Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A name for pissing me off

A Name for Evil (1973)

"You went on and on playing with yourself."
"I did what?"

Dissatisfied architect John Blake (Robert Culp) and his wife Joanna (Samantha Eggar) move to his great-grandfather's old house in the country. Apparently the great-grandfather was a mean bastard. The locals are still fearful of old gramps even though he's dead. And his house seems resistant to Blake's attempts to fix it up. Blake also gets wrapped up in some crazy hippie cult in town and goes to a naked hippie party. Hooking up with one of the hippie girls there. So is he nuts? Possessed? Is the house haunted? Or are they reliving great-gramps life? And what happened at the end of the film? Who the F knows.

This one really knows how to kick a guy when he's down. Just when I was starting to dig on this flicks groovy and weird 70's vibe it heads off to WTFville and throws in some hippie bullshit subplot. Once Culp hooks up with the cult the plot becomes nonexistent. All the evil great-grandfather/haunted house stuff is forgotten. In it's place we get a extended hippie musical segment and Robert Culp's bare ass and shlong! As he frolics with hippie chick. Now I've liked Culp since I saw The Greatest American Hero growing up. But his ass and shlong I did not need to see. No sir. I did not need to see that. Stay far away from this one unless you have a hankering for Robert Culp's bare assets and hippies.

Thrill me

Night of the Creeps is coming to DVD in October! Finally. It seems like it took forever and a day for it to happen.

Go here and scroll down. You can pick your favorite cover. The winning cover becomes the official DVD release's cover.

Pre-order it here. Not bad for $17.99, look at what you get.

•Birth of the Creeps featurette featuring Dekker talking about the origins of the project
•Cast of the Creeps featurette featuring Jason Lively, Tom Atkins, Steve Marshall, and Jill Whitlow
•Creating the Creeps featurette featuring interviews with SFX creators David B. Miller and Robert Kurtzman
•A special Tom Atkins-centric piece called Tom Atkins: Man of Action
•Escape of the Creeps featurette providing a detailed look at the post-production
•Deleted scenes
•Trivia track
•Fred Dekker solo commentary
•Cast commentary featuring Atkins, Whitlow, Marshall, and Lively
•The original theatrical ending
•And footage from the Cast and Crew reunion screening at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

10 Questions: An Interview with 1476

"1476 is a reception and a ritual. It is reflection and progression. It is a murder and a casting out. 1476 is growth and finality. It is passion and burning. It is essence and omnipotence. 1476 is a duality and a trinity. It is extreme and multifaceted. It is rain and introspection. 1476 is a demon with many faces, a Dionysian hunger, and a hanging from the World Tree. We are the doorway."

1. How do you view the current state of horror punk, and do you feel that term has any relevance today?

Robb: I honestly feel like it's a dead genre. Glenn Danzig launched something very special with the Misfits and later on with Samhain. It was so unique, aggressive, and powerful. Everything that followed lacked that conviction. With the exception of a few bands, everything sounds a bit too campy and playful. They lack the fire of the original Misfits...and if you're into that I'm not knocking you, it just holds no appeal for me. I like Blitzkid because I feel they've transcended the genre and brought something very genuine and original to the equation with 5 Cellars Below. The only relevance 1476 has to that genre is that one of our members happens to be in a horror rock band. Aside from that, we have no ties. I think we associate more with the occult/neo-folk crowd: bands like Death In June and Current 93 where it's more about the ideas and mood than the consistency of sound.

2. This project is vastly different than Blitzkid or Gorgeous Frankenstein. It seems influenced by early 80's goth such as Bauhaus or Sisters of Mercy. Why the change?

Robb: Goolsby's on tour right now and couldn't sit in but I asked him this question and this was his reponse:
I've never been attracted to simple figures and forms. im not saying horror rock is not thought provoking. im not going to say anything about what it is because i dont care outside of how it relates to me. it relates to me on an intrinsic level that if i could explain to you then it would not be the muse that it is in my life. if there was no genre for horrorrock then i would still be living with the inspirations for the songs ive written in my thoughts and heart regardless because those songs are just manifestations of how i have seen my world. some see music as a world of straight lines leading to one central destination. one castle of Oz. and thats fine. some people need the continuity and safety that linear perspectives bring. i on the otherhand see music as something more like an Archeimedean truncated octahedron. what the fuck is that? exactly. but one thing is for sure its going to take some delving into to unlock. i grew up on a staple of different musical genres. everything from the Doors, the CCR, to old doo wop, to more random influences like Maurice Ravel (my grandmother was a piano teacher) richard wagner, on into more soundtracked areas of my childhood by vehcile of new wave. i will never limit myself or be pigeonholed as a one trick pony. art is expansion and ive been recognized as a key player in a genre that traditionally lacks acceptence towards expansion. so naturally this band will take many people by suprise. many people will say oh no goolsby has given up on horror rock. no this is not true. i never was horror rock. i never will be. i will be me as i always have been. i will continue to write the best of what horror rock has to offer without ever calling it that. so there never was a change in me. this band just opened a door.

3. What does the numerical value 1476 signify?

Robb: There are people on the internet saying that 1476 is the year that Vlad Dracula died. That is true. As far as I know, he died that year. Anyone can Google that. Anyone who thinks that's where our name derives from is taking us at face value. It has a multi-faceted meaning. It means something different to each of us. Numerology is a key factor. 1476=9. It's an all-encompassing number, a totality, a complete world. A cycle has been set in motion.

4. You mention alot of literary influences on your work. What stories/books hold the greatest influence over your art?

Robb: I like the Old Norse sagas in the Poetic Edda. It holds many strong values, ideas, and proverbs that are timeless and can be translated easily in our modern times. I like books on religious history, classic literature, and occult topics. I like all the typical things one would expect: Milton, Blake, etc. Christian Bok's Eunoia is mindblowing. Oscar Wilde is probably my biggest influence. I love his ideas, wit, pomp, and Dandy aesthetic which I believe Marilyn Manson has spoken of before: a life dedicated entirely to the arts. I guess I'm what you'd call a Luciferian Dandy. Hahaha... Goolsby is a big fan of Antonin Artaud's The Theatre And Its Double. We are all appreciative of the writings of Dr. Haha Lung. Actually, both Neil and Gools have been digging into a book called Vagabonding. I guess it's basically a guide to travelling the world with no direction in mind, how to survive, etc. Neil is actually going to be heading over to Europe very soon to do just that for awhile.

5. You also mention rituals and mysticism as influential factors in your work. Which ideologies are most dominant in influencing your work?

Robb: The ideologies and practices of the Chaos magicians are important. People like Peter Carroll, Phil Hine, and Austin Osman Spare. What's important is that they are progressive, though somewhat reckless, trailblazers. These people don't believe in limitations. They search and use what is most efficient, simple, and powerful. That applies to all aspects life: visualizing your goals/dreams and intuitively finding the best route to arrive at it by. If you want me to get literal, I will say that some of the new material we're working on is based on the nature of elements. As an experiment for the recording process, I'm doing meditations/rituals based around the energy/nature of the specific element referenced in the song before I record the vocals. I want to see how tapping into the nature of the element effects the performance and mood of the song. I must admit, though, this idea was inspired by Coil. Neil and I have also discussed doing a home recording where the entire writing/recording process takes place over the course of a 3-5 day sleep deprivation experiment. Who knows if we ever will though!

6. Given your past body of work, I think it's safe to asume you are fans of horror films. What films would you consider essential viewing that many people may not have seen?

Robb: Biblical/Apocalyptic films are my favourite in the horror genre. I don't know if people would consider these essential viewing but I like the typical stuff: the original Omen films, The Prophecy, The Seventh Sign, The Exorcist films, the original Amityville (even though that's not really biblical). Besides that, I'm generally into artsy films with unique visuals. I love David Lynch. Very typical, I know...but all of his films have some rather startling visuals. Especially his short films The Alphabet, The Grandmother, and his most recent full length Inland Empire. Though it's not horror by any means, I really enjoyed a newer film called Doubt with Meryl Streep. I know Gools is big on the old/silent films. Movies like The Golem and Vampyr. He's a big Lon Chaney fan as far as I can tell. Neil is into English chick flicks hahaha!

7. What was the first album you ever owned and do you think it influences the art you produce today?

Robb: I had a Billy Joel album on a blank cassette that my parents gave me when I was very young. I'm going to guess around the age of 4. It's definitely not an influence but that's not a slight against Mr. Joel. When I write, my influences derive mainly from ideas, experiences, visuals, and moods.

8. How's your album A Wolf's Age coming along? Can you tell us a little about it?

Robb: Our album is complete. We are in the mastering process. There are 14 songs. It should run about an hour in length. Most of the art is complete. It's been almost entirely a self-contained effort. We did all of our own art/photography/production. The only other person involved was our engineer Sean Glonek from SRG studios in New Jersey. I hope for it to be released by the fall. We are working out all of the details for that now. Once again, everything in this band has it's own personal meaning to each member but, for me, A Wolf's Age is about identity. I relate many personal feelings and experiences through the lyrics. I have ideological songs based on comparitive mythology/occult practices, namely the songs Oriens Astrum, The Wanderer, and Dithyramb. These three songs are based around the ideas of Lucifer, Odin, and Dionysos encompassing different aspects of the same energy flow. Their inherent nature is to find death. They find this in their own individual ways. They seek the truth, they seek answers and all-encompassing knowledge. This they share but their individual natures/geological backrounds seperate them. Every song is multi-faceted in depth and meaning. It saddens me that there are people out there doubting our sincerity. We are clearly on different wavelengths and that's okay. To each his own, I suppose.

9. Could you briefly describe your music-making process?

Robb: Organic. Instincual. If I overthink something I'm writing, it gets scrapped 9 out of 10 times.

10. Any last words?

Robb: We have a lot of plans. Never expect the same album twice. Thank you for letting us speak, It's greatly appreciated.

I want to thank Robb,Goolsby, and Neil for taking the time to talk to me.

Check out 1476.

Frankenstein meets Homer's Odyssey

I highly recommend you go and check out Robot 13....read about it here...and here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tomie will not die!

Vist The Japanese Cinema Blogathon 2009 here...


"Here is your dinner."

Tomie is just a head and she's growing. Living in a box in a dingy apartment and fed by a crazed, one-eyed young man. Tomie gradually grows a body. Upstairs, her former classmate and best friend Tsukiko who lost her memory of an incident that led to Tomie's death. Unaware that the immortal Tomie is living downstairs and has plans for her.

First time I saw Tomie I really had no idea what to make of it. A film about an evil head in a bag? Sure. The image of that eye looking thru a hole in a bag was such a strong, bizarre image. There's a strong sense of impending doom. And that score works it's way into your psyche. Actress Miho Kanno, who's face is hidden from the camera for most of the film's running time does a good job as the giggling, fickle Tomie. Tomie never one to get her hands dirty uses madness and her sexuality to make the men around her murder.
What really works is the stuff we don't see. Like Tomie's head in that bag and when she's in the box. Only hints are given. Allowing our mind to to the rest.

Much like Tomie's head this film has grown on me over the years. nothing like all The Ring clones out there. Tomie is her own monster. Not a long haired ghost but a living breathing women who's only love is for herself. Tomie's franchise like her will not die. There seems to be a new one every year or so. And that's fine by me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If you must label me, call me "Zero."

Vist The Japanese Cinema Blogathon 2009 here...

Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs

"Cops can't murder. Have mercy!"

Police women Rei (Miki Sugimoto) kills a sleazy rapist/murder who happens to be a German diplomat. Her superiors are less the pleased and Rei ends up in jail and out of a job. Worse still the other inmates know she's a cop and beat her. Meanwhile, a gang of drug running punks hook up with their boss who's fresh from prison. So as a welcome home present they kidnap and molest a young woman. Afterwards they take her to a whorehouse to sell her. But the Madam recognises her as the daughter of a powerful politician, Nagumo (The great Tetsura Tamba - who played Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice.) so they decide to ransom her. Wanting to avoid a political scandal Nagumo and the police want to keep the kidnapping hush hush. So they offer Rei a second chance, save the girl and kill the gang by any means necessary.

Well this is one funky fuzz guitar fueled brutal movie. Violence, rape and torture fill this movie. Bloody shootings, stabbings and beatings. The torture in this film would make Jack Bauer pee his pants. The scene involving a blowtorch used to get info from a gang member by the cops! Yeah the cops are just as brutal as the gang. In one scene they catch a gang member and as he's being questioned in a field we see two of the cop digging the poor bastard's grave. No Miranda rights here. I wish the cops on Law and Order SVU were like these guys. The misogyny in this film is taxing to say the least. Toei made their Pinky Violence films for a young urban male market in the 70's and it's a bit like eroticised violence. This is a genre you either love or hate.

The film is filled with vibrant colors, stylish camera work and the aforementioned funky music. Rei (Miki Sugimoto)the Zero Woman herself. As far as female badasses go She's no Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood,Female Convict 701: Scorpion.) But she's pretty damed good as the stoic Rei. As part of her initiation into the gang they take turns raping her as she's tied to beam. And none of it seems to faze her. The Red Handcuffs of the title are her favorite weapon. She whips them around with incredible force sending geysers of the red stuff spraying from the bad guys. Nothing sums this film up better then the cover of the dvd. "90 minutes of stylish mayhem and ultra-violence! And damn if that's not just what you get.

A night to remember - until the day you die!

One Dark Night

"I wanna get there before it closes, nerdle brain!"

In a dingy apartment the police find the body of Russian psychic Karl Rhamarevich (AKA "Ramar") as well as the bodies of six young women and objects embedded in the walls. Elsewhere as an initiation into a high school clique called The Sisters, Julie (a young and cute Meg Tilly) must spend the night alone in a mausoleum. The same one were Ramar is being interred. Across town Olivia (Melissa Newman), Ramar's daughter who never really knew her father is having nightmares about him. Her husband Allan (Batman's Adam West, in too brief and restrained role.) doesn't understand the fuss over a father she didn't know that well. An old associate of her father's Samuel Dockstader (Donald Hotton) visits them and clues them in to the fact that Ramar kept his distance from his daughter because he was a "psychic vampire," who drained the energy of young women to power his physic abilities. Back at the mausoleum. The Sisters are running around in the shadows trying to scare Julie. Turns out it isn't really so much an initiation as it is payback by the bitchy leader of The Sisters, Carol. Because Julie is dating her ex-boyfriend. As all this plays out a very not dead Ramar stirs in his casket and he's hungry for that sweet psychic energy.

One Dark Night was released theatrically in 1983 but was actually filmed two earlier.
I first saw it back long ago (The 80's) on HBO and later rented it from Captain Video which is sadly gone now, back in the 90's. It plays better now as 80's horror nostalgia then anything else. Mainly for the fact that nothing horror wise really happens till the final 20 minutes when Ramar and all hell breaks loose as corpses break out of their caskets and the girls run for their lives. The pacing is too slow for this type of film. While it's nice to have character and story in a horror film there's a little too much in this one.

But it's not all bad. Acting wise everyone does a good job. Meg Tilly handles the lead role well and is likable. Also good is Elizabeth Daily as The Sister who doesn't go along with Carol's plan. And as I said earlier there's not enough of The West. There's no crazy Family Guy style Mayor West on display here. He's very low key in his few appearances. Directed by Tom McLoughlin (Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI) with a deft hand. He creates a nice atmospheric film with a fun premise. Recommended for anybody who misses early 80's horror were the hair was big and fashions loud.

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