The Zero Boys is a horror/action movie from 1985 that raises the bar of ineptitude stunningly high. You would have to try with all your might, and maybe someone else’s, to come up with a film this insipid nowadays. It may be a testament to the filmmaking talents of director Nico Mastorakis that a movie as totally brain-dead as The Zero Boys is as entertaining as it is.
Another week, another beloved and peerless musician has left us. In case you’ve been on some sort of Luddite retreat, you’ve heard the news that Prince has passed away at age 57. There are far too many good articles contemplating his death online to list them all here, but you might enjoy this one, in which I ponder what it means to lose our heroes, “The Beautiful Ones U Always Seem 2 Lose.”
Here are two vastly different new releases you might want to check out: Cherry Red Records has released Tiny Tim: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-1970) about which Hanna writes the following:
Hearing a grown man do a believable Shirley Temple imitation is always a beautiful experience, and “Mickey the Monkey,” a song from the perspective of a monkey in a zoo providing his story to the child listener, seems almost a comment on Tiny Tim’s own position as a novelty performer: “While you’re watching me, I am watching you, too / You’re as funny to me as I am to you.”
On a totally different segment of the musical spectrum is Trágame Tierra, the long-awaited follow up to Big Black Delta’s self-titled debut. Why this record isn’t blowing up I cannot imagine. I’ve seen only two other reviews for it, and one of them is the most ghastly and insulting thing imaginable, on a website whose name rhymes with “Consequence of Sound.” Ignore that crap, and just read about how great this album is.
Unicorn Booty’s got some music news for you on this week’s NOW HEAR THIS, including the Afropunk festival lineup and more.
Game of Thrones fans are gearing up for the new season which starts tomorrow and at Everything Is Scary, Tim Ford discusses the most frightening characters on the show. None of them is Cersei Lannister. If vintage sitcoms are more your speed, you can check out the first two episodes of the TV or GTFO podcast, in which our own Sachin Hingoo teams up with Gary Heather to talk about Perfect Strangers and Hulk Hogan’s Thunder in Paradise.
Movies? You want movies? We got ‘em. Well, we have reviews, at least. Dump those copies of Bride of Re-Animator in the trash, but not before picking up Arrow Video’s glorious new reissue, which Tim Ford assures us is the definitive edition. Sachin reviews a couple of Hot Docs movies, the new ten-part film essay from Werner Herzog, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World and the more-horrifying-than-an-actual-horror film Tickled. Women In Hollywood has their always-welcome list of women-centric, directed, and written films for the week, including the fantastic High-Rise, which I’ll be reviewing next week.
Unicorn Booty is the best site you’re not reading, unless of course, you are already reading it, in which case, yay! The excellent “A Trans Person Explains What’s Really Behind Transphobic Bathroom Bills” does exactly what the title suggests, but there is oh so much more good stuff in there. There’s also a rundown of why Harriet Tubman should be on the US $20 bill as well as some huge developments in world LGBT politics.
Oh, and if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, by all means, do not read this creepy assessment of H.P. Lovecraft’s uber-creepy short story “The Festival” by Peter Counter on Everything Is Scary.
By Tim Murr
The follow up to 1985’s cult classic comedy gorefest Re-Animator, 1989’s Bride of Re-Animator, was a wild and rollicking film, amping up the craziness and gore with comic book flair. Directed by Brian Yuzna (who also directed the next sequel, Beyond Re-Animator) on a very short time frame, Bride picks up several months after the “Miskatonic Massacre” that ended Re-Animator.
“The Rondo awards, named after Rondo Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, recognize the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation. This year’s e-mail vote, conducted by the Classic Horror Film Board, an 18-year old online community, drew a record of more than 3,400 votes as fans chose among 35 categories.”
Well done, Rue Morgue!
If you’re looking for some new music this week, might we suggest checking out Popshifter’s exclusive stream of Bloody Knives’ I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This, which dropped on April 15? It’s shoegaze, it’s goth, it’s got gorgeous vocals, and it’s loud as hell.
Also on the new music list is a live album from Professor Longhair recorded in 1976, the Nigerian music compilation Wake You Up! Volume 1, and eccentric pop singer Dinner’s Psychic Lovers. Meanwhile, on the Everything Is Scary blog, I discuss how Manchester duo Demdike Stare’s collages of sound and imagery provoke responses akin to nightmares.
Have you ever heard of Clela Rorex? She issued the first gay marriage license in Boulder, CO in 1975, thus helping to chip away at bigotry and homophobia.
Matt Keeley at Unicorn Booty discusses, in detail, how the recent trans episode of Powerpuff Girls is actually transphobic. But on the other hand, there’s also a heartwarming post about how Rihanna helped one of her gay fans come out. With all the news of homophobic celebs, it’s nice to read something positive.
In further TV news, Tyler Hodg has finished Season 10 of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix. Despite being mostly disappointed with this season, he thinks that the finale was excellent and might even make you cry, in addition to paving the way for an even better Season 11.
Laury Scarbro is equally smitten with the most recent episodes of Outsiders and Sachin Hingoo feels much the same about Broad City. Speaking of Broad City, Sachin has a preview of the upcoming mini-series Time Traveling Bong, starring Ilana Glazer and Paul W. Downs. Rue Morgue gives Tom Noonan, who stars in the SyFy TV version of 12 Monkeys, the “Sinister Seven” and Biff Bam Pop recaps the premiere episode of Season 4 of Orphan Black!
In the mood for gaming? Although Tim Ford at Everything As Scary thinks Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked is less scary than its predecessor, he still gives it a fair shake.
There is much to discuss on the movie front. The casting of Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming film adaptation of Japanese Manga Ghost in the Shell has many crying “whitewashing” (and for good reason). Jeffery X Martin looks at the Death Walks Twice Giallo box set from Arrow, I am gravely disappointed in new horror flick 13 Cameras, and Women and Hollywood has a list of women-centric films playing near you this week.
Finally, if you haven’t heard of Doreen Valiente, that should change. This VICE article points out that this mother of modern witchcraft was also a pro-choice spy.
The Death Walks Twice box set from Arrow Films highlights two gialli by director Luciano Ercoli. One is better than the other, but they follow the gialli formula to the letter and are both a lot of fun on a party night where Apples to Apples just won’t cut it.
Iggy Pop has a new album out March 18, along with Northless, Lust For Youth, and Soft Fangs. There’s also the Wayfaring Strangers compilation and a reissue of Haircut 100’s Pelican West.
It’s time to spring forward with pop culture news.
Tyler Hodg has finished watching all 13 episodes of Fuller House on Netflix and we’ve got the reviews to prove it. What’s the verdict? Is the show good, bad, or somewhere in between? You’ll have to read to find out.
Sean S. Baker’s film Tangerine, filmed on an iPhone and focusing on the life and struggles of a transgender sex worker, is currently on Netflix, but you should also check out his short film Snowbird.
Divorced Dad may not be on Netflix (yet), but it’s something you should see. Here’s the problem: it’s not available yet! The new webseries from the Astron-6 collective (Manborg, Father’s Day, The Editor) is still seeking funding to finish the series, but for now, here’s a teaser trailer. (P.S. I’ve seen the rough cuts of a couple of episodes and I laughed until I thought I was going to throw up. It’s that weird and funny.)
At Popshifter, we watch TV so that we can talk about it, then you can read about it, and you can then feel better about all those thoughts you’re having and feelings you’re feeling. This week, we’ve got two episodes of Broad City, and while “Rat Pack” may not be as tight as “Game Over,” the show continues to be one of the funniest on TV. Outsiders finally gives us the character development we’ve been waiting for, while The Walking Dead gives us welding, crying, but still no sign of Negan.
New music reviews this week include the deep freeze of Northless’s Cold Migration EP, the emotionally raw yet gorgeous Let A Lover Drown You from Penny & Sparrow, a preview of Soft Fangs’ The Light (out on March 18), and one you might have missed: Voivod’s Post Society EP.
There were lots of movies to think about this week. Ron Howard’s tribute to Jaws and Moby Dick, In The Heart Of The Sea, hit home video this week and while Jeffery thought it was a beautiful waste of time, I had more positive thoughts on the film. Arrow Video’s American Horror Project Volume One, however, left no doubts in Tim’s mind: it’s a must-see, must-own box set.
We all have that one friend who hasn’t seen those iconic classic films that everyone else has already seen. At Unicorn Booty, that person is Matt Baume. Witness his reaction to his first viewing of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. You might also enjoy his liveblog of the first time he watched Hackers.
It’s OK to admit that you are a fan of Archie Comics. If you haven’t been keeping up with the students at Riverdale High out of a lack of time or fear of public shaming, there has been some news. Did you know that Jughead came out? He’s not gay, but… well, you should read about the full details for yourself. Also on the Archie news front is this fascinating podcast called Radio Free Riverdale hosted by Torontonians Lucy Cappiello and Evan Munday. This week’s episode features the podcast’s first ever special guest, comedian Adam Wilson.
In other comics news, Marvel seems to be making greater strides towards gender inclusion. Here’s our own Laury Scarbro with some thoughts on what this might mean for the future of comics.
What happened this week on Today In Pop Culture? Frankenstein, The Incredible Hulk, Barbie movies, The Fillmore, and songs about telephones.
By Tim Murr
When you delve into the glut of independent American cinema from the 1970s, you’ll be amazed at how many films were actually produced in that decade by penniless mavericks far from the infrastructure of Hollywood or New York City. Remember, too, that film- making was a massive undertaking, not just in the pre-digital world, but also pre-video. (For some insight into the trials and tribulations into the hardships of the indie horror director in the ’70s, please check out the book Shock Value by Jason Zinoman.)
The fact that we have small indie efforts like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Deranged, Night Of The Living Dead, Last House On The Left, Driller Killer, or Phantasm that have risen to the status of bonafide American classics or, at least, cult classics, is something we should all be thankful for. So many films from the grindhouse circuit have been lost to history. That’s where Arrow Video comes in with the start of an amazing new series, American Horror Project.
Ron Howard’s whaling adventure In the Heart of the Sea is an ambitious film, reaching into a few classic sub-genres, but ultimately, finding no purchase there. What remains is a pastiche of retreaded ideas and some weird-looking CGI. As the true story behind the novel Moby Dick, viewers have a good idea of what they’re getting into, but will wind up with less than they expected.
This week was part February, part March, and jam-packed with pop culture.
Twitter recently vowed to fight harassment online. Naturally racist and misogynist trolls were outraged, which is hilarious considering their constant whining about “social justice warriors” being outraged on Twitter. Here is an excellent report on the whys and wherefores of this new announcement and whether or not it stands a chance of being successful.
Speaking of controversy, did you know that a straight Christian man posed as gay for a year and then wrote a book about it? It’s pretty illuminating.
If you haven’t been paying attention, our own Tyler Hodg has been faithfully recapping every episode of the new Fuller House series on Netflix. So far, the show has been wildly uneven, but might finally get it right around episode 10. Too bad there are only three more to go…
Also in TV news, Lucha Underground picks itself up after a not-so-great episode from last week (though Sachin warns that we shouldn’t mention Sexy Star vs. Kobra Moon ever again), Outsiders still refuses to develop some of its characters for some reason, and The Walking Dead introduces a new insufferable character named Gregory. Oh, and (spoiler alert) Rick kills someone. Again. (Can’t take that guy anywhere.)
If you’re looking for some old movies you might have missed, Jeffery’s here to help. Check out the new Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1 collection from Arrow or The Bees from Vinegar Syndrome, which includes not only bees but also John Saxon.
Everyone’s been talking about Deadpool lately, but why? As Laury reports, it might just be the comic book movie that will change the game. It got her to become a Ryan Reynolds fan, after all. Wrestling aficionados will be interested in new documentary The Sheik, which Jeffery notes that at times feels more scripted than your average wrestling match.
New music this week gets reviewed by Melissa. It includes the self-referentially titled but ultimately disappointing Music To Listen To Music To from La Sera and the much more enjoyable Poison & Medicine from Marc Stone, who hails from New York but has a shockingly good grasp on New Orleans and the blues.
It’s 2016 and that might mean a new Lana Del Rey album is in the near future. But what if you’re still not sick of listening to Honeymoon yet? Matt Craven explains why it might be her secret masterpiece.
Perhaps the only kind of music more divisive than LDR or rap is country. You might be a country music fan if you like even one of these 16 tunes.
What happened this week on Today In Pop Culture? The Bermuda Triangle, The National Anthem, King Kong, The Salem Witch Trials, and how Leap Year fits into the space-time continnum.
The recent Arrow Video compilation, Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1, highlights the kind of films we don’t often think of when it comes to Japanese cinema. These aren’t cheesy monster movies with guys in rubber suits, nor are they fantastic period dramas about dynastic politics and great wars. These three movies are star vehicles, melodramatic potboilers with handsome leading men and damsels in distress.