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Video Essay on propaganda photo
Video Essay on propaganda

Video essay explores the propaganda methods and rhetoric of Triumph of the Will

"Not a triumph of cinema but of budget"
Feb 13
// Hubert Vigilla
You might recall a video essay from Folding Ideas about the crummy editing of Suicide Squad. It was an informative look at the lessons a person can learn from poor cinematic craft. The video essay was a much better watch than...
Nazi punks f**k off photo
Nazi punks f**k off

John Carpenter is fighting with neo-Nazis over the message of They Live

This is the world we live in today
Jan 05
// Hubert Vigilla
They Live is one of John Carpenter's indisputable masterpieces. Part satire and part ass-kicker, the film is all about the horrors of capitalism, consumerism, and 80s excess. Yet because the Internet exists and it is awful, a...
I hate Internet Nazis photo
I hate Internet Nazis

#DumpStarWars: Racists and Trump supporters triggered by Rogue One, call for boycott

I hate Internet Nazis
Dec 12
// Hubert Vigilla
You may remember two laughably misguided calls to boycott movies for political reasons last year: one targeted Mad Max: Fury Road and the other targeted Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It should come as no surprise to you that ...

We'll finally see Jerry Lewis' infamous Holocaust film The Day the Clown Cried (in 10 years)

Aug 07 // Hubert Vigilla
Yes, it was supposed to be a comedy, albeit a bleak one. In a 1992 article in Spy Magazine, Shearer said of The Day the Clown Cried: With most of these kinds of things, you find that the anticipation, or the concept, is better than the thing itself. But seeing this film was really awe-inspiring, in that you are rarely in the presence of a perfect object. This was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. "Oh My God!"--that's all you can say. So, we'll eventually get to watch a legendary, unseen oddity, and I am fascinated by the prospect of seeing it. The Day the Clown Cried is one of those movies I've been aware of since the early 2000s, so the fact it's going to eventually see the light of day took me aback, ditto the fact that the print is from Lewis. Share your thoughts on The Day the Clown Cried in the comments [The LA Times via The Playlist]   YOUR OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN CLOCK TO THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED [embed]219740:42533:0[/embed]
The Day the Clown Cried photo
A notorious unseen oddity of a film
The Day the Clown Cried is one of the most infamous movies ever made. Jerry Lewis shot the controversial Holocaust film in 1972 and never released it. The plot concerns a Jewish circus clown in Nazi Germany who is sent to Aus...

Iron Sky 2 photo
Iron Sky 2

Help fund an Iron Sky sequel, Iron Sky: The Coming Race

Nov 11
// Nick Valdez
Iron Sky is one of those movies that's made with the craziest ideas possible (Moon Nazis try to take over the world in 2018), but it never quite worked out. It's earned quite the following regardless, and has since spawned a...

Review: The Monuments Men

Feb 07 // Matthew Razak
The Monuments MenDirector: George ClooneyRelease Date: February 7, 2014Rated: PG-13  [embed]217264:41225:0[/embed] History lesson time. Back in WWII the Nazi's stole everyone's art. Like everyone's. Also, a war has a tendency to destroy things. In reaction to this as the war began to turn for the Allies the U.S. put together a group of people whose job it was to make sure that important pieces of art and architecture did not get destroyed, stolen or lost, and, hopefully found their way back to their rightful owners. This is the story that The Monuments Men tells. The film boils down the actual events to a small team of key characters desperately searching through Europe for art. They're led by Frank Stokes (George Clooney) and include James Granger (Matt Damon), Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Walter Garfield (John Goodman), Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), Dongald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) and Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban). The team splits up once they get to Europe, with Granger going to Paris to attempt to pry information out of art expert, and assistant for the Nazi art collector, Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett). This also acts as the film's truly needless and poorly executed love story. As the team works to protect one or two items of art they realize the Nazis are moving all the art somewhere and they must find out where. It really does sound like an incredibly intriguing plot, and considering that the search in real life eventually let to finding the Nazi's entire gold reserve, effectively putting the final nail in the coffin for Germany, it really should be. The problem is that nothing ever actually seems to happen. Despite a fantastic cast the film has no forward momentum at all. Most of the scenes feel more like vignettes, and every attempt to pull at the heart strings (of which there are many) falls demoralizingly flat. We're rushed into the premise, rushed through characters and rushed through the art, which is a bit ironic considering how important the film keeps telling us we should have a true and deep connection with the art we take in. The really weird thing is how completely incongruous not caring about characters is with the actors that are on the screen. Your memory is telling you that you should be enjoying the back and forth between these guys and that because it is them you should be invested in their characters, but your memory just can do it. The screenplay, which clearly does not feature enough ad-libbing feels heavy on the actors who don't seem to be able to move out from behind it. The only guy who really hits is, maybe not unexpectedly, Bill Murray. His "emotional scene" kind of hits home, though it was clearly designed to play during the film's original holiday release.  What's even odder is that Clooney's direction is so incredibly bland for this film. From a guy who did wonders with Good Night, and Good Luck, The Monuments Men feels like a paint by numbers affair. This probably isn't epitomized better than by the fact If you're not an American solider then you're evil, except for that one scene where we see that everyone is human. Clooney directs the film in such stark black and white affairs that you're never able to get into what's going on. By the time the big Nazi's are bad speech comes in you've fully clicked over to cynical mode and there's no way to pull out. Their inevitable success by the end of the film feels more like a bunch of dumb luck than a successful story. It's not like The Monuments Men is a horribly bad film. It's just so plain that vanilla is more flavorful. There's not spark between a cast that should be sparking enough to set of forest fires, and the story never starts so it can never get going. The Monuments Men is the kind of film you flip over to accidentally when searching through channels in a few years and think that maybe you should finally watch it. Then is a perfect time to sit through it, but it doesn't warrant anymore viewing effort than happenstance allows. 
Monuments Men Review photo
Hardly monumental, definitely full of men
When monuments men was delayed from award season to a early February release it didn't cause too much concern. The line that the film wasn't quite ready seemed plausible, since there's no way a film with this cast, taking pla...

Dead Snow 2 Trailer photo
Dead Snow 2 Trailer

Dead Snow 2 trailer is all setup and gore

There's snow chance this will suck, right?
Dec 31
// Mike Cosimano
Huh, I didn't know they were making another Dead Snow. Based on what little new footage we have in this trailer for Dead Snow: Red VS Dead (????), it appears our protagonist Martin will be facing off against regular zom...

Review: The Book Thief

Nov 15 // Matthew Razak
[embed]216848:40925:0[/embed] The Book ThiefDirector: Brian PercivalRated: PG-13Release Date: November 8, 2013  The Book Thief is based on a young adult novel in which the narrator, Death, recounts the story of Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), a girl living in Germany during WWII, and her adoptive parents, Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson). As you can guess, the war comes to their town, as it did all of Germany, and things start to unravel as the family takes in the son of a Jewish friend, Nico (Nico Liersch). Rudy hides in the basement as Liesel grows up throughout the years, pilfering a book or two there. The two most important aspects to remember about the book is that it was geared towards young adults and that death narrated the entire thing. Neither of those things happen in full in the film, and it makes it one of the most heavy-handed films of the year. Death begins narrating the movie, spewing a few well-known lines from the book, and then almost completely disappears for the rest of the film only to pop up at the very end to deliver the film's message. It's lazy screenwriting and turns what could have been an interesting slant on the very-tired WWII genre into a gimmick that feels more desperate than heartfelt. If the filmmakers had either ditched the Death narration altogether or gone with it full tilt, it may have worked, but here it just seems crass. Secondly, since the film isn't geared towards young adults, its over-simplification of an incredibly complex and emotionally challenging subject makes it feel like it's simply playing on heart strings instead of actually trying to say something. As the story unfolds and each big emotional hit comes, the predictability and simplicity of the relationships in the film seem less and less human and more and more like someone trying to make people cry. That treatment may have worked in the book, which would intentionally keep things light, but the film doesn't try to be light. Instead, it ditches its young adult roots and goes full boor into being a "real" film. The ironic thing is that by doing exactly that, they ditch what could have made the film actually click and becomes more disingenuous instead of less. I'm not saying you won't cry during this film. Every moment of it is geared to make you feel emotions and please a crowd with its deep meaning. It's just so incredibly obviously done that you can't help but roll your eyes at each moment. Director Brian Percival, who is best known for Downtown Abbey episodes, has the subtlety of a rhino barging into a bathroom stall and the directorial creativity of an unconscious buffalo. There's nothing here to grab you and command you to pay attention. Instead, the film is full of cameras being plunked down in front of actors and over-dramatic lighting. It all looks like it was designed by a committee on what will make movie theater audiences cry, but not be truly upset by anything. The actors that the camera is plunked down in front of are the film's saving grace. It's no surprise that Geoffrey Rush is wonderful, because he's Geoffrey Rush, but Emily Watson goes toe-to-toe with him wonderfully as Liesel's cantankerous, but lovable (oh the cliches) mother. Nélisse is also fantastic and would be my vote to replace the over-rated Chloe Grace Mortez in the pale, blonde child star category. While the scenes may not be executed that well she still has some challenging moments to pull of and does almost flawlessly.  If its crassness and dull direction don't get you, then The Book Thief could harbor some meaning for you after seeing it since it does involve Nazis, WWII, the holocaust and death. It's just that these things are subjects best left to people with the skills to cover them, not to films that feel like grabs at Oscars with the emotional depth of bird baths. At the end of the film, Death comments that he sees humanity's beauty and ugliness and always wonders how the same thing can be both. Well, The Book Thief isn't both. It's just ugly.
Book Thief Review photo
Stealing two hours of your time
It's a dead week for the movies. The biggest thing coming out is Best Man Holiday, and we didn't see that. Instead, since it's opening wide today, we've got a review for The Book Thief, which has the dubious title of "Movie W...


See The Book Thief early and free

Washington DC screening
Nov 11
// Matthew Razak
Sick and tired of World War II movies? Then we don't have just the ticket for you. However, if you want to see the film that produced the cheesiest trailer of the entire year then we do! The Book Thief is screening tomor...

First image from WWII tank film Fury rolls in

Sexy men sit on a tank
Sep 19
// Matthew Razak
David Ayer's Fury is a WWII movie about a group of soldiers who take their tank Fury behind enemy lines in a deadly mission. In other words it sounds like it could be awesome, and judging from the first official photo, Tweete...

Trailer for The Book Thief is really just bad

OK, we get it. You want an Oscar.
Aug 21
// Matthew Razak
The Book Thief, based on the insanely well-received and popular book of the same name, looks like it might actually be a really good, if cloyingly desperate for and Oscar movie. This trailer, however, which is so bad you wou...

Review: Frankenstein's Army

Jul 25 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]215438:40003:0[/embed] Frankenstein's ArmyDirector: Richard RaaphorstRating: RCountry: The NetherlandsRelease Date: July 26th, 2013 (limited, VOD) My problems with found footage in Frankenstein's Army aren't as glaring as those in Mr. Jones. In other words, I don't hate Frankenstein's Army, but the use of found footage was enough to undermine a lot of the strong imaginative material in the film. Frankenstein's Army is set at the end of WWII. A small squad of Russian soldiers goes to answer a distress call from fellow troops. What they discover instead is the insidious creations of a madman (or perhaps a genius, because they're always a bit of both). Since it's found footage, there's a certain expectation of verisimilitude, but it doesn't really work for a few reasons. For one, the footage is supposed to be 65 years old but it looks better preserved than the footage from The Blair Witch Project. The footage also includes synced sound yet there's no soundman present. The film tries to explain this away by saying the camera's got a built-in microphone, but in one shot of the camera in action, there's no microphone visible. (The film's also in color and the dinky film rolls loaded into it last longer than just a few minutes, so there's that.) The most notable thing for me, though, is that the Russians and Germans in the film speak accented English rather than in their native tongues. This is one of those weird things that found footage reveals about my suspension of disbelief. In a diegetic narrative film, Russian soldiers speaking accented English is acceptable to me as a stand-in for people speaking Russian, but in a found footage movie, I expect Russian with English subtitles. It's the same way that turning into a pumpkin at midnight is acceptable in a fairy tale but not in a Raymond Carver short story (unfortunately). And yet somehow it's this mundane stuff in a found footage movie that is less believable to me than an entire army of insane Nazi zombie robots, including a man with a giant engine and propeller for a head. Re-reading that, this hang-up of mine is completely absurd, I agree. Then again, I think it's less a reflection of my own strange preferences when it comes to storytelling and more a testament to Raaphorst's imagination when it comes to the creatures in Frankenstein's Army. The zombots are all so coolly designed, and when they show up it's a complete breath of fresh air right when the movie needs it. There's propellerhead, for one, but there's also this bizarre mosquito-like zombot that looks like it could have been a side creature in the first Hellboy, and an entire group of weirdos with crab pincers and lobster claws and scythes for hands. It takes a little too long to get to this moment, which is why the movie opens up in a big way as soon as the first Nazi zombot shows up, and really takes off when we finally get acquainted with the madman who created these creatures. Karel Roden plays this iteration of Frankenstein, and it makes me wish the movie had gotten to him sooner than it did. Roden steals the film at the end, becoming just as memorable as the monsters. He's less a mad scientist and more like a deranged mechanic or demented plumber. He's a tinkerer at heart, his material flesh and diesel, and he grafts the pieces together like he's fixing pipes. In some ways Roden's inspired work in the film shows a few ways that the found footage aspect could have worked to greater effect. The movie could have gotten to Frankenstein's lab sooner, for one, or the movie could have been Frankenstein's footage rather than Russian army footage. A few scenes, including one with a brain, show a lot of promise when Raaphorst and Roden are at home within the form -- the scene feels right and feels inspired. There's a story in Frankenstein's Army that could have fit as a found footage film without much difficulty, but it's a story other than the finished film. And yet I can sort of understand the impulse to give the camera to the Russian army. They're an entry point into the madness of the film, and they help as a counterpoint to the craziness of Frankenstein's wokshop. But even then, the moments with the Russian army would have been more effective as part of a non-found footage film. Even though Frankenstein's Army doesn't quite work as a found footage movie, Raaphorst's madcap imagination and Roden's acting make me excited for a sequel. If Frankenstein's Army II is also a found footage movie, I just hope it's executed better, but I'm really hoping it's not a found footage film. That would give Raaphorst and Roden a chance to really let loose and conquer the world.
Frankenstein Army Review photo
Found footage stifles a great idea about a badass company of Nazi zombots
When it's firing on all cylinders, Frankenstein's Army is a great monster movie. The creatures that appear on screen have an odd aesthetic to them: warped, fascistic, mechanized; rusty and pockmarked and necrotic; it's humani...

Interview: Richard Raaphorst (Frankenstein's Army)

Jul 24 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]215504:40021:0[/embed] [Editor's note: some of the responses were altered to avoid spoilers. Thanks to Dave of Unseen Films for the photo of Richard Raaphorst after a screening. Concept art from Raaphorst's new projects are from his website,] Can you talk about where the initial idea for Frankenstein's Army came from? If you think back, it's very hard to understand where an idea comes from because most of the time an idea comes to you. Because you don't expect it. An idea is popping up emotionally out of nowhere. It's like how a neutrino becomes an electron -- there's no reason why it's happening. Ideas sort of like weird scientific phenomenon. Well, it started with an emotion, really. Very abstract. I think 10 years ago -- I'm a big soundtrack collector -- and I bought the soundtrack for Fight Club and there was this intro song, and maybe you can recall it. It was very violent, very mechanical: DZZZGH! DZZZGH! DZZZGH! And it was very staccato. [Editor's note: It's "Stealing Fat" by The Dust Brothers, and it's the embedded video above.] When I played it over and over again, I got this feeling of these mechanical claws, ones that are very rusty and with layers of history. I didn't have a context or whatever, I just knew I wanted to do something with robotic arms made in a clumsy, old-fashioned way. And that was chasing me all the time until I suddenly saw the context for what the story should be. It had many different identities until I realized that I wanted to make an army of Frankensteins, basically. That was my wish -- I analyzed my own wish. And then I thought, "Why not make Frankenstein's Army?" I'm kind of... not really obsessed but fascinated with the Second World War, and so I wanted to do two things. I thought, "How can I combine this?" And I thought, "It's uncombinable," however you say it, so just do it! [laughs] Yeah! Because it's illogical. And that's cool, you know? I'm going to do something which is in fact totally illogical and make the unbelievable believable. That's what I wanted to do. [embed]215504:40022:0[/embed] You mentioned being a soundtrack collector. Are there any personal favorites, or did other soundtracks inform Frankenstein's Army? Yes. There's a lot of stuff from -- well, it's not really soundtracks but it can be soundtracks -- it's from Jim Thirlwell. He's from Australia and lives now in England, and he makes really dark soundtracks, but they don't belong to a film. Interesting. [Editor's note: Thirlwell is probably best known for his work with Coil and Foetus, and also for scoring The Venture Bros.] Do you know what it is about soundtracks? I have a theory about it. Do you have time? Certainly. Please, yeah. It's like paintings. If you paint a landscape, then the landscape is inviting the viewer to step into this world, right? To experience the atmosphere. I'm very into watching atmospheres. As soon as you paint a face or a person in it, the painting doesn't invite you anymore because the focus is entirely going to the main subject. Yeah. The same thing with soundtracks. Soundtracks are inviting you, they're challenging your imagination. You are really swimming into the music rather than singing along with the lyrics. Do you understand this difference? Yeah. There's like this feeling rather than words or a specific image. You create a cloud around you with an atmosphere and that is feeling, that's how it works with me. So basically soundtracks, audio, is the core of inspiration, even the core of those visual ideas in Frankenstein's Army. It all starts with an emotion. Even now when I start to draw, I first try to set down a soundtrack or a tone in a soundtrack. Like Philip Glass in Koyaanisqatsi, there's a second track called "Organic." It only starts with one tone, and that one tone for me is focus. It's an emotion, and everything you can build off of it. [embed]215504:40023:0[/embed] That's actually and interesting theory, though. It makes sense. If everything starts with an emotion then all of a sudden everything can be tethered to that initial tone that goes through. And now that I think further, I think I try to create this line also in this movie because it's first person. There's not really a protagonist. The protagonist is the viewer, so it's the same with soundtracks: you have to fill it in yourself. You are the one that is not getting answers but is asking the questions, yeah? You are the one who's responsible for what's good and bad. I'm not in charge to say that, so in that way I leave a lot open and I leave a lot of it up to imagination. I don't know, it's just that I want to invite. [a beat] You know, the thing with soundtracks is that it's also thin ice because people always look for the things that are missing. They say, "Hey, there are no drums! There's no vocal! There's no lyrics! How can it be music?" It's the same with any other thing which is new. First they look at the things they are missing, and then later when it's been approved, they invent a new genre [label], and then it's suddenly accepted. Once there's a label, you know. Sort of like-- Yeah, the labeling. Once it's become identifiable it winds up-- It needs a stamp. And I think I need a stamp as well on this one. Oh really? I don't have a name for it yet. It's a fusion of many things and it's hard to define which one it is because it's many. And now at the moment I'll call it horror-fusion or fantasy-fusion. It's a mixture with a little of everything. Amid the mixture there's the found footage aspect. Could you talk about your decision to make this the found footage of a Russian propaganda movie, or really a kind of war document on a mad scientist? I took it a little broad, you know? I didn't do it too literally, but I wanted to create a bridge between film and role-playing/first-person perspective gaming. What I said earlier was that I wanted to make the viewer part of the bad guys or the good guys -- the soldiers. I thought, "It's nice if it really comes close to us, and it's us to decide if [what happens] is good or bad." It's so easy to make a judgment from a helicopter's point of view, and that's not how it is in life. It's down in there. We can never pull ourselves above our heads and look around. We are in it, and that's it. So I wanted it to get a kind of intensity, and I thought intensity and atmosphere were more important than building a character from A to Z, and we can say, "Okay, this is a nice character," this is the first act and this is how it develops. We are so used to this grammatical form of movie watching that it becomes very predictable. The pattern, yeah. And that's what I don't like. I don't like being predictable, you know, because it's boring. [laughs] [laughs] I really dug Frankenstein's army itself. Can you talk about creating the individual creatures? Before creating you have to create limits first, or else you can create anything and then it becomes boring again. Things become farfetched. So what I did, I made limitations. I call this an oblique strategy, so you take something from outside with which you can control your creativity. What I did, I got very close to the scriptwriter. He made his own monsters, and I'm going to do literally what he's saying but then in my own way. So he says, "I've got here a zombot with four arms." And when it was designed it looked like shit. What did it-- It looks weird. [Editor's note: At this point we both put our arms up at our sides and waved them around at each other.] You know? [laughs] And I was wrestling with it over and over and over again until I decided that it could walk on four arms. [The description] doesn't say it has to have legs. And so, you know, it became the mosquito guy. Which is such a striking image. Which is totally different from the initial robot guy with four arms. So this was really working for me, because it brought me further than my own imagination. This is how I work. I always like to listen to other people's briefs and take it and do my own thing with it. Because if everything needs to come out of your own head, the ideas will be pretty empty pretty quick, you know? Yeah. For me it was like a nice play through, yeah. Do you have a favorite zombot? Totally. It's the little walking trash bin. Oh, that guy's awesome! [laughs] Yeah! I thought, "I want to reduce someone to the bare minimum," you know? Just a walking trash bin with legs. And it's very unclear what it can do. Exactly. It's just this weird presence which shows a madness, but I was always trying to figure what his purpose would be. Like, "Is he just an ottoman?" There's a melody line in it, in the designs, because what I did was start organic and I ended robotic. So I started as human I can do, without any attachments. Even when they're completely naked, the beginning. Then you see a variation with clothes on. And then it goes further and further and further until propeller head. He's the most extreme one, and you cannot top yourself anymore, so then you have to go into a different kind of atmosphere. So if you look at the traditional three-act structure, it isn't there, but I used different arcs, like spiraling down in visual madness, which is overtaken, and then suddenly the whole found footage idea becomes a one-take steady shot, and everything takes place in front [of the camera] like theater. Which is the opposite of the beginning. My approach was totally different from the traditional way, but I think there's no other way for me. Was there a particularly difficult sequence to stage? Was there a very difficult-- Everything was extremely difficult. Really? Everything in the interiors because the takes were so long and everything was practical, it was absolutely undoable. I mean, of course it was doable because we prepared so well, but we could only afford four takes at the maximum. We had 20 days of shooting. So it's go-go-go. It was like a military operation, and no one was allowed to make mistakes. But it was great fun. I became the bigger me. [laughs] [laughs] Could you explain? You realize that you are capable of doing things that you are not aware about. It's you pushing the bar so high that the only way to get there is to force yourself to grow, and it matters for everyone there. It was, "This is the plan and we're going to do it, no matter what." And there's zero tolerance, and there was also this energy that was very addictive with everyone. And yeah, I think it worked very well. We did everything we planned to do. No pages were torn out. I would have assumed with a short shoot like that you'd eventually go, "What don't we need?" But you kept everything. And we did even something extra sometimes. What was one of the add-ons? Well, we thought we needed another zombot in the factory sequence. There's an industrial American thing standing in the corner. We need just an extra detail, you know? Everything is in the details. That's where I wanted to have it detailed as possible, and sometimes we are running out of details so we created some more. There were some fighting scenes we added, and the zombot with the exploding eye. Oh yeah. That was extra. Just a few hours preparation and we just did it. It's quite amazing, but of course, last day we were totally zombots ourselves. [laughs] [laughs] Yeah, you guys were probably mostly machines. Yeah. I really admire the use of practical effects. Do you have any thoughts about CG? Yeah, of course. I do a lot of CG in commercials, but only when it's not visible, because I think it's misused a lot. Nowadays, every nice shot looks like a postcard: beautiful clouds, the perfect sky, you know? It's like a painter is making all the shots, and I don't like that at all. I like eye candy myself a lot, but it doesn't mean that it has to be painted [and look] dead. Practical effects feel physical even when it's with foam and it's puppety, it's real-made. There's a presence. Yeah, and digital is out of computer and it doesn't have any charm. And I wanted to make a character movie. Every zombot needed to be a character and also I thought for the soldiers it was important to distinguish themselves from each other, but also I wanted the location to be a character, and each room needed to be a character, and also the movie itself needed to be a character. So there's no way for CG. If I would add CGI it would be characterless. It's the difference between an oil painting and an airbrush. Yeah. Or a Photoshop. It looks even more perfect, but you don't have texture. Texture is what gives you charm, that's what I believe anyway. I can only speak for myself. On the note of texture, I guess, or charm, one of the moments of film I liked so much involved the scene with the brains toward the end with Frankenstein himself. It's such a kooky, mad idea, but maybe it's also utopian in a warped way. [laughs] It was one of the-- The most difficult thing of this movie was trying to define the character of Frankenstein, because I didn't want to do anything that was the same as we've known him. Everybody who was thinking of Frankenstein saw this distinguished gentleman. Like Peter Cushing in a Hammer Movie. And I was constantly hammering that this was not the case. I only got people [auditioning] who were fitting into this Peter Cushing kind of stuff until I met Karel Roden, and then suddenly I realized, "You are the guy. You are so out of the box." He has this mysterious aspect. It's the same thing that you cannot really define who he was, and this is what made him very interesting. But also he was so critical of why Frankenstein is doing the things that he does. And he's just a guy who wants to end the war, but he's a very simple guy. His father did all the science, so he doesn't need to be intellectual or smart. He like a mechanic almost. It's like a car factory worker! Exactly. Or a plumber. "Oh, this works. Next!" And it was more like that, and I thought, "Now that's a Frankenstein I never have seen." And you know, I don't really want to make it too serious, I want to entertain. I thought, "You know, it starts maybe a bit serious, but then we can add more and more humor, and I think it worked out pretty well. When you see too many monsters, they will be boring, so I needed to boost up just a real human being. Who himself is just fascinating to see on camera. But you know, when you hear him talking, he's even crazier than the craziest zombot. There's another twist. And... [a beat] Oh you were talking about Frankenstein and the brain. We had this back and forth about what he wants. He wants to end the war. How? He wants to make the sides understand each other. How? [laughs] And that's how the brain came about! [laughs] It's brilliant! [laughs] It's like a mechanic who doesn't know anything about neurology going, "Yeah, why not?" But it's the heart of things... or it's the brain of things. [laughs] I wanted to have this like a pictogram, just as a symbol almost. This was a shot that was not in the script at first, but created it in two weeks before wrap. The special effects guy, he said, "I don't have any budget anymore!" He used everything he had. But we found a way to make it work by re-using old material. Repurposing old brains! Nice! But that's the Frankenstein way of thinking again. Not only did you create zombots but-- We tried to use everything. It's an extra shot, but it's my favorite shot. It's the moment in the movie where everything about Frankenstein kind of makes sense. It's like, "Ah, that's why he's doing it... Oh god, that's why he's doing it?" And how he's doing it is like-- Obvious almost. [laughs] [laughs] What's next for you? Any projects down the pipeline? I'm developing two scripts very seriously and I'm going to shoot two trailers for both projects, and I'm going to the market at the end of this year. Also I'm very open-minded to do a sequel to Frankenstein's Army. There's a lot of potential there. As a matter of fact, we have an outline already, and it's... Well, I cannot say anything but I can't wait too break it out. I have keep myself, or I have to control myself not to work it out too early. [laughs] Can you say anything about the other two scripts you're working on? Ummm... They're both biological horror. And one of them is more science fiction and it's about the Higgs boson. And the other one is based on Dutch legends in which there are children who are buried in the soil. They come back. Their hands grow above the surface, and the hands are in the shape of mushrooms begging for mercy. And when you eat those mushrooms, those kids are going to haunt your head. That sounds incredible! [laughs] [laughs] And the Higgs boson is about the discovery of the Higgs. Do you know what the Higgs is? I'm not familiar. They call it the God particle. Ah, okay. They discovered it in Geneva in the CERN. The particle has no mass but it's... Okay, the Higgs boson goes like this. [Editor's note: Raaphorst demonstrated a path with his finger traveling through a Coke can on the table.] And it goes slow, slow, slow, and because it's going slow here that this can materializes. So [the characters in the film] fuck up the Higgs boson, so you can imagine what will happen with a Coke can like this, but also human beings! That sounds awesome! Both of them sound awesome. [laughs] [laughs] So I'm making designs right now, and I want to try to be as original as H.R. Giger in Alien.
Frankenstein Interview photo
Director Richard Raaphorst discusses the music and mayhem of Nazi zombots
Even though I had issues with the found-footage aspect of Frankenstein's Army, there's a great anarchic imagination in the film, and it belongs to director Richard Raaphorst. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Raaphorst...


[This contest is now over! Congrats to our winner SirCacophony!] Hey everyone! We have the opportunity for you to enter to win a free copy of Iron Sky -- everyone's favorite Space Nazi movie -- on either DVD or Blu-ray and a ...


[This contest is now closed! Congrats to our winner - G K! Thanks for reading and look out for more contests soon! -Liz Rugg] Hey there! Do you like Space Nazis? 'Course you do! Who doesn't like malicious groups of Nazis who ...

The Cult Club: Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)

Jun 11 // Liz Rugg
Surf Nazis begins by showing the destruction of the greater Los Angeles area by a giant earthquake and we follow as an older black woman moves reluctantly into a retirement home after her home is destroyed by the quake. We quickly end up at the beach, though, and are soon introduced to a gang of Neo-Nazis calling themselves the Surf Nazis. Lead of course by Adolf, with his woman Eva and his right hand-man Mengele, and followed by other lowly Nazis like Hook (who has a hook hand, of course) and the bleach-blonde Smeg. After some glory shots of Adolf surfing, and of Eva's swimming suit-clad body, we learn of Adolf's evil plan to take over all of "New Beach" and eliminate all of the "inferiors" - like left-footed surfers. In the first part of the Surf Nazis' plan, Adolf and Eva invite all their rival gangs to an abandoned warehouse and try to convince them to unite with the Nazis for total control. When this doesn't work, the Nazis decide that they must take over the beaches by force! While causing havoc on the beach (stealing old ladies' purses, knocking other surfers off their boards, stealing and eating other people's watermelons) Adolf and his crew run into Leroy, the son of the sassy woman we meet earlier in the movie. When Adolf and his racist ways offend Leroy, Leroy tries to start a fight with Adolf, but soon realizes that his Nazi crew is there to back him up... The next shot we see is Leroy's mama Elanor identifying her son's body and attending his funeral. Unsatisfied with her living situation, lonely, grieving and with nothing left to loose in this world, Leroy's mama sets out on a quest for ultimate revenge, and that's when the real fun in this movie starts! Surf Nazis Must Die's dystopian Californian landscape and surprisingly perfect mismatch of surfing and Nazism draws people into its spiraling out of control, nonsensical world. A sort of wonderfully low-fi late 80s homage to both California surf culture and punk aesthetics, Surf Nazis is scene after scene of themed insanity. However, for a totally silly surfing horror/thriller, Surf Nazis brings up a lot of weird racial undertones. The N-word is dropped repeatedly, and the idea of a sassy Black mother beating up white Neo-Nazis is so stereotypical and hilarious that it carries the entire movie. The thing that Surf Nazis actually gets the most maligned for is for not being crazy enough. Despite being distributed by Troma, Surf Nazis only has one main sex scene and the real gory fight scenes don't happen until towards the end of the movie. If you're expecting a typical Troma-esque nonstop over the top action movie, Surf Nazis might seem a bit slow to you. However what Surf Nazis may lack in action, it makes up for with absurd odds and ends, like the watermelon stealing scene, or lines like "There's no room for Jesus on the New Beach - and that's our Final Solution!" Surf Nazis is so much fun to watch though, and part of that is perhaps because it gets oddly slow at some parts. It's like they were trying to make a WTFTroma movie and failed at that, even. Surf Nazis Must Die's impeccable silliness, terrible acting, and poor quality in every way lends itself to cult movie sensibilities and is an excellent addition for anyone looking to broaden their cult B-Movie horizons. It's the time of year when people are flocking to beaches all across the Northern Hemisphere, so what better to watch to get you in the mood for a beach day than SURF NAZIS!? [embed]210612:38390[/embed] Next Month... Matthew Razak will bring out the big guns with the 1966 Batman movie, starring Adam West and Burt Ward! So tune in next month - same cult-time, same cult-channel! PREVIOUSLY SHOWING AT THE CULT CLUB May: The Apple (1980) April: Santa Sangre (1989) March: Tideland (2005) February: House (1977) January: They Live (1988)

[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favorite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from th...

Review: One Hundred Years of Evil

May 18 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]210302:38252[/embed] One Hundred Years of EvilDirectors: Erik Eger and Magnus OlivRelease Date: May 19, 2012 (NYC)Rating: NRCountry: Sweden, US I'm actually kind of surprised that no one has put this kind of theory out there. Hitler's suicide has always just been a foregone conclusion. It's the kind of thing that seems ripe for some kind of conspiracy. But no, everyone is perfectly content to believe that Hitler is and has been dead since the early 1940s.  But let's imagine it was a cover up. That's not too hard. The government covers things up all the time. Why not this? As long as the narrative is compelling, we can roll with it. Let's imagine that Adolf Hitler took on the persona of Adolf Munchenhauser and moved to the United States of America. Fine, but now what? What would he do? He's Hitler. He is the pretty much the most hated person in the entire world. It's not like people wouldn't recognize him. Yes, a nose job would help with that, but the name Adolf certainly wasn't going to help the man make any friends.  But fine. It hasn't gotten too ridiculous. Let's suspend some more disbelief and imagine he would keep the name Adolf and the minor plastic surgery on his face would be enough to keep people walking down the street from seeing him. What would he do? That is what One Hundred Years of Evil tries to answer. It is a fake documentary, however, so the film does not follow Hitler throughout his years in America. Instead, it looks back through the lens of a professor named Skule, who, after studying the faces of Nazis who were in the bunker during Hitler's "death," becomes convinced that the whole thing was a lie. It's kind of like that TV show Lie to Me, except without Tim Roth. So Skule, with a documentary-filmmaker/friend in tow, along with another guy who just holds the boom the whole time, goes on a hunt. Unfortunately, One Hundred Years of Evil suffers from a pretty major identity crisis. It doesn't know whether it wants to be a mockumentary or a found footage film. Most of the film is very much like a documentary; there are interviews, old photos and videos, and an accented narrator making sure you don't miss anything important. But then there are the scenes where characters are trying to do stupid or illegal things. Skule and his friends cause all sorts of damage and document the entire thing. If One Hundred Years of Evil was a documentary, and it ever got released, all of the filmmakers would be behind bars for life. They act the way you would expect someone to act in a found footage film. The final scenes seem to drop the documentary pretense entirely, just showing in (mostly) real-time a very stupid thing that the filmmakers are doing. If I had to choose whether I preferred the documentary side of the film or the found footage side I would definitely say the found footage, because it makes a lot more sense. In fact, it's the only side that makes any sense. It's difficult to see One Hundred Years of Evil as a serious film, because the things it tries to say are beyond ridiculous. As you can see above, the film makes the claim that Adolf Hitler, among other things, opened up a fast food restaurant called "McBratwürtz" (I assume that is a misspelling of "bratwurst"). I don't even need to explain how absolutely ludicrous that is. Frankly, none of the things that the film says Hitler did make any sense. He was capable enough to take over Germany and huge chunks of Europe, to convince people to kill millions of Jews, but in America he needs to work in a kitchen with a black man. That is the way he shapes history from the background. I'm not sure how the filmmakers came up with that idea or thought that anyone would buy it, but they did. And it's dumb, really dumb. The thing is, though, that One Hundred Years of Evil is really short. It's only a little over 70 minutes. I can deal with a lot of issues from a film that is only 70 minutes. As stupid as it is and as ridiculous as it is I don't think that the film is bad. I think it is a major waste of a very interesting premise, and it suffers from an inability to understand what it's trying to be, but is not bad. It's just kind of strange, really. I can't say I've ever seen anything like it, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but it's something. And that's really what One Hundred Years of Evil is: something. I don't really know what, and I'm not sure the filmmakers really know what, but it's definitely a movie that exists, and that can be seen. If you're curious to see just how far down the rabbit hole Hitler apparently went, you might actually enjoy this film. But if you try to look at it seriously, or as something trying to tell a serious story, you'll probably just feel bad for everybody involved.

It's important for a mockumentary to be believable. Real documentaries can fall back on their legitimacy if things ever take a turn for the ridiculous, but mockumentaries can't do that. The instant you question a mockumentary...


Trailer 2: Iron Sky

Jan 25
// Bob Muir
It's late at night, and some stoners are passing around a bong. After one particularly massive rip, Zach "The Lungs" Jones is thinking about "heavy stuff" and suddenly has a thought. Getting everyone's attention, he starts: ...

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