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‘Graduation Day’: New Wave Slasher, 80s Style
12:42 pm


Herb Freed

Poster Art for Graduation Day
Fewer sub-genres of horror are more maligned and critically sneered at than the Slasher Film. To the extent that in my academic past, I had not one but two teachers borderline horrified by my love for some of the films in this often grue-filled category. One of them actually said, “But Heather, you’re so sweet! How could you be into those movies?” If I hadn’t been the highly awkward and sheltered young person that I was back then, I could have responded with something about art exploring our darker impulses and tragic circumstances. Then, backed that up with historical references to the Grand Guignol theatre in France, some of Shakespeare’s bloodier works and any number of ancient Greek plays. Instead, I’m sure my response was something pithy like, “They’re cool.”
Targets for the Black Gloved Killer
As far as early 1980’s slashers go, Graduation Day is one cool movie. Made in 1981 by director Herb Freed, Graduation Day on the surface seems like your slasher-prototype. In a small California town,  the star runner on the high school track team, Laura (Ruth Ann Llorens), dies of natural causes immediately after winning the big race. A few months later, a black gloved killer start offing her teammates, even dramatically crossing their faces off with lipstick on a framed group photo. Naturally, there are red herrings. Could it be the Laura’s strange older sister, Anne (Patch Mackenzie)? Maybe the hard-bitten Coach Michaels (Christopher George) who leers at his female students a little too long? Even the nosy and possibly brain-damaged Officer MacGregor (Virgil Frye)? Or even Anne’s creepy, alcoholic stepfather who still hangs on to the grief of losing her younger sister?
There's a Killer on the Loose.
It could be any, all or none of the above and for a film like Graduation Day, I would hate to spoil which one it is. The film does play with certain conventions that were already veering towards cliché by ‘81, right down to an appearance by future epic scream queen Linnea Quigley as a cute and often topless stoner high school chick who seduces her teacher for a passing grade and attempts to have sex in the woods. (Granted, Linnea Quigley popping up is something that should really happen in every movie.) But scratch underneath the surface and you have a film with some fairly strong cynicism painted towards adults, brilliant quick-cut editing courtesy of Martin Jay Sadoff that brings to mind films like Fando y Lis and Easy Rider, a nifty twist-reveal ending and a killer appearance by the eternally underrated New Wave cult band Felony. (More on them in a minute.)
Linnea Quigley and friend getting stoned at the park.
The universe of Graduation Day is populated with teachers and authority figures that range from sleazy/borderline pedophile to abusive to bumbling but at least harmless. The latter includes a hilarious turn from the inimitable Michael Pataki as the ineffectual Principal clad in a polyester-pants nightmare. Pataki, who sadly passed away back in 2010, was one of those guys whose mere presence improved everything he was in, which ranged from voicing George Liquor in an episode of Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon to playing a homophobic biker in the gay motorcycle-gang film, The Pink Angels. Graduation Day is no exception and the film gets even better whenever he is on screen.
Best school dance band ever. Felony.
The aforementioned editing is incredibly creative and heightens the darkly strange tone of the film. Looking at Sadoff’s resume, it all makes sense when you realize he worked on the visually stunning 1971 underground erotic male tone poem, Pink Narcissus.

Another unlikely pairing that works greatly to the film’s advantage is the appearance by the band Felony. A Los Angeles based group whose ultra-charismatic lead singer, Jeffrey Scott Spry had previously played with Ron Asheton’s existent-for-a-hot-minute band The New Order back in the 70’s, Felony were and remain one of the quirkier rock bands that emerged out of the New Wave scene. Here, they perform their non-album song, “Gangster Rock,” looking like a bunch of gothed-out Mafiosos, their appearance is the absolute highlight in the whole film. It doesn’t matter that the song, which seems to be played in a continual loop, goes on for several minutes because it is so good that you barely notice. Even if you do, the odds of you minding are fairly slim. Felony would later on have a bit of a hit with their song “The Fanatic,” which was used on the soundtrack for the film, Valley Girl.

Graduation Day may not be a perfect film, with the last twenty minutes dragging a wee bit, but between the editing, a great cast, especially Pataki, George and Patch Mackenzie as the strong but subtly sensitive Anne and a willingness to explore a darker universe where kids are never truly safe, killer or no killer, it is a surprising treat of a movie. Previously available through Troma, it has been cleaned up quite nicely by the always reliable folks at Vinegar Syndrome, complete with multiple supplements to keep even the staunchest of horror film cineastes happy.

Posted by Heather Drain | Leave a comment
‘ABCs of Death 2’: Gory, hilarious trailer with 26 ways to die, a different director for each letter
12:59 pm


Julian Barratt
Drafthouse Films

I’m not a big fan of the whole “gore” genre. Although I do harbor a fondness for Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs and The Wizard of Gore—and hey, I even saw Joel M. Reed’s hilariously gruesome Bloodsucking Freaks in an old school Times Square grindhouse (shudder)—generally speaking, modern “torture porn” movies are not my idea of a thick shake (if you’ll pardon my obscure Bloodsucking Freaks reference). Those films are goofy, camp fun, but I don’t feel like I’m missing anything having not partaken of the Saw films…

I write this by way of telling you that I have no idea what possessed me to click on the publicist’s email this morning for the latest release from the mighty Drafthouse Films, the anthology film ABCs of Death 2. I’d have thought there was nothing there for me, but I watched it, I laughed out loud and now I cannot wait to see this sucker…

Featuring 26 directors, each exploring the theme of death a letter at a time, including The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt, Juan of the Dead director Alejandro Brugués, Rodney Ascher director of Room 237, animator Bill Plympton , Vincenzo Natali (Cube), twin sister horror auteurs Jen and Sylvia Soska (Dead Hooker In A Trunk), Lancelot Imasuen (star of the Nollywood Babylon doc) and many others.

ABCs of Death 2 will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on opening night, September 18, in Austin, TX.  The film will be available on VOD on October 2 and in theaters on October 31.

This is seriously NSFW unless you work at a morgue… and seriously funny, too.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hellraiser: The Macabre Art of Horror Master Clive Barker
06:40 pm


Clive Barker


“I think of myself as somebody who is reporting from a world of dreams.”
-Clive Barker

Although primarily known as an author of dark fantasy, and as the creator of the “Hellraiser” and “Candyman” horror movie franchises, Clive Barker is also a prolific visual artist. Barker will often paint a character into existence before fleshing it out on the page:

“I’m painting these pictures in the expectation that… interesting, strange characters and landscapes will come into my mind and into my mind’s eye and appear on the canvas through the brush. There is something willfully strange about this process—that you stand back at the end of a night’s work and you look at something and you say, ‘Where did that come from?’ I mean, I’m not the only artist who does that - lots of artists do that, I know. And it’s been wonderful because if I had created Abarat from words—if I’d written Abarat and then illustrated it… it would not be anything like as rich or as complex or as contradictory a world as it is. Because this is a world which has been created from dream visions…  What I’m doing is finding stories that match the shape of my dreams.”

This weekend you can see the art of Clive Barker at LA Art at the Century Guild booth #1216 . You can pre-order the upcoming hardcover Clive Barker art book here.








Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
It’s 1980’s trash-horror films a go-go with Bleeding Skull!

For those of us who grew up during the golden era of VHS, the shelves at the local Mom & Pop video store were the equivalent to visiting some king of gloriously mutated version of Disneyland. The beauty of that era was that because the format being new, all kinds of movies came out of the woodwork. Films like First Blood or E.T. had a great chance of playing in theaters ranging from the metropolitan to box-shaped bergs in the smallest of corn-town America. But what about titles like Psychos in Love, Death Spa or Black Devil Doll From Hell? Forget it, but that was the beauty of VHS is that it truly made the movie going experience more personal and democratic.

This was never more true than for the horror genre, with the 1980’s being the apex decade for some of the most lurid, grue-filled, nudity-ridden and straight up crazy films in the field. Thanks to the fine folks at Headpress, there is a funhouse ride of a book dedicated to these films. The tome in question? Bleeding Skull: A 1980’s Trash-Horror Odyssey. Originally a website started back in 2004 by Joseph A. Ziemba, who was later joined by Dan Budnik, Bleeding Skull, both as a website and book, is a compendium of all the horror films that more academically minded or overall discerning writers would quickly bolt from. This is, naturally, a highly positive thing!

That fact alone makes Bleeding Skull worth noting, but the added bonus is how entertaining both Ziemba and Budnik are to read. They both have the whole “snark with love” vibe down to a fine art. There are some incredibly funny lines in this book, but they never override the overall reviews. There’s a sensibility to the whole thing of a guy sitting next to you at a bar,  telling you about this weird movie that he just saw that was directed by the guy that made The Giant Spider Invasion and stars Tiny Tim as a sweaty and depressed clown named “The Magnificent Mervo.” (The film in question, by the way, is Blood Harvest. and yes, it exists. Glory.) Who else is going to talk about obscure, made in Wisconsin horror films with Tiny Tim as a clown in them? Not many but that right there captures the essence of Bleeding Skull.
Bleeding Skull Book Cover
Another impressive thing about this book is that Ziemba and Budnik have truly combed the depths of ultra-obscure horror films for your enjoyment. This was an area of film that before reading this book, I was fairly confident that I knew more than the average bear. Which, while I still do, compared to these guys, I AM the average bear. If it was a no-budget, shot-on-video one day wonder from two guys in Duluth, Minnesota, then dollars to donuts, it is written about in this book!

Headpress continues to cement their already solid reputation as one of the finest purveyors of fringe culture with Bleeding Skull. So crack open your favorite libation, dust off your VCR that’s been gathering dust in your attic and be prepared to read about some of the best, worst, trashiest, sleaziest and gonzo trash-horror films from one of the darkest decades in cinematic history.

Below, for your viewing pleasure (?) Blood Harvest starring Tiny Tim as “Mervo the Clown”:

Posted by Heather Drain | Leave a comment
Color me blood red: Supermarket chain sells gruesome horror movie coloring-book to kids
07:07 am



A horror movie coloring-book aimed at “good colourer-inners (as well as beginners)” has been withdrawn from the website of British supermarket chain Tesco. The company, which is called “Fresh and Easy” in America, is “the second-largest retailer, measured by profits, in the world.”

The book, Colour Me Good: Arrggghhhh!!, promises “really scary stuff” and “more blood than you can shake a dagger at,” and depicts scenes from such classic horror films as Psycho, The Shining, A Nightmare on Elm Street, A Clockwork Orange and Carrie.

Tesco was apparently selling Colour Me Good: Arrggghhhh!! as suitable for children ages five-to-eight, which led to criticism and the book’s subsequent withdrawal. Tesco claimed the book had been placed on its website by a third party retailer. A spokesperson for the company said:

“We have very clear guidelines for third-party sellers who list items on our website, and are sorry that on this occasion they weren’t followed.

“We will be speaking with the seller to remind them of the importance of selecting the right category when listing products with us.”

The book’s publisher, Mel Elliott of I Love Mel told the Daily Telegraph:

“Firstly, and most importantly, my products are not aimed at kids. They are a contemporary, pop-culture inspired range that are aimed at playful grown-ups.

“I was unaware that Tesco were a stockist as a separate distribution company deal with wholesale of my products.

“The front cover of ‘Colour Me Good Arrggghhhh!!’ features a drawing from the horror movie, ‘Psycho’ in which a woman is stabbed to death in the shower. I believe that this one image is a fairly large clue that this is not a book aimed at children. However, it does state on Tesco’s website that my products are aimed at five to eight year olds, which is an error on their part.”

The product has now been removed from Tesco’s website.

Colour Me Good: Arrggghhhh!! is still available from I Love Mel (where you can view all of the coloring-in pages), or from Amazon.
Via ‘Daily Telegraph’ and ‘I Love Mel
More of ‘Arrggghhhh! Colour Me Good,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ali Renault: lord of the doom-dance

Ali Renault is one of my favourite producers working right now. Formerly one half of the ace Italo revivalists Heartbreak he has been building a reputation over the last few years with his solo techno-disco outings on labels like Moustache and Dissident, and now he has just dropped his excellent debut album for the London label Cyber Dance.

Renault’s heavily Italo-influenced sound is clean and crisp, but with a tangible sense of creeping dread, like that point on a night out when you notice the sun has come up and your high is beginning to wear off. It’s what might happen if you took the synths of Claudio Simonetti, slow them down to a warped ketamine crawl and lock them in a wardrobe with Michael Myers. It’s not nearly as hellish as that makes it sound - in a way it’s kind of comforting, like the knowledge that someday you are going to die. It’s no surprise to learn that Renault’s formative musical influences as a teenager were both metal and techno. 

“I like using old cheap hardware and I enjoy trying to evoke a dark mood with machines” he says.  Renault’s self-titled debut album is 8 tracks of what he describes as “detective-noir” and will appeal to fans of golden age John Carpenter, classic Detroit techno, Garth Merenghi re-runs and the darker side of Italo disco. This isn’t music designed to impress with tricks and technology, it has a cleanliness of form and a melodic richness that is unique and brilliant. You can download the excellent “Pagan Run” from the 20 Jazz Funk Greats blog at this link (highly recommended), and here’s a download of the track “Promises”, courtesy of Mixmag:

And here’s another album track, “Dignitas Machine”:

Ali Renault performs “Zombie Raffle” live at Magic Waves festival 2010:

Ali Renault can be purchased on vinyl from Juno and Beatport.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Disco Argento 2: The Sequel’ - even MORE Disco-Horror madness!

So buzzed was I by the reaction to my first Disco Argento mix (downloads maxed out on Soundcloud* - thanks guys!) that I decided to go digging through the vault of horror/disco cash-in records yet again to put together a follow-up. And so I give you… Disco Argento 2: The Sequel! As with most sequels, it feeds heavily off the original’s success while boldly pushing the concept into uncharted waters (the 1980s). I feel as if this time I got to truly express my vision, though it could be argued that I am over-indulging myself (twelve minutes of Pat Hodges?!).

I’m pretty chuffed to be able to put a few real gems on this mix - tracks like Stelvio Cipriani’s theme for Tentacles (actually called “Too Risky A Day For A Regatta”), Riz Ortolani’s energetic jazz-funk workout “Drinking Coco” from Cannibal Holocaust and the simply divine “New York One More Day” by Franisco DiMasi from the score for Lucio Fulci’s The New York Ripper (possibly the only passable excuse for that super sleazy film to exist). What is with these Italians and their fabulous soundtracks? It’s also the second appearance of the day for DM pal Matt Berry, heard here in his Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace guise as Todd Rivers, with an electrifying remix of his ode to thwarted passion “One Track Lover”. Here’s the tracklist in full:

GOBLIN Tenebre
FABIO FRIZZI Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters)
FRANCISCO DI MASI New York One More Day (Disco Beard edit)
ROBERT RODRIGUEZ Police Station Assault
RIZ ORTOLANI Il Corpo Di Linda
TODD RIVERS One Track Lover (Synthia Remix)
FAT BOYS Are You Ready For Freddy?
FRANCIS HAINES The Trioxin Theme (aka Return Of The Living Dead Theme)
JOHN CARPENTER & ALAN HOWARTH The Duke Arrives/Barricade/Snake dialog
PAT HODGES Fly By Night (Midnight Mix)
RIZ ORTOLANI Drinking Coco
STELVIO CIPRIANI Tentacoli (aka Tentacles)
THE CHAMP’S BOYS ORCHESTRA Tubular Bells (Cosmic Mix)

  Disco Argento 2: The Sequel! by theniallist
An excellent trailer re-edit by Orgasmo Sonore of Stelvio Cipriani’s Tentacoli:

*You can now download Disco Argento Vol 1 here:

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Disco Argento’ - a horror theme disco versions cash-in mix

‘Tis the season, and all that jazz. Halloween is my favourite time of year, so to help people get into an undead festive mood here’s the first of a couple of spookalicious mixes I will be sharing over the next few days. First up it’s my Disco Argento mix, a compilation of late 70s and early 80s horror movie-inspired discomania put together for Glasgow’s Menergy club. It features dancefloor versions of the themes from Phantasm, Friday the 13th, Dawn Of The Dead, Amittyville and Demons, some score tracks and a few soul horror cash-ins. It also comes with a rather snazzy (and exclusive) Thriller-inspired sleeve by top comic artist Frank Quitely too. Here’s the full tracklist:
Halloween II - John Carpenter
Cannibal Ferox - Fabio Frizzi
Zombi - Goblin
Amityville Frenzy - Lalo Schiffrin
Prom Night Theme - Zaza & Zitter
Phantasm - Captain Zorro
Phantasmagoria / Silver Sphere Disco - Fred Myrow & Malcolm Seagrave
NYC Theme - Budy-Maglione
Demons (Disco Beard Edit) - Claudio Simonetti
Friday The 13th Part III - Manfredini & Zager
Lust - Rinder & Lewis
Doin’ It In A Haunted House - Yvonne Cage
Disco Blood - The Vamps
Soul Dracula - Hot Blood

  THE NIALLIST Disco Argento Mix by Menergy Mixes
The download limit for Disco Argento has been reached on Soundcloud - but you can also download the mix from this link:

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Batbaby’: campy Halloween fun from Fred Schneider’s The Superions

Here’s a fun music video homage to B-Movies from The Superions, Fred Schneider of the B52’s other band (who unsurprisingly don’t sound a whole lot different). While the tune is reminiscent of “Rock Lobster” as replayed by Keyboard Cat, the hook will be running around in your head for some time. The video follows the adventures of the titular Batbaby, and features an intro from the very intriguing Babette Bombshell, who comes off like a cross between Elvira and Divine. Well, it is Halloween after all: 

The Superions “Batbaby”

The Superions’ Batbaby EP is available to buy on MP3 here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Heads Up Their Asses: ‘Human Centipede II’ banned in the UK

Picture from Needles and Sins.
Well, it feels like quite a while since we’ve had a genuine “ban this filth” furore kicked up over a horror film in the UK. Moral panic over celluloid work is something the British do very well - and not just the infamous Video (Nasties) Recording Act of 1984, but also the public and private reactions to films such as Reservoir Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, Child’s Play 3, The Exorcist, Visions of Ecstasy and more. Now there’s a new film to be added to that list, or if you will sown on to the end of the chain. The British Board of Film Classifications (the BBFC) has taken the decision to place an outright ban on director Tom Six’s soon-to-be-not-released Human Centipede II (Full Sequence).

According to the BBFC’s website, here are the reasons for the ban:

*Spoilers Alert!*

The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.


I saw Human Centipede (First Sequence) at the cinema, and enjoyed it a lot (it was in fact a first date, and we are still very much together). While I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a classic, it was well made, delivered some good scares (mostly centred around the excellent, unhinged performance by Dieter Laser as herr doktor, above) and it wasn’t as gory as I was expecting. The horror did indeed come from the central idea, a rare feat in today’s saturated, torture-porn market. While last year’s A Serbian Film featured some very heavy sexual violence, and was heavily cut by the BBFC, it still played in cinemas and on DVD systems across the land. It seems that mere graphic sexual violence is not enough to get a film banned, it is indeed about the film maker’s intent. And herein lies the problem.

Personally I do not believe in the power of prohibition, and feel particularly irked by the thought that there are a group of people somewhere making decisions on what I can and cannot watch without knowing a single thing about me (and yet assuming the worst about my character). What is the point in this day and age when uncut versions of pretty much anything can be obtained at the click of a mouse? However, I also know how the horror industry works, and absolutely any whiff of scandal that can be created must be exploited for maximum exposure. Human Centipede II (Final Sequence) was shot in England, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that director Tom Six knew the BBFC guidelines and decided to deliberately flout them. The UK has a relatively small market but a powerful media presence, and let’s face it, the film will get a hell of a lot more column inches now than it would have otherwise. For a series of horror films based on a truly disturbing central idea, getting one banned is a masterstroke. Because no amount of onscreen depravity will ever match up to the dark fantasies we create in our heads when imaging how bad a banned film might be.

Writing this post (which I wouldn’t have done were it not for the ban) I decided to look up the trailer for HC2FS, and was rather dismayed at the result. It’s all going a bit Von Trier for my liking - that is when a director’s ego and persona becomes much larger, and more of a focal point, than the actual work they are creating and promoting. Thus bad film making can be excused through a cult of personality. And before any fan people jump on me for that statement, it’s acknowledged that Von Trier has used his own persona, and people’s perception of it, to break his films out of the Danish art market and on to the international stage. It’s not a crime per se, but it still pisses me off, especially if the directors are just not as interesting as they think they are, as is the case here. So, principle photography and at least the first edit of HS2:FS must be ready for the BBFC to pass a judgement, but when it comes to trailers all the public can we see is this rather self-indulgent and poorly executed “personality director” clip. Is this supposed to brew disturbing images in my mind and make me want to see the new film? Sorry Tom Six, but it doesn’t. It bores me and makes me want to see it less: 

Thanks to Keith Jukes for the headline!


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘A Nightmare on Elm Street part 2’ comes out of the closet

It’s been an open secret among film fans, horror geeks and Hollywood executives for a long time. Rumors and innuendo have spread like wild fire but have always been rigorously denied. Until now. Finally, enough time has passed that the truth can be revealed. Without fear of reprisals, a back lash or any kind of black listing. The world has moved on and we’re now ready to accept the truth. So say it loud and say it proud people: A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge is GAY! Waaaay gay.

Yes, Nightmare… 2 has always been singled out among the franchise for its homosexual undertones (or overtones to be more precise) but now, over 25 years later, the cast and crew involved in the making of the film are coming clean with their intentions. Indeed, a fair number of the staff were gay (which is not so unusual for a film production) but writer David Caskin now openly admits that his script did indeed deal with homosexuality, and the lead character Jesse’s confusion over his own orientation. However, what he thought were subtexts in his writing and in the eventual movie were unintentionally ramped up over the course of the filming to become almost screamingly obvious. I guess it didn’t help that lead actor Mark Patton was openly gay (though not at the time of filming). The below clip is from the 2010 documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, and features enlightening and funny interviews with all the major players (including Robert Englund) on this most touchy of topics:

Still, for all the interesting subtextual analysis it offers, Nightmare… 2 is by far the weakest film in the series. It lacks tension and fear and contains no truly memorable death scenes (apart from maybe coach getting spanked to death in the locker room). And I should know about these things—you see, as a child I was obsessed with the Elm Street films. Yes, as a child. By the time I was eleven years old I had watched all the Nightmare films I could (which at that point was four, the latest being Nightmare… 4: The Dream Master which featured the recurring character Alice and an amazing “roach motel” death sequence). On my time off at school I would often find myself drawing Freddy Kreuger comics that involved nubile teens meeting an array of grisly deaths. I mean, all that stuff is completely natural for a ten year old. Right? And look at me now. I’m perfectly fine.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is available to buy here.

Many thanks to Peaches Christ!

After the jump, the trailers for Never Sleep Again and Nightmare on Elm Street part 2: Freddy’s Revenge...

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Goblin play live in the UK tonight & tomorrow
08:00 am



Yes, that’s THE Goblin, Italian prog supremos and soundtrack authors of Suspiria, Dawn Of The Dead, Tenebrae, Deep Red and more. Not only will this be the first time the band have played in Scotland and the North-West, but this will be their first shows in the UK featuring founder member Claudio Simonetti.

I know, right?! I haven’t been as excited about a gig in years!

OK, I know this is only relevant to readers in the UK, but amazingly there are tickets left for both shows (why haven’t they sold out?), so if you live in Newcastle/Gateshead or Glasgow, there’s still time to catch the band in action. I’ve had my ticket for ages - it wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t extortionate (£22 inc booking fee - it’s cheaper in Gateshead) and this is GOBLIN we’re talking about here. Beloved of horror afficianados, prog rock fans, electronica and dance artists, break spotters, goths, metal-heads, sleuths, zombie hunters and Black Forest headmistresses alike.
Tonight Goblin play at The Sage in Gateshead, with support from Warm Digits.

Tomorrow they play The Arches in Glasgow, as part of the city’s Film & Music Festival, with a special occult-cinema manifestation from the band OV.

Tickets are available directly from the venues (follow the links above) or from Ticketmaser (here’s links to The Sage and The Arches).
If you don’t go, here is what you are missing:
Goblin - “Tenebrae” live in Paris 2009

Goblin - “Suspiria” live in London 2009

Goblin - “Profondo Rosso” aka “Deep Red” live in Paris 2009

Previously on DM:

Vee & Simonetti: Italian Disco So Mysterioso

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Little known footage of “Vamp” era Grace Jones

Here’s some great, candid footage of Grace Jones on the set of the 1986 film Vamp. First there’s an interview in some amazing Egyptian headgear, and then a strangely intimate video of her rehearsing for the role as the two thousand year old vampire Katrina with the film’s director Robert Wenk. I’ve been a huge fan of Ms Jones for a long time, but have to admit I have never seen this film, even though the whole thing is up on YouTube. I will someday, even if it is just for her amazing outfits, and the Keith Haring body art.  Although I get the feeling that you could dress her in random items pulled from a garbage truck and she would still look breathtaking, it’s funny how different Grace comes off in her interviews to her public image - articulate, funny, warm, even slightly goofy. I’d definitely hang with her.

After the jump, Grace rehearses for a scene in Vamp, plus the scene itself.

Previously on DM:
Keith Haring & Grace Jones: Flesh graffiti and the Queen of the Vampires.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape

In 1984 the British government drew up a list of 72 films which it deemed so reprehensible that they should be banned. Anyone found in possession of a copy, or actively distributing one of the films, could face a prison sentence. This was in the very early days of video, when distribution of movies on VHS was unregulated, and the new medium could be found in almost every small local corner shop. This is the story covered by the fantastic documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape by British horror director Jake West, which was released late last year in the UK.

More than just a look at the films that were banned by the UK Government in 1984, it’s an examination of the political climate of the era, and the moral panic whipped up by national newspapers, busy looking for an easy scapegoat for society’s problems (and probably a bit worried that their own medium was under threat). The most fascinating part, for me, are the interviews with the dubious, so-called “moral leaders” that decided the public couldn’t handle this type of thing in the first place. A quarter of a century later and society has relegated them to a status of mockery, yet they still cling dearly to the notion that they were doing something right and protecting stupid people from themselves, not just furthering their own mealy-mouthed careers. Sociopathic politicians aren’t just a new phenomena, you know.


Interestingly, one of the prime movers in the the banning of these films was a man called Peter Kruger, who was the head of Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Unit. It may be just one huge coincidence, but almost a year later saw the release of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street, and the unleashing of one of the greatest horror characters of all time, Freddy Krueger. Was this Craven’s own F.U. to the British board of censors? Perhaps not, but it doesn’t take a wild leap of the imagination to draw this conclusion - Craven is a smart, politically aware man whose own Last House On The Left ended up on the list of 72 banned films.

The three-disc DVD set, called Video Nasties - the Definitive Guide, comes with the documentary itself, and split over a further two discs a guide to all 72 films on the list (almost half of which were unbanned at the time) with commentary from British horror critics like Kim Newman, Alan Jones and Stephen Thrower. It also comes lovingly packaged in a fake video cassette box with artwork by Graham Humphreys, who created the now iconic British sleeve for The Evil Dead (another banned film on the list). So far only available in the UK, for anyone with a multi-region DVD player the film can be found on and comes highly recommended. This documentary is not just for horror buffs, it is for anyone with an interest in politics, culture, and how liberal ideals can be thwarted by a select, self-interested few.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Newsweek: The Decade in Seven Minutes
10:03 am



Newsweek made a seven minute video mash-up of the past decade and it’s one of the most depressing things you will ever see. It’s positively painful! Memory, being kind, allows forgetfulness of certain events, but when you see them on display like this, there is no escaping what a completely shit decade it’s been. The video isn’t embeddable, so go here to watch it and see if you agree.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment