The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 5

Everything tastes like a blue cloud, I thought. All of it, down to the last micro-fiber. The galaxy. Two hours, and no shuteye. Kibner popped me a tranquilizer—Me-prob-a-mate, he said—and now I was alone with my thoughts. In my room (the same one I’d woken in before), it was dark. I could feel myself hallucinate,… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 5

The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 4

I was dreamless, I realized, when I felt a light tugging on my shoulder. I shot up like a bolt. Someone had tugged me for fucking hours. I was on a four-poster in an otherwise bare room. I wore a utilitarian romper. The flooring was wood. Stucco walls met a dark blue ceiling. Kibner stood… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 4

The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 3

Leaving the Bar, we snatched our hands out from the blonde’s grip. She didn’t seem to mind. She glanced back at me with a smug Colgate smile. We circled the cemetery to an adobe house with glass-fronted doors. A spry, mop-topped Asian man with khakis and a chambray shirt (he’d rolled the cuffs up), stood… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 3

The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 2

On a panther’s approach to Cairo—holding my side, then remembering to cut the shit—I thought of Mona. Of the other Mommas, and how a part of me sensed their ghosts dogging us. Shuffling behind us. In the sun, the rain, the snow. Out from the canvas of palm trees, we marched onto the major boulevard.… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 2

The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 1

“You put one word in front of the next,” said Dick. Vultures grazed the sky. “As soon as you realize writing has no mysticism, no genuine awe behind it other than the sense of accomplishment you could stop to marvel at, you see that it’s all just training. Woodshedding.” I looked at him. The sky’s… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book II: The Battle of Cairo – Ch. 1

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 13

I came to. Dick tapped my shoulder. Tied to a desert willow, the canoe glided against the sallow sea-bank. Glassy green and blue, the ocean planed out, the sun a conical splash of red. I cradled my face; I had a beastly headache; but then, rapidly, the migraine faded. Feeling for absent skin burns, I… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 13

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 12

Just as the rain welcomed me to sleep, it pried me awake. And when it did, night had fallen. Screaming unheard, the after-image of Mona sat across from me. With her lotus pose, she smoked my eyes. The rain fell but did not strike. As I became less bleary, I realized it was because Dick… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 12

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 11

Half a day past, and we slunk to a gulch at the base of the flattop mesa. The sun scorched. Undeterred, those fuckers had kept on our tail. My gut gurgled. “I think we could use some water,” Dick said, taking a seat on the red dirt. “Water is in zero supply, flyboy.” Just then… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 11

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 10

Friends might stab you in the back. Me, I don’t need that shit, never did. Same as you. I much prefer to hide the knives first. But as I looked at Dick as he savored his kretek, I realized he could be the dude that did me in for good: I could see myself shadowing… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 10

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 9

“Sometimes you reach the end of the line,” Dick said, “and you know it, but you flip it the bird. I gather that’s what Hap was thinking. I mean, I almost don’t blame him. Funny the things a man will say or do when he’s kissing cousins with his own, shall we say, mortality.” It… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 9

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 8

“Maybe then I let you live,” I said. Hap cackled. “She was always a beaut, Lula. Never could wrap your arms around her too long. She was quick to stay apace, if not far in front of all the other wicked boys and girls of the road. Making deals, scoring here to make it pay… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 8

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 7

No one from the cabin greeted us. The sky gloomed. We put the bikes against the horse post and, with Dick in the lead, approached the front door. He knocked. The door opened of itself. Before us was a bar with baize card tables. The barkeep was a tall bald man with a thin smile… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 7

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 6

Before long, the back road tapered off. We had scaled a dirt road that was fit only for a packhorse to pass. The road climbed the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I felt stuck in the womb. Then I waved Dick to stop with me against the mountainside. Though the weather felt just above freezing, the much-vaunted… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 6

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 5

My tire chains crapped out on me, so we camped in the foothills and got high. We had scaled the wooded terrain, hitting a field of barley. The gray and white-capped peaks of the Sierras loomed in the distance. Although it was cold, Dick took a straight razor to a dog. On a back road… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 5

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 4

When I saw the smoking school bus, I thought of Mona. The Mommas were gone? Yes, girlie. Ashes carted by an ocean breeze; more junk for some seagull to eat, to crap on. And with the girls, too, all those Surf Cowboys we had slaughtered. Dead boys. A bonfire that some cop, or even a… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 4

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 3

I broke out in a cold sweat. The road to El Oyo was mine, all mine. Each time I thought traffic might show, I clove to the darkened recesses of the doglegs, knowing the ferns and redwoods would swallow me. An hour in, I heard bikes fade up from the ridge I was about to… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 3

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 2

Take a deep breath and hear me out, ok? You want to get down to cases, so let’s rewind the tape. You and I should clear up what happened—who ambushed whom, and all that dung. Because it’s important to me that you know what I did, and why. And that I own what I own.… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 2

The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 1

Before Dirty Ed cracked wise again, I chucked my sword at him. It split the bridge of his nose, and his face caved like a shriveled pumpkin, seeping fiery blood on the head of his white mare. And what a spout it was. It ruined Dirty Ed’s jade poncho till it was as red as… Continue reading The Doom Pigs – Book I: El Oyo – Ch. 1

The Doom Pigs (serialized novel) – Book Flap

Nightfall: something's all fucked up in the Red Pool wastes. Here, in a locked palace in a lost city, a force buried for ages has just hatched from the ground, covered in gold slop. With hypnotic juju, it lures outsiders to their death, promising treasure. Treasure that an all-powerful syndicate will do anything to hide.… Continue reading The Doom Pigs (serialized novel) – Book Flap

Scream 2

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* I doubt the horror movie was ‘dead’ before Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) came out. Hadn’t The Silence of the Lambs (1991) had a revolutionary impact on the genre? Ah, but some of you might consider Lambs a thriller. I digress, though. Scream was novel, in at least one… Continue reading Scream 2

The War of the Worlds (1953)/When Worlds Collide

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Producer George Pal’s thumbprint on science-fiction and fantasy films was big. A new limited edition, two-disc set from Paramount Pictures joins two of his best films, The War of the Worlds (1953) and When Worlds Collide (1951). It’s a lovely tribute. The War of the Worlds (dir. Byron… Continue reading The War of the Worlds (1953)/When Worlds Collide

Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Vol. 2

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Halloween is over, but we can celebrate it all year long—am I right? I’m always in a mood to watch ‘scary movies.’ And the new Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Vol. 2 collection—which presents, in stunning 4K Ultra HD, four old Universal Pictures—is close to Halloween and… Continue reading Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Vol. 2

Blue Hawaii

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* When did Elvis Presley’s decline start?  From the cradle. I’m no Elvis scholar (I’ve listened to dozens of his albums and read only the first volume of Peter Guralnick’s praised Presley bio), but I suspect that’s the answer. Col. Tom Parker, his manager, was not the cause. (Parker… Continue reading Blue Hawaii

God Told Me To

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Larry Cohen, the writer-director of such cult faves as It’s Alive, Q: The Winged Serpent, and The Stuff, was a force—a genuine talent. His 1975 sci-fi-horror comedy procedural, God Told Me To (a.k.a. Demon), is a fascinating mélange of tones and ideas, but it’s disjointed. It’s not laugh-out-loud… Continue reading God Told Me To

Miami Blues

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Based on the great Charles Willeford novel, Miami Blues (1990; dir. George Armitage) is a darkly comedic neo-noir. It sports excellent performances and a quirky, offbeat tone, but it’s a slight misfire. Fresh out of San Quentin, Junior Frenger (Alec Baldwin), a small-time crook, lands in Miami. Quickly,… Continue reading Miami Blues

Fanny: The Right to Rock

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Directed by Bobbi Jo Hart, Fanny: The Right to Rock, a documentary on the all-female rock band, Fanny, is a serviceable, affectionate look at a talented group that never got its due. Some folks believe Fanny could have been the “female Beatles” (even if they never released a… Continue reading Fanny: The Right to Rock

The Untouchables

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Great artists sometimes create beneath their gifts, just for a lark. This describes the role Brian De Palma plays in The Untouchables (1987). The movie is slick, a big-studio take on the traditional gangster flick. And directors of De Palma’s caliber may pass on a project like this,… Continue reading The Untouchables

The Carey Treatment

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* The Carey Treatment (1972; dir. Blake Edwards) is an obscurity that should stay one. It’s blander than bland. Based on the Michael Crichton novel, A Case of Need (which he wrote as Jeffery Hudson, a pseudonym), the movie is competent. But it doesn’t go anywhere. It stokes no… Continue reading The Carey Treatment

Singin’ in the Rain

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Chances are, you’ve seen Singin’ in the Rain. You already know how good it is. (If you’ve not seen it, I question your love of cinema.) Rain is still the greatest movie musical, and why? A list: Gene Kelly. Nuff said. The satire of old Hollywood as it… Continue reading Singin’ in the Rain

Robocop (1987)

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* When it came out in 1987, RoboCop (dir. Paul Verhoeven) was one of my favorite movies. I was seven. I loved superhero flicks and monster movies. And as a superhero-monster movie, RoboCop was also funny. Few films co-exist well as both a satire and a bleak, violent shoot-’em-up.… Continue reading Robocop (1987)

Come Drink with Me

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Director King Hu’s Come Drink with Me (1966; 95 mins.) remains fresh after all these years. Produced by Run Run Shaw of the Shaw Brothers Studio, a giant of martial arts cinema, the movie laid the groundwork for wuxia pian (martial chivalry films), receiving its most notable tribute… Continue reading Come Drink with Me

An American Werewolf in London

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* At 97 minutes, An American Werewolf in London (1981) is a good short horror film that should have been shorter. It feels unfinished. It doesn’t hang together as neatly as it should. For this reason, I’ve always admired what the movie almost achieves, rather than what it ends… Continue reading An American Werewolf in London

Shooter

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* As a mindless piece of action, Shooter is an entertaining ride. Director Antoine Fuqua never seems less than committed to giving the viewer the goods. The film is slick and swift, but it’s not as flash-frothy as, say, the best or worst Michael Bay film. And for a… Continue reading Shooter

Licorice Pizza

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, Licorice Pizza, is a warm screwball comedy, and his second unqualified success in a row (after Phantom Thread; The Master and Inherent Vice are interesting failures). Set in 1973 in the San Fernando Valley, and inspired by the life of TV producer… Continue reading Licorice Pizza

Gambit (1966)

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* In director Ronald Neame’s caper flick, Gambit (1966; 109 mins.), a British cat burglar, Harry Dean (Michael Caine), teams with a Eurasian dancer, Nicole (Shirley MacLaine), to steal a head statue from a Middle Eastern magnate, Shahbandar (Herbert Lom). What starts as a great inversion of the heist… Continue reading Gambit (1966)

Prince of the City

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* In Prince of the City (1981; dir. Sidney Lumet), everything about drug enforcement is crooked—and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. At 167 minutes, the movie posits a dark truth: without dirty, compromised police, judges, and lawyers, nothing turns. Dopers and pushers don’t get supplied, and the… Continue reading Prince of the City

Out of the Blue

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* As a director, Dennis Hopper used to strike me as a case study on how not to direct. His breakout success, Easy Rider (1969), caught my imagination early; and, under the fumes of its great rock music soundtrack, I took a shine to its arty fusion of the… Continue reading Out of the Blue

Harold and Maude

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* A cult comedy, Harold and Maude (1971; 91 mins.; dir. Hal Ashby) tries a mite too hard to be unusual. It says something valuable, though, and it stays with you. 20-year-old Harold (Bud Cort) is a rich, death-obsessed introvert. 79-year-old Maude (Ruth Gordon), spunky and poor, is a… Continue reading Harold and Maude

Party Girl

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Fans of director Nicholas Ray (best known for the James Dean vehicle, Rebel Without a Cause) should enjoy Party Girl (1958), a candy-colored spin on the gangland melodramas of the ‘30s. It’s a gem. 1930s Chicago: After shystering for a despotic mob boss, Rico Angelo (Lee J. Cobb),… Continue reading Party Girl

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Its premise is simple. And yet, Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987; dir. John Hughes) is cast to perfection, balancing moments of slapstick with spare, earned touches of tenderness. It’s a minor holiday classic, and it’s one of the better comedies of the ‘80s. Thanksgiving in t-minus two days:… Continue reading Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Sounding like a lame retread of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974; dir. Tobe Hooper), The Hills Have Eyes (1977; dir. Wes Craven) is better than that. It’s intriguing yet... underwhelming. Vacationing to a silver mine in the California desert, a clean yet quarrelsome family of WASPs takes a… Continue reading The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978)

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Woe to the viewer who tries to sit through director Paul Morrissey’s take on The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring Peter Cook as Sherlock Holmes and Dudley Moore as his sidekick, Dr. Watson. I made it to the end, but I wanted to snuff it. So, I’d like… Continue reading The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978)

Straight Time

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* Catch me on the right day and I’ll proclaim Straight Time (dir. Ulu Grosbard) the best film of 1978. Based on Eddie Bunker’s novel, No Beast So Fierce (Bunker also co-wrote the script), the movie is a character study about Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman), a longtime ex-con who… Continue reading Straight Time

The Sergio Martino Collection

*(this review originally appeared on Cinema Sentries)* So, you’ve seen the Dario Argento gialli (highlights include The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Suspiria, and Tenebrae), the Mario Bava (The Evil Eye, Black Sabbath, Blood and Black Lace, and Bay of Blood). Where to next, in the pantheon of classic Italian horror? Lucio Fulci,… Continue reading The Sergio Martino Collection