This week: John Carpenter, All Pigs Must Die, Cable, Low Estate, Amenra, True Ghouls/Sea Ghouls
John Carpenter, Anthology; Movie Themes 1974-1998: Available now (Sacred Bones Records)
There’s almost nothing more synonymous with John Carpenter’s film than the music he composed to accompany them. Is there any score more famous, recognizable, and chilling then his theme for 1978’s Halloween? It evokes a response even if you haven’t seen the film. What about the creeptastic music for The Fog? Anthology is a career-spanning 13 tracks, and while that doesn’t cover every film, every film covered is gold. I don’t have a record store nearby and had to order my copy; Amazon has the CD for $11.99 and the vinyl for $17.99. Carpenter is currently touring North America (fingers crossed I get to see him).
All Pigs Must Die, Hostage Animal: Available now (Southern Lord Records)
All Pigs Must Die satisfies my taste in the more extreme end of hardcore/metal, where I tend to get weary fast, but Hostage Animal has a staying power that I’d equate with newer Napalm Death. As intelligent as it is brutal, Hostage Animal is fierce, well-produced, dynamic and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Cable, It Cost Me Everything 1994-1995: Available now (Atomic Action)
The Rockville CT four-piece Cable exploded out of the gates in 1994 and would go on to be an important name in East Coast metalcore. It Cost Me Everything brings together the early, rare, and out-of-print recordings from the band’s infancy and it’s nothing to sleep on. The abrasive emo/noise/hardcore sound will appeal to fans of groups like Unsane.
Low Estate, The Covert Cult Of Death: Available now (The Flenser)
I covered Low Estate’s single, “The Rope,” two columns back and now the whole album is available for purchase (highest of recommendations) and you can preview it over at Metal Sucks where they’re streaming the entire album. Low Estate mix black metal and ’90s hardcore in an intoxicating cocktail of metal bliss.
Amenra, “Children Of The Eye” music video, directed by Wim Reygaert, from Mass VI: Available now
Produced by Billy Anderson, who previously worked with Neurosis, Cathedral, and Sleep, among others, Belgium’s Amenra unleash their newest album Mass VI, an emotional slab of blackened doom that has moments of real beauty. Accompanying the album is a gorgeous, scary, ritualistic video for the single “Children Of The Eye,” directed by Wim Reygaert. It starts slow and quiet, but builds dramatically.
True Ghouls/Sea Ghouls, Some Ghouls split EP: Available now (Blank City Records)
Both True Ghouls and Sea Ghouls hail from Los Angeles and teamed up for this very cool split EP for a Halloween release. It’s available on vinyl and digital with great cover art that’s a send up of the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls LP. You can stream True Ghouls’ “Muscles and Bugs” at New Noise and Sea Ghouls’ “Warren” at Ghetto Blaster. True Ghouls give us a John Carpenter-esque trip hop while Sea Ghouls give us more rootsy rock, providing a nice balance of sounds and influences that work well together.
It’s that time of year when podcasts give way to my Halloween playlist. Who am I kidding? I listen to it throughout the year. As of this writing, my list contains 144 tracks at just under 9 hours of continuous holiday listening pleasure, but I’m always looking to add more. My most recent acquisition came courtesy of a retail Halloween chain. The Shazam app on my smartphone told me the song I was hearing was “Vampires Are Alive” by DJ Bobo, and it became #144 on the list. Sometimes in an effort to expand the list, it helps to think outside the box.
In the final special 31 Days of Horror edition for 2017 of Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my reviews of The Lump, Doris Danger, and other work by Chris Wisnia, Grimm Fairy Tales 2017 Halloween Special, WWE #10, and much much more… be warned, there may be spoilers…
The Halloween franchise is near and dear to my heart as Part 4 was just coming out at a time when I was jumping into horror with both feet. Michael was on the cover of Fangoria and I read my friend’s copy with much excitement. I was least familiar with Halloween since I’d only seen Part 2 on TV in pieces, but still I felt that The Return Of Michael Myers was a pretty big deal and I’d need to rent it the moment it hit my local video store. In the meantime, I had three other films to catch up on.
Read the rest of this entry
This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Moving Target: The History and Evolution of Green Arrow by Richard Gray, Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It #3, The Art of Rick and Morty, Realm #1, Retcon #1, Sink #3, Dead of Winter#2, Kaijumax: Season Three #3, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…
There’s something alluring, yet forbidden and scary about closed carnivals and amusement parks. Who hasn’t thought about what it would be like to spend the night in a closed funhouse? That’s the premise behind Tobe Hooper’s underrated 1981 film The Funhouse.
“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon
Hello and welcome to another installment of “The Ten Percent,” a regular column here on Biff Bam Pop! where Ensley F. Guffey and I take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the ten percent of everything which is not crud.
When it comes to the horror genre, well – there’s a lot of crud. That stands to reason, since horror films can be extra-super-cheap to make (I’ve seen a few that have convinced me that the largest line item on the budget was for Karo syrup and red food coloring), which means they don’t have to do particularly well at the box office to make enough to justify a horde of sequels. Also – to be fair – some of the awful examples from the 1950s and ’60s have a certain charm in their naïveté that elevates them beyond their paltry production values. (Mr. Sardonicus, I’m looking at you. May God bless William Castle.)
One element that is worth discussing in horror movies – the really good ones, anyway – is the use of sound to build the tension and, in some cases, scare the ever-loving bejeezus out of us.
Most people know that Alice Cooper is considered the king of shock rock. When he’s not being executed by guillotine or dancing across the floor with Cold Ethyl, he brings his brand of horror to other arenas besides the stage. If you thought you were safe from his influence, think again. Read the rest of this entry
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.
Few horror films can be considered classics. John Carpenter’s Halloween is one of them. It has a scary boogeyman, a haunting score, and tells a simple tale that manages to be chilling without blood, gore, or CGI. Let’s examine this holiday masterpiece.