A Journal Of The Dark Arts
The Three Faces Of Janice is the soundtrack for a psychological, pastoral euro-trash giallo from 1977, all blurred lens and cult fornication in the fields. Or it would be, anyway, if it existed.
Living in modern times can be both a blessing a curse for the hardened horror lover. On one hand, we have more access to life-changing, mind-melting, world-class art from all over the world and throughout history, usually available at our bloody fingertips. There can be a bit of a feeling of having “seen it all/done it all,” of being sick with experience. It’s easy to feel like we’ve unearthed every nook, cranny, and crevice; that we’re simply watching re-runs, remakes, and re-watching our favorites. It can be a bit of a dry, dusty sensation, especially when we’re launching into the spookiest time of year.
Reissue labels, crate diggers, obscurantists, cinephiles and bibliophiles keep us engaged, however. Companies like Finders Keepers, Light In The Attic, Death Waltz Records, Burning Witches Records, Buried Treasure Records, and One Way Static remind us there is a vast universe of under-appreciated horror movies, music, and books to be explored, opening up a vein of rich red inspiration.
The Three Faces Of Janice is the soundtrack for 1977’s pastoral giallo erotic thriller by famed electronic wizard Klaus Morlock. Or it would be, however, if Lupus Pictures Ltd. and director Claudio Ascerbi had actually existed. Or maybe they did, and there’s just no record of them?
If yr a Forestpunk regular, you may be familiar with the dense, beguiling world of Klaus Morlock already. We’ve been infatuated with their authentic anachronisms and dense post-modern mythology from the very start, being fully in-line with the hauntological current of authentic anachronism, buried histories, social archaeology, and lost culture.
We hate to give the trick away, but the slightest amount of armchair investigation quickly reveals no trace of Klaus Morlock, Claudio Ascerbi, or The Three Faces Of Janice. You’d never suspect the likely modern origins of Morlock’s time-bending forgery, so thorough and detailed is the historical re-enactment. The Three Faces Of Janice sounds exactly like some lost treasure of psychotronic Eurotrash sleaze.
As all 70s horror movies should, The Three Faces Of Janice starts off with a banging theme, hinting at action and adventure, some of which will, no doubt, be beneath the sheets. “Midnight Tryst” sets the scene in earnest, with its soft-focus guitar arpeggios and Mellotron flutes. Janice is here revealed as some moonlit nymphet, perhaps spied bathing in a darkened pond. It’s a lovely melody, on top of being entirely historically accurate.
Things take a turn for the sinister with “Pastoral Epiphany,” with its moody, mysterious Fender Rhodes, open and questing, refusing to resolve, shot-through with bird calls and field recordings. It slowly fades into a dark corridor of whispers and dark echoes, seamlessly segueing into the first true, proper horrorscore “Hooded Figures.” Here, it seems, the plot becomes obvious. Like so many of the great Folk Horror films, Janice seems to be bait, luring you deep into the mysteries. In this way, she acts as psychopomp, leading us into the Underworld, a land of shifting shapes and ill-defined boundaries.
We wonder if the name The Three Faces Of Janice itself is a nod to Morlock’s hidden motivations. The name ‘Janice,’ for starters, recalls the two-faced Roman God Janus, ruler of the thresholds, seer of past, present, and future. In her depiction as a Triple Goddess, Janice also invokes the Goddess Hecate, The Goddess Of Witchcraft and Ghosts, Guardian of the Crossroads and patron saint of dogs. She recalls Hecate’s role as Tri Via, the Roman god of the Crossroads, who knows where you’ve been and what’s to come. It also brings to mind Janus Films, the company behind the legendary Criterion Collection. Finally, the name itself brings to mind The Three Faces Of Eve, with its tale of madness of hidden personalities.
Taken together, a narrative begins to reveal itself. A young nymphet becomes The High Priestess, leading the listener into a world beyond logic and reason.
In Klaus Morlock’s twilit kingdom, record collecting and digging through mouldering obscure films becomes an act of devotion, crate-diggers and midnight movie mavens half-mad on fungal dust and crimson epiphany. He offers us a thread through the postmodern labyrinth, guiding us back to the strange, dark heart of mystery and imagination, from a time before absolutely everything existed online.
A heads up, we’re endeavoring to bring you as much horror, Halloween, and autumnal magick as possible for the most magickal time of year! We’ll be delving into as many horror-related aesthetics, history, and philosophy as possible, in the series 31 Days Of Horror. Follow Forestpunk, Bitstar, and Mastering Modernity for music, art, graphic design, visual culture, interesting facts, and history about our favorite month of the year! Follow along, let us know what you think, and any horror movies, music, books, comics, art, graphic design, or physical products you’d like us to share!
Got something horror-related in or around Portland or the greater Pacific Northwest? Get in touch if you’d like us to help spread the word!
Want to support Forestpunk? Every donation allows us to further spread our mad magickal mission!