Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important pop cultural happenings.
WATCH: The Void
Creepy, robed figures. Small-town police officer. Ominous synths and practical F/X. We’re in the midst of an ‘80s horror-film revival (Stranger Things, Midnight Special, It Follows, etc.) and The Void — from the producers of 2016 scarefest The Witch — channels a long-lost John Carpenter classic. (On VOD and in theaters on April 7)
For more great films this month, check out our Spring Movie Preview.
Jeff VanderMeer’s superb Southern Reach trilogy (including Annihilation, soon to be a Natalie Portman film) was the best weird read of the past few years. His latest seems to up the odd factor: it’s a dystopian tale filled with biotech experiments (the titular character is neither plant nor animal) and evil corporations. Overall, a literary tale that veers more toward Cormac McCarthy and David Mitchell than typical genre fare. (April 25)
RUE: Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise
File under: things you didn't want to have to worry about. The titular "dread and promise" of life in the atomic edge gets a considered look here, focusing on the particular goods and many devastations of a world with nuclear power. Bonus: The whole film is scored by Mogwai, which should lend an appropriately brooding touch. (Apr. 21)
WATCH: American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story
Somewhat exposing the naked truth: Amazon’s 10-part Hefner docuseries that mixes archival footage from the Playboy founder’s own archive (apparently culled from 17,000 hours of video and more than 2,600 scrapbooks) with historic recreations featuring Matt Whelan as a young Hefner that are very, very Mad Men-esque. (April 7)
SINK INTO: The Green Fog
The San Francisco International Film Festival's closing night event is one to make note of: In celebration of the festival's 60th anniversary, a "visual collage by cultural iconoclast Guy Maddin" will show, scored to a live performance by the Kronos Quartet, in town with a new score by composer Jacob Garchik. Oh, and said collage is based on Vertigo. It's gonna be wild. (Apr. 16)
BUY: David Bowie’s Apartment
The late singer’s Central Park apartment (at least, until 2002) just hit the market for a cool $6.45 million. Besides the great park views, it includes the Thin White Duke’s Yamaha piano. (Available now)
So, Bavaria sure looks fun — at least as imagined by model and fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth in her new photo book, in which beautiful women traipse through pastures, munch on giant pretzels and potato-sack race (nude, of course). Expect lederhosen. (April)
BUY: The Wicked Die Young
Record Store Day is April 22. To get in the mood, pick up some new vinyl (and yes, only vinyl) from director Nicolas Winding Refn, who’s constructed a spiritual soundtrack sequel to his seminal flick The Neon Demon. Which means new synth-y goodness from Electric Youth alongside classic tracks by Suicide, Johnny Thunders and Giorgio Moroder. (April 14)
LISTEN: Our monthly Spotify playlist
Highlighted by the long-awaited return of Gorillaz, whose upbeat new album Humanz (April 28) features an all-star guest roster that includes Vince Staples, De La Soul, Danny Brown, Anthony Hamilton, Carly Simon and Grace Jones, among many others. Also on our monthly compendium of new tunes: Lana Del Rey, alt-J, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Blondie and a lot of great up-and-comers (Marian Hill, JMSN, Sam Coffey).
And don’t forget ... Why are you such a f*cking dork? Turns out there’s a good reason behind your lack of charisma, as explained by Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome (April 25) ... Artsy porn flicks from real life people? Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival is touring the U.S. through November ... A little gimmicky, but Shaking Chains’ song “Midnight Oil” uses an algorithm to create a unique music video every time you watch it ... Something called Rogue One comes to Blu-ray with numerous bonus features (April 4) ... Louis CK’s next standup special arrives on Netflix (April 4) ... Neil Gaiman’s fantasy opus American Gods could be your next must-watch series, even if it means you have to get Starz (April 30) ... And finally, the welcome return of Prison Break (April 4), The Get Down (April 7), Better Call Saul (April 10), Mystery Science Theater 3000 (April 14), The Leftovers (April 16), Fargo (April 19) and Silicon Valley (4/23). Stay in, have fun.