When you see Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass in a thrift store, you buy it. Just to have it. It’s like a membership card into the club of cheap-bin record hunters (all of us have it). This LP in your possession says that you’ve been there. You know the fluorescent lights. You know the dirt. You know the smell. You know the pain.
1994, Black Cracker Music
Here’s what I consider to be a genuinely happy thought: the sad, strange life story of the world’s worst movie director has inspired three different masterworks in three different forms of media. There aren’t many, if any, other people you can say that about.
BASIC INSTINCT (1992; director: Paul Verhoeven)
This early 90s meisterwerk is so dedicated to being trashy, sleazy, steamy and light on the logic that it’s real easy to love if you have a taste for the tasteless. It’s slick in that Paul Verhoeven way, which means that there’s a faint smirk underneath the perfect Hollywood lighting and the troubled cop/femme fatale cliches. Everything is over the top. Verhoeven lays on the close-ups and the opulent San Francisco views. The Joe Eszterhas script is hard-boiled to the max, all snap and innuendo, with scarcely two lines of dialogue in a row that sound like anything that an actual human would say. Meanwhile, Jerry Goldsmith’s booming orchestral score lays countless exclamation points all over this cinematic purple prose.
You’ll know in the first twenty minutes if you enjoy this movie or if you think that the original film negative ought to be fed to rats. I’ll lay it out for you.
Poppy Z. Brite
Dell Publishing, 1992
At my advanced age I felt like a real drip reading (and enjoying) this novel of angst-ridden vampires and goth kids.
On the other hand, I’m glad that I didn’t read it when I was a teenager because I would have been INSUFFERABLE afterward–and I was annoying enough already back then. I know how obsessive I can get. This book would have effected me. It would have changed my life. I would have started to wear all black. I probably would have gotten into eyeliner. I would have dug deep into Sisters of Mercy B-sides. I would have spent my senior year prom night hanging out in a cemetery. There’s not a doubt in my mind, no sir.