Happy Halloween with The Greatest Film Ever Made


It’s that time of year again when Through the Shattered Lens celebrates it’s favorite month with another screening of I consider the greatest film ever made. This is a film that speaks to everyone at this site in one way or another. To dispute it’s “G.O.A.T.” status would be an exercise in inept futility.

It has horror, heartache, romance, kinky sex, interspecies assault, Disney-esque reenactments, revolution, ninja stars, redneck sociopaths, chainsaws and Jawa-speak. Not to mention it has baby-sitting tips, how to make a knothole in a Christmas tree and an Evil Dead tree reenactment. It’s a film that’s fun for the whole family.

As another October comes to a close it’s another opportunity to give Jason Eisener his due and say, “Good sir, we salute you.”

Horror On TV: Twilight Zone — “To Serve Man”

As Halloween comes to a close, so does both horror month here at the Shattered Lens and our series of televised horrors.  What better way to finish out this feature than with one of the best known and most popular episodes of The Twilight Zone?

There’s a lot I could say about To Serve Man but really, all that needs to be acknowledged is that it’s a classic and features one of the best endings ever.

To Serve Man was written by Rod Serling and directed by Richard L. Bare.  It originally aired on March 2nd, 1962.

Bon appetit!



Ten Years #15: Alestorm

Decade of last.fm scrobbling countdown:
15. Alestorm (1,437 plays)
Top track (73 plays): Barrett’s Privateers, from Back Through Time (2011)
Featured track: Keelhauled, from Black Sails at Midnight (2009)

I tried to start a zombie metal band once, but when I asked some friends to give me a hand they all ran away… Erm, where was I going with this?

Oh yes, for your Halloween evening amusement: Pirate Metal!

I’ve actually listened to this band so much since picking up Captain Morgan’s Revenge in 2008 that they managed to climb all the way to 15th place in my decade-spanning last.fm charts. Alestorm might be the most delightful thing to ever happen to folk metal, pending a Nekrogoblikon follow-up as sweet as Stench (2011). Alestorm support their gimmick with a brilliant knack for catchy composition and a lyrics sheet guaranteed to entertain. Happy Halloween!

My friends, I stand before you
To tell a truth most dire
There lurks a traitor in our midst
Who hath invoked the captain’s ire

He don’t deserve no mercy
We ought to shoot him with a gun
But I am not an evil man
So first let’s have a little fun

We’ll tie that scoundrel to a rope
And throw him overboard
Drag him underneath the ship
A terrifying deadly trip

Keelhaul that filthy landlubber
Send him down to the depths below
Make that bastard walk the plank
With a bottle of rum and a yo ho ho

I will not say what he has done
His sins are far too grave to tell
It’s not my place to judge a man
But for them he will burn in hell

The sharks will dine upon his flesh
And Davy Jones will have his soul
Take his money and his hat
He won’t need them where he’s gonna go

But first lets tie him to a rope
And throw him overboard
Drag him underneath the ship
A terrifying deadly trip.

Keelhaul that filthy landlubber
Send him down to the depths below
Make that bastard walk the plank
With a bottle of rum and a yo ho ho

Anime You Should Be Watching (Horror Edition): Perfect Blue


I can’t let the month of October without an anime that people should be watching. This one sticks to the horror-theme we’ve been exploring all month. The anime in question is the first full-length animated feature film from one of Japan’s brightest filmmakers.

Satoshi Kon’s 1998 psychological-thriller, Perfect Blue, works just as well in the classic traditions of the Italian gialli thrillers of the 70’s and 80’s. The film is about a J-Pop idol, Mina Kirigoe, who has decided to retire from the J-Pop group “CHAM!” to pursue a career in acting. This decision of Mina’s is not taken lightly by some of her fans who sees it as a betrayal of everything they’ve come to love and worship in Mina’s J-Pop idol persona.

Before I continue, I need to point out that the idol concept in Japan and Asia is quite similar to the heavily-produced singing groups and solo singers like Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and a host of cookie-cutter acts. These J-Pop idols have money invested in making sure every movement they make, every song they sing and every appearance in pubic create a persona that will appeal to the largest target audience possible. It’s no wonder that a small subset of fans of these idols lose track of what;s real and what’s been fabricated for entertainment.

So, with that in mind Mina’s decision to leave her idol status to become an actress brings out the extreme reactions from some fans. As the film moves forward we also see a gradual decline in how Mina perceives the reality around her. She begins to suspect that she’s being followed and stalked. Even her first big break as an actress — a controversial gang rape scene in a strip club — just adds to her failing grip on reality.

The horror part of Perfect Blue could easily be attributed to the psychological breakdown of a young woman whose past fame and celebrity status has become the very thing which haunts and hounds her. Yet, the film brings in a mysterious slasher element to the narrative that could easily be paying homage to Argento’s gialli from the 80’s like Suspiria. It shares similar themes of a young ingenue put into a situation where reality and fantasy begin to blur not just for her but those who obsess over her. At times, the film almost brings in a dream-like quality to the story which is something Argento has become famous for in many of his work during the late 70’s and early 80’s.

It’s quite an achievement for a first feature-length film that would help catapult Satoshi Kon to be mentioned in the same breath as other Japanese anime filmmakers as Hayao Miyazaki. In fact, with each new film by Kon he became the near-consensus to bear the standard of Japan’s premiere anime filmmaker once Miyazaki finally retires. It’s unfortunate that Satoshi Kon wouldn’t see that day as his untimely passing from cancer at the young age of 46 robbed the film community of one of it’s best and brightest.

Perfect Blue is a perfect example of anime that’s both mature and entertaining without resorting to the so-called “hentai pornography” some outside the community seem to think mature anime tend to be. This psychological thriller could easily be told in live-action and still come out quite good, but in animated form under the talented, guiding hands of Satoshi Kon, it has become one of the best of it’s kind in the anime scene.

So, Perfect Blue is another “Anime You Should Be Watching” and should satisfy one’s need to see a well-made anime with horror roots.

P.S.: You Should Be Watching Every Satoshi Kon anime…Perfect Blue also had a strong influence on Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

6 Trailers For Halloween, Part 3

Hi there and welcome to the 3rd and final part of this special Halloween edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers!

For this final edition, we take a look at horror films that were nominated for Oscars.  Because of their Oscar pedigree, these films are rarely referred to as being exploitation films.   However, have no doubt — at heart, these films all belong in the grindhouse.

1) The Exorcist (1973)

Among other nominations, The Exorcist was the first horror film to ever receive a nomination for best picture of the year.  The Exorcist, however, lost the Oscar to The Sting.

2) Jaws (1975)

Jaws was nominated for best picture in 1975 but lost to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

3) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs was the first horror movie to win best picture.

4) The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense was nominated for best picture but lost to American Beauty.

5) Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Ruth Gordon won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her performance in this film.

6) Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

Willem DaFoe was nominated for best supporting actor but lost to Benicio Del Toro in Traffic.

What do you think, Trailer Kitties?

Trailer Kitties

Ten Years #16: Falkenbach

Decade of last.fm scrobbling countdown:
16. Falkenbach (1,418 plays)
Top track (84 plays): Heathenpride, from En Their Medh Riki Fara (1996)
Featured track: Tanfana, from Tiurida (2011)

Happy Halloween! As you may have guessed, October 31st is our favorite day of the year here at Shattered Lens. I thought I’d celebrate with two entries in my Top 50 series that both happen to be particularly appropriate for the occasion. The first, coming in at 16th place with 1,418 listens over the past ten years, is the solo brainchild of Vratyas Vakyas: Falkenbach. A band I find some excuse to mention almost every October, Falkenbach have about as much of a right as Bathory or Enslaved to claim the invention of viking metal. While Vakyas certainly lacks the widespread influence attributable to Quorthon–only nine copies were supposedly ever made of the 1989 Havamal demo–he seems to have been a part of the movement from its very founding. Recording originally in Iceland and later settling down in Germany, Vakyas has dedicated his career as a musician to persistently refining a unique sound inseparable from the notion of viking metal.

“Viking metal” is a term I use sparingly. It marks, in my opinion, the transition of fringe metal bands away from reactionary Satanism and towards a more refined, pagan appreciation for pre-Christian European tradition. This process took the majority of the 1990s to fully realize, and many of the bands that most commonly receive a “viking” tag–Bathory, Enslaved, Falkenbach, Burzum–originated firmly within the spectrum of black metal. (The term “pagan metal” emerged in much the same manner further east, as Ukrainian and Russian black metal bands found similar cause to divorce Satanism.) Modern use of “viking metal” refers to little more than a lyrical theme, the transition to a folk aesthetic in black metal circles and beyond being at this point complete. “Pagan metal” seems to be the tag for any folkish band that still lies on the fringe, usually through heavy doses of black metal, provided they didn’t get dumped off in the “viking” bin first.

It would make a great deal of sense to me to lump the likes of Enslaved and Bathory into the “pagan” category where applicable, along with more recent acts like Moonsorrow, and abandon “viking metal” altogether. But if it is to persist, I find no band more appropriate for the title than Falkenbach. Much like Summoning, Falkenbach’s sound developed into an independent entity with no clear counterparts. From Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty (2003) onward, Vakyas’s sound has stood distinctly apart. The looping electronic woodwinds, acoustic guitar, mid-tempo beat, and chugging electric guitar in the sample track I’ve provided are all fundamental to the sound visible within the earliest available Falkenbach recordings and fully realized by 2003. But where Summoning has always defied classification, Falkenbach’s close ties to the onset of the viking metal movement seem to grant the term weight. It would be a bit silly to suggest that Falkenbach’s uniqueness is somehow more significant than the countless other innovative, folk-inspired metal bands of the 90s and 2000s, but his timing in history and lack of parallels, be they copycats or coincidental, has earned Vakyas a distinction beyond his impeccable song writing and sincere reverence for the old gods. Falkenbach is, for me at least, the closest thing to viking metal as a style of music that you will ever find.