4 Hilarious Moments from Law & Order: SVU Season 20

Unless you’re like us or John Mulaney, the word hilarious may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of violent crime. But we don’t give a hot fuck!

Why?

Because Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the Special Victims unit have been causing us to heave with laughter for years now. Whether it was the aggressive outbursts and wild facial expressions of former-cast member Christopher Meloni (you know, the cat who played Freakshow in Harold & Kumar) or Ice-T’s Fin Tutuola marveling at the most obvious detail of a case, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (or SVU for short) has been leaving a shit-eating grin on our faces for ages now.

Currently enjoying its 20th season on network television, SVU has been becoming delightfully self-referential, of late, and today we thought we’d share our four favorite moments of meta meat from SVU in 2018.

1. OH, BALONEY!

In episode 3, “Zero Tolerance,” Liv (Hargitay) makes a call back to Carisi (Peter Scanavino)’s meme-friendly line about lunch meats from Season 17 when she tells her detectives to get the suspect a bologna sandwich.

2. ICE-T SNATCHES SOME TREES

In episode 6, “Exile,” fan fave Fin Tutuola (Ice-T) grabs some edibles off an illegal weed truck while reading a street dealer the riot act. Naturally, it’s inspired at least one marijuana meme, but it’s hardly the first time the character of Fin has inspired such a gut-busting drug joke.

Just look at this:

3. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS GETS BLUNT

In episode 7, “Cadaver,” a friend of one of the victims says, “You think someone killed them over money?” To which Fin replies “One of the top reasons people get dead.”

4. THE GREAT BAGEL SCANDAL OF NOVEMBER

Ice-T takes to Twitter to say that he’s never eaten a bagel in his life. This revelation causes an absurd amount of social media uproar throughout the day with people treating it like a travesty that a New Yorker could go his entire life without tasting something so authentically New York.

A few hours later episode eight, “Hell’s Kitchen,” airs and Ice-T’s Fin sheepishly asks Amanda (Kelli Giddish) if she wants half of his cinnamon raisin bagel.

Later, Ice responded to the backlash, Tweeting “White people..Don’t lose your Fn minds because I’ve never eaten a Bagle [sic]..Take it easy…lol.”

If you’re a super-fan of SVU, chances are you’ve got your own favorite funny moments. Post them in the comments below to win a big fat bowl of sexual assault.

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Why Mainstream Horror is Still Dead: Part II

By Zakary McGaha

This tiny article isn’t really a continuation of my last write-up on mainstream horror, because there won’t be many (if any) new points. It’s more of a response to an article debunking some Vogue piece, in which my article was referenced (in said debunking article; not the Vogue piece).

Anyway, it was said, incorrectly, that I claimed horror was dead. I was then excused for the claim which I didn’t make.

In Why Mainstream Horror is Dead, I said just that “mainstream” horror is dead. I mentioned that the indie front was awesome and wasn’t slowing down, and I said that mainstream horror movies are still being made, but I pointed out that the mid-list for horror fiction went belly-up forever ago.

I also said that the token blockbuster horror movies don’t signal prosperity for the genre as a whole, but, instead, show what little demand for it there is. Your typical theatergoer is apt to say, “Halloween, that was a good horror movie! But that’s enough for one year.”

Horror is kept alive by fans, these days, and is pretty much a niche genre. Sure, it’s giant compared to super niche genres, and it has many sub-genres, but it’s still not thriving like it was in the 70s, 80s, and early -90s when publishers were churning out mass-market horror left and right…by authors who weren’t just named Stephen King. Back then, you couldn’t walk down the street without seeing something Friday the 13th related or turn on the TV without seeing a ton of lesser-known horror movies that were still holding their own.

Perhaps there’s one thing I should clear up: by today’s standards, the lesser-known and indie horror books and movies of the 70s, 80s, and 90s were mainstream as hell. The audience was much larger; there was prosperity to be had for all. However, that changed once mass-market horror died. Sure, small things stayed around…niche presses, which pretty much describes the small-press scene today, kept the ball rolling for the people who wanted it kept rolling, but it was no longer EVERYWHERE. Horror went the way of Metallica; what was edgy way back when is “Dad Rock” today.

Another thing I should clear up: I thought the new Halloween ruled, and believe it’s the second best sequel of the franchise, and I’m well aware that it made tons of money, but I still think mainstream horror is dead because Halloween was the token horror movie of this year, along with The Nun.

What do they both have in common besides money? They were franchise flicks. The vast majority of original horror films were, as usual, direct to VOD and DVD. The other in-theater examples were the exceptions, but they deserve a look.

Hell Fest was awesome, but it wasn’t nearly as successful as Halloween or The Nun, nor was Strangers: Prey at Night, although it wasn’t necessarily a failure. As far as Overlord, it’s too early to tell. And I won’t even talk about The Meg, because it was awful and didn’t do the book justice.

Still, though: despite the movies listed above, we’re not seeing the plethora of awesome material genre fans were used to in the golden days, that have since gone on to become classics today. Instead, we’re still seeing continuations and reboots of those classics!

Most indie, direct-to-video horror today is clearly targeted at horror fans who need their appetites whetted, while the other in-theater horror films of the year were successful because of horror fans and the convenience of the theater, which drew some of the mainstream folks in (which is why they had smaller box-office numbers).

In other words, the token mainstream horror franchise films did well because everyone needs at least one bender a year, while the other ones achieved what they did only because of hardcore horror fans and their normal family members they drug to the theaters.

Just because there are a couple big, token hits along with some smaller, already-forgotten films isn’t enough to convince me that horror is thriving today. Am I saying this to be negative and all FUCK THE MAINSTREAM-like? Nope. I’ve been pleased with what the studios have given us this year, and I’ve been pleased with the indie stuff I’ve seen.

I’m not a hard horror fan to please, as I love it all.

However, I do feel that horror is not in a healthy state.

A Blumhouse sticker stuck over horror’s wound like a bandage isn’t going to keep it from bleeding out. If you recall, some of the highest-grossing horror films as of recent all have the same aforementioned production company: Get Out, Happy Death Day, HALLOWEEN, and The Purge.

I’m not gonna debate the quality of these films, because some of them I like and some of them I loathe, but the point is this: we’re seeing a lot of stuff from the same people, and not enough from new people, at least not in theaters. The indie front, however, is where it’s at. Too many examples of great films abound. If you know where to find the good stuff, stream it (or buy the DVD)!

There aren’t enough horror films in theaters from different people to justify mainstream horror being a thriving industry. Yes, certain people are thriving, but their “industry” is quite small, and the doors aren’t necessarily always open for new talent.

The people who saw Halloween aren’t going to fund legions of horror production companies, publishers, etc. They’re going to jump on whatever bandwagon comes along next, and that bandwagon is probably gonna be started by the same people.

Meanwhile, horror fans everywhere will gladly be enjoying a genre that is still very much alive, although it’s definitely not in a “boom” period. Its mainstream appeal lasts for all of about ten seconds at a time, while the indie front runs continuously in the background, with films like The Devil’s Candy, Hold the Dark (who some may classify as a thriller, but I say it’s horrifying as fuck, and it’s my favorite new movie as of recent), and Jug Face, as well as extreme flicks like American Guinea Pig: Song of Solomon keeping people satisfied.

Perhaps it’s not a popularity thing so much as a question of medium. I already mentioned streaming: long-form horror is on FIRE here, with shows like The Haunting of Hill House and Stranger Things dominating Netflix. Maybe that’s where the true “mainstream” horror lies these days, but one thing’s for sure: horror films are moving away from the big screen, and it seems to be getting worse each year. Maybe it’s a failure on theaters’ part (as in, specifically the venue, not Hollywood)? It would take statistics and whatnot to answer this question, which isn’t what this article is about.

This article is about taking notice of the culture. As someone who gorges on horror every day, I try to pay attention to everything: from indie to mainstream, new to old…and I can say with certainty that the majority of the “mainstream” stuff I get into is from years past, while the majority of new stuff is indie.

Mainstream horror today is dead, but horror is still as alive as it’s ever been: the way in which we consume horror is simply growing radically different, which is draining the blood from the concept of mainstream, theatrically-released horror.

Alternative Cinema Goes Bye-Bye: A Final Farewell to Tempe Video

By Bob Freville

Tempe Entertainment was founded in 1991, but I didn’t hear about them until the mid-90s when I happened upon an enthralling profile of Tempe founder J.R. Bookwalter in Fangoria magazine. The article in question painted a picture of DIY innovation before DIY was part of the pop culture lexicon.

Upon reading about Bookwalter’s debut film, The Dead Next Door, and the bloody shoestring production of his next movie, Ozone, it became clear that this Akron, OH resident was at the vanguard of a new microbudget horror movement, one that was making movies for peanuts and pubic hair.

After making a dynamic debut with The Dead Next Door, a unique take on the zombie genre that was partially funded by Sam Raimi, Bookwalter churned out a series of passionless no-budget quickies for producer David DeCoteau before turning his frustration with this thankless work into a goal – create a company that can do more with less.

Founded in 1991 during post-production on ‘Dead Next Door,’  Tempe Video’s ethos was simple; as Bookwalter told Michael Scrutchin of Flipside Movie Emporium, “Whatever some guy in his backyard comes up with will be infinitely more passionate and honest than the crap Hollywood churns out on a weekly basis! I say get out there and do it! Now there is no excuse.”

Tempe Entertainment wasn’t waiting for some hotshot honcho to stick millions of dollars in escrow and assign executives to lob a flurry of notes at Bookwalter’s scripts. Instead, the Tempe team were turning their backs on the silver screen machine and building the direct-to-video market into a prosperous new avenue for indie talent.

Over the ensuing three plus decades, that talent has brought us fabulous cheapy features like the batshit psychological drama Eddie Presley and the fiendishly funny Filthy McNasty quadrilogy, to say nothing of Bookwalter’s own brilliant drug scourge thriller Ozone. Their catalog reflects the full width and breadth of no-budget horror, warts and all.

A lot of their titles are excruciatingly bad, but their egregiousness is part of their charm. Like other indie houses, such as Troma Team Releasing and Full Moon, the videos of Tempe Video are either shockingly well-crafted or so poorly crafted that the fun is in imagining the filmmakers’ state of mind during production.

Recently J.R. Bookwalter took to social media to announce that the company would no longer be producing motion pictures. In a Facebook post, Bookwalter writes, “All good things must come to an end, which is why we’re announcing today that Tempe Entertainment will be packing our bags and heading to that great indie retirement home in the sky on January 1, 2019.”

The news was a blow to those of us who place importance on indie film distribution. With streaming platforms fast replacing traditional distribution paradigms, it is unnerving to see a legendary studio like Tempe turning out the lights.

Like Crystal Pepsi, Tempe Video may be back one day, but it will never be the same again.

It would be all too easy to say that this spells the end for indie horror, but Tempe Video has served as a guidepost for innumerable indie houses to sprout up all across the country and today horror production companies number in the hundreds.

Outfits like Blumhouse, Brain Damage, Breaking Glass Pictures, Darclight, Dark Sky Films, Glass Eye Pix and Unearthed Films are rolling out a king’s ransom of cool titles that stretch the boundaries of what is possible with the kitchen sink approach.

The last ten years have given us modern macabre classics like Chad Ferrin’s mindfuck slasher Someone’s Knocking at the Door (2009), Adam Wingard’s genre-bending DXM trip/ghost story Pop Skull (2008), the Trent Haaga-penned cumming-of-age flick Deadgirl (2008), Ti West’s old school Satanic panic film The House of the Devil (2009) and the slippery sci-fi cringer Honeymoon (2014).

We’ve also seen genre exercises like You’re Next propel directors like Wingard into the mainstream where they were given the opportunity to make exceptional genre films (The Guest, Blair Witch) with a slightly grander scope.

These videos and films owe much to the Tempe Video model of frugal, makeshift innovation. It’s hard to imagine directors like Kevin Smith (Red State, Tusk) being able to successfully stage movie road shows or directors like Rob Zombie (31) being able to raise post-production monies using crowdsourcing had it not been for companies like Tempe Video paving the way.

Many great filmmakers are shooting feature-length flicks in 30 days or less and finding creative solutions to problems that present themselves on the day. And there are a lot of little production houses out there who are able to write, produce, direct and release their own pictures on little more than a prayer.

But Tempe did it first and they did it the best. Indie horror—Esto Perpetua.

NSFW You Can’t Make This Shit Up: Red Dead Redemption Gets a Porn Parody

The hit video game Red Dead Redemption 2 just got its on X-rated parody courtesy of Woodrocket and Pornhub. The feature-length fuck flick, subtly entitled Red Dead Erection, premieres on Pornhub today and it’s absolutely FREE to watch.

Check out the trailer over on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hokA0ACcCU

Red Dead Erection is written and directed by Vuko and Lee Roy Myers. It stars April O’Neil, Codey Steele, Lance Hart, Leya Falcon, Daisy Ducati and Cassandra Cain.

The plot is delightfully schlocky:

When Arthur Organ and the rest of his cowboy outlaw gang get chased out of Blackwater, they learn that once you go Blackwater, you can never go backwater. So, they hit the unpaved road and go on an epic Western sex-venture filled with sperm bank robberies, saloon shootouts, leading to the law chasing them down, two in the Pinkerton and one in the stinkerton. Also, there will be Cowgirl and reverse Cowgirl. Obviously.

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Mr. Sucky by Duncan P. Bradshaw – Book Review

Review by Bob Freville

Duncan P. Bradshaw’s Mr. Sucky is very funny and very British. From its first paragraphs, we are graced with a scenario straight out of a Monty Python episode. By that, I mean that Bradshaw takes familiar imagery and subverts expectations with hilariously matter-of-fact horror that’s at once bust-a-gut funny and uber-cringey.

Few writers could manage to wring laughs out of child abuse. Bradshaw not only succeeds on the very first page but keeps us hoping he’ll up the ante. Like hearing a comedian riff on The Aristocrats gag, the reader latches on to this devilishly irreverent read and waits in jubilant anticipation for the next groty detail to emerge.

Bradshaw doesn’t disappoint, skillfully one-upping himself in each successive sequence. The design of the book is itself a masterfully-executed joke; Mr. Sucky doesn’t have the outward appearance of a novel or novella. It is over-sized, oddly thin and specifically designed to resemble a poorly photocopied user manual.

It is so convincing in this regard that my better half actually stuck it in the box with a shitty vacuum cleaner we had recently purchased at Target, mistaking it for the actual manual that came with the piece of shit. Had it not been for me catching her in time, Mr. Sucky would have been going back to the store before I’d even had a chance to read it…and that would have sucked.

This kind of Andy Kaufman-esque gag might draw an exasperated yawn from some jaded millennial reader, but for those of us who were alive during the years of National Lampoon and the Theater of the Absurd, it’s a warm and welcome return to interactive and impish humor.

That’s right, get off my fucking lawn!

Mr. Sucky concerns the playful and putrid mishaps of a serial killer, his latest would-be “victim” and the killer’s dim-witted “acolyte”. But then that is like saying Mel Brooks’ The Producers is about two desperate men trying to stage a play; the description is far too simple and doesn’t do it any justice.

Without spoiling all of the surprises that this “manual” has in store for you, I can safely say that Mr. Sucky is meant for people who relish clever twists, colorful colloquialisms and dastardly denouements that don’t exactly go the way you’d expect them to.

While reading this charming book, one gets the nagging sense that they are talking to a familiar voice, perhaps the demented id or superego of their own private brain nugget. Bradshaw handles dialogue in much the same way that maverick crime writer George V. Higgins or controversial playwright-cum-filmmaker Martin McDonagh employs it; the conversations are the action and fucked if they’re not a full-on assault of the imagination.

I should confess to being a hardcore Anglophile who was weaned on the comical wonders of Benny Hill, The Young Ones, Fawlty Towers and The Dangerous Brothers. As such, I may be predisposed to Mr. Bradshaw’s particular brand of comedy. But I trust that anyone who reads this will agree that it’s an absurdly awesome tome that offers all the wit, cringe and reward of the best ripping yarn.

Mr. Sucky is billed as a Gore Com publication and I have to say that “gorecom” pretty well describes the book’s blend of the macabre and the mundane. A perfect example of the ghoulish comedy that Bradshaw has in store for you can be found on page 22 when our befuddled villain, Clive Beauchamp, reminds himself of his personal mantra.

Instead of WWJD or YOLO, Beauchamp’s acronym is the hilariously and arbitrarily long PFAETCHWUTTKS, or Prepare For Any Eventuality That Could Happen When You Try To Kill Someone. Remember, it works better with a Welsh lilt. ; )

The best thing that I can say about Mr. Sucky is that it has few peers in literature or, really, any other artistic medium. The closest you’ll probably get is Quentin Dupieux’s 2011 film Rubber, but even that highly meta exercise in deconstructured horror-comedy pales in comparison to what Bradshaw has attempted and achieved with this one.

If you’re anything like me, this waggish novella will leave an idiot grin on your face akin to the adorable smiley face illustration on its back jacket. As the author’s official website declares, Mr. Sucky is ready to come out of the cleaning closet. Snatch him up today.

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