Devil Dog, The Hound of Hell. Devil Dog is one of those essentially ho-hum pictures that can still be watched and enjoyed, say on a rainy Saturday afternoon. A mother and her two children become overtaken, changed, "possessed" if you will, by a demon named Barghest, housed inside the family pet at birth (Barghest fans take note), as its bitch-mother was infested with the demon, in a ritual we see mostly during the opening credit sequence.
There's a whole litter of 10 puppies, but we're left with the story of one family that adopted a single damned pup, from a neighborhood weirdo, some guy I wouldn't buy a brick from. It's left to dad Richard Crenna to hop over to Ecuador, meet with a shaman, and come back to save the fucking day, by way of a series of symbols, tattooed by the shaman onto his palm. There, I've told you the whole film, yet somehow it still took director Curtis Harrington over 90 minutes to do the same! (You may have seen the above image before, too, even if you missed out on the wonders of Devil Dog, as the image gets around, and the band Nunslaughter have used it for a 7" sleeve.)
Director Harrington himself is a notable character, and made several more successful attempts at these semi-cheesy, quasi-horror dramas, like Games (with James Caan), How Awful About Allan (starring Anthony Perkins), Who Slew Auntie Roo? (with Shelley Winters), and perhaps his masterpiece, and feature debut, Night Tide (starring a young Dennis Hopper.) All of the above-mentioned are much better than Devil Dog, needless to say, the latter most surely being an "on the way down" production for Harrington, if there indeed ever was an "up."
The director was also a Crowleyan, and Harrington and occultist/artist Marjorie Cameron were involved with Jack Parsons' Thelema group, which also included L. Ron Hubbard. Both Parsons and Hubbard believed Cameron to be the "Scarlet Woman," a conjuration of the Goddess BABALON. Red hair, green eyes. Long story, and it ends badly as I recall. Drag City published Curtis Harrington's memoir, Nice Guys Don't Work in Hollywood, just this year.
Je suis Le petit chevalier (aka the talented and charming sound sculptress Felicia Atkinson, who also records under her own name; I only recently stumbled onto her work, and purchased An Age of Wonder, the album from which our last night's selection came, which led to a very friendly and genuine email exchange, and talk of a possible future Castle visit.)
The new Grasshopper tape is of course amazing, The Day America Forgot, on Sic Sic. Again, Ghop blindsides me by churning out another masterpiece of in-the-moment composition, always somewhat new and different, evolving, but always sounding like Grasshopper. There's a great Village Voice interview with the boys that can be read here (which also makes note of their Prison Tatt release, the now out-of-print "Calling All Creeps," citing it as the more "malevolent and ruthless" of their releases—heell yeah, I'm proud!; "...Creeps" is still available digitally through the band, with two copies in their cadre of the original 12" also for sale, and I've got some test pressings that I'm saving for my retirement fund, when these guys get HUGE.)
Noted on the playlist was the mysterious Satanhartalt, their new LP a bottomless pit of unreal sound—not metal, not psych, not "doom"—the sound of the spirits that haunt German Oak's bunker. It's still available from All Dead Tapes and Legion-Blotan, a co-release between the two labels. It's a highly recommended purchase that comes close to being an "ultimate" My Castle of Quiet record, with its marriage of horror elements and wretched atmospheres, with a bit of the old lay back and just freak-out on it as well.
And our closing piece last night, Side B of the new LP by K Salvatore, Tsar Ova Elk, is one of my current can't-stop-playing-it records, as the walls fall down blissfully between psych, noise, improv, early Faust, all things I love—but who cares about these labels?! Great music it is. Available on Kelippah.
Click on the portrait of Barghest, "painted in blood" (because everyone just leaks red tempera), to access the playlist and audio archives of last night's horrorcast.