REVIEW: 13 Dolls In Darkness (2017) Directed by Zeda Muller

Let’s just start out by saying that the recent indie horror scene has quite a few gems out there, but it’s littered with so much crap that it’s hard to find anything worthwhile.People who know me, know I don’t hold back from saying if something is not good. My FB Messenger popped up the other day with a message from the film’s director asking if I wanted to see 13 Dolls In Darkness. As I have been wanting to, since all the poster art and trailer has been intriguing as hell, I say said yes, immediately.

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Getting right to it, 13 Dolls in Darkness is one of the best indie horror films I have ever seen. It’s mostly for the tech and effort angle but also for the bold idea behind it. For a low budget film (very LOW), the amount of shots and edits in it… eclipses most films that have seemingly endless budgets. Oh and that opening title sequence…………..

The big selling point is it is a silent film and it’s filmed like it’s on old falling apart nitrate stock that is about to burn up as it goes through the projector. Think like you are watching a film from 1916 (at the proper speed) and you get the idea. (complete with dialogue cards to move the story around…) Every frame is blown out and flickers. Some might get turned off to this but stick with it and you don’t even notice after a while.

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The plot is simple. A lady gets a message from her mother that she is dying and to “come home right away”. She does and an “event” happens and people comes looking for her. A million films are like this right? But none are executed in this fashion and that is why it is so solid a movie. There are so many horror tropes hitting your brain every sequence, why does it seem so fresh? Is this a slasher? A giallo? An “old dark house” film? All of those and none of it. It’s like Zeda squeezed dozens of ideas from horror films between the 60’s through the 80’s through a food processor, poured in a lot of black and white and out came 13 Dolls of Darkness. (I found it humorous that one of the girls in the film is dressed like it’s 1982…) Loads of death, dismemberment and gore too.

Getting back to the tech of 13 Dolls In Darkness. While the low budget bleeds through along the edges, the masterful editing and presentation elevates it to another level. I can only imagine how much time went into cutting this and putting it all together. Makes other filmmakers look lazy by comparison. So much style and heart is in this.

I feel very strongly about this movie. If I had the money to start up my own Bluray/DVD releasing company, I would be so into putting it out. Somebody has too.

Fiend ‘O’ Meter says: 10/10

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ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT Fanzine #3 is now taking submissions! The CAT III issue!

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It’s time to start writing for issue 3 of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT! It is our first themed issue…CAT III Cinema! We are looking for the bulk of this issue to be CAT III (Category III in Hong Kong is 18 and up) films of Hong Kong OR films from other Asian countries that can be considered CAT III. Looking for reviews/essays on the most depraved, smutty, violent, dirty, sleazy films you can come up with. There are plenty of films to be considered, so start writing! Any questions ask! Any reviews received during this time that do not fit the theme, will definitely go into the November 2018 issue! We here at Asian Cinema Takeout are looking forward to your submissions…all writers will get the issue in paper form for sure!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT is half sized (5.5″ x 8.5″) and is 20 pages each issue. The idea is to knock these out fast. The third issue will be out in late September 2018!

Thematically, we cover films of all eras from the Asian film world, but only ones with a darker theme. Cult, Exploitation, Action, Horror, Smut, etc… you get the idea. While we will graciously accept long form articles/reviews, ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT mostly consists of shorter, paragraph length reviews with many photos and poster art work. Whatever we cannot fit in one issue, will go on to the next. All writings can be old or new. If you have things on an old dead blog, send it, give it new life.

So contact me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com for any more info. (Send all submissions with Asian Cinema Takeout in the subject line)

Join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805935712756721

Hope to see your work in the upcoming issue!

Check out the first issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/b759zlhkg71578o/asian_cinema_takeout_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

Check out the 2nd issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/3vqqpzq33tf9c8a/ACT_2_for_web.pdf

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Films I Watched in 2018: NEW BREED DOCUMENTARY (2018)

Films I Watched in 2018: NEW BREED DOCUMENTARY (2018)

In the mid 1980’s, when I first started to get actively involved in the NYC hardcore/punk scene, one of the things I did was organize a couple of cassette tape compilations called “Live It Live” (parts 1 and 2 respectively), they were culled from donated live recordings from bands around the world, including some local bands. They got around but in the grand scheme of things, it went nowhere and the tapes were quickly forgotten. It did help me get my “foot in the door” so to speak and people started to know me through that. There have been hundreds (maybe thousands) of tape compilations around the world from the punk rock/hardcore world of the 1980’s but none are more famous than the NEW BREED tape comp that Freddy Alva and Chaka Malik put out in the 1989. If the “tape comp” was going to go the way of the dodo, it went out with a loud bang!

I have been lucky enough to be given an advance screening of my long time buds, John Woods and Freddy Alva‘s documentary on the NEW BREED cassette compilation. It has
been in the works for a very long time. The subject matter is one I am very familiar with as I was there when it first came out. The documentary talks to a few people connected to the bands on the tape and others from the scene at the time who where highly influenced by it. Since I knew about 80% of the people in the documentary personally, I wasn’t really surprised by the answers, their memories were pretty sharp. I really liked how the filmmakers cut in a ton of footage from places that were important to the scene that do not exist anymore, like See Hear (important fanzine/small press shop) and Some Records (probably the most important record store to ever exist). Haven’t
seen or thought about much of it in years. The film quality is low budget but hey it’s about punk rock, screw it. It’s what is in that counts.

All in all, this is another fine and important look into a music past that can’t be recaptured, only appreciated. On Saturday May 19th, there will be a screening out in Los Angeles with the filmmakers in attendance. Link is below. Hopefully, they will release this soon for the general consumption.

Fiend ‘O’ Meter says: 8/10

https://www.facebook.com/events/1498782700243760

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ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT #2 IS NOW TAKING SUBMISSIONS!

It’s time to start writing for issue two of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT! Based on the Facebook group of the same name, started by the illustrious Jesse Midnitekrawlr, the first issue of the ‘zine version was released in March 2018!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT is half sized (5.5″ x 8.5″) and is 20 pages each issue. The idea is to knock these out fast. The second issue will be out in late May 2018!

Thematically, we cover films of all eras from the Asian film world, but only ones with a darker theme. Cult, Exploitation, Action, Horror, Smut, etc… you get the idea. While we will graciously accept long form articles/reviews, ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT mostly consists of shorter, paragraph length reviews with many photos and poster art work. Whatever we cannot fit in one issue, will go on to the next. All writings can be old or new. If you have things on an old dead blog, send it, give it new life.

So contact me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com for any more info. (Send all submissions with Asian Cinema Takeout in the subject line)

Join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805935712756721

Hope to see your work in the upcoming issue!

Check out the first issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/b759zlhkg71578o/asian_cinema_takeout_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

act issue 2 cover

It’s HERE! ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT FANZINE #1!!

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After a few months of planning, the first issue of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT is ready to go!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT cover the darker side of Asian Cinema and this issue has plenty of short film reviews for you to pursue…

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The ‘zine itself is 20 pages 5.5 x 8.5 inches and in B & W.

You can download it two different ways for FREE:

The read on screen version (PDF) is here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/b759zlhkg71578o/asian_cinema_takeout_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

You can also download the odd and even pages to make your own print copy here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/at0dm3w2yyn7y11/odd_pages_for_act_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

http://www.mediafire.com/file/g6k7v2ug6eg40cd/even_pages_for_act_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

and for the truly hardcore…you can download the 11 x 17 poster that comes with it:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/rhzuczcr4b49nj1/11_x_17_poster_for_issue_1.pdf

11 x 17 poster for issue 1

If you wish to contribute to future issues, e-mail me at Grandnagus69@yahoo.com with “Asian Cinema Takeout” in the subject line. All contributors get a print copy of the ‘zine.

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP HERE! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805935712756721

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My thoughts on THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE (2018) documentary directed by Ian McFarland

When I started seriously hanging out and around the hardcore & punk scenes of NYC in the summer of 1985, it was in the middle of a lull so to speak between two eras of hardcore music. Pre -1985 was when much of the classic NYHC music would be made. Bands like The Abused, Antidote, The Mob were pretty much history at that point though a few would rise up, still maintaining a presence while the next generation of bands would steamroller through and bring NYHC to a more international awareness. Agnostic Front were one of the original bands that started in, at the time, the small hardcore music scene that came from the Lower East Side/Alphabet City area of NYC. In the early 1980’s, they would record the pretty much instant classics: The United Blood Ep (1983) and Victim in Pain (1984). By the time I came around, they were considered mandatory records to have in your collection. I loved them for their sheer aggression, cryptic but relevant lyrics and they were great records to play loud & really annoy your neighbors.

Controversy though would soon follow Agnostic Front in subsequent years, mostly imagined up by the scene at large. The cover of the original pressings of Victim In Pain featured a graphic image from a WW2 execution of a peasant Jew by an SS Officer. This lead to a call that they were “racist”, “fascist”, etc… Later when it was reissued on a larger label with a plain black cover, some called it censorship (myself included) but it was a decision by the band, not the label which was originally thought. With the release of Cause for Alarm (1986), since the sound was “different” than the previously releases, cries of “AF went metal” were heard all over. (While I didn’t like that particular album back then, a much later in life reassessment of it shows it’s pretty good and not much of a departure…) Maximum Rock N Roll, the biggest punk fanzine at the time, lambasted them at any given moment. Agnostic Front never could get a break.

I bring all this up because I recently found out that a documentary film about Agnostic Front was made and I was asked to come to a screening here in Atlanta. As I thought about it, “I am surprised this wasn’t done sooner”. I went down with high interest and to see what would be brought to light. The film basically follows the two core members, founder Vinnie Stigma and singer Roger Miret through all eras of Agnostic Front. It’s shown in a back and forth style and switching between the two principals often. Both Vinnie and Roger get a lot of time to tell their personal stories and the story of the band they have kept together for 35 years.

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On the personal front, the filmmakers, Roger and Vinnie get in depth about their entire lives up to the point of Agnostic Front’s beginnings. Roger’s family came over from Cuba during the revolution and traveled the country, looking for a steady home until they got to NYC. Vinnie, born and raised in NYC, lived on Mott Street his whole life. Somehow it all comes together with Vinnie starting Agnostic Front and after a few singers, Roger Miret taking over that spot for good. Hearing some of the stories are pretty harrowing but both came through it. It was nice to see snippets of both of their modern lives, so strangely somewhat “normal” compared to where they came from.

Where this documentary truly shines is the unseen footage from old shows at A7 and other venues. I was like, “Where did they get this stuff from?” Not just a couple of clips either, tons of edited footage put together for an onslaught to the eyes. For the music historian types, this footage is gold. Seeing some of the other rediscovered footage of old NYC news programs covering punk, “slam dancing” clubs and fashion were eye opening. I remember seeing some of that back then on TV and while most of it was a “warning”, it only caused me to go see it first hand more. There is also many personal photos shown of Roger and Vinnie, their families, the band playing and the scene around them.

After watching The Godfathers of Hardcore, whatever your viewpoints of Agnostic Front, Vinnie and Roger are, you might have to reassess it. This is a very deep character study that shows you that you are probably wrong about them. They are really just a couple of hard working guys that have stuck together through thick and thin, keeping their passion for playing hardcore music intact. By the end, many of my questions that I haven’t thought about for years were answered. Kudos to all involved, it is a solid and memorable film.

Fiend ‘O’ Meter says: 9/10

http://thegodfathersofhardcore.com/

My Thoughts on Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore by Freddy Alva (2017)

It’s really strange when you literally lived through an entire period of a music scene and still missed so much. I have know Freddy Alva since 1988 or so (meeting him where else but at CBGB’s). Since he pretty much grew up in NYC, he was very close to the goings on of the ever growing graffiti culture that the city bred like weeds in a lawn. I do remember him showing me these “black books” of his, small books where graffiti writers would do a piece in them and it became a collection of unique pieces of art. While I was always interested in it, I never paid too much attention at the time. Maybe because where we all hung out, graffiti of all types was everywhere. It was “normal”. It was on every wall, street, cars, trucks, etc… and of course the subways which I was fortunate enough to see before the big clean up in the late 1980’s. Freddy was more into it than I at the time and lucky for us, he put together a tome that collects the art and people associated with the New York City Hardcore scene were we apart of and the graffiti that came with it.

The book covers the years of 1980-1995 and all the people involved. It’s told through interviews and remembrances, graffiti crews that were around and of course the images of the work. It is interesting to hear some of the people I knew back then, talk about graffiti and the influence if had on their lives. Back then, we really only talked music, so so much of this was new to me. The most important thing here is the art. If you have a huge collection of street art, graffiti and graffiti history books like I do, rest assured, Urban Styles has images that have not been published elsewhere. Strangely enough, I was at like every show during this time period and was handed flyers on the regular. This book has flyer art that I have never seen before. I was actually taken aback at points reading this book because of that fact. It just goes to show that Freddy was very thorough while researching and putting this thing together.

Graffiti has a long history and what Urban Styles covers is just a small part of it. If this book didn’t exist, sadly this crucial part of the whole picture would be lost to time. From what I understand, the book is close to sold out. I really hope the publishers decide to reprint it. Anyone who is a fan of this style of art really needs to add this to your book collection, one of the best books on the subject. Period.

https://www.amazon.com/Urban-Styles-Graffiti-York-Hardcore/dp/099134474X

Urban Styles Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/Urban-Styles-Graffiti-In-New-York-Hardcore-1644635112469700

Interview with Freddy Alva on Urban Styles

http://www.soundrenaissance.net/freddy-alva-urban-styles/

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