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Saturday, 30 November 2013

H.P. Lovecraft puberty blog #2

March 10th, 1903

My mind, a puzzle of aphotic notions, has taken a shapeless form of its own. I no longer have control of my thoughts, they belong to others, a thousands others. Ancient premonitions of early man, of coming bloodshed and unimaginable lust. Yes, true, this is now an illness of the mind, for bodily mutation amalgamates with the mutation of mind. Ghastly, slender fingers grazing my cerebral lobes and there are whispers of primordial, rotten intention.

My perception has been altered so cruelly. Georgia, the bakery girl, of whom I paid little attention before, has visited me in my dreams, no, nightmares. Lucid visions of her pale naked form permeate continuously as my eyes do shut and my body rests. No, there is no rest for me now, there is only sepulchral phantasms and soiled bed sheets.

Perhaps the most paramount development pertaining to my physical metamorphosis is with regards to my penis. As I wake from these vivid nightmares, I find myself spattered with translucent white plasma. I know it is not of this cosmos, I know now that my limb has become a portal, inviting archaic, ethereal substances to our plane of existence.

Georgia, whom once served me sweetbread with a chaste smile and soft, kindly hands, has been adopted as a torture instrument by a cosmic evil of which wishes me dead. 

I cannot leave my penis alone. Despondency is all I know in this terror world. If there is something, anything, that would have me die, I would gladly oblige. I seek only end, eternal sleep devoid of nightmare or vision. 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Boobies R'lyeh wgah'nagl Wanking





Thursday, 28 November 2013

Your sexual partner hates you, here's some fetishes that might spice things up.


You roll away from each other, a deep sigh, and then share an awkward glance. You can see it in each others eyes, your weekly sexual conference has become mechanic and boring. Two years you've spent together and you've forgotten what buttons to press and what nobs to turn. Pleasing your partner has become a chore and you're starting to have second thoughts about one of those flirtatious drunks clustered around the chipper after a midnight clubbing session. Your love life is dead and buried.

Except it's not.

There is only one sure fire way to salvage the carnal beast that you once were, and that is by employing one or more of the following fetish activities listed as follows.



Metrophilia 

Sexual arousal emanating from poetry. Do you really think Coleridge, the bad boy of Romanticism, died due to complications arising from his lifelong opium addiction? Nope. The man was suffocated by vagina. Poetry can evoke more than just indifference, it can also rile your lover up like an Italian-American disagreement. Next time you feel your sex life is slipping, lay some Wordsworth on the girl and she'll be writhing around madly with sexual intoxication.

Forniphilia 

Sexual arousal arising from turning someone into a piece of human furniture. When was the last time you were in Ikea or Woodie's? Do you remember sauntering through those isles, catching a glimpse of that cheeky looking cupboard and suddenly deciding that you wanted to make sex to whatever or whomever was present at the time? This may be the job for you. Next time you're in the bedroom with your love person, ask him/her to assume the plank position. Place a nice warm cup of tea and the latest edition of The Star, that you won't actually read, on his/her back. Give it a few minutes, just a few more, now allow your sexual demons to run wild.

Sophophilia 

Sexual arousal from learning things. Were you the one in transition year that actually studied for the Leaving Cert? Are you instantly drawn to those dark wood coloured hardbacks in the library? Are you suddenly nursing a boundless erection as you read this? Well then obviously you're a Sophophile. Take your partner to your local library, an art exhibition or even a care home and listen to the stories of old men. Once you have done this, take them back to your apartment and give them several hours of orangutan loving.

Autassassinophilia 

Sexual arousal arising from life threatening situations. This one is easy as pie. Walk into any nightclub or dorm room party and shout at the top of your lungs "I can drink larger amounts and have more fun than all of you!". This will incite the kind of violence reserved for gang brawls, death metal concerts and Star Trek hand-to-hand combat sequences. If you survive the coming onslaught of popped collars and BFFs, you've done well. Now go, go to your lover.

Toucherism

Sexual arousal from touching an unsuspecting, non-consenting person. You're on the Luas, it's about 8.30 am and the cart is packed up like a Mumford & Sons concert, you're uncomfortably positioned and are trying desperately to avoid eye-contact with everyone around you. Don't hesitate, friend, give in to your sexual deviancy. That girl/guy smells real good, don't he/she? Yeah, you know you want to break you off some of that. Just a slight brush, maybe a pat on the back, offer a handshake and a "Howiyeh?". Job done. Now get off at your stop, take the next taxi home and unleash a sexual whirlwind on your lover of which the likes have never been seen.

Drink black absinthe

I've said this before in a previous article. Just do it. Now. You'll know why.



Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Legalize Cannibalism: Five Brutal Death Metal bands for aspiring butchers.




You, the reader, probably the metal aficionado neck beard, before you start ranting on about the terms used in this article to describe this genre of music, I'd like to ask you first to walk away from the laptop, ask your mother for €20, buy as much worth of pencils and swallow each and every one of them. Brutal Death Metal, Goregrind, Porngrind, Slam Death Metal...shut the fuck up. You know what I'm talking about. Now that you have enough lead in your system, you can return to your cute Youtube argument on that Deicide video.

Death metal is the reason Dream Theater fans hate us. Brutal Death Metal is the reason Death Metal fans hate us. That's the thing about metal, a lot of people hate each other. Now usually those that habour this intense loathing and reinforce the segregation are those basement dwelling teenagers armed with Youtube accounts, so it isn't fair to say that one can't enjoy all genres of evil and that the general metal "community" is full of hermits. It is, however, very fair to say that Brutal Death Metal is one of the least accessible forms of modern extreme music.

Where traditional Death Metal takes a sacrificial dagger to the heart of the listener, Brutal Death Metal takes its tongue to the blood pool, spreads out the torso and feasts hungrily on the innards. BDM is essentially Death Metal's deformed anthropophagus (Another word I've been dying to use) with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. It attacks you with grindcore's unrelenting speed, but guts you with the technical aptitude of a surgeon on crack.

Still not following me here? That's okay, let's be frank here, it all sounds the exact same to someone who isn't an avid listener.

As a nice little precursor to the Amputated gig in Dublin this Friday, I offer you five Brutal Death Metal bands that will watch you from afar, follow you to the library, learn your daily routine and eventually torture you to death with a blow torch in the back of a Hiace van. Get ready to be repulsed.

Defeated Sanity


There is definitely something filthy in the water in Germany. This is apparent in the number and quality of BDM bands that seem to pour out of the country. Defeated Sanity are among the veterans of this vile, putrid music and have been piling up the bodies since 1994. They have consistently delivered the kind of festering brutality, as well as technical strength, that puts them a cut above many of the more modern BDM bands of the moment. They're the frigid war veterans that sneers at the spoiled generation that "have it easy".



Katalepsy


These Russian fuckers know exactly what nerves to slice. Their breakneck speed and technical artistry will leave you shaken, stunned and checking that your stomach is still where it's supposed to be. Their approach to this music, lyrically, is very different to the standardized "kill, consume, repeat" themes of most BDM bands and this sets them apart from the flock. Lyrics like; The shapeless nightmare in center of Chaos, which abominable curls and boil in the heart of Infinity, in incomprehensible dark chambers out of Time, reek of Lovecraftian imagery. I hate to use the term, but you could almost call Katalepsy a "close-reading" band. We all love knuckle-dragging death metal, but these Russian hellions seem to combine a kind of maturity with the riff-heavy nastiness we all know and adore.

Fumes of Decay


There's a wretched atmosphere painted by Fumes of Decay. Perhaps it's in the album artwork or in their static accent, but there's something about this band's music that paints a terribly gruesome picture for you. Their first full-length Devouring the Excavated (2011) sends you to a desolate, alien landscape where survival is feckless. You're fucked from 0:01. Each track on the album races along speedily, never stopping, never lessening in intensity. Bands like Fumes of Decay and Spain's Wormed are comparable in that they deliver BDM with an excessive inhumanity that is absent in other bands. They genuinely sound like monsters. Though they keep with the uniform of BDM, they manage to avoid the pig-squealing clichés associated with the genre. Approach with caution.

Abominable Putridity


Perhaps the most important band in Brutal Death Metal at the moment. Hailing from Moscow, Russia (There's definitely some Trioxin in the water there too), in my opinion, these fiends fly the flag for BDM. They slam, they pulsate and they come at you with gnashing teeth and outstretched arms. There's a groove to their brutality, like that of modern hardcore metal, except instead of picking up change like a dull, aspiring tough-guy, they just sink their teeth right into you. It's the sound of the zombie apocalypse and it tastes really, really good.

Amputated


The embodiment of all that is brutal. These guys were, along with Abominable Putridity and Katalepsy, at the forefront of this new level of extremity called "Brutal Death Metal". Pig-squealing, check, assault rifle drumming, check, filth and absolutely depravity, check and check. They manage to stay true to the aesthetics of BDM without seeming like a parody or caricature. With some of the best audio bytes and the most rib-crunching riffs, Amputated are truly the skeleton of modern BDM and that skeleton, through forces of great evil, is animate and ready to chew on your skin. 


Friday night is going to be fucking messy.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Exploitation films; Representations of femininity, part one (?)

Exploitation

 noun

  • 1 [mass noun] the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work:the exploitation of migrant workers
  • 2the action of making use of and benefiting from resources:the Bronze Age saw exploitation of gold deposits
  •  the fact of making use of a situation to gain unfair advantage for oneself:the Government’s exploitation of the fear of crime

I'd like to begin this article by making it clear that there is no agenda behind it. I am all in favour of equality and am very aware of over-sexualization in the media. I am, however, of the philosophy that a movie is a movie and if you are the kind of person who simply cannot divorce fiction from reality, you should probably close this tab right now.

For the past few years I've had an obsession with the exploitation film, or the "video nasty". The low-budget, sleazy and often gore splattered genre of film that exploded in the late 60s and left a crater large enough to spill over another two decades. It was dangerous, disgusting and the very definition of punk rock. Melodrama, sword/scandal and slapstick comedies were no longer enough to sate the appetite of a generation of libertines, rebels and drug-soaked teenagers and somewhere down the line, writers and directors caught wind of this. Out with the Marilyn Monroe, in with the Camille Keaton.

These movies were provocative, blasphemous and molested every taboo established in the minds of an older generation who simply didn't understand why their kids were still up past midnight.

Fanboy masturbation aside, the aim of this article is to address and highlight the role and dichotomous typology of women in these films. From the hard as nails heroine to the red riding hood stunner, were women used as simply props in these films? Can it be said that they merely existed to be fed to the villainous slasher antagonist? If so, then why women? Had society, at this time of free love and feminism, put women atop a pedestal, the model citizen? If all this is true, then the exploitation film, by its very nature, chose to defile women for its own ghastly agenda. Nothing is sacred in the world of the exploitation film and if there is anything sacred left to be exploited, the exploitation film seeks it out and plants a clenched fist right into its quivering anus.


The perfect prey

Socially constructed gender roles have it that women are less survivalist than men. Obviously this is simple patriarchal assumption and survivalism is completely individual. However, there are many more reasons as to why women were chosen as the "prey" for these films. Most exploitation films were aimed at a male audience, anywhere between the ages of 18-30, beyond or below. As such, the tropes and characters in the films were adjusted to appeal to a male audience seeking nothing more than instantly gratifying cinema. Blood, tits and action.

Women, throughout history, have been glamourized and thought of as precious stock, the helpless maiden. Again, a product of patriarchy. They were exalted for their beauty, grace and nothing much else. The work and war was left to the menfolk. So it is to say that women have been treated as precious, though condescended. 

A male audience, perhaps, wouldn't give a rats if they saw one of their fellow menfolk having their intestines pulled at like ropes in a crimson game of tug-a-war. A woman, however, now that would incite the kind of repulsion that the exploitation film so hungrily demands. With historical, cultural and religious connotations taken into mind, it can then be said that women are considered the perfect prey for exploitation films in that they are precious, so let us defile them. 


Sadism

While the exploitation genre wasn't always so unfair in their portrayal or application of female characters, there are some films of note that took their perversions to a whole other platform of extreme. Rather than the woman as the pursued victim, these films cut straight to the point. Woman as simply the victim. Last Orgy of the Third Reich (1977) is a harrowing tale of a young Jew girl sent to an all-female concentration camp, where she is subjected to mental and physical torture. A high-ranking Nazi officer takes a particular interest in her strength and ability to endure such punishment and sets about on a project to see if he can be the one to break her spirit. Throughout the film, this woman is beaten, tortured and mentally abused on a level that, even for exploitation films, was unheard of. It truly is a repulsive film. I do not believe in censorship of any kind, so I cannot say it right to keep it out of sight, but I recommend you never watch it with the expectation of entertainment.

Last Orgy of the Third Reich is but an example of how extreme and demented these films had become by the late 70s. Writers and directors seemed to be engaged in an all-out arms race to produce film that would shock, offend and repulse. It wasn't enough for a woman to be chased through the woods by a masked mad man brandishing a butcher's knife, there had to be mutilation and agony. Action and suspense had been replaced by sheer sadism. The image of the perfect female form being torn apart was the most shocking and repulsive trope these directors could muster, and it worked.


Sexualization of the victim

Horror-Movies.Ca posted an article titled "Hottest Horror Movie Victims" some time last year. The first thing you'll notice about the title are the terms "hottest" and "victim". The second thing you'll notice, if you read the article, is that all 33 of the listed victims are women. I take absolutely no issue with the article or its contents, but it is a telling truth that there is an assumption that the victim must be female and she must also be "hot". Were it to be a more balanced article, they could have included men in the list, but they didn't. "Hottest" and "victim" are words associated with women in the film industry. The destruction of beauty is a common trope in horror and exploitation, I take absolutely no issue with that either, I love a lot of these films, but an article such as this suggests that, through gender role assignment, the woman must be a victim. Otherwise the article may have been titled "Hottest Horror Movie Actresses".

Again, I stress that I'm not arguing against anything here, I'd just like to bring it to light. Maybe you'll take offense to it. Go write someone a letter or something.

Naivety and purity

In The Last House on the Left (1972, a fine year for horror I might add), Mari Collingwood and her rebellious, adventurous girlfriend are planning to attend a concert in the city. Mari, clearly innocent and naive, is introduced to alcohol and drugs over the first part of the film. Without spoiling the film for you, as if you don't already have an idea where this is going, terrible things happen to her afterwards. Mari's naivety is what leads her to a precarious situation and it is her naivety that is exploited. This naivety, innocence, or misplaced trust is another common trope in exploitation and horror films. However it is most common among the woman, the maternal figure, who believes all to be well and that everyone is well meaning. Rarely have I encountered a skeptical female figure in an exploitation or horror film. Of course, if they were skeptical to begin with, there would be no story. A male figure in a horror/exploitation film is generally the action man, he who is very well aware of the danger before him, and so he either tries to escape or faces that danger head on. The same cannot be said for the female, the "victim", who is generally unknowing and vulnerable.

The naivety or pure-mindedness of the female victim is plot device that, like the other characteristics mentioned above, is derived from a media representation of the woman. I don't need to highlight the differences between gender role assignment in television or film, though I can only assume that the media representation of women, during the late 60s and 70s, was very different then than it is now. During a time of radical feminism and sexual liberty, it isn't unreasonable to think that the media, as a deterrent this cultural shift, would paint the female as chaste and unassuming. A media desperately trying to revive the tender mother and housewife of the 1950s. That was, of course, until the media realized that "sex sells".

The blood-spattered protagonist

Perhaps at some point during the golden age of the exploitation film, the movement became aware of its use of the susceptible female as a driving force for the plot. I say this, because there are still many films produced at the time that saw the female character as the "action man".


I Spit on Your Grave (Previously known as Day of the Woman, 1978) is a prime example of such a shift in direction for the exploitation film. Our protagonist victim is subjected to a vicious gang rape by a number of thugs, who leave her for dead in her apartment. While many films would end on that note, I Spit on Your Grave flips the scheme of things, the formula for tragedy shock, right on its back. Our victim becomes the protagonist and wrecks a brutal vengeance upon the men who assaulted her. While the first half of this film sticks to the direction of most exploitation, the naive woman and the sinister male, the second half sees our female protagonist hunt down and murder the men who wronged her in the most violent and creative ways imaginable. It should also be noted that, during the revenge sequence, it is the male that is represented as naive and blinded by sexual desire. I Spit on Your Grave is generally regarded as the most important of the genre known as the "revenge film", along with titles like The Last House on The Left, Red Sonja (1985) and more recently Kill Bill (2003) and Hard Candy (2005).

Conclusion 

To discuss the subject of femininity in horror and exploitation in detail could take an eleven volume series. There are many tropes, films, actresses and issues that I have left unaddressed. This article merely serves the purpose of introduction to a concept that has long been prevalent. I will probably return to the subject when I've studied more source material and have a fresher vision of the subject, but until then, I'm going to go watch a movie about some hippies that find themselves on the wrong side of town. 










Monday, 25 November 2013

Five horrors that could have been avoided if Kurt Russell had been there.



Nora Hanney raised a very interesting question in her article about World War Z and its possible alternative titles. Her blunt criticism of Brad Pitt's role in the film, in particular, is what inspired me to write the following piece. In WWZ, Brad Pitt charges through a whole universe of danger, disaster and tragedy. The man's life hangs by a clothes peg from the get go and though he takes the good shellacking like a champ, his efforts are ultimately fruitless. Some say offense is the best defense, and though he does heap up a nice ol' body count, Brad Pitt still gets seven shades of shit kicked out of him throughout the film. You know who wouldn't suffer the same fate as Mr. Pitt? Kurt, motherfucking, Russell.


"Understand you got some domestic problems..."


Had the burden of saving the entire human race from extinction been bestowed upon Kurt Rusell, the movie would have been over within the first half an hour. The first five minutes dedicated to Mr.Russell exterminating absolutely everything in his path, then a twenty-five minute rendition, extended guitar solo version of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" as the credits roll.

Just as he would solve a global crisis as easily as a special needs crossword puzzle, so too would he have been instrumental in preventing other potentially tragic scenarios. Here are some horror villains and nasty sequences of events that could have easily been avoided had Kurt Russell decided to involve himself.

The vampire from Fright Night

A vampire moves next door to you and the first person you ask for help is an aging vampire hunter? You deserved absolutely everything you got, Charlie Brewster, you dumb fuck. Had you simply established contact with Kurt Russell, you could have saved yourself a lot of time, energy and emotional trauma. Kurt Russell wears his heart on his sleeve, he would have actually believed you where the authorities did not. All you had to do was flash the Kurt Signal and your lecherous vampire neighbor would be bird feed within fifteen minutes. He also could have taken care of your excruciatingly annoying friend, Evil Ed. What of Charlie's possessed vampire mistress, you ask? One glance into those Atlantis eyes and she'd be paralyzed with sexual desire.

Chucky

Kurt Russell has children and therefor an eagle's eye for children's playtime accessories. Were one of his children to rush up to him clutching a ginger doll with a rapist's grin, begging for him to buy it for them, Kurt would snatch the toy up, tear its head off and set it alight immediately. Kurt Russell has portrayed Elvis Presley before. He knows a commercially demented puppet of evil when he sees one.

The Fly

Jeff Goldblum was a fool to believe that he could master instantaneous teleportation without the aid of Kurt Russell. Though Goldblum had the means, he had neither the sense nor the ability to control such a complex piece of technology. Kurt Russell, however, a keen scientist in his time, could have guided him in his experiments and ultimately produced a machine worthy of a Nobel Prize. But did Goldblum make that decision? No. That's why Jeff Goldblum accidentally turned himself into a hideously deformed mutant and ended up assaulting the woman of his dreams. That silly fuck.

Dr. Freudstein from House by the Cemetery
(And the kid)

The very first thing Kurt would have done in this scenario is take the child and smother him with a pillow until his legs stopped kicking. That's the first problem solved. He would then, over the course of a weekend, repair the marriage of the child's disheartened parents. The two would take their leave of the Freudstein house, move to somewhere warm and start a new life as polyamorous swingers. When all is said and done, Kurt would march down to that basement, confront Dr. Freudstein, slap him until all of his skin has fallen off and then roundhouse him back to hell. Russell might then enjoy a cigarette and survey the carnage around him. I hope he does all of this with the eye patch on.

The entire cast of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, except Sean Penn

The movie opens up as a horde of teenagers flock and frolic around a local mall. They're all enjoying themselves and each other. It's a fun time to be growing up, the 80s.

Except it's not when Kurt Russell is here to make you not alive anymore.

He would systematically eradicate every teenager in the shopping mall, starting off with that ticket scalping arse-polisher and finishing the job with that nymphomaniac, jail bait daddy's girl. There would be nothing left but a pool of human entrails, leg warmers and denim jackets. He would leave behind him a legendary annihilation. Losing their virginity before college would be the least of their worries as Kurt Russell enters through those doors. I wouldn't worry too much about finding "the one" Stacey, instead you should probably go looking for a mortician because you have just experienced an unprecedented level of dismemberment.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Alternative (and More Appropriate Titles) for World War Z (Nora Hanney)

Show of hands who has read World War Z? Now keep your hand up if you’ve seen the film. Finally, keep your hand in the air if you thought “Yes, that was an excellent adaptation of a brilliant book”. If your hand is still up then get out, not only does your nonsense upset me, but you’re not going to like where the rest of this is going.

"Max Brooks? Sorry. never heard of him."

Insulting and criticising World War Z may be a bit old hat at this stage but you know what? I like this old hat. It’s  warm, it’s comfy and it fits my head super well, so I’m gonna keep rocking  it till I’m ready to take it off or until someone makes a film/TV version that actually does the book justice.

I should point out that as a generic zombie flick; World War Z isn’t a total disaster. It’s cheesier than an unwashed dick, relatively nonsensical and has about as much tension as bungee cord made of spaghetti hoops, but given all the zombie movies out there it could be worse. It’s better than Resident Evil: Extinction but it certainly isn’t as much fun as Zombieland or as well executed as 28 Days Later.

My issue is the name. If Brad Pitt wants to jump on the zombie bandwagon and run around being Everyman Everymanerson with the power to fix the world with his UN-ing skills and his beard then hurray for him, but he shouldn’t deceive people. You’re not in a film of World War Z, Brad, you’re in a bigger lie than “Killing Them Softly”, which killed people hard via extreme boredom.  So I came up with some other options.

Alternative (and More Appropriate Titles) for World War Z

·         World War Brad Pitt
·         The Apocalypse, Brought to you by Product Placement
·         Zombies and the Inability to Film in a Well Lit Environment
·         Brad Pitt and the Most Sickening and Irritating Family Ever
·         World War Z: No We Didn’t Read the Book
·         Asthma: It’s a Plot Point We’ll Add When Convenient, Not When Logical
·         STOP RINGING HIS PHONE YOU STUPID BITCH
·         World War Z and the Leaning Tower of Zombies
·         Poor CGI, Because a Shit Ton of Zombies is Better Than Realism
·         Jerry Lane: The Man with the Power to Tell the Difference Between an Errant Zombie and Turbulence Using Just a Serious Face
·         Zombies: Pacman at 30,000 ft
·         Jerry Lane: The Man of Unnecessary Metaphors, Dramatic Responses and Pointless Repeating
·         Crowbars: Can’t Cross the Threshold of Bacteria Storage Facilities Apparently
·         Zombies: The Surprisingly Picky Eaters
·         Soda: The Only Logical Choice When Potentially About to Die

You’re welcome Mr. Pitt. What would you do without me?

Guest writer, Nora Hanney, wielding the unforgiving hammer of criticism.

Aku no Kyōten/ Lesson of the Evil (2012)


Those of you that I have shared a dialogue with pertaining to horror movies will probably have heard me dribble on about Takashi Miike and his works. I am super gay for Takashi Miike. I want to wine and dine this man, all the while verbally sucking him off. He's that damn good.

Some people would have you believe that he's the "Japanese Quentin Tarantino". Fuck that, fuck that idea stone dead. Takashi Miike doesn't belong under any umbrella other than his own. Though somewhat overlooked, movies like Audition (1999) , Ichi the Killer (2001) and 13 Assassins (2010) have cemented Miike as the master of Ultraviolence. Though it isn't fair to say that his films are nothing more than splatter porn, there's a complexity there, there's story, there's social commentary. He stares down that recognizable, sparkly-eyed anime school girl, and spits right in her face. Miike is an anarchist that takes our perception of Japanese culture, strips it naked and defiles it in ways that could have Jeffery Dahmer reaching for a bottle of NyQuil and his favourite blankey.

Provocative imagery and stringent story plots are the ammunition for his antipathetic agenda. I don't mean to speak for the man, but my understanding is that he is vehemently opening fire on our Western perception of a clean, uniform Japan. He has been doing this for a long time now and Lesson Of The Evil is proof that the gun is still loaded and smoking.


Plot

Much in the vein of films like American Psycho (2000), we're introduced to the charming psychopath. Seiji Hasumi is an English teacher that is respected and loved by his students, this respect is attributed to his unorthodox methods of teaching and laid-back demeanor. Everyone remembers that secondary school teacher that tried way too hard to be "down with the kids", well that's Hasumi, except he's very, very good at it. He's charismatic, fluent and has his students practically eating out of the palm of his hand. The perfect teacher and all around stand-up guy. One thing about Hasumi though. He's also completely out of his fucking mind. Bat shit insane.

There's a rise in bullying and exam cheating in the high-school and this creates some major turbulence among both students and faculty alike. A number of methods are employed by the staff in order to cut out all of this bad behaviour, but nothing seems to work. The students are far too astute. While the authorities scratch their heads and brood over how they're going to solve the problem, Seiji Hasumi already knows exactly how to remedy the dilemma. A sleek pair of leather gloves and a break-action shotgun.

Visuals

There's an art to contrast and one which is heavily applied in this film. There are some detailed and visually stunning shots throughout with an emphasis on colour and mood. You'll notice that most of the film is drenched in sullen grey, unusual for a Miike film, which are usually quite colourful throughout. It works, however, as it provides a somber tone, even in some of the more violent scenes. Grey appears to be the static of the first half of the film, but just when you think that's all you're to expect...WHAM! The movie slips on a technicolor dreamcoat splattered with blood and muscle tissue. 

I do not have a broad enough vocabulary to discuss the more technical aspects of production, so I'll leave it at simply the colours that seem to set the temper the film.

I will however ask that you keep an eye out for Miike's cheeky nod to American Psycho, which appears somewhere towards the end of the film.

Sounds and soundtrack

I'm of the opinion that, sometimes, the best soundtrack for a horror film is complete silence. Lesson Of The Evil is very similar in that way. Where colour sets most of the tone, sound seems to take the back-seat. However, I'm also of the opinion that if you're going to use music, you should use it at the right time to arouse the desired effect. This film does exactly that.

"Mack the Knife", a classic, is performed by a musician named Rob Trow and this serves as the main theme for the movie. It's upbeat and yet becomes so very, very dark with the context in which it is being used.



Basically...

The themes in Lesson of the Evil cannot go ignored. There are many references to American culture throughout the film and it isn't unreasonable to note the intentional mirroring of American high-school massacres. Frightened students frantically racing through the halls of their school while being pursued by a Sociopathic English teacher wielding a shotgun that speaks to and guides him in an American accent. With the current gun ownership controversy in the States, this is most definitely social commentary from the mouth of a snide, grinning Miike.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, Miike attacks social norms and cultural perception. Perhaps it can be said that Lesson of the Evil is loaded with one bullet for Japan and one for the USA.

Close reading aside, this is a fun movie. It entertains, baffles and frightens you in ways that only a Miike flick can. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you've the heart for it, prepare to have it blasted right out of your chest.



Sick/Tired - King of Dirt (Hugh Deasy)



I can think of no better way to start this review than by saying I have no idea what this album is... powerviolence, grindcore, sludge? All of the above? Does it matter? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. First off, I'm not a powerviolence-expert, but more of an enthusiastic amateur, but what I'm hearing here is very much in the newer vein, think Cloud Rat, Water Torture, False Light, the “Class of 2012” as I don't like to call them. Sick/Tired are viscous, vicious, angry, sludgy ugliness.



King Of Dirt




As with most newer powerviolence bands I've heard (at least amongst those who don't have “pizza” or “bong” in their name and an encyclopaedic knowledge of trashy '80s straight to VHS flicks) there's a definite purpose to this music. In spite of everything, this is not chaotic music, each member knows exactly what they're doing, the rhythm section is tight as a bastard (I must mention the drummer who has the most amazingly aggressive but metronomic blastbeats I've ever heard, it even makes me think of Pete “the feet” Sandoval at times!) while the guitars careen through the songs.


Here, I have to return to my earlier confusion about what the hell this actually is, because it's not the faster-than-fastcore of Capitalist Casualties or Charles Bronson, this is sludge at a million miles an hour. Sometimes Sick/Tired seem content to shred on discordant-drone bleats, while the drummer goes hog-wild, while elsewhere they jam on those strange kind of squiggly tremolo-picked half-riffs that seem to collapse in on themselves that Discordance Axis mastered back in the day. Perhaps I'm exaggerating this, but the album is just really hard to pin down, and all the better for it.


Starting with the aforementioned drone-bleats, the first half of this album really sprints past you, as, if my maths is correct, 7 songs in about 6 minutes tends to do. However, once it starts to sink in, the sheer ability these guys have to pack so much into 20 seconds of music is phenomenal, take “From Parts Uknown” for example, at 00:37 seconds long, they manage to traverse straight edge hardcore, old timey grind and some weird grinding riff that I wouldn't be surprised to find in a Gridlink song.


It is interesting to see the halfway point being marked by a cover of Corrosion of Conformity's “Rabid Dogs” on here, no less because it's also introduced with a sample from Weird Science (which I must say gave me a good laugh). It does seem to stick out though, amidst the dankness, when you come across a song that's more... partyviolence, nonetheless it's a rip-roaring cover, where they pretty much make it their own.


It'd also be pretty dumb-bum ignorant not to talk about the artwork on this critter; Dan Rossiter it appears has done the most part of Sick/Tired's artwork, and for this album there's a really nice Harry Clarke feel to it, crossed with M.C. Escher. I find it interesting to counterpoint it with the art of Nick Blinko for example, specifically for the Iron Lung “Sexless//No Sex” album, where the constantly shifting, madcap geometry leads you to a sort of suffocated desolation. I can't but notice the sense of space in Rossiter's work here, with its flat colours and bogus perspective, kinda like a Japanese woodblock. This “space” mightn't be immediately apparent in the music, but certainly from “Failed Delusions”onward, there's a noticeable loosening in the songs, which really allows for the album to get into your ear, with perhaps the most memorable track “Cracked Dome” boasting a fucked up zig-zagging beezer (that word doesn't exist) of a riff. All that opens the album up for its absolutely killer finisher, the self-titled track that, even while blasting, trudges along like a giant on expired heart medicine.


This is a darned tasty album, and if you find it in a shop (unlikely) or if they play a rock show near you (less unlikely) buy the shit out of it (and a shirt, and get me some patches while you're at it), and skank around your TV room in front of your extended family this “Christmas festive period” to it. Sick/Tired are a slimy grimy bunch of goons who know that humans are garbage and make your favourite hits, so the kinda guys you'd want to play a round or two of basketball with. Get dis album.


If anything I've said above is just plain wrong, feel free to correct it in the comments, as I said, I ain't no expert, and I tried to do as little background research as possible just to stay as objectively subjective as possible. I also haven't been speaking much English in the past while, so if my writing's gone to shit, I blame you.


.:Bandcamp – free download:.

.:Artist Dan Rossiter's site:.

http://dankentrossiter.com/



Guest writer, Hugh Deasy and president of the Maynooth Metal Fuckhead Patrol.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Powerviolence.



Thatmakesitnotinsane has been very musicocentric (I just made that word up) this week. Posts regarding music and long-winded musical theories seem to have outweighed the weird and the wonderful crap that stumbles clumsily into existence on this blog. However, I couldn't end this week without addressing a recent musical obsession of mine. That obsession being the beautifully repugnant Powerviolence.

Last year, when I entered into my first year in NUI Maynooth, I turned a snobbish nose up at Hardcore and Powerviolence as though they were counterfeit DVDs. They didn't make any sense to me. In my little "heavy music sphere", there was only room for doom, death, sludge and black metal. Hardcore seemed to be "the thing", not that I'm entirely against musical trends, I just didn't feel welcome, and so I was content in going about my business with the same negative music I'd listened to for years. The reliable nastiness. Everything else was hipster nonsense that I wanted nothing to do with.

CactusXJack


This is my formal apology to anyone or anything I may have classed in such a manner. Though I'm still not entirely bought on this new wave of Hardcore. I am, without a doubt, hopelessly in love with Powerviolence and "Negative Hardcore". I want to pick it a rose, write it a poem and meet its parents. This is a music I've always known but overlooked and I know now that I was a fool. Please be with me forever, you angry, spasmodic lowlife.

Because I've spoken enough about music this week, instead I simply offer you five bands that have spit me out like human chewing tobacco. They are nothing but filth. I imagine these bands can never return home, for fear of their mothers and the wooden spoons they brandish with nefarious intent. Enjoy.

Sick/Tired


Charles Bronson



Death Toll 80K


BruceXCampell


Sex Prisoner



Enablers - Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions


The following review is the first in a series in which Hugh Deasy and I play a game of musical ping-pong. We essentially introduce each other to an artist or band with the aim of writing up a review of one of their albums without any prior exposure to their music. It's like a semi-retarded Last FM session between a post-modern, hipster Beavis & Butthead.

This week, Hugh, the cheeky fucker, decided to pass me a brick instead of a basketball. I've been on quite a Powerviolence buzz as of late, so anything that even implies a melody sounds completely repulsive to me at the moment. Somewhere, in the nebulous cavern of his mind, Hugh knew this. That is why he recommended that I listen to Enablers.

Hailing from San Francisco, this experimental quartet deliver the kind music that gives you a hit of acid, a deep tissue massage, takes you outside and beats the living shit out of you and all the while talks you through the process like an annotating surgeon.

Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions is the casual intercourse between instrumental rock and the spoken word. It is, by nature, an anti-capitalist form of music. By that, I mean it is not a disposable record by any means. It's not an album you can listen to once, say "Oh yeah, I know those guys" and then change the conversation. There's no instant gratification, it takes time. Something that demands your close attention, that you read into and gain something from it.

The sounds are diverse, from moody, nervous post-rock to spectral psychedelia. Tracks like "Cliff" and "Morandi: Natura Morta, No. 86" transport you to dreamy landscapes that leave you just lucid enough to keep grounded and enjoy Pete Simonelli's lullaby vocals. "Lullaby" being the key word here as the music itself can make you feel reposed, suddenly attentive, and then eased once more.



Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions

What struck me most about this album was its unpredictability, especially pertaining to its latter half. You are seven tracks in and have experienced somnambulant bliss, not background melody by any means, but settling opiate jazz. Then, suddenly, "Rue Girardon". A heavy wake-up call, a change in tone that unearths a violence that may have always been there, something that went unnoticed.

We complete our journey with "A Poem for Heroes", where Simonelli's peaceful, dispassionate vocalizations coalesce with one final harmonious instrumental drone. Closing the book on an album that will either enthrall or paralyze you.

I approached this album with skepticism. It is most certainly not my cupán tae, but it is an experience all the same. Something adventurous and something that certainly shouldn't be overlooked. Do not let the premise of the album intimidate you, just go with it, man.


Enablers' Bandcamp and full album:

Friday, 22 November 2013

Image and sound; atmospheric horror and extreme metal.


Take a look at some of the following images.













They are not, in fact, screen captures from obscure French horror films. They are actually promotional photos for the bands Portal, Xasthur and Arckanum. These are musicians, not directors, not make up artists and not set designers. These people make music. How then, can these three groups look more terrifying than any antagonist that's been on film in the past twenty years? Are they simply borrowing heavily from horror and fantasy or has extreme metal come so far that its music and sound has begun to seep into the mind's eye?

It can be said that sound can influence images and images can influence sound. There's a relationship that has always been there. Bootsy Collins looks like a flamboyantly gay alien and that's because Bootsy Collins played music that was, at the time, very alien and unfamiliar. So which came first, the chicken or the egg? Was Bootsy Collins dressing this way before he picked up that bass? Is it mere showmanship? If it is showmanship, then why did he adopt that 'look' in particular?

Bärbel and Moritz (1999) state that "The soundtrack has a lot of influence on the image, and on how we perceive the imagery of a film. It might be an animated or live-action film, long or short, documentary or abstract, music video or narrative -- every film has its own special character in its image and sound, which together forge a dramaturgic development, an "animation" that paces the piece."

This is to say that the tones and rhythms of music are powerful tools in perceiving sensory information. Minor guitar chords are perceived as "sad". It is unknown why certain chords sound sadder than others, or why we digest the sound in such a manner, but the fact that a sound can activate an emotional response is enough to say that sound can also have an immediate effect on our mood and even our imagination. Music can paint images in our head in the same way that the radio drama of the 1930s painted images for the listener using only dialogue and sound. It's like abstract art. There's very little to see, so your imagination fills in the gaps by itself.

Extreme metal is distinct and diverse in its sound which can vary from violent and excruciating to bizarre, thoughtful and avant garde. There is a large pallet of colours in its arsenal and this is why we can argue that, with all of its subgenres and offshoots, extreme metal is perhaps the most emotive of musical art forms.


Black metal, characterized by its bleak tones, inhuman shrieking and low fi production, can inspire particularly harrowing imagery. A relatively new form of music, it has progressed since its initial boom in the early 90s and has spawned off many offshoots of the genre. Black metal has, however, been around for a lot longer than the corpse-painted ghouls that we associate it with. Were these bands just trying to emulate characters like King Diamond and Alice Cooper or did the music, the tone itself , play a part in the conception of the imagery we now associate with it?


Check out some Moëvöt. What kind of image does this music paint for you? You may not enjoy it whatsoever, but give it an ear. This recording is from between 1991-1995, I believe. A time when blast beats, shrieking and headbanging were common tropes in the metal scene. So where in the blue hell did this come from?
   


Now, keeping in mind that we're in the early 90s right now. Here's a photo of Vordb Dréagvor Uèzréèvb. mastermind behind Moëvöt:



It's completely subjective, but it's not unfair to say that this man looks like his music. He portrays himself this way to promote his music. Listen to the song and throw your eyes of this image. It fits. But which came first? The image or the sound? Which was the instigator? If he's just emulating another artist, then where did it all begin?

Of course this is just an example and a very short article that probably reads like a drunken rambling in any college bar. It may be interesting, for any of you scholar types, to delve deeper into the relationship between audio and visual stimulus. What influenced what? Did speedy percussion and tremolo picking really give birth to this chilling imagery or is at all part of the master plan?




Neubauer, Bärbel and William Moritz. "The Influence of Sound and Music on Images." Animation World Magazine. June 1999. Web. November 22 2013.





Thursday, 21 November 2013

Urge To Kill: 5 Noise Rock bands that will turn you to herbal medicine.


It's easy as pie to pigeonhole Noise Rock as simply the logical next step for any first year college student with an extensive trip-hop collection. It's dissonant, self-indulgent and has been wearing the same ash-speckled Flipper t-shirt for the last twenty-five years. It's a postmodern relic. As if someone invented the iPhone in 1988 and no one gave a shit at the time. What I'm saying is; it's HIP to enjoy Noise Rock and any of its subsequent bastard offspring. Does that mean we should feel any kind of shame for spending thirty to forty minutes listening to nothing but spazzed out guitar feedback and violent shrieking? Nope. Not one fucking bit. Why? Because if you're reading this right now, chances are you are an absolute fucking weirdo. A negative creep. Be proud.

Jesus & Mary Chain's seminal "Psychocandy" turns 28 this month and what better way for a clumsy, fanboy blogger to pay tribute than by offering up five of the most disturbing Noise Rock bands I've been listening to for the past forever. I'm limiting the list to five bands simply because, to include every Noise band that's coming out of the woodwork wright now, could take a five volume series. As the title says; if this is your first time hearing this music, you're probably going to want to do some soul-searching afterwards, get some chamomile tea and sip some valerian root because these fuckers may very well shake you up like wire mesh.

The Jesus & Mary Chain


Arguably the most important band to emerge from the chaotic post-punk whirlpool of the 1980s. When most bands were deciding on whether or not their keyboard player should have shoulder pads or not, these Scottish reprobates were doing what they do best; fucking up all the shit. Their complete apathy towards musicianship, violent live performances and probably a whole bucket load of amphetamines were a large part of what painted the legacy that still reverberates to this day.

Lightning Bolt


There's absolutely nothing subtle or humble about this nasty duo from Rhode Island. They produce nothing but ear-splitting evil from the get go. Listen to 2003's "Wonderful Rainbow" and tell me it doesn't sound like an aircraft nosediving into the ocean while both pilots spasm violently in the cockpit. Lightning Bolt are just as influential to modern Noise Rock as the cool, Scottish fuckers mentioned above, but they're the type of band that bring a crossbow to a game of Russian Roulette. It's over-the-top and it's absolutely wonderful.

Coughs



If Francis Wayland Thurston had discovered one of their records instead of his granduncle's diary, he'd still be fucked. I'd like to consider myself a half decent writer, but language itself fails when attempting to describe the kind of madness that Coughs deliver.So instead of even attempting coherent criticism, here's what I think of Coughs. They absolutely exude Yooglefisck, no other band on this planet can Woopdewoop the way Coughs can and it stands to them floopiddy scoopidy gnark gnark. They get eight out of ten poodleburgers.

Brainbombs


If you put The Stooges (circa 1971) on a boat full of heroin, assault rifles and crying orphans, they'd probably come out sounding a little bit like Brainbombs. This band is terrifying. The first thing you'll notice is that they are somewhat more intelligible than most Noise bands, you almost think you're about to hear a good ol' fashioned rock n' roll tinged punk track...then the vocals kick in. With songs about murder, rape, torture and any kind of nasty you can think of, this band caters for only the most desensitized of music fans. Even hardened death metal fans can cringe at lyrics like Take a child, use it, make it obey.  They're the kind of band that take the nastiest newspaper headlines, cut them out, rub them in your face and say "Look at how fucking shit the human race are. Look at us."

The Sick Lipstick


I'll never understand how The Sick Lipstick can be so discordant and yet retain this weird charm about them. This has nothing to do with the fact that they are a female fronted band, but listening to them is like being slapped across the face by the most beautiful girl in the club, invited back to her apartment and then tortured with car jumper cables. There's something sexy and wrong about it. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

H.P. Lovecraft puberty blog #1


January 5th 1903

Begun has a metamorphosis of both body and mind which words of tongue cannot possibly describe. So it is that I sit here wearily and shaken, fingers clasped to a pencil with the hope of communicating the despondent terror of which has enveloped my being.

The hours and days are nameless now. The clock which hangs above my bedroom dresser no longer holds authority, it is merely a ticking torment, affirmation that I am still alive. I do not know how long it has been since last I breathed cool air. I dare not open my windows. I quiver violently at the thought of a rapping door. Though I have known no gods before, trepidation has me bargaining with any of whom will listen and oblige.

It began with the tendrils. Those slender, ebony fibers which grow eagerly from mysterious places that were once white and unadorned. At first I thought it an ailment of the body, a hormonal mutation of which science has yet to identify and undertake. As those tendrils did multiply and stem, so too did my apprehension. Rather than of the body, I began to wonder if it is an ailment of the mind. Has age altered my bodily perception, have these tendrils been present for longer than my mind was capable of acknowledging them? 

I have entered into my fifth week of mutation and I understand that this is no ailment of body nor mind. To even attempt to rationalize the causes of this transformation would be to go entirely mad. I do not wish to excavate any further into a mind I know has already been spoiled. I know that I may not return. Though the clock keeps ticking and I know that I am at least still of this world. 

I do not know for how much longer.