Last Frites’ Halloween Riffathon

🎶Hey everybody have you heard the news? Last Frites is back in town…🎶

Maybe it’s just because I’m from the South, but there are few things in this world with as much regional and cultural difference as the word, “barbecue.” ‘pendin’ on who you ask, barbecue depends on the cut of pork, the sauces, cooking approach, and sometimes down to what the damn pig had for breakfast! Hell, in my home state of North Carolina we can’t even agree: Is it pork shoulder with a tomato base or is it the whole hog (literally, we’re talkin’ every bit but the squeal here) in a vinegar base? There’s an awful lotta bickerin’ over “who’s got it right,” and while I do have my preferences, I’m gonna be completely honest with you: I love it all.

It’s kinda the same with heavy metal and horror. Sure, there are different approaches, styles, subgenres, microniches. It’s prepared differently, but at the end of the day it’s all pig, so to speak. You can cook it differently, dress it up with different sauces and flavors and twists to where one is almost completely indistinguishable from the other, but at the end of the day, if it’s cooked well, it’s cooked well. That meat has got to be juicy and savory, goddamnit, and it’d sure as hell better have some sort of genuine smoke flavor to it.

While the horror film genre has been around way longer than heavy metal, a symbiotic relationship has been interposed between the two from the moment a little band named Earth saw the marquee for Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath outside a cinema in Birmingham. A name change and a turn for the darkness occured. Heavy metal in the form of Black Sabbath–incubating in the womb of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Blue Cheer, Coven, etc.–had finally birthed unto the world. The relationship continued as both metal and horror grew and expanded; The almost exhaustive use of the word “cult” betwixt the two is no mere coincidence. Both continue to interweave like a mutant strand of DNA, even crossing over directly at times (see Trick Or Treat, Day Of The Beast, Deathgasm, Mandy, or any album by Mortician, Impetigo, Druid Lord, Cradle Of Filth, etc).

So this Halloween, we invite you mutants to join us for an All-Out All Hallow’s Eve, so get you a big plate of barbecue and a heapin’ handful of candy corn**, dust off the VCR and get that record player spinning because we’re bringing you an all-nighter. Two hundred and eighty-two mintues of heavy, headbangin’ music and six hundred and fifty minutes of spooky, haunted film. Each of us here at Last Rites have paired an album with a horror recommendation for your combined listening / slash / viewing pleasure. The catch is this: the film must be released in the last decade, so no Nosferatu or Night Of The Living Dead or The Changeling here, but feel free to list any of your favorite metal / horror mashups down below with Darcy The Comments Section.

Without further ado, let’s hit those Drive-In Totals. We have:
– One film as madly hilarious as it is disturbing
– Gratuitous use of the word “tension”
– One Charlie Sheen flick
– Multiple examples of intoxication
– Grindhouse gore
– Cerebral gore
– Two black metal bands that have somehow refrained from murdering each other
– Riff Fu
– Atmosphere Fu
– Popcorn Fu
– A disturbing absence of Panos Cosmato’s Mandy, probably because if you’re into the metals heavy and the movies horror and have yet to witness its spiritual fusion of the two around a completely unhinged Nicolas Cage, we’re assuming you’re already planning to get to it. If not, well, it’s pretty safe to say we consensually agree on that one, so get on it. Four out of four stars–don’t forget to leave your best horror/album picks down below with Darcy The Comments Section.

Last Rites says, “Check it out.”

Spin the record, roll the film.

**Ya know, I don’t get the blown-out hatred over candy corn. Sure it’s just pure sugar and kinda sucks but where did all of these people come from with some hellbound hatred of it? I’ve always been way more afraid of those little taffy things in the nondescript black or orange wrappers. I’ve never eaten one, not even as a kid. Even my six year-old self thought, “If any of the candy is gonna have cyanide in it, it’s gonna be those.” Happy Halloween.



The Lighthouse is a masterpiece of modern horror that never really tries to be modern. It is simultaneously a throwback to the artsier, small scale productions of yesteryear (plus the black and white production) and a bit of a star feature for two enigmatic leading men: Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. The movie fully confirmed Robert Eggers’ status as a master of atmospheric, slow burn horror after debut The Witch, and both films are visually beautiful, masterfully acted, take place completely or largely in a single, isolated location, and build the tension and terror at a snail’s pace.

But while The Witch was a serious and devastating look at a family too Puritan even for their More Puritan Than Puritan surroundings, The Lighthouse is a different beast. It’s still quite suspenseful and scary, but it’s also pretty often hilarious. The tale of these two idiot outcasts being stuck together as caretakers of the titular lighthouse without (mostly) any other sentient beings around to keep them company quickly turns into the kind of liquor-soaked, belligerent mess you’d expect, particularly with those other things around. Dafoe gleefully turns his “Captain Ahab horseshit” up past 11 as Thomas Wake, while Pattinson’s Thomas Howard initially merely reacts before eventually also getting in on the drunken ranting (“YOUR GODDAMN FAHRTS!!!”). Just the scene of them repeatedly yelling “WHAT?!” at each other is both enough to get you cackling despite still definitely being more than a little freaked out.

Taken only on musical merits, Urfaust is already a perfect pairing for Eggers’ movies and The Lighthouse in particular. Their third full length Der freiwillige Bettler was chosen primarily because it’s a personal favorite, but it definitely lines up as well as any of their records. Many of the riffs do a vaguely waltzy thing, updating a classic approach while also layering it with rawness and primitivism (ditto the almost corrupt chamber passage at the end of the title track and the phonograph-from-another-dimension sounds in closer “Der Zauberer”). The howling/yowling vocals come across as both the screams of a tortured soul and the ritualistic chants of someone that desperately needs to connect to his ancient god, and are particularly effective when paired with a crawling pace and some horrific, unknowable sounds in “Der hässlichste Mensch.” That song’s translated title, “The Ugliest Human,” could be the kind of competition that the Thomases are engaged in throughout the movie, while “Das Kind mit dem Spiegel” (“The Child with the Mirror”) almost lines up with some of the wilder theories about the movie’s plot. Almost. If you want it to.

But then you include the Urfaust members’ personas outside of their albums, and the match is even better. VRDRBR and IX are rather known for their love of booze, and let us count the ways. Several pics on Facebook show either the two of them in some state of alcoholic revelry with friends or just closeups of their chosen beverages. Their current promotional pic on Metal-Archives was shot in what appears to be an old wine cellar (that could easily be seen as a very isolated spot ripe for some cabin fever), posed behind an arrangement of items that includes not one but two bottles of Gordon’s (one for each Urfauster, no doubt). One of their lyrical themes listed on that same archive is simply “intoxication” and they have a compilation titled Compilation of Intoxications. They even have their own brand of gin named after their most recent album Teufelsgeist. So yeah, the boys like boozing to a backdrop of artistic beauty, and it’s not hard to imagine them getting plastered with the Thomases.

Both musically and drunkenly, Urfaust and The Lighthouse are a match made in some sort of maniacal heaven that constantly reeks of juniper berries. [ZACH DUVALL]

Go stir crazy with The Lighthouse on Kanopy.
Der freiwillige Bettler on Bandcamp.

MOVIE: VFW (2019)


Halloween is the time for horror, of course, but there’s also a sizable kitsch factor that comes with both, camp and fear entwined to create devilish delights that are spattered in fake blood and covered in faux gore. The tale of a team of world-weary veterans just trying to celebrate one old-timer’s birthday in their rundown bar in an even more rundown part of town, VFW is awash in blood and guts, as old men and gang members duel to their deaths with power tools and pistols and pool cues and pointed stakes and anything else they can use to sever limbs and smash skulls. As arterial spray hits the walls and the floor and the camera, it’s impossible not to get swept up in the killing spree, some gleefully maniacal murderous impulse within catching hold and bringing a smile to your face. It would be horrific if it wasn’t so goddamned fun. It’s a throwback to earlier grindhouse cinema, a simple plot with one-dimensional heroes and bad guys who exist solely to be impaled or shot or decapitated or [insert violent act here].

And like that film and the old-timers within it, our intrepid heroes in Exhumed are also throwbacks to a certain by-gone gore-spattered age, taking the blueprint of Carcass and Impetigo and Repulsion and revamping it for the post-millennium age. All Guts No Glory was the first album in Exhumed’s second act, seeing them become a tighter, a touch more melodic, a lot more thrashing outfit, moving further afield from the pure-goregrind stylings of their earliest efforts. It’s a slice-and-dice affair, all exhilarating bloodsoaked and furious death / grind, and like everything Exhumed, it’s just so… goddamned… fun. (And hey, extra-special shout-out for the awesome song title “So Let It Be Rotten… So Let It Be Done.”)

Imagine fighting for your life in some godforsaken jungle, only to come home and find yourself decades later fighting for your life in some shithole rat-trap bar. It takes guts, I would say… eventually, it seems to take all of them. And there’s no certainly glory, unfortunately, in bleeding out in a VFW parking lot, no matter which side you’re on… [ANDREW EDMUNDS]

Hold your fort with VFW on Shudder.
All Guts, No Glory on Bandcamp.



Halloween makes us think of horror as much as it does fun. When you’re a kid, there’s endless joy at the prospect of free candy. In your late teens and twenties, it’s coming up with wild costumes, drinking excessively and seeing if you can convince that hot vampire to kiss you at the party. And in your adult years, spooky season fans love a good batch of horror movies, particularly those with over-the-top bloodshed that’s more likely to bring a smile than a shriek.

What Halloween also marks, however, is the dawn of cold, ever-lengthening nights. Snow, sadness, and a sense of isolation are just around the corner. Black metal and horror movies are particularly well suited to that aspect of All Hallow’s Eve. For me, the music and movies that can only be described as fucked up or harrowing are typically the ones that stick with me the longest. 2019 delivered on both fronts with The Lodge and Morild’s debut album.

The Lodge is an exercise in tension and slowly tearing down both the characters and their very sense of reality. The movie starts with a focus on divorce and the visible tension between the parents involved, then translates that to the ill will two kids bear for dad’s new girlfriend Grace. Parents dating someone new is always tense but add in that dad met said lady half his age by writing about the suicide cult she grew up in, and you have a whole extra layer of what-the-fuckery. Dad’s brilliant plan to get them to bond? Why take them to an isolated cabin in the middle of nowhere for Christmas and leave them alone while he works back in the city for a few days, of course.

As you would expect, things start to get strange. The power goes out, items keep getting moved or altogether disappearing, and the line between dreams and real-life begins to blur. Is God punishing them for their sins? Is someone messing with them? Is Grace simply falling apart as the traumas of her cult upbringing resurface? Can they get over their discomfort with one another to figure it all out? You’ll have to watch to find out, but what I can tell you is that each scene during the second half of the movie is more unnerving than the one before it, culminating in one brutally stark image that will be burned in your brain for a long time to come.

Morild treads a similar line of tension throughout its debut. Their moments of blistering violence are backed by long stretches of unnerving ambiance. Those clean passages are often beautiful, like a shot of a family skating on a frozen lake. Still, an unnerving current is always ready to wash the listener away or trap that family under the ice. The opening to “I afgørende stunder” could just as easily be the soundtrack to, oh I don’t know, an underdressed person pacing in circles through the snow, muttering madness to themselves. The album ends on just as heavy a note and the shrieking vocals match the wailing sense of despair you’ll experience with The Lodge.

Hell, just wait until Christmas Eve and hit play on both of these to help crush any desire you have to be jolly. [SPENCER HOTZ]

Get snowed in at The Lodge on Hulu.
Så kom mørket whateverthefuck on Bandcamp.



Just what is the objective value of weird? Of course, nobody really knows because weird is a pretty individual experience. As the old saying goes: one man’s that’s-so-twisted-I-love-it is another man’s aw-no-way-fuck-that-shit. And that’s a pretty good intro for The Greasy Strangler, a movie that has been lauded and derided in just about equal measure with the word “weird” nearly ubiquitous across the arguments. Here’s the scoop in a wrinkled gelatinous nutshell: Father and son proprietors of a disco history walking tour live together. Father berates, obsessively loves greasy food, son prostrates, serves greasy food. At night, a ridiculously greasy person murders indiscriminately. Son suspects father, falls in love with girl. Father steals son’s girlfriend, bangs her. Son woos girl back, pursues father/killer. Movie climaxes with more murder, a strange journey, doppelgangers, and fully actualized spirituality.

As Halloween movies go, it’s a bit of an outlier, since it’s not particularly scary. It’s also not funny or clever or smart in any immediate way. It is uncomfortable. Just so fucking impossibly, unabashedly, relentlessly weird. And that is its strength and its charm if you’ll allow it. Besides the bizarre plot, The Greasy Strangler is pockmarked with virtually every other weirdness you can imagine, ranging from vague to brazen: there’s just an endless parade of plebeian nudity generally and, specifically, an ongoing unconcerned display of (usually) dangling bomb pops and candy corns masquerading as real life dingalings, cheeky ass-chanting, a conversational standing fingerbang, and more cloying cum talk than all the Charlie Sheen talk at Charlie Sheen’s house. (Well… probably buckets of jizz jabber happening there, too). And all of that on top of blood and strangulation and ejected eyeballs and eyeball snackies and so. much. grease. It’s everywhere.

But, again, what The Greasy Strangler is in weirdness it ain’t in tension. As oddball as it gets, it comes off more like an inappropriate uncle at a birthday party than Michael looming in the doorway or Jack, uh… destroying the doorway. The missing element? Soundtrack. You can hear most of the score for the movie in this very NSFW trailer. Like, almost all of it. It is certainly distinct; mostly a series of strange midi type almost-melodies, one of them recurring during the most dangerous moments. And mostly it’s just unpleasant, mildly annoying. This movie needs a dedicated soundtrack to match the weird with a cinematic sinister energy to boost it into the Halloween Movie Hall of Fame.

The plotline is different, but Dog Fashion Disco’s concept album, Adultery, gives us the perfect template for The Greasy Strangler soundtrack we deserve. It’s a murder mystery delivered in a film noir style that features a frenetic heavy metal skeleton fleshed out with jazz, pop, country, electronics, and voice acting to tell a story of sex, violence, debauchery, religion, ritual sacrifice, murder, depression, drug abuse, and suicide. It’s got it all! The panache with which Todd Smith et al. execute the script is pretty mind-blowing. Too often, when bands try an all-out musical interpretation like this, they get so wrapped up in the avant-garde that they forget all about the listener. Not so here, as Adultery features real, finely crafted songs that are perfectly interspersed with effects to capture every footstep, drip, punch, sneer, injection, gunshot, and scream the story involves. They’d have had their hands full with all the gross visceral shit in The Greasy Strangler, but they’d have pushed The Greasy Strangler into a whole ‘nother level. [LONE WATIE]

Get lubed up with The Greasy Strangler on Kanopy.
Adultery on Spotify.



You know that feeling when you first step out of the theater in the middle of a day showing? It’s extremely disorienting to not only walk out of a the dark theater, into the dimly lit corridors of the hallways, and out into the brazen sunlight. It’s jarring, there’s an immediate shift in reality. If the film was particularly good enough to draw you in and imprint itself then when that shift hits, it hits like a big ol’ explosion of reality like an asteroid to the skull. It’s disorienting as all hell.

Despite having to see Fried Barry on my own TV during that whole Year Where There Were No Theaters Or Shows, it still gave me that existential whiplash, mostly because the whole film feels like a mindfuck of perspective. The film follows Barry (inspiredly casting the  inhumanly stoic Gary Green), a deadbeat, heroin-addicted husband and father as he navigates the seedy underbelly of Cape Town, South Africa. What starts as an almost perverted, exploitative glimpse into the life of a junkie in the throws of hovering-just-above-rock-bottom point of addiction takes a hard bank in perspective when Barry is abducted and his mind replaced with that of the ambiguous extraterrestrial intelligence and thrust back into the seedy desperation of Cape Town’s sweatiest armpits. Not only does it change the way Barry interacts with his environment, it accentuates just how bizarre and alien the human race would seem to a visitor who had zero context for the world around them. With no way to relate to the lead character, we’re forced to relate to the behavior of the characters he interacts with in back alleys, drug-fueled night clubs, hourly-rate hotels, and slumlord flats.

This isn’t to say writer / director / producer Ryan Krueger isn’t having a hell of a lot of fun along the way with his first feature-length. There are elements of body horror, exploitation film, psychedelia, violence, and gore littered throughout. The cinematography and lighting capture a dark, beautiful, dreamlike, and, of course, alien atmosphere. The strange beauty in it reflects the dichotomy of the themes so well–as we’re forced to confront the darker aspects of humanity, there is a strange beauty to how human it is. This is particularly evident in the rare moments when the “fried” version of Barry shows the slightest bit of compassion towards his own son, the one the more “human” Barry ignores entirely. The depth and synchronicity feel that of an experience filmmaker, so, needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to seeing what else Krueger has up his sleeve.

Similarly, Long Island’s Afterbirth take their listeners through an alien perspective on the grimy, gutted, blood-and-guts-soaked world of brutal death metal with their acclaimed sophomore album, Four Dimensional Flesh. While at the early onset of the album there is certainly a knack for tasteful technicality with a bizarre sense of melody beneath the liquid phlegm of Will Smith’s vocals, a paradigm shift occurs at the instrumental “Girl In Landscape.” Much like the extended abduction and possession scene in Fried Barry, it feels completely detached from the earthen reality in which both works spawned. And, just like for Fried Barry, the perspective on Four Dimensional Flesh never fully comes back down to earth. Even when the putrid grooves, distorted guitars, pinch harmonics, blast beats, and guttural vocals return on “Everything In Its Path,” the record feels transformed. There are so many more sonic elements at play, –the choral, ethereal guitars, the disjointed yet flowing rhythms, and almost post-rock atmospherics only hinted at in the first few numbers come to full fruition. Also, as with the film, Afterbirth still retain that grittiness, that sick and twisted fun for the perverted, auditory masochist seeking the depths of extremity. Four Dimensional Flesh is gazing on the infinite beauty of the cosmos, even when it’s being torn apart from the light-crushing depth of a black hole.

The real beauty of both the film and the album is that they manage to highlight breadcrumbs of humanity in their art from an inhuman, extraterrestrial lens. The darker things get, the more the lighter elements shine; both are studies in contrast and color, shades and tints. And both are guaranteed to make you walk away a little different than the way you walked in. [RYAN TYSINGER]

Have a way-too-close encounter with Fried Barry on Shudder.
Four Dimensional Flesh on Bandcamp.



A number of movies leapt to mind when considering this piece, but the only one that caused a near panic attack while thinking about it going unheeded was Na Hong-jin’s 2016 triumph, The Wailing. The film is, to oversimplify things in a single word, spellbinding—one that manages to hammer together horror, thriller and mystery, with liberal use of demonic possession, outbreak panic, necromancy, zombie assault, and Shakespearean tragedy into an epic and twisting adventure that dutifully balances “everyday small town / village life” with fantastical dread that’s equal shades startling as it is lingering in the way it burrows into the corners of the brain for years to come.

At a full 2.5 hours long, the film would perhaps seem a bit unwieldy for the genre, but at no point does the knotty storyline ever manage to outstay its welcome, and Hong-jin (both writing and directing credits) very smartly hooks the viewer early by opening the narrative with bits of cheeky, charming humor attached to the bungling police captain protagonist (Kwak Do-won is amazing) and his equally inexpert band of colleagues, all of whom spend the first 45 minutes bandying insults such as “dumb bastard” and “lazy idiot” back and forth as the movie’s more sinister face slowly burns and evolves in the backdrop.

All smiles are damned to Hell once you cross that 45 minute mark, though, with the small village’s concerns of “bad mushrooms provoking a homicidal contagion” eventually giving way to an occult reality centered around a clear contention between a mysterious woman in white and an ostensibly sinister Japanese man (masterfully portrayed by the incomparable Jun Kunimura) living on the outskirts of town. From there, the feverishness and overall sense of mythic evil continues to crescendo to the point of full-on detonation, and by the end of the film the viewer can’t help but wonder who’s ultimately responsible for delivering all the unfettered eeeeevil that’s ripped all semblance of sanity from the poor little village. Good ultimately collapses ‘neath the broiling fist of evil, and one grim truth prevails: The Devil is real, he will always seek to blight humankind with grisly misfortune, and not even an equable life spent peacefully scraping by in a quaint village falls outside of his determinedly cursed grip.

The soundtrack:

The challenge in finding a suitable soundtrack to a film like The Wailing is identifying something that manages to conjure about 50 different moods in a single journey that ends with the listener weeping in a corner and wishing for death (with massive bonus points for finding some way to conjure a smile or two along the way.) Well, friend-O, that is Anatomia’s Cranial Obsession in a tidy, intensely unique, mentally deranged, cranially-collapsed nutshell.

The record breaks from the gate with two brisk numbers that blend the band’s customary death/doom with a healthy pinch of scooting, grin-inducing grind, particularly the absurdly infectious “Fiend,” and then the horror quickly settles over the landscape like a crawling, doomed plague with “Vanishment.”

A struttin’ tune like “Morbid Hallucination” does the job of sorrrrrt of tricking you into believing you’re having fun again, but the merriment ends in earnest upon stumbling into the drifting madness of “Excarnated” and continues to delightfully degrade into full-blown misery as the record slowly crawls into the appalling “Abysmal Decay” and the utterly hopeless damnation of the closing “Recurrence”—the perfect soundtrack for tangling with the Devil and…well, losing. Yeah, maybe you should’ve stuck with Thor: Ragnarok and a power metal soundtrack. TOO LATE NOW, SUCKER. [CAPTAIN]

Spread the sickness with The Wailing on Prime Video.
Cranial Obsession on Bandcamp.

Yes, we’re as surprised as you are that no one chose to write about Mandy, but how do you properly pair a heavy metal album with a movie that is basically itself the ultimate heavy metal music video? I guess you don’t. Happy haunting, everybody.

Posted by Last Rites


  1. Oh Mandy…

    There, now that’s in your head forever.


    1. Goddamnit, Andy.


      1. Haha as if stupid ANDREW EDMUNDS hasn’t been doing the same shit behind the scenes for days.


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