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Callwood at the Cooler #9

Happy Holidays…

By now, those of you celebrating Christmas will have opened your gifts, and you’re sat in that weird Dead Zone between Christmas and New Year. Allow me to urge you though — keep the festive spirit alive, at least until it’s time to take the tree down in 2017. Keep the music playing, keep the food and drink coming, keep celebrating. Once it’s over, it’s over so even the cynics and Grinches among you might as well enjoy it while it lasts. I hope you got everything you wanted. Here’s a late treat in the form of LA punks the Dollyrots and a rather splendid cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.”

A Gift Guide, to Yourself

While it’s all very nice to get up on Chrimbo morn and find a pile of pressies with your name on to open, there’s also something quite lovely about receiving cash. For many of us, disposable income is scarce nowadays, and the means to throw money around frivolously doesn’t come readily. So when we open a card and a note or two falls out, it feels delightful. With that in mind, if you have found yourself with a few bucks to spend and need some suggestions, I’m here for you.

Holiday Hellraiser

Ah, nothing says jingle bells quite like Pinhead. Or should that be “jingle chains?” Either way, MVD Visual has repackaged the first three films into a Scarlet Box Limited Edition set, and it’s glorious. While completists might express annoyance at the fact that only a fraction of the franchise is represented here, let’s be completely honest, Hellraiser movies are barely worth a shit after the third film anyway. The first is a bonafide classic, and the next two are passable. But it’s the masses of extras on these blu-ray discs that makes this package so spectacular. A 200-page book, a short film called The Hellraiser Chronicles, a documentary called Hellraiser: Evolutions — there’s a ton of never-seen-before footage here, and those horror fanatics like myself who like to nerd out over the tiniest new bit of detail to add to the cenobite universe. You’ll be watching this stuff until next Christmas.

The Hellraiser box isn’t the only new release from MVD; there’s also a two-disc reissue of 1980’s cult horror favorite C.H.U.D. which tells the tale of a cop’s hunt for his missing wife leading to the discovery of mutants living in the New York City sewers (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers). It’s not a great film by any means, but it’s b-movie vibe and some fun creature effects have given it some nostalgia points. As with Hellraiser, the fun here is in the extra features, and there’s a whole disc of them. New footage, featurettes — it’s a joy.

The Initiation is a 1984 standard slasher movie that quickly disappeared into obscurity, partly because it came out around the same time as Nightmare on Elm Street. You know the deal – college pranks lead to slicing and dicing. It’s all good fun, if a little generic even for ’84.

The final special release from MVD is Creepshow 2, the sequel to the Stephen King / George A. Romero team-up Creepshow. The original is far superior, but this one does have its moments. The story called The Raft is my favorite, based on an old King short story. Teens swim out to a raft to make out and stuff, and are attacked by oily gloop. Hoorah.

A Christmas Product of America from the Exterminators…

My wife knows that nothing is going to spread holiday cheer across this big old face like a slab of vinyl. As a music journalist I receive plenty of free music, but very little vinyl nowadays. (Very little hard copy at all in these downloading days). So when a new album from Phoenix, AZ, punks The Exterminators landed in my mailbox, I was thrilled. When I opened it and realized that it’s BLUE VINYL, I near hit the ceiling. That shit’s magical. This band featured Don Bolles of The Germs and Cris Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets and, while The Exterminators have been largely forgotten, this re-release of the album should change that. It’s a wonderfully snotty, filthy and quite arty record, and an important entry in the punk history books.

Happy New Year

If old, cult horror or old, cult punk rock doesn’t tickle your fancy, then I can’t really help you. I’m kidding—kinda. What I do know is that 2017 is going to be an interesting year. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. I suggest that you allow yourself the little pleasures in life, while keeping an eye out for each other. The art and music could well be off the hook this next year, with a whole new set of things to rebel against. So there’s always that.

“Callwood at the Cooler” is a new bi-weekly column which will see me waxing lyrical about events in the news, pop culture and the etc. Sometimes it’ll be light, other times not-so when the rant/monolog demands. The subject matter will vary dramatically so expect anything and keep coming back.

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