For those of you wondering or disappointed that there hasn’t been much activity on here in awhile, I apologize. There is a reason- my scanner crapped out and I haven’t had the money to get another one (you might have noticed the quality of scans going downhill over the time the blog has been around. I certainly did).
Believe me I have tons and tons more ‘zines and things to scan and put up, and getting a new scanner is a high priority. I also have some movies to review (saw a sneak preview of an upcoming movie called Bloodsucking Bastards that was pretty damn good, among others), but I didn’t want this to become just another damn review site.
While I’ve been off of here, one person asked why I only scan and upload part of the ‘zines. The reason I do this is because I don’t have permission from the creators of the ‘zines to post the whole thing. I am in touch with some of them (Mark Sawickis (Uniforce), Nick Cato (Stink), Steve Fenton (Killbaby), Dan Taylor (ExploitationRetrospect), and a few more, but most of them I have no idea how to get ahold of. But I am looking forward to getting back to the action soon…
One last thing- I don’t know if any of you have a Tumblr or not, but Post Modern Trashaeology is on Tumblr. There aren’t any reviews or ‘zine scans that haven’t already been posted here, but there’s lots of post modern trash on there to look at. It is here.
I have to admit, I was pretty excited when I heard Clive Barker was writing a new novel about the characters from Hellraiser. I’ve never been a huge fan of the movie itself (and particularly not of the sequels) however I’ve always liked the characters and ideas behind the movie, so I figured that if Barker had 100% creative control and no limitations (budgetary or otherwise) he’d write one hell of a Pinhead story (pun intended).
When I found out that not only was this to be the ultimate (as in last) Pinhead story, and that it would tie in with another Barker character (Harry D’Amour, the supernatural detective who also got his own movie in 1995’s Lord of Illusions), the excitement increased exponentially.
Unfortunately, all my hopes quickly drained away as I began reading this fairly bad bit of lackluster prose. I wanted to like it- I even fooled myself into liking it for a bit, but that didn’t last long. It was just an illusion of me telling myself it was better than it was.
The story is basically about the Hell Priest (who hates to be called Pinhead) gathering all of the magical power in the world so he can take over hell. Harry D’Amour (and friends) is pulled into this mess and eventually Pinhead enlists him (unwillingly) to write a witnesss to his actions, to be called The Scarlet Gospels.
Barker has been writing for over 30 years, so it was a big surprise how amateurish and limp the writing was in this. I really don’t think he was into writing it, and was just doing it because he figures it’s what his fans want. And to be fair, it does have quite a bit of crowd-pleasing gore scenes, but not much in the way of disturbing ones (he flirts with some truly disturbing events a coupe of times, but never really lets loose).
I also think that knowing more about Pinhead (some of the other Cenobites are mentioned briefly) and where they come from makes them lose some of their appeal. I think it’s a much cooler idea that they come from a pain dimension that no one can understand (and they can’t understand not knowing pain) than finding out they are priests in hell or demons.
So I wasn’t too keen on this one. It’s just missing something… some thoughtfulness or dark nuance that he had previously that he’s somehow lost here. Most of the scenes described are unbelievably ridiculous (not in a good way) and the characters are mostly cardboard and unengaging.
It’s really too bad, since Barker was supposed to be the “future of horror”. I know he hasn’t been well in awhile, and that might affect his writing some, but I know he can do betteer than this. Hopefully he will in the future (this would be a horrible book for him to go out on).
A new American version of Godzilla is coming out on May 16, and I can’t be more excited! Despite past Americanized versions of big G being horrendous, this one looks to be pretty awesome. It’s directed by Gareth Edwards, who did a thoughtful movie about monsters and aliens a few years back that, tho a bit threadbare, was enjoyable.
The thing that has really intrigued me is that there will be other monsters in this new movie besides Godzilla. A look at the latest trailor reveals a fairly Mothra looking creature flying, however we have been told that Godzilla is the only Toho Studios monster to appear in this outing (tho there have also been reports that the Mothra Twins have been spotted in it). One new monster is named Muto, and is very slick looking and space-agy (more like a Gamera enemy, really), and I assume the other is the flying monster seen in the trailors. Only time will tell if this new Godzilla movie and his new enemies will be any good (here’s to hoping), but I wanted to take this time to focus on some of Godzilla’s past monster friends and enemies in the mythos of Toho Studios.
I’m going to skip most of the bigger monsters most people know such as Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah, and focus on some of the lesser-known monsters. I’m also only concentrating on the Showa era mythology (IE: Godzilla movies from 1954 (Gojira) to 1975 (Terror of Mechagodzilla).
The Legend of the Shisa is an Okinawan story about a king who summoned a monster who looked like a hybrid between and lion and a dog to defeat a sea serpent. Many Japanese decorations use the image of the Shisa as a good luck charm to protect their household. Toho was inspired by the story of the Shisa to create King Caesar (also known as King Shisa and King Seesar) for their 1974 film Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (also known as Godzilla Vs. the Bionic Monster and, after the producers of the Six Million Dollar Man threatened to sue, Godzilla Vs. the Cosmic Monster).
King Caesar is the protector of the Azumi family, and could be awakened by a mystical song. He arose to help Godzilla defeat Mechagodzilla.
Gigan is a cyborg created by the Nebula M aliens (who turn out to be giant cockroaches). He is one of Godzilla’s most vicious foes, and has a buzzsaw on his stomach and hooks for hands. The aliens use him in conjunction with King Ghidorah to destroy human civilization and colonize the earth in 1972’s Godzilla Vs. Gigan (tho they are defeated by Godzilla and Anguirus). He returns in Godzilla Vs. Megalon to fight Godzilla and Jet Jaguar, but doesn’t return again until some of the newer Toho Godzilla films.
Gabara only appeared in one single Godzilla film- All Monsters Attack! (1969), which is unique in that it is unclear if he even exists, because the entire movie is a dream. Ichiro is a boy who is routinely bullied and daydreams about living on Monster Island and being friends with Godzilla’s son Minilla. Minilla is also tormented by a bully, the cat-like Gabara (who can channel electricity through his hands). Despite being one of the worst Godzilla films (even tho it was directed by Ishiro Honda himself), Gabara is one of the coolest kaiju, probably inspired by a Japanese monster of folklore called an Oni (kind of a trollish type of creature). I wish he’d appeared in more Godzilla films.
Also known as Angilas, he is the second monster to ever appear in a Godzilla film (after Godzilla himself), in Godzilla Raids Again (aka Gigantis the Fire Monster) (1955). He is a mutated ankylosaurus who gets his start fighting Godzilla. He later helps Godzilla fight other monsters such as Gigan and King Ghidorah.He is also the only monster shown talking to Godzilla in a language humans can understand (in a word balloon in the original Japanese version, and in an English overdub in the English version).
Megalon is another monster who only appeared in one Godzilla film, Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973), in which a colony of undersea dwellers (called the Seatopians) summon him to attack the surface dwellers of Earth for disrupting their lives with nuclear testing. Megalon is an insect-like monster with a lot of powers, including the ability to shoot beams from his antennae and spit explosive bombs out of his mouth. He and Gigan are eventually defeated by Godzilla and the giant robot Jet Jaguar.
Manda is a gigantic dragon-esque sea serpent who actually did not get his start in a Godzilla film. Atragon (which was also put out by Toho studios and directed by Ishiro Honda) was a very Jules Verne influenced film about a submarine (named Atrigon). Manda appeared in it, but was later brought into the Godzilla fold when he attacks London in 1968’s Destroy All Monsters. He’s had brief appearances in a couple of Godzilla films since then.
Varan also got his start in a non-Godzilla movie, Varan, the Unbelievable (1958). In it, he is a god worshiped by a mountain village. He attacks Tokyo (of course) but is dispatched. He shows up again in Destroy All Monsters helping to fight King Ghidorah, and it is revealed he lives on Monster Island with the other kaiju. He also appeared in a lot of Godzilla video games.
This leaves out a few more less popular monsters such as Minilla (Godzilla’s son), Titanosaurus (a water-dwelling dinosaur-like monster with a tail that could create powerful winds), Hedorah (aka the Smog Monster), Baragon (who also got his start in a different Toho series than Godzilla), and the various giant insects, arachnids, and animals that Godzilla has fought over the years. But the above are some of the most interesting and my favorites of Godzilla’s lesser-known rogues gallery.
I read an interview with Gareth Edwards that says that if this new Godzilla film is popular, he wants to do a new version of Destroy All Monsters! next, which would be awesome. Here’s to Godzilla being back on the big screen!
It appears that the restoration of the original 1973 Texas Chain Saw Massacre that was planned for a re-release in 2013 has finally been completed (just in time for it’s 40th anniversary). The restoration evidently took far longer than anticipated, as they used the original 16 mm film rolls which were saturated with scratches, chemical stains, tears, dirt, and glue splices that all had to be painstakingly repaired and color corrected, frame by frame.
It also features a newly remastered 7.1 soundtrack overseen by director (and composer) Tobe Hooper.
It was completed in time to be screened at South By Southwest in Autin on March 10th, then receive a theatrical re-release in summer 2014.
We here at Post Modern Trashaeology consider it to be one of the greatest and definitely one of our top 5 most favorite horror movies of all time, so we eagerly await it’s arrival (tho we wonder if digitizing it and taking all of the grit off will make it lose some of it’s charm and actual ‘this could be real’ amateur feel).
Some various odds and ends, links and comments that have been brewing over the past month or so…
-Dangerous Minds published an interview with Fabio Frizzi, the awesome composer who did the music for Fulci’s Zombie (which I love) among other things. He’s up there with GOBLIN as the sound of Italy’s horror films. Check out the interview here.
-GODFLESH have released their first song in 12 years. It’s a cover of the Canadian death metal band SLAUGHTER’s (not to be confused with the U.S. glam metal band) song “F.O.D. (Fuck Of Death)”. It was released as a limited edition 7″ flexi single with the November issue of Decibel magazine, but you can listen to it here:
-I didn’t cover the latest ghost/ possession movie out (in a looooong line of ghost/ possession movies that have come out in the past several years,, including the Paranormal Activity movies, Evil Inside, The Rite, Insidious 1 and 2, The Last Exorcism, A Haunting In Connecticut, Sinister, The Woman In Black (which I actually liked a lot- great atmosphere in that one, a cut above all the others), The Possession, etc.) because 1) I’m burned out on those movies; 2) I’m not really supporting new PG-13 horror movies; and 3) I read the book The Amityville Horror Conspiracy, which convinced me that the Warrens are a couple of complete con artists and frauds, and the movie really lays the praise on thick with them (evidently, they are somewhere between Gandhi and Jesus, as portrayed by the movie).
Having said that, I didn’t hate the movie (as predictable as it was), I just didn’t really want to support it. But I just read an excellent review of it that says absolutely everything I would have said about it perfectly here, by the intrepid and talented Stacie Ponder over at her awesome horror movie blog Final Girl. She’s the shit.
-Somebody has made a video labeling all of the references in Guillermo del Toro’s fantastic Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror Halloween Special intro for this year:
-Tho it’s not really what I usually cover, I found the new Marvel Universe movie Thor: The Dark World very entertaining. Much better than the terrible Man of Steel (which has just been released today on dvd and blu ray).
– and lastly, this is a pretty damn good list of fucked up movies if you’re into that sort of thing (like I am). There are plenty of movies that are missing from this list, but this is a great starting point: “Totally fucked up films”.
I put it up on my Facebook and listed the movies I have not seen off of it, and asked for people’s opinions on them, and got a great response. Here’s what some people (including some old ‘zine editors) said:
What I said: “I haven’t seen Equus, Turkish Delight, An Andalusian Dog, Enter the Void, A Serbian Film, Lilya Forever, Mysterious Skin, Bad Timing, Last Tango In Paris, The Night Porter, Night and Fog, The Panic In Needle Park, The Tin Drum, Christiane F., Funny Games, Begotten, The Big Shave, or 1900– I’ve seen all the others (and like or at least can appreciate them all, except for Antichrist, which was just awful, boring wannabe arty wank). So, out of the ones I haven’t seen, what’s the general consensus- which ones do I NEED to see most? any of my friends on here seen any of these?”
The answers: Bizarre Charlie (of noise band The EARWIGS, who used to do several old music and gore movie ‘zines, including Real Sickness and Fuckin’ Shit): “I own dvds of 28 of these films and seen a few of them as well but a few here i have never even heard of! I’d love too see the one’s i haven;t! Personally i think the worst film on the list is CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST because of all the animal cruelty! I had that and 2 other cannibal films i got rid of not to long later . I find that CRAP way more offensive than some FANTASY films of children being abused or killed, because they are NOT REAL, but this is just MY opinion! Some pretty amazing and kick-ass movies on that list! Salo is one of the few films that actually made me really nauseous and anyone here who’s seen it will know what scene i am referring too! I really like Pasolini’s Canterbeary Tales(sp?) but this and his other films are always over shadowed by Salo! Some of these movies like MAN BITES DOG, RE-ANIMATOR, PINK FLAMINGOS and THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE:SECOND SEQUENCE had me in PAIN form laughing so much! I really did enjoy ANTICHRIST myself and laugh at people who believe that’s Willim Dafoe’s and the leading actress having sex for real! It’s NOT them! One of the most bleak is also THE GIRL NEXT DOOR! The movie is soooo sad and the book is even WORSE as far as what happens too the girl in it! THE LOST is really out there too with one of the most INSANE WTF!? endings I have ever seen in my life! Man, we could make out own list! ha!ha!ha! What about I STAND ALONE??? I LOVE this movie! At least it has some HOPE in it! ha!ha!Anyhow, thanks for tagging me pal! Very fun list too read! Cheers too all the cult movie fans here! Speaking of films, I gotta finish watching SCALPS again shortly and then something else! CHEERS!!!!!!”
Nick “The Yak” Cato(Stink ‘zine, many other current projects): “Enter the Void is atrocious…after 30 mins I shut it off and tried again a month later, but then shut it in 15. It’s just total boring nonsense. Christiane F, however, is excellent.”
Barry “The Evil Twin” Woodridge (artist on a lot of old ‘zines including Wet Paint, Temple Of Shlock, and Exploitation Retrospect): ” The Tin Drum is a wonderful film. There’s only a couple of scenes that could be considered “gross” really, but it’s a great storyline. It’s in my top 5 films of all time. I also agree with the commenter above about “I Stand Alone” – it’s disturbing but completely engrossing. Also, do try to catch Haneke’s “Funny Games” (the original European version, which is better than the US remake) – it’s one of the most unsettling films you’ll ever see. Layers of tension that don’t let up.
“Begotten,” is Elias Merhige’s tour de force. It’s a unique artfilm with no dialogue and a relentlessly bleak and eerie edgy-nervous setting that is really creepy and disarming, but that feeling can’t be sustained by the viewer for the full running time. It’s interesting as an unusual art flick exercise, but not worthy of a feature-length production, in my opinion. The narrative fragments have to be pieced together by the viewer, and eventually it feels like it’s not worth the effort.
I got a beautiful copy of A Serbian Film on DVD and watched it once. It’s actually a very well made film. The baby scene was absolutely a new low in cinema, and almost made me wish I hadn’t watched the film at all. The ending is bleak hopelessness. The whole thing was very mean-spirited, I thought, and I really don’t buy the whole “i wanted to mirror the atrocities that had been committed in my country for so long” horseshit explanation from the director. He wanted to create a sick, pessimistic spectacle of despair, and he pulled it off beautifully. He should just own up to it. I gave my copy away. About a decade ago I got fed up with films that portray cruelty for the sake of cruelty, which is one reason I don’t watch that many gore flicks anymore. Which is okay, really, because I think I’ve seen 98% of frickin’ EVERYTHING (and I’m not exagerrating – I spent years tracking them down) in the realm of gory horror flicks, up through about 1986 or so – enough to last me a lifetime. Now – here’s the part where I tell you what a hypocrite I am. I love Micheal Haneke’s films. Funny Games was pretty much an exercise in cruelty. It drug the viewer through miles of cruel highway naked before reaching it’s bleak, pessimistic ending. So what’s the difference? I don’t know. The execution? Funny Games is not altogether that different from Last House on the Left, when it comes down to it. Haneke’s stuff is better scripted, and has a better presentation, but it presents the viewer the same revolting options that Last House does. They’re two sides of the same coin, and they’re both heads. A Serbian Film was as certainly as technically proficient as any of Haneke’s films, but it lacked style. I’m starting to sound like a film snob, I know. I LOVED the movie Calvaire, which is a total bloodfest at the end, but it was the gradual suspicious tension that I thought was acted out beautifully, and the dance scene at the local watering hole chilled me to the fucking bone! The atmosphere in that Belgian countryside was stifling, and the subtle cues about the wacked-out locals were harrowing. It was an interesting storyline, at least for 3/4 of the movie. I liked “Inside” but shortly before that I watched Francois Ozon’s “See The Sea” which has a lot of similarities. Ozon pulled off the horror far better without showing any gore. Also just watched the Austrian flick “Angst,” which merely portrays the methodical killing of a family chosen randomly by a serial killer who was just released from prison. That’s the nut. The whole point. He just kills them and devised ways to hide or dispose of theri bodies. Then a flash conclusion and the film ends. But, I loved it! And just last night I was telling Steve Fenton how I was fed up with gory horror films. I’ve still got about 100 or so gory films in my viewing cue, but I have to be of a certain mindset to watch them. I get depressed enough on my own. I’ve got copies of “Hachi,” and “Ponette” sitting by my player that I haven’t been able to watch for months, because I KNOW how they’re going to make me feel. Depressed! I get the feeling that I just rambled for an hour and said absolutely nothing…”
Steve Fenton (editor of one of my fav old ‘zines- Killbaby): “I’ve seen a bunch of them: some I remember well, some I’ve almost completely forgotten. EQUUS is pretty engaging, but mostly what I remember from it are Jenny Agutter’s nude scenes, I’m ashamed to admit (or am I?)! When viewed today decades after all the controversy it stirred up in its day, LAST TANGO seems pretty much a case of much ado about nothing. Sure the performances are great, but the “raunchy” content has really tamed over the intervening decades; and because playing with sexual mores was pretty much the gist of the plot (as I recall), a lot of it seems redundant now. NEEDLE PARK is a gritty and gripping realistic portrayal of the horrors of a junkie’s life, and contains one of Pacino’s finest performances of many. I also saw CHRISTIANE F. in a theatre first-run, and I remember it was pretty intense and bleak as hell too. THE TIN DRUM is a masterpiece of cinema whichever way you slice it, and holds up fairly favourably when compared with the original novel, as I recall (I haven’t read the book or seen the movie in quite a few years).
Allow me to suggest some movies not on the list- the works of Czech fantasists Karel Zeman, Jiri Trnka, Jiri Bartha and last but by no means least Jan Svankmajer. And let’s not forget all the amazing fantasy / SF movies from Russia. If you’ve never seen SADKO, ILYA MUROMETS or VIJ, you’re missing out on some great times. The list literally goes on and on!
Some (a lot) of Svankmajer’s stuff –not that I’ve seen it all (yet) is highly fucked-up indeed, but in such a creative way. I just watched his ’96 film CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE, which is pretty twisted but sometimes funny and touching too. I haven’t watched his ’94 version of FAUST in a while, but that’s another wild one.”
Sadko (also known in a terribly edited version as Magic Voyage of Sinbad, which MST3K did on an episode)…
Barry Woodridge– “Sadko is one the most surreal fantasy films of all time. It has such an eerie, almost dreamlike ambiance. ALL of Svankmajer’s stuff should be in every film nut’s collection – it’s all good! As is most of the Quay Bros. output…”
Brian Harris (editor of Weng’s Chop ‘zine): “Enter the Void, A Serbian Film, The Tin Drum, Funny Games are all fantastic films. Breathtaking and bizarre, THE TIN DRUM is one of my personal favorites.”
The conversation actually was very long and went on several days (and had a lot more people than just the above commenting), but I just put some of the highlights on here.
I’m sure you’ll be reading a lot of tributes and testaments to this great artist and innovator’s work and personality over the next few days. People like to say great things about those who passed on- it’s a tradition. But for this man it won’t be exaggeration- all the great things said about him will be absolutely accurate.
He brought a lot of joy to the world, probably more than anyone will ever realize. He sparked countless imaginations, and inspired tons of people who in turn have done the same. His contributions to art and entertainment can’t really be understated. He’ll be missed.
Jesus “Jess” Franco, the beloved and extremely prolific Spanish producer/ director/ actor (usually all on the same movie) has passed away due to stroke-related complications. He would have been 83 next month.
Though he’s responsible for well over 150 movies, he’s best known for his many entertaining sleazy grindhouse exploitation and horror movies….