Tuesday, October 30, 2018

So, I started a podcast...

Apologies, as always, for the lack of updates. I won't bore you with the usual excuses. Anyway, as the title says, I've created a podcast. Link to the first episode here. If you get chance to listen, please let me know. Any constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Happy Birthday David Lynch and Rest in Peace Harry Dean Stanton - Their Collaborations and Some Brief Thoughts on Twin Peaks Season 3

While writing my previous post, last year (which talks about, in part, the first time these two great men would work together), I was acutely aware that probably sooner rather than later, I'd be in a position where I'd have to write this one. Wasn't trying to tempt fate of course but with Harry Dean Stanton then turning 91, I knew it was only a matter of time before we would sadly have to look back at his life's work, with no new screen credits coming. 

Having said that, 91 is, of course, a bloody good innings and like say, Christopher Lee, Harry Dean was another man who very much died with his boots on and had the kind of career that many or most would need two lifetimes or more to play catch up with.

So, in order to pay tribute to him and also as a birthday hat tip to friend and frequent collaborator David Lynch, I figured why not have a look back at the times they joined forces. Again, I covered the first of those projects, "The Cowboy and the Frenchman" (1987) in my last blog entry, so first up, it's off to 1990, with Wild at Heart...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Happy Birthday Harry Dean Stanton - The Cowboy and the Frenchman (David Lynch, 1988) and Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984)

Wishing a very Happy 91st Birthday to a living legend today. Still keeping himself busy, even now, the great Harry Dean Stanton has been in far too many movies to even begin getting into here. I mean he has 199 acting credits currently listed on IMDb, for Christ's sake. So today, we're gonna look at 2 films he's been in, which, aside from their similar titles, share some occasional overlaps and make for, in my opinion, quite an interesting double feature.

Lynch's first foray into TV (that I'm aware of, anyway), The Cowboy and The Frenchman was his contribution to a French produced series of short films called "The French as Seen By..." (other directors included Werner Herzog and Jean-Luc Godard) and, by this point in his career, was the most overtly comedic and wonderfully wacky thing he'd done. It marks the first appearance of a couple of folks he'd work with again later (HDS and Michael Horse) and, if you were to marathon his film and TV stuff chronologically, would work well as a breezy, fun and refreshing palette cleanser between the dark, emotional rollercoaster ride of Blue Velvet and the otherworldly musical phantasmagoria that is Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Happy Birthday David Lynch - "She Would Die for Love" - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992); Twin Peaks Podcasting and RIP Miguel Ferrer

Wishing a Happy Birthday to David Lynch, who turns 71 today. And to mark the occasion, I want to take the opportunity to sing the praises of one of my all time favourite films and the one that probably takes the top spot on the list of movies I love from this man.

This won't be a traditional review exactly and may more likely read as something of a love letter to it... the main reason being that I've already talked about this in quite some depth recently elsewhere...

My good friend, Richard Glenn Schmidt, of Doomed Moviethon and Cinema Somnambulist, was kind enough to invite me onto his podcast, Hello! This is the Doomed Show, to talk about not only this film, but also the entire series (so far) of Twin Peaks.

Being both a big fan of said podcast and completely enamoured of Twin Peaks, this was something of a dream come true and was an absolute joy to record. While doing so and afterwards, I was worried that I wasn't able to do justice to show and film, or fully articulate my love and appreciation for it, but upon listening back, I'm very happy with how it turned out. And I hope any David Lynch/Twin Peaks fans out there might enjoy hearing it too...

Perhaps unexpectedly, it turned out to be even more epic than Richard or I initially anticipated and ended up being a two-parter (each episode being nearly three hours long I think)... which, in retrospect, shouldn't be too surprising... I mean there are whole podcasts dedicated to Twin Peaks of course, so there was no shortage of stuff to chew the fat about. Anyway, for anyone interested, the links to both are below.

Also on the subject of podcasting, prior to our Twin Peaks discussion, Richard had me on the show to help me get used to recording and also as an opportunity for he and I to get used to talking to each other over Skype. He asked me a bunch of questions about the films which helped get me into horror and ones that are firm favourites too. Again, that was a lot of fun and the link is below if you fancy a listen.

Finally, Christian Bates-Hardy of Good Movies for Bad People kindly invited me onto his show, where we talked about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Murder Obsession. An absolute blast it was and again, you can find it at the link underneath if you're interested.

So now, without further ado, I'll attempt to tell you fine folks just why I love Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me so much, why I think it's so important within David Lynch's filmography and why I believe it to be one of the most underrated films of the last 25 years. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Happy Birthday Asia Argento! Trauma (Dario Argento, 1993)

By six degrees of Brad Dourif, I'm finally updating this dusty old blog. Meant to post this on Dario's birthday (7th September) but life intruded and it went on the back burner. But as it's his daughter Asia's birthday today (she's turning 41), seemed an ideal time to finally finish it, with her being one of the stars of course. Spoke about this before briefly as part of My First Moviethon but been meaning to come back to it in depth ever since. So here we go...

The movie opens by showing us some kind of mechanical diorama that I'm guessing is about the French Revolution. What's important for our purposes though is that some poor bugger has got their head chopped off via le guillotine. In a way, it's a curious way to begin (though it does have significance to the plot) and one of many quirky moments to be found throughout that have Argento's prints all over them. Also, it's the first of quite a few instances in which Trauma seems to be riffing on Deep Red

Following this, it's off to the chiropractor's... and also off with their head, as an unseen assailant uses a rather nifty device that mechanically closes a noose of piano wire or something around this poor lady's neck and allows the killer to collect their first trophy. As a side note, this scene also introduces an element that instantly predisposes me to love the movie... that is, it's frickin' pissing it down! And without getting into why (cause spoilers), rain will prove to be very important throughout the film.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy 70th Birthday David Lynch! And 30 Years of Blue Velvet (1986)

For today's post, we're wishing a very Happy Birthday to another living legend and U.S. born film director. Now 70 years young, David Lynch is, like John Carpenter, arguably one of the finest and most unique film-makers America has produced during the past 50 years. But while the former is pretty much universally loved by horror film fans, the latter is, understandably, much more polarising within this crowd and, of course, outside it... no doubt due to his surrealist bent and a taste for absurdist humour that's often in uncomfortably close proximity to the more disturbing and nightmarish content the films also contain. Which is of course a long winded way of saying Lynch isn't going to be everyone's cup of coffee. 

For myself though, I've long been a fan, ever since first seeing the likes of Eraserhead (1977) and the underrated Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) late night on TV as a young 'un. It's hard to articulate the effect these and other films of his had on me upon first seeing them but for one thing, they (along with others by the likes of Dario Argento and John Carpenter) are among a select group of films ultimately responsible, but better or for worse, for igniting my interest in and insatiable hunger for "midnight" movies... i.e. those that seem like broadcasts from another planet and/or dredged up from the depths of the unconscious sleeping mind.

Working in tandem with this tantalising, dreamlike quality his films so potently exude, was Lynch's power to pull me completely into his world... a world which while strange and often unsettling, also feels completely real, living and breathing, down to the smallest tactile details. In fact I struggle to think of many directors who are as adept at conjuring mood and atmosphere and creating such a believable sense of place. A lot of this I'd attribute to Lynch's background as a painter giving him an eye for texture and also, his brilliant use of sound design and music. I mean in this latter capacity alone, Lynch is still probably ahead of most of the cinematic curve. 

Anyway, enough hero worship from me for now. I could of course go on but I realise y'all have busy lives to be living and all. So yeah, David Lynch rocks in my book. Aside from the great man himself though, we're also here today to talk about what's perhaps his most well regarded film, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Yup, it's...

Undoubtedly one of the most talked about and analysed movies of the 1980s, there's not a huge amount I can add to what's been discussed and recited over and over about Blue Velvet. Most of the theory and trivia behind the film is, I'm sure, well known enough already. So instead I figured I'd share my own history with/opinions of it with you. And maybe we will get into a little bit of behind the scenes stuff too as we progress...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Happy Birthday John Carpenter! Two Underrated Films from the 1980s: Big Trouble in Little China (1986) & Prince of Darkness (1987)

All things considered, John Carpenter is probably my favourite American director... especially as far as horror is concerned. And as I knew the great man's birthday was coming up, I decided to have a double feature last night in order to have something to post today to mark the occasion. I went for these two films for a few reasons. Firstly, they appear next to each other in JC's filmography. Secondly, one is a light-hearted action-fantasy romp and the other a serious supernatural horror film, so it seemed a good way to mix it up. But most importantly, while well loved by many cult film fans, I still feel these two fall somewhat in the shadow of some of the other movies made by Carpenter both before and afterwards and am therefore of the opinion that any extra affection and attention thrown their way is more than welcome.

First up, and celebrating its 30th anniversary this year (on July 2nd), is Big Trouble in Little China. Starring Carpenter favourite Kurt Russell as wise-cracking truck driver Jack Burton, a man who gets more than he bargained for while waiting to collect on some gambling debts owed by friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), ending up right in the middle of some supernatural shenanigans involving kidnapped green-eyed Chinese girls, cursed sorcerers and a few gangs all apparently intent of kicking (and sometimes shooting) the absolute shit out of each other. 

A hybrid of comedy, fantasy and martial arts action, this was met with mixed reactions when it was first released, seemingly being misunderstood by those who didn't pick up on the humourous undertones, but, three decades on, it's now better appreciated and has become a firm favourite of many.