Music Log 2021


Back in style and free form this time…

Top Albums of the Year:

1. What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye (Public Library)
2. The Party’s Over, Talk Talk (YouTube)
3. The Band, The Band (Public Library)
4. I Against I, Bad Brains (Public Library)
5. Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Marty Robbins (Public Library)
6. People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, A Tribe Called Quest (Public Library)
7. Spin, Spin (YouTube)
8. Here Comes Everybody, The Wake (YouTube)
9. Call the Doctor, Sleater-Kinney (Half-Price Books)
10. The Pretender, Jackson Browne (Public Library)
11. Carnaval, Spyro Gyra (YouTube)

1. Funky Stuff, Jiro Inagaki & Soul Media-9.5 *YouTube*
2. Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Death-8.5 *YouTube*
3. Spin, Spin-10.0 *YouTube*
4. Short Trip To Space, Tropea-9.5 *YouTube*
5. Wildflower, Herb Ellis & Remo Palmier-9.0 *YouTube*
6. Carnaval, Spyro Gyra-10.0 *YouTube*
7. Everyday Life, Coldplay-7.5 *Public Library*
8. Abandoned Luncheonette, Hall & Oats-9.0 *Barnes & Noble*
9. Reputation, Taylor Swift-9.0 *Public Library*
10. The Slow Rush, Tame Impala-9.5 *Public Library*

11. It Is What It Is9.0, Thundercat *Public Library*
12. Adolescents, Adolescents-8.0 *YouTube*
13. We Will Always Love You, The Avalanches-9.5 *Public Library*
14. Vibes & Days, Vacation-9.0 *YouTube*
15. Heartbeat City, The Cars-9.5 *Public Library*
16. Christopher Cross, Christopher Cross-9.0 *Public Library*
17. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn Hill-8.5 *Public Library*
18. Lover, Taylor Swift-9.0 *Public Library*
19. Time Further Out, Dave Brubeck-9.5 *Barnes & Noble*
20. Germfree Adolescents, X-Ray Spex-9.5 *YouTube*

21. Eldorado, Electric Light Orchestra-9.5 *Barnes & Noble*
22. Tidal, Fiona Apple-9.0 *Public Library*
23. Take Care, Drake-8.0 *Public Library*
24. Ella and Louis, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong-9.5 *Public Library*
25. Empyrean Isles, Herbie Hancock-10.0 *Public Library*
26. Folklore, Taylor Swift-9.5 *Public Library*
27. Play Deep, The Outfield-9.0 *Half-Price Books*
28. Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Marty Robbins-10.0 *Public Library*
29. Power Metal (Demo), Metallica-9.0 *YouTube*
30. Call the Doctor, Sleater-Kinney-10.0 *Half-Price Books*

31. The Party’s Over, Talk Talk-10.0 *YouTube*
32. From a Room: Vol 2, Chris Stapleton-8.0 *Public Library*
33. Way Out West, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives-7.5 *Public Library*
34. Fearless, Taylor Swift-8.0 *Public Library*
35. Townes Van Zandt, Townes Van Zandt-9.5 *Public Library*
36. Cheap Trick, Cheap Trick-9.5 *Half-Price Books*
37. Highly Evolved, The Vines-8.5 *Half-Price Books*
38. Silverado Soundtrack Suite, Bruce Broughton-9.0 *YouTube*
39. I Against I, Bad Brains-10.0 *Public Library
40. Mingus Ah Um, Charles Mingus-8.5 *Public Library*

41. Montrose, Montrose-8.5 *Public Library*
42. Here Comes Everybody, The Wake-10.0 *YouTube*
43. Red, Taylor Swift-8.0 *Public Library*
44. Father of the Bride, Vampire Weekend-8.5 *Public Library*
45. Whipped Cream & Other Delights, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass-7.0 *Public Library*
46. Crack-Up, Fleet Foxes-8.5 *Half-Price Books*
47. Face The Music, Electric Light Orchestra-9.5 *Barnes & Noble*
48. Glass Houses, Billy Joel-9.5 *Barnes & Noble*
49. Push the Sky Away, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-9.0 *Public Library*
50. The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Charles Mingus-9.5 *Public Library*

51. Megalithic Symphony, AWOLNATION-7.0 *Public Library*
52. Without a Sound, Dinosaur Jr.-9.0 *Public Library*
53. On the Border, Eagles-9.5 *Public Library*
54. What Does Anything Mean? Basically, The Chameleons-9.5 *YouTube*
55. Time, Electric Light Orchestra-9.0 *Public Library*
56. Junk, M83-9.0 *Public Library*
57. Paper Money, Montrose-9.0 *Public Library*
58. Bookends, Simon & Garfunkel-9.5 *Public Library*
59. Wild Planet, The B-52’s-9.5 *Barnes & Noble
60. Nilsson Schmilsson, Harry Nilsson-9.5 *Barnes & Noble

61. The Band, The Band-10.0 *Public Library*
62. John Denver’s Greatest Hits, John Denver-9.0 *Borrowed*
63. Spiderland, Slint-9.5 *YouTube*
64. Delta Kream, The Black Keys-9.0 *Public Library*
65. Henry’s Dream, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-9.0 *Public Library*
66. What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye-10.0 *Public Library*
67. Off The Wall, Michael Jackson-9.5 *Public Library*
68. Passover, The Black Angels-9.0 *YouTube*
69. Directions to See a Ghost, The Black Angels-9.0 *YouTube*
70. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-9.5 *Public Library*

71. The Pretender, Jackson Browne-10.0 *Public Library*
72. Dangerous, Michael Jackson-9.0 *Public Library*
73. Imploding the Mirage, The Killers-7.5 *Public Library*
74. Phosphene Dream The Black Angels-9.0 *YouTube*
75. Speak Now, Taylor Swift-9.0 *Borrowed*
76. The Soft Moon, The Soft Moon-8.5 *YouTube*
77. Zeros, The Soft Moon-9.0 *YouTube*
78. People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, A Tribe Called Quest-10.0 *Public Library*
79. Mr. Bojangles, Jerry Jeff Walker-8.5 *Borrowed*
80. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang Clan-9.5 *Public Library*

81. Hell Or High Water Motion Picture Soundtrack, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis-9.0 *Public Library*
82. Not Too Late, Norah Jones-8.0 *Public Library*
83. Evermore, Taylor Swift-8.5 *Public Library*
84. Fulfillingness’ First Finale, Stevie Wonder-9.0 *Public Library*
85. Ace of Spades, Motörhead-9.5 *Public Library*
86. Saturday the 14th, Partner-6.5 *Public Library*
87. Elliot Smith, Elliot Smith-9.0 *Public Library*
88. Bone Machine, Tom Waits-8.5 *Public Library*
89. Beauty Behind the Madness, Weeknd-9.0 *Public Library*
90. Chemtrails over the Country Club, Lana Del Rey-9.0 *Public Library*

91. Tango In The Night, Fleetwood Mac-9.0 *Public Library*
92. Takin’ Off, Herbie Hancock-9.5 *Public Library*
93. Midnight Marauders, A Tribe Called Quest-9.5 *Public Library*
94. Bad As Me, Tom Waits-8.0 *Public Library*
95. The Iron Horse, The Sound Defects-9.0 *YouTube*
96. Nocturne, Wild Nothing-9.0 *YouTube*
97. The Best of Bond…James Bond, OST Various Artists-9.5 *Target*
98. Please Be Nice, Camping In Alaska-8.0 *YouTube*
99. Affects, Plastique Noir-9.0 *YouTube*
100. Shore, Fleet Foxes-9.0 *Public Library*

101. More Than Just a Dream, Fitz and the Tantrums-8.0 *Public Library*
102. Spirit in the Sky: The Best of Norman Greenbaum, Norman Greenbaum-8.5 *Public Library*
103. Maniac, Halsey-9.0 *Public Library*
104. Run, AWOLNATION-8.0 *Public Library*
105. Days of Thunder, The Midnight-9.5 *YouTube*
106. Hard Promises, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-9.0 *Public Library*
107. Strange Pleasures, Still Corners-9.0 *YouTube*
108. Northern Lights-Southern Cross, The Band-9.5 *Public Library*
109. Suddenly, Caribou-9.0 *Public Library*
110. Mingus Dynasty, Charles Mingus-9.0 *Public Library*

110. Dream Police, Cheap Trick-9.5 *Barnes & Noble*
111. Toto IV, Toto-8.5 *Barnes & Noble*
112. Stranger Things S1 OST, Survive-8.5 *Public Library*
113. The World Within, Moderator-8.0 *YouTube*
114. It’s Immaterial, Black Marble-8.5 *YouTube*
115. Slow Air, Still Corners-9.5 *YouTube*

Rant of the Day: Down With The Sickness


Yes I went with the amusing cover version. Didn’t see that coming, did yah?

It seems that only in America do people go to work sick, because this country hates the working class and thinks its macho to arrive at your job when you sound on the verge of death. Well that and the lack of sick days to anyone who is not a regular or full time employee, as paying bills has to overcome the rightful urge to stay in bed and watch Netflix while you cough and sneeze every five minutes. I am guilty of showing up at my job despite needing tissues, cough drops and a million bottles of water to even stay upright, and it did result in me being set home one Sunday.

My stance on this issue is that damn your money problems, stay home if you are sick. Especially if your job does give you sick days, so in that case you have no excuse. Going to work and getting everyone else sick is a douche move, and on top of that you won’t be even half as productive. Plus one of these days that asshole who never washes their hands is going to create a new kind of virus that wipes out half the population, and I know they always go to work sick no matter what.

On the other hand, that is the privileged position of someone who can actively afford to take a sick day, which just occurred to me as I almost finished this article and wasted time googling funny sick day pictures online. Boy does this country really suck way too much at times. As for people who call in sick when they are not actually sick, those people are even worse, and yet I think most of America has done this at least once. No further comment on that matter..

Image result for sick days funny

 

Horrorfest 2017: Dead Can Dance!


Image result for Dead Can Dance gif
Go Zombie Michael, Go!

Okay enough Friday the 13th homage titles. If you have not listened to the band Dead Can Dance, do so. Anyways its time for more horror films, as I have fallen into the old habit of viewing them every year. Plus writing reviews, which I plan to do much faster this time. My public library (three separate branches in town) has enough to get me started, and I am finally making the switch to Blu Ray after years of slumming it with DVD’s. So for my few readers, time to get scared…again.

PS: Long overdue reviews being written now. Also unfortunately this one was a rare bust due to life issues, lack of streaming, etc.

Public Library Edition Planned List (in alphabetical order):

1. Bite (2015, body horror)
2. The Black Torment (1964, gothic horror)
3. Blair Witch (2016, duh)
4. Blood For Dracula (1974, duh again)
5. Bram Stroker’s Dracula (1992, DUH)
6. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935, creature feature)
7. Crawlspace (1986, crazy people)
8. A Cure For Wellness (2016, crazy people)
9. Drag Me To Hell (2009, demons)
10. Flesh For Frankenstein (1973, creature feature)
11. Final Destination 2 (2003, DEATH)
12. Fright Night (2011, vampires)
13. The Girl With All The Gifts (2016, zombies)
14. Green Room (2016, crazy people)
15. The Horror Show (1989, evil spirit)
16. Krampus (2015, duh)
17. Legion (Exorcist III Director’s Cut, 1990, demonic)
18. Leviathan (1989, creature feature)
19. Lights Out (2016, evil spirits)
20. Little Shop of Horrors (1986, creature feature)
21. The Neon Demon (2016, crazy people)
22. Prison (1988, evil spirits)
23. The Quiet Ones (2013, evil spirits)
24. The Ring (2002, pissed off spirit)
25. The Tall Man (2012, urban legends)
26. Wrong Turn (2003, cannibals)
27. 31 (2016, seriously crazy people)

Other:

28. Night Monster (1942, creature feature)
29. Mother! (2017, crazy people)
30. The Manster (1959, creature feature)
31. Raw (2017, cannibals)
32. The Satanic Rights of Dracula (1974, yep)
33. Urban Legend (1998, slasher)
34. It (2017, Pennywise the Dancing Clown!)
35. Pieces (1982, giallo)
36. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976, giallo)

Halloween:

Rewatch: Return of the Living Dead (1985, zombies)

37. Jennifer’s Body (2009, demonic)
38. Salem’s Lot (1979, vampires)

Ten Years Dead: Night of the Living Dead Essay (Warning: Spoilers)


From 2005, no less. Whoa that’s 10 years since I wrote about George A. Romero’s masterpiece Night of the Living Dead (1968). Unfortunately I was unable to discuss the film in full detail without using spoilers and mentioning key plot points, although at this point if you haven’t seen George A. Romero’s classic film then you should go fix that ASAP.

Despite the snubbing the horror movie genre receives from many critics, there are actually a good many horror films that have received substantial praise from both critics and fans. One such film is original Night of the Living Dead, made in 1968 by the famous and renowned director George A. Romero. I’ve heard it referred to as the Citizen Kane of horror movies, and while I haven’t seen enough to agree with that statement, Night is indeed a landmark in the history of horror movies, and in cinema.

Before I begin my attempt to discuss the film’s plot, stars, and the finer points of human flesh, I feel the need to say how I discovered this film in the first place. It was back in the fall of 2001, when I was a sophomore at my local high school. Being that it was Halloween, we decided to rent a couple of horror movies, thus continuing a tradition of sorts that we’ve done every year since the 8th Grade.

After walking through the door and being greeted by one of the store clerks wearing some freaky mask, we wandered into the video store aisle marked “Horror.” While my friend picked Scream 3, which was a fairly new release, I noticed a VHS cover, which I think had a zombie on it (my memory is kind of fuzzy). I read the back of the movie, which said it was about some people getting attacked by zombies, and I thought it would be gory fun. Get this: there were two copies of Night of the Living Dead, both the original and the remake. I thought I was getting the remake. But no, when my friend and I popped the tape in back at his house, I discovered to my surprise that it was an old black and white film instead.

Being young and wanting quick scares, my friend didn’t like the film and I found it to be alright at best, with the ending quite shocking and the famous “girl zombie” scene to be gruesome. Turning to the fun of Scream 3, which I found scary at the time (I only saw the rest of the trilogy two Halloweens ago), we both forgot about the other film. That was roughly four years and four viewings ago. Multiple viewings quickly changed my thoughts and views on the flick, but one could say that about a number of movies. I could go on all about me, but I’d rather focus on the film itself.

As the movie opens, we see Johnny boy and his sister Barbara on their way to place flowers on some dead person’s grave. Who that person is isn’t relevant to the story, but instead it serves as an ample plot device, since Johnny is reminded of how he used to scare Barbra, going on to say “They coming to get you Barbara,” with a stupid look on his face. He should have kept his mouth shut, because one of them comes alright. He’s defiantly not human, looks like Lurch’s long lost cousin, and he proceeds to bash Johnny’s head into a tomb stone. Lurch attempts to grab Barbara, but she ditches her car (“Johnny has the keys” is what she says later on), and runs like hell, finally reaching an abandoned farmhouse. This scene marks the change in the movie from quiet and relaxed to a freaky, heavy sense of dread, and I find the zombie attack to be somewhat surreal and almost out of place, which is why it works. Rising from the grave, clearly awakened by gongs being banged by crazed Buddhist monks, dozens of zombies slowly converge upon the farmhouse. All hope seems lost for poor Barbara, who by this point has become a buddle of fried nerves, scared out of her bloody mind, and clearly in no shape to battle the undead hordes.

That’s when the protagonist of our film comes in out of nowhere, riding in an old broke down car and wielding what looks like a tire iron. His name is Ben, and he is her knight in shinning armor, or, in actual reality, an African-American male completely surrounded by whitey. Seriously, Ben is the only black man we see in the entire flick-even the zombies are white! While Romero claims that his decision to cast Duane Jones in the role wasn’t motivated by race, the film’s events (which I will get to later) make me wonder. Completely unfazed by the fact that he’s surrounded by flesh eaters, he walks out on the front porch and sets some of the creatures on fire, and also quickly boards up the house. The guy even finds a lever action shotgun, and starts loading the weapon; Ben is a man of action, and here we witness what has become a common cliché in many movies: the quick thinking man of action, who stays calm, knows what to do, and isn’t afraid to act.

The movie wouldn’t be complete without some drama within the house itself, and this is supplied by Harry, a racist, his wife and child, and the young couple Tom and Judy. Harry doesn’t trust Ben’s decisions and wants to be in charge, providing the film with an added and interesting dimension: Harry feels that he is the bigger man, that he’s right, that he has to be the alpha male of the group. It’s not just a matter of race, but also a matter of serious pride; this pride ends up leading to the destruction of the group, and a bitter irony: that Harry was right about the basement of the house being the safest place to hide. Well at least in the end for the most part; although at the same time staying up in the main house, where there are multiple escape routes makes sense too.

At its core, Night of the Living Dead is many things. It’s clear that the movie is a horror version of those old westerns where the cowboys are holed up in a small cabin or fort, with the savage Indians attacking it, trying to break in and scalp everyone inside. Of course the Indians never ate the cowboys (last time I checked), but that seems to be the main reason why most of the movie takes place inside an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. The claustrophobic feeling of the house has a clear effect upon the inhabitants, and this only ups the film’s slowly building sense of tension. I also feel that the movie in a way mirrors the social and political upheavals that were taking place at that time in America. Ben and Harry’s struggles for control certainly reflect upon the racial conflicts that had exploded in many American cities, along with the film’s ending, which caught me completely off guard. Also, the movie’s few extremely violent scenes are perhaps references to the Vietnam War; in that American troops mowed down countless, nameless Vietnamese communists-only replace the communists with flesh eating zombies. I also have to note that many of the zombies had the look of dirty, druggy hippies, which makes me wonder if Romero was commenting on the country’s counterculture as well.

A final theme I think the movie touches on is the horrifying thought that mankind at its worst reverts to its most primitive, primal and gruesome instincts, and I think the zombies reflect this. That at any time, any place, and your loved one may go berserk and decide to either gnaw on your flesh, or stab you to death with a garden trowel. They are no longer human, and reasoning with them won’t save you. Which is to me a very scary thought indeed.

“Night,” like most horror movies isn’t well known for its actors, or good acting in general. That seems to be an extra bonus, especially if you take a look at the slasher films of the 1980s. But even on a shoe string budget Romero manages to get some pretty good acting out of some of the movie’s cast, especially Duane Jones. Jones as Ben is really the film’s strongest character, and while it’s not an entirely fleshed out role, Jones does a wonderful job portraying a man surrounded by what one could call a surrealistic nightmare. What makes Ben so damn cool is that he takes no prisoners, refuses to surrender, uses everything at his disposal to kill the zombies, and until the second half of the film, he has a plan. What also makes his character so fascinating is how Ben slowly comes to realize that even he is human, and that despite all his planning everything goes terribly wrong. This feeling is further explored in a scene where Ben is trapped in the basement, haunted by the fact that he is now all alone, and that the bastard hippie people eaters have finally broken into the house. Ben has been defeated, and he knows it.

As for the other actors, Karl Hardman as Harry, we see a man who is the complete opposite of Ben. Harry seems to be nervous, racist, (one could say that Ben was racists at times also), and paranoid. His struggles with Ben and the distrust that exists between them do indeed add the needed dynamic to the film, and his demise is equal parts gory, tragic, and horrifying, and showcase’s the film’s third theme about lack of true humanity. Judith O’Dea, who as Barbara is stuck in the role of the woman in need of rescue, is the film’s truly realistic side, in that she’s scared out of her mind. While most of us think that we’d act like Ben in such a situation, more than likely many of us would be frightened, and wondering whether or not we would survive. Oh, and what happens to poor Barb is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, and is horribly ironic.

The film in itself has plenty of irony, some people who get their just deserts, and others who were unlucky enough to be caught of the middle of two angry men and the horde of the undead. Romero by the way smartly only has a few scenes of gore, and so their shock value and the effect of disgust they aim to project are seared onto the audience’s mind; this is in sharp contrast to the rest of his zombie series. Although the part where the zombie girl stabs her mother to death with a garden tool is a clear homage (or rip off if that’s your opinion) of the famous shower scene in “Psycho,” with the blood splattering, the screams of the dying, and the sharp musical notes in the background. That scene gets me every time, simply because the image of a woman’s spawn butchering her is to me quite cringe worthy, and somewhat shocking.

Stamped with Romero’s unique vision, driven by tension, gore, a cast of realistic characters, and a thoughtful commentary on humanity that may or may not have been intentional, Night of the Living Dead is a movie experience every horror fan should have. The movie proves that not all horror films are mindless, gory thrill machines, and that the genre has contributed more to the world of cinema than is generally acknowledge.

Happy Friday The 13th (Spo Spo Spoilers)


Great day. I consider it a holiday over fake ones such as Flag Day and Columbus Day. Anyways I realized that some of the Friday The 13th series entries could have been better. Or improved upon. Let’s start with Part III. Tons of spoilers btw so don’t read if you haven’t watched them all. Also the first film and Part II are fine as is, and I don’t really care about the remake. FVJ sort of counts but doesn’t and is awesome regardless.

Ah Part III. When the series really felt very 80s and had awful 3D. I got a headache from those cheap glasses that came with my copy. Oh and this should have been the film where Jason kills the Final Girl, named Chris. Calling her a Final Girl is an insult to the other, better Final Girls. There actually was an ending where Jason kills her so I’m not the only one who thinks this. However there are other aspects I would change.

Getting rid of the biker gang for one. They were terrible characters and could be written out. The opening had Jason killing people who lived near the lake. What if he had kept on doing that for a while before entering Camp Crystal Lake again? Regardless the film didn’t need extra random people to be victims. The main group had more than enough potential victims.

I would have loved it if Jason, unmasked after getting hit by the ax, chases down scared Chris and snaps her neck. The police, who arrived upon the scene, shoot him three times. End of film. Imagine if The Final Chapter could have opened with the same scene, only Jason is still alive so they take him to a hospital all chained up. Naturally he escapes and kills everyone there. Maybe that would have been too violent to pass MPAA censorship muster.

The Final Chapter is fine the way it is for the most part. Yet while I like and enjoy A New Beginning, having Roy be the murderer never made a lot of sense. No but having Tommy Jarvis be the new Jason would have been amazing. Even if that’s not the route that the film’s creators were willing to go down at the very least they could have gone with another mental patient. Anything but having such a crazy plot. Still they were able to keep the gore intact in this film. Not like….

…The New Blood. I wouldn’t change a thing about Jason Lives although Zombie Jason is a tad outrageous heh. Part Seven was butchered by the MPAA and thus us fans were denied what could have been an epic display of violence. If only the infamous sleeping bag kill could have properly happened. Also I wanted more Tina vs Jason. For a movie that featured a telekinotic teenager there wasn’t enough cool mind moving scenes. Otherwise I’m fine with this film since its the last time Jason was at Camp Crystal Lake.

Naturally everyone wants Jason Takes Manhattan to be remade. Can you imagine Jason killing people in Yankee stadium? Or tearing through Times Square instead of simply waking by it once? Someone needs to make this happen. I want Jason to battle people on The Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Alas all us fans got was Jason Hangs Out In Manhattan For Five Minutes after a booze cruise. Boooo. This is where low budget filmmaking leaves you a little stranded.

Btw Jason X was so awful I pretend it never happened. Such a bad joke. Yet Jason Goes To Hell could have been salvaged. Keep the family storyline, dump the body swaping, have Duke and the FBI after Jason and still see him go to Hell at the end. I would have laughed had the woman at the beginning been killed right away by Jason instead of leading him into the trap. You would think Jason would be a little more clever. Also I liked the sleezy reporter in this film too, as that angle revealed that in fact Jason’s murders had actually received publicity finally.

I have ideas for two Jason films. One that I’ve had for years, the other I cooked up three years ago and which would be controversial in some ways. I’ll never tell though because I’m sure someone else already thought them up or someone might steal them. Happy Friday The 13th folks.

Horrorfest 2014: Presents: A Field In England (2013, Ben Wheatley)


Wandering through the English countryside a group of deserting soliders flee a battle gone horribly wrong. Having witnessed death they seek comfort and shelter at a distant ale house. Only too late do they realize that two men have commandeered them for a dark purpose: the finding of a great treasure. Having escaped one master they are now under new management; one of them says of their new lord, named O’ Neil, “It does not surprise me that the Devil is an Irishman, though I thought perhaps a little taller.”

This is only the beginning of their horrors, both seen and lurking beneath the surface. A Field In England has many of the grace notes of a Ben Wheatley film, only in this case he dials up the surreal factor to new heights. Part drug trip part nightmarish journey into a fresh green hell, filmed in glorious black and white, this is a jarring and harsh movie. There is even some grin inducing bleak humor, followed by sharp and nasty violence. Each man falls prey to their own nature, with one of them transforming. Into what, well….that is a bit unclear.

As in all of Wheatley’s films truths emerge and people’s real selves are unwrapped, as if they were nasty presents from a demonic Santa. Chaso erupts and lives are changed forever. That stark final shot is perhaps the most jarring and odd climax to any of Wheatley’s works, and I have no idea what it means. Still this is a creepy and excellent movie, fine tuned and crafted to give the viewer an outer worldly experience.

Behold A Pale Horse: Chapter V


Alex looked at the man and the man looked right back, as if he was trying to read Alex’s mind. Despite the black night that clouded the park Alex was able to finally make out two other men hiding near a dim light post that barely gave off any illumination. As the thin man lit another cigarette Alex saw one of the men in the background suddenly move. That was the signal. Not even hesitating Alex drew his .22 and opened fire, blasting the thin man in front of him before the poor bastard could reach for his gun. Seeing the first man turning towards him and revealing a large machine gun, Alex pushed the thin man forward and then dived behind a park bench.

Bullets pierced the thin man, finishing off what Alex had started. Firing off a few more shots Alex rolled over to a nearby statue, sitting casually at its base while the second man unloaded more rounds in Alex’s direction. Knowing that he was pinned down, Alex turned on his flashlight and pointed the beam in the shooter’s direction, blinding him and giving Alex enough time to fire off more .22 rounds. One bullet smashed into the shooter’s arm, drawing blood and causing the shooter to cry out in pain. Having discharged the remainder of his .22 rounds Alex shoved the empty pistol into his jacket and drew out his .44, cocking back the hammer and looking around for the second gunman.

Suddenly headlights flashed and the park was fully lit, bathed in glowing yellow light. “This is the police! Freeze!,” shouted a rather familiar voice. It was unmistakably raspy, much like Alex’s voice, and it carried a high level of authority. The two men peeled in the voice’s direction, and the wounded man pulled out a semi-automatic handgun, dropping his machine gun and wincing in pain. Alex steadied his piece and opened fire, hitting the other man in the chest as he opened fire upon the police in the parking lot. Despite the clear hit the man kept firing, yelling angrily before the two policeman in front of him each opened fire. The first man winged him with a handgun, while the second discharged a shotgun round at his chest. Stunned at this turn of events the now dead man’s partner turned to flee as the dead man collapsed, blood exploding from his chest.

Ignoring the police and not caring that the man was fleeing, Alex opened fire two more times, hitting the man in the shoulder and in the leg. The man fell screaming, dropping his gun and turning to face a furious Alex, panic quickly filling his eyes. “That’s enough Alex. He’s down. No need to kill him.” “Why not, Kyle? He won’t tell me anything I don’t know already.” “Yeah you’re probably right. Still he’s a wounded suspect. And murder is murder.”

While Alex and Kyle argued a car suddenly screeched out of the park, blazing away at 90 miles per hour. The two men looked at each other and shrugged as Kyle’s partner walked towards the wounded man, examining him for weapons before calling an ambulance. “This is Richard, my young new partner. Reminds me way too much of you. Not really a good thing, heh,” stated Kyle as Alex watched Richard warily eye the suspect, making sure the wounded man didn’t move and that he was truly unarmed.

Alex shook Richard’s hand and the two looked at one another, unsure about what to expect. Kyle broke the tension by then saying “Also fuck you, Alex. No phone calls, no e-mail, no visits? That’s cold even by your standards.” Alex grinned coldly and responded back with “Well you know me, Kyle. I’m just a grumpy old asshole.” The two men starred at each other for a minute before laughing at one another. Meanwhile Richard called for an ambulance and further backup as Kyle and Alex walked over to the injured suspect.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: City of the Living Dead (1980, Lucio Fulci)


Hungry for the flesh of the living, they emerge from the earth to prey upon the living and devour them whole. Ravenous and unrelenting, they are the undead: zombies, creatures of the night, unholy terrors that lurk beneath the pretty facade of normal everyday life. Lucio Fulci doesn’t just shoot his 1980 film City of the Living Dead in the darkness because its a low budget movie. No its because he is choosing to lay bare the terrors that await us when the sun goes down and the light fades away.

Light is peace and a refuge from what nasty beasts lie in wait for man and woman as they stumble around in the empty black of nighttime. There is no telling what may lay around the corner, and usually its something that is very hungry and has plenty of teeth. Although I guess these zombies are decaying and lack teeth so they make due by tearing your flesh apart. Quite chilling, really. That’s not even without touching upon the horrific and famous death by drill scene that occurs in the movie as well, and is rather bloody.

Despite the low budget limitations that plagued his entire career Fulci always managed to create films that were pure experiences in terror and City of the Living Dead does not fail in that area. I liked the scene where a child discovers a zombie dwelling in their closet and makes the mistake of opening the door. Its a truly creepy moment in a movie that depends heavily on atmosphere, and in that regard Fulci was in touch with his fellow horror filmmakers Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

All three were gifted at ignoring plot conventions and simply making horror films that struck at the nerve of the viewer, although Bava and Argento were more talented than Fulci. Still I rather enjoyed City of the Living Dead. Its kind of dumb, and yet it has a nasty charm that can be admired. Besides that opener is perfect: a nice day in a cemetery shattered by the suicide of a priest that happens to release the Gates of Hell. That’s truly something.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Cemetery Man (1994, Michele Soavi)


The dead won’t stay dead, that pretty girl you met loves someone else and the mayor won’t listen to you. At least you have a mentally challenged fat man and your best friend for company. Otherwise you would take that pistol you use to silence the dead and off yourself. Life feels empty and pointless. Being in charge of a cemetery doesn’t really help matters either.

Dellamorte, the film’s protagonist decides to shoot other people instead. He goes on a violent rampage that accomplishes nothing. He falls in love with a girl twice only to lose her multiple times (the same woman each being played by the gorgeous Anna Falchi). Each of the ways he loses her are cruel, existing as if they are nasty cosmic jokes being played upon poor Dellamorte. A nice old lady calls him the Engineer, a title he rejects even if it is true. This film alternates between comedy and drama, all contained within a bleak horror movie featuring plenty of ghoulish moments.

Chief among them is a bus crash resulting in dead old people and children. In a scene that is both horrific and really funny Dellamorte sits in his chair drinking wine, talking on the phone and blasting each and every one of the bus crash victims. Death comes to us all without warning and yet in this universe it is far from being the ending. Oh and it occurs to all, even those who are important and also feel important.

I love the interactions between the dour Dellamorte (Rupert Everett in an inspired and career making performance) and Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro, who is really quite funny and likable). The two have a natural rapport that makes the film work, and what happens to them forms most of the film’s darkest and most humorous moments. This film is what you get when a man-in this case Michele Soavi-spent plenty of time working with two excellent directors in Dario Argento and Terry Gilliam. I feel that this film is kind of a mix of those two’s styles, although I sense more Gilliam and less Argento.

Events continue in a circular motion and only too late does Dellamorte realize he cannot escape his fate. Or is it destiny? I’m not sure. But the ending blew my mind and I think this is a truly marvelous film. Man believes he is master of his world until someone or something proves him wrong otherwise.

That Buzzing Sound In Your Ear


Darkness ends. The sun arises, shinning bright rays into my apartment through the busted blinds that I can’t afford to fix. That’s when I hear the noise: slowly growing, echoing in my brain: bzzzzzzzz! Louder and louder, going around in circles, unable to be seen while still being heard. Oh God its growing heavier now, even louder than before. I feel as if I’m going insane by the minute, unable to locate the source of my torment and yet I know its name: fly. FLY. Those little fuckers that never stop coming, always multiplying, overwhelmingly growing until they conquer your living space. My apartment has become invaded by a parasite with wings, a monster that is food for others while existing upon the leftovers of man and whatever else it can get its disgusting feelers on.

Arming myself with a cheap plastic green fly swatter, I hunt my prey, stalking the frustrating creature as it deftly maneuvers around the room, escaping from me each time. I am trapped in a world populated by a breed of monster that spreads disease, annoys the hell out of its victims, and which can deliver painful bites when it strikes. “Man what I wouldn’t kill for a can of Raid right now,” I think to myself, acknowledging the level of frustration that has been building within me. David Cronenberg directed a movie about a man becoming a fly due to a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong, yet he never commented on how annoying the bastards can truly be. I suppose that mutating into something no one likes, even other flies, is more terrifying.

“SMACK!” goes the fly swatter as I sling it in anger and hate, looking quickly to see if I have slaughtered my foe. Alas, it is not dead: choosing instead to struggle on the carpet, endlessly buzzing still, refusing to die. I take the blunt plastic tip of the swatter and stab the fly repeatedly in a pointless effort to finish it off. Taking it into the bathroom, I flush the half dead fiend down the toilet, not wanting dead fly to stink up my trash can. “Victory!” I say to myself, confident that the nightmare is over.

Hah I should be so lucky. There are more of them, and there are even littler ones now, swarming all over the ceiling, mocking my pain and daring me to slaughter them faster than before. Everything has come into focus: I must continue to kill all of them, never stopping, never resting, until all the black coated evil bug bastards are dead. I’m awake, drunk and alone, pondering my current state and wondering “Is this my fate?” I feel defeated already.

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