by Ignacio Orellana-Garcia


Live Freaky, Die Freaky Written and Directed by John Roeker, With V/O by Billy Joe Armstrong, Theo Kogan, Asia Argento, Tim Armstrong, Travis Barker, Tre Cool, Mike Dirnt, John Doe, Lars Fredericksen, Davey Havok, Benji and Joel Madden, and Jane Weidlin. Written and Directed by John Roecker Produced by Tim Armstrong. 2 hours. Produced by Hellcat Films, Distributed by Wellspring Films.

A year ago February the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco took on the premiere of a new movie that was already gaining some infamy and notoriety. In the words of critics this movie was  “truly tasteless filmmaking”, “morally irresponsible”, “destined to become a cult classic,” you get the picture. These kinds of statements can swing the success of whatever they’re criticising either way. In this case I hope that they put it onto a “banned” list so that interest in it can be peaked in as many people as possible. In the words of writer, director John Roecker his goal was “art terrorism”. Hopefully it’ll inspire more like it.

A lonesome homeless man, in the future, finds an ancient copy of Helter Skelter opens it up and is taken away on a hallucinatory recreation of the 1969 Tate-Labianca murders. The story is told in flashback by Susan Atkins’ (Hadie) through a voice over by the Lunachicks’ Theo Kogan, where we find her in an asylum locked up. During a bad acid trip, Manson (v.o. by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong) sneaks into her room where we’re treated to some of the best Claymation/Porn ever. They meet up with the other members of the family, go dumpster diving, listen to The White Album, I presume, since few things in the movie are actually referred to directly, and decide that the songs are telling them to go out and “kill the pigs”. Which they do.

Everyone in Tate’s inner circle is portrayed as a bunch of avaricious, compulsive, perverts. The character of Jay Sebring, the doomed jetsetty hairdresser/ friend of the Polanskis (v.o. by John Doe) is in this movie a little clay horndog with a mouth constanly spewing dick jokes and other sexual vulgarities. The Tate party sprawl in her living room, do a bunch of coke, try to fuck eachother (Sebring doesn’t get turned on much ‘cause he’s not into girls) and end up too jacked up to notice that they’re being murdered by a bunch of 21 year old hippy kids. The characters don’t slowly develop within the story either, these characters enter the story swinging, and nasty as hell from the get-go. Why can’t it be said that this portrayal is disrespectful? Because it’s light. It doesn’t even try to be accurate, humanitarian, or academic. But what you do get is this feeling that the characters are being used metaphorically to make some ambitious statement about our political climate.

And the statement could be that religious ideologies have been, and still are used and twisted to suit everyone’s personal agenda. It’s a big middle finger to the religious right and moral majority, and to all the Jimmy Swaggerts, Gary Harts, and Pat Robertsons out there.

All other voice-overs are done by a lineup of Roeckers friends that, put together, form a mini history of L.A. punk. The movie was actually produced by an old friend of Roecker’s, Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong and was the first production of his newly formed Hellcat Films.  Beautifully animated by a small team of Roecker and Jim Starace, a New York based animater, the movie is technically attractive, it’s colors and textures pretty as hell, and overall has a charming, homespun quality to it. The whole thing is crafted in a way that brings out the creepy sensibilities of 70’s childrens puppet shows like Davey and Goliath, and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and puts it into an orgiastic, violent landscape. Yet the movie maintains itself compelling enough to keep you watching it for more. Why do you want more? It’s entertaining, funny as all hell and not some gratuitious “message movie”. As someone that works in comedy I’d have to say that things don’t get this funny without a lot of work, a lot of attention to detail and a lot of research. Live Freaky, Die Freaky delivers on all of these, and makes no apologies for the outcome.



Back to Movie Reviews
1 1