Monday 22 July 2024

‘Let Me Die A Monster’ vs. ‘Die, Monster, Die!’ in New BFI Blu-Ray Release

In the spring of 2023, Strange Attractor Journal 5 was launched with a big event at Camden Art Centre. The most recent edition in this anthology series, it contained the full text of an unrealised screenplay I had written with David McGillivray back in 1997. The movie was to be called Let Me Die a Monster, and the opportunity to present a staged reading from it in public was too good to miss. David and I selected a couple of representative scenes and recruited some performers to read the key parts. The performance was very well received by a capacity audience. The action of Let Me Die a Monster takes place in the dying brain of Hollywood actor Nick Adams, who took his own life through a drug overdose. Nick Adams had been friends with James Dean and Elvis Presley; and there were also rumours that he’d had an affair with at least one of them. Adams was also one of a small number of Hollywood actors in the 1960s who went to Japan to make monster movies. He had the unique distinction of appearing opposite Godzilla in the 1965 kaiju epic Monster Zero (AKA Invasion of Astro Monster). The premise of Let Me Die a Monster is that, while dying, Adams imagines he's filming one last monster movie in Japan and has hallucinatory flashbacks to his time with James Dean and Elvis Presley. There’s an alien invasion going on as well, but that’s another story for another time. Meanwhile the British Film Institute had been preparing a Blu-Ray release of another Nick Adams movie that had come out the same year as Monster Zero – the British-made Die, Monster Die! in which he headlines with Boris Karloff. 

Vic Pratt of the BFI wanted to know if David and I could re-stage one of the scenes we had presented at the Camden Art Centre launch event for inclusion as extra on the Blu-Ray of Die, Monster Die! We said we’d love to, and David quickly contacted Iain Stirland, who’d played Nick Adams in our reading, and Daryl Crick, who’d been our Elvis. After a couple of rehearsals, we were ready to film the scene, which we did in a secret location, more familiarly known to a select few as the kitchen in David’s house. Sarah Appleton worked and camera and the sound, Vic Pratt documented the whole thing, while I read the stage directions. David and I were filmed talking to-camera about Let Me Die a Monster and discussing Die, Monster Die! and the strange appeal of the Nick Adams story.

I am pleased to announce that the BFI Blu-Ray of Die, Monster Die! is now available for purchase, and you can find it right here. It is loaded with all sorts of extra goodies, and I feel very pleased and proud to find myself in such fabulous company. Die, Monster Die! makes the perfect companion to the script of Let Me Die A Monster as it appears in Strange Attractor 5, so consider your life incomplete without either of them. Available wherever you go to get your weird on. Thank you.

Pictured Above

Die, Monster Die! cover art for the BFI Blu-Ray release

Nick Adams (Iain Stirland) stops Elvis (Daryl Crick) from choking

KH during shooting

David McGillivray smiling wickedly

Sarah Appleton in action

David McGillivray holding a copy of Strange Attractor Journal 5 and KH with a vintage VHS of Die, Monster Die!

Tuesday 9 April 2024

The Howling Release Digital EP via The Tapeworm, Complete With Video


Just when you thought it was safe to back into the Spook House for the Late-Night Monster Show, The Howling return with our latest two-track EP. This digital release offers radical new takes on two tracks taken from our recent Wormhole album Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway


Track A is a video version of ‘The Skydivers’, The Howling’s deadpan exposition on a spectacularly lacklustre movie melodrama, backed by the throbbing of a customised street rod engine. Combining the original studio version of the track with visuals specially prepared for a recent live performance, ‘The Skydivers’ offers all the highs and lows of this moody soap opera in which people either fall in love or throw themselves out of planes. The Howling would like to acknowledge with grateful thanks the expert role played by our Executive Producer Lori E Allen in the final stages of preparing this video for release.


 Track B is a pounding live version of another track taken from The Howling’s Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway release. ‘The Picture of A Picture of Dorian Gray’ pays tribute to a 1970s Italian soft-core porn adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel. Using keywords scraped from the IMDB entry for the movie, The Howling reconstructs Wilde’s narrative as a fragmented sequence of plot points, themes and images. This recording was made in the teeth of severe technical problems at the Horse Hospital in London on 3 November 2023 and turned out to be greatly enhanced by them. This live version also includes a spoken-word introduction written by me for live performances of the piece but not featured on the album version.

‘The Skydivers’ video c/w ‘A Picture of the Picture of Dorian Gray’, live at the Horse Hospital is out now from The Tapeworm and can be found here


Described in The Wire as ‘the missing link between John Cage and Suicide’, The Howling is a collaborative project I started with sound artist Howlround devoted exclusively to their shared love of text, audiotape and trash.


We have presented work at Iklectic and the British Film Institute; and our track ‘David Gest, Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor’ was prominently featured in the Loewe SS24 catwalk show during Paris Fashion Week. We’re still not sure why.


The Howling – ‘The First Name in Excitement!’


Thursday 26 October 2023

The Howling Hits Paris Fashion Week in September – Spooks the Horse Hospital in November


Friday 29 September 2023 was the official release date for The Howling’s latest album Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway – brought to you on CD by Tapeworm subsidiary Wormhole


On the same day the fabulous house of Loewe unveiled their SS24 women’s wear collection as part of Paris Fashion Week. For reasons that still elude me, Loewe included in their runway show extracts from The Howling’s ‘David Gest, Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor’, which had been available since the start of September as a digital single release as a teaser for Incredible Night Creatures. The sight of so many models moving so elegantly to our work is one that will probably haunt me to my grave. If you want to share the experience, either check out the embedded video above or click here  – either way, it’s a moment to behold.


The track has long been a firm favourite at Howling performances; but Howlround and I had no idea its fame had extended quite that far. If you want to find out for yourself what Loewe got so excited about, The Howling are performing at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury on Friday 3 November, when our good friend Travis Elborough is hosting ‘Bonfire of the BASF’, a sonic séance. Also on the bill are the fabulous Ruth Beyer talking to Caroline Wise about her ectoplasmic photography and Kemper Norton, back from the deepest deeps. You can find details and book tickets by clicking here. Howlround and I will be performing material from Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway, including ‘David Gest Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor’. So come early, come clean...and do please dress correctly.


The Tapeworm and Through the Looking Glasses present…

‘Bonfire of the BASF’ as part of MEMOREX – an evening of misremembering at

The Horse Hospital, London WC1

Friday 3.11.23

Doors 19.00

Tickets £10.00 available from the Horse Hospital website


Friday 8 September 2023

New From The Howling: Incredible Night Creatures of The Midway!


Incredible Night Creatures of The Midway is the latest album from The Howling, the collaborative project that Howlround and I started back in 2019, inspired by our deep love of Text, Tape and Trash. Available on CD or as a digital download, Incredible Night Creatures of The Midway is intense collision of spoken word and analogue tape effects splattered across five tracks that provide the missing link between John Cage and Suicide. It’s the all-singing, all dancing follow-up to our debut album All Hail Mega Force, hailed by The Wire as a ‘mesmeric disorientation’ when released by Tapeworm in 2022.


Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway celebrates some of The Howling’s favourite exploitation movies. ‘Contents Warning’ pays tribute to the quantities of sex, horror and violence to be found in the genre as a whole, while ‘David Gest, Liza Minelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor’ is a Trash favourite from our live performances and is currently available as digital single. Each of the remaining three tracks is devoted to a specific movie dear to our hearts. ‘The Skydivers’ is a deadpan exposition of a spectacularly lacklustre 1960s soap opera set on a California airfield, backed by the throbbing of a customised street rod engine. ‘The Picture of A Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a pounding response to a 1970s Italian soft-core porn adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel. Finally, Howlround and I are joined by Beth Arzy of Jetstream Pony and composer/performer Ela Orleans for ‘Miss Frost Miss Leslie Miss Frost’, an exacting dismemberment of Miss Leslie’s Dolls, a creepy Florida-based slasher flick rumoured to have been produced with money smuggled out of Castro’s Cuba. We dare you to play it in the dark!


You can pre-order Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway direct from Tapeworm by clicking here. Copies will be shipped on September 29. Order it from Tapeworm, and you also get The Howling Wormzine as a downloadable PDF containing full versions of all the texts from the album. 


‘David Gest, Lisa Minnelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor’ is available right now as a digital single – find it simply by clicking here.




The Howling will be doing a special performance based on material from the album at Iklectik Lab on September 19 as part of Vox Interruptus. For more details of the event and to book tickets, click here. Copies of Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway will be available for purchase on the night.


The Howling – ‘The First Name in Excitement!’


Pictured above: Mind-bending artwork for the album, the digital single and The Howling Wormzine by the amazing Stefan Fahler.

Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway front cover

‘David Gest, Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth’ digital single 

Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway back cover 

Saturday 20 May 2023

Utopia, the 1964 New York World’s Fair and The Dialectics of Oblivion


To mark the launch of the recent release, Utopia or Oblivion (CN5) Constructive Music have created a website ‘which will serve as a focal point for a series of essays, articles, artists work and information resources that will be derived from the same broad remit offered to the musicians’ who have contributed to the project, inspired by the writings of R Buckminster Fuller.


Their website announcement continues:


‘Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment. Humanity is in a final exam as to whether or not it might qualify for continuance in the Universe.’ (Utopia Or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity R. Buckminster Fuller) Constructive are pleased to announce a compilation of work by 10 artists inspired by and in response to the work of R. Buckminster Fuller, specifically from the essays Utopia Or Oblivion first published in 1963.


In response to their request, I have written an essay on the theme on Utopia and the Dialectics of Oblivion, inspired by the 1964 New York World’s Fair. This global event, better known for the US corporations drawn to it rather the nation states it sought to represent, has always fascinated me. It opened the same year that Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man and McLuhan’s Understanding Media were published. It was also the year that Jonny Quest and Bewitched first appeared on American TV. ‘The Trip that’s Worth the Trip’ is a tribute to this unique moment in the history of progress. It is another in my series of occasional essays that take their structure directly from Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History’.  I follow the same numbering and divisions of his original text and retain all of the extracted quotes with which he begins and ends some of the sections. I also try and keep the relative length of each entry to approximately the same proportions as those used by Benjamin, even though the overall length of the text itself might vary. I first used this approach in the essay ‘On The Concept of History, Brexit, Covid and the Paradise of Sovereignty: A fable in eighteen parts with two addenda and seven supporting quotations’ - which you can find in its entirety here


You can find The Trip That’s Worth the Trip: Utopia – the Dialectics of Oblivion on the Constructive website by clicking here.  


The Constructive album release details are as follows: CN5 Various Artists Utopia or Oblivion 2023 LP / DL


Pictured above:

The Pop Up New York World’s Fair

The General Motors Futurama pavilion

Jonny Quest gets his jetpack

From the Bewitched opening animation sequence

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Let Me Die a Monster @ Camden Art Centre


To celebrate the publication of the long-awaited Strange Attractor Journal 5, my publishers hosted a special launch event at Camden Arts Centre on Thursday April 27, which included the staging of a couple of scenes from Let Me Die a Monster, an exploitation movie script I had cowritten with ‘the Truffaut of smut’ (BBC Radio 3) David McGillivray at the distant start of 1997.


The experience took me back nearly 25 years to the end of the previous century and the start of the new millennium. There were two things that struck me about this unique period. The first was a sense of looming catastrophe. It was a very apocalyptic time: one of mass suicides, technological terrors, potential alien invasions and the collapse of civilization itself. The message was in the mainstream media, out on the streets and in the air: everything must end. The second and more encouraging thing about this period was the sense of frivolity that went with the apocalyptic mood – if the whole thing was about to come crashing down, people’s attitude seemed to say, let’s at least have a party while it’s happening.


Living on the edge of a disaster that hadn’t happened yet produced a strange kind of gallows humour – and the screenplay that David McGillivray and I worked on together back in 1997 remains a good example of it. I have written a short account of how the project came about as a preface to the published version of the screenplay in Strange Attractor Journal 5 for those who wish to learn more. Perhaps a better introduction to the script might be to consider some of the forces driving it. At the time it seemed perfectly normal that the production company who had initially approached me and then later brought David and I together to write Let Me Die a Monster should be called Trash 2000 – it suited the times, or at least it suited how I understood those times. Trash 2000 had been making videos for Stereolab, Cornershop and Leftfield, which were using a lot of the imagery and attitudes that appealed to me, so when filmmaker Nick Abrahams approached me on behalf of Trash 2000 to ask if I had any ideas, I was ready.


So, did I have any ideas? Well, no – I didn’t. It was only after the initial meeting that I recalled that there was a story I was very interested in writing – and that was the one about the American movie actor Nick Adams. He was one of a small bunch of Hollywood stars, including Russ Tamblyn and Joseph Cotton, who had made monster movies for Toho films in Japan. At the time, I’d been a consultant for a BBC2 history of the horror movie, dealing specifically with the kaiju phenomenon in general and Godzilla in particular. Nick Adams had appeared in one extraordinary Godzilla movie, known in the West as Monster Zero AKA Invasion of Astro Monster


As far as I was concerned, Godzilla was the apocalypse incarnate. What made the Nick Adams connection so fascinating was not only that Adams died relatively young, overdosing on pills, but he had also been close friends with two other mythically self-destructive figures: Elvis Presley and James Dean. This connection was the starting point for Let Me Die a Monster. I developed a story that begins with Adams’ suicide – the pills producing a powerful hallucination in which Nick sees himself back in Tokyo making one last kaiju movie; but things are not going so well for him. His part keeps being rewritten, and he’s gradually being upstaged by a second American actor, who’s clearly after the starring role. Adams starts cracking up. The script for Let Me Die a Monster concerns itself with the flashbacks and fantasies unfolding in the dying actor’s brain.


For the Camden Art Centre reading David McGillivray selected two scenes and assembled a wonderful cast to interpret them. I am particularly indebted to him, Kamura Atusko, Iain Stirland, Daryl Crick and Henry Galvan for such an extraordinarily special event.


Pictured above:

Strange Attractor Journal 5

David McGillivray and KH posing for the camera

Stirland and Crick in character

The cast and the writers from right to left: Henry Galvan, Daryl Crick, Iain Stirland, Kamura Atsuko, David McGillivray and KH



Tuesday 28 March 2023

Strange Attractor Presents ‘At the Gates of Purgatory’ @ Iklectik April 5


On the evening of Wednesday April 5 at the fabulous Iklectik Lab I will be presenting an extended reading from my latest book Purgatory – The Trash Project Volume II. In the past I have always given short readings based on extracts from my work, but increasingly I have had members of the audience coming up to me afterwards saying that they would have liked to hear a little more. So, I thought I would give them a lot more. 


You can find more details and book tickers by clicking here.


At The Gates of Purgatory is a special ‘live audiobook’ adaptation featuring support from Lori E Allen, Martin McCarrick, Mark Pilkington and Howlround, incorporating voice, cello, electronics and tape loops. I have worked with each of these wonderful performers individually in the past; but this is the first time I’ve collaborated with all four of them at the same time. Expect a long deep dive into digitally looped cello, shimmering electronics and raw analogue tape effects. This is going to be a unique spoken-word experience.


The Trash Project is a three-part work modelled upon Dante’s Divine ComedyInferno, the first volume, deals with US underground and exploitation movies made during the 1960s, while Purgatory examines how nineteenth-century European attitudes towards Beauty and Sin, Art and Morality continue to influence the way we think about Trash today. The first nine essays of Purgatory correspond directly to Dante’s account of the journey made by the dead to reach the gate to Mount Purgatory, where they will eventually atone for their sins. This may be a long reading for me, but it’s going to get very weird very quickly.


In the second part of his Divine Comedy, Dante describes the souls of the dead arriving on the shore of Purgatory, a mountainous island in the middle of an empty sea. The dead must then journey upwards on a steady incline past many perils until they reach a gate set in a wall. Once beyond this gate they begin the long and painful climb up the terraces of Mount Purgatory, shedding their sins as they go, until they reach the Earthly Paradise at the summit.


Over the course of At the Gates of Purgatory, horror and violence, corruption and desire become inextricably entwined as we travel from the pleasures of the Palace of Art during the day to the terrors of the Wax Museum at night. Along the way we meet Anthony Hancock and Dorian Gray, Lola Montez and King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Daphne and Apollo, Aphrodite and Medusa. 


NOTE: At the Gates of Purgatory is a continuous performance without any breaks or intermissions. You are welcome to come and go as the mood takes you, listen to as much or as little as you wish, but please be mindful of the other audience members when entering or exiting the hall. 


My sincere thanks are due to Lori E Allen, Martin McCarrick, Mark Pilkington, Howlround, Lucie Štěpánková and Isa Ferri for their unstinting support of this project.


Strange Attractor Presents At the Gates of Purgatory

At Iklectik

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Doors: 7.30pm 

Start 8.00pm


Pictured above

KH (photo by Rachel Hollings)

Lori E Allen 

Martin McCarrick (photo by Nelle Strange)

Mark Pilkington (photo by Rachel Hollings)


Purgatory (cover by Tihana Sare)