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March 18, 1986 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-18

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 18, 1986- Page 7

Arts cont'd

Images

Original Angst

By Hobey Echlin
GOD, here we are, ten years af-
ter Johnny got the whole rotten ball
a'rollin with his pistolish blokes,
trying to mop up the last gobs of that
fun-punk thang with the less-than-
dulcet, do-you-own-thing, fuck-'em-if-
they-can't-take-a-joke attitudes of
America's new bad-boy breed,
typified in the likes of the
Replacements and Del Fuegos. But
when the feedback stops ringing and
that rock 'n roll hangover wears off,
there's still some of that original
angsty fun around, albeit all grown
up, married, and off having kids.
And so those Damned rockers who
gave the world (o.k., maybe just
England) the stomp 'n circus-thrash
of "New Rose," on vinyl no less (a
punk first), way back in '76, brought
their phantasmagoric show to the
sold-out St. Andrew's Hall Saturday
night, touching greatness with un-
derrated vengeance.
The Damned launched into the first
of their three sets with plenty of that
stylin' energy that keeps them
moving without too much sweat.
Singer Dave Vanian, sporting the
Dracula-meets-James Brown look of
capes and frills, with his jet-black
mid-back length hair and its lone
platinum shock, was in top dramatic
form. His silvery tenor cascaded
through the keyboard soothed soaring

sounds of "Shadow of Love," the
stomping "Grimly Fiendish," the in,
trospective "Shadow Boxing," and"
the poppy elegance of "Is it a
Dream?", all the new Phan-
tasmagoria LP.
The Damned's new string sections
(following the departure of bassist
and egotist Captain Sensible)proved
themselves right at home with their
new jobs, as the guitars shined in
front of the spastic pulse of Rat
Scabies' drum kit on the tour de force
"Wait for the Blackout" from the
Black album. Instrumental interludes]
showed the musician side of the Dam-,
ned as Rat put the guitars through
their paces on a couple of three way
solos, and on the pre-REM jangly
guitar buildups of "Smash it Up."
The Damned had their fun, too,
paying homage to psychedelia with-a.
romping cover of "Too Much to;
Dream Last Night," and to Iggy Pop-
with a trobbing version of "Lust for
Life," spiced up a bit by Bat's in-
tricate drum licks.
Despite the St. Andrew's gestapo's'
efforts to temper the show into "the'
Darned" by subduing the enthusiastic
crowd's hokum attempts at slam 'n
dive audience participation, the'
Damned proved that even Cap-
tain-less, they're no sinking ship, but
sailing right along, smoothing the
course, and careful of their wake.

Daily Photo by SCOTT LITUCHY

i

Records

Map of the World--Natural
Disasters (Stigmata)
On the heels of the recent raves they have earned with
their impressive single and debut EP Hiroshima Girls,
Ann Arbor natives Map of the World have followed up
their success with a smashing new six-song EP, Natural
Disasters. Map of the World have been considered to be
,among the forefront of the local music scene, and
Natural Disasters,with its tight playing and excellent
song-craftsmanship, provides good reasons for such at-
tention.
The record-opener "Big Business" begins with a
jangly downbeat which bears just some of that southern
guitar flavor (now immortalized by R.E.M. ). The

rhythm is as crisp and tight as the sound - deliberate,
clear, and well-defined; and vocalist Khalid Hanifi fills
the song really nicely with his smooth, effortless singing.
There's also some rather metallic sounding backing
vocals which add a bit of spice to the mix.
The next cut, "Defy Gravity," is an equally strong
number musically - especially with the help of its
powerful rhythm section of bassist Tim Delaney and
drummer Tom Whitaker. However, it is somewhat
marred by Sophia Hanifi's rather "flat" (in tone and
range quality, not pitch) lead singing which is slightly
nasal and makes the sound a little too harsh. She sounds
considerably better on the next track, "Natural
Disasters," which opens with chiming guitar harmonics
before kicking off into some really hot licks.
You're through you're through/

you're not treading water/ you're
through you're through/ the waves
are coming faster...
sing the Hanifi siblings, wailing along in dual force
while (Khalid) Hanifi tears into some searing guitar work
at the song's climax. Earlier in the piece one can even
hear a touch of Richard Thompson's influence in his lead
guitar playing - and that can only be a good thing.
On side two "Make Your Decision Now" once again
finds MOTW in top form. (Khalid) Hanifi's vocals have a
soft, resigned quality which is rather appealing,
especially in context with his lyrics :
I didn't have time to talk, so today
I have to listen...
The whole world feels like a tomb/
with nobody left to kill

The rhythm is rock steady, and allows a
touch of feedback to artfully creep through in the end
before propelling into the explosive next cut,"Hiroshima-
Girls" (the title cut of their last EP). This song is in-
triguing and thoughtful ... some really fine rock and
roll. It then springs into the pounding duet "Driving
Through Storms," which closes the disc with its
energetic, twining guitars.
Map of the World are extremely powerful musicians,
but could use a bit of emotive force in their vocals on
some spots to balance their sound. However, this is not a'
very significant detriment to the band. They're talented
performers and could probably (and deservingly) go a
long way. So look out for them because, to use the band's
own lines, words of war are only warnings...
-Beth Fertig

Films
House
House is a low budget exploitation
thriller that, typical to the habits of its
breed, survives by scavaging ideas off
the carcasses of previous films.
House, predictably enough, feasts off
the well-picked remains of films like
Gremlins, Nightmare on Elm St., and
Ghostbusters. It's solemn, somewhat
dubious distinction being that it is the
first horror film to date to plagarize
the Rambo genre.
House starts off as a pretty stan-
dard retooling of the haunted house
tale about a young man, in this case a
pulp horror novelist named Roger
Cobb-played by William Katt of the
distantly remembered "Greatest
American Hero" series, who inherits
a Victorian manor from his flakey
aunt with more than a few things that
go bumping about in the night. The
spooks are the typical loony, toothy
variety who run about the house
chuckling and creating havoc as they
take swipes at Cobb, impersonate his
estranged wife, and kidnap his little
boy and steal away with him to
another dimension a la "Twilight
Zone" time warp.
Eventally it turns out that the haun-
ting is actually all the work of a G.I.
buddy that Cobb left stranded in the
a jungles of Viet Nam years ago. He
shows up as a rather ill-preserved and
nasty apparition who, machine gun in
hand, decides to settle his grudge with
Cobb with some hard Sylvester
Stallone style justice.
The film stumbles left and right
over randomly tossed-in subplots and
throwaway ideas that leave the
narrative an inconsistent mess and
shifts unconscientiously in tone from
straight monster movie schtick to
S comedy to, in the end shabby
psychological melodrama. To a large
extent the film tries to imitate the
black campiness that Joe Dante used

to excel in, though Director Steve
Minor - has none of Dante's
mischevious wit.
Not that the audience for these films
is very demanding to begin with, but
House doesn't even serve up a few
decent cheap chills. This is sur-
prising, since Miner has the
background--he started the Friday
The 13th series-for lurid, crassly ef-
fective filmmaking. But here he
merely drops his cache of ghouls and
goblins in front of the camera with all
the mechanical redundancy of a
cheap fairground ride-which is just
where the film's cheesey, all to rub-
bery creations look like they were lif-
ted from. Hell, Miner can't even make
the bright, gingerbread style house
used in the film's locale look anything
but charmingly homey.
Special condolences go out to actor
Katt, who, if not a bright actor seems
always a most amiable and easily
likeable fellow who is miscast. Katt
shrugs and bumbles cloyingly through
House, graciously serving as the butt
of its crass humor, when someone
more reckless-someone with the
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leering, smartass disposition of a Tom
Hanks-and unselfconscious would be
far better suited for the part. One ends
up empathising not with Cobb, the
character haunted by spirits, but with
Katt, the actor whose career will be
haunted for some time by this beastly
movie.
-Byron Bull
Hitcher
Remember those stories you used to
hear at summer camp that always
ended with great lines like, "...and
there was a bloody, severed hook
hanging from the passenger-side door
handle"? Well, it's that sort of pre-
adolescent American folklore which
The Hitcher succeeds in capturing.
C. Thomas Howell plays an innocent
young man who picks up a rambling
sociopath (Rutger Hauer) on a rainy
night in Texas, and spends the rest of
the movie playing a bizarre game of
cat-and-mouse with both him and the
police (of course, he's unrighteously
accused of the Hauer's random
slaughters). Without the law to fall

back on, Howell slips farther and far-
ther into savagery, almost sinking to
the hitcher's level in order to survive.
The body count gets pretty high,
and, sure, the major point of this film
is to generate nail-biting fear in the
audience. However, The Hitcher isn't
just another mad-slasher movie
anymore than Risky Business was
just another teen sex comedy. This
flick's got a lot more style than blood.
The cinematography is awesome, of-
ten evoking a powerful feeling of
isolation and primordial fear as it sets
tiny characters against the vastness
of the Badlands. The killer's motives
are vague, but they are there. He is
undeniably a three-dimensional
character driven by his own demen-
ted set of values and needs, rather
than some bloodthirsty zombie in a
goalie's mask. In this sense, The Hit-
cher is more a psychological study
than a straight-ahead thriller, but that
doesn't detract from the fun. Direc-
tor Robert.Harmon generates some
of the best suspense this side of Scar-
face, and the unpredictability of the
killer's actions maintains a thick un-
dercurrent of tension right up to the

climax.
Howell does a convincing job in
character development, moving from
a naive semi-schmuck to a ruthless
gunslinger who stalks confidently
towards the final showdown to "end
this thing." Hauer is even better. It's
next to impossible to sympathize with
someone who will gut an entire
vacationing family with a switch-
blade, but there is a genuine sense of
pain just under the surface of this
man wandering the highways of
America in search of an adversary
worthy enough to end his spree. Jen-
nifer Jason Leigh, as "The Love In-
terest," turns in a performance much
more engaging than her character
calls for; she isn't given much to do,
but she does it with such a sultry
beauty that it's hard to keep your
mind on the action while she's on the
screen.
One major flaw: towards the mid-
dle of the film, Harmon throws in a
totally senseless and gratuitous chase
scene with lots of crash and burn ex-
plosions. This obvious bow to the box-
office does much to undermine the
sense of quiet menace that had been

building so effectively, and Harmon
never quite gets back to the same
level. However, he does get close
enough for rock and roll, and The Hit-
cher remains head and shoulders
above most schlock action flicks, and
certainly above it's more pretentious
thematic equivalent Runaway Train.
-Kurt Serbus

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
. Auditions
**
* Chicago
Director, Jim Posante, musical directors Dill Murrell, John
Tartaglia and choreographer, TeDee Theofil, have announ-
ced that auditions for the big musical, CHICAGO, will be
held on March 16, 17, 18 at AACT. Production dates are
May 7-10. Roles include:
* 2 females (about 30) who can sing, dance, and act
" 1 older female (prison matron)
(sings and acts like Sophie Tucker)
* 6 women (any age) who can act and move
* 2 men (over 30) who can sing, dance, and act
* * 1 man who plays Mary Sunshine, the gossip
* columnist, who must be able to sing soprano
* men's singing, moving chorus

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