January 21, 2011

Verka - Ogin (2010)

Tonight we'll be discussing chainsaws in all their destructive glory - Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Motell Hell (1980) are all coming to the airwaves - which is why we're listening to tons of Verka's music at the moment: you want a band to capture the feel of cutting up things with a fuck-off powerful chainsaw? then Verka's the band for you. They're from Macedonia and have released only a couple of LPs so far, Jaggah (2003) and Motor songs (2010), both excellent examples of prog metal with some ethnic flavor to keep things tight. The video above is the first single off their latest LP and it pretty much encapsulates what the band is about - and don't worry about the language, I'm sure you'll get the prevailing emotions anyhow. Oh, and bonus: imagine dear old Leatherface running through the forest with a chainsaw like this:

January 13, 2011

Monsters (2010)

2010 was not a particularly good year for horror movies but it gave us several cross-genre near-masterpieces that are quite fitting for this little blog. Monsters, written and directed by Gareth Edwards, is one of them - a strange combination between Before Sunrise, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Cloverfield that really feels like a documentary about north Mexico. Shot guerrilla style on a budget of $800,000, this monster flick is a clear victory of talent and valiant effort, transcending easily the confines of the medium to become genuine art. To begin with, just imagine how much of the film has been created in post-production, how much of what one can see is actually added to a regular shot of an ordinary day in Mexico, and yet, only rarely does anything - including the creatures - look like CGI. Then, the use of non-actors for dialogue sections comes off extremely well; it is clear that these people are real, even when they explain the mating process of an alien species. Finally, the story of a couple that falls in love during a road trip through a zone filled with monstrous alien life forms is REALLY about this couple and how it connects over shared disillusionment with the state of the world, and in this sense, the film is much more meditative and beautiful than you would expect from the trailer below. Sure, the film is a slow burn compared to its 21st century monster-movie counterparts in Cloverfield (2008) and The Host (2006) but there is a big payoff in the finale that approaches some of the most sublime moments in the history of cinema. And yeah, the film does get tense and properly scary from time to time without resorting to cheap jump cuts. Bottom line, it's not weird at all that many respected movie critics have included Monsters in their best of 2010 lists, and I will definitely be watching it over and over in the years to come. I just hope they don't make a sequel out of it.

December 21, 2010

Dylan Dog Night @ La Kana Bar

It's gonna be epic!

>>> Danse Macabre vs. Marso with music culled from the Dylan Dog comics!
>>> Showing of Dellamorte Dellamore and Duck Soup
>>> Suggested dress code: red shirt and jeans
>>> Surprises!

Thursday, 23.12.2010 @ La Kana Bar, Skopje
Start: 21.30

December 20, 2010

Iron Sky (2011)

One of the explanations given for all of those mysterious UFO sightings over the last 50 or so years is that near the end of World War II the Nazis constructed fully-functioning flying saucers with which they hid somewhere in the Antarctica and planned to use to conquer the world when the time is right. It sounds like a premise for Thomas Pynchon novel doesn't it? Well, imagine that maybe, just maybe, all of that is true, add a Nazi base hiding on the dark side of the Moon and a revenge scheduled for the year 2018 and you have the plot for Iron Sky, one of the most eagerly anticipated indie flicks to be released in 2011. Directed by Timo Vuorensola, this Finnish SF comedy has garnered a lot of buzz on the strength of the released teaser clips and quirky cast including none other than Udo Kier, as well as the extensive social media campaign that allows everyone to join the production team in one way or another. The timing is not bad, either. After a couple of truly entertaining Nazi zombie flicks (see Dead Snow), the concept of Nazis in space feels like a natural progression, and we stand up straight to salute it with all of our hearts!

December 16, 2010

Zombie Info Chart

Probably you've seen this one already. After all, it's a Yahoo! Movies promo pic. If you haven't, then great, we've just made your day! :) In either case, this one's a classic that shouldn't be missed, and if you're a zombie novice, it also serves as a great introduction, containing all of the really must-see movies in this gruesome subgenre. Well, click on the chart for bigger version and enjoy!

December 15, 2010

HEALTH - We Are Water (2010)

I'll be quick here: not only is HEALTH's video for "We Are Water" an awesomely executed slasher video - among the best horror music vids of all time - it also sums up the entire subgenre in less than three and a half minutes! The machete, the survivor girl, the castration, the beheading, it's all there, and it never misses a beat. Enjoy!

December 5, 2010

Smells Like Old-School Posters Part 2

Continuing on from last week's body snatcher theme, what we have here is yet another flood of posters for old-school horror films that most people have completely forgotten. The criteria used for this selection are simple: the posters should be at least interesting enough to make you consider watching the films they're made for, regardless of how good or bad the film itself could be. This means that here we have both classics (The Body Snatcher, John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness) and total crap (Killer Party, Ghost Lake), ancient flicks (The Brain Eaters) and new-ish affairs (The Gravedancers), as well as a problem: when it comes to watching horror, we rarely discriminate but we suffer often. Enjoy!

December 2, 2010

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

The 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a creepy film, not least because huge chunks of it are part of everyday life. While the original from 1956 is about the Red Scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s, this one strikes hard at conformism - which is the real issue at the heart of any witch hunt, past of present - and boasts Donald Sutherland, the quintessential actor of the edgy 1970s. Now, Invasion might not be gory or scary in the traditional sense, but it's one of the best paranoid thrillers out there, and as such it does its job much better than, say, Manchurian Candidate. We'll be watching Abel Ferrara's 1993 version called The Body Snatchers later this week, and tell you which one we prefer (The Invasion from 2007 is, of course, out of any serious consideration). Until then, enjoy the trailer!

December 1, 2010

Family Is Forever...

The blog went to sleep for a while but the show ran ahead like that killer truck in Steven Spielberg's Duel, crashing everything and everyone in its way. Well, it's time to re-ignite the blogging engine, which is to say - watch out for this space (and the madman behind your back!) in the months (years?) to come. But first...

...This November was marked by the longest horror marathon we've done since Saw 3. Day after day, we'd watch a few cult flicks (Night of the Demons), some new heavily publicized fares (The Loved Ones), and whatever else came our way really (Splinter). It is this brutal schedule we'd set for ourselves that really brought out our love for the genre and eventually shoved us back towards this blog. Interestingly, the film that got us the most, the knife that struck us hardest in the gut, was none other than Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 - that infamous franchise killer of a summer blockbuster that people love to hate. Well, we think it's a masterpiece. Here's why.

One thing that cannot be taken away from Halloween 2 is that it has balls the size of a trailer park. People blabber on and on about how The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th were solid remakes that should serve as a model for future re-imaginings of horror classics, but you know what - they are merely pale re-treads compared to the vision that Rob Zombie brought to the Halloween franchise. Come on, Halloween 2 is clearly a personal film with all the small Zombie touches - the cameos, the Rocky Horror masks, the music choices, the plethora of meta-moments that reek of pure love for the genre - and not some hack & slash no-effort crap. Yes, it is true that the film deviates seriously from John Carpenter's original but at the end of the day, if you want to watch that film, go ahead - this is something else entirely and it never apologizes for it.

For years to come, many will criticize Zombie's decision to turn Michael Myers into a redneck with mommy issues, but if you look into it, it makes perfect sense in the overall Halloween context. How could have this lunatic survived between movies in the original series? He must have been a hobo for he surely wasn't Bruce Wayne. And I love the pilgrimage feel of Myers' return to Haddonfield: there is anger and abandonment within that gives it purpose, that makes it epic on several levels. Yeah, it also makes Myers sympathetic, so what? Just because deer old Loomis sees Myers as evil incarnate it doesn't mean that we shouldn't identify with him. After all, who is Loomis to say anything about what's right and wrong? He was an arrogant bore in Carpenter's original, he is an arrogant bore now. I pick Myers over Loomis any day - he might be a sadistic serial killer (boy, is he angry here) but at least he's honest about it... Oh, and he grunts... He's not a faceless perfect killing machine with Terminator-like capabilities, anymore. He's putting actual effort into it. So, go Michael!

On the other end, there is Laurie who is less the Laurie we know and more a stand-in for Zombie's thesis on what happens with the "final girl" after suffering through so much. Well, of course, she doesn't make any sense half the time, and why the fuck should she? Her life isn't a life anymore but one long nightmare (in which "Nights in White Satin" plays endlessly, a nice touch). That she goes overboard when she finally encounters Michael again is understandable in my book (I cannot account for her stupid Norman Bates smile, though, which is one of the few real missteps in the film) and gives her an actual character arch, which the original Laurie didn't have. So, go Laurie!

Finally, what really makes Halloween 2 special is that Zombie understands the essential tragedy and horror of Michael Myers as a character in a way that not even Carpenter did (for him, Myers was simply "the boogieman"). Most of the elements for Zombie's story were there already in the first half of the original remake but here we have the complete picture, and for once, it actually feels like a scary Halloween story instead of a big screen cash cow.

August 18, 2010

DM Season 3 = Hardcore

The new season of Danse Macabre kicks off tonight at midnight CET, and trust us when we says this: the following 30+ shows will bring you horror in its purest form! Yes, we will discuss horror film, music and literature like we always do; yes, we will play some of the heaviest and scariest tracks known to mankind like we always do; but this season we will also press way deeper than ever before on the truly awful stuff: the real terrors of our collective past, present and future. Serial killers, doppelgangers, corrupt politicians, conspiracy theorists and hones-to-God fear-mongers are all on the plate this season along with your shady neighbors and ultradark men that roam through the shadows as you sleep. Of course, there will be monsters dying to kill you on our way through this bizarro-world but more often than not, these monsters will take human shape just the way it usually is. So, without further delay... let the horror begin!

August 13, 2010

It's Friday the 13th: Enjoy It!

I've stated several times that I thoroughly dislike the slasher genre. I mean, how stupid do these movies get? Not only do they work with a blueprint that got old by the mid-1970s (as the Italian giallo peaked with Deep Red), they also bend all movie logic to produce the prerequisite number of kills while disregarding any kind of message even at the most basic level. One can understand why kids fly to this kind of crap given the sheen of antiheroes such as Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees but for anyone past high school a large chunk of the subgenre should be idiotic and, more importantly, boring. That said, the original films of the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises are rather good for what they are, particularly the former. Since today is Friday the 13th, however, the treat that we got here is a trailer for the first of many films that scared the shit out of audiences throughout the 1980s starring the unlikely tug with a hockey mask. Bonus: a clip of Jason appearing as a guest at the Arsenio Hall show. Enjoy!

August 10, 2010

"I've always thought of zombies as..."

It's STILL Alive!

Hey there! Just to let you know, the blog is still alive: it was merely resting over the last couple of months as other duties (some horrible, some quite pleasant) took hold over our collective lives. Among other things, we had a few parties organized under the Danse Macabre banner playing mostly surf rock, psychobilly and post-punk while showing flicks such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Monster Squad. In any case, as summer draws towards fall, the show gears up for a new season, which will require some cleaning up of the blog (erasing old links, adding new posters here and there, collecting all episodes etc.) and a proper kick-off on Friday, 20 August! Until then, enjoy the following clip from the Bass-Rankin animation The Flight of Dragons, which may be naive, but is truly scary and accurate in its estimation of the modern world. Until the 20th then, cheers!

May 20, 2010


Just go HERE immediately! A whole blog about all things Frankenstein can't be anything other than brilliant! Now peppered with an extensive collection of Frankenstein art...

May 9, 2010

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night F.A.Q.

This time last year I was rather excited about the prospect of communicating with the people behind the upcoming Dylan Dog movie via Dan Forcey's blog. Since the flick's poster was unveiled at Comic-Con in late July, however, no real news have surfaced online and the blog itself went mute for quite a while. Naturally, silence breeds skepticism and soon enough people became aggressive towards Dan, which promptly led to an online Q&A session with Kevin Munroe, the director behind the project that now carries the title Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. Well, since there was an open invitation for questions, Danse Macabre also got the chance to pitch in a few question marks, all of which Munroe answered while simultaneously dashing any remaining hope that the film will at least resemble the comic book it is based on. Oh, what can you do... So, here are Part 1 and Part 2 of Munroe's answers. Spoilers: Dylan Dog isn't English and Xabaras won't be seen at all.

May 8, 2010

TerrorVision OST (1986)

The more I think about it, the more serious TerrorVision looks as a project, which of course is ironic given how zany this little 1980's horror/comedy flick is. Sure, the story of an alien life form materializing in a back yard through a satellite dish and eating off a whole family is pure camp, the kind that makes for a so-bad-it's-good cult classic. The thing is all the camp is calculated and brings in tons of 1950's B-movie references, which are layered heavily with knowing performances and, more importantly to this post, a great soundtrack.

You should know the Los Angeles art rock band, The Fibonaccis. They released a few records back in the 1980s including the EP Tumor which includes a great cover of Bernard Hermann's "Psycho Theme". The crowning achievement of the band, however, is their work on the soundtrack to TerrorVision. Appropriating a sound that's rather close to Oingo Boingo, The Fibonaccis go into a full-on cheese mode, coming up with some deliriously celebratory tracks that sound 100% cinematic while maintaining enough soul to stand strong on their own feet. The title track is particularly effective here, working up kitsch and suspense in the same breath, and boasting female vocals to die for - I have pressed this one on endless repeat quite a few times. Mirroring the title track, "Advice to a Mutant" is basically a light jazz version of the same song only with male vocals that work just as well.

In addition to The Fibonaccis, the soundtrack includes Richard Brand's score of the film, which doesn't bring anything special to the table but does its work suitably.

You can now find the TerrorVision soundtrack the same way we did, via our eternal friends from Mutant Sounds. Enjoy!

Open late...

These are a couple of months old and I'm not 100% sure they are real ads but none of that matters as the concept is pure genius. "Open late"? Why, of course, you just drop by once your shift ends!

May 7, 2010

Smells Like Old-School Posters Part 1

Danse Macabre is going all old-school this month, holding no punches against the monsters and nightmare fuels of our collective pasts, just to prove there is still quite a life ahead of us. As a taste of things to come, check out the posters below: some of these movies you should know while others are pure trash, but all of the posters are splendid teasers and visions of terror in their own right! Ah, the smell of nostalgia...