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‘Female Trouble’ dolls and other imagined retro toys based on John Waters films
05.25.2017
10:01 am
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Divine as “Dawn Davenport” doll
 
Opening today at La MaMa Galleria at 47 Great Jones Street in Manhattan (and there until June 24) is “Lost Merchandise of the Dreamlanders” a show featuring shouldabeen toys and other fake retro “merchandise” based on characters and situations from the films of John Waters:

Do you remember eating Divine breakfast cereal or sleeping on Pink Flamingos bed sheets when you were a kid? Neither do we, but you just might upon viewing this oddball array of rare collectibles. Lost Merchandise of the Dreamlanders is a showcase of kitschy and ironic retail items based on the early films of Baltimore director John Waters. Discover forgotten toys, home decor, and seasonal artifacts featuring familiar Dreamlander movie personalities. Presented in the spirit of a Sunday morning garage sale, the exhibit revels in the strange, nostalgic appeal of the 70s and 80s.

The Dreamlander exhibition is the brainchild of Tyson Tabbert, a sculptor at New York’s Asher Levine fashion house, who looked into officially licensing some of John Waters characters for the toy market a few years ago, but found that this probably wasn’t in the cards:

“I was initially able to contact someone at Warner Brothers to discuss the possibility of making the figures legit. But the possibility of licensing them was, as I interpreted it, slim at best.”

Undeterred, Tabbert got some artist friends together to create some of the products he had in mind for an art show. Everything in the show is a period piece (ahem) designed to look like vintage toys. There’s even a bedspread! Tabbert self-financed much of the work, which also includes plastic Halloween masks of Connie and Raymond Marble from Pink Flamingos, a Desperate Living tea service and a metal ashtray inspired by Lobstora, the giant lobster that rapes Divine in Multiple Maniacs.

If you are looking for some officially licensed Divine swag, there’s an online Divine shop that sells T-shirts, tote bags, pins and other stuff.

 
The final scene from ‘Female Trouble’
 

Taffy’s parents, Dawn and Earl (both played by Divine) meet cute in a tableau inspired by a scene in ‘Female Trouble’
 

Metal Lobstora ashtray
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.25.2017
10:01 am
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50 ultra stylish lobby cards from the hip world of 1960s American cinema
05.25.2017
08:37 am
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Drugs, counterculture, spies, and a hundred other elements that help define the word “cool.” Here’s a collection of lobby cards from American films that were used to promote their release in West Germany from 1965-1969. Included in this collection: What’s New Pussycat? (1965) starring Peter Sellers and Peter O’Toole, spy spoof Our Man Flint (1966) starring James Coburn, outer-space sex comedy Way…Way Out (1966) starring Jerry Lewis and Connie Stevens, Francis Ford Coppola’s coming of age film You’re a Big Boy Now (1966) starring Elizabeth Hartman, romantic slapstick comedy Luv (1967) starring Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, and Elaine May, comedy crime film The Happening (1967) starring Faye Dunaway & Anthony Quinn, satire The President’s Analyst (1967) starring James Coburn, drama–thriller Bullitt (1968) starring Steve McQueen, psychedelic sex farce Candy (1968) starring Ewa Aulin, comedy Don’t Just Stand There! (1968) starring Robert Wagner and Mary Tyler Moore, musical Finian’s Rainbow (1968) starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark, drug comedy I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968) starring Peter Sellers, comedy cult classic The Party (1968) starring Peter Sellers, counter-culture drama The Sweet Ride (1968) starring Michael Sarrazin and Jacqueline Bisset, The Swimmer (1968) starring Burt Lancaster, sexual revolution Three in the Attic (1968), Jacques Demy’s The Model Shop (1969) starring Gary Lockwood and Anouk Aimée, romantic comedy The April Fools (1969) starring Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuve, drug thriller The Big Cube (1969) starring Lana Turner, and depression-era drama They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin.
 

What’s New Pussycat? (1965)
 

What’s New Pussycat? (1965)
 

Our Man Flint (1966)
 
Tons more after the jump…

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Posted by Doug Jones
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05.25.2017
08:37 am
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My grandfather is on the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ album cover and here’s the story


From the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ photo shoot
 
The Summer of Love hasn’t begun. There’s LBJ at Expo 67, thanking God for putting the U.S.A. next to Canada instead of, say, Pakistan or Greece; there’s Cher modeling the short-cut pantsuit. There’s Robyn Hitchcock saying goodbye to his late grandmother with a little help from Brian Eno, and there’s my father, Gary, not yet 18, hearing Peter Bergman announce on Radio Free Oz that his own father, Huntz Hall, is pictured on the cover of the Beatles’ new album.

In the original photo shoot for the album cover, Huntz appeared next to Leo Gorcey, his co-star in hundreds of Dead End Kids, East Side Kids, and Bowery Boys movies, or “pictures,” as he would have said. (Though Leo isn’t in in it, I’m partial to Looking for Danger, in which the Bowery Boys lend Uncle Sam a hand by impersonating Nazis in North Africa.) But Leo asked for money, and Peter Blake airbrushed him out. Huntz, bless him, did not ask for money, so he stands alone in the back row between a Vargas girl and Simon Rodia, whose head seems to be growing out of Bob Dylan’s. Lined up in front of him are Karl Marx, H.G. Wells and Paramahansa Yogananda.
 

 
Now, some smart aleck will claim FEAR settled the balance when they conspicuously thanked Leo, but not Huntz, in the liner notes of More Beer, another album that is close to my heart. This game of one-upmanship will only end in triumph for my mighty clan and tears of shame for the rest of humanity. He can deny it all he likes, but Rick Nielsen of John Lennon’s onetime backing band Cheap Trick bit gramps’ style. And it was Huntz, not Leo, who shared the stage with Duke Ellington, busted a hang with Alice Cooper, and accompanied Ken Russell to a Sex Pistols show during the filming of Valentino. After which these candid shots of Huntz posing with members of THOR at a Travelodge in 1983 seem hardly worth mentioning. Q.E.D.!

It is strange and puzzling to see your grandfather on the cover of a Beatles album. When you are on the playground 20 years after the Summer of Love and you tell your school chums your grandfather is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s, they respond that you are wrong and he is not. Juvenile rock scholars immersed in the backstairs literature of the Satanic panic tell you about the “Paul is dead” clues, so you lie awake all night wondering: My God, what was peepaw’s role in all that? And the title of the NME compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father had an unusual resonance.

The biggest puzzle was Huntz’s appearance. Squinting in the daylight, wearing a tarboosh, a green djellaba and a red velvet scarf, he looks more like a carpet dealer standing in the Jemaa el-Fnaa at high noon than a Depression-era NYC tough. But, at last, I have discovered the solution to this puzzle: he is not wearing any of those things. Thanks to the good work of the Sgt. Pepper Photos blog, I now see that cover artist Peter Blake’s source was this black and white group shot of the Dead End Kids, with Huntz in familiar attire.
 

via Sgt. Pepper Photos
 
While Blake says the Bowery Boys were his choice, my father—who has contributed to a forthcoming book of essays about the crowd on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s whose name I do not yet know—thinks the pot bust that sent Huntz to jail in 1948 must have endeared him to the Fabs. (Though he was exonerated, I can confirm that Huntz was a lifelong slave to the ruinous vice of marijuana abuse. He may have been a comedian, but take it from me: there is nothing funny about watching a loved one support a $2-a-day drug habit.)

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.25.2017
07:06 am
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Illustrations of films by Dario Argento, David Cronenberg, Ridley Scott & more from Cinefantastique


The cover of Cinefantastique magazine featuring an image of Asia Argento, a bunch of blood and a razor blade with a job to do. The image is based on her father’s 1996 film ‘The Stendhal Syndrome.’ Illustration by David Voigt.
 
Originally the long-running film magazine Cinefantastique was just a little fanzine that was compiled with the help of a mimeograph machine in 1967. A few years later it became a highly regarded proper magazine known for its use of lustrous photos and exhaustive critical analysis of films by a team of writers that included the founder of Video Watchdog Tim Lucas along with future Stephen King collaborator, writer, and director Mick Garris. The vision of Cinefantastique publisher and editor Frederick S. Clarke was to ensure that the magazine was a category killer when it came to its approach in the treatment of cinema, taking the art of scrutinizing a film to a new level by providing expansive articles that expertly dissected every aspect of a movie instead of churning out fluff pieces like their competitors.

Another aspect that set Cinefantastique apart was the indulgent use of color photography in its layouts and covers. In addition to the use eye-popping photos, the magazine often featured creative illustrations on the cover done by various artists such as Roger Stine, sci-fi illustrator Barclay Shaw, John Carl Schoenherr (who created the iconic cover illustration for the dust jacket art of Dune), and Andrew Probert who is best known for his colorful contributions to the 1985 film Back to the Future and 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Some of the magazine’s more memorable illustrations were done by Stine and his cover for Cinefantastique that featured a surreal image of Sissy Spacek dripping in blood in 1977 (Volume six, Number one) won the artist critical acclaim. Cinefantastique still maintains an online presence as well as offering access to their extensive back-catalog of interviews and retrospectives. Physical copies of the magazine are also pretty easy to come by. Some of the images that follow are slightly NSFW.
 

Cover by Roger Stine, 1982.
 

1981.
 

The infamous “Carrie” cover by Roger Stine, 1977.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.24.2017
11:58 am
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Reporter by day, werewolf by night: ‘Wolf Guy,’ bizarre 70s Japanese horror gem starring Sonny Chiba
05.19.2017
10:12 am
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Wolf Guy
 
On May 23rd, Arrow Video will release the wild 1975 Japanese film, Wolf Guy, on a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo set. It’ll be the home video debut of this unique motion picture, which, when it came out in the ‘70s, only appeared in Japanese theaters.

Wolf Guy stars Sonny Chiba as Akira Inugami, a reporter who also just happens to be the last of a clan of werewolves. Chiba, a celluloid legend in his home country, is most famous for the Street Fighter films, a series of martial arts flicks known for their extreme violence. Chiba super-fan Quentin Tarantino cast him as Hattori Hanzo in the Kill Bill films.
 
Sonny Chiba
 
Wolf Guy is a singular motion picture, one that incorporates an exciting variety of elements, including the supernatural, hallucinations, martial artistry, comic book superheroes, and Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia) crime dramas, as well as action, horror, film noir, and “pinky violence” films. All of these components are mixed together to create a mighty fine exploitation cinema stew. At its core, Wolf Guy is a well-paced mystery, with a theme of rebirth.
 
Singer
 
Blue and blood
 
Huh
 
In the Blu-ray/DVD booklet, included with the initial, limited run of the Arrow set, is a latter-day quote from Wolf Guy director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi:

There were all sorts of riots and demonstrations back then. I wanted to show those people a world that was even more absurd and crazy…I wish there were directors around today who could make films like these.

Me, too, sir. Me, too.
 
Hi there
 
After the jump, watch the web premiere of the opening minutes of ‘Wolf Guy.’

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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05.19.2017
10:12 am
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Amazing hand-painted movie posters by legendary Thai artist Tongdee Panumas
05.19.2017
12:11 am
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A hand-painted poster for ‘Apocalypse Now’ by legendary Thailand-based graphic designer and artist Tongdee Panumas. You can see the image above in more detail (and trust me, you want to), here.
 
Thailand-based artist Tongdee Panumas signs his posters using only his first name. Panumas is a legend when it comes to the world of hand-painted movie posters.

Until the late 1990s, film distribution companies in Thailand would routinely commission artists from their own country to hand-paint homegrown original movie posters using stills of memorable characters and scenes from the films as the basis for their renderings. During a span of three decades starting in the 1970s Tongdee churned out a seemingly impossible number of movie posters for classic American films such as Escape from New York, The Terminator, The Silence of the Lambs as well as a myriad of Thai movies, too.

Panumas’ posters are exuberant, appearing as though they could at any moment leap off the page thanks to Tongdee’s masterful use of color, composition, and realism. The artist is also adept at utilizing every inch of his canvas—such as his jaw-droppingly epic poster for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam war film masterpiece, Apocalypse Now which is pictured in all its hypnotic glory at the top of this post. In 2012, an exhibit called Eyegasm: The Art of Thai Movie Posters showcased Tongdee’s posters as well as those of another wildly talented Thai graphic artist, Somboonsuk Niyomsiri (aka “Piak Poster”) in order to help shine a light on the art form that has sadly experienced a huge decline over the last decade or so.

From what I was able to ascertain it appears that Tongdee is a rather private individual, as there is little to nothing written about him on the Internet.  According to the beautifully curated blog Film on Paper written by interaction designer Eddie Shannon, in 2016 he was able to commission Tongdee to create an exceptional poster based on the 1987 film Predator, giving nearly all creative control to the artist. The result is nothing short of fantastic. Of course, the admission for entry somewhat suggests that you too could perhaps engage the services of Tongdee to create the movie poster of your dreams. Some of the images that follow are awesomely NSFW.
 

The incredible ‘Predator’ commission done by Tongdee for Eddie Shannon in 2016.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.19.2017
12:11 am
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‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ trading cards

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A childhood passion for horror movies and Frankenstein and all things strange brought me to The Rocky Horror Show.

It all started in junior school during a family holiday to London in 1974. The usual tourist sights were fine, but I’d seen most of them before on a trip with my grandparents when I was seven. Now I was more thrilled by the buzz and noise and giant hoardings for theatrical productions and movies like Chinatown with its serpentine coils of smoke. It was such glorious advertising that first alerted me to The Rocky Horror Show.

On the side of one of those big red Routemaster buses going to Peckham or Camden or wherever, I first saw the ad for The Rocky Horror Show, featuring an androgynous woman (or was it a man?) with short hair and big hooped earrings, looked slightly askance at something just out of vision. Returning home to Scotland, I studied the weekend reviews for any more information. I soon learned this show was an award-winning musical by Richard O’Brien. It told the story of a transvestite Dr. Frank N. Furter played by Tim Curry and his plans to make a man. There was also some plot line about aliens from the transsexual planet Transylvania. It certainly sounded my kinda thing. I clipped and kept any article I chanced upon relating to Mr. Curry, or Mr. O’Brien, or The Rocky Horror Show.

One Sunday in 1975, the Observer Magazine featured a four-page color spread on the forthcoming movie version The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Under the headline “Something to Offend Everyone,” I read about Tim Curry’s upbringing as the son of a naval chaplain, his time as an actor at the Citizen’s theater in Glasgow, performing in drag for Lindsay Kemp‘s production of Jean Genet’s The Maids. Of Richard O’Brien’s time as a stuntman on Carry on Cowboy, and how he had written the musical one cold winter in an attic between acting jobs. The production started out Upstairs at the Royal Court Theater—famed for John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and kitchen sink drama—before moving to the King’s Road, where it remained until 1979. The article described the film as making comic reference to Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, 1950s American sci-fi movies, even Esther Williams’ movies, and that it was bound to upset quite a lot of people.

When The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released, the critics hated it. The public hated it, too. My high school buddies didn’t even know that it existed. Men in drag was not really the kinda thing to interest most boys my age who were mainly into soccer, Slade, and Monty Python. Anyway, we were still all too young to gain admittance to see the film as it had been given an “AA” certificate—which meant it was for those lucky kids over fourteen.

I eventually saw the film a few years later and was not disappointed. By then, I’d bought the album and worn out its cherished grooves. Still, no one I knew was even the slightest bit interested in this quirky, strange movie. Punk had arrived and Star Wars was out, and that was all that mattered.

But good art will always win out—eventually. And so it was with The Rocky Horror Picture Show when the devotion of a small group of New Yorkers made it the biggest cult musical of all time.

Over the years, I’ve picked up the occasional Rocky merchandise. Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show Scrapbook, the original cast album, the original movie poster, et cetera, et cetera, and of lastly but not necessarily least, an infuriatingly incomplete set of trading cards which you can drool over below.
 
01rhpsc.jpg
#1. Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter.
 
02rhpsc.jpg
#2. Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff.
 
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#3. Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss.
 
More ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ trading cards after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.17.2017
10:49 am
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Demons, Imps, and Fay Wray: William Mortensen’s incredible masks
05.16.2017
10:49 am
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‘Salome’ (1924).
 
A chance encounter with big shot director Cecil B. DeMille gave photographer William Mortensen his first job in Hollywood. It was the kind of lucky break that would look hokey as a plot device in a B-movie. Mortensen was working as a gardener but was soon on the set of DeMille’s King of Kings (1927), then designing voodoo masks for Lon Chaney’s movie West of Zanzibar, and then ending-up taking publicity shots and portraits of stars like Marlene Dietrich, Rudolph Valentino, and the original “It girl” Clara Bow.

Before Hollywood, Mortensen had spent his time traveling around Europe in the early 1920s soaking up all that fancy art and culture. He got hep to all the Old Masters like Goya and Rembrandt. This together with his experience of working on films made Mortensen approach photography in a wholly original way.

It was a similar kind of thing that had once happened to writer James Joyce, who had opened the first cinema in Dublin in 1908. Joyce realized traditional story-telling could not compete with movies. Why write a page describing the looks of some lantern-jawed hero when a movie could transmit such information in an instant? Movies taught Joyce to rethink literature—and so he wrote Ulysses.

Mortensen made photographs that mixed painting, drawing, theater, and movies. He manipulated the image to create something more than just a straight photographic representation. His approach was anathema to the more traditionalist photographers like Ansell Adams, who called Mortensen the “anti-Christ” for what he did to photography.

Mortensen produced beautiful, strange, often dark and Gothic, sometimes brutal, though usually erotically charged pictures. While other photographers sought realism, Mortensen used props and gowns and his own vivid imagination to enhance each picture. He went on to have some success but fell out of step with the rise of photojournalism that came out of the Second World War and was (sadly) largely forgotten by the time of his death in 1965. In more recent years, Mortensen has been rightly praised for his photographic genius. What I am intrigued by in Mortensen’s work, is his design and use of masks (including one of “scream queen” Fay Wray) in his photographic work—from which a small selection of which can be seen below.
 
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‘Masked Woman’ (1926).
 
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‘Fay Wray.’
 
More of Mortensen’s masks, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.16.2017
10:49 am
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‘Brain Damage’: The greatest movie of the 1980s about a penis-shaped, drug-pushing brain-eater?
05.12.2017
08:22 am
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Director Frank Henelotter is best known for his classic cult films Basket Case and Frankenhooker, but a lesser-known film he made between those two is his masterpiece.

That film, 1988’s Brain Damage, is truly one of the most original horror films of that decade. The psychedelic horror film centers around Brian, a young man who comes into contact with a centuries-old, penis-shaped creature named Aylmer that injects him with brain-altering chemicals (seemingly sort of a highly-addictive cross between a hallucinogen and Ecstacy) in order to use him as a host to procure victims to feed his ravenous appetite for human brains.
 

Aylmer, the parasite, speaks with his host, Brian.
 
While Brian is high on the drugs injected into the base of his skull by Aylmer, the parasite is able to use him to obtain new prey. The entire affair is absurd, bordering on campy, but never falling into the Troma-trap of being overly self-aware and intentionally “bad on purpose for yuks.”
 

Aylmer preparing to make an injection of go-juice.
 
The horror genre thrived in the 1980s, but one could divide that decade in half and see two very distinct arcs in the genre. The first half of the decade was utterly dominated by the slasher films that came in the wake of Halloween and Friday the 13th‘s success. Public interest waned a bit in these types of films by the mid-point of the ‘80s, and you began to see more comedic elements entering the horror genre for the last half of the decade.

The second half of the ‘80s gave us the humor-tinged horrors of Evil Dead 2, Re-Animator, Street Trash, and House. Freddy Krueger, one of the most horrific screen villains of all time in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street became a cornball one-liner machine in the subsequent Elm Street sequels. I’m not personally a huge fan of comedic horror, but some of them really get the formula right, and Brain Damage is one of those transcendent titles.

In fact, I’d personally rank Brain Damage right up there with Re-Animator and Street Trash as the three best, most “must-see” horror/comedy films of the 1980s.
 

Brian learns the trials and tribulations of being controlled by a centuries-old dick-shaped drug-administering brain-eater.
 
Brain Damage is a clever, witty, gory film with one of the most entertaining horror villains of all time: the wise-cracking, phallic, parasitic, singing brain-eater known as Aylmer (or also “Elmer,” as he is referred to in the film). The creature, incidentally, is voiced by beloved TV horror host, John Zacherle.
 

“Shock Theater” host, John Zacherle, voices the evil Aylmer.
 
The film is also a not-so-subtle allegory about the horrors of drug addiction with Aylmer continuously taunting Brian as he struggles to “get clean.” 

More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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05.12.2017
08:22 am
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‘Blade Runner’: The Marvel Comics adaptation

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Never trust a critic. Most of them know fuck all.

Strange as it may seem now, Ridley Scott’s movie Blade Runner received a decidedly mixed bag of notices upon its first release in June 1982. Some newspapers scribes considered Harison Ford wooden; the voice-over cliched; the storyline way too complex; the whole damn thing butt-numbingly slow and just a tad boring. One broadsheet even described the film as “science fiction pornography,” while the LA Times called it “Blade Crawler” because it moved along so slowly.

But some folks knew the film’s real worth—like Marvel Comics.

In September 1982, Marvel issued a “Super Special” comic book adaptation of Blade Runner. This was quickly followed by a two-part reissue of the comic during October and November of that year. This was when those three little words “Stan Lee presents” guaranteed a real good time and Marvel’s version of Blade Runner fulfilled that promise.

The comic was written by Archie Goodwin with artwork from Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon with Dan Green and Ralph Reese. While movies have time to develop story, plot, and character, and create their own atmosphere, comic books get six panels a page to achieve the same. Marvel’s Blade Runner managed the transposition from screen to page quite successfully. The artists picked up on some of the movie’s most iconic imagery while still managing to add their own take on the Philip K. Dick tale. Williamson offered his own (cheesy) definition of the term “Blade Runner” at the very end of the story:

Blade runner. You’re always movin’ on the edge.

What???

You can read the whole comic here. Click on images below for larger size.
 
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More from Rick Deckard , Roy Batty and co., after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.10.2017
11:19 am
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