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Friday, 24 October 2014

1349 'Massive Cauldron of Chaos' album review.

Never has a band divided opinion more than 1349. To some, they are defenders of the old guard. Purveyors of extreme black metal the way it used to be played. To others, they are monotonous, plying their blast -beat driven nihilism with little change from album to album. Well, there is 'Legions of the Black Flame', but for some, 1349 went a little too far in another direction entirely. 2011's 'Demonoir' went some way to putting things right, but many felt the band were simply treading water.

Which brings us to 2014, and 1349's new release, 'Massive Cauldron of Chaos' (out in stores now from Indie Records). What we have here is a record that brings together everything that was great about 1349, and mixes it all up without any care for the listener. This is primal black metal, but other genres rear their ugly heads throughout the record. Anything from thrash to crust punk is touched upon, and the urgency and darkness this record encompasses means that 1349 are definitely back on track after the misfires of their previous two albums.

The first thing you many notice about the album is how much better the production is. Everything sounds full, from the guitars, right down to Frosts impeccable drumming. This certainly goes some way to helping create such an other-wordly atmosphere which permeates the records length.

Each song offers up something new, and manages to surprise the listener again and again, and proves that black metal still has a lot of life left in it. The album begins with 'Cauldrons', a hypnotic blast of black metal, but underneath the swirling guitars and drums, there is melody, surprising as it may seem.

Next up is the first single from the album, entitled 'Slaves'. This song features a chorus that will lodge itself in the minds of listeners for hours to come, and the guitar work is breathtaking. One of the best tracks on the album (in my opinion at least).

'Exorcism' comes next, and begins in a very World Ov Worms-era Zyklon kind of way, coupled with the blasting intensity found on early 1349 albums. Yet it manages to dig its claws into you, making its home in your mind with its other-worldliness.

'Postmortem' smacks the listener right in the face with a brilliant thrash riff, and doesn't let up until the chaotic and apocalyptic finale, complete with leads which bring to mind a certain thrash band who wrote a song with the same name.

'Mengele's' has a chaotic cold feeling that grips the listener, shaking them violently with its tale of one of historys most well known madmen. Pure black metal hatred is spewed forth, and any fan of black metal would be sure to be hooked by now.

'Golem' is pure crust-punk with a running time of under two minutes. It definitely does what it was meant to do, and that is bludgeon the listener into submission amongst a battery of relentless drums and guitar with shrieked vocals and stabbing bass.

'Chained' comes next, an apocalyptic slice of riff-driven black metal that sounds absolutely huge. Frosts drumming is as neck-snapppingly good as always, and the riffs really stand out, creating an apocalyptic sound that mirrors the opening of the gates of hell.

The album ends with 'Godslayer', the most experimental track on the album. That isn't to say that is doesn't match the speed and brutality the rest of the album demonstrates, because it does that and so much more. It bought to mind Mayhem or Dodheimsgard in its creativity and brutality, transcending music as a piece of spiritual art that is deeply affecting on every level.

1349 have definitely played to their strengths on 'Massive Cauldron of Chaos', and it is certainly not a one dimensional mass, as some people thought it would have been. They have played to their strengths, and exhibit none of the weaknesses others have picked out in past releases.

For fans of extreme black metal, this is a must-have album. For anyone looking to dip their toes into how black metal used to be played, you could do worse than checking out this release, as it combines all that was good about the first wave of Norweigan black metal in a contamporary package with fantastic production on every instrument.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Dustin Wade Mills' 'Her Name was Torment II" Indiegogo Campaign.

Early 2014 saw the release of Dustin Mills' underground/indie horror smash hit 'Her Name was Torment'. Now, in the final quarter of 2014, an Indiegogo campaign for a sequel is up and running, and is asking for help from YOU out there! Fans of underground and indie horror should all be familiar with Dustin Wade Mills' original 'Her Name was Torment'. A film that was made on a literal shoestring budget that managed to cause auditory hallucinations in some viewers, and impressed a hell of a lot more!

It's depravity, practical effects and sound design were almost universally praised, and the filmmakers want to give fans of this kind of cinema more of the same with the directors ideal budget. Not only will you be helping to get the sequel made, but the filmmakers could potentially complete the trilogy that 'Her Name was Torment' was supposed to be.

Nowadays, originality is rarely found outside of Indie cinema, and it is the risks these filmmakers take, and their complete disregard for their viewers sanity that endear them to us fans of horror cinema.

The perks for this film are incredible, and I urge you to go over to the Indiegogo page and donate what you can to help fund this amazing cinematic experience. You can visit the Indiegogo campaign page by clicking HERE. There is also a video from the director, and all the perks are listed for you to peruse and salivate over.

Remember, if you can't afford to donate, then share the Indiegogo campaign like crazy! Word of mouth is one of the primary tools filmmakers have to help promote their work, and without the help of horror fans worldwide, there would be a distinct lack of ingenuity and originality in the horror genre!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Frankenfake documentary review.

Frankenfake is the new documentary from Joe Castro and Steven Escobar, and shows the lengths people will go to to keep things from the general public in the name of 'Entertainment'. The film documents events leading up to Joe's decision to leave the SyFy Channel's show 'Face Off', and the aftermath of lies, rumours and character defamation that Joe was put through.

The documentary really is enlightening, and shows things that many of us think about reality television to be real. This film couldn't have been easy to make, as taking on a television network, ex-friends and collegues amongst others must have been incredibly difficult. But as anyone knows, the truth never seems to come easy when up against multiple people all sprouting the same lies again and again.

The documentary shows who these people really are through actual raw footage and re-enactments, and I have to say, both Steven and Joe definitely have my respect for standing up for themselves and showing anyone who is willing to watch and listen the truth about reality television.

It shows how 'Face Off' is manipulated, how the winner is chosen before the show is no where near the closing stages, and how the editors edit things into the show to make peoples reactions seem much different than what truly happened.

I really feel for Joe and Steven, and how Joe was treated was absolutely disgusting, especially in an alledged competition that is supposed to show off the talents of special effects artists, and one that tried to convince him that they had his best interests at heart.

Frankenfake is such an eye opener, and really goes beyond the exploits of what happened on 'Face Off', making you doubt things you see on any 'reality' show you watch. These people should not make a living on the face of lies. And when they use these lies to defame someone and attempt to make them something they are not, then things definitely have gone way too far.

I have been in contact with Joe Castro through social media for the past six years, and in all these years, Joe has been nothing but amicable, professional and has professed a love for the genre he works in and we all love.

If you want to have your eyes opened to the terrible goings-on, then you can rent Frankenfake by clicking HERE. The lies will dissapear before your eyes, and I am sure that after viewing it, you will never look at 'reality TV' in the same way again.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Island of Dr Moreau (1977) Blu-Ray review

Coming to the UK from 101 Pictures, The Island of Dr Moreau is a film I am not familiar with. Blame my childhood and my obsession with all things blody and monstrous, but the idea of 'Humanimals' running around an island while a shipwrecked man hides from them just didn't sound like my cup of tea.

Doctor Moreau is turning animals into men on his island, but when a young man is shipwrecked, all hell breaks loose on the island, and events take a turn for the worse. The shipwrecked man discovers Moreau is quite insane as he continues to develop his process of turning animals into men.

After watching the film, I must say my opinion remains pretty much the same, although I can see why people claim this is a cult classic. Strong performances from both Burt Lancaster as Dr Moreau, who turns men into animals (or should that be animals into men) and Michael York as the shipwrecked man out to find out exactly what Moreau is up to both work incredibly well. The make-up creations, handled by John Chambers are rather reminiscent of his work on The Planet of the Apes, but fit the mood of the film perfectly.

The film does contain some rather scary and chilling scenes, but the movie is pretty much a camp sci-fi romp, complete with bare-chested male and an innocent and naive love interest, all pitted against the mad scientist and his hunter body guard. Mind you, it could be argued that Dr Moreau isn't evil at all. He merely takes all moral value out of his experiments, as he believes scientific exploration saves more lives in the long run. Perhaps I am nit-picking though. The movie does manage to make some very intersting points on Science versus nature, and does manage to confront the viewer, even if the movie seems to go nowhere and then hit the viewer with a very abrupt ending.

Another problem I have with the movie is that it seems rather static until near the end, and then the ending hits so abruptly, it leaves you in a state of "well what the hell just happened", and makes the movie feel much less remarkable, as it was just beginning to build up momentum before it ends.

The transfer is nice and clear, but having never seen the movie before, I can make no comparison to other releases of the movie. Unfortunately, there are no extras on the disc whatsoever.

All in all, if you are a fan of campy 70's sci-fi/horror crossovers, then you could do much worse than check The Island of Dr Moreau out. It makes for an entertaining if not a little underwhelming 100 minutes of action. The fact that it does throw some very interesting arguments of nature vs science at least gave me something to cling on to throughout the films running time.

You can buy The Island of Dr Moreau, released on Blu-Ray here in the UK from 101 Films by clicking HERE.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Britain and the BBFC.

The idea for this article came to me after a viewing of the horror film 'Found'. In this film, there is a scene where two children are watching a horror movie called 'Headless'. The killer in 'Headless' takes great pleasure in removing his victims' heads, and in one scene (that is inexplicably missing from the UK release) has sex with a disembodied head. What with Jorg Buttgereit's 'Nekromantik' getting an uncut release here in the UK at the end of November (from Arrow Video) I find it incredibly hard to understand why the BBFC felt the need to remove this scene from the film.

The BBFC states on their website (which you can visit by clicking here) that "A cut was required to remove sight of a murderer's erect penis, during a scene of sadistic sexualised violence and threat". The fact that this is part of a movie within the movie, and later on in the film, you see a murderers erect penis after he has tortured his mother and father, makes no sense at all, plus the fact that the violence was already perpertrated on the victim (him removing her head). What irritates me even more is that the BBFC are given the power to make choices we are more than able to make for ourselves. They say they help parents make the right choices when chosing a movie, yet still feel the need to cut parts out of things that they deem "morally wrong".

Although it is a topic of great debate, 'A Serbian Film' was cut by the censors, even though absolutely nothing in the film could be legally called 'Obscene'. Personally, the film had a much stronger impact on me in its cut form, because it left the imagery up to the viewers imagination, making them use their own minds to fill in the blanks of what they are not seeing on screen. I will defend the film and say how it has every right to be out there. It's sole purpose is to infuriate its audience, to show that life is nothing more than Pornography (in that we are fucked all the way through our lives) and exploitation (in that we sell ourselves to the highest bidder to put food on our tables). It also confronts issues in Serbia, albeit in an explicit and sickening way, but it definitely hits every mark it set out to, and even though the director feels his vision has been diluted because of the cuts the BBFC made, in my opinion, the film has a much greater impact because of these cuts and allowing the viewer to think about what they should be seeing.

For anyone who hasn't seen Buttgereit's Nekromantik, a woman indulging in intercourse with a rotting corpse while her boyfriend looks on before being overcome by jealousy and comitting suicide is surely a much stronger visual than a killer in a film having sex with a disembodied head?

Haute Tension also features a killer having sex with a disembodied head, and that scene remains intact. That is a part of the actual movie too, not a film within a film, like 'Headless' in 'Found'.

The BBFC are archaic in their reasons they give for cutting movies. I would love to hear them explain the reasons for their cuts on the 'I Spit on your Grave' remake, which had none of the rape scenes cut from it, but a scene of revenge, where the raped woman inserts a shotgun into one of the rapists anuses is cut out.

The BBFC claims they are doing the genreal public a service. But they are taking away our own freedom to choose. By all means, feel free to let the public know what kind of content is in a film, but to take away scenes because they deem them unfit for the general public to see is just insane in my opinion. I also do not understand what the BBFC mean when they state that films have a 'Potential for harm'. Are they stating that watching films can hurt us? How and why? Nothing is explained, and no reason is given. They seem to frown on sexualised violence, yet leave rape scenes intact while cutting scenes of revenge.

America certainly has the right idea when it comes to movies. Publish guidelines and inform people so they can make their own informed choices. Not do as the BBFC do and take that freedom away from us. What makes them unaffected by watching such things if these films can indeed cause harm? Why haven't any of the people working for the BBFC gone crazy, killed anyone or undertaken any other irrepprehensible act after watching a movie with scenes in they deem unfit for viewing by the general public? Are they better than the general public somehow?

This is something I would be very interested to hear on from my UK readers, so feel free to discuss my points, and bring some of your own.

The BBFC really do drive me (and some dogs) absolutely crazy.

Darkest regards......Dani.