Friday, February 29, 2008

Get a load of our online music store ...

An experiment to gauge our worth ... I know, I know, don't ask questions because you might not like the answer. Still, it'll be interesting to find out whether or not people are willing to pull out a credit card for us. We're worth cash, sure, but is anyone willing to risk identity theft to own one of our songs? That's the 99-cent question.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


More evidence can be found at Tyson's Flickr site. Thanks to Summer for taking the pictures, and thanks to Joh for driving.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Man, we all had a good time in Olympia. And Brownstar might not be from Muskegon, but they did wear wrestling tights and long underwear, so you know I was up front, just to make sure they weren't geniuses (verdict isn't in yet, but odds are in their favor). Thanks again to Le Voyeur and everyone who was so nice to us. The rest of the weekend was spent walking around in a daze under the pre-Spring sunshine, studying song poems and plotting for the future.

And if you have the time, check out The End Times MySpace page to hear a newly-recorded demo of a song called "Eye On The Storm."

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Five Minutes To Love (aka The Rotten Apple), 1963
Harry (Paul Leder) is a junkyard owner who runs a profitable car theft operation on the side. His two flunkies do the dirty work in exchange for the marijuana Harry provides for them, as well as regular romps in the sheets with the Pooch (Rue McClanahan), an addled prostitute who lives in a shack behind the main office. A young couple traveling with their baby has car trouble nearby, so Ben (Will Gregory) goes to the junkyard for a new starter. Harry is evasive with Ben, talking in circles to the frustrated motorist, until finally suggesting that he wait in the shack with the Pooch while he checks the yard for the proper part. Harry has plans for Ben, however, turning him over to a pair of crooked cops when they demand a scapegoat for all the stolen cars in the area. While they try to beat a confession out of him, his wife Edna (Gail Gordon) is chased through the junkyard by Harry's stoned henchman Blowhard (King Moody), who tries to rape her on a pile of tires. By the end, most of the cast is eager for revenge against the manipulative, arrogant Harry, who believes his power, money, and brains entitle him to belittle and abuse everyone in his path. FRED BELDIN

Cut-Throat Kommandos, 1969
Director John Hayes' absurdly spare 1969 nudie action flick The Cut Throats was released to video in the '80s as Cut-Throat Kommandos, packaged with the kind of sleazy sadomasochistic artwork that quickens the hearts of swastika-porn freaks. Although there's plenty of fetishistic Nazi memorabilia on display and a healthy selection of nude Aryan maidens, anyone expecting another Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS will be disappointed. During the waning days of World War II, a crack squad of specially trained American privates infiltrates a "golf course and country club" in Germany to steal sensitive battle plans. After overtaking the guards and searching the grounds, the soldiers discover a brothel set up for the Nazi elite, leading to saucy striptease routines and softcore sex romps with the obliging German prostitutes. Unfortunately, the squad's commander has actually arranged this mission to get his own hands on a trunkful of costume jewelry hidden in the cellar, and the complications are deadly. Anyone who's familiar with Hayes' 1972 zero-budget junkie-zombie picture Tomb of the Undead will know just how low-down cheap his productions can appear. The first line of the film ("This isn't home, it's Germany. There's a war on.") is clumsily designed to establish time and setting, but there's no disguising the fact that The Cut Throats is lensed in Southern California. The German soldier uniforms look handmade from black felt and chalk, the Nazi stronghold appears to be an unfinished ranch-style house, and the story conveniently calls for only the smallest possible army squadrons. Cult favorite Uschi Digard pours wine all over herself in a brief appearance, and Hayes regular Marland Proctor is on hand as a sensitive soldier who falls for a clown-faced hooker. And why is that blonde woman carrying an oil painting through the forest? Despite The Cut Throats' considerable quirks, there's too little going on to maintain interest for most viewers. Fans of low-budget WWII films should check out Hayes' more conventional Shell Shock, while those with a Nazi sex fetish are better off with Lee Frost's infamous Love Camp 7. FRED BELDIN

Tomb of the Undead (aka Garden of the Dead), 1972
A low-security prison labor camp is about to be closed down due to the excessive brutality of the warden (Lee Frost), whose strict manner has embittered the convicts and damaged his career. The inmates are engaged in the production of formaldehyde, which they also use to get high by sniffing the fumes. While under the influence, a group of prisoners begin digging a secret escape tunnel, and they threaten their non-huffing bunkmates with death if anyone exposes their plan. The getaway attempt is thwarted by overzealous prison guards, and the escaping prisoners are shot down and buried in a nearby cemetery. However, the massive exposure to formaldehyde has a curious effect on the corpses; they won't stay dead and they crawl from their graves to exact bloody revenge upon the prison camp. The zombies arm themselves with axes, shovels, and dangerous lawn-care items from the prison tool shed, while the living convicts have to join forces with the warden and his guards in order to stay alive. Also known as Garden of the Dead.

There are few concepts as ludicrous as the central conceit that gives Tomb of the Undead its artificial life. Prison escapees so whacked out from huffing formaldehyde that their corpses are animated after death? Stupidity this brilliant should always be rewarded with high praise, and indeed, fans of low-brow junk cinema will be ecstatic over the moronic thrills that this anti-masterpiece provides. Produced fast and cheap to provide a double-bill feature for director John Hayes' Grave of the Vampire, the film's sets and costumes barely exist. The convicts wear blue shirts with their serial numbers handwritten in felt tip on the back, the "prison" walls are flimsy planks of wood stuck into the ground and strung with chicken wire, and the zombies sport simple greasepaint designs on their faces to suggest decomposition. Still, it's easily the best drug-zombie-prison film ever made and it even provides a bit of a love story for the romantics in the audience. With a brief running time of 59 minutes, Tomb of the Undead buzzes through its paces before it has a chance to wear out its welcome, offering stoned prisoners huddling around bubbling cauldrons of formaldehyde and zombies that alternate between shuffling somnambulism and gymnastic fits of energy. The cast does the best they can, given the circumstances, and exploitation experts will be able to spot a handful of familiar faces. Warden Lee Frost directed and appeared in many drive-in and adults-only titles, such as House on Bare Mountain and The Black Gestapo. Prison doctor Duncan McLeod was occasionally employed by Russ Meyer, most notably in the classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The wild-eyed, balding fume fiend Eric Stern was put to better use in the unique obscurity The Love Butcher, and most movie fans will recognize character actor Carmen Filpi from his numerous bit parts as bums and winos. Tomb of the Undead is as wretched as they come, but for those who appreciate the outlandish over the logical, it's a must-see. FRED BELDIN

The End Of The World, 1977
Dr. Andrew Boran (Kirk Scott) is picking up strange signals from outer space that seem to predict natural disasters. When he and his wife (Sue Lyon) decide to investigate, they find themselves held captive in a convent that's been infiltrated by aliens with plans to destroy the world. As alien leader Zindar (Christopher Lee) explains, the earth is a hotbed of disease that cannot be permitted to continue polluting the galaxy. This dull sci-fi programmer provides zero thrills and negligible tension as it plods toward its inevitable apocolyptic finale. Director John Hayes is no one's idea of a master artist, but at least he's been involved in more engaging work in the past, particularly the zero-budget prison/zombie headscratcher Garden of the Dead and the oddly poetic junkyard crime fable Five Minutes to Love. FRED BELDIN

Jailbait Babysitter, 1978
Vicki (Therese Pare), a virginal 17-year-old babysitter, runs with an older crowd who nickname her "Jailbait" and tease her for not putting out to devoted boyfriend Robert (Roscoe Born). When the gang turns a babysitting job into a Quaalude-fueled sex party, violence ensues, and Vicki is rescued by a "professional liaison" (April 1978 Penthouse Pet Mariwin Roberts), who welcomes her into her home and introduces her to the world of high-class prostitution. The salaciously titled Jailbait Babysitter doesn't deliver the heat one would expect (save for some random toplessness and a steamy ten-second shower orgy) and fluctuates in tone between cautionary-tale melodrama and good old-fashioned sex comedy. Writer/director John Hayes tries and fails to find humor in his heroine slipping in dogsh*t and a heart-attack victim being covered in garbage. Hayes' 20-year exploitation career resulted in films that ranged from unique and poetic (The Rotten Apple) to brilliantly stupid (Garden of the Dead) or insufferably dull (The End of the World). Jailbait Babysitter is at the lowest end of the spectrum, combining boredom with incoherence, as continuity of character, plot, and time of day is ignored throughout. Even the fistfight finale between a clown and a vampire can't redeem this sluggish picture for fans of junk cinema, who would be better off seeking out some of Hayes' more interesting hack work. The climactic Halloween party scene has been alleged by some to feature future star John Goodman in his screen debut as a dancing extra in a giant rainbow afro wig. However, the disguise makes it impossible to determine for sure, and it's unlikely that the then New York-based actor would have jetted all the way to the West Coast for a non-speaking role in a low-rent skin flick. Roscoe Born went on to a successful soap opera career, putting in long years on numerous daytime stories (Ryan's Hope, One Life to Live, and All My Children, among others). FRED BELDIN

Friday, February 22, 2008

Seeds (aka Seeds of Sin)

A broken family comes together for a Christmas dinner that degenerates into an orgy of incest, suicide, and murder. Carol (Candy Hammond) invites her estranged brothers and sisters to the house she shares with her mother (Maggie Rogers), a bitter, reclusive wheelchair-bound alcoholic who flies into a rage when she hears the news. The mother hates each of her children and is convinced that they're all after her considerable fortune. The siblings and their spouses arrive and the dinner begins peacefully as they all catch up on each other's lives. However, their mother refuses to mask her contempt, and her drunken recriminations raise tempers to a fever pitch and set the tone for an ugly evening. Later that night, a furtive incestuous dalliance is followed by a bathtub electrocution and a desperate act of hari-kari. A young military academy student is revealed to be a homosexual, an arsonist, and a blackmailer, and subsequently slashes his wrists in the backyard. The beautiful eldest sister is disfigured with acid, while her husband receives an axe in his forehead. Meanwhile, Carol is trying to resurrect her own incestuous relationship with her brother Michael (Robert Service), which ended when he moved away from home. His reluctance pushes her over the edge, and she takes violent retribution against their hateful matriarch.

Stunningly grimy and nearly incoherent, Seeds of Sin is a trial for even the hardiest sleaze fans to wrap their minds around, though they'll probably have a good time trying. Andy Milligan directs in his usual harrowing fashion, dragging a hand-held camera around tightly enclosed spaces and instructing all of his actors to shriek horribly at each other. He fills the flimsy plot with a jumble of grotesque acts that don't always serve the thrust of the story, but certainly work thematically. Blood transfusions, forced abortions, poisonings, and sado-masochism all make guest appearances in this already vicious family tragedy. To add to all this depravity, somebody (most likely Harrington Film Distributing Corp., who owned the rights to the property) spliced additional softcore sex sequences into Seeds of Sin that feature people wholly unrelated to the rest of the film. These ridiculous inserts are actually a godsend, providing a welcome respite from the histrionics of Milligan's cast, and no one in this film's intended audience is going to be bothered by extra skin. Not that the original version isn't well stocked with sex. Candy Hammond (who was briefly married to the openly gay director for a short time) has a number of nude scenes, splashing in a bathtub and, most memorably, masturbating to a pile of bodybuilding magazines. Something Weird Video is responsible for making Seeds of Sin available to the modern viewing public, and was thoughtful enough to include an appendix of scenes apparently excised to make room for the spicier inserts. These sequences shed light on a few characters that all but disappear after the initial dinner party, and include a revolting scene in which a woman spits into the mouth of a priest. In other words, Seeds of Sin has everything a fan of Andy Milligan could want, supposing such people actually exist. FRED BELDIN

For more Milligan, read this Bright Lights Film essay or check out the excellent book The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan by Jimmy McDonough. The man's life was just as bizarre and disturbing as any of his dime-store freakshows.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another cool MP3 blog comes to my attention (thanks to WFMU, as per usual) ... Music From The Monster Movies 1950-69 gives you exactly what it advertises, bits of soundtrack from great films like WIZARD OF MARS, TERROR OF THE BLOODHUNTERS, MAD MONSTER PARTY, BLOOD BEAST TERROR and if you aren't excited by now you aren't ever gonna be, so I'll stop. Lotsa great screen grabs too, and these guys are highly enthusiastic about the subject at hand, so it all reads well as well.

The End Times snagged a little airplay from KEXP yesterday, and we're reportedly in rotation. One more tiny step, this time forward as opposed to sideways, and frankly, I really needed some good news ... thanks to Tim for tipping us off. And if anyone is in Olympia Friday night (and these days, who isn't?), then come dig us at Le Voyeur. We're playing with a band called Brownstar ... and yes, that means exactly what you think it means. What is this, Muskegon?

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Deming turned me on to Egg City Radio because of the fine assortment of live Black Sabbath bootlegs, and sho nuff, the California Jam 74 performance is utterly heavy, but the selection goes deeper, deep enough that I haven't even gotten around to the rest of that fine vintage Sabbath. Live Birthday Party and Kraftwerk, long lost LPs by Dust and Von Lmo, and the great granddady of them all, one of God's favorite records, Bo Diddley's filthy masterpiece Black Gladiator. I've had it on vinyl for years, but getting an MP3 rip of this thing to blast in the car is a fucking event. I've said all I need to (and all anybody wants me to) say about this monster of a record in the Stranger, so I'll shut up, woman. Just check it out, and if you can't dig it, then you are hopeless. There, I said it.

Oh, I almost forgot, Deming says the live Little River Band bootleg up on ECR is red hot, so don't pass it up.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I love Doris Wishman.

NSFW for extreme nudist colony footage, but otherwise this is a charming interview with my favorite director, Doris Wishman, in which she talks about her masterpiece Bad Girls Go To Hell (Variety compared her to Hitchcock), blushes while describing the plot of The Amazing Transplant (it's about a penis) and denies exploiting the transsexuals she employed in the documentary Let Me Die A Woman ("Because I paid them!"). When asked when she'll retire from the cinema, Doris spits out a defiant "when I die, and even then I might make films in hell." She's terriffic.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jane says she will kill herself in 90 days.


90 Day Jane's blog has moved here. The latest entry is vague, but it appears that this is not the genuine diary of a young woman planning to kill herself, rather an art project that will be abandoned within the next few days. Are we relieved or disappointed? Regardless, it's an interesting experiment if only for the hundreds of comments that the blog's readers logged for each entry ... for every heartfelt expression of kindness, there are three vicious attacks along the lines of "why don't you get it over with you fucking attention whore" and far worse sentiments than that, believe me. And these are from people who accepted the 90-day suicide plan as something real that they had a right to weigh in on -- few of the comments expressed any suspicion that the whole thing was a put-on.

So what has "Jane" taught us? That we're so desensitized to people exposing and celebrating their ugliest impulses via reality TV, questionable "self-help" talk shows and internet networking websites that we aren't even shocked when a young woman seemingly charts her last ninety days on a blog? And not only are we not shocked, but we join in as sport, taunting her for our own pleasure. I use the royal "we," of course, as there were plenty of folks offering support and trying to help change her mind, but surely some of those people were operating with voyeuristic rather than altruistic intentions (myself included -- I left no comments but added the link here because of my own morbid fascinations). Perhaps Jane's jaundiced view of life among the humans isn't all that inaccurate.

POOR SCHOOL vinyl LP out now on Ecstatic Peace Rex. Guaranteed to fuck you up good. For the love of God, don't listen to this thing under the influence of drugs, you might never come back.

From the lips of Ramirez: "Yeah - Ecstatic Peace issued a monster for the Poor School crew. A sworn testament and sonique story of two wayward souls (one male - one female) in search of truth by seeking out the Holy Master. The two find the master and is given advice about truth - he says 'First what you must seek is the mountain inside of a mountain.' The man physically goes on a quest to find this mountain inside of a mountain - looking in caves, walking off the beaten path, returns exhausted, starved to find the woman coming out of a deep meditation. The woman says - 'The mountain inside - is the soul. You walk the wrong path. The truth is not out there - ' She points from the direction the man walked from. 'The truth is inside and must be self-defined - you create your own law, your own path considering you create your own judgement.' The man sits at the woman's feet and is now ready to be taught."

Monday, February 04, 2008


OK, this weekend was much better, if anyone's keeping score. A loose, experimental yet satisfying practice with the band Friday night, afterwards got righteously drunk at a gathering/wake for Resonance and had more fun than I expected. The next day The End Times had a slightly marathon 4-track recording session, laying down new songs (some painfully new) plus a batch of well-worn favorites. Lori and I joined some friends that evening and watched a vintage 1985 VHS tape of the Live Aid concert (complete with commercials), much of which was barely worth fast-forwarding through (INXS, Style Council, Paul Young) but the Black Sabbath reunion was awfully good and Ultravox were a nice surprise. Sunday me and Deming -- er, I mean, Kate -- went to Kinkos to put together promotional materials for the band. Then she bought an ice cream cake and I went home and everything is kind of a blur after that ...