Sex and violence

The building itself was unassuming enough: a white-painted multipurpose community center with a small placard on the front outside wall reading “Rotary Club meets here every Monday at 12:15.” In a silent gravel parking lot, a door opened on flickering blue light.

Beyond the door, as the film credits ran, the audience stood in rapt attention, bursting into applause as various cast names passed across the screen. It was just another night in a David Lynch-esque version of the suburbs, with moshing teens, the crashing thunder of punk rock and the sale of a simulated snuff film.

Said simulated snuff film is the brainchild of 23-year-old local filmmaker Jonathan Morken, who celebrated the release of his Apprehensive Films compilation DVD, Heart Full of Napalm, last weekend at the Citrus Heights Community Clubhouse. The DVD features four films (three written by Morken and one by SN&R contributing writer Keith Lowell Jensen). They all are essentially no-budget films.

Morken’s work is a tribute to exploitation cinema. It’s heavy on the gore, sex and adult language, and light on any kind of depth (and I mean any kind of depth). “If people are still creeped out an hour afterward,” Morken commented just after his film Nwär was shown, “I feel really satisfied.”

There’s certainly a significant—if bizarre—market for films that push the envelope of both appropriateness and good taste (the most notable probably being the incredibly gruesome Japanese Guinea Pig series). It’s not particularly good art, but it certainly has the ability to rattle some cages. Perhaps that makes it good art after all?

The psychologist friend I dragged to the event chalked it all up to Sigmund Freud’s view that human beings have only two real motivations: sex and violence. However, Morken’s interests extend to punk rock, as well (although, based on his fascination with gore cinema, one might think black metal would be a better choice). “Horror and punk rock go hand in hand,” he commented.

Perhaps, but neither the Helper Monkeys nor the Secretions—the two bands that performed before and after the film screening—really make me think “horror.” What they do make me think of is great, tight punk rock, and that’s exactly what they delivered.

The 40 or so mostly teenage suburban punk-rock fans in attendance certainly seemed to agree. They even formed a small but enthusiastic mosh pit—one friendly enough, in fact, to let the ladies have some moshin’ fun as well. Too often, the pit is a brutal testosterone zone for boys only.

Find out more about Apprehensive Films at

Happy birthday wishes to bassist about town Gerry Pineda, who celebrated his 50th with a bevy of friends and fans last week at the Blue Lamp. Seventy and Mind X performed the mood music. Happy birthday, Gerry!