Tuesday, January 31, 2012
This blog got over 2,000 hits this month, so we'll celebrate with Electric by the Cult. I've long been fixated with the backstory about the making of this album. The story goes that 1986 The Cult were working on a lengthy psychedelic album that was taking forever. That is to an extent true By chance they met Rick Rubin who had just produced License to Ill for the Beastie Boys. The story goes that Rick Rubin offered to do an album with them starting from scratch. When the Cult arrived in New York Bill Duffy was supposedly given a rented Les Paul and a Martin amplifier. No pedals were used and there are no guitar solos longer than 30 seconds on the album. If I'm not mistaken there are only two overdubs on the entire record. Ian Astbury's voice has a kind of perfection to it. If you've heard the first two Cult albums they are very different sounding- The Cult started out in the same scene as bands like The Cult and Joy Division but they were very different in so far as that they had thing for what today is called "classic rock" radio. The general consensus is that The Cult sold out and became a hairband. I don't think that's an entirely fair description. I am 100% in favor of the approach to making rock and roll that The Cult had on this album. There are goth bands that are able to do something more atmospheric and get away with that, and the Cult themselves had covered that ground fairly well on Dreamtime previously. It does include a cover of "Born to be Wild". It might be the best rock and roll album ever. War and Pain by Voivod is pretty good, but that's another very stripped down album, it's jet that Voivod used a lot of very odd chords and dissonance. I want hipsters to come to the fore and claim they've made a better album. It hasn't happened. They won't do it. It will never happen. iI's against the laws of physics.
I know the drummer Kevin Shea well and have for years, he's kind of an enigma to me. I've written about him a couple of times on here. I've never meet anyone with that much skill on the drums. However, for reasons that have to do with money and/or because of pressure from friends he ended up playing in mediocre if not poor bands frequently. As I'm writing this text I'm listening to the album Electric by the Cult. Kevin never made an album that came even remotely close to Electric. A big part of it is that the Cult did not use any effects pedals on Electric and no guitar solos longer then 30 seconds in length, in sharp contrast to the Cult's two prior albums. Kevin's buddies and bands connected to them directly never really had that attitude towards rock at all. They got pretty ridiculous because of that. It's strange. In terms of sales those Williamsburg bands were all being annihilated in sales during the 2000's by two metal bands from Finland, H.I.M and Nightwish. I mentioned them to Kevin recently he didn't even know who they were. Indie rock was getting a fair bit of press during the 2000's, but most of those bands remained small club bands. There was more general interest from the public during the 2000's in Nightwish. The Williamsburg bands were probably in a sense out of touch. I'm not clear why all that Williamsburg fecal matter existed at all in retrospective. The worst band Kevin played in by far was Barr, who may also be the worst band I've ever heard. Barr is hideously unlistenable. This guy Brendan Fowler was the editor, I think still is, of this leftist hipster publication called ANP Quarterly. Fowler would do spoken word poetry about things like getting treatment for his OCD with indie rock in the background. He would sing about how he just wanted to hold someone. It's some fairly infantile excrement. I There's this other band that Brendan Fowler cited as an important influence from those same years that's even possibly more unholy. That band is called Tracy + the Plastics. When you get down to trying to discern which is worse Barr or Tracy + The Plastics, it gets to be like arguing what shade of brown fecal matter is. Tracy + and the Plastics consisted of a performance artist named Wynne Greenwood who used the word "like" excessively talking to pre-recorded videos of herself about things like what it's like to be like a radical lesbian, and then they would break into song. Not only was that a real "band", but Grenwood wrote lengthy "artist statements" about what this was all supposed to mean. Reading such artist statements is like watching flies fornicate. Brendan Fowler and Wynne Greenwood seem to think they're doing something intensely interesting. I think they were in the right place at the right time to get in an art magazine or two, that's about it. They never crossed over into mainstream audiences because no one really cares. Hipsters are an odd, insular, little pocket of the population, generally politically far to the left of the rest of the United States, anomalous in many ways. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that either Greenwood or Fowler are involved in the Occupy movement, which is not a populist movement but rather a smallish fringe of leftists, many of whom came out of the liberal arts colleges. More than 99% of Americans have never taken assaulted a police officers as part of a political protest or burned an American flag, I assure you. However, even given that margin is the context, I'm not even sure how much respect Fowler or Greenwood had within that context. I think there can be a tendency to overestimate the impact and influence someone like Fowler has. I assure you in Vegas it would take a while to find someone who even knows who he is. I think I've seen that ANP magazine around in New York, but Barr aren't even on Spotify, for example. The last issue of ANP Quarterly was Autumn 2010, over year ago. Again though, trying to discern such things is like arguing what shade of brown fecal matter is.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
A blaxplotation film version of the old Dr. Jeykyll and Mr. Hyde where the good black doctor takes a serum and becomes an evil white man? They probably couldn't do it today, but they did it in 1974. Is it worth watching? It is actually halfway watchable. Not only is it hilariously based on now considered derogatory racial and gender stereotypes, it's also in all other conceivable ways mongoloid. For some reason there's a whole lot of hookers in the script, and a pimp named, of course, Silky. The doctor treats the hookers for the VDs at the Watts free clinic, but when he injects that serum he's working on to cure liver disease, look at hookers, he becomes a superhumanly strong white man! Which of course means he kills hookers! I think even at the time this thing only would have shown at scumbag little grindhouse theaters. I like the overriding message that a black man getting a med degree turns him into a white man that kills hookers. Hay, I'm a white guy I've got a couple dead hookers stashed in my apartment. That's what being a white guy is all about, murdering prostitutes! In fact that's the secret initiation into being a white guy, you have to go bag yourself a hooker. If you kill a hooker your like to find more money in her purse than was used to make this film.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I was asked by Chad Freeman at PollyStaflle to review this album. I'm not a hip-hop fan but this act is Vegas local and I see it as maybe semi-useful to have some solidarity with other local Vegas "arts" type folks. Maybe. Hip-hop does not excite or interest me at all. I think the argument could be made and made well that is contributes to societal problems. At the very least it is indicative of them in a big way. I think it is quite clear that Mc Randumb and Jewish Dave, however, aren't from the hood unless the hood happens to be a UNLV dorm and that they're more or less joking. It is kind of the same joke over and over- all the lyrics are about murder for the entire album. A lot of the lyrics involve sex with and eating of the dead after such murder takes place. It would have been much better if the same lyrics had ended up being used for a B-52's album. It does posit the interesting question as to whether having sex with a dead guy makes you gay, which would be an excellent question to pose for these republican presidential debates we've been having. I'd like to see in particular Rick Santorum's take on this issue, which seems of the highest contemporary relevence. It also gets points for referencing the Human Centipede films, clearly an obsession of mine. However, Human Centipede 3 isn't going to be released for more than a year, and this Prometheus Alien prequel is going to be out in June, so I've actually got Prometheus much more on the brain right now. This album is okay, I chuckled a couple of times. Again, I don't care for hip-hop. I do, however, love the Human Centipede films and in general mongoloid excrement about serial killers.
My biggest current project is a relatively realistic collection of short stories based on blue collar/local life in Las Vegas. It would contain certain elements of crime writing in it, taking cue from Joseph Wombaugh and Derek Raymond. It would also take cues from Cormac McCarthy and very early Burroughs, specifically the Burroughs of Junkie, except that I have a tendency to prefer the vignette form. I even plan to pick up some Raymond Carver at the local bookstore today, as I've heard he did a lot of vignette work on blue-collar type characters. I don't have a publishing deal so that is likely to appear as an e-book release. The stories about Vegas tend to write themselves and they come very much out of my daily life.My political ideas are more likely to attract attention on the format of internet radio, because I'm a conservative of the libertarian strain and the political right has a real fixation with talk radio for some reason. The pilot type episode I did for a radio show this summer actually got something in the neighborhood of 700 hits, which was more hits than any text blogs I did on the subject ever got, so it's unlikely that I will be writing a lot on the political end of things directly, since internet radio is where such commentary is likely to get more notice. I don't know what it is with American political conservatives and talk radio, but there's obviously a very strong relationship. I'm not abandoning the horror film angle completely, not by a long shot. Films like Human Centipede 2 and the Bunny Game are good to write on because of questions involving the whole censorship issue, but I think the big horror film for 2012 to really speak on will most likely be Prometheus. If my most read blog has been a review of Inseminoid, which is in certain ways a slightly poor and low budget version of Alien, then the Alien prequel could be huge. So, relax, there is little chance I won't review Prometheus. I like horror films and I have the habit of playing black metal and goth music playing while I lift weights or perform other tasks. Those are good angles to explore in that there's a lot of public interest in them, but there's only much time you can spend decoding the aesthetics of a band like Sleep Chamber or Christian Death. Even William Powell over at the Sci-fi Center in Las Vegas, a kind of sic-fi/horror purist has people coming in on Monday nights to screen films like Holy Mountain. Don't get me wrong, I could not be more excited about the Prometheus coming out in June. That thing looks absolutely sweet. There are also those who abandon the sci-fi/horror film and go off in poor directions. I'm a strong admirer of David Cronenberg, but I was shocked to learn last night that his next film project is an adaptation of Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo.Not only do I hate Don DeLillo, I recall that this was a particularly bad Don DeLillo book. I was paid to write a review of it for A Gathering of The Tribes by Steve Cannon, I don't think the review was ever used, and I don't still have a copy of it. That's good because that book is excrement, I doubt even Cronenberg can pull a good film out of it. I think Croenberg would have been much better served to stay along the lines of his earlier films like Scanners and Videodrome. Ridley Scott who made Alien and Blade Runner went all the way back there for Prometheus. That is something I will keep in mind. Prometheus looks frigging sweet. In the beginning of the first Alien film there is that corpse of the creature in the chair, it would appear to have to do with that creature, and an explanation of what that was all about and where the "Xenomorph" alien in the first film came from. It has been clarified that the humans in Prometheus are looking for the roots of the human race.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
It has been a surreal week here in Wheaton-land, Las Vegas. Two items I real are worth discussing here. 1.) If you are visiting Las Vegas or are a Vegas resident, don't go in the bar on Sahara called My Cousin Vinny Sports Bar. I was 86'd from this establishment this week, but by the time they 86'd me, I would never have come back anyway. In all seriousness I've considered discussing what happened with a professional therapist. I walked into the bar, which I'd been to a number of times over the last three years. I order a Diet Coke. The bartender told me she wouldn't serve me because, this I still can't process, I had a backpack on. I was confused of course because that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard a human being say, and asked if she wanted to check my bag. She said "I don't know what's in your backpack". I offered to unzip the backpack and display the contents, the waitress still refused to serve me. I maybe could have taken this with more grace, but i slammed the door open on the way out. I turned around, and- not at all to my surprise- the bartender was screaming at me not to come back. " I shouted back "no problem". I guess what she couldn't fathom was that after that interchange I would never want to come back to that bar. It is very insulting to be refused services in a bar in this part of Las Vegas, the people bars usually refuse service to are homeless people, meth users, hookers, and the like. Having a backpack is not a reason to be suspicious of an individual-few things could be more normal. A small handgun or drugs could be just as easily concealed under a coat or jacket. The other thing about that is that this particular bar has a gimmick of hiring only female bartenders and they had a thing of having the bartenders dress in bikinis. Personally, I did find the bartenders they hired to be attractive women particularly. However, because they have felt that they can take advantage of me financially because I'm a single man, and somehow also they feel they can speak to me and treat me whatever way they feel fit, I have no problem with never stepping in their doors again and would discourage others to do so. I think the kind of confrontation described here might be what defines that woman's existence. I have no time for bizarre "sorry sir we cannot serve you" nonsense, no one really does. 2.) The Gary Glitter on Twitter page turned out to be a fake! Someone was doing a behavioral experiment and showing how easy it is for pedophiles to get on Twitter. That's really too bad. The world is full of very sick people and Gary Glitter is one of them, but I'd have liked to see him do a comeback tour. He's really a fabulous musician.
The subject of Gary Glitter's plans for a new world tour after legal troubles over child molestation charges in Vietnam raises, to me at least, the interesting question- are ll the best rock and roll musicians insane, and in particular criminally insane? I wouldn't argue that being insane makes you a good rock and roll musician- I've met a number of mentally ill musicians over the years whose work didn't strike me as genius. Ariel Pink is said to be fairly psychologically off, I don't care for his work. As states in the previous post, I review a band and then a week later I don't even like the band I reviewed. As I'm thinking of it now it occurs to me that part of that is that with a lot of these metal bands and goth bands, people throw around this word "dark" but in the end it's all make believe. I've discussed Joy Division and Christian Death on here quite a bit, both Ian Curtis and Rozz Williams committed suicide, so their "dark" music and lyrical themes clearly went much deeper than being a mere gimmick. When asked my favorite band I generally say Joy Division, Christian Death is fairly rocking. Those Norwegian black metal bands like Burzum and Mayhem that were involved in the church arsons of 92-94', there intensity was clearly more than just some gimmick as well. Mayhem is seriously rocking. There are a few case where an individual becomes famous for committing a crime and their music surfaces because of that and turns out to be high quality.When the demo of Phillip Garrido's music surfaced I was hoping that more of that would surface because it was also very, very good musically. Apparently Phillip Garrido is on the same cell block with Charles Manson, another failed musician to become famous through his crimes rather than his music but whose music surfaced in the ensuing media frenzy, who I would say is also very good. I like Michael Jackson quite a bit. Early Phil Spector was quite good. Gary Glitter I like a lot. There are a few borderline cases. In interviews Voivod come off as very odd in terms of the intensity with which they take their science fiction lyrical themes, and the singer had some very serious drug problems. However, I would say it's a stretch to describe them as insane. I'm a big admirer of Lou Reed's album The Blue Mask, he obviously had his problems with hard drugs in the distant past. I don't think that would quite qualify him as insane, in interviews he seems pretty coherent to me, a little pompous maybe. I don't really think you'll find a much better list of rock and roll musicians than that anywhere, so the answer is likely "yes". Rock and roll musicians have been obviously strongly tied to drug use and with fringe leftist politics that are sort of on the ridiculous side. My taste is likely strongly swayed by the twisted and sadistic sense of humor that I tend to have. There's also that people in bands and people that are really into what they do take the whole thing way too seriously. I'd much rather people read my fiction than any music review. Gary Glitter jokes are funny, that's more entertainment than indie rock provides. I think there's something there though. Gary Glitter is pretty rocking.
Friday, January 20, 2012
The news came up this morning on Twitter. Gary Glitter has a twitter page and is said to be planning to tour again. It hasn't been fully confirmed, but my suspicion is that this is no joke or lie- apparently, Gary Glitter regained his passport this November. Apparently it is him. It's messed up, it's really him too, apparently, and he's hanging out on twitter. It's all kinds of messed up- especially since he was convicted of having kiddie porn, chased out of a few third world countries, and convicted of child molestation in Vietnam. It's really him, too. He's on their asking folks for suggestions on his new album title! There is an autobiography coming out, too. Tweets Gary: " The media scum sadly only focus on the aspects that sell papers and boost ratings." Last time he got busted for his pedophile fun I wrote a short story about him (incidentally not very good) for my second book Hollywood Wiretapping. I'm not a big fan of my own work from this period, but this is a deal big enough for me to care about. As I commented recently, I'm dead sick of writing about musicians and bands for the most part. The thing is that I absolutely will bend to do what I can to get hits, and since people feel the need to check periodically on the rumor that the black metal band Akitsa are neo-nazis, I end up writing about this and that metal band and goth band and then I get sick of that very band a week later and wish I hadn't blogged on them. It's grown beyond tedious. I've had this lifelong affection for Joy Division and for Voivod, but you can only write about those two bands so much, and then I'll write about some relatively minor metal band or goth band, then I'll go back and think "why did I do this?". Also, as I have commented earlier this week, reading rock criticism is like watching flies fornicate. Gary Glitter is different though. If Gary Glitter comes to Vegas I'll go see him play. In fact, I'd probably take the bus down to LA if he does an LA show and not Vegas. 70's Gary Glitter is actually fairly rocking musically. As a matter of fact, it was so rocking it's ridiculous how rocking it was. Easily one of the greatest performers of all time. He protests his innocence on his twitter page. Do I believe him? Oh hells no! But if Vietnamese authorities have released him, and British authorities gave him his passport back, let him do his little "Rock and Roll Part 2" bit. There are those who believe that pedophilia should be treated with a bullet to the head, and I wouldn't debate the point. However, this is not the legal reality, so the perverse and disturbing spectacle of a Gary Glitter comeback tour is set to go. Michael Jackson's dead and it wasn't clear what exactly was going on there, although his former PI Anthony Pellicano, himself in prison forever, said Michael was doing something worse to little boys than molesting them, whatever that means. Phil Spector is never going to get out of prison and he was primarily a studio guy anyway. Fellow pedophile Philip Garrido was actually probably a better musician then Gary Glitter and has the added hilarity of being perpetually high on crystal meth, but he's in prison and never getting out and very little of his musical catalogue was ever made publicly available. Glitter is out, and ready to rock and roll! Yeah! Oh Yeah! Oh Yeah!!!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Ah, the hipsters of New York in the 2000's. During the 2000's Bands like Animal Collective, Black Dice, Ariel Pink, got no shortage of press from publications like the Onion, Vice, Village Voice. I remember very well hearing people in Brooklyn saying The Burnside Project selling well in Japan, Battles are selling well, Oneida is doing this and that. I recall late 2005 Ariel Pink got a big press surge. The actual numbers of sales tell a very different story. The metal band Nightwish from Finland who started in 1996-1997 or so, I've seen the figure given for the sales as being 7 million records sold. Another gothic metal band, H.I.M from Finland sold not quite as well as Nightwish, but sold well over 2 million copies. H.I.M had been successful in Europe in the late 90's but it was during the early to mid 2000's that they really broke into a U.S. audience. Lacuna Coil, a gothic metal band from Italy of the same period. I've seen the stat around that they sold 2 million records or so. That was all late 2000's. A few New York area indie bands like the Strokes and Interpol sold very well and crossed over into mainstream audiences. By comparison though, Nightwish, H.I.M, and Lacuna Coil obliterated virtually every Brooklyn band sales wise, as most of those bands even with label deals remained club bands. At the time I knew many of the same people as Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, who seemed to be selling well, but after the Dresden Dolls broke up, the drummer Brian ended up playing with Black Tape for a Blue Girl, who, I was once told by a former Black Tape member, never sold more then a few thousand copies an album at the peak of their popularity. Publications like Vice were out of touch, press is not reflective of actual sales, and people in bands are very often full of it. That's at the height of the rise of bands like The Strokes, Interpol and the White Stripes that I'm talking about. Those numbers are somewhat surprising but not shocking really. Those band scenes in New York in the 2000's what a nightmare that was. Say what you will about Las Vegas, but moving there saved me from that garbage. Shows, labels, 'zines gigs-all that nonsense. What I should have said at the time was "you're being annihilated sales wise by a metal band from Finland", but I only had some vague inkling at the time that that was the case. Every single band, I could have just said the same thing. "You're being annihilated sales wise by a metal band from Finland." I regret the damage I could have done but didn't. That would have been amazing to have set up an interview with Animal Collective and the first question and only question of the interview is "how does it feel to know that you're being annihilated sales wise by a metal band from Finland?". That would have been great because reading rock reviews is generally like watching flies fornicate for hours. For the most part, I actually hate writing about bands.Insulting Psychic TV is pretty fun. There's a documentary about Charles Manson called Charles Manson Superstar where the interviewer asks Charles Manson what he thinks of feminism and he says "Oh, I'm a very beautiful woman". An individual upon hearing this might think A.Charles Manson is a genius subtle articulating something somehow secretly profound b. Charles Manson really is a woman or c. Charles Manson is insane. If you think a. or b. you are a big Psychic TV fan. A couple of the music reviews I've done, in particular about metal, have done well so I've continued posting on the topic. Michael Savage has 8-10 million listeners and he's banned form entering the U.K- to me that's big. Abuse of Power is actually a pretty sweat book. Human Centipede 2, banned in the U.K., released after 32 cuts, A Serbian Film, banned in a few countries, The Bunny Game, banned in the U.K. recently, unlikely to ever be released there- those are big. Some band that plays in small spaces in New York who like to put little pins on their jackets- that I don't see as being big or interesting. The press in New York during the 2000's wouldn't shut up about exactly that- bands that put little pins on their jackets that played little spaces in New York. 2003 or so Rick Moody wrote an entire essay about the Magnetic Fields and he had a major press deal and a movie made of one of his books only a few years before. To me that's insanity. I'm not one of these people that sits around and reads those little 33 and a 1/3 books that are a whole book about an indie rock album. The Finnish metal, it is what it is, but I'd take Nightwish over Williamsburg bands.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Strange but true, they made a series of Kung-Fu movies about two brothers, one with no arms and one with no legs. Actually, that's the main idea but not 100% accurate, ne has a stump of an arm only and the brother with no legs actually only had deformed and unusable legs. The actors were, in fact, handicapped. These films are from Taiwan in the early 80's, and look and sound more or less like older 70's and 80's Asian martial arts films. There's a fight scene and a few other scenes in the 3rd on that has background music that sounds essentially like the music in the background of a blackplotation film such as Shaft. This offensive joke was extended over at least three movies that I know of. I've only seen 2 and 3, the reason being that Chad Freeman was left a bunch of promotional copies of Crippled Masters 2 and 3 by Apprehensive Films who have the rights to the first and second films. I haven't seen the original Crippled Masters film because I had the opportunity to get free copies of 2 and 3. There is no way I would pay money to see a Crippled Masters films. They're essentially a crippled joke pronged across several films. They did, curiously, bother to give these films plot lines. There is, however, no real continuity between the films. In number 2 the brothers are competing for the love of a girl suffering from temporary blindness and battle a local warlord that threatens their village. It's actually a semi-watchable film. I actually don't like Crippled Masters 3 at all. The third one is slow going. In the beginning because the brothers move to a the big city to find work, and the first 30 minutes or so deals with them having trouble paying the rent. In the third one the brother who can't walk is rejected by a martial arts school even though he is clearly already a master of martial arts. The third one has a whole lot of scenes with the one without arms performing acrobatic tricks. Crippled Masters 3 has little real plot and very little action in it. It would seem impossible but the Crippled Masters series managed to jump the shark in the third film. At the end of the 3rd one, the brother with no legs is able to fly which is pretty funny. The rest of the movie is like watching wallpaper. I suppose it is pretty demented that not only do I have strong opinions specifically about the Crippled Masters films I have opinions about one Crippled Masters film versus another. I'd like to be able to write a rave review of these films because of how offensive that would be, but the truth is the third one is extremely slow.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
It will be at least a full year until the release of the third and supposedly final Human Centipede film. This vacant lacking in my life has forced me to examine other related films- A Serbian Film, which encountered similar censorship issues, is an excellent example. Another example is the present matter at hand, Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom an Italian film from the 70's that Human Centipede 2 director Tom Six cites as an important influence. It is not structurally a horror film, so to speak. it does share with films like Human Centipede 2 and a Serbian Film extreme sexual matter, pedophilia in particular in this one. Actually, it's teens rather then children. The whole forced fecal consumption theme central to the Human Centipede films was in this one. This film is loosely plotted. This group of aristocrats in fascist Italy get a bunch of teenagers from orphanages or something like that and force them to partake in a whole bunch of very odd and somewhat ritualistic sexual practices. They make them eat shit and they've got them on all fours with dog leashes at one point. It's loosely based on a De Sade novel. At the same time that this is one of those films that is sort of on the legally questionable side, I find the film sort of dull. A lot of people swear by this film and the relationship this film has as a precursor and/or influence on recent extreme horror that I've strongly praised is quite strong. I don't know if the people behind a Serbian Film saw this film, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if that happened to be the case. The connection to the Human Centipede films is quite clear and quite strong. There is one sequence in particular where the influence on the first Human Centipede film is very, very clear and very, very direct in which an aristocrat defecates, gives a girl a spoon and tells her to eat it, yelling. Those who have seen the first Human Centipede film will know exactly the scene I am talking about- it is the famous scene in Human Centipede 1 where Dr. Heiter yells "feed her!" while the headpiece if the centipede involuntarily defecates into the girl behind him's mouth. The notion of sewing central to the Human Centipede films comes up in Salo. There's this female aristocrat whose role is being a storyteller she, drops a line about a woman having a mouse sewed into her vagina. There is also a tongue removal sequence towards the end, which is also true of Human Centipede 2. I'll be honest though, this film drags a little bit. I did have to stand up and take an intermission. A good portion of the film is the aristocratic woman telling sexual stories-it could be as much as twenty minutes or more of the film. Clearly, this film is to be categorized as a light romantic comedy.
Monday, January 9, 2012
All roads on here would appear to lead to Sean McBride. I trashed Genesis P. Orridge, Sean played as a member of Psychic TV over the summer. I write about Patrick Ogle and Sam Rosenthal's Black Tape for a Blue Girl, I recall Sean saying he opened for them at one point. I know Sean from a day job he has at a bookstore in Brooklyn. I've said this before he is a good guy, I'm not blown away by his music. I think there are two real issues here with Sean's music and the bands on that label Wierd Records that he's on. The first issue if written about elsewhere a little bit, I think those bands are essentially re-creating 80's music without adding much to it. I could go even further then that- not only were people like Genesis P. Orridge and Sam Rosenthal doing music like that all the way back in the 80's, I don't even think that the Wierd bands are necessarily picking up on the more sonically intriguing elements of Psychic TV or Black Tape for a Blue Girl( although Patrick used to argue and he's probably right that Sam Rosenthal was less responsible for the successes of Black Tape for a Blue Girl then you might think). The other problem I think is this whole "coldwave" term those people throw around. On the topic of Patrick Ogle, there was actually a brief time in which Patrick and I were discussing the possibility of forming a band. At one point I threw out some idea for a name for the band and Patrick wrote me an e-mail that said "I don't care if you name this band after my nut sack". I have my differences with Patrick but these "cold wave" people could probably learn something from the attitude articulated in that statement. I'm perfectly fine with describing my musical tastes as being "metal" and "goth" or even that whole "gothic metal" thing over in Europe. It doesn't bother me-my two favorite bands are Joy Division and Voivod really. Coldwave bands are all essentially goth bands. I'm not that into "coldwave". I'm into goth and metal, mostly older goth and metal. It boggles the mind that anyone would think their goth music that consists of five notes on an analog synth and a repetitive beat on old drum machine is somehow more deeply intellectual because it is "coldwave" and not goth. Do not get me wrong: Sam Rosenthal is a loser. I sent him an e-mail one time he sent back something rude, I don't recall the exact wording. Patrick and others had commented on Sam Rosenthal's lack of social skills. I think the word that came up a lot was "annoying". I did actually find myself listening to some much older Black Tape for a Blue Girl this week and liking it, but Sam Rosenthal was making some fairly excremental music in the 2000's. The last decade of Sam Rosenthal and Genesis P. Orrdige is pretty much the same non-event, except Rosenthal didn't get the breast implants. This is not what interests me most to write about. How could it possibly be? I have a radio that tunes into the Michael Savage show 3-6 p.m. every day, 720 AM in Las Vegas, I have a copy of A Serbian Film, and Human Centipede 2 comes out on DVD Valentine's Day. A little right wing talk radio, some extreme European torture films, what more stimulation do you need? The look on people's faces when I say that is truly priceless. The blog I've done very recently that's getting the most hits though is actually the posting of sketches by Voivod's drummer of all things, so this kind of stuff gets read, and I rather be read then not read for whatever reasons. If people are goggling the word "Voivod", then I'm going to keep re-writing the word Voivod. I'm going to guess that Voivod will continue to beat out Wierd Records. I wish I could find Sam Rosenthal's video art. There was a VHS of it released, but you can't even find it on YouTube. That is surely hilarious bad art.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Nympha is an obscure, low budget Italian horror film made a few years. I had never heard of it, but Pollystaffle owner Chad Freeman had a stack of review copies of films that he brought over one time. this one was on the top. I saw Martyrs recently and wondered if this film was a rip off of Martyrs, but it appears that Nympha came out the year before Martyrs in 2007. I don't know if the makers of Martyrs were aware of the similarly themed Nympha. Nympha is obscure but it deserves recognition. This film can almost get away with stealing the un-scary bleeding walls bit from Amityville Horror by being unbelievably over-the-top sick and perverted in every conceivable way. This one's got it all, rape, torture, incest, human tongue cut out, all present and accounted for and then some. It's a little difficult to follow at first but by the end it makes sense. The gist of it is that there's this woman named Sarah whose taken by a convent of some very strange order of nuns, they bring in a drunk doctor to torture here, lots of blood, vomit, etc. The torture is some kind of religious initiation. Then there are flashbacks to the childhood of this woman girl/woman named Nympha. Her mother has died in childbirth and she is raised by her grandfather who is clearly sexually abusing her and is also, without giving away too much, her father. The grandfather also kills a whole bunch of people, and justifies it as being the will of God. The idea is that Nympha is a saint to the order of nuns and that Sarah is having divine visions of her, the way medieval nuns would have visions of the saints. Pretty messed up huh? I must say I have not seen that in a film before. The tone of the film is grim with lots of blood, plenty of full frontal nudity, and footage of flies on rotting meat. There is a soft-core type sequence with the two actresses playing Sarah and Nympha. There's also a scene where they cut out Sarah's tongue, it is much more so highly gory and bloody horror cinema though it might be likely to raise the question "Who's masturbatory material is this excrement?". Nympha is all about the flies circling the rotted meat, the blood pouring out of the walls, and of course, the crucifix, heavy, heavy catholic religious iconography through out the film. It's an extreme, extreme film. I'm generally not big on a lot of the horror cinema of recent years shoot on digital film. This film could get away with it I felt. The torture sequences are particularly life like, so if the goal of a horror film is to frighten, this film is successful in some measure. The part where they cut out the chick's tongue is pretty freaky. Nympha is not a bad film, I kind of like it. The two actresses in it are very pretty. One of them is played by Tiffany Shepis whose a popular "scream queen" in a whole mess of films, some soft-core, Scarecrow, a Troma film (not that I care for Toma). She's in a Ted Bundy bio-film. She's in a whole bunch of low budget horror films and has a substantial cult following. I don't know about turning this one horror actresses I've never meet into an obsessive fetish object, but Tiffany Shepis was good in Nympha. She's in the same social circles as myself a little bit. I don't know her though. She's on my Facebook, I think.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Censorship is a funny thing, recently I've looked at material that was banned somewhere, and I find myself stunned that anyone would bother banning it. A Serbian Film was released back in 2010 and has become illegal in a number of countries, with one person being imprisoned in Spain for showing it at a film festival. Just as Human Centipede 2 is merely a well-done horror film involving an odd scatological pre-occupation, just as Michael Savage is actually just a conservative talk show host who brings up some very legitimate points, A Serbian Film is more-or-less just a horror film/thriller in which the villains are extreme sexual perverts. That's all a Serbian Film is. It's not child pornography or a snuff film. It is a fictional horror film in which child pornography and snuff cinema exist as plot elements. I'd have to take a long cold look at the censors on this one, because if you take this film deeply seriously for a second you've probably taken it deeply seriously for too long. Granted, this movie is not recommended for mixed company, polite conversation, children, or the easily offended. The villain, who is an unforgettable and a very convincing one, is a sexual pervert of the most intense kind. Vukmir is an educated man who speaks of art, a trained child psychologist. He is a man who defiles for the sake of defilement. He loves rape, incest, torture, and- a term that would appear to make it's first appearance in this film- "newborn porn". It is stated that he is working with the Serbian government, so the element of fascism comes in as well. The protagonist Milos is a retired porn actor in Serbia who lives with a wife and very young son. His brother is a crocked cop which becomes important at the end, there is an early scene with the brother receiving oral sex while watching a video of the young son's birthday party. This is not a subtle film there is a lot of very heavy-handed foreshadowing. I could see exactly more or less where it was going fairly early on. A former porn star contacts him about a potential job that will pay for his family for life and he meets this director Vukmer. Very quickly it becomes clear that this is no ordinary porn, when he is told to beta a woman and masturbate on her face with an underage girlfriend. It goes from there: Milos goes in to quite, Vukmer shows him a cute little porn genre called "newborn porn", Milos is drugged with animal aphrodisiacs and forced to perform one heinous and unnatural sex act after another- raping a woman- decapitating the woman- raping her corps while blood spurts out. Of course it ends with the Greek tragedy and there's the forced rape with the family members I knew it would go there from scene one. Vukmer is killed at the end, no tears there, and Milos commits shoots himself and his family, and in the last scene, Vukmer's cohorts are there with a camera ready to use the families bodies for more super sick porno. Meaning, these villains will defile for the sake of defilement from the moment of birth until even after the victim is dead. Vukmer is a very convincing and very troubling character. Should it be illegal? That's insanity. In fact, I even found the descriptions of how disturbing this film supposedly is on-line fairly ridiculous. These European extreme horror films though, they're really scaring the hell out of someone in charge though, so they must really be hitting on very sensitive issues for governments to come in and suppress this material. Of course, if you rally enough for a return to Judeo-Christian ethical tradition as the fundamental guiding principle of the state, governments may come after you for that, just ask Michael Savage. The French film Martyrs from 2008 didn't get banned or create legal problems, but is considered to come out of the same wave of extreme European horror that produced the Human Centipede films and A Serbian Film. It exhibits a very similar fixation with torture, but it is taken in a different direction which has far less to do with sexuality. The films starts with a girl in underwear running down the street away from something. There is a film shown of the girl's being taken in by doctors to an orphanage that reveals that while tortured and abused this little girl, Lucie, was not raped at all. Spoiler alert! In religious art, there are those images of the saints who are being burned alive or are set on fire and have the look of some sort of transcendence. The torturers in Martyrs are religious fanatics that are trying to recapture. the phenomena of the martyring, of a kind of metaphysical transcendence through extreme pain. In rough plot summary, because the film is long, Lucie and her friend Anna from the orphanage as adults go to exact revenge on Lucie's torturers. Lucie comes into a family home and executes the family with a shotgun, and then Anna shows up. There's an odd bit about Lucie hallucinating that a dead girl is attacking her. Lucie kills herself. Anna finds a woman in the basement whose been gained up much the way Lucie was. Then a bunch of black clad figures with guns shot the girl that was chained up in the basement, this female cult leader type explains the concept of martyring to Anna and then they chain Anna up and of course torture her in hopes of creating a martyr. There's a certain logic to it. At the end Anna, skinned alive, becomes a martyr. I am far and away more impressed by Martyrs then by A Serbian Film, although a Serbian Film has the distinction of being disturbing enough to be made illegal and a really chilling and very believable villain in Vukmer. A Serbian Film really has the stink of sexual sleaze to it, which Martyrs does not. What they both share is that they partake in the process of upping the ante of depictions of torture on camera, and cinematically they've gotten quite good at it. A Serbian Film is what it is, but I feel Martyrs is really clever, I highly recommend it. Less extreme but another good horror film to come out of Europe in recent years is the Norwegian film Dead Snow. I'll probably get around to reviewing Dead Snow on here at some point. There's a British film that showed at festivals called Inbred that looks very good.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
A Serbian Film is in the mail, so I'll do this one first, as it just screened at The Sci-Fi Center in Las Vegas. This one didn't get quite the kind of controversy that Human Centipede 2 did as it was not made illegal for months in England before 32 cuts were made, but is another example of extreme horror cinema coming out of Europe in the last few years. I also don't really like it as much as Human Centipede 2, but that's just me. I'll tell you what though, one person you don't want to be is the shrink in these films. There's a great bit in the beginning of Human Centipede 2 where the psychiatrist overseeing Martin the retarded security guard throws out a Freudian bit of psycho-analysis and notes that Martin's obsession with creating a human centipede is "probably just a passing phase." Of course, the shrink is wrong- Martin is deranged beyond psychoanalysis. Later, Martin shoots the shrink in the groin, a relatively painless death compared to what he has in store for some of his other victims. The failed psychotherapy in The Antichrist goes on for almost a 100 minutes and ends with partially similar results for the attempted therapist… The film starts out with a full graphic sex scene with William DeFoe and Charlotte Gainsborgh, in which the couple's small child in the other room steps out the window. William DeFoe's character is a psychotherapist of some kind and he starts doing something a therapist is not supposed to do- he begins trying to treat his wife. Well, he takes his wife to a cabin they have in the woods where the wife had been working on a thesis (turns out to be about witchcraft and witch hunts in European history) and his wife begins to become much unhinged. He really does not know what he's screwing around with. There is quite a humorous bit when a fox pops out of a foxhole and pronounces that "chaos reigns!". Similar magical goings on involving animals take place in the film. DeFoe's attempts to decode and treat her obsessions with nature and witch burnings only seem to make matters worse. Spoiler alert! The female lead maims William DeFoe's character in a couple of different ways, one of which involves his genitalia. She also mutilates her own genitalia. There's a whole lot of odd activity involving animals such as the talking fox that seems to be based in European pagan tradition. Nature is a whore witch, and as it ends, well, what happens with witches? These European directors are getting fairly good at producing graphic images of torture, I'll give them that much. I was biased against this film because the director, Von Trier, worked on set for a different film with Bjork and committed a great travesty against art- he was close enough to Bjork to slash her voice box out but did not do so. In all seriousness, the fact that Von Trier worked with Bjork is something I really had to look past, because her music is excremental and irritating. The Antichrist is good enough that I will forgive him. I have read him quoted as saying that he is the greatest director in the world. I don't know about all that. I like Tom Six more. I don't see why this film would deserve controversy. There's a few parts where I winced imagining the physical pain involved. I like the "therapy fails" angle. I kind of want the talking fox for a pet.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
You know, it's funny. in 1994 a studied with the the author Rick Moody at Bennington College in Vermont, Two years after that I ran across a compilation from the goth label Projekt records that featured Patrick Ogle under the name Thanatos. Years later I became friends with Patrick Ogle. They have mysteriously become the same bad, bad writer. If you go back into Patrick Ogle's work he reviews some horribly bad bands. I used to say that I stopped being friends with Patrick Ogle because he interviewed Silverchair. That was actually the end of a long line of excremental bands. If memory serves Patrick Ogle interviewed Interpol's drummer at one point. Rick has pulled some similar crap moves in recent years. He interviewed Moby not long ago. Patrick has worked more on film in recent years, but it is not film that I care about particularly. Actually, my Dad contacted me specifically to tell me that I should add the Tree of Life to my worst films ever made list. I haven't done it because I'm sure that it is, and I don't want ton watch it. Patrick Ogle liked it. It makes very little sense to me. I've discussed the censorship issues surrounding Human Centipede 2 on here, A Serbian Film has been banned in a number of countries. If you go into the whole MIAC documents controversy and related issues you'll find a similar state suppression of right wing ideas. The Sex Pistols at the height of punk weren't banned anywhere. I think Moody and Ogle there have picked some serious non-issues to write on. I'm not sure what exactly happened to those guys. It would seem to me that Moody and Ogle were somewhat edgy or relevant in the 90's. Not anymore. Moody is re-playing his fixation with the 80's college radio band the Feelies for no good reason. Whatever was interesting about what he was is no longer there. Maybe it was never really there. Surely, there is more to existence, even if it is to stand against the emptiness of existence with a loaded firearm. It is, granted, difficult to write reviews. I don't see why a double review of Inseminoid or Humanoids for the Deep or a review of "Satanic Royalty" by Midnight would attract the most attention. Those are mediocre films and a mediocre bands, I had to be quite careful to be quite critical of them. Inseminoid is a film I laugh at. I was amazed to see how many people found that review looking for pornographic images of rape. I wondered if the same would be true of snuff films, so when I reviewed Snuff: A Documentary about Killing on Camera, I gave the review a title that I suggested that I had my hands on real snuff films. I was right. I have in this way submitted to what Rick calls "democratic need"-I suspect this was a dimension of democratic need he had not envisioned...