Monday, April 14, 2014

Seraphim & Erotic Lanterns: An Examination of Roberta Findlay's ALTAR OF LUST & ANGEL ON FIRE

The thing about being a pioneer is that the land you are cutting into is going to range vastly. The law of averages states that for every acre of rich, fertile soil you find, you are also going to discover some barren, rocky land too. This Peekarama double-feature, courtesy of the fantastic folks over at Vinegar Syndrome, showcases two films that are the very definition of this, with the one commonality being that they were both directed by cult film pioneer Roberta Findlay. This particular disc features 1971's ALTAR OF LUST as well as the 1974 feature, ANGEL ON FIRE. 

ALTAR OF LUST stars the fabulously named “Erotica Lantern” as Vivica. A petite and bewigged beauty, she reclines on a shrink's (Fred J. Lincoln) psychedelic paisley patterned couch and begins to tell him of her highly dysfunctional childhood. All was well for little Vivica until her father died when she was only 14. Her mother, besotted with grief, married a gold-digging oaf named Hans (C. Davis Smith). That's right, Hans. While he might have the name of a European pastry chef, Hans is actually one lecherous boar of a man. As soon as his wife dies, he follows a newly adult Vivica, who is resplendent in some really fantastic white go-go boots and ends up raping her in the woods. In a move to make us about as uncomfortable as Ms. Lantern must have been during the making of this scene, the cinematic violation goes on way too long, with the camera steadfastly focused on Hans' pasty-twitchy-man-ass. It feels hateful.

Finally, he finishes and leaves her traumatized in the grass. Abandoning her pig of a step-parent, as well as her dead mother's farm, Vivica moves to the City and almost instantly finds love in the form of Don (a pre-mustachioed Harry Reems). He's handsome, gentle and a wonderful lover, with the two getting serious enough to move in together. This results in some semi-simulated sex scenes that read fairly fun and passionate, including one especially cute and playful shower scene. 

Everything seems idyllic for the saucy lover-birds until one afternoon, when Vivica comes home to find Don in flagrante delicto with another woman, Marie (Suzy Mann.) To say that the couple are nonplussed by Vivica's appearance is a Plymouth Rock-sized understatement. In fact, Marie's instantly smitten and immediately starts pawing and “making nice” with Vivica, who does the sensible thing and walks out. Okay, that's a total lie. Nope, instead our heroine gets starkers and quickly finds that she is crazy about Marie's physical affection. To the extent that Don quickly is downgraded from ultra-lover to nuisance. 

This leads to Vivica's further angst, making her exclaim to her shrink, “Doctor. I'm a lesbian! Can you cure me?” He refuses to make a judgment call, but seems to change his mind by the end of the film when (Spoiler Alert) he decides to remedy her of these Sapphic leanings with some unorthodox therapy. Note, if your psychiatrist says things to you like “Think of me as a man, not as a doctor.” which is then followed up with, “It really works quite well.” get the hell out of the room and find a lawyer stat.

ALTAR OF LUST is one weak cup of tea. That said, thanks to the typically wonderful restoration job by Vinegar Syndrome, the film does look good. Certainly a million miles away from the murkier print in its previous release from Something Weird Video. The colors pop nicely and on top of that, there is some terrific voice over work. For starters, you get to hear the unmistakable dulcet, New York meets New England tones of Roberta's then husband Michael as the shrink. In fact, hearing Michael's voice ask questions like, “Did Don remind you of your father?” is a perverse treat for any fans of his own acting/directing work like The Flesh Trilogy. Roberta also does a good job voicing the eternally confused Vivica, at times out acting poor Erotica Lantern. (What a name, though!) 

ALTAR OF LUST was released in 1971, which was a weird cusp period for sexploitation. Hardcore was increasingly growing strong, starting with Bill Osco's groundbreaking 1970 film MONA, but many softcore filmmakers were not quite ready to take the full plunge. So here you have a weird blend of blatantly simulated sex, shots of erections, a brief unsimulated blow job and some fun with digits. Speaking of the art of physical love, I'm not sure if I have ever seen more un-reluctant simulated lesbian sex. You can almost feel the actresses thoughts, “What? I have to put my head down where? Fine, but I ain't touching it!” It gets even more sad when one of the lady-on-lady love scenes is cross-cut with a much more earthy scene with Harry and a belly dancer. (Though her somewhat fresh looking C-section scar is a bit jarring. To the point where I was yelling at the screen, “Be careful!” when he starts going down South.)

Ultimately, ALTAR OF LUST is more of an interesting relic from an era when softcore was awkwardly transitioning into hardcore. Thankfully, the second feature on this disc is miles ahead of the game.

ANGEL ON FIRE aka ANGEL NUMBER NINE opens up with a love scene between the handsome but highly dickish Stephen (Alan Marlowe) and Carol (Judy Craven). Their afterglow is quickly spoiled by Carol's declarations of love to her monumentally insensitive lover. Things get even more awful for the poor girl when she breaks it to him that she is pregnant, prompting him to yell and throw her out of his apartment. (What a peach!) 

Little does Stephen know that his life is going to be cut short, thanks to George (Marc Stevens) getting distracted behind the wheel while a lovely lass “attends” to him. Stephen gets hit, promptly dies and goes to heaven. It is there he meets Angel Number 9 (Jennifer Jordan), the same woman who was with George just moments ago. She informs Steven that while he was not horrible enough on Earth to warrant going to “the other place,” he was enough of a cad to not deserve Paradise either. Not yet.

To earn entry into Heaven, he will have to return to Earth as Stephanie (Darby Lloyd Rains), a beautiful blonde. Initially resistant, even remarking that “I'd rather be dead than be a woman,” he quickly changes his tune once the gravity of the situation dawns on him. Angel makes love to him and then sends him on his journey. Once Stephanie knows true love and heartbreak akin to what she/he caused so many hapless young women back when she was Stephen, only then can she return to Heaven proper.

Eager to use her new body, she immediately hooks up with a concerned and confused George, direct at the scene of the accident. Despite his constant statements of “You're really strange,” Stephanie's weird behavior is not enough to thwart him from knocking boots with her at his scumpit of an apartment. Afterwards, she goes home and gets further acquainted with her new womanly form. In the morning, she ends up seducing one of her male form's girlfriends, Linda (Day Jason.) She actually manages to convince Linda that she really is the reincarnation of Stephen and after that, they make love. Feeling some goodwill, Linda ends up connecting Stephanie to a successful fashion photographer named Jeff (Jamie Gillis.)

Stephanie ends up falling fast for the moody and darkly handsome Jeff and in no time, he charms her into his bed. Love soon becomes intensely unhealthy codependency with Jeff being an even bigger misogynist than Stephanie was when she was Stephen. The painful to watch downward spiral ends up proving to be too much for our redemptive heroine and she/he gets to ascend back to Heaven. 

ANGEL ON FIRE is a reverse negative of ALTAR OF LUST in that it is a really, really good movie. The story, taking a few cues from the 1964 Tony Curtis film GOODBYE CHARLIE and hence, later on influencing the 1991 Blake Edwards comedy, SWITCH, is smart and plays out like it is driven from both the heart and the mind. For being helmed by a director who has been quoted saying that she would never want a woman on her film crew, ANGEL ON FIRE is a strong, pro-woman film that delves into the true heartbreak of bad relationships. It's not the obvious heartsickness of being in love with someone who will never return your affection, but the deeper sadness of not loving and respecting yourself enough to know that you deserve better. Women were (and still are to some degree) coming from a background where your definition of self was attached to a man. As if you're almost a ghost, all sad eyed until Mr Husband Potential shows up and makes you whole. It's a bit of a generalization but one with large, booming seeds of truth.

 There's also the sexual orientation play, with the former macho man Stephen suddenly eager to break his virginity with a man. As Stephanie, he dives into sex with the lanky-handsome George, even remarking something to effect, “mine was bigger.” Which is a funny touch of bravado, since he/she is saying this to Mr. Marc “10 1/2” Stevens. A lot of guys who are very “fucking A” with their masculinity usually are hiding something, whether it is an insecurity in sexual ability or a deep rooted attraction to the most forbidden fruit for the North American mook: another man.

The cast is top notch with the always wonderful Darby Lloyd Rains, who is best known for her lead turn in Radley Metzger's masterful NAKED CAME THE STRANGER, ruling as Stephanie. She's passionate, likeable and at times, heartbreaking, truly showing the transformation from the assholish Stephen to the redeemed Stephanie. Jamie Gillis is both sensual and frightening as the ultimate spoiled fruit of a man, Jeff. In contrast to our torn heroine, Jennifer Jordan is strong as Angel Number Nine. The supporting cast are all great with industry legend Eric Edwards popping up as Angel Number Ten, looking every inch the male ideal of a seraphim.

Once again, bless the folks at Vinegar Syndrome for not only releasing this historically and creatively important set, but for obviously caring about a type of film that most critics and historians to this day still turn their nose at. Remember folks, cultural revolution is always closer than you think.

© Heather Drain 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Carnies, Boobs, Cab Calloway & the 6th Dimension: Richard Elfman returns with Forbidden Zone 2

Words like “sequel” and “reboots” fill my heart with wholly cynical dread, complete with me quoting John Hurt from "Spaceballs", mouthing “Oh no! Not again!” Given the bloated six-headed beast that Hollywood has become, burping and farting up remake after sequel after reboot, I think this reaction is most natural. Just when I feel completely and thoroughly turned off to the idea of such creatures, a sequel comes along that actually feeds me some curiosity and hope. Who better to supply such twin elementals of joy than Mystic Knight of Oingo Boingo founder and the man responsible for one of the greatest cult musicals ever created, “Forbidden Zone,” Richard Elfman?

Thirty plus years later, Elfman has created a fundraising page via Indie-a-Go-Go for this very special and unexpected sequel. The immediate question that may come to mind with a sequel to “Forbidden Zone,” is how? Most of the core cast, namely Susan Tyrell and Herve Villechaize, have shuffled off this mortal coil and given the Max Fleischer from Mars approach that the original possessed, one has to wonder, how could anything possibly live up to all of that?

But the stills, including Elfman himself as one fabulously scummy circus clown gone to seed, look promising. The premise is pretty spectacular, involving amazons, inbred corn-pone mommas, wee sized royalty, interracial romance involving a character named Pythagorus Jones, a giant army of cloned pinheads and Elfman's daughter-in-law and former “Dharma & Greg” star Jenna Elfman performing an aerial dance described as “ballet of the chicken.” Also, there are some great pictures on Richard Elfman's Facebook of his clown, Papa Jupe, getting wailed on by fringe culture/stage phenom Jesse Merlin (“FDR: American Badass”). Even better is that the music promises to be a mix of old standards with originals courtesy of Richard's younger brother, sonic genius Danny Elfman. (Whom any of you cool enough to be in the know will also remember playing the most suave version of Satan ever in the original “Forbidden Zone.”)

Interestingly enough, there's no mention of Matthew Bright, who was both one of the main writers, as well as pulling acting duty playing both Rene and Squeezit Henderson (under the exquisite pseudonym, Toshiro Baloney) in the original. But the fact that Richard is at the helm, along with smartly creating a universe of new characters, all of this promises to be anything but boring. This is one sequel that has all the potential to thrill one's black little crusty-cynic soul with big bright hope.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mondo Roundup: The Respectable Edition (Aka We Miss You, Dave Brockie)

With the arts, “respectability” always seems to be tied to having a huge hateful aversion to the pleasure-center of our brain. This entails anything that makes you giggle, chortle, moan or even shriek out of fright. If you feel these emotions and all of their fun based kin, then it is NOT art. Which you know what? Is total, foaming-at-its-fetid-mouth-bullshit. It's this kind of elitism that I rally against, especially since it denies so many really good and even brilliant artists the respect and examination they deserve.

Now this rant is nothing new from me, but with the recent passing of GWAR front man and founder, Dave Brockie, it feels more important than ever. Especially after seeing someone online act like they couldn't or shouldn't mourn because basically GWAR didn't make “serious” art. Which is really sad. First of all, Brockie died way too young at age 50 and was, by all accounts, an incredibly sweet, funny and smart guy. I never knew him personally but always was impressed with him in interviews, loved GWAR in general and even made sure to note his badass turn as a sleazy cook in the independent film “Hackjob” when I had to review it a few years ago. (Seriously, while the film itself had some issues, Brockie singing an R-rated version of the Kiss disco-mutated song, “I Was Made for Loving You” is heart warming.)

Whenever things can turn weird and dark in your real life, sometimes it is bands like GWAR that help you get through it. We all love Leonard Cohen but you gotta have the light hearted yin to the melancholy yang. Laughing, rocking out and getting in touch with your inner Beavis can be tremendously healing. It's also important to keep in mind that no one in that band was or is dumb and provided the crude and Grand Guignol with a cheeky sense of knowing. The world is a little less bright without Dave Brockie in it, but the man has left behind a legacy of one of the most colorful bands to have emerged out of the punk/metal scene that, despite what some may have you think, actually did make some really good music.

The beauty of this world is that there is plenty of room for every stripe of creative expression. Remember kids, Marcel Duchamp once said that you can point at anything and call it art. And if it was good enough for a genius like Duchamp, then it should be good enough for all.

In others news, keep an eye out for upcoming articles, both here and abroad, covering artists ranging from Alejandro Jodorowsky to Actually Huizenga to Duke Mitchell and many, many more.

In the meantime, feel free to indulge in some of my recent article and podcast madness. Enjoy!

The Projection Booth Episode 158: SMOKER (Guest hostess duties with the always great Mike White & Rob Mary. Guests include David Christopher, Sharon Mitchell, Susie Bright, Ron Jeremy.)

The Cotolo Chronicles: Generating Godzilla Episode (Frank Cotolo & I discuss all things bright and Kaiju.)

© 2014 Heather Drain

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Gut-Punched by the Crime-Horror Tango: Tammi Sutton's ISLE OF DOGS

Everyone, at some point in their life, has to make a deal with the devil. Whether it is a mundane yet strangely soul damaging task at your day job or something far bigger and sinister, you cannot exist for any real length of time on this planet without having your inner happiness or personal code of ethics compromised. In Tammi Sutton's incredible 2011 dark crime film, ISLE OF DOGS, this damaged lesson of the human condition is explored in the messiest of ways.

ISLE OF DOGS centers around the beautiful Nadia (Barbara Nedeljakova), who is trying to escape her increasingly violent marriage via her lover, Riley (Edward Hogg). The husband in question, Darius (Andrew Howard) is one charismatically nasty piece of work. A British Gangster who succeeds with just enough cunning and psychosis to make him truly dangerous, with things getting even dicier when he discovers Nadia's infidelity. But that is only the beginning, as the timeline begins to grow into a briar patch of blood, emotion and the eternal question, how far can too far go? 

In a cinematic landscape filled with the same old beige toned retreads, ISLE OF DOGS is one vibrant, pulsing breath of fresh air. Gone are the one-two-three pastiche of arthritic genre cliché and in its place, is a film that is smart enough to respect your intelligence and visual enough to keep your eyes continually engaged. Nary a minute of lag and rhythmically paced without sacrificing the integrity of the story or your brain, director Sutton has crafted a dark gem with this film. Equally impressive is the intertwining of a Kray Brothers type breed of gangster film with giallo inspired underpinnings. These are two approaches that have no right to work together and yet are wholly seamless here.

The cast is equally great here, with the three main leads all turning in ridiculously solid performances. Both Hogg and Nedeljakova deliver as the attractive and haunted lovers, with the latter really capturing someone who is a mixture of bruised vulnerability and fight or flight steel-toed instinct. But it is Howard who makes the strongest impression as one of the most striking villains in recent memory. A character as heinous as Darius needs an actor that can deliver brutality in such a sadistically magnetic way that leaves you both horrified and compelled and with Howard, you get all of this and more. Whether it is him getting weepy over his dog that he just shot and killed or inviting his buddies to all but pull an implied train on his wife, this is a character you will not easily forget. All three actors are wonderful in ISLE OF DOGS, but Howard is definitely the one to keep an eye out for in the future.

 On a cinematically technical level, ISLE OF DOGS won me over with its attention to both color and music. Film being such a visual medium, it is depressing to see how many current day filmmakers almost defiantly refuse to emphasize color, shadows and lighting. This is something so cleanly rectified here, with enough color and stylistic set composition to make any Italian horror maestro happy. The first five minutes alone seals this. Music wise, Tim Polecat provides a nice moody yet twangy score that hooks you, along with everyone else attached to this film.

ISLE OF DOGS is a film that never compromises on revealing the darkness of the stained human condition that plagues its characters but yet refuses to revel in the gratuitous. It's too smart for the grue and glue that people have come to cynically expect from dark genre films and bless Tammi Sutton and company for that.
Special thanks to John Skipp for showing me this awesome film. Please check out his own brilliant piece on ISLE OF DOGS, along with a fab interview with director Sutton, over at his Nightmare Royale column at

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mondo Roundup: Going to the Theater Edition

There is something achingly beautiful and yet flat out achy when it comes to decayed movie theaters. Once upon a time, not that long ago in fact, going to the movies was an epic and occasionally glamorous thing. Even when I was a little girl in the 80's, with the glory days of the palatial, gilded frame movie houses being long, long gone, the theater was still a magical place. Sure, the movie theater in question was realistically a ratty dollar theater attached to a strip mall, probably built in the early to mid 70's, but for a kid, it was the closest thing I had to a living remnant to an era of film that I only knew via large film books with yellowy pages.

Of course, it helps that this was right before the stinky hand of commercials had infiltrated the movie going experience and even at a pee-stenched theater whose glory days were dubious from inception, the stained red curtains parted like the red seas when the trailers began. It's a seemingly small gesture but it was all part of the dingy majesty for me. 

The small town I grew up in actually did have a proper, non strip-mall attached theater too. The Apollo Theater, nestled in the historic and semi-neglected as long as I can remember historic downtown area, was always there. Doing research, they were showing kids films when I was a toddler and before then, adult films. Before that? I'm not sure, but what I do know is that it is still there. All but practically condemned and rotting from the inside, the Apollo now has all the appearance of waiting to die. Which is a shame. Beyond a shame but the structure, still there after decades of growth and Appleby's, gives a faint shadow of hope that maybe someone will rescue it. Just because something is neglected, doesn't necessarily mean it has to die. 

The other night, as I was trying to work on the above passage, I got sucked into one of the most recent episodes of The Rialto Report and their fantastic interview with Veronica Vera. There was something about this particular interview that, by the end, hit me emotionally. Here's this amazing woman, who is so classy, smart and someone who has made an incredible thumbprint in this world by being so open to new frontiers, both in terms of sexuality, as well as writing and gender. We live in a culture where the accepted image of someone being open and outside the status quo fray is “Dharma & Greg” or whatever “manic-pixie” mainstream dream machine you want to invoke. Accepted risks are buying a faux African-patterned skirt from a store at the mall. But Vera, along with many of her peers and the subjects of Rialto's other interviews, took real risks.

It's incredibly weird to me that it is 2014, a number so Jetson-sounding in its futurism, that things like “slut shaming” and overall stunted attitudes towards human expression involving sexuality are still alive and well. Kind of like that small militant army of cockroaches that live underneath your kitchen sink, outdated morals refuse to die in our culture. And that's part of why I do what I do. Outdated mores tend to blind people to art. A chaste female nude is considered auto-art by some, but yet the moment that nude gets to derive pleasure from something more than just the male gaze, it's smut and therefore, not deemed respectable or worth examining. This is beyond ridiculous. Attitudes like this should be relegated to the same kind of snickering we save for things like medicinal leeches and the belief that the devil is tied to mental illness.

With our culture, it's not just simply about out-moded puritanism but classism too. It eternally mystifies me that guys like Gerard Damiano, Cecil Howard or Stephen Sayadian are all but labeled pornographers but their European/Asian counterparts like Oshima, Breillat and most recently, “Nymphomaniac” director Lars von Trier are deemed artists. And you know what? They ARE artists but so are Damiano, Howard and Sayadian. But the key difference between the latter three and the former is that the latter are not only American, but worked in a milieu that is considered to be the bottom rung of the bread and circuses ladder. The more lower-class a medium is perceived, the more derided, if not flat out neglected, it is. Which is strange. Shouldn't this be the enlightened age? It's okay to have a film display raw human sad emotion but sexuality is still taboo? 

Now, speaking of the tawdry, you can check out my latest for Dangerous Minds, covering the ultra-obscure Russ Meyer film, “Fanny Hill..” It is tame for the master of bosmania but that said , still a lot of fun and looking better than it ever has, thanks to the hard work of the folks at VinegarSyndrome.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mondo Roundup: The Talent is an Asset Edition

The creature known as the dandy has become, now more than ever, an endangered species. With the waters being crowded with boring metrosexuals, crummy hipster beards and the most banal of them all, the fake tanned gym rat, where are the true peacocks of the world?

Over the past few days, I've been haunted by the spectre of Fred Hughes. Best known for bridging the gap between underground art and the portrait-artist-for-hire world for the legendary Andy Warhol, Hughes was as striking of a figure as his boss. Originally from Texas, Hughes was a born dandy with an aesthetic eye for everything in his life, whether it was paintings, people, clothing, knick knacks and perhaps, life in general. Pseudo-adopted in his college years by the de Menils, who were heirs to the Schlumberger oil fortune, they took the young art history major on significant art buying trips in New York and Europe. Soon, “Le Dauphin” crossed paths with Warhol and history was made. It was Hughes that was with Andy when he was shot by SCUM manifesto writer Valerie Solonas. It was also Hughes that led Andy to all sorts of chi-chi portraiture gigs, affording Warhol to take more risks with the art that actually mattered but also to force the art world at large to really examine what is art. To this day, there are people that vehemently loathe Warhol and his art, but anything that makes you feel that strongly must have something there. Part of the genius of Warhol is that he completely left it up to you to judge and whether or not it was deemed art, he just kept quiet and kept creating. 

Hughes went on to be executor of Andy's estate after he passed in 1987 and per the request of Warhol's will, founded The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. A few years later, Hughes was forced out due to infighting with the organization's president, Archibald L. Gillies. However, the ultimate setback was being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which ended up taking his life in 2001.

It may seem odd that this semi-bohemian, DIY loving, strictly working class girl from the South to be thinking of a man who was as chic and dandified as Hughes, but much like Warhol himself, he was a man that came out of fairly humble origins (his father was in the furniture business). Despite that or maybe even because of this, he was able to, thanks to a hawk-like sense of art-keen and a lack of fear, to be this raging, omnisexual creature of sheer style. Due to all of these things, he crafted the kind of exact life he wanted, with only an unpreventable health issue getting in the way. On top of all that, I love anyone who is fully committed to just being whomever they truly are. So many live the life of the worst sort of regret, which is the kind born of “what if.” There are few things that I personally find more haunting than that. In addition to that, a cat like Fred Hughes absolutely loved art and even better, was reportedly the inspiration for the title character in Paul Morrissey's “Blood for Dracula.” Fred, I salute you, no matter whatever assortment of bitchy things Bob Colacello wrote about you in “Holy Terror.” The world needs more people who are not afraid to be striking and more importantly, not afraid to be. 

With a lot of buzz bounding about with awards season, it always make me wonder why we put so much stock into these things. Of course, all creative people, myself definitely included, want if not outright crave attention, respect and affection. That's the truth and there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting feedback and appreciation for your hard work. That's just human. However, the big fallacy with awards, whether it is something as big as the Oscars or as small as an online poll, is that the truly deserving rarely win. It's like someone cut off the multiple heads of your high school's student council and those heads grew into a rainbow assortment of awards shows. Think about all the great artists who have never won versus some of the milquetoast equivalents that did. If you want to know the best way to support your favorite artist, fuck the awards and give them something they can actually use.

Like a livelihood.

A nice statue isn't going to pay anyone's rent or feed their kids. Buy their books, watch their movies, listen to their music, look at their paintings, etc etc. Let them know that their message in a bottle isn't just rotting away into the ether. 

If you need something fun, splashy and trashy to wash away the bitter taste of my mini-rant, then check out my piece on the great 80's horror film tome, “Bleeding Skull” over at Dangerous Minds. Still needing a refreshment? Then wash that bad boy down with my “Employee Recommendations” at the fabulous Rupert Pupkin Speaks blog. You'll be glad you did! 


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mondo Round-Up: Goodbye 2013

Holidays like New Years can have a lot of mixed emotions. For some, it's an exciting time for an alcohol and stupid party hat induced revery. For others, it's the lingering reminder of all the stuff you wanted to, maybe even vowed, to accomplish that never happened. Call it ghosts of holiday resolutions. It used to be one of the most dreaded of holidays for me, but over the past few years, that anxious knot has dwindled down to more of a thoughtful observation and a low burning sensation that inevitably bleeds into ambition. “Failure” is the best opportunity to recycle the past and focus on the fresh, pristine white page in front of you.

For me, this has been an amazing year of seeds planted. Some big projects were put on hold, but potential bigger ones have started to take shape. All the 2012 superstitious fears are laid to waste as life keeps on and on again with the big message here is to never let fear rule you. Remember kids, the worst strain of regret is for the things you never did. And before I devolve into doing some hideous karaoke version of the Butthole Surfers “Sweat Loaf,” here is a Mondo Link round-up for your reading and visual pleasure! 

Happy New Years and let's make every moment smoke and sparkle in 2014!

Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Dramas & Underrated Horror