Giallo gems, cliffhangers, alcoholic spies, horror rock, assassination, and - of course - a fair bit of writing (including a word or two on O.C.D. and Intrusive Thoughts), are just some of the things that have been setting the tone for my April 2016...
Click "READ MORE" below for this month's looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...
Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli - one of Arrow Video's most recent HD releases, this premium box set contains Death Walks On High Heels and Death Walks At Midnight. Click each title for a full review.
The Walking Dead: Season 6 - a grandiose season drew to a close and, sodding cliffhanger aside, the finale was a nerve-shreddingly tense affair. There's been a little too much 'cliffhanger shtick' this season, and I fail to see how stubbornly refusing to show who met Lucille in 6x16 will really have any sort of 'it could not have been any other way' impact on the season 7 premiere, but we are where we are - and that means waiting until October!
Filth - the adaptation of Irvine Welsh's stunningly transgressive novel about an out of control Edinburgh copper whose life implodes as he attempts to gain a promotion and solve a murder. I got the DVD on the cheap and then, as I was watching it, thought "Knowing my luck, I bet this ends up on Film 4 in two weeks time" - guess what? I was bang on they money. Now if I only I could be that spot-on about lottery numbers!
Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (Blu-Ray) - another spin of Sergio Martino's superb giallo flick, which played with the formula and cast Edwige Fenech in a rare nefarious role. There's a handsome collection of in-depth interviews and deep analyses on the disc, so it's well worth picking up. I reviewed this flick a while back - have a read here.
Archer Vice - FX's animated spy spoof took a sideways journey during its fifth season, and while it doesn't grab onto the apparent Scarface-inspired 80s vibe of its set up (and promo art), it's still solid entertainment. The fifth season may be the weakest thus far, but that's measured against the show's own high standards - it's only relative. Still lovin' Archer!
The X-Files - some more random episodes: "Ice", "Darkness Falls" "Humbug", "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", "Syzygy", "How The Ghosts Stole Christmas", "F.P.S.", "Fight Club", and "The Amazing Maleeni".
The Green Inferno - review here.
Alice Cooper: Live At Montreux 2005
Archer: Season 6 - after 'Archer Vice' didn't really live up to the grand promise of the concept, with the show still good but starting to feel in need of a jolt, Season 6 comes along and realigns the sights just that little bit to sharpen things back up again. Excellent through and through!
Queens of the Stoneage "Songs for the Deaf"
Rammstein "Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da", "Rosenrot"
Misfits "American Psycho", "Famous Monsters", "The Devil's Rain", "Cuts From The Crypt", "Static Age"
Rob Zombie "Get High"
Misfits "Vampire Girl", "Zombie Girl", "Science Fiction/Double Feature", "Astro Zombies"
Sky Ferreira "I Will"
Rob Zombie "Zombie Live"
Rammstein "Fuhre Mich"
VIBES & FLAVOURS:
Hitman: Absolution (Xbox 360) - I can see why this outing met with some criticism from long-time fans of the franchise. Numerous levels stray from the traditional Hitman style (open world levels with set targets to snuff out in any number of ways) and turn it more into a Splinter Cell type affair with all the 'infiltration' or 'evasion' sequences. However, on the up side, the implementation of a story is the best there has been in the franchise. Highly cinematic, it stretches the franchise into new territory - especially for the main man himself. Yep, this was another case of 'a cheap catch up' - snapping up a cheap-as-chips used copy for a spin. I'm still rockin' the Xbox 360 (the console which, after 11 years of production, finally ceased to be this month). So, some weak points aside, I thought it was thoroughly good fun.
The Walking Dead: Volume 25 "No Turning Back" by Robert Kirkman - I'm still not quite clicking with this 'Whisperers' story, but with a certain hero having to learn a lesson or two from a certain villain, I'm still invested.
"For Want of a Nail" - adapting a short story into a screenplay for a short film. Going from one format of writing to another presents various challenges and opportunities. Things you can do in one, you can't do in another, but writing this new version of this story (which concerns Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Intrusive Thoughts) has opened up the tale to a few nice tweaks that have really enhanced it. It's amazing how coming back to something you wrote a while ago, with a fresh pair of eyes, instantly presents you with new options - avenues to explore, enhancements to make. I wrote the short story version last year, inspired by my own struggles with O.C.D. and Intrusive Thoughts, but the story extrapolates and reconfigures my experiences into a new 'worst case scenario' context.
Indeed, while I had thought that writing it might be a cathartic experience, my routines and compulsions actually worsened and were becoming more and more intricate. I recognised this was happening, but continued with the compulsions - but then just after the New Years fireworks, packing up for bed, and in the spirit of 'resolutions', I forced myself to - at the very least - reduce my compulsions. It felt wonderfully freeing, but I will admit that I've started drifting back. I can see compulsions sneaking back in here and there, maybe just fragments of the routines trying to re-establish themselves, or entirely new ones. I figure if I can at least keep them in-check and not let them become too much (as they were becoming last year), then that's good enough.
"A Sideline In Vengeance" - after a few weeks away from the script it was time to return and make some more changes and tweaks. At this point it's mostly small things, but it's all about layers - adding and peeling them back - while never confusing matters or bolting on distractions. All of the tweaks are about clarifying and developing what's already there. Sometimes the changes can be as little as removing a line of dialogue, or a collection of seemingly minor adjustments over the course of a crucial scene that enrich the characterisation and storytelling. I'm properly chuffed with this script, and very soon it'll be time to start getting it out there - so good luck and positive vibes are most welcome!