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They bar-b-qued E.T.!!!
04.14.2016
09:10 am

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Activism
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Maybe it’s because I cried my eyes out as a kid at the end of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, that I felt a twinge of indignation when I saw that a bunch of Swedes had bar-b-qued E.T.

How dare they!?

So, of course I know that E.T. isn’t real even though he lives in all of our hearts, and neither is this E.T. effigy which was part of a project called Exploring the Animal Turn Symposium at the Pufendorf Institute in Lund, Sweden. The purpose of the project was to “provoke discussions and questions on what is at stake in our practices of eating.”

Some of those questions asked by symposium, according to their statement:

What would it feel like to eat an alien? How can we dearly love and grieve some non-human species while accepting the industrialised slaughter of others? How can we cater to the needs of eaters who seek a surrogate for the sacrificial and ritual aspects of convivial, meat-based, barbecues? What are our ethical responsibilities towards fictional organisms?

My question is “who in 2016 can even eat this thing?” Why do I ask?  THEY MADE IT OUT OF GLUTEN.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Captain Beefheart meets David Lynch in ‘Some YoYo Stuff’
04.13.2016
04:12 pm

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Art
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Music

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In the early 1990s Anton Corbijn made a peculiar short movie called “Some YoYo Stuff” featuring Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart. The movie is in black-and-white and lasts a little under 13 minutes. Most of the movie is the Captain’s face in front of a large screen on which words and images appear. The Captain addresses the topics projected onto the screen in his elliptical way. David Lynch even gets into the act.

Corbijn has been taking pictures of prominent musicians since the mid-1970s, when he worked for NME. He is noted for luminous b/w pictures of rock icons—his work appears on the cover of U2’s The Joshua Tree; as it happens, it appears that “Some YoYo Stuff” was likewise shot in Joshua Tree National Park.
 

 
Here’s Corbijn in the pages of World Art in 1998 describing the movie:
 

It was a simple affair to make the film: His mother sue opens the movie with the photograph that I took when Don and I first met, saying: “This is Don, my son,” and, apart from David Lynch asking him a few questions via projected film, it is all Don’s thoughts on various matters. Some funny, some serious, but all sharp, poetic and beautiful. You really want to hear every single word he says—whether it’s about paint, Miles Davis, an ear (“nice sculpture”) or the desert. 

 
My colleague Marc Campbell eloquently described the difficulty of capturing the essence of Beefheart on film several years ago:
 

His writing and occasional communiques were like those of a modernist monk of the left hand school. He spoke in an ancient craggy voice that sounded like hollow bones being rubbed together. Corbijn’s film communicates the desert father aspect of Beefheart’s existence. There’s an otherworldliness about the whole thing that seems as though it is being beamed in from another planet.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Watch John Waters’ favorite ‘failed art film’: The INSANE drunken mess that is ‘Boom!’
04.13.2016
02:07 pm

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As all true John Waters fanatics know, the Pope of Trash’s favorite film of all time is Boom! director Joseph Losey’s utterly preposterous adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. Waters considers Boom! a bit of a litmus test: He’ll show it to friends and if someone doesn’t like it, he won’t talk to them anymore. Seems a bit much, but he’s John Waters and I respect that!  Waters described the film to Robert K. Elder in his book The Best Film You’ve Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love as “beyond bad. It’s the other side of camp. It’s beautiful, atrocious, and it’s perfect. It’s a perfect movie, really, and I never tire of it.” You’ll notice that he doesn’t say that it’s good. And he’s right, it is beyond bad. Wow. Boom! is in a category by itself, even among films starring Liz and Dick when they were shitfaced, okay?
 

 
Boom! reveals itself as a cinematic atrocity almost from the film’s very first frames—not that this is a bad thing, mind you.  A clearly drunk—and I do mean clearly drunk, okay?—Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton star, respectively, as Sissy Goforth, the richest woman in the world (“married to five industrial kings!”), and Chris Flanders, a penniless poet who has the uncanny knack for showing up just when some rich lady is about to kick the bucket, ready to relieve them of their personal possessions. We know this because Flanders’ nickname is “The Angel of Death.”

When we meet her, La Taylor is seen swanning about her private island wearing insanely elaborate Karl Lagerfeld clothes and literally hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Bulgari jewels. She is attended to by fawning servants (including a surly dwarf!) as she dictates her memoirs and asks for constant “injections” for her pain (as if she could feel any due to all the booze).
 

 
Burton arrives on her island and is nearly ripped apart by a pack of guard dogs. She asks him to stay and offers him a change of clothes, which includes a Samurai sword which he sports—inexplicably—for much of the film! Why not? They spend much of their screen time engaged in (obviously) drunken screaming matches. It’s AWESOME!

At one point, Noel Coward (as “The Witch of Capri”) shows up for a dinner party of “boiled sea monster”—carried on the shoulders of one of her servants and shouting “HOO HOO SISSY!” as he arrives—and gives her all the hot gossip on Burton/Flanders, who he thinks is a gigolo and warns her of his “angel of death” reputation. (It’s worth noting that the role of the “the Witch of Capri” was originally offered to Katherine Hepburn who was insulted and turned it down.)
 

 
Director Losey admitted that all the principals on Boom!—including himself—were shitfaced drunk for the entire filming. Burton later fessed up that there were several films he made in the 60s that he literally had no memory whatsoever of making. Odds are strong that Boom! is one of them!

John Waters used to tour with Boom! screening the sole existing print of the film available during his lectures. He told Vice:

[Tennessee Williams] said it was the best film ever made. Which to this day only he and I can agree on. He’s right though. The play was called The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, but that was too long to put on the marquee so they called the film Boom!, which is the sound of a bomb going off—ironic, considering how hard it bombed.

It’s so awful it’s perfect. My favorite bit is when Elizabeth Taylor pukes into a handkerchief, looks down and there’s blood, and she says, “Ah! A paper rose!” The script is ridiculous. Come on, it’s about the richest woman in the world, called “Sissy Goforth,” and the Angel of Death. Maybe everyone does need an angel of death who comes to them when they die and so what if your angel of death steals something from you.

The point is, it’s a staggering movie and it’s worth seeing it with a live audience because you just don’t know how to react at the beginning. You think, What is the tone of this? That’s the thing that is so bizarre. Apparently Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were drunk for the whole time they were filming it. Elizabeth Taylor kept wanting to buy the set and it had a roof and they had to tell her it wasn’t real. She wanted to live there and they had to say, “We’re making a movie! This isn’t a real house!”

I remember I met Elizabeth Taylor and the first thing I said is, “I loved Boom!” and she got real mad and shouted, “That’s a terrible movie!” And I said “It isn’t! I love that movie! I tour with it at festivals!” Then she realized I was serious. Because it is a great movie. I feel like if you don’t agree with that I hate you. If you don’t like Boom! I could never be your friend. Right now I live by the water and every time I see a wave hit a rock I shout, “Boom!” like Richard Burton.

Watch ‘Boom!’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Creepy portraits based on David Cronenberg’s ‘Scanners’
04.13.2016
01:38 pm

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“I must remind you that the scanning experience is usually a painful one, sometimes resulting in nosebleeds, earaches, stomach cramps, nausea, sometimes other symptoms of a similar nature.”

Those words, from David Cronenberg’s anomic 1981 classic Scanners, are spoken by the unnamed scanner, played by Louis Del Grande, who has no idea that he is about to undergo a fate far worse than a mere earache.

In 2014 the Criterion Collection came out with a new DVD edition of Cronenberg’s twitchy, sweaty masterpiece of ESP horror. The DVD packaging featured some memorable cover art by Connor Willumsen, but casual observers may not have twigged just how many excellent and evocative artworks Willumsen concocted for the project.

Fortunately, Willumsen’s website features a Scanners section with all of the art he created for Criterion, including preliminary sketches. Here’s a sample, but go to his website to check out the full array of images.

Click on any image for a larger view.
 

 

 
More ‘Scanners’ portraits after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Derek Jarman: The iconoclast filmmaker as painter
04.13.2016
10:02 am

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Art
Heroes
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Queer

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Derek Jarman became a filmmaker by accident. He was originally a painter, an artist who started making home movies with friends at his Bankside home in London. These Super-8 films slowly evolved into movies and one of the most exciting, original and provocative filmmakers since Ken Russell arrived. During a seventeen-year career Jarman made eleven feature films—from the Latin and sand romp Sebastiane through his punk movie Jubilee (1978) to Caravaggio (1986) and the final one color movie Blue. During all of this time, the artist, director, writer, gardener and diarist painted.

Jarman was a student the Slade School of Art in the 1960s where he was taught—like everyone else—to be an “individual.” Jarman felt he was already managing that quite well in that department without being told how. He left art school and worked as a set designer with Ken Russell—most spectacularly on The Devils in 1971 and then Savage Messiah in 1973. His painting career splits into different sections; his early work reflected his interest in landscape, form and color—something which would recur in his films—his later work reflecting his more personal experience. However, as he began making films Jarman shifted from using paint to creating pictures with celluloid.

His return to painting came after his HIV diagnosis in 1986, when he produced a series of Black Paintings—collages made from objects found on the beach at his cottage in Dungeness. He placed these objects on an oily black background—similar to the contrasting black of the tableaux he used in Caravaggio the same year.

As his condition worsened, Jarman painted larger, more abstract canvases. He given a room to paint in where he splashed the canvas with thick bright paints and scrolling words and statements. His influence came from his life, his own films and the work of Jackson Pollock. The brightness and color of the paintings were a defiance in the face of illness.
 
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‘Landscape with Marble Mountain’ (1967).
 
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‘Landscape with a Blue Pool’ (1967).
 
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‘Avesbury’ III (1973).
 
More of Derek Jarman’s paintings after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The biggest thing since World War III’: Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, and Iggy Pop talk ‘Rock and Rule’
04.12.2016
12:25 pm

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Animation
Movies
Music

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The 1983 animated rock and roll movie Rock and Rule was a failure at the box office but found its audience on cable TV a couple years later. Produced by the Canadian animation studio Nelvana, the movie is a sci-fi rock and roll allegory between good and evil, pitting a rock band of cute mutants called the Drats against an ageing, Mephistophelian rock star/sorcerer named Mok who is intent on securing a special voice capable of unleashing a powerful demon from another dimension who will make Mok immortal. Rock and Rule had a similar look and feel to Heavy Metal, which came out in 1981.

Heavy Metal, true to its title, used music by Blue Öyster Cult, Journey, Grand Funk Railroad, Nazareth, Sammy Hagar, and, er, Donald Fagen, and similarly, Rock and Rule benefited from the contributions of Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire as well as Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and Chris Stein and Debbie Harry of Blondie.

Nelvana released a 25-minute promo documentary about the making of the movie.  “Making of” documentaries of animated movies always have the potential to be dreadfully dull (due to the exacting and painstaking process involved), but in this case, since the subject matter of the movie is so much about rock and roll itself, it’s only appropriate to feature a lot of interviews with the musicians, which is the strategy adopted here.

Interestingly, both Maurice White and Chris Stein separately offer the perspective that they like writing music for movies because the overall artistic direction is already decided. Producer Michael Hirsh notes that Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were good choices as musical contributors because it was so exceedingly likely that they would give so much of themselves to the project.

Lou Reed, composer and singer of “My Name Is Mok,” had this to say about the movie’s heavy:
 

I felt very positive towards Mok because there are many things to work with, with him, I could identfy with him up to a point, but he was—the way he looked, the things he said, the kind of things he believed in, there were a lot of ways I could relate to that, and even though I don’t necessarily think that way I could really bite into his character and become that way with him, you know, and make him live and breathe like a real person.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Danger: Diabolik!’ Ennio Morricone Spy-Fi classic covered by Mike Patton
04.11.2016
02:45 pm

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Mario Bava‘s campy 1968 action flick Danger: Diabolik—which stars John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell as a couple of stylish, leather-clad jewel thieves—exists in the exact part of the Venn diagram where James Bond and Barbarella meet. The film was produced by Dino De Laurentiis, who also produced Barbarella that same year and John Phillip Law, of course, famously played Pygar the blind angel in the sexy sci fi classic. Sicilian-born heavy Adolfo Celi—who played “Valmont” the crime boss and Diabolik’s arch enemy—was best known for his portrayal of eyepatch-wearing SPECTRE badguy “Emilio Largo” in Thunderball.
 

 
Law’s suave Diabolik—a “master sports car racer, master skin diver, master lover” created by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962—can be seen as a sort of antihero version of James Bond and the insanely gorgeous Marisa Mell—who was the inspiration for the comic book Vampirella character—is the equal of any of the Bond girls in the pulchritude department. Roman Coppola’s 2001 film CQ deals with the making of a Danger: Diabolik meets Barbarella-style romp, entitled “Codename: Dragonfly,” a cinematic homage that would be obvious to any fan of the Mario Bava cult film.
 

 
Danger: Diabolik‘s Ennio Morricone-composed soundtrack contains one of the greatest “Spy Fi” songs of that decade, the title theme, “Deep Down.” Obviously this is the maestro’s first run at a James Bond theme, or at least a pastiche of one. With a languid, string-bending Duane Eddy-ish guitar line that sounds like an underwater whale call and the powerful lungs of Christy—a pretty decent stand-in for the likes of, say, Shirley Bassey—it’s memorable, even awe-inspiring...

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
RECOMMENDATION: NO: Read the brutal rejection letter for the first draft of ‘Boogie Nights’
04.11.2016
12:39 pm

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I am a staunch appreciator of Boogie Nights. It would definitely be on my shortlist for my list of best movies of the 1990s. I liked it the first time I saw it as a new movie, but to be honest the subject matter squicked me out a little bit, and it took a few more viewings for me to appreciate what a rich, funny, resonant, accomplished piece of work it is.

Some Paul Thomas Anderson fans might opt for Magnolia or There Will Be Blood or The Master as Anderson’s best movie, but to me that’s all poppycock—the right answer is clearly Boogie Nights in my mind. It’s one of those movies that every time I stumble upon it on TV, I’m going to watch it to the end. I love everything about it.
 

Paul Thomas Anderson and some of his Boogie Nights cast members
 
Released in October of 1997, the movie was eventually distributed by New Line and had a production budget of $15 million. Anderson, however, had considerable difficulty getting the project off the ground; three years earlier, in October of 1994, at the age of 24, Anderson submitted a draft of the script to Twentieth Century Fox, which rejected it. Anderson put the project on the back burner and concentrated on finishing what would prove to be his debut, Hard Eight, which first saw audiences at the 1996 Cannes film festival.

Here’s Fox’s assessment of the various parts of the script:
 

RECOMMENDATION:  NO
CONCEPT: POOR
CHARACTERIZATION: FAIR
DIALOGUE: FAIR
STORYLINE: POOR

 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Mutilator: Long-lost 80s slasher rediscovered, returns bloodier than ever
04.08.2016
10:08 am

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“By sword, by pick, by axe, bye bye,” reads the tagline from The Mutilator‘s poster art which was ubiquitous in every mom-and-pop video store’s horror section in the mid-1980s. Anyone who grew up as a horror fan in the VHS era who hadn’t seen the bloody 1985 gorefest, had at least surely seen the video box artwork. You couldn’t really miss the menacing gaffe that threatens to disembowel four teenagers hanging by hooks just above that title that leaves absolutely no doubt as to the film’s content: this is a movie about a guy that mutilates people. If you’ve seen the unrated version (the film was originally released in “R” and “unrated” versions on VHS and betamax), you know the film delivers the goods.

As a teenage Fangoria-subscribing gore-hound, The Mutilator was one of my favorites of the slasher genre. As a low-budget film, it’s “got a lot of heart.” In what initially seems like a dragging ramp-up, screen-time is actually taken to develop likable characters with unique personalities—not simply establish machete fodder. Once we get to know and care about those characters, the killer wastes no time in dispatching with them in various grisly ways. One particular scene, in fact, is so over-the-top that I’m left wondering to this day how they were able to get away with it in 1985. Then again, it might be even more difficult to get away with something like it in today’s current culture of outrage. This scene, involving a gaffe and a woman’s hoo-ha, remains the most talked-about and notorious scene in The Mutilator. It’s a rough watch, not for the faint-of-heart.
 

Miss, you don’t want to know what comes next.
 
The Mutilator was shot in coastal North Carolina by Buddy Cooper, a first-time director with a cobbled-together crew of locals and American University film students. Though some reviews have described the production as “amateurish,” I’ve always felt that there was a vibe to this film indicating that everyone involved had a blast with what they were doing. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s always stuck with me: the actors’ performances, while not always perfect, are nonetheless engaging and fun. The special effects created by make-up wizard Mark Shostrom (later of From Beyond, Evil Dead 2, A Nightmare of Elm Street 3) elevate The Mutilator to a higher tier of splatterdom than your typical ‘80s Halloween and Friday the 13th clones. The murder pieces are original and the ending is totally nuts.

An interview with Buddy Cooper, director of ‘The Mutilator,’ after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Found: Lost behind-the-scenes Polaroids from ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’
04.06.2016
09:19 am

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Imagine traveling home one night and finding a set of behind-the-scenes photos from one of your favorite shows. Well, something like that did happen to Brady Marter, who later uploaded his prized find onto the Collector’s Weekly site:

Founds these on the platform of the C train in TriBeCa in 2011. They are photos of Tim Curry and the cast of Rocky Horror during the making of the film. Some have writing on the back and Frankenfurter kissed the back of one.

Obviously, these beauties from The Rocky Horror Show weren’t just deliberately discarded or tossed out with the garbage, but were accidentally dropped by collector Larry Viezel who posted on the site:

These were part of a collection I bought from someone in New Mexico. These were used in making The Rocky Horror Scrapbook. I had it shipped to my office (I worked on the corner of Hudson and Canal) and was taking them home. A bunch fell out of my bag and I picked them up. When I got home I realized I missed one. Looks like I missed more than one! If it’s any proof, I’d be happy to show you the rest of the collection.

Thankfully, the story does have a happy ending. Larry had his lost photos returned shortly after they appeared on Collector’s Weekly, as he exclusively tells Dangerous Minds:

The guy that found them was working just a few blocks away from where I was working in Manhattan at the time on Hudson Street when I lost them. But he had since moved to the south. He was very gracious and returned them. I was incredibly grateful. He asked if he could keep one of them - the photo of the model of the church. I was happy to oblige. The photos are now back with the rest of my collection. I am very happy to have them back!

Here are those lost and found Polaroids from Larry’s collection featuring Tim Curry trying on his costume for Dr. Frankenfurter, some sets and other cast members (Richard O’Brien) from the production of The Rocky Horror Show.
 
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More, plus a behind-the scenes documentary on ‘Rocky Horror’ from 1975, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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