CD Review: Power Trip “Nightmare Logic”

“Nightmare Logic”
Power Trip
Southern Lord Recordings
Tracks: 8

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Texas thrash band Power Trip is back with an all new angst filled album titled “Nightmare Logic”. As the follow-up to the band’s debut 2013 album “Manifest Decimation” the 8 track sophomore effort is being released via Southern Lord Recordings and continues on where its predecessor left off as a reincarnated version of the 80’s thrash sound.

Having caught these guys one night opening for Lamb of God I was instantly hooked as the band’s sound and energy commanded your attention as it was straight up thrash ala early Overkill and Anthrax. The group’s latest album “Nightmare Logic” continues on in that vein but with an injection of modern metal flare and accoutrements. Opening up the album is the lurching “Soul Sacrifice” a track which starts of being reminiscent of early Pantera before catapulting you head first in to the thrash sonisphere. The track then gives way for probably my favorite track from the album “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe). An infectious number with a chorus that quickly gets logged in your ear drums and with have you singing the line “Swing of the Axe” over and over again. As the album quickly progresses tracks like “Waiting Around To Die” and “If Not Us Then Who” all leave an undeniable stain on your senses as both songs feature the near perfect amount of vintage thrash DNA.

If you are a fan of the big four of thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax) and want to recapture the energy those bands provided with their earlier albums but, with a fresh/modern spin then the latest offering from Power Trip is sure to do the trick. First time listeners will also appreciate “Nightmare Logic” as the album is chocked full of great guitar riffs, tongue and cheek lyrics and slamming drum beats which offer repeated opportunities for solid head banging.

Track Listing:
1.) Soul Sacrifice
2.) Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)
3.) Firing Squad
4.) Nightmare Logic
5.) Waiting Around To Die
6.) Ruination
7.) If Not Us Then Who
8.) Crucifixation

Matthew Patrick Davis talks about his stage version of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Photo Credit: Joanna Brooks

You may not know the name Matthew Patrick Davis yet but he is making a name for himself very quickly. He recently made headlines when his stage version of “Jack’s Lament” for “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” showed up on online. He has also been behind some very funny stage productions with the UCB Theatre including “The Shining! The Musical!” and “Jurasic Park: The Musical!”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Matthew about his work and what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s talk about your stage version of “Jack’s Lament” for Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”? Have you been contacted at all or do you have plans to expand it?
Matthew Patrick Davis: As a 6’8” physical actor who grew up loving Tim Burton, Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo, playing Jack in a live adaptation of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has always been a dream of mine. A couple years ago, I put up a few scenes from “Nightmare” in my acting class. The class freaked out and got super excited about it, so that’s when we decided to shoot some of it, and that’s where the video comes from. If this video could accomplish anything, I guess it would be for it to be a viral thingy and get the attention of the people that own the rights and actually have the power to make it a legitimate piece of theatre: Tim Burton and Thomas Schumacher, the President of Disney Theatrical Group. It would obviously have such mass appeal, and I think could be something insanely great.

MG: Tell us how did you come up with the ideas for “The Shining! The Musical!” and “Jurassic Park: The Musical?”
MPD: I write the movie musicals with my friends Joe Chandler and Zach Paez; friends from high school who are now television writers in Los Angeles. We just pick movies that we love, and musicalize them into part parody, part tribute. “Jurassic Park” was a movie that was very formative in our youth; as 14 year olds, we would often be found doing impressions of the Raptors or the Spitter in a Denny’s parking lot somewhere. “The Shining” is another one of our favorite films — we just enjoyed the juxtaposition between the darkness of man slowly going insane and trying to murder his family, with the light-heartedness of a musical.

MG: Any plans to ever perform these again or record and release them?
MPD: We perform the movie musicals semi-regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, so there will definitely be another performance sometime in the future.

MG: What do you have planned next to turn into a musical?
MPD: We’ve done four movie adaptations, (JP, The Shining, The NeverEnding Story, and The King of Kong) so next, we would love to do an original. So we’ll do that, and/or do one of the movies we’ve always talked about doing, i.e. T2, Top Gun, Glengarry Glen Ross, Braveheart, The Sixth Sense, etc.

MG: How did you end up as the Sprint Zombie for their commercials?
MPD: It was a pretty standard commercial audition process, just like any other. I got lucky with this one, in that they ran it so much, and it was actually a funny spot that I was really pleased with. The director said that one the reasons they hired me was because they like the way I added the “cool, cool cool cool…” in the audition, so I guess that’s something.

MG: What else do you have planned for 2014?
MPD: I’m going to be releasing an album of some of my songs that can be found on my YouTube page. I’ll be writing more songs and musicals. I’m hoping to take my one man show to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC — it’s called, “Matt Davis Gets A Girlfriend:” A One Man Musical about One Man’s quest to not DIE ALONE. Also, I’ll be doing the revival/reboot of the musical Side Show at the Kennedy Center in DC in June and July, having just done it at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Blu-ray Review “Nightmare City (1980)”

Starring: Hugo Stiglitz, Mel Ferrer, Laura Trotter, Francisco Rabal, Maria Rosaria Omaggio, Sonia Viviani
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Raro Video USA Ltd.
Release Date: December 31, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I remember seeing the video tape box for “Nightmare City” at the mom and pop video store Royal Video in Long Island, NY back in the early 90’s and just knew that I had to see this film. I was obsessed with Italian horror growing up. Umberto Lenzi is the genius behind great Italian horror films including “Cannibal Ferox”. What always struck me as odd is that this film is billed as a zombie film but even Lenzi himself denies that this is about zombies. I have to admit, the film itself isn’t as impressive as it was when I was a kid but Rare Video did quite a beautiful job on this Blu-ray. So if you are a fan of this film, this Blu-ray is a must own for sure.

Official Premise: Umberto Lenzi’s zombie shocker Nightmare City stars actor Hugo Stiglitz as a reporter caught in a living, breathing zombie hell. When an airplane comes into contact with radiation from a nuclear disaster it causes the passengers to mutate into scabby-faced humanoids with a compulsion to kill and drink the blood of their victims. As the zombies move into the city and beyond, will anyone or anything be able to stop the wave of bloody death and disease that threatens to decimate mankind?

Rare Video really did this film a solid and gave it a very impressive new high-definition transfer which was taken from the original 35mm negative. For a film that is over 30 years old, it looks quite stunning. Some of the gore looks aged especially the “zombie” make-up but overall, this film has never looked better. The LPCM 2.0 audio track is also a thing of beauty backed with a new and improved English subtitle translation. I was transported back to my childhood with this film’s amazing Goblin-like score, which is just so great and sounds amazing here.

In terms of special features, there is not a whole lot but quality represents over quantity. There is a nearly hour long intensive interview with Umberto Lenzi discussing the film and its legacy. There is the original English trailer, as well as the original Italian trailer. I was very impressed to find a fully illustrated booklet including inside the case, which focuses on the genesis and production of the film. It is written by Chris Alexander, who writes for Fangoria Magazine. I was surprised to see a few typos included in it though but overall, it is a great additional this great release.

DVD Review “Nightmare Honeymoon (1974)”

Actors: Dack Rambo, Rebecca Dianna Smith, Pat Hingle
Studio: Warner Archive
DVD Release Date: October 2, 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 95 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

If you know horror then you know that the 70’s was filled with tons of revenge thriller probably thanks to Wes Craven’s “The Last House on the Left. “Nightmare Honeymoon” was adapted from the book “Deadly Honeymoon” by crime czar Lawrence Block. The film’s original poster included a classic 70’s quote, “Thank Heavens It’s Only a Movie!” Obviously if you hold it up to the craziness of today’s film it is not as brutal but still quite the shocker. So even though the film hasn’t really held up to time but it is still a decent entry in the genre and worth checking out again after all these years.

Official Premise: Newlyweds David and Jill Webb (Dack Rambo and Rebecca Dianna Smith) want nothing more than to consummate their marriage in New Orleans. But on their way to “The Big Easy,” they witness a murder. And when the sadistic killer (John Beck) realizes he’s been caught in the act, he knocks David unconscious and rapes Jill. Eventually, David learns the story of his wife’s assault, and sets out on a relentless vendetta to find the rapist and his partner and bring them to justice. Also starring Pat Hingle, Nightmare Honeymoon is filled with plot twists, compelling performances, crooked cops and one man’s unstoppable quest to right an unthinkable wrong.

Warner Archive has done this film very well. It has been newly remastered and looks pretty great even though it is only presented on DVD. This film has never been released before on DVD, so another notch in the belt for Warner Archive, who continues to deliver films like this to their fans. Another bonus for this release is that it actually contains two different cuts of the film both which are not rated. There is the “Alternate Theatrical Version” and also the “Alternate TV Version”. I think this is going to be a real draw for fans of this 70’s horror film.

Book Review “The Nightmare Before Christmas: 20th Anniversary Edition”

Author/Illutrator: Tim Burton
Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Disney Press; 20 Anv edition
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is one of my favorite films of all-time. I watch it over and over and never get tired.  Whenever August/September rolls around, I get the major itch to start watching it to get ready for the holiday seasons, including Halloween and Christmas.  I love the fact that it crosses over the holidays since just creates this new genre for itself. This book was released for the film’s 20th anniversary last month, yes I can’t believe either its been 20 years. I remember the first time I saw this film and was simply blown away. Tim Burton has such a unique perspective in this film and really set the scale for future stop-motion animated films. A must have for any fan of the film.

Official Premise: In this beloved picture book that could only come from the visionary mind of author and illustrator Tim Burton, we meet Jack Skellington– a well-intentioned inhabitant of Halloweenland. Jack is bored of “the scaring, the terror, the fright….tired of being something that goes bump in the night”. And so, in an effort to bring to joy to his town, Jack kidnaps Santa and takes his place as the jolly old elf. But instead of bringing joy to the world Jack, who is a little more than a grinning skeleton, brings fear by delivering creepy toys and riding a sleigh carried by skeletal reindeer. Only through a number of things going horribly wrong does Jack learn the true meaning of Christmas.

This 20th Anniversary Edition isn’t just a cash-in from Disney. It contains some updated illustrations from Tim Burton himself, including a new intro. you can tell that this project was such a labor of love for him and still is since he comments that he loved revisiting it. Now when it comes to the artwork in the book, which I loved but I am also a 31 year old man. For kids, it might be a little creepy but then again so is the film. I do not think that I will be sharing this with my 15 month old daughter…just yet but I look forward to introducing to her down the line. The words just rhyme so well and I really have a blast revisiting this timeless classic. Even though it is has been 20 years, I see myself revisiting this book and film, like Burton, for many many years to come!

3D Blu-Ray Review “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Directed by: Henry Selick
Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Ken Page
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 76 minutes

3D Blu-ray Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been a fan of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” since the first time I saw it in the theaters in 1993. Since then it has captivated audiences and became a major cult classic. In 2006, it was put back into theaters with new added 3D technology…I was in heaven. Since then it was also released in 2007 through 2009 in 3D during the Halloween season. So when the news was announced that Disney was releasing this film on its pristine Disney 3D Blu-Ray, I was out of my mind. I have to say, I have seen this film probably 100 times but watching it on 3D Blu-Ray was like it was the first time again. I was seeing new things that I have never seen before and hearing things I have never heard before. The picture quality was so clear and bright (despite the fact that most of the film is dark and black). The music was so fantastic in glorious 7.1 surround sound, which Disney never fails to include. I think my neighbors windows shattered for sure with the volume I watched it at. Let me just say that since I received this Blu-Ray, I have in fact watched it 5 times and it is not even September yet. I might need to go out and purchase a new one before Christmas due to wear. If you do not have a 3D TV or Blu-ray, now might be the time to start things about it because this is a release that you do not want to miss.

The extras on this disc are jam packed and are similar to the 2008 release. First there is audio commentary by producer Tim Burton, director Henry Selick and composer Danny Elfman from 2008 and it was actually recorded separately. Christopher Lee reads “Tim Burton’s Original Poem”, which inspired the film and is backed by animated concept art. “The Making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a six-chapter 1993 television special that covers the development, overall production and of course the music of the film. “The Worlds of The Nightmare Before Christmas” focuses on its three production settings “Halloween Town”, “Christmas Town” and “The Real World” with concept art and character designs. There are three deleted storyboards, “Behemoth Singing,” “Oogie Boogie with Dancing Bugs” and “Alternate Identity of Oogie Boogie”. There are also four fully animated deleted scenes, “Jack’s Scientific Experiments,” “Vampire Hockey Players,” “Lock, Shock and Barrel” and “Oogie Boogie Shadow Dance.” Next up is a feature called “Storyboard to Film Comparisons” it is a short comparison, nothing special. “What’s This? Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour” shows how The Haunted Mansion attraction gets a “Nightmare Before Christmas” redux. Fans of Time Burton will be happy to have the “Frankenweenie” and “Vincent” shorts, even though they are not in HD. Lastly there are the film’s teaser and theatrical trailers and a gallery of “Nightmare” posters. These are some amazing special features even though nothing is new for this release.