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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

John Carpenter's Halloween: It's a Kentucky Thing

While it may be set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois (not to mention actually shot in California), John Carpenter's Halloween is to a lot of fans very much a Kentucky film.

I was only five years old when Halloween first hit theaters in October of 1978, so I was too young to see the film in its first run. I ended up seeing it for the first time around the age of ten courtesy of a TV broadcast and it had a huge impact on me. Never before had I felt so much glorious terror and it made horror my favorite genre, a fact that continues to this day. I have watched Halloween at least once every year since, making it one of the films I have seen the most, and those initial viewings still haunt my dreams and memories like no other.

It wasn't just the thrills the film supplied that had such a huge impact on me but it was the regional references that struck an emotional chord. Locations mentioned like Smiths Grove, Hardin County and Russellville were instantly recognizable to me, as they are to any native Kentuckian, and I was thrilled to find out that my Mom had actually attended school (they had one college class together) with John Carpenter in the late sixties. Halloween became not only one of my favorite films just before my teenage years, but also my favorite Kentucky film...and Carpenter became the living embodiment of someone who had got out but hadn't forgotten his roots.

The Kentucky references are scattered all over Carpenter films, especially The Fog, and they appear numerous times in the Carpenter scripted Halloween II. In fact there are two particular moments in the first Halloween sequel that really hit me location wise as one names an area I lived at as a child, and another pinpoints the street and corner where I lived at between 2006 and 2008. The obvious impact the state had on Carpenter (something he made clear last year when I saw him in person) is extremely resonate and quite haunting for someone like myself who knows this area so well and loves these films so much.

As a child and now I often daydream at school about Carpenter's film and the characters who occupied it, especially Laurie Strode. I would often wish to step back into the past and run into the very people who inspired these iconic characters, who know doubt Carpenter knew back in his days as a young man walking down the streets I walk down now everyday.

For those interested in some of the Kentucky locations mentioned in several of John Carpenter's films, please visit this Bowling Green, Kentucky site that offers up a 'driving' tour you can take.

-Jeremy Richey, 2008-

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Influences: Heather Drain

When thinking on any great artist I admire I always contemplate who possibly influenced them.  It's the reason I always flip to the index of an autobiography to search for possible clues to other artists who might have made an impression at some point, and it's the reason I always ask about influences in my Q&A series here.  I recently had the idea to start a new series where I ask a few of my favorite fellow artists, photographers, filmmakers and writers to stop by Moon in the Gutter and discuss the people who have had the most powerful influence over their work and lives.  I was thrilled when one of my favorite writers, the magnificent Heather Drain, agreed to kick-start the series.  Heather, whose fabulous work has graced the pages of Video Watchdog, Ultra Violent among many other fine publications, has graciously submitted this wonderful essay on some of her great influences to kick-start this new series and I am so, so grateful.  Thanks so much to Heather for this striking piece and, after reading, please visit her blog Mondo Heather for more examples of  her truly terrific writing. 

List-o-Mania by Heather Drain

Lists, especially where art is concerned, are a source of fun, interest and occasionally ire for me. Like a moth to the flame, I will gravitate towards a list, even when I know more than likely it's going to launch me into a two hour diatribe. But a great list can be a thing of beauty. It can make you feel like you have found some sort of kindred spirit or even turn you on to something new that could blow your mind. And worst case scenario, you can get a great piss and vinegar rant out of the deal. 

So when Jeremy asked me to create a list dedicated to the art and artists who have moved and influenced me, it was an offer I could not refuse. Putting together a creature like this is no easy task. Trying to itemize everything is a bit like someone trying to pick their favorite kids. Sure, they might have an idea of who goes where but then have a nagging tendril of guilt tugging at their sleeve about it. So in lieu of your usual numerical list, I will be listing a sampler of the artists who have made an indelible impression on my fevered little psyche. Undoubtedly, the minute after this gets posted, I will be slapping my forehead because I forgot something. If I listed everything creative that has moved me , this would be less of an article and more of a novel of Biblical proportions. Now, without further ado, here is my mondo-list of cultural influence!

One of the very first people that come to mind is Klaus Kinski, the legendary and, in some circles, (usually those made up of his ex-directors and ex-girlfriends), infamous actor. Of all things, it was his book “Kinski Uncut” that made me a convert, after picking it up in the late 90's, right as I was on the cusp of graduating high school. The book itself is like a violent passion play of words, all documenting the obsessions of this great and troubled artist. One of the most captivating qualities about Kinski is that he goes out of his way to detail his id-centered flaws more than his virtues. Kinski was once quoted as saying, “One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real,” which I adore because it is true and if you love it too, then you must pick this book up. It's long out-of-print, but the “Kinski Uncut” edition can be had for a somewhat decent price. If you're wanting the original English language edition, “All I Need is Love,” that was yanked off the shelves since the publisher got cold feet due to litigious reasons since Kinski talks about a number of known people. Realistically, not unlike former adult film star Jerry Butler's own obsessed autobiography,“Raw Talent,” no one comes off more damaged than our narrator. That sort of testicular fortitude always and eternally sends me.

But it's not just Kinski the writer and man that I adore. He was one of the best actors to have ever emerged on the silver screen. Once you see him, you will never ever forget him. His ability to completely crawl into a role and make it his own never fades with time. Whether he needed to shriek and be wild or be quiet and subdued, he could pull it all off. For proof, just check out any of his work with the great and equally inimitable director, Werner Herzog, especially “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” “Nosferatu” and “Woyzeck.” Other Kinski greats include two of his Jess Franco films, “Count Dracula” and “Venus in Furs,” David Scmoeller's underrated thriller, “Crawlspace,” “Fruits of Passion” and Klaus's sole directorial effort, “Paganini.”


Speaking of sister Europe, the UK band Bauhaus has been moving me ever since my goth friend Mike lent me, back around the 11th grade, the first volume of their singles compilation. To simply label them goth is a mere understatement, since to this day, there is really no one that did or does sound quite like them. All the right influences are there, ranging from David Bowie (hence their blazing cover of “Ziggy Stardust”) and T-Rex to the Surrealist and DaDa art movements, with a dash of Eno. In fact, their song “Antonin Artaud,” named after one of my other godheads, is all sonic teeth. It's gristle and beauty and shadows and filigree, which is everything Bauhaus was to a tee. Recommended: All of it, but especially the albums “The Sky's Gone Out” and “Burning From the Inside.” Masterpieces.


Being both a monster kid and European art film lover at heart, it was only natural that it would be love at first sight and sound with the works of Jean Rollin. I was blessed to have an early review gig where I was sent “Lips of Blood,” a film that to this day is firmly cemented as a work that I cherish completely. Rollin was a pure artist, featuring a body of work that is as visually lush as it is moving. He gave horror an emotional gravitas that is so special and often under-used, with a few exceptions. The man's a master, pure and simple. Recommended: “Shiver of the Vampires,” “Lips of Blood,” “Living Dead Girl” and more.

Kenneth Anger is another filmmaker whose work has seared its way into my vena cava. From his debut film, the violent and poetically sexual “Fireworks” (made when he was barely 20 years old) to his vibrant, magick filled masterpieces, with “Invocation of My Demon Brother” being the granddaddy, Anger is a cinematic game changer. If you want a true taste of art that is at times lush, harsh, colorful, dark and occasionally witchy, then you would be hard pressed to find someone better than Kenneth Anger. Recommended: All of it.

Writing wise, there have been eleventy prose writers whose works have left little heart shaped scar marks in my brain. Flannery O'Connor, Mikhail Bulgakov, Lermantov, Katherine Dunne, Poe, Shelley, Stoker, Caitlin R. Kiernan and way too many more to mention. However, there are two fiction writers in particular that have changed the writing landscape for me. The first is Poppy Z. Brite, whose debut novel “Lost Souls,” found me in my smallish hometown's public library years ago. Brite's florid, often lush prose and intrinsic understanding of his characters wooed me from the start. To this day, his numerous books and short stories are works that I revisit time and time again. Recommended: All of it but especially “Exquisite Corpse,” “Drawing Blood” and “Lost Souls.”


The other big fiction writer for me is a biggie, but one that didn't emerge fully into my view until later in life. It was a chance move, with me picking up my husband's copy of Charles Bukowski's short story collection, “The Most Beautiful Girl In Town” but once I started reading it, I could not put it down. It was the beginning of a love affair that continues to this day. I adore Bukowski's writing so much. Most people focus on all the really obvious stuff. You know, the hard boozing, the poontang factor, etc. What strikes me about Bukowski's work is the immense heart and honest worldview that he has. Many a foolhardy wannabe writer has romanticized the man's hard living, but forget that nonsense. Bukowski's work is the real deal and has the mix of truth, beauty, rawness and poetry that hits me every single time. It was that short story collection that got me through a grueling emergency room wait while someone very beloved to me was going through something potentially very scary and and life threatening. I am forever indebted to Bukowski for this. Recommended: “Ham on Rye,” “The Most Beautiful Girl in Town,” “Tales of Ordinary Madness,” “Women” et al.


A different type of writer who has influenced me is Jeffrey Lee Pierce, best known for his terminally underrated group, The Gun Club.
Pierce's music, both with the band and his solo work, is the stuff that the American dream (and nightmare) is made of. It's like the spirit of an old Southern bluesman got channeled through a west coast punk kid. Not unlike Bukowski, Pierce's work is raw, beautiful, at times heartbreaking and always compelling. Recommended: Everything but especially, especially The Gun Club's “Las Vegas Story.”

The Cramps saved my teenage life. Never has a band's sound so perfectly defined a good chunk of my sensibilities. Hearing their “Date With Elvis” album in particular was like finding a long lost family member. They are the sleazy primordial ooze of rock and roll and I will eternally love them for it. Lux Interior is my co-pilot. Recommended: Everything but especially “Date With Elvis” and the live album, “Rockinandreelinginauklandnewzealand.”


With music being one of my biggest muses, there are two bands, both seemingly different and yet similar in how they have never compromised and continue to make great and vital music. The first band in question is Devo, musical pioneers from the land where the rubber meets the road, Akron, Ohio. (Sidenote-it's amazing how many great bands and horror hosts have come out of that state. There must be some bizarre magic in the waters of Ohio.) It's easy to focus on the visual aspects of the band, whether it is their famous energy dome hats or the man-baby face of Booji Boy. The visuals are indeed great, often finding that ether where humor, pop culture and something a little more sinister intertwine. But the music is the thing and Devo has often delivered, with their music being something for everyone. There's bits of irreverent humor, dance-ability, guitar crunch and caustic warning about our own culture's de-evolution. It's real, kids. Recommended: “Duty Now for the Future,” “New Traditionalists,” “Devo Live,” “Something for Everybody.”

Following up Devo is another band that moves me forever and that is the best UK punk band ever, The Damned. Unlike a lot of their peers, The Damned have not only stayed together since the beginning, for the most part, and have continually evolved musically. From the three chord punk of their first album, “Damned Damned Damned” to the Seeds-flavored psychedelic garage rock of their 2008 album, “So, Who's Paranoid?,” they are a superb band whose work never ever grows old for me. I'm always in the mood for The Damned and you should be too! Recommended: All of it, but especially “Machine Gun Etiquette,” “Phantasmagoria,” “The Black Album,” “So, Who's Paranoid?”


Dipping briefly into the pinkies-out world of art for a minute, the works of Dali and Warhol continually send me into fits of visual and mental excitement. My love for surrealism and it's cousin, DaDa, runs deep but Dali's work in particular is so crystalline in its execution, color and vision. Plus, like Warhol, the man himself was living art. Taking the creative impulse one step further is forever exciting and often needed to keep things from getting too moldy and stagnant. With Warhol, his ability to use a visual form to comment on pop culture in a seemingly objective way is unparalleled. Even better was his pioneering role in underground cinema and like a white-haired catalyst, attracting a colorful array of brilliant, eccentric and occasionally mad people all around him. (I love Ondine!)
Recommended-These are masters, so get thee to a library and museum stat.

When I first started researching and getting into the sexploitation films of the 1960's, one of the things that compelled me was how a number of them blurred the lines between art house imagery and the lurid come hither of sleaze cinema. One filmmaker who fully transcended this line and made some of the most original movies ever, is my hero, Michael Findlay. Along with his wife, cinematographer extraordinaire and later on, a director in her own right, Roberta Findlay, Michael's blend of dreamlike imagery, a sense of often highly damaged sexuality and a bizarre literary sensibility is unlike anything you will ever see. It was “The Ultimate Degenerate” that first hooked me, but it was “Curse of Her Flesh” that sealed the deal. I've always instinctively had a burr about schools of film criticism that preach that movies that deal with pulp-like topics are automatically not worth covering or respecting. That right there is bollocks and guys like Michael Findlay are the proof in the pudding. If they think these films are disturbing, just look at your local news. Art is the mirror that we do not always want to look into. Recommended: The entire Flesh Trilogy (The Touch of Her Flesh/Curse of Her Flesh/Kiss of her Flesh), “The Ultimate Degenerate,” “A Thousand Pleasures,” “Take Me Naked,” “Janie.”


Another filmmaker whose work so beautifully blended the grindhouse with the arthouse is Radley Metzger. Actually, scratch that, because Radley Metzger is a pure bred artist, straight up. His cinematic eye is often sumptuous, but usually underscored with something more. Sometimes it's a sense of melancholy, wry humor or just an observant eye on the warm and sometimes dysfunctional dynamics that are a part of human relationships. Radley Metzger is a gem in the world of cinema. Recommended: “Camille 2000,” the absolutely superb “The Lickerish Quartet,” “Naked Came the Stranger,” “Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann.”

Last but certainly not least is the man, Lester Bangs. Lester is what I personally aspire to be as a non-fiction writer. The man's fire, hyper-intelligence, intense humanity and uncompromising approach, which at one point ended up getting him fired from Rolling Stone, is inspiring to say the least. Even better, here was a critic who would admit when he was wrong, which he famously did with the MC5, a band he initially panned but then went on to champion. So many critics go into this field for the wrong reasons, whether it is to live to tear down everything they see or just fellate their own egos. Forget that. Love is the number one reason to write. Your ego should be number 13. Being a writer is one of the most unglamorous paths and one often littered with rejection, so you better be in it because you love it and you have no choice and that is one of the many reasons why I love Lester Bangs. The man should still be here but we can at least glory in his works and try to process the inspiration through our own individual filters.

So there you have it! The veritable sampler of the artists whose works inspire, influence and move me to the extent that they are practically intertwined with my DNA. Undoubtedly, I am already thinking of 10 others that should be on here, but I will spare you my Russian-sized novel of influence and hope that this list got your own creative rivers flowing. Art saves.


© Heather Drain 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Life Less Ordinary: Remembering Sylvia Kristel

"I continue to live off my name, a first name-my only role-Emmanuelle. In this use of me there is a mistake, an abuse, a total and violent conflict with who I am. I may smile, may act carefree and consenting, may continue speaking up for sexual freedom and asserting that in Nordic countries nudity is considered normal. But none of this erotic universe is in the least bit natural to me. I draw on inspiration, on my imagination, on other people's desire, but not on my own experience. I continue being cast against type, telling myself that I have no choice."

-Sylvia Kristel, Undressing Emmanuelle: A Memoir-

The news of Sylvia Kristel's passing came to me this morning as I was sitting in my living room, drinking my early-morning black coffee, and feeling the cool Autumn air blowing in through an open window.  Even though the news was expected, due to Sylvia's tragic health issues, I was still filled with an unbelievable sense of sadness and loss...and regret...regret that I hadn't done more to celebrate one of my favorite actors and film icons.  Even with my tribute site and all my posts on her great, relatively unseen, films I feel like I could have done more to pay tribute to one of modern cinema's great undervalued poets. 

Sylvia Kristel was indeed a poet..a remarkable actress and performer who projected more with her body and movement than most of our 'great' actors could ever hope to.  Sylvia was also a prisoner to her most famous role and this morning as the news is being reported all over the world it is the name 'Emmanuelle' that keeps being mentioned.  I suppose it is fair that almost all of the focus is on the character that Sylvia Kristel played for the first time in 1974, as it is one of the most famous characters in film history, but the career and life of such a fascinating woman was so much more than just this one character. 
While her life was filled with much tragedy and her film career eventually collapsed in on itself due to an ill-advised bid to Hollywood, Sylvia Kristel will ultimately be remembered as one of the great icons and figures of the seventies.  I have harbored the hope as well that eventually the remarkable string of films she made in Europe between 1974 and 1978 will someday get their due.  For a brief period, Kristel became the great muse to several of modern cinema's greatest auteurs and it is the work she did in films like La Marge, Une Femme Fidele, Alice or the Last Escapade and Rene the Cane that stand as her greatest legacy. 

Shy, reserved and haunted by a powerful loneliness all of her life, Sylvia Kristel came alive on the screen...her stillness, the way she used her body, the penetrating gaze of her stare broke through all of the self doubt and isolation she felt in her daily life.  It was this daring confidence she managed to project on the screen that made Kristel such an important figure in the sexual revolution and that persona that came through in the first two Emmanuelle films, as well as Just Jaeckin's supremely undervalued adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, remains so incredibly resonate.  Kristel was a spearhead to the modern pro-sex feminist movement and her life and career are deserving of so much more attention and study than they have ever been granted. 

As the news of Sylvia's passing spread this morning I was contacted by several kind friends on Facebook offering some words of comfort, as I have never made my great admiration for this woman a secret.  One friend asked me if I had ever met her and I had to sadly answer no, although I have been told that she was aware of my tribute site and I have long suspected that she read, and possibly commented, on my review of her book. 

A great actress, an accomplished painter, an acclaimed author, an award-winning filmmaker and a great cultural icon, Sylvia Kristel was a really special artist and, by all accounts, a kind and generous human being.  I absolutely adored this woman and will continue to feel, to my core, that I knew her even though our paths never crossed.

-Jeremy Richey, 2012-

Monday, October 15, 2012

Help 'KickStart' These Projects

I wanted to take a moment and share some links for a few very valuable projects that are seeking support over at Kickstarter. These are really fantastic projects worthy of any help you can give, even if it is just spreading the word.

Susan Stahman and Howard Berger's much anticipated film A Life in the Death of Joe Meek is in its final hours over at Kickstarter so if you haven't already thrown them some support please do so now.  

There are four days left for the I Am Divine Kickstarter page, Jeffrey Schwarz's sure to be fantastic film on the legendary Divine. I can't wait to see this film!
Finally there is the Kickstarter page set up for maverick American Filmmaker Shaun Costello's memoir Risky Behavior. I am greatly anticipating reading this sure to be fascinating book and I hope Shaun gets all the donations he needs. ...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two Very Rare Jean Rollin Fanzines Are on eBay

 I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that two rare issues of the French Fanzine Monster Bis dedicated to Jean Rollin have just been listed over at eBay. I don't have the money right now to bid but I wanted to share the link for any readers here that might.
The auctions can be viewed here and here and each listing has several scans from the issues (I am including a few favorites here). If any reader happens to snag these more scans would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten List by Jérôme Peyrel

I am very pleased this morning to present another Jean Rollin Top-Ten list from a reader here at Fascination.  This one comes from French writer Jérôme Peyrel.  Thanks very much to Jérôme for putting this together and for offering an English translation for my readers here.
1) the perseverance.
I love that Jean Rollin followed through his career, his films, his books ; the figures he created, the mixture he worked on, the way he told, over and over, the same story.
2) that poetic shot, in Lèvres de Sang, in which Frédéric can't catch the woman he dreams of since his childhood, in the cemetary... The light tears them apart, even if they are so close...
3) the Encore collection. Remarquable edition for these movies.
4) the Castel twins, that haunt my dreams, as they haunt La Vampire Nue.
5) His poetry of pause : the cinema of Jean Rollin is made of still pictures, beautiful, intriguing, they carries the essence of his conception of horror, surrealistic and free.
6) the 30 minutes of Le Viol du Vampire, and the camera that goes round and round the characters ad mauseam. I deeply love the duel.
7) The Philippe Druillet posters, in particular the one for La Vampire Nue.
8) The book Les Demoiselles de l'Etrange, that made me discover Erik Satie... (there's a lot of artists I discovered through Jean Rollin, notably Clovis Trouille).
9) La Rose de Fer, the Limoges screening in the late 90s. The film didn't arrived, so they decided to run the VHS ! Anyway, everybody was happy, and that day, we briefly talked about the movie with Jean Rollin. I looked forward to read the short story La Nuit du Cimetière (that can be found in the revue L'impossible number 11), during years since that day.
10) His critic works for french anarchists magazines in the 60's. One of his hidden sides.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Fascination Q&A with Filmmaker Damien Dupont

Tonight here at Fascination I am very excited to present this Q&A I recently conducted with filmmaker Damien Dupont, one of the directors (along with Yvan Pierre-Kaiser) of the upcoming documentary Jean Rollin,le rêveur égaré (Jean Rollin, The Stray Dreamer).  I am thrilled that Damien agreed to participate in this, as I know we are all excited about his upcoming film, and I can't thank him enough.  Enjoy the interview and support his upcoming work on Jean Rollin. 

Jeremy Richey:  Hi Damien. Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to participate in this interview. I really appreciate it and know my readers here will love it. To start off, can you tell us a bit about your background and where you are from?

Damien Dupont:  Hi Jeremy. It is a pleasure to answer your questions. So, I was a student at Paris VIII University, I studied Cinema. I met Thomas and Yvan at that time. We had the same plan: to become movie directors and producers. My first movies were made with University: an experimental movie on a doppleganger and I made a movie with Yvan: a short film about the critics who don’t like Horror Movies, Sci-fi Movies, etc. That movie contained false extract movies, made by ourselves too. We were inspired by Videodrome, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari and David Lynch’s movies. It was a kind of comedy.

How did you initially get interested in film and who were some of your early influences?

My parents used to take me to the cinema every week. They often talked about movies like Fog by John Carpenter or The Fly by David Cronenberg. My early influences were Naked Lunch by David Cronenberg, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, Fire Walk with Me by David Lynch. These movies were like a revelation. They opened my mind. They were so different from other movies I was seeing.

How did you first discover the cinema of Jean Rollin?

My first discovery was Le viol du vampire (The rape of the Vampire). This film was made in 1968 and is still completely crazy, it’s always a strange experience. To tell the truth, the first time, I didn’t like this movie. It was too strange, too “dadaist”. Now, I love it. It’s fun and crazy, maybe one of the strangest movies of the story of the cinema.

Tell us about Jean Rollin, le rêveur égaréand how the project came about?

One day, Yvan phoned me: “I’ve got the phone number of Jean Rollin. Do you want to meet him ?” Me: “Of course !”. Yvan called him. The next week, we met Jean Rollin. He was a kind old man living in Paris. We talked with him for several hours. He told us about his incredible life and career. His mother was a friend of Jacques Prévert and Jean Cocteau’s. His lost movie, L’itinéraire marin, was written by Marguerite Duras. In 1968, his first film’s audience (The Rape of the Vampire) wanted to lynch him as they hated this movie! During the seventies, Jean Rollin began to make porn movies, etc. Meeting him was a great moment. In the end, Yvan and I had the same idea: make a documentary on Jean Rollin. In the beginning, we wanted to make a short film of 26 minutes. After 2 years, it was 52 minutes. After 5 years, it was 78 minutes.

You got to interview a number of Rollin’s most notable collaborators and Rollin himself. Can you tell us who we will see in the film and was there anyone you were particularly excited to meet and talk to?

The shooting of the movie lasted five years. So we interviewed Jean Rollin several times over that period. His death stopped the meetings, it was very sad… In the end, he was very sick.

In the movie, you will see Jean-Loup Phillipe (friend and actor of Jean Rollin), Natalie Perrey (his collaborator from the beginning, she was an actress, an editor, a script-writer, a production manager etc. ; unfortunately, she died in 2012), Jean-Pierre Bouyxou (a movie critic and Jean Rollin’s friend), Pete Tombs (Mondo Macabro’s editor, Immoral Tales’ writer), Pascal Françaix (who wrote “Jean Rollin cinéaste-écrivain”), Brigitte Lahaie, Ovidie, Caroline Vié (a movie critic) and Philippe Druillet (the great French comics artist ; he worked on the set of The Rape of the Vampire and drew the movie posters of The Rape of the Vampire, The Nude Vampireand The Shiver of the Vampires).

I was very excited to meet Philippe Druillet and talk with him. And that was a great time and the last interview for the documentary… We drank lots of wine, he is a cool guy and a genius. He made all the furniture in his workshop himself… It felt like being in one of his comics, a very strange feeling! A really great moment and an excellent interview.


Your film has played a several festivals already. How has the reception been and will there eventually be DVD release?

The reception by the audience, the friends and the family of Jean Rollin was excellent. We didn’t expect it after 5 years of work. It was very moving.

The movie should be released in France in 2013 and maybe in North America in the same year and the DVD will have many features, hopefully.

What are your personal favorite films by Jean Rollin?

Iron Rose and Requiem for a Vampire are the most beautiful Jean Rollin’s movies. The quintessence of his unique talent.

With the recent Kino/Redemption Blu-rays and Finders Keepers soundtrack releases Jean Rollin has been getting more mainstream attention, to English language audiences, than ever before. Your film will certainly help strengthen his legacy even more. What is it about the works of Jean Rollin that remains so captivating?

It’s very hard to answer. I don’t really know. These movies are hypnotic dreams with beautiful naked women. They are unique erotic macabre movies. A beautiful wedding between sex and death.
Thanks so much Damien for taking the time to participate in this Q&A!  I know I speak for all Jean Rollin fans when I say thank you and Yvan for making this film...we are all extremely excited to see it and we wish you both all the success in the world.  Thanks again!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten by Robert Savage

Here's another entry in my newest giveaway here at Fascination.  Thanks so much to Robert Savage for compiling his personal Rollin list and I hope he enjoys the poster!  I still have one more prize left so start compiling your own Jean Rollin top-ten and email it my way. 

1. Shiver Of The Vampires because a strange naked lady comes out of a grandfather clock.

2. The Iron Rose because it's really unlike any other film ever made. It's not even like any other Rollin film ever made. Clown in cemetery. Slow moving. Makes me feel like I'm having one of those foggy dream like hangovers.

3. Immoral Tales book. Great book on Euro Horror in general with a nice big section dedicated to Rollin. My introduction.

4. Saga De Xam graphic novel. Incredibly cool large hardcover comic written by Rollin and illustrated beautifully by someone called Nicolas Devil. I don't understand a word of French but I can stare at this book for hours. I wish somebody would translate this into English. Very rare and one of my prized possessions. Did Nicolas Devil ever do anything else?

5. Living Dead Girl because it's a great bloody mess and a great bloody story.

6. Virgins and Vampires book. Nice companion to Rollin's films. It's not a huge book but it is a great go to guide if you want to read up on any of the films. Plus it has some good photos.

7. Finders Keepers soundtrack albums. I'm so glad that someone is releasing all of this great music and doing it so well. Great liner notes and sound quality.

8. Water. Rollin liked to shoot by the water and I like to be by the water.

9. Kino blu ray releases. I like the old bootleg quality stuff too because there's a certain charm in watching some bad quality vhs and thinking you're hip to something the rest of the world is unaware of, but it's really great to see these in a new and more clear light. But I'm hanging on to my old bootlegs.

10. Lesbian Vampires because they're lesbians and they're vampires.

Thanks again Robert!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten List by Daniel Orion Davis

A great big congratulations to Spellbound Cinema's Daniel Orion Davis for being the second entry in my Jean Rollin Personal Top-Ten giveaway!  Daniel really knocked it out of the park with his list and I know all fellow Rollin fans will find this detailed post a wonderful example as to just how much Rollin means to his most dedicated fans.  Thanks so much to Daniel for this wonderful piece and I hope you enjoy your prize.  Keep those lists coming!

1) The Bond of Sisters

With the exception of the beach at Dieppe (see entry #2), there is no
image more frequently returned to than that of a pair of young girls.
Obviously, the Castel Twins are the most memorable embodiment of this
archetype in Rollin's work, but the characters reappear far more
frequently than he was able to with with Marie-Pierre and Catherine.
Lost in New York, Fascination, Living Dead Girl, The Demoniacs and (of
course) Two Orphan Vampires all feature this dynamic without the
participation of a Castel. Whether the girls experience together an
adventure or a shared tragedy, it is clear that Rollin believes they
are empowered by their relationship to each other. Arguably the most
moving tragedy in Rollin's oeuvre results from the separation of such
a pair; both the narrative and the emotional resonance of Living Dead
revolve around the disruption of a childhood bond and the girls
are never truly Lost in New York until they are separated from each

2) The Romance of Travel

No Rollin fan can doubt that a boyhood trip to Dieppe had a profound
effect on young Jean's thinking. Here at once was a new stage on
which his fantasies would be set for the rest of his life. Not only
did this create a life-long love affair with the beach at Dieppe, but
it seemed to impress upon Rollin the belief that travel was an
inherently romantic pursuit, filled with opportunities for adventure
and transformation. From one of his earliest shorts, Les Pays Loin,
in which the peculiarities of unfamiliar language and geography seem
to cause the protagonists to doubt their own identity and history, to
later films like Lost in New York and Sidewalks of Bangkok (in which
Rollin's romantic visions of these foreign cities define the
narrative) travel, in the Rollinade, is an opportunity for an
experience that is simultaneously more authentic and more fantastic.

3) The Importance of Memory

One of the most tragic things you can experience in a Rollin narrative
is the loss of your memory -- whether that be the memory of your
personal history or your connection to a shared cultural history.
Without memory, we are automatons, mere consumers. Memory allows us
to attribute meaning, make connections and bond with others. In Night
of the Hunted
, even a fabricated memory can have the power to restore
some value to an otherwise meaningless existence, while in The Living
Dead Girl
memories restore the humanity to the title character who is
otherwise just a void, a gnawing hunger.

4) The Seductive Power of Death

For many, death and its iconography are something to be shunned, as
though we can apply the childhood logic that if we don't see it, it
won't see us. But Rollin sees through such delusion and recognizes a
primal beauty to the ways in which we have visualized and portrayed
our own mortality. This is why his films are so frequently labeled as
horror films, despite having none of the narrative trademarks of the
genre -- visions of decay and morbidity haunt his films from first to
last. The Iron Rose, perhaps his greatest achievement, makes explicit
this dynamic as it considers two very different reactions to being
trapped in a cemetery, the literal land of the dead. Both parties end
up facing the same fate, but only "the girl," who has seen the beauty
in death, is transformed by it and thus transcends it.

5) The Passing of the Old World

Of all the filmmakers you could compare Rollin to, perhaps Jacques
Tati is an unusual choice. But it has always seemed to me that they
share a particular obsession: a deep sadness at the passing of the old
world and its replacement with a sterile modernity. Consider Playtime
and Night of the Hunted as strange companion pieces. Both are defined
by their being set among the glass and steel of modern office
buildings. Both seem to believe that such an environment can only
dehumanize its inhabitants. But between the two directors, Rollin was
far less optimistic. Whereas Tati seemed to ultimately suggest that
human nature would eventually assert itself against modernity and
carve new, more organic spaces for itself, anyone who has seen the
denouement of Night of the Hunted knows that Rollin believed that
something precious was being lost, perhaps irrevocably. Like the
scientific cult in The Nude Vampire, our age's attempts to measure,
rationalize and control our world must inevitably lead to our (or its)

6) The Inadequacy of Language

Rollin's characters, especially in his later films, love to talk.
They circle around their subjects with a piling up of poetry, an
accumulation of words. Yet perversely, for all the beauty in the
language, Rollin seems intensely skeptical of our ability to actually
communicate with each other, to use language as a vehicle for sharing
our experiences. Perhaps its language's connection to rationality,
but speech frequently seems inadequate for its purpose in the cinema
of Rollin. Characters struggle against language as an implacable
barrier as they try to make each other understand the ineffable. His
filmography is nearly bookended with meditations on the subject. In
Les Pays Loin the protagonists wander in a labyrinth created by a
language barrier. In The Night of the Clocks, everyone has something
to say to Ovide, but their words seem only to draw her further and
further away from an understanding of her cousin (an understanding
that only images, icons, and experiences can really provide.)

7) The Redemptive Power of Fantasy

Just as we are made less human when we can no longer remember, we can
transcend our limitations when we are able to indulge our fantasies to
their fullest. Rollin spent his career chasing the fantasy figures
that made such an impression on his youth, a pursuit that enriched not
only his life, but the lives of all those who loved his films. His
characters, in turn, joined in on this pursuit whether by adopting
costumes (The Nude Vampire, Requiem for a Vampire), engaging in
performance (Shiver of the Vampire, Mask of Medusa) or simply -- and
perhaps most perfectly -- by telling each other stories (Lost in New

8) The Strength of Femininity

The heroic figures in Rollin's cinema are women. Even when the
protagonists are male, they are defined by their relationships to
women. Frédéric, in Lips of Blood, may be the single most appealing
and sympathetic male character in all of Rollin's filmography, but his
story is the story of a woman. His life is defined by his encounter
with a woman more captivating and powerful than he could ever hope to
be. Of course, the best illustration of the gender dynamics in
Rollin's work is in Fascination. There Marc, the robber who betrayed
his friends, clings to the symbols of male strength: his gun, his
will, his sexual dominance. Yet from the moment he encounters
Elisabeth and Eva he is at their mercy, whether he realizes it or not.

9) The Priority of Eroticism over Sex

One of the most common things you will read about Jean Rollin is also,
I believe, one of the most wrong. I don't know how many times I've
read critics, professional and amateur, asserting that Rollin was
obsessed with sex (usually given as somehow being proof of his
inadequacies as a director). This has always seemed to me to be the
most facile of observations. Yes, his films are replete with nudity
and with sex. But there are two considerations here. First, anyone
serious about understanding Rollin's work needs to take into account
the demands of the production environment in which Rollin worked.
Rollin frequently had to promise a certain amount of sex to get
funding for his films, and often (as in the case of Night of the
) faced a continual struggle to retain his vision against
producers who would be more satisfied with a simple porn loop. No,
the sex scenes in Rollin's work are frequently perfunctory and rarely
possess the magic of his best moments. Second, is narrative context.
Rather than the sex act, I think it is eroticism that fascinated him
-- the aesthetics of desire. Just as the vampires that run rampant
through his films are defined by their hunger, sex in a Rollin film is
best when it's a desire unfulfilled. Many of the most striking images
in his filmography are deeply erotic but removed from an explicitly
sexual context: the iconic image of Brigitte Lahaie barely robed as
she wields a scythe in Fascination, Sandra Julien emerging from the
clock in Shiver of the Vampires, Françoise Pascal transformed by her
experience on the beach at Dieppe in The Iron Rose. In all three
cases conventional sexual dynamics and relationships are an obstacle
that has to be overcome before the true eroticism emerges.

10) The Value of Collaboration

For all that this list has focused on the man himself as the driving
force behind his films, the final theme I want to highlight is the
beauty and power that comes from collaboration with like-minded
friends. Rollin had an eye for beauty and a powerful imagination, but
his films would not have been the impressive body of work without the
host of tremendous talents he surrounded himself: the Castel twins,
Brigitte Lahaie, Philippe d'Aram, Jean-Jacques Renon, Willy Braque,
Natalie Perrey -- these are just some of the many frequent
collaborators who brought out the best in Rollin and did their best
work at his direction. In the 1980's financial problems drove Rollin
to prose rather than cinema as the outlet for his creative energies.
Undoubtedly the lack of constraints freed his imagination in a way
that it never had been before. Yet despite his success in this
endeavor he returned to film, even facing new limitations he continued
to make films right up to his final years. Why? Surely part of the
reason was the pleasure of working with others, seeing his imagination
reflected and transformed by the ideas of his companions. Why else
make a film like Night of the Clocks which, in addition to being a
meditation on his own mortality, was a joyful tribute to all the
people he'd worked with and the ways in which they continued to haunt
his imagination -- and ours.

Thanks again Daniel!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Jean Rollin Top-Ten List by Sascha Kämpf

We have our first winner in the Jean Rollin Personal Top-Ten Challenge!  This is exactly the kind of personal post with notes that I was hoping to receive and I really appreciate the contribution.  Congratulations to Sascha Kämpf and keep those entries coming as there are still three prizes remaining.

1) Grapes of Death
This must be my Top 1 because it was my first ever Rollin Film and made me a massive Fan of Jean Rollin.
And the image of Brigitte Lahaie in the nude has burned itself into my Iris forever ^^.
This brings me to my No. 2)

2) Brigitte Lahaie
Without Rollin Lahaie - I guess - would never have made it to "Mainstream" and here Presence has massively
attributed to Movies like Grapes of Death, Fascination or Franco's Faceless

3) Moteur coupez
This is my Top3 because I ordered this book from a small Store in Paris from a Guy who spoke enough english (since I
do not speak french) and I wanted this Limited Edition because it came with an autograph of JR an the Night of the Clocks DVD

4) Ecrits complets : Volume 1
I ordered this book from the same Bookstore in Paris - again Limited to 150 Copies with the DVD of Le masque de la Méduse.
Since - according to my knowledge - this movie has not yet been officially released on DVD I am one of the very few people who
has the DVD of it.

5) Lips of Blood
Because this movie touched me in a way that only a few movies ever did. It is utterly beautiful and stunning. I will never forget the
day I found the Encore-Box-Set. I was so happy I almost cried. Lips of Blood is and will always be my favourite Rollin Movie.

6) Fascination
Because this Movie is Eye Candy, visually absolutely stunning. The Setting is incredible. Lahaie unbelievable and the Score of Philippe d' Aram is the best
score of all of Rollin's Movies.

7) Philippe d' Aram
His Music fits absolutely perfect into Rollin's Movies & World. It's unique und "Cinema for the Ears"-

8) The Films of Jean Rollin
Because I wanted this CD forever and was looking for it for years until I finally managed to buy a it new at a reasonable price on Ebay.
What can I say? It's limited, out of print, the music is wonderful and I am happy I finally found the CD.

9) The Shiver of the Vampires
Because of it's Psychedlic Look and the strange but somehow fitting Music, the setting, Dominique and the two Vampires + one of the Castel-Twins.
What else do you need to but it on a Top10 List :)

10) Jean Rollin:  Virgins and Vampires
Because this Book (+CD) was hard to find. It has a lot of interesting Articles and I leaf through it quite often. Since I love Rollin it's hard to find
some rare Stuff like this Book. And since I was happy when it finally found it's way to my Letterbox it has well deserved to be on my Top10 list.

Thanks again Sascha!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

'Better Watch the Arts'

It was the ‘zinger’ that everyone was talking about today. Mitt Romney’s clearly scripted putdown to moderator Jim Lehrer, “I’m sorry Jim. I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m gonna stop other things. I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too…but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.” served as a clear reminder that the majority of  the modern Republican Party, and New Conservative Movement, not only doesn't value the arts but finds it, and our artists, totally insignificant.   

If elected Mitt Romney will do everything he can do to gut our government supported art programs. He’s promised to stop funding for PBS, NPR, The National Endowment for the Arts and others while limiting what we can watch in the privacy of our own homes. I am sure there are artists out there who support the likes of Romney…my only question would be why?

Romney’s correlation of Big Bird with PBS, an important organization with such an inspiring and rich legacy, shows his utter disdain for the arts, artists and creative expression. Romney, and many of his constituents, simply doesn’t understand how necessary the arts are to our country’s past, present and future. The idea of giving relatively minor funding to organizations that can ultimately change lives, and offer spiritual healing, when they could be putting more and more cash into an already bloated defense budget, a useless drug war and into their own already stuffed pockets is totally foreign to them.

I don’t usually bring politics into the mix here at Moon in the Gutter but I am angry. I’m angry that so many people are blindly supporting a man looking to shut the lights out on groups that have helped given a voice to so many of our greatest artists…voices that might otherwise had never been heard. I’m angry that so many people are blindly supporting a man who wants to monitor what we can and can’t watch (and would want to take the livelihood away from many of our most daring artists and provocateurs). I’m angry that so many people around me want to live in this white fantasy world that never existed….Mitt Romney’s idea of America isn’t my country and his position on everything from defunding valuable arts programs to upholding ridiculously antiquated anti-obscenity laws are just two of the reasons I feel like a stranger in a strange land these days. After all, Mitt Romney is all but guaranteed to win my state.

President Obama really dropped the ball in last night’s debate and it was disheartening watching him let Romney’s version of the facts run riot. I can only hope the upcoming debates find the President in a more prepared and fighting mood, as I now getting more and more nervous about the outcome of the upcoming election. I’m sure I might lose some readers with this post but frankly I am more concerned about the rights of African Americans, Homosexuals and women that are going to be set back by decades, if Mitt Romney wins, and I am worried about the great works of art, and artists, we won’t discover when he shuts the doors on so many of our most valuable government funded organizations.

So if you are an artist on the fence about voting please don’t be…take a moment on November 6th and cast a vote against Mitt Romney. History has taught us time and time again that we need to particularly beware of political movements and voices that target the arts and the freedom of creative expression. Now more than ever we need to, as John Cale so eloquently put it in his tribute to Rene Magritte, ‘watch the arts’ and watch out for them.

-Jeremy Richey, 2012- 

Another Fascination Giveaway: The Personal Top-Ten Challenge

Greetings all. I have a few more Jean Rollin related goodies that I am looking to giveaway to four lucky winners. I thought instead of doing another trivia related challenge I would try and think a bit more outside the box. So, what I am looking for are some Jean Rollin Top-Ten lists that I can share here at Fascination.

The rules for the challenge are simple. Come up with a Rollin related list (with notes please).  If you are one of the first four folks who email me ( a list I will send you a free prize! You can also get some free publicity for your own blog or site if you have one as I will, of course, be supplying a link back to your site with your list. Be creative with your list as you like (favorite films, greatest characters, best performances, coolest soundtracks etc). Just make sure it is Rollin related and that it has some brief notes (or an introduction will suffice). Readers who send
just a list won't be eligible for the prizes (although I will still post them and link back to you).

Okay, hopefully the rules are clear and now here are the prizes!

The reader who gets their list submitted first will get a sealed copy of the new Kino Redemption Living Dead Girl Blu-ray!

The person who gets me that second entry will get a sealed vinyl copy of the Finders Keepers Requiem for a Vampire soundtrack!

The next two folks will get a limited edition poster advertising the recent Triskel ChristChurch Jean Rollin film fest!

Any lists that come after the first four will still be shared here although only the first four will receive prizes. Okay, I hope these rules are clear so get to compiling and writing and I will get the packages ready to ship! All the best of luck and I can't wait to see, and post, your lists!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October is a Velvet Underground Dream Month

Hopefully everyone reading has heard about the massive six-disc box set reissue of the Velvet Underground's monumental first album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, which is arriving just before Halloween at the end of the month.  Here are the jaw-dropping specs for those who haven't already seen them:

Disc 1 - The Velvet Underground & Nico (stereo version newly remastered, plus alternate versions)
Disc 2 - The Velvet Underground & Nico (mono version newly remastered, plus singles)
Disc 3 - Nico: Chelsea Girl (newly remastered)
Disc 4 - Scepter Studios Sessions (previously released as a bootleg) and the Factory Rehearsals (January 3, 1966, previously unreleased)
Disc 5 - Live At Valleydale Ballroom, Columbus, Ohio, November 4, 1966 (previously unreleased)
Disc 6 - Live At Valleydale Ballroom, Columbus, Ohio, November 4, 1966 (previously unreleased)

While many of us have much of this material in bootleg form, finally having an official release of all this material in one place is really, really special.

There is also a box coming from Sundazed at the end of October entitled The Verve/MGM Albums and man does it look beautiful.  Here's a description from the press release for this vinyl collection:

"With tremendous pride, Sundazed presents The Velvet Underground: The MGM/Verve Albums. This beautiful, deluxe boxed set gathers the rare mono versions of the band s first three studio albums along with the superior mono version of Nico s Chelsea Girl and a definitive edition of the band s unfinished fourth album! Sourced from the original Verve/MGM analog reels and mastered by Bob Irwin, this collection is an essential purchase for the discerning vinyl devotee. For all tomorrow s parties, this is your soundtrack.
The ultimate collection of underground rock s big bang!
Includes the rare mono versions of the VU s first three albums, the superior mono version of Nico s Chelsea Girl (featuring Reed, Cale & Morrison) and a definitive edition of the band s unfinished fourth album!
Housed in a beautiful deluxe box with all original LP artwork along with two bonus poster inserts!
Introduction by Rolling Stone senior editor/MOJO contributor David Fricke.
Sourced from the original Verve/MGM analog reels and mastered by Bob Irwin."

As if these boxes weren't enough to have VU fans celebrating everywhere we also have a brand new studio album from John Cale entitled Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood.  While physical copies don't land until next week the full album is already streaming at Spotify and it is, not surprisingly, another wonderful and captivating work from the great Cale.  Here's the first video from the album:

Last but not least is the upcoming double-disc special edition of Nico's mesmerizing The End, one of the most haunting and brilliant albums of the seventies.  The original album, featuring everyone from Cale to Eno to Manzanera, is remastered and is joined by an bonus disc of previously unreleased material, including some sure to be mindblowing John Peel material.  Here is the full track listing for that second disc:

 1."Secret Side" (John Peel Session February 20, 1971)
 2."We've Got The Gold" (John Peel Session - 3rd December 3, 1974)
 3."Janitor of Lunacy" (John Peel Session - 3rd December 3, 1974)
 4."You Forget to Answer" (John Peel Session - 3rd December 3, 1974)
 5."The End" (John Peel Session - December 3, 1974)
 6."Secret Side" (Old Grey Whistle Test - February 7, 1975)
 7."Valley of the Kings" (Old Grey Whistle Test - February 7, 1975)
 8."Das Lied Der Deutschen June 1, 1974"
 9."The End" -(from June 1, 1974)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First-Time Viewings (August and September, 2011)

  • Chambre Jaune (Short) ***
  • Cold Comfort Farm *****
  • Dawn of an Evil Millennium **
  • Doin' Time in Times Square (Short) ****
  • Doldrums (Short) ****
  • Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen **1/2
  • Elles ****
  • Fat Girl ****1/2
  • Frame 113 ***
  • Headshot ****
  • Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow ****1/2
  • In Absentia (Short) ****
  • In the City of Sylvia ****1/2
  • Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany *****
  • Kubrick's Odyssey ***1/2
  • Light is Calling (Short) ****
  • Looking for Lenny ****
  • Muhammad and Larry *****
  • Naked Massacre ***
  • Oppai Chanbara: Striptease Samurai Squad **1/2
  • Outer Space (Short) *****
  • Quarantine 2: Terminal *1/2
  • REC ****
  • Removed (Short) ***
  • Rezervoir Doggs (2011) ***
  • Sodom and Gomorrah, New York 10036 (Short) ****
  • Stripped Naked ***
  • Submarine **1/2
  • The Caller ***
  • The Change Up ***
  • The Dead Outside ***
  • The Ossuary (Short) ***
  • The Snowtown Murders **1/2
  • The Stuff ****
  • Thirst (1979) ****
  • Tucker & Dale vs Evil ****1/2
  • Vito *****
  • Water Wrackets (Short) **1/2
  • Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon *****

Moon in the Gutter (Month By Month)

BLOG CREATED, EDITED and WRITTEN BY JEREMY RICHEY: Began in DEC 2006. The written content of all posts (excepting quotes from reviews, books, other publications) COPYRIGHT JEREMY RICHEY.