Hara-Kiri: Extreme Asian Films Month July 1st-July 31st 2016

Well, it’s that time of the year again folks. Due to the success of last year’s film event “30 Noir Films in 31 Days”, people have been asking what I would be doing next. Over the past few months, one of the big requests was to do films from the Asian countries and lately I have been feeling it. So it’s here I announce the next big film event, “Hara-Kiri: Extreme Asian Films Month” It will run the entire month of July 2016 on this site and updates on Facebook.

The major change from last’s year event is that 1) I’m not watching a film everyday though it will be films I never have seen before and 2) I am inviting all of you to join in, since last year many were inspired to do their own writing. So if you have been itching to write about your favorite Asian films or ones you haven’t seen, here is your chance. All writing styles are welcome, a paragraph of thoughts is better than not writing at all. If you have something you did in the past, lost on a unread blog, Letterboxd page or a college paper you got a B on it, let’s publish it!

Categories/genres/styles: Horror, Crime Drama, Sci-Fi, Bleak films, Sleazy Sex films (Cat 3 etc.), Cyber, Samurai, Outrageous, Dark/Violent Anime……………..There is plenty out there to choose from.

At the end of the event, I will be releasing some kind of printed version of it. The writers will all get a copy and it will then be available as a PDF on the net. It will also include most of my older reviews/thoughts on these films.

So contact me if you want to write anything, I will send you my e-mail address. Any questions, ask. I know many of you out there love this stuff, so write about it! -DK

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Guest Post by Jason Beatty: John Carpenter Seattle show review June 14th 2016

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When I saw Jason’s photos from the recent Carpenter concert, I wanted to know more and asked if he could write a show review to share his experiences about it. Since this tour wasn’t coming this way to Atlanta, I had to imagine it through the photos Jason took. Check out the future dates here: The Official John Carpenter home page

I had been looking forward to this show for awhile and had splurged on some really nice seats in the beautiful and historic Paramount theatre in Seattle WA. No openers, and the show started on time! John Carpenter and his band (Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies, Scott Seiver, John Spiker, and John Konesky) opened with the “Escape from New York”main theme song, which I had expected. Executed perfectly, this was a great way to open the night up. Next was the main theme from “Assault on Precinct 13” which has always been a personal favorite of mine, that simple drum beat and the low end synth line are possibly even more memorable than the “Halloween” theme!

Next up were two cuts from his last years album, “Lost Themes”, “Vortex” and “Mystery” which wouldn’t have sounded odd if they had been on “Halloween” or “The Fog”. Speaking of which, was the next track he played. “The Fog” was never my favorite John Carpenter movie, I’m less familiar with the soundtrack, but I really need to revisit it apparently. Following that, the next song was easily the funnest and campiest of the evening; All the musicians played a very familiar blues riff, and proceeded to put on sunglasses and launched into “Coming to LA” from “They Live”. Everyone was cheering! It was nice to see that Carpenter and Co. weren’t taking themselves too seriously or that the evening was going to be a completely sombre affair.

The band then paid homage to Ennio Morricone by playing “Desolation” from John Carpenters greatest work by far, “The Thing”. Seeing the scenes form the movie in the background while the band played on, I remembered the feeling of dread and isolation the soundtrack added to what was an already terrifying film.

After that, another new song, “Distant dreams” off of the “Lost Themes II” album. Ive owned this album for awhile, and while Ive always thought the songs were good, for some reason, the selection of the tracks made me feel that the tracks sounded more “slick” compared to LTI, something about it hadn’t quit clicked with me, but hearing the material live really changed that for me, in this setting, they had more power and less polish.

One of the moments I had been waiting for was being able to hear “The Pork Chop Express” from “Big Trouble In Little China”. Carpenter expressed how much fun he and Kurt Russell had making this film together, and apparently the crowd felt the same way. I LOVE this soundtrack; it’s cheesy, over the top, and just like the movie, it remains the funnest movie in his long career.

“Wraith” and “Night” from LTI were next, sequencing and arpeggiators galore, the two songs wouldn’t be out of place in a dance club, and were the perfect transition to the “Halloween” main theme song. At this point, John Carpenter addressed the audience: “All my career, I’ve made horror movies, I love horror movies, and horror movies will last forever”! The crowd roared and then that familiar eerie keyboard played while Jamie Lee Curtis ran from Michael Meyers on the screen behind the band.

Lasting before the encore was the main theme for “In the Mouth of Madness”, I’m not as big a fan of this soundtrack, but again, live, it was really well executed and suitably darker. Does this soundtrack warrant another listen? Possibly.

For the encore, “The Prince of darkness” was up first. Despite it being relatively later in his movie making career, this soundtrack has always sounded much more closer to his earlier compositions; minimal synth lines, creepy ambient atmospheres, lots of dread. I have long sung the praises of this soundtrack, and it’s easily available now due to a repress of it on Death Waltz records…..

“Virtual survivor”was next from LTII, and while I enjoyed it, I was wanting more classic material at this point, seeing as this was the encore, so naturally, he played another new one, “Purgatory”, which again, I liked, but was hoping for more older material.

Last song of the evening was from “Christine”: “Christine attacks”. I had forgotten what a great soundtrack this was, I hadn’t really explored it much, but the following day after this show, I found it on Youtube, and have been enjoying it immensely. Reminds me a lot of the Tangerine Dream soundtracks of the same time.

The whole evening was maybe an hour and fifteen minutes tops. I’m sure everyone their had ideas of what they would have liked to hear, and material that he skipped that might have been played (Halloween III for me, the “Silver Shamrock” theme is the best!), but when you have a career as long and storied as John Carpenter, you really have to stick to “the hits”. I went home satisfied with the selection, and this was a night I won’t ever forget. Now that I’ve seen John Carpenter and Goblin, I just need to cross off Fabio Frizzi and the triptych would be complete!

Follow Jason on Instagram: Jason Beatty!

Southern Fried Game Room Convention Atlanta June 10th-12th 2016

A couple of years ago, a group of folks started up a arcade video game/pinball convention here in Atlanta, which I attended. Loved it but missed last year’s show. I was determined to get my hands on some of my favorite pinball machines again, even if it was a for a brief moment. This year’s show was larger and much more varied that the previous one I was at. My heart is in pinball, so while they had classic video games (consoles and arcade) and board gaming, I only was there to play the silverball. Since a convention like this is dependent on people to actually bring their personal machines to it, each time it will vary with the amount and quality of the machines. Your heart sinks when you go to play a particular machine and it’s been turned off due to a wide variety of issues. You always have to remember many of these machines are 30 years old and have been hammered with use. I did get to play my 2nd favorite pinball of all time, Mata Hari, which surprisingly they had two! They tried to group together machines by era and did a great job of it. Having beautiful machines such as Space Invaders, Fathom and Centaur right next to each other would have probably never happened in 1981, but in this “fantasy” arcade they can.

I never take these shows for granted as they are truly interactive and keep your interest. Sadly for me though, I only last a couple of hours after I have had my fill and the crowds start to get bigger. Plus I really have little interest in the over done newer machines and the all video pinball. There are a lot of folks into this and I’m glad the appreciation for the old pinball machines is growing. It’s an expensive hobby, one I cannot afford, so the once a year I can go down and jam on some these…I am grateful. Go to the site here: Southern Fried Gameroom Expo for more info.

See all the photos I took here: My photos of the SFGE 2016!