Sunday, March 31, 2013

Obscuro! Mixtape #11...'Spring in yo soul'

Another week, another mixtape. This one's in the theme of spring. I seem to listen to a lot of soul and funk around this time of year, mostly because it's so goddamn laid back. There's a lot more 'classics' than obscurities here, but that's alright. I don't think you can hear 'Little Child, Runnin' Wild' too many times in your life. Anyhow. Here it is, for your listening pleasure. Mixed together into one long 60-minute track, like the last few mixtapes.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Society's Fault 3-8-13

Gonna try these out here...this is the radio program I still do on WIDR FM. It's a journey through proto-punk, punk and post-punk with myself and cohost Jake. We talk a lot of shit on air. A LOT. Which is what makes this a fun show to do. Hopefully the music is some stuff you might not have heard, and hopefully it makes ya laugh as well. If these are successful, I'll keep putting 'em up since we do the show every week.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Obscuro! Mixtape #10...'Nightsounds vol. 1'

Maybe it's a product of ALWAYS working nights, but I seem to enjoy a lot of stuff that conjures up the feeling of nighttime. Some of the stuff on this mix is obvious, but hopefully there's enough unheard-tracks, too. I'll probably do a few of these, since I've got a huge amount of 'night' mix CD's for driving around and whatnot. This one's pretty good for driving, I think.

Faz - 'Homebrew'

This one took some time to find.

The initial description I read said something like 'late night piano rock with a homemade feel,' and it piqued my interest. I dunno, a few of the tracks are pretty good, but it's not really doin' it for me. Kind of cool for mixtapes maybe, but perhaps you all will like it more than me. Regardless, it's a hard one to find, and it's weird, so I'm putting it up here. It's even got the taped-on picture for an album cover!

Faz - 'Homebrew'


1. Soap Opera Wife
2. I Will Be There
3. Mama Loves Me
4. Take Me Back
5. Sky Blue, In Love with You
6. Dance, Dancing Baby
7. Everlasting Love
8. Bird of Prey


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Obscuro! Mixtape #9...'Soundtrack to not giving a fuck'

Another 40-minute blast of tunez for you. The theme this time around is '90's slacker rock,' if there is such a thing. Remember when indie rock used to be more about being bored than sad? I sure do...Can't stand much of the new, supposedly 'underground' shit that's coming out because it sounds just like mainstream. At least the early-to-mid-90's was a time when both the mainstream and underground were pretty cool. Whatever. That's my rant. Here's some good music for ya. Mostly mid-90's with a few of the more 'slacker' 80's hardcore cuts thrown in.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Films 9 - More Low Budget Nitemares

Okay...after spending a whole shit-ton of time this week watching bargain-bin flicks, I've got some more to review.

'The Jar' - 1984
Don't know much about this, other than it is VERY weird. In an Amazon comment, the main 'actor' talks about how low-budget the project was, and apologizes for his acting. I dunno, it wasn't really that bad...a lot of lists seem to cite this as one of the worst horror movies of all time, and I guess if you go into it expecting a 'horror' movie that's probably true. It IS a very good surrealist piece, though, and I don't think the surrealism is completely unintentional. Sure, the acting is a little wooden, but (and I hate to keep going back to this, but it's true) so is the acting in MOST David Lynch films, because it's not really 'about' the acting. Basically, a guy comes into possession of a jar that contains some weird, possibly alien being. It starts fucking with his mind, and days start and stop at random...he'll end up someplace different for no reason, and it's not clear what's a dream and what's not. It also doesn't really end. It's apparently not shot on VHS like I thought, but whatever the low quality film stock is, it amps up the menace for sure. I can't recommend this enough for fans of surrealism and creepy low-budget oddities. Probably going to be watching this one a lot more...

'Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness' - 1986
This one is also fairly weird. It seems like it's supposed to be a 'regular' kinda slasher film, but is just a big oddball mess. Not as low-budget as you might think, but there are some very strange editing/story decisions that don't really make sense in terms of filmmaking. It kind of just follows this guy along as he goes crazy from finding his wife cheating on him...he keeps doing ridiculous shit, then getting put in the psych ward (it happens like 3 times) then he gets out and inevitably plays 'truth or dare' with someone...usually imaginary. The 'dares' include things like popping out eyes and cutting arms off...shit like that. I heard this described as a 'fever dream' and that's kind of fitting. The score music comes in at the wrong time often, and stops for no reason, and there's really not a point to the just kinda keeps going and going...aside from about 20 minutes of being way too slow, it was pretty entertaining.

'The Dark Planet' - 1989
This one's so underground it's not even on RateYourMusic...impressive...apparently the work of Richard Corben, who had a lot to do with the 'Heavy Metal' film and the 70's comic book it was based on. I don't remember the film too well, but his segment was called 'Den.' The review I read for this was basically almost don't believe the guy worked on such a cool thing as 'Heavy Metal' upon seeing's VERY poorly done. I don't think there's anybody involved but him and maybe one or two other people.  A lot of the film is amateurish clayamation and puppet-work, and if there's a live actor, it's usually just one on the screen at a time. I guess the structure is pretty similar to 'Heavy Metal,' as it's an incomprehensible mess of 'segments' only held together because they occur on the same imaginary planet and involve the same ancient artifact. I really don't know what to say about's definitely artistic, but it's pretty much a failure, but it's still kinda cool...even though I couldn't even begin to tell you what it's about.

'Woodchipper Massacre' - 1988
Possibly the most zero-budget film I've ever seen...maybe even moreso than 'Quadead Zone.' Basically a young dude (probably 19?) and his family making a shot-on-video flick about a crazy aunt who accidentally gets killed by her nephew while babysitting. Since they have a woodchipper rented for the weekend, the kids decide to just chop her up, but they have to freeze her first because apparently woodchippers don't work for 'wet stuff.' Then they kill her son because he's an asshole and why not? For a 'splatter' flick, it's not very violent, and it reminded me more of an afterschool special or 'Full House' or something. Lots of fun if you have 80 minutes to kill. Writer/director/actor Jon McBride seems to have made some other, gorier flicks that I'll have to check out. This one, like 'Quadead' also seems to be scored on a cheap Casio keyboard. Cool.

'Rubber' - 2010
Pretty decent for a 'newer' flick...which I don't usually like. Aside from the whole 'oh my god, can you BELIEVE we MADE this movie?!' attitude throughout, it was fairly enjoyable. Yes, it's about a tire that blows up animals and people for no reason, but no, it's not a 'retro'-style B-movie. It's more of an art-project kinda thing...about how strange of a concept the film actually is. It makes some good points in that respect, but it's VERY heavy-handed. I dunno, it might have been better if they'd gone for a more retro vibe. As it is, I probably won't re-watch it anytime soon, but I don't regret the 90 minutes I spent on it.

'Big Money Hustlas' - 2000
Yup. The Insane Clown Posse's first movie. I remember being fairly impressed by this in high school (and I hated them then) so I re-watched it. Hilarious. If you hate ICP, watch this, because you will look at them in a totally different light. Yes, it's cheesy, low budget, stupid, gross and foul, but so are the blaxploitation films they're parodying, and they do a much less pretentious version than say, Quentin Tarantino (who I DO still hate). I mean, they even got Rudy Ray Moore to be in well as The Misfits and fucking Harland Williams. Definitely the hardest I've laughed in a while, and it shows that ICP might be loud and obnoxious, but they're NOT stupid. They totally know what they're doing, and the fact that Violent J supposedly wrote this film in like 2 weeks is incredible. Harland Williams, of course, steals the show, in possibly my favorite role from him as officer Harry Cox.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Films 8 - Low Budget Nitemares

Yesssss time to review some more films. I've been watching scores of shitty movies recently, and now you will benefit from that.

For some reason, ever since I was a kid, I've always loved the look of those homemade VHS releases you would find at mom-and-pop video stores. What you might call 'low-budget,' I would call 'minimalist.' I've never been one to fault someone's art because they didn't invest enough money in it. BUT, despite my love of the older stuff, public access TV has reopened my eyes to the world of shitty NEW cinema. Apparently, lots of oddball one-man projects are getting made in the West Michigan area these days...


'Weasels Rip My Flesh' - 1979
Usually, you expect a horror film shot by a 16 year old on 8mm to be horrible. And, while Nathan Schiff's work gets written off as 'z-grade' a lot of times, there's quite a bit of cinematic merit in this flick. I mean, it's not just some bizarro outsider project that's weird because it was made by weird people. There's something else going on here. Dude know how to work with his 90 dollar (!) budget, and the score is fucking terrifying. Plus, considering what I've heard about his third film 'Vermillion Eyes' (un-findable ANYWHERE, if you have this please GET AT ME) homeboy was more about David Lynch than Ed Wood. Yes, the acting is bad, but it's his friends so what do you expect? The first thing I noticed was that the writer/producer/director/etc DIDN'T act in his own movie, which is a rarity, and seems pretty mature for a 16-year-old filmmaker. Yes, it's about some kids who dump nuclear waste on a weasel and make it radioactive, but that's beside the point. I liked it.

'Tales from the Quadead Zone' - 1987
The first of two films by Chester Novell Turner I watched this week. Call me uncultured, but I love a movie that just breaks the hour mark. That's the sign of a responsible low-budget filmmaker. Somehow this 'Tales from the Crypt'-styled flick ended up being only 62 minutes, but that's fine by me. Like I said before, I won't fault anybody for not having enough money to make a flashy picture. Obviously, if you do that, then you have to discredit awesome things like 'Eraserhead.' This dude VERY obviously shot the whole film on a cheap VHS camera and--get this--scored it with one of those cheap Casio keyboards. No, it doesn't just sound like that, it clearly IS that. I should basically be able to tell you that this movie features a fat redneck guy murdering his family so he can eat their sandwiches, and a guy who takes revenge on his dead brother by dressing him up like a clown and burying him in the basement. Yep, it's demented. But you can tell this isn't just some vanity thing...dude spent a LOT of time on the editing, and there are quite a few genius, Chester doesn't attempt anything he knows he's unable to do, which makes this a REALLY good example of minimalist filmmaking, in my opinion.

'Black Devil Doll from Hell' - 1984
I'm glad I watched this after 'Quadead,' because I would've written off Mr. Turner had I seen his debut flick first. It's definitely not as good as 'Quadead,' but I wouldn't say it's the 'worst horror movie of all time' like a lot of people seem to think. No, it's just as low-budget as his sophomore film...his grasp on filmmaking isn't as good though. If anything, the soundtrack is better...he had some weird dude write an intro song, and somewhere in there is a ballad sung by (I can only assume) Mr. Turner himself...and damn, homeboy can sing! This one is much more 'blaxploitation' than 'Quadead,' and is pretty pornographic...I mean, it's a chick getting raped by an evil doll, basically. Still, it's pretty good, and probably better in a group setting for the sake of riffing on it. Some DVD company should be putting out both of Chester's films by October of this year...til then, they're both free on Youtube.

'Wax or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees' - 1994
I read about this film years ago, then forgot the name and could never find it. Cool factoids: First film translated into code and uploaded to the internet. First indie film edited on a non-linear system. William S. Burroughs makes a guest appearance. NONE of those things make this film any cooler, because you COULDN'T make it any cooler. Featuring a totally non-linear story about a computer programmer getting hypnotized by his bees and trying to reach the land of the dead...or something like that...this is truly one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen. No kidding. The cheesy old-school computer editing makes the whole thing even creepier and weirder, and the fact that this guy apparently dropped off the face of the earth after making this film add to the mystery. Even though it's entirely narrated by the director (one Mr. David Blair) in his deadpan voice, it's totally not boring even for a second. Really. Fucking. Weird. If you like Lynch, Jodorowsky, Cronenberg, etc you NEED to see this. It is just as weird, surreal, and experimental, but in a completely different way. Also...I've not found confirmation, but I'd be willing to bet that the dudes who made that bizarro Adult Swim series 'Xavier: Renegade Angel' loved the shit outta this movie...very similar vibe.

'Th3 Bas3m3nt' - 2009
This is one of those odd things I found on late night public access. Gotta love it when you can't find ANYTHING on the internet about a film. Completely self-made (and funded, I'm sure) by a guy named Chris Penney outta Grand Rapids, MI. The feeling I got watching this was that some soccer mom and her husband made this on their weekends, and that seems fairly accurate. It's like they wanted to make 'The Ring' or something, but didn't really have a proper grasp on what's scary or what's emotional or anything like that. Honestly, I'm not even sure of the's one of those movies where you have to actually try and figure out what the person was trying to say...not in an artistic way...just in general. I think it's about two families with an eerily similar history or something. Regardless, it's pretty goddamn weird in that 'The Room' kinda way. Definitely a couple 'laugh til ya cry' moments. I'm gonna write Dogbyte Films, who put this thing out, and see if I can't get a copy on DVD.

'Smells Like Community Spirit' - 200?
Another public access find. Dunno why I sat through this...other than it was locally made....I guess it was entertaining and killed a couple hours. Reminded me of those Troma movies where they just try to do a straight comedy, but it's not quite funny or interesting enough. You know the type of films...faceless jam band scores to emphasize the 'goofiness' of the flick. It's about a guy who buys a bowling alley in a small town to 'get away from things,' but then a corporate Walmart-esque store is going to move in and ruin everything, so he joins up with some other local business owners to fight 'em. I can always appreciate that type of message. Some sub-par acting, but whatev. The 'wild card'-type guy wears a shirt for each day of the week, which was funny.

'GR 30K' - 2010
Public access find. Perhaps only interesting if you're from the West Michigan area, this is an apocalyptic vision of Grand Rapids in the year 30,000. Okay. First of all, that's obviously wayyyyyy too far in the future for what happens, but whatever. First thing I could tell is that this dude (Dan Falicki apparently) was really into 'Sin City,' which is okay, since that's one of the more creative flicks that came out in the past 10 years. Or 20 or however long it's been. It's set up like that movie...a few different stories that don't really intersect...some long, some short. Notorious billionaire dickhead Dick DeVos is parodied at great length, which is why I said it might only be interesting to people from this area. It is an enjoyable film in its own right, and especially funny if you've ever been to GR. My only complaint is that it was like 2 and a half hours...wayyyyyyy too long for a homemade movie shot entirely on green screen. Oh well. This Falicki dude is quite a talented filmmaker.

...more to come, as soon as I get through some of these titles on my list...namely 'FART - The Movie' which promises to be quite awful. In the meantime, I'm sure you can find some VHS absurdities over at Bleeding Skull.