Movie Review: Death Note (2017)

(Ho-wdy, Ho-rror Ho-mies…Apologies for dropping the ball a bit around here for the last little bit. I had some personal matters to attend to, butt now I’m back in action and ready to make the spookening happen. 🙂 First up, a review of something near and dear to my cold, black heart…Death Note. This take on the new NetfliXXX adaptation presented by Mr. Anton Phibes…Thanks for the interesting input, Kinky Kolleague! 🙂 xoxo)

It’s a tired cliche to say that the pen is mightier than the sword, but that old chestnut is given new gravity in Adam Wingard’s Death Note, an American incarnation of the popular Japanese franchise. In the film, a few strokes of a pen etched within a most peculiar notebook are all it takes to kill anyone at anytime. Imbued with the abilities of a literal death god, the titular “Death Note” is the murder weapon to end all murder weapons: elegant, efficient, and damn-near impossible to trace. The notebook’s current owner uses its awesome power to purge the world of those he deems evil, resulting in an epic battle of wits between the wielder of the book and those who seek to stop him.

Since 2003, Death Note has been adapted many times over. Starting with the anime adaptation of the original manga, each interpretation retains the primary characters and certain scenes, but always tells its own version of the tale, with new twists and wrinkles. However, despite the many variations on the same story, it seems most adapters agree that the material is simply too much to tell one outing. The manga spawned 12 volumes, the anime series has 37 episodes, the Japanese live-action films gave its take in two films, and the live-action mini-series had 11 episodes. Regardless of the changes made, Death Note is still a massive story.
And that is where the problems begin. A story as sprawling as Death Note shouldn’t be confined to a little over 90 mins.  The picture feels rushed and overloaded, losing much of the power previous tellings had. What’s worse is that precious screen time is spent on paltry teen drama that exists in no other version. Instead of building up the rivalry between the murderous Light and the detective L that’s so central to the franchise, it places emphasis on a boring girlfriend character who would not be out of place in a Disney Channel movie. Much of the suspense is replaced with teen angst, questions on the nature of justice are tossed out for bland romance,  and the Light depicted here is more of an awkward teenager than a diabolical vigilante. The entire affair has the unfortunate quality of feeling like a man in an iron maiden: cramped and bloodless.

Despite these considerable flaws, I actually did find quite a bit to love here. Adam Wingard’s direction is superbly stylishly, with extraordinary color usage, some fun death scenes, and some truly moody moments. Light’s character is significantly neutered compared to previous takes, but Nate Wolff does an admirable job as this version of the character.  The other performances range from pretty good to downright excellent, with Lakeith Stanfield’s L and Willem Dafoe as the death god Ryuk emerging on top. Speaking of Ryuk, the effects used to bring him to life(?) are simply marvelous, giving him a Satanic grace and a perfectly demonic appearance.

Death Note is likely to disappoint fans of the source material, but may be of interest to those who love teen horror. There are moments that evoke the black magic of the franchise, but it’s best taken as on its own.  Wingard’s film is deeply flawed, but not without flashes of greatness. Perhaps if he makes that rumored sequel, Wingard will deliver a film that lives up to the both his own potential and that of the material. There’s still time to make us see the Light.

Splatterday Mourning Cartoons: Death Note – Rebirth

Ho-wdy, my Ho-micidal friends!

In Ho-nor of Netflix’s brand-new adaptation, our terror ‘toon this week is the very first episode of Death Note!

I’m glad you asked! Death Note is a manga series that revolves a supernatural notebook with the ability to kill anyone whose name is written within its pages. The infernal journal is discovered by Light, a bright young man with a warped sense of justice and a desire to rid the world of criminals. When Light begins to act upon that desire, his murderous campaign catches the attention of Interpol and “L”, a world-famous detective who is as brilliant as he is eccentric. With lives in the balance, L and Light engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.
The manga was insanely popular, spawning four Japanese live-action movies, a live-action TV series, light novels, video games, a musical, and an anime series. Of corpse, the anime series many people’s introduction to the franchise, and it is a worthy introduction, indeed!  It was thrilling, stylish, well-animated, and nail-bitingly suspenseful… until the second half, that is…


But when it was good, it was brilliant. And we hope the Netflix version of this maniacal mystery hits the right (Death) notes.

See the madness begin below:

Happy Splatterday, Kreeps!

News Bleed: The “Cult of the Zombie” Edition

The new American Horror Story: Cult opening credits are here! 🙂 Variety

Dead Snow 3 is rising from the grave and it will feature Zombie Hitler. :O Entertainment Weekly

Cult favorite Todd & the Book of Pure Evil gets (Re)Animated! Bloody Disgusting

Rob Zombie will bring 13 Nights of Halloween! 🙂 PopCulture

Trick ‘r Treat creeps into Halloween Horror Nights as a scarezone! Inside the Magic

Comedy legend Jerry Lewis has passed away. 🙁 New York Times

Predator‘s Sonny Landham has also passed away. 🙁 #lifeamirite?? LA Times

Splatterday Mourning Cartoons – Beetlejuice: Critter Sitters

Ho-wdy, my recently deceased Ho-mies!


What a fine Day-O it is for some carnivorous cartoon carnage! Today’s freaky funny shows that the dead truly are an animated bunch! On this strange journey through the hereafter, we summon our Ho-st… the Ghost with the Most! Say it once, say it twice, say it three times…

BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE!


Yessiree, Blob! We just love the unholy heck out of ol’ BJ (Ha!) here at Kinky Horror! After all, he is THE name in Laughter from the Hereafter! It’s on his poster! Posters don’t lie!

See?!

Beetlejuice (1988) was a monstrous success at the boXXX office, so (super)naturally Warner Bros.  wanted to capitalize on our striped scare-star’s popularity. What better way to do so than to make a children’s cartoon based on this:

Surprisingly, the cartoon works really well! It ain’t as edgy as the movie, but it’s everything a monster-loving kid could hope for! For all the little Wednesdays and Pugsleys out there, this show’s better  than a bowl of Frankenberry with arsenic!
 

Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose with the first episode of… BEETLEJUICE!


#AnimatedAwesomeness Movie Review: Justice League Dark

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

SPOILERS

“Beings with supernatural powers join together to fight against supernatural villains. This team of supernatural beings include John Constantine, Zatanna and Jason Blood also known as the demon Etrigan.” (DC Entertainment)

I read the first volume of Justice League: Dark from The New 52 and loved it. I thought it was one of the best books of that initiative. So when I heard they were making this movie, I was so excited. I thought it would be a direct adaptation of that story but it wasn’t. It was its own story using DC’s more supernatural heroes. I love how this movie uses the main well known heroes from the Justice League proper team, to transition to this team of darker, mystical heroes. Now I know who these characters are, but the casual movie buyer may not. So this was a smart decision. The film opens with people seeing others around them as demons and monsters. Innocents are killed in the attack, which brings the Justice League, specifically the Trinity into action. Superman stops a husband from killing his wife, Wonder Woman stops an out of control driver, who is mowing down civilians with her car and Batman stops a mother from throwing her newborn out of a window. These scenes, plus Constantine’s language alone, make the film worthy of its R rating. Speaking of Constantine, The Justice League surmises that magic and the dark arts are behind these occurrences. Skeptical of this, Batman scoffs and heads back to Wayne Manor. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne goes through a series of blackouts and when he wakes, discovers the name Constantine seemingly written in blood on walls close by. They look as though they were written in blood. The way these scenes were filmed, it seemed as though Batman was being stalked and attacked by an unseen supernatural villain. We later learn that all this was the work of Deadman, possessing Batman’s body in an attempt to warn him. So Batman turns to my favourite Magician clad in fishnets, Zatanna, to find Constantine. She help Batman and, by extension, Deadman locate John Constantine. The next segment of the film sees John Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, Jason Blood aka Etrigan the demon and Batman, discuss the culprit of the recent events. Since the likes of John Constantine, Zatanna and of course Batman have all had stints on live action film and television, as well as animation before, the film spends some time on the more unknown quantities in this film. In briskly paced flashbacks, we get the FYI origin stories of Deadman and Etrigan the Demon. For Deadman we see his murder during a trapeze circus act and his post death encounter with a Hindu Goddess, who felt pity on him and granted him his ghostly existence and his ability. With Jason Blood, the flashback takes us back to Camelot, where Merlin magically bonds Jason with Etrigan the Demon after he is mortally wounded. I must confess, I didn’t know much about Etrigan but I absolutely love that his origin is tied to Arthurian legend. I l also got a kick out of the interplay in that scene. Zatanna and Constantine have a history, and their bickering highlighted a past relationship and some sexual tension. This actual played out quite similarly to volume one of the book. When you throw in Boston Brand’s commentary during the arguing, it felt like a episode of The Big Bang Theory, with Penny and Leonard arguing and Sheldon making smart ass comments. Batman’s reaction to the irrefutable existence of magic only adds to the humor. Every time magic is on display early on in the film, Batman grimaces and almost grunts in disbelief.

Magical weirdness kicks off, when the group visits a colleague of Zatanna’s, Ritchie Simpson for help. When they arrive at his doorstep, they find Shroud Spirits of Death waiting for Ritchie’s demise. The group enters his house and they learn Ritchie has a mystical form of cancer. The group surmises that whatever triggered Ritchie’s mystical cancer, likely caused people around the world to start seeing monsters and demons and go on killing sprees. They bring Ritchie back to the House of Mystery and use the mystical Keshanti Key to access one of the unconscious civilian rampagers mind. While inside his head, clues seem to reveal that the culprit for all this chaos is Felix Faust. While the group confronts Faust, Ritchie Simpson reveals himself to be a sinister magician Destiny, from the time of Camelot. He was the character who fought Etrigan in the flashback scene. He lay in hiding to gain access to the House of Mystery, where the other half of the dream stone resides. With the full stone in his possession he has the power to gain vengeance on Jason Blood and rule the modern world. While Batman and the rest of the core Justice League is present during the final battle, it is the teamwork of Etrigan, Zatanna, Constantine and Deadman that defeated Destiny and saved the day. I loved that their plan of action was a combination of mental trickery and magical force. I was happy it wasn’t just fisticuffs the whole way through. I was genuinely shocked that Ritchie Simpson was in fact Destiny. That reveal was deceptive and unexpected. While I don’t know much about Etrigan, this film changes his status quo in this animated universe in a big way. I have no idea if this has ever been done in the comic books before, but for the film to separate Jason Blood and Etrigan, essentially killing Jason Blood, I thought was pretty ballsy. This film is definitely the formation of the Justice League Dark. At the end of the film, Batman extends offers to Zatanna and John Constantine to join the Justice League. So while they took the characters from the New 52 comic books, they definitely went their own way in terms of origin story for the film. My only complaint of this film is the use of Swamp Thing. What a waste of a great character. If he’s in the film for more then 7 minutes I’d be shocked..

The animation is dark and very sleek looking. It definitely takes it’s cues from the art of Mikel Janin. One of my favourite scenes is the twister that occurs trying to conceal the House of Mystery. It’s like Twister, but better because it feature superheroes and the Batmobile. Though, I was cringing to see that beautiful Batmobile get swept up and destroyed. I loved the origin scenes where both Deadman and Etrigan were highlighted. Those scenes had different and distinctive looks and could have easily been their own separate short movies. Also worth noting is the scene where Constantine and Zatanna enter the mind scape of the unconscious rampager. It was very trippy. Like 70’s acid trip trippy. Then out in the real world, Batman is chased through the halls of the hospital by the Shroud Spirits of Death. They look like a cross between the Undertaker’s Druids from the late 90’s WWE and the liquid that spewed from Penguin’s mouth in Batman Returns. The third act finale features plenty of force fields, lit up mystical symbols of energy and corresponding energy blasts. You know, this movie has quite a bit in common with Marvel’s Doctor Strange film. By the way, that’s not a bad thing, as I enjoyed that film. The voice cast was all fairly solid. I am really getting used to Jason O’Mara as Batman. He has officially joined the Bat family in my opinion. By the way, knowing he voices Batman, makes his character on Agents of SHIELD so much cooler. It was great hearing Matt Ryan reprise the role of John Constantine. It was weird hearing him use some foul language but was great that the character was unrestrained by the R rating. By the way, it’s a shame that NBC cancelled the live action Constantine show. I really enjoyed it. I don’t know if Boston Brand is supposed to be from New York but Nicholas Turturro’s New York accent really fit the character. He was distinctive from the rest of the characters. Camilla Luddington is known as the voice of Lara Croft. Here though, she plays Zatanna. There is no trace of Lara Croft in here performance, and I give her a ton of credit for managing the backwards spell dialogue.

Justice League Dark takes the characters from the comic books and manages to tell a wholly original story. That in and of it self is quite the accomplishment. Add the fact that in character origin stories and its villain, this film is better than Marvel’s live action Doctor Strange. That’s an animated film is better than a live action feature film is an absolute win. If you’re a fan of DC’s magical characters, you can be happy they’ve been given the respect they deserve. Buy this movie so that Warner Brothers sees the interest, which will give them confidence to explore these characters in more animated and live action films

Splatterday Mourning Cartoon: Count Duckula – A Fright at the Opera

Velcome, Kinky Kreeps!Today’s abominable animation is a FOWL terror tale that dares to reinvent to of Ho-rror’s most ghastly figures… as ducks!

That’s F-right, my monstrous minions… we summon the dread Count Duckula to terrorize y’all’s neighborhood!
And he’s brought with him a creep that swung from the chandelier long before another veiled musician made it cool… The Phantom of the Opera!

Well, a more finely feathered version, that is.

We here at Kinky Horror just love a good monster mash! There’s just someTHING eXXXciting about two (or more) icons of the macabre sharing the scream-screen together. Curiously though, this one of the very few times The Phantom and Drac have crossed paths. I mean, it’s a pairing that’s to DIE for! Both are cape-wearing, urbane creatures of the night with a tendency to sleep in coffins. And both are evil geniuses, so it would be a spectacular battle of the minds! Having two of fiction’s darkest gentlemen go face-to-mask would be a SCREAM!

Howl-ever, since there’s no true film crossover, we’ll gladly take this duck-based version!

The  webbed-foot Phantom in this terror toon is a Frankenstein of a few different versions of the masked menace. His mask resembles that of Claude Rains and his association diminutive lackey brings to the Hammer Ho-rror interpretation. There’s also a fair bit of Chaney in the the way he’s presented. And like all Phantoms, he really knows how bring DOWN the house… if you know what I mean.
For some Famous Monsters of Duckland, click on the BoXXX below:

No Recipes Required: The Kinky Kitchens Edition, Part 1

(Submitted by the always awesome Smutmaster Eric…Thanks, Kinky Ho-mie. I so dig how your monstrous mind works! 🙂 xoxo)

Kitchen Samurai

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

Snoopy & Woodstock

 
American Werewolf In London XXX Porn Parody (2011)

Ratatouille (2007)


Pet Sematary (1989)

Ho-stess’s PS- #TBT to my Karnal Kombat review of An American Werewolf in  London XXX. (Spoiler Alert: It’s actually rad AF!! 😉 xoxo)

Splatterday Mourning Cartoon: Rick Moranis in Gravedale High – Long Day’s Gurney Into Night

Ho-wdy, kartoon kreeps!

It’s another spooktacular splatterday mourning, so let’s get our cartoon on!

Today’s abominable animation is cartoon creeper with perhaps best tit-le known to man or monster: Rick Moranis in Gravedale High!

Okay, so most of you probably know it as just Gravedale High, but the official tit-le card says Rick Moranis in…, so I ain’t gonna drop it! After all, he was the star of the show… and my heart. <3

In addition to being an animated vehicle for the tit-ular seXXXiest man alive and his mighty voice,  Rick Moranis in Gravedale High put classic creeps in high school long before Monster High made freaky fabulous. It had it all… vampires, mummies, invisible men, werewolves, gill-men, and every other freaky thang that makes us shriek for joy! If Archie and Famous Monsters of Filmland had a baby, this would be it!

The show only lasted for 13 episodes (how unlucky! ;)), but it’s still a scream for monster lovers and fans of Master Rick Moranis. If monsters and Seymour aren’t enough for ya, you’re beyond help, freaky fiend!! 😉

Check out the creep course below:

Afloat: The Boats & Ships Edition, Part 2

(Submitted by Smutmaster Eric…Thanks, my Radly Random Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

Afloat: The Boats & Ships Edition, Part 2

Starring:

Peter Pan (1953)

Featuring: Madison Ivy, Tyler Nixon, Claudette Colbert, Gene Wilder & Grace Kelly.

Erotico Vol. 2 (2014)

It Happened One Night (1934)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)


High Society (1956)

Ho-stess’s PS- Here’s Rat Murdock being totes adorbs on his lil purple boat…Drink in the seXXXy! #MiamiMice 😉 xoxo

#SupernaturalSaturday: Castlevania Season 1 Review

(Submitted by Birhday Boy Prince Adam…Hope your born week has been beyond a blast, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“A vampire hunter fights to save a besieged city from an army of otherworldly creatures controlled by Dracula.” (Netflix)

This animated series is based off of a third part in a video game series I have never played. I have no preconceived notions or expectations of what it’s SUPPOSED to be like. All I can say, is that the series that Netflix produced is something I really enjoyed and I’d like to see further explored. Thankfully, Castlevania has already been renewed for a second season. So my recommendation is to definitely get in on this before that eventual second season. The good news is, the first season consists of only 4 episodes, so it’s not a huge overwhelming time commitment. Surprisingly, in that 4 episode time we see Dracula fall in love, and get married. His wife is then burned at the stake by the Bishop and the people of Wallachia, for the accusation of being a witch. Dracula, when he discovers what happened to his wife, gives the people and the church a year to make peace with what they’ve done, before he wipes them off the face of the Earth. The story jumps forward a year, and we see the beginning of Dracula’s genocide on the humans. We also see the arrival of Trevor Belmont, which brings plenty of exposition about the fact that he is the last surviving member of the Belmont family, a disgraced clan of monster hunters, who have been excommunicated by the church, due to claims of being connected to dark magic. Speaking of magic, Trevor Belmont rescues a member of the Seekers, an ancient sect that uses magic to assist and help the people of Wallachia. Guess what, even they have been excommunicated from the church because of their magic. After fighting off some of the demons Dracula has unleashed on Earth, Trevor Belmont then rescues the granddaughter of the Elder of the Speakers, who is trapped in the catacombs of a cathedral. After rescuing the granddaughter, she and Belmont track down Dracula’s castle only to find a sleeping vampire Adrian Tepes. He awakens, a misunderstanding occurs and a fight ensues between the three. When Adrian revels that they fulfill a prophecy that says a vampire, hunter and a scientist will kill Dracula, they band together and hunt for Dracula.


What I loved about this series is that it respects several incarnations of the Dracula character. We have nods to the historical Vlad the Impaler, in the character’s name and the fact that he impaled his victims and skewered their head on a lance. He was also suave debonair, tall, dark and handsome. I loved that this show also highlighted that Dracula was at the forefront of science and technology, in the time period. Thus, in this story, Dr. Lisa Tepes comes to Dracula’s castle, despite knowing the myths about him, in search of his knowledge and science prowess to put into practice with her medicine. Initially, he is cold and distant, but quickly warms up to her, and witty banter kicks into high gear. Before you know it, she encourages him to start living and travelling like a human being. The series then jumps forward 20 years, they are married and Lisa is being burned at the stake as a witch for her interest in science. I wish the season had more episodes, so that we could’ve seen the development of their relationship and the change in Dracula. That way, when he snaps after her murder, it’s even more powerful and painful. I also liked the mythologies set up for both Trevor Belmont and the Belmont family. Trevor Belmont reminds me of a cross between Peter Quill aka Star Lord and Van Helsing. However, the mythology is glossed over because of the season’s short episode order. This is also true of the Speakers but we get an even more truncated version of their backstory. This seasons really needed 10-13 episodes to effectively flesh out all these storylines and backstories. Clearly though, the producers knew they were getting a second season, clearly saving plot threads for the follow up installment. While Dracula has a horrible endgame for Wallachia and its people. the true villain of this season is not Dracula, or the demons he unleashes. The villain is really The Bishop. He is going on a killing spree, taking out people who are suspected of having anything to do with magic. It is his decision to burn Lisa Tepes at the stake, which sets Dracula off on a vengeful murderous rampage. While Dracula’s ultimate endgame can’t be condoned, I can sympathize with his pain. The Bishop is doing all this, so he can be the one to defeat Dracula seen as the ultimate saviour of the Church and the people of Wallachia, ultimately ascending to the rank of Pope. The Catholic Church was full of corrupt leaders, who took part in burning witches at the stake, and using this true to life scenario because the story is set in mid-1400’s is smart. That little bit of reality set in this fantasy world, almost makes you forget this is an animated project.


Speaking of animation and the action, both were great. The art has a mix of Manga art, infused with traditional comic book art, by the likes of Michael Turner and John Romita Jr. I love the Roman/Gothic architecture of the cathedrals and Dracula’s Castle. The castle in particular looked pristine and beautiful when the lights are turned on. It’s hard to believe a vampire and demons live in such an abode. In terms of look, Dracula reminded me of a more rugged version of Luke Wilson from Dracula Untold. The gargoyle type creatures and the devil wolf dogs looked like Man-Bat mixed with Golam and direwolves mixed with Hulk Dogs, from Ang Lee’s movies. I loved that every so often, the skyline would be seen as the sun was setting. The orange/red color was more foreboding then it was beautiful, putting the viewer on notice that blood was about to be spilled. Speaking of blood being spilled, this show is damn bloody and violent and that’s great. It doesn’t shy away from showing blood and there is plenty of dismemberment that takes place. When Trevor Belmont starts kicking ass, corrupt priests lose fingers, an eyeball and even their head. In this series, Dracula can appear as a disembodied head engulfed in fire. I don’t know that this is one of his typical abilities, but it looks cool. The traditional traveling and forming from a swarm of bats is present and made this long time Dracula happy. There’s a scene at the beginning before the title card, where the bats swarm the screen. It reminded me of a more visceral, violent version of the moment in Batman Begins, where the bats swarm the screen, forming the Batman logo at the beginning of the film.


This first season of Castlevania is short, sweet, extremely dark and beautifully violent. Having said that, the four episodes feel like a combined episode of a typical live action pilot. The four episodes are all setup, for what’s to come next season. Thankfully, there’s enough mythology and demon fighting to make this an exciting thrill ride of an appetizer. Castlevania along with American Vampire, are the two best additions to vampire mythology in quite some time. The ending promises an even more satisfying and succulent experience, so definitely take a bite out of Castlevania Season 1, you won’t regret it!