Monday, 29 September 2014

Dave Navarro Is A Piece Of Shit And You've Always Known It.

Injustice is a recurring theme in the chronicles of human existence. So much so that even the concepts of unfairness and abomination are hammered into the minds of children lest their little legs become strong enough to take them on a journey to certain failure. We never get exactly what we want, we never really write our names in the sky, we just take what's offered to us after a long, arduous reality and deteriorate slowly with the false notion that we lived for something.

You helped build a city, yet your name is long forgotten. You took bullets to every one of your limbs, just to spit in the enemy's face and cry out loudly your mad notions of freedom, yet your name dies along with you. You're the honest one, making an honest day's wage to feed a modest family, and your memory will fizzle away on the paling lips of your grandchildren. 

Life is a black flower blooming disappointment, you will be forgotten, and Dave Navarro will be remembered because he played with the Chili Peppers while their real guitarist was killing himself with heroin.

I will interlude no further. I fucking hate Dave Navarro, and here's four reasons why he's absolutely the worst person in the history of people.

1. Dave Navarro was kicked out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and his tenure as lead guitarist was a shitty one.

You see that, check out 00:40 of that music video for 'Aeroplane'. You'll notice that Navarro is pretending to play while he isn't even supposed to be playing. That, as far as I'm concerned, sums up Navarro's time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Pretending to be something you're simply not. He played guitar on the album that nearly killed them, then he was given the boot. End of story.

2. Dave Navarro was kicked out of his marriage with Carmen Electra. 

Not only were they one of the very first victims of reality television, having an entire series dedicated to the lead-up to their wedding, but their marriage lasted all of three years before Electra realised that her husband was just a pound shop Prince with no credible band. I don't care what your philosophy on love or its meaning is, this whole thing astonished me even at the age of 12. It must also be noted that I won't even so much as breathe the same air as Carmen Electra, while Tutankhamun here has explored every intricacy of her lithe form with his penor. 

3. Dave Navarro keeps a bowl of tampons in his kitchen.

Quite naturally, Dave Navarro has some cool shit in his house. Well done, you've got Kurt Cobain's guitar and Marilyn Manson put the bottle of absinthe down long enough to paint you, I bet you love the Californian street cred. However, a blown up version of the famous Vietnamese execution photo in his hallway wasn't enough for the ever 'edgy' Navarro. No, he decided that the only thing that could possibly bring him more goth cred would be a bowl of fucking tampons in his kitchen where he eats. I shouldn't have to go any further with this.

4. Dave Navarro is doing all within his power to transform into Prince.

"Oh, hi, my name is Da-...the artist formerly of The Red Hot Chili Peppers."

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Vincent Price Being A Fucking Bastard #1

You all remember that person's name. The little shit in your class that seemed to give everyone a hard time just for the sake of dishing out hard times. They didn't conform to reason, loyalty, or understanding, instead they worshiped at the altar of grief and the furnishing of. That serpentine fucker had nothing reasonable to gain from telling the teacher on you, he just really wanted to see you in trouble, he wanted to savour every moment of your suffering like an apple drop lollipop. Some people are mean, but then there are those that are truly villainous.

In fantasy, I've found that there are two layers of evil with which the storyteller can bestow upon his or her "bad guy", in order to create an engaging story. The most common of the two, I'd like to call the "Routine Arsehole", that is, the bad guy that:

a) Wants to take over the world.
b) Wants to destroy the world.
c) Wants a large sum of money or he'll do something really shitty.

You see the Routine Arsehole in virtually every action film that's ever met a projector screen, and he won't be going away any time soon. He's too reliable for the lazy Hollywood drug addicts. Everyone likes the world, right? No one wants to see it blown up or conquered by bloodthirsty apes. The Routine Arsehole is the go-to guy for wholesale malevolence.

Then there's the other kind. The kind whose name you remember. We'll call this one the Conclusive Villain, the Perfect Bastard, the Treacherous Degenerate, the Lousy Philistine, Cronus, Bhairava, Mephistopheles, Baal, Leviathan, The Morning Star, Lucifer, Satan, or The Devil.

But he used to sign his cheques under 'Vincent Price'.

With his perpetual grimace, whip-crack tongue, and general affinity for ruining everyone's day by any means necessary, I can't think of a villain more comfortable in the universe than Vincent Price. The man may have been the very definition of a saint and a scholar in his personal life, but once he stepped in front of those lights and cameras, he could muster up enough poisonous evil to paralyze an army of elephants. He was good at what he did, and the things he did were bad.

So without further ado, here's the first part in a series exploring the deepest, darkest places that Vincent Price has dragged us, kicking and screaming, over his illustrious 58 year career as a fucking bastard.

Witchfinder General

Vincent's role: Matthew Hopkins, the vicious witchfinder.
The misdeed (among many others): Blackmailing the young niece of a local priest into sleeping with him repeatedly by threatening to torture her uncle to death as a witch, then killing him anyway.

It really is one of those 'boo! hiss!' occasions in cinema, especially as you can pinpoint the exact moment, a glint in the eye, when the devil on Price's shoulder convinces him to do something absolutely despicable to this poor girl. Sara, played by the lovely Hilary Heath, is the very epitome of the god-fearing English rose, a timid and gentle creature whose innocence and selflessness is sweet perfume to the dastardly Matthew Hopkins. 

Within minutes of arriving to the location of an alleged witch, treacherous locals guide Hopkins and his lackey to the house of Sara's uncle, the village priest. Not wasting a heartbeat, Hopkins immediately orders for the priest to be tortured in order to drive a confession from him and when the witchfinder spots the priest's beautiful niece, he decides he wants a sum more than the coins offered to him by the terrified locals. 

Sara, fearing for her uncle's life, does all she can to keep Hopkins from torturing and sentencing him to death. And in the end, even after giving her body to him over and over again, the damnable Hopkins still decides to torture and hang the old priest and leave Sara to deal with the vicious and paranoid villagers. 

What a cunt.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Vincent's role: The abominable Dr. Phibes.
The misdeed (among many others): Draining every last drop of blood from a man's body in a painstakingly elaborate act of revenge. 

Many would view Dr. Phibes with a certain degree of sympathy, considering that his evil is the result of love and a life tragically ripped from him. There is a very pronounced romantic and poetic aura to Dr. Phibes, and so it's open to us to interpret him as either a callous villain or a tragic antihero. However, no matter which way you look at it, you have to have reached the absolute zenith of depravity when you deal with your problems by draining every drop of blood from a man's system, pint by pint, while staring right in his eyes.

Dr. Anton Phibes seeks to exact revenge on the doctors that he believes were responsible for the death of his beloved wife Victoria, but as a scholar and art fanatic, a gun or a baseball bat aren't good enough to satisfy his twisted imagination. Arguably the precursor to the inventive Saw series, The Abominable Dr. Phibes features an array of ingenious and original acts of revenge and murder based on the nine plagues of the Bible. 

I'm not entirely sure how Phibes chose which doctor would receive which 'plague', but this poor sod, in my opinion, drew the shortest damn straw. How much do you really have to hate someone before siphoning every drop of their blood into decorative jars becomes a good idea?

Bad, bad man. 

The Masque of the Red Death

Vincent's role: The contemptible prince Prospero.
The misdeed (among many others): Everything that happens in the first seven minutes of film time.

Allow me to reiterate that we've assembled here at this blog to 'boo' and 'hiss' at the villainy of mean old Vincent Price, not applaud his vile actions. However, sometimes you witness an evil so inflated with pompous venom and executed in such a short space of time, that you simply have to look on in jaw drooping amazement. 

To kick off this streak of back-to-back knavery, our villain begins by nearly mowing down a small child in his horse-drawn carriage, almost certainly killing it had a valiant villager not saved it just in the nick of time. Then, throwing a frown from the curtain of his carriage, he steps outside to greet the unwashed villagers and invite them to a celebration being held at his castle, of course this is delivered in as patronizing a fashion as possible. 

When confronted by two furious villagers over his treatment of them, prince Prospero orders his soldiers to garrote them with a flick of his wrist and a quiver of his moustache. But before they can be strangled in front of their terrified peers, a young lady throws herself before Prospero and begs for him to spare their lives. Prospero, the masterful bastard that he is, instead decides to make the young girl choose which one of them dies, one of them being her father, and the other being the man she loves.

 However, upon realizing that the red death has reached the small village via a dying old woman, Prospero makes a hasty exit from the diseased village, but not before sending both defiant villagers to his castle prison, kidnapping the young woman for his own twisted sexual agenda, and burning the entire village all the way to hell along with all of its poorly inhabitants. 

This all takes place in under five minutes of screen time.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Movies That Should Never Be Approached Whilst Hungover.

So, you've just awoken to an atmosphere of harrowing emptiness. Your bed isn't really your bed anymore, it has become a monument to suffering, held together with a mortar of sickly loathing. Last night's cans, which seemed so sympathetic to begin with, soon turned into the villainous double vodkas that you so greedily threw down your neck as you crooked over the bar like sweaty, drunken buzzard. The guarantee you made to your friends that you'd only be going 'for a cheeky one' may as well be floating in the toilet along with the other broken promises that worked away at your stomach lining. And though you began the night as the jovial pied piper, leading your party to fantastic realms that were naught but phantoms of your ego, you now find yourself so completely alone.

At first you'll trick yourself into believing that a poorly constructed chicken roll and a can of coke is the perfect gesture of reconciliation that your body needs if it will ever take you back, but you're wrong. You played right into the deli woman's insidious hands when you accepted the crusty fold of surrealist art she placed for you with her eyes so callously narrowed and her tongue flicking like the devil's tail. But no, you assure yourself that the cup of tea you've prepared will right all the wrongs you've done unto yourself. Again, my sticky child of pain, you are so very mistaken.

This sorrowgarden that you've sewn for yourself will not yield to your gluttonous consumption, even those merciful tablets can only do so much. The passing of time and heroic endurance are the only keys to beating this, so it is that you much choose your time wisely. Even those who have tampered too daringly with their brains will know that direct sunlight and fraternity of any kind are both out of the question today. Your eyes will not allow for reading, your hands will not allow for games, your brain will not allow for thought, and your straw-like mindset will not allow for even the slightest of emotional turbulence. You need a movie.

Something easy.

Something that isn't Holy Mountain.

Something that isn't Holy Mountain or El Topo.

Something that isn't Holy Mountain, El Topo, or Salo.

Unfortunately, you can't be 100% sure as to what movie will be feather soft enough for your atrociously battered morale. Oh sure, it might have Adam Sandler in it, but even Adam Sandler's excessive shouting can be enough to send you into a state of non-return. That's not on the cards for today, what you want is Winnie The Pooh on valium. Feather soft.

While I could steer you towards some fuzzy and affectionate motion pictures that would see you through to the very end of this tormenting encounter with regret, I'd much rather steer you away from some films that I, myself, have had the absolute calamity of sitting through while deep within the depths of a sore head and a tattered soul.

What do I always say?

I'm the only one that cares about you. I'm looking out for your best interests.

Before I begin, I have to mention that only one of these films was chosen on the basis of being shamelessly bad (It's Hustle & Flow, obviously.), and that I really do like the majority of them, but in those dire moments of anxiety and profuse sweating, they did all but help me to regain the humanity I'd so foolishly offered up to the lord of cans. Proceed.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

I'm kicking this off with what I'd consider to be the mother of all surreal horror, which means that it's also ten tonnes of fucking plague to your mind, hungover or not. The Abominable Dr. Phibes inhabits a very strange place on the horror spectrum because it could have been the camp 70's horror that it was obviously intended to be, but with the brilliant and ever scowling Vincent Price taking the role of Phibes, it became one of the most disturbing and intricate horror films of its time. It lures you in with the promise of early 70's goofiness and thinly veiled playfulness, but from the headache-inducing opening sequence to its cold, empty ending, The Abominable Dr. Phibes is not a movie you want to stick on after spilling your serotonin bucket all over the chipper.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)

It takes a very exceptional kind of film to upset me to the core and knock me off centre, The Poughkeepsie Tapes did just that, and it left me like a quivering and pathetic mass of jelly with no hope for a better tomorrow. While I'd rather offer my dick up to a mountain lion than sit through another found-footage film, this one really is special, so very nasty, and must be avoided at all costs if you aren't mentally prepared for it. If a film about a bind/torture/killer with a tendency to videotape his chilling exploits isn't the kind of shocker you'd rather steer clear of while nursing a porter head, then your heart is made of iron and your will of stone. This one really shit on my soul, and I was still under alcohol's reassuring spell at the time.

Visitor Q (2001)

If I had it my way, those that sully the name of Takashi Miike would be ritually humiliated, decapitated, and buried at the crossroads for the ghouls to feed on. However, sometimes Takashi Miike is too good. Visitor Q, when placed side by side with Miike's other works, comes off as the 'real piece of work' of the gang. It's the kind of ride you want to jump off mid-way, expelling a spiteful quantity of bodily fluids all the way until you pancake yourself to solid ground. This is a film that was designed specifically to bewilder, confuse, and repulse you, and that's before you've even necked a pint.

The Gestapo's Last Orgy (1977)

For all that is good and wholesome, do not even run a search on this film if you are feeling in any way perceptive to the ills of mankind. You will not find the answers here.

Hustle & Flow (2005)

Never mind the fact that this very easily one of the worst films I've ever sat through, this film does everything in its power to make you reject its characters and its plot before you even know who anyone is or what's going on. I wish I could rewind this on VHS just so I could hate it backwards. The central characters are mostly detestable MTV cribs poster children that feed a ho-hum story line that crawls toward an uninspired ending with absolutely no pay-off. I wouldn't recommend this film to someone with a clear head, and if you were thinking straight and happened to enjoy this film, your mother doubtlessly huffed glue while heavily pregnant with you.

The House By The Cemetery (1981)

In my opinion, this is one of Fulci's most disappointing horrors and one of those films that probably found itself buried in the dust left behind by the explosive The Beyond which was released in the same year. However, it's not the movie's quality that will have you pulling your hair out. This film features, easily, the most annoying horror movie kid of all time. Terrible dubbing, when coupled with a little boy who's face is far too punchable for his age, is a bitter cocktail for disaster. If you manage to watch this one with a sullied head on your shoulders, you've the patience of a saint.

Northville Cemetery Massacre (1976)

I don't know about you, but I experience these powerful bouts of attachment during my hangovers, be it to food, liquids, my blanket, or sometimes people. I feel that I need to project this fancied beauty onto these things so that I may spark up a light at the end of the tunnel, or at least squint hard enough to imagine one. Northville Cemetery Massacre is one of my all time favourite biker films with some of the most memorable characters you could ask for. That's why I've added NCM to the list...all of those characters, they're taken from you. Almost every member of that motley crew full of rebels and merrymakers is tragically ripped from existence, leaving you bleak, empty, and reaching for the bottle once again.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cinema's Finest Moments #6

Johnny Alucard dies like a bitch (Dracula A.D. 1972)

I'm about to enter into my final year of studying English at a degree level, and as such, it's highly unlikely that by this time next year I'll be bragging about my rewarding job, beautiful children, and contortionist wife. No, for a student of the arts, education never really ends and maturity never really takes hold, that's why our kind will always be found setting up face-painting stalls at festivals, clustered around a circular pub table on the newly gentrified side of town, and dropping oxycodone in skeletal apartments and garbling about Greg Norton's moustache.

But at least we know our role in the cosmic narrative. Yes sir, we do.

We're not one bit concerned with becoming MMA cage fighters, Ebola researchers, or Stalinist double agents. We just, like, need time to work on ourselves, man. Would you judge a turtle by its ability to soar through the skies? Would you slap a child across the hand if it couldn't say its ABCs, despite being bereft of a tongue? Have you ever in your life wondered what it would be like trying to break into the modelling industry with a set of spare tyres worthy of redneck monster truck derby? You more than likely answered no to most of those questions, that's because they're all foolheaded and improbable, and we don't deal with foolheaded and improbable. We know our role.

Johnny Alucard didn't know his role in the cosmic narrative. No, he most certainly did not. And that's why he doth got himself deaded.

 Dracula A.D. 1972, as you might discover with time and sleepless inquiry, is set in 1972, 100 years after Lawrence Van Helsing's final encounter with the king of vampires. We're introduced to a trendy and throbbing London beatnik scene, one in which our central characters all participate within, including the all too doomed Johnny Alucard. However, unlike most of the young cast, young Alucard isn't as satisfied with simply dropping acid and crashing parties as his 'group' are. He's after something with a bit of a bite.

I apologize wholeheartedly, that was fucking abominable. 

The Alucard bloodline have been subservient to Count Dracula for centuries, and Johnny is no exception, but Johnny wants something in return, where his predecessors went listlessly sufficient. Having, I imagine, spent most of his young life preparing to conjure up the dreaded Count so that he can wreak his bloody vengeance upon the Van Helsing house, Alucard wants only one thing in return for his assistance; the satanic powers of the vampire. A true case of the turtle attempting to spread its wings. Then again, playing the support act to Christopher Lee would be akin to opening up for Metallica at a BBQ and rodeo show.

As the film unfurls before us, Alucard is granted his unholy gifts, and he even shows some promise to begin with. Not that it does him a lot of good, because even with all of his paranormal abilities, he still ends up having lumps taken out of him by a gaunt old man. Now, this is a pain that Christopher Lee knows all too well himself, the old fogey whoopery, but at least Dracula was a persistent and fearsome foe, not a wuss with a switch blade and a turtle neck.

In the end, Alucard, the promising young torch-snatcher that should have been, ended up horribly killing himself in a slapstick and completely avoidable manner. You see, Alucard kissed Death's ring finger the moment he decided to purchase a trendy London apartment with a stunning open roof bathroom. Having first pulled the curtains from the ceiling and exposing himself to sunlight, he then tumbles into his bathtub and fortuitously switches the shower on with his flailing arm. Sunlight and water aren't to vampires what they are to the cactus in your bedroom window, and Alucard had managed to set both combustible elements upon himself within the space of three seconds. Like a bitch.

And that's why you should always follow your dreams, no matter how blind your journey and no matter how unrealistic the expected payoff.