Let’s Discuss Dick. In Defense of Small Ones.

I’ve noticed that a lot people have an interesting view of the penis. Yes, I realize the built-in joke in that sentence. Please bear with me.

Recently, some woman, who I don’t know and have never met, made a “little dick” joke aimed at me on Facebook. I don’t think her intention was to put me in my place. It was more of a funny burn, because that thread was on the topic of women’s breasts, and I’d mentioned that I don’t think breast are “a big deal.” (Yeah, I realize there’s a joke in that sentence somewhere, too.)

Anyway, my point was that I really don’t see why naked boobs are so transgressive here in the USA. I like them a lot, but I don’t even consider a woman going topless as nudity. At least, it’s not automatically erotic unless the context of that specific situation is.

So, this female Facebook goblin made a joke that I believe was supposed to infer that I have a small penis, and it got me to thinking about how the size of a man’s cock is perceived in our culture.

I feel like even bringing up this subject means I have to throw out a couple of disclaimers, and that shows what a weird subject it is.

First of all, I myself don’t have a little dick. The fact that this admission might be perceived as some ego-driven bragging might demonstrate the bizarre way dick size is treated here. I’m not John Holmes, but I’ve never had anyone with first-hand experience say that I was small in that regard. Without getting specific, let’s say that, while I suffer from plenty of male insecurities, that is not one of them, and never has been. If asked to pose nude, I would be a lot more insecure about the size of my gut than I would about the size of my schlong. I will leave it at that.

But just because this isn’t one of MY insecurities doesn’t mean that the size of a guy’s dick isn’t used as an insult pretty often. When someone makes a little penis joke aimed at a dude, it’s obvious that having a small weiner is viewed as a bad thing by most people. Worse still, I can’t count the number of times over many years that I’ve heard women make fun of a guy for having a little dick. Sometimes these are even nice women, and it seems that making fun of a guy based on the size of his privates is acceptable.

I have to wonder why? Sure, guys can be dicks. Whoops! Did I just use a slang term for the penis as a pejorative? It seems I did.

OK, back to dick size discrimination. Just the fact that women will use the cheap shot of saying a guy has a small wee-wee in order to verbally destroy him seems to indicate that smaller cocks are viewed poorly by a lot of people. Why is that?

I’m sure that at both ends of the size spectrum there is a point where things aren’t great. A tiny penis is probably no lamer in action than a truly monstrous one, and I’d wager that, while completely subjective, most women have a preference somewhere in between. But really? I’ve had female friends that had boyfriends with little peens, and they seemed content enough, so I have to assume that a smaller cock doesn’t necessarily indicate that sex can’t be fulfilling. On the other hand, I don’t know too many females that would really want a guy with a 14 inch dick inside them. A few female friends that have encountered such “dicks of death” have told me that they were almost useless in some ways.

I’m not beating up on men with giant units either. It’s just notable that they don’t have the image problem the little dicked guys do, nor is having a big one usually used as a withering criticism.

So what gives?

There’s also a racial aspect to this stuff. It seems to be standard in this culture to assume that black guys have big dicks, white guys smaller, and Asian guys get the smallest of all. Really?

So what effect does it have on a black guy’s self esteem if he happens to be less endowed? Asian dudes benefit from the stereotype of being viewed as smarter or more ambitious than white or black men, but what if you happen to be an Asian man with average intelligence and a big dick?

I’m just saying that there are a lot of problems with this stuff. It’s been suggested that the idea that blacks have the biggest dicks of all has also been used to project the image of black men being “savage” or more animalistic in regards to sex, and that isn’t necessarily a great image to be shouldered with.

So it seems to me we have some weird ways of looking at dick size, and judging men on that criteria, and I just don’t think that’s ok. Why is one of the worst things a person can say about a male that his penis is small? That’s fucked up.

I realize that I will probably take shit for this particular post. Go ahead, y’all can say I have a little dick. It seems to be the worst thing a person can say about a man.

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Sorceress – Cross Dressing Playboy Bunnies Fight Forces of Evil And Puppet Gods. Also, a Viking.

“Sorceress” has long been a favorite film of mine, for reasons almost impossible to describe to anyone else. It’s almost unbelievably shitty in every measurable way, but boy, is it an entertaining ride if you’re in the right mood (pro tip: the “right mood” might involve a twelve pack of swill beer in this case).

This was legendary B-movie director Jack Hill’s last film from what I can tell, and wow, is it terrible (but awesome). Watching “Sorceress” makes it hard to believe that the same director that brought the world classics like “Foxy Brown,” “Coffy,” and “Switchblade Sisters” somehow spat out this abomination.

But in 1982, the hugely successful “Conan the Barbarian” movie was spawning countless cheap imitators left and right, so it’s not surprising that Jack Hill somehow got roped into service to make this legendary turd of a film.

The action gets started with an army of about six or seven guys in ridiculous-looking armor hunting down a pregnant woman revealed to be the wife of evil sorcerer “Traigon,” who is bent on sacrificing his firstborn to the malevolent god “Calgara.”

After Traigon catches up to his fugitive wife, he discovers that she’s had twins. Rather than doing the prudent thing by just killing both completely helpless infants, Traigon decides to interrogate his wife. He has one of his ridiculous looking henchmen try to torture the woman to find out which baby is the first born. No sooner does the torture begin than there’s a bolt of lightening, and “Krona” appears, sort of the wise old wizard type. He kicks all the evil baddies’ asses, and as Traigon lies dying, he tells everyone how he’s got more lives and will be back in a few years. Then he disappears in a failed special effect.

His wife is also dying, and entrusts Krona with the care of her infant daughters before dying. Krona magically bonds the baby girls as the “Two who are one” with his wizard spells, and also grants them powers at fighting skills and sorcery, before handing them off to some farmer couple, instructing them to raise the twins as boys to throw off Traigon when he shows up again. Then, Krona promptly disappears to wherever guys like Krona go to hang out when they’re not being badass wizard guys.

20 years fast forward by, and sure enough Traigon reappears and immediately begins telling his lackeys to find the “Two who are one.” A guy in a terrible ape costume scampers around while some “Princess” shows her titties, and the small army of dudes wearing ridiculous armor cheer together. This scene immediately transitions to the now-adult twins skinny dipping in a lake. This scene makes it very clear just how bad a plan it was to pass off the twins as boys was, because they’re played by real life twins and Playboy centerfolds Leigh and Lynette Harris, and there is no way anyone would ever think the two of them were males. Yet, we are to believe that somehow no one has been tipped off by their obvious Playmate attributes, because they wear matching “male” clothes. Despite being raised by a woman and having a sister neither of them seem to have ever compared their bodies to them, and noticed any similarities. OK…moving forward.

Their naked shenanigans are being secretly watched by “Pando,” possibly the ugliest and most fake looking Satyr in movie history. Seeing that the lusty manbeast has a “horn” dangling between his legs and assuming it’s some sort of weapon, the two “brothers” beat the shit out of the pathetic goat man. Pando beats a steady retreat and the twins return home to discover Traigon’s forces attacking their home. Their father and mother are both murdered by Traigon’s paltry army, while their sister is raped and then also killed, so the twins kill a bunch of the evil doers, although a handful escape to tell Traigon. The sister’s display an awkward fighting style at best, but they do glow blue at some point, so perhaps that gives them the edge they needed. Afterwards, Pando returns, this time with “Valdar” the Viking, who must be the worst looking movie Viking in history.

He has a habit of saying gems like, “By Yggdrasil, tis sorcery,” so we know this guy is legit.

Valdar totally believes the Playmates are male, and agrees to help them wreak vengeance upon Traigon, who he also hates. The Viking suggests that they seek out his bro Erlik who might also be up for some Traigon-bashing, and off they go to a nearby “city.”

The city is as sad looking as Pando and Valdar, resembling Mortville from “Desperate Living,” or maybe a really low rent renaissance fair. They find Valdar’s pal Erlik getting in bar fights and biting the ass of a scantily clad wench, basically acting like a slimy bastard.

After heading to a room, Valdar witnesses the twins undressing, and then tries to creepily explain to them the differences between men and women while they let their boobs get some screen time. In short order the twins end up captured, and one of them is revealed to be the first born, pleasing the evil team to no end. The extra twin is offered to a guy in a terrible ape suit for his amusement (shudder), but fortunately for the twins, their male buds show up and bust up the party.

Erik and one of the twins are quickly recaptured by a group of the ape men, and Erik is stripped naked and sentenced to the painful-looking “death by sliding down a greased pole as a ten foot spike is shoved up his ass.” Fortunately for our leading man, there’s a ridiculous plot development that identifies him as some sort of prince, and it’s understood that the sacrifice of the first born will be better if Erik and her get it on, so he’s spared the death by ass-kabob.

What follows is a grotesque scene where Erik and one of the twins (I can’t tell them apart, and it doesn’t matter) get it on, and the other twin who is off somewhere hanging out with Valdar, reacts as if she is the one getting nailed. So, an awkward and creepy orgasm by proxy.

The sacrifice is about to proceed when the orgasmic twin and Hagar the Horrible (“Valdar” – same difference) show up to ruin the party. Traigon waves his hand, and the ground gives way under them, and they fall into some sort of underground tomb. A bunch of corpses reanimate (as they do) and close in. So things are looking bad for all of the hero characters, when suddenly we hear the voice of ‘ol Krona commanding them to “Use the name Vitaan!” The twin does, and weird shit ensues.

Erik and the sacrificial twin suddenly shake off their drugged stupor, the zombies below give up on their prey and decide to storm Traigon’s temple instead. Then they decide to haul off and rape the temple women.

Valdar remarks on that development “It’s been a thousand years, you know?” Classy guy.

Anyway, at some point during all of this, two of the most badly-executed special effects “gods” I’ve ever seen appear.

One looks like a Hispanic woman’s head with half of her face rotting off, just floating way up in the air occasionally shooting fireballs at people. The other is even worse, looking like an extremely fake lion monster made of foam rubber. They do battle, and the evil floating head explodes.

Traigon disappears again, claiming he’ll return (probably for a sequel that never came to be for some unknown reason) and the heroes battle his remaining forces, until they’re all vanquished.

Then, the heroes all group laugh like the end of a bad sitcom, and that’s the end.

Seriously, find this film and watch it. It’s awesomely bad. Lots of bad special effects, gratuitous nudity, and an all around low production values.

I’d give it 7 floating lion puppets out of 10.

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By Yggdrasil! Ye boys have vaginas!

 

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The bargain basement goat man Pando.

 

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Two Gods… Two very crappy Gods…

 

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Ass Kabab!

 

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Totally convincing as men.

 

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Yep, that’s what men look like all right…

 

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Pretty women, scary hand puppets.

 

Four Unexpected Things I Learned When My Band Opened For Famous Musicians

Your band has been playing shows for awhile, and seems to be getting popular. Perhaps you’re still just rising stars on the hometown circuit, or you’ve hit the road a few times and tried your luck at touring.

Eventually, the day comes when you get a dream gig opening up for a big national act – a band with a certain amount of fame and success that you’ve always looked up to, or at least respected.

Does this gig mean Death Hippie has finally made it, and superstardom is around the corner? Can you and your bass player finally quit your jobs cleaning up “accidents” at the porno theater you both work at? Will you at least make industry connections and become friends with your rock and roll heroes after your band opens for them?

Like most things involving the music biz, you’ll probably learn some lessons along the way. I certainly did.

1. Just Because You Got The Gig Doesn’t Mean Your Band Has Made It.

Think about it, how many times have you gone to see a semi-famous band, only to sit through one or two local bands that were opening for them? It’s a pretty common set up, some local promoter needed to pad out the show’s lineup, and they called up Death Hippie and XCiter to open the show. Sometimes you get lucky and discover a great band you hadn’t known about, other times? You just want them to finish up so you can see the band you paid to see.

That decision might have been made for any number of reasons – local popularity, or they play a style of music similar to the headlining act, or maybe they were just the first band to answer the phone. Who knows? Sometimes, if the headlining act is famous, a local radio station might hold a contest to decide which local band gets to play with them.

My point is, there are lots of reasons you might get offered the gig that don’t necessarily mean your band is rocketing to the top. Yes, it’s probably a good thing to get to support larger acts, but think of how many long-forgotten bands you’ve sat through while waiting to see the headlining band. It puts things in perspective when you realize that you never heard anything from those opening bands ever again. Either they didn’t rise to fame, or Krokus has a policy of murdering everyone that ever opened a show for them. They DID have an album called “Head Hunter,” it’s not that unlikely.

A high-profile spot opening for a national act can create momentum for a less famous act, but it might also end up just being another show for them. Next week Death Hippie might go right back to opening for that scary hobo that juggles dogs down at the local community center.

2. You May Never Really Meet The Band You’re Opening For.

This was one of the weirder things I learned, although it makes perfect sense. Your band might never interact with the famous band you’re opening for. You might never meet the people in that band. I know a guy whose group toured with several others opening for a relatively famous heavy metal singer. My pal was a huge fan, on top of the world at getting the gig, and figured that he would become best buds with his hero. He was only in the same room with the guy a handful of times, and very briefly. After a month long tour, he finally managed to get a photo of the two of them together, and that was the extent of their new “friendship.”

Everyone is different, but many rock stars tend to be insulated from a lot of the things that make their concerts possible, and that includes the opening bands. A lot of times the guys in a famous band are either sitting somewhere in a private area backstage, or they don’t even show up at the venue until right before they go on. Afterwards, they’re immediately whisked away to wherever the oiled midgets and swimming pools full of cocaine are located.

They’re not generally going to be interested in having a few after show beers with the local bands that opened their concert, especially bands they’ve probably never heard of before.

Years ago, my friend Doug’s band opened up for KISS at a beach concert. The closest he got to any members of KISS was in a huge tent set aside for the bands, and the sex-obsessed senior citizen clowns in KISS were in a separate area that was roped off. My friend got just close enough to hear Paul Stanley make a derisive remark about him (that he looked like Nikki Sixx, but without the money). Burned by Paul Stanley! Oh the humanity!

So yeah, even bands that play multiple shows on the same tour with a famous act might never really spend much time with them. They might be traveling independently of one another, staying at different hotels, and only be in the same general place when they’re at the venue for the show.

3. Famous Musicians Are Often Nothing Like Your Image of Them.

Rock music of all types is dependent on a certain amount of illusion. As hard as it may be to believe the guys in Slayer probably aren’t really Satanists, David Bowie probably isn’t really a space alien, the women in Poison don’t wear Revlon on their days off, and GWAR aren’t actually monsters with giant cocks. Beyond the images they’ve carefully crafted (and ALL famous musicians have some kind of image they’ve carefully created) the reality of what they’re actually like is often completely different.

If you do manage to spend any time with the rock stars your band opens up for, particularly if they’ve been around for a few years, you may discover that despite the image of non-stop partying, a lot of those people are surprisingly sedate and boring off stage.

I once had a singer for a famous industrial band ask me a question since I was local and knew my way around town. What was the question? Where could he score heroin? Did I know which of the local groupies to avoid?

No, he asked me if I knew a good vegetarian restaurant near the club we were playing at.

Sigh. Illusions crushed.

4. My Idea of What a Rock Star Is has Changed.

After opening for a lot of bands that I had grown up listening to and idolizing, most of my preconceptions about stardom slowly faded away like Ozzy’s memory and speech skills.

Many of the bands I opened for played large clubs by that point in their careers. They’d been around for awhile and were still hitting the road, but they weren’t playing stadiums anymore, if they ever had. Nothing wrong with that, but it was interesting to learn that many of them had some form of day job or another income stream apart from their music.

I had a lot of situations where I’d meet some guy I’d thought of as a rock star in my youth, and find out he was a nice person that worked at a record store when he wasn’t touring. I began to think of rock musicians differently. There are the people and bands with what I call “Perma-Fame” – they’ve been been around long enough and gotten famous enough that just about anyone would recognize them or know them by name. People like Mick Jagger or Keith Richards would fit that category, guys like Taime Downe would probably not. Basically if my parents have never heard of a person, then they don’t have Perma-Fame.

However, that doesn’t mean that the people lacking Perma-Fame aren’t famous on some level, or that their music sucks. In a lot of cases, I would take the music of those less-known rockers over more famous ones any day. Aerosmith may be enormously popular, but that doesn’t change the fact that Steven Tyler is a prune faced goblin that needs a constant supply of baby blood to survive. Worse still, when was the last decent Aerosmith album released? Thirty five years ago? More? Never?

Would the world have been any worse off if The Rolling Stones had called it quits after “Tattoo You”? Would we have lost out on anything good? Doubtful, but they’re still putting out albums decades later, releasing records that millions buy but no one actually seems to listen to. Here’s a test: try to name a good Rolling Stones song from the last twenty five years.

Can’t do it? Neither can Keith Richards.

So my hats off to the musicians that are still playing shows and making good music despite the fact that their level of fame may have peaked or diminished, or they’re only considered rock stars by a small segment of the population.

In the end, anyone that manages to make an even meager living for themselves playing music without self destructing or becoming a bad joke is worthy of my respect.

Now get in the van! Those Death Hippie shows aren’t going to play themselves, and we’re opening for Blackie Lawless tonight. He fucks like a beast, apparently…

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Hatchet 2, Blood Soaked Boogaloo

I caught “Hatchet 2” on Netflix, not knowing exactly what to expect. I knew that it was supposed to be a gory slasher film, and it looked derivative of the 80’s formula: a hideously deformed monster of a man haunts a desolate Louisiana swamp, butchering anyone stupid or unlucky enough to stumble into his killing grounds.

Frankly, I’ve seen that movie quite a few times before, but I had heard the first “Hatchet” film has fans, so I thought I’d give it a chance.

The film begins right where the first one seems to have left off, with final girl Mary Beth left as the lone survivor of murderous bogeyman Victor Crowley’s wrath.

After escaping the swamp, it’s pretty obvious she is haunted by the experience, and will soon be back battling Crowley again. The plot involves Mary Beth contacting a local Voodoo Priest and scam artist named “Reverend Zombie,” who is played by Tony Todd, recognizable to any horror fan that’s seen him in “Candyman.”

What follows is a dumb setup involving the good Reverend gathering a group of low-lives and promising them each $500 to go into the swamp and help retrieve a boat of his. His real plan is to confront Victor Crowley. Several of the men he enlists have a link to his past, and Zombie thinks that if Crowley (actually it’s Crowley’s ghost that comes back every night) anyway, he thinks that if Crowley’s ghost murders those guys, then he will cease to return, freeing the swamp up so Zombie can claim it.

It’s all completely silly and stupid, but hey, we wouldn’t have a movie if no one agreed to go into the swamp. Tagging along of course is Mary Beth, and another woman. We know the moment this disposable blonde is introduced that her sole reason for being there is to show her boobs and then get murdered later in the film. It’s sort of a tradition in these things.

The group goes into the swamp, intent on spending the night, or something like that. It doesn’t really matter. The plot is secondary to other factors in a low achieving slasher film like this one. There’s a ridiculous back story for Victor Crowley of which we get a flashback, and Zombie explains his theory that if Crowley’s head is severed his ghost will disappear forever. That’s about all the plot we need for a movie like this one.

Sure enough, Crowley shows up after the large group intelligently decide to split into pairs, and starts brutally murdering everyone. The kills are the real reason this film got made, and its main appeal. Make of that what you will.

There’s a lot of gore throughout, and it’s all pretty well executed if not realistic. Early on, Crowley tears out a guy’s entrails and after pulling him around by his intestines, he wraps then around the dude’s neck and tears his head off. Geysers of blood follow. So yes, lots of pneumatic blood spraying everywhere through this movie.

Another guy gets his face shoved into the spinning blades of a boat motor, two more simultaneously have a comically large chainsaw blade split them in two from the crotch up. The blade seems to get stuck in their groins for horrific effect, before ripping through the rest of their bodies.

Crowley’s signature weapon is his hatchet (which really looks more like a small two headed battle-axe to me) and he lops off heads left and right. People’s noggins seem to pop off of their bodies with almost no effort at all, with enough blood to fill ten people spraying out afterwards.

The most memorable kills are the doomed blonde I mentioned earlier, and one of the guys on the expedition. He’s fucking her from behind when Crowley chops his head off without the woman noticing. Her paramour’s headless body spasms wildly, which she seems to enjoy, until looking back and seeing the guy fucking her no longer has his head. She then tries to crawl away from Crowley, who buries his hatchet/axe right into her naughty bits. Can’t say I’ve ever seen this particular variation of murder in a slasher film.

Finally, Mary Beth and Reverend Zombie confront Crowley, with predictable results for all parties involved.

“Hatchet 2” doesn’t have an original bone in its body, but that’s not necessarily the kiss of death for a film like this. The acting ranges from “Second rate community theater” to “Entry level professional,” also not unexpected for an independent horror film. I found the actress playing Mary Beth to be a bit on the shrill side, which was off-putting, but I can’t bash her acting too much.

The movie appears to have been shot on video and not film, which makes sense. It doesn’t look “bad” exactly, but film, or better video filters, might have made things look a little better. A lot of the latex prosthetics ended up looking a little too much like makeup due to the harsher look of video, but it doesn’t look terrible or anything.

The design of Victor Crowley looked pretty bad to me. He’s your standard deformed and retarded killer, in the mold of Jason Voorhees or Madman Mars, but he looks lousy. Played by horror veteran Kane Hodder, he could’ve looked awesome, but instead Crowley looks like a rubber headed jack-o-lantern with fake looking crepe hair. He just doesn’t look real. Oh well.

On the positive side of things, the gore is extreme, and that’s probably what most people interested in watching “Hatchet 2” really care about anyway. It’s not realistic, but it gets points for creative and nasty death scenes, and enough blood to fill a lake. The film’s pacing is also pretty good. Even good slasher films tend to bog down during the middle, but “Hatchet 2” somehow keeps things moving at a decent pace.

I’ll also give the movie points for using “Just One Fix” by Ministry for the music during the title credits.

So, if you’re looking for a modern slasher film with no surprises, but a good pace, and unrealistic but brutal kills, “Hatchet 2” might make a good time waster.

I’d give this one 6 spurting head stumps out of 10.

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The Tall Man – Horror Film or Tricky Misdirection?

“The Tall Man” is a 2012 thriller starring Jessica Biel. I caught it on Netflix, and the description sounded at least potentially promising. A down on it’s luck mining town is being menaced by a creepy bogeyman called “The Tall Man” who has been stealing young children, presumably murdering them.

However, and I will just start with the spoilers right away, this is not in any way a horror film. However, that is how it’s presented, and the direction the film seems to be going in for about the first half of the film.

In actuality, this movie is one of those mystery thrillers that directors like M. Night Shyamalan usually make. If you really like his movies, you’ll probably like “The Tall Man.”

If, however, you were hoping for a horror film dealing with something supernatural, perhaps using a legend like “The Slender Man” as a focal point, then you are shit out of luck.

I won’t get into a synopsis of the film other than to say that we are led to believe that these kids have been snatched by the local bogeyman, and that’s not the case. Jessica Biel plays a local doctor that seems like the film’s protagonist up until the plot twists start to twist away, and then she comes off like the movie’s villain, and then is vindicated again.

This movie reminds me a lot of “The Village,” and not in a good way.

Here’s my take: It isn’t automatically clever to just trick audiences with weird and unrealistic plot twists, unless that twist makes the film better.

In the case of “The Tall Man” the twists are just a form of cheap misdirection. “Oh, you thought this was that type of movie? Well it’s not! Isn’t that clever of us?”

No, it’s frustrating and lame.

What is presented as a horror film ends up being about an almost inconceivably unlikely organization of people that steal kids from abusive families, and then sort of brainwash them, and place them in loving homes. Does that sound like a fun horror film or thriller to you? Me, either.

Generally, when I feel like a movie has tricked me, that’s not a good thing.

“The Tall Man” is very well-filmed, for the most part looking great, and the acting is top notch too, so the effect is that the audience might think it’s watching a good film. It looks good doesn’t it? The acting is great, right?

Yes, but the silly multiple layers of plot twists are ridiculous, and those high production values might have been better used in a straight horror tale.

This film is also guilty of using that blue filter which seems so common these days, and I’m just tired of seeing that. It’s hard on the eyes, and overdone at this point.

If you’re a huge fan of the types of thrillers where the central idea is shown to be nothing like it’s presented, then “The Tall Man” might be worth checking out.

If you’re a horror fan that just wanted a well made horror film, then look elsewhere. This is really an adoption drama disguised as a horror thriller, and that’s a pretty cheap and unsatisfying fake-out in my book.

The first half of the film is pretty suspenseful and seems loaded with promise, but that good stuff all falls away about halfway through.

I would give “The Tall Man” 5 bogus plot twists out of 10.

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There are a lot of scenes like this. The whole film feels like you’re chasing a plot twist.

 

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Sadly, there is no Tall Man in this film. It could use one.

 

Beach Balls – Or Chaka Discovers Hair Metal and Boobs.

“Beach Balls” is a strange 1988 oddity of a film which seems to be a teen beach movie that’s also exploiting the then popular California Hair Metal scene. It stars Philip Paley as protagonist Charlie, a sort of clean cut all American boy that wants to join a band and hook up with beautiful blonde beach bunny Wendy (who doesn’t seem to notice him). Philip Paley played Chaka on the original “Land of The Lost” television show, so that kind of added to the hilarity anytime I saw his face on screen. Other than this movie and a role on the “Airwolf” TV show, he seems to have stopped acting. Pity, he’s not bad at it.

Charlie and his spazzy friend Scully hang out on the beach a lot, which I guess gives the movie its beach theme, but not much real beach related action takes place. Most of the plot involves Charlie trying to get together with Wendy, who seems obsessed with the goofy lead singer in an up-and-coming Hair Metal band that Charlie is acquainted with. He used this connection to the band to befriend Wendy, and the rest of the film’s plot has him and his crew interacting with various locals, including a trio of thugs and a group of evil 80’s-style jocks.

The plot all culminates when Charlie sets up a band showcase for the rockers while his parents are out of town. A record industry guy is coming to check out the band, and they need a place to play.

That’s the film in a nutshell. There’s no really involved plot, which is not surprising for a movie like this one. I’m sure the target audience for “Beach Balls” was more interested in beach-related shenanigans involving sex than anything resembling major plot development.

This is a pretty lighthearted film, and is nowhere as sleazy as the subject matter or film genre could have dictated. For the most part the villains are funny and not sinister or threatening, and the film is competently made. There’s very little nudity, which is puzzling for a rated R heavy metal beach movie. A couple of brief and distant topless shots were all I counted, but maybe I missed something. Generally I don’t think of a few scattered topless scenes as even being nudity anymore. Guess I’m jaded or something.

That and some mildly sexual situations and profanity are about all that marks “Beach Balls” as a rated R film, it could easily have been on broadcast television with about 20 seconds of edits.

The film does capture a lot of the late 80’s goofy rock trends. The horrible rock band does a pretty authentic take on the second or third level Sunset Strip bands that were beginning to dominate MTV at the time. One of the band members is even wearing a old “Rip Magazine” t-shirt, and that seems about right somehow. There’s an early scene in the film that takes place at one of the band’s shows, and they’re playing at Gazzarri’s, a famous Sunset Strip nightclub that catered to the hair metal scene of the time. In any case, it’s hard to buy the band as being up-and-coming based on the sparse audience on display, but whatever, we’ll let that pass.

Near the film’s end, Charlie ends up joining the band to perform at his house for the record industry guy, and it all looks completely silly. The clash between clean-cut Charlie, who has obviously never actually played a guitar in his life, and the rest of the band just looks ridiculous. But films like this aren’t known for their gritty realism, so that’s to be expected.

The soundtrack is full of hair metal songs, mostly by bands that never made it very big, so that also helps to establish the goofy rock and roll vibe of this movie. Without that now-vintage rock goofiness, this film wouldn’t be worth watching at all, but it’s fun enough for anyone that remembers that scene, or just likes watching attractive women in the weirdly dated but still sexy bikinis that seemed to have been standard beach attire back then. Other than a lag in pacing during the middle of the film, “Beach Balls” ambles on quickly enough, and is a fun ride. If you’re expecting a lot of nudity or really sleazy content, this film will disappoint. Please feel free to read some of my other reviews for more intensely sleazy viewing.

I’d give “Beach Balls” 6 high-waisted bikinis out of 10, and would especially recommend it for anyone that has forgotten how strange the late 80’s looked.

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People really DID dress like this in the 80’s

 

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The Beach Referenced By The Movie Title

 

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The Record Company Guy. I don’t doubt that dudes who looked like this were responsible for the late 80’s rock scene. It all makes perfect sense now.

 

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One of the movie’s asshole jock characters. I was a teenager back in the 80’s, and guys like this were really around.

 

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I think this might capture the spirit of the late 80’s better than anything I can say.

 

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Are you ready to rock?!
Too bad.

 

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The film’s evil burnout thug gang.

 

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Homoerotic right wing jock guys.

 

6 Ways to Find Members For Your New Band

So you’ve decided to start a new band. Perhaps you’ve never been in one, and it’s your first go at it.  Maybe you’ve been playing in bands that were already established before you joined, and have decided to form one of your own. Unless you’re planning on calling on friends of yours to form your new supergroup, you will likely have to locate some people to fill out the lineup. So, how do you go about finding them? Yes, there’s that bass player that lives under the bridge and exposes himself to passing women, but he’s probably not the best choice even if he can rock a mean groove.

You’re probably going to have to get creative to find band members.  There are several strategies that can be used, like:

1. Networking Within Your Music Scene.

This is an option for any musician that’s already been kicking around their local scene for a few years. If you were the guitar player for beloved local band Death Hippie then you’ve probably made lots of friends and acquaintances among the local music community. Unless of course, you’re some locally famous asshole that has alienated everyone in your scene.

If that’s the case, perhaps moving away and starting over in Germany is your best bet. If not, networking locally may help find you some new bandmates. Chances are, other musicians have recently left the bands they were in and are looking for a new gig. Networking could quickly put you in touch with the people you need to get your band going.

2.  Put an Ad Out in The Local Papers.

This is probably one of the most common strategies for people looking for band members. It’s appealing because it’s a simple one. Rather than scrabbling around the local scene trying to meet the right musicians, you simply pay a few bucks and place an ad in whatever passes for the local music paper and wait. Now, the downside is that you never know who might respond to an ad, and you might miss out on some good players simply because they never saw you were looking for “A rock guitarist willing to wear clown makeup who sounds like a cross between George Lynch and Jerry Garcia.” If anyone does answer your ad, you’re dealing with a complete stranger, and you have almost as much chance of a serial killer showing up as the perfect match for your new project.

3.  Hang Out in Music Stores.

Makes sense right? Go where other musicians go, and the advantage is you might actually hear them play a little before approaching them. There’s nothing worse than having some person respond to an ad and having them end up being a weird creepo that’s casing the joint, or some well-meaning time waster that can hardly play.

But I’ve known several bands that found a member by hanging out at a guitar shop and listening to people come in and play. Anyone that’s sat around a Guitar Center on a Saturday knows this might not be a fun experience, as most people that seem inclined to test drive gear tend to do so loudly and often badly, but every once in a while, you’ll hear someone really good. This method also gives you a chance to see what people look like. Image might be important to you and your plan for the band, and some dude that’s 20 years older than the rest of you or who looks like Frankenstein’s Monster in drag might not work for your project. Or maybe that’s the perfect image. Who am I to judge?

Even if you fail to find the perfect new band mate at the music store, you’re already there, so you might as well…

4. Put an Ad Up On Bulletin Boards.

I’ve never been to a music shop that didn’t have some sort of bulletin board for people to put up notices looking for people to play with. I’ve joined a couple of bands by responding to ads on a music store bulletin board, and this might just be your ticket to finding the right bass player for your new Gothic Space Jazz Metal band.

The downside to this approach is the same as placing an ad in a music paper. You may have to field calls from people that will be bad matches for your band, or who might be a murderous psycho looking for the perfect head to complete his human jigsaw puzzle.

There’s also a supply-and-demand issue that the music store bulletin board brings into sharp focus. There are a LOT of guitar players and singers out there, fewer bass players, and a whole lot less drummers in most music scenes. I don’t know why this seems to be the case. I’m guessing that more people grow up with dreams of being a lead singer or guitar player, but whatever the reason, the music store bulletin board will make this imbalance clear.

You’ll see a hundred “Guitar player and singer looking for a bassist and drummer” flyers for every “drummer and bassist looking for a metal (or whatever) band” ad. Anytime you DO see a flyer for a drummer looking for a new band, it’s likely that all the little tabs with the persons phone number on it are already ripped off.

Contrast that to those flyers for people looking for a drummer. Most of them look unmolested and lonely by comparison. It’s worth a shot, but if you’re a guitar player or singer looking for a drummer or bassist to hook up with, you may be waiting for a long time for that call to come in.

On the other hand, if you’re a drummer or bass player, you’re in good shape. Sure, you may live in a beat up minivan down by the park, and you have to eat at the dumpster buffet to get by, but you’ll be in high demand for playing with people. Chances are you’re probably in ten bands already.

5. Hire Members to Play.

This is not as common since it involves a significant financial investment, but for the right kind of project it can work. Can’t find people to play the type of music you want to play? Or maybe you’re a huge asshole, but have a pile of cash to spend, and an ego that demands you call all the shots.

Just hire yourself a bunch of musicians to play the material you want them to! You can get the best players you can afford, and if they want to get paid they’ll check their egos at the door. If you’re lucky, your new band will catch on in popularity, and eventually you can network your way into having players that want to join and aren’t expecting a payday from you.

The downside is that, unless your music is truly amazing, people will eventually start to question why you had to pay to get people to play with you. If your ego is at a proper “David Lee Roth” level of inflation, these criticisms won’t matter, so maybe it’s a moot point.

6. Poach Them From Another Band.

This is a surprisingly common approach to getting new members. Go to see other bands play, and when you see someone that you want, just try to poach them from their band. I’ve had this strategy tried on me several times over the years, and seen it done many times. I guess it just depends on how comfortable you are with being completely cutthroat, and whether or not making enemies in the local music scene is important to you.

I also always figured that in most cases, any bandmate that left their previous band to join yours without a good reason, is probably mercenary enough to do the same to your band. Like most things in life, there are cooler ways of poaching a band mate than others. It’s hard to fault someone for extending the offer if that member has become a friend, and is already unhappy in the band they’re in. But walking up to someone you don’t know yet, right after they leave the stage, and asking them to jump ship for the awesome Clown Sex Metal band you’re forming might not come off very nicely.

It’s the difference between getting to know someone of the opposite sex, and then asking them out on a date, and yelling at a stranger across the street that you want to stick your cock up their ass. It might not be received as well as you hope.

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If this guy shows up to audition… Run!

Ged

But if this guy does, keep him no matter what you have to do.

If any of these strategies pan out, your newly minted band will undoubtably be able to move up the rock ladder in no time, and that drummer might even be able to trade in his minivan home for sweeter lodgings in the storage closet of your band’s practice room. Just be careful. That guy sometimes pisses himself when he’s too drunk, and the carpet in there already smells pretty horrible.