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‘The 10th Victim’: Violent, campy 1965 battle of the sexes satirizes reality TV decades in advance


 
For reasons I cannot fully articulate, even to myself, one of my favorite things ever in life is the (relatively) little-known 1965 French-Italian film, The 10th Victim (La decima vittima) starring Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni and directed by Elio Petri. I have movie posters, lobby cards and various pulp paperback books with different great covers (Part of my fascination with the film, obviously, has to do with Ursula Andress—at the absolute height of her considerable beauty here—that much I do know…)
 

 
The plot (clearly the “inspiration” for The Running Man) revolves around the reality show assassins of “The Big Hunt,” a wildly popular futuristic TV spectacle sponsored by the Ming Tea Company of Japan. For five hunts you are the killer, for five hunts the victim.
 

 
To win the tournament, the assassins must complete ten kills, but they never know if they are the hunter or the victim. The Andress character’s kills are elaborate—one of them was even ripped-off for an Austin Powers movie—and she becomes the most popular of the contestants. Her kills are used as TV advertisements for the Ming Tea Company and she wants her tenth killer to be a spectacular one.
 

 
Next up is Mastroianni’s character, Polletti… or is he? You can’t kill the wrong victim, you see, or else you lose.
 

 
You can’t kill the wrong killer in preemptive self-defense, either, or else you lose. What if she is to be his victim? Neither of them know for sure, so of course they have an affair!
 

 
The SpyVibe blog calls The 10th Victim a “cocktail of groovy music, op art, pop art, space-age fashion, and modern design.” It’s not even that The 10th Victim is all that good of a film (say, a “six” out of a possible “ten”) but man does it LOOK GREAT. If you’re into things like Danger Diabolik, Fathom, Modesty Blaise or the “Matt Helm” or “Flint” movies, this might be for you. Although not an over the top “funny ha ha” kind of comedy, The 10th Victim is a fun, campy feast for the eyes that was a decades-before-its-time satire of reality TV and our violence-obsessed mass media.

You could also see it was an elaborate metaphor for male-female relationships and the battle of the sexes. I’m pretty sure that part was intentional, especially when Marcello’s mistress helps Ursula’s character—who is fucking him—to stalk her philandering lover. How dare he three-time her!
 

 
The soundtrack to The 10th Victim was one of my “Holy Grail” records for many years before I was generously gifted with a copy by Pizzicato 5‘s Yasuharu Konishi when I was visiting Tokyo back in 1994. The score by Piero Piccioni is one of my favorite film scores of all time, consisting as it does of an incessantly repeated loopy organ motif and “la la la la” scat singing by the great Italian singer Mina. Piccioni thought this would sound like jazz in the future. I think the maestro was right:
 

 

 
Below, the original trailer for The 10th Victim.
 

 
The entire film is online at Daily Motion. Blue Underground have released The 10th Victim on Blu-ray which is the way you really want to want this puppy…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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When Wendy O. Williams guest-starred in an episode of ‘MacGyver’
07.28.2014
02:38 pm

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Here’s something I didn’t know about: that time when Wendy O. Williams guest starred on MacGyver!? The episode aired on November 5th, 1990. You see Wendy wielding around a gun and in an ice skating rink getting an ass whooping by a nun played by none other than Richie Cunningham’s mom of Happy Days, Marion Ross. 

Added footage in this video includes scenes from the 1989 film Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog. Someone who claims to have worked on the film chimed in the YouTube comments and had this to say:

i was a camera assistant on the movie Pucker Up…fun moments with Wendy O. Curiously enough she did not know how to ride a motorcycle so she was “pushed” into the shot from off camera. The hallway whipping scenes were 90% improv…was intense being in there.

 

 
via Cherrybombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Homeless street kid is ‘math genius of Dapitan’
07.28.2014
12:31 pm

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
children
UNICEF
mathematics

stretkidgenius.jpg
 
A homeless child on the streets of Dapitan city in the Philippines entertains tourists with his genius for math. The Philippines is the 39th richest economy in the world, with a gross domestic product (nominal) of $272, 207 billion. Yet kids as talented as Gerald are living on the streets.

Gerald is nicknamed “Boy Square Root,” which will become apparent from this video taken by Chelsea Mae S. Luzanta from Antipolo in the Philippines, who is a student at the University of Santo Tomas.

Who knows what the full story is, but taken as reported, then Gerald should be at school, should be enjoying his childhood, not having to hustle to survive. Support UNICEF’s children’s campaigns here.
 

 
Via Arbroath

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Fancy Dress Balls’: Get a load of this Victorian-era cosplay
07.28.2014
11:41 am

Topics:
Fashion
History

Tags:
costumes


 
As someone who used to be a costume designer, I find these images of Victorians in their finest costume threads intriguing. I have to admire all the tailoring and all the hard work that went into costumes and extravagant gowns/suits. These outfits put any Halloween or Comic-Con creation to shame. Okay, maybe not all Comic-Con cosplay, there were some out-of-this-world creations spotted in San Diego this year.

But damn! The Victorians knew how do it!


 

 

 

 

 
More images after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Evil’: Aliens, synchronicity and world peace, the world catches up to the outsider sounds of Konrad
07.28.2014
10:14 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
outsider music
Konrad


 
As for who discovered Konrad, I believe that honor belongs to Mike Ascherman, one of the mostly east coast vinyl collectors who coalesced around their interest in psych records in the early 1980s, gradually expanding the search to embrace all manner of private press and outsider music, psychedelic or otherwise. These were the gold rush days, the early recognition of the primacy of the handmade in records, the handmade cover, the home recorded blast from the fringe.

Without a doubt, psychedelics lend themselves to an atemporal, long view of art. That is to say, taking mushrooms can only improve one’s chances of discovering, ahead of its time, music with something resembling the clarity of hindsight.

The appeal of outsider music seems obvious in retrospect, but hardly anyone in the Reagan era knew or cared about the thing we now call “private press.” The term for artist-financed records made outside the label system for most of the 20th century says it all—in those days it was called a “vanity pressing.”

It wasn’t vanity that compelled Konrad to make his 1982 album Evil, which manages to blend cosmic grandiosity and working class sympathies in equal measure. Konrad ends the record with an plea for world peace sung from outer space, and clearly wants the world to listen to what he has to say, but you never get the sense he actually expects that to happen. He comes off less as an ego tripper than as someone with an impossibly large heart, almost childlike. Once you get past the cover, there’s absolutely nothing menacing about Evil.
 

 
Sometime around 1987, Ascherman found a copy and decided to investigate. He wrote about it in the comments section of a post about Evil at the present day mafioso collector website Waxidermy.

The copy I found in a local NYC store had a business card for the label inserted under the shrink wrap.

I called and spoke to the label owner, Barry Konarik. He was friendly and spoke at length about Konrad’s music, though he told me no personal info about the man. He never really talked about the lyrics, but only about how Konrad was making dance music… To that point, he had only released Konrad’s music (the LP + 2 45s), but waxed poetic about a forthcoming cassette-only release, an album by a nephew of Jim Morrison. He didn’t divulge the nephew’s name or any other info except that it was to be an album of dance music.

It seemed that our conversation always led back to dance music. No info about who Konrad was, why he was dressed in satanic-looking robes or what any of the lyrics meant. Just it was about dance music.

As we wound down, I ordered a box of the LPs and a few of the 45s. At the agreed upon time, a man showed up carrying a box. I asked if he was Barry. He said there was a picture of Barry in the box. The only picture in the box was the photo of Konrad on the cover.

 

 
It would be two decades before anyone else contacted Barry Konarik about his music. No one knew where he was. Aside from Ascherman no one even knew his real name. Enjoy The Experience author Johan Kugelberg obtained a copy from Ascherman in the early 90s and played it for anyone who would listen. Interest snowballed, with copies eventually trading hands for as much as $300 apiece. All the while, people wondered what it all meant. No one knew why the album was called Evil, and no one knew what to make of its fixations on alien intelligence and the importance of synchronicity as described in the track “Only A Matrix.”

Konarik saw the Waxidermy post and on the afternoon of December 23, 2008 did something quite unexpected—he posted his phone number in the comments section and invited fans to “give me a yell and let me know that you are a konvert.”

That posting would change Konarik’s life forever. After a quarter century of carrying a sense of failure and regret not uncommon with artists who thought they might just set the world on fire, pre-Internet—Konarik spent the rest of the day answering the phone and talking to fans and/or people looking for cheap copies to grip and flip.

I was one of the lucky ones who got through, and struck up a relationship with Barry, and eventually was given the chance to bring Evil back into the world and revive Ethereal Sequence. In 2012 I met up with my good friend and album co-producer Niels Alpert in Boise, where Konarik now lives, and shot the video below premiering here at Dangerous Minds.

This is a guest post by Douglas Mcgowan, proprietor of Ethereal Sequence and Yoga Records, and the producer of I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990. The restored and remastered Evil is out now and distributed by Light In The Attic. The limited edition first pressing includes a bonus 45 of additional tracks.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘March of the Juggalos’ narrated by Morgan Freeman
07.28.2014
08:58 am

Topics:
Amusing
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Juggalos
Morgan Freeman


 
Obviously this video was made from a mishmash of different footage and Juggalo documentaries like American Juggalo. It’s still very funny nonetheless with Morgan Freeman doing the voiceover (and no, Freeman didn’t do the voiceover for this, it’s from March of the Penguins, but it works.)

It seems appropriate to post this today as the annual Gathering of the Juggalos has taken over Thornville, Ohio. Those poor, poor souls who live there. You’re in my thoughts.

The video below is NSFW. You’ve been warned.

 
Bonus: Someone used a GoPro in the pit during Cannibal Corpse’s performance. I’m just tryin’ to give ya feel for the Faygo-chugging festivities. Don’t hate me.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Disco Beaver from Outer Space’: Impossibly rare National Lampoon HBO show from 1978!
07.28.2014
07:19 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Queer
Television

Tags:

 vbndfgh
 
Difficult to find and never released on home video, National Lampoon’s first TV outing for HBO from 1978 is great! Watch it now as “someone” does not want you to see it! Uploaded to YouTube very recently, who knows how long it will be available. Outside of bootlegs of varying quality the last time this was available was on Super 8mm film!

Here’s a pretty concise review of Beavers from the Cult Oddities blog:

If you’ve seen Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video, The Groove Tube, Tunnelvision, or Loose Shoes, then you have some idea of what to expect from National Lampoon’s Disco Beaver from Outer Space. The difference is, the tone and comedy is a little more consistent than any of the aforementioned. Following the early success of Saturday Night Live (simply titled Saturday Night in those days), there was an onslaught of coked out sketch comedy films and TV specials released including this one, which was made for HBO. The premise is pretty simple: A couple sits down for an evening of channel-surfing, and the programs they flip past on the TV are some of the most bizarre one could imagine!

There’s Dragula, a gay vampire who turns straight guys into raging queens (this skit seems to be the inspiration for Curse of the Queerwolf), a schizo ventriloquist, confessions of a Perrier addict, an Oscar Wilde skit that’s captioned for a then-modern American audience, an off-kilter country singer, commercials for people with chronic gas, plus plenty of other weirdness and depravity… and Lynn Redgrave (who probably fired her manager soon after)!

Unfortunately, this is yet another case of a TV special being unavailable on home video and largely unseen for decades.  Weirdly, the special (or more likely excerpts from it) were released on a Super-8 film reel (with Magnetic Sound!). Despite it’s legitimate unavailability, copies of the special have popped up on online video sites and can frequently be found for sale on i-Offer.  If you like moronic ‘70s skit comedy with a perverse edge, you’ve just found the motherload.

Much hilarious gay-themed insanity here, surprisingly including Dragula, as mentioned above, which was actually inspired by an amazing horror comic book take-off in a 1971 all horror issue of National Lampoon drawn by the amazing comic art superstar Neal Adams, with an incredible cover by Frank Frazetta! You can read the whole comic in large, clear scans at the Horror of it All blog.
 
fgsdftr
 
Oh I almost forgot! It also features Laugh-In‘s Henry Gibson! Enjoy this vintage insanity while you can!
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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Watch a cheeseburger dissolve in hydrochloric acid
07.28.2014
06:56 am

Topics:
Amusing
Food
Science/Tech

Tags:
chemistry
experiments

chseburgacid.jpg
 
This is what happens when you put a cheeseburger in hydrochloric acid.

Or as we all have some hydrochloric acid “churning about” inside of us, this is how we more or less digest our food.
 

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘My World Fell Down’: The oddest song The Beach Boys never recorded


 
Yesterday I was listening to a Glen Campbell greatest hits collection (The Capitol Years 1965-77, the one compiled by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, it’s excellent) and in the liner notes, it mentions that Campbell sang and played guitar on a Gary Usher-produced single called “My World Fell Down” by Sagittarius, that was included on Jac Holzman and Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets collection, which I have, so I checked it out. It’s odd that I had this song in my possession—I’ve played the Nuggets box set many, many times all the way through—but never took much note. How could I have missed it?
 

A be-quiffed Glen Campbell backstage at the Grammy awards with the Beach Boys
 
“My World Fell Down” is the closest thing we’ll ever get to “Good Vibrations”-era Beach Boys meets LSD-soaked psych rock. Sagittarius was basically a supergroup of session musicians under the direction of Gary Usher, a staff producer at Columbia who had also “discovered” The Firesign Theatre and produced The Byrds. Aside from Campbell, who was, of course, briefly in the Beach Boys himself, the secondary vocalist on the track is none other than Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. Also worth pointing out is that Usher had written several songs with Brian Wilson (”409” and “In My Room” among them) and included in the backing group were powerhouse session players Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye, who had both recorded with the Beach Boys. If someone played this for you and told you it was an unreleased—and especially odd—Beach Boys demo, you’d believe them, no problem.
 

Gary Usher
 
Dig the musique concrète bridge section of carnival (bullfight?) noises and a slamming door. This part sounds like something straight off of Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones album that came out the same year, 1967, but is not included in the album version.
 

 
When “My World Fell Down” got to #70 on the Billboard chart, the label wanted Sagittarius to tour, at which point he revealed that Sagittarius didn’t actually exist as a real group and that it was his song, too. Usher moved forward with Sagittarius and recorded a full album leaning heavily on the talents of a young Curt Boettcher. Prior to the release of that record, Present Tense, in 1968, Usher and co. released a second Sagittarius single titled “Hotel Indiscreet” that had another musique concrète bridge section that utilized Peter Bergman of the Firesign Theatre ranting about… something:

“What for and how long my children? How long will we be made to suffer the utter degradation of everything we hold sacred? My fellow flowers, the time is upon us to open the door and purify the foul and pestilent air within, standing naked before the eternal judge and proclaiming we are all hip! Two three four… Hip! Two three four… zwei drei vier… Sieg Heil! SIEG HEIL!”

That bit was only on the mono version of the song, on the single. Clive Davis didn’t like the weirdo breaks in “My World Fell Down” and “Hotel Indiscreet” so he had Usher cut them out for Present Tense.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Game of Thrones’ blooper reel
07.25.2014
02:47 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
Game of Thrones


 
This Game of Thrones Season 4 blooper reel was just screened at San Diego Comic-Con and it’s rather amusing to say the least. I’m so invested in these multifaceted characters—I’m a diehard fan of the show—that it’s difficult for me to view them as thespians breaking out of character. I think BuzzFeed did a post a few years ago with photos of the actors and actresses out of costume and in everyday streetwear… it was just plain weird.

In my mind these folks are not acting but actually these characters at all times. Silly I know, but that’s how damned good they all are at their craft.

It’s kind of a treat to see their real personalities, though, if only for a few seconds. 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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