Archive for October, 2013

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Halloween!

October 30, 2013
copyright Sellergren Design 2013!

copyright Sellergren Design 2013!

Well, finally October 30th is here! As the month is coming to an end it’s time to sum up what I’ve been occupied with and give peeps a chance to check out what they might’ve initially missed out on.

jacko2FBFirst off I finished up eight thematically fitting designs available on my Society 6 page. Heavily influenced by IMPKO‘s sticker designs from the mid-60s, there’s vampires, werewolves, skulls and hobgoblins – plus two pretty damn nifty Jack o Lanterns if I may say so myself! You’ll find the portfolio/page on Facebook here – 1,300 fans and counting! – and stickers are available via Red Bubble here.

The Haunted House of Horror’s Horrific Halloween Twist-a-Rama 2 compilation (God, I really should’ve picked a shorter name for this installment!) has gotten some nice feedback, and gives you an hour of retro fun and madness with novelty tracks such as Charles FoxThe Green Slime Theme Song,  Joe Johnson‘s The Gila Monster and Milton DeLugg‘s The Creep. Check it out here and the first installment here. If you’re more of a YouTube kinda person that first installment is also available as a playlist here.

While on the subject of music Call Me Greenhorn‘s EP The Ghost of Lee Van Cleef will add a nice flavor to your Halloween bash. Three tracks in total, it mixes novelty tracks with spaghetti western themes, and you can get your hands on it via my Bandcamp. Speaking of which, there are some pretty cool stuff to be announced in the near future, so head on over to my Facebook and join the all-new mailing list to stay up to date!

Happy Halloween!

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R.I.P. Lou Reed

October 27, 2013

Well, as the news of his death is spreading like wildfire online, I find myself actually kinda stunned hearing about the passing of Lou Reed. Gee, the grandfather of the racket I spent so much time creating myself is dead and I really don’t know what to say. Along with Iggy Pop (and his team of knuckle draggers aka The Stooges), Lou and The Velvet Underground crawled out of the New York sewers during the “Summer of Love” to freak out America’s flower children with their new brand of dirty, grimy and sometimes barely-in-tune rock ‘n’ roll, that even though initially proven completely commercially unviable turned out to influence generations to come. It took a decade for Punk Rock to gel as a valid musical statement, and Lou and his band of drugged-out miscreants was half responsible for it. That’s quite a unique effort for a musician that took pride in knowing only two chords.

copyright Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

copyright Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On the other hand Lou was apparently a notorious asshole that prided himself with being quite impossible to deal with. The legend goes that when John Holmstrom and Legs McNeil (respectively editor-in-chief and official mascot of Punk Magazine) trekked down to Bowery shithole CBGB’s to check out this new amazing band called The Ramones, they found Lou sitting among the patrons and decided to interview him as well for their first issue and get a two-fer out of the evening. Lou – who actually was an early fan of the Ramones – dragged them along for the night hurling snide remarks, sarcasm and insults their way, which was brilliantly recreated as a cartoon in the debut issue. And for those that own McNeil’s book Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk knows of his “steaming” fan encounter that left said fan disillusioned and repulsed. But hey, that is rock ‘n’ roll and no one ever said you had to appreciate the man in order to appreciate his art.

As great as some of his solo work might be (like the Bowie-produced album Transformer) there were also godawful albums throughout his career like Metal Machine Music or the much-maligned Metallica collaboration Lulu, but I’m guessing that’s what truly makes a great artist. They have a tendency to either be impeccably brilliant or a goddamn train wreck – there’s no honor in middle-of-the-road-ish qualities and mediocrity’s for the birds. That said I’d still say I always was, and probably always will be, a bigger fan of The Velvet Underground than Lou’s solo career. The band was solid and had a truly unique (albeit unsettling) vision until drugs and egos started taking their toll. And I’d guess that the constraints within said group that Lou probably thought were frustrating at the time might’ve actually done him good if he’d stuck around a little longer. But that really doesn’t matter know.

Dead at 71 years, with 51 of those spent creating a racket truly his own, the guy pulled it off his way. In the process he also managed to influence some snot-nosed punks to pick up guitars and start creating their own racket. And that’s quite a feat. Rest in peace, Lou.

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Shake!

October 25, 2013

This is just too funny: Photographer Carli Davidson recently published her new book Shake, a photo collection featuring close-up portraits of dogs uh, shaking their stuff. The S/T two-minute short produced by Variable was released on Vimeo to promote it, and even though it doesn’t use Sam Cooke‘s classic soul stomper with the same name (or, even better, The Small Faces cover) it’s definitely worth a watch. Poetry in motion it ain’t, baby, but pretty damn funny.

Using a high-speed camera that shoots an impressive 10 photos/second, the book offers 130 full-page portraits that are more or less hilarious with fur, lips, ears and drool flopping all over the place. Check it out on her website here (art prints available).

copyright Carli Davidson 2013!

copyright Carli Davidson 2013!

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Review!

October 24, 2013
copyright Doc Terror!

copyright Doc Terror!

This is so cool I had to share it with you guys: I was recently interviewed by James Harris at docterror.com (the same team that created the awesome faux-NES horror games I wrote about earlier) regarding Call Me Greenhorn‘s fake zombie OST L’Isola dei Morti Viventi, and not only was the interview fun to do but the added bonus review of the album was very flattering to read.

Calling it “a truly special experience: a masterfully crafted score to a movie that never was” and “period accurate completely with the vocabulary of Italian music from the late 70’s and early 80’s”, it was great seeing a horror fan get where this album was coming from, plus putting it in context with other modern, horror-soundtrack emulating outfits like Umberto, Giallo’s Flame and Zombi (bands I will write a piece about later on).

Read it in full here and give the album a spin below.

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Two-Fer (plus one)

October 23, 2013

Things are moving along quite nicely in the Adventures of Superseven camp! The latest episode Operation: Hard Kill in Fresno was released a couple of days ago, offering up some nice puns and silly action.  Got some cool music as well courtesy me (The Fez) and The Jimmy C, including his cover of Superseven Chase Theme that I provided some moog and other weird noises for.

Speaking of which, Robert Griffth sent me an email hepping me that the all-new blooper reel for the show has been made available on YouTube (check below), and the series was recently made official selection at the 2014 Rome Web Awards (yay!). Check out their official website here.

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Optic Candy

October 22, 2013

Well, this is pretty damn cool: Just got hepped to the works of Peter Ahern and Amy Pisco (aka Optic Candy) and you gotta check this out. A perfect juxtaposition of cute and disturbing (kinda like my dates, ha ha ha), the couple (?) focus on mainly animation with some cool artwork thrown in for good measure.

Their portfolio is pretty impressive with works done for Nickelodeon, The Walking Dead and a French yoghurt manufacturer I’m not too sure people in the States have heard of. Check out their blog at http://opticcandy.wordpress.com and their official YouTube channel here. How about a show reel?

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Twist-a-Rama 2!

October 20, 2013
copyright Sellergren Design 2013!

copyright Sellergren Design 2013!

Hey, here we go with my second MixCloud collection of Halloween novelty tunes: The Haunted House of Horror’s Horrific Halloween Twist-a-Rama Volume 2! Twenty-eight tracks mainly focusing on instrumentals with some rockabilly, garage and even doo wop thrown in for good measure!

Once again I’m having difficulty sharing the MixCloud player on WordPress (jeez, one year and it’s still not solved, guys?), so check it out at http://www.mixcloud.com/sellergrendesign/the-haunted-house-of-horrors-horrific-halloween-twist-a-rama-volume-2/ and this coming week I’ll add it on YouTube as well.

TRACKLIST:

01 CHARLES FOX Green Slime Theme Song
02 GEORGE BARNES Spooky
03 CHARLES SHEFFIELD It’s Your Voodoo Working
04 DICK DIXON Caterpillar Crawl
05 BOBBY “BORIS” PICKETT & THE CRYPT-KICKERS Graveyard Shift
06 THE POETS Dead
07 THE CASTLE KINGS You Can Get Him Frankenstein
08 THE DEADLY ONES There’s a Creature in the Surfer’s Lagoon
09 THE PHANTOM FIVE Graveyard
10 RENE HALL Night Fright
11 CARLOS CASAL, JR Don’t Meet Mr. Frankenstein
12 THE TED TAYLOR FOUR Cat’s Eyes
13 JOHNNY CALE Shock Hop
14 JOE JOHNSON The Gila Monster
15 BENT BOLT AND THE NUTS Mechanical Man
16 MILTON DeLUGG The Creep
17 JACK AND JIM Midnight Monsters Hop
18 LOS SHAINS El Monstruo
19 REX GARVIN Strange Happenings
20 THE ABSTRACTS Nightmare
21 THE ESSEX Cemetery Stomp
22 THE TARANTULAS Like Spellbound
23 THE NIGHTMARES Horrors of the Black Museum
24 JOE SOUTH The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor
25 BARON DAEMON & THE VAMPIRES Ghost Guitars
26 THE EXECUTIONERS Guillotine
27 THE FIENDS Thank You, Thing
28 THE TOMKOS The Spook

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An interview with Tal Zimerman

October 19, 2013

(NOTE: this originally appears on the Swedish Gore Film Society website)

Tal Zimerman at Home

The world is full of creativity. That is certainly nothing new, but thanks to the digital age the odds for someone having their dream project realized has become much, much better. Thanks to Kickstarter and Indiegogo (easily some of my fave websites) anyone can pitch their idea to the world and with a bit of luck get it financed. Being a believer in all things D.I.Y. I consider this a healthy and promising phenomenon and try to support interesting projects as much as my wallet allows me.

Tal Zimerman‘s pretty known among horror fans as he’s not only a writer for both Rue Morgue Magazine and Fangoria, but also an authority when it comes to genre movie posters. I recently found out about his upcoming crowdsourced documentary Why Horror?, a look at the psychology behind this phenomenon, and immediately decided to jump on board.  Ambitiously aiming to produce the most comprehensive documentary on the topic, Tal and Co. already amassed an impressive list of interviewees (George Romero, John Carpenter and Eli Roth just to mention a few), and plan to travel around the world in order to cover every aspect of this old phenomenon. Wanting to find out more, as well as help spread the word, I sat down and sent off a couple of questions his way, which he graciously answered.

So tell me a bit of the origins of the documentary. From my understanding it actually mutated from a different sort of concept.
Yes, that’s true.  I wanted to shoot an hour for TV that focussed on Toronto, where I live.  We would see how very horror-centric this city is, from festivals to famous shooting locations, to social activities and everything in between. There’s a pretty big horror community here and we all agree that we are spoiled rotten with things to do.  The production company I approached, with whom I had worked on a comedy project, was kind of baffled by my outward horror fan persona.  We got to talking about why I like horror, and why people in general, everywhere like horror.  So we decided to abandon the local focus and go global and that a feature film exploring all these things was best for the scope of the idea.

John CarpenterYou chose to have this crowdfunded. Considering the popularity of horror these days, did you consider having it produced by a studio? Was there any pitching for producers involved or did you immediately decide to go with Kickstarter?
I’m actually working with a great production company who specializes in TV comedy here in Canada. The feature length documentary format is new for all of us. There are producers on the project and they pitched it at a local documentary conference. We secured a broadcaster and managed to acquire a bit of funding for development.  The Kickstarter idea came when we realized that the costs of travel and film clip licensing were going to require a lot of money.  Almost everything that you saw in the demo was shot here in Toronto.  To tell the story we really want to tell, we need to travel and we need to show movie clips.

You managed to amass a quite impressive list of people for this! Tell me a bit of that process.
Again that comes back to where the production is located.  We have the Toronto International Film Festival and the Fan Expo, two enormous festivals that bring in top talent.  Having attended both shows for over 10 years, you meet people who know people who can introduce you to people.  Nothing is ever that easy, though.  You still have to hustle and nag and beg.  TIFF is especially tough because distribution companies fly in these directors to talk about the movie they are promoting and we’re talking about horror in general.  It helps to have people on the inside to get those kinds of interviews.  Having an interesting subject matter helps, too.  In reading the description of our movie, a lot of people want to express their ideas on the subject, so it’s just a matter of getting our material into the right hands.

George RomeroCROPPEDAs far as I know, this is the first attempt at covering the psychology behind the horror phenomena. Has there been any real revealing surprises while conducting those interviews?
Lots.  Without spoiling anything, I will say that spooking each other out is a very old custom.  Reminding the people around us of our mortality goes back to pre-language civilization.  Wanting to explain what’s on the other side is a natural, human desire.  Not all of us are content with what religion, or even science has to say about death.  And the more you attempt to cover it up, or try to escape,  the more abstract and creative the ways it bubbles to the surface are.  That, and also the fact that John Carpenter is a huge video gamer.  That blew my mind.

Considering some of the past high-brow snubbing of the genre, did you notice a change of attitude among the academics, or has there been some typical “this is garbage and it turns children into serial killers” sentiments vented like back in the hysterical 80s?
Its funny, we have tried to find people who are vehemently opposed to horror, like a larger anti-horror sentiment, it’s not there like it was in the 80s.  We are getting individuals telling us that their parents or co-workers have voiced concerns about their mental health because of horror, and that they can’t wait for our movie to help them explain their passion, but no big anti-horror movement to speak of.  There was some interesting stuff happening when movies like Saw and Hostel came out, and the idiotic label “torture porn” reared its head, but that goes back ten years.  In the time since, TV shows like Dexter, True Blood, and The Walking Dead have brought horror to the mainstream and into people’s houses – and they LOVE it.  So the genre is really at its peak of popularity and that’s another reason why now was the right time to do this film.

Eli RothCROPPEDI agree. The timing’s perfect. Personally I’d like to know why this genre is so polarizing. (The only other form of cinema doing that being porn.) Do you have anything to share regarding that? Why do people either love it or hate it but rarely anything in between?
It’s sort of designed to do that.  It’s safe to say that there are reactions to horror, both physical and mental, in everyone who sees it, but not everyone is going to enjoy that reaction.  But anything that pushes boundaries, which is one of horror’s main functions, is going to upset some people and delight others.  Some people are naturally curious and adventurous.  Others are content in the safety of their shells.  It comes down to personality.

Also, covering the various aspects of horror all over the world. Have you noticed any big differences? With the exception of noticing Euro horror being a bit more “arty” than the pragmatic U.S. films I really can’t say I’ve studied it at any length, but are we afraid of different things?
We are most certainly afraid of different things, or at least, have very different ways of approaching our anxieties.  In Japan, for example, there are several examples of folklore with haunted spaces and spirits trying to manipulate the living.  These tie in to that society’s family-related anxieties.  In Australia, the vast emptiness of the deserts have created a fear of isolation, which has been the theme of many great Oz-horror films.  In the end, though, it all comes back to the fear of death.  How that fear is represented is very driven by local attitudes.

How much of the documentary is already finished? How are you looking to expand it with the crowdsourced budget?
It’s hard to say, quantitatively, how much is finished.  We have roughly 40 interviews, mostly with film-centric individuals.  We still need to talk to art and literature historians, psychologists, and video game developers.  We definitely know what we want to talk about, and a budget from crowdsourcing will, for example, allow us to show works of art in museums and galleries, as opposed to jpegs.  It will give us the ability to talk to video game developers in Japan directly instead of just showing their works.  The movie is definitely happening, but a little extra push can take us a long way.

As it is feature length: Will we see this having a theatrical release?
I hope so.  It will appear on TV here in Canada next year, and we’re hoping to show it at some festivals before that.  We’re shooting with the theatre experience in mind, so we’re all hoping for a theatrical release.

So am I! Best of luck with the project, Tal.

Interview by Magnus Sellergren.
Photos courtesy Tal Zimerman.

Make sure to check out the project on Kickstarter and join them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WhyHorror. Again, the pitch video:

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A Tribute to Ed Lauter

October 18, 2013

Well, veteran character actor Ed Lauter passed away somewhat unexpectedly yesterday at the age of 74. Leaving a most impressive body of work, with over a hundred movie appearances and even more for TV, Ed made himself quite a name among cult and genre fans in such fare as Cujo, Death Wish III and The X-Files.

Today saw The Daily Grindhouse post a really nice tribute dedicated to his memory, and for a most impressive interview going through his 40+ years as an actor, please visit A.V. Club‘s Random Roles here.

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Jack-o-Lantern!

October 12, 2013
copyright Sellergren Design 2013!

copyright Sellergren Design 2013!

Here we go: The latest addition to my page on Society 6, Jack-o-Lantern! Pretty fitting considering the season and so far the response has been great! Available as art prints, t-shirts, iPhone skins etc., plus stickers via my page on Red Bubble. Check ’em out, keep in mind there’s still free shipping worldwide up until October 13th and join up on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SellergrenDesign.

Speaking of which, Call Me Greenhorn‘s latest EP The Ghost of Lee Van Cleef is still available. It’s a $2 download so check it out here and give it a spin below.

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