Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Band Called Death (2012)

When I was a wee little lad, I was told that The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were the originators of punk.  Also when I was a wee little lad, Death was a death metal band from Florida, started by Chuck Shuldiner.  Well it turns out that three brothers from Detroit played some very fast rock n' roll before The Ramones and The Sex Pistols.  And there was already a band called Death before Chuck changed Mantis to Death.  This documentary caught my attention when Sean Boyle of Hellbeard mentioned it on his Facebook status.  And I was surprise when I saw that Scott Mosier (Kevin Smith's friend/producer) helped to get this doc released.

In the documentary, we meet the Hackney brothers (Bobby, David, Dannis).  Sons of a preacher, they grew up in the Motor City known as Detroit, where Motown was a huge thing.  In 73', they formed a band called Death after trying to start a funk/rock n' roll band.  The sound was very fast and loud, that people today would consider it "proto-punk".  They recorded a demo and shopped it around to record labels, but no one was interested.  most of the labels thought the sound was too aggressive.  And the band's name didn't help either, even though in the doc, they explain the meaning of the name, which was meant to be seen as a positive light.  But soon enough, they were signed to Groovesville, but sadly, they had trouble in trying to market Death.  Because of this, Death will disband.  Bobby and Dannis would start a reggae.  David would write songs by himself.  Years later, David would pass away.  This would be a shame because later on, a record collector purchased a 45 and was amazed by Death's sound.  He would write about them on his blog and upload two songs from Death.  Later, other music fans would listen to them and also give high praises.  But when Bobby's son, Bobby Jr., heard the two songs, that would make a huge impact on Bobby and Dannis.  They finally got the recognition they deserved.  Because of all the interest, the remaining Hackney brothers would reform Death.  Later, they would release their first album and start touring.

This was a really touching documentary about not just music, but family.  The Hackney brothers were really close.  David had a message and luckily his brothers were able to spread it to concert goers, nationwide.  A Band Called Death is a great documentary in general.  Even if you're not a fan of punk, the Hackney's story is still interesting.  Bobby and Dannis seemed very humble and don't make a big deal about they were the "first" to do this or that.  But it's nice to see that a band like them have finally got recognized.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

This movie caught my interest when I heard that it takes place during a making of a Italian giallo.  Being a fan of Dario Argento, I had to seek this out.  I do have to say that this is a strange film.  Some may not like it, others will find it interesting.  There were times where I get lost in the story, but just seeing things get crazier for the main character, just makes me want to see what happens next.

We are introduce to Gilderoy, a middle-age bloke who took a job in a Italian horror flick, working as a sound engineer.  When Gilderoy see's what film he's working on, he begins to feel uncomfortable.  Also some of the actress doing the dubs are also not big fans of the film, either.  Producer Francesco Coraggio doesn't makes things easy for his staff.  When Gilderoy tries to get his flight ticket reimbursed, Francesco always gives him excuses.  Or when a actress has a scene where she screams, he makes them do it over and over again.  By the end of the second act, things do start to get weird for Gilderoy.  First, someone tries to break into his room.  Then later someone tries to attack him in his sleep.  By the end of the film, you start to wonder what was this movie all about.

Me being a fan of Italian horror, behind the scene stuff, and sound recording, I found this movie to be interesting.  Of course I wasn't really that big on the third act.  I felt like there could have been more.  The atmosphere was great.  It gave really creepy vibe.  Very similar films by Bava and Argento. The average movie goer may not fancy this film a lot.  But if you're interested in seeing how dubbing and sound effects were done back in the days, then you might find it fascinating.  It may not be the greatest horror/psycho-thriller, but it was a decent flick.