Tank Girl

Last year was the 30th anniversary of the British comic book Tank Girl. There wasn’t much mention of it in the press, that I remember. It is a classic cult comic. So, why not? Admittedly, the 1995 movie stunk.

It only made $6 million against a $25 million budget. That is an apt metaphor for the post-Nirvanamania alternative craze of the 1990’s. Mega-corporations foolishly believed that they could reproduce “the next Nirvana” by slapping “grunge” or “alternative” on everything. They bought up hundreds of independent labels and signed artists left and right, regardless of any talent or experience they may possess. It doesn’t work like that. Mostly, they failed spectacularly.

But, nonetheless, I liked the idea of adapting this comic into a movie. Comic book movies are HUGE now, compared to the 1990’s. Can’t somebody else give it ago? Hey Hollywood, throw some money my way! I’ll do it!

One thing that I actually LIKED about the original movie was the animated sequences. So, firstly, animate the entire thing. Co-creator Jamie Hewlett went on to form the virtual band Gorillaz. It would be a natural fit for him to direct. And don’t wimp out with a PG version. Go for a solid R-rating. It could be badass as Heavy Metal (1981).

Second, it needs better casting. Lori Petty? Blecchh! Stay true to the source material and get an Australian cast. This takes place in a post-apocalyptic Australia. Maybe include a few Brits or Americans in certain roles. But, c’mon, Ice-T as a kangaroo? Are you shitting me? Eddie Izzard plays a great villain. Get him. I kinda liked that the fascist water company ruled everything in the original. Keep that. Put Eddie in charge. Make him a middle management Darth Vader for a multi-national monopoly.

The original soundtrack had a few good tunes. I could see staying with that sort of tone; punk rock, hip-hop, metal, indie pop, etc. Courtney Love chose songs for the original. Get Quentin Tarantino’s music supervisor to do the reboot.

If Hollywood insists on bombarding us with reboots, don’t ruin perfectly good movies PLEASE! Reboot movies that had a good premise, but were shit produced, and fix them. There is no shortage of them. Comic book movies are BIG now. So, it isn’t even much of a gamble anymore. I bet that any independent studio could do a decent job of it with a small budget. Jamie Hewlett’s success with the Gorillaz could almost guarantee a bigger budget with a few well-known actors. Someone make this happen!

Redheaded Vengeance (1997-1999)

This is the sort of filmmaking that I aspire to. The only available information posted about this short horror movie is in the description of a YouTube video.

Many respected film historians refer to Redheaded Vengeance as “the greatest no-budget VHS horror short of all time”. Enid Sachbalm of The Des Moines Register described it as “the Rambo 3 of homemade VHS horror shorts”.

The Criterion Collection dismissed it as “a repugnant abomination, crudely fashioned by mouth breathing lunatics” – but that’s only because they’re too damn stupid to understand it.

Redheaded Vengeance was shot sporadically in and around Columbus, Ohio between 1997-1999. The original goal was a feature length film – shot entirely on VHS – for almost no money.

Much more footage exists than what’s seen in this 10 minute short.

The “budget” was probably something like $47.06. A single Memorex SM4300 VHS camera was used. Final editing was completed in 2009 using IMovie. No one involved had any movie making or acting experience.

Sean – who played Redhead a.k.a. Pigtails – did an incredible job. He was completely possessed by the character while in costume—it was true movie magic.

Craft services were provided by Milwaukee’s Best.

Making Movies, For the Hell of It

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I don’t remember how long I have been interested in filmmaking. I’ve always loved movies, of every kind. You can combine every other artform together into it, if you are creative. I never had ambitions to be an actor, though. I fell into that by accident.

As a young child living in Detroit, I fantasized about becoming a stuntman. This could be because of the then-popularity of daredevil Evel Knievel, action films like Hooper (1978), and TV shows like The Fall Guy My favorite stuntman was the legendary Dar Robinson. His untimely death after shooting Lethal Weapon (1987) permanently put an end to that idea, for me. Though, I had become far more interested in playing music by then.

The size of a film’s budget or the skill of the actors involved were never really a big deal to me, if the script was still good. A bad actor in a great movie will still get by. But, a great actor in a bad movie is totally screwed (That philosophy can be applied to so many other things). Nonetheless, I still watch a lot of cheesy bad movies, seeking out their redeeming qualities.

I don’t remember how I got into underground independent films. It may have been through watching funky old horror, science fiction, and grindhouse movies on local UHF stations as a kid (before cable TV came along). The VHS revolution in the 1980’s also opened up a whole new universe of adventurous filmmakers, no longer restricted by studio gatekeepers. My mom would bring home all sorts of insane stuff she found at mom & pop video stores. Her taste in low-budget weird movies probably rubbed off on me a lot. I grew an increasing appreciation for DIY directors / producers making their visions a reality against all odds.

The Island of Misfit Noise has evolved from a 1990’s rock band into a 21st Century multimedia project, based around making videos and movies instead of performing live. I guess, in that way,  it shares some similarities to The Banana SplitsThe Archies, or Green Jellö. Not having a permanent band makes it an ideal vehicle to try new things out and bring in different collaborators. There is also less pressure figuring out how to do everything onstage, in front of an audience.

I have no idea how to do film distribution or anything technical. It is all learn-as-I-go. I have no budget or crew. I use whatever stuff I can get for free. Does it look like cheap crap? Probably. Will anybody ever see it? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it will get done and be out there for those who are curious. It may take awhile to finish without access to those things, though.

My short video “I Dream of SpaceCat” was a good learning experience, not just in producing content. But, also in presentation to an audience. I hope to do more.

I Dream of Space Cat

 

Recently, I showed my art and submitted a last-minute entry into the Planet 9 Film Fest, I Dream of SpaceCat. The festival is appearing in Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The Detroit date did not go as planned. Well, the event got relocated three times and was scheduled as a matinee. A few of the bar regulars and the filmmakers themselves showed up. But, I think that was about it. Oh well. Maybe it will get played in the other cities. I dunno.

If you were unable to see this short video in the full context of the festival, maybe you would like to see it here. I doubt that I will ever commercially release it, as-is. Maybe elements will resurface in other projects, someday. It’s possible. Admittedly, it’s not a cinema masterpiece by any measure. But, all things considered, for what it is it turned out pretty good, I think.

 

Vlogging Update: May 2017

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Hey y’all,

Sorry for the long absence.

My computer died.

I gave it to my aunt to work on.

She does IT work for the local school district.

Unable to fix it, she gave me another one that a school was getting rid of.

I tried to salvage what I could from the old one.

But, most of my programs and files were lost.

I’ve been searching for the missing software and restoring what I can.

My scanner/printer didn’t want to cooperate with the new computer.

I tried replacing it.

But, the replacements didn’t work either.

After a couple of days messing with it, I finally got it running.

My van has a million problems.

But, at least I got the front tire fixed that kept going flat.

I’ve replaced that tire THREE TIMES and it still kept going flat.

I thought maybe the rim was bent.

I had it looked at and they found a piece of metal lodged inside.

They patched it up.

Now, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

Only cost me $15 bucks (thank God)!

I tried to repay my grandmother $700 dollars I owe her.

She forgave some of it.

My ex forgave the $200 I owed her, too, since I’ve been helping her relocate and move her stuff.

Not sure how I’ll get my other debts paid.

But, I try not to get stressed out about it.

That really fucks up my creativity.

Spring Has Sprung

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I was watching some YouTube videos lately.

I got very annoyed.

Other bands are doing stuff that I wanna do.

But, they keep beating me to it.

I hate when that shit happens.

Maybe it is just that everything has already been done to death and we keep repeating and reinterpreting what came before us.

I dunno.

I know that, financially, I am gonna be screwed for the foreseeable future.

I am robbing Peter to pay Paul for as long as I have to.

I seriously doubt that I will break even before summer begins.

I keep putting off working on and publishing the zine until I can get ahead a little.

But, that doesn’t look like it is going to happen very soon.

I may do a cheaper version, than what I had in mind, until it begins to pay for itself.

Just a thought.

I will probably raid my boxes of old tapes that I have in storage and dig around for some incomplete material to finish.

I have a lot of it, going back nearly forty years.

Since I have been tinkering with the analogue multi-track machine, maybe I will include some fresher stuff with it, too.

I dunno.

A guitarist whom I have not played with in years contacted me and is eager to jam again.

So, maybe he can give me a morale boost and help me get my shit done.

Maybe.

I am always willing to jam with other people if they are interested.

I need to find somewhere that I can paint and make loud noises too.

Maybe somebody can help me with that.