Saturday, April 27, 2013

The ANGST/Schizophrenia Blu-Ray

The French (Carlotta) Blu-Ray of Gerard Kargl's ANGST (aka 'Schizophrenia') is a revelation, and, for the first time, footage missing from gray market copies is re-instated, further underscoring why the film was such a massive influence on Gasper Noe's I STAND ALONE, his best film (in my opinion).

Now, it can be seen that I.S.A. directly lifted its historical credit montage from ANGST, and imitated the very best. ANGST's re-instated credit sequence features photographs, writings, and family photos of the killer, placing his entire being in historical and cultural context. Noe added more dramatic music, but the homage is, nonetheless, a direct one.

Pre-credit sequence, not shown on gray market copies, depicts the killings that put the killer in the slammer in the first place. The extraordinary Erwin Leder wears Kargl's 'body camera' in this introductory sequence as he knocks on empty doors in a quiet neighborhood looking for lives to end.

A Blu-Ray I thought I'd never own is another reminder that Blu-Ray rules and downloading of inferior elements sucks elephant dicks.

Thank you, Carlotta, Kargl, and Leder for your contributions to the extras, too. Mr. Noe makes an appearance also, respectfully citing the film's influence on him.

Although not English subbed, a rudimentary familiarity with French or Italian makes the French subs more user-friendly. If you've seen the film thirty times (as I have), subs are simply not necessary. Still, an English-subbed version would be a cherry on top of a very rich pie.

This is a day to celebrate, and a film to honor. First seen over fifteen years ago, it gets better and bleaker with age.

Quality of transfer is surprisingly wonderful.

Cinematic orgasms all 'round!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Loneliest Grave

Off a nondescript road heading into San Luis Obispo, there lies a graveyard basted in shadows and dappled light.  It is the home of the lonely grave of Frank A. Burnham, a man who left this world in 1919. 

This cat met me on the edge of the grounds, his displeasure directed not at me, but at a dog wandering the perimeter. The feline happily posed for some pictures after I took this one, and regarded me calmly as I explored his world. 


The stone of Frank A. Burnham stands apart from its brethren, a slab straining to maintain its stance for almost a century.

Like in the movie Dellamorte Dellamore, the living buzzed about the headstone, absorbing the soul's
final breath, the breath of a man named Burnham.

The picture below puzzles me now as it appears to depict a distant man, backlit by the dawn sun.

I didn't see a living soul in the cemetery as I roamed it for an hour, so I'm unable to provide an explanation of exactly what or who this figure was. It looks like a man to me, his hair shoulder length, his body facing us, back straight.

Does Frank A. Burnham stand sentinel over his own grave, disappointed to behold a grave so lonely? 

Once the sun was up, it was time to leave.

Cemeteries only truly exist in shadows. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The NFOH Problem

To describe the condition I'm thinking about, I'd rather not use the expression "it's a no-brainer" because I'm surely educated enough to try harder. How about I use "not a fuckin' ounce of hesitation (NFOH)" instead? That describes it.

I'm referring to movies you just keep spending money on. New editions. New cuts. Improved transfers. New extras. Restorations. Hideous bootlegs promising gold and delivering turds. Versions shitted out of some porn star's orifice. Versions revived, re-loved, masturbated over, re-edited, raped by censors, and run through the worst of projectors with nary a cleaned frame in sight.

What are your NFOH's? What are the films that never lose their spark for you? That you shell out hard-earned bucks for over and over and over again until you're staring poverty in the kisser? What films will bury you? End your misguided existence? Break up your marriage? Destroy your future?

The subject came up today when I learned that a French company, Carlotta Film, had just put out a BluRay of Gerard Kargl's extraordinary ANGST aka SCHIZOPHRENIA. Until today, I've been making do with a shitty, fan-subbed DVD-R and a half decent DVD without subs. Those two disks have been servicing my cinematic needs like two old but reliable callgirls for longer than I can remember. Still, the prospect of Erwin Leder on Blu, the Klaus Schulze music on Blu, the lurid, dazzling visuals of ANGST on Blu, was just too much. I couldn't resist.  Actually, I never had anything TO resist. I went into robot mode and bought it.

The BluRay is not subtitled in English -- but did I give a fuck? No. Did I hesitate to flick open my wallet, rip out my credit card, and head straight to for a purchase? Hell, no. It was a done deal the moment I got the mail about it. ANGST is a NFOH of the first order. There wasn't a second's pause to consider the fact that there would be no subtitles on the feature or the extras; there'd be the amazing Leder voice-over, sure, but I wouldn't be understanding it so well because German is not a language I speak. However, I've seen ANGST at least thirty times, so I pretty much remember every poisonous line.

The NFOH condition is a serious one, an addiction, a blot on one's financial sobriety.

What are the other NFOH films that threaten to destroy my sanity, force me to question my sanity?

Not in order, and there aren't too many, but here they are...

What are yours?