Knife of Ice (5/10)

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One more Carol Baker giallo in which she plays a character whose past trauma has made her mute (is that even a real thing?). I really was unimpressed with everything about this. The mystery is lame, it lacks style, and doesn’t even have the sexiness of her earlier giallos. On top of that, the muteness of the character is never really utilized in the plot. I feel like there should have been a sequence where she needed to scream in order to escape the killer.

Otto Dix by Caroline Johnstone (8/10)

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I’m slowly working my way through various artist monographs I have collected over the years. Up until now I had only looked at the pictures. This is the catalogue for a huge exhibition of art by Otto Dix that was held at the Tate Gallery. It’s filled with many great images and some biographical information about Dix. There are a number of essayists featured and they all had about the same story to tell. Dix didn’t lead that crazy of a life other than his time during World War I and his few entanglements with the Nazis regarding his “degenerate” art. This is, by no means, a complete overview of his art. There are a few plates that are labeled like, “he made 150 landscapes during this period… here is one of them.”

Deep Red - Wood Engraving

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The fifth and (probably) final engraving in my series of prints based on Italian giallo films. This one is based on Deep Red a.k.a. Profondo Rosso. Possibly the finest giallo ever created. It’s filled with fantastic visuals, a great score, plenty of gore, and a spectacular (and fair) twist at the end.

The print depicts the moment just before Helga Ulmann is killed as Marcus wanders the nighttime streets of Turin.

The print was engraved in resingrave, a material which, I have recently come to discover, is no longer being produced. I am really upset by this as I was just starting to get a handle on the medium.

Process Photos

These photos show the various stages of the engraving from concept to final print.

A Black Veil for Lisa (4/10)

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A police thriller in which the hero is a 60 year old detective who constantly thinks his 26 year old wife is cheating on him. His personal life gets mixed up with the case of black-gloved murders he is investigating. This one is really bad. The January/December relationship is cringe, the plot riddled with holes, every location looks like a grandma’s living room, and every secondary character is dubbed by Paul Frees, the voice of Disneyland’s Haunted House ride. The only fun part is when Max gets kicked in the crotch by a glassy-eyed heavy:

Plague of the Zombies (8/10)

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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.

Holy Motors (7/10)

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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.

Best Records of 2021!

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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.”