Following on the success of Troma's Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke 'Em High, Troma's War saw the independent studio taking on the action-adventure genre in their own way. Surprisingly well-reviewed, the movie doesn't quite have the following of the studio's tentpole franchises, but it's definitely an entertaining and inventive Tromatic view of the guns and glory films which were everywhere in the latter half of the '80s.
Troma's War tells the story of a group of marooned citizens who stumble upon a terrorist plot to take over the United States. With no help in sight and no way to contact reinforcements, it’s up to these ordinary people to save the world!
Musician Chris DeMarco performed the music for the film, as well as appearing in it. His score -- along with the power ballads "Alive" and "Storm Is Rising" -- was a major part of how well Troma's War works. Sadly, it was never legally available in any form, failing even to make an appearance on Troma's 20th anniversary compilation, Toxic Tunes From Tromaville.
Featuring the complete motion picture score including cuts not used in the final film, Troma's War was released on 140-gram red and orange “Triumphant Explosion” colored vinyl back in July of last year. Limited to 1000 copies worldwide, the LP was put out by New York's Ship to Shore PhonoCo, in collaboration with Locked Groove Recording Company.
We spoke with Chris DeMarco last year about his work on Troma's War, as well as what he's up to now.
Tracklist (all cuts from the Troma's War OST):
Chris DeMarco, "Alive"
Chris DeMarco, "On the Beach"
Chris DeMarco, "Storm Is Rising"
Chris DeMarco, "Triumphant"
On this episode, we're running down “Put A Little Love in Your Heart," by Annie Lennox and Al Green, from 1988's Scrooged, which always seems to get shunted to the side when we’re talking Christmas genre movies. Black Christmas and Gremlins always get the horror nods, in addition to Santa slashers like Silent Night, Deadly Night and Christmas Evil. The action advent selections are always Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, with maybe I Come In Peace for the heads. Romantic and family movies abound, obviously.
However, with the exception of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, comedies with an acknowledgement of how awfully stressful the holidays can be — and that manage to be funny — are sparse. Somehow, Scrooged always seems to get left aside when lists get put together or people make their marathons.
Read the original column and watch the music video at Cinepunx.
On this episode of From the Stereo to Your Screen, we're running down “Duel of the Fates” by John Williams from 1999's Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace.
For whatever its flaws — and yes, there are many — the John Williams score for the film was stellar. The video for “Duel of the Fates” debuted on MTV’s Total Request Live on May 3, the first video of a week of premieres that included both “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears’ “Sometimes.” A cut from a film score getting a video is a pretty big deal: I mean, despite the fact that Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” was an international number 1 hit in 1985, it never had a video, and you can dance to that sucker. But the fact that the video for "Duel of the Fates" was on the same level as the Backstreet Boys and Britney in 1999 is astonishing.
You can read the original column and watch the music video at Cinepunx.
Since 1981, the alternative rock band Soul Asylum has gone from a scrappy pack of dudes recording for Minneapolis label Twin/Tone to becoming a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum act. Along the way, the band's recorded music for all kinds of films. Most notably, Soul Asylum or its frontman, Dave Pirner, have had songs in three of director Kevin Smith's films, as well as So I Married An Axe Murderer, Twister, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and The Faculty. Pirner also recorded as part of the Beatles cover act the Backbeat Band for the 1994 film, Backbeat.
I was lucky enough to speak with Dave Pirner back at the start of September about all of these, as well as Soul Asylum's latest album, Change of Fortune. It's kind of all over the place, but Priner seemed up to discuss pretty much anything, so while it's kind of long, it's really fun. Check it out.
Soul Asylum, "Can't Even Tell" (Clerks OST)
Soul Asylum, "Misery" (Clerks II OST)
Dave Pirner, "Tube of Wonderful" (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back OST)
Soul Asylum, "The Break" (So I Married An Axe Murderer OST)
Soul Asylum, "Miss This" (Twister OST)
The Backbeat Band, "Long Tall Sally" (Backbeat OST)
Soul Asylum, "School's Out" (The Faculty OST)
On this episode of From the Stereo to Your Screen, we're running down the music video for U2's “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” from 1995's Batman Forever. The animated music video is absolutely bonkers -- basically an anime nightmare -- and this sentence from the Wikipedia entry on the song sums it up nicely:
“It features the band performing in Gotham City, with Bono battling between two of his alter-egos from the Zoo TV Tour: ‘The Fly’ and ‘MacPhisto.’ The band also chases the Batwing, using a yellow supercar and their guitars as flamethrowers.”
You can read the original column and watch the music video at Cinepunx.
On this episode, we talk about Amy Heckerling's 1995 teen comedy, Clueless, with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' frontman, Dicky Barrett, who had two songs in the film -- "Someday I Suppose" and "Where'd You Go" -- and also prominently appeared in a club scene during the movie.
The Bosstones celebrated the 20th anniversary of their smash hit album, Let's Face It, with a bunch of dates this year, and when I spoke with the band's frontman, Dicky Barrett, about their Lawrence show this summer, I took the opportunity to ask him about the Bosstones' appearance in Clueless, and how the club scene came to be.
the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Someday I Suppose" (Ska-Core, The Devil, and More)
the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Where'd You Go" (More Noise & Other Disturbances)
Radiohead, "Fake Plastic Trees" (The Bends)
On this episode, we continue our Halloween series, and we're running down “I’m Awake Now” by Goo Goo Dolls, from Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.
Back when I discussed Phunk Junkeez and their contribution to the Tommy Boy soundtrack, I mentioned offhand that Goo Goo Dolls’ cover of The Damned’s “Wait for the Blackout” wasn’t bad. Being as how I’m always trying to track down weird-ass music videos for this column as well as look for bands to come on my soundtrack podcast and talk about how weird it was to have their song in a movie, I come across quite a few surprises.
Thus, we come to the fact that Goo Goo Dolls’ first soundtrack contribution was all the way back in 1991, when they had not one, not two, but three songs on the soundtrack to Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. And they were alongside songs by Chubb Rock and Iggy Pop. And and Fates Warning. And, and, and the soundtrack was on Metal Blade.
You can read the original column and watch the video at Cinepunx.
On this episode, we continue our Halloween series, talking with Annie Choi and Joe Ziemba of the synth duo, Taken By Savages, about their music for the unearthed 1990 James Bryan shot on video horror movie, Jungle Trap.
Shot in 1990 and unreleased until this very moment, Jungle Trap is the final collaboration between exploitation demigods director James Bryan (DON’T GO IN THE WOODS) and the late actress Renee Harmon (FROZEN SCREAM). The movie is a decapitation-fueled, shot-on-video horror masterpiece about a jungle hotel haunted by kill-crazy ghosts in loin cloths.
The movie remained unedited, unscored, and unseen by human eyes for over two decades, until it saw release back in late July. Under Bryan’s guidance, the Bleeding Skull team meticulously edited the movie and Taken By Savages recorded a soundtrack utilizing vintage 1980s synthesizers.
Jungle Trap is currently available on DVD, VHS, and via digital download from Bleeding Skull Video. Taken By Savages' score for Jungle Trap is available digitally on Bandcamp and on vinyl LP from Mondo.
Taken By Savages, "Shorts Authority" (Taken By Savages)
Taken By Savages, "Enter the Trap" (Jungle Trap OST)
Taken By Savages, "Have You Seen Rita?" (Jungle Trap OST)
Herschell Gordon Lewis, "Brains Knocked Out" (The Amazing Film Scores of Herschell Gordon Lewis)
Taken By Savages, "Raise the Spirits" (Jungle Trap OST)
Taken By Savages, "The Guests Arrive" (Jungle Trap OST)
Milli Vanilli, "Girl You Know It's True" (Girl You Know It's True)
Taken By Savages, "Exit the Trap" (Jungle Trap OST)
On this episode, we continue our Halloween series, and we're running down “Are You Ready For Freddy” by the Fat Boys, from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
You can check out the music video and the original column at Cinepunx.
On this episode, we continue our Halloween series, talking with G Tom Mac, about "Cry Little Sister," his theme song to the 1987 teenage vampire film, The Lost Boys. The soundtrack to The Lost Boys is a collection of amazingly catchy tracks. Be it INXS teaming up with the Easybeats' Jimmy Barnes to do a version of "Good Times," the Who's Roger Daltry covering "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," or the exquisitely perfect version of the Doors' "People Are Strange" by Echo and the Bunnymen, the soundtrack is a solid collection of classic songs by what were then modern artists. It's a nice nod to the ageless nature of the forever young vampires in the film.
However, the film's theme song, "Cry Little Sister," by Gerard McMann, is the only cut to appear twice in The Lost Boys, and definitely does a great job of sonically conveying the concept of the film in a thre-minute pop song. McMann, who now performs under the aegis of G Tom Mac, has also recorded a musical sort of prequel to The Lost Boys. A Lost Boys Story sees release later this month, and we were excited to talk with McMann about both the film and the upcoming musical.
Gerard McMann, "Cry Little Sister" (The Lost Boys OST)
Gerard McMahon, "Look In Your Eyes" (Fast Times at Ridgemont High OST)
G Tom Mac, "Frog Bro Hero" (A Lost Boys Story)
G Tom Mac, "Sleep All Day" (A Lost Boys Story)
Thomas Newman, "To the Shock of Miss Louise" (The Lost Boys OST)
On this episode, we're kicking off Halloween a little early, talking with Andy Hawkins and Gabe Katz of Blind Idiot God, about the band's contributions to the 1993 bizarro comedy, Freaked. The movie is so much more than just a funny movie. It's bizarre, anarchic, and maybe the very definition of a cult film. The studio tried to bury it, and it was only thanks to sporadic showings on late night cable that it developed any sort of following at all. Directed by Tom Stern and Alex Winter, and written by Stern, Winter and Tim Burns, the film came on the heels of the trio's MTV sketch show, The Idiot Box.
Freaked is a crazy-pants bit of claymation, makeup, and blaring punk rock. In addition to Blind Idiot God, the soundtrack also features the Butthole Surfers, which should definitely clue you into the sheer madness of the film, whose plot is too bizarre for words. Suffice it to say, there are freaks, evil corporations, ecological warnings, and a talk show hosted by Brook Shields. The film's soundtrack was never officially released, but the titular song, by Henry Rollins and Blind Idiot God, sees its debut when Blind Idiot God's sophomore album, Undertow, is re-released on October 13, where that song is a bonus track.
Blind Idiot God, "Freaked" (Undertow)
Blind Idiot God, "Sawtooth" (Undertow)
Blind Idiot God, "Major Key Dub" (Undertow)
Axiom Funk, "Hideous Mutant Freekz" (Funkcronomicon)
On this episode, we're talking with Nick Cloutman, guitarist for the alt-rock band, Lustra, about their appearance in the 2004 teen comedy, EuroTrip. The 2004 teen comedy has ended up having some surprising legs, due to its absurdist nature. The jokes and situations in the film put it in the arena of films like Supertroopers, with a strong ensemble cast. A good portion of the long-term popularity is due not only to cameos from the likes of Fred Armisen and Lucy Lawless, but also to the catchiness of a song in the film's earlier scenes, entitled "Scotty Doesn't Know," which was written for the film by the band Lustra.
Lustra, "Scotty Doesn't Know" (Eurotrip OST)
Lustra, "Sniffing Cigarettes" (Left For Dead)
MC Jeffsky Feat. Igor, "Scotty Doesnt Know EURO! Remix" (Eurotrip OST)
On this episode, we're running down “City of Crime” by Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd, from 1987's Dragnet, which represents the pinnacle — or nadir, depending on how you look at it — of the "terrible end credits rap song" trend. The film — starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks — was a filmic reworking of the popular 1960s television show, which was itself a reworking of the popular 1950s radio program. It’s very tongue-in-cheek, yet managed to be a fairly faithful homage to the show, which had been running in reruns for years by the time the film came out.
You can check out the video and the original column at Cinepunx.
We're glad to be back from vacation, and on this episode, we're talking with Sean Tillman -- better known as Har Mar Superstar -- about his musical contributions to the Netflix series, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return, as well as his new EP, Personal Boy.
Har Mar Superstar & Felicia Day, "MST3K Love Theme" (Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return)
The Skeleton Crew, "I Wish I Was Back In Old Canada (The Canada Song)" (Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return)
Har Mar Superstar, "Personal Boy" (Personal Boy)
The Skeleton Crew, "Wild Rebels Cereal" (Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return)
F.A.M.E.'s Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra, "Mighty Science Theater" (Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return)
Yann Tiersen, "J'y suis jamais allé" (Amelie OST)
Yann Tiersen, "La valse d'Amélie" (Amelie OST)
The Plimsouls, "A Million Miles Away" (Everywhere At Once)
Josie Cotton, "He Could Be the One" (Convertible Music)
Modern English, "I Melt With You" (After the Snow)
On this episode of From the Stereo to Your Screen, we're running down “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” by Class of '99, from 1998's The Faculty.
When I re-watched The Faculty a while back, I came to the conclusion that it’s basically the epitome of the late ‘90s: an angsty film which focuses on the underdog kids, directed by Robert Rodriguez, and featuring an alt rock soundtrack. It’s most similar to the likes of Disturbing Behavior, but could also fall in line with The Craft. It’s weird to revisit a movie like this, which is essentially one of those things that brings up memories for those who saw it when it was a thing, but it falls in a sort of gap, where it never really made it into the rotation of pay-cable repeats, and also ended up at the tag end of VHS, right before the advent of DVD.
You can find the column, as well as the music videos, at Cinepunx.
On this episode, we kick off our summer series, Your Favorite Soundtrack, where we talk to our favorite podcasters about the soundtracks they love. We start with Justin Lore, creator of Horror Business, a podcast where he and co-host Liam O'Donnell watch and talk about two related horror films. We also talk with Liam, who, in addition to co-hosting Horror Business, is -- along with Joshua Alvarez -- one of the co-founders of Cinepunx.
The Misfits, "Horror Business" (Collection I)
Brad Fiedel, "Terminator Main Titles" (Terminator OST)
Brad Fiedel, "Reese & Sarah in Garage" (Terminator OST)
Patti Labelle, "New Attitude" (Beverly Hills Cop OST)
The Pointer Sisters, "Neutron Dance" (Beverly Hills Cop OST)
Harold Faltermyer, "Axel F" (Beverly Hills Cop OST)
On this episode, we're talking with Federale's Collin Hegna about the Portland band's work in the films of Ana Lily Amirpour. Federale's been releasing music for a decade now, but their music came to the notice of many genre fans with its inclusion in Amirpour's debut feature, the striking take on the vampire film entitled A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. The group also has a song in the director's recently-released The Bad Batch. Collin and I talked about the formation of the band, as well as their work in Amirpour's films.
Federale, "Sarcophagus" (The Blood Flowed Like Wine)
Federale, "Black Sunday" (The Blood Flowed Like Wine)
Federale, "All the Colors of the Dark" (All the Colors of the Dark)
Federale, "Sisyphus" (The Blood Flowed Like Wine)
Federale, "Tribe" (The Blood Flowed Like Wine)
Once upon a time, rap-rock act Phunk Junkeez had covered KISS’ “I Love It Loud.” It wasn't until I tracked down the video to troll my uncle with it on Facebook that I discovered that the song had been on the soundtrack to the 1995 Chris Farley / David Spade comedy, Tommy Boy. The video’s not only loaded with clips from the film, but Chris Farley is on stage thrashing around with the band. The movie’s full of pretty memorable musical moments — the car singalong, most notably — but I’d pretty much spaced on this particular jawn.
You can find the video for the song, as well as the original column behind this podcast at Cinepunx.