12.31.13

I’ve been sending out some re-ups in anticipation of working on Cramhole #4.

Here are links to a few new stores currently carrying Cramhole:

Steady Sounds Richmond, VA

Record Grouch Brooklyn, NY

Co-Op 87 Brooklyn, NY

We’re still going strong at Smash! Records- Washington DC and through Pioneers Press

Sadly, Tucson oasis Toxic Ranch Records is closing its doors this year. I worked there for a year while I was living in Tucson and it was a great store.

Here’s a nice piece about them in the Tucson Weekly.

12.29.13

So, it’s been a while. 2013 has had its middle finger lodged firmly in my ass, but I’m back in DC., working on a new Cramhole and working a new dog walking job. I’m also filling in at Smash. After cancer and divorce, things are coming together. I’m also reunited with my computer, so look for more updates on things coming up. This year will finally see the publication of The League and hopefully Cramhole #4 with new artists and no cancer anecdotes. I’m leaving that for the experts.
Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive over the last few months. In spite of how shitty things have been, I had a nice time travelling to Austin, being a part of Ben Tankersley’s wedding, and spent some time in Mississippi with my grandfather and at flea markets. I wrote some stories and am still doing reviews for  Razorcake.
So here I am restating my intention to post more and looking forward to a productive year. I stored my computer without remembering my passwords, otherwise I might have posted more from the road. Below is the cover of the next Cramhole and an article I wrote about a film called Nightmares (1983).

Nightmares (1983)
Universal
Director: Joseph Sargent
MCA Home Video

The 80s was a great time for low-budget horror anthologies. Creepshow (1982) helped revive a tradition that was going strong in Britain in the early seventies with films like Tales from the Crypt (1972) and Vault of Horror (1973). While Creepshow had a one two punch with a script by Stephen King and direction by George Romero, 1983’s Nightmares did not have the same cache.  However the film has a respectable cast and a few good short stories with some interesting twists.

The film opens with “Terror in Topanga,” a story about an escaped psychopath terrorizing a small community. It wouldn’t be a story if someone didn’t go out for cigarettes. The twist in the story closely resembles an urban myth, but it’s a fun story and Fear frontman Lee Ving is among the players. The most unique story in the anthology is the second story:  “The Bishop of Battle.” This chapter finds Emilio Estevez between his success in The Outsiders and his eventual ascension into cult stardom in Repo Man. Estevez plays J.J. Cooney, a video game hustler (I only hope there really were video game hustlers.) Cooney goes from arcade to arcade listening to Fear on his Walkman and hustling people out of their allowances. Cooney does this because he’s obsessed with a video game called The Bishop of Battle. Cooney is convinced there is an unreachable 13th level that will validate his existence. The story is one of the best video game horror stories considering that there aren’t that many.  A clandestine moment can be had with fans of the movie with the game’s opening warning: “Greetings Earthlings. I am the Bishop of Battle, master of all I survey. I have 13 progressively harder levels. Try me…if you dare.”

If you consider what can go wrong here for a moment, you can probably work out the twist ending, but for a glimpse into early Estevez and a good representation of early arcade culture, the second chapter of Nightmares is a must see.

Story three has two things working for it: one is the ever effective Lance Henriksen playing a priest, and two, it recognizes the length of time the man vs. car plotline can remain interesting. Henriksen plays Macleod, a priest struggling with his faith until he is faced with battling a satanic car. It sounds a little trite, but Henriksen makes it work. His ability to struggle with evil is inherent and he makes the story work. There is a similar dynamic in “Night of the Rat,” where professional hysteric Veronica Cartwright makes a typical giant rat narrative better. Cartwright is a freak out expert, bringing her pushed-over-the-edge persona to films like Alien (1979), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Right Stuff (1983). Nightmares won’t blow your mind, but it’s a great Saturday night horror anthology with good performances, punk undertones, and a few surprises. It’s been released a couple of times on DVD, but it’s an easy video to run across in s dollar bin as it’s usually in the throwaway section of stacks of horror videos. It’s easily a dollar or two’s worth of fun.

08.25.13

For those of you who write to me and those whom I haven’t spoken to in a while, my Brooklyn address is not going to be good anymore. I’m in limbo in September. I will get my new address out as soon as I get settled. I did a mail forward to my parents P.O Box, but best to wait if you need to send me anything. Also my stuff is in storage, so if you do a mail order, it could be delayed. Drop me an email if you want to see if I’m coming through your town. We’ll party.

Here is a short review I sent out to a horror mag I hope to do some writing for in the future. For those horror fans who haven’t seen the Death Waltz releases, they are primo classy.

The House by the Cemetery
Score by Walter Rizzati
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Exclusive new cover art by Graham Humphreys

Prog rock-inspired scores brought a new twist to the tone of horror movies in the seventies. Influential films like Dawn of the Dead helped marry the prog-style soundtrack with the new wave of gory horror creating a new standard for neo-gothic narratives. For fans of Lucio Fulci’s unique brand of non-linear storytelling, Walter Rizzati’s score for the third installment of the unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy is a solid listen. Now available on LP through Death Waltz Records, a label dedicated to reissuing seminal and somewhat lost horror soundtracks, Rizzati’s music adds considerable atmosphere to the experience of The House by the Cemetery. The synth heavy score compliments the eerie and gory elements of the film and solidifies Fulci’s vision. Death Waltz celebrates long out of print horror scores like with high-end vinyl releases. The album as a product harkens back the old philosophy of vinyl releasing by including treats like album art posters and record flats. The art comes from veteran movie poster artist Graham Humphreys; it’s a wonderfully gory reimagining of images from the film. Humphreys’ credits include posters for The Evil Dead and A Nightmare on Elm Street along with loads of cult and horror DVD covers. For fans of Italian horror, House by the Cemetery is essential listening.

Death Waltz

07.20.13

I sent out a bunch of reviews recently that of course were all rejected. Here is a short one about the recent Resonars album. Looking back at my reviews, I realize I may have written about them too many times. But I can’t help it; I think they are sorely underrated. In a recent set of submissions, I mentioned to the editor of a large magazine he should be listening to the Resonars. I bet he went right out and checked them out.

The Resonars- Crummy Desert Sound
Burger Records
Desert psych masters continue to bake in the sun.
This long-standing psychedelic band from Tucson, Arizona has weathered several retro resurgences. Six albums over nearly fifteen years find a psychedelic powerhouse producing consistently great psychedelic pop albums while languishing in the blazing Arizona desert. The Resonars combine jangly guitars and carefully placed fuzz to create psychedelic pop influenced heavily by Revolver-era Beatles. The band’s unique brand of pop-infused psychedelia is served with precision, Hollie’s style vocal harmonies. Tomorrow Gears and Vanishing People are punk-tempo rockers framing tropes of early powerpop. But this band should not be written off as simply a retro outfit. Thick layers of upbeat psychedelic riffs hold the interest of retro hounds, but the songwriting on Crummy Desert Sound is multifaceted.

07.03.13

I ‘m home after a little over a week in the hospital. The surgery was a success. I kept my kidney and it seems the tumor is gone. After a couple of months of recovery, I hope to pull the year together and get some things accomplished. I never know how much medical stuff to share here. Many people have heard about my recent struggles with cancer have contacted me. I’m touched so many people take time to wish me well. I’m glad to say I’m feeling better, well enough to write, and hope to keep up at least with some regular reviews and things until I’m 100%.

Also, It’s pretty obvious that writing on the site has fallen off a bit. But I hope to rectify that and I’m still sending around The League a bit in hopes of getting it published. If that doesn’t work, I’m determined to do it myself and keep working forward. I’ve been working on writing some blurbs and new submissions for magazines. I’ve got some boss new albums recently and, of course, I’m watching way to many movies. Also been doing some new fiction, so look back for that. Rejected reviews will end up here and I’m working to at least polish a few new short stories. Below are some words on two time travel films I watched recently and thought were pretty good.


Timecrimes (2007)

How far could you go back in time and not affect events in your life? Not far according to Nacho Vigalondo’s clever time travel film Timecrimes. Hector (Karra Elejalde) travels back in time only long enough to observe himself on a casual afternoon. But the chain of events that leads to his trying to fix simple mistakes causes major mishaps. This is a low budget film with a sense of urgency created by Vigalondo’s tight shooting style. It’s a clever script with the tone of a dark comedy. The small world of Hector’s afternoon removes the need for excessive special effects and long explanations. If the plot was entirely dissected, the story might not entirely make sense, but that can almost be said about any time travel film. Hector’s desperation to put things right creates the plausible doubt needed to enjoy a time travel film.

 


Primer (2004)

Primer’s plot also involves protagonists traveling backwards to fix problems set in motion during experiments with time travel. Abe (David Sulivan) and Aaron (Shane Carruth) discover a way to turn back the clock while studying gravity. Abe builds a prototype of a machine that enables them to go back and play the stock market. Primer is best enjoyed if you just let it be. It’s a brilliant movie that’s occasionally too smart for it’s own good. Too much time spent contemplating the minutia of the story ruins the fun. The film is a real triumph if you consider it was made for around $7000. It’s a low budget home run with an obligatory cult following.

06.16.13

Giuda: Racey Roller: LP
This record is designed to resemble a long lost glam gem right down to the phony wear marks on the cover. It’s a dead-solid LP of Glitterbest-style anthems mixed with a bit of pub rock attitude. The album loaded with jovial choruses and shameless hand clapping interludes. “Number 10” has hands slapping in the best tradition of The Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night.”  That’s right, I mentioned The Bay City Rollers. Don’t pretend you’re too cool to like “Saturday Night.” The upbeat antics of T. Rex and Mud are evoked in the band’s ability to construct a compulsively catchy chorus. “Coming Back to You” utilizes a style of back and forth vocals that exemplifies the simple fun in writing rock lyrics. The songs on this album sound and feel as if they could have been classics during a time when rock was just about to turn into punk. Fans of Killed By Glam and Glitterbest should take note of this band. They may not bring back wide suspenders, but you might think about it.

Giuda posted in: Writing | Comments (0)

Cancer really sucks.
My desire to get back to regular writing has been thwarted once again by complications relating to cancer. It seems I’m going to have an operation a week from Monday that’s going to put me out of commission for a while longer. Afterwards, there may or may not be more chemotherapy. What a depressing year. However I have been proactive with my mental health recently. I’m seeing a therapist and have an appointment with a psychologist. I have also joined a writing program for cancer patients. So I hope to stop placing these random posts about how depressed I am every couple of months and start putting up some reviews and happier things.
Not much else is going on, although I have a slew of new records to write about and I’ve been hitting the Netflix list recently for some of the gems buried there. I did the Razorcake rotation this month.
That’s about it. Just trying to stay positive and keep my head moving in the right direction. I’ve been doing some writing exercises just to keep up with writing. I’m going to post some new stuff including a few stories I’m working on as a means of getting my act together, so take a look in the ensuing days. BA

Cancer posted in: Writing | Comments (0)

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