Robert Wm. Gomez's

August 2019

Twins of Evil (8/10)

The late-stage Hammer vampire film tries to keep up with the times be amping up the gore and the nudity. It's nowhere near the levels of Italian cinema sleaze from the same era, but it's a welcome upgrade. Peter Cushing plays a religious zealot who leads a merry band of heathen burners. Twenty or so guys dressed like Thanksgiving pilgrims, rampaging through the village, and burning random maidens is so ridiculous I could see a comedy being written based around the same premise. Every girl they burn is innocent. And these are supposed to be the good guys!

Profile #1 - Wood Engraving

This year (2019) I forced myself to just site down and make a wood engraving with the last tiny block of resingrave I had in my studio. This is just an image of a random guy, not anyone in particular. This is the first edition that I was able to print on my cheap Chinese book press. Not the most perfect system—the blacks are a little salty—but it worked out well enough.

Revisiting Old Music: Mission Accomplished

Wall of CDs!

Well, it only took me twelve years. I have finally finished my quest to re-listen to my entire CD collection. This really didn't need to take more than decade, but in the middle of the process I decided to start reviewing each CD individually. After a while the thought of having to type a new review if I listened to a disc would discourage me from continuing. I finally gave up somewhere in compilations. The world doesn't need to know that each of the eight or so Back from the Grave compilations sounds pretty much like all the other ones. On top of that, there was an excursion into my vinyl collection in which I ripped all my 45s and then started in on my LPs too. Who knew listening to music was such hard work.

Dance of Death: A Graphic Commentary on the Danse Macabre Through the Centuries by Fritz Eichenberg (8/10)

Filled with art featuring death (for the most part that means a skeleton... spooky, no?) taunting the living. The reproductions vary in quality from good to barely legible. Mostly the former. Interspersed with the images is the occasional paragraph of word salad from the author. I suspect English isn't Fritz's first language. The book closes with a wonderful suite of a dozen or so wood engravings by Eichenburg. Not the most informative book on art, but certainly pretty to look at.

Bonefist - Wood Engraving

This tiny wood engraving started out as a practice block. I was rendering the bones of a foot. I got bored with that and drew a dude shaking his fist. Inspiration! Anyhow, this is a small wood engraving printed on sekishu rice paper. I have been having a heck of a time getting engravings to print sharply these days so these prints are a little saltier than I like. I'm on the lookout for any advice on hand-printing wood engravings. Leave a comment, commentators!

Mysteries of the Unknown: Mysterious Creatures by Time-Life Books (7/10)

The first chapter about sea creatures is probably the best part of this book. Lots of great illustrations of ships being attacked. There is a hint of reality to tales of giant squids and the potential of undiscovered deep sea creatures. Then there's the coelacanth. You cryptozoologists have one example of the discovery of a long-thought extinct creature and you're just going to rub it in our faces like so much Sasquatch musk. I'll give you that victory, but I'll be damned if I am going to accept your extraterrestrial bigfoot sightings.

Tomb Raider II on MS-DOS (6/10)

Tomb Raiding Too

This game is part of a Tomb Raider three pack at GOG.com. I tried to play Tomb Raider 1, but I had already played the vastly superior remake, and I felt no need to revisit the same game but with bad controls and visuals. I would like to think that the second game has some technical improvements on the first, but it's still clunky as hell.

Mandy (8/10)

I absolutely hated Beyond the Black Rainbow but felt I had to watch it before watching this. Mandy might be a tad over-hyped, but it is leagues better than that artsy garbage fire. There at least is a story here. Even though it's kinda dumb. It gives you something to hang on to while you watch the images fly by. I get the feeling that Mandy was just an excuse to make a movie that looks like 70s prog-rock album covers complete with glowing geometric shapes and demonic, shadowy motorcycle riders.

Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song (6/10)

The final installment in the Scorpion series is much more straightforward than the previous movies. From what I can tell, most reviewers rank this as the worst in the series but I think I liked it a bit better than Beast Stable. Sure, it's not as crazy, but there is a more coherent story and a semblance of character development for Nami. There's a bit of a love story and you think she might find peace.

Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable (5/10)

A huge drop in quality for this the third Scorpion movie. Much of the visual flair is gone and the plot, which should be a simple revenge story, has trouble finding any focus. It does open with an absolutely fantastic scene involving a severed arm and a casual walk through Tokyo. I feel like the whole movie would be better if they just stayed with the arm the whole time. Instead we get another uncomfortable rape, but this time add incest to the mix. Throw in a couple of abortions and then we're back to prison for the final revenge.

Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (7/10)

The second film in this series has the same visual flair of the first. This entry is a pretty standard prisoners on the run plot where the escapees do stupid stuff that will, of course, lead them to being captured again. A little bit more gory than before, which is good. But a little bit more rapey than before, which is not so good.

Kwaidan (7/10)

Japanese horror anthology from the mid-sixties that features beautiful surreal sets and cinematography but is very light on the horror. There are four stories. I liked the first two in which there was killer hair and an ice ghost. The third is the longest segment and spends way too much time in historical flashbacks. The fourth one is about a ghost that lives in tea. Yeah, that's about it.

(9/10)

In the middle of the film I kind of forgot that it opens in with crazy dreamy imagery. It wasn't until it started to return to its more obvious dreaminess that the whole thing began to click with me. I still don't think I fully got it... something about art and truth and a mid-life crisis. Doesn't matter. It's beautiful to look at and by the end you want to watch it again, knowing where it's heading. I'm surprised I liked this as much as I did.