Monday, 19 April 2010

Buried Death

Soon my neighbourhood will be pulverised to atomic dust, as thousands of Sydney residents die screaming under gigatonnes of molten skyscraper wreckage. Even now, the bringers of our impending Doom prepare their campaign of annihilation from deep beneath the rain-slick streets of Tokyo. We are as ants before their mercilessly crushing onslaught.

Am I talking about a city-razing battle between Hedorah and Gojira? No, although the destructive force to which I allude could be compared to Hedorah: 48,000 tons of corrosive, poisonous SLUDGE!

The monstrosity of which I speak is Tokyo's dealers of death and doom - COFFINS. They've announced a whirlwind Aussie tour in September, and having had my face melted off by Osaka's Birushanah at Dirty Shirlows just a couple of months ago, I can't wait to witness more mayhem from Japan.

Get their 2008 album Buried Death. It's kaiju heavy.

Saturday, 10 April 2010


I stumbled on this little gem at Pink Tentacle yesterday and was suitably blown away. It would appear that in 1984/85 H.R. Giger quietly recycled some of his iconic production artwork for Alejandro Jodorowsky's unrealised Dune adaptation. Not for use in another movie, but a Japanese ad campaign for Pioneer's ZONE home entertainment system.

This brief glimpse of Giger's dark vision for planet Arrakis makes me lament the death of this project more than ever. The combination of Giger's nightmarish design and Jodorowsky's unconventional and surreal approach would surely have resulted in a cult SF film quite unlike anything we've ever seen.

As everyone knows, shortly after the collapse of Dune, Jodorowsky's core creative team of Dan O'Bannon, Giger, Chris Foss and Moebius all went on to contribute their talents to Alien; thus making O'Bannon's bastard child of Dark Star and Dune the closest we'll ever get to seeing What Could Have Been.

Of course this is all ancient history and common knowledge, but seeing these TV and print ads makes me wish anew that Giger's brilliance was further utilised at the height of his ability. I could watch an entire film - devoid of any actors, dialogue or story - of nothing but Giger's art, brought to life by '80s practical FX: sets, miniatures, models, animatronics, puppetry and matte paintings. A sort of biomechanical perversion of Koyaanisqatsi.

Surgical Prep

Dr. Josef Heiter MBBS, MChir, FRCS:

"...a Siamese triplet, connected via the gastric system...

...the Human Centipede...


We start with cutting the ligaments of the kneecaps..."

Friday, 2 April 2010


Is there a moratorium on mentioning the Guinea Pig films, and if so, has it been lifted?

Eight or nine years ago the Japan Shock double feature of Mermaid in a Manhole/Android of Notre Dame and the lovingly produced Devil Pictures boxset were two of the most talked about and sought after horror DVD's around. I was on board that particular gore-hype express, and can remember the day that my Mermaid/Android DVD arrived in the mail. My excitement at finally seeing it was tinged with a delicious trepidation that I might be about to watch The Goriest Thing I Had Ever Seen (Mermaid delivered, Android did not). Cut to 2005, and by the time the series had it's US disc debut on Unearthed Films, I was already pretty sick of hearing about Za ginipiggu. My curiosity satisfied and my blood lust sated, I sold my German boxset (for a tidy profit, but I wish I'd kept that t-shirt!) and moved on to other, as yet unseen gorefests.

"You're next Charlie!"

The other day, for the first time in years, I revisited the only two entries in the series that ever really made an impression on me -
Mermaid and Flowers of Flesh and Blood, both directed by the venerable Hideshi Hino. Much to my surprise I found that I was enjoying them more than ever. There's something about the deliberate pacing and gloomy atmosphere of both films (but particularly Mermaid), that I find mesmerising. They play more like televised theatre than films, and although that's obviously a by-product of budgetary constraints, it really works in the films favour. It turns them into intimate little chamber pieces that draw the viewer into their claustrophobic confines, and once there, pummels them mercilessly with some of the most shockingly transgressive images ever filmed.

With their combination of poetic surrealism and hardcore gore, I think these two little films represent an unusual nexus of art and horror. Other art/gore films, like Karim Hussain's
Subconscious Cruelty, that try too hard to be arty, invariably come off as being pretentious. It feels to me as if Hussain is trying to legitimise his love of blood and guts by attempting to "elevate" it to the status of art. In the case of Flowers and Mermaid I think the opposite is true - Hideshi Hino (a genuinely eccentric artist) set out to make simple gore flicks with the sole intention of shattering taboos, but couldn't help infusing them with his bizarre artfulness. The result is a sort of unintentional performance art/kabuki/splatterfest.

I've never been tempted to delve into the dauntingly vast world of printed manga, but when I was recently introduced to the incredible work of Maruo Suehiro (and Guro art in general) at the
suffer for a world of silence blog, my interest was piqued. I started seeking out horror manga (an excellent blog for this is Flying Teapot), and in so doing stumbled on the printed works of Hideshi Hino (which in turn led me to revisit his two Guinea Pig entries). I was delighted to find in his manga all the obsessive imagery that is present in Mermaid in a Manhole. Sewers depicted as a fantasy underworld, discarded foetuses, living putrefaction, disease, creepy crawlies, pus oozing and spurting everywhere and above all, a gloomy feeling of social alienation and lonely despair.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

100% Medically Accurate!

This is the new one-sheet (thanks to CHUD) for Tom Six's The Human Centipede (First Sequence), one of my most anticipated 2010 movies. It's a perfectly designed horror poster - simultaneously repellent and luridly beautiful. I want to see this now.