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Space Kitty 2000

March 24, 2014

It’s finally here! The second (but fifth in all) album from my oddity project Call Me Greenhorn. Entitled Space Kitty 2000, the follow-up to the 2013 album The Hit ‘In Sounds’ of Today’s Outside Crowd! offers eleven tracks written and recorded between December 2013 up to March of this year. No real reason for the title, it just struck me as “fun” – which in all honesty is at least 75% of the reason I’m doing this to being with.

Personally I am very satisfied with this collection of tracks. Listening to it now I think it has a nice flow and it seems that I finally arrived at a point creatively where all my influences – sans punk rock and 1980s American hardcore – blended together in a sound that showcase them all quite nicely. It’s all here; Old school soul, funk and R&B; cheesy Moog weirdness; lounge; retro-futur; Beastie Boys-styled breakbeats, 1980s new wave/synths (there’s even some Kraftwerk!) and I even managed to add some King Tubby-esque techniques into it all – including two dubs.

Available via Bandcamp and iTunes as of now, Amazon.com will be added next week with tons more to follow. If you’ve got Spotify or Last.FM you can stream the album here and here, and make sure to check out the Simian Walk video on YouTube (below) and Vimeo here!

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Censorshit

March 22, 2014

Well, as both a fan of horror and a believer in the independent D.I.Y. spirit, nothing makes me cringe more than when the hysterics starts to holler “think of the children” ’cause by now I am fully aware it’ll always come back and bite the adults as well as the independents right in the ass. Nothing makes this more clear than the announcement of BBFC‘s coming new guidelines in the UK. Reading all about it in Moviemail‘s great article BBFC changes: A major threat to indie DVD labels? it had me going “oh great, it’s the 1980s all over again.”

Earlier this year there was an outrage in the international horror community when the British Board of Film Classification announced a new ratings system as well as them monitoring material that used to be exempt from classification – a “well-meaning” government legislation ’cause, you know, think of the children. The reason for said act apparently being reality shows like The X Factor and artists like Lady Gaga and Rihanna. A sane person would of course say things like “if you don’t like the show – change the channel” or “don’t buy products by artists whose message/image/behavior you don’t approve of” or something really outrageous like “try parenting, you idiot!”, but we seem to live in an age when no one wants to take responsibility for anything and politicians couldn’t be happier to appease to that mentality.

So what’s the big deal? Well, here’s the bite-yer-ass part: As an unexpected result of these new regulations, any video material needs to be classified – documentaries used to be exempt – especially if it might be considered unsuitable for children. At a cost, of course, meaning that if you were planning to release, say, a behemoth anniversary edition of Tobe Hooper‘s Texas Chain Saw Massacre you need to classify not only the feature but the trailers, TV-spots, any interview that includes clips from the feature etc. etc. – in short, running up a pretty hefty bill while trying to make us nerds salivate. This won’t be a problem for the majors – and this is the part where I’m really struggling not to believe the tin foil hat crowd – but it will strike a huge blow to the indies that are already in a tight spot financially.

This happened back in the 1980s as well when the Video Nasty hysteria hit the British Isles circa 1984 (oh, what a fitting year!) For a short while starting around 1979 and up to the mid-80s, cult classics like Lucio Fulci‘s Zombie Flesh-Eaters (released by VIPCO, natch!), Tobe Hooper’s 1974 chainsaw opus (that was banned from cinemas until 1999!) and Ruggero Deodato‘s Cannibal Holocaust etc. were readily available in UK video stores – completely uncensored – since the BBFC only had authority to classify theatrical releases. Long story short a lot of conservatives like MP Graham Bright and socialite Mary Whitehouse (who proudly announced on television that she, in fact, hadn’t seen any of these videos and didn’t need to in order to know they were harmful to children – never mind the fact they never were intended for children to being with) drummed up public outrage, newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Sunday Times added to the hysteria and soon The Video Recordings Act of 1984 was rushed through the House of Commons and came into effect in 1985.

The reason there is a lot of odd conspiracy theories regarding this sudden reaction seems to be Palace Pictures and their 1983 video release of Sam Raimi‘s 1981 Evil Dead. Run by young mavericks Stephen Woolley and Nik Powell, Palace focused on distributing not only horror and cult classics, but international art films as well (emulating Roger Corman‘s New World Pictures). Stephen himself has stated in interviews that the video release was the hit of the year, selling an estimated 50,000 copies at a sell-through of £40-£50, netting the “upstarts” a whopping £2-£2,5 million (approx. $3,2-$4,1 million) – earning them, as well as the VHS format, industry attention that in the end might’ve been what changed the market forever.

You see, as ludicrous as it may sound today, the majors’ attitude when it came to VHS was in essence that it was a joke. I wish I remember the gentleman’s name ’cause he is the film industry’s equivalent of Dick Rowe Decca Records‘ A&R man who forever earned his place in music history as the man who passed on The Beatles, telling Brian Epstein “Guitar groups are on their way out” – but he saw the video rental market as less than secondary and that the majors couldn’t be bothered with it. “People don’t wanna experience movies at home” was the (paraphrased) decree. With this move the majors opened up the market for the independents – as people did wanna watch movies at home and stores needed tons of product to supply them with – creating a golden opportunity for anyone with a bit of cash and enough chutzpah to go for it. Unless I’m completely misinformed one UK video label was in fact started up by an ex-plumber.

That all changed with the Video Recordings Act that brought down a lot of these smaller operations as they just couldn’t afford the fees that came with the now-mandatory classifications. The market “cleared up” and in its wake the majors and corporate video chains moved in. Conspiracy or not, that was the effect. Parallelling that some thirty years later, the new BBFC classifications fee is flat, meaning that both Universal and a UK indie label like Arrow Video – known for their amazing editions of both horror, cult and independent films that’s just crammed with bonus material – pays the same amount for having their releases cleared with the British censor. Even though the law goes into effect in May 2014, and we’ve yet to see how it will affect independent horror releases, Nucleus FilmsMarc Morris already stated that their 3-disc DVD box release of Jake West‘s 2010 documentary Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide will not be reissued as just reclassifying it would cost them somewhere between £6,000-£7,000 (approx. $9,800-$11,500) – making it too expensive to release and impossible to sell due to needing an unrealistically inflated price in order to recoup the costs. I urge you to get it now as it is mandatory viewing for any horror fan.

To sum it all up the new classification system is moot at best unless the UK government is planning to revert its whole country back to a pre-internet age where information wasn’t readily available at the click of a button. In Kirby Dick‘s 2006 documentary This Movie is Not Yet Rated, director John Waters says something along the lines of how futile censoring movies at all these days is since most teenagers in their curiosity have gone online to look up more outrageous violent and sexual content than their parents would like to believe or admit – or do they really think they’re doing their homework for that many hours a day? – and with physical formats in all honesty being a thing of the past that mostly us old farts cling to, I kinda draw the conclusion that it’ll only affect 1) those of legal age while 2) adding another nail in the coffin of the already-narrowing independent market of an already-narrowing, “assorted” content – but maybe that’s what these conservatives have been wanting for these past thirty years. Think of the children? Babysitter society.

More on the subject:
Ban the Sadist Videos Pt. 1 (top) and Pt. 2 here.
Draft Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014 here.
The BBFC online fee calculator here.
Video nasty (wiki) here.
Blue Underground‘s Discovering Evil Dead here.
Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide trailer here.
Pre-1984 uncensored UK VHS videos have a cult following and are popular among certain collectors. Called “pre-certs” they sometimes fetch impressive sums on eBay UK. Find ‘em here.

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“Either that or its counterpart…”

March 20, 2014
"...and somebody's responsible!"

“…and somebody’s responsible!”

Can your heart stand the shocking facts about grave-robbers from outer space? Well, if you promise they’ll be narrated by Criswell I sure can, baby! Check out my all-new Plan 9 From Outer Space t-shirt that I got via Lunchmeat Magazine! ‘Tis gorgeous and I’ll probably wear it out in no time (like I always do with my faves!)

This baby set my back a measly five dollars (plus postage), so if you’re a fan of Ed Wood and wanna support some indy media that focuses on all things VHS I suggest you check ‘em out on Storenvy here, their official site at www.lunchmeatvhs.com and on Facebook here.

While on the subject of the 1959 cult classic (that’s actually in the public domain so you can get it via Archive.org for free!):

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Simian Walk

March 14, 2014

Well, I’m pretty stoked to finally announce that the first video for Call Me Greenhorn‘s new album Space Kitty 2000 is finished. It sure took a while – this is actually the third video I edited due to some unforseen circumstances – so I was pretty relieved to have this over with.

Using footage from Neri Parenti‘s 1979 rip-off homage to Saturday Night FeverThe Face with Two Left Feet aka John Travolto …da un insolito destino - it features some pretty bad ass disco dancing courtesy Italian John Travolta look-alike Giuseppe Spezia (rumored to have done plastic surgery to enhance said likeness) and Gloria Piedimonte with Cicciolina herself – Ilona Staller – admiring his moves.

The album will be released soon – I just gotta coordinate it with iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc. – so I’d say in roughly two weeks the eleven tracks will be online. In the mean time, make sure to check out Code Red‘s DVD of the Italian spoof here.

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Being John Carpenter 2

March 11, 2014

Check it out:  Zack Dagoba just released a second John Carpenter tribute video: Being John Carpenter 2. Now, I already written about this UK producer/musician that runs both Memetunes Studio and the blog It’s Full of Stars here, so check out that post for more info and visit Zack’s blog here.

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Kodak Moment

March 4, 2014
Photo courtesy Bub Logan.

Photo courtesy Bub Logan.

Yowsa! Just received a heads up the latest issue of Rue Morgue has hit the streets and in it there’s a great review of Call Me Greenhorn‘s Cutthroats at Midnight EP to be found. Summing it up as “…Sleek, slick bounce and dark vibes”, I’m thrilled to see this lil’ puppy received four stars.

Including features on Frankenstein and the Monster from HellDavid Prowse (aka the body of Darth Vader) and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, you can get your copy for $10 plus postage here. Give the EP a spin below (or on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon):

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Quijada

March 2, 2014

Well,  I finally got around to get a page on SoundCloud for my Call Me Greenhorn project, adding at least one song each from the over a dozen releases I did last year. As an added bonus I decided to upload the recently finished track Quijada from the coming Space Kitty 2000 album.

Also, make sure to check out Gorilla Film Magazine‘s debut podcast episode of The Bunker featuring Veronica Simmonds, Tim Dalling and BAFTA winning animator Mikey Please, with music by Keir Docherty, Jonathan Day and yours truly.

Give ‘em a spin at https://soundcloud.com/callmegreenhorn and spread the word! More teasers from the coming album:

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Joshua Hoffine

March 1, 2014
copyright Joshua Hoffine!

copyright Joshua Hoffine!

Gah! Well, this would probably be right up Eva Halloween‘s alley: Check out Joshua Hoffine‘s disturbing imagery taken from his project where childhood nightmares seem to come to life. In his statement he writes:

I believe that the Horror story is ultimately concerned with the imminence and randomness of death, and the implication that there is no certainty to existence. The experience of Horror resides in this confrontation with uncertainty. Horror tells us that our belief in security is delusional, and that the monsters are all around us.

Check out his portfolio here (NSFW), and for more horror imagery visit Robert Boud at http://robboudphotography.wordpress.com/.

copyright Joshua Hoffine!

copyright Joshua Hoffine!

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Machine Gun Reggae

March 1, 2014

One of the more fascinating cultural exchanges of 20th century’s popular culture was the huge impact Italian-made spaghetti westerns of the 1960′s – aimed for the European and US markets – had on Jamaican music. It took them a while to reach the Jamaican shores – on average it seemed like a three year delay – but once there there is no overstating the influence this new wave of cinema had on the musicians and producers.

Pretty much every title and character you can think of seemed to have at least one song written in their honor (to be quickly recorded and shipped off to the UK where the kids bought the 7″ records by the tons), with Lee van Cleef ranking highest, and Franco Nero‘s coffin-dragging Django coming in at close second – actually generating a Top Five hit for The Upsetters!

I assembled a couple of personal faves off of YouTube for you to peruse – some having pretty damn cool fan videos. Check out Trojan Records‘ 2004 compilation album The Big Gundown for more goodies.

Sir Lord Comic Django Shoot First

The Upsetters Return of Django

King Stitt Lee van Cleef

Lee Perry Clint Eastwood

Ramon & The Crystalites Undertaker’s Burial

Roy Richards Death Rides a Horse

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John Brito Films

February 25, 2014
copyright John Brito Films 2013

copyright John Brito Films 2013

It’s official: I am teaming up with John Brito Films to create the intro theme for his upcoming horror/sci-fi/fantasy web series. Demos were created and sent and now we’ve agreed on a concept and sound that works for what he envisioned.

Posted earlier on the official Facebook page, John made the following statement:

Heading towards the finishing line with episode 1 (“The Cellar”) of our horror/sci-fi/fantasy webseries! Retro-Dark-Wave-Elektro Genius Magnus Sellergren will compose the sound for our Webseries-Intro. Yeah!

The concept for the series looks awesome, John has assembled a great cast and crew and I am very thrilled to be involved in the process.

More info at http://www.johnbrito.net/ and http://johnbritoblog.com/

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