:: Buzzwords Archive: August 2010. Click here for the latest posts.

Saturday Night at the Movies (published 28/08/2010)

By Tony O’Neill.

Blood Freak (1972), DIR. Brad F. Grinter

Blood Freak! Blood Freak! Blood Freak! The title alone hips you to certain unarguable facts: that this will be a better movie than Inception, and that it will contain both blood (it does) and at least one freak (yup, not counting the freaks who made this cinematic abortion). Where do I sign up?

Blood Freak is an anti-drug movie made by Christians back in the heady days of 1972. Blood Freak‘s plot contains plenty of anti-drug / pro-religion subtext. However, unlike most po-faced anti-drug propaganda produced these days it also has tons of gore, a bare ass or two, and a turkey-headed monster with a thirst for blood.

You can’t get Night Nurse in US pharmacies, nor can you get codeine or anything else interesting without a prescription. However our pharmacies sell booze. Hooray for America, because you’ll need quite a bit of rotgut liquor to make a movie like Blood Freak enjoyable in any conventional sense.

Quick plot summary: Hershell, an ex Viet Nam vet with an Elvis quiff meets Angel, a born again chick who likes spouting bible verses. When Angel takes Hershell in, he also meets Angel’s no good, pot-smoking sister Anne. While Angel tries to talk Bible talk with Hershell, Anne tries to seduce him. Finally Hershell succumbs to Anne’s wiles, and he even takes a hit from one of her joints. OH SHIT! This results in Hershell becoming HOPELESSLY ADDICTED to weed. Oh Jeez, Hershell, now what?

Get a job at a turkey farm, that’s what! Hershell takes a gig as a human guinea pig for some new, fancy chemically altered turkey meat. The scientists at this joint helpfully pay Hershell in weed, which at least helps with the whole “hopelessly addicted” problem. After eating a whole turkey Hershell has some kind of a seizure, and ends up dumped in a field by the spooked scientists. When he wakes up he has been transformed into a strung-out, blood-fiending turkey-headed mutant.

bloodfreak

About now the Colt 45 with a Cisco chaser is making focusing difficult. I start thinking about a time, maybe ten years ago; I ended up getting dragged to a Marilyn Manson concert on ecstasy by an artist friend of mine. She freaked out right after Courtney Love fell offstage and broke her ankle, and then Manson came out trying to scare people with his satanic hokum (I preferred Screamin’ Jay Hawkins). My friend freaked and ran out to her car, and insisted that we listened to ‘The Age of Aquarius’ by the 5th Dimension over and over until she calmed down. That song still gives me the horrors, and a strange sense of impending doom.

But wait! The film drags me back. Turkey-head Hershell has a bad drug jones, which can only be satiated by drinking the blood of heroin addicts (a conceit which was later explored in the New York punk sci-fi classic Liquid Sky). Legs are ripped off! Blood spurts! Throats are slashed! There is some brief nudity!

I started to zone out completely again. The dialogue is particularly bad, and seems to be improvised by people on Thorazine. Then, someone decapitates turkey-head Hershell with a machete, shaking me out of my stupor. But wait! Suddenly we’re back in the field were Hershell first became a monster. Hershell is alive, and he doesn’t have a turkey head. Yup, you guessed it…. IT WAS ALL A DREAM!

The owner of the turkey farm finds Hershell laying around in a marijuana (and turkey) induced stupor, and calls Angel who happens to work at a drug rehab center. She shows up, they pray for a bit that God will cure Hershell of his drug addiction, and then she takes Hershell to rehab. Hershell cleans up and at the end of the movie he even gets the girl (the born again girl, not that dirty hippy pot smoking sister). Thanks God!

I think that there was a narrator, but that could have been the voices in my head, or maybe the neighbors yelling through the walls. I had a hangover as the credits rolled, and I swear I’ll never eat turkey again. To sum up: Blood Freak – bad, but nowhere near as bad as a Jennifer Aniston movie.

Tony O’Neill is the author of Sick City. You can read 3:AM‘s interviews with him here, here and, most recently, here.

Researcher’s Tales (published )

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4 Oct 2010 – 18:15
BFI National Library, Stephen Street, W1
Free

Patrick Keiller (director of London and Robinson in Space) talks about film-making as a research method in the context of his new film Robinson in Ruins, which is one of the outcomes of a three-year research project entitled The Future of Landscape and the Moving Image, and reprises the Robinson character from his prior films.

BFI Members and Library Pass holders only can book free tickets in advance by contacting Nina Bishop on 020 7957 4752 or by email to nina.bishop@bfi.org.uk

Keiller will also close the ‘Landscaping: Artists, Maps and Britain’ conference at the British Library on September 11.

Friday I’m in Love (published )

A clip here of Joe Meek-produced instrumentalists The Scorpions, laid over the into to David McCallum lowlife strip club chancer flick Jungle Street (1961), with more tremolo than you could shake a pick at and more snare on the drum than you’d need to catch a rabbit.

Breast of British (published 27/08/2010)

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Paul Willetts‘ biography of Soho’s ‘King of Porn’ Paul Raymond, Members Only, is published by Serpent’s Tail next week. The Daily Express carried two serialised excerpts this week:

In the mid-Fifties, as he celebrated his 30th birthday, he was little more than a washed-up ex-variety performer who had appeared in end-of-pier shows as a mind-reader. Then he happened to spend an evening at Britain’s first “strip joint”, a club off Leicester Square, and different from prewar burlesque shows because members-only admission meant the performers did not have to obey censorship rules ordering naked women on stage to be perfectly still. The show was terrible, Raymond thought, yet if it could attract well- heeled executive types, how much more would they pay for an extravagant cabaret-style show, with nude girls, obviously, in a luxuriant setting?

By the time the Revuebar had closed at 11.10pm on its first night on Monday, April 21, 1958, he had taken more than £500 from the sales of tickets, drinks, programmes and cloakroom fees. At the time, the average monthly wage was about £200.

3:AM interview with Paul Willetts next week.

3:AM in the Mix (published )

Daniel Savio, from Sweden, makes apocalyptic sounding, chipmusic-inspired electro with grit and tons of hooks and crannies.

His latest EP (released by losonofono) is called Nekropolis and is both spooky and tongue in cheek. You can check it out on his BandCamp page. The actual release as a LP, CD and digital EP will be in about a month. The digital version will be available from Juno first.

Nekropolis by Daniel Savio

Schmindie in Soho (published )

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West End bookstore Foyles are organising an Independent Alliance weekend over September 11/12. Sessions include digital publishing and writing the counterculture.

The line up features Max Schaefer, Paul Willetts (interview at 3:AM soon), Barry Miles and Max Décharné. The Foyles events page has the lowdown.

Fol Chen’s New EP: Holograms (published 25/08/2010)

Fol Chen released their new EP earlier this month. It is free to download from their Bandcamp page.

Fol Chen – The Holograms


If you haven’t heard them before, they sound almost like nothing else at the moment, except perhaps La Roux.

It’s psychedelic, fragmented synthpop, but without the harshness you’d expect. Fol Chen have a sort of surgical attention to sonic detail that makes every listen an exploration. While many current synthpop acts are content with revisiting the sounds of the eighties, Fol Chen basically take synthpop to the next, contemporary level. They manage to keep their music both experimental and very accessible, if you get my drift. If not, just give them a listen.

Here’s the video for their awesome track ‘In Ruins’, for good measure:

Fol Chen – In Ruins