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Steven Spielberg predicts the psycho-delic future of today in 1971’s ‘Los Angeles: A.D. 2017’!
04.20.2017
12:08 pm
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I had heard about this impossible-to-see episode of The Name of the Game—a cutting edge television show that ran for seventy-six 90-minute episodes from 1968 to 1971 on NBC—but until recently, I’d never seen it. The Name of the Game had the biggest budget of any show of its time and a very interesting concept. First of all each episode was, in effect, it’s own semi-standalone 90-minute movie. The series was one of the first of what was then known as a “wheel series.” A wheel series was mostly known as a time slot on TV that two or three different shows shared, alternating each week. With The Name of the Game‘s high concept though, this wheel was alternating between three different stars who were featured in their own episodes/movies. And what a high concept it was!

From Wikipedia:

The series was based on the 1966 television movie Fame Is the Name of the Game, which was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and stars Tony Franciosa. The Name of the Game rotated among three characters working at Howard Publications, a large magazine publishing company. Jeffrey “Jeff” Dillon (Franciosa), a crusading reporter with People magazine (before there was a real-life People magazine); Glenn Howard (Gene Barry, taking over for George Macready, who had originated the role in the earlier film), the sophisticated, well-connected publisher; and Daniel “Dan” Farrell (Robert Stack), the editor of Crime magazine. Serving as a common connection was then-newcomer Susan Saint James as Peggy Maxwell, the editorial assistant for each.

 
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Which brings us to one of the last episodes of the series, LA 2017 aka Los Angeles: AD 2017. This episode was the first long form directing assignment for 24-year-old Steven Spielberg. Written by well-known offbeat author Phillip Wylie (who wrote Gene Barry’s wild episode Love-In At Ground Zero in the first season). Wylie’s work is known to have inspired the characters of Superman, Doc Savage and even Flash Gordon (from his story that was later made into the film When Worlds Collide). In this episode, Glenn Howard is hunted down in a lethally polluted, frightening and sometimes hilarious Los Angeles of the future, where the fascist government is ruled by psychiatrists and the populace has been driven to live in underground bunkers to survive the pollution. Sounds about right, right? This was the sixteenth episode of the third season, and the cast included Barry Sullivan, Edmond O’Brien, and (in a brief cameo) Spielberg’s friend Joan Crawford.
 
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It starts out with a car crash while character Howard (Gene Barry) is seen driving through the mountains recording a memo to the President to do with an important pollution scandal story that will appear in his magazine, and ends up being a dream, which allowed the science-fiction plot to fit into the modern-day setting of the show, though in the final moments he is still contemplating what happened while driving back in his car (cue close-up shot of his tail pipes chugging out 1971 style car exhaust fumes). In the end, we see a stiff bird hanging in a tree… a close encounter of the (dead) bird kind indeed!
 
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Watching this 1971 pop culture prophecy in the actual Los Angeles of 2017 is a total mindblower. Some of it is insanely far-fetched and yet there are a few humdingers that really freak you out and make you think, the most well known being my favorite scene where we are taken into a truly “underground” club with a demented octogenarian acid rock band totally freaking out (or at least trying to):
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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04.20.2017
12:08 pm
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Pop art dreamworld: The amazing, sexy comic strip art of the 1967 film ‘The Killing Game’’
04.19.2017
09:29 am
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Undoubtedly the coolest, sexiest, and most sophisticated film about a comic book artist ever made, Alain Jessua’s 1967 Jeu de massacre is a stylized French new wave comedy that’s incredibly ahead of its time. Burnt-out comic book writer Pierre Meyrand (Jean-Pierre Cassel), and his illustrator/wife Jacqueline (sixties babe Claudine Auger), are visited in their office one day by a wealthy playboy with an overactive imagination who invites the couple to stay at his luxurious mansion in Switzerland. He quickly inspires Pierre and Jacqueline to create a new comic strip character based on him nicknamed “The Neuchatel Killer,” a womanizing bank robber who turns into a psychotic serial murderer. The line between fantasy and reality quickly gets blurred when the playboy begins living out his alter-ego’s exploits, drawing his house guests into his zany, disturbing delusions with him.

Who better to call on to illustrate Jeu de massacre‘s comic strip sequences than Belgian artist Guy Peellaert? A decade before he became famous for his rock ‘n’ roll album covers and movie posters, Peellaert was known for his psychedelic pop art which included the now legendary comic strip, Les Aventures de Jodelle, published in the controversial French magazine Hara-Kiri in 1966. For Jeu de massacre, Guy Peellaert brought the same level of groovy sex appeal to the big screen. His suave, colorful illustrations are perfectly edited into the narrative, visually punctuating the characters as they lose their grip on reality and succumb to Peellaert’s romantic pop art dreamworld.
 

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Doug Jones
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04.19.2017
09:29 am
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Bad girls behind bars: Vintage ‘women in prison’ exploitation movie posters
04.18.2017
01:45 pm
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A movie poster for the 1986 film ‘Reform School Girls’ with Wendy O. Williams, Sybil Danning and Andy Warhol pal Pat Ast (pictured prominently above).
 
The “WIP” (“women in prison”) film genre has several sub-genres ranging from nuns in prison to an interpretation favored mostly by European filmmakers who loved to include Nazis in their chick-centric prison flicks. Italy, Germany, and France put out quite a few WIP films back in the 70s and 80s, as did the U.S. of A. and the Philippines. When the first women in prison films made their way to the big screen they were more dramatically inclined. One of the very first films to tell the tale of a girl behind bars is Hold Your Man starring the profitable on-screen power couple of Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. The film is full of some pretty salacious stuff. Thankfully, this was 1933 and Hollywood films were still getting away with more on screen prior to the enforcement of rules laid out in the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 being widely adopted within the industry as it wasn’t really wasn’t policed until late in 1934. Which made a film like Hold Your Man—whose plotline involved a gorgeous blonde getting stuck behind bars while she’s knocked up with her lover’s baby—possible.

You can find WIP films in every decade but because both the 1970s and 1980s are so near and dear to my heart—and because I’d quite frankly love the opportunity to do another one of these posts—we’re going to stay put in those two consecutive decades. The genre can be pretty strange and runs anywhere from girl-heavy drama which would generally fall into the “redemption” film category to straight-up pornography. In the 1950s WIP films were heavily influenced by pulp fiction novels but it wouldn’t take long for the films to evolve (or devolve perhaps) into exploitation flicks with lots of nudity, sex, violence, rape, and notably deviant plotlines.

The popularity of the genre and its many sub-genres soared during the 70s and 80s which would bring us , Chained Heat starring teen queen Linda Blair and Wendy O. Williams’s prison warden in Reform School Girls. So now that I think I’ve given you more than a few compelling reasons to take a deep dive into this strangely complex film genre, I’ve posted a large selection of WIP movie posters that are mostly NSFW as you would expect them to be.
 

‘The Big Bird Cage’ with Pam Grier and Sid Haig
 

A German movie poster for ‘99 Women.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.18.2017
01:45 pm
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A jarringly realistic life-sized sculpture of actor Robert Shaw as ‘Quint’ from ‘Jaws’
04.18.2017
08:51 am
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A close look at Nick Marra’s uncanny sculpture of ‘Quint’ played by actor Robert Shaw in ‘Jaws.’
 
While you may not know sculptor Nick Marra’s name, you have definitely seen his work in films like The Hateful Eight, Jurrasic Park and the television series American Horror Story. Marra has been involved in the business of making things appear to be real for over two decades. While I’d be foolish to say that the artist’s life-sized sculpture of actor Robert Shaw as “Quint” from Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws is the best thing he’s ever done, I would challenge you to disagree that the likeness is so uncanny it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the real, (late) Mr. Shaw, and Marra’s sculpture of Shaw in character for his role.

Marra’s sculpture made its debut at this year’s Monsterpalooza and it almost puts his previous eerily lifelike sculpture of Yul Brynner’s animatronic character of the “Gunslinger” from the 1973 film Westworld (which was recently, and quite wonderfully reprised by actor Ed Harris in the television adaptation of the film) to shame. Sculpture is an art form I have a deep reverence for and I have many, many favorites in the field such a Mike Hill and Jordu Schell. Marra’s mirror image of Quint is so desperately spot-on that it’s rendered me at a near loss for words. I mean, Marra’s faux Quint is crushing a beer can in his right hand and it’s so authentic that you can hear the tin cracking from the force of Quint’s shark-hating hands just looking at it. In other words, the fake Quint looks so much like the real Quint that I’m not even sure if I’m the real me anymore. Though I only have two photos to show you, I have also posted a short video of the remarkably talented Marra talking about his latest work in which you can see the sculpture in all its glory after the jump…
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.18.2017
08:51 am
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Dead millionaire meth-head’s movie is a minor masterpiece
04.14.2017
10:01 am
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A couple of weeks ago I read the fascinating Guardian story about Andrew Getty — grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty — a first-time filmmaker who obsessively spent nearly 15 years in production on his directorial debut, The Evil Within, only to die at age 47 from a hemorrhaging ulcer related to a history of recreational crystal meth use.

Getty’s film was a work of passion, a psychological art-house horror film that began principal photography in 2002 but continued shooting on and off again for five years as, according to Hollywood Reporter, “Getty labored over every frame, and every element of the filmmaking, insisting on making his own unique camera rigs, and building elaborate animatronic robots and expensive sets.”

Once photography was completed, Getty worked fanatically for years in post-production, having converted one of his mansion’s many rooms into a post-production suite, until succumbing to his fatal ulcer. 

Despite being a wealthy heir to an oil fortune, Getty had sunk every bit of his money into The Evil Within—to the tune of between $4 and $6 million, according to film producer, Michael Luceri.

Upon Getty’s untimely death, Luceri completed the film which only had some coloring and editing unfinished.

The film was released with very little fanfare direct to streaming on Amazon. A DVD release shortly followed, and I quickly snatched one up the very day it was made available. I had to see this thing for myself. Any work of art that a man would spend an entire third of his life obsessing over, only to die just short of completion just HAD to be good, or at the very least, INTERESTING.
 

 
I was not disappointed in The Evil Within AT ALL. While I wouldn’t call it a perfect film, it avoids the cardinal sin of filmmaking, as described by Frank Capra: dullness. It’s certainly NOT dull. I’d hesitate to use the word “masterpiece,” in describing Getty’s vision, but I’d not hesitate to call it a “minor masterpiece.”

Despite a few instances of some less-than-stellar digital visual effects, a few imperfect performances, and the fact that the film isn’t always quite sure of what it’s trying to be (somewhere between arthouse and exploitation), the film is entirely unlike anything else out there. Though I couldn’t exactly call this a low-budget film (I mean, sure, by HOLLYWOOD standards…), it’s certainly head and shoulders above most low-budget horror, and most of the places where the film has trouble finding its footing can be overlooked as the mistakes of a first-time director. It’s really a shame Getty died before being able to make a second film, having learned from his mistakes on the first. That’s not to say that there’s a lot of mistakes in the finished product. The Guardian piece on Getty and his film was rather unkind in their assessment, comparing it to Ed Wood’s notoriously “bad” Plan 9 From Outer Space. Though I’m a huge fan of Plan 9, I think it’s unfair to lump The Evil Within into that “so bad it’s good” category. The Evil Within has some genuinely effective and jaw-droppingly disturbing imagery, a decent-enough-for-horror premise, and a memorable performance by lead actor Fred Koehler, who plays the mentally challenged hero —a performance which The Guardian unfairly panned as “an unholy fusion of A Nightmare on Elm Street and the fictitious “Simple Jack” from the showbiz satire Tropic Thunder.” Get bent, Guardian.

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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04.14.2017
10:01 am
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Frank Frazetta wasn’t all Sword & Sorcery, he painted some classic movie posters too
04.14.2017
10:01 am
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‘What’s New Pussycat?’ (1965).
 
It was a painting of Ringo Starr that changed Frank Frazetta‘s life. Frazetta was a comic strip artist contributing to EC Comics, National Comics (later known as DC Comics) and Avon Comics. He was drawing Buck Rogers, Li’l Abner, Johnny Comet and helping out on Flash Gordon. Occasionally he would supply his talents to MAD magazine. That’s how he produced a painting of Ringo Starr for a spoof shampoo ad for the magazine. The picture caught the attention of PR guys at United Artists who commissioned Frazetta to produce the poster artwork for their Peter Sellers, Peter O’Toole, Woody Allen film What’s New Pussycat? For one day’s work, Frazetta earned his annual salary. It changed his life. The success of What’s New Pussycat? led to further poster commissions for a whole slate of movies: After the Fox, The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Night They Raided Minsky’s and The Gauntlet.

The movie work led to book cover work. He painted some of the most iconic covers for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter novels. And most famously redefined Conan the Barbarian as a bulging muscled, rugged behemoth. Frank Frazetta created a whole world of these Sword and Sorcery paintings which defined the genre and became synonymous with his name.

However, I do prefer Frazetta’s movie poster artwork which beautifully captures the whole joyful spirit of the swinging sixties, before progressing towards his more recognizable style in the seventies and eighties.
 
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Frank Frazetta’s painting of Ringo Starr for MAD magazine (1964).
 
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‘What’s New Pussycat?’ (1965).
 
More fabulous Frank Frazetta movie posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.14.2017
10:01 am
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Stanley Kubrick’s last-minute alteration to the end of ‘The Shining’
04.13.2017
04:04 pm
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Stanley Kubrick’s 1979 movie adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining continues to exert unusual power over audiences, as seen in many ways, most notably the appearance of a film several years ago named Room 237 dedicated to elaborate fan notions of the movie that strayed well into conspiracy theory terrain.

Many have called attention to Kubrick’s mastery over “the uncanny” to explain the movie’s grip on us. Narrative elements (as well as geography and architecture) don’t add up, there is an excess of production skill over narrow plot points as Kubrick allowed horror tropes free rein. It’s perhaps not surprising that Kubrick himself didn’t treat the substance of the movie with great care, according to the movie’s executive producer Jan Harlan:
 

Very often crew members asked [Kubrick], “Can you explain that to me?” And he said, “I never explain anything, I don’t understand it myself. It’s a ghost film!” You can’t imagine how much fuss was made over the big golden ballroom and the big lobby and huge windows that could never have fit into the hotel [based on the] establishing shot from outside. Any child can see that. And Stanley’s explanation was, “It’s a ghost film! Forget it!” … It’s not a movie with a serious message.

 
Kubrick’s adaptation of King’s novel was notably “free” and did not adhere strictly to the text, which made for a complex screenwriting process in which the status of a great many important plot resolutions were up in the air until the very end of post-production, indeed even after the movie’s release.
 

 
Anyone who’s seen the movie will remember the ending, which transitions from a lengthy chase sequence in the snowy hedge maze to a modified zoom shot that reveals the existence of Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, in a banquet decades earlier.

But the first audiences experienced a very different ending of the movie. Between those two shots was an entire scene that Kubrick cut from the movie after audiences in New York City and Los Angeles had seen it, as Lee Unkrich of The Overlook Hotel website describes:
 

Kubrick decided to remove the scene very shortly after the U.S. opening, dispatching assistants to excise the scene from the dozens of prints showing in Los Angeles and New York City. All known copies of the scene were reportedly destroyed, although it is rumored that one surviving copy may exist.

 
In the scene, which takes place a few weeks after the final chase, Ullman, the hotel manager we meet at the start of the movie, visits Danny and Wendy in the hospital where both are recovering. The significant thing here is that audiences get a chance to see that the two of them are OK, a reassurance denied most of the people who’ve watched the movie since then. Ullman explains to Wendy that investigators have not been able to uncover the slightest evidence of anything supernatural in the hotel. Before he leaves, according to the script, Ullman tosses Danny a “yellow ball,” presumably the same ball that was rolled to him from an unseen force outside Room 237 about halfway through the movie.

Diane Johnson, who co-wrote the movie with Kubrick, recently commented: “In other words: All of this really happened, and the magic events were actual. It was just a little twist. It was easy to jettison.”

The scene was cut on a suggestion from Warners, which felt that it was too confusing. Kubrick complied with the request. Here’s Harlan’s take:
 

The tennis ball is the same thing as the photograph — it’s unexplainable. It makes Ullman now another ghost element. Was he the ghost from the very beginning? The film is complex enough because nothing is explained. That non-explaining is what was bad for the film initially. It was not a huge success. Now everybody thinks it’s the best horror film ever or whatever. But when it came out the audience expected a horror film with a resolution, with an explanation. Who is the baddie? What was going on? And they were disappointed — many of them, anyway. The fact they were left puzzled was exactly what Stanley Kubrick wanted. And when the film [screened for critics] and wasn’t well received, Warners quite rightly suggested, “It’s enough, just take [the hospital scene] out.” So Stanley did it. He’s not stubborn, especially since this is a film mainly to entertain people. But Stanley was actually very sad that he misread the audience, that he trusted the audience to live with puzzles and no answers, and that they didn’t like it.

 
Personally, I think the scene was removed because audiences hadn’t had the first ball emphasized enough for them to realize the implications of Ullman having the same ball with him (and therefore being a ghost or something). After all, Torrance spends a lot of time throwing a ball against the banquet room wall, too. That meaning implied by the ball was too weak for the requisite “Aha!” moment to register; that would have required dialogue about the ball (“But where did the ball come from, Danny?”) or perhaps repeated instances of mysterious events related to the ball, as of way of lodging it in the audience’s memory.

Less commented upon was the apparent inclusion, at least at the script stage, of a lame caption before the end credits:
 

The Overlook Hotel would survive this tragedy, as it had so many others. It is still open each year from May 20th to September 20th. It is closed for the winter.


 
I think all observers can agree that it was good that that isn’t in the surviving version…...

Here are the script pages for the deleted scene:
 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.13.2017
04:04 pm
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The opera based on Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’
04.12.2017
03:05 pm
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Last year the Minnesota Opera showcased the world premiere of a new opera based on Stephen King’s famous novel The Shining, the starting point for an unsettling adaptation by Stanley Kubrick starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. 

The operatic version was composed by Paul Moravec with a libretto by Mark Campbell. Moravec won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2004 for his work Tempest Fantasy.

The opera is an adaptation not of Kubrick’s movie but of King’s book—although the movie, firmly embedded in the minds of virtually everyone in the audience, will surely have an effect. As an example, the famous words “Here’s Johnny!,” shouted by Nicholson’s Jack Torrance in a moment of frenzy, is not in the novel and thus does not appear in the opera either. King has never had any affection for Kubrick’s version of his novel, so it’s noteworthy that the prolific author “maintained libretto approval and gave Campbell the green light 24 hours after receiving the final version.”

The Shining capped off the Minnesota Opera’s 2015-2016 season, with the premiere taking place on May 7, 2016.

The reviews have been respectful to more than respectful. In the magazine Opera News, Joshua Rosenblum was effusive about the production, saying that “Moravec proves to be a masterful musical dramatist.” He added that “Brian Mulligan does the seemingly impossible—he actually makes you forget Jack Nicholson” and that “watching Vega’s Danny step slowly toward the bathtub with the drawn curtain in the forbidden room 217 was as riveting as anything I’ve ever seen in a theater. “

Fun fact: Rosenblum did not mistype Room 237, nor did the librettist commit a flub—in King’s novel the locus of dread is actually Room 217.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.12.2017
03:05 pm
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Topless crocheted finger puppets of Tura Satana, Wendy O. Williams, Siouxsie Sioux & other bad girls
04.12.2017
06:23 am
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A shot of a crocheted Tura Satana finger puppet (in the image of Tura’s character from the 1968 film ‘The Astro-Zombies’ playing behind her on the television) by Galen Djuna Green.
 
So I have some good news and some bad news about the strange, crocheted little finger puppets in this post made by artist Galen Djuna Green. The good news is that as recently as last year Green was offering her topless finger puppets for sale on her Etsy page Galendjuna Knitty Titties. So what’s the bad news? Well, there aren’t any up for sale currently on the page. Which is really sad as Green’s naughty knitted bad girls are rather covetable.

I will say this—since the Knitty Titties page is still active that *may* indicate that Green is still taking orders for past designs or new custom requests. Which I really hope is the case as some of her past finger puppets include Siouxsie Sioux, Wendy O. Williams, Kembra Pfahler (The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black), a few fantastic drag queens and an uncanny likeness of Tura Satana based on her “Satana” character from the 1968 film The Astro-Zombies (pictured at the top of this post). Tiny Tura’s little pink top even comes off! I’ve posted a number of images below of Green’s puppets which while small, clearly have big attitudes. They are also very NSWF much like the ladies they are based on themselves.
 

 

 

Wendy O. Williams.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.12.2017
06:23 am
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‘Jigoku’: The brilliantly grim Japanese horror film about Hell
04.11.2017
07:37 am
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A promotional image for the Japanese horror film ‘Jigoku’ from 1960.
 
Also known under its alternate title of “The Sinners of Hell,” Jigoku was directed by Nakagawa Nobuo. An idiosyncratic man who was often referred to as “the Alfred Hitchcock of Japan,” Nobuo was known for wearing traditional wooden Japanese footwear (or getas) which are supported by horizontal platform wooden slabs on the soles, around the set of the film, which while a bit strange paled in comparison to the terrifying, gory and very weird things that happened on screen.

Jigoku takes a cue from the real life murder case of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. The pair were two rich white college students who murdered a fourteen-year-old boy after planning what they referred to as “the perfect crime” for months. The case was also used as a plotline for both Hitchcock’s 1948 film Rope and Richard Fleischer’s 1959 film Compulsion starring Orson Wells and Dean Stockwell. Though the title of the film seems somewhat straightforward, it is anything but. At its heart, it is a sordid tale of guilt and remorse and how our actions in life may well be predictors for what will be waiting for us once we’ve passed into the great beyond. Nobuo’s narrative also follows along with the various regions and consequences associated with the multiple levels of the Japanese conception of Hell, which is an incredibly complex topic to try to explain on its own. One of the reasons I love this movie so much is the fact that it plays out much like a classic horror film. You know, bad things happening to bad people after they do bad things. There’s even a scene that had me recalling one of my favorite horror films, 1980’s grossly unappreciated Motel Hell. Other Japanese horror films that would also take notes from Nobuo’s Jigoku include the 2002 film Ju-On: The Grudge.

Jigoku was the ninth film in a series by Nobuo with Shintoho, one of the largest film studios in Japan. Shintoho’s primary source of revenue was producing genre specific exploitation films. In a strange twist, the studio found itself almost completely broke during the filming. Although shooting was expedited to help cut costs, some of the actors were actually enlisted—or forced—to dig holes on the set for themselves (!) for an unsettling scene that will stick with you like the fake, red gore that gets slung around throughout the film. By the time Jigoku was released, Shintoho had gone bankrupt. This fantastically gross and frightening film was the subject of a great documentary from 2006 titled Building the Inferno: Nobuo Nakagawa and the Making of ‘Jigoku’ which I highly recommend you seek out after first successfully seeking out Jigoku. I’ve included a number of remarkable stills from the film below. Pretty much all of them are NSFW. YAY!
 

 

 

Remember those holes that the actors had to dig for themselves on the set of ‘Jijoku?’ Here’s one of them with the actor inside having his makeup done.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.11.2017
07:37 am
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