Monday, June 29, 2009


An advert aside from regular TYBS programming. . .

Just wanted to share that JUAN PABLO DREAM is on the cover of the June-July 2009 issue of PULP Magazine. Which means that my friend Lotte V (also the lead singer of Shinjuku Lager Club, Biscochong Halimaw's sister band and our occasional guest vox, also the girl with the short hair in the above pic) is in there with uber-groovy frontman Bing Austria.

Grab a copy from any major bookstore or news seller if only to find out how Pinoy Mod is alive and well. . .or to take a gander at Lotte in fishnets and her co-singer Bianca H in a shapely, short yellow dress. If you haven't seen JPD live then you really should check them out. Bing's splits done in groove are the shiz.

Cheers and much love to our sister Lotte (and her gaddam adorable, bruisingly mighty steel-cased teeth): today, PULP, tomorrow the covah ov ah Rolling Stone! : D


Susan Sontag was I think referring to photographs, specifically to combat photography that came from WW2, when she wrote about the concept of viewing images of pain, taking an almost voyeuristic pleasure in stuff that’s hard to look at. Like, testing yourself against the brutality of a concentration camp photo or the aftermath of storming a beach defended by machine guns and mortar. She said: “There is the satisfaction of being able to look at the image without flinching. There is the pleasure of flinching.”

Last week our VP asked me what, as a horror writer, still gave me the heebie jeebies and subsequently commented that the list must be quite short. To which I nodded that the list was, yes, short but that I was probably more acute to the sensation of fear than your pedestrian in an alley jumping at shadows.

I totally get Ms. Sontag’s concept of pleasure in flinching and not flinching. And this isn’t just because I continually try to expose myself to things that scare me out of my wits (with a 50/50 chance of the flinching or not phenomenon) or give me a sense of awe (no delight the equal of dread, like Clive said) but because afterwards (when I’ve taken stock of how far my balls have shriveled) trying to convey what I’ve seen/felt onto the page without my hand shaking is the best training I can think of to accurately tell the kind of stories I like.

Still, some things are awesomely hard to watch. I haven’t had something come my way that I can well and truly say made me flinch/squirm/writhe in my seat, clutching a pillow and closing an eye now and then to stave off what the heck was happening in front of me, for a long time.

Which is why, I think, in the course of one of our meetings for our book, my graphic novel artist Gani Simpliciano, gave me a file, among a host of other media (comics, movies, e-books) in preparation for our project, of one of the short films under Showtime’s Masters of Horror series.

“Wait,” I said, “I already have that boxed set.”

“Not this one you don’t.”

Turns out the producers took one look at this Japanese short film they’d commissioned and came out of the viewing room with ashen faces. Suffice to say this one didn’t make it to the collectible DVD.

Which brings me to “Imprint.” The concept of “hard to watch” doesn’t even come close to being a reality until you view this piece of pure dread directed by Takashi Miike.

Oh, sure, you say you’ve watched Monica Belucci getting torn a new asshole and bludgeoned a new face for 10 plus mins in Irreversible, or Mel Gibson’s paean to holy blood that is The Passion, or the original Nosferatu, or The Exorcist, or you’ve stared at HR Giger’s paintings for a week, or insert title of Japanese horror flick adapted into major Hollywood motion picture here.

I tell you now these things are mere chaff to the scythe of this hour and 45 minutes monstrosity. They don’t even make half-mark. While some horror films revel in its artsiness and subtle psychological eerienes “Imprint” is the film equivalent of a ground and pound game. Getting hit over the head again and again with a blunt object probably comes closest to the experience. The Shining eat your heart out. Or rather, "Imprint" will eat its heart out and gladly gnaw on the bones.

This one, you see, I remembered for days afterwards. I recalled scenes that I wanted to forget. That I rather I couldn’t recall because they made me uneasy and felt that this mighty ghost of the heebie jeebies had somehow invaded my mind, resistant to my usual aloofness (usually I just do a pantomine of “Oh, yes it’s scary, ooooh, aaaahhh").

I say this because I watched it at 10AM, with the sun high and having just taken breakfast. By the time the horror started I flinched all the way. This thing took me beyond uber-wasak. It is such an unbridled display of power that the mind reels in trauma. I tell you this without drama -- and having watched Urotsuikondoji: My God, Miike is one sick guy.

Thanks a lot, Gani, you filthy beast, you’re an amazing friend, man.

I won’t even sully this entry with a plot summary because it won’t affect your appreciation of it or help you understand it either way. The reality of the story’s situation is simple and easy to grasp and classic, even. “Imprint” definitely makes my short list, in any case. Lemme go find Ichi and Audition.

So go watch it if you find it -- and don’t ask me for a copy. I am NOT giving you one.

~ 30