Short-Form Film Festival YouTube

*Underground Cinema Dept:

Hey kids, it’s Kenneth Anger! Author, occultist, former Hollywood child actor, kitsch connoisseur, and inspiration to David Lynch, John Waters, Martin Scorcese, and many more. Hollywood Babylon was the greatest book ever when I was teenager, and even though I know today a bunch of it was bullshit I still flip through it sometimes. These films often have a miraculous ability to be astonishing and tedious at exactly the same time, but there’s a liveliness and humor to much of it that always resonates.

Fireworks (1947, two parts)

Puce Moment (1949, ‘60s revised version with added groove)

Rabbit’s Moon (1950, 1979 revised version with catchy tune)

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954, excerpt)

Scorpio Rising (1964, in three parts)

Kustom Kar Kommandoes (1965, slightly kut)

Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969, Satan stole the first few seconds)

Lucifer Rising (1972, three big parts)

Anger Sees Red (2004, apparently just a DV test, but boy does it look like a lot of other stuff posted to YouTube)

With their short length and often covertly-procured soundtracks (all but assuring an uphill struggle in getting a R1 dvd release), it's like these much-respected, little-seen films were born for YouTube. Now you can make up your own mind.

*And now, another comic out tomorrow.

X Isle #2

This is the newest issue of a series from Boom! Studios, $2.99, in color.

It’s actually kind of mystifying to behold a comic this dense with mediocrity; it’s like you can’t even see into the story itself, so evident are the old ideas and derivative character motions, positioned with enough bland primacy that they almost defeat the reader’s basic comprehension of the work. Surely Jurassic Park is the key point of reference here - the film’s been mentioned by title in two out of three solicitation texts thus far - but there’s also plenty of slimy worm-like monsters, not to mention the occasional errant Evil Tree, lurking around the book’s mysterious island setting to attack a motley crew of driven scientists and trigger-happy roughs. It’s a world of extremely familiar enigmas out there, and the only way out is to shoot or run, or maybe engage in forced banter and wooden repartee until something else everyone has seen before happens. So much of this has happened before, it’s like nothing happens at all.

The book is co-written by Andrew Cosby, creator of the Sci-Fi Channel series Eureka, and Michael Alan Nelson, writer of Second Wave, Boom!’s similarly uninspired War of the Worlds-derived series. But while what I’ve read of Second Wave was overbaked in its drama and clanking in its social satire, at least it successfully operated on the level of an individually sub-par work. When I stare at the pages of X Isle and see the Intrepid Researcher interact with the Sinister Gunman and his Hulking Henchman, while the Humorous Stocky Fellow offers cheap quips and A Girl looks scared but also flirts with a Handsome Feller before getting kidnapped in addition to Another Female getting into trouble after sparring with a Black Researcher whose primary personality trait this issue is his talking about race, well, it’s hard for me to see much of anything. Which leads nicely to Greg Scott’s art and Sunder Raj’s colors, a murky combination that occasionally makes it difficult to even differentiate between characters. Those worm monsters look ok, but if we’re going to trudge through the old “You brought guns to the island? What kind of sinister secrets are you hiding?” and “I can’t believe that one character is dead. Can’t we have a burial, or have we no time to waste?” standards, we’re going to need some clearer visuals to carry the conversations as far as they can go.

Granted, I haven’t read issue #1 of this series, and I’m sure there a bit more of character/premise setup in there. But this issue is weak enough that I can’t picture it mattering all that much. From this vantage point it’s obviously positioned as a monsters ’n running suspense thriller, but it’s a very boring one. As a goofy, B-movie kinda romp it’s a total non-starter. Don’t buy this.