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Secret Executioner

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Everything posted by Secret Executioner

  1. Secret Executioner

    What Books Are You Currently Reading or Read?

    I studied William Blake while I was in college as one of the literature teachers was a specialist on Blake and I can attest the character is very interesting. I feel knowledge of his life and especially of his thought process - from the belief he was visited by spirits to his vision of life as a journey through different states and major events are a passage from one to another - helps a lot when one wants to understand his work. For instance, the state thing I just mentionned gives a very interesting light under which one can study some of his poems as a lot of the poems from Songs of Innocence will have a counterpart of sorts in Songs of experience - the most notable example is the opposition between "The Lamb" and "The Tyger", poems about two very different animals whose opposition is reinforced in "The Tyger" when the speaker wonders how such a cruel, ferocious beast could have been created by the same god who created the sweet little lamb. Other works of his like The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, An Island in the Moon or Milton are more complex and can be difficult to understand, but they offer some interesting commentary on various topics such as English society in Blake's days, philosophy (the characters in An Island in the Moon are personifications of various philosophical currents IIRC) or literary criticism (Milton is essentially an essay on John Milton's epic "Paradise Lost"). I recall the teacher often cited The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Milton during classes (along with mentions of poems from SoI and SoE), while I personally found An Island in the Moon very enjoyable and I was a bit bummed he didn't mention it more as the inclusion of songs and the way Blake depicted philosophical arguments and society in general could have been interesting to study.
  2. Secret Executioner

    Rock, Hard Rock, & Heavy Metal: An Appreciation Thread

    Some great news for Blue Öyster Cult fans from Frontiers Music's YouTube channel:
  3. Secret Executioner

    It's October baby....Horror flick time!

    Congrats man. I couldn't make it through even though I love the genre - still watched 23 films (I'm excluding The Wasp Woman and the two It movies as I saw those in September) in 31 days, which I suppose is already a decent number- it's been quite a while since I watched that many movies in one month. On a sidenote, my initial idea was to review one movie a day, eventually writing reviews - some if not all - in advance, but I decided to write on movies as I watched them instead. Seems more challenging this way, but it's really my inability to choose titles from my enormous collection that led to me being unable to make up my mind for 31 titles. Guess I still have titles I mentionned earlier - like Amityville 3D and H20 - to review for next year... and I'll have to find another 20+ films to cover the whole month.
  4. Secret Executioner

    Stars Resembling Other Stars

    The pic of Wang Hsieh in @ShawAngela's previous post reminds me of Lung Fei, and Pai Piao reminds me of Lo Lieh.
  5. Secret Executioner

    Angry Rant: You Know What's Bullshit? Blu Ray Encryption

    I noticed my Lenovo computer's disk drive acted like a region free device, I never had to change the region to watch R1 or R2 disks. I figured it would be awesome because I wouldn't need to go look for programs to get around the limitation on region changes under Windows, but it turns out I have several DVDs my player doesn't recognize and it acts as if empty. Thought there was some issue with a disc or the player, but it seems like it's a "normal feature" from what I can read here. @NoKUNGFUforYU Noticed the "on-demand" aspect was heavily underlined - hell, my parents' Internet subscription is such that they can watch TV but also rent movies or binge-watch shows via a provider's device. Between this kind of stuff and the overexposure of Netflix (seriously, this thing is all over the place), the physical medium is already getting badly hurt and the fact some players won't always play the DVD or BD you want to watch is another nail in the coffin from the industry themselves...
  6. Not the best horror feature I'll have seen this month...
  7. Secret Executioner

    It's October baby....Horror flick time!

    The Black Cat (original title: Black Cat (Gatto nero)) (Italy, 1981) A small village in the English country side is hit by a wave of bizarre deaths. In the mean time a medium living nearby is attempting to communicate with the dead. Both are connected by the presence of a black cat. A photographer and a Scotland Yard inspector investigate. One of many adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat", this loose adaptation set in modern times was helmed by Italian director Lucio Fulci. And it's far from one of his best. The movie is really slow, the suspension of disbelief gets broken by the constant repetition that a murderous cat is an absurd concept and I felt like the film as a whole made even less sense than the bizarre twist ending of Joe D'Amato's Buio Omega or than the weird conclusion of Fulci's The New York Ripper.There's however some decent gore (not that much though, kinda odd for a Fulci movie from this era) and I really liked the soundtrack. The sets are okay too, the medium's house is especially beautiful with an interior reminiscent of some old manor. The scenes involving the cat often reuse the same footage of a cat, especially close-ups on one or both its eyes. There are some bizarre sound effects that I felt didn't match what we saw - the cat seemed to be purring when agressive and the cat was supposed to be hissing when it was seen looking more curious or interested in something off-screen than really pissed. There is a 'cat camera" that's decent and helps the scenes be more suspensful though - that may seem random, but I found this to be one of the most interesting parts of the movie. My call ? Not that great, probably one of the weakest movies I've seen this month. I mentionned NYR above, and it's a movie I feel is better because in spite of how gruesome and disturbing it can be, at least it made me feel something other than boredom (which is worse IMO). I'd probably still revisit it over the annoying Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives though. Fun fact: the medium is played by British actor Patrick Magee, notable for roles in classics like Chariots of Fire, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon or Zulu. Seems those terrible movies he made actually helped him finance some stage theatrical projects of his, but he still gives a really good performance - he is mysterious and unsettling, as well as very OTT in parts where his character has visions. The Scotland Yard inspector is played by David Warbeck, an actor from New Zealand whose resume is mostly made up of low-budget genre stuff, but who also played smaller parts in bigger productions like Hammer's Twins of Evil (starring horror icon Peter Cushing) or in Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dynamite.
  8. Secret Executioner

    Jackie Chan: 88 Films Blu-Ray Releases

    Joining the choir praising Brother @KUNG FU BOB's art. Gorgeous stuff.
  9. Secret Executioner

    It's October baby....Horror flick time!

    Interesting trivia here. I mostly know of Heather Langenkamp for her roles in the NOES movies. @DragonClaws Thanks mate.
  10. Secret Executioner

    What are we LISTENING to lately?

    King Crimson - Live in Japan (DVD) A concert from 1995, back during the THRAK Tour with the "double trio" line-up. It's loud ("Dinosaur", "THRAK"), heavy ("Red", "Vrooom/Coda: Marine 475") but also groovy ("Elephant Talk", "People") and also atmospheric ("Matte Kudasai", "Walking on Air") all at once. The setlist focuses heavily on THRAK (over 70% of the album is played), but there are also a handful of songs from the 1981 classic Discipline (the aforementionned "Elephant Talk" and "Matte Kudasai" as well as the chaotic "Indiscipline" and the always catchy "Frame by Frame") and a couple of tracks from the 1970s (there's a nice addition with "The Talking Drum" seguing into the band's live staple "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two"). Finally, there's also a nice rendition of "Three of a perfect Pair" (from the album by the same title) that's essentially an heavier version of the 1984 original. The musicianship is of course top-notch, the line-up is the 1980s quartet (Robert Fripp on guitar, Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals, Tony Levin on bass and Chapman stick, and Bill Bruford on drums) with war guitarist Trey Gunn (who also plays bass) and drummer Pat Mastelotto added. I couldn't really explain what it is, but I love Adrian Belew's voice. He can convey a wide array of emotions and go from a range to something completely different (like the very calm and collected narration in the verses of "Indiscipline" suddenly getting to hysterical screaming and later insane rambling with the fast-paced "I repeat myself when under stress" line repeated multiple times). Even the goofiest of text (like in "Elephant Talk" where the verses are essentially lists of words) can have power and become interesting.
  11. Secret Executioner

    It's October baby....Horror flick time!

    @Drunken Monk I get your point regarding Poltergeist. Hype and praise may turn against a film and make it disappointing in the end - it's the case for me with stuff such as The Exorcist, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, or (in the MA world) Ang Lee's Crouchng Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Didn't watch any horror these past two days, I'm starting to feel kind of burnt out on the pretty much daily watching since the beginning of the month. I may watch something on October 31st, unless I go with some TV specials - probably the Beavis and Butt-Head Halloween 2-parter and/or the Garfield's Halloween Adventure special.
  12. Secret Executioner

    What are your latest DVD/Blu-ray purchases?

    That new release of Crime Story has some neat artwork if you ask me.
  13. or you can go for the exploitative cash-in Jokerminator - where a robotic clown travels back in time to kill comedians of the past so he can claim HE invented their jokes.
  14. Secret Executioner

    Japanese Movie Mini Reviews

    I recall liking Godzilla vs Space Godzilla - Space Godzilla himself has a great design IMO, and Minilla (or whatever his name was in this - IIRC, he changed name in each of the Heisei movies he was in and I think he was "baby" in Mechagodzilla II and Jr. in Destoroyah) is quite adorable.
  15. Secret Executioner

    Most annoying character or actor in Kung Fu

    I second this suggestion.
  16. Welcome aboard from France, ami québécois. By your nickname, I thought you were from the staff of the HKMDB website.
  17. That bugs me too. And kinda annoys me as well.
  18. @Graeme Of Death and @CT KID: the title to this one rings a bell, but I don't think I've ever seen it. Possibly came across copies of it, or saw it mentionned on IMDb. Today's watch: Friday the 13th Part VII: The new Blood (USA, 1988)
  19. Secret Executioner

    It's October baby....Horror flick time!

    Another slasher for today, but a more serious one... Friday the 13th Part VII: The new Blood (USA, 1988) Following the events of previous movies, Jason lies chained up at the bottom of the lake. But when a girl with telekinetic abilities named Tina is taken to Crystal Lake by a greedy doctor who wants to exploit her powers, the undead killer gets loose and starts murdering a group of young people also spending the weekend there. Having made friends with the group and foreseeing murders thanks to her powers, can Tina save them and defeat Jason ? After the goofy sixth film said "screw the continuity", we have a movie that again follows the original storyline from the first movies and its predecessor. It implies a 3 or 4-minute recap using a lot of stock footage from parts 2, 4 and 6 to explain about Jason before we get the movie properly started, and this footage may actually be gorier and more violent than what we get in the actual film as most of the gore is cut out, resulting in death often occuring offscreen or very quick shots of mutilated bodies.One notable instance of trimming is a scene where Jason gets a girl in a sleeping bag out of her tent and slams it against a tree - the scene should have run longer and the girl been hit several times before dying, but the movie has her die with one hit. Feels a bit weird, even if we take into account the fact Jason is a supernatural being that has superhuman strength. Other kills involve him stabbing people with a machete, punching through people's chests or using a motorized brush cutter to open someone's belly - sadly (in a way ?), it is mostly offscreen or implied. Too bad because this movie seemed to try and be slightly creative with the kills. In terms of story and characters the movie is quite different than the previous entry, as the character are better-rounded and not as annoying. Of course you get some arguments and teenage stuff, but they are all around likeable, more along the lines of the characters you'd see in the first couple of movies. Tina is very well-explored - notably having a rather dark backstory regarding her powers - and is likeable, she also makes for a competent and creative opponent to Jason as the final third or so of the movie sees her putting her powers to use to stop or at least inconvenience Jason. The other teenagers are rather likeable, maybe a bit clichee but likeable enough to get you invested. An interesting trait I noticed was that a guy named Nick (who eventually flirts with Tina) seems fairly competent and tries to fight Jason and protect Tina, unlike people who usually scream and get murdered without putting much of a fight (whether it's against Jason, zombies or whatever creature/killer actually, as it seems fairly common in horror in general). Tina's doctor is - as mentionned - a greedy bastard who wants to exploit her, but he doesn't come across as transparently evil from the start. His advice on making Tina rest and avoiding her going out with the teens may come across as sound advice to avoid stress and/or impromptu manifestations of her powers, but he eventually gets framed by Tina's mom. My call ? A solid entry in the series, close enough to parts 1 and 3 thanks to the likeable (and fairly interesting) characters and the creativity thrown in with a superpowered opponent to Jason that can put up a fight against him instead of having characters mainly serving as victims and a supernatural Jason being defeated by someone who's pretty much a regular human. Fun fact: from what I recall, this movie was made following Paramount and New Line Cinema being unable to finalize a deal intended to put Jason and Freddy in a same movie. And even though New Line would get the rights to Jason a few years later (and hint at a Jason/Freddy crossover in their first Friday the 13th film Jason goes to Hell), it would take over a decade before Freddy vs. Jason happened.
  20. Secret Executioner

    What are your latest DVD/Blu-ray purchases?

    @Takuma Thanks for the rundown. Your comment on these movies' distribution is interesting and quite sad really. It seems to me Japanese cinema doesn't get the respect it deserves in the Western world, with a lot of very good movies being forgotten and ridiculously hard to find. One striking example to me as a Kaiju Eiga fan is how hard it is to find Japanese Godzilla movies in France (got a couple of sets pairing Showa and Heisei films as well as Final Wars, and there is actually a decent amount of movies that were released on home video here) vs the American ones (especially the Emmerich version) that seem to be all over the place. @kingofkungfu2002 I think I have this one, I don't remember it that much though. Guess it's another one I'll need to revisit once the horror marathon is done.
  21. With Christmas just two months away, I figured I'd watch something a bit more in the spirit today.
  22. Secret Executioner

    It's October baby....Horror flick time!

    @AlbertV heard of the remake, haven't checked it out though. Today's movie is a Christmasy DTV slasher called Jack Frost (USA, 1997) A convicted murderer named Jack Frost is on his way to his execution when the vehicle transporting him gets in an accident with a truck transporting chemicals. Said chemicals eventually mutate Jack Frost and cause his DNA to bond with the snow. The mutant snowman then goes on a rampage in an isolated where the cop that arrested him works while the cop has to deal with an FBI agent and a lab worker who are also interested in Frost. In case the premise and the naming of thekiller didn't give a hint, this movie is pretty silly. Lots of low-brow humor between the town folks and countless one-liners from the killer, some poor effects (or snow does look a lot like foam ?) and OTT characters make for a silly yet enjoyable movie. The tension and scares are barely here though the movie tries to have some, notably with some fakeouts and scenes feeling way more serious and dramatic than the rest. That said, the mere appearance of the killer snowman, his one-liners or simply side-characters tend to remind you (or make you think ?) it's more of a dark comedy than a tense slasher with a supernatural killer - sorta like some parts in the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels vs the original movie. As a slasher, it of course contains kills and it's not necessarly the worst part. They aren't the goriest or most violent you'll see, but they are sometimes a bit OTT - a guy gets the handle of an axe shoved down his throat, a woman gets murdered with Christmas ornaments (including a sequence looking goofy due to how badly it's done), another guy gets stabbed with ice projectiles and a woman gets murdered in a bathtub following a rape. The end credits also contain various bad jokes (notably asking where the carrot went during the bathtub murder), though some of these jokes seem to imply the weather during filming was everything but snowy, hence the bad looking fake snow I guess. My call ? Worth checking if you want something to have a good laugh at, otherwise there are much better and more serious (and scary) slashers out there. Fun fact: the DVD cover showcases a snowman monster that has nothing to do with the movie.
  23. Secret Executioner

    Rock, Hard Rock, & Heavy Metal: An Appreciation Thread

    Some illustrations to this response Black Sabbath - "Snowblind" (live, London 1978) Black Sabbath - "Tomorrow's Dream" (live, California Jam 1974) Nightwish - "Sleepwalker" Nightwish - "Dead Boy's Poem" (I mentionned not being too fond of it, but still) Saxon - "Denim and Leather" (live, Wacken 2007) Saxon - "Princess of the Night"
  24. Secret Executioner

    What are we LISTENING to lately?

    Some illustrations for the above post. Dr. Feelgood - "As long as the price is right" (live, Cheltenham 1990) I love this rendition. Actually, the whole show is awesome. Procol Harum - "Conquistador" (live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra More over here:
  25. Secret Executioner

    What are we LISTENING to lately?

    Been a while since I last posted here. I've been listening to quite a lot of stuff, but here's a little run-down. Some selections from my LP collection Black Sabbath - Vol 4 (1972) Good stuff, though I think it pales compared to the previous two albums - but again, Paranoid is a Metal classic and Master of Reality is possibly my favorite Sabbath album. Still, "Supernaut", "Tomorrow"s Dream" and "Snowblind" rock, and "Changes" is a nice softer number - I actually prefer "Changes" over other mellow Sabbath numbers like "Planet Caravan", so I guess the album ain't really that far below Paranoid. Dr. Feelgood - Be seeing you (1977) Decent album by Lee Brilleaux and co. Some very catchy numbers like "She's a windup" and That's it, I quit", I also find "Looking back" pretty funny. My fav' track is "As long as the Price is right". Nightwish - Walking in the Air: The greatest Ballads (compilation, 2011) A compilation of 1997-2002 material focused on softer, more melodic material. Less tracks than on the CD version (11 vs 15) likely due to the format's more restricted running time available (the vinyl release contains just one record) but still some very good choices like the not-so-usual "Sleepwalker", though I would have rather had any of the 4 tracks ommitted from the vinyl release (especially "Lagoon", a track mainly found on various versions of the Bless the Child single/EP) over "Dead Boy's Poem". Both selections however showcass Tarja Turunen's classical - if not operatic - singing really well, reminding you she is initially a classical singer and not a rock singer (though Nightwish's style evolved and she became more versed in rock singing in her last couple of albums with the band). Procol Harum - In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (1972) A very cool record, I like that they took the opportunity to play stuff like "A salty Dog" (one of my very favorite songs of theirs) here. "Conquistador" sounds epic and much more lively than the original. Saxon - Denim and Leather (1981) I'm not that big on Saxon, but the titletrack here is really cool - I love the part discussing reading magazines, checking for concert dates and hanging out at record stores because that's what being a rock fan is about IMO (hanging out at record stores used to be a big hobby of mine some years ago). "Princess of the Night" and "And the Bands played on" are great numbers too, the rest is some good hard rock but nothing very memorable IMO. White Lion - Pride (1987) Frank Zappa - Ship arriving too late to save a drowning Witch (1983) On other formats: Fabio Frizzi - City of the Living Dead soundtrack (mp3 rip from the Paura Nella Citta' Dei Morti Viventi/The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue CD released in 1995) Apparently the full CD also contains the soundtrack to another zombie film from 1974; Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death (2006) (CD) Wasn't too fond of it initially, but 13 years later I find the album pretty good. Very much in the vein of "Brave new World" and "Dance of Death", each has its moments and its parts I find one can skip. Nightwish - Bye bye Beautiful (single, 2008) (DVD) The DVD contains three music videos - "Bye bye Beautiful" and "Amaranth" off the 2007 Dark Passion Play, and the outtake "While your lips are still red" -, a making-of documentary on the Bye bye Beautiful video and an audio section consisting in the titletrack, a demo version of "The Poet and the Pendulum" with male vocals that is actually almost better than the album version (and I say that as an Anette fan and someone who isn't too fond of the male vocals in Nightwish past-2002, but the vocals sound clearer and the music more genuine than on the album version that seems overproduced by comparison), "Escapist" (an outtake sung by Anette) and a 12-minute remix by DJ Orkidea that comes across as goofy but enjoyable.
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