Paul Komoda’s King Thalidomidas

Artist Paul Komoda – whose Elephant Man sculpture, Syphilis lady bust, and ‘Blind Love’ illustration were previously featured on Coilhouse – recently sculpted King Thalidomidas, a new model resin kit available from Artist Proof Studio. King Thalidomidas is available for purchase, or you can enter in a contest to win this sculpture, or one of their many other gorgeously grotesque pieces, simply by commenting on the the Artist Proof blog. Details here.

A Little Night Music: Demdike Stare

Turn off all the lights, get under the covers, put on your best pair of headphones, and listen… if you dare:

Via Aaron Shinn (whose own fantastic work definitely deserves a Coilhouse writeup ASAP).

Demdike Stare is an occult-tinged music collaboration between Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty, two highly knowledgeable fellows from Manchester, each with a versatile background in DJing, record collecting and curating. Author Mike Powell’s review of Demdike Stare’s Triptych –one of the most interesting write-ups Pitchfork has posted recently– covers Whittaker’s and Canty’s work and history, both as a team, and separately. From that same review:

Demdike Stare is primarily a sample-based project, and “dark” is its organizing principle. Their logo is a skull, rose, and triangle; the cover of one of their EPs  is a visual riff on a Ouija board; and they’re named after a 17th-century witch– a quasi-gothic, English variation on the sci-fi and horror imagery that has saturated the American underground over the past couple of years. The tracks on Tryptych are droning and nightmarish: lots of close murmuring and distant wind, lots of groaning earth and quietly whining steam-powered machines, glassy techno keyboards and the buried wailing of undefined tribes. But like some drone (and most minimal techno) there’s usually a build or a climax, and one of the most consistently satisfying things about listening to Tryptych is that it takes music you might expect to be purely ambient and shapes it into something with a hump somewhere in the middle– something with a narrative to it.

Cover for Demdike Stare’s Forest of Evil EP. Buy their CDs and MP3s at Amazon or Insound.

There’s a captivating visual element to Demdike Stare as well– to accentuate their live shows, the band often projects footage lifted from a wide range of classic horror and giallo films, spaghetti westerns, and thrillers onto the wall behind them, then mixes live beats and samples into their tracks to match those visuals. Additionally, Demdike Stare’s listeners have come up with with several captivating fan videos, many of which are included in the above playlist [and are not entirely SFW, mind you], along with a great interview with Whittaker and Canty, for those interested in learning more about the team’s process. Or, if you’d prefer to keep things more mysterious, skip the interview, and just let yourself be swept away by the enigmatic loveliness of the music and presentation.

Previously on Coilhouse:

‘The most fiscally responsible vampire I’ve ever seen.’

Sure, most of us can wholeheartedly agree that FOX NEWS SUCKS. But credit must be given where it’s due: they handled their recent interview with a vampire scrappy, sharp-toothed home owner respectfully and professionally:

Via Eric Cheng, thanks!

While there’s no doubt that FOX aired this segment knowing full well it would go viral and bump their ratings, the story of homeowner Patrick Rogers turning the tables on a life-draining bank like Wells Fargo would be a joy to hear even if he wasn’t a darque and sultry creature of eternal night.

After the bank tried to bully Rogers into paying an outrageous insurance premium, the black-clad, fanged resident of Philadelphia, PA, found a little-known, 30 year-old law, and successfully foreclosed on them. Ha!

Trails Of Tarnation

Black Coffee: Chapter 1 of Trails of Tarnation from New Picture Agencies on Vimeo.

From Nicholas Gurewitch, cialis sale creator of The Perry Bible Fellowship comes Trails of Tarnation, recounting the travels and travails of Jeff and Derek. In this inaugural episode, entitled “Black Coffee”, Derek instructs Jeff on the proper way to brew that most holy of morning beverages with unintended consequences.

Hilum By Patrick Sims

What better day than Thursday for some marionette flavored nightmare fuel? Behold the mad weirdness of Patrick Sims and Les Antliaclastes’ Hilum. I’m at a loss to properly describe this one, but fortunately the London International Mime Festival website described it thus:

A micro comic-tragedy based on the cycles of the washing machine and set in the basement of a rundown museum of natural history. Orphaned and cut off from the ordered kingdom of curiosities upstairs, the cast of nursery rhyme characters, cartoon images, and mischievous urchins turn playtime into a theatre of cruelty. Whites mix with colours, delicates get hot washed, and a monstrous big toe devours holes in the socks.

So there is that. I’m not sure if that is really very helpful at all. Two minutes, really, is all you need to decide if this is up your alley or not.

Via Wurzeltod : The Medium Of…

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Let The Right One In

My apologies but I’m unable to embed today’s film. Above is the trailer. The playlist with the film is here.

The FAM is ever ephemeral, dear readers. It is the nature of finding films posted on the internet. Sooner or later they shall be found and, no doubt, taken down. That said this movie’s time may be shorter than some, so get it while it’s hot. Today the FAM presents 2008’s Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) the Swedish vampire masterpiece directed by Tomas Alfredson, based on the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist who also wrote the screenplay.

I’m posting this today mostly because I finally got around to reading the original novel so the details are still fresh in my mind and, thus, this will be more of an examination of some differences between the film and its source material (though by no means a thorough one.) For those who haven’t seen it, Let the Right One In takes place in 1982 and tells the story of 12 year old Oskar who lives with his mother Yvonne in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm. He is a shy, meek boy who is tormented at school by bullies. One night he meets a young girl on the playground by his building. Her name is Eli and she has moved into the apartment next to his with an older man, Håkan, who Oskar assumes is her father. Oskar will soon learn, as you no doubt guessed, that Eli is not who she seems.

Spoiler Warning: I usually don’t do these as I assume that most people realize that these posts are bite-sized analyses and expect spoilers. However, I will also being discussing the book in some detail, and the thought of ruining two forms of media for the unsuspecting reader makes me feel that a warning is necessary.

The Friday Afternoon Movie: The Lobotomist

Please pardon the brevity of today’s FAM write-up as its inept and cretinous editor has once again succumbed to is inability to efficiently manage his time, meaning that he now has an mountain of goose colons on his desk that require sorting and filing. Also, he needs to get a picture of Spiderman on his boss’s desk by the end of the day. This is not going to turn out well.

But you don’t come to the FAM for the verbiage, you come for the movie. Today’s film once again comes from PBS, this time from their American Experience series of documentaries. This particular episode is entitled The Lobotomist and details the rise and fall of Dr. Walter J. Freeman, who traveled the country in the 40s and 50s in his self-described “lobotomobile” performing what came to be known as an “ice-pick” (transorbital) lobotomy, a procedure he helped to both perfect (even creating a tool which he called the orbitoclast) and popularize, performing between 2500 and 3500 of them during his career. Most famously he performed the operation on John F. Kennedy’s sister Rosemary when she was 23, permanently incapacitating her in the process.

Freeman was more than the country’s most famous lobotomist, he was also the procedure’s greatest evangelist. Always the showman, he would perform two lobotomies at once or assembly line style, once lobotomizing 25 women in a single day. In his crusade he was beyond reckless and unscrupulous. In December of 1960 he lobotomized 12 year-old Howard Dully at the request of Dully’s stepmother because he was “defiant and savage-looking”. Freeman’s license was finally revoked when a patient he was lobotomizing died from a brain hemorrhage. The lobotomy’s death knell came in the form of anti-psychotic drugs like Thorazine in the mid-50s, which allowed doctors to obtain the same results chemically, without having to slice up their patients’s frontal lobes.

The Lobotomist gives a look, then, into the life and career of a man singularly obsessed with his work, work he felt was helpful despite contradictory evidence, and the fame he so desperately sought at the cost of all else and, in doing so, presents another unfortunate chapter in the treatment of the mentally ill.

The FAM: Frontline: The Dancing Boys Of Afghanistan

Welcome to the first FAM of 2011, as we pick up after the Bacchanalia that saw us sputtering and wheezing like an overweight asthmatic through the last few weeks of the previous year. In celebration of its (not so) triumphant return we offer you the greatest gift a FAM can give its reader. I speak, of course, of Frontline. You may say that last bit is a matter of opinion, but as a Frontline junkie I would counter that, no, you are wrong. Then I might, perhaps, throw in a dig about your mother. But seeing as we are in polite company I will allow you your obviously wrongheaded perceptions and get onto the video linked above.

“The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”, a report filed by Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi and originally broadcast on April 20, 2010, examines the re-emergence of an ancient Afghan custom known as “bacha bazi” — literally “boy play” or “playing with boys”— in which boys as young as 11, mostly from the poorest segments of Afghan society, are purchased from families or taken off the street by their “masters” who dress them in women’s clothing and train them to sing and dance for the entertainment of wealthy and powerful men. According to experts, they are also used as sexual slaves.

Quraishi does an amazing job in this piece, gaining an impressive level of access to some of the people involved in this illicit trade, uncovering a world mired in corruption and abject poverty. It makes for a fascinating but horrific documentary. Most importantly, and most uplifting, is Quraishi’s valiant attempts to save a young boy purchased by his contact Dastager. It may very well represent a breach in separation of reporter and subject but it is impossible to fault him for doing something so noble and represents, at least, a modicum of justice.

As mentioned, the practice had died out for many years, or at least dug itself further underground, but has re-emerged. The reason for this remains unexplained but the practice does relate to one, recent event. On December 2, 2010 the Guardian published an article related to a US Embassy cable from June 24, 2009, made public by Wikileaks. The cable details a meeting between Assistant Ambassador Mussomeli and Minister of Interior Hanif Atmar regarding an incident that took place in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan in April of that year. The event, as it is referred to in the document, led to the arrests of two Afghan National Police and nine other Afghans, including an undisclosed number of DynCorp language assistants. DynCorp is a private, US contractor tasked with training Afghan police. Atmar was hoping to charge them with “purchasing a service from a child,” but was also concerned that the release of video of the incident would become public, urging US officials to “quash” the story.

Interestingly, as the Houston Press’s John Nova Lomax pointed out on December 7th, DynCorp has a bit of a history with this kind of thing:

As we mentioned, this isn’t DynCorp’s first brush with the sex-slavery game. Back in Bosnia in 1999, US policewoman Kathryn Bolkovac was fired from DynCorp after blowing the whistle on a sex-slave ring operating on one of our bases there. DynCorp’s employees were accused of raping and peddling girls as young as 12 from countries like Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. The company was forced to settle lawsuits against Bolkovac (whose story was recently told in the feature film The Whistleblower) and another man who informed authorities about DynCorp’s sex ring.

It is a terrible practice to be sure, one that, overall, Afghan authorities seem to be unwilling to acknowledge, let alone stamp out. Thankfully, the issue has been given some media coverage since Quraishi’s Frontline episode. Hopefully with increased scrutiny comes a change to that indifference.

Infant Aerobics?


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via Disinformation

Whaddaya reckon? Real or fake? Either way, it certainly filled my Involuntary Horrified Shrieking Laughter of the Damned quotient for the day. Gah…

You win this round, internet. Walking away now.

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Rare Exports 1 And 2

Well, dear reader, here we are on the cusp of Christmas, for some a yearly orgy of food and gifts in honor of the birth of Santa Claus and, for others, a terrible day which brings a visitation by the infernal Krampus. Regardless of whether you are gorging yourself or trembling in fear, we here at the FAM would like to offer you a few minutes of seasonal motion picture entertainment.

Today we present parts one and two of Finnish director Jelmari Helander’s thoroughly entertaining Rare Exports series, the third of which was released on December 3rd as a full length feature. Released in 2003 and 2005 they are presented as promotional/training videos for a company in Finland, Rare Exports, Inc, dealing with the tracking, capturing, training, and handling of Father Christmases for sale abroad.

It is an almost absurdly simple conceit and the entire exercise could have come off as completely banal were it not for the gravelly narration by Jonathan Hutchings and appropriately stoic performances from the main cast of Tommi Korpela, Jorma Tommila, and Tazu Ovaska, their grim visages a counterpoint to Otso Tarkela delightfully feral Kris Kringle. Jean-Noël Mustonen manages to capture both a stark beauty and palpable griminess with his camera, both of which do well to accentuate the moments of surreal humor throughout each film. For all the scenes of waving grass and abattoir-esque training rooms, these are still movies that feature three men chasing down a nude, 300 year-old Father Christmas and taking him down with tranquillizer darts, all in order to domesticate him so that he may have a child on his lap without having to worry about him eating them.

On another note, I must say that I really appreciated Helander using the same cast from film to film. Even the full-length release retains most of the original cast with the exception of Tarkela (for obvious reason) and Ovaska. Were this an American production, this may have not been the case, one need only look at the Finnish and American trailers of the new film to get a sense of how things could have gone horribly awry. It’s a small thing to be sure but I enjoy the continuity across all three films.

And that is going to wrap it up for this year’s Yuletide edition of The Friday Afternoon Movie. From everyone here, we wish you and yours a pleasant and Krampus free holiday.