Archive for the 'music' Category

15
Mar
09

Psychic TV – First Transmission (1982) – Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth

Psychic TV - First Transmission

Psychic TV - First Transmission

I fully intended to do my homework with this set of videos to bring you the background behind them and any other informative snippets that I could find. But the more I researched the more muddled the story became, so sod it – I’ll just review what I saw…

Psychic TV was a music band set up by a guy named Genesis P Orridge (no, seriously). From what I could gather, Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth (who were obviously illiterate to use a spelling like that) were the visual side of Mr Orridge’s audio side. The set of videos were apparently only available through mail order and only if you had bought his previous nine albums. You know how it goes, you buy the thing – get a token – keep the tokens, send them in, blah blah blah. But in return for some tokens you were sent this set of bizarre movies which last about six hours in total. What’s on them? I’m glad you asked…

The first (of four) tapes begins with some guy who is apparently the spokesman for Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth (TOPY). While we hear a voice, the figure is mouthing, and gesturing, something completely different, so that section is a bit like watching an old Jackie Chan movie (back when he was good). The next forty-five minutes are of some poor devil getting whipped, slashed and, to top it all off, given – what looks like – a blood enema. Are these scenes real hacking and slashing? I honestly don’t know, but the cutting scenes do look real, taking in to account that this was made in the early 80’s (special effects weren’t cheap and were usually God awful) it certainly looks real. Then, an intermission – five minutes of the Virgin Mary complete with flashing heart and halo.

Virgin Mary figure, complete with flashing halo and heart! (batteries not included)

Virgin Mary figure, complete with flashing halo and heart! (batteries not included)

And to finish off video one, some chick peeling off her drawers to reveal one of the most ugly vaginas ever. I don’t think it was supposed to be hideous, but its one of those vaginas with the curling in labia and sticky out bits. Ugh…

Video two starts off with someone driving around a town somewhere taking video footage at the same time. This was obviously filmed in the 70’s since everyone is wearing flares and tight t-shirts. The we see some teenagers in a flat looking absolutely stoned out their nut. After about five minutes of them we cut to some kid getting some backstreet surgery done on his arm this, it would appear, lets him (and later, his friend) hook up some device to his arm where he can press a button and get high as a kite.

What's this all about? Answers on a postcard to the usual address...

What's this all about? Answers on a postcard to the usual address...

Later in this section he lies face down on a table and our backstreet Mr Mengele operates at the base of the kids spine with another little press-button box thing. Unfortunately it’s at this point the kid pops his clogs, dressed only in his underpants with a little black box dangling from his ass crack. Mr Mengele seems upset and we cut to some flashback footage. Finally, we get some de-penis-ing. Not castration as some reviews have said. His testicles are not removed, his PENIS is removed! No, I’m not kidding. This kid lies down on a bed, some guy comes in with a pair of scissors and cuts his dick off. And there’s a fair few spurts of blood. Is it fake? Again, I doubt it, as this was, again, released in the early 80’s, I doubt they had the technology to do this back then.

‘But how does he pee?’ I hear you ask.

His urine dribbles forth from a small opening above his testicles. As is demonstrated near the end of this video. Most unpleasant! This tape ends with some weird music (Psychic TV music? I dunno) and flashing images. Trippy maaaaaan!

Oooooh, oh... pretty woman. Oh no, sorry, it's Jim Jones...

Oooooh, oh... pretty woman. Oh no, sorry, it's Jim Jones...

Tape three is the Jim Jones tribute tape. There’s just over thirty minutes of Jim ‘I want to be Elvis, but look more like Roy Orbison’ Jones’ rambling madness. Sanity is forthcoming however, with five minutes of a pretty girl disrobing, showing her boobs then getting dressed again. Hallelujah! Insanity returns with ten minutes, or so, of a girl clipping her beaver hair and some guy poking a hole in the side of his dick. Yes, there’s blood.

Final video begins with an interview. Now I initially thought this was some bald headed dyke, but according to the type on screen, it’s Mr Genesis P. Orridge himself.

Mr Genesis P. Orridge - I still reckon it's a dyke...

Mr Genesis P. Orridge - I still reckon it's a dyke. Would you trust a guy who shaves his eyebrows like a woman??

Him (and someone else) ramble on for a good five minutes before it cuts to some swirly shapes with weird music. Now either I have an over-active imagination (quite possible) or they’ve purposely used some porn footage in the swirly shapes. Behold:

It's porn, I'm telling you. No, seriously. No, I'm not on drugs!!

It's porn, I'm telling you. No, seriously. No, I'm not on drugs!!

Swirly porn-ified music continues for about twenty minutes before the video cuts to a screen proclaiming: ‘An Introduction to the Temple Ov Psychick Youth’. Now it’s flashing images for the best part of twenty minutes and, finally, ending with the spokesman.

The badly out of sync spokesman.

The badly out of sync spokesman.

Having read a bit in to Mr Orridge, and PsychicTV, these videos are more art-house than horror. Certainly the torture and de-penis-ing are gory, and possibly real, but the rest are (I think) mere visual imagery for his music. Still worth flicking through just to be able to tell people what you saw.

On second thoughts – no, maybe it’s better if you don’t tell them about the torture and de-penis-ing!

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24
Jan
09

REPO! The Genetic Opera Review (Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman of SAW fame)

Badass.  Digging the Communist theme.

Badass. Digging the Communist theme.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is the brainchild of Darren Lynn Bousman, who most of you know as one half of the team that made SAW such an immensely popular and lucrative franchise, and buddy Terrance Zdunich, who is mainly a storyboard artist working on movies and TV shows.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the plot.

In the year 2056 – the not so distant future – an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants, for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family’s mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera. Written by Lionsgate

If there’s one thing that is grossly apparent right off the bat, it’s that Bousman and Zdunich have a lot of respect and love for cult classics such as Rocky Horror Picture Show and also seem influenced by more elegant and classic opera works such as Phantom of the Opera.  There’s even a bit of The Who’s rock opera Tommy in there.  It’s no shock that the mind that helped push the SAW franchise forward would be able to create a Gothic, dystopian future, but credit must be given for slick, yet earthly atmosphere embedded in the sometimes hallucinogenic visuals of the film.  It looks great, period.

Bousman manages to keep the narrative moving along swiftly with great focus, even while dealing with the difficult medium of opera.  That’s right kids, an opera where no word of dialogue is ever simply “said.”  Unlike musicals, where there can be breaks in between musical passages to drive the story home with normal movie dialogue, Bousman ensures that every word is “sung”, which can be very awkward at first when your not expecting it.  It’s difficult to accurately describe, but once you see and hear it you will clearly understand what obstacles must have popped up from this bold and daring choice.  Other than that, Bousman also unleashes some incredibly awesome graphic novel panels to fill us in VERY quickly of a particular characters background.

Paul Sorvino and his shotgun-wielding ninja chick bodyguards.

Paul Sorvino and his shotgun-wielding ninja chick bodyguards.

It may be a tricky type of film to make, but Bousman is a razor-sharp horror producer and director, and knew that if he brought in the right talent, he would have a chance to lure in a slew of fans regardless of the experimental nature of the film.  Paris Hilton (Super Global Slut) , Anthony Head (Giles from the Buffy TV Series), Sarah Brightman (acclaimed opera/classical singer and once married to Lloyd Weber who wrote Phantom of the Opera), Bill Moseley (Of House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects fame) and Paul Sorvino round out the eclectic nucleus of the cast.  Terrance Zdunich also has a fairly large role as the Graverobber, and steals the show with his “Zydrate Anatomy” song.  The cast is, like so many aspects of this brave venture into total cult cinema, uneven throughout, with those who can sing clearly being more enjoyable and tolerable than those who can’t, with Alexa Vega and Bill Moseley probably being the two biggest culprits.  Hopefully the star power and notoriety brought by those actors outweighs the damage they have done by simply being the weak links vocally.

Sarah Brightman definitely has some bitchin' pipes.  And she's kinda sexy, in that scary way.  She probably a goddamn witch in real life.

Sarah Brightman definitely has some bitchin' pipes. And she's kinda sexy, in that scary way. She's probably a goddamn witch in real life.

Which leads me to my assessment of the acting itself, which again can be easily defined as uneven.  While some amount of over and under acting is perfectly acceptable in horror, especially in something this theatrical and over the top, but sometimes the cartoon like personalities crossed the line between tasteful and embarrassingly out of place.  At times the actors would play very serious, as if this carried the same weight as The Phantom of the Opera, and at other times it was clear everyone was having fun and things were much more airy and carefree.  I waited for the flick to settle down, and choose a definite mood and direction, but it never did, as it gleefully jumped back and forth between trying to be emotionally heavy and serious, and being grin-worthy, funny and lightweight.  Maybe I am reading to much into something that can’t truly be defined, but I would have loved to see some lines drawn pertaining to acceptable behavior from all characters, as you would with any other film.

She got the creepy, goggley eyes.  Burn at the stake, you kinda-sexy witch.

She's got the creepy, googly eyes. Burn at the stake, you kinda-sexy witch.

The final piece of the Repo puzzle is one that isn’t a very common problem in movies, the soundtrack.  That’s not to say all movies has great soundtracks, but they also don’t rely as heavily as Repo does on its’ music.  So how does the song selection hold up?  Take a guess.

UNEVEN.

Some of the songs, like Zydrate Anatomy and Legal Assassin knock it completely out of the park, while others are either too short or too gimmicky to be considered truly great. While taste is bound to vary from viewer to viewer, I felt the music was acceptable, but could’ve benefitted from maybe one or two ballads complete with verses, chorus, and a bridge and a few more rock and roll anthems.

There's also some gore, which is very well done, but used very rarely.

There's also some gore, which is very well done, but used very rarely.

I, like so many of you, have waited for years, eagerly anticipating this movie to be released in any format, anywhere.  And while it may look and sound like I have nothing but negative things to say about Repo!, I feel it’s a case of me being exceptionally critical of a piece of work I felt had all ingredients to really show the world how versatile the “horror” genre can truly be.  Repo is by no means a failure, but instead comes off as a combination of over-indulgence and lofty ambitions.  It succeeds at what it aimed to do, but the cost for achieving that goal may be a dent in Bousman’s reputation, depending on how this is received in the community.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this vehicle can be used to create an amazing, genre-bending film, but Repo! isn’t that flick.

There’s a lot of psychotropic, semi-gory fun to be had with Repo!, but it’s kinda like looking for a 20 dollar bill in your friends extremely messy room, you know it’s worth it to look, but your gonna have to sift through some shit to get what you want.

09
Jan
09

Internet Oddities January 2009

It may be a new year, but there is no shortage of viral lunacy circulating the Internet.  So, while we cook up some new original material behind the scenes, have a gander and kill some brain cells from this garbage, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.


P.S. I also included some trailers for upcoming flicks I think we should have on our collective radar.




07
Dec
08

Guitar Hero World Tour – Xbox 360

Guitar Hero World Tour

Guitar Hero World Tour

Everyone knows that Horror and Heavy Metal are made for each other. It’s a fact! So being able to sit in your bedroom with a miniature plastic guitar and play along to songs from Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne – to name but two – is something of a wet dream cum true.

That’s my lame excuse to justify my review of Guitar Hero World Tour…

Guitar Hero World Tour is the fourth game in the Guitar Hero franchise. And certainly one of the most elaborate. I played a fair bit of Guitar Hero III which (I believe) was one of the first guitar games to use motion capture technology to capture the performances of Brett Michaels, Tom Morello and Slash (they were also the ‘bosses’ that you had to beat in a duel) but Guitar Hero World Tour (aka: GHWT because I’m too lazy to keep typing the full name for the entire review) has upped the ante with motion captured Ozzy, some drummer guy that I’ve never seen before, Sting (no, I’m not kidding, it has Sting in it. Maybe they were strapped for cash after getting Ozzy and went for some lower priced talent, I dunno, but he looks totally out of place) and Jimi Hendrix, I’d be interested to know how they got the motion capture for him (just kidding). GHWT is also the first game, in the series, to include Bass, Drum and Vocal tracks for players to use, hence the inclusion of motion captured drummer-guy and Sting. So, yeah, you can terrorize your neighbourhood with a plastic drum kit too! Yay!

Just a side note about the instruments: I played GHWT with no problems at all using my GHIII guitar.

Why would GUITAR Hero include other instruments? Because it has begotten a bastard son, named: Rock Band. It was the first game to use several instruments and a serious rival to GHIII, so GHWT really had to include other instruments to keep up with Rock Band 2. So there’s also Rock Band 2 to satisfy your finger twiddling delight, but for me the song list in GHWT is far superior.

Speaking of songs: this is also the first guitar game to use the original songs in the game, 86 songs to be exact. Guitar Hero III had some original tracks, but some were recreations of the original, but for the most part they sounded ok. Here it’s the real deal. For a full song list from GHWT, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_in_Guitar_Hero_4, just be aware though: that isn’t the order in which you play the songs. It starts off nice and easy and increases in difficulty. Even when you’ve completed all 86 songs, there’s a ton of downloadable content including the entire Death Magnetic album from Metallica, oh how they’ve changed their tune since Napster. It also has a built in music editor for creating your own music! AAAAAND it can also use XboxLive to exchange songs and do musical battle with. If they could include an option for it to give out slippery hand-jobs, it’d be the greatest thing since the invention of the sex doll.

Anyway, I digress. You start the game by deciding which instrument you want to play, then create your guitar hero (or drum hero, whichever). Like GHIII, you start by playing dingey, smokey, clubs and work your way up. Along the way you must battle musical greats such as Zak Wylde, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Ozzy Osbourne and drummer-guy. You can begin by playing on the Easy setting (using only three out of the five buttons) and unlocking songs along the way. When you’re ready, you can move up to the more advanced settings using four, and eventually all five, buttons. Don’t worry, you can also practice songs too (once they are unlocked) section by section to get it nailed. Scoring is done by not missing any notes and by using your ‘star power’. Some notes will be star shaped, play the entire string of star notes and you get one star power. When you reach three, four, or five, stars you can unleash your star power which will increase your score for the length of the power, more stars means a longer star power.

Good as it is, GHWT does have a couple of little flaws:

  • Tool. The band Tool, that is. There’s a section of four Tool songs that look totally out of place. Why not scatter the songs throughout the game? Why do I have to play four boring Tool songs in a row? And why does the background need to have a large eye with little floaty eye things? Every other section shows the stage with the musicians doing their thang, for the Tool section its some weird trippy looking background.
  • Sting. What the hell is he doing in a rock/metal game? I hope he was cheap!
  • The last section of the game. This is where the creators obviously wanted their monies worth from using Sting, Ozzy and drummer-guy. For the last section it wheels them out and, including yourself, is the ultimate band. Fair enough. Not so bad you think. Yeah, great until you see Ozzy dancing and singing La Bamba! Then have Sting headbang to Trapped Under Ice (Metallica)! Utter madness.
  • The end. The game doesn’t have a story as such, but still, I won’t spoil what happens at the end but, suffice to say: it’s completely out of place, surreal, and could easily have had a Dio song in the background… odd, VERY odd…

But even with those flaws, GHWT is still an awesome game! I’m no guitar virtuoso by any means, but I’ll certainly be going back to it again and again to play the songs and up the skill level.

For more background info and history on GHWT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_Hero_World_Tour

31
Oct
08

top five albums for your Halloween party

Halloween isn’t just about dressing up, but to get you in the mood for things, here’s my Top 5 albums fit for Halloween…

Slayer – Divine Intervention

Slayer - Divine Intervention

You can’t go wrong with some Slayer on Halloween, and Divine Intervention is a growling, scary, album. This is the first Slayer album I heard (and bought) so has always been one of my favourite Slayer albums. Has songs dedicated to Jeffrey Dahmer (213) among other things.

White Zombie – Astro Creep 2000

White Zombie - Astro Creep 2000

101% relevant to this blog is White Zombie’s Astro-Creep 2000. All the songs on this album pay homage to the exploitation genre. The songs are heavy and littered with audio clips from various B-movies.

Scum of the Earth – Blah Blah Blah…

Scum of the Earth - Blah Blah Blah...

A truly under-rated band. Scum of the Earth is made up of the band members from Powerman 5000 and the guitarist from Rob Zombie’s solo albums. Similar to White Zombie (and Rob Zombie’s solo stuff) Scum of the Earth has some groovy, heavy, songs – fit for Halloween.

Slayer – Reign In Blood

Slayer - Reign In Blood

It wouldn’t be a Halloween music list without Slayers Reign In Blood. A legendary album which has EASILY stood the test of time. These youngsters now-a-days can’t hold a candle to this album. Wussies!

Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe

Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe

The ULTIMATE Halloween album (in my opinion) full of creepy tunes, movie audio clips and growling guitars. You NEED this album for your Halloween party!

Feel free to leave your suggestions for cool Halloween albums!