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Horror anthology film Southbound is in theatres now, and Craig Caudill has ComiConverse’s review.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Southbound. I think some of the collaborators worked on the film V/H/S. I remember V/H/S had one story that left a deep impression on me. I felt was filmed very well; it had a strange girl who turned out to be some sort of harpy or siren. She obsessed over one of the party goers, kept repeating “I love you, I love you” over and over. Until she ran off with him and took off flying this was all shot on cameras on his body, befitting the “found footage” genre. I intend to talk about this at great length in another article, but I thought it was very well done and a good moment of suspension of disbelief — it looked real. I loved the abduction caught on tape; it almost felt like a viral video, leaving me to wonder how they filmed that without CGI magic, and still maintain the feel of raw video footage. This is one of my fantasies, being kidnapped by a babe — who would complain?
Now Southbound belongs in the realm of the horror anthology genre. One could argue it’s a vast improvement on the V/H/S concept; this was much better. Much like The Grudge was the best adaptation from a Japanese story to an American story. There hasn’t really been a good short film horror anthology since Creepshow — and yet I’ve seen them all, despite my better judgement. This movie expertly crafted a group of short stories that blended into each other so wonderfully you might possibly, if you weren’t paying attention, think it was all one story that didn’t make sense. This film uses a team of directors and different casts. It’s always good to see Dana Gould in anything; he is so funny. I don’t have the space to do him justice.
Things I Liked:
What was undoubtedly refreshing in this movie was the casting. Especially the female roles — now, yes, they were pretty, but in a realistic way. I actually thought they were actresses, instead the same old scenario of producer goes to a strip club and promises girl he’ll make her a star. Which is something that been pissing me off these last fifteen years. I’ve seen a lot of B movies so bad no one takes it seriously and it’s like bad joke. You see it on the actor’s faces and how they act. Back in the day, no matter how bad the movie was, the passion and seriousness the actors put into the film is what gives B movies their charm and lets you enjoy them.
I liked the music by the Gifted. Now I can’t find their albums anywhere but I’m going to look hard to track down the sound track.
We begin with two men on the road at night, covered in blood, trying to get home. On the radio is some cheeseball 80’s retro synth which is music I love. As the credits begin to roll, the music brings me back to Claudio Simonetti and Argento and Giallo Cinema. It was really a great opening. Perhaps a subtle triumph for the jaded. And for those who do not, know Giallo Cinema is Italian for Yellow Cinema, so named because many Italian directors would shoot with a yellow filter because it made colors look more intense — especially blood.
We find our two bloody protagonists making a stop in a diner. There is a subtle pop cultural reference that wasn’t rubbed in your face: the movie Carnival of Souls was casually playing on a small TV-VCR combo. It was a nice little touch. And I loved theTwilight Zone feel to the whole production; I loved how when one story ended it segued into another. Usually stories are interrupted with introductions and credits but this film went for a more fluid approach, which I applaud very much.
One thing that comes to mind: who is writer/director Radio Silence?
Could someone be pulling an Allen Smithee?
I casually surfed the net and to find they are a team of filmmakers. I need to learn more about these guys and this screams to me, interview. If possible?
I’ll try to make it happen.
One story sticks out the most. The one about Lucas, played by Mather Zickel, who appears to traveling home talking to his girlfriend going on about which dress she looks good in judging by cell phone photos. Now he’s wearing headphones to free his hands, but he’s distracted. Suddenly he hits a girl with a car, but I can’t spoil the how and why because that would ruin the story for other viewers. And I don’t want to do that — I want you to watch this movie. He then calls 911 who encourages him to get her to the hospital and the rest of the segment plays like a WTF moment. A seemingly nice guy trying to do the right thing in a world where most people would have driven off. It’s almost like he’s punished for doing the right thing.
He winds up taking her what turns out to be a Chernobyl-like hospital which is creepy as hell. I don’t want to ruin anything, but I can say I love how it all came full circle. It’s open-ended enough to explore the story further. Although V/H/S was more of a found-footage anthology, I felt this was tight like a well-crafted Mötörhead song — when it’s good, it’sreally good. This plays closer to Creepshow.
Check out Southbound when it plays in your town.
Craig Caudill is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter @craigcaudill.
It is a goal of mine to spark a dialog with creative individuals in various fields and ask them what is entertaining to them. And I hope these answers are an indication of what gives us meaning in our downtime, and what inspires us to dream in story, in music, and in the arts. No medium has allowed us to dream that more than fiction. And perhaps everyone’s favorite in many cases is generically referred to as “speculative fiction.” But this umbrella term treads many genres: horror, thriller, supernatural, noir, science fiction and countless shades of fantasy. With that I aim to ask someone who works close to the medium or works in the field. I ask them various questions — some silly, some serious. Some of the answers may surprise you.
My first participant is Mather Zickel, starring in the new horror flick Southbound, which sounds very promising to me.
So I welcome Mather Zickel in my first Q&A exchange.
CC: What novel changed your life? and who is your favorite author?
MZ: My favorite author? Hmm. Tough. I don’t generally get fixated on one particular author. Books just come into my life for some reason or other, and I like to think that there’s a reason for why they do when they do. I find I keep returning to Robertson Davies’ novels. I really enjoy his quirky Canadian world of academics, artists, priests, and eccentrics. I like his odd humor. I think he really tries to reconcile the life of the mind with the life of the spirit. And he seems to actually love humanity.
On the darker side, I also like Robert Cormier’s young adult books. Several of his novels were lauded and won awards, while simultaneously being challenged in many school libraries around the country. I went to boarding school at 14 and the first book I happened to grab out of the library was called I Am the Cheese. It really gave me the creeps. Then I read The Chocolate War and I felt completely justified in my paranoia regarding institutional structure, indoctrination, or any kind of groupthink in general. I distrust crowds.
CC: Is Wonder woman Sexy to you — specifically Lynda Carter — and why?
MZ: Yes, I find Lynda Carter/Wonder Woman sexy. The reason being, I’m not blind.
CC: You are a superhero. What is your name, power, and costume, and who is your arch-enemy?
MZ: My super hero is called Osrick of Mantos. He wears a white cloak over studded leather armor, has a pronounced limp, an eyepatch, and three ragged scars across his face, a shock of white hair by his right temple, and carries a quarterstaff. He is a sorcerer of the mind (can read minds, control minds, knock people unconscious with his mind, move things with his mind, cause horrible bodily wounds with his mind, etc.). His arch-enemy is his doppelgänger, known as Osric (spelled without a k), who appears in a black cloak and looks about 10 years older than himself.
CC: What is your preference — cosplay or LARPing?
MZ: I don’t cosplay or LARP myself, but the LARPers truly seem to go for the gusto. I think the cosplay folks are looking for a date, but the LARPers really don’t want to come home from the Faire.
CC: Can you name a trendy drink named after a superhero?
MZ: The Human Torch. 2 oz Bacardi 151, ½ oz Goldschlager, ½ oz Campari. Pour contents into shaker over a cube of sugar, shake well, pour onto bare chest, light on fire, have friend slurp contents off, Uber home.
CC: Who is your favorite villain?
MZ: My favorite villain is Julie Newmar.
CC: Good answer. Are vampires ruined? Not scary? Played out?
MZ: I think we’ve heard enough from the vampires for a while, particularly the attractive and tortured ones. I exclude the vampires from What We Do in the Shadows. Those guys are funny.
CC: Could we coexist with vampires in a True Blood scenario?
MZ: If Donald Trump becomes president I don’t think there will be much hope for peaceful human/vampire coexistence. I believe he would try to deport all the vampires to China. If Bernie Sanders wins, I think he will try to break up the banks.
CC: Are you high on V right now?
MZ: V? Never touch the stuff. Reminds me of Winston Churchill’s fingers.
CC: Stephen Hawking warned everyone not to interact with aliens if you meet one. But if you did, would you talk to him? And what would you talk to him about?
MZ: I’m not a very social person so I don’t think I would approach an alien — or Stephen Hawking. Obviously, I would help either one if they needed directions. I’m from New York. I like to give directions.
CC: Do you believe in life on other worlds?
MZ: I’m no statistician, but life on other worlds sounds entirely probable. I’m guessing most of that life resembles bacteria more than Leonard Nimoy, but you never know.
CC: Did you cry when E.T. died?
MZ: At the time I saw E.T., I was reading Orwell’s 1984 and was terrified about the dominance of a Soviet-style totalitarian superstate. And, yes, I cried when that little puppet died.
CC: Roger Moore or Sean Connery?
MZ: Sean Connery.
CC: Does working for Roto-Rooter qualify anyone to be an expert on the paranormal?
MZ: I don’t know if working for Roto-Rooter qualifies you per se, but it would help to have some expertise in plumbing. I think we all know that when you flush the toilet the contents are sucked down straight to Hell.
CC: Do you fear a Zombie reality?
MZ: Yes. Every time I go to a mall or amusement park.
CC: If your significant other was a zombie would you let them eat you?
MZ: Why does my significant other have to be a zombie to do that?
CC: If someone you knew was made out of chocolate would you eat them?
MZ: Are they solid chocolate or hollow like an Easter bunny? I’m just asking because too much chocolate makes me break out.
CC: If there is an election between Emperor Kang vs. Emperor Kodos who would you vote for?
MZ: I’m not familiar with either of those candidates, but I definitely don’t believe in voting for Emperor.
CC: Who would win in a fight — Sawyer from Lost or Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead?
MZ: Once again, not familiar with those two characters, but Daryl Dixon kicked some ass in The Boondock Saints so I’m going to go with him.
CC: Same question — the original Ricardo Montalbán, Wrath of Khan vs. Benedict Cumberbatch in the Star Trek reboot?
MZ: Ricardo Montalbán.
CC: OK. True or False? There is only one Batman, Adam West.
CC: OK. Bigfoot has been discovered and he’s booked on your talk show. But everything he says is outdated — racist, sexist, homophobic — but he’s Bigfoot. How would you handle this situation?
MZ: I would expect that from Bigfoot. He’s a 70’s celebrity. I would let him smoke and drink Chivas on my program and ask him about his time in Alaska.
CC: What superhero would like to portray?
MZ: I would very much like to portray Harry Greb, The Pittsburgh Windmill.
CC: Final question. You can refuse to answer for noble reasons. God gives you permission to kill one person.
MZ: I never let my enemies know when I’m coming for them.
Yes Mather, you won this round of Speculative Yahtzee. But you may not be so lucky next time. When I see Hail Caesar… Bwa ha haaa!
Craig Caudill is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @craigcaudill
Over the years I have had the strangest dreams of all times and would rival the most extreme opium eaters pipe dream. All my life. Drug related or not drug related I always felt like I was connected to a pipe line to nether regions which I had filled journal after journal until it became beyond words what I was dreaming. Plus it also confused and alienated me even more than before I started doing this
My favorite Dreams are the ones with famous people or sex with famous people which would make you laugh and also make you say Yuk!!!
I dreamed very quickly that Iggy Pop was tearing my clothes off as I screamed like a girl. I had this dream twice. I was safe because I would wake as soon as the clothes began tearing and I was screaming
I will note here that many of my friends told me 20 years ago they had these Burroughs Dreams with me in them. Mostly it’s me showing up at their house and Burroughs just left or he and I were sitting together discussing things. One dream there was someone chasing me around the house with an axe while Burroughs was calmly sitting smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. At this point I felt left out of the Burroughs equation because I’m the one who told them about Burroughs. And its not like I’m bragging on how I got everyone into Burroughs. Someone told me about it. My literary friends and I would pass on the info to someone else
I remember feeling jealous they were dreaming of him and I wasn’t that didn’t happen until fifteen years later long after he died.
But it was like a demon version of Burroughs all I know He would not leave when I asked him too. Now Ginsburg was more upbeat. He wore this baggy hippy hat with these fringed tassels and on the end of the tassels were these lit up fiber optic eye balls that would blink.
My First dream about Lou Reed was amazing. I dreamed he was driving me in a Monster truck and drove the forest knocking down powerful red wood trees. At one point it seemed like we were stuck. I liked around and it was like an ocean of trees crushed under the powerful wheels Lou’s Truck.
“Uh oh I think we’re trapped here for a little while” I said to Lou.
“Do you think so?” he said so smoothly then changed gears and the tree began to grind and tear apart and we were off again. I looked out the window and all I could see was logs being pulverized. The whole image was soothing so powerful that 25 years later I still have not forgotten.
I once dreamt of David Bowie. It was a concert that was outdoors and I remember when he sang the opening lyrics to Moonage Day dream “I’m an Alligator the crowd grew wild and screamed as his mouth grew and into an Alligator’s mouth after things got blurry.
When I have these dreams I feel safest than in certain other dreams far too many to mention.
I’m bringing a point that I always referred to David Lou and Iggy as the Holy Trinity I would affectionately refer the Devil would be Andy Warhol those were my favorite artists 20 years ago and I wanted to be in a band write poetry and make art.
The next part is hard to talk about but last night dream might sheds some light. I was in the hospital again I was on life support and with a cruel medical staff. It’s the stuff of nightmares and is a hard subject for me. I had a ventilator in my mouth and I was all alone. Somehow I find myself being rolled out of the hospital by in visible forces. Got in the elevator then got out when my floor arrived. I went out the door of the main entrance, and past ambulances, the parking lot and quickly off hospital grounds.
It would be important to note I was alone and still connected to Telemetry, IV’s and ventilator. And must say ii was alone. There was nobody around to spot me or stop me or run me over in their car. So somehow I was in my neighborhood going up and down the street.
Then suddenly I saw a star in the sky it was bright and beautiful and was coming down slowly until it finally stopped there was a mist light that bled through so I did not get a clear view. But there intricate patterns then I heard musical notes and I knew just from the sound it was Lou Reed. Each light intensify with whatever note was played and the songs were like a culmination of his entire career. From before and after Velvet Underground and then beyond. It was so enthralling to hear music I never heard. Music so sweet so powerful it was as if Lou evolved into this ethereal being. The memory is fading from me I can remember the feelings I got and that remember my body heave every time he had a guitar solo. It made me think of the song “I’m beginning to see the light”
I met myself in a dream
And I just wanna tell you, everything was alright
Hey now, baby, Im beginning to see the light
Now that I’m awake I feel strange I feel envious of anyone who saw Lou Live or even went to the underground Reunion tour. You guys were lucky. I feel weird now because people that something to me and slowly going away yet I go on like a rabbit in a cage being poked and prodded I always told my wife then when I go I want to go like Elijah and just be spirited away in a chariot of fire I almost thought that’s what that was. I thought it was time to exit. Well as I write this that’s not the case. All I can think of now about the last line
How does it feel to be loved? How does it feel to be loved?