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Sexy sci-fi lobby cards for ‘Heavy Metal’
01:15 pm


Heavy Metal
lobby cards

In the early 1980s, cable TV was an important and marvelous new development for Young America. For one thing, MTV was on it. But there was also soft-core porn and other adult programming, and parents often weren’t conversant enough with the technology (or the TV schedule) to prevent their offspring from watching things they probably shouldn’t. For a male preteen such as myself around 1982, there wasn’t much on the premium cable schedule I was interested in watching more than Heavy Metal. A sci-fi cartoon for adults that was both scary and sexy? With music by Blue Öyster Cult, Journey, and Cheap Trick?? You have got to be fucking kidding me. I was 12 years old and had no way of seeing an R-rated movie. But I could dial up Cinemax when my parents weren’t around…...... 

I think I dimly understood that there was a “magazine” out there called Heavy Metal that was for adults. I definitely did not know that so many of my favorite Canadian entertainers (think SCTV) were involved, including John Candy, Eugene Levy, Ivan Reitman, and Harold Ramis, although I’m certain I would have recognized the name “John Candy” in the credits.

As I say, I never saw the movie in the theater, but if I had I might have spotted some of these handsome lobby cards while entering. I suspect that Heavy Metal has not dated all that well, but I’m impressed at how effortlessly these striking images, after more than 30 years, communicate Danger - Sex - Adventure - FUN.


More ‘Metal’ after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Kodoku Meatball Machine’: Nipple guns, four tons of blood and a shitload of gore and mayhem
01:11 pm


Yoshihiro Nishimura

Yoshihiro Nishimura’s over-the-top, body-horror, sci-fi/fantasy Kodoku Meatball Machine had its world premiere at SXSW this past week and it more than lived up to its hype for being a splatter epic. In a video introduction to the film, director Nishimura claimed he used over four tons of fake blood in the movie. That might be a bit of hyperbole but Kodoku Meatball Machine has more arterial spray than the Bellagio Hotel has dancing waters. It’s a hilarious gorefest that combines sublime silliness with some cutting social satire. Plot? We don’t need no stinking plot! This film is a frenetic mash-up (literally) of everything we love about Japanese science fiction and horror. Shit happens. And keeps happening. Things fall out of the sky, humans mutate, chicks blow people away with nipple guns and limbs are severed with the maniacal zeal of a meth-crazed chef at Benihana.

Nishimura, who directed the insane Tokyo Gore Police and the 2007 short film Meatball Machine: Reject of Death, is justly renown for his superb special effects creations and wild makeup. He’s worked on dozens of Japanese horror films, creating brilliantly inventive costumes, prosthetics, masks and jaw-dropping visual mayhem featuring heavy metal samurais, wildly choreographedswordplay, kung foolery and flesh-fused weaponry from the planet Id. The cartoonish excess of his creations keeps them from being truly horrifying. There’s too much wit and absurdity in what’s on the screen to be truly upsetting. Laughter displaces screams in Nishimura’s bloody phantasmagorias. His atom-age nightmares are surrealist twists on Shaw Brother Toho flicks of the 1960s and 70s…with loads of viscera and severed limbs. A chase scene involving a topless woman astride a mutant who is half-man and half-motorcycle is like something from a demented western. Yee haw! 

Cinematographer Keizo Suzuki has given Kodoku Meatball Machine a neon sheen that recalls some of Nicolas Refn’s recent work and there’s an eerie nightclub scene that evokes the palette and vibe of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Some groovy stop-motion animation comes on like Ray Harryhausen on DMT and a load of intentionally cheesy special effects give the movie a deranged hallucinatory brilliance. The second half of the film is a relentless mindfuck.

Fans of Takashi Miike, Sion Sono, and Shin’ya Tsukamoto will find Kodoku Meatball Machine an irresistible hoot and folks who’ve never experienced extreme Japanese cinema will be introduced to a unique viewing experience that really has no western equivalent in the world of film.

Watch the trailer for ‘Kodoku Meatball Machine’ after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Sunday Morning’ animation celebrates ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico,’ released 50 years ago today
08:37 am


Velvet Underground

When illustrator James Eads saw the morphing gifs Chris McDaniel (aka TheGlitch.og) made from his work, he described the result as not “moving so as much as breathing. My work started coming to life.” McDaniel feels that their collaboration is, for both of them, a form of meditation. He told the Creators Project:

It’s a place of refuge where we can breathe and take in the world and in return give back some peace. And I think other people can feel that, and when they come across one of these illusions they pause and allow themselves to get lost in it. There’s something extremely calming and mesmerizing about the illusions, there is magic is in the subtlety.”

Now the pair has teamed up for an animated music video for “Sunday Morning” by the Velvet Underground and Nico.

James Eads had this to say about the piece:

“For me one of the biggest takeaways of ‘Sunday Morning’ is the relationship that Lou Reed has with time. The way something can feel so far away when it was only the night before. I wanted to play with that fluidity of time and personify the day and the night and use their relationship to tell a simple story. Sometimes the subtleties of change make it hard to see how quickly time passes by, but the stark brightness of the morning contrasting a night of intoxication can create a strangely sobering yet nostalgic feeling. It’s almost as if within the first few minutes of waking up on ‘Sunday Morning’ there is a haze of hopefulness of a life ahead before reality sets in.”

This Sunday morning, with it being Daylight Savings Time, things might seem a little hazier than normal for some of us…

The Velvet Underground & Nico with its iconic peeling banana album cover designed by Andy Warhol came out fifty years ago today.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Images from John K and Spumco’s mid-90s Terrytoons ‘reboot’ pitch

Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi had a lot of early gigs in the late 1970s and 1980s, including stints at Filmation and Hanna-Barbera and DIC Entertainment—he later characterized this work for shows such as Heathcliff as “the worst animation of all time.” Legendary animator Ralph Bakshi “saved” John K in the 1980s. In 1987 Bakshi spearheaded a successful revival of Mighty Mouse, and John K worked on that project.

Terrytoons was responsible for a number memorable characters in the 1960s and thereabouts, including Heckle and Jeckle, Mighty Mouse, Hector Heathcote, Possible Possum, and Deputy Dawg. Six years ago John K posted on his blog art that he and members of his team had put together for pitches a few years after the founding of Spumco in 1988.

As John K writes:

Here is some presentation art from a pitch we did at Spumco in the mid 90s. I wanted to get Paramount to let me revive the Terrytoons characters. I would have shown some of this stuff earlier but it had all suffered water damage. But now, thanks to Alex, Jojo and Tommy, some of it has been restored through the magic of insufferable digital technology.

John K doesn’t claim perfect memory on who drew which of these images, but he credits Mike Fontanelli, Shane Glines, Rick Altergott, and Richard Pursel as some of the people who probably worked on these.

In one of the stories, Petey Pate, a boar cat with a bald spot, “steals all the eyebrows from the mice in Mouseville and Mighty Mouse has to come save the day.”

We’ve all been there….....


More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The worst music video of all time, redeemed by a LEGO remake

The music video for David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s 1985 cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ Motown classic “Dancing in the Street” is considered one of the worst, if not THE worst, of all time. The clip, originally recorded for the Live Aid benefit, has been called “cringe-worthy” and the “worst music video ever made” HERE, “the worst video ever produced” HERE, and “one of the worst crimes of the ‘80s” HERE. It’s universally thought to be a massive exercise in “what the fuck were they thinking?”

A couple of years ago here at Dangerous Minds we showed you a hilariously-foley’d “musicless” version of the video.

Today we’d like to draw your attention to a wonderful stop-motion LEGO recreation of the video, uploaded a few days ago by stop-motion animator and Vimeo user William Osbourne. This is so good it practically redeems the sheer craptacity of the original.

After the jump, the original, as if you need a refresher on how truly awful it was…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Mickey Mouse in Vietnam’
04:07 pm


Milton Glaser
Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse in Vietnam is a (very) short animated anti-war film produced by Whitney Lee Savage and the great American graphic designer Milton Glaser, creator of the “I♥ NY logo,” the famous 1966 poster of Bob Dylan with swirling rainbow hair, the Brooklyn Lager and DC Comics logos and countless other things. Glaser, now 87, was the co-founder of New York magazine, has been the subject of museum level career surveys the world over and is the first (and so far only) graphic designer to receive the the National Medal of Arts, which was bestowed upon him by President Obama in 2009.

The plot of the Mickey Mouse in Vietnam—which is about a minute long—is simple: Soon after arriving in Vietnam, Mickey is shot dead.

The film was long assumed to be lost when it was uploaded to YouTube in 2013 and went viral. Around that time Milton Glaser was asked about the short in an interview that appeared on the Carl Solway Gallery’s blog:

Milton Glaser: It was for a thing called The Angry Arts Festival, which was a kind of protest event, inviting artists to produce something to represent their concerns about the war in Vietnam and a desire to end it.

How did you get involved with, the director, Lee Savage in making this short?
Milton Glaser: Lee Savage was a good friend of mine, and he was in the film business of one kind or another, doing small production films — and with a little experience in animation, and all the things you have to know to produce a modest film the way we did.

What was the audience’s reaction when it was screened at the festival?
Milton Glaser: It was very moving — people responded strongly to it. But within the context of many such events and many presentations, it didn’t quite have the power that you experience when you are seeing it in isolation. But it was moving.

You know, I was just talking about it this morning, because I have not seen it many, many years. It just shows you the power of symbolism, because in some ways it’s much more powerful than seeing a photograph of dead GIs in a landscape — something about the destruction about a deeply held myth that moves you in way that is unexpected.

Speaking of symbolism, is that why you picked Mickey Mouse in particular?
Milton Glaser: Well, obviously Mickey Mouse is a symbol of innocence, and of America, and of success, and of idealism — and to have him killed, as a solider is such a contradiction of your expectations. And when you’re dealing with communication, when you contradict expectations, you get a result.


Watch ‘Mickey Mouse in Vietnam’ after the jump

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Cat Piano,’ narrated by Nick Cave
10:19 am


Nick Cave
The Cat Piano

The Cat Piano is an award-winning short animation directed by Eddie White and Ari Gibson and narrated by Nick Cave. For some odd reason the Wikipedia entry makes note not to confuse this with Keyboard Cat. So let’s not do that, okay?

A brief summary of the animation:

In a city of singing cats, a lonely beat poet falls for a beautiful siren. When a mysterious dark figure emerges, kidnapping the town’s singers for his twisted musical plans, the poet must save his muse and put an end to the nefarious tune that threatens to destroy the city.

Released in 2009, The Cat Piano won “Best Short Animation” at the Australian Film Institute Awards and “Best Music in a Short Film” at the APRA Screen Music Awards. The short’s bold animation style was achieved using Adobe Photoshop, with the artists drawing directly into the computer with Wacom tablets.

Watch it in its entirety, below:

h/t Coilhouse on Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Holiday weirdness: Santa Claus battles the Devil to a psyche-rock soundtrack
12:41 pm

Pop Culture

Santa vs. The Devil

40 psyche-pop tunes serve as the soundtrack for the extremely wacky Santa Claus (aka Santa Claus vs. The Devil) in a special Holiday mix from me to you.

The trailer narration of Santa Claus gives you a rough idea of the bizarreness that awaits the viewer:

Whether you’re in a cave, or behind a million mountains, Santa Claus sees you through his Master Eye, and invites you to his Magic Wonderland! See Santa Claus in his magic motion picture! Come past the doors of his towering castle, into a fantastic crystal laboratory, filled with weird and wonderful secrets; into his heavenly workshop, the most marvelous toy factory of all! Watch his battle with the mischievous demon who wants to get children into trouble! You’d better watch out!


There are so many disturbing elements to Rene Cardona’s film that it’s difficult to select just one. Advertised as “an enchanting world of make-believe”, it’s a surreal battle between Father Crimbo and Satan, who sends his minion, Pitch, to interfere in the spreading of comfort and joy. Prime nuggets? Pitch whispering to the young ‘uns that Santa’s actually a murderer (classy!) and Santa’s cloud-borne castle that looks less like a cheery base for making toys and more like something from a Bond villain’s architectural wet dream.

Enjoy the music. I don’t think you’ll miss the dialog. Happy Holidays.

01. “Is Anybody Home” - The Mirage
02. “Henry Adams” - The Frederic
03. “Princess Of The Gingerland” - Glitterhouse
04. “Travelling Circus” - The Epics
05. ‘Punch And Judy Man” - Pop Workshop
06. “Red, White And You” - Sounds Around
07. “The View” - Gary Walker and The Rain
08. “Tomorrow Today” - Kippington Lodge
09. “You’ll Find Me Anywhere” - Hi-Revving Tongues
10. Mix within the mix featuring The Groop, The Kinks,
    The Tages, The Exceptions, The Cyrkle, Frank Zappa,
    The Zombies, Mark Eric, The Sidewalk Skipper Band,
    The Beach Boys, Stained Glass, The Shaggy Boys,
    Free Design, Eternity’s Children, Summer Snow,
    The Counts, Johnny Cobb and The Attractions,
    The Family Tree (courtesy of FCR)
11. “What Are You Gonna Do” - The Summer Set
12. “Stop” - The Pan Pipers
13. “My Race Is Run” - The Motleys
14. “Buses” - The Hung Jury
15. “Alfred Appleby” - The Carnival Connection
16. “You Gotta Be With Me” - The Onyx
17. “Midnite Thoughts” - The World Column
18. “In The Land Of Make Believe” Jennifer’s Friend
19. “Walk In The Sky” The Crackerjack Society
20. “Your Way To Tell Me Go” - Plastic Penny
21. “Green Circles (Italian version)” - The Small Faces

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Christmas in Tattertown,’ Ralph Bakshi’s bizarre holiday TV special
09:47 am


Ralph Bakshi

Although famed animator Ralph Bakshi tends to be best known for racier material like his classics Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic, in 1988 he wrote and directed a half-hour holiday TV special called Christmas in Tattertown. It used to run every year on Nickelodeon in the 1990s (indeed, this YouTube video was taken from a Nickelodeon broadcast).

The plot is none too easy to discern, but it has something to do with a little girl who is transported, Alice in Wonderland-style, to a strange, run-down jazzy urban landscape known as Tattertown, which is redolent of the 1930s. Once there, she interacts with dilapidated toys and explains to the discarded playthings what Christmas is (they have never heard of it).

Some of the elements here are familiar from other places—the general mise-en-scene is reminiscent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, while the talking toys can’t help but remind us of Toy Story. Meanwhile, Inside Out, the recent Pixar hit, featured a memorable character named Bing Bong who wouldn’t be out of place here.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Leon Russell’s groovy Terry Gilliam-esque animated promo for ‘Roll Away the Stone’
12:01 pm


Leon Russell

It’s been widely noted that 2016 has been an especially rough year for legendary musicians. Sunday brought news of the passing of the great and prolific troubadour Leon Russell at the age of 74. Russell routinely put out gold albums in the 1970s and was a profound influence on singers as varied as Elvis Costello and Frank Black.

A bit surprisingly, Russell never had a top 10 album or song until The Union, his 2010 album wth Elton John. His early composition “A Song for You” was covered by countless musicians, most notably the Carpenters, but his highest-charting track was actually “Tight Rope,” which appeared on 1972’s Carney.

It’s amusing to notice the high-powered talent that he attracted for his first album, which came out in 1970. Credited are three Stones (Jagger, Wyman, Watts), two Beatles (Starr and Harrison), plus Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, and Klaus Voormann.

The first single he ever released was “Roll Away the Stone,” and his label Shelter put together what can only be called a “music video” but everyone insists on calling a “promo.”

The animation was by Brian Zick, a graphic artist from southern California who is known for his striking pop art illustrations. You can see the influence of Yellow Submarine but it’s also a lot like the brilliant cut-out animations of Terry Gilliam for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which are more or less contemporaneous—I’d reckon Zick had never seen them. Zick did a bunch of album covers in the 1970s and 1980s.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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