Thursday, March 31, 2011

alphabet of STRANGE

This list idea came from Bob Freelander

A is for AMERICAN NIGHTMARES
A legacy of nihilism of brutality.

B is for THE BURNING MOON
The angriest film ever made!

C is for CONQUEST
Fever-dream fantasy / Chewbacca army onslaught

D is for DEADLINE
Horror screenwriters' ideas become reality. Features a scene
where a goat telepathically kills a man stuck in an
industrial construction machine.

E is for THE ENTITY
Dark and genuinely upsetting rapey ghost film. 

F is not for FATAL IMAGES
This movie actually isn't very good.
I should have picked FIRST BLOOD.

G is for GREAT LAND OF SMALL
Canadian Twin Peaks-logic fantasy kiddie flick
starring Twin Peaks' Michael J. Anderson

H is for HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD
Hercules in Hell on a shoe-string budget,
 the craft here is unmatched.

I is for INFERNO
A meandering, free-form nightmare-scape

J is for JOE
The only racist buddy film about hating hippies!
Chilling.

K is for KAMIKAZE '89
Ridiculous and fun. Edgar Froese soundtrack! 

L is for L'ANGE
Contains some of the most authentic
dreamscapes committed to celluloid.

M is for MURDER BY PHONE
The name says it all.

N is for NATURAL ENEMIES
Jeff Kanew's debut drama about a day in the life of a man
readying to kill his family and himself.

O is for ON THE SILVER GLOBE
Zulawski's sci-fi misfire has enough bizarreness
and striking imagery to roast your mind.

P is for PIN
Goosebumpsian thriller about a schizoid kid taking Dad's
ventriloquism too seriously. Compelling creepy/weird stuff.

Q is for TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE
SOV anthology film. Delirious. Creepy. Weird. Surreal. 

R is for RAISING CAIN
Nightmare-logic schizoid thriller, one of De Palma's best!
This was a close 2nd though...

S is for SLEDGEHAMMER
What else? On DVD May 10th!

T is for THE TOWER
SOV high-concept sci-fi film about a computerized building
that sucks people's life energy from its light sockets.

U is for UHF
They threw me out like a bag of moldy tangerines...

V is for THE VISITOR
Sci-Fi (?) mind-fuck. Nothing compares to the
WTF power of THE VISITOR.

W is for WHITE OF THE EYE
Donald Cammel's suburban giallo head-trip.

X is for X-FILES EPISODE: HOME
Still one of the most fucked things I've ever seen on TV.

Y is for YES - "TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS"
Great, beautiful album!

Z is for THE ZODIAC KILLER
An acquired taste. But has plenty of creepy/surreal
stuff to satisfy the curious viewer.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Lower Depths Of Horror: Ten Insane Buried Gems To Satiate Obscure Trash Lust

I submitted a top ten list for my good friend's blog RUPERT PUPKIN SPEAKS on obscure horror. You can read it below or here

In light of two screenings Severin Films is sponsoring this month - Bleeding Skull’s double-feature night at LA ‘s Cinefamily (10/23) and the Brooklyn debut of a curiosity piece in tribute to the annals of z-grade horror (by in-part yours truly), “BRAIN BLUDGEON” (10/29) - Mr. Freelander has allowed me to share some favorites in buried horror.


I have a die-hard appreciation for zero-budget, bizarro, “home-made” horror films that achieve a nightmarish visceral magic beyond their cheesy façade. The more confusing, messy, violent, sordid, delirious, or dumb they are, I’m there. And my favorites below, which are mostly discovered thanks to Bleeding Skull, are measured purely by their insanity. Most of these gems mentioned are an all-or-nothing experience. If you’re easily aroused by the Coffin Joe hell sequences, or Fulci’s CONQUEST, then chances are our tastes are simpatico.

Here’s some obscurities to brighten your Halloween.

10. IN THE WOODS - Directed by Lynn Drzick



This film is probably the least watchable in this list, but its definitely worth mentioning based purely on its stupidity. IN THE WOODS ranks high in the chronicles of best-worst dubbing genius (see MAD FOXES and THINGS), which is appealing enough to maintain interest throughout the film. Frequent unrelated mentions of gerbils and hamsters are also welcome in this EVIL DEAD inspired dud. Two fire-fighters find a horned skull in the woods, and it reanimates the spirit of a “fucking devil dog” which menaces their small town. Earning its own segment in our mash-up project, IN THE WOODS is one of ‘90s best in bone-head cinema. And here’s a little taste of WOODS from BRAIN BLUDGEON (following some bloody cat footage):



Available on DVD on Amazon here.

9. THE ABOMINATION (1986) - Directed by Bret McCormick



Cody’s mother has a tumor. She pukes up the tumor. Then Cody gets a tumor. He pukes it up too and it grows throughout the entire house becoming the... THE ABOMINATION! THE ABOMINATION possesses Cody to go on a murderous rampage to feed it fresh human meat. In a crude mixture of DEADLY SPAWN and THEY CAME FROM WITHIN, this one packs tons of gore and amazing extended nightmare sequences. In Bleeding Skull’s feature article about their hunt for a VHS copy, they describe THE ABOMBINATION’s unique delirium as such: “events are thrown together as if by chance. The final 20 minutes explode in a claustrophobic stench of wet cow intestines and humorous bloodshed. It’s psychedelic anxiety, 1980s style.” Apparently Muther Video, the film’s original distributor, has made a come-back and will be doing a one-off release with this film on DVD along with the director's previous work OZONE! ATTACK OF THE REDNECK MUTANTS.

Trailer:



8. DON’T PANIC (1989) - Directed by Rubin Galindo Jr.


Now this is top tier goof-ball cinema! This will be shown on 35mm (WTF?) as part of the Bleeding Skull night we are presenting this Saturday (10/23) in LA at Cinefamily. Here’s the description from Cinefamily’s event calendar, followed by a RIDICULOUS date sequence from DON’T PANIC.

Ouija boards! Boozed-up moms! A grown man in cartoon pajamas! In Don't Panic, goofball cinema at its most exquisite, strange things happen to a young man. Most of it involves an Ouija board, some gore, and a Satanic (sort of) force. The young man fights evil, falls in love and wears some ultra-cool bedclothes. He also sings the theme song. This film needs to be seen with a crowd, so you have someone you trust at your side to turn to and mutter "WTF?!" to when necessary -- probably every three minutes. If you don’t have fun during Don’t Panic, maybe you need to talk to a Religious Leader of your choice about why there’s no more fun in your life. Just, whatever you do, don’t -- don’t -- oh, forget about it.




DON’T PANIC was available on DVD on this super essential “Horror From South Of The Border” box set, which you still can find used on some e-tailers. Each film is TOTALLY worth your time.

7. THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY (1986) - Directed by Stephen Tyler


I’ll let Bleeding Skull describe this one. From their review:

“The Last Slumber Party is a landmark in American trash filmmaking, a completely disconnected 72 minutes that I could have easily watched for six hours. Magically terrible cut-n-paste sound and photography; outrageous dialogue; gaudy, ultra scummy 80s house interiors; a soundtrack comprised of FIRSTRYKE and white noise synth blurps, usually overlapping one another; multiple endings that make zero sense....I have pages of this stuff....one of the most surreal, hilarious, and unbelievably perfect 80s trash films of all time.”

Also, this amazing kill scene:



This one is available on DVD on a two-fer with TERROR AT TENKILLER. Its totally worth $6.56 from Deep Discount DVD!

6. SLEDGEHAMMER (1982) - Directed by David A. Prior



WTF was that? Is this art? Or just a trashy shot-on-video horror film from the man that brought us KILLER WORKOUT? And what the hell did that kid say? I love this fucking movie.

It’s definitely more Kenneth Anger than BOARDINGHOUSE or 555. Most of the film (67%) is in slow-motion with an accompanying Casio drone. The spirit of a murdered kid haunts the now teen party house as a transformed maniacal giant wielding a sledgehammer. The film does have a clunky mid-section which prevents it from taking a higher place on this list, however the last third is pure avant-horror bliss.

Unavailable on DVD.

5. A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER (1983) - Directed by Doris Wishman



Seriously, get obsessed with Doris Wishman... NOW!

Showing alongside DON’T PANIC as part of Bleeding Skull’s double-feature night at Cinefamily, Doris Wishman’s A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER is surreal fever-dream bliss. From the Cinefamily event calendar:

This Doris Wishman gorefest isn’t so much an exercise in necessity as it is a boon to all mankind! After a peeved lab worker destroyed forty percent of her original negative, Doris was forced to compensate, and A Night To Dismember was born. ‘80s porn star Samantha Fox returns home after a stint in a mental institution, and from there, erratic violence and dreamy visuals bounce around 4-track-cassette-tape aesthetics, while the docu-styled lens of a spastic Super-8 camera whirs on. Hairstyles change constantly. Soundtrack cues comprised of Jazzercise schlock, public domain spooks, and wailing rock overlap in triplicate. Dialogue and sound effects are supplied by Doris's mouth, crackling vinyl, and gloriously hideous post-dubbing -- and there's even some psychedelic sex and random nudity! A Night To Dismember is the bizarro, out-to-lunch experience that trumps ‘most any other in its genre -- and it just might change your life.

DVD out of print from Elite Entertainment.

4. THINGS (1989) - Directed by Andrew Jordan


Now its really, really hard to tell if this film is just a big joke or what hell is going on. Either way, its definitely brilliant. In Canuxploitation’s review (the definitive online guide for Canadian genre films) said THINGS is “one of Canadian film's most extreme exercises in tastelessness...pointless, bleak, and claustrophobic—yet somehow watchable.” I’d have to agree, but its also undoubtedly hilarious. The dubbing is so bad, its as if the crew gave up trying to deliver an honest film, and decided to drunkenly riff their failed production in the ADR room. Some real B-movie magic here.

You can order THINGS from the film’s website here: http://www.things1989.com/.

3. OGROFF aka THE MAD MUTILATOR



This is the most disturbing backyard horror film ever made and certainly the greatest horror film I’ve seen from France - not quite sure what it would take to top this. ITS PURE MADNESS. Shot on Super 8 and including a total of 5 lines of dialog, OGROFF is kill after kill, low-fi nightmarish repetition, and is a severely calculated, cruel, hallucinatory hate-piece. This film will stay with you. In you. This is definitely something Max Renn would program for Civic TV.



2. TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE (1988) - Directed by Chester Novell Turner


Chester Turner is easily the most mysterious auteur to emerge from the ‘80s camcorder horror underground, shocking unsuspecting video renters with his notorious and demented debut feature BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL. Buried deeper in obscurity, Turner's second foray into home-made horror TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE stars Shirley Jones as a bereaved mom who entertains her invisible ghost son with three spooky stories - rednecks fighting over sandwiches, a dead body dressed up as a clown, and lastly, her own. Perhaps the single weirdest thing (coming from a long, long list) about QUADEAD is its poignant, surprisingly personal ending.

We will be screening this film along with BRAIN BLUDGEON in Brooklyn on Oct 26th at reRun Theater at midnight, and its FREE!

Also, TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE is FINALLY getting a DVD release as part of the BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL DVD Rotten Cotton is release. Release date is TBA.

1. THE BURNING MOON (1992) - Directed by Olaf Ittenbach


This is the Holy Grail my friend. THE BURNING MOON may be the ANGRIEST horror film ever made. The film centers on two horrific bedtimes stories that a delinquent, junkie brother (played by director Olaf Ittenbach) reads to his 6 year old sister. These morbid stories focus on a serial killing blind date and a murderous, psychotic, rapist priest.

Upon my first viewing, I was delighted to know that the film actually includes an image of a burning moon. After Ittenbach's character returns home from a brutal gang fight he is beaten by his father. Pissed and broken, he heads upstairs to his room where he shoots heroin. He approaches his window and steps out to a landing and stares at the moon. And of course, it BURNS. Queue intense music and "ARRRHHH!!!" This is what inspires him to make a visit to his little sister's room for some hardcore reading.


Beyond its innovative visceral violence and lo-tech aesthetic it's actually a good film - there is some insane craftsmanship behind its DYI façade - including a TEN MINUTE decent to hell sequence realized as a basement in Germany. If you have a palate for fucked, low-budget nihilism a la THE LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET, COMBAT SHOCK, NEKROMANTIK, etc Ittenbach's persistent warped vision will be your new best friend.


Unavailable on DVD in the US.

That’s it!

If you’re in LA come down on Saturday (10/23) and check out DON’T PANIC and A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER at Cinefamily. If you’re in NYC next Friday (10/29) come check out BRAIN BLUDGEON and TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE at the brand-new reRun Theater in Brooklyn (it’s free!).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

BRAIN BLUDGEON featured on FilmDrunk.com

Vince from FilmDrunk was kind enough to push "Brain Bludgeon", with the first of two exclusive clips, on his unsuspecting readership. This clip, which is below, mostly features the Ouija-board possessed "Michael" from the stooopid "Don't Panic" (1988). Michael is goddamn relentless in his name-calling, falling and running into things throughout the duration of the film. This had to be documented.

You can read his post here, or below.



For today’s Friday Free for All, Evan from Severin sent us this fun little clip from his project Brain Bludgeon.  Evan watches more bizarre, forgotten, low-budget films than anyone I know (times 1000), and Brain Bludgeon is his compilation of some the best stuff.  If you live in Brooklyn, you’ll be able to see it yourself next Friday whilst getting drunk at the ReRun Gastropub.
Sewn together from hundreds of forgotten horror films, BRAIN BLUDGEON is a transcendental fusion of trash exposing the willing to everything curious, bizarre, hilarious and awful about no-budget genre films. Hot penny torture, exploding 3d skulls, brutal “de-fetusing”, raping zombies, and much more collide in this blissfully IQ-withering amalgamation of exploitation hell.
Meanwhile, today’s clip is rated awesome for gratuitous:
  • Awesome mullet perms
  • Casual use of gay slurs
  • INCREDIBLE acting
  • REAL baboons
  • Baboon dong
  • Excessive squibs
Did I say “gratuitous, excessive squibs?”  I did indeed.  They’re gratextuissive.

Friday, October 22, 2010

BRAIN BLUDGEON and TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE

I am very excited to announce that a six month obsessive, obscure horror themed mash-up project I've been working on with my good friend Shal Ngo, will finally have its debut at the reRun Theater in Brooklyn on Oct 29th, 2010.

"Brain Bludgeon" is sewn together from hundreds of forgotten horror films - a transcendental fusion of trash exposing the willing to everything curious, bizarre, hilarious and awful about no-budget genre films. Hot penny torture, exploding 3d skulls, brutal “de-fetusing”, raping zombies, and much more collide in this blissfully IQ-withering amalgamation of exploitation hell.

And what better way to celebrate Halloween this year, than an in-theater experience along with friends to enjoy some of the most visceral, insane, and stoopid horror movies of all time!?




Ever since my exposure to fantastic horror finds from both BleedingSkull.com and some choice bizarro programming selections at Cinefamily, I felt like I had to collage these discoveries in a brief, but comprehensive video piece. I HAD TO DO THIS. Its both equally an archival passion project and ejaculatory, hilarity piece. What began as a hobby, quickly devolved into an depraved obsession. So, I began to research more comparable films, and boy did we find some good ones. And as we get closer to the date, I will unveil some of these findings here. 

Also inclusive of this evening, we are showing the standalone shot-on-video oddity, "Tales From The Quadead Zone" by Chester Novell Turner.
 





Turner is easily the most mysterious auteur to emerge from the ‘80s camcorder horror underground, shocking unsuspecting video renters with his notorious and demented debut feature BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL. Buried deeper in obscurity, Turner's second foray into home-made horror TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE stars Shirley Jones as a bereaved mom who entertains her invisible ghost son with two spooky stories - rednecks fighting over sandwiches and a dead body dressed up as a clown. Perhaps the single weirdest thing (coming from a long, long list) about QUADEAD is its poignant, surprisingly personal ending in what Bleeding Skull calls "the greatest shot-on-video trash film of all time... creepy, hysterical, surreal, and well beyond explanation!"


Vince Mancini over at FilmDrunk.com was kind enough to push the event for us with an exclusive clip, here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

THE BURNING MOON, Olaf Ittenbach, 1992

My favorite horror films are usually completely nonsensical. The more confusing, messy, violent and delirious they are, the better. From Fulci's masterful "The Beyond," to the "Coffin Joe" series, to the shot-on-video hall of famer "Sledgehammer," each are prime examples of hallucinatory nightmare-scapes.


"Sledgehammer" (1983)



I usually find myself defenseless on the losing side of an Argento vs. Fulci argument as I prefer Lucio's films overall for their maddening nonsense. Basically, I'd rather get repeatedly mindfucked by the pillaging antics of the Chewbacca army in Fulci's lesser known "Conquest" than observe Argento stumbling to end one of his gialli films. Admittedly, I love Argento's style and especially "Suspiria," but when it comes to a whodunit scenario Argento fumbles to deliver something climatic (i.e. "Opera.") Argento's journey to to the reveal is fun, but on the whole I'd rather be completely dumbfounded by Fulci's absurdity. A pointless argument that really boils down to taste, but I included it as it helps to explain these types of films by extracting the things I enjoy about Fulci's films and the like.

"Conquest" (1983)

Perhaps the culmination of these unique genre films are not wholly what the filmmaker intended, which only adds to the madness (and YOU the viewer must allow it to do so!) Maybe technical ineptitude seeps in here and there. Or perhaps the filmmaker has an educated affection for Luis Buñuel's "The Exterminating Angel" or the "Coffin Joe" films...whatever it is, the mystery behind the director's unfocused delirium is what makes these gems compelling. There is an added sense of discovery as a viewer to experience something that abandons convention and now exists as an forgotten, eccentric piece of hell - maybe this is what Harmony Korine was after with his deliberate VHS feature "Trash Humpers."

For me, these types films are mostly an all-or-nothing experience. If you can harmonize with the aforementioned, you can experience a new horror all together - a psychedelic fever-dream that descends into an abominable waking nightmare. Now, enter the Holy Grail of shot-on-video nightmarish delirium and let's pretend we found this tape unmarked and buried in a ditch:




Its actually an extreme DISSERVICE to the film to post this butchered clip of the film. This YouTube user failed to upload this scene in its shocking entirety. This unmatched descent-to-hell sequence is actually around 9 1/2 minutes long. Please seek this film out for the sole reason to watch this scene not only its entirety but its jaw-dropping context. I've shown it to many people, and the result is the same. Gasping and heart holding.

To draw a parallel between this and one of my favorite surreal trash artists: Ittenach's unending vision of hell echoes the brilliant payoffs in José Mojica Marins' "Coffin Joe" series.

"This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse" (1967)


"The Burning Moon" may be the ANGRIEST horror film ever made. The film centers on two horrific bedtimes stories that a delinquent, junkie brother (played by director Olaf Ittenbach) reads to his 6 year old sister. These morbid stories focus on a serial killing blind date and a murderous, psychotic, rapist priest.

Upon my first viewing, I was delighted to know that the film actually includes an image of a burning moon. After Ittenbach's character returns home from a brutal gang fight he is beaten by his father. Pissed and broken, he heads upstairs to his room where he shoots heroin. He approaches his window and steps out to a (deck? fire escape? i dunno) and stares at the moon. And of course, it BURNS. Queue intense music and "ARRRHHH!!!" This is what inspires him to make a visit to his little sister's room for some hardcore reading.





AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!11


Beyond its innovative visceral violence and lo-tech aesthetic it's actually a good film - there is some insane craftsmanship behind its DYI façade. If you have a palate for low-budget nihilism a la "The Last House On Dead End Street," "Combat Shock," or "The Death King," Ittenbach's persistent warped vision will be your new best friend.

"The Last House On Dead End Street" (1977)

"Combat Shock" aka "American Nightmares" (1984)

"Der Todesking" aka "The Death King" (1990)

I discovered "The Burning Moon" while searching around online. I came across this YouTube video title "The Brutal Murder of an Autistic Farmer." I laughed so hard until I cried - then I watched the clip.



As you can see the non-stop brutality of this clip is coupled with a sad, melancholic score which only adds to its subversiveness. Fulci also seems to use this bizarre mixture of the horrific imagery and an empathetic score. This may not be the best example below, but you can see traces of that in "The Beyond".



I'd rather not spoil more of "The Burning Moon" has it holds more insane surprises. However, if you're not convinced to seek this out, then I've included some more tantalizing stills from the film aka the ultimate "movie night" movie.


Final word: A great resource for gems like "The Burning Moon" is www.BleedingSkull.com - bookmark it now!