Sunday, August 14, 2016

STAY SICK! Newsletter

If you're one of my Scandinavian readers who don't subscribe to the news feed on this blog's Danish section you might wanna check this out: I've just posted a new issue of my SS NYT - the newsletter companion to my old zine STAY SICK! It's all in Greek of course.

Go here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tracking down old SOUTH PARK box sets

I've always loved SOUTH PARK, ever since my ex girlfriend sent me one of the very first VHS releases from OZ in the 1990's. Recently I've started to collect the series on dvd but since I'm skint most of the time I go for the cheapest sets on Amazon UK.

There's quite a few different releases; UK PAL, US NTSC, volumes as part of a season, full seasons, old releases, repacked releases. Last week I received season 2 and season 11. What a difference between the two sets! Season two is an - dare I say - oldskool dvd box set in which they've simply collected volume 4-7 in a big carton box; i.e. four dvd's in individual cases and four identical four page booklets + four identical 28 pp video catalogues! Season 11 is a compact set of three dvd's in one digi type pack. The latter takes up a fourth of the other set but the oldskool set is way cooler.

Monday, July 11, 2016

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (usa 1951) dir: Christian Nyby

It's half past three in the morning on these shores and I've just finished watching the original movie adaptation of "Who Goes There?" entitled THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951). And I liked it quite a bit! You'd probably be hard pressed to find anybody who thinks it's better than Carpenter's remake, THE THING, but I thought it was pretty good, not cheesy at all and no wooden acting or bad effects (and I'm not the only one, check out Michael Weldon's review from the original Psychotronic Video book!). And I do like snapper cases (in contradiction to everyone else).

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lost zombies finally walking

Way before zombie films infested the film landscape as much as the living dead do the real landscape (at least in said films) Ian Helstrup made his 30 minute, shot on 16mm, black & white zombie film debut NEKROLOG in Denmark in 2000. The film is piece of work on its own but was ultimately meant as a teaser for a real feature length film. Unfortunately, Helstrup passed away in 2001 a year after finishing the film. The scarce info that I have about cinema runs is the film had a very few theatrical screenings and then disappeared due to the director's passing away.

The film was never released in any home cinema format and has never been shown on television. Don't hold your breath while waiting for an official release. 16 years down the line I don't think we're gonna see one. A few first generation VHS screeners were sent out for review and one of those screeners has finally made it to YouTube - over a decade and a half after the film was finished! I remember seeing Ian Helstrup talking enthusiastically about his film in an episode of a Danish TV3 talkshow (I reviewed the episode in my zine Stay Sick! #1 in 2000). I've still got the programme on a VHS somewhere and I guess I ought to pull it out and upload at some point.

Needless to say, I wish Ian Helstrup could have made his full length zombie film that he dreamed of. Unfortunately, that wasn't meant to be. What we have here is a fine 30 minute short that shows a lot of potential. And do keep in mind this came out way before zombie flicks started popping up everywhere, rivalling the sheer numbers of the living dead that rise from their graves in these films.

The YouTube upload is in Danish sans subtitles. Hopefully some fan is gonna do a subbed version at some point but until that happens I urge you to watch NEKROLOG even if you don't capisce the lingo. You'll get the gist of the story line even without the dialogue and it's a fine wee new millennium film about rotting cadavers rising from their graves.

PS: If you read Danish you might wanna check the links on the YT page, one of them is for an interview with the director (from 2000).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Legendary heavy metal shop Rock Uglen to close soon

The legendary Copenhagen heavy metal and horror movie store ROCK UGLEN is going to close down soon. Rock Uglen has existed more years than most of you have been alive and this is indeed sad news. Rock Uglen has existed for 33 years. I live far from Copenhagen and I'm far from being a regular customer, however, in the early to mid 2000's I used to go there on a regular basis. The photo is me in 2003. That year I was a zombie in a lowbudget Danish zombie flick called RÅDDEN KÆRLIGHED (aka Rotten Love) and at some point someone rang me and said "there's a poster of you at Rock Uglen!" And sure enough when I got there there was a poster of zombie-me on the wall. Not very big but, hey, it's a poster.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Black Cat 2: The Assassination of President Yeltsin (HK, 1992)

I just rewatched Stephen Shin's Hong Kong film BLACK CAT 2 from 1992. Not surprisingly it's a sequel to BLACK CAT (1991) also directed by Stephen Shin. The film's original cinema title is actually BLACK CAT 2: THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT YELTSIN, hahaha.

Anyhoo, while the first film is a direct remake of Luc Besson's French film NIKITA, the sequel is a film all of its own. I remember when it came out 20 years ago, nobody - as in NOBODY - had anything positive to say about the film and, uh, maybe I bought into that notion a bit. I remember watching the film many years ago and disliking it not least because I thought there were simply too many gwailos in it. LOL. 

It's been a number of years since I watched the first film so this time I was able to watch the sequel as a stand alone film and quite frankly I enjoyed it quite a bit. No, it's probably not all that well written in the plot department, and no, the main character of the film, the "Black Cat" aka Erica, isn't even really the main character in the film. She's so two-dimensional that she comes across as a cartoon character, no depth what so ever. 

What saves the film are the action scenes, the shoot-out scenes and the fight scenes. And they come aplenty. As I said the first film is a remake and maybe because Stephen Shin & Co. actually had to come up with a plot of their own this time they kinda forgot what kind of character Erica is (a hitman). Instead they turned her into almost a cyborg. If part 1 was Nikita this film is Terminator 2!!! 

The ending is terrible but, hey, that's just Hong Kong for ya. But don't worry, there's two more sequels, BLACK CAT IN JAIL (2000) and THE BLACK CAT AGENT FILES (2003). Part 3 is right out terrible and part 4 only exists on unsubbed DVD (after having owned part 4 for something like a full decade I still haven't bothered to watch it). 

I highly recommend part 1. It's a better film than the film it remakes! Part 2 is recommended for those of you who are able to accept a wild action movie with a shit plot. Forget about part 3 and 4 and watch part 1 again. 

PS: it's a old (and now stained due to being right next to the coffee machine) poster from one of the Chinese cinemas in Melbourne on my wall. I actually watched BLACK CAT there in the early 90's.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Tilbage til de hvidmalede, klonede David Lynch-stakitter

I 1990 boede jeg i boligkomplekset Barons Keep lige over for undergrundsstationen Barons Court i London (eller "metrostation", som det hedder på nymodens dansk, too bad I'm not nymodens. Hmm, nu jeg tænker over det, hedder det velsagtens "metro station", da 95 % af danskerne tror, vi ikke længere har sammenskrivning, eftersom de ikke har det i USA. Jeg tror, det var Søren Brun, der sagde det bedst ...) og fulgte med i den dengang helt nye TV-serie Twin Peaks af David Lynch.

David Lynch havde jeg allerede mødt kulturelt, da BBC tidligere havde sendt nogle af hans kortfilm, bl.a. THE GRANDMOTHER, og et dokumentarprogram. Jeg optog naturligvis hele baduljen og har grangiveligt stadig alle de gamle bånd, inkl. hele første sæson af Twin Peaks.

Nå, men i øvrigt er det slet ikke David Lynch eller Twin Peaks, vi skal snakke om. Og så alligevel. Serien var produceret af ABC og da den et par år senere sluttede, fik konkurrenterne ovre på CBS selvsagt den geniale idé at smede medens jernet var varmt og sprøjtede derfor en lignende "weirdo"-fjernsynsserie på markedet; Picket Fences. På dansk TV blev serien lanceret som "Under overfladen". Twin Peaks kørte fra 1990-91 og Picket Fences kom lige på hælene af førstnævnte i 1992.

Mellem '91 og '96 valfartede jeg lige dele frem og tilbage mellem Australien og Danmark og selvom jeg fulgte Picket Fences, har jeg hverken nogen erindring om, hvor mange afsnit jeg fik set eller hvornår Dansk TV viste serien. Og kørte den på DR eller TV2? Jeg checkede Henrik Larsens indeks over psykotroniske TV-serier i Obskuriøst, men han lader ikke til at have taget den med. Den er ellers vældig psykotronisk. Men hvorom alting er, så må det have været efter 1994, da jeg husker at have set flere afsnit i det opmagasineringsrum (læs: en lejlighed), som jeg havde anskaffet til opbevaring af alt mit ragelse i '94.

Der er altså gået omkring 20 år, siden jeg første gang så serien. Første og indtil i går aftes også eneste gang. Som det jo nogle gange går med kloner, efterligninger og direkte remakes, så viste kopien sig mere holdbar end originalen og modsat Twin Peaks' oprindelige to årgange (30 episoder), overlevede Picket Fences med hele fire sæsoner (88 afsnit). I flere år ærgrede det mig, at jeg ikke have fuldført mit projekt fra 90'erne med at optage samtlige afsnit, og da min natur byder mig at slette alt igen, hvis ikke jeg har fået fat i det hele, så kunne jeg ikke engang gense enkelte episoder i årenes løb. Ja, i alt fald ikke før 2007, hvor sæson 1 udkom på reg. 1 DVD i USA. Jeg blev naturligvis ufatteligt glad for nyheden om udgivelsen, ventede ni år, og ilede ud og købte den! Yay!

Desværre lader det ikke til at bokssættet blev nogen videre succes i Kamerika, for det blev ved den ene udgivelse. For nyligt har efterkommere af britiske tugthusfanger og jævnt kriminelle (dvs. australiere) heldigvis udsendt sæson 1-3 og nr. 4 skulle komme meget snart. Jeg er ikke helt sikker på, hvem der har udsendt sæson 1 og 2, men sæson 3 skulle være kommet på Madman, som er et sublimt australsk DVD-selskab. Når jeg er i tvivl, skyldes det flere stærkt negative brugerkommentarer på Amazon UK om billede- og lydkvaliteten af sæson 2, hvilket ikke ligner Madman. Men indtil videre er det altså det eneste måde at se sæson 2 og 3 på, med mindre man går bootleg-vejen eller ser private TV-optagelser.

Nå, men op i røven med alt det petitesseflueknepperi om udgivelser og dansk TV og hvad fanden ved jeg. Jeg genså piloten engang i nat og det vigtige her, det som er på alles læber (eller burde være det) er selvsagt; Holder den så, serien? Eller fremstår den, som dén klon, seriens samtid beskyldte den for at være?? Og var Jack J underholdt???

Det vigtige først: Ja, jeg var glimrende underholdt. Persongalleriet er finurligt, dialogen flød fint og historien i det spillefilmslange pilotafsnit fin nok til at gøre det, som den skulle; give os den finurlige dialog af det flydende persongalleri. Eller hvordan det nu var. Da jeg så serien i 90'erne var jeg vældig glad for Holly Marie Combs i rollen som sheriffens datter, Kimberly Brock. I dag, tyve år senere, jah joh, hun er stadig en smækker sag, men her i alderdommen er det scenerne med den skæve og tossede forsvarsadvokat Douglas Wambaugh, som begejstrer her i huset. Wambaugh spilles af Philip "Fyvush" Finkel, som allerede dengang var en ældre herre. Jeg slog ham op på Wiki og kan med glæde meddele, at han i en alder af 93 stadig er i fuld vigør. Eller i alt fald i live.

Hvis der er een ting, der både i 90'erne og i nat irriterede mig, var det serien kendingsmelodi, hvori der bliver hamret på et klaver, som om det var en skide syvårig, der sad på taburetten. Men man kan jo for fanden skrue ned for lyden under rulleteksterne, så det går nok. Holder serien? Ja, nu er det jo som sagt kun pilotafsnittet, jeg har set, men jeg synes, det holdt ganske glimrende. Jah-joh, der var måske et par detaljer hist og pist, men jeg synes stort set, afsnittet kørte glimrende.

Fremstår serien så, som den klon, samtiden dengang anklagede den for at være? Nej, det synes jeg ikke. Om de skæve personer i "Under overfladen" ville have eksisteret uden Twin Peaks' succes er måske nok tvivlsomt, men hva' fa'en, ville Sodom have eksisteret uden Kreator eller Destruction? Der laves næppe noget popkultur, der ikke ta'r sin inspiration et eller andet sted fra. Tricket er at lave noget, der kan leve sit eget liv og det synes jeg Picket Fences levede op til (i alt fald med pilotafsnittet, nu får vi at se med resten af serien. Hvis det går alt for meget ned ad bakke med kvaliteten, skal jeg nok følge op på dette indlæg med et nyt, vredt indlæg, hvor jeg brænder lortet af på bålet. Indtil dét sker, vil jeg nøjes med at anbefale serien (for 117. gang: i alt fald pilotafsnittet!).

PS: og jo, jeg poster med vilje indlægget på den engelske udgave af bloggen og vil i den forbindelse lige gøre danske/skandinaviske læsere opmærksomme på, at man ikke får notifications fra den danske del, hvis man kun abonnerer på den engelske side af bloggen. Omend de ser ens ud, er der tale om to forskellige

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Jodorowsky on Refn

I love this brief segment from the documentary film NWR (Laurent Duroche, France 2012) where cult film director and graphic novel author Alejandro Jodorowsky talks about Nicolas Winding Refn. In fact, the entire film is good (but don't see it for Jodorowsky as he's hardly in it). I taped my copy off TV but it's also on DVD in Germany and France.

Monday, March 7, 2016

KILLERS (Japan/Indonesia, 2014) - trailer

I just found this Japanese/Indonesian film on dddhouse and the trailer certainly looks good. I realise the thumbnail makes it look like yet another "torture porn" film but if it is the trailer certainly doesn't look that way.