Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Rome, Italian Style" Track of the Day: Mike Patton, "Deep Down"

The triptych effects in this photo inadvertently caused the string section lady behind Mike Patton to look like a female Hobbit from the Lord of the Rings movies.
Song: "Deep Down" by Mike Patton
Released: 2010
Why's it part of the "Rome, Italian Style" playlist?: When I first learned that for his '50s and '60s Italian pop music tribute project Mondo Cane, Patton recorded a cover of "Deep Down," Ennio Morricone's wonderful theme from the 1968 Mario Bava cult favorite Danger: Diabolik, I was worried that Patton's version was going to be overly kitschy. A 2009 video of Patton and his Mondo Cane orchestra giving a soaring performance of "Deep Down" in concert put that worry to rest (see the video below).

The Faith No More and Mr. Bungle frontman is a Morricone fan who once released a compilation of his favorite atonal Morricone score cues on his Ipecac label and who, like myself, wishes that more people would notice Morricone's non-spaghetti western compositions like "Deep Down" because, as he once noted in Spin, "Many people think of him only in terms of spaghetti western music." During "Deep Down," Patton and his orchestra honor the material with a non-kitschy take that's a worthy addition to the "Rome, Italian Style" playlist. Their cover is the opposite of that occasionally amusing but otherwise terrible Mystery Science Theater 3000 series finale where Mike and the Bots wrongheadedly trashed Danger: Diabolik, one of the best comic book adaptations ever filmed, as if it were a crime against humanity like the previous--and much more deserving--MST3K target Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Double O Section, a blog that reviews films and shows from the spy genre, said "[MST3K] did a grave disservice to cinema in general" with that Diabolik episode.

John Phillip Law & Order
"The film has been tagged unfairly in the pop-consciousness as trash/camp," said the SpyVibe blog. "As much as I enjoy their riffs on bad-but-fun flicks, Mike and the robots had no business dragging Bava's Diabolik into that campy pigeonhole."

"When it turned up on [MST3K] as a turkey to be laughed at, I thought they were missing the point, it's supposed to be fun," said Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright in his entry on Diabolik for Time Out's "50 Essential Comic-Book Movies" list. "It made me really angry!"

Mr. Wright, whenever you get angry again because you're reminded of MST3K's shabby treatment of Diabolik, do what I do. Listen to Patton's calming and respectful cover of "Deep Down." It's like all is right with the world again whenever I hear it.

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