June 29, 2009

"Hail to the King, Baby!"

I love Duke Nukem 3D almost as much as I hate it. The big problem I have with it is that every other game I have played since topping the final boss with Duke has paled in comparison. Duke Nukem 3D was scary as hell (the level design, the sounds, the monsters!), it was as involving as any scene with Bruce Campbell in it (after all, the Duke's personality was based on Campbell's Evil Dead Ash character), and it was also incredibly silly from time to time (the pole dancers, the shrinking gun, and let's not forget the short videos). Still, Duke Nukem 3D also had something special which cannot be described in simple words - the smell, the taste, the allure of what people call zeitgeist. There probably have been better actioneers and horror/sci-fi adventures over time (Resident Evil, Halo) but I don't think that any of these has been as bloody legendary / ludicrously attuned to its times as the Duke was. In any case, here's to a trip down the memory lane, and note this: 13 years on, it still feels amazing!

Oh, and if you would like to download the game and experience it again (or maybe for the first time), just go to this site, scroll a bit down and then hit the button that needs some proper hitting. Enjoy!

Chow Hon Lam x 3

When it comes to t-shirt designs, there are few artists with better sense for sheer artistry than Chow Hon Lam a.k.a. Flying Mouse from Kuala Lumpur. His works are consistently blessed with great ideas that dance flamboyantly around the edge between hilarious criticism of pop culture and elegant surrealism. The following three designs are just a tip of the macabre iceberg; to see much more go to his portfolio page on the Behance Network.

June 27, 2009

Dobri Isak - Mi plačemo iza tamnih naočara

Not quite horror but a great lost song from Serbia nonetheless. It may sound slightly Joy Division but I'm afraid Dobri Isak are far more sinister and masochistic. By the way, I love the Phantom cover!

Lyrics in Serbian:

Neki ljudi ne jure žene
Oni nikad nisu sami, a mi
Mi umiremo za svakom koja prodje
Mi cvilimo za svakom od njih, mi
Sidjemo u bar
Mi znamo starog dobrog Aleksa, mi
Sednemo za sto i pričamo noćima

Lose žene prilaze
Lose žene gledaju
One zvižde za nama
One šire zarazu
One kažu a, a, a
I umiru za nama
One kažu a, a, a
A mi ga čuvamo za vas

Mnoge žene su same sa svećom
One je miluju, a mi
Mi stojimo na ulici
I proklinjemo što smo rodjeni, mi
Sidjemo u bar
Mi znamo starog dobrog Aleksa, mi
Sednemo i plačemo iza tamnih naočara

Lose žene prilaze
Lose žene gledaju
One zvižde za nama
One vole haljine
One kažu a, a, a
I umiru za nama
One kažu a, a, a
A mi ga čuvamo za vas

Neki ljudi ne jure žene
Oni nikad nisu sami, a mi
Mi stojimo na ulici
I proklinjemo sto smo rodjeni, mi
Sidjemo u bar
Mi znamo starog dobrog Aleksa, mi
Sednemo i plačemo iza tamnih naočara

Lose žene prilaze
Lose žene gledaju
One zvižde za nama
One vole haljine
One kažu a, a, a
I umiru za nama
One kažu a, a, a
A mi ga čuvamo za vas

June 24, 2009

The Dead Zone (1983)

The Dead Zone was a great-if-slightly-understated feature length movie long before it became a TV series. The one distinguishing strength of this version is, of course, Christopher Walken in the process of becoming THE Christopher Walken. When he succeeds you succeed, when he hurts you hurt as well, what more needs to be said? Well, maybe that here he's in both physical and emotional pain pretty much throughout the whole film. That the script is based on a novel written by Stephen King when the guy was really on fire only adds points for coolness.

Now a thing or two about the story! The main dilemma of the main character, one poor fellow Johnny Smith (who wakes up from coma only to find out the world has gone on without him), is as old as time is - if one knows the future exactly as it is supposed to roll out, can he or she do something to change it? This is the flip coin of the whole issue about travelling back in time, which again goes to another even more basic question, the one about written destiny vs. free will. Well, that's about all I will say. If you haven't seen it, do so!

June 21, 2009

Episode 10: Giallo! Giallo! Giallo!

Staying focused on Italy for the second week in a row, last Friday Danse Macabre featured the beautiful sounds of giallo's greatest masters, Ennio Morricone and Goblin. We also gave the most basic lesson in the Italian language, "Non mangi la neve gialla!" which at the time seemed both appropriate and funny. Seriously, though, giallo movies deserve all the attention they have been given in the States for the last couple of years, as well as the wave of remakes that will surely follow soon. That we devoted a whole show discussing the classics of this peculiar sub-genre is only natural.

An original giallo pulp, the kind of which
provided the basis for the whole subgenre.

By the way, check out the following couple of sites for some very interesting giallo-related stuff:
This is one of my favorite Giallo Kit creations:

A Doll's Head in an Empty Grave
Directed by
Pupi Duppi

A man, on his way to an urgent appointment, disappears, and is subsequently found dead in a river. A visiting English spiritualist finds a letter that contains some unknown details about the mystery. Despite several false leads, the hunted becomes the hunter as she decides to make the real criminal pay!

That fake name - Pupi Duppi - is actually a reference to director Pupi Avati whose The House with Laughing Windows (1976) is one of the obscure gems of 1970s cinema.

To download the whole show, CLICK HERE. To stream the show, CLICK HERE. Whatever you do, always be careful around people with black gloves!

June 20, 2009

Deep Red (1975)

"Deep Red... it will put you in deep shock!" :) A grindhouse trailer for Dario Argento's Deep Red.

June 19, 2009

Giallo Posters and DVD Covers

Giallo films - the world would be a much more boring place without them. What other subgenre of cinema is as artistically beautiful and emphatically stupid at the same time as Italian giallo films? American slashers, for instance, are merely stupid. I can imagine what Dario Argento saw in Halloween, "It's all good but the scenes need more choreography and maybe two ballet-related deaths?" Of course, giallo films tend to be repetitive - watch any 7 and then quit. Why 7? Because I like that number, it's a happy number. Seriously, though, as brutal as these films tend to be at times, they are also extremely innocent and childlike around the edges, bringing out that impressionable air about everything. It's no wonder Argento's initial vision for Suspiria was for the girls to be 12-14 years old. Enjoy the following posters / DVD covers, and tune in tonight! :)

June 18, 2009

Iain Banks - Wasp Factory

The Wasp Factory is one of those novels with the soul intention of literally hitting you in the gut.

"What do you mean literally, oh you exceedingly bald man?"

Well, literally in the sense that the book can actually cause you pain by the sheer power of its dense prose. Author Iain Banks makes absolutely no apologies about it - in fact, he seems to revel in every single one of his words.

"Oh... OK. Any other books that might want to hit me in the gut?"

Well, there are plenty but only few succeed at the level where Mr. Banks does. Clive Barker's early novels are a good example, and, of course, there is Chuck Palahniuk (whose short story Guts is something I will go back to in future posts) but that's about it. What makes The Wasp Factory particularly amazing is that it was Banks' debut, a fact that seems bizarre in face of the masterful confidence displayed throughout the novel.

"Anything else to add?"

Well, The Wasp Factory is a first-person narrative coming from the heart and soul of one 17-year old Frank Cauldhame who seems to be a bit bonkers, behaving like the king of an island with all the shamanistic rituals that come with the title. As the novel develops, his brother's escape from a mental hospital and impending return lead on to a violent ending and a twist that casts a long shadow over Frank's visions of life as such. Looks a bit too simple? Well, let's just say that despite his young age Frank has already gathered quite a few skeletons in his closet...

June 17, 2009

Don't Look Now (1973)

You want a definition for atmosphere in film? Watch Don't Look Now by Nicolas Roeg. When it came out it was mostly known for the controversy it stirred with the sex scene between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland but it has stood the test of time like only classics can. What is the film about, you ask? To be honest, I'm not 100% sure. Is it a ghost story? Might be - there is enough communication with the dead spirits throughout the film to warrant it. Is it a giallo? It sure has all the traits - the serial killer, the hood, the knife, the missing piece of the puzzle. Is there something about psychic capabilities? Most definitely - the whole plot turns around a premonition. Still, I don't know how to explain the film: I'm sure the plot had already been set in motion by the time the fatal accident of John Baxter's daughter happened (which was like the very first scene you see in the film) just as I'm sure that despite all the chaotic running through the narrow streets of Venice, the key tragedy of the film had been preordained. Ah, well... As I said in the beginning, it's all about atmosphere with this movie. If you let it engulf you for just 1 second, I promise you will never ever forget it.

June 13, 2009

Episode 9: A Dog called Dylan

Announced as early as episode 3, the Dylan Dog Special is finally here! The show aired this morning, on Saturday 13th (a date not nearly as evil as Saturday 14th), starring comic book specialist Barker, two self-proclaimed patients and the ghost of Gordana Stoshic - it was epic, it was slightly geeky, it was just the way I like it :)

Boy, did we cover a lot of ground. We went briefly over the history of the comic and how it was introduced to readers in ex-Yugoslavia (see the cover below), the format, the first double issue, why Dylan Dog has been so popular over such a long stretch of time, Rupert Everett, and that was just the introduction!

Some other interesting things that came up during the show: we listened to Giuseppe Tartini's "Devil's Trill", discussed Dylan Dog as a horror / pop culture encyclopedia, Dellamorte Dellamore, the writers and artists of the comic, Groucho and Bloch (of course!), Death and Xabaras, our most-loved episodes, and last but not least, Dylan Dog's greatest loves, including the one that was a bit incestuous!

Musically speaking, the show was infused with a good deal of italo prog rock, thanks to Goblin and Zombi, some 1980's post-rock, some shoegaze, and a good portion of the soundtrack for Dellamorte Dellamore. To stream the entire show CLICK HERE, to download the show CLICK HERE, and whatever you do, enjoy the weekend!


If this is a horror blog, then why haven't I been going absolutely ga-ga over Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell? I haven't had the time, that's all. Apparently, it's well worth the hype, scoring 8.0/10 at IMDB and 83/100 at Metacritic.com. Another film most horror fans are excited about is Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island. Yeah, that's right, old uncle Martin is making a movie with the family-friendly tag "psychological thriller" written all over it. If you've seen After Hours and Cape Fear you know it should be really good. 'Till October, then!

June 12, 2009

Dylan Dog Radio Drama!

This one is for Italians and people who speak Italian. Apparently, back in 2002 they produced 8 radio dramas based on Dylan Dog comics. I've only listened to the first, L'alba dei morti viventi, and it sounds OK in the sense that there are only minor changes from the comic, which are indeed necessary to make the drama work. You want to check them out and hear how Dylan, Groucho and Xabaras are supposed to sound in Italian? Then go ahead to Craven Road 7 and download the attached mp3 files. It's fun times :)

June 11, 2009

Dellamorte Dellamore OST

While preparing for the Dylan Dog Special that's coming this Friday night, this is a little curio I came up with, he-he...

Given the tight budget director Michele Soavi had in order to make Dellamorte Dellamore (aka Cemetery Man) back in 1993, it is remarkable how good the film looks throughout. The acting, the camera, the sets, the make up, a good deal of the special effects - they are all quite professional, at times bordering with genius (Rupert Everett's performance, the cemetery sets). The music by Manuel de Sica is rather effective as well, boosting the emotional voyage of the main character, Francesco Dellamorte while staying pretty listenable on its own. Of course, the roots of the soundtrack fall in Italian horror territory so you should expect extensive use of keyboards and sounds usually linked with the 1970s. That aside, the only thing that this soundtrack really lacks are some of the original songs found in the film, such as the totally kitschy and addictive Sezen Aksu hit, "Hadi Bakalim".

June 9, 2009

Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated!

Well, here's a fun animated film for you: Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated! That's right, the George A. Romero classic from 1968 has received yet another treatment after the colorization attempt from 2004, only this time it is Web 2.0 to the bone. This feature is the combined effort of God-knows how many animators which participated with their entries in a global art competition, possibly with the idea to out-do Linklater's Waking Life. From what I've seen so far, the styles and the quality of the segments vary quite a bit, and I suspect that when the film is finally released on DVD some time in the Fall 2009, it will lead to massive giggles and headaches. In any case, kudos to the organizers for the idea and the patience to realize such an ambitious project!

June 7, 2009

Zombi - Spirit Animal (2009)

Zombi is a truly rare animal in this here 21st century of ours. Based in Pittsburgh, the multi-instrumentalist duo comprised of members Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra hearkens back to the days of full-on italo prog, pushing forward this slightly pretentious but always megacool blend of rock like it was the only thing in the world worth living for. The interesting thing here is that Zombi might be on to something: with records full of epic horror soundscapes getting helium-high on funky keyboards and muscular percussion, the music simply demands your attention!

Now let's describe Spirit Animal. If you read about Zombi around the web, you'll see that some references are dropped on regular basis: Goblin's Dawn of the Dead soundtrack, Rush's Moving Pictures "without the vocals", and last but not least, Fabio Frizzi's work for Zombie Flesh Eaters. Combine these references, crank it up to eleven, set your eyes on that immense elephant-infested record cover and you pretty much have Spirit Animal. The references don't ring any bells? Then check out the following live video from Zombi's earlier performances.

It sounds like you've heard this song in a 1970's film before, doesn't it? :)

If Spirit Animal has one problem is that it is too ambitious at times, continuing through long stretches of ambiance with little to no variation, which of course can be slightly boring. Then again, there is always a solution to this problem: just turn on the volume, and cop on the doomed retro futuristic world that Zombi is all about. I know I have. 

Follow this link for a nice little torrent of Zombi's entire discography, but remember to buy the record if you like what you hear. 


I read quite a few positive reviews for Pontypool today, including one from Horror Geek, which suddenly makes this small "zombie-but-not-really-a-zombie" film an event that should not be missed. The visualisation of the idea that a virus can be transferred through language feels fresh and perfectly fitted to the times we're living in. In this sense, the syndrome "social commentary through horror" is inevitable, and I only hope it propels the final work to another level rather than drag it down as I've seen it done way too many times. As a side note, I first ran into the term "word virus" via William S. Burroughs, a man whose work should be used more often as the basis for works of the macabre.

June 6, 2009


It's that time of the year again. When I was a kid, The Omen and its sequel were a big deal: we truly believed in the might of the One born at 6 am on June 6! :) Those beliefs have dissipated over time along with Santa Clause and Chuck Norris but I still take note of the date with each passing year. Just imagine a creepy old man meeting you in the wee hours and telling you, "Something extremely evil was born today!" Now the concept of evil still scares me in a non-Christian-but-it-must-exist kind of way, but prey tell me, what is extremely evil? I don't think anyone can fathom a being that is 100% evil: we believe way too much in personal interests and causality to give room for such a huge dent in logic that a pitch black evil creature would pose. Oh well... While you're thinking about it, check out Mike Patton's blistering performance of The Omen's "Ave Satani", one of the best movie themes ever!

Public Domain Classics

After a full work week of no updates, now comes a torrent of movies, music and news, ranging from the sublime to the absurd. First, I have a treat for all of you that like oldies: three classic horrors that belong to the public domain and are available for you viewing pleasure right here.

1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

It is suffice to say that Night of the Living Dead redefined gore and high concept in horror movies. Made on a shoestring budget and guided by the unique vision of George A. Romero, it introduced the zombie archetype as most know it nowadays and infused it with the kind of social commentary that is usually reserved for arthouse flicks. Those shots at the very end of the movie are worth gold.

2. The Last Man on Earth (1964)

If you ask me, any film with Vincent Price in it is a must-see purely because of the Man's charisma. The Last Man on Earth is much more than a Vincent Price film, though, especially since it is the first adaptation of the classic novel by Richard Matheson, I Am Legend, remade twice more with Charlton Heston and Will Smith, accordingly. This classic features Vincent Price as scientist Robert Morgan in a post apocalyptic nightmare world. The world has been consumed by a ravenous plague that has transformed humanity into a race of bloodthirsty vampires. Only Morgan proves immune, and becomes the solitary vampire slayer. Enjoy!

3. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

If I must pick one moviemaker as my idol, it would have to be Roger Corman. Yeah, his movies are rooted deeply in B territory and cannot be compared with more worthwhile fare such as Psycho or Peeping Tom (both made in 1960) but given Corman's personal development from screenwriter to producer to director to mentor of Everybody That Was Worth Something In Hollywood During The 1970s And 1980s, this guy was a pure legend. The Little Shop of Horrors, for instance, is an OK movie in itself but it also contains the film debut of one Jack Nicholson who will continue to work with Corman on several films as an actor and co-director!

June 1, 2009

Episode 8: UFOs, Mulder and Scully

On 29th of May, the day Buskferfest started the festivities around the center of Skopje, Danse Macabre went on air for the 8th time, focusing on UFOs, aliens and such. We went into detail describing some of the more interesting cases of UFO sightings in recent years (the Belgian Wave, the Phoenix Lights, and the Chicago O'Hare UFO Sighting), the 5 levels of close encounters, Kenneth Arnold's testimonies and, of course, Roswell. Despite the title including the two most famous fictional FBI agents of the 1990s, we didn't go in length about their adventures, but instead, we had an adventure of our own as near the end of the show, we were interrupted by a tall furry alien that attacked and savaged my guests! :)

One thing the show couldn't cover due to lack of time was DMT, a hallucinogenic that can be found in various plants but is also produced in mammals as well as the human body. Like LSD, DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug that can cause strong visual and aural hallucinations, which can often be mistaken for reality. What makes DMT different from LSD is that it comes on much stronger and its effects last for half an hour at most, peaking around the fifth minute of its consumption, which is why it is also known as "businessman's trip". DMT can be found in ayahuasca, a beverage that shamans use to stimulate their visions. If by this point you're asking yourself why I'm talking about drugs, please stick with me because now comes the interesting part.

As it says above, DMT is produced in the human body, or more specifically in the pineal gland, but its natural function is undetermined and there are several theories including one very specific to theme of this episode. One possible function of DMT is that it's responsible for the visual element of dreams. Another is that DMT acts to calm the body after extremely stressful events such as birth, death, and near-death experience. Also, excessive production of DMT in the human body could be responsible for sudden bursts of hallucinations, which often include surreal, "alien" surroundings, and creatures that could be identified as "god-like" or "alien". Testimonies of recreational DMT users are rather similar to accounts of close encounters with aliens and even alien abduction!

OK, the main authorities in the field of hallucinogenic drugs are hardly the most scientific of researchers, but still, I like DMT as the explanation to a lot of things, starting all the way from visions of God to encounters with aliens. One thing that makes me confident about this is that people with credible accounts of extra-human beings tend to give a description of their experience that best suits their own system of beliefs. Before 1947 people mostly saw angels and God-like figures (as they still do in non-English speaking communities), but nowadays, with the concept of alien lifeforms being so prevalent, they do describe what they see as aliens. And no, I don't believe that so many people could be lying or misrepresenting events.

I could go on, but instead, I'd like you to check out this link and that link.

Regarding the playlist for last Friday, we went heavy on a band called Man or Astro-man, which should come as no surprise given their taste for cheeky surf rock with heavy doses of 1950s SF movies. You can download the playlist by blasting this link into oblivion.

And now, is there something better than watching the worst bits of Planet 9 from Outer Space to the tune of Man or Astro-man? Well, as a matter of fact, there is, but that doesn't mean you should skip watching the next clip :) 'Till next time, stay swell!