Saturday, 31 August 2013

Cheapo DVD Review: Wolfhound (2007)

Aka 

"Volkodav iz roda Serykh Psov"

Starring
Aleksandr Bukharov
Oksana Akinshina
Gennadiy Makoev
Igor Petrenko
And way too many other Russians to list here.

What's it about?
 A young boy sees his village and his entire clan destroyed by raiders riding under a distinctive banner.
 Years later, the scarred Wolfhound is hunting down those responsible. After dealing with the first on his hitlist, he is hired to bodyguard a young princess as she goes to meet her future husband.
However, somebody doesn't want that young lady getting there and the fate of the world may just depend upon it.

  Well the first part of this story sounds awfully familiar. Where have I seen that before?
 And more recently

  You can't help noticing that Wolfhound wears a hell of a lot more clothing. He's also a lot more taciturn - if you get more than a sentence out of him at a time you're doing well and while Conan has a robust sense of humour, his Russian counterpart isn't big on laughs. I think I saw him smile once in the entire movie.
 Then there's the mud. Lots of it. This is one of those films where, to paraphrase Monty Python, you can spot the nobility because they haven't got shite all over their faces.
 
 At this point you'd probably expect me to be winding up to give this film a solid boot in the ribs but the thing is...
  It's actually not bad.

  The fight scenes are more than decent and there's some effort into making them a little different.   One scene manages to make mist look menacing and what you think is the climactic punchup is only the curtain-raiser for something even more spectacular. I'm guessing they kept the fx small and unobtrusive for the bulk of the film and then spunked everything that was left on the finish.
 Stars Aleksandr Bukharov and Oksana Akinshina can get a lot done without even opening their mouths, silently playing off each other in a way that never comes across as stagey. Admittedly there's one supporting character that managed to get right on my nerves inside 2 minutes of her introduction but she redeems herself later, and another character is introduced in a big way but doesn't really seem to serve much useful purpose. Oh well. Quibbling.
 And the whole aesthetic look is rather interesting - this is a Russian film so the architecture leans heavily towards rustic-looking wooden buildings, the armour is Dark Ages but with a distinctive Eastern European twist- you get the idea. It's all a bit different from the usual Roman/Viking/Knight looks we're used to.
 Sticking with the theme of "Different" Wolfhound has a pet Fruit-bat. A cute thing it is too. 


How much did I pay for this?  £1 from CEX
Was it worth it: I can't see myself ever watching "Wolfhound" again unless it pops up on Film4 but yes, I did enjoy this. Worth seeing.

Trailer here if you are interested:

 That's all folks.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Metal Project: Burning For Metal

The Metal Project is my ongoing quest to track down every metal song on Youtube that has "Metal" in the title. If you have a look at the Songlist, you will see that there is a helluva lot of them. 

 Today's post is another selection chosen by closing my eyes and flipping though the "To Do" list. Let's see what we end up with and I hope you find something to like.

Calvaria - Metallia (Mexico 2001)

(After an intro that makes you expect something symphonic, the rest of the band lose patience, 
elbow the keyboardist out of the way and launch into enthusiastic full-tilt Power Metal)
Honour to: mcleodian

Evenstorm - M.E.T.A.L. (Germany 1991)

(Chuggy, early- 80s throwback stuff with a naive charm. )
 Honour to: mariasta81

Aggression - Metal Slaughter (Canada 1986 - Demo)

(Be warned, sound quality is not brilliant but if you can cope with the hissiness and want to hear 
 a gang of thrashers just letting rip with no frills, you might like this.) 
Honour to: fedenwobhm

Dragonsfire - Burning For Metal (Germany 2008)

(Enthusiasic, galloping trad/power metal. I have no idea why their video features lots of people posing with a giant chip-fork.)
Honour to: Thassilo800


Baphomet's Blood - Metal Damnation (Italy 2009)

(We've met these Italian Speed Metal yobbos before. 
A quick shufti at Metal Archives lists their lyrical themes as "Blood, vomit, Satan, antichristian war, alcohol" You have been warned.)
 Honour to: assassinsbullet

Al Sirat -MetalStorm (Poland 1999)

(Considering how often I break my "No instrumentals" rule you wonder why I bother with it at all.
Anyway, this is a nice little piece with some classical touches and a bit of crunch in the right places)
Honour to: CosmicManful

This next one is a bit of a mystery.

Myth - Metal Maniac (USA ?)

(The Youtube only mentions that they were from Connecticut and I can't find them on Metal Archives. 
If anybody has more info then please leave a comment.
They aren't bad at all so I'd like to know more about them )
 Honour to: SlauterXstroyes


Ases - Black Metal Knights (France 2004)

(Black Metal, yes, but you know... I could definitely listen to more of  these guys)

Honour to: SonOfYog

That'll do to be getting on with.
See you next time for more of the same.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Cheapo DVD Review: Kingdom Of Gladiators (2011)

Starring:

Maurizio Corigliano

Sharon Fryer

Leroy Kincaid

Suzi Lorraine

Bryan Murphy

Matt Polinsky

Annie Social 

 

"A king makes a pact with an ancient demon and after years of ruling his kingdom in peace, the demon has come to collect. Now a group of rival gladiators must fight for the survival of the kingdom."

 And if you've been reading this blog so far, the first thing you will ask is "Are there actually any gladiators in it?"

 Well there is at least one. Hero Kayne (Leroy Kincaid) may not look too much like the guy on the cover but he is at least obviously supposed to be a gladiator.

Leroy Kincaid
Does it surprise you to hear that his day job is Professional Wrestler?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Huntress unveil their latest music video. "Zenith"

 American Heavy Metal band Huntress picked up a fair bit of attention back in 2011 with the "Eight of Swords" videoclip showcasing the ferocious vocals of  lead singer Jill Janus, followed by a well-received debut album and some memorable publicity photos. 

And memorable is definitely the word to describe their latest video. See for yourself.
(May possibly be NSFW.) 

  So having watched it, my immediate reaction was "What on earth was that?" quickly followed by "Actually that song was pretty good Heavy Metal. Let's hear it again."
 I always think it's a sign of a good song when you listen to it without the visuals and it still stands up.
 I am impressed.
  
Band website here:  http://huntresskills.com/

Monday, 19 August 2013

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Beautiful Creatures.

 What have we done so far.. demons, angels, goddesses...hmm. I think I can stretch the supernatural theme a bit further. So today I'm going to bring you a selection of delightful damsels from the outer limits. The things that go bump-an-grind in the night. Approach with caution.

Absinthium - One For the Road (Italy 2012)

album cover green fairy
He saw her once and spent the rest of his life hoping that the next glass would be the one that brought her to him again. 
What he didn't know was that at the end of every session, she would appear, looking down at him with sad eyes.
And she would nick his wallet. 

King Lizard - A Nightmare Living the Dream (UK 2012)

cute monster girl
It's not easy being green. Luckily she's green and pretty otherwise life would really suck. 
 Mother was a stripper. Dad...remains a mystery but apparently he hangs out around Loch Ness.

Here's what they sound like

Sirenia - Perils Of The Deep Blue (Norway 2013)

sexy mermaid album cover
She doesn't tend to eat many women. Not because she has any feelings of sisterhood - redheads are delicious, in fact - but because women aren't just looking at the face and the boobs.
Which is why they tend to notice important details.  Like the tail and all the skulls lying around. 

Leaves Eyes - Meredead (Norway/Germany 2011)

 Every year the villagers of the coast pay tribute to the nymphs of the sea, hoping to keep their tempestous natures pacified..
But every now and again one just decides to cause a flood for the hell of it.
When all is said and done, living in the sea don't half get tedious sometimes. 

Ashentide - S/T (2011)

So this young mermaid sacrified her silken voice and ten years from her life for a chance to walk the lands of men.
Apparently they have these things called "Shoes" which sound absolutely fascinating.

 Dragonfly - Alma Irae (Argentina 2011)

People underestimate flower fairies at their peril. They look at the wings and the tendency to go "Ooh. Look at the pretty flower" and forget that fairies are basically elves who can fly with a mean streak and an amazing ability to hold a grudge.
I don't have a story for this one. I just thought you might like to see the back cover as well. 

and finally 

Martriden - The Unsettling Dark (USA 2008)

They call her The White Lady and when the moon is at it's very brightest, she walks through the night. Legend has it that if you speak to her, if you catch her eye, even  if your foot touches her moonshadow she will come to claim you at the next full moon. So folks bolt their doors and lay blessed amulets across their windows and cower behind their curtains until the sunrise
I met her once as I lay lost and drunken in the woods. 
She walked up to me, shinging bright and beautiful, her hair flowing like a waterfall in the night air and she asked me
"Why is there no nightlife in this bloody town. Hey, can I have a bit of your kebab?"
I think of her sometimes and weep.


That's all folks.



Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Terrible Metal Album Covers: Chapter 18

  Just so you know, I am lumping "Hard Rock" and occasionally "Melodic/AOR" albums in with "Heavy Metal".  Otherwise I end up splitting into smaller and smaller categories. "Terrible European Power Metal album covers" "Terrible Metal album covers by bands where I can't quite work out what genre they are and I can't find any songs on Youtube" - you get the picture.

Anyway, here's some more album covers that brought shame upon the bands involved.

As always, a band may be stuck with a crappy cover but that doesn't mean their music sucks.

My Lai - Attila's Horses (France 1994)

 album cover barbarians badly drawn horses
Easily the most furious horses I've ever seen on an album cover. 
There's a look of murder in those equine eyes. 
Maybe they object to the rider wearing frigging sunglasses?

Lethal saint - S/T (Cyprus 2010)

awful heavy metal album cover
I've featured these guys on The Metal Project and if you like 
no-frills 80s Metal, you might find them worth your while. 
This does not excuse them apparently getting a passing
12 year old to draw their album cover.
God dammit. I'm listening to one of their tracks now and there's 
some nice guitar dueling going on. They deserve better

Kratos - Iron Beast EP (USA 1985)

bad heavy metal album cover monster
He seems like a cheerful sort of city-destroying monster really.
I have no idea why his vest seems to attached to his ears.

Horizon's End - Sculpture on Ice (Greece 1998)

If, like me, you used to spend a lot of time rummaging through racks of cheapo LPs
in secondhand shops you've probably seen a lot of this sort of thing.
You know, desperately trying to be hip and at the cutting edge of 1980s design
Except this album dates from 1998, by which time there really was no excuse. 
Their next album cover was much better.

Hang on, why am I posting an album cover that's actually good?
Crap. Better post something godawful toot suite. 

Future Tense - Condemned To The Gallow EP (NLD 1984)

awful_heavy_metal_artwork
 I suspect this was drawn by the guitarist's girlfriend, which is why they had to use it.
"C'mon guys. She spent ages on this..."
Wisely, they elected to make it the smallest size they could get away with.
And while they were worried about that, they weren't paying attention to their spelling.
In all fairness, I've never understood why it's a "gallows" even if it's just the one.
Anybody know?

Front - Mortal Surgery (Russia 1992)

terribleheavymetalalbumcover
This is one of those covers where the only way you can tell it's the right way up is the lettering. 

Farcry - Mr Red White Blue (USA 1992)

horrible rock album cover
They seem awfully casual about the girl lying in the road.
Then again, you get this sort of thing every Saturday night in Britain.
Her half-eaten kebab is just out of shot and her boyfriend is currently fighting four bouncers.
And losing
Badly.
Oh look at that. One of them just stood on his face.
This is why I stay in at weekends.    

That's all folks. See you again soon.

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Metal Project: Enjoy The Metal Summer

The Metal Project: I can't offer you any advice on how to become a better person or live a more fulfilling life. But if you've ever wondered how many Metal songs actually contain the word "Metal" then step this way.

 There is no real theme to this post (Beyond the whole "Metal" thing.) so grab yourself a selection of  tasty snacks and a beverage of your choice then get ready for some tunes.  Enjoy.

Let's start with some filthy Japanese Metal/Punk

Abigail - Sexual Metal Holocaust (Japan 2009)

 

Honour to: PartyWithSatan 

Hammerwitch - Live For Metal (USA 1987) 

  (Chestbeating  80s US Metal)
Honour to: ninja82hmrm

Doomdogs - Metal Mayhem (Sweden 2011)  

(Lumbering, bottom-heavy Stoner Metal. That's not a bad thing. )

 
 Honour to:Doomdogs

Tankard - Metal To Metal (Germany 2006)

(The beer-obsessed Germans briefly toy with a melodic intro then
give that up and get back to thrashing like loons.)

 Honour to: Gioaguicas

Halley - Cruces De Metal (Spain  1991)

(A wee bit of Early Maiden in the DNA methinks)
Honour to: metallife78

Chronophage -Metalspheres (USA 2012)

(Describe themselves as "Metal, Metal, Metal, Psychedelic Space Punk",
Pummeling stuff but weirdly compelling )
Honour to: Kenneroth

Stallion- Heavy Metal Realm (France 1987)

(Chuggy ,anthemic 80s metal. Again, fondness for Iron Maiden quite obvious)
Honour to: /heavymetaller1978

And I think I shall finish with:

 Godstomper - Heavy Metal Vomit Party (USA 1999)

(Experimental Grindcore - and almost, but not quite, an instrumental)
  Honour to: TheBuffoonery

That's all folks.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Cheapo DVD Review: Blubberella (2011)

  For those of you wondering where I've been lately, I was on holiday. It was quite a pleasant week away and in the process I learnt a few things:
1. Parents don't like it when you get carried away and teach their offspring how to turn a newspaper into a cosh. 
2. Drunkenly attempting to make friends with a cute Staffordshire Bull terrier may not cause the owner to freak out. But bellowing "Dogggiiiieeee!!!" from across the street and waving like a loon definitely will.
3. Kebabs in the Midlands are a thing of wonder. If you haven't tried Doner Kebab in Naan bread then I suggest you rectify this forthwith. 

Anyway, this afternoon I picked up a DVD from Poundland. I took one look at the cover and thought "Yep. I can get a blog post out of this."


  Blubberella is a Dhampir, Half-Human, Half-Vampire, who fights Nazis in WW2 Europe while wondering where all the nice Jewish boys have disappeared to.
  When she accidentally turns one of the Nazis into a vampire, 'Ella has to team up with the local resistance to take him down before he unleashes a horde of undead Nazis on the world. If she can get laid in the process that would be perfect.

  There is a school of thought that says Uwe Boll deliberately makes shitty movies but up until now I'd always given him the benefit of the doubt. If anything, I thought he was getting less shite as time went by. 

 Now I'm not so sure. 

  I think it was the tagline that first made me realise I was in the presence of failure. "She will kick ass with her big ass."  Because - and this is just comedy gold, folks - the heroine is a fat bird
  Hoo boy, I had to duct tape my sides together after they split from all the hilarity.
  It doesn't get much more sophisticated than that. 'Ella and comedy gay Vadge spend the entire film trading fat/homo insults and there is the aforementioned issue with all 'Ella's potential dates disappearing on cattle trucks heading eastward...
  Uwe Boll trying to do comedy is bad enough. Uwe Boll trying to do edgy comedy is bordering on trainwreck.
  
 As you can probably guess, the whole thing spoofs Boll's own "Bloodrayne" but with an unsubtle nod towards  "Valkyrie" and presumably the writing team had just seen "Precious" because one scene takes a pot shot at that too. Why? F*** knows.
 Why does Hitler show up with a blacked up sidekick pretending to be 50 Cent? 
Why is there a brief  subplot about a prostitute getting infected with vampirism that seems to have been written by a writer who hadn't seen the rest of the script and thought it was a serious movie?
Why did the whole thing come across like it was written on post it notes?
 Do the writers even understand the concept of "Plot structure?"
 What the hell did I just watch? 

  To put it into perspective: You know those deeply stupid parodies -"Date Movie", "Epic Movie" "Meet The Spartans" et al - less painful to watch than this.

  In fairness, I suppose I should say that Lindsay Hollister and certain of her co-stars are clearly trying their best and probably deserve to be in a much better film.  
  The rest of the cast were apparently  picked up on a local steetcorner and may well have been paid in soup. 

So, to sum up:
 How much did I pay for this? One shiny British pound that I could have spent on something better.  Scouring pads for instance. I just realised that I'm out. Or a bottle of dandelion and burdock. 
Was it worth it?  Nope. I just fancy a glass of dandelion and burdock too.

I suppose I could try taking this down to CEX and maybe I could get 25p for it. The problem with that is, I'd have to admit to owning it in the first place.  So as soon as I grab some screenshots this is going into the stack at the bottom of my DVD cabinet (What I like to think of as the Shelf Of Shame) and there it will gather dust and dead spider body parts.
 Our plus-size heroine. Why is she even called Blubberella anyway? 
Wouldn't that make more sense if this was a parody of Cinderella?

  'Ella and Vadge size each other up

After deciding not to bother rescuing a trainload of Jews because they were too ugly, Ella and the Resistance head back to base. 
I try not to think about the giant fish-man. It makes my head hurt. 

Dr Mangler and Lt Jaeger do painful surgical shit to a vampire. Nazis are dicks.

Well this scene came out of nowhere - in a tribute to "Precious" Ella gets abused by a man in dubious makeup.

 Somebody is enjoying this film. I wish I was.

Hitler and somebody in blackface pop round to Ella's for a game of Risk.

Here's the trailer
 

That's all folks.

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