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Mad nuns, torture, witchcraft, & Satan: Silent film ‘Häxan’ narrated by William S. Burroughs


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Initially, Häxan is presented as a kind of historical document providing legitimate information about the origins of witchcraft and paganism.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
Real Horrorshow: The short-lived ‘Clockwork Orange’-themed punk band Molodoy


 
I’m pleased to have a reason to call attention to the Sheffield Tape Archive, an absolutely unbeatable resource helping to preserve an essential part of our collective musical heritage. As they describe it, the archive’s purpose is to house “a series of archive recordings from around 1980 onwards: sheffield bands, demos, concerts and rarities.”

One of the more intriguing acts featured in the Sheffield Tape Archive existed only very briefly, never put out an album, and their only live dates were before 1980. They were called Molodoy, and they had a terrific gimmick: The entire band was an extended homage to the joint artistic labors of Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick, the latter of course having most memorably adapted the former’s unsettling bestseller A Clockwork Orange. Not much is known about this band today, but I’m willing to bet that one rejected name for the band was Alex and the Droogs.

The group’s singer, Garry Warburton, unmistakably played the role of Alex, complete with facepaint incorporating the book’s signature gear/eye motif (as you can see above) that also references the extravagant eyelash makeup worn by Malcolm McDowell in the movie.
 

 
The name, Molodoy, comes from the book, which is told in an invention of Burgess’ called “Nadsat,” a type of youth slang that is replete with Russian-derived colloquialisms—the best-known term is “horrorshow,” which is a reformulation of khorosho, the Russian word for “good.” The term molodoy, meaning “young,” pops up early in Burgess’ novel:
 

I nudged him hard, saying: “Come, my gloopy bastard as thou art. Think thou not on them. There’ll be life like down here most likely, with some getting knifed and others doing the knifing. And now, with the nochy still molodoy, let us be on our way, O my brothers.”

 
Molodoy unfortunately didn’t leave much trace behind. I was able to find an account of a Cabaret Voltaire gig at Sheffield’s Limit Club from the summer of 1978 at which Molodoy also played. The writer, whose name I was not able to ascertain, seems to have found them more than a little intimidating:
 

Molodoy follow. This is the band the skinheads have come to see. The singer is dressed in full Clockwork Orange droog uniform: black bowler hat, eye make-up, white shirt and trousers, black boots and braces. Real horrowshow.

“This one’s called ‘Children Of The Third Reich’”.

The lyrics flirt with fascism. The music is taut, dense and sexless. He’s watchable in a detestable kind of way. The skins push each other around, there is argy, but thankfully no bargy. The rest of us look on, mute. We are either young, liberal-minded types who think everyone is entitled to their own point of view, or we are collectively shit scared of getting a 14 eye oxblood Dr. Martens boot to the head. Molodoy continue to thrash and thrum, we the audience opt to keep schtum.

 
To perform in a rock group dressed as a Droog in 70s Britain was to, obviously, assume the mantle not just of “ultra-violence,” but of sexual violence as well. After Fleet Street blamed the film for inspiring a gang rape in which the attackers sang “Singin’ in the Rain” as “Singin’ in the Rape” and A Clockwork Orange was linked to several sensational murders, Kubrick’s film was withdrawn from distribution in 1973 at the director’s request. No wonder the bootboys came out in force for Molodoy.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Love Story’: Definitive doc on the great Arthur Lee and Love
03.21.2017
01:27 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Arthur Lee
Love


 
It seems that Love is in the air…. Just a few days ago we featured a swell duvet cover featuring the cover art of Forever Changes as the prevailing design.

Love was perfectly primed to become an object of cult adoration. They were an interracial band that was smack in the middle of a very fertile California music scene in the 1960s. The quality of their output was very high, and reflected a very important transition in the maturation of the rock scene as a whole. Love’s “classic” line-up didn’t last long. They were a hard-luck band with more than its share of uncommonly punitive arrests and premature deaths. On top of all that, Love did produce the one clear masterpiece, the aforementioned Forever Changes that is today widely regarded to be one of the greatest albums ever recorded.
 

 
The documentary Love Story was released just after frontman Arthur Lee’s death from leukemia in 2006. While it is properly adulatory, directors Chris Hall and Mike Kerry largely manage to keep the distorting effect of sadness and grief out of it, presumably because much of the footage was filmed before the deaths of Lee as well as the (unrelated) 1998 deaths of Ken Forssi and Bryan Maclean.

Feel the Love after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Homemade Monsters: DIY horror movie makeup from 1965

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Martian #1.
 
In 1965, Forrest J. Ackerman hired legendary movie make-up artist Dick Smith to produce a Famous Monsters of Filmland Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook. Smith (1922-2014) was the guy who did the award-winning make-up for movies like The Exorcist, Little Big Man, The Godfather, Taxi Driver and Ken Russell’s Altered States. Smith’s special edition illustrated magazine presented a 100-page step-by-step guide on how to get the look for some of cinema’s best-known movie monsters. Using a range of everyday objects—from crepe paper and breadcrumbs to ping pong balls—Smith shared some of his best-kept secrets of the trade.

In his introduction to the handbook, Smith wrote:

Make-up is an exciting hobby, but it has been enjoyed by only a few young people because learning how to do it was very difficult. It was my hobby when I was a teenager, so I know both the difficulties and the excitement. I enjoyed make-up so much that I became a professional make-up artist, and after twenty years, I still love it.

What I want to do with this book is to provide you young amateurs with the information you’ll need to make it easy for you to understand and enjoy this art. The book begins with very simple make-ups and ends with some complicated ones.

Any kid who grew up on black & white Universal and RKO monster movies would have dug Smith’s book. Nearly every kid loves the thrill of making themselves into monsters and scaring the bejesus out of grown-ups. It’s all the fun of growing up. And Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook certainly offered the young and those old enough to know better that chance.

Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook is still available to buy as a paperback. But here’s a taste of how it looked when first published in Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1965.
 
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Martian #2.
 
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Werewolf #1.
 
See more of Smith’s scary monster make-up tips, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Labor of love: Writer-director-star Alice Lowe on homicidal motherhood & the making of ‘Prevenge’
03.21.2017
10:45 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Comedy
Horror Films
Alice Lowe
Prevenge


 
Alice Lowe’s horror black comedy Prevenge, as you may have gathered from my last post, is pretty likely to be my favorite film of the year (though there’s some fierce competition, for sure.) A hilariously bleak look at motherhood and murder, Prevenge is the story of mother-to-be Ruth who, after the tragic death of her unborn baby’s father, starts to hear the child’s voice. And it is telling her to kill.

The film is packed to bursting point with wicked laughs, stomach-turning violence and, perhaps most surprisingly of all, genuine pathos, the kind of work that gives you faith that independent cinema is still capable of turning out films that are both fresh and brilliant. Written, directed and starring Lowe herself in the lead role, Prevenge was made on a shoe-string budget over the course of three weeks, all while Lowe was heavily pregnant. While it might mark her first time behind the camera to helm a feature, as an actress and a writer Lowe is a seasoned pro, lending her formidable talents to work as diverse and quality as The Mighty Boosh, Sherlock, Snuff Box, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and Sightseers.

We’re long time fans of Alice Lowe’s work here at Dangerous Minds, so it was a real treat to finally nab an exclusive interview with this dark comedy powerhouse. I caught up with her on International Women’s Day to talk about Prevenge, producing films, and the trials of juggling motherhood with an artistic career.

Dangerous Minds: Which one was harder? Making a film or giving birth?

Alice Lowe: Giving birth! If I had to compare the two, making a feature film is pretty easy. No, it’s still pretty nerve wracking! But that’s one of the things that made me do it because, compared to childbirth, I thought “oh it’s just a feature film, who cares?” If I hadn’t been pregnant I would have been like: “My precious first feature!” I maybe wouldn’t have made it because I was so scared of it not being perfect. As it was, I wasn’t that stressed to be honest, I was just enjoying it.

So far the critical reaction to Prevenge has been very positive. How have you found the reception to the film?

Alice Lowe: It’s amazing! I don’t think it’s gonna hit me until about a year’s time because I just haven’t stopped. Making the film, having a baby, editing the film with my baby, finishing the film in time for the Venice Film Festival, it’s all just been a whirlwind, really. I haven’t had a chance to stop and take stock. Because it was so low budget, we just didn’t have any expectations. I was thinking: “If I can make a film then that’s brilliant, it doesn’t really matter what it’s like.” Haha! Honestly, I was just glad to get a feature under my belt, because features notoriously don’t mix well with childcare. So I didn’t really have any expectations, but I certainly didn’t expect to still be promoting it now and people to still be talking about it!
 

As ‘Dr Liz Asher’ in ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’
 
Prevenge is your first feature film as director. Was there any particular template that you were working to as a first time director, either for a low-budget horror or just more generally?

Alice Lowe: Initially I did think it would be easier to do a revenge film because you have a narrative template. You don’t necessarily need to see the preamble, what has happened before, you can just take the audience on this journey of a revenge spree, and to a set timetable. So that’s quite useful. Taxi Driver was a big influence though, as I had often thought there was room for a female Taxi Driver-type film.

Yes, there’s definitely a kind of Travis Bickle-ish aspect to Prevenge‘s Ruth. As for the comedy side of this film, which is just as important as the horror, that’s a tricky balancing act but one you’ve pulled off brilliantly. Did you have any inspirations or templates when it came to this kind of fusion of horror and black comedy?

Alice Lowe:  Well, horror and humor has become quite a British thing, I think. I mean, going back to Ealing Studios there is horror mixed in with comedy there. But you know I also wanted to put drama in there as well, and pathos, and that to me is a bigger experiment in the film, as I didn’t know if anything else had done that successfully. And that’s about having the confidence to steer the audience into these different gears, essentially. That was a labor of love in the edit. Even though I wrote the script as a mixture of genres, I had an epiphany during the actual shooting when I realized that it didn’t have to be any one genre, we just tried to make it as good as possible. Same as with the music, really. While there are lots of influences, it has to be an idiosyncratic thing because it’s really this one person’s journey. So it’s allowed to feel quite new and strange as long as it is managed skilfully.
 

As Ruth in ‘Prevenge’
 

You not only wrote and directed this film, which is an achievement in itself - while being heavily pregnant, let’s not forget - but you also starred in it too. I found your performance really powerful, giving murderous mum-to-be Ruth a gravitas and an empathy that strangely complimented the fear and the belly laughs. It’s quite a feat. So can you tell me how you approached Prevenge as an acting gig?

Alice Lowe: I knew I wouldn’t have any time to get into character. There just wasn’t enough time! I had to channel what I was feeling, the intensity of being pregnant, through the performance. But I’ve done a lot of low budget films, not directing necessarily but writing them, and I always know what I am doing with my character and sometimes what I fear, as a director, is that I can’t convey to an actor what I want them to do. Especially when it’s a complex character that is pushing and pulling the audience’s sympathies in different directions. You have to give something for the crew to latch on to. If the central performance is wobbly, the whole thing could become wobbly! So I had to carry the whole thing through and I couldn’t have any vanity about the performance at all. We needed ten seconds of me by the window, we got it, we moved on, there was no other take, no sense of me doing it for four hours. But in a way I was confident to do that because I knew the character inside out. I had written her. I knew what I was doing. And I don’t like to watch playback because I don’t like to be too self-conscious. I had to be in the zone. and when you have a small budget and a small crew, it enables you to do good performances anyway because there was very little set-up, re-setting, lighting and all that. There was very little down time, so you’re just acting the whole time, 24/7. We were just immersed in it, the same as when we shot Sightseers. Which is quite good because you forget you’re acting. You’re just being it. That has a very favorable impact on the performance.

And I presume you were given carte blanche by the producers to do whatever you wanted?

Alice Lowe: Yeah pretty much, I mean they would look over stuff and give me help or feedback if I wanted it but really they just let me get on with it. It was me and the editor, really, pushing through with this experience of the edit. in terms of the script, we didn’t have time for re-writes or anything like that. I basically wrote the script in about a week, having thought about it and written a pitch document before that. I mean, we had to change things as we went along, like when we couldn’t get a particular location and things like that, but in effect it was a first draft.
 

As David Bowie on ‘Snuff Box’
 
Wow! That is impressive. So do you think you were liberated artistically by these low-budget/indie constraints?

Alice Lowe: Yes I do actually. I think it gave me faith in the simplicity of a narrative that people will accept. I knew that to be able to film it in such a short time it would have to be long scenes. I knew I was writing it as a series of two-handers, each scene was one other actor, one location and one long scene. It’s like little bits of theater really, and it’s funny because people don’t really comment on that. I thought we would get a lot more criticism because it is such a simple narrative. I mean we did get some criticism, but not as much as I thought we would.

For me the challenge was to write characters that felt modern and recognizable, but they’re not operating to a conventional script. I wanted the audience to feel that this was really happening. You know, how life is unexpected, people don’t do what you think they’ll do. Bringing stuff to life so there’s a vibrancy of performance. And again, that’s something that comes from the low-budget set-up, because everyone knows we may only get one take at this and it’s quite exciting. I just know the film wouldn’t have got made through a conventional development system. People would have said: “You can’t have a scene this long”, “There’s too much dialogue”, “What’s this bit about?”, “This joke doesn’t work.” There would have been so much of that. It drives me insane! Those kinds of people. You just think “Have you ever directed a film? Or written anything? Have you ever made people laugh? Ever in your life?” The kind of people you have to accept feedback from don’t know how to make a film! 

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ by Jack Kirby


 
If you’re at all aware of comic books history, Jack Kirby needs no introduction. As one of the founding visionaries at Marvel in the 1960s, Kirby’s vital storytelling skills and phenomenal visual energy helped make the X-Men, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four household names.   

A few months ago we drew your attention to a never-published project of Kirby’s, his adaptation of The Prisoner, the dystopic British TV series starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan. Today we have a similar treat, one of the very few fully realized stories by Kirby that has never been collected in book form—his mid-1970s adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey, originally a short story by Arthur C. Clarke called “The Sentinel” and later a movie directed by Stanley Kubrick.

The movie came out in 1968, but Kirby’s adaptation had to wait until 1976. We can regard that gap as a kind of marker for Kirby’s strong desire to adapt the story even though there may have been little commercial interest in it. Kirby first adapted the movie as a standalone book of 70 pages, and then proceeded to recapitulate the movie’s plot and themes over and over again across 10 issues—except this time with scary aliens with tentacles that have nothing to do with Kubrick’s movie. The resolution of that 10-issue run is a character who is actually oddly resonant with our own times, a human-A.I. hybrid called Machine Man, whose own comic book line, which picked up where 2001: A Space Odyssey left off, lasted for a few months. The character would be fitfully resurrected every ten years or so (1984, 1999). 

Remarkably, Machine Man was eventually made a part of the Avengers, so it’s an accurate statement to say that the Avengers has the DNA of Kubrick and Clarke in it—and for that matter Friedrich Nietzsche, who is never far from my thoughts whenever I watch Kubrick’s masterpiece.
 

 
Kirby’s adaptation of the movie was wildly rethought for the medium of comics. His palette is all over the place, departing vastly from Kubrick’s more stately blacks, whites, and reds. And the action of course is tuned to the entertainment value of a typical 10-year-old rather than a stoned college student—this is echoed in the cover promise that “The Ultimate Trip” would become “The Ultimate Illustrated Adventure!” Kirby dispenses with the three (highly Nietzschean) sections of the movie (“The Dawn of Man,” “Mission to Jupiter,” and “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite”) with four more hyperbolic sections of his own, which are replete with exclamation points:
 

Part I: The Saga of Moonwatcher the Man-Ape!
Part II: Year 2001: The Thing on the Moon!
Part III: Ahead Lie the Planets
Part IV: The Dimension Trip!

 
Kirby’s fans are said not to be fond of his 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I must say I like it. It’s got not that much to do with Kubrick but that just makes it all the more interesting.

In Kirby’s telling, the so-called “Starchild” infant of the movie’s finale is reconcieved as “The New Seed.” In the feature hilariously called “Monolith Mail” reserved for reader correspondence, Kirby noted of this element:
 

The New Seed is the conquering hero in this latest Marvel drama. Why? Because he has staying power, that’s why. He will always be there in the story’s final moments to taunt us with the question we shall never answer. The little shaver is, perhaps, the embodiment of our own hopes in a world which daily makes us more than a bit uneasy about the future ... in the meager space devoted to his appearance, he brightens our hopes considerably. He is a comforting visual, almost tangible reminder that the future is not yet up for grabs. And wherever his journey takes him matters not one whit to this writer. The mere fact that the chances of his making it are still good is the comforting thought.

 
Some sample images from Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey:
 

 

 
More images from Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey after the jump:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vintage Japanese comic based on ‘Jaws’
03.20.2017
11:30 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Japan
comic books
Jaws


The cover of a Japanese comic book based on the film ‘Jaws’ published in 1975.
 
The “gekiga” illustration style was created in 1957 by Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi who coined the word to help differentiate the more serious tone of gekiga comics from the wildly popular manga comics and their “humorous pictures.” Gekiga comics or books were marketed to adults and the illustrated stories were reality-based—unlike the dreamlike realms of manga. In 1975, Herald Books published a gekiga-style comic based on the film Jaws that had just convinced everyone that the beach was no longer safe. The film was an adaptation of the 1974 novel of the same name by author Peter Benchley.

The vintage comic captures pretty much every memorable scene in the movie with the notable exception of the drunken sing-along sea-shanty sung by Brody (Roy Scheider), Matt (Richard Dreyfuss) and real-life drunk Quint memorably played by actor Robert Shaw. According to blogger Patrick Macias over at An Eternal Thought In The Mind Of Godzilla, he sold his copy of the rare comic for an undisclosed three-figure sum to a European collector. After a quick search of auction sites such as eBay, I wasn’t able to find even one copy of this fantastic comic so you’ll have to enjoy it virtually just like I did. I’ve posted all the panels from the gekiga Jaws in sequence below. Many of the illustrations are slightly NSFW.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Bitchier than any bitch: The Satanic French twin sisters sex rap of Orties
03.20.2017
10:50 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
cannibalism
French new wave
Rappers


 
The bloodiest, most unsettling coming of age film since Ginger Snaps, Julia Ducournau’s Raw is lithe and feral body horror that turns budding teenage sexuality into a lawless apocalypse of teeth, claws, and gnawing, unholy hunger. Already a legend due to reports of moviegoers vomiting or fainting during viewings, this low-budget, high-impact French film repulses and titillates in equal measure, an authentically visceral cinematic experience. 
 

 
One of Raw’s many highlights is the soundtrack, a throbbing, neon-soaked collection of late-night club bangers, cutting-edge indie rockers and a grinding synth score by Jim Williams. The most audacious track is clearly Orties’  2013 hit “Plus Pute Que Toutes Les Putes” (“Bitchier than Any Bitches”), a snotty acid-rapper with alarming lyrics about murder (“I’m gonna drown you in my pool/I would eat your bones”), necrophilia (“I have sex with the dead/Pussy, I prefer you stiff and cold/Then you’re less of a chatterbox”), and good ol’ fashioned Satanism (“The king of darkness is in my heart/I’m sick of 69, I just want 666”).

Pretty goddamn edgy, especially when you consider it’s the work of two teenage sisters.
 

Kincy and Antha, the ghetto-goth rappers of your darkest nightmares
 
Orties was formed in a Paris suburb in 2010 by twins Kincy and Antha, who may or may not have been fifteen at the time. Misdirection is an important part of this whole operation. Anyway, they released their first album, Sextape, in 2013. They’re topless on the cover, and most of the songs are about cocaine, sodomy, and cannibalism, except for “Ghetto Goth,” which is about their pre-rap death-rock days. It’s obviously one of the greatest albums ever made.

Their most recent single, 2016’s “SEXEDROGUEHORREUR,” is less menacing than usual, but I’m sure they’ll be back in black any minute now. A new album is in the works. It will doubtless be a monster.  If anything’s gonna kill rock n’ roll once and for all, it’s gonna be French twin sister Satanic sex rappers.
 

“Plus Pute Que Toutes Les Putes” (“Bitchier than Any Bitches”)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Master of Mischief: The brutal horror and cheesy sexploitation movies of Pete Walker

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“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).
 
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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
3-Dimensional movie posters that play movies: Hand-painted VCRs that look like giant VHS boxes
03.17.2017
08:56 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
VHS
VCR


 
These hand-painted working VCRs feature painstaking recreations of classic movie art.

I first discovered the artist, who goes by the online noms-de-plume Sorce CodeVhs and Sorce122, a little over a year ago and profiled him here at Dangerous Minds.

Since publishing that piece, Sorce CodeVhs has created so many more incredible works that a revisit was in order.

This artist has been making waves in the VHS collector community with his incredible attention to detail in the artwork that transforms these retro video cassette players into large-scale VHS box art. The artist calls them “3-Dimensional movie posters that play movies.”

When he first began, he was offering these finely-crafted works at the insanely low price of $70 each. Due to the extremely high demand for these pieces, the price has been raised to $300 per commissioned unit. The VCR’s are guaranteed to be in working order.

Here’s a gallery of some of these one-of-a-kind pieces:
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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