Thursday, 17 September 2020

Lo Five - The Art Of Living & Her Majesty's Coroner for Wirral - Esoteric Healing: friend or foe?

Another terrific album from Lo Five. Their LP from last year Geography Of The Abyss was one of my most played and it placed high in the end of year Space Debris charts.

Then there's this which I think is a Lo Five side project. You definitely gotta check this out. It's one of the best eerie experimental electronic things that the people have heard in ages. If The Caretaker has actually really retired I'd be happy if Her Majesty's Coroner for Wirral took his workload & did like 80 LPs of this gear. Esoteric Healing: friend or foe? is just way too short! I want way way more! 

Monday, 31 August 2020


REVIEW — The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981) | Ruthless  Culture

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981)
For starters electronic music pioneer Bernard Parmegiani does the soundtrack here. Don't worry he really gets there in the final fifteen minutes. Walerian Borowczyk was a polish porn, animation and surreal film director. This is a fairly mental plot that I cannot even begin to describe. It surprisingly had element s of gialli (black gloves), slasher (body count) and a whodunnit? (everyone in a mansion trying to figure out who the killer is). Bestest thing though is a bow and arrow murder. Even though it is in Victorian times but they had guns then so it's still an archaic murder weapon. Delirious demented transgressive fun. A must watch for Polish Art film enthusiasts

Nurse Sherri (1978)
Well when you have zero expectations the only was is up. I fucking loved this. It's an Al Adamson movie and after watching the great documentary Blood & Flesh: The Real Life & Ghostly Death Of Al Adamson, I was sure that I'd always avoid his product. Out of the blue though I bought this at the Vinegar Syndrome sale. I didn't want anything challenging or intellectual or political so I thought well tonight's the perfect night for Nurse Sherri. For a start this is an amazing document of the the times, the cars and streets. Imagine if Langdon Clay took film footage of the cars he photographed in the 70s. This would be it! This really is an eyeball treat for mid/late 20th Century cars and streets. I wouldn't have cared if there was a plot or not, they could have just driven through these streets in this array of vehicles and I'd have been happy. Don't forget the hair, fashions, architecture and interior design: A feast. I was looking at one building in total admiration building thinking it must have been some kind of funky club or bar but no it was a bank! The story here is wild. A cult leader dies but he supernaturally lingers on throughout the movie. There's some T but not really any A. We get dudes in business suits in the middle of the desert, a car chase, a car doing a spectacular tumble down a cliff with mucho pyromania, possession, chanting, saucy nurses, digging up graves, dudes with no eyeballs, sleazy doctors, psychiatrists quoting Yeats what more could you ask for? I really enjoyed this. If you like outsider art this is the real deal but done with aplomb. Late night movie of the week.

Hollywood Horror House aka Savage Intruder (1970)
Psych-sploitation meets Baby Jane histrionics meets slasher with all round good performances and quality cinematography and editing. Exploitation films never cease to amaze me with their sometimes high quality craftsmanship. An ageing ye olde Hollywood actress is living the retired life in a mansion in the hills after a successful but tumultuous career. She has a large staff and the temptation of alcohol is never far away. Enter her new wheelchair assistant Vic who seems to have quite the bad attitude. If you love shenanigans of the wrongest kind like relationships between a young man and someone who's old enough to be his grandma, phoney drug scenes, psychedelic-slasher flashback sequences, demented mannequin scenes etc. this is for you. This absolute curio is surprisingly watchable. Late Night Movie Of The Week.

Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso (1972) 

Seven Blood Stained Orchids (1972)
Umberto Lenzi had a great run of Gialli. He's one my favourite Italian directors of all time, you may think that's outrageous but he had bloody good strike rate. This film starts out of the gate with a burst of murders. At the five minute mark you are thinking this is going to be the highest body count in a film ever but they slow down a bit as the plot focusses more on the search for the murderer. One of the best things is that the murderer is called The Half Moon Killer. As far as giallo go Seven Blood Stained Orchids is right up there as one of his most conventional before Lenzi really went totally balmy with batshit crazy classics Eyeball (1975) and Spasmo (1974). Here is where the tropes were coalescing and consolidating into hallmarks of the genre, a peak era before it all got a bit tired. Anyway we've got shiny knives, beautiful and incredibly fashionable sex workers, a murderer wearing black gloves, sensational mens fashions, belligerent/bad cops, gorgeous women being killed in various states of undress, dial up telephones, priests, amateur sleuths, spectacular cars, POV Kill scenes, interior design to die for, phoney drug addicts, even phonier hippies, odd pop culture, tape recording machines, an absurdly convoluted plot, a score from legend Riz Ortilani, stunning cinematography and don't forget the hairdos! 

Solamente nero (1978)

Solamente Nero aka The Bloodstained Shadow (1978)
Classic Giallo! You gotta love one of the best giallo tropes: The murders are all connected to a dodgy painting. It's also got the other good stuff: Priests, wheelchair bound old people, J&B, OTT gay characters, hidden away adult simpleton children, dodgy psychics, red herrings, doll violence, a body count, backyard abortionists, childhood trauma...all that's missing is a blind man! One of the aspects that sets this Giallo apart is the Venice setting. There's boats, including a spectacularly thrilling action sequence but no cars. The grandeur is dilapidated. 1978 is further from the 60s than most films in this genre so the fashion is more beige, less outrageous but some we do get some splendid knitwear and hair. The psychedelic pop art and kitschy interior design is pretty much non existent. We do get ye olde churches, homes that are more like museums with way too many spooky artefacts, knight armour, weapons, sculpture and paintings everywhere. A classic 70s love scene ensues between the two main protagonists where they make sweet love on a rug by an open fire. The soundtrack is fantastic! I mean how could you go wrong with Stelvio Cipriani composing with Goblin members performing. I nearly forgot there's a shonky peadophile too. It's got the lot! Solamente Nero is directed by Antonio Bido who made that other wonderful and atypical giallo Watch Me When I Kill (1977). He seems to be undervalued in the general scheme of things in Italian cinema which is a shame because he made at least two classic films. 

Lily Tomlin and Art Carney in The Late Show (1977)

The Late Show (1977)  
Charming 70s neo-noir. A mis-matched pair of misfits end up embroiled in a series of crimes. The duo of Lily Tomlin as Margo and Art Carney as Ira do tip top awry chemistry. These two are glorious fun with Ira being the ex-detective old codger and Margo as the off kilter but witty cat lady. It all begins when Margo's cat is catnapped. Shenanigans and hi-jinx ensue in this low key yet bloody gritty crime caper. If you love your 70s neo-noir, Altman, Allen etc. but you've never seen this, then you are in for a real treat.  

What Have They Done To Solange (1972)
This was the first Giallo I ever saw that was set outside of Italy. This one gets right to the gruesome point with the victims being stabbed in the vagina. The doctor shows us some graphically grim X-ray evidence post-mortem no less.What Have They Done... is set in a posh all girls Catholic senior college somewhere in picturesque England. Male teachers are sleeping with the students although it's pointed out at one stage "at least they're 18." Giallo staples like Glistening knives, black gloves, red herrings, sleaze, amateur sleuths plus an outfuckingstanding Ennio Morricone score are all present and accounted for. We also get naughty catholic school girls, row boats, bikes and a slice of quaint England. This flick is beautifully filmed, pretty cohesive plot-wise and put together elegantly. An almost classy Giallo! We get an early appearance from I Spit On Your Grave's legendary Camille Keaton along with Fabio Testi, Christina Galbó, Karin Baal etc. Late Night Movie Of The Week.

The Pyjama Girl Case (1977)
Strange, strange, strange! That's really saying something for a Giallo film. Well this flick is in that interzone of Giallo and Poliziotteschi. Once again we get the Giallo taken outside of Italy. This time it's Australia with the story being loosely based upon a famous unsolved Aussie murder. It's set in Sydney but it's almost like a post-apocalyptic film as the metropolis' streets are almost always deserted. They must have filmed it on Sundays. In the 70s everything shut down on Sunday in Australia. So city streets were empty. Sunday was for home, mass, junior football, roast or fish & chips if you were lucky.

The score here is Riz Ortilani at his most cheesy, disco and best. There are several hippy psych glam songs however performed by the mysterious & enigmatic Amanda Lear, who I thought was a man until I looked her up, that are fucking fabulous. So we get loads of empty, oh so empty, Sydney captured wonderfully by the cinematographer. Pyjama Girl Case is not full of your usual Giallo genre tropes. We do get the occasional red herring and a retired detective (Ray Milland) doing the real sleuth work for free as the actual cops have no idea what's going on. Much is made of the generational gap between the old timer and the trendy new detective's techniques. This is a pretty sophisticated film but while it does have a complex narrative structure it's actually fairly cohesive. This is more like a really bleak, brutal and nihilistic art film. You might need to give it a second watch too, just to get a handle on the nuances. Quite the surprise packet of a film. An absolute curio for adventurous film viewers.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, LaKeith Stanfield, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out (2019)
Excellent, if a little slow, 10s update of the Whodunnit in a mansion genre. This is set in America and really could have been a four or five part prestige television series for FX or HBO. This star studded cast all put in sterling performances. Although I must admit to not being a Daniel Craig fan (can't fucking stand him) so it was a struggle to get used to him doing a southern American accent but hey I got there. Why didn't they just get a southern American though? Minor quibbles aside yes Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Collette, Christopher Plummer etc. are terrific. The real star here though is Ana Celia de Armas Caso who plays Marta the deceased multi millionaire's personal nurse. Was it suicide or was it foul play?  Don't expect a fusty old stuck in the house investigation. This is more like a modern tv crime drama dressed up as a whodunnit. Enjoy the ride that doesn't get too convoluted although perhaps the final explanation plot device could have been dropped to make this film more lean. 

Nude per l'assassino (1975)

Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)
Edwige's Fenech's Hair!

That was going to be my review. All a Giallo enthusiast would need to know is all right there. Edwige is in it! She has amazing hair! This would also infer there is more amazing stuff like great fashion, glamorous 70s interior design and that Fenech probably gets naked at some point. The title then implies much more nudity & death Giallo style. See how 8 words is pretty much enough to tell you about this film. That would have been sufficient if I was in a certain mood but there is so much more to discuss here. This is a high point in nasty macho Giallo. Surely this was the lofty batshit crazy peak and the genre could only go down from here. 

It starts out with an abortion that goes awry: Let the nasty, sleazy and murderous shenanigans begin. Over-poured J&B, lots of nudity, lots of great 70s underwear, splendid swimwear for women, dodgy 70s swimwear for men, so much sleaze, fun phoney paint splattered gore, the fashion, OTT campy homosexuals, sleazy photographers, the bars, the pools, the saunas, the men who don't take no for an answer, the women who put up with it, violent lesbians, so much fluff muff, implied consensual incest, a killer in full black biker leathers complete with black gloves & helmet, darkrooms, photographic proof, a body count and more.

Strip Nude For Your Killer was really pushing the boundaries of good bad taste but it somehow got away with it with colourful charm, incredible cinematography, absolute audaciousness and flashy direction. God knows what a bunch of kids in their early 20s would make of this today. I certainly would like to be in that viewing room and for the discussion afterwards.

Over the past 8 or 9 years I've been trying to figure out what film the following scene was from as it is an unforgettable moment in the history of cinema.

There's this sad fat guy Maurizio (Franco Diogene) married to the lesbian Gisella (Lia Amanda). One day Maurizio basically kidnaps a female colleague Doris (Erna Schürer) and speeds through the streets of Milan in a spectacular and quite lengthy set-piece of crazy driving through busy city traffic. He finally gets the woman into to his flat to try and have sex with her but she says no. Then he forces himself some more upon her so Doris says ok. But by the the time the obese Maurizio gets down to his giant white underpants he's already done his business. He cries that he's never been able to actually get to do it with a woman like he's some kind of sad victim. Doris who is unharmed and unfazed just laughs it off and says it happens to all men as he cries in a pathetic tantrum. She leaves while Maurizio is still having an episode. Next he's crying into and talking to his deflated blow up sex doll saying she is the only one he can do it with. This historic scene is only comparable to Joe Spinell in Maniac (1980) for a portrait of the sheer delirious lunacy of pathetic sexually dysfunctional men.

While Maurizio is vile he has tough competition with perhaps the sleaziest protagonist in a film ever Carlo (Nino CastelNuovo) the photographer for The Albatross Modelling Agency. Carlo starts out the film sexually harassing a woman he doesn't know and his bad behaviour is relentless right up until the final scene. This dude has absolutely no redeeming features and yet he wins. He's an accessory after the fact, for a laugh he strangles his girlfriend fellow photographer Magda Edwige Fenech who just laughs it off and then they have some more sex.

This film comes highly recommended but be prepared this was Italy 1975 style.    

[*Blogger's new improvements are bullshit. A usual 5 minute job to put on some images just took me bloody 45 minutes]

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Laying The Ghosts To Rest - Nick Edwards


Laying Ghosts To Rest is the 3rd excellent album in as many months from Nick Edwards. We all thought he was winding up his career them bam three irresistible albums in a row. This one is the best too. In fact this might just be the finest recording Nick has ever done. The music here is less attached to the beat than the previous two albums and meanders off into all sorts of dark, cosmic, psychedelic and even somewhat familiar places. It just feels loose like never before. Right now he's at a creative peak where it seems he could go anywhere sonically and it would not be a mistake. Perhaps the title is a hint as where his brain-space is. Maybe he's letting go of his own artistic and aesthetic prejudices, constraints and shackles. Perhaps he can see a new previously unimagined vision unfolding for his creativity. Laying Ghosts To Rest does feel very intuitive and that new horizons are just awaiting his arrival. This music is brimming with the positive confidence of whatever's coming next is going to be worth waiting for. I can't get enough of it. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Movies 35 - The Crappest So Far

The Invisible Man (2020)
Great action horror that had me flashing back to the glory days of late 80s/early 90s thrillers. High octane and horrifying action. Since his lukewarm debut Insidious Chapter 3Leigh Whannell's directing chops have skyrocketed with his previous film Upgrade (2018) and now this undeniable 2020 gem. While we always knew he was a fabulous writer, producer and right hand man to writer/director James Wan he has now come out of that shadow to become the powerhouse force to be reckoned with in Hollywood right now. I'm eagerly anticipating his next project. How many directors can you say that about in 2020?

The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971)
Stylish if a little off putting at the start as you slowly realise a third of the film is going to be spent in the courtroom. This is part police procedural too but there is just enough beautiful murdered women for it to qualify as a Giallo. The opening is pretty fantastic. After a somewhat lack lustre first half the intrigue then picks up to keep you from your ever present 2020 distractions for the second half. Is it just me or is the ongoing coffee gag so tedious and perhaps lost in translation? Many Giallo tropes with a nifty plot. For Gialli enthusiasts going deep into the genre.

If You Meet Sartana Pray For Your Death (1968)
If you can get past the smugness of Sartana (Gianni Garko) you are in for a Spaghetti Western treat. Garko's not half as smug as 60s icons i hate ie. Sean Connery (as Bond) and Clint Eastwood (as any fucking role he plays way beyond the 60s too). We get the stuff.... gold, stagecoach robbery, Gatling massacres, double crossing wives, coffins, coffin makers, saloons, card games, fast gunslinging, Mexican gangs, dynamite and more. There's also hints of mysticism amongst the nihilistic bloodshed which is odd. While this is the first film prepared as a vehicle for Garko as Sartana he appeared the previous year in Blood At Sundown as Sartana but was the antagonist. After this 1968 effort there were four official sequels and in true Italian style there were a bunch of rip offs or "unofficial sequels" which ripped off the name Sartana and his style.

Relic (2020)
SPOILER ALERT. Relic is the worst. This contains the most unconvincing dialogue and characters I've encountered since Lost Gully Road (2017?). Relic is so boring. Then when it attempts to come to life it's like two horror movies in one. Suspense just isn't built and you just wish all the characters would die via a scary monster but one of them is the monster (?). The filmmakers obviously like Jonathan Glazer's masterpiece Under The Skin (2013). Scarlett Johhaannssenn's alien character's human skin suit was a minuscule part of that great film but here Gran's is the whole movie (?). Oh who fucking cares don't waste your time on this bullshit! 

Phantasm (1979)
Great fun sci-fi/horror cult movie that is bananas entertainment. It was a first time watch for me and it was a strange experience. I've had the fabulous soundtrack since the 90s and always assumed the film was some kind of boring ghost story. Wrong. This is a very peculiar and unique horror flick inside a balmy sci-fi film. Or is it the other way around. Late night movie of the week.

The Candy Snatchers (1973)
A heist/horror flick of the darkest variety. This is an infamous near mythical cult flick that has been pretty hard to see until Vinegar Syndrome tracked down the actual owner of the film's rights and released it on blu-ray in the last 12 months. One thing I'm often amazed by is how great the cinematography is in many exploitation films. This 4K transfer is beautiful but that can't help the nasty subject matter. SPOILER ALERT! The best way to describe this is Family Plot (1976) meets Bay Of Blood (1971). I wonder if Hitchcock saw this movie? This is a whole lotta sinister wrong fun, a pure lost treasure. Not for those with weak stomachs but highly recommended.


*Six films in over a month? What's going on in Space Debris land? Well I'm very distracted by all of the things. Mainly it's the politics but it's music too.

I've been listening to lots of music again. Going through my usual winter obsessions of Cabaret Voltaire, Suicide & Throbbing Gristle. Ghosteen Nick Cave's astounding masterpiece from last year is still enthralling me to no end. I'm also very impressed with two 2020 Nick (Ekoplekz) Edwards albums as well as all the ekoplekz archives and their final release Wrekage 2011-2019 which is a vital compilation of rare tracks. The new Moon Wiring Club remix album Tabitha Reverb is triffic plus recent things from Emily A Sprague, Katie Gately, Gabor Lazar, N Chambers, Sun Araw & C. Lavender.

I dug out those old Soul Jazz New York Noise compilations the other day along with No New York and Ze's Mutant Disco and fuck they're all good. They just make all that post-punk revival shit seem well just shit, which it is! I went through the entire hypnagogic 2010 cannon which was surprisingly still fucking awesome. I'm now going to go backwards through the other years. 2009 & 2008 if I recall properly are the other two peak years. After 2010 it all went glowstick & vaporwave & whatever else but the new crop just weren't as good. Also on the hi-fi have been other old or archival stuff from Prince, Steve Kilbey, Game Theory, The Chameleons, The Sound, A Certain Ratio, Circle X, feedtime, King Snake Roost, Lo Five, Assembled Minds, Global Communication, Fennesz, Pita, Burial, Basic Channel, Vladislav Delay, Danizindan Pojidon, Haruomi Hosono, Nocturnal Emissions, Clan Of Xymox, Ramleh, Merzbow, Manuel Goettsching, Ranil and more. Been listening to some 2020 archival comps like Join The Future: UK Bleep & Bass 1988-91 on Cease & Desist, Black Riot: Early Jungle, Rave & Hardcore from Soul Jazz, Cadence Revolution: Disques Debs International Volume 2 released by Strut Records and Pacific Breeze Volume 2 issued by Light In The Attic.

My main distraction, apart from the constant threat of COVID-19 in Victoria, is that 1984/Brave New World is happening right before my very eyes with the possibility of it clashing with _______ (insert favourite Fascist Police State movie or book) in the USA at least. Virtue signal alert! Just for the bloody record, I can't believe I have to do this, I'm anti far-right and anti far-left. I'm issue by issue based politically. I don't follow a doctrine but I dig liberty and being an individual. Freedom is really fucking cool when you think about it.

So I'm preoccupied by the riots and oncoming civil/race war in the USA which is quite possibly caused by the internet, twitter, facebook, algorithms, confirmation bias, lack of debate and the death of actual journalism ie. not activists writing for the nyt. Everything seems to be a false narrative. Everyone has become deranged so this could lead one to suspect several Marxist revolutionary points have been reached ie. de-stabilisation and chaos. I hope this is paranoia but the hard left are playing a weird and disconcerting game where nothing is debated or transparent and there is no actual leader with any coherent plan. Is it all clandestine? To be revealed in due course? Like if Joe Biden wins will there be a party coup where the far left overtake the party and America?

Anyway all the hard left seem to do is set up trip wires and Kafka traps ie. Robin Diangelo's White Fragility. You are racist! Denial of your racism means you're racist! It's very healthy and good for your mental state. I especially worry for those developing mentally right now and what harm this confusing insanity may cause. You must be subservient to blm otherwise you are not an ally and will be un-personed. Normal black, white and everyone else in-between are being tricked and radicalised without their knowledge. "I'm cool black lives matter they're oppressed!" We all know this and want change particularly with regard to police and penal schemes. There needs to be well considered legislative reform yesterday. I don't know anyone in real life, the media or the internet who doesn't want that. Dig a little deeper however and you find the blm organisation saying things like they are trained Marxists who have come to dismantle the nuclear family, some dodgy racial stuff like white people are genetic defects etc. etc. You are literally not allowed to call that shit out without repercussion. This is similar in the lgbtq milieu. You can't say "Wait a minute trans-kids doesn't sound like a very good idea." That makes you a transphobe, you tripped the wire. You literally are not allowed to say this if you do it means you condone youthful suicide apparently. My brain is sick of it!

"Science nah that's like logical and proves stuff so nah. Reason nah we can't win our shouty games with that. Regressive race theories! Yeah great lets look at everything through a racial lens I'm sure this wont be racist at all. History yeah nah I mean we'll have some of it to support our religion...I mean cause, but we probably don't need the bit where like communism causes a hundred million deaths cos that might be a bit of a downer for all the people we need to convert to Marxism."

People are bowing down to the destruction of civilisation because they think they're being right on, don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, risk being ostracised or fired from their job.

With regard to the Portland riots. There are several narratives going at once so you just pick the one which suits your ideology. If you want to go any further than that to try and find the truth you risk being shouted down by the hard left and far right. The reality is somewhere beneath the the layers of lies that both conflicting ideologies are piling onto the actual facts.

I'm a great admirer of the writer Jon Ronson. On twitter I argued that the riots were much more complex than his fascist police state New York Times narrative led him to believe. His response was to take down his tweet and not engage with his couple of critics. So even great men are now bowing down to the hard left and not willing to investigate the truth. Me questioning that narrative has led to accusations of me being a fascist and a nazi. People don't even argue a few points anymore they just invoke Godwin's Law immediately. This pathetic level of discourse is unfortunately the norm now. Ronson of all people, I would have thought was a complex enough human to not just choose one of the narratives on offer. A day later he posted an article about the riots from the guardian written by Maeve Higgins saying she was a "brilliant pal". Which narrative do you think The Guardian went with? So he's removed his original tweet, not engaged with critique of the issue but doubled down on his position by posting his mates article. This is 2020! It's fucking schizoid and demented.

In a show of support against antisemitism with Planet Mu records online (which was brought on by a spate of racial bullshit directed at the Jewish from WileyCorbyn, Ice Cube, Nick Cannon etc.) I ironically have been called a fascist and a nazi pig. I Noted in a tweet that the blm organisation have not been immune to a bit of antisemitism but oh no that was wrong think I was just yelled at and called a racist with no debate. I was presenting the truth, it's all there online for you all to read...but no I went against the moment's narrative so I am the nazi (?) for sticking up for the people who have faced the most horrific extreme wrath of actual literal nazis.

Someone from heritage media tried to say that the history of antisemitic black Americans was bogus. I've been alive since the 70s so I just know this is bollocks! Yes there are groups of Jews & African Americans who formed great alliances and have been fighting against oppression for a long time, most importantly during the civil right movement. FACT. But that doesn't cancel out the FACT that Professor Griff, Jesse Jackson or Louis Farrikhan weren't vitriolic in their hatred of Jews. Just acknowledge the facts whether they are nice or horrible. Media get your shit together. Stop being activists. It's in nobody's best interests. Why did you ever think it was? It's like everyone has become scared of facts. This is all too bizarre.

If you don't belong to an ideology and just want the facts you are not welcome anywhere. That's fine because identity politics and people's need to belong are what has brought us to this moment in 2020. People need to get over this shit. You don't belong anywhere. You are born, then you live and then you die. Get on with your life, do your stuff, be good at something, be bad at something, stop politicising the minutiae of everything in the world because ultimately the only place you belong for most of the history of time is in the ground.

This cultural schizophrenia is disrupting my life, brain, health and sorry my blog. If you wanna see me fighting for moderate well considered political debate go on my twitter (So unhealthy, I know...I'm gonna quit soon!). On instagram I do all the stuff I love music, art, family, my dog, look at otters and general silly shit. It's a political free zone for my own sanity. This is hopefully the last political rant on my blog ever. I need to get back to the music and the movies and the fun. The stuff life is made of. Sorry people. I'll try and contain my derangement so that I may resume normal transmission shortly.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

While My Guitar Gently Weeps featuring PRINCE

So I said to Emma "How about Prince doing Creep?" 
She said 'salright'

Then she said "Have you seen this?" I rolled my eyes at the thought of Tom Petty and Steve Winwood appearing on the same stage but hey Jeff's there with his warm and dulcet tones, George's cute lookalike-y son is on guitar and little ole legendary Prince is off in the fringes on the side somewhere. Halfway through I was thinking:

"Why on earth did they even invite Prince. They've let some other dude do the main guitar break what a waste! Tom Petty's singing is insufferable. This is some bullshit heritage rock boredom for lovers of The Last Waltz. For me there's TWO concert* Films: Stop Making Sense & Sign O The Times. The rest don't come anywhere near close! I can't even see Prince now, he's just lost amongst a bunch of rock bores. This is a bit shit"

At the 3 minute mark it looked like maybe Prince had left the stage but before I got way too grumpy the camera captures our invisible lil hurricane Mr Rogers Nelson majickly manifest into the limelight...and well here you go. This is your sonic treat of the week. OMG!!! The following 3 minutes are magnificent bliss. Dhani Harrison almost loses his mind at the guitar wizardry on display right before his eyes. When Prince cracks a smile it's pure gold because he knows he's feelin what we're feelin and that's that he is astonishing and the fucking best. PURE JOY. A GIFT.

*On audio I'm only into Velvets/Lou live plus every live thing Throbbing Gristle ever did.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020


What the actual FUCK? Everybody knows Radiohead are a bunch of whiney bores but they once had a top tune. That tune was Creep which was at the intersection of a Pixies song & a Smiths song. So how could you go wrong? They didn't and everyone loved it.

This devastating Prince version turned up on my youtube algorithm (Bow down to the mysterious YT algorithm once again) and it has blown my mind! Prince isn't even trying here. Imagine what he could have done in full form but still this will give you chills down yo spine or as the kids say it's got all the feels. Is that what they say?

Saturday, 4 July 2020

White Horse - Laid Back/EROTIC CITY - PRINCE


This classic early 80 electro jam only came to my attention in the late 90s during a couple of successive New Years Eve Parties at The Empress Of India Hotel in North Fitzroy where this got mixed in over some other tune that was a bit more hefty or sampled or something. I still love it though. A year or two later I found a cd single but I can't remember if it was a cover or maybe a 90s tech remix anyway...thanks to the terrific FX series POSE (2018) I rediscovered White Horse when it featured in a scene where Damon and Blanca meet for the first time on the streets of NYC. I had a rush and had to track it down.  

The interwebs just told me that Prince loved that above tune so much that it inspired Erotic City but I recall a different story. He apparently told George Clinton that after going to a Parliament/Funkadelic gig he went home and wrote Erotic City. Anyway it's a much storied song for a B-side. In the 80s you bought the 7" & 12" even though you already had the LP because of the B-sides and extended mixes which were sometimes called a dub mixes. I had Lets Go Crazy (1984) on 7" single which had the shorter version of Erotic City, one of his best ever non LP cuts. This extended version is new to my ears and ooh I like. Sheila E does a guest verse. We also get crazy town Prince vocals pitched down, normal & up. Some chipmunk shit going on here! Party time!

Then I discovered this which was previously unreleased until last year. You may have heard it before because he gave the tune to Taja Sevelle in 1987. It was her debut single which came out on Prince's own imprint Paisley Park. Hearing this just made made my brain say "What are you doing? You could be spending you're remaining days on Earth tracking down every single scrap of audio detritus Prince ever recorded and you would be a much happier man for doing so!" Wouldn't U Luv 2 Luv Me is a fantastically narcissistic title. Also Prince doesn't get the kudos he deserves for inventing text spelling/language 20 years before we all had a mobile phone. This tune is bare bones demo-style Prince and sometimes that is best Prince. So last year some enterprising people put together a compilation of demos Prince recorded between 1981 & 85 called Originals. It features a bunch of tunes he gave to his protégées to record. How the fuck did I miss this release? It's got him doing Manic Monday, Sex Shooter, Make Up, The (Fucking) Glamorous Life, Love Thy Will Be Done & Nothing Compares 2 U amongst others. It's 2AM though....

Then there's this! Fuck me. Why didn't he release this as a single? I assume this is from 82/83 era. Was this ever released on anything official during the 80s? The frenetic pace is almost jungle-y. I can't tell if this has been fucked with 10 or 15 years later or if this is just as it was in the early 80s. His off-cuts are better than other artists prime-cuts. This is pure peak Prince and it's astonishing stuff. One of his best tunes ever. 

Friday, 26 June 2020

Mo Movies 34

I have watched a lot more movies than this since the last movie post but I just didn't feel like writing about them. I reckon I started about ten movies that I abandoned as well. Then there's the nights where I scroll through all the streaming sites looking for something to watch then all of a sudden its midnight. The eternal scroll is somewhere between window shopping and choice paralysis. I'm also very mentally distracted currently by the authoritarian cult of regressive extreme left political activism which alarmingly makes 2020 resemble 1984 more and more with each passing day. Nobody seems to give a fuck, that's frightening. The show must go on though...

La morte negli occhi del gatto (1973)

La Morte Negli Occhi Del Gatto aka Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eye (1971)
I accidentally bought this on the internet thinking it was the below movie. When the opening credits started rolling mentioning Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg I knew I'd got mixed up and had the wrong film. Too many gialli with the number seven, cats, eyeballs and death in the title, sometimes makes it a confusing genre to navigate. I didn't mind though I was quite intrigued. I mean Serge Gainsbourg as a Scottish detective come on everybody needs to see that! So this is set in a gothic Scottish castle. When? I couldn't say exactly maybe its the olden days but when Corringa (Jane Birkin) arrives at the estate by a horse drawn carriage she's wearing sort of modern mid 20th century clothing so it's an atemporal zone. None of that matters to the story which is pretty funny and perhaps needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Near the beginning we see what they call an Orangutan watching Corringa through a window but its definitely a man in a Gorilla suit though like Mighty Boosh's Bollo. Anyway there's a scary cat, burning of a bible, dungeons, secret passageways, kissing cousins, a black gloved killer, ye olde shaving razors, vampires (?), lesbians, red herrings, priests, tombs and inheritance issues. If you want a faux-gothic Giallo movie that's light and a bit silly then here you go.
Shirley Corrigan and Anthony Steffen in Sette scialli di seta gialla (1972)

Sette Scialla Di Seta Gialla aka Crimes Of The Black Cat (1972)
One of my all time favourite Gialli. This is set in the picture-esque city of Copenhagen, Denmark. Blind movie composer Peter (Anthony Steffen) becomes the amateur sleuth after his ex-girlfriend dies. The police don't think its murder but Peter knows better. I mean he's blind but even he can see its murder. Hold on to your hats we get overheard conversations, a modelling agency, a fashion house, adultery, a deadly cat, a phoney drug addict, sex photo extortion, silk shawls, 70s restaurants/bars, pet shops, a bus chase, a shocking death shower scene, blackmail, a white caped murderer, a body count, a butler, red herrings, tape recordings and more. Unusually we get an incredible set piece on a construction site (?) with the blindman Peter having to dodge murderous machinery whilst on dangerous scaffolding. This is an intense action sequence that sets this Giallo film apart. Highly Recommended.

The Jade Eyed Cat aka Il Gatto Dagli Occhi Di Giada aka Watch Me When I Kill (1977)
This is not your usual flamboyant outrageous fun Giallo. The tone here is quite serious. Its like Antonio Bido wanted to make a significant bleak revenge drama but he had to wrap it up in the genre of the day to get it made. You know things are different right out of the gate as the killer has white gloves. I know shocking right? This movie has to be seen if only for the death by gnocchi scene or are they dumplings? The amateur sleuth in this one is a recording engineer so surprise surprise we have lots of stuff on tape and phones. The soundtrack from Trans Europe Express is notable for its Goblin-isms but it gets particularly freaky when there are these amazing vocal-drone incantations which are very haunting. The Jade Eyed Cat is for Giallo enthusiasts who want to go deep into the genre.

Coherence (2013)
A good premise executed badly. A white upper middle class dinner party goes awry due to a comet passing during the evening. This causes a bunch of alternate realities ie. this dinner party with these same guests is happening across the road in the same house. First of all to make your horror/sci-fi/thriller flick watchable the characters or at least one or two of them need to be relatable, nice or sympathetic. I didn't care what happened to these dinner party guests because they were all dicks. Their reactions to this crazy uncanny scenario just didn't feel real or have enough hysteria. I feel like the movie makers just didn't think this whole concept properly through. Did something go wrong in the development stage? They needed to edit down the concepts and make it more minimal. If the realities were infinite why did it just come down to the actions and consequences of one character. Perhaps to give Coherence more coherence the comet should have just caused Emily (Emily Baldoni) to have one doppelgänger. It's got Xander from Buffy though so it was good to see him again. There was also another dude who looked exactly like him and I mean a whole other actor/character Kevin (Maury Sterling) which was not part of the parallel lives plot. So that was a bit weird. Twilight Zone, Black Mirror and a bunch of other films cover this conceptual territory a lot better. Don't bother pressing play on this at netflix.

Defcon-4 (1985)
A cult-y Canuxploitation flick produced by Roger Corman's New World Pictures. Defcon-4 starts out very promising but ends just alright. Three astronauts witness WWIII from their secret space station. They crash down to post-apocalyptic earth a couple of months later. One Astronaut Jordan (Kate Lynch) is knocked into a coma, one gets out of the aircraft only to be immediately killed while Howe (Tim Choate) makes it out alive but gets captured. Vinny (Maury Chaykin) a renegade takes Howe to his fort. There is a fascistic new world order and crazed cannibals on the loose. Everyone needs to leave this radioactive zone otherwise they will all die. The only hope is to get a boat to a safe zone in South America. I loved the opening 25 minutes in the space station but once we got to earth it was c-grade Mad Max (1979) all the way. Fans of the post-apocalypse sub-genre need to see this though.

The Sender (1982)
Pretty good lil Horror/Sci-Fi gem. Telekineses is the order of the day here. A young man mysteriously walks into a lake with rocks in his pocket but he is saved before drowning. John Doe #83 ( Željko Ivanek) ends up in a psych ward. What's going on in his brain though and just who the hell is he? The Sender's got a great tone and many terrific chaotic set pieces to put it right up there with that other similarly themed movie of the time David Cronenberg's masterpiece The Dead Zone (1983). There must have been something in the air at the time or was it just Stephen King's brain? Well worth a look.


The Suckling aka Sewage Baby (1990)
1990? While watching I was trying to guess what year it was made and I decided on 1985 or 86 but thought it could have been even earlier. It definitely has an atemporal vibe going on. Now this a batshit crazy movie but to add to that I think tubi's streaming service was fucking up. I was getting replays, flash forwards, flashbacks, scenes repeated more than twice and all kinds of glitches which made it feel like I was on an intense acid trip that was going down a dark and delirious path. It was like one of the most out there experimental cut up/loopy film experiences I've ever had. Now I'm eager to watch the actual blu-ray to see just how avant-garde this absurd monster flick really is. The Suckling is the story of a young lady and her boyfriend going to a brothel that seems to be in a time-warp to get an abortion (?). Yes you read that right. The coat hanger abortion takes place and the foetus is flushed down the toilet. Then all hell breaks loose as the foetus quickly becomes a mutant monster. This low budget flick contains some of the strangest cinematography, if you can call it that, I've ever witnessed. The mutant baby monster is pretty good though. This is well worth a watch for a bit of WTF? fun. Late night movie of the week.

Raw Force (1982)
This is a mega-mix genre mash up 80s stylee. It starts out with a bit of T&A and white boy kung fu. Then there's sex trafficking involving mad cannibal monks, ghostly kung fu zombies, a German baddie Hitler lookalike-y complete with wonky moustache, a decapitation, pyromania and even piranhas. It's all wrapped up in an exotic 80s action/adventure set in the south seas. Raw Force is nuts el-cheapo entertainment but one of the main protagonists of the film is just not quite who you want as the hero as he sleazes on to somebodies wife at the beginning and is lecherous towards her for the entire movie. Odd.

Bay Of Angels (1963)
The legendary Jaques Demy directs the legendary Jeanne Moreau in this peculiar existential gambling drama that takes a romantic turn even if it's a somewhat dark one. Moreau is absolutely magnetic as the mentally scattered gambling addict Jacki. She inhabits this character like she's lived it her entire life. Jacki's not necessarily likeable with her cold dark heart but you can't turn away as sometimes she reveals vulnerability. Jean (Claude Mann) the conflicted gambler who becomes enamoured by Jacki is also impeccably portrayed. Then there is France photographed in black and white which is stunning. Bay Of Angels is not just a character study par excellence it is movie making of the high calibre variety.

1984 (1984)
I don't want to write prescient because the George Orwell story Nineteen Eighty Four has been relevant to society ever since it was published in 1949. 1984 mirrors the stupidity going on right now on both sides of the political spectrum ie. The fascistic police state and the authoritarian left. Both of which are totalitarian. Although 1984 is largely a critique of what goes wrong with the regressive extreme left once left to their own devices. This cautionary tale is so pertinent to this very minute. Big Brother style law enforcement surveillance is prevalent now days and in a lot of cases justice depends upon it. Cancel culture is right here as Winston Smith's (John Hurt) actual job. His job is to unperson people, wipe out any evidence that they ever existed. Sound familiar? Is George Orwell not taught in schools or universities anymore. I can't imagine many professors wanting their students to read this indictment of their extreme leftist doctrine of unfreedom of speech and compelled political correctness. What would happen if the kids realised they've diminished themselves as individuals at the behest of authoritarian groupthink?

1984's most applicable to today's situation with fake news and computerised manipulation of narratives towards your particular political bias despite the facts and the truth. Sorry, I mean we could all write an essay, a thesis or a phd dissertation on this subject and probably have. This really does feel like school but you know how you always used to say to teachers "What relevance is this going to have on my life?" I think a teacher/lecturer could confidently say this is probably the most relevant and useful topic you'll ever learn about in the education system.

What about the movie though Tim? Yeah it's a good lil disturbing dystopian drama with the good actoring and ace retro-future vibes. 2020's world is basically 1984's world with just a few cosmetic adjustments. The forbidden love story between Winston & Julia takes up a surprising amount of the movie. I'm not sure how much of the book that took up because I'm not sure I ever read the bloody thing to the end!

There's a surprising amount of full frontal female nudity from Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) for bush fans. No full frontal male nudity though. When was the last time you saw a man's cock in a mainstream movie? I recall Harvey's Keitel in The Piano (1993), Ewan's McGregor in that boring Greenaway movie and was there someone starkers in one of the Monty Python films. That's not a lot and perhaps I'm showing my age. As discussed recently on The Projection Booth Podcast seeing a man's penis on screen is still a rarity.

Everybody over the age of 15 should watch this movie. While these concepts are not news to me they might just well be for a 22 year old. If you are one of these people be prepared to have your life and world turned upside down as reality and nefariousness comes crashing into your face.

Top Of The Heap (1972)
This unique picture has been discussed on both The Movies That Made Me and Pure Cinema podcasts recently. I guess there's something in the air with all the George Floyd demonstrations and riots. Christopher St John writes, directs and stars in this wonderful piece of cinema. George Lattimer (Christopher St John) is an African American cop on the streets of Washington DC. He's been doin his job as a street cop on the nightshift for over 10 years. Lattimer becomes disillusioned after a white moron gains a promotion over him. Throughout the movie he becomes more and more unhinged as his work, family and social life spiral out of control along with his mind. He hates himself and the system.

There are two key scenes that make this relevant to today: He gets racially profiled by another cop after getting off a bus. The White cop doesn't realise Lattimer's a cop as he has a trench coat over his uniform. Lattimer has this coat on so as to not alienate himself from the black community and because he's become conflicted about his job. This scenario could have quite easily gone pear-shaped George Floyd stylee. Showing things haven't really changed with regard to police attitudes in fifty years. The trench coat over his police uniform mirroring images off today's news where cops are turning up to work in plain clothes in fear of their lives.

He gets into a fight with a bunch of black people who run the club where his mistress works as a singer. Black on black violence in America is an ongoing concern. It was pointed out to me recently that university studies have shown that African Americans are just as likely to be killed by other African American cops as white cops. This study totally shocked me when I read it the other day. So this was totally relevant.

Anyway despite the dark and serious social issue subject matter this movie is also a whole lotta nihilistic fun. Sometimes it is absolutely hilarious. One particularly memorable funny scene is when Lattimer turns up at his mistress's (Paula Kelly) place. She's so stoned she can't take his heavy vibe seriously so she mocks him by repeating what he's saying in soulful singing over her jazzy chords on acoustic guitar. This is comic gold that had me laughing out loud and it felt so real. The daydreaming sequences where Lattimer is an astronaut are off the wall and make up a substantial part of the film. Fans of 70s cars, fashion, music and interior design are in for an eyeball treat.

This is a visionary work of African American cinema that should be right up there with Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, Take One (1968), Cotton Comes To Harlem (1970), Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), Killer Of Sheep (1977), Penitentiary (1979), Do The Right Thing (1989) etc.

Django (1966)
There was a time in the 90s when it felt like I watched every single Spaghetti Western ever made, well at least half, they made a lot of them. SBSTV also seemed to have a year where that was all they showed movie-wise. Good times. So I totally had Spaghetti Western fatigue. While I've remained enamoured by the soundtracks in the new millennium, I don't think I've watched one of these flicks since the 90s. Tubi has changed the movie watching landscape though. They have so many ye olde films, heaps of good ones. I thought signing up to Amazon Prime was great but tubi's even better and its free. So they've uploaded a motherlode of 60s/70s Italian westerns and not only that they seem to be great prints. I think they have a deal with Arrow Video so there's a bunch of Ringos, Djangos and Sartanas to watch. Everybody knows and loves Sergio Leone but now you get to watch the rest. I can't stand Clint Eastwood so its lucky they made over 350 spaghetti westerns not starring him for our pleasure.

Django is a great place to start because it's one of the best Spaghetti Westerns. Django (Franco Nero) turns up in a muddy border ghost-town dragging a coffin. All that's left in the deserted town is the saloon, the barkeep and his harem of ladies. There will be violence, quicksand, gold, Mexicans, racist Confederates, a western take on the trojan horse, much blood shed, revenge, a cemetery and quite possibly the greatest opening song ever in the history of film. Recommended.

Cemetery Without Crosses (1969)
You know you're in for a treat when Scott Walker sings the opening song of a Spaghetti Western! Well it's an Italian-French co-production innit. So what is a French Western called? A Baguette Western? Robert Hossein writes, stars and directs here. This is a tragedy with more tragedy followed by some tragedy. We get vengeance, more vengeance followed by some more vengeance. Maria's (Michèle Mercier) husband is killed and she wants vengeance but not just any old vengeance. She wants the posse who killed her husband to be humiliated in front of the entire town and that's just for starters. Along with the horseys in the desert we get the Spaghetti Western perennials: Lynching, a corrupt Sheriff, ghost towns, robbery, coffins, gold, fast gunslingers, minimal dialogue, cemeteries, mucho bloodshed, a dead dude on a horsey, nihilism, kidnapping, romance and of course revenge. This one is for the ladies. Cemetery Without Crosses is stylistically beautiful with a terrific story which makes this a gem and probably a masterpiece of the genre. Highly recommended. 

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Ekoplekz Complete. Nick Edwards ReBegins.

Last year Ekoplekz aka Nick Edwards called it quits. As far as I know the Ekoplekz moniker is finished with. Edwards has been quite mysterious over the years appearing and disappearing on social media. A few months back I noticed he had popped up on Instagram only to disappear recently. In the last 12 months he also joined and then left twitter again (don't blame him, twitter's fucking toxic). Anyway during correspondence late last year with one of his record company people, I was told his fantastic 2019 tapes Metabolism and In Search Of The Third Mantra were to be the last new Ekoplekz recordings ever.

Ekoplekz is finished but you can't keep a good man down. Nick Edwards is back under his own name with a new digital album For Now, Our Desire Is Nameless. This one's on a more minimal tech tip. The opening tune Watching is a subtle repetitive minuscule lock groove that he has somehow made mellifluous. The Same is a lightly defective neo-cosmic jam. The push and pull rhythm of Old Things could have made it an absolute banger but it's like rhabdomyolysis has occurred and it's barely hanging on to its anaemic life. Definition is a standout tune that feels like a homage to the glory days of the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction milieu. Track 4 On Higher is supreme pulsating enviro-electronic-ambience. Screens has got to be the most minimal thing he's ever done as it shape shifts out of its psychedelic circular pattern and almost dissipates as it unfurls into tiny wisps of sound with a Carpenter-esque sting as the album's finale. Wow this is pretty fucking elevated stuff. It feels really meticulous but these are live improvised jams which makes me think he has mastered his craft to a sublime degree. 

Recently though there has been a whole lot of archival activity over on the Ekoplekz bandcamp page. Edwards has been putting every little bit of Ekoplekz's audio history up on this digital platform to properly catalogue and conclude the ten year Ekoplekz era. I believe this project is now complete. So for starters he has put up Volume 1 (2010) which was the first Ekoplekz release. By the time I became aware of this limited to 20 copies cdr and its abridged second edition of only 50 copies they had all been snapped up. Luckily someone uploaded it onto a sharity blog at the time and that's where the obsession began. Edwards describes this as primitive unproduced early demos recorded on a four track cassette.

Now if you thought it was hard to get your hands on Volume 1, it was virtually impossible to your hands on Doctrine: 789305 (2010). This private press tape of less than 10 copies was only given to his friends! Edwards says he never had any intention of this ever resurfacing again but some of his friends told him that it was one of his best recordings and urged him to release it. So voilà after finding the master tape at the back of a drawer Edwards has put it up on bandcamp for you to download digitally. His friends were right this is easily one of the best Ekoplekz albums. Doctrine: 789305 is full of splendid crunchy dubbed out no-fi electronic goodness. Ekoplekz hedz need to hear this!  

Volume 2 (2010) is the third Ekoplekz release and it was another private press cdr of just 50 copies. I've never heard this one either so I was pretty excited to see it on bandcamp. I gave up on ever getting a version of this album years ago. I know some of the tracks because they were on that Pontone mix which must have been done in late 2010.

I did not know this even existed. This 2012 recording might just be the ultimate Ekoplekz release. I fucking love these berserk noisy electronics and the two 20 minute tracks totally suit this delirious saga of radiophonica. Discogs has The Nunton Complekz filed as an artist name. I dunno, maybe it was an alias. Nick Edwards was quite fond of an alias like Ensemble Skalectrik, PLKZFX, Phlekz etc. Then there were his collaborations eMMplekz (with Baron Mordant), EKOCLEF (with Bass Clef), pHarmerz (with Farmer Glitch) and so on.    

If that wasn't enough for you or you already had those obscure early releases just hold on to your horses. On the first of this month Nick Edwards unleashed the motherlode of Ekoplekz rarities. Wrekage 2011-2019 is an hour and forty minutes of tracks that have previously exclusively appeared on other compilations. On the bandcamp page this compilation is described as "An anthology of orphans from the main discography." This is the most diverse collection of tunes ever issued under the Ekoplekz moniker. Wait for it...there is a cover of Syd Barrett's Late Night with vocals and psych guitars which is.....well, to put it mildly surprising.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Mo Movies 33

If you're an old school cult movie fan, you know into  El Topo (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972), Rocky Horror (1975), Eraserhead (1977)Night Of The Living Dead (1968) etc. and haven't refreshed over the last ten or twenty years you might not know of the rising cult film Runaway Nightmare (1982) reviewed below.

A whole new set of cult-y movies are lining up to take over from the old tired midnight movie cannon. Things like Office Space (1999), Audition (1999), Battle Royale (2000), American Psycho (2000), Ichi The Killer (2001), Donnie Darko (2001), Oldboy (2003), The Room (2003), Shaun Of The Dead (2004), Jennifer's Body (2009), Mother (2009), District 9 (2009), Birdemic (2010), Attack The Block (2011), Spring Breakers (2012), It Follows (2014), Inherent Vice (2014) et al. are the more recently made films entering into this zone. Whether or not their cult status will hold is another question.

When Donnie Darko first appeared on cinema screens it was an instant cult movie a bit like Panos Cosmatos' 2018 gem Mandy. Over the years I've noticed interest wane a bit in Donnie Darko but in the last couple of years the cult has come back strong. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) and Napolean Dynamite (2004) seemed destined for cult movie immortality but they have both faded from view. Were they too successful at the time or even trying to be cult movies? I really do think in Jared Hess's case with Napolean Dynamite he was just trying way too hard to invent a cult movie. Directors don't make cult films the public do. There are certain characteristics that come in handy for a movie to become cult-y especially if it was a flop either at the box office or critically and even better if it was both. Something being just a bit off or askew about the film that makes it imperfect for audiences at the time of release is also a good trait for your future cult movie to have. Sometimes you need your film to become cherished after people, maybe even the next generation, rediscover then re-watch it once a particular amount of time has gone by. Re-watchability is the key ingredient for a movie to become cult. Time will tell if inept films like The Room and Birdemic will remain revered items or just fleeting curiosities. Movies such as Attack The Block, Battle Royale, American Psycho, Audition and Ichi The Killer only seem to be gaining in cult-y momentum. It will be interesting to see if the public's attention will stay on South Korean movies or shift away due to a backlash after commercial success or if something else comes along to usurp the collective imagination. Mike Judge, Paul Thomas Anderson, Karyn Kusama and Edgar Wright seem to be the directors de-jour of the last twenty years for young cult audiences as they not only have a film mentioned in the above list but others waiting in the cult-movie wings ie. Idiocracy (2006), The Master (2012), The Invitation (2015) and Scott Pilgrm (2010). Watch this space. 

Cruising (1980), Maniac (1980), Possession (1981), Evil Dead (1981), Basket Case (1982), Going Down (1983), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Repo Man (1984), This Is Spinal Tap (1984), Razorback (1984), Re-Animator (1985), Dogs In Space (1986), Withnail & I (1987), Bad Taste (1987), Ghosts Of The Civil Dead (1988), Akira (1988), Spoorloos (1988), The Killer (1989) etc. remain the 80s cult movie staples along with pretty much anything made in the 80s by John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Joe Dante and even apparently now ugh John Hughes. Actually you rarely hear the mention of John Woo or Spinal Tap these days so those pictures may be drifting away from cult zones like other old 80s cult favourites The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980), Forbidden Zone (1980), Eating Raoul (1982), The Outsiders (1983), Peter Greenaway, Wim Wenders, Brazil (1985), Subway (1985) and Mona Lisa (1986) have. These films will remain near and dear to Gen Xers but they don't seem to be translating to younger tastes. I mean I doubt my 22 year old niece has even heard of Peter Greenaway or The Gods Must Be Crazy but she has seen The Room, Donnie Darko, Shaun Of The Dead and It Follows.

John Carpenter
's The Thing (1982) has become the 80s Vertigo (1958). It was considered a disaster critically and at the box office at the time of release, has built up a rabid cult following over the years, has been re-assessed and is now considered one of the best films ever made.

People are still digging up the weird and wild from the 80s for your viewing pleasure though. The cult builders like Drafthouse, Vinegar Syndrome, Film Twitter, Shout Factory, Twilight Time, general movie-goers, film-makers and self-appointed guru tastemakers are staking a claim for some less well known 80s movies to take over. Night Of The Comet (1984) seems to have rapidly risen up the cult movie charts in the last ten years along with a few others like Night Of The Juggler (1980), Mystics In Bali (1981), New York Ripper (1982), Liquid Sky (1982), Grease 2 (1982), Vice Squad (1982), Siege (1983), 10 To Midnight (1983), Walking The Edge (1983/5), After Hours (1985), My Chauffeur (1986), White Of The Eye (1986), Near Dark (1987) Lady Terminator (1988), How To Get Ahead In Advertising (1989) and Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). Hmm perhaps I'll discuss what's going on with shot on video classics, 80s kids/teen movies plus cult films from the 90s next time.


Runaway Nightmare (1982) 
Mike Cartel is the one & done director behind this cult movie. A couple of worm farming dudes Ralph (Mike Cartel) & Jason (Al Valetta) discover a lady who has been buried alive. The worm wrangling duo are then kidnapped by a criminal desert dwelling cult of women. The worm farmers are initiated into the cult for use of their muscle but then find themselves embroiled in a heist against the mob, violence, sex, time-bombs, witchy goings on and more. Vinegar Syndrome, the Blu-ray company, restored and issued a Blu-ray of this recently so that might give you some idea of what kind of flick this is. Runaway Nightmare will have your jaw dropping several times. Whether that's a good thing or not probably depends upon you. If you're up for a WTF? plot with strange acting and odd dialogue that feels like it was directed by John Waters' long lost cousin from Death Valley you are going to love it otherwise move along nothing to see here. I think this was one of the first ever movies to be released straight to video ensuring it inevitable cult status. Runaway Nightmare feels like an exploitation movie that doesn't know what exactly it's exploiting. Perhaps I'll call it Worm Farming-sploitation. Late Night Movie of The Week.

Battles Without Honour and Humanity aka Tarnished Code of Yakuza (1973)
A Yakuza film that apparently changed the face of the Yakuza genre although five years earlier there was Outlaw: Gangster VIP (1968) followed by several sequels so perhaps this is an overstatement created by retro marketing spin doctoring. Even this film's director Kinj Fukasaku made the masterpiece Street Mobster, a modern tale of yakuza life, the previous year. If you don't know, the yakuza is the Japanese mafia. So this film right here is considered to be The Japanese Godfather. It certainly has many parallels with that film but this isn't some kind of copycat deal. These stories are based upon Kōzō Minō's (an imprisoned member of the Yakuza at the time) manuscript that were novelised by journalist Kōichi Iiboshi. The tales here are of real life events in Japan's mob underworld post WW2. Battles Without... is a stellar gangster picture with all the accoutrements prison, corruption, parole, brutal violence, initiation into the mob, cop murder, yakuza codes gone awry, utter chaos, drugs, murder, hierarchy, betrayal, nihilism, the bleakness of futility and more murder. I am very excited as there are another four films in this series.

The Street Fighter (1974)
More 70s action from Japan via the legendary Toei Studio. Sonny Chiba as Terry Tsurugi karate kicks and karate chops his way through a whole lot of corrupt business people and Yakuza to try and protect oil fortune heiress Sarai (Doris Nakajima). This is quite possibly the first Japanese martial arts flick I've ever seen and I think it was exactly the right place to start as this is karate gold. Look out for spectacular scenes where Terry castrates a rapist with his bare hands and rips out the vocal chords of assassin Junjo Shickenbaru (Milton Ishibashi). This is a whole lotta bloody bare knuckled gory fun. Late Night Movie Of The Week.

Dead & Buried (1981)
This is a nifty lil' horror gem. Halfway through you might think "Oh I've seen it all before" but hold your horses as it's well worth waiting until the very end for the pay off. I recommend you go into this flick with as little knowledge as possible about the plot. It's weird, spooky and set by the seaside. Can you go wrong with that combo? Nope, Gary Sherman of Death Line (1972) and Vice Squad (1982) fame directs.

Come Drink with Me (1966)
More top chop socky from the Shaw Bros Studio. Set during the Ming Dynasty this wuxia movie stars Cheng Pei Pei as Golden Swallow and Yueh Hua as Drunken Cat. This duo have to battle their way through an evil monastery where Golden Swallow's brother is being kept hostage. Will this duo survive the violent antics of Liao Kung (Yeung Chi-hing) and the brilliantly named Jade Faced Tiger (Chan Hung-lit)? Or will evil prevail? Things get complicated when it emerges that Drunken Cat has mixed feeling about fighting Liao Kung. There are grey areas in classic good versus evil tales. Late Night Movie Of The Week.  

Alleycat Rock: Female Boss aka Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss (1970)
Top lil el cheapo lady biker exploitation flick from Japan's Nikkatsu Studio. The Japanese (mis)understand pop culture and pop art on a whole other level to anybody else. This movie beats Roger Corman at his own game! This stars my new favourite actor Meiko Kaji plus pop star Akiko Wada. We get the works in this pop art pile up. There's girl gangs, right wing nationalists, rebel motorbike clubs, fake delinquents getting wasted, villains in a dune buggy, a fixed boxing match, implied lesbianism, bloody knife violence, gangsters, a psychedelic rock nightclub, general disillusion, a crazy car chase through the streets of Tokyo, eye catching fashion, guns, love and more. The car chase which is two dudes in a dune buggy chasing the bad arse Ako (Akiko Wada) on her motorbike throughout the Shinjuku district of Tokyo is worth the price of admission alone. The cinematography from Muneo Ueda is gloriously berserk. You've never seen some of these angles before. Yasuharu Hasebe's direction is wild with surprising splashes of colour. If that all sounds good to you then you need to see Alleycat Rock: Female Boss. Late Night Movie Of The Week.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
I missed this blockbuster at the time, just never got around to it. A Maori foster child Ricky (Julian Dennison) gets one last chance with a strange rural couple otherwise he's off to Juvey. Events unfold unexpectedly so Ricky and Uncle Hector (Sam Neil) end up on the run from the law. As the cops close in on the unlikely pair of outlaws they end up deep in the bush. All sorts of comic antics and misunderstandings take place in this charming adventure-drama. Kids love it because it's got kids doing bad things and it's essentially a kids' film. Hunt For The Wilderpeople became the highest grossing film in New Zealand's history. Director, writer, producer Taika Waititi is on a hell of a winning streak even winning an Oscar this year for 2019's JoJo Rabbit. Oh and it's got New Zealand's funniest man Murray from Flight Of The Conchords in a small role.

Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo aka Alleycat Rock: Wild Jumbo (1970)
This is the second film in the Alley/Stray Cat Rock series. This one isn't about bikers or violent urban girl gangs but it's nihilistic as fuck despite its mostly bucolic setting. This is not in any way a continuation of Female Boss although many of the same actors appear here but they are totally different characters, other people. Wild Jumbo is a mix up of an existential road movie, a beach flick and a heist film with a bit of revenge chucked in. A directionless delinquent gang are tipped off as to the whereabouts of a load of cash by Asako (Bunjaku Han). Asako is an independently wealthy mistress of a cult leader but she wants revenge upon the new religion. The gang, which includes C-ko (Meiko Kaji) and a bunch of dudes, arm themselves with some old rusty WWII weaponry and map out a foolproof plan to earn 30 million Yen. This is a weird movie with the heist really only coming into play in the last twenty minutes. Wild Jumbo is directed by Toshiya Fujita (Lady Snowblood) so it doesn't quite have the insane audacity of the director/cinematographer combo of Hasebe/Ueda but there are occasionally some pretty cool stylistic flourishes especially the underwater work, freeze frames, sped up footage, negative film and most bizarrely the usage of a speech bubble.

Return Of The Street Fighter aka Blood Of The Dragon (1974) 
Sensational action packed sequel martial arts/revenge/yakuza mega mix with more ocular violence than a Giallo film. Sonny Chiba is back as Terry Tsurugi and he's in fine bare knuckled karate form. This must be seen for several great scenes including Terry's jailbreak, the eye-popping karate headkick and a WTF? moment you will not believe so long as you've seen the original Street Fighter (1974). This is pure pop culture entertainment!

Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter aka Alleycat Rock: Sex Hunter (1970)
A title that seems to have got lost in translation but would have suited the international exploitation market so what the heck I suppose. There is attempted sex trafficking and there is human hunting but there's not really sex hunting anyway... Hasebe is back in the director's chair for the third film in The Alley Cat/Stray Cat Rock series. This is the most perplexing of The Alleycat Rock series so far with its social issues and narratively it's the least cohesive. The girl gang The Alleycats hang out with the boy gang The Eagles but there is a rift and they soon become rivals. The Eagles have gone full fascistic and racist. Mako (Meiko Kaji) meets and becomes fond of Kazuma (Rikiya Yasuoka) who is a half breed Afro-Japanese. This is not going to be cool with Baron (Tatsuya Fuji) the leader of The Eagles who has previously been in a chaste relationship with Mako. However that's not all. He is angry as his sister was supposedly raped by a half breed Afro-Japanese man. A purge of mixed race men from their town is ordered by the Eagles. What will become of all this turmoil?

Cheap Thrills (2014)
This should have been called Demented Cheap Thrills. A dude Craig (Pat Healy) is in a bar, he's down on his luck and his downward spiral continues when he meets a wealthy psychopathic couple. These coked up arseholes dare him to play silly little drinking games but eventually their dares escalate to acts far too extreme for normal humans to even contemplate. Whether or not this film is supposed to make you think about what lengths you would go to for money or just an excuse to make a brutally violent movie is a bit of a moot point as it's all pretty unconvincing. That might just be me though because I just couldn't help thinking that's Pat Healy the nice chap I heard talking on a podcast once but here he is doing actoring. Well worth a look if you like extremely despicable people doing intensely horrible things. I know that sounds great and it's actually a really good premise. I wanted to like it more but...

Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009)
Not a bad little primer on American horror movies. But if you've seen things like Eli Roth's 7 part season History Of Horror (2018) or the 3 part A History of Horror With Mark Gatiss (2010) you really don't need to see this. Nightmares... however was made previous to those two documentaries. We get a lot of male (not one woman) talking heads as they go through a hundred years of American and some Canadian horror movies. I guess the Canadian flag is red and white so they can technically get away with this. Joe Dante is always eloquent and interesting while Mick Garris is just eloquent. This documentary is narrated by the man with a golden voice Lance Henriksen. It also includes interviews with legends Roger Corman, George A Romero, Larry Cohen, John Carpenter and a bunch of less noteworthy movie people.

The best bit was a great piece of editing which contained a bunch of sex and slashings from the Friday The 13th films. That 3 minute sequence on its own would be a visual essay masterpiece.

Anyway an hour and a half is not enough time to cover everything so many great horror films get overlooked ie. Let's Scare Jessica To Death (1971), Messiah Of Evil (1973), Black Christmas (1974), I Spit On Your Grave (1978),  Maniac (1980), The Changeling (1980), The Hitcher (1986), Night Of The Creeps (1986) etc.

There was definitely no room for horrific pictures that are in other genres like The Wizard Of Oz (1939), The Honeymoon Killers (1970),  Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971), Deliverance (1972), The Silent Partner (1978), The Temple Of Doom (1984), Return To Oz (1985) Labyrinth (1986), Requiem For A Dream (2000), Passion Of The Christ (2004), anything concerning The Holocaust or nuclear war etc. This, I've just realised is the perfect topic to make to a documentary about. Actually it's two different topics. The first doc would be called Non horror Movies That Scared The Shit Out Of You When You Were a Kid or just Horrifying Kids Movies. It would be fascinating and so crowd pleasing. I recall Snow White and Sleeping Beauty being scary when I was really small as well as being haunted by TV shows Doctor Who and Catweazle. Actually I can't believe about ten documentaries haven't already been made on this topic, its such an obvious and winning formula. The other doc would be Non Horror Movies That Are Actually Horror Movies. This is a good topic too if not quite as delicious or psychologically charged as the first.

Jesus Camp (2007)
I think this was supposed to upset me, freak me out and make me become an extreme regressive lefty but I got caught up in the whole Jesus juice vibe. The trance-y hysteria these evangelical Pentecostal Christians whip up amongst middle America's kids here is electrifying and palpable. I think I got a little hypnotised. I can equate it to when I was looking into the darkish web and 4chan type of stuff that I was going to write a book about (Angela Nagle beat me to the punch with the excellent Kill All Normies). I spent so long engaging in that dark underbelly it began to rub off on me somewhat. I mean I understand the sick sense of humour of the seediest liberal baiters on the planet as it's infectious. It made me feel sick though that I knew of the song Remove Kebab which was played on the car stereo of the killer responsible for the NZ Mosque massacre. When I was younger the same thing happened when I delved into extreme left politics for a skeptical investigative look. I couldn't help but get some of it on me. I always know deep down I'm a moderate and issue by issue based politically because that's what being a critical thinker is about. In Jesus Camp I'm well aware of the nefariousness of America's moral majority and how it's fucking with everybody's (left of the far right) head.

In this film intellectually you can see the horrible anxiety inducing brainwashing of young minds that is quite possibly child abuse. These fanatics want their children to be vehemently against abortion and to believe that their so called Christian (theologically they are way more old testament rather than gospel based) way is the only right way. At one stage one of the evangelical adults lets it be known that she wants these children to be as intense as children brought up under extreme Islam ie. be willing to die/commit suicide in the name of God at a young age.

This film makes you understand why musical artists like Swans and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds integrate performative aspects and language from evangelical fire & brimstone sermons into their acts because it has such power and passion. It's deliciously intoxicating. I mean Bad Seeds concerts have now actually become spiritual events and I fucking love it.

The film-makers here I think accidentally caught on celluloid the exhilarating momentum these charlatans for Jesus can summon. If they didn't intercut it with snippets of Mike Papantonio's moderate Christian and politically secular radio show this may well have been seen as a very dangerous film that easily could have been misconstrued as an evangelical propaganda film. I'm guessing the film-makers didn't want to inflame Christians into becoming soldiers for God. I reckon they probably wanted the opposite of this scenario to occur.   

Sister Street Fighter (1974)
Five star entertainment! More Japanese karate on film. This is fuckin ace. I know next to nothing about Japanese martial arts movies, except for the two previously mentioned in this post, but I feel like I just might have watched the best one. This is ladies night and the charismatic Sue Shiomi stars as the bad-arse Tina Long. We get blood spurting action fun as Tina fights her way through an army of enemies who have an array of martial art disciplines. Sister Street Fighter includes poison darts, karate fights on dangerous bridges, dungeons, a strip club, a bed of spikes, Sonny Chiba, phoney heroin addiction, broken necks and much more. Late Night Movie Of The Week.       

Theory Of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents (2015)
If you're a fan of The Residents you probably don't need to be told how fabulous they are and you've probably seen most of this footage before. If you are new to them this probably isn't a great place to start either as it's not like a chronological recount of their career. It kinda goes through the very early pre-history and history of the band then a lot of recent tour stuff. It fails to mention that this incredible group had one of the best winning streaks in the history of (un) rock LPs. Between 1974 and 1980 they released these LPs respectively: Meet The Residents, Third Reich 'N' Roll, Fingerprince, Duck Stab, Not Available, Eskimo & Commercial Album. That's seven absolute classics in a row. Some people include the next two records  Mark Of The Mole (81) & The Tune Of Two Cities (82) in that run as well. So that is a rarified position to be in. I can't name many bands with an undeniable run of records like that

During the following 40 years they've had peaks and valleys and an extreme nadir in the 90s. They have been more known for their cutting edge multi-media concert extravaganzas than their albums. In the new millennium they have come back strong ever since 2005's Animal Lover LP however. The Bunny Boy, Lonely Teenager, Mushroom, Talking Light, The Wonder Of Weird, Shadowland, Ghost Of Hope etc. have been some of their late career highs. Apart from all that they've had some wonderful singles, EPs, films, concerts, videos and collaborations. Of course that might all might mean nothing to you as they are most definitely an acquired taste. If you don't know who they are you might have seen their pictures as they gained notoriety in the 70s & 80s for being the anonymous band with giant eyeball heads with a penchant for tuxedos. This was all before Kiss, TISM, Slipknot & Insane Clown Posse. Check out their Third Reich 'N' Roll or Commercial Album LPs and the Satisfaction 7" single then you'll know where you stand with The Residents.

Back to the documentary it's more about the myth making and concept art side of the band which is a bit gimmicky and tired now plus I feel like it has all been covered before in other films, dvds, articles, books and videos. Luckily The Residents have the music to back it up. As they have been anonymous throughout their career it's hard to track how many original members are still left. I think a couple of integral members have recently passed away... but who knows?   

The Visitor (1979)
One of those video shop movies. I must have seen the cover a hundred times but never thought to watch it. Ten years ago I discovered the terrific soundtrack by Franco Micalizzi but I still never thought to watch the film. The Visitor is ubiquitous across pop culture media but still I never bothered with this cult movie. Finally scrolling through tubi I came across it one night while I was severely affected by pain killers. The Visitor finally arrived in my life at the perfect time. For a start check out this for a cast John Huston, Mel Ferrer, Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, Sam Peckinpah, Franco Nero and even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. What the fuck is going on here then? This must be one of the original sci-fi horror mega-mix pastiche movies before the more recent James Wan and Leigh Whannell type of mega-mix things. This movie mega-mix extravaganza chucks everything in including The Bad Seed, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The Birds, The Omen, The Exorcist, The Kitchen Sink and a whole lot more to make one of the most enjoyable and batshit crazy movies ever. Funnily enough with all its influences right there in front of you it makes for a one hell of a unique experience. Directed by Michael J. Paradise who I believe was Fellini's sidekick. Late Night Movie Of The Week.