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‘Future Shock’: Orson Welles narrates gloriously schlocky documentary on techno-pessimism, 1972
07.08.2015
11:59 am

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Movies
Science/Tech

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I was aware of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock when I was growing up partly because my dad was sort of in the futurology business himself; he was an analyst at the Hudson Institute under Herman Kahn from the mid-1970s through the late 1980s, which specialized in the project of using trends to generate scenarios about the future—where a certain kind of counterintuitive reasoning usefully pushed back against the excesses of the alarmist left, as represented by Toffler and The Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome. (Kahn was a brilliant man who is mostly forgotten today, but was prominent enough that he was partly the basis for the character of Dr. Strangelove and was also mordantly represented, after a fashion, by the Walter Matthau character “Professor Groeteschele” in the 1964 movie Fail Safe.)

Anyway, around our household Toffler was sometimes mentioned as a crass popularizer of a particularly doomy form of techno-futurism that sought to cash in on qualms over technology in the society at large. This marvelous 1972 documentary about Toffler’s book was directed by Alex Grasshoff and features the voice and image of Orson Welles to a remarkable extent. Insofar as the movie accurately represents the book (Toffler co-wrote the doc, so I have no reason to imagine it doesn’t), it shows the content to be pretty half-baked at best. One feels for poor Orson having to read this stuff, but it’s better than frozen peas, I suppose.
 

Alvin Toffler. Photo: Roman Tokarczyk
 
Future Shock is about “a sickness ... that comes from too much change in too short a time.” We’re suffering terrible stresses because we have begun to live in “the pre-cooked, pre-packaged, plastic-wrapped, instant society.” Now surely there is something to this—technology in our lives does move awfully fast, and it’s natural to worry about the problems of disposability and transience. But the documentary has a habit of dressing up good news as bad news, mainly in order to scare inattentive dupes, as in the following:
 

A chemistry professor recently stated that he couldn’t pass today’s examinations because at least two-thirds of the questions require knowledge that didn’t even exist when he graduated from Oxford in the early thirties.

 
Oh no!! You’re saying we’ve learned so much about the chemical makeup of life (and also, developed ways to improve life) that ... it’s harder to absorb the information—how terrible!!!! A little later, quite similarly, you can hear Welles’ voice warn us of the dangers of the “disposability of …  people” as follows: “Thousands of people are alive today only because they carry inside them electronic devices, plastic parts, transplanted organs.” (So wait: this point about extending people’s lives via technology is a “bad” thing because of ... the “disposability of people”? Huh?)
 

 
There’s no trend that can’t be dressed up as a terribly important problem that you should be very worried about. At one point the documentary discusses “the mobile society ... the rate of change reflecting the fact that where we live means less and less as we breed a new race of nomads.” This segues, hilariously, to an idealized montage of young people hitchhiking, which is one notable midcentury activity that is all but extinct today. So ... yeah, not so much.

One of the best and most amusing sequences comes around 17 minutes in, in the discussion of “modular bodies.” There is a marvelous bit depicting our taken-for-granted ability to change our skin color at will—the montage features the lobby of an office building in which a number of the people have blue, gold, or unnaturally pasty white skin.

Oh, if you want to see Toffler himself he pops up around the 38th minute.

I shouldn’t neglect to mention the gloriously schlocky production values of the movie, lots of weirdo sci-fi music and some cheesy video effects that are by now dated. As documentaries go, let’s just say it’s got some Logan’s Run in its DNA.
 

 
After the jump, a remarkable “educational companion” published to promote the movie…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bad motherf*ckers: Action figures from ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘The Shining,’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and more
07.08.2015
11:11 am

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Heroes
Movies

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Alex Clockwork Orange figure by Rainman
Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange
 
Here’s what I know about sculptor and artist Rainman, the man responsible for the sinister as fuck action-figure of Alex from A Clockwork Orange (pictured above), and many others that are about to blow your mind. Rainman is a rather secretive cat, but according to his his Facebook page he’s based in Korea and currently works for video game giant CAPCOM (the makers of the 1987 video game Street Fighter). He studied animation at Kyungsung University, a private school in Busan, South Korea. Rainman is an accomplished painter and in 2013 he released a 500-page book called Not Afraid, which featured his conceptual artwork. He also likes Dr. Dre.

That’s pretty much all I know about this incredibly talented man.
 
Alex from A Clockwork Orange by Rainman
 
As I often post about unique action figures here on DM, I knew when I found Rainman’s creations I had struck gold. That is because Rainman’s collection includes some of the most bad-ass members of cinematic history. Like Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, Alex from A Clockwork Orange (who comes with a glass of milk and other “accessories”), Tyler Durden from Fight Club, Jack Torrance from The Shining and many, many others. In some cases, Rainman will put together what I can only describe as “play sets” for his figures. For example, one collection of figures from The Shining not only included Jack and his trusty, door-busting ax, but also Danny Torrance along with a replica of his little blue bike, the Grady Twins, and a small version of the infamous carpet from the hallways of the Overlook Hotel.

Let’s have at look at Jack and his pals, shall we?
 
Jack Torrance from The Shining figure by Rainman
 
Danny Torrance and his bike figure by Rainman
 
Danny Torrance and the Grady Twins figures by Rainman
 
Danny Torrance (for scale) figure by Rainman
 
While Rainman’s articulated sculptures are breathtakingly life-like, I am equally impressed by the “secret items” that he often includes with his various figures, such as a miniature version of the last book Vincent Vega ever read, Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise (included with his sculpt of John Travolta from Pulp Fiction), Jules’ “Bad Motherfucker” wallet, a teeny-tiny version of the “TIME: Man of the Year” mirror from The Big Lebowski (that comes with his “Dude” figure), and the skanky blue bathrobe that comes along with his “Fighter 1999” figure (aka, Tyler Durden from Fight Club).
 
Miniature sculpt of Modesty Blaise by Rainman
Miniature version of Modesty Blaise
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Never any sympathy for the wild ones’: Trans pioneer and Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn is dying
07.07.2015
07:20 am

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Movies
Queer

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Queer historians know Holly Woodlawn as a transgender pioneer and consummate wild child—she was once arrested in New York for impersonating the wife of the French Ambassador to the U.N. The art crowd knows her as a supremely talented Warhol superstar who gave amazing performances in both Trash and Women in Revolt. But Holly Woodlawn was most famously celebrated in the first lines of “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”:

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she

 

Portrait of Holly Woodlawn by EP Holcomb

Despite her icon status, Woodlawn is unable to pay for her mounting medical expenses as her health deteriorates. The outlook is not good, but she doesn’t want to die in a nursing home, and hopes to return home with the help of donations. Performance artist and playwright Penny Arcade is running a crowdfunding campaign for 24-hour at-home care and eventual funeral expenses; you can contribute here. Arcade is quick to point out that, despite the recent visibility of trans people and trans issues, no one seems quite as interested in the foremothers of the movement and their unglamorous, real-world problems.

Many people have commented that they are waiting to see Caitlin Jenner, LaVern Cox or one of the other high profile transgendered people with high profile step up to call attention to Holly’s situation forgetting that most Hollywood people live far away from the reality of renegades like Holly and probably have not yet heard of Holly’s situation and may not..It may go straight to their dead mail! What I find far more curious is that cadre of so called Transactivists that make so much noise about words like Trannie or NightClubs with the word Tranny that were of our community and opened before they were in elementary school. Where is GLADD and other single issue organizations who love to be associated with trans issues when it suits them?

The truth is Holly is Beyond Theory and always has been…she lived her politics on the street with her body not on a velour couch with 8 people who took the same Gender studies class as her! Truth is: There’s never any sympathy for the wild ones.

 

 
You can read more about Holly in her amazing memoir, A Low Life in High Heels: The Holly Woodlawn Story. To catch a glimpse of her raw talent, see the clip below from Andy Warhol’s Trash. Woodlawn’s performance was so intense that the great director George Cukor petitioned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to nominate her for best actress.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
A board game based on ‘The Shining’ actually exists! Download it for FREE!
07.06.2015
06:21 am

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Games
Movies

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The Shining boardgame, 1998
The Shining, the boardgame. 1998
 
Yes, you heard me right. A board game based on Stanley Kubrick’s mind-fucking film The Shining actually exists!
 
The Shining board game counters and pieces (front and back images)
The Shining board game counters and pieces (front and back images)
 
The two-player game was created back in 1998 along with assistance from Stephen King. Which makes this an extra cool find as King (as you probably know) wrote the 1977 novel on which the film is based. The prolific author even acted as the games very first tester. Best of all? You can download the game FOR FREE and put it together yourself.
 
The Shining board game pieces
The Shining board game pieces
 
The Shining boardgame gameplay with Jack Torrance and snowmobile
The Shining board game gameplay with Jack Torrance and snowmobile
 
As far as gameplay is concerned, it all starts with the news of the approaching winter storm, which in turn enables the ghosts that inhabit the Overlook Hotel to get to work scaring the shit out of The Torrances’. One player gets to be the Torrance family, while the other player is the House (or the Overlook Hotel). According to a detailed review of the game via a Stephen King fan site, The Torrance family members are able to “engage in mental attacks on the ghosts” and there are even “implements of destruction” available to use such as a snowmobile, an ax in the garage (because, of course), a mallet, and a knife in the Overlook’s kitchen. Aparently the game isn’t a long, drawn out affair and can be completed in a relatively short period of time. The only gripe that I read about was that if players do not monitor the Overlook’s boiler pressure closely enough, the entire hotel gets blown to kingdom come.
 
The Shining board game map one
The Shining board game map one
 
The Shining boardgame layout
 
The Shining board game map two
 
If this sounds like a good time to you (and it should because all work and no play will make you a very dull boy), you can download the game here.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Finally, the death metal version of ‘Grease’ we’ve been waiting all our lives for
07.06.2015
06:09 am

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Movies
Music

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We’re grateful to Andy Rehfeldt for reminding us that most things can be improved with a little death metal. In this case, the classic 1978 musical Grease provides no exception to the rule. Rehfeldt worked up a death metal overdub for the climactic “You’re the One That I Want” scene late in the movie, and it’s fantastic!

The best thing about this version is that it lets us enjoy John Travolta’s idiotic facial expressions in a whole new way.
 

 
via Uproxx
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘It Conquered the World’: The sci-fi atrocity that inspired Frank Zappa
07.03.2015
07:11 am

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Movies
Music

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“Cheepnis,” from Roxy & Elsewhere, is probably the most upful rock number in Frank Zappa’s catalog, celebrating two of the maestro’s favorite pleasures: eating hot dogs and watching monster movies. The song begins with a short monologue about Roger Corman’s 1956 no-budget classic, It Conquered the World:

Let me tell you something, do you like monster movies? Anybody? I love monster movies. I simply adore monster movies, and the cheaper they are, the better they are. And cheapness, in the case of a monster movie, hsa nothing to do with the budget of the film—although it helps—but true cheapness is exemplified by visible nylon strings attached to the jaw of a giant spider. I’ll tell you a good one that I saw one time, I think the name of the film was IT CONQUERED THE WORLD. Did you ever see that one? The monster looks sort of like an inverted ice cream cone with teeth around the bottom. It looks like a teepee or sort of a rounded-off pup-tent affair, and it’s got fangs on the base of it, I don’t know why, but it’s a very threatening sight. And he’s got a frown, and, y’know, ugly mouth and everything, and there’s this one scene where the monster is coming out of a cave, see? There’s always a scene where they come out of the cave, at least once. And the rest of the cast—it must have been made around the 1950s—the lapels are about like that wide, the ties are about that wide, and they’re about this short, and they always have a little revolver that they’re gonna shoot the monster with, and there’s always a girl who falls down and twists her ankle. [Laughs] Of course there is! You know how they are. The weaker sex and everything, twisting their ankle on behalf of the little ice-cream cone. Well, in this particular scene—in this scene, folks, they didn’t want to retake it because it must have been so good, they wanted to keep it—but when the monster came out of the cave, just over on the left-hand side of the screen, you can see about this much two-by-four attached to the bottom of the thing as the guy is pushing it out. And then, obviously, off-camera somebody’s going “No, get it back!” and they drag it back just a little bit as the guy’s going [gunshots]. Now that’s cheapness. And this is “Cheepnis” here.

 

 
It’s hard to believe Peter Graves was ever this young. He plays the wholesome scientist Dr. Paul Nelson, who plays by the rules and approves of the status quo, as against his best friend Dr. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef), the movie’s Promethean/Satanic figure, who wants to improve humanity by subjecting it to the rule of a superintelligent Venusian he talks to on his ham radio. To that end, he helps the space creature land in a cave in the West Valley, which it prefers to the doctors’ neighborhood, Beachwood Canyon (superintelligent, huh?). From its subterranean lair in Agoura Hills, the monster gives birth to space bats that enslave the powerful by biting their necks, and suddenly everyone’s a pod person. See what happens when you try to improve humanity? When will we ever learn to accept things exactly as they are?

Incidentally, Beverly Garland’s character, who Zappa remembers as “the girl who falls down and twists her ankle,” is the only badass in the movie; she tells the space creature “I hate your living guts!” and “I’ll see you in hell!” before she makes it eat lead. Also featured: the most clueless impersonation of a Mexican person in the history of celluloid.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson discuss the big ‘chicken salad’ scene from ‘Five Easy Pieces’
07.01.2015
10:41 am

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Food
Movies

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Five Easy Pieces is one of the great masterpieces of the New American Cinema that stretched from 1967 to 1979 or thereabouts. Directed by Bob Rafelson (whose sole directorial feature before that was the Monkees’ trippy triumph Head) and written by Carole Eastman, the movie is practically a filmic version of Yeats’ “The Second Coming,” a prescient gleaning of bad vibes in the society at large—in September 1970, when the movie came out, no other movie was within ten miles of its grasp of the unsettled feeling that the country was going through at that moment.

The movie has several striking set pieces that stick in the mind—Jack Nicholson’s Bobby Dupea playing piano on the back of a truck, a long hippie harangue by a hitchhiker played by Helena Kallianiotes, and so forth—the best-known scene in the movie, the one that has the highest likelihood of getting thrown into an Oscar montage, is unquestionably the diner scene in which Dupea, finding himself hassled by an irritated waitress who is intent on enforcing the eatery’s “no substitution” policy, violently sweeps his right arm across the table, upending several glasses and a few placemats.
 

Pupi’s Combination Bakery and Sidewalk Café
 
Criterion has just released on YouTube an interesting excerpt from the extra features of its new Blu-Ray edition of Five Easy Pieces, which was released yesterday, in which Nicholson and Rafelson discuss the origins of the scene. It turns out that Rafelson had been annoying waitresses all over the country with his (reasonable-sounding) substitution requests—indeed, still does—while Nicholson had actually pulled the table sweep at least once before:
 

We all hung out in a coffee shop called Pupi’s up on the Strip. We were actors, so we’d go in there, sit there all day, lookin’ at people, and I came like at the end of the afternoon, and I ordered up my coffee, but they’d been there three or four hours, and I’m sipping the coffee, and Mrs. Pupi came over, and she—she took my coffee! I mean I hadn’t even—I had just got there. “You people have to get out of here” and so forth. And I said, “Oh really?” and I went like this and I just cleared the table.

 
It seems that Carole Eastman witnessed this incident and incorporated it into her screenplay. The restaurant in question was Pupi’s Combination Bakery and Sidewalk Café, and Patrick McGilligan’s biography of Nicholson treats the incident as follows:
 

Pupi’s is where Jack flew into one of his storied rages one night, quarreling with a waitress and threatening to kick in a pastry cart. That is the incident Carole Eastman said she drew on when she wrote the famous “no substitutions” scene for Bobby Dupea. … Maybe Jack actually did kick in the pastry cart. Or maybe he didn’t. It is one of those legends. …

 
If nothing else, Nicholson’s account in this interview is a useful corrective for what McGilligan calls a “legend”—it wasn’t a waitress, it was Mrs. Pupi herself, and there’s no mention of a pastry cart.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Here’s the Manson Family porn movie you’ve been waiting for
07.01.2015
07:13 am

Topics:
Movies
Sex
Stupid or Evil?

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Students of Internet culture know all about “Rule 34.” Rule 34 is an adage which asserts that “if something exists, there is porn of it.” 

We can now add Charles Manson and his “family” to the list of things we didn’t expect to see given the porn treatment, but HERE WE ARE.

Adult Video News recently reported on the release of Manson Family XXX, an adult film directed by Will Ryder.
 

 
A TMZ report from last year reveals that Sharon Tate’s sister, Debra Tate, called Manson Family XXX “the lowest of lows” and vowed to sue the producers if they dared use Sharon’s name or likeness. As the film falls under the umbrella of “parody,” it is protected speech. Tasteless, but nevertheless protected.

Director Will Ryder stated, “The timing couldn’t be more perfect and we’ve had to put the brakes on this release for a while now due to certain legal challenges that I don’t want to talk about, but NBC is paving the way for us to have a summer blockbuster,” referring to NBC’s recently-premiered Aquarius, a “historical fiction” program based on the events surrounding the Manson Family.

Director, Ryder, claims his film explores “hippie love and intense sexual acts that took place at the Spahn Ranch near Los Angeles back in the late 1960s.”

“We actually shot much of our movie on that very land,” Ryder said.
 

 
Ryder added that his movie is a parody and “not sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with Charles Manson or any members of the Manson Family, the victims, the LAPD, Vincent Bugliosi or the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, NBC Universal or any distributors, actors, producers, writers, publishers, their estates or assignees.”

Best to cover your bases.

We have to admit, the scenes in the trailer seem like they could kinda be historically accurate. Group sex and heavy drug use were undoubtedly facts of “family life” on the Spahn Ranch.
 

 
Ryder seems to have at least convinced himself that his parody porn is a tasteful historical document of the Family:

I have to make myself clear that I am in no way glorifying murder and neither is NBC Television or any of the other mainstream production companies that are in production on Manson related projects.

We are telling parts of the Manson Family folklore just like the writers and producers of dozens of books, movies and television documentaries have told over the years. We’re just going to see them completely naked participating in all kinds of sexual exploration including wild animalistic group sex.

Here’s the pretty-much-safe-for-work trailer for “Manson Family XXX”:

H/T Adult Video News and Die-Screaming.com

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Mel Brooks demonstrates the 12 emotions that every actor must master
06.29.2015
02:25 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Media
Movies

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This remarkable gallery of Mel Brooks making the most of his entirely rubbery face appeared in a 1982 issue of Best magazine, a French publication. Here’s a typical cover of Best, also from 1982:
 

 

Anyway, here was the spread as it appeared in the magazine. As you can see, Brooks is giving his impression of 12 core emotions, including fear, joy, astonishment, and sadness. In each case Brooks has supplied a little comment on what the emotion means. If you click on this image, you will be able to see a larger version.
 

 
Here are better views of the panels, with inexpert translations that were enabled in large part by Google Translate.
 

Sadness: Debussy
Hatred: I do not practice it.

 

Shyness: The very big girls
Seduction: I cannot go to the discos without locking myself in the bathroom because the women are so beautiful.

 

Joy: A girl named Sheila, against my expectation, gave me her address.
Love: A good book in the hand of a beautiful naked girl when I’m in a hotel room that she paid for.

 

Provocation: A waiter spills soup on me, I leave without paying.
Ennui: All the Jews who borrow money from me under the pretext that am one.

 

Fear: When there are many people at the table but they bring me the check.
Stupidity: Believing the promises of politicians.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Meiko Kaji and the ass-kicking female gangs of the ‘Stray Cat Rock’ films, 1970-71
06.26.2015
07:10 am

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Movies

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Stray Cat Rock
 
During the early 1970s, Nikkatsu Studios out of Japan released a series of youth films that helped define an era. Very much of their time, the five motion pictures that make up the Stray Cat Rock cycle were inspired by the late ‘60s counterculture. Amidst a backdrop of psychedelic imagery, the characters represent Japan’s wayward youth, juvenile delinquents hell-bent on living life on their own terms, stealing, drugging, and fighting along the way.
 
psychedelic imagery
 
on the road
 
knife fight
 
Two different filmmakers were at the helm for the series. Yasuharu Hasebe directed Delinquent Girl Boss (1970), Sex Hunter (1970), and Machine Animal (1971), all of which focused on gangs—especially the ass-kicking, female sort—and organized crime. Toshiya Fujita was behind the camera for Wild Jumbo and Beat ‘71, films that, while still featuring unlawful and violent behavior, are really about youth enjoying life.
 
Machine Animal
The young women of ‘Machine Animal’; Meiko Kaji, center

The Stray Cat Rock cycle represent the breakout films of Meiko Kaji. She would achieve her greatest fame starring in Lady Snowblood (1973), a film which, decades later, proved to be a major influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003).
 
Beat '71
Meiko Kaji in ‘Beat ‘71’

On July 14th, Arrow Video will release the five Stray Cat Rock flicks as a limited edition boxed set. This will mark the North American debut of all the films in the Blu-ray format.

We’ve selected a clip for you, dear reader, one you’re sure to enjoy. It’s from the fourth installment, Sex Hunter, and features a female gang on a mission to rescue fellow members from a party gone wrong. Led by Meiko Kaji’s character, Mako, the young women show up armed with a surprise for the captors.
 
Sex HunterMeiko Kaji in ‘Sex Hunter’

Preorder the limited edition Stray Cat Rock Blu-ray/DVD boxed set via MVD or Amazon. Probably best to get yours sooner rather than later, if demand for the 2014 UK version is any indication, as its already out-of-print.
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
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