Saturday, 11 February 2017

A chat with legendary Melbourne writer John Harrison





Next up in my ongoing series of interviews is a chat with good friend and fellow Melbourne writer, John Harrison. Also a film historian and collector, John has written for countless publications (including Weng’s Chop, Monster! International, Filmink, Is it Uncut? and the much missed Fatal Visions and European Trash Cinema). He’s also completed liner notes and essays for countless DVD and Blu-Ray releases, penned the best-selling Headpress book Hip Pocket Sleaze: The Lurid World of Vintage Adult Paperbacks, and contributed to the true crime volumes Death CultsBad Cop Bad Cop and Guns, Death, Terror. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of this local legend’s body of work...he also regularly introduces movies for Melbourne film society Cinemaniacs, self-published a number of fanzines including one of Australia’s very best, Reel Wild Cinema!, is an optioned screenwriter, and appeared in an episode of the ABC series Collectors.
One of the most talented writers in the cult cinema and pop culture fields, John’s work is never anything but top class. Anything with Harrison’s name on it is definitely worth seeking out as his writing is immensely entertaining, informative and enjoyable to read. He is currently co-writing two books on actress/singer, former Hollywood stunt woman, and the lovely Mrs. John Harrison Marneen Fields, and is also preparing to write the definitive biography of the extraordinary former evangelist preacher and actor Marjoe Gortner.

I first met John in 1998 when I stumbled across a copy of Reel Wild Cinema! when lending a box of zines from a friend. Immediately impressed by the mag’s writing and content, I wrote John a letter complementing his work and also included a copy of my own – embarrassing in comparison – horror/music/alternative culture zine Archetype Malice. John was kind enough to reply and sent me some back issue of RWC. In subsequent years I noticed his presence on the World Wide Web with his ‘The Graveyard Tramp’ Ebay store (formerly a mail-order business) and excellent blog Sin Street Sleaze, but it was only until early 2013 when I reconnected with him on Facebook that we became friends. This also inspired me to start writing again (I’d been on a hiatus from 2007-13), something which I’ll always be extremely grateful for. Many thanks to John for taking a break from his busy schedule to answer my questions!!!


What is your earliest memory of seeing a movie theatrically?
Hmmm, I guess my earliest moviegoing memory was my grade school English teacher taking me and a couple of other classmates to the long-gone Astrojet Cinema at Tullamarine Airport to see Conquest of the Planet of the Apes in 1974. He was a bit of a science-fiction nut I guess, and recognised that in me and the other kids as well. It wasn’t a school sanctioned outing or anything. My parents were fine with it. Can you imagine the uproar these days if a school teacher turned up at a 10-year-old student’s house to take them to the movies on his own?!?

It was a great experience. I still remember the excitement and anticipation, hearing the theme music and seeing the opening shots of the apes actually being projected onto the cinema screen curtain, as they were still parting as the movie started.

How and when did you discover and really get into horror/trash/cult cinema? When did you first discover a like-minded ‘community’ of fans/collectors of these films whom you could correspond and collaborate with?

It kind of relates back to the previous question and answer. I was a fan of comic books and TV shows like Batman, Superman, The Munsters, etc. for as long as I can remember, but a defining moment was when I was ten and turned-up for school one morning at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School and our class was ushered into one of the houses which the school owned next to the property, where we were told we were being treated to a movie, thanks to a classmate named Bradley French, whose father was some programming big-wig at Channel Seven at the time. I sat there mesmerised as a 16mm print of Beneath the Planet of the Apes was screened onto the white wall, and my life as a genre film buff has never really been the same since! Not long after that I discovered Marvel’s Planet of the Apes comic book magazine and the Scanlons bubble gum cards at the local newsagents, which helped trigger off the collector in me.

Which genre fanzines/magazines you found of special interest in the 1980s/1990s?

I read Fangoria for a while in the 80s, those early issues were great, but I started getting a bit tired of seeing Freddy or Jason on the cover of just about every second issue. My interest in genre magazines and fanzines really waned in the mid-80s, I was more reading books like Michael Weldon’s Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film and RE/Search’s Incredibly Strange Films volume.

Thankfully, things started picking up again late in the decade, with the appearance of Psychotronic Film and, more locally, Michael Helm’s seminal Fatal Visions, both of which were highly influential on me, both as a fan and a burgeoning young genre writer. Then the 90s saw a real explosion in publications that had passionate, informative writing and a presentation to them that was somewhere between fan and pro-zine. Craig Ledbetter’s European Trash Cinema, Michael Copner’s Cult Movies, Tim Paxton’s Monster! International, Tim Lucas’ Video Watchdog, etc. There were also the UK magazines like Flesh & Blood and Delirium. The internet was only in its extreme infancy at this point, so you still had to depend on the printed word to find the bulk of your information.

It was a real treat going into Minotaur and Alternate Worlds and seeing their magazine racks filled with these magazines and more, while at the same time continuing to obtain the more traditional fanzines by mail, especially local zines like David Nolte’s Crimson Celluloid, Kami’s Sprak!, Dann Lennard’s Betty Paginated and Andrew Leavold’s Stumpy.
You have an incredible collection of movie and pop culture memorabilia (posters, lobby cards, books, figurines/models, clippings, and much more) What are some of your all-time best bargains or freebies you had with obtaining these?

Bargains are few and far between today, sadly. Sometimes you might come across a cool old vintage movie tie-in paperback at the local goodwill store. And when you find a cool item on eBay at a good price, outrageous postage costs will often sour the deal if the item is outside Australia. But when I was a young teenager in the late-seventies there was a shop at the top of Swanston Street called Space Age Books, who specialised in sci-fi/horror and fantasy books, and they had a box filled with original posters and lobby card sets that, even at the time, seemed like a real bargain. I picked-up lobby card sets for films like The Deadly Manits, Hammer’s The Phantom of the Opera, Blacula, William Girdler’s notorious Abby, etc. They were all less than $5 a set! I also bought a lot of individual lobby cards for various 1950s sci-fi and horror films, I still have many of them with their 25-cent price written in pencil on the back. Those were the days!

What’s the most extreme reaction to a horror/exploitation film that you’ve personally ever witnessed?

Hmmmm…I remember seeing a double of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Evil Dead at the Astor Theatre around 1984 and one lady running out screaming and retching during the climax of Chainsaw (when old Grandpa is trying to hit Sally over the head with his hammer at the film’s climax), and I also recall two women behind me storming out in disgust during a screening of Pasolini’s Salo at the Lumiere in the late-90s, during one of the periods when the ban was lifted on the film.

And putting on the Palace Explosive VHS tape of Bloodsucking Freaks for a room full of people usually resulted in a few interesting reactions. You often found out who your true friends were at that point!

What are your all-time favourite films (of any genre) and whom do you believe are the greatest directors of all time?

Among my constant list of favourites: Blood Feast, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Bless the Beasts & Children, Alien, The Exorcist, The Naked Prey and When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder. I could easily rattle off another hundred titles off the top of my head when it comes to perennial film faves!

Favourite directors, for a variety of reasons, include Herschell Gordon Lewis, Stanley Kubrick, Terence Fisher, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Russ Meyer and so many more!

You’ve been involved with various forms of media for a few decades to date – writing for books, newspapers, magazines and online. What are some of your thoughts on the vast technological changes you’ve observed and adapted to in your involvement in these fields during this time?

Obviously the internet was the thing that changed thing irrevocably, and both for the better and the worse. It’s great to have such an easy platform to be able to get your writing and thoughts across to a potentially huge audience, and with a bit of basic HTML knowledge anyone can build a really nice looking website or blog in an afternoon. And that is the blessing and the curse. Everyone has and is entitled to their opinion on things of course, as long as they are informed opinions I will always respect them, but there is also a lot more misinformation being spread, rumour reposted as fact, and plagiarism is more common because the internet has made it a lot easier for people to steal your work without credit or permission. Some people unfortunately still believe that because something is posted online then it is not considered ‘real’ writing, and is up for grabs with a simple right click.

The old hand-typed, cut, paste and photocopy fanzine took a lot more time to produce, and cost a lot more money and would be lucky to reach a couple of dozen people, but the end result really made all the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. It doesn’t feel that special to have a website or blog because everyone else has one, but not everyone has gone to the lengths of actually putting out their own hardcopy publication. I know that personally I felt a much greater satisfaction from collating and stapling an issue of my Reel Wild Cinema! fanzine together – laying out the pages on my bed, desk, couch and floor – than I ever have from posting a new blog entry. Though, importantly, I do get more satisfaction from my actual writing today, and obviously I am happy that my work has a chance to be a lot more widely read that it was in the old fanzine days.

What general advice would you offer writers of cinema discussion and criticism wishing to establish themselves?

Just to write about subjects you feel the most passionate about. Even if you are writing about something that has been thoroughly covered by other people, if you have a unique angle or perspective, it will always make your work seem original and fresh and engaging. Also, don’t be afraid of covering the more obscure subjects that you think may have limited interest – some of the best non-fiction books and articles I have read, and documentaries I have seen – have been about subjects that I had little previous knowledge of, or interest in. As a writer, it’s always a buzz to hear that your work has helped make someone a fan of something, whether it’s an individual film, book, etc., or a whole genre or body of work.

I know you’ve met few individuals in the public eye. What are some of your most memorable ‘celebrity’ encounters, good or bad?

Thankfully I haven’t had a bad experience with anyone, but some are more friendly towards their fans than others. Some of the best encounters I have had were with Fred Williamson, Robert Englund and John Waters. And getting to interview H. G. Lewis for my Hip Pocket Sleaze book, even though it was only via phone, was a dream come true. I also corresponded for a while in the 1990s with legendary sexploitation filmmaker Russ Meyer, and had a few entertaining telephone conversations with him. He invited me to visit his Hollywood home next time I was in the area, but sadly we lost contact as the dementia started to take hold of him.

What works or projects are you most proud of?

That’s an interesting question, and a tough one to answer. As a writer yourself, you probably know the thrill and pride you feel when a new project is finished and published, and often your latest work is your favourite. But then after a bit of time passes and you look back on something, you start to pick it apart more and think of things you could have done to improve upon it. But at the same time, that is a good sign that you are growing as a writer.

Obviously my Hip Pocket Sleaze book, which was published by Headpress in 2011, is something I am still immensely proud of. And I love the work I did for Something Weird Video in the late-90s/early-2000s, writing reviews of their amazing catalogue of titles for their VHS and DVD covers and sales catalogues. It was always a thrill when a box of five VHS tapes would arrive from Something Weird for me to cover – it was always such a delightfully odd, random mix of titles. There would be a gritty B&W sexploitation roughie (Olga’s House of Shame), a seedy and sick Harry Novak production (Hitch-Hike to Hell), a dubbed piece of Eurotrash (The Seducers), a collection of creepy old classroom education shorts, and a long-lost Ed Wood porn flick (Necromania). It was a real film education, and I am still proud that I got to be a part of this important film label, if only in a small way. My Something Weird video tapes are definitely a personal highlight of my collection.

But mostly I try to focus on my current and upcoming writing, and trying to make that the best thing that I have done, and the best that it can be.

What are some of your current and future projects you’d like to mention?

I always seem to have multiple projects on the go at any time, but that is a lot more preferable than having nothing to work on! 

Coming up in the near future, I have written the booklet essays for a couple of upcoming vintage ‘Ozploitation’ Blu-ray releases – Snapshot and The Survivor - being put out locally by Glass Doll Films. They are due out in March and April. I will also be doing an introduction to one of my all-time favourite films, Stanley Kramer’s Bless the Beasts & Children, when Melbourne film society Cinemaniacs screen it at the Backlot Cinemas on April the 8th this year. I’m really looking forward to talking about this vastly underrated movie, watching it for the first time in a cinema and seeing how the audience reacts to it.

I am also keeping busy with a number of book projects. I am currently co-writing two books with my lovely wife Marneen Fields, who is an American singer/composer, actress and former Hollywood stuntwoman. One of the books we are working on, Rolling with the Punches!, covers her film and television work in detail, with some great stories and recollections, while Cartwheels & Halos is a more of a biography that delves into Marneen’s personal stories of survival and inspiration, as well as her music and movies. A fair chunk of both of these books has already been written, and Marneen has an amazing archive of photos that will richly enhance the text. We also plan to do a few film-related events together, as we did in 2016, introducing a screening of The Gauntlet (which Marneen performed stunts on) and appearing on the TV Movie discussion panel at Monster Fest.

And finally, I have my own individual book project, Wildcat!, which looks at the film career of child evangelist-turned-actor Marjoe Gortner, whom I have always had a fascination for ever since I first saw him in The Food of the Gods when I was a kid, and finding out about his unique past only increased my interest in him. I have been busy researching and interviewing a number of people who worked with Marjoe over the years, and am attempting to track down the elusive man himself. Wildcat! Is scheduled to be published by Bear Manor Media in the US, hopefully in 2018.

People can keep-up with my writing and other projects by visiting my blog at: www.john-harrison.blogspot.com.au

Thanks!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Werner Pochath: a tribute to a favourite actor

 One of my absolute favourite images - Werner Pochath with the equally great Franco Nero, 1980.


Sadly an almost forgotten talent, the late great Werner Pochath is one of my favourite actors. Criminally underrated and usually unfairly dubbed ‘the poor man’s Klaus Kinski’ (though of course Kinski is a brilliant actor, Pochath also is in his own right), his intensity and unique, instantly recognisable face always was a bonus even to the worst of cinematic material.
 Young Pochath


Born Werner Pochlatko in 1939 in Vienna, Austria, Pochath first appeared in the public eye as a youth figure skating champion of his homeland.  His thespian career began in both stage and television productions in 1959, and Pochath worked steadily in these fields until his 1967 film debut in the German crime drama Der Tod eines Dopplegangers. Movie offers also came quickly to the gifted young star after relocating to Rome in 1968. Often cast as ruthless, psychopathic villains, Pochath was a popular casting choice for low-budget European horror, exploitation and action directors. His trademark ruthless sadists can be viewed in Ferdinando Baldi’s Terror Express, The Shark Hunter by Enzo G. Castellari, Lucio Fulci’s Challenge to White Fang, and, although it’s one of Jess Franco’s least distinguished titles, it’s still nice to see Pochath chewing up the scenery – The Devil Hunter. He also had smaller but memorable roles in Dario Argento’s  Cat O’Nine Tails and Riccardo Freda’s The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire.
Pochath as one of the thugs in the Last House on the Left cash-in Terror Express

What is possibly Pochath’s finest hour is his tremendous portrayal of the ‘The Vampire of Nuremberg’, Kuno Hofmann, in the disturbing 1977 real-life based horror Mosquito der Schander, aka Bloodlust. His role as the deaf-mute, blood drinking murderer is truly haunting, grim and unsettling. In the hands of a lesser actor the film would have most likely been little more than an exploitative mess, but Pochath manages to elevate the material to another level.
Pochath as the real-life 'Vampire of Nuremberg' Kuno Hofmann in Mosquito der Schander

Throughout the 1980s Pochath was appearing in more and more titles with unfortunately nil redeeming features, such as the horrendous Ratman and Cop Game. Tragically diagnosed with AIDS, Pochath mostly resigned from acting to become a casting directer under the name ‘Paul Werner’ though he still accepted the occasional film role. He passed away on April 18, 1993, at the age of 51 in the arms of his long-term partner John Neumeier, ballet director of the Hamburg State Opera. A greatly missed actor who always managed to shine no matter what he appeared in, Pochath’s legacy will hopefully live on for many more years via dedicated Eurocult film fans.     

**P.S. If anyone has or knows where I can find ANY interviews with Pochath, please let me know!**

Werner Pochath in Mosquito Der Schander



Saturday, 28 January 2017

Oz's King of Video: an interview with one of Australia's top VHS collectors, Scott Bruce


I recently had the privilege to interview one of Australia’s true Kings of Video, Scott Bruce. Scott boasts what would undoubtedly be one of the country’s best VHS collections of both Oz and international tapes.  Scott also has a vast knowledge of all things video (and the joy of dealing with Customs), and is refreshingly genuine, friendly and honest, both as a trader/buyer/seller of almost half a century, and as a person. Qualities solely lacking from some in the scene these days...Scott’s also filmed a series of informative and inimitably entertaining YouTube clips on everything from his favourite directors and films to the idiocies of Australian censorship, as well as his notorious alter egos Angus McDoogle and Joshua Flower. Many thanks to Scott for taking the time to chat!
Scott with the motherload!

What is your earliest memory of seeing a movie theatrically, if you can remember the first film you ever saw?
The first film I ever recall seeing at the cinema was a double bill of Creepshow and Humongous at a drive in! Back in about 1982 or so my Aunty snuck me and my brother into the drive in hidden under a blanket as we were so young LOL and not allowed to legally see such films! We were terrified beyond words but loved the films immensely!!!!


How and when did you discover and really get into horror/trash/cult cinema?
As a boy I was TOTALY obsessed with Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, ghosts etc.  Anything horror orientated I was born to love. As I had seen Creepshow and Humongous as a young boy I was dying for more similar films. At the age of around nine I saw the original Evil Dead and it changed my life!!!.Never in my life had I been so terrified but exhilirated at the same time .It was my best mate’s brother who was watching it, we joined the screening and got busted by his mum - it hadn’t finished, we were spewing! We were sent home by his mum LOL.


When did you first discover a like-minded ‘community’ of fans/collectors of these films whom you could correspond and collaborate with?
I started buying the great U.K. horror mag The Dark Side very early on and had a few letters published in it with my correspondence address for other collectors around the world to contact me for trades. Not long after I was trading VHS with guys in Greece, U.K., U.S. and Holland

Have you ever had any problems with Customs during the time you’ve been collecting these sorts of movies?
CUSTOMS!!...don’t get me started on those cunts Chelle! LOL, many know my stories that started back in 1997 when I was caught importing a laser disc of Cannibal Holocaust, I was sent a confiscation letter. Boy was I fucking furious. I almost faced a court case over it! I rang them up as that disc cost me a LOT of money. I drove over an hour to see the boss at the customs office, they were NOT happy. I had to talk my way out of trouble (I’m good at that, believe me!) They even confiscated my Cine City Video Catalogue!!! I convinced them to let me send it back to Holland and I did. I later got it sent to a mate in Tasmania (more lenient Customs then), he then sent it up to me on the mainland and I got it.
A year later I was again caught importing Z grade trash film Bride of Frank and Nacho Cerda's vile Necro film Aftermath. This time I was in shit up to my fucking neck!!! I was told I’d be charged in court for sure! After thirty minutes of sweet talk LOL they let me send these back to Holland too! Again they were resent to Tasmania and over to me on the mainland again!...Phew!!!! What a nightmare.


Were there any genre fanzines/magazines you found of special interest in the 90s?
Mainly Dark Side, Fatal Visions, bootleg video catalogues, that sort of thing.

How and when did you get into VHS collecting?
Well, I started collecting VHS at the age of around twenty, my best mate had already been collecting for some time, so I used to watch lots of his old horror films. I couldn’t get enough, I craved more and more gorier/violent films. Back then all I wanted was films for gore!! LOL, I got hooked on these demented films and I’m still collecting twenty four years later at the age of forty four!....

Somehow this got past our draconian censors uncut.

You have an incredible VHS collection, without a doubt one of the best in Australia. What are some of your all-time best bargains or freebies you had with obtaining it?
No, no certainly NOT, a few other Aussie guys have MUCH better collections than mine in terms of numbers and quality. It’s just they are not as shameless and flamboyant as me HA,HA,HA,HA .......OK my biggest VHS haul was from a place down south (Busselton, nice place too). I used to scour the Yellow Pages phone directory for all the VHS stores in Western Australia, I got a great idea to ring the old VHS shops down south. Mostly nothing came of it. But this one Movieland in Busselton said they had tonnes out the back of the shop they would sell!! In the end I was sending want lists to them and getting boxes of absolute treasures all the time! Give Us Tomorrow, Farewell  Uncle Tom!!, Pets!!!!, Secret of Seagull Island etc etc . I kept begging them to let me drive down (an almost three hour drive) and have a look out the back. For two years they kept saying no!?!?! Eventually they gave in, my Nissan 180SX Turbo soon hit the road ASAP and I rocketed down south as fast as I could but looking for speed cameras the whole way! I find this place and it’s like a timewarp man! This place is REALLY OLD!! The signs all fading etc. Wooden Floors, Fibro walls but it’s huge!! I check out the sale tapes at the front and see Shadows of the Mind!! (after it for eight years!), Blood Brothers, No Room to Die! plus others that are impossible to find. I go out the back and fuck me Jesus!!! Rows and rows of more tapes, I wish I took a camera, I was in there for over four hours coming out with boxes and boxes of tapes, many I had never seen in my life! I cleaned out the back and out the front sale section, then moved onto the rental shelves and scored some more. Some were old Spaghetti Western tapes I’d NEVER seen before.  I returned the next weekend with my best mate, share SOME of the wealth and all that, you know? We both left with another few boxes of tapes each, my 180SX Hatchback was filled with tapes in the boot and so many on the back seat that our chairs were pushed so far forwards  we could hardly breathe the whole three hour trip home!


Name a few of your favourite Australian tapes?
My fave tapes ...that’s hard, in terms of Aussie tapes – Island of Perversion!!!, Nightmare (Scavolini), Rape Squad, Night of the Zombies, Sleepaway Camp, Dawn of the Dead ( orange sleeve), Demons...oh and Salt Saliva Sperm and Sweat.



Best/worst things about VHS collecting and the scene in general?
Hmmmm the best and worst of collecting? BAD: some of the other fanatical collectors are fucking ruthless in how they underhandedly obtain some tapes at ANY cost, it’s the same in every collecting circle, moreso nowadays do I see such tactics more than in the past. GOOD: The upside is I now know so many great people because of this VHS hobby/ obsession....such as your lovely self Chelle! I now have buddies all over the world, who I now consider to be VERY good friends of mine. There are actually still genuine, honest people still out there!

Great to see the ultra scarce Evil in the Woods and Rape Squad, two of the most sought-after Palace Explosive tapes, with a collector who truly deserves it.

How do you find the current horror/trash genre scene in general as compared to say, two decades ago when it was the early days of the World Wide Web and still largely based around print zines and snail mail correspondence? Also, how do you find the current Australian VHS scene compared to back then?
These days the current Horror/Trash scene is more alive than ever, due to the modern computer age ,DVD and Blu-Ray, Facebook, Download Sites, Forums etc, it’s all so easily accessed these days. In terms of the current VHS scene itself, we are a dying breed ( in Oz) with only a select few of serious collectors left. With the advent of new formats (DVD/ Blu- Ray /4K), VHS is now considered by the majority to be a useless, long obsolete format.

Who are your favourite horror/cult/trash film directors and name a few of your absolute favourite films?
My fave directors - again a hard question as I love so many talented directors but I’d run with Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Amando De Ossorio, Ruggero Deodato, the usual guys that folk in this scene pick!


Any future planned Youtube videos or characters you have in mind? How are your good mates Mr Video Face, Angus, and co? 
No I have no new Youtube characters planned at all Chelle, I’m busy enough with the current line up!! I’ve not seen JOSH FLOWER and PAPERFACE for some time but old Uncle ANGUS McDOOGLE popped up again recently and is still insane as ever!?!

 
That's not all, folks!
Finally, name three individuals in the public eye, living or dead, who you’d invite to get blind drunk with?
Hmmmmm…Chuck Norris (my hero lol), Henry Silva, (I love that guy!!!) and Cirio Santiago (sadly not with us anymore), he directed some of the most insane, entertaining Filipino films ever! I’m a massive fan of his work.

Oh dear...a very inebriated Angus McDoogle has hijacked the interview to ramble on pointlessly about his favourite film...


Thanks again for that fantastic interview Scott. Here’s a few aforementioned clips of the great man himself nattering about all things film-related:

Import VHS Problems with Customs

Unreleased Films in Australia (Part One)


Star Base VHS!!! (Australia)




Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Lost Art of Horror VHS covers - U.S. edition

As a companion to my earlier post of original 1980s U.S. cinema newspaper ads (kindly supplied to me by Long Island independent filmmaker Keith Crocker (The Bloody Ape, Escape from Stalag 69), here's a - very small - sample of Keith's incredible VHS collection. This selection consists of some of my personal favourite U.S. VHS horror/trash cover art, most of which were released by the legendary Wizard Video.





















Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Mike Patton's Eurocult Soundtrack Love Affair



Musical genius Mike Patton, whom I’ve written about at length elsewhere on this blog, is also well known for his love of the Eurocult genre, often mentioning specific movie titles and directors in interviews. And of course there’s his love letter to cinema, Fantomas’s tremendous Director’s Cut album. During many Mr Bungle shows, the band would deliver near perfect renditions of Morricone’s ‘La Lucertola’ (from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin), Citta Violenta and other much welcome surprises for genre fans. Even with his experimental work Adult Themes for Voice, Patton slapped on titles such as ‘Porno Holocaust’ and ‘Red Mouth, Black Orgasm’ (guess which director he’s a fan of) onto some tracks. The man lives and breathes not only obscure music but also non-mainstream cinema, and film references are littered all over his 30-year career.
As this is specifically a Eurocult/Eurohorror/Eurotrash blog, I thought it would be fun to list as many songs Patton has covered or paid homage to via his myriad of projects.


Porno Holocaust

Track 8 off Adult Themes for Voice – Mike Patton

Title of a 1980 Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D’Amato) film

Porno Holocaust is a delirious 1980 porn/horror hybrid from the notorious Joe D’Amato. The track itself consists of Patton making screaming/puking noises for a minute. Mike’s statement on the no-budget craziness of the film? His expression of how in-your-face it is? Or he simply loved that killer title and said “Hell, this is what I’m going to name this”? Make of that what you will.



Red Mouth, Black Orgasm

Track 29 off Adult Themes for Voice – Mike Patton

Those In The Know will be aware of D’Amato’s 1980 opus Black Orgasm, which it appears Patton had on his mind when recording this 27 second soundbyte, which starts with him making sucking noises then barking FUCK FUCK FUCK for the rest of it. Pretty much sums up the film.



La Lucertola

Live cover by Mr Bungle

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin; directed by Lucio Fulci, 1971

A stunning cover of ‘La Lucertola’, this rendition brings chills to the spine with its preciseness. 6 out of 5 stars.



A Lizard With the Skin of Woman

Track 17 off  Adult Themes for Voice – Mike Patton

Clearly a tribute to Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Patton’s haunting, mournful, yet ominous vocal stylings would not be out of place in a 1970s Morricone giallo composition, or indeed in Fulci’s film itself.



Citta Violenta

Live cover by Mr Bungle

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Violent City; directed by Sergio Sollima, 1970

No other words, Bungle’s stirring, thumping cover of a classic Morricone track simply rocks.



Deep Down

Track 4 off Mondo Cane – Mike Patton

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Danger: Diabolik; directed by Mario Bava, 1968

Covering his idol Morricone once again, this is a superb, breezy rendition by Patton’s 60s Italian covers tribute album Mondo Cane off one of the tracks from the Mario Bava comic book/pop art extravaganza (also a favourite film of Patton’s). I actually prefer this to the original (sorry Maestro!)



Investigations of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Track 14 of The Directors Cut - Fantomas

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Investigations of a Citizen Above Suspicion; directed by Elio Petri, 1970

More Morricone, this one begins in the spirit of a 70s Italo crime mystery, and ends with a thrash metal twist. Love it.



Twitch of the Death Nerve

Track 2 off She – Maldoror

Title of a 1971 Mario Bava film

A brutal cachopony of abrasive noise ala ‘Porno Holocaust’ from Patton and Japanese noise music artist Masami Akita, this is also open to your interpretation.....



Metti, una sera a cena

Live cover by Mr Bungle

Originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the soundtrack of Metti, una sera a cena; directed by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, 1976

Another of Bungle’s live-only covers of – yep, another (very much welcomed) Morricone track, Patton nails Edda Dell’Orso’s exquisite vocals perfectly with his 6 and a half octave range.


Also of note is Crime and Dissonance, a 2005 compilation album of Ennio Morricone's generally lesser known work, focussing on Italian crime, horror and Giallo movies from the 1960s-1980s that he scored. Released by Patton’s record label Ipecac Records, I have listed the tracks from the album that are relevant to this article.

“Giorno Di Notte"
From A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Dir: Lucio Fulci, 1971

"Corsa Sui Tetti", ‘Spiriti’, “Fondate Paure” and “L’uccello dale piume di cristallo”
From The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
Dir: Dario Argento, 1970


“Il Buio” (Morricone/Bruno Nicolai)
From The Antchrist
Dir: Alberto Di Martino, 1974

“Seguita” and “Folle Folle”
From The Cold Eyes of Fear
Dir: Enzo G. Castellari, 1971

1970”
From The Cat O’Nine Tails
Dir: Dario Argento, 1971