Monday, November 5, 2012

The Story of Rock 'N' Roll Comics

The Story of Rock 'N' Roll Comics is a documentary following a comic series that released many controversial takes on old legends and crazy events in rocks history. Ranging from stories on Bon Jovi, The Sex Pistols, and Metallica the comics quickly gained somewhat of a cult following. The story shows us through the short life of Todd Loren (publisher of Rock 'N' Roll Comics), starting with the years leading up to starting publishing to the time after his death that led to the comics demise.

Throughout the documentary there are various interviews with people who knew Todd Loren. Many who hated him along with a few he loved him, the general consensus between them all seems to be that Todd Loren didn't care for paying and crediting people much. Many of the stories about how he went about business are extremely entertaining. My favorite happens to be the fact that he would put the contract on the back of checks so in order to get their cash they HAD to sign the contract.

 It is hard to argue that Loren didn't inspire some people out there during his short. Going from shipping out mailorder bootlegs to starting a craze with unauthorized comic books is definitely a big jump. The fact that the company died out shortly after Loren's death is certainly a testament to how important he was to the whole project. Controversy sells for sure and he belted it out like no other, whilst sort of sparking a debate on the First Amendment and an ever-growing list of people wanting to file lawsuits against him.

Overall this is a very solid documentary. I can definitely appreciate to the fact that I had little to no knowledge of Rock 'N' Roll Comics before popping this DVD in. Even with that fact I was sucked in and after viewing am considering tracking down some issues. Highly recommended for those into rock and documentaries. Todd Loren definitely created a rockstar persona for himself without even having to pick up an instrument. The disc is also packed full with special features, over two hours of them to be exact. There is plenty of extra material to dive into here after viewing the film itself.

Slaughter Tales

Slaughter Tales is Johnny Dickie's director debut feature film. It is hard to talk about the film without mentioning the directors age, who was a mere 14 years old during the making of the film. The best thing about this project is not necessarily the film itself but the fact that someone at such a young actually did what many think about doing. Make a feature film. That takes balls and dedication, especially with the small amount of money that was put into Slaughter Tales.

Slaughter Tales is a horror anthology that follows a young man who is viewing a stolen VHS tape for the first time. This VHS tape takes us on a journey through a few stories of the macabre. The journey kicks off with a few trailers (à la Grindhouse). This may be my favorite part of the film overall and I think it would be cool to see Dickie go back and turn these crazy ideas into shorts or features.

One of the main things that you will notice upon first viewing is that the setting is almost always the same. Another thing is that there are only a handful of people in the cast. This may become tiring to some but the few characters in the stories keep things interesting with their colorful language and facial expressions (see commentary for a hilarious conversation regarding this). Another thing that catches the eye is the use of stop motion. This technique isn't seen often these days in horror and it is very interesting and somewhat surprising to see it done by such a young director. Also seeing Dickie doing dangerous flame stunts in his house is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. This kid doesn't read the warnings about playing with lighters and matches!

Overall Slaughter Tales is not a very good film from a technical standpoint. That being said if you are a fan of no budget cheese the fun factor within this flick is undeniable. Being a huge sucker for anthologies and cheese myself I obviously had a soft spot for this one. Slaughter Tales is a fun time from start to finish. While it may not have the best effects, or dialogue and plot, it makes up for it's shortcomings and then some with it's charm. I can't necessarily recommend this for everyone, but if you like anthologies and can deal with heavy doses of cheese then Slaughter Tales is worth a look.