Saturday, 30 April 2016

LUBRICANT




Blistering Singaporean hardcore, hailing from the same crew of Lion City miscreants responsible for Vaarallinen and Snaggletooth. Vaarallinen melted faces here in Sydney a couple of years back, and now it's Lubricant's turn to annoy Black Wire Records' long suffering neighbours. The boys from the little red dot are set to blow the roof off of Black Wire tomorrow avo. In the meantime, blow the roof off of your cranium with this shredding two song tour tape.




Saturday, 23 April 2016

Enzo Sciotti




Fulci, Argento, Martino, Soavi, Lenzi, D'Amato, Cozzi and Lamberto Bava.

Enzo Sciotti's violent and carnal paintings have graced the movie posters of all these Italian horror/exploitation giants and more. Although he's best known for the slickly airbrushed, lurid imagery of his 1980s exploitation one sheets, this era represents just a small part of a long career that has produced a staggering 3,000+ posters. His work spans every conceivable genre, and includes artwork for the likes of David Lynch, George Romero and the Coen brothers. The gallery below is a pretty thorough collection of all my faves.


















































Monday, 18 April 2016

John Carpenter: "Night" / "Distant Dream"




Videos for "Night" from last year's Lost Themes and "Distant Dream" from the freshly released Lost Themes II, both on Sacred Bones Records. The new video - directed by the man himself - is obviously selling the live experience ahead of the band's 26-date tour of Europe and the US. I'm really hoping the tour goes well, and that Carpenter enjoys himself, for the purely selfish reason that I want him to bring his band down here.






Tuesday, 12 April 2016

GREEN ROOM Update




According to local distributor Rialto, Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room opens here on the 28th (and this week stateside, you lucky bastards). Oddly, there's no listing for it yet on the Classification Board's website (our equivalent of the MPAA and BBFC), not even for a trailer. It's also conspicuously absent from the upcoming release schedule of the theatre chain that's meant to be carrying it (Event Cinemas). This leads me to wonder if it might have run into trouble with our censors, but as it hasn't anywhere else in the world (that I know of) I'm sure there's no reason for concern.

While we count down the final days to Green Room's release, here's some goodies to tide you over. And don't let my snarky comments fool you, this is probably my most anticipated movie of 2016!

I've found Green Room's poster campaign to be less than compelling, a disappointment after Blue Ruin's beautiful one sheets by Akiko Stehrenberger and Erik Buckham. That said, it does make me smile to see Pavel Chekov in a Minor Threat t-shirt.

For my money, this Thai poster is the best of the bunch. It doesn't fuck around. It is an odd choice to put a pentagram on that door though. If it was a swastika it would have been perfect:



These comic art style posters are weird. Why the ESRB (video game) ratings? Rated Gruesome for thrash metal and Patrick Stewart is a nice touch though:





Hey, US teaser poster, 1999 called and wants its shitty looking extruded text back! A shame, because this is otherwise a great design:



I don't mind the US one sheet. Patrick Stewart looks mean, and the quote is ominous and chilling:



Hey, French poster, 1977 called and Jamie Reid wants his typography back!



Here's a cool mock flyer for the Ain't Right's fateful show. I think this was done for the Leeds International Film Fest:



Here's a couple of moody, Carpenter-esque cues from Brooke and Will Blair's score. These two brothers have scored all of Saulnier's films to date. A bit of trivia: Macon Blair - who played Dwight in Blue Ruin and also appears in Murder Party and Green Room - is the third Blair brother in the Saulnier production team. These tracks are excellent, and you can listen to a few more here.






Here's a track from the Ain't Rights, the fictional band at the heart of the film's story. The riffs are passable, even if the lyrics are as dumb as a bag of hammers.




Sunday, 3 April 2016

CHAIN GANG GRAVE




"Fusion" has become such a dirty word for punks, and with pretty good reason. It's a sad fact that some great '90s bands like NoMeansNo ended up paving the way for some of the worst musical trainwrecks of the late '90s and '00s. For every band who got it right (San Francisco's The Mass), there were a hundred that are just unlistenable garbage. The pendulum swung, and now the DIY kids are so obsessed with back to basics "purity" (imitation) that almost everything just sounds the same, a trend that's no less tiresome and a lot more regressive.

Then a band like New York's Chain Gang Grave comes along, and things don't seem so grim anymore. Sounds that ride the line between the purity that hardcore needs to stay honest, and the progression that it needs to keep growing. This unholy fusion of hardcore, noise rock and death metal doesn't feel forced, it feels like just what I need.




Saturday, 2 April 2016

PEELERS




What's red all over, and has coal miners, strippers, a subterranean contaminant and baseball bats? Sevé Schelenz's second feature, Peelers, that's what!

Schelenz's previous effort, 2011's Skew, is a superior shoestring haunter that introduced some fresh ideas to a well-trodden subgenre. The film features a couple of exceptionally creepy shocks that have really stuck with me over the years, those two moments alone making it well worth the price of admission.

With his new film, Schelenz seems to be taking a completely different approach to the straight-faced, restrained chills of Skew. Peelers looks like a soaking wet splatterfest, played for laughs and with little regard for good taste. It makes its bow this week at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, Florida. Take a look at the teaser below.




Monday, 28 March 2016

THE HATEFUL EIGHT: Minnie's is the Warmest Place to Hide




Not only is it a considerably more satisfying Western than Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight is undeniable top-tier Tarantino, right up there with the Kill Bill movies and Inglourious Basterds*. I don't dislike Django, but for my tastes the odds are heavily stacked in The Hateful Eight's favour. I'm a sucker for tense, confined chamber pieces with strong ensemble casts, but my real bias towards QT's latest is that I'm an inveterate fan of John Carpenter's The Thing.

Going in, I was fully aware that Tarantino had infused his new film with the spirit of the sci-fi horror classic. He's gone on record as saying “The Thing is the one movie that is the most influential on this movie". I was expecting the obvious superficial connections: Kurt Russell in a lead role; an Ennio Morricone score; an almost entirely male ensemble trapped in a confined space during a blizzard. What I wasn't prepared for is the revelation that The Hateful Eight hews so closely and faithfully to Carpenter's film, that for all intents and purposes it has to be considered a spiritual remake. I say "spiritual" because of course there's no DNA assimilating alien monster here. However, make no mistake, in every other sense this is a far more effective remake of the 1982 film than the dismal prequel that came out five years ago.


"Somebody in this camp ain't what he appears to be"
- Kurt Russell, The Thing

"One of them fellas is not what he says he is"
- Kurt Russell, The Hateful Eight

Those echoing lines, deliberately calculated to jog the viewer's memory, are just the tip of the iceberg. For starters, passages are lifted wholesale from Morricone's score for The Thing, most noticeably "Despair" (as well as some unused material that can be found on The Thing's OST). Entire scenes and sequences from the '82 film are blatantly referenced, if not straight up copied. The blood testing sequence is reinterpreted as a scene in which Samuel Jackson's Major Marquis Warren holds the surviving lodgers of Minnie's Haberdashery at gunpoint. Also faithfully recreated are the tense exchanges between characters, as they test the true nature of each other's identities and attempt to form fragile alliances. Several instances of characters struggling off into the blizzard, their isolation from the group making them instant red herrings, are also the most obvious visual references. The final exchange, in the aftermath of the violence, between an exhausted MacReady and Childs is also cribbed. It's all there.


Just to leave you in absolutely no doubt that what you're watching is actually nihilistic horror in the guise of a Western, Tarantino throws in a cue from Last House on the Left - David Hess' "Now You're All Alone". Further confirmation of that comes in the form of exploding heads, vomited innards and splattering squibs. This is far and away Tarantino's goriest film since Kill Bill.

Watching The Hateful Eight was a blast for me. On top of the usual qualities that you expect from one of Tarantino's best - great dialogue, characters, score, visuals and action - this was the closest I've ever gotten to reliving the thrill of seeing Carpenter's masterpiece for the first time thirty-four years ago. Countless filmmakers have tried to emulate The Thing by one-upping Rob Bottin's fx (a lost cause from the get go), but Tarantino wisely approaches the material from the human angle, which is plenty alienating enough. As with The Thing, the result is riveting - a tangled web of paranoia, hidden identities and shifting allegiances that keeps you guessing until the final scene.


I couldn't be happier with the new breed of high quality, ultra violent Western that we're seeing (and I'm including the lesser, but still very enjoyable The Revenant). It's like an exploitation fan's dream come true to have a pair of Kurt Russell starring oaters that are as indebted to Deodato and Carpenter as they are to Corbucci, Peckinpah and Leone. Next up, following his strongest film to date (The Sacrament), I have high hopes for Ti West's In a Valley of Violence.


*I'm aware that this is a very subjective statement, and I admit that my appreciation of Tarantino's movies is largely driven by my preference for certain genres over others. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are objectively better movies than Death Proof any day of the week, but I'm more likely to want to revisit a violent horror/exploitation hybrid (starring Kurt Russell) than a straight up crime film.




Friday, 25 March 2016

JUSTIN ERICKSON




From the earliest days of cinema, right up through the 1980s, major studios produced movie posters that were often so aesthetically pleasing that they completely demolished the line between applied and fine art. So is that era now truly dead and gone? After the last couple of decades of uninspiring Photoshop blandness, I'd have to say yes. For all the freedom that Adobe's products have given designers, there's a monotonous homogeneity to it all, the cancerous byproduct of every designer on the planet using the same tools. Monopoly is never a good thing, but to be fair, you can't blame Adobe's ubiquity for everything. There's other factors to consider - tighter deadlines, lazy designers, clueless execs etc.

It's not all bad though! If it wasn't for the death of the beautifully illustrated studio one sheet, would we have seen the rise of boutiques like Mondo? Would the growing movement of poster artists who work outside of the studio system be as healthy as it is now? Probably not. 

Rather than lamenting the death of the traditional movie poster, I'm all about celebrating the wealth of independent talent that we're seeing now. Having already sung the praises of contemporary masters of the form like Akiko Stehrenberger, Gary Pullin, Erik Buckham and Jason Edmiston, let's take a look today at the mind meltingly cool poster art of Canadian wizard Justin Erickson...