31 Days Of Horror: Mad Love

It's hard to believe that's it October already but here we are and Halloween is fast approaching. This is the only time of year that my preferred genre of choice, the horror film seems to be accepted by the general public and I don't stand out like a weirdo like when I'm renting zombie movies on Christmas Eve. So I've decided to present one brilliant masterpiece of horror/ thriller until Halloween. These films will be presented in no particular order. First up Mad Love from 1935.

Mad Love is a remake of the 1924 silent film The Hands of Orlac. I haven't seen the original yet but Mad Love is Peter Lorre's American screen debut and it is one creepy performance. Lorre plays Dr. Gogol a brilliant surgeon who is madly in love with Grand Guignol actress Frances Drake. She's already married to brilliant pianist Colin Clive (the once good Dr. Frankenstein). Lorre is so obsessive that he keeps a wax mannequin of Drake in his room to talk to and embrace when the need takes him.

Clive is in a horrific train accident and loses his hands. Drake pleads with Lorre to help them and he grafts new hands on to Clive. The hands of a recently executed murderer - Rollo the knife thrower. As Clive recovers he finds that he can no longer play the piano but suddenly has the ability to throw knives at people.

This movie was the last film directed by The Mummy director Karl Freund. Freund was a brilliant cinematographer - responsible for some of the coolest looking movies of all time, The Golem, The Last Laugh, Metropolis to name a few and had only directed a couple of movies but would continue on as a cinematographer and eventual create the three camera technique that is still used to shoot TV sitcoms.

Lorre owns this movie. His performance is so disturbing. From his enjoyment of watching the Theatre des Horreurs performances - particularly Drake getting tortured - to his keeping the mannequin of Frances Drake in his apartment and the creepy way he talks to himself in a mirror. He is just unsettling to watch. This is an excellent thriller.

NXNE Prepping for 2010

Received a press release today from organizers of the NXNE festival in Toronto stating that any musicians and filmmakers interested in participating in the 2010 festival, which will be held next June, had until January 31 to apply. Akin to the SXSW festival in Austin, NXNE, which will celebrate its 16th anniversary in 2010, is regarded as great opportunity for musicians and filmmakers to showcase their stuff. Well-known Canadian acts like Billy Talent, k-os (pictured) and Feist all received major career boosts through their participation in NXNE. Until Dec. 31, the application fee is $25. After that, it rises to $35. For more information, check out the NXNE website.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff is an amazing 20-minute film that chronicles the life cycle of our stuff, from the mine to the landfill. The problem is that it is not really a cycle. It features the friendly Annie Leonard presenting a succinct criticism of our current system of production and consumption, backed by superb animations which illustrate all her points clearly.

The Story of Stuff is now being used in many elementary schools. It has also recently come under attack by right-wing nut-job Glen Beck.

Watch the film online right now...

This isn't going to end well ...

It's pretty clear to anybody what the Republican Party's plans are in Washington. Plan A involves gumming up the political works in the capital until nothing gets done, then run on a platform of 'throw the incompetent bastards out' in 2010 to retake control of the House and Senate. And then spend the time from then until election day 2012 by impeaching Obama for losing the Afghanistan war/the bad economy/brushing his teeth with a fluoride toothpaste/whatever the aliens telepathically transmit to Glenn Beck on a frequency only he can hear and only when the tinfoil hat is off.

Well, a Rupert Murdoch-owned website with big connections to the Republican Party tipped off Plan B. (Talking Points Memo). A military takeover throwing Obama out of office.

Pick of the Day: Elliott Brood w/ the Wooden Sky

This one is a bit of a toss-up. Bouncing Souls are headlining an all-ages punk-pop blowout at Riddell Centre tonight. Had it not been for this gig at the Exchange, that would be a definite option. If you check our Sept. 24 issue, you'll find an article I did on a Cathedral-area house concert I attended by the Wooden Sky in early August (picture by Carey Shaw above). Having seen them play an acoustic set (here's video, by the way, of a song they did on an earlier stop in their Bedrooms & Backstreets tour [YouTube]), it'll be interesting to see them play with full gear in support of Elliott Brood.

Elliott Brood are a death-country trio out of Toronto. I abhor Nu Country or whatever you want to call it. Taylor Swift. Big & Rich. Stuff like that. But alt-country like Neko Case, the Sadies, Lucinda Williams and Deep Dark Woods I can totally get into. Elliott Brood was recently nominated for the respected Polaris Prize for their CD Mountain Meadows. I'm on the guest list for this gig courtesy of Theresa at MuseBox and I will be attending. Off of Mountain Meadows, here's Elliott Brood's video for "Fingers and Tongues". (YouTube)