Killer Piks is a monthly review of books, movies, and music by people who are obsessed with books, movies and music.
The Last Werewolf
by Lacy Simons
In these vampire-obsessed times, it's a relief to read an incredibly written occultish tale that departs from the prevailing trends. A depressed werewolf, the last of his species, contemplates suicide despite non-stop sex and a protein-rich diet. Called "One of the most original, audacious and terrifying novels in years." Need I say more? All right: the first edition has blood-red text blocks. Sold.
Lacy Simons is the owner and operator of hello hello books, which opened in August 2011 adjacent to Rock City Cafe, in Rockland. She is a reader, a maker, and a collector of fine-point pens and terrible jokes. To find more picks and reads: facebook.com/hellohellobooks Twitter: @hellohellobooks.
My Boyfriend's Back
by Tiffany Howard
The zombie romantic comedy My Boyfriend's Back (1993) is a goofy, campy romp and an ideal Halloween movie for those who lack the nerves for jumpy suspense thrillers or the stomach for horror gore-fests. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, this ridiculously engaging film tells the story of Johnny Dingle, a teenage virgin who comes back from the dead to take his dream girl, Missy MacLeod, to the senior prom. But zombie Johnny faces more than a few challenges in his pursuit of true love — Missy's jock boyfriend, townspeople less than thrilled by their sweetheart dating "the dead kid," and the unfortunate reality that in order to keep from decaying, Johnny must consume the flesh of the living. Throw in a pair of well-meaning but clueless parents, an opportunistic mad scientist, and an angry mob bearing torches and one soon sees that there is nothing easy about being a zombie, or a teenager in love, much less both at the same time.
Directed by prolific character actor and director Bob Balaban, My Boyfriend's Back features Edward Herrmann, Mary Beth Hurt, Paul Dooley, Cloris Leachman, a clean-shaven Matthew Fox (pre-Party of Five and long before Lost), Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman (back when he was just Phillip Hoffman) and Matthew McConaughey with his blink-and-you'll miss it first ever line in American cinema. Rumor has it that Renee Zellweger also had a small role that ended up on the cutting room floor. Along with all the familiar faces, this movie also features some of my favorite lines of all time: "I had all the right moves. I was like Tom Cruise, only dead!" and (*spoiler alert*) "I ate Chuck for you!" With issues ranging from prejudice to teenage sexuality, this film wraps its sometimes less-than-subtle social commentary in a spoofy candy coating--the perfect Halloween treat!
Tiffany Howard and Jim Dandy co-own Opera House Video, an independent video rental store in downtown Belfast featuring an extensive collection of new releases, foreign films, documentaries, classics and television series. Each takes turns writing the movie review. Find them on Facebook at Opera House Video.
Easy Star All Stars Thrillah
by Nathaniel Bernier
Covering Michael Jackson in any sense is a daunting task, but to try to mirror the best-selling album of all time from start to finish? In a rub-a-dub reggae stylee? Are they crazy? Indeed.
Right out of the cannon, the swirling horn section accompanied by the usual heavy riddim bass-driven beat will instantly capture you on the cut “Wanna’ be Startin’ Somethin’.” I have to keep listening to the tremendously well done Thriller repeatedly, due to the growling Spragga Benz’s channeling of Vincent Price. So unbelievably cool that I would be willing to bet that Mr. Price, part of the afterlife after-party, stopped for a second and gave a sinister sneer. The song builds and builds just like the original version with fat crescendos, this time consisting of thumping bass, blaring keyboards and brassy horns giving the zombie-tune a Jamaican flair never before created. Michael “Grammy” Rose (of Black Uhuru fame) offers his slick vocals and trademark scatting over the fierce Beat it and I know Michael Jackson would have been proud of Rose’s performance. Luciano takes the beat to half of its original speed on Billie Jean making it sultry and soulful as only he can do. And Michael Jackson’s voice is replicated very nicely on P.Y.T. and the groove just jumps along urging one’s footwear to festively frolic to & fro.
With a gaggle of wonderful singers and musicians jumping on board to assist the already amazing band, this record was most assuredly going to be a home run. Just in time to reggae-cize your All Hallowed’s Eve with a version of Thriller, your friends have never heard before. Jacko would have been proud, maybe even thrilled.
Nathaniel "Natty B" Bernier, owner of Wild Rufus Records previously retail and now online, has immersed himself in music for 35 years, hosting several radio shows, deejaying at clubs and parties, writing music reviews and interviewing artists. He lives on the coast of Maine and continues to live through music. Find him at http://www.wildrufus.com or http://wildrufus.blogspot.com/