1.28.2011

Vomit fetish, anyone?

Since I don't think I could get a full blog post out of telling you that my cat likes asparagus (although that is true and I kid ye not), I guess I'll just give ya some more random movie reviews, without theme.

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Boxer's Omen, The (C, 1983) aka Mo. Mind-boggling Shaw Brothers craziness full of bizarre special effects. When his brother's neck is broken by bad-sport Thai kickboxer Bolo Yeung, Chen Hung swears revenge and starts seeing mystical symbols and priests. A guy rots away and coughs up a bat puppet, which a black magician and Buddhist priest battle over. The black magician casts over spells using a rotting human head covered with entrails, which leads to spider attacks that kill a monk. The monk's mummified body later tells Chen Hung that their fates are intertwined, and when he decays, Chen Hung will die. Chen vomits a live eel and becomes a monk. He battles the black magician, who eats entrails, sends alligator skulls to attack Chen, and even sends his own decapitated head to try to strangle Chen with his neck veins. Chen wins and resumes his boxing career, but other black magicians gather, resurrect a girl by sewing her inside an alligator and then eating regurgitated banana peels and chicken anuses (no special effects in some of that -- just actors with strong stomachs), and they blind him. He has to face them (even though he cheated and had sex since the last duel), and to do so he has to travel to Nepal to get a sacred Buddhist relic. Then things get so crazy that I'm giving up on trying to describe them; you just have to see it, it's like a fever dream on psilocibin. Not much of a plot, but since it's mostly a vehicle for weird, no-limits-of-imagination special effects, it doesn't need one. Essential, gory cinematic psychosis that nothing can prepare you for. I fell asleep during this once and had the freakiest dream...



Manhunt (C, 1972) aka The Italian Connection, Black Kingpin, Hired to Kill, Hitmen, Manhunt in Milan, Manhunt in the City. The mob in Milan hires a couple of American hitmen (Henry Silva and Woody Strode) to kill a small-time pimp named Luca Cannale. The reasons why aren't completely clear, but it appears to be something about making him the scapegoat for a bunch of dope-money skimming between the Italian mob and its American faction; how that's supposed to work is a mystery, but these mob guys look more brutal than smart. Anyway, the whole city's soon after Luca and his wife and daughter are murdered, and Luca goes from being a silly, oily sugar-pimp to a fear-driven killing machine, beating and shooting dozens of men out of sheer desperation. His main offensive move seems to be the head-butt; not only does he head-butt his would-be assassins, but also crushes a wall phone and shatters the windshield of a speeding car. He also uses the crane at an auto wrecking yard as a murder weapon. Lots of great action scenes and some memorable characters help distinguish this Italian crime/bad-haircut shoot 'em up. It's on the Action Classics 50 movie DVD set, even though the packaging misidentifies it as an old Western.




Whole movie:


Protect Your Daughters
(B&W, 1933) aka Reckless Decision, Suspicious Mothers. Pre-code morals expose of overprotective parents and their drunken hard-partying kids. One mom fears for her daughter because she stays out all night and wears raggedy panties. Her best friend Beth seems like a much nicer girl because she's promised her preacher father to not get married until she's twenty-two. Preacher dad rails against "modern young rowdies headed for Perdition" (girls on bicycles with big ol' shorts on) and does fiery sermons against kids who were caught during a raid on a speakeasy, unaware that his good little Beth was one of them. Furthermore, Beth has secretly gotten married to her boyfriend when she was too drunk to remember it. Despite all the debauchery, the parents decide they were wrong and the kids are alright after all! Go figure.


Singapore Sling (B&W, 1990) Unique, bizarre, and (unfortunately for me since I'm determined to attempt it) hard to describe sickie directed by Nikos Nikolaidis. It's either a sleaze film trying to pass itself off as art, or an art film trying to be sleaze, but whatever it is it's at least partially a tribute to the film noir classic Laura, and maybe Pasolini's Salo. A detective who's been shot in the shoulder while trying to track down a girl named Laura ends up in the clutches of the people who may have killed her: a crazy-as-tequila-worms incestuous mother-daughter duo who are into all sorts of extreme sexual perversions. They like to vomit in his face during sex, or tie him to the bed and shock him so he'll convulse while being screwed, pee in his face, and more. It's likely to get worse, because when he showed up they were burying the badly-disemboweled-but-still-alive body of another guy. While they keep him captive they enact weird scenarios, either for his benefit or as part of the games they play with each other. Sometimes they talk to the camera. There are lots of messy eating scenes and some fairly graphic masturbating with handfuls of fruit. The plot is too art-crazy to be very compelling, so the film tries to stay interesting via the visuals (the black and white cinematography is excellent, and each frame is artfully composed). Overall it's pretty pointless, but it's worth watching for the weirdness. All of the twisted goings-on would probably be unbearable under most circumstances, but the tone of the whole film is completely surrealist comedy and can't be taken seriously enough to really offend... well, offend me, anyway -- your mileage may vary. Even all the vomiting came across as more silly than gross. So, even with the subject matter, I wouldn't rate this as one of the ultra-disturbing movies (like Irreversible or the All Night Long or Guinea Pig flicks or whatever) -- it's closer to the Happiness camp. Still, though, despite the high level of craftsmanship, I doubt the makers of Laura would be too flattered by this homage.



Single White Female (C, 1992) Bridget Fonda dumps her boyfriend because he cheated on her (if I'd been him I'd've dumped her for having the most asshole-looking haircut ever) and she moves out and gets a new roomate, Jennifer Jason Leigh. At first JJL seems mousy and shy, and they bond. Then Bridget gets back together with her Significant Dipshit, and JJL reveals herself to be possessive, obsessive, and maybe worse. She starts trying to take over Bridget's life, buying clothes like hers and even copying that awful bedwetter haircut; that's a definite commitment to one's psychosis, especially since it makes her look like a redheaded Matthew Laborteaux (Albert from Little House on the Prairie). After trying to manipulate Bridget's life to keep herself part of it, JJL resorts to swinging sharp objects, including spike heels, knives, bailing hooks, etc. Enthralling and intense even if it runs toward cliche by the end.



Want to read more things I say that are perhaps stupid and about farts and nipple tissue and the things that can be done with baby ducklings? Maybe you can find them at my twitter feed.

1.25.2011

A Confluence of Sorts...

He: "It's raining, men."
They: "Hallelujah!"


(...sorry. The idiot that taught the Public Speech section I was shanghaied into in college suggested leading off with a joke. But nobody said it had to be funny... + punctuation jokes usually aren't...)

Anyway, I hit the usual blogs Monday morning to see what the what was + what did I see but a new Sonic Youth release! And when my DVR reminded me that Austin City Limits was on last night, who d'ya think was playing, huh? Sonic Youth, thass who! This is a great band! Some of my favorite live shows (+ Kim Gordon was my punk-rock-star crush...)
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So, first up... here's the new release, a soundtrack to some French film, of which I know nothing beyond what is found here. At least some of the music is from the Daydream Nation sessions, repurposed quite well here.

The music is reminiscent of Daydream Nation, and because of the unique tunings that SY use for their guitars (many specific to individual songs), the overall tone evokes DN as each new part unfolds. Ver' nice!



Learn more here.




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The band has posted a free-2-stream 'mixtape' - including groovy cassette interface - on their official website.

Go listen to some unreleased stuff, including an acoustic version of "Star Power"







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And lastly, here's a link to their Austin City Limits appearance page. They did the set in support of their wonderful 2009 release The Eternal, but closed the set with a Daydream Nation nugget. And, yeah, it was a rerun, but whatever... It was still another piece in the wacky Sonic Youth puzzle that I found this week...





Which'll bring us back to... d'oh!

1.21.2011

So this guy walks into a bar...

...but that guy ain't you, because you're here, and that guy ain't me, because I'm sitting here typin' this, so what do either of us know about him? Nothin'. Don't even know why I brought it up. Must be I just need a title for yet another bunch of movie reviews and am trying to be frickin' clever. I try that a lot (mostly on my Twitter page) and luckily I'm usually a little better at it than I am right now, so maybe we oughtta dispense with all that and get down to business...

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Beach Girls and the Monster, The (B&W, 1965) aka Monster From The Surf. A goofy-looking monster (kinda like a kid's drawing of the Black Lagoon creature, but with a pointier head) is clawing surfers to death. It doesn't stop the partying, though, with lots of girls dancing to Frank Sinatra, Jr.'s music like they're desperately trying to shake sand out of their bikini bottoms. One of the surfers has an oceanographer dad who's frustrated by his son's interest in surfing instead of fish, a limping friend whose bad leg keeps him out of the fun so he works on sculptures instead, and a bitchy stepmother who torments them all just out of hellish spite. If the monster isn't actually a mutated aquatic creature (and he sure's hell doesn't look like a real one), there are plenty of suspects who could be stuffing the suit. Padded with plenty of beach-party boogieing and some surfing footage (that was originally in color but it's black and white on the DVD). The monster's ridiculous but at least they did throw in a little blood, and it's short enough. Cheap goofy fun.

Trailer:


Whole freakin' movie:



Book of Eli, The (C, 2010) Thirty years after a nuclear war, Denzel Washington is on a mission from God, trying to deliver the last existing Bible (the rest were destroyed after the war because religion caused it) to someplace west. He's a phenomenal fighter (maybe because of God's protection, because damn near nothing about him is the least bit plausible, including the fact that his Ipod still works) and is easily able to cut down the hoards of scavengers who try to steal from him. He comes to a town run by power-mad Gary Oldman, who's searching for a Bible because he knows it's a powerful mind-control weapon he can use to further enslave the ignorant and desperate. When he finds out Denzel has one he stops at nothing to take it, and Denzel and a girl have to wander the wasteland, dealing with crazed cannibals and Oldman's henchmen. The film creates a stark post-nuke world, but one that's got more holes in it than a gyro captain's longjohns. For one thing, the U.S. is only around 3,000 miles wide. That wasn't much of a mission from God if it took him 30 years to walk it, because that's less than a quarter mile a day. Walking to your mailbox every day is almost as urgent a mission from God. Denzel's also pretty hefty to have walked constantly on a diet of the occasional scrawny, hairless cat. And why Oldman would need a real Bible to control the masses when he could have just made up his own hoo-ha to feed the dupes is beyond me. The message is simpleminded and annoying, and the big twist at the ending is completely ridiculous and just doubles-down on an already-overwhelming jackpot of stupid. Denzel is good as always, and the movie's got a good look to it, and it's entertaining enough if you can turn your brain off enough to not just be bludgeoned down by the stupidity of the thing. But that's the problem... there's just SO MUCH stupidity that it's hard to get around it.




Giallo (C, 2009) An ugly, jaundiced psycho uses his taxi to abduct pretty girls so he can terrorize them and destroy their faces. A girl searching for her fashion model sister, who's been abducted by this lunatic, teams up with a lonely, too-focused-on-his job specialist in tracking serial killers (Adrien Brody), and they try to discover the killer's identity and put a stop to him before he can murder or mutilate the sister. Dario Argento is attempting a return to form here, but alas, his skills have waned and he seems to have used up all his really ace ideas, so this is pretty standard profiler vs. serial killer stuff, with only occasional hints of Argento's trademark stylishness. It's still worthwhile viewing for Argento fans (or even those who aren't); just don't expect anything too special.



Machine Gun McCain (C, 1969) aka For A Price, The Untouchables, Gli Intoccabili. Peter Falk wants a bigger piece of the mob's Vegas action, so he devises a plan involving getting an armed robber, Hank McCain (John Cassavettes), out of prison after twelve years. McCain's son has a plan to rob a casino and McCain likes the idea but isn't impressed with his son and, in fact, doesn't really give much of a fuck about him. McCain picks up Britt Ekland and marries her and carries out the ingenious heist on his own, getting away with two million bucks... but the mob isn't about to let that stand. It's a convoluted Italian crime drama with a typically-intense performance from Cassavettes and a noteworthy score from Ennio Morricone, and it's well-made but unfortunately lacking in action. Cassavettes barely even gets to use a machine gun; one burst from a Sten does not a title justify. There are a few explosions but it's mostly reliant on Cassavette's performance to keep it interesting. Good thing he's up to the task, and it's still good, gritty stuff that doesn't pull any punches, even if it's not quite as good as it could've been.




Violent Professionals, The (C, 1973) aka Milano Trema - La Polizia Vuole Guistizia. Luc Merenda (who's a reasonable facsimile of Fabio Testi) is put on suspension for excessive use of force against a couple of escaped criminals who really had it coming (they even shot a terrified little girl point blank in the face). Immediately afterward, the police chief is murdered by the mob, and Luc is driven to even things up, and if he has to go outside the law to do it, then so be it. To infiltrate the criminal underworld he beats up a pimp and takes his whore, starts a fight in a mob-connected pool hall, befriends a junkie, and still manages to foil a bank robbery. He takes a crime boss (Richard Conte) on a crazy-driving rampage to audition for a job as a getaway driver. While driving for a bank robbery, one of the thugs shoots a pregnant woman in the belly for no reason, and Luc figures out he's dealing with more than just mobsters; they're terrorists trying to spread chaos and overturn the whole country. Great, action-packed Italian crime drama directed by Sergio Martino. The car chase is a standout, and the moody music score is good.




1.17.2011

2011 Already Rocks!

So, not even a full month into '11 + there are already a couple of excellent albums out...

Earth Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Continuing in the same vein as HEX: Or Printing in the Infernal Method + The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull, Angels... sounds like the Ennio Morricone soundtrack to a lost Sergio Leone spaghetti western... Kinda bleak + barren, sorta sparse + airy... The perfect accompaniment musick for a viewing of Alexandro Jodorowsky's El Topo.

Mogwai Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with the music of Mogwai for years now, finding some of their music brilliant but being wildly disappointed by other stuff...

Gotta say that this rekkid is mostly brilliant, with some truly surprising bits popping up from time to time. And 'surprising' doesn't turn up as often as it ought to when describing new music... not as a good thing, anyway!

Both rekkids have super-snappy cover art, + both make for excellent long-distance driving musicks, too, so start planning that roadtrip!

1.16.2011

Just more movie reviews yet again also

Kinda short this time 'cuz I'm more in the mood to go watch movies than I am to write about 'em, but hopefully these'll be interesting, and I think I've been walloping ya'll with too much material at a time, anyway. Nobody really needs to read that much of me.

And, for people who wanna read even less of me, here's my Twitter page where I'm only allowed 140 characters at a time. :)

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Ghost Story of Yotsuya, The (C, 1959) aka Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan. A shiftless samurai is so angry at being rebuffed when he asks a girl's father to let him marry her that he murders him and his retainers. He and his friend frame another samurai for the killings and then he marries his victim's daughter, as he'd wished. She begs him to avenge her father's death but he puts it off and is abusive to her, even after she bears him a child. He decides he's not interested in her anymore, and he's also dirt poor, so he decides to get rid of her and marry a rich woman. To justify killing her he tries to trick a man into having an affair with her, but then poisons her instead. The poison makes her face rot with hideous ulcerations and she swears vengeance upon him before she dies. He also kills her would-be lover, nails them both to boards, sinks them in a lake, and marries his rich woman. But the forces of the supernatural aren't going to allow him to get away with his evil deeds so easily... Artistic, high-class Japanese horror film is a bit slow-paced, overly-mannered, and the plot can take a few confusing turns, but the atmosphere is powerful and the ghosts are ultra-creepy and unrelenting (sometimes appearing as bloody, rotting corpses but also manifesting as snakes). It adds up to something pretty close to a masterpiece. Don't miss it.

Watch a condensation online here, or try to catch it next time TCM shows it.



Jonah Hex (C, 2010) Horrible adaptation of the DC Comics Western (one of the greatest comics ever, so don't let this shit film put you off) changes some things for absolutely no reason and dumbs it all down. Scar-faced bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin, who's way too good for this material and would've made a good Hex if he'd been given some sort of script) is contracted by the government to track down his old enemy Quentin Turnbull (oddly enough, John Malkovich), who's developed a nation-destroying weapon, which is basically a repeater-cannon that sometimes fires glowing cannonballs that blow up big. Hex gets help from sympathetic prostitute Megan Fox (so it's at least got eye candy, albeit used poorly since the cinematography's not so hot) and a tribe of Indians who can bring him back from near-death. They've also given him a superpower he didn't have in the comics and doesn't need in the movie -- the ability to bring the dead back to talk to them. It's unnecessary and shows a lack of faith and misunderstanding of what made the source material classic. Rather than go with a straightforward story, they didn't trust the audience's intelligence and tried to throw in a bunch of wacky high-tech junk and supernatural elements (just as a way to add explosions, even though it's a Western), and gave Hex less to do. He seems like a tag-along in his own movie. He's got the bad attitude but has to use stupid weapons like horse-mounted Gatlings or dynamite-firing crossbows instead of his badass skill with a six-gun. Top it off with an atmosphere-destroying metal soundtrack by usually-good-but-not-good-here band Mastodon. Disappointing.



Lost Highway (C, 1996) David Lynch, trapped in a need to keep topping himself for weirdness, goes off the rails and into the weeds with this slow, murky neo-noir-sense. A jazz saxophonist who's being stalked by someone who sends him videotapes of him and his wife sleeping either murders his wife or is framed for it. He's locked up in maximum security, where he turns into a different guy entirely. Since he's no longer the jazz fella, they release him. Now he's an amnesiac young mechanic who starts messing around with a violent crime boss's girlfriend. He gets in a lot of trouble with her and then changes back into the jazzman as his separate existences meld. This is probably great fun for those who don't like to know what's going on, or pretentious sphinctertwitchers who like to pretend that they do when they really don't, but mostly it's an overlong bought of frustrating confusion that never pays off. There are some elements to it that make it worth watching, mainly in the form of uber-creepy Robert Blake in heavy powder and lipstick, sans eyebrows. He's incredibly nightmarish ("I'm at your house now. Call me.") The cast also includes bit parts for Henry Rollins, Mink Stole, Gene Ross (from S. F. Brownrigg's films), Gary Busey, and a brief shot of Marilyn Manson for no real reason other than he's an ugly freak so why not, it's not like it's going to disrupt anything to just toss him in, because there's nothing to disrupt. It's a very slick and good-looking film and creates a disturbing, dreamlike atmosphere, but it's too weird for its own good, the pacing is leaden, and if there's some sense to all the plot threads it's not worth the effort to try to make sense of them. More likely there is no real structure and Lynch is hoping that you'll impose one upon it and assume he's a genius. I won't and he isn't. This would probably be well-loved in France.



Here's the only scene in the film that you really need to see - it's brilliant and creepy and way better than the rest of it:

1.11.2011

Attention Comics Shoppers: boycott this piece of shit.

Since this blog is very comics-friendly, I wanted to make sure to get this out so people will be aware of where some of their shopping money might be going.

Spread the word on this guy.

Even in a world full of assholes, this reeking smear of buttcrack-ripened fuck-scum, Travis Corcoran of Heavy Ink Comics, stands out. After this weekend's tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, six of whom (including a 9-year-old girl) died, this festering bile-clot posted the following on his website:

1 down, 534 to go


His only problem with the shooting?

It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot “indiscriminately”.

Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone.

Please!


In a linked post he goes on to explain his infantile "politics," which sound like the product of someone who's been spending too much time with the X-men and too little time in the real world. But I don't really give a good goddamn what his politics are; there is no excuse, left right or libertarian, for advocating murder. When someone doesn't understand the basics of humanity, I don't need their political opinions, because they have nothing to teach me, about anything.

Of course, he does have free speech, and should be allowed to say what he wants, no matter how repugnant, or how much of a worthless piece of shit it reveals him to be.

But with free speech comes the free market, and I hope everyone will use its power to see that this guy goes broke.

That's apparently already well under way, judging from reactions on his store's forum.

Anyway, every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world in which you wish to live... and I don't know of many who'd want to live in a world like Travis's.

So, spread the word. I don't care how much of a discount this turd gives, the price is too high if he's what you're supporting. Do your comic shopping elsewhere.

1.09.2011

Today's movie reviews are brought to you by the letter G...

... and the number two. Huh huh... number two. Anyway, I needed a title and noticed that most of the reviews I wrote are for movies beginning with G, so, there ya go. See how that works? I'm so geemyuz!


Death Riders (C, 1976) Documentary on the Death Riders thrill show, a group of traveling stunt riders who go from town to town doing crazy things on motorcycles or in cars. They jump dirt bikes over cars or audience members (yep, the 70's were that irresponsible!), ride them through tunnels of fire or through flaming walls, or set cars on fire and crash them into things, and one guy gets in a box full of dynamite and blows himself up. The daredevils are all young guys, most in their teens, and their main motivation seems to be that doing this crazy stuff makes it easy for them to get girls. Granted, they're the kind of girls who show up for stunt shows, but, hey. On their time off they do motocross racing or accept challenges to ride bulls in rodeos, or visit carnivals (where one guy with teeth like the fence in front of a haunted house eats a live goldfish... probably to get girls). To maintain morale they have shaving cream fights or play pranks on each other, like cooking one of their managers a cheeseburger made out of dog food. Much of the footage (well-shot by Vilmos Zsigmond) is accompanied by country music with lyrics cornier than a vegan's dookie. Mostly it's a fascinating time capsule of '70's fairground life and the hair and tee-shirts that went with it. There's more sideburns here than a Danzig lookalike contest. More fine drive-in fodder from your friends at Crown International.



Glory Stompers, The (C, 1967) Either seriously tweaked or a better actor than anyone ever gave him credit for, Dennis Hopper is Chino, the mentally-defective prez of the Black Souls motorcycle gang. He and his not-too-bright goons beat up Cowboy, a member of the Glory Stompers, and think they kill him when they get too happy with a tire iron. They decide to sell his girlfriend to some white slavers in Mexico and take off with her. Cowboy's not dead, though, and when he wakes up he's hell-bent to get his chick back, getting a little help from a passerby who used to ride with the Stompers. Meanwhile, his girl is not pleased to be kidnapped (even though Hopper makes a valiant attempt to cheer her up by rubbing his beard on her) and Hopper's girlfriend is getting jealous and wanting to go ahead and kill her. The giggling, nonsense-spouting Hopper fights with his guys for getting rough with the girl and they all act like idiots. Cowboy gets you-should-give-up-the-gang-and-better-your-life advice from his new partner, in an attempt to give the movie depth. Meanwhile, Hopper and his boys go to a big party with a bunch of other clubs while a Black Soul named Clean Cut watches the girl, and he's a nice guy (well, for a Black Soul, anyway) but she just wants to trick him so she can brain him with a crowbar. But then a bad Black Soul named Magoo (a name the movie stole from a famous Hell's Angel) runs off with her, and bad things happen. Pretty funny biker flick, with a classic goofball performance from Hopper. Also the name of a good Oi band.



Here's the oi band to kick yer arse!



Gore-Gore Girls, The (C, 1972) aka Blood Orgy. This is Hershel Gordon Lewis's best film as far as filmmaking skill and acting goes. The acting is competent enough that its terribleness isn't distracting, the camerawork isn't as crude, and some of the gore is hyper-nasty. An Argento-style black-gloved killer is butchering strippers and mauling their faces. One girl's head is hacked into unrecognizable hash as the camera makes love to the carnage, eyeballs are pulled out and squished, one girl's face is melted off with a hot iron, another is drowned in a pan of boiling french fries, and in disturbing misogynistic attempts at "comedy" a girl's ass is pounded to hamburger with a meat-tenderizing hammer and then salt is poured onto the wounds, and another has her nipples snipped off with scissors (chocolate milk squirts out of one and regular milk squirts out of the other, and I get the creeps knowing I'm watching something created by a grown man who's that juvenile). A prissy detective is assigned to track down the killer, assisted by a girl reporter. A lot of the film takes part in a strip club where Henny Youngman is the M.C. (seeing him in a H.G. Lewis movie is just surreal), and the movie's padded with strip acts (most of the girls aren't bad looking, but it's weird seeing a fresh appendectomy scar one of them). A crazed Vietnam vet sits at the bar, drawing faces on fruits and vegetables and then smashing them, which is about as inspired as the movie gets, comedy-wise. The gore effects are variable, from extremely graphic to obvious abuse of rubber masks. Bizarre in all ways.

Whole damn movie, ya'll:


Graphic Sexual Horror (C, 2009) Documentary on a sick-minded porn website, insex.com, which gained a fairly large following by posting extreme bondage footage of girls tied up, abused, terrorized, and degraded. The creator of the website tries to explain why anyone would be enchanted by such things. The girls who modeled for the torture scenes (which were real, but consensual, and the girls were able to stop it at any time) explain why they did it -- partially for money but also for their own personal kink. Much of what's done is very hard to watch, even with the knowledge that it's consensual, and even with all the rational explanation it's tough to understand how anyone could subject themselves to this, or anyone else to it. It's also uncomfortable that Brent, the guy who ran the site, could coerce the girls into doing things they might not want to by the threat of no longer being employed there, and it paid well. Then the government cracked down on the credit card companies people used to pay for website membership, and that shut the site down. It's an informative documentary, although I still can't claim much understanding of that level of kinkiness; even though I watched the movie I'd have no interest in the site, although the scenarios -- horrible as they are -- do have artistic merit of a strange sort. Most people will want to avoid this, but it's well done if you can handle it. The nudity is porn-level graphic.




Last Exorcism, The (C, 2010) Combination of Marjoe, Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, and just a tad bit of Rosemary's Baby tossed in for flavor. An evangelist who's been performing exorcisms decides to perform one more and film it, because he doesn't actually believe in God or demonic possession and wants to expose it all as a fraud. He's a nice person and cares about the people he's been preaching to; he's just decided that exploiting their ignorance for money is harmful and wants to do his part to stop it. He chooses a random letter requesting exorcism and heads to Louisiana with a two-person film crew and meets a 16-year-old girl named Nell who's been exhibiting some strange behavior, such as mutilating her father's cattle during sleepwalking episodes. Her father is an evangelical lunatic who's kept the family separated from society and firmly believes in demons and exorcism, and Nell is a fragile, nice girl but very creepy. Her hostile brother seems protective of Nell but his animosity toward the exorcism crew is chilling. They do an exorcism and it seems to have taken care of the family's psychological needs... but then it becomes evident that more than psychology is at work in this case. I'd heard that this movie sucked, but it worked well for me, even though the filmmakers blow the whole Blair Witch "found footage" concept -- it's like they forgot they were even trying to do that sometimes and shot scenes from several different angles when only one camera's supposed to be present. The casting and acting are very good, especially Ashley Bell as the possessed girl, who can snap from being a nervously-friendly sweet girl to a screaming malevolent fury in seconds; she really goes balls-out in the possession scenes, which include a few twists we haven't seen before. It's creepy on a lot of levels. Evangelicals are creepy to begin with and they're portrayed convincingly -- I know a ton of people who project that same eerie, almost-mental-illness cultishness. The possession antics are disturbing, but it's also scary on an even-if-she's-not-possessed level because the girl is dangerous even if she's just crazy, and the father may also be on the verge of doing something violent in the name of acting on his beliefs. I had my doubts about this one due to some bad reviews (I've got to quit buying into that; modern audiences just seem to have no attention spans anymore) and the fact that Eli Roth was connected to it; I've not been impressed with his work at all, but he produced, not directed. The ending is pretty weak and is hampered by lame special effect bullshit, but overall this one's worth watching.





Machete (C, 2010) Over-the-top action flick that was created because the fake trailer Robert Rodriguez shot for Grindhouse was too cool not to become an actual movie. Real-life badass Danny Trejo finally gets a leading man role as an ex-Federale who's working as a day laborer. A smarmy anti-immigration creep (Jeff Fahey) hires him to assassinate a senator (Robert DeNiro), but it's a set-up to prop up DeNiro's anti-immigration campaign by making a Mexican illegal look like a violent assassin. They shoot Trejo and set him up, but he's not a guy you want to double cross, and soon all kinds of ridiculously gory hell is breaking loose, with Trejo joined in the mayhem by immigration agent Jessica Alba and taco-selling revolutionary Michelle Rodriguez and Trejo's priest brother Cheech Marin, all dealing steel to the bad guys. Stephen Segal, Lindsay Lohan and Don Johnson also have small roles. The violence is cartoonish and overblown, with heads shotgunned to stew meat and limbs flying ever-which-a-way, but it's clearly not meant to be taken seriously (and that's never clearer than the scene where Trejo disembowels a guy to use his intestines as an impromptu escape rope), but it's played straight and the story's actually engaging, if implausible. If you're a grindhouse movie type there's no way you won't have fun with this one. The credits promise sequels; that may be part of the joke, but I hope not, because more of this would be a good thing.



The original trailer that spawned it:


Sheitan (C, 2006) aka Satan. A rainbow coalition of French party assholes head out to an isolated house in the country. The caretaker, Joseph, is a permanently-smiling loonietoon who makes racist comments like he doesn't even realize they're inappropriate, and offers to let one of the guys fuck his niece. She's has crazy as he is, if making out with a dog is any indication, and it is where I live, but I can't vouch for France. The behavior of the locals gets more and more bizarre and Joseph displays crazy mood swings. Then the movie forgets all of that for a while and focuses on the uninteresting kids trying to get laid... and then one finds loads of grasshoppers in her bed and weird puppets freak them out and Joseph goes on a rampage while trying to kill a retarded boy and a grotesque woman gives birth to something, and things get more and more chaotic and nonsensical and it becomes clear that things aren't what they seem and black magic may be involved. The movie ultimately makes no fucking sense (the French are somehow under the impression that they don't have to and are, in fact, geniuses when they don't) but it's still worth watching for some really nightmarish imagery -- and I mean that literally, you'll think you dreamed it. It's a worthwhile bunch of parts even if the sum is zero.




If you liked this, you can keep up with more of my wonderfulness on my Twitter page. And if you didn't like this, then fuck ya!

1.02.2011

The writer chick from White Zombie

Every once in a while I get ahead of a big curve. It's usually more out of curiosity and luck than because of any sort of genius, but, what the hell, it works. Like, I was listening to Metallica the week that Kill 'Em All came out, while most of the public didn't know they existed until the video for "One" came out years 'n' years later. And I was waaay ahead of the White Zombie curve; I picked up their first LP, Soul Crusher, pretty soon after it came out. I'm still amazed that a record store here in Podunk had a copy, and it may even be one of the originals, I'm not sure - it just says "Silent Explosion" and doesn't mention Caroline on it. Back then I was trying to buy anything that looked punk/metal/heavy/noisy, and Soul Crusher had a really freaky cover. In those days I didn't know anybody who was into metal or punk at all, so everything was on a "buy it and see" basis.

And this album... wow. Big payoff. Nobody else sounded like early White Zombie. That may be a good thing, because songs like "Shack of Hate" aren't exactly a thing to be imitated by the unqualified.




Anyway, I liked it and was impressed with the scary noisy-craziness of it. I was also intrigued by the bass player, who looked kinda female-ish, but you couldn't be sure 'cuz the pics were fuzzy and the name was "Sean." I hoped it was female, anyway, since I found it disturbingly cute. Below are pictures from the sleeve, with as much lyrical content as would fit in the scanner just so you can get an idea how insane the early shit was if you haven't heard anything but "Thunder Kiss 65" or "Black Sunshine." Note that Rob Zombie (real name: Rob Cummings) is going by the name Rob "Dirt" Straker at the time. I still think that's a much cooler name than "Rob Zombie," but, whatchagonnado, nobody ever consults me before they just do stuff.



And here's the other side of the sleeve, for what's still my favorite Rob Zombie art ("Give Me Some Stuff!"):





A couple of years later, Make Them Die Slowly came out. Sean hated the album, but anything that includes the ungodly-fucking-badass "Demonspeed" can't be all bad:



If you can get through the first minutes of that song without a chill running down your spine, check yo' pulse, 'cuz, honey, you dead!

By the time that came out I knew that, yep, Sean was indeed female, and I safely had a lil' crush going. I'd heard of the "Psycho-Head Blow Out" EP by then, so I wrote the band, just a very short note asking if it was still available and if they had any other mersh, T-shirts or whatever. I didn't really expect a reply since in my experience bands didn't write back much (about the only bands I ever got replies from were a forgotten thrash band called Executioner, whose very-cool guitarist wrote me a really nice letter (complete with phone number!), and Kinghorse. The Dead Kennedys would send you merchandise lists and the Meatmen would send you vaguely-pornographic comics and lyrics, but just about everyone else would ignore ya). Imagine my surprise when I not only got a nice handwritten letter back from White Zombie, but from Sean herself! What a sweetheart. I was impressed that she'd taken that kind of time for my tiny lil' note and wished I'd spent more time heaping praise on the band instead of the bare-bones note.



It was on the back of a flier, so here's that, too.




Anyway, a couple years after that they hit it big with MTV and you all know the rest. But here's what you may not know, 'cuz I didn't until a week or two ago: Sean has a book out: I'm In The Band: Backstage Notes From The Chick in White Zombie. It's a big photo history of White Zombie, loads of pictures of Sean with people from Pantera, The Cramps, Marilyn Manson, Monster Magnet, and about any band you can think of, plus stories of drunken antics (White Zombie didn't mess with drugs much but Sean could match Pantera's post-show drinking, apparently) and various injuries (she once held off an emergency appendectomy to finish a gig). Plus it's a look into what it's like to be one of the few females in the metal world at the time (there were others, but you have to dig into obscurity - like Jo Bench from Bolt Thrower, etc. - to find 'em). And she was far from just eye-candy... that's some badass bass-ism she's throwing on those albums.



Because she is kind, she doesn't mention her ex-boyfriend Rob Zombie overmuch in the book. Rob is apparently a childish, vindictive sort of guy, and for the last two years or so of White Zombie's existence, he traveled separately from the rest of the band and didn't speak to them. J (who is apparently also a very cool person - never heard a bad word about 'im) used to have to repeat things Sean would say to him even when she was in the room, because he'd refuse to even acknowledge her existence. Excellent taste in women aside, I think Mr. Zombie's a bit of a douche, but those are my words, not hers.

Anyway, your interest in this book will vary according to your interest in Sean and/or White Zombie, but since I adore this lady about as much as it's possible to adore anybody you don't actually know, it's the coolest thing I've snagged in quite a while and I fully recommend it, and I'm glad I get a chance to repay her kindness for the letter she sent by plugging her book.

You now buy it!

Because you know you want more pics like this...



Also, you should check out her other bands, Rock City Morgue, and new project Star & Dagger, both of which are killer.

And if big pounding crunchy loudmusic isn't your thing, multitalented Sean also designs scarves.

More Sean-age from YouTube:

Sean's art collection:


Sean meets Coffin Joe:


One guy's tribute video:



And if absolutely none of this interests you, something's terribly wrong with ya and you should get it checked out before your limbs fall off and your innards liquify. But, you can still follow me on Twitter anyway and count how many references to bodily fluids I make before you succumb to your horrific maladies. I don't think Sean has a Twitter account or I'd be following that like a baby duckling.