Sunday, 18 February 2018

TENEBRAPHOBIA




Finally unleashed today, this five song EP is a project that Bowie (my incredibly multi-talented partner / love of my life) and I have been working on for many months. At times, its creation has been a process as frustrating as it's been fun, but we're both really stoked with the end result.

TENEBRAPHOBIA is a tribute to the throbbing synth scores that are the defining signature of so many '70s and '80s Italian and North American horror films. Scores by the likes of Goblin, John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi.

Bowie's take on the genre is gnarly. Horror synth as filtered through a punk attitude. These tunes rock.

All tracks/recording/mixing by Ms. Raffan. Concept/titles, logo/design, and grumpy muse: your's truly.

Enjoy, share, but whatever you do, turn it the fuck UP!








Wednesday, 14 February 2018

FEB 14


Maybe I'll just post this every Valentine's Day, because why the fuck not?







Sunday, 4 February 2018

Decade of Decay: MARTYRS / INSIDE




Has it really been 10 and 11 years respectively since MARTYRS and INSIDE turned the world of horror cinema, kicking and screaming, on its head? And 9 years since I was gushing and ranting about both films on this blog? Unbelievably, the answer to both questions is yes.

In that time we've seen the watered-down, sanitised US remakes come and go (into much deserved obscurity), as the careers of Pascal Laugier and Maury/Bustillo have sadly failed to live up to the promise of their early masterpieces (but I'm still rooting for Laugier's new one, GHOSTLAND).

Regardless of those negative observations, the impact of these two modern classics hasn't diminished a bit. In the decade since they were unleashed on the world, have we even seen another truly comparable film? Their blend of feminism and arthouse sensibilities, colliding head on with pitch black, extreme gore was, and still is, pretty unique.

To celebrate the occasion, here's a pulpy Spanish one-sheet for INSIDE that I don't think I've ever seen (above), and some nice MARTYRS tributes from Gary Pullin (top), Nathan Thomas Milliner (middle) and Trevor Henderson (bottom).












Sunday, 28 January 2018

THE ENDLESS poster




This week saw the reveal of this fittingly beautiful and trippy poster for THE ENDLESS, Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson's impressive followup to their cult hits RESOLUTION and SPRING. All three films (which can loosely be referred to as the Shitty Carl trilogy) are essential viewing for fans of Lovecraft, the arcane and the eldritch. THE ENDLESS will hopefully hit local cinemas later this year.

Feel free to help yourself to my slightly unhinged reviews for SPRING and THE ENDLESS. But, you know, do what thou wilt.


Friday, 26 January 2018

Morricone Youth: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD




Last night I pushed through a haze of post-work fatigue to attend a screening of Romero's NOTLD (first time on the big screen for me!), with live accompaniment by New York's Morricone Youth. The band are here in Sydney to perform their re-score of the Pittsburgh lensed zombie classic, as well as Miller's MAD MAX. Having done zero research on the band beforehand, I went into the screening unsure of what to expect. Rock? Synth? Chamber orchestra? Taking my seat, third row from front, it became immediately obvious from the setup (bass, guitar, drums, two keyboard/synth rigs, vocals) that my secret hopes were to be rewarded: I was in for some proggy goodness, ala Goblin.

Morricone Youth delivered on that promise in spades, at points almost outplaying the Italian masters at their own game. What they've essentially done here is to give NIGHT a sister score to Goblin's iconic cues for DAWN OF THE DEAD. Mounting waves of pounding rock, throbbing synth and spooky glockenspiel, elevated to euphoric levels by some fantastic, operatic vocals (performed by a woman who I can't find a mention of anywhere, what gives?). Some research this morning reveals that they recently toured with Goblin in the States, and have previously re-scored a number of other cult films.

It's a shame that last night's haunting, powerful vocals are barely represented on the vinyl release of NOTLD, because their impact, live in front of the film, was immeasurable. The word transcendent comes to mind, making this my favourite viewing of Romero's seminal classic to date. The experience gave me a new and deeper appreciation of the film: the radicalism of its civil rights theme, its gorgeously lit black and white cinematography and wonderful editing, both courtesy of a young and hungry Romero. It throws into sharp focus just how talented and utterly electric the young Pittsburgh artist was. This film was dangerous, and exactly half a century later is still vitally important.

If you get a chance to see this show (especially with vocal accompaniment), don't sleep on it!




Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Crawler in the Tower




Spoilers follow for both Jeff VanderMeer's novel, ANNIHILATION, and its soon-to-be-released film adaptation, directed by Alex Garland.

The above screenshot, taken from the recently released second trailer for ANNIHILATION, appears to be a very spoilery look at The Biologist's climactic confrontation with the tower crawler. A couple of other, less explicit, images from this scene are scattered throughout the trailer. That Paramount/Skydance are so willing to spoil the film's ending, just so they can shoehorn some of its most powerful imagery into the trailer, speaks volumes about their lack of confidence in what Garland has delivered. Indeed, they're so utterly freaked out about ANNIHILATION's lack of commercial appeal (based on an allegedly disastrous test screening a couple of months back), they completely choked, cancelling its worldwide theatrical release, and dumping it onto Netflix instead. Unless you live in the United States, you'll more than likely be watching this film on your TV or laptop at home.

This is classic studio suit behaviour of course, but in the end it's probably the most positive outcome for the film, and for fans of intelligent, weird sci-fi horror. I'd rather watch Garland's film, as it was intended to be seen, on a small screen at home, than a butchered test-screening travesty in a theatre. 

What we're seeing here is the marketing machine struggling to assemble trailers with mainstream appeal, but I think in February we're going to get something much more akin to UNDER THE SKIN. A moody, visually stunning arthouse sci-fi, which leaves the viewer with a number of unanswered questions.

I couldn't be happier.


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

AUTOPSY: 2017




This has been a crowded year for cinema in general, but an unusually prolific one for good cinema. It would appear that the creative spark, the desire for escape, and the need to find meaning in this world through our art, are qualities that really do flourish in more trying times. Film-wise, 2017 was so densely packed that despite making an effort to see more movies than ever, I still feel like I've only scratched the surface.

Here then, my friends, is my Top 10 for the year, ranked. Following that you'll find a dirty dozen of Honourable Mentions (unranked), each one excellent enough in its own right to be included on any number of other Top 10 lists. As ever, I'll see you on the other side!



THE BEST

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10. 


THE REST

























Sunday, 10 December 2017

LIQUID SKY




Vinegar Syndrome's freshly released, lovingly restored blu ray of Slava Tsukerman's LIQUID SKY is a must see. I'm not even sure it looked this good when I saw it screened in 35mm, during its first run in the 80s (at Electric Shadows!), making this a solid contender for hottest home video release of the year. As for the film itself, it's aged like a fine wine. LIQUID SKY now serves as a valuable time capsule, a window onto a moment of the New York art punk/new wave scene (albeit a hyper-stylised version of it) that today's kids try to emulate, but which is in truth irretrievably lost to time.

More than just a document of a forgotten subculture, the film also transports you to a Manhattan that no longer really exists, not just the skeezy old Broadway and 42nd Street that so often gets the attention when people talk about the old NY, but the city as a whole. There's probably ten minutes of footage in this that have to rank as some of the most stunningly beautiful images of NYC ever shot.

If you had to choose a single movie to call the quintessential example of a "cult film", LIQUID SKY would be it, and Vinegar Syndrome's blu ray is cult film preservation at its finest.










Saturday, 2 December 2017

SUSPIRIA art




With just a few weeks to go till Synapse's definitive blu ray finally hits*, get in the spirit by feasting your eyes on this gallery of trippy SUSPIRIA artwork. Some of these have appeared in these pages before, but the majority are fresh. Every poster and illustration here is an eye-melter. All killer, no filler!

(Sorry, it's as humid as the green inferno here today and I'm feeling lazy, so no artist credits. Right click > search google for image!) 


*In a limited pressing of 6000, so avoid paying those inflated ebay prices by pre-ordering your copy from Diabolik right here.