MINOR STARS • Through Pinholes in the Sky LP

MINOR STARS  • Through Pinholes In The Sky LP 


Minor Stars LP_1

By the looks of this LP -the record the isn’t something I think I’d typically listen to or try to seek out… but after I threw it on my turntable and cranked the volume I was pleasantly surprised by the heavy fuzz of these North Carolina psych-rock vets. It reminds me of some Sabbath minced up with some 90’s indie shoe gaze. “Cavepainter” the first song on side 2 really should have been the opening track. It’s super heavy with killer dragging Sabbathy doom riffs and some great vox. I’d maybe compare parts of it to really really early Soundgarden. The production and mastering is really stellar making it super pro. You can tell much time and effort was put into this record, and these guys really tried to make the perfect product for themselves. The bass sustains all the way through the record.  

Minor Stars LP_2

My only complaint would be the sequencing…. Side 2 should be side 1. I think the songs on side 2 are way better/heavy and might get people who might not typically listen all the way through to actually flip the record over with some real excitement. Guys, if you read this get at me next time for sequencing advice (har har har). I’m really glad I got to experience the band’s record… Like I mentioned earlier it’s nothing that would have come across my radar but I’ve listened to it four times in two days. I’d dig seeing them live to see if they can pull this full sound off live.  (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom


Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA



1985, USA

Starring: Melissa Leo (Cookie), Dale Midkiff (Duke), Leon (Jason), Antonio Fargas (Finesse), Julie Newmar (Queen Bee), Annie Golden (Phoebe), Greg Germann (Creepy)

Director: Joan Freeman

Viewed: Streaming

Transfer Quality: Decent

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The n’ at the end the title here had me half expecting a comic romp with plenty of wacky pimps, hookers, and tricks, but this turned out to be a pretty grim street subculture exploitation movie with some heavy vengeance thrown in for good measure. It’s both superficial and super-grim, which makes it super-fun to watch.

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Streetwalkin’ is really a hidden gem with surprisingly well-acted, albeit cartoonish, caricatures of stereotypical street hustlers, johns, and cops and a good balance of violence, nudity, action, and implicit moralizing to keep you interested for 84 minutes. It’s also a very well-made film, so I was a little surprised to see that its director, Joan Freeman, only directed one other film, Satisfaction (1988), with Justine Bateman (that I kinda wanna check out now) and wrote the script for Uncaged (1991), which seems to be a remake of Streetwalkin’. I’m guessing the subject matter is what keeps this from getting regular runs on Sunday afternoons on cable, because this is a movie I would put in the same high re-watchability category as, say, The Substitute (1996) or New Jack City (1991).

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Without giving too much of the story away, the set up and plot are pretty run of the mill: kids run away from a troubled home life to the big city and find themselves lured into the world of sex work as a means to get by a sweet-talking pimp who takes them in then reveals himself as a mind-fucker and abuser (and later a psychopath). However, a power struggle between him and his rival pimps results in every man and woman for themselves free-for-all in the second half of the movie that really sets this film apart. I was also surprised by the level of nuance portrayed in the friendships among the prostitutes. On the surface, they’re all best friends who’ve always got each other’s backs, but only to the point that it doesn’t impact their livelihood or their status with their respective pimps. It’s actually a little jarring to see the seemingly close friends quickly turn on each other as the shit hits the fan at different moments in the movie when pimps are jockeying for their power positions.

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Aside from all that, it was fun spotting the many familiar faces and stars of past and future, including Annie Golden (The Shirts, Orange is the New Black) as the stoned out Phoebe, Antonio Fargas (Foxy Brown, Starsky and Hutch) as the pimp Finesse, and Leon (Colors, Above the Rim) as the pimp Jason. The standout performances, however, come from pop culture legend Julie Newmar (Batman, a million other things) as the street strutting mother figure, Queen Bea, and future Academy Award winner, Melissa Leo (The Fighter, a million other things), in her film debut as the film’s protagonist, Cookie.

Highly recommended!


Spoiler Alert! —

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The Happytime Murders

2018, US 

Director: Brian Henson

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph

Viewed: Streaming

Transfer Quality: Lame

You’d think that an R-rated, foul-mouthed, raunchy Jim Henson Muppet movie would be a side splitting, tear inducing, pants-wetting laugh riot, but somehow they failed utterly.

The movie takes place in an alternate reality where “Puppets” are marginalized citizens…unlike the real world where Muppets live along side us in harmony. A former LA cop turned hard-boiled puppet P.I. by the unamusing name of Phil Phillips bops around the city trying to figure out who is behind a string of hits being carried out on Puppet celebrities. Along the way, he enlists the help of his former partner, played by Melissa McCarthy. Of course, they both already have a major grudge against each other because that’s how the laws of nature work in the derivative buddy-cop universe.



Like a lot of people, I had high hopes for this. When the trailer came out and that hilarious silly-string ejaculation scene, which was played in its entirety in an inept marketing misfire, was about as funny as it gets. However, the trailer went viral and everyone interested in the movie saw it a nine million times months before it was even released. In the end, they literally blew their load by previewing the funniest parts.

The rest of the movie suffers from a lack of comedic timing. The pace is sluggish and somehow jokes just come out lifeless, awkward, and forced; as if they were over-confident that the premise could carry the laughs alone. Brian Henson doesn’t seem to put a lot of passion into the film. Even the “Puppets” aren’t up to the usual Henson quality. They seemed like knock-offs, which might have been the point, but they seem too clunky. I mean, let’s face it, aside from the elaborate Dark Crystal characters, the average Muppet must cost the Henson’s maybe $3.00 to build. He could have tried a little higher to respect his dad’s legacy.


Melissa McCarthy is savagely annoying and obnoxious, but I’m not going to go that much further into it. The old Muppet films were funnier and edgier without any obscenity. This is a bad movie that had the opportunity and resources to be good. Consider how the Henson’s knocked The Dark Crystal out of the park on Netflix. This, however, is a case of a pitch that looked good on paper but was then followed up with lackluster execution.

I don’t usually post bad reviews, but I wanted to make sure no one sees this by accident.


THE BROOD (1979) / SCALPEL (1977)

The Brood : Scalpel
The Brood / Scalpel double bill at the New Beverly, March 10, 2020. Photo: Matt Average

THE BROOD (1979)

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle

SCALPEL (1977)

Director: John Grissmer

Starring: Robert Lansing, Judith Chapman, Arlen Dean Snyder, Sandy Martin

Before the world went down the toilet, and all the movie theaters were temporarily closed,  I was able to catch the double bill of The Brood, and Scalpel at the New Beverly. This was part of their month long series of double bills as they originally played in Los Angeles. The Brood print was pretty good, despite how old it is. Scalpel was the surprise of the night for me. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s entertaining, and one I would watch again. 

I look forward to the time when the theaters reopen and we can all sit in the dark and escape from daily life, with a soda at hand, and a couple of vegan hotdogs. (MA)






DERANGED – Confessions of a Necrophile (1974)

DERANGED: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974)

Directed By: Jeff Gillen, Alan Ormsby

Starring: Roberts Blossom, Cosette Lee, Leslie Carlson

Viewed on Prime-Great transfer!


Wow… I had never checked this one out but found that it was pretty damn entertaining to watch. This film is based loosely on the serial killer Ed Gein (though they’ve changed his name to Ezra Cobb for the film).

What we have here is the story of a simple farmer whose domineering mother dies and he just can’t recover from the hold she had on him even after her death. The lunatic’s loneliness and pain slowly turn him into a murder junkie. Ezra brings his rotting mother home after robbing her from her grave. He learns taxidermy and some embalming to try and restore his mom while having conversations with her about killing “sluts” that he can’t trust. He preserves the corpses of many other dead girls and has them all set up at the dining room table.

This is a pretty low budget movie, but the acting is good and the dark black humor kept me giggling to myself throughout its entirety. If you are looking for a lot of gore and violence you won’t find a ton of it here. It’s more deranged and creepy more than anything else (though it does have things in it that will scare you, and gross you out).  Parts of this movie have that Motel Hell, or Texas Chainsaw vibe to it (just not quite as gnarly)

For me the only real bummer about this obscure classic is the TV reporter narration that they throw in from time to time to explain how things that might have gotten lost in the story make sense. It’s a cheat that really doesn’t work very well for this film. I think if the writer put more thought into the script he’d have figured out a way around needing the narration from the reporter. (NW)


Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Matt Average: MA

DESTRUCT self-titled LP (2020)

DESTRUCT •  self-titled LP (2020)

Grave Mistake Records 


I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time. DESTRUCT are from Richmond Virginia and Share the guitarist from ENFORCED. The dude Zack is pretty amazing both as a player and a writer, he seems to be able to do it all. 


This record is straight up BASTARD worship done pro with some other influences thrown in here and there. For those of you reading this that have never heard the legendary Japanese Hardcore band BASTARD I envy you. I wish I could have my mind blown once again by hearing BASTARD for the first time. Other than BASTARD, I hear DISCHARGE, and most people will snicker when I say this, but I hear early SHEER TERROR vocally.  Obviously, I don’t think that was done on purpose, but I hear a lot of “I Just Can’t Hate Enough” when the singer is screaming along to these vicious tunes. To me everything about this record is perfect. The production is sick, and the drums just pound right through the speakers and keep my head bobbing. The production is spot on.  I can’t imagine I’ll hear another HC record that comes out in 2020 that will have me as excited about it as this one does.  Don’t sleep on this one, hit up Grave Mistake Records or your local record shop to get this one before its gone.  (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom


Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA


DARK THOUGHTS • Do You Dream 7″

DARK THOUGHTS • Do You Dream 7” 45

Peterwalkee Records

Dark Thoughts cover_1

This Philadelphia band gets love from all around the world. If you’ve never heard them and are like me (semi out of touch), but love that East Bay Lookout Records sound then you need to grab some of their shit immediately. I think what does it for me with them is that they get it. They understand that the production is super important, and if these songs were produced in a modern way they might just be another generic pop punk band. But, like I said, they seem to get it, and always make sure that the recordings have that late 80s early 90s rawness that isn’t polished like many bands these days go for.  I think the bands recordings might be the most important thing about them. Sure, the songs are super catchy and melodic, but if they didn’t have that DIY sound I know that I’d have no love for them.  The shit doesn’t sound digital at all.
At any rate this is a single for the Must Be Nice album.  One of the two songs, “It’s Too Late”, on the B Side,  is exclusive for this here record.

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom


Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

Dark Thoughts cover_2