Episode #56 of The Swampflix Podcast: New Orleans French & Overlook Film Fests 2018

Welcome to Episode #56 of The Swampflix Podcast. For our fifty-sixth episode, James & Brandon take care of some film festival-related Spring cleaning before the city hits its summer slump. They discuss the horror-themed Overlook Film Fest, which came through New Orleans for the first time this year, and then are joined by CC to discuss this year’s New Orleans French Film Fest (including in-depth discussions of the Agnès Varda oeuvre & last year’s arthouse thriller Nocturama). Enjoy!

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-James Cohn & Brandon Ledet

The Mystery Behind the Highway to Hell (1991) Soundtrack

As I previously mentioned in the Highway to Hell Swampchat, the film’s soundtrack is bananas, and I’ve never heard anything quite like it. The best way to describe the sound is r&b vocals with 80’s pop/rock music, but the vocals are more like soulful grunts instead of actual words. The group responsible for all of this insanity is Hidden Faces, and this group is just as mysterious as their music. Researching Hidden Faces wasn’t so easy because there’s virtually nothing out there about this group, but I was able to find some interesting information.

Frank Fitzpatrick founded Hidden Faces in 1989, and the group strictly did soundtracks and scores for movies. Highway to Hell, Nuns on the Run, Breaking the Rules, Friday, Under the Hula Moon, The Player’s Club, and Soul Man are all films that feature Hidden Faces tunes. Nuns on the Run seems fantastic, so I have Hidden Faces to thank for bringing it to my attention. In the film, Eric Idle is a criminal disguised as a nun, and that’s all it took for it to make it onto my watchlist. Come to think of it, the only film that I’ve seen from this eclectic film collection is Friday, and if I recall correctly, the music was totally different from the music in Highway to Hell. I guess that’s common for artists in the film score/soundtrack business. Unfortunately, Hidden Faces called it quits in the late 90s, so it’s doubtful that they’ll be doing any movie soundtracks again.

It turns out that Hidden Faces has a connection to New Orleans, though. Not only is Fitzpatrick a songwriter, producer, and certified yoga instructor, he is also a major social entrepreneur that raised funds and awareness for Hurricane Katrina victims. In particular, he produced a song called “Be On Our Way” with Van Hunt, Supervision, Buku Wise, and Hidden Faces for the film Hurricane Season, a film that follows the story of John Ehret High School’s basketball championship journey post-Katrina. All of the proceeds made by the song were donated to the Make It Right Foundation.

I’m actually pretty surprised to find that Hidden Faces is more than just a growling man and a drum machine. They actually have a very interesting history that’s much lengthier than I expected. This is all the more reason to pay close attention to film credits, even the ones in horrible movies.

For more on July’s Movie of the Month, Ate De Jong’s 1991 action comedy Highway to Hell, check out our Swampchat discussion of the film, our look at De Jong’s other (more successful) 1991 cult classic Drop Dead Fred, and last week’s query of exactly why Jerry Stiller’s entire family appeared in the film (their only full-family appearance outside The Independent).

-Britnee Lombas