
Finish: long and spikey
I think I'd avoid this, it seemed too young and lacked anything interesting happening.

2006 Super Tuscan 
Nose: warm rubber
Palate: warm smooth, taste of honey, spiky
Finish: medium hot
I liked this, again, spiky, but interesting.

13 year old Barolo 
Nose: sherry, warming, spiky
Palate: warming, sherried, manuka honey, complex
Finish: long
Being unimpressed with the three I'd tried, I randomly bought this one - it's good. Not as good as their 14yo sherry (the one in teh decanter), but good. Pleased I've got it.

SMWS 9.102 Gun cabinets and flying saucers (Glen Grant)
Nose: sweet, manuka honey, papaya
Palate: honey, warming, melons
Finish: long and warm
I liked this. Not a huge surprise given my love for GG :)

moi x

10 October 2015

Movies: Chud II : Bud the Chud (1989)

Chud II : Bud the Chud (1989)
I haven't seen Chud I, but suspect I won't lose much there. The Chud research project is being terminated, thankfully there is extensive exposition. It was an enzyme creating zombies - of course. I should've known. But one has escaped. Chud on the loose. Chud be gone.
We've cut to a science class, with a class prankster, which by a bizarre and largely unexplainable series of events, has caused a cadaver to run away on a gurney down the street. To solve this the lads are going to find a replacement. Confused?
Chud the Bud goes for a wander around town, converting people to his way of life. Rich Hall (of QI, Whose Line is it Anyway, various BBC comedies/tourism things) makes a brief appearance as a barbers client.  While the army continues to look for the Chuds, the Chuds continue to look for beef. There are flame throwers, explosives, lots of wins! Bud also falls for the hero's girlfriend.

Movie review: Ghoulies III

I recently spent £8 on 32 movies. This seemed excellent value for money, I'm now finding out if it was...

Ghoulies III (Ghoulies go to college)
A straight to video release, it begins with a flashback to 21 years ago describing how the ghoulies came about. In a win, there's a hints of Bach's toccata and fugue (yeah that one), which is broken up with twinkly synth tunes. After our flashback we end up on a college campus, with attractive, excessively hairy (can one use hirsute for ladies?) young ladies running - through water fountains - while the nerds throw things. Much slapstick ensues. This movie is setting its credentials out early.
The Ghoulies arrive thanks to an English professor, obviously. There's a weird collection of art the directors think would be in a fratboy area: magritte, lechinstein, man ray - odd. Various fratboy pranks (it's 'prank week') ensue with the ghoulies taking the lead. Puerile and entertaining. 

9 October 2015

Movie Reviews: Savage Island & 976-Evil II

Savage Island (1985)
Um, where to start, plot I guess. Woman slave gang mining gems, sends in plant to break out the prisoners, leader then goes after the big boss. Lots of flashbacks and voiceovers.
Lots of boobs. Not much else. Oh hang on, lots of appalling over dubs. Acting, well the trees and general scenery win that. Worth watching ? well no, not really. worth having on in the background while pottering around? hell yes.  It also has Linda Blair, in one of her less famous roles.

976-Evil II (1991)
Starts well: cute babe swimming, phone rings, she ends up in with a stalactite through her. Non sequiturs abound.  Cue credits. A killer is on the loose, it maybe linked to the possessed phone. This is made clear (?) at a strip club, where our hero is looking confused, moody, leathery and responds brilliantly to the threatening phonecall with 'go fuck yourself'. Genius. There is a lot of hair, and glasses being whipped off while making serious points - CSI Miami would be proud.
"you sure as hell need a miracle, and i don't think god owes you anything."
After that, things get a bit confusing, but our hero pops up occasionally and does sleuthing, his name, we learn, is Spike. The evil teacher is now flogging stuff on TV., which leads to a zombie version of this wonderful life - that was quite inspired actually. Then some more odd scenes, inclduing truck/motorbike chases with continuity issues. the special effects make highlander look cutting edge...

18 September 2015

Movie: Junior 1984 (aka "A Cut Above")

I'm currently reading the Bleeding Skull book (a 1980s trash-horror odyssey) which has caused me to go Bgrade hunting. And really, that's what's YouTube is for.

Can't remember if this one made it in thebook, or it was a random find. And I use that very loosely. Junior (A cut above) from 1984 likens itself to the texas chainsaw massacre. Which, to the point where hillbillies are in both movies, that's true. It's also had an eventful VHS release life with references to Junior ; A Cut Above; and Hot Water.

Two 80's babes get out of jail and move to a small town, where the hicks don't want them. Since they're on the waterfront, there's lots of excuses for skinny dipping, and the (almost) dead mother of 'Junior' lives opposite them on the lake. junior spends most of his time complaining to her. She also gives the LGBT community a bad name.
There are moments of brilliance, such as using a bikini top to create a molotov cocktail. Junior demonstrates planning skills now by leaving dead/decomposing bodies around, and is now using a chainsaw - so two ticks in the TCMassacre box, he's got a nice line in fedoras too. There's potential in that lad.

So, summary? superb 80s mishmash bgrade, boobies, no graphic violence :( very limited comedy. but doesn't outstay its welcome.

13 September 2015

Bruce Soord & Sweet Billy Pilgrim

Went along to the Sweet Billy Pilgrim with Bruce Soord [pineapple thief] as support last night - well it was a 20mins down the road.
Venue was nice, even nicer was the keg of brakspear bitter. So quiet pint before it kicked off.

Bruce was playing some tracks from his forthcoming solo album, with Darran from Godsticks (who we caught many years ago at a festival). Sadly there was a backing track of drums and bass, and it was a very synth drum sound. Think it would have worked better with just the two of them. Songs sounded really good, pushing more towards the Wisdom of Crowds stuff than Magnolia, which suits me since I havne't really clicked with Magnolia.

Sweet Billy Pilgrim: I went into them having heard about 2 minutes of a video. I came away quite sold on them. Bit hard to describe them, folk / indie, they're on KScope which doesn't help much either. At times rambling, in a controlled way, and very talented - umm Johnny Flynn meets Pulp meets, err, I dunno. Here's a video, and on the strength of hte gig, I'll be picking up the new vinyl from Burning Shed. CD here. Vinyl here.

6 September 2015

Rugby World Cup Predictions

We're two weeks out from the world cup that matters. None of those flouncy eat biting hair product dependent round ball twats.

I thought I'd throw out my predictions for those getting out of the first round. Although obviously my first prediction is that I'll be drinking some beer. [where some is a number between lots and ummm lost count].

Pool A: Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay
Pool of death. And if I were an England supporter I'd be getting pretty concerned... I suspect Fiji will come last, but there's a good chance they'll damage a few of the opposition quite badly. So that's worth watching. I haven't watched Uruguay since, probably, the last world cup - so Fiji may fancy their chances there. But for those going through, Australia (probably topping the pool) and Wales. As a team Wales haven't gelled yet, but the signs have been looking very good and they're very well conditioned. Go Wazza.... I also get pissed off reading the 'rebirth of english rugby' commentaries every time they win a match, so would be fine seeing them get kicked out at this stage.

Pool B: South Africa, Samoa, Japan, Scotland, USA
Interesting pool for position 2. Obviously SA will top the pool, but all the others have a reasonable chance to come second. USA have come on a lot in the last 4 years, Japan have their ring-ins, Samoa suffer from not playing as a team that often, but their players are experienced, and Scotland appear to be peaking at the right time. They should have won against France last night, but lacked the ability to shut the game down, but as a team without huge stars (although the Gray brothers, Denton, and Cussitor are damn good) they're a good bet for the dark horse. (*)

Pool C: NZ, Argentina, Tonga, Georgia, Namibia
NZ to top the pool, and probably Argentina for second. Georgia looked OK last time I saw them, but I can't see them troubling Argentina who now have the four nations game experience.

Pool D: France, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Romania
France to top, they're looking very good - and appear to have settled on a line-up that includes Michalek (which is unfortunate for everyone else). Sadly I expect Ireland to take the second spot. I find them very boring, but they do the basics well, and keep winning. I'd like Canada to go through :)

So them's me picks. Nothing too controversial there, except for England.

(*) yes I'm biased due to the quantity of the national product I consume

5 September 2015

Pub Whisky Guide

It was mooted during Cabal meetings that we produce a pub whisky guide. Essentially a list of whisky we liked that you may see in a pub. Yeah, didn't want to push the concept too much there.
This list became mythical. I promised many times. I never delivered. 

And yet, now, as I sip some Braes of Glenlivet (BBR bottling) and watch Scotland v France, here it is. Yes. The griffin lives.

To help, your default answer is likely to be Lagavulin 16yo, as it's easily available, and brilliant.

Slainte, B

Name Nose Palate Finish Rating Comments
Aberlour A’bunadh sherry, fudge, oloroso sherry, "manly dram" sherry monster, raisins, prunes long, sherry

"The Nigel Tufnel : for when you need a little bit more""I've had weaker sledgehammers to the face"
Adelphi Private Stock Blend hints of socks, bananas, muscatels christmas cake, salty long

Ardbeg Uigeadail peat, smoke, rubber, phenol, medicinal salty, long, sweet long 7-7.5/10 Very quaffable, this is the sherry finish (kinda) from Ardbeg
Arran Cu Bocan (Sherry Cask) rubber, dark chocolate, 'sweaty crotch', 'choc salty calls' Jayne (firefly): 'smells like crotch' chocolate, peat zombie finish. there's nothing there and then it sneaks up 7.5 (A) - 8/10 Quaffable session whisky (will go on the now mythical pub list)
Arran Malt 10yo rubber, spice, manuka honey more flavour, honey, pepper, hint of salt, aniseed (grows)

med-long, salt, aniseed

Beunnahabhain - Provenance chocolate, sherry, xmas cake musty, sherry, xmas cake med-long, very smooth

to quote Dr Death, it was 'imminently chuggable'
Cardhu 18yo sherry, raisins, caramel, xmas cake sherry, dry, high cocoa chocolate med-short


Dalmore 12yo rubber, sweaty socks, caramel very very short
It's not complex, it would be ok as a pub whisky
Glen Moray 16yo Fragrant, caramalised sugar, sweet, root ginger, marshmallows, weak, sweet, hint of christmas cake, warm citrus, oak, short
diet whisky’
Glenfarclas 10yo 105 caramel, maple syrup huge taste, caramel notes massive

Glenrothes 1994 16yo grass, sweet toffee, sherry, very sweet sweet, tasty, citrus, sherry, toffee, kinda chewy

med length, tingly, sweet, hint of pepper in finish

very nice
Glenrothes 1994 Signatory 17yo toasted marshmallows, burnt fireworks, rubber sultanas, tangy, honey, cloudy lemonade med-long 7-7.5/10 very very drinkable. You cannot go wrong with this baby
Jura Diurachs Own 16yo sweet, chocolate, oranges chocolate, sweet, seaweed/sushi, xmas med-short

7-7.5/10 very quaffable
Lagavulin 16yo dry, aniseed, soap, apple, bourbon, oxidised metal salt, bacon, sherry, smoke, carame long, dry, superb
Old Pulteney 17yo incr alcohol, coconut, bright, reminded me of a Springbank empty, rum, too light, salt, dry medium 6.5/10

Scapa parmesan cheese, sweaty sock, salt, sweet, vanilla, light

drinkable, salt, seaweed, sweet pancake

medium, warm

Springbank 10yo 100 proof leather, old, edradour-ish; paint tasty, smooth, meaty ash, toffee, rum, long

Springbank 15yo salt, bacon, sweet, fruity, cheese caramel honey, kinda soapy medium

Talisker Storm salt, bacon, smoke sweet, prawn cocktail, raspberry short, peppery 6,7,8/10

Tomintoul 12yo Portwood peaty but light, watery sweet, salty, port short, sweet
very light
Tomintoul 16yo parmesan cheese, old wood chips, cut grass good fighty, tangy, lemon, bourbon, thick mouth feel short, manuka honey 6.5-7 /10 very drinkable
Tullibardine Port Finish port, rubber, raisins port soaked raisins medium 6.5-7.5 very quaffable 
Glenrothes Vintage Cask Reserve 40%
green grass, bourbon, shiitake mushrooms (that earthy smell)
light, warm, honey, quaffing, fruity
short, bit bland