By Tim Murr
Writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima’s manga epic Lone Wolf And Cub hit the stands in 1970. It was a massive success, with meticulous details, historical accuracy, and gorgeously realistic artwork. Lone Wolf And Cub would, and still does, have a strong influence across various artistic forms. By 1972, the series was already adapted into a film, a huge success itself which launched five sequels.
By Tim Murr
Psychomania has been on my list to watch for a long time, though I never knew anything about it outside of the trailer. It features troublemakers that return from the grave to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting English town; there are motorcycles, action, cool costumes, witchy undertakings, shades of A Clockwork Orange and The Wild One, a badass 1970s soundtrack. That’s what the trailer for promises. The film itself breaks most of these promises and is instead a dry, absurdly comic B-movie, that’s too slow and doesn’t play up any of its strengths.
By Tim Murr
“The box. You opened it. We came. Now you must come with us, taste our pleasures.”
Those iconic words spoken by Pinhead in the directorial debut of Clive Barker are still chilling nearly 30 years after they were first heard. The film Hellraiser, based on Barker’s own novella The Hellbound Heart, is a harrowing, shocking, graphic slab of supernatural erotic body horror. It divided critics and thrilled horror aficionados and launched a franchise that still, for better or worse, survives today, not to mention the various comic book series and tie-in books from Barker and several others that continue to be published in regular intervals.
The people at the Vinegar Syndrome imprint are like late-night college DJs, the ones who pull out weird and obscure music, sharing songs they had to track down for years after hearing them once in a bowling alley. They’re the hardcore fans, the crazy ones, who not only reference movies you’ve never heard of, but can quote them verbatim. There is a need for people like that in this world, the cultural archaeologists, the keepers of the flame.
Though it was made in 2006, New Orleans Music In Exile, is finally getting a Blu-ray release. The film, made by famed music documentarian Robert Mugge (Last Of The Mississippi Jukes, Gospel According To Al Green, The Kingdom Of Zydeco, among a great many), was shot in the rather immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: two months later. Mugge and his crew had open access to a who’s who of New Orleans musicians and luminaries as they try to pick of the pieces of their lives and careers.
It’s been a good year for Oliver Reed fans. Though the actor passed away in 1999, there have been several recent reissues of his work on Blu-Ray. First, there was Ken Russell’s The Great Composers box set from the BFI, which includes the rarely-seen but significant Reed performance in The Debussy Film. Then there was Hired To Kill, which Arrow Video reissued on May 17. And then, there’s Venom, reissued May 31 from Blue Underground.
I should make it clear that those last two movies are not exactly examples of Oliver Reed at his finest.
By Tim Murr
I was 19 when I saw Easy Rider the first time. I was a punk with a shaved head and had a generally negative attitude towards the world at large. I think I spent most of my time watching Dennis Hopper’s directorial debut with my arms crossed, not bored, but waiting to see what was supposedly so great about this “classic.” Though I found many facets of 1960s history fascinating, I assumed Easy Rider was just some hippy flick which wouldn’t resonate with me or my generation.
How is Hired To Kill an actual thing that exists? Getting the Blu-ray from Arrow Video solely on the basis of the press release describing the film’s co-star Oliver Reed “chewing up the scenery behind an elaborate moustache,” I did not recall any of the plot details when I popped in the disc. So it was with much disbelief and amusement that I watched 90 minutes of something so outrageous that it felt like a parody but was shockingly, not intended as such. If Astron-6 ever gets around to doing for action films what they did for Giallos with The Editor, the result would be akin to Hired To Kill. (more…)
Italian horror movies are a strange and different beast. American horrors rely mostly on jump scares and urban legends, things that go bump in the night. Italian fright flicks don’t care about your childhood scary stories. In fact, they don’t even care about linear storytelling. Most of them are simply a pastiche of set-pieces, offering gross-out after gross-out, with the barest thread of a plot holding everything together. It’s the visuals that matter, not the story.
That makes A Cat in the Brain all the more interesting. Lucio Fulci, king of the Italian gore movies, went straight up meta with this movie.
Happy Mother’s Day! Wondering how to pay homage to your mother, pop culturally speaking? Why not enjoy one of these films or TV shows featuring the Top Ten Best Moms in Pop Culture! If you want to feel better about your problematic family dynamic, you could always try the alternative: Here’s a list of the Top Ten Worst Moms in Pop Culture. (Thank Laury Scarbro for the lists, while you’re at it!)
Is Alicia Florrick a good mom in addition to being The Good Wife? The Hairpin pays tribute to this soon-to-be-over TV show with a series of fantastic and funny articles.
One thing a good mother shouldn’t do is leave her kids with a babysitter like Emelie. Tim Murr takes a look at the perils of childcare in the film of the same name, out now on home video.
For another kind of mother, you might be interested in this list of The Best Witch Cinema You Haven’t Seen from Alison Nastasi on Flavorwire. I haven’t seen or even heard of any of these films, so naturally I’m totally excited to watch all of them.
I might not be a part of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, but I can assure you that film journalism is definitely, as Women and Hollywood puts it, a “dudeocracy.” What can be done about it? Read the article for some ideas on how we can smash the patriarchy of film criticism.
Although critics complain that the roles of women in horror movies are often meaningless or exploitive, I take a different approach in my review of the 1976 flick The Premonition over at Everything Is Scary, called “Mother Of Fears.” Diabolique Magazine has an excellent, feminist analysis of Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession in which the filmmaker seems to ask “Do you liberate in order to destroy?”
What if you had a bong that allowed you to travel through time? Sort of like an updated Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but with more incisive sociopolitical commentary (sort of), three-part miniseries Time Traveling Bong is worth watching, according to Sachin Hingoo. For something that poses less of a problem to quantum physics, but is perhaps even more bizarre, you could check out the newest episode of the TV OR GTFO Podcast that tackles Stephen Bochco’s infamous Cop Rock. The latest episode of Outsiders, the approrpriately titled “All Hell,” is a short but fitting first season finale, says Laury.
Is the sequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre truly superior to the original? That’s the compelling argument made by Justin LaLiberty at Paracinema. And how do you feel about Jared Leto as Lestat in the proposed remake of Interview with the Vampire or a sequel to The Craft?
Saturday was Free Comic Book Day! Frankenstein fans should check out ExMortis, while those who were disappointed by Hawkeye’s secret life reveal in Age Of Ultron, will enjoy this article from the newest addition to the Popshifter staff, Christine Makepeace, called “The Trouble With Hawkeye.”
Musicially speaking, Melissa Bratcher asks if there’s anything Jimbo Mathus can’t do and then decides there isn’t, in her review of his latest EP, Band Of Storms.
But seriously: let’s talk about the difference between dependence and addiction and what they have to do with chronic pain.