Recent Posts from my Official Site

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Complete Henry Paris

When it comes to the films of Radley Metzger, I have always worn my heart on my sleeve.  I adore the man, I love his films...I love everything about them and think that they are among the finest and most important post-war works from any American filmmaker. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DistribPix unleash the long awaited William Lustig 'Billy Bagg' Special Edition!!!

Before he electrified audiences with his legendary Maniac, filmmaker William Lustig shot two underground New York classics under the name Billy Bagg, The Violation of Claudia and
Hot Honey.  These long hard to see features, starring the likes of Sharon Mitchell, Jamie Gillis, Long Jeanne Silver and Serena, have been finally restored by the great folks at Distribpix and they are getting ready to come out on DVD via a brand new special edition set.  Special features include trailers, slideshows and best of all new audio commentaries with Lustig and Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn!  This collection promises to be one of the essential releases of the year.  More info can be found here

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"This One Goes to Eleven!" Mike 'McBeardo' McPadden's HEAVY METAL MOVIES

An incredibly entertaining, and compulsively readable, book from journalist and former Hustler editor Mike "McBeardo" McPadden, Heavy Metal Movies is the newest epic tome from the great folks over at Bazillion Points and it is another knock out of the park. Coming in at well over 500 pages, this massive tribute to the sometimes surprising connections between films and heavy metal comes with the fitting tagline, "Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos & Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear-And Eye-Ripping Big-Scream Films Ever!"  and it more than lives up to that ambitious promise. Brooklyn born McPadden worked for years researching and writing Heavy Metal Movies and the effort paid off as this is one of the most entertaining and exhaustive books on film in recent memory. Far from an overtly serious or critical guide, Heavy Metal Movies is a wonderfully humorous and witty work that is as engaging as many of the wild cult and exploitation films it covers. While McPadden's style is breezy and personal, make no mistake this is a guy who knows his stuff and many of the connections he makes in Heavy Metal Movies are both eye-opening and unexpected. Featuring hundreds of black white images, with a very striking color section, the layout of Heavy Metal Movies is a simple, but effective, A to Z listing of the 666 films that in some way or another have a connection to Heavy Metal music. The connections range from the very subtle to extremely strong and while some of McPadden's choices might seem odd his reasoning is almost always sound. While the tales of musicians who have been influenced by specific films are fascinating what I really like about the book is McPadden's way of making the reader perhaps look at a film they thought they knew as well as possible in a slightly different way. That said, the one flaw the book has is that it is at times a bit too far reaching on certain titles (should something like Jawbreaker be included just because "Rock Me Like a Hurricane" is featured) but that's a very small complaint as this is a very pleasing book that a lot of obvious love and work was put into. Heavy Metal Movies also includes a lively introduction by McPadden, Alice Cooper discussing his favorite 'Metal' film and some audacious lists focusing on things like the most Metal moments in movie history. Order it directly from Bazillion Points and get a limited color sewn patch (that you can slap on your cut off jean jacket next to your Iron Maiden and Angel Witch logos). Copies can also be obtained from Amazon and other online retailers.

-Jeremy Richey, 2014-

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Destroyed Girl: Alain Robbe-Grillet's EDEN AND AFTER

After years of being passed thru the hands of collectors via poor quality grey-market copies, one of the seventies greatest films has finally been granted an official home video release in The United States. Alain Robbe-Grillet's fourth feature film as a director, and his first color production, "L'éden et après" (Eden and After) can now finally be enjoyed by American audiences via a striking Blu-ray from Redemption and Kino Lorber. Mastered from the original 35mm elements, Redemption's new Blu-ray is absolutely dazzling and Robbe-Grillet's astonishing and bold use of color is serviced perfectly on this important new release. Robbe-Grillet admits on the thirty minute interview that graces the disc's supplements that he didn't have a script going into production of Eden and After and, astonishingly, the brilliant lead actress Catherine Jourdan was only brought on board three days before shooting began. The late Robbe-Grillet is still clearly haunted by the memory of the mesmerizing Jourdan during the interview and credits not only the success of the film to her but also states that the final film ultimately took its shockingly symmetrical shape around her. Born in France just a couple of weeks before Halloween in 1948, Catherine Jourdan was one of the most beguiling and puzzling performers who came out of the French New Wave. The great Jean-Pierre Melville was the first filmmaker to capture her haunting and unforgettable face in his 1967 masterpiece Le Samourai but appearing in such an auspicious debut did little to forward her career. Jourdan appeared in a few features throughout the late sixties but her film career was all but stagnate by the time she received a call from Alain Robbe-Grillet (who recalled a night dancing with her at a Parisian nightclub a year or so before) to appear in the new color production he was mounting. It is impossible to discuss Eden and After without focusing on the tour de force performance by the elusive Catherine Jourdan. She controls nearly every frame of the film and Robbe-Grillet's camera is clearly in love with her. Watching her performance today it is both baffling and troubling that she didn't have greater success after its release. While she appeared in a number of productions after Eden and After before her death in 2011, Jourdan was never again granted to the kind of role Robbe-Grillet granted her.
 Eden and After is the most 'painterly' film in Robbe-Grillet's iconic body of work. He admitted as much to Anthony Fragola in The Erotic Dream Machine by stating that, "there exist many references to painting in Eden and After-in particular a live reproduction of a famous painting by Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No 2." Duchamp, doppelgangers and an unnerving mathematical sense of structure guide Eden and After. Inspired by the twelve-tone music of Schoenberg, Robbe-Grillet used a chart her created of, "twelve recognizable themes", instead of any kind of traditional script to create Eden and After. As in all of his films Robbe-Grillet delights in destroying any sense of traditional narrative structure in Eden and After and it stands as one of the most authentically dreamy and hallucinatory films ever made...the viewer slips down the druggy rabbit hole with Jourdan and you will either want to escape or never emerge again.
 A lot of credit for Eden and After's success has to go to cinematographer Igor Luther, the great Czech artist who had previously worked with Robbe-Grillet on The Man Who Lies. Luther's use of color in Eden and After is never less than jaw dropping and the color red has never been quite as seductive and sinister as it is here. Robbe-Grillet told Fragola that he loved Red because it, "is the color of blood", and, "all my films shot in color involve it is the color red that interests me."
 Eden and After, and its companion film N Took the Dice (also included on Redemption's new disc) stand as bold reminders to cinema's great visual power. Watching the film on this new disc reminded me of just how depressingly unimaginative most modern films are. Robbe-Grillet's films are a gob in the face to anyone who questions films place as great art. Pretentious? Absolutely and in the best possible way.
Redemption's new Blu-ray is light on extras and is missing the Tim Lucas commentary track and Catherine Robbe-Grillet found on the British release but having the stunning HD print alone is well worth the price of the disc. Eden and After stands as not only one of the great modern films but perhaps the most stunning example of Robbe-Grillet's unbelievably distinctive cinematic vision. It also stands as a great tribute to a young woman who should have had a more successful career as an actress. As Robbe-Grillet stated in The Erotic Dream Machine, Eden and After is ultimately the "story" of Catherine Jourdan, and what a endearing and profound tale that turned out to be.

 -Jeremy Richey, 2014-

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dog Will Hunt: Tobe Hooper's THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2

There is something downright heroic about Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Almost three decades after its initial release, Hooper’s daring follow-up to one of the most iconic American Independent films ever made can now be viewed as one of the bravest, most unconventional and most confrontational works of the eighties. A wildly subversive blood-soaked black comedy that lays to waste the conservative landscape of the Reagan fueled era, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a fully loaded work fueled by the visions of a combative and iconoclastic filmmaker, with something to prove, and an undervalued writer looking to chop away at what had become of the American dream. Tobe Hooper should have been riding high by the mid-eighties. After all he had just achieved the biggest commercial and critical success of his career just a few years earlier with 1982’s Poltergeist but that success had been undercut by widespread rumors that it was more producer Steven Spielberg’s work than Hoopers. Struggling to regain his footing Hooper delivered two high-profile failures, that have since become fan favorites, Lifeforce (1985) and Invaders from Mars (1986) before he finally decided it was time to revisit the legendary film that had put him on the map in the first place. The key to understanding The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 in relation to its more acclaimed predecessor is to look at the very different times in which they were made. Even though just over a decade separated Hooper’s films the cinematic and social landscape had changed dramatically between 1974 and 1986. The audiences that had flocked to the first Chainsaw were still reeling from Watergate, Vietnam and the crushing realization that the sixties were indeed over. In contrast by the mid-eighties it was commerce and consumption that was on most Americans minds and film audiences were no longer interested in supporting the paranoid fueled individualistic works of the seventies. For a nonconformist like Tobe Hooper, this must have been a most bitter pill to swallow. The man who had received worldwide acclaim just a couple of years before the premiere of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, for his award winning screenplay for Wim Wenders’ mesmerizing art-house classic Paris, Texas (1984) might have seemed an odd-choice for Hooper’s misunderstood sequel, but renegade L.M. Kit Carson was the absolute perfect pick. Like Hooper, Carson hailed from Texas and, like Hooper, he had come of age in the liberal freewheeling era of the seventies. The two were actually a match made in heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view). Art-house meets the Grindhouse…and, as driven by Carson’s words and Hooper’s direction, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 would indeed turn out to the kind of oddball avant-garde exploitation film that few creative minds could even hope to concoct. Of course they had to go through hell to get their peculiar vision on the screen; battling every step of the way with a company who pulled the financial rug out from their feet before the cameras had even rolled. The entire behind the scenes struggles and turmoil are documented on Arrow’s astonishing new limited edition box-set dedicated to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Like many of cinema’s great films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a compromised work but Hooper and his tireless crew worked through the compromises and delivered just the kind of searing and unhinged picture they promised.
The majority of sequels we see today crowding our local corporate owned megaplexes are essentially just remakes or retreads of the films that they are following. It has kind of become the norm to accept this and it is that attitude that still makes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 feel so downright revolutionary. Audiences expecting the chilling coldness of the first film will be shocked by the anarchic humor on display in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. It is an extremely funny film, thanks mostly to Jones multi-layered script and the demonic performances of both Dennis Hopper and especially Bill Moseley. Far from being just a ferociously funny and gory freak show though, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 also works as a frenetic fright film, even though it wisely never attempts to reach the terrifying highs of its predecessor. If there is a clear thematic connection between the first Chainsaw and the second it can be found in Hooper’s decision to once again find a strong leading lady to guide the final act. Just as Marilyn Burns’ petrifying turn in the original helped give that extraordinary film the heart and soul it has the vastly underrated Caroline Williams, as the feisty D.J. Stretch, does the same for Hooper’s unexpected sequel. Williams is terrific in the film and gives a visceral, and at times oddly moving, performance that is the equal of Burns more well-known work.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was slapped with an X rating when it his theaters in 1986 due to its violent content and generally chaotic nature. Cannon films had no idea what to do with it and both critical and fan reaction was wildly mixed. The film would quickly become a fan favorite once it hit video and by the time MGM released their own special edition DVD a decade or so ago it had become a bona-fide cult classic to many, although it has never garnered the same amount of acclaim and attention that the first film has. Arrow’s new collection is tremendous and it ports over all of the excellent material from MGM’s disc. There is new content as well including an excellent retrospective documentary featuring “Still Feelin’ the Buzz” and, best of all, a bonus disc entitled The Early Films of Tobe Hooper, which features 2 incredibly rare late sixties works from the man (The Heisters and Eggshells) with an additional commentary and a fascinating interview. It is a truly terrific collection dedicated to a very valuable film and filmmaker. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 will never be granted the classic status of its more famous parent and, perhaps, that is fitting since the film was a bit like the unruly child few wanted. Hooper’s ferocious follow-up film had the misfortune (or perhaps fortune) to land in the cinematic dustbin that was American film in 1986 and many just won’t be able to separate it from a period when most of the renegade filmmakers of the seventies had either called it quits or sold out completely. Tobe Hooper would never again attempt to make something as wildly ambitious or challenging as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 but, ultimately, he didn’t have to because he had already given American cinema not one but two of its most defining films. Jeremy Richey, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Ms.45 Soundtrack is Now Available to Pre-Order from Death Waltz Recordings

Fans of Zoe Tamerlis Lund, Joe Delia and Abel Ferrara have certainly had to wait a very long time for the soundtrack release to their mesmerizing masterpiece Ms.45 but the wait I finally over.  Delia's incredible score is now available to pre-order over at Death Waltz Recordings and Light in the Attic via a limited to 500 copies Vinyl edition.  Hardcore fans will want to order directly from Death Waltz because they will get an instant free download of the score and over an hour of unused music from the film!   I am listening to it right now and to say it was worth the wait is an is absolutely incredible. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Europe Endless: Alain Robbe-Grillet's TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS (1967)

Only available for years via dreadful quality bootlegs, the classic films of the legendary Alain Robbe-Grillet are finally getting ready to land on American shores on Blu-Ray and DVD courtesy of Redemption's new The Cinema of Alain Robbe-Grillet collection.  The first two releases in the series, Trans-Europ-Express (1967) and Successive Slidings of Pleasure (1974) come out in early February and both are nothing short of spectacular.  
It is fitting that Redemption's first Robbe-Grillet release is his groundbreaking Trans-Europ-Express, a miraculous work that stands as a perfect gateway into the French renegade's most distinctive cinematic world.  Alternately playful and subversive, Trans-Europ-Express is still an astonishingly forward thinking work detailing the complex, and often surprising, relationship between an author and his characters.  Starring New-Wave icons Jean-Louis Trintignant and Marie-France Pisier as two characters being constructed right before our very eyes by Robbe-Grillet and his wife Catherine (both appearing as themselves), Trans-Europ-Express perhaps feels even more adventurous today than it did in the more openly confrontational and experimental sixties. 
Like many of Robbe-Grillet's early literary works, Trans-Europ-Express manages to avoid the pretentious pitfalls of most deliberately self-reflexive post-modern works by maintaining a sharp wit throughout.  While Trans-Europ-Express is rightfully grouped among the most serious European Art Films of the sixties it is also one of the funniest and Robbe-Grillet's delightful willingness to play with pre-conceptions of character, story and the filmmaking process is incredibly refreshing.  It's among just a handful of films that makes you questions cinema's role while enhancing your enjoyment. 
Trans-Europ-Express was just the second film Robbe-Grillet had made as a director (with the 1963's mesmerizing The Immortal standing as the first) but he already had mastered the difficult task of translating many of the questions his novels posed into answers on the screen.  As a filmmaker, Robbe-Grillet's daring framing skills and his dazzling use of space were already apparent in Trans-Europ-Express and in cinematographer Willy Kurant he found the perfect artist to help bring his black and white world of eroticism and intrigue to life, although the two wouldn't work together again. 
A lot of the credit for how successful Trans-Europ-Express is as an incredibly entertaining film, and not just an odd experiment, has to go to Robbe-Grillet's incredible stars, Trintignant and Pisier, whom both dive into this uncompromising material with an absolute gleefulness.  Many actors would have shied away from some of the satirical self-poking that these two iconic stars are asked to perform in Trans-Europ-Express so it is to their credit, and the film's benefit, that they were so game. 
Redemption's Blu-ray of Trans-Europ-Express is a thing of beauty.  Mastered in HD from the original 35mm elements Kino and Redemption's team wisely didn't overly digitize this print and the silver grain necessary for its glorious black and white photography is still in place.  It's truly lovely to finally see this film looking and sounding like this.  Extras include a thirty minute chat with the much-missed Robbe-Grillet and a trailer reel.  Sadly, the Tim Lucas commentary tracks that grace the international releases are absent but, otherwise, this is an absolutely essential release in every way.  Pre-order it at Amazon

-Jeremy Richey, 2014-

Monday, January 20, 2014

Celia Rowlson-Hall to Appear on the Cover of ART DECADES (Issue 1)

When I decided this past October that I finally wanted to launch my first publication one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted the cover to be something incredibly special.  Even before I came up with a name for the publication, ART DECADES, I knew that my first and only choice for our first cover star was a young filmmaker whose work has meant oh so much to me the past couple of years.  So, I am incredibly excited to announce that the genius New York based actor, choreographer, director and writer Celia Rowlson-Hall will be appearing on the cover of Issue 1 of ART DECADES in a photo taken specifically for the publication.  I will be writing a long piece on Celia's remarkable work and I am beyond honored and thrilled that she agreed to appear on the cover.  I cannot possibly began to express my eternal gratitude. 
More information on ART DECADES is coming soon including a look at some of the contributors and more.  Also keep a lookout for our IndieGoGo Crowdfunding campaign which will be starting in the next week or so. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

TEARS OF GOD, THE BOOK and VIDEO WATCHDOG Crowdfunding Campaign Videos

These three very valuable projects are in need of funding over at Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Take a few moments to watch, pledge and/or help spread the word if you can. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coming in November of 2014: The First Issue of Our New Publication

While a great many friends over at Facebook are already aware of this, I am very pleased to officially announce here that my wife Kelley and I will be releasing the first issue of our first printed publication in the late part of 2014.  This, as of yet, untitled publication is still in the earliest stages of planning but Kelley and I are both extremely excited about it and we are going to make it something truly special.  This will be a step by step process and will be a true learning experience for both Kelley and I, as we have never attempted anything like this.
While the details are being ironed out I can tell you that this will be a print only arts based publication allowing writers to write on topics of choosing.  Obviously the journal will consist of a lot of writing on film but it will also incorporate literature, music, photography and so on.  This will not be a 'review-based' publication (although certainly critiques can occur), but rather a platform for all types of writers to really flex their creative muscles and have a chance to get pieces in print that otherwise they might not be able to. 
Throughout 2014 I will mostly be utilizing Moon in the Gutter as an information base on the first issues progress.  There will be other posts as well, and eventually a website will be set up for the journal, but I do want to share this journey with any who might be curious to follow.  Here is an outline of our plan:

1.  Gather together a number of our favorite writers and ask if they would be interested in submitting for the first issue.  I am very excited to say that we have gathered close to twenty fabulous writers already with more coming on board as I type this. If you are interested in possibly submitting, please contact me at Facebook or via my Gmail. I will be introducing the writers here at Moon in the Gutter in the upcoming months as well as unveiling our fabulous first cover star!

2.  Since this is a self-financed venture, Kelley and I will need some help regarding the software and a few other start-up expenses so we will be doing a Crowdfunding drive, probably via IndieGoGo.  We are planning on launching this probably around late January and rewards will be offered.  This is, obviously, a pivotal step, so any help (whether it be a donation or just spreading the word will be greatly appreciated). 

3.  As soon as we have the software in place and the pieces start coming in Kelley and I will spend the better part of 2014 putting the first issue together.  Since, as I said, this is a totally new thing for us it will take time.  Thankfully we already have a friend who is familiar with the program we are planning on using (AdobeInDesign) but we would, of course, love to hear from anyone who might have any advice, tips, or suggestions throughout the process. 

4.  PUBLISH!!!  Initially Kelley and I had planned on printing this ourselves in a limited edition run and handling the shipping.  We finally decided that the cost and time would be too much for us to handle so I am taking the lead from my good friends over at Weng's Chop and am planning on using Amazon's print on demand service CreateSpace.  This will allow the journal to be sold at Amazon and Barnes and Noble's sites, as well as our own site, and it doesn't have to be a limited run.  We are looking at the first issue as a break even proposition at best and we will try to make it as affordable as possible, while making sure that is as colorful and aesthetically pleasing as we are planning. 

So that about does it.  This has been a dream of mine since I first cracked open an issue of Video Watchdog in the early nineties and I promise we are going to deliver something very special.  Hell, with the writers I have on board we could do an old school Xerox pamphlet and it would still be awesome but we are going to give you more than that.  Wish us luck and enjoy, 'the first song on our new album.'

-Jeremy and Kelley Richey, 2014-

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.