Kei Kagami is a Japanese architect and designer living in London whose conceptual, avant-garde designs have been referred to as Torture Couture for their integration of mechanical elements and contraptions. What’s closer to the truth is that they are, like the haute couture of a designer like Alexander McQueen, wearable works of art.
Anatomy, biology, ecology and futurism combine in his more surreal designs in which glass tubes, vials and magnifying glasses are used to break the traditional boundaries and tackle themes of transformation, and a garment’s interaction with the wearer. Using an eclectic mix of materials such as silk, lether, metaol, plastic an glass, Kagami’s conceptual pieces are always informed by his study of architecture.
The Anatomy1 Ensemble (2007) was originally featured in the Museum at FIT’s 2008 show, Gothic: Dark Glamour, but it can also currently be seen as part of Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT, on view through April 20th, 2019.
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.
If you enjoyed Netflix’s cannibal-themed comedy series, The Santa Clarita Diet, but just wish it featured more of the erotic sexual violence seen in the 2001 thriller Trouble Every Day, while also dishing up a plot that is more deeply-steeped in body horror, dark family secrets, and general fucked-up-edness, a new French horror film, Raw, may satisfy that craving. Raw, the debut feature film from director Julia Ducournau, tells the unconventional coming-of-age story of Justine, a pretty but sheltered teen who is starting her freshman year at veterinary college. Justine’s older sister, Alexia, also attends the school, and it is soon revealed that both of the girls’ parents are alumni as well.
Raised in a family of strict vegetarians, Justine has never even tasted meat. When she is unable to back out of a school hazing ritual involving the consumption of a raw rabbit kidney, the act triggers an immediate and alarming metamorphosis within the young student that is both physical and temperamental in nature.
Attempting to juggle her class schedule while simultaneously enduring the incessant bullying of her upperclassmen peers, Justine finds herself suffering from an acute sickness that the school’s doctor brushes off as food poisoning. In short order, she abandons her vegetarian diet in search of flesh, and also undergoes a sexual awakening when she finds herself irresistibly attracted to her hunky gay roommate Adrien. When the two finally do get it on, the frenzied encounter plays out as one of the most harrowing sex scenes ever committed to celluloid!
Foreign films always seem to have an edge over American cinema when it comes to creating an effective atmosphere of creeping dread, in which the viewer becomes uncertain whether what is shown on screen is actually happening, or is just a manifestation of a character’s imagination — and Raw succeeds wildly in providing just enough subterfuge to keep you guessing until the very last scene as to what exactly is driving Justine’s insatiable new hunger.
There are many grisly, Cronenberg-esque scenes in Raw, but nothing the average horror film aficionado can’t stomach. The film also boasts terrific acting performances by the three leads; Garance Marillier as Justine, Ella Rumpf as Alexia, and Rabah Naït Oufella as Adrien. I look forward to watching other films featuring these actors. Recommended if you dig films like Carrie, The Hunger and We Are What We Are, The Worley Gig Gives Raw4 out of 5 Stars!
With a run time of 98 minutes, in French with English Subtitles, Raw opens nationwide on March 10th, 2017. In NYC, the film opens at the Angelika Film Center, featuring Q&As on Thursday 3/9 following the 8pm show & Friday 3/10 following the 7:10pm show with Director Julia Ducournau and actress Garance Marillier. Details are at This Link.
Did you know that here on earth there are three gates to hell: one in the desert, one in the ocean, and one in Jerusalem? I had no idea, and I’m betting that Israel’s tourism board wants to keep that nugget of information on the down low; because it would surely be bad for business if word got out.
Unfortunately, no one tipped off Sarah and Rachel, two young American tourists on their way to a carefree vacation in Tel Aviv, who instead get a one-way ticket to the End Times in Jeruzalem, a new independent film directed by Israeli brothers Yoav and Doron Paz.
Rachel (Yael Grobglas) and Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) Pose for One Last Selfie before Departing to Jeruzalem
On the flight over, the girls meet a sexy and charismatic anthropologist named Kevin (Yon Tumarkin) who convinces them to take a detour to the old city of Jerusalem for some historical sightseeing before continuing on to the serious partying in Tel Aviv. Sarah and Kevin hit it off, and Jerusalem is seemingly filled with all kinds of hot guys for Rachel to flirt with, so it’s kind of a no brainer. They plan to stay only 48 hours, but their second night in Jerusalem happens to be Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, and that is when all hell, literally, breaks loose.
While Sarah, Rachel, Kevin and new friends from the hostel where they’ve been staying make a frantic attempt to escape the walled city, it’s equally frightening to imagine that the Apocalypse will be documented via Google Glass, which, as worn by Sarah, serves as the first person-perspective from which the entire movie is shot (be forewarned that if shaky, hand-held camera movements make you nauseous, you might want to drop a Dramamine before the film even starts).
It’s somewhat distracting at first, especially when Sarah does one of her many face-plants while running after, or from, something, but the device serves to further the narrative in interesting ways; providing facial recognition, maps, Wikipedia entries, music videos, social media and panicked Skype calls from Sarah’s concerned Dad, which all get tossed into the mix.
I really don’t want to spoil anything except to offer that Jeruzalem features truly mind-bending moments of psychological terror (the scene where Sarah searches frantically for Kevin in a derelict mental institution is particularly unnerving), and more than a few instances where smart people inexplicably decline to run away when confronted with nightmarish physical horror, such as menacing giants and undead Monsters with Wings.
If you liked Cloverfield, you’ll love Jeruzalem.
Jeruzalem opens at NYC’s Cinema Village on January 22, 2016, when it will also be available on VOD. Rated: R, Runtime: 94 minutes.
Do you like Monsters? I sure do. And one thing I know is that artist Chet Zar likes to paint Monsters, and no one does that better than him.
Chet Zar’s monsters are the stuff that the very best nightmares are made of, which is why it makes sense that he has worked as a make-up and effects specialist for the horror film industry, and has also been involved with videos for bands like Tool, whom I am sure you will agree have produced some fucked up videos.
Through July 3rd, 2015, Last Rites Gallery is hosting Chet Zar’s latest exhibit, The Demon Show, which is a must-see for all fans of horror and dark pop surrealist art.
These are so great.
I think the guy on the left in the above photo is one of my favorites. I can imagine him in a movie.
If you are an art collector, or even just a wanna-be collector fan, who thinks you could never afford art this amazing, I am now going to tell you that you are incorrect. These paintings have a price point that is very accessible. While I am not sure if that bad ass tentacled-skull frame is included, even if that cost extra, it would be worth it. Maybe you would not want to hang one of these guys over your bed, but then again why not keep your dreamscape interesting?
Chet Zar’s The Demon Show will be on Exhibit Through July 3rd, 2015 at Last Rites Gallery, Located at 325 West 38th Street (Between 8th and 9th Aves) in NYC.
Fans of sculptor Colin Christian’s pristinely manufactured, fiberglass futuristic Barbie Doll-like sculptures and Hello Kitty aliens are in for something completely different with Trypohobia, the artist’s disturbing new show that opened this past Saturday with an outrageously fun reception at Stephen Romano Gallery in DUMBO.
For the works exhibited in Trypophobia, Colin Christian mines a dark night of the soul to create sculptures that look like something lifted from a David Cronenberg film (and, in an interview with Samuel D. Gliner, available in the show’s catalog, Christian does admit to having watched a lot Cronenberg films) for what is arguably the artist’s most polarizing and personal body of work. Gallery owner Stephen Romano described it to me as Christian’s way of expressing a “Tsumani of Sadness” that he was feeling in his life. And there is no denying that his willingness to put himself way “Out There” is definitely getting a huge reaction – whatever that reaction may be.
While the casual observer might assume that Trypophobia has something to do with teeth, the exhibit actually takes its title from the “pathological fear of objects with irregular patterns of holes, such as beehives, ant hills and lotus seed heads.” If you Google the word, you’ll pull up a lot of images that resemble the work above.
When I spoke with Colin at the exhibit (and let me just say that he simply could not be nicer) and asked him, “what’s up with all the teeth,” he said that he dreamed them. Specifically, he talked about having dreams where his teeth were loose or falling out. I have also had similar dreams off and on throughout my life, so I know what he is talking about and am familiar with the sense of anxiety that prompts such unquiet sleep. You have to respect someone who is brave enough to be so publicly vulnerable.
Colin and Trypophobia Model
A group of live models conceived and designed by artist Kalyana Thiru (a regular fixture of Romano Gallery shows) literally brought Colin’s visceral work to life, as seen in the photo above, with more below. Like much of the artwork, I found these ladies simultaneously strangely compelling and yet extremely difficult to look at.
Saturdays’ opening reception was also notable for having inspired a great turn out in very inclement NYC weather, as everyone seemed eager to kick off a new year of art with such a groundbreaking show. The atmosphere at the Romano Gallery was palpably festive with a DJ spinning in one gallery, free-flowing wine, the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and also to make many new acquaintances. Stephen Romano knows how to throw a great party!
We also got to rub elbows with some of our favorite artists, including Colin Christian’s lovely wife, Sas Christian (she is easy on the eyes, that is for sure), along with Jim McKenzie, Eric Richardson, Hannah Faith Yata, Gigi Chen, Martin Wittfooth and Brandon Sines, an artist best known for having had one of his paintings made into a dress on Project Runway!
Mercifully, there was no representation of the legendary Vagina Dentata, though I sure many were expecting / hoping to see one.
Colin Christian’s Trypophobia will be on Exhibit Through February 28th, 2015 at Stephen Romano Gallery, Located at 111 Front Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Genre defining Science Fiction/Horror writer, Ray Bradbury, has passed away on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at the age of 91. I read so many of Bradbury’s novels and short stories as a kid I can’t even name them all. But one of his short stories, “All Summer in a Day” was just so simply devastating in its impact, I doubt I could ever forget it. Now I want to re-read everything again. His work is amazing. There’s a very sweet remembrance/obit on Bradbury over at Indiewire.com that’s my favorite of those I’ve read so far today, if you want to check it out. RIP Ray, you changed modern literature so much and influenced generations.
There are certain movies that contain secret plot twists whose reveal is so pivotal to the way the film plays out – The Crying Game and Sixth Sense come to mind immediately – that the only way to avoid spoiling the film is to go into it with virtually no knowledge of what the movie is “about,” save for perhaps the most skeletal of story lines. The Joss Whedon-produced, Drew Goddard-directed horror/comedy The Cabin in The Woods is one such film. As I sat through the closing credits at last night’s press screening (exit music by Nine Inch Nails. Yes!) I was honestly confounded as to how I could “review” this film without ruining the sublime pleasure of navigating its multilayered, non-traditional plot detours. Because, in this case, the less you know about The Cabin in the Woods, the more satisfying your experience of the movie will be.
Sitting on the shelves at MGM for three years, Cabin’s release is perfectly timed to advance the hype of Whedon’s upcoming blockbuster-to-be, The Avengers, while also, purely by coincidence, having something in common with current box office smash The Hunger Games – and that can’t be bad for business. The basic plot launches from a weekend trip taken by five college student friends to a remote Cabin, ostensibly owned by one character’s cousin: a trip, of course, during which everything goes horribly, irreversibly wrong. These five kids embody every teen-slasher-flick-character cliché: there’s the Jock, the Slut, the Studious Girl, the Stoner Nerd who provides comic relief and the Nice Guy. From the film’s kick off, a parallel storyline involving a high tech company whose employees appear to know much more about the Cabin in The Woods than the five teens immediately takes the film to a level beyond the mundane and predictable. As the two main technicians, veteran actors Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) deliver some of the film’s best lines of sharp, comedic dialog and continuously break or heighten the tension as they manipulate the kids into behaving in ways that will lead them into further danger. And that’s all I’m going say about it, because, really, what comes next, and then next after that, is just too good to give away. Two horror stories that came to mind while watching Cabin include the film Thirteen Ghosts and Clive Barker’s original-novel version of Midnight Meat Train. If those comparisons pique your interest, The Cabin in The Woods is your wet dream of a horror film. I never go to see movies like this, and I really loved it.
Opening Nationwide on Friday, April 13th, The Worley Gig Gives The Cabin in the Woods Four out of Five Stars!
In the above photo you can see artist Doktor A modeling his hand-crafted Safety Pin Sunglasses inspired by HR Giger’s late ’70s painting, Illuminatus II (seen on the left in the above photo). While these would certainly get you noticed on the beach, I bet they would have also been all the rage in the late ’70s London Punk Scene! More information on the glasses – which were a one-off project and are not for sale – is available at This Link.