Happy Halloween!

Well, I had intended to follow up yesterday’s entry about the WKCR radio broadcast hijack with some new information I found about the names uttered in the chant in the audio clip.  I have, predictably, fallen down a rabbit hole.  Like I think maybe I’ve solved the link between the names but need some more time, or I’ve hit the bottom of an empty rabbit warren and need to dig my way out, probably filled with shame at my hubris.  We’ll see.  Once I know which way it’s going, I’ll post about it.

And that’s kind of a lame way to end Oddtober 2019.  But hey, I’ve written about a lot of weird crap over the years and I seldom do revisiting compilations so I feel like maybe I’ll just link to some of my lesser seen odd/creepy/horrific entries and get back to listening to a weird audio recording that reminds me I have tinnitus every time that bell rings.

But anyway, read away and enjoy your day!

Murder/Serial Killers

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Deaths

Thirteen Girls

The Postcard Killer: The True Story of J. Frank Hickey

The Paranormal

Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us

How People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It

Aliens

Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens

The Cryptoterrestrials

Horror or Unsettling Fiction

House of Leaves

Drujika, Contessa of Blood

The Cannibal’s Guide to Ethical Living

Ruthless: An Extreme Shock Horror Collection

Necrophilia Variations

Dust

Horror Films

Only Lovers Left Alive

The Bunny Game

Places and Personal Stories

Ben Thompson’s Grave

Slave Cemeteries

The Liberty Hill Witch Grave

Baby Head Cemetery

The Mom Ghost

The Abductors, #1 in the Sinful Cinema Series by Doug Brunell

Book: The Abductors: Sinful Series 1

Author: Doug Brunell

Type of Book: Non-fiction, cinema review, film history

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because the film is a huge, steaming pile of horse shit but Brunell’s love and enthusiasm for this type of grindhouse/sexploitation genre actually made me second guess my initial reaction.

Availability: Published by Chaotic Words in 2016, you can get a copy here:

Comments: Jesus Allah fuck, this is a terrible film.  I’m not going to say you in particular would hate this film because a lot of you have weird tastes or you wouldn’t be reading here in the first place. Also, if you mute it so that you are not subjected to appalling dialogue delivered by people who probably would have been better used in outright porn, there are some interesting things going on. For example:

–If you are tired of seeing buoyant, surgically enhanced breasts, the natural boobs in this film may be just what the doctor ordered.  Additionally, people tired of the PAWG trope will delight in the mostly flat, often saggy butts found on the women (and men) in The Abductors.

–How do you feel about pubic hair?  Fans of the bush will love this movie.

–Do you have strong opinions about hairy chests on men lacking even the 1970s Burt Reynolds version of muscles, who look hilarious when they get handcuffed to trees?  You are in luck.

–Do you harbor unresolved and unsettling feelings about helicopters, especially when you see them flying low over trees or landing on lakes so small you sense that they received a fine for even trying to land, let alone trying in the dead of night? Take this film to your therapist.  It could be key in your recovery.

–Have people told you that if the Olympics had a “cringe” category, your grimaces could bring home a gold medal?  Do you need practice covering up second-hand embarrassment so that you can endure your Uncle Jack’s casual sexism as he gets drunk at Christmas dinner?  Consider this film your training camp.

So it’s clear that this is a bad, bad film.  And that’s okay.  Without bad films we wouldn’t have had Mystery Science Theater 3000. The bad film has its charms, and Doug Brunell has such a keen eye and sympathetic take on the genres that bring us terrible films that if you read his books after you watch the films he discusses, you can genuinely find yourself wondering if maybe you got it all completely wrong.  To be completely frank, you probably won’t find much in Brunell’s writing that redeems this film, nor does he serve as an apologist for bad cinema (he refers to this film as being part of a “sleaze saga”). Rather, he accepts films as they are, discusses the times that spawn such films and the career arcs of the people involved. He recognizes the film’s many (many, many) flaws, but he also has such a great knowledge of genre, the specific cinematic tropes at work when older schlock was released, and the various ways filmmakers attempted to subvert those tropes, that the background he gives as he discusses the movies is the price of admission for the Sinful Cinema series.

And to be blunt, there is charm to schlock. For interior designers, it’s the Memphis Group.  For bibliophiles, it’s the “so bad it’s good” that writers like Richard Laymon and VC Andrews bring to the table. What would bad music discussions be without The Shaggs and Jandek?  When you read Brunell’s take on schlock films, you see the charm.  Whether or not the charm works on you is subjective.  But when you read Brunell’s work, objectively you see how one bad movie’s reach can extend into cinema you’d never expect from a sexploitation film.  Brunell sees how it is that the worst can be a link to the best, or maybe just a link to something that isn’t quite as bad. His knowledge and love of the topic are infectious, so much so that I actually sat through the whole of The Abductors so I would be assured I could follow his book about the film.

Quick synopsis: This film is the second in the “Ginger” trilogy but if Doug Brunell doesn’t write a book about the other two films I’ll be damned if I watch them.  So the plot is simple: White slavers are kidnapping women to sell to men who can blow $100k in 1970s money on cheerleaders taken hostage and “trained” to be excellent companions for really old men who wear Sansabelt slacks and live in a split-level home with orange shag carpet. After a convertible with three witless cheerleaders is run off the road, the three women kidnapped, a private investigator calls in Ginger, a woman who may be a spy, may be a detective, but never wears a bra, to help him.

(Honest to god, the first time we see her in street clothes, she is wearing a cropped denim vest with no buttons or zipper and no top underneath.  Later when she tries to seduce a bad man who unties her bizarre top that looks like the old Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders’ tie uniform but as imagined by Fredrick’s of Hollywood and made by a hippie who learned to crochet in rehab, she takes forever to retie it and when she does, she ties it with her boobs outside of the fabric.  She spends a lot of time topless or naked. Oh, and I remember this most clearly: the credits say “Chantilly Place” provided Cheri Caffaro, the lady who played Ginger, with all her “knits.”)

Together Jason, the private eye, and Ginger manage to track down the slavers by recruiting a pretty private eye and having her swallow a pill of some sort that allows them to track her for up to 25 miles. But before this happens, Ginger gets involved with a pudgy dude who looks like Steve Majors but isn’t (the scene where he dances with Ginger in what appears to be the courtyard of a rest home for geriatric hotel band members is cringe-gold – she’s actually got maracas). Pretty private eye gets kidnapped by slavers, Ginger watches her be relocated on a helicopter on pontoons, and is so upset she befouls a white shag carpet with like-Steve-Majors-but-isn’t and dun-dun-DUN, afterward he takes her hostage because SPOILER ALERT: he’s the head slaver.

Predictable stuff happens – all the men involved are dumb and will spill any number of beans if you show them boobs or grab their dick. Sex is had atop a pool table. An enormous henchman who “trains” the girls gets kicked in the crotch by a girl and then kicks her in the crotch in response (his name is weird and I cannot recall it now but Mr. OTC and I called him “Jablowme”). A woman gets gut punched, sexual torture is implied, but it all ends well when Ginger escapes and gets all the information she needs out of like-Steve-Majors-but-isn’t by, and I shit you not, restraining him in a shower, spraying him with water from the shower head and soaping him up.  He is utterly undone by the water spray, begging her not to spray his chest anymore.  Brunel actually manages to discuss this scene in a thoughtful manner that never would have occurred to me.

The three kidnapped girls end up really liking the men who bought them and stay with them. Ginger and Jason are nearly shot by a banker’s desk guns, but good prevails, the end.

The biggest problem with the film is that no one can act. Ginger speaks only in double entendres and they are delivered with a flat, smirking dullness. The men are all dumb or speak in gangster-ese. Every man seems like he’s dressed like a leisure-suit Harlequin, all the women have their nipples exposed at all times, and what is represented as the height of luxurious domestic decadence would need to be fumigated to qualify as a modern Motel 6.  The abducted girls only speak when they are introduced to the used car salesmen who purchased them, asking them innocent questions over dinner, wondering how they will be able to explain to the neighbors that they are sex slaves.  But the plot, oh the stupid plot, and the acting, tend to make all the excellent cheese turn into something that is merely cheesy.

Most notable is how difficult it will be for modern audiences to stomach this film.

This 90 minute film is sometimes a chore to watch. Bad acting, inexplicable costume and hair changes in the middle of a driving scene, and the idea that all women need is either a skilled lover or to be raped in order to “break” them all work to erode the average viewer’s patience, tolerance and sanity. Watching young women’s breasts be groped and twisted as they are told they are about to be tested for their sexual skills is something rarely seen in current non-pornographic, semi-mainstream or mainstream films, though it was a bit more common place in the daring ’70s.

But applying current mores to an old film should only be done when one is comparing the changes, not condemning that which is outdated for being outdated.  Brunell doesn’t do that and his refusal to condemn these films for their lack of PC content is refreshing.  He actually reproduces a couple of lines from an Amazon review that remarks that this film is an affront to all that is politically correct.  But placing the film in the context of the time when it was made, Brunell points out that while the film is sexist, even as it tries to make Ginger into a badass investigator/spy who can kick ass and suck cock and always solve the case, it is notably lacking in the casual racism that was part and parcel of the sexploitation and grindhouse film industry.

And because he has watched all three Ginger films, Brunell can sincerely explain how this film is an improvement upon the first, that Ginger has a character arc that was as important to the filmmaker as showing her boobs in every scene.  I think that’s important to know, that underneath it all, goals were set and achieved and that some people may have actually improved their acting chops. This was someone’s artistic vision – they were trying very hard to make a good movie.

The best part of Brunell’s examinations of these films is his look at the people in the films and where they ended up.  He has an interview with Jeramie Rain, who played “Jane,” one of the three abducted cheerleaders (she’s the one with the short dark hair, which naturally means she’s the one who was best suited to be a dominatrix, hilariously beating the bed next to her new owner with a double-coiled black whip). Rain is very notable for her role in The Last House on the Left, the Wes Craven film that fucked me up so badly that I will never forget Mari’s near-pre-Raphaelite death scene, her hair spreading out into the water as she dies.  Rain plays Sadie, the psychopathic moll who delights in the violence her male friends inflict on the girls they abduct.  Rain has some interesting stories about the film.

Brunell also notes that future porn actor Harry Reems, from Deep Throat, has a role in this film of the “blink and you’ll miss it variety.” Best of all, he shows the direct line from the director of this sleazy and unintentionally hilarious film to a lucrative Disney franchise. The cast info at the end of Brunell’s books never fail to surface some WTF details that show how small the entertainment world really is.

So what I am trying to say here is that this is a terrible film and you should only watch it in conjunction with Brunell’s Sinful Cinema series.  The worst film has to offer is often swallowed easier when you have someone who is knowledgeable in the genre, both sympathetic to and willing to discuss with humor the film’s many flaws, and able to write about it all in books that inevitably are better than the films that Brunell examines.  I highly recommend you check out Brunell’s work.

And yeah, this is more Odd than October, but maybe if you watch The Abductors, you’ll find the perfect Halloween costume.  Seventies banker, hot pants cheerleader, plaid-suited sex lord, or maybe you can just walk around naked like Ginger did. All you’ll need is a platinum wig!

God Entered the Body of Bob Hickman, As a Body. Same Size by Bob Hickman

Book: God Entered the Body of Bob Hickman, As a Body. Same Size: Worlds [sic] Only Holy Ghost Filled Man

Author: Bob Hickman

Type of Book: Non-fiction, possession, unusual theology

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Well, Bob thinks he is possessed by the Christian trinity, and he feels it is a very bad thing.  From his possession Bob has come to the conclusion that God treats mankind very poorly and he has tried to communicate this perspective the best he can.

Availability: You can get any number of books Bob Hickman wrote on Amazon.  Here’s the link to the one I purchased:

Bob has a bunch of books under his name on Amazon, many of them with names similar to this book.  I don’t recommend that you order any of them unless you have a special affinity for or find yourself absorbed by reading word salad.  Bob’s book is actually a bit worse than word salad because the print versions have html tags littered throughout.

I don’t know why, but reading difficult texts on e-readers doesn’t work for me.  Paper books make it easier, somehow, for me to take in extremely strange writing.  But a physical book was of no help here, especially since the writing and format degenerated as the page count increased.  I asked Mr. OTC to scan any two random pages to illustrate what I found when I opened the book.  Click on either to see what I mean.

It may be easier for those who want to know more about Bob Hickman to click some of the information links I will include at the end of this article.

Interestingly, I bought a second Bob Hickman title because it had higher ratings, seemed like it might be coherent enough to give me a better idea of what is happening to Bob, but hilariously, even though they are both self-published books on occult topics written by white men with a ballpark similarity in appearance, they are not the same person. I will set Messages from Rose by Bob Hickman, A Psychic on the Edge of the Etheric aside for another time I feel compelled to delve into occult messages from non-planetary entities.

Comments: Hopefully it is clear that I intended to read Bob’s book about being possessed by the Holy Spirit but there’s no sense in it because he’s very likely suffering from some form of mental illness that causes him to process and express reality in a manner one would need a trained mental health professional to understand.  I’ve said in the past that I often approach certain non-fiction books or manifestos from the perspective of someone who analyzes literary characters.  On a very basic level, if you’ve been trained to detect literary quirks and signs of mental illness in fictional characters, you can sometimes do the same with memoirs and similarly autobiographical writings. But such approaches only work when the non-fiction work is constructed by someone who, though possibly mentally ill or afflicted with some sort of strange personality, is no grounded to what the consensus labels reality.  Bob is not grounded to a reality I recognize and therefore I cannot dissect his words.

His book is over 100 pages of strangely punctuated stream-of-consciousness, margin to margin, in eight point font, with lots of html tags that push even the most dedicated observer of the unusual too far.  After five pages I gave up and all I can say from those five pages is that when he was a young man in Indianapolis, Bob was lonely, and in search of purpose he went to a church and was baptized. After that baptism Jesus began to appear to him to tell him to write down certain things and release them in books. The things Jesus asked Bob to do caused Bob to become isolated from his fellow man and he does his best to remain tethered to us while sincerely trying to do what the spirit in him wants him to do because he feels that doing so is the best way to alert mankind to the real horrors of what the Trinity are going to do to us.

Some think Bob is a scammer, but if he is, this is a long-term scam that has very little social or financial payoff.  Those more sympathetic to Bob think he is a paranoid schizophrenic, and they may be right. His wall of text, stream of consciousness writings don’t fall completely into what I have come to expect from unmedicated severe schizophrenics, but he comes close.  Had Bob started reaching out with his messages from Jesus in the 1980s, his missives and tracts would not have looked that different from paranoid musings I’ve received from people who had very unique ideas about the Kennedy assassination, the suppression of free energy and perpetual motion, and interesting theories about how the Bilderbergers were going to genetically mutate corn to turn us all into slaves.  Bob is able to make internal sense in what he is trying to convey, but his narrative skips from one idea to the next too quickly, so quickly even dedicated readers will not be able to keep up.  Worse, one has to have an extremely open world view to be able to give much credence to what Bob has to saw about being infested by the divine.

Being possessed by the Holy Spirit has been a decidedly negative experience for Bob.  On his Facebook group, he wrote the following:

if you didnt feel the spirit of god come into your body, you are still lost. dont feel bad. God attacks me. god is tearing my face and mouth corners all day, by moving my face in different directions, from inside me, ripping and tearing my face. god shoots into my mouth, disease. gum disease is gods best weapon against his people. take their teeth, god told me, and they will want to die. like needles being shot into mouth, coming in continuously. these needles stick in gums, and stick thru long ways, and spew out poison. filling my gums with disease. I put salt in mouth to kill this disease. God fondles me. yes thats right, God plays with, caresses, touches, squeezes, pulls on my dick, and sometimes it feels like a tube inside my dick, and electric tube, moving side to side. Jesus christ appears and laughs and tells me to go back out into the world and commit sin in front of those you witness to, to be abased. theres a warning in the bible, it promises God will betray you. it says God will make it rain on just and unjust. this means give god all and then he will throw you away like he did to satan. but this time, God has a problem. me. God attacked the wrong motherfucker this time. God wanted me to fall and look like a fool, but this time, God will be the one brought down, by a five foot tall man.

Okay, a long paragraph of this is remarkable.  An entire book with no paragraph indentation and font so small I needed reading glasses and a magnifying glass to read?  Yeah, curse these human eyes.

I felt like Bob and his possession by God Himself were in their sad way the perfect inversion of Friday’s look at the world’s sincerest and least dramatic demon exorcism. Placid, kind people drove a spirit out of a young woman I sense was a con-woman and it affirmed their faith in God.  Bob feels occupied by the Trinity and they torture him, revealing to him their nasty plans for mankind, sexually abusing him, making him sick, humiliating him and he hopes to take them down by documenting all they are doing to him and planning for us.

Interest in Bob waxes and wanes, depending on various online factors, and sometimes tricksters online make it hard to know when one is genuinely dealing with Bob, who may have a form of hypergraphia if he is indeed writing across all the platforms I’ve found. Bob is known for sending out texts to various people with the same message (which is a mantra he repeats often in speech):

God has entered into my body, like a body my same size, like me floating into you or you floating into me.

Generally people don’t respond but some have, one asking if Bob is okay.  Bob mostly does not respond to replies.  It was these messages that made people think this is a scam, that Bob is ending bizarre messages to verify if phone numbers are real and selling that data to marketers.  Those texts also caused some to think that Bob is a part of an ARG (alternate reality game).  The notion it is an ARG is also fueled by Bob’s unique van that has become a sort of game for people in his area to identify, but those who approached Bob in his truck, thinking he would give them the next clue in the game quickly realized that this is not a game. But mostly his messages disturb and freak out people and the internet is littered with people asking alarmed questions on Reddit or wondering if they being stalked.

The further you dig, the more you realize this possession really is something Bob believes in and that he really does not enjoy the experience.  He frequently does very self-destructive things, like rubbing sandpaper on his face in an attempt to alter his body so that God will no longer consider it a perfect size and leave.  He also claims God hits him and he keeps records of all of this on his YouTube channel.  By the way, if you search for Bob Hickman on YouTube, you’ll find the etheric psychic, too, so step lively.

The latest upsetting thing I’ve stumbled across is a Blogger account that leads to links of Bob’s work plastered across nation specific Blogspots. Posting as late as October of this year, across around 75 blogspots hosted in different countries, Bob is offering to sell himself for any sexual purpose because “god has the morals of an ally cat” and is a randy God, apparently. Please note that if you click on any of the language specific links, you will be taken to photos of Bob in the nude.  So don’t click at work unless your boss is cool with seeing what appears to be a naked Amish man posing seductively in an attic. In fact, just Googling his name brings up so many nudes. Surf safely, friends.

I hope no one tries to buy him.  I worry he’s trying to fuck God out of him but may be surprised that the God in his body isn’t run off that easily.  But it is undeniable that this whatever is happening to Bob has taken a disturbing left turn down an unsettling sexual road.  His YouTube account is a very mixed bag, with videos ranting about Nancy Pelosi, a short video on his stereo system, Q&A sessions with God, and descriptions about how God is essentially raping him.

Shit.  This is sort of awful beyond just being awful, you know? If you track Bob down online, be kind to him because regardless of what is genuinely happening to him, he is suffering.  I almost wish I could introduce him to the kind Rev. Conn from The Devil Called Collect.  Bob needs a decent man of the cloth in his corner.

Below are some links to a couple of interesting analysis videos about Bob. There are enough Reddit threads about Bob that you could spend many hours wading through his antics over the years. Bob is a rabbit hole so only begin to explore if you have hours of time to spend.

The Devil Called Collect by J. Stephen Conn

Book: The Devil Called Collect: The Exorcism of Jessica Leek

Author: J. Stephen Conn

Type of Book: Non-fiction

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because it’s the sweetest, sincerest book about exorcism ever written.

Availability: Self-published in 2008 using iUniverse, you can get a copy here:

Comments: I bought this book off Amazon knowing nothing about it other than the title.  You have to admit this is an excellent title.  Isn’t that just like the Devil to call collect? And after that he leaves the toilet seat up and drinks milk straight from the carton. Of course I thought this strangely anti-climactic title masked a turgid and purple story of a young priest and an old priest milking pea soup out of some beleaguered victim of demonic possession. But that isn’t the case.  This is the least melodramatic, matter-of-fact, strangely sweet exorcism tale I’ve encountered, and I’ve encountered quite a few.  And because this book presents such a benign and relatively uneventful exorcism, I actually believe these events occurred as Rev. Conn presents them.

I mean, I think most of us understand that these sorts of cases are embellished, and if you are a heathen non-believer like me, you think such cases are embellished because there is no Satan or various demons to possess us.  There’s just mental illness and hucksters and between the two we get some amazing stories. I love those amazing stories, too.  Give me a book in the vein of the many cases Ed and Lorraine Warren pimped over the years and I’ll probably consume it in one sitting.  I love the late Warrens, but they never met a haunting or possession that they couldn’t tart up in some manner. Horror writer Ray Garton talked about what it was like to write the book, A Dark Place, about the Snedeker family’s haunting.  The story he wrote was later adapted into the film A Haunting in Connecticut, and he doesn’t mince words explaining that the Snedeker adults and the Warrens engaged in a long-con fraud.

But we know that, don’t we? I mean, some of us do.  And that most stories of hauntings and possessions are false doesn’t really deter my enjoyment of such stories unless I know that something extraordinarily awful occurred in the commission of the fraud, or if a family that was enduring something they genuinely could not explain were manipulated by exorcists or paranormal investigators.  While the Warrens were definitely manipulators to a degree, their roles in cases were generally that of conspirators or comforting shoulders to cry upon. You either made some money with them or you gave them the wretched doll you insist was trying to kill you and they kept it behind glass, relieving you psychologically until they launched a tiresome movie franchise around that evil toy.

That is not what is happening in this book.  I know nothing about J. Stephen Conn, but that he writes such a plain and earnest story about an exorcism of a young woman scores some serious points in his favor, where truth is concerned.  I believe that Rev. Conn believed everything “Jessica Leek” told him, and that he believes he helped save her from spiritual torture.  That the story doesn’t hold much water doesn’t really matter where my opinion of him stands because even if I don’t believe Jessica Leek and can poke holes in her story from miles and decades away, he did believe her.  He did his best to help and he never once reverted to movie cliches or deeply Catholic exorcism tropes.

Even though there was a backbone of cinematic exorcist movies and books at the time this story occurred, there is a refreshing innocence and a genuine desire to help found in all the religious folk in this book.  The story begins in Georgia in 1980, and the clergy involved are Methodists. It was easier for these clergy to imbue fewer “liar liar pants on fire” motives to Jessica than I would have, had I been an adult at the time. I hope I don’t sound like I am patronizing Rev. Conn and his associates.  To the contrary, honest people believe other people are honest, and good people tend to expect good behavior from others.  Feel free to do the moral math on why I am such a skeptic.  Even though this book was written 27 years after the events took place, Rev. Conn used notes he and his wife took at the time and even with decades of distance, the book he wrote was still informed by the young family man who just wanted to deliver a young woman from evil.

Not so short summary: In March, 1980, a young woman whom Rev. Conn calls “Jessica Leek” makes a collect call to him at around 2:00 a.m., early on Wednesday morning.  He accepts the charges and Jessica, in a soft voice, asks if he can help her.  She tells him she is in Atlanta, that she’d been hitch-hiking but had been left on the side of the road, and someone had given her his number as someone who could help.  But Rev. Conn was in Augusta, 145 miles away.  He advises her to call a church in Atlanta. But she can’t do that, she says, because she is:

…a witch of the fifth degree.  I’m about to be initiated into the sixth degree of our Order and all of a sudden I’m scared. Strange things are going on and I’m afraid something bad might happen to me.

Rev. Conn actually apologizes to the reader for seeming like he was trying to foist this hitch-hiking witch off on the church in Atlanta, then tells Jessica again she needed to contact the church closer to her.  She plaintively asks him if he will help her, why can’t he help her?  He explains that he’s not sure if he can, that the only person who can is Jesus Christ.  Upon hearing that name, Jessica begins to speak in a demonic voice, that says:

No, no, you can’t have her.  Just hang up the phone.  You can’t have her.  She is mine.

Of course, he doesn’t think she could possibly have produced the demonic voice, and that proves, in a way, that she’s really far more troubled than he expected, that this isn’t just a drunk girl worried about being stuck on the road for the rest of the night.  Rev. Conn asks who is speaking, wondering if she has a boyfriend there with her, but the demon in Jessica says, to effect, that they are legion.

Uh oh.

Thanatomorphose, Oddtober 2019

Film: Thanatomorphose

Director: Éric Falardeau

Type of Film: Body horror

Availability: Released in 2012, you can get a copy here:

Comments: I’ve shared more than once that I sit on the OCD spectrum.  I specifically struggle with dirt, grime and germs – basic contamination obsessions.  While the obsessive element of contamination fears will likely always be at the back of my head, the compulsive element seems better in check these days.  I can get a little tense if things get dusty or if the cats have been shedding or puking a lot, but I don’t really find myself wanting to crawl into the vents to scrub them with a tooth brush anymore. Over the years I guess age and a good pharmacological combination have helped me tamp down the worst of it but mostly I’m doing pretty good, OCD-wise.

So of course I watched a movie about a woman who, essentially, rots to death. Of course I did. My skin crawled, I felt my scalp prickle, and about half-way in, I began to mindlessly tug on the hem of the t-shirt I was wearing. Luckily the film ended before I began chewing on my hair.  It’s a bad sign when I begin to chew my hair.  It means I will be going to Target to get several bottles of Lysol, sponges with a mesh scrubber on one side, and a new pair of rubber gloves.  What I am trying to convey is that this film ended just in time for me to be able to collect myself and avoid sanitizing everything in the house for the next couple of weeks.

Also, I feel I should mention I will be spoiling the hell out of this film.

Brief synopsis: Thanatomorphose literally means the signs of decomposition the body exhibits after death. This film’s title is what happens in the film. Laura, the heroine, begins to show signs of the sort of decay commonly experienced after death.  Initially, she has a few bruises and her joints are stiff, but once she turns the corner from freshly dead to recently departed, her bodily decay begins in earnest and speeds up.  All of this is normal if one is actually dead, but Laura still breathes, still walks, and still talks, though all of that becomes harder and harder as her body continues to decay. Eventually genuine death catches up to the rot and she finally decomposes past the point of being able to remain mobile and sentient and the film ends.

This is not an allegory.  There is no subtlety.  Laura may be able to breathe, have sex, interact with others, but she’s dead.  She’s an artist  – a sculptor – but she is unable to make any headway into becoming a working artist.  She had just moved into the apartment where the first scene takes place – unpleasant sex with her boorish boyfriend Antoine – and one of the first things she does is uncover a clay sculpture she was working on, an oval, almost egg-like mound of clay, but can find no inspiration.

Antoine steps on a nail after having sex with Laura, and she takes care of his wound with competence but shows little caring.  She’s naked, sponging off the wound, pouring peroxide on Antoine’s instep, and the first signs of rot show on her body.  She has a bruise along her jaw, a large bruise on her upper arm, and one on her ass. The bruises were settled and showing brown or purple – they were not fresh. I believe they were the first signs of Laura’s death.  After Antoine leaves and she gives up on trying to work on her sculpture, she attempts to masturbate but cannot reach orgasm. This implies she probably didn’t have enjoyable sex with Antoine – which seems very likely, actually – and she’s feeling increasingly separate from her own body.

The next morning, she wakes and gets ready for work. While in the shower, she drops the soap and catches her nail on the drain, pulling it off.  The rot is beginning to accelerate.  She goes to work and comes back to a rejection letter from an art co-op. Later her friends come to visit until her landlord throws them out.  One of the friends, Julien, comes on to Laura, annoyed that she seems to prefer the brutish Antoine.  When her friends leave, Antoine again forces himself on Laura, even hitting her at one point.  He comments that her body is very cold, and he means it literally, but she doesn’t seem aware of it.  She taunts him, insinuating that she is cold because he is lousy in bed and more unpleasant sex ensues.  After they go to sleep, she wakes and vomits on him, collapsing several times as she tries to get water or go to the bathroom.

Evidently Antoine leaves her in this state because when she rises again that morning, it is undeniable what is happening. Laura is dead.  Her body is showing the sort of effects one would see in a corpse dead for around 24 hours in a hot place.  She is unsteady on her feet, and it is here that she gives into the death that she clearly wants.  She accepts no help and asks for no help.  Julien shows up at one point and is appalled by what he sees happening to her but she refuses to leave for the hospital. Instead she gives him a blowjob, and he is both upset but unwilling to make her stop.  She’s already beginning to smell, her head is bleeding from one of the falls and he ends up with her blood on his hands, yet he doesn’t make her stop.  He leaves after ejaculating and she spits it onto the floor that previously she kept spotless.

Antoine comes back and Julien returns a second time, but I won’t reveal exactly what happens to them but it really can’t be called murder because the dead cannot form intent to kill.  Laura descends into a claustrophobic nightmare, wherein she begins to document her decay, using fingers and teeth that fall off in her egg-like sculpture.  She duct tapes her limbs when tendons begin to separate from the bone. She cloaks the windows with sheets or tapes trashbags over them in an attempt to cool her apartment because the summer heat is accelerating her decay.  She puts ice in cold baths, she becomes riddled with maggots, shits out the lining of her intestines, vomits up maggoty bile, and tries to preserve the parts of herself that she cannot tape or sew back on, in jars with some sort of alcohol, taking Polaroids when she can.  At some point she attempts to masturbate again, and this time she is able to climax, thinking about harming Antoine, which may have happened or may not have happened.  I’m not sure.  But only after she accepts her death does her sex drive return.

And she does accept her death.  She’s suffered a metaphorical death in that she hates her relationship, her friends seem like assholes, her new apartment comes with a pushy landlord who considers people listening to music a party, and her art offers her no sense of accomplishment.  She’s already dead but doesn’t lie down yet.  She seems to revel in her decay, the ultimate form of self-harm – rotting to death while photographing the ruin of her body.

However, at the end, just before her body finally falls apart due to the rot, heat and continual submersion in cold water, she accidentally knocks over her sculpture and breaks it. She no longer has the physical capacity to pick it up and make it right again. I initially thought that the pain and misery of dying this way caught up with her because it was here that she showed her first real sign of anguish, screaming in torment.  She has another spell of screaming when she deals with Julien the second time, and she lets out a banshee-like wail just before the remaining components of her body give way to decay.  Her scream ends when her jaw falls off and her skin falls away, her limbs dis-articulating.

She wants this death.  She’s a calm, competent young woman.  There is nothing hysterical or irrational in her behavior. She’s had enough of her life and the world as a whole. But her death takes long enough that she engages in diversions of the sort that give the viewer a belief that perhaps if she manages to create the piece of art that shows her talent and expresses her inner loathing, she may escape this death, maybe it’s a hallucination caused by a breakdown and not really happening.  But it is happening.  And there’s no way out.  This is one of the most complete forms of self-annihilation you’ll ever see in a film, and she embraces it without equivocation.

This sense that she wanted this suffering, this end, is probably what kept me from bathing in bleach the moment the film was over.  She did not feel misery because she was rotting.  She was rotting because she was miserable. The decay was her salvation. In a way that made the film easier to stomach.

This film takes place entirely in Laura’s apartment – a living area with a kitchenette, a bathroom and a bedroom. As her decay progresses, the space seems even smaller as Laura blocks out the windows and makes makeshift dividers between rooms to filter out the light.  It wasn’t an entirely claustrophobic feeling, seeing this play out in a small apartment but it was certainly stifling and limiting, an apt description of Laura’s life.

Additionally, the actress who played Laura, Kayden Rose, was naked throughout most of the film.  Once she took off her clothes after sex with Antoine after the “party,” she never again has on clothing.

 

 

 

Kayden Rose’s body’s decay is hard to watch.

The actress herself is attractive, and she possesses a thin but decidedly “skinny fat” build, with little muscle tone.  Her continual nudity, even before the rot really set in, stopped registering as nudity.  Her body was a repository of death and maggots, and in that state the most beautiful of bodies stops possessing any erotic qualities (unless you have some very specific paraphilias). Her body was a waiting room in the ICU. It was waiting for the end, as well.

Kayden Rose also has a capacity to look gawky when her hair is swept off her forehead and she is wearing glasses, to looking beautiful when her hair is loose and wearing makeup.  Sometimes just a change in lighting could cause her to look angelic one moment and distressingly plain the next. Similarly, her naked body could in some scenes look like an Hellenic marble statue with hipster tattoos or could look strangely flabby and unkempt.

The ability to offer such differing views of her body in a film wherein her body was rotting away, is an interesting talent.  Kayden Rose carried this odd, upsetting film all on her shoulders, and to be able to change how the viewer perceives her form is remarkable.  I looked her up after the film ended but she’s only been in three other films, two short films and one segment of a larger film.  Finding out she has not done more since this film was akin to watching Morten Klode in a death metal video and finding out he’s never starred in a leading role in a film.

I guess sometimes you have to take what you are given. But it’s a shame she’s not in more recent films.

Though it really did make me physically and psychologically uncomfortable, I’m glad I watched this film.  I found it on Amazon as I was searching for a copy of yesterday’s film, Where the Dead Go to Die. I deliberately try not to know too much about a film before I watch it, but by the title I more or less knew what I was walking into. But the film was simultaneously far more disturbing and much more appealing than I anticipated.  Bodily rot will always be disturbing but for me there is something very compelling about a heroine who has just had enough and embraces her end, however slow it comes.  This film is a slow suicide with no redemption but in the end Laura had more control than she ever had before in her life and once you get past all the “suicide is bad mmmmkay?” bullshit, this is a compelling, weirdly comforting film.

Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy by Doris Sanford

Book: Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child’s Book About Satanic Ritual Abuse

Author: Doris Sanford, illustrated by Graci Evans.

Type of Book: Children’s book, illustrated, utter fiction

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Well, it’s no My Friend, The Enemy: Surviving Prison Camp, but it has its moments.  Also, discussing the background of this book takes up much more intellectual space than the book itself.

Availability: Published in 1990 by A Corner of the Heart, it’s out of print, but if you have money to burn and enjoy that sickening feeling you get when you realize you have a relic of an entirely different form of child abuse than the book professes to tackle, you can still get a used copy on Amazon.  However, the book is so reviled that Amazon will not permit me to link to it directly.

Comments: The late 1980s and early 1990s were a weird time. All over rural and suburban America, white people became very afraid of Satan, and sometimes even “real” Satanists participated in the freak show of Satanic Panic.  Some of us listened as Bob Larson, huckster and self-taught exorcist, attempted to exorcise demons out of Trey Azagthoth, bassist from the death metal band, Morbid Angel.  Glen Benton, front man of Deicide, spent a lot of time taunting Bob, and frankly that time could have been better spent injecting heroin straight into his balls, but, like I said, it was a weird time.  Geraldo, Sally Jesse Raphael and Oprah had the pre-cursors of soccer moms convinced that Satanist wolves infiltrated every corner of the planet – but mostly white, middle-class pre-schools, it seems – in order to pass as sheep, ready to savage their children.

It was a very dark time, my sarcasm aside. Families were destroyed because poorly trained and dogma-afflicted therapists and hysterical, mostly fundamentalist Christian, parents believed children could not be led into making up salacious details about abuse that never happened.  They believed children when those children, after hours and hours and sometimes days and days of leading and suggestive comments, told impossible stories about abuse that they claimed was heaped upon them at day care centers. The McMartin pre-school case is one of the best examples of the Satanic Panic run amok.

A mother, whom members of the community later admitted was utterly unstable and had a history of making false accusations, was convinced that Raymond Buckey, son of the owner of the McMartin day care center, had sodomized her son.  She went to the police during a time when law enforcement was willing to believe such claims without much in the way of evidence, and during the investigation letters were sent to parents of children who attended the day care, asking them to check with their children to make sure Raymond hadn’t, you know, raped them repeatedly.  Predictably, parents became hysterical and some of the most poorly trained therapists ever to worry about men in hoods in the woods pressured McMartin attendees until they remembered any number of absolutely impossible situations, involving every McMartin employee, as well as random strangers unlucky enough to be lumped into the group of suspects.

McMartin kids, under the questioning of a therapist who really needed there to be a terrible scandal and shaped one that fit neatly with her bizarre beliefs, insisted that sometimes they were flushed down toilets into tunnels under the school and used in Satanic orgies.  They claimed they saw lions and horses killed, as well as rabbits being frequently killed in front of them to make them compliant.  They claimed they watched as babies were sacrificed at the local Episcopal church. They claimed Raymond Buckey could fly, that they were filmed naked and their abuse was taped as a game the adults called “naked movie star.” Nary a photo or film clip was ever found. It never really seemed to register with the therapists involved that something was wrong with all these weird stories, not even when kids could not identify Raymond, their supposed rapist who flew and killed rabbits, but did identify Chuck Norris as one of the men who harmed them. No one felt a bit unsettled when the kids spoke of being taken from abuse locations in hot air balloons, or that the kids were taken to cemeteries during the day and forced to dig up corpses, which their day care instructors began to stab repeatedly, hacking the bodies up before forcing the kids to rebury them. Even more bizarre physical evidence was used to prove the accusations of kids who had no physical signs that they had been abused, let alone repeatedly raped, cut, or beaten.  The now utterly debunked “wink” anus test was used on little kids, and as a result those little kids ended up being sexually abused by the people set on saving them from abuse.

That’s a problem that comes up a lot in Satanic Panic cases – if the kids weren’t victimized by those accused of abuse, the accusers put the kids through such nightmarish questioning and physical examinations that they were definitely victimized.  Some of the McMartin kids have grown into adults who believe the system failed them, permitting the people who sacrificed endless numbers of babies to Satan while raping them and their friends to eventually go free.  They feel traumatized and victimized and their lives have been ruined.  While a lot of people look at this kiddie book as a real life example of Liartown’s fine book parodies…

The world is a terrible place and we know this because only two of these books are fake.

…it’s only funny if you don’t know the truth behind it.

As I type this, I know people who really are into Dave McGowan’s Programmed to Kill, the belief that Bush the Elder led a pedophile cult that preyed on kids involved in the Franklin Scandal, and every minute detail from the whole of the recent Pizzagate weirdness are going to come call me a black propagandist, insinuate I get paid by the Podesta brothers to write such articles or accuse me of being a pedophile.  Same as it ever was.  Every such commenter reads a refutation of their hobby horse and feels it is an apologia for child abuse as a whole when it’s really just other people questioning their intellectual fitness. It makes me glad this book is out of print. Perhaps it’s best they waste their time leaving me silly comments because otherwise they might actually engage in real life advocacy and no one, especially children, needs that.

Now to the book.

Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy is a direct response to the McMartin pre-school case. It even brings up the game “naked movie star.” (The key, or should I say “Kee,” therapist involved with the McMartin case, took a slightly bawdy rope skipping chant and turned it into a tacit admission of kiddie porn involvement – “What you say is what you are, you’re a naked movie star!” Our weird chant when I was a kid was a vulgar variation of the song “Tah rah rah boom dee-ay.” We all had them but, again, it shows a lot about the mentality of the professional adult who immediately believes such silly rhymes mean kids are being gang raped.)

The story is pretty basic – little girl gets Satanically abused at her day care, she tells her parents, who work hard to help her recover, and assure her that God was really sad she was abused.

The illustrations in the book are drawn by Graci Evans and they do a decent job of revealing some McMartin realness.

Pay close attention. Note the pregnant woman with the tiny cups on a tray. She’s probably gonna sacrifice her baby to The One with Horns and those cups held sedatives for the kids. Also note Allison’s drawing – a rabbit with bloody ears.
Okay, so some of the children are naked and that noose is really small. Children whose parents bought this book unironically deserve reparations.

I’m unsure what to think about Doris Sanford.  I can’t really find much information about her, aside from basic obituary-level information – she appears to have died in 2018.  She began her foray into self-help books for kids by discussing the impact of parental depression on kids, and how hard it is for kids to process death, both helpful and useful books.  Even her books about sexual abuse at home seem charmingly helpful in comparison to Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy. But over time her titles became more… upsetting.  How many kids were out there who survived death camps and also had access to American book stores?  The kids in Rwanda weren’t gonna see Doris’ book about death camps, nor were kids who suffered in the Balkans. But she wrote a book about it. And she wrote this book, and no matter what alarmists tell you, Satanic Ritual Abuse is rare and hardly has an audience large enough to support a book helping the children who survive it.

Was Doris a True Believer in Satanic Panic?  Was she jadedly making a buck off the backs of people who were clearly already willing to torture their kids?  I have no idea. Worse, her book may well have been the lesser of several other evils.  I remember a woman on my street when I was a kid who would give out Jack Chick tracts and a dime to each kid on Halloween.  My mom made me go to her door each year that I trick-or-treated because she wanted to see what lunacy I’d walk back with. I lack the will to look up the exact title, but I remember one year I got a tract about how some kid died and when he went to heaven God showed him every terrible thing he’d done on some sort of celestial slide show projector, and I began to worry if my mom was trying to tell me God had a rap sheet on me a mile long and I needed to get my shit together.  Really, she just wanted to see what crazy crap the woman was giving out that year. But I remember being very upset that God had basically set up surveillance on me and was collecting evidence of every sass back, every lie, every thing a child does because she’s a child, in order to shame me when I died.  At least Doris’ books had decent production values.

So I guess what I am saying is that people love witch hunts and that will never not be true, and every generation has their own unique way of terrifying kids with images of Satan.

But this book, all kidding aside, is an excellent relic of the time that spawned it.  And for all I know it was a legitimate and sincere attempt to address what at the time seemed like a terrible societal ill.  But the utter perversity of the accusations, the beliefs people had about well-organized cabals preying upon the most privileged and well-protected children in human history, shows a sort of sickness within that even now people don’t like to address. What do you do if your mother is certain you were sodomized in a tunnel by an American icon like Chuck Norris, who most definitely did not have large chunks of time he could be away from film and TV sets to hang around in subterranean lairs to rape toddlers?  How do you cope with the rectal exams you were forced to endure because adults really believed you were taken away in hot air balloons to be raped in the Episcopal church? What does that say about the secret fantasies and moral bruises of those who believed such unbelievable, foul, bloody and sexually perverse things?

I have an answer of sorts in a film I will discuss tomorrow, an animated film inspired by this specific book. See you then.

3 from Hell, Oddtober 2019

Film: 3 from Hell

Director: Rob Zombie

Type of Film: Horror, camp

Availability: Released in September of 2019, you can see it several places online. I’m linking to the Amazon Prime listing mainly because I have an Amazon Affiliate account but it currently appears to be on Google Play and on the pay to watch section of YouTube.

Comments: Not all of the Oddtober entries will be wholly odd, and this film is a good example. Graphic, violent horror films will often be a bit odd to some, but had this film not ostensibly been released as a Halloween film (Dia de los Muertos features heavily in the latter hour of the film), and had it not been Sid Haig’s last film with Rob Zombie, it likely would not have been discussed here.

Yeah, Sid Haig died. He is only in the opening five minutes or so and he looks rough but I’m glad he got to rally and be in the franchise he’s so well associated with one last time. His role in House of a Thousand Corpses was one of the funniest horror film roles. Though evil to his core, Captain Spaulding provided viewers with coarse humor to blunt some of the very graphic violence and gore.


I strongly suggest that you go watch House of a Thousand Corpses again rather than mess with 3 from Hell because Sid Haig’s absence is felt acutely. Fuck yo mama, indeed. But if you’re the sort who must see all the entries in a franchise, or you just wanna pay respects to a fine character actor, I guess you could do worse than this latest installment. But still, this is not a particularly good film until the last 30 minutes or so.

There may be spoilers throughout this discussion. But really, you already know what is going to happen. You can’t spoil Zombie’s formula, really. So if you get worked up by spoilers, skip this off-the-cuff discussion until you’ve seen the film.

***

Synopsis: Okay, I’ve mentioned Sid looks rough and his role is over in five or so minutes but that’s okay in a way because at least we get to see Captain Spaulding one more time, defiant and clowny.  Otis Driftwood is still Otis Driftwood, pompous and given to long diatribes, but Baby Firefly is fucked. For people who hated her shrill laughter, baby doll mannerisms and cutesy psychopathy in House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, she will be unbearable in this film. Gibbering and insane from years in solitary confinement, her character is so over the top and weird that even Otis eventually notices she’s more whacked than usual when he breaks her out of prison.  Oh yeah, he breaks out of prison with the help of his half-brother, Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, an Argus Filch look-alike who is clearly a replacement for Captain Spaulding.  Bloody mayhem ensues, as you knew it would, Baby becomes a bit more grounded to reality, and some shitty town in Mexico is essentially destroyed.  The end.

***

Me: Holy shit, is that Danny Trejo?

Mr. OTC: Of course it is.  It’s always Danny Trejo.

***

Baby is really batshit.  It’s hard to explain how batshit she is because she’s that batshit.  But she’s also competent in a violent way, able to beat the shit out of and kill sadistic psychopaths while in chains, even able to write taunting messages in their blood, unnerving the brutal and sadistic guard who set her up to be murdered.  She’s a force of chaos with amazing hair.  She’s a white trash River Tam.

***

Me: Oh my god, is that prison guard the mom from ET: The Extraterrestrial?

Mr. OTC: (begins typing into IMDb.) “Yep, that’s her.”

Damn… She really pulled her role off well.  She reminded me more of Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina in horn rimmed glasses than the mom from The Hills Have Eyes.

***

There are a lot of homages to other horror films or killers.  For example, in the beginning of the film Otis Driftwood is a stand-in for Charles Manson and Baby can be seen as one of Manson’s molls, an extra-demented Susan Atkins. When Baby chases down and stabs to death a naked woman, there is something about the woman’s carriage as she fled, covered in blood, that reminded me of the final scene in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when Sally runs for her life into the two-lane highway, desperate to either escape or find help.  In an earlier scene, Otis flays a woman’s face and  the camera pans to the mask he made of her facial skin, a call back to Wisconsin skin-wearer Ed Gein.

***

Mr. OTC: Can you guess who that clown is?

Me: Not really.

Mr. OTC: He’s played by Clint Howard, Ron Howard’s younger and creepier brother.

***

The clown is meant to represent John Wayne Gacy’s Pogo the Clown.  Maybe. And maybe he’s meant to hark back to Captain Spaulding.  But mostly I have no idea why a clown was involved.  Otis and his brother had taken the prison warden, his wife, and another couple hostage.  The couples were planning on spending the evening eating dinner, had no plans for a party that would need a children’s party clown, yet a clown showed up at the house in the middle of the mayhem.

Baby: What’s with the dead clown.

Otis: I’ll tell you later.

Mr. OTC: Could you explain it to us?

There is no reason for the clown to show up other than that he could sort of represent Gacy.  It was a weird decision, plot-wise.

***

Me: Is that old dude Wilfred Brimley?

Mr. OTC: Nope. (types into IMdb again) That’s a character actor from Office Space.

Me: Wilford Brimley would have been a better choice.

Mr. OTC: Isn’t he dead?

Me: I don’t think so.

Conversation devolves into a discussion about whether or not Wilford Brimley is dead.  Eventually Mr. OTC checks and I’m correct. He’s still alive (and it would have been awesome had it really been him in a Rob Zombie film).

***

Baby, the most lunatic member of the trio, suggests they head to Mexico, which is a good idea.  She got the idea from the Halloween party guest she gutted and slashed because he was dressed as a vaquero, complete with hat and serape.  So they drive to Mexico during Dia de los Muertos celebrations, though it seems unnecessary in the long run because it didn’t seem like law enforcement was engaging in a careful search to find the escaped prisoners.

In Mexico, we meet a host of ridiculous characters. The motel owner (cue me saying: “Is that Eddie from Stranger than Paradise?”) and townspeople are weird.  Best Mexican characters are the one-eyed dwarf and the three-legged dog.

***

Mr. OTC: If they kill the dwarf with one eye or the three-legged dog, we riot.

***

While Baby, Otis and Winslow engaged in enough debauchery to cause the fall of the Roman Empire, the motel owner calls who I can only assume is some sort of drug cartel boss whose father Otis killed and who wants revenge. The drug boss shows up with an El Camino hauling three coffins.  Men in white suits wearing luchador masks spill out of several cars, ready to find and kill the three from Hell.  The suits are so synthetic that when one is doused in gasoline, it pooled on the surface of the fabric until it finally absorbed.  I wondered how hot those men were, wearing polyester in the Mexican heat.

***

Me: Ah, fuck, Baby’s respecting the one-eyed dwarf’s dignity.  He’s clearly about to die.

***

This movie was disgusting in a “please make this character take a shower” sort of way  Dirty feet, smelly armpits, soggy navels, gargling with tequila.  When a Mexican prostitute poured booze into Otis’ navel and lapped it up, I was finally certain that God is dead and that He never loved me much in the first place.  It’s just a grubby, dirty, smegma-smeared film and you can smell these characters from where you sit.  But then again, I’m afraid of grime and one doesn’t expect nihilistic serial killers and a bug-fucked lunatic to practice good hygiene when on the run from the law.  I suspect that few people will be grossed out by the implied body odor and halitosis when there’s so much blood. I just thought I’d share.

***

The last 30 minutes are quite good for the lover of good schlock.  Consider fast forwarding to the final confrontation between the Mexican men wearing wrestling masks and clothes reminiscent of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Lots of topless women die, Baby becomes the Bellevue Barbie equivalent of Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead and everyone gives too many long speeches when they could just kill their foe already.  It’s campy, violent, excessive and ridiculous, a winning combination when you don’t really know which side to root for.

***

So I guess I am saying that if you watch this film with a friend who grew up watching MST3K or with a case of beer on hand, it won’t be the worst horror movie you’ve seen this year, especially if you’re into the whole “Annabelle” doll franchise.  But don’t watch it in earnest.  If you watch 3 from Hell with an ironic eye and an eagle eye to catch all the character actors in this film, you may very well enjoy yourself.  Not highly recommended but not utterly panned, either.

***

The three-legged dog abides.

Oddtober 2019

I had decided not to do an odd take on October this year because at some point I need to finish the book I’ve been writing about manifestos written by people who have spilled blood. But my publisher and editor, the extremely accommodating and very patient Chip Smith at Nine-Banded Books, encouraged me to go ahead and try to wallow in the season for however many days we have left. So here we are.

I’m planning to discuss Rob Zombie’s latest film, a disturbing artifact from the Satanic Panic during the 1980s and a film that artifact inspired, a fairly disgusting yet compelling horror film about rot, another book from Doug Brunell’s Sinful Cinema series, a charmingly naive look at exorcising demons and the horror of Bob Hickman’s experiences being possessed by God Himself. There may be more, but the rest is up in the air.

I’ve been so lax on this site. I have no idea why because I have so many things I want to discuss. But mostly I try not to think about it because thinking about it may spawn an excuse. Better to just try to overcome it. So check back all the weekdays left in October, leave me comments and recommendations as the spirit moves you, and enjoy Oddtober 2019!