Thursday, October 10, 2019

Doomriders - The Chase

The Playlist for Joe Begos' new film Bliss has turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving! I've spent the last twenty-four alternating between Deth Crux's Mutant Flesh album and Doomriders' Black Thunder. Both these records are start-to-finish fantastic, and I haven't even had time to dig into some of the other bands with killer tracks on it. Here's the embedded full playlist - if you dig it, follow some of these folks on BandinTown, Spotify, Bandcamp or Apple Music.


31 Days of Horror:

10/01: House of 1000 Corpses/31
10/02: Lords of Chaos
10/03: Creepshow Ep 2/Tales from the Crypt Ssn 1, Ep 1
10/04: IT Chapter 2, AHS 1984 Ep. 3
10/05: Bliss/VFW
10/06: Halloween III: Season of the Witch/Night of the Creeps/The Fog
10/07: Halloween 2018
10/08: Hell House, LLC
10/09: Dance of the Dead (Tobe Hooper; Masters of Horror Ssn 1 Ep 3)

Wow. When Masters of Horror aired back in the mid-'00s, I cursed not having cable. I looked forward to the inevitable DVD releases with a sort of frantic fan devotion. I mean, here was a series that assembled most of the greatest living horror auteurs, new and old, in one place. How could that be bad?

When all was said and done, I enjoyed the few I saw (Carpenter's Cigarette Burns, Coscarelli's Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, and Stuart Gordon's Lovecraft adaptation Dreams in the Witch House) but somehow never got around to the rest.

It's as if I knew.

Last year, I went back to the series for the first time in forever, primarily because at ~an hour each, MOH provides a great way to check a box for 31 Days of Horror on a work night. Yesterday, with a late start and an early wake-up time, I sought the series out again, opting to buy the first season digitally on Prime. Once acquired, K and I settled in for one of the episodes I had always anticipated but never got around to: Tobe Hooper's Dance of the Dead.

Dance is an adaptation of an old Richard Matheson short story of the same name that I first read in the early 90s; in fact, Matheson wrote the teleplay to adapt the story for Hooper, so everyone involved with this film is in my 'good book.' That makes it even stranger that I absolutely hated the finished product.

I didn't hate the way the story was adapted. No, what I disliked, and what I now wonder might hold true for more of the MOH series - and maybe even a lot of Mid-'00s, big-name Horror in general - is the aesthetic. I can't speak to that broader picture yet, but let's take a look at Dance of the Dead as a possible microcosm of the overall macrocosm of 2000s Horror.

Dance of the Dead suffers from an extremely dated adherence to mid-'00s culture: the guys in DOD all look like Bros, the attitude of everyone seems an extrapolation and acknowledgment of 'extreme' culture - something horror was DEFINITELY guilty of trafficking in; remember the Dimension: Extreme imprint? - and their messy hair, mountain dew attire, piercings, tattoos, etc. really just look embarrassing for the costume designer and producers. After a similar cultural rift, a lot of us look back on this same broad-stroke cluelessness on 80s youth culture as endearing (bandanas, shoulder-hoisted ghetto blasters, switchblades, etc), so maybe that will happen with the 2000s as well.

Though I doubt it. The schism is a little hard to explain, but if you were socially cognizant during the 00s, you'll know what I mean.

Along with the above, DoD sports an overly enthusiastic reliance on digital effects and awkward, heavily effected camera work that manifests as constant shaking-and-trailing of the picture frame, superimposed imagery, and a general frenetic editing pace that directly detracts from the film's visual exposition, in my opinion. During this period, I remember having a theory that everyone in Hollywood thought the entirety of youth culture suffered from ADD.

Finally, this befuddlement of youthful values and mores leads to a palpable and frankly ugly mean streak, especially when looking back from higher ground. Horror is horror, but in my experience, 'mean' generally doesn't hold up in the light of hindsight.

I fully intend to watch more of the first season of Masters of Horror, so I can only hope some of the other films contained therein prove me wrong.


Playlist from 10/09:

Tones of Tail - Everything
Various - Bliss Soundtrack Playlist
Bauhaus - In the Flat Field
Doomriders - Black Thunder
Deth Crux - Mutant Flesh
Twin Tribes - Shadows
Ritual Howls - Into the Water


No card today.

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