Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dreams #2

Welcome to round two, kiddies! Can you dig it?

Our new neighbor is a friendly young guy who just came in from England and is in America for the first time (and has an odd resemblance to Tim Roth). I become close friends with him, and we spend a lot of time getting high and playing videogames. One evening, we decide to go to Chuck-E-Cheese (the top floor of which is a casino, complete with guys in the character suits handing out booze). While there, I excuse myself to the restroom. Because of a drug I had taken earlier that day, my piss is bright pink and smells strongly of paint and Pepto-Bismol. It also stings horribly. This is a regular symptom of the particular drug I took. The security cameras that the restaurant has in the restrooms sees this, and as soon as I leave the restroom, I am approached by security guards who want me to come with them. My friend sees this, and reveals his shotgun, tossing me another one. We rob the place, but before we can leave, some of the guys in character suits appear with heavy weaponry, initiating a huge firefight. My friend is shot and killed, but I escape.
I died and went to Heaven, which was like a big quiet beach resort. I got to hang out with Divine and Hunter S. Thompson, the three of us deciding to start a talk show where we interviewed famous dead people like Kurt Cobain and JFK.
I was staying at the beach, got stalked by Kenny Loggins, who turned out to be a demon, (he teleported the hotel out into the middle of the ocean and made us get attacked by giant carnivorous manta rays), only to be rescued by Sleazy Peter Christopherson, Nivek Ogre, Trent Reznor and, oddly, one of the girls from PuffyAmiYumi, with Reznor getting killed and those other guys having a tribute concert, playing NIN songs in his honor.
I’m the leader of a mercenary squad, and the mission is to assassinate Jabba the Hutt before he can finance another Special Edition re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas (one of the potential changes being “Bart Simpson shoots first”). We find Jabba’s secret base of operations by looking at his MySpace page. When we get there, however, he is expecting us, and we are captured and subjected to horrifyingly gruesome tortures, such as trapping one of the team members in a paralyzed, still position and having buzzsaws slowly approach him from every direction (something like half-an-inch per second) – both sides, underneath, and above – until the saws collide, no matter what is between them all. I convince one of his Twi'lek cocktail waitresses to free me, and then I sneak into his docking bay and steal one of his ships. Before I fly away, I turn around and blast the hell out of Jabba's island base and eventually sinking it.
Scientists determine that, due to global warming, we only have one year left before the end of the world. There are riots, mass suicides, and everybody generally becomes an unfriendly asshole. During the last week, I go to the mall and have a huge fight (literally, we’re beating the hell out of each other) with my friend Lauren Carraman over the last tub of ice cream (the kicker being that, in real life, Lauren is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known). On the final day, I go to a symbolic funeral for Earth (taking place in someone’s apartment), where we are all going to spend our final hours alive. As I’m driving there, the tires on my car melt, so I have to get out and walk. Birds have fallen out of the sky and melted onto the sidewalks and there are flaming pieces of paper blowing in the breeze. Once I get to the party, we all drink wine and eat turkey and ice cream while wearing black suits and sunglasses. When the final minute comes, we all do a countdown (kind of like they do on New Year’s Eve) as the world goes up in a cinder.
That's all for now. Tune in next episode - same bat-time, same bat-channel!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Film Review - "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976)

The Man Who Fell to Earth
1976
Nicholas Roeg

The novel that this film is based upon is my favorite sci-fi novel of all time, I love David Bowie, and Nicholas Roeg is considered one of the best ‘artsy’ directors ever (Criterion sure loves the guy, so that must be saying something), so I was ecstatic about this film. Perhaps that’s why I feel a little bit let down… Oh, who am I kidding? This movie was just plain disappointing. I feel like Criterion owes me my money back for their overpriced release of this dud.
The plot is awesome… David Bowie plays TJ Newton, an alien from a dying planet who comes to Earth planning to become a mega-billionaire by putting patents on his super-advanced alien technology, and then building a ship to shuttle his people back and forth from his planet, so they can disguise themselves as humans, occupy positions of power, and then stop the dumbass humans from using up all the Earth’s resources and nuking themselves like Newton’s people did. However, along the way, TJ hits several snags, such as that painful, confusing thing called love, and discovering his fondness for alcohol and carnal pleasures… To say nothing of the government, who’s watching him very, very closely.
David Bowie was the perfect choice to play TJ Newton – he was Ziggy Stardust, man! However, it is Bowie’s presence in the film that brings up one of the things that annoyed me the most: if some random guy had been playing TJ and not a rock-&-roll sex symbol, I doubt Mr. Roeg would have felt the need to film rather graphic, really long sex scenes. Sure, we get to see Bowie’s dick, which is very nice, but it just slows the film to a crawl. And I suppose the scenes would be there no matter who played the role, since other characters have these hyper-extended pseudo-porn scenes as well (really, I do not need to see Rip Torn in the nude, no matter how experimental I’m feeling).
Another thing that irritated me is how confusing the movie is; if I hadn’t read the book first, I would be completely and utterly lost on what’s happening. And even having read the book, I was still terribly fucking confused. Things like irritating camera work (pointless zooming in and out during dialogue scenes) and huge jumps in the timeline from scene to scene with no indication that any time has passed just make the movie a chore to watch at times. Also, though Bowie kicks unholy ass, there’s some pretty cringe-worthy acting from other people here.
One thing that is important to note is that apparently, upon its initial release in the USA, it was heavily cut, and ended up over half an hour shorter. I must say, as disjointed as the movie already is, I would hate to have been one of the poor fools seeing the movie in an American cinema back in 1976…
I was extremely let down by the flaming wreck of a movie I was presented with. Criterion, you guys can do better… The only other movie I’ve seen from Roeg is The Witches, which I rather liked, so I’ll probably watch another one or two from him just to make sure I didn’t land on a creative slump with this one.
RATING: 4.5/10

Film Review - "Heavy Metal" (1981)


Heavy Metal
1981
Gerald Potterton


This is a huge cult classic 80’s relic, and damned if it isn’t downright fuckin’ rad. Based on a hugely popular sci-fi/fantasy comic series ‘for adults’ (not as in pornographic – more akin to a more modern and more serious EC comic) that was a smash hit in the 70’s and 80’s, this is a very R-rated animation anthology (with each segment being done by different artists, thus having a different style). The basic wraparound storyline is about a malevolent green orb (called the Loc-Nar) that is, essentially, the root of all evil in the universe. It is highly sought-after, despite the fact that it pretty much kills anyone who comes in contact with it. The first story is about Harry Canyon, a cabbie in a super-futuristic New York City complete with flying cars, robots, and ‘illegal aliens’ that actually are aliens… The place is still a dump, though. Anyway, Canyon gets caught up in some nasty mob business when the Loc-Nar finds its way into the Big Apple. The second story is about Den, a geeky teenager (played hilariously by John Candy) who finds the Loc-Nar and experiments on it, only to be transported into an alternate fantasy dimension where he becomes a muscle-bound hero fighting to save the girl. The third story is about the trial of Captain Lincoln Sternn, the most despicable man in the galaxy, guilty of twelve counts of first-degree murder, fourteen counts of armed robbery, twenty-two counts of deep-space piracy, eighteen counts of capitol fraud, thirty-seven counts of rape, and one moving violation. The fourth story is about a WWII plane filled with dead soldiers who are returned from the dead as zombies when the plane comes in contact with the Loc-Nar. The fifth story is about two stoner aliens and their horny robot sidekick (the latter of which is once again played to hilarious perfection by John Candy). The sixth, final, and longest segment is an epic action-fantasy story about a warrior woman who goes to battle against a cyborg tyrant and his violent armies, threatening to destroy the world.
Sure, this movie is little more than an entirely gratuitous teenage male fantasy, but dammit, it’s a really fun movie to just relax and watch. There’s loads of fairly graphic cartoon sex and super-graphic cartoon violence, but that sort of thing is a lot of fun every once in a while.
The acting is pretty notable, mostly for the fact that John Candy, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis all play several characters apiece and offer their comedic genius (and, though he doesn’t act, Ivan Ghostbusters Reitman produced the film).
The soundtrack is another place where the film shines. I love when we see good licensed music in a cartoon. Black Sabbath? Devo? Blue Oyster Cult? Cheap Trick? Hell yeah! Add to that an awesome score by Elmer Bernstein (who was probably one of my favorite film composers), and you’ve got a soundtrack that makes everything else five times cooler.
The animation is really kickass here, too. It’s got that 80’s feel to it most of the time, which I just love, but it’s also really ahead of its time in some certain places. As stated earlier, each segment has its own distinctly different animation style; the Den segment is clearly inspired by Frank Frazetta, while the Captain Sternn segment has a cheesy, cartoonish style with big eyes, square jaws, etc. and the WWII segment is drawn realistically, with some very grotesque gore and genuinely creepy zombies.
Is it a profound, thought-provoking film? Hell no. Is it without artistic merit? Not necessarily. Putting aside personal tastes for a minute, I feel that this film is a great time capsule from the early 80’s and an important part of the history of American animation. Now, as far as personal taste goes… I seriously love this movie. As much of a dumb, testosterone-laden film this could have been, the guys making it knew not to take it too seriously, so it has a great sense of humor about it that makes it so much more enjoyable and memorable in the long run. This honestly deserves every ounce of its cult classic status. It’s not even a guilty pleasure for me; I wear my status as a hardcore Heavy Metal fan with pride.
RATING: 10/10

Film Review - "I Spit on Your Grave" (1978)

I Spit on Your Grave
1978
Meir Zarchi

This is one of the big boys – one of the most notorious exploitation films in the world, infamously brutal, and famously beaten down hard by Roger Ebert. Yessir, that must be it – the film that has gone under about a dozen different names, but is most famously referred to as I Spit on Your Grave (or, as Joe Bob Briggs says that you’re supposed to pronounce it based on the trailer, “I Spit… on Your Grave”).
The plot is pretty much standard rape-revenge fare: Jennifer Hill, a New York feminist writer, moves out to the country so she can write the great American romance novel. Once there, she is eyed by a gang of chauvinistic rednecks, and soon enough, they’ve chased her down and are raping her in what holds the record as the longest continuous rape scene in motion picture history. Left for dead but still barely alive, she plots a violent revenge, and sets out to distribute some serious poetic justice.
Though many have accused this film of being dangerously misogynistic and glorifying rape, when viewed closely, it is actually a very feministic movie. The film quite obviously ‘sides’ with Jennifer, and the disturbing length and intensity of the rape scene served (at least in my eyes) as a way of making us despise the antagonists (who happen to be the only male characters in the movie) even more so that we’re excited to see them get their ironic comeuppance.
One of the things that sets this film apart and ups the levels of creepiness is that it’s filmed like a documentary. There’s no music anywhere in the film, the colors look very dull and depressing, and so on.
The actors are mostly good here. Camille Keaton, who plays Jennifer, seriously deserves some kind of award for her performance. She doesn’t speak much, but her facial expressions and body language tell us exactly what the character’s thinking. The rapists are made very easy to despise, thanks in no small part to the actors being particularly nasty with their roles, although the actor playing the retarded guy tends to overact and go all Jerry Lewis, which kind of takes away from the film overall (but I admit that it does make for a few laughs now and again).
The special effects deserve a special mention here. Oh, wait… What special effects? That’s right; the minimalist form that defines most of the film is about as low-budget as it gets, but it works for the most part far better than any special effects ever could have in some scenes (like the especially well-known castration scene, which is undoubtedly the cheapest ‘effect’ in the film, but is also the most powerful). Sure, this is kind of wrecked when we get some hideous attempts at make-up effects at the end of the film, but they still aren’t crappy enough to take back all the awesomeness from the rest of the movie.
This type of movie can be hard to defend in an artistic sense; most of the time, they are just as their detractors call them: sleaze. It’s all just a matter of taste. However, I must say that this one definitely stands out as being somewhat deeper and thus deserving more serious credit than most movies like this. Just go see what Joe Bob Briggs had to say about it – he gets it across a lot better than I ever could. But anyway, this is one of my favorite revenge-exploitation movies, and it helped me to develop my love for said subgenre.
RATING: 7.5/10

Film Review - "Happiness" (1998)

Happiness
1998
Todd Solondz

Based on tons of recommendations, I sought this one out for a while. Once I got it, I was so afraid that I would be disappointed, because hype always gives me unrealistic expectations. I finally got a copy of this, and lo and behold, it’s every bit as awesome as I thought it was going to be.
The film is an ensemble piece. The central characters are three upper-middle-class suburban sisters, but we focus on pretty much everyone related to them in some way. The first sister is an acclaimed novelist. She’s a cold, spoiled bitch, and spends most of the movie lamenting about how much she hates being admired, and eventually throws a damn hissy-fit because she wasn’t raped as a child and therefore can’t write about it effectively. So, she goes from there intentionally putting herself into potentially dangerous situations, namely with her middle-aged drunken pervert neighbor who also happens to be an obscene phone caller. The neighbor also has a story arc, mainly about his quest for sex while endlessly rejecting/ignoring his other neighbor, a lonely, overweight girl who obviously has a massive crush on him (pun not intended). The next sister is an over-emotional, aging single woman, and while she claims to be unloved, miserable and desperate, she’s actually dumping men just because they don’t fit her high standards. Eventually, she begins a relationship with a Russian student at the community college she teaches at, and even after he turns out to be a pimp and an abusive kleptomaniac, she stays with him happily simply so she can say she's in a relationship and that she feels 'needed' (and since I've been there, her situation is all the more bitterly humorous to me). The other sister is just a fucking stuck-up busybody bitch, plain and simple, who is always silently gloating to her sisters that she’s happily married with a wonderful husband, wonderful kids and a wonderful double-income that makes them practically rich. Unfortunately, she’s blissfully unaware that her perfect husband, a therapist, is actually a pedophile. This sister’s husband actually has a bigger role than she does, and he deserves it. Also, there’s a subplot where the oldest son (11 years old) is depressed because he isn’t able to reach orgasm when he masturbates, and has these creepy-yet-hilarious, completely deadpan conversations with his dad about these sexual customs. Oh yeah, we also get a look into these ladies’ parents, who are separated; the dad loves it because he was cheating all the time anyway, but the mom is upset because people keep forgetting that ‘separated’ and ‘divorced’ are not interchangeable terms, and whenever someone brings up divorce, she gets extremely emotional.
This is one of my very favorite examples of what a dark comedy should be; it’s funny in its own way, and it’s just so full of vitriol – I refer to it as ‘the anti-romantic comedy’ because of its extreme cynicism and pessimism. Basically, every single character in the movie is a contemptible piece of shit that deserves a slow death. Even the ones you almost feel sorry for find ways of making themselves utterly unsympathetic, usually through their own selfishness. And the one character who is successful in eliciting pity, who you want to see succeed, gets royally screwed in the end, moreso than any other character. The whole thing is a great study on the human condition, really – everyone is a selfish little thorn in everybody else’s side, and they all feel that the world owes them something, they’re all so high-and-mighty and constantly looking down upon others… Sometimes it can kinda make you step back to take a look at yourself.
The single most interesting character in this movie is without a doubt Bob Maplewood, the pedophile therapist. I applaud Todd Solondz for writing a character so well; basically, he’s not portrayed as the inhuman shadow-creature that other movies and TV shows have their kiddy-fiddlers as. Instead, he is, much like in real life, a flawed human being with emotions and guilt and everything else. So, he’s actually sympathetic, but at the same time, still a horrible monster that deserves harsh and severe comeuppance. To say that it fucks with your head is a massive understatement. Any movie that can make you think that much is truly great in my eyes.
The humor in this movie is very distinctive; it’s extremely, extremely dry and bitter, and pretty darn dark, too, so it’s definitely not to all tastes. So, if you want a top-of-the-line dark comedy that will also make you think (and very likely make you depressed), this is an excellent choice.
RATING: 9/10

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dreams #1

I know that nobody gives a shit, but that's never stopped me before - this is the first of an indefinitely running series where I describe some of the bizarre, disturbing dreams I have, selected from my massive journal of dream transcriptions, for your personal enjoyment. Each post in this series will have five or so dreams described in as much detail as I can remember (or, in some cases, care to post). Here we go...

While visiting friends out of town, I go to a mall perched atop a mountain. While browsing Hot Topic, I have a quick, dirty roll in the hay with a Goth girl I meet there. Later on, when I try to leave the building, I set off the security buzzer; apparently, during our little tryst, the girl dug her nails into my back and created a pattern that coincidentally has an uncanny resemblance to a barcode. The mall staff concludes that I am, in fact, merchandise, and cannot leave the store unless I am bought. I spend a few days in the store until I am bought by some kid who wants companionship. After one day at his house, I can’t take it any more, and start acting out. The kid returns me, on the grounds that I’m ‘defective’. The staff turns me loose into the store again, where I am trapped until the Goth girl returns and shoplifts me. We are chased by a hardass mall security guard (played by Steven Seagall), in an epic battle (in a water park, no less) that ends with us knocking him into a pool, killing him.

I get sent to the Wal-Mart to pick up some laxative, and it turns into a huge misadventure involving me having to fight pirates (led by my father, who I haven’t seen in over ten years in real life), escape from the Incredible Hulk, get blackmailed into bed by an unattractive, bitchy clerk who’ll only help me find the stuff if I sleep with her, get turned into a cat and have to find a way to change back while foiling an evil gene splicing project (eventually having to battle a shark-man), and help the store stock their new Goth section because all their redneck religious clerks are too scared to go in the area – and, when I finally get the stuff and get it back home, I get yelled at for buying the wrong kind.

My mom was having an affair with David Bowie, who was married to Josie Packard (a rich woman from the TV show “Twin Peaks”) and living in a mostly-empty palace. A new guy joins my therapy group (which is inexplicably filled with alcoholic ten-year-olds), and he quickly becomes my best friend. My grandfather goes completely broke and loses his house. Everyone in my family blames me, and I get kicked out so he can move in. I find a want ad from William S. Burroughs, who is offering room & board in his very large upper-class house for a reduced price if the tenant would do some fix-it work and generally assist around the house. So, me and my friend from group pool our money and both move in with the old man. The three of us bond quickly, with us having a great time having deep discussions with Burroughs, who is obviously a very wise and worldly person. After a while, Burroughs commits suicide, and leaves his house and money to us. I use some of the money to start my college classes, and on the first day I catch and calm down a girl who is on a drug-induced freak-out. The class takes a trip to a Willy Wonka-type chocolate factory, but with Marilyn Manson taking on Wonka’s role of owner/inventor/etc. (like in the video for his song “Dope Hat”). He gives us a tour, and several kids sneak off and/or disobey his rules just like in Willy Wonka, but instead of ironic punishments, Manson just flat-out kills the kids then and there. Later on, me and my friend, out of fear of being found out by our families, started hacking the fetish websites we visited regularly and temporarily taking them offline so that our families wouldn’t see them if they went though our ‘favorites’ on our computers that got left at our respective homes. We started hanging out with this drug-head who sold to Burroughs, but at one point, he steals some ideas that my friend and I had written. So, we go to his house late at night and snuck in. There was a “Star Wars Party” going on; in each room there were some absurdly massive female fans cosplaying as Jabba the Hutt. Guys would watch a Star Wars movie in each room while smoking opium (and/or drinking booze and taking all kinds of other drugs) and having threesomes with the girls. The guys would progress from room to room, with the goal to watch all six movies in a row without passing out or dying from the drugs. My friend had been to one of these parties before, so he knew exactly where to sneak and at which times to stop and hide. We found the writer’s computer and smashed it. Then, we decided to stick around and join the party. We left as the sun was rising, and went home. Then, I ‘woke up’ in my ‘real’ house, and found a package on my counter. I opened it to find a DVD. I watched it, and it was camcorder footage of the Terminator destroying me and my friend’s mansion and killing us both.

The sinister man working at the music store in the mall (he suspiciously resembles Rasputin) informs me that I can trade in souls for store credit. To test this, I sell him the soul of a stray dog, which is worth $20. I get psyched, so I start buying the souls of people I don’t like (kind of like that episode of The Simpsons – they decide to humor me, so they sell me something to symbolize their soul – only it turns out that they really have lost their soul) and buying tons of stuff from the store.

I’m living in the town from Mississippi Burning, and after having to watch all of the disturbing racism for all my life, I become a masked vigilante and kick some Klansman ass. At one point, I pose as a Klan member so I can get into the local leader’s house and kill him. I’m eating dinner at his house, and afterwards, he takes me to his basement, where he wants me to participate in Klan rites of passage, involving bizarre sexual acts with a headless (yet still living) chicken and a black girl who he has chained in his basement and tortured. As soon as I see the girl, I grab the headless chicken and beat the Klan guy to death with it. I set the girl free, and she becomes my sidekick. We travel the world as a superhero team, at one point going back in time to beat the shit out of Hitler and stop the holocaust. While we’re doing this, we create a tear in the space-time continuum, which throws the whole universe into a tizzy, causing reality itself to totally fuck up. The result is a world where Ronald McDonald is the one behind the holocaust, but instead of going after Jewish people and homosexuals, Ronald’s targets are lazy, obnoxious Americans, and his plan for the final solution involves catapulting them into a giant rubber kiddie pool and filling it with tar and concrete.

That's all for now, boils and ghouls! Ehehehehehe! Tune in next time for more terrifying tales of torment from the nefarious, nihilistic nightmare that is my subconscious!

David Lynch's "A Goofy Movie"

This is my favorite stupid YouTube vid, by far...



As a huge Lynch fan and probably the only person in the world who actually liked A Goofy Movie, hats off to the dude who made this.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Agonizing Bliss of the Angry Coconut

This is the short film I shot and lovingly stitched together over the course of a day for my art class midterm project (which I got an A on - woohoo!).

It's not supposed to be good. It's not supposed to be poignant. It's meant as a stream-of-consciousness type thing, with me filming whatever imagery and composing whatever annoying music came to mind first. It's sort of a loving, ameteurish piss-take on the pretentious art flicks that I adore so much.

Every aspect was handmade to be as irritating as possible, because here at Eternal Headache, we care. So, enjoy!

One of the most awesomely bizarre things I've ever seen...

...yeah. There have been some weird crossovers before (I can't be the only one who remembers the Sonic the Hedgehog/Image Comics crossover where Sonic and his pals team up with the likes of Savage Dragon and The Maxx, and in a particularly disappointing scene, Knuckles spends exactly one panel arguing with Spawn), but none of them have ever reached the pure what-the-fuck level of this. It's something that would just fail to work on every fundamental level (have we ever even seen guns in Archie?), and that is where the genius lies. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the meetings where they discussed this.
Soon, I hope to acquire this gem and maybe do a breakdown/review-thing on here. Until then, however, we can only speculate... At least/too bad this isn't the Garth Ennis version of ol' Frank...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Film Review - "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" (1992)


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

1992

David Lynch

This movie is a real mess. Not in a bad way; I really like it. But… Damn, is it frustrating. See, the Twin Peaks TV series is probably my favorite TV show, period. When I finished it up, I was excited about seeing the movie; I was expecting a resolution to the cliffhanger that the show left us at, plus a proper venue for some trademark grotesque Lynch weirdness. Well, we got one of those things in an overabundance, and it’s not the first one.
This is a prequel to the television series. The movie begins on a murder several months prior to Laura Palmer’s. The significance? It involves Bob and the Black Lodge, and therefore the circumstances, MO, and so on of Laura’s death are practically identical, which is why Cooper was sent to Twin Peaks; it is, as Gordon Cole designates it, a ‘blue rose case’, which is theorized to mean something involving the supernatural. So anyway, we start with Gordon Cole (God, I love that guy – David Lynch is a hilarious actor, and he was probably my favorite character of the show) sending two agents down to a different small town to investigate this other murder. These two agents are played by Chris Isaac and Kiefer Sutherland, and they’re pretty good at getting down the buddy-cop dynamic, given their minimal screentime. With these guys, things are pretty straightforwardly like an episode of the show, just with a few extra sprinkles of weirdness here and there. Then, we go to the FBI offices, and in addition to seeing more of Gordon, we check in on Cooper (who, despite being the main protagonist of the show, is completely absent from the film outside of this one scene) and my favorite pacifistic asshole, Albert Rosenfeld. Here, we have one of the most baffling events in the movie: a long-missing FBI agent just walks into Gordon’s office, and starts speaking, extremely cryptically, about where he was, and warning Cooper. Apparently, he’s been trapped in the Black Lodge, just as Cooper is in the final episode of the series. Then, the agent just disappears into thin air. This small part is played, with a great deal of creepiness, by David Bowie. After an oddly specific dream-based prediction by Cooper, we travel to Twin Peaks, where we spend the rest of the film watching the final days in the life of Laura Palmer.
This movie completely and utterly failed in the box office (even famously drawing booings and en masse walkouts at its premiere), for several reasons. First, unlike most TV-to-film adaptations, there is no space in the audience for newcomers; if you’ve never seen the show, then to say you’re up shit creek is an understatement (heck, even if you’ve just finished watching the entire show, you’re still up shit creek – and the movie came out well over a year after the show ended, too, so it wasn’t exactly fresh on the general public’s mind). Second, there were a lot of people who loved the show, but were new to Lynch. They enjoyed the quirkiness of the show, and how it handled dark subject matter and still had a wonderfully bright-eyed, lighthearted sense of humor about it. The movie is totally different; the only laughs are the awkward chuckles elicited by Lynch’s trademark awkward ‘what the fuck’ moments, and other than that, the movie is completely, utterly hopeless and depressing. It’s just plain dark. Adding to this, while the show was pretty straightforward, only getting into the abstract stuff with Bob and the Black Lodge, the movie is more along the lines (which are barely visible and, upon closer inspection, are actually a flaming bowl of dog biscuits and a record of the soundtrack to Flashdance) of Eraserhead or Lost Highway – it really fucks your head, and doesn’t even use lube. In fact, having seen all of Lynch’s feature films, I can say that this is probably the most disturbing of the bunch; this is one of those few movies that actually scared me and rekindled my fear of the dark. So, with all of that in mind, it’s no wonder why the general moviegoing public took a large, collective shit on this movie, and the critics followed suit.
This is actually one of my favorite films from everyone’s favorite crazy-haired mental ward escapee. We get to see a whole lot more of the Black Lodge and its residents, and they’re scary as hell. Despite being a prequel, we get to see some time-warped Cooper and Annie Blackburn, warning Laura in her dreams, which is cool. Without network restraints, the movie gets to go balls-out, and it mostly works – demon-possessed Leland is really fucking scary, and I was effected by it ever-so-slightly worse because I have a good friend who resembles Laura in every possible way, and it just pains me to envision these horrible things happening to her. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see all that many characters from the show – where are Pete, Josie, Ben, Audrey, Jerry, Blackie, The General, the whole Twin Peaks police force, and most of the other characters? Even the Log Lady, who one would have expected Lynch to make great use of in the movie, only has one line and about twenty seconds of screentime (granted, it’s a pivotal moment, but it’s still short). It also pisses me off that Leo Johnson is so watered down from the way he was in the series. He was a truly hate-able antagonist in the show; he was a wife-beating, teenage-girl-raping, motherfucking motherfucker, and I applauded when he got his brains blown across the room in the show (and I also thought it was a terrible move when they opted for a stereotypical moustache-twirling villain in Windom Earle afterwards, and got the even worse idea of creating ‘Franken-Leo’ as his obligatory brainless henchman). Here, it just seems like they… I dunno, ‘pussified’ him – he’s almost comic relief here. It’s not like he’s gonna upstage Bob as the villain of the movie, no matter how evil they make him… Whatever, though. It’s great to see a lot more of The Arm… I swear, that man scares the fuck out of me. Mike is a weird old (well-meaning) bastard, as always, and he also gets developed a lot more in this movie as the antithesis of Bob.
The imagery in this movie is great, but even better are the drawn-out, disturbing scenes with Leland and Laura, which add to the dark mood and creepy, squirmy feeling that’s there for the whole movie and makes you feel like you need a shower afterwards.
This is one of those movies where I’m pretty much the only person who liked it, and didn’t just like it, but loved it. However, in this rare occasion, I can very plainly recognize what made others hate it so much. That said, it’s still a fantastic movie, and one of the best Lynch films (and also serving as a sort of bridge between the 80’s Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart style, and the more sleek late 90’s/early 2000’s style from Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr. and Inland Empire). I recommend it, but only (and ONLY) if you’ve seen every single episode of the series beforehand. So… What are you waiting for? Go for it!

RATING: 10/10

Throbbing Gristle


Throbbing Gristle, how I love thee. Is it because you make good music? Not necessarily. Granted, some of it is just plain good music, but the reasons I have for loving and being inspired by this band are oftentimes misunderstood.

EXHIBIT A: "Hamburger Lady"
This song... Jesus Christ, this song scared the crap out of me, and it still does. This terrifying sound experiment stands as probably the scariest piece of media I have ever been exposed to. I still remember the first time I heard it - I was high, listening in total darkness, and I actually broke down crying because this song hit me so hard. It's based on a letter one of the band members got from a friend who was a hospital orderly or something;

"...by far the worst is the Hamburger Lady, and because of the shortage right now of 'qualified technicians', e.g. technicians who can work with her and keep their last meal down, Screwloose Lauritzen and I have been alternating nights with her, unrelievedly. If you put a 250-lb meatloaf in the oven and then burned it and then followed that by propping it up on a potty-chair to greet you at 11pm each night, you would have some description of these past two weeks. Which is to say the worst I seen since Viet napalms. When somebody tells you that there is a level of pain beyond which the human mind cannot retain consciousness, please tell them to write to me. In point of fact this lady has not slept more than 3-5 minutes at a stretch since she came to us - that was over two weeks ago and, thanks to medical advances, there is no end in sight; from the waist up everything is burned off, ears, nose, etc. - lower half is untouched and that, I guess, is what keeps her alive. I took one guy in to help me change tubes and he did alright, that is alright till he came out, then he spotted one of the burn nurses (pleasant smiling zombies) eating a can of chili-mac at the desk, and that did it: he flashed on the carpet. It's fucking insane is what it is."

Take a creepy, robotic reading of parts of the letter in cut-up fashion, mutilated by a vocoder and set against a hideous, roaring atmosphere that sounds like the auditory personification of pain, and you get a scary fucking song.



EXHIBIT B: Wreckers of Civilization
I don't like punk music. I've never liked punk music. I don't know why, but it never clicked with me, even though I like the idea of sonic anarchy. Throbbing Gristle basically holds the same ideals as punk, but the sound is more to my liking - computerized, experimental, glitchy. The fact that none of the members of the band had any kind of experience with music in any way, shape or form (aside from vocalist Genesis P-Orridge doing some avant-garde stuff in the past) and that their shows were almost entirely improvised intrigues me. For reasons such as these, their output is really kinda split down the middle - some of it is genuinely good, trippy, experimental proto-industrial. The other half of it is so profoundly god-awful that it's like some beautiful train wreck that people have gathered around because the charred remains have melted into the shape of the Virgin Mary - it's unbearable, and an extremely important development in the ideals of music and the artist-consumer relationship because of it. It's really something that must be heard to be believed.

EXHIBIT C: Influence
The band has had a massive influence despite its relative obscurity. TG has most notably been an influence on Skinny Puppy, who themselves would go on to pretty much invent 'industrial' as it is currently known (or rather, refine the sound that came from many differing sources). After breaking up, the band splintered into several, including Psychic TV, Chris & Cosey, and Coil. Coil was perhaps one of the most influential electronic/ambient bands out there, with some of the more notable followers including Aphex Twin and Nine Inch Nails, both of whom would go on to collaborate with Coil. Through that small web, an enormous trickle-down effect (or in this case, fuckin' waterfall) has come into play, with TG at the top of it all.

I could go on for quite a bit longer, but to cut out the faux-intellectualism for a minute, I'll state some basic opinion: I adore TG's output from their '77 debut up to '79, but after that they kinda went on a decline until the breakup. However, they've recently gotten back together, and their 2007 reunion album is one of, if not the strongest piece of production they've released thus far. Frankly, I can't wait for what comes next.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Proposition 8

WHAT THE FUCK, CALIFORNIA?

SERIOUSLY?

This is just gorram depressing. Yeah, Obama got elected, but the Neocon assholes wouldn't just accept a defeat, and they had to go fuck something else up for the rest of the population that isn't self-righteous busybody pricks! WHAT THE FUCK IS THEIR PROBLEM? GAAAHH! WAUGH! UNGH! AAAAAAUURGH *thud*

Seven Hours Later

Breathe... breathe... There we go. I'm calm now. What's that? A doctor? No - it was only an aneurysm. I mean, if it ends up causing any problems down the road, I could probably make a case in court - it's the Fundies' fault, after all.


I honestly don't get what the deal is. I hear more and more arguments against homosexuality in general, but none of them have ever gone beyond strawman arguments, fear-mongering, lies, damned lies, and "it's icky" BAAAAWing.


Here is the basic conversation you'll get if you engage the type of person who'd vote for Prop 8:


Moron: "It will destroy marriage!"

Me: "How the hell will it do that?"

Dumbass: "Because the bible says it's BAD!"

Me: "The same part of the bible also says that shrimp and mixed fabrics are bad. May I ask what that shirt is made of?"

Retard: "But GAWD destroyed Sodom and Gamorrah because of it!"

Me: "Read your own book. He destroyed it because of inhospitable pricks."

Stupid Bitch: "Well, it's still not natural - you don't see animals doing it!"

Me: "Yes. Yes you do. Do I have to tell you about the penguins again?"

Windowlicker: "Well, maybe they do, but animals also kill and eat each other! Are you saying that should be okay too?"


...and rinse/repeat. How many times do they shift the goalpost there? I lost count. And don't get me started on all the "omg pedophile" stuff either.


Again, though, I absolutely cannot fathom why people think it's alright to strip basic rights away from others due to petty-ass things like that! You know what the most sickeningly, depressingly ironic thing I've ever seen in my life is? Homophobic black people. I've seen many. I mean, did the world learn nothing?


I also can't stand the people who go right out and say that they're being persecuted by not being allowed to treat gays like second-class citizens. Take, for example, this video of a rally for Proposition 8:


...yes. He actually said it. He fucking compared gay marriage to Hitler. What. the. fuck. I mean, that's not even an lolwut - because it's so ridiculous it's not funny when you realize that these people not only exist, but have political power. Do people even realize that when they say shit like that, it sounds pretty much like "I'm being persecuted because I have to eat in the same restaurants as them filthy niggers!" I mean, boo-frickety-hoo; do I get a case if I whine some more about how very profoundly and deeply offended I am by you stupid motherfuckers? GOD!

Film Review - "Thriller: A Cruel Picture" (1974)


Thriller: A Cruel Picture
1974
Bo A. Vibenius

Yes! Yes! ROCK! It’s the ultimate Grindhouse film! The legendary bad boy from Sweden that got chopped to hell (and renamed “They Call Her One-Eye”) for its mainstream U.S. run was one of the biggest staples of underground 70’s cinema and a premier piece of 42nd Street sleaze.
The plot is universally recognizable and standard revenge-flick fare. A teenage farm girl (who is now mute thanks to the psychological trauma from being molestered by a creepy old dude when she was a wee one) is seduced by a handsome, mysterious stranger from the city, with his sweet car and hilariously 70’s pre-yuppie jet-setter clothes. The two of them go back to his place, where she is promptly drugged and raped. She wakes up a few days later, at which point she is informed that she is now a heroin addict, and in order to get her fix, she must live the life of a sex slave for Mr. Sexy Pseudo-Yuppie, who is actually a pimp/drug dealer/mobster/all-purpose baddie… Where’s James Bond when we need him? At first, the girl refuses to comply, and so her new boss gouges out her eye with a scalpel, to show her that whoring is serious business. So, she becomes a whore, with her clientele including a weird old guy who just likes to take pictures of her; a big dumb beefcake who enjoys it rough and dirty; and this really intense woman who’s into BDSM. The girl plans with another whore to escape by skimming off the top of their wages, and then, once they’ve saved up enough, making a break for it, getting new identities, and checking into a fancy detox clinic. The pimp finds out about this, and he has the other whore killed (because she’s at least in her forties and pretty haggard, and therefore expendable), and decides to give the teenager one last chance – however, to show that he’s not fucking around, he sends her parents a really mean letter to break their hearts and explain away their daughter’s disappearance (IE, something along the lines of “I hate you motherfuckers and I’m going to live with my new boyfriend, I hope you rot in hell blah blah blah”). The daughter attempts to go see them and show them that she didn’t write the letter, but she’s too late, and they’ve already savored a jug of bleach and joined the choir invisible. So, with this, the pimp has completely crossed the line. For the next [indefinite yet obviously very long period of time], she uses her days off to go train herself in many different forms of combat, from jujitsu to gunplay, and secretly skims off her wages to stock up on weapons and such…All in preparation for the big day when she’ll go see her pimp and terminally fuck his shit up.
This movie is everything that a Grindhouse picture should be; it’s genuinely thrilling, it’s got a defined artistic edge to it, it’s hardcore in every sense of the word, and, above all, it’s incredibly entertaining. There are parts of the movie that are honestly difficult to watch for their intensity; there are super-explicit sex scenes that show us the very meaning of ‘X-Rated’; there are some beautifully staged slow-motion gunfights that are almost like ballets, with the screen as the canvas unto which Mr. Vibenius paints with the most incredible shades of red. The movie just feels downright ‘evil’ in some scenes, but despite being so mean-spirited, the girl getting her revenge just gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling – for a character that literally does not speak a single word in the film, we just connect so well with her that we want her to succeed. We want so badly for her to fuckin’ castrate the pimp and then feed him his cock (and while his comeuppance isn’t as awesomely ironic as that, it’s still satisfying and innovative enough).
The action in this movie is also very well done. I’ve said many, many times before that I am by no means a fan of action movies, because they bore me. Usually, I just kind of zone out when faced with extended sequences of explosions, car chases, gunfights (especially gunfights in which there is absolutely no blood or gore), martial arts battles (especially when it’s lots of unrealistic and gravity-defying moves for no real reason and/or ‘not violent enough’ and just trying to be ‘cool’ – it’s hard to explain, but you know what I’m talking about, right?) and so on. However, on some rare occasions, I am actually thrilled, chilled, kept on the edge of my seat, and all the other clich├ęs, and this movie is one of those great exceptions. The action scenes are kickass – they’re bloody, they’re chaotic, and they actually remind me of Peckinpah in a way, which means instant extra points.This movie is best known for being a big influence on Quentin Tarantino, particularly for his two-part epic, Kill Bill. Because of that, it has been brought to a whole new audience (which I am a member of); Quentin speaks very fondly of this film fairly often, and he’s played it along with some of his other sleazy favorites at his Grindhouse film festivals. So, after having my mind blown (both literally and figuratively – OH SNAP!) by this fantastic piece of cinema, I can only follow suit and recommend this to anybody looking for one of the better Grindhouse flicks; this completely epitomizes everything awesome about Grindhouse, so this should be the first place they go.
RATING: 8.5/10

We have such sights to show you...

This is my first post on my new Blogspot. At least in the beginning, the only people on here will be those who know me... At least, in the beginning. Soon, I'll spread and subjugate like the lulzing Anons of a vengeful /b/, and soon thereafter rule the internet with an iron fist!

......buuuuuuuttt.... we may be getting ahead of ourselves.

Here's what to expect: political barbs, observations, rants, raves, film and music reviews, angst, pain, suffering, experiments, dream transcriptions, philosophy, fursecution, wildly fluctuating superiority/inferiority complexes, and the occasional atheistic ACLU nazi homosexual abortionist orgy/recruitment drive. As you were, gentlemen.