Bank holiday should be a time of partying and socializing. But it’s not. It’s documentary and interview transcription time, perhaps with a press release draft thrown in for good measure. This is because I am an introverted misanthrope who forgot what it’s like to have fun. There’s some decent full-length documentaries out there at the moment, either drifting around online or cropping up at festivals globally. It would be nice If I could—hand on heart—claim that the best documentaries I’ve watched in the last year or so weren’t ‘Not Quite Hollywood’—the superior account of Australian b-movie cinema—or ‘Never Sleep Again’, the four-hour ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ history that kept me gripped for the duration. But they were.
Those productions tapped into the same kind of super-nerdery pineal gland (‘From Beyond’ stays classic) that makes my heart palpitate when I see the work of the scarily talented Olly Moss—pure, undiluted fanboy instinct. The 2000 IFC documentary ‘American Nightmare’ had a huge effect on me, but 1984’s ‘Terror in the Aisles’—less an exploration, more a horror film “best of”—melted my brain as a child. It introduced me to ‘The Brood’ and ‘Ms. 45’. For that, I’m eternally grateful. Rights issues keep it from DVD, but it can be found as a Japanese laserdisc with the awesome title, ‘That’s Shock!’.
‘Nightmares In Red, White and Blue’ retreads what much of ‘American Nightmare’ did, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Good slasher footage, some fresh talking heads, including the mighty Larry Cohen and a fast pace, plus some stranger choices of spotlight makes it worth a watch if you’re faintly interested in the subject matter. It also reminded me of the ‘Stuff’ throwups (pun semi-intended) in that film that are better than the usual cinema graffiti of the time (SPIT, fall back) and the “Can’t get enough of The Stuff” advert briefly showed some youths cavorting in front of Bill Blast’s ‘Sky’s the Limit’ piece. Another reason to rate Larry Cohen’s work. Based on the book, ‘Nightmares…’ does a better job in its adaptation than ‘American Hardcore’ did a few years back.
If you’re looking for more documentaries on esoteric topics, I’m getting excited about the release of ‘Vagabondo!’ about maverick folk singer and Brooklynite Vince Martin. A montage of photos of the old New York (as seen above) by the brilliant Robert Otter seals the deal on this one. I know little of Vince, and that’s what makes this such an appetising proposition.
‘Machete Maidens Unleashed’ tells the rarely told story of the no-holds-barred Filipino b-movie industry up to the early ’80s. ‘Not Quite Hollywood’s Mark Hartley is the man behind this one, and naturally, I’m expecting big things from it. The only thing that could top the Ozploitation lack of taste is the Pinoy approach to budget cinema.
On one of my typical unrelated notes, I can’t help but think I may have downplayed my discovery of the Nike Air Mag (aka. the McFly) patent on Google back in February a little too much. It’s got the internet going nuts this week, yet I seemed to shrug it off, more excited by some other, more trivial matter. Honesty, I get more excited by footage of Donald Pleasance mispronouncing Ed Gein’s surname in a lurid horror showcase.
And once again, Supreme have pulled it out the bag by creating some ill little trinkets to complement some serious sweats and outerwear this season. They’ve played with scorpions and heroin-packaging nods on apparel before, but a real dead scorpion encased in plastic had me inexplicably hyped. Like all the brand’s best pieces it taps into some reference-laden part of my psyche, but this reminded me of a plastic letter-opener with a small crab encased in it at my grandparents’ home that I was obsessed with as a toddler. As you may or may not have noted, I’m still easily pleased.