Earlier this year, the Japanese black metal band Sigh released a new album with the title In Somniphobia. And for those of you out there who read this and feel tempted to send me messages about how Sigh are an “avant garde” band or whatever, do not. Just… do not. To borrow and mangle a quote from Jello Biafra that needs to be more widely circulated, this rigid and conservative definition of black metal that you have sure as hell is not what got me into black metal in the first place. Continue Reading
Not too long ago, I posted an entry that divided its time semi-equally between the injustice of a vigilantist idea of justice and my agreement with another author about how much the puzzle piece symbol sucks. This, to my pleasant surprise, brought about a visit from its author and some commentary about the symbol issue. In my own reply (I am compulsive about replying to everything, with some exceptions), I promised that I would explore symbols and their meanings a little bit further in a future entry. Or rather, I thanked him for giving me that idea, because to be brutally honest, when you churn out three or four entries a day at peak times, your stock of new ideas does sometimes run a tiny bit dry. Continue Reading
It is time for another history lesson (yes, you can all groan now). Continue Reading
Sometimes, coming up with a topic more substantive than what music I am listening to or what films I am watching is surprisingly difficult. Although inspiration and ideas come at everyone in a literally non-stop flow, everyone processes such input in a substantially different manner. When I look at a creek or a concrete floodway that has substantial vegetative overgrowth, for example, I might form ideas in my mind’s video camera that totally miss others. Even when those others might have substantially similar DNA to myself. And the quality of the journey, as well as that of the sights, will have a substantial effect upon the ideas that I might have. So an attempted trip to a point further into the metropolis that ends with giving up and returning home, and losing about five hours in the process, tends to result in a dearth of ideas concerning what to write about. This is not so much an attempt to make excuses, however, as to simply provide a credible explanation as to why the flow of writings on this account has a way of alternating between drought and monsoon. It has always been this way for me, and I think that if you meet a person who claims they are a writer of any sort and then proceeds to claim that they have never experienced a dry spell of words coming from brain to keyboard, you have met a liar. Whether they are lying about doing any substantive form of writing or about having difficulty about getting words onto their proverbial page is beside the point. The point is that irrespective of the manner in which you slice it, they are lying. Continue Reading
Ask people who the best director of all time happens to be, and chances are that you will get as many answers as you get people responding. Some will tell you that Stanley Kubrick is the best director who ever lived. Some might tell you Oliver Stone. Some might tell you Harold Ramis. For my part, being that I am so biased towards material that recognises there might actually be an adult in the audience (shock! horror!), I cannot go past Paul Verhoeven. The list goes on for as long as there are directors who made a hit (or even vaguely interesting) film. But when you ask people whom the worst director of all time happens to be, the pool of answers narrows down quite considerably. As I have said before, author Adonis Kyrou once wrote that one must learn to see the so-called “worst” movies, because sometimes they are sublime. Regardless of whether you think so or not, bad films have similar claims to merit as good ones. One of the most important areas in which a bad film can become meritous is by showing aspiring filmmakers of the future an example of when something is done badly.
Whilst films had been made in some form or other for around fifty years at the time that Edward D. Wood, junior began making his features, getting to see them was not nearly as easy as is the case now. Nor were they as abundant, and the “science” involved in making them was so far less developed as to invite mockery when attempting to make comparisons. So what, then, makes Wood more noteworthy than the other directors who unleashed crap upon the cinematic circuit in similar times?
Before I say anything else, I want to make something clear to the reading public out there. Whilst most, if not all, of my posts have been written with the offline journal writing program called Qumana, I have started to find it a most unsatisfactory editor for my purposes. This is not to say that I do not recommend it to people who are looking for a cheap (ie free) editor for their posts, but several problems with the interface have made me decide to look elsewhere. Even for a solution that I must pay money for. Probably the straw that broke my proverbial camel’s back is that on the iMac that I use for all my computing needs, the almost-universal keyboard combination to move back and forth in text on a word by word basis is to hold down the Alt/Option key and press the left or right arrow keys. But for reasons best known to its programmers, Qumana seems to feel that users should hold down the Command key and use the left and right arrow keys to achieve the same effect. This inconsistency with the standard (and yes, I know how that sounds coming from me) has caused me confusion not only when attempting to use Qumana, but also when trying to carry out tasks in other programs. The Command key usually has all of the most powerful and important keyboard commands of the OS X user interface associated with it. Save, Load, Cut, Copy, Paste, and most importantly of all, the Quit command. In OS X, quitting most programs involves holding down Command and pressing Q. When migrating over from Windoze, this can present some confusion at first, but now that I have gotten used to it, I have to say that it is a far better system for closing programs. Qumana threatened to create confusion in that, so I am going to phase it out.
Well, after writing about A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2 and trying to build a credible case for its uniqueness making it a lot less awful than is made out, I thought perhaps I should write another little article. Just like with societies, it is hard to know what is good or even average without having something bad to compare it to. This is where the sixth film in the series, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, comes in handy. I think in order to understand what a piece of shit it really is, one needs to understand the full meaning of the description given in the Wikipedia. In the presently-available Wikipedia entry, Freddy’s Dead is described as “a 1991 American slasher comedy horror film”. Although it is up for debate whether this is really two or three distinct genres that the film is unsuccessfully trying to blend, a big part of the problem is that the people responsible for making the film do not understand how to do any of these genres well, leave alone all three at once.
If you have seen An American Werewolf In London, then you have already seen an example of a combination of comedy and horror done well. And the reason the combination worked there is because (get this) the horror element was taken perfectly seriously. The four actors that can be considered principals are quite clearly taking an absurd situation as seriously as they can, even when they are acting out scenes intended to induce laughter. Griffin Dunne, the gentleman playing the character of Jack, performs the thankless task of explaining the plot and the conflict the central character, David, is facing. But the manner in which lycanthropy is treated seriously by the story, and the conflict between survival instinct and doing the right thing is treated seriously by the characters, means that jokes such as David’s conference with the departed spirits of those he has dined on whilst in wolf form are all the more hilarious in an inobvious way. Put simply, An American Werewolf In London is a good film because it respects the intelligence of the audience.