R.I.P. Peter Steele... it shoulda been Bobby!

Shame about Petrus T. Ratajczyk, a.k.a. Peter Steele. From that picture Igor posted, looks like rigor mortis is already setting in in some areas. Yoiks! Peter Steele, indeed! Want mustard with that? I heard that after that issue came out, one of his bandmates informed him that Playgirl mostly sells to gay guys, which got Pete a new fanbase that he wasn't really looking for, which resulted in the song "I Like Goils." Not the most open-minded guy, Pete, but, nobody's perfect. He definitely wasn't, but he never bullshitted anybody about that.

I do hate that this guy is gone (even though he’s always seemed to kind of want it, if his songs are in any way truthful, and they’ve certainly always rung that way), because I’ve been listening to him since the first Carnivore record. Carnivore was one of my favorite bands back in the day, and still are, really. To this day I can’t think of Russia without Pete’s Brooklynized “Das vidanya, mothafuckas!” going through my head, and every time Catholicism comes up I hear “Stand up straight, stomach in, shoulders back, sound off! Ang-ga-ree, Neur-o-tic Cath-o-lics!” And “Monkey wrench in my hand/ In my groin a swollen gland/ Tonight perform brain surgery/ Or some gynecology/ Clockwork Orange fast becoming/ Rampant street gangs overrunning/ After darkness waging war/ What do they keep living for? / Sex and violence!” are lyrics I remember well enough to sing in the shower. That may not speak well of my mental state, but, ‘tiz true. And who else in metal ever had a creative vocabulary enough (I had to turn off my spellcheck just to make Microsoft allow me to type some of these words) to come up with things like:

“The atom germ wars of centuries gone
Precipitate genetic mutation
Social degeneration
Creatures formed of malignant science
The children of technology
Plutonium anthropology
Who will cleanse the mess left by the past?
Who will expurgigate the sacred cytoplast?
To rid the earth of abomination
I proclaim my nomination as the...
Thermonuclear warrior!
Strands of malformed DNA strangulate our future
Chromosomal executioners
Recessive traits for life forms emerge through evolution
Facilitate cellular revolution"


"Jesus Hitler
Adolph Christ
Is this the second coming?
Or the fourth reich?
His mother a nun raped by a Nazi
At the end of the second great war
Gave birth to a son who would change the future
For better or worse he's not sure
I am what should never have been
The ultimate abomination
Have I returned to save the Jews
Or to destroy them?
Hear me my fellow Nazolics
Come join the neo-theofascists
Keep der race pure, practice eugenics
And swear to the holy Swazifix!
Rrrrreich und roll..."

I also liked Type O Negative quite a helluva bit, especially the fact that they never took themselves seriously. Who else would name their greatest hits album "The Least Worst Of"? Or put a commentary track on their DVD where they mock their own lyrics ("I want some chicken... I want it fried! Everything fried!") and pretend to be sobbing during parts where Pete's singing some unhappy-personal-relationship lyrics?

Even though Pete was a scary-lookin’ guy (any 6’8” NYC garbageman is going to be imposing, especially if they’re on antidepressants and were known to start songs with “This is the United States of America and you’ve got the right to hate who you want, so let’s start bustin’ heads!”), served time at Rikers and a psychiatric hospital for drug possession, and was prone to doing odd things (he signed a record contract with his own blood and semen), I know a guy who got to hang out with for quite a while after a show once, and said he was one of the nicest, friendliest people you’d ever want to meet, and very appreciative of anyone liking his bands. I was a little bummed that Pete used to be an outspoken atheist but then re-discovered Catholicism during a moment of weakness when he was in drug rehab… but, eh, like I said, nobody's perfect.

Ah well... shit happens. Last week, Bruce Roehrs, and now this. I guess it's true, Everything Dies.

Funny appearance on Jerry Springer ("I'm less miserable.")

Who's gonna tell this man he can't wear a headband?

Day Tripper, negativized...

Anyway, off to the drive-in.

Babysitter, The (B&W, 1969) A cute blonde babysitter named Candy invites her hippie friends over for a party as soon as the people who hired her leave. Not only does she never check in on the kid, I don't think they even bothered to cast the role; they just show a blanket in a crib and say it's an eight-month-old. The dad (a prosecutor and sexually-frustrated husband whose wife doesn't seem to want to spend time with him other than bridge and dinner parties) gives Candy a ride home. They stop off for tacos and she tries to seduce him, and he's so bored and lonely that it's not difficult to do. Meanwhile, some violent bikers are plotting a way to get a member of their gang off of death row. They decide to try blackmailing the prosecutor with evidence that his daughter is a lesbian, but then Candy shows up and provides them some higher octane blackmail material by making out with him in the pool, then bed. It shouldn't even work since he wasn't doing much to keep the affair a secret, taking Candy dancing in clubs and such, but he's spooked. Candy and some evil friends come up with a plan to make the blackmail problem disappear. Nudity-packed black and white Crown International drive-in fodder is better than you'd think, since it does have a plot and isn't just softcore padding, and they even take the time to do a little character-building (such as the prosecutor's discouraging efforts to avoid the affair by trying to patch things up with his wife), and occasional forays into artiness.

Best Friends (C, 1975) Richard Hatch and his ugly buddy Pat get out of the army and travel cross-country to California in a camper with their girlfriends, with plans to marry them when they get there. But Pat soon proves unable to handle that kind (or any other kind) of responsibility, and he tries to talk Hatch into running off with him to live out some Easy Rider fantasy on little Kawasakis. Hatch is in love with his girl and has a truck-driving job waiting on him, though, so he doesn't go for the idea. So, Pat tries to break Hatch up with his girlfriend so he can have him all to himself. He tells her that Hatch is a womanizer, and even tries to get her bitten by a rattlesnake, and even tries to force himself on her. Hatch has soon had enough of the psychotic Pat and things turn violent. They try to reconcile things but the situation appears destined for tragedy. Odd, junky drive-in fodder from Crown International has a lot of filler and some weird character motivations (Hatch knew Pat since childhood -- wouldn't there have been some previous hint that Pat's unbalanced? Or, did Pat's injured hand wreck his psyche?) The movie's not deep enough to really explore its own premise very much, even though the existential ending makes you think it had some ambition to be art.

Hustler Squad (C, 1976) An unorthodox army major is given a tough WWII assignment -- kill a bunch of top-rank Japanese officers when they gather at a whorehouse for some R&R. He decides that the only wa to accomplish this without making it a suicide mission is to infiltrate the whorehouse with prostitutes he's trained as killers, and have them assassinate the officials while troops invade other points on the island. He rounds up his squad anywhere he can find them - prisons, brothels - until he finds women desperate enough to take on the mission. He finds four women (none particularly stunning, though one does resemble Traci Lords a bit) and trains them; most of the training is just a lot of running, since everybody already knows how to do that and it'd be less challenge to the cast. After almost getting sidetracked, they parachute in, join the busload of prostitutes, and go to the big officer-brothel (under the guidance of a fat Japanese guy who says nothing but "okay okay okay.") One admiral is actually a nice guy, and surprisingly the other Japanese aren't depicted as evil sadists the way they usually are in these movies -- they're just goofy, playful drunks. The prostitutes are horny so they decide to do the killing after the sex, and premature ejaculation kind of makes motivation easier. One guy gets strangled by thighs, and another is electrocuted in a bathtub. The rest of the island is raided in a capgun rampage. Despite the exploitative title and plotline and being from Crown International, this film could almost get a PG, since there's hardly any nudity and the sex is sub-softcore. Basically, a cheap, junky, dismissible action flick that doesn't show up in a lot of even the skangier movie reference guides but will be hailed by critics as an innovative work of genius if Tarantino ever remakes it.

Link to radio spots and poster art.

Van Nuys Blvd. (C, 1979) A creature that's a cross between Chevy Chase and a lizard, which is called a "Bobby" (get some eyebrows, Bobby!) complains that his pretty girlfriend is naked too often (oh, it's just terribly annoying when gorgeous girls won't put their clothes on) and is always wanting to screw him (she's just a pest!). He's fed up with his small town and decides he'll never amount to anything unless he goes to Van Nuys Blvd. and drives his van up and down the street all night, which is apparently how a Bobby measures success. So he drives all the way there, awkwardly orders a "hambuhduh" (get a tongue, Bobby!) and is ambush-screwed by the waitress who brings it to him (which probably annoys him since it keeps him from driving up and down the street). Then a bunch of highschool douchebags (say, that's a good name for the sequel!) trash some cars, for humor. Ha ha, so funny! Nothing cracks me up like the potential for difficult insurance claims! And who knew watching two people simultaneously eating the same hamburger wouldn't be sexy? At all? Some goober gets picked up, fucked, and then released back into the wild by a biker chick with glitter eyeshadow. Bobby gets tossed in jail for drag-racing his van when he's caught by the notorious Officer Zass (say it aloud, it's one of the cleverest jokes in the movie), who tries to bust every Van Nuys cruiser he can trump something up on. When they get out, Bobby and his new friends (including a guy named Chooch, and a girl named Moon, who has a chooch) go to Magic Mountain, to ward off a plot from happening. They watch girls dance (put your scalp on straight, Bobby!). People make out, get drunk, and do things that I'm guessing someone thought were funny, such as falling off of things. Bobby's hairline recedes visibly during the film. Girls who run their fingers through it probably get a souvenir to take home. They race go-karts and Chooch gets purse-slapped by an old lady, because old ladies committing assault is fuh-nee, buddy! Officer Zass (say it out loud again, make the most of it!) gets handcuffed to his cop car by a girl and a biker robs him. Eventually he almost dies of exposure, and it's heee-larious! The kids play air hockey, pinball, primitive video games, volleyball, and frisbee just to kill some time running the gamut of everything you could do in the 70's besides eat hamburgers and fuck. A pig gets loose on a beach and a fat guy chases it. So funny! Some movies would stop right there and say that, alone, was enough entertainment, but not Van Nuys Blvd., the movie that cares, because it tops itself by including a scene where one of the guys gets his mouth stuck open trying to eat a too-big sandwich, and then a guy who looks just like Borat gets his thumb stuck in a bowling ball. Ha ha! Imagine such a thing happening! A girl sneaks a boy home in drag so her parents won't care if he spends the night, and her dad tries to make out with him, even kissing him on the bottom. This is perhaps the only actually humorous situation in the film. Bobby and his new girlfriend Moon plan to drag race their vans again. And, lo, they do. Crown International drive-in fodder has no plot to distract the audience from their groping, but it's not badly shot and doesn't really get boring because there's enough goofy shit happening to keep it moving, even if there's no point to any of it. Lots of bad disco music, and a really, really slaps-you-across-the-eyes-with-the-stupid-of-it stupid ending. Most of the guys in this film look like they're in the early stage of acromegaly. You could watch this movie, or you could just run around with your pants off for a while screaming "VAN NUYS!" It'd be pretty much the same experience.

The theme song is kinda catchy as horrible disco-funk goes...


  1. Awesomely entertaining, as always. I've been listening to Type O's "Summer Breeze" over and over since last week, still perhaps the most genius cover I've ever heard. If there is a mathematically verifiable 180-degree counterpoint to Seals and Crofts' cornball original, Type O found and nailed it to a cross made of AM radios. Fucking perfect.

  2. Thanks! Type O actually made me *like* that song. :) They also have a good cover of "Cinnamon Girl," and a strange cover of "Hey Joe" with the lyrics changed a bit to make them more Brooklyn-ized: "Hey, Peter, where you goin' with that axe in your hand?" "I'm goin' to kill my old lady, she was fuckin' around with every guy in town." "Hey, Peter, I heard you chopped your ho-ah down..." :)