I'm sure you have noticed the lack of... anything we have produced in recent weeks. Doubtless the absence of our invigorating original works has left a gaping maw in your life that no amount of good sex, fried chicken, and Colombian brown can fill. In lieu of an apology for this lull, I'd like to offer an explanation.
On April 3rd, an ominous package arrived at the Optimism Vaccine offices, addressed directly to me. Doubly ominous considering I've never given out my actual name. This sophisticated nom de plume has been remarkably successful in throwing creditors off my scent. The package contained an album by something called "Powerman 5000". Having no way to access this primitive medium, I proceeded to use it as a coaster for my vintage color-changing Slurpee mug. But when a second package arrived, containing a crank-powered gramophone, I was compelled to listen to the music of the Powerman. The irreparable damage my now coasterless mug caused to the office coffee table was but the first of many catastrophic consequences of this compulsion.
No sooner had sound begun to bleat forth from the gramophone's horn, than a rapping on the door drew my attention. I've learned over the years that the peephole is a debtor's greatest ally. This visit to my fish-eyed friend only deepened my burgeoning curiosity. I implore you dear reader, if ever you should see such a man outside your domicile, be not beguiled by his bizarre attire. Steel your will and bar your door.
I cannot imagine why, but some of you may recognize this as Spider One, the man responsible for all things Powerman 5000. He burst into our offices, muttering about the future and the revulsion of stars. For eight days, I tried to ignore his discordant yammering, tirelessly working to create more of the unique content you crave. I'm not one to make excuses, but a strange man barking repetitive phrases into one's ear canal can be a touch distracting. Spider One had to go. As any self-respecting film fan knows, the best way to solve these sorts of problems is by typing an overly specific question into a generic search engine. The internet suggested I try using a broom. That proved ineffective. Further research revealed a forum discussion describing a very similar incident. It seems that playing a Powerman 5000 album serves as a mystic invitation for Spider One to crash on the listener's couch for as long as he deems appropriate. This was apparently a pretty big problem back in 1999, when Spider was able to use the success of his older brother, industrial metal legend Rob Zombie, to briefly dupe people into buying these Powerman 5000 things. Countless angsty teens were forced to house Spider One for weeks on end. Thankfully no Powerman 5000 albums have been sold since that tragic year. But now he'd found a loophole by duping me into listening to his awful new record. Spider was now free to take up permanent residence in our offices. Would this be the end for Optimism Vaccine?
Perhaps not. Thanks to an enlightening post by dragula69, I learned of a possible method to expel this loathsome wretch. Internet legend has it that by watching his brother's entire filmography, I can remove the numinous hex by which we are bound. So it is that I've set out to become the world's only Rob Zombie completionist. Having seen the bulk of his previous work, I figured I could break this curse post-haste. His work often fluctuates between the juvenile (The Haunted World of El Superbeasto) and the sublime (The Devil's Rejects), but it's almost always interesting. His take on the Halloween franchise has left him a pariah in most horror circles, but I found his foray into studio hackery sporadically entertaining. Seems the only movie he's done that I have yet to see is the recently released Lords of Salem. Pack your bags, motherfucker.
The Lords of Salem
In Rob's latest film, Sheri Moon Zombie's buttcrack plays Heidi Hawthorne, a popular DJ who receives an ominous package containing an album from some obscure band. Upon playing the album, her life begins to spiral out of control. This whole plot feels awfully familiar...
With The Lords of Salem, Zombie reaffirms his ability as a skilled mimic. The sumptuous visuals will certainly be familiar to anyone steeped in the horror genre: A sprinkle of Polanski, a dash of Argento, a heaping spoonful of Kubrick, and a pinch of Ken Russell for good measure. Add Nicolas Roeg to taste. The resulting hodgepodge of striking images is reminiscent of Jodorowsky's fascinating excess. Mimics can certainly be great filmmakers (see: Tarantino, Quentin), but the problem with this film is that it's forcing me to compare it to a handful of the best films the horror genre has ever produced. Its bizarre structure, occasionally laughable dialogue, and wildly unsatisfying ending ensure that such comparisons will not be favorable. I'd still highly recommend it for the visuals alone, not to mention the sheer lunacy of the whole affair. Satan is a tentacled midget. Demon popes sit around masturbating. Rob Zombie's wife is mystically transformed into Beetlejuice and gives birth to a squirming turnip Antichrist. You can't make this shit up.
In Zombie's next film, he plans to cast his wife as a spooky plumber. The man must snicker uncontrollably every time he sees the Moon portion of her name.
Alright, so that's it. I've seen everything that Rob has to offer. Begone, vile kin!
He hasn't gone.
Perhaps I've missed something...
I'll consult the Internet Movie Database:
Tom Papa: Live in New York City
Tom Papa voiced the titular luchador in Zombie's El Superbeasto, which I suppose provides some context. Apparently Tom cashed in a favor, hoping that Zombie would lend his signature style to the special, helping it to stand out from the hordes of identical offerings. Nope. This seriously looks exactly like every comedy special you've ever seen. Occasionally switch between cameras, call it a day. The only stylistic element is a limp sideshow performer introduction, which does allow Zombie to shoehorn his wife in there for about 10 seconds. Papa provides a mild likability while tackling fresh subjects like marriage and testicles. This is safe, middle of the road fare, but Papa is an able comedian. Most of the act feels like a Jim Gaffigan B-side. Good to see Zombie's talents as a mimic extend to the most workman-like of aesthetics.
Alright that has to take care of it...
There's something else. Something... procedural.
Seriously, Rob? CSI? David Caruso? Fuck.
CSI: Miami - L.A.
Rob Zombie directed an episode of CSI: Miami. This somehow strikes me as more bizarre and surreal than anything contained in The Lords of Salem. As per usual, Rob does an excellent job of making this look just as garish as every other episode of CSI: Miami. Loyal viewers of Horatio's exploits will be comforted to know the show's signature golden shower color palette and distracting graininess remain intact. The only Rob Zombie moment is in the intro, when your typical CSI murder of the week inexplicably occurs in front of a projection of Nosferatu. Zombie was seemingly brought in because of the actors he could bring with him for guest spots. He wheels out William Forsythe, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Madsen, Billy Gibbons(?), and, of course, Sherri Moon Zombie. What stands out in the episode, apart from William Forsythe's day-glo hair, are McDowell's turn as a ludicrously sleazy stereotypical ambulance chaser, and Madsen's incredible performance as a nefarious ex-Miami Dolphin. Michael Madsen is not an especially large gentleman, but here we're led to believe that he hulks over everyone, in every room, ever. He constantly refers to men of equivalent stature as shrimp or small fry. And because it's Michael Madsen, he's always half-asleep. It's awesome.This is probably the only episode of CSI: Miami where the guest stars manage to out-ridiculous David Caruso.
Alright, my long nightmare is finally over. And yet, the blonde fellow in the goggles continues to rhythmically chant about robotics. However, I believe I've devised a solution: The kitchen is filled with knives of various shapes and sizes. Surely one of these will lead to the blessed silence I require to effectively create. Problem solved.
My sincere apologies to the organizers of the upcoming Rockin' Roots Festival. It has come to my attention that Spider One was simply in town to headline that venerable concert event. It seems there never was a Powerman Curse. Turns out dragula69 was an alias adopted by Zombie himself, hoping to drive traffic to his new film via elaborate ruse. The internet is filled to the brim with untruth. Who knew?
Having seen our ultra-popular Tears for Fears coverage, Spider thought it would be good publicity to mail us a copy of his new album. He then swung by to perform an exclusive never-ending a cappella performance of his work. Then I murdered him with a knife. This article could be damning evidence in my upcoming trial. Good thing I've been writing under this impenetrable pseudonym...