Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bad Biology

Here's a poster by Marc "Swellzombie" Palm for a Henenlotter in-store at Scarecrow Video in Seattle. As a Henenlotter fan, it's pretty irresistibly cool.

I'd like to see Marc have a crack at the anatomy of the Aylmer from Brain Damage. Easy, you say? It's just a fecal shaped little blue worm with big teeth? Consider for a minute the creature's intravenous delivery system for the hallucinogenic and addictive drug with which it ensures it's host's dependence. Quite a complex and efficient organ right there. On top of that it has highly evolved vocal cords, and a presumably complicated alimentary canal, capable of digesting the massive amounts of brain matter that it ingests.

And a big brain in that tiny, ancient head of his. For he is intelligent... cunning... charming...

"This is the start of your new life Brian,
a life full of colours, music, light and euphoria.
A life without pain, or hurt or suffering."

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Forbidden Galaxy

I'm as happy as a pig in shit right now, because I just pre-ordered the new US DVDs of the supremely awesome New World ALIEN rip-offs Galaxy Of Terror and Forbidden World. Over the years I've bought almost every DVD release of Galaxy (my favourite of the two) that I could get my hands on. Until now the only one I've been really happy with is the Italian DVD - as Il Pianeta Del Terrore - which has really nice picture quality, but forced Italian subs if I remember correctly.

Forget all that though. These new releases (from Shout! Factory) are what fans of these flicks have been patiently waiting for for years. Assuming that the picture and sound quality are good, they'll blow every previous DVD of Galaxy and Mutant away. For one thing, they're both packed with extras. Another bonus is that they've used the original poster art, exactly as above, which RULES (I hate crappy photoshop montages). Incidentally, click on the above posters for beautiful, big hi-res scans (thanks to Wrong Side of the Art, an excellent poster site).

So, as you can probably tell, I honestly haven't been this excited about a DVD release in ages. It's been a long wait for these great movies to get the treatment they deserve. Science Fiction Horror in Deep Space!

Friday, 25 June 2010


I've never really been into TV as an artistic medium beyond its obvious functions as entertainment (debatable), and as a mindless daydream inducer. In fact, my basic view of the popular media in general can be summed up in the lyrics to the Victim's Family song "Who Needs It":

Who needs free press? Objectivity doesn't exist.
Because the newspapers gotta pay the bills too man.
There's just no sense in rocking the boat.
You've got to learn to love all the garbage they feed you.
But who cares what your fed when it's forced down your throat.

Despite my dim view of the media, the last decade has seen a few TV shows - such as the thought-provoking prison drama Oz - that have made me revise my opinions on the potential of TV to be something more than just audio/visual smack.

So, to Frank Darabont's recently much-raved-about adaptation of The Walking Dead comic series. It's only been in production for a brief time but we've already been treated to some images of Greg Nicotero and team's best zombie FX... ever? The makeup/animatronic FX in these two stills is amazing. If you've only seen low-res versions of these, click on them to check out the level of gory detail.

The other aspect of this production that has me psyched is that Darabont's The Mist was the grimmest, most hardcore American horror film of the last decade. He shares George Romero's pessimistic world view, and rather poor opinion of human nature. I liked Land Of The Dead a lot. I enjoyed Diary for it's terrific gags, and I think Survival was a bold and entertaining experiment. However, I'm no blind apologist, and I'm the first to admit that all three films fell well short of the original trilogy.

It could just be that this TV series brings us the serious Romero-esque Dead epic that we've been waiting for. No self-aware, post-modern, zom-com bullshit (the brilliant Shaun excluded). Serious social commentary, scary zombies, realistic dystopia and gore.

The one stumbling block: the comic's dialogue. At its best, it's clunky; at its worst it's flat-out cliched and cringe-inducingly bad. I think it's more than likely that the shows writers - under Darabont's direction - will iron out those kinks and make it all flow better, so I'm not too worried about it.

On a side note, my seemingly ineffective treatments of the last few years (slash, poison 'n' burn baby!) have been stepped up to a more aggressive chemo regime recently, and it's kind of fucking with me pretty hard. I'm starting to actually feel a bit like those ghouls above, so my posting may suffer a bit in the near future, both in terms of quality and frequency. I really don't know. What I do know is, just like those pesky, tenacious rotting corpses, if I do vanish for a while... I will return.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Dren Lives!

And the hands-down, utterly perfect poster design for Vincenzo Natali's Splice - beating out already impressive designs from the US and Germany - is this sublime quad from the UK. Click on it and Check It Out. Beautiful. I hope one of our few remaining arthouses in Sydney runs a short season... are you listening CHAUVEL??

Friday, 18 June 2010

Abysmal Grief


Fiat lux ut venias
Ego sum Sacerdos Umbrarum
Te advoco ut respondas
Ab ea quae nos post Mortem manent.

Ad exsequendam Divinationem hic congregamus,
ab quibus e vita excesserunt
et nos ab Inferis observantibus manifestam.
Corporis et animi coniunctionem intellege,
et mutationem reditumque ad Unum
per superorum portas Mortem existima.
In spiritus ordines transuendo
per mutationem ab animorum migratione
omnes salvationem consequerimus.
Hic est Principium Doctrinae
in Umbrarum praeceptis continetur

That's right, watch Fulci, listen to Italian doom. The soundtrack for you to flee in a headlong panic through your hallucinatory nightmare-scape of bad seances, Gothic graveyards, dead priests, viscera-puking, maggot storms, Radice-drilling, Soavi-mushing and tombs that reveal gateways to subterranean cities of the living dead.

It's past midnight, so have a listen to the best release so far by Genoa's doom occultists Abysmal Grief, last years Samhain Feast single. Only two tracks, but they just shred. I like the self-titled LP too (which showed up on Cosmic Hearse last year), but for my money this is their best effort since the Mors Eleison EP in '06. Incidentally, the above lyrics (or incantation?) are from the song "Mysterium Umbrarum" which can be found on Mors Eleison. I haven't yet heard last years full-length Misfortune, but I hope it's more like this single and less like the lacklustre track on the split with Denial Of God. HERE.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Art Of Ray Ahn

Check out my post over at Illogical Contraption on the wonderful, twisted artwork of hard-rockin' local boy Raymond Ahn (of Hard-Ons, Nunchukka Superfly and WOG notoriety).

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Horreur Française

The unwelcome prospect of a US remake of Martyrs has reared it's ugly head again, with Bloody Disgusting reporting recently that a screenwriter is attached who will no doubt do what he can to dilute and castrate Pascal Laugier's nihilistic, brutal masterpiece.

Meanwhile, what's going on with the burgeoning French horror new-wave? From '02 - '08 France produced a small handful of horror films that towered above the far more prolific output of most other major markets. While Hollywood greedily devours itself (and the film industries of the rest of the planet) like Ouroboros; Malefique, High Tension, Inside, Martyrs and the Belgian/French co-productions Calvaire and Vinyan proved that horror can still be artful (and beautiful), original, intelligent and genuinely shocking & disturbing. Even "second tier" French productions like Ils and Frontière(s) were better than 95% of the swill pouring out of the US.

In the wake of this recent legacy of great films, has the French horror juggernaut stalled? Recent entries have certainly failed to impress - from the underwhelming (Mutants), to the downright shitty (La Horde). So, what is the next great film screening at Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol? It could be writer/director Franck Richard's French/Belgian co-production The Pack (La Meute). Richard's debut (as both writer and director) has looked interesting and promising from the outset, and recently scored a very positive review over at Twitch that you can read here. Let's hope it delivers!


Have a listen to the OST for Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's damn-near perfect shocker À l'intérieur (Inside). It is by genre regular François-Eudes Chanfrault, whose other horror credits include High Tension, Vinyan and some work on Aja's The Hills Have Eyes. When I first listened to this soundtrack it didn't really grab me, but hearing it again later in a more patient and receptive mood I was hypnotised by it. It's a subtle, understated horror score (a rarity in this age of in-your-face bombast), drenched in gloomy, sombre atmosphere and menace. As with Seppuku Paradigm's haunting soundtrack for
Martyrs, this score is filled with a melancholy sense of pathos that perfectly mirrors the tragic destiny of the films characters... in this case: The Woman, Sarah and both their unborn babies...