Thursday, 26 September 2013

PATRICK Q&A with Mark Hartley

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

新 ゴジラ!

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!