Being the fringe culture lover that I am, there's a special kind of thrill whenever a movie you love gets referenced in a song that you love. It doesn't happen too often, but one instance of this sonic-geekery kismet would be “Debaser” by The Pixies. Not only is this a great song but it is also the greatest song about “Un Chien Andalou.” Okay, it's probably the only song about “Un Chien Andalou” but still, it's one of the best songs by a fairly stellar band. (I'll save my paean to Kim Deal for a later date.) The manic way that Frank Black sings/yells “slicing up eyeballs whahohoho” is one of those things that makes me happy. Fun random trivia: Pixies drummer David Lovering is also a professional magician.
Over the weekend, my husband and I ended up getting massively hooked on a YouTube series entitled, “Unboxed, Watched & Reviewed.” Hosted by the fabulous Obulious Toobach (one helluva of a nom de plume, eh?), “Unboxed, Watched & Reviewed” first came to my attention thanks to the “What to Watch” feature on YouTube. The review in question? The 1976 “Taxi Driver” meets colonic horror adult film, “Water Power,” starring the inimitable and unforgettable Jamie Gillis. I hit play and was instantly hooked. Obulious is my favorite kind of fan; funny, a little snarky, smart and obviously loves fringe cinema. On top of that, his reviews are great, well edited and he traipses into territory that both angels and most film writers fear to tread. The man's cinematic testicular fortitude is impressive. Plus, any one that makes references to Gus Pratt and owns a “Liquid Sky”shirt is instantly cool in my book.
Speaking of film reviews, I was recently invited to contribute a list of some my personal favorite underrated horror films for one of the best film blogs out there, Rupert Pupkin Speaks. I got to contribute for the site awhile back for their “Top Underrated Drama” feature, so it was a pleasure getting to come back and give some love to films ranging from Michael Findlay's psycho-sexual “Janie” to the brother-sister vampire film, “The Black Room.” Hope you guys enjoy it!
There's been a lot of buzz lately about Lars von Trier's upcoming film, “Nymphomaniac.” The buzz in question has little to do with the all star cast (including this week's birthday boy and one my uber-acting loves, Udo Kier) but instead of von Trier's choice to include unsimulated sex utilizing body doubles being digitally added to the actors. Von Trier has done some good work and in fact, it was me citing “Breaking the Waves” that invoked some snobby Waspy academic ire during my FSU film school interview years ago, so he has a place in my heart for that. But this feels almost Castle-like in its gimmickry. Having your actors go the extra mile has been featured in films ranging from Gerard Damiano's classic “Devil in Miss Jones” all the way to Michael Winterbottom's flawed but interesting 2004 film, “Nine Songs.”
So using explicit sexuality is nothing new, even for von Trier, going back to his film, 1998's “The Idiots.” Which makes the whole digital body double thing sound incredibly silly. If you're going to be outre, be outre but do not half ass it. What's sad is that there are critics that will call this art, which is fine, but largely will never use the “A” word regarding the pioneers who were using explicit sexuality, like Damiano and many of his peers, decades ago. This is not von Trier's fault, but instead the old guard film critic attitude. All the more reason for a proper cultural revolution. Rip it up and start again.