Tuesday, 21 August 2018

More On Movies V


The Hitcher (1986)
Rutger Hauer is John Ryder a Psychopathic hitchhiker on the desert highway who gets picked up by the young Jim Halsey played by C Thomas Howell. The shit then hit the fan for the rest of this horrific thriller. Chuck in guns, knives, blown up gas stations, severed finger fries, a dog eating a dead cop and a bad arse Jennifer Jason Leigh as Nash and 'voila!' you've got yourself an 80s horror road movie classic. All round impeccable performances and film making.

Cockfighter (1974)
I'm looking forward to Kier-La Janisse's monograph on Cockfighter because as many times as I've seen it I'm not sure I fully understand it. On the one hand it's about the brutal bloodsport of cockfighting and on the other it's a love story apparently(?). Of course Monte Hellman directs legends Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Laurie Bird, Patricia Pearcy and Richard B Shull in this strange film. He captures with masterful skill the social intricacies of an underground subculture, where the backwoods hustlers and deadbeats roam in nowheresville USA.

The Conjuring (2013)
Mr Wan has been quite prolific hasn't he? This was the first of the Conjuring/Annabelle franchise and the second time I've watched it. I wish it had more of the Annabelle doll, as the scene with the ghostbuster's little daughter and Annabelle was my favourite bit. It tips its hat to several horror classics like The Exorcist and Amityville Horror. The Mrs loved it saying 'Very scary but the very limits of good scary'.


Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (2012)
Another day another rock doc. You either love Big Star or you've never heard of 'em. So you're either gonna hate these whinny depressives, discover a great new band for yourself or remember why you love Big Star in the first place. Kim Salmon, Rowland S Howard, This Mortal Coil and The Replacements all alerted me to Big Star in the 80s but I guess it was Teenage Fanclub's fans who were djs on Melbourne's 3PBS and 3RRR who eventually made me buy their albums in the early 90s. Rock docs have a habit of ruining your mythological imaginings of your favourite stars. Chris Bell remains enigmatic.

Annabelle (2014)
I've watched these all out of order but it doesn't really matter I don't think. Scary Annabelle doll causes destruction once again, this time on a young couple and their new baby plus their priest and a friendly neighbour. Throw in some maniacal satanic cult members on a killing spree, paranormal events, demons and you've got yourself an el cheapo horror mega-blockbuster. Don't go looking for impeccable historical detail in the set design, hairdos, speech, timeline etc. but I guess you're not watching this for the period detail are you? It's not exactly The Crown.

The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Fascinating Errol Morris true crime documentary from the 80s. A cop gets shot and drifter Randall Harris is convicted of the crime. I don't know the full history of true crime documentaries, so forgive my ignorance, but is this the first film to help overturn a sentence? If this wasn't real you might think some kooky director has assembled this bizarre cast of characters (detectives, witnesses, lawyers etc.) for a mockumentary. Director Errol Morris was previously a detective and he goes through a bunch of different scenarios of how this crime may have been committed. Interesting fact: Due to use of re-enactments The Thin Blue Line wasn't eligible for Oscar nominations in the best documentary category. 

Calibre (2018)
Gripping rural horror from go to woah. This is set in the highlands of Scotland and it goes from dark to darker to darkest. It's astonishing film-making. The tension created is visceral, I felt the torment of protagonist Vaughn. Suffice to say I had to watch two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm immediately afterward. Best movie of 2018?

Rituals (1977)
Fantastic Canadian rural horror. A bunch of grumpy middle aged Doctors go bush for a bit of boys only camping in the isolated Canadian wilderness. These five doctors are dropped off by plane into an eerie unforgiving terrain. Their boots go missing and the mystery and terror spin out of control from there. Top horrifying story skilfully captured on film with actoring of the high quality.


Skip Tracer (1977)
More gold from Canada in the 70s here. I'm pretty sure this a a masterpiece of filmmaking from the great pacing, the tone, the terrific acting that encapsulates the sociopathic and desperate nature of the characters, the cinematography that captures the gritty urban atmosphere and the soundtrack. A gifted repo man takes on an underachieving newcomer as his helper. Nastiness leads to violence which leads to indignity that leads to remorse...er...it's also kinda funny.

The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Way too long. The Conjuring 2 should have been cut down by at least 40 minutes. Some very cool funny supernatural scares. It's worth a look if you've enjoyed the other movies in The Conjuring/Annabelle series.

Insidious (2010)
More James Wan. The first in The Insidious series of which there are four now. Some prefer this franchise to the The Conjuring/Annabelle/The Nun continuum.  Insidious is a horror movie pastiche mega mix. Too much going on in this one, I reckon. Some excellent jump scares though plus great performances from Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey and particularly Lin Shaye.

Amanda Knox (2016)
Pretty poor documentary on this sensational case. We've been spoilt with great true crime documentaries recently ie. The Staircase, Making A Murderer, Evil Genius etc. but this film doesn't come close to those . Despite having interviews with a lot of the main players in this case they don't go deep into the details of the trials. They hardly examine what they think may have even occurred. Don't bother with this, it's bullshit.

Body Melt (1993)
I thought I'd never seen this but hang on I have. Legendary Australian writer/thinker/artist/musician Philip Brophy directs his one and only feature film. Dare I say early David Cronenberg, Larry Cohen or pre-Hollywood Peter Jackson? Body Melt is a satire that indulges the highbrow with the low. Body Melt's got plenty of gross exploding body parts to make you feel queasy. Hey, it's got Gerard Kennedy, Lisa McCune plus Harold from Neighbours. This one's for the horror fanatics looking for the deep cuts/future cult movies.

Nerve (2016)
Fantastic premise. A teenage girl gets caught up in glitz and glamour of a social media dare game. I was gripped to me seat as Nerve goes along perfectly right up until the end really. This is a story that's new and deserves your attention despite what you may think of the ending.

Ritual (2017)
Four British dudes go hiking in the wilderness of northern Sweden. What could go wrong? Well quite a lot plus monster.

Nighthawks (1981)
Surprisingly Nighthawks is a really enjoyable OTT 80s terrorist thriller starring Sylvester Stallone and Rutger Hauer. NYC captured once again in that great cesspool era. Muggings, disguises, knife wielding hoods, department store bombings, Subway chases, machine guns, ariel tram catastrophes, helicopters, busses driving into rivers all culminate in a movie that scoots along at a frantic pace with no chance of you ever getting bored. Great soundtrack too.

First Blood (1982)
Ted Koetcheff sets an incredible tone right from the start of this film. A mentally fucked up Vietnam veteran loses the plot and wreaks havoc on a small town and it's police force. First Blood is more heavy handed than I remember and just really fucking depressing. You've all seen it, you don't need me to tell you whether it's a masterpiece or not.

Rollercoaster (1977)
Epic opening scene of a fun park that culminates in a spectacular rollercoaster crash. Fabulous performances from George Segal and the incomparable Timothy Bottoms. The brilliant arty glitter rockers Sparks make a live appearance doing Big Boy. Bottoms is a terrorist who is holding a bunch of Theme Parks at ransom. Slow but suspenseful movie that features beautiful cinematography of amusement parks. Perhaps with half an hour of fat removed it may have become a classic instead of a curio.

The Real Manchurian Candidate (????)
For those of you who are obsessed with the girl in the polka dot dress and the RFK assassination this one is for you and you only. If you're into this case you know it's way cooler than his big brother's. There's been a bunch of stuff lately on the RFK conspiracy theory ie. The RFK Tapes podcast, episode 4 of the not so great docuseries Bobby Kennedy For President on Netflix and a couple of months ago film maker/true crime historian Shane O'Sullivan uploaded this jewel of a video to youtube. It's basically Dr. Daniel Brown and Sirhan Sirhan's lawyer Laurie Dusek talking for over an hour on what they have recently gleaned from talking to RFK's convicted killer. Very inter-esting!

Birdemic: Shock And Terror (2010)
This event has been waiting in the wings (sorry actually meant that pun) for years and I finally did it. I sat through the entire Birdemic. My back being out and being off me lil head on painkillers helped. Hey, it was rather entertaining, especially once the Birds arrived. This is a 'WTF? Movie' or a 'Batshit Crazy film' or whatever other term you may use for this type of movie. I guess it's a porno quality disaster/horror movie that was made in earnest but is unintentionally funny, so the theory goes. The only way I'm going to able to portray what this show is all about is to show one of the more exciting scenes from the film.



Saturday, 11 August 2018

Miles



He still Miles ahead. I remember seeing this on the telly 20 years ago. For those who love their Miles Davis from Bitches Brew through to his mid 70s retirement period.



Now I'd never seen until the other night and fuck me it's pure gold. There are some truly off the wall transcendental moments during this concert. He is still the future. I never tire of electronic Miles. If you have those Miles LPs from the 70s Get Up With it, Live/Evil, Big Fun, Agharta, Dark Magus etc. you'll recognise certain passages here. Diggin on those fashions too.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Jungle Mix



Pearsall from sonicrampage never lets you down with his jungle mixes. This one's called Rolled In The Jungle (Summer Ready Jungle Mix) All Killer No Filler. Just in time for a beautiful & unseasonably warm day in the North-West of Victoria down here in the Antipodes. Loving it...ooh that segue from DJ Krust's Poison to Origin Unknown's Mission Control, nice. Many a mid 90s legend here ie. Goldie, Foul Play, Babylon Timewarp, Tom & Jerry, Dillinja, Run Tings, Roni Size etc. Pearsall presents an Amen-free zone full of rugged soul, ambient drum'n'bass and tough breaks. He's mixing it up with some big tunes and a sprinkling of lesser known trax, all choice cuts. As the brief states Rolled In Sunshine is pretty much all rollers in that exquisite transitional zone before jungle splintered and either got too smooth, too harsh or too boring.

Big ups to Pearsall!



A sweet spot for me is when the jungle gets dubby and Poison certainly does that with a choice bit of sampled(?) reggae.  


The unmistakable sounds of Origin Unknown. Mission Control is pretty minimal and dubby too. A sumptuous trip into a long dark tunnel, know what I mean? 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Nice Strong Arm - Reality Bath

BLOG POST REDUX


Now here's a record that is truly lost. Nobody talks about it, it's forgotten. It's in my record collection and I've barely considered it as anything. I was reading a blog (sorry forgotten the name) the other day and there it was with a little spiel and a dead download link from like 7 years ago. In Melbourne in the early 90s I picked up a stack of records on the Homestead label for next to nothing in a bargain bin . Live SkullUT, Great Plains etc. I'd heard or heard of those bands but I'd not heard of these guys, I bought it anyway (probably due to the cover). It sat alongside my Live Skull record as a good noisy LP but it couldn't really compete with you know who, could it? So it rarely got played. Well that's what I thought.


So I pulled out Nice Strong Arm's Reality Bath after over 20 years of ignoring it and guess what? It's a little lost gem from the 80s underground. They obviously loved their Joy Division and MX80 Sound. They didn't sound unlike their peers Flipper, Bailter Space etc. Nice Strong Arm also predate/influenced Pavement, Trumans Water, Unwound and in particular Polvo. Looking through what info I could find on the interweb, one common criticism aimed at the group is that their songs were directionless. They're songs are definitely not directionless. Like Throwing Muses circa mid/late 80s Nice Strong Arm's guitars just took a different route to the rest. The guitars turn down strange paths exploring uncharted nooks and crannies, then new harmolodic vistas open up seemingly out of nowhere. This is the most compelling aspect of the band. You get the feeling the critics and public alike (including myself) missed the point. Sure the name Nice Strong Arm has got to be one of the most pox names ever for a group, so that can't have helped their chances. They moved from Austin to New York after this album and recorded 2 more records before breaking up in 1990 which is all news to me. Reality Bath never got issued on cd and isn't even a cult record as far as I can tell.

*I wrote this piece back in Jan 2014 but only just discovered the full LP on youtube the other day. So this time you can actually have a listen to what I'm talking about. It still hasn't been reissued since the 80s but there are a couple of copies going cheap on discogs. Snap one up before the Reality Bath cult begins.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Giallo & The Movie Posts


Six or seven years ago I explored Giallo movies beyond what I'd discovered in the 90s ie. Dario Argento videos and stuff that would screen on SBS TV. I undertook an intense investigation of the genre and watched like 90 or 95. Giallo films in less than that amount of days. There are still many I have yet to view which excites me a little. I filled a 100 page A4 notebook with all my reviews and thoughts and whatever. It was a private little hobby I had while I was going through a severe depression. My relationship with the genre was a total love/hate thing. I came up with some kind of equation along the lines that somewhere between 31 & 37 percent of these films were worthwhile, actually it may have been less than that. More like 21%. The soundtracks however are usually always fucking fantastic. I ended up overdosing on this whole film style. I went off Argento quite a bit in favour of Umberto Lenzi, Luigi Cozzi, Sergio Martino & Mario Bava and the other dudes that only directed one or two Gialli.


At that time my blog was a purely a music one. I didn't know what I was going to do with my Giallo knowledge and that notebook. I thought about sprucing it all up and perhaps doing something serious with it but it was rather polemical and who wants that? So I forgot about it for a year or two. One day, I then thought, fuck it I'll just put up the writings on a separate blog under a different pseudonym. I did a quick search of the net to find there was already some fabulous material on Giallo films out there. Two outstanding pieces of work in particular. First was Samm Deighan's terrific Giallo Blog Series to be found on her Satanic Pandemonium website. The second was a paper, written by Michael Mackenzie from The University Of Glasgow, titled Gender, Genre & Sociocultural Change In The Giallo: 1970-1975. PHD Thesis. There was other good fun stuff out there too particularly The Giallo FilesSo the whole idea got permanently shelved. I think now I wouldn't be as harsh as I once was on the entire genre but I dunno I'd have to re-watch what I saw as the bottom 60-80% just to make sure. Hey, I really like the much maligned 5 Dolls For An August Moon so I really don't think my negativity on the genre would hold up strongly. I think I've only watched a couple of Giallo films since that initial deep examination but I feel the time has come to track down the bunch I haven't seen. I might do a minimal abridged post on my Giallo favourites as part of the More On Movies series in the future.


Anyway I have started loving movies again and have been posting little reviews of the films I've recently watched or re-watched. I find it a really enjoyable challenge trying to condense the essence of a film into a couple of sentences. You don't need in-depth analysis from me because there's plenty of deep dissections of movies out there particularly in the podcast world ie. The Daughters Of Darkness, The Projection Booth, Pure Cinema, Unspooled, The Cannon, F This Movie, The Hysteria Continues, Wrong Reel et al. So go here where it all started I Love/Hate Movie. Then continued here with More On Movies. Next was Movie Part III. Followed by Movies Again. And More On Movies Part III. Then continued here More On Movies Part IV. Most of these movies are American with a few Australian, Canadian and British films sprinkled throughout. Not one Giallo in sight, I might add. I intend to continue the More On Movies series for now.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Primitive Calculators - On Drugs

The Primitive Calculators have released a new LP. It's the follow up to their stunningly abrasive 2013 comeback long player The World Is Fucked. The new record On Drugs is available here.


I read a while back that this album was going to be like a pop record influenced by The JBs, or did I dream that? There was also talk of a psychedelic space folk album from the Calculators too but did I get that wrong too? I do recall like 17 years ago Stuart saying he loved The Beach Boys and ABBA but this stuff never really seems to seep into their one chord noise boogie sonic assaults. Although maybe it does because to me they've always had pop sensibilities in that snarly neanderthal 60s garage sense albeit speeded up to the max with a fucking relentless futurist drum machine and awash in a brilliant nihilist noise guitar/synth chug. There is a ballad, however, on the new LP but the sentiment is so malicious it could only come from The Primitive Calculators who are self proclaimed outer suburban Melbourne scum. Funny bastards to boot!

*I'll write a proper review later. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Australian Post-Punk Update


I used to write about music quite a lot here on me blog and Australian Post-Punk was a favourite topic of mine. The real stuff, I mean, that happened in the late 70s and early 80s. None of this faux shit from the last 20 years. Anyway there has been some activity over at Jonny Zchivago's legendary Blog Die or DIY? with some posts of stuff that's never been reissued since those olden days ie. Philip Brophy's Tsk Tsk Tsk. I've never been able to find their records in physical form or in a file format. So go here to find the Venitian Rendezvous EP, Nice Noise EP, Caprice EP and Spaces LP.





While you are over at Jonny's site don't forget to check out some other choice Antipodean post-punk. He has posted a bunch of Sydney stuff including a stack of seminal compilations on the Terse Tapes label, a coupla things from the M Squared label, some primo Slugfuckers, a Negative Reaction tape and miscellaneous Systematics releases.

There's also some other seminal Melbourne experimental post-punk but those records have been reissued in the last few years so you've probably got those Essendon Airport, Asphixiation and Primitive Calculators LPs/cds.

Speaking of The Primitive Calculators they have released a new LP On Drugs and it's here.


Friday, 29 June 2018

More On Movies Part IV

RECENTLY RE-WATCHED


White Lightning (1973)
Classic 70s down south crime film. Possibly Burt Reynolds best film, he is unbelievably charismatic here. Running Moonshine, dodgy sheriffs, skinny dipping, the ATF, lunch cutting and car chases. What more do you need? Well how about characters called Gator, Dude, Pa, Skeeter and Big Bear. Cool symphonic country funk soundtrack too.  

Tightrope (1984)
Clint Eastwood as, shock horror, a not one dimensional character. Wes Block is torn between being a good dad/cop and living a life of seedy debauchery. Serial killer thriller set in New Orleans where the hunter becomes the hunted. Really cool decadent vibe. Tightrope's not that highly rated for some reason but it's exceptionally put together. It's actually written and directed by mysterious figure Richard Tuggle who only directed two films. 

Grease 2 (1982) 
This story is actually coherent and pretty good. They flip the dodgy sexual politics of the first film on its head and let's face it the songs are way better in this one. Michelle Pfeiffer becomes an icon for girls all over the planet.  

Grease (1978)
Mainly bad and incoherent movie. Worth watching however for the brilliant hand jive/tv telecast scene. When I was little I always thought "Why is Rizzo still in high school at age 40?" Still do. 

Hustle (1975)
This 70s neo-noir was a hit at the time but seems to be forgotten now. Cathy Deneuve and Burt Reynolds star in this unusual but very 'New Hollywood' flick ie. Euro vibes in an American setting, nihilism and a downbeat ending. Why this isn't a huge cult movie, I don't understand.  

Home For The Holidays (1972)
A made for telly proto-slasher horror. Stars Sally Field, Jessica Walter, Julie Harris, Jill Haworth etc. Stormy weather, spooky mansion, suspected poisoning, bathtub drowning and a killer in a yellow raincoat with a pitchfork. 70s tv movie of the week classic....er if you're into that kind of thing of course. 

Detroit Rock City (1999)
Not a bad little teenage rights of passage movie about four boys going to a Kiss concert in the late 70s. It's for kids.


NEVER SEEN UNTIL 2018

Killing Of America (1981)
Sensational documentary on murder and violence in America beginning with the 1963 assassination of JFK in Texas through to the shooting of John Lennon in New York at the end of 1980. It covers old fashioned regular murder, riots, spree killings, domestic terrorists and serial killers. This doc is not for the faint of heart as it contains explicit real life violence.

Vice Squad (1982)
Quite a brutal sleazy 80s crime thriller. Cops, pimps, hookers & murderers. Shot at night time in LA's seedy streets. Look out for Wings Hauser's OTT performance as Ramrod, a psychotic pimp. Vice Squad could have been great if the direction had been more visceral but there's something staid about the production values. Worth a look though.

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe (2016)
This modern horror started out really original and compelling, then two thirds of the way in it just started to fizzle out which was disappointing.

Death Weekend aka The House By The Lake (1976)
A fucking terrifying Canuxploitation flick. Four mental yobbos ruin an attempted romantic country getaway for Harry. To begin with Harry turns out to be a predatory cunt as he has lured the beautiful Diane out to his country estate under false pretences and all hell breaks loose from there. This home invasion ends up being a female revenge movie of the highest order. Not for snowflakes.

Night Of The Juggler (1980)
This is an intensely chaotic fly by the seat of your pants crime thriller. One man's crusade to reclaim his kidnapped daughter from a maniac in the grim New York cesspool of 1980. This is no easy task as cops, strip club bouncers and crazy NYC gangs hinder his campaign. Night of the Juggler is rough, in your face and gripping filmmaking.

Aileen: Life & Death Of A Serial Killer (2003) 
Fascinating portrait of America's most notorious female serial killer. Monster starring Charlize Theron was based on the life of Aileen Wuornos. I thought I wouldn't be able to sit through this documentary due to the subject matter and the film maker namely the absurd twit Nick Broomfield. However I ended up feeling sorry for Aileen and thought Broomfield approached his subject with unusual sensitivity. Worth watching.

Annabelle Creation (2017)
From the people that brought us Saw and The Conjuring. Good fun scary film with creepy dolls, dead children, haunted houses and shit.

DIDN'T GET THROUGH

The Last Movie (1971)
I love Dennis Hopper directed films like Out Of The Blue, Colors and The Hot Spot. When I came across this on the interweb I was very excited but hey I must have been tired and irritable because I only got five minutes in before wanting to smash the telly screen in. So maybe next time I'll let you know what the next one hour and forty three minutes are like....maybe.

Used Cars (1980)
OMFG why do I listen to the VHS nerds. I watched about fifty minutes of this and then realised 'This is some of the worst shit I've ever seen!' Don't get me wrong I enjoy me some Kurt Russell - Escape From New York, The Thing, Overboard, Death Proof etc. Used Cars however is everything I fucking hate about movies ie. Hollywood, not funny comedy, daft story, cheesy premise etc. Hey it was directed by the dude who did Forrest Gump so what did I expect? Serves me right eh?


Friday, 22 June 2018

On The UK Prog Tip


MIRAGE - CAMEL (1974)
I'm no expert on UK prog, I know more about French, Italian, German, Australian and Swedish progressive rock. I've hardly checked out Pink Floyd post Saucerful Of Secrets since I was a teen. I know me King Crimson Larks' Tongues In Aspic/Red/Starless & Bible Black era due to my brother, some primo Van Der Graf Generator and Gong (I guess they're more like an international prog supergroup) but that's about it. I've been totally diggin' Mirage though, every song's a winner. Some choice keyboard workouts and impressive wayward guitar parts. Very enjoyable.


IN THE LAND OF GREY & PINK - CARAVAN (1971)
I guess this one's still pretty psych in parts but kinda jazzy with a great rhythmic sensibility, fey vocals and hints of pastoral folk. In The Land Of Grey & Pink is particularly delightful in that whimsical British sense. Hatfield & The North and Egg await.


ACQUIRING THE TASTE - GENTLE GIANT (1971)
This is an incredibly inventive album with intriguingly unlikely musical juxtapositions and haunting visions. One of Tony Visconti's finest production achievements. As the title suggests this is an acquired taste you'll either be seduced by this eerie madness or hate it with a passion....er...I'm in the former camp. I can imagine Scandinavian black metal bands diggin' on these ghostly medieval(?) vibes interspersed with heavy psych-prog guitar interludes, outlandish percussion and mysterious ye olde folk with jazzy undercurrents.



FRAGILE - YES (1971)
I can't believe how much I've been enjoying Yes. I was always led to believe that they were naff. I didn't realise how influential they were/are on the likes of Rush, 70s corporate radio rock, prog-metal and maybe even some indie rock. Exceptionally surprising pop hooks amongst the proggy and neo-classical jams. Love the psych-fuzz and Wah-wah on The Fish.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

90s Acardipane Again


Primitive GLOOM/DOOM-CORE at its finest. Gabber stripped down to an elemental level that's almost subtle but it's not though if you you know what I mean. Sometimes I think this is just the best sound ever created, why would you need anything else?



Marc Acardipane is so in the zone here. I reckon he could have stayed there for another half an hour at least. I guess this is like an acid counterpart to the first tune.



Noisy gabber shit. An unhinged trip!


Maximal noise overload. An incredible concussive racket that goes fucking mental but somehow doesn't become a mess. It is a perfect cacophony till the end. How the hell does he do that? Acardipane at the peak of his powers. Surely one of the finest musical (?) moments from the 90s.

These 4 tunes are all by Marc Acardipane and are taken from the compilation PHUTURE released on PCP in 1994. When his day of recognition is coming I don't know but it's absurd that it hasn't. He was one of THE two or three great sonic technicians of the 90s.