Authorities investigate lungs found on L.A. sidewa–wait, WHAT? (Original Uncut Version)

Note: This is not only longer than most of my pieces (highest word count yet) but it’s also the heaviest. It’s not meant as a kind of preachy manifesto; instead I woke up, thinking about a video clip on Yahoo! News that reported on the newest, scariest drug on the streets  (it makes PCP look kind of quaint). Experts explained it was probably behind a rash of exceptionally disturbing, gruesome homicides.  The clip also helpfully more or less told you how to find it on the internet and what it sold for, plus that it isn’t branded as an illegal narcotic officially yet. I hoped the report–the clips showing what it’s reduced people to (I watched, frozen, as the news report quickly turned into a scene from a found-footage horror movie when it took at least three huge cops to cuff one white kid and wrestle him into the back of a cop car: though his face was blurred out, you could see his mouth open unnaturally wide as he began to scream and roar like a character possessed by a demon during a failed exorcism)   –scared most people away. Anyway, I saw that the lungs mentioned above and below hadn’t been identified yet, and that the coroner seemed rather blase about the whole thing. “It seems odd,” one quote read, “that they didn’t have any other body parts attached to them” (yes, I suppose you could call it that). I meant to write a shorter, lighter piece, but it turned into this. I tried to include direct links only to reference sites, instead of a link you just click on and get a gut-punch of material that even I found offensive. If my links aren’t enough and you do decide to scour the internet for more info or photos of any of the events I refer to, don’t do it if you’re feeling even a little off-kilter. You CAN look at that hellish visual documentation, obviously, I’m in no position to judge you. I try to keep the vibe here at  Horror Boom relatively positive; I want horror fans to enjoy reading and visiting, and come back and have more fun –not to bum anyone out. I did several re-writes to do my best to ensure that.  OK, you have now been warned that the following post isn’t a non-stop feel-good jamboree, and about seeing photos or discovering information you wish you hadn’t. Oh, and I swear even more than usual. So there’s that.

Well well, hasn’t the news been interesting lately! A little more interesting that several of us would like, and you’re taking to a decades-long horror geek. Movies, novels, short stories, TV shows, comic books, whatever I can get my hands on that I know isn’t going to be shitty. The last few weeks, it seems like at least once day I read some headline I glance at, move on and go about my business for a split-second, then say out loud, “Wait, WHAT?” and actually paused a minute before clicking on it, thinking:  maybe this is information I don’t really need. So far I’ve clicked on everything, though, unless there’s even a hint of animal abuse involved. In that case I put as much distance between myself and that information as quickly as possible; anyone reading this who has also practically sprained their fingers reaching for the remote to hastily change channels when one of those sad, sad, very sad ASPCA ads calling for donations pops up in a commercial break*.

Five or more years ago, if a friend pointed the crazy-ass headline above out to me, it would have sent me into gales of horrified laughter. Now, not as much. Maybe it has to do with turning forty, maybe it’s due to me reading the headline five minutes or so after I woke up, or that I was home alone when I read it instead of with a friend and some alcohol in me, but I sure as hell didn’t laugh. I also didn’t see any humor in the situation when the whole Miami face-eating story first hit the news. I found it frightening. No, the first thing to leap to mind in association with wasn’t YO, EPIC ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE  now f-ckin’ finally HERE, BEE_YOTCH, WHOOO YEAH!** like 90% of the article’s readers racing to be the first to post a comment with the best zombie joke (though in the interest of full disclosure, the horror reference that came to mind for me right away was the comic series Crossed).  Just disturbing as hell.  Each detail was more disturbing. The fact that it took a much larger amount of bullets than normal to take the guy down, the fact that the number of Facebook ‘likes’ had already reached the mid-five figures (thumbs up! Classy), the fact that they were both naked and had no previous connection, the fact that the homeless man survived and was in the ICU even though his face was ‘gone from the beard up’,***  the fact that the killer growled at the cop when the cop warned him to stand down at gunpoint, that a witness said he still had part of the face in his mouth at the same time and shook his head around like a dog.  This…  just… no. That was what my brain decided before it moved my attention on to something else to protect my mental health.

Well well, hasn’t the news been interesting lately! A little TOO interesting! You’re taking to a decades-long horror geek (with no shame in admitting it, and no apologies). The last few weeks, it seems like at least once a day I read some headline I glance at, move on and go about my business for a split-second, then say out loud, “Wait, WHAT?”

No-one’s actually said this to me yet, probably because the friends and family members that know me well enough to know how much I dig horror are kind, intelligent people, but I really hope there’s no chance of some idiot online (not anyone reading this blog, of course), or someone who I just met will bring it up–especially to my face when I have a drink in my hand I might be tempted to toss. I don’t want them blurting out something along the lines of, Hey, come on, you’re like seriously into horror movies! How could you not totally love this? Uh, because I have enough common sense to know that movies are fiction? Because I’m well aware there’s already enough scary, batshit, depressing stuff going on in the world without me having to go out of my way to look for more to try to top it? Even though I can’t explain in one articulate, organized sentence (with less than twenty words, anyway)  what psychologically draws me in to the horror genre and keeps me there–Jesus, I’m still jotting down basic notes for the About section of this blog– I knew one thing for certain long before I was old enough to drink legally: it was all about escape.

Maybe I should back up a little.

I was reading about the exceptionally brutal, grisly murder of Chinese student Lin Jun a few days ago.  Recent details emerging consistently state that the soul-less piece of…of… there’s not a nasty enough word in the English language I can think of right now to call the killer, so I’ll have to go with ‘the monster’ who took the life of Mr. Jun –and countless animals– did it for the possibly the most skin-crawling motive: a craving for attention and media fame in a way that makes the media whore referred to (bletcch)as The Octomom look almost tasteful.  So, I’d rather refer to the crime and the victim, the human being, the beloved man whose loving and father, mother, sister and uncle – had to fly from China for his remains, the collected parts of his body they’ve been able to recover thus far. They still have not found his head. The only comment from the family released to the media so far is his mother’s heart-wrenching quote: We come to take you home now. She’s also reportedly in so much grief and pain she can barely stand.

Since I began this piece, I discovered Huffington Post has a thoughtful article you can read discussing this very aspect of the whole media frenzy surrounding the case that enrages me the most: this monster, who everyone surveyed heartily agrees should suffer and be executed as fast as possible, wants: as much attention and media coverage as he can get. I recommend it (unless you feel that any article about the crime is twisting you into emotional time-bomb), and it focuses more on the tragedy while deliberately keeping gruesome descriptions to a minimum (I don’t know whether or not that’s the case for the several ‘related links’ given, though). It does have a photo or two of the evil bastard posing for a head-shot (he seems to have a very high opinion of his looks, though he resembles a constipated weasel with at least one STD) and his mug shot. In both, the monster has the same dead, inhuman, cold eyes. Lights on, nobody home. There’s a gallery you can click on, but I don’t know the contents, because I didn’t want to give the little shit what he wants: any further attention. I don’t recommend the gallery for the same reason.****

So, I’d rather refer to the crime and not give the monster who did it what he wants: any attention. When I was going through the comment section –in which every once in a while, someone would have the motherfucking nerve to complain about the video being taken down and how they couldn’t see it–  a memory came to me.

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Seen the Red Band Trailer For Playback? You’ve Seen the Movie!

Heard about the movie Playback (2012)? WHOA WHOA WHOA,  STAY WITH ME HERE!

I was doing my online rounds around the holidays and happened to see our trusty old friend Dread Central had news, and the first Red Band trailer for a movie called Playback was up. Huh. I overlooked the fact that Christian Slater had star billing, because the description sounded cool. Also, it was being released by Magnet, who I can usually trust. There’ve definitely been a few clunkers, but because of their release of several exceptionally entertaining and original indie and foreign horror/thriller movies (South Korean, Spanish, Danish), I’ve discovered some real gems. A few crummy ones, but they’ve been the exception rather than the rule.  Without even needing to look online, I can name (as the gems that come to mind first) I Saw the Devil, Hobo With a Shotgun, Chaws, Trollhunter, REC 2, Splinter, Tidal Wave, and one of the most entertaining documentaries about movie-making I’ve ever seen, Not Quite Hollywood.  Several of those I now own copies of. Sure, for every Tucker and Dale VS. Evil, you might turn over a rock and find a S&MAN, but after hours upon hours of sheer joy and entertainment, who the fuck cares ?

OK! You have now seen everything the movie has to offer. The gore/kills, and I mean nearly every single one. That includes back-story, sense, an explanation of the fates of several main characters, or jump scenes. In fact, I think the trailer even actually shows the majority of the (brief) nudity in the movie…

Slasher movies aren’t my favorite sub-genre of horror movies, but I grew up on as many of them as I did supernatural or monster movies, so if they’re something special, I’ll check them out.  I’ve seen some very memorable slashers (mostly either 80s, or purposely made in the spirit of the 80s ‘dead teenager movies’.  Hmmm, this here new trailer and description for Playback sounds a little close to slasher territory, and it involves teenagers… but hey, this plot description mentioned a curse! Sounds kind of like it has elements of Asian Horror …there is a cursed videotape (or camera, or footage, a curse, at least) that can cause a demon to possess you, Magnet Releasing (via Dread Central)*?  Perhaps there is a dark secret behind all this (there’s that Asian horror touchstone again), and maybe a cool reveal! What’s that, you say? That this movie is gruesome, Magnet? Tell me more!

(From the official Magnet Website) ABOUT THE MOVIE: Julian (Johnny Pacar) enlists his friends to film a reenactment of the town’s gruesome Harlan Diehl family murders for a school project. He asks social outcast Quinn (Toby Hemingway), an employee at the local news station, to assist with video equipment and research. During Quinn’s examination of raw video footage of the Diehl family farm, an evil spirit is unleashed with a menacing agenda. As Julian’s friends start disappearing, local police officer, Frank Lyons (Christian Slater), receives the order to investigate. As the secrets of the past are unveiled, the dark entity threatens to consume everyone in its way.

Here’s an alternate plot summary from the IMDB: When a group of high school students dig into their town’s infamous past they unwittingly unlock an Evil that corrupts and destroys them. Possessing its victims through video playback and using them for malevolent purposes, it closes in on one specific soul, threatening to expose the town’s deepest, darkest secret.

Then I watched the Red Band trailer below. I’m putting up the one I got from Dread Central (now via You Tube) because I’m not sure if the Magnet page has the Red Band trailer or not.  OK, here’s the point of this post. You see this Red Band trailer, you get to see everything the movie has to offer, without having to sit through the POS itself. Plus, You Tube even says this one is age-restricted (rare with them), so I’ll categorize this as NSFW (depending on how mellow your workplace atmosphere is, of course).

Okay! You have now seen everything the movie has to offer. The gore/kills, and I mean nearly every single one. Well, I’m not positive you see  [SPOILER  ALERT] Slater’s head being blown off, though it may be in the super-fast montage of shots at the end that many American horror trailers seem to practically require the last several years. Christian Slater is not the star, the trailer is misleading about many things, but that’s first and foremost. He’s not even a detective investigating the crimes, his only connection is paying “Quinn” for naked jailbait perv-cam tapes from the high-school girl’s locker room. Not a likeable character. Definitely not the lead character, or even close; he’s simply the ‘biggest name’ in the cast. Despite my snarky comment above, I don’t have any real quarrel with his film roles; he can even be pretty goddamned entertaining. Hilarious in Heathers, the Assault on Precinct 13 reboot, and Pump up the Volume, other times he ever played a romantic lead  in one movie that I distinctly recall (Marisa Tomei was his love interest) made me cry my ass off at the time that my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I saw in the theater. Here, he does his job as best he can with the weak material he’s been given. I know he was alimony and child support to pay, and probably can’t afford to be picky. It’s probably the way the marketing portrays him as the central figure and hero of the film: this is a pack of lies. not that if he had a more prominent part he could have saved the movie, not at all. The screenplay is a hot cold mess, chock full of plot holes, terrible decisions (among the characters, that is … well, the film-makers too, now that I think of it), and characters you not only don’t care about, you don’t even feel enough hate towards some of the more vile characters to care if they get what’s coming to them. That’s saying something.

Oh, I don’t have the energy to stomp on Playback anymore, there’s plenty of other online reviews like this one and this one from Dread Central itself,  if you want more articulate, traditionally structured info on why and how the movie completely wastes your time than I can muster up. I tried to focus, I really did, but kept picking up my Kindle Fire to see  if there was a new Angry Birds update.

I posted the Red Band trailer out of compassion for any fellow horror fans who thought the movie would be worth watching streaming (or God forbid, purchasing for more than a nickel). If you trust me at all, trust me on this: you will not find anything worthwhile in the movie you won’t find in the trailer. That includes back-story, sense, an explanation of the fates of several main characters, or jump scenes. In fact, I think the trailer even actually shows the majority of the (brief) nudity in the movie.**

So enjoy the trailer (not that it’s a non-stop thrill ride, but it is far more enjoyable and time-saving than sitting through the actual movie Playback, and if you’re going to watch something from Magnet Releasing, you could do much, much better. On that note…

Since I prefer to wind any post I can up with some positive vibes, here’s the trailer for the very original creature-feature Splinter (2008) a movie that I highly recommend you check out. It’ a great DVD rental, packed full of extras. Check out the official website, too. If you have the budget and want to support low-budget indies that worked their asses off to successfully deliver the best movie possible to the audience,  I even recommend you buy it (like I said, if you watch it online, you won’t get to see all the cool extras). There’s also a VERY original–and scary– monster concept. THIS is how it’s done!

*that I in no way blame Dread Central for. I trust their reviews 9 out of 10 times, and that’s even more than I can say for Fangoria magazine. Sure as hell not blasting Fangoria, either;  if a couple of their DVD of the months turned out to be kind of a letdown, Fangoria’s earned every right.

**If you’re really worried you might miss one worthwhile thing, watch the flurry of images towards the end in freeze frame/step forward mode (don’t feel guilty, I’ve done it for many a movie, not to mention teasers and previews shown for the next episode of Breaking Bad, True Blood, The Shield, Spartacus, Battlestar Galactica (when it was still called the Sci Fi Network and seemed to actively care what they aired), and many more.