Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Chopper: The Real Story

This is a brand new book that just came out from Gestalten. Marie bought it for me for christmas. It's fucking awesome. I want to go right back to page 1 and read it all over again.

Oversize book. Nice paper stock. Very well produced. Good finishing details. Great layout. It's a functional and aesthetic accomplishment. Just excellent art direction all round.

The book charts the history of the chopper from bob-jobs and proto-choppers, through the legit 60's chopper craze, the fall of choppers, the rise of the shitty big tire custom crap, the fall of that crap, and the reinvigoration of the classic chopper scene today. Paul D'Orleans captures the full cycle (pun intended). And it's a glorious cycle indeed.

Paul is well-spoken and articulate, but definitely down to earth, too. He keeps the book flowing very well. But I have one gripe: the editor sucked. I caught at LEAST 8 typos in the book. Obviously it doesn't ruin the book, but they're unnecessary. Didn't someone read the damn thing from cover to cover before it got printed? Anyway...

This is a beautiful and informative book packed with great photos and information. If you ride a motorcycle you should own this book.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best of 2014

Tally this year is 52 films and 25 books and comics. More literature, but only half the amount of movies I've watching in the past. That's just how it goes. Been really busy with Temple of Void, I guess. Didn't really stay current. Almost everything I watched was released prior to 2014. Quality over quantity.

Top 10 films:
Eyes Wide Shut
The Great Escape
Godfather Part II
The Wicker Man
Purple Noon
Le Trou
Grand Budapest Hotel
The Lords of Salem

Top 5 motorcycle flicks:
Hell's Angels on Wheels
Hell's Angels '69
Angels Hard as they Come
Born Losers
The Pink Angels

Top 5 documentaries:
Upside Down: The Creation Records Story
Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A' Comin'
Super Duper Alice Cooper
Design is One

Top 10 books:
Burning Rubber
The Chopper: The Real Story
The Exorcist
Conan of Cimmeria: Volume 6
Into Thin Air
I am Jackie Chan
Misery Obscura
People Who Eat Darkness
Jackie Stewart: World Champion
Meat is for Pussies
Of Dice and Men

Top 10 Albums/EPs:
Bloodbath: Grand Morbid Funeral
Black Anvil: Hail Death
Convent Guilt: Guns for Hire
Irkallian Oracle: Grave Ekstasis
Autopsy: Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves
Triptykon: Melana Chasmata
Necros Christos: Nine Graves
Alcest: Shelter
Lie in Ruins: Towards Divine Death
Conan: Blood Eagle

Monday, December 29, 2014


Marie bought me "1" on blu-ray for x-mas. It's a new documentary on Formula One racing.

On the one hand there are a lot of good things about this doc. But on the other hand, I had a couple bones to pick.

The good: Very high production value. Dynamic editing. Interviews from many of the greats. Good archival footage. Music is legit. It's narrated by Michael Fassbender.

The bad: The movie seemed like it was just taking you from one crash to the next with filler content in between. We know there are a lot of crashes (and deaths in the old days), but this was overkill (pun intended). The thread seemed to follow crashes and how they improved safety over the years. But that's not really a good focal point for an F1 doc. How about...the cars, the drivers, the glamour, the teams, the personalities, the technology? I'd like to see that a lot more. Also, it took you from the inception through about 1996. For a movie made in 2012 why did it stop in 1996?

So I didn't think it was a good movie to show someone who's not all that familiar with F1. I enjoyed it. It was fast-paced and well-made. I just thought the focus was too sensational and it would have been much better served if they had focused on something other than accidents.

Still recommended, just with a bit of caution. If you love F1, watch it. :)

Purple Noon

Had the rare treat of watching a movie with my wife these days. We settled on Purple Noon. One of my DVDs I've been meaning to re-watch. It has Alain Delon, it's from 1960, and it's based on the novel "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Marie was down.

Of course it's super good. The story is superb, the acting is excellent, wardrobe is amazing, and the editing was great. The movie knocks it outta the park.

I dug the US adaptation of the book, too. But this one edges it out, to be honest. It's enveloping.

I put the book in my Amazon cart. Something to read down the line.

Highly recommended.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Great Escape

Seriously, how amazing is this movie? I just added the original book to my Amazon cart. I'm sure I'll read that...after I read Papillon. ;)

I got the Blu-Ray for x-mas last year and I finally got around to watching it as well as checking out the extras. As I'm sure you know, The Great Escape is based on a true story. Although Sturges obviously took some liberties for the sake of the silver screen, it's still actually very accurate. The shit in the movie that they's fucking amazing but it was pulled off by the soldiers in the camp. It's incredible.

Just like Papillon, movies from the 60's sure make prison and war look awfully fucking romantic and bad-ass. Like it wasn't anything to be in a prison camp or stuck in the cooler for a month. Ain't no thang. Well, when you're Steve McQueen everything looks pretty

All-star cast. Three hours of suspense. If you haven't seen it, seriously bro, get on it.

Great cinematography. Good editing. Very classic score for the era. It's perfect for what it is.

Except for the accents...yeah...some pretty fucking bad accents going on here. But we can ignore that.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Black Six

Here's an interesting one. The Black Six. Part blaxploitation, part biker flick.

We watched this for the last Motorcycle Movie Night and it got some surprisingly good feedback. Some people said it was the best biker movie they'd seen yet. Personally, it's nowhere near the best, but I get what they're saying. See, a common thread in biker movies is a complete lack of plot. But The Black Six had a very cohesive, linear plot. It made perfect sense, which is something you never say when watching a movie like this. So in that regard it's one of the 2 or 3 we've ever seen that actually made sense.

But that didn't make it great.

It stars six black american football athletes. So right there you know the acting is just as bad as any other 60's biker flick. Their supporting cast are just as terrible. So much either wooden or ham acting...oh man. But that's the charm, right?

Great intro music. It's a blaxploitation wah-wah fest ala Shaft. Super good. The Black Six all ride Triumphs, too. Which is sometimes comical given how large a couple of these lads are.

The movie is about a black dude dating a white chick in a little hillbilly town. White chick's brother is a redneck and his motorcycle gang buddies kill the black dude. The black dude's brother is in the Black Six. They come back to town and settle the score with the rednecks who killed his brother.
------End of spoilers. Like anyone cares if I spoil a blaxploitation biker flick-----

I really liked how CHILL The Black Six were. Due to their non-acting background they just couldn't really inject any dynamism or drama into their roles, so they come off super laid back. It's actually pretty awesome. The complete opposite of white guy bikers. Now, part of this laid back attitude is certainly intended because they're just smooooooth. But part of it is a consequence of not being able to act. It's great, though.

Of all the bikers we've seen in movies this is definitely the gang you'd wanna hang out with.

As far as biker cliches go it was missing swastikas and rape. But it had an interesting take on incompetent local fuzz. It had bar fights, racism, and biker gangs 'terrorizing' a small town. Decent amount of open road scenes. No love in in the desert, though. Still, it was definitely a legit biker flick. But unlike any you've seen. Different perspective.

Anyway, this was a good take on the genre. Keep the shiny side up...

Fuzz: The Sound that Revolutionized the World

Eric told me about this documentary. It's about guitar pedals. He neglected to tell me the documentary is shitty.

I watched it over a couple lunch breaks at work, hoping there would be this ONE sequence that made the whole thing worthwhile. It never came. It's pretty much a dude interviewing some pedal makers with a camcorder. It doesn't appear to be edited in any logical order.

If I were in prison I'd probably find some other shit to do before resigning myself to watching this movie. Maybe go cornrow some dude's hair.

J Mascis...that guy is a fucking human sloth. Look at this random clip on youtube.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Top 10 Albums of 2014

These are my top 10 albums/EPs of 2014 from 1 to 10. I had to update the list since originally posting it. How could I have missed Convent Guilt?

Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral

Black Anvil – Hail Death

Convent Guilt – Guns for Hire

Irkallian Oracle – Grave Ekstasis

Autopsy – Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves

Triptykon – Melana Chasmata

Necros Christos – Nine Graves

Alcest – Shelter

Life in Ruins – Towards Divine Death

Conan – Blood Eagle

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You

I wanted to buy this for Marie last year for x-mas but it appeared to be out of print. I could only find it on the Canadian Amazon, but shipping was the same price as the book or something along those lines... Anyway, I was in the airport at Minneapolis last month and I saw it as I was browsing through their bookstore. I picked it up and it was Marie's gift from my travels. I'm sure you think that's super exciting.

The Oatmeal is funny as FUCK. And if you own a cat this book will have you crying in laughter. It's so goddamn spot on.

If you have a cat you will like this. Plain and simple.

Breath of the Gods

Marie wanted to watch this documentary on the beginnings of yoga in the Western World. And we did. Reflecting on it we both agreed it was interesting but honestly not a very good documentary from an artistic point of view.

This is a doc made by a German dude (or maybe he's Austrian, I don't know) who gets into yoga through his wife. He really digs it so he decides to track down some pupils and descendants of T. Krishnamacharya, the legendary Indian yogi who brought yoga to the West. He interviews them about what it was like back in the 30's and 40's and that's about it. It's honestly more like a well-edited holiday video than a legitimate documentary.

Whether you're just curious about yoga or you're diehard about it, it's definitely worth watching because you'll probably nerd out on it. But it won't win any fucking awards for artistic merit. There are better movies to watch.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Morbid Tales

Finally, the long awaited follow up to Mark Rudolph's awesome book about Mercyful Fate: Satan is Alive. Here we have a tribute to the incredible life and works of Tom G. Warrior and Celtic Frost.

I loved the first book. And now Mark's curated a new installment. A BETTER installment. The premise of the first one was to interpret lyrics in comic book form. really cool idea. But Morbid Tales is looser. It's more about interpreting Tom's life in comic form. Anything goes. It's fucking bad ass.

Mark teamed up with Corpseflower Records to put this one out, and he's upped the ante by compiling a 12" vinyl tribute to Celtic Frost, too. That's not out yet, but it's on its way. All the songs are recorded and it's just a matter of getting it mastered and then pressed. It's got the likes of Evoken, Acid Witch, Municipal Waste, Phil Anselmo with Childbite, Scott Kelly and more. Mark even asked Temple of Void to be on the record and we jumped at it! We recorded "Os Abysmi Vel Daath" and can't wait to hear that on wax alongside the other great covers.

But I digress. This post is about the book at hand. The format is the same. Similar paper stock, size, binding, etc. All top class. A lot of the contributors are carryovers from the first book, plus some new ones. I like the stories and comments by 'famous' metalheads that punctuate the comic. It flows really well. It's relatable. It's imaginative. It's a good read. I don't have any gripes with this, man. Seriously. I actually think it tops Satan is Alive, which is a hard thing to do. But I think the artists' imaginations really took flight in this book in a way they couldn't have with the first one because they were interpreting songs. This time they got to go wild and put their own spins on things.

The opening story with Crowley, Venom, and Conan on his throne...fucking brilliant. Worth the price of the book alone. Rudolph's contributions are my personal favorites. Shagrat's is my second favorite. Detroit really represents well with cool drawings by Mike Erdody, Shawn Knight, Slasher Dave, Kelly Larson, and Jason Outcast.

Needless to say I really dug this book and look forward to the third installment, whenever that may come...

Essential purchase.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hell's Bloody Devils

Watch this trailer. Seriously. I'll wait...

Now tell me what kind of movie this is. A biker flick, you say? Ohhhhh no. That's a cunning ruse to suck you in. Quite literally all of the biker action is in the three minute trailer. There isn't a roar of a bike anywhere else in this whole film. They just marketed it as such. We kicked off this season's Motorcycle Movie Night with this flick and the Flying Skülls were pissed! Well, it was actually pretty freakin entertaining regardless of the lack of bikers. But this is a biker movie night, not a generic grindhouse night. There are standards that need to be upheld!

Needless to say I was quite disappointed that this wasn't actually a biker flick. And if you removed the bikers from the film it would have actually made a little more sense. What kind of flick is it? It's fucking confused. Part James Bond, part cop movie, part gangster movie, and part pseudo-biker. It's all very strange and none of it is woven together with any inkling of skill.

We had a hard time figuring out who was who or what was honestly going on. There are neo-Nazis counterfeiting money, Israeli spies out to get the Nazis, undercover cops, gangsters and lots of hot chicks. I'll give it that. Lots of hot mommas.

Oh yeah, and lots of Fords. They seemed to have struck up a deal with Ford for gratuitous product placement. Cool shit.

The thing that made most people's night was the fact that there's a cameo by the real deal Colonel Sanders from KFC. It happens for no reason whatsoever. Again, keen marketing ploy I assume.

I'm bashing this film cuz it's totally misleading. BUT we've definitely seen worse biker flicks. So where it lacks in bikers, it makes up in good ol' fashioned entertainment.

Hitchhiking must have been so fucking awesome in the 60's and 70s. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Black Gestapo

I ended up with a copy of the Black Gestapo because it was a double feature on a grindhouse disc I bought with the Black Six. I picked it up for the latter, which is a film I'll screen this season for Motorcycle Movie Night.

What can I say about the Black Gestapo? It's from 75, the cars are awesome, the score is filled with wah-pedals, and there's a really hot chick in it. The production and acting are terrible, lighting and sound are crap, it's just a shit movie. But I was somewhat entertained by it all nonetheless. I could never recommend that anyone spend time to watch it...but I was alright with it. I'm sitting at home waiting to go to the hospital for a procedure, so I needed to kill some time.

Oh yeah, the poster is rad.

It's about white gangsters extorting the black citizens of Watts. So a black people's army fights back against the whites. But then the black soldiers just start extorting the black citizens even worse than the whites did. Wah-pedals, Cadillacs, guns, karate, and afros ensue. White people die. Black people die. There's a whole lot of fightin' goin' on. Yeah...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Time Zero

I came across this flick on Netflix. It's a documentary about the last year of Polaroid film. Seemed like a light flick I could check out so I did...

The doc interviews a variety of photographers and artists who are heavy Polaroid users. One of them being none other than John Waters. I don't dig his films but the dude is freakin entertaining. The whole premise of the film is that Polaroid is shutting its doors, there are people who love the film, so what the fuck are they gonna do now that it's gone?

Well, I won't tell you because that wouldn't be very sporting of me. But it's an interesting look at the corporation, the people who love the film, and what fruit is born from that love.

The doc is well done. The biggest takeaway for me on any film like this is always the passion of the artists involved. It's always profoundly powerful when people are moved to tears, to action, and sometimes to risk their lives for the sake of art and expression. Very cool, man.

Good doc.