Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reader submission: Dracula-themed short film in the spirit of the holidays

I always like it when somebody sends me their own work, and it doesn't happen nearly enough. is where you can contact me with your music, films, art, etc.

Here's an interesting little short film I was sent earlier in the week, just in time for All Hallow's Eve. 'Danse Macabre' comes from Chicago indie filmmaker Derek Quint and his Addovolt Productions. It fits right in with the movies I usually post here, as it's intentionally designed to have that timeless, b-movie look. My guess would be 16mm film, but it could be digital post-effects. Either way, it has that cool look to it, and aside from a few modern-looking people in a crowd shot, it definitely succeeds in feeling out-of-time.

The plot consists of Dracula and his brides riding around in a limo on Halloween. When they stop for the girls to buy some jewelry, Dracula is kidnapped by some Vatican officials who plan to do away with him for good. Interestingly, the director chose to have the vampire characters ACTUALLY speak in Transylvanian, and the Vatican officials speak in Italian.

I won't give away the rest of the plot, but the mood definitely trumps everything else in importance. It feels like a less-disgusting John Waters short film, with the gaudy costumes and big ideas put on bargain-quality film. There is a choice moment where a guy on the subway is looking at the cast members, and you can tell it was unintentional.

I'm not up on my Dracula mythology, but the fact that Mr. Quint chose to use the Transylvanian language tells me there are probably other allusions to other vampire-based works here as well. Regardless, it's a fun little piece of independent filmmaking from some fellow b-movie aficionados.

Check out Derek's blog for Addovolt Productions here.

Some scare-tacular listening for All Hallow's Eve 2014

Even though I'm focusing on my movie blog right now, I had to come back with some scary albums for Halloween. Some of these are actually kind of frightening, but most are just silly. They're all out of the Obscuro! radio program vaults, from my numerous Halloween theme shows.

1. Anton LaVey - 'Strange Music' EP
The founder of the Satanic Church (and author of the Satanic Bible) is also, hilariously, fairly proficient on the pipe organ. He has another album of mostly instrumental stuff called 'The Devil Takes a Holiday,' and it's pretty funny to me that this dude obviously can poke fun at himself. Anyhow, the majority of these tunes are his versions on old standards (i.e. 'Gloomy Sunday.') It's not great, but it's totally the type of thing you can throw on at a Halloween party.

2. Lucifer - 'Black Mass'
Electronic music pioneer Mort Garson did this album under the Satanic pseudonym, presumably because it's darker music than his other stuff. If you like the horror-movie synth soundtracks of the 80's, or the library music stuff I've posted here, you'll probably dig this. I did feature it in a previous Halloween post, but the blog I linked to for a download is apparently long-gone, so I re-uploaded it myself.

3. The Elm Street Group - 'Freddy's Greatest Hits'
Of all the dumbed-down horror movie merchandise to come out of the 80's ('Toxic Crusaders,' anyone?) this might take the cake for stupidest. Some no-name studio musicians concocted these run-of-the-mill synth-pop tunes (many of which are covers of 50's and 60's novelty songs) and somehow got Robert Englund (aka Freddy Krueger) to lend his voice to them. It's all pretty bad, but 'Do The Freddy' at least has novelty appeal. I guess by '87, the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' franchise was pretty much a joke anyways.

4. Moevot - 'Ézléýfbdréhtr Vépréùb Zùérfl Màzàgvàtre Érbbédréà'
Okay, THIS is genuinely scary. An anonymous 'black metal' musician, whose music sounds more like recordings from inside a long-buried tomb than actual metal. I guess it's not to dissimilar from the ambient tracks on Burzum albums, just....way more poorly recorded. And it's got these weird groaning vocals that sound like a ghost. I dunno. It's fascinating, if nothing else.

Happy Halloween, y'all....

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New blog

I started a new blog, exclusively for my movie reviews. I will probably be posting more frequently in it than I do here:

Obscuro Films

Saturday, September 13, 2014

More incredibly strange metal

Here are a few more of these oddball metal releases I've collected over the years...

First, two non-classics from the Metal Enterprises label. See this post and this post for more info on that fiasco...

Kalaschnikov, like the other artists in the ME stable, probably just wanted distribution for their mediocre album ('The Torture Never Stops') but got ripped off like so many others when the label did a fake 'follow up' record with their own in-house musicians/producers. Unlike the other groups (such as Killer Fox, whose original recordings were just unlistenable garbage) Kalaschnikov's sound was at least weird on its own.

The whole album kinda feels like it was written in a day, including the lyrics, which are so over-the-top 'evil' you have to hear them to believe them. It's like somebody told the vocalist to just sing about stuff that was the opposite of the Bible, so you get classics like 'Kill Your Neighbor' and 'Devil's Your Hero.' Despite the crappy production, it's a pretty good time, and you can't really hate songs like 'Rockin' By the Graveyard' and 'Video Monsters.' The lack of musicianship also seems to have resulted in some unusual guitar riffs in a kind of Voivod-ish way.

So, then, enter the ME staff's version of Kalaschnikov, present on their second (and final) album 'Desert Storm.' It sounds like they weren't even trying on this one. Two long tracks of obvious space-filling 'ambient' stuff, a few songs that sound a little too musically competent to be the ME guess is that they got hold of some Kalaschnikov demos for a second album, and dubbed their own awful vocals over. Then there are a handful that are obviously the same people responsible for the second Killer Fox and Thrash Queen albums. The ridiculous female operatic vocals and the snarly cartoonish male vocals, bad drum machines and totally non-metal guitar tones. Oh yeah, and whistling solos.

Yeah. Fucking whistling solos on what is essentially a thrash metal song ('Czarewitch').

Well...basically, if you're for some reason collecting all the Metal Enterprises releases, these will be of use to you. Otherwise, probably not? Oh well, the first album is enjoyably funny at least.

Kalaschnikov - 'The Torture Never Stops'

1. Devil's Your Hero
2. The Haunted House
3. Rockin' By the Graveyard
4. Kill Your Neighbor
5. Chosen One
6. Demon's Rebellion (Instrumental)
7. Video Monsters
8. Hell's Runnin' Wild
9. Demon's Rebellion (Vocal)


Kalaschnikov - 'Desert Storm'

1. Czarewitch
2. Siberian Werewolf
3. Homage to the Holocaust
4. Headbanger
5. Stinking Shrine
6. Scull Scratcher


Lastly, here's a release that might not be EXACTLY metal, but it definitely has metal influences (mostly from the doom genre) and it's certainly fucked up. While there are quite a few bands calling themselves Warning, this is the 1982 release by the German synth-doom group. Actually, the vocals here wouldn't sound too out of place on a Metal Enterprises release...they're like...death metal growls? I guess? But put through all sorts of effects to make it sound like aliens. The music is literally a head-on collision between OG doom metal (think Sabbath and Witchfinder General) and euro-disco synth stuff.

It's pretty goofy, but it's also very enjoyable, and occasionally really creepy. One review compares them to Rammstein, and I guess that's not far off, but WAY WAY more 80's than that description lets on. It really does sound like Kraftwerk playing satanic metal before that kind of metal even existed. If you read this blog, you'll like it I'm sure.

Warning - S/T

1. Why Can the Bodies Fly
2. Magic Castle
3. Wild Roses for the Exit
4. Darkness
5. Out of Tune
6. The Door (Pt. I)
7. The Door (Pt. II)
8. A Message
9. Warning
10. Lost in Time
11. In the Crowd


Sunday, September 7, 2014

2 classics of 'incredibly strange metal'

Here are a couple relics from my days as a metal radio guy. Hopefully I will put some other stuff like this up here in the near future.

First up, an experimental death metal band from Italy called Trifixion. Apparently they only put out this one album, in 1995, although there is at least one other band with the same name.

It's way more varied than pretty much any other death metal release out there...atmospheric keyboard passages lead to psych-rock jams, which lead to trebly black metal guitar and psychotic screaming. I'm not really sure what kind of audience these guys were going for, and maybe that's why they only did one album.

I guess some of the experimentation could be called similar to Voivod (my favorite metal band) but basically if those guys were death/black metal instead of thrash. It isn't particularly well-recorded, but all the musicians are super-talented so you never really notice. The artwork is fairly creepy, too. Probably more out there than most experimental metal fans can tolerate, but outsider/weirdo music appreciators will dig this.

Trifixion - 'Abschurfungepoch'

1. Fear, Is All That I See
2. Col Heaven
3. Litanie
4. World Called Truth
5. Immortal
6. You Breed
7. Abschurfungepoch


Next is a release that isn't nearly as challenging or intelligent. Actually, it's not intelligent at ALL. You may remember me posting about Killer Fox and the awful Metal Enterprises label. Click that link, please, so I don't have to recap.

This is another outing from the producers of the second Killer Fox album, and it's just as awful, if not more so. There are some very distinct (and completely out-of-place) reggae influences, and it also has the WORST Beatles cover I've ever heard. The female vocalist who is present on the Thrash Queen album is on this quite a bit. Also, it seems like they included some demos by the original Godzilla band, as if the album wasn't inconsistent enough already. Just terrible, stupid, and entertaining.

Godzilla - 'II'

1. Ingoz
2. Helter Skelter
3. Ass of the Prophet
4. I Followed the Zombie
5. Cinderella Rockefella
6. Halfbreed
7. Killing Joke
8. Foul
9. Outgoz


Outsider cinema, vol. 2 - 'Hawk Jones'

First off, this post does NOT include a download link for the movie, BUT, it is extremely affordable from the creator's website, and I'd encourage all of you to support them.

This is one of the most bizarre things to come out of the 1980's VHS era that I've ever seen. We will start off with a quote from the director's website:

"Hawk Jones was the brainchild of Tor Lowry.  Tor got the idea for Hawk Jones when he saw a Bill Cosby Jello commercial in which all the kids were dressed as adults.  Tor thought that would make for an interesting movie to have an all child cast and his brother, Rico, agreed.  "

Yep. The only film I'm aware of with an all-children cast...but it's also not FOR children.

The plot is not very good, and the script isn't's your basic thriller/crime caper with 40's film noir references. Obviously, though, that doesn't matter, because it's ALL CHILDREN.

So, it's an hour and a half of kids smoking cigars, driving cars, shooting each other up (yes, there is blood), hanging out at bars, and talking like 1940's adults ('The streets are no place for dames!'). All of which makes for an incredible viewing experience.

One review I read claimed that this is the type of film you couldn't get away with making in modern times, which is definitely true. I'm surprised that they found a whole cast of children whose parents were cool with this back in '86 or whatever. I mean, some of it is borderline creepy. Judging by the info on the director's website, they did have trouble finding a distributor, even in the anything-goes VHS era.

What's weirder is that it's actually well does look to be shot-on-video, but the editing is flawless, and all the sets are well-decorated. My guess is that an extremely wealthy person did this, and had enough sense to hire people for production than do it himself. Somehow, he also found some pretty decent child actors...I mean, a few of them are REALLY good for how old they are.

Here are a few highlights:

-A kid hitman named 'The Eliminator' who wears some bizarre homemade sunglasses and a golfer hat.

-A lengthy, awkward scene where two kids 'make eyes' at each other.

-Multiple kid gangsters with drawn-on facial hair who keep asking their boss 'want me to waste him??'

-The music, which is gloriously 80's but also would be more appropriate for an early Olsen twins film or something.

-A kid playing an old man, complete with a walker and grey wig.

Yeah, it's great. I also wonder if any of these kids went on to become 'real' actors?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Outsider cinema, vol. 1 - 'Double Down'

It's been brought to my attention that some of you may be interested in this film...I uploaded it to share with a couple of interested parties on the RateYourMusic website, but the fact that people are asking about it means it's pretty damn hard to find...

I'm hoping that director Neil Breen doesn't sue the shit out of me, or get my Mediafire account taken down, but we will see. I don't necessarily feel bad about posting it, as Mr. Breen sort of condemns his films to obscurity each time he makes a new one. I even contacted him a while back about his second feature, 'I Am Here....Now' and he told me he wasn't making anymore copies. This one (his first film) is even harder to come by.

So, basically, this is 'outsider' cinema...made by a fairly successful real estate agent (the realty king of Las Vegas) who uses his earnings to make b-movies that he writes, directs, and stars in (and even does some of the music for, I think.) Which, if you know anything about film, means there is a LOT of room for things to go wrong...lots of situations where nobody else gives input or says 'maybe you shouldn't put that in your movie.' Fans of Tommy Wiseau's 'The Room' and 'Troll 2' would definitely be into his stuff. I'd wager that Breen creates even WEIRDER films...

Whereas Mr. Breen's two more recent movies are kinda sci-fi action, his first is mainly an action/thriller (I guess?!) with a LITTLE bit of fantasy thrown in for good measure.

Oh yeah, before I go any further, just in case Neil stumbles across this post...I have NOTHING negative to say about this movie. I will probably watch it over and over. Yes, it's basically a how-to on making a movie completely wrong, but that doesn't matter. It's pure entertainment, and it's also demented as hell.

The 'plot' concerns a genius computer hacker (who seems to not really know anything about computer) who is trying to save the world with his skillz, after years of working for anybody who will pay. It's unclear what he really does, but he spends a lot of time waking up halfway in his car in the desert (seriously, this happens about 10 times, and it's all different shots, so I'm not really sure if it's supposed to be a flashback or what) and dicking around with a whole bunch of laptops that never seem to be on. Most of the film is actually just that...the hacker (played by Breen) driving around Las Vegas with a car full of laptops.

Everything is held together by a voiceover explaining the story, that disappears halfway through for seemingly no reason...then reappears towards the end. Oh yeah, and somewhere along the way, the main character realizes he has the ability to cure cancer with his mind(!)

EVERYTHING you could want to go wrong most certainly does, from head-shaking music cues, to bizarre dialog, to the distinctly skewed worldview the film creates. And it's all completely awesome.

GET IT. Now, before the feds come for me...

and HERE

Also, if YOU somehow have a copy of 'I Am Here....Now' me out?