Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Music

The Warriors – Roger Ebert Review

“The Warriors” is a real peculiarity, a movie about street gang warfare, written and directed as an exercise in mannerism. There’s hardly a moment when we believe that the movie’s gangs are real or that their members are real people or that they inhabit a real city.

That’s where the peculiarity comes in: I don’t think we’re supposed to. No matter what impression the ads give, this isn’t even remotely intended as an action film. It’s a set piece. It’s a ballet of stylized male violence.

Walter Hill, the director and co-writer, specializes in fables like this. His first two films were “Hard Times” and “The Driver,” and they were both at arm’s length from realism. Hill likes characters that take on a legendary, mythic stature, and then he likes to run them through situations that look like urban tableaux.

“Hard times,” a good and interesting film, starred Charles Bronson as a professional street fist-fighter who went up against opponents with all the dimension of a James Bond villain. “The Driver” didn’t even have names for its characters; they were described by their functions, and they behaved toward each other in strangely formal, rehearsed, unspontaneous ways.

“The Warriors” takes that style to such an extreme that almost all life and juice are drained from it; there’s great vitality and energy (and choreography and stunt coordination) in the many violent scenes of gang fights and run-ins with the cops. But when the characters talk, they seem to be inhabiting a tale rehearsed many times before.

One example: Three members of a street gang are lined up in a row. The camera regards the first one. He speaks. The camera pans to the second, and he speaks. The camera pans to the third. He speaks. Because the movement of the camera dictates the order and timing of the speeches, there can be no illusion that the characters are talking as their words occur to them.

This same kind of stiff stylization dominates the film. The street gangs take stances toward each other as if they were figures in a medieval print. The deployment of the police and gang forces is plainly impossible on any realistic level; people move into their symbolic places with such perfectly timed choreography that they must be telepathic. And the chase scenes are plainly impossible, as in one extended shot showing the Warriors outrunning a rival gang’s school bus.

All of this is no doubt Walter Hill’s intention. I suppose he has, an artistic vision he’s working toward in this film, and in his work. He chooses to meticulously ban human spontaneity from his films; he allows only a handful of shallow women characters into his stories; he reduces male conduct to ritualized violence. And in “The Warriors” he chooses, with a few exceptions, to cast against type: Only three or four of the movie’s characters look and sound like plausible street-gang members. The rest look and sound like male models for the currently fashionable advertising photography combining high fashion and rough trade.

All very well, I suppose, except that Paramount chooses to advertise the movie as a violent action picture — and action audiences, I suspect, will find it either incomprehensible or laughable. Walter Hill has a considerable visual skill, and he knows what he’s doing in “The Warriors” and does it well. But is this style suited to this material? And does Hill have other notes to play? All three of his films have shown a certain skittishness in the face of human juices and the unrehearsed flow of life. And so his street gangs, and his movies, walk lockstep through sterile streets.


Top 10 Songs from Psychotic Movies

Reposted from Reviewfix.com: Whether it makes one curl up under a blanket in terror or stand to their feet in hair-raising excitement, audiences tend to have a guilty pleasure for psychotic thrillers and characters.

The list below is comprised of the top ten songs from memorable moments in psychopathic thrillers.

The best movies of the genre captivated its audience by taking them on a roller coaster ride where the filmmakers intricately weaved masterful sound design with visuals. They engaged their audience by tactfully placing songs and musical tracks in crucial parts of the film.

Some of them were deemed ironic due to their seemingly irrelevant lyrics, while others told a side story and conveyed a insight into the characters. It is remarkable how these songs and visuals that are sometimes created ages apart can come together on screen and exhilarate us.

These songs and scenes captivated and sometimes repulsed audiences of all kinds. Whichever the case, the duos ranked in this lineup have shocked, amused and offended viewers since their releases.

Whether it is the unlikely combination of the song and the scene, or because the music was harmoniously with the deranged and demented actions of the plot, this top ten list will give psychopathic film lovers a familiar dose of crazy.

10: “After Dark”

Artist: Tito & Tarantula
Movie: From Dusk till Dawn
Criminal brothers Richard and Seth Gecko (Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney) seek refuge at a strip club/brothel called the Titty Twister — also a vampire nest. There they encounter Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), a vampire queen and her hive. Before the hive’s vampire identity is revealed, Hayek seductively dances to Tito & Tarantula’s “After Dark” with a snake on her shoulders, while serenading the men before her meal.

9: “The Greatest Love of All”
Artist: Whitney Houston, instrumental Performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Movie: American Psycho
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) discusses his musical proclivities as the intoxicated Elizabeth (Guinevere Turner) makes out with call girl Christie (Cara Seymour). Bateman speaks about the message behind Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” as the instrumental by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra plays in the stereo. He passionately speaks about self-preservation and bettering one’s self all the while he plans to kill both women after he sleeps with them.

8: “The Ride of the Valkyries”
Artist: from Richard Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” performed by The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Movie: From Dusk till dawn
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) commands a squadron of attack helicopters against a Viet Cong village filled with women and children. The Colonel orders the helicopters to blast Richard Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries” to frighten and intimidate the Vietnamese while simultaneously pumping up his soldiers for battle. As the squadron flies over, the village which moments ago was filled with students and farmers is left ravaged by bombs.

7: “The Way I Walk”
Artist: Cover by Robert Gordon
Movie: Natural Born Killers
Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) are a killer couple who get a thrill out of murder and mayhem. At a diner, Mallory dances alone by a jukebox while Mickey orders some pie. Two men walk in and notice Mallory. The song changes to Robert Gordon’s “The Way I Walk” and Mallory dances wildly. One of the men pursues to join her, a gesture responded with Mallory’s wrath. Within seconds, the loving couple blissfully kills every person there except just one man, who is left behind to tell of their deeds.

6: “Hold Tight” (1966)
Artist: Dave Dee, Dozy,
Beaky, Mick & Tich
Movie: “Death Proof” (2007)
Arlene, Jungle Julia, Shanna and Lanna (Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Poitier, Jordan Ladd and Monica Staggs) drive down the highway with their stereo blasted. “Hold Tight” by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich plays as the girls get in their groove and horse around. Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russel) speeds past the girls’ car in his 1970 Chevy Nova. He makes a u-turn ahead, turns off the headlights and speeds right back towards the girls. Unknowingly, the girls cruise ahead turning up the volume. Mike turns on the headlights before impact and crashes into the girls’ car. The car crash is shown repeatedly from various angles to showcase the severed body parts and the gruesome deaths of each girl.

5: “Banana Split” (1979)
Artist: The Dickies
Movie: “Kick-Ass” (2010)
Vigilante superhero Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) comes to the rescue of Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), another costumed hero, in a drug dealer’s den. With a butterfly knife and her Mindy Stick (a staff weapon with two katanas at each end) Hit Girl stabs, slashes and chops off body parts until every criminal in the apartment is dead. The Dickies’ “Banana Split” is used as a soundtrack while the 11 year old girl kills everyone with glee.

4: “Hip to be Square” (1986)
Artist: Huey Lewis & The News
Movie: “American Psycho” (2000)
The complexity of Patrick Bateman’s (Christian Bale) intellect are exemplary in this scene. Bateman drugs his coworker, Paul Allen (Jared Leto) with a drink . The couches are covered with sheets and the floor with the style section of the newspaper. As he talks about Huey Lewis to Allen, Bateman puts on a rain coat and turns on “Hip to be Square.” He dances back to pick up an axe and speaks about how the band makes a statement through the song, all the while making a statement about himself. Bateman then axes down Allen with raw vigor and excitement.

3: “Goodbye Horses” (1988)
Artist: Q Lazzarus
Movie: “Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
Jame Gumb aka Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), a serial killer has kidnapped a young girl, Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) and locked her in a well in his basement. Q Lazzarus’s “Goodbye Horses” plays as Bill dresses in a women’s clothing and puts on makeup. He uses lipstick, jewelry, human skin and hair to doll himself up. Bill then sets up a camera to dance and experiment in front of it. The scene crosscuts between Martin trying to escape out of the well with Bill’s playtime. The scene shows the extent of Bill’s insanity and foreshadows what could become of Martin’s future.

2:”Stuck in the Middle With You” (1972)
Artist: Steeler’s Wheels
Movie: “Reservoir Dogs” (1992)
Vic Vega aka Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) has kidnapped a cop, Officer Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) after a heist. While his crew is out, Mr. Blonde is left alone in the safe house with a wounded accomplice and Officer Nash. Seizing the opportunity, he turns on the radio and takes out a razor from his boot. As “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Steeler’s Wheels plays on the radio, Mr. Blonde dances and slashes the officer’s face while taunting him. He then cuts the officer’s right ear off and gets a gallon of gasoline from his car. Still dancing, he drenches the officer with gasoline for what’s next.

1:”The Last Waltz” (1941)
Artist: from “Masquerade,” Last Waltz by Aram Khachaturyan
Movie: “Oldboy” (2003)
Aram Khachaturyan’s “The Last Waltz” is perhaps the most diversely and widely used soundtrack in a single film in the realm of psychotic thrillers. The movie depicts the life of Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi), an industrial worker, as he tries to find out the truth behind his mysterious imprisonment of 15 years. This terrifyingly beautiful melody is elegantly played through the most violent and delightful scenes in the movie. Through moments of love, death, sex and incest, the film shows the beauty in something ugly and the horror in something beautiful.


Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted by David Lynch

Trent Reznor_NIN_David LynchThe new video for Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted, directed by David Lynch. WARNING: This video has been identified by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.

David Lynch_Nine Inch Nails_Trent Reznor


Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone, (born November 10, 1928) is an Italian composer and conductor. Ennio Morricone was born in Rome, the son of Libera and Mario Morricone, a jazz trumpeter. Ennio wrote his first compositions when he was six years old and was encouraged to develop his natural talents.

For over half a century he has composed music for more than 400 motion pictures including some award-winning film scores as well as several symphonic and choral pieces. He wrote the characteristic film scores of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns: ‘A Fistfull of Dollars’ (1964), ‘For a Few Dollars More’ (1965), ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ (1966) and ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ (1968). In the 80s and 90s, Morricone composed the considerable scores for Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ (1984), Roland Joffe’s ‘The Mission’ (1986), Brian De Palma’s ‘The Untouchables’ (1987), Franco Zeffirelli’s ‘Hamlet’ (1990), as well as ‘Cinema Paradiso’ (1988) and ‘The Legend of 1900’ (1998).

With the score of ‘A Fistfull of Dollars’, Morricone began his 10-year collaboration with his childhood friend Allesandro Alessandroni and his Cantori Moderni. Alessandroni provided the whistling and the twanging
guitar on the film scores, while his Cantori Moderni were a flexible troupe of modern singers. Morricone specifically exploited the solo soprano of the group, Edda Dell’Orso, at the height of her powers—”an extraordinary voice at my disposal”.

Most of Morricone’s film scores of the 1960s were composed outside the Spaghetti Western genre, while still using Alessandroni’s team. Their music included the themes for Il Malamondo (1964), Slalom (1965), The Battle of Algiers (1965), and Listen, Let’s Make Love (1967). In 1968, Morricone reduced his work outside
the movie business and wrote scores for 20 films in the same year. The scores included psychedelic accompaniment for Mario Bava’s superhero romp ‘Danger: Diabolik’ (1968). The next year marked the
start of a series of evocative scores for Dario Argento’s stylized thrillers, including ‘The Bird with the Crystal Plummage’ (1969), ‘The Cat o’ Nine Tails’ (1971), and ‘Four Flies on Grey Velvet’ (1974).

In 1982, Morricone composed the score for John Carpenter’s science-fiction/horror movie ‘The Thing’ (1982) as well as Brian De Palma’s ‘Casualties of War’ (1989).

Morricone has received two Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, five BAFTA’s during 1979–1992, seven David di Donatello, eight Nastro d’Argento, and the Polar Music Prize in 2010. He received his first Academy Award nomination in 1979, for the score to ‘Days of Heaven’ (Terence Malik, 1978). He was later nominated for a further two awards; in 1986 for ‘The Mission’ and in 1987 for ‘The Untouchables’. He later nominated for the score to  ‘Bugsy’ (Barry Levinson, 1991). His last nomination was for ‘Malena’ (2000). In 2007, he received the Academy Honorary Award “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. The composer also has been nominated for five Oscars in the category of Best Original Score during 1979–2001, but has never won competitively, which is typical of the Academy as they have proven time and again to be short sighted, insular and riddled with nepotism…


David Hess – R.I.P.

American horror film actor and songwriter, David Hess, 69, died Saturday of a heart attack.

Hess is best remembered as Krug Stilo, the leader of a gang that kidnaps, rapes, and tortures two teenage girls in Wes Craven’s classic slasher film “Last House on the Left” (1972). The actor’s intense performance as an unrepentant serial killer in a small, idyllic town shocked audiences with gory, on-screen violence.

The actor’s official facebook page was updated with a note from his children reading: “It is with great sadness that we have said our last goodbyes to our beloved dad and friend to all. David passed away peacefully last night. The Mad Hessian lives on in his family, friends, and all of his devoted fans. Sing a song in celebration of his life.”

Hess was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1942. He began his professional career as a songwriter for Shalimar Music in 1957. He composed “Start Movin'” for Sal Mineo and “Rockin’ Shoes” for the Ames Brothers. He wrote songs for Elvis Presley through the 1950s and 1960s, including hits “Come Along” and “Sand Castles.” In 1963, Hess wrote and recorded “Speedy Gonzalez” for Pat Boone, which became a #6 hit single in the U.S. and a #2 hit in the UK.

Hess became head of A&R at Mercury Records in New York in 1969. At Mercury Records he met John Corigliano, the Western classical composer, and together they wrote the Grammy award-winning rock opera, “The Naked Carmen.”

In 1972, Hess dived into the film industry debuting in his starring role as Krug Stilo in Wes Craven’s “The Last House on the Left,” for which he also composed the soundtrack.

Hess had a number of other film credits to his name, including: Craven’s “Swamp Thing,” Ruggero Deodato’s “House at the Edge of the Park” and “Body Count,” and Ulli Lommel’s “Zodiac Killer” and “Zombie Nation.” His last film was “Smash Cut” in 2009.