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Open Thread - Blog


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If you’re into inflammatory comments and scathing professional commentary, then an afternoon spent reading film reviews for the locally produced Gone the Way of Flesh will do your body good. Based on what I can tell, most critics think the film is poorly made, incoherent, and unwatchable schlock (though, in this writer’s eyes a little schlock never hurt anyone), but to get the whole picture of this little movie, we must first take a moment to learn about a band.

The band in question is a Pittsburgh based outfit going by the name of The Jason Martinko Revue (fronted, not surprisingly, by the multi-talented Jason Martinko), a band that takes classic ‘50s drive-in era rock and melds it with a swing/surf-punk sensibility to create a sound equally fresh and nostalgic. Formed in 1999, and performing (according to their website) “in countless seedy bars & roadhouses,” the band achieved a moderate level of success in 2003 when they released a self-titled album that had a modest number of sales. It was also around this time they came up with an extremely innovative way to promote their band: writing a movie.

That movie, of course, became Gone the Way of Flesh, a tale of a killer that was stalking women at rock concerts, kidnapping them, and visiting unspeakable tortures upon the groupies with a maniacal zest usually reserved for screen villains and Fox News correspondents. (Guess who portrayed the band in the film.)

Taken on its own, the film seemingly has plenty of faults, but when viewed as part of an inclusive multimedia experience, Gone the Way of Flesh takes on a truly engaging and fun perspective. (And it certainly has become such an experience: the band recently screened the movie at the Oaks Theatre in Oakmont, Pennsylvania—and immediately played a live set afterwards.)

gone-the-way-of-the-flesh3With the torture-oriented subgenre of horror becoming increasingly popular in recent years (think Saw or Hostel), and its audience growing larger and larger, the fact that Martinko and Co. tapped into this filmic subculture was ingenious, helping to push their music past the bar scene that can trap so many local bands. Not only that, the film itself has become something of a minor cult favorite, going so far as getting a glowing endorsement from the godfather of gore himself, Herschell Gordon Lewis.

“I thought I’d seen gory, irreverent, don’t-give-a-damn movies as far out as they could get. Wrong! That label now belongs to GONE THE WAY OF FLESH” – it’s right there on the DVD box. As far as the horror industry goes, it’s the seal of bloody approval.

Following the film’s 2007 release, the Jason Martinko Revue showed little sign of slowing down, releasing a new album, “Damaged Goods” (which, coincidentally, features a song titled “Gone the Way of Flesh”) and recently announced that their production company, the aptly named Cut’N’Run Productions, is already at work on creating a sequel, tentatively titled Gone the Way of Flesh II: Fresh Bloody Flesh.

martinko1So critics can say what they like, but when considering the innovative route the Jason Martinko Revue has taken in getting their music to the world, I can’t help but applaud their efforts. Whether they are getting screams from fans at their concerts or screams of terror in the theaters, I maintain that they are a bloody good time. 



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