She’s Just a Shadow – DVD Review

by Zakary McGaha

Holy hell, this movie left me speechless. If you’re a fan of horror, trippy thrillers that take place in our world but don’t feel like it and/or bloody crime/noir, then you’re going to dig this movie.

The craziness is amped up to 11 on a scale of 1-10, yet it’s full of characters who are yearning for something. Sure, self-degradation, substance abuse and ultra-rape are all part of this movie’s fabric, but the characters retain a human quality that pits them in constant tension with their surroundings.

The gist of the story is that there’s a prostitution ring—not human-trafficking—and they’re dealing with both a bigger crime organization that’s out to get them as well as a fucking serial-killer who abducts women, jerks off on them and leaves them tied up on the train tracks. Meanwhile, many people involved in the main prostitution ring are wanting to get out of the whole ordeal, and not just because they’re tired of the constant violence.

The movie is beautifully shot. I’d dare say it’s prettier than Mandy. It’s also bloodier, more poignant and more insane. In fact, that’s a good way to gauge if the film’s for you before you watch it: if a crazier yet more concrete version of Mandy sounds like your cup of tea, then you can’t go wrong.

It’s hard to write about She’s Just a Shadow for the sole reason that it’s such a visually enticing film. It’s the type of thing you just need to experience.

However, I would like to stress one of its strengths again: despite being a super-visual film, it actually has a story. It’s not just style with no substance.

5/5 stars. The Motorist commands you to watch it!

Books That Will Open Your Brain Basket, Part II

By Reverend Bob

Turn back.

Now move forward.

Step into a realm of cosmic slack and arcane power where politicians light each other on fire and zealots buy their own damnation at discount prices. It’s a place where you can reclaim your lost Yeti powers and vanquish the mongrels of reasoning to the abyss of cerebral pandemonium.

Join us as we venture down the Day-Glo hallway of the forgotten verbal ministry, a landscape of remote possibilities and foreboding revelations. In these volumes you will find lasting proof of what those who know don’t say and those who say don’t know.

Belly flop into the fun with us, my brethren. You’ll be happy you did and your brain’s reward system will give you a sloppy French kiss.


Who is worthy to open The Book, and to break the seals thereof?

That is the question, iddn’t it?

From one Bob to another Bob, I ask you this: Don’t you want to go beyond science, reason and orgasm, Bob? Admit it, Bobby. You know you want to!

In these hallowed pages, you will find everything you need know about humanity from the cheap initiation of the cheap initiation overmen to the best kept secrets of patriopsychotic anarchomaterialism. By the time you’ve read it cover to cover, you will be able to blow missiles out of the sky with your brain waves and satisfy the urges of the infrared woman.

The reason to buy into the Church of the Sub-Genius is quite clear—It puts more “BULL” in your BULLDADA, Bubba!

H.L. MENCKEN’S SMART SET CRITICISM (Edited by William H. Nolte, Cornell University Press)

The ideal brain enema after your induction into the Church of the Sub-Genius, H.L. Mencken’s compendium of criticism, barbs and horselaughs is a hellacious ride down the River Styx of sinfully sophisticated wit.

Mencken is remembered as a humorist, but he is also one of our finest moralists, a man who rejected pat assumptions, superstition and irrationalism of every foul stripe. Mencken was more than a critic, he was a guidepost to a future that was to be utterly free from the offal of wasted and myopic minds.

Valuing knowledge and scientific evidence over the cheap hucksterism of the times, he believed that man should not put stock in kneejerk reactions or simple dilletantes. Today his sharp asides can be taken en masse as a sort of blueprint for the satire that would come to define modernity.

Never one to suffer snake oil salesman or witch hunts, Mencken’s writing can be summed up by this passage from The Way to Happiness, his review of Thomas Dixon’s “Comrades”:

The first chapters of this intolerably amateurish and stupid quasi-novel well-nigh staggered me, and it was only by tremendous effort that I got through them all. After that, I must confess, the task became less onerous, and toward the end the very badness of the book began to exercise a nefarious fascination. I was exploring new worlds of banality, of vapidity, of melodrama, of tortured wit. I felt the thrill of the astronomer with his eye glued upon some new and inconceivable star—of the pathologist face to face with some novel and horrible coccus. So I now look back upon my two hours with Comrades, not with a shudder, but with a glow. It will lie embalmed in my memory as a composition unearthly and unique—as a novel without a single redeeming merit. It shows every weakness, fault, misdemeanor known to prose fiction, from incredible characterization to careless proofreading, and from preposterous dialogue to trashy illustrations.

No, I am not going to tell you the plot. Buy the book and read it yourself. The way to happiness lies through suffering.

CANDIDE, VOLTAIRE (Signet Classics)

I’m not gonna tell you all about Voltaire or his magnum opus because that’s why “BOB” invented the internet. I will tell you that the Signet collection of Voltaire’s work is one that you can’t afford to skip. In increasingly senseless times when fake news and derision drive our everyday lives, it’s important to remember the subtle teachings of Voltaire and his rejection of rationalization in favor of action.

In Candide, we are graced with a witty voice far removed from the dick and fart jokes that have replaced smart humor in contemporary society. This is a piece of precision prose tailored by a master craftsman who informs us that we should be tending our “gardens” rather than indulging blind optimism.

THE BOOK OF BIZARRE TRUTHS (Publications International, Ltd.)

Reality is stranger than fiction. That’s a cliché for a reason, Bob. This mammoth book compiles all of the weirdness one could hope to learn about in one handsome leather bound volume that could easily be used to crack open your neighbor’s skull for the purposes of studying his brain.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A Polish mummy kills ten researchers when they expose his wood.

No? Well, you’ll hear all about it in this massive volume along with everything you never knew you needed to know about maggot therapy, Poop-Freeze, weed farmers, weevils, tickling and solar egg frying, to name just a few.


If Poop-Freeze seemed like the strangest thing you’d ever read about in a mass market book then you obviously didn’t know that our second U.S. president was a cerebral assassin. Chances are, if you didn’t know that then you probably weren’t aware of John F. Kennedy’s motto, “Expect death around every turn.” Kind of ironic, isn’t it? I mean, he must have really had something on his mind during that Motorcade.


If you think American presidents are just a bunch of stuffed shirts, you don’t know Jack, Bob. Author O’Brien delivers all the dirt on how the leaders of the Free World opened can after can of whoop ass.

From Thomas Jefferson’s six disparate devices of destruction to Harry S. Truman’s remarkable skill with cuss words and nose punchings, How to Fight Presidents illustrates the full might of the men of the Oval.

Keep your Andalusian eyes peeled for more brain nuggets as something weird this way comes.

Like and share this post or we will release the whirligigs and the whistle pigs.

The Weird on Television: 6 Weird Books That Should Be TV Shows

Weird fiction isn’t something that occurs exclusively on the fringes of the literary world. Consider Neil Gaiman’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel American Gods, which, as we all know, was adapted into a television series on the Stars network. There’s no denying the literary weirdness of American Gods, even if Gaiman isn’t quite as strange as the work many of his lesser-known, oddball colleagues such as Thomas Ligotti. China Mieville’s The City and The City also appeared as a television serial for BBC in April, 2018. Although I haven’t read the novel or watched the series, my sources tell me it’s a well-know weird classic (and that it isn’t very good, although I’d prefer to confirm this myself). As everyday life in the 21st century feels increasingly like weird fiction, its no wonder that mainstream audiences find themselves adaptable to entertainment firmly beyond the pale.

Although I prefer books to television, I’m entirely in favor of the weirdification of popular entertainment. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 6 works of weird fiction that ought to be adapted to television. While television is well outside of my expertise, I’ve watched more than my share of it like any good American. I’ve included short attempts to rationalize my choices below. What would you add to or omit from this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Dhalgren by Samuel Delaney

Of course, why not begin with a sci-fi masterpiece? This novel is dark, strange, and meandering enough to make it a perfect fit for television. Delaney’s writing is also beautiful, and while a transfer to the screen inevitably entails a certain loss when it comes to language, no prose is better suited to a representation by strong imagery than the prose you’ll find in Dhalgren. Rich, melodious, and eerie, Delaney’s writing strives heroically to be visual. Why not add an explicitly visual dimension, then, to this unsettling dystopian nightmare? Delaney’s haunting novel is packed with a wide cast of colorful characters, a jumble of intertwined subplots, and a compelling aura of mystery surrounding the protagonist, making it an ideal candidate for adaptation to television.

2666 by Roberto Bolano

While we’re on the subject of huge, meandering novels, why not include Roberto Bolano’s critically-acclaimed 2666? While you’re likely to find this title in any mainstream bookstore, it’s certainly as weird as they come. What screams “television” more than the hunt for an elusive serial killer centered on a “heart of darkness” narrative located in a small Mexican town? The answer might be “a lot of things,” but as a devoted fan of the first season of HBO’s True Detectives, I see a ton of similar potential here. Again, we are faced with a daunting cast of characters, perspectives, and loosely connected plots; while this may seem discouraging from a production standpoint, I see an opportunity for the enterprise to spill over into multiple seasons. A looming, dark, Latin American counterpart of True Detectives? Count me in!

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

“Come on, man. You must be kidding.” I know, I know; I can practically feel your protest, but just hear me out. While Ligotti’s short fiction seems hardly suitable for TV, imagine a resurrection of Twilight Zone based on these macabre little mind benders. True, Ligotti employs some literary mechanisms, like epistolary narratives, which would be hardly translatable to the screen, but imagine the kind of imagery the right director could glean from these stories! Think a black and white noir series mixed with slick CGI for scenes like the one in which the cosmic void opens in a dream within a dream before the psychoanalyst’s patient in “Dream of a Manikin.” I’d sure as hell watch it.

Gateways to Abomination by Matthew Bartlett

Speaking of choices that make no sense at first flush, let’s consider Gateways to Abomination. As a series of disconnected short stories and vignettes based around the town of Leeds and the occult WXXM radio station (apparently only available to listeners who stumble across it by accident), Matthew Bartlett’s stunning book may seem like a producer’s worst nightmare. To glean a unified story rather than a series of independent episodes a la Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, some rewriting might be necessary. Even so, the story of someone unsuspectedly stumbling across Leeds and into the kaleidoscopic nightmare world of Bartlett’s disturbing and vivid fiction is destined to be better TV than American Horror Story.

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

As the teen werewolf and vampire craze, as represented by shows like The Originals and The Vampire Diaries, eventually dies, choking in the steaming viscera of insipid writing and overplayed tropes stolen from Anne Rice, someone needs to come sweeping in with a strong series that washes the sour aftertaste away. Stephen Graham Jones set out to do exactly that with Mongrels, and he should be duly honored by carrying his purgation boldly into the realm of television. Mongrels is a coming-of-age novel based on a family of werewolves sans the overwhelming cliché of trendy teens driving unrealistically nice cars. In short, Mongrels isn’t pretty, but it’s compelling enough to serve as an antidote to the whitewashed world of TV “horror” aimed at audiences more concerned with high school romance than the darker aspects of life.

Celebrity Terrorist Sex Bomb by Bob Freville

What is more TV-friendly than celebrity, sex, and terrorism? What about an unholy mashup of the three? I’ve told Bob before he needs to write a script for this, and I hope one day he does. If someone made it into a television series, that would be awesome as well. Celebrity Terrorist Sex Bomb is a weird and wonderful ménage a trois of violence, extremism, and biting cultural satire just waiting for a witty personality to bring it to life for the screen. Hilarious, irreverent, and exorbitantly colorful, there’s no doubt that this little book holds plenty of potential for an engaging series based on a female protagonist abducted and indoctrinated by Islamic terrorists only to be deployed as a WMD against the shallow culture of America’s rich and famous.

What do you think? What would you add? Am I way off base here? Do any directors or actors come to mind for the above adaptations? Let us know in the comments below!

-Justin A. Burnett

Profixer® by Austin James

Are you generally dissatisfied with your life? Those everyday stresses of the middleclass American Dream got you down? Feeling too goddamn human? Fear not! We’ve got the solution for you—just Swallow the Rainbow™. Talk to your healthcare professional to see if the Profixer® Power Pack regimen is right for you.

Strawberry Monday:

  • Taking two Red capsules with a glass of milk results in a state of butterfly bliss and twittery sunshine. Unicorns giving birth to rainbows in your cranial juices. Everything smells like ignorance and teddy bear dreams.
  • Side effects may include: the bitter, quivering squeam of anxiety. A gut punch of bloodshot jitter. What if you’re never the same again? What if this is the new normal? Whatif? Whatifwhatifwhatifwhatifwhatif?

Tangerine Tuesday:

  • Taking an Orange pill on an empty stomach calms the tidal chaos of anxious breath. Your thought patterns coagulate, and your viscera engage in their standard post-riot activities.
  • Side effects may include: bleak, dying, withering depression. A regulated maiming by the heavy windchimes of death. Gloom blankets your world, spoiling everything jovial and jolly. You’re gonna drown in this. Gonna drown in this.

Lemon Wednesday:

  • Dissolve a Yellow tablet in Taiwanese oolong tea and sip over breakfast to exile the downcast demons back into the deep intestinal caverns where they dwell.
  • Side effects may include: fistfuls of rage percolating alongside your spinal fluid. Blood grows ballistic with creeping, seeping, gurgling wrath. You need to destroy something…something beautiful.

Kiwifruit Thursday:

  • A handful of Green pills before your morning piss shrinks the rage back down into manageable, random doses of annoyance.
  • Side effects may include: vigorous, blistering heartburn. Digestive juices and corrosive enzymes hack away at esophagus tissues. Everything tastes like broiled flesh and campfire smoke. Drinking liquids only makes it worse.

Blueberry Friday:

  • Taking a Blue pill (with a fiber-heavy snack) twice before lunch douses the acidic bonfire smoldering in your sternum.
  • Side effects may include: an onslaught of cankerous mouth ulcers erupting blood and pus and anguish. Every pore of your tongue and cheeks prefer chewing on graveled glass over this torture. To salivate is to suffer.

Plum Saturday:

  • Three Indigo gel capsules shrink mouth sores back into an acceptable state of dormancy, reducing pain from agony to measly irritant.
  • Side effects may include: throbbing, thrashing cluster headaches. The sinuses swell, blotting against your vision. Noises whisper-volume and up crack like car crashes inside your skull. A kitten’s purr is a thunderous pistol whip.

Eggplant Sunday:

  • Pop a Violet pill with your eucharist. The headaches dissolve. Sinuses melt and numb until pacified.
  • Side effects may include: feelings of generic dissatisfaction with your pathetic, bullshit middleclass life. You’re just too fucken human for this shit. But we’ve got pills for that!

Austin James is a functional schizoholic with caffeine in his blood, gypsy spit in
his spinal fluid, and an incredibly lazy pseudonym. His prose and poetry have been 
published in multiple magazines and medias (such as Bizarro Central and 
CLASH Media), as well as a few books and anthologies.

The Wonderful Weird of Mike Patton

There are two kinds of music fans out there: those who worship music, and those who worship personalities. Maybe this is a hasty generalization, but personality is the only way I’m able to account for the level of devotion some musicians seem to inspire in their fans. It’s almost a truism that many musical personalities simply aren’t worth all the fuss from a purely musical standpoint. I’m very pointedly not naming names to keep from derailing my focus, here, so let’s just go ahead and leave comparisons behind and move on to one particular musician worthy of such fuss.

Mike Patton is the fucking bomb. I’m not generally going to feature full posts on a single musician or band here, but when I do, they must satisfy three categories: sufficient uniqueness, talent, and diversity. Patton breezes through each of these qualifications without breaking a sweat.

Most fans know him as the charismatic frontman of Faith No More. While Faith No More is undoubtedly Patton’s claim to fame, that’s not the reason I’m writing about him. I have a confession to make, while we’re here: I don’t even like Faith No More. I know, blasphemous. I’ve tried, again and again, to make it through each album (because, of course, it’s fucking Patton), and the only one I’ve halfway gotten into is The Real Thing, and even then only because, I suspect, “Epic” was all the rage in junior high. The nostalgia element should never be underestimated when discussing music.

What the Faith No More crowd might not know is that FNM barely scratches the surface of Patton’s capabilities. More relevant to the bizarro fans and lovers of weird this blog is intended to entertain is Patton’s highschool band (I know, right? Whoudda thunk?), Mr. Bungle.

I discovered Mr. Bungle pretty soon after first hearing Tom Waits. I was just beginning to learn that a whole dimension of strange and otherworldly music existed out there besides Primus. Bungle fans will assume here the obligatory statement about how “Bungle changed my life,” and they are justified in doing so. Bungle’s breed of hellishly brutal genre-hopping remains largely unmatched to this day, even though the band is now long defunct. Bizarro fans mostly already know about Bungle. If there are any who don’t, you have no idea what you’ve been missing.

And here’s the catch, Faith No More fans: this still doesn’t scratch the surface of Patton. I could go on and on. Patton has worked with Bjork, in metal, alongside John Zorn, in hip hop, punk, as a composer, has manifested in pure noise, in movie voice parts (I Am Legend… yep, seriously. He’s the vampire things), in soundtracks, in italian, as the founder of the record label that The Queens of the Stone Age work under… I could go on, but that’s Wikipedia’s job. Today, I’m more interested in sharing my five favorite Patton albums. Let’s get right to it.

Quite possibly my favorite moment in all of music is when Patton joins The Dillinger Escape Plan for 2002’s Irony is a Dead Scene. This is, bar none, my favorite EP of all time. This very well could’ve been a suicide move for DEP, if they hadn’t discovered a worthy successor in Greg Puciato and hit hard with Miss Machine following Patton’s departure (something tells me, though, that nothing really could’ve stopped the Machine). Nevertheless, Irony is a Dead Scene perfectly brings Patton to the fore of his chaotic side, making for a diverse and disturbing disembowling that this Patton fan cherishes every second of.

Disco Volante is widely Bungle’s least praised album. This is a shame, since it’s the best one. Following on Bungle’s self-titled debut, the carnival vibe has been toned down for a more diverse and challenging palette of electronic experimentation and sprawling song structures. This is Patton at his most diverse (well… outside of his work with Fantomas). It’s one of those albums I can listen to a million times and still find something new. I mean that literally. I really do still find stuff in the mix I hadn’t noticed before, and I’ve been listening to this album consistently for fifteen years.

It’s impossible for me to pick a favorite Fantomas album, so I’ll go with Delerium Cordia, since it doesn’t get the hype it deserves. This album features a single track over 74 minutes wrong (I meant to type “long” but I’m leaving “wrong,” since that’s as accurate as a Freudian slip could possibly get). It’s supposed to be a soundtrack to a surgery gone south, but I find it best to immerse yourself in this one without preconceived notions as to what you are supposed to get out of it. This is a very rewarding listening experience and I encourage you to attempt it. Force yourself to be patient with this one. Open yourself to the nightmare. As a side note, this is great writing music as well.

This is the strongest specimen of Patton’s extensive work on the hip-hop side of things. In 2004, Patton teams up with New York DJ trio, The X-Ecutioners, for this wild and tasteful dive into intricate sampling and vocal experimentation. This is one noisy album, but certainly to be appreciated by fans of the likes of DJ Shadow, particularly his work on the magnificent Endtroducing. Patton proves that he is capable of adapting to any musical environment on General Patton, and he doesn’t simply “survive” this atmospheric change. He makes a damn brilliant album out of it.

And who can leave out Patton’s sophisticated solo project? The food-themed Pranzo Oltranzista features a cello, guitar, percussion, and alto sax (wielded by than Zorn himself) while Patton experiments with non-lyrical vocal effects. This probably ties with Delerium Cordia as the most atmospherically disturbing album on this list. It’s what I loosely call “chamber” music (meaning, in my inaccurate terms, a small, somewhat traditional ensemble performing relatively formal arrangements), but it is by no means “boring.” There are many sick and twisted “chamber” recordings out there by traditional composers, and Patton’s, despite being a “rock star,” is among some of the best. This is an amazing feat, if you think about it. How many rock vocalists can go from metal to hip-hop to formal composition? There aren’t many.

This doesn’t even remotely touch on all the facets of Patton’s brilliant career. In a future second part of this blog, we’ll dive a little deeper. Comment your favorite Patton album!