I’m constantly ingesting popular culture. Constantly. However, I’ve gotten the impression from a few recent conversations that the perception is that I only like older stuff or that I only like super low budget projects. This is completely untrue. In fact, I feel that I’m fairly balanced in that regard. No, I’ve never watched Breaking Bad. It’s not because I don’t want to watch Breaking Bad (okay, it partially is. But only because people are always telling me I HAVE to watch it. Fuck that…you’re not the boss of me!), but rather because I watched The Wire beginning to end. That was an emotionally arduous process. I know that Breaking Bad will be the same way. I need to evaluate whether I want to emotionally invest myself into that.
The point I’m trying to make is this: It’s not a matter of liking something because it’s “different” or “underground”. If that were the case, I wouldn’t like the Scorpions nearly as much as I do. It’s a matter of wanting to dig for those different things, wanting to know where it came from. What are its roots? That mentality keeps me on a quest to learn about new things no matter how meaningless they may seem. It’s how I discover new music. It’s how I come across some interesting filmmakers. Henry Rollins once said that he only sleeps a few hours a night because the world is full of so much cool shit he has yet to discover that it wakes him from a deep sleep every morning, ready to attack the world. I feel the same way. Sometimes it’s enough to make your head want to explode! Well, with all of this in mind I decided to talk about some stuff that I really love right now. Things that get me really excited. You’ll know some of it (or all of it) or maybe you’ll discover something you hadn’t heard of that you’ll love too, and maybe it will make you want to share something with us. If it does, comment on this article about it. We ALL love hearing about new films/filmmakers we have yet to discover, bands we haven’t heard, books we haven’t read, weird websites we haven’t bought stuff from. That’s what this is all about! That being said, here are a few of my favorite things…right now, anyway.
The Capture Bird DVD Release-Writer/Director Jovanka Vuckovic is a renaissance women. She’s the former editor of Rue Morgue Magazine, an accomplished author, a filmmaker, AND a mother! She’s no joke. Her short film, The Captured Bird, isn’t necessarily new news. It’s something we’ve covered on the site over the last couple years. In those few years, it was shot and made its way around the globe. Now, it’s on DVD! It’s a measly $10 and it’s worth every cent. The Captured Bird is beautiful and hideous all at once. There’s an innocence that only a child could embody (and did), but the nightmarish confides are beyond a child’s comprehension. It’s quite surreal. This is due in part to cinematographer Karim Hussain’s ability to bring those visuals to life. All in all, The Captured Bird was everything I’d hoped for and then some. I can’t wait to see what Jovanka does next.
Troegs Brewing Company-I’m not picky about things. I will try any food put in front of me (as is evident in my body’s mass!). But if there’s one thing I will not budge on with age, it’s shitty beer. I spent years playing in bars drinking watered down swill by the gallons. No longer do I allow that to happen. Over the past few years as craft brewing has evolved, I’ve tried to evolve with it. I try as many different beers as possible. It’s gotten to be a costly habit at times, but my wife and I are always in search of the next one that gets us going. Consistently, Philadelphia’s Troegs Brewing has kicked my ass. Bocks, IPA’s, Belgian Dark Ales…these cats get it. While I’m partial to a hefty stout or porter, Troegs’ holiday seasonal, Mad Elf, is the stuff dreams are made of. For the last few holidays, I stock my fridge full of this high octane Belgian Dark Ale and drink to forget! It’s certainly not a beer you can drink all day due to its high alcohol content, but they have several other great brews that have yet to let me down. Check them out here.
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats: Mind Control (Rise Above Records)-Three albums in and this band is not only evolving but including elements that expand what they’re about musically. Uncle Acid is a psyche/doom/occult rock band who’s music and lyrics conjure up the Evil One, but in a distinctly trashy way. If all the weird Satanic exploitation and Italian films were melded together in a rock & roll nightmare, Uncle Acid would be that nightmare. On their newest release, Mind Control (available now from Rise Above Records), the band continue on in their dark, dark ways while adding layers of melody that make this band accessible to a larger audience. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have not had a misstep and on Mind Control they’ve become one of my favorite bands currently at it. I can’t help but think that readers of this website would love this bands as well.
Red Death Studios-Ah, t-shirt companies…they’re bazillions of them. Never view this as a bad thing. They’re independent businesses who all offer something distinct. One company who’s product I’ve recently purchased that I’m quite impressed with is Red Death Studios. Full color quality screen prints for decent prices. In addition to tees, they also carry hoodies and work shirts (a line I think they aim to expand). I’ve already bought the Ilsa: She-Wolf of The SS and Nekromantik shirts from them and am currently awaiting the day they put their Texas Chainsaw Massacre hoodie on the web because I WILL order it the second it’s announced. The artwork is beautifully transferred and isn’t heavy. Take a look at their site , where you’ll find shirts for all tastes.
The Nerdist-Whether we’re discussing their podcast (hosted by Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick and comedians/writers Jonah Ray and Matt Mira), or the TV show on BBC America, or the YouTube Channel, they fact remains: The Nerdist is an astonishing business model. Chris Hardwick has become a bit of a Christ figure in my life. Not in the literal sense, but in the sense that he’s figured out how to do the things he loves and does it on his own terms. He’s created a platform that exposes great unheard comedians and spotlights EVERY single aspect of nerd culture…and I mean EVERY. Comic books to Neil Degrasse Tyson, everything the Nerdist Industries model touches is gold right now. They do what they love and that’s inspiring.
The Tao of Pete Holmes-So, if Chris Hardwick is a Christ figure in my life (my wife’s mocking words, not mine), Pete Holmes is my priest, my counselor. Holmes as a stand up comedian is not only hilarious, he’s also quite open. This also carries over into his podcast, You Made It Weird. YMIW is therapy for me. He’s not afraid to lie everything out on the table. Often times, he is able to get his guests to reveal very personal parts of their soul by doing so himself. His laugh is insane/infectious. It seems to be his genuine nature that allows others to let their guard down and just ENJOY having an open discussion with someone. If they feel themselves heading down a path they would rather not, he doesn’t force the issue and takes the discussion elsewhere. Somehow, this causes a lot of guests to go back and tell that story anyway! Though I do not adhere to any sort of new agey philosophies, Pete’s somewhat comic outlook on figuring life out is still tangible. He was raised Christian (like myself) and ended up abandoning that faith (like myself), yet he still finds himself looking back UPON that faith throughout each juncture in life…like myself. We’re the same age and we have a lot of the same insecurities, but he doesn’t stop himself from exploring those insecurities in a public forum. It’s a relentlessly positive outlook that has helped me to reevaluate how I approach my own health, both emotionally and physically. If you’re into fascinating, hilarious conversation I urge you to check out his podcast You Made It Weird which is available for free on iTunes or check out his website for more information.
Bates Motel-I would guess a lot of you are checking this out as well. It’s been an intriguing ride so far. I’m not sure if it has legs or not, but these first few episodes are captivating. The performances are great and the writing keeps the audience in suspense. They have yet to dull the pace of the show and that’s a necessity nowadays. My hope is that they’re able to add another chapter to the Norman Bates story. With such a time honored property, one could only imagine how tricky that gets. Still, this show is not only respectful of that history but also ready to challenge what we think of when we think of the Bates family. It’s set in modern times but the show looks timeless. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I would encourage you to do so. Horror fans will get their fix.
President Wolfman-At the Spring show of the Cinema Wasteland convention, our crew attended the screening of President Wolfman, the second film from Mike Davis, the mind behind Pervert!, a film paying homage to the busty works of Russ Meyer. It’s clear with that film alone that Davis has some bitchin’ comedic chops and a keen eye for the sleaze. President Wolfman takes that concept to another realm, however! A 100% “green” film that’s made entirely of films from public domain. He took the time to edit together a hilarious horror comedy made of recycled footage, wrote a genius script, added a smartass political slant to it, and STILL made it entirely accessible! The voice acting is superb. Imagine MST3K meets Kung Pow and you’re on the right path. A bulk of the footage is taken from the 1973 shitburger Werewolf of Washington. Melding that footage with drug & sex education footage and tossing in some other weird shit, culminates into one AMAZING offspring! As of the screening at Wasteland, Stag Films was working on distribution deals for President Wolfman. Please visit their site where you can get updates on the various goings on as well as screening dates. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that the movie hits DVD this year. Until then, the website will give screening dates. This one comes highly recommended by The Blood Sprayer staff!
For some reason, THIS…
And I think we ALL agree on THIS…
Alright, so I’ve sort of scratched the surface. There were tons of other things I wanted to write about: Beards, baseball, Orphan Black on BBCA, God of War: Ascension, upcoming releases by Chris LaMartina, Drew Bolduc, James Bickert, Chris Seaver, Dustin Mills, Henrique Couto, the upcoming Naughty Dog Studios release The Last Of Us, Adventure Time, Jeremy Wade and his FASCINATING show River Monsters, the return of Mad Men, great twitter accounts, the art of dark pretzels, the odd success of the band Ghost, but I figured that’s just too much article. You’d revolt on me if I went that far. Instead, I leave us right here. Horror isn’t the be all end all for me, but it certainly holds the lion’s share. If you look at a lot of what I discussed it has a horror/exploitation slant to it. Mainly, I’m trying to give you a sense of what I’ve been doing because it’s stuff that I really enjoy, but also because I’m hoping you’re going to leave some comments talking about some movies or music we haven’t heard yet. Hell, it can be your own! It’s the constant search that keeps our blood pumping at this website. We want to know what you guys love so we can cover it, too. We’re just as hungry as you, hence the reason The Blood Sprayer exists in the first place. Please share with us so we can better serve our readers. In closing, I’ll leave you with something else I’m quite excited about…
On May 14th, Nuclear Blast Records will be releasing The Mouths of Madness by San Francisco doom rockers Orchid. This is Orchid’s 2 full length (in addition to 2 7 inches as well). Like the aforementioned Uncle Acid, Orchid combines those evil notions laid forth by sleaze movie gods and combines them with Black Sabbath’s filthy soul. This band will capture your hearts, horror fans…enjoy.