Hello and Happy Valentine’s Week — or as I like to call it, Valloween! If that doesn’t scare you, this weeks’ Video Clip just might! “Haunted” by LA Garage Rock legends The Sloths does double duty as a music video and a movie trailer, as the song also appears on the soundtrack to the independent horror film The Amityville Murders, which just hit theaters and VOD this past Friday! Coincidentally, Sloths’ frontman Tom McLoughlin is also a filmmaker, having directed more than 40 feature film and television projects, including Friday the 13th Pt. VI: Jason Lives (1986). Exciting!
Visually, “Haunted” features attention-grabbing footage from the movie intercut with newly-filmed scenes of the band playing live; but really, the song is doing most the heavy lifting here. If you love surf rock, but you also love The Cramps, “Haunted” is your kind of jam. The Amityville Murders‘ soundtrack features an additional Sloths-penned track, “Lust,” and both songs appear on The Sloths‘ 2015 debut album Back from the Grave, released by Lolipop / Burger Records. Catch The band live performing at SXSW in March! Enjoy!
If you enjoy eating and watching movies, and you aren’t lucky enough to have an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in your city, then you are missing out on an opportunity to do both at the same time while also being outside of your own living room. Alamo Drafthouse is a cool chain of theaters where you can order food and drinks (read: alcohol) from your seat and servers bring it to you while you watch the movie. It is very fun and cool, and it definitely saves time and planning efforts when you are on a date and are trying to decide if you should eat dinner before or after seeing the film. We’ve all been there.
The theaters are very comfy and cozy, with ample arm-rest room, and a little table right at your seat. Select theaters even have these cool Film Reel Light Fixtures on the walls, which get you all in the mood see a film!
About once a month, Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn (which is the one closest to me) takes in-theater dining to the next level with a special Food & Film event, where a dinner menu is created to go with the theme of a popular classic movie. I was recently lucky enough to score an invite to attend a screening of David Gordon Green’s stoner romp, Pineapple Express, which was accompanied by a four-course movie-inspired meal from Alamo’s Executive Chef Ronnie New, and drink pairings from Beverage Director Vincent Favella. What a great entertainment value!
If you have not already seen Pineapple Express, let me tell you a little bit about the plot. Pineapple Express is an absurdist black comedy starring Seth Rogen as Dale — an underachieving stoner who works as a process server — and James Franco as his pot dealer Saul, who sells Dale a rare, extremely potent strain of weed called Pineapple Express. When Dale inadvertently witnesses a murder, he puts both himself and Saul in danger when he tosses a joint of Pineapple Express from his car as he flees the scene. Since the hitman just happens to know that Saul is the only dealer who sells that kind pot, the bad guys know exactly where to find him. It just gets more ridiculous from there as Dale and Saul try to stay alive while being high out of their minds.
Check out this cool custom gate that caught my eye as I was walk around in Chelsea the other day: the design is based on the iconic image of the Man in the Moon (with a space capsule embedded through one eye) from the 1902 French adventure film, A Trip to the Moon.
Spotted on 21st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Chelsea, NYC.
If you’ve seen the two previous feature films by writer/director team Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, then you understand that these guys enjoy being meta. Both their 2013 breakout sci-fi flick, Resolution, and 2014’s body horror/romance, Spring include references to a common character (“Shitty Carl”) who is never seen onscreen, and the duo even appear together in one scene in Resolution. Impressively, their new film, The Endless, takes meta to a delightfully mind-bending level. Not only do audiences finally get to meet Shitty Carl, but the two main characters (and one minor character) from Resolution appear in a few pivotal scenes of The Endless, reprising their roles from the previous film. Stephen King does this type of cross-referential thing in his novels all the time as a way to expand and validate his fictional worlds, and here the device works well to let The Endless serve as both a possible sequel to Resolution, while also letting it stand alone as a solid, separate story that contains a few winks and nods for hardcore fans. You don’t need to see one to ‘get’ the other, and to infer that this reveal is a ‘spoiler’ would be like saying that seeing Rogue One spoils the plot of Star Wars.
The Endless stars Benson and Moorhead as brothers Justin and Aaron Smith, roommates who own and operate a small housecleaning business, but struggle to pay the bills. Although they appear to be about the same age, it is inferred that Justin is the elder sibling by, say, ten years. One afternoon, Aaron receives a battered package in the mail, containing a video tape on a format that is long obsolete. After hitting up a couple of yard sales, he finds a device that will play the tape, which shows footage of a young woman who speaks to the camera about an unspecified, upcoming event. Aaron recognizes her as Anna (Callie Hernanadez), whom he knows from a cult-like commune that took-in the brothers after their parents died in a car accident. It’s unclear how long they lived at the commune, but suggested that ten years have passed since they left – or was it ‘escaped’?
Aaron shares the tape with Justin, insisting that the two make a return visit to the commune so that he can gain some type of closure, and also make sure that Anna and the other friends they left behind are all okay. Justin has zero desire to go back, but indulges his younger brother on the condition that the trip be limited to just one day. Right.
There Might Be Something in the Lake Other Than Fish
Though it’s not immediately obvious that the group worships or follows the teachings of any particular figurehead, guru or phenomena, things get weird right away. First off, Justin quickly observes that residents of the commune appear to not have aged a day in the ten years since the brothers left. Aaron sees flocks of birds flying in odd, circular patterns, and surprise photographs and other recorded media containing images of the two just kind of ‘show up’ randomly. And, oh yeah, isn’t that a second moon up in the sky? What’s that about? And who, or what, is on the other end of the rope in that midnight Tug-of-War ritual?
Make that Three Moons
The Endless is one of those films that’s comprised of multi-layered mysteries and plot twists that you won’t see coming no matter how much you think you know what is going on. The subtle horror, slowly-mounting suspense and ever increasing sense of dread will have you on the edge your seat, and it’s really best to go into the theater knowing as little about what happens as possible. While it could be described as Cabin in The Woods meets Primer, The Endless will also appeal to those intrigued by the exploration of cults and cult-mentality, as addressed in the Netlfix documentary series, Wild Wild Country. It is certainly a film that invites multiple viewings, and it will leave you with lots to discuss with fellow viewers long after leaving the theater.
The Worley Gig Gives The Endless 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars!
The Endless Hits Theaters on Friday April 6th, 2018. Find a Showing Near You at This Link!
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead Direct and Star in The Endless.
In the 1986 documentary The Unheard Music, filmmaker W.T Morgan brilliantly captured the Los Angeles Punk Scene using the band X as a focal point. This Pink Handheld Radio was featured in the film and included on the promotional items in support of the documentary
Pink Transistor Radio was Photographed as Part of the Exhibit X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles at the Grammy Museum in Hollywood, California.
A few weeks ago, we went over to The Fashion Institute of Technology to check out the 2017 MFA in Illustration Visual Thesis Exhibition, which was entitled 13 Stories. It is while visiting the exhibit that I discovered a cool Pink Thing created by FIT student and MFA candidate Necdet Yilmaz, who is a native of Turkey. Necdet’s visual thesis, Happy Tank, is a story about a little machine built for war that doesn’t want to fight. Happy Tank must be sent to war, but refuses to fire at a large building where a child is seen crying. For disobeying the order, Happy Tank is decommissioned and melted down. The story concludes with Happy Tank being recycled and used to construct a playground years after the war is over.
Screen Shots from Happy Tank Animated Film (Above and Below)
Necdet explains that this project “is related to my written thesis, War Themed Childrn’s Books and Propaganda. In wars, children are often affected and exploited as a propaganda tool. However, my project is in opposition to what I researched in my thesis. Personally, I am inspired to create these piece because of my background. My home country, Turkey, is located near the Middle East where there is constant war. This instability affects people in the region, like myself, economically, socially and psychologically.
“This body of work is executed in three different mediums: animation, print in the form of a children’s book and toy design. Using pdf software and animation for the first time while I was creating this work was an exciting challenge for me. I learned a lot about myself while discovering the intricacies of unfamiliar technologies. In particular, especially, when I created the animation I learned how designing three-dimensional characters, objects and environments, using different camera angles, lighting and sound in combination enhanced my creative skill.”
Given our political climate today, Happy Tank could be considered more relevant now than ever. You can see more projects by Necdet at his website, located at This Link.
Photographed in the Museum at FIT, Located on Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, as Part of the 13 Stories Exhibit, which is now Closed.