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‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot ‪Alumni: Where Are They Now‬?’
08.18.2015
06:06 am

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The saga of Heavy Metal Parking Lot is practically indie-filmdom’s Greatest Story Ever Told. In 1986, Jeff Krulik and John Heyn brought a camera to a Judas Priest show and interviewed the fans milling about in the parking lot. The result was just about the funniest 17 minutes of nonfiction film ever produced—drunken, stoned, and just plain old amped-up metalhead kids mugged and preened for the cameras, and generally just obliged the videographers by absolutely reveling in the attention being paid to them. It’s people being people in some of the best slice-of-life filmmaking ever made, and no less an indie-film godhead than John Waters is said to have claimed that the film gave him the creeps.

Krulik went on to a career in video, working for Discovery Networks and the National Geographic Channel among other enviable gigs, and the notoriety of HMPL (nth-generation VHS dubs were practically a required possession of any self-respecting weirdo by the early ‘90s) allowed him to continue making short docs exploring the endearingly odd fringes of American culture. Most of them by far were NOT about parking lots, but the theme proved durable. In 1996, ten years to the day after he shot HMPL, he went back to the same concert arena to make Neil Diamond Parking Lot, which IMO was seriously way more fucked up than its forebear. The actually quite charming Harry Potter Parking Lot followed in 2000, and in 2004, the now-defunct Canadian cable channel Trio even commissioned Krulik to produce a parking lot documentary series called—yeah—Parking Lot.
 

 
HMPL was released on DVD in 2006. Rights issues concerning Judas Priest songs made it hard to release legitimately for a long time, though a legit-enough-seeming underground VHS compilation of Krulik films was commercially available at one time, if you were resourceful enough to find it. The DVD is blown out with extras, one of which is a wonderful short documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot ‪Alumni: Where Are They Now‬, wherein Krulik and Heyn tracked down four of the people featured in the film (three quite prominently, one for literally half a second), all by then approaching middle age. Amusingly, for years, none of them had even the foggiest idea that they had been part of an underground sensation. In fact, the iconic “Zebra Man,” a loudmouth young guy in an amazing and preposterous zebra-striped jumpsuit who made himself a spectacle by loudly proclaiming the merits of metal and calling Madonna a “dick,” is shown on camera as an adult watching HMPL, of which he’s inarguably one of the stars, for the first time. (There’s another revelation about the guy that I thought was HILARIOUS, but which I will not here spoil.)

One downer: they didn’t find the shirtless dudebro in suspenders who seems to have rather brashly called Judas Priest singer Rob Halford’s homosexuality a dozen years before Mr. Halford actually came out—or at least that’s what I always assumed his “Robert Halford, I don’t know about you” remark was supposed to mean. I don’t want to call some guy out as a homophobe if I’m misunderstanding what he’s trying to get at, but either way, there doesn’t seem to be any way that could have been an uninteresting follow-up interview. UPDATE 08/20/15: Via internet magic, he found me! He’s Zev Zalman Ludwick of Silver Spring MD, and since HMPL he’s become a Hasidic Jew, a bluegrass musician, and an aquarium designer. (There’s auto-playing media on that last link.) We had a lovely chat on the phone, and he confirmed that his remark in the film was indeed a potshot at Halford’s homosexuality, but that time has softened his views on gay people considerably. He also confirmed that he was, indeed, an interesting follow-up interview.

If you have a Roku device, both the original doc and the alumni follow-up can be seen on the SnagFilms channel (or you can watch the follow-up right here at the end of this post). And really, if you haven’t seen the original, it’s on YouTube. You should get on that, there’s a reason it’s been a stone classic for almost 30 years. Plus, absent the context of the original, I can’t imagine Where Are They Now having a whole lot of impact.
 

 
Propers to Mr. Marty Geramita for suggesting this post.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘In Heaven’: The Lady in the Radiator from ‘Eraserhead’ live in concert
08.17.2015
08:14 am

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Welcome to Twin Peaks has just announced that Laurel Near, the dream-haunting Lady in the Radiator from David Lynch’s debut feature Eraserhead, will perform her character’s signature song “In Heaven” in Philadelphia, as part of PhilaMOCA‘s annual Eraserhood Forever Lynch tribute. The event is being held on Saturday, October 3rd.

The Lady In The Radiator from Eraserhead, Laurel Near, is set to perform Peter Ivers’ haunting “In Heaven” song LIVE at PhilaMOCA‘s 4th annual David Lynch celebration, Eraserhood Forever. The event space is a former tombstone and mausoleum showroom located right in the middle of the neighborhood that inspired David Lynch for his first feature as he lived there across the old city morgue on 13th and Wood. To make it even more otherworldly, the actress/singer will be backed by the Divine Hand Ensemble, an enchanting chamber orchestra led by Mano Divina on theremin.

 

 
Eraserhood Forever is becoming quite the large event—a call for artists was recently issued for a related art exhibit, and the full lineup includes Lynch-themed bands, audiovisual works, DJ sets, and even Lynchian burlesque which could either be the hottest or most terrifying thing ever.

Here’s the song. If you’re totally unfamiliar with Eraserhead, this is going to seem utterly baffling and nightmarish. Don’t worry, I’ve seen it a zillion times and it’s still baffling and nightmarish to me, too. This is actually quite calming compared to her OTHER scene.
 

 
And for no other reason than that it’s awesome, here’s the Pixies’ cover of the song.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
You can’t have sci-fi movies without corridors, lots and lots of corridors
08.14.2015
10:42 am

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Design
Movies

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Dune, 1984
 
Who hasn’t had the experience of chancing upon an unexpectedly empty passageway in a subway station or an airport and thinking, “Maaaan, they should really use this place for a sci-fi movie!”

I’ll bet you that Serafín Álvarez has experienced that feeling. He’s been running his blog Sci-Fi Corridor Archive since 2012, and in that time he has posted pictures of notable and not-so-notable corridors from a whopping 192 science fiction movies spanning the entire history of sound-enabled cinema (the earliest movie in the set is Yakov Protazanov’s Aelita, from 1924).

There really is something about corridors that seems to describe sci-fi in a way that wouldn’t be true of, say, westerns, gangster movies, gladiator movies, musicals, pirate epics, and hard-boiled crime flicks. Indeed, the image of a hermetically sealed passageway that clearly connects two other chambers floating precariously in space is very close to the heart of the sci-fi that we all know and love. 

In fact, I would argue that the witty 1999 classic Galaxy Quest was more or less commenting on this fact, seeing as how a good portion the scenes you probably remember best seem to take place in anonymous hallways.
 

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977
 

2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968
 

Alien, 1979
 

Flash Gordon, 1980
 

Solaris, 1972
 

Tron, 1982
 
Tons more excellent sci-fi corridors after the jump…....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Peek inside Cecil B. DeMille’s bizarro 1930 master-flop, ‘Madam Satan’
08.14.2015
08:10 am

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Occult

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Madam Satan movie poster, 1930
Madam Satan movie poster, 1930
 
Cecil B. DeMille was a peculiar, yet lovable, producer of Hollywood balderdash, and Madam Satan just might be his most bizarro film.
 
Kay Johnson as Madam Satan
Actress Kay Johnson as the alluring “Madam Satan”
 
The black and white film came out in 1930 and had originally contained Technicolor scenes that were sadly somehow lost. Despite its occult-sounding title, Madam Satan is a vintage romcom that tells the story of a married couple, Angela and Bob, who are having a relationship crisis. When Angela finds out that her husband is screwing around with a chick named Trixie, she creates an alter-ego of herself called “Madam Satan.”
 
Actor heodore Kosloff in Madam Satan, 1930
Actor Theodore Kosloff as “Electricity” in Madam Satan
 
After Madam Satan makes her debut at wild masquerade ball, the film just gets weirder and more wonderfully excessive as it goes along. There are elaborate song and dance routines, flirtations with electricity, and actors dressed in boundary-pushing and visually stunning costumery (much of which was created by the head of wardrobe for DeMille’s studio, Adrian Adolph Greenburg) that were far beyond their time. Madam Satan is truly a film that must be seen to be believed. A remastered version of Madam Satan was released on DVD in 2010 and I highly recommend tracking down a copy so you can see it for yourself. You can also take a peek at more stills from Madam Satan, as well as a clip from the movie that will likely induce a good old-fashioned case of the bed-spins. Hail Satan!
 
Madam Satan actress Kay Johnson strikes a pose with her masks
Madam Satan star Kay Johnson strikes a pose with her masks
 
A strange chorus line from Madam Satan
A strange chorus line of cats from Madam Satan
 
More great stills from the curious classic after the jump…...
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Glorious, gory & (sometimes) goofy foreign film posters for horror films of the 1960s and 1970s
08.13.2015
07:40 am

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Art
Movies

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The Giant Spider Invasion (Japan)
The Giant Spider Invasion (Japan). Based on the low-budget 1975 film produced by Transcentury Pictures, directed by Bill Rebane
 
As a huge fan of horror films, especially those of the vintage variety, I really enjoyed pulling together this post that features foreign-made film posters advertising various horror films from the 1960s and 1970s.
 
Suspiria movie poster (Italy)
Suspiria (1977) movie poster (Italy)
 
The best thing about movie posters made for consumption outside the U.S. is that they are so much more adventurous. Few of these posters would have ever seen the light of day in a U.S. theater lobby due to their their liberal use of unorthodox imagery and nudity. Some of what follows may be considered NSFW—which is precisely why you MUST see them!
 
The Exorcist movie poster (Turkey)
The Exorcist (1973) movie poster (Turkey)
 
Dracula AD movie poster (Italy)
Dracula A.D. (1972, Hammer Films) movie poster (Italy)
 
More of these marvelous posters after the jump…...
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Iconic horror soundtracks played in a major key become soothing, triumphant, dorky
08.13.2015
07:15 am

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Movies
Music
Unorthodox

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Transposing minor key songs into a major key (or vice versa) has become a thing on the internet in the past couple of years—a process that has been made rather easy with the advent of pitch-correction software. The results are often astounding. Some popular recent examples that have gone viral are REM’s “Losing My Religion” and Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” both reworked into a major key. These minor-to-major reworks often give the songs a “triumphant” quality. A good example of this is this reworking of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”—already pretty “triumphant” as it was—now it sounds like a goddamn national anthem.

Musician, writer, and amateur filmmaker Ian Gordon has recently reworked a handful of iconic horror themes into a major key. The results, for the most part, turn creepy dread into pleasant elevator music. YouTube user Muted Vocal has uploaded a selection of five of these reworked themes: The X-Files, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist, and Saw. The changes are fascinating:

The X-Files theme played in a major key sounds exactly like Weather Channel “Locals on the 8s” music.

John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween soundtrack now sounds like Vangelis mashing up his Chariot’s of Fire theme with “Baba O’Riley.”

The Saw theme is now the intro music to an imaginary Hugh Grant film.

Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells”—the theme from The Exorcist—now sounds like the wimpy, tinkly breakdown part of a Styx track, right before the “rock part” kicks in.

A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s theme played in a major key is the only one that retains any creep factor whatsoever—and maybe that’s just me, because I think Christmas is creepy. It sounds like the theme to a Hallmark Channel Holiday special.

These are all really great, but the Halloween theme left me wondering… what would the Chariots of Fire theme sound like in a minor key? I bet it’d be scary as hell. Perhaps Mr. Gordon can get on that and let us know?

Enjoy, here, the pleasant sounds of transposed horror:
 

 
via Nightflight, Bloody-Disgusting

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Like a great big chicken just waiting to be plucked’—‘Scarface’ edited for TV is plucking HILARIOUS
08.12.2015
07:24 am

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Amusing
Movies
Television

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When I’m King of the Universe, it will be a law that all home video releases of films must include the option of watching the edited-for-broadcast version wherever one exists. I first began to lean toward this policy when, stoned as fuck, I caught The Breakfast Club late at night on a local UHF station (yeah, I’m kind of old.…) and found myself howling with laughter at some of the preposterous dialogue substitutions—for example, the immortal “hot beef injection” line was bowdlerized into “some hot wild affection,” as if the original line wasn’t a euphemism in the first place. But the need for such a law was confirmed to me when, one Christmas, my then-girlfriend gifted me a boxed set of the 1983 Al Pacino remake of Scarface.

It merits mentioning, so I may as well mention it here: Scarface isn’t nearly as good a movie as its reputation would suggest. Which is not to say that it’s bad. It’s not. It’s just not a great movie. If you’re in the mood for astoundingly over-the-top tough-guy posturing and GIANT FUCKING MAYHEM, it’s one of the single most badass films in history, but as a narrative work in the immigrant crime drama genre, it’s far eclipsed by plenty of films you could name, a fair few of which also star Al Pacino. And of course, it distinguished itself in its day as one of the most unabashedly profanity-laden mainstream films ever released, almost in a class all it’s own before the f-bomb-a-thon The Big Lebowski emerged as a challenger. And one of the DVD extras in that boxed set was a montage comparing the original dialogue to the censored scenes in the movie’s broadcast TV version. It’s some pretty entertaining shit. I honestly would have thought it couldn’t be done, and really, I was kinda right.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘MANOS: The Hands of Fate’—the video game!
08.11.2015
10:53 am

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Games
Movies
Science/Tech

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Pop culture is so strange. Things catch on and end up in places that couldn’t have been foreseen at the time of creation or release. Think of Ed Wood’s career, gleefully cherished by film buffs, then turned into an object of derision in movies like It Came From Hollywood but THEN transformed into an occasion for authentic poignancy by Tim Burton.

Or consider MANOS: The Hands of Fate, a schlocky occult/horror movie from 1966 that hardly made any waves when it came out (it failed to recoup its $19,000 budget).
It was directed by Harold P. Warren, an insurance and fertilizer salesman from El Paso, Texas. He starred in it as well. It played only at the Capri Theater in El Paso and a few drive-ins in West Texas and New Mexico.
 

 
In the movie, a vacationing family loses their way on a road trip and ends up trapped at a lodge in which a polygamous pagan cult has taken up residence. It’s worth reading Wikipedia’s account of the movie’s demerits: “The film is infamous for its technical deficiencies, especially its significant editing and continuity flaws; its soundtrack and visuals not being synchronized; tedious pacing; abysmal acting; and several scenes that are seemingly inexplicable or disconnected from the overall plot, such as a couple making out in a car or The Master’s wives breaking out in catfights.”

In 1993 Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran an episode about MANOS, and it’s become one of their most popular episodes: On this vote taken on a MST3K message board, the episode in which the gang riffs on MANOS clocked in as the second-best MST3K episode of all time, behind only the deliriously funny Space Mutiny episode.

In 2012 FreakZone Games released a Nintendo-ish adaptation of the game—it’s in the familiar Mario Bros. style and uses set pieces from the movie. It’s not every schlocky horror movie that gets transformed into a video game FIFTY years later, but if you get lucky, even weird things like that can happen. This year saw the release of MANOS: The Hands of Fate—Director’s Cut, an improved version of the game with cut screens—you can buy it here.
 
Here’s some gameplay from the 2012 version:

 
The full movie of MANOS: The Hands of Fate:

 
And the MST3K treatment of MANOS:

 
via Kill Screen
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cynthia Plaster Caster, Pamela Des Barres & others in the fascinating 1970 doc ‘Groupies’
08.10.2015
08:38 am

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The lovely Miss Cynthia Plaster Caster
 
The 1970 documentary Groupies does not portray the lives of its subjects as particularly appealing. There are some famous faces—namely Pamela Des Barres (billed as “Miss Pamela”), and Cynthia Plaster Caster (listed as “Cynthia P. Caster”), but the most interesting people on screen aren’t the rock stars of the groupie world, as it were. From the very start of the film, testimonies from young, bleary-eyed, often chemically altered girls express at least as much ambivalence and regret as revelry. The girls often look a little haggard, arguing among themselves, gossiping about this or that groupie’s age or laughing off some rock star’s wife or serious girlfriend. The sexual competition produces no culture of sisterhood, that’s for sure.

With artists like Joe Cocker, Ten Years After, Terry Reid, Spooky Tooth, and Cat Mother, you’re not looking at the most “elite” of their class, which frankly makes for a more interesting documentary. A girl recounts the tale of being grabbed by the throat by a random bar patron who was under the impression that she was for the taking—luckily, she had mace on hand. In another scene, a musician asks a girl if she has the clap. Plainly, she says that she did, but recently cleared it up with penicillin. Unflappable, her potential partner asks if she has any more left. Adventure is never without risk, but both groupies and musicians are fearless.

Fascinatingly, the doc also covers male groupies—about whom there is very little discourse out there. Chaz, a young gay man, is desperate to get to Terry Reid, but he’s out of his mind on drugs, barely able to speak or stay awake. This doesn’t stop him from throwing himself at musicians, but it’s utterly tragic, even when everyone manages to let him down easy. In a less merciful scene, a runaway named Iris calls home—she’s terrified of her father’s response, even though she’s only a teenager. Later, Ten Years After (with whom she’d been traveling) drop her, while other artists try to get her to join their own caravan. It’s as if she’s being shuffled around by the men of the scene.

The film is truly brutal, but well worth a watch—an intense look at the seedy underbelly of an often-glamorized scene.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Macabre masterpieces: Art exhibition celebrates the life and career of Vincent Price
08.10.2015
07:49 am

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Art
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A. Nancy Cintron, “Programmed for Love & Destruction”
 
The Good Goat Gallery in Lakewood, Ohio, has decided to use the summer of 2015 to celebrate one of the finest actors in the sci-fi/horror pantheon (and a longtime DM favorite), the utterly ineffable Vincent Price. The modest storefront art space has mounted an exhibition of paintings inspired by Price’s life and career; the title of the show is “Six Degrees of Vincent,” and it is currently open for viewing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons until August 29.

The gallery and the exhibition are the brainchild of A. Nancy Cintron, an artist whose paintings address topics from popular culture in amusing ways. “Six Degrees of Vincent” contains roughly 40 works of art, virtually all of which actually feature Price as a subject. Technicolor Vincent, black-and-white Vincent, campy Vincent, forbidding Vincent, interpreter of Poe Vincent…. so many representations of Vincent, all executed with noticeable skill and (far more important) evident affection and admiration for the actor’s work and unusual persona.

Posted on the wall near the entryway to the show is a statement from Cintron that reads as follows:

English was my second language … I actually learned it from watching a lot of television. Unfortunately, I was raised on incredibly raunchy comedy shows, hence my gravitational pull towards the perverse and the absurd. Vincent Price’s Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine was right up my alley. Although I have always preferred his classy macabre films, I have very much appreciated his ridiculous role as Doctor Goldfoot.

I have visited the exhibition twice, and on both occasions I had an extended discussion with Cintron. The gallery has a room that is not connected to the Vincent Price exhibition with a bewildering variety of works from multiple artists operating in an intriguing, whimsical, and macabre zone reminiscent of Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, Tara McPherson, etc. The Mexican tradition of Día de Muertos also serves as an inspiration for some of the artists.

Cintron’s enthusiasm for Vincent Price is obviously shared by the artists who have contributed works to the show, and she has somehow encouraged the painters to think outside the box when it comes to approaching the canvas mounted on the wall (although that may have been their idea all along, of course). In other words, a good many of the artworks have a 3-D component or combine sculptural elements in ways that bear some resemblance to the diorama or the puppet show. Indeed, one of Cintron’s own Price-inspired creations, “Product of My Warped & Twisted Genius,” features a knob that juts through the surface of the canvas with which the viewer can manipulate a music box—remarkably, it is not the only piece in the show that incorporates a music box.

As the statement above indicates, Cintron’s several works in the show focus on a 1965 movie of Price’s called Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and its sequel, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, which came out in 1966. From the looks of Cintron’s work, the movie is a goddamn pip.

The artists represented in the show come from locales such as Mexico, France, Italy, and England, as well as less remote hubs of artistic activity such as Dayton and Cleveland (the latter of which which borders Lakewood). Victoria Price, the daughter of Vincent Price, has helped oversee the show, part of the proceeds of which will be donated to a scholarship foundation dedicated to the macabre master.

Cintron noted with some satisfaction that a remarkably high percentage of the depictions of Vincent Price in the exhibition (of which only a handful are shown here) featured Price’s trademark cocked eyebrow—proof enough that the artists aren’t kidding about the fervency of their ardor for the actor’s work.

On Friday, August 28, there is a reception to mark the end of the exhibition, which may find itself in such far-flung places as Los Angeles or Australia in the not-too-distant future.

Some of the works below can be viewed in greater detail by clicking on them.
 

A. Nancy Cintron, “Product of My Warped & Twisted Genius”
 
More delightful paintings of Vincent Price after the jump…..
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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