Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bloodied But Unbowed in Big Takeover

Folks, anyone who cares about the Vancouver punk doc, Bloodied But Unbowed, really has to see what Jack Rabid and crew did with my interviews with Susanne Tabata and Joe Keithley in the new issue of The Big Takeover. It looks FANTASTIC, and even has a photo I've never seen before (of Randy Rampage and Art Bergmann together). I've been doing stuff for magazines and newspapers for seven years and have been in around 20 publications by now; this is bar none the best looking article I've ever been associated with. (It's not a bad read, either!).

Monday, November 28, 2011

RIP Ken Russell

...dead at 84 of a stroke, as of yesterday. Say what one will about his excesses, Russell was one of the first directors of note to come to my attention; here in Maple Ridge, back in the 1970's and 1980's, it wasn't all that easy to connect with real cinema - even once video stores started opening, their stock wasn't exactly handpicked by cinephiles (I remember one of the first video stores in town renting Koyaanisqatsi to people for free because the owners thought it was so bad that they couldn't dare ask money for it). While not all of Russell's films hold my interest now, back then, Altered States, Tommy, Women In Love, The Devils, even Crimes of Passion were important films for me, films to watch repeatedly and talk about with friends, and Russell was one of the first directors whose work I sought out based on his name (along with John Cassavetes - most of whose films were completely unavailable on video for years - and Nic Roeg). His films were relatively easy to find on VHS, all striking in some way or another, and yoked by certain themes and proclivities such that, as a kid with a growing love of cinema, I could grasp that he was an auteur. (The relative unsubtlety of some of his films probably aided my 12-year old appreciation of them - that's how old I was when I saw my first one, Altered States, at the Stanley Theatre in Vancouver during its first theatrical run). Perhaps Russell's passing will stimulate interest in him and prompt Warner's American arm to do something daring like putting out the WHOLE VERSION of his greatest film achievement (see below). My respects to Ken Russell.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Desperate days Surprisingly neurotic and unself-confident about my classes, as final essays approach. That feeling that something of myself is really being put to test, here; that big decisions hang on what I do in the next couple of weeks. Not feeling very UP to it, but I'll have to rally soon, because deadlines are getting very, very close.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jeffrey Lewis returns to Vancouver!

...check him out on Youtube, he's a hell of a songwriter, a lot of fun as a performer, a talented comics artist, and a Peter Stampfel collaborator!

Free the weed!

I didn't weigh in on Occupy, but here's something I will say something about: legalizing marijuana. It's a very, very good idea. Tax it, regulate it, remove criminals from the picture and let those of us who use it now and then relax, forgodsake - I'm sick of trying to be covert about smoking it when it's such widespread and harmless behaviour, sick of the grey area it presently exists in. I smoke pot - in moderation, a few puffs a few times a week - for various reasons:

a) when I've been bogged down all day in some project or responsibility and am mired in a stressed-out, exhausted state, it helps me shift gears in a shorter timeframe, get out of one unproductive mindset and into another more positive one

b) to stimulate the flow of creative juices when brainstorming about a piece of writing

c) to enhance movie nights with a buddy - marijuana and movies go together like alcohol and fighting

d) to enhance various other aesthetic experiences (listening to music, having sex, or combinations thereof)

e) as a remedy for motion sickness - remarkably effective; sometimes when transferring between buses on long commutes I've puffed a bit on my pipe to keep me from getting sicker, and it works quite well

f) to fend off migraines; during periods of my life when I'm subject to them, it is far, far preferable as a means of coping than any of the prescription meds I've tried (like menacingly-named vasoconstrictors, which list heart attacks as a possible side effect; why would I want to pop a pill that might kill me when I can simply take a few puffs on my pipe?).

I fail to see any of these things as being a social threat. What IS a social threat is the violence associated with its criminalization; I have no idea, when I buy pot, where it's coming from, whether I'm financing gang activity or such. I would much rather have the transaction taxed and regulated and above-ground, which is the ONLY thing that the current laws against pot prevent (they don't slow or stop the usage of the substance one iota, they just raise the price and remove the revenue that changes hands from the tax-stream). It's nice to see a few Vancouver politicians joining the call for this highly sensible move; after having recently been called a hypocrite by Marc Emery -whose prison blogs can be read here - even re-elected Mayor Gregor Robertson has joined his voice to calls for legalization. Stephen Harper, predictably, has just said no.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Korean release of The Devils

The Korean DVD version of The Devils arrived in the mail today. It has the same box art as the Spanish and the proposed art that leaked from Warner Brothers awhile ago. There are, as is typical with Korean releases, no extras of any sort. The option of Spanish subtitles suggests that this is sourced from the Spanish version of the DVD (there are no English subs, only Spanish and Korean). The sound is quite a bit clearer than I've heard it before, but some of the dialogue is whispered urgently with much background noise, so English subtitles would, in fact, make this a more attractive purchase. The image quality and the colours are quite good, compared to the previous options, though some of the church interior scenes have an odd effect I hadn't noticed before, where there's a sort of rainbow mottling of skin tones, for instance during Grandier's trial, when he is led back in with a shaved head; these colours may be meant to represent the way sunlight falls on skin when refracted through stained glass - something the inferior image quality of previous versions would not have allowed me to notice - but since no stained glass is readily apparent in Derek Jarman's terrific sets, I can't quite settle my mind that this isn't some odd defect. And speaking of defects, all the stuff we can presume would be missing is missing - the Rape of Christ and the charred tibia masturbation, most obviously, though I believe there are trims to Jeanne's other masturbation and self-flagellation scene, and if there is supposed to be extended footage of the breaking of Grandier's legs - it's not there, either. We presume the BFI presentation will be neutered in exactly the same way; and since it will be PAL and region-coded, the Korean DVD (NTSC, region-free) may still be your best option in North America, unless and until the American arm of Warner Brothers grows a pair of yarbles and decides to release the unexpurgated version of this film. I wouldn't hold my breath. where the hell is A Dangerous Method?

Grrr! I'm surely not the only person who has been eagerly awaiting the Vancouver theatrical debut of David Cronenberg's new film dealing with the relationship between Freud, Jung, and Sabina Spielrein, A Dangerous Method (that's the Wiki page, official site here, long Sony Classics PDF presskit here). It opened this week in the USA; I had assumed it was also going to be opening here, as well, but it's nowhere to be seen - and according to, it won't get a Canadian release until January 13th! This is far too long to wait. Maybe I'll read John Kerr's book, A Most Dangerous Method, to prepare myself... that last link goes to an informative and piquant review/ synopsis in The Independent...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin!

Wow - just found this clip on Youtube - the young stars of Zabriskie Point interviewed by Dick Cavett! (It's an awkward and uninformative interview, but in a way, this adds to its interest. Those unaware of the bio of Mark Frechette should read here - a very interesting man. Daria Halprin is still around and somewhat of a public figure, but not so much so in relationship to this film; her website is here.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spend a minute with The Shaggs

Oh, Lord. I suddenly find myself enjoying a Shaggs song, and worse - I feel like I understand it. What's happening to me?

Three cellphone photos of Mayhem

After falling in love with none of the opening bands (Abigail Williams, Hate, and Keep of Kalessin), I was half-worried that I'd be bored by Mayhem the other night, believe it or not. Extreme metal on my headphones to drown out the banal jabbering of my fellow commuters is one thing; shirtless thugs somberly pumping the goats into the air like it means anything and recycling Sabbathy blues licks is another (okay, so Keep of Kalessin were actually quite a bit better than that, and neither Abigail Williams nor Hate were without their moments, but still, it didn't really engage me). Up til Mayhem took the stage I was wondering if maybe the only metal shows I should go to are local ones - if there's something so tribal about metal that it almost requires a community connection to be meaningful; I'd rather support a local band at Funky's with no pretentions than a visiting band filled with them, and my somewhat stoned notes for the evening kept returning to the theme of how much more I'd rather be watching Bison, who at least look like they're having FUN when they play.*

Then Mayhem took the stage, and from the outset, my opinion changed. Overwhelming stage presence, the heavily made-up singer shrieking into an inverted-cross mike and the shirtless bassist - "the one who was so unpleasant to poor Sam Dunn in that doc" - seeming charismatic as all hell, sinewy and smiling with an evil grimace as he channelled and surfed the band's energy, completely absorbed in the music... which was absolutely relentless, and lit with bright blue and abundant strobes and fog. A crazy, chaotic, and very, very powerful band. They actually namechecked Skinny Puppy, too! (I expected them to maybe drop a reference to Blasphemy, but the praise for Skinny Puppy made perfect sense). The people who came late had the right idea - and I was very happy to see that indeed, by the time Mayhem took the stage, the place was packed.

True: I did leave early, and may have missed some theatrics - but I'm a suburban wuss, and I'd barely slept the night before, so getting home before 1am seemed vastly preferable than waiting til the gig was over and arriving after 2... My three best photos of Mayhem onstage in Vancouver follow:

*And remember, folks, Bison BC plays Fortune Sound Club December 8th.

A massive Rudimentary Peni article

Thought this was interesting - lots of art and lyrics, plus a history of Rudimentary Peni.

In which I miss my train

Shit. Dunno if it's some sort of passive aggressive protest at the way things are, spurred on by all the class rage of Breaking Bad, or terrified avoidance of the reality of my encroaching final essays, or maybe a mere response to miserable weather, but today is the second day this week that I've missed class at UBC. Both classes, mind you, were going to be predominantly devoted to film screenings - In Bruges for my Cult Movies class on Monday, Inglourious Basterds for American Cinema Since 1960. Nevermind that I've seen both movies, and in fact own both on DVD, or that it's a bit of a waste to spend two hours on trains and buses getting to class in order to just watch a film; this doesn't really mean anything, because attendance is graded, and the professors do sometimes say things of import to our readings of the films, by way of an introduction. Plus I was going to be working on a paper after class today - was going to stay late at the library. Monday's absence I actually don't feel that pissed at myself about - I was awakened by stomach cramps and diarrhea at 2am, having barely even fallen asleep, and had no luck getting back to sleep for the remainder of the night, so my decision to turn off my alarm and try for another few hours was a considered one. Today, however - I was quite shocked to get out of the shower and see that it was 7:36, that I'd lingered just long enough to make even the briskest trot to the train station futile (last train in leaves at 7:44). I attempted it anyway - I was five minutes away, with a busy bypass to cross and a downhill slope slippery with wet leaves to traverse, when I heard the train pulling up, and knew beyond a doubt that I would not make it - that at best I'd catch a glimpse of the train's tail as it receded in the distance. I turned back, trudging up the hill I'd just come down, grumbling to myself, my heart still pounding from the quick walk I'd attempted. What a loser.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More on The Devils

Tom Charity of the Vancouver International Film Centre passed on this link to Mark Kermode's discussion on the upcoming BFI DVD release of The Devils (thanks!). As I expected (see below), the Rape of Christ has not been reinstated, nor any of the other material removed before the film was certified - which I imagine also includes that charred tibia masturbation scene that I so want to see. As I've said elsewhere, that scene is far more important than the Rape of Christ, since it depicts the posthumous connsumation of the relationship between Jeanne and Grandier (who has been burned at the stake; all that remains of him is a very phallic chunk of bone, which, when presented to her as a souvenir, Jeanne puts to good use...). Unlike that scene, there is truly something excessive about the Rape of Christ; the film has plenty 'nuff already of orgying nuns indulging in sacrilege, such that no real further points are scored by pushing it as far as Russell does. Not that I object, and of course I'm all for the scene being reinstated, and I think the BFI folks are being a bit CHICKENSHIT here (tho' Kermode, in, erm, shilling for them a wee bit, does have a point, that there HAVE been inferior director's cuts released in the past - we can add Donnie Darko to his list; I for one can't stand the tinkered-with version of The Exorcist, and would rather watch the original Apocalypse Now over Redux any day.) But I won't be satisfied until BOTH the Rape and the tibia masturbation are back in the film, which seems to imply that I will never, ever be satisfied. Ever.

On the other hand, the good news, I guess, is that I won't feel compelled to upgrade my recently-acquired Korean DVD of it. Which is good. I'm out of money. I will review that disc as soon as it arrives.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Breaking Bad problem

I don't watch a whole lot of these made-for-TV superseries. I've done season 1 of Dexter and The Walking Dead, all of Deadwood - and that's about it. I know from my Deadwood experience how addictive these shows can be, how one is compelled to stay up late watching episode after episode, in a way analogous to the experience of reading highly compelling pulp fiction. I've recently been introduced to Breaking Bad, an excellent example of the form - involving the moral compromises and human consequences that ensue when a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, decides, on discovering that he has cancer, to start cooking meth to provide for his famiily. It's the same experience: it's hard to walk away having seen fewer than four or five episodes in a row. This is also true for my Mom, who is as hooked as I am, checking her watch at 11pm to turn to me and say "just one more episode?" She's as invested in the show as I am, which is what I'd hoped would be the case.

(...People seem scandalized that I'm showing these to my 80-year-old Mom, but she actually enjoys fairly violent entertainment, and has been known, at the climax of a good revenge thriller, to be cheering the hero on in the final showdown, saying things like "kill him!" - something that's become a bit of a joke between us, such that she now performs this reaction where appropriate because she knows it amuses me. My Mom is very sweet, and just a little bit bloody-minded... she also has no one else in her life to keep her company, so we watch a lot of movies together anyhow; I figured a series would be cognitively good for her, get her to exercise her memory over the long-term. Mind you, my Mom is also of a somewhat conservative mindset, and tends to get more satisfaction out of the scenes where Walter and Jesse are punished for their wrongs - she interjects things like "they deserve it!" - than the moments where they seem to be getting away with it, which is what I tend to cheer on...).

Our method of delivery for these has been primarily DVD up until now. I bought Season 1 last Friday, Season 2 on Monday, and Season 3 on the Friday just past. Here we are on Sunday, then - and all 33 episodes have been gobbled up, consumed, in a week and a couple of days. What to do now? We COULD just wait for Season 4 to be released on DVD - I will definitely purchase it, and DVD is still my format of choice. But Mom's attention span won't hold out that long - she'll have forgotten the series and her investment in it by that time, I would imagine, whereas right now she and I are both champing at the bit to see more. I generally only feel comfortable using torrent technology for things a) I cannot buy legally anyway - things unavailable legally, like Todd Haynes' Superstar, for example, or the uncensored version of A Serbian Film; b) things I would never buy anyways (pornography, for instance - surely only the very rich or compulsive masturbators pay for that, these days); c) things I do not yet know that I want to buy, which I want to take for a "free test drive." Torrents are ideal for such purposes - 'cept even here I've run into a snag; my first attempt to download the full season 4 netted me a zipped file that I supposedly have to pay money to de-encrypt, which I have to acquire from some sleazy-lookin' website called "Share Cash" that appears to be trying to commodify exchanges in the torrentsphere. No thanks! There's also the legal option of buying one-episode-at-a-time off Amazon, of course, but I'm damned if I'm going to pay for these things twice, once now and once the DVD is released. And I very much doubt that AMC's reruns coincidentally match up with Mom and my needs, here - I don't want to miss a single episode, or see them out of sequence...

So here I am torrenting one episode at a time, negotiating the odd failed download en route, checking each to make sure the quality is okay (it isn't, always), planning to compile them on a DVD that I can invite Mom over for (her player doesn't like burned discs). With luck, a legit DVD release will happen soon, and I'll be able to legitimize my position here. If all works out, maybe Mom and I'll even end up watching Season 5 as it airs on TV - "the old fashioned way." I should go check my downloads now... Mom'll be expecting me...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Monday Night Mayhem!

...sounds kinda like a sports event, dunnit? But no, of course - I'm referring to notorious Norwegian black metal pioneers Mayhem, who play the Rickshaw on Monday (that's the Wiki; their Myspace is here, though true to that site's ethos for the last couple of years, it is apparently currently malfunctioning). I was told at Scrape today that there are still tickets to be had - since, perhaps, people are holding back because, given the band's storied past, they figure the band might not be allowed into Canada (to perform what will be their First! Ever! Vancouver! Show!). Rest assured, tho', ye skeptics, that (-or so I was told) the band is currently IN CANADA, and with no borders left to cross en route to Vancouver, it's lookin' pretty damn likely that Monday's show will proceed. Also performing are Norway's Keep of Kalessin, the LA-based Abigail Williams - named after one of the accusers in the Salem witch trials -  and Polish band Hate. I don't know how I feel about Mayhem's past or their philosophy of life - I don't think I'd enjoy spending social time with'em, God help me - but their music sure is sonically satisfying, and I'm still craving strong stimulation (see below). Check out "Whore" here, for a sample of what they do best.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Scythia Saturday, Korpiklaani Dec 3

I've actually been kind of enjoying folk and pagan metal these days. Bought Bill Zebub's Pagan Metal documentary (which that link apparently allows you to watch for free) at a meagre discount at the HMV close-out (which is not really a SALE yet, as I understand the concept) and found myself particularly enjoying this incongruous combination of musical styles (somehow punk and folk was an easier sell for me). I'm happy I'm starting to get it. Bands like (Irish metal) Primordial or (Finnish) Korpiklaani help (the latter plays Dec. 3 at the Rickshaw - lotta fun songs about drinking). Meantime, Vancouver's own contribution to the form, Scythia - whom I interviewed here - play with a bunch of like-minded bands at the Rickshaw on Saturday, as some sort of pagan metal folkfest. I just might go, if my suburban condition permits...

EDIT: I incorrectly identified this gig as happening on the 2nd. It's the 3rd!

A David M. Christmas

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gigs! Bison BC, The Rebel Spell

The Rebel Spell by Femke van Delft

Two of my favourite local bands are playing soon, how can I not mention them? Bison BC plays the Fortune Sound Club Dec. 8th and The Rebel Spell plays Funky Winkerbeans on December 9th, for the Eargoggles DVD release. My respective interviews with them are here and here!

More censorship: Xxxenophiles, an extraterrestrial anti-semite, and "Erotic Diarrhea Fantasy"

Finally I've found a new online pastime: go to (see a few posts below) and look up provocatively-titled videos and books and such that are prohibited in Canada, so I can find out what they are and whether the decision to ban them makes any intuitive sense at all. Not everything on the lists is of equal interest - I know that I'm not at all interested in bestiality porn, or rape porn, or kiddie porn, or so forth, and have no problem with its censorship, while items like the Ream His Straight Throat series have fairly self-explanatory titles (and it really is of little consequence to me why volumes 2, 3, 4 and 7 are admissable, while 5 and 6 are prohibited). On the other hand,something about  the mere existence of a comic book called Xxxenophile fills me with curiosity and delight. What could it be, and, harmless as it seems after a superficial investigation, why are some of its manifestations banned in Canada? What could possibly be threatening about cartoon depictions of consensual sex with extraterrestrials? Whom, exactly, is being protected from what, and why? The question is puzzling enough that I kinda want to read some Xxxenophile stuff, to get its flavour. Just how humourless IS the Canadian government, anyway?

Today's best discoveries, however, include a pornogrind song that I'll get to presently, and the existence of the extraterrestrial Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn, from Pleiades, who orbits earth offering spiritual teachings and. from what I can gather, what appears to be anti-Semitic hate speech, which is why several of his (?) publications have been banned here. Alas, Hatonn doesn't seem to have his own Wikipedia entry, though he is mentioned on what happens to be the most bizarre Wiki page I've ever encountered, dealing with developments in theosophy that I had no previous knowledge of. There is really quite an elaborate list of extraterrestrial intelligences with religious significance to neo-Theosophists, with Hatonn merely being (we hope) the most Jew-hating of them. It is quite disturbing that some people take any such things seriously, as the authorship of that Wikipage and the various institutions that revolve around Hatton prove, but still, if it wasn't for our government's efforts to censor such material, I would have no idea it existed. This raises the question of whether our government is actually bestowing on such publications far more attention and honour than they deserve, by taking them so seriously; I'm sure I'm paraphrasing someone else here, but it seems to me that most functional people will be able to self-protect themselves from exposure to such warped weirdness, while anyone who can't probably isn't safe reading TV Guide.   

Another thing I'd never have encountered without finding it on a censor's list: a pornogrind song called "Erotic Diarrhea Fantasy" by a band called Torsofuck (also the authors of "Raped by Elephants;" I wonder if that one's legal here? There IS bestiality and coersion in it, after all!). The banning of such songs is particularly amusing given that the lyrics are completely incomprehensible growled gurgles; all you really need to do is take away the lyric sheet and these could be songs about baking cookies. Plus, you know - the idea of fantasizing about being covered in diarrhea seems about as banal and harmless as seriously twisted perversions come. If someone wants to write a song about ejaculating whilst being wetly shat upon, I cannot see what possible moral OBJECTION any rational person might have ("Ewww!" is not a moral objection).

Meantime, nor can I see why anyone would really want to LISTEN to such stuff, but I suppose on a slow night, given a lack of more appealing options...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Flesheaters online discovery

Check this shit out - a GREAT live tape of the Flesheaters (my favourite LA punk band at the peak of their powers) recorded off the soundboard! Waah!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Devils addendum

Heh. Now that I went ahead and ordered one of those Korean copies of The Devils - wouldn't you know it, there's  BFI version coming out, promising to be the "original X certificate" version, and described as 107 minutes long, which, given PAL speedup, would make it 111 minutes or so - quite possibly the whole film. I'll believe it when I see it, but...

Friday, November 11, 2011

In which I re-disappear

Okay, so that was undeniably a brief spurt of blogging. I guess I have to say that, contrary to my declarations of a couple of months ago, my blog is not technically dead. I don't know what it is. A zombie blog, lurching about for a short period, then collapsing inert...? I've got to re-focus my energies on other things now, though, so I'm going to go away again. Whether I return or not... hell, I dunno.

Dick's Exegesis - or 976 pages of it

A new editon of PK Dick's Exegesis has been published. My.

Extreme and censored cinema, plus a word I learned tonight: Gomorrahy

Kind of hungry for stimulation this week. A couple of my classes were cancelled due to the holiday and I'm not quite up to writing my final papers (soon!), and my Mom, bless'er, has been on a couple of her casino trips, so I've had some free time. As sometimes happens in the anticlimactic wake of a big burst of writing (submitted four essays of varying length and one Straight article last week), I'm a bit depressed and numb, not sure what I'm doing with my life, not very energetic, not very connected emotionally - hell, I'm even a bit lonely, a bit bored - and so I've been looking for cinema to wake me up, hence my finally watching Cannibal Holocaust. (Actually, I just watched a torrented version of Human Centipede 2 tonight, as well. I promise, folks, I'll buy the DVD when it comes out. It's really quite something, but forgive me if I don't commit as to saying what that something might be). Also watched the South Park episode, "HUMANCENTiPAD," the comedy skit "Human Centipede Anonymous," and torrented and flipped through The Human Sexipede, which, alas, appears to be mostly a normal porno (not that these don't have their uses. Apologies to the fine people who made The Human Sexipede for stealing their film, but I mean, it's certainly nothing I ever would have paid money for, unless it turned out to be some brilliant cult item, which I've now conclusively proven to myself it is not). I've further decided to meet the challenge of watching A Serbian Film (praised by Eli Roth in that link last post) - another film to torrent, because, we gather, the official DVD release in North America is a censored cut.

In the midst of all this, in trying to figure out how to determine if I might be violating any laws by accessing the uncensored version of A Serbian Film, I have learned a new word: Gomorrahy, "the insertion of a hand, a foot, or the stump of a limb (i.e., the insertion of an extremity) into an introitus/vagina or an anus/anal canal, for a sexual purpose." Never have I heard the term before (despite having read at some length about Annie Sprinkle's arrest for making amputee porn with Long Jeanne Silver, getting, essentially, ankle-fucked by her). I guess if adding a Y to Sodom gives us Sodomy, it's linguistically a fair move (though I don't recall any biblical tales of stump-fucking in Gomorrah; maybe they were omitted in Sunday School.)

My source for all this is the website Gomorrahy, which, fascinatingly, offers PDFs of various official lists of "prohibited titles" - books, DVDs, and so forth that are not allowed to be imported into Canada. For instance, on page 3 of the listings for this 2010 report, we learn that the Fuck My Mom and Me series is mostly admissable, while the film entitled Ball Busting and Cock Biting Coeds is prohibited. Unfortunately, no details are given as to why. The provocatively-titled Junkyard Fist Dogs is allowed, but Pussy Torture 8 is not. Even certain works of anime, like Blood Royale, are banned, as are various comic books, like Pet Humiliation Diary, which shows up on a banned list from 2011 (I am somewhat disappointed to see that it's just another Japanese S/M comic; the title took me somewhere else). It's interesting that with so much material freely being transmitted electronically there isn't an official government database to check in with, so that we can see ("gee, I wonder if Zebedy Colt's The Devil Inside Her is legal here yet?"). It's rather amusing that to even find out about such things I have to visit an anti-censorship website...

Hm. I see that there's a film called The Texas Vibrator Massacre that's prohibited in Canada. I bet there's a torrent of it. The trailer is here, a detailed description here... It actually piques my curiosity, as a riff on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. But, well... it's prohibited. Should I let that stop me? (Maybe it's only prohibited if you buy or sell it, while the stealing of it is unregulated? Hmm).

That reminds me, I was reading about Rob Zombie regular Bill Moseley's Texas Chainsaw Manicure movie... Now that's something I should try to find - and I bet it's legal, too!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)

Don'tcha all wish that there was a movie theatre in town that would program a double bill of the Human Centipede films? I do. (Wiki for part 1, part 2). How fun these would be to see in a social environment... I bet Kier-la has had'em at Blue Sunshine. Vancouver needs the return of Cinemuerte!

PS: Eli Roth talks about his reactions to The Human Centipede (First Sequence) here.

Friday: Snaggletooth. Music Mondays: Lemmy!

Motörhead in Vancouver, by Femke van Delft

So any really diehard Motörhead fans might want to check out Friday's Motörhead tribute band, Snaggletooth, at Funky's - they do a pretty credible job of what I think is "Orgasmatron," mislabeled as "Killed By Death" here (that surely is Sonny of Little Guitar Army, eh?). It's kinda unsettling the extent to which the lead singer has gone to look like Lemmy, though I don't believe he has taken it to the full limit, which would involve growing a large, hard mole on his cheek. (That would be impressive). If I didn't live in the suburbs, I'd be there for sure. Actually, I still might be, we'll have to see: I can get drunk and try to impress any chubby pale punkettes in the audience with my tales of meeting Lemmy ("I gave Lemmy Kilmister tentacle porn!").

...Then Monday, it's the Lemmy movie, for Music Mondays at the Vancity Theatre. This is a very funny, very engaging documentary, with various people praising Lemmy or offering colourful anecdotes. Highly recommended, surprisingly endearing and revealing.

...and finally, if anyone has missed it, Motörhead will be KINDA sorta coming back through town on Megadeth's Gigantour, which will see the band playing the Abbotsförd Entertainment and Spörts Centre on February 20th. If anyone wants to drive me to Abbotsförd...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Ken Russell's The Devils - there is news!

It turns out that there has been news in regard Ken Russell's hard-to-see The Devils - a film based on historical events which documents the misuse of  church power and the persecution and martyrdom of a somewhat debauched priest, played by Oliver Reed. Film geeks have been waiting for years for an official DVD release. Long-censored footage, previously considered lost, of orgying nuns molesting a life-sized Christ on the cross (the so-called "rape of Christ" scene) was reinstated for a highly watchable bootleg that came out a few years ago, but it was of variable quality and aspect ratio, and still missing the scene where Vanessa Redgrave, as a mentally disturbed, sexually fixated nun masturbates with a rather phallic chunk of charred human thighbone. A lot of discussion has been on whether Warners would ever "have the guts" to release the full film - a discussion that presumes that it's the controversy around these censored elements in the film, and the film's critique of religious hypocrisy, that has kept them from getting on board, which may or may not be the case; I actually don't see how the film - which attacks hypocrisy in the name of God and the misuse of power, not God or faith or the idea of belief - as blasphemous in any way, and can't see how (unless one is pro-hypocrisy) it could be regarded as a threat to ANY person of faith, however disrespectful it might be from an idolator's point of view... It's funny what some people are scared of...

Well, here's the news, for anyone who missed it (as I did, until late last night): in 2010, Warners DID release the film - in Spain and very, very briefly on iTunes. Reports online suggest that this is a great-looking release in the proper aspect ratio, but still abbreviated, running 103 minutes. Whether PAL speedup has anything to do with this or not hasn't been noted, but 103 minutes is the length given for the censored cut; longer versions, including the "rape of Christ," run between 108 and 111 minutes, and reports online state that this footage is still missing. It is, of course, highly unfortunate, that Warners, who COULD release the complete film, are choosing to go with a censored cut; but as with other botched DVD releases of recent years (the Zabriskie Point with the shitty Roy Orbison song tacked onto the end credits; the Performance with the missing line of dialogue; the highly abbreviated, dubbed, mangled version of Burn!) this may be the only official release we're going to get, unless someone at Warners catches a rare case of courage.

Meantime, it turns out that what appears to be the same release as the Spanish is now available in region free NTSC through Korea. The box art below is from the Korean edition, as sold on eBay. Note the misspelling of the director's name! (Nothing new there - my version of The Brood from Korea is directed by someone named "David Cronenberc"). I've got this on order and will weigh in presently as to whether any missing footage has been reinstated.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Petunia record release Saturday!

Since I'm throwing a few posts up I might as well mention that I totally loved some of the stuff on Petunia and the Vipers' new LP. Pretty much all of it, in fact, except the Hoagy Carmichael cover, which I didn't really need so much. I didn't mention that in the review I wrote, though (see here) - besides, it's deeply cool to see how much Petunia is expanding his musical domain on this album. Fave song on it is "Mercy," which you can see performed live here. That's Red Herring's Steve Nikleva with him onstage, I do believe! The record release is Saturday at the Ukrainian Orthodox Hall.

RIP Andre the Gypsy?

Someone commented on my Andre the Gypsy interview to say that Andre died last month. I hadn't seen him for months - the last time I saw him, I passed on some personal information from someone from Andre's past who wrote me, wanting to get in touch with him... I hope that all worked out in a good way. He seemed moved by the request - don't know what happened after that.

You can hear various performances by Andre here, on his video blog.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Cannibal Holocaust evening: Korean DVD discovery

I've been shopping for a DVD of The Brood, which I have owned and sold before and have now decided I need in my permanent collection. Since I have a vested interest in the existence of physical media - I *like* that there are shops where I can buy movies - I try to buy DVDs rather than torrenting them, especially when costs aren't high. The cheapest DVD version of The Brood available comes from Korea, so  I purchased it via eBay the other week. Since there was a discount for shipping if one buys other DVDs, and since Korean DVDs are usually of reasonably good quality (if often void of extras), I poked around the seller's site. I'm presently taking Ernest Mathijs' Cult Movies course at UBC, so I've decided to see as many cult films as possible while the course is going on, especially ones I've previously avoided, and it seemed prudent to see if I could make an interesting bulk purchase.

This, folks, is how I come to be in possession of the Korean DVD of Cannibal Holocaust. And for the benefit of any movie geeks googling "Korean Cannibal Holocaust" for a review, I will now offer a few caveats.

The Korean DVD version I purchased (pictured left) is not widescreen -which most other releases are. It is mostly, but not all, in English, and the portions in Italian - during the scenes with the soldiers in the jungle near the beginning of the film - are not subtitled in English (those of you who read Korean need not worry). It has a rather grainy, VHS-quality image. Optical fogging is used to censor the pubic region, where it appears, similar to what some of y'all might remember on the Japanese VHS versions of El Topo and The Holy Mountain (one might also note that there is a puzzling plentitude of male nudity in the film, so often it's the cricket set that's getting fogged). On the other hand, optical fogging is not used to censor the actual deaths of animals, which the film is notorious for; these do not appear to have been censored in any way. There is a screaming coatimundi being stabbed in the neck (described elsewhere incorrectly as a muskrat, an anteater, and so forth), and several minutes of upsetting turtle gore. There are also spider, snake, pig and monkey deaths. I can't say which version of The Last Road to Hell is used - a film within a film based around "found footage" or such of unfaked Nigerian executions; apparently there are Dutch versions that are longer than those in other countries - but there is certainly some real human death in the Korean cut (though not shot FOR the film - it isn't a snuff film, though that impalement sure looks convincing, doesn't it?). Overall, it's a mediocre but watchable presentation of an immoral and nearly unwatchable film. The censorship is in itself quaint enough (and bizarre enough, that anyone should think pubic hair is more of a threat to public safety than images of people and animals being killed) that it actually adds to the movie's limited appeal.

And now I've finally seen it. There's one less horror movie in the world that I'm afraid of watching. Perhaps I should take a bath...

Oh, that reminds me, while I'm at it, the Korean I Spit On Your Grave, while I'm sure it also has censored pubes, has the castration scene intact, including one big spurt of blood that I didn't recall from the previous version I watched. So that's good.

Happy viewing, folks.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Don't Get Your Hopes Up, but...

I can't sleep. I spent most of the day writing for this UBC Film Studies course I'm taking - roughly some seventeen pages of text, far in excess of what was asked of me. My brain is still buzzing, such that, despite my exhaustion, I can't sleep. I've decided to embrace this unwelcome awakeness and exhaust myself further in the hopes that the next time I lie down, my mind will be quieter.

What to do, tho', in this state? I've already masturbated, bathed, eaten, and done some recreational reading this evening. I also just watched an episode of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, which was delightful but far too stimulating for me to dare a second (who knew that Lawrence Fishburne appeared in that show?). With nothing else compelling on hand to occupy myself, I've been poking about the net - reading Mack's latest News For Youse on the Straight website, checking the obits (GWAR's guitarist died, and I wouldn't expect their November 7th Commodore show to go ahead). 

...but I've surfed the sites I meant to surf, and I'm still awake, so, prior to heading over to the land of Free Cell, I thought I'd kill a few minutes with a blogpost. Don't get your hopes up - I'm still considering this blog done. Consider this the muscle spasm of a corpse, a postmortem bit of flatulence... Still, anyone who has been following this blog - people harder up for entertainment even than myself - might want to waste a few minutes on this review I wrote of a Funky Winkerbeans show for the Straight.

I gather their Warbringer show on Friday is going to kick ass.

Oh, by the way, HMV's Vancouver megastore appears to be heading towards closure. No public announcement has been made and the time frame is up in the air, but staff have confirmed this, and all stock, I believe, has been marked down by 10% - a discount which I presume will deepen in the next month or so. It's kind of amusing to me - after two years of not shopping there (having been offended by the attitude of one of the staff), I only just returned last week (since the Videomatica Sale Store, in transition to the back of Zulu Records, isn't up and running yet, and there's not really anywhere else in town to shop for DVDs). Looks like I'm just in time to plunder the sale stock.

Okay, time for a game of Free Cell.