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?”
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.”
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.