Friday, December 29, 2006

(early) media update: December

I'm posting this early because I plan on spending most of the weekend in a drunken stupor. G2 and R are flying in from Washington for G's New Year's Eve party, and I'm excited as all hell because I adore them.

In the holiday spirit, I shall now share my personal hangover remedy with you: two Excedrin Migraine washed down with a Coke. It's not completely foolproof---it didn't work after the Great Van Nuys Drunkening of Ought-Four, for instance---but for "lighter" hangovers, it works like a charm.

Anyway, on to the media update. I'm telling you, it's always feast or famine when it comes to my reading material. Fortunately, after last month's drought, I managed to find lots of books to occupy my time.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. Red Chrysanthemum by Laura Joh Rowland: Fun random quote from this book: "Reiko recalled that the [chrysanthemum] was a symbol of male love because its tightly gathered petals resembled a boy's anus." Huh. Anyway, this is the latest in Rowland's samurai mystery series, and it's a corker. Sano, who is second in command to the shogun, must try to figure out who killed an influential lord. Unfortunately, Sano's pregnant wife was found naked and covered in blood next to the body, which complicates things a little bit.

2. Brother Odd by Dean Koontz: The third, and most meh, installment of Koontz' Odd Thomas novels, about a young fry cook who communicates with the dead. My favorite part of this series is the ghost of Elvis.

3. The Case of the Good-for-Nothing Girlfriend by Mabel Maney: A kitschy, homoerotic parody of Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames. (I'd never heard of Cherry Ames, but Wikipedia says that she was the starry-eyed nursing school heroine of a series of books that came out at about the same time as Nancy Drew and were aimed at the same demographic.) I was a rabid Nancy Drew fan as a kid, and Maney's got the style down pat, from the "golly gee!" banter to the endless wardrobe changes.

4. Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris: I have a theory that Thomas Harris actually died while writing Hannibal, the sequel to Silence of the Lambs, and someone took over and turned it into a slapdash parody of Grand Guignol. Then that person died, and a high school student who's seen Silence of the Lambs at least, like, five times was tapped to write this prequel. Seriously, what the hell happened to Thomas Harris? Did Hannibal Lecter cut off the top of his head and scoop out the part that wrote Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs? This book SUCKED. The characters are cardboard parodies, the writing is stilted, and basically Thomas Harris, or whoever wrote this swill, shits all over what used to be one of the most compelling characters in contemporary literature. Shame, that.

5. Lullabies for Little Criminals* by Heather O'Neill: Oh my god, this was such a good book. It's about a 12-year-old girl named Baby (which is her real name; she comments that that's what happens when people have children too young) who lives with her junkie father in between stints in foster homes and reform schools. It's beautifully written---for example, she describes bird footprints in the snow as looking like the characters on a Chinese menu---and powerful as all hell. I've gone back and edited my "best of" list for 2006, because there was no way I could leave this one off.

6. Lost Girls & Love Hotels by Catherine Hanrahan: I got this book in spite of its cheesy manga-inspired cover, not because of it; I was intrigued by its premise. A young American woman flees her troubled past and tries to lose herself in Tokyo. I loved the descriptions of Japan, but the rest of it was just so-so, although the ending was surprising. I really enjoyed the "P.S." section of the book, though, which includes an essay on love hotels. I still really want to stay in one.

TOTAL READ IN 2006: 53


1. Beauty Junkies* by Alex Kuczynski: An incisive (pardon the pun) look at cosmetic surgery, from the Botox craze to "surgery safaris". If more people knew the collagen injected into their faces might have come from foreskin stem cells or cadavers, do you think it would still be a $15 billion industry? Then again, if I had the money, I'd let them inject stem cells from the foreskins of cadavers into me if I thought it would fix that Mariana Trench between my eyes for good.

2. Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love: A fascinating collection of Ms. Love's journal entries, juvenalia, ephemera, photographs, and handwritten lyrics. I wish she'd write a real autobiography though. (Side note: the included picture of Kurt, Frances Bean, and a kitten is one of the sweetest things I've ever seen.)

3. MySecret: The latest compilation from the PostSecret project, in which people jot down their biggest secrets, ranging from the funny to the horrific, and anonymously submit them.

4. Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy: A fascinating look at childbirth through the ages. I won't be using the placenta recipes, though.

5. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson: This book is about the cholera epidemic that raged through London in 1854. Fun fact: some people used to make their living picking up "pure", or dogshit, and selling it to tanneries. I must remember this the next time my job is irritating the hell out of me.

TOTAL READ IN 2006: 74


1. Swan* vol. 8 by Kyoko Ariyoshi

TOTAL READ IN 2006: 76


1. The Break-Up: Wow, was this ever mismarketed; I wouldn't consider this a romantic comedy at all. Sure, there are some funny moments---I particularly liked the scene where a would-be suitor of Jennifer Aniston watches nervously as Vince Vaughn plays Grand Theft Auto---but most of it is uncomfortable in the same way it is when you watch a couple with whom you're friends fighting. Strange ending too, although I admire them for not using the alternate ending (included as an extra on the DVD).

2. Mission Impossible III*: An implausible but wildly entertaining thriller starring notorious crazycakes Tom Cruise. Easily the best of the three M:I films, thanks to J.J. Abrams at the helm.

3. The Devil Wears Prada*: A young woman's dream job---working as an assistant to famous fashion editor Miranda Priestly---turns into a nightmare when she finds out just how demanding her boss really is. This was way better than it should have been, thanks to the performances and snappy dialogue, and even though I generally don't give two shits about fashion, the outfits were amazing.

4. Fearless: Jet motherfuckin' Li, boy! What else you need to know?

5. Cars: Very cute, and gorgeously animated, as expected from Pixar. However, it didn't really engage me, probably because it's rather difficult to identify with anthropomorphized cars.

6. Lady in the Water: Pretentious claptrap from M. Night Shymalan. If he keeps churning out duds like this and The Village, his career will be---wait for it---all washed up. (Oh, come on, like I could resist.)

TOTAL SEEN IN 2006: 85
TOTAL SEEN ON A PLANE: 1 (This would have been two, but I fell asleep about ten minutes into You, Me, and Dupree.)
TOTAL SEEN IN A CEMETERY: 1 (Psycho, watched at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery during their movie night. I didn't put it on my media update because I've seen it before, which is why the numbers don't add up.)


1. "Yummy" by Gwen Stefani: Hi, "Milkshake" much?

2. "No Remorse" by Atari Teenage Riot

3. "Alone Again Or" by The Damned

4. "Can't Stop Falling in Love" by Naoki

5. "Koe" by Tsukiko Amano

6. "Butterfly" by Tsukiko Amano: This is the ending theme for Fatal Frame 2, and hearing it will always remind me of standing in line to play the demo at the 2003 Tokyo Game Show.

7. "Soramimi Cake" by Oranges & Lemons

8. "Hop, Skip, Jump!" by Five Spirits

9. "Love My Way" by Psychedelic Furs

10. "More Than This" by Roxy Music: I don't remember who said this, but I once read a quote that said, "If you share a good bottle of wine with a woman while listening to Roxy Music and you still can't get laid, there is no hope for you, my friend."

11. "Pale Shelter" by Tears for Fears

12. "Never Say Never" by Romeo Void

13. "Atomic" by Blondie

14. "They Don't Know" by Kirsty MacColl

15. "Dance in the Memories" by Meiko Nakahara

16. "Actress in the Mirror" by Meiko Nakahara

17. "Embrace That Sky" by Kanako Wada

18. "Sad Heart Is Burning" by Kanako Wada

19. "Read My Mind" by The Killers

Monday, December 18, 2006

2006: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Now that I've finished my media-related "Best Of" lists for 2006, there's just one more left to do: the best and worst things to happen to me personally in 2006. These are more or less in chronological order, not in order of preference.

And yes, there are twice as many good things as bad things, but those bad things REALLY sucked, so it basically comes out even.


1. Because my department at the time was shuttering its doors, so to speak, and the vast majority of our work was being routed to other offices, I spent the entire month of January getting paid to read, take extra-long breaks, and mess around online. At one point, I asked T, my boss at the time, if there was anything I should be doing, and he said, "I don't know, have you tried Spider Solitaire?" Such a thing of beauty was not destined to last, of course; see #1 on the bad list.

2. I discovered a massage school near the Merry Mansion that offered hour-long, full-body massages for $30. I tell you what, a biweekly massage does wonders for my state of mind, not to mention my notoriously tetchy back.

3. My trip to Sequoia with G, his sister and her family, and his best friend C. The park was breathtaking, and I got to know C better on the drive up there too.

4. Daddy-O and St. G got engaged. Even though I still find her air of entitlement offputting, I like her much more after seeing how she came through for my dad during Crappy Thing #5 , and she makes him so happy.

5. Both R and Daddy-O recovered from Crappy Things #4 and #5 and are doing better than ever.

6. I got to meet a fellow blogger I’ve been reading for years, and he was as funny and charming in person as he comes across in writing.

7. I finally got to try kobe beef, and it was so worth the wait.

8. I’m still healthy (mostly), sane (generally), and employed.

9. Thanksgiving vacation in Florida with G and his family.

10. Two years and counting with G. Because mutual friends read this, and I know he’d get embarrassed if I went into a sapfest, I’ll eschew the mushy in favor of the cryptic, and refer you to a certain song by the Eels.


1. After getting heat from his boss, the much-feared Dragon Lady, about keeping his last few employees idle, T pimped me out to a department that was so mind-numbingly, ass-achingly, soul-suckingly shitty I almost turned in my notice. I managed to stick it out, only to be moved to mail and file for several weeks. That was marginally better---which gives you some idea of just how bad the other department was---but more dangerous; during my stint, I suffered from paper cuts, blisters, and a run-in with the mail cart that literally left me scarred.

2. I got sick an unusual amount in 2006, ranging from several cases of food poisoning to a severe case of bronchitis that ruined the last half of my Easter vacation and left me barely able to speak. Oddly enough, despite my bad luck, I managed to avoid the food poisoning that felled dozens of employees at the Cube Farm employee appreciation picnic.

3. April 16th. G, who was starting to get sick with the aforementioned bronchitis, and I, feeling as though I teetered on the brink of death and one more coughing fit would send me plummeting, left New Jersey and flew home on a plane piloted by someone who must have gotten his license from the John Denver Quik-E-Fly School of Aviation. We caught the Van Nuys flyaway shuttle and were sitting there waiting to leave when the bus was rearended. We wound up sitting there for over an hour, which caused our tempers to skyrocket and left me wondering which one of us had pissed off a gypsy.

4. R, my older brother, suffered from health problems that forced him to go on disability for a couple of months.

5. Daddy-O's hip replacement surgery. The surgery in itself was a good thing, of course, since now he'll be able to walk without excruciating pain, but the process of his recovery was not. I'm glad I was able to help out, but my god, those two weeks were some of the longest and most exhausting of my life.

Friday, December 08, 2006

best of 2006: non-fiction

And now it’s time for my favorite non-fiction books of the year. This was an unusually good year for non-fiction, so this category was very hard to narrow down.

The usual disclaimers apply:

  • I'm not sure if all of these were originally published in 2006, but since that’s when I read them, this is where they go.
  • Your mileage may vary.
  • These are not in preferential order, as that’s too wearying a task even for a confirmed obsessive-compulsive like me. As I mentioned before, I read a ton of excellent non-fiction this year, and I couldn’t even pick a favorite! I tried to choose between 1, 5, 6, and 7 and gave myself a headache.

1. Devil in the Details by Jennifer Traig: A fantastic memoir of the author's battle with scrupulosity, which is obsessive-compulsive disorder based in religion. God, is this book funny! Read it and marvel at your relative normalcy.

2. Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood by Adrienne Martini: A raw, often blackly funny memoir about the author's struggles with postpartum depression, which has run in her family for generations. Choice childbirth quote: "It's like getting the best Christmas gift ever, but Santa decided to kick the crap out of you before you unwrapped it."

3. My Pet Virus by Shawn Decker: At the age of 11, the author found out that he had received a HIV-tainted transfusion during treatment for his hemophilia. This memoir recalls everything from his dating traumas to the backstage visit with Depeche Mode he received from the Make A Wish Foundation. Darkly funny, self-deprecating, and uplifting.

4. But Enough About Me: A Jersey Girl's Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous by Jancee Dunn: The author alternates recollections of some of her more memorable celebrity interviews with personal anecdotes, and it's a fun, breezy, gossipy read.

5. Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent: The author was curious about how men really act when women aren't around, so she went undercover as a man for eighteen months. This is a riotously funny, occasionally sad book that made me feel both unbearably tender and incredibly pissy towards men.

6. The Year of Yes by Maria Dahvana Headley: Bored and wondering if she was too picky when it came to guys, the author vowed to go out with anyone who asked her on a date. Parts of this book were so funny that I was doubled over laughing in the break room, earning me nervous looks from my coworkers. It's also a good reminder that sometimes the biggest chances you take reap the greatest rewards.

7. Superstud, or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin by Paul Feig: These essays about the author's adolescence are literally laugh out loud funny. I was reading this book in bed one night, and I had to clap a hand over my mouth, lest my hysterical chortling wake K or the neighbors.

8. Straight Up & Dirty by Stephanie Klein: A chronicle of the author's return to the single life after her divorce (or, as she puts it, after leaving her "wasband"). It's not only gloriously raunchy, but it's hysterical, and those are two great tastes that taste great together.

9. No Touch Monkey! by Ayun Halliday: A collection of anecdotes, some howlingly funny, some excruciatingly painful and/or gross, from the author's world travels. (And I'm sorry, but despite the title, I will touch a monkey given the opportunity.)

10. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: Devastated by a nasty divorce, the author decided to spend a year traveling the world and trying to find herself by engaging in the titular pursuits. Occasionally too corny and/or hippie-dippy, but generally funny and illuminating.

AND THE WORST: You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen: Okay, lady, so the Ovitzes weren't exactly the greatest employers. Quit acting like you lived through Buchenwald!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

best of 2006: fiction

All righty, on to my favorite fiction of 2006. A few notes first:

  • I'm not sure if all of these books were first published in 2006, but because 2006 is when I read them, this is where they go.
  • Your mileage may vary.
  • These aren't in preferential order, although I did make note of my definite favorite.
  • Despite the fact that this is the fifth year in a row where my favorite novel is incredibly disturbing, I swear I'm normal. Mostly.
  • To expand upon the previous bullet point, in case you were wondering, the previous winners were: The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann, and Dark Hollow by John Connolly.
  • On 12/27, I changed #5, which used to be Manstealing for Fat Girls by Michelle Embree.

1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: Through flashbacks, an elderly man tells the story of his years spent traveling with a circus during the Great Depression. Vividly written and by turns heartbreaking and funny.

2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: An unnerving modern Gothic about a reporter who reluctantly returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two little girls. I think the less you know about this book, the more you'll enjoy it, so I won't say anything else. Oh, except that it fucking ROCKS. I would have read it in one sitting if I hadn't had to work and sleep. Say hello to my favorite book of 2006!

3. Cell by Stephen King: King returned to his roots with this gutclencher about a bizarre phenomenon which travels through cell phones and turns people into insane, bloodthirsty zombies. I devoured every tense, gore-soaked page. Unfortunately, it set up expectations that Lisey's Story would be just as good...which it most certainly wasn't. Oh well.

4. Triptych by Karin Slaughter: Three stories---a cop with dark secrets, a sad sack ex-con who stumbles across a sinister scheme, and a promiscuous vice cop---seamlessly intertwine in this taut thriller. More twists than a jumbo-sized bag of pretzels, and I guarantee you won't see most of them coming. Warning: Karin Slaughter is very aptly named, so if you have a weak stomach, you're not going to want to read any of her books.

5. Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill: Oh my god, this was such a good book. It's about a 12-year-old girl named Baby (which is her real name; she comments that that's what happens when people have children too young) who lives with her junkie father in between stints in foster homes and reform schools. It's beautifully written---for example, she describes bird footprints in the snow as looking like the characters on a Chinese menu---and powerful as all hell.

6. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant: The adventures of a famed Italian courtesan and the dwarf who is her constant companion. Gorgeous prose as elaborate as any Renaissance painting.

7. Baby Proof by Emily Giffin: Claudia Parr, the protagonist, marries a man who doesn't want children any more than she does...and then he changes his mind. Most chick lit is utter trash, but Giffin is one of the rare authors that's a credit to the genre.

8. The Ruins by Scott Smith: A group of vacationers in Mexico befriend a fellow tourist whose brother has disappeared. They decide to go in search of the brother, and very, very, very bad things happen. This book takes some time to get going, but once it does, it doesn't let up. Be warned, you do NOT want to eat while reading this. Seriously.

9. The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld: Even though Curtis Sittenfeld wrote Prep, which made my top ten list last year, I hesitated to read this because the title and the cover photo (a crown-wearing frog) made me think it was going to be chick lit. Well, that was pretty fucking stupid of me; I should have known better. This is a wonderful book about Hannah, whose search for love and struggles to deal with family and the real world struck many a chord with me. I have some minor criticisms about the last chapter, but the rest is golden.

10. Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst: I about had an orgasm when I found out that Carolyn Parkhurst had a new book out; her debut novel, Dogs of Babel, is one of my ten favorite books of all time. While this isn't quite up to its predecessor's lofty standards, it's still riveting. It's about a group of people on a reality show (obviously based on "The Amazing Race") and the things they learn about themselves and each other. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

AND THE WORST: The 5th Horseman by James Patterson: Okay, there’s got to be something nice I can say about this book., the short chapters are a nice concession to the ADD generation.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

best of 2006: manga/graphic novels

Now it’s time for the best manga and graphic novels of 2006. The Americans and Brits made a very strong showing this year, and for the first time since I've been doing these lists, a gaijin takes top honors! What the hell?

A few details before I begin:

  • Not all of these were originally published in 2006, but since this is the first time I’ve read them, they show up here.
  • I read all of these in English, but they aren’t all available commercially in North America. I’ve put an asterisk after the title if they’ve been published here.
  • These aren’t in preferential order, although I did make note of my favorite.

1. Tokyo Babylon* by CLAMP: A teenage boy with strong spiritual powers fights to protect Tokyo against evil spirits. The first few volumes are standard “freak of the week”, but eventually the story takes a dark and tragic turn.

2. Swamp Thing: Love and Death* by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, and Shawn McManus: When G told me I should read the Swamp Thing graphic novels, I laughed out loud. Come on, how could a story about a swamp thing be any good? Talk about cheesy! But this super-dark, hallucinogenic take on Dante, in which Swamp Thing must rescue the woman he loves, is brilliant. And oh my god, that "sex" scene? Not remotely erotic, but one of the most bizarre (and strangely touching) things I've ever seen in a comic, that's for damn sure.

3. Maka-Maka by Kishi Torajiro: This originally appeared in the Japanese version of Penthouse, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

4. Keep Out by Akira Kanbe: A man who's afraid to love finds his defenses being breached by a charming young man.

5. Fortune Fortune by Mizuki Jun: A man receives a lucky cat statue that turns into a real person...or, rather, a catboy. A very, very horny catboy.

6. Cancer Vixen* by Marisa Acocella Marchetto: A memoir about the author's battle with breast cancer. The art is pretty crappy---I've seen her work in The New Yorker, and she can draw, so I'm assuming she kept it simple due to the length of the book---but it's funny as well as heart-wrenching.

7. Fun Home* by Alison Bechdel: Written and beautifully illustrated by the woman behind alternative comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, this brilliant memoir is about her closeted gay father, his apparent suicide, and her own sexual awakening. Lovely, melancholy, and occasionally quite funny, this is a prime example of the medium at its best...and my god, those last two pages took my breath away. My favorite of 2006.

8. Absolute Boyfriend* by Yuu Watase: A cheerful and charming story about Riiko, a teenage girl who, through a series of unexpected events, finds herself in possession of an android boyfriend.

9. Swamp Thing: The Curse* by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben: There's a great feminist fable in here, a la Ginger Snaps, that was so damn cool and observant I had a hard time believing a man wrote it. Yeah, I know that sounds sexist as hell.

10. Desire Climax by Ukyou Ayane: With her family desperately in debt, a teenage girl takes a job at a mansion where the teenage son has his own plans for her. Really twisty and rather hot.

Monday, December 04, 2006

best of 2006: movies

It's time for my highly opinionated list of 2006's best movies. True, the year isn't over yet, but if I see something between now and December 31st that begs for inclusion, I'll update accordingly. But first, a few notes:

  • Not all of these were first released in 2006, but that’s when I first saw them.
  • Your mileage may vary.
  • These aren’t in preferential order, and I had no definite favorite. It's sort of a three-way tie between numbers 1, 2, and 5.
  • G, I know how spoilerphobic you are, so you might want to skip the descriptions for 1, 5, and 6. Everything else I saw with you!

1. Borat: Oh my holy Christ. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a movie...a sentiment apparently shared by everyone else in the theater, since at times the laughter was so loud and hysterical that I couldn't hear the dialogue. Okay, so the character is a misogynistic, anti-Semitic, bad suit wearing jerk...but come on, how could you not love someone who refers to masturbation as a hand party and brings a black hooker to a snooty Southern dinner party?

2. Running Scared: A gritty, superviolent movie about a guy who disposes of guns for the mob. His neighbor's kid gets hold of one of the guns, which was used in a cop killing, and all hell breaks loose. It's got amazing style, an almost unbearably tense and creepy scene that ends in the most justifiable vigilante act in cinematic history, weird Tim Burtonesque ending credits, and a scorchingly hot (though far too brief) sex scene. If you can handle the violence and the stream of swear words (according to IMDB, the f-word and its variants are used over 300 times), you'll enjoy the hell out of it. Lost fans: watch for Elizabeth Mitchell (aka Juliette) in a very unsettling role!

3. Oldboy: A twisty Korean thriller about a guy who's been imprisoned for 15 years and has no idea why. When he's finally released, he sets out to find the truth, and much shit hits the fan. There are some really cool moments in here, including a hallway melee that's done with no edits, and the story constantly kept me guessing (and guessing wrong, I might add). Warning: there is a scene where the main character eats a live octopus, for real, and it's utterly disgusting.

4. Thank You for Smoking: A brilliantly barbed satire of the tobacco lobby. I was disappointed that my absolute favorite scene from the book was shortened, but it's still a great movie.

5. Hard Candy: A nailbiter of a film about a 14-year-old girl (Ellen Page, who's phenomenal) who hooks up with an older man online. His intentions are bad; hers just may be worse. Highly recommended, although men may have a very rough time watching it.

6. The Descent: A tense thriller about a group of women who go spelunking and run into some serious trouble. Between this and The Ruins, I don't think I'll be visiting any caves for a while.

7. Transamerica: Felicity Huffman is absolutely brilliant as Bree Osborne, a transgendered individual who's one operation away from being a complete woman. She discovers the teenage son she never knew she had, and together they embark on a road trip. Parts of it are a bit too soap operaish, but overall it's a fun, poignant movie.

8. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: A twisty film noir with snappy and smart dialogue. Be sure to watch the gag reel; you will be both horrified and aroused by Val Kilmer and his hummingbird tongue.

9. Clerks 2: Unbelievably, unabashedly raunchy, and really damn funny. It’s worth watching for Jay’s Silence of the Lambs imitation alone, but if you can keep a straight face through the donkey scene, the ass-to-mouth debate, the Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars conversation, and the pussy trolls, then you’re either a better person than I, or you’re Joel Siegel.

10. Slither: A gleefully disgusting movie about alien parasites that invade a small town at the height of deer season. Be warned, it's unbelievably gross, but it's also very funny, and if you can stomach the gore and goo, you’ll have a blast.