That Is Why… I Pay No Mind

That Is Why… I Pay No Mind

Dear Imaginary Reader:

Hans here. From now on, weekly summaries will probably become my main mode of communication with the fascinating land of Internetia for a while, while I concentrate on THAT NOVEL THAT MUST BE WRITTEN. Make this the place where you can find out what bits of culture, old and new, pop and un-hip, inspire and amuse me on a weekly basis. This week we talk Humans, Aliens, Beck and Wick, and Women who Get Impregnated by Ghoulish Things.

“Alien: Covenant” (Ridley Scott) : The director and I are the only two entities in the galaxy who think “Covenant” was the smartest “Alien” movie since the original. Sure, people touch things they definitely should not touch, but by now that’s a franchise trademark. I COULD have used without the bizarre Michael-Fassbender-on-Michael-Fassbender autoeroticism. (5)

“Humans” S.1: Ridley Scott, Mr. “Blade Runner” would appreciate “Humans,” a British show (remaking a Swedish show, and probably on the way to being turned into an American show) – that addresses what android creators avoid addressing: Our planet doesn’t need realistic humanoids to lift crates, play chess, or explore planets. We need them for robo-sex. There’s no honest sci-fi scenario in which we don’t turn our “replicants” into guilt-free love machines. (5)

“Queen of Earth” (Alex Ross Perry) : Ross Perry has studied his Bergman. “Queen of Earth” smashes two personas (“Mad Men”‘s Elizabeth Moss and “Alien: Covenant”‘s Katherine Waterston) through a glass darkly. But this deliberately unpleasant tale of summertime sadness among the privileged could have used a joke or two. People forget Bergman had jokes! (3)

“At The Devil’s Door” (Nicholas McCarthy, “The Pact”). A graceful Catalina Sandino Moreno and an un-gleeful Naya Rivera play Hispanic sisters called… Leigh and Vera? Also, the Devil pays only $500 per possession. Cheap! All highly implausible, but can we agree that abortion is acceptable in cases of rape-by-Satan? (3)

“American Horror Story” S. 1 : The original, haunted house season. Rubber gimps! Twice as many demon babies as there were in “At the Devil’s Door”! Ghosts in French maid outfits! A house that’s open… FOR MURDER! It’s all Ryan Murphy camp; the TV master of emotional inconsistency never allows characters to behave logically for more than two scenes in a row. But Patrick McDermott, Connie “Mrs. Coach” britton, Taissa Farmiga, and particularly Jessica Lange truly sell it. At the time, some of the most genuine horror ever made for TV. (5)

“Mea Culpa: Alexis de Anda”: On a holier note, this Mexican stand-up delivers jokes in white-wedding setting. Specially of note to Anglo viewers because Netflix did a great joke of translating the more local jokes into American equivalents. (4)


“Jerry Before Seinfeld” : Nostalgic comic trip to a time of more innocent observations about how socks tend to get stuck to the sides of laundry machines in attempts to escape the drudgery of the sock drawer (4)


“John Wick Chapter 2” (Chad Stahelski) : I appreciate the all-out kinetic style of this Keanu Reeves series, but they could have let SOME substance into the fray. (3)

“Mellow Gold.” (Beck) I’m digging into the Beck vaults in a late bid to build up to “Colors.” Beck is too good to turn into a 90s artifact in my head. “Mellow Gold” was not technically his debut, but certainly his debut as far as it concerned a pop culture that was suddenly in love with losers. In here, Beck happily absorbs Captain Beefheart, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, NWA, Nirvana, and the Beastie Boys into the Beckian Hip-Folk he would abandon maybe too soon. So good and full of surreal quotes (aside from the deliberate noisey crap.) “Pay No Mind” and “Nitemare Hippy Girl” are the best. (5 Cherries)

The Sneaker Pimps- “Becoming X.” Kelli Ali and the Sneaker Pimps were once big: In ’96, “6 Underground,” “Clean,” and “Spin Spin Sugar” all tripped-and-hopped even into this decidedly uncool kid’s ears. The Pimps never recovered after Ali’s removal. Her career, although existent, has been on the underground side. (4)

The Sneaker Pimps’ “Clean” inspired at least one episode of Heather Meade’s supernatural romance webcomic, “Dream*Scar”. Younger, more romantic fans of the genre should enjoy. (3)

“Cliff Burton” (Rodolphe) : Not just the late Metallica bassist, but also an adventurer in a series of “bande dessinees” written by the one-named Rodolphe and originally drawn by Frederik Garcia. Burton is the halfway point between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, dashingly solving crimes in the shadow of Queen Victoria’s Empire, while ejaculating curses that sounded British enough to a French writer: “Holy Queen’s Damnation! Bloody Blaster!” (4)

“Cheap Caffeine” (Nathan Schumate) : Yes, it’s remarkably like David Malki’s “Wondermark,” but that’s a compliment. (3)

“Amazing Superpowers” (Wes and Tony, whoever they are.) It’s no longer active, but still among the funniest strips out there. Half Saturday Morning Breakfast Club, half Perry Bible Fellowship. (5)

“SimCity : Build It.”- (IOS) : I’m obsessed. I can see that little city in my architecturally-elaborate dreams. I will one day have to explain to God why I wasted so many hours on THIS. (4)


archive 81“Archive 81”: Sci-fi/ horror podcast about a transcriber of paranormal phenomena in a shady government facility. The tapes he listens to (about the tenants in a “Welcome to Nightvale”-ish nightmare building) make unnerving use of aural spaces. On-going. (4)

“1st to Die” (James Patterson) : Fast paced, hacky procedural, opener in the Women’s Murder Club series. A series of “Newlywed” murders implicate a best-selling mystery writer who is presumably NOT James Patterson. (3)




“The Orchard Keeper” ( Cormac McCarthy) : Southern mayhem of Biblical cadence and sentences running wild and redolent with fruits and a sworn enmity toward commas. (5)





“Between the Assassinations” (Aravind Adiga) : Revisits “White Tiger” territory too closely. Short stories depicting life in a small Indian town, which I assume to be fictional by virtue of its too convenient triangulation of Christian, Muslim and Hindu influences. (4)




“I Am Not Esther” (Fleur Beale) : YA cult “expose” from New Zealand with few revelations for adults, and few literary aspirations. (3)




The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ Safari.” I can love them, but not take them seriously. Beyond “Pet Sounds” and the vital “Best Of,” I just wasn’t made for those times. Songs to Surfboards and Woodys are Californian stupidity at its most harmonious; but they’re always are too short to engage anyone’s disgust. “Moon Dawg” is awesome! (4)

Clear Light- “Self-Titled.” Dark and muddy 60’s mix-bag. “Mr. Blue” is the memorable track. (3)




Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands has a wealth of Bob Dylan bootlegs on YouTube that ensure I will always have a chance of hearing “Mr. Tambourine Man” in all its miraculous permutations. Currently: A 1978 Concert from the Pavillon de France and a 2015 one from some intimidating-sounding place in Germany. (4)

Lindsey Stirling dances frantically to her violin. I believe “cross-over” is the industry’s cynical term. Do her Zelda medleys or the such pander, or are they genuine appreciation of Koji Kondo’s Nintendo scores? Who cares? Sprightly background music. (4)




Glad You’re Here. Let Me Catch You Up!

Dear Imaginary Reader:

Let me catch you up. Hallucina used to be quite the encyclopedic pop culture blog. Writer Hansel Castro loved exploring culture from ABBA to ZAPPA. From Chinua Achebe to Stefan Zweig. From ABC to BBC to CW to HBO. J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis and George R. R. Martin had a mighty gathering where they agreed not to be so cryptically pretentious about their hidden names. There were a lot of Davids there: Bowie, Lynch, Fincher, Cronenberg. There were a lot of movies from the Criterion Collection, and there were Anna Karinas and Catherine Deneuves and there was Alexandre Dumas, specially the SUPER ABRIDGED MARIE ANTOINETTE SAGA and THE SUPER ABRIDGED COUNT OF MONTECRISTO! There were way too many references to Bob Dylan and the Beatles. And there were Stephen Kings and Stephen Sondheims and Steven Spielbergs and Steven Soderberghs, etc etc. Movies, music, books, television, video games, theater, graphic novels, art, etc…

HALLUCINA tried to cover it all.

And then it was doing too many things. There was too much going on and it was about to topple. It was a big messy bear of a blog and like bears, it needed to hibernate. Cubs came out of the cave: A Son Of Hallucina Tumblr. Capsule Reviews on Facebook and Instagram and the such.

In the meantime, Hans entertained himself with:

INTERFAKE (Brief, Fake Interviews with Hideously Famous People- A great, acidic humorous concept that I still love but that isn’t for people without a love for satire and roasting… And maybe I outgrew satire and roasting?)

THE PAGEAHOLIC  (A couple of years of book reviews.)

PICKSHERRY (From May to December of 2017, the delightful Picksherry Family gathered for 125 episodes of critical deconstruction. Other movie critics give you their meager one-person opinion. Picksherry gave you SIX differing opinions to deal with.)

Now, HALLUCINA is quietly back as Hallucina 2. I hope you read along. This will be home base for a while. I will keep you updated on the world of Hallucina, which is the world we all live in: one of new ideas and sights and sounds constantly evolving. These brief summaries will probably become my main mode of communication with the fascinating land of Internetia for a while, while I concentrate on novel writing. Make this the place where you can find out what bits of culture, old and new, pop and un-hip, inspire and amuse me on a weekly basis.What you don’t already know, you will certainly find out. Read on!

Hansel Castro is a Miami-based Writer and Cultural Critic. He Believes that Earth is an Anagram for Heart.