Order THE SQUISHY STORIES VOL. 2

May 19, 2016

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A few months ago my cat, Squishy, underwent facial surgery that sadly had some expected outcomes. After a few months of care, I’m happy to report that there is no serious lasting damage to her (however, her face looks a little funky now). On the downside, she did rack up a bunch of bills and she refuses to get a job.

Lots of people contacted me asking how they could help and if they could donate money. I felt weird just taking cash from people so here’s what I did – I enlisted a few of my cat loving friends to write stories about/in tribute of my fat cat for a benefit chapbook.

You may be asking yourself if this is volume two, where is the first volume? That was an exclusive chapbook only available at BizarroCon. It’s long out of print and will never be reprinted. Just as that will never be repressed, volume two will only be available here and once it’s gone, it’s gone!

Have you ever wanted to read about a fat cat getting roasted by Andrew Dice Clay? How about how cats cheat at playing cards? Have a strong interest in cults that sacrifice to overweight cats? Want to find out what my cat has to do with “the Buddy System?” All this a much more in one of the silliest and stupidest chapbooks ever made!

Featuring brand new and exclusive stories by:

G. Arthur Brown – author of I LIKE TURTLES and GOVERNOR OF THE HOMELESS

Jeff Burk – author of SHATNERQUEST and CRIPPLE WOLF

Garrett Cook – author of TIME PIMP and A GOD OF HUNGRY WALLS

Christine Morgan – author of MYTHIC LUST: THE MINOTAUR and the forthcoming SPERMJACKERS FROM HELL

Christoph Paul – author of GREAT WHITE HOUSE and SLASHER CAMP FOR NERD DORKS

Pedro Proença – author of BENJAMEN 

Michael Allen Rose – author of PARTY WOLVES IN MY SKULL and BOILED AMERICANS

Each will be hand-numbered and signed by myself. Plus each order will come with a bonus mini Squishy poster.

This is a limited edition chapbook that will only be available to order here from now until May 31st. Order you copies today before you miss out!

Please include your address when checking out.

Estimated shipping date is the second week of June.

United States orders – $10 (includes shipping)

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International Orders – $15 (includes shipping)

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I did have a number of people that asked about just giving donations. If you really would like to do that you can here:


A HOSTEL FEVER IN THE INFERNO: IN DEFENSE OF ELI ROTH

May 18, 2016

(This essay originally appeared in Splatterpunk #7 and was published in April 2016)

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I’d like to take some time to talk about my very favorite horror filmmaker currently in the scene – Eli Roth. I’ve been thinking a lot about his filmography lately due his long delayed four film, THE GREEN INFERNO, is finally seeing release this fall. It’s obvious that I’m not the only one as every in horror has been talking about Roth’s return – and most of it isn’t good.

The complainants against him see pretty universal – that he’s a bro, that his movies are more concerned with violence than being a good film, that his characters are unlikeable and mean-spirited (I’ve never understood that complaint about horror movies) and that he exploits women, gay people, and foreigners.

I can see where people are coming from but I think most of this analysis is a bit knee-jerk. Roth came to fame as one of the originators of what is commonly called “torture porn” – a horror subgenre I personally adore. This gritty, sadistic, and gory style of horror filmmaking came to popularity in the early 00’s and killed off the SIXTH SENSE and SCREAM rip-offs that dominated the 90’s. But, even as someone that love torture porn, there’s no denying that many of the films released then are trash and most are already forgotten. Many of those filmmakers were only interested into jumping onto a popular trend to make a buck – but not Roth. When he started doing gore flicks, making bloody movies was extremely out of style.

Roth’s first film, CABIN FEVER, was released in 2003. An irreverent story of a group of teens who go to a cabin in the foods and contract one by one an extreme quick-acting flesh-eating virus. It’s a premise that while not overplayed, isn’t exactly the most original. But Roth adds flourishes like a viciously aggressive child who can only say the word “pancakes,” a cop that is equal parts an idiot and oddly menacing, and a dream sequence straight out of a David Lynch film (it should be noted that Roth was actually Lynch’s assistant before making CABIN FEVER).

It’s early in this movie that we get our first glimpse that Roth wasn’t just the bro-horror that he is accused of being. There’s a sex scene that plays out with the normal T&A that one would expect from the average horror film but it’s the end of it that goes in a different direction than normal. The woman flips over her boyfriend and makes him cum by sticking her fingers up his ass. This isn’t the normal sort of sex that one sees in a normal horror film (or any for that matter). It may not seem like much, but a finger up the ass is very showing that Roth isn’t catering to the typically homophobic teenage audience he commonly accused of pandering to (butt stuff is “gay” to most teen boys).

The rest of the movie is a very accomplished for a first film, paranoid horror movie. As the infection spreads the characters begin to turn on each other and take increasingly drastic steps to attempt to avoid infection from their contagious friends. There’s a lot of fun for a horror fan to have here with some great and grisly set pieces (the shed scene really stands out).

The end of the movie is the most “Roth” aspect to the film. All but one of the former friends but one are dead and the final survivor is brutally shot by the police just when he thinks he’s been rescued. Then there’s a scene change to the local town, a race joke that will make most viewers uncomfortable, and the reveal that everyone in the town is about to become infected with the disease. This is Eli Roth’s world – the world is a cruel and dangerous place. You can’t trust your friends, your lovers, or any authority figure – all will eventually turn on you.

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While CABIN FEVER is a fun and impressive debut, it’s HOSTEL (2005) where Roth found his grove. The story of four America backpackers getting captured by a black market organization who sells them to rich people to be murdered. HOSTEL (along with SAW) kicked off the full on torture porn craze and spawned hundreds of imitators. Sadly, it seems that many film watchers group the subgenre together and HOSTEL gets blamed for many of its sins and many can’t see the real merit in the movie.

What is commonly overlooked in discussion of the film is the relevance of it being in a post 9/11 environment. Just like in the late seventies when the Vietnam War inspired the creation of what is commonly viewed as modern horror (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and many others), the War on Terror inspired a new generation of horror filmmakers. People all over the world had witnessed thousands die on live television and the internet spread images and videos of soldiers torturing POWs and terrorists beheading civilians. Ghosts and teen horror/comedies weren’t going to cut it anymore.

HOSTEL is the quintessential American horror film for the new cultural perspective. The plot revolving around the buying and selling of human beings for the purpose of murder – with Americans going for the highest price – summed up how the United States felt in the world.

The movie gets a lot of criticism for how the characters act, especially in the first have of the money. They are your typical movie dumb frat boys, touring Europe to fuck local girls. Nobody likes them – but that’s the point. That are assholes that feel invincible until the denizens of those countries show them they aren’t as untouchable as they think they are – basically the exact same viewpoint of the American public before the War on Terror and then after.

You’re not supposed to sympathize with these characters for the first half of the movie as they take advantage of the people they come across. At almost the exact halfway point of the movie that the storyline moves into the warehouse complex where all the murders are occurring. That is when the second half of the movie become almost a direct mirror of the first half. The walk down the hallway in the warehouse seeing all the violence is filmed almost identically to the walk down the brothel hallway from earlier in the movie (even the same song is being played on the soundtrack – just different versions).

One of the earliest scenes where the viewer is supposed to despise the main characters is when one of them takes a picture with his phone of himself having sex without the knowledge of his partner. This same phone is used to send a picture of his severed head later in the movie – directly linking the main characters taking sexual advantage of local women with the torture and death they later receive as both being evil.

After ninety minutes of bleak disregard for other human beings, the movie ends on a note that the only thing that pass for positivity is brutal revenge. It’s fun to note that in the original ending of the movie, the main character didn’t kill one the hunter but kidnapped the hunter’s kid with the implication that kid was going to be killed.

HOSTEL 2 came out just eighteen months after the first, which is a very short turn around for a sequel written and directed by the same writer and director of the first for any set of movies. While most sequels made that quickly would be cash grabs, there are many who consider HOSTEL 2 to be superior to the first.

Just as the first half of HOSTEL is a mirror to the second half, the sequel is very much a mirror to the first. This time the viewer follows three female characters and the hunters themselves.

Both movies are drenched in the negative side of masculinity. This time we see the direct effects from a female perspective. The women are misled and taken advantage of from who they view as their new friends. While the men from the first movie are presented as their own type of villains, the only “sin” these women commit is trusting the men around them.

In the hunter portion of the storyline we follow two men who are joining the organization and are going to commit murder for the first time. One of them is your typical macho tough guy and the other is weak-willed and basically bullied into taking part. As the film goes on we see that the tough guy is just putting on an act and is unable to actually go through with killing another human being. However, the weak man finds that when he is put in a situation where he holds power over another he is quick to embrace his cruel side.

Just as with his previous movies, the only way out for the main characters is to embrace the cruelty of the world and become just as nasty and mean as those that wish them harm. The last remaining woman finds that the only way she can get out is my joining the hunter’s club and commit a murder of her own. She does them by cutting off the penis of the former weak-man turned psychotically cruel. After two films that revolve around the negativity of man desires, it’s appropriate to end with someone losing their manhood in the most literal and physical way possible.

Many wondered what Roth would do next and there were many announcements of projects that he was to direct but nothing materialized. Roth later revealed that he was suffering from depression brought on by excessive work and pressure over years of non-stop filmmaking (if you wish to know more do a Google search for an essay he wrote on his experiences titled “The Aughts (and the Aught-Not-Haves)”).

Instead of working on his own projects he choose to produce and write films for a number of young filmmakers that resulted in movies like THE LAST EXCORSIM, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, AFTERSHOCK, THE SACRAMENT, CLOWN, and more. Finally, in 2014 it was announced that Roth was returning to the director’s chair with a cannibal exploitation throw-back, THE GREEN INFERNO.

Sadly, after the distribution company pulled the movie for still unknown reasons, THE GREEN INFERNO went into film limbo. Blumhouse Productions stepped in and audiences will be about to see the movie this September.

In true fashion to most good horror, people are already getting pissed off at the movie without even having seen it yet. The basic plot of a lost Amazonian cannibal tribe has brought on accusations of xenophobia and disrespect towards indigenous people. While it is in vogue in 2015 to find any accuse to be outraged or offended (it makes for good ad revenue from page clicks), many of these complaints miss the point of the type of horror that Roth makes. In his movies the world is a nasty place and kindness is non-existent.

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The other controversy that has popped up is due to one of the posters for the film. It features a served hand holding a cell phone with the screen displaying twitter with the hashtags #JungleGate, #SocialJusticeForAll, #ACTnowUN, and #IndigenousLivesMatter. The main characters of the movie are naïve activists who travel to the Amazon to “save” a tribe from encroaching civilization, this is the same tribe that then takes the activists hostage to eat them. While these characters would be using twitter and hashtags in this world, some people have taken offensive at the poser’s hashtags as they are obviously parodying the Black Lives Matter protests. However, those people making the complaints are conveniently ignoring the hashtags that are parodies of the #StopKony campaign (remember that?) and the right wing anti-feminist movement #GamerGate.

Horror has always used political and social commentary as a major component. To say that these real life movements can’t be invoked in a fictional context is not only foolish but a disservice to the actual causes. Nobody is going to think less or more of the movements because a horror movie poster (note: it’s not yet know if they are actually referenced in the movie as, at the time of this writing, the movie has not yet been released) and to pretend that these movements are not influencing culture (which influences art) is sheer intellectual dishonesty.

Just as the halves of HOSTEL are mirrors of each other, and HOSTEL 2 is a mirror of the first, THE GREEN INFERNO appears to be a mirror of the HOSTEL series. Where HOSTEL was an attack on many conservative viewpoints, THE GREEN INFERNO appears to be an attack on many liberal viewpoints – namely what’s referred to as slacktivists. Roth appears to be commenting on the people who sit at their computers all day, talk about liberal causes, don’t do anything, and pretend they are affecting the world. The main characters of THE GREEN INFERNO actually try to accomplish something but they discover that the real world is a much more complicated place than liberal platitudes.

Fortunately, Roth is not letting these criticisms bother him. In an interview with Business Insider, Roth pointed out that the anger directed at his movie is completely misguided and it actually missing who the villains are in the real world. He said, “The idea that a fictional movie about a fictional tribe could somehow hurt indigenous people when gas companies are tearing these villages apart on a daily basis is simply absurd. These companies don’t need an excuse — they have one — the natural resources in the ground. They can window dress things however they like, but nobody will destroy a village because they didn’t like a character in a movie, they’ll do it because they want to get rich by draining what’s under the village. The fear that somehow a movie would give them ammunition to destroy a tribe all sounds like misdirected anger and frustration that the corporations are the ones controlling the fates of these uncontacted tribes.”

It is good for the horror genre that we have people like Roth making films. As we return to era where supernatural movies that avoid any real world issues are dominating the marketplace, it is refreshing to have a filmmaker willing to address the ugly sides of life. It’s easy to just view his films as mindless bro jokes and blood but, as I’ve outlined, Roth disserves credit for being one of the very few modern horror filmmakers willing to comment on the difficult nature of life and human interaction.

What fills me with joy is that after THE GREEN INFERNO we won’t have to wait another eight years for another Roth movie. He made a home invasion film, KNOCK KNOCK, that is currently scheduled for release this October and he has been signed on to direct the giant shark film MEG (scheduled for 2017). For those of us that love Roth’s sadistic and intelligent approach to horror, we have a lot to look forward to.


Jeff Attacks #16 – Kickin’ It with MC Devlin of Mad Conductor Part 2

May 18, 2016

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Part 2 of MC Devlin’s conversation with Jeff. They talk about baseball, Bernie Sanders, Batman (again), and much more!

Check it out here!


Jeff Attacks #15 – Kickin’ It with MC Devlin of Mad Conductor Part 1

April 24, 2016

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MC Devlin talks with Jeff about the history of Mad Conductor, touring as a DIY band, what happened to No-Ca$h, Batman, and much more.

Check it out here!


Jeff Attacks #14 – Live at the Lovecraft Bar with Wrath James White

April 21, 2016

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Recorded live at the Lovecraft Bar in Portland, OR on March 26th, 2016. Join Wrath James White for a live reading and Q&A.

Wrath James White on Amazon

Plus Readings from:

Garrett Cook – author of A GOD OF HUNGRY WALLS

Nathan Carson – author of the forthcoming STARR CREEK

Christine Morgan – author of MYTHIC LUST: THE MINOTAUR

Check it out here!


Bizarro Rarities for Sale

March 17, 2016

Some of you may be aware that my cat, Squishy, recently went in for what was suppose to be minor surgery. Unfortunately, there were complications and Squishy requires much more medical care than I was expecting. This has also put me in an issue of having a sizable amount of vet bills with more to come.

To pay for her, since she doesn’t have a job, I have decided to dig into my bizarro collection and put up some extreme rarities for sale. For most things on this list, this would probably be your only opportunity to ever buy them. If some of these prices seem high to you – I will be throwing in rare stickers, buttons, flyers, and other promo items from the past several years of Eraserhead Press’ history into each purchase. Plus, this is to raise money for Squishy’s vet bills.

If you want to contribute to Squishy’s vet fund but don’t want/missed out on something from below, keep your eyes open for multi author/artist zine THE SQUISHY STORIES VOL 2 coming very soon.

If there’s something on the list you want – send an email to riotmelody at gmail dot com to make sure it’s still available (I will update the list as things sell). I can accept payment via paypal and, due to shipping costs, I have to limit buyers to the continental United States.

All items are in near mint condition unless otherwise stated. All prices include shipping.

BOOKS

SHATNERQUAKE by Jeff Burk – German language paperback edition from Voodoo Press. Signed – 2 available – $15

EYEHEART EVERYTHING by Mykle Hansen – first hand-bound and assembled self-released edition – $20

MARKET ADJUSTMENT & OTHER TALES OF AVARICE by Anderson Prunty – Hardback from Cargo Cult Press. Signed. Includes handwritten poem by Prunty on Monopoly money – $50

UGLY HEAVEN, BEAUTIFUL HELL by Carlton Mellick III and Jeffrey Thomas – Hardback from Corrosion Press. Signed by both authors and number 81/150 – $50

THE BABY JESUS BUTT PLUG by Carlton Mellick III – paperback from Eraserhead Press with original cover (now out of print). Signed – $15

THE MENSTRUATING MALL by Carlton Mellick III – paperback from Eraserhead Press with original cover and interior illustrations (now out of print). Signed – $20

THE HAUNTED VAGINA by Carlton Mellick III – paperback from Eraserhead Press with original cover (now out of print) – $10

SEX AND DEATH IN TELEVISION TOWN by Carlton Mellick III – paperback from Eraserhead Press. Signed and number 70/100 with hand-drawn picture by the author – $20

COUNTING EARPS & OTHER REJEKTS by D. Harlan Wilson – paperback Avant Punk exclusive edition – $10

CHAPBOOKS

BASEMENT MUSIC by Forrest Armstrong – exclusive to BizarroCon 2009 with soundtrack CD. Numbered 22/50 – $15

THE ADVENTURES OF YOU AND ME poems by Aidan Baker – Out of print Eraserhead Press mini chapbook from 1999. In very good condition – $10

[NAME TO STILL BE DETERMINED] by Jeff Burk – Out of print exclusive to BizarroCon 2009. Uncorrected proof in very good condition – $10

AND THEN A BUNCH OF STUPID SHIT HAPPENED by Jeff Burk – Out of print exclusive to BizarroCon 2013. Numbered 0/666 – $15

B-MOVIES AND BEER RUINED MY LIFE by Jeff Burk – Out of print 2014 convention exclusive. Numbered 0/666 – $15

COMING DOWN IN THREE PART HARMONY by Garret Cook – Out of print Dunhams Manor Press. Cover has some minor ceases – $10

RESULTS OF A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF ELECTROCHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF SOME ORGANIC MATTER by David Kopaska-Merkel – Out of print Eraserhead Press Chapbook from 1999 – $20

PSYCH NOIR by John Edward Lawson – Raw Dog Screaming Press in good condition. Signed and numbered 49/100 – $5

RED WORLD by Carlton Mellick III – White Belly Press perfect bound chapbook. Out of print – $15

THE HACK CHRONICLES by Vincent Sakowski – Out of Print Eraserhead Press chapbook from 2001 – $20

THE BEST OF THE DREAM PEOPLE POETS edited by Jennifer C Barnes – Out of print in very good condition – $10

SPLATTERPUNK #5 – Adam Cesare, Shane McKenzie, Monica J O’Rourke. Out of print – $10

SPLATTERPUNK #7 – Jeff Strand, Adam Cesare, Garrett Cook, and many more – $10

MAGAZINES

BUST DOWN THE DOOR AND EAT ALL THE CHICKENS 3# – out of print and features pieces by Kevin L. Donihe, John Edward Lawson, Steve Aylett, and many more. In very good condition – $10

BUST DOWN THE DOOR AND EAT ALL THE CHICKENS 4# – out of print and features pieces by Cameron Pierce, John Edward Lawson, Vincent Sakowski, and many more. In very good condition – $10

BUST DOWN THE DOOR AND EAT ALL THE CHICKENS 6# – out of print and features pieces by Stephen Graham Jones, Jeremy C. Shipp, D. Harlan Wilson, and many more – $10

BUST DOWN THE DOOR AND EAT ALL THE CHICKENS 8# – out of print and features pieces by Blake Butler, Sam Pink, Cameron Pierce, and many more – $10

BUST DOWN THE DOOR AND EAT ALL THE CHICKENS 10# – out of print and features pieces by Kirsten Alene, Andrew W Adams, Cameron Pierce, and many more – $10


Jeff Attacks #13 – The Stupid Stupid Henchmen History Plus a Bunch of Ska/Punk Nerd Shit with Chester Knebel

March 3, 2016

Chester Knebel is back to talk about his band – the Stupid Stupid Henchmen! Him and Jeff talk about his early influences, staying completely independent, and they get distracted a bunch of times nerding out about ska/punk music!

Check it Out!

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