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Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

Allan Guthrie’s ‘Slammer’

In Books, Crime and noir fiction on November 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Hardboiled Wonderland has posted an interview with Scottish writer Allan Guthrie, author of TWO-WAY SPLIT, KISS HER GOODBYE, HARD MAN, SAVAGE NIGHT, and the recent SLAMMER. In the Q & A, Guthrie remarks, “I don’t identify that much with hardboiled character types. I’m much more into noir characteristics: fear, paranoia, anxiety, psychosis…”

Amen! Those unpleasant sensations run rampant throughout SLAMMER, a harsh prison story about a rookie guard bullied beyond endurance by hostile co-workers and blackmailing, drug-smuggling inmates.

Guthrie knows how to put the screws to his characters…and his books don’t shy away from violence. HARD MAN features one of the most memorably hideous, agonizing hallucinogenic trips put to paper, and SAVAGE NIGHT is a massacre of a novel about “blood phobia and blood lust”.

In SLAMMER, the author takes a daring plunge into the darkness of abuse and personality disintegration. The novel hits with the impact of its title, laden with the sort of suffocating doom that fans of David Goodis and Jim Thompson will embrace.

Mr. Guthrie has graciously consented to an original HARD FEELINGS interview in the near future. In the meantime, get the book here.

For more from Allan Guthrie, visit his terrific Noir Originals site at http://www.allanguthrie.co.uk/.

– David Szulkin

now playing: Wo Fat, “The Gathering Dark”

Coffin Joe’s ‘Embodiment of Evil’, Zeltserman’s ‘Small Crimes’

In Books, Crime FIction, Horror, Movies on November 6, 2009 at 11:47 pm

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Brazil’s legendary director Jose Mojica Marins has been the character Ze do Caixao (Coffin Joe) since the 1960s in such films as At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul and This Night I Will Enter Your Corpse. Marins’ latest Coffin Joe extravaganza Embodiment of Evil is a triumph of total dementia, a feast for horror fans around the world.

I saw Embodiment of Evil at the Los Angeles Film Festival. I was so knocked out by what I witnessed that I went back the next night to see it again. Shot on 35mm film, this is Coffin Joe’s most grandiose production to date. Marins proves himself a true master of cinema, conjuring visions of Hell in numerous horrific sequences.

If you haven’t seen the film, I won’t spoil it. To see the trailer, click here.

I also recommend Small Crimes, by Dave Zeltserman. I reviewed Zeltserman’s Pariah here; Small Crimes is a variation on the same theme, rife with corruption and brutal violence and told from the criminal point of view.

Released from prison after seven years for stabbing a D.A. in the face during an arson, crooked ex-cop and addict Joe Denton finds the disfigured attorney gunning for him. Pressure mounts from all sides in this merciless, straight-to-hell story. Great, dark stuff.

I’ll be posting more reviews and interviews as time permits, along with updates on S.F. Brownrigg’s Scum of the Earth and the theatrical release of Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead.

– David Szulkin

now playing: YOB – “Elaborations of Carbon”

‘Last House’ Killer Lived in Tate Murder Mansion; Michael Berryman on ‘Hills Have Eyes’

In Exploitation, Grindhouse, Horror, Movies on November 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm

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Jeramie Rain starred in Wes Craven’s original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT as Sadie, the killer sidekick to David Hess’ Krug. She later married Richard Dreyfuss, worked for NBC, and tried to help friend John Belushi get off drugs as documented in Bob Woodward’s Wired.

The actress told HARD FEELINGS that she was once picked up hitch-hiking by Tex Watson and Charles Manson. She stayed in the van after her friends were dropped off. The killers later showed up at her aunt’s house. And while making LAST HOUSE, Rain was playing Susan “Sadie” Atkins in an off-Broadway production.

In an even more bizarre Manson Family connection, Rain later lived in the Sharon Tate house on Cielo Drive. She learned from neighbors that the home was the site of the infamous August 9, 1969 murders only after moving in.

HARD FEELINGS also spoke to another Wes Craven star, Michael Berryman, who put the scary face and personality to Pluto in the original HILLS HAVE EYES. Berryman gave his opinion of the recent HILLS movies.

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MB: I did see the remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, at a film festival. I went to a red carpet event and it was a lot of fun. You know, Wes and [producer] Peter Locke and I, we go way back, and it was so nice to be part of the premiere in L.A.

However, this film was made, and I don’t know why they made it. I do understand that remakes are popular, in some people’s assessments. For me personally, I actually liked the first fifteen to seventeen-and-a-half minutes. I was intrigued with the concept of a little town that was built by the Defense Department and where they had nuclear testing, because in the original, maybe we were mutants from that leftover radiation, et cetera.

But in the original, there wasn’t a lot of blood and gore. It was thrilling and compelling and frightening and threatening. And the families were pretty well-defined; each character was well-defined.

In the remakes, the characters were not well-defined. There was no back-story as to who they were, what they were, and why they did what they did. There was nothing to tell me even how they survived and how they managed to come up with these devices for dispatching people.

I just tell it like it is. Honestly, I felt that after the first 20 minutes, the movie turned into a gratuitous bloodbath; it was a video game. It was a push-the-button, shock-the-monkey splatter-fest, titillation for 14-year-olds. And I actually walked out of the film. It was terrible.

Then they did the sequel, and I was actually called to L.A. to meet the director [Alexandre Aja], who didn’t even bother to show up at the meeting. And I felt insulted; I felt depreciated. I paid my own expenses, and I’d sure like to have a check for $1,000 for those expenses.

I had a handshake deal with Peter Locke saying I’d be in Morocco. And the explanation I heard why I was not, when they were already in production in North Africa, was that Aja didn’t want anyone from the original. If that’s the case, then why did he bother to invite me to a meeting in the first place where he did not show up?

So, maybe I have a chip on my shoulder, maybe I’m getting grouchy in my old age, but you know, there’s something called respect, there’s something called courtesy, and something called professional behavior.

I’m glad the movie made some money, and I guess they made a part 3. More power to ya. Now that you’re fully funded, do something of quality and I‘ll go see it. And if it‘s good, I‘ll promote it.

But the remakes were terrible.

HF: Thank you. You don’t mind going on the record?

MB: HELL, NO!