Child Abuse: The Band


Sometimes, band names are misleading. Could it be that the music crafted by this studiously proggy/jazzy/metallic post-rock power trio from New York City is actually clean, wholesome fun for the whole family?

No. Oh, good heavens! Just…. no. Protect your young, impressionable offspring from Child Abuse! At the very least, make sure they wear earplugs / listen at a responsible volume. Tut tut! Flavorpill described the band thusly:

“Child Abuse is the logical result of an entire generation raised by Nintendo and overbearing, Tipper Gore-admiring moms. “Reading is for people who don’t vomit, and Morbid Angel lives in my closet next to my porno!” the band seems to shout with its avalanche of Casio squeals, death-metal percussion, and forgot-to-take-my-Thorazine howls.”

Reviewer Steve Bunche called the hijinks of bassist Tim Dahl, drummer Oran Canfield, and keyboardist/vocalist Luke Calzonetti “the aural equivalent of a root canal.” The power trio’s 2010 album Cut and Run was met with much uncomfortable squirming and gruffly befuddled approval by independent press. It’s a sturdy, bristling sonic assault.

All that said, the following music video for “Cut and Run” might very well be one of the most mesmerizing, unsettling, strangely beautiful ephemera collages you’ve seen in a while:

(Via Charles Peirce.)

PS: Child Abuse (the band) does NOT condone child abuse (the act).

The Friday Afternoon Movie: The Devil’s Backbone

Today The FAM presents 2001’s The Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del diablo), directed by Guillermo del Toro and produced by Pedro Almodóvar. Set in 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, it tells the story of Carlos, a young boy recently deposited at an orphanage until, he is told, his father, a Republican war hero, returns. Unbeknownst to young Carlos, Franco’s Nationalists have a distinct upper-hand and his father is dead, making his stay permanent. The orphanage is run by the kindly Dr. Casares and and a curt headmistress, Carmen.

Carlos doesn’t take to the orphanage particularly well and while he makes a few friends — not the least of which is Jaime, the orphanage’s bully — all is not well. There is still the matter of Jacinto, the groundskeeper, I violent, brooding man who was an orphan himself, who is intent on stealing the gold rumored to be stored somewhere in the complex. Of course, there is also the ghost of the boy Santi, who disappeared mysteriously on the night the orphanage was bombed, and now haunts the orphanage and who tells Carlos “Many of you will die”. What happened to him and how is it connected to the cistern in the cellar?

His third film, The Devil’s Backbone features the same juxtaposition of childish innocence and dread found in his other non-Hollywood efforts: 1993’s Cronos and 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth; that latter film continuing the exploration of many of the themes found here. It’s a look at how the unblemished mind confronts the horrors of both reality and the supernatural — a Kids Save the Day movie in the Spielberg vein, forced through a horror movie meat grinder, though del Toro perhaps treats his young characters with a bit more respect.

The horror here is handled deftly as well, the ghost is more often heard than seen outright, softly, mournfully moaning its discontent, keeping it from veering into the territory of silliness that many films in the genre are wont to do. And war, always war. Its looming specter, too, haunts this film as well as Pan’s Labyrinth. War is the real evil in these films, man the main antagonist. Even the depths of del Toro’s imagination cannot eclipse their evil.

Mer’s Haunted House Music Score for “Empty Rooms”

Empty Rooms Trailer by adamlamas

“Empty Rooms” is an independent thriller directed by Adam Lamas in which a single mother and her non-verbal autistic son are terrorized by mysterious intruders after they move into a new house.

In addition to being Lamas’ first official feature-length film, it’s also a another first for our own Meredith Yayanos: her first feature-length film score. Complete with strings, theremin, voice, synths, raw percussive elements and piano, the score is at turns terrifying, sad, atmospheric and eerie. You can hear some of the score in the trailer above, and listen to several low-res, unmixed clips of the score on Mer’s Soundcloud. Appropriately enough, Mer recorded the score over the course of “several cold, dark, occasionally terrifying months” last year, hunched over her laptop, alone in a large, unheated house in the middle of nowhere. Engineered in Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound for the film, the score is “OFF THE HOOK!!!” according to the director.

In addition to working on Coilhouse, Mer is currently in the studio finishing up an album as The Parlour Trick, her similarly spooky “haunted chamber music” project with multi-instrumentalist Dan Cantrell. As she tweeted four hours ago, “cheerfully trapped in tiny room w/cacophony of bowed glockenspiel, pump organ, chamber strings, bodhrán, grand piano, typewriter, celeste.” Sounds promising indeed. More news about The Parlour Trick in the months to come.

Photo by Audrey Penven.

“Going to the Store” (aka nnnnNNNNAAAAAA KILL IT WITH FIRE, Part XXVII)

via Whittles

You can thank David Lewandowski (lead animator on TRON: Legacy) for the nightmare juice. The Jean Jacques Perrey music makes it extra disturbing, capsule somehow.

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer

Today the FAM presents John McNaughton’s 1986 low budget cult classic Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Released in 1990 after years of battling with various censors over its content it is, perhaps, one of most effective horror movies of the past two decades, forgoing piles of gore for a documentarian approach to the genre.

The titular Henry, played by Michael Rooker, is a drifter, who just happens to leave a trail of bodies behind him. Indeed, the first thing we see is the body of a nude woman in a field, after which we see Henry as he goes about his day with scenes from other crime scenes interspersed throughout. It is only later, when our other two main characters show up, Becky (Tracy Arnold) who has left her husband to stay with her brother, the incredibly creepy Otis (Tom Towles) in Chicago, that we are formally introduced to Henry or, at least, the Henry that presents himself to the world.

Rooker’s performance here is excellent, displaying a strained awkwardness that serves as a mostly successful veneer for the terrifying person underneath. It’s a cover that completely disappears when he’s out looking for victims. Towles, for his part, manages to play a character who is actually creepier than the psychopath he is paired up with. Arnold may be the weakest link among the three. Her character is too direct, her dialog too on the nose, but there is just enough there to get the audience to care about her. Her penultimate scene in Otis’s apartment is completely expected and yet that makes it no less horrifying.

Made for a $110,000 in less than a month, Henry was inspired by real life killer Henry Lee Lucas who, at one time, was thought to be one of America’s most prolific serial killers. (It was later revealed that while Lucas had confessed to over 600 murders, most of them he could not have committed and was simply confessing to whatever cold case was put in front of him in exchange for improved accommodations in prison.) Interestingly, Henry’s story of his mother is surprisingly close to that of Lucas’s who also was a violent prostitute who often forced him to watch her while she had sex with clients. She would also make him wear girl’s clothing and dresses and his father actually did lose both his legs, after being struck by a freight train.

Due to the budget constraints, many of the actors were close friends of McNaughton. One of them, Mary Demas, appears as three different dead (or soon to be dead) people: the dead woman in the field, the dead woman in the bathroom, and one of the prostitutes Henry kills with Otis. The street scenes are devoid of extras as, again, there was no money to hire any, so the two men having an argument in front of the subway that Becky emerges from were not acting, they just refused to move. Rooker apparently stayed in character on and off set for the entire 28 days and was so unsettling to be around that his wife, after have found out she was pregnant, waited until after shooting had ended to tell him.

It’s a a tour de force of low-budget film-making. Shot in 16mm, it’s a film that feels strangely real. Watching Henry is like watching an unmarked video found along the road, evidence hastily disposed of. You are watching something you weren’t meant to see, and so are absorbed by it and, in some ways, complicit in the events that unfold. It almost feels like something you should turn in to the police.

It’s a sentiment very much echoed in the scene of Henry and Otis (having been taken under Henry’s wing) watching a video they shot (using a camcorder acquired earlier through less than legal means) of the pair during a home invasion in which they kill a man, woman, and their son. As the video ends, Otis hits rewind causing Henry to ask “What are you doin’?” To which Otis replies, simply “I want to see it again.” Watching it again he goes over the segment of himself assaulting the wife and mother frame by frame, as much an indictment of their voyeurism as ours.

Uncontacted Amazon Tribe Disappears

You may recall photos from February of this year, showing a previously uncontacted tribe in the rainforest of Brazil. Pretty amazing stuff. Tragically, it was announced earlier this week that the 200 members of this community have disappeared, under particularly terrifying circumstances. Brazilian officials are saying that the guard post meant to protect the tribe’s village was over-run by heavily armed men, thought to be drug traffickers, who now occupy the base and the area around where the village stood:

Fears are now mounting for the welfare of the Indians after workers from FUNAI (the government’s Indian Affairs Department) found one of the traffickers’ rucksacks with a broken arrow inside. A rapid survey by government officials has shown no trace of the Indians, who made worldwide headlines in February.

Police have reportedly found a package containing 20kg of cocaine nearby. It is feared the Envira River, where the post is located, has become an entry point into Brazil for cocaine smugglers from Peru.


Carlos Travassos, the head of the Brazilian government’s isolated Indians department, said today, ‘Arrows are like the identity card of uncontacted Indians. We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee. Now we have good proof. We are more worried than ever. This situation could be one of the biggest blows we have ever seen in the protection of uncontacted Indians in recent decades. It’s a catastrophe.’

Via Survival International : Gawker

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, by London-based art collective This Is It, at first seems like a bizarro children’s television from an alternate dimension. Looking at the modern, television landscape, however, it would seem that much of the programming for neonates is comprised of educational material wrapped in visuals that would make the Surrealists weep with joy. If anything, this is just taking the concept to its logical, if unsettling, conclusion.

Hello! I’m Shelley Duvall.

When the internet was created, those involved most likely imagined a vast network where ideas could be shared across great expanses. Where great minds could come together to work on the most fundamental questions of human existence. Instead, here’s a video of Shelley Duvall, star of The Shining, introducing herself in almost the exact same way twenty four times. It is both maddening and hypnotic. Gaze upon its banal majesty and weep for what might have been.

(Also, let me just say, that this is, perhaps, the most terrifying thing one could hear upon entering a graveyard.)

Dial-up Modem Sound Slowed Down 700% Using Paulstretch

Dial-up modem sound slowed 700% by Darkfalky, ampoule using PaulStretch. Eerie, sinister, incredibly beautiful.

via Ariana Osborne

Also see:

Who’s Afraid Of Mister Greedy?

Who’s Afraid Of Mr Greedy comes to us from the directorial team of Simon Boucachard, Jean Baptiste Cumont, Sylvain Fabre, Guillaume Fesquet, Adeline Grange, Maxime Mary and Julien Rossire, graduates of Gobelins, the French animation school. It tells the story of a gentleman looking for something stolen from him from the titular villain. It’s a simple premise, beautifully animated. I especially like the seeing-eye dog/child gag at the beginning.

Via The Fox Is Black