AWOB92: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth


Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Anthony Hickox. 1992. ☆☆★★★★

After two movies that have a quite homey feel to them, this seems more… professional. I’m guessing it was made in the US? It has that American feel to it. Grips and best boys that are in the union.

The first two Hellraiser movies may not have been, like, good, but they had something going for them. This is a bog-standard early-90s horror movie, with unremarkable (but professional) actors and all.

On the documentary about the first movie, one wit said “no teenagers were hurt during the making of this film”. This one is all about killing off teenagers, so it reverts to horror clichés there, too.

It’s not very scary, either.

This bluray version is odd. Random scenes are super-blurry, as if they had been sourced from… well, I don’t know. It doesn’t look like VHS, but it’s blurry enough to be VHS. I guess they lost some of the film footage?

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB88: Hellbound: Hellraiser II






Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Tony Randel. 1988. ☆☆☆☆★★

Well, that’s an odd way to start a sequel: We get a very… intense… recap of the first movie! Before the titles! All the famous one-liners and excerpts from the most gruesome scenes.

I don’t think I’ve seen it done that blatantly before.

And then we’re off: Several actors return, like Ashley Laurence and Clare Higgins, and, of course, the guy that does Pinhead.

It’s like… “what if there was more?” So we get some of the background on the monsters, and we get to visit hell (which, it turns out, consists of two corridors and some matte painting).

It’s… more.

The filmmakers pretending that these movies are set in the US is even more amusing this time out, what with unconvincing police uniforms and everything.

So is it scary? Yes. But Tony Randel isn’t as good a director as Clive Barker. So many scenes are without nerve and look, frankly, rather cheap.

But the actors are better. Even the ones that were already good in the first one are even better here. In some ways this is a better movie than the first one, but it’s gone some interminable scenes.

Heh heh::

It is simply a series of ugly and bloody episodes strung together one after another like a demo tape by a perverted special-effects man.

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

AWOB87: Hellraiser

Hellraiser. Clive Barker. 1987. ☆☆☆☆★★

This is pretty scary right from the get go. It’s an original way to introduce the audience to the horrors, too: Give us glimpses of the fantastic, and drench it in blood. Barker is of the Carpenter school of horror movies: Show it all; don’t hint at it.

And then the story starts.

The guy who plays Larry delivers as awkward a performance as I remember. Basically none of the male actors are… good? Barker’s friends, perhaps?

Pinhead’s OK, and Clare Higgins’s fun, though.

Huh. I knew that this movie had a small budget, but I thought it was a major box office smash. It had a budget of about 1M (which is 2.2M in today’s money), and it had a box office of $15M (i.e., 33M now). I mean, that’s a large wad of cash, but it’s less than, say, A Nightmare on Elm Street (which did 25M at the time).

Which makes it slightly more strange that the rights holders go to such extreme lengths to avoid losing the rights.

It looks a lot more expensive than $2.2M. Barker must have had a lot of talented friends to do all the special effects.

I had forgotten how simple a story it is: Most of it takes place in a very small location and little happens, really.

And watching it now, I’m more grossed out at the latex and KY jelly than scared.

I mean, I’m scared, but…

This post is part of the A Weekend of Blood blog series.

A Weekend of Blood

Last year, I re-read a bunch of 80s comics published by Eclipse Comics, and among these were a a bunch of adaptations of Clive Barker short stories as well as a couple of fannish books about him.

I quite enjoyed reading his Books of Blood at the time: They were something new and fresh in the horror genre. Every story in those collections were shocking. But as he started writing novels, I lost interest, because he didn’t really seem to have that much more to offer, I felt at the time.

And boy, reading those Eclipse books about him really brought that vague feeling home: He’s obviously the smartest and most talented person in his clique, but that doesn’t mean that he’s, well, you know, that smart, really.

So what hellish impulse made me buy the ten (10) Hellraiser movies you can see on the picture above? Most of them in 2K bluray, even?

I used to be a horror movie fan, but I’ve grown squeamish. And these movies are not, as far as I can recall, very bloody indeed.

But I’m just curious. One factor here is that when I saw the two original movies, I saw them in Norwegian VHS censored versions: You’d see a guy walking into a room, tense music rising, and then abruptly he’d be dead and the music is gone. If I remember correctly, they cut something like 15 minutes from both movies to make it acceptable. So they were very odd artefacts, really.

The other thing that makes me curious is how this movie series apparently has devolved, with the rights owners making movies just because they have to keep from losing the rights. Most of these are straight-to-video releases, and one of them was apparently only released in the Japanese market.

Here’s Wikipedia on the ninth movie:

In 2011, a ninth film was released to a single theater in California for a crew showing that was ostensibly open to the public. Hellraiser: Revelations is the first film not to feature Doug Bradley as Pinhead and was shot in two weeks for $300,000. It was suggested by Bloody Disgusting that the film was only shot so that The Weinstein Company would not lose its filming rights before it could produce a remake of the original.

I just find this irresistible! It’s got at 2.8/10 at imdb! How awful can it be!? I just have to find out.

Besides, it’s a great way to lose weight! I won’t be eating while watching these movies.

So over the next three days I’m going to be watching all ten Hellraiser movies. Join me for…

CCCB: Magic Hour

I’ve never made a pie before, which isn’t surprising, I guess, because I’ve basically never baked in my life before starting this blog series. So I was just thinking about what to make, and the words Lemon Meringue Pie just popped into my head.

So I’m going to make that, even though I’ve never tasted one and have no idea whether it’s even good. But it’s sugar and lemons, so how bad can it be?

There’s fewer ingredients than I expected from a dish with several separate parts… I especially like that there’s exactly the same number of egg yolks and egg whites needed (yolks in the stuffing and base and whites in the meringue).

I got new stuff! I non-stick silicone mat to use when rolling out dough. Seems more hygienic, too.

And a pie tin.

For the pastry, I’m supposed to pulse the ingredients “until the mix starts to bind”.

I guess this is what they mean? There should be more pictures in recipes.

After rolling it out… how to get in into the pie tin? It rips easily…

Oh! I’m a genius! The bottom of the pie tin is detachable, so I can just slide it under the dough…

… and then sorta get it all into the tin! I bet nobody else has thought of that before!

I mean, except for everybody else.

And then trim and push and poke a bit. That looks awrite, dunnit?

Then into the fridge for an hour and a half to… er… get colder? One thing I miss from virtually any recipe is an explanation for why certain steps are done…

Meanwhile I’m making the lemon filling, which has a lot of lemon zest in it. I’ve made cocktails with lemon zest, but not a foodstuff, and I was surprised that the recipe didn’t say “simmer and then strain”, because I didn’t think the actual zest was supposed to end up in the pie.

But also a lot of citrus juice, so I finally got to use my squeezer thing that I haven’t used in a year.

And then it all turns into a custard with three egg yolks and one whole egg. It tastes very lemoney: very tart, and I was tempted to dump more sugar into it, but I resisted. I mean, there’s gonna be meringue, so I’m hoping that’ll even things ou.

Meanwhile, the pie shell is out of the fridge…

.. and lined with alu foil and with some ceramic balls to weigh stuff down. (Never used them before.) This is apparently called “blind baking”… because… you can’t see what the crust looks like?

It comes out of the 15m/200C oven very pale, of course.

But then I bake it for 8 more minutes without the foil, and it get kinda crispy and a nicer colour.

And I picked up the pie form wrong: It’s almost impossible to pick it up with one hand, because if you put any force on the bottom, it’ll just pop up. See? I ruined the crust on one side because of that.

They really should come up with a better way to grip those things. Perhaps handles would have been good?

And then the custard goes into the shell…

And then the egg whites and sugar (prepared concurrently; man there was a lot of bowls and implements used for this recipe) on top of the custard.

And then into the oven for 20 minutes.

Wow! I hadn’t expected the egg whites to expand when doing the meringue, so I was worried that there wouldn’t be a sufficient amount…

Getting the pie out of the tin was quite easy: Just push on the bottom, and the outer ring dropped down toot sweet. But getting the bottom out from underneath it seems impossible to me: There’s nowhere to grip on the pie. The shell is very crispy and I’ve carefully angled the pie here so the least broken bits are pointing towards the camera.

Such a cheat!

Let the pie sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave for at least another 1⁄2-1 hr before slicing. Eat the same day.

*looks at watch*

EEeek! It’ll have to wait over an hour before I can start eating, and I have to eat it all tonight? It’s 20 already!

Only six books to go! As usual on Thursdays, I have to pick a book I acquired in the early 90s, but have avoided reading since then.

I choose… Magic Hour by Susan Isaacs, in Norwegian translation.

My reasons for not reading this are pretty straightforward: As I went on at length here, I try to avoid reading books in translation if I understand the language they were originally written in. Which is the case here.

The other reason is that I got this book from the “free book” stash supplied by my sister who worked at a Norwegian publisher at the time. Somehow reading those never seemed as pressing.

And I know absolutely nothing about the author or what genre the book is, but from the cover design I’m assuming “literature”.

Hang on… Is that blood on those pool tiles on the drawing? Is this a murder mystery book of some kind?

Let’s find out!

Yes! After all this literature, this looks like entertainment. Already in the first page we have a murder, and the protagonist is a police detective or something.

The language looks to be very florid (no verb without adverb and no noun without an attending adjective) and witty, if not actually funny.

I’ll read some more and report back to you.

The translation is bizarre. There’s a lot of words here I’m sure I’ve never seen before. Just one at random: “Kamgarnsdress”. It’s a suit, apparently, but what kind?

Oh, right! A worsted suit. I know what that is.

But is that really a word in Norwegian?

Not really: There’s a whopping 172 hits, and the vast majority are from dictionaries.

There’s just so many of these that it makes me wonder whether the translator didn’t know Norwegian well and is just looking up words in dictionaries. If it had been a modern translation, I would have guessed that it was a machine translation, but it’s old, so I guess not.

And the incomprehensibilities just keep coming. “Klikk-klakker”? It’s an unknown term to me, but according to somebody on google, they’re clogs? Why would anybody be using clogs here? Does she mean flip flops?

At this point my curiosity about what the book really said just got the best of me and I bought it on Kindle.

Oh, yeah. Flip flops. Or “rubber thongs” as the character calls it… (Is he from Australia?)

“Borte i teltet svinset mennene” which means “in the tent the men were swishing”, and that’s about a bunch of cops…

Oh, “swarming”.

If I back-translate that last sentence in the first paragraph, it goes “perhaps Lindsay was just a rude, scornful, cold, emotional bitch”. Which makes no sense. Is she cold or emotional?

“maybe Lindsay was just an insolent, contemptuous, emotionally defective twat”.

*sigh*

At this point I decided to just give up: Reading the Norwegian version, there’s just so much that doesn’t makes sense. I find myself having finished a paragraph, lost, not quite knowing what just happened. I wonder whether the translator was just transliterating English into Norwegian and that’s why everything seemed so… abstract… But she’s not: She rearranges words into proper Norwegian.

It’s just that it’s so bad. From the antiquated choice of words, to neologisms that convey nothing or the wrong thing. For instance, our protagonist has fun names for everybody: There’s a woman he just refers to as Freckled Cleavage. The word the translator settles on, “Fregnesprekken”, is best reverse-translated into “Freckled Slit”, which, er, implies something quite different about their relationship.

ANYWAY! By switching to the English version, perhaps the book’ll make more sense.

OK, the pie has cooled off now… Hm… it’s certainly very moist… Or rather, wet. I had expected something more cake-like, but what do I know.

The pie crust is quite nice. Not soggy at all, but not desiccated either. The filling is very tart. Even combined with the meringue, it’s too sour for me. And the meringue itself should have been crispier, really. So should it have baked longer? Is this what it’s supposed to be?

Not one of the more successful baked goods in this blog series, but it was fun to make.

How does it pair with the book?

The book is about the murder of a rich movie exec. Which is so refreshing after having read a handful of modern thrillers last year. Perhaps they could just rename the genre How To Horribly Dismember Women instead to make things line up better with reality, because there’s nothing thrilling about reading yet another book about some psycho hacking away at a bunch of poor women. I’m now officially boycotting any mysteries where that’s the main plot, which means that I’m choosing to read zero mysteries written after 1995.

The protagonist here is a police detective, and I guess you could call this a police procedural? It’s well written and has a pretty intelligent plot, but the protagonist (who falls in love with one of the suspects, of course) is just so over-the-top sometimes that I wondered whether Isaacs was going to subvert the genre by having the book turn into a psychodrama about him really being totally loopy. For instance, in the sequence above, he’s apparently taken to calling her from random pay phones and hanging up after she says hello.

Because he wants to hear her voice.

PSYCHO ALERT!

But Isaacs doesn’t do anything with this, really. I get the feeling that she thinks this is kinda cute behaviour? Somehow?

But, no, they get together and find true love (OOPS SPOILERS) and spend chapter after chapter hiding out from the other cops (!) and talking and talking and (of course) solve the mystery.

Those chapters were really boring.

But well written, I guess. Isaacs has a nice way with words. Her sentences don’t always go the way you’re expecting: They have a zing to them. She’s not funny, per se, but she’s witty.

It’s an entertaining read.

However, the surprise reveal of the killer literally gave me cancer, because I’d figured it out two hundred pages earlier (it was the only one that made logistical sense, emotional sense, dramatic sense and structural sense for it to be the murderer) and was hoping for a surprise, and I’m now dead.

New Music

Music I’ve bought this month.

Last month I declared that I was going to cut back radically on how much music I’m buying (because I can’t listen to all this stuff), so this month I’m down to… er… thirtyseven releases…

OK, quite a bit of that was albums trickling in that I’d ordered earlier, so hopefully next month will have less music.

Surprise of the month was the new Sleaford Mods album!

They’ve, like, developed! The songs have melodies and stuff now! Whodathunk!

Old album of the month:

I See The Sign by Sam Amidon.

jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Zola+Jesus&album=Ash+to+Bone jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Lockweld&album=Blueprint+Theories jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Simon+%26+Garfunkel&album=Bridge+Over+Troubled+Water jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Insides&album=Clear+Skin+EP jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Disco+Rallado
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Dolby+Anol&album=Dolby+%26+Gabbana jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Rustin+Man&album=Drift+Code jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Herbert&album=Early+Herbert jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=LCD+Soundsystem&album=Electric+Lady+Sessions jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Elecktroids&album=Elektroworld
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Sleaford+Mods&album=Eton+Alive jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Christoph+de+Babalon&album=Hectic+Shakes jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Sam+Amidon&album=I+See+The+Sign jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Steward&album=I+Was+The+Only+Boy+On+The+Netball+Team jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Talk+Talk&album=It's+My+Life
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Tuxedomoon&album=Live+in+Los+Angeles+(2005) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Rapture&album=Mirror jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Peter+Broderick+%26+Friends&album=Play+Arthur+Russell jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=XXL&album=Puff+O'Gigio jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Raumschiff+Monika
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Motorpsycho&album=Roadwork+vol.+5+(1) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Motorpsycho&album=Roadwork+vol.+5+(2) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Genesis&album=Seconds+Out+(1) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Genesis&album=Seconds+Out+(2) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Godflesh&album=Streetcleaner%3A+Live+At+Roadburn+2011
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Locust&album=The+Locust jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Third+Sex&album=The+No+Heart+7%22 jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=The+Wire+Tapper+49 jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Machinedrum&album=Vapor+City+Citizenship+Programme jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Yoko+Ono&album=Warzone
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=David+Kristian&album=Woodworking%3A+Cricklewood+Remixes jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Steve+Roden&album=invalidObject+Series+(for) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Warmdesk&album=invalidObject+Series+(function) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=V+Vm&album=invalidObject+Series+(if) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Oval&album=re%3Asystemisch+(1)
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Oval&album=re%3Asystemisch+(2)

4AD 1996

Listen to 4AD 1996 on Spotify.

Let’s focus on the positives: Dead Can Dance returned with Spiritchaser, and that’s a quite good album. Throwing Muses continued the streak begun with University and released another excellent album. His Name Is Alive went in a new direction: They discovered the Beach Boys. Heidi Berry released her final, and her most fabulous album, Miracle. And Lisa Germano released another really spiffy album.

So that’s all pretty good, right?

But the year is pretty much dominated by 4AD trying to make Lush the great new Britpop sensation, and I think they were successful? It did mean that they shed everything that was great about them, and I don’t think there’s anything from their six (!) EPs or the album they released this year that I enjoyed.

The other “big thing” 4AD tried to make happen was Icelanders Gus Gus, which wasn’t as successful commercially, I think. I kinda liked the music at the time, but I haven’t listened to any of afterwards. I seem to recall it being very mid-90s?

And then there’s the Paladins album, which I think a lot of people interpreted as a practical joke upon the listeners.

I’m still not sure that’s not correct, but I don’t want to hazard listening to the album again to make sure. You may feel a certain compulsion to start skipping when you get to that part of the playlist.

1996

 BAD CD6001
Lush — Single Girl

Single Girl, Tinkerbell, Outside World, Cul de Sac

 BAD D CD6001
Lush — Single Girl

Single Girl, Pudding, Demystification, Shut Up

 BAD CD6002
Lush — Ladykillers

Ladykillers, Matador, Ex, Dear Me (Miki’s 8-track home demo)

 BAD D CD6002
Lush — Ladykillers

Ladykillers, Heavenly, Carmen, Plums and Oranges (Neil Simons)

 BAD 6003 CD
Scheer — Shéa

Shéa, My World, Demon (acoustic), Nemesis

 CAD6004
Lush — Lovelife

Ladykillers, Heavenly Nobodies, 500, I’ve Been Here Before, Single Girl, Ciao!, Tralala, Last Night (Steve Orborne), Runaway, The Childcatcher (rerecorded), Olympia

 AD6005
Scheer — Wish You Were Dead

Wish You Were Dead, Hanging on the Telephone

 CAD6006
Scheer — Infliction

Shéa, Howling Boy, Wish You Were Dead, In Your Head, Demon, Baby Sized, Sad Loved Girl, I Started Something, Screaming, Goodbye

 BAD CD6007
His Name Is Alive — Universal Frequencies

Universal Frequencies, Up Your Legs Forever, Summer of E. S. P., Your Word Against Mine, Untitled

 BAD CD6016
Throwing Muses — Shark

Shark, Tar Moochers (rerecorded), Serene Swing (rerecorded), Limbobo (rerecorded)

 DAD6008
Dead Can Dance — Spiritchaser

Nierika, Song of the Stars, Indus, Song of the Disposessed, Dedicace Outo, The Snake and the Moon, Song of the Nile, Devorzhum

 BAD6009
Lush — 500 (Shake Baby Shake)

500 (Shake Baby Shake) (Mike Drake), I Have The Moon, Piledriver, Olympia (acoustic version)

 BAD D CD6009
Lush — 500 (Shake Baby Shake)

500 (Shake Baby Shake), I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind, Kiss Chase (acoustic version), Last Night (hexadeciman dub mix)

 CAD6010
His Name Is Alive — Stars On ESP

Dub Love Letter, This World is not My Home, Bad Luck Girl, What Are You Wearing Tomorrow, The Bees, What Else Is New List, Wall of Speed, Universal Frequencies, The Sand That Holds the Lakes in Place, I Can’t Live in this World Anymore, Answer to Rainbow at Midnight, Famous Goodbye King, Across The Street, Movie, Last One

 CAD6011
Heidi Berry — Miracle

The Mountain, Time, Holy Grail, Darkness Darkness, Miracle, The Californian, Queen, Only Human, Northern Country

 CAD6012
Lisa Germano — Excerpts from the Love Circus

Baby on the Plane, a Beautiful Schizophrenic, “where’s Miamo-Tutti?” by Dorothy, Bruises, I Love a Snot, Forget it it’s a Mystery, Victoria’s Secret, “just a bad dream by Miamo-Tutti”, Small Heads, We Suck, Lovesick, Singing to the Birds, Messages from Sophia, “there’s more kitties in the world than just Miamo-Tutti”
by Lisa and Dorothy, Big Big World

 BAD CD6013
Gus Gus — Polyesterday

Polyester Day*, Cold Breath ’79 (Crystalized)*, Polyesterday (Late)*, Polydistortion*

 CAD6014
Throwing Muses — Limbo

Buzz, Ruthie’s Knocking, Freeloader, The Field, Limbo, Tar Kissers, Tango, Serene, Mr. Bones, Night Driving, Cowbirds, Shark, White Bikini Sand

 CAD6015
The Paladins — Million Mile Club

 TAD6017
Throwing Muses — Ruthie’s Knocking

 BAD CD6018
Tanya Donelly — Sliding & Diving

Bum, Restless, Human, Swoon

 BAD CD6019
Lisa Germano — Small Heads

Small Heads, Fun Fun For Everyone (Acoustic), Tom, Dick And Harry, Messages From Sophia (Instrumental)

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.