Comic-Con 2013

There are a lot of places where you can read about the extremely cool reveals and sneak peeks about the coming year in pop culture and general nerdery that is the San Diego Comic Con.  But chances are you’re seeing the Con through the eyes of someone with an all-access media pass or perhaps someone who enjoys some kind of celebrity status because of their cultural musings.  But, if you want to see the Con through the eyes of a regular, every day kind of geek (like myself), now is the time.

Having greased the applicable wheels, Sheree and I got a four day pass including preview night.  Typically, preview night is a chance to hit the exhibition hall with the intimate crowd of around 100,000 rather than 120,000 people.  This is the time for hardcore ebay merchants to secure all the Comic Con exclusives so they can hawk them at about 200% of their original value.  It’s a tactic we’ve tried before, but I think you need to have the predatory stock market mentality to make this work.  Like, you’ve got to be okay with stomping a sixty-year-old woman in the neck in order to make this lucrative.  They were also screening some new shows that will be out this fall, but I personally like to use preview night to get a feel for how that particular year is going to go.  Will there be a face-stabbing? Will the line gods be merciful? These are the important questions to contemplate on preview night.

Thursday was actually a pretty good day.  We started the day with a panel made up of film composers who have worked on superhero films.  This panel was cool for a few different reasons.  First, we got to see some footage from upcoming films.  For example, we saw a pretty decent clip from The Wolverine and one from the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.  Second, it was kind of funny to see these guys address the fact that making music for a superhero movie often leads to their work and the work of an entire orchestra get drowned out by the audio assault of sound effects that are also a superhero staple.  John Debney, who did the score for Iron Man 2 was particularly eloquent about this dynamic.

After that, we hopped in line for Hall H.  Ah, Hall H.  There are two large venues at the Con–Ballroom 20 and Hall H.  These lines are governed by fickle deities who share a twisted sense of humor.  We’ve never had a positive Ballroom 20 line experience, but Hall H has its ups and downs.  On Thursday, the gods were sleepy and unfocused on tormenting lesser beings.  We were able to get in and see some footage from Ender’s Game and Divergent which was pretty cool.  The crowd freaks out about Harrison Ford, but you can’t really blame them.  Characters that he’s played make up a pretty huge chunk of the geek universe–Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Rick Deckard and let’s not forget that crotchety news anchor from Morning Glory.  He always seems to be slightly pissed off to have to come to Comic Con, and I’m not sure if it’s hilarious or off-putting.  I did like his response to a fanboy who asked him what would happen if Indiana Jones and Han Solo met eachother: “I imagine they’d say something like, ‘Hi.  How are you?'”

Immediately following this panel was one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Visionary panels, where they get a few random actors/directors to sit and chat about life in the creative arts.  I actually really like these panels–we’ve seen James Cameron and Peter Jackson discuss the future of motion capture and J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon discuss stage magic and films from the 1980’s.  This year, the lineup included Alfonso Cuaron, Edgar Wright and Marc Webb.  Occasionally these panels have an odd man out–someone who might not be on the same page as the other panelists, and this year I felt that Marc Webb was an odd choice.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s a totally cool dude and I love (500) Days of Summer, but Alfonso Cuaron and Edgar Wright have these passion projects coming down the pipe, and he’s working on The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  All the same, it’s fun for a fan of movies and filmmakers to see these three guys chat about life in their world.  They always have a positive message about creativity and success to share, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Then Friday happened, and it nearly ruined everything.  In line at a quarter to seven, didn’t get into Hall H until around five.  Missed the Veronica Mars movie panel, and The Walking Dead season four panel.  Got in to see footage from the new Spider-Man, but that wasn’t worth the ten-hour wait.  Also, there was no way Hall H was filled to capacity.  We later heard through the grapevine that they were late letting people in, so way to screw up, Comic Con.  Dejected and sad, we went back to our hotel where we learned that there was no Santa Claus and that it was our parents that were leaving us money for our lost teeth.

We resolved to get started even earlier on Saturday–hit the Hall H line around five in the AM.  This time around, the line staff had learned from their mistakes and got a pretty early start.  We started off down by the bay, but as we slowly inched forth, it looked like the line gods were smiling upon us.  We managed to see all of the Hall H programming, and here’s the short list:

Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuaron: Gravity–movie looks awesome, Alfonso Cuaron is extremely polite and self-deprecating, and I thought Sandra Bullock was genuinely cool.

Godzilla, 300 2: 600, The Lego Movie: Meh.  Also, that’s not the real title for the new 300 movie.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt: Edge of Tomorrow–Tom Cruise and Chris Hardwick (the moderator and one of my personal idols) sang some Foreigner together–apparently Chris Hardwick played Stacee Jaxx in a lesser known production of Rock of Ages .  Not sure about Edge of Tomorrow, though.  I think they should have kept the title of the graphic novel from which it was adapted–All You Need is Kill.  The way the actors described it made it sound decent, but the trailer made it look like just  another sci-fi whatever-the-hell movie.

Then Zack Snyder popped out and was all, “Hey guys, here’s a thing with a guy!” which was followed up with a brief teaser image for an upcoming Batman/Superman movie.  It made me a bit tingly.

Catching Fire and I, Frankenstein: Lots of folks on hand for Catching Fire, though it was hard to keep track of all of them with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson being so damn entertaining and attractive.  I liked The Hunger Games and am looking forward to the sequel.  Boy, but I, Frankenstein looks like a steaming heap.  Aaron Eckhart was there, but I kinda felt bad that it was for this movie.

I’m sure there was some other stuff, but let’s talk about the moments that reignited the Comic Con magic that Friday had tried really hard to snuff out.  X-Men: Days of Future Past had all kinds of awesomeness happening.  Bryan Singer is directing, and it’s going to team the original cast of the X-Men films (minus Cyclops and Jean Grey.  Thanks Brett Ratner, you tool) with the cast of X-Men: First Class.  You know what that means? They were all there! Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy sitting next to Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart.  Badass.

At this point, I officially felt that particular type of Comic Con magic coursing through Hall H.  Regardless of how long I waited in line or how many people have gotten their sweat on me, seeing all of these amazing actors lend their talents to characters that have been like close friends throughout my childhood hanging out on one stage is pretty damn joyous.

And that was just the preshow.

The Marvel panel has traditionally been known to crank it up to eleven.  After all, we saw the Avengers assemble for the first time on that stage.

So.  Thor 2.  The panel starts off innocently enough.  Chris Hardwick brings out Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios and they chit chat a bit about their upcoming movies.  Then the lights go out.  No big deal, though.  They’re probably just showing the footage early because they’re behind schedule.  Whatevs.  Loki’s voice booms, “Humans.  Humans gathered in this pitiful kingdom of Midgard,” Right on.  Loki’s gonna be in this movie, so it makes sense that he’s the first voice you hear on the footage, “Known as…Hall H.” What? What? Whaaaaat? Boom! Tom Hiddleston in full Loki garb takes the stage and mocks us for our weakness.  Calls Chris Hardwick a “mewling quim.” Great stuff.  It looks like Thor 2 is going to involve lots of Dark Elf bashing.  Plus a possible love triangle among Lady Sif, Natalie Portman and Thor.  I’ll totally go see it.

Captain America 2: The whole cast was there–Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson.  My favorite part of the footage: Cap finds himself in an elevator at what I assume to be S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters.  Small groups of dudes get in on each floor, but Cap notices some strangeness–one dude is sweating profusely, another shifts his weight like he’s packing heat.  When the elevator stops, Cap’s all, “I just have one thing to say: Any of you want to get out?” Cap proceeds to take these chumps down in a wicked close-proximity melee.  Very cool scene to open with.

Guardians of the Galaxy: I admit, when Marvel announced the movie adaptation of this comic, I thought to myself, “Wait.  The one with the space raccoon? Really?” But since following some buzz–James Gunn signing on to direct and Chris Pratt as Starlord–my interest was piqued.  And then, they showed the damn trailer and it’s now become a bit of an obsession.  John C. Reilly as a Kree detention officer going over the dossiers of each of the Guardians, and Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser claiming, “They sound like a bunch of a-holes.” was enough to make me giggle like an idiot.

Oh, and they wrapped with Joss Whedon popping out to announce the title of the new Avengers movie which will be…The Rise of Ullllltrooooon!!!! Well done, Marvel.

Sunday found us visiting panels chock full of authors, which is always a good way to spend the last day of the Con.  I really enjoyed the spotlight on Neil Gaiman, as he has a wonderfully soothing voice and when someone with a wonderfully soothing voice talks about books, writing and literature in general, I’m usually quite satisfied.

And that’s Comic Con year six, folks.  Though this is a pretty long post, and I feel like I’ve masterfully encapsulated our experience, it’s no match for attending and seeing it all for yourself.  It’s a bitch to get tickets, but my friends, it’s something that you must do at least once before someone kills you.


If We Cancel the Apocalypse, What Video Games Will We Play?

Nuclear Grunge Sign - Sepia

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend E3 in Los Angeles (I dare you to read about it here).  While I was there, I noticed a pattern among several upcoming games–they all take place after the world as we know it has been ravaged by nuclear war, zombies or aliens.

I found this interesting, because it’s not just the video game industry that has cashed in on this post-apocalyptic goldmine.  Take a look at the most popular movies, TV shows and books, and you’ll notice this pattern as well.  We’re obsessed with the end of the world.

It’s a phenomenon that isn’t lost on me.  When I watched Night of the Living Dead for the first time, I found myself romanticizing the zombie apocalypse.  And why not? I wouldn’t have to go to school anymore, I could take whatever I wanted and maybe that girl I liked would finally see what a badass I really was after I saved her life by decapitating her zombified father.

It’s not hard to romanticize a world where each survivor is a lone gunman (or gunwoman) that is in complete control of his/her destiny.  It might involve scavenging for food, it might involve plugging someone who was once your friend, but it would be 100% your call.  I get it.  It’s cool.  But it’s also kind of scary.  Are we so sick of the way things are that we’d be willing to have it all flushed down the toilet regardless of the result? Is that why we’re obsessed with the end of the world? Or is it just that cool?

Either way, it’s tough to get around the nightmarish reality of surviving a hostile wasteland teeming with acid-spewing mutants and giant insects.  This is where video games come in.  I will always appreciate the fact that whenever I feel like roaming the skeletal remnants of my hometown in search of adventure, I can pop in my copy of Fallout: New Vegas and get it out of my system.

Why Parks and Rec Could Be As Successful As The Simpsons

The cast of the first season Parks and Recreat...

This is Leslie Knope, and she wants to recruit you.

Having adorned The Office with a schmaltzy series finale and sending it on its way to TV heaven (or hell, depending on how you felt about the last few seasons.  My vote is for hell), NBC is in dire need of a flagship sitcom that can carry the network through the often risky waters of new programming.  The obvious–and correct–choice is Parks and Recreation.  I’ve often thought that Parks and Recreation and The Office share the same relationship that Kal-el shares with Krypton.  Right when The Office was starting to suck, Greg Daniels jettisoned Parks and Recreation into the vast galaxy of network television.  Enhanced by Earth’s yellow sun, Parks and Recreation became a symbol of truth, justice and mockumentary shenanigans.  Since I’d like the show to stick around for as long as possible, I’m willing to open my brain to those Jack Donaghy-types at NBC and explain why Parks and Recreation has the potential to become as successful and prolific as The Simpsons.

The City of Pawnee

One of the brilliant ideas that has kept The Simpsons pumping for twenty some-odd years is the fact that the city of Springfield is a character.  It’s a weird city that can generate weird characters and events in a way that doesn’t seem forced.  When writers have a huge roster of supporting characters that they can weave in and out of the main characters’ lives, their options for stories expands.  Exponentially.

Parks and Recreation has this going for it.  Pawnee has been established not only as a setting, but as a place that can spawn a certain type of person depending on what the story needs.  They’ve taken advantage of Pawnee, and as a result, we’ve gotten some great recurring characters–most notably the sex-crazed Councilman Dexhart (Kevin Symons) and exhibitionist/journalist Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins).

Guest Stars With a Purpose

Though The Simpsons has kind of been failing at this lately, I remember when they would create a character that paired perfectly with the guest star.  When John Waters guest starred as the flamboyant owner of “Cockamamie’s,” it was epic.  His presence in that episode could not have been emulated.  

Parks and Recreation has featured some of the best guest stars in recent history.  There’s Paul Rudd as so-likable-he’s-hateable Bobby Newport, Lucy Lawless as a love interest worthy of Ron Swanson, Will Forte’s Twilight-obsessed time capsule enthusiast, Louis C.K. as Leslie’s terminally awkward love interest/law enforcement officer, and let’s not forget Patton Oswalt ad-libbing a filibuster that was so grandiose that it spawned a faux-movie poster.

Excellent Supporting Cast

From the get go, I loved the decision to cast talented actors who–until now of course–have spent a considerable amount of time under the radar.  Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman (though I do miss Paul Schneider)  make up perhaps one of the greatest supporting casts of any TV show ever.  The showrunners even handled the addition of Ben and Chris (Adam Scott and Rob Lowe) with a surprising amount of grace.  Their integration into the existing cast was seamless, and it opened the gates to some excellent storylines–my personal favorite being when Donna and Tom try to cheer Ben up by talking him into buying a Batman costume.

If you’re like me, then you don’t really care that The Office isn’t on anymore, because you’ve been watching Parks and Recreation anyway.  However, if you’re pining for Jim, Pam, and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew, it’s time to get over it.     The first four seasons of Parks and Recreation are streaming on Netflix.

Parenting During the Zombie Apocalypse

“Um…if I let you go, you might kill my family.”

I’m scared of being a parent.  It’s a harrowing thought, bringing a vulnerable life into the world and trying to protect him/her from all the terrible things that want to kill him/her or, at the very least, turn him/her into the star of a reality TV show.

Then I watched the season finale of The Walking Dead, and it made me feel slightly better.  Before I delve deeper into this, here’s the obligatory spoiler alert: WARNING! The following post contains spoilers from AMC’s series The Walking Dead. If you don’t want to know what happened in the season three finale, then don’t read on.  Also, ask yourself this question: Why do I hate awesomeness?

Here goes.  After The Governer (damn his one good eye) leads a failed assault on Rick’s prison, one of his troops wanders into the woods where he meets Carl.  Carl, seeing this dude has a gun, shoots him in the face, despite the fact that this guy was pretty young and, in all likelihood, was just following orders.  See, in Carl’s pre-adolescent brain, letting people with guns live results in them returning and killing others.  When Rick tries to discuss why it’s not right to shoot people who are trying to surrender, Carl throws it right back in his face by saying that if Rick had killed the Governer when he had the chance, a lot of violence would have been prevented.

Rick is now in a parenting position that (hopefully) I will never have to be in.  I expect I’ll have a tough enough time explaining why we shouldn’t throw our poop at the neighbors, let alone discussing the moral complexity of taking another person’s life.  Anyway, I think Rick handles the situation well from a parenting standpoint.  He addresses the problem and explains why it was wrong—but here’s the thing—it’s a motherf***king zombie apocalypse! It’s safe to argue that morality as we know it as dwellers in a non-zombie apocalypse has been completely rearranged.  Example! Non-Zombie Apocalypse Rule: It’s wrong to kill folks.  Zombie-Apocalypse Rule: Killing folks is okay as long as it ensures your survival.  It might be easier for Rick to teach his baby girl this stuff as she grows up, but Carl is dealing with a paradigm shift that he might not be ready for.

So.  Parenting.  I guess it’ll be hard, but at least I won’t have to explain to my future son and daughter why killing a zombie with a crowbar is better than killing one with a gun.

Wait.  That actually might be pretty important.

Little Hand Says It’s Time to Rock and Roll

Point Break

Though it’s true that political discourse in our country has achieved new levels of vitriolic mudslinging, name calling, flimflamming, and finger pointing, the fact remains that come November, Americans will have to make a choice as to who will lead the Free World.  But who will do the most for our country? Who will truly step up to the plate and get the U.S. of A. back on track? I for one have given up on looking for answers in the hollow words of politicians–words that have been purchased by billionaires gunning for a tax break.  In order to truly understand what is best for our future, one must look to the past–specifically to the year 1991.  It was in this year that Kathryn Bigelow’s cinematic masterpiece Point Break was released.  Though Bigelow herself may not have known just how lost we would become as a country, I maintain that screenwriters Rick King and W. Peter Iliff were possessed of a preternatural understanding of American politics.  Through their deep comprehension of the political sciences, they were able to accurately predict two startling realities that we would face today.  First, the Republican and Democratic parties as we know them are nothing more than facades to conceal the interests of the obscenely wealthy.  Second, in order to distract the general public from this reality, both parties would work to strain bipartisan relationships among their constituencies to the breaking point–a point break, if you will.

Knowing that their discovery was too important to leave to the bureaucratic red tape of Washington D.C., they turned to Hollywood to get their message to the public.  Choosing to couch their scathing indictment of the American political climate in the 21st century within an action film that would be mass marketed to America’s poor and working class, Point Break was released.  Not since Picasso’s Guernica has a piece of art so elegantly condemned the greed and corruption that runs rampant among those with the most power.

The opening of this rabbit hole is revealed during the opening credits of the film.  Two scenes are juxtaposed together–one depicting the film’s protagonist John “Johnny” Utah (Keanu Reeves) on the brink of completing his FBI training, the other depicting the film’s antagonist known only as Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) on the brink of robbing yet another bank.  Through the interaction between these two characters, King and Iliff illustrate the relationship between the common man and the government.  In Point Break, today’s government is represented by Bodhi and his three accomplices who operate under the nom de crime “The Ex-Presidents.”   Though the exploration of this theme lacks the subtlety that King and Iliff demonstrated in 1990’s Prayer of the Rollerboys, its relevance is in no way diminished.

Why Be A Servant to the Law When You Can Be Its Master?

An in-depth analysis of the presidents that King and Iliff decided to include is very telling: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan (supposedly, the original script included a fifth bank robber to be disguised as Gerald Ford, but due to budget restraints elsewhere, he was not included in the film).  These presidents represent the period of time after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which marked a gradual decline into the political situation that we now see before us.  When their true characters are revealed, the audience learns that the Ex-Presidents are actually thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies who rob banks in order to finance their addiction.  They are perfect archetypal representations of the wealthy who will never be truly satisfied, no matter how much money and power they amass.  The decision to name their leader Bodhi (short for Bodhisattva, one who has obtained enlightenment according to Buddhist theology) alludes to the extremely rich who claim that their vast wealth is merely a result of their own enlightenment.

I Was Taking Shrapnel in Khe Sanh When You Were Crapping In Your Hands and Rubbing It On Your Face

Enter Special Agent John Utah.  Obviously, the choice to name the protagonist after a state in the Union bears some significance.  Some theorists argue that the use of a traditionally conservative state like Utah hints at a conservative revivalist movement such as the Tea Party.  However, I tend to side with the school of thought that believes that King and Iliff wanted to use one of the fifty states as the name for their protagonist, and Johnny Utah was the most convincing for an action hero.

Utah’s youth and enthusiasm have earned him a unique perspective on the bank robbery scene in Los Angeles.  He is assigned to an aging Vietnam veteran named Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey), and together they develop a plan to stop the Ex-Presidents–despite being ridiculed by everyone else in their department.  Utah and Pappas represent the symbiotic relationship that the younger generation needs to have with the older generation in order to effectively end the corruption of those who feel they are above the law.  Pappas, who has grown disillusioned with the state of his department, needs Utah to reignite his desire to confront and change the problems before him.  In exchange, Utah gains the wisdom and experience that Pappas, a remnant of the Kennedy era, will provide.

You’re Saying the FBI Is Going to Pay Me to Learn to Surf?

In order to find and eliminate the Ex-Presidents, Special Agent Utah must infiltrate their tightly-knit social group and bring them down from within.  His journey into the world of surfing and extreme sports is a modern visualization of Frank Capra’s 1939 classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  In his efforts to expose the Ex-Presidents, Utah becomes so entrenched in their world that he can’t escape unscathed.  When Bodhi discovers Utah’s actual plans, he forces him to accompany his gang on a bank robbery, thus effectively turning Utah into that which he is trying to destroy.  Only by sacrificing everything is Utah able to finally catch Bodhi, which brings us to the final scene.  Utah has Bodhi cornered on a beach in Australia.  Bodhi just wants to ride the ultimate wave to his inevitable death, whereas Utah wants to bring Bodhi in to face justice.  Utah’s decision to let Bodhi catch his final wave indicates that though Utah has endured many scars on his quest to bring about a change, he has not sacrificed his soul.

Vaya Con Dios

In presenting this message for analysis, King and Iliff have reached out to our generation from the past.  They witnessed the beginning of the end, and created Point Break in an effort to guide us through our current political crisis.  It is important that we not forget that politicians are merely adrenaline junkies operating under the guise of enlightened leaders, and if just one state can pull itself together by encouraging the younger generation to cooperate with the older generation, there might be a chance to make some kind of difference.  It’s not going to come cheaply or easily.  We may lose face along the way.  But if you want the ultimate, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price.

Roy Orbison: Music for Psychopaths

I’ll cop to the fact that I’ve got the song “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison on my iPod.  Let me explain.  When I was about 13 or 14 years old I read a very interesting comic book. The first thing that was interesting was the fact that on the back cover of the dust jacket were the words “suggested for mature readers.” The second thing that was interesting was that it was a story about Batman. The third thing that was interesting was the opening pages depicted a young boy named Amadeus taking food to his mother who subsequently vomited up a bunch of cockroaches while mumbling the words “I’ve eaten.” There were about three hundred more interesting things that happened as I traversed my way through Grant Morrison’s and Dave McKean’s nightmarish graphic novel Arkham Asylum. The final pages are what sparked this entry, however. Each of Batman’s psychotic rogues have little messages scrawled out at the end of the book, almost like an epilogue to the story. The one that stuck with me the most, and terrified my little 8th grade soul was this quote given by Dr. Destiny (who later became one of Neil Gaiman’s most malevolent villain in his Sandman series). He wrote, “In dreams I walk with you…” Something about the three little dots at the end of this statement haunted me…

Flash forward about ten or eleven years. I was in college at that point, and had just made the decision to watch David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet. I watched it alone in the middle of the day, and felt my guts twist up into knots whenever Frank Booth was on screen. Simply put, the dude is the embodiment of bestial cruelty, and you were never quite sure when he was just gonna snap and take you down with him. Anyway, there’s this scene where Frank has Jeffrey in his nasty clutches and they go visit a dude Frank calls Ben. Ben’s apartment is a prime example of Lynchian f***ked up-ness. The lighting is too phosphorescent, there are carney-folk prostitutes hanging around, and overall it looks like someone just puked up a few loads of vintage clothing all over the place. After a brief dialogue between Ben and Frank, Ben cues up “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison. He pulls out one of those floodlights with the bulb encased in a metal grate and starts lip synching the song into the light. Just what in the hell kind of people are these? Immediately following this bizarre performance, Frank drives Jeffrey out into the middle of an industrial complex where he voraciously applies layers and layers of thick red lipstick to his lower face. He boots Jeffrey out, and as he’s kicking the crap out of him, he bellows the phrase, “In dreams I walk with you!” Turns out, that’s a damn lyric from Roy Orbison’s popular hit about “the candy-colored clown they call the Sandman,” entitled “In Dreams.”

So I bought that shit on iTunes. Whenever it comes on in my shuffle, I just sit back and replay in my mind the many shades of chaos that these lyrics represent:

“In dreams I walk with you.

In dreams I talk to you.

In dreams you’re mine.

All of the time we’re together

In dreams, In dreams.”

There’s Always Room for Giallo


I suppose this all started as a result of the following unholy union: iTunes+Castlevania: Symphony of the Night+morbid curiosity= ?. It was a cold, dark night. While slouching in my chair, eyes half closed with a clear stream of drool issuing from the corner of my mouth, I was poring over the current Genius recommendations that iTunes had for me. The songs all bled together into a cacophonous mass of sights and sounds. Unable to handle the sheer psychological stress of the depths of which I was traversing, I blacked out. When I came to, my computer screen greeted me with this disturbing image:


Had I been in full posession of my faculties, I would have just closed iTunes and forgotten that the whole thing had ever happened. But at this particular moment in time, I did click, and I did listen. As the audible insanity of Goblin assaulted my mind grapes, a slew of haunting yet familiar images started to form within my nebulous brain. A castle, inverted. A male hero who was drawn with a very feminine facial structure. Bats, fish-men, skeletons, zombies, and…Death Incarnate! Was it? It was! Castlevania: Symphony of the Night! The salacious synths and guillotined guitars of Goblin could have been pulled directly from the haunted screens of the aforementioned graphical distraction!

Having long abandoned my sanity, I probed deeper into the mystery of Goblin. After wandering lonely online avenues that I will not reveal, my search lead me to an Italian dude, his trilogy of witchcraft, and the terror of….Giallo.THE DUDE: Dario Argento, master of Mediterrenean macabre! THE TRILOGY: Le Tri Madre (The Three Mothers), wanderers across the wide world of witchcraft! GIALLO: It’s description is to terrible for my fingers to form into words…behold, if you dare!

The unbridled terror that presented itself after my frenzy-induced Google search caused me to black out for a second, and more prolonged period of time. I awoke around dusk of the following day, covered in dozens of ham and cheese Hot Pocket wrappers and lying face down in an unfamiliar parking lot. I arose to observe my surroundings. The parking lot belonged to a local video rental chain. Disobeying the last shreds of humanity that were faintly screaming for me to halt and return to my normal, God-fearing ways, I entered.

I was drawn to the horror section like a vulture to a rotting bison carcass. Almost purely involuntarily, my hands reached for Suspiria and Inferno (comprising volumes one and two of the trilogy) but where was the third? Where was Mother of Tears? Ignoring all sense of public decency and decorum, I approached the counter attendant and urged her to contribute to my insanity by locating volume three of the trilogy. When she could not, I thrashed and I bellowed, knocking over a shelving unit filled with Jujy Fruits, Sno-Caps, Dots, and Junior Mints…sweet memories of a world of which I was no longer a part. I fled the scene with my prize and swiftly returned to my abode to obliterate what was left of my sound mind. I watched them both without pause, but without the third film, something was incomplete. Now, I am but a wanderer, searching for this last volume that will either bring me peace…or damnation.