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¡Películas muy locos, ay caramba! The awesomely lurid art of Mexican B-movie lobby cards


 
I don’t think I’m too far out on a limb in assuming that John Cozzoli probably has a completely amazing house. Cozzoli collects 20th Century monster movie ephemera, and he’s the best kind of collector—the kind who shares. He curates the online archive Zombos’ Closet, a vast trove of endearingly cheap thrills, including movie and book reviews, and scans of his collections of cinema pressbooks, goofy paper-cutout Halloween decorations, and his amazing collection of Mexican lobby cards from B-grade films. If you have time to descend into a serious rabbit-hole of marvelous trash-culture nostalgia, visit that site just as soon as you possibly can and revel in its contents. And if that’s not enough for you, Collectors Weekly ran a terrific in-depth interview with Cozzoli in 2012. But for now, enjoy some samples from his lobby card collection. This barely even scratches the surface of what he’s got to offer on his site. I went mostly for lurid horror, but he’s got TONS of luchador movie art, as well.

Cozzoli:There’s a mistaken belief that having a big budget guarantees a good movie: It doesn’t. Many movies with modest budgets have outdone movies with bigger pockets to draw from. I love seeing how creative a director and set designer can be when faced with limited resources to work from. Horror movies were originally A-listers, drawing notable actors and production teams. Over time they switched to B and C status as the studios realized they could still make a profit on a cheap movie. Even the bad movies sometimes show a sparkle of wit or style or dramatic directness that makes them enjoyable to watch.

While many Mexican lobby cards promote American movies, they also made cards for Spanish-language movies, often illustrated with vampires, witches, and mummies; Japanese movies, like those made by Toho Studios; and other non-Spanish-language movies. Really, just about any movie that could be shown in a local theater, foreign or domestic, had cards done for it. If the lobby cards were done for American or other non-Spanish-language movies, the compositions usually derive to some degree from the movie’s poster campaign, so these cards tend to be more, let’s say, sedate, and tone down the sex and mayhem. Spanish-language lobby cards are usually more vibrant and suggestive.

Monster kid and movie historian Professor Kinema (Jim Knusch) was the person who turned me on to these wonderful examples of movie promotion for theaters. It was while perusing his collection of lobby cards and pressbooks that I fell in love with both. One reason I focus on Mexican lobby cards is because at $5 to $10 a pop, they’re a lot cheaper than American cards, making them easier to collect. Additionally, Mexican cards for native Spanish movies are usually more colorful and dynamic, and the Mexican cards come in larger sizes, which make them more interesting and displayable.


 

Devil Bat’s Daughter, 1946
 

She Demons, 1958
 

The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues, 1955
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Dainty teacups filled with Cthulhu and other eldritch creatures
03.25.2015
12:40 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Cthulhu
Octopus
squids


 
Brisbane-based artist Michael Palmer creates these fierce looking sea-dwelling creatures that sit within a dainty teacup full of “tea.” The “tea” is actually resin, so you can’t drink out of these. Bummer.

More than anything, they’re just awesome to look at and would make a cool gift for someone.

Even though an Ood from Doctor Who doesn’t technically live in water, I’d like to see one of those within a teacup.

You can purchase these cups from Voodoo Delicious on Etsy. Each (nonfunctional) teacup will run you about $45.


 

 

 
 
 
via Bored Panda

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Astonishing matte paintings from ‘Ghostbusters’
03.25.2015
09:37 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Ghostbusters
matte paintings


 
Ghostbusters is one of the most iconic movies of all time—it was the most successful comedy of the 1980s, by far, and that’s an objectively true statement—it was the #6 grossing movie in that decade, behind (in order) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Return of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back, Batman, and Raiders of the Lost Ark (box office figures from Box Office Mojo).

The question arises, Why was it so successful? Strictly considered as comedy, it doesn’t hold a candle to other movies of the era, such as Night Shift, Better Off Dead, Vacation, Airplane!, just to name a few. Aside from the obvious charm of its lead actors, Ghostbusters succeeds because of its scale, its status as a movie that’s both scary and funny (like Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein) in which all of Manhattan Island takes a righteous beating.

As it happens, Ghostbusters employed the talents of two of the nation’s leading matte artists, being Matthew Yuricich, a veteran of the trade who had worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Logan’s Run, Point Blank, Blade Runner, and North by Northwest, and Michelle Moen, called by Richard Edlund, the movie’s visual effects supervisor, “one of the best, if not the top, matte painters in the business.” A movie as successful as Ghostbusters benefits from key contributions from every corner, but if you wanted to argue that the movie’s matte artists were as responsible for its success as its actors, I wouldn’t argue.

Film is obviously a 2-D medium most of the time, which is what allows for the possibility for jaw-dropping visual trickery such as this. Taking in scenes like this, or scenes from Star Wars and Blade Runner, the mind knows that the images aren’t actually possible but it never occurs to the viewer that maybe somebody could paint a landscape that detailed and specific. But people can do that very thing—they’re visionaries who are responsible for some of the most indelible images of cinema history.

Many of these photos come from the indispensable blog Matte Shot.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we see how the shot is a combination of three different elements.
 

 

Here’s Yuricich working on the painting directly above.
 

 
via Tombolare
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The DEA has trippy looking patches that make you kinda WANT to do drugs
03.24.2015
08:13 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs

Tags:
DEA
patches


 
I had no clue the DEA’s Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit had such cool looking patches. I just always assumed they were boring, I guess. Looking at these, they’re quite the opposite of what I expected. They’re like trippy biker gang badges or some glow-in-the-dark black light poster from the ‘70s. The top one looks like something you’d have seen for sale at a Dead show…


DEA Ecstasy and Club Drugs patch
 

DEA Operation Green Air patch
 

DEA Heroin Intelligence Unit patch
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
In bed with Andy: David Bailey’s banned ‘Warhol’ documentary

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Among the reasons given for the banning of David Bailey’s documentary on Andy Warhol were: its possibly breach of the Vagrancy Act and a suggested sex act that was not “conducive to road safety.” These were the stated opinions of lawyer and judge Lord Justice Lawton and the sports journalist and broadcaster Ross McWhirter.

McWhirter was one-half of the famous twin brothers Ross and Norris McWhirter who compiled, wrote and edited the Guinness Book of Records. It was McWhirter who initiated the bizarre events that led to Bailey’s film being pulled from broadcast in January 1973, and temporarily banned until March of the same year. McWhirter was responding to the press previews for Bailey’s film that appeared in the Sunday papers on January 14th that described the film as “shocking,” “revolting,” and “offensive,” with the worst scene (erroneously) described by the Daily Mail as showing:

...a fat female artist [who] dyes her breasts and then rolls about on canvas ‘painting’...

This was Brigid Berlin making one of her famous “Tit Prints,” which was cited by Lord Lawton as a possible source of offense.
 
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Director and subject.
 
David Bailey had spent about a year working on his documentary about Andy Warhol—it was the last of three films Bailey made for Lew Grade’s television company ATV, the other two were profiles of photographer Cecil Beaton and director Luchino Visconti—and he had spent considerable time with the often monosyllabic and elusive artist, and had interviewed many of Warhol’s Factory entourage including Candy Darling, Paul Morrissey, Fred Hughes, Jane Holzer and art dealer Leo Castelli. Bailey had given over directing duties to William Verity, while he spent his time asking questions and getting close to the film’s subject.

When ATV gave a press screening for Bailey’s Warhol, little did they consider that the negative response of the press would lead to the film being banned. When Ross McWhirter read the press previews, he was sufficiently disgusted that he saw an opportunity to strike a blow for the silent majority—for whom he believed himself to be the obvious spokesman. In fact, he was over-reacting to some hearsay about a film he had not seen.
 
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On Monday 15th, McWhirter prepared to take out an injunction against the Independent Broadcasting Authority—the TV watchdog—for allowing Bailey’s film to be screened. On Tuesday January 16th, he issued a writ against the documentary to stop it being broadcast. However, McWhirter’s writ was dismissed during a one-minute High Court hearing. Like all zealots, McWhirter was not one to have the law stop him, and he appealed the High Court’s decision.

McWhirter’s actions gained support from an unlikely quarter: one of the ITV broadcast regions Anglia decided, after is chairman Lord Townshend and two members of the channel’s planning committee had watched the documentary, not to screen the documentary as Bailey’s film was:

...not of sufficient interest or quality.

McWhirter’s appeal was heard at 17:00hours on Tuesday January 16th, the day Warhol was set for broadcast. The Appeal Court consisted of Lord Justice Cairns, Lord Justice Lawton, and was presided over by Lord Denning. Although he had not seen the programme, McWhirter claimed in his writ that the press previews were sufficient to suggest the show would cause considerable offense. Any programme that was considered to be offensive to “good taste and decency” was to be banned under the guidelines of the Television Act of 1964.

Causing offense to the viewing public was not McWhirter’s only concern over Bailey’s film as his writ went on to describe some of its possible dangers:

At one point there is a conversation between a man dressed as a Hell’s Angel and a girl. In that piece, the girl discusses sex with the man and says she would like to have sex with him on the back of a motorcycle doing 60 miles an hour. Apart from anything else, that does not sound as though it is conducive to road safety.

Like McWhirter, none of the Lords had seen Bailey’s film, however this didn’t stop them pontificating about its possible criminal intent. According to the Guardian newspaper, Lord Justice Lawton was deeply concerned over Brigid Berlin’s breast painting:

...the viewers of Britain were to be shown pictures of a fat lady doing something that sounded to him very much like a breach of the Vagrancy act, apart from anything else…

 
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The offending “tit printing” scene.
 
However, it was the IBA who received the greatest criticism from Lord Denning for their perceived failure to view the documentary before transmission. This, as it later turned out, was a major oversight by Denning and co. as they had failed to ascertain whether anyone from the IBA had actually watched the film—which in fact they had. IBA General Director Brian Young, Head of Programmes Joe Wellman, together with their deputies, had all watched Bailey’s film and suggested cuts and had even insisted on the addition of an introductory voice-over.

Still this did not stop the appeal judges voting 2-1 in favor of an interim injunction that temporarily banned the film from being screened on television—a documentary on craftwork was broadcast instead.

Watch David Bailey’s ‘Warhol’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Random tweets reformatted as Western Union telegrams
03.23.2015
12:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Twitter
telegrams
Western Union


”@kiki_13056,” 2013
 
I stumbled across the work of Charles Gute when a friend sent me an image of this amusing, meta-commentary pin. That drove me to his website, and I was not disappointed.

This series is called “Random Tweets Reformatted as Telegrams.” It’s an easy trick, but putting these “virtual” messages usually consumed on smartphone screens on old-timey telegrams more redolent of the Wild West or the Hindenburg crash or something, it just works.

Gute notes that “there are notable similarities between formats, such as the economy of words and syntax imposed by a limited number of characters,” which is certainly true. Plus, the last Western Union telegram, a medium that had existed for more than a century, coincided almost exactly with the first Tweet—there was a gap of almost two months—so it’s like the one short-form method of communication passed the baton on to the other.
 

”@hanannanahh,” 2013
 

”@longliveallyson,” 2012
 

”@zackshack,” 2013
 
More old-timey tweets after the jump…....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Simpsons Tattoo’ collects the very best Springfield-inspired body art
03.23.2015
05:08 am

Topics:
Art
Television

Tags:
tattoos
The Simpsons


 
The Instagram account The Simpsons Tattoo is surprisingly delightful. I’m not shocked that a lot of people have body art inspired by the show, but it is a little unexpected that 1) these tattoos are done so well (as opposed to tragic crust-punk poke-and-stick) and 2) there are so many deep cuts (no pun intended). Fan tattoos of most cartoons tend to obsess over main characters and pivotal moments, but Simpsons fans may just be a more esoteric breed; so much of the work curated here features secondary, or even tertiary characters. Some of them aren’t even a character, but a bit of iconography (the diagram of the blowfish is particularly inspired).

What’s even more entertaining is your ability as a viewer to identify the most random reference—I haven’t seriously watched the show in years, and I laughed out loud in recognition of some of the one-off jokes that someone was daring and committed enough to permanently adorn themselves with.
 

 

 
More Simpsons ink after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The dark art of H.P. Lovecraft illustrator Lee Brown Coye
03.21.2015
02:06 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Occult

Tags:
H.P. Lovecraft
Lee Brown Coye


 
Even in the twisted milieu of pulp illustration, Lee Brown Coye was an outlier. His was not a world of square-jawed detectives or musclebound Tarzan manqués, nor was he one to luridly but lovingly render the adipose flesh of reanimated dead in colorful gouaches. Coye did ten darkly expressionistic covers for Weird Tales between the mid ‘40s and early ‘50s, in dolefully subdued shades that emerged from dense, nihilistic black fields to coalesce into nightmarish wraiths. It was strong stuff that recalled Emil Nolde and Georges Roualt, and even if he’d never done anything else, those covers and his black and white interior work for that publication surely would have made him the cult figure who inspired Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro, and Stephen King. But there were also his macabre black and white ink drawings that graced book covers for the likes of Arkham House and Farrar & Reinhart. Coye secured his reputation with his work for the Sleep No More anthology before going on to produce definitive covers for H.P. Lovecraft works like The Dunwich Horror, At the Mountains of Madness, and perhaps his masterpiece, his work on Three Tales of Horror, which sports 19 Coye illustrations, all more than sufficiently disquieting to merit accompanying Lovecraft’s dark mythos.
 

 

 
More eldritch darkness after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Before he wrote ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonalds’ and ‘Kurt Cobain,’ Wesley Willis was a street artist
03.20.2015
01:38 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Wesley Willis

Wesley Willis Rock Over London
 
If you know anything about Wesley Willis, you’re probably familiar with him as a quirky, hilarious and ultra-prolific songwriter performing as both a solo artist and with the punk-fueled Wesley Willis Fiasco. Willis, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1989, gained a cult following in the 1990’s preforming songs like “I Wupped Batman’s Ass,” ”Kurt Cobain,” and, perhaps most famously, “Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonalds” to list just a few.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Post punk icons as classic Marvel Comics superheroes
03.20.2015
07:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Marvel Comics
Butcher Billy


 
Butcher Billy, the Brazilian designer behind the hilarious “Post/Punk New Wave Superfriends,” which reimagined punk and post punk icons in the guise of Justice League superheroes, has given Marvel Comics their fair turn. Because you NEEDED to see Siouxsie Sioux as Scarlet Witch, Mark Mothersbaugh as Iron Man, John Lydon as Wolverine, and Ian Curtis as Spider-Man. And I needed to finally get a chance to write the phrase MORRISSEY SMASH!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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