Video Nasties offer Getintothis’ Nedim Hassan a Halloween treat by choosing their favourite John Carpenter movies.
Joy to the world! It’s the festive season and the one time of year when we can be let out of our offices and blend in with ordinary members of the public. Yes, it’s Halloween and this year we have delicious treats that come in black ‘n’ roll flavour.
Purveyors of John Carpenter inspired death metal that comes replete with catchy sludge-laden riffing; Merseyside’s Video Nasties have made a seismic impression on the metal underground since their formation in 2017. After a busy period of live tour dates that included supporting Cannabis Corpse and The Obsessed, we caught up with the guys to get the lowdown on their future plans and insights into their horror influences.
Featuring former members of Iron Witch, The Bendal Interlude, Magpyes and SSS, Video Nasties can aptly be described as a Merseyside metal supergroup.
In particular, the seeds of the band’s formation were forged in the ashes of The Bendal Interlude. As bassist Rick Owen explains, “The band basically came together as The Bendal Interlude decided to call it a day. Stu, Dave and Tommy have been in bands together for over fifteen years so when Bendal split it wasn’t long before they were itching to play again, we knew Damian [formerly with Magpyes]was one of the best vocalists around so asking him was a bit of a no-brainer.”
Rather than simply a melting pot of the styles from their former bands, Video Nasties’ distinctive sound was conceptualised and forged during rehearsals. Rick notes: “We had a very vague idea of the sound we wanted to go for and after a couple of months all our influences sort of clicked and we ended up with [first single and video]Transvoltum. That was when we really knew where we wanted to go.”
Transvoltum is Latin for ‘call of the void’ and, as the promo video for the track demonstrates, it is inspired by horror master John Carpenter’s 1987 film Prince of Darkness. Anyone who has seen Video Nasties play this song live will appreciate that this horror film influence is a central part of their aesthetic.
The eerie Poltergeist-like television static and billowing dry ice conjure an ominous atmosphere. Rick: “The horror aspect just came naturally from our love of movies really. The lights, smoke, movie samples and all of that was just another way of incorporating the horror into the live show. It’s a pretty big part of us as a band and we’re always thinking of things we can do to add to it.”
As for their plans for the rest of the year and early 2019, Rick revealed: “We play Keep It Heavy in Liverpool on November 24. It’s for a charity that means a lot to us, the Lyam Kirkham Foundation. After that we’re going to be putting the finishing touches to the album. We can’t say too much about that right now but we can say we’ll be recording it in January of next year.”
If Transvoltum and latest single Viva Deth are anything to go by, we reckon that record could be something truly special.
As if we hadn’t given you enough treats, in the spirit of the season Video Nasties gave us their rundown of the top John Carpenter films everyone needs to see before they die.
One of the most influential horror films of all time, Halloween set the template for the slasher genre. As magnificent for its haunting soundtrack and score as it is for its depiction of terrifying bogeyman Michael Myers, Halloween is essential viewing for any horror fan.
The current reincarnation of Myers in the latest sequel now showing in cinemas (also entitled Halloween) also gets the Video Nasties’ approval. As Rick Owen notes: “We all went down to the midnight showing of Halloween (2018) the other night which was pretty good. We don’t want to spoil it for anyone, it wasn’t without its flaws but John Carpenter did a great job on the score as you would expect.”
Escape from New York (1981)
Part road movie, part action flick, part sci-fi, Escape from New York is one of Carpenter‘s most enjoyable films. Once again, this is partly down to a high quality score that perfectly matches the post-apocalyptic setting. Kurt Russell is brilliant as Snake Plissken, an anti-hero tasked with rescuing the US President (played by the late Donald Pleasance) from New York, which has become a lawless penal colony ruled by gangs.
The Fog (1979)
Carpenter followed up his breakthrough in Halloween with this classic ghost story that is peppered with genuinely creepy moments. Antonio Bay is a coastal town hiding a terrible secret and, on the eve of its 100th birthday celebrations, a curse is about to be realised as an eerie fog rolls in hiding undead creatures hell bent on revenge. As with Halloween, the tension is cranked up by a fantastic score and the film’s moments of terror lie not in what the audience actually sees (this is not a gory film) but in what they think they have seen.
Tasked with bringing Stephen King’s novel of the same name to the big screen, Carpenter’s Christine is an underrated film within his overall canon. Keith Gordon is terrifying as Arnie, an awkward virginal teen whose coming of age can only be achieved at a horrific price after his possession by ‘Christine’, a 1958 Plymouth Fury. The soundtrack is excellent once again, particularly during the highly effective set pieces near the end of the movie when Christine destroys the cruel bullies who had previously made Arnie’s life a misery.
Reflecting on both The Fog and Christine, Video Nasties vocalist Damian von Talbot says they made a massive impression on him: “Mainly because I have such great memories of watching them with my older brother as a kid. They both terrified me as a young shit and the soundtracks both left a lasting imprint on me, both have aged kinda’ well and still hold up in terms of practical effects and make up.”
Prince of Darkness (1987)
This film conveys a powerful claustrophobic atmosphere as it portrays the eve of Armageddon during which scientists must do battle with the Antichrist who is slowly re-awakening in the catacombs of an old church. The dream sequence that is a premonition of the future under the rule of the Prince of Darkness is especially effective. It is little wonder that Video Nasties chose to use this sequence in a sample during Transvoltum.