Friday, December 14, 2012
At the Movies
"A child is influenced by the make believe," H.R. advised us on Bad Brains' "At the Movies." As any grown man in his mid-30s who considers his vintage Star Wars toy collection to be his retirement plan can aver, there's something about celluloid that sticks with you your whole life. That same kid smashing his Jedi and Sith action figures together after binging on a movie marathon will probably grow up to start a force-themed grindcore band (Sarlacc, I'm looking at you).
There's something about the power of movies that stick with us and influence our perception of the universe and our place in it. So it's no surprise to find out that movies and grindcore are inextricably intertwined whether it's Graf Orlock's stolen lyrics or everybody sampling the same five or six songs.
Some grinders take their love of film a step further, wearing their favorite movies on their sleeve so to speak. Here's to the bands that just straight up swiped their favorite films' names.
Five fingering a movie name for your band is a tradition that is literally as old as grindcore itself. After Michigan's founding fathers of grind sensibly dropped the name Genocide, they went for the more subtle and more effective Repulsion. A pre-rape charge Roman Polanski broke down Catherine Deneuve in this 1965 psychological meltdown movie of the same name. Deneuve turned in a powerhouse performance as a repressed woman who completely cracks up over the course a single murderous afternoon. It's a film whose themes and body count had obvious appeal for the grindcore pioneers.
Grindcore has a fundamental distrust of governments and corporations and their unhealthy influence on wider society. Short-lived Michigan grinders (again with Michigan and stealing from movies!) The Parallax View were wont to scream about topics such as "Multi-National Death-Machines." So it's no surprise that the Warren Beaty film of the same name, about a shady corporation that specializes in political assassinations, resonated with their racket. Steeped in post-Watergate paranoia, the film was directed by Alan J. Pakula who also directed its real world counterpart All the President's Men.
I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK
Ryan Page is a man who loves his robots. He's gone to the cyborg well not once by twice with Robocop and Body Hammer. Both films deal with the nature of humanity as we stand on the cusp of a cybernetic evolutionary leap that may leave our biological shells redundant. Anybody who has sat down to ponder Page's Ballardian lyrical view knows those are themes right in his philosophical wheelhouse. But if he starts up a new project called Roy Batty, we may need to stage an intervention.
Adam and Eve and Eve and Eve
A film about a woman with multiple personality disorder seems like it would be a natural fit for the blastbeat treatment so it was a bit surprising that it was still sitting around unclaimed until Virginia band Three Faces of Eve, who many of you many know from the second This Comp Kills Fascists comp, snapped it up. Psychological disorders and frantic screaming just seem to make a perfect pairing.
Burnt by the Sun stole the name for a movie that was just as arty and angular as they were. The story follows a Soviet officer and war hero who gets caught up in a Stalinist purge. Everything he thought he knew about his country and his place in it come crashing around him over the course of a single summer day. Burnt by the Sun were a band steeped in humanist politics and the Oscar winning film pairs perfectly with those themes. It's a great example of a band's aesthetic and their inspiration coiling synergistically, creating a shared space between them.