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Monday, October 29, 2007

Fava Beans & A Nice Chianti

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Q. Lazzarus “Goodbye Horses”

The Fall “Hip Priest”

Shriekback “The Big Hush”

by Mark Cappelletty

That Hannibal Lecter guy sure gets around. Between listening to Glenn Gould, developing psychiatric theories around the smallest piece of evidence and serving up human victims, Julia Child-style, you’d think that he wouldn’t have time to have good musical taste. But the first two movies based on Thomas Harris’ exploits of this character (I bailed after Hannibal) utilize strong music to unusual effect.

1986’s Manhunter is the scariest and most effective of all of these films. While the movie is definitely an element of the times — Michael Mann, of then-“Miami Vice” fame, traffics heavily in bright colors, pastels and knit ties (did the costume designer get a kick-back from Chess King?) — the thriller element is strong because the story’s ostensible villains are so underplayed and so frighteningly human. Brian Cox’s “Lecktor,” locked up in a white-on-white cell, isn’t that far removed from hero Will Graham (William Petersen of “C.S.I.” fame), and Tom Noonan’s Francis Dolarhyde reveals a deep sadness. But enough with all the psychoanalysis! The movie’s scary! Go rent it!

Even scarier is some of the ‘80’s music, including some earnest clunkers by the likes of long-forgotten bands like The Reds. The climax to “In A Gadda-Da-Vida” is fantastic, however, and Mann gets points for utilizing Shriekback, an art-funk band led by ex-XTC keyboardist Barry Andrews. The two songs on the soundtrack — “The Big Hush” and instrumental “Coelocanth” — can be found on their 1986 debut, Oil And Gold.

Jonathan Demme has always had an ear for good music— he directed the concert films Stop Making Sense, Storefront Hitchcock and Neil Young: Heart Of Gold and the soundtracks to 1986’s Something Wild and 1988’s Married To The Mob still hold up today. The Silence Of The Lambs is no different. When Jodie Foster chases serial killer Jame Gumb in his rotting basement, The Fall’s creepy and disturbing “Hip Priest” is playing in the background.

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do you see?

But no scene is more memorable than the one in which Gumb —Ted Levine, a character actor best known today as Tony Shalhoub’s cop liaison on TV’s “Monk” — tucks his junk between his legs and does the serial killer equivalent of the Dance Of The Seven Veils. The song is “Goodbye Horses,” by ex-NYC taxi driver Q. Lazzarus, a lesbian who, according to her Myspace page, lives in Vegas and makes less than $30k a year. Jeez! The moody and undeniably catchy song is featured on the Married To The Mob soundtrack and proved to be a minor one-hit wonder for Lazzarus, who hasn’t put out a record in a decade. The song was parodied in Clerks 2 and turns up in weird tributes on YouTube, including one horrible clip where a little toddler warbles the song at his (off-camera) parents’ urging. That’s the scariest thing I’ll see all year.

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BAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHH - Kevin

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