It’s our first post of 2018 and we’re all turned around! The BEST thing about a new year, a new day, or a new hour is you get to decide how it’s going to go. Will you react differently to the same set of circumstances or decide to leap out into completely unchartered territory?! For Janurary, the Narazu crew decided to challenge ourselves to read, watch, and experience something outside our favorite genre or fandom and report back from the previously unknown. In these gems, we hope you find something that challenges what you think you know and inspires you to take each new day and make it magnificent. (Oh, and please say hello to our brand new film editor, Mr. Leo Faierman. We’re so excited to have him!)
Happy New Year & Best Always!
All Indie. All Awesome.
Try an independent animated feature! To be honest, those two qualities are rarely allied within a single full-length feature, with hand-drawn animation being a prohibitively expensive medium…all of which makes Nova Seed a significant achievement. Four years in development with 60,000 hand-drawn frames, the film was crafted by a single artist, Canadian animator Nick DiLiberto.
by Nick DiLiberto
Originally released online back in September, DiLiberto’s passion project is a love letter to historic adult animated films of yore—think Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and the Heavy Metal movie. You can purchase Nova Seed directly from his site as a DVD or in various digital formats, and you’ll be in for a mesmerizing treat. Catch the impressive trailer right here.
by Michael O’Shea
Vampire films. Love them or hate them, they tend towards presenting romantic portrayals of the supernatural. While, at its heart, a story which centers on a relationship, Michael O’Shea’s debut The Transfiguration is an unusually bleak and powerfully original film in the vampire genre.
If you’ve ever seen George Romero’s criminally underrated Martin, it might give you an idea of what you’re getting into. Aside from being produced on a limited budget, The Transfiguration also captures its source city—New York—with a gritty realism that is frequently beautiful, positioning NYC’s nighttime parks and alleys into its main character’s hunting grounds. Interestingly, much of its inspired cinematography (which echoes city classics such as Taxi Driver) was the result of shooting illegally without permits.
by James Ward Byrkit
On the literal opposite end of the class spectrum is Coherence, James Ward Byrkit’s low-budget debut, which takes place at a dinner party for a group of affluent friends. What begins with casual chit-chat soon evolves into a mind-melting, reality-warping sci-fi film about parallel universes and the dangers within.
Byrkit shot the film on a $50K budget, using his friends as actors (some of whom were actors, luckily) and keeping the story as tightly-focused as possible, despite its expansive and potentially confusing origins. For fans of Shane Carruth’s classic time-travel film Primer, Coherence is an easy recommendation but is also easier to approach, leading its audience carefully through demonstrations of quantum physics.
If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea I would understand…but I’d still recommend that you try it. You can stream Coherence on Amazon.
by Robert Mockler
And finally, coming soon: Like Me. The arthouse horror candy-colored psycho-thriller film debut for director Robert Mockler, Like Me, originally manifested as an unsuccessful Indiegogo campaign five years ago. Since then, Mockler managed to reorient production and finally complete his feature, which will go into limited release on January 26th.
With a story inspired by internet celebrity-hood, slasher film imagery, buddy-road-trip movies, and an anachronistic retro wave aesthetic, Like Me is a challenging experience but ultimately proves rewarding. Its star Addison Timlin is unpredictably menacing, and supporting actor Larry Fessenden (himself a bit of a cult-horror character) becomes her unwitting—but not witless—hostage on a spree that begins and ends on a YouTube account.
by Amanda Palmer
This isn’t an indie book, but Amanda Palmer is the indie queen, having launched a career in music and writing through the sheer act of reaching out to connect with people. I don’t do a lot of non-fiction, and even rarer anything that might be lumped as self-help, but this book is for all us indie artists: the ones who still think indie means “wait your turn,” to the ones who’re struggling with so much LIFE that it never seems as if art gets a chance to enter the equation. This book says it’s ok to ask for help; it’s ok forge your own path; it’s ok to get stuff wrong and have to start over from scratch. I’ll tell ya, that’s a message I need reinforced on a daily basis.
by Marc Laidlaw
We’ve seen a glut of mashups, everything from zombie Bronte sisters to Shakespeare Yoda. What we haven’t seen is a classic presented in its entirety but punched up to eleven on a dial of ten for today’s amped-up readers: a monster reference on every single page. It’s like Laidlaw knew exactly what Shelley intended! This book is cheeky, snarky, and funny as a laudanum weekend laced with helium breaks. You wouldn’t be a true blue Narazan if you didn’t like the unusual. Get this book, share it with no one, and when they ask you what you’re laughing at the next time one of the 24,000 cinematic versions of Shelley’s seminal book shows on screen, snicker even louder and excuse yourself out of courtesy. It’s best that way.
by Fighting Monkey Press
I don’t do a lot of horror. The way my brain works, it gets in my head and spreads. And I do even less “body horror,” which is a subgenre dealing with all the macabre things that our bodies seem to attract one way or another. Icky, sticky, tumorous changeling things. But having been familiar with other books in the “UnCommon” series from Fighting Monkey, I gave this one a try. As with any anthology, every story isn’t a bang-zoom home run, but there are enough prickly, uncomfortable, burrowing stories here to get under your skin and slowly start to feed. (See? This is exactly why I don’t do horror!) If you’re a fan of things that come from the body, go into the body, consume the body or transform the body, you and this collection will find common ground.
Visuals = top notch. Execution = top notch. Story = timeless. It’s about love, it’s about connection. Even the things people use to escape the world want to find their places beyond pure function. At first glance, I thought this video might be a take on Tokyo Pop. Tokyo Pop makes my eyelids hurt. As I kept watching, my brain grabbed hold of bits of allegory about love and wanting, fame and art, hunger and obliviousness, tech and organic life. It’s a little longer than it needed to be, but its ingredients are so intoxicating it’s not too hard overlooking that. Definitely worth 15 minutes of your time.
by Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr, and Andrei Tabacaru
On the surface, Voracious is about a chef who travels back in time, captures and kills dinosaurs, then serves them in his restaurant to an enamored crowd of unsuspecting carnivores. Yeah….not my usual cup of tea, but the premise was so absurd and the creator, Markisan, so nice and approachable, that I decided to give this graphic novel a try. I was not disappointed. This story is about way more than the premise. There’s a mad scientist, a decades-old mystery to solve, and a truly moving story about a man learning to live again after an unthinkable tragedy. Dig in.