Sunday, May 31, 2009


John Ford's "The Searchers" (1956) is in my opinion, along with Sergio Leone's "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" the greatest Western ever made. John Ford's camera work and eye for scenery is breathtaking. The script and pacing of this movie is top notch, and there is never a wasted moment. John Wayne's acting in this film is possibly his best performance ever. "The Searchers" truly raises the western to the status of myth. It has a movie whose influence is wide ranging. Just watch the original Star Wars and you will note those vast desert landscapes of Tattooine. You may also note some plot similarities, but I digress. Without any further ado, let's get on with the review.

The Searchers takes place a few years after the Civil War, as America is ever expanding into the west, further into the desert. The lurking wild west danger of Indians attacking a a ranch and home has never seemed so ominous. Anyway, Ethan Edwards, played by John Wayne finally makes his way back home after fighting in The Civil War. He has had a very shady and questionable past. Everything is peaceful, with a joyful and bittersweet reunion taking place. Soon we get word of Indians killing some livestock at a neighboring ranch. The men go out on horseback to investigate, but it is a diversion. That evening, under an eerie red sunset, the Indians kill everyone that was still in Ethan's family's house and burn their home to the ground. They kidnap the two daughters of the family, Lucy and Debbie. All of this is done off camera, so the actual horrific events are left to the imagination. All you see is the Indian Chief named Scar, and an ominous shadow as the Indians surround the ranch.

Ethan and his nephew Martin Pawley swear revenge and they begin a years long quest to find the two girls and to kill the Indian Chief responsible. The story grandly and leisurely unfolds. This is truly a mythic story of a quest and an epic revenge tale all rolled up in one against the harshly beautiful backdrop of the desert. How their adventure unfolds is something you will need to see for yourself. John Ford has the knack of making such a long quest entertaining and all of the events unfold with a comfortable ease, but there is always an underlying tension. John Wayne as Ethan becomes so obsessed with killing the Commanche tribe and it's leader Scar it is frightening. The look in his eyes alone is enough to make you shudder. His character grows darker and darker as the movie progresses. Do they ever find the two girls? And at what emotional costs? This movie has one of the most powerful endings in cinema. They just don't make them like this anymore.

"The Searchers" has so much depth to it, and so much visually to look at it is overwhelming yet simple at the same time. John Ford uses symbolism to great effect. The symbol of the doorway is a great example. The movie starts with a camera shooting through a doorway. Many scenes start and end this way and the movie ends looking out through a doorway. The them song by Stan Jones is also an excellent recurring theme.
The lyrics go as follows:

"What makes a man to wander?
What makes a man to roam?
What makes a man leave bed and board
And turn his back on home?
Ride away, ride away, ride away

A man will search his heart and soul
Go searchin' way out there
His peace of mind he knows he'll find
But where, oh Lord, Lord where?
Ride away, ride away, ride away".

The tune is has a depressive, slightly ominous tone to it, and fits the violent quest that unfolds in this movie.

Another fine point in this movie is of course John Ford's cinematography. His eye brings the beautiful desert landscapes to life and makes watching them as interesting as watching the characters and the story unfold. I highly recommend this movie. It's hard for me to put how good "The Searchers" is into words. All I can say is if you haven't seen this one, drop everything and rent/buy it now. And if you have seen, well watch it again. I never grow tired of this film.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


"Angel Dust" (1992) is the strongest and most frighteningly adventurous of all of Faith No More's works. They take the twisted pop sensibility of their previous album "The Real Thing" and distort it to no end. It's still accessible, but it is the audio equivalent of being stuck in a macabre house of mirrors from which you cannot escape. I love it. Vocalist Mike Patton definitely combines his knack for the strange, morbid and unexpected from his other band Mr.Bungle with the exceptional musicianship already present in Faith No More to create a disturbing masterpiece of metal/country/funk/soul/noise/call it what you will. So without further ado, let's make our away into the warped world of "Angel Dust".

First of all this album is visually about opposites and conflicting emotions. On the front cover we have a beautiful picture of a heron...but on the inside artwork we have gruesome and gory images from a slaughterhouse. This conflicting feeling of beauty and ugliness ties in perfectly with the music. We have Mike Patton's smooth as silk vocals and some beautiful keyboards giving an illusion of serene beauty. But what lies underneath? The guitar work is ugly and gritty and the production is very thick and overwhelming. Also, Patton's vocals tend to explode without notice, offering extreme unexpected, psychotic mood swings. This leaves you uncomfortable and on edge, as you do not know what to expect next. The lyrics are depressive, twisted, ironic slices of reality. Cynical and first glance they seem joyful but they really reach into the depths of despair, loneliness, and madness.

Let's look at some of the songs. "Angel Dust" opens with the optimistic infomercial-esque 'Land of Sunshine' but you quickly discover there is something awry. Gorgeous keyboards conflict with distorted guitars. Soon your fears are realized with "Caffeine', as the sound grows heavier, more discordant, and uglier by the second. Then there's 'Midlife Crisis' a simultaneously upbeat and depressive song with some cool scratching effects. The song really brings to life the deep dark abyss and conflicting emotions of a real 'Midlife Crisis'...possibly the band's greatest song. Then there's the sucidal country song 'RV'...

"Angel Dust" just keeps geting better. It continues with plenty of first rate ugly pop gems such as 'Kindergarten'. The last half of the album is especially disturbing. 'Malpractice' is a face removing nightmarish blast of noise..then there's the snotty, 1970's funk chant 'Be Aggressive'.
I love the ending of this album. It starts with the extremely hellish 'Jizzlobber' that will make you want to come to Jesus, followed by the serene, beautiful and completely serious cover of the theme from 'Midnight Cowboy'. Breathtaking and shuddering at the same time.

I highly recommend "Angel Dust". As I said, it is Faith No More's strongest work. It is a work of beautiful ugliness powered by is the stuff nightmares and dreams are made of. This disc never seizes to amaze.


I love old, obscure, often overlooked records that you would find in thrift stores. I have a pretty good sized collection of cheesy artifacts from the 1950's through 1970's that I've picked up over the years. I especially enjoy the cover art. In most cases, it is the best part of the record. Highly imaginative and most of the time misleading as to the quality of the record. The music in most cases never holds up to the promises of the artwork, but that is ok. Many of these record covers are suitable for enjoy as fine art if you will. Here's one of my favorite pieces of vinyl art...Richard Hayman's "Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine". This record features a beautiful gate fold cover, with the robot starting out as cheerful and electrified, and slowly digressing to despondent and unplugged. Here is the front and back of the album. As for the music, it's your typical mediocre LSD drenched late 1960's elevator music. Sounds like a great concept, but it's really not.

Coming tonight, as promised late last week, is a review of Faith No More's "Angel Dust", followed on Sunday by John Ford's "The Searchers", so don't touch that dial.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I love the look of pulp art...the bizarre, sinister, sleazy, and fantastical images taken from pulp magazines, paperbacks, and comics from the 1930's through 1950's. There is an incredible book about the subject that I will be reviewing soon. I will also be periodically posting some pulp art images that I love, so stay tuned...


Here's Motorhead's "Orgasmatron", one of my favorite and possibly the heaviest Motorhead song ever recorded. This track has a heavy, wide open, trippy apocalyptic feel to it that is rare to find in a Motorhead song...not your standard Motorhead/biker metal fare. Check it out. It comes from their 1986 album with the same name. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


This is my personal favorite Standells songs and one of the most libido driven 1960's garage rock songs ever recorded. The guitar playing of Tony Valentino and the vocals of Dick Dodd just ooze sleaze. Great stuff. Here's "Try It". The video quality is not that great, but it's all I could find.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Here's a piece of frightening and downright disturbing psychedelic rock from 1969 from the little known band Cromagnon. This is like a lysergic cross between the industrial metal of Skrew and the highly experimental and fried acid rock of The Red Crayola. This song is very apocalyptic sounding and one of my favorites. Here it is, Cromagnon's "Caledonia". It appears on their album "Orgasm". Well worth checking out. The homemade video is very impressive and suits the song perfectly. Enjoy.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Russ Meyer's "Mudhoney" (1965), is one twisted, dark, mean, southern gothic melodrama of a The Andy Griffith Show gone horribly awry. This movie has a down home charm, but there is an ominous and foreboding atmosphere throughout, with a shuddering sense of violence of depravity.

"Mudhoney" is a about an ex-prisoner Calif McKinney (played by John Furlong) who comes into town looking for work. He finds a job at a farm that is owned by Lute Wade ( Stuart Lancaster) but ran by the drunken, adulturous Sidney Brensaw (Hal Hopper). The ex-con Calif beigns to set his eyes on the drunken Brenshaw's voluptious wife Hannah (Antoinette Christiani). All chaos ensues as Calif faces Brenshaw's wrath. Lute, the farm owner, has a lot of money and a bum ticker. Nothing will stand in the maniacal Brenshaw's way of getting his hands on this dough after Lute passes...

"Mudhoney" is a work of genius. The acting, pacing, and cinematography are excellent, with a script that exudes evil. Hal Hopper gives an incredible performance as Sidney Brenshaw. His performance is loaded with drunken testosterone and violence. Brenshaw's character is frightening indeed. He flies into drunken rages at the drop of a hat, frequents the town whorehouse frequently, and beats his wife. Just look into his eyes alone and you know this is a person you want to stay away from. Stuart Lancaster does a great job as Lute, the wisened owner of the farm. Do you remember him from "Faster Pussycat Kill Kill"? He turns in an excellent performance here. Down to earth yet tough. You take an immediate liking to him, and he has some of the best lines in the movie. There are many strange characters in this film that add a certain southern gothic charm. The neighborhood brothel/moonshine still is full of interesting characters, amongst them a beautiful mute played by Lorna Maitland, whose seductive presence practically radiates throughout the movie. There is also a preacher played by Frank Bolger whose disheveled appearance and hellfire and brimstone dialogue adds a morbid tone to the film.

The story moves at a tense, maddening pace, only stopping every now and then for a breather to take him some of the charms/horrors of sinful country living. The dialogue is stilted and full of dread, but it does have it's humorous moments. The beautiful black and white photography is crisp and clean. Russ Meyer's gray, wide open skies never looked so ominous. This movie is darker than "Faster Pussycat Kill Kill", which came out that same year. They are both great films, but "Mudhoney" is a bit harder to watch on first viewing because it is not quite as over the s more subdued but nonetheless rewarding. Highly recommeded.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


With the looming hot, muggy, sticky weather on it's way here in the deep south, there is one song that brings to mind the delirium brought on by the maddeningly hot summers. This is an old standard..."Taint No Sin". I have included an early traditional version of this song and one performed by William S. Burroughs with music by Tom Waits, taken from "The Black Rider". The old version has it's charm, but nothing can match the delirium of Waits' and Burroughs' version. "When it gets too hot for comfort and you can't get ice cream cones, 't'ain't no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones..."

Taint No Sin - Tom Waits


Here is a great site dedicated to America's deep seated longing from the past to explore space. This museum displays artifacts from American pop culture's obsession with space travel (especially the 1950's) with some campy, kitschy, and cool artifacts. It also showcases artwork, sculptures, toys, movies, etc. from around the world with one thing in common: the space age. What ever happened to that innocent childhood American dream from a bygone era to conquer space? I miss it, and I wish it would come back. I guess we will just have to visit The Space Age Museum in the here. Check out the flying saucer ashtrays. They're my favorite.

Friday, May 22, 2009


"The Sky's Gone Out" (1982) is my personal favorite Bauhaus album. Of all four of their major studio works, this is by far the creepiest and most adventurous. It is a unique album. The first half of the disc is more straightforward with some dark and very powerful tracks. There is Brian Eno's driving and repetitive 'Third Uncle" leading the way, followed by the mysterious "Silent Hedges" and the evil sounding bass riff of "In The Night". The intensity of the first half tapers off a bit after these first three songs but that is alright, because nothing can prepare you for what lies in store for the second half.

The greatest part of "The Sky's Gone Out" begins in the middle, with 'The Three Shadows". A gloomy, subtle, three part song that slowly builds in intensity. The guitar riff at the beginning is one of the bleakest I have ever heard. By the time Peter Murphy's sepulchral voice comes in with his surreal and horrific lyrics you will have goosebumps. The increasingly unsettling "The Three Shadows" builds to a maddening crescendo and comes to an abrupt finish, only to be followed by the bitterly mellow acoustic track "All We Ever Wanted Is Everything". Again, surrealism abounds. Then we have "Exquisite Corpse". This is the final track of this disc and it is what really impresses the most.

Exquisite Corpse is a game started by the French surrealists, in which a sentence is started, then passed around to the next player who adds another part to it, and so on. They may or may not know what the previous words were in the sentence. This results in a dreamlike, nonsensical, cut-up approach to language. Anyway, Bauhaus pulls this off perfectly in the form of music with "Exquisite Corpse". The track consists of seemingly unrelated musical snippets that perfectly congeal together as a whole. The mood of this track is composed of feelings you get from listening to all of the tracks before it. It also adds a new and heretofore unheard evil vibe by incorporating some creepy dub reggae to the mix. Bauhaus pulls this off with finesse and without sounding pretentious. In fact, 'The Sky's Gone Out" is the perfect art rock album for this reason. It is what it is.

This is the first Bauhaus album I ever heard. It blew me away. Their other three studio albums might have some stronger songs on them, but as a whole, "The Sky's Gone Out" is a masterpiece. It is designed to be listened to from start to finish and demands your full attention. Listen to it in a darkened room...
Daniel Ash's guitar work and Peter Murphy's vocals are in top form here. Never so macabre, minimalistic and surreal.

By the way, the copy I still have of this is on tape. I found it in a cut-out bin for a dollar. It's a double length cassette, with "The Sky's Gone Out" on one side and their live album "Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape" on the other.

Here's a few tracks from 'The Sky's Gone Out" for your enjoyment. If you've never heard any Bauhaus before and you like your music dark or if you just like your music to be a bit challenging and out of the ordinary pick this one up now. It will not disappoint.

"Terry sat up and held the army surplus bag around his skinny waist. It was cold and the person beside him had faded badly..."

Coming Attractions...

Coming soon...
Movie reviews: John Ford's beautiful 1956 western "The Searchers" and Russ Meyer's "Mudhoney".
Music reviews: Bauhaus' "The Sky's Gone Out" and Faith No More's "Angel Dust".
Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Here's another piece of obscure 1960's garage rock. The Spiders are classic, seedy, grimy, and snotty 1960's garage punk. Here's "No Price Tag", one of my favorites of the genre. Enjoy.

Spiders - No Price Tag - Back From The Grave

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Satyn's Children are an obscure but great 1960's garage rock/psych band from Texas. Their music is extremely fuzzed out with a very downer stoned out vibe. Their lyrics are often unintelligible, but that's the whole charm of it all. Here's "Don't Go". It's more upbeat than most of their other material but still a masterpiece of 1960's sleaze. Enjoy. The video is a nice trash culture montage that someone put together and posted on You Tube.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Ok. This song sounds a bit corny at first listen but becomes increasingly haunting on repeated listens. What's behind the green door? There is a deep sense of alienation and loneliness embedded in this song. Great stuff. Here it is, Jim Lowe's 1956 rockabilly classic "Green Door". Enjoy.
"All I want to do is join the happy crowd behind the green door..."

Monday, May 18, 2009


Bauhaus. An excellent goth/art rock band from the early 1980's. Peter Murphy's creepy undead David Bowie-esque vocals and Daniel Ash's (who would later form Love And Rockets) atmospheric, masterfully minimalist guitar playing are a perfect match. They released four full length albums and one live album throughout their career. I will post more on them later, but for now, I leave you with "She's In Parties". Enjoy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm Out of Here...

I'm out of here...headed out of town for three days on a much needed mini-vacation. Will be back late Sunday night and I'm taking Monday off from work, so expect a new post then. In the mean time, check out some of my favorite links I have listed to the bottom right. These are sure to keep you entertained. Until then...see you Monday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Slayer's "Reign in Blood" (1986) is one of the most influential and powerful thrash/speed metal albums ever recorded. It is full of blindingly fast tempos, blazing, evil riffs and mid-paced sinister grooves. The vocals and morbid lyrics are delivered with a malicious intensity. The fast, seemingly atonal and out of left field guitar solos sound as if they came from hell itself. Not quite as morbidly melodic and addictive as their 1988 follow up album "South of Heaven" (my personal favorite) it packs a lethal punch just the same. "Reign in Blood" is an album that helped spawned the genre of death metal, and it is still widely imitated today. All tracks are great, bleeding together in a blinding burst of speed. Before you know it, it's over and you want to play it again. Highly recommended. Here's "Angel of Death", one of my favorite songs from the CD. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The Masters of Reality are a formidable, retro psychedelic rock band fronted by Chris Goss. He is probably best known for his glossy yet fiery and extremely heavy production work for stoner/desert metal legends Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. Chris Goss' vocal work is impressive. It is very smooth and reminiscent of Eric Clapton's vocals with Cream. Master of Reality's sound is melodic, psychedelic blues rock with some tinges of metal. Their music exhudes a hazy and smoke filled 1970's gloss. My two favorite albums of theirs are their debut album "Masters of Reality" (1988) and their 1992 follow up "Sunrise of the Sufferbus". The first has a more straight ahead rock feel at times, while the second is more subdued and melodic, but nonetheless potent. Both are highly recommended.

Here's 'Domino" from their self titled first album...

...and "Tilt-a-Whirl" from "Sunrise on the Sufferbus".

Monday, May 11, 2009


Here is one of my all time favorite Black Sabbath songs. This may be their heaviest track ever. I love the riff...simply skull crushing and addictive. I couldn't find the studio version to post here, but here's a very energetic and heavy live version from 1978. Here's "Symptom of the Universe" from Black Sabbath's "Sabotage" album. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Here's an eerie off kilter space rock tune by the space lords themselves, Hawkwind. It's from their double live album Space Ritual. One of my favorite Hawkwind songs, short and simple but powerful nonetheless. Enjoy.

Upside Down (2007 Digital Remaster) - Hawkwind


I don't know a great mood, the sun's shining outside, getting some housework done and for some reason I'm on a big doom metal kick. Can't explain it, so I will just leave you with two of my favorite songs of the genre.

The first is one I've posted on here before, but it is my favorite metal song of all time at the moment. Pentagram's "Sign of the Wolf". Never knew such a simple crushing riff could carry so much power...

The second is "No Angel or Demon" by Swedish doom masters Witchcraft. Classic, well crafted retro 1970's doom at its finest.


Leaf Hound were a classic, bluesy psych metal band that released one album in 1970 called "Growers of Mushroom". Let me start off by saying that Leaf Hound's works are very expensive and only available as imports. I do not own any of their material, but have heard plenty of it on the web. Their first album reminds me a lot of Led Zeppelin, but with a looser, more garage psych feel with some healthy undertones of Black Sabbath. This was their only release until they reformed in 2006 and released a brand new album titled "Unleashed". Judging from what I have heard so far, this is a masterpiece of stoner metal. It reminds me just as much of modern heavy stoner adrenaline fueled acts such as Kyuss and Orange Goblin as it does early Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Cream. Smoothe, heavy, cool yet burning riffs with excellent melodic vocals a la Eric Clapton of Cream and Chris Goss of Masters of Reality. I really encourage you to check these guys out. One of these days I'm going to have to break down and fork out the big bucks for their music.

Here's "Stagnant Pool" from "Growers of Mushroom".

To listen to songs from from their new album "Unleashed", click here. Check out "105 Degrees" and "Breakout". Incredible, massive, classic psych metal. Great stuff.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Captain Beyond's self titled first album from 1972 is a classic of early psych metal. It features the original vocalist of Deep Purple Rod Evans, Iron Butterfly guitarist Larry Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorian, and Johnny Winter drummer Bobby Caldwell. This is an amazing release. Heavy, aggressive, euphoric, hippie metal with menacing prog rock undertones. They sound like a deranged mixture between several popular bands of their time. There is the dark riffing of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the speed and spaciness of Hawkwind, the acid-drenched euphoria of Blue Cheer, the bluesiness of Jimi Hendrix, the heavy vocal harmonies of Cream, and the early prog-metal of King Crimson. They mix all of these sounds that into something that is completely their own. Captain Beyond is overwhelmingly vicious and face melting, even when they are trying to be mellow. Every track is not perfect on here, but this album works well as a whole. All of the tracks bleed together seamlessly, and there are recurring musical and lyrical themes throughout the album. The musicianship is raw yet focused. The music ventures from fuzzed out heavy garage psych to frighteningly focused bizarre, time signatures and dissonant chords, often at the drop of a hat. The vocals remind me of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Pentagram's Bobby Liebling. As a whole, Captain Beyond's first album is a blinding burst of early psychedelic metal. It's influence is still being felt today. Monster Magnet has something to owe to the unbridled, spacey euphoria of their sound to Captain Beyond. Note Monster Magnet's song ''Twin Earth" . The riff is almost identical, and this song was in a a way an open tribute to Captain Beyond. Orange Goblin's doom laden hippie biker metal riffing also owes some debt to this band.

Here's "Mesmerization Eclipse" and "Raging River of Fear". Enjoy.

Mesmerization Eclipse - Captain Beyond

Raging River Of Fear - Captain Beyond

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Coroner's "The Mental Vortex" (1991) is the group's finest release. It is a bit slower than their previous masterpiece "Die By My Hand", sacrificing speed for more power and a deeper more complex sound. The music is dark and dissonant, with slow to mid pace grooves and rich, complex, discordant riffing throughout. The album is chock full of evil grinding riffs. Ron Royce's vocals are stark and depressive, and Marky's guitar playing is adventurous, ranging from jazz fusion, to psychedelia, to churning, dissonant, mid-paced thrash. After this release, Coroner became harder to categorize than ever. Impossible to pin down to the trappings of thrash metal, on this release their sound is truly a form of art rock, mixing elements of jazz fusion, metal, and a machine like dissonance that is completely their own, and has inspired industrial metal bands such as Ministry and Skrew. "'The Mental Vortex" starts off fast and brutal with "Divine Step" then slowing down a bit but growing more intense until the final excellent cover of The Beatles "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". An incredible album, and highly recommended. Here's "Sirens" and "Son of Lilith'.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Larry Cohen's "God Told Me To" (1976) is a strange, low-budget masterpiece of a film. Larry Cohen may be a low budget director but his work does not fall within the trappings that many of these movies have. "God Tod Me To" has a tight, tough as nails plot and pacing, where no moment, no scene is wasted. You find yourself glued to the screen, dying to know what will happen next. The story is a very dense and fast paced psychologically intense mystery. This is a movie you must pay close attention to if you want to keep up with what is going on.

The movie opens on the busy streets of 1970's New York. Things are going as usual until shots begin to ring out. Pedestrians are being picked off one by one. This is a rather intense scene that lasts for several minutes. Cohen's camera, which stays in motion during this scene, perfectly captures the fear and mass hysteria of the crowds on the streets. Finally, the sniper is found to be on top of a water tower. He is cornered by the police. Top detective and star of the movie Peter Nicholas (played by Tony lo Bianco) climbs up the tower to try to talk him down. When he asks the killer what his motivation was he replies "God Told Me To". These types of killings continue, with each killer having the same motive. There is someone mysteriously notifying the authorities before some of these murders occur. There is one chilling scene in particular at a Saint. Patrick's Day parade where one of the policemen marching in the parade suddenly snaps and begins firing on his fellow officers and into the crowd. Again, Cohen uses his sweeping, dizzying camera work to capture the hysteria of the scene.

Most of these killers have one thing in common. They have been seen with or speak of a hippie-ish man with shoulder length hair, a messiah that is convincing them that it is God's will for them to kill. Our detective Peter Nicholas vows to track down this man. He finds the man's mother in a darkly lit , creepy apartment building. She lunges at Peter with a knife. God told her to. He finds in medical records that the mother was a virgin, and her child was androgynous. So we have a virgin birth. Could this person really be a Messiah? Peter soon learns that the mother was abducted and raped by space aliens back in 1950. That explains the virgin birth, right? This flashback scene is told in black and white and is particularly harrowing.

Are you keeping up so far? The movie gets even stranger from here. It seems that there is a secret society that this messiah controls. They do his psychic bidding and protect and keep him hidden. The messiah wants to meet Peter. There is something different about him, so the society finds Peter and takes him to the chosen one. This meeting shakes Peter to no end. The messiah will not harm Peter, even though Peter is out to destroy him. Peter, a devout Catholic, begins to research his own beginnings. He was a orphan and he wants to find out who his mother and father were. It turns out that his mother is also a virgin, and that she was abducted by aliens and impregnated during the first World's Fair. This flashback scene is very impressive and frighteningly beautiful.

Is Peter also a chosen one? And what is his purpose here? Besides the bizarre nature of the plot, Peter's story is the prime focus of this movie. He has an estranged wife and a mistress. After finding out about his origins, his struggles with his personal problems begin to come sharply into focus. Why has he never had any children? And what are his powers and why are these abductions occurring? What will he do about our murderous messiah? I can't reveal anymore about the plot, but the last part of this movie is completely breathtaking.

I cannot recommend "God Told Me To" enough. Yes it's low budget, but Cohen has several tricks up his sleeves. I've already mentioned his sweeping, motion filled camera work. Cohen also uses street scenes, crowds, background noises, and music in the street to his advantage. What would be annoying background noise to some directors Cohen turns into atmosphere. This is an element that serves to make his scenes more intense and realistic. Also, the pacing of the story is impeccable. Never a dull moment, and no matter how bizarre the story gets, you are still holding on by the edge of your seat. All of this is tied together by Peter Nicholas' strong characterization and deep seated quest for identity.

If you liked Black Caesar, which I have reviewed here before, you will love "God Told Me To". There are several Larry Cohen movies I have yet to see, but after watching this one, I have to see them all.

Monday, May 4, 2009


The Avengers were a volatile late 1970's punk band fronted by Penelope Houston. My favorite Avenger's song is "The American In Me". Straightforward, no nonsense, bitter American punk at it's finest..."Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country's been doing to you"'s "The American In Me" for your enjoyment.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Universal Pictures' and director Virgil Vogel's "The Mole People"(1965) is a classic science fiction movie, highly entertaining and packed with child-like wonder and thrills. The movie opens with a professor telling us about several different hollow-earth theories, preparing us for what to expect in the movie that is about to start. As the movie begins, we have a team of archaeologists who discover some mysterious relics in one of their digs. They believe these relics point to an ancient Sumerian civilization that settled high in the Himalayan mountains after a great flood. They are bound to find this ancient city so high into the mountains they go. After a lot of mountain climbing, our scientists find some ruins of a city on a plateau. The earth cracks beneath one of the scientist and he falls through. Soon we find ourselves on a magnificent adventure beneath the surface of the earth.

What we find is an underground society consisting of the mole people (who are very menacing indeed) and an ancient civilization that worships Ishtar. In this underground world, there is no sunlight. A chemical in the rocks gives off a glow to light the taverns. There is a delicate balance in their ecosystem. Not many things grow without sunlight, so food is limited. Mushrooms are the main food source, but the supply of mushrooms can only sustain about 150 people. When the population grows beyond that number, people must be sacrificed to Ishtar. You see, sunlight is deadly to our underground dwellers, so the sacrificial victims are put in a small room where a ray of sunlight shows through. They are left there to die. The mole people are slaves in this society. They are whipped and beaten harshly. Their sole purpose is to harvest mushrooms.

The archaeologists are viewed at first as enemies, but then they are later viewed as gods. Why, you may ask? Because they have a flashlight. They harness the deadly light rays of the goddess Ishtar. What happens when these archaeologists try to tamper with the delicate balance of this society? What happens when the mole people revolt against their masters? All chaos breaks loose, leading to a climactic, breath taking ending.

Is this a perfect movie? No. The underground sets are beautiful, but at times are obviously fake. You must go into this film with a willing suspension of disbelief, as not all things in this movie make sense. But the good outweighs the bad. The black and white cinematography is gorgeous. The pacing of the story is excellent. You truly are drawn into the story of this underground civilization, and you can't wait to see what happens next. The presence of John Agar in this movie is very welcome. His acting is at times hammy, but works well. His character is the most interesting in the movie.

The Mole People is a film that I find myself coming back to again and again. There is a certain sense of wonder and innocence that this movie holds that is hard to find in cinema these days. Highly recommended, a true classic of the genre.


Troubled Horse is an incredible, sinister sounding retro 1960's and 1970's psych rock band from Sweden. They remind me of a cross between Pentagram, Black Sabbath, The Kinks, and Roky Erickson. They have a distinctive 1960's garage punk edge combined with an excellent ear for doom. Their music is at times akin to the impeccable retro psych doom rock of Witchcraft. Highly recommended. They do not have an album available that I know of, but you can hear two of their songs, "Bring My Horses Home" and "Shirleen" here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Nebula's "Dos EP's" features Nebula's first two EP's under one album. This is Nebula's early material. It isn't quite the finely honed space rock you may be used to, but it is still very impressive indeed. Their music from this period reminds me of a sun-drenched, stoned out Stooges, with some bluesy and incredible and guitar playing by Eddie Glass, whose vocals are also impressive here. The psychedelia is still in full force, but it is in more of a laid back 1970's stoner rock vein. This is one of my personal favorite Nebula albums...brain melting psychedelic blues. If you've never heard Nebula before, this is a good place to start. By the same token, if you've only heard their later work pick this one up. It will not disappoint. here's "Smokin' Woman" and "Bardo Arways" for your enjoyment.


This song has been rattling around in my head for the past few days for a reason that befuddles me. An incredible song...evil deranged blues, like Howlin' Wolf meets the devil, here's "Plastic Factory" from Captain Beefheart's 1967 album "Safe As Milk". Enjoy.

Voivod's Final Album "Infini" To Be Released Soon

Futuristic cyber metal masters Voivod are releasing their final album, "Infini" on June 23 2009 in the United States and on June 15 in the U.K.. The album is culled from material that guitarist Dennis D'Amour aka "Piggy" wrote before his death in 2005 from colon cancer. He left the guitar tracks on his laptop, and left instrucutions to drummer Away on how to retrieve them. This CD will feature Away on drums, Jason Newstead on bass, Piggy's guitar playing, and Snake on vocals. Voivod is touring with Dan Mongrain from the prog-metal band Martyr taking Piggy's place on guitar, and with their original, founding bassist Blacky. I can't wait to hear this CD.

Here is "Infini's" track listing:

1. God Phones

2. From The Cave

3. Earthache

4. Global Warning

5. A Room With A V.U.

6. Destroy After Reading

7. Treasure Chase

8. Krap Radio

9. In Orbit

10. Deathproof

11. Pyramidome

12. Morpheus

13. Volcano

Friday, May 1, 2009

Coming Attractions...

Movie reviews coming soon:
Director Larry Cohen's (of Black Caesar fame) bizarre psychological horror film "God Told Me To" from 1976...
and the Universal Picures classic "The Mole People" (1956) from director Virgil Vogel.
Stay tuned.


Corrosion of Conformity's 1985 release is a masterpiece of a crossover between hardcore punk and heavy metal. This is my personal favorite Corrosion of Conformity album of all time. Their sound in the 1980's was radically different than their more commercial retro 1970's metal form the early 1990's "Blind" album and on. "Animosity" is a pure blast of adrenaline, insane, sped up retro Black Sabbath riffing, some evil mid-paced grooves, and plenty of anger. The pace of this album is ferocious and blinding. Every song is intense, and before you know it, all ten tracks are over, and if you have to hear it again. The line up on this album is Mike Dean on vocals and bass, Reed Mullin on drums, and Woody Weatherman on guitar. Mike Dean's vocals are an acquired taste, but they suit Woody Weatherman's often way out there and always viscous Black Sabbath meets Black Flag guitar playing. There is not a weak track on here. This album is best experinced as a whole, as one blinding burst of adrenalin. Pick this one up now, it will not disappoint.