Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chainsaw Maid

This is the best claymation I have ever seen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Origin Story, or how Vampyros Lesbos changed my life forever

It seems that every film franchise, or book series eventually gets around to doing the origin story. How so-and-so met, how this rag-tag bunch all came together, you get the picture. Well this is the tell-all, pull no punches, down and dirty, (fill in your own cliche) story of how I became a soundtrack freak.

Very simply, I was at a friends house scanning his CD's (if I'm ever at your house, I will likely spend the whole evening poring over your books and music) when I happened upon an interesting CD called Vampyros Lesbos Sexadelic Dance Party (?!?!) released by a German label called Crippled Dick Hot Wax(?!?!).

Asking my friend about said CD, he said I should borrow it, that it was 'pretty cool'.

Intrigued I took the CD home and put it on that night. CRASH! BANG! BOOM! and my world was changed forever. "Pretty good" did absolutely nothing to sum up this music, but sexadelic dance party said it all.

Of course from this point onward I had to see the movie, get more music like this, on and on in a never-ending cycle, because when it comes to books, music, and movies I'm compulsive like that. I'm still, about 12 years later, trying to get more.

Turns out the CD is actually music from 3 movies directed by Franco, all starring the lovely Soledad Miranda. They are Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstacy, and The Devil Came From Akasava. I have still not seen the third on this list.

The music is from collaborators Manfred Hubler and Siegfried Schwab, who recorded the music under the moniker Vampires Sound Incorporated. I have searched high and low for other music from these two, but have only succeeded in finding some German jazz comps that feature one or the other, never both together. Oh well, the legacy they left is priceless.

If you've never heard it you are in for a treat:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Books I read May 2010

Based on the stories of Thomas Ligotti-The Nightmare Factory
Thomas Ligotti is a writer who I have just recently become aware of. Based on what I've read of his writing, it sounds like stuff I would love. Problem is his books are not easy to find, or inexpensive. Then I found this graphic collection of adaptations of some of his stories. This particular collection was not very impressive, but I want to read the stories as they were originally written, not in these severely altered and edited editions.
Brian K. Vaughn-Y The Last Man Deluxe Edition 3
Excellent ongoing graphic novel about the last man on earth. No, not The Omega Man. The catch here is that females survived the catastrophe. Vol. 3 continues the excellent story with outstanding artwork by Pia Guerra. Looking forward to Vol. 4 in October.
James M. Cain-Double Indemnity
Cain's classic noir, which was made into the classic film with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, is a taut and concise thriller of pre-meditated murder which explores the depths of greed and lustful abandon.
Dan Simmons-A Winter Haunting
I keep reading Dan Simmons though none of his novels, and I've read a lot, has ever blown me away. I guess they are kind of a guilty pleasure. Easy to read and ultimately entertaining. A Winter Haunting is no different. Here Simmons brings back a character from his earlier novel Summer of Night, to the place where many of his personal demons still exist. A well-written, sometimes overly-detailed piece of fiction that, once again, entertains, but not much more.
Horace Walpole- The Castle of Otranto
Seminal, yet slim, piece of gothic fiction fails to ignite the flames like so many of the later works which it influenced. Try Lewis' The Monk, Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, the works of le Fanu or Radcliffe for a more satisfying gothic read.
Philip K. Dick-A Maze of Death
Another excellent mindfuck from Dick. Even his shitty novels are fun, and this one isn't shitty.
Ross MacDonald-The Ferguson Affair
Easily the best non-Lew Archer book I've read by MacDonald, which makes sense considering this one was written much later than his other non-Archer books. In fact the Archer novels were in full swing when this was written and could easily have been improved by replacing the less-engaging main character, an attorney, with Lew.

Arturo Perez-Reverte-The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet
Reverte, Spain's foremost literary export, delivers in the fifth of the Captain Alatriste series. Another fine swashbuckling affair. Though Reverte often becomes bogged down in his narrator's lament on the condition of his mighty, beloved Spain of the 17th Century, these books are pure fun.

Anton Chekhov-Shadows and Light
It is a marvel at how few pages Chekhov needs to express the woe and misery of peasant life, or the beauty and majesty of Russia itself. These nine stories are no exception. An excellent selection that would serve well as an introduction to Chekhov, or a pleasure to the seasoned Chekhov reader like myself.

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky-Tale of the Troika
In April I re-read Roadside Picnic. At the beginning of May I read the other story in this volume Tale of the Troika for the first time. The Strugatsky's absurdist look at stratified Soviet society is both humorous and subversive. It's hard to comprehend how their stories escaped the Soviet censors. Another brilliant story by the Strugatsky's.