last_winter_movie_posterHAPPY HALLOWEEN! Can the threat of cataclysmic climate change due to global warming serve as compelling enough plot line to drive an independent horror film? In the case of Larry Fessenden’s Last Winter, the answer is an unequivocal YIKES!—I mean, YES! The disturbing-yet-entertaining film (the cinema of terror’s ideal mix)—originally released in 2007 and available on video from IFC Films—unfolds not at a haunted house but at a big-oil company camp in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), there thanks to a “historic vote” by Congress that opens up drilling. It doesn’t take long before strange goings are observed around camp, the permafrost begins to melt (and the worry, Is deadly hydrogen sulfide gas being released?) and the two “greenies” hired by big-oil North Industries to do an impact study know they are fighting a losing battle. “People just don’t want to deal with it,” green-cause journalist/scientist James Hoffman says in the film. “It’s tiring.” Not much later: “Something is being unleashed from the softening permafrost”—”This is the last winter. Total collapse. Hope dies.”

Hit the lights, pop the corn and buckle up: it’s time for some first-rate eco-horror, indeed! Read More »

Sardonicus Cover“PRINCE OF DARKNESS WENT TO PLYMOUTH, summer all year long, said is this global warming or just some stupid song?” This query, which deserves a resounding double YES! answer, comes from those arch mock-rockers, Spinal Tap, on their 2009 disc, Back from the Dead. The song, “Warmer than Hell,” paints a smoldering portrait of our world superheated by global warming and too hot even for Satan to “enjoy.” Its concluding verse: “Sir Lucifer left London in his chariot of flame. What say I take the credit, then, and you shall take the blame.” After a sardonic chuckle and a little LOL, it got me to thinking about a little cult gem of an eco-conscious record from 1970, psych-rockers Spirit’s Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, so … Spinal Tap, meet Spirit. Read More »

ReadymadeI CAN PICTURE ARTIST-PROVOCATEUR MARCEL DUCHAMP—had he time traveled forward—spray-painting his name, or a clever variant, on a qualifying “Cash for Clunkers” car and declaring it ART (much like he did in 1914 with a commonplace cast-iron bottle-drying rack; “I purchased this as a sculpture already made,” he later explained in a letter to his sister). But art signifying what? Art making what kind of statement in our troubled times of meltdowns both financial and environmental? Remember, the mischievous Duchamp also turned a urinal into readymade art (Fountain), signing it “R. Mutt.” Read More »