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Troma Films godfather Lloyd Kaufman, talks ‘real’ indie movies and the beauty of piracy
09:50 am



Kaufman and Toxic Avenger
Lloyd Kaufman and the Toxic Avenger
Actor, director, producer, and damn near everything else, Lloyd Kaufman is the godfather of Troma Entertainment. Troma has given us such films as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Surf Nazis Must Die, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.

The man has been exploiting the genre of exploitation for nearly 40 years, and he’s been instrumental in the facilitation of a grass-roots independent film community. He’s taught classes and seminars, and his books and DVD sets (Make Your Own Damn Movie!, Direct Your Own Damn Movie!, Produce Your Own Damn Movie!, and Sell Your Own Damn Movie!) are the bibles of DIY film-making.

Despite a jam-packed schedule, he set aside time to talk with me, as candid as any Troma film.

AF: First of all, I find it fairly easy to track the growth and evolution of Troma after The Toxic Avenger, but before that it’s hard to find that much backstory, so how did you get started making these crazy, canonical films?

LK: I made the mistake of going to Yale University. It was the 60’s. I was going to be a teacher or a social worker. I was going to make the world a better place. Teach people with hooks for hands to finger-paint. Teach bums to paint happy faces on beads, string the beads together. Stuff like that. Then they put me in a room freshman year with a movie nut—our beds were head to toe, it was a very small bedroom.  At night I would inhale my roommate’s stinkin’ feet. And the aroma de Troma was born.

My roommate ran the Yale Film Society, so I would drift in to see the movies they were showing, and I kept getting blown away by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Stan Brakage—those guys.

AF: You’ve been incredibly accessible to your fans, and you’ve worked hard to really foster the community that’s built up around Troma fans and up and coming independent filmmakers; do you see that as part of your job?

LK: Oliver Wendell Holmes stated famously that in order to truly exist, you must take part in the actions and passions of the times. So, Michael Herz and I believe that very much. We have seen the flame of independent art and commerce nearly extinguished by the fact that the world of art has come so much under the thumb of a small number of giant international media conglomerates who have used legalized bribery, which is called “lobbying”, they’ve gotten the anti-monopoly laws done away with.

You have these gargantuan conglomerates who are vertically integrated who basically own the industry and the art world. And the same companies that own the movies studios own the TV stations, own the newspapers own the video companies and own or control the movies theaters, which used to be against the law, but that’s all gone now.

So we have seen this during our 40 years of Troma, we’ve seen this terrible turn of events. And really Troma’s the last of the genuine independent movies studios that has any kind of longevity, so we want to try to keep the flame of independent art and commerce alive. We don’t want Rupert Murdoch to extinguish it. We don’t everyone to have to be a vassal of Time Warner of Rupert Murdoch or Sony or Viacom or Comcast. We don’t want everyone to be a vassal of those behemoths.

We want people to be able to express their art independently and get their work to the public. So we’re doing everything we can, such as establishing- 14 years ago we established the Tromadance Film Festival, which has cost us a lot of money over the years, because we have no money. For us it’s a huge drain, but we’ve done that to try and encourage independent spirit and independent, creative juices, and independent movies

And my books basically, are a lot of work for no money, and an attempt to try to show people that we have to continue the fight for truly independent cinema- not Fox Searchlight independent cinema. Not independent cinema made by Tom Hanks or Juno or whatever, but independent cinema that’s truly independent.

And there used to be many, many Tromas back in the 70’s, and there were lots of little companies like Troma that had longevity, that were existing for a long time, and now there are none . There are no independent companies out there that have have a long life—there’s Troma and Roger Corman and I don’t know of any others.

AF: And for up and coming young filmmakers…

LK: Well there are lots of little companies, but they don’t last because they can’t make a living—they can’t make a living, they can’t get their movies to the public—nobody knows about them.

Our movie, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, did you see that?

AF: Yes, I did.

LK: Oh, thank you! When that opened in New York City, the theater that it played in was the highest grossing theater in America that weekend. And yet, the movie was yanked, because “Raiders of the Lost Arc Part 4- The Skullfucker” or whatever that was.

AF: That terrible thing?

LK: Yeah, what was it called?

AF: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was terrible, it was absolutely terrible.

LK: Well it had to have every screen! So they kicked us out, even though we did well. So that’s the problem. If Troma who have a big fan base, and are pretty established and got good reviews in the New York Times and had a movie in the highest grossing theater in the country—if we can’t make it can that, how is some newcomer gonna make it without becoming a vassal of Mr. Rupert Murdoch?

AF: Right, right. So you definitely have these die-hard followers, I’m one of them. For me I got into it through punk rock friends who were really attracted to the DIY aspect of it, as much as the humor, and do you find that’s sort of the appeal? The Troma cult is large and large and very loyal. Do you have any sort of insight as to why Troma has become this sort of searchlight?

LK: Well, I believe the films we have made and distributed have even visionary, personal movies, produced by ourselves, with the our soul in the movies. Things like Cannibal! The Musical, which nobody wanted, we distributed the first movie of the South Park guys, and we believe that our movies are good! They’re great! And that has a lot to do with why have a brand—we are beloved, even though nobody knows about us except you and maybe six other people.

AF: There’re more than six of us!

LK: But Troma movies are good, they’re interesting. At the very least it expresses the heart and soul of the filmmaker. It is not made by a committee, it’s not made to sell Burger King action figures—every Troma movies comes from the heart. And I think that has a major influence on many people. And we believe, at least, I believe, that the most valuable thing you have is not your money, it’s your time.

So, we have always shared our movies with our fans. We’ve given a lot of them away [Troma has released many of its films on YouTube], we’re content that our fans… File-sharing is okay. We encourage our fans to pirate our movies. We want our movies seen, and we know that our fans’ time is the most valuable thing that they have—more valuable than their money.

And if our fans are willing to spend an hour and a half on The Return to Class of Nuke ‘Em High, which we’re shooting now, if the fans are willing to spend time on watching that film, they’ll take care of us.

So many of these filmmakers who are so upset about piracy, what they call “piracy”, which is not piracy at all—that’s just a bad word. That’s just a word that the establishment has made up—the big conglomerates who have overpriced their wares—they look upon the consumer revolt (and that’s what it is, it’s a consumer revolt, not piracy), they want to public to be brainwashed into thinking this is piracy, and that copyright is violated. Copyright laws in this country are garbage. They’re totally perverted.

AF: I agree completely!

LK: Good!

AF: It really seems like your highest priority is getting the movies out there—you have so many available for cheap or free. I think people gravitate towards that as well, but how do you feel about terms like “B movies” or “exploitation films” or even “cult cinema”?

LK: Well, it’s an art form. The only purpose in being involved is to do what you believe in. Most of the so-called genre films are garbage. They’re made by formula, copying, or idiots. Most of its crap and nobody watches it. I love these people that come out with the crappy imitation of The Toxic Avenger, and then they’re so worried about piracy? They don’t have to worry. Not only are people not going to pirate their movie- nobody wants to see their movie, because it’s garbage! So unless you have some heart and should and make art you believe in, you may as well sell shoes. Go into the bread business!

My brother made Eli Roth’s favorite horror movie of all time, which is Mother’s Day. My brother made three or four movies which we distributed. They were all terrific, and they all made money—people loved them. But he couldn’t move up the food chain, so he went into the bread business.

Because of the unfair grip that the conglomerates have on the industry, they won’t let an independent artist move up, unless they, the conglomerates, own the work. That’s why it’s very refreshing that Amanda Palmer [musician and artist who kickstartered her last album] has gone on Kickstarter to make sure that she can be an independent musician and artist.

AF: Yeah, lots of people are doing that now.

LK: Yeah, that’s why it’s bullshit that the MPAA and the RIAA are putting out that revenue for music and movies are down. The revenue is way up, because there are new artists going directly to the public. They don’t need Sony or Rupert Murdoch. There are more artists producing now than ever, and it’s thanks to the internet, it’s thanks to file-sharing, it’s thanks to respecting the fans, rather than suing the fans like Hurtlocker did.

AF: Yeah, lawsuits have become completely crazy right now.

LK: Yes, it’s ridiculous, to be suing some fat, sweaty kid who’s blogging about Steven Spielberg’s movie in the basement, getting a “cease and desist” letter from Paramount—and Paramount isn’t gaining any friends by doing that. The Avengers I’m sure was pirated all over the world…

AF: I, er, know people who pirated it.

LK: But it was one of the most successful movies of all time, and a lot of people who pirated it went and bought a ticket or bought a DVD because they saw it was good. My book Sell Your Own Damn Movie! articulates this theory and sort of explains how you can make money by sharing, and by literally giving your art away.

AF: So you’ve always had political and social themes in your movies, even when they aren’t as explicit as say Troma’s War [Kaufman’s satire of Reagan’s romanticization of war] which is one of my favorites, would you say the comedy and the gore makes it easier to talk about those subjects?

LK: I think they can ease you into the subjects. Movies should be entertaining. Fast Food Nation, which is a boring, pretentious movie, aimed at yuppies, and nobody went to see it. It has a very good point to it. And then there’s Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead where a lot of young people had a good time, but also realized that maybe factory farming may not be such a good thing. And exterminating millions and millions of chickens that way may not be that great.

But people can have a good time at the movies, and maybe see something they’ve never seen before…. Like maybe somebody’s breasts being pulled out by chicken zombies.

AF: Troma certainly never preaches.

LK: And it’s a good point. All the artificial ingredients they put in the food. I’m a vegetarian, but you know, we got all these fat kids—I hope you’re not too fat. But they eat this crap and they’re eating all this crap and they eat the hormones and they smell like beef.

Where are you calling from? If I may be so bold?

AF: I’m calling from Brooklyn.

LK: Oh not too far! Where in Brooklyn?

AF: Bedstuy.

LK: Wow, that used to be a tough neighborhood.

AF: Yeah, now it’s block to block.

LK: Yeah, now it’s nice. I worked on Saturday Night Fever and I remember mistakenly driving into Bedstuy and it was a warzone. But all these places, we filmed Terror Firmer in Greenpoint and it was bad, and now it’s yuppified.

AF: Yeah, hopefully it won’t get too nice in Bedstuy, otherwise I won’t be able to afford it anymore.

LK: Yeah, that’s the biggest problem, the rich guys move in, the yuppies, the lawyers, and all they do is watch Tom Hanks!

AF: Yeah! So to wrap it up, what’s on the horizon for Troma?

LK: Well, we’re working on Return to Class of Nuke ‘Em High and it should be our best movie. It deals with the theme of bad food again. It deals with bullying and a number of contemporary themes and it deals with the underdog. It’s got some onscreen song-singing. It’s a revisiting of the first Class of Nuke ‘Em High, but instead of Chrissy and Warren, the romantic couple is Chrissy and Lauren—might be the first romantic teenage movie that’s same-sex that isn’t a third party.

AF: Troma, groundbreaking as always.

LK: Hopefully it will get people to be a little more understanding. AIDS was discussed in Troma’s War [The MPAA initially rejected the movie, and refused to include any mention of AIDS. It was eventually butchered nearly to nothing]. At the time Reagan and his gang was either sweeping it under the table or kind of suggesting that this was the “reward” homos get for being perverts.

We get good word-of-mouth. That’s the one weapon we have that these mainstream movies don’t have. Over the years, movies like Terror Firmer and Troma’s War which aren’t terribly successful in movie theaters, but over time, the fans spread the word themselves, and eventually they do become profitable. And that’s something you can’t buy, thanks to the Internet. For our anniversary we’re giving away a lot of movies, and hopefully we’ll be able to increase the number of fans of Troma out there.

AF: Well thank you so much of talking to me, and thanks for doing what you do.

Thanks Lloyd, you’re a class act!

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Boris Karloff: Color footage of Frankenstein’s Monster
07:31 pm



At night, during the making of the Frankenstein films, Boris Karloff sometimes slept with his monster make-up on, as it took so long to apply. He would sleep between 2 books to protect his neck from any harm, which could be caused by those famous glued-on bolts. Karloff spent up to 4 hours in make-up, as the legendary Jack Pierce applied his iconic design.

Over the years, I have seen quite a few hand-tinted photographs of Karloff as the Monster, but rarely any color footage. So, this brief home-movie clip from 1939, of Karloff in full make-up on the set of Son of Frankenstein, is quite delightful.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

The First Film Version of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ from 1910


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Let There Be Rock’: AC/DC live in Paris, 1979
10:25 am



Let There Be Rock is a film version of one of AC/DC’s greatest concerts. Recorded during their Highway to Hell tour, at the Pavillon de Paris, France, on December 9th, 1979, this concert contains a great selection of some of the band’s best known early numbers (“Highway To Hell,” “Let There Be Rock,” “Whole Lotta Rosie”), together with stunning performances from an unstoppable Angus Young (only pausing for some oxygen) on guitar, and blistering vocals from Bon Scott.

Track Listing:

01. “Live Wire”
02. “Shot Down in Flames”
03. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”
04. “Sin City”
05. Interview
06. “Walk All Over You”
07. Interview
08. “Bad Boy Boogie”
09. “The Jack”
10. Interview
11. “Highway to Hell”
12. “Girls Got Rhythm”
13. “High Voltage”
14. Interview
15. “Whole Lotta Rosie”
16. “Rocker”
17. “Let There Be Rock”

Tragically, 2 months after this concert, Bon Scott died, his body found in the back of car outside a friend’s house in London.  His demise started the version of AC/DC we know today, with former Geordie singer, Brian Johnson on lead vocals.

With thanks to Miles Goodwin

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
What’s Wrong With Mabel?: John Cassavettes’ ‘A Woman Under the Influence’
09:11 pm



Woman Under the Influence
Unrelenting. That is one of the first words that comes to mind when talking about the work of John Cassavetes. Few filmmakers were as willing to not only open a vein but then deny their audience any easy answers about said act as Cassavetes. A Woman Under the Influence is a supreme example of this, standing as one of the most honest and quietly uneasy films that have emerged in the past fifty years. How uneasy? Well, it made Richard Dreyfuss physically ill after watching it… a good way. (Yes, even vomiting can be a compliment when done correctly.) That reaction sounds completely over dramatic, but when you see the film, you can understand why Dreyfuss or anyone else, would have been so gut punched by it.

Woman stars Gena Rowlands as Mabel, a middle-aged mother of three precocious kids and wife to Nick (Peter Falk), who is a gruff but warm blue collar man. She seems high-strung at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that there is something not right. Everyone knows it except her husband, with even some of his co-workers asking about her health. Nick’s the kind of guy who lives in denial for the reasons most due in such situations; out of love and out of an inability to deal. But much like in real life, it takes a series of events to bring everything to a simmer and after one particularly ugly and intense intervention with Mabel, her doctor and Nick’s stunningly irritating mother, he has his wife committed.

It is in her absence that he is confronted with the fact that he is not only been out of touch with his wife, but with his children as well. The only time we get to see him bond with the kids at all, is when he gets them unwittingly snockered on cheap beer after a dreary trip to the beach. Two months later and Nick plans a huge welcome back party for Mabel, but then quickly scraps it in favor of a more intimate family gathering. But as she arrives home, looking heavily sedated bordering on shell shocked, it becomes apparent that there are no easy fixes, especially for a family that is so steeped in simply not dealing.

Woman Under the Influence is a film that not only confronts its characters’ issues but a larger issue looming ahead. Mental illness, along with addiction, are two of the most misunderstood and often mishandled issues. It’s true now and it was true then, especially when you are talking about a time when electroshock therapy was common, a procedure Mabel mentions receiving. There’s nothing like someone leaving a facility worse off than they were beforehand. (For more info on this, just listen to Lou Reed’s song “Kill Your Sons”, which references Reed’s own experiences with electroshock.) Often, families’ ways of dealing with mental illness is to not deal with it all until it becomes the loud and at times, dangerous elephant in the room. Even then, there is an undercurrent of resentment there, something that comes out especially from Nick’s mother, making an already dicey situation worse when her son is finally trying to help Mabel.

Even Nick, who clearly does love his wife, is still impotent in his ability to even truly empathize with his spouse, including slapping her around a few times to calm her down. He’s not a villain just someone who is rendered useless by his unwillingness to try to understand, but also by the fact that he was never raised to see his partner as a full fleshed human being and an equal. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that gender roles have hurt Nick and Mabel. In one scene, she tells her kids that “I never did anything in my whole life than make you guys.” She’s not trying to make them feel bad or anything, but it is a loaded statement because it’s clear that she has been relegated her whole life to the categories of “wife,” “mother” or “daughter.” There is nothing wrong with any of those categories, but every person is more than just a label put on them. The whole being gets neglected, along with any troubles they may have. This applies to Nick too, because men often get a whole other set of baggage to deal with, so you end up with a whole generation of individuals who are not equipped to fully deal with one another.

Cassavetes handles all of this brilliantly, which is no shock for anyone familiar with the man’s work. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to simplify everything. Have Nick be a total bastard or pure doting husband and Mabel just be a misunderstood eccentric or a total psychopath. Not to mention the last 20 minutes, which mirrors Cassavetes equally sublime Killing of a Chinese Bookie, both in terms of open-endedness but even with the main character’s blood on their own hand. (The latter may or may not have been on purpose, but it’s interesting nonetheless.) It’s that gray-area borderland of no easy answers that permeates this film, making it all the more uncomfortable but all the more honest. Cassavetes is a director that not only loves his work enough to be real but his audience as well. This is an artist that respects you enough to never bullshit you. That alone makes me a fan for life.

The acting in Woman, especially where our two leads are concerned, is flawless. Watching Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk together is one blue spark of a gift, with the both of them being equally compelling and heartbreaking. In fact, Rowlands won the Golden Globe for best actress and was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in this film. But enough praise cannot be heaped upon Falk, who’s at his zenith here. While most are familiar with him as TV’s lovable Columbo, Falk was a red blooded actor’s actor. How many can boast about not only working with Cassavetes but also Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) to boot? Not many, but Falk was a special breed of character actor and it’s hard to think of someone who could pull off a guy like Nick, who is both likable, sympathetic and at times, a total ass.

Woman is an incredibly uncompromising work that at times is too close for comfort, but in a way that is needed. There’s a truth to this film that has not faded with age. Illnesses get ignored, families repeat dysfunctional patterns and miscommunication is bred in a hothouse of forced gender roles for all involved.

Luckily for us, the British Film Institute (BFI) have done a wonderful job of presenting this film, both on DVD and Blu Ray, for European viewers or anyone who happens to have a Region 2 (PAL) player. (Never fear, North Americans, for Criterion’s Region 1 release of it is still in print and also available as a part of their John Cassavetes Five Films box set.) This is a loving release, with a 30 page booklet, the original trailer as well an alternative one that features footage which is not in the final cut, an archived interview with Peter Falk and an interview with Elaine Kogan, Cassavetes’ long term personal assistant. It’s a supremely fine release and a great tribute to the man and his work.

A Woman Under the Influence is brilliant and like many a great piece of art, it may bristle and worm its way in your skin. It’s a near flawless film that gives you no easy answers because it does not and will not play you for a fool. (Though do try to ignore the awful bit of weird Dixieland music that pops up at the very end. Not sure what that was about but it’s a minor quibble.)

Posted by Heather Drain | Leave a comment
Ken Adam: The Man Who Designed for James Bond and Stanley Kubrick
07:34 pm



You will know Ken Adam for the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove. Or, perhaps his car design for Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. And of course, his unforgettable designs for the James Bond movies - from the specially adapted Aston Martin car, to his vision of Fort Knox in Goldfinger; the jet pack in Thunderball; or his stunning rocket base, within a hollow volcano in You Only Live Twice - Adam has created some of the most brilliant and unforgettable set designs ever filmed.

The 007 Set: A Profile of Ken Adam tells the story of cinema’s best known production designer from his birth in Berlin, between the wars, to his escape to England after the rise of Hitler, his training as an architect, and his career as the Royal Air Force’s only German fighter pilot during World War 2. First broadcast in 1979, this is a fascinating portrait, with great archive and an excellent interview with Ken Adam.

With thanks to NellyM

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
World Gone Wild: Now that elections are over, post-apocalyptic movies are fun again!
07:50 am



Movie Poster
With a poster like this, I shouldn’t even have to try and convince you to watch it!
Since the election is now in the rear-view miror (and I have yet to hear riots in the streets), we can all go back to enjoying the dystopic visions of the future that felt all-too-prescient a few weeks ago. Might I suggest the 1988 classic World Gone Wild? First of all, Adam Ant is a major character, and he gives a performance that makes his acting in the “Goody Two Shoes” music video look positively understated. This is, of course, all a part of the charm, since the appeal of the movie is pure grandiosity.

The synopsis says it all:

After the colossal nuclear wipeout, who inherits the earth? Adam Ant’s crazed band of Charles Manson worshipers, or hippie-magician Bruce Dern’s flower children who follow the great teachings of Emily Post? Finding out is all the fun in this tongue-in-cheek- sci fi adventure with action that makes Mad Max look like a tea party.

I’d argue that it makes Mad Max look like an Oscar-winner, but I understand making comparisons when you’re trying to ride the coattails of what is frankly, a much higher quality product. Sadly, because we live in a cruel and unfeeling world, you can’t find World Gone Wild on DVD, but VHS copies are still floating around, and this outdated format really feels like the appropriate vessel for such a product of its time. I don’t know about you, but I like my post-apocalyptic flicks like I like my New Wave musicians: over-the-top and short on shelf life!

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Lindsay Anderson: Rarely seen documentary on Free Cinema
08:56 pm



There were 3 of them. Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson. Young film-makers, who together formed the Free Cinema movement in Britain during the 1950s. They had a manifesto, which had been written by Anderson and another young film-maker Lorenza Manzetti, and it declared:

As filmmakers we believe that
No film can be too personal.
The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments.
Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim.
An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude.

It was published in the magazine Sequence, and Anderson followed it up with a longer declaration, Get Out and Push, published in Encounter magazine, which examined the state of British cinema.

As film-makers, Anderson, Reisz and Richardson wanted “to get ordinary, uncelebrated life on the screen.” Their films were portraits of everyday life - an amusement park or porters at Covent Garden (Anderson’s O, Dreamland, and Every Day Except Christmas), youngsters at a Jazz club (Reisz and Richardson’s Momma Don’t Preach), or the story of 2 deaf-mutes, (Mazzetti’s Together).

As Anderson’s explains in this excellent documentary on Free Cinema, they ‘weren’t interested in technique, except as a means of expression’, their aim was to create:

‘An unobtrusive, precise, camera style. A respect for people as individuals, as well as members of a class or industry. These were the characteristics of Free Cinema. Our films were Humanist, not sentimental. You could feel the inevitable thrust towards drams, towards the feature film.

Richardson went on to win glory and Oscars with his film versions of Saturday Night and Sunday Mornnng and Tom Jones; Reisz was the producer, and he went onto direct Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, Isadora and The Gambler; while Anderson directed This Sporting Life, and then, in collaboration with writer David Sherwin, he made 3 of the most important and seminal films of late 20th century British cinema - If…, O, Lucky Man! and Britannia Hospital, which was the last Free Cinema film.

Originally broadcast in 1985, this is Lindsay Anderson’s personal essay on Free Cinema and its influence British film making. Almost thirty years later, the documentary form developed by Anderson and co. has been taken over by television - from award-winning fly-on-the wall series like The Family (1974), to the bastard child of Reality TV. While technology, for better or worse, has made film-makers of anyone who owns a smart ‘phone. Anderson is clear, succinct and an excellent guide to the small film group that changed the British film cinema for the better.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
10 excruciating hours of the worst movie death scene ever
01:57 am



The death scene in 1973 Turkish flick Kareteci Kız (Karate Girl) went viral last month in its two minute incarnation. Now you can experience this popular meme for 10 torturous hours. Crank it up and drive your neighbors into a homicidal frenzy.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Miami Connection’ arrives in theaters in all its glorious badness
03:09 pm



Imagine a really gonzo episode of Miami Vice crossbred with a zero-budget martial arts flick that includes ninjas on motorcyles, bad disco and a bit of Herschell Gordon Lewis-style gore effects and you might get a handle on the rancid charm of the spectacularly inept but endearing Miami Connection.

I’ll let the folks at Drafthouse Films lay the synopsis on you:

The year is 1987. Motorcycle ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. Multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have had enough, and embark on a roundhouse wreck-wave of crime-crushing justice. When not chasing beach bunnies or performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” Mark and the boys are kicking and chopping at the drug world’s smelliest underbelly. It’ll take every ounce of their blood and courage, but Dragon Sound can’t stop until they’ve completely destroyed the dealers, the drunk bikers, the kill-crazy ninjas, the middle-aged thugs, the “stupid cocaine”...and the entire MIAMI CONNECTION!!!

Miami Connection was directed by 9th degree black belt philosopher/author/inspirational speaker Grandmaster Y.K. Kim. Made in 1987 and given a limited video release, the film has been virtually lost since it was made. But thanks to the celluloid junkies at Drafthouse films, this entertaining jaw-dropper is now available for your viewing pleasure starting Nov. 2 at an indie cinema near you. To find out where, click here.

The following clip gives you a taste of the wondrous sights contained in the brain-addled realities of Miami Connection - a world in which hairy, shirtless musicians play their instruments like butchers strangling chickens, young woman go in search of their own private Benatars and coked-up gangsters shake their doo rags in existential despair while ninjas do their dance of death in the neon air.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Voice of the demon: ‘The Exorcist’ and the legacy of Mercedes McCambridge
12:13 pm



Mercedes McCambridge and Linda Blair
Mercedes and the Monster (photo illustration by Todd McNaught)
It inspired an ocean of imitators and aspects of it seem quaint in the context of the age of digitally effected gore. But almost 40 years after its release, The Exorcist remains a chilling classic that transcended the horror genre due to both William Friedkin’s masterful direction and Linda Blair’s stellar acting.

In the spirit of Tara’s posting of creepy test footage from the film earlier this month, here’s the gifted Blair voicing the scene that introduces Regan to Father Karras followed by the eventual dubbing.

After the jump: meet the voice behind the possession…plus bonus audience reaction footage!

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
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