Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas has another superb exhibit running from October 19 to November 10 featuring iconic monsters from Universal movie studios. The gallery will be featuring artwork from Martin Ansen, Rick Baker, Jake Edmiston and dozens more.
Mondo is the collectible art division of Alamo Drafthouse, who continue to amaze with their devotion to the celebration and preservation of the cinema arts.
The gallery opening on October 19 will be from 7:00 - 10:00pm with regular hours to follow for the show’s duration. The Mondo Gallery is located at 4115 Guadalupe St. in Austin, TX.
“She’s Super-Natural”- and that is a top-notch Afro pun.
As we relish the season of scary movies, it’s easy to get discouraged when rifling through all your old stand-by DVDs. Have all the Halloween movies memorized? Can’t stay awake through another Friday the 13th sequel or remake?
Fear not! There are so many unsung glories of the horror genre!
Sugar Hill is a blaxploitation/horror crossover gem that has all the pulpy hallmarks of both. It’s a surprising yet sensible combo; though blaxploitation only rarely intersected with horror, the blood and guts so frequently thematic to both make for a simpatico pairing. When Sugar’s fiance refuses to sell his night-club (his voodoo-themed night club, naturally), the mob beats him to death. What follows is the classic revenge plot of a blaxploitation film, mixed lovingly with the campy gore of a supernatural zombie flick—what’s not to love?
The CIA kept a fat file on her romantic life after she made Ladybird Johnson cry. When invited to the White House to discuss President Johnson’s plans to combat crime, Kitt spoke so vehemently against the Vietnam War as to bring the First Lady to tears, saying, “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. They rebel in the street. They will take pot…and they will get high. They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam.”
After that, it’s really no surprise when her CIA file refers to her as a “sadistic nymphomaniac.” But really, knowing Eartha, they could have just asked.
On a farm in Newbury, a camera crew set-up to film a scene from Dennis Potter’s latest drama series Pennies from Heaven.
Potter was a controversial dramatist, who was praised and loathed in equal measure. His previous single drama Brimstone and Treacle had been banned outright by the BBC for depicting the rape of a disabled woman by a strange, young man, who may or may not have been the Devil. Potter said of Brimstone and Treacle:
“...I had written Brimstone and Treacle in difficult personal circumstances. Years of acute psoriatic arthropathy—unpleasantly affecting skin and joints—had not only taken their toll in physical damage but had also, and perhaps inevitably, mediated my view of the world and the people in it. I recall writing (and the words now make me shudder) that the only meaningful sacrament left to human beings was for them to gather in the streets in order to be sick together, splashing vomit on the paving stones as the final and most eloquent plea to an apparently deaf, dumb and blind God.
“...I was engaged in an extremely severe struggle not so much against the dull grind of a painful and debilitating illness but with unresolved, almost unacknowledged, ‘spiritual’ questions.”
Set in the 1930s, Pennies from Heaven told the story of a sheet-music salesman Arthur, played by Bob Hoskins, whose life and fantasies were reflected through the prism of popular songs of the day. Potter said of the Arthur:
“Lacking any sense of God or faith, he literally believes in those cheap songs to the depths of his tawdry, adulterous, little lying soul.”
When Hoskins first read the script he thought it “lunacy”. A second-reading convinced him it was something very special. He was right, Potter had written a brilliant and original series, which proved to be an enormous success when first broadcast on the BBC. It went on to win a BAFTA for “Most Original Programme”, and earned Hoskins and his co-star Cheryl Campbell best actor and actress nominations.
The series was remade (badly) by Hollywood (no surprise there) with Steve Martin in the lead, in 1982. Hoskins went on to international success with the gangster classic The Long Good Friday, while Potter returned to his mix of drama, fantasy and song with his acclaimed series The Singing Detective in 1986.
I’m pretty sure Severin’s show at Cinefamily last time completely sold out, so if you snooze you’re likely to lose.
Steven Severin (acclaimed solo artist and founding member of the legendary Siouxsie and the Banshees) returns to the Cinefamily in person, giving audiences a rare opportunity to hear his new score for Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr: the third in his ongoing film accompaniment series “Music For Silents.”
Though Hitchcock called it “the only film worth seeing twice”, the mysteries of Vampyr couldn’t be untangled in a thousand viewings. Dreyer’s film set a precedent for psychological horror, deploying mood and technical wizardry to render the strange logic of a nightmare on the screen. Shot with a silent film aesthetic despite being filmed in the sound era (and a year after Lugosi starred in Universal’s Dracula), Vampyr finds a perfect aural counterpart in Severin’s suitably textured score: a synthesized, highly atmospheric soundscape that draws the viewer rhythmically into a strange, horrifying dimension just outside our field of vision.
Tickets are $15-$90 and free for Cinefamily members. There are two shows scheduled, one at 7:45pm and a second set at 10:00pm. Order tickets here.
This is a delightful little interview with Terry-Thomas, that original screen cad, the gap-toothed bounder, the celluloid Dick Dastardly, who comes across as self-effacing, modest, and really rather sweet. Thomas was a hard-working comic actor, a very funny man, and spell-binding raconteur, who had a taste for the good things in life. However, his years of great success were cut short by Parkinson’s Disease, which cruelly robbed him of everything and left him “a crippled, crushed shadow.”
Thomas had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he gave this interview to Sue Lawley in 1973. He kept his illness a secret, until a year before his death, when a benefit concert was organized for him. Most touchingly, when Lawley asked whether he is rich, Thomas replied:
“I should say that I really am, because I’ve got all I want…I have a wife, two children - a boy of 9, a boy of 5. A jolly nice house in Ibiza, and a delightful little cottage here in London. I don’t want anymore. (pause) I’m sure I do, but I can’t think what it is at the present moment.”
The film clip is Vault of Horror, a rather good compendium horror film with 5 different tales of terror. Thomas starred as the obsessively neat Arthur Critchit, who marries the laid-back Eleanor, played by the wonderful Glynis Johns, to disastrous results.
Mark Moore is the producer/prime mover behind S’Express, creators of the cult classic “Theme From S’Express,” and one of the most influential figures in British dance music history.
Lynchpin of acid house he may be, but Moore recently uploaded this brilliant compilation of film soundtrack music to his Mixcloud page, inspired by his nights haunting the seedy Scala cinema in London. The 30-track mix features some brilliant music from the cult classics Akira, Brazil, Eraserhead, Klute, Rosemary’s Baby, Rollerball, American Gigolo, Halloween, Emmanuelle, Taxi Driver, The Ipcress File, and lots more.
Perhaps you need to be a movie fanatic to enjoy this mix. I don’t know - you tell me. I actually think all these tracks stand up on their own as listening masterpieces. Even the strange, scary ones.
Inspired by my teenage nights at The Scala Cinema near Goodge Street, where you would end up after the clubs shut. I remember nights coming down from speed unable to take the usual uplifting delights of Pasolini and sipping coffee with Jah Wobble. Watching the mayhem as the Carburton Street Squat rabble came down: Boy George, Marilyn, Steve Strange and Philip Sallon hurling bitchy comments at all the straight boy post-punkers. I saw Throbbing Gristle, 23 Skidoo, Spandau Ballet and Modern Romance play there! I got my movie education there.
There’s nothing better than watching Eraserhead or Female Trouble with a packed house full of clubland’s finest dressed up to the nines. I even wrote a song about the Scala, ‘Twinkle (Step Into My Mind)’.
There are few things sexier in this life than seeing a young, virile Rip Torn go medieval on acclaimed writer, wife-beater and underground filmmaker, Norman Mailer. This may sound like some wondrous fever dream but sometimes magic happens in real life and such an incident not only occurred but was documented in Mailer’s 1970 film, Maidstone. This event was so monumental that already half-whispered legends are born from this moment, including some speculation that Torn was tripping to the gills on acid for two days beforehand, but that’s just the tip.
Artists are mere flesh and blood, too, but with more passion, madness and imagination than the average person, so when they fight, it can quickly turn into a dark, more violent version of Destroy All Monsters. This is exactly what happened behind the scenes on the set of Maidstone, one of three underground films that Mailer directed in the late 60’s. (The other two being Wild 90 and Beyond the Law, with Torn also starring in the latter and the former being written by D.A. Pennebaker) The essential back story is that Mailer changed some key elements from the original script, including an alluded-to brothel sequence. Add in Torn, being the passionate artist that he was (and undoubtedly still is, even if his underground film days are long behind him), some potential chemical and physical exhaustion, all adding up to method acting going one step further.
In the film, Torn’s character, Raoul, the half-brother of famed director and presidential candidate, Norman Kingsley (Mailer), plots an assassination of his politically ambitious and arrogant kin. Torn begins the scene, letting Mailer know only when he clubs him on the head with a hammer. This is no stage magic, though, as they wrestle to the ground, both bleeding for real, with Torn’s coming from a vicious bite on the ear courtesy of Mailer. The tussle is something to behold, with Mailer grunting like an enraged caveman and Torn remaining cool as a cucumber, even saying, “No baby. You trust me?” Mailer pulls a chump move by acting like all is forgiven, only to attack Torn when his defenses are briefly down. But Torn, despite being smaller in size, deftly pins back him down and starts to choke him, when Mailer’s on-screen and real life wife, former-model and actress Beverly Bentley, realizing that the bloodshed was real, starts to scream and freak out, making the Mailer-children brood scream and freak out too.
From there, the battle continues, but with words instead of hammers and fists. Torn is clearly hurt and using words like “fraud” repeatedly, while Mailer tries to he-man it up, coming across like an Ivy League brat playing Hemingway. What’s amazing is, despite all the drama, Torn still manages to one-up Mailer, with one of the highlights being when, off screen, one of the Mailer children says, “don’t fight any more.” It is Rip, not Mailer, who responds, saying “That’s right baby, no fighting. It was just a scene in a Hollywood whorehouse movie. Okay baby? You know it’s okay and your Dad knows it’s okay.” Then he whispers under his breath, looking right at Norman and smiling maniacally, “Up yours.” What’s the best Mailer can come up with? “Adios.”
It would be easier to feel bad for Mailer if he didn’t reek of ego and macho bravado, all in stark contrast to the very earthy and naturally masculine Torn. On top of that, the man was a notorious blowhard with a history of violence against women, including stabbing his second wife Adele Morales. That’s not to say he wasn’t a talented writer and to his credit, the whole reason we are blessed to have this phenomenal fight to enjoy is that he actually included it in the film. Rare moments of slack aside, seeing the young, wild-eyed Torn best Norman Mailer is a borderline-harrowing gift of wonder.
Thankfully, Criterion, as part of their Eclipse series, has recently released not only Maidstone, but also Wild 90 and Beyond the Law as a two-disc set. So now a new generation of fringe film viewers can get a peak into late 60’s underground cinema and see the evolution of one of the greatest working character actors today.
Saturday night at the Hollywood Bowl, Peter Gabriel played his classic 1986 album So from start to finish. For the album’s big finale, “In Your Eyes,” Gabriel brought out John Cusack, who of course played romantic dreamer Lloyd Dobler in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 movie, Say Anything….
During that film’s climax, Lloyd holds up a boombox playing the song outside the home of Ione Skye’s character, Diane Court. It’s one of the ultimate, most immortal gestures of romantic love in all of cinema history so why am I even bothering to describe it?
In any case, it’s a great and iconic scene, and it’s cannily played out to exactly the perfect soundtrack. I’m sure that “In Your Eyes” was already a staple of romantic mixed tapes that lovelorn Gen X guys would have made back then even prior to Say Anything… but post-Say Anything…, well, that song became quite a statement indeed for a guy to put on a mixed tape. That meant he really, really liked you.
When I was in my 20s, I distinctly recall someone I know telling me how he kept VHS tapes of romantic comedies “casually lying around” his apartment for seduction purposes. I certainly don’t think he was the only guy to figure this out, and I would always take note if I saw that a male friend of mine owned a lot of rom com videos, you know, “chick flicks.” (A girlfriend of mine once told me how she’d been gushing about me to her mother because I had a VHS of Breakfast at Tiffany’s on my bookshelf and she felt this indicated great things about me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it wasn’t mine and that I had no idea how it had gotten into my apartment and onto my bookshelves. When I met her mother she mentioned knowing that I was a big fan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s!)
The videotapes I always seemed to notice in the homes of these 80s Don Juans were things like Say Anything, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and The Sure Thing (dig the Rob Reiner / John Cusack axis / overlap there). If these four films were as effective as Jägermeister, another no-fail seduction cliche of the 1980s, then imagine that you are the guy who actually played Lloyd Dobler and “Gib”?
Christ, that must be like having a superpower or something!
Below, Gabriel, in fine voice, performs a stellar “In You Eyes” at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, October 6, 2012: