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Music Video Distributors presents
"My mind is a machine gun, my body the bullets. The audience is the target."
DVD ReviewRock 'n' roll has always been full of characters who have "pushed the envelope" in an attempt to make a name for themselves. Weird clothes, crazy lyrics, bizarre stage shows are the required stock elements that build that all important "image" that ultimately defines what they stand for. Too many acts adopt glaringly phony personas in a feeble stab at being unique, and somehow come across as nothing more than weak marketing maneuvers. True rock legends, the kind where larger-than-life image and reality are one in the same, are like shooting stars, and tend to burn white hot briefly before disappearing; such is the case of GG Allin and The Murder Junkies. In early 1993 NYU film school student Todd Phillips put together this fascinating documentary of Allin and his band, who came very close to tragic self-parody in their attempt at redefining rock 'n' roll. The ultimate anti-climactic irony in this film is that Allin died in July of 1993 of a drug overdose, and that makes this even more Spinal Tap-like. Allin's band, musically, was nothing more than one of the many two-chord hardcore groups that screamed racist, sexist and violence-fueled lyrics during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their songs had titles like F*** Authority, Suck My A** It Smells, I Want To Kill You, and I Kill Everything I F*** (The AIDS Song), and were less songs than they were explosive diatribes. It was Allin himself, however, who elevated the band out of the gutters briefly, with his shocking stage presence. A bald, tattooed giant, Allin would perform nude and was not shy about punching and kicking audience members, and his habit taking a bowel movement on stage and flinging his excrement into the crowd made him startlingly newsworthy, all of which is faithfully captured here by Phillips. Attending, and surviving unscathed, a GG Allin and The Murder Junkies concert was tantamount to the ultimate dare. Add to that Allin's fervent desire to die onstage, and that made each show the equivalent of a round of Russian Roulette.In between concert footage, Phillips features interviews with Allin, his brother (and band mate) Merle, Dino (The Murder Junkies naked drummer), as well as former teachers, acquaintances and fans. The end result is a funny, disturbing documentary, running a brief 50 minutes, that culminates with the death of Allin, which is covered during a post-credit sequence. GG Allin didn't just live a phony lifestyle on stage; he lived it 24/7. He was a violent, hate-filled addict who used rock music not to channel aggression, but to spread it. Todd Phillips raw, unflinching documentary can easily stand along side other solid rock docs like The Filth And The Fury, even if the subject matter is unpleasant and vile.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-
Image Transfer Review: Music Video Distributors has released Hated: GG Allin And The Murder Junkies in 1.33:1 full-frame. Much of the footage has some grain, especially the concert sequences, though the interviews fare a little better. Colors are a bit muted, but overall the image quality is good. The imperfections do not detract from the viewing experience at all. This is the dirty white underbelly of rock, and the image transfer reflects that.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The audio track is a simple 2.0 stereo mix that has minimal hiss, and remains clear throughout. This isn't the type of film that requires a high-fidelity audio transfer to succeed, and the decidely low-key track works well here.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 13 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: Here's a case where the extras are as bizarrely appealing and entertaining as the feature. The 60-minute GG Allin Live At The Gas Station, which actually runs longer than the feature, captures his final concert, shot July 27, 1993 (the night he died). Aside from a frenetic, and brief performance, the bulk of this follows Allin and his band wandering the streets of New York, being followed by a small, but vocal groups of fans. Allin's constant demands to "get high" turn this into the video equivalent of a traffic accident, and it is hard to stop watching, especially knowing Allin is shown on his way to the drug overdose that would kill him. In addition to the standard chapter stops, the disc also allows the viewer to select any of the 13 GG Allin songs, or proceed directly to interview segments. A theatrical trailer is also included.
Extras Grade: A-
Final CommentsThis is rock 'n' roll excess, and it ain't pretty. Allin was no tough guy poseur, he was the real deal and this Todd Phillips' comically dark documentary succinctly captures one of rock's truly weird chapters, warts and all. Recommended.
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