Sunday, August 26, 2012


Picked up a copy of the ‘new’ KISS album Destroyer (Resurrected) over the weekend. Essentially, it is their landmark 1976 album Destroyer with the original master tapes having been remixed and rejigged by producer Bob Ezrin, who has really beefed-up the bottom end, giving it a fresher sound without diluting what made the whole thing so great in the first place. Apart from the re-insertion of some backing vocals on Detroit Rock City and a bit of acoustic guitar on Beth, the only new inclusion is Ace Frehley’s original guitar solo on Sweet Pain (as the story goes, the band and producer wanted Ace to redo the solo but he was off on one of his famous benders and couldn’t be found, so they bought in Alice Cooper guitarist Dick Wagner, who contributed the solo which ended up on the original release).
It would have been nice if it came with a second disc of outtakes/demos/unreleased tracks, but I guess most of that can be found on You Tube anyway, and Destroyer (Resurrected) does come with a nice illustrated booklet with an essay by Ezrin, and features the original unused cover painting by Ken Kelly (who had to redo the art after the band updated their costumes before its release).
Destroyer has never been my favourite KISS album, but it has always been up there, and it’s easy to see why most non-fan critics select it as the one KISS studio album for people to own. It features at least five songs that continue to feature prominently in the band’s live shows 36 years after its release, gave them an award-winning hit single in Beth, and captures KISS at that brief moment when they had finally hit the big time (after three studio albums and the breakthrough Alive!), but they were still looked upon as somewhat menacing and dangerous - they were rock & roll superheroes whose faces were still yet to be plastered all over lunch boxes, reality shows, comic books and condoms.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


My review of the Synapse Blu-Ray/DVD release of the 1971 Hammer Horror classic Twins of Evil is now up on the Cinemedia website at:


The new issue of Collectables Trader magazine (Aug-Sept 2012) is now 'on the rack' in Australia, featuring my article on vintage Alien memorabilia.



A photo of me in that appears in the new issue of Tattoos Down Under magazine (#82), taken at the 2012 Rites of Passage tattoo convention in Melbourne.


Thursday, August 9, 2012


Don Barton's Zaat (1972) turned out to be a real hoot, an aquatic horror flick filmed in Florida that is more Horror of Party Beach than Creature from the Black Lagoon. Featuring an absurd plot that has a disgruntled ex-Nazi scientist turning himself into a giant, walking catfish, the film at times recalls the works of Larry Buchanan (Curse of the Swamp Creature) and Eddie Romero (Beast of Blood), with a monster suit straight out of Sid & Marty Kroft. At 100 minutes it does test the viewer’s patience at times, but there is more than enough wackiness on offer to make this low-budget regional monster mash worth the journey. Beautiful remastered transfer on Film Chest’s Blu-Ray/DVD combo release, which also features a nice assortment of extras (audio commentary, outtakes, trailers, TV spots, etc.). Would make a great double-bill with 1971's Octaman.


Sunday, August 5, 2012


Thought V/H/S was ultimately a disappointing waste of a great concept. A melding of the found footage and anthology horror genres (with each segment helmed by a different filmmaker - mostly young ‘up & comers’), the film certainly has some moments of creepy frisson, but they are too brief and too rare to really sway in its favour. The interconnecting segments have no satisfying pay-off (a vital part of the anthology horror film), and the final story (probably the best overall) just seemed tacked-on to give the audiences one last ride, and didn’t seem part of the overall story (which revolves around a series of young jackasses who are trying to locate a notorious piece of VHS tape they have been hired to steal from an old house). The story told entirely via a skype chat, while creatively presented at times, also seemed out of place and too ‘modern’ (what has skype got to do with VHS tapes?).

I still believe that the film’s concept could work incredibly well - I’ve always found something disturbing in the grainy, tracking error-filled image of VHS tape, it’s what made films like Evil Dead, I Spit on Your Grave and Bloodsucking Freaks even more unnerving when I first watched them (over and over again) on tape in the eighties. V/H/S sadly never manages to really tap into that fear.