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‘Son of Dracula’: Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr’s cult comedy horror rock opera
12:17 pm


Ringo Starr
Harry Nilsson

I had the soundtrack album to Son of Dracula when I was a kid—you could buy it for 99 cents in virtually any cut out bin in America in the 70s. It featured impressive album cover art that opened out from under Harry Nilsson’s cape (see below). It stayed in my record collection, mostly unlistened to, but still pretty cool, for many years. It’s not like Son of Dracula ever achieved “legendary lost film” status in my eyes—I was never that curious about it and it had the reputation that it stank—but when I saw a VHS bootleg for sale one day at the Pasadena Flea Market (there was a huge section of the market devoted solely to rock memorabilia and bootlegs of every stripe back in 90s) I scooped it up.

Hmmmm… It’s not like I can stand here before you and tell you that it’s great—because it’s definitely not great—but do take Ringo Starr’s comments on Son of Dracula as the gospel truth: 

“It is not the best film ever made, but I’ve seen worse.”

He ought to know, he produced this turkey. Ringo’s also being a bit cagey with that statement because he’s mum on exactly how many worse films he’s seen? One other? Dozens? I’d venture that it’s probably a number Ringo can count on just one hand…. (All you really need to know about how bad Son of Dracula truly is, is that after the film was shot in 1972, Ringo hired Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, Douglas Adams and Bernard McKenna to rewrite the dialogue which they would then dub over what they’d already shot! Although this notion was abandoned—apparently it was recorded—in retrospect it doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea… Surely it couldn’t have been any worse or more shambolic than it already was!)

Son of Dracula stars Nilsson as “Count Downe” a vampire rock musician who is about to be crowned Overlord of the Netherworld when he falls in love with a mortal and has a change of heart. Ringo plays—who else—Merlin the Magician. Son of Dracula contains celebrity cameos from Nilsson’s hard-partying rocker mates Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and Keith Moon and his backing band included Peter Frampton, Klaus Voorman and Leon Russell.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Satanic Christmas sweaters let you flip the bird (or the goat horns) at the holidays

The ironic phenomenon of ugly Christmas sweaters hit shark-jump levels of cultural saturation so rapidly that I actually can’t even remember any early window of time when it wasn’t irritating (though in all fairness, I get irritated pretty easily). Entirely apart from its annoying ubiquity, the whole thing feels kind of shitty, like it’s not really mocking Christmas to wear them, it’s more like mocking people who just happen to like gaudy sweaters. And is that not punching down?

The upside of this dopey annual crap-pageant has been the profusion of cheeky takedowns. The Descendents have been making awesome gag Christmas sweaters for years, and now, the twisted bastards at Middle of Beyond have given the world outright Satanic Christmas sweaters. MoB, regular DM readers may remember, are the preposterous visionaries who gave the world devil tarot card throw rugs and winter gear patterned after the carpeting in the Overlook Hotel from Stanley Kubrik’s film version of The Shining. I actually plunked for one of those Shining scarves, and to my horror, I found, when it arrived, that it was 100% acrylic (my own fault for neglecting the fine print). But for Christmas sweaters, that material isn’t just a requisite, it’s positively a boon. Designs include a straight up old-fashioned Satanic goat head snugly nestled in a red pentagram, Cthulu, Krampus, and a zombiefied Santa Claus festooned with braaaaaaiiiiiiins. So why settle for giving Christmas the finger when you can flash it the goat horns?




Previously on Dangerous Minds
Merry Krampus: ‘horribly distasteful Christmas sweater’
Righteous Motörhead Christmas sweater

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Sit on my Face’: Pro-pr0n protest goes all Monty Python outside of Parliament today
10:20 am



If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check out the hashtag #pornprotest on Twitter, it’s the best thing on the Internet right now. It seems that Parliament has recently been messing with what you can and can’t do in adult videos, and right-thinking individuals on the scepter’d isle came out in numbers today to protest the legislation.




Photo by Ms Slide @sliderulesyou
More pics from today’s protest after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Shitty ‘winter wonderland’ forced to close doors after a single day
10:09 am


Winter Wonderland

I laughed out loud when I saw these amusing photos from a supposed “winter wonderland” attraction held in the town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England.

The attraction was called “Magical Winterland” and folks were charged £20 a ticket (which equals around $30.00). Paying customers were promised “fantastic features” and an opportunity to “lose yourself” in this “magical” setting, but were greeted with, er, uh, well the photos pretty much speak for themselves. “Magic” was not in the house…

The attraction has been described as “appalling” and one woman said of it:

“The event itself was nothing more than a fairground. The rides were overpriced and the so-called Christmas market was a total of four stalls.”

The “Magical Winterland” was forced to shut down in less than 24 hours due to the barrage complaints by livid families.

If the Trailer Park Boys were to ever do a winter wonderland event, this totally how I see it going down, but they’d also have weed, strippers and booze.



via Metro UK

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Christmas goes down the crapper (or ‘I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas???’)
09:44 am



Arguably the most “high-end” model, this Santa Claus toilet decor exhibits the closest attention to detail.
The original inspiration for a holiday post was this amazing piece of dinosaur-themed Chanukah paraphernalia—the Menorasaurus Rex. Hoping this objet d’art would lead me to a glut of tacky Chanukah kitsch, I scanned Etsy for similar crafts, only to find a disappointingly tasteful (and sometimes downright sublime) array of Menorahs. At the risk of sounding biased, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that when it comes to holidays, no one does garish quite like the Christians.

Unfortunately, lurid displays of Christmas cheer are so predictable, it’s difficult in this day and age to find anything that even registers as gaudy anymore; A Charlie Brown Christmas was bemoaning the spectacle and commercialization back in 1965, and it’s certainly only gotten worse since then. But just when you think you’ve become completely desensitized to Christmas branding, you come across a product—nay, a slew of products—trying to cash in on the season with what can only be described as a virulent animus towards good taste.

Behold, the Freudian fever dream of anthropomorphic Christmas-themed toilet decor. These festive loo accouterments depict reindeer, Frosty and even Jolly Old Saint Nick himself as the guardians—the repositories even—of human waste, and apparently there is a subset of people for whom this idea is “cute.” If you’re one of those people, bless your flagrant disregard for decency. If you’re aspiring to be one of those people, I also threw in some (less literal) Santa-specific bathroom decor at the end, just in case you weren’t ready to commit to evacuating your bowels into Santa’s waiting mouth. This, ladies and gentleman, is why—despite my admittedly boring atheism—I will always refer to myself as “culturally Protestant.” We are the John Waters of religions and I can’t help but be a little proud of our relentless vulgarity. I mean, why treat religion like it’s something sacred?

A lower rent version, made all the more disturbing by the fact he has his tongue out.

Poor reindeer. Just because they’re animals, doesn’t mean deserve this foul indignity.

As members of the exploited proletariat, you sort of expect elves to deal with a lot of shit—albeit usually less literally.

Frosty awaits his fate with a stoic smile.
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Charles Bukowski loathed potheads: ‘I like drunkards, man’
09:17 am


Charles Bukowski

Bukowski Bottles
Despite being a famously proud drunkard of monumental proportions, author/brawler Charles Bukowski didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about other forms of mind-altering pursuits, especially marijuana. The inebriated bard shares his thoughts on drug use in the interview below and it’s anything but your typical “just say no” statement. 

In a discussion that’s more about what you choose to say yes to, Bukowski unsurprisingly embraces alcohol as a life affirming “release of the dream” after a hard day’s work at a shitty job. Then, after categorically classifying himself as being anti-drug, Bukowski does a few impressions of pot smokers as space cadets and asserts that for otherwise intelligent people and even for casual tokers, “all mind circulation and all spirit has been cut off” once Mary Jane enters the picture. 

“Be an alcoholic. If you’ve gotta be anything, be an alcoholic” he says.

This is #10 of the 53 segments that comprise the cult classic The Charles Bukowski Tapes, a collection of short interviews with the writer, videotaped and assembled by Barbet Schroeder in the early 80s. The German director of Barfly shot about about 64 hours of footage during the three-year pre-production period of that film and the segments were culled from that. There are a variety of NSFW comments floating around in this one, so be warned.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Charles Bukowski tells his worst hangover story: ‘The strangest thing just happened…’
Charles Bukowski: ‘I drink, I gamble, I write…’ the making of ‘Barfly’

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Stanley Kubrick directing ‘Dr. Strangelove’
08:21 am


Stanley Kubrick
Dr. Strangelove

It wasn’t just the nuclear fallout in the milk that concerned most people during the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was a genuine fear that the world was on the verge of an all-out nuclear war between Russia and America that would end life on the planet or make it rather awful for the few survivors. These anxieties were heightened by the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and were reflected in a series of novels, films, and TV dramas that predicted humanity’s seemingly inevitable nuclear annihilation at the push of a button.

When Stanley Kubrick optioned Peter George’s book Red Alert (aka Two Hours to Doom), he intended to make a faithful film adaptation of the George’s chilling tale of near nuclear armageddon. But as he researched the subject and began work on a script with the author, Kubrick found the proposition of nuclear war utterly absurd and decided to make not a thriller but “a nightmare comedy” that satirized the insanity of two countries arming themselves with such horrific weapons of mass destruction.

Kubrick considered telling the story of Earth’s nuclear demise from the point of view of visiting extraterrestrials, but didn’t think this approach had the right amount of “inspired lunacy.” He then decided to bring in author Terry Southern to write a story using George’s novel as a loose framework to play up the comedy rather than the thrills. The result was Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb—“the most perfectly written comedic screenplay of post-war cinema,” as critic Alexander Walker described it. Dr. Strangelove was also the film that brought Kubrick’s unique visionary talents as a director to the fore.
Kubrick discusses a shot with camera operator Kelvin Pike and the director’s wife Christiane Kubrick.
Kubrick instructs cast members during filming of the siege of the airbase.
Operating the camera prior to filming a scene with George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson and Tracy Reed as Miss Scott.
Many more pics from the filming of the Cold War classic after the jump…..

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Real estate cosplay: NYC developers trying to make ‘Steampunk Luxury Condos’ happen
02:49 pm

Class War

New York City

They say that “money don’t buy taste,” but if you can afford to live at N°15 RENWICK, one would assume you’ve at least got the cash for a “style consultant” to tell you how fucking corny you are. The luxury development (whose logo is an obvious homage to CHANEL N°5) is trying what may be the lamest of all marketing angles to attract a wealthy and “creative” clientele—they’re making it steampunk. Their advertising is an utterly confusing photo-spread of classically influenced modern architecture inhabited by Victorian-ish “characters”—it can only be described as real estate cosplay…

From the website:

The Characters of 15 Renwick pay homage to the Victorian era in which the street’s namesake, James Renwick and his son, lived (1790-1895). Renwick was a pioneering author, engineer and professor at Columbia University while his son, James Jr., was one of the most celebrated architects of his generation. The Characters also embody the creative persona of today’s Hudson Square resident and the insider nature of the single-block Renwick Street.

Look, pining for “Olde New York” is a rite of passage no matter what year you moved here, but these people are paying an insane amount of money for a New York that never even existed! One of the developers, Eldad Blaustein joked that the ideal tenant might be a “Wall Street trader, but he’s writing songs, he’s writing poems at night.”

Sounds about right. Who else would be so dead inside that they’d want to come home to LARP?




More real estate steampunk cosplay after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Satan Inside: Slowed down Chipmunks reveal the Devil within
12:13 pm


Alvin and the Chipmunks

Could it be SATAN here in Dave’s place? Yes, indeed it is Mr. Beelzebub hisself making his singing debut on “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).”

I shall never hear this cheery tune the same way ever again after listening to this demonic and Quaaluded-out version…

After the jump, Patton Oswalt talks about his own experience as a kid when he and siblings slowed down “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”...

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The astonishingly incompetent superhero art of Fletcher Hanks
10:48 am


Fletcher Hanks
Paul Karasik

The other day I was trying to describe the work of Fletcher Hanks to a comics collector friend of mine, a fan of Spider-Man and the X-Men and Daredevil, and I made the following analogy: Fletcher Hanks is the Shaggs of superhero comics…. they have the same combination of fascinating (ahem) “excellence” and off-putting weirdness, the same feeling of a direction very much not taken, the same outsider status, the same fervent adoption by devotees.

Hanks drew superhero comics for a terribly short time—1939 to 1941—before dropping off the map altogether. It’s a bit of a miracle that we have so many of his comics in print, and much of that is due to the heroic labors of Paul Karasik, a former RAW employee of Art Spiegelman’s who also collaborated with David Mazzucchelli to create a graphic novel version of Paul Auster’s novel City of Glass in 1994. Hanks first became known to contemporary readers in Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969 edited by Dan Nadel, a fascinating delight for comics lovers, experts, dorks from 2006. In 2007 Karasik published I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! and in 2009 You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, both of which are highly recommended if you like what you see here. The first volume contains a 16-page comic by Karasik about discovering Hanks’ work and meeting with his (it turns out) estranged son.

Hanks was born in 1887. We know he was married and had a son but then packed up and left around 1930. According to his son, who is named Fletcher Hanks Jr., he was an alcoholic and physically abused his wife and son. We know that he was found, frozen to death on a park bench in Manhattan in January 1976, at the age of 88. Hanks’ work had two primary characters, “Stardust the Super Wizard” and “Fantomah the Mystery Woman of the Jungle,” and a host of less interesting characters like Space Smith, Big Red McLane, and Whirlwind Carter. Hanks used pseudonyms like Hank Christy, Barclay Flagg, Bob Jordan, and Charles Netcher. As Karasik points out in the video below, part of the fascination Hanks exerts is that he is a rare early case of a true auteur, a comics artist who “wrote, penciled, inked, lettered, and, I think, colored his work.”

Stardust is a well-nigh omnipotent space traveler who has prodigious strength, can read people’s thoughts, can control objects with his mind, produce all manner of anti-gravity rays from his body, and generally do whatever he wants. On the page he seems a lot like Magneto of the X-Men but in truth he has a whole lot in common with Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. Fantomah was similarly prodigiously powered and whenever she used her powers, her face would transform from that of a normal human woman to a blue-skinned skull-like visage with a blond locks of hair, an arresting voodoo-like image.

Stardust bears some resemblance to Superman but in fact ends up being an unwitting critique of Superman, in that a creature who has so many powers ends up being less than interesting. Stardust never faces the slightest resistance in any of his plots. A typical Stardust story features Stardust becoming aware of some nefarious scheme by some gangsters or “fifth columnists” and then zeroing in on the malefactors and stopping them and then either depositing them with the federal authorities (who have done nothing to assist Stardust) or else consigning them to some horrible fate that somehow, poetically, serves as a just comeuppance. The best-known example of that comes in “De Structo & the Headhunter,” in which he punishes the ringleader by reducing him to nothing but a head, while stating “I’ll punish you according to your crime, De Structo. ... You tried to destroy the heads of a great nation, so your own head shall be destroyed.” In another story he turns the head honcho into a rat with a human head.

Here’s Nadel on Hanks, as quoted in Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter blog:

Fletcher Hanks I like graphically. Some people might call him a primitive, but what’s so great about him is that he took this idea of superheroes as gods literally, even before anyone articulated the idea. He made these moving statues. You have characters carved out of granite, moving around the page, and then maybe he got lucky with whomever was coloring the Fiction House stuff. There are these clunky outlines of bodies and this gorgeous flat color laid over it. Icons moving across the page. Granite statues. It’s really intriguing. Every single Fletcher Hanks comic I’ve seen is like that. They’re just these incredible visions of statues in motion. The writing is just bizarre, so intense and vicious—maybe one of the more visceral comics in there.

Hanks’ stories are full of un-nuanced plots and schemes with bad guys who are constantly trying to “enslave” or “destroy” something. Even adjusting for the pre-WW2 atmosphere of fear, these stories are just silly most of the time. What sets Hanks’ works apart are his remarkable compositions and use of color—Karasik is quite right in observing that these strips are so fascinating because they so CLEARLY emanate from one mind. All the compositions are defiantly 2-D, and as Karasik establishes in his second Hanks volume You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, he frequently reused entire pages in different stories. Hanks’ comics are wildly inert, improbable, at times ugly, yet always bountifully colorful and arresting and distinctive. Hanks showed great imagination in his tropes, which frequently involve Stardust or somebody suspending a phalanx of tanks suspended in mid-air, or rocketing every human being in existence away from planet Earth simultaneously before Stardust can set it right. The vitality of Hanks’ expression isn’t on a par with Winsor McCay and George Herriman but does have something of that flavor of strange distant fever dreams from long ago…...




More amazing Fletcher Hanks frames and a Q&A with author Paul Karasik, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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