Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Serbian Film

Srdjan Spasojevic | 2010 | 104 min | Serbia

Serbian Film is the new Necronomicon among horror dorks. I'm sure more total time has been spent tweeting and talking about the movie in hushed tones than has been spent by people actually viewing it. And like everyone who has flipped through the Necronomicon has learned, you can't believe the hype.

Broke and faded porn star Milos is approached by a mysterious wealthy benefactor who offers him scads of money to star in one more film. He is told the film will straddle the gap between obscenity and high art. Milos won't be be given a script, know the course of action, or meet his co-actors beforehand as part of the director's process and pursuit of stark realism. The finished film is to be delivered to a select, private clientele: aficionados of extreme cinema.

The first two thirds of Serbian Film are honestly chilling as Milos finds himself haplessly stumbling through a Lynch-ian porn feature surrounded by a stern men who appear to be mercenaries holding videocameras. Of course, we know exactly the kind of film Milos is going to find himself in. Imagining the lurid horror that surely takes place during the gaps in the narrative creates a jet-black mood in the earlier portions of the film. The entire uncomfortable experience hinges upon our imagination. So when Serbian Film heads to flashback territory and Milos begins walking the audience through those gaps step by step, the chill quickly dissipates. Lurid imagination is replaced with explicit sex and violence.

Serbian Film's claim to internet fame is that it ultimately leaves not a single act to the imagination. But where does that leave viewers after we strap in to passively witness a cataloguing of evil? Well, not quite bored, but certainly not interested. In fact, after all the build up, the reveals of the final act are predictable and often even cheesy. There are some awful, horrifying visuals, definitely, but when a narrative forces you to picture them an hour in advance, the actions on display simply feel like awkward retreads and the punch is reduced to a pat on the head.

Serbian Film is not as brutal as you've heard, but it is certainly sillier than you would expect. Perhaps it's more like Go Ask Alice than the Necronomicon? Serbian Film is far too brutal to appeal to viewers of regular horror fare and too cliched and clumsy for those who regularly wade into heavier horror. I don't know where this will ultimately sit. Maybe recommend it to your mom if she asks for a good starter snuff-gore movie.


William Lustig | 1983 | 90 min | US

There are many, many films of this era revolving around the topic of "this city has become a cesspool of crime; the legal system cannot protect us; ordinary citizens should start a-killin." Even the tagline for Vigilante is "You're Not Safe Anymore." This may be as close as we will ever come to Whitesploitation cinema.

Eddie Marino (Robert Forster) is a family man and factory worker in New York City. He loves his wife, his young son, his buds, an honest day of labour, and planning for the future. As soon as the talk of vacations with his wife starts, you know they are all doomed. Days later, Eddie's family is destroyed by a gang of thugs after a dispute over a ten dollar tank of gas. Understandable.

Eddie's coworker and friend Nick (Fred Williamson) floats the idea that he has a van, a gun, and a shit-ton of rage, so maybe they can start picking off gang members themselves? But no, Eddie isn't that kind of guy, the system works, et cetera. He trusts the authorities to deal with these career criminals. But when Eddie's court date rolls around, he witnesses a vulgar display of bribery and a suspended sentence for a killer in a bedazzled denim vest. He attacks the judge in a fit of righteous anger. No, Eddie! Luckily, this clears the way for the most interesting portion of the film. While Eddie tries to navigate a short prison prison stint for contempt, Nick and two other coworkers on the outside are climbing their way up the gang hierarchy using bats and dick kicking.

Once he is released from the clink, the boys welcome Nick and his new lust for street justice with open arms. What follows is a judgment-free depiction of serial assault and murder by the "good guys."

It's not best in class, but thanks to the gore-savy direction of William Lustig (of the Maniac and Maniac Cop films) and the yin and yang performances of Williamson and Forster, this is a satisfying offering of the subgenre. Thumbs up, take back the night, and so forth.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday Weld: Queen of the Druids

"During her childhood, Weld exhibited amazing clairvoyant gifts that quickly brought her to the attention of a concealed Druidic network of families, which Turner claims form the current Illuminati leadership. In this arena of behind-the-scenes world politics and ritual magic, Weld became a fast rising prodigy in the Illuminati, and at the youthful age of 15 was chosen as the new queen and high priestess of the Druids. The initiation rite that signalled her ascension into leadership was the plane crash that carried Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper to their deaths in February of 1958. According to Turner, the plane had been sabotaged by backers of Weld as part of this ritual which signifed her inauguration as Illuminati Queen and High Priestess."
The previous passage was excerpted from the article "Tiffany Overtakes Tuesday Weld" by Adam Gorightly and Douglas Hawes from the book Secret and Suppressed II published by Feral House.

The subject of the article, Jeffrey Turner, may be a man more familiar to you as one of the subjects of the documentary I Think We're Alone Now. In that feature Turner is portrayed as an unstable man with little in his life beyond his obsession with former pop star Tiffany.

While concentrating on theories regarding Tuesday Weld's influence in creating the Illuminati conspiracy known as the Summer of Love, the Gorightly and Hawes article also sheds greater light on Jeffrey Turner's supposed relationship with Tiffany, her role combating Weld's role in the Illuminati, and overcoming her own MK-ULTRA programming. Recommended reading! It just made me love Tuesday Weld all the more.

I Think We're Alone Now is now available on Netflix. Watch the trailer after the jump.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Things I Need

Double threat from Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold. What's classier than books filled with a bar set? Real books? Gedouddahere, Poindexter.