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Teach your kids their ABC’s with evil: David Lynch’s horrific 1968 short, ‘The Alphabet’
07:00 am



Prior to my first viewing of Eraserhead, I was warned I’d be horrified and repulsed beyond all belief. Instead, I was stricken with maternal concern for the sickly “baby,” and afflicted with sympathetic anxiety for its suffering parents; as far as I was concerned, David Lynch had created an avant-garde family melodrama, albeit in the aesthetics of a particularly affecting dark and morbid surrealism. Knowing now that Lynch had a toddler during the making of the film lends some credibility to my interpretation. Lynch’s portrayal of “children” is obviously pretty damned disturbing, but I’d argue his more horrifying use of kiddies comes from his 1968 short, “The Alphabet.”

This partially animated experimental film was inspired by the young niece of Lynch’s wife Peggy—the child had been reciting the alphabet in her sleep during a nightmare. Lynch painted Peggy white and filmed her in a room painted black for optimum eerie contrast. In a stark and ghostly bed, she is tormented by a phantasmal alphabet in a series of erratic, disorienting shots before blood spatters sheets; the results are absolutely hellish. The distorted crying you hear in “The Alphabet” is Lynch’s baby daughter, so the film truly is a family affair.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton’s landmark experimental short, ‘Film’
08:06 am



Film by Samuel Beckett
Writer Samuel Beckett’s only screenplay was for the 1965 avant-garde silent short, Film. Beckett, who made his biggest splash with the play, Waiting for Godot, always had an interest in motion pictures, having first tried to break into the business in the 1930s when he asked director Sergei Eisenstein if he could be Eisenstein’s assistant (the director never got back to him). For Beckett’s short, he recruited former silent film writer/director/star Buster Keaton for what turned out to be a very odd slice of cinema.

Film stars Keaton as a man on the run—but from whom? Seemingly paranoid, he sees eyes everywhere as he attempts to make himself invisible to everyone and everything. Film isn’t as gloomy as it sounds, as there are moments of both humor and slapstick that recall the films of the silent era. The short is open to interpretation, but according to Beckett, it’s about perception—self-perception, specifically—drawing on the philosophy, “To be is to be perceived.” With Film, Beckett was trying to tell us that we can run all we want, but we can’t hide from ourselves.
Barney Rosset of Grove Press, who produced the short via Evergreen Film, wrote about the making of Film in the pages of Tin House:

The first person Beckett wanted for the only major role in Film was the Irish actor Jack McGowran. He was unavailable, as was Charlie Chaplin and also Zero Mostel, Alan’s choice. Later, Mostel did a marvelous job with Burgess Meredith in a TV production of Waiting for Godot that Schneider directed. Finally, Alan suggested Buster Keaton. Sam liked the idea, so Alan flew out to Hollywood to try and sign Buster up. There he found Buster living in extremely modern circumstances. On arrival he had to wait in a separate room while Keaton finished up an imaginary poker game with, among others, the legendary (but long-dead) Hollywood mogul Irving Thalberg. Keaton took the job. During an interview, Beckett told Kevin Brownlow (a Keaton scholar) that “Buster Keaton was inaccessible. He had a poker mind as well as a poker face… He had great endurance, he was very tough, and, yes, reliable. And when you saw that face at the end…  Ah. At last.”


Film has its share of fans, including director/film preservationist Ross Lipman. For the past seven years, he’s been simultaneously researching Film and putting together a documentary on the Beckett/Keaton work, resulting in Notfilm, a feature-length examination of a seventeen-minute short. Lipman also played a major role in the reconstruction of Film, as he located the original, long-lost prologue.

Here’s what Rosset wrote about the prologue in Tin House:

Originally, Film was meant to run nearly thirty minutes. Eight of those minutes would be one very long shot in which a number of actors would make their only appearance. The shot was based on Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, wherein Welles and his genius cameraman, Gregg Toland, achieved “deep focus.” Even when panning their camera, “deep focus” allowed objects from as close as a few feet to as far away as several hundred to be seen with equal clarity. Toland’s work was so important to Welles that he gave his cameraman equal billing to himself. Sad to say, our “deep focus” work in Film was unsuccessful. Despite the abundant expertise of our group, the extremely difficult shot was ruined by a stroboscopic effect that caused the images to jump around. Today it would probably be much easier to achieve the effects we wanted to capture. Technology is now on our side. Then, the problems proved too much for our group of very talented people so we went on without that shot. Beckett solved the problem of this incipient disaster by removing the scene from the script.

Now fully restored, Film will be included on the Blu-ray and DVD editions of Notfilm.  There’s just one issue, lack of funds, so Lipman has teamed up with Milestone Films Fandor for a Kickstarter campaign. $30,000 is needed to complete the project and you can help make it happen. Check out their Kickstarter page to see all the incentives.

Here’s the trailer for Notfilm:

Watch Beckett’s ‘Film’ after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
‘Riot on Sunset Strip’: Watch the Standells and Chocolate Watchband in this exploitation classic
06:11 am



The closing of Pandora’s Box, a tiny hippie club that used to stand on a concrete island in the middle of Crescent Heights, led to the Sunset Strip riots of 1966—the events that inspired Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” the Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard,” and this cheapo 1967 exploitation classic, Riot on Sunset Strip. Aside from giving new meaning to the phrase “Van Nuys slumber party,” this rockudrama shows you Pandora’s Box, which fell to the wrecking ball later in ‘67, and documents smoking performances by the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband of Nuggets fame. (There’s also footage of a delightful garage band called the Enemies, who sing the song “Jolene.”)

Admission $2.50: Pandora’s Box
For about the first two-thirds of the feature, both freaks and cops are sympathetically portrayed. The bad guys appear to be—in art as in life—the Sunset Strip merchants and business owners who used the police to harass longhairs. Wise as Solomon, patient as Job, the paternal Lieutenant Walt Lorimer (Aldo Ray) is the movie’s hero. He tries to broker a deal between the establishment and the freaks, whose number includes his estranged (because mom is a lush) daughter Andy (Mimsy Farmer). If a well-meaning liberal had written an episode of Dragnet, it would look something like this part of the movie. But at 47:55, a hippie cad doses Andy’s diet soda, and the application of a phasing effect to the electric blues on the soundtrack signals that all hell is about to break loose; though slow to build, the freakout that follows is epic, in the sense that it is very long. Now, the movie turns into a regular episode of Dragnet: five wasted youths, who have degenerated through regular acid use to the level of rutting curs, rape Andy while she trips. (If you’re thinking it’s like that scene in Touch of Evil, guess again.) Lt. Walt, who hasn’t seen his daughter in years, finds her naked at the scene of the crime, and suddenly the wealthy businessmen of the Sunset Strip don’t look like the bad guys anymore. This is the movie the copy on some of the posters promised:

See for yourself their Mod, mad world… without law or license, morals or manners, God or goal!


“Grass is fast, but acid’s like lightning, man”: Andy’s lysergic hair-don’t
So much for the story. But you don’t have to be a connoisseur of crap drama to thrill to the sights and sounds of the Chocolate Watchband playing “Don’t Need Your Lovin’” at 38:27, you just have to have a pulse. Let’s make the Strip scene!

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Man Whose Mind Exploded
11:37 am



The titular focus of Toby Amies’ extraordinary, sensitive and lyrical 2013 documentary, The Man Whose Mind Exploded is one Drako Zarharzar, who is, when we meet him, 76 years old, exotic, theatrical and utterly flamboyant, but due to brain injury, he cannot remember much of anything about his long and eventful life. He “knows” for instance, that he knew—and posed for—Salvador Dali and that he once had a career onstage in show business, but he doesn’t remember what happened yesterday. Or who someone is from one day to the next.

Drako lived “completely in the now,” his mind unable to create new memories, a condition called “anterograde amnesia.” In order to get around this obviously monumental handicap, he created a 3D collage—a sprawling, kaleidoscopic, pornographic hoarder’s mobile hanging from string around his tiny, unhygienic flat in Brighton—to compensate. When one entered Drako’s cave-like dwelling, they were in effect entering his autobiography and mind. Additionally he modified his own body with Memento-like tattoos, including his motto/philosophy “TRUST ABSOLUTE UNCONDITIONAL” which was how he saw—or at least coped with—the outside world as he encountered it.

The Man Whose Mind Exploded, beyond being a moving portrait of an extremely eccentric (and unwell, yet happy) character facing life against such daunting headwinds, brings up all kinds of philosophical notions about time, memory (or complete lack thereof) and gives the viewer a great sense of empathy for what it’s like to care for someone who literally cannot remember who you are each time they encounter you.

The film airs tonight on Film4 in the UK at 12.30 am (technically tomorrow morning) and is for sale at the iTunes store. The soundtrack, which is gorgeous, was done by Adam Peters (who I think is a musical genius). It’s really one of the very best films I’ve seen all year. I highly, highly recommend going out of your way to see The Man Whose Mind Exploded. Netflix needs to get on this one, stat.

I asked Toby Amies—who you might recall from MTV in the 90s—some questions via email.

Richard Metzger: How did you meet and befriend Drako?

Toby Amies: I first saw Drako in Kemptown in Brighton, he swished past me on his bike in a cape like a Surrealist superhero! Then I met him properly through a mutual friend David Bramwell when I made a film for his band Oddfellow’s Casino that starred Drako. When I saw inside Drako’s extraordinary and bizarre home, where every room was filled with a sprawling 3D autobiographical collage, it reminded me of the so-called “outsider” art I’d seen and studied in the US. Ever since visiting S.P. Dinsmoor’s “Garden of Eden” in Lucas, Kansas I’ve long been fascinated with what I call “automonuments” where people, usually men, build tributes to themselves, but there was something very sweet and intimate about Drako’s home work, as it was designed to remind him of his self.

Drako and Toby Amies
Yes, he’s a bit of an outsider interior decorator, isn’t he? How long before you started visiting him with a camera? Was he okay and cooperative about you making a film from the start?

I began filming him on the second day I met him. Initially it was disconcerting, because of his mantra “Trust Absolute Unconditional,” he would happily agree to anything that we asked him. And this made it obvious to me from the start that there was a tremendous responsibility associated in working with someone who had chosen to believe, as a result of brain damage, in a completely benevolent universe. The onus was on us to make sure we did right by him. There were times when Drako clearly tired of my questions, and in one instance this is recorded in the film. Because I’d made a radio documentary about him first, we contacted his immediate family and his closest friend to ensure that we had a consensus that it was okay by the people who cared most about him that we were recording and documenting him. Consequently this tight community of concerned individuals became part of the film, because one of the things it explores is what our responsibility is towards someone who may not be able to care for themselves, and from a filmic point of view they are exceptional, funny and kind people.

Although there is the Salvador Dali story that he keeps repeating, and the photo of him in the singing group, there’s precious little of Drako’s past life and career that’s touched upon in the film. Was this a deliberate decision on your part, to keep Drako, as it were tabula rasa and in his “eternal now” for the audience, or was it more a matter of him having precious few memories of his past that he could even tell you about?

In the early stage of the editing we found that much of the biographical material was interesting from a cultural and historical point of view but looked like pretty boring cinema, or, as I call it: “television.” What was much more compelling to me and my editor Jim Scott was the actuality, the experience of being in Drak’s never-ending now. Film is such a great medium for communicating the emotional immediacy of a situation and I wanted to make the audience feel what I felt in visiting that bizarre and wonderful environment, though no film, could come close to the olfactory experience of that place, it would defeat even the greatest practitioners of Odorama.  The biographical elements that remain are usually there to provide context to understand the comedy, battles and struggles that happen in the moment. Drako’s memory worked in such a way that whilst he had access to memories of events that happened before the accident that damaged his hippocampus, he remembered them in a way that seems more biographical than autobiographical. And also he would often tell the same story in exactly the same way no matter the circumstance. Often ending it with a very sweet “Did I tell you that already?”

He might have lost part of his memory but his manners were always immaculate and likewise his sense of humour was always present. That became the foundation of our friendship, our ability to make each other laugh, and what better version of “the now” is there than two people laughing with each other? Those were the moments I wanted to record and share, the ones where the greatest empathy is possible. In making the film I was very careful never to present Drako as an object except when we see others react to him on the street. It was important to keep the audience’s relationship with him subjective, even though to many folk he might look weird and behave in a bizarre manner, I wanted to make sure he was included in our definition of what it is to be human whilst expanding the possibilities of that definition a little. In other words, he’s one of us, but broadens the definition of “us” in the process.

The body modification and tattooing that he was into—is this something that happened before or after the events that stole his memory?

Even though when I knew him, Drako was in the process of externalising his memory to compensate for the loss of inside his mind, hence the film’s title, I think it’s fair to say that he had started the writing of his story on himself long before. Some of his tattoos were to remind him of things said to him in a coma, but most were there before, and he was a pioneer in piercing and extreme tattooing long before they became ubiquitous. His superb “ram fucking the moon” body tattoo was done by the properly legendary Alex Binnie. Even though I didn’t meet him then I am pretty sure Drako and I were first in the same room together at the Stainless Steel Ball, a get together organized by the Piercing Association of the UK in Brighton, waaaay back in the day.

Do you think that it was in fact brain damage that caused his perpetual sunny outlook on life?

Well, I can only offer an opinion, but following a conversation with our superb Neuropsychological Consultant Professor Martin Conway I wondered whether Drako had in a sense hypnotized himself to cope with the loss of so much of what he used to take for granted. As his friend Mim suggests in the film, perhaps the mantra, said to him in his second coma: “Trust Absolute Unconditional” had transformed from a question into an answer. This upset me for a bit, the idea that Drako had to hypnotise himself to happiness, but then I thought about the meaningless of my existence as I hurtle down the shrinking highway of my life towards inevitable death; and I thought don’t we all in some sense hypnotize ourselves into thinking that in spite of our grim fate there is still a point, of our own invention, to life, in spite of death? Also as his nephew Marc says, within his ability to do so, Drako lived how he wanted, and did exactly what he wanted to do, without harming anyone else in the process, which is a lifestyle that would make most folk happy I reckon.

When you pointedly ask him if he remembers you, he says that he doesn’t, that “you’re new every time.” Did you have to establish who you were each time you visited him or did he kind of recall you after a while? Like when his sister arrives after some time and starts speaking French to him, he seems to immediately know who is speaking and responds enthusiastically (without seeing her, she’s on the intercom outside of his flat)

There was a good lesson there for me—even though I knew Drako had a unique mind and had suffered serious brain trauma, who the fuck was I to decide how consistent his memory loss should be? I had the sense that he had a rough idea of who I was after several visits and was comforted to see my name appear on notes in the house, but then there were moments even late in the relationship where I was clearly someone new. I dealt with that by thinking that pretty much any opportunity that teaches you how little you matter in a wider context than your own head is helpful, and by following Drako’s lead and trying to be as present as possible in the moment. That made the filming intense, difficult, and exciting, a kind of improvisational theatre that put my background as a photographer and TV presenter to effective use. Drako still had access to memories from before his accident, but could not record ones effectively afterwards. He described it in terms of a magnetic tape machine, the playback head works, but the record doesn’t. So Anne existed for him but the time they spent together didn’t so much. Perhaps that ended up being harder for the people who wanted him to remember the time they had together, their shared narrative, than for Drako himself. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I made the film, to preserve and share my part of that extraordinary story.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Max mash-up!
12:37 pm



The cast from It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Members of the primary cast from 1963’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
This mashup of the classic 1963 madcap comedy, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World (directed by Stanley Kramer), and 2015 mega-blockbuster, Mad Max: Fury Road, is pretty much the best thing you will see all day, if not all week.
Buddy Hackett, Jim Backus and Mickey Rooney from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Buddy Hackett, Jim Backus, and Mickey Rooney from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
The brainchild of Ezequiel Lopez, the short clip brilliantly knits together scenes from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, then adds the opening narrative from Fury Road. It’s quite surreal how Lopez was able to blend both of the films together so expertly—and I can’t get enough of it.

If you’ve never seen Kramer’s star-studded lunatic tale of road-rage gone hilariously wrong, this clip will send you off to change that. Without giving too much away, the film stars the great Spencer Tracy as Captain T.G. Culpepper who suddenly finds himself mixed up in a wild car chase to find $350,000 (an awful lot of money back in 1963). Tracy is joined by pretty much everyone that ever did anything funny back in the day like Jonathan Winters (as a character you will never forget) to Sid Caesar, Ethel Merman, Terry-Thomas, Buddy Hackett and a veritable cavalcade of other Hollywood hambones. There are also loads of cameos from cinematic heroes such as Jerry Lewis and the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Joe “Curly Joe” DeRita).

It’s truly one of the greatest comedies of all time, which Mr. Lopez made me appreciate all the more today.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Thor: The bizarre rise and fall of a bodybuilding hair metal god
06:46 am



Thor, the metal god—not to be confused with the successful Marvel franchise character.
The legendary leader of the heavy metal band Thor, Jon Mikl Thor, has had a documentary made about his attempted comeback—a comeback which, apparently, almost cost him his life. The film I Am Thor, directed by Ryan Wise (of Prom Queen fame) is scheduled for theatrical release in the late fall. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Thor (and why a comeback attempt could have proved hazardous to his health), some background information may be in order. Jon Mikl Thor was a bodybuilding champion who won over 40 titles around the world—but of course his main love and passion was rock and roll.

Rock and Motherfucking Roll
Jon Mikl Thor first began touring as singer in the band Thor in 1973. As a front man, he would perform incredible feats of strength during gigs. He would blow hot water bottles up until they exploded. He would bend iron bars with his teeth and have concrete blocks smashed on his chest with a sledgehammer. He achieved little success until, believe it or not, he was discovered by Merv Griffin (yes, THAT Merv Griffin).

Here’s Thor appearing on the Merv Griffin show in 1976, performing a rather embarrasing version of Sweet’s hit song “Action,” doing a striptease, and blowing up a hot water bottle. Note the priceless reactions of audience members:

Soon after the Merv griffin appearance, his career took off and he recorded the album Keep The Dogs Away which went Gold shortly after its release.

Thor was performing at a time when KISS and Alice Cooper were all the rage. Theatrical rock, with its special effects and showmanship, seemed like the perfect fit for his act. But alas, the thing that never quite connected was the music. Thor’s musical backing wasn’t what most would call “good.” It was certainly no Alice Cooper or KISS by comparison. Despite Thor very much looking the part, his music didn’t really find an audience outside of the freakshow attraction of the amazing feats of onstage strength.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Just like in ‘The Shining’: Try the Jack Torrance novel generator, because all work and no play…
12:34 pm



If you’ve seen Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining—and who hasn’t?—then you certainly remember the deliciously creepy moment when Shelley Duvall’s Wendy Torrance finally takes a peek at the manuscript her husband Jack has been working on for months—only to find that it’s just hundreds of pages of the phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It’s an important scene because it establishes Jack as “starkers,” as the British say, once and for all, a dead-ender case with no hope for rescue, who incidentally wants to take an axe to his wife and son.

Now, the online application Psychotic Writer allows you to generate your own personal Jack Torrance looney-tunes novel. Press the button and off it goes! I went to the trouble of timing it. In 60 seconds it generated 12 full “chapters” of perfect, demented Torrance gobbledygook. When you hit “stop” you can then see the full PDF of the novel as it stands. You also have the option of creating a single chapter as a PDF.

Here’s some sample output:

Try it yourself!

via Kill Screen

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vintage UK trading cards based on classic Hammer horror films
06:25 am



Topps Shock Theater card #30 Dracula AD (1976 UK version)
Topps Shock Theater trading card #30 Dracula A.D. (UK version 1976)
Back in 1976 trading card company Topps produced a collection of cards called “Shock Theater” that were based on the films of the legendary British cult film company, Hammer.

Part of Hammer’s long-running appeal was due to its use of gore and sex, a tactic they used in excess to try to stay relevant during the 70’s. So it’s more than a little confusing as to why they marketed the cards to kids (the packs came with that nasty, cardboard flavored pink gum we all spit out after chomping on it for 30 seconds). For example, the Karnstein Trilogy (1970 and 1971), featured three films, The Vampire Lovers starring Ingrid PItt, Lust for a Vampire, and Twins of Evil, that contained explicit sex scenes and lesbianism that had not yet been seen much in English-speaking films. The storyline for 1970’s Taste the Blood of Dracula (one of many Hammer/Dracula films starring the late Christopher Lee), has three swingers turning to black magic to help boost their dwindling libidos.

As far as gross-outs are concerned, 1970’s Scars of Dracula (Hammers very first Dracula movie given an R rating), has a scene that shows dismembered corpses lying in a church with blood-stained walls. To say nothing of the part when a giant bat regurgitates blood all over Dracula’s ashes. And if you’ve never seen 1972’s Vampire Circus, I’ll just say this. There’s a woman dancing around naked, covered in tiger-looking body paint, and loads of sex and blood. In other words, it’s an excellent film.
Shock Theater #34 Taste the Blood of Dracula trading card
Topps Shock Theater trading card #34 Taste the Blood of Dracula (UK version, 1976)
Shock Theater Hammer trading card #36 Dracula A.D.
Topps Shock Theater Hammer trading card #36 Dracula A.D. (UK version, 1976)
Topps put out two sets of Hammer-themed cards, one in the U.S. in 1975, and a second, nearly identical set in the UK in 1976. The cards are amusingly captioned, a feature that perhaps helped tone down the image on the cards. The back of the cards also had jokes on them as well as a brief description of the scene from the film it depicted. In mint condition, both sets of cards can go for more than two-thousand dollars. Expertly preserved proofs can sell for over $400 apiece. But, if you dig this kind of thing, cards in various conditions can easily be found for less than $20 bucks on eBay.
Hammer Shock Theater trading card #35 Dracula A.D. (UK version, 1976)
Topps Shock Theater Hammer trading card #35 Dracula A.D. (UK version 1976)
Topps Shock Theater trading card #49 The Satanic Rites of Dracula (UK version, 1976)
Topps Shock Theater trading card #49 The Satanic Rites of Dracula (UK version, 1976)
More Hammer horror fun, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Future Shock’: Orson Welles narrates gloriously schlocky documentary on techno-pessimism, 1972
11:59 am



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
11:11 am



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
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