Sunday, August 14, 2016

POSTS FROM THE GRAVE; REALITY 86'D

Hola, fiends! Remember that great blog BASEMENT SCREAMS? Really kick ass site and the man behind it, Ol' Dirty Murphy, is a helluva guy. Well back in 2013 he let this guy guest post for his DAMAGED; EXPLORING PUNKS ON FILM series. I took on Dave Markey's rare and hard to see Reality 86'd, which chronicled the last Black Flag tour. Basement Screams has gone away, unfortunately, but maybe one of these days J-Murph and I will get our shit together and do that Podcast we talked about!
Tour film starring Black Flag, Painted Willie, and Gone 1986

Directed by Dave Markey, completed in1991, unreleased officially
Black Flag toured like no other punk band before or after. Their tour schedules were grueling, spirit breaking affairs that took months in cargo vans and brought them to every out of the way dump in America. They were true trail blazers, opening up the US for every other punk/indie band who followed. This could be one of the reasons the band burned through fourteen different members in less than a decade.
            When Flag went out for six months in ’86 to support their In My Head album I doubt anyone knew this would be the band’s swan song. On the album, drummer Anthony Martinez had replaced Bill Stevenson (Descendents, ALL) and before the tour bassist Kira Roessler left and was replaced by Cel Revulta.  In My Head may have been Black Flag’s finest recorded moment, sonically speaking-crystal clear production, a consistency in song writing, and a cohesiveness that albums like My War and Slip It In lacked.
            Tensions were high in the band and had been for some time particularly between  founder Greg Ginn and 4th vocalist Henry Rollins. Ginn had become more interested in instrumental music while Rollins had matured and hardened into a creative force in the band and not merely a yes man for Ginn.  The all instrumental Process of Weeding Out seemed like a clear message to Rollins, but he stuck it out.
            They struck out across the country with Painted Willie (Dave Markey was the drummer/vocalist)  and Ginn’s jazz/punk three piece Gone (which featured future Rollins Band rhythm section of Sim Cain on drums and Andrew Weiss (Ween) on bass). Markey brought a Super 8 camera along and captured this odyssey. The end result of Reality 86’d is a loose, irreverent look into a LSD and weed driven journey of thirteen individuals that at different times come off as brilliant, silly and/or boring. No one seems especially self conscious, the bands sound amazing (particularly Gone). It’s an adventurous art film and captures the last recorded moments of one of America’s most influential bands (you can clearly see the roots of Grunge). But what’s missing is an emotional depth, probably due to the fact that Markey didn’t know that he was capturing the end of Black Flag, in other words, this ain’t no Last Waltz.
            I would say there are two books that are required reading to accompany Reality 86’d that give the film a gravity and an emotional punch that it lacks on it’s own. First and obviously is Rollins’ Get In The Van; On The Road With Black Flag. The last half of his book are intense reading and especially the Apocalypse Now feel of the ’86 tour. Second is Rollins’ friend Joe Cole’s book Planet Joe, which chronicled in wild detail this tour along with the first Rollins Band tour. Cole served as roadie and documented some of the most harrowing moments of those six moths. (Cole would tragically be shot dead in ’91 when he and Rollins were being mugged outside of their home).
            Reality 86’d is an important document, it has a great psychidelic/punk vibe like it’s a vision of the future from a more primitive time and should have a place on every punk or music nerd’s shelf. But sorry, sunshine, you can’t own it. Not legally anyway. Greg Ginn blocked any release of this film for reasons known only to him. Even as recently as 2011 he demanded it be taken down from Vimeo, where Markey had uploaded it for free viewing,  but the internet wins, because you can view it all over over the web (I watched it on Youtube). I hold out hope that Reality 86’d will get an official release someday along with Flag’s ’82 demos which any fan must hear.  Flag has reformed, going out on tour and releasing a new album this year, so all hope may not be lost, but then again, I’m an optimist.

3.5 Severed Thumbs Up (or 3.5 Screaming Jamies, if you like)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

EXCERPT FROM MY UPCOMING HORROR NOVEL, SPELLBREAKER

OK, trying something new...I'm going to be posting parts of my in-progress new novel, Spellbreaker. I won't be posting the whole book here, but I'll regularly put up bits and pieces. Hopefully you'll be hooked! I'd love to get your feedback over the next few months, how you feel, what's working for you, etc.
ZERO CASE from SPELLBREAKER
(Copyright Tim Murr/ St Rooster Books 2015/16)

The newest of the Spellbreakers  was a 24 year old woman named Texas Hill. Named that by her father, Alan,  after she was born in Detroit instead of back home in Fort Worth. Alan designed show and racing cars. Texas grew up fairly normal. She, her brother, Gary, and mother Gabriella would travel around the country with Alan. Cars were her world. Alan built vehicles for big Hollywood movies and unique personal cars for movie and sports stars.

Gary was four years older than Texas and a gear head himself. He built his first racecar from a kit and joined the dirt track circuit. His car was inspired by punk rock and Racer X from Speed Racer. He made himself into a ‘character racer’ and was a favorite with kids-including his little sister.

When she was old enough, Gary helped Texas design and build her own car (a garish pink body with a neon green silhouette of the state of Texas on the hood). The two of them were very popular and inspired other drivers to add theatrics to their suits and/or cars. Some complained that circuit was becoming a bit too pro-wrestling, but no one turned down the money. Gary and Alan developed a web series showing the Saturday night races and interviews with the drivers. Texas was the undisputed star and her pink and neon green t shirts with the slogan ‘DON’T #%$! WITH TEXAS’ sold all over the country.

Then Texas met Danny.

It was at a party out at the doom metal band Troll Wolf’s house. Troll Wolf had bought a small run down farm house out in the middle of no where (reminded them of the house in Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and turned it into a home/recording studio. They could also grow weed without molestation from the law. Troll Wolf held monthly parties that grew over time from about ten guests to a couple hundred. Texas had been dating the singer/rhythm guitarist Smoke for almost a year when she and Gary drove up for the big Halloween bash. It was early in the afternoon and the band, some girlfriends, and a few pals were getting the place ready and running power cords out to the amps on the make shift stage. Within a few hours the neighboring field would full of cars and the property would be crawling with punks and metal heads in costumes. Texas came dressed as Velma from Scooby Doo. Gary was Samhain-era Danzig, shirtless and covered in blood.

Nothing was out of the ordinary that day. Beer flowed like a river, the air was thick with smoke of the sweet leaf, and by the time the sun went down the crowd was one hundred strong. Troll Wolf stumbled on stage and started banging through a sloppy set full of Halloween themed covers and originals. There was a bonfire on the front lawn and the scarecrows that had been hung from the dead oak were being set on fire. In the field you didn’t have to walk far to see a car bouncing with fogged up windows. More than a few fights broke out, but nothing that couldn’t be contained. More beer arrived with every new car. All in all it was a great Halloween.

Between songs someone started screaming. She may have been screaming before that, but no one heard until the applause died down. Even then it took a while before people started becoming curious.

A skinny blonde girl dressed as a sexy angel came running/ limping from the field covered in blood screaming for help. At first people parted, afraid to touch her. Then they gathered around trying to help her, but she wasn’t saying anything that made sense. She just kept screaming about her boyfriend. Finally, Gary and a few big guys started running in the direction she was pointing. It was near the edge of the field that they saw a hulking beast eating out of a young man’s gut. He was laid across the hood of a car and obviously dead.

It was dark back there, but there was just enough light to see what was eating the man was neither human nor animal. Gary and the four guys who arrived first stopped about ten feet away, with a few more people coming up slowly behind.

The beast looked up at the gathering crowd, who all took a step back at the sight of it’s glowing red eyes. The beast rose to its full height of nearly eight feet and screamed at them. Many people fled, but Gary and the first four stood their ground.

Texas pushed her way through the fleeing guests, trying to check on Gary, with Smoke and the other members of Troll Wolf with her. Smoke had grabbed a machete, which he kept near the garden for snakes.

The beast was slowly approaching the group that had grown to ten strong, with everyone clumped several yards back, turning on headlights and flashlights to get a better look. Smoke waved the machete and yelled for it to get back, but the beast just chuckled.

That chuckle sent chills down everyone’s spine.

It started to pace back and forth, sizing up the group. Texas felt flush and a little dizzy, sound started to become muffled for her. Then, there was a voice from out in the darkness.

The beast spun around surprised, then bolted straight for Texas. She screamed and threw her arms up and there was a flash of lightning that hit the beast, blasting him a hard left through a car.

The first thing Texas saw when she opened her eyes was a man in black clothes, purple sneakers, sweaty and out of breath and carrying a sword. She looked over at the smoldering remains of the car and the beast staggering to its feet, smoking.

“You!” The man with the sword shouted. “Stay right there!”


Then he sprinted at the beast and swung the sword into its neck, decapitating it.                        

Sunday, June 5, 2016

KING VULTURE'S SOUND ATTACK; 6.5.16 GIALLO IN MUSIC VIDEOS

There's not a lot of films coming out that really keep the legacy of Giallo alive, at least not that I've seen, other than an occasional gem like The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears (2013). The Strange Color... is a lush and mesmerizing film that gives the architects and masters of Giallo a run for their money. Instead, I've been seeing the influence of Bava and Argento showing up in music videos.
I've compiled a short list of some of the cooler ones I've come across. I can't say that I'm a huge fan of all the bands, some of the music isn't the kind of thing I'd listen to much or at all, but the videos are all really cool and worthy of a few minutes of your time.

Slow Coda "Valspeak"
(might owe a little more to American 80s slashers, but watch the way the camera moves)
Harrison Kipner "Monster"
(Very much calls to mind Suspiria, because of the dancers, but the overall visuals are pretty cool.)
Johnny Butler and Dani Mara "Darkness (Mater Tenebrarum)"
(Video isn't available on Youtube, but worth a click on the link below
Lioness "The Night"
(More poppy than I usually listen to, but the song started growing on me. Crazy witch action.)
Huntress "Sorrow"
(Granted the reference to Karnstein is pure Hammer Horror, the visuals owe more to Mario Bava)
Arcana 13 "Dread Ritual"
(Pure classic Bava)
Ghostface Killah "Rise Of The Ghostface Killah"
(Possibly the coolest video on this list, no joke. Wu Tang Clan, even solo, is NEVER something to fuck with!)
Coliseum "Black Magic Punks"
(Love, love, love this song. The video very much calls to mind Argento's Three Mother films.)

No doubt there's plenty more that I can't remember or haven't seen. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments or to me on Twitter @Holyrooster. If we come up with enough names, I'll run a second playlist!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

JIM MICKLE'S COLD IN JULY-A MOVING AND SHOCKING JOURNEY

Even though it came out at the end of 2014, I just got to see Jim Mickle's Cold In July. Based on the novel by Joe R Lansdale (Bubba Ho Tep, Paradise Sky, Hap And Leonard novels), Cold In July is a tale of two fathers, one protective and loving/one an ex-con with revenge on his mind. Things get complicated. The film was written by Nick Damici and Mickle. You may know Damici, who also co-stars in Cold, in Mickle's Stake Land and Adrian Garcia Bogliano's Late Phases. 
I'm actually glad there was such a lag before I got to see Cold, because I definitely would have been re-writing parts of my last book. That said, a violent Jim Mickle film co-starring Don Johnson has been high on my list of must sees. Mickle's previous films, Stake Land and We Are What We Are are modern classics and two of my favorite films.
In addition to Damici and Johnson Cold also stars Michael C Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) and Sam Shepard (All The Pretty Horses, Blackhawk Down). The film is set in 1989 and opens with Dane's (Hall) home being broken into. Dane goes for his gun and winds up shooting the burglar by accident. It's a pretty clear cut case of a man defending his home and family and Sheriff Price (Damici) reassures Dane that the man he shot, Freddy Russell, is a wanted felon and a piece of shit. All should be fine, except that Freddy's father, Ben (Shepard) has just been paroled and wastes no time letting Dane know that his son is in danger now. The movie has barely started and Mickle and company are laying on the tension so thick. It calls to mind the most harrowing moments of Scorcese's Cape Fear or Saulnier's Blue Ruin. 
Again, we're not even halfway through the movie and we're on a fast train to every parent's worst nightmare and the real story hasn't even started yet! I don't want to give away too many of the surprises, twists, and turns of Cold In July, because it really is a very rewarding and exciting film.
The score by Jeff Grace is fantastic and really adds a John Carpenter feel to the movie, in fact, I just saw on Twitter describe the movie as John Carpenter making Blood Simple. I can't disagree and I'd throw a comparison to Sam Peckinpah at the height of his power (Straw Dogs or Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia). The cinematography is gorgeous as well.
For the fact that Cold wastes no time in getting it's hands dirty, Mickle keeps a tight reign on the pace. He balances a slow burn with a lot of action. In an age of CGI fight scenes, to see a violent shoot out unfold at slow realistic pace is almost unnerving. Mickle has an amazing power behind the camera and I think people are going to be talking about him decades from now in the same breath as the aforementioned masters.
Also, you're going to be surprised how much you've missed Don Johnson!    


Sunday, May 22, 2016

PREPARE YOUR MIND AND STOMACH FOR FULCI COMICS!

Eibon Press is the all-new publishing brainchild of Masters of Horror/Shock Festival writer Stephen Romano, and horror’s own memorabilia legend and creator of Black Devil Doll Shawn Lewis. Their mission is to “Make owning and collecting horror comics cool again,” by releasing single issue comic books in super limited “Prestige Editions,” which will feature premium printing and innovative packaging never before seen in the history of comics. “Our books are like limited edition record albums,” says Romano. “You know all that awesome stuff they’re doing with posters and vinyl soundtracks at places like Mondo? Well that what we’re bringing to comics. Each and every issue of each and every title will come encased in a specially-designed album jacket-style sleeve which we’ve invented ourselves. We call it the “Eibon Sleeve.” Plus you’ll get some fun extra stuff inside the sleeve with your comic. For example, the first 250 of each 1,000 copy run will contain a signed and numbered bookplate. And we’ll be inserting random awesome stuff in a few of the sleeves like autographed bookmarks and such. What we’re doing has never been done before, and we really hope people will dig all the blood and sweat we’re putting into each issue.” (All text in italics above and below from the press release)

Are you excited??? I am! All the images Eibon have released so far shows that they are serious about living up to the expectations they’re giving us. The artwork for ZOMBIE, GATES OF HELL, and BOTTOMFEEDER is really top notch and alluring. Scrolling through the preview pages, I’m thinking that the launch of Fulci Comics will be one of the most significant events in horror this year. That’s not hyperbole, fiends, I’m legitimately excited.


In past posts I’ve talked about my love for indie horror comics and obsessively collecting Deadworld, Zombie War, Faust, etc. Somehow I missed 1998’s THE BEYOND and 2000’s original release of ZOMBIE, so this is quite the treat!

As for being a fan of Lucio Fulcio, I remember being a teenage horror fan working my way through the horror sections at my local video shops. Only two shops had any Fulci films, THE PSYCHIC and GATES OF HELL (aka CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD). I didn’t know Fulci from Leone at the time. THE PSYCHIC had a great cover, but the description didn’t grab me so I never rented it. GATES OF HELL though had this really lurid cover
from Paragon video and came with a warning about extreme violence. Even after I had seen and fallen in love with DAWN and DAY OF THE DEAD I was still too chicken to rent GATES. Besides, I grew up a Southern Baptist and if I tried to bring anything called GATES OF HELL into my house I’d have my rental privileges revoked!

It was 1998 after I had moved to Boston that I got a proper introduction to Fulci from hanging out and working part time at Garage Video and from my horror obsessed roommate who had a really stellar collection of Fulci on VHS. That was a good time for getting schooled in Italian horror in general, an invaluable time that still influences my work today.

Fulci Comics are giving us more than just straight adaptations of the films though, ZOMBIE will shamble ever forward as an ongoing series after the original 4-issue film adaptation is complete. “You’ll see all your favorite characters of course,” says Lewis. “But you’ll also see some new faces. And some faces you thought were dead and buried, too. Stephen’s bringing back Doctor Menard, for example, as a crazy mutated zombie mad scientist monster, working under the insane magic of BIACANDO—the voodoo priest sort of responsible for the zombie apocalypse. But there’s a post modern twist to everything, involving a toxic waste dump and a crazy Army general. It’s just insane stuff. The fans are gonna eat it the fuck up. I mean . . . I’m a fan and I’m already eating it the fuck up!” Likewise, GATES will be an ongoing as well! Might we get the last four of the Seven Doors Of Death?

On top of these two books, we’ll also be getting Lewis and Romano’s original book BOTTOMFEEDER! BOTTOMFEEDER is an all-new original horror series, slated for release in
2017, which plays like HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP meets BAD LIEUTENANT. It was created by Lewis and Romano in a psychotic collaboration that not only features the most audacious, bloodthirsty, politically incorrect horror scenario envisioned since the gory glory days of the grindhouse 1980s . . . but it also contains a stellar “dream cast” of horror movie legends.
“We originally wanted to make BOTTOMFEEDER as a movie,” Romano says. “So when we decided to make it as a comic series, we “cast it” just like we might have cast a dream version of the film. This means we can have some heavyweight horror stars in there, like Bill Mosley and Clu Gulager, who have both given us permission to use their likenesses . . . plus we get to resurrect Joe (MANIAC) Spinell and Zoe (MS.45) Tamerlis from the dead. Just wait’ll you see them in our comic. Our artist did an amazing job of bringing them back to life!”

Check out my interview with Stephen Romano below and start saving your lunch money, fiends, because you don’t want to be the only monster kid on the block without these books!


STRANGER WITH FRICTION; So lets start with this, what is it that makes the work of Lucio Fulci so special to you?

SR: Well a lot of it starts with an appreciation of just plain weird art.  Because even in Lucio's earlier non-horror days, he was pretty out there, you know? Then you get into a lot of specific obsessions that tie into your childhood or whatever.  But the thing is a LOT of people share the same obsessions.  So there has to be SOMETHING to it, right?  From a strictly modern point of view, the films of Fulci are truly rarified artifacts, because no one makes movies like that anymore, and they probably never will.  And they are very specific to a certain era in film production, you know with the low budgets and the bad American dubbing and the lines that sound like they were written by someone who's second language is english.  There's a kind of campy surreality to that that I really dig.  But I also honestly believe that at the heart of films like THE BEYOND you have really great, progressive art.  Some of it is pretty much sleaze, but there's a sort of genius there too.  I mean, who puts a shark fighting a zombie in their movie?  That's just insane. Total rock and roll, man.  That's the final level for me.  The super-intense audacious nature of these films.  It's beyond.  You know?

SWF; For starters we’re getting a reprint of your 2000 adaptation of Fulci’s Zombie. What made this
a project worthy of your time? Where would you rank Zombie in the pantheon of zombie cinema?

SR: I think of it as more of a restoration leading into a new journey than a reprint, actually.  Like a "director's cut" queuing up a cool new series.  The graphic novel that came out in 2000 was very badly printed and I didn't know anything about editing comics back then either.  It really sucked ass.  We always wanted another shot at making it look better . . . but it took a really long time to get around to doing it because we've all been off making our real careers happen.  Shawn started Rotten Cotten.  I went off and did stuff like MASTERS OF HORROR and SHOCK FESTIVAL.  It took 16 years and I had to get run over by a truck first...but finally the time was right to come back and really get it right, and also extend the series and keep it going.  That was another thing that excited me.  The idea of going beyond the film adaptation, using that as a springboard for a really epic ZOMBIE sequel.  As far as the reasons why we did it originally... well, we're big fans, obviously!  We'd already done THE BEYOND and decided ZOMBIE was be the next logical step.  And that movie would easily make my Zombie Movie Top 5, just on the Zombie Shark scene alone!  DAWN OF THE DEAD would be first, obviously.  Then NIGHT.  Probably RETURN after that.  Then ZOMBIE and  THE BEYOND.  I'm sure my partner Shawn would take issue.  THE BEYOND is literally his favorite horror film of all time. It was his idea to name the company Eibon Press.

SWF; Fulci Comics is also taking on Gates Of Hell aka City Of The Living Dead, which was part of the 7 Doors Of Death trilogy. How deep into the trilogy do you plan to go? Will we see the last four doors?

SR:  Maaaaaaaaybe.  You'll just have to wait and see.  We've got MANY things in the works for our Fulci Comics line.  Patience.

SWF; All the images I’ve seen so far are amazing, can we go through the creative teams?

SR: They're some really demented motherfuckers, aren't they?  The A-team of ZOMBIE is anchored by Michael Broom, who has since gone on to be a top creature designer in Hollywood films. Mike designed the storyboards and practical effects rigs and even the werewolves on THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, so he's a total badass.  He pencilled ZOMBIE top to bottom.  Half the inks were done by a fellow name Gerry Coffey, and the second half was done by Derek Rook. Derek also did some art restoration on some of the panels and he even completely re-drew a few things.  I, myself, did and complete and TOTAL re-editing and restoration job on each and every page and lettered everything myself to make sure it all looked very modern . . . and then we brought in two incredibly talented artists to do our coloring.  That was Australian ace Austen Mengler and the incredible "Fatboy," who are hands down the best digital colorists I know about.  Austen is an actual painter and he brings really creative style to the work.  "Fatboy" is a bit more traditional, but his instincts are beyond impeachment.  These guys were easy to work with and professional as hell.  Derek goes solo with pencils and inks of GATES OF HELL, with Ander Zarate providing the colors.  That book has a really bizarre flavor, very different from the more traditional comic book approach on ZOMBIE.  We wanted a crazier, freer hand with GATES because it's a supernatural story.  The work is just stunning.  And of course, I took several liberties with the adaptation, both with ZOMBIE and GATES, both to make it work as a comic and seed the ground for sequel stories.  Also, it's really fun to do a new version of something you love.  That's the  beauty of movie tie-ins and why I dig them so much.  One entire wall of my house is devoted to paperback novelizations of films!  I have like two or three thousand up there.

SWF; What’s the story here? How did Fulci Comics come together?

SR: I was working with Shawn Lewis on a totally different original book called BOTTOMFEEDER and he saw I was doing good with writing and editing the thing, working with the artists and all that...and he basically said, "What about all the Fulci Comics we have in the vault?"  He asked me what it would take to get them going.  We'd already started Eibon Press at that point, but we hadn't done anything with actual publishing yet . . . and we kind of saw the Fulci stuff as a means of reaching a wider readership right out the gate.  I hate to make it sound like some crass commercial decision, but we DID know there was a built-in audience there.  So then it was a matter of clearing all the huddles we needed to clear, legally and
otherwise, to make it happen.  Fulci Comics is just a sort of fun brand name for our officially licensed Lucio stuff.  ZOMBIE will continue as an ongoing regular series as long as we can hang on to that license.  Then there's SEVEN GATES. Plus, we have other insane "VHS era" movies adaptations in the works, some non-Fuli stuff that will bear its own unique sub-imprint.  We're going to be doing some amazing things very soon!

SWF; The comics will be limited run in prestige format and will only be available through the website (coming June 6th) and not in stores. What lead to these decisions?

SR:  Well first off, the comics aren't actually "Prestige Format," not technical sense of the industry term.  What we've developed is an innovative "prestige packaging" that makes our books absolutely unique unto themselves.  You see all this really limited edition stuff over at Mondo and other places, with all the posters they do.  The reason nobody has done that with comic books yet is that comic books are traditionally very expensive to produce and manufacture.  I put in a lot of "sweat equity," doing all the editing and lettering and graphic design, which saves tons of money.  I taught myself to be a one man art department when I was
doing SHOCK FESTIVAL.  That's also what makes our books special.  They aren't corporate product, it's a very intimate machine we have here.  Just a few people, making very personal books.  And yet they look just as good, if not better, than most any comic out there.  That's also why our print runs are so tiny and the books are only available through our website.  It's totally exclusive to us, absolutely outside traditional publishing channels.  These things don't even have ISBN numbers for retail store sale. They are carefully-crafted collector's items and you can only get them from US.

SWF; Any other announcements or teasers you want to let fly?

SR: I think we've covered it pretty well, man.  Except to say thank you for helping us promote this, man!  The success or failure of Eibon Press and Fulci Comics relies entirely on the fans.  We really hope you guys dig it.

SWF; Finally, what’s your favorite of all of Fulci’s films and why?

SR:  GATES OF HELL is my personal favorite, and I have to tell you it's for a really strange reason.  It's those monkeys Fulci has screaming in the cemetery towards the end of the picture.  It just makes no sense at all, but suddenly you hear all these fucking MONKEYS howling in the trees!  But it creates this super unique creepy atmosphere that is absolutely  unlike any other movie.  I remember when I first realized what that sound actually was on my 15th viewing or so, and just said to myself, "Well this has to be some kind of high fucking art right here."  No bullshit.  I was already in love with the movie for it's obvious scumbag horror assets, but then I just realized Fulci was a fucking mad genius on all these other, almost hidden levels.  Also, I love the score in that film.  It's one Fabio Frizzi's finest.  He re-utilizes the theme fromZOMBIE in the third act in a different way that is at once really arc and overdramatic but also sincere and musically inventive.  I like composers who reference their own work like that. I was a big fan of James Horner too, who was the king of recycles.  He scored HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, which is still my absolute favorite horror film soundtrack.  Our BOTTOMFEEDER series is partially inspired by HUMANOIDS.  Like the films of Fulci, it represents an age long gone.




Again, ARE YOU EXCITED???

Get in contact at these fine locations...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"I AM THE FUTURE" ALICE COOPER AND CLASS OF 1984

I think over the course of the last four years I've made it pretty clear that I was a late night TV junky. Ever since I caught a really bad Christopher Lee sci-fi flick at 3 am, I became obsessed with staying up all hours of the night to see what dark delights the weird old TV gods would bestow upon me. Especially when we got cable in the mid 80s. Especially when I got a little TV for my bedroom and I was able to run a cable splitter from the living room TV to my bedroom. Back then USA, TBS, Fox, WGN, and sometimes even the big three would play horror, action, and exploitation films post 11PM. That's how I spent my weekends, flipping through all these channels to find that sweet spot.
Two of my favorite movies that seemed to play all the time were The Warriors and Class Of 1984. I'll be covering The Warriors later this week, in honor of Waxwork Records' original soundtrack double vinyl release, which I have received in the mail, and holy crap, it's awesome!

Class Of 1984 was my first punk film and featured Alice Cooper's "I Am The Future" in the opening credits. At the point I first watched Class Of 1984, Cooper's Trash had just come out. It was his first really big hit record in some time, but it wasn't a very 'Alice' record. It was lousy with guest spots from Aerosmith and Bon Jovi and veered away from the theatrical rock he was known for and more
towards the poodle head cock rock of the day. Fortunately, Trash was still way better than anything by the flavor of the week pop metal bands and actually still holds up pretty well today. I was new to Alice at the time though and very excited about Trash and played it constantly. So I was already hungry for more, especially since my mom had banned Alice from house for being sick and Satanic.

Catching Class Of 1984 was random happenstance while flipping through the channels. It was just starting and didn't take much to hook me, especially when I saw Alice's name in the credits. If you're unfamiliar with this 1982 cult classic, let me give you a little info; it was written by Tom Holland (Psycho II, Fright Night, The Beast Within, Cloak and Dagger, Child's Play) and directed by Mark Lester (Showdown In Little Tokyo, Firestarter, Commando)-cult film royalty, and starred Perry King (Riptide), Roddy McDowall (Fright Night, Black Hole, Planet Of The Apes, Batman '66) and Timothy Van Patton (who went on to direct episode of Sopranos and Game of Thrones among many other shows) and was even Michael J Fox's film debut. Lester also wrote and directed the, um sequel (?) Class Of 1999, which came out in 1990. If you're unfamiliar with that one too, well go find it!

King plays the new music teacher in a really bad school where the kids run wild and terrorize everyone. He has a pregnant wife at home and has basically hit the shit storm jackpot coming to work here. He befriends McDowall's character, who tries to show King the ropes (like carrying a pistol in his briefcase!). Van Patton is the leader of gang of violent, drug dealing punks who push McDowall to his breaking point and forces King to take some drastic action.

I don't want to give away to much more! Class Of 1984 is a really dark action/exploitation film with the heart of a horror movie. You could certainly draw comparisons to old westerns where the good guy shows up in a town run by a bunch of outlaws and has to bring law and order, but there's no clean hands or white hats and no one rides off into the sunset. This movie puts you through the wringer.

If you listen to "I Am The Future" out of context of the film it just sounds like one of those great Alice rock rebellion anthems like "Department Of Youth" or "School's Out". Applied to Class Of 1984 and it's a dire warning of a future going down in flames, of youth rising up and eating their parents, of a day where you can't run to a teacher or a cop for protection...


When does a dream become a nightmare?
When do we do what must be done?
When do we stand and face the future?
When there is nowhere left to run?

And you've got to learn
Just how to survive
You've got to learn
How to keep your dream alive

Take a look at my face
I am the future
How do you like what you see?
Take a look at my face
I belong to the future
And you belong to me


Class Of 1984 was released on Blu Ray from the awesome Scream Factory. It really is a chilling film even now and recommended for fans of Suburbia (Penelope Spheeris) and The Warriors.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

DEAR PARAMOUNT, LET'S TALK ABOUT FRIDAY THE 13TH

I'm a long time, unapologetic fan of Friday The 13th. It was the first slasher series I was aware of as a kid, with the TV commercials scaring the shit out of me. It was the first slasher film that I sat up and watched on late night TV. As much as I loved A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween, Jason Vorhees captured my imagination in ways Freddy and Michael didn't. Maybe it was because there was so much mystery around Jason. Yes, we know through his mother that he drowned as a little boy and then mysteriously he appears as a full grown man five years after she loses her head. That story alone is a movie.
Look, it's been seven years since we got a new F13, that is if we're counting the remake as a new F13. I think, and I know I'm not alone, that now Jason has come home to Paramount the only way to bring him back is in an epic fashion that not only honors the past, but paves a new road to the future. Epic isn't found footage or a period piece set in the 1980s. Epic pulls together all those story threads, all those hints and mysteries. Epic is a F13 we've never seen before, a true evolution of the Vorhees legend. Epic is modern and maintains the timeline. Epic considers the whole franchise without being a slave to it. Epic answers old questions and sets the stage for new ones.
I was always disappointed that Jason Goes To Hell was the only film in the series that explored any supernatural aspects of F13. Yes, Tommy Jarvis referred to books on the occult in Jason Lives, but the supernatural has permeated F13 since the end of part 1 and has begged to be unleashed. People complain about the lack of Jason in JGTH, but introducing the Lovecraftian cosmic horror and madness via the Necronomicon in the old Vorhees house was delicious. Maybe we don't need to refer back to the Necronomicon, but some sort of malevolent supernatural force, probably involving the mystery of Jason's father would make for a solid sub plot and could start filling in holes in the already established story. Then on top of that bring back an older, grizzled, damaged Tommy Jarvis. Where has Tommy been for the almost three decades since we last saw him? Underground with Megan? Locked up in another institution or prison, accused by Deputy Rick of committing all those murders? (Let's face it, its the word of Megan and a bunch of scared kids to clear Tommy's name, since all the cops and counselors who came across Jason died, versus the word of Rick, who never saw Jason, locked up in a cell after Tommy escaped.)
I'm rambling a bit, I know, but I'm a fan. A big fan. I grew up on F13 and still get a kick out it. Hell, I've wanted to write an F13 film since New Blood, which my stepdad rented for me the week it came out on VHS. So I write this with love and respect, for Paramount, New Line, and Platinum Dunes. I really want another Friday The 13th and I want it to be so good it shuts up the critics. All the ingredients are there and it doesn't need any gimmicks or reboots.
Thank you sincerly,
Tim Murr
St Rooster Books and Stranger With Friction
5.14.16