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.
By Tim Murr
It’s mom and dad’s anniversary and they hire a new babysitter to watch their three young children. She comes highly recommended and seems like a sweet, smart girl, but the parents aren’t gone long before she starts to strangely assert herself over the children, guiding them into the darkest night of their brief lives.
Even Tommy Shelby wants to see more diversity in TV.
Did you know that April 8 is the day in Queer History that all homosexuals were cured? Hahaha, we’re just kidding. It’s actually the day that homosexuality was removed from the DSM.
And speaking of queer folks, here’s an open letter to the TV industry about why we’re so fucking sick of straight white dudes.
In other TV news, Sachin Hingoo bids farewell to Broad City until next season with the hilarious “Jews on a Plane” and Laury Scarbro reveals how all hell breaks loose on Outsiders in the appropriately titled episode, “All Hell.”
May is the month when the long-awaited Season 3 of Peaky Blinders arrives on our TV screens. Did you know David Bowie was a fan of the show? Try to keep your eyes from leaking when you read about what he sent to the show’s lead actor, Cillian Murphy. (Here’s a recent, wonderful, career-spanning interview with Mr. Murphy that includes some lovely photos.)
Everyone is talking about the talking animals in The Jungle Book movie but don’t forget about Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to Blue Ruin, called Green Room. Brian Baker took the plunge and reviewed this ultraviolent, ultra-brilliant film. You might forget about Hardcore Henry after you see it, though, as Tyler Hodg remarks in his review.
Meanwhile, on the home video front, Jeffery X Martin tackles the “bad crazy” with Arrow’s reissue of Niko Mastorakis’s The Zero Boys, Sachin has warm fuzzies over the white foam in the Blu of ‘80s schlock horror The Stuff, and Melissa Bratcher is delighted that Bayou Maharajah, the doc about infamous New Orleans piano player James Booker, is finally available for everyone to see.
Bone Tomahawk was my favorite movie of 2015 but I’ve never seen one entry in Charles Band’s bizarrely legendary Puppet Master series, so imagine my surprise (and delight?) to learn that the director behind Bone Tomahawk is helming the Band-less Puppet Master reboot. Modern Horrors has the deets.
Oh, and if you’ve always wanted to delve into actor Sho Kosugi’s career, The ScreamCast can help with their most recent podcast, “A Show on Sho.”
It’s been just over a week and we’re still trying to come to terms with a world without Prince. Here’s a stupendous 2009 article from the L.A. Times about the side of Prince that most people in the public rarely saw. Then, lighten up with this hilarious YouTube video, a compilation of all the times that Prince threw shade.
We have a ton of new music for you to check out this week: Tim Murr raves over the David Lynch aura of Dark Palms’ Hoxbar Ghost Town and insists that Grindmother’s Age Of Destruction is not a novelty album; Melissa calls The Jayhawks’ Paging Mr. Proust “a record for the ages” and marvels at the depth and breadth of Cherry Red’s latest comp, Another Splash of Colour: New Psychedelia in Britain 1980 – 1985; while X comforts us with the fact that at least Rob Zombie is good at coming up with song and album titles.
Could it be that Ke$ha is finally free? Find out about this and the “boycott Beyonce” movement on Unicorn Booty’s latest installment of NOW HEAR THIS!
Since tomorrow is a Monday (groan!), here is something that might make the day go a bit faster: a list of 11 hilarious and slightly political celebrities that you must follow on Twitter.