A collection of stills from my up and coming work for The Ophidian Ascension. My first complete work shot entirely in ML raw.
– Col B.
Witches scream and cackle as they strip themselves bare to the flesh and conspire in acts of ungodly debauchery. Yes The Lords of Salem is a film with witches, not broomstick flying ones, but none the less. Think more along the lines of The Wicker Man or even in some cases The Town that Dreaded Sundown. So if the whole cauldrons and Satanism isn’t your thing, then you may wish to avoid this one. Thankfully old school horror had something that the modern medium is often missing, atmosphere; thankfully this is not one of those films. Nostalgia literally oozes from every interior and into each frame of film. We’re taken for a ride that is also decidedly old school as we get to experience not jumps scares or shock tactics but a legitimate building of tension; as to whether that pays off is up to you and your opinion.
We follow Heidi (Sherri Moon Zombie), a now reformed drug addict working on a late night Howard Stern style radio station. Rob’s other half Sherri is not the best actress in the world and struggles at times to make her character work. That said it’s a horror film of the late night type so I don’t expect little golden midget winning performances here. A vinyl (yes vinyl, not MP3 thank f**k) is sent to her workplace with no information other than it’s for her to check out. After some taunts and jokes from her workmates she takes the record home to give it a spin. After some drinks and late night listening we begin a dark and twisted journey. It’s a crazy ride with abstract visions, uncomfortable locations and even weirder people. That’s about as far as I’m willing to go with story though, as part of the fun is seeing how out of the norm this film really can be, particularly compared to say Rob’s Halloween remakes.
It’s amazing how simple the skewed angle of a shot or the uncomfortable droning of the soundtrack can affect you when you’re not being force fed queues like ‘Jump scare here’ or ‘must kill this person’. It’s refreshing to see a Director move from the completely violent to the abstractly barren. Honestly a lot of the discomfort comes from how long, Rob and cinematographer Brandon Trost (the dude shot Crank, The FP, MacGruber need I say more), choose to hold a shot and when to finally make that decisive cut call. John 5 also provides a score that is more than a little unsettling and gives that extra discomfort that a tale such as Lords requires. That said the sound design in this film is impeccable and really helps add that weight of dread to many scenes.
Rob Zombie has suffered from a mixed bag over the last decade while trying to break from his musical trappings into the world of cinema. Many find his films too odd, or confronting to be seen as a commercial let alone watchable film style. His new one will be no different, as he yet again makes some changes to his formula and just lets the ball roll. Now before you go into the film remember this… it’s not a ten million dollar horror film, this doesn’t have earth shattering scares or effects, but it does have atmosphere in spades and a rather old school appearance. This is a creature of nostalgia as much as it is a tribute. Every frame glows with a sense that Rob’s appreciation for all things John Carpenter (In the Mouth of Madness comes to mind) and Stephen King (specifically The Shining) is the centre piece of this film.
– Col B
Your name is Ahab, your dad was raped to death before your eyes (soon to be eye) and the perpetrator was none other than a serial attacker known as the Fuchmann. So what do you do? You go into hiding, tap a maple tree and enjoy the syrups of success, only to be brought back into this timeless battle by teaming up with a priest and gay call boy. Yes you read that correctly, so if that offends, then your probably best not to read on as this is one tale that knows how to ramp it up. Father’s Day is not your normal B-Film from the video archives, it’s like a sneaky reach around at your last ever college party. Holding you oh so right, until climax at which point it becomes a rather messy and grotesque affair.
The boys at Astron-6 know how to have a 10k party and they do so with oh so much tacky aplomb that you can’t help but smile and snigger at each passing moment. The Canadian troupe are something fresh and fanatical, joining the ranks of other contemporaries like The Soska Sisters, Jason Eisner and The Trost Bros. Their passion for all things DIY in film making are apparent in every frame of Father’s Day from the gore effects to claymation (Harryhausen would be proud, or physically ill) to the hilarity of dialogue delivery.
Ahab’s one-eyed adventure is one of horror, comedy, gross outs and so much more. After finally getting pulled out of retirement by Father John, a sexually confused man of the clergy and Twink, a gay sex worker who recently witnessed the rather extreme death of his father at the hands of the Fuchmann; this becomes a hell for leather experience. As they race to discover the Fuchmann’s secrets we are confronted with innuendo spewing cops, sister lust, old flames, occult worship and a bunch of surprises I won’t go into here. In short all the elements you would expect to make a classic genre film.
But it doesn’t’ just stop with the story, there’s something more here. This film actually has sharp and witty execution in dialogue. Generally the humour from dialogue in these B movie trips is due to poor screen writing or bad acting; many cases both. But in Father’s Day we are treated to a genre film that both pays homage to it’s trashy past and elevates it above it. You only need to hear the diatribes between Ahab and John in action to understand that Astron-6 know not only who these films are marketed too, but also what we all found so funny about these films growing up. The soundtrack pumps like an 80’s high school dance hall and too me this is one of the finest examples of homage soundtrack work in recent years and probably one of the most memorable; up there with the recent Maniac remake.
Father’s Day is out now in Australia (through Monster Pictures) minus a few cuts here and there due to our useless censors. I mean seriously whats wrong with a little dick biting, it’s just the tip! It should be noted that in the U.S this is a TROMA film release. Yes that company that brought out so many tasty video nasties has got a gem on their hands. Too bad that Kaufman is a piece and started selling illegal copies of Father’s Day at his own arranged screenings, without Astron’s knowledge no less. As the film at the time was banned in Australia and I refused to give him a cent, I ordered the flick off Ebay. If you don’t like my ethic on that, fine, but I’m not lining the pockets of a film shark.
Make some time, get a beer/bong, call your mates around and get ready to throw dicks at your screen. This is the best genre film of it’s style since ‘The Taint’ popped up a few years ago. It’s self aware, gross out fun and I wouldn’t want it any other way. One last thing, CHECK OUT MANBORG!!! It’s the lads next/previous (confusing release stuff) film to be coming out and looks to pay homage to the lord that is Verhoeven. You can grab a copy of that in Australia on the 18th April (http://monsterpictures.com.au/shop/manborg/).
Buy Fathers Day:
USA: http://www.amazon.ca/Fathers-Day-Blu-ray/dp/B007WW94VU or Ebay
– Col B.