Saturday, February 27, 2010

CD Review: Hellbilly Deluxe 2 by Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie, that multimedia master of horror, is back with his first brand new album since the disappointing effort that was 2006's Educated Horses. It's been four long years since we've heard new music from Rob and with the release of this album, fans longing for some down-n-dirty, groovin-n-movin tunes are hoping he gets back on track.

Here's the gristle -- Hellbilly Deluxe 2, the supposed sequel to 1998's fantastic Hellbilly Deluxe, is nowhere near up to par. I'm terribly sad to say this album sounds like these tunes were leftovers from the Educated Horses album.

The album's highlights, for me, are the songs What? and Werewolf Women of the SS, and I don't even particularly love either one of these either. The album starts off with Jesus Frankenstein, and to be honest, I was liking that tune until he got to the chorus. That shitty-ass chant totally throws the song off rhythm and turns it from a decent jam into a hard to listen to turd.

I don't know, ever since Zombie started doing films, his music has suffered. This is hard for me to write because I love Rob Zombie. I think he's a true original, but I just don't like this CD. And to boot, he caps the recording off with a nearly 10-minute song that features a drum solo through most of it. Now, who the hell puts a drum solo in a song that's NOT on a live album? And to make matters even worse, the drum solo totally sucks! There are eleven year old kids on YouTube that can pound the skins more impressively. The song, titled The Man Who Laughs, might just be about Rob himself, as he's pulled the wool over the eyes of those who thought this was going to be anything like Hellbilly Deluxe. Oh, what a cruel, cruel joke.

Hellbilly Deluxe 2, like most sequels (with the exception of Devil's Rejects, of course), is substandard. It gets ** out of *****.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Movie Review: The Collector

When I sat down to watch The Collector, I was in a rare state of having no expectations about the film I was about to watch. This movie was out a while ago, and it basically came and went without much fanfare, so I really didn't have any idea of what I was in for. And I must say, man, was I glad I didn't know what I was in for!

The Collector took me surprise. This is as well-made a slasher story as I've seen in quite a while. But even more than that, The Collector is rife with tension, which is greatly accentuated by the heart pounding (literally) soundtrack and exceptional cinematography. Watching it, I realized that I haven't felt this level of tension in a film since I saw David Moreau's French masterpiece, Them.

The plot of the film follows ex-con Arkin as he attempts to settle his ex-wife's debt by robbing his new employer's home when they're supposed to be away on a vacation. But, once Arkin is inside the home, he realizes he's not alone. There's somebody far worse inside the house with him.

Now, as much as I loved The Collector, the film is not perfect. There are some things that make you say, "Now, how did he..." and "What the..." But overall, this is a truly enjoyable film that really deserves a larger following. Screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan did some collecting of their own, as you can see certain aspects of some other great horror films at work here, not the least of which are the Saw movies, which they also happened to co-write (from part IV on).

As the horror genre has become slogged down with crappy remakes, re-imaging or whatever you want to call it, it's exciting to see fresh, new blood on the serial killer scene. The Collector is a fun ride, one filled with blood, guts and edge-of-your-seat tension. I give The Collector ****1/2 out of *****.

Monday, February 22, 2010

CD Review: Calabrese III: They Call Us Death by Calabrese

A couple of years ago, I took a shot and ordered a CD called 13 Hallowe'ens from a then-unknown horror rock band called Calabrese. To say my socks were blown off is an understatement. These guys kicked serious ass!! In fact, they got my first-ever six-star review. Then, in 2008, I got their second release, The Traveling Vampire Show and it too garnered a six star rating. So now, here it is, 2010 and Calabrese is back with their third effort, Calabrese III: They Call Us Death. Will the guys from Arizona, voted the World's Best Horror Rock Band, continue their trend? Let's see, shall we?

The first thing I noticed about the new CD is that the packaging is simply incredible. The artwork on the digipak is better than ever, and dare I say it, way better than you find on an artist who's backed by a major label. This is just top quality stuff here. But all that's just window dressing. What about the tunes, man?

On Calabrese III, the Calabrese brothers come to kick you in the ass, forget taking names, they aren't interested in that - they're out for blood! And man, do they get it! The songs on this disc are harder, faster and grittier than anything they've put out thus far. Get one thing straight, this ain't fancy, howdy-do music here. It's in your face, punch you in the gut rock and roll, baby!

I've said it before that Calabrese is more than a horror rock band. They're an ass-kicking rock and roll band! That said, their songs are more sinister, evil and demented than ever so you've got to give them props on the horror-scale! Remember back when that panty-waste Axl said he wanted to see you bleed? Well, Calabrese is looking for bucket loads of the red stuff, and boy do they get what they came for. Might as well make it an even 6-6-6 -- ****** out of *****! Quite simply the best from the best!