follow us in feedly
Mad nuns, torture, witchcraft, & Satan: Silent film ‘Häxan’ narrated by William S. Burroughs
03.24.2017
01:17 pm

Topics:
Belief
Heroes
Movies
Music
Occult

Tags:


A movie poster for the 1922 silent film, ‘Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages.’
 
Like many of you, I share an affinity for topics of interest that involve the guy who should have built your hotrod, Satan. Given the choice between Heaven or Hell, I just want to be where my friends are. And my post today is about as satanic as they come as it involves possessed nuns; witchcraft; grave robbery; cannibalism as well as the occasional human sacrifice. If that’s not dangerous enough for your mind, then consider the fact that the unmistakeable voice of William S. Burroughs narrates the subject of this post—the mind-fucky 1922 silent film Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, a flick full of all the sacrilegious subjects I mentioned above and much much more!

Initially, Häxan is presented as a kind of historical document providing legitimate information about the origins of witchcraft and paganism. It is also widely considered to be one of the very first films to do so in such vivid detail. Director Benjamin Christensen—a former medical student—even cast himself as the devil as well as making a brief appearance as Jesus in the film. However, before Häxan could be officially released in Sweden, Swedish censors requested that Christensen omit several scenes including a rather shocking one involving a newborn baby covered in goo being held over a boiling cauldron. Many of the depictions of witchcraft in Häxan were apparently loosely based on the results of research conducted by prominent British anthropologist, Egyptologist and folklore historian, Margaret Alice Murray in her controversial 1921 book by The Witch-Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology. Subsequently, after its censored release and being summarily banned in several countries, the film was heralded by members of the surrealist movement—as noted in the 2011 book 100 Cult Films—who called the film a “masterpiece of subversion.” 

Christensen’s care in making Häxan look and feel realistic truly knew no bounds. To reinforce its authentic darkness and to help convey the appropriate mood that is required for demonic possession he sent one of his cameramen to take photographs of the bleak, cloud-filled skies of Norway that he used throughout the film as a backdrop. His actors are genuinely terrifying looking and appear to be deeply tormented. In other words, Häxan looks like an actual snapshot taken in Hell.
 

A disturbed nun surrounded by an equally disturbing array of torture devices from ‘Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages’

Adding another layer of satanic panic related to Häxan is a story attributed directly to Christensen himself regarding actress Maren Pedersen who played “Maria the weaver,” a witch in the film. According to Christensen, when he discovered Pedersen she purported to be a Red Cross nurse from Denmark—though when they met she was a street vendor selling flowers. While they were in the middle of filming Pederson allegedly confessed to Christensen that she believed that the devil was “real” and that she had “seen him sitting by her bedside.” So enthralled was he by Pederson’s diabolical revelation that the director decided to include it in the film’s storyline. Presumably, because the power of Satan compelled him to, of course.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Alice Cooper loses his head & Danny Elfman (with Oingo Boingo) loses his mind on ‘The Gong Show’
03.24.2017
11:51 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Music
Superstar
Television

Tags:


Alice Cooper, the late Chuck Barris, and a devilish Danny Elfman.
 
Like everyone else of a certain age, I spent time this week mourning the loss of Chuck Barris, the one-of-a-kind game show king and the host of often questionable “talent” competition The Gong Show. I was old enough during the show’s run in the late 70s to never want to miss Barris’ antics, as well as the never-ending parade of hopeful weirdos who flocked to the show. If you’re young enough to be unfamiliar with The Gong Show, the best case scenario was that your act didn’t get “gonged” before you were done. Worst case scenario you got frantically “gang-gonged” by all three judges, but still got to fly your freak flag high to much of America. The prize for not getting gonged and coming away with the highest collective score? $516.32.

As I was busy being nostalgic watching a few vintage clips from the show, I came across a couple worth sharing. One features Alice Cooper (who called Barris one of his “favorite people in the world”) serenading him with “Goin’ Out of My Head” while stuck in his trusty guillotine. The other is a wildly out-of-control performance by cinema maestro Danny Elfman back in his Oingo Boingo days who at the time were still called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Elfman and Oingo Boingo’s antics on stage were judged by none other than Gong Show regular Buddy Hackett, a solo Shari Lewis (Lambchop must have had the night off), and actor Bill Bixby of Incredible Hulk fame. Apparently, they loved what they saw as the Mystic Knights won the contest that episode.

Watch Alice Cooper and a young Danny Elfman on ‘The Gong Show’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Master of Mischief: The brutal horror and cheesy sexploitation movies of Pete Walker
03.17.2017
12:40 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Movies

Tags:

00fomeon.jpg
“For Men Only” (1968) and “School for Sex” (1969).
 
Let’s talk about Pete Walker—the sexploitation and horror movie director whose grand body of work includes such cult classics as House of Whipcord, Frightmare and The House of Mortal Sin.

Walker had a highly successful and equally controversial twenty-year film career as producer and director with his company Peter Walker (Heritage) Ltd. He started out in the early sixties making 8mm stag loops of busty models and finished his career on a high in the early eighties when he directed his last movie the big-budget all-star cast horror film House of Long Shadows (1983).

Walker describes his film career as “making mischief.” His movies (in particular those written by David McGillivray) take a well-aimed boot to the flabby rump of the British establishment. Walker has said he was interested in exposing the established order’s hypocrisy and “abuse of authority.” This he highlighted in films like House of Whipcord which exposed the depraved brutality at a correctional facility and House of Mortal Sin where a psychotic priest carries out his kind of final judgment on a few parishioners. Walker was inspired by what he saw going on all around him as he said in an interview from 2005:

“At any given time at my school, 50% of the masters had their hands down boys’ trousers,” he claims. “Prison wardens must have an in-built sadism, otherwise why would they do that job? Judges do a holier-than-thou act every day. How dare these people pontificate to the rest of us? They’re getting off on it!”

Walker made films quickly and cheaply. The son of the actor and music hall performer Syd Walker, the young Pete Walker raised enough cash from making stag loops to help finance his first feature I Like Birds in 1968. Shot over eight days on a tiny budget, I Like Birds was a minor hit and made a profit. It set the template for all of Walker’s future films—the “kick, bollock and scramble” school of filmmaking.

At a time when the British film industry was on life support, Walker was single-handedly making independent movies in guerilla fashion. He eschewed traditional narratives with their preachy moral undertones, instead opting for evil characters defeating the heroes and heroines or debauched couples have their “degenerate” behavior bring them happiness and reward—as can be seen in Cool It Carol!. Walker had a “fuck it” attitude and was shooting British cinema the bird.

He could have continued making soft core movies, but Walker decided in the early seventies to move into horror films with his first low-budget thriller Die Screaming, Marianne (1971). This starred Susan George, Barry Evans, and veteran actor Leo Genn. It’s an okay movie but doesn’t hint at what was to come.

The Flesh and Blood Show (1972) was his first proper horror movie in which a brutal psychopath terrorizes a group of young actors in an old abandoned seaside pier. It’s a thrilling tale well constructed and the kind of story writers like Richard Laymon would make a career out of penning in the 1990s.

Ignoring the rather poor comic strip sex romp Tiffany Jones (1973), it is the next three horror films that are his best work and define Walker’s career.

First up was House of Whipcord (1974) which was written by McGillivray and starred the greatest British horror actress ever Sheila Keith as an evil and sadistic prison governess. This was devilishly good entertainment that subverted the genre’s expectations. The film was heavily criticized and damned by many who saw it as some kind of far-right moral finger wagging. This was mainly because of Walker’s ironically subversive opening dedication “to those who are disturbed by today’s lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment.”

Then came Walker’s greatest film Frightmare (1974) which once again starred Sheila Keith this time as a seemingly ordinary neighborhood cannibal. Famed for its brutal splatter scenes—in particular one with an electric drill—long before Abel Ferrara made The Driller Killer—has led Frightmare to be described as:

A depraved, shameless and morally bankrupt depiction of the modern British family….

Frightmare is one enjoyable hell of a ride which benefits from Keith’s stunning performance and some well-judged acting from the supporting cast which included veteran actor Rupert Davies—who was best known as TV’s Maigret.

The final of this grand mid-seventies triumvirate was House of Mortal Sin (aka The Confessional) which starred Susan Penhaligon, Dynasty‘s Stephanie Beacham, Sheila Keith and Anthony Sharp as seriously deranged priest Father Xavier Meldrum.

Walker was raised a Catholic and gleefully uses the church’s sacraments in blasphemous fashion to kill people. The film was reviled by critics, though proved to be another box-office hit. However, Walker wasn’t completely pleased with the response:

“I was really hoping to get into trouble on that one. I mean, he kills people with a communion wafer, which is meant to be the body of Christ in Catholicism. I made that film because I went to a Catholic school where hellfire and damnation were rammed down my throat. I was waiting for a blasphemy charge from the Vatican. But it never came.”

Walker continued to make movies but the returns weren’t so good. Apart from House of Long Shadows, the best of his later work was slasher movie The Comeback (1978) starring singer Jack Jones. Walker retired from movies in his early forties and moved into the construction industry.

You’d think after making some of the best British horror films ever made, Pete Walker might have received a few prizes or honors or maybe a couple of initials after his name. But all the dear man ever got from working in movies was hemorrhoids.

Now having had the intro, here’s a quick taste of the posters (and some movie stills) from Pete Walker’s movie career.
 
00scosx.jpg
“School for Sex” (1969).
 
00scosx2.jpg
Italian poster for “School for Sex” (1969).
 
00coolcarmavio.jpg
Combo poster for “Cool It Carol!” (1970) and “Man of Violence” (1969).
 
More posters from Pete Walker’s back catalog, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The gorgeous lesbian erotica of Gerda Wegener
03.16.2017
11:18 am

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Queer
Sex

Tags:


Gerda and Einer Wegener posing in front of one of Gerda’s paintings, 1925.
 
After moving to Paris from Copenhagen in the early 1900s, the work of then 26-year-old Gerda Wegener garnered the attention of the liberal and experimental art scene thriving in the adventurous city. Though she was already a successful artist in her former hometown well known for her lush illustrations for fashion magazines, a nearly unprecedented event involving her husband Einer would send the pair off to Paris with the hope that their unconventional partnership would be better accepted in the more permissive city.

If Wegener’s name is familiar to you, it is most likely because the extraordinary lives of the groundbreaking artist and her husband were the subjects of the 2015 film, The Danish Girl which was based on a fictional novel from 2000 of the same name by David Ebershoff. If you’ve not read the book or seen the film, the Wegeners’ story is an incredibly compelling tale of love, acceptance, bravery and of course sex. As I don’t want to provide every detail of their extraordinary tale as not to spoil it for anyone, I’ll share a few points of interest as they pertain to Gerda’s spellbinding erotica.

According to historians, Einer’s interest in exploring his true sexuality began after a model failed to show for a sitting with his wife. After she jovially mused that Einer should put on a pair of thigh-highs and heels so she could still paint, he agreed. Unbeknownst to fans of her work, the image of a mysterious dark-haired beauty who would be a reccurring subject in her paintings was actually Einer who had become the primary focus and muse for his wife.

In 1930 after living much of his life as “Lili,” at the age of 47 Einer would travel to Germany to forever transition to a woman and would be one of the first men to go through gender-reassignment surgery. Wegener’s erotic, lesbian-themed paintings caused quite a stir—including the occasional public riot due to their graphic nature. Her less controversial works would grace the pages of Vogue for years as well as other fashion publications.

I’ve included an array of images from Wegener’s vast catalog of erotic works below which, as you might have guessed, are beguilingly NSFW.
 

1926.
 

1925.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Rockstars with balls: Bob Marley, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Pink Floyd & more playing soccer
03.13.2017
09:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Music
Sports

Tags:


Bob Marley playing football backstage in 1979.
 

I love soccer. That’s all I ever watch. I’ll watch it all day if I can. But I’m too bloody old to play now.

—Lifelong soccer devotee, Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath.

 
I’m posting theses images today because I, and perhaps many of your reading this require a bit of a “mind cleanse” every now and then to blow all the bad shit out of your brain. And what better way to clear your mind of all the gloom and doom currently running amok in the global brain than to lose ourselves for a while looking at pictures of pretty people playing around with soccer balls. Ah, I feel better already.

There’s Robert Plant cavorting around in tiny sports briefs on a soccer field looking not-so-pleased that he was being photographed while doing so. There’s also a shirtless Roger Daltrey, a spandex-clad Rod Stewart, and a straight-up amazing shot of Bob Marley backstage at a show in San Diego in 1979 kicking a soccer ball around. Many other bands like Iron Maiden and Def Leppard actually actively played in amateur football leagues of their own during their time away from their headbanging duties, so I’ve included a few choice images of both bands suited up for gameplay as well.
 

Robert Plant.
 

Roger Daltrey.
 
More rockin’ footballers after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Sorry guys, you’re not a REAL MAN until you’ve shaved your face with an ax
03.10.2017
10:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
History

Tags:


Civilian Conservation Corps ax shaving demonstration, 1933.
 
Believe it or not, there is photographic evidence of men, some who were lumberjacks or loggers, who shaved their own faces, and the faces of others, with an ax.

There were a couple of notable manly men who were known for performing the feat in front of crowds such as Paul Criss whose moniker was the “spectacular axe-man” and Oregon lumberjack Leonard Wallulis. Criss was also a popular pitchman for the Kelly Axe Company. One of the axes in the company’s product line was called the “Perfect Axe” and it would be this weapon of choice that Criss would use to demonstrate the tool’s ability to be used to shave a man’s face. Wallulis, on the other hand, was noted to have entered a Ripley’s Believe It or Not contest in Portland, Oregon in 1936 where he shaved with a double-bitted ax—a daring trick that got him to the finals.

If you frequent reddit, you may have seen an image of either Criss or Wallulis shaving dangerously. In once instance, I saw that someone had noted that Criss was some sort of traveling ax salesman. Which promptly got him torn to shreds by folks saying that there is/was no such thing as a traveling ax salesman. But here’s the thing about that—ax salesmen were real and businesses such as Oakland, Maine’s Emerson & Stevens employed salespeople who schlepped around axes, hatchets, and scythes to hardware stores and tool shops. So now that I’ve cleared that bit up, take a look at the images below of guys who make shaving with an ax look like a normal part of their day.
 

Paul Criss the “spectacular axe-man” giving an ax shaving demonstration with a Perfect Axe made by Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company.
 

Leonard Wallulis shaving with an ax.
 
More manly men shaving with axes, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Perpetually shirtless Iggy Pop annihilates an acoustic version of ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ on UK TV
03.06.2017
10:34 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Television

Tags:


 
About a month ago I posted about a sweet grouping of appearances by Jane’s Addiction, Sonic Youth, Screaming Trees and a few other notable 90s bands performing live sets on the BBC television show, The Late Show. While that was all good fun I’ve got something even better for you today from the same source—Iggy Pop’s shirtless, acoustic performance of The Stooges 1969 anthemic sucker punch, “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

Before Igg and his insane abs launch into the song, he talks a little bit about its conception and Stooges’ guitarist Ron Asheton. Referring to the band’s early days in Ann Arbor Michigan, Iggy reminisces about the group calling them a “far-fetched group of dreamers” who liked to “get stoked on hash and grass.” Which sounds about right. While I usually like to say as many words about Iggy as possible whenever I get the opportunity, I’m going to leave this one to him and let this performance speak for itself.

Watch after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The amazing Dr. Hal, Subgenius ‘Master of Church Secrets,’ will answer any question!


Submit to the superior mind of Dr. Hal!
 
One name alone could never properly designate the spellbinding polymath who calls himself Dr. Howll and Dr. Howland Owll, though he is known to hundreds of listeners around the world as the host of the Ask Dr. Hal! show.

A clergyman and theologian of the highest attainment in the Church of the Subgenius (“Master of Church Secrets”), Dr. Hal is a man of great learning, the numerosity of whose specializations is exceeded only by the perspicuity of his understanding, which in turn is outstepped only by the very testicularity of his hauteur. Why, Dr. Hal’s conversation makes Dr. Johnson sound like an analphabetic dirt farmer doing whip-its in an Andy Gump at the Gathering of the Juggalos, if you’ll pardon my French!
 

Ask Dr. Hal! via Laughing Squid
 
When did Dr. Johnson, so comfortably provisioned with nitrous tanks up in his ivory tower, ever give the American working stiff a break like this? “I refute it thus”: for $5, Dr. Hal will answer any question you can fit into an HTML form. Alternatively, “if you’re going to San Francisco,” be sure to wear some dollars in your hair, because your trip to the ¢ity by the pa¥ just got even more expensive: there is a run of Ask Dr. Hal! shows coming up in April at Chez Poulet in the Mission. If Chicken John likes your question, he will even pour you a shot of Fernet.

That’s Dr. Hal’s partner in the live show, Chicken John Rinaldi, the author of The Book of the IS, Volume I: Fail… To WIN! Essays in engineered disperfection and The Book of the Un, Volume 2: Friends of Smiley! Dissertations of dystopia. The live Ask Dr. Hal! show works like this, according to Chicken John:

You fill out the slip, you write your name, you write your question—any question about any topic, left or right, up or down: science, entomology, etymology, Greek mythology, sex, religion, jewelry, what’s the plastic thing on the end of your shoelace called. Aglet, by the way, on the end of your shoe. Aglet.

Much more after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Recording console used by Pink Floyd for ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ heads to auction
03.02.2017
03:43 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:


EMI TG12345 MK IV. The console that Pink Floyd used to record ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ in 1972 at Abbey Road Studios. Photo credit Mike Ross.
 
Only two of these custom EMI TG12345 MK IV consoles were ever made and according to former Abbey Road engineer Brian Gibson—long considered to be one of the foremost authorities in the world on such things—this particular console is the “greatest to ever be constructed.”

This particular EMI TG12345 MK IV was in use for over a decade in Studio 2 at the world-renowned Abbey Road Studio. The mythical studio that has stood on 3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, City of Westminster, London, England since 1931 has recorded notable bands from The Beatles to The Buzzcocks during its long history. When it comes to the history of this console, it is as rich as the studio it occupied during its heyday. Though it was used by other prestigious artists such as Paul McCartney and Wings, George Harrison, Kate Bush and later on by The Cure—as the title of this post indicates—the most noteworthy piece of musical history created with the help of this console was Pink Floyd’s 1973 mind-bender The Dark Side of the Moon. Whoah.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Perfect posters for the genius comedy-horror TV series ‘Inside No. 9’
03.01.2017
01:40 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Television

Tags:

00stevereeceinsideno9.jpg
 
If you aren’t already, then you really should be watching Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith‘s masterful series Inside No. 9, which is currently rolling out for a third season on BBC television.

Shearsmith and Pemberton, alongside Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson formed the finely-tuned quartet of young writers and performers who saved British television comedy from near irrelevancy in 1999.

Together they called themselves, and their comedy series, The League of Gentlemen. In the long history of British comedy, these guys were the most important new arrivals on the telly since say The Comic Strip Presents…, or The Young Ones or even further back to Monty Python. Their show was a fearless mix of horror and comedy which became an international cult hit leading to the inevitable book, movie, and stage production. Along with The Office, the three series of The League of Gentlemen are the crown jewels of this generation of BBC comedy productions. The best of the best.

In 2002, when The League of Gentlemen finished their run on television.  Dyson went off to write very good novels and stage shows. Gatiss sharpened his nib working on Doctor Who and then stunned the planet by co-devising and writing Sherlock. The Lennon & McCartney of the band, Pemberton and Shearsmith continued in their own wicked ways writing and starring in the much darker sitcom Psychoville and most importantly Inside No. 9 in 2014.

Inside No. 9 is an anthology series, much in the style of those masterful compendium horror films produced by Amicus Productions in the sixties and seventies like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Tales from the Crypt (1972), and From Beyond the Grave (1974). Each episode offers up one complete mini-movie written by and starring Pemberton and Shearsmith alongside such renowned actors as David Warner, Gemma Arterton, Rula Lenska, Sheridan Smith, Jessica Raine and Roger Sloman. The tales range from haunting ghost stories to Gothic horror to troubling psychological thrillers—all neatly laced with the deadliest of black comedy. And as with the Amicus films, each 30-minute drama has an unnerving and genuinely unexpected twist.

The third series has already started—and it’s utterly fantastic. Which understandably explains why the BBC have already commissioned a fourth one for 2018.

Inside No. 9 is promoted by a lovingly produced movie poster which captures the style and genre of each production. As a fan of the show (and all the work of Messrs. Pemberton and Shearsmith), I thought these posters are something well worth sharing. The first was designed by Graham Humphreys who produced the knock ‘em for six poster for Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. Each of these beautiful artworks is a mouthwatering appetizer for the main dish—which, as said, if you aren’t already watching then you should be feasting on them right now.
 
011insideno9.jpg
Sardines’ Season One #1, February 5th 2014, poster by Graham Humphreys .
 
012insideno9.jpg
A Quiet Night In’ Season One #2, February 12th 2014, poster by Matt Owen.
 
More posters promoting the god-like genius of Pemberton & Shearsmith, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 3 of 147  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›