January 24, 2010

Skinny Puppy - Warlock

If you think you've got the stomach for some proper gore, then this is the perfect music video to test yourself. Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy have always been abrasive both sonically and visually - sampling tons of horror audio and video clips in the process - but it is during the Rabies period that they really came in to their own. OK, their sound might be a bit dated by 2010 standards, which shows pretty clearly on one of their best tracks, "Warlock", but combine it with a classic video that borrows all the best splatter scenes from the 1970s and 1980s, and you have a time capsule like none other. Enjoy!

Random Vampire Movie Posters

I have shown quite a bit of resentment towards vampire flicks since Twilight kicked off the latest blood-drinking trend but I can still appreciate a healthy dose of fanged antiheroes when it comes my way. Proof no.1: I am eagerly anticipating Daybreakers. Proof no.2: well, look at the posters below - while not all of them are good movies, they at least show something radically different from the same-old-same-old that's being packaged and repackaged nowadays. My favorite of the pack would have to be Near Dark, a severely under-appreciated movie if there ever was one. Oh, and of course, the artwork above is another brilliant piece of guerrilla marketing from True Blood's team.

January 19, 2010

Still Thinking about Von Trier's Antichrist

Let's get one thing straight from the very beginning: Lars von Trier's Antichrist is a seriously faulty movie, both in its execution as a story and the muddled message it is attempting to convey. I fully understand the heavy criticism the film has received for its misogyny but knowing von Trier I wouldn't take any of it without a heavy dose of salt. The man has a long history of prankster-like behavior, especially when it comes to his audience, so to a large extent - and despite the clear symbolism involved - the film's goriest scenes (both involving genital parts) are really just bad jokes. That said, Antichrist also presents a great field for discussion and mental gymnastics on such topics as "nature as Satan's church" and the host of rich symbols the film presents but fails to exploit to the fullest (how often do you really think about a horror film the day after?). Well, today I found an interesting blog post meditating on the film's symbols against ideas by Feuerbach and Heidegger and while I don't fully agree with what it has to say, it still has my highest recommendations. Note, though, you need to have watched the film before reading the text.

January 17, 2010


By this point in the post-Twilight era, you're surely getting weary of everything vampire-related, and what the hell, I can't blame you. That said, Daybreakers seems to be a different kind of a vampire movie, one that sheds all the regular tropes in favor of a science fiction plot that clearly relates to some of the political and sociological issues that we're facing today. Starring Ethan Hawke, Sam Neil and Willem Defoe this flick is the first interesting piece of 2010, and if you don't believe me, check out the trailer below.

For the Record

After a sudden break in posting due to billion circumstances, we're back on the bloody trail with a flurry of postings coming your way in the next couple of weeks. To begin with, we're documenting the first Danse Macabre DJ set at the underground bar La Kana in Skopje via the ever-present Plagij.at team. The House of 237.4 Corpses took place on Saturday, January 9th and included a fine mix of psychobilly, noise rock and darker indie pop affairs while we screened The Raven (1963) and Creepshow (1982) in the background. Fun, huh? Well, expect many more news about similar events in the weeks and months to come :)

January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Bowie!

While you wouldn't necessarily link David Bowie with horror, he's not stranger to the macabre. Other than his unsettling-but-not-that-scary appearances in The Men Who Fell to Earth and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, he also took part in the 1983 art-house vampire flick called The Hunger, along Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. Kids raised in the late 1980s will also recognize Bowie as the supervillain Jarret, the Goblin King, from the Jim Henson vehicle Labyrinth, which still lingers on in my memory as one the scariest things I'd seen by the age of 10. Anyhoo, David Bowie is turning 62 today, and even though he is first and foremost one of the most important musicians of the 20th century, Danse Macabre is here to recognize the man's achievements in the genre film as well. So, happy birthday, Mr. Bowie, may all your wishes come true!

January 7, 2010

Episode 20 - Dead, Wrapped in Plastic

We're going back to David Lynch's Twin Peaks, boys and girls, so let's rock!

Originally aired on October 23, 2009, ep. 20 is in many ways the most interesting show we've had so far, which is, of course, due to the richness of our subject matter. Just how do you go from the shot of a dead girl with bluish lips wrapped in plastic to an FBI agent stuck in a netherworld marked by heavy red curtains and highly bizarre forms of communication - while discussing donuts, coffee and Tibetan philosophy - is beyond me. The Twin Peaks project is by no means perfect but at its best it is so much more than entertainment or art: when it gets going, Twin Peaks becomes a living entity of its own.

The question of who killed Laura Palmer is, of course, secondary to all the characters that inhabit Twin Peaks with their outworldly quirkiness and surrealism. By the beginning of the second season of the show it becomes clear that the whole affair is more than a simple murder case, and whatever a Gordon Cole's "blue rose" case is supposed to be, it is this aspect of the mystery that we are drawn to. After all, how many shows can introduce a ghostly giant that delivers cryptic clues - while the main character of the show is bleeding profusely - and maintain their air of coolness?

Another important trait of Twin Peaks is that it is heavily layered. In addition to playing with the genre of a mystery show as well as most of the existing TV tropes at its time, not excluding a meta soap opera show, the series incorporates a long list of symbols from different literary, philosophical or religious backgrounds, and fits them in one brilliant puzzle. My favorite is the white horse that appears in the Palmers' living room not long before another murder takes place.

It is a common complaint that Twin Peaks doesn't have a real ending. In the last minute of the show we see the hero, FBI agent Dale Cooper, become possessed by the villanous spirit known as BOB, which means that a lot of evil is about to be unleashed upon the town of Twin Peaks (and beyond). The film never resolves this open ending of the show either, which is why it was hated so much upon its release in 1992, and was even booed at Cannes! The interesting thing is that the film does provide an ending or at least an explanation of the show and the fates of the key characters; it is just that it is not straightforward enough to shoot down all guessing but at the end of the day, do you think that David Lynch would want it any other way?

These and other discussions take a large chunk of our episode but it doesn't mean we've forgotten about the music. Angelo Badalamenti hijacks this episode either through his original score for the series and the film or through the music for Julee Cruise's haunting songs. We also have to mention Bohren & Der Club of Gore which have been carrying the Badalamenti legacy for the last 15 years, never missing a single tone.

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Christoper Lee Goes Metal

As gorgeous as the poster above is - the Japanese never fail to impress - this post is not about Christopher Lee's exploits as Count Dracula. No, strange though it may be, this post is really about Christopher Lee as a rock-to-the-bone metalhead! After appearing on songs for bands such as Rhapsody of Fire, Denmark's The Tolkien Ensemble, and Inner Terrestrials, the 87-year old legend will be releasing his own album of symphonic metal on March the 15th. We're talking about a concept album here - the record will be called Charlemagne and it will tell the story of the first Holy Roman Emperor. For more info, as well as samples, check out NME's coverage of the story. What else can I add but wish we're all this agile as we approach 90.

January 6, 2010

The Stand (1994)

The TV mini-series based on Stephen King's The Stand was epic upon release and stands the test of time much better than expected. Full of well-known actors, the series tells the story of the battle between good and evil at the end of the world as we know it, and is pretty much King's most religious offering in a career full of riffs on Christian beliefs and motifs. Of course, the main draw of the series is the character of Randall Flagg a.k.a Walter o'Dim in the Dark Tower universe (here portrayed by Jamey Sheridan) who stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Pennywise as King's best villain.

January 3, 2010

It (1990)

We have a Stephen King week going on here, which, if you ask me, is by far the best way to start the new year. To get things rolling, we have a classic scene for you as a taste of things to come. Tim Curry's performance as Pennywise, the Dancing Clown, is nothing short of phenomenal throughout It's entire duration, and as many will testify, the low budget TV flick works only because of him. The library scene, for example, is horrific and funny at the same time even though nothing really happens outside of Pennywise cracking some lame-ass jokes.