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December 15, 2005


Disc of the week at the Montreal Mirror December 8, 2005! CD #1: Extremely rare demo of Devices member Rob Labelle's first punk band circa 1977 THE NORMALS never before released on CD. CD #2: Extremely rare demo of Devices member Rick Trembles' first punk band circa 1978 THE ELECTRIC VOMIT never before released on CD. CD #3: Rare demos, & live tracks, of the first incarnation of THE AMERICAN DEVICES in 1980 called THE D-VICES never before released on CD. CD #4: Rare AMERICAN DEVICES demos, live tracks, vinyl releases, cassette releases, all never before released on CD covering 1980 to 1990. CD #5: Rare AMERICAN DEVICES demos, live tracks, vinyl releases, cassette releases, all never before released on CD (except for the song Decensortized which was limited-released on an early nineties compilation CD) covering 1990 to 2005. Each set comes with a 12-page lyrics booklet (cover illustrated by cartoonist Bernie Mireault), two surprise plastic toys per container, & wrapped in a box individually hand-stamped with the official Devices logo. 59 big songs total for only 25 dollars! For purchasing & postal info please contact

December 1, 2005


Well, what do you know. We made it on the cover of this week's Hour. Rick Trembles' musical group The American Devices are celebrating their 25th anniversary with the launch of a 5-CDR box set of everything they've ever been involved with musically since they started playing in various punk bands in the late seventies, including demos, live tracks, vinyl releases, cassette releases, all never before released on CD (except for the song Decensortized which was limited-released on an early nineties compilation CD). This launch will take place at the Casa Popolo 4873, St-Laurent, December 9th, 2005. Devices will be doing two full live sets comprised of as much material from their past as they can dig up. Opening for the Devices will be a special screening of an approximately 30-minute late seventies documentary film about Devices member Rob Labelle's first band The Normals & the early Montreal punk scene by Jean-Pierre Laurendeau. A rare original 16MM print will be screened thanks to the Cinematheque Quebecoise archives. Devices will be opening each set with one song from their first bands, set 1 will be I Wanna Be Considered a Nice Guy from Rob Labelle's The Normals, & set 2 will be Treasure Hunt from Rick Trembles' 70's punk band The Electric Vomit. Come one, come all damn it!

Here's a free classic Devices MP3 to entice you to come see us. It's called THE DRUGS WE TAKE & was recorded live in 1982 at Montreal's famed Foufounes Electriques BEFORE it was called Foufounes Electriques (it was called Zoobar) with Rob Labelle on guitar/vocals, Rick Trembles on 6-string bass, & Cups Von Helm on drums. Click HERE for instant download (2.59 MB) or to save onto your hard-drive right-click the link & choose “save target as”!


The drugs we take have made all my decisions Follow everything I do & say & act so blindly In the field where we were stationed Forever The drugs we take have made all your decisions Follow everything I do & say & act so blindly In the field where we were stationed The radio couldn't pick up any stations The drugs we take have made all my decisions Follow everything I do & say & act so blindly In the field where we were stationed Forever The drugs we take have made all our decisions I'm feeling so upset the days & nights I spend so blindly In the field where we were stationed The radio couldn't pick up any stations Around the corner is a banker with a motorcar The little children laugh at him behind his back And though it feels as if she's in a play She is anyway

(written by Rob Labelle)

September 29, 2005


Come see my band The American Devices live at Le Divan Orange this Friday September 30th (4234 St-Laurent) as part of the massive current Pop Montreal music festival that's going on right now. Click on the image at right for a larger sized version of our poster (the artwork is an actual self-portrait my father Jack Tremblay did of himself for fun a half a century ago). We're on second & it starts early so don't miss it! The rockin' lineup for the evening is Demon's Claws on first, then us at something like 7PM, then Crackpot, then CPC Gangbangs. Hey, but before you do go rock out like I know you will because you know that there's no better rockin' out than with the likes of us, how about nerdin' out to an interview I did with classic film legend Ray Harryhausen, the stop-motion animation special effects genius responsible for such monster movie masterpieces as Earth Versus the Flying Saucers & The Golden Voyage of Sinbad! Click here for the full interview at Offscreen with photos of me actually touching one of Ray Harryhausen's half a century old FX creatures. My fingers tingled for days afterwards, & I don't need to remind you that I use those very same fingers to play the guitar so maybe some of that Harryhausen magic will translate into my playing! I hope I sound just like the Allosaurus from One Million Years BC Friday night! Roooooar! Gnash! Gnash!

September 22, 2005

Brand new! Tune into MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY RADIO every Friday morning from 8:15 to 8:30 at CKUT 90.3 FM (imbedded in "The Morning After" show)! Or download it for free from the archives where they're stored for months at CKUT.CA (type in my time slot)! CLICK HERE FOR PROGRAM DETAILS!

Just like I used to do Motion Picture Purgatory movie reviews for The Montreal Mirror back in the "politically correct dark ages" of the eighties, I used to have a radio show at an early version of the McGill college station CKUT. And just as The Mirror finally gave me the boot for an explicit piece on XXX underground film star Lydia Lunch (they rehired me ten years later), so did CKUT, literally scissoring the tapes to shreds before my eyes in an attempt to clean it up.

But now I'm back! And I'm not alone. Every 15-minute radio episode will feature me & my "movie guru" Michael Will the walking/talking film encyclopedia (he hates it when I call him that) blabbing & arguing about whatever film-related topics cross our minds. I'll be concentrating mostly on the same films I write about in my Motion Picture Purgatory comic-strip reviews but there's plenty of room for spontaneity so you can be sure we'll be veering off topic once in a while to humorous effect. Or WILL we be veering off topic once in a while to humorous effect? Maybe we're gonna feel like veering off topic once in a while to NON-humorous effect. Even WE'RE not 100% sure. Because we're WACKY. Can you dig it?

Every episode will also include a groovy tune or two we think is relevant. It might even include a groovy tune or two we think is NOT relevant. Who knows? Anything goes! So check it out every Friday morning at 8:15 or download the shows from the CKUT 90.3 FM archives once a week, they're stored starting the day after each show & kept there for months. You can stream it or load it. DIG it!

FUCKBOOKS: OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE CINE-RAMA, Screw Magazine # 1,846, July 18, 2005 (New York City) by El Gato Manly (Full page article included a half-page reprint of the Motion Picture Purgatory review of SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY & an imbedded image of the book cover)

What are movies, after all, but words & pictures? Like a big comic? OK, they are moving pictures (the good ones anyway) & there's all that acting (although it's almost never any good), & the occasional flurry of music on the soundtrack, but when you come right down to it, there it is: words & pictures, just like a big comic.

So what better way to approach film criticism than an actual comic? In a superbly creative death blow to hacks like Peter Travers, the incomparable genius Rick Trembles has done just that in his weekly reviews, now collected into one swell volume, Motion Picture Purgatory.

Without offering actual tedious opinions on the quality (pedestrian concepts like "good" & "bad" seem to have flown out the window), Trembles obsessively scribbles & scrawls an eye-melting barrage of summaries & tongue-in-cheek vignettes lifted from the screen & efficiently mangled to fit on some of the most intensely crowded pages we've ever seen. The great man himself, Robert Crumb, has called Trembles "even more twisted & weird that me."

There are something like 160 of these "reviews" reprinted in M.P.P. & each one demands some serious work on the part of the reader to truly decipher just what the fuck is going on. As far as the "normal" rewards of "normal" film review ("Should I drop ten bucks & go see it?" "Two thumbs up"), forget about it. You've got be a serious movie fan to digest this stuff. Trembles certainly is.

August 18, 2005


Come see my band The American Devices live at The Main Hall this Saturday August 20th (5390 St-Laurent, 285-2611 ). We're on first but we'll wait until there's enough people to play. We're opening for Dead Messenger & Jerk Appeal. I was gonna post a boring photo of my band but instead here's a picture of our new friend Teddy the Raccoon. My girlfriend dubbed him Teddy cuz he looks like a teddy bear. He seems to wanna make a home for himself underneath the floorboards of the back balcony we share, but he's too fat. All you see here is his cute head, but when he squeezes out of the hole he's as big as 2 large cats! When he's scared & runs back into his hole it takes a while for him to worm his way back in so you see his butt jiggling & his hind legs wiggling before he pops under. Isabelle's been giving him nuts & catfood & since she seems to wanna adopt him I elected her the official caretaker of his turds cuz he's taken to doing his business on her side of the balcony. He's a smart cookie, he likes to poo-poo a healthy distance away from his bedroom. He walks up to us sometimes looking kinda curious but frightens easily. He thinks he's people with those amazing hands. I like Teddy but it makes me nervous walking by his hole at night cuz I never know where he is & I'm worried I might scare him if I corner him & he'll bite me. I don't wanna have to get rabies shots (apparently if raccoons have rabies they don't show any signs of it). So for Teddy the Raccoon's sake please come see The American Devices this Saturday. It'll make Teddy the Raccoon happy.

Wanna see my animated film Goopy Spasms this weekend? Well then head on over to Chicago right NOW because it's playing next Tuesday August 23 at 5:45 at the Chicago Underground Film Festival's "Emotional Rescue" screening of shorts. Let me know how it went!

August 11, 2005


Here's a picture of me showing Joe Coleman some internal organs after his show at Montreal's FanTasia film fest last month. A bunch of us went out for beers with him & he regaled us with hilarious stories about Manhattan's old 42nd Street (R.I.P.) back when he used to frequent the sideshows there.

August 4, 2005


I've been drawing Motion Picture Purgatory since the mid-eighties inspired by plenty of films over the years but my father Jack Tremblay preceded me by half a century when he used to draw his own comics for the neighborhood kids where he grew up in Verdun Montreal. Before he drew professionally for Wow Comics during World War Two, he'd sell his own handmade renditions of favorite scenes from B-Movie actioners he'd just seen. Here's one that survived based on The Return of Daniel Boone (1941). He originally “printed” them out individually on shabby newsprint by putting pencil shading all over a blank sheet to make homemade carbon paper & then he’d trace every copy onto multiple pages, bind them with string, & sell the issues around his block. I must have the only 2 copies left in existence. Click here to start the slideshow: The Fight

Recently, NYC cartoonist Michael Kupperman launched a brand new hilarious comic book Tales to Thrizzle & alerted me that one of his stories in it is directly influenced by this comic my father did which I showed him last year when he was visiting Montreal. I showed my father Michael's rendition & he was delighted & had a good chuckle.

July 28, 2005


I interviewed Ray Harryhausen a few weeks ago & when he got into town for some signings, my jaw dropped when he pulled out one of the actual skeleton animation models he used in both The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad & Jason & the Argonauts. I asked if by any chance I could bend one of its limbs & he graciously allowed me to. I went around for the next few days asking people if they'd like to touch my finger because I touched movie magic history & it felt all tingly! Pictured below left to right: Rick Trembles, skeleton, Ray Harryhausen. (Photo by Jerry Scott)

July 14, 2005


Wanna see my animated film God's Cocksuckers a.k.a. [Expletive Deleted] this weekend? Well then head on over to Montreal's FanTasia Film Festival right NOW & grab up some advance tickets to the Small Gauge Trauma screening because it's playing this Saturday as part of that compilation. I think they want me to introduce the film in person. The soundtrack to God's Cocksuckers was specially performed by members of 123go & my band The American Devices; chris burns, sam shalabi, marc montanchez, richard bird, rob labelle, paul lacerate, joellen housego, andré asselin, jackie gallant, corpusse (john ashton), & yours truly on "vocals"! Here's an MP3 of a Devices song I sing & play guitar on called "Party Pooper" to help entice you to come see my movie:

Click HERE for instant download (3.55 MB) or to save onto your hard-drive right-click the link & choose “save target as”!


Charm works better when you are unaware, So go and set yourself up a couple of secret dares... I'll take good care of boasting, About having not yet been proven wrong, That I'll be leader of what's happened, Only once it's been done and gone. Simplest things used to make me happy then you had to come and tell me so much more would be nothing new to you... Now I want you to be concerned without that consenting that we've earned no more apathy inducing cries for pity too ... Getting together with nothing to ask is trying to tell me what's not the answer why doesn't it make me do something new... Wasting away without the knowhow to capture what's recognized as a good escalator I never fucked anyone that feared me through and through. Big dare-devil on an escalator, I just took the stairs so I'll see you later.

(written by Rick Trembles)

July 7, 2005


Here's a free MP3 from my band American Devices to entice you to come see us live at The Barfly next Tuesday. Click HERE to download it (the file size is 2.78 MB, right click & select "save target as" to upload it into your computer for future listening). Lyrics below. We'll be sharing the bill with DJ "Hoodlum" plus another DJ guest/assistant of his. Hoodlum actually brings the turntable up on stage, I dunno if that means he's gonna be doing some kinda performance as well but from what he tells me he plays a lot of metal & old punk so it should be a blast. But it's not live music. We are the live music. Be there around 10:30. Admission will be dirt cheap. Click the poster above for clearer image describing info.


"I am a rock," says sixties songs & sick corporations, suck my rocks, everybody knows that's where life on earth came from. The slanting rays of the setting sun, reflecting down on our early lives you know, the slanting rays of the setting sun, casting doubt on American history. Sodomy & Gomorrah, I'm all right, looking back towards tomorrow, stay out all night. "I am a nation," no, no, nineteenth century navigation, suck my rocks, everybody knows that's where life on earth came from. I remember one time when I was skipping off school one day, British bulldogs in my way, and from then on I realized inanimate objects possessed all the life they needed to put out my lights. I am an insect, crawling through mirrors of scrapbook generations, suck my rocks, everybody knows that's where life on earth came from.

(written by Rob Labelle)

June 2, 2005


With all the hubbub over pro-lifeism versus "rabbit-catching" these days (I just learned that term reading Kitty Kelly's unauthorized Frank Sinatra biography "His Way;" Sinatra's mom used to perform illegal abortions to make extra scratch & that's what they called 'em turn of the last century), I thought I'd offer up a "rock video" exploring the same topic that my band The American Devices did back in 1984. It was shot using old-school super-8 Kodachrome film & the director (our then-drummer Cups Von Helm) edited the whole thing hunched over a hand-cranked viewer with endless sticky wads of splice-tape. He also played the nurse in the film, & singer Rob Labelle played the doctor. Needless to say, it never got to air ANYWHERE (tho it did make it into a festival or two in its original film format). Lyrics below...



A song singing this moment dismantled before it happens, me given one chance before Nosferatu's door opens & time always wins, scratching my face with bandaged fingers on eleventh-hour stubble, while elephant stories weigh down on my memory & I kneel with new demeanor, fill my trunk with sand balloons. What is the meaning of life? There is no solution; we're all tiny animals, living out their own conclusions! What is the meaning of life? There is no solution; we're all tiny animals, living in confusion!

(written by Rob Labelle & Rick Trembles)

April 14, 2005


Wanna see my animated film Goopy Spasms this weekend? Well then head on over to Philadelphia right NOW because it's playing this Thursday at 9:45 on April 14 at the Fourteenth Philadelphia Film Festival's "Not Your Saturday Morning Cartoon" screening of shorts. Program notes describe the collection of films as "a show for your inner child, but definitely NOT for kids! This fine group of adult titles from the most confrontational, lowbrow cartoon artists working today is guaranteed to get a rise from festival attendees. Sex, violence & political satire will spill from the screen in full-strength gooey glory. Sure to be one of the hottest nights of the season"! Let me know how it went!

April 7, 2005


Wanna see my animated film Goopy Spasms this weekend? Well then head on over to Boston right NOW because it's playing this Friday April 8 at 12 AM, & Saturday April 9 at 5 PM at the Boston Underground Film Festival's "Comedia Del Trauma" screenings of shorts! Program notes describe it as "narrated by the cartoonist & based on his renowned comic strip "How Did I Get So Anal," most certainly not for the prudish, squeamish or easily nauseated." Let me know how it went!

March 30, 2005


Me suck my own cock? In your dreams! Actually in MY dreams. Really. Scroll down the page to the bottom of this installment to read an excerpt from an autobiographical comic I did years ago (Sugar Diet #2) describing a disquieting wet dream I actually had about thrusting my own schlong in & out my pie-hole spurting streaming jets of hot cum down my gagging gullet! Slurp! Waste not, want not! But seriously, Robin Bougie's excellent latest issue of his gash & gore filled Cinema Sewer Magazine (pictured above with handsome Danny Hellman cover art) features a rave review of both my recent animated film Goopy Spasms (hopefully playing at a festival near you) & my Motion Picture Purgatory book.

The full page article includes two frame-grabs from the film showing me poking my own anus in x-ray-vision with the caption "interior & exterior shots of Rick fingering his bumhole" & a reprinted portion of my MPP review of Caligula illustrating the film's debauched buttfuck/fistfuck wedding ceremony. You can read all of Robin's comments transcribed below but first I just wanna clarify something. The only "fault" he claims to find with my comix is that I occasionally "suck my own cock" (meaning I'm in love with my own writing); "forfeiting readability" trying to impress how creatively I can string words together. Hold on a second. It's called satire! Listen, back in the 90's I went & got college in my knowledge (yes, I'm a university film grad) & one of the most important things I learned how to do was pad a goddamn research paper to up the requisite word-count by convoluting sentences that could've had the job done in one line to a whole paragraph! How do you think I ever made it outta that stinky think-tank?

So couple that with the fact that early on in MPP's history I was worried my hybrid brand of comic-strip film reviews might not fly for long at The Montreal Mirror (where they're published weekly in B&W) & I tended to overcompensate by getting as highbrow as I could in the text to balance out the lowbrowness of my doodles. Yin & yang, motherfucker! An experiment in parody. I developed what I thought was a healthy poke at serious film criticism, whose more stodgy proponents I'm sure wouldn't come near anything having remotely to do with comix with a ten-foot blackboard-pointer. I HAVE been backing off lately somewhat though, understanding I should give readers a break, the damn things are microscopic & text-heavy enough as it is. Not to mention my eyeballs are starting to go buggy drawing these things every week.

That said -Cinema Sewer does kick ass! And then licks it, slops KY all over it, & gently inserts three fingers! It's a crime that this Canadian zine can't be found anywhere in Montreal. Ask your favorite stores to stock it. Robin concentrates on obscure, hard-to-find grindhouse fare from XXX hardcore porn oddities to gut-busting gore-stravaganzas. He adds his own cum-drenched cartoon illustrations as commentary & even hand-letters all the text just like I do! One thing though Robin: you need a Spellchecker.

By the way, all you Snubdomizersters, don't miss classic sixties underground cartoonist Kim Deitch this weekend in person at Montreal's Blue Metropolis!

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF RICK TREMBLES, Cinema Sewer #16, February 2005 (Vancouver) by Robin Bougie

"Rick Trembles… He's a guy from Canada who will reveal the most disgusting, horrifying sexual fixations & perversions that I've ever seen in my life! I've never seen anything so disgusting!" -Robert Crumb (Comics Journal)

Montreal cartoonist Rick Trembles is a multitalented degenerate movie-obsessed perfectionist whose output revolves around trashy movie genres, masturbation, bodily secretions, analingus, & debauchery.

Trembles received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to complete the ambitious animation/live-action version of one of his autobio comix called "How Did I Get So Anal?" That short film is Goopy Spasms, & animator Bill Plymton has called it "the sickest film I've seen all year," so of course, I had to track it down & peep it for myself. This ended up happening at the amazing 2004 Cinemuerte Film Fest here in Vancouver.

Running just a scant 10 minutes, this open & hilarious view of the inner sexual workings of a cartoonists' mind (& butt) put a big fat smile on my face. The audience I saw it with alternated between totally grossed out & utterly enchanted, but I couldn't help but wonder what people were really thinking about Trembles as he laid his sex life & fantasies bare before their juicy, leering eyes. Were they turned on?

When asked about the reasons for making a comic & animated film dealing with such private sexual perversities, Rick admitted: "What instigated the strip were the incredibly satisfying waking fantasies I was having about pretty girls I knew squatting over my face in order to produce hot, healthy turds into my gaping mouth. I thought it was a curious & genuine enough impulse to investigate. I was sick of the glut of smug, weak, autobio comix being done by others."

Equally as entertaining, but far less concerned with Rick's personal turd-flavored cross-dressing demons is his new book Motion Picture Purgatory from FAB press. This 194-page black & white text-heavy hand-lettered tome is one of the single coolest movie-related books of 2004. I mean, this is the kind of fucking book I'd make if I was talented enough. The entire thing is a collection of one-page movie reviews in comic-book form. All created in Trembles' unique, intelligent, quirky style. The art is jagged & jarring (like pen & ink daggers cutting your genitals to ribbons) & Rick's choice of films to review, scenes, & dialog to depict, & his muted opinions on those films -are entertaining without question. This is the way all film reviewers should work.

If the comics therein have a fault, it would be that occasionally Rick sucks his own cock. He falls in love with his own writing to an extent that he sometimes forfeits readability during his quest to impress the reader with how creatively he can string words together. That said -I still have no problem recommending Trembles' book & work to Cinema Sewer readers & I really hope that Goopy Spasms finds its way to DVD soon.

March 17, 2005


Come see my band American Devices at Le Divan Orange (4234 St Laurent, corner of Rachel) Tuesday, March 22nd, in what Mandatory Moustache are calling "show number six" in their local band series. Be there early cuz we're supposed to play between 9:20 & 10:00pm. Crackpot will follow us from around 10:20 to 11pm, & then Starvin Hungry headline from 11:20 to midnight. Doors open at 8:30pm & it's pay-what-you-can. Both this venue & the headlining band were given mention in recent fabled coverages on the local music scene by Spin Magazine & The New York Times declaring Montreal as "the next big thing" so be there or be declared squaresville according to esteemed tastemakers! No? Well then how about just be there to listen to our crazy-assed constructions, period. Thank you.

Speaking of local scene reports, there's also a humungous (subjective/biographical) photo essay on the topic of Montreal alternative cartoonists in the latest Comics Journal Special Edition Volume 5 2005 by local artist Marc Tessier. It’s an honor to appear in the same mag fulla fantastical Vaughn Bode & (gush) MILT GROSS repros! And all the Montreal cohorts of course. My only quibble with the bit on me is that it appears as if I only emerged on the local comix scene in the early 90s but I was being published (in various local music/counter-culture magz & tabz) since the late 70s. I actually met "the godfather of the alternative scene" Henriette Valium for the first time around then. I tried to submit work to local French humor mags “Croc” and/or “Titanic” around then & was rejected cuz they said my shit was too weird or crude or whatever but they told me I gotta meet this guy Valium because his shit’s fucked up too. Incidentally, what looks like a blurry lizard broach on my chest in my photo in the article is actually a gorgeous live pet orange Egyptian Berber skink whizzing upwards. We call him “Rapey” (pictured below). I’m flinching cuz he’s got long razor sharp claws & he was getting real close to my face. He lives in the sand & eats worms.

What's happening to this town? Hope all this damn attention translates into a couple of bucks sometime within my lifetime, I'm sick of nipping into my grocery dollars for all my crackpot creative endeavors. Watch it do the opposite & create an influx of out-of-towners swarming over here for the cheap rent (conducive to artsy-fartsiness) that was pointed out in these articles, eventually causing MY rent to get jacked up sky high once landlords catch on there's a potential feeding frenzy. Wanna move here? Gimme a finder's fee.

Lotsa new reviews for my recently released book (& animated film) just came in, this time from several MAJOR cult film magz like Psychotronic Video, Shock Cinema, & Rue Morgue! Michael J. Weldon's Psychotronic books for instance are considered by many to be THE definitive guides to trash & horror cinema. Also reproduced here is a nice review in the new issue of local literary magazine Matrix by none other than my bandmate Rob Labelle. Enjoy (& go out & buy these fine publications, not to mention my book)!

RICK TREMBLES' MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY Vol. 1 (FAB, $16.95) by Michael J. Weldon, Psychotronic Video Magazine #41, 2005

This is a comp of 180 one-page movie review cartoon strips from The Montreal Mirror. Some strips are one-joke putdowns while others are like detailed Mad magazine spoofs crammed into one page. Many are hilarious and do a better job than most written reviews. Trembles' style resembles simpler more cartoonish Joe Coleman art and his taste in movies is pretty alternate. Titles include recent releases, many horror, cult and indy titles plus some very old (BIRTH OF A NATION), foreign (THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE) and extreme mondo ones. Speaking of extreme, the review of JACKASS: THE MOVIE (a major release from Viacom) shows just how far popular entertainment has devolved.

UNDERGROUND ODDITIES: RICK TREMBLES' GOOPY SPASMS LIVE CARTOON SHOW (Infliction Films; (2004) by Steve Puchalski, Shock Cinema # 27

Artist Rick Trembles is best known for his amazing movie-critique comics (compiled by FAB Press into the essential MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY), & as this short animated assault proves, he's also a cartoonist so blisteringly honest that he'd make Bukowski's worm-eaten corpse flinch. This is a harsh & hilarious excursion into one man's unorthodox bodily obsessions, & you know you're in for an unflinching confessional when it begins with: "the first time I stuck my fingers up my ass, I was…" based on his own comic strip Trembles scripted, directed, edited, & produced (with Mitch Davis), as well as taking the job of onscreen narrator -with live-action Rick sitting in an illustrated theater proscenium (adorned with penises), as his animated story unfolds on a collapsible home-movie projection screen. Soon we're in the midst of asshole self-enjoyment, cross-dressing, & Rick's unending pursuit of "goopy spasms," even as he tries to balance relationships with his stinky desires. There's plenty of graphic nudity along the way, but what makes the film unforgettable are its most outrageous cringe-inducing cartoon images -including sniffing blackhead ooze, "monster turds" as they emerge, fingers digging into anuses, excrement dreams, & anal amusement with a broomstick. The animation is crude but also painfully effective, & while it isn't a pretty movie, it's a pungent trip into sexual eccentricities.

THE CRITIC COMIC, Rue Morgue Magazine # 42 (November/December 2004) by Lorraine Carpenter

Rue Morgue even published a color comic strip by me to compliment the article; they asked me to do a "purgatory-style" review of their own mag! (pictured right)

Heading by the editors: Weirder than Robert Crumb, more obsessive than Jeffrey Dahmer, & cruder than Rue Morgue's own John Bowen, Rick Trembles' deviant & politically incorrect film critiques are an unholy writ of comedic genius - & they're in comic strip format! A new book from FAB Press compiles over two decades of Motion Picture Purgatory in one essential volume.


Fearless, honest, hilarious & intelligent, Rick Trembles' Motion Picture Purgatory could perhaps be called the comic strip equivalent to a Rue Morgue film review but told through the alternative and underground panels of a truly deranged artist. From Hollywood behemoths like Titanic to sleazy sexploitation classics like I Spit On Your Grave to masterpieces like Night Of The Hunter and Suspiria, Motion Picture Purgatory Volume 1 rips into cinema's pomposity and absurdity, reveling in its excessive sex and gore and championing its top arthouse and grindhouse underdogs.

The book complies 182 comic-strip movie reviews by Montreal-based mad cartoonist Rick Trembles, whose weekly critiques continue (unbelievably) to be printed in one of his hometown's alternative newspapers, The Montreal Mirror. In the book's introduction, Trembles describes his volatile relationship with the publication, which hired and fired him in the mid-'80s (when his work was deemed "unprogressive") and rehired him in 1998, after a new staff overturned the paper's politically correct ways. Despite the strip's almost invariably sordid content, Motion Picture Purgatory draws few complaints from Mirror readers today, let alone its editors.

"Angry letters have been pretty rare," says Trembles, "but I got death threats for my Subconscious Cruelty (Karim Hussain's 1999 shocking experimental horror film) review where I described, in drawings, the film's depiction of Christ being sodomized by a twig and pissed on by naked girls. Some of my strips can be obsessively detailed, analytical and text-heavy, which I'm sure helps weed out most knee-jerk jerk-offs."

Aside from its comic-strip format, Motion Picture Purgatory departs from the conventions of film criticism by only discussing and depicting the plot points and imagery Trembles finds most striking, without slavish attention to synopses, credits or even definitive critical stances. Some films only inspire confusion, boredom and distraction while others elicit opinions worthy of inclusion in big bold headlines, among them "Chestnuts roasting on a funeral pyre!" (Black Christmas), "Maggots on LSD!" (Alien), "Patronizing, poltergeisting pabulum!" (The Haunting remake) and "Thanks for the mammaries!" (Mondo Topless).

After each pun, alliteration and sensational tabloidism is handwritten, Trembles pencils in and inks over his distinctive reproductions of film sets, characters and props, occasionally slipping his own '80s rock-star likeness into the strip, for one reason or another. Considering the fact that his father drew anti-Nazi comics during W.W.II, it's no surprise that Trembles is heavily influenced by pop art from the first half of the 20th century, from "rubber hose" and "spaghetti and meatballs" cartoons to early experimental newspaper comics.

Trembles' style was also shaped early on by Xerox technology, which necessitated clear lines and high contrast, as well as his admittedly limited drawing ability. Ever-self-deprecating, Trembles refers to his characters as "pliable sugarcoated stick figures," but their truly unique, truly crude charm and the freeform panels that frame them are a perfect match for his ludicrous scenarios and clever commentary. It's hard to argue with endorsements from Troma Entertainment's Lloyd Kaufman, Spiderman author Peter Bagge and iconic cartoonist Robert Crumb, who called Trembles' work "even more twisted and weird" than his own.

In a fitting close to this chapter of Motion Picture Purgatory's history, the compendium's publication this summer coincided with the release of Trembles' animated short Goopy Spasms: How Did I Get So Anal? (Infliction Films), a painfully autobiographical flurry of writhing flesh and oozing bodily fluids (and solids), which he promptly critiqued in the Mirror. That strip and all others not included in the book are available (in color) on Trembles' web site:

RICK TREMBLES' MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY by Rob Labelle, Matrix Magazine #69, 2005

Funny, informative and often spiked with the outrage of a seasoned critic, this collection of Rick Trembles' comic strip movie reviews from the pages of the Montreal Mirror are little works of art unto themselves. But as unusual and inventive as they are, Trembles states that the genre is not new. Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist from the early 1900's, published boxing reviews in cartoon form, and as New York punk cartoonist John Holmstrom notes in his endorsement of Trembles' work "There has been a lot of back & forth between them (comics and film); many comic strips have inspired movies (Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, Blondie, Spiderman, etc.) while MAD magazine's finest moments were its film parodies." For Trembles, the back and forth originates in his own love of horror films and early animation outside the Disney mold. Most of the films he chooses to review are linked to this history, and those that aren't are still given the Trembles' treatment. Panels are populated with orgiastic mayhem, the images often resembling macabre, nightmarish fun houses, complete with tracks and cars linking one "scene" to another. Drawn characters usually come from a set of invented hieroglyphics: boys are always represented in profile, girls head on -perhaps intimating the throwaway two-dimensionality of most movie persona. Trembles is also the champion of the 'underground' film, putting his spotlight on films that would otherwise remain pretty much unknown to readers. The criteria for his radar could be summed up as "weird shit." Sexual aberration, rampant zombies, deranged killers get top billing. It is the Monster in its struggle to rise to the celluloid surface that is Trembles' leitmotif. When not bringing attention to films brave enough to celebrate worlds in which the Monster runs free, Trembles is embattled with the low-grade Hollywood slasher that invariably, as if by regulation, opts for the sappy ending. But most amusing of all -and most telling- are the films Trembles is hired to 'cover' which are not particularly his choices. In these cases, for want of a point of interest, Trembles, himself, often enters his panels, taking on the role of roving Monster -stared and laughed at by young snots hanging around the cinema lobby (The Rugrats Movie), or hilariously attacked at home by the stars of the film he is reviewing (Charlie's Angels). In fact, it is this variety that helps make the collection something for everyone: an amusing and informative reference guide for all those willing to descend into a very special purgatory.

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