February 28, 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street New Poster

As the release date of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake approaches, it's time for a new one-sheet poster just to remind us all of the great uncertainties in life. Will it be any good? Will it be crap beyond human comprehension? Will it be scary, gross, or stupidly funny? Who knows and at the end of the day, I'm sure it's not a waking thought for any sane person what with all the serious problems we all face on daily basis. That said, I find the poster rather bland: it's almost like it's saying "Heeeere's Freddy!" and, you know, if that's all that this little film amounts to, it shouldn't deserve any attention whatsoever. The art for the original was way more inventive. Peace!

Episode 21 - The Halloween Special

It's been a while since the last episode posting. This should be the 21st while in reality we just did the 33rd last Friday. I guess I'll have to step up in March posting at least two eps at once. Don't worry, though: everything will be archived here sooner or later :)

The thing with the 21st episode, however, is that we never recorded it, and there's a good reason for it: it was a five-hour Halloween bonanza with tons of music and little to no talking on air. As a replacement, here we're offering the Danse Macabre Halloween compilation of the best received tracks of the night, all filled to the brim with screams of horror you can actually dance to, he-he... Enjoy!

>>> Click here, oh dear visitor, to download this pesky little compilation

February 21, 2010

Mark Ryden!

You should know Mark Ryden's work even if you don't care at all about modern art. For one, he's the guy responsible for the cover of Michael Jackson's Dangerous, as well as for Stephen King's Desperation and The Regulators. In fact, I'll bet you've seen quite a lot of Ryden's designs over the years within various low-brow publications or re-printed as decorative art anywhere there's need for a bit of a "psychedelic" touch.

With this background, it's rather easy to dismiss Ryden as the populist "hired-hands" type, instead of the serious artist that he's been promoted as, but in this day and age does it matter at all what brand we stick on his ass? The important thing is that his art is, how shall we put it, fucked up all the way through. Intriguing and unsettling, baffling and enchanting, Ryden's world is that of Alice's Wonderland only tons more sinister and explicit in its allusions to politics, pop culture and pedophilia.

Ryden has several exhibitions behind his name including the upcoming The Gay 90's Olde Tyme Art Show, which will see the light of day this April in New York. The best of them, however, would have to be The Meat Show (1998) and Blood (2003), which depict the nameless heroines facing utter corruption with either wonder or pervasive melancholia. The pics presented here are a small selection from the Blood show; if you want to see more of this guy, head straight to his website and never look back.

February 20, 2010

Killer Kid Posters

The concept of the killer kid is immensely dangerous if mishandled. You can try to be dead serious and have something to say or you can be humorous and break taboos but you can never take it lightly. Of course, Kenny from South Park has died hundreds of times but it's a cartoon so it's easy to shrug away. Set the killings in a realistic setting and give the kid a face, and it's immediately much more difficult to film its death, especially if the kid is the villain of the piece and the hero can only survive by becoming its designated killer. Still, a bunch of films have spun entertaining yarns about children that do nasty things, and here are posters for some of them. If you decide to watch any of these, be careful not to lose sight of the fact that it's all just fiction.

February 19, 2010

Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy (1997)

Most horror films and stories are limited in one very important aspect: they require a particular setting in order to be viewed appropriately. Deviate from this setting and the horror is either not scary or simply not good at all. Of course, what the right setting is depends solely on the viewer and we all have different preferences. What might work for one does not work for the other.

From time to time, however, there comes a media piece that simply obliterates all viewing conventions; a work of art that is so powerful one cannot ignore it no matter the circumstances or personal tastes. One such work is Chris Cunningham's epic video for Aphex Twin's humorous hymn to brutality called "Come to Daddy". You can show this to anyone at any time and I bet no one would be able to look away. What do you say, shall we put 100 bucks on it?

Now, Cunningham would have done just fine if the video consisted of nothing else but jam being spread on toast for an early breakfast - the track is evil enough to get you through any boring image you can imagine. But Cunningham did much, much more than one should have expected from him. I won't go into details - the results are here for your viewing pleasure (and to remind you just how important art form music videos used to be back in the day) - but I'll just stress that this is by far the scariest shit aired on MTV, ever! In fact, "Come to Daddy" was so scary when it came out that Nicolas Cage's flick 8 mm used the video and track not once but twice to show you just how baaaaaad the villains really were...

February 16, 2010

Village of the Damned (1960)

The original Village of the Damned is easily the undisputed king of "evil children" films. Directed by Wolf Rilla and based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Windham, this classic British film formed a small but very influential cinematic subgenre around the concept of adults being allowed to kill children to protect the world. Of course, John Carpenter re-made it as an American product in 1995 - which is actually the version that most people know of - and while it's not bad at all, it definitely lacks the atmosphere of the original. Then again, how could anybody beat Martin Stephens' unforgettable performance as David Zellaby, the supernatural leader of the brat pack? This same kid ruled The Innocents only a year later and then disappeared from the film industry, staying forever the damned 12-year old child from hell in our minds. Well, here's to you Martin Stephens, wherever you are: without you we wouldn't have had The Omen and The Children of the Corn, so God bless!

February 9, 2010

My Bloody Valentine (1980)

Forget last year's moronic 3D remake: if there is one horror film you should watch this February 14h, that's the original My Bloody Valentine. Known as one of the best non-franchise slashers from the 1980s despite the severe censorship that cut 9 minutes of gore from the final version, MBV is one of those films that is much more influential than one would initially suspect. The plot goes something like this...

Twenty years ago in Valentine Bluffs, the supervisors at the town's mine were so eager to get to the annual Valentine dance that they didn't bother to check the levels of the methane gas. There was a massive explosion and five workers were trapped underneath the rubble. The only survivor was one Harry Warden, who never mentally recovered from the accident. Exactly a year later he returned and brutally killed the two who were responsible for the tragic mishap. He cut out their hearts, stuck them in candy boxes and sent them to the authorities. Fortunately, he was caught before he carried out any more killings and was put into Eastfield Asylum for the insane. Now in 1981 the happy go lucky residents of the usually tranquil town are preparing themselves for the first Valentine dance to be held since that fateful night two decades ago. Memories of Warden's murders have passed and a group of fun loving kids are thinking about nothing else but the anticipated party. However the night before the event the town mayor receives a blooded heart in a candy box with a poetic warning. It seems Harry has returned…

If it sounds like heaps of fun, that's because it is. That said, MBV is a 1980s slasher, which means that it is bogged down quite a bit by bad acting and predictable plot development... so don't say I didn't warn you :) If you still think you can stomach this, watch the newly re-released version; it should be available pretty much everywhere.

February 6, 2010

Upcoming Attractions

Things are shaking up for the batch of 2010. This week brought on the trailers for British flick Psych: 9 and the Italian In the Mouth of Ubaldo Terzani, and while neither promises to be anything special, they both seem fun in a somewhat campy sort of way. Well, enjoy!

February 5, 2010

Them (2006)

Them (or Ils if you prefer your titles in their original form) is one of those movies that take you for a thrilling ride and bash your head in suspense so many times you ignore how ludicrous they really are. Even now, after having checked out the claim for "actual events" only to conclude it's entirely arbitrary, I still cannot shake off the depicted realism in Moreau and Palud's offering, which upon analysis seems to work because it's particularly minimal. Of course, the best scenes in Them have already been used and re-used in previous films (and you should be able to spot the reference now and then) but they have more impact in a semi-realistic setting. All in all, not a great film but still highly recommended for a boring afternoon.