Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: November 2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Beast Horror Pick of the Week


1960 shocker that still remains in The Beast's top 3 horror films of all time. The legends and myths surrounding this movie are now legendary, from Hitchcock turning the water on ice cold in the shower to get the reaction out of Janet Leigh (not true), to Hitchcock not allowing anyone in the theatre after the film had started (true).

But, putting aside all of that stuff, what makes this film shine above all others is the performance of Anthony Perkins. The next time you watch the film, pay close attention to the scene of Perkins and Leigh in the parlor while she is eating. That scene is one of my favorite moments in movie history. Leigh comments that "she fell into her own personal trap" and Perkins offers her a gentle nod and an expression that says, "at this moment, we are the same." He should have won an academy award for that one expression that lasts for barely a second.

Go rent this one again, and make sure you get the wide screen version, having a pan and scan version of any Hitchcock film is one of the silliest things imaginable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Foundation of Thanks

There is a danger here. The Godless are marked by their thanklessness. In turn, the Christian is marked by their thankfulness. But here is the danger: Most Christians lay a foundation of thanksgiving with the wrong things. We are commanded by God to give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thess. 5:18) That kind of thankful lifestyle will not survive on an occasional awareness of thanks. There must be a continual foundation of thanksgiving on which the Christian's life is built. But what is that foundation? I have stated that most Christians build their foundation of thanks on the wrong things. We are thankful for our family, our health, our ability to provide, for food on the table. All are wonderful and we should be thankful for, but they should not be our foundation of thanksgiving. A life that is built on the foundation of those kinds of thanks will soon find itself doubting, concerned and ultimately not thankful. The reason is because all of those things will eventually be washed away. And as they begin to deteriorate, we will begin to find holes punched in our thankful heart, because our heart was on the wrong foundation.

In their place, the Christians thankful lifestyle must be placed on the foundation of the Providence of God. In short, that God has an intimate, moment by moment, unstoppable purpose for his creation, and that His purposes and ways can never fail. The Christian is not woken in the morning to embrace a day with luck or fortune. They welcome God's providence on that day. When a lifestyle of thankfulness is laid with the foundation of providence of God, then we allow these other thankful things in our life, our family, our health, to rest on that foundation. That way, when we lose a family member or our health is taken from us, we have not lost our thankful life. The foundation is still there, the Providence of God.

If you have built your foundation of thanks on things you can see and touch, you are destined to end up doubting the goodness and loving nature of God. We serve God not because of what He does, but because of who He is.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Andi and I saw the 4th installment of the Potter series tonight. After sitting through literally 25 minutes of previews (including one of King Kong, can't wait! By the way, King Kong is distributed by Universal Pictures. Too bad Kong has been removed from Universal Studios in FL, replaced by Revenge of the Mummy.) Where was I? Oh yeah, we got through the previews and the film began. Here is the deal:

I liked the movie. It is entertaining and fun. But, I have one major problem with the entire Harry Potter series. The rules are made up as they go. I hate that. I am all for imagination and movies that "can't really happen," that is the beauty of Hollywood. But, you must maintain a framework of "can't really happen." The most vivid imaginations come from those who can create something extraordinarily different, and make it make sense. Things must have consistency. But, in the Potter movies, if someone needs to all of a sudden walk through a wall that they couldn't 5 minutes ago, no problem! We'll just make up some reason why they can now. I guess it is all summed up in the "magic", but there needs to be more framework involved.

The best example I know is Star Wars. These films deal with an entire different world and people, but it is within a framework. Jedi are not all of a sudden going to be able to fly. Lucas knows that would be stupid. (which, by the way, I was disappointed in episode II when all of a sudden R2D2 could "fly" by using jet propelled legs. Something he could have used all the time in the original trilogy.) Anyway, I think you see my point.

Oh, and it is PG-13 for a reason. There are a few fairly dark scenes.

The Beast Honors Adrian Rogers

Adrian Rogers is a legend inside Southern Baptist life. Not near as famous outside SBC circles as Jerry Falwell or Billy Graham, Adrian Rogers has just always been one of those guys everyone looked to when nobody knew what to do.

Rogers led the way for the strong conservatives within the SBC to "regain" control over the convention. Although that is a direction I am not particular thrilled with inside the SBC, Rogers nevertheless stood strong for his convictions and was a man who loved God and served Him with all his might. He was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church and just recently stepped down as pastor. He died on Tuesday, November 15th.

This past year, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was held here in Nashville. I was able to hear Adrian Rogers preach during that meeting. The Beast salutes his devotion to God.

The Beast's Horror Pick of the Week

Event Horizon

My most vivid memory of viewing this film in the theatre is walking out, and making sure my life was right with God. This flick is downright eerie in every possible way.

I am not a huge space-horror guy. Alien and Aliens were great. But this one is a must see for fans of "Whoa, did you see that?" horror. Anyone see the ring? Remember the sequence of "I saw her face" and then the immediate shot to the closet door opening and the girl sitting in the closet floor with the horrid face? You basically get that the entire movie in Event Horizon, but what you are seeing when they flash you the imagery is not a dead girl, but images of Hell. And they make it look downright terrifying.

Now, I am not a big believer in "shock horror", cheap scares, etc. But those images combined with a good script and great performances by Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne make this an addition to the Beast Picks.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Terror at Public Storage

The Dr. and I were rehearsing for this weekends gig last Thursday night. The Doc left at around 9:45 and I was going to stay behind to work on some stuff for a few minutes. We rehearse in a storage area with a security gate. You have to know a password to get in and out. Well, when I left around 10:30, the password was not working. I was sitting in my car, staring at a gate trapped inside the public storage area. So, I turned around to ask one of the other bands who might be rehearsing to try their password. Usually, there are at least 4 other bands rehearsing at all hours of the night. NO ONE was there. I was by myself. I just sat there a while, and not only did no one approach the building, but no one even drove down the street where the building is located. Twilight Zone man. I even laid flat on my back and slid under the security gate to try the password from the other side. It just wasn't happening. If I had not had my cell phone, I would have been spending the night at public storage.

As it happened, my sister and mom were heading out to Wal-Mart about that time and they came by and picked me up. I left my car in the storage area and left through a gate that was luckily open. What a night.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Laser Quest = Murder?

This was brought to my attention recently, I thought I needed to comment

"Our society has such an obsession with guns and war that even Christians are falling into the deception of allowing their children to play games of war too. In many of the U.S.A. cities, the latest games for kids are called "Laser Quest" and "Laser Tag." The kids are divided into teams that go through dark mazes of rooms trying to destroy each other by shooting one another down with their laser weapons. The most shocking news to me was that many of their customers at these game rooms are Christian youth groups that are going out for a night of fun. Killing one another--even in pretense--should never be a Christian endeavor."
quoted from www.bible.com or something like that.

This one is very simply folks. It's not called Laser Death and Destruction, it's called Laser Tag. You don't "destroy each other by shooting one another down." That is hilarious. You tag each other, not with hands like in the old days, but with a red laser that make a cheesy zapping sound.

I worked at Laser Quest for 5 months (man were those dark times) and if you said "kill" instead of "tag", you were dragged outside and given a beat down by the manager.

There are basically two types of LQ players:
1. The birthday party player. This person only plays when there is an event, or a group of people just going out to have fun. They could care less about their score, winning, or having a strategy. Just being in the maze with the music and blacklights is worth their $7.

2. Fanatics, who spend most of their time and money trying to climb to the top of the member board. Those of us who have experienced the "fanatic" level know that a fun game can quickly turn into an in-depth study of the scoring, sounds, maze levels, and every other aspect of the game. When I was in my "prime", I could literally tell how far another player was from me by the sound of their laser. It was stupid. Rexwilder spent a years salary in 3 months trying to master the game (and he came pretty close!). At the fanatic level, ego is the main word. Everyone wants to be the best, and the word spreads quickly when you reach the top tier of the LQ world. When you walk through the doors, you can feel all eyes turn to you as if to say, "oh great, he's here."

By the way, I'm not kidding here. That all sounds over the top, but it's the absolute truth. I went back to LQ the night before my wedding, a group of us went. (the birthday party level). By the time I came out of the game, I could feel myself already slipping into fanatic level again. It was weird, and if those few people who I used to play with were still around, I could quickly get back into it. I guess it's a good thing their not.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Beast Horror Pick of the Week

The Beyond

Italian director Lucio Fulci, my fav of the Italian guys, directs one of the most disturbing and visually shocking movies of all time. This film falls into what is commonly called "Eurohorror." Put simply, Eurohorror are a group of films that devoloped out of the European community from the late 60's to early 80's. By far, the characteristic that stands out with most Eurohorror is the visual imagery, otherwise known as "the gore."

Now, here is the deal with gore. Most people hate it, and that is fine. I am acually not a huge gore lover myself (and I don't mean the former Vice-President.) But, rather you love it or hate it, you have to understand one thing. There is gore that is done well, and gore that is not done well. Fulci disgusts us in the perfect way with The Beyond. The gore actually helps tell the story. Plus, Fulci was a genius with the score in his films. The sounds in The Beyond are overwhelming.

But beware! There is an edited version of The Beyond out there known as The 7 Doors of Death. This has cut much of the Fulci imagery out of the film, avoid it at all costs! (I actually saw the edited version first and could not believe the difference.) If you are not a horror movie lover, be careful with this one. It will leave potential unwanted images in your heard.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Andi's Birthday

Wow, was this a fun night. We had such a great time together, which is no surprise. Everytime we are together, life is just simply better. But tonight we went and ate a great little Italian restaurant, it was delicious! Oh wait, before that, we went and bought our first Christmas tree! Tomorrow we plan on decorating it. We start early on our Holiday celebration!

After dinner, we headed to watch the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you haven't heard this stuff, you need to check it out. It basically takes classic Christmas music and puts metal guitars behind it. Al Pitrelli is the lead guitarist for the orchestra, and he is terrific. He used to play for Megadeth, one of my biggest influences. But here is the strange thing. . .

The first time I saw TSO, I was blown away. I remember leaving thinking "I am the worst guitar player ever!" Tonight, I left thinking, "I am not at that level, but I can at least somewhat keep up." This is because one of three reasons.
1. I have become a more accomplished guitar player than 3 years ago when I last saw TSO.
2. I have more confidence in my playing than I did 3 years ago.
3. I have become more egocentric than I was 3 years ago.

Whatever the case, it is good to walk away feeling good about where I am in my music and my band. If you haven't heard Devil's Dice by Judah First, I recommend purchasing your copy and see for yourself. . .this really is a pretty good Christian rock band! James Aaron, Chris and Keyth are just simply great musicians.

Anyway, can't wait for this weekend. JF has a show on Saturday and Andi gets to go with me on the road! YAY!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Tonight I witnessed the greatest high school football play of all time. I'm not kidding. 4th quarter, 4 minutes to play, the home team is down by a touchdown. Ball is on the visiting team's 30 yard line. Hand off to the right side, #5 is approached by a defensive player not even 2 yards into the play. As the player goes for the tackle, #5 JUMPS OVER his head and continues with the play to score a touchdown and tie the game. The entire stadium froze for a moment, the players on he field froze for a moment. It was incredible.

Now, you hear people say all the time, "he jumped over him, it was a great play." But this was different. This dude literally leaped over another player directly in front of him and landed on his feet. It would be on Sportscenter if it were a college or NFL play. It was amazing.

Twice during the game, I yelled "keep matriculating the ball down the field boys." Absolutely no one cared, laughed, caught on or even told me shut up. *sighs* Oh well, we can't all appreciate the greatest football quotes of all time.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Beast honors Moustapha Akkad

The horror industry is saddened today at the loss of famed producer Moustapha Akkad. Akkad was killed from the recent terrorist bombings in Jordan. He was in a hotel, there for a wedding. He and his daughter both perished from the bombings.

Moustapha is best known for being the producer of the Halloween franchise. It was basically his life, he produced all 8 of them (a 9th is coming), including the original in 1978, supporting a young John Carpenter and a no-name at the time, Jamie Lee Curtis. Seeing how Halloween is #1 on The Beast's top movie list (including all genre's, not just horror), I kind of felt like I knew this guy. His legacy will live on.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


That is the percentage of Americans who believe in God. Obviously, that is not the percentage who worship Him and offer their lives to Him, but nevertheless according to a recent poll, 92% of Americans believe in God.

I found this to be interesting as I caught a 15 second clip of Pat Robertson. (Somehow it was on while Andi and I were doing dishes. Actually she was doing dishes and I was flirting with her.) Anyway, he actually made a good point. There was a case in the news again of a school refusing to teach the possibility of God being involved in the creative process, only adhering to the evolution theories. Pat suggested that putting aside faith and worship, it would make sense to at least offer the possibility of God being the Creator, seeing how 92% of the country believes in Him, and it is a rather popular view of creation.

While at Belmont, my religion professors were big time into what they called "real education." What that meant for them was that the religion students were not taught only Baptist ideologies and theories, but that we were also made aware of other faiths, other beliefs, other possibilities. Isn't it similar to think that in the school classroom it would make sense to at least offer the other option of creation, not as a worship, church thing, but as saying, "hey, here is another possibility that is supported by a huge number of Americans, even many who do not practice faith or religion." Isn't that education? Placing the options on the table and allowing the students to think for themselves?

In the assassination of JFK, conspiracy theorists began to make up the stupidest crap you can imagine as to how JFK was shot. Americans being who we are, we ate it up. Most people even today will hold to a conspiracy theory with 2 gunmen, one on the grassy knoll and one holding an umbrella. Where did I learn about this stuff? In school. I will never forget the session in my 9th grade year on JFK. The school brought in a CONSPIRACY EXPERT to show the entire 9th grade class pictures that he had doctored where you can see the gunmen, etc. All of it was hogwash, but they thought we should know the other possibility out there besides Lee Harvey Oswald being the sole assassin. Would we have had a 9th grade assembly if only 1,000 people supported the conspiracy theories? Of course not. But because a huge number of Americans believed in this stuff, even as dumb as it was, the school taught it. It doesn't make sense to keep out the God creation theory, which is supported by millions of people, just because it deals with God. That is a lack of education.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Um, this could be bad for me. . .

I saw on the news last night that NBC and other major networks are working on providing On Demand viewing of their most popular television shows, including Law & Order. For .99 cents, I would be able to pick and choose any Law & Order episode and view it immediately. I leaped to my feet when I heard the news and shouted to my wife...."An entire 24 hour period of Law & Order for only $24!" (maybe I didn't leap to my feet, but I was excited). Of course, this could mean bad things for my budget.

So, in honor of L&O, the greatest show on television at the moment (Columbo is probably the greatest of all time), I thought I would write for you The Beast's top picks of L&O Characters. Enjoy!

1. Lennie Briscoe. He is the reason I got hooked on the show in the first place. The very first episode I ever watched, a fellow cop told Briscoe to "stick it." Lennie jumps off the desk he was sitting on and runs up to the guys face with this response. . ."stick it where?" How can that ever be topped?

2. Jack McCoy. I am a sucker for people in movies who are the best, unbeatable, the top in their field. Jack comes across as just knowing more than anyone else, and I like that. McCoy once said that Justice is a by-product of winning. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Any thoughts?

3. Adam Schiff. This guy was always getting the bad news, and he just had a way of dealing with it that was hilarious. No other DA has come close to Adam since he left the show. One of my favorite quotes of his: "Quick, lock the door. Someone will walk in with a case we can win."

4. Jamie Ross. She was my favorite of Jack's assistants. I don't really know why, she could act for one thing.

5. Det. Green. This guy is great. He definitely has his own style and you can't help but like him. He has really grown on me.

6. Det. Fontana. He is still very new, and since he took Briscoe's place, I was going to be a very hard fan to please. But, I have a feeling that Fontana will quickly be rising to the top section of my list fairly quickly. He is tough, smart and quick witted.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Beast's Horror Pick for Nov. 7th-13th

I want to start offering my loyal blog readers a horror pick for the week. Run, don't walk to your nearest video store and check out this week's pick.

The Changeling

1980 haunted house flick that does it right. I am quick to dismiss haunted house movies these days because they all seem the same. A family, or sometimes an individual, moves into a house with joy and happiness. Little by little, their joy turns into terror as they realize their wonderful house is actually a den of the undead. yeah, yeah, lets move on to something original. The Changeling differs in that it is actually spooky. Veteran actor George C. Scott helps the script tremendously and the last seconds of the seance scene is still one the creepiest moments in horror movie history. Plus, we begin to learn that the "haunt" of the house is a small boy who was handicapped. Not only do children always add a layered element of fear (who doesn't shiver everytime they see the twin girls in The Shining), but the fact that it is a child in a wheelchair makes it almost unbearable. The story is apparently based on a actual haunting that took place in Cheesman Park in Denver, CO. Those darn true stories.

Anyway, good luck finding this one. Unfortunately, most video stores, especially the ones with high school students behind the counter, will look at you strange when you ask for it. I highly recommend the search however. It will be worth it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

And the Halloween debate continues. . .

"What, exactly, does modern-day Halloween celebrate? I'm not so sure that the answer is mere neighborliness and fun. In my view, Halloween cannot be disassociated from its pagan origins and trappings, and to attempt to do so may be irresponsible. Also irresponsible is the rationalization that it's OK to participate because it's fun and everyone else does. Halloween customs unfortunately come with a lot of baggage."

That is a quote from a recent blog I read, and it is supported by hundreds of thousands of Christians, mostly fundamental, who can't enjoy the holiday due to it's "pagan roots." Let me just quickly wrap this one up by saying that I am sure those Christians are remaining consistent by also not celebrating and enjoying Christmas and Easter. In case you are wondering, yes, both of those holidays have pagan origins.

BUT, the argument will be made, Christmas and Easter at least specifically deal with Jesus and the Church. First of all, I'm not sure if that is quite accurate, seeing how every pastor in the world will at least once from the pulpit this year attack the commercialism of the holiday. But, if that is your stance, then fine. But you need to refine your argument from "I don't celebrate Halloween because of it's origins" to "I don't celebrate Halloween because it doesn't specifically deal with Jesus and His message." But then we need to eliminate the 4th of July, birthdays, going to the movies, sports, and any other non-Jesus related event from your calendar. The point of Christianity is not to remove ourselves from anything that comes across as "pagan", but rather to shine brightly and uniquely in a world that needs to hear about the Good News. Check out Luke 8:16-17. Jesus says a little something about a light and a basket. Believe it or not, the Bible is really a good read. Try it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

From the world of Judah First

Every now and then you get a message that makes you realize that your music is actually touching someone's life. This is what the band received this past week.

"My friend Kat is definitely not a Christian, but a couple of weeks ago, one of her really close friends killed herself, and I went with her to the Funeral. On the Day of the Funeral, I put in Devils Dice and played Identify for her. She fell in love with it, and asked me to burn her a copy of the CD, so I gave her my Copy along with the Autographed cover. I Figured she would benefit more from it that I would. Now it is Her Favorite CD. I have been so thankful to God, and to you guys for making this all possible. Slowly but surely she's turning back to God."

Ya know, in the middle of making sure you have enough t-shirts to sell, worrying about in-ear monitors, guitar strings, budgets, gas prices, vehicle problems, the stage show, set lists, and fancy looking clothes, it is easy to forget sometimes that Judah First is a ministry that lets heavy metal freaks like me have a safe place to go and hear a positive message. People like Kat help remind me.