August 31, 2009

Halloween II Motion Poster

It seems that motion posters are all the rage nowadays. The new Halloween film by Rob Zombie just got one, and I quite like it. It's a bit sad, though, that the poster comes after a weekend in which Zombie lost the box office battle to the latest Final Destination sequel. Then again, most people agree that the film sucks to the n-th degree, so maybe it actually got better than it deserved. I guess I'll have to see it and judge on my own.

EDIT: By the by, it looks like the next Halloween film will be in 3D and Rob Zombie will not be attached to it. I like Rob Zombie as a director so this is good news: I'd rather see him work with something else for a change. Michael Myers has had way too many movies about him, anyway.

August 29, 2009

Episode 14: Tetsuo and the New Flesh

Hold your meals, ladies and gentlemen, for now we’re coming up with something fairly revolting…

Body horror, or venereal horror as David Cronenberg calls it now and then, is any form of horror based primarily on transfiguration and mutilation, be it explicit the way all gore movies are, or implicit like Rosemary’s Baby. Body horror involves everything from alien chestbursters to weresheep transformation sequences to vagina dentata, and that’s before we get to an entirely new level with Cronenberg's Videodrome.

The 1980s are a particularly rich decade for this type of horror as cyberpunk and industrial aesthetics dug deep into the language of popular culture, riding the media-fueled fears of what the 21st century was supposed to hold for the human body. Think not only of the obvious examples like Akira and Robocop but also of "cleaner" projects like Dune and Blade Runner (remember the eye plant?). That gore became such an important thing for the slasher genre after Friday the 13th wasn't going to help things, either.

Of course, body horror has always been present in storytelling as it really represents the visual component of aging and death – it reminds us that as much as we’d like to think of ourselves as spirits, we’re 100% organic and we tend to decay over time. Myths and legends make full use of chopped-off body parts and strangely mutated human beings to drive the point home; so are the tales of the Brothers Grimm and pretty much all European folklore. Last season we covered the Thing-Without-a-Name and the Werewolf - an important thing that needs mentioning is that body horror plays a huge part in why they are so effective. On one hand, it is way easier to detest an abomination than a perfect being; on the other hand, if you leave out this visual externalization of what is essentially internal struggle within the main characters, you might as well scratch the genre and watch a psychological drama (to significantly lesser impact). Just think of Tod Browning's Freaks.

As I’ve suggested on several occasions, if there is one true master of body horror, it would have to be David Cronenberg. The guy is a true auteur, making movies so dry they could snap at any given moment, much like the main characters they make room for; yet this unsettling vibe is always used as a force to push the overall themes forward and not just to provide visual spectacle. As others have noted, over the arc of his career, Cronenberg's films have followed a definite progression, moving from the breakdown of social order in his early films (e.g. Shivers, Rabid) to personal chaos (e.g. Scanners, Videodrome) to self-changing experiments (e.g. The Fly, to certain extent Dead Ringers). For this reason, it made perfect sense to pit him against William S. Burroughs for the production of the “unfilmable” Naked Lunch. At the end of the day, Cronenberg clearly has a thing or two for the human condition, or rather for its fragility - disease and disaster, according to him, are less problems to be overcome than agents of personal transformation (and if you want to read more about it, go here and here for interesting articles on the subject; also, you might want to check out the following clip).

Musically speaking, this episode ties 100% with the body horror theme, covering as much ground as possible between Tapeworm’s version of Skinny Puppy’s “Warlock” and Clinic’s “Distortions”, including a couple of turns by the ever-present Fantômas. Enjoy!

>>> Download the episode, good man!

>>> Stream the episode, Scottie!

August 28, 2009

Start of the New Season!

The summer break is finally over, which means that the new season of Danse Macabre is starting tonight at midnight! As much as we covered throughout the first 13 episodes of the show, it was just an introduction to the truly hardcore stuff that's coming in the following weeks and months. To begin with, we'll be focusing 100% on body horror by the way of David Cronenberg in the very first episode titled "Tetsuo and the New Flesh". You're wondering what Tetsuo we're referring to and what it has to do with the bigshot Canadian director? Well, Tetsuo: The Iron Man is probably one of the 10 most important Japanese films ever and certainly the industrial film of the 20th century, quite infamous for the way it combines body decay with sexual activities - which is what Cronenberg's 1980s output is known for, too.

The next three episodes will follow in similar vein, covering themes related to transformation or transfiguration of the human body. The schedule looks quite a bit like this:

>>> 04.09.2009 ep.15 "Faust and Pinhead"
>>> 11.09.2009 ep.16 "The Z Word"
>>> 18.09.2009 ep.17 "The Greatest Hits of the Marquis De Sade"

The new season will also bring some very interesting guests. The guest scheduled for tonight is none other than Gorand, the Macedonian comic book legend known for his bizarre characters, transgressive plots, and unflinching persistence on the unwelcoming scene in the last 15 years. Make sure you visit his devArt page!

EDIT: Unfortunately, Gorand had to cancel his appearance tonight due to personal reasons. Make no mistake, we will hear from him sooner rather than later! :)

Last but not least, the new season will bring a lot more updates and musical suggestions so to keep in line with everything that's going on, check out our Facebook and pages. In the meantime, enjoy the show!

August 27, 2009

Ad Number Two

6 Feet Under? Yes, please... From time to time I feel a bit sad that the series didn't include more of these ad parodies but let's be realistic - it's a concept that would have expired after five episodes at best. Anyhow, consider this post a sign of things coming back to normal. After a week of rest, the radio show and the blog are kicking into high gear starting from tomorrow. Why? Because it's Friday the 13th no matter what the calendar says...

August 18, 2009

European horror films are better?

Thanks to the Horror Geek, I found a very interesting article about the current state of European horror films on the website of an obscure fanzine called the Wall Street Journal - maybe you've heard of it. Anyways, the author here goes into length about the difference in approach between film-makers in Europe and the United States when it comes to works about the macabre. To cut things short, here in Europe, we're not hired hands - we're artists!... or so we claim. Couple of things I find amusing here besides the long list of films debuting this year at respectable (i.e. non-genre) festivals throughout Europe: a) the author cites Alexandre Aja's High Tension as the trend-setter for modern European horrors, the cutting point if you will; and b) the article is followed by a short but very tasteful list of "classic European frights" which includes Ingmar Bergman's Hour of the Wolf (1968) and Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965). Enjoy!

Antichrist (2009)

Now here comes Lars Von Trier, the auteur I swore I'll never pay attention to again because of his tendency to torment his viewers through the characters he creates. Of course I loved his mini-series The Kingdom, the Nicole Kidman - led sadistic festival known as Dogville and pretty much everything else of his that I've seen, but I simply cannot stand to see another of his delicate creations shredded into pieces just so he can fulfil his artistic vision...

...then again, the trailer for Antichrist, Von Trier's first foray into horror since the second series of The Kingdom, looks way too good to ignore, so who knows? :) Maybe I'll be watching a Von Trier film very, very soon...

August 16, 2009

Coil - The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser (1987)

Coil scoring Hellraiser sounds so right, doesn't it? Why Clive Barker turned down the finished soundtrack and went with the traditional orchestral fare reserved for American blockbusters is a mystery, then. After all, this is the guy whose literate depravity shocked the late 1980's out of its proverbial socks. According to some, Barker found Coil's output stomach-churning - and meant it as a compliment - but couldn't risk putting his audiences through aural torture on top of Pinhead's visual one. Well, it's our loss because what Coil did back in 1986 was far superior to what we eventually got.

In any case, Coil did release their Hellraiser stuff later on in 1987 with the seductive subtitle The Consequences Of Raising Hell. This was the fourth big release for the band that same year, so one could be forgiven for expecting some drop in quality. The soundtrack, however, is total immersion in scary atmospherics, kicking off with the mysterious "Main Theme", building it up with the most appropriate "Box Theme" immaginable, only to culminate with "Attack of the Sennapods". If you believe you have the guts, I dare you to put this on late at night at full volume.

1. "Hellraiser Themes" – 2:45
2. "The Hellbound Heart" – 2:19
3. "Box Theme" – 3:02
4. "No New World" – 3:53
5. "Attack of the Sennapods" – 1:51
6. "Main Title" – 3:12


NOTE: Please, be kind and purchase any Coil releases if you like what you hear. Also note that some of the songs on the CD version of this 16-minute EP are missing from the cassette version to leave room for other creepy sounds Coil made for the film - so if you are lucky enough to find the cassette, do treat it as a true rarity.


The theatrical poster for Zombieland, the horror comedy featuring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, is now available. While the sheet looks quite bland- I have avoided films for similar poster designs - the film itself seems to be loads of fun in Shaun of the Dead kind of way. I just hope the film hasn't thrown all its money worth into the trailer. 'Til October 9, then!

August 14, 2009

Give 'Til It Hurts VI

The original Saw film was a truly refreshing horror thriller, the MTV version of Seven with a hell of an attitude to match the style. The only thing that remains fresh in the series of Saw sequels, however, is the blood drive campaign that the franchise launches every Halloween. Not only the tag line "Give 'Til It Hurts" rings perfectly masochistic, it is very effective, too, especially when combined with the awesome campaign posters that keep it company. Well, this year's art is the best yet, and if the film fails as badly as the last two, we will at least have it to always remind us that we need to give ourselves from time to time in order to remain human... unless you're afraid of needles, that is :)

August 8, 2009

3 Micromixes

This is a weekend of cleaning up the backlog. The first thing on the menu is a set of three older micromixes made around the beginning of 2009. The music is similar to what is usually played on the show even as it sports a bit more melancholic touch to it, especially on the first mix, appropriately titled Melancholia. Each of the three sets is envisioned as a journey through the murky parts of the night, the dark alleys where no one should go, yet we all do at various points throughout our lives. Well, here you go, enjoy!

1. Skinny Puppy – Splasher
2. Liars – Sailing to Byzantium
3. Burzum – Rundgang um die transzendentale Saule der Singularitat
4. Tangerine Dream – Sequent C
5. Portishead – Threads
6. Sunn O))) + Boris – Akuma No Kuma
7. Neurosis – A Sun That Never Sets
8. Radiohead – Melatonin
9. Deerhunter – Twighlight at Carbon Lake


1. John Cage – Part Four (to End)
2. CocoRosie – Lyla
3. Boris – Farewell
4. Can – Sing Swan Song
5. Amon Düül II – Yeti Talks to Yogi (improvisation)
6. Liars – Drum and the Uncomfortable Can
7. Goblin – Witch
8. Om – At Giza
9. The Residents – The Festival of Death
10. Bauhaus – Severance (studio version)
11. Dungen – Samtidigt 2
12. The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – Adaptation of the Koto Song
13. Death in Vegas – Dirge
14. Throbbing Gristle – Whorle of Sound
15. Clock DVA - Non


1. The (Hypothetical) Prophets - On the Edge
2. King Crimson - Starless
3. UNKLE feat. Ian Brown - Be There
4. Sofa Surfers - The Low Roider
5. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - The Companions
6. Quiet Village - Gold Rush
7. Goldfrapp - Slippage
8. Bark Psychosis - Shapeshifting
9. David Bowie - Neuköln
10. Nine Inch Nails - La Mer
11. Atlas Sound - Bite Marks
12. Primal Scream - MBV Arkestra (If They Move Kill 'Em)
13. The (Hypothetical) Prophets - Wallenberg


August 7, 2009

Clive Barker Interview

Clive Barker + Craig Ferguson = Fun! Nothing special is revealed in this 6-minute clip but it is funny enough to kick off a great Friday night :)

August 4, 2009


It's a big thing when a fake trailer is considered the best thing about a film, and it's an even bigger thing - bigger than, say, Japanese Godzilla and the Cloverfield monster put together - when the film in question is the brilliant Rodriguez-Tarantino creature called Grindhouse.

Directed by Edgar Wright (the man behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), Don't is the kind of exciting trailer that pulls all the most interesting stops from a film to hide the fact that the film itself is one big fat pile of nothing. According to Wright, "In the '70s, when American International would release European horror films, they'd give them snazzier titles. And the one that inspired me was this Jorge Grau film: In the UK, it's called The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. In Spain and in Italy, I think it's called Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead. But in the States, it was called Don't Open the Window. I just loved the fact that there isn't a big window scene in the film—it's all based around the spin and the voiceover not really telling you what the hell is going on in the film."

I love Wright's explanation and I find it particularly amusing that it could also be applied to the fantastic Don't Look Now.

One more bit of info: Quentin Tarantino has pointed out another aspect of American advertising of British films in the 1970s that is being referenced—none of the actors have any dialogue in the trailer, as if the trailer was intentionally edited to prevent American viewers from realizing that the film is British :)

I'll never understand just why they had to cut Grindhouse into pieces for the European market - they could have at least kept the trailers!

August 2, 2009

Episode 13: It's Alive!

The last episode of our first season aired on July 17th, completing the run of what we'd like to think of as "the basic episodes", the ones dealing with the foundations of the horror genre, its core archetypes, characters and media. The monster we kept for the big finale is probably the biggest of them all, deeper and more interesting than any vampire of the month (yes, including Eric from True Blood), the one and only Thing-Without-A-Name a.k.a. Frankenstein. Just how this literary creation became such a phenomenon over the course of the last 200 years, what bastardization was necessary to make Mary Shelley's complex story digestible for the masses, and what a deity Boris Karloff really is, makes for a truly tough puzzle, one that we were more than happy to discuss during our lucky 13th show.

The Thing-Without-a-Name is the fourth archetype Stephen King analyzes in Danse Macabre, along with the werewolf, the vampire and the ghost. The Thing... is basically a story about humankind's self-destruction in the attempt to reach for knowledge or power that is beyond what it can handle, parallel in many ways to the contents of Pandora's box. The focus of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus is Victor Frankenstein, the scientist that aims to copy God (creating a human being from nothing, not from "left-over" body parts!), and the monster is the horror, the punishment that he has to bear for his actions.

In this sense, Shelley's Frankenstein has been called the first novel of the "mad scientist" sub-genre. Of course, popular culture has changed the naive, well-meaning Victor Frankenstein into a much more corrupt character just as it has changed the creature into a more sensational, dehumanized being than was originally portrayed. In the original story, the worst thing that Victor does is to neglect the creature out of fear. He does not intend to create a horror. The creature, on the other hand, begins as an innocent, loving being, and develops bitterness and hatred only after the world rejects him because of his appearance (the rejection is so extreme, the creature doesn't even have a name!). There are absolutely no "abnormal brains" involved anywhere in the process, trust me :)

Just as Victor highlights scientific knowledge as potentially evil and dangerously alluring - it is said that Mary Shelley considered the original Prometheus evil - so do all others representatives of this archetype, most notably H.P. Lovecraft (who we'll get to know better next season).

Again, almost all of this rich story about what it means to be human - not a "thing", not a god - has been lost in the book's translation to other media, be it theater, comic book or film. Some have at least attempted resemblance to the original, even as a parody, but the flood of movies that only nominally include Frankenstein is what most of us know and cherish. The best example of this, I think, is Ishiro Honda's Frankenstein Conquers the World, probably the last word in trash movies the world has ever needed!

So the first season of Danse Macabre is over, and what did we prepare for you musically to mark this occasion? Well, after several episodes of italo prog and industrial, it's time to get back to honest-to-God psychobilly! This means, lots of Dr. Frankenstein, Man or Astroman? and The Cramps dashed with quite a few references to good old Frankenstein. 'Till next season and the heap of surprises we are preparing, enjoy the show!

>>> Download the episode, good man!

>>> Stream the episode, Scottie!

Oh, and don't forget to eat your daily bowl of Frankenberry cereals!

August 1, 2009

[REC]2 Trailer

It's trailer time for the sequel to REC, the Spanish-made zombie flick that devastated theaters in late 2007 to both critical and commercial success, and was later adapted as Quarantine for the American viewers who don't know how to read subtitles. The story of [REC]2 unfolds just hours after the events of the first film, as a SWAT team is sent into the quarantined appartement building to commence a sweep, unaware just how far the infection has spread. It looks like a first-person shooter, then, only the viewers won't be able to control the characters via joysticks. Given how bad I am at video games, that's a good thing (no one wants to see a film where the main guy dies in the first five minutes!).

What are you saying, you have never seen the original? Well, you better fix that as soon as possible :) Here's the trailer for that one, too. Mind you, it's a truly scary experience, the kind you rarely see these days.