Announcing HOUSE OF SKIN: A Tribute to the films of David Cronenberg (2018)!!

Brief/Primer for HOUSE OF SKIN: A Tribute to David Cronenberg’s Films.

Hey, Dave K. here. You might know me as A Fiend On Film or you might not know me at all (probably the latter). After publishing two successful film based fanzines, Hara-Kiri: Extreme Asian Films (2016) and FIENDISH (2017), we are going for a 3rd in 2018. It will have one theme and that is to celebrate the films of David Cronenberg. Everybody usually waits for someone to die before they start looking back on their life, I wanted to put together something that celebrates a career while they are still alive.

David Cronenberg has a long and very solid history making films since the late 1960’s. I personally consider him to be the most consistent of all genre directors out there. While I have not personally seen every single film he has worked on (that is one of the reasons I am setting this up), all the ones I have seen I rate pretty highly (Crash is my favorite). He has always been interesting.

So here is what I am asking you to do, write about his films, either a single one or a few. I am looking for more long form writing this time out but don’t let that scare you off. Write what you feel. For me, I plan on watching films of his I missed and put them into one long form article. You can do the same if so desired. The writing can be new or if you have done something on an old blog/website but never saw print. I know I have many returning writers for this project though I really would welcome some new blood (or flesh)…

I would like to also see some artwork based on these films. Either direct representations or “inspired” form. It would have to be something that can be replicated in black and white well.

The fanzine itself will be 8 1/2/ x 11 inches B & W with a color front cover.

This is an all volunteer project. I cannot pay for any material but all people who respond with writing/art work, etc. will get a printed copy when it is released in January 2018. This will also be available a PDF for screen and to print. It can be as big as we can get it, I would like to shoot for 100 pages.

I would like to have all material in by December 1st 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com with “HOUSE OF SKIN” in the subject line.

 

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FIENDISH PICKINGS WEEKLY #2 4/9/17

articles

Blood and Beauties – An Interview with Death-Scort Service Part 2: The Naked Dead Director Sean Donohue

The beginner’s guide to Italian exploitation cinema by Den Of Geek (contributed by Mando Ayala)

The films of Radley Metzger

6 Reasons Why “Kagemusha” Is Akira Kurosawa’s Late Masterpiece by Panos Kotzathanasis

CGs Film Reviews

From a House on Willow Street (2016) yeah this was not a good film. There are some great practical effects and creature design but its mixed with laughable CGI effects and characters that are so paper thin and just plain stupid.

The films starts out introducing our characters and their backstories just so they can then be used against them later on. The first half of the film is mainly characters walking around in the dark followed by jump scares. We then get an exposition dump that slows the film to a crawl followed by a third act that ramps up the action and gore.

The last act is where the film is at its best but the characters are so underdeveloped and uninteresting that it just didn’t grab me. I could see some people really enjoying this but not me. 2.5/5 stars.

Galaxy of Horrors 1h 45min | Horror, Sci-Fi | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

A horror/scifi anthology that reminded me of the film released last year called Patient Seven which was created by grabbing international shorts and creating a wrap around story to loosely tie them all together. As with any anthology you will always have a mixed bag with some shorts being strong, some being okay and some being terrible. Here’s the breakdown:

Eden – 2.5/5, IRIS – 4/5, Pathos – 3/5, Flesh Computer – 2/5, Eveless – 1/5, They Will All Die in Space – 4/5, Entity – 3.5/5, Kings – 3/5, Wrap Around Story – 1/5

There are some really strong highs and some really low lows. So overall I had a fun time but each story is very different from each other. 3.5/5 stars.

Quarries 1h 23min | Drama, Horror, Thriller | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

This has to be one of the most generic backwoods horror films I’ve ever seen. Our group of women are all one note cliches and our villains are the most boring cookie cutter redneck family.

Everything just happens in the most boring way possible as there is no build of suspense and our so called threat is dispatched with relative ease. It doesn’t get more middle of the road than this. 2/5 stars.
Alleluia (film) 1h 33min | Crime, Horror, Romance | 12 November 2014 (Belgium)
A very disturbed woman goes on a date with a man who she discovers is a scam artist and has issues of his own. She quickly becomes obsessed and it all spirals out of control from there. Based on a true story this is a very dark and gritty film that has a very 1970s feel. 3.5/5 stars.

A Room to Die For 18A | 1h 24min | Horror, Thriller | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

This is a pretty terrible film. We then are given flashes of whats to come within the first 5 mins so this undercuts any suspense of what may happen. The performances are not good all around.

The young couple are pretty unlikable right from the start especially the boyfriend and the older couple are so uninteresting so we can’t engage with them either. What happens in the film is supposed to generate some kind of emotion but all I felt was sorry for the actors involved in this film.
Avoid! 1/5 stars.

videos

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) – Arrow Video Limited Edition Blu-Ray Set Unboxing! by deadbydawn93

DEATH-SCORT SERVICE PART 2: THE NAKED DEAD (2017) teaser trailer

Amy Heckerling’s Criterion Closet Picks

So’s Film Diaries #1 | TAKE ME INTO THE MATRIX | FILM VLOG by So’s Reel Thoughts

AllScreamingEye: The Greasy Strangler review by Gore Hounds

podcasts

Zach’s Ceremony, Ghost in the Shell and A Man Called Ove on Plato’s Cave – 03 April 2017

Dark Discussions Podcast Episode 278 – The Belko Experiment

THE LAST KNOCK presents: THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (2017)

POST MORTEM WITH MICK GARRIS with Walter Hill 3/29/17

sponsors

Gore Noir Magazine

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A look at Cultographies: Ms. 45 by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (2017)

I “met” Alexandra through her writing a couple of year back when I read one of her previous books, Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study. To me, just that title alone is a home run but when I was about half way through I knew I was reading words from my “new” favorite film writer. While the book has that scholarly air about it, Alexandra shows she is a down to earth film fan first and writes so that dumb shulbs like me can understand. I found out about a couple of films she wrote about in a positive fashion and picked them up.

I later learned from her at the time, that she was working on two future books, both single film specific. One was about Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) and the next, the one I was most interested in, Abel Ferrara’s 1981 Classic Ms. 45. Little that I knew it was going to be a bit for it to be released. The countdown began at that moment…

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^ Contents page…

Last week, the book arrived in my mailbox and I fast tracked it to the top of the pile. I was first surprised at the small size of the book and then realized it was perfect. Sized like a classic paperback you would find on the racks of seedy magazine shops (like Seven Star News in the city of Linden, New Jersey where I grew up), the subject material fits it like a glove. In a historical fashion, Alexandra breaks down the making/creation of the film, from it’s beginnings to the finished product hitting the screens.

She is a researcher who likes details and doesn’t skimp on them. While Alexandra doesn’t have a direct interview with any of the particulars, there are many referenced quotes from all who were involved with the proceedings. There is a big focus on Zoe Lund, from the acting in Ms. 45, her writings & collaborations with Abel on other productions, such as Bad Lieutenant (1992). Small details do not get unnoticed, it seems for one big scene in the film, Ferrara hired for day work, people hanging out in the Revolutionary Communist Party Bookstore on 18th Street/NYC, as his studios were upstairs. Weird, I was at that place a few times in the 80’s, who knew such greatness was up above! There is also words written about the recent “uncut” DVD release by Drafthouse Films. While I knew there were many versions of Ms. 45, I wasn’t aware that it was never released in full until 2013. Crazy.

Overall, as with much of her previous work, Alexandra writes for the “common folk” when it comes to film critique. I would say about 15% of the book would be considered psycho babble but the rest is hardcore film criticism and looking into the film’s production, the screenings and reactions afterward. Ms. 45, when you look at it at face value, is not an easy film to fully understand and everybody comes away from it differently. Even though I have seen the film a few times over the years, this book illuminated somethings I missed (again, I’m a dumb shulb, don’t sue me…). If you are like me and enjoy reading about movies, Cultographies: Ms. 45 is a sure pick-up.

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Find the book and Alexandra on the Web here:

https://www.amazon.com/Ms-45-Cultographies-Alexandra-Heller-Nicholas/dp/0231179855

http://www.thebluelenses.com/

https://twitter.com/suspirialex

COEURS NOIRS Day 8: TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949) BluRay!

Too Late For Tears (1949) BluRay thoughts… While I gave my thoughts on this Noir classic last year: Too Late For Tears (1949) Film Thoughts , I bought the restored Bluray when it came out earlier this year. Sadly, Too Late For Tears had never been seen on VHS and DVD in a clear print, the public domain releases have not been kind to this amazing film. Due to the combined efforts, of UCLA Film & Television Archive, Film Noir Foundation and Flicker Alley, Too Late For Tears finally has a worthy release.

I viewed the Bluray of this dual release and was blown away on what they were able to bring out of the print which was available to work with. While it has it’s expected issues, the visuals are light years ahead of the crappy Alpha Video one I saw last year. Again, it’s not perfect like older films that the studios have been working on restoring over the years, it’s truly stunning that this exists. Audio is fine, the music over the opening titles is quite loud for some reason, but it’s all clean now.

The layout by Michael Kronenberg has a clean visual style, including many of the original graphics associated with the film. The booklet has a nice essay on TLFT by Brian Light. It is a Criterion-style release worthy of the price tag. I can’t complain about that because they brought this film back from the dead.

Absolutely do buy this. I have yet to see the other film Flicker Alley released at the same time, Woman On The Run (1950) but I’m sure the quality is as high as this. The unforgettable film now has an unforgettable release.

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COEURS NOIRS film event coming November 1st! Writers wanted!

Hey peeps! A Fiend On Film here officially announcing the COEURS NOIRS (Black Hearts) film event on this humble page. Last July (2015), I did my own event called 30 Noir Films in 31 Days. Where I watched 31 film noirs that I have not seen and wrote my thoughts on them. 30 Noir Films in 31 Days <———–see that here.

Now I’m doing another event, which I am expanding the event to other writers/reviewers and expanding the film list to neo noir too. DO YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED? Hmmm.. it’s simple. Just pick a film off one of these lists from Wikipedia (I am trying to keep this simple, if it’s on these lists, you can write about them, I will not nitpick nor do I expect you too). Just write your thoughts on a film (or two or three) and send them to me at Grandnagus69@yahoo.com with Coeurs Noirs in the subject line.

Film Noir List

Neo-Noir film list

All skill levels of writing desired, length not important, a paragraph is better than silence. This is a “for fun” project, all for the love of film noir and it’s off-shoots. It can be films you have never seen before (all the ones I choose will be), something you have already written about (if you have a dead blog somewhere, you send the text) or if you wrote a piece on film noir itself or an actor/actress involved, that is cool too.

Each day in November, I will posting a main review (from me) and others (depending on the response). I will also be posting links to other blogs, posting photos etc. The event will end on November 30th 2016 and if all goes well, a fanzine of this event will be released in January 2017 (as a downloadable PDF). So get in touch. I can be found on a few social media sites, but contacting through e-mail is best.

DEADLINE FOR EVERYTHING IS: November 23rd 2016

-Dave K. aka A Fiend On Filmcoeurs-noirs-2coeurs-noirs-3coeurs-noirs-4coeurs-noirs-6coeurs-noirs-9coeurs-noirs-12

EXAFM 2016 Day 17: Art Of The Devil (2004)

Art of The Devil (2004) film thoughts… I don’t know what it is with films from Thailand and me. They just never seem to be as solid as many of the other Asian countries around them. So many feel like tired retreads with low production values (not that that last part is a bad thing). I actually had bought all of the Art of The Devil series on DVD (there are 3) but have never seen any of them. Here, a young, very attractive woman, gets jilted by her lover after he finds out she is pregnant. What she didn’t know is that he already has a wife and family. So to keep her quiet (and literally “keep” her), he pays her off with 1 million baht. He proceeds then to treat her horribly and films a gang rape, with his business colleagues as the rapists. After confronting and demanding more money him, in front of his family no less, he beats her in an alley and tells her to leave. Time passes and the men who raped her all start to die off in mysterious ways. Then the father, which causes his estate to go to his family. The woman who the father jilted, reappears as the oldest son’s fiancee, since many years have passed, nobody even remembers it’s the same woman. Soon, members of the family start to die horrible deaths, which leads every one to believe it’s “witchcraft”….but who is doing this? Hmmm…

I was actually pretty disappointed while watching this one, it has a great premise that is more common with America films. There is some real grass roots witchcraft going on here and deaths it causes are pretty noteworthy. It’s just everything else in the film, from the acting, visuals and directing is so poor it negates everything. I actually struggled through this one more than some of the worst films I have seen in this genre. Now, I am torn if I even want to see the two sequels I put some money into or trade them away.

Another one of those films where a short You Tube video of best scenes will be enough to keep you interested. This is a pass for The Fiend.

 

 

 

EXAFM 2016 Day6 BONUS: Moebius (2013) Guest Post by William D. Prystauk

Moebius is not easy to describe by definition. August Ferdinand, the renowned German mathematician, created and christened the “moebius strip” as a surface with only side and one boundary, which means it is a mathematical property devoid of orientation. Many simply think of it as a loop: a flexible, infinite, rubber band.

In the case of writer/director Ki-duk Kim, Moebius (South Korea, 2013) is a drama not akin to a “circular argument” of illogical fallacy fame, but something karmic: what goes around comes around. In Moebius, we have Father (Jae-hyeon Jo), who has cheated on his wife (Mother, played by Eun-woo Lee, who also plays Mistress), which has not only left her scorned and hostile, but the tension and continuous emotional percolation has affected their impressionable and coming of age, Son (Young-ju Seo).

Originally banned in South Korea, possibly due to a negative look on the family, Moebius has developed a cult following for several reasons. This drama is multi-thematic and thus multi-layered, and serves as warning for fathers to maintain face (honor) and not to destroy their family from within. After all, innocents, like Son, may have no way of coping with seeing their family come undone, and Mother’s who feel betrayed can rightfully broil over with their anger.

Due to the infidelity and for being played a fool, Mother attempts to cut off Father’s penis with a knife, and once thwarted, enters her son’s room. The implication is that once the Son sees what the head of the household can do, and get away with, at least momentarily, this may inspire him to do the same when he becomes a man. In this way, Mother’s pre-emptive strike can protect women of the same fate – thus ending the cycle, or circle, or August Ferdinand’s moebius, from continuing.

What follows is a tale that explores the corruption of innocence, the discovery of pleasure through pain, the handling of jealousy and guilt, and the righting of wrongs via destruction. To go into detail would ruin the intense narrative, which must be seen to be believed since it is truly a unique story.

Like his fellow Korean counterpart, Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Stoker), Kim brings audiences a fresh look on traditional tales and genre stories, and has entranced viewers with The Isle, Time, 3-Iron, and much more. His approach to cinema brings a fresh eye to drama, where boundaries are always crossed, if not annihilated, and each new scene is a guessing game of “What could possibly happen next?” Quite often, developing a theory for how Kim’s films will end proves to be a fruitless endeavor.

Regardless of the themes and surreal approach to storytelling, Moebuis exemplifies Kim’s commitment to having quality actors bring life to the characters which inhabit the film. Jae-hyeon Jo has appeared in a number of Kim’s films, and brings a cool intensity to his role as Father, though he can explode into something fierce, or buckle into a mess if need be. Most important, especially in Moebius, as with Eun-woo Lee, body language and the look behind the eyes says so very much. For her part, Lee plays both Mother and Mistress with verve. Both characters are clearly different, and Lee undergoes an array of emotions for each persona that must have left her exhausted off set. Her facial expressions and dramatic depth is intense and always revealing in naked emotion.

To complement the acting, Kim’s cinematography keeps us in every moment as if Moebius is an intimate play. The camera often focuses on the family, without long shots or one’s that denote setting, which reflects that the family is trapped in a world of their own doing. Since Mistress slept with Father, she is also part of their world, and the camera stays close to her as well.

In a film like this, where no dialogue exists, sound is paramount. However, unlike David Lynch’s Eraserhead or Blue Velvet, or Hélène Cattet’s and Bruno Forzani’s The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, where sound can be distorted and overwhelm or supplant the visual, Seung-yeop Lee chose to keep things straight-forward and honest, as if to ground the subtle yet surreal nature of the narrative. Otherwise, In-young Park’s original music enhances the visuals without being over-indulgent or interruptive.

Kim and company have delivered an unforgiving and disturbing drama of infidelity, incest, and indiscretion in an incredible manner. The film is riveting and scenes will remain with you for a lifetime. Love it or hate it, when Kim’s story comes full circle, you’ll definitely be left with something to talk about.

4.5 out of 5 stars

You can more of Bill’s writings and the podcast he co-hosts with Jonny Numb, The Last Knock here:  Crash Palace Productions