By all accounts, Joe Spinell was a man of character to be admired, a generous, warm-hearted actor whom all his colleagues loved or at least respected. Still, in his most unforgettable role as Maniac, Joe was able to channel something deeply disturbing—homicidal rages brought on by a very-wrong mother>son relationship, and the belief that whores must be "saved" by extermination (one of those great ideas we must thank the perversion of Catholicism for.)
Maniac is as bleak, ugly and slimy a New York film as ever there has been, up there in my estimation with Taxi Driver, The Panic in Needle Park, A Hatful of Rain, Bad Lieutenant, and Larry Cohen's 70s films. That New York is mostly gone, though, sanitized for better or worse by the needs of real-estate developers and the very affluent.
I mention Joe Spinell not only because of this week's screen capture from Maniac, but also because he is one of the patron saints of My Castle of Quiet—a good "Joe," with a well-developed dark side. My kinda guy all the way. If you deny the ugliness, you're just going to have to deal with it at some later time, when you may not be ready. But at the same time, be righteous and true, until someone gives you a reason not to be.
Last night was the usual catharsis through the playing of favored recordings, no special guests this time, but plenty of friends, and long-form extrapolations. Older selections by Einstürzende Neubauten and Missing Foundation (talk about acknowledging the ugliness—two experts right there) dazzled the faithful, and Raspberry Bulbs never fails to incite comment. Personally, I loved the new Telecult Powers tape side, and well, everything else I played, too. My show is not a random shmampling of things that might seem ok, freshly plucked from WFMU's new bin; I'm a meticulous planner, and I stand behind every selection.
Click on Frank Zito above to access the playlist and audio streams of last night's horrorcast™.
In two weeks—The Communion LIVE!