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16mm print of Wes Craven’s banned cut of ‘Last House On The Left’ up for auction on eBay
11.24.2014
09:34 am

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Movies

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The Last House on the Left
Wes Craven
David Hess


 
Horror fans may be interested putting in a bid for an original 16mm print of Wes Craven’s “banned” exploitation shocker The Last House on the Left which is currently up for grabs on eBay.

The print was owned by actor David Hess who starred in the film and is now being sold by his son. The print is in “perfect condition and was stored in a sealed container for years protecting it from any damage.”

Need I say more it’s a one of a kind and will come with one of very few signed pictures still in my families possession. And a copy of the sound track on cd or vinyl.

The Last House on the Left was banned in the UK by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) which refused to give the movie a certificate on grounds of sadism and violence. The film was later released uncut on video in 1982 but was again banned under the Video Recordings Act of 1984 by the Department of Public Prosecutions as a “Video Nasty.” The film remained banned throughout the eighties and nineties until it was eventually released (with 31 seconds cut) in the UK on DVD in 2002.

If you fancy putting in a bid you will have to be quick as bidding finishes in just about eight hours, details here.
 

 
H/T Tim Lucas
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The Count goes hardcore in ‘Dracula Sucks’
11.24.2014
07:54 am

Topics:
Movies
Sex

Tags:
vampires
Jamie Gillis


 
If one had to name one literary character from the past 200 years that has influenced numerous films, short stories, books, pieces of music, commercials and even video games, there is one strikingly demonic figure that should immediately pop into mind. That’s right. The man himself—Count Dracula.

Bram Stoker’s character—who was not, apparently, based on the historical Romanian warlord Vlad the Impaler—has appeared in nearly every cinematic genre, ranging from horror (natch) to westerns and even comedies. Another genre that the most epochal vampire has graced is adult film, which also might be the least examined. The big standout on that small but notable list is 1978’s Lust at First Bite aka Dracula’s Bride aka Dracula Sucks.

Combining explicit sex and Dracula is the veritable chocolate with the peanut butter. The real shocker isn’t that there is a hardcore version of Stoker’s tale but that there are not more adult films based on his character. The very nature of Dracula, a charismatic monster riddled with polluted sexuality, makes him the perfect seductive villain for erotica of any stripe.
 
Extra from a Ratt Video? No. It's one of Dracula's Brides.
 
The title alone of Dracula Sucks might bring to mind something heavy in the groin but light in the brains department, but there is actual substance to this version, albeit in a deliriously strange way. Directed by Philip Marshak and with industry notable William Margold chipping in on writing duties, Dracula Sucks begins with Richard (Richard Bulik), the nephew of Irene Renfield (Pat Manning) and, you guessed it, the son of the Renfield. His aunt has taken him to a castle retreat in rural California to be in the care of the brother and sister team of the Sewards, Arthur (John Leslie) and Sybil (Kay Parker). He’s arrived to receive treatment for his night terrors, which will soon grow exponentially as the voice of his dead father starts to call to him.

This ghastly force leads him to the body of Dracula (Jamie Gillis). Richard follows his daddy’s instructions and removes the stake out of the corpse, only to quickly find out that the voice pulling him the whole time was not his father’s but Dracula himself! This puts him over the edge and faster than you can say “Ballad of Dwight Frye,” Richard is all bug-eyed, emitting noises of the insane and making the insect world his own personal buffet.
 
The Son of Renfield
 
Meanwhile, Dracula is introduced as a new neighbor to not only the Sewards, but to their non-patient residents, including dear friends Lucy (Serena, looking like the living embodiment of a Vargas girl) and Mina (Annette Haven), as well as their respective suitors, Dr. Bradley (Mike Ranger) and Jonathan Harker (Paul Thomas.) Things go from strange to stranger to strangest as a wave of infected sexuality and blood starts to sweep through the asylum as Dracula hones in on Mina, with whom he has fallen in love.

Dracula Sucks has to be one of the stranger approximations of Stoker’s classic tale that I have ever seen. There’s a strain of goony humor that is undercut by a genuinely eerie ambiance. It is an unwell universe where the dysfunctional out-rules the healthy and that includes a large part of the medical staff.  From the incest between the Sewards, the character of Henry (Margold) who, when not assisting the doctors, has a fixation on apples and ends up raping Irene and the fact that Van Helsing (played by character actor heavy Reggie Nalder) manages to out-creep Dracula, there are no real character safety zones here. On top of that, there is the striking image of the Count’s handmaidens, who look like glamorous ghouls who just escaped Hell’s war zone, creeping across the asylum grounds at night. Speaking of startling visuals, there’s also a doozy of an image where Dracula has a vision upon meeting Lucy. The vision in question is a solarized shot of him urinating on her while fire is chroma-keyed into the shot. It is completely infernal, messed up and striking in a witchy-psychedelic piss type way.
 
Jamie Gillis is Dracula
 
While there are some obvious liberties taken with the story, which makes the film about on par with 99% of the rest of the Dracula-centric titles, there is one key element that it nails from Stoker’s source material better than most. Keeping in mind that the novel was written in the Victorian era by a man who was very much an upstanding byproduct of it, the sexuality in the book is tame. It’s highly doubtful that any eroticism in Stoker’s text was ever intentional, since vampirism plays out more like a metaphor for venereal disease than anything else. So amping of the sexuality factor to include a communicable disease is perfect for the material. The fake vampire teeth used here is pretty jarring. Not because they look authentic, in fact, far from it. But it’s that line where something looks so artificial that it takes on an even more alien and bent look. (Anyone who has seen the Count Yorga films will know exactly what I am talking about here.)

The cast is good and features a veritable who’s who of adult film in the 1970’s. John Holmes even appears in a small supporting role as “Dr. John Stoker,” who ends up having his equally famous member get bitten by a female vampire. (Surely a scene that will have 8 out of 10 guys running to the hills!) The acting, as a whole, is really good, with the usually frosty Haven making a likable Mina. Richard Bulik makes an interesting Renfield, with his performance going from decent Dwight Frye cosplay into something more genuinely unhinged. However, like other vampire films before it, the real stars of the show are the hunter and the hunted.
 
Johnny Wadd: Vampire
 
Nader, whose career spanned from working with Hitchcock in The Man Who Knew Too Much to playing vampire Kurt Barlow in the first adaptation of Stephen King’s book, Salem’s Lot, is typically remarkable here. One has to wonder what was going through his mind while making Dracula Sucks, since established “straight” actors typically didn’t usually appear in adult films, then or now. (One exception from that time period was Aldo Ray acting in the 1976 adult title, Sweet Savage. Also, neither gentleman dropped trow, though that would have been potentially spooky on a whole other level!) Then there’s Jamie Gillis as Dracula. Given that one of Gillis’ nicknames has been “the dark prince of porn,” it was only natural to have him here as the Count. His good looks and natural intense energy plays into the role perfectly. He’s more animalistic than say Lugosi or Lee, but retains the charisma that is typically associated with the role. Given that Gillis was a really terrific actor in general, it does make one wish he had more to do, but given that the literary Dracula only appears in a fraction of the text, it only makes sense to have him more as a shadow figure.
 
Reggie Nalder as Van Helsing
 
For the hardcore vampire film lovers, Vinegar Syndrome have released this on a sweet two-disc set that also includes the Lust at First Bite version, which is more traditionally edited and features more sex than blood. Interestingly, both Dracula Sucks and Lust at First Bite have two different endings, making it the sex-vampire equivalent of King Kong Vs Godzilla. (Ignore the fact that the dual-ending for the latter is a myth.) Naturally, Dracula Sucks is not going to be for everyone but for those who like their vampire tales weird, lurid, occasionally silly and ultimately memorable, then do check it out.
 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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Patti Smith interviews David Lynch
11.22.2014
07:30 am

Topics:
Movies
Punk
Television

Tags:
Patti Smith
David Lynch

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Though I’m sure your thoughts are probably on higher things than mine, I couldn’t help but consider the benefits of hair dye while watching this interview between Patti Smith and David Lynch. Is there a point when life can be enhanced by a teeny drop of Nice ‘n’ Easy? I was a tad surprised this question wasn’t raised during the interview, however, Ms. Smith and Mr. Lynch did share their thoughts about singer Bobby Vinton and the film Blue Velvet, the series Twin Peaks (which Smith claims “reconnected [her] to the world and art”) and the feminist band Pussy Riot, of which Ms. Smith says:

These girls did something absolutely original. As even a mother or a grandmother, they are in my prayers.

The interview is taken from the “Encounters” strand of BBC’s “flagship” news and current affairs program Newsnight,  in which two notable people interview each other about issues relating to their work. If you’re a fan of either Ms. Smith or Mr. Lynch, you will surely enjoy this.
 

 
H/T NME

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Kubrick didn’t fake the moon landing, but Led Zeppelin DID fake playing Madison Square Garden, 1973
11.21.2014
05:36 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin



Japanese poster for ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ 1976
 
True or false: The performances from The Song Remains the Same, the concert film that supposedly documents Led Zeppelin’s 1973 Madison Square Garden shows weren’t actually filmed at Madison Square Garden?

Mostly true!

It’s not exactly a secret but it’s neither something that seems to be widely known by the general public, or even most Led Zeppelin fans for that matter. Now I’m not trying to imply here that Led Zeppelin didn’t even play Madison Square Garden for three nights in late July of 1973, because of course they did and The Song Remains the Same‘s original director, Joe Massot (Wonderwall) was there with a camera crew trained on them when they did. This much is not being disputed.

The problem was, as the group and their manager Peter Grant found out only after they’d fired Massot from the project, is that he’d gotten inadequate—practically unusable—coverage that wouldn’t sync properly or cut. Some great shots but nothing that could be used to create an edited sequence.

Grant brought in Aussie director Peter Clifton, the guy they probably should have hired in the first place, to see what could made from this mess, but the initial prognosis looked pretty grim until Clifton suggested reshooting the entire running order of the Madison Square Garden show on Madison Square Garden’s stage… recreated at Shepperton Studios in England!

Everyone assumes they’re watching the group at MSG, but in reality what we are watching (for the most part) is Led Zeppelin rocking out on a soundstage in Surrey, southeast of London. Without an audience.
 

 
On a playback screen, the band could watch themselves in the earlier footage—keeping their movements and positions in roughly the same general areas—and play along to the MSG soundtrack. So what we mostly see in the finished film are Clifton’s close-ups and medium distance footage of the band members shot at Shepperton, but intercut with Massot’s footage of the trappings of MSG, wide shots, shots framed from behind the band towards the audience and so forth.

Once you know all this, it’s screamingly obvious what was shot where.

Complicating matters for Clifton, John Paul Jones had recently cut his hair short (he’s wearing a wig in the Shepperton footage) and Robert Plant’s teeth had been fixed since the New York City shows the year before.

Jimmy Page spilled the beans in the May 2008 issue of Uncut Magazine,

“I’m sort of miming at Shepperton to what I’d played at Madison Square Garden, but of course, although I’ve got a rough approximation of what I was playing from night to night, it’s not exact. So the film that came out in the ‘70s is a bit warts-and-all.”

This little known behind-the-scenes story of the making of The Song Remains the Same is barely touched upon in some of the major books about Led Zeppelin—but in Chris Welch’s 2001 biography Peter Grant: The Man who Led Zeppelin, the story is told in greater detail, finishing thusly:

As far as Grant and Zeppelin were concerned, the movie song had ended. But they left behind smouldering resentments among the filmmakers and a few puzzles for movie buffs. Says Peter Clifton: “If you look at the credits they wrote something very interesting. ‘Musical performances were presented live at Madison Square Garden.’ It was somewhat ambiguous because the film was obviously done somewhere else!”

When he was asked about the provenance of the ‘live’ shots of Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden, Peter Grant did admit that they had indeed shot some material at Shepperton studios, recreating the same stage set while the band donned the same clothes they wore at the actual gig. “Yes, we did,” he said. “But we didn’t shout about the fact.”

See for yourself:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Watch ‘Angel,’ the 1966 Canadian government-funded art film starring Leonard Cohen


 
Before Leonard Cohen became known as a singer-songwriter, he was a trust-fund kid struggling to be a writer and poet. This is why the 1966 short Angel (a product of the National Film Board of Canada), credits him with, “Music by poet Leonard Cohen, played by The Stormy Clovers”; The Stormy Clovers were one of Cohen’s early musical projects—here’s their version of “Suzanne”. I’ve seen the film once before, but was excited to see it on Vimeo in high definition—the clarity really highlights the the stark contrast of what looks to be overexposed film that’s been run through an old school analog video switcher.

The premise isn’t elaborate; a woman in decorative wings frolics with a man (an uncredited Cohen), and a dog. The man then tries on the wings, before they are put on the dog. A tryst is implied, then the woman leaves, much to both their resigned dismay. It’s all incredibly lovely, with a striking minimalist aesthetic and an intimate soundtrack. The film received Honourable Mention at the (Canadian) International Annual Film Festival, a Chris Certificate Award in the Graphic Arts Category at the International Film and Video Festival (US), First Prize in the Arts and Experimental category at the Genie Awards (Canada) and Special Mention at the Festival of Canadian Films.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ melting Nazi face candle
11.20.2014
11:27 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
Raiders of the Lost Ark


 
This is one of those clever ideas that make me want to kick myself for not thinking of it first... Anyway, Firebox is selling a face-melting Major Arnold Toht candle (the sinister SS agent whose face melts off at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark).

According to UK-based Firebox, “Thankfully it melts a lot slower than his face does in the film.”

It’s £20 or around $30 + shipping.


 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigríður Níelsdóttir
11.19.2014
09:20 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Sigríður Níelsdóttir
Grandma Lo-Fi


 
Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigríður Níelsdóttir is a sweet documentary about an elderly Icelandic musical icon who didn’t even start making music until she was seventy. The film has been exhibited to great acclaim—and charmed audiences—all over the world, including a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Working in her living room, “outsider musician” Níelsdóttir used a simple electronic keyboard and then creatively layered her cheerfully eccentric compositions with sound effects that she made using toys, her pets and common household and kitchen items. Before you laugh, that’s exactly what Pink Floyd tried to do with their aborted “Household Objects” sessions—their ill-fated 1974 follow-up to Dark Side of the Moon. But where they failed, Sigríður Níelsdóttir succeeded!

Before her death in 2011, “Grandma Lo-Fi” recorded nearly 700 songs and released almost 60 albums. Sigríður Níelsdóttir’‘s unlikely cult following includes Bjork and Sigur Rós and her boundless creativity still provides inspiration to younger Icelandic musicians.

Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigríður Níelsdóttir was shot in old-fashion “low fi” film, both Super8 and 16mm by Orri Jónsson, Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir. 62 min.

Below, the trailer for Grandma Lo-Fi. You can rent or buy the film on Vimeo.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Not quite coming soon: Movie posters for imaginary film sequels
11.17.2014
08:34 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
film posters


‘Death: Diabolik’ by Robert Sammelin
 
It’s a game for long distance car journeys where you and a buddy sit and discuss those films you think would make good sequels. You know the kind of thing: American Psycho 2: The Race for the White House in which Patrick Bateman has the good fortune to become Republican Senator with ambitions to be the next President; or South by Southeast the follow up to Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, which begins on the same train with the top bunk honeymoon embrace between Mr. and Mrs. Thornhill, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.  Of course, some sequels are already out there as books, while others have characters or situations that suggest prequels waiting in the wings. All of which brings us to these rather cool posters for various imaginary sequels and prequels, all of which are available to buy.
 
Odessa_Sawyer-Pan_s_Labyrinth_Fall_of_the_Underworld.jpg
One day I do hope this will happen, and that it will be as promising as Odessa Sawyer’s poster makes it look: ‘Pan’s Labyrinth: Fall of the Underworld.’
 

‘Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League’ by Robert Sammelin
 
Alex_Griendling-The_Rocketeer_2.jpg
Simply, classy design: ‘The Rocketeer 2’ by Alex Griendling.
 
Ashley_Wood-Barbarella_2.jpg
Looking slightly darker and more Frank Frazetta-like, Ashley Wood’s ‘Barbarella 2.’
 
More posters for imaginary sequels, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The ‘Godfather House’ for sale: Make ‘em an offer they can’t refuse
11.13.2014
06:28 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
The Godfather
homes

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The home made famous in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie The Godfather as the country retreat of the fictional Corleone family is up for sale. This “beautiful English Tudor” house offers a “chic but classy interior with 5 bedrooms, 7 NAT stone bathrooms and 6,248 square feet on a sprawling 24,000 square foot grounds” all for the asking price of $2,895,000.

Though the interior of this Staten Island home was not used in the film, fans of The Godfather will recognise its exterior which and part of the lawn, which was used as a backdrop when Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone celebrated the wedding of his daughter Connie, played by Talia Shire.

The house was built in 1930 was home to the Norton family for six decades, who first put the house up for sale in 2010. It was then renovated and is now back on the market through the New Dorp-based Connie Profaci Realty. Estate agent Joseph R Profaci told the Staten Island Advance:

“The current owners have done an amazing job renovating the home, including a first-floor office they remodeled to try to make look like the office in the ‘Godfather’ movie,” he said, noting the current owner bought the home in March 2012.

“The house has sprawling grounds that make you feel like you’re on the English countryside, with big, old trees, a nice yard and a pool… It’s fantastic,” he added.

The house was chosen as the Corleone home for Coppola’s movie after being suggested by actor and Staten Island-native Gianni Russo, who played the Godfather’s son-in-law Carlo Rizzi. In the spring of 1971, cast and crew arrived at the Longfellow Avenue home for a full-on two month’s of filming. The house was converted into the estate of Don Corleone and “surrounded by a fake brick wall and wrought-iron gate, turning the street leading up to the house into part of a sprawling well-guarded retreat.”

If you want to make an offer that can’t be refused then check details here....horse’s head is optional.
 
 
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More of the ‘Godafther’ house, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Andre the Giant, boozer of mythic proportions


 
As You Wish, Cary Elwes’ new book about the making of The Princess Bride, came out on October 14—two weeks ago it made the #3 slot on the New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Nonfiction (it’s since slipped to #11). Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Patton and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl were the only books keeping it from the top slot; by comparison, Elwes’ memoir was a far more surprising success. It turns out that people sure do love The Princess Bride. A lot.


The hand of Andre the Giant, cradling a regular-sized can of beer
 
And where The Princess Bride is being discussed, tales of Andre the Giant cannot be far behind. Elwes relates some incredible stories about the wrestler’s mind-boggling capacity for alcohol:
 

André was due to have an operation after he wrapped the movie. But until then the only medication he could take to deal with the pain was alcohol. Now, if you think André could eat, you should have seen him drink. It was legendary. Word had it that even before he developed the injury he could drink a hundred beers in one sitting. According to some estimates his average daily consumption of alcohol was a case of beer, three bottles of wine, and a couple of bottles of brandy. But what I witnessed was something quite different. At meal times, besides the incredible amount of food he ate, I noticed that rather than using a regular glass, André drank from a beer pitcher, which looked a lot like a regular glass in his hands anyway. In reality it was forty ounces of alcohol, which he nicknamed “The American”—usually some combination of hard and soft liquor and whatever else he felt like mixing it with that day. I should point out that not once did I notice any sign of the alcohol affecting him, which made sense given his size. …

It turns out that same night after the read-through André decided he would sample some of the finest vintage aperitifs and liqueurs from the cellars of the prestigious hotel and ended up closing the bar. When it came to last call he got up to leave but never made it to the front door, instead passing out cold in the lobby. The night porter was called, who in turn summoned security, who in turn rang engineering. Manpower was apparently needed. Yet, despite their valiant efforts, there was simply no waking or even slightly budging what could only be described as an unconscious 500-pound Gulliver spread out on their very ornate carpet. A meeting was held and the wise decision was made to leave him there. … For safety purposes, both to protect him and any passersby, they decided to place a small velvet rope barrier around André, who was by now snoring loudly enough to shake the lobby walls.

 
Elwes quotes Buttercup herself, Robin Wright, on the subject: “He was a bottomless pit. I think he went through a case of wine, and he wasn’t even tipsy.” 
 

 
As Richard English wrote in the pages of Modern Drunkard, “No other wrestler ever matched his exploits as a drunkard. In fact, no other human has ever matched Andre as a drinker. He is the zenith. He is the Mount Everest of inebriation. … Consider the number 7,000. It’s an important number, and a rather scary one considering its context, which is this—it has been estimated that Andre the Giant drank 7,000 calories worth of booze every day. The figure doesn’t include food. Just booze.”

English claims that Andre the Giant holds the record for beers consumed in a single sitting, at 119, a feat that took him (only) six hours—meaning that he drank a beer every three minutes on average. According to English, Andre’s bar tab for a month’s stay at the Hyatt in London while filming The Princess Bride came to just over $40,000.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Existential odd couple: Samuel Beckett and André the Giant had a posse

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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