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Friday, April 20, 2012

Gorgoroth:"Antichrist"(1996)

     I am going to be going back and reviewing some of the most pivotal of the early Black Metal releases, and I figured no better place to start than the mighty Gorgoroth's masterpiece, "Antichrist". This record has been listed or called a full album, but a meager 24 minutes, and 6 tracks, I will only refer to it an EP. Most BM enthusiasts call "Pentagram" and "Under The Sign Of Hell" the best releases from Gorgoroth, and I have no problem with that. They both are fantastic records, but this one just captures the evil, Black Metal essence that I love. All true BM fans will tell you about the "atmosphere", and to most of us that is why we are attracted to the music in the first place. If you are not a fan, it would be hard to tell you what we mean. But the closest feeling to it would be that of a really scary and atmospheric Horror film that makes the hair on your neck stand on end. This is what proper BM does to us. An evil atmospheric aura that just pours out of the speaker and takes you over until the record is done. If it is a proper and fantastic atmospheric BM record, it might stick with you for days.

     So on to "Antichrist", since it is such a short record, I will discuss each song as to have a better understanding of this masterpiece. The first "track" , if you can call it that is just an intro of sorts."En Stram Lukt av Kristent Blod" is only 20 seconds of some eerie noise, and some screaming. You don't have much time to study it, or get a proper feeling from it, but you know something is about to blast you. That song is called "Bergtrollets Hevn" and is as close to a "hit" song as Gorgoroth will have. It is usually still played at their concerts to this day. It is a fast to mid tempo basher, that sounds a little like Bathory in parts, but when it hits the balls to the wall speed sections, it sounds like no one else. It is a battle song if there ever were one, and would be great in a film like 300 or Pathfinder. On this record there are 2 vocalists Hat and Pest. Hat(Norwegian for hate, so we will forgive him for that) was the original vocalist and left while they were recording it. So new singer Pest was recruited midway through and he sings on a few of the tracks, sad but they did not list who sings who? Most fans can tell though, as both singers(screechers) are pretty distinctive. The third track is named after themselves "Gorgoroth" and is one of my favorite songs by the band ever, it's a shame they never play it live, and most fans don't give it props.It is a slow and very atmospheric song, totally fucking eerie, the bass line also played by main man and guitarist Infernus is mournful, it stands out greatly in a genre that likes to bury the bass altogether. There is an amazing part where the music slows down, and Pest sings(yes, actually sings) very depressing and clean style, and it to this day gets to me. The last portion of this epic song speeds up a great deal, and there is an amazing solo, something else you don't hear to much of in BM. If people wanted to hear some real True Norwegian Black Metal, I would definitely play this track for them.

    Now on to side 2(I am reviewing from the vinyl release), and the last 3 songs. Next up is "Possessed(By Satan), it starts with a real simple 2 chord headbanging beat, and then to an awesome "gallop" drumbeat, so perfect for headbanging. People who think BM is white noise with no groove, should definitely check out this track. Another live staple to this day, so it has definitely held up. Drummer extraordinaire Frost(of Satyricon fame) provides the beats on this album and it helps it so much...total fucking back beat from Satan!! The 5th tack is called "Heavens Fall" and it is another galloping black-thrash beast! It is also an instrumental, which i don't usually like in Black metal, but this is such driving song, who could resist it? Also, Infernus does "heeeeyyyyyy, and an evil laugh' to break up the music. The final track is called "Sorg" and it is my personal favorite, not only Gorgoroth, but my favorite Black Metal song!! I've talked about atmosphere in BM, and boy does this song have it in bucket loads. At over 6 minutes it is an epic by Gorgoroth's standards. The songs starts with the sounds of heavy rain and thunder to lull you in. Then the music starts and it's very slow and heavy riff, with Hat screeching his heart out. The whole song plods(in a good way) along at a slower speed, and he also sings what almost sounds like the chanting you would hear the monks doing. If you close your eyes you can see a dark castle and the fog rolling in like a wall, or something like that, let your mind flow free. I would have to say that this fantastic song is the BM cousin to the song "Black Sabbath". Yes, it's that good! I guess some BM fans are put off by the clean singing in this song, but it only adds to the atmosphere. I guess some people only want blast beats and hyper-speed all the time, hey we have Marduk for that, don't we? I will be posting more classic BM reviews soon.                     Score 9/10

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Royal Trux:Bad Blood(A History of Genius)

     Royal Trux were(are) my favorite band of all time. Sure, there are many more whom I obsess over, but when it comes to bands that are absolute geniuses at their craft, none were bolder or more original than Jennifer Herrema and Neil Michael Hagerty. Now that the band has been broken up for more than 10 years, I figured it was time to refresh the brains of the uninitiated. True, it was very easy not to know who Royal Trux were, throughout their 15 year career. They were always under the radar, released almost all of their records on Chicago indie label Drag City, except for 2 released on Virgin Records, in what is surely the most bizarre story of an underground band being signed to major, and walking away with TONS of cash ever. They changed their music very often, usually producing a particular style in 3-album cycles. It was very sad, but if most people were familiar with the band if was for their famous heroin habits, that produced fabulous music, but caused the band tremendous troubles until they cleaned up around 1995( a little later for Herrema). People viewed the band as a glorified train wreck, would show up to shows to taunt and heckle them, usually resulting in Jennifer coming out into the crowd to take down a male 2 times her size! As sad as was, I guess the fault lied with Jennifer and Neil, as in the early days, they were very open about their drug habits, and played them up in interviews. They made up lies about brushes with the law, Jennifer being a prostitute to support their ravenous habits, and even spent a Matador recording advance on "the powder" and never delivered the goods. All of things did nothing to help the band out, but the loyal(myself included) ate it up by the spoonful, and bought anything with their name on it, because at the bottom of it all, they were the most important band to ever emerge from the indie scene.
    
      The two met in Washington D.C in 1987, while Neil was playing in local scuzz-rock heroes Pussy Galore. He was never "into" what PG was doing, and considered himself a hired gun because Jon Spencer was the de facto leader in that band. Although the coolest thing that PG ever did was at Neil's behest, a cassette only, song for song cover of the Rolling Stones masterpiece, Exile on Main Street. While still in the band, he was already cooking up his master plan about creating the hippest, coolest, and most dangerous motherfucking band in the world. Jennifer was still in High School, she used to watch Neil's prior band play when they did gigs, and she has often said it was love at first sight. She said he was the "weirdest fucker" she had ever met, so she knew that had to be together. The two started working on songs together, and playing out live, as soon as Neil quit Pussy Galore for the final time! The early shows must've scared the holy fuck out of audiences, as they were already experimenting with instrumentation, lineups, improvisation. Neil said that he formed the band to apply Ornette Colemans theory of musical harmolodics to classic music in the vein of Black Sabbath! They released their debut record, simply titled Royal Trux in 1988. This one was self-released as Drag City had yet to open it's doors. No one really paid attention to it, except an article in Spin where Gerald Cosloy of Matador Records, and uber-snob reviewer Christgau discussed it. Cosloy seemed to really like it, and somewhat understand it, while the snob totally dismissed it. Recently Cosloy has stated that Christgau didn't even listen to the record more than once. If I had to describe that first record(which really is a VERY hard thing to do) I would say it's a sort of drunken blues, psychobilly pastiche, jazz minded, no wave based, brilliant record that must be heard to be believed. The thing with Royal Trux, is that they are not an immediate gratification band, most of the early records you have to spend a lot of time with, in order to reap their rewards, and to soak in the brilliance. I am sure that casual music listeners heard unstructured noise.....and ran!!
     The duo packed up and left D.C. and moved to San Francisco, and around this time is when they started the infamous heroin habit. They worked and recorded a very long time for record # 2, and it, called Twin Infinitives, is the most (in)famous record in their whole discography. A sprawling drugged out haze of a double record, that chewed up minds and spit them back out, never to be the same. Many claim TI to be their crowning achievement, but I can't imagine that many people actually "got it" enough to make such a claim. The "music" is lie nothing ever heard or released before or since, especially on an indie record label. The most obvious comparison is Captain Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica", but take that add the craziest of Jandek's material, throw in some Sun-Ra, and you might come close. Neil has said the "songs" were achieved by recording them on tapes, then taking the tapes, and cutting and splicing them into oblivion, and put them back together into some semblance of the avant-garde. On top of that you have Jennifer's brilliant snarl/rasp screeching out the lyrics like a possessed drill Sergeant. It was my first RT purchase, and of course, I hated it upon first listen. The more I listened, the more I thought I understood, and slowly began to "like" it. It wasn't until I had searched out the first record(it had not been reissued by DC yet), and spent some time with that one, that TI really clicked with me. I have heard many fans say that they can only listen to it very rarely, but I can throw it on anytime and enjoy it, and now wonder how myself, or anyone else for that matter, had such a problem with it. The Trux started touring around this period, and saw some of the most hostile audiences of their career. usually they just baited them and played along with it, like I said earlier, Jennifer would attack some of them, and they would exact audio revenge by playing the worst sounds known to man! After touring for a bit, they realized that they might want to write some songs that were easier to play onstage, and that audiences might be able to get into in a live setting. This led to album #3, again just called Royal Trux. Most fans call it Skulls(after the cover art), to avoid confusion with the 1st record. This time it was a completelyy different Trux on the record. Although Neil and Jennifer again recorded it themselves, the songs sounded like they could have been recorded by a whole band. They however did not lose their edge, they still had that spacey-dementia to their sound, and I can't imagine a normal "alternative" music fan digging this record, there are several songs that will surprise the fans that they had collected along the way. The sound was a bluesy-tinged swagger, and this is the first time that the ubiquitous Stones comparison came into play. A few of the songs displayed a Stones/early Aerosmith vibe that shocked fans expecting a Twin Infinitives part 2. On their 3rd record it was already becoming apparent that Royal Trux was not interested in repeating themselves or resting on their laurels. There was one song in particular, that shocked everyone! "Junkie Nurse" was the closest thing to a hit Royal Trux ever had. An acoustic ballad of sorts, sung by Neil instead of Jennifer, about meeting a nurse that could give him an endless fix. It's a fantastic song that still holds up to this day, and had the subject matter been different, it very well could have been a hit. Again they toured, they always hired different musicians to record and go on the road with them in order to keep things fresh, 2 records/tours with the same band was a record for them. The drug stories, and their reputations preceded them, it was mentioned in every magazine article, review, etc. Neil in particular was starting to get tired of it, and the junkie lifestyle in particular.

     As this article/story is going to be far longer than most I write, I can not even begin to touch on all of the 7" singles, EP's, and song contributions that RTX have done. I will say that oftentimes their best work is relegated to one of these formats, and Drag City released a 2 LP compilation in 1997 called Singles, Live 7 Unreleased with most of their stuff of this nature. It works as good or better than some of their records so if you are interested don't hesitate to pick that up, it's the only way to get all of that stuff. Ok, back to 1993, Neil has gotten clean, Jennifer has made steps, relapsed a few times, but she comes totally clean later in that year. So their 4th record, Cats & Dogs, again released by Drag City, is a surprising hit in the indie/alternative world. More musicians are used in the actual recording, so it's the first full-band recording of RTX. The songs are similar to Skulls, except they ROCK a lot harder, again, there are the obligatory spacey, creepy, and usual noisy Trux-styled material. But the Rock songs posses a Sabbath/Zeppelin vibe that immediately garner the duo a lot more fans. One of those fans was grunge posterboy, Kurt Cobain. in those days all it took was a mention that Kurt loved your record, and major labels were biting and pulling each others hair to sign you. That is exactly what happened to RTX! The world's most-unsignable band was signed to Virgin Records in 1994. Jennifer said they laid out all their stipulations such as; retain ALL creative control, a HUGE signing bonus, tour buses, and basically they could release what they want without any input from the label, and those silly fuckers actually signed them!! The 5th record, and 1st for Virgin was called "Thank You", and it surprised/pissed off a lot of RTX fans. I'm sure it gained them quite a few as well. As I said, I had been a fan since the 2nd record, and I had no problem with Thank You at all. In fact, I loved it, it brought out a whole new sound for the band. People should have known they were not going to stick to the same sound for very long. The new Trux, for lack of a better term, and one that they used frequently in that period was a "Boogie Band". Very amped up Southern Rock, that sounded like the Black Crowes played by gutter punks. They had a full band, complete with two drummers, one of them was the son of Lynard Skynards drummer. Jennifer & Neil had also bought a big house in rural Virginia, built their own studio in it, and Jennifer could be seen driving around the sticks in a new Jaguar. Thank You sold reasonably well, but not for major label standards, and the tour was also well attended, despite most of the "indie-elite" calling them sell-outs. Perhaps they had forgotten what attracted them to RTX in the first place? For me, it was the sense that they would do whatever the fuck they wanted to, whenever! Now those same people were bustin their balls for doing just that. Myself, I listened to Thank You everyday for that whole year, I was obsessed by it. The lyrics were printed for the first time, and I loved them, they were morbidly fantastic. If they were "selling out" nobody else knew it. Radio sure didn't play any of the record, and ANY one of the 11 tracks could be played on Rock radio....ANY of them.
     Well Virgin was not impressed in the less than stellar return results of their new investment.They started telling Jennifer & Neil that they needed a hit single, that they didn't wan't them to record at their new home studio, and last of all, that Virgin wanted to pick a high profile"hit-making" producer for the next record. Of course they had fucked themselves with the contract deal that they had given the band, so RTX did what they wanted. They released their 6th album entitled "Sweet Sixteen" with one of, if not THE grossest cover on a major label ever. A toilet filled with excrement, blood, frosting, and all sorts of other gross shit(pardon the pun), that was the first thing Virgin hated. Sweet Sixteen was an altogether different beast than Thank You had been. Sure, it was a ROCK record, in much the same way Ty had been, but that is where the similarities end. SS had strange keyboards, a totally different production, courtesy of the band themselves, and very strange lyrical concepts about conspiracies, FBI, dope farms, and many other things. In some ways SS is a very difficult record, not in the same way that Twin Infinitives was, but there was something most fans couldn't put their fingers on. Even though I like the record quite a bit, I would have to say that it's my least favorite out of their discography. Again, like TY there are songs that would've went to radio, not nearly as many, but I've always said that "Morphic Resident" would've been a hug hit. The band toured on a smaller scale, and the crowds were not nearly as large on this tour, so the band immediately started working on the next record. Virgin asked to hear it, and the band said no, so they just dropped them from the label. They got to keep the completed record.On top of all of the other money they had received from the label, in addition to the record and the studio, the band walked away with a cool million in publishing rights. It is most surely the biggest fuck off that an Indie band has ever given a major label.

     RTX walked back to Drag City like the conquering heroes that they were. The record that was completed and intended for release by Virgin, was called "Accelerator" and was immediately released by DC. Many people loved this record, and I though it was a very good & catchy ROCK record again, but I guess the fact that they were back on DC made the hipsters come around again. That's cool, because like I said it's a great record, the songs are (mostly) very short, verse chorus chorus, POP songs done in a very Hard Rock vein. Perhaps like Cats & Dogs without the experimentation? They went back out on tour, and I saw them on this tour. They were very tight and good, but the crowds seems to be smaller than they had been in years. I am sure that has to suck for a band that has being touring for years? Very shortly after that, they cranked out another record, this one called Veterans Of Disorder. Another fantastic record, very similar to Accelerator aside from a couple of songs in the experimental vein that had not been there since Cats & Dogs was released. I personally was very excited about this, as I love any version of RTX I can get, I like when they have a balance of good and catchy rock, and some seriously brain damaged, fucked up tunes. That was after all, what made me fall for them many years ago. I saw them again for the last time on this tour, and I said to a friend, "Jennifer looks fucked up". Maybe she wasn't, part of me wanted her to be, for the sake of the music, but most of me didn't want to see her go back to that life, and to hurt Neil. In another quick succession, the last Royal Trux record, Pound for Pound came out in 2000. It hung closely to the template of the last two records. amazing rock songs, and again some really spacey experimental songs. From what I have heard, the band started the tour, and did a few shows, and then cancelled the tour, and broke up. I had indeed been right, Jennifer was getting fucked up! She offered some excuses, like her Dad was ill, but she still broke their bond of nott getting fucked up!! She wanted to separate, take some time away from Neil and the band, and try to get it together. Neil said no, and I can't blame him. She then asked if they could keep the band, and the couple break up, again he said no, and that was all they wrote! I guess it's hard when a married couple are in a band together? It just sucks for all the fans that they couldn't keep it together. Neil, in a recent interview, said that he would NEVER do a RTX reunion, and that statement broke a small part of my heart. But at least we get two bands out of that one great one. After the break-up, Jennifer continued on as RTX(not Royal Trux, just the abbreviation), she got a new band, and carried on in the very Hard Rock period of the band. Some of it, in fact, is what you would call Cock-Rock, but handled with the usual Jennifer sleaze, it comes out great. She is also very clean now, although I do think she drinks, so that is a great thing. After 3 albums as RTX, she has just changed the name to Black Bananas. It's a mix of RTX, and very danceable funk sound, kind of like a sleazed up Sleigh Bells. I am digging it very much, indeed. Neil released 3 records under his own name, Neil Michael Hagerty, and then assembled a band and called it The Howling Hex. It is very challenging stuff, and holds true to the arty side of Royal Trux. I guess you can say Jennifer took the rock side, and Neil took the experimental side? The Howling Hex has several records under their belt, very prolific, and I think they have about 7 records already!! Well, it has been fun going over their history, and the romantic in me hopes that one day they will get back together, and fall in love, and make some of the most fucked up music that ever ruined my eardrums.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1989

The last installment in image experiment for the 80's, ends on the Full Moon classic Puppet Master. I've always liked Full Moon pictures, they are fun and cheesy, and are our generations version of Hammer films.They always put out very fun and cheesy stuff, and most of the franchises that they have produced are really good. I myself, preferred the Subspecies series, but Puppet Master was always fun stuff! The little characters for the puppets were very original, and I always liked that girl that spit the leeches, can't recall the name? This original film, I haven't seen since that year(1989), so I can't say a lot about it. I remember that it covered the origin of the puppet master, and how they came to be, so I am sure this is the most important one. I need to revisit this one, and the whole series in fact, because as I said, they really are a fun time! Well, this experiment has been really fun for me, I don't know if anyone read these, but I had fun. I am thinking about doing another decade? Should I do the 70's or the 90's....got any input??

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1988

This has been the most surprising result of the experiment so far. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that The Vanishing is NOT a Horror film. I suppose that many people would call it that, much in the same way that they call The Silence Of The Lambs one as well. Sometimes the suspense in these types film is so nerve-wracking that it feels more scary than most films being labelled as Horror. Another reason this is a surprise is because this is the original version of the film from the Netherlands, not the Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock American remake. Lastly, and shamefully, I have never seen this version of the film! I would really love to, especially that nice Criterion Collection version that was released. So I can't really comment any further about this film. I did see that aforementioned remake, but usually American remakes are stupid, so I will not use that as a model for discussion. If someone is reading this(Ha Ha), and have seen the original, please let us know about it, and why maybe this would be listed as a Horror film?

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1987

Another surprise here for 1987! Although it had some really cool poster/video art, this is one stinker of a movie. By 1987, the Slasher movie boom had petered itself almost all of the way out. This was sad for me, and many other genre fans who preferred Slashers instead of the more cerebral kinds of Horror that was becoming popular in the late 80's. So when this came out, I was immediately excited. I do remember that this one came to my local theatre, but I tried to go on the second week, and guess what? It wasn't held over a second week! in fact, I remember that theatre Manager telling my friend and I that they pulled the plug on it after 4 days, when 6 people total for all the shows is all that had paid to see it. Yes.....this really was proof something was happening to Horror. So when New World Video put it out, i immediately rented it. Too bad, this really is such a mess of a movie. Despite having some washed up stars, and some soon to be stars(Maureen McCormack & George Clooney), the film just couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Usually I can find something redeeming about a Slasher film, but not this one. In fact, after seeing it for the first time, I couldn't really recall anything at all about the movie, except it has some sort of "fake ending" in it. So as usual, years later when Anchor Bay dug it up, and put it out on DVD, I was excited to revisit it. Sometimes I do this with a film that I didn't initially care for, and I actually end up liking it(Slaughter High, Evil Laugh). But NO....there is still nothing good about this shit-pickle!! I know this one has some fans, and I've never been able to understand that. So if you are a fan and reading this....please leave a comment and explain why you are one? Thank you so much.

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1986

Wow, this is one of the surprises that you get from doing this sort of experiment and writing on it. This has been more fun writing than I've had in a long time. I am sure that no one is reading it, but it sure is fun to write it. Troll is not really a Horror film, but it has been labelled as such because of it's affiliation with Charles Band. This was before the uber-bad sequel, and the reputation the films have garnered. I do not know if Troll ever had a theatre release in that States, but I am sure if it did, it was very small and Regional. Like most people, I was introduced to this cheeze-fest via Vestron Video. I was 14 or 15 when it was released and my little sister and I were at the video store perusing the Horror section as we always did. I thought it looked original, and when I saw that it had a PG rating(maybe a PG-13), I got excited because I could watch it with Becky without scaring the piss out of her! It has a great cast of B-movie royalty like my favorite Michael Moriarity. It also features ex-Charlie's Angel, Shelley Hack, and of course....Sonny Bono!! This is in no way a "good" movie, but it damn sure a fun one! I have heard people call it boring, but it's really more like a kid's Horror film, and there is nothing wrong with that. The Potter family move into an apartment building, and very quickly their bratty little girl Wendy is possessed by a centuries old Troll. There is an old lady upstairs that is a good witch that teaches young Harry to fight of the forces of evil that the Trolls possess. I really like the special effects myself, they look sort of claymation-like, and very influenced by Harryhausen. I am pretty sure that future Director John Carl Beauchler did the effects? Well, I am sure that most folks have seen Troll, so I won't rattle on forever about plot lines, etc. What I like about it, is that it reminds of a time when movies were more fun and more simple. Nothing could be made like this film, now....it would be a CGI fest for sure. For years, there has been a remake in the works, and I am pretty sure that it is already in the can. But, for some reason, it's still not released, probably so bad that no one wants it to see the light of day. When will they learn not to remake the classics?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1985

Another film that I have fond memories of. I didn't really know how I would approach each of these when I started this little blog experiment. But as they go on, and I see the films that I saw in the theatre back then, the memories come flooding back. These films are the easiest to write about, because I think people like to hear about the experiences of seeing these classics on the big screen. Especially all of the Horror fiends that were born after the classic era, and have only seen them on DVD. So these films I can easily relay the experiences of what was going on in that time period. Back then, I was too young to see these film by myself, although many times, after my parents would drop me off, I would purchase a ticket for a Disney film, and sneak into the Horror film. It's funny that no one ever seem to notice little me, sitting in the back eating popcorn, and immersing myself into a nightmare world. I remember around the same time, the Spanish film Pieces was released in the states at theatres. I talked my cousin into going with me. We purchased tickets for the film Footloose, and snuck in. What was strange was this film was Unrated, and NO ONE under 17 was supposed to be admitted. But we went in a few minutes after it started, a claimed seats in the back, and was shocked to death at what we saw. My cousin was more scared that we would get caught, so he spent the majority of the film, eyeing the doors to see if anyone was coming to arrest us...LOL!! But when that didn't happen, I talked my Dad into taking me too see any Horror that I could. I figured it was the least he could do after he had made me see every western film that came out in the 70's. But out of all of these films that I forced him to see, there were only two that I remember that he really enjoyed, and those were Fright Night, and Return Of The Living Dead. So looking back, I guess he only liked Horror with comedic elements? Those were not my favorites, as I liked to be scared to death, not laugh! We both liked Fright Night a lot, I was excited by how big the vampire's mouths would get, especially Amanda Bearse's character. The image of that huge mouth full of vampire teeth stuck with me for a long time afterwards......this one is for you Dad.

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1984

The initial installment of the Elm Street series, the only one that really matters, in my opinion. The second one might be novel for all of it's gaiety's, but when we are talking about the fear that a real Horror film can instill, this one is the only one. I remember when it came out, and there was no hoopla about Freddy, we nothing about it, it was such a different time. I saw this film at my town's Grindhouse, The Triple, I still remember how sticky the floors were. The mosaic tile pattern in the restroom, and the small but cavernous third screening room that all of the Horror films were always shown in. The same room I saw such classics as The House By The Cemetery, The Return Of The Living Dead, Friday The 13th, Silent Madness, The Mutilator,  and many more. Of course, if the film was successful enough, like this one, it was moved into the first screening room, that was so big, you couldn't even see the front if you were standing in the back! Anyway, we all know what this one was about, but back then, we were so scared, and it left such an impression that we talked about it for days. We wondered if a killer could really reach us through our sleep. Yeah, it's funny now, but we were 14 years old. Too bad this great film had to spawn so many bad sequels and taint how cool and original Wes Craven's masterpiece really was and is.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1983

Finally one that I can get a little excited about!! I just watched this film again the other night. It makes a better watch now that I have became friends with one of the stars, the beautiful, Lesleh Donaldson. Although Curtains was a very troubled production, surprisingly it still came out very coherent, scary, and watchable. It also has always been lumped into the Slasher movie movement, when in reality, it is a very taught suspense film. I think part of it's bad reputation indeed comes from that reason. Younger genre fans who didn't see the film when it came out, search this one out, looking for a bloody bodycount movie, and that's definitely not what it is. The story is a about a sleazy movie director(John Vernon), who is directing a very anticipated blockbuster called "Audra". Samantha Eggar is his ex-lover, and dwindling ex-movie star, who has been promised the role of Audra, since it became an idea. She decides to check herself into a mental institution to prepare for the role of the mentally deranged Audra. The director, decides to lock her in the for a long period of time, against her will, and recast the role. He holes away in his mansion in the Canadian wilderness to try out a group of 5 actresses. Samantha escapes from the mental facility and also shows up vying for the role. The director starts sleeping with the girls, and mentally manipulating them, and someone starts picking off the girls one by one. Like I said it really is a mystery movie, and there is not a lot of blood, or hacking. There is one scene that sticks with all genre fans who are enamored with this film(myself, included). Lesleh, who is the youngest of the actress hopefuls, and actually just an ice skater trying to get into film, after the director has got into her pants. She decides to go for an early morning skate on a frozen lake out in the woods. She brings along her boom-box(hey, it was the 80's, remember) and starts playing her music, and skating away, after a few moments the music inexplicably stops, and Lesleh skates over to see what happened. She see a small hand poking out of a snow drift, and pulls out one of the creepiest dolls you have ever seen. After staring and being freaked out by the doll for a few moments, she hears a sound and looks over her shoulder, to see a figure in black skating fastly towards her. Now you really have to see the scene to understand why it has struck fear in so many viewers. The killer is wearing a mask that has come to be known as the "old hag" mask. A very old, female face, with vacant eyes, and stringy hair, and she is brandishing a scythe as she now skates in slo-mo vision towards the petrified young actress. Needless to say, the dear Lesleh meets her demise in this scene, but we are left to wait and find out who is killing these actresses off? Is it the director, is it the now crazy famous actress Eggar, or one of the hopefuls? Looks like you will have to watch it and see. Sadly it is only available on a cheapie DVD, although Netflix has it for streaming, and sometimes AMC and IFC will run it. Please check it out.

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1982

1982.....Cat People, to be honest, this is one that I haven't seen since it originally was released. Well actually, upon it's first run on HBO. I was a kid fully immersed in Slasher films, and something called Cat People didn't interest me that much. Still doesn't to this day to tell the truth. The only things I can recall about the film are, Natassia Kinski licking her own menstrual blood, Malcolm McDowell, and someone in a zoo getting their arm ripped off by a black panther. That's not a whole lot, I know, but I think there was too much sexual subtext for my 11 year old mind to wrap around. Any fans here??

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1981

Alright then, when I started this, I said that I would use the first image that pops up for that year, so I suppose that I should stick to that rule.Which makes 1981 hard, because not only have I never seen The Loch Ness Horror, I have never heard of it either. I have to admit, the poster is pretty amazing, and I would love to own and frame that beast! A cursory glance at IMDB tells me that it has a 2.3 rating, and that only 154 people have seen and rated it. The few reviews that are on there, are horrible, and I see many mentions of bad acting, horrible locations, and bad scripting. BUT, they all seem to agree that the robotic Nessie creature looks pretty cool! As all of you know, I live for bad movies, so all of this has me foaming at the mouth! I will now be on a search for The Loch Ness Horror. It has never been released on DVD(imagine that), so if any of you guys have a copy, know where I can get one, or if you have actually seen this film, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you?

The Horror Movie Image Experiment:1980

I decided to do a fun little experiment, and post it to the blog. We all know that you can get some crazy results when you do image searches on Yahoo. So I decided that I would do this for every year of the 80's(the best decade for Horror, IMO). I type in Horror movie images and the year, and I use the first one that pops up, even if it didn't technically come out that year, and say something about it. I'm sure there will be some that I am ecstatic about, and want to ramble endlessly about, and some that I loathe, and might say two sentences about. So let's see how this turns out.........
1980:
Prom Night is definitely not one of my favorite Horror films, and I would have never chose to write about it otherwise, so this might be cool. A lot of my friends, and people on the message boards that I frequent, absolutely LOVE this film! I have never been able to understand all of the hype on this bloodless slasher film. It opens great, and I absolutely love the scene with the kids playing the game, and the little girl falling out of the window. If the film had kept up this pace, it definitely would be one of my favorites. I actually like several of the characters as well, although Jamie Leigh is very wooden in this one. I guess my complaints are, like I said, it is bloodless, there is absolutely no gore in this film, if released today, it would definitely qualify for a PG-13. It's really more of a murder-mystery than a Slasher, which is fine, if it hadn't been promoted all over as a Slasher film. Another reason, is that it is a very dark film(no, I am not talking about tone/content), it's actually very hard to see what's going on. But, I will say that I don't absolutely hate the film, even though I have listed a ton of negative aspects about it. It's OK for a time waster, and I watch it every 5 years or so. Also, it spawned some very cheezy, but fun sequels(which have nothing at all to do with the original film), that are great fun to watch if you can find them. Lastly, I am sure all of you have seen this film, so I won't worry about spoilers*, the kid that plays Alex, the killer, is so horrible, and I think most of my negativity towards this film, lies in his hands. C'mon fans, leave some comments, and convince me otherwise. I would love to hear your thoughts on the film, pro or con, and also on this experiment. If it is fun, I might do the 70's and the 90's as well.