Whilst lurking behind the couch with Argento aficionado James Gracey the other day, I discovered this gorgeous set of limited prints that I will never own. These elegant and evocative Art Nouveau style prints, all beautifully rendered by "Malleus", are available through Dark City Gallery in the UK. The black and red variant of the Suspiria poster is the easy winner for me, but that Tenebrae design is incredible too.
Sunday, 6 October 2013
Saturday, 5 October 2013
Thursday, 26 September 2013
Sydneysiders, Popcorn Taxi is hosting a screening of Mark Hartley's Patrick remake on October 9. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Hartley and producer Antony Ginnane.
Mark is of course the local hero behind the awesome documentaries Not Quite Hollywood, Machete Maidens Unleashed! and the upcoming Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, and I'm really pulling for him to kill it on his first horror feature (It's been getting some positive reviews out of Fantastic Fest this week!).
For anyone familiar with Aussie exploitation, Antony Ginnane's name should sound familiar too, having produced a ton of movies including Richard Franklin's original Patrick back in 1978. He also produced one of my favourite '90's movies, the Peter Weller starring SF/horror hybrid Screamers, which was adapted from a Phillip K. Dick story by the late, great Dan O'Bannon.
Just like Craven's The Hills Have Eyes and Alex Aja's superior redux, I think Patrick is prime material for a remake. Although I'm fond of Franklin's '78 film, there's definitely plenty of room to expand and improve on the original's ideas and execution.
Patrick 2013's talent in front of the camera is looking good too. It's nice to see Sharni Vinson in another horror flick so soon after impressing in You're Next, and Charles Dance, so good in Game Of Thrones, will surely make a satisfyingly menacing mad doctor. Yeah, Patrick's gonna fuck him up.
I wish I was going to this myself, but I'll be at the VAARALLINEN show that night instead. For those inclined, details of the Patrick screening can be found here.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
OBLIVIONATION is a brain meltingly raging hardcore punk band from Lowell, Massachusetts, in the U.S. of A. Most of the Mass. hardcore I'm familiar with is from Boston of course, so for interest's sake I looked Lowell up, and according to Wikipedia the town was the birthplace of the industrial revolution in the States. That's heavy. It was also the birthplace of a certain paragraph-challenged beatnik.
The thing about Oblivionation that sets them apart from the herd is that their searing, no-nonsense hardcore attack is backed up by some of the sharpest lyrics I've read in a while. The demo opener - "Compulsive Paranoia" - is the most perfectly articulated song about mental anguish since Black Flag's "Depression" (and the rest of side two of Damaged I guess). And as far as social critique goes, the next song on the demo, "Proud To Be Dumb", could pretty much be considered an anthem for our times:
You can read but you won't, you could care but you don't
Your culture's become comfortably dumb
Triumph of the will for a growing nation of imbeciles
Who don't have a clue about the world outside or what they'll do
When it's on their lap and they know they're screwed
Since discovering their demo late last year I've basically played it to death, so I'm impatiently waiting for their upcoming LP, Language Of Violence, to drop. They have a new EP in the works too, and both should be out by the end of the year. Oblivionation are made up of ex and current members of some other great Mass. bands including Bloodkrow Butcher, Raw Radar War and Out Cold. Get their demo + more below...
Thursday, 12 September 2013
Back in January 2011 I was enthusiastic about Gareth Edwards being handed the reins of Legendary's upcoming Godzilla. Since then the casting has instilled more confidence, as has the decision to bring Frank Darabont on board as a screenwriter. Now if today's leaked design is indeed legit, I'm feeling more positive than ever.
Lookin' good G!
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
No surprise that this new track from No Statik is just as rad as all their other stuff. The only thing wrong with this band is that they aren't in front of me right now melting my face. This song is off their upcoming LP Unity And Fragmentation, which will be out in December on Iron Lung.
If you haven't heard this Oakland juggernaut yet, do yourself a favour and track down a copy of their LP Everywhere You Aren't Looking. It is inarguably one of the most powerful hardcore releases of recent years. And clear some space on your hard drive, because you'll also want to dig into bassist Robert's exhaustive tape blog Terminal Escape.
Monday, 9 September 2013
I caught E.L. Katz's directorial debut Cheap Thrills back in June at this year's SFF, where I thought it easily outshone some other outstanding movies like You're Next and Only God Forgives. If you've seen those two films, directed by Adam Wingard and Nicolas Winding Refn respectively, I'm sure you'll agree that's no mean feat.
Actually, seeing Cheap Thrills and You're Next at the same fest was cool, as Katz's and Wingard's careers have been closely intertwined. Katz wrote Wingard's first two features Home Sick and Pop Skull, as well as all of his early shorts. However, not to take anything away from Wingard, who's work I admire, it seems to me that it may be Katz who ends up being the more assured director of the two.
The plot of Cheap Thrills is simple, but seductive and riveting. Craig is a struggling everyman with a young family and a head full of worries. Facing eviction at home due to unpaid rent, his life completely implodes one day when he goes into work to find out that he's been laid off. Rather than go home and tell his wife that they are going to be on the street with their baby, he hits a bar to drown his sorrows. At the bar he bumps into Vince, an old friend who Craig hasn't seen in years. Vince is down on his luck too, but he's less interested in family and career than carrying on the partying lifestyle that the two friends enjoyed together as younger men.
Sitting on a couch in the back of the bar is a couple, Colin and Violet. Obnoxious and arrogant, they're clearly wasted on coke and fuck knows what else. They are also flaunting their apparently surplus wealth with careless abandon. As the four people become acquainted, Colin starts to play a game with Craig and Vince. What little dares will they perform in the bar for an agreed some of money? Although the demeaning nature of the game is immediately evident to both men, they play along. The money is just too much of a temptation for well-meaning, but desperate Craig. On the other hand, cunning, opportunistic Vince sees the wasted couple as a potentially easy target. The game continues. Escalates. Then Colin invites the two men back to his place...
Although it's pretty obvious what direction the story is heading in, believe me when I say that the events that unfold are unpredictable, disturbing, and pretty sickening. Cheap Thrills is often hilarious, but that humour is mostly a brief, welcome respite from what is otherwise a very tense and uncomfortable experience.
That tension and discomfort is achieved through a whip-smart screenplay, written by David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga, and a highly impressive little ensemble cast. The four main performances are uniformly excellent, making it difficult to single one out, but I'll have to hand it to David Koechner. His Colin makes a very complex antagonist, who is by turns sleazy, charismatic, vulnerable and extremely menacing.
This is an important film. It throws into sharp relief some of the most troubling aspects of our current society. The ever widening gap between rich and poor. The increasing popularity of degradation and public humiliation as a form of entertainment.
Honestly, nothing scares me in horror movies anymore, except for us. Humans. All the monsters that we've concocted are little more than tame reflections of tiny facets of our sick selves. Apex predator. Cunning killer. Master manipulator. For all the fictional horror we can think up, nothing compares to the single most deadly entity that we have yet encountered in all our known universe. Ourselves.
Finally, I'd just like to applaud director Katz's decision to end the movie on a powerful note, confirming beyond a doubt that this is subversive filmmaking in the truest spirit of punk. I won't spoil the surprise, but you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it.
Friday, 6 September 2013
Join me in escaping the election tomorrow night, with a killer lineup of crust, hardcore and metal at Blackwire. Promises to be a crushing night, and a whole lot less depressing than staying home and watching the fiasco unfold on TV.
Headliners ExtinctExist from Melbourne (ex-Pisschrïst) have a ripping demo out, available at Bandcamp here.
Thursday, 5 September 2013
Just saw this at Twitch and had to share. A couple of trailers for an upcoming short called Leviathan Ages, directed by one Jon Yeo, featuring surrealist imagery that's both startling and trippy. I'm kind of taken aback, because the weird, floating geometric/machine things remind me of some vivid nightmares that I had some years ago.
As someone who's always defending practical effects and bemoaning the overuse of CGI, I see stuff like this and realise that CG really is an amazing tool in the right hands (see also Neill Blomkamp). This isn't the most photo-realistic animation, but it is very cool!
Saturday, 31 August 2013
With the exception of JFA and The Meat Puppets' first album, I've managed to remain shamefully ignorant about the Arizonan punk scene over the years. But ever since the state's draconian anti-immigrant law (SB 1070) made world news three years ago, it's occurred to me that it's a place that probably needs more punx.
I am now one more incredible band less ignorant about Arizonan punk, and unless you've already been devastated by the powerful urgency of Gay Kiss' hardcore assault, you're about to get schooled too. Since getting their 2012 album Fault a few months back, I've been spinning their tunes on a daily basis, which also includes a previous EP called Dumpster Rules and a three song 2013 tape release.
Musically they mix up insanely catchy hardcore (lots of cool time changes and breakdowns) with just enough AmRep style noise thrown in to make it interesting (but not enough to make it, you know, not hardcore). Also, the singer's growls and grunts give me goosebumps.
This nine song album will make you stand up and move with absolute ragers like "Storms" and "Compassionless", but when "New March" hits, I hope you don't like your TV too much, cuz it's going out the fuckin' window.
Pay what you want/can/probably should at Bandcamp.
Friday, 30 August 2013
Thursday, 29 August 2013
The anthology sequel that everyone's raving about is having it's theatrical run here, so the other day I headed across town to the one indie cinema that's screening it, only to find myself sitting alone in a completely empty theatre.
Given all the recent buzz for this, it was a highly anticipated movie for me, so it pains me to say that I found it to be somewhat of a disappointment overall, especially considering its horror pedigree. I really don't enjoy being negative, so I'm going to keep my grievances short.
Adam Wingard's smart and funny You're Next was one of my favourite flicks at this year's SFF, so I was a little let down to find his segment (Phase I Clinical Trials) feeling like a retread of the Pang brothers' 2002 creeper The Eye. After You're Next I was expecting something more inventive from Wingard.
To be fair, the next segment - A Ride In The Park - was genuinely amusing and sweet. Directed by Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sánchez, (the Godfathers of this whole sub-genre, if you don't count Ruggero Deodato), their gimmicky conceit of zombie mayhem as seen from the point of view of one of the ghouls did elicit a few chuckles. But again, I wasn't exactly wowed.
Hobo With A Shotgun's Jason Eisener turned in the weakest segment of the bunch with Slumber Party Alien Abduction. Honestly, despite its hyperkinetic pace and a few interesting visual flourishes, I thought it was just trite. Then again I wasn't the biggest fan of Hobo, so maybe I'm just not much of an Eisener fan.
Finally, Simon Barrett's wraparound - Tape 49 - didn't do much for me either. Some half decent prosthetics, and a close up of fake tits couldn't save this one from the pit of mediocrity.
Like I said, I really don't derive any pleasure from being negative, and I do admire what all these fine and talented people are attempting with the V/H/S flicks. Rather than pollute the internet with more nasty snark, I usually opt not to write about a movie if I don't like it, especially if I think the filmmaker's intentions are good (as I do here).
So why am I so willing to throw V/H/S/2 under the bus? Well, I'm not. Because buried in this mess of good intentions and mediocre outcomes is a gory little gem.
Timo Tjahjanto (of the gloriously violent Macabre) and Gareth Huw Evans (of the also gloriously violent The Raid) have delivered a mini-classic in Safe Haven. This little slice of Cult-worshipping, apocalyptic demonology is so utterly unhinged and eager to please, that it easily justifies the price of admission to V/H/S/2 on its own.
Epy Kusnandar is Father, the charismatic leader of a reclusive Jim Jones style Indonesian cult. Kusnandar seems to relish every second of his screen time, bringing an intensity and menace to the role that is a joy to behold. There's a mesmerising quality to his patriarchal/hostile performance that made me believe that this diminutive man could really instill awe and fear in people.
The simple plot follows a documentary film crew into Father's labyrinthine, rural compound, where they hope to uncover the truth behind some disturbing reports of sexual abuse within the cult. I'm not gonna spoil the fun, so suffice it say that what follows is a gleefully sadistic, creepy and ultra-gory trip to Hell. Fans of over-the-top Satanic horror will have a blast with this.
So Safe Haven saves the day (while simultaneously destroying the world), and it's got me really looking forward to Tjahjanto's upcoming Killers and Evans' highly anticipated The Raid 2. More Indonesian mayhem please!
Thursday, 22 August 2013
Last month the mighty Goblin came to Sydney and played the Metro. Seeing them was one of those real bucket list moments for me, and the show not only survived my high expectations, but totally blew my mind. Walking home afterwards with a few beers in me, I felt like a grinning, giddy fanboy. I had just seen fucking Goblin live, and not at some big festival, but in a small venue!
The lineup on this tour consisted of original members Claudio Simonetti, Maurizio Guarini and Massimo Morante. Joining them on bass and drums were two younger guys who I didn't recognise, but looking at their Wiki page it appears they might have been Bruno Previtali (bass) and Titta Tani (drums).
This lineup just killed it. Simonetti and Guarini, both on keyboards, delivered all those throbbing, spooky, atmospheric sounds and melodies that are etched into every horror fans brain, Claudio in particular handling his rig with style and elegance to spare. Guitarist Massimo Morante, looking every inch the tripped-out proto prog rocker, was on point too, and it was amazing seeing him play the eerie opening of "Suspiria" on a mandolin. Adding further atmosphere to proceedings, the band was joined on stage by local Theremin wizard Miles Brown for the Phenomena theme.
After hitting the stage to thunderous applause, they set the mood with a full rendition of 1976's Roller, which was cool, but after that the black leather gloves were slipped on, the gleaming straight razor was picked up, and the band got down to serious horror business.
What followed was a selection of choice cuts from Deep Red, Suspiria, Tenebrae, Phenomena, Sleepless and Dawn Of The Dead, and it was pretty fucking rad my fiends. I have to admit, I kind of lost my shit a little when they played the stuff from Dawn ("L'alba Dei Morti Viventi" and "Zombi" if I remember correctly, but I was pretty drunk by that stage. Did they play "Oblio" too or did I just dream that?)
Goblin are hitting North America later this year. Don't miss them!
Photos: Chris Evans
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
O.K. I'm gonna take another stab at this blogging shit. 13 months after my last post everything is unfamiliar and alien looking. Is this the same new interface that everyone was complaining about around the time I quit, or has Blogger updated again since then? I have no idea, and it all feels like a long time ago (it was).
I've been lurking around some other squalid corners of the internet, but looking around here I'm happy to see that many of my old comrades in arms are still writing and thriving. As for myself, I lost interest for a while due to lack of time. Ironically, a return to health (two years in remission!) necessitated a return to the work force, which resulted in my having less time and energy for this kind of thing. Well, fuck that. We all need a creative outlet, and - shoddy as it may be - this is mine.
I always made this up as I went along, so I don't really know what I'll be doing, but my plan is to focus a little more on music now. The balance of cinematic to musical content might be closer to 50/50 I guess.
I've seen a lot of movies and listened to a lot of music in the last year, so I feel like I have a ton of stuff to get off my chest.
Just one more thing that I need to say right now. My review for Prometheus below, is utter shite (UPDATE: it was giving me the shits so much that I just deleted the post. TAKE THAT PROMETHEUS!). I'm a pretty obsessive fan of both Alien and Blade Runner and my expectations for Scott's return to science fiction were... too high. The disappointment that I felt at seeing it was akin to a body blow. It really stung. The review below was written during the denial stage of my post-Prometheus Kübler-Ross trip. I've since moved on to begrudging acceptance with a lingering hint of resentment.
Yeah, fuck that movie.