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.
By Brian Baker
At one point, during the film Green Room, “Welcome to the meatgrinder” is uttered.
No other phrase can sum up the misadventures of an out-of-town punk quartet—with left-of-the-middle politics—as they take on a last-minute gig at a white supremacist roadhouse outside of Portland, Oregon.
Green Room is director Jeremy Saulnier’s third full-length feature and much like his cult favorite Blue Ruin, it’s a lovely shot of adrenaline directly into the scrotum called fear.
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 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.
I just spent the last 90 minutes watching The Walking Dead‘s Season 6 finale. To say that I am shocked would be a complete understatement. We’ve spent the entirety of the second half of this season awaiting the arrival of the notorious Negan, with hints of who this man is and why we should fear him and fear for our most beloved characters should they come face to face with him. A cliffhanger was not unexpected, but the acting in this episode? Some of the best, most realistic, and visceral I have ever seen from a television show.
Even if you don’t watch The Walking Dead, the outrage over this season’s finale was impossible to avoid. Flouncing threats of rage-quitting the show, complaints that the show is merely stringing fans along in order to infuriate and insult them, and angry cries that yet another cliffhanger was going to have to tide people over until Season 7 were par for the course throughout social media and pop culture punditry.
But this is Popshifter, and we don’t play those games.
You can’t kill us; we’re already undead.
At Popshifter, sometimes shit happens. And when it does, we soldier on.
We’re sad to lose one of our favorite writers, Laury Scarbro, this week. She’s just got too much going on in her non-Internet life and must take a hiatus.
We’re also sad to see another one of our fave writers take a hiatus: Jeffery X Martin has a new writing job (Yay! Congratulations!) that’s taking up most of his time these days and so he won’t be around as much as he used to.
These two departures mean that some of our content will be disappearing: the daily Today In Pop Culture column and our weekly recaps of Outsiders. I thought it best to let you know what was going on in case you wondered why they suddenly disappeared.
That said, if anyone would like to pick up the mantle of Today In Pop Culture or finish the rest of the season of Outsiders (four more episodes), I would gladly welcome your contributions.
And now, to the news!
Brad Henderson went to SXSW and all he got was a case of food poisoning. OK, he also saw some good movies, too, one of them being the Hicksploitation throwback My Father, Die. Not so good was recent home video release Intruders, which was a missed opportunity that I wish I had missed. You can always go back to 1977 and watch Count Dracula, the BBC production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Louis Jourdan, though, which I revisted in this month’s Frightful Flashback on Rue Morgue. You can also read my examination of the nature of evil as told through three different interpretations of witches on Everything Is Scary, those being Penny Dreadful, The Witch, and The Devils. By the way, happy one-year anniversary to Everything Is Scary where we do the responsible thing and contemplate the void every week.
The small screen is exploding these days! Besides new episodes of The Walking Dead, Broad City, and WGN’s Outsiders, Netflix has just premiered the second season of Daredevil, which Tim gives high marks, and Trailer Park Boys’ tenth season, which Tyler will be covering over the next week or so.
Whenever someone complains that there isn’t any good music these days, you just send them over to Popshifter, OK?
Besides the latest (and hopefully not the last) Iggy Pop album Post Pop Depression (which is awesome); there’s also Robbie Fulks’s Upland Stories, which Melissa describes as “exquisite;” West Of Here, the sophomore release from The Currys; and a trio of excellent—and very different—albums from women-fronted bands: Davina and the Vagabonds, Margo Price, and Bleached.
HHBTM has been putting out some quality music lately, including the punky Versus album from Eureka California and the retro yet timeless Crystal Café from Witching Waves. But if you enjoy “kick-ass, groove-heavy, instrumental synth-rock unit inspired by 1970s and ’80s horror movie soundtracks,” you might enjoy Wolfmen of Mars’ latest, DANGER! PERIL! THREAT!
Tim takes a look back at Sepultura’s Roots album, while I take a look forward at a couple of new videos: “Phantom Freighter” from the sci-fi, industrial-influenced Pop. 1280 and “Hey Girl (I Wanna Be Your Man)” from shoegazers Dirty Sidewalks.
Finally, Brian Baker chatted with actress Karen Allen at the recent Toronto ComiCon and she had some things to say about that upcoming Indiana Jones movie.
Until next week, Popshifter fans!
Backwoods movies, or “Hicksploitation” films, are some of the meanest and dirtiest to exist in the cinema world. Titles like Poor Pretty Eddie, Gator Bait, and Psycho From Texas are cruel and just fucked up in general, making you want to take a bath right after you watch them. These films are way more shocking than extreme torture or gore baths.
My Father, Die is one of these types of films. It’s not often we get a modern Hicksploitation flick that looks beautiful but is so filthy at the same time. Usually these films are gritty and raw-looking which involves you more in the atmosphere surrounding the movie.
By Tim Murr
What the hell can I possibly say about Wolfmen Of Mars that I haven’t already said across multiple reviews? If you are new to Boston’s lycanthropic rockers, then allow me to introduce you to a kick-ass, groove-heavy, instrumental synth-rock unit inspired by 1970s and ’80s horror movie soundtracks. And they are prolific! Check their Bandcamp page; they’ve had 10 releases since 2013 and each one is a winner.