I saw this gem of a film screen at the Sc-Fi Center in Las Vegas this weekend. Back in 1970 I Eat Your Skin (which was made years earlier but not released until 1970) screened as a drive-in double bill with I Drink Your Blood. William Powell at the Sci-Fi Center screened the two films together in the original double package they were shown together as. The role of the arts here in Vegas where I now live again is sort of interesting. It is only within the year that an "art" oriented coffee shop has existed at all successfully downtown. Any kind of an indigenous art world in Vegas is ver young. That being said, the Las Vegas premier of Human Centipede 2 around (also at the Sci-Fi Center) was pretty much a weekend long festival.
I Drink Your blood I've written about elsewhere, so I won't go into detail about it here. I Eat Your Skin is much older, dating back to 1964 and filmed in black and white. I Drink Your Blood was quite clearly made in response to the Manson killings. I Eat Your Skin has nothing to do with anything. It also doesn't make a lot of sense. I am particularly a fan of the scene where a zombie holding a carton of explosives labeled "explosives" blows up a plane.
The "plot" of the film revolves around a romance writer, his agent, and the agent's wife, who make a trip to an Island called Voodoo Island where a plantation owner and scientist are making zombies. The daughter of the scientist is a love interest for the romance writer. That makes the film sound like it makes a lot more sense then it does. There's a whole plot thread that has to do with the island natives wanting the daughter for a human sacrifice which goes exactly nowhere, because it turns out that it's her father and the plantation owner turning the locals into zombies. It doesn't all fit together at any point. It does feature a lot of Voodoo Island zombies running around with machetes. I am particularly fond of the scene where the hero points out - and this is well into the film- that the symbols on the altar are symbols used in Voodoo rituals involving human sacrifice.
If you are about my age and remember Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the late 90's you are likely to recall a time when Les Baxter's "exotica" music and lounge music came back into style in a big way. There was the whole reissue of the Vampyros Lesbos soundtrack at that point, in the late 90's. This was about the time that bands like Stereolab and Air had resuscitated the Moog and DJ Spooky was a big deal. The soundtrack to I Eat Your Blood is full of campy lounge music like that.
In general, I strongly approve of that general aesthetic of resurrecting cinematic and musical absurdism of the past. I Eat Your Skin must be seen to be believed. The whole film is so absurd I could hardly believe it was real. I think that there is a kind of merit to the approach of reviving things like I Eat Your Skin purely for their sheer absurdity. The zombie holding the carton of explosives labeled "explosives" is worth the price of admission itself. As with extreme metal sub-genres like death metal and black metal, it's become clear to me from blogging that the audience for films like I Eat Your Skin is actually gigantic.
There's something there...
At one point I was obsessed with William T. Vollmann, but I hadn't read him in years until this week. I hadn't been following him closely for a long time. For one thing he's really into writing books that are hundreds of pages long or longer. His big thing about 20-25 years ago was having sex with crack addict prostitutes. He does have the distinction of writing the only novel I've ever read that made me vomit, which was The Royal Family. The Royal Family is a novel about crack whores that goes on for nearly a thousand pages, with a child molester as one of the main characters for good measure, such that a good portion of the book are scenes involving child molestation or kiddie porn. I think Vollmann likes crack whores way too much. If there's a new Vollmann book the sense I had was that it was either going to be a thousand pages long or or heavily involve this intense fascination he has with disease. That's a lot to ask of an audience. The statical information is very clear in showing that blogs that I've done that have attracted the most public interest are texts involving horror films and texts involving metal bands, in particular black metal bands. I'm more then willing to bend to my audiences needs in this regard, if that's . Personally, I am too fixated on the Human Centipede films and Michael Savage at this point to be datable. That is actually a very different inner insanity. For a long time I had more or less written Vollmann off, figuring he was partying with Genesis P. Orridge at Club Pervert Has-been over in the Magical Land of No One Cares. Incidentally, the reason that I always insult Genesis P. Orridge is that I figured out that posts get more hits because I do that.
Vollmann's latest release isn't quite as bad as all that. Don't get me wrong, my appreciation for his work is still very much diminished, it just wasn't as bad as I thought. Into the Forbidden Zone was only released as an e-book and it's only 77 pages long. If he had put out another several hundred to a thousand page books, I wouldn't have read it. It's put out by a company named Byliner in the bay area that puts out shorter journalistic narrative in e-book format that only cost a few dollars. This is a good format for Vollmann to work in, as he has a tendency to get lost in the process of writing epics. I much prefer the stripped down Vollmann. In general, my view on wiring is that If you can't do it in 20 pages you probably can't do it in 200 pages
Into the Forbidden Zone is basically an account of traveling through areas of Japan affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that followed. It is free of detailed descriptions of kiddie porn and AIDS symptoms. The threat this time around is radiation sickness and cancer, but Vollmann didn't come across people that were visibly sick and dying. What he describes is walking around disaster ravaged areas in Japan. The book does try to establish is that the Japanese government lied to the populace about the seriousness of the nuclear problem at first. Vollmann actually went into high risk areas with a radiation detector. Vollmann always seemed to have a death wish. He's always been sort of an extreme individual in that way, he's till somewhat of a fascinating enigma because of it. He's not fascinating for a thousand pages because of it, but he's still kind of a relevant figure.