Wednesday, 12 June 2019

More On Movies - June


The Shallows (2016)
Blake Lively V Shark. What more could you ask for? Forget the script and just get into the battle between woman and shark. Good little bit of entertaining, edge of your seat action fun to pass 90 minutes of your time.

Jaws 2 (1978)
Many horror enthusiast say 'Oh Jaws 2 is much more fun and less boring that the original'. That's not true though is it? They make two hours feel like three! Having not seen this since I was little, I was expecting a zippy little action packed 'When Animals Attack' movie. What did I get? Roy Scheider pondering and pensive with no particular reason or suspense for what seemed like at least half of this movie. When the cameras finally made it to the sea with the shark it was very entertaining. Forty Five minutes of fat could have been trimmed off this film to make it more watchable. Totally disappointing. The VHS nerds get it wrong once again. Let's face it most Sequels suck.


The House Of Whipcord (1970)
This is the sort of thing I remember horror was when I was little. Grim Old scary people in dilapidated mansions who were scary and doing strange things. A beautiful young French model who had previously been arrested for public nudity is lured to a country mansion by her new enigmatic boyfriend. It turns out to be some kind of renegade prison for permissive ladies though. This is some disturbing shit right here as many transgressive shenanigans take place. Is it just me or are there Nazi vibes happening here? House of Whipcord is put together with finesse and sophistication for such a low budget exploitation flick. I highly recommend.


Friday The 13th (1980)
This is a tight lil slasher that does exactly what it says on the tin. A summer camp at Crystal Lake is re-opening after tragedy closed the camp down 20 years earlier. The camp counsellors arrive to make the camp ready for its reopening. Yet they have been forewarned by the town's nutbar (Walt Gorney) that they are all doomed and he is not wrong as the gory bodycount soon begins. Everything is right on here including the pacing, the tone, the characters, the kills and the funny 80s gore FX to place it into the top echelon of this reviled sub-genre. How frightening is Mrs Voorhees (Betsy Palmer)?


Schizo (1976)
Another fine Pete Walker directed horror movie (House Of Whipcord (1970), Frightmare (1974), House Of Mortal Sin (1978)). Schizo is a proto-slasher-thriller with a score from the fabulous Stanley Myers. This was when horror was more about adults than teens which makes it so refreshing in 2019. Set amongst the mid 70s posh London set where a beautiful young figure skater Samantha (Lynne Frederick) is stalked by a creepy old man (Jack Watson). A body count begins as we wonder if Samantha is being gaslit. Why is Pete Walker not a massive legend amongst exploitation, cult and horror movie fans? He's made at least four classic movies and probably should be as rated as someone like the fabulous Jack Hill.


Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)
Quite possibly more entertaining than the first instalment. Along with Aliens perhaps this is the exception to the sequel rule. Part 2 has a similar premise to the original, a bunch of camp counsellors are setting up a camp next door to the old crystal Lake site where Part 1 took place 5 years earlier. Bloody mayhem ensues and the new camp never really gets off the ground as Mrs Voorhees' son Jason is on the loose with murder on his mind. Look out for the spectacular wheelchair death scene. There are many unanswered questions though. What happened to Ted (Stuart Charno) the nerdy drunk guy who stays at the bar? or Terri (Kirsten Baker) the skinny dipping chick? & most importantly why did Vickie (Lauren-Marie Taylor) choose those gross brown undies as her best sexy time knickers? The soundtrack from Harry Manfredini really adds to the outstanding final battle between Jason and the final girl Ginny (Amy Steele). Is this the second best final girl scene ever after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)?



The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The most notorious film made during my lifetime. Is this the most terrifying movie ever made? I really am starting to think that might be the case even though it's also a little bit funny. Just the sound of this film puts me on an edge that is too much for a human to bare. Strangely enough there is very little gore or violence onscreen, most of it is implied. So it's no mean feat that Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most horrifying movies in the history of film. Brother and sister Sally and Franklin Hardesty set out on a road trip in a Kombi van with their friends Jerry, Kirk and Pam to see if their grandfather's grave has been robbed. They pick up a disturbed hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) then quickly turf him from the van after some abhorrent behaviour. Things start to get more weird  when they turn up at a gas station that has no petrol, then weirder still as they approach the farm house. The slaughter soon begins. Do movie critics ever discuss the cinematography because it's stunning and sometimes quite beautiful. Marilyn Burns should have won the Oscar for her outstanding and gut wrenching performance as Sally the final girl. That final Iconic scene of Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) flailing around maniacally with the chainsaw above his head in the sunset is so memorable, it's embedded into to my brain forever.

*Gunnar Hansen wrote a good book about the making of and continuing legacy of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre called Chain Saw Confidential (2013) which I recommend if you're a fan of the movie.

Silent Rage (1982)
In recent years I may have been converted to diggin me some Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson but fuck me here's is where I draw the line - Chuck Norris. I think I watched over half of this movie and then thought 'Wait a minute, why am I watching this shite. This is the worst.'


Let's Scare Jessica To Death (1971)
I reckon I've watched this around twenty times in the last ten years. It has quite possibly become my favourite film of all time. Jessica has recently been discharged from a mental hospital so her and her husband decide to make a new beginning outside of New York by purchasing an old house in the bucolic countryside of Connecticut. Their new provincial town and back country are full of strange, unkind, creepy and possibly monstrous people. The rural idyll gradually begins to close in on Jessica in a sinister and nightmarish manner. She starts to question her mental stability and becomes unhinged or does she? The ambiguousness of whether or not the the locals are ghosts, demons or vampires or whatever doesn't matter if it's all in Jessica's head does it? This film is so atmospheric, eerie and compelling despite what detractors might say. The acting of Zohra Lampert who plays Jessica is phenomenal. I have very personal reasons for being so touched by this film. Lampert's depiction of someone having been through a breakdown and still experiencing all the alienation, paranoia, phobia, delusions and mania of mental illness is so incredibly nuanced, I cannot believe it's actually acting and not real. Zohrah Lambert's performance has to be one of the greatest performances of mental instability ever captured on celluloid.

Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
...er...I dunno...just don't think I was in the right frame of mind for this or it might just be complete and utter shite. I'll reserve my judgement until I've watched it again, which could be a while...like twenty years maybe.


Repulsion (1965)
More mental illness wonderfully portrayed on film. This time by the fabulous Cathy Deneuve. Carol Ledoux (Deneuve) is a young Belgian woman living in 60s London just before psychedelia happened. Carol is depressed, detached and forlorn. She has trouble dealing with everyday things like work, paying the rent, interest from men etc. She becomes unhinged, agoraphobic, starts hallucinating and it all becomes quite grim. Repulsion is another Roman Polanski gem that gets better each time I watch it.

*I love movies shot in London by foreign directors like Blow Up (1966), Deadly Sweet (1967) Deep End (1970), What Have You Done To Solange? (1972) etc. in the same way I enjoy films shot in Australia by non-Australian directors like They're a Weird Mob (1966), Wake In Fright (1971), Walkabout (1971) et al. You get an outsiders skewed but honest point of view of certain national characteristics that might be too close to the bone for an actual citizen to depict on celluloid.


Hellraiser (1987)
It's been a very long time since my eyeballs have been set on this movie so I was not expecting this to hold up in any way in 2019 but Hellraiser's a really enjoyable and unique movie. A weird sort of modern day gory S&M vampire/monster romance kinda thing (aren't they all?). This quintessential 80s occult classic includes a puzzlebox, hell, creatures called cenobites, a resurrection, a haunted house, different dimensions etc. 'Come To Daddy.'


The Thing (1982)
I've been thinking for a few years now 'Why is everyone so keen on The Thing these days? Wasn't that the world's most boring film?' So I finally braced myself to watch it again after over 25 years but I must have had John Carpenter's 1982 masterpiece confused with 1951's The Thing From Another World or something else entirely. Sci-fi-Action-Psychological-Horror doesn't get much better than The Thing. A bunch of American research scientists in Antarctica have their lives turned upside down when someone from the neighbouring Norwegian research station mysteriously shows up in a helicopter trying to shoot a runaway dog. It turns out an imitative alien virus is lurking in the icy wilderness making everybody in the camp nervous and vulnerable. Conditions then become very unsettling and tense for the rest of the movie. This film has aged like fine wine. I now totally understand why so many film buffs are obsessed with The Thing. The special FX, action, ensemble cast and cinematography are sensational as is the minimal Morricone does Carpenter score. I keep being surprised at how gross and gory 80s movies were. They seem more extreme now than they did back in the day. Were MacReady (Kurt Russell) or Childs (Keith DavidThe Thing and does it even matter?


Friday The 13th Part III (1982)
It's probably not as good as the first two instalments but it's still more fun than a Tarkovsky film innit? The opening tune is Friday The 13th goes electro which is is outfuckingstanding. Starts out very dodgy, quite funny and takes it's time to get to the usual maniacal killing spree from Jason. This time we don't have camp counsellors. Instead we get a motley bunch of friends going to a holiday house for the weekend. Harold (Steve Susskind) from the Crystal Lake store is one of the grossest characters in 80s film. He eats fish food and is later filmed sitting on a toilet drinking while doing number 2s or what can only be described as plops (The Hysteria Continues Podcast attest to this as well). Why this scene is included I dunno. Some highlights include a nasty biker gang wearing crazy 80s fashions, a mental eye-popping kill and a pot smoking hippy couple who seem way to old to be hanging out with these doomed holidaying youngsters. Part III is probably not as gory as the previous two entries and it was made for 3D, making many of the scenes redundant for my normal telly. Still if you like the first two you'll probably enjoy this.


The Perfection (2019)
A very entertaining and inventive modern 'Horror Movie right there on my TV.' The Mrs thought it was gonna be a bit like The Black Swan (2010). I thought it was going to be a virus outbreak movie. It turned out to be much much more. The Perfection was unpredictable, didn't miss a beat and ended in a place I was totally not expecting. If only directors and producers would take note that 90 minutes is the perfect movie length. Best thriller/horror of 2019?


Saturday, 8 June 2019

Too Low For .215061






Listening to AFX's Analogue Bubblebath Volume 3 the other day and the first track .215061 had me thinking: 'What does this remind me of ?' I was thinking it actually could have been some kind of disguised tribute to Elton John's classic 80s tune Too Low For Zero. Am I right? Or just wrong in the head? Now I'm actually convinced he's sampled it.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Holly Herndon - Proto


Holly Herndon creator of possibly the best record of the 10s Platform (2015) is back with a new LP. How excitement. Only one listen in...more thoughts about Proto later.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Mordant Music - Mark Of The Mould



It says this:
'Baron Mordant bows out with MM’s last full-length emission as eMMplekz meet an EMS Synthi-A 'Out of Town'…IBM' at bandcamp. Does that even make sense? More to the point did you expect that to make sense?

While there may not be a forthcoming eMMplekz LP as far as I know, Mark Of The Mould is close enough. It's Baron doing his thing with words and voice, only this time he's doing the music himself. That's no bad bad thing either as this is the gentleman who brought us one of the few all time classic albums of the 00s in Dead Air (2006). He IS a sonic technician as well a man crazy with his use of language. Mordant has a sharp insight into the absurdity of his/our lives. The word onslaught isn't quite as dense as that on those four great eMMplekz LPs as there's breathing space with longer stretches of sonic interludes. Also included in the album release is an entire instrumental version of the LP. Which I must admit I haven't listened to yet so I dunno if he's remixed or dubbed the fuck out the original tunes.

Still Baron Mordant is our modern day melange of Ralph Hutter, John Cooper Clark and Ian Dury except his lyrics have been encrypted into a microchip and then spat out randomly and wrong. We get to picture his/our fragmented decaying minds and attention spans. A bunch of useless/mindless/alienated snippets are heard emanating from Mordant's vocal chords. There are snapshots depicting our ridiculous relationships with the modern urban world and all the weight of technology that goes with it. While Baron remains belligerent, he's slightly more focused, poetic and even melodic compared to eMMplekz like he was on some of the more song oriented tracks from Mordant Music. Musically there's a hundred years of electronic sonic debris spilling out of an infected computerised music machine. However there is no doubt Mark Of The Mould is a 21st Century concoction albeit of the delirious, combustible and noxious kind. Somewhere on the internet they laughably tagged this as dance music, I'd like to see you try.

'There's thousands of LPs like this.' says Ian but there isn't though that's why this is probably THE sonic document of 2019...well It's looking likely.

*I've written about Mordant previously here & there & everywhere & this one.

**Thanks to Simon @Blissblog for alerting me to this in the comments section of that Ekoplekz review.

***I'll probably do a proper review with a deeper dissection of the album at a later date, hey I'm only 10 listens in.


Thank you for the music IBM (Baron Mordant, Mordant Music and eMMplekz)

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Moon Wiring Club - Ghastly Garden Centres

So There's this.



An untimely new Moon Wiring club album which is a cd only release this time, I do believe. The discombobulating thing is that it's not being released at Christmas time. Moon Wiring Club have only done this once before when they issued Somewhere A Fox Is Getting Married in honour of Will & Kate's unveiling of Pippa's arse. Ghastly Garden Centres has just come unexpectedly out of the blue though. Perhaps they're having a release change up at The Blank Workshop. Who knows what's going on. What a delightful mid-year treat. Can't wait for it to arrive.



Sunday, 5 May 2019

Ekoplekz - Kirlian Visionz


The most exciting musical news of the year is this here new cassette from Ekoplekz Kirlian Visionz. Only a handful of listens in but it sounds mighty to these ears. I think this is is the first of three new albums to be released by Ekoplekz in 2019. A new eMMplekz album would be good too but I'm not sure if that collaborative project is still operational. Kirlian Visionz is another archival release of Ekoplekz material. According to the Seagrave label's twitter account this tape was compiled by The Fissure Family (?). Described variously as 'studio fragments' and 'several years of audio Shrapnel'. Don't let that put you off though as it's quite a cohesive (well as cohesive as Ekoplekz can be) little set. Track 2 Junction 18 is outstanding, he could do a whole LP of this kinda exhaust-y sonic bass debris and I'd be very happy. Perhaps Nick would have left off certain tracks from proper releases as he might have thought they sounded too close to his influences like Mouse On Mars (Kirlian Skank) or AFX (Nocturnalis) but these two tunes are just Ekoplekz homages that just end up sounding like Ekoplekz, like Ekoplekz doing a cover of these artists and totally making them his own. In fact what I assume will be side two (track 6-10) of the tape is pure fucking gold. Oh and the rest is good too. 

Friday, 3 May 2019

N Chambers aka Panabrite


I've been wondering what happened to Panabrite. I think I did a search like a year ago and found nothing. It turns out he's now just using his own name instead of the Panabrite moniker. So now he's the artist formally known as Panabrite aka N Chambers. He's choosing to leave out his full first name which is Norm. Norm Chambers used to run the fabulous Lunar Atrium blog back in the day which introduced me to loads of great music. Panabrite released a spate of terrific albums from 2010 to 2016 including Nordsee, Contemplating The Observatory, Soft Terminal, The Baroque Atrium, Blue Grotto, Cortex Meridian Pavilion. I've only just realised he's released 5 albums under his own name since 2014, so that's rather exciting news. Air Example, from initial listens, sounds like Norm at the top of his game, giving any of those aforementioned Panabrite albums a run for their money. This is really cool meticulous electronic stuff and yes there are aquatic moments for your atmospheric listening pleasure. It even gets a bit dubwise in places. The best thing these ears have come across in 2019.


This glorious tune is taken from the N Chambers cassette Idea Region released in 2018 via Muzan Editions. I've just managed to track down a digital version of Idea Region at bandcamp, the tape is now sold out. Idea Region is just one of three albums he released last year. It might even be better than the new record. This aural splendour features bliss-scapes that turn sinister, underwater metagalactic drones, celestial oceans dripping with empty space, 5th world miniature toy gamelan orchestras and even something that sounds like Genesis P-Orridge leaving a static-y cosmogonic phone message.



Just discovered this recent marvellous dj mix from Mr Chambers too. Synth & Percussion Zones Vol. 1 was uploaded a month ago and it's an all vinyl set featuring avant-garde, electronic and experimental fringe dwellers such as Cleve Pozar, Daniel Palkowski, Giusto Pio & Mike Vickers. This made my day. Hopefully he will continue going down this musical path with more crate diggin deep cut goodness.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

More On Movies - May

But British Telly Though...


Over the last month movies old and new have really been put on the back burner as I've re-watched Line Of Duty again from season one through to the new season which is its fifth. That's a hell of a lot of telly. I could go on and on about the actoring, the amazing nefarious and clandestine storylines, the incredible tension created on screen and the masterful production but you probably already know all about that otherwise you're missing out, get on board! I've said this before and I'll say it again Line Of Duty is quite possibly the best cop show ever.


Oh and then there was Bodyguard (2018) which is another Jed Mercurio creation (He being the creator of Bodies & Line Of Duty). I missed it last year so I watched this six part series too. That was some spectacular telly right there. No wonder it was the highest rated drama in recent British TV history. Keely Hawes, who plays Julia Montague, has got to be the greatest living actress right now.


Also binged the first season of Derry Girls from 2018 which is fantastic unlike the embarrassingly unconvincing teen comedy-drama of 2019 Sex Education. Derry Girls is set in Northern Ireland in the 90s. It's about a bunch of catholic teenagers, their families and the troubles. Very bloody funny, great acting, terrific little plots and convincing characters. Sister Michael the unpredictable, negative and sardonic nun is without doubt my favourite character. It's great to see some Irish telly (yeah I know Northern Ireland is technically the UK but you know what I mean) which is rare for me. The only other good Irish TV shows I can actually think of from recent memory are The Fall and Father Ted. I'm sure there must be other good stuff but it just doesn't reach me. Bring on season two.  


Terror (1978)
I thought I'd never seen this before but it turns out I had. A sleazy good fun 70s British horror film with red herrings galore, family curses and bloody murder. The sound design is vey Suspiria-esque with its stormy weather, loud electronic score and noise. A giallo/slasher/supernatural/haunted kinda thing. Well worth checking out.


The Making Of Halloween (2010)
I found this on an old hard-drive so I have no idea if it's some kind of Blu-ray extra or a stand alone doc. The production quality is high though. This is a pretty good look at the the paradigm shifting 1978 horror classic Halloween directed by John Carpenter. We've got all the right talking heads including Jamie Lee Curtis, PJ Soles, John Carpenter, Debra Hill etc. Documentaries like this either interest you or take the magic out of film making for you. If you're in the former camp you'll probably enjoy it although you might already know much of what is being regurgitated here and if you're in the latter camp it might just be a little bit too boring, demystifying and/or annoying.


Bay Of Blood aka Twitch Of The Death Nerve aka Carnage aka Blood Bath (1970)
Mario Bava's proto-slasher giallo that comes unencumbered with the usual police procedural plot device. It's been documented before that Friday The 13th movies must have definitely ripped off some of these kill scenes. The phones, the fashion, the cars, the interior design and the bucolic setting all add to the incredible aesthetic of this stylishly put together movie. Bay Of Blood is a cohesive giallo plus it has a great ending. You don't need me to tell you this is a classic.


House Of Mortal Sin aka The Confessional (1976)
Wow I've never seen this before and what a little beauty it is. Where do I start? A Catholic priest (Anthony Sharp) gaslights a beautiful woman (Susan Penhaligon) who accidentally becomes an obsession of his. A brutal bloodbath ensues but you never quite know where the plot is going. House Of Mortal Sin is a total revelation for me. English horror from the 70s just keeps surprising me. We've got some very groovy 70s interior design, cars and fashion just before punk happened. Interesting take on Catholicism, that is now just as relevant if not more so than ever. I was brought up a catholic (now lapsed) and I never understood why priests couldn't get married. They should have women priests and married male priests and gay priests and whatever Jesus would want...er ok that's my rant. Watch out for the sensational uniquely Catholic death scene, all I can say is incense is involved. Highly recommended.

The Swimmer (1968)
Pretentious, corny American shit that reminds me of all the awful American literature we had to put up with in school (That shit was not a patch on Russian, English & French literature was it?) This film looks and feels more like the early to mid 60s than the late 60s. I'm going to use a phrase previously used in another Frank Perry directed film review: This is arty-farty navel gazing horse shit of the worst kind. Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) has the lame idea of swimming a lap of everyones pool in his neighbourhood on his way to eventually reaching his home on top of the hill. It's telegraphed early on that perhaps Ned's home and life mentioned may not be waiting for him when his stupid backyard jumping adventure is complete. Or that maybe this whole film is all in Ned's head. The film hits rock bottom with possibly the corniest scene in the history of film where Ned and some kid pretend to swim a lap of an empty pool. This made me want to poke my eyes out, chop off my ears and sever my head. Am I supposed to get emotional about these smug shallow upper middle class wankers? Why I watched the whole thing is a mystery to me. It gets even more awful as the soundtrack is incongruous and just plain bad music. The Swimmer's definitely strange but not in a good way, more of a naff way. If you wanna spend an hour and a half watching a fit 50-something year old Burt Lancaster in just his swimming trunks (he gets nude too) then this film is for you. Not for me.


Don't Go In The House (1979)
I needed a fire cleansing after the bourgeois travesty of the previous film. An old favourite like this was never going to disappoint. It starts out with a man catching fire in the first minute and it doesn't let up as it zips along at great pace. Much pyromania throughout as the disturbed Donny (Dan Grimaldi), who is hearing voices, goes mental with his flame thrower. Not forgetting the classic disco scene where Donny, in his brand new disco threads, sets his date's hairdo on fire. The soundtrack is excellent with mucho disco, some rock and the legendary Richard Einhorn supplying the score of delirious electronic interludes. Now this is what I call a movie worth watching!

God Told Me To (1976)
I started reading Men, Women & Chainsaws: Gender In The Modern Horror Film (1992) by Carol J Clover the other day and one of the first movies mentioned was this Larry Cohen directed effort. If I'd seen this film when I was a teenager I would have loved it but I first saw it only 15 years ago by which time my love for sci-fi had pretty much ended (and don't get me started on message films). Not that God Told Me To is straight sci-fi. In fact I don't know what the fuck it is. It's horror, drama, police procedural, upside-down biblical epic, message movie etc. All I know is: it's weird for weird's sake but not in a good way, for me anyway. This film has many admirers and a cult following. The self importance of the film just rubs me the wrong way. Even the Bernard Hermann music makes this film just much more dated than it is. A bunch of spree killings across New York are investigated by Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) who finds out all the killers are saying God told them to do it. This is just the beginning of the strangeness. This film could be read in a number of ways and perhaps you should watch it at least once to see what all the fuss is about and for Andy Kaufman's first appearance on celluloid but don't blame me if you hate it. You might also want to see where Panos Cosmatos got his inspiration for Mandy (2018) from.
 


Sleepaway Camp (1983)
This was another movie mentioned in the first few pages of Men, Women & Chainsaws. It had been a while since I'd last watched it so I thought why not? Sleepaway Camp is an endlessly enjoyable and re-watchable flick with that memorable ending. Anything set in modern times that includes a death by bow and arrow is well worth watching I reckon. This is a teen angst slasher film of the highest order. We've got accidental death by boat, Paedophiles, nerds, crazy Aunties, bullies, realistic nasty dialogue, dads having sex with other men, men beating children, actual young actors playing young teens, death by a swarm of bees, mental 80s fashion, brutal curling tong violence... I mean it's got the lot! Many slashers don't stand the test of time but Sleepaway Camp seems to have gained in reputation over the last 35 years to become one of the all time classics of the genre that it is today. Who am I to disagree? This movie would be in my top ten best slashers of all time. Get out your quarter length t-shirt and let the good times & body count roll. One of the most unforgettable films in history.


Madman (1981)
From the golden year of the slasher comes this below average generic flick. They forgot to add in suspense or were just so incompetent they couldn't figure out how to. The legend of Madman Marz (similar to that of Cropsey) is told around a campfire at a summer camp which summons Marz back into crazed action. Marz goes on a slightly gory rampage and most of the camp's adults are killed. There are some odd moments like the lady playing a recorder on her own in a boat in the dark, the long hot tub love scene while a cheesy slow jam plays as Marz pervs through the window etc. One of the movie's saving graces is the very cool minimal electronic score. The best thing though is the excellent dark electro folk tune Madman Marz that plays over the closing credits, which is like Human League collaborating with Comus. Madman is for slasher completists only.


Blood Rage aka Nightmare At Shadow Woods aka Slasher (1983/87)
Now this is an entertaining slasher depending on what you consider entertainment that is. If you are mature and middlebrow forget it. This not necessarily a good film, it's the sort of silly movie you should watch off your head with your mates or when it's 1.00AM and you can't sleep or when you're 15 or perhaps never. Tonally Blood Rage is all over the place. Some actors are fully camping up the melodrama while others are severely underplaying their roles. Sometimes it's a little bit funny and other times it's a bit grim. There are exciting passages then really fucking boring ones. The gore and Richard Einhorn's soundtrack however are quite spectacular. A couple of identical twin children are involved in a murder at a drive in. The wrong twin Todd (Mark Soper) is sent to a mental institution. Ten years later Todd escapes causing his twin brother Terry (also Mark Soper) to go into a murderous frenzy. Special mention must go to Louise Lasser who puts in a splendid nutsoid performance as Maddy, the mother of the twins. I can't beleive David Lynch has never cast her in one of his films. All I've got to say is 'That is not Cranberry sauce'.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

More On Movies - April


A New Leaf (1971)
Elaine May's directorial debut starring Walter Matthau and Elaine herself is a charming little film despite the huge production dramas behind the scenes. A spoilt trust fund adult Henry (Matthau) runs out of money. He decides the answer to his problems is to find a rich heiress to marry while keeping up appearances as still being wealthy himself. He finds Henrietta (May), a nerdy klutz, who fits the bill perfectly and the hi-jinx roll on from there. A silly black comedy that's worth watching at least once.


Play It As It Lays (1972)
This is based on the Joan Didion book from 1970 so while it was released in 1972, it's definitely a late 60s film in vibe man. Arty-farty navel gazing existential horse shit of the worst kind or kinda groovy nonsensical, but with its own internal logic, meditation on the meaninglessness of life and how life affirming nihilism can be. I'm going for the latter this time but when I first saw this movie a couple of years ago I was absolutely in the first camp. Pretentious Moi? Frank Perry, I think that's Katy's late uncle, directed this time capsule of California and the emptiness of the film industry, fame and life itself. If you like the sound of all that then no worries, but otherwise steer clear. Another one I discovered on my Anthony Perkins investigation and he stars here once again with Tuesday Weld.

Romeo Is Bleeding (1994)
Noticed this was streaming on Stan (an Australian streaming service similar to Netflix), got five and a half minutes in and that was it. Oh My God what pretentious, generic and embarrassing crap those minutes were. Did I need to give it more time? It felt like I gave it a lifetime!


Dressed To Kill (1980)
After the surprise beginning of Angie Dickinson flicking the bean in the shower there's an absurdly lengthy museum scene which really seems to serve no purpose (except to to drive me & Emma crazy) as it could have been condensed into less than a minute. Once you get past the gallery scene, the film really begins and the suspense builds like only a Hitchcock rip off can. Academy award winning hair goes to Nancy Allen. Good funny twisted movie. Look out for false endings.

Arthur (1981)
It's funny, it's sad...I can't really think of anything to say about this film as I've seen it so many times. I don't even know if it's good or bad.


The Hot Rock (1972)
I gotta say I wasn't expecting much from this crime-heist movie as I'd never even heard of it until a couple of years ago. It's a Twilight Time release though so I thought I'd roll the dice. The Hot Rock starts off unassuming but unrolls quite nicely with unexpected twists and turns and never misses a beat. Robert Redford is peak handsome Redford but he's not just that, his actoring is good, along with the ever reliable George Segal. An enjoyable lil crime film.


The Honeymoon Killers (1969)
This was a first time watch for me and woah! it's the best discovery I've made in ages. This film has been on my radar for something like 30 years and it didn't disappoint. The filmmakers get you in, in the opening seconds of this movie and it just doesn't ever lull. Amazing story, perfect pacing, wonderful characters, strangely erotic, viscerally violent and it's based on a true story apparently. Raymond Femandez (Tony Lo Bianca) and Martha Beck (Shirley Stoler) develop a criminal scheme of ripping off lonely spinsters via a lonely hearts correspondence club with diabolical consequences. You think 'I wish there were a hundred films like this' but then you realise the uniqueness of The Honeymoon Killers is part of what makes this so great. A quintessential cult movie.

Cruising (1980)
Steve Burns (Al Pacino) is a heterosexual cop who goes undercover into the underground gay leather bar/S&M scene to investigate a series of murders that have occurred. An absurd little film set in the NYC cesspool era that's rather enjoyable although it does become quite strange towards the end. The ambiguous ending is not going to be for everyone so I'm not sure if I can actually recommend it but it is a fascinating curio from the end of the new Hollywood era so... I mean if you're into film history, Friedken, Pacino, Spinell or gay history you've probably already watched it anyway....

The Fly (1986)
Is this David Cronenberg's last great film? I Loved it when I was a teen and I was kinda shocked by it now as a somewhat older human. Quite sexual and erotic to begin with and then it turns into an absolutely grim monster movie. Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis are terrific as The Fly's main stars. Much more gory and sad than I remember though.

CAM (2018)
Gimme a fuckin break here Netflix. What a load of cods wallop! I thought this was going to be somewhere along the lines of the cyber-thriller Nerve (2016) or at least just as exciting after hearing many recommendations but that was not to be. A good premise executed poorly. A cam girl somehow gets her identity stolen then things go out of control from there but the suspense just doesn't build to high levels like it should, it gets pretty stupidly annoying and I just got fed up. Netflix original movies are losing their allure and I just can't imagine pressing play on one in the near future to be quite honest. They do some good series telly like Glow, Dirty John, The Sinner, Ozark, Mindhunter etc. but fuck I dunno what the hell is going on in their movie department.


Nail Gun Massacre (1985)
This was mentioned just too many times on The Hysteria Continues podcast for me to ignore. I had to finally seek it out. Confusing, low budget trash of the highest order. This movie could have almost been good. There's a killer on the loose, who is driving a hearse, wearing a motorbike helmet with a nail gun as their weapon of choice. Plenty of boobs and blood on the dusty backroads of Nowhere-ville Texas. For cult film enthusiasts, slasher completists and fans of bad acting. Nail Gun Massacre has some of the strangest dialogue ever caught on film. This is definitely not very good but it's often entertaining.

Monday, 25 March 2019

RIP SCOTT WALKER

THE SUN AIN'T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE
My favourite singer of all time is dead.



As stated by me on twitter:
This is my favourite pop culture photograph of the last 20 years. This was the pure essence of SCOTT WALKER captured in one brilliant photo.

*Some bits I wrote about my musical hero Scott Walker here & here & here. Oh and a bit here in my best of 2012 list.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

That Month In Movies

  

Abducted In Plain Sight (2017)
Well I'll be. This is next level true crime. Abducted In Plain Sight is the most bizarre, fucked up and fascinating story I've ever heard. There's not even a murder. This documentary was so compelling even the phoney 70s film filters in the flashbacks didn't distract me. Right from the very beginning I was perplexed. This story just kept getting more and more mental as it continued. Even the most batshit crazy film maker could not have come up with a story half as outlandish as this, it's so wrong. This film has left a lingering disturbia in my brain that I can't shake.

A Star Is Born (2018)
Bradley Cooper's vanity project isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I imagine wankers are writing think-pieces on the problematic nature of this movie but whatever. It's about a shit-cunt alcoholic musician (Cooper) who gets an up & coming musician (GaGa) to fall in love with him. Lady GaGa is pretty good but the rest of the movie is mostly crap. Awards must go to the dog though, he/she was brilliant and broke my heart.

*I Also thought Bradley Cooper could play Gary Ablett Senior if they were ever to do a bio-pic on Ablett's life. That wouldn't be uninteresting you know.

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Here's the catch one of the worst films in history contains some of the most astounding filmmaking ever. If you hate Queen you are almost certainly not going to enjoy this movie. I have a thing though for rock bands going disco (Rolling Stones, Kiss) and a thing for proggy 70s bands going 80s pop (Yes, Rush etc.) but most of Queen's other music I still find fucking tedious though. The tone of this film is all over the place. It's a bio-pic, drama, faux concert, parody of a bio-pic and a lookalikey contest all in one mess. However the centrepiece of the film is Queen's appearance at Live Aid, which is a miraculous film sequence. It's like no other and worth watching just for that alone. It had me saying 'How is this not actually Live Aid?' I don't get how they did it but it's very impressive.

*Also impressive is how bad the lookalikey for Bob Geldof is. They got all the other lookalikeys correct but Bob...no, good laugh though.

Elysium (2013)
Dystopian future films have become less enticing as the world gets closer each day to a fascist police state. It's more like watching the news now rather than enjoying a dark sci-fi fantasy. So Matt Damon & Jodie Foster do their stuff but who cares right? Not me. Elysium had a total 70s/80s sci-fi vibe. Halfway through Emma asked me 'Are you enjoying this?' I had to say 'Er...not really it feels a bit like a computer game'


Death Wish V: The Face Of Death (1994)
OTT vigilante revenge violence doesn't get much crazier than the Death Wish Movies. Good old Paul Kersey (Charlie Bronson) doesn't have much luck in his private life does he? His new Mrs, Olivia (Lesley-Ann Down), gets her face disfigured by violent gangsters and then the revenge begins. Some of these scenes of vengeance are very inventive. This is filmed in Canada so New York just doesn't look like New York. Michael Parks is brilliant as Tommy the gangster who is Olivia's ex-husband. By this stage you are either in or you're out when it it comes to Death Wish films.


Pretty Poison (1968)
I knew next to nothing about Anthony Perkins except for Psycho and the following couple of crappy sequels until I saw this blu-ray two or three years back. I pulled it out the other day after hearing it mentioned on a podcast. Pretty Poison is a tight little movie that I can't believe isn't more well known, maybe it is (?). An ex-con (Perkins) becomes entangled in a relationship with high school girl Sue Ann (Tuesday Weld) after seeing her during marching practice in a park. Their relationship starts off intriguing and ends up diabolical. This is one of the most perfectly realised films I've ever seen. Why isn't this on the (stupid) canonical lists?


Five Miles To Midnight (1962)
Anthony Perkins stars with Sophie Loren and Gig Young in this stylish and suspenseful thriller set in Paris which is a French/Italian co-production. The tension and claustrophobia created here is palpable. A dysfunctional married couple get an out when Robert's (Perkins) plane crashes and he is assumed dead. He secretly reappears to claim his life insurance policy then the film intensifies even more. I can't believe the cult-builders haven't managed to make it a cult movie yet. I recommend.


Wait Until Dark (1967)
Intense & disturbing thriller starring Audrey Hepburn, Richard Crenna, Alan Arkin, Efram Zimbalist, Jack Weston and Julie Herrod. Wait Until Dark is an incredibly clever story that will have you gripped from the get go. Susy (Hepburn) is a recently blinded lady who inadvertently becomes entrenched in a heroin smuggling plot. This story feels like something that could have been made today which you could probably slot quite easily into the home invasion sub-genre. I assume this was originally a play as it all takes place pretty much inside one apartment. Well worth a look.


Ghostbusters (1984)
I haven't seen this since it was first in cinemas. I didn't think much of it then and I don't think much of it now. A great theme tune and logo doth not maketh a great film. The tone here is all over the place and it's just not that funny. The only saving grace for me is the hilarious Rick Moranis character. One for pre-teens or nostalgists but beware, Emma used to love this film as a child and could pretty much recite it, now she cannot believe how daft it is. Some things are best left in the past.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Pontone Is Back


I was listening to Pontone's Bleep Mix from like 10 years ago so I decided to have a look at their inactive but legendary website to see if there were some good mixes I may have missed. The old site is gone but they have made a return in 2019 with 3 new Pontone mixes already. There is only a handful of their archival mixes on the new look site. I assume they will be adding more new and archival stuff soon. Check it out.


Friday, 15 February 2019

So There's These Records - Summer Edition


On Twitter I often mention records I'm currently listening to and enjoying but I almost never follow that up on my blog. So here's some LPs I've been digging in 2019. This first one is a compilation released on the fabulous Strut Records which I totally missed last year. I discovered it on bandcamp a week ago and tweeted about it that day. The grooves on Disque Debs International Volume 1. An Island Story: Biguine, Afro Latin & Musique Antillaise 1960-1972 are soo infectious. These tunes are very well suited to the absurd heatwave we've been having here in the Antipodes. If you liked that Soundway Records compilation from a few years back,...er...that's 10 years, Tumbélé: Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds Of The French Caribbean 1963-74 you are gonna dig these sweet tropical vibes.


The fantastic record label Awesome Tapes From Africa reissued this in 2016. In need of some healing loose soulful grooves the other day in the immense Australian summer heat I pulled out Wede Harer Gazo and claimed it to be just about the best album ever recorded. I stand by that statement. Wede Harer Gazo is a 1978 recording from Hailu Mergia & The Dahlak Band. This is hypnotic jazz funk in a state of delirious torpor with a blurry organ giving it a frayed psych vibe. The LP comes from the golden age era of Ethiopian music so if you like your Mulatu Astatke or Éthiopiques compilations you are bound to appreciate this beautiful laconic music.


Hailu Mergia also played on this brilliant obscure tape from 1975 Asnakech by Asnakech Worku also featuring Temare Haregu, which was reissued last year by Awesome Tapes From Africa. I think it's a bit odd to give something that was originally a hissy 70s tape the deluxe vinyl treatment. Suffice to say I only bought the digital version but they did reissue it on tape as well. This album was included in my best reissues of 2018 list but Asnakech is still in high rotation around these parts. Like the aforementioned French Caribbean music, golden age Ethiopian music suits summer perfectly. Worku, a 20th century icon, was a famous actor, dancer, singer and master of the krar. The krar is an ancient Ethiopian harp that has 6 strings and sounds a bit like a brittle rusty banjo. Asnakech Worku will have you mesmerised with her off kilter free krar playing intermingled with Mergia's blurry organ swirls. Strange and enchanting. Also check out Éthiopiques 16 (2003).


I know I'd heard Juana Molina on the radio before but I just filed her away in the back of my mind as someone to investigate one day. Something on youtube prompted me to finally check her out properly and what a fool I've been for the last 15 years. Son from 2008 is a modern experimental psych folk masterpiece. Musically it's somewhere between Linda Perhacs, the Canterbury Scene, miscellaneous experimental vocal scientists and a whole lot of Molina's idiosyncratic vision. There are a handful of other Juana Molina LPs either side of this one that are highly rated so I can't wait to track those down.


Kamikaze 1989 is the soundtrack to Fassbinder's 1982 film. How the hell did this even pass me by? Anyway I've found it now and it's a bewdy. I rate Edgar Froese's other six LPs recorded between 1974 and 1983. Froese's last classic solo LP Pinnacles was released in 1983 so I am absolutely flummoxed as to how I didn't know this existed until the other day. Kamikaze 1989 is classic early 80s synth soundtrack action from the Kosmiche maestro of Tangerine Dream fame. This puts to shame all of the 2010's synth-wave pretenders. Splendid stuff.


Moon Wiring Club's 2016 LP Exit Pantomime Control is one of their best. I guess it got a little overlooked*, by me at least, as it was released at the same time as their massive triple cd of archival material When A New Trick Comes Along I Do An Old One. Anyway I've been listening to this constantly for the past three months and it just doesn't get old. Their catalogue is full of treasure and I would place Exit Pantomime Control somewhere in the top 5 of all time Moon Wiring Club releases which is high praise indeed.

*Surely they, well Moon Wiring Club are a one man band that is Ian Hodgson, are one of the most overlooked musical entities of the past 12 years. Due to Mr Hodgson's release schedule of always issuing his new product in early December, as a Yuletide treat, has put him in a peculiar critical position. By the beginning of December most music websites and magazines have usually compiled their albums of the year lists. He really is on the outside of things. I'm not fully aware of how often he is reviewed. I've occasionally seen him reviewed in The Wire and @FACT but a quick search @Pitchfork reveals "No Results'. So I'm guessing he doesn't get a hell of a lot of media attention outside of the dwindling music blogosphere (paid music writers, eh?).

Friday, 8 February 2019

We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves - John Maus


This LP was the first to get dissed on my blog, I think on the second post ever. Here's what I said:
Who cares?
John Maus (he is Chapterhouse to Ariel Pink’s MBV)

Anyway since deciding to listen to Screen Memories by John Maus out of the blue last year I've had a change of heart. Dismissing him as a z-grade Ariel Pink back in 2011 wasn't really fair was it? I mean he was Pink's band mate, collaborator and friend. It was a bit like saying Hugo Race was a bit Bad Seeds-y, hell yeah he was because he was part of the fucking original band. So I had to buy We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves again this year and well I love it. It's now giving Rustie and Adele a run for their money as quite possibly my favourite record of 2011. Been diggin last year's Addendum and 2017's Screen Memories too. Now there's some more catching up to do.

Does this also mean a reappraisal of Chapterhouse is in order?

How about this below anthem? Believer gives me the pure pop goose bumps. It's amazing that I could disregard an LP that has now had such an emotional impact on me.



Friday, 1 February 2019

UKG VI



Darqwan - Said The Spider
What is this? Apart from being a wobbly racket, I guess it's proto-dubstep. Is it even garage anymore? More like a drum n bass//bleep/hardcore hybrid. In 2002 this sounded pretty unhinged. Now that the bro-step era has gone by perhaps a tune like this might get a reappraisal or maybe not quite yet. I couldn't find Darqwan's more garage-y tune Pipe Dreams anywhere.



Active Minds - Hobsons Choice
Another terrible project name. Maybe that's why some white labels just say Hobsons Choice. We're back to pure speed garage gold here.



The Dub Monsters - Waiting
Waiting is the flip of Scott Garcia's bona fide speed garage classic A London ThingDub Monsters were a project for Garcia and another bloke. Waiting's all about the sugar rush of the vocal science. This was an odd little double A 12" of the best variety! 

That Month in Movies


I've been a bit off films in January. Maybe watching too many shit ones has made me reluctant to invest my time. It has also been way too fucking hot to enjoy or concentrate on anything. Thirteen days of January were over 40 degrees Celsius, that's 104 Fahrenheit. Or to put it another way for Americans and other Fahrenheit people 18 days this month have been over 100 degrees. Then there's also been way too many migraines in my head. Recent great, and I mean great, British telly ie. Detectorists and Inside No 9 has had my eyeball's attention...oh and not forgetting watching a lot of Muppet Babies with my niece during the school holidays. Perhaps I'll get back into the swing of all things movies next month.


Single White Female (1992)
Alright 90s thriller directed by Barbet Shroeder. Is it a slasher in disguise though? Very stylishly crafted with good performances from Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Stephen Tobolowsky. Allie (Fonda) gets a new flatmate (Leigh) who gradually becomes obsessed with her. 'What ever happened to the very likeable Bridget Fonda?' You ask. She quit the acting game in 2002 apparently.

Game Night (2018)
Fucking stupid crime comedy. It's kinda like a comic version of David Fincher's The Game (1997). You would think these actors have never been in a comedy before as they just keep missing the beats. About five of the jokes in the entire film work. Don't waste your time on this bollocks. Game Night has totally put me off so called comedy movies for the next couple of years at least. Let's face it comedy is better suited to TV anyway.


The Orchard End Murder (1981)
This is a real curio from 80s Britain. The Orchard End Murder was made as part of a double bill to be screened with the much more well known and admired Dead & Buried (1981). It's a mini feature (50 minutes) of unsettling rural horror. In 1966 a young lady goes missing after attending a game of cricket in the countryside with a male acquaintance. Sure it's not a masterpiece but it's strange, intriguing and well worth a look.


Notorious (1946)
Hitchcock noir classic starring Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant and Claude Raines. Alicia (Bergman) becomes entangled with espionage and romance in post WWII Rio De Janeiro where Nazis in need of spying on have settled.

The Haunting (1963)
Highly rated Robert Wise haunted house flick that was totally disappointing. The Haunting had some really cool camera angles, direction and a stunning set. Even a young Russ Tamblyn (That's Doctor Jacoby from Twin Peaks) couldn't save this movie for me. Perhaps I was expecting too much from this non-haunting film.


Ghost Stories (2017)
I was very excited at the prospect of finally getting to watch this film as it had been rated by some people I respect. It starts out very gripping but turns out a bit disappointing. Is Ghost Stories a depiction of a crazy nightmare or is it supposed to make some sort of actual sense? Film makers trying to blow my mind with convoluted twists or being 'oh so meta' is fucking tedious, just make a good movie. Great performances from Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse however. Maybe a second look is in order.