The original German title of Michael Armstrong’s infamous Mark Of The Devil was Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält, literally translated into Witches Tortured Till They Bleed. It’s a horrifying, yet accurate title for a movie that contrasts lush scenery and exquisite period costumes with some of the most excruciating scenes of torture ever put on film.
My mom and I watched horror films consistently all through the years of my youth. My mom wasn’t a horror buff, but was really into slashers, so naturally I was as well because I soaked up whatever she would show me. Almost every night we would go to my room and watch at least one film and I would stay up late to make it a double feature. (To this day she will come over to my place and we will either watch a classic or I will show her something new I’ve discovered.)
The idea that Roar was even made blows my mind because of the fact that there was a surplus of dangerous animals among the cast and crew while it was being filmed.
The story of Connie Converse is both fascinating and distressingly common. After leaving college and heading to New York City in 1949, she wrote and recorded poetic, wry, revealing songs accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Despite intervention and best intentions of friends (animator Gene Deitch and colleague Bill Bernal) who worked to get Converse’s music heard by a wider audience, she abandoned everything. She wrote a series of goodbye notes to friends, packed up her Volkswagen, and disappeared in 1974. No one has heard from her since. She would be 90 now.
The earlier Game Theory EPs gave us a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Band. As the band tried on and discarded aesthetic approaches and made basement recordings on less than ideal equipment, a musical persona began to emerge: sunny Californian pop with fillips of experimentation and flashes of intelligence, pitting melancholy lyrics against jangly melodies. On Real Nighttime, the band’s first official LP, Game Theory’s sound comes into sharper focus.
It must be more than a bit daunting to cover the Beatles. They’re The Beatles for the love of Pete, the alpha and the omega, the ones from whom everything good sprung, the band that changed everything. (True fact: I once was friends with a woman who said, “I don’t really like the Beatles.” I realized from that moment that she was a horrible person and I couldn’t be friends with her anymore. And I wasn’t.)
It’s funny how simple movies were back in the day. That’s not a bad thing. It seems these films relied more on acting and cinematography rather than some intricate plot. Lately I’ve been checking out a lot of Olive Films releases and been pleasantly surprised with what I’ve been seeing.
Last night I checked out a very low-key crime drama, Track The Man Down. As I said in the beginning, some of the films from this era have basic plots and focus more on the look and performances; Track The Man Down is a perfect example of this. A group of men rob a dog track and one of the gang members holds onto the cache of cash. Once they figure out the cops are onto them they split, leaving the cash with one of the gang member’s girlfriends. From there the story unfolds more, giving us little surprises along the way.
Jean-Luc Godard is a name I’ve been familiar with for a while and from a very young age. I first discovered Godard because of Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino was in an interview discussing movies and whatnot and mentioned he named his company after a French film called Band Of Outsiders. I immediately tracked it down because I was a nerd and Tarantino is a favorite of mine; he has introduced me to so many films that I cherish to this day.
After watching Band Of Outsiders, I did my best to try to track down other Godard films. Contempt, Alphaville, Breathless, and other films have really impacted me. Recently The Criterion Collection reissued his 1980 film, Every Man For Himself. My familiarity with Godard is through his films from the ‘60s and ‘70s so anything past that is new to me, but I was happy to dive into a Godard that was a little alien.
By Tyler Hodg
Never has so much nostalgia been so perfectly packed into a five-song, seven-minute EP. Then again, how often does a compilation of re-recorded anime theme songs get released?
Any ‘90s child (or geek) will be delighted to hear the fresh air breathed into some of his or her favorite TV themes. Send thanks to Andrew Conroy and his punk-rock “supergroup,” consisting of Tom Thacker (Sum 41, Gob), Anthony Bleed (Die Mannequin), and Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger), for creating this amusing celebration of the golden age of anime shows. The themes for Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, Digimon, and Sailor Moon are some of the catchiest songs to ever grace TV intros, so it comes as no surprise that Rain City Rockers’ Anime EP is delightfully mirthful.
Cherry Red Records continues to release some of the most fascinating compilations and reissues with a two-disc version of The Sweet’s debut album, Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be. The reissue, 28 tracks of music that range from bubblegum to The Sweet’s much heavier B-sides, is a mixed bag. On one hand, listening to the evolution of the band as they go from Archies-flavored pop to some quite heavy rock is fascinating. On the other, some of the songs are painful. Still, The Sweet were a great band, even when they were churning out silliness.