Sunday, March 25, 2012

GATES OF HELL

"Violence is Italian art."
~Lucio Fulci

This Tuesday Portland's Grindhouse Film Festival returns Italian auteur Lucio Fulci's 1980 occult zombie masterpiece THE GATES OF HELL (aka, City Of The Living Dead) to the big screen on glorious 35mm! You know the fucking drill (no pun intended). Expect disjointed and arrhythmic bursts of highly implausible gore-soaked violence and poorly dubbed dialogue barely strung together by the tenuous sinews of a "plot" that defies even the bizarre narrative style typical of Italian horror cinema. This was a further elaboration in the controversial director's quest to make "an absolute film...a plotless film...a succession of images." And what a succession of images the maestro has conjured! A priest hanging himself in a graveyard is probably never a cheerful omen, but in Fulci's bleak mythos such suicidal Catholic blasphemy causes a cosmic rift that belches the undead from the bowels of earth to wreak havoc on the small cursed town of Dunwich. But not before a storm of death literally covers the cast in maggots, the town weirdo is inexplicably lobotomized and a sweet young thing bleeds from her eyes and vomits her intestines. You'll also see how not to rescue a pretty woman from a premature burial. Yup. It's as awesome as it sounds! This film, the first in a loosely themed trilogy comprised of The Beyond (1981) and The House By The Cemetery (1981) is the mother maggot that spawned countless death metal bands and traumatizing psychotropic experiences since its initial theatrical release and consequent triumph as the VHS tape on the darkest shelf of the video store. The generally brooding atmosphere of metaphysical dread and shaky extreme close-ups courtesy of cinematographer Sergio Salvati are further amplified by Fabio Frizzi's brilliantly plodding soundtrack. Funky bass runs draw inevitable Goblin comparisons while the droning guitar occasionally aspires to noodly Pink Floyd proportions and should sound killer on Hollywood Theater's recently revamped sound system! Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo appearance from a young Michael Soavi, who would go on to direct such genre classics as StageFright, The Church and Cemetery Man. Director Lucio Fulci makes a cameo appearance himself, as he frequently did in his later films, but don't blink or you'll miss him. FULCI LIVES!

GATES OF HELL
March 27, 2012
7:30pm
Hollywood Theater
4122 NE Sandy Blvd.
Portland, Oregon


Now enjoy this great song from one of my favorite UK peace punk bands that has absolutely nothing to do with Fulci's film. Or does it???



Um...spoiler alert...



Evil is as evil does.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mississippi/Change

Here's one for my "open minded" readers - which is to say, I don't expect most of you knuckle-draggers to give a damn about this particular post. You may recall me mentioning my neighborhood record store in the past because I designed their softball jerseys and contributed the mix tapes Satan Is Real and The Sound of Fear (volumes 1, 2 and 3!) to their carefully curated line of low-fi cassette tapes, designed to expose causal listeners to the deep tracks of a particular genre. Mississippi Records has become an invaluable Northwest vinyl stronghold and an internationally acclaimed micro-label that specializes in the more obscure spectra of Blues, Rock, Gospel, Soul and Ethiopian music (wait...where are you going?). Misfits from all corners of the world pilgrimage to this humble little shop every day seeking relics from their back-catalog and occasionally you'll even find a killer metal gem tucked behind the Joseph Spence and Sun Ra records. The label recently changed its name to (appropriately) Mississippi/Change and I was honored to do some artwork for the inaugural release under the new moniker. The release itself is a very special 7" that I will announce in due time but for now I've provided a glimpse above. Anyway, Mississippi/Change has just launched a membership club called Community Supported Records (CSR). The concept is very simple: you pay what you want between $68-$300 to receive direct mailings of limited releases that generally sell out the same month they're released. The catch is that they're only accepting 300 members and I want my "open minded" readers to have an opportunity to join. Keep in mind, THIS IS NOT A METAL LABEL. Re-read the genres above and go back to the NWN! message board if the idea of listening to folky Americana and International recordings makes you cringe. However, if you're receptive to hearing some unusual sounds this is a great way to get your hands on limited pressings and an interesting experiment to see if vinyl nerds still wish to remain engaged with music in a tactile format that directly supports independent creativity. You can learn more about the CSR program and become a member here. We now return to your regular broadcast.

Monday, March 12, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEVE HARRIS!

Words fail to describe the importance of this soft-spoken and insanely driven man on my own upbringing so here are three of my favorite photos of Mr. Steve Harris. One of these is from my own birthday a few years ago and the other two were snapped without a zoom lens at Wacken Fest 2008. If you've ever been to Wacken you know I had to sacrifice women and small children to get this close to the stage (not to mention my own ribs). UP THE IRONS!



Saturday, March 10, 2012

R.I.P. MOEBIUS

Listen up, assholes. I'm not in a good mood today. Among other things, I just found out that Jean "Moebius" Giraud lost his battle with cancer this morning at the age of 73. Needless to say, Moebius was an extraordinarily talented artist who elevated bastardly comics to high art without being a pretentious bore and all while using a fucking cool pseudonym that only added to his mystique. Just take a good look at his absolutely fantastic poster art for Jean Rollin's ambitious but ultimately disappointing 1970 suicide cult flick The Nude Vampire. Even tits and red-hooded masters fail to impress after the delightfully wicked promises of Moebius' demonic Art Nouveau ornamentation. Simply put, heavy metal would look very different today without the frequently unacknowledged influence of his complex visionary style. As a matter of fact, Moebius co-founded the "adult" comic anthology M├ętal Hurlant (Screaming Metal) in 1974 and traces of its far-reaching impact would later be evidenced in such monumental metal milestones as Slayer's Hell Awaits and Voivod's entire dystopian sci-fi mythos. He also lent his creative abilities to such films as Tron (1982), Willow (1988), Masters of the Universe (1987) and Alien (1979) so you can thank him for your happy childhood as well (significantly, on the latter film he was part of a creative team that included H.R. Giger and Joe Petagno!). So raise a flask of whiskey to a brilliant gentleman who probably would've frowned on such raffish American behavior. The French usually piss me off but Moebius rules. R.I.P.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE INNSMOUTH

Join me this Sunday at The Lovecraft for another night of deep vinyl worship! Expect the usual strange brew of violent punk, twisted death metal, sleazy horror soundtracks and vintage flicks on the venue's movie theater sized screen. INVOKE THE OLD ONES! JOIN US!

THE LOVECRAFT
Sunday March 11
421 Southeast Grand Avenue
Portland, Oregon
9pm-2am

"...stir the dormant sense of strangeness."