Dan Sartain’s Film Jukebox

Dan Sartain

Raising hell with his visceral rock’n’roll, Alabama-born Dan Sartain brings his Southern rockabilly-mariachi-blues to rapturous audiences around the world via his thrilling live shows and records, including the fantastic Join Dan Sartain. He loves films nearly as much as he loves music and has chosen 10 movies that appeal to both his ‘artsy’ side and his ‘common idiot’ side. His new record Legacy of Hospitality, a collection of alternate versions, outtakes and unheard tracks, is out on April 25 on One Little Indian. On the same date, he will also release a DVD, Dan Sartain Lives: The Motion Picture. See him on tour in the UK in April (25: London Buffalo Bar, 26: Bristol Thekla, 27: Cork Crane Lane Theatre, 28: Belfast McHughs, 29: Dublin Button Factory, 30: Manchester: Deaf Institute) and May (01: Glasgow Captains Rest, 02: Newcastle The Cluny, 04: Leeds Brudenell Club). For more details visit Dan Sartain’s website. LUCY HURST

1. Evil Dead II (1987)
This is a damn near-perfect film in my opinion. Evil Dead II is perhaps the only sequel that truly is better than the original in every way. Bruce Campbell is my fave-o-rite actor of all time, and this is the best performance of his career. Ash is the greatest horror villain to ever bless the medium of film. To quote David Cross, there seems to be a fog of ‘anti-intellectual pride’ sweeping the world at the moment. Those who like ‘popcorn movies’ tend to argue that they don’t want their entertainment to be challenging in any way and can simply enjoy a dumb movie for being a dumb movie. I don’t agree, I think that’s dumb. Evil Dead II bridges the gap. This movie can quench the thirst of the intellectually void as well the ‘artsy-fartsy’ crowd with one swoop of a motherfucking chainsaw hand!!

2. Rocky (1976)
I know the mention of Stallone puts a bad taste in some people’s mouths and I understand why. Judge Dredd (1995) and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) are unforgivable, but don’t forget Stallone was in Lords of Flatbush (1974) and Deathrace 2000 (1975), which were killer movies. They don’t excuse some of the bad stuff but don’t count the guy out altogether. Rocky is great. If you have never seen Rocky, you should.

3. Re-Animator (1985)
This film has every right to be number 1 on the list, and if it were another day it probably would be. All the nice stuff I had to say about Evil Dead II applies to this film as well. Jeffrey Combs is a talented actor and Barbara Crampton in her role as Megan Halsey is probably the best ‘scream queen’ performance I can think of. Just like Evil Dead II, this film pleases my ‘artsy’ side as well as my ‘common idiot’ side. I might also add that the film From Beyond (1986), which consists largely of the same cast as Re-animator, is also great. It has the same director, and is also based on an H.P. Lovecraft story.

4. Christine (1983)
This film seems to grip people who feel emotional attachments to inanimate objects. It also is a favourite among particular motor-heads I know. Christine is a classic ‘boy loves car, car kills people’ story. When I first found love for this movie I was roughly the same age as the main character(s) and also had an affection for things from the 1950s (objects, not ideals). The main character (Arnie) nurses a sick antique car (a 1958 Plymouth sport Fury) back to health with love. I found out the hard way that it takes more than love to bring a dead car back to life. I thought I could bring back my 1962 AMC Rambler Classic with a little TLC. It gave me a cracked block in return. The movie is still great though (even if it did mislead my idealistic teenage mind). The scene where Buddy and his goons destroy a fully restored ’58 Plymouth is gut-wrenching no matter how many times I see it. It’s almost as fucked up as when they hack a monkey’s face off and dismember a huge turtle in Cannibal Holocaust. I say almost ‘cus monkeys and turtles feel pain.

5. East of Eden (1955)
This is my fave-o-rite James Dean film, and I like all of James Dean’s films.

6. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
I don’t really like cowboy movies, but there is NO BETTER shoot ’em up than Fistful of Dollars. The music, the acting, the cinematography are all great. It’s another one of those ‘half meat-head/half artsy-fartsy’ films I like. I don’t really like guns (or people who carry them), but in the realm of fantasy they get a big OK in my book. In all fairness I can’t call this movie a ‘stoner movie’, but it is flat out the best movie to watch stoned. Oddly enough, when I watch a ‘stoner’ movie I want to kill people, but when I watch an action movie I want to be stoned. Ass-backward, ain’t it?

7. Do the Right Thing (1989)
This movie holds up where a lot of films from this time don’t. Boyz n the Hood doesn’t seem as edgy as it did way back, but Do the Right Thing has never lost its impact. An awesome soundtrack provided by an in-their-prime Public Enemy never hurt anything either.

8. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Why do people prefer The Wrath of Khan (1982) to this? Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a technological psychedelic masterpiece. Nemoy and Shatner are both in great form, and the whole V’Ger thing makes for great storytelling like only Star Trek can provide. I find Star Wars to be quite shallow entertainment, but Star Trek, on the other hand, is something I can get into. The Motion Picture is the best film of the Star Trek series hands down. It’s also another great non-stoner/stoner film (like Fistful of Dollars).

9. The Elephant Man (1980)
I like a great deal of David Lynch’s work, but sometimes the guy is too fucking abstract for his or the audience’s good (see Inland Empire). Such is not the case with The Elephant Man. The message of the film is simple, and beautiful. This movie should be required viewing at grade schools. Even though the movie is factually wrong in many instances, there is still much value to be gained from it. The Elephant Man is Lynch’s best.

10. A Nightmare on Elm Street II: Freddy’s Revenge (1986)
This film is so fucking underrated it’s ridiculous. Freddy’s Revenge is hated among most fans of the Nightmare on Elm St series. However, in actuality (my opinion has officially become fact) it’s the only one out of the series that is actually worth a shit. The main character, Jessie, is an ‘in-the-closet’ homosexual boy. Freddy is supposed to represent the boy’s ‘inner struggle’ with his own sexuality. The fact that all of this is implied rather than addressed outright makes this film all the more genius. With the kind of audience that the Elm St films draw, and the year being 1986, this kind of subject matter under normal circumstances wouldn’t be discussed in a movie like this.