Notes & Blood #1: Every Time I Die vocalist Keith Buckley!Books/Art/Culture,Fearful Features,News Jerry Smith
Welcome to our brand new column, “NOTES AND BLOOD,” which will host creepy conversations with the biggest and best rock stars in their fields. Be sure to check back every other Wednesday for some fun horror talk with some of your favorite musicians, from Slipknot’s Corey Taylor to Twiggy Ramirez and many more. But before we get into all of those, let’s kick this off, with one of my favorite musicians of all time, Every Time I Die vocalist Keith Buckley!
FANGORIA: First of all, this whole thing started with you talking about THE GREASY STRANGLER…
KEITH BUCKLEY: Yeah, I can’t stop talking about THE GREASY STRANGLER.
FANGO: Yeah, I’m curious about your thoughts on that one.
BUCKLEY: It was just extremely bizarre. I don’t know; it had all the elements I look for. Stylistically, it was just beautiful and the settings were just incredible. Whoever cast that movie should be a fucking millionaire, because the casting was perfect. I’ve never seen any of those people. I love seeing horror movies where you don’t recognize any of the cast. It just makes it feel so much weirder to me because you can’t put your anchor into anything and there’s nothing to feel safe with, so those strange faces, obviously, make it feel very creepy to me.
The soundtrack just sounded like what people hear in their heads when they’re going insane: just a bunch of strange noises that keep repeating over and over and over. I mean, everything about the mood to the set was fucking terrifying. It was also funny;it’s obviously funny. The premise was just so basic! I mean a guy covers himself in grease and strangles people and they didn’t even explain it. They didn’t even explain the lack of cop presence. They didn’t need to explain anything. They just did it, you know?
FANGO: I always explain THE GREASY STRANGLER like if John Waters had just come out and made movies today…
BUCKLEY: That is exactly what I said. I said if John Waters wrote a movie that Jared Hess, from NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, directed, that’s what it would look like.
FANGO: On Twitter, you mentioned being into the whole French Extreme movement. What attracts you to those films?
BUCKLEY: Before I really understood that there was a French Extreme movement, I just so happened to come across MARTYRS and INSIDE, and those are two flagship movies that always get mentioned. They just happened to fall in my lap around the same time in my life, many years ago right when they came out, from a source that I always trusted as far as movies were concerned. So , I watched those and those are pretty much “what the fuck?” movies.
MARTYRS is one of the best horror movies that has ever been made, period. I think it’s probably like six or seven different horror movies in one, and they just flow seamlessly into one another and it almost becomes like a spiritual journey. It goes from a home abduction into a torture to kidnapping to a science fiction thriller to just a fucking bloodbath; all these things in one, shifting these phases so quickly and so seamlessly that you’re like, “holy shit!” That all flows so naturally, I didn’t even realize it has so many different things to it. INSIDE is just a rough one to watch because of what it’s about and the gore, but HIGH TENSION is so good.
I’ve always loved Gaspar Noe ever since I saw IRREVERSIBLE, which, when we first started touring and that movie came out, that was a big movie. A friend of mine, who is now a very successful director, recommended it because he used it as a study and he couldn’t figure how the fire hydrant scene happened, when he’s smashing the man’s face and it doesn’t cut away. You watch the entire thing happen and he couldn’t figure it out so he made it a study. I remember just sitting at his computer, watching him going over and over and over with it, just trying to find where it cut and how they did it. We couldn’t figure it out. So, I became obsessed with Gaspar Noe and I STAND ALONE is great, just for the voiceover narration and to get inside the mind of a fucking maniac, but that just led me down a rabbit hole.
FANGO: As far as the whole extreme movement in other countries, have you had the chance to watch A SERBIAN FILM yet?
BUCKLEY: Yup, I did see that. that’s one of those things where the title is so unassuming. My friend was like, “Hey, have you seen A SERBIAN FILM?” and I’m like ‘Which one?” He goes, “No, it’s called A SERBIAN FILM.” “Why would I want to watch it? It doesn’t say anything about the movie.” You know what I mean? It’s the most basic title, no thought went into it. It doesn’t even sound intriguing at all.
I remember we were on tour in Europe, and the buses over there have a built-in hard drive for movies, and I was flipping through the menu and I saw A SERBIAN FILM. I thought, “Oh, this is great!” I’m not lying; we were scheduled to go on stage in like three hours, so I was like, “Oh cool, I’ll watch this movie real quick, and then go play a show.” It fucking ruined me for like a week. I remember just like lumbering up to stage, like I didn’t want to play anymore, I didn’t know what life was aboutl I fucking hated myself, you know what I mean? It was one of those things that just completely rocked my world. It was original, that idea had never been done before, so I fucking loved it for that. But I feel like a lot of the horror movies that I get into, if they’re a brand new idea, they’re already 75% better than anything that’s been out there. So like, I loved CABIN IN THE WOODS as far as like one of the newer horror movies that’s out, that premise is so remarkably unique.
But as far as like the foreign extremity stuff, I watched the GUINEA PIG series from Japan; I got that as a present a few years ago and those are really hardcore. I just watched CUTTING MOMENTS, but I know that’s not foreign, but it was a short. It’s from the ‘80s; it’s like a 25 minute short, and I don’t want to ruin it but it’s disgusting, with make-up done by Tom Savini.
FANGO: There’s a filmmaker out of Ohio that makes these really transgressive films named Dustin Wayde Mills; he does a lot of really great films, and one of them is called APPLE CART. It’s so unique; you should definitely check that one out.
BUCKLEY: Yeah, I’ll follow up with you after this to get a list of things I should watch. I’m always in the market. I feel like I’m always hunting stuff. But with SERBIAN FILM, I’m still speechless and I saw it like three years ago. It’s indescribable, the horrors that are portrayed in that.
In that vein, have you seen the documentary called CHICKEN HAWK? Oh my god, it’s an actual documentary about a child molester, and he’s unabashedly proud about it. He’s followed around in his town,but it’s like early ‘80s so this is when people were still trusting of older guys. Back then, if an older guy wanted to hang out with your son for the day, you’d go, “Oh,that’s fine! It’s just some guy and they’re going to hang out.” CHICKEN HAWK is really fucking disturbing. Luckily, they don’t like show anything, or even insinuate that anything sexual actually happened; just the way he talked about being attracted to boys is just very, very honest and it’s really terrifying.
I have a friend in a band called Glassjaw, Daryl Palumbo, who gave me a hard drive of movies he owned and I’ve watched them through the years. I’ve come to realize that if the cops ever found this hard drive, they’d think I was a fucking sicko.
FANGO: On a different note, did you ever get into TWIN PEAKS at all? For some reason, I’ve always thought that show would be one you’d be into.
BUCKLEY: Oh my God! I just finished season one right before I left for this tour I’m on. I had never seen it, and there’s no reason I had never seen it. In the last few years, I’ve come to really respect David Lynch’s stuff on Transcendental Meditation and have become a huge fan of him but had never seen his stuff, which is so weird. So I’m taking care of that now. Last month, my wife and I sat down and watched season one of TWIN PEAKS and I fucking absolutely love it.
FANGO: Mark Frost, who co-created the show with Lynch, recently released THE SECRET HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS, which has documents, police files and goes deep into the town.
BUCKLEY: See, it’s conversations like this that I love because I’m totally going to seek it out and pick it up because of you telling me about it. This has been really cool!