Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
I always look forward to genre anthologies, especially ones that skip the well-known names and instead give the more culty directors and writers a chance to tell a 10-15 minute story. The Theatre Bizarre fulfills this criteria in spades, featuring creepy little stories from the likes of underground icons like Richard (Hardware) Stanley, Buddy (Combat Shock) Giovinazzo, Tom (Night of the Living Dead ’90) Savini, as well as up-and-comers like Douglas Buck, David Gregory, Karim Hussain and Jeremy Kasten. As with most anthologies of this magnitude, the results are wildly uneven, ranging from psycho-sexually depressing (Gregory’s “Sweets”) to emotionally moving (Buck’s “The Accident”) to pure goofy trash (Savini’s “Wet Dreams,” Stanley’s “Mother of Toads”). It’s still a great watch, filled with images you’ll never forget and stories you won’t fully comprehend, but are still drawn to out of curious revulsion. It’s straight-to-Guignol entertainment for the burnt-out horror fan looking for new kicks.
Bob’s Burgers is the latest hit in FOX’s Animation Domination line-up, featuring a third-generation burger-joint owner named, appropriately enough, Bob. Like an animated sitcom, every episode deals with the numerous quirky customers and Bob’s unconventional family dynamic. Usually this wouldn’t be anything special, but when the voice behind Bob is Archer’s H. Jon Benjamin, his dry, sarcastic delivery makes the proceedings enjoyably watchable. Other than that, however, the series is pretty much forgettable; fun enough for its time and place, but no one will remember it in 20 years. I doubt it’ll be remembered in even 10. Also available from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad Volume 7, the latest collection of episodes from the Family Guy wannabe, featuring extras that are “too rude for TV." I’m guessing it’s just even more jokes aimed at blacks, gays and the handicapped, because that’s the only way MacFarlane knows how to get laughs.
Starting The Terror Experiment, a low-budget zombie flick starring Jason London, I was expecting the same subpar Karo corn syrup-and-food-coloring undead nonsense that I am routinely inundated with from horror distributors. About 20 minutes in, however, I realized I was watching an Alex Jones/Infowars movie-of-the-week, subliminally indoctrinating me with one “9/11 was an inside job” message after another. A group of terrorists (or patriots, depending on what side of the argument you fall on) unleash a virus in a federal building that turns everyday innocent Americans into bloodthirsty rage-monsters. Meanwhile, outside, Robert Carradine and Judd Nelson are the government stooges assigned with keeping this under wraps, while C. Thomas Howell is the cop who thinks people have a right to know about this and other cover-ups like Building 7. It is amazing this got made, and even more amazing it isn’t subtitled “Vote for Ron Paul.” The Terror Experiment is not only an inside job, but an awesome one as well.
As I continue to be disappointed every week by the same lame action offerings at my local cinema, I find myself retreating to straight-to-DVD movies more and more in an effort to satiate my continual need for slam-bang, balls-to-the-wall action. Usually, these low-budget, lesser-known movies have more originality and ingenuity than most big-budget theatrical disasters. Case in point, the astoundingly fresh The Aggression Scale, a post-Columbine cross between Home Alone and First Blood. When a newly married couple is murdered by gangsters who want their stolen money back, a freshly minted teen brother and sister must harness all of their courage to fight back against these scumbag hitmen. It helps that the boy is a silent but deadly pubescent one-man wrecking crew — one who's put numerous bullies in the hospital thanks to his intense anger and savant-like ability to make a weapon out of anything. These thugs don’t stand a chance, right? On a scale of 1 to 10, Aggression earns an 11!