Spidarlings (2016) Review

rsz_spidarlingsv2SPIDARLINGS (2016)

Starring Sophia Disgrace, Rahel Kapsaski, Lee Mark Jones and Rusty Goffe

Written and Directed by Salem Kapsaski

Available NOW online at – http://watch.troma.com/

Poverty stricken lovers Eden and Matilda have enough trouble just getting through the days. Their Landlord is trying to terrorize them and strange things seem to be going on at “Juicy Girls”, the place where Matilda works… but when Eden buys a pet spider the real troubles start.”

Despite a myriad of technical issues, Spidarling’s is a pretty endearing piece of trash cinema, and it’s easy to see why it was picked up by Troma.

Opening with a funk-tastic animated title sequence that’s accompanied by a quite polished punk song, Spidarling’s immerses you unapologetically in the lives of skint couple Eden and Matilda, lovers who are the definition of punk. Their tiny flat and style screams “I don’t give a fuck and I don’t give a fuck if you give a fuck that I don’t give a fuck” but a lot of this is blamed on their lack of income. Eden is smart but lazy and doesn’t work, and Matilda appears to just lounge around the burlesque club Juicy Girls. Bored, fed up, behind on their rent and without a clue what to do. Enter, a spider!

For what will be a penny budget Spidarlings doesn’t lack ambition. While technical issues are rife, the experimentation is great to see. Lots of inventive animation and sudden disorienting edits, as well as ransom cutting to songs all really sell the attitude and world of the characters.

rsz_sd1However, Spidarlings falls into a lot of traps that show a lack of experience. Whether down to a choppy colour grade or lack of equipment, the film looks as if it were shot on a consumer camcorder from the nineties. It misses a lot of visual detail and just looks jarring. Also the sound was flimsy. Eden seems dubbed in post while Matilda is often inaudible, and many of the musical sequences are either too loud or too quiet.

But then again, this all adds to the DIY, trashy John Waters micro-budget transgressiveness of it all. You don’t feel like you’re dealing with a safe group of filmmakers, which is great. And it’s two hour runtime manages to flirt from body horror, domestic melodrama, black comedy, slasher and musical as if it’s on shuffle. Each situation however shares a common theme, and that is the strong undercurrent of feminism. Every bloke around the lovers is either a pervert, greedy fucker and often much worse. Some of it doesn’t always hit the spot but that’s the risk of throwing the kitchen sink in there.

The performances are eager and veer from OTT, to delightfully strange, or almost zombie-like and it all adds to the kaleidoscope of tones. Disgrace and Kapsaski hold the thing together and are a surprisingly sweet couple. Along with the engaging leads and diverse supporting cast are the the tunes, and again while the recording and editing holds them back, they are still surprisingly catchy and may just stick in your head for better or worse!

rsz_sd2With gallows black humour and a story that throws the rules out the window, Spidarlings won’t be for everyone. And it can’t be denied that at two hours it’s way too bloody long. But for fans of John Waters, Troma and underground cinema you could do a lot worse. One thing is undeniable, the feminist blood runs strong through this with, viscerally and unapologetically.

Is this a good film? I’m not sure it’s trying to be. But it’s an experience.

6/10

Salem Kapsaski’s punk rock musical Spidarlings, World Premiere on Troma Now July 1st!!

rsz_spidarlingsv2Greetings from Tromaville!

Troma Entertainment, the longest running truly independent film company in American history, is proud to announce the acquisition of Salem Kapsaski’s punk rock musical Spidarlings, World Premiere on Troma Now July 1st, it was announced today by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and creator of The Toxic Avenger.

“Arachny in the UK” Spidarlings premieres on Troma Now July 1st

Poverty stricken lovers Eden and Matilda have enough trouble just getting through the days…Their Landlord is trying to terrorize them and strange things seem to be going on at “Juicy Girls”, the place where Matilda works…but when Eden buys a pet spider the real troubles start.

While creating Spidarlings, Director Salem Kapsaski drew inspiration from his own real life experiences with financial struggles, a ruthless landlord, and relentless threats to his family from an unstable individual. These real life experiences mixed with influences from John Waters, I Love Lucy, Lloyd Kaufman, Peanuts cartoons and an amazing musical score by Jeff Kristian are what makes Spidarlings a totally original, remarkable independent film.

Spidarlings will premiere on Troma Now, Troma Entertainment’s exclusive content streaming service, July 1st!

Nazi Sniper by Salem Kapsaski – Book Review

nazisniperNAZI SNIPER by SALEM KAPSASKI – Book Review

Set in West Germany during the run up to the Munich Olympics in 1972, Nazi Sniper tells the story of Ludwig Krantz, a Nazi war criminal carrying out a campaign of brutal attacks against the migrant workers he perceives to be destroying his country. With his eyesight failing Krantz is becoming increasingly dependent on his son Joseph to continue his violent cause. However following a lifetime of physical and mental bullying at the hands of his father Joseph is himself deeply troubled. As Krantz and his son descend ever deeper into darkness and violence they are pursued by a Jewish police kommissar Joachim “The Eagle” Adler.

Nazi Sniper is the debut novella from writer and film director Salem Kapsaski and is told from the three very different perspectives of Krantz, Joseph and Adler. The main characters develop well as the story progresses with exposition and back stories interspersed with the action in a way that doesn’t detract from the flow of the narrative. Kapsaski has clearly done his research with historical detail adding depth to the protagonists.

Given the nature of its subject it will come as no surprise that Nazi Sniper is at times disturbing and violent however Kapsaski’s prose in no way glamorises the violence. Kapsaski’s background as a film maker shows with good pacing throughout the novella to keep the reader turning the pages. One of the many strengths of the writing is Kapsaski’s success at creating a different voice for Krantz, Joseph and Alder as their storylines converge towards the violent denouement of the story.

nazisniper1Nazi Sniper is not without its flaws. The novella is published by Sleazy Viking Press who state on their website that they do not edit any material before publishing. This is unfortunate as Nazi Sniper would benefit from proof reading to remove the errors in the text which can jar and jolt the reader out of the story. In addition at times the writing style is a little clichéd and overly long, something with which a judicious editor could have helped. Kapsaski has promise as a writer and hopefully his next book will be picked up by a publisher who can offer guidance to polish his skills further.

With the violence and exploration of fascist ideologies Nazi Sniper is not a book for everyone. At times the novella is a challenging read, especially during the sections which explore the darkness of Krantz’s abhorrent views, but so it should be. Although set in 1972 there are striking similarities with the views expressed by Krantz and the rise of right wing groups across Europe in response to terrorism and the Syrian refugee crisis which gives Nazi Sniper even more resonance.

Score: 6/10

Amazon paperback edition:
http://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Sniper-Salem-Kapsaski/dp/1517429374/

Amazon kindle edition:
http://www.amazon.com/NAZI-SNIPER-Salem-Kapsaski-ebook/dp/B0150I4F9I/

Sleazy Viking Press:
https://sleazyvikingpress.wordpress.com/authors/