Friday, September 30, 2011

it's official....! 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is up and ready to download....!

Get it hot and fresh! The 1st episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and ready to blow your mind. (not really.) It has it's problems, but I haven't done this kind of thing in about a year and a half. I will get back into form shortly, but for now.... pardon my growing pains. Speaking of which, I still don't have static show art, but it's coming! I promise. It's a fun episode. I talk about what to expect from the show, fake breasts and the zombie films EVERY zombie fanatic should see! I play 6 songs straight off of and intro a brand new intro. Check it out and hopefully ya dig it. ENJOY! (it's also available to download through and will be up soon on iTunes.)

Songs played this week:

1) Everything I Ask For by The Maine

2) Not Good Enough For Truth In Cliche by Escape The Fate

3) Jasey Rae (acoustic) by All Time Low

4) Momentum by The Hush Sound

5) Birds In Trees by Pine Mountain Casket

6) Apples by Kate Martin

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

introducing.... 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour'....!

As you know, you can find me podcasting on 'The Undercover Unitards'. So if you've wanted to hear my lovely voice on a weekly basis talking about my week, movies, TV, video games, stupid stuff on the internet and porn (including she-males), then maybe you should check us out.... if you're not listening already. You can find us on iTunes or directly at our site:

Now, some of you may have been fans of The Awful Show. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and with it came the end of Joel's Awful Snack. Well, these times they are a' changin' and I've decided to make my return to "snacking". Let me introduce you to.... 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour'! What is that you ask? It's my supplimental show to The Undercover Unitards. It's a weekly podcast that will run about an hour and feature several things. The main feature of the show is music.... indie, podsafe music. I love to introduce people to new stuff and with the show, I am wanting to continue what I started so many years ago. I currently plan on keeping up with the 6 songs a week format. It's difficult, but I love a challenge. In addition to that, I'll have info about The Unitards and 3 segments to talk about stuff that I like to talk about.Part of the gimmick of the show is that it's recorded LIVE! in "Undead America". (An alternate future created by my cousin and fellow blogger, DocStout.) That means that every week I'll have a zombie related topic. Ranging from zombie films, to surviving a zombie outbreak and everything inbetween. The other two topics are open ended. They may be about me personally, maybe about other films or music and who knows what else? Also, on the original Awful Snack, I would occasionally read some of my poems or stories I'd written. It's not always zombie related, but I like to change things up. There is no set release date for the first episode, but I am about 98% ready to go right now. I will update my Facebook page with more information as it happens.

I will also update this post and my Twitter feed.

(JoelUnitardShow or JoelTheZombie)

I am currently planning on running the show through and linking it on iTunes and the regular Undercover Unitards feed and main page. I hope it lives up to all your expectations and the reputation of the old show. It's gonna be fun and I'll explain everything that's ambiguous in this post on the first show. If you're at all curious, then check it out! I'd love to have you listen and when you're finished, download some of The Undercover Unitards, it's all a good time!!!! Word.(This is the temporary logo for the show. I have some friends designing something more "real", but no ETA on that. In the meantime, you'll just have to stare at the pretty face of Heather Zatch, the deaf porn star. Enjoy!)

(Oh and 'Kpants' is spelled that way intentionally. It's a long story, but the 'K' is silent. Say it outloud and you'll hear it.... or you'll think I'm crazy.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'What Is It?'

'What Is It?'.... I really don't have any clue. I know this is part of an intended trilogy, the 'It' trilogy. Only two films were made before one of the primary cast members passed away. I wonder now if it will ever be finished. The cast for this film were all people with down syndrome. Well, almost. There were naked women in animal masks, snails, the minstrel's, Crispin Glover and the man mentioned earlier who died, Steven C. Stewart (who had cerebral palsy and died of complications from it) Who's behind all of this? Why the mad genius himself, Crispin 'Hellion' Glover. I can't say that I understood a damn thing that was going on in this film. The actors were almost impossible to understand and I wish there were subtitles for them. I think I sort of caught a storyline, but it's so confusing and subtle that I'm just not sure. I've read all I can about it and I'm still not sure I get it. I will say that I think this is intended to be art and I consider myself open minded.... I think I just missed the boat on this one? I love to be challenged, but I'm not really sure how I felt about this. I still am not sure and I watched this almost 2 weeks ago. It's so strange and disturbing. There is plenty of snails that get killed by salt and razor blades, so if you're into that sort of thing.... here you go. This is the VERY far, far deep end of the pool as far as film going is concerned. If you say you've seen it all and there's nothing new under the sun, you haven't seen this yet. If you consider yourself a hardcore student of film and haven't seen this yet, you're not as hardcore as you think you are. I really don't know, if after seeing this, if I want to see the sequel(s). It was hard enough to make it through this one. Perhaps if I had some distance or some context? I just don't get it, Mr. Glover. I just don't get it.

Watch at your own risk!

Other challenging films: 'Greaser's Palace', 'Forbidden Zone' (the Richard Elfman 1982 version) and 'It's Just Pat!'

(No trailer without nudity. You can find two of them on YouTube.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Howard the Duck'

There was a time when I went and saw a lot of movies in the theater. Sadly, it doesn't happen as much any more.... but that's alright. I have a nice setup at home and I can watch anything I want, anytime I want and it's almost as good. Anyway, I remember seeing 'Howard the Duck' in the theater as a kid. I don't remember why or how I ended up there, but I'm kind of glad I did. Since then, I haven't watched it again. About a week ago, I got a copy in the mail on DVD from my friend Brian. I have to admit, I was pretty excited to see it again. I was curious how it would hold up after all these years. Well, I watched it and I am happy to confess that it held up quite well. I found myself really enjoying it. The duck special effects were actually pretty damn good and it was just goofy and absurdist enough to be a fun watch and one that I know will watch again and again. I'm happy to have it in my collection.

For those of you who aren't familiar with 'Howard the Duck', it's based on the Marvel comic book of the same name and was a huge box office bomb. It also is kind of sold as a kids movie, but in reality, it's really aimed towards adults and fans of the comic books. Here is the premise, according to "In this uncommon sci-fi comedy produced by George Lucas, a cigar-chomping extraterrestrial duck named Howard (voiced by Chip Zien) is accidentally beamed to Earth by a physicist (Jeffrey Jones) and his assistant (Tim Robbins), only to find love with a pretty punk-rock singer (Lea Thompson). The couple's happiness is threatened, however, when government officials and a nasty space thug come looking for Howard." (I would hardly call Lea Thompson's band, Cherry Bomb, punk. The music was written by Thomas Dolby and George Clinton.)I won't lie, this movie is really dated. It screams 80's and doesn't care if you like it or not. The special effects, other than the duck suit, are old school to the max. (Yes, I just said that.) The music is synth-tastic and the clothes, well.... it was the 80's. Despite all of that, this movie has a lot of charm and is hard not to enjoy while watching it. It may have bombed at the box office, but it has gained a cult status and deserves a second viewing. It has some talented actors in it and the humor is aimed at pop culture junkies like me. I really suggest that you check it out, either for the first time or for the first time in a long time. It's readily available on DVD and currently OnDemand on Netflix too. I'll call it a 3 out of 5 star cult classic.

Other cult-tastic movies from the 80's and early 90's with cheesy special effects: 'The Garbage Pail Kids Movie', 'The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' (1990) and 'Gremlins'

running zombies.... WHAT THE HELL....?

I tend to think of strange things sometimes, just listen to my podcasting history and you'll see what I mean. Tonight was no exception. On my way back in from walking the dog, I thought.... What if the zombie outbreak happened right now? And that thought was followed up with.... Would they run or shamble? And then I thought.... When did zombies really start running anyway? See what I mean about weird trains of thought?

I heard something a while back about why zombies don't generally run. The thought behind it is sound, if a zombie who's been decaying was to take off in a sprint his leg would probably break or fall off. I mean, he or she is not exactly in the best shape. Now, if it was a fresh corpse then maybe it would work out okay? That's the why, but in the reality of zombie invasions, it's a lot more fun to have them take off in a full sprint. Now what does all of this have to do with anything? It made me wonder who in the hell made them run in the first place? I think most film goers credit this to Danny Boyle in his film '28 Days Later'. Now, for zombie purists, the creatures in his film aren't zombies.... they're just infected humans, infected with a disease. I, however, would probably credit it to the 1985 Dan O'Bannon film 'Return of the Living Dead'. In that film, the zombies move very quickly and don't really shamble at all. Granted, the zombies also talk and don't follow the old school rules. It's still a classic in my book.What I came to finally realize, after some more thought, is that both of those lines of thinking are wrong. The first time I can think of seeing them was actually in the godfather of modern zombie films, George A. Romero's 1968 film 'Night of the Living Dead'. In that film, in the opening sequence, we see a pretty pissed off zombie taking off after Barbara and then running after her car. I never really put two and two togther until tonight. After all these years, it was right there in front of my face. It obviously didn't stick after that film, it took quite a long time for people to be willing to expect the high speed undead. '28 Days Later' introduced the idea, but 2004's remake of 'Dawn of the Dead' by Zack Snyder, made it mainstream. Now it's become an ongoing arguement with zombie fanatics as far as which is better or more pure, running or shambling? As far as I'm concerned, zombies are zombies. If they run, that's scary as hell. Thinking about something that wants to kill you that has no remorse, no slowing down and will kill anything that gets in its way, is pretty damn frightening. It's like swimming in the ocean and coming across a school of sharks with blood in the water. But the shambling zombies can be just as scary. Thinking about being surrounded by hordes of the undead who all want your flesh, is frightening. Just the overwhelming numbers will always overcome any amount of weapons someone has. So both options pretty much suck, if you were in them.

Watch from the 7 min 25 sec mark forward and you'll see one pretty fast and pissed off zombie. He's going to get Barbara and have a Barb-a-ra-Q, damn it.

In the end, my point of writing this was to set the record straight on the whole running/shambling arguement. I don't think one is right and one is wrong, they both have their place in horror cinema. I'll love them no matter what. For me, zombies are the bread and butter of my horror world. I guess I've made my point.... if there ever was one.

(Follow up: I went back and researched who said that the ankles would break on running zombies and low and behold, it was George A. Romero himself that said that! I guess he forgot that he started the whole trend long before zombies were in vogue. Silly boy.)

my thoughts on.... 'Priest' (2011)

Did you see the movie 'Legion' starring Paul Bettany and directed by Scott Stewart? Well, if you did and you liked it, then you'll probably enjoy 'Priest'. If you did didn't like it, then you probably won't like 'Priest'. They're not the same movies, but they have the same star and the same director. They are similar in theme and tone, but are still two fairly different movies. One is a pre-apocalyptic movie about angels doing battle for the child that will save humanity.... very religiously themed. The other, is about priests that are fighting vampires in a post-apocalyptic world.... also very religiously themed. See the basic connections? Anyway....

I enjoyed 'Legion'. I thought it was a decent action flick with decent fight scenes and a decent plot. All of that decent-ness led me to believe that I would enjoy 'Priest' as well. Paul Bettany makes a pretty good action star and seems to enjoy the work. The vampires were kind of a new twist on an old theme. They were much more animalistic and a whole hell of a lot less romantic. They are more monster than human and their familiars are also very basic. The vampires kind of reminded me of the villans in 'I Am Legend' in their design. All CGI and quite 'monster-ish'. Now, our hero is a priest who formerly helped to destory the vampires in a war with them and other priests. Sadly, after the war ended they were all basically thought of as second class citizens. Now the vampires have a new leadership and are planning to take over again, but our hero catches wind and goes to stop them, along with help from some other priests. I didn't mean to give up the plot there, it just kind of happened.All in all, this movie qualifies as a typical popcorn flick. One that you don't have to think to much about. You just put it on, crank up the surround sound and get lost for an hour and a half. No more, no less. Because of it being one of those kinds of movies, I can only see my way clear of giving it 3 out of 5 stars. That doesn't mean it's bad, it just means that you shouldn't expect too much. It's fun and pointless and leaves itself open for sequels.

I won't be owning this one, I don't think.... but I'm glad I saw it and hope that Bettany and Stewart keep making movies together, they make a good team. I don't know if this and 'Legion' will appeal to everyone, but if you go into them with no expectations and little bit of childhood enthusiasm, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

If you like this, also check out: 'Legion', 'Underworld' and 'Resident Evil'

Sunday, September 11, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Singles'

In 1992, things were changing. The music of the time was in a huge shift, from bands like Guns N' Roses to bands like Pearl Jam. "Grunge" was the new thing. Taking a queue from the music of the time, Cameron Crowe built a love story around it and the home where it came from.... Seattle. The story itself, had very little to do with "grunge", it was more about love with mid 20somethings in the early 90's. It featured a lot of hip up and coming actors and actually had a lot of Seattle musicians and bands, like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and the boys of Pearl Jam. I remember seeing it in the theaters when it came out and at the time, I was "grunge". Even to this day, I'm still thought of in that context and I've never taken it as an insult or a dig.... to me, it's a good time and memory. I was just at the right age to have the music and the film speak to me. I wasn't in my 20's yet, but it was still my generation. Even to this day, I'm an avid fan of "grunge" and yet for some reason, I haven't seen 'Singles' in over a decade or more. This past week, I was at a store and saw it on DVD for $3.... I always wondered why it wasn't already in my collection and now I can proudly say that it finally is. Tonight, I watched again for the first time in years and it's a funny thing.... I never realized how much of an impact it had on my life and how much the music and scene impacted me as well. It's a wonder I never ended up living in Seattle. I love the rain and cloudy days, it seemed like a no brainer. Somehow, I ended up in Colorado, where it's sunny about 362 days a year. Funny, huh?

Here's a VERY basic outline of the plot: (taken from "Generation X neighbors share their bittersweet, intertwined stories of the single life in director Cameron Crowe's quirky relationship comedy set against the backdrop of Seattle's grunge music scene in the 1990s." I suppose I couldn't sum it up any better. It's all about being young and single and trying to find your way in the dating scene. Each character seems to represent a different stereotype. The activist, the musician, etc. and despite their differences, they all seem to relate to each other. In a lot of ways, it's a very typical love story. What sets it apart is the backdrop for the film and the music. It's where Cameron Crowe has always shined. If you look at everyone of his films, they are all based around music and how it ties into the story either emotionally or lieterally. He is a master at this. Just look at the sales of the 'Singles' soundtrack.... it sold millions. That's just a soundtrack! Granted, it boasts a huge number of big named performers and songs that weren't and aren't available everywhere. Hell, I own it on cassette and CD. I played the cassette so much that it broke.So what does it all mean? As I said earlier, this film has really left a mark on me. I'm not sure if it really is the film or the time or the music.... but they're all connected. For example, when I went to film school, I didn't want to write horror or action.... I wanted to write romantic films like this one. I also included music as a huge part of the writing process and in the scripts themselves. When I finished my first script, it included music clues in the screenplay and I even made a soundtrack to go with it. When I turned it in, my professor said that he'd never had a student do that before and it really impressed him. He even commented on my grade that it was a nice addition to have the music to match up with the scenes. Even to this day, if I hear a song that inspires me, I write. I can't tell you how many things that I've created were based on some kind of inspirational cue from a song. It's a beautiful marriage. This film also influenced my love of certain actors and increased my affections for certain bands. Like the mime that is in this film, he's played by Eric Stoltz and he left and impression. As a matter of fact, I went to see the film 'Naked in New York' because of him and that film is still one of my top films ever. It was the foundation of my first screenplay and I owe it all to 'Singles'. This film may not be the 'Citizen Kane' of the 90's, but it is a time capsule of my generation with blinders on. Kind of like pulling out a magazine from 1992 and flipping through it. You know that the people and things in it aren't a true representation of the people and things from that time, but they are parts of it and most likely the parts you remember the best. That, in a nutshell, is 'Singles' for me.

In the end, I have to thank Cameron Crowe for me giving me something to look back fondly on. He created what I always wanted to, even before I knew it myself. It's a very solid 4 out of 5 star film that I don't think everyone who watches it will understand. I think you had to be there, in that time, to really feel where it's coming from. Kind of like watching a film from the 60's, 70's or 80's. If you weren't there, you may be able to appreciate what it is, but it won't have the same impact on you that it might on someone else. I can never go back to that time and relive who I was and what was going on, but that's the beautiful thing about music, art, film and television.... it's like a pseudo-timecapsule. Even for a short time, we can all go back and visit our past, for better or worse. This is why I do what I do and I am who I am.

If you like this film, check out: 'Naked in New York', 'Threesome' and 'The Brothers McMullen'

my thoughts on.... 'The Mutant Chronicles'

To open this review, let me provide you with a quote:

Severian (Anna Walton): "What do you believe?"

Maj. 'Mitch' Hunter (Thomas Jane): "I'm not paid to believe, I'm paid to fuck shit up."

That kind of sums up this movie, in a nutshell. It's all about "fucking shit up". There is a whole lot of style going on, but in the end.... not much substance. It's like the director, Simon Hunter, is trying way too hard to be Zack Snyder. Or to make his own mark on the film industry by creating a new world. The problem is that it all falls flat. I really wanted to like this movie and to tell everyone that their bad reviews were all unfounded. Sadly, they were all right. This is not a good movie. Granted, there are a lot of cool ideas going on and a lot of good things here. I just don't know what exactly it was about it that is so bad, it just doesn't work. I sat there for almost two hours trying as hard as I could to like something about the movie. There were so many things going on in it that I ususally love, but they're just presented in such a bland and uninteresting way that I didn't care. The action scenes were oddly paced and boring. The massive battle against the mutants was about as exciting as watching paint dry on a log. It just isn't good.

Here's the plot, basically: (from "In a futuristic world where Earth is divided into four warring "Corporations," a frightening new breed of NecroMutant threatens to destroy the global population. But is Brother Samuel, the leader of an age-old monastic order, the prophesized Deliverer who's destined to destroy the undying beasts and save the planet? Seizing the chance to realize his destiny, Samuel rounds up an army of recruits who can help him do the job."I guess I can equate this with a 5 year old, in a 30 year old body, making a movie. It's every kids cool idea of what a movie should be. Mutants with scars and bolt and big knarly hook hands, army guys with big guns and swords, steam powered spaceships blowing things up and lots of blood and guts. You can almost picture it all as though it was a stick figure flip book that a kid drew during math class. You flip through it and so much is going on and it's so busy with action that you lose interest right away. I can only imagine that someone, somewhere thought that this movie was a good idea. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been made, right? I can't figure out how it got put on the big screen. It's just so bad. It reminds me of 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'. Another movie with big hopes, but just fell so flat and ended up being such a mess of boring painfulness, that I was falling asleep. It was also all style and no substance and a waste of so much good talent. If the world was to end tomorrow, I would rather watch 'Webster' for 4 hours than to re-watch either of these movies. Yes, it is that bad.

So, in the end.... what's done is done, I can't un-watch it. There is a lot of good actors that did their best with what they had, but in the end were wasted. There is some awesome concepts and things that could have been epic, but just were presented in a way that destroyed any positive things that they had going for them. I still feel like 2 out of 5 stars is deserved. Not because it was redeeming at all, but because underneath everything.... there is a spark of hope that maybe something good could come of it all. Maybe everyone involved will learn what NOT to do next time. We can only hope. My advice, after all has been said and done.... watch the trailer posted below and decide for yourself, but be warned that everything you've heard about this movie is true. 'The Mutant Chronicles' is a prime example of a bad movie. Period.

Rather than recommend other movies to watch like this, go get a root canal.... it's more enjoyable.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Quarantine 2: Terminal'

Remakes are something that create a lot of arguements on the pro and con side as to whether or not they're a good thing. Sequels to remakes of original films that don't follow the original sequels storyline are an entirely different animal. Have I lost you yet? Basically, the original Spanish film '[REC]', was remade in the United States as 'Quarantine'. It was fairly true to the original source material, however, they decided to make a sequel. Now, there was already a sequel to '[REC]', called '[REC]2'. (original title, right?) The sequel to the original sequel does not follow the same storyline. It carries on from 'Quarantine', but it goes in an entirely different direction. Basically, we have the 'virus' breaking out in an airplane that then gets quarantined in an airplane hanger. Despite the difference in storylines from the original, I still really enjoyed this film. Another strike against 'Quarantine 2: Terminal', is that it was a direct to DVD release. That is most certainly the kiss of death for most films and even more so for a lot of franchises. That doesn't mean that the franchises stop, but they are effectively dead from that point forward. I don't know how this film beat the odds, but I feel that it did it and did it well.

Here is the plot from "A plane is taken over by a mysterious virus. When the plane lands it is placed under quarantine. Now a group of survivors must band together to survive the quarantine." It doesn't get any simpler than that. The beauty of the plot is that it's so simple it's almost impossible to screw it up. You know the basics of the story from the original film and this just hits the ground running, only in another place with different faces. It's like 'Die Hard' and 'Die Hard 2: Die Harder'.... only with plague/virus victims.I am kind of thinking that my opinion about this film might be the unpopular one. I mean, people were already up in arms with someone remaking '[REC]', so I kind of assume this pissed em' off even more. I don't mean to piss on the originals. I think both '[REC]' films are amazing films of the virus/plague subgenre of horror and zombies. But I also think that the 'Quarantine' films have done them justice. Sue me. This film knows its limitations and plays to them. It doesn't try to be more than it is and keeps it simple and to a formula. I mean, if it ain't broke.... don't fix it? Right? Thank god for that.

I cannot see this getting any less than 4 out of 5 stars. It is almost the perfect film in the way that it takes an already established storyline and just runs with it. As a matter of fact, the more I think about my earlier 'Die Hard' reference, the more I think it is the perfect example here. 'Die Hard' was based on a 1979 novel by Roderick Thorp titled 'Nothing Lasts Forever'. I'm sure when the fans of the novel heard that there was going to be a film made starring Bruce Willis, they were in an uproar. The film has gone on to be considered a classic and the ultimate guy film. It beat the odds. When they went forward with a sequel, I'm guessing that didn't go over all that well either. But I think that the 'Die Hard' sequel along with the sequel to 'Quarantine', both prove that sometimes you just have to check your expectations at the door and be willing to just let go and enjoy what you're seeing. With all that being said, go ahead and prove me wrong. I dare you.

Movies similar to this: 'Quarantine', '[REC]' and '[REC]2'

Monday, September 5, 2011

my very brief thoughts on.... 'Murder Loves Killers Too'

I'll keep this short and simple, as I need a jump off point to start writing more serious reviews. 'Murder Loves Killers Too' is not good. The killer is uninteresting. We don't care about the characters. The plot is thin. The movie starts out with kills and just keeps going. This is just a pointless, stupid, waste of time. I put it in Netflix with a 1 out of 5 star review, but it really deserves less. I cannot believe that I even wasted time on this piece of garbage. Crap, crap, crap.