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Russian nesting dolls of ‘Spinal Tap,’ ‘The Young Ones,’ ‘Rocky Horror,’ ‘Heathers’ and more
10.06.2014
08:01 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
nesting dolls
Russian dolls

This is Spinal Tap nesting dolls
This is Spinal Tap
 
Australian artist Irene Hwang’s Etsy shop Bobobabushka is full Russian “Matryoshka” nesting dolls that bear the likeness of alt-cinema misfits from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, This is Spinal Tap, Ghost World, Heathers, cult BBC TV show The Young Ones and various troublemakers from the films of Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers.

Hwang’s customers even harassed her into making a nesting doll based on the lower-than-low-budget 1966 cult film, Manos: The Hands of Fate and they are as excellent as Manos is horrible. A few of the cooler sets of Hwang’s hand-painted dolls ($120 - $190 a set) follow. 
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Russian nesting dolls
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
 
Ghost World Russian nesting dolls
Ghost World
 
Heathers Russian nesting dolls
Heathers
 
The Young Ones Russian nesting dolls
The Young Ones
 
The Big Lebowski Russian nesting dolls
The Big Lebowski
 
Manos: The Hands of Fate Russian nesting dolls
Manos: The Hands of Fate
 
Devo Russian nesting dolls
DEVO
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Motörhead Russian Nesting Dolls

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Bela Lugosi: Hollywood’s Dark Prince
10.02.2014
10:17 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Dracula
Bela Lugosi

CCdraculugosi.jpg
 
It was English character actor Raymond Huntley who first achieved success as Dracula in the famous stage production by Hamilton Deane of Bram Stoker’s classic novel in 1924. The twenty-year-old Huntley became a star taking the play from provincial tour to West End success. However, when offered to play the Count on Broadway, Huntley surprisingly turned the role down, later describing his time playing Dracula as “an indiscretion of my youth.” A strange and possibly rueful response to what in essence could have been a whole new career. Huntley’s refusal left the way open for Bela Lugosi, who made Dracula his own.

Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, Hungary, to a respectable and successful middle class family. Bela’s father wanted his youngest son to follow in the family tradition and take up a career in banking, but Bela ran away from home when he was twelve with the single-minded ambition of becoming an actor. Like his father the young Bela was stubborn and headstrong. Even when his father died, Bela never gave in to the family pressure to relinquish his dreams.

After years of hoping, waiting and hanging around stage doors, Bela was given a chance to learn his trade. He spent years as the spear carrier, the one liner, or the messenger sent on to develop the plot before he impressed in several Shakespeare productions, most notably as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. This led to his being offered work with the National Theater of Hungary, which (as you can imagine) was the country’s principal theater group. Lugosi later claimed he “became the leading actor of Hungary’s Royal National Theatre,” which may or may not be true.
 
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However, his theatrical career was drastically halted by the First World War Lugosi enlisted to fight, was wounded and spent the remainder of his service recuperating. After the war, he became politically active, helped set up an actor’s union and was then involved in the failed Hungarian Revolution, which meant he had to flee the country as a suspected radical and enemy of the state.

Lugosi traveled to Germany and eventually moved to America, where he worked with a small east coast theater company performing to fellow immigrants. His success here gave him a shot at Broadway, where he brought a seductive exoticness and great menace to the roles he played—most critically as the Arab Sheik in Arabesque, where he was compared to Valentino. But his biggest hit came when he was cast as the evil Count in Dracula. Lugosi made the dark and nefarious Count a highly seductive and erotic figure—a premeval mix of sex and death. Women fainted, men were jealous, both were equally terrified.
 
AAdraculugosi.jpg
 
Surprisingly, despite Lugosi’s success on Broadway, when Hollywood decided to film Dracula, the actor was not the first choice of producer Carl Laemmle Jr. who wanted Lon Chaney to play the Count. Sadly “The Man of a Thousand Faces” died before production began, leaving Laemmle a long list of actors Paul Muni, Chester Morris, Ian Keith, John Wray, Joseph Schildkraut, Arthur Edmund Carewe and William Courtenay to consider—anyone (it seemed) but Lugosi. However, Lugosi was determined to play the Count and lobbied Laemmle for the part, eventually winning it after accepting a cut in salary.

For me, no matter who has played the role since, Bela Lugosi is the master and in many respects the definitive Count Dracula—he is the standard by which all of the other undead are judged.

As for Huntley, well, he is instantly recognizable from his many film and television appearances, where he usually played the bank manager in pin stripe suit and bowler hat, the civil servant, the untrustworthy politician, the judge passing sentence or the scientist who did things by the book, all of which makes me wonder what his interpretation of the Count was like.

This rather enjoyable documentary Bela Lugosi: Hollywood’s Dark Prince tells the story of Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko, from rebelious childhood to Universal star and sad drug-addled demise, with contributions from Robert Wise, Martin Landau and Bela Lugosi Jr.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Finally: The ‘Big Lebowski’ pinball machine is here and it is gorgeous!
10.02.2014
07:37 am

Topics:
Games
Movies

Tags:
The Big Lebowski
pinball


 
I have to tell you, I adore pinball, and I’m very excited to make a trip to my local bowling palace sometime in the next year or so to try out the soon-to-be-released Big Lebowski pinball machine, duly licensed by Universal Studios and manufactured by Dutch Pinball. The machine retails for $8,500 (which can be broken up into four payments), excluding taxes and fees; if you would like to pre-order one, you can do it here. They aren’t kidding about the “Dutch” in “Dutch Pinball.” Ahem: “Residents of the European Union are subject to Dutch BTW (VAT). ... Customers living outside of the European Union are not required to pay Dutch VAT; however, you may be subject to an import tariff.”

The game has three levels, including a stunning re-creation of a bowling alley (“Licensed Brunswick Lane Design”) underneath the main level. The game will play songs from the movie, including Bob Dylan’s “The Man in Me,” Kenny Rogers’ “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In,” and Santana’s “Oye Como Va.”

Details on gameplay are not the easiest to come by, but the game features three “Character Modes,” two “Car Modes,” a “Mark It Zero” bonus, and three “Rug Modes” (you read that right). Marvelously, the game features a life-sized, actual goddamn White Russian that juts out of the playing field on the right-hand side and occasionally lights up.

When you speak of this—and you know you will—please resist the temptation to make a “rug ties it all together” joke, everyone’s already done that one.
 

 

 

 

 

 
“Attract mode lighting”:

 
Three more videos detailing the luscious Lebowski pinball machine, after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘duBEAT-e-o’: The Runaways movie that became The Mentors movie, 1984
10.01.2014
08:11 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Runaways
Mentors


 
Twelve years ago, when I was working in a video store that was selling off its VHS inventory, a coworker put a used copy of this terrible movie in my hands. It’s hard to convey how seedy the tape looked and felt—unevenly shrinkwrapped with the aid of a hair dryer, blazoned with a yellow paper sticker advertising a sale price of $3.99. Of course, I loved punk and metal ephemera, the more degraded and disgusting the better; but something about this particular tape just seemed gross. However, I reasoned that it couldn’t be all bad, since they’d stolen The Screamers’ logo for the box. Boy, was I wrong.

Five years before duBEAT-e-o, there was a movie in the works called We’re All Crazy Now that was to have starred The Runaways. Although the Runaways broke up in the spring of 1979, filming went ahead that summer with Joan Jett and three actresses playing the band. In September, Billboard reported:

Set Runaways Film

LOS ANGELES—Production has started on the feature motion picture “We’re All Crazy Now,” loosely based on the career of the all-girl rock act the Runaways. The Zane-Helpern independent production stars Arte Johnson, Runaways’ member Joan Jett and former Herman’s Hermits leader Peter Noone. Cheryl Smith, Karen and Kathy Fallentine round out the cast as the remainder of the original Runaways.

(Yes, that is Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith of Caged Heat fame. And who could forget those great “original Runaways,” Karen and Kathy Fallentine?)

The production fell apart and the movie was abandoned. Somehow, by 1984, the footage wound up in the hands of producer Alan Sacks, the creative genius behind Welcome Back, Kotter, Chico and the Man, and, more recently, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Sacks cast Ray Sharkey as an editor who—get this—is assigned to make a movie out of some old footage of Joan Jett! (I think this is what the credits are referring to when they say the movie is “Based on an idea by Alan Sacks.” Wherever does he get his ideas?) Rounding out the cast this time were El Duce of The Mentors, Derf Scratch of FEAR, and performance artist Johanna Went.

I would recommend heroin addiction before I would recommend watching the whole movie, but I would also guess that Mentors fans (people of discriminating taste) are slightly less likely to hate it than Joan Jett fans. Aside from the We’re All Crazy Now footage and a handful of original scenes, the movie is a desultory montage of Ed Colver punk photos, smut Polaroids, religious kitsch, comic book covers and stills of El Duce cavorting with unlucky women. While these images roll by, members of the cast and crew gab in voiceover, sounding wasted and bored. Sure, it sounds like fun now, but give it three minutes.

The most enthusiastic review of duBEAT-e-o came from The Psychotronic Video Guide:

“This thing is nuts! It played in theaters!”

Three minutes of duBEAT-e-o:

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Massive mural pays homage to cult film ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’
09.30.2014
11:14 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Jeff Krulik

Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural by Jasper Patch
 
New York City based artist Jasper Patch was invited to hand-paint this 8’ x 70’ mural on a wall outside of a bar called Clyde’s in Chattanooga,Tennessee. The owners of Clyde’s left the subject matter up to Patch and he chose wisely, as the mural features several of the most memorable stars of director Jeff Krulik’s 1986 cult documentary “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.”

The mural took Patch about ten days to paint and according to the artist himself the response has been as big as his painting. In my estimation, the only thing this metal monstrosity is missing is an image of the long-haired acid tripper from HMPL, the forever shirtless Graham (“you know, like, gram of dope n’ shit?”). Here are a few close-ups of the mural.
 
Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural braces girl
 
Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural Zebraman
 
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the drunken kids of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” I have good news. In 2006, Jeff Krulik and his partner in crime John Heyn tracked down some of the film’s alumni to see what they’ve been up to. To the surprise of nobody they are all still headbanging devotees. They even found “Zebraman” (pictured above), an unwitting fan favorite of the flick who despite his acid-soaked proclamations about Mars, is improbably still alive.

“PRIEST IS THE BEST!”
 

 
Previously featured on Dangerous Minds:
‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ trading cards

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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‘Eyes of Hitchcock’: Glorious video montage from the films of ‘The Master of Suspense’
09.29.2014
10:16 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Alfred Hitchcock


 
Here’s a wonderful video montage from Criterion Collection of powerful scenes in Alfred Hitchcock films that solely focuses on the human eye.

You can see just how well each actor emotes fear or batshit insanity without any dialogue. Their eyes alone speak volumes.

Anthony Perkins? His crazy eyes win by a longshot.

 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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John Cleese: FOX News viewers are too stupid to realize that they are stupid


Be afraid, be very afraid…

For some years now, I have been fascinated with the Dunning-Kruger effect. I believe it was some Internet writings by Errol Morris that first turned me on to the idea around 2007. It’s incredibly useful, I feel like I find a use for it almost every day. If nothing else, it’s a spur to humility, because we’re all susceptible to it. Some, ahem, far more than others.

In a 1999 article called “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments,” David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University came to the conclusion that the qualified are often more skeptical about their own abilities in a given realm than the unqualfied are. People who are unqualified or unintelligent are more likely to rate their own abilities favorably than people who are qualified or intelligent. In the paper, the authors wrote, “Across four studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd.”

However, people with actual ability tended to underrate their relative competence. Participants who found tasks to be fairly easy mistakenly assumed that the tasks must also be easy for others as well. As Dunning and Kruger conclude: “The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”
 

 
Charles Darwin put it most pithily in The Descent of Man when he wrote, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” As W.B. Yeats put it in The Second Coming: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” Apparently there is a scientific grounding for that line.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is unusually suitable in describing the many frustrating positions and rhetoric of the Republican Party. My favorite (if depressing) example of the Dunning-Kruger effect comes from the mouth of George W. Bush in the days before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. As Bob Woodward wrote in Plan of Attack:
 

The president said he had made up his mind on war. The U.S. should go to war.

“You’re sure?” Powell asked.

Yes. It was the assured Bush. His tight, forward-leaning, muscular body language verified his words. It was the Bush of the days following 9/11.

“You understand the consequences,” Powell said in a half-question. …

Yeah, I do, the president answered.

 
Yeah, I do, the president answered. What on earth could that utterance by Bush possibly mean? Could it not be clearer that what was in Bush’s head at that moment and what was in Powell’s head at that moment had very little to do with each other? In effect Powell was taking Bush’s word that Bush had seriously considered the consequences of invasion, when to be frank, all available evidence, both at the time and later on, suggests that Bush was foolhardy about what the actual consequences of invasion might be.
 

 
Earlier this year, the research of Dunning and Kruger was referenced by a relatively unlikely source: John Cleese, the brilliant comedian who famously portrayed one of the single most obtuse and supercilious characters in TV history, Basil Fawlty. Cleese believes FOX’s viewership is too unintelligent to put the proper brakes on their own thought processes: “The problem with people like this is that they are so stupid that they have no idea how stupid they are. You see, if you’re very, very stupid, how can you possibly realize that you’re very, very stupid, you’d have to be relatively intelligent to realize how stupid you are.”

Apparently Cleese and Dunning are pals—he says so in the video, anyway. Here, have a look:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Shock Value: New York’s underground ‘Cinema of Transgression’
09.26.2014
07:47 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Punk

Tags:
Lydia Lunch
NYC
Richard Kern
Nick Zedd

01010zedtrangressioncinema.jpg
 
There are times in life when it seems that certain things, events, people or books have been strategically placed for our benefit. For example, I read Nick Zedd’s Totem of the Depraved which ends with the filmmaker homeless, on the streets looking for a place to stay when I was homeless, wandering streets, sleeping rough, and getting by however I could. The book was apposite and Zedd’s words kept me company through some uncomfortable nights. And of course, there was the inspiration, the small luminous epiphany—if artists like Zedd could get by, stay sane, live and create, then so could I.

Self-styled “King of the Underground” Nick Zedd was the pioneer and major player of New York’s Cinema of Transgression in the late 1970s and 1980s with his films They Eat Scum, Geek Maggot Bingo and Police State. Knowing that “History is whoever gets to the typewriter first,” Zedd edited the Xeroxed and stapled together zine The Underground Film Bulletin and wrote (under various aliases) reviews for his own films. In 1985, he composed the Cinema of Transgression Manifesto:

We who have violated the laws, commands and duties of the avant-garde; i.e. to bore, tranquilize and obfuscate through a fluke process dictated by practical convenience stand guilty as charged.

We openly renounce and reject the entrenched academic snobbery which erected a monument to laziness known as structuralism and proceeded to lock out those filmmakers who possesed the vision to see through this charade.

Zedd (writing under the pseudonym Orion Jeriko) described his comrades as “underground invisibles” and named them:

Zedd, Kern, Turner, Klemann, DeLanda, Eros and Mare, and DirectArt Ltd, a new generation of filmmakers daring to rip out of the stifling straight jackets of film theory in a direct attack on every value system known to man.

And announced what they were going to do:

We violate the command and law that we bore audiences to death in rituals of circumlocution and propose to break all the taboos of our age by sinning as much as possible. There will be blood, shame, pain and ecstasy, the likes of which no one has yet imagined. None shall emerge unscathed.

Since there is no afterlife, the only hell is the hell of praying, obeying laws, and debasing yourself before authority figures, the only heaven is the heaven of sin, being rebellious, having fun, fucking, learning new things and breaking as many rules as you can. This act of courage is known as transgression.

We propose transformation through transgression - to convert, transfigure and transmute into a higher plane of existence in order to approach freedom in a world full of unknowing slaves.

 
killsidologbsdba.jpg
 
Filmmaker and photographer Richard Kern described the Cinema of Transgression as “a loose coalition of people who just joined together in order to have a movement.”

Along with Zedd, Kern was one of the was the group’s main players, making short brutal (some might say “depraved”) films like You Killed Me First (1985), Thrust in Me (1985), The Right Side of My Brain (1985) and Fingered (1986). These films teetered on the wire, and were so personally demanding (mentally and physically and in drink and drugs) that Kern eventually left New York City for a while for the sake of his health. 

Artist, writer, actress and performer, Lydia Lunch appeared in many of Kern’s movies and saw the Cinema of Transgression as a way to “show the ugly fucking truth the truth. Period.” Around her were artists like Joe Coleman, who began his career by biting the heads off mice, and became an alchemist—turning pain into gold.

While much of the Cinema of Transgression is now mainstream or like Kern’s photos suitable for the fashion shoot or cat walk, Nick Zedd continues to plow his own visionary path as artist and filmmaker. I, at least, now have a roof over my head.

Angélique Bosio’s documentary Llik Your Idols captures the excitement, thrill and power of the Cinema of Transgression, interviewing Nick Zedd, Richard Kern, Lydia Lunch, Joe Coleman, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and others.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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A pencil of light: The Surrealist films of Man Ray
09.25.2014
08:14 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Man Ray

01010maraya.jpg
 
Apart from his glittering career as a photographer, painter and “maker of Surreal objects,” the American artist Man Ray was also a filmmaker of considerable skill and originality.

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Pennsylvania on August 27th, 1890, Man Ray was the first of four children born to Russian immigrants. When he was seven, the family moved to Brooklyn where he shortened his first name from “Manny” to “Man” and because of the anti-semitism rife in New York at the time, the family changed their surname from Radnitzky to Ray—hence Manny Radnitzky became “Man Ray.” From an early age he assisted his parents with their work in the garment trade—his father was a tailor, his mother made simple designs—and it was hoped the eldest son Manny would follow in the family business. But Man Ray had other ambitions and he taught himself to draw by spending time in museums and art galleries, and eventually won a scholarship to study architecture, but he rejected it in favor of being an artist. This decision was confirmed for Man Ray after he saw the Armory Show in New York, 1913.

In 1915, Man Ray had his first solo exhibition. He then decided he wanted to be a part of Dada—the “anti-art movement” to this end he became friends with Marcel Duchamps, and the pair worked together on early examples of kinetic art.

In 1921, Man Ray moved to Paris, where he lived in the artists’s quarter of Montparnasse, and fell in love with the famous model, singer, budding actress and well-known Bohemian Kiki de Montparnasse (aka Alice Prin). Kiki became Man Ray’s lover and muse, who he began to photograph, which in turn led him to his first experiment as filmmaker Le Retour à la Raison in 1923. 

Man Ray aligned himself with the Cinéma pur movement, which focussed on taking film away from narrative and plot and returning it to movement and image. Its proponents were René Clair, Fernand Léger, Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling, amongst others, and their short films were the beginnings of what was to become “Art Cinema.”

Adhering to Cinéma pur‘s loose manifesto, Man Ray’s early films, Le Retour à la Raison (Return to Reason) in 1923 and Emak-Bakia (Leave me alone) in 1926, focussed on creating startling textural patterns through the representation of objects within rhythmical loops. The experimentation of Le Retour à la Raison was repeated and developed in Emak-Bakia, and many of the techniques Man Ray developed (double exposure, Rayographs and soft focus) were later co-opted by animators and filmmakers during the 1940s to 1960s.
 

‘Le Retour à la Raison’ (‘Return to Reason’)
 
More of Man Ray’s Surrealist cinema after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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They’re only movies: Moral panic, censorship & ‘video nasties’

Infamous Poster for the even more infamous
 
There are few things more offensive than the act of a group of holier-than-thou types trying to inflict their intensely rigid and often, properly uninformed, viewpoints on the masses. Every decade has some rich examples of this type of restrictive behavior, but the 1980’s were an especially fertile hotbed of moral majority types. In the United States, we had Tipper Gore and the PMRC attacking the music industry. In the United Kingdom, they had Mary Whitehouse and the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) and their attack on the “video nasties,” a list of horror films that were targeted for being especially violent and lurid enough to the extent of being socially harmful. The tight girdle-brigade of Tipper and Mary Whitehouse would have surely gotten along like gangbusters, but the latter’s actions, along with key members of British Parliament can still be felt to this day.

There have been a number of books and articles written about the “video nasties” and even an episode of The Young Ones using them as a key plot device. (Complete with The Damned playing “Nasty” no less!) So it was high time for someone to come along and make a documentary about this movement and thanks to director Jake West and Severin Films, we have all that and more.

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide is one of the most aptly named sets to have come out in the past five years. Disc One features West’s documentary, Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Video Tape. Originally released in 2010, West manages to fit in an amazing amount of commentary and information in its 72 minutes. There is a perfect mix of film writers, academics, filmmakers and former political and law enforcement members interviewed here, painting a thorough picture of a weird and sad time for film in the UK.
 

 
Director West, who also made the incredible and underrated Razor Blade Smile (1998), integrates a punk type energy and fun with the gravity of the subject matter. The film delves into the fact that, like any situation where censorship is put into action, the issue is far deeper than the works being targeted themselves. Elements like social unrest in a land riddled with high unemployment and the bloody specter of the Falkland Wars, not to mention the inherent classist attitudes of Whitehouse and her crew, are just some of the points bubbling under the surface of “obscene” movies. Censorship, in all of its ugly forms, is rarely about the actual contents themselves and more about assorted underlying problems that run way deeper than a movie with blood and breasts mixed in.

While there are a number of standouts interviewed here, including Stephen Thrower (Nightmare USA), Kim Newman, Dr. Beth Johnson and The Dark Side editor Allan Bryce, it is Professor Martin Barker who is the real star and moral core of the film. Barker, initially studying the horror comics uproar in the 1950’s (a censorship-fueled movement that was paralleled here in the United States around that time period) but soon noticed some striking similarities between the then burgeoning video nasties scare and what happened in the fifties. It was from there that he became one of the few but key voices to speak up critically against Whitehouse and her cronies, which included members of Scotland Yard and Parliament. (Not to mention some moral support from Prime Minister Thatcher herself.) There’s one clip shown of Barker on a chat show where an intensely rude Cardinal interrupts him to ask if he would show a one of “those” films to a little kid, to which Barker replies without a beat, “What a silly question!”
 

 
The films themselves, while briefly shown in clips and named in the documentary, get more of an in-depth analysis on discs two and three. Disc two features original trailers and commentary on the 39 films that were successfully prosecuted. Some of the titles on this list include Abel Ferrara’s second feature film Driller Killer, Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left, the bonkers Island of Death and Roger Ebert’s favorite, I Spit on Your Grave.

Disc three features the same great commentary/trailer combination, with the focus being on the 39 films that were initially banned but were later on acquitted and removed from the list. Some of those titles include Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, the ultra-obscure Elke Sommer film I Miss You Hugs & Kisses, Matt Cimber’s unhinged psychedelia The Witch Who Came From the Sea and Andrzej Zulawski’s art-house, psychological horror film Possession.
 
Gruesome Art for
 
The trailers alone are pretty fantastic but the commentary is very much the icing on the cake, including some particularly great insights from the aforementioned personalities, as well as writers like Brad Stevens (Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision) and academics like Professor Patricia MacCormack. The quality of commentary can make or break a set like this but West did a bang up job selecting a group of people that are not just highly educated and experienced, but also quite fun to listen to. Anyone that is working on a film-related documentary in the future need to study this set and see how should it be done. There are few things more soul-crushing than seeing dry-as-ashes commentary on something as vibrant and fluid as art. In fact, if you’re a film lover by any definition, then do yourself a favor and pick up this set. 
 
Poster Art for
 
The vital importance of a set like this is summed up beautifully at the end of the documentary by Martin Barker himself:

“The most interesting thing is just how little historical memory we have. The next time there’s a panic we won’t remember just how stupid the last one was and how people get away with things. And that to me is the most important lesson about this campaign. The evangelical got away with murder. They got away with fraud. They got away with deceiving people. They now laugh it off. The fact that almost all of these films are now available uncut in the public domain, they don’t care. Because they move on, because what they want to do is to dominate the present and they don’t care about history. Critical voices have to care about history. We have to care about the way which things got controlled in the past, because that’s when the damage gets done. If you don’t keep that historical memory, we will allow them to do it again next time.”

 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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