originally posted April 14th / 2019
Without any further ado (whatever ‘ado‘ is!) let’s get straight into some killer movies I’ve seen recently…
Like Arizona. A horror comedy starring Danny McBride which I enjoyed immensely. UFO with David Strathairn is another I got a kick out of, and Slice, starring Chance Bennett and Zazie Beetz, about a pizza delivery guy that runs into all sorts of horror-y things and situations was another favorite.
There was also Possum, which was really, really freaky, and it features an excellent use of a Nosferatu mask. Check out this for a plot description …! “A disgraced children’s puppeteer must confront his sinister stepfather and a hideous puppet. He keeps it in a brown leather bag.” Tell me, what isn’t appealing about that?! And rounding off this opening quick-fire blast of fun films is Slender Man. It got panned by the critics but I loved it. I really like the idea of Slender Man coming from a meme and becoming a real story with a plot. I gave it a lot of leeway of course, and it’s cheesy in parts, but it was still extremely entertaining.
The concept rides above all.
I finally got around to seeing The Nun, and this is another I liked a lot. You know, having a Catholic school background, I love the idea of evil nuns because I’ve always felt that nuns are evil … especially when I was going to Catholic school and they were beating me and all my friends up! Again, I gave the movie a bit of breathing space because of how much I liked the overall concept. When I love the idea behind a horror movie, it can be as bad as hell and I’ll still like it. I’d put both The Nun and Slender Man in that category. The concept rides above all.
Abominable is another of those “concepts I love” movies. It also works as a damn good Bigfoot movie. I love Bigfoot movies and this one is right up there in this very narrow genre. The poster art looks like a ‘70s flick, but it was released in 2018. While I’m on the subject of Bigfoot movies, there was one where even the concept didn’t stop me from feeling really disappointed … The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot. It had huge potential but it ended up feeling more like a western dressed up as a horror movie. I have to admit the title does set up your perception on what the plot might be, but if you don’t buy it, well, you just don’t buy it.
Now; three films I think are spectacular! I saw Overlord, Border and Lords of Chaos within a two week span, so let’s start with Overlord. It’s brilliant! It’s a little like Bone Tomahawk to me in the way it mixes genres, but it does it in such a way that you’re totally accepting it and it totally makes sense. Overlord is like a cross between Kelly’s Heroes and Re-Animator served with a side of Inglorious Bastards. It plays out like a World War II movie until you get to “the mission” and then all of a sudden, it gets really gothic. Almost to a Lovecraftian degree. All of a sudden you’re dealing with a deranged mad doctor and reanimated bodies, among other great things, and the flow and consistency in the movie makes it work. It’s well made with good special effects, good acting and good production. A World War II genre movie that turns into a fucking Lovecraftian horror movie at the turn of a dime! Overlord is just a killer, killer flick.
Most people reading this are familiar with Norwegian Black Metal; the church burning, and whatnot. I was pretty familiar with it, but to see it broken down into an actual series of events in the movie Lords of Chaos was mind-blowing. Obviously I’m partial because of where I stand in the whole music industry. I know what it’s like to start a band, and I know how it is to believe in a cause. I also know how it is to do whatever you can to find other people who believe in the same cause and recruit them, which all of a sudden makes you a gang. And then all of a sudden that cause becomes really super powerful.
It was really striking because it reminded me of when I first started playing with Exodus in the Bay Area. A bunch of juvenile delinquents on the wrong side of the law all the time. And we were bored. All we really had was the music and our vision, our common cause. So watching this movie was like seeing a mirror image of what happened in the first few years of Exodus and then Metallica, but then in this case (and story) it all goes horribly wrong. And I think that could’ve happened to us very easily if a “wrong person” and influence had been the dominant thinker. It’s like the movie asks, “What will you do? How far will you go to stand out? How extreme will you be just to be a ‘unique’ individual?” I mean how far do you go?
What was so striking is that these guys, these musicians, they’re caught up in this kind of weird ‘competition’ that went totally awry. It was a game of egos even though it wasn’t obviously apparent. The nihilism of it all blew me away, because at the end of the day it’s just frigging music. It’s fucking entertainment. It’s a violent movie, and I’m someone who can do without multiple stabbing sounds. Someone must’ve stabbed a watermelon maybe 300 times with a mike on it, and every stab sounds different. But the violent, graphic parts of the movie are crucial to the telling of the story. You can’t tell a story like that, and put the emotions across you want to put across, without showing the violence.
In Metallica we’ve known the director and filmmaker Jonas Ackerlund for a long time. In fact, there is a key link between Lords of Chaos and Metallica, which is that the band in Lords of Chaos was the band who starred in our “ManUNkind” video Jonas shot, and the video sort of gave everyone the first taster of what was to come in the movie. So while I’m here, thanks again to Jonas, Rory Culkin, Jack Kilmer, Emory Cohen and Valter Skarsgård for doing that.
The other amazing film on my recent list is Border. Going by the synopsis, I thought of it as being a movie which would be relatively simple to comprehend. A border guard who can smell human emotions and smell out all these various characters. That’s pretty cool, and I thought that was the beginning and ending of the plot … but I was just oh, so wrong. Also, when the male lead showed up, he reminded me of Aphex Twin, I thought it was that guy.
The movie just gets weirder and weirder, with the most bizarre, out-of-left-field shit going down. And I have to say, I thought there might be some humor when the guy showed up, but no, there’s no humor at all. It just got darker and more mysterious! Look, just trust me, this movie is so great, but it’s hard to talk about without giving too much away.
Finally, moving away from movies, I wanna tell you about two new pieces which will be at the upcoming Royal Ontario Museum exhibition of my It’s Alive! Collection.
The first is a Dracula one-sheet poster I’ve been trying to find ever since one was found in the ‘90s. Before it was found in the ‘90s, the only picture we had was in black and white. And when I saw the full color version from 1931, I thought it was the best Dracula poster there is. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to pick one up, and I’m really, really, really excited because it fills out my collection in a way I’ve been meaning to fill it out for a long time. I’m very happy about it, and there will be a guitar graphic in the future.
The other piece is a piece that me, my friends, and pretty much the whole horror collecting world could not believe was actually found; the original artwork for Invasion of The Saucer Men.
Not only had this poster actually survived, it was found in a secondhand store in Florida, of all places. The speculation is that the artist maybe moved to Florida, or retired there, perhaps passed on, and maybe his family had an estate sale where somehow, the art was bought. It ended up in a secondhand store, and an intrepid collector picked it up for an absolute giveaway before turning it around spectacularly! And guess what? That’s gonna be on a guitar soon too!
See ya later,