Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the month “October, 2019”

Rob Zombie’s Firefly Trilogy

In 2003 Rob Zombie made his writing and directing debut with the gritty horror film House of 1000 Corpses. The success of this movie spawned a sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, and a third entry in the series, 3 From Hell, was just released on digital and physical video this month. Let’s take a look back at these films about the infamous Firefly family, including my thoughts and Rob Zombie’s insights on each of these twisted tales.

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RENT Celebrates 20th Anniversary In Philly

Following a sold-out March 2019 engagement, RENT is back by popular demand in Philadelphia to celebrate its 20th anniversary. I attended the opening night, and it was my first time seeing this show. The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical is taking place at the Merriam Theater October 18-20, and it’s absolutely worth seeing. RENT is an unconventional, frenetic show that gave me chills and made me cry, smile, and laugh multiple times. Unlike Hamilton, which I found to be underwhelming because of its grating music, shallow characters, and limp ending, RENT blew me away with its unique musical compositions, incredible cast, and emotionally moving story. Add to this a hot crowd full of people who had seen the show before and loved it, and I felt like I was at a rock concert more than a musical. This high-energy atmosphere made this excellent production even more enjoyable, and I now understand why people choose to see RENT more than once.

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Movie Review: Portal

Released just a couple days ago on digital and on demand, Portal is an award-winning supernatural horror film with an all-start cast. It features a rare appearance by iconic scream queen Heather Langenkamp, best known for her stellar work in the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise. When an ambitious ghost hunter performs a risky ritual, opening a portal to “the other side,” he and his team quickly find themselves way over their heads in a fight for survival against an ancient demonic force. Read more…

Movie Review: Gwen

Making its debut on Shudder this Thursday (October 17), Gwen is a strange film. I absolutely wouldn’t classify it as anything close to horror. It’s best described as an atmospheric period piece about a family that’s down in the dumps from start to finish. Throw in some strange disease that’s ailing the mother, as well as a ton of misfortune, and you have Gwen. While I was watching it my wife said, “What’s the point of this movie?” I don’t have a good answer for her because this film doesn’t seem to serve any purpose. It merely exists. Not a whole lot happens in this movie and there’s more silence than sound. It’s as if the viewer is simply watching a family fall apart. The ending isn’t satisfying either. In a word filled with real-life negativity and depressing predicaments, the last thing I want to do is watch a movie mired with them. With this in mind, I can’t recommend Gwen to anyone.

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Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection

My 35th anniversary celebration of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues! Next, I’m going to talk about another great book available from Dark Horse. This one is entitled Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection As the name suggests, it’s a complete collection of the iconic team-ups for fans of all ages, collecting every existing Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover comic in existence. This book contains ”Turtle Soup and Rabbit Stew,” ”The Crossing,” ”The Treaty,” ”Shades of Green,” and the recent full-color tale ”Namazu.” This volume also includes tons of extra material from Stan Sakai’s studio. If you’re a fan of Ninja Turtles comic books and are looking for something out of the ordinary, this book is a great option.

The Art of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Published in June 2019, The Art of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a beautifully produced book focused on the popular 2012 animated series. This book is 200 pages in length, and it features behind-the-scenes stories, art, and more from all five seasons of the show. This tome also has a forward by Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If you’re a big Ninja Turtles fan like I am, you can’t go wrong with this book, especially if you enjoy the 2012 iteration of these heroes in a half shell. The Art of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is yet another way to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Take It Off: KISS Truly Unmasked

On November 19, a new book about KISS is coming out. Unlike the many that came before it, this one is focused on the non-makeup era of the band, which is from 1983-1996. As a big fan of this KISS time period, I was eager to read this book and see if it lived up to the hype it has been getting. I’m glad to say that, overall, it’s an excellent book with a wealth of information. Inside you’ll find chapters on each album from the band during this era, as well as some additional subcategories. The author provides his thoughts for each of these, while also including insights from industry influencers and those that were either in the band or worked with KISS. My only complaint is I don’t like that Eddie Trunk was included in this book, specifically because Gene and Paul don’t like him (because he doesn’t support the current incarnation of the band) and, as a result, many KISS fans don’t like him either, including yours truly. I think Eddie Trunk’s prominence in this book hurts it and could have a negative impact on sales because of how vehemently opposed some fans are toward him. All of the other guest commentators in this book are perfectly fine, but it’s puzzling why the author chose to highlight someone as polarizing as Eddie Trunk, especially since he’s such a negative force in the KISS world. If you can set this aside, then you should definitely pick up a copy of Take It Off: KISS Truly Unmasked.

Review: In Search of Darkness

I’m a big horror movie fan, and I love the 1980s. So, I was very excited when I heard about In Search of Darkness – a horror documentary solely focused on the 1980s. Many consider the 1980s to be the golden age of horror movies. After all, it was the decade that brought us Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Halloween sequels featuring Michael Myers, Hellraiser, Creepshow, Gremlins, The Lost Boys, and so much more. It’s also the decade when VCRs and VHS tapes became immensely popular, resulting in a wave of direct-to-video horror films for fans to enjoy. Clocking in at over four hours, In Search of Darkness covers all aspects of 1980s’ horror, and it features interviews with nearly 50 contributors. Some of these contributors include icons such as John Carpenter, Heather Lagenkamp, Doug Bradley, Kane Hodder, and Mick Garris, among others. Directed by David A. Weiner and filmed and finalized within 12 months, this documentary is a monumental achievement, especially considering this is the first film directed by Weiner.

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Monster-Mania With DDP

I’ve attended Monster-Mania in Cherry Hill numerous times, including this past August when I met Clive Barker. However, I’ve never gone to the events they put on in Maryland. When I saw that my friend Diamond Dallas Page was going to be there, I decided to make the trip. I hadn’t seen him since I attended his DDP Yoga workshop in July, and I also wanted to get a great professional photo with him. This was my chance to make that happen.

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Joe Bob’s Halloween Hootenanny Premieres October 25

Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thrillers and the supernatural, announced today that Joe Bob Briggs, the world’s foremost drive-in movie critic, will return on October 25 with an all-new special, Joe Bob’s Halloween Hootenanny. The hosted triple feature will stream live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Shudder in the U.S. and Canada. It will also be made available on demand later in October.  Read more…

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