Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Lost Art of Horror VHS covers - U.S. edition

As a companion to my earlier post of original 1980s U.S. cinema newspaper ads (kindly supplied to me by Long Island independent filmmaker Keith Crocker (The Bloody Ape, Escape from Stalag 69), here's a - very small - sample of Keith's incredible VHS collection. This selection consists of some of my personal favourite U.S. VHS horror/trash cover art, most of which were released by the legendary Wizard Video.





















Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Mike Patton's Eurocult Soundtrack Love Affair



Musical genius Mike Patton, whom I’ve written about at length elsewhere on this blog, is also well known for his love of the Eurocult genre, often mentioning specific movie titles and directors in interviews. And of course there’s his love letter to cinema, Fantomas’s tremendous Director’s Cut album. During many Mr Bungle shows, the band would deliver near perfect renditions of Morricone’s ‘La Lucertola’ (from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin), Citta Violenta and other much welcome surprises for genre fans. Even with his experimental work Adult Themes for Voice, Patton slapped on titles such as ‘Porno Holocaust’ and ‘Red Mouth, Black Orgasm’ (guess which director he’s a fan of) onto some tracks. The man lives and breathes not only obscure music but also non-mainstream cinema, and film references are littered all over his 30-year career.
As this is specifically a Eurocult/Eurohorror/Eurotrash blog, I thought it would be fun to list as many songs Patton has covered or paid homage to via his myriad of projects.


Porno Holocaust

Track 8 off Adult Themes for Voice – Mike Patton

Title of a 1980 Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D’Amato) film

Porno Holocaust is a delirious 1980 porn/horror hybrid from the notorious Joe D’Amato. The track itself consists of Patton making screaming/puking noises for a minute. Mike’s statement on the no-budget craziness of the film? His expression of how in-your-face it is? Or he simply loved that killer title and said “Hell, this is what I’m going to name this”? Make of that what you will.



Red Mouth, Black Orgasm

Track 29 off Adult Themes for Voice – Mike Patton

Those In The Know will be aware of D’Amato’s 1980 opus Black Orgasm, which it appears Patton had on his mind when recording this 27 second soundbyte, which starts with him making sucking noises then barking FUCK FUCK FUCK for the rest of it. Pretty much sums up the film.



La Lucertola

Live cover by Mr Bungle

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin; directed by Lucio Fulci, 1971

A stunning cover of ‘La Lucertola’, this rendition brings chills to the spine with its preciseness. 6 out of 5 stars.



A Lizard With the Skin of Woman

Track 17 off  Adult Themes for Voice – Mike Patton

Clearly a tribute to Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Patton’s haunting, mournful, yet ominous vocal stylings would not be out of place in a 1970s Morricone giallo composition, or indeed in Fulci’s film itself.



Citta Violenta

Live cover by Mr Bungle

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Violent City; directed by Sergio Sollima, 1970

No other words, Bungle’s stirring, thumping cover of a classic Morricone track simply rocks.



Deep Down

Track 4 off Mondo Cane – Mike Patton

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Danger: Diabolik; directed by Mario Bava, 1968

Covering his idol Morricone once again, this is a superb, breezy rendition by Patton’s 60s Italian covers tribute album Mondo Cane off one of the tracks from the Mario Bava comic book/pop art extravaganza (also a favourite film of Patton’s). I actually prefer this to the original (sorry Maestro!)



Investigations of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Track 14 of The Directors Cut - Fantomas

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Investigations of a Citizen Above Suspicion; directed by Elio Petri, 1970

More Morricone, this one begins in the spirit of a 70s Italo crime mystery, and ends with a thrash metal twist. Love it.



Twitch of the Death Nerve

Track 2 off She – Maldoror

Title of a 1971 Mario Bava film

A brutal cachopony of abrasive noise ala ‘Porno Holocaust’ from Patton and Japanese noise music artist Masami Akita, this is also open to your interpretation.....



Metti, una sera a cena

Live cover by Mr Bungle

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Metti, una sera a cena; directed by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, 1976

Another of Bungle’s live-only covers of – yep, another (very much welcomed) Morricone track, Patton nails Edda Dell’Orso’s exquisite vocals perfectly with his 6 and a half octave range.


Also of note is Crime and Dissonance, a 2005 compilation album of Ennio Morricone's generally lesser known work, focussing on Italian crime, horror and Giallo movies from the 1960s-1980s that he scored. Released by Patton’s record label Ipecac Records, I have listed the tracks from the album that are relevant to this article.

“Giorno Di Notte"
From A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Dir: Lucio Fulci, 1971

"Corsa Sui Tetti", ‘Spiriti’, “Fondate Paure” and “L’uccello dale piume di cristallo”
From The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
Dir: Dario Argento, 1970


“Il Buio” (Morricone/Bruno Nicolai)
From The Antchrist
Dir: Alberto Di Martino, 1974

“Seguita” and “Folle Folle”
From The Cold Eyes of Fear
Dir: Enzo G. Castellari, 1971

1970”
From The Cat O’Nine Tails
Dir: Dario Argento, 1971

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Classic 80s trash U.S. cinema newspaper ads!



Some classic early-mid 1980s U.S. newspaper ads  from the incredible collection of independent filmmaker extraordinare Keith Crocker who kindly gave me his blessing to post these. Pics taken when I was at Casa Crocker in Oct 2014.












Monday, 10 October 2016

Alex Bakshaev is back! Review of S & M: Les Sadiques


S & M: Les Sadiques
2016
Germany
Director: Alex Bakshaev


Marie (Nadine Pape), bored with life in her stifling suburb, leaves the shackles and restrictions of her father’s house for the bright lights of Berlin. With little money and possessions the young woman is hoping to rely on the goodwill of friends while she settles into city life. But those Marie think she can count on let her down, and after narrowly escaping being raped by an acquaintance she has no option but to sleep rough.



The beautiful Sandra (Sandra Bourdonnec) discovers Marie, dejected, alone and freezing cold, huddled in a stairwell in her apartment building like a frightened animal. Sandra takes the gracious Marie in. Marie is instantly attracted to her benefactor, and is intrigued and aroused by the various BDSM implements openly displayed around the apartment. Sandra, the master, quickly inducts Marie, the willing slave, into her heady world of whips, boots and corsets. Like modern-day vampires, the pair prowl the streets after dark in sunglasses and bondage-chic wear, seeking out handsome young male prey for them to “play” with. Marie may have broke free from her father’s grip, but now she’s under the lock and key of her mistress Sandra, with their sexual escapades gradually descending from lust and desire to murder and madness....


After being impressed by Alex Bakshaev’s excellent The Devil of Kruezberg, the recent release of the dynamic director’s  S & M: Les Sadiques  was a very welcome and pleasant surprise. S & M is both a stunning tribute to the cinema of Jess Franco and a tour-de-force opus of its own accord. Mesmerizingly shot, with both strong performances from leading ladies Nadine Pape and Sandra Bourdonnec and the supporting cast, with both heady and uber cool, sexually charged atmosphere to burn, Bakshaev’s output only gets better and better. A highlight is the dreamlike BDSM club stage shows, which would fit into any of Franco’s very best works seamlessly. This hypnotic essay into the pleasure and pain of sadomasochism is captivating from beginning to end; it doesn’t overstay its welcome and is contemporarily stylish without ever veering into irritating hipsterdom or pondering pretentiousness. A visual and aural treat not just for Jess Franco but for all lovers of top class independent cinema, Alex Bakshaev continues to prove that he is one of the most gifted young filmmakers of his generation with S & M: Les Sadiques.
Gorgeous promo image inspired by which Jess Franco film?

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Robert Monell's interview with yours truly...read at your peril

I was honoured to be recently interview by long-time genre scribe Robert Monell at his forum CINEMADROME, where I discuss everything from how I got into Eurohorror/trash, the VHS years, the hypocrisy of censorship in Australia, and much much more here:

http://cinemadrome.yuku.com/topic/1777/CONFESSIONS-OF-AN-AUSTRALIAN-CULT-MOVIE-JOURNALIST#.V_CWvPVOJdg

"Australian writer Michelle Alexander is one of my favorite critic-journalists covering world genre/obscure/infamous/cult/exploitation cinema, the people who make and appear in it, along with the history of the distribution/exhibition/advertising of these films and with censorship issues they have encountered. Based in Melbourne, Australia she has a special expertise in how these types of films have been treated there in terms of import issues, local censorship and classification, exhibition and promotion. She also writes on the history of Australian cult cinema and has a special interest in Italian genre cinema of the 1950s through the 1990s."

One of the VHS covers that led me on my road to ruin.



My review of ex-pioneering Hollywood stuntwoman and singer/songwriter Marneen Lynne Fields' stunning new single, 'I've Never Stopped Loving You'

Former pioneering Hollywood stuntwoman, actress and now multi-talented singer-songwriter Marneen  Lynne Fields’ latest single, ‘I’ve Never Stopped Loving You’ is an immaculately produced and wonderfully addictive pop-rock track. Fields’ sultry, earthy vocals have a welcome touch of chanteuse Marcella Detroit, emoting her words in a heartfelt, passionate, at times playful way. The instrumental backup amalgamates perfectly with Fields’ distinct voice; soaring keyboards, poignant piano, punchy guitar. These, plus Fields’ lyrics all combine to create a wonderfully memorable, unique and touching single.  With an equally impressive body of musical work, here’s hoping that Marneen will soon release a much-anticipated album.

Listen to Mareen's new single HERE:

https://vimeo.com/181001794


Sunday, 3 July 2016

1970s Melbourne Eurohorror/trash/cult cinema ads

After trawling through the cinema advertisement section of many of The Age newspapers throughout the entire 1970s (just about their entire archives are now scanned online from 1854 to 1989), I turned up some gold. Enjoy this selection of screening times for some of the trashiest, sleaziest films, buried deep in the bowels of the Melbourne movie going experience. Today the idea of strolling down the Bourke Street Mall and rocking up to the likes of Black Emanuelle Goes East or Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein sound laughably absurd, but once upon a time the Melbourne CBD was dotted with theatres playing all amount of Eurotrash, smut and cult classics. And let's not forget what turned up at the suburban drive-ins. A double of The Horrible Sexy Vampire and Caged Virgins in genteel Sandringham? Yes, you read right. If you're still hungry for more movie ads, check out film historian Dean Brandum's essential Technicolour Yawn blog (http://technicolouryawn.com)  and Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/techniyawn) to whet your appetite!


15 Jan 1973
 
8 Feb 1973
 

 
 
6 April 1973
 
 
5 May 1973
 
 
14 Jun 1973
 

17 Sep 1973

8 Nov 1973

 
 
1 Feb 1974
 
 
15 Mar 1974
 
 
15 Apr 1974
 
 
22 May 1974 - interesting placement of these two ads...
 
 
 
5 Jul 1974. Note the M rating, surely there wouldn't have been much of a film left?
 
 
 
8 Aug 1974 


 
 
14 Aug 1974
 
 
13 Dec 1974
 
 
1 Jan 1975 
 
 
3 Feb 1975
 
 
15 Feb 1975
 
 
14 Mar 1975
 
 
15 Apr 1975
 
 
1 May 1975
 
 
1 May 1975
 
 
8 Oct 1975
 
 
1 Dec 1975
 
 
8 Dec 1975
 
 
1 Jan 1976
 
 
8 Mar 1976
 
 
1 Apr 1976
 
 
8 Jun 1976
 
 
6 Aug 1976
 
 
1 Sep 1976
 
 
7 Oct 1976 
 
 
22 Nov 1976
 
 
1 Dec 1976
 
 
1976 
 
 
3 Jan 1977
 
 
3 Mar 1977
 
 
22 Mar 1977
 
 
22 Apr 1977
 
 
4 Jul 1977
 
 
6 Sep 1977

 
 
1 Nov 1977
 
 
3 Nov 1977
 
 
7 Nov 1977
 
 
5 Dec 1977
 
 
16 Mar 1978
 
 
12 Apr 1978

 
 
22 Aug 1978
 
 
8 Dec 1978 - The Evolution of Snuff
 
 
13 Feb 1980
 
 
Jul 1982
 
 
Unknown dates - my apologies, I forgot to note the dates of the newspapers all of the below ads are from.