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Psycho Killer: That time Johnny Cash played a ‘door-to-door maniac’ in ‘Five Minutes to Live’
06.27.2017
10:06 am
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‘Door-to-Door Maniac’ poster for sale at Westgate Gallery
 
The Man in Black’s acting debut came when he portrayed the deranged, practically foaming at the mouth cop killer “Johnny Cabot” in the 1961 film noir, Five Minutes to Live. Johnny, along with his partner (Vic Tayback, “Mel” from the 70s sitcom Alice) plot a unique bank robbery. Johnny knocks on the door of a housewife (Cay Forester, who wrote the script) offering to give her guitar lessons and then takes her hostage. Her husband (Donald Woods) a bank manager is told that she will be murdered unless Tayback’s character walks out of his bank with $70,000.

Their plans go wildly awry when the banker calmly informs the dumb duo that they’d be doing him a big favor by killing his wife so he can run off to Las Vegas with his mistress! Then their son (a young Ron Howard) comes home from school, throwing another wrench into the works.
 

 
The weirdest part of the film is the way they shoehorned in a Johnny Cash performance (albeit a completely twisted one) when “Johnny Cabot” decides to sing a murder ballad to his terrified hostage about her own impending death. You can skip directly to 36:10 to watch Cash-as-psychopath terrorize her with his guitar, performing “Five Minutes to Live.”

He’s not exactly “Frank Booth” from Blue Velvet, but he’s still pretty fucking creepy. On the movie poster Cash was described as “a lusty romantic guitar singing powerhouse.”

Five Minutes to Live was re-titled Door-to-Door Maniac for a 1966 re-release. Country great Merle Travis makes a cameo appearance.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.27.2017
10:06 am
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‘The penis is evil!’: Sean Connery & Charlotte Rampling in ‘Zardoz,’ the Playboy spread (NSFW)
06.26.2017
12:20 pm
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Zardoz might be the only movie that can fairly be compared to D-Day, in that if you haven’t endured it yourself, you really haven’t the slightest notion what it’s like.

Zardoz was released in 1974, the second movie that Sean Connery made after leaving Cubby Broccoli’s Bond franchise for good. According to the movie’s director and writer, John Boorman, Connery badly needed money and agreed to do the movie on that basis. He must’ve been really broke.

The movie is 23rd-century romp in which all of humanity is divided up into the lusty and animalistic “Brutals” and the psychic and ethereal “Eternals” at the “Vortex” who have no need to procreate, while a huge flying stone head distributes armaments across the countryside. Sean Connery plays “Zed,” an “Exterminator” who manages to infiltrate the “Vortex,” where he discombobulates the Eternals’ barren notions of sex and violence—or something. Along the way the huge stone head—“Zardoz” to you—memorably bellows the mottos “The gun is good!” and “The penis is evil!” The movie is heady and trashy in a way that only the cinema of the 1970s could possibly muster.

Boorman made several straightforwardly excellent movies, including Excalibur, Hope and Glory, Point Blank, and Deliverance, which makes the eternal peculiarities of Zardoz all the more astonishing.

Zardoz was released in early 1974, and the March issue of Playboy that year featured a nude spread connected with the movie that included nude photos of Charlotte Rampling.

It’s abundantly clear that the content of Zardoz was a kind of reaction to the sexual revolution that had been taking place for a number of years before the movie was made. In the text that accompanies the pictures, Boorman makes a remarkable statement of sorts about this, indicating that his experiences visiting communes in America convinced him of the folly of gender equality, a stance that feels all the stranger considering the harsh critique of masculinity featured in his previous movie, Deliverance. Here it is:
 

Researching for the film, Boorman visited many communes throughout the U.S.A. “I was shocked,” he admits now, “in the way you are shocked by something you thought you knew and find you didn’t. I was shocked because women were living in the commune in real equality with the men and I realized I hadn’t seen that before. I had thought that I believed in women’s equality, but I discovered that really I didn’t. I can’t accept that they’re the equals of men. Guilty about it? Yes, but I can’t add any more to my burden of guilt. Once you get to 40, you really can’t take on any more.”

 
Boorman’s DVD commentary, which is available on this page, is considered by not a few people to be the greatest of all time. At one point he says that “Charlotte was very disappointed in this sequence because she said she had been looking forward to being raped by Sean Connery and that it was all over far too quickly.” Hmmm.

In 2015 Rampling was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in 45 Years, making her one of a tiny number of women who have posed nude in Playboy and also been nominated for an Oscar. (Sharon Stone, Kim Basinger, and Charlize Theron are the only ones I can think of, although Burt Reynolds posed nude in Cosmopolitan and received an Oscar nomination.)
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.26.2017
12:20 pm
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The blood dripped from Dracula’s fangs: The golden age of Hammer Horror movie posters
06.26.2017
10:00 am
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I still wasn’t convinced, so the sales assistant upped his pitch.

“And these glow in the dark,” he smiled.

I wasn’t buying it. The guy obviously didn’t know his stuff. Dracula’s teeth weren’t supposed to glow in the dark, not even the Wolfman’s teeth did that. Now I was begrudging the fact I had pocketed my school lunch money to walk into town past the prison, abattoir, and graveyard to buy a set of vampire teeth that glowed in the dark but that didn’t drip with blood like Dracula’s.

“Or, would you prefer this set of Wolfman fangs?” he added rustling through packs of novelty teeth.

To give the man his due, I was in a joke shop among the whoopee cushions, fake dog turds, and electric shock handshake pressers. It wasn’t exactly Transylvania. It wasn’t exactly Hammer Horror either which was the very thing that had inspired me to make this little shopping expedition.

On late Friday nights, the local Scottish television network screened horror movies under the title Don’t Watch Alone. My parents were cool enough to let my brother and I sit up to watch these creepy old black and white films featuring Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney, and co. Then one Friday night, on came Dracula with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The following week, The Curse of Frankenstein with the same two stars and both films in glorious technicolor. My mind was blown. Hideous monsters and blood-red fangs. I’d found a new thrill, a new passion that superseded even my Spidey collection and my hopeless dreams of ever owning an Aurora Monster Kit.

For the next few years, horror movies and in particular Hammer horror movies ruled my life. I dug up, sought out, and tracked down every little piece of what-have-you on Hammer and the films they made. I signed-up for the Peter Cushing fan club. I asked for Denis Gifford‘s classic Horror Movies book for Christmas—which was almost a mistake as he hated Hammer horror but at least his writing on the old B&W movies was superb. I clipped all the horror movie listings in the Radio Times and the cinema ads from the local paper and stuck ‘em all in a big scrapbook which I kept for years until I lent it to some fucker who never gave it back. (Rule #1 kids: Never lend people stuff you really, really want to keep ‘coz they’ll never give you it back. But if you can lend it, then give it freely, but just don’t expect to ever get it back. Because that’s not going to happen.)

Hammer started way, way back in the early thirties when one-half of a double act “Will Hammer” of Hammer & Smith aka William Hinds, a jeweler and theatrical agent, set up Hammer Film Productions in 1934. He had an early hit with The Public Life of Henry the Ninth, a comedy spoof of Alexander Korda’s The Private Life of Henry VIII. Then with the assistance of Enrique Carreras, the company made a series of short, moderately successful films including one starring Bela Lugosi The Mystery of the Marie Celeste.

But Hammer really didn’t take off until Anthony Hinds and James Carreras joined their fathers William and Enrique as directors. Suddenly, Hammer was branching out into sci-fi and then horror films with The Curse of Frankenstein which sealed the company’s success and then, of course, Horror of Dracula which famously had a marquee at the Haymarket, London that dripped neon blood from Christopher Lee’s vampire fangs. Over the next twenty years, a rotation of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and various vampyros lesbos made Hammer the brand name for the best in British horror movies.

So, back to the joke shop where I ultimately went for the Wolfman’s teeth, as those green glowing, non-bloody vampire fangs were pretty damned anemic and being a werewolf was the closest I ever came to having a dog in my childhood.

Now, here for your retinal pleasure is a damned fine selection of Hammer movie posters from early science-fiction to late kung-fu vampirism and devil worship. Enjoy.
 
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The Quatermass Xperiment’ (1955).
 
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‘The Creeping Unknown’ (aka ‘The Quatermass Xperiment’) (1955).
 
More marvellous montser posters, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.26.2017
10:00 am
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Old-school action figures based on ‘Motel Hell,’ ‘Creepshow,’ ‘Salem’s Lot,’ ‘Heavy Metal’ & more!
06.22.2017
01:16 pm
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Four action figures from the1981 film ‘Heavy Metal’ of ‘Taarna,’ ‘Harry Canyon,’ and two ‘B-17 Gunner’ variants made by hand by Aaron Moreno of Retroband, 2015. You can get a little better look at them, here.
 
So I’ve been laid up for a couple of weeks and have been watching entirely too much television—most of the time turning back the clock to eyeball what I consider a “comfort food” of sorts—vintage horror films and old-school 80s flicks. 

While my love of horror cinema spans the decades, I usually end up digging through my go-to big three—the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. On a recent, particularly tough day, I watched the first two seasons of Tales from the Crypt which, if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, still holds up in my rarely blinking eyes. Now that you know this, I’m sure you can understand my sheer fucking delight when I became aware of a toy company called Retroband that makes some pretty incredible action figures based on characters from notable horror and cult films. Such as 1980’s Motel Hell, the 1979 television miniseries based on author Stephen King’s 1975 novel, Salem’s Lot, and the terrifying character “Bobbi” from the 1980 film Dressed to Kill.

Before you start screaming “shut up and take my money” it’s best that you know that Retroband’s covetable figures, which are made by hand by Retroband’s owner and creator Aaron Moreno, sell for several hundred dollars apiece when and if they ever pop up on auction sites like eBay. For instance—and because it was the first one I looked for—the figure of “Bobbi” from Dressed to Kill was listed for a whopping $299.98. Figures based on the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal, which made their debut back in 2015, will run you a hundred bucks each. If you can find them, that is. I’ve posted images of Retroband’s awesomely eclectic, highly collectible action figure line below.
 

‘A bloody version of ‘Vincent’ from the 1980 cult-horror film, ‘Motel Hell.’
 

‘Bobbi’ and her trusty switchblade from the 1980 film ‘Dressed to Kill.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.22.2017
01:16 pm
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Uncut 35MM version of ‘Suspiria’ found stored in an old cinema in Italy—U.S. screenings planned
06.22.2017
09:31 am
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Finally, a perfect example of truth in advertising.
 
A couple of days ago, The Chicago Cinema Society released the news that they had recovered a nearly pristine 35MM uncut Italian-language print of Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece, Suspiria. According to the TCCS, the print was discovered in a storage area in an old cinema in Italy that was no longer in business. Now, these are the kind of treasure hunting results I can really get behind.

The beloved film has been in the news lately—specifically due to the modern remake by director Luca Guadagnino starring Tilda Swinton that has lots of people preemptively shaking their heads. There is also a highly anticipated Blu-ray restoration of Suspiria set to be released by Synapse Films. Synapse worked with Suspiria‘s visionary cinematographer, Luciano Tovoli who oversaw every last detail of the restoration which is due out sometime this summer.

While the discovery of the 35MM print in Italy is spectacular in its own right, the folks at The Chicago Cinema Society were not prepared to find that the 98-minute, six-reel print was completely uncut meaning it included scenes that had been previously removed for various U.S. and international releases.

Some clips after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.22.2017
09:31 am
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‘Aliens are never eliminated’: Amazing 1979 ‘Alien’ board game
06.20.2017
11:27 am
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We’ve noted before that the merchandising arm connected with Ridley Scott’s original Alien movie of 1979 didn’t seem to know anything about the movie. (For example here are a bunch of trading cards Topps put out, with bland text that seems pretty clueless about what’s actually in the movie.) 

Apparently nobody had gotten the memo that Alien was an R-rated thrillfest in which an alien creature gorily bursts through the chest of one of the characters—this movie was clearly not intended for nine-year-olds, which made the attempts to market the movie to nine-year-olds all the weirder. (Actually, I myself was nine years old when Alien came out—I didn’t see it, but I vividly remember a classmate of mine telling me all about it. Obviously the chestburster scene was the main thing he talked about.) 

So here’s another kid-targeted mindfuck…. an actual Alien board game, put out by Kenner!
 

 
On BoardGameGeek, the world’s greatest resource for board game enthusiasts, the user reviews for this game are all over the map, and it’s easy to see why. A glance at the board reveals that the game is probably a pretty lazy rehash of Parcheesi, which is basically true. (If you were given a single day to design a board game as a tie-in for, say, Kong: Skull Island, you’d probably end up with something along the lines of Parcheesi, too.) But at the same time, there are some clever touches.

The object of the game is to make your way through the Nostromo to reach the Narcissus space station. Each player has three Astronaut tokens and one Alien token. You roll dice and move players around, and a player can use his or her Alien to take out the opposing Astronauts. Now right there you have an instant contradiction: The whole point of the Xenomorph is that nobody “controls” the fucking thing. It is inherently uncontrollable. The dictates of symmetrical gameplay that would have reigned in the 1970s meant that you couldn’t have one player as the alien and other players representing the Nostromo crew members, which is how the game probably should have been designed. 

Anyway, I mentioned clever game design. The main feature I wanted to point out was the introduction of “air shaft” pathways that are only available for the Alien to use. I like that idea quite a bit. Parcheesi doesn’t have that feature, right?

Also, in the game instructions there appears what is maybe the greatest sentence ever to appear in an instructions manual for a game designed for kids. The sentence is: “Aliens are never eliminated.” Eek!
 

 
It’s interesting that the understanding of Ripley as a movie character for the ages had not solidified yet. Sigourney Weaver’s image doesn’t appear anywhere on the box. Here’s an interesting custom logo that Kenner must have cooked up for the game:
 

 
If you paid the original price for this game in 1979, you lucked out by obtaining what would eventually become a collector’s dream acquisition.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.20.2017
11:27 am
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‘The Lonely Lady’: Worst film of all time or filthy masterpiece of trash cinema? You decide!
06.19.2017
01:04 pm
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US movie poster for ‘The Lonely Ladyfor sale at Westgate Gallery

We’ve waited almost 34 years to see The Lonely Lady as it played on cinema screens during its cruelly brief Universal theatrical release.  Only 1983’s most depraved trash-film degenerate whose sense of camp was so finely tuned that the combo of Pia Zadora plus Harold Robbins set off an alarm-bell that sent them flitting, without hesitation, to the nearest multiplex, earned the privilege of experiencing on the big screen a motion picture that’s been called “a baby Valley of the Dolls”, “the funniest trainwreck ever lensed,” “Pia Zadora’s most shocking role,” and “the Showgirls of the Eighties.” 

An even smaller segment of the initial LL audience stumbled upon their life-changing movie ticket through magical good fortune.  In my case, it was a doubly mystical milestone.  My grandmother’s selection of The Lonely Lady for her precocious, film-crazed tween grandson not only left an indelible impression as the filthiest, most lurid motion picture I’d ever seen, it opened up a literary world of riveting, highly educational, frequently pornographic sagas euphemistically known as “beach books” which ensured I was completely corrupted before puberty.  She had, you see, chosen this film because she’d read the Robbins novel, as she told me on the taxi-ride home, sending me straight to a collection of paperbacks which my saintly, beloved, closet-freak meemaw had been quietly enjoying in plain sight for as long as I could remember:  In addition to the brilliant Mr. Robbins (The Adventurers, The Betsy, 79 Park Avenue), during my early teen years I discovered the best of Jackie Collins (Hollywood Wives, The Stud, The Bitch, Lovers & Gamblers), Judith Gould (Sins), Sidney Sheldon (The Other Side of Midnight, Bloodline), Sally Beauman (Destiny, possibly THE filthiest) and of course Jackie Susann (Valley of the Dolls).
 

British quad movie poster for ‘The Lonely Lady’ for sale at Westgate Gallery
 
As much as I cherish all of the above masterworks, only one of them spawned a movie in which Pia Zadora loses her virginity to a garden-hose wielded by Ray Liotta.  And now, thanks to Shout Factory’s gorgeous Blu-ray release, the first time this cult essential has been available on home video since the days of VHS, a whole new generation of thrill-seeking tweens can start learning everything their parents won’t tell them and be better prepared for the Hollywood careers that so many of them have already chosen.

Top 10 things about The Lonely Lady:

10.  The soundtrack includes Pia’s cover of “The Clapping Song.” 

9.  The bizarre and inappropriate Eurotrash accents of so many bit players in a story set entirely in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood & Beverly Hills. 

8. Pia’s brilliant writer character is named “Jerilee Randall.”  Jerilee Randall!

7. Jerilee’s attempt to get her indecently too-old, impotent and obscenely hairy-backed husband hard by cooing “Gently, gently”. 

6.  Instead of the luscious bi-sexy babes of Cinemax, the lesbos here are all repulsive predatory gargoyles, like the long-breasted bikini-clad matron in the hot tub who purrs the horrendously looped pick-up line “It’s wonderfully relaxing!” 

5.  The lesbian Italian movie star (who tricks Jerilee into a threesome with her toad of a husband) is cross-eyed, but her nipples point in different directions, too.

4.  Post-threesome, Jerilee is so disgusted with herself she showers with her clothes on and promptly suffers a nervous breakdown. 

3.  The best nervous breakdown scene EVER, in which the keys of Jerilee’s typewriter become the faces of her tormentors, before rising from the keyboard into a swirl of mocking sound-bytes and cheesy shattering optical effects. 

2.  The Blu-ray’s bonus “Network TV version” of the film features an extended typewriter-mad-scene and other unique bits to make up for the absence of the eight nude sex scenes Pia dutifully performed. 

1.  Finally, a cautionary tale that dares to expose Hollywood’s most sordid secret:  Everybody wants to fuck the writer! 
 
The bonkers nervous breakdown scene from ‘The Lonely Lady,’ after the jump…

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Posted by Christian McLaughlin
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06.19.2017
01:04 pm
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Laser-cut jewelry based on ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ Siouxsie Sioux’s ‘eyes’ & other pop culture icons
06.19.2017
09:36 am
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A laser-cut image of actor Malcolm McDowell from ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ A triangular cameo and necklace by Fable & Fury.
 
Based in Seattle, Fable & Fury’s often gonzo wearable offerings run the gamut from necklaces with cameos of David Lynch and Vampirella to devilishly stylish takes on famous verbiage from Stanley Kubrick’s violent mindfuck, A Clockwork Orange. One such homage—derived from Anthony Burgess’ 1971 novel on which the film was based—includes the word “Devotchka” attached to a chain. The word, which means “young woman” is a part of the colorful fictional slang “Nadsat” created by Burgess himself which Kubrick incorporated into the film. Another great homage to the film by Fable & Fury designer Jennifer is her grim nod to “Alex DeLarge” (memorably played by actor Malcolm McDowell) and his prison number “655321” done in gleaming stainless steel. Nice.

Fable & Fury has been cranking out their bad-ass statement pieces for almost a decade and many of Jennifer’s pieces sell out quickly. The vast majority of the necklaces I’ve posted below run from $21 bucks to $32 or so depending on the style and material, and most are currently in stock at Fable & Fury’s online store.
 

 

 

Another clever reference to ‘A Clockwork Orange.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.19.2017
09:36 am
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‘The Unheard Music’: The definitive documentary on Los Angeles punk legends X
06.15.2017
10:44 am
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The first thing you see when you watch W.T. Morgan’s 1986 documentary The Unheard Music about the difficult-to-Google Los Angeles punk band X is a caption reading “PLAY THIS MUSIC LOUD.” Always good advice, of course. Morgan worked on the documentary for five solid years while the band was at its peak, and The Unheard Music emerges as a darn good document.

X was one of those bands, like the Who, where all four members contributed something essential to the music as well as the band’s persona. Exene, Doe, Zoom, and Bonebrake had distinct, interesting personalities that turned out to exhibit the quintessence of chemistry. The band was so much more than the sum of its parts. Exene’s striking vocals and John Doe’s Americana tendencies meant that X’s identity would transcend the confines of the punk movement. As you watch, there are plenty of killer live performances, so you can conduct the debate in your own mind if they were truly merely a punk band.

Because the movie was shot over such a long time, we get to see the band at different stages. Morgan’s editing strategy is a very 1980s one, which is to say there’s a fair amount of TV collage, and he doesn’t take things too seriously, which is always a help. Morgan clearly had a lot of footage to choose from, which means that there are a lot of fun bits. Doe amusingly tells of scavenging a sizable letter X from the Ex-Lax Building in Brooklyn, funny to me because I’m good friends with a family who currently lives there. Bonebrake displays his polyrhythmic skills on the vibraphone while Exene and Doe fool around with some Hank Williams ditties in a scuzzy apartment.
 

 
Ray Manzarek of the Doors, who produced X’s killer first four albums (Los Angeles, Wild Gift, Under the Big Black Sun, & More Fun in the New World) before being unceremoniously replaced by Michael Wagener for Ain’t Love Grand (big mistake), is on hand to testify to X’s unmistakable power as a live band the first time he saw them. (He also joins them onstage for a version of “Soul Kitchen.”)
 

 
There’s a terrific bit in which two interviews are intercut, from Bob Biggs of Slash Records and some stooge from MCA Records named Al Bergamo, in which the unimpeachable values and good taste of the former are contrasted with the horseshit coming out of the pie hole of the latter. Bergamo claims to find the potential for “limited sales” in X while unconvincingly feigning excitement about some forgettable band MCA had on their roster called Point Blank. Ugh.

Among other things, the movie is an interesting document of the scruffy Los Angeles of the early 1980s.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.15.2017
10:44 am
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So here’s a ‘Yellow Submarine’ bass and of course WE WANT IT
06.14.2017
09:33 am
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The Painted Player Guitar Co. is a British team of luthiers and artists located in Basingstoke. They do some truly elite work, making dazzling guitars and modifications, offering instruments with vivid pop-art paint jobs, gorgeous custom refinishes, and relic work that closely matches the worn finishes of famous individual guitars played by the likes of David Gilmour, Rory Gallagher, and Andy Summers. The galleries on their web site are a droolworthy trove of guitar porn, but there’s one item in particular that amazes above all others: this bass themed after the titular vessel in the triptastic 1968 animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine.
 

 

Truly amazing in every way, this original concept from The Painted Player puts the legendary ‘Yellow Submarine’ quite literally in your hands!  Beautifully hand crafted, this stunning bass guitar utilises a combination of a fully hand-crafted Alder body with Precision Bass influences while featuring hand-painted artwork that brings the whole piece to life.  A musical icon as well as an animated legend, the ‘Yellow Submarine’ Bass is a must for the dedicated Beatles fan and the avid bass player alike, those who dare to stand out on stage.

 

 

 

 
The bass’ body is a custom build, and its neck, bridge and electronics are harvested from Fender Precision Basses—and BOY, I’d sure love to find the dumpster where they chuck the discarded bodies. Thoughtfully, Painted Player offers budget-minded players and enthusiasts who just want these as objets d’art and so don’t care if the electronics are top-notch the option to have their submarine made from a less expensive bass, though due to the custom built body and hand painting, even the entry level version is hardly cheap—low end models start at £1,299 (about $1650 USD).

Painted Player also offer much less elaborate but still quite stunning Yellow Submarine themed Les Pauls.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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06.14.2017
09:33 am
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