BLOG YTC_Hollyweird: Episode X: “Ballsy”

Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.

In the short term, the YTC podcast can currently be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

 

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The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…

 

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Today’s entry was supposed to be all about Santa’s Slay– a black comedy in which Santa is actually Satan’s son and goes on a killing spree. Having heard it was pretty terrible, I ordered the film for a whopping £1.38 on Amazon and prepped for it. But a funny thing happened- or rather no funny things happened. The film was just dull.

Santa’s Slay is not awful. It’s somewhat competent. It’s just too ‘meh’ to actually write about. It stars ex-wrestler Bill Goldberg, who seems to be having some fun even if walking and talking is obviously confusing for him, Co-starring are a bunch of people you’ll go ‘I know them from TV!’ including The Nanny’s Fran Drescher, Saturday Night Live’s Chris Kattan, Nip/Tuck’s Rebecca Gayheart, Frasier’s Saul Rubinek, Desperate Housewives’ Dave Thomas and Lost’s Emilie de Ravin. The most entertaining part of the film came in the first minute when I wondered if that old guy was James Caan- and it turns out it was. So that just about covers the Santa’s Slay.

 

But- but, but, but, but, but….. I would never cheat my, readers (both of them). So instead I’ll fast track today’s blog to something that I was saving for next week; The Greatest Band Of All Goddamn Time………. ARNOCORPS.

 

Hail!


A self described “Action Adventure Hardcore Rock and Roll” band, ArnoCorps are the world’s first- and finest- band to feature lyrics based on the films, the quotes and life musings of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or do they?? ArnoCorps claim to be inspired by ancient folklore and mythology originating from small townships of Austria. In a horrifying act of capitalism, Hollywood movie executives stole these tales for plot material and dialogue before casting some Austrian Body-builder in the resulting movies. Well not on ArnoCorp’s watch, people. They’re takin’ it all back.

(NB: Fortunately for the people of Austria, in 2004 the band launched a class-action lawsuit against these film studios. The case failed to go to court due to too many pencils getting pushed by the Dillon’s of the world).

Modesty is for wimps

 

So the doubters amongst you may wonder how well does an Arnie-based rock band fare on the whole? Well to put it in the the immortal words of William Shakespeare; it blows your goddamn ears right off of your goddamn skull, that’s how well it goddamn fares!!

Here’s why;

 

Exhibit A.

The songs are pounding rhythms of pure testosterone, sure. That’s a given. But they also drip with enough absurd comic moments to keep everyone smiling.

Here are some sample lyrics from ‘Total Recall’

“What the fuck did I do wrong?/
Suddenly I see I don’t belong/
Ask about the future, don’t know the past/
The thoughts in my mind don’t seem to last!

My whole life is just a dream/
Now I know what I could’ve been/
I want to climb the mountains of Mars/
With wholesale memories, I’m in charge!

Get your ass! Get your ass to Mars!
Get your ass! Get your ass to Mars!“

 

Words are on thing, but embodying the image is something more. Here’s the instant-classic, “I’m Ballsy”. Bonus Points if you get all the Arnie references.

 

Everybody now… “I’m ballsy/I’m a stud/I don’t take shit from anyone!”

 

Exhibit B.

Showmanship.

ArnoCorps set a new, 6ft 2” standard for fun gigs.

The last time I saw them, there was a wet t-shirt contest with the drummer, multiple stage invasions were encouraged (this author may, or may not, have been one such invader), oh yeah….and the guitarist crowd surfed on his guitar case. ON. HIS. GUITAR. CASE.

Charlie don’t surf but Arnie does.

 

Some berk on the right

Add their intro and it was Arnie-tacular. Do you all recall the start of Predator? The ‘Rescue Team’ fly into the jungle blasting out Little Richard’s ‘Long Tall Sally’ lit completely inside rthe chopper by a red light. Well ArnoCorps entered through the crowd to the same song, carrying red emergency flares and all whilst waving their own flag and smoking stoogies. Showmanship!

 

Exhibit C.

It’s all about you/us.

The band celebrate their fans as ‘Heroes and Sheroes’. Frankly y’all, I like being praised. (Fun Fact: My buddy Amy has ticket 0001 for the gig. Now that’s a goddamn shero, right there!)

But it’s not just being ‘thanked’ by the band. It’s a whole community vibe. I’ve met the band once, but spoken to them online quite a lot. Each time has involved their encouragement for living a ‘ballsy’ life. OK, there’s a tongue in cheek aspect to it all, but how many musicians actually go out of their way to acknowledge individual fans, let alone pump them up?

I’ve paid a fair bit in shipping costs just to get an EP and a Patch because I damn well want to support this band. I want them to succeed. We support them, and in return they give us their all.

Old fashioned I know but I dig it. In fact I dig it this much…

Does this make my shin their property???

 

 

So if this has had an impact on you, please buy (not illegally download) their album for a good time, or have a look below and see if you can support them in the flesh. We’re on the cusp of a rare UK tour and this is the time to join the army of fans. Come on….Do it…. Do it now!!!

 

More details can be found here:

http://www.facebook.com/ArnoCorps/events

 

I hope to see you all at the party-especially Rictor.

 

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Next time- With the so-so performance of Santa’s Slay, my appetite for trashy ex-wrestler action-comedy is not yet sated. Next time it’ll be a faux-Scotsman wrestler vs the Battletoads.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

MJ

BLOG YTC_Hollyweird: Episode IX: Vegas Violence

Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.

In the short term, the YTC podcast can currently be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

BLOG PIC

The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…

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“In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty five
Man didn’t know ’bout a rock ‘n’ roll show
An’ all that jive
The white man had the schmaltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news. He said…

Let there be sound, and there was sound
Let there be light, and there was light
Let there be drums, there was drums
Let there be guitar, there was guitar, ah
Let there be ROCK!!!”

 

 

 

Rock N’ Roll should be…. Raw; Physical; Filthy.

A Post-Apocalyptic Future would be….. Raw; Physical; Filthy.

Martial Arts movies could be…. Raw; Physical; Filthy.

Porn films are… Raw; Physical; Filthy.

Whoa, porn???? I meant Indie cinema. I swear! My mind just wandered…. Wandered like a lone figure in a post apocalyptic wasteland… wandered like a Six String Samurai.

 

art c/o Desert--Storm on Deviantart

In a world where those evil Red Ruskies nuked America in the 50’s, what is left is a wasteland. Elvis, the former ruler of Lost Vegas has died. Now the States needs a new leader- and every man with a guitar and a dream is fighting to become the new King. Enter a mysterious stranger, equally skilled at 50’s riffs and Sword strikes. Aided by a orphaned kid, the two heads to Vegas to claim his throne, but little do they know that Death is following them- literally. Death loves Heavy Metal, and wants to eradicate Rock ‘ n Roll. But only one of them can become the new King…..

 

Six String Samurai is like Mad Max as played by Eddie Cochran. It’s even sillier than it sounds, and if you happen to love rock and Samurai- and luckily I do- then it’s also even better than it sounds.

On the one hand it’s incredibly derivative. Nothing here is original as such, but the way everything is thrown together keeps it simultaneously fresh and vintage. In a way it”s like akin to if Tarantino made Kill Bill as his début with the budget of Reservoir Dogs.

 

Cool Mo-Fu

This film dips rock from every pore. The hero is called Buddy, complete with thick black specs. On his trail is the Grim Reaper, a Metal riff-machine when the mood takes him. On their travels, characters discuss hollow body guitars. Mariachi’s wander into scenes, and the somewhat obscure band, The Red Elvises cameo in the film appear in it as a killer band (literally). Which is fitting since they also scored the Soundtrack. In fact there is also possibly a cameo by Frank Black. It look like Francis and sounds like Francis, but since he’s uncredited he could just be some fat, bald dude. (AKA me in 15years). So yeah, this film definitely has the credentials to make Chris Isaak weep with joy.

&quotif-you-scratch-my-guitar-i&039ll-kill-you'

Still, ol’ Six String Sammy is amateur- make no mistake about that. Sometimes the natural lighting changes drastically between cuts in the same scene. Clearly there was not time for continuity- it was shoot what you can, whilst you can.

The dialogue is hard to make out, and shockingly even the music feels like it needs cranking up a lot harder at times.

Narratively the ‘cute’ child sidekick is every bit as irritating as you’d expect (Daigoro he is not, Shogun Assassin fans). In fact the whole film is pretty repetitive.

So with all these problems, why do I enjoy it so much? Because if it was any more polished it simply wouldn’t be as rock n’ roll. It looks and sounds cheap, surviving alone by the sheer lunacy of it all- hell, AC/DC would damn well approve. Much like Alex Cox’s Straight To Hell– a Spaghetti Western littered with rock stars that dreams big, plays loose and kicks booty this film is just more fun for its rawness. In cinematic/aural terms, some people may crave the well polished production of David Lean/The Beatles, but I’m always going to go with the good spirited roughness of Jarmusch/Ramones. And this is far more Ramones.

Honestly, for all its faults I cannot believe that this film is not better known. In an age of craptacular straight to DVD films, I’m actually shocked this film doesn’t have a sequel. Still, it did manage a pretty poor Comic run of …. one issue. I tracked it down, and I’m sorry to say it wasn’t worth the hassle. (Although it did become packing paper for a sale on ebay, so it wasn’t a total waste). Slightly more impressively, the film is referenced in the smash hit video game of Fallout: New Vegas where an achievement is called the “New Vegas Samurai” complete with an image based on Six String Samurai’s movie poster. So whilst the film may not be famous, at least it had some impact. Besides, like the best bands it always leave you smiling but wanting more.

 

I have no idea who drew this, but good on ’em

 

Now do yourself a favour; put on some Rocket From the Crypt or some Dan Sartain. Un-cap a bottle of JD, take a slug straight up from the bottle and splutter a thank you to the God of Rock ‘n Roll. Then click your fingers three times and settle back for some fun with Buddy. And no we’re not back to porn- I mean all you rock n’ roll, martial art, low budget loving sons of gun may want to bop along to Six String Samurai. You dig?!?!

 

 

Next time- Well we’re halfway to X-Mas folks. What could be better than X-Mas? How about an X-Mas based around a wrestler, mass murder and Demons??

Thanks for reading.

MJ

BLOG YTC_Hollyweird: Episode VIII: Time To Get Freaky

 

Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.

In the short term, the YTC podcast can currently be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

BLOG PIC

The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…

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You may know Alex Winter. Perhaps not by name, but perhaps by face. Mr Winter’s most prominent role is ‘Bill S Preston Esquire’ in both Bill & Ted films. In fact you must know him; the one that wasn’t tall, dark or impossible for women to resist. The other one. The shorter, blonde one with a wide grin like a demented troll. Alternatively, you may know him from being one of the vampires in The Lost Boys. The, uh, short blonde one. Or from other things where he was quite possibly short and blonde.

But I don’t write these things to be cruel. Oh no. For you see Alex Winter put his physical traits of being both a Hollywood star and also being a bit weird looking to good use. Not to mention perhaps the even slightly more useful skill of being a talented writer and director.

Excellent

For you see, Alex Winter Esquire was born in jolly old Blighty. Then he shipped over to the States. He went to college. And sure, some stuff probably happened in between all of these moments but I’m not his autobiographer. I’m just a man with film to discuss and with access to Wikipedia. The key point here is that his college room mate was aspiring film maker, Tom Stern, and they began to write and direct together.

Between the two of them, they have written for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, been hired by Kanye West, they have directed music videos for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Butthole Surfers and Marilyn Manson, and (most excitingly for my nieces) been a voice in the Ben 10 cartoons.

OK, so neither Alex Winter nor Tom Stern are household names for their writing or direction. But perhaps if their only film together had been a hit this could all be different….. Behold Alex Winter and Tom Stern’s lost gem, Freaked!

freaked-2
Harvey Dent’s got nothing on Ricky

This was the 90’s. This was a time of Alt. Rock soundtracks, constant condom references and colour changing shirts. Freaked is very much of its time in visuals and aural qualities, but it was also somewhat ahead of the game for it’s ‘stoner’ style. Of course actual stoner comedies pre-dated it by quite some time (Cheech & Chong etc), as did ‘throw anything against the wall’ films (Top Secret) and gross out comedies (pick any 80’s Frat movie). But Freaked knitted things together in such a throw-away manner that the whole film seems more like an acid trip-dripping cartoon brought to life.

 

It’s tough to know if Freaked directly inspired contemporary American comedy writers, but comparisons can be drawn. The unlikeability of The Sarah Silverman Show cast to the insanity of South Park’s plots to the unexplained set up’s of Adult Swim shows to the gross out moments of Family Guy all have an air akin to Freaked.

 

Freaked is a pretty simple tale of a Hollywood heart throb Ricky (Winter) taking a corporate promotional job in South America. Once there, through a variety if incidents he, his sexist best friend (Blossom’s Anthony. Like I said- very 90’s) and a ecological feminist (the likes of which cropped up a lot in-hmm- the 90’s) are soon lost wandering around a hidden Freak Show run by Randy Quaid. But wouldn’t you know it… the secret to his freak show is that he mutates people! With Ricky destined to become the star attraction, all the freaks decide it’s time to escape…..

In truth some jokes work, some don’t. But they come so thick and fast it’s hard not to laugh every few minutes. Besides which, the cast obviously all relish their parts which gives Freaked a maniacal edge. There’s an old saying that if you have to explain comedy, then it isn’t funny. So rather than detail any more of the film I’m going to recommend it as simply as possible;

 

  1. Mr. T is a bearded woman.
  2. The best Keanu Reeves appearance ever
  3. Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert get cameos
  4. Rastafarian Eyeballs carrying Uzi’srastas

 

If the above doesn’t make you at least curious, then you’re already dead on this inside. Will it change your world? No. Will it entertain you? Most likely.

A final note re: Alex Winter and Tom Stern is that when Freaked was in production, they were commissioned to script and direct An American Werewolf in Paris. Had Freaked done well, theirs is the sequel that the world would have seen. I have not tread their script- and it’s doubtful anybody could beat the original- but based on Freaked we can at least assume that it would have been a fun sequel, and a DAMN site better than the existing one.

Next time- Sci-Fi? Rock n Roll? Samurai swords? Kung- Fu? It’s like someone cracked my head open and scooped out my dreams!

Thanks for reading.

MJ