Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Once I'd Like To See Someone Gruntled

Inglewood, CA

Passive Arts Studios is a fetish club off La Cienega next to the airport. Last week employee David Edward Albert, 54, was fired.

Last night he killed the owner and his dog and burned the place down.

Or maybe it was the other way around. They haven't determined cause of death, yet.

The bodies of the owner, John Cavine, and his dog were found in the wreckage of the nondescript building in an industrial section off the freeway. Deputies found Albert hiding in the bushes outside the club. He was injured and claimed to have been hit by a car as he was crossing the street.

Nobody's really buying it. Can't imagine why.

By the way, can we get rid of "Disgruntled"? Just strike it from the language? How about "Crazy Motherfucker", "Murdering Bastard", "Big Joey's Next Prison Bitch"? Something.

Fuck I hate that word. Sounds like a rectal disorder.

Now I guarantee that the big focus on this in the press isn't going to be the murder, the arson, or even the killing of the dog, though I'm sure they'll play that one up.

No, what they'll do is focus on the bondage club and its patrons. We'll be able to enjoy a few nights of tape covered nipples on the news and see lots of tattoos, piercings and latex as they jump on it as though it's some sort of freak show.

Hell, I would. It sells papers.

And really, is this blog post any better?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Put Down The Yogurt And No One Gets Hurt

Venice, CA

At one point there were those who saw Venice as the kind of place that would lead to the downfall of America. Those damn hippies with their dreadlocks, hemp shirts and vegan ways. What's a god-fearin' American to do?

Pull out your guns and take their raw milk.

Armed investigators for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office raided Rawesome Foods in Venice last week looking for unpasteurized dairy products.

No, really. Drew their guns and everything.

Isn't it nice to know that the DA's got a bunch of armed, paranoid freaks working for them? I feel safer from the ravages of organically made cheeses and yak's milk already.

Look, if you really want to do the gun thing go down a couple blocks and hit one of the Shoreline Crips' crack houses, or go after Venice 13. Hell, take down a medical marijuana dispensary if you really have to, not the fucking raw food people.

The fuck did you think was going to happen? Somebody was gonna come at you with an organic squash?

"Watch it, men, it's watermelon season. And you remember what happened to Hendricks last week. He was a good cop, god rest his soul."

At least nobody pulled a trigger.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Chandler

Today is Raymond Chandler's birthday.

His life was a mess, his prose was beautiful, his plots were full of holes.

And, for good or ill, this place wouldn't exist without him.

So light up a Camel, crack open a copy of The Little Sister and raise a slug of Old Forester for the old man. He would have been a hundred twenty-two.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jesus, They're Poppin' Out All Over

Frank Bill's novel DONNYBROOK, which I keep hearing from those lucky fuckers who have somehow managed to get their grubby hands on a copy even though it hasn't been published yet, and his collection of short stories, CRIMES OF SOUTHERN INDIANA has been picked up by FSG.

This guy kicks ten kinds of ass. Check out his stories in Beat To A Pulp, Plots With Guns and the upcoming Needle.

Guy's got style oozing out of orifices you didn't know you had.

So, who's next?

Chris Holm? How about Kieran Shea? Or Kate Horsley?

How about Steve Weddle, Keith Rawson, Kent Gowran, Daniel O'Shea, John Hornor, Chuck Wendig?

I won't take bets. I can't figure it out. They're all really fucking good. Check out those sites up there. Read some of their fiction.

You'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

As She Should

Christine Pelisek of the L.A. Weekly is being honored at City Hall this morning for her part in the Grim Sleeper case.

L.A.'s newspapers have a lot of amazing talent. Pity some of those newspapers have becomeutter shit.

But that's a different rant.

Anyway, if it weren't for Pelisek y'all wouldn't be hearing about The Grim Sleeper. She's the one who broke the story on the 800 Task Force that was pulled together after the LAPD realized they had a serial killer returning to his old stomping grounds, interviewed the only survivor, and (for good or ill) coined the term Grim Sleeper.

From her work on Murder Was The Case, the L.A. Weekly's answer to the Times' Homicide Report, to her coverage of serial killer Rodney Alcala's trial, the gangs of Drew Street, and SWAT officer Randal Simmons, who died in the line of duty, her work is top notch.

So if you're not reading her, start. It's worth it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We'll See How This Ends In 2035

Riverside, CA

In September 2006 the bodies of two day laborers, Marvin Gabriel, 22, and Milton Chavez, 28, were found hogtied and duct-taped in the back of a Honda Accord in the Lake Mathews area in Riverside.

About a week later Brooke Rottiers, Omar Hutchison and Franchune Dyuel Epps were picked up by police.

All three have now been convicted of murder with Hutchison and Epps facing life in prison without parole. Rottiers is looking at the death penalty.

So about four years start to finish. Is it me or does that seem like a pretty fast turnaround?

Of course, that's just the trial. The sentence is something else. I have to wonder why we even bother with the death penalty, anymore. Rottiers is more likely to die of old age than she is at the hands of the state. Average time seems to be about twenty-five years.

I imagine, from reading the comments being left here, reactions will be mixed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

SHARKTOPUS!! TRAILER!! NOW!!

Well, what are you people waiting for?

Watch it here.

The bungee scene alone is worth it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This Just In! Jails Are Dangerous!

Los Angeles, CA

L.A. jails have a lot of ways to keep track of their inmates. K codes, for example, are designed to show who prisoners should be allowed to interact with. Inmates testifying against other inmates get K-2, the one he's testifying against gets K-3, gay inmates get K-11 and so on.

Lonnie Franklin Jr, the Grim Sleeper suspect, is K-10, which keeps him away from everybody else because of the risk that he'll be assaulted. Gets to wear a snazzy red wristband, too. Red V, probably, for a noteworthy inmate.

In reality that doesn't always work so well.

Last night he was assaulted by another K-10 inmate, Antonio Rodriguez, who was convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a 5-year-old girl. He broke free of the deputy escorting him while he was being handcuffed, ran over to Franklin and beat the crap out of him.

Here's what I want to know. Why?

Professional jealousy? He got one and Franklin got 10? It's okay to rape and kill children, but shooting hookers is just so gauche? He gets prison props for beating on a slightly overweight, 51-year-old, bug-eyed serial killer?

Now in any fight we're often drawn to one side or the other. But this is kind of like watching Hitler and the Devil square off.

How about we toss them into The Octagon with a couple of lead pipes? Whoever gets out, well, we tell them that they go free, but really we just shoot them.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Name That Bank Robber

San Diego, CA

Between San Diego and Los Angeles there are some, shall we say, colorful bank robbers. They usually go by Something Something Bandit.

There's the Goofy Hat, Floppy Hat, Overweight, Weather Girl, Irreconcilable Differences, Tic-Tac, Enormous Ears, WWF Shotgun, Cuecard and, my current personal favorite, The Geezer.

Now San Diego is showing its innovation once again with The Skateboard Bandit. Guy walks into a Comerica Bank with a skateboard and a pistol, walks out with some cash.

Now, as far as I can see, Skateboard Bandit hasn't been officially endorsed by the FBI, though I suspect it will. These guys have no imagination. I mean, they called the guys wearing Lucha wrestling masks and carrying shotguns the WWF Bandits.

What the World World Wildlife Fund has to do with it I have no idea.

Anyway, this means we have an opportunity. There's got to be something better to call this guy than The Skateboard Bandit.

How about the Backside 360 Kickflip Bandit? The Dogtown Bandit? The Skater Boy Bandit? Hey, he could be an Avril Lavigne fan. I can't imagine why, but you never know.

So, readers... one and a half if my site stats are right, throw out your ideas. What do you think?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Some Dads Have No Sense of Humor

French Valley, CA

I'm not a parent. And believe me that's a good thing. Even though I'm not a dad I can understand why William Atwood Sr., 45, of French Valley might have gotten a little upset when his teenage daughter received a photo on her cellphone from Justin Moore, 23, of the young man's genitals.

But I'm not sure that kidnapping, stripping and tying him up before threatening him with a shotgun and tasering him was what you'd call a measured response.

I mean, stripping? That's just rude.

Riverside Sheriff thinks so, too.

Atwood's up on felony charges like making criminal threats, false imprisonment, assault with a stun gun, and assault with a deadly weapon. He's looking at 16 years in the pokey.

And Moore? No charges. Riverside DA'd have to prove he sent the picture, which he sent to multiple friends, with sexual intent. Seems he was just being a typical 23-year-old asshat who thought his johnson was the funniest thing ever.

Who knows, maybe it is.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Maybe If He'd Bumped Off Some Federales He Could Have Stayed

Los Angeles, CA

Jesus Catalan, 24, was arrested this last weekend for the murder of Paulina Ibarra, a transgender woman, in 2009.

He got onto America's Most Wanted.  Fled to Mexico.  The Mexicans weren't happy about that.

They deporteded him back to the U.S. for being in the country illegally.  There's a certain irony there.
You'd think with all the gunfire, machete swinging and decapitated offerings to Santa Muerte they wouldn't notice one homophobic, knife-wielding asshole.  

Or maybe that's why he stood out.  Must have been a refreshing arrest.  "Does he have an RPG, thirty guys behind him with AKs and a crate full of grenades?  No?  GET HIM!"

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

So They Nabbed Themselves A Serial Killer - UPDATED

Los Angeles, CA

**UPDATE**

His name is Lonnie David Franklin Jr., 51. Seems they got him on DNA.

More as things come up.

***

Maybe.

We've had this serial killer in L.A> going by the name The Grim Sleeper because he took a 14 year break from killing black women in South L.A.

The problem has been that he's left a lot of DNA evidence at the scenes but they had no one to link it to. Now, presumably, they do.

Because the LAPD has announced they've made an arrest.

I'm just hoping they got the right guy this time. The last serious suspect they had was a pasty white guy in a Fresno jail named Roger Hausman.

One, how is anyone not going to notice this guy trawling a black neighborhood looking for prostitutes?

Two, who the hell's going to get into a car with him? He looks like Don Knotts on meth.

Three, he's an idiot. Seriously. He was nabbed on kidnapping charges in Fresno for taking a couple of girls out with the excuse that they were going to help him repo cars. And then he decided to defend himself.

It didn't go well.

He got cleared by the mis-matched DNA evidence. Didn't do it. SURPRISE! Kind of embarrassing.

Crossing fingers that they got him this time. Guy needs to go to jail for a long time.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

SHARKTOPUS! DINOCROC VS SUPERGATOR! Interview With Writer Mike MacLean

You've seen them or at least heard of them. MANSQUITO. CHUPACABRA. SABRETOOTH.

Those Syfy Channel B-grade, 80's inspired, popcorn munching, watch-the-red-caro-syrup-gush monster movies. They're like the ones you'd stay up late to watch on cable between badly dubbed French softcore porn and badly shot American softcore porn. Galaxy of Terror with better production value and no nudity. Or giant maggot rape scenes.

And aren't we all happy we've moved past those? The giant maggot rape scenes, not the nudity. NEVER the nudity.

But who writes these things? How do you get that job? What's it like?

Good questions. Well, I know who writes them. Mike MacLean. He co-wrote DINOCROC VS SUPERGATOR, which recently aired on Syfy and penned SHARKTOPUS (SHARKTOPUS, PEOPLE!!! HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT?), which will be coming up not nearly soon enough.

I met Mike at Thrillerfest in the summer of 2006. Middle of the fucking Arizona desert. A dry heat. Fuckin' bat county is what it is. Perfect place for the man.

Mike is a very cool writer and, at the time, he'd been pumping out the crime fiction. He's had stories in Thrilling Detective, Thuglit and the The Best American Mystery Stories 2006.

So after threatening to release pictures of Mike running through the Arizona desert with nothing but a thong and a .44, he graciously agreed to answer my (admittedly dry) questions.

---


First and foremost, how are you doing?

I've got this nasty rash on my 'nethers with these milky white pustules that... Oh wait. That was one of those "polite conversation" type questions, wasn't it?.... In that case... fine. I'm doing fine.

How'd you get the gig writing Dinocroc VS Supergator?

Roger Corman's story editor discovered "McHenry's Gift" in the Best American Mystery Stories and hired me to write a few screenplays. (For those who don't know, Corman is the undisputed king of the B-movies and has push-started the careers of countless actors and directors, including James Cameron, Ron Howard, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson...) Needless to say, I was thrilled. Then about a year ago, Roger's son, Roger Martin, contacted me. He and writer/director Jim Wynorski (aka Jay Andrews) had the financing to make a movie in Hawaii. Unfortunately, they also had very limited time and only the first draft of a script. They needed revisions, and they needed them yesterday. I was off to the races.

Was your previous experience writing thrillers/crime fiction helpful in that or was it unrelated?

Helpful, without a doubt. I've always gravitated towards crime fiction that is economical, both in its language and storytelling, and that has served me well in screenwriting. Producers and directors don't have time to read three pages of back story concerning the protagonist's favorite pen (I'm looking at you Anne Rice). You need to catch their attention and keep the story moving. Those are skills I learned reading and writing crime fiction and thrillers.


You co-wrote the script with Jay Andrews. How was it to collaborate? What sorts of challenges and benefits did you run into working with someone else?

Every script is a collaboration. On most, I'm fed a constant diet of notes by everyone from unpaid interns to executive producers. Dinocroc vs. Supergator was different since I was revising Jim's work. Syfy has a very particular formula for their Saturday night creature features, and his script already followed it perfectly. The bones were solid, the pacing was great, and it had a fun '80s vibe. I added some conflict between the characters, killed some of them off, and streamlined the dialogue. All in all, I think my changes made for a better movie. But I had nothing to do with my favorite scene, the hot tub/douche bag massacre. So, the collaboration worked well in this case. I think we both added to the soup pot.


What was your workday like? Were there a lot of on-the-fly script revisions or was the script pretty much static throughout shooting?

The workday was crazy. I had two weeks to make major revisions. I know that doesn't sound so tough, but I was also teaching full time and earning my masters degree. On top of that, I had a devilish two year-old to deal with. I couldn't have done it without two things: my supportive wife and gallons of Amp energy drink. It was stressful but fun as hell.


Did you work much with Roger and Julie Corman? Did they have a lot of input into the script or were they largely hands-off during the process?

I didn't work with them too closely on DvS (that's what the cool kids are calling it). But Roger and Julie had a strong, guiding influence on Sharktopus. Syfy gave Roger the title, Roger came up with the basic plot, and I fleshed it out. The highlight of the whole experience was meeting Julie and him in Puerto Vallarta, where the film takes place. I got to tour some possible set locations, including places where they filmed the original Predator. Then we brainstormed on the kill scenes. Roger and Julie came up with one of my favorites.


What's next? Can you talk a little about Sharktopus? What's the premise?

It's called Sharktopus... Do you really need to know the premise? Okay... A mercenary hunts down a genetically-engineered shark/octopus hybrid as it wreaks havoc on beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Blood, bikinis, and Eric Roberts. What more could you want?

The buzz on Sharktopus took off before I was even done with the script. Craig Ferguson from the CBS Late Show did a nine minute bit about it in one of his monologues. It should hit Syfy either late this year or early next.

Financing is being sought for one of my earlier scripts, a noir, street racing film. Think a grittier, tougher Fast and the Furious. Keep your fingers crossed.


Anything else you want to talk about the experience or the process?

I'm just ecstatic to be given this opportunity. I'm from Tempe, Arizona (not LA) and I'm working on films that millions of people will see. I know that doesn't usually happen, so I count myself lucky. Moreover, the Cormans have been nothing but supportive and gracious. I've learned so much from them and appreciate the chance they took on me.

And let us close on a photo from SHARKTOPUS that Mike was gracious enough to send.



Does it get any better than this, people? SHARKTOPUS, BABY! SHARKTOPUS!!!


---

And there you have it. Thank you, Mike for your time and insight. I'll get the photos to you soon.

But I'm keeping the negatives.