Cradle of Fall

Blood and sage, a witch's delight
Fire and lust under a moonless light

Helpless children cast a child's spell
The living are the dead with stories to tell

Funsize Twix and jack-o-lantern holes
Dirty deals for greedy souls

Visions of the past through sacred doors
Stick to the road, stay off the moors 

Rivers of slime and storms of cold
Black autumn trees in the soil of old

Wicked ties and demon lies
Mixed signals from a devil's eyes

Strange smoke from a stranger's dwelling
Vile smelling and voices yelling prove to be quite telling

An apple tree orchard with no apples or trees
A cemetery of corpses with no rest or peace

Parts of death and breakfast at the kitchen table
Wolves are men until they are able

Plastic and colors mock the pain and grue
Vinegars and Arrows and Underground Blue

Shapes and boxes and faces of leather
Good Guy dolls and nightmares of sweater

The wine is red, the leaves are red
The eyes are red, the eyes are dead

Apple cider, pumpkin spice
Candy corn, maggots (or rice?)

Rubber bones dance on All Hallows' Eve
Vinyl creatures mourn as the departed grieve

Goblins gobble and slashers slash
Before too long it caught on in a flash

Lips of black and full of bite
Campers flee in the dead of night

Owls perched on a Poplar limb
Coffins open as the day grows dim

Joyous sights and smells of gore
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"

Ass to mouth and excess axes
Garlic and holy water and sunburnt ashes

All is quiet, all is dead
All is alive, now time for bed

- P


BENNETT INVENTORY : 5 Horror Movies I Kinda Like


   We often write and list on here about things we deeply love or strongly hate. But there is a whole world out there of 'merely ok.' A decent portion of our dvd collection is compiled of features that are good, but not great. And that's ok. We don't have to be coming all over ourselves with every movie or hating everything to Bill Maher extremes. Sometimes you wanna pop in a movie to clean to, or work on a collage, or fool around. You'll focus in on a few fun scenes and ignore the rest. Tis the season to highlight a few scary ones. Or not-so-scary, but definitely put-on-and-cook worthy.

- Babes

I was super pumped to see this opening night. It wasn't only because I was a hormone-crazed teenager, but I was also seeing it with a sold out audience of other ridiculous teens. The other bajillion sequels never caught my attention. All that over-lit milling about the woods just bored the shit out of me. But you send this important, deformed killer-retard into space, and you've got my attention! Eye-wincing scenes or not, this movie definitely delivers to entertain you to the end, and you will likely laugh your ass off.

I wish I could prove that someone said, "Let's make a horror movie starring that cute little kid from Home Alone." Four weeks later they're sitting on a ramshackle script and they're casting. However rushed the movie feels or clumsy the dialogue sounds, the movie made about "Evil Macauley Culkin" lends a memorable performance. Culkin is truly vacant and unnerving in his deliveries. He succeeds where a lot of child actors have failed in the Horror genre. I like to think that he's tapping into his hatred of his father when getting into character.

More than this, I should say that I would probably watch any of these movies if they were on, but if I had to choose, I would always site this one as my favorite. It is definitely the most fun and most mean. Every character's death is gruesome, gory, and laughable. There's no real lagging dialogue scenes and has non-stop action right up to the very end.

Directed by academy award winner Bill Condon, this movie looks amazing. Sadly he did not write the screenplay so you have to ignore the idiotic storyline and focus on performances and cinematography. It definitely captures the hopelessness of the first one and leaves you feeling bleak and miserable.

This is obviously just a cash-in on the critical success of 28 Days Later, but it manages to take the story to a very interesting place. They took a very big risk keeping this sequel on another small scale/small cast. I admit that this movie actually scares me in a few scenes. I'm also such a sucker for kids in peril.


I would rather talk about LITTLE MONSTERS

We don't need to do an Anniversary Tribute thing, or even a review of the movie. We don't hafta do anything - I thought we could just talk.

Have you seen the movie? Good - I'd hate for this to be one-sided. Hopefully you might even have something to add to some of these talking points, because there's plenty of neat music and Dorito crumbs to wade through, so feel free to jump in at any time.

Rick Ducommun

In the biopic of my youth, Rick Ducommun is always on the edge of the frame, doing something. As an actor, he was a utility man (and, sometimes, as a utility man): Die Hard, Spaceballs, Groundhog Day, Last Action Hero, Gremlins 2, Blank Check, and, of course, The 'Burbs. And, of course, Little Monsters. He didn't have the crudeness of Belushi or the charm of John Candy, and roughly lacked the comedic talents of either. But he was always there - walkin' the line of annoying and comforting. Little Monsters gave him kinda something new to do: playing two roles - an underworld bouncer named Snik, and a cameo scene as the host of the Late Nite talk show All About Chicks - but the former put him in heavy makeup (and a wig that didn't seem to fit so well) and a sinister persona that allowed him to (literally) snarl lines like, "I'm gonna take my finger and put it in the corner of your mouth and I'm gonna rip the corner of your mouth out!"
If any aspect of this movie was supposedly 'too scary' for kids, it was probably Snik... But he wasn't too scary - it's fuckin' Rick Ducommun, man.

When actors are around a lot, and then suddenly they're not, it always sparks my interest: did they retire? are they producing? doing theater? standup?
It only recently came to my attention that Rick Ducommun died on June 12 of 2015, a month after my own mother's death (so I'm sure I was too distracted to notice).
So now, here, in your own way, let's pay tribute to the man for whom without our childhood Cult Cinema would not have had a sidekick, a chauffeur, a town drunk, a monstrous lackey, a utility man...

The Sandwich

"What sandwich?"
Other cultists may choose to watch this movie with a bag of Doritos, or maybe some 'za ("I love 'za!"), but those are for the casual fans. Five or six years ago I took the plunge into what I felt I already knew would be a bold adventure and a fanatical commitment. As of however many years ago that was, Peanut Butter and Onion Sandwiches - as we learn Brian notoriously eats through a bit of expository dialogue - is the menu for movie viewing.
They're crunchy & juicy & salty & sweet & all kindsa fucking outstanding & I'd eat them year round if I wasn't such a slave to tradition (especially my own).

The reason brothers hate their sisters

Fred & Ben are real-life brothers - that's nothing new (or interesting) - and I believe sister Kala is heavily made-up as one of the 'little monsters.' But as a kid, it was a real kick to see Fred acting off of Daniel Stern, his future adult-self narrating-counterpart from Wonder Years: two Kevin Arnolds acting in the same scenes.
And then there's the Home Alone connection.

Nothing major that Daniel Stern was in both films, but it was a bigger deal that Devin Ratray, aka Ronnie Coleman, aka Buzz McCallister was the consistent older, meaner 'big kid' presence that permeated two seasons every year. Once Little Monsters month is done, it's onto not one but two scoops of Home Alone. The order is a bit dissatisfying; only after two Home Alones do we truly long for Ronnie's monster-piss comeuppance. Sad.

Box Art
One of the many joys of this movie were best demonstrated by the video stores in which it would reside: the tape could be found in the Children's section, Comedy, or even Horror (in my childhood store - Empire Video Superstore - they had a section called 'Off the Wall'), and any location would make sense. That's not to say that there aren't thousands of movies that cross-pollinate genres, but in a video store, the cover alone could pull it in any direction: Howie's weird looking, but it's got the Wonder Years kid, and they're both pretty happy, right? But this blood-red backlight could insinuate some potentially mature themes. Who knows? Certainly not many moviegoers: Vestron, the film's parent company, went under just as the movie was set for theatrical release - reaching less than 1,000 screens as a result. This film was destined to be a cult rental. And man, whichever section it lived in, didn't it look good?: the luscious, Argento-like contrast between the warmth of the underworld backdrop and the Cool as Ice tones of Brian & Maurice made for an eye-catching, fabuloso 1989 rainbow that beckoned for a 3-day rental.
Tell you what, pick up this equally eye-catching piece of pop and you can spend the weekend just staring at the boxes...

That should give you some indication of how I really spent my time as a child.

Thisz the whole raison d'ĂȘtre (that's French) for talking about Little Monsters. As previously stated, when Vestron crashed, so did all plans for a comprehensive songtrack. So as of today, there is music that exists only within the confines of the film itself - most very specifically the two songs by Billie Hughes. "Rare" or "challenging" come with a sense of giddy urgency, but this music flat-out doesn't exist. At some point, I think in the 00s, Hughes rerecorded "I Wanna Yell" for reasons I don't know, and the purist in me doesn't want some cover version (though it's in my playlist anyway). But most very specifically more than that is his groovy ballad "The Magic of the Night" that, again, doesn't exist without the pollution of the film's audio track.
I would make a plea and offer prizes to anyone who found a clean version of the track in any format, but, again still, that's not gonna happen. I'd create a petition or start some kinda 'crowd funding' thing to get whoever to release the music, but that falls outside the limits of my knowledge or endurance.

And so, I guess, the movie itself will have to continue to be my conduit for the music. But all bratty temper tantrums aside, that's not a horrible thing. It just harkens back to my continuous childlike desire to have a piece of a film I love - something tangible even: a functional proton pack, a flux capacitor, the Joker's electrified hand buzzer, and so on. But all along, the best and most plausible artifact to acquire was a soundtrack, and I got rooked on this round. I've filled that void with Little Monsters comic books, t-shirts, pins, promotional material, and homemade sandwiches, but any general music fan (of which I'm sure there are several) can understand how emotionally fulfilling it is to have that music, whatever it may be, and how its absence can stimulate irrational feelings of depravation.

...Too dramatic? I think not. But to reiterate, having the music stuck in the movie forces me to enjoy it in its original artistic context - which is somewhere between sour grapes and turning lemons into lemonade. It's just one (though a big one) of the many ingredients that will pull me back in to watch it again and again. And so I will.

Now get back in that bed, mister!

- Paul


WEIRD STUFF :: The Tale of the Backwards Flowing River

   One of my earliest memories is of being three and my mother's best friend Diane always being around. They had been best friends since their teen years when they met at a trade school in Vermont. Diane was very short, with lots of freckles, and very long, wild hair. She was also rail thin. I don't remember what her job was, but I do remember she had her own house, which we often visited. It was easier for my mother and her friends to party there than in our single-room apartments.

   Diane's house was located in Hillsborough, NH. It was a large, dusty old Victorian, located across the street from the backwards flowing river. I have to note, that to this day, I do not know if this river really does flow backwards. It was just often how it was referred to. The river was rapid with lots of huge boulders and scary trees sticking up from it. The street separating her house from the river was nearly abandoned. I never saw another car.

   Behind her house was an old broken garage with a studio apartment upstairs. This is where her slightly older sister resided. I can't, for the life of me, remember her name. She was an artist of sorts. I remember noting some colorful paintings she had covering her walls to hide the cracks and vermin. She looked exactly like Diane, just with a more mature face. She clearly had some more life experience. She was also more interested in talking to me than the other grown-ups. She would give me projects to do while the others were doing god-knows-what.

   It was October, and we were clearly there for some kind of wild festivity. My mother was dressed in all black and my Auntie Lizz and Uncle Dave were in costumes (I wish I could remember what they were). I was wearing a pumpkin dress and black tights that would transcend time and fashion for toddlers. The trees were brightly lit with violent hues of reds and oranges. I remember the phrase "Indian summer" being tossed around a lot so it must have been fairly mild.

   The party goers were inside undergoing their early twenties debauchery. I think I saw my Mom doing coke with her boyfriend, Steve Natola. Diane's house smelled like hard liquor, which stung my nostrils, so I went outside to play. Diane's sister was working on her new seasonally-appropriate art project. She was "pressing leaves." We walked around looking for fallen beauties. She had to excuse herself to go into the big house to go to the bathroom.

   I crossed the street with precocious caution to search for the perfect red leaf to please this lady. I stood there, at the banks of the swift-flowing river, and watched the water thoughtfully. I thought to myself, rivers must go the other way if this is backwards. The broken wet trees unsettled me. I've never been a fan of objects emerging from water.

   I looked down to see the prettiest and most perfectly shaped red leaf. I reached for it as the wind carried it into the water. I leaned forward, extending my tiny hand, and fell right in. The current immediately swept me. I was splashing and sinking. The water was filling my lungs. Every time I came up for air I looked for help and there was no one there to save me. I cried out and begged and pleaded. My body was getting tired and my lungs were filling with cold water. I remember feeling like I was finished. It was hopeless. I was so scared. An overwhelming sense of doom filled my very essence and I sank down. I closed my eyes.

   The next thing I know I am sitting naked and freezing on an active dryer with a ratty towel wrapped around me. My mother is sobbing and telling me she's sorry over and over again. She keeps asking me if I'm alright. All of the adults are hugging and kissing me and shoving wrapped candy in my face. "She's gonna be ok!," I hear someone shout. Am I ok though? Will I ever be ok?

   My mother drove this story into the ground at every family gathering for years to come. Apparently, just as I sank under the water, my Uncle Dave came across the street to take a big pee because the bathroom was occupied and saw me. He jumped in and pulled me out. He pushed on my chest until all of the water came out of my lifeless body. According to him, I was gone. Where had I gone? And why was I allowed to come back? What was I supposed to do with this life after dying?

   My entire life I had been soul searching and looking for "missing pieces." I've felt incomplete. I thought I had it figured out multiple times only to realize it was all bullshit. I've had to abandon many lives to find the right path. Everything has lead me here. And I am happy to say that after 35, almost 36 years, I am comfortable and happy. I am me and no one else. I have my soulmate and I brought the most beautiful child into this world. My purpose. I'm certain of it. Death had to happen. It set me in a labyrinth and I found the exit. Everything is as it should be.

- Jess


Rhyme-me-not, orange dot

Red eyes at nine
Fortune-telling hand
Too horny for gold.

Stop listening so hard
  pumpkin scattered sign
Rub it together now.

Whistling through my head
  red-orange glow
Knowing you'll come back.

There you wait now
  trembles all inside
A puncture deep within. 

That is your moment
  bathed in light
Your fluorescent bloody night.

- J
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