Friday, April 21, 2023

13 Evil Fairy Tales Dead Under 30


Greg Puciato has become one of the most interesting artists working in music today. Setting aside Dillinger Escape Plan as the legends since their retirement, Puciato has done dark electronic music with Telefon Tel Aviv's Josh Eustis in The Black Queen, Hardcore/Thrash with Killer Be Killed, toured as part of Jerry Cantrell's band, and all that and everything in between with his two solo records, both of which I adore. Now, he teams with more like-minded souls (from Every Time I Die and Fit For An Autopsy) in Better Lovers. What's it sound like?

It sounds awesome.

The first single dropped the other day and big props to Mr. Brown who sent it my way, as I totally missed it. No word on an album proper, but after seeing tour announcements yesterday, the smart money's on something coming down the pipes in the next few months, so there's one more thing to look forward to.


Last night at 7:00 PM K and I caught Clarksville's first screening of Lee Cronin's Evil Dead Rise. I had exceedingly high hopes - never a good thing going into a movie, let alone a new installment in a series I have loved for a very long time. But Fede Alvarez's entry in 2013 blew me away (still blows me away, in fact), and all I wanted from this was that same feeling of Deep Horror Intoxication 2013 gave me. Did Evil Dead Rise succeed?

Yes and no. First, I really enjoyed the film, and I think Lee Cronin did a helluva job. However, those pesky expectations tapped on my shoulder for the entire runtime. 

MY problem, not the film's. 

Evil Dead Rise is not as intense as 2013; don't get me wrong - this film is f**king intense, but Rise spreads its assault thin and only really explodes in the last act. Common for a Horror film, of course, and not something to traditionally detract points for. That said, I did feel the set-up of the characters - all of whom I loved - affected the film's pacing, so that Rise felt stretched a bit thin when compared to 2013, which sets its tone and story up so quickly and efficiently and jumps into the carnage so eloquently that it's just not fair to compare. 

Everyone in the cast did an excellent job and the FX are fantastic - like REALLY fantastic. The violence and gore felt a skosh subdued compared to Fede's, but I realize all these comparisons between these two films are unfair. I've always retained a staunch "Don't compare 2013 to the original films" stance, so surrendering to this prejudice here is hypocritical. Also, Tapert produced Rise and Campell and Raimi executive produced, so their fingerprints are all over this new entry. Bearing all this in mind, I think once I'm over the initial viewing, I'll see it again (next week), and have a deeper experience.

All in all, SEE IT IN A THEATRE!!!


Yesterday, I finished Stephen King's latest novel, Fairy Tale. My good friend and A Most Horrible Library Cohost Chris gifted me a copy while we were hanging out in LaLaLand last month, and I tore into it on the plane home. This is the first new King I've read since 2010's Doctor Sleep; I say this not as a point of dismissal or obstinance, but to illustrate that, although I've loved every book by Stephen King I've ever read, I just haven't read enough of his work. I've always thought that eventually would like to read everything, but I rarely actually work on that. There are so many other authors I love as well, most considerably more "independent" than King, and I tend to fall sway to their work one right after the other. "First world problems" disclaimer aside, what a wonderful problem to have: how do I read everything I want to before I die?

Anyway,  all this talk is really just to set up the fact that I had no idea what I was in for with Fairy Tale. I should have guessed, because it's quite fantastic. 

The story remains rooted in its very human, very relatable characters and their lives dealing with grief and aging for nearly the first two hundred pages, and if that sounds like it might be too much set up, it's not. I could have read about Charlie, his father, Radar and Mr. Bowditch for the entire 600 pages. That story sets up the bigger picture, and once it gets going, there are quite a few white-knuckle moments in this one, and that's the kind of reading I really enjoy. The book is Epic, and as I've come to expect with Mr. King, his epics are among the most readable I've ever encountered. 

Add into the mix the fact that the chapters are illustrated by Nicolas Delort and Locke and Key's Gabriel Rodriguez. King mentions in the afterward - which was just as enjoyable to read as the damn book, if considerably shorter - that the illustrations were key in giving the book the feeling of, well, old Fairytale collections, and I tip my hat to him at the wonderful attention to detail here; it just makes the book that much more enjoyable.

In 2010 I read Doctor Sleep and loved it, and now, thirteen years have passed without my even realizing and Fairy Tale blows me away. I've got a pretty intense list of reading planned for the next few months, but when the decks clear, I'm penciling in more King. I always forget just how much I love his writing.


Ruby the Hatchet - Fear is a Cruel Master
Better Lovers - 13 Under 30
AAWKS - The Electric Traveller (single)
AAWKS - (Heavy on the Cosmic)
Clutch - Blast Tyrant
Ruby the Hatchet - Planetary Space Chile
Led Zeppelin - Presence


Switching it up back to my original Thoth deck for today's Pull:

Creative breakthroughs can arrive at a destructive cost and often must be tempered by keeping one foot in the 'Real World.'

This feels like a nice little indictment of the creative process, or I guess more accurately, an acknowledgment that my work ethic is sound. I learned a long time ago not to mix heightened emotional or perceptive states with writing. Yes, both can be useful for ideas, but actual writing while intoxicated by either substances or emotions never produces sound work. Not sure why I'm being reminded of this now, other than maybe I just needed a nice Jungian pat on the back.

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