Blood For Dracula

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Blood for Dracula - Bad blood for Dracula is like too much tequila for the rest of us.

A part of this viewing listCriterion Collection Spine #28: Paul Morrissey’s Blood For Dracula.

Blood for Dracula is little different, in essence, from it’s partner, Flesh for Frankenstein. I guess if I had to pick, I’d say I enjoyed this movie better, mainly due to the ridiculously gratuitous nudity, hot lesbian make-out scenes and a scene that reminded me of the Black Knight from Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Shlock has its redeeming qualities, as long as you’re not concerned with maintaining a certain level of snobbery.

Blood for Dracula stars the same folks, in virtually the same roles. Udo Kier is Dracula instead of Baron Frankenstein, he still has the same creepy assistant (more kempt this time around), and Joe Dallesandro remains Joe Dallesandro, fucking anything with a pulse. This film was shot back-to-back with Flesh, so it probably wasn’t hard for any of these actors to stay in character. (If you can consider Dallesandro to be capable of acting. He doesn’t even try to feign an accent. Probably no point.)

There’s quite a bit of heavy-handed proletarian revolutionary talk in this film, and the fact that Dallesandro as stableboy cum stud ends up owning the manor with a harem of three nubile sisters who’d love nothing more than to spend their days shirtless outdoors and nights watching each other get porked by Dallesandro, and, well then.

The high aristocratic body count is Warhol-generation wish-fulfillment, only 36 years later, Joe Dallesandro’s character appears just as morally bankrupt as everyone else. The film remains as a good record of what a certain group of people thought about at a certain time, but with age has become no longer compelling.

Tangentially, all three films since I’ve started back in on watching the Criterion Collection have all had some messed up sexual politics going on. I’m ready for a change-up.

Supplemental Materials

Caveat Emptor

Monday, 24 May 2010

There are endless things we can and have learned from nature that have daily, practical application in our lives. Velcro was invented by a guy who took a close look at the burrs that stuck to his dog’s fur. It wasn’t given to us by Vulcans. I’m sure my mom has a special place in her heart for those things, since there were innumerable times that my socks went through the wash completely covered in them. Velcro is useful, and it is kind of difficult to figure out how it could be misused.

Marketing, on the other hand, is something that nature has ingrained into us, and learning to use it as a tool for just about any job means it gets misused all the time. The most blatant form of nature’s marketing is used for sexual selection. Think peacocks, or Irish Elk. Pretty harmless, specifically targeted marketing. That easily explains the marketing phrase “sex sells.” Properly marketed, you can sell anything. With products, this has been age old; there were hucksters selling snake-oil and hoof grease to dirt-farmers in Ur. I’m sure the marketing of ideas dates to antiquity as well, but the proliferation of communication in the information age compounds this into a serious problem.

With proper marketing, you can sell any idea. There’s a sucker born every minute. What sucks about the suckers is that they’re more likely to believe the hype than due the diligence. So you can sell creationism, fascism, racism, and that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslin and folks will take the good marketing as gospel.  It’s Colbert’s truthiness. Facts are hard things, and thinking requires thought. Since we’re hard-wired by nature to buy good marketing, it’s easier to buy intellectual snake oil (especially when it goes with our preconceptions) than put forth the effort to test facts for scratch, indentation and rebound hardness.

Caveat emptor, and if you don’t, God help the rest of us.

Flesh for Frankenstein

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Flesh For Frankenstein

A part of this viewing listCriterion Collection Spine #27: Paul Morrissey’s Flesh for Frankenstein.

Also known, for obvious marketing reasons, as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, this film only uses the name “Frankenstein” as a pop culture reference to go along with the other clichéd horror tropes; mad scientists, castle laboratories, sundry chunks of corpses, creepy assistant, etc. This film isn’t a horror film, it is gore-comedy, like Dead Alive (Braindead) with side helpings of nudity and sex fetishism. It is high-brow deliberately acting low-brow; an antithesis to Sam Fuller films, which are low-brow serendipitously becoming high-brow. The twisted Teutonic (even though he’s Serbian, are Serbians considered Teutonic? I couldn’t manage to find an answer…) sexual monomania present in the Baron is one large piece of the puzzle, and Nicholas, the nearly amoral stableboy cum stud (this could also be written as “stableboy cum-stud” for added flavor) is the other. The rest of the characters flesh out (I should stop with the puns already) additional angles on what clearly becomes the point of the film; we’re all violent, sexual sociopaths in one way or another. The Baron says: “To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life… in the gall bladder!” right after he has done just that.

Well, okay, but what then, or what else? There isn’t really an answer given, unless it is present in the voyeuristic incestuous offspring of the Baron and his sister/wife. The film begins and ends with them involved in torture, first at play, but fully realized at the last. If anything, the children are even less human than everyone else. They (almost?) never speak, and offer no justifications for their acts. No matter how debased or existentially dead any of the other characters are, they always speak their piece before contributing to a body count that would do a Shakespearean tragedy proud.

Like the tank of piranha that we see occasionally, the children have been reduced to bloodthirsty beasts, who act as their nature demands, and feel no need for sophistry to justify themselves. If there’s a moral here, it’s that the absence of empathy and altruism is compounded generationally. Your obsessions can become your childrens’ and more likely worse.

Supplemental Materials

Caveman Diaries 7, Megachurch, Clan of the Cave Bear, Swindlella

Saturday, 22 May 2010

On 13 May 2010, I went to the Front Room Gallery for John G‘s Caveman Diaries 7 ‘zine release; Megachurch‘s album release & show with Clan of the Cave Bear and Swindlella. Great crowd, great exhibition by John G, and great music. Unfortunately I forgot my earplugs. Fortunately, I got my mitts on CMD7, the Megachurch album (which I forced Mikey, Dan & Brian to autograph) and music from Cave Bear & Swindlella (whose Christmas CD is bonkers).

This post only took a little over a week to come together. I wish there was a faster way to get HD video up to YouTube, but there isn’t. Rock on, guys. Seven video playlist is below.

Hui Neng – The Mind That Moves

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Hui Neng was an illiterate peasant who had experienced a sudden awakening upon hearing the Lotus Sutra recited aloud, and went to join the monastery of the Fifth Patriarch of Zen. The Patriarch recognized that Hui Neng was in the process of awakening, but rather than openly acknowledge this he assigned him to care for the pigs on the outskirts of the monastery to protect him from the academic and spiritual corruptions of the other monks.

However, one day as Hui Neng was going about his work he heard two monks nearby engaging in a classic argument about spiritual reality. They were watching the large monastery flag waving in the wind, and one monk was arguing that it was the flag that was moving, while the other argued that it was the wind that was moving. These two arguments correspond to classic spiritual viewpoints about the nature of reality, and while listening to the learned monks argue, Hui Neng could not hold back. He interrupted them and told them, “It is neither the flag that moves, nor the wind that moves. It is your mind that moves”.

The two monks were silenced, and Hui Neng went about his work tending to the pigs.

To Do List

Monday, 17 May 2010

  • Das Schnitzel Haus
  • Udupi
  • East Coast Original Custard
  • Korea House (The Bibim Bam is as awesome as I remembered)
  • Punk Rock Softball
  • Caveman Diaries/Megachurch CD Release (more to come)
  • Paint upstairs apartment
  • Eat southern-roasted turkey, polenta and roasted red onion & avocado salad with neighbors
  • Jack Frost Donuts (I’ve had the donuts plenty of times, but never actually been there)

I need to hang out in Parma more often. All kinds of great places to go.