Bad Blood

I’m not a violent person, but I really wanted to stab Wallace Cochran in the trachea with a ballpoint pen.

Cochran had never done me wrong. In fact, I was quite taken with the warbling folk music he performs with Drakkar Sauna, less for its endearing old-timey aura than for inspired song titles such as “Very Much Alone Part 4: O’, Fuck. I’m Fucked. Fuck.”

But then he went and made The Blood Feud.

It’s a movie. Allegedly. A movie that had its world premiere last week at Liberty Hall in front of a sizable audience, each of whom offered $5 and a piece of his or her soul as admission.

The story behind the film was charming enough. Cochran and a cadre of friends ventured to Pittsburgh in 2002 to turn a screenplay he had written into cinematic triumph. The cast was culled from bands (including Vular, Disabled Lovers and Civil War 2) that, along with Drakkar Sauna, contributed to the soundtrack.

It took three years of “expectation, anxiety and excitement” (according to a press release) before The Blood Feud was released by Clarvoe Pictures, an organization with the motto “obscurum per obscurious,” which I’m pretty sure translates to “We don’t have any fucking idea what is going on with this movie, either.”

Let’s play the Feud:

The plot — as near as I could determine — revolves around a sordid underworld where bearded men wear women’s underwear and sell kidney biopsies, femoral arteries and other “medical collectibles” on the black market. Throw in an Auschwitz gag, a few body bags and some gratuitous flopping-cock nudity and … that’s a wrap.

Survey says: Bah?

It was bad. So bad that I wanted to hurt Cochran for making it and myself for sitting through all 75 minutes. That’s time I will never get back. Luckily, there was the soundtrack. Twangy bluegrass doesn’t exactly complement a film purported to be about “rules and their uses, depression and its dreams, disease and its causes,” but at least it was salvageable. The post-screening musical performances exhibited as much.

“I’m sorry you guys had to see that,” Skip Haswell (who stars in the film as Napoleon Lajone and plays in Vular), told the audience.

Me, too, Skip. Me, too.

But it wasn’t a total loss. It was this movie that joined Cochran with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Stolz (who plays pipe-smoking, bath-taking Everitt Kelly, an AWOL soldier peddling Auschwitz mementos) to form Drakkar Sauna.

“The greatest thing to come out of The Blood Feud was Drakkar Sauna,” Haswell said. “It was during this movie that the band formed in the back alleys of Pittsburgh.”

For that alone, Cochran, I forgive you.

Categories: Music