Nothing will ever diminish the achievement of this visceral volume, which was first published in 1992. As long-standing members of the corpse-contemplation community, Kerekes and Slater rose indomitably to their self-appointed task first of blazing a toxic trail through the mephitic maelstrom of death-and-decomposition cinema, then of carving septic signposts from the malevolent mucus of a world known to nary but a select few in those early days…
In a word, Kerekes and Slater were Pioneers of Putridity. They were first with the ferality, foremost with the fetidity. Twenty years later, their groind-breaking transgression is flourishing rankly world-web-wide. The toxic trail they blazed is an eight-lane highway shuddering with heavy traffic:
- GRAPHIC: Moment biker is killed in crash caught on video
- GRAPHIC WARNING: Horrific video shows Boko Haram massacre
- Shocking video shows the extent of execution in Iraq by ISIS
- Footage showing a suspected British fighter shooting a prisoner
- WARNING GRAPHIC: Rapper shoots and pistol-whips friend
- Graphic: Nigerian soldiers slit Boko Haram suspects’ throats
- Horrific pictures emerge of 25 women who were slaughtered in Baghdad
- WARNING GRAPHIC: Audio of Byron Smith executing teen intruders
- The shocking moment a man sleeping in the street is run over
- Emily’s video diary and footage of her abortion procedure
- Horror moment Andrew Young is floored by single, fatal punch
- Woman stoned to death for marrying the man she loved
- Father arrested after pregnant woman stoned to death
- 20 tonne armoured car runs over Russian soldier in parade
- Snipers in action: ISIS release disturbing new video footage
- GRAPHIC: Czech mother scalped in electric drill accident
- Vicious Sydney train attack caught on CCTV
- GRAPHIC CONTENT: Grandmother bitten on face by pitbull
- ISIS video emerges of spy driven to his crucifixion
- Horrifying moment Alan Cartwright is stabbed in the chest
- Boy gets tangled in kite before falling to his death in Vietnam
- ISIS executes nine men by firing squad in gruesome video
- Sickening footage shows ISIS cut off thief’s hand with industrial paper guillotine
- Beheaded by a masked executioner wielding a meat cleaver
- Horrific moment woman breaks leg whilst doing leg press
- Egg-ceptional! Amazing moment man finds an egg within an egg
- Bizarre video of snake in a pet shop eating ITSELF!
- Police release shocking surveillance video of Las Vegas shooting
- GRAPHIC: Video of Sudan flogging ignites fury online
- Chinese woman severely burnt at BBQ restaurant
- Horrifying moment firemen are thrown from burning building
- Bystanders left in shock as police dog grabs man by the neck
- Horrifying moment polar bears eat peacock at Austrian zoo
- Thug karate kicks woman in face in broad daylight
- GRAPHIC: Teenager banned from keeping animals for life
- Must watch! Meet Norma, the woman cursed with a man’s voice
- Govt. boss in Mexico caught on office web cam having sex
- Vicious gang attack on scientist in Manchester city centre
- Shocking moment truck ploughs into pedestrians in Russia
- Incredible moment a tire explosion blows a man’s pants off
- Girl clobbers her rival in the head with SHOVEL
Yes, the proud achievement of Kerekes and Slater is to have blazed a trail for the Daily Mail – the list above is a tiny sample of the clickbait to be found at one of the most popular websites in the world.
And that’s the sorry truth about Headpress, the transgressive journal from which Killing for Culture emerged. Headpress doesn’t offer an alternative to the mainstream but an exaggeration of it. Kerekes and Slater got there first and foremost because, in a sense, they’re more mainstream than the mainstream: more prurient, more slime-obsessed and more voyeuristic.
But there’s a big problem with calling David Kerekes a voyeur. To Headpress fans, this is a meaningless statement:
“Dave Kerekes is a voyeur? Okaaay. What’s your point? He’s a biped too. And he breathes oxygen.”
And indeed, voyeurism is like oxygen to Dave and his counter-cultural comrades – a necessary part of existence. Dave’s objection to mainstream fare like Big Brother is simple: it isn’t voyeuristic open italics enough close italics dot dot dot. The participants know that they’re being watched and want to be watched. Where’s the voyeuristic thrill in that? Dave prefers secret surveillance, something to really stimulate the intellect and get the epistemological gears turning. Similar fans of secret surveillance include pram-pushing Daily-Mail-readers, peri-pubescent One-Direction fans and joie-de-vivre-filled chavs.
Dave Kerekes Is Watching YOU, like
But let’s be fair: Mail-readers and One-Direction fans aren’t particularly big devotees of death and decomposition, so Dave departs from the mainstream in that respect. Even joie-de-vivre-filled chavs don’t have the appetite for corpses that Dave has maintained over many decades. But Dave’s ideal is to combine contemplation-of-corpses with surveillance-of-the-living. If you want to see what floats his boat, I would recommend Sex Murder Art, his septic study of the fetid films of Jörg Buttgereit, the Berlin-based auteur of anomie behind Nekromantik and other studies of death, decomposition and necrophilia.
This book is more revealing of Dave’s psychology than Killing for Culture, because Killing for Culture isn’t autobiographical in the same way. If you sample Sex Murder Art, you’ll discover that Dave went to Germany to sniff for slime, spy on people and report back with his findings. One episode of surveillance involves Dave watching an unnamed friend of Buttgereit help edit one of the films. Dave notes how the friend’s pupils dilate when he looks at an image of a corpse (ch. 6, pg. 104). Interesting, nicht wahr? Sex Murder Art is full of such snippets of slime-surveillance.
Dave has also supplied slime-snippets to the mega-maverick Mancunian writer David Britton, who has incorporated some of them into his transvisceral texts. What Britton may not be aware is that Dave has also placed Britton under surveillance and passed on the resultant slime-snippets in terms of issues around Britton’s psychological imperfections. But quite a few keyly committed core components of the counter-culture may not be aware of how Dave has placed them under surveillance and been so excited by what he has observed that he’s passed it on to others.
Not that Dave is unique in such transgressive and imaginative behaviour:
But the life he describes inside the closed walls of the NSA does have echoes of Big Brother omniscience. Snowden, sipping Pepsi from a bottle and speaking in perfectly composed sentences, recalls the period when he was working as an analyst, directing the work of others. There was a moment when he and, he says, other colleagues began to have severe doubts about the ethics of what they were doing.
Can he give an example of what made him feel uneasy? “Many of the people searching through the haystacks were young, enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old. They’ve suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all your private records. In the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated in any sort of necessary sense – for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they’re extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says, ‘Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way’, and then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people.” – I, spy: Edward Snowden in exile, The Guardian, 18/vii/14.
That’s so Headpressean it should be wearing a “Garry and the Gargoyles” T-shirt. And the same sort of thing is happening at GCHQ and Unit 8200, the British and Israeli equivalents of the NSA, where more voyeurs are thrilling to more secretly obtained images. Dave Kerekes, the Daily Mail and the transgressive employees of the NSA remind me of maggots: instinctively attracted to slime and avidly feeding off it. Headpress, the Daily Mail and the NSA are all expressions of the Maggot Millennium, embodiments of the über-exciting voyeurism created by a combination of advanced technology and primitive impulse. The NSA is sponsored by the state and the Daily Mail pursues profit, but Headpress is powered by pure maggot-juice. That’s a further tribute to the visionary viscerality of Dave Kerekes, proud and passionate champion of the counter-culture.
But let’s be biologically accurate: real maggots remove slime and decay from the world. Dave and his spiritual buddies at the NSA and Daily Mail create more. And real maggots metamorphose: they eventually change into a higher form, something more complex and intelligent. Dave and his transgressive buddies don’t. They’ve found their niche and they’re sticking to it. Dave will carry on contemplating corpses and surveilling the imperfections of folk like David Britton and Buttgereit’s buddy. He’s a maggot for life, an esoteric embodiment of the mainstream culture of the modern world. Hail Headpress, Maggot-Zine for the Maggot Millennium!