"Touring makes you crazy," Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this film came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the...
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A concert movie showing a performance by the much-loved 1973 incarnation of the Mothers of Invention. An incredible cast of musicians treat us to a selection of blistering, pointillist jazz... See full summary »
Napoleon Murphy Brock
In a little over an hour, 'VIDEO FROM HELL' provides a preview of current and projected Honker releases, including 'BABY SNAKES', 'THE TRUE STORY OF 200 MOTELS' and 'UNCLE MEAT' (all 1987 ... See full summary »
Phyllis Smith Altenhaus,
The Sentimental Engine Slayer tells the compelling, confounding tale of the overdue coming of age of a twenty-something misfit named Barlam. Barlam's awkward transition from boy to man is ... See full summary »
In the Alpine village of Tolzbad in the 1800s, the townsfolk talk quietly and restrain their movements lest they incur avalanches. This atmosphere lends itself to repressed emotions - shown... See full summary »
"Touring makes you crazy," Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this film came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the Mothers and the Royal Symphony Orchestra, is a tale of life on the road. The band members' main concerns are the search for groupies and the desire to get paid. Written by
George S. Davis
While Frank Zappa appears extensively in this film, either conducting the orchestra or playing his guitar, he neither sings nor speaks. See more »
Larry The Dwarf:
[to the viewers]
Hello there. When you go on tour with a musical group, it's possible any town could look seem this. Whether it's large or small, busy or nothing happening in it. The reason for this is quite simple. As a musician, if you consider the normal pattern of modern civilized life, it's on the outside of your own. He doesn't build things. He doesn't work regular hours like a decent, God-fearing citizen. And the life he leads in many ways seems useless and irrelevant to those who prefer ...
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The closing credits are super-imposed over a number of production-related documents, including sheet music, scripts, shooting directions, memos and expense reports. See more »
Frank Zappa was a genius, but its a shame his movies aren't on the level of his music
Frank Zappa was a genius, but its a shame his movies aren't on the level of his music. This is admittedly an innovative movie with some even groundbreaking techniques used. However, that doesn't mean its of much merit as entertainment. Its consistently strange throughout, which was the point. However, for every inspired moment of surrealism or absurdest humor, there's a sequence that just goes on for far too long. This is one unfortunately slowly paced film and not really the berserk cinematic head trip it should have been. I actually wish it had been taped on film instead of videotape. Fans will argue this adds a lot of the appeal, but it makes the whole affair look cheap and uneasy on the eyes. This isn't so much a coherent movie as an audio-visual assault. Unlike other head trips of the time such as "2001" or "El Topo", its difficult to become emerged in the film's surrealism, and it often comes across as being self-indulgent. Also, for a band known for its politics and intelligent world views, the film ultimately seems to have no point.
On the plus side, the music is great, especially if you're a Zappa fan. This is only recommended for die-hard fans of the Mothers however. I wish they could have made a concert film instead, as they were a truly amazing live band at the height of their powers. Additionally, the performances by Ringo Starr, Theodore Bikel, and Keith Moon are pretty funny and amusing to watch. And the film certainly achieves its goal, which is being weird. Unfortunately, its a wildly uneven work which becomes very tiresome towards the end. Worth watching for Zappa fans only. (5/10)
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