Sunshine and Noir: 1980s L.A. Horror Marathon

Another late post, and I apologize because I know many of you out there are just circling like sharks for the next Bad Transfer post. Especially one that involves a movie marquee. Last week Cinematic Void and the LA Phil, along with Wynter Mitchell held a 6 movie marathon at the Aero in Santa Monica: They Live (1988), Society (1989), The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), Chopping Mall (1986), Blood Diner (1987), and Angel (1983).

Wynter Mitchell held a great panel with Amy Holden Jones, Sandy King Carpenter, Kelli Maroney midway through the afternoon, where they discussed working in horror, the future of horror, and being female in the industry.

Sunshine and Noir at the Aero, May 14, 2022. Photo: Matt Average

THE BEYOND (1981)

Can’t believe I snoozed on posting this… Not intentional, as this is one of my all-time favorite movies. Top 5, easily. The New Beverly screened the restored and uncensored print Tarantino made back in the late 90s. I remember seeing that at a midnight screening at the Sunset 5 around 1998/99 with Felix from Lifes Halt.

The Beyond is like a nightmare put up on screen. Like a dream it doesn’t always make sense, like the army of spiders (tarantulas, actually) that come out of nowhere when someone falls from a ladder at a bookstore, but this has atmosphere and looks great. Steeped in despair with bits of gore, everyone in this movie is damned, and when you contemplate the ending, it’s pretty grim. On this viewing Emily really stood out for me. When she pleads, “I did what you asked of me” to whatever spirit in the room with her and Dicky, you have to wonder what brought her to that fate in the first place. One of Fulci’s best.

Outside the New Beverly, May 7, 2022. Photo by: Matt Average

THE HIDDEN (1987)

I’m of the opinion that The Hidden is an underseen movie. I saw it when it first played in the theaters, and even then it seemed to float under the radar. Directed by Jack Sholder, of Nightmare on Elm Street II fame, The Hidden is a nice blend of horror,science fiction, and buddy cop movie with Kyle MacLachlan as “FBI agent” Lloyd Gallagher, and Michael Nouri as Tom Beck chasing a body hopping alien across Los Angeles. There’s a couple moments where it delves into cheese, but rights itself at the end with a therapeutic vanquishing of the alien. – M.Avrg

Outside the New Beverly waiting for The Hidden (1987) to unspool at midnight. Photo: Matt Average

NEW YORK NINJA (2021) / MIAMI CONNECTION (1987)

The double bill that had to happen happened! The New Beverly ran this event of dreams for two nights back in January, and Devon and I went on the 17th to see director Kurtis Spieler and Voyag3r spoke about the movie and composing the soundtrack. Both prints were great, and the audience reaction made the whole experience next level. Will anyone be able to top this bill? Remains to to be seen.

Photo by Matt Average

Lee Ving and Get Crazy! (1983)

I can’t believe I was soooo slow to post this one. This is an obvious choice for this site: punk rock and movies. How could I be so late, and aloof? I blame society. But anyway, Cinematic Void screened Get Crazy at the Los Feliz 3 on December 11, 2021, and three guests, director Allan Arkush, Lori Eastside (Nada), and Lee Ving (Piggy) were there as well for a Q&A. Ving would break into song, mostly Italian operas, and the occasional “1-2-3-4! 1-2-3-4!”. As you can see in the photo below. The Q&A was great. Allan Arkush has a million stories, and you want to hear them all, and Lee and Lori held their own as well. I won an autographed copy of the blue ray for answering a trivia question pertaining to Iggy Pop. Who knew that a steady diet of rock magazines in my youth would reap rewards?

Lee Ving at the Los Feliz 3 for Get Crazy. Photo by Matt Average

THE CONVERSATION (1974)

A newly struck 35mm print Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece The Conversation screened at the fabulous Nuart in West Los Angeles this past week, and it looks and sounds as great as you can imagine. David Shire’s score is one of my all-time favorites. Then there’s Bill Butler’s cinematography. Then you have Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Allen Garfield, Teri Garr, and more in the cast. Not to mention Coppola was on fire in this period of his career.

Photo by Matt Average

YOUTH ATTACK bundle

Does Mark McCoy age? I see him from time to time, bumping into him in Brooklyn. I see recent pictures of him, the guy doesn’t seem to age. It’s like he’s a vampire of hard-core and provocative macabre art. He always seems to have this glow about him as his head is curiously popped onto his slender vegan frame. I wonder what his nighttime regimen is. I wonder if he uses a mint julep face scrub or mango mulch that he applies just before bed. The man has wonderful skin. It’s amazing to behold. Amongst the passing taxi exhaust clouds, piles of garbage and ketchup splatterings all over on the city streets, I see the soul of suns reflected in his New York City vegan glow. He manages to float above all of that and belch out some of the greatest records both visually and sonically. 

Let’s start with:

Goodbye World • At Deaths Door LP

I was excited to get this a bit more than some of the latter releases when I found out that Aaron Aspinwall (Repos, Death Dedication, The Mushuganas, etc) was going to be doing vocals on this record. Anyone standing in front of Aspinwall when he is fronting for a band will agree that it can be terrifying. You might even fear for your life a bit.  He’s probably one of the kindest people on the planet but when he puts the power of those lungs into the commitment of what he’s doing, the earth splits open. It’s unsettling. The music is bonkers off the wall HC in what you have come to expect from Youth Attack. With a little rock-n-roll riffage buried in the tornado of sound, it strikes me right away that Aaron’s vocal phrasing is thoughtful and adds an interesting and captivating quality to the music. Much of the music of this genre has the singer belting out in 4×4 time directly with the drums but there is a nuance to this that really makes it jump off the turntable. Lyrically this is dark as shit, I mean, like, meconium dark. And it’s sticks to you too, just mike meconium. The cover art is unbelievably haunting which just builds on that this Goodbye World record might actually be soundtrack when you’re at deaths door.  

Vinyl sold out but digital is here!

Mangled State • Pain Incarnate flexi

Youth Attack – I gonna do a Mangled State flexi.

Consumer – Flexi records are super delicate.

Youth Attack – that’s why I’m going to make it hard to get out of the package without possibly damaging it. You’ll have to be gentle. 

Consumer – what’s the cover?

Youth Attack- it will be tucked inside an Origami of buildings falling down and rubble. Be gentle.

Consumer – (blink, blink)

Youth Attack – (gently push his finger against the mouth of consumer) Shhh, be gentle. 

Here’s the thing with flexis and lathe cuts for that matter, you always lose a little bit of sound quality. However, that tends to work for Mangled State. Their wall of aggressive sound comes at you with a consuming force. Imagine driving toward a tunnel and the split second before you realize it’s just a tunnel painted on the side of a mountain, your spine is through your chest. Look, I’m from Michigan and putting a Negative Approach song on your record is the second quickest way to a man’s heart (first way being through the sternum) but, to be honest, it doesn’t help as much as you think it might. And I say that in a good way. My purpose is to convey that this is a standalone tiny flexible masterpiece of noise. Sometimes when a band decides to remake a song of a luminary in the genre, the song is used to make the record familiar to the listener, to give credibility to the record and this exercise is usually a failure wherein the band is instantly shadowed by their predecessor before even being able to start cutting their own path. However, here, the Negative Approach cover just adds to the already brilliant sound that these spry young lads have put down.

Here is a link to the songs on the delicate flexi.

Grinning Death’s Head • Cataclysm 7″ EP

First of all, who is the hunk on the cover in the black jeans standing in the forest hubba hubba? 

This is a dazzling two song ripper. These might be the actual longest songs that McCoy has ever been part of. The first side alone clocks in at nearly 4 1/2 minutes. I mean, gosh, his wrist must’ve been so tired. I bet he had to wear a wrist brace for a week. The song doesn’t feel long and does not lose interest. Yes, of course it dark. Yes, of course it’s creepy.  Right around halfway to two thirds in, a haunting keyboard creeps in the background just to make things a bit more ominous. To be honest, I was listening to this and was compelled to look up the church of Satan. For real, I was. I wanted to find out what the seven fundamental tenants of the satanic church are. And then I remember that I was trying to listen to this record and I went back to listening.  I again found myself looking up things about the origin of Satanism… I’m not sure if there’s any connection but maybe there is.

On the flip we have another 4 1/2 minute plunge into what I am now calling GothCore or HardGoth or HopelessCore or HardSad, still spit-balling names but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a thing. 

I write this with all honesty, I would really like to see this band live. I’m betting it would be terrifying and transformative. I joke here and there but I’m being honest when I tell you that this is amazing. I’m reminded of Fundamental tenant number five: Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.

After hearing this record, I believe in the science and have concluded that we are doomed. 

Here’s a link to the spooky songs on a robot format. 

VEIL II • Negative Space 7″ EP

Dropping a needle on this, I am immediately taken aback by what a powerhouse this band is. I grab the lyric/credit insert and realize this isn’t a band in the traditional sense at all! This is just two best buddies hanging out in their pajamas making some great hardcore music.

The one guy, Matthew, probably called his friend James and said – Hey James I have all these poems that I think would be great songs

The other guy, James, probably, said – Hey Matthew, that’s funny you should call me on the telephone right now because I have all of these songs that need some good poems put on top of them

Almost the same way that a Reese’s peanut butter cup went from an idea in the ether to America’s favorite milk chocolate cup filled with peanut butter snack. The artwork is, as is the usual, stunning and complicated. The full color printing on a transparency of a gruesome eyeball, worms and skull headed spiders gives the sleeve a 3D effect. If you were one of the lucky ones that picked up a test pressing you received a Youth Attack crayon pack and a coloring book of adorable little bears being tormented by horrific demons. These 6 songs are over before they start. I think I’ve flipped this 4 times in a row now and it’s nonstop. Couple quick thoughts about a couple of the standout songs for me. “Veil II” I think is maybe a good Mother’s Day song. I would suggest picking this record up and sitting down with your mom on the second Sunday of May and read along together. Also, in the song “Clarity I” they use the word “bloody” so these two fellas might be English, as in from the UK.

The record is gone, try discogs or grab it here!

The Consequence cassette 

8 blazing late 80s NYHC style tunes that (if they were a little less muddy) would fit perfectly on Where the Wild Things Are or Big City’s One Big Crowd comp. It’s the same program on the flip but that’s great because these first are catchy and leg-bouncing similar to Uppercut, and Raw Deal (Killing Time). My favorite track on here is “You Let Them Win”. The song starts off mid-tempo and then has some group shout out parts and I’m a total sucker for “unity” style vocals. One other thing that sets this apart is the packaging and artwork. The cassette itself is clear with images inside that give the tape a View-Master feel, and the j-card is a booklet with overlapping art. All in all, it’s a very great way to wrap up this glob of McCoy releases. (JD) 

the tape is gone but the songs remain here.

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Justin Dratson: JD MA: Matt Average NW: Nate Wilson

JOE DANTE and THE HOWLING (1981) at the Nuart

Joe Dante in the lobby at the Nuart. Photo by Matt Average

Joe Dante made it out to the Nuart on Wednesday night, October 20, 2021 to introduce the 4k restoration of his 1980s werewolf classic The Howling on the first night of the full moon. Talk about perfect timing! Tonight he will be back at the Nuart doing a Q&A before the 7:30 showing. Make a point of getting over there before it leaves the theatre.

Joe Dante introducing the 4k restoration of The Howling at the Nuart. Photo by Matt Average

THE BLACK BLACK • Careful on Your Way Out LP

The Black Black Careful On Your Way Out LP

Ewel Records


I’m going to start this the same way that I started the Groupie review because I got this record on the same day so… First things first, I’m a total jerk. Hands-down, I’m not covering anything, I’m not going to hide behind the pandemic, I’m not going to hide behind the fact that someone nearly stole my identity, I’m not going to hide behind guns shipped in my name across the United States, I’m not going to hide behind any family illness, I’m not going to hide behind moving, I’m not going to hide behind anything. I received this record over a year ago and simply due to my laziness I have not addressed it in the respectful and proper way that should’ve been addressed. So, without any further ado, let me tell you about this the The Black Black Careful on “Your Way Out” record. Let’s start with the cover of this the The Black Black record, is a drawing of the backs of two young lawless lovers, or at least early crushing on each other, handcuffed with a cop standing over them and all of life’s little needles and pushes and prods trying to collapse in on this little spark of life these two kids are sharing. These two kids seem perfectly content to be handcuffed as long as they are next to each other. My guess is that this is a pop punk record. I’m stoked to spin it because New Jersey New York has had some grotesquely overlooked melodic bands that have come out and those areas. Dang duder, I dropped a needle and I could not be more wrong. This is post punk dance amazingness. This could fit right in with Talking Heads, Television, Medium Medium, APB and more recently NYC’s Radio 4, the Flesh, Lost System with a nod to goth (in a good way). All of this while managing to carve out their own sonic lane. “No Satisfaction” the first song on the LP is great but they had the perfect opportunity to reclaim the lyric “why can’t I get NO satisfaction” to “… any satisfaction”?  Meh, moving on, when the fuzzy bass starts the song “Guilt Free Genocide” I’m hooked. Lines like “where do we put the poor people once we don’t need their labor” and “guilt free genocide, rich people for climate change” I think it’s creepy because of its accuracy. The record itself is the color of sand but not beach sand. It’s the color of the sand you find on a long dirt road, dusty, hard to clean off, staining clothes. Ending side 1 is “Fun Police” with an infectious chorus of “ Who made you the fun police, did you always want to grow up and be a narc” and that line is a total crack up. “2Kool2Dance” has a rad Love and Rockets feel which brings a pleasant familiarity to the entire record. These folks aren’t afraid to throw it all out there. “Vansanity” closes out side 2, grabs onto the grizzly reality of vanity, narcissism, a life without consequence, and doing whatever it takes to be where you want to be. This is a really terrific Ewel records release and leaves me hoping to hear more from the The Black Black.  (JD)
Preview a tune and then buy the whole dang thing here!

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW MA: Matt Average