“Dolly Deadly” : Oh, Man, That Is F***ed Up

Trash Film Guru


Regular readers of the blathering assemblages of non-sequiturs and stream-of-consciousness semi-tirades that I have the gall to call “reviews” already know that the distant margins is where I often find the most interesting stuff, and they don’t come much more marginal or distant than 2016’s Dolly Deadly, a brutally surreal and intentionally ugly $10,000 production lensed in the depressing backwater of Chester, California by director Heidi Moore. Simply put, if you’re looking for a flick that makes you feel like an irredeemably sick fuck for even knowing of its existence, never mind actually watching it, then you could do a lot worse than this blood-soaked serving of deeply troubled and troubling psychological unease. I know I certainly felt like I could use a good, cold shower after catching it on Amazon Prime (it’s also available on Blu-ray and DVD, from what I understand) the other day — but how…

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“Asylum : The Lost Footage” Is And Isn’t Exactly What You Think It Is

Trash Film Guru


I’ll say one thing — and I should emphasize that it’s one thing — for Geraldo Rivera : his sensationalistic expose of the crisis conditions in many American mental institutions that led to mass closings of said facilities in the late ’70s and early ’80s has ensured that enterprising no-budget indie directors have a veritable shit-ton of freely-available,purportedly “haunted” filming locations at their disposal. Case in point : the shuttered Central State Hospital in scenic Indianapolis, Indiana that serves as “ground zero” for the “action” (a term I use ridiculously loosely) in Dan T. Hall’s 2013 “homemade horror” effort Asylum : The Lost Footage.


The title of this flick alone gives away exactly what it’s about, but just in case you still have questions, never fear : the poster gives a full (albeit questionably-worded) accounting of the proceedings, so I don’t even need to repeat ’em here. We’re on…

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Music Video of the Day: Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf (1979, dir. Arnold Levine)

The following quotes are from the book, I Want My MTV:

“For Bat Out of Hell [in 1977], I talked the label into giving me $30,000 to shoot three live performance clips, and I got them played as trailers before midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That is still the number one selling album in the history of Holland, and I never played there. It’s all because of the “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” video.” –Meat Loaf

“MTV was never very kind to me. They never played any of my videos.” –Meat Loaf

I love to speculate as to the reason why. It certainly doesn’t seem to have stopped him from trying. I can find many music videos that he made during the 80s. It’s telling though, that despite being such a well-known artist, most of the videos aren’t in mvdbase or IMVDb. That includes Dead Ringer for Love that had Cher in it.

What else is telling is that no matter what video it is, or no matter how much it tries to look like a modern music video, they are just the Bat Out Of Hell videos with some window-dressing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not MTV. I’m sure Meat Loaf being overweight didn’t help either. Also, as great as the songs are, it’s not really rock as much as it is rock-tinged opera music, or put more simply, rock opera. If MTV had trouble selling Def Leppard to the point that their videos looked like Duran Duran ones, then imagine trying to sell Meat Loaf. It all adds up to an artist that was kind of destined to fall through the cracks.

A good way to see the difference between Meat Loaf music not making it to MTV, and Meat Loaf music making it to MTV, is to compare his videos to Bonnie Tyler music videos. Her songs were also from Jim Steinman in one form or another. They are operatic as well. You can really hear that on Holding Out For A Hero and Faster Than The Speed Of Night. However, Tyler is pretty, she’s a woman, she’s thin, she can sing, and most importantly, her videos were an event. Even more than thirty years later, you can say her name and the video for Total Eclipse Of The Heart comes to people’s minds. There is symbolism, storylines, an overall vision across several of her best videos, and they are memorable, which makes them re-watchable.

You see a Meat Loaf music video, you like the song, and buy the album. The cycle ends there. That kind of cuts MTV out of the picture when you don’t want to come back to them to see the video. During the time a Meat Loaf video would play, they could be airing Breaking The Law by Judas Priest, Poison Arrow by ABC, and Rio by Duran Duran that all stand separate from the song and bring back viewers. You have to remember that several people who were at the genesis of MTV were from The Movie Channel where it was their job to optimize programming based on demographic research. They needed money and had limited airtime.

Today we live in a world where the record companies can dump everything on YouTube. Who cares if it only brings in a few thousand views? Every single video can be watched concurrently by as many people as there are in the world, and you don’t have to worry about it after that except for licensing deals that you would have to handle anyways. I can’t imagine it costs much to put up either. They also have the benefit of people filling in the gaps by putting the videos up themselves that they can then claim advertising rights on. MTV didn’t have these luxuries.

Of course while this might have been the case for Meat Loaf during the 80s, the 90s were a different story when they and VH1 must have realized that he now fit their more original programming model since he was also an actor on top of being a famous musician. I remember him hosting a game show for VH1. There was also that biopic in 2000 called Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back.

Sing us out of 2016, Meat Loaf!