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Awesome Psychotronic Video magazine covers
12:47 pm


Psychotronic Video

Does watching scary B-movies from the 1950s heighten your design skills? Improve your acuity to color? Based on these brain-melting covers of Psychotronic Video alone, I’d have to say there’s a distinct possibility.

Of course, it may just be that Psychotronic editor Michael J. Weldon is a fucking badass, that’s probably what’s really going on here. If you aren’t familiar with the Psychotronic cinema ethos, get yourself a copy of one of their books and don’t look back.

After issue 18 a bar code is present on the cover, which is unfortunate, but with images these profoundly enjoyable, it scarcely matters. (If you click on some of the images, you’ll be able to see a larger version.) 



Plenty more Psychotronic Video covers after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Collect ‘em all: Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, Grandma Moses play ball in ‘Artball Trading Cards’
10:32 am


Don Celender
baseball cards

If you’re like me, either you do this or you have friends who do this, dismiss any athletics-related topic by—eyeroll optional—relegating it to the category of sportball or sportsball, I’ve seen both used. Artist Don Celender was touching on something vaguely similar when he produced his endlessly amusing Artball Trading Cards project in 1971.

James Rosenquist, Tight End
The more I hear about Celender, of whom I had never heard before a few days ago, the more I like him. He unfortunately died in 2005 at the age of 73. He was a native of Pittsburgh and received art-related degrees from two esteemed local schools, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh; he taught at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here’s a section of his NY Times obit—I like absolutely everything about this:

In 1969, with Conceptual Art gaining steam, Mr. Celender began a series of letter-writing campaigns that spoofed the movement while spreading its ideas and gathering interesting information. With his Cultural Art Movement he sent outlandish proposals to 25 museum directors, suggesting for example that Sherman Lee, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, drop by parachute 1,000 works of Asian art from the museum’s collection, one at a time, onto the state of Alabama. Mr. Lee replied that since art was in the mind of the beholder, he had “mentally performed” Mr. Celender’s idea.

In subsequent works, Mr. Celender surveyed film directors, prison wardens, labor leaders, religious figures, travel agents, celebrities and famous chefs about their art preferences. He also produced a series of baseball cards using artists’ faces.

He was kind of the thinking person’s Ted L. Nancy of his day, if that reference means anything to anyone. But far from the nut that that description implies, he appears to have been a gentle satirist of the art world while playing fully within the art world’s rules.

On those “surveys” of various types of people on their art preferences, you can look at an example here, namely an “ART PREFERENCE SURVEY OF SOAP OPERA ACTORS/ACTRESSES” (in the example, Guiding Light actor Jerry ver Dorn says he favors M.C. Escher).

The playing cards constitute irresistible eye candy for baseball fans of a certain type—I am certainly one of the clan. I badly want to hold and touch these little scraps of silly cardboard. There isn’t that much information out there on the cards, it seems; it was difficult scraping together the visual evidence I was able to gather for this post (if anyone has or finds more images of the cards, please let us know). If you’re lucky you can find a set on eBay for about $50.

The cards seem to vary significantly, to the point that any sentence written about them risks being inaccurate. For some of the cards, Celender seems to have been used the metaphor of regular playing card, as in the “James Rosenquist, Tight End” card pictured above, whereas others seem entirely made from scratch—rather than deface actual baseball cards, Celender appears to have made mini-collages of baseball players and superimposed the black-and-white face of an artist over the player’s face, and then added a fakey baseball team name like “METZ” or “CENATORS” (for those who disdain sportsball, the Washington Senators were a baseball franchise from 1901 to 1960 before becoming the Minnesota Twins, and then, weirdly, from 1961 to 1972 before becoming the Texas Rangers; the Mets currently play in New York City). On the back would be a “highlight” from that artist’s career. You can see the method here, using Jean Dubuffet‘s “The Gypsy” and Thomas Hart Benson‘s “July Hay.”

I believe there were five sets of cards. For completeness’ sake, here are the artists represented in each set, culled from the listings at specific object:

Set 1: Josef Albers, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Robert Morris, Richard Pousette-Dart, Franz Kline, Jean Dubuffet, Georges Roualt, Leo Castelli, Isamu Noguchi, Anthony Caro, Vincent van Gogh, Marisol, Gerald Clarke, Bernhard Berenson, Albert P. Ryder, Fernand Leger, Horace Pippin, Paul Jenkins

Set 2: Helen Frankenthaler, George Luks, Hans Hofmann, Georges Braque, Victor Vasarely, Marc Chagall, Martha Jackson, Henry Moore, Richard Lippold, Raoul Dufy, Alfred H. Barr Jr., David Smith, Bradley Walker Tomlin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pavel Tchelitchew, Grandma Moses, Arthur B. Davies, Albert Alexander Smith, Tony Smith, Allan Appel, J. Carter Brown

Set 3: Robert Rauschenberg, William Glackens, Tom Wesselmann, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Thomas Hart Benton, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Adolph Gottlieb, Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Tanguy, Ivan Karp, Donald Judd, Larry Rivers, Thomas Eakins, Willem de Kooning, George Segal, Grace Hartigan, Jackson Pollock, Robert Henri, John Marin

Set 4: John Chamberlain, Henri Rousseau, Hans Hartung, Ibram Lassaw, Ozenfant, John Goodrich, Hilton Kramer, Ray Johnson, Roy Lichtenstein, Jacques Lipchitz, Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, Peggy Guggenheim, Bridget Riley, Matta, Rufino Tamayo, Piet Mondrian, Andrew Wyeth, Everett Shinn, Richard Lindner

Set 5: Jasper Johns, Piet Mondrian, Dan Flavin, Thomas B. Hess, Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso, Patrick Caulfield, Claes Oldenburg, Alexander Liberman, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Ossip Zadkine, Pierre Soulages, Charles Burchfield, Clyfford Still, Allan Kaprow, Sidney Janis, Dorothy C. Miller, Sam Francis

Here are a couple more images (if you are diligent in your searches you can find more out there; this isn’t a bad starting point) and a stimulating Vine:

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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New York City 1977 is a living, breathing thing in Chantal Akerman’s ‘News from Home’
08:32 am


Chantal Akerman
News From Home

I wrote about Chantal Akerman’s News From Home a few years ago on Dangerous Minds. With a recent high definition upload of the film to YouTube, I thought I’d take the opportunity to re-share this urban dream of a movie.

The films of Chantal Akerman are meditations on space, interior and exterior, and the emptiness within the clutter of both. There is a sense of alienation and distance in her films that can be chilly and desolate. The camera moored to the urbanscapes and architecture she sets her eye upon. Her art records the simple drama that exists in the day to day rhythm of life as lived, rarely pumped up by any narrative or cinematic gimmickry. Under the steady gaze of the camera the ordinary can be quite magical. 

In Akerman’s News From Home , the main character is New York in the rough and tumble ‘70s. Akerman, a young woman alone in the city during perilous times, uses the camera as a means of dealing with a new and alien reality.  As Akerman reads from letters sent from Belgium written by her concerned mother, we watch Manhattan in constant movement, a living, breathing thing. Among the people, buildings, automobiles and streets of the city, there is the quiet, lonely, soul who observes and feels apart from it all - watching detached, without engagement but great curiosity. The letters create an intimacy that contrasts profoundly with the coolness of the imagery.

Shot in 1977, News From Home, captures New York at a time when many artists, like Akerman, were coming to the city to tap into the energy and to be challenged by the prospects of living in the belly of the beast. It was a wonderful time, but it was also a dark time. In these images, you see a city on the cusp of transformation…for the good and the bad. From a purely historical point of view, to see 90 uninterrupted minutes of Manhattan in the mid-70s is a treat for my eyes. Rich with memories. This is the New York that informed revolutions in popular arts and spawned the arrival of punk culture.

Click the option to watch it in high definition, the clarity is stunning.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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The eye-popping, beautifully surreal collages of Eugenia Loli
02:44 pm


Eugenia Loli

Lovers and Flowers
With a keen eye for color and composition, California collage artist Eugenia Loli crafts marvelously bizarre juxtapositions resulting in vibrant, beautiful, and weird images. I cannot recommend checking out Loli’s Tumblr archive  enough. There’s so much eye candy in the galleries that you’re sure to find yourself getting lost there for quite a while. And if you’re not satisfied with digital gawking, you can buy a variety of tangible items including prints, shower curtains and even bedspreads from Loli’s online store.

From Loli’s “About the Artist” page on Tumblr:

Q: Do you have an artist’s statement?

A: “Eugenia Loli originated in the technology sector, but she left that impersonal world behind in order to build new, exciting worlds via her art. Her collages, with the help of the title, often include a teasing, visual narrative, as if they’re still frames of a surreal movie. The viewers are invited to make up the movie’s plot in their mind.”

Q: How do you make your collages?

A: I start by finding a “base” image, and then I sort of build around it. Sometimes I have a concrete idea of what I want to do, and sometimes I leave the images to fit together by themselves. Sometimes, after a lot of juxtaposing, the “base” image might not even be part of the final collage. Most of the time, I try to “say” something important via my art, but other times it’s just about doodling.

Q: What are your influences?

A: I got into collage because I loved Julien Pacaud’s illustrations, but it was Kieron “Cur3es” Cropper who became my main influence. The guy’s a genius. Bryan “Glass Planet” Olson and David Delruelle are also influences of mine. From the older artists, I’d have to say, Magritte. However, I collage on many different styles: from “pop” to dada, and from modern illustrations to traditional surrealism. I don’t believe that artists should “find their style”. That’s artistic death. If I have a style, it’s probably some “meta” aspect of it (e.g. the sarcasm that I usually employ in my collages), rather than something visual.

The images below are my attempt at an adequate overview of Loli’s work. There are literally hundreds more where these came from, some in the form of animated GIFs and often downloadable in full resolution. The titles are the artist’s. The last image is animated and really great!
The Jump Loli
“The Jump”
Triumph of the Spectacle Loli
“Triumph of the Spectacle”
More after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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How Brian Eno managed to piss in Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal, 1990
09:50 am


Brian Eno
Marcel Duchamp

Brian Eno lecturing at MoMA on Duchamp’s “Fountain,” October 23, 1990
This stimulating interview with Brian Eno was conducted in 1993 by Israeli industrial designer and architect Ron Arad for the TV show Rencontre/Begegnung on the bilingual Euro TV arts channel Arte.

In the interview Eno confesses that “Roxy Music was an aberration in my life” and also intriguingly asserts that he has never owned a copy of the Velvet Underground’s third album because he does not want to spoil it by overplaying it. But the most startling portion of the interview comes towards the end, when he describes an illicit art adventure he experienced three years earlier, in 1990, when he decided to pee in Marcel Duchamp’s famous “ready-made” from 1917, a urinal with the title “Fountain” bestowed upon it.

Eno explains the importance of “Fountain” quite well when he says that it represented “a new idea in art,” that “the artist was not necessarily somebody who made something but somebody who recognized something, somebody who created an art experience by naming it as such.” Then Eno eases into his narrative: “This readymade was on show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I was due to give a lecture there called ‘High Art/Low Art.’ … There it was, sitting in the museum.” After mentioning that he had already seen “Fountain” at the Sao Paulo Biennale in the 1980s as well as in London in the 1970s, he gets to the meat of his protest:

And I thought, how ridiculous that this particular … pisspot gets carried around the world at—it costs about thirty or forty thousand dollars to insure it every time it travels. I thought, How absolutely stupid, the whole message of this work is, “You can take any object and put it in a gallery.” It doesn’t have to be that one, that’s losing the point completely. And this seemed to me an example of the art world once again covering itself by drawing a fence around that thing, saying, “This isn’t just any ordinary piss pot, this is THE one, the special one, the one that is worth all this money.”

So I thought, somebody should piss in that thing, to sort of bring it back to where it belonged. So I decided it had to be me.

In the video he then goes on to describe in great detail exactly how he managed to pee on the urinal. The date of this series of events was October 23, 1990. Eno wrote about this episode in his 1996 book A Year With Swollen Appendices. Here’s his account from that book (the story in the video is very similar):

…each time it was shown it was more heavily defended. At MoMA it was being shown behind glass, in a large display case. There was, however, a narrow slit between the two front sheets of glass. It was about three-sixteenths of an inch wide.

I went to the plumber’s on the corner [New Yorkers might wonder what “plumber” has a retail presence on the intersection of 53rd and 5th Avenue?] and obtained a couple of feet of clear plastic tubing of that thickness, along with a similar length of galvanized wire. Back in my hotel room, I inserted the wire down to the tubing to stiffen it. Then I urinated into the sink and, using the tube as a pipette, managed to fill it with urine. I then inserted the whole apparatus down my trouser-leg and returned to the museum, keeping my thumb over the top end so as to ensure that the urine stayed in the tube.

At the museum, I positioned myself before the display case, concentrating intensely on its contents. There was a guard standing behind me and about 12 feet away. I opened my fly and slipped out the tube, feeding it carefully through the slot in the glass. It was a perfect fit, and slid in quite easily until its end was positioned above the famous john. I released my thumb, and a small but distinct trickle of my urine splashed on to the work of art.

That evening I used this incident, illustrated with several diagrams showing from all angles exactly how it had been achieved, as the basis of my talk. Since “decommodification” wwas one of the buzzwords of the day, I described my action as “re-commode-ification.”

To my ear, this story has the strong whiff of bullshit about it, but as far as I know it has not been debunked—presumably, the guards or an art expert would have been able to verify at the time whether such a thing had happened. I would very much like to see those “diagrams” showing how he did it.

Paul Ingram implies that Eno was working as part of a group of similarly minded activists, which if true Eno’s two accounts certainly obscures: “In the last decade of the twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain [1917] was the subject of a series of interventions by artists who each attempted, more or less successfully, to urinate in it: Brian Eno at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1990; Kendell Geers at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 1993; Pierre Pinocelli at the Carré d’Art in Nîmes in 1993; Björn Kjelltoft at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1999; and Cai Yuan and Jian Jun Xi at the Tate Modern in London in 2000.”


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Jesus, low riders, Unicorns & Mickey Mouse: the fascinating world of Chicano prison handkerchief art
08:03 am



I’m always impressed by the human ability and impulse to create art, even under the most dire of conditions, and it’s difficult to imagine a artistically repressive environment than the U.S. prison system. I’m actually kind of baffled I’d never heard of paños, the Chicano handkerchief prison art curated here by Reno Leplat-Torti, a Marseilles artists who began collecting them from the Internet just a few years ago. The diversity in style and iconography is fascinating; from ethnic (bullfights and Aztec imagery) to heavy metal demons to pin-up pulp—-even hankies clearly produced for children, the work is incredibly intimate and complex. A brief history from Leplat-Torti’s site:

The art of paño, diminutive of pañuelo ( «handkerchief» in Spanish), marginal folk art, appeared during the 40’s in the prisons of Texas, California and New Mexico. Some fans believe that their origins in the French prison system set up in Mexico after the revolution of 1910. The detainees, usually from Hispanic origin, most of them illiterate, invent their own system of communication with the outside.

On simple regulatory handkerchiefs assigned by the prison administration, they draw in pen with the recovered ink, wax or coffee. Thereafter, in the states of south-western United States this practice becomes a kind of prison traditional art and spreads to the rest of the country.

The Reno-Leplat Torti Collection now boasts over 200 paños, and a genre previously rarely seen by anyone but Chicano prisoners and their families has now been featured in galleries in Milan, Copenhagen and Paris. Torti is currently working on a documentary on the subject.


More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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There are Andy Warhol Chuck Taylors now
07:09 am


Andy Warhol
Chuck Taylor

The Chuck Taylor All-Star is an iconic American shoe that comes pre-loaded with rebel cache, so it’s kind of astonishing that Andy Warhol never made a series of drawings or screen prints celebrating it—at least none I’ve been able to find, and the man drew PLENTY of shoes. But though Warhol is no longer with us, the Warhol Foundation and Converse have teamed up to do the inverse, and now you can get Chucks emblazoned with iconic Warhol works for $70-$90 a pair. (Indulge me in an alter-kaker moment—these used to be such an attractive sartorial option not just because they look perfectly timeless, but because they were cheap as dirt. Nike took over the Converse company in 2003, and suddenly the simple canvas wonders cost as much as any sneaker. Also: sweatshops!) My favorite pair, the Black Bean Soup high top, is a bit cheaper on Amazon, so I’m fairly tempted, as my current pair of Chucks is starting to fall apart. Though they may still have a decent year left in them—like blue jeans and concert tees, I’ve always felt like Chucks looked all the cooler once they got to be a bit thrashed.





via Tasting Table

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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What is Art: Ed Ruscha’s mysterious fake rock sculpture that no one can see
12:40 pm


Ed Ruscha
Pierre Bismuth

What is an artwork that no one can see? That’s the question French conceptual artist Pierre Bismuth asked himself ten years ago after finding out about an obscure artwork by Ed Ruscha—a fake rock placed somewhere in the Mojave desert at the end of the seventies and apparently left there. Ruscha was filmed making and depositing the piece, named “Rocky II” (after the Sylvester Stallone movie) for a 1980 BBC documentary—the only definitive proof that it ever even existed. Bismuth was so captivated by this idea that he determined to find Rocky II, and make a documentary about his search—Bismuth describes it as a “fake fiction.”

Via The Guardian:

The closer he got to Ruscha, the more he was “met with a weird silence.” Eventually, he realised he would have to confront the artist himself. So, posing as a journalist with a camera crew in tow, he attended the press conference for the Ruscha retrospective at London’s Hayward Gallery in 2009. There he “aggressively” posed the question: “Where is Rocky number two?” Footage of Ruscha’s reaction, clearly caught off guard but amused, opens Bismuth’s film. While acknowledging the artwork’s existence, he declined to reveal its location, wishing Bismuth “good luck” in his search.


Being the man who devised the original storyline for the Michel Gondry film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—for which he won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay—Bismuth didn’t go about making his film in the most straight-forward way, applying the same Möbius strip logic in his search. Bismuth hired an ex-LAPD homicide detective, turned P.I., named Michael Scott to hunt for the piece and two Hollywood screenwriters – D.V. DeVincentis (writer of cult movie Grosse Point Blank and Stephen Frears’ High Fidelity) and Anthony Peckham (Clint Eastwood’s Invictus and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes) – to write a short film about the rock. The idea being, Bismuth says, that both are essentially engaged in the same process:

“The private investigator, in order to find the truth, will develop some crazy theories that turn out to be, in the end, totally fictional. And the screenwriter, in order to create fiction, has to start from real fact. I thought it was interesting the way they go in opposite directions and probably cross in the middle.”

Although 90% complete, the project has launched a crowdfunding site to fund the filming of the short scripted by DeVincentis and Peckham that takes the form of an interactive treasure hunt for Rocky II.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Art installation pairs prog rockers Van der Graaf Generator with a 220-million-year-old fossil

A story at TeamRock alerted me to artist Vladislav Shabalin’s latest work, a collaboration with Peter Hammill’s mighty prog band Van der Graaf Generator. The Earlybird Project, now on display in Thailand’s Bantak Petrified Forest Park, combines a 220-million-year-old fossilized tree trunk (a specimen of Araucarioxylon arizonicum, the state fossil of Arizona) with birdhouses that play Van der Graaf’s song “Earlybird.”

Previously, Shabalin collaborated with Diamanda Galás on a 2011 sound installation called Aquarium. A dissident artist in the former Soviet Union, Shabalin’s work got him diagnosed schizophrenic and committed to a Soviet psychiatric hospital. He writes that he bought his freedom from the hospital and its regimen of electroshock therapy by bribing his doctor with his collection of forbidden Led Zeppelin LPs, procured at great expense on the black market. In 1988, after his “rehabilitation,” Shabalin founded a space called Avantgarde, which his bio says was “the first exhibition center in the USSR devoted to unofficial art.”

Shabalin has posted the following description of the Earlybird Project installation at his website

The EARLYBIRD PROJECT: a work in progress

For a long time I’ve worked as a restorer of fossils, which gives me the opportunity to use some fossils for my art. Several works of mine relate to environmental issues, pollution, exploitation of the land, climate changes, forced migration.

Some time ago, I restored a fossil tree trunk from Arizona dating back to the Triassic (220 million years ago approx.). It is 7 meters long and weighs 2,200 kilos. The petrified wood is a spectacle of colours.

The idea of a sound installation came to my mind when I remembered “Earlybird”, from Van Der Graaf Generator’s album Alt. On the inner cover of the cd there is a note on this particular track: “The earlybird you hear here is of course, not from rural Cornwall but the heart of Camden, the morning idyll shortly to be shattered not by frolicking swallows, but by groaning refuse trucks and the curses of itinerant blackheads.” I had met Peter Hammill before, so I decided to contact him and, through him, the other members of the band, Guy Evans and Hugh Banton. The three of them have willingly accepted to collaborate on the Earlybird Project.

The main element of the installation is the fossil tree, to which I have attached 3 birdhouses that I made using exclusively stone with traces of fossils. Small loudspeakers have been placed inside each of them to replay “Earlybird”.

The installation is a huge still life representing a natural world that no longer exists. Everything in it is “artificial”: the trunk is no longer wood but stone, the birdhouses are petrified, too, and could never be used as real birdhouses, and the birdsong is a recorded music track. The trunk is also a fetish to which we give a great economic value. We devote much labour and care to its restoration, in sharp contrast to the careless relationship that we have with the trees (flora) and the birds (fauna) that live here and now.

Some videos will be also included. I’m currently checking with the film archive La Cineteca del Friuli the possibility of using 3 particularly significant excerpts from Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Offret (The Sacrifice). Also, I have made 6 more birdhouses, some of which have already been shipped in different parts of the world. The plan is to complete the installation with 6 videos: 3 shot in big cities and 3 shot in important parks – in Asia, Europe and America – with remains of fossil trees in the open air.

A note about the recurrence of the number 3: I have chosen the “perfect number” (which is also the number of the members of the VdGG) for the high symbolic value it has in almost all civilizations, eras and religions: the cosmic totality of the Chinese (Heaven, Earth, Man), the divine triads in Christianity and Hinduism, and so on. Environmental destruction goes hand in hand with the contempt of our ancestors’ history and legacy.

The Earlybird Project should be first exhibited in Venice, a city built on stilts – houses “attached” to tree trunks – and which has a particularly delicate environmental balance.

The short video clip below, from Shabalin’s website, shows the artist arranging the fossilized trunk and the singing birdhouses.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Terry Gilliam’s title sequence for ‘Cry of the Banshee’ (with Vincent Price) 1970
11:22 am


Terry Gilliam
Monty Python
horror movies

Less than a year after the premiere of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on BBC, Terry Gilliam’s credit sequence for Gordon Hessler’s Cry of the Banshee was also presented to the world. For those of us who are more likely to think of a fleshy foot or perhaps “Conrad Poohs and His Dancing Teeth” as typical of Gilliam’s well-known cutout technique might be surprised to see it used to such different effect.

Cry of the Banshee was the second of three movies Hessler would make with Vincent Price in a span of two years; the others were The Oblong Box and Scream and Scream Again.

Among other things this represents Gilliam’s first-ever credit on a feature film, at least I could find nothing earlier on IMDb.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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