Saturday, 31 August 2013

Gay Kiss

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


"Rated R for aberrant violence and torture, grisly disturbing images, brief graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use"

Welcome back Eli!

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

Goblin 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.