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…)
For the first half of the 1990s, if Redd Kross was involved in something, I was interested. Any band they toured with or recorded with or even name-checked was a band that I would check out. I was rarely disappointed. Enter The Muffs, who I associated with Redd Kross originally because they were both from Southern California and had both punk rock and bubblegum pop cred. And there was the Bill Bartell connection. Plus, Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen were ex-Pandoras members, a band I was fond of after hearing them on WTUL New Orleans in the mid-’80s.
Not long after the band’s eponymous debut, Melanie left and former Redd Kross drummer Roy McDonald replaced original drummer Criss Crass. So I was extremely interested in hearing Blonder and Blonder, The Muffs’ 1995 release from Warner Bros./Reprise Records.
Toronto residents! If you haven’t seen Manhunter in a while or if you’ve never seen it on the big screen, you’ll get your chance tonight at The Royal, where the Neon Dreams Cinema Club is putting on a screening of the film at 8:00 p.m. As always, come early for the pre-show and remember that The Royal is a fully licensed venue.
When most people think of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, they think of Anthony Hopkins. This is a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who fell in love with Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal and subsequently, Mads Mikkelsen as the titular killer. Yet even before that TV show birthed the devotees known as Fannibals, there were still those of us who always gave Hopkins’ portrayal of Lecter the side-eye. After all, he wasn’t the first to take a crack at the doctor cum psychopath (even though they only called him a psychopath because they didn’t know what else to call him).
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.
I like the idea of collecting the musing and essays from individual Arrow releases into a single bound book. In theory, that is. In reality, if I’m interested in reading analysis on a specific film, like Dressed to Kill, wouldn’t I already have that Blu-ray in my collection?
There’s a chance the answer to that tug of war will color the amount of value you’re able to find in Cult Cinema: An Arrow Video Companion. I flip-flopped on this as I meandered through its pages. When faced with a piece on Zombie Flesh Eaters I struggled to muddle through. Perhaps a mix of topic and writing style, I just couldn’t commit to paragraph after paragraph on a movie I didn’t have much interest in, and that was my reaction to the majority of this book.
With some technical difficulties preventing us from talking about a certain Warrior Princess (stay tuned for this one, though) on this week’s TV or GTFO, Sachin and Gary decide to talk about a Prince instead. A Fresh Prince.
If, for some reason, you haven’t somehow sussed out our subject for this week, we’ll be talking about the Will Smith vehicle The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which aired for six seasons between 1990 and 1996. It’s a story all about how Smith’s life got flipped—turned upside down. So take a minute, sit right there, because we’ll tell you how he became the prince of a town called Bel Air. This was a show that both of us enjoyed a lot while it aired, so we’d hoped that it would hold up better than it has.
Why doesn’t anyone experience any growth or change on this show? What happened to the original Aunt Viv? Where did Nicky come from? WHY DOES NOTHING HAPPEN IN THE SERIES FINALE?? Find out on this week’s episode of TV or GTFO!
Since childhood, I’ve wanted to make movies. Last night I got to watch a documentary about a group of kids who were determined to make a shot for shot remake of Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made tells the story of this incredible attempt and the resulting admirable success.
The Twinkeyz are the kind of band that record collectors delight in, artistic and obscure enough to have little material, but not so obscure that there is no material available. And more than that, they have a definite and interesting style of music. The Twinkeyz are recommended in particular for fans of protopunk and the Velvet Underground, or even of neo-psychedelica. The Twinkeyz can be seen as part of the development of glam rock into punk, when the parts of punk had emerged, but not yet coalesced into a set of rules or expectations. By the time Alpha Jerk was released, punk had moved on into new genres, but The Twinkeyz were still being different.
It’s Good News/Bad News time. The good news is that I am submitting a chapter to an upcoming book anthology. The bad news is that the deadline is quickly approaching and I need to finish!
This means that Popshifter will be going on a bit of a break until June. In the meantime, please enjoy the following articles that you might have missed over the last couple of weeks.
What about movies? If you’re looking for something to see this weekend that is the exact opposite of The Nice Guys, you might try Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise. Tyler Hodg enjoyed the videogame adaptation of Rachet and Clank, while Christine Makepeace was appalled by the sexism in documentary All Dolled Up.
If you want music recommendations, look no further than Popshifter! Melissa Bratcher enjoyed the self-titled debut of Big Star’s Jody Stephens with Luther Russell, a.k.a. Those Pretty Wrongs; adores by Ominivore’s reissue of two albums from The Blind Boys Of Alabama; thinks the latest album from Gregg Martinez, Soul of the Bayou, is a charmer; and is thrilled by the way On The Ropes shows that the Honeycutters keep getting better.
Tim Murr thinks Black Absinthe could be as big as AC/DC after hearing Early Signs of Denial; Tyler fondly reminisces about Sloan’s album The Double Cross on its five-year anniversary and praises Royal Tusk for adding some spice to the frequently stale genre of rock on DealBreaker; and Eric Weber describes his history of discovering Divine’s music in his review of the Cherry Red Records anthology, Shoot Your Shot.
Finally, Sachin Hingoo catches us up with what’s happening on Lucha Underground.
By Eric Weber
The time was 1991; the place was Wax n Facts in Atlanta, Georgia.
Flipping through the packed cardboard box, my jaw dropped when I saw the huge white letters emblazoned across the top of the record sleeve: DIVINE.
I quickly snatched it up, examining every inch of the album. I couldn’t believe it. Divine: Greatest Hits. He had hits?