Sunday, May 17, 2020

WUH: Notes from Home

It's strange, strange times right now, and it's affecting everyone in myriad ways. For me, it's made it a little more difficult to record regular episodes, so I'm fashioning these shorter hodge-podge shows to keep in touch and say howdy. There will generally be some movie recs, maybe a chat with my daughter about things we've watched, and even some feelings about sheltering-in-place. All episodes will be posted here.

Monday, April 20, 2020

S4E2. JOIN US: The Evil Dead (1981)

In 1983* Sam Raimi and Co. took the horror world by the neck and shook it until it begged for mercy. The Evil Dead caught the attention of Stephen King at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and his pull-quote, "The most ferociously original horror film of 1982," placed it on every genre fan's must-watch list. Coverage from Fangoria, along with great notice from a string of festival appearances, helped solidify its notoriety.

Made on a shoe-string budget in the woods of Tennessee by a bunch of friends from Michigan, the movie was an exercise not only in scares and gore, but in moxie and gumption. Before the film was even begun the trio of Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert formed Renaissance Pictures and took the business side of low-budget films seriously. They produced an instant classic that has withstood the test of time and spawned a franchise that has lasted 35 years.

Ash, his sister Cheryl, his girlfriend Linda, and they're friends Scott and Shelly take a little vacation to a dilapidated backwoods cabin and accidentally summon demonic forces. By the end of the night only Ash survives. Or does he? The Evil Dead may be short on story but it's long on dread, gore, and inventive film-making. Whether you're a die-hard fan of the original, like me, or a lover of the "better in every way" requel, like my guest, or even if you prefer Army of Darkness for some reason, you'll find something to like in this episode. Heck, I even like the 2010 reboot!

For this episode I am once again joined by Mike White from The Projection Booth Podcast. As mentioned in the episode you can also listen to Mike, along with Chris Stachiw, jaw on about Barney Miller and '85 Twilight Zone. And here's a video about the "Bollywood Evil Dead" Mike mentioned in the episode. Enjoy!

*The date of The Evil Dead is a bit confusing. The copyright date, which is what I'm using, is 1981. The film wasn't officially released until 1983. It played Cannes, and other festivals, during 1982.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

S4E1. I am not Simone Choule: The Tenant (1976)

The Tenant was directed by Roman Polanski, who also stars as Trelkovsky a mild-mannered file clerk looking for a new apartment in Paris during a housing shortage. He finds a not-quite-vacant room in an American-owned building, but the last tenant, Simon Choule, is clinging to life after throwing herself out of the apartment's window. When the apartment becomes available Trelkovsky moves in and his life becomes a nightmare of paranoia and delusion.

Much like Polanski himself, and Roland Topor who wrote the source novel, Trelkovsky is a Polish-Jew who has immigrated to Paris. His "otherness" becomes a source of derision for his neighbors, the apartment's management, the police, his coworkers, and even the denizens of a local cafe. Trelkovsky becomes convinced that everyone is trying to change him into Simone Choule and make him suffer the same fate. He finds solace with Mlle. Choule's friend Stella, played by Isabelle Adjani, but comes to believe she is in on the conspiracy as well. Are they trying to change him into Simone, or is it all in his head?

The Tenant has been lumped together with Polanski's other films, Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby, to form the so-called Apartment Trilogy. All three deal with isolated and insulated characters whose sanity cracks until they can no longer tell what is real and what is only in their imaginations.

For this episode I am joined by film journalist Anya Stanley. Ms. Stanley's work has been seen in Birth Movies Death, Rue Morgue, Dread Central, and several other film publications. She's currently a columnist for Fangoria, exploring horror from a gendered perspective with her column Rated XX/XY. You can find her on Twitter as @BookishPlinko. And here is her great piece Who Gives a Shit if the Oscars Don't Respect Horror?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

WUH: London Semester (1990)

It's the 30th anniversary of my semester in London and I've recently been thinking a lot about my time there. For a budding cinephile the repertory cinemas were a revelation to me and I formed many of my fondest movie going memories during my stay.

In this episode I run through the films I saw, and some I didn't, at those marvelous movie houses: the Scala, Electric, Phoenix, Riverside, and Everyman cinemas.

As I recorded the episode I noticed a few running themes based on my viewing history: American Indie films of the late '80s, New American Cinema classics from Scorsese and Coppola, and a slew of Wim Wenders, Russ Meyer, Jack Nicholson, and David Lynch flicks.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

WUH: Twenty nineteen

A brief look back at Wake Up Heavy's first full calendar year on the ol' podcast trail. A hazy look forward, plus some of my favorite "first time watches" from the year.

I mentioned Peter Ivers in the episode, and instead of making you chase down the articles I read, here they are:
And here are the different lists of films I watched during 2019: