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Friday, June 17, 2011

BLOOD - Made of Awesome! Bryan Schussler's Epic interview, with movies, beer, and Drafthouse love. By Bowie Ibarra

"Shoot 'em again... their souls are dancing!"

Full Name: Bryan Allen Schuessler
Code Name/Alter Ego: Shu, Shu-izmz, Shukakke, Shu-izmo, Shu-Tang, Shubacca,
Primary Specialty: writing
Secondary Specialty: watching movies

>>>> Bryan, thanks for coming on the blog. I have to start with this question. It seems that some of the sad crimes that occur in your neighborhood in Chicago upset you, as emphasized by occasional posts on your Facebook? What is it about some parts of Chicago that lend itself to such upsetting violations?

Well, I don't know how upsetting these things get me. I think it is more that I post these links to crime in Chicago, specifically in the neighborhoods I dwell in and frequent because I am a True Crime aficionado and the city of Chicago definitely has lots of crime to go around. I am semi-living with my girlfriend in La Villita (Little Village), which is actually South Lawndale on some maps and on the Southwest side of Chicago. It is a predominantly Spanish neighborhood and gang-infested (Latin Kings, Two-Sixers, etc...). The north side of Lawndale, North Lawndale (or just Lawndale on some maps) is an African-American (or black) neighborhood. I really am not sure exactly what gangs infest that 'hood but there is a large amount of gang violence over there as well. The north side of Lawndale has more run-ins with police it seems, as well as more robberies. At least more of that is actually reported. I grew up in a pretty safe "White", Irish neighborhood on the far North side (Edison Park) so much of this crime and violence that occurs on a regular basis is somewhat new to me. I guess until I get shot by a stray bullet from a drive-by or directly robbed or assaulted it is somewhat exciting and interesting to me to live in a high-crime zone.

What lends itself to the crime in some parts would probably be the gangs in the community and the level of poverty. I think that goes without saying for any neighborhood with high crime. There are many young males and females in Little Village which is one reason there are so many young gang-bangers running around. Even though the police station for this district is half a mile away, and there is a strong police presence here, there are gunshots going off every night and innocent by-standers and young hoodlums getting shot or stabbed weekly. The graffiti all over paints the picture as to what gangs are in what areas. Pilsen, only minutes away, has been featured on History Channel's Gangland showcasing the Satan's Disciples and I have seen their tags and graffiti on the brick walls of businesses in Lawndale (north and south). Take in consideration that Cook County Jail is only blocks away (26th and California) and I am living around around 26th and Kedzie. The jail is practically in Little Village's backyard. Another factor to consider with there being a high-crime rate. Sadly, surrounding neighborhoods (Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, Austin, Englewood) have even higher crime rates compared to Lawndale. 

>>>>> In comparison to the genre of movies you enjoy, are those crimes evidence that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction?

I have always found current events and true crime to generally surpass anyone's imagination or thoughts within films or fictional books. The truth has always been stranger than fiction and that may be one strong alluring component to why I am so interested in the going-ons of the community I am now living in. It really is a cultural explosion for a white boy living in a Hispanic neighborhood that borders several black neighborhoods. After having lived my younger years in Edison Park, I moved out to the Northwest Suburbs with my family to Arlington Heights, a community that is almost entirely white (back in mid-eighties) and very little to zero crime. I did not frequent nor work in the city of Chicago like I do now and have been for the past 4 or 5 years. I only would frequent the city to go to bars, concerts, and sports events. My grandparents lived in Chicago but on the far North side, close to where my parents had lived. I am one to believe that fiction, especially in movies, usually mirrors some part or form of reality of everyday life. So many movies out there have been inspired or are interpretations of things and events that have really occurred.

CM Punk and Bryan.

>>>>> In spite of the crimes, which, in truth, can be found in Anytown, USA, what are some things you enjoy doing in and around the city?

The city of Chicago is truly awesome. There are all levels of income and ethnic backgrounds here and one never has to travel too far to experience either. I love going to the movies in Chicago, especially the independent movie theaters such as The Music Box Theater (3733 N. Southport) on the North side or Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark Street)  (also North side). There is also the Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee) in Portage Park which generally has tons of movie fests on the cheap. A horror site I used to write for had their horror movie fests there and it is one of the oldest and largest movie theaters in Chicago and is really a historical landmark. These are three of my favorite theaters to frequent. I also must mention The Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State Street) and the theater at Facets Mulit-Media (1517 W. Fullerton Ave). The last two I don't generally go to because parking is a bitch!

Aside from movies, I love to go shopping for books, movies on DVD, Blu-Ray, and VHS, and enjoy the plethora of fine restaurants and diners rampant throughout the city. Chicago is a great city to eat in. We have the best pizza in the world! Giordano's, Gino's East, Lou Malnatti's, and a new favorite for me, Piece. Those are where I go to get my pizza. I am also a frequent visitor to the legendary Kuma's Corner, home of the greatest metal burgers on the planet. Chicago also has great hot dogs and so many places to get 'em. When I am not stuffing my face full of food, I enjoy the many independent comic book shops like Brainstorm Comics on North Ave., bookstores like Myopic Books on Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, and all-around boutique shopping. There are so many little stores and shops that offer everything one could want and, for a collector such as myself, I can never exhaust the endless choices when shopping for movies, books, and collectibles.

As for music, there are so many tiny clubs and small to arena-size venues to get one's music fix on, mine generally being metal. I do go to concerts now and then, but my days of moshing and slam-dancing  are over. I like to be lazy and comfortable when seeing my favorite band. I enjoy venues that have balconies with padded seating. Yeah, I am lazy and not very interactive at the shows I go to these days. Some of my favorite venues are Metro, Vic Theater, Riviera Theater, Congress Theater, the defunct Fireside Bowl  (they no longer host punk concerts there), and for large shows just head over to Rosemont to the All-State Arena or see a show at the Chicago Theater or the United Center (when hockey and basketball is not going on). Art fairs are cool to go to as well. Wicker Park has quite a large amount of Art, Crafts, and musical fests combining all three. Wicker Park is also where I work as a doorman at a dive bar, the Gold Star Bar & Lounge. It is called a dive-bar because its old, has no HD televisions in it, free pool, an old jukebox with an antiquated sound-system, is cash only, and offers only three beers on tap, and doesn't have a huge selection of canned and bottled beer. Hell, one can get a can of beer for only $2 and get a shot of whiskey with that for $5. It is a drinking man's bar. It is also haunted. It is the bar that I go to when I want a drink and some good company. It is my CHEERS.

>>>>>  What, exactly, is 'BonerJam?'

A bonerjam is a term I heard first from the Steve Carrell movie 40-Year Old Virgin. It was one of the fake porn titles that were given to Carrell in the film. My definition of bonerjam (which is posted on-line at Urban Dictionary) is where individuals gather, as many would gather for a party or fiesta, and have so much fun dancing with each other to music that causes individuals to jam, or dance to, and in the process forcing the males to achieve a mind-blowing erection. Females can achieve a boner jam by developing increased hardening in their nipples and a moistness in their vaginal area. The difference between males and females is that the male must jam his boner into something and the female must have her vaginajammed with a boner. Out of this act a dish may be contrived, known as bonerjambalaya, with its roots in Creole culture.

The 2nd definition is as follows: an individual that sucks so hard at life that he dances, or jams, to music but he is such a loser, or boner that his dancing is referred to as a "bonerjam". Those dubbed "bonerjam" are never very popular with the general public.

Here is the Urban Dictionary link (my definition is #3).

>>>>> You work at The Gold Star Bar. What is your favorite beer?

Well, my favorite beer that that Gold Star has is a new one we just picked up called Wittekerke, a Belgian Ale. I also enjoy the beer's Two Brothers Cane and Ebel and Three Floyds Alpha King and Gumballhead, which both happen to be Midwest brews. I also enjoy a PBR now and then. Blue Moon is one of my favorites, too. Allagash Belgian White is what I drink when I frequent Kuma's, It is a Belgian-style craft beer. I guess I do like a fair amount of Beligan-style beers and wheat beers. Hacker-Pschorr is another awesome beer I enjoy and let's not forget Daisy Cutter. I drink a fair amount of Hamm's in a can and before Gold Star got rid of it I drank Blatz, also in a can. The reason for drinking the cheap, canned beer was that I generally was hooked-up since I am a company man at the bar so I chose to drink the cheaper beers knowing it was less of an expense for the bar. The owners of the bar are very good people and really cool. One is a musician who plays metal and is an avid collector of metal and the other is into horror and gore films. We can talk about horror and the macabre into the wee morning hours after working all night. We do it quite often while having a beer or 5...and all this talk of beers is reminding me I have a 12-pack of Blue Moon sitting up here in the mini-fridge...Be right back!

>>>>>>>  I will always have a spot for The Bears. How do they look this season?

The Bears look this season as they do every season-tons of potential and able to take it all the way to the Super Bowl. Will they make it to the Super Bowl and win it? Odds are they will not. Not since the '85 Chicago Bears have I seen a team so well-oiled and incredibly talented. In fact, as far as the Bears go, most Chicagoans only have the '85 Bears to talk about because most of our current rosters for Chicago have had tons of potential but just not enough to win it all. I love the Bears and ever year hope they can make it to the Super Bowl, but in reality, I know they probably won't. We have always had some solid defense, but until we get a superstar quarterback, our offense will always hold us back. Even Jim McMahon of '85 was not a really great quarterback. We have never really had anyone spectacular. I don't see a Super Bowl ring in the near future.

>>>>>>>  How was the 'Shake Weight?' Legitimate workout tool?

The Shake Weight is something of a novelty. If one wants to be able to rip their tool off while pleasuring one-self, then the Shake Weight just may help one achieve that. I have only used it when at the Gold Star (my boss received one as a gag birthday present) or at one other friend's house because they received one as a gift, also. I don't think it is legitimately anything more than an exercise novelty item.

Bryan Schussler puts the Shake-Weight to the test

>>>>> Tell me about your radio show.

My radio show, SHU-IZMZ RADIO, when I have it is about movies. It is primarily myself talking about the movies I love and hate. Sometimes, I may have a guest call-in to talk about their movie or I may interview someone, but it really has no specific platform. Sometimes a grindcore band may be on or I will talk to someone about a book they have written. Anything goes on my show. I tend to steer clear of politics and religion, but other than that its mostly about movies of all kinds, music, and books. I am a chatty person and love learning new things about subjects I am interested in so talking to professionals in their given fields is fascinating and extremely fun and rewarding for me. I also love engaging and hearing what fans and listeners talk about in the chat room. Currently, because Blog Talk Radio has jacked-up their fees immensely, I no longer am hosting the show on BTR and am seeking alternative options, but the archived shows are still up there so feel free to check them out. One of those has been Core of Destruction Radio but the logistics of it are too complicated right now. I will be back on though so keep tuned in on my website. Many of the reasons I don't get things done are due to financial issues. I currently am trying to get paid to do what I love which is talking about and writing about movies and reviewing movies. I love movies and horror so much and want to immerse myself in it 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, I do need to have a job that pays some bills. Anyone out there want to hire a driven individual to write for their website, magazine, or newspaper about movies? You know where to find me.

>>>>> Your passion is clearly movies. What motivated you to start Shu-Izmz?

Well, what motivated me to do something so late in the game that I should have been doing fucking 20 years ago was a horrible marriage that led to a divorce. It made me think, "Hey, you may not be cut out for marriage (at least in this one), so why don't you do something you love doing and be selfish for a change?" See, I had a job that I was doing for 8 years that really was not my passion, but I was good at it. I worked with Behavioral Disorder and Special Education kids K-8th grade in a therapeutic day program. I like kids. They crack me up with their innocence and behavior. I was a Crisis Team member in charge of security and protecting everyone in the building. It was a rewarding job and payed pretty decent. Also, I had summers off and nights and weekends. I could watch movies and do other things on my time off. When I got married, most of that changed. I had a wife and her two kids to take care of and help provide for. My spare time was raising two young boys. I grew tired and weary and lacked the energy and passion for doing ANYTHING. My marriage was draining my life force out of me. When we finally got divorced, I had left my job due to home-life stress that carried over to the workplace which eventually burned me out. I was burning the candle at both ends. At that point, I said, "Fuck it! Do what you want. You always were keeping lists of all the movies you saw and were rating them. Why don't you just start up a blog online and write about movies?"

So, I just started writing about movies. Some of my earliest entries were pretty pathetic. I was writing 5 sentence reviews. But after time, apparently I was getting better at my writing and a few websites thought I was good enough to write for them. For free, of course, but getting my reviews up online for hundreds, if not thousands, of readers to see. Also, I would get some free screeners and dvds now and then. After doing the blog thing for a couple of years, I decided to upgrade the blog to a website on WordPress and buy the domain name. My very talented brother happens to be a website designer and helped me do all this, as well as host my site on his hosting services for free. He actually designed the SHU-IZMZ logo with me, too.

I guess what motivated me to start up SHU-IZMZ is a relentless passion for movies, a crappy marriage, and finally getting some balls and telling myself that writing was the only thing I ever excelled at in school so why not try to do it for a living, if not just for some fun. I have always been told that I have a low self-esteem and am afraid to take chances due to being pessimistic about things. Afraid to fail. Well, there comes a point in one's life when frustration turns to anger and anger turns to motivation and gets things done. I was sick of being frustrated, lacking a focus or direction, and living life through others' (friends and family) advice and criticism. I decided to do my own thing and ignore everyone elses' opinions. My ex-wife told me to do what makes me happy, but also to make money doing it. Having kids to raise was not feasible with writing for free until I made some money doing it. So that was not an option then. Now, I have a very supportive girlfriend and a supportive family (on some level) that respect my writing but still harp on me for making that money. That is why I work the door at a bar. It is stress free and allows me to focus my attention on writing when not working. I think if not for my parents and girlfriend, this writer would be living on the streets of Chicago and begging or stealing food for survival. I really don't have any other skills but writing or talking about films and am giving it my all.

>>>>>  Also, what does SHU-IZMZ mean?

SHU-IZMZ means everything that encompasses my world. My likes and my dislikes. My point of view on everything.
From the dictionary:

---forming the name of a system, school of thought or theory based on the name of its subject or object or alternatively on the name of its founder ((when de-capitalized, these overlap with the generic "terms for doctrines" sense below, e.g. Liberalism vs. liberalism):).

----class-names or descriptive terms for doctrines or principles in general

As shown by these explanations for words ending in -ism, I changed the spelling to -izmz because I like the sound of it better and always loved the way the letters S and Z look when in a word together, even if it is a word I made up. So basically, SHU-IZMZ is a descriptive term for all my thoughts, views, comments, and beliefs concerning anything in film, music, books, or concerning the life around me. It is my theories on my subjects. Whether they be cult movies or action flicks...or horror films or exploitation films. Think of it as my universe and all that encompasses it. My own private utopia that I have begun to share with the rest of the world.

List your top 10 favorite movies ever.

I hate these lists. I can't EVER narrow down a list of movies to only 10. Really, it is an impossible task to ANYONE that loves film. I would have a painstaking task just narrowing down my favorite top 10 favorite film GENRES, let alone individual films. Here are some films I really love and can watch countless times and never get sick of.

John Carpenter's The Thing
The 'Burbs
What About Bob?
Predator (1987)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Ichi the Killer
The Seven Samurai
Return of the Living Dead
Full Metal Jacket

Honorable mentions:
House of 1,000 Corpses
Romero's Day of the Dead
The Godfather
The New York Ripper
The Swiss Family Robinson
So I Married an Axe Murderer
First Blood
Star Wars

>>>>> Are you like me and miss the days when CGI didn't dominate every movie?

Yes, I am. I do think CGI does enhance some films, but I prefer to have my gore created organically. I think CGI blood looks very fake. I do think in some Sci-Fi films CGI is necessary to obtain certain achieved effects, but some filmmakers do go overboard on it for their visual effects.

>>>>> My top three movies are "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Night of the Living Dead '68", and "Ghostbusters", in that order. Give me a brief Bryan Schuessler opinion on any of them.

I enjoy all three of those movies immensely, and they easily could have been on my Top 10.

Raiders of the Lost Ark:
This film pushed the boundaries for me in terms of violence and gore for a PG-rated film. I loved Harrison Ford's character in all the Indiana Jones' films, but Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best of them all. I think the film was cast superbly and it is one of the greatest action films to blend humor, death, and plot all up in one nice package. I remember being so terrified and awestruck when the Nazis were about to open up the ark and reveal what was inside it. I felt as if I was there myself and something awful would happen if I were to keep my eyes open. This film is filled with magic and is what is missing in many of today's action films and major blockbusters.

Night of the Living Dead ('68):
Romero's first film is the true definition of gothic horror meeting the zombie genre. This was to me the first zombie film and the blueprint for all zombie flicks following it. George A. Romero created the first great zombie film. This film, to this day, still creeps me out and is one of the bleakest and uncompromising zombie films out there. I thought it also revolutionary for having a black actor in a lead role for its time period. Another movie I love.

Bill Murray is in it. I love Bill Murray. Anything he is in I enjoy, if only for his brief cameo or character. Ghostbusters is such a fun movie, filled with humor and non-stop action. That cast of characters was golden. Weaver, Murray, Akroyd, and Ramis= EPIC. The film blended the right amount of humor with cool special effects and superb acting.

>>>>> If you were to open an Alamo Drafthouse, or a similar theatre, in Chicago, where would it be and what would be an example of some of the programming?

If I were to open a theater similar to Alamo Drafthouse, I would choose a location that was safe and did not have a lot of crime. I hate going to a theater that one has to watch their back coming out of or that has brick walls laced with graffiti. I would want it in a safe and friendly location. The theater would also have a parking lot with validated parking because I know if I would have a free lot EVERYONE in the neighborhood would use it and theater patrons would be screwed. So, if you don't have a ticket stub, your car will be towed. I hate people that abuse the system.

As for the location, I would probably have it on the North Side, but maybe on the South Side. I would want it near a major L-stop and area buses went through on their routes so everyone can get to the theater. I actually would probably have it where the rent was somewhat affordable. If it was located in a poverty-stricken area, I think it would fail because no one would be able to afford to go or would be trying to sneak in all the time. I would need to be a multi-millionaire to be able to afford to operate the theater. I also would have tons of security. Some ideal neighborhoods would be Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, Andersonville, Ukranian Village or on the South/West Side I would choose Bridgeport or Pilsen. Pilsen would be pretty good because it has an art district within it and has a community that could appreciate it. 

As for the programming, I would have films of all kinds. I would want to take care and consideration to giving films that would have a limited theater run or release to be the "mainstream movies", as a mainstream chain would have its huge blockbusters have and be given a longer run. I would also want to continually hear from theater-goers on what they want to see. I may not always adhere to their suggestions, but they would always be welcome. I would play films that I would want to see, as well as films that rarely make it to a big screen. Films of rarity would be a common thing at my theater, as well as favorites to film geeks. I would try to mix up the genres everyday. For instance, here is a mock theater schedule:

11am Patrick
1:30 pm The Pink Angels
3pm Predator
4:30 pm Deep Red
6pm Braindead a.k.a. Dead Alive
8pm The Beyond
9:30pm Ichi the Killer
11pm Debbie Does Dallas
12:30 am Forced Entry
2am Street Trash
3:30 am The Toxic Avenger
5am Blood Diner
6:30 am  Bad Taste
8am Ninja Scroll
9:30am Romper Stomper

One night may be filled with some new releases that I think are awesome, as well as some hardcore classics, followed by some cult and horror favs. There would be theme days and theme nights. I would have a Sunday devoted for classic films that children can enjoy, or adults for that matter. I love the old Disney live-action classics so one day would be playing Pollyanna, Treasure Island, The Herbie series, Candleshoe, Escape to Witch Mountain, etc...

One would never know or expect me to be showing during one day's programming. I would want to have it 24-hours a day. One will always be able to watch a movie at my theater. I don't know how I would fund it being open 24 hours, but I would try my best.

>>>>>  What beers would be served?

Allagash White Belgian, Three Floyds Zombiedust, Wittekerke Belgian Ale, Blue Moon, Samlichaus (sp?), Lagunitas IPA, Three Floyds Gumballhead, Bells Oberon, Pabst Blue Ribbons, Hamms, Blatz, Old Style, Red Stripe, Sapporo, Asahi, and some various brands of Mead-the very good kinds. I hate weak Mead.

>>>>>  What is one movie you would recommend to people who might appreciate the reviews on Shu-Izms?

If it were a film reviewed on the site in the past, I would recommend the Aussie flick STONE. It is Australia's answer to Easy Rider. If it is a current release out in theaters, I highly recommend HESHER, starring Gordon-Levitt. That film is epic. I think I SAW THE DEVIL is also an excellent film. One of the best horror films I have seen in some time.

>>>>>  Where can people check out your reviews on some of the movies your review, your radio show, or network with you online?

Go to WWW.SHUIZMZ.COM for all the movie reviews I write. It is my website and has all the links to me on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace (I rarely use nowadays), and my email contacts. I love talking with people about films. Do not hesitate to contact me for any reason other than asking to borrow money for I am a poor bastard!

>>>>> Any last words?

Have a good time all the time!
Bryan Schuessler


Jude Felton brings great horror reviews from "The Lair of Filth"

Ursula Raphael takes reviewing books seriously.  Very seriously.  With a Holy Hand Grenade.

Disney mindfucks the world with their obscure sci-fi classic, "The Black Hole"


Follow Bowie at his Twitter at @wingback20


  1. Bowie,
    thanks so much for choosing to interview me. I had a really fun time answering your questions.

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