Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Breakup Letter


 ,



It's not you, it's me. I have feelings for someone else. Her name is Something Weird Video. She may be a bit older and not know as much Italian as you do, but she brings so much more to the table. She almost always has at least twice as much to offer at less of my expense. And she's got plenty of other goodies to boot too. Her personality is so diverse, not to mention a little kinky. I hope you understand and can find it in your heart to remain friends. We have had plenty of wonderful times together, some of my most favorite. I will always cherish our memories and revisit them often. Keep in touch.

Sincerely,
-KJB




Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Album Review: Bongripper - Sex Tape/Snuff Film


Crushingly Heavy Riffs? Check.
No Vocals? Check.
Up-tempo Riffs That Sound Like They Belong On A Late 90s Pop Punk Album? Check. (But don't exit out of this review just yet!)

Bongripper's seventh release consists of only the two titular tracks and clocks in at just under ten minutes.  Despite the above mentioned seemingly out of character riffs, this release is undoubtedly a Bongripper release. Sex Tape opens with with the pounding drums and droning, sludgy guitars that are found across their entire discography. About halfway through the song it switches to a d-beat based crossover/hardcore riff before switching back to a more slow and plodding rhythm.

Snuff Film starts with some feedback and a melancholy sounding riff before breaking into a bass led, upbeat and uptempo riff that brings to mind the bleached blond hair, shitty mohawks, and hiked-up white tube socks of the 90s "punk" scene.

Just in case you forgot how da bomb that era was. PSYCHE!

Eventually the song gives way back to the Bongripper riffing that we all know and love and that would make the Tom DeLonges of yesteryear shit their Dickie's shorts. The song finishes up with some start and stop riffing mixed with some ever-so-welcome feedback.

Bongripper has effectively been able to add elements from other genres to their albums while still maintaining a sound that is specifically their own.  From the experimental aspects of Hate Ashbury to the black metal inspired Satan Worshiping Doom, they have been able to incorporate other styles of music that thematically fit their releases while not losing what makes them Bongripper. How pop punk ties into an album titled "Sex Tape/Snuff Film" is still beyond me.  Anatopisms aside, this is a solid release, even if it is a slight change of pace (ha ha!) for the band.  You can download Sex Tape/Snuff Film, as well as all their other releases, from their bandcamp page.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Abomination

The summer after I graduated high school, I decided I was going to film a zombie movie. I wrote a script (minus 90% of the dialogue--I let the actors improvise), enlisted the help of my friends, and set out to shoot this backyard epic. After spending $300 (I'm still confused as to on what) and three days filming, I had a large part of my first film making endeavor under my belt. I spent the rest of the summer and most of the fall editing the footage into Open Season, my first ever, 10 minute long, shitty, riddled with inside jokes from my group of friends, backyard movie. I put it on YouTube under "Grey Ghost Productions" (another inside joke) in two parts--this was back when YouTube's maximum video length was a lot shorter than it is today. I was hoping to "re-release" it as one full video, but it appears that the original full length file, along with all of the raw footage, was lost during a computer issue I had. Apparently the first half of my movie is so off putting that only one-third of the 1000 people that have watched it went on to watch the second half--their loss because the second half has the best action and gore!

Although I do fully admit this movie is a piece of shit, I'm still proud of it and it was a fun project. I feel like I should have some Lloyd Kaufman-esque statement about independent art here, but I'm drawing a blank. If you know who Lloyd Kaufman is, you'll understand what I'm trying to get at. Anyways, here is Open Season in its two parts and all of its shitty glory.



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Album Review: Last Chance to Reason - Level 2


I don't even know where to begin with this one. In a good way.

Last Chance to Reason was a band I first saw when I was fifteen, possibly sixteen years old.  Since they're from Maine, I've seen them more times than I can count over the course of primarily three different line ups.  It's also because of this that I became friends with the guys in the band and have followed their journey from playing local shows to being signed to Prosthetic Records to touring with such bands as Atheist.  Although I may be biased in my liking of the band to a certain extent, that is not the justification for this review.  All friendships and history aside, this album is fucking amazing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: The Mountain Goats "All Eternals Deck"

The Mountain Goats have released a new album, All Eternals Deck. I will be writing this review as I listen to the album for the very first time to offer the strongest impressions one can have about art, first impressions. I will be very lightly editing the review after the listen-through, however, to ensure that accuracy and decent writing are present as much as possible.




Hit the jump for my sloppily-written review!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS released today (March 27th) in North America and I have gotten my grubby mitts on a cosmo black system (the 3DS is also available in aqua blue.) The system is launching for $249 and games run between $40-50 each. The 3DS has improved graphics and processing power compared to the now old Nintendo DS. But, the real draw of the 3DS is glasses-free 3D gaming.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eyehategod Live DVD



It’s been over a month since I’ve made a post on the blog, but the new Eyehategod DVD was released on Tuesday and surprisingly my local music store actually had it, so I figured I’d do a quick write-up about it. After seeing Eyehategod live last year in Cambridge, Mass I had an idea of how awesome it was going to be, and it definitely did not disappoint me. This is the best sludge band ever and while they are great on every album, they are a band that needs to be experienced live to be fully appreciated. The volume at which they play and the amount of feedback their music is drenched in puts you in another state when you see them live. The set lists for both the Cleveland and Baltimore shows are perfect, the band plays live staples such as “Sister Fucker (Part 1)” and “Jackass in the Will of God”, while also playing some songs that don’t get played live as often, like “Dogs Holy Life” and “Crimes Against Skin” (which they admit to not playing in years). Besides the two full sets, the DVD also has some bonus features: 3 songs from a set in Vienna Austria and videos for “Sister Fucker,” “Age of Bootcamp,” and “Anxiety Hangover.” This DVD might not be a substitute for seeing them in person, but it is essential viewing for any fan of the band that IS sludge metal.

Order here.

Watch the newest trailer in which the band plays "Masters of Legalized Confusion":

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Update

This week's Face Off review may be delayed a few day. I hope you, the readers (all 3.5 of you), don't mind. I'm in Florida for spring break and don't know if I'll be able to watch it and review it on time. By the time I get to it it will be old news but oh well, I'll still give my two cents.

Also, I have added a chat to the blog (on the right hand side). Feel free to leave comments, suggestions, insults, anything you'd like.

Hopefully I/we will become more diligent about posting after break and as school winds down.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Bloody Best Project


I first heard about The Bloody Best Project this past winter during a dinner with my girlfriend's family. What started out as a by chance conversation about horror movies with a friend of the family led to a discussion about her involvement with the project.

Taken from the website:
"The Bloody Best Project is a celebration of the horror genre and the people who have shaped it into what it is today. We do this by creating high end conceptual images of the very people who have scared us on the silver screen. Never before has a project like this been attempted, but our team- Ama, Autumn, Melissa, and Roger take on the challenge full force. Our hope is to bring you a beautiful, twisted, and dark collection of images that will showcase the amazing talent of legendary scream queens, slashers, monsters, directors, FX artists, and of the minds and talent that have created nightmares for decades. This project has stemmed out of our life long love and enthusiasm for the horror genre and our goal is to channel that passion into this project and bring you art that is awe inspiring, gut wrenching, and that immortalizes the bloody best- the legends of the horror industry."
The project is still underway and no release date has been given yet, but I can't wait till it's done. The list of people featured in this project is astounding. Stay updated with their Facebook page and check out some of the already released pictures after the jump.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Homemade Music Video

When I was home this past summer, I found myself being more and more aware of and taking part in Maine's "local scene." I use that term not only in reference to the music scene, but the art scene as well, like Maine's all local, completely independent art zine Flannel Collective. It was through meeting and talking to members from local bands that I got the idea to film a music video for Maine's one-man, doom metal monolith Hallowed Butchery (Facebook and MySpace). I talked some ideas over with Ryan, the man behind the life destroying music, and set out to film a music video not only to help out a friend and be more involved in Maine's metal scene but also to get back into filming and editing since it had been quite a long time since I had been behind a camera.

Order your Hallowed Butchery merch at the Big Cartel and Band Camp sites.

I filmed the video over the course of the summer with the help of my friends and edited it over the fall and winter (it really didn't need that much time, it just took a back seat because of school). Anyways, here's the final product.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Album Review: Putrefied Beauty - Promo 2010

I feel like I'm going to get into a gender discrimination lawsuit with this one...

Brutal Italian chicks.

For the most part, the world of metal is dominated by men. There are talented female musicians scattered about--Liz Buckingham of Electric Wizard; the Japanese, all female (possibly now one male guitarist) grindcore powerhouse Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation; Mel from Fuck the Facts, just to name some of my favorites--but metal is predominantly hairy, sweaty dudes. So when I first heard of an all female brutal death band I was skeptical but decided to investigate further not only to see if the band was any good but to see if these females could hold their own in one of the most thematically depraved and openly misogynistic genres of music.

First, this is more technically oriented rather than slam oriented brutal death, although there are a few slams (but they don't come close to those of bands like Devourment). Second, the musicianship on this album is superb. The guitar work is technical but not to the point of being annoying or boring. The drumming is extremely precise and technical as well--it's not all just blast beats and gravity blasts. The vocals are not all that guttural but they fit in well with the rest of the music. And surprisingly, if you listen closely, you can actually hear the bass! All in all, these girls can hold their own against their male counterparts within the genre, even having more to offer listeners than perverted audio samples and ball(or ovary)crushingly heavy slams (don't get me wrong, Kraanium and Cerebral Incubation are two of my favorite slam/brutal death bands, so I have no qualms if that's what a band brings to the table).

This Italian brutal death quartet's 2010 promo is a solid addition to the brutal death genre. There is enough variety across the four tracks to keep it entertaining and not get bogged down in repetition. Odd time signatures, technicality, and catchy riffs are not issues for these musicisti. My only qualm with this release is that it's too short, clocking in at just under 15 minutes, but it's called a promo and not a full length for a reason. If this album is at all a representation of what these donne are capable of, I anxiously await future releases.

You can stream the entire promo as well as two other tracks on their MySpace.

Friday, February 18, 2011

V





Unearthly Trance is a doom trio from New York, New York. The band is composed of lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan Lipynski, drummer/backing vocalist Darren Verni, and bassist Jay Newman. They formed in 2000 and are currently signed to Relapse Records. The New Yorkers’ fifth and newest album, V, was released on September 28th, 2010 and is described on the album sleeve as “electric, urban funeral drone.” I can hear the drone influence on many of the tracks, but I’m not really sure where the “funeral” comes from, considering this doesn’t sound anything like the funeral doom I’ve heard in the past. V sounds like a pretty straight-forward sludge album to me, with some drone influence. Genre-placement aside, V is a pretty crushing album. I think the band is at their best on the more up-tempo tracks like “Current”, “Sleeping While They Feast”, and “Into a Chasm.” The slower tracks are still good, but a lot of times they don’t hold my interest as much. The tracks “Physical Universe Distorts” and the album-closing “The Leveling”, while still very heavy, don’t really match the intensity of the rest of the album. The vocals are kind of a mixed-bag. While I do think that the screams go well with the music it’s when the vocalists try to do more than just scream that they end up sounding kind of like James Hetfield, which isn’t something I want on my sludge albums. Fortunately, they use the cleaner vocals pretty sparingly and they aren’t unlistenable anyway. The production is top-notch, it’s very polished but doesn’t take away from the intensity of the album. I would recommend this album to anyone that is a fan of sludge, drone or doom in general. It is by no means a genre-changing classic, but people who like their metal slow and heavy will definitely enjoy it. You can order V from the Relapse Records web store.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Face Off on Syfy - Episode Three

This week's episode starts with the contestants talking about last week. As the contestants talk to the camera it is revealed, not surprisingly, that everyone hates Frank. Next come a few clips of the contestants existing in their locked down habitat and it is obvious that there is a romance brewing between Megan and Conor. Great. This won't make the show less enjoyable by adding unnecessary drama or anything.

More after the jump.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Salome


Salome is a three-piece sludge band from Virginia currently signed to Profound Lore Records. On their 2008 self-titled debut they play sludge the way it's supposed to be played, pissed off and fucking slow. The vocals are done by Katherine "Kat" Katz (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and she does a great job, she reminds me of a less guttural Runhild Gammelsaeter of Thorr's Hammer. If I had to compare their sound to another band I would say they are similar to Cough, but less sprawling. An interesting note to make is that like Pig Destroyer and Black Cobra, Salome proves that bass isn't always a necessity in the world of metal to be sufficiently heavy. My favorite track on the album is probably the opener "The Vivification of Ker" which plays off the same riff for most of the song, but also sprinkles in some stoner influence near the end. "Black Tides" and "White Tides" complement each other very well. The former has some post-rock vibes at the beginning (at least until the vocals kick in) and the latter is just crushing the whole way through, with some of the more up-tempo riffs on the entire album. The album closer "Onward Destroyer" can become a little tedious at times when there isn't much going on and it probably features the album's weakest moments, but it is still a fitting ending to the album. This is the first release I have ever heard by Salome, but they are definitely a band I plan on paying attention to in the future. You can download the album on their Last.fm profile for free or order their new full-length Terminal on the Profound Lore web store.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Evolution of Nicolas Cage's Hair

I have nothing else to contribute to this, so I'll just let it bask in its own glory.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Devourment Videos

Back on November 21st I went to a concert at DC's Rock n Roll Hotel to see Devourment, Vital Remains, Dying Fetus, and Cannibal Corpse. The show was really good besides Vital Remains almost putting me to sleep. It was really packed and the crowd was going insane; there was a pit going for the entirety of Cannibal Corpse's set which came close to two hours. It was awesome seeing Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus live, but, since I'm such a big fan of brutal death, I was most excited about seeing Devourment. They sounded amazing and got the crowd going--I even jumped into the pit for the end of "Babykiller." Anyways, my main reason for starting this post was to share some short clips I took on my phone (pardon the shitty audio and video quality) during Devourment's set.Videos after the jump. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Face Off on Syfy - Episodes One and Two

Since I'm a week behind on this show, I'm going to lump episodes one and two into the same post.


Last week Syfy premiered a reality TV show called Face Off where twelve special effects makeup artists compete in challenges for the grand prize of $100,000, a year's worth of makeup supplies, and an ambiguous prize of something that will jump start their career. I got super excited when I first heard about this show because special effects makeup is my biggest personal interest when it comes to film making and I plan on applying to Tom Savini's special effect makeup program at the Douglas Education Center once I finish up the year and change I have left in DC.

More about the show after the jump.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

City and Colour "Body in a Box"

Body in a Box

Do you like funerals? No? Me neither. They are sad, long, and completely unnecessary. They just drag on and on, tears are shed, and a loved one's remains are shoved into the ground. Sounds like a terrible way to spend a day. Unless your family member or friend was kind of a dick, they probably don't want you to suffer just because they're not around anymore. (To my friends, I want you to suffer so hard you combust, just so you know.)
Dallas Green of City and Colour understands this, as evidenced by "Body in a Box", the fourth track off City and Colour's "Bring Me Your Love" album. When I first heard the song on a train ride from Maine to Boston in 2009, I immediately set my iPod to repeat and just stared through the window at some good ol' Maine trees passing by as Green's solid vocals, simple but effective guitar, and great harmonica swam through my brain leaving little bits of wisdom behind. By the time the New Hampshire trees were looking back at me from outside the window, I still hadn't heard the fifth song on the album. Same story for when the trash and mediocre graffiti in Massachusetts blurred by.

You can't help someone when they're dead. They're gone. They're never coming back. I'm sure you know this, most people do, but most people don't live like they know it. The fact is that death is all around us, we are aware of its inevitability, but we always treat life like there's gonna be that one more day, that one more chance. At some point, there are no more days and chances, they're out, the clock stops ticking. There are going to be things you forgot to tell someone before they went, and that is just a part of life. And that is okay because life is about the things you did and said, not the things you didn't. When that blood stops pumping and that brain quits, just step back and let them go.

"There's a funeral procession on the highway,
Traffic screeches to a halt.
There's people searching for a better way,
To live their lives, oh-oh,
'Johnny lived a good life' you'll hear them say,
As tears of sadness soak the ground.
The reaper crept and took his breath away,
In the middle of the night, oh-oh.
We celebrate the lives of the dead,
It's like a man's best party only happens when he dies.
We gather 'round to pay our respects
While their souls are still searching for the light,
Searching for the light."

Let your friends and family find their light. Perhaps there is only darkness, but that isn't the point. Death happens. But don't let it sneak up on you. And even more important, don't let it bring serious amounts of debilitating regret into your life. Your loved ones wouldn't want that. Celebrate with the living. Let the dead go in peace.



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace" by The Mountain Goats

I'm going to take this 'review' in a direction I don't intend on taking very often when contributing to Sleaze and Scream. If you want to skip my bullshit, the song link is at the bottom.

"You son of a bitch," a man said, watching himself speak to the cracked and dusty mirror in the yellow-tiled bathroom of a run-down motel off the interstate. The rain beat down on the windows like a swarm of bugs hitting a windshield, splat splat splat, in a semi-musical pattern. A different man in a dirty and wrinkled suit struggled, tied and gagged on the shag carpet that was surely covered in more human fluids than the blood dripping from his mouth. "It didn't have to be this way, you know?" the first man said as he came out of the bathroom, picking his fingernails. He casually walked over to the man on the floor and gave him a swift kick to the stomach, drawing a pained cough that could be heard cracking and gurgling blood through the cloth. "We're going to Mexico, you and I, we're gonna have fun. Well, I'm going to have fun, you're going to die."

Early the next morning the two were off in a light blue sedan that had rust spots along the sides like polka dots of age and 'character'. The rain that had stopped overnight started up again, giving the desert even more life. The desert offered its gratitude in the form of bright magenta flowers dotting the barren landscape. "I'm going to drive 'till the rain stops," the driver said to his still tied-up passenger, "and then keep driving." A soft-rock song crackled through the radio as he fiddled with the knobs. He didn't know the words, but he tried to sing them anyways. The rain beat down harder on the windshield and birds flew in circles above.

"Well, I'm not sure how I'm going to get across the border with you all tied up," he laughed, one hand casually on the wheel and empty eyes looking over, "so, I guess I'll just kill you and dispose of your body before the border." The passenger whimpered. "That isn't very manly of you. But you were manly enough to fuck my wife. So you better stop being a bitch." The passenger started crying. "You stop crying right fucking now!" he screamed, knuckles white on the wheel, swerving slightly as the veins on his temple flared blue. The man slowed down and pulled over while taking deep, deliberate breaths in a failed attempt to relax. He pulled a needle out of the front pocket of his coat and pulled up his sleeve and tied off his arm, blasting off. As his mind became cloudy, it became suddenly clear. "It's time," he said, smiling.

As the sun set behind the dusty hills, painting long shadows on the desolate landscape and leaving behind large swatches of orange and pink above the horizon, the sedan drove off. In its wake a bloody mess of flesh, bones, dirt, and a business suit...
'High as the clouds now, flying. Drive 'till the rain stops, keep driving...'



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Robocop II

And not the movie.

This is going to be my first attempt at a music review, so please excuse the lack of in depth analysis of each instrument and track.

Maine's own grindcore/power violence trio recently released their new full length on J. Randall's (of Isis and Agoraphobic Nosebleed fame) Grindcore Karaoke. This 24 minute release packs elements of power violence, grindcore, thrash, sludge, and noise into its 13 tracks. Combining their two earlier releases, plus a few new tracks, into this re-mixed release, Robocop II is not only an interesting album but a solid one at that. The intensity of the band really comes across on this release and that's why Robocop is the band I anticipate seeing the most when I'm home. From the droning, sludgy intro track to the hardcore and thrashy "Assassination Markets," Robocop definitely brings it. The album is well mixed, the elements of each genre stand out yet blend perfectly, and all the tracks feel like they fit--even the tracks consisting of just noise or manipulated samples. Overall this is a really fun release and is a must have for any fan of grindcore, feedback, grimy distortion, or blast beats.


You can download Robocop II for free here. You can get their older release for free here (Just click the blue 13.8MB link).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pre-Code Awesomeness

I'm one of those losers that, for the most part, enjoys school. I always get to my film classes early to shoot the shit with the professors who are just as movie obsessed as myself. The professors in one of my classes always play YouTube videos of whatever they feel like before class to kill time.

I have a hard time with early Hollywood movies--anything up untill the 1960s or so. The stylization, the content, subject matter, the 60+ year cultural gap, something just causes a disconnect. One day, one of the professors showed a clip from Cecil B. DeMille's 1932 movie Sign of the Cross. Honestly, I don't know what this movie is really about nor do I really care. I could regurgitate what it says on IMDb or Wikipedia but if you're that curious you can check it out yourself. What I do know about this film is that it isn't pre-code but pre-strict enforcement of the Hays Code which American cinema is in/famously known for, takes place during the reign of Nero in Ancient Rome, and was re-cut, re-edited, and toned down to be more acceptable and related to World War II for a re-release in 1944.

The reason why I enjoyed the clip and felt the need to write about it here is that I'm always surprised when early American cinema deals with "taboo" topics. I guess I picture early American cinema as being overly sterile and having a stick up its collective ass--most likely because of the dominance of the Hays code during that time. But this clip is pure awesome--an early American attempt at shocking its audience with the decadence of Ancient Rome (which was somehow attributed to the fascist regimes of World War II in its later release). In this clip you'll see elephants crushing and mangling Christians, spiked gauntlet boxing matches (with blood!), crocodiles being released on a bound and helpless woman, and a lot more controversial scenes.  Not to ruin all the surprises, but keep your eyes peeled for a "little" segment involving a decapitation and impalement.


And on the second day, God said...

It's only day two of this blog and we've already made some changes. We just added another one of our friends as a contributor. JPG doesn't have the same exact tastes as the other two of us, but we do share some. He will bring new perspectives to the blog and provide a welcomed changed of theme and pace. Look for his reviews of shitty indie albums and other schlock in the weeks to come.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Movie Review: Diary of the Dead (2007)

This is a review I wrote for an English class my sophomore year of college.
Title:  Diary of the Dead
Year: 2007
Director:  George A. Romero

We find ourselves again in the world of George Romero, where it’s the zombie apocalypse all the time. This 2007 movie was written and directed by the master of horror himself and seemed like it could resurrect his career after Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and his own Land of the Dead (2005). This movie is not a sequel to any of Romero’s earlier work, but a “rejigging,” as Romero calls it, of the original zombie myth started with his 1968 masterpiece Night of the Living Dead.

New to the “Dead” series is the documentary style of the movie. The actual movie that the viewer watches after they press play is The Death of Death, a documentary made by the characters that follow the events as they unfold. The movie starts with footage showing the outside a hospital as an ambulance unloads the victims of a fatal family hostage crisis. For some reason, the camera man is rolling as the news crew gets read to report. Suddenly, the believed corpses come back to life and attack the near by police, paramedics, and news crew. The voice over of Debra, one of the few survivors at the end of the film who ultimately compiles the documentary, explains that this was footage downloaded off the internet. The rest of the movie is comprised of footage shot by the characters themselves and more footage taken off the internet.

The film follows a group of film students as they try to make their way from the woods where they are making their own horror movie and first hear of the zombie attacks, to their individual homes, and ultimately to a mutual friends house where they can find safety. Along the way they face all of the challenges one would expect a group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse would, the nonbelievers, the moralists who equate killing the flesh-hungry undead to killing real people, broken fuel lines on their motor home/only hope for survival, the killing of zombiefied loved ones and friends and the emotional stress associated with it.

This no star cast could easily be confused with the living dead ambling around apocalyptic Pennsylvania. The dialogue is frail. The delivery rigor mortis ridden. The puns mortifying. The most believable lines are delivered by a deaf Amish man with a speech impediment who provides the survivors with temporary safety when the motor home breaks down. Unfortunately, Romero has moved on from the real life, goretastic special effects of Tom Savini to visually appalling CGI. However, the true zombie fan will find some satisfaction in the familiar Romero signatures. There are no running zombies. A strong, black male character comes to the rescue (à la Night of the Living Dead and the Dawn of the Dead). Romero makes a cameo as a police chief at a press conference seen on a TV. There is a scene reminiscent of Romero’s 1973 The Crazies as a law enforcement unit in yellow hazmat suits raid an apartment looking for infected people. The final scene, in which Deborah poses the bogus moral question of “Are we worth saving? You tell me,” in a voice over, echoes Tom Savini’s fantastic 1990 remake of The Night of the Living Dead as it displays a couple rednecks shooting at zombies tied to trees for entertainment.

After the atrocious role-reversing Land of the Dead and all of the terrible B-movies that are associated with the “Dead” series that only receive any attention due to name recognition (Flight of the Living Dead? Are you kidding me?), Romero really needed something to bring his franchise back to the forefront of the horror genre and separate it from the freeriders. Unfortunately for Romero’s career, this Diary contains its suicide note.

Review: The Informers (2008)


This is a review I wrote for an English class my sophomore year of college. After re-reading it, it's terribly obvious that it's more summary than review, but whatever.



Title: The Informers
Year: 2008
Director:  Gregor Jordan

[WARNING: Contains spoilers for the novel and movie]

Welcome to Bret Easton Ellis’ Los Angeles of the early 1980s, where greed is good, sex is easy, and youth is forever. This adaptation from Ellis’ 1994 novel of the same title was directed by Gregor Jordan with the screenplay written by Nicholas Jarecki and Ellis himself, keeping this movie more along the lines of the novel than with the other Ellis adaptations of American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction, and Less Than Zero.

But before I begin, I have a bone to pick with all of the other movie critics who have reviewed this movie. First premiering at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2009, the movie instantly began receiving negative reviews, and that trend hasn’t stopped. On rottentomatoes.com, Sean Means of the Salt Lake Tribune writes, “Ellis doesn't create a single authentic moment or sympathetic character in this lurid pastiche of disconnected vignettes.” Majorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle writes, “Just because your characters are vacuous, less-than-zero types, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the tone and structure of your movie has to adopt the same conditions.” The rest of the reviews contain similar disdain. Now I pose a question. Have any of these reviewers actually read any of Bret Easton Ellis’ work? I doubt it. Having read almost all of his work, I understand what I call “the Bret Easton Ellis effect”. His writing offers no escape. You are thrown into the sex, the drugs, the parties, the debauchery along with the main characters and you take on their superficiality and their nihilistic levels of callousness. When I finish a novel by Ellis, I feel empty, bordering on depressed—and I love it, and it’s what makes Bret Easton Ellis fans come back for more. The Informers is the only film adaptation to successfully pull off the Bret Easton Ellis effect, to the dismay of the mainstream film critics. But my protective, inner fanboy digresses.

The Informers follows the stories of the main characters: Graham (Jon Foster), a late teens, early twenties kid living in the decadence of 1980s LA; Graham’s father, William Sloan (Billy Bob Thornton), a Hollywood movie executive who is cheating on his wife (Kim Basinger) with news anchor Cheryl Laine (Winona Ryder); Bryan Metro (Mel Raido), a burntout rockstar and lead singer of the group The Informers; Jack (Brad Renfro), a lower class working stiff with a presumably dark past; and Tim Price (Lou Taylor Pucci), one of Graham’s friends who is forced to go on a trip to Hawaii with his estranged father, Les Price (Chris Issak), to try and reconnect.

Graham is more or less the movies main character. He goes to the parties, does the drugs, sells the drugs, and has the sex. But in a scene later in the movie, while doing blow in his Porsche with his friend Martin (Austin Nichols) on top of a cliff overlooking LA at night, Graham, asking if there is any deeper meaning to the sex between his girlfriend Christie (Amber Heard) and Martin, shows signs of being fed up with the way his life is going and angrily declares “I need something more than this. I need someone to tell me what’s good and bad.” To which Martin mildly mocks Graham for having true feelings of love for his girlfriend Christie.

Jack, who works as the doorman at Christie’s apartment complex, has his life turned upside down when a long lost--and most likely for good reasons--friend Peter (Mickey Rourke) tells Jack he is coming to stay with him to avoid some trouble. Along with Peter comes Mary, a drug fed, sedated, undoubtedly underage girl who is Peter’s current love object. Peter, in an attempt to make some money, kidnaps a young child skateboarding down the sidewalk and plans to sell the child into a pedophile ring. Later on, Dirk, a character that appears in the book more than the movie, shows up at Jack’s house looking for Peter and to collect the “package”. Jack, not knowing where Peter is and not wanting to surrender the child to the Dirk, finally gets him to leave. Eventually Peter returns and Jack tells him about Dirk’s visit. Peter says they better leave before Dirk and company return because Jack doesn’t understand what they are capable of.

Most of these main stories are interwoven in good Ellis fashion. Graham’s friend Martin is not only having sex with Graham’s mother, but openly with Graham’s girlfriend Christie (Amber Heard). During a conversation between Jack and Graham, Jack says that his friend, referring to Peter, used to work for the company that Graham’s father owns. A movie that William is trying to get put into production is a movie that a producer is trying to get Bryan Metro to star in. In the book, as well as across all of his works as a whole, characters reoccur and the fact that there are so many stories happening at once, the reader is not able to entirely connect with the characters, something that the movie was able to truly capture. Sorry Means, sorry Baumgarten.

The end of the movie offers no resolution, a major complaint of the critics. But that’s how Ellis works. William and Laura arrive at a fundraiser to appear together one last time before they decide to split for good. William exits the car; Laura, having seen her husband’s love interest outside of the venue, closes the door of the car and drives off, leaving William alone, watching the car leave. We watch as a pale, gaunt Bryan Metro saunters down a hallway with an anguished look on his face, approaching a stage to play another show and continue his life of drugs, sex, and estrangement from his son. We watch as Tim walks away from his dad on a beach in Hawaii after telling him there is nothing he can do to change their relationship.

One of the greatest divergences from the novel happens as Peter and Jack scramble to leave Jack’s house. Peter pulls out a switchblade and heads towards the bathroom to where the gagged and bound child is being held. Jack stops him from killing the child and offers to kill the child himself after Peter explains that killing the child is a much more humane fate then letting Dirk find him. Peter heads to the van and Jack enters the bathroom, only to cut his own hand and cover himself with blood; in the novel, Jack kills the child and the scene is told in brutally graphic detail. As Jack, Peter, and Mary drive away, Jack looks into the rearview mirror to see the child run from the end of his driveway into the darkness.

In the last scene of the movie, Graham is woken up by a call from Nina Metro, Bryan Metro’s ex-wife and one of Martin’s many love interests. She tells Graham that it’s an emergency and that Christie, who moved in there with Martin once she started feeling sick, needs help. Graham arrives at Nina’s beach front house and walks out onto the beach to find a thin, pale, almost lifeless body, covered in bruises on the lying on the beach under an overcast sky. We now see that Christie’s copout complaints of “I don’t feel well” earlier in the movie the movie may have been legitimate; earlier in the movie, she brings up to Graham that she has the two weird bumps on her arm and foot. These ailments are highlighted by a news report discussing the relatively new phenomenon of HIV and AIDS heard in the background of a scene earlier in the film. Graham tries to convince her to leave and get help, to which she replies, “But I need more sun.” Graham utters the last line of the movie “There’s no more sun,” before getting up and walking out of frame, leaving Christie there to die.

Much to the dismay of mainstream critics, this movie ends how it should. Ellis offers little to no resolution in his novels and this movie does the same exact thing. It’s a shame that the mainstream needs a happy ending and some overt declaration of a positive message for a movie to be considered “good.” When I walked out of the theater after seeing this movie, I felt like part of me was lying on that beach with Christie.

Welcome!

Sleaze and Scream is the brainchild of two friends wanting to share their two cents on the entertainment world. As hinted at by the title, the posts on this blog won't be about your typical mainstream movies and music--at least for the most part. We both share a strong interest in horror, primarily Italian horror, exploitation, sleaze, B-movies, grindhouse, and Troma movies and metal, including but not limited to the genres of sludge, brutal death, slam, death, thrash, grindcore, crust, drone, doom, and post rock/metal. Although most of our posts will be related to the topics listed above, we won't limit ourselves to them.

On this blog we hope to provide our readers with entertaining and worthwhile reviews, random rantings and banter, and to expand the readers' knowledge of the things we, the writers, enjoy. Look forward to more posts and upgrades to the blog in the coming weeks.

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