SITE PROGRESS UPDATE: All Movie Reviews Now Uploaded

Yep, all 1,060 of them. They’re not linked from anywhere yet (so you can’t find them), but they’re here like bats nesting in a cave. Now, I will organize them in their own neat and tidy section, which shouldn’t take too long (I hope). I aim to have this site in spiffy shape by mid-February so that my nightmare can end and your nightmare can begin, dear reader.

In the meantime, here are links to five recent movie pieces of mine:

Hard Boiled (the John Woo shoot-’em-up landmark, which I saw this week at the Alamo Drafthouse)

The Sadist (the 1963 Arch Hall Jr. classic!)

Traffic in Souls (exploitation 1913-style)

Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (70s Italian cop sleaze-o-rama)

My Man Godfrey (because we here at The Constant Bleeder like old screwball comedies, too)

 

Kenneth Davids’ THE SOFTNESS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HOLE

Kenneth Davids

The Softness on the Other Side of the Hole

Grove Press,  1968

Maybe YOU could resist a fifty-year-old paperback called The Softness on the Other Side of the Hole that you found in the vintage rack at a used bookstore, but I couldn’t. It was $3. The great title was worth at least $1 of that; the bizarre description on the back cover was worth the other $2 and more.

It gets flying right from its opening sentence when our hero, a homeless 72 year old hippie, innocently smokes a joint in the stall of a women’s restroom and a guy in the adjacent men’s room starts to flirt with him through the wall on the assumption that he’s speaking to a woman. Our geriatric pothead likes girls (or used to back when he could get the job done), but he eventually plays along because…

1) he’s high as a giraffe’s eye,

2) he’s a nice old man who likes to make people happy,

and

3) author Kenneth Davids has no interest in making a lick of sense (our 72 year old man somehow convincingly affects the voice of a woman in her 20s as he chats through a glory hole). Davids writes like he just took a couple monster bong hits and then went to type some stuff (and he probably did). He rambles, treats periods and commas as optional, and is most interested in ruminating on loneliness, aging, and drugged mind states–and building up to a taboo plot twist that’s the last atom bomb gross-out after some creepy sex acts and nightmare phallic drug hallucinations.

It’s trash, but it’s a trip. It was put out by the old Grove Press and it plays like psychedelics-sprinkled pornography for a few quick chapters, especially when the old man gets lost in the fantasy that he’s a girl, and then it makes left turns into places where the most shameless boners won’t remain standing.

I give it a thumbs (and ONLY thumbs) up.

David Cole’s REPUBLICAN PARTY ANIMAL

David Cole

REPUBLICAN PARTY ANIMAL

Feral House, 2014

 

When your life is ruined by a lie, you’ve lost all of your friends and everything you’ve worked for collapses overnight, it seems like you have a few options left to consider. You could eat a bullet for lunch. You could become a strident, droning victim and bore everyone until we not only lose interest in your trial, but we start to think that you deserved it. Or you could joke mercilessly about the whole affair, preferably in a book that reads like a thousand dirty secrets told in confidence between two bar stools—and that’s the path that David Cole takes, thank God.

Now, let’s get one thing straight here: Infamous Jewish “Holocaust denier” David Cole is, uh, not a Holocaust denier. This is not a fact that I got from fake news (whatever that is) or some blowhard on social media. I got it from Cole’s own words in this very volume. David Cole says that the Holocaust happened. David Cole agrees with the mainstream that European Jews during the Third Reich were rounded up, forced into camps and killed in large numbers. There’s nothing wrong with my copy of the book. No pages were ripped out. Everything is spelled right. The ink didn’t come off on my hands. I wasn’t on drugs. My old Kindergarten teacher once told me that I read very well.

David Cole acknowledges the Holocaust (let’s say it again). It’s here in professionally typeset plain English. So can anyone who’s EVER hated him for that FINALLY shut up? If you question Cole’s authority on the Holocaust, how about we at least buy that he’s an authority on what’s in his own head? Sounds reasonable to me.

The (very) brief summary of what makes Cole such a hot lump of coal deemed unfit for sensitive hands: He questions that Auschwitz was an extermination camp.

While Cole believes that other camps, such as Treblinka, were true blue death destinations, he posits that Auschwitz was more likely a labor camp for a warring country who really needed it. Its famous gas chambers, mere legend. He doesn’t say that Auschwitz was a country club, but he thinks the facts have become distorted over the years and that it’s his job as a researcher to set the record straight.

Is Cole correct? I don’t know. He’s read more Holocaust literature, interviewed more people on the matter and done more personal inspections of the original site than I’ll ever do. I say we leave it for the historians to argue. If you’re not an active participant in Holocaust research, neck-deep in the reading and well-weathered on the traveling, I don’t care what you have to say. When non-historians get in on this, they tend to bring in their politics. Pundits win and history loses.

Pursuing this matter in the face of violent resistance (and I do mean real violence, with punches thrown and death threats from high places) is only Cole’s FIRST self-destructive act. He’d have a few more, including one literal faking of his death and a changing of his professional name and a path that lead to working with the most image-conscious human beings on Earth outside of high school kids: politicians. Los Angeles resident Cole was a real up-and-coming mover and shaker of the little-acknowledged, well-moneyed, but marginalized Hollywood right wing. He hobnobbed with everybody in the scene, worked the room from front to back and threw legendary parties. Powerful people loved David Cole. They admired his work ethic. They wanted to team up with him. The kid had a future.

Then these people found out about Cole’s controversial Holocaust past (through machinations best revealed in the book) and they pretended to never know him.

Such is life in the big leagues. Anyone who has anything to lose will always distance themselves from the pariah. All sides of the political spectrum are fat with lies and hungry for more. They play to people who don’t read far past the headlines. They know how truth distorts the very moment that more than one mouth is talking about it and they take advantage of that (except when it’s working against them). Cole, a quick-thinking achiever who admits that he’s comfortable being a manipulative weasel, felt comfortable among other weasels. And then they chewed him up.

This is his story. Sounds like a good book to me.

As with any memoir from a disgraced person, this one invites suspicion of its accuracy. What do Cole’s relentlessly bashed ex-friends and ex-girlfriends here have to say? I don’t know (none of them seem to be writers), but what makes Cole believable is that he’s funny. This book is not a screed or a plea for mercy. It’s a laugh-out-loud take on a screwball-worthy situation. Cole seems like the kind of guy who could find out that he’s got a terminal disease and then start joking about it five minutes later. I always believe truly funny people because they’re not afraid to make themselves look pathetic. There’s too much humor in the sad truth to reach for some boring lie.

David Cole’s fall is the worst thing that ever happened to him—and he sees both its tragedy and its comedy. Any real seeker of truth ought to be able to do that.

TOP 5 MOVIEGOING EXPERIENCES OF 2016

2016 was a year. I was alive. I went out to see some movies. Here are the five that I most enjoyed in a dark room with other weirdos and my insides full of popcorn, alcohol and the fluttering bird songs of hope.

 

5 – TEENAGE MOTHER (Alamo Drafthouse, September 2016)

If I’m going to watch a movie that climaxes with real life birth footage, I’d rather do it with the crowd of freaks who show up every month to the AGFA Secret Screening. They’re up for anything and the mood is infectious. We were the perfect audience for this 1967 “educational” exploitation film about a high school girl who gets pregnant and causes a scandal in her small town and the only way to heal everyone’s psychic wounds is for them (and us) to see documentary film of an actual birth. Yep, a slimy little baby rips itself out of a woman’s newly ravaged vagina on the big, big screen. We winced, moaned, squirmed, averted our eyes and laughed nervously—and we did it TOGETHER. We got through it. We survived. At least most of us did.

4 – POSSESSION (The Texas Theatre, August 2016)

I’ve seen 50,000 horror movies and at this point I can eat a meatball sandwich and watch heads roll all night. So, seeing a movie that REALLY did freak me out, rob my spirit of all optimism and make the very air in the room feel carcinogenic was a weirdly exciting sensation. Originally released in 1981, POSSESSION put me in my place. It’s about the worst marriage in film history. He (Sam Neill) twitches like a raw nerve, she (Isabelle Adjani) screams more than the singer in a black metal band. He’s jealous, she’s insane. He beats the hell out of her, she cheats on him with a mysterious slime beast in an apartment that looks like the inside of a dumpster. Director/co-writer Andrzej Zulawski builds a real nightmare here, icy in approach and nerve-rattling. At times, he dares the audience to walk out. In a theater, the infamous “miscarriage” scene—three solid minutes of Adjani howling and writhing and throwing herself around a lonely subway tunnel—is an assault that makes your ears ring afterward. It’s one of the best horror films ever made. The sparsely attended late Thursday night show, a Club Silencio-like collection of scattered strays, only added to the effect.

3 – TICKLED (The Magnolia, August 2016)

This documentary about the world’s one-time leading peddler of online tickle fetish videos is funny stuff at first and then becomes harrowing as the onion layers peel off to reveal one of the creepiest and most mysterious antagonists in recent movies, a world class “cyber-bully” before the term was invented and a Dr. Mabuse-like string-puller under cover of digital shadow. The two New Zealand filmmakers here travel the US interviewing the very few who will come forward on the subject, doing stakeouts, following people, sneaking cameras anywhere they can and having doors slammed in their faces. The audience is there with them the whole time, the third person in the investigation, keeping the edges of our seats good and warm on this trip into a real underworld. My favorite NEW movie that I saw in a theater this year.

2 – RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION (Alamo Drafthouse, June 2016)

I hate movie remakes and I hate them even more now that I’ve finally seen it done right. Here’s what it takes: A bunch of 11-year-olds pick out their favorite movie and then re-shoot it, painstakingly, shot-for-shot with a VHS camcorder and no money. If it takes them seven years to finish (as it did these kids during summer vacations off from school from 1982 to 1989), that’s even better. This is a movie that you can’t believe really exists until you’ve seen it. If you’re deeply familiar with the original RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, part of the fun of watching this is anticipating the action scenes ahead and wondering how these middle-schoolers will handle them. They pull off the boulder chase at the beginning beautifully, so you know they’re not messing around. But do they recreate the scene where Indy punches out Nazis on a moving truck? Do they shoot in a room full of live snakes? And do they risk burning down their parents’ house by staging the fight scene in Marion’s bar while the place is on fire? Yes, yes and yes, through methods that range from ingenious to just cause for being grounded for life. This played to a sold-out room at the Alamo and it brought the roof down. The screening was preceded by a new documentary on the making of this weird time capsule piece and included a Q&A with the makers, taking their childhood project from thirty years ago on a summer tour and happy to be there. Five hours well-spent.

1 – PARLOR, BEDROOM AND BATH (The Texas Theatre, April 2016)

Every film critic in the world calls this another mediocre artifact of silent film genius Buster Keaton’s downhill slide in the talkies. It’s a movie that gets no respect, but it was the first feature shown at Dallas’s legendary Texas Theatre when it opened on April 21, 1931 and so they decided to show it again, on 35mm film, on that exact date eighty-five years later, complete with the same newsreel and Mickey Mouse cartoon (on 16mm). The retro 35-cent admission and this rare trip back in time seemed to be the major draw for the large Thursday night crowd. I was among those there mostly to pay respect to the city’s oldest and best movie house on its birthday. No one seemed to expect much from the movie. The crowd laughed AT the newsreel, laughed WITH the cartoon… and then PARLOR, BEDROOM AND BATH leveled the place. It KILLED. Gales of laughter. Keaton had ’em rolling. Instead of making fun, people were having fun. The antique had barely aged a day. The film felt weirdly modern (it sneaks in a few dirty jokes, in true pre-Code fashion) and it jabbed upper class 1930s ways as finely as anyone in the 21st century audience could. Meanwhile, though Keaton no longer directs, writes or risks his life for some of the world’s most insane silent screen stunts here, he’s still a beautifully nimble presence who slips on wet floors and gets flung around hotel rooms like an artist. It’s fine 1930s fluff. The chatter at the bar afterward was all about how surprisingly good it was. I left like someone had just shoved a magic light bulb up my ass, totally aglow.

Intro

Hi, everyone. This is my website. It’s got all of the state-of-the-art modern conveniences. It’s in color. It’s open 24 hours a day and most major holidays (we’re closed on Arbor Day). You can scroll both up AND down. It’s not finished yet, but when it’s all ready, it’s gonna have a fuck-ton of writing about movies, music and books, and life and death. At the very least, I can promise you that it will have many, many, many commas.

And I didn’t just start writing this stuff last Wednesday. When this Constant Bleeder bitch is fully operational, it will offer roughly ten years worth of nonsense that I’ve written for other even more seedy online venues. I’ve done pretty well for myself from that ten years of writing. It bought me the 14,000-acre Colorado ranch from which I’m currently typing these words. It’s made me a huge celebrity in Southeastern Liechtenstein. It paid for my divorce from my first wife and bought me my second wife. It’s gotten me many creatively spelled compliments and criticisms from many drug addicts across the globe.

It’s time that I struck out on my own, I think. Bought my own property. Erected my own tower. Put up my own gates! Hired armed guards! Killed and looted freely! (Or at least tried to finally break Northwestern Liechtenstein.)

Actually, I don’t have much of a vision for it, yet. I’m not into web design. I don’t know how to “code”. Imagine the 78-year-old man who was in line in front of you at Walgreen’s last week starting his own website. That’s me. My idea for the best way to present writing is a BOOK. Neat black printing against a stark white surface. That’s my scene. I like the simple stuff.

But the internet gives you so many possibilities that you start to question your aesthetic. Maybe I should go wild with pictures and animations and videos and things that blink and flutter across the screen like wasps. Internet coding invites you to go right up your ass, out of your mouth and up to Jupiter’s furthest moon. But is there any room in that mess for a person to just pull up a chair and TALK (which is all that I want to do)? Does that come through via fancy coding? Maybe. I don’t know. I’ll try to figure it out by 2027.

In the meantime, here I am, pratfalling all over the place, breaking virtual China plates, cracking digital crystal and tripping through imaginary glass windows.

This is not the prettiest website on the Whirled Wide Web, but maybe it doesn’t need to be that. Maybe we here at The Constant Bleeder are comfortable being ugly. Maybe we don’t care who looks in on us. Maybe we’re happy if just one person likes us. Maybe we just want to like ourselves. Maybe YOU, dear reader, are a fucking intruder (which is what readers are).

Fine with me. We’re all sinners here.