Monday, November 13, 2017

31 Days of Horror 2017: Top 10

October 2017 was another glorious month of non-stop blood, death and devils in the annual tradition of 31 Days of Horror, jam-packing as many horror movies into the month as possible. This year I have parsed down the list into a rock solid Top 10, most of which are readily available for streaming or at least renting. As uninspiring as Netflix's movie catalog has seemed recently, they have a surprising number of really effective horror movies in the catalog currently. So as autumn winds down into winter, here are some movies for cold days and long nights.

1. Green Room (2016)


This economical horror thriller from director Jeremy Saulnier is best seen without watching the trailer. Knowing little or nothing about the story contributes to its overall effect, which is quite unnerving. It was filmed in and around Portland, OR and it is #1 on this list because there is no bullshit filler here. No contrived heroics, narrative fluff or clunky arcs - just a violent, confidently directed, well-acted story about a punk show gone horribly wrong. Available on Amazon Prime. 

2. Raw (2016) 

I've seen Raw described as an "emotionally driven coming-of-age story," which is a bit funny considering how this movie goes down. That doesn't mean it's not an apt description, but you've probably never experienced a bildungsroman that will make you squirm like this one. This is a strangely sexy, well-paced and ultimately grisly horror movie by French director Julia Ducournau. Best viewed while eating a juicy steak. Available on Netflix.

3. Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan is Korean director Sang-ho Yeon's first live-action movie, and I would make the argument that it is an instant classic of the zombie genre. The story centers on a self-absorbed father and his young daughter, on the train from Seoul to Busan as the country experiences the bloody onset of a zombie outbreak. The premise may sound simple, but this movie shines because of its execution, practical gore, and the emotional heart of the movie which lies in the relationship between father and daughter. Available on Netflix.

4. The Wailing (2016)

Image result for the wailing movie

One of the more strange and ambitious movies on this list, The Wailing runs for 156 minutes and combines themes of Korean and Nepalese folk religions, Catholicism, true crim and the occult. Don't be deterred by the 2.5+ hour length - while it is a long movie, it isn't a slow one. It is a quickly paced film in which seemingly every scene presents a new crime or crazy new plot point, and the tone (for the first half at least) switches deftly from humor to dread and back again. Nobody is laughing in the last third of the film however, which really challenges the viewer with its violence, sudden plot turns and heavy symbolism. Available on Netflix.

5. Don't Breathe (2016)

Similar to Green Room, Don't Breathe is another efficient thriller which works best without watching the trailer. There are a couple dark surprises in this tense Michigan-set crime story which was made for $10 million. Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez previously directed 2013's hyper-violent Evil Dead remake, but this movie tones down the gore in exchange for more realistic suspense and a more thoughtfully crafted plot. A truly well-executed horror film which will cleverly subvert your initial expectations. Available on STARZ.

6. The Canal (2014)

Filmed in Dublin by Irish filmmaker Ivan Kavanagh, The Canal pulls from numerous inspirations to make a deliberately paced mystery which is part crime thriller, part ghost story and part occult horror - all under an umbrella of pervasive psychological terror. While it begins with a seemingly mundane story of marital discord, the horrific supernatural elements are revealed gradually and in waves, with an emphasis on our unreliable perceptions of reality. Like all movies on this list, best watched in the dark with the volume turned up. Available on Netflix.

7. Under the Shadow (2016)

Set in the immediate aftermath of the Iranian Revolution, Under the Shadow revolves around the life of a mother and daughter in Tehran during the tumultuous Iran-Iraq conflict. It is a film which is by definition a political and cultural study even as it operates as a supernatural horror, the darker aspects of which reveal themselves slowly throughout the second half of the movie. It has been compared to The Babadook for its thoughtful script and sparing effects which illustrate themes of motherhood, childhood fears, and emotional and cultural symbolism. An impressive debut from Iranian filmmaker Babak Anvari. Available on Netflix. 

8. A Dark Song (2016)

Another movie on this list filmed entirely in Dublin, Ireland, shot mostly in a 20-day span in a large country house that forms the base of operations for the two primary characters. This is a deliberately slow-paced film which revels in the details and traumas of its occult ritual, the effects of which come on slowly and menacingly. Its stately pacing and attention to detail are amplified greatly by a tremendous score by Ray Harman. Its climax finally opens up to the violence and horror one might expect, but for this film especially it's not so much about the destination as it is the journey. Available on Netflix. 

9. The Last House on the Left (1972)


This 1972 cult classic belongs on this list because of its cultural impact and importance to American horror, but don't mistake this as an outright recommendation. There are few people I would actually recommend this to, considering its overt theme of violent sadism and numerous acts of sexual violence and mutilation. It is the debut film of Hall of Fame horror director Wes Craven, and was actually a modest box office hit despite (or perhaps because of?) being heavily censored and outright banned in some countries. It is an impressive and perverse classic of extreme violence, shot in a mere 21 days by a rookie director, but its audience is limited by its extreme subject matter. Available for rental on FandangoNOW.

10. The Eyes of My Mother (2016)  

Another debut feature, this one from Brooklyn-based director Nicolas Pesce, who was honored with the Official Selection of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for the film. This black and white arthouse horror has been called Hitchcockian, albeit with a quiet and disturbing infusion of gore. This story of isolation and loneliness in the remote countryside finds an extra layer of repulsion in the way it tells the story of its heroine - slow pacing, careful editing and a reliance on long, static shots imparts a placid and matter-of-fact tone to its violent and disturbing subject matter. Available on Netflix. 

- Jonathan Ross

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 48: A Wind Down of Mass Distraction

ALRIGHT, 'COMBIES!! Now, we've reached a point in time in which there's so much unfortunateness and ugliness in our day-to-day lives. I mean, it's everywhere you turn! So, in an attempt to combat this and keep our audience's moods on the upswing, your boys have got you covered with another melee episode! We're busting out our nuclear option to make sure y'all remember that, while things may suck A LOT, they don't have to all the time. So kick back and relax with ya' boys and let's ride this wave of good vibes out togethere!

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For the sake of reference, here's Joe's favorite Spider-Man theme (commence the judgement): Spectacular Spider-Man theme
And of course, here we have the ever astonishing Gwendoline Christie: AwesomeStunning, and the Show-stopper!
And then there is, the Marvel Legacy trailer. Maybe you'll get something from it we didn't... LOL

And feel free to hit up your boys on the social media!
Joe: Twitter and Instagram
Drew: Twitter and Instagram
Paul the Engineer: Twitter and Instagram

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 47: The Million Dollar Mustache

Alright, 'Combies!! Your boys have combed through the news and interesting goings-on before and since San Diego Comic-Con. We've got geek and regular news galore as well as an in-depth breakdown of gender as it exists today. So yeah, we're all over the place in this one too, but don't worry, you won't be disappointed.  ;)  So come on down, break open a cold one and get informed!
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The Justice League of Laughs: 12
And the best is saved for last... Whatchu want, Tim Curry?

And feel free to hit up your boys on the social media!
Joe: Twitter and Instagram
Drew: Twitter and Instagram
Paul the Engineer: Twitter and Instagram

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Juda Fist Finally!!!

Hey guys, I just wanted to take the time to let you know I am finally working on Juda Fist: 7 Deaths of the Yobi Issue 1. Here is a sneak peak at some of he layouts and sketches so far.

Stay tuned as I talk more about my process!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 46: Who's Really Gonna Tell Diana No?

Alright, 'Combies! The boys are giving you another meal-style roller coaster of an episode for you. We talk a bit more about long-standing cases reaching undesirable resolutions and the inherent trends surrounding them (police keep messing up and people in general can't stop sucking in bad ways). BUT! We aren't just talking about depressing stuff (though a lot of it is pretty heavy), we're also going to be reviewing a little piece of awesomeness that defied all expectations. That's right, Wonder Woman came out and get ready to hear our thoughts on it and beware for there be spoilers ahead. So come on down and let's enjoy the ride!

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Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman script: 0.o
And for context to something fun, the full Zeus Meme

And feel free to hit up your boys on the social media!
Joe: Twitter and Instagram
Drew: Twitter and Instagram
Paul the Engineer: Twitter and Instagram

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 45: Unmoderated Moderation

Alright, 'Combies!! The boys are back again and they've got a pretty interesting topical ascension this time around. They're bringing an  all too necessary discussion of the insanely frequent unarmed shootings of people of color, the ridiculous outrage over the "Women Only" showing of "Wonder Woman" at the Alamo Drafthouse and a long overdue review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. So come on and down and prepare yourself for some real talk this time around, y'all!

For reference to the stories we talked about this episode:
-The Officer fired for not shooting suspect: LINK
-The Men that got mad that Women got to see "Wonder Woman" first: LINK
-Far Cry 5 and its white antagonists: LINK
-Oh and what say you all? Think this belongs on a shirt? "Guys... I think we fucked up."

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And feel free to hit up your boys on the social media!
Joe: Twitter and Instagram
Paul the Engineer: Twitter and Instagram

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 44: The Grinder

Alright, 'Combies! The boys have returned with another melee of sorts as they tackle a full range of topics the in the most difficult and unorganized way possible: through stream of consciousness. Listen to them ramble as they tackle the spectrum of recent pop culture events, recollections of past awesome, hatred of Apple and ask questions like "Why?" and "WTF?". Also, listen as the boys incur the wrath of one with far more authority and power than they. It's all great fun, y'all, so come on down and hear it unfold.

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Also, for Drew's favorite Timothy Olyphant's face: The Timothy Oly-Face

And feel free to hit up your boys on the social media!
Joe: Twitter and Instagram
Drew: Twitter and Instagram
Paul the Engineer: Twitter and Instagram

Sunday, February 26, 2017

An Open Letter to the Apolitical

During the Super Bowl this year, Budweiser caused controversy with an advertisement telling the story of a German immigrant who overcomes hardship to come to America to meet a man named Anheuser, forming Anheuser-Busch with a cultural collision and a handshake. It didn't take long for the backlash and Budweiser boycotts to start, the overriding message being: keep your politics out of my beer. First of all, good luck avoiding Budweiser parent company ABInbev/SABMiller's approximately 400 brands and 28% market share: many of the people "boycotting" Budweiser will be turning from one of their products to another. Let them chug in ignorance. 

Regardless of the reasoning behind it, I support everyone's right to boycott any company they want. It amounts to non-violent protest, which is intrinsically democratic. What I can't support is the people with their heads in the sand, just because politics makes them bored or uncomfortable or cynical.

With that said, I would like to respond to the plea to keep politics out of your pint glass, or anything else for that matter:


We just experienced an election in which nearly half the country didn't vote. Let me say that again: almost half of the people in our country either weren't eligible or didn't care enough to cast a ballot in our 2016 primary election. I have sympathy for people working multiple jobs to support their families in a system set up to make them fail: political obfuscation and archaic voting rules have made it hard for many to vote. There are too many politicians that don't want you filling out a ballot. But with the option of early voting, the majority of non-voters don't have a valid excuse. Voter turnout in 2016 reached a 20-year low, and it's not OK.

I have a friend who didn't vote because he thinks of himself as a "conscientious objector," citing our fucked up and self-serving political system and lack of attractive political pundits. I understand the cynicism. I do. But I think his excuse for not voting is a fragile soap box, constructed out of idealism and privilege, and one that will crumple under the weight of reality. Besides the fact that there is more on the ballot than the president, the point needs to be made again and again: your vote does still count for something, and the president does indeed hold a lot of power in our system. Just look at the current president's onslaught of executive orders.

Whether you want to see it or not, your decision to abstain from voting directly influences your life, and the lives of millions of other people. And this is crucial: while your sex and skin color and economic opportunities may allow you to carry on with your day-to-day activities regardless of who holds office, that is not the case for millions of less privileged Americans who are marginalized and threatened by a political system whose current stance toward their existence ranges from apathy to overt aggression. Consider the words of Desmond Tutu: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Not everyone that supports the current administration is a racist, sexist xenophobe. But the president and his closest advisors are just that - and that can cause just as much damage. Like the monseigneur from Boondock Saints says: "Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil, which we must fear most...and that is the indifference of good men."

Even if you're not one of these marginalized citizens, this affects you whether you want to admit it or not. Go take your dog for a walk or take a few hours to go fishing. These may not feel political but they are. Air and water quality are being threatened by pollution and governmental deregulation. Fish and animal habitats are falling victim to the same forces. Want to ignore the talking heads and eat your dinner in peace while watching Netflix? That dinner may be more and more expensive after a president-approved merger between two of the largest seed and chemical manufacturers on the planet. That escapist show you're watching online will cost you more and buffer longer if the FCC kills net neutrality with the administration's help. You may be sick of politics but I have some hard news for you: it's shaping your life already, and you are just hurting yourself and others by choosing to ignore it. Getting back to your plea for us to keep our politics out of your life: sorry, but the politics are already there. What are you going to do about it?

Jonathan Ross

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 43: The Color of the Solar System

Alright, 'Combies, as you know, your boys have a tendency to keep things light but we also don't shy away from difficult topics either. So for Black History Month, the boys have decided to get real and going deep. From the origins of the month as Negro History Week to a wide range of social and political issues. The boys are diving deep and they're talking about some real issues and ills, so settle in, 'Combies,and let's get REAL as we swim through the depths of humanity and explore among the color of the solar system.

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And for those of you curious about the first female Captain Marvel A.K.A. Spectrum, here's some reference from various artists:

And feel free to hit up your boys on the social media!
Joe: Twitter and Instagram
Drew: Twitter and Instagram
Paul the Engineer: Twitter and Instagram

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 42: The Drunkcast 1: Can't we all just get along?

The first episode of 2017 is here and the wait is over. THE TIME HAS COME!!! The boys have been talking about it for months now and now they're dousing you with it! That's right, it's the DRUNKCAST!! And what a time for it. With a new president carving out his "legacy" even before he takes office now finally having taken office, there's been a reaction and it will not be ignored. And they're going to drunkenly talk about it (and somehow manage to be poignant too)! With "the Audience" in tow and between the Women's March, the Illuminati, more Marvel fanning out, and Sad John Cena, this particular assembly is definitely a thing to hear! The overall thing to take from this? We're all in this together, y'all. So come on down and pour yourselves a drink because the boys are already ahead of you!

*Disclaimer: All participants in this podcast are over the age of 21 and no driving took place immediately after either. So yeah, always partake responsibly, everybody!

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And of course, here be the links!!