Thursday, March 17, 2016
i first came across Fred Vogel's AUGUST UNDERGROUND films through various clips found on gore mix tapes i used to D/L from the now seemingly defunct Tracker 3, as well as JT Petty's undervalued film S&MAN. while i found the effects in these clips immensely impressive, and found Vogel and his Toe Tag crew to be very enthusiastic and intelligent, i rather hastily dismissed the films as little more than special effects reels, finding on a first viewing the characters to be a little too obnoxious and obviously insane, bringing to mind the "check out my crazy" posturing of various nu-metal and horror-core mediocrites of the time.
upon a recent viewing of the first film in Vogel's trilogy, as well as the myriad supplemental materials on the DVD i acquired, i now have come to understand that observation on the characters was accurate, but also by design, and that the films serve as a commentary on the youth movements and pop culture of the particular time period in which they were created; the post-Columbine/pre-9/11 death throes of the late 90s-early 00s; which started to reveal (and revel) in its naive sadism during the aforementioned Columbine Massacre and scant months later in the grotesquely jocular bacchanalia of Woodstock '99, rolling through the very early period of the new millennium through shock jocks, trash TV, a renewed mean streak in mainstream pornography, raunchy comedies, the junkyard gladiators of backyard wrestling, the feverishly objectifying Spring Break culture, pop, rock, and hip hop reconnecting with aggressive hedonism and mean spirited chest beating as a primordial challenge to the perceived well-meaning meekness and morose societal and self reflections of the preceding "alternative movement" and cause-driven reality mirroring rap groups, the incidental masochism of all the Public Access Jackass wannabes popping up across the suburbs like a dick waving outbreak, the internet's first foray into near-snuff gross outing with Rotten.com... all in all, a confused, vicious, ugly time to be coming of age in America.
AU is not about that time. It is that time. a patchwork hell unearthed from the shit-brown dirt water of a pervert wasteland. the deepest shade of grey market. gorehound enthusiasm. gonzo crudity. the fizzing pit of nerves at the tar-drenched heart of transitional darkness. suburban death match aesthetics. the navel gazing self tortured crushed at bridge of its nose by the elemental rebellion of over-baked fuck-you-suck-my-dick delinquency. confrontational voyeurism. visuals degraded to the point of transmitting nausea. as close as a series of images will ever get to thoroughly replicating a first time reading of Peter Sotos' TOOL. intolerant of catharsis. wearyingly unknowable.
it never ended. the tape just stopped.