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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Announcing a new ONGOING film fanzine… ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT!

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OK peeps…the HOUSE OF SKIN has been locked up for the season. It’s 2018 and time for a new ‘zine. This time out we are going to try an ongoing… and it’s called ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT. Based on the Facebook group of the same name, started by the illustrious Jesse Midnitekrawlr, the ‘zine version will be released whenever there is enough content.

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT will be half sized (5.5″ x 8.5″) and consist of 20 pages each issue. The idea is to knock these out fast. First issue will be out sometime in March 2018!

Thematically, we will be covering 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 will mostly consist 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.

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

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FIENDISH one-shot August 2017 is now available for download!! 8/27/17

It’s the moment you have all been waiting for (or not)! The FIENDISH horror/cult/exploitation one shot fanzine is now available for download. It’s 92 pages of some great content from writers all over.

You have two ways to download FIENDISH (it’s free!):

The print version is in two parts. One file is for the odd pages (cover side) and the other file is the even pages. Download both and you can print your own copy (or copies to give out to others). This is a free fanzine, so while you are free to print as many as your want, don’t sell it. The files for this version are here:

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The web/screen version is here. This version is the individual pages, so it can be read on screen up/down or side to side. At a 121 mb, a bit of a beast but it was as small as I could get it without sacrificing quality.

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Hope you like and tell others to get it. A few months of work went into this and I feel the results are there.

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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

Grindhouse Video Tampa

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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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