Thursday, 26 April 2012

Video of the day - This Many Boyfriends (I Should Be A) Communist

A few weeks ago I went up to Leeds to make a music video for the band This Many Boyfriends. It was a beautiful day, which was extra exciting since I was shooting it all on super-8.

We had a basic idea, but I wanted to keep it relatively loose. There's a fine line between being too organised and being too unprepared. I always feel it works best if you keep things a bit shambolic and just try to have fun. People enjoying themselves are so much more fun to watch than people deperately trying to look cool. And it's a music video. It doesn't have to make sense. So what if there's an accidental jump cut here and there. This happens more frequently when you're using super-8, especially if you don't have a shot list and don't write down what you've already shot.

A few hours later it was all done. Then the only thing you can do is wait. That's the horrible part, just waiting for two weeks. What if nothing comes out? What if there's something stuck in the camera gate?

Eventually, I got the film back and could relax. No problems, just beautifully saturated super-8.

You just can't beat super-8 on a sunny day. There's nothing quite like it.

(I Should Be A) Communist by This Many Boyfriends is released on seven-inch vinyl in May on Angular Records

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bare Behind Bars (1980)

Bare Behind Bars is possibly one of the most insane Women-in-Prison movies I've encountered. It's just completely bonkers. Set in a Brazilian women's prison, we follow a number of inmates as they go about their daily business. This mainly involves having sex with other inmates or the prison staff or just anyone that happens to be available…oh and they take a lot of showers. There's not really any plot at all, apart from some sort of rivalry between inmates, resulting in some unfortunate stabbings. And eventually, when the inmates have had enough of the bizarre and sadistic treatment from the staff, they attempt an escape. The prison warden is a sex-obsessed lesbian, the prison nurse is an ether-sniffing loon bag (also sex-obsessed of course) who likes to eat watermelon in the nude.

With heaps of nudity and sex scenes that occasionally slips into hardcore territory, Bare Behind Bars is definitely not for everyone. But, it really is a weird one. The bizarre and completely over-the-top behaviour of some of the characters makes it difficult to take any of more horrible elements too seriously. The prison nurse is so loopy she wouldn't feel out of place in a Benny Hill clip. When she finally gets dismissed, her main concern is not being allowed to wear her nurse's hat again.

Bare Behind Bars is a completely mind-boggling experience.

The film is available uncut from Blue Underground on Region 1 DVD. It is available in the UK from Arrow Films, but this version of the film has had the hardcore snippets removed by the easily offended peeps at the BBFC (Details here).

Don't Deliver Us From Evil (1971)

Anne and Lore are best friends, two teenage girls at an all-girl Catholic boarding school. They realise that sinning is a lot more fun than being good, so they decide to devote themselves to Satan instead of God. All good so far, right? Unfortunately, these girls aren't just naughty in a fun way, they're downright mean. We follow them over the course of a summer holiday where they get up to no good. They play seduction games with local simpletons, kill some pet birds and indulge in a bit of arson...until one day when it all goes horribly wrong.

Don't Deliver Us From Evil is a curious one, a coming-of-age film without the feelgood factor. The devotion to sin and Satan might have started as an innocent act of rebellion, a game of sorts, but when you're just making the rules up as you go along, where does the game end? This is what Anne and Lore have to figure out. They kill one bird and think it's hilarious when its owner starts crying out of grief, but when Anne kills a second bird, she breaks down with guilt. Then there's their interest in sex. They're obsessed with it and constantly crave sexual attention, but neither of them are ready for it or know what to do with it.

The Catholic Church weren't too keen (probably still aren't) on the film and it's not difficult to see why.

I don't want to give away too much about this film, cause it's really worth seeing, shocking and tender in equal measures.

It's beautifully shot and Jeanne Goupil and Catherine Wagener are both excellent as the two friends, managing the tricky task of being good, bad, sexy, silly and hideously annoying often at the same time.

With all the young flesh on display the film was obviously made for a male audience. However, all the men in the film are portrayed as weak-minded, incompetent or just blind to what's going on around them. I don't know if it was intentional, but it sure seems like director Joel Seria is taking the piss out of his own audience, telling us "go on, watch these young girls prancing around in their underwear, while I tell you how weak and how easy to manipulate you are".

Anyway. It's a good'un.

Available on DVD from Mondo Macabro.

Shockwaves (1977)

I'm a bit sad that Shockwaves isn't more awesome. It's the kind of film that would be fun to recommend in a "you have to see this underwater nazi zombie film!" kinda way. Seriuosly, underwater nazi zombies! How can that be bad? Well, it isn't that bad, but it just isn't that exciting either. Don't get me wrong...the army of underwater Nazi zombies (I can't stop typing that sentence) are awesome and all the scenes where they feature are pretty damn cool. The problem is the rest of the film, which is mainly filler.

But those underwater nazi zombies...look at them!

The background story is something along the lines of...towards the end of the second World War, the Nazis had created some amazing SS troops that were able to live underwater. This amphibian specialist SS unit turned out to be a bit unpredictable and when the war ended it was all swept under the carpet...or under the ocean in this case. And the secret stayed there for thirty years until our gang of merry holiday makers interrupt their sleep. They have to abandon their leaking boat and get stranded on a remote island, populated only by a former SS Commander (played by Peter Cushing).

He tells them to get out of there before the shit goes down. But it's already too late and the underwater Nazis start picking them off one after the other. The nazis themselves are pretty hard to kill, unless you can get really close and take their goggles off. Yup. That's how you kill unstoppable underwater nazi zombies. Remove the goggles!

Shockwaves is alright as a curiosity and it has some really awesome scenes in it. But, the script is pretty lame and not really anything I'll be revisiting any time soon.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Video of the day (Andrew Jackson Jihad - Gift Of The Magi 2)

This made me smile...a new video from Andrew Jackson Jihad. The song is Gift Of The Magi 2: Return Of The Magi and it's from their last album Knife Man which was out at some point last year. It's a simple idea, but it works really well and it's just fun to watch. And the song is ace!

Those guys are awesome! Bummer they're not playing at Plan-it-x Fest!

Friday, 13 April 2012

The problem with lists

So, after asking 100 experts, Time Out London has published a list of the top-100 horror films. I know for sure I've seen at least 51 of the titles listed and watched bits of at least another 30. Sure, there are loads of great films on there and it's nice to see the inclusion of some forgotten classics like Let's Scare Jessica To Death...but...with any list comes omissions and with the horror genre being so close to my heart, there are a lot of them in this one.

Here's a random list of 30 horror films (big and small, old and new) not included in the Time Out top-100 that I would defintely place in my own top-100, many of them in my top-50 even.

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

Messiah Of Evil (1973)

Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told (1968)

Don't Look In the Basement (1973)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Let's have a party! A Computer Beach Party!!

As soon as I found out there was a film called Computer Beach Party I was sold. I just love depictions of computer usage in 80's movies...and being generally fond of crap 80's college comedies this should be a winner, right? Hmmmm...well, not quite. Although the computer bits are pretty awesome, as are the party scenes, the main part of this film is still a mess. A relatively charming mess perhaps, but still a mess.

There is a vague attempt at a coherent story line in there somewhere...

Dennis and Andy are two young friends who spend most of their days hanging out on the beach 'skurfing' (racing their little weird beach buggies). They find out that the mayor of the town wants to buy and annex the part of the beach they use and they immediately sense something fishy going on. Then one day they find a gold coin in the sand. Maybe that legend about the old buried treasure is true and that's why the rotten mayor wants their beach? Maybe. Andy manages to fall in love with Allison, the mayor's daughter, and woos her with his impressive computer set-up. And he's got some serious techie skills.

Yeah, that's right! Horoscopes on a computer!

Of course party-planning involves more computer wizardry. He hacks into some party planning tool and after a few clicks where the word 'sex' flashes up at random he gets the message: 'Your V.I.P. party has been activated'. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome.

The actual party is also pretty damn awesome. There's even a glam metal band playing live and everything.

Erm...I'm not sure if it gets hard to follow here or if I just lost interest. The mayor has put up loads of lifeguard stands on the beach, which Andy and Dennis destroy. Andy starts to suspect that Allison is in on her dad's evil plans. Then there's also a stupid cop who keeps chasing after a car that looks like a chicken.

Hmmm. Yes. In the end everything works out just swell for everyone. There is no treasure, so Andy and Dennis can keep doing their thing...and Dennis beats Turk, the mayor's goon, at skurfing.

There's also a random title card towards the end when the mayor find out that Andy and Dennis know about his plans.

I'm not sure if they just forgot to shoot that scene or if they just thought it would be hilarious.

Computer Beach Party is one of those is absolutely terrible, there is no doubt about that...but at the same time it definitely has a certain charm to it. It does drag on and its 97 minute running time feels like forever, but I did manage to sit through it all. But then it's not really a film you should watch on your own on a Tuesday night. Add a bunch of friends and a few beers into the equation and Computer Beach Party might just be perfect film. Actually, make that a lot of beer. If you drink enough the poorly dubbed dialogue might actually slide into sync.

And here's the glorious trailer...not original, but cut together by the folks at The Found Footage Festival, who apparently screened this film a few years back.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Video of the day (Japanther - Lil Taste)

Any day that sees the release of a new Japanther video is a good day. And although Lil Taste is not one of my favourite tracks on the the most recent album, the video is still pretty awesome-looking. Who doesn't like puppets, eh?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)

There's so-bad-it's-good, there's so-bad-it's-just-bad and then there are films like The Howling III: The Marsupials, a film that just doesn't fit into either category. It's an absolutely terrible film and I kind of enjoyed watching it, but I would never call it good in any way, shape or form. Let's call it so bad that it's just really bad but kinda fun but mainly bad . Catchy description, eh?

The film starts with a young girl running away from home because, as she puts it "my step father tried to rape me and he's a werewolf". I mean, what else can I say? Do you need anything more than that?

OK, let's try to sell this to you...

Set in Australia...this means werewolves with Australian accents!

Not only do you get werewolf nuns!

And a werewolf ballerina!

You get weird werewolf nudity, werewolf children, transformations all over the place...

The "story" goes something along the way of...back in the 19th Century, some thylacines mated with humans, resulting in some weird wolf/tiger/human hybrids. When the thylacines were killed off and made extinct in the early 20th Century, these 'werewolves' went underground, hiding in the Australian bush or in Siberia. Now, in the present, suddenly they're making themselves known. The army is called in, as are various scientists. Our young runaway, becomes a horror movie star, falls in love and has werewolf babies. No, seriously...I can't do this. Just thinking about this mess makes my head hurt. Just watch it...I guess.


Monday, 2 April 2012

Video of the day (Tigercats - Full Moon Reggae Party)

My dear friends in the super awesometastic band Tigercats are currently on tour in Europe. A few weeks ago, they released this beautiful video, hand-drawn and animated by singer/main song-writer Duncan Barrett.

It's a stunning piece of art. Be aware, tho. It contains cartoon nipples!

Tigercats' debut album Isle Of Dogs is released on 9th April on Fika Recordings.

Tigercats website
Fika Recordings website