Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rob Zombie: Halloween (Thoughts)

Rob Zombie's: Halloween (Thoughts)

I managed to score a copy of the workprint of Halloween from a friend (Thanks.. btw). My friend is kind of close to the movie so he was really anxious to hear my thoughts on it. He gave me the workprint (that was cut in May of 2007) and I sat down and gave the movie 2 good viewings before giving him my general thoughts on everything.

Let me start of by saying that I've been skeptical since hearing Rob Zombie was the new writer/director chose to rework this movie. Also let me declare that I am not your average Halloween fan. I have loved this story for as long as I can remember. When my friend handed me the workprint he said "I think you'll be pleasantly surprised"… After viewing the movie twice my reply to him was "Think again"…

Now before I go ripping into this movie let me start by saying.. "This is not the worst Halloween movie created" it's actually pretty far from it. I would say that it had potential to be better than 3,4,5,6 and 8…. However… this movie had something that the others didn't really have… Rob Zombie had to go and rework the history of the Michael Myers character.

So here is the gest of my discontent with the movie. Here are some things that made me shout INCONSISTANCY!
********************************SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!****************************************

>Michael Myers starts off as a little pudgy long haired blonde boy who is considerably small for his age. When you see him in school the other kids are dwarfing over him and then he turns into this 7ft 300lbs guy with brown hair in a matter of 15 years. Now.. I can buy that he worked out (even though he was supposed to be in a somewhat catatonic state) but… somewhere along the way.. this maniacal, cold… calculated demon.. decided he'd look better as a brunette… Maybe I'm reading too much into this one but… consistency is everything right? I also love how when he breaks out of the asylum he JUST SO HAPPENS to find a trucker who is 7ft tall and 300lbs to steal the uniform of.. convenient… I would also like to point out that.. 15 years.. and he is clean shaven.. (I know that's being wicked nitpicky… but.. I can't help it)… I always think it's funny when a movie has a maniacal character who has incredibly neat facial hair… it's like… good to know that he won't talk to anyone.. or do anything for that matter except ya know.. shave… Again.. I realize I'm overanalyzing this..

>The Myers family lives in the suburbs in the original movie.. they were an obvious middle/high class family with a nice home and a mother and father that appear to be coming home from a social event well dressed.. well the movie is still set in the suburbs.. but now the family is consisting of white trash members (Remember… Rob Zombie… The Devils Rejects, House of 1,000 corpses… ya know.. apparently Mr. Zombie has a thing for the white trash, inbred characters. The mother is a stripper/whore the step father is an abusive drunk/alcoholic who is verbally abusive to Michael. His sister follows suit in making fun of him.. and.. well the kids in school are beating on him and making fun of him because his mom is a slut. (okay.. remember this now)

>Michael meets with Loomis for the first time and basically doesn't remember anything.. so he's a polite kid who is kind of joking around and what not.. Yet… Later on.. Dr. Loomis gives a speech about how he didn't speak for 15 years and how he could never get him to open up. I realize that they didn't want to change the "Devils Eyes" speech and all.. but.. yeah.. Not so enjoyable…

I guess my major gripe with this movie is that.. he rewrote his childhood.
The movie itself wasn't terrible but it was like taking everything that was enigmatic about Michael Myers and making him just like anyone else.
No longer is he just this shape that exudes evil. No longer is he this cold calculated killer.
Rob Zombie has made Michael Myers into a battered and abused stepchild who is lashing out at the world that shunned him.
It's a fine story.. just not the story of Michael Myers.

My biggest problem.. is that this will now be the Myers legacy.
When the sequel is made.. it is not going to follow Carpenters vision.. it is going to follow the new Zombified Myers… who is masturbating to dead rats and whatnot.
In the end I will say this. This is Rob Zombie's best movie to date.
It was a fine film. If he would have used any other character.
If you want to see Halloween with a touch of Texas Chainsaw Massacre…. This movie might be for you
the death scenes were brutal.. awesome to watch.. just.. fantastic work there.
The sound design was good. Even bringing back some old sound effects from the movie.
and there was a scene in an empty pool that was extremely tense and just fun..

If he would have left the white trash out of this movie.. I would have had no problem with his vision.
But the fact of the matter is.. He ruined the thing that made Michael great..
He gave a reason.. and evil never needs a reason.

With all this being said.. I won't bash the movie horribly because it wasn't a difficult movie to watch.. and I think most people won't care as much as I do about the character developments.

Just my opinions and thoughts… you can all feel free to post yours if you'd like once it comes out.
Hope you are all well

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

David Lynch's "Inland Empire"

***Not Band Related****

I know, 3 posts.. one day.. 2 not band related... Crazy huh.

I just wanted to post that I watched David Lynch's "Inland Empire" the other day. 3 hours of complete insanity. I don't know what to think about the movie. It's so bitter sweet to me that all of the major Lynch moments are there. All of the characters are quite off kilter... yet... 3 hours of this is very hard to digest.

Once again Lynch thrusts you into this world where time means nothing. I can't even imagine how he plugs this stuff to people and gets funding for it. It's so.. off the wall that it really is genius in it's insanity.

I really do enjoy movies like this. Sometimes I feel that watching a David Lynch movie is like unlocking this amazing puzzle that exists in the mans mind. Only difference is... you never know if you've got it right. I know that a lot of people find most of his movies to be unwatchable. However, some of Lynch's work has been the blueprint for many directors before him. His concept of dream & reality are so fused together that it is almost awe inspiring to watch the way he weaves between the two. I am always looking for "The Devil" in the David Lynch film... and in my theory I am very rarely let down. In this it was the elderly lady. The Rabbits that subside in this pseudo comedy realm representing the afterlife. The story of a woman (or 4 women for that matter) who breaks down and loses control of their life.

I honestly only got a small taste of what this film holds.. but I can say this. I can almost guaruntee that after this film was done Lynch felt he had made his best masterpiece to date. This film had more "Lynch" in it than any film before it.

One thing I would like to say about David Lynch is... How can ANYONE deny this mans creative vision? He has this way of portraying so much emotion with a simple camera angle. He always makes something just a little off. Just enough for you to feel uncomfortable. The moments of "I've been hypnotized" and EXTREME closeups of the faces of the characters. Frightening almost how he paints with such a demented brush.. and yet calming how he can return to a scene that is a little more comforting.

Lynch makes us feel solace in the worst places. A woman dying in the street... and a story being told by a homeless woman that is completely ridicoulus. Only to be revealed to be true in the end.. and the last story that our heroine will hear.

I don't know if this is my favorite Lynch movie. I won't know that until another 20 viewings. I can also say that 3 hours of lynch is very hard to digest. But, with all of that being said. David Lynch is a man that can make some very magical things happen on my tv screen. His moments of "horror" are done with such uneasy, disorienting camera angles that it just makes every scene build into this amazing fatal ball of confusion.

How is it that when I'm watching a Lynch movie I can't be shocked?. It's perfectly normal to see someones face just become distorted... to see Rabbits talking and answering phones to a laugh track. Saying things like "Who am I" and "Have you seen me before". This movie was not without it's comedy as well but I must say that you would have to be dialed in to Lynch's humor for it to sink in.

I don't know if I would recommend this movie to anyone.
I don't know if anyone else will enjoy this movie but me.
To be honest I'm not even sure if I've truly enjoyed this movie.
But I can say that I am looking forward to the next time I try to digest it.
because above everything else. David Lynch is a fantastic artist and his vision (no matter how demented) can not be denied.

Thanks for reading
I'm not even sure if I understood this post

Rob Zombie's "Halloween"


Okay, as I'm sure most of you know already I am a HUGE fan of the Halloween series. I have been for a long long time. (Probably longer than some of the people who listen to my music have been alive... which makes me feel old). I remember very well as a child watching Halloween 1 and 2 almost every year when it would come on television. I grew to appreciate the series and just enjoy the subtle trademarks of "evil" that the movie embarked upon.

On August 30th of this year Rob Zombie will be remaking Halloween.. I fear for it. I got a very early copy of the script from a friend of mine (who got it from a friend and so on and so fourth)... and if this script is followed I see very little hope of this being a good movie.

However, I must admit. The last couple of trailers/video clips I've seen have definitely peaked my interest as to what this movie is going to be like. I can't judge until I see the movie myself. But... there are some thoughts I'll post from what I've seen.

Michael Myers is TOO large!... one of the great things about the Michael Myers character is that he was just like anyone else. He wasn't some freak you'd point out walking down the street. Anyone wearing a mask could be mistaken for myers. Zombie's casting of an ex-Pro Wrestler caught my attention right away. When I read the script (again.. very early copy)... I remember the first thing I thought was... "This sounds very leatherface like in a sense". It makes sense if you saw house of 1,000 corpses.. as it struck me as just a cheap Texas Chainsaw Massacre ripoff. It sure will be interesting to see if Rob is going to go through with the "different paper masks for each emotion.." thing.. annd.. judging from the trailer that I saw on Yahoo.com... it looks like he hasn't changed that.

Loomis: Probably my favorite character in any movie is the Dr. Loomis character. I love the concept. He sees evil that no one else sees and so it consumes him. He obsesses with an evil that no one else believes is there. However, he knows the truth. He sees what no one else wants to see and would stop at NOTHING to stop the evil from escaping.

There is a movie I watched recently called "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" and in this movie they refer to the advisory of evil as the "boon". Every stereotypical "Boon" in every horror movie since the first Halloween has been filmed is cut from the Donald Pleasance mold. That's how iconic this character is. I think that Rob Zombie actually did a great job in casting Malcom McDowell. He seems like he is going to play the role quite well from the little bit I have seen of him. The shoes this man must fill are enormous... As I am a HUGE fan of Donald Pleasance's work on the Halloween movies.

((((Sidenote, In my side project with Oly Olson I pitched to use the name "Loomis" as the band name, and before that when Josh was talking about leaving the band last year I was going to start a solo project called "Loomis".. I love the connotation that it brings fourth. The antithesis of evil. Oly didn't understand the concept and thought naming the band after a movie character wasn't a good idea, and Josh ended up leaving Planet Gemini and saying "You are PG anyway" so I continued using the band name)))

One thing is for certain, It's going to be interesting to see if this movie pans out. I'm hoping to get an early copy and check it out next week sometime. If I do I will be sure to give you all a quick little write up of my thoughts on the first viewing.. and then my thoughts from the 20 viewings after... To clarify; if Zombie hits a homerun with this movie I will be extremely happy. However, even if he hits a single I will buy a ticket for it. I'd be impressed with a step up from Resurrection.. and quite honestly that shouldn't be hard to do.

Studio Hell...

For those of you following the "Wicked" project it's been a bumpy road. Tons of distractions and setbacks. The latest of which is the new addition of a very expansive mixing board... now I'm actually considering doing some construction in my studio to expand on the sound proof features. I've got so much shit on my plate and it really seems like I keep adding more and more. (which isn't always a bad thing mind you). The studio is becoming very lucrative and I must say I'm finding a huge passion for being a producer/sound engineer. Along the way (whilst recording Wicked) I must say that a lot of the tracks sound a little different. Almost like they aren't part of the same project. I've been looking for various ways to correct that. I've found that maybe doing some drums over again might be beneficial to the recording. But then with that I may have to re-record a lot more songs than just 1 or 2 to make them even.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. As it really does seem like I'm posting whatever is popping into my head here.. hehe.. But I can tell you this. The songs on the album are so damn good I would hate a little thing like production to hinder the final product.

So I'm left with the dilemma and the question at hand... should I A.) Release this album and focus on the next for a better production value or B.) do more to make this album feel more .. polished and perfect.

I know it's me. I know people that have heard the album and have been extremely happy with the music that's been recorded. I strive for perfection. I really will accept no less than perfection with this album... and I really feel that it is almost there. I keep trying to buy myself another month. Instead of just saying "It's on hold indefinitely until it is finished". If you all saw how "complete" this album is you'd probably scoff at me. (A month to finish this should be easy)... The fact remains whenever I go into the studio I'm playing around with different sounds and different approaches. I'm moving songs around.. adding sound clips to transition to songs. I just watched "Inland Empire" from David Lynch and needless to say even while watching that I'm like "What a great idea... I should incorporate something like that into Wicked"...

All in all I am still sticking to my guns.. and saying September will be the release date.
Sometimes I just need someone to vent to.. hehe

I was thinking on the 25th (as it would be the release of the High on Fire and Down album... so.. might as well throw it all out there at once).

I'll be getting 2 new snakes that I ordered in the mail on thursday.. once I do.. it's time to become a studio monk again. Pulling this off in less than a month might be a little crazy.

***sorry for all these random thoughts to the blog God***

I'll be in touch.
Thanks again for all the support and the great e-mails I've gotten in the last couple weeks.
Good to see that no ones forgotten about Wicked.
Trust me... after everything is said and done.. it WILL be worth the wait. I'm not looking to make a so/so album. I'm looking to make the best album I can possibly make.
Your patience shall be rewarded... I promise

H (The Phantom of the Recording Studio)

I'd like to really take the time and thank everyone for their e-mails and such lately. I know it sounds stupid to some people but those e-mails asking me questions about the band (even if it's a question I'm asked over and over) shows me that you are all interested in the new album and my music in general. I try REALLY hard to respond quickly but sometimes I am just not around and can't get back for a little while. It doesn't mean your e-mail isn't important. On the contrary.. there was a time when Josh left the band that I was really wondering if I could pull this shit off alone... and everytime I thought I couldn't I would open up your e-mails and read them for inspiration. I know it's not the "cool" thing to do in this style of music to talk about how much your fan-base means to you. But seriously.. I consider you all my friends and when I look around and see people posting links on message boards about my band. Telling people to check my music out. It's like... unbelievable to me.

This is probably the most nonsensical message I've ever written. Maybe it's the Mike's Hard Lemonade talking (am I becoming a lightweight?) hehe..

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Mixing Board...

***Studio Related Post****

As you all know by now (or maybe not) I've opened up my studio and have been recording bands for the last 3-5 months. It's been very successful and I can't even begin to say how thrilling it is for me to be working (and mostly producing) with other local bands. Things have been updated significantly since the days of Wizards Blood. I got a kickass studio drumkit. A ton of effects units and I just recently went out and bought a Mackie 32/8 Mixing board for my studio. I've been doing a lot more "Studio work" so I decided that the studio needed a bit of an upgrade. I've even done a couple DVD Voice Overs. and I'm looking into recording a charity album for a "Music in Schools" program... My issue... is simple. This board is MUCH more complicated than my old board. I don't know if this is going to affect my mixing of the album but I wouldn't assume so.

I get the board in my studio I try fiddling around with it.. and don't get me wrong it sounds great. But, I just don't have a full grasp on it yet. (it's a huge step up from my 16 track mixer that I've been using for the last 3 years). There are features I just can't figure out and it's going to take some reading up in the manual (and I'm sure some playing around).

Here is a pic. (PS: Don't mind the mess that is my studio.. I haven't been able to place this mammouth thing anywhere just yet)

The board is quite pretty and sounds fantasticly clean compared to my last board. Again.. it's a $5,000 compared to my old $700 mixer.. so.. I would hope there would be a slight difference.

I've pretty much cleared my time this week and will be working on figuring out all of the "bells and whistles" of this thing before continuing on. Wicked is still on track to be released in September (No worries there).. Maybe I'll pull out a little more hair in the process but... you take the good with the bad. :)