Well, this is one of the best films of the year – so, don’t believe any of the negative hubbub floating round net land. A tale of dueling psychopaths – one rich, one poor – and the women left in their wake. Christian is a classic Ellis character up there with Clay and Patrick Bateman – a manipulating trust fund kid movie producer control freak with Daddy issues and a nice pair of rubber gloves and accompanying blade. Best line: “I will kill him and get away with it. Look at me, babe”. The script is tight and a slow burn toward a psychologically powerful climax. This is plot wise most like parts of Glamorama and The Informers from Bret’s oeuvre, so his literary fans will find plenty to commune with. This is Schrader’s most accomplished directing effort in 10 years – from the haunting title sequence to The Hills type mise en scene – but darker and smoother. It’s reminiscent of his earlier masterpieces American Gigolo and Comfort of Strangers and sits in their company. James Deen is a revelation as Christian – the looks, all stone cold menace and boyish insecurity – not unlike a young Tony Curtis – but with more gravitas. Lindsay Lohan gives her best performance in years, that is hard to fault and is rather sympathetic. Who cares if she behaved like a brat who needed a slap on the ass on set a few days – or has some drug issues. Whatever – when is that new there in Hollywood? Her Tara anchors the film down with some level of emotional humanity and is delicate, sassy and most importantly – lost. Ryan, the third wheel to this pair, is played by Nolan Funk who steps up as the financially challenged second narcissist and rival to Christian. An ice cold portrait of contemporary LA in all it’s blank ‘glory’ – from a uniquely assembled team alchemizing a truly impressive new piece of cinema2.0. on a micro to low budget. Look at it, babes.
June 1, 2013
The quest for controversy is well underway once again as submissions for the Melbourne Underground Film Festival are open until 28 June.
MUFF are seeking innovative filmmakers to follow the revolutionary path of James Wan and many others to take out a MUFF award at Australia’s wildest independent film festival. If you are a low budget cinematic insurgent then submit your film, long or short, by following instructions available on www.muff.com.au.
MUFF is renowned for showing the type of transgressive, progressive, transcendental and just plain mad productions that will never be screened at Hoyts. We don’t care if you shoot on the latest red camera or an old and banged up PD150. If your original film demonstrates passion, spirit, inventiveness and guts in any genre then we want you to receive the recognition you deserve.
MUFF has been discovering Australia’s most interesting cinematic talent for close to fifteen years so if you’re a creative revolutionary then we want you to get involved.
MUFF will be publicly exposed from 6-14 September. What has been seen can never be unseen.
Me with Guru Shaun Partridge – receiving spiritual guidance for MUFF 14, Feb 2013, Portland, OR.
October 31, 2012
Excellent Halloween News marking a Special Event:
The 20th Anniversary of The Hellfire Club will take place Sunday December 16 at:
The LuWow Tiki Bar and Nightclub
62/70 Johnston St., Fitzroy.
Stand by for fliers, ads, event details, giveaways, performers, DJ’s, merchandise, old cards and posters on Sale and all other kinds of Hellfire related mayhem, madness and kinkiness.
My Hellfire Club – back in the last month of 2012.
I attended a lecture on the subject of censorship, pornography and free speech at Melbourne Free University (a tiny gallery space in Lygon Street) whose speaker was author Jeff Sparrow, author of Money Shot.
To provide some background: I was banned from MFU three months back for talking on the exactly same topic – due to what they perceived as my political indiscretions that they either wished to silence, side line or shun. Even though I never would have really touched on that topic, of course.This was a rather perverse irony as it was all about free speech (supposedly!) but here were the advocates censoring what THEY didn’t understand. The average leftist liberal is all about diversity and difference on the surface – unless of course you really are diverse or different – then you are a persona non grata. I didn’t raise the banning of me from MFU as I am polite.
Also the entire audience was Anglo Saxon or European apart from ONE half Asian chap. I’m sure there are many Far Right meetings more ethnically diverse. Doubly Hilarious!
Author Jeff Sparrow from Money Shot I had met before. He had asked me for an extended interview 2 years ago on LA Zombie – which I happily and graciously gave him over a long friendly lunch. I thought we had got along fine – but Sparrow hid his thoughts. As a limp wristed Marxist wannabe he objected (like MFU) to something I had said somewhere in internet land and decided to caricature me a bit in his recently published book Money Shot – on porn and censorship.
Which is fine – I find that kind of thing funny from a perspective of ideology, etc.
But allow me to return the favour a little: Sparrow is a fey, glib, myopic and innocuous twit in a RRR T Shirt and knows little about the topic on which he speaks. He reduces censorship and the whole debate to an under graduate reflection on dialectical materialism – which is how the not so sly devil slips his outdated Marxist crap in to his rather constructed and biased narrative. He was ungracious – not acknowledging me after being in a chapter of his book. He was not generous when I asked politely if I could have a copy of his book – he was selling them there as a chapter was on me – he said no, rather rudely blaming his publisher. I am well aware from many books readings and appearances that a simple word from him would secure a copy for someone featured in the book.etc
When I questioned the poverty of his method of approach – in the question time – relying mainly on the issues of commodification and materialism and ignoring the whole ontological, Libertarian, Libertine and hedonistic aspects of the debate – he stone walled. Other questions were absurd: one women felt ‘pursued by porn’ I wanted to ask her did it chase her down the street or around her apartment? This kind of attitude reveals a repressed desire to indulge in pornographic Libertinage and hedonism. Other questions concerned the ban of porn in Aboriginal settlements in the NT – which is plain patriarchal racism. But as it was implemented or maintained by Labour there was much pussy footing around that issue. When I pointed out that his own left liberal views, as he admitted!, are the views of the current censor regime – making him the the defacto enemy he is supposedly criticizing and investigating – he was gob smacked and moved on quickly.
Again not even willing to engage in any kind of real debate or discussion. This is what he is like and what goes on at these type of events. Nothing is said – everything is omitted. It’s self censorship – of the very worst kind – and an act of cowardice.
Which If I had to caricature Sparrow – that is how I would do so – as a coward. Touche to you Jeff.
And, also allow me to add: fuck you pal for being such a rude, inconsiderate and unappreciative journo pretender.
March 19, 2011
I got sent some questions originally posted here on my new feature film, The Beautiful and Damned:
I have responded.
I’ll reprint questions and answers here.
From Candace Grissom:
I completely agree with your statement that Fitzgerald’s works are very appropriate for translation into the 21st century and that he had an almost prophetic visionary sense about the future of youth culture.
I attended the screening of your adaptation of The Beautiful and Damned at the Fitzgerald Festival in Baltimore, and am including a study of it in my PhD dissertation, which discusses the evolving ways in which Fitzgerald’s works have been adapted for film as part of a larger discussion on how the status of how literary celebrity affected his writing.
I get what you were going for by including the sexual and substance abuse issues from the original text, by updating their excesses to maintain the same level of shock factor that Fitzgerald’s original must have had for a 1920s audience.
However, I continue to be puzzled by the political implications of your film, especially since Fitzgerald studies tends to focus specifically around how very “American” his conception of the wasting effects of capitalist excess can be on those young people who aspire to progress through achievement, only to find that, after they reach a certain plateau of wealth, there is no goal left for which to strive.
After reading your blog and statements about a new sort of fascist political system, I find myself wondering whether any of your ideas on this topic found their way into the film as political commentary and if so, do you see any cultural differences related to capitalism in America versus Australia that influenced your opinions? (Personally, I read it to be more of a universal, global issue that is indicative of postmodern society as a whole.)
Also, I find it fascinating that you have written a Manifesto for Ontological Cinema, and I was wondering how the ideology for the goals of this style guided your creative process for The Beautiful and Damned in particular?
Last, I noticed that, although there was a good bit of Fitzgerald’s original dialogue included in the film, there was also a very 21st century mannerism of inserting “fuck” and various other profanities into conversation in a seemingly random fashion, and I was wondering whether you simply intended their inclusion to mimic today’s speech patterns, or if they had any deeper sociological implications?
(I tended to include them in the overall sense that the film conveys to me, which is that modern society has made a saleable commodity out of the sexual act, making it less emotionally meaningful for individuals like Anthony and Gloria who are trying to maintain a relationship. Thus, I interpreted the profanity as mirroring a devolution of linguistic sensibilites in youth culture that parallels the devolution in regard for the maintenance of meaningful sexual relationships.)
Sorry about all the questions, but I thought that you would like to know that your film has been a really interesting piece of cinema to work with as I attempt to contextualize it within the larger history of Fitzgerald film history. It truly does represent a completely new path in the field which I think, given the upcoming major studio projects currently in the works, will be well-trodden by other filmmakers in the future.
Thank you for your letter. I will attempt to address some of your questions and the issues raised by them in this letter.
It was a great pleasure to adapt F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned. I was inspired by the Ken Russell adaptations of DH Lawrence, the cinema of Lars Von Trier, the contemporary writings of Bret Easton Ellis (who I have subsequently met up with a few times) and JG Ballard. The later two I dedicated my new film too.
There has been a cinematic resurgence of interest in Fitzgerald and I think I had my finger on the right cultural pulse to make this film in the late 00’s. I felt adapting the book was like working with a contemporary, albeit one of great genius.
To your questions:
Regarding American-ness it seems in our globalized world that today everywhere is America. So Fitzgerald’s America and critique of the American Dream can apply to where ever globalization/later day Capitalism has had an impact. This covers a vast swathe of the planets surface and population. Capitalism is now the worlds number one religion and is a positive and at times negative phenomenon that can have negative effects on the soul of a people. This is becoming universally evident. So, to me setting the film in Melbourne Australia in the 00’s (though it could be ‘anywhere’ in the West) was an easy and non contradictory decision. Many things held up and adapted perfectly. Fitzgerald has always struck me as a timeless author whose work can survive moving from his milieu like Shakespeare and others.
RE: Politics in book and film. Many writers consider Fitzgerald to be a Left Winger and I had an interesting discussion with Scott Donaldson at the conference who is of that opinion. I gave a copy of my film to him as well! But I beg to differ. As research in the texts I studied, like many modernists, I found in Fitzgerald an attraction to many Right Wing/fascist ideas. One of the major clues is his interest in Spengler, a major Right Wing/fascist writer. Same his attraction to conservative poet TS Eliot. Fitzgerald also mentions the likes of outright racists like T. Lothrop Stoddard and others who is obviously familiar with. While Fitzgerald is critical of the upper class and Capitalist elite in many ways like Bret Easton Ellis he clearly admires them, also. He is a romantic idealist and elitist in essence from my reading and I think such ideas lend themselves to fascist or other Rightist discourses. My interest in Right Wing and Fascist politics did attract to me to Fitzgerald oddly enough. He spoke admiringly of Mussolini in an interview I read and never lived to see the major human rights atrocities of fascism. So, much like say Lawrence, Eliot, Pound or Yeats I detect a reactionary Right Wing vein in Fitzgerald. This can also be applied to Fitzgerald’s alleged anti Semitism. I naturally left the reference intact from the book in the film. Though it is a minor issue in The Damned and I did it so as to remain true to the novel and the Bloekman character. I think Anthony’s anti Semitism shows his weakness at that moment and that overall I find Fitzgerald is not really a racist or anti-semite. Though he has some Southern sensibilities, I would suggest…
The Manifesto for Ontological Cinema I wrote around the time of shooting The Damned and it comes from my reflections on making this film. It’s often what is left out in a film that makes it good, as much as what is put in. Kubrick is a master at this. So, too, Lars Von Trier. I am merely following in the footsteps of my cinematic idols to distill a new kind of 21st century digital ontological cinema. A lot of the thoughts come from my study of Martin Heidegger. A major figure in 20th century thought and the most important philosopher of our epoch, in my humble opinion.
In updating the book I tried to bring a level of shock to it that the book must have had but not be too excessive as to be an orgy or depravity and debauch which was not Fitzgerald’s book. Whether I went too far, or got it right, often depends on ones sensibilities. The use of “fuck” and other curse words stems from that as does other sexual scenes and the drug use, etc. I do feel I got it almost right. Some friends say I didn’t go far enough!!!… which tells me so. It’s not that bad given the scenes of sex and depravity on our TV every night but neither does the film shy away from portraying upper class decadence, debauch and entropy.
I hope these answers address some of your concerns. I am happy to answer any more if you have them?
PS. The book on Anthony Patch’s lap (below 2nd photo) is Thomas Malthus’s famous treatise on population control.
May 12, 2010
Sorry if Idea Fix has gone a little quiet now. I have started another blog for my relaunching of my Hellfire club that is getting some regular up dates.
I will get Idea Fix back up and running soon. I am writing two scripts, preparing MUFF, working on the club and other projects so its a busy time…
Check it out here: http://thehellfireclub.wordpress.com/
March 22, 2010
Yeah baby. Details below. More to come including a dedicated website and all kinds of mischief.
The Official Press Release from Mr. Richard Masters:
Richard Masters presents
The return of
The Hellfire Club
with Weimar Burlesque Review!
Melbourne’s nightclub scene has been dull and conservative for far too long!
Richard Masters deviously has decided to bring The Hellfire Club back to add some slap, tickle and much needed kink to the Melbourne club scene.
Its Hellfire: The Next Generation. Were you too young first time round to be part of Hellfire’s special kinky atmosphere? Well, wait no more!
So: The Legendary Hellfire Club Returns!
As regular Kinky parties to be held monthly (or so) depending on the domineering will of Mr. Rick Masters.
New Weimar Burlesque Review with exciting and titillating shows…
S&M Room run by our Masters and Mistresses
First Event Details:
When? Sunday April 4 (Easter Long Weekend)
Where? Red Bennies, Lvl 1, 373 Chapel st, South Yarra, 9826 2689
How Much? 25 $ on door/ 20$ members (old memberships valid and renewed!). Or 20$ to all pre sale online at: www.redbennies.com or in person at the venues or Lucrezia and DeSade, 441 Brunswick Street Fitzroy (with 3$ booking fee). Book ahead!
Dress for Pleasure: We encourage our clientele to dress up in Fetish and S& M attire, sexy costumes, uniforms, stylish suits, naughty lingerie, etc. Look hot, shiny or cheeky…it’s Hellfire after all!
The crazy and kinky Hellfire vibe is back. Girls get spanked (…lightly if you like) for a Hellfire membership…guys try your luck getting whipped on the rack for same…can you hack it? Or just sit back and enjoy the various shows and activities.
DJ David Thrussell and others TBA playing electro, electronica Industrial and beats from their collection of out there music. We assure a truly twisted musical ensemble!
Be part of this special Easter Sunday party of Hellfire to be held by at the uber cool Chapel street Burlesque venue Red Bennies. If you have never Hellfired…now is your chance.
Viva Free Sexuality and Expression! Viva Hellfire!
The nightclubbing come back of 2010 is here and its Bound to please!
January 22, 2010
Marcus Westbury wrote this bemoaning the Australian internet filter. See here.
Here is my response, in agreement, and further outlining and discussing the dilemma:
I hope we all do something about this filter. I’d be more than happy to join, campaign, etc., against this filter. I am very anti censorship on anything and everything; word, image, art, photography, etc… that is not technically illegal like material involving the abuse/harm of minors and snuff movies.
One of the things on the Government blacklist that they wanted banned was The Abby Winters site run by G Media, an Aussie soft core porn site. It features 18 to 25 year old nude models. I read that founder Garion Hall was charged with producing illegal material (… it is illegal to make porn or it seems even nude erotica here in Victoria, an absurd law, I might add!) and child pornography ( probably because a model or two on his site had false ID, or he messed up in his age checking process… or who knows?). Anyway, the Abby Winters site looks to be a perfectly normal and harmless one of girls 18 and over without clothes like legions of others all over the web. Why is this site being black listed?
The link is here: http://www.abbywinters.com/portal/
I think the adding of a site like Abby Winters, whose main offense appears to be that it is erotica and made in Australia to the banned list is the thin edge of the wedge. You can see it could be applied to a vast number of legal nude sites online, including ones dealing with erotica and art.
I feel this filter is a real and tragic death for a creative, free thinking and sexually unrepressed Australia.
RE: Content of the censored material. When they say Sexual Violence be sure that they mean Sadomasochism and B&D. A lifestyle as legit as the homosexual one, in these times, I would strongly suggest. Which means any bondage, kinky or spanking text or images amongst consenting adults no matter how innocent, or even just erotica, can be banned. Even Bettie Page stills from Irving Klaw could be labeled Sexual Violence!
Here is just one blog entry from a female spanking fan who realizes her own sexuality blog could and will be banned in her own country and bemoans the situation: http://michellesspankingdiary.com/?p=157
This filter can easily be applied to imagery from the art world and to the work of people dealing in areas of transgression and sexuality. Artists whose work could be banned (…to name just a few) include: Larry Clark, Trevor Brown, the Chapman Brothers, Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, John Willie, Irving Klaw, Richard Kern, Suehiro Maruo, Toshio Saeki, De Sade, Lautreamont, Bataille, Sacher Masoch, et al…all deal with sexual violence in art, photo or text.
What do they mean, also, by ‘other’ criminal activity? How to grow pot or drug advice sites? Pro Grafitti sites? How to circumvent the filter? Holocaust Denial? Pro Palestinian, or pro terrorist sites like ones on Hamas, or whatever else, from this controversial political field.
The question of monitoring and regulation is another minefield.
Also, the video game bans currently in force are crazy. It’s become a major part of 18 to 50 year old culture and now its policed and restricted in a way far more draconian than film ever was. Why?
Your piece makes many salient points most important is that it can be circumvented by criminals anyway, which makes it implementation completely pointless. The need is there to action change from the arts community like they/we did to support Bill Henson. This issue is a much, much bigger one than the Henson issue, as it is a blanket ban on so much material, images and information. And it seems to be about to implemented with little fight from the arts community!
MUFF director and Hellfire Club founder
June 5, 2009
David Carradine hung himself jerking off via auto asphyxiation in a Thai hotel. Who knew all Uma Thurman had to do was give Bill a length of rope and closet and she’d have no need to Kill Bill.
In all honesty though, he will be missed! He was great in Kill Bill 1 when you hardly saw him and just heard that voice. But the family bull at the end of KIll Bill 2 was a bit of a let down compared with the rest of the film. I’d like to see both films cut together though as QT has long promised…
DC was a great actor, love that Kung-Fu show, and its good he enjoyed his comeback before going out doing what he loved…acting, and wanking that is.
April 23, 2009
JG Ballard passed away on the weekend. An amazing literary talent has left us, one whose later works were, in my humble opinion, sheer genius.
Best source for stories about his death is ballardian.com here. Its a great site run by Simon Sellers. Its a little bit of a pomo wankfest, but informative, detailed and sincere.
I wrote this post below Sellers obit, comments and tributes are welcome there:
“A genius, who saw the future. He didn’t write science fiction in his later years he wrote science fact. His prescience about a new form of fascism being the only legitimate form of resistance to later day Capitalism, in his last novels, could not be closer to the truth. Viva The Metro Centre, James! Something is coming, you won’t live to see it, JG…but many will…”
I think it says all I need to say…
Here is a visual tribute to one of Ballard’s last books, the masterful career ending Kingdom Come, with its Metro Centre, a mall that acts as a site of a people’s uprising. The mock Metro Centre website is here. I love these photos, a guy looking in a rubbish bin with a light emanating from it, a guy depressed in a shipping department with headline “Sale Now On”, other ads promoting losing it and going completely crazy, and the last chestnut, “The Wait is almost over”. This is an advertising campaign supposedly designed by and featuring character David Cruise from “Kingdom Come”, that was created to publicise said novel. Its intentions are to unsettle and unhinge people with the utter and complete emptiness of capitalism, thereby fostering some form of new fascist revolution. Indeed, that is the purpose of the book, also. Don’t believe me? Read the book… tell me if I wrong…