MrsMisanthropy and Other Fan Video Channels

Because I’ve had a number of people land on this site looking for what happened to MrsMisanthropy over on YouTube, I wanted to share that she’s back!  I have no idea what happened to cause her to shut down her channel initially but she’s been busy uploading all her old content over the last few weeks.  Here’s her new URL: https://www.youtube.com/user/prefevetler/videos.

She’s also linked to two other accounts associated with her videos that may be serving as back-up in case she ever loses content on YouTube again.  Over on Vimeo, she’s Atrocity Exhibition (a suitably Oddbookian name to be sure) and she’s MrsMisanthropy on Google+.  Several people had found a Google+ account for “MrsMisanthropy” but there was not enough content to know if it was her or not (and again, no idea if MrsMisanthropy is really female but I think of her as a women and will until told otherwise).  Bookmark the other links in case she leaves again.  I will update my links to her videos sometime today.

While she was gone, I spent time looking for other fan video makers whose musical and cinematic tastes were interesting and I found several.  For now I feel I must share one specific video-maker and the films behind his fan videos because one of his videos triggered a month long endeavor that I feared was going to be a godless one.  I feared I would not be able to find the originals behind the clips used in Piperbrigadista’s fan video for “Synthetic Potion” by a band called Noir for Rachel.

As I was sifting through the videos on this channel, I was immediately drawn into this one because there is something about the woman’s face that makes me want to keep looking at her.  She appears as if she was confronting a voyeur, or maybe just a run of the mill Peeping Tom.  Her face is so serious and beautiful in a manner that reminds me of Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Lauren.  So I watched and listened and became entranced by the song and even more so by the video.

The song reminds me of what would happen if you crossed early Duran Duran with early Cure and made it all instrumental.  I loved the song “Synthetic Potion” so much that I did something I’ve never done before – I bought an album off Band Camp.  The album, entitled Witches, is a righteous purchase.

The video created a strange obsession in me to run to ground the movie these clips were taken from.  The scene beginning at 1:05, ending at 1:48, was incredibly compelling.  The woman was not confronting a voyeur, but if she was, the experience became something else entirely for her.  She sees this disheveled looking man standing outside the window of her home as she is wearing a dressing gown and underwear. After looking at him for a moment, she reveals her lingerie-clad body to him and waits for his reaction.

The woman in this scene conveys so much with her eyes, mouth and a simple tilt of her head.  Before she opens her dressing gown, she steels herself up.  She raises her chin and takes a small step back, never taking her eyes off the man.  She waits for his response.  Seconds pass, and you see a bit of trepidation pass over her face and she begins to list very slightly as she stands.  She takes another small step back and tilts her head in what looks the beginning of a shrug, an expression of disappointment and rejection.  Then before she completes the dismissal, he steps forward and she does too, leaning toward him.  Her expression only changes a bit but that bit is expansive in its depth.  Her lips show a minor, almost imperceptible sneer of power, her eyes focus on him with even more intensity as he touches the glass.  She’s received the reaction she wants and she wanted this reaction because she wants him at least as much as he may want her.

It was so compelling that I spent a month trying to find this film.  And I finally ran it to ground but only after hours spent searching. 

YouTube Creepiness: MrsMisanthropy and Alceste Esseintes

I’ve been consuming a lot of media on YouTube lately, mainly in the form of various “creepypasta” channels. Various people with good or interesting voices read short stories and vignettes written for online readers – Reddit’s nosleep is a good source of creepypastas – and sometimes put in appropriate sound effects. I listen to hours and hours of such readings as I sew or iron or do repetitive tasks that don’t need my full attention to perform. It reminds me a bit of old radio serials – I wonder if my grandmother did the same, listening to assorted radio dramas as she ironed or cleaned the bathroom.

Creepypastas are fun but ultimately most are pleasant diversions as opposed to something that inspires me to write about them, but the last few months I’ve found myself combing through a couple of accounts that have proven to be far creepier than story recitations that have creepiness as an actual goal. Of course, both accounts aren’t shying away from presenting unpleasant, upsetting or gross content but when it’s not the goal and it happens sort of organically, it’s all the more interesting, I think.

Ethics in Horror Films – It Follows

I wanted to discuss some horror films before Halloween and have watched quite a few in the last couple of months. I haven’t been too impressed with what I’ve seen. Last year I wrote about the somewhat pompous but ultimately enjoyable Only Lovers Left Alive (which featured Anton Yelchin, may he rest in peace) and wanted to look into more vampire films. I remembered seeing Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction some years ago and watched it again and was… well, kind of appalled. Was it really that unredeemingly pompous when I first viewed it? Was the dialogue that stilted? Was Lili Taylor’s character that tiresome? Not even Christopher Walken could save it and I lack the energy to write about how sincerely disappointed I was.

I then watched The Hunger because I’ve watched it several times and always loved it (and, of course, may Bowie rest in peace). But this time it hit some sour notes with me. It was hard to see Susan Sarandon’s allure. She lacked any sex appeal – she seemed like she had no muscle in her body, her eyes bulged like Barbara Bush, and her very voice made me wonder how I ever bought the notion that after living with David Bowie’s character for years Catherine Deneuve found Sarandon to be a good replacement. But I’m also in what my late mother used to call “a mood.” I’ve found myself hating everything lately so maybe I just need to avoid discussing vampire movies I’ve seen several times. I’d hate to go on record as hating this film and next year realize my views were altered because I was in “a mood.”

So I watched a few I’d never seen before and found some good films. What We Do in the Shadows was fun but there’s not much to discuss in something that is successfully funny without much depth beyond the humor. The Collector and The Collection were also fun in that improbable way that complicated “fiend” movies often are. Josh Stewart is actually a pretty good actor and the films had a The Cell-like quality to them, especially The Collection. But I do confess that I appreciated style over substance and when I make a conscious decision to enjoy that which will fall apart if analyzed, I try to avoid discussing it. We all have our failings.

But then I watched It Follows, the film everyone was talking about in 2015. People either loved it or hated it. First time I watched it, I hated it, too. But something about it niggled in the back of my head and I watched it again and suddenly everything about it that seemed wrong with the first viewing fell into place. I realized that the ending that I initially found pointlessly ambiguous showed a clear moral decision on the part of two of the characters as they deal with the supernatural evil stalking them.

Oh my god, I am going to spoil the hell out of this movie in the discussion that follows under the jump. Stop reading now if you have not seen this film yet but are planning to see it. In fact, you should always assume I am going to spoil the hell out of everything I write about here, but seriously, I am going to ruin this movie for you if you haven’t seen it yet. Clear? Good! Let’s discuss the ethics in It Follows.

Pompous Skinny Vampires with Really Bad Hair

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Vampires have no need for deep conditioning!

Yeah, I am going to discuss Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. I’m sure my title for this entry totally gave that away but, in spite of my initial glib reaction, I like this film. But it has to be said: the main characters are pompous, thin and have the worst hair ever. Tilda Swinton’s weave is one of the worst weaves ever seen in film since the one Michael Wincott was forced to wear in his role as Top Dollar in The Crow.  Hiddleston doesn’t fare much better on the hair front.

Several people told me I would love this movie and I suspect it is because Tilda Swinton’s character, Eve, packs nothing but books when she travels. Or maybe they assumed I shared the current online love of Tom Hiddleston, who plays Adam. Not that Adam and Eve, for this Eve has an annoying little sister named Ava, though it may be justthat Ava is her blood kin via vampirism, so maybe they are that Adam and Eve.  Those who are into Shakespeare authorship conspiracies will find elements of this film charming. Christopher Marlowe, as played by John Hurt, makes it clear who really wrote all those plays attributed to Shakespeare, so Marlovians may want to have a look.

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Blood popsicles play no role in the shenanigans. But they are worth mentioning because, you know, frozen blood…

Quick synopsis: Adam lives in Detroit and is a musician who spurns the spotlight, and has done for centuries, yet has influenced and written for famous musicians throughout history. Eve lives in Tangiers, drinking the blood Christopher Marlowe procures for them both, but travels to Detroit when Adam is obviously in distress. The modern world inhabited by “zombies,” as they call humans, with all its increasingly aggressive planned obsolescence, weighs heavy on Adam, to the point that he is suicidal. Eve comes to comfort him, her kid sister shows up, shenanigans ensue.

But be warned – though there be shenanigans, they are sedate shenanigans. Not much happens in this film and what happens is… mostly very calm. Never before has disposing of a body been so tranquil. As much as I appreciated the Jim Jarmuschiness in Only Lovers Left Alive, I did find myself longing for Bill Paxton (of Near Dark fame) overacting. I think we all find ourselves longing for Bill Paxton overacting regardless of the situation – don’t deny it.

I’ve always been fond of Jim Jarmusch. Mystery Train is one of the best movies from the ’80s. No one ever put John Lurie to better use than Jarmusch did in Stranger Than Paradise. But I have to admit that even Mystery Train, one of Jarmusch’s more involved films, has a very minimalist plot. Jarmusch films are atmospheric, stylish and deadpan – you can’t really expect gore or intense story-building in a Jarmsuch film, which I think is what caused this film to seem a bit pompous. All the name dropping of the people these vampires spent time with throughout history wore thin – evidently Mary Wollstonecraft was “delicious” and I don’t know exactly what was meant with that description – surely Adam didn’t drain her. Or did he? Who knows? But he hung around with Byron and Shelley, and during a scene where Eve questions her husband about events in his life she surely already knew about, I was reminded of a lyric from a Rod Stewart song: “I couldn’t quote you no Dickens or Shelley or Keats, because it’s all been said before.” If you’ve been married for centuries, you’ve said it and heard it all before but if you remain true loves – only lovers left alive, remember – you want to hear the stories again. They will always sound new to a lover, if quite pompous to outsiders.

Despite the cluttered and run-down house in Detroit that Adam settled into in his attempt to avoid the zombies, their increasingly grotesque world and their often diseased blood, this is a pretty film. There are scenes where Adam and Eve take night time drives in Detroit that are very visually arresting, and Adam shows Eve the ruination of paradise – the empty Packard factory, the theater turned into a parking garage. Yet of all the amazing places in Detroit that revolved around excellent music, music of the sort that Adam and Eve play and listen to (Wanda Jackson, Denise LaSalle and Charlie Feathers), he takes Eve to see the house where Jack White of the questionably talented White Stripes grew up. Jack is evidently the seventh son in his family, and I guess that matters to vampires, but surely he could have run by Florence Ballard’s house or the Leland Baptist Church where Bessie Smith performed with Louis Armstrong. Except we only see one black dude in all of Detroit and he’s the doctor who sells Adam untainted blood. It’s a strange, discordant note in this film that otherwise seems to pay a lot of attention to detail and name drops so many important people of cultural worth.

The clever jokes in the film also sort of fall flat. Adam and Eve travel using passports under the names “Stephen Dedalus” and “Daisy Buchanan.” Why Stephen Dedalus? Kit Marlowe says in the film that he wished he had known Adam when he wrote Hamlet because Adam would have been a far better model for the suicidal Dane, and Stephen Dedalus, if I remember my college analysis of Joyce, shows Hamlet-like qualities. So that kind of works. But Daisy Buchanan? It would be hard to find a more loyal, faithful wife than Eve, despite living on a completely different continent than Adam. Whenever Adam is in need, she rushes to his side. She has no other lovers. She is no Daisy Buchanan. It’s hard for me to think of a better female literary character for her to use for her passport identity, but I’m no filmmaker, to be sure.

And if it sounds like I am bashing this movie, I may be a little bit, but I tend to like pomposity when it is handled well. Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is one of my favorite books. I love the films of Whit Stillman, one of the most pompous filmmakers ever to breathe life into preppy culture. But it speaks to the nature of this film that the best part is when Ava comes into Detroit and wreaks havoc on Adam and Eve’s reunion. She is a force of chaos in Adam’s very cloistered life, a vampire who loves the modern world as much as Adam hates it, who gives in to her base impulses in a way her sister cannot. The scenes with Ava are the price of admission for this film.

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No idea what Kit Marlowe is holding here but it isn’t a comb.

But even as I found myself wondering how it is that Adam made the transition from writing adagios for Schubert to becoming a Detroit rock god, how the fuck their passports made any sense, I still found this film enjoyable. As I mentioned it is visually appealing, even when it is shabby. There is no humor but there is plenty of wit. And the actors are all very pretty – including the aged John Hurt – even if they have terrible hair. I think this is a movie that I felt strangely about when watching, realized I enjoyed it at the end, and will love it the second time I watch it.

This film has also given me a terrible itch to see The Hunger, Trouble Every Day and Near Dark before Halloween gets here. All three vampire movies, all three extremely stylish in very different ways, and I think this Halloween needs David Bowie, Vincent Gallo and Bill Paxton to join Tom Hiddleston in the vampire game. Oooo, maybe I’ll watch The Addiction and add Christopher Walken to the mix, too. And all four of those actors have much better hair than poor Hiddleston as Adam. So if nothing else this movie whetted my appetite for more bloody fare (and bloodier fare, too). If you have a favorite vampire film, share it, and if you’ve seen it, let me know what you think of Only Lovers Left Alive.

This Is Not an Odd Books Discussion: Movies and metaphysical despair

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I tend to experience pretty passively any sort of media that requires a television screen. I have the TV on in the background as I go about my day, generally as a form of white noise. It’s not too often that I pay close attention to movies or television shows, but recently I watched two movies that were so awful, so absorbing and deeply terrible, that I could not look away even as I felt like these movies were proof that God is dead and that He probably never loved us much anyway.

The first film was The Snowtown Murders, a depiction of a serial murder case in Australia. I warn you now that if you are not familiar with the case, this film may seem like a mess because many characters come and go without a lot of explanation. This film also has one of the most egregious examples of animal abuse this side of Cannibal Holocaust.  Please bear these things in mind if what I write here makes you want to see this film.  John Bunting, a charismatic psychopath with a fixation on largely imaginary cases of pedophilia, influenced a merry band of marginally intelligent and largely hopeless losers into killing those Bunting felt needed to die. I say his obsession with pedophiles verged into imaginary crimes because Bunting, like most homophobes, also felt that homosexuals were sexual predators. With his rag-tag group of socially marginalized losers, he killed 11 people in about seven years time.

The film depiction of the Snowtown murders (so-called because that was the town where the bodies were found – the murders occurred elsewhere) is a bleak look at a particular section of society in Australia. Small, dingy homes, cluttered with useless crap, not enough space, people sleeping on couches because there are not enough bedrooms. Even the best impulses of parents in such a world end up coming out strange and cramped, and as they try to protect their children from the monsters outside, they fail to protect them from the monsters within.

Even though it drained me of all emotional vitality, this is a film worth watching. It’s raw and unflinching, showing the worst things that can happen in such a matter-of-fact manner that it’s sole purpose has to be to cause the viewer to go numb. The actor who plays James spends the film so completely stunned by the repeated blows that life gives him that very little registers. One of the first interactions he has with John Bunting occurs when Bunting is decapitating and skinning several kangaroos in a front yard. They were real kangaroos and that scene was just foul and upsetting. The actor who played James looked like a shark-eyed Heath Ledger, absorbing an unexpected scene of carnage with a flat yet strangely frightened demeanor.

That sets the viewer up for the scene that could, more or less be one of the worst scenes ever in a film. The rape scene from Irreversible was affecting because it was so long and so deeply horrible. Violent. A total violation. The rape scene in The Snowtown Murders was the complete opposite in its execution and as a result was infinitely worse in the toll it took on my psyche. James had evidently been sexually abused by his older half-brother, Troy, throughout their childhood together. The scene we are given in The Snowtown Murders  is maybe a tenth as long as the scene in Irreversible, but it felt longer to me, as the older brother asserted his toxic will against his younger brother, who lay there on the floor, motionless and quiet, waiting for it to end. It was just a part of the landscape of his life. He just had to submit and then he could begin his day in his bleak, cluttered, hopeless life.

John Bunting, learning of this assault, captures Troy, locks him a bathroom and begins a long, horrible assault against him. As much as Troy needs punishment for what he has done, no one deserves what happens to him. Utterly in thrall to John, James is unable to make things stop until he finally ends his brother’s torment himself. It is the first time he really shows any emotion and it’s clear to the viewer that James’ life is probably far better when he is numb because any awakening of feeling is going to involve violence, cruelty and ill-use. This was a powerful movie and I don’t ever want to see it again, but think others may find it just as appalling and upsetting and transfixing as I did. Sometimes the terrible shows us something, lets us into lives foreign to ours and forces us to understand how it is a person can transform from a small, helpless child into a flat, vicious killer.

The other film I watched was just horrible. No real reason to watch it other than to rubberneck at the sorry lives of others. No revelation. No understanding. All you get is a voyeuristic thrill that comes from watching other people self-destruct but it still may not be enough to get you through Black Metal Veins.

This Is Not an Odd Book Discussion: The Bunny Game

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I’ve wanted to talk about the movie, The Bunny Game, for a while now but I needed time to come to an understanding with myself as to why I find this film worthy of discussion. It’s a hard movie to watch, an even harder movie to digest and, if one gets derailed by accusations of this film being no more than stylish torture porn, it’s dirty and unsettling. And note that this discussion is full of spoilers, though it’s hard to spoil a film that can be summed up as “trucker tortures prostitute in the desert for several days.”

The Bunny Game struck me as a transgressive piece of cinema that showed a frightening and non-consensual ordeal path/purification ritual more troubling than anything Eli Roth ever brought to the table.  You may think this is going to be a typical torture porn horror movie because some of the marketing leans in this direction.  However this is not torture for the sake of torture, it’s torture with a demented purpose behind it that transcends just the thrill that comes for many when they see a beautiful woman abducted, raped and harmed. I felt this way before I looked up Rodleen Getsic, the protagonist of the film, and found out that she co-wrote this film and based it on an actual abduction she endured. I also read that making this film killed part of her soul, which makes it hard to know if she accomplished what she set out to do when she decided to make this film. She fasted for 40 days beforehand to make herself weak, and she consented to everything that happened to her in this film, from a graphic blowjob (actually more of a face-fuck) to the physical abuse that she endured during the abduction.

The hardest part of this movie for me to stomach was that it was largely script-less, because the implication is that Getsic often had no idea what was going to happen to her next. It was, in a sense, one long, horrible ad lib, which makes it more interesting and infinitely more sickening. The man who plays the trucker is not a professional actor (I believe I read that the director cast him because the actor tried to fight him after claiming he looked at him too long in a parking lot). But the lack of a script meant that Rodleen, a victim of a previous abduction and assault, was potentially being re-victimized even as she consented to all of it beforehand. It also makes one wonder how much anyone can be said to consent to something when they don’t know the details of what is going to happen.

The film, shot in black and white, is visually quite pretty, or maybe arresting, but the cinema quality also made it all the worse, turning all that abuse into visually appealing art. Everything that worked about this film made it all the worse because I did not want to be entertained as I watched this movie.

The film begins with a graphic, unsimulated blow job that is anti-pornographic. Rodleen, the protagonist, is not enjoying herself. She is not moaning with feigned pleasure. Forced to deep throat her john, she pulls back three times to catch her breath, gasping for air and the third time she does this, a wave of misery washes over her face. One gets the feeling she was not acting.  Her reaction shows how nasty her character’s life is and there is no way to see this with a sex positive filter.  She is not empowering herself via sex work.

From that opening scene we are taken through a few days in the prostitute’s life. Bunny lives a life of degrading sexual acts in exchange for enough money to keep her in a nondescript motel room in a nondescript Every City. She spends her time hustling johns, having horrible sex, doing drugs and recovering from it all. Before we are ten minutes in we see her raped when she passes out during a trick and wakes up to find she has been robbed of all her money and her drugs. There is a scene where Bunny sniffs a line of some drug and talks to herself in the mirror, muttering “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” as she psychs herself up to go back out and do more of the same. That, in its way, was the worst scene in the film.

Bunny, wearing platform shoes that had to be a foot tall, wanders a city scape that harbors nothing good or natural. She eats fast food sprawled in front of a wall covered in graffiti, she urinates in an alley in front of a metal fence, right on the concrete. As she wanders the streets, her bleached, straw-like hair in pig-tails, the film flashes to other images, several of her in a natural place, mountains behind her, her brown hair falling in curls, her face, young again as she laughs. Blink and you’ll miss it, but those brief scenes where we see the prostitute in better times, in fresh air in the natural world, are a clue as to what this film’s intent is.

The prostitute, Bunny, finally meets her destiny in the form of a truck driver, called Hog (each are named for the masks they wear during one of the torture scenes). He renders her unconscious, drives her to the desert and spends several days torturing her. She’s unconscious for a while, allowing him time to pull her into his empty trailer, rape her, investigate her body thoroughly, at times snuffling her hair and body like a dog. He then chains her inside the trailer and focuses a camera on her. He forces her to watch her torment, making her relive it as she is actually living it, a particularly cruel bit of meta when one remembers this movie is drawn from Rodleen Getsic’s own experiences.

Hog keeps her in chains, puts a collar around her neck and takes her on walks in the junkyard-like landscape of the desert, at one point forcing her to walk while wearing those insane platforms. He force-feeds her whiskey when she desperately needs water. He completely depersonalizes her by shaving her head, but later brands her as well, taking away one form of identity while giving her another form, one that is more permanent. The brands Hog puts on Bunny’s back resemble infinity signs with tails, but they also look like a bow tied from thin ribbon. Both are apt symbols for this film’s purpose. The torture seems like it lasts forever (this movie is a merciful 76 minutes long – any longer and I think it would have been unwatchable), and the torture is interchangeable with other women we see Hog torture in his own flashbacks. It is interminable and unceasing. But this film also shows that Bunny is being a given a perverse gift.

Bald and slowly divested of her clothing, the end of the movie shows a woman who looks like a slightly better nourished concentration camp victim. She is crouched in the back of the trailer when the door opens and light shines in on her. Naked and near insanity, Bunny runs for it. She runs toward the light. She is a gibbering mess, but the ecstasy is unmistakeable on her face. She desperately wants to live.

The film cuts away and we next see her on a cross. She did not make it to freedom. Hog has caught up to her. She is not restrained. She is not nailed to the cross. She is simply lying atop it with her arms spread, in a Christ-like position. Hog sits near her, not touching her. She hallucinates and sees herself with her healthy face, her brown curly hair, sitting nearby. Her old self burns a book. Her old self puts on a veil. Her old self is watching her self-sacrifice. She is her own Mary Magdalene in this painful vision.

Hog tells her to draw a straw from his fist – if she gets the long straw, she wins. A jittery wraith, she selects a straw. Hog mumbles something in her ear and the ecstasy again shows on her face. She laughs with hysterical delight as he carries her over his shoulder. A man in a white uniform in a white van arrives and Hog carries her to him. They put her in the back of the van and the film ends.

Does Bunny live? Who is the man in the van? I think she lives and but even if she doesn’t, in terms of the purpose of this film, it is unimportant. Taken away from the city into the desert, broken down and depersonalized, she wants to live. She has gone through an extraordinary ordeal, very nearly a vision quest and wants to live. I also thought about this in terms of an extreme purification ritual, with the head-shaving, the starvation, the food and water deprivation.

And if this is a purification ritual, then Bunny lived because there was no sense purifying her if there was only death waiting for her. Purification rituals are to cleanse a person of that which is unclean before a specific life event. I left this film thinking the specific event was life itself. Bunny was cleansed of the drugs in her system, the endless flow of semen into her body, the dirt of the city, the implications of her fried hair and her provocative clothing. Naked, starved and bald she is now ready for life after her ordeal. But even if that white van is representative of death, for the first time Bunny wanted to live. Wanting life is a redemption from the walking death she was experiencing before she was kidnapped. She may never return to being that full-faced, curly-haired, laughing brunette, but just wanting to be her again means she is saved.

I know it’s tempting for many to dismiss this as torture porn wherein the sole purpose is to revel in Bunny’s debasement. But those seeking a disgusting gore-fest will be disappointed. There is no blood. There are no saws or pliers. The blow torch is for use with the brand. No one loses a limb, no toes are cut off, no one is hung upside down with a cut throat and bleeding into a bath. This is not a cartoon of extreme violence like so many other movies that depict torture. This is psychological torture and while equally as horrible as physical torture, it has a different purpose than to titillate, which is why I think so many people were put off by this film. It wasn’t what they expected, and in many ways it was far, far worse.

I do my best to interpret the media I consume in a vacuum. I don’t like to read reviews about books or films until I see them and before I write about them, I prefer not to know too much detail about what others think. But after watching this film I wanted to know more about Rodleen Getsic. Her site is a lot to take in at once and I recommend spending ten minute increments there in the beginning. Evidently after filming The Bunny Game, Getsic slipped on a doormat at a grocery story and landed on her head, causing a catastrophic brain injury, and her site shows her struggle as she recovers and copes. She hasn’t updated her “phonetography” section in a while. I hope she’s okay. And I hope the part of her soul that died when she made The Bunny Game was a part she needed to shed. It’s an uncomfortable feeling realizing that the woman who made this film, a film based on her own experiences, has gone on to experience another ordeal.

This was a hard movie but if you ever watch it, I’d love to hear your take on it. I suspect there are a lot of different opinions, and given the nature of this film, aside from the ones that dismiss this as pointless torture porn, they may all be correct.

This Is Not an Odd Book Discussion: An e-Epistolary Review of Crappy Horror Films

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

This is an e-mail I sent to Mr. Oddbooks and he thought it might be fitting for a non-odd book discussion over here. These may be the most succinct reviews I have ever written.

Mar 27 (7 days ago)

My beloved husband,

I heard you speak of needing space on the Apple TV. I believe I have found a way to get a small chunk of space. Consider deleting the following Horror titles:

Ominous looks like it was cast by a blind man, shot with a cell phone and sound mastered in the dishwasher. Wanted to die after ten minutes.

Removal sucks more than anything has ever before sucked. It’s got the Fight Club trope of OH NO IT WAS ME but no one can act and for some reason Elliott Gould has a ten second cameo. It needs to go away.

The Task was so awful I now have cancer. Of the butt.

Trapped Ashes is a collection of assholes telling unscary stories (one involves cannibal breasts) to get out of a scary house. It could only be worse if my mom had directed it.

Urban Explorer had zero plot and was offensive to every sensibility. Nazi tunnels in Berlin, yay, let’s visit them with nary a gun to defend us from the racist chunnel dwellers we are sure to find there.

Vlog… words fail me. Seriously. I almost want you to keep it so I can dare you to watch it.

Last Breath is what happens when people decide to write a hackneyed script that no one cares about, cast their friends who cannot act, and decide to film it and call it indie horror instead of a homemade piece of amateurish crap that could interest no one with access to a Rubik’s cube.

Grave Encounters sucked the rancid teat of TV’s Ghost Hunters. Oh no, there are real ghosts in this here place that crooked paranormal researchers are exploring. Who would have thought such a plot turn could happen? Who, I ask you? But more to the point, we need to ask, “Who cares?” No one, that’s who.

Fingerprints stars two sisters who look about as related as any two random people might, features an actress who got her start on Laguna Beach on MTV and “acts” via showing her legs and guest stars the animated corpse of Sally Kirkland wielding an axe.

Exorcismus is the sort of film wherein you want the girl to remain demon possessed. You may wonder why the hell the movie wasn’t about the girl on the the promotional cover – I can’t answer that but I suspect it would have been a far better movie than the piece of shit I watched. You also want her parents to die and her boyfriend to grind himself into hamburger, but neither happens so why bother.

Episode 50: See Grave Encounters.

Dario Argento’s The Card Player involves cutting edge computer technology from 1987, a plot so simple Gertie probably wrote it, and it’s mining a trope so overmined the shaft is gonna collapse.

The Cottage features the dude who played Gollum and I couldn’t last longer than ten minutes to see if it featured anyone else because it was all full of “Who fucking cares?” during the first few minutes.

Credo ( The Devil’s Curse ) is plotless, pointless, and you sort of want all the crappy-acting kids to die. Also seems like the sound was mixed in a Port Authority toilet.

Coffin features two living people buried in a coffin who are fighting for life and yet somehow the film still lacks tension. Oh, it’s a ransom film. Oh, it’s a “punish the adulterers” film. Oh, it’s a piece of fucking shit.

Bitten has Jay from Jay and Silent Bob fame when he was still clearly in the throes of some sort of drug addiction and a whiny, often naked vampiress with one of the most interesting overbites ever seen in a leading lady (note – twas not caused by tooth prosthetics). Lots of bodies stuffed in trunks and no one smells a thing and I think if you decide to keep this one, you should have to watch it with me as I mock your pain.

Bereavement makes no fucking sense, is horrible and exploitative (because making kids watch sex murders is a fresh, new, interesting hook, amirite?), and also who fucking cares?

Beneath – I will contact a lawyer if you don’t delete this piece of made for MTV shitburger. Don’t test me on this.

Bane is a bunch of really unremarkable British women tortured and killed for some sort of stupid project involving what looks like an animatronic roach with fangs sporting a large Giger-style hat. Someone inexplicably cast their boneless aunt, the one with the frizzy perm, and I also suspect these women were not given a script.

Amusement is the touching story of a kindergarten vivisectionist who decides to stalk and kill the three girls who were sickened by his mouse-torture exhibit for the school diorama contest. He tracks them down and kidnaps them as adults in a Rube-Goldbergian manner and takes them to what appears to be a disused grain silo with interrogation rooms. Four idiots enter, only one survives, and it’s the one who decided to go to sleep in a room with a human-sized clown doll in a chair. Hardly seems fair.

Medium Raw features a hottie psychologist in an asylum for the extremely criminally insane where people have sex against the walls of cells containing superhuman killing machines for the thrill and people bring their small daughters who wear red coats to work. The sexy psychologist’s husband sounds exactly like Ryan O’Reilly from Oz and there’s a whole subplot with him that involves lotsa flashbacks. The best part of this film was the cannibal lady who, sadly, failed to eat the protagonist, which would have been the best possible ending, in my book. So stupid that if you don’t delete it, you owe me ten bucks on general principle.

Needle is Saw with needles, combined with the first Hellraiser, with even worse actors.

The Quiet features Jack Bauer’s daughter as a bitch cheerleader with Kenny Power’s baby-mama as a best friend. We have beloved character actors Martin Donovan and Edie Falco selling their souls for a paycheck. There’s also a brunette pretending to be deaf and she’s, like, key to the plot but she’s not naked enough for the target market for this film. Incest, murder, who fucking cares. Notable only because of boobs, some of them Carmela Soprano’s.

This should clear up some space.

As always, your devoted wife

This Is Not An Odd Book Discussion – Late night David Lynch

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I used to be a fan of black metal, and I guess I still am, but now it’s more appropriate to say I’m a fan of specific black metal bands. It always helps to be specific, I think.

So in the spirit of specificity, let me tell you I rather like Ulver. I think even more specifically, it’s safe to say I like Garm, the former singer for Ulver. I love his voice, and I like the idea that if Mr Oddbooks were to start lifting weights again and decided to get some ink, he and Garm could pass for brothers. Maybe cousins.

At any rate, Ulver’s 2000 release, Perdition City, is in my top ten albums of all time. And the best song on that album is “Porn Piece or the Scars of Cold Kisses.” At 4:00 one morning, I wanted to listen to it in bed, but iTunes was having “issues.” I was forced to go to YouTube, which was not as an appalling a choice as you might think because it just so happens that there is a fan video for “Porn Piece or the Scars of Cold Kisses” that is my favorite fan video ever. Yeah, the video is stretched and skewed but ultimately, the video is very, very good. I don’t think I could ever have thought of “Porn Piece” and Lost Highway as two media elements that went together, but that’s the beauty of this kind of thing, I suspect. Also, I tend to think that imposing one’s will on popular culture is all that’s left to us people who can’t sleep and yet can’t concentrate on anything productive.

So beautiful. “On the stairs, before I left, one of the girls had surprisingly given me a kiss. Stung in the cold long after.”

But it was Youtube at 4:00 in the morning. It couldn’t end in a great mashup of an achingly beautiful song. It never does.

It never does.

You know how Youtube has all the related videos over to the right in one endless and godless lineup?

I looked at those related videos. I learned something. I learned that David Lynch released an album late in 2011. It is called Crazy Clown Time.

I’ll let that soak in for minute.

Crazy.

Clown.

Time.

And it sounds exactly like you think it would and you should not listen to this before the sun comes up. You should not listen to this as your Garm-like husband sleeps with his hands closed across his chest, an elderly cat at his feet, your house quiet, your neighborhood dead. You should not listen to this song even now, but you probably will because the curiosity will force you.

Here it is. The thing that currently haunts me.

I…

I just don’t know. Words fail me. That was horrible. I kind of want to cry.

But because he is David Lynch, in the midst of the grotesque, there is also something truly beautiful. “Pinky’s Dream” is slightly jittery and mildly horrible, but still has lovely moments

But like much of Lynch’s body of work, you have to make a conscious choice: do you focus on the lovely or the grotesque? Do you focus on Isabella’s lips and her accent or Dennis Hopper and his fucking nitrous mask?

You focus on Dennis and the mask.

Fuck.