HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Baby Snakes Not NormalBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Frank Zappa
Stars: Frank Zappa, Adrian Belew, Terry Bozzio, Roy Estrada, Patrick O'Hearn, Ed Mann, Peter Wolf, Bruce Bickford
Genre: Documentary, Animated, Music
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In New York City, during Halloween 1977, band leader Frank Zappa had one of his sold-out concerts filmed for a movie he planned to put together in the vein of his previous midnight movie hit, 200 Motels. Unfortunately he couldn't find a distributor for his finished work and he even went as far as cutting the two-and-three-quarters hours film down to ninety minutes, but eventually the full length version was released which, just like its predecessor, was a midnight movie hit.

Guitar heroes don't get much cultier than Zappa, and his intricate, sardonic, self-indulgent brand of rock finds a perfect outlet here. As obsessive about the music as his fans were, Baby Snakes is as much a tribute to them as it is to his hard work and the dedication of his band. Moving between the poles of seeming as if the music will break down into a shambles at any moment and being as tightly performed as it's possible to be, the film shows Zappa at somewhere near his late seventies best, but is he preaching to the converted here?

Why, yes - yes he is! The film alternates between backstage footage, recording studio performances and the live concert itself, and the backstage stuff is the most disposable, featuring as it does the band messing about and playing up to the camera. Zappa doesn't take much part in these episodes, perhaps adding to his mystique, perhaps busy behind the scenes. Onstage, his speeches between the songs make the film come across like a political rally, where he outlines God's three biggest mistakes (men, women and poodles if you're interested) among other things.

But what adds to the cult of Baby Snakes isn't entirely up to Zappa's involvement. This is the animation of Bruce Bickford, and it resembles Nick Park's nightmares after he's partaken of too much Wensleydale, with insanely detailed clay animation of constantly adapting and transforming shapes. If you don't particularly like the music, these sequences will be the highlights, and Bickford is also interviewed by Zappa, where he is notably unilluminating about explaining his efforts ("disco out-freakage"?!). Sometimes sexual, sometimes horrific, the end result is always incredible.

Alas, there's too little of it, but I suppose something like that should always leave you wanting more. Meanwhile the music continues in its proggy, jazzy, metally way with its blend of jokiness taking itself very seriously - it's great to see the joyous reaction of the crowd. A handful of those attending are invited onstage for audience particpation, which turns out to be Zappa encouraging a few females to whip a male, but it's Zappa and his band who remain the stars of the show. If you're not sure about his music, then perhaps his films and are not the place to dive straight in, but Baby Snakes is rarely boring and you should see the longer version. Any fans will already love it.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6262 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: