Hammer films, especially horror, are hit or miss (mostly miss). Plague of the Zombies is a rare exception. This is a typical pre-Romero zombie film in which the plot revolves around an evil character who use black magic you put others until their thrall. In this instance, the warlock is obvious instantly. What makes this film so great is the fantastic make-up on the zombies, the inspired voodoo aesthetics, and the well-paced mystery plot. An all-around fun romp.
I wanted to check out more of Leos Carax’s work after watching Annette, and this is the movie that featured a Sparks song and lead to the collaboration. It’s weird. The premise is an actor is driving around Paris performing for hire various real life situations. Maybe there’s a point here, but it was lost on me. Seemed like the framing was simply an excuse to put together a series of short film vignettes. Some of them are good some aren’t but it never truly came together as a cohesive whole for me.
A late 60s drama about a love triangle that becomes a love square that becomes a love pentagram. Each time the scope widens, they meet around a dinner table a suggest further perversions. It’s confusing and the only things it has going for it is the fashions and swinging Ennio Morricone’s score (which ranks as one of his very best).
Carol Baker returns in another early giallo about a murder plot in which a wife is killed on a sail boat. There are witnesses, films, and a returning step-daughter. Yeah, this will never work. On par with the other Baker giallos from this period.
Now much to say. It’s a swell Poirot mystery that is written in the first person from the perspective a nurse who happened to be on the scene when the murder occurred.
Best of 2021!!! Honestly, I didn’t buy enough music in 2021 to warrant a top 10 list but here’s what I got:
6. Gazelle Twin & NYX “Deep England” – What if your high school choral group was composed of a bunch of crystal worshiping hipsters? They would record covers of songs from “The Wicker Man” of course! That and a few Gazelle Twin traxxx.
5. “PAURA: A Collection Of Italian Horror Sounds From The CAM Sugar Archive” – A wonderful compilation of Italian horror and giallo music. I already own about half of these songs but this collection is great.
4. Cabaret Voltaire “Shadow of Funk” – Richard H. Kirk decided to bring back Cabaret Voltaire in a big way… then he died. He also released two records of 40 minute drones. This was better.
3. Jacob Haage & Sarah Assbring “Riptide” – Sarah Assbring is also known as El Perro Del Mar. I thought that “Free Land” was released this year. It wasn’t. If it was, it would be my #1. Instead I have to settle with this artsy soundtrack to a Momenshantz wannabe dance troupe.
2. Dame Area “Ondas Tribales” – They are literally the first band ever to realize their drum machine also has conga patches. It’s a fact. This is basically tribal beats with a woman screaming in Spanish, Italian, or some other shithole country’s language that I don’t understand. In any event it’s awesome.
1. Hannah Peel “Fir Wave” – Hannah Peel learned about synths and stuff from being John Foxx’s violinist and backup vocalist in The Maths. This record is based on samples of Delia Derbyshire’s music. Yeah, I didn’t know who she was either, but then again, I couldn’t care less about Dr. Who. In any event, this is another epic sonic journey in the vein of her last record, “Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia.”
This is a nice companion piece to his book on Bosch. There quite a bit more to talk about with Bruegel, so this one is a bit longer, but, as with the other book, the art plates are too tiny.
This short and small volume does a good job in contextualizing the work of Bosch. Lots of images but they are all a bit too tiny to really study.
A better title for this art book would be Etching from the Renaissance. The book covers the dawn of the medium during the Renaissance and not the “golden age” of etching that is suggested by the title. There is a ton of information and images from this period but, as it was a new process, the work itself is not as good as what would come later.
I’m sorry to report, but the Neil Hamburger movie isn’t that good. It’s not a movie about the Neil Hamburger character but rather it’s about a comedian whose stage persona is Neil Hamburger and loneliness of his life on the road. Fine, that could work but there is never any payoff to any scene. Every potentially interesting interaction is resolved with Gregg Turkington not reacting and just looking awkward. The comedian is the exactly same character at the beginning of the movie as he is at the end. There is no growth or arc to speak of. The only thing (beside to two or three Hamburger jokes) that this movie has going for it is the artsy shot framing which will certainly appeal to people who follow that “One Perfect Shot” Twitter feed. Otherwise. I was very disappointed with this.