Archive for October, 2010

Vampyr (Carl Dreyer, 1932)

October 31, 2010

I’m going to end the  horror countdown with an eerie vintage black&white whisper rather than a slicked-up bloody slasher bang.  Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr is one of my favorite silent(ish)* films, at once both arcanely ancient and avant-garde, and I love giving in to its gauzy ominous spell this time of year.  Dreyer’s  images and shot compositions defy both the cinematic conventions of his time and ours, which lends a deeply unsettling characteristic to this early tale of vampiric drama.

In pursuit of his occult studies, young, wide-eyed Alan happens by a forlorn hamlet, steeped in death and mist.  Almost immediately upon arrival he’s approached by a hoary old man who in fear for his life and his daughters’ draws Alan into his confidence in hope that the young man will be their salvation, as nobody else seen thus far is to be trusted.  Seems that all the other villagers have been culled from a Goya painting, especially the country doctor who is cagily harboring a vial of poison and an ungodly arrangement of facial hair.  

Although this sounds like a solid plot set-up I don’t want to give the incorrect impression that this film is in any way substantially plotty.  Vampyr‘s immense strength is the sinister, oneiric atmosphere that arises from the accumulation of deeply striking images softly piling onto one another in a dread quietude.  As you watch Alan wander through this film its as if slipping into the hazy netherworld ‘twixt wakefulness and dream. 

*Vampyr is not technically a silent film, although that was Dreyer’s intention. However, dialogue is very limited, and so much of the development driven by text, that it pretty much is silent anyway.

Advertisements

May (Lucky McKee, 2002)

October 29, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Although May’s titular leading lady, played to chilling pitch-perfection by Angela Bettis, stands in the same pantheon as such deeply damaged cinematic girls as Carrie and Carol from Repulsion… the film is something altogether unique and engaging, a strange, unsettling concoction of tones and genres.  It starts out as an inky black comedy where we’re almost invited to laugh at Angela Bettis’ assortment of tics and issues both emotional and physical but as the movie edges into its gruesome final act (an ending long seen coming but still no less effective) the viewer’s assessment of May becomes a mélange of conflicting feelings…I’m not quite comfortable with the pity and sympathy I have for her, but they’re there all the same.  May is a girl who is too weird for the movie’s microcosm of society that ostensibly wallows in oddity and the macabre but understands the difference between appreciating it from a safe distance, and the horror being internalized.  Its heartbreaking to see May encouraged, embraced…”I LOVE weird!”, they all say… and then immediately turned out as a freak the moment that she thinks she’s finally made a profound connection.  But then again, they’re right.  May is scary as shit.

We’re first introduced to May as a child, alienated from the other kids because of her overbearing mother’s insistence on her wearing an eyepatch to cover up her lazy eye.  She is gifted with a friend, a creepy doll with sunken, forlorn eyes named Suzie, but forbidden to take Suzie out of her glass box.  “She’s special!” May’s mother insists.  May grows up to be quite the alluring beauty, obviously a kook at the onset and obsessed with people’s ‘pretty parts’ but keeps just enough of her thoughts and fancies and neuroses hidden within that she attracts attention both from a scruffy gent she falls for hard, and from her sexed-up lesbian co-worker (hilariously played by Anna Faris, whom I adore).  However, once it becomes apparent that May’s version of weird trumps theirs, she’s pushed away, and May’s fragile, tenuous grasp on sanity finally splinters like glass.  And then comes the final act, which I shan’t spoil.

The film is great fare for this countdown ticking to its conclusion, as the horrifying finale is set on Halloween night, but more importantly because it exists on the outside fringes of public cinematic consciousness (Poor Lucky McKee can’t really catch a break today).  It’s a highly enjoyable, blackly funny film but it leaves you with a dark sadness and sympathy for the poor demented girl who just wanted a friend, which is quite a feat.  Many horror films can scare you but not many can make you care.

The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)

October 28, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

The 2000s have produced only two movies that have scared me to the point of trauma: Verbinski’s The Ring which I saw opening night in theatres, and Neil Marshall’s The Descent which I saw last night, cowering behind pillows.  I woke up this morning, still scared…which makes for immediate grounds to enter it into the horror countdown.

A group of intrepid, thrill-seeking female friends reunite in the Appalachian mountains for a caving adventure and to support one of the women, Sarah, who lost her husband and young daughter in a car accident.  There’s much chatter amongst the women, a small subplot that hints at the late husband having an affair with one of Sarah’s friends but really, this doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that these women descend into a monstrously large and labyrinthine cave system that, as they will soon find out, is unmapped by man.  And they get lost, trapped.  And then the creatures appear. 

Frankly, this movie didn’t need a bunch of bloodthirsty, slimy pearlescent Gollums picking off the ladyflock to be scary; the frights that come along with their creeping entrance into the movie are your cheapest horror jumps ‘n bumps.  However, you’re gonna fall for them anyway because of the spell cast by the overwhelmingly smothering horror that the film carefully develops in the first hour.  Shrouded in blackness broken only by headlamps, the women wedge themselves through impossibly narrow cave tunnels as they wend their way through the system, only to find out after the harrowing collapse of their exit route that the ringleader of the group has led them into a cave system that is uncharted, ostensibly to give them the eventual glory of ‘discovering’ it for themselves.  As the weight of the true peril of the situation hangs heavily on them, panic rises up…both theirs and ours.  And then the cavethings show up to lead the proceedings more along the lines of your rote horror film formula.

This isn’t a perfect film, but it is un-be-liev-a-bly terrifying.  I’ve never, ever seen a movie so effectively manipulate everyone’s inherent, even dormant, claustrophobia so well.  Neil Marshall, I am duly impressed.  And traumatically scared.

The Hater Report #58

October 27, 2010

1)  Nothing like a heated election to bring out the best in people.  Watch as a grown man curb stomps a young girl’s melon.  It’s important to note that he is now demanding that SHE apologize to HIM.  Nice work America…nice work (see above video)

2)  Impending global extinction crisis hangs heavy over the Earth.  Number One most threatened American species on the list?  Common Sense:  (LINK)

3)  Charlie Sheen caught with a face full of blow and a bleeding hooker locked in his hotel closet.  What day is this?  Wednesday?  Oh, ok…sounds about right then:  (LINK)

4)  Katie Couric has been documenting her travels through the Midwest, or as she lovingly refers to it as, the “great unwashed middle of the country.”  Ouch!…biting remark by the so-called, Queen of Mean.  To be fair, while totally accurate, her comment  implies a conscious decision to be dirty on the part of the Red Staters when, in reality, their lack of cleanliness is out of their control.  They’re simply too fat to wash themselves.  Shorts arms and round bodies…terrible combo:  (LINK)

5)  The Family Research Council President has been getting wild recently.  Apparently emboldened by the rabid hate and anti-intellectualism that’s infected a depressing percentage of the American population, he is now claiming that gay teens commit suicide because they know they are “abnormal.”  It’s amazing the type of beliefs a man can rationalize in the name of God.  Amazing:  (LINK)

6)  A Republican candidate for Illinois state senate, Al Reynolds, silenced a crowd at a recent forum when he said that black men, “find it more lucrative to be able to do drugs or other avenues rather than do education.”  Nothing like an unfounded, ignorant, inflammatory, wide-sweeping, negative generalization to jump-start a floundering campaign!:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: October 27th, 2010

October 27, 2010

John Lee Hooker…Hobo Blues…Live in 1965…American Folk Blues Festival…this song makes me wish I was sitting by a camp fire, spinning yarns, drinking moonshine, and smoking a pipe…builds steam like  a train…

Cabin Fever (Eli Roth, 2002)

October 27, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.


I love Eli Roth.  I love his smug face, cheeky smirk, his arrogant wink.  And I love his debut feature Cabin Fever, which chronicles the eventual demise of a group of college kids camping in a cabin in the woods by an aggressive flesh-consuming virus.  I know in some circles admitting such is akin to sporting a John Wayne Gacy tee and bumping off some neighborhood pets, but I’m going to unabashedly carry on because I feel he is often unfairly maligned for his films, a handful of which are some of the most enjoyable and well-crafted horror flicks to come out of the 2000s, in my opinion.

Roth’s more (in)famous film, Hostel, has almost been entirely co-opted as a portent that society is rotting from voyeuristic bloodlust and the mere act of watching Hostel (never mind enjoying it!) implicates the viewer as complicit in the plot’s grotesque perversity.  Oof!  There have been films that I might personally condemn as being utterly soundlessly depraved but Roth’s films, especially Cabin Fever, are bursting with a deliberate trashiness, a stylish self-aware breezy sleaze that is both inspired by and is in homage to the energy of the grindhouse pictures upon which Roth feasted growing up and into his own as a filmmaker.  Sometimes a good, clean, funny, gory romp through the woods with some dumb co-eds getting picked off one by one by a flesh-eating disease is exactly what we need!  Especially when it’s so splendidly cinematic.  Eli Roth is a very fine director, with an eye for excellent angles, composition and editing.  I know it sounds odd to say, considering the nature of the film, but I don’t see any overarching and alarming sadism in Cabin Fever, there’s not that steely-edged hardness that makes your stomach curl like a strip of paper held up to a flame….rather, you’re churning with queasy delight when an infected girl decides that now would be a good time to shave her legs.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy Cabin Fever.  I think its loads of horrific fun.

Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

October 26, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

While it’s more a drama than a straight-up scary flick, Roeg’s supernaturally tinged tale of a married couple mourning the loss of their daughter encroaches quietly with such an ominous foreboding atmosphere  that the terrifying coup-de-grace of an ending just about does one in; it out-horrors most horror films in terms of mood and shock.  The setting is Venice- but not at all a Venice usually shown on film; it is a deserted, shuttered city on the brink of winter, shrouded in grisaille, silent but for the lapping of water on the cold, ancient stone.  The parents, played with dignity by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, relocate for a restoration project to Venice after the drowning death of their daughter, Christine.  In their new setting water is pervasive, always there to reflect the glimmers of associative memories of the young girl slipping beneath the surface of their homestead pond in her carmine red slicker.  One day, the specter that hangs over the grieving couple materializes into tangible form in the eyes of a blind clairvoyant and her sister, who share a vision of a laughing girl in red with the wife.  She finds excitement, happiness in this sight, and feels alive and at peace after many months of a gnawing dull emptiness.  Rational Sutherland greets it first with a heavy-hearted skepticism but then with suspicion as his wife takes to spending more time with the women, and thus the film winds forward as he feels a mounting unease which he cannot understand, unease about his safety, the clairvoyant women, and the constant flashes of a figure in a carmine raincoat he sees just out of the corner of his eye.

Nicolas Roeg was a cinematographer before he began directing films, and his images and editing show an impressive personal style that for another narrative would be somewhat heavy, but fits this story perfectly, poignantly.  It’s quite a feat of filmmaking, and will fill you with dread and horror like the best of ’em.

Terse Verse O’erheard

October 26, 2010

“No

Problembo.”

-coworker denies existence of problem, convinces no one.   Oct. ’10

Terse Verse O’erheard

October 25, 2010

“So on my Facebook page

He’s all like,

‘Don’t let your mouth

Write a check that your

Fists can’t cash.'”

-subway rider providing the latest developments, Oct. ’10

The Hater Report #57

October 22, 2010

1)  A Texas Republican congressional candidate says that he will consider a violent overthrow of the government if he’s not elected.  Fortunately, he’s from Texas so all of his fellow constituents are too fat to get off the couch, let alone put in the effort needed to launch a coup:  (LINK)

2)  Italian trash crisis gets out of control.  Citizens enraged!  The world acts stunned, although I can’t figure out why… do you really expect to have a government run like a well-oiled machine when the country’s  men live with their mothers until the age of 40?:  (LINK)

3)  America is facing an impending diabetes epidemic.  According to a recent study, the number of diabetic fatties could triple by 2050.  Nutritionists are up in arms, but I say let it be.  By 2050, those of us who are still skinny will be considered super human.  Our ability to get around without the help of a scooter will render us the top of the food chain:  (LINK)

4)  Christine O’Donnell can’t name a single Democratic Senator.  Not one.  Nobody.  Just a note – both of her state’s Senators are Democrats.  Do you we really have to continue to pretend that this woman is a legitimate human being?:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: October 22nd, 2010

October 22, 2010

Keller Williams…Thirsty in the Rain…Live at The Oregon Country Fair…7/9/99…cover of a Peter Rowan classic…an unbelievable amount of sound coming from one guitar…beastly twist on a bluegrass masterpiece…

Note to all the performers out there:  Children dancing as your backdrop = instant & overwhelming positive vibes…free cool breeze.

Blueberry Fade

October 22, 2010

This is an actual barbershop in my ‘hood. Every time I see it I stop in my tracks, shocked by the sheer audacity of the choice of name. Someday I plan to stop in and see if the guy can get a little acai flavor going in my scant locks.

Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)

October 21, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.


No one films more stylish, lurid cinematic murders than Dario Argento circa the 70s.  In his heyday, the big daddy-o of Italian giallo horror had an astounding eye for visual grandeur that to me was unmatched by his contemporaries; sadly, this gift seems to have drifted away from him later in his career.  But Suspiria, for all its wooden acting and titter-inducing dialogue, is an enduring masterpiece of highly aestheticized, overwhelmingly baroque horror.

On a quintessential ‘dark and stormy night,’ a dancer by the name of Suzy arrives at a  most prestigious ballet boarding school in time to witness a tremendously terrified girl tear away from the premises into the woods.  Time isn’t long for this lass, as we soon find out.  Once ensconced in the school under the tutelage of instructors such as an intimidating madam who smacks of Miss Trunchbull in appearance, Suzy notices odd things occurring, secretive comings-and-goings, girls that know too much! suddenly and suspiciously turn up missing.  When Suzy delves deeper into the history of the school, certain information comes to light that leads to the conclusion that it is run by a coven of witches!  And so it goes.

Although you can’t help but smirk a few times, Suspiria’s actually kind of  a spook.  The atmosphere of suspense created in Argento’s masterful camerawork and lushly colorful set design is richly heightened by an incredible aural landscape courtesy of Goblin, a group with which Argento frequently collaborated.  A pulsing gothic synth, tensely trilling melody, and demonic hisses really accentuate the horror and bring the cinematic experience totally over the top.  Whether or not Suspiria scares, it’s certain to dazzle with its artful drench of primary colors and scintillating music.

 

Note: Halloween Horror Countdown will continue next Tuesday.

Terse Verse O’erheard

October 21, 2010

“So you’re all-Irish, huh?

My friend Jean, she’s really,

Really Irish, too: she’s, like,

Italian.”

-coworker accidentally turning nearby associates’ brains into gray soup, Oct. ’10

Straight Heat of the Day: October 20th, 2010

October 20, 2010

Lyrics Born…Live Session…there is actually good hip hop…you don’t ever see it, but it does exist…consider this a case in point…

The Hater Report #56

October 20, 2010

1)  The Pro Life Tea Party launches an aggressive ad campaign.  Portrays Obama as the Angel of Death, leading his minions across America atop the crest of a wave of hellfire and brimstone.  Is this really what we’re coming to?  An entire segment of our population living their lives based on fairy tales?  It’s truly a shame that stupidity isn’t painful.  (see above video)

2)  The 13 Most Expensive American Colleges in list format.  Whoa, is college really this expensive?  Oh man, I think I owe mom and dad an apology.  It breaks my heart to know that they spent over 100,000 of their hard-earned dollars so that I could learn how to play competitive Beirut, vomit without breaking a stride, inhale a five gallon Deer Park gravity bong in one pull, and properly apply the tenets of  “No Means Maybe”:  (LINK)

3)  Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, has some serious accomplishments in her young life…teenage pregnancy, failed marriage, dropping out of high school, and being from Alaska.  Even with all of those achievements to her name, nothing can touch her most recent nadir of success…dancing on national television dressed as a gorilla in a pink tutu.   Sometimes you just have to love America…the only country where failing upwards actually happens:  (LINK)

4)  A mad scientist has created a machine constructed entirely of Legos that can build anything that your mind desires…from Legos!  In other news, my 8 year-old inner-child just discovered masturbation:  (LINK)

5)  The Top 9 ways that Americans waste money.  I was particularly surprised by #8 – Children’s Birthday parties.  Really?  Where are all these lucky kids?  All I ever got was a handwritten card from my father counting the years since I was born…also known as, the day his ‘fun life’ ended.  Strange:  (LINK)

6)  George W. Bush misses being pampered as President.  Air Force one was a sweet perk!  What he doesn’t miss is being responsible for starting never-ending wars, approving a systematic program of torture, exponentially expanding the country’s debt, and having to wash Dick Cheney’s back as he bathed in the blood of innocent children:   (LINK)

Dead Alive (Peter Jackson, 1992)

October 20, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Dead Alive, although bursting with blood and gristle, has no hell-bent intention on scaring you.  It exists solely to immensely amuse and disgust with its goopy blend of comedy and anarchic carnage.  It’s a picture in the vein of the best of early Sam Raimi, as gory-goofy-gross and infectiously enthusiastic as Jackson’s later LOTR films are solemn and staid.  Multiple times during the course of the grandly Guignol ride you’ll suddenly become aware when you surprise yourself with a loud bout of laughter, that your jaw has been hanging slack for some time.

The plot starts a’rollicking when a bizarre rat-monkey creature is captured and flung into a zoo, where it has the opportunity to bite the hideous mother of our main character Lionel, as she’s smarming about trying to ruin his date with the sweetly winning Paquita.  A forewarning: not at all a film you want to watch with your momma.  Mom becomes infected, then zombified, and proceeds to spread the illness around town until the film crescendos into a maelstrom of chaos, zombies, autonomous digestive systems, lawnmowers,  and barrels & barrels of blood.

This film practically twinkles with a most deliciously gruesome and vivid, boundless imagination; it’s incredible to think that the mind that birthed the epic trilogy of Middle Earth was responsible for such a movie.  I can’t quite imagine the studio heads watching a scene where Lionel beats up the horrendous mutant zombie spawn of an undead nurse and priest and then entrusting Jackson with hundreds of millions of dollars.  However, Jackson’s brand of good-natured outrageously deviant genius is just irresistible, I guess.  Enjoy, and try not to vomit!

Straight Heat of the Day: October 19th, 2010

October 19, 2010

Mixmaster Mike…Random Jam…What do you get when you cross Robert Johnson’s, Ramblin’ on my Mind with Dead Prez’s, Hip Hop

Nothing but heat…featured in the documentary, Scratch.

David Sedaris’s Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

October 19, 2010

Once, when I was in sixth grade and charged with babysitting my younger brother, I came home from school to find him waiting on our front steps. He’d discovered a small, spongy football by the tire of a parked car and was beaming over the find. I was in a dark mood (my studied scowling act hadn’t kindled a single female heart at recess) and now I was jealous: Happiness for him was something found curbside, found too easily. I snatched the ball from him and, ignoring his protests and pleas, rolled it down the sewer and then we both felt terrible.

If you found this ugly little tale funny, you’ll like Sedaris’s collection of nasty, brutish, and short-short fiction wherein the author has, in the tradition of fabulists and folk tale-tellers, gifted his animal characters with human-strength powers of speech and cognition. Except Sedaris’s, with few exceptions, employ their abilities to relentlessly miserable effect. Most tales open with a character thinking ungenerous thoughts toward another. He or she then emerges from the reverie and, blinkered by a stingy spirit, acts callously or violently or stupidly toward his neighbor and the act succeeds or backfires. It’s like a print version of “The Itchy and Scratchy Show” but with a less winning brand of cruelty. Some didactic message is usually available and so are some illustrations but you’ll likely not bother lingering over either; each tale is so singularly unsatisfying, so insufficiently funny, that I found myself plunging ahead, keeping things moving the way you walk off the pain of a dashed shin, feeling hopeful, then less hopeful, then frowning, then quitting with a quarter still unread.

This is a collection that would not have seen print had it landed on a publisher’s desk with an unknown author’s name beneath its title. If only this were an early work, some scrap of juvenilia that Sedaris’s agent had greedily bullied him into releasing. But I’ve heard no such news. Seems Sedaris expected we’d devour these deadening stories, each as small, hard, and bitter as an acorn, and come away smiling. Me, I’m backing away, shaking my head, wondering what happened to the man whose books used to make me laugh so hard that I wouldn’t let myself read them on public transit. I can only hope the author finds an improving message in the tale of this book’s inglorious and inevitable relegation to last place on lists of Sedaris fans’ favorites.

Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965)

October 19, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

During the 60s and 70s, Roman Polanski directed three masterpieces of psychological horror that are loosely bound together due to the similarity in setting and themes: Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Tenant.  While Rosemary’s Baby gets the most acclaim out of this informal ‘Apartment Trilogy’, so named because each of these brilliant studies in paranoia and mental breakdown occur behind the closed doors of urban apartments, my favorite of the three is Repulsion.

The film starts with an eyeball opening credits sequence -literally- and this particular eyeball isn’t too keen about being under such scrutiny.  It’s both a nod to Hitchcock (peep the opening titles of Vertigo) and a great way to immediately place us in close confines with Carol, played by Catherine Deneuve.  After the credits she’s presented in her staggeringly luminous, whispery beauty but it’s quite apparent that something’s off with the lass.  The film unrolls very slowly, quietly, luring you further into the damaged, fragile mind of Carol until you’re trapped with her just as she is trapped with herself, cowering in her apartment with a festering skinned rabbit while her sister is on holiday.  Carol’s crippling fear and repulsion of men, and of sex, is a burden she has obviously carried since youth but it finally breaks through her vacant mind and filters into every nook and cranny available. Her fear first manifests as cracks in the walls of her shadowy flat, and then much more.

Repulsion ends ambiguously and chillingly, a slow zoom onto a seemingly banal old photograph of Carol’s family.  The final shot as the zoom focuses in inspires a terribly haunting emptiness, tempered around the edges with horror and sadness.  You won’t likely forget it, ever.


The Hater Report #55

October 18, 2010

1)  Christine O’Donnell…I’m not a witch.  Auto-tune style (see above video).  I’m generally not a parody guy, but this is pure gold.  I mean, at least it’s true.  She isn’t a witch…she’s just broke.

2)  Sharon Stone…age 52…in a bikini?  It reminds me of how I handle Dijon mustard…I know that the expiration date is meaningless, but I’m still hesitant to eat it once the date has passed:  (LINK)

3)  14 die at an annual Cambodian ceremony.  “Pol Pot’s Revenge” deemed too obscure to work as an official slogan:  (LINK)

4)  GOP Rep. McClintock claims the California voters don’t deserve to have Meg Whitman make decisions for them because she lacks principles.  I say they don’t deserve her for another reason…because she lacks the musculoskeletal system to support the overwhelming weight of her fat face:  (LINK)

5)  Minimum wage is unconstitutional according to Republicans.  But working full-time for peanuts is what it means to be American.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we free the slaves in 1863?:  (LINK)

6)  Barney Frank’s boyfriend heckled his GOP opponent after their debate.  I know…I know.  I can’t believe anyone would date that mush-mouthed loser either.  Although, I will say…he’s doing pretty good for a Care Bears’ Cartoon extra:  (LINK)

7)  A man died after getting hit in the head with a golf ball.  Michael Douglas ponders aloud, “Was he wearing a stupid little hat?”:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: October 18th, 2010

October 18, 2010

Joe Cocker….Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood…grimy…just grimy…conservatives argue that heat is a choice…I firmly believe that heat is biological…you’re born with it…Exhibit A:  Joe Cocker

Exhibit B:  The Animals…Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood…if Eric Burdon ever hits on your girl, just walk away…you don’t stand a chance…

Exhibit C:  Nina Simone…yeah…that’s right…girls can have heat too…

Hausu (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977)

October 18, 2010

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

On October 26th (just in time for Halloween!) I invite you to burn out your retinas and fry your brain in the lysergic delirium of this unhinged id-ridden kitsch horror-comedy cult gem from ’70s Japan!  It’s never been released in America, so I imagine most readers are in for quite a treat as they watch this for the first time.

The uh, “plot”, if one can pin anything down in this hyperkinetic heap of non sequiturs, concerns a gaggle of Japanese schoolgirl dwarfettes with fairyfloss names like Melody, Sweet, Fantasy, et cetera…who have their summer vacay plans ruined so the central figure of the group, Gorgeous, steps up and writes to her distant, aged aunt and asks if they can all descend upon her house for a spell.  As it turns out, staying in the house is cool for cats but not so much for Gorgeous et al, what with the murderous decor and her aunt’s propensity to dine on virgin flesh.  With a soundtrack just as kook and schizo as the film’s plot and texture, it proves a giddy assault on at least two senses…although I am sure there’s potential for more to become involved.

At the very least, if this isn’t your cuppa, you can solemnly state that you’ve seen nothing like it before.  But I bet you’re going to love it.

The Delicious Madness of Murakami

October 18, 2010

I need this Takashi Murakami piece in my apartment. I bet licking different parts of the sculpture would leave light candy tastes on the tongue. Think about it: Mornings with fresh-brewed mushroom tea and a bit of a chat with the pot-bellied, horned homunculi. At night not a moment’s peace under the withering gaze of with the walleyed overlord. Prolonged exposure to the sculpture would induce fun fevers and languid ice cream dreams.

See more at the website I’ve linked, including a couple hilarious figurines whose presence on your desk would get you instantly fired. Of course, their presence on your computer screen might be enough to earn you a pink slip, too, so proceed with caution.