If Angry Birds had a news channel, would it be something like this? Egor Zhgun‘s clever animation explains current and recent events in the Middle East by mashing Walt Disney’s The Three Little Pigs with those pesky Angry Tweets.
Dangerous Minds pal Jesse Merlin (currently appearing in Stuart Gordon’s hit musical adaptation of Re-Animator at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood) sent me this wonderfully weird film trailer for Mad Doctor of Blood Island, a cheesy, low budget—and incredibly bloody—Filipino horror movie from the 1960s. What makes this particular trailer of interest is the hilariously over-the-top voice-over courtesy of my late friend, Theodore Gottlieb, better known as philosopher, metaphysician and podiatrist, Brother Theodore.
“A barbaric experience in the most grotesque sense!”
I’m 100% certain that Theodore wrote the copy for this, too.
Linkin Park: The successful marriage of rock and hip-hop came together dramatically in their debut album Hybrid Theory. Linkin Park has attracted a huge fan base worldwide not only by consistently delivering compelling songs but by musically adventuresome collaborations with Jay Z. The band is exciting live and continues to evolve their sound, allowing them to succeed where many of their rap-rock contemporaries have failed.
Pearl Jam: As a contemporary of Nirvana in the early days of the Seattle grunge scene, the band grew in the 90’s into one of the consistently top bands around the globe. Known from the beginning as a great live band, they have grown a passionate fan base by adhering to their own rules…unapologetic, touring the way they want, putting out albums without concerning themselves if they had a hit track for radio play. A real original.
Dave Matthews Band: This Virginia based band made it the hard way…endlessly playing all over the country to emerge as one of America’s top live bands. Their lengthy shows and amazing musicianship continue the legacy of the Grateful Dead, with the Dave Matthews Band inheriting the mantle of the best jam band around. Like the Dead, the band is more of a live experience, not needing hit songs (though they’ve have a few of those as well) to play stadiums. They rock!
Other bands on the list include Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie, and (yes) Green Day. There are two main aspects of this article that beggar belief. One, that the author thinks that these are the most important and influential bands of the current era (the CURRENT era I must stress—check the present tense of the verb “to shape” in the title). You surely don’t need me to explain how wrong this is. The second most unbelievable aspect of this is that this guy is getting paid money to write about music. Actually, seeing as it was first published on Huffington Post, maybe he’s not. So who is this Jeff Pollack guy? Whoever he is, he’s a comedy genius!
Sometime in the mid-1980s, in one of those “Checks Cashed” places on 14th Street in NYC, I came upon a cache of el cheapo cult videos for sale. Things like Don Lett’s Punk Rock Movie. King of the Zombies with Mantan Moreland, rock conspiracy flick Beyond the Doors and something called Banned and Racist Cartoons. (I even found some animated “Tijuana Bibles” including one called “Woody’s A Fag” which could have ruined Woody Woodpecker’s movie career, let’s just say, had this gotten out in the 1940s). These tapes were being sold amidst things like car air fresheners, steering wheel covers, and 99 cent “travel"shoe shine kits. This enterprise seemed to be a side-business of the check cashing business. I don’t want to give the impression that someone artfully curated these tapes, because this was not the case. They were more likely to have fallen off a truck. There were also old Flash Gordon serials, Jack Benny shows, NASCAR and monster truck videos and Cantinflas comedies. None of it made any sense, but every time I went into this place, there were new weird videos for sale, just $2.99
Probably my favorite of all the VHS exotica discovered in this unlikely location was the oddball 1972 British Horror film Psychomania.
Psychomania stars Shakespearian actor Nicky Henson as the arrogant leader of a frog-worshiping motorcycle gang who makes a pact with the devil to return from the dead. His witchy mother is played by BAFTA-winning actress and OBE Beryl Reid. George Sanders (All About Eve, “Mr. Freeze” on Batman TV series, Village of the Damned) plays her sinister butler. It was directed by Don Sharp, a Hammer director who’d also shot a few episodes of The Avengers.
This movie is so wack it’s unbelievable. Jaw-dropping scene after jaw-dropping scene sees theis gang of impolite (yet articulate) Satanic bikers wrecking havoc in grocery stores, committing ritual suicide and being buried sitting atop their hogs (there’s a reason for this). What’s strange for a film with such a ridiculous premise is how decent the acting is. Usually low budget 70s horror movies had terrible acting, but this film had actors who could actually sell this bullshit. (George Sanders, who was an Oscar-winner, is here seen in his final role before committing suicide. This is something that nearly every reviewer of Psychomania makes a predictable joke about).
I’ve seen this film more times than I want to admit to, and I’ve inflicted it on a good many unsuspecting friends. Now I can retire my shitty old VHS of Psychomania in favor of the sparkle-y new widescreen DVD version put out by Severin Films. With cast interviews and a talk with the composer of its rockin’ soundtrack, John Cameron. Restored from the only known uncut 35mm print of the film in existence.
Thank God for Satan, as more than 60 Catholic clergy (66 perhaps?) gather in Rome for a 6-day (another 6!) conference on “Exorcism”, this week, at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, Rome. The event will examine how the web has made it easier than before to access information on Devil-worship and the occult, reports the Daily Telegraph:
“The internet makes it much easier than in the past to find information about Satanism,” said Carlo Climati, a member of the university who specialises in the dangers posed to young people by Satanism.
“In just a few minutes you can contact Satanist groups and research occultism. The conference is not about how to become an exorcist. It’s to share information about exorcism, Satanism and sects. It’s to give help to families and priests. There is a particular risk for young people who are in difficulties or who are emotionally fragile,” said Mr Climati.
Organizers of the event say the rise of Satanism has been dangerously underestimated in recent years.
“There’s been a revival,” said Gabriele Nanni, a former exorcist and another speaker at the course.
Over the course of 6-days, the exorcists will scrutinise the phenomenon of Satanism with “seriousness and scientific rigour”, avoiding a “superficial or sensational approach.”
In theory, any priest can perform an exorcism – a rite involving prayers to drive the Devil out of the person said to be possessed.
But Vatican officials said three years ago that parish priests should call in professional exorcists if they suspect one of their parishioners needs purging of evil. An exorcist should be called when “the moral certainty has been reached that the person is possessed”, said Father Nanni, a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. That could be indicated by radical and disturbing changes in the person’s behaviour and voice, or an ability to garble in foreign languages or nonsensical gibberish.
While the number of genuine cases of possession by the Devil remained relatively small, “we must be on guard because occult and Satanist practices are spreading a great deal, in part with the help of the internet and new technologies that make it easier to access these rituals,” he said.
The Vatican’s chief exorcist claimed last year that the Devil lurked in the Vatican, the very heart of the Catholic Church.
Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained.
He claimed that the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See. He said Pope Benedict XVI believed “wholeheartedly” in the practice of exorcism.
The church’s International Association of Exorcists was set up in 1993, and meet in secret every 2 years, with the aim “of increasing the number of official exorcists worldwide.”
Since 2005, Catholic priests can sign up to learn how to cast away evil spirits from the possessed at the Vatican-backed college, the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum in Rome.
It runs a two-month course to teach the “spiritual, liturgical and pastoral work involved in being an exorcist.”
According to Father Giulio Savoldi, Milan’s official exorcist, requirements include “the supernatural force – the presence of God – and then suggest that the man picked to do this kind of work be wise and that he should know how to gather strength not just from within himself but from God.” The Roman Catholic’s new Exorcism RiteThe Roman Catholic’s new Exorcism Rite, which was updated in 1999 for the first time since 1614, stresses the importance of distinguishing who is really in need of an exorcism.
Father Savoldi said: “Those studying to become exorcists should also study psychology and know how to distinguish between a mental illness and a possession. And, finally, they need to be very patient.” He said the priest who undertakes the office should be himself a holy man, of a blameless life, intelligent, courageous, humble. He should avoid in the course of the rite anything resembling superstition and he should leave the medical aspects of the case to qualified physicians.
If that doesn’t turn your head, then you may enjoy Mark Kermode’s fascinating BBC documentary, Fear of God: The Making of ‘The Exorcist’, which examines the story of classic 1973 horror movie, with cast and crew, and discusses the true events inspired William Peter Blatty’s original novel.
Joe Klein writing on the 2012 crop of potential Republican presidential nominees on his TIME magazine blog:
This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty, a decent governor, can’t let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage. There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know. Mick Huckabee, the front-runner if you can believe it, might have to negotiate a trade agreement, or a defense treaty, with the Indonesian President some day. Newt might have to discuss very delicate matters of national security with the President of Pakistan. And so I plead, as an unflinching American patriot—please Mitch Daniels, please Jeb Bush, please run. I may not agree with you on most things, but I respect you. And you seem to respect yourselves enough not to behave like public clowns.