Battle Royale

Taboo to mainstream.

What a long, strange trip for this tale of Japanese schoolkids forced to fight to the death on a far-flung island.

The final film from a 40-year career for director Kinji Fukasaku, it predates The Hunger Games novels by almost a decade, and originally could only be seen on often-fuzzy bootleg tapes.

Nowadays, I can just fire up my Roku and find this ripe slice of the ol’ ultraviolence on any of a hundred streaming channels.

Either way, it was, and is, a punch to the gut in a way no PG-13 blockbuster ripoff/homage can ever be.

Sound & Fury

It’s something, that’s for sure.

This mix of Sturgill Simpson music and blood-soaked anime isn’t for everyone, but those who like it, will REALLY like it.

A country music twanger who strolled into straight-up rock, one of the few true rebels in modern-day Nashville lets his freak flag fly high.

Each track on the album comes accompanied by eye-popping (and often head-popping) animation, all different in style, with each one very loosely connected to what came before.

Purple death clouds swirl, Buddhist monks die in hyperviolent ways, and somewhere David Allen Coe nods his head and mumbles, “My dude!”