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Ugly Xmas sweaters inspired by ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Fargo’
10.17.2014
12:17 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
Christmas

Gremlins Christmas sweater by Mondo
 
The mad minds over at Mondo have really outdone themselves when it comes to the world of knitwear. In May they released “The MONDO 237 Collection” a selection of wearables and home decor that homaged The Shining.

Now that sweater weather has arrived again, Mondo has put out two new items; a sweater tribute to the 1984 film Gremlins and the 1996’s Fargo. Both will make great gifts for your nerdy sister or easily help you win you any ugly sweater contest in Anytown, USA. Each sweater retails for $85 bucks and pre-orders are going on now over at Mondo’s merch shop.
 
Gremlins Christmas sweater (back view) by Mondo
Gremlins sweater (back view)
 
Fargo Christmas sweater by Mondo
 
Fargo Christmas sweater (back view) by Mondo
Fargo sweater (back view)

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Finally, a Millennium Falcon made entirely of hash oil!
10.15.2014
08:38 am

Topics:
Drugs
Movies

Tags:
marijuana
Star Wars


 
The Instagram feed of invader_dab is a veritable gold mine for sculptures made purely of “dabs,” a.k.a. butane hash oil and “shatter,” a sort of crystalized sheet of same (thank you, urban dictionary). For reasons unknown to me, “dabbing” is also snonymous with errl.

Invader_dab has also posted pics of LEGO men, a rubber ducky, and a video game controller—all made out of cannabis concentrates. The life span of the sculptures is expected to be limited—if indeed they are still in existence—as eventually someone will want to get totally hooted on part of Han Solo’s rickety space freighter.
 

 

 

 
via Animal

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Seven cover versions of ‘Ghostbusters’ from the Dream Syndicate’s 1984 tour
10.15.2014
06:57 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Ghostbusters
Dream Syndicate


The cover of the 1985 Ghost Busters bootleg, recorded in Frankfurt
 
In the storm of publicity attending the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters, a much more important occasion has been overlooked: the 30th anniversary of the Dream Syndicate covering the movie’s theme song. In the summer and fall of 1984, as Ray Parker, Jr.‘s damnably infectious hit saturated the airwaves of the US and UK, the Dream Syndicate worked out a simplified arrangement of the song based on the “Gloria” chords. If you listen to all seven extant versions, “Ghostbusters” might start to sound completely different; it might even start to sound like something off Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes.

On tour behind their second album Medicine Show in the US and Europe, the Dream Syndicate sometimes played “Ghostbusters” toward the end of the set. The earliest version—at Jimmy’s in New Orleans, with Tommy Zvoncheck of BÖC on keys—is fairly straightforward, aside from the homage to “Werewolves of London.” By the time they reach D.C., though, having ditched (or been ditched by) the keyboard player, and having reduced “Ghostbusters” to its simplest components, they can do anything with it.

At the 9:30 Club, guitarists Wynn and Precoda quote “Rock And Roll Part 2” before shredding in the style of Television—it’s a shame the tape runs out. In Stockholm, Wynn sees an opportunity to stir up the audience, and works himself into a lather setting up “Ghostbusters”:

Okay, listen, we’re doing a song that’s a big hit in the USA, but I don’t know about here. So the question is, uh, how many of you know a song called ‘Ghostbusters’? Gimme some lights. You know it? You know ‘Ghostbusters’? Get up here and sing it with us. You gotta sing it. C’mere, c’mere! Get up! Whoever can say the word ‘Ghostbusters,’ come on up. Is it a hit here? You’re shy. Alright, who can say ‘Ghostbusters’?

And in Bochum, Germany, “Ghostbusters” becomes the basis for a long jam that turns into “Suzie Q.,” “Sister Ray,” and “L.A. Woman.” Frankfurt gets a slow take on the song that is actually kind of spooky.

One of my favorite things about these performances is that, during the call-and-response section of the song, one band member—bassist Mark Walton?—screams “Ghostbusters” with a little too much spirit and freedom, as if he is belting out the chorus of Discharge’s “Why” rather than lending his assent to the innocuous refrain of a dance song for children’s parties. His commitment to the song is deserving of praise. Bustin’ made him feel bad!

The “Ghostbusters” covers commence after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Things that should exist: Vintage trading cards based on ‘The Shining’
10.13.2014
08:08 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
The Shining

The Shining trading cards The Grady Twins
The Grady Twins #208
 
In the tradition of Portland, Oregon’s motto to “keep Portland weird,” here’s a bunch of faux-trading cards based on The Shining done up by PDX-based blog, Man is the Warmest Place to Hide. Rian Callahan, the blogger who runs this excellent 80’s horror loving site, says he created the cards simply because they didn’t exist and he thought that they should. Not only do I love the way that Callahan’s brain works, he’s also done an incredible job on the cards managing to show what looks like actual wear and tear on the edges.

Callahan says the series is an “ongoing project”, but sadly hasn’t done a new card since May of 2013. Hopefully he’s got a few more in the works because I really need to see a trading card version of Jack Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny!” scene and Danny Torrence screaming “REDRUM!” Don’t you agree? One NSFW image is included below.
 
Burnt Toast The Shining Trading Cards
Say Someone Burns Toast #224
 
Room 237 The Shining Trading Cards
Room 237 #237
 
The Sno-Cat The Shining Trading Cards
The Sno-Cat #242
 
Decomposed The Shining Trading Cards
Decomposed! #240
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘The Shining’ Cuckoo Clock

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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‘The Finishing Line’: The grisly British educational film that scared kids and shocked parents
10.13.2014
07:58 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Horror
Educational Films
British Transport Films

Blood on the tracks
 
In 1977, a short film was produced in Britain to discourage children from playing on the railway lines and vandalizing trains—both problems in England at the time. But the documentary-style production did more than that: it scared the knickers off of kids and riled up their parents. The subsequent controversy surrounding this educational short was so great that it was ultimately banned. Even today, watching it is a shocking experience not soon forgotten.

Commissioned by British Transport Films (BTF) to be shown in schools, The Finishing Line (1977) is perhaps the most notorious educational film ever produced. The 20 minute short is akin to a gory episode of The Twilight Zone, or a Rod Serling-directed fake documentary. The atmosphere is so odd and the child body count so high, that it’s a wonder anyone thought this was a good idea to show to kids (the ages of the target audience was eight through twelve). Put simply, it’s a child’s nightmare come to life on the screen.

The film was directed by John Krish, a BTF veteran; Krish’s The Elephant Will Never Forget (1953), which documented the end of London’s tram system, is still one of the organization’s most popular movies. In a 2013 interview with the magazine devoted to blood spilled on the screen, Fangoria, the 90-year-old Krish said he was surprised BTF even wanted to make The Finishing Line:

I came up with this idea of a sports day on the railway line, and I was absolutely sure they would turn it down so that I could get on with something else, and bugger me, they loved it. They loved it! The psychologist in the British Transport’s employ said, ‘This is exactly what we need!’

The Finishing Line begins in a festive atmosphere of children and adults gathering for what looks like a day of fun, but the mood quickly turns foreboding, when medical personal appear with preparations for the inevitable carnage that will take place.

In the film, various events are staged on or near the train tracks. A kind of dystopian reality is presented, where games of life and death are the norm. At times, it brings to mind the black comedy Death Race 2000 (1975), in which racecar drivers earn points by killing pedestrians, but there’s no laughing at The Finishing Line. Here, children lose their lives in games staged by adults, and there is little mourning for the dead. In this world, there is no such thing as “innocence.”

Krish’s documentary-style filmmaking creates a tone that is completely unsettling. Weirdly, the film is staged as a child’s fantasy (what kind of kid would fantasize about his classmates being killed?!), yet the realistic look of the film could still be misinterpreted by a young person as an event that actually happened. If nothing else, the shear amount of gore and dead bodies is enough to upset any pre-teen viewer.

Though the director claims it was unintentional, The Finishing Line contains elements of the horror genre. For the last event, Krish filmed the kids walking briskly through a dark tunnel, capturing it in such a way that the children approach the camera as shadowy figures. The scene resembles something straight out of future horror films The Brood (1979) and Children of the Corn (1984). There’s no music, just the sound of hundreds of shuffling footsteps coming closer and closer. It’s very creepy.
 
The Great Tunnel Walk
 
Krish wanted the final moments to resemble the carnage of a war zone after a battle, and the sight of adults and teenagers carrying a hundred or so dead kids—symbolically laying them across the tracks, and doing so with a complete lack of emotion—is truly startling.

“The cumulative effect is shocking, and must have been all the more so for the young audiences to whom the film was screened. Not surprisingly, it immediately generated controversy, even becoming the subject of a Nationwide (BBC, 1969-84) television debate following a television screening of the film. Some commentators and parents worried that children would be traumatized, others that it might actually encourage copycat vandalism. Many defended the film as an appropriately tough response to a serious problem. Nonetheless, in 1979 the film was withdrawn and replaced by the much softer Robbie.” (BFI Screenonline)

All told, Krish has had four of his pictures removed from circulation, telling Fangoria, “I’m the only documentary director who’s had four films banned! And I rejoice in that.” In 2003, he was honored with a retrospective, which included the first public airing of The Finishing Line in over two decades.
 
John Krish
John Krish

Though it may have been inappropriate for the audience it was created for, The Finishing Line stands as a fascinating and significant film from a director still getting his due. It’s a disturbing and strange little picture—it’s also unforgettable.

The short is available for purchase via British Transport Films Collection Vol.7 – The Age Of The Train, and as a bonus on the DVD of Captured, another of Krish’s banned works.

Here it is, The Finishing Line:
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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‘Graduation Day’: New Wave Slasher, 80s Style
10.10.2014
12:42 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
horror
Felony
Herb Freed

Poster Art for Graduation Day
 
Fewer sub-genres of horror are more maligned and critically sneered at than the Slasher Film. To the extent that in my academic past, I had not one but two teachers borderline horrified by my love for some of the films in this often grue-filled category. One of them actually said, “But Heather, you’re so sweet! How could you be into those movies?” If I hadn’t been the highly awkward and sheltered young person that I was back then, I could have responded with something about art exploring our darker impulses and tragic circumstances. Then, backed that up with historical references to the Grand Guignol theatre in France, some of Shakespeare’s bloodier works and any number of ancient Greek plays. Instead, I’m sure my response was something pithy like, “They’re cool.”
 
Targets for the Black Gloved Killer
 
As far as early 1980’s slashers go, Graduation Day is one cool movie. Made in 1981 by director Herb Freed, Graduation Day on the surface seems like your slasher-prototype. In a small California town,  the star runner on the high school track team, Laura (Ruth Ann Llorens), dies of natural causes immediately after winning the big race. A few months later, a black gloved killer start offing her teammates, even dramatically crossing their faces off with lipstick on a framed group photo. Naturally, there are red herrings. Could it be the Laura’s strange older sister, Anne (Patch Mackenzie)? Maybe the hard-bitten Coach Michaels (Christopher George) who leers at his female students a little too long? Even the nosy and possibly brain-damaged Officer MacGregor (Virgil Frye)? Or even Anne’s creepy, alcoholic stepfather who still hangs on to the grief of losing her younger sister?
 
There's a Killer on the Loose.
 
It could be any, all or none of the above and for a film like Graduation Day, I would hate to spoil which one it is. The film does play with certain conventions that were already veering towards cliché by ‘81, right down to an appearance by future epic scream queen Linnea Quigley as a cute and often topless stoner high school chick who seduces her teacher for a passing grade and attempts to have sex in the woods. (Granted, Linnea Quigley popping up is something that should really happen in every movie.) But scratch underneath the surface and you have a film with some fairly strong cynicism painted towards adults, brilliant quick-cut editing courtesy of Martin Jay Sadoff that brings to mind films like Fando y Lis and Easy Rider, a nifty twist-reveal ending and a killer appearance by the eternally underrated New Wave cult band Felony. (More on them in a minute.)
 
Linnea Quigley and friend getting stoned at the park.
 
The universe of Graduation Day is populated with teachers and authority figures that range from sleazy/borderline pedophile to abusive to bumbling but at least harmless. The latter includes a hilarious turn from the inimitable Michael Pataki as the ineffectual Principal clad in a polyester-pants nightmare. Pataki, who sadly passed away back in 2010, was one of those guys whose mere presence improved everything he was in, which ranged from voicing George Liquor in an episode of Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon to playing a homophobic biker in the gay motorcycle-gang film, The Pink Angels. Graduation Day is no exception and the film gets even better whenever he is on screen.
 
Best school dance band ever. Felony.
 
The aforementioned editing is incredibly creative and heightens the darkly strange tone of the film. Looking at Sadoff’s resume, it all makes sense when you realize he worked on the visually stunning 1971 underground erotic male tone poem, Pink Narcissus.

Another unlikely pairing that works greatly to the film’s advantage is the appearance by the band Felony. A Los Angeles based group whose ultra-charismatic lead singer, Jeffrey Scott Spry had previously played with Ron Asheton’s existent-for-a-hot-minute band The New Order back in the 70’s, Felony were and remain one of the quirkier rock bands that emerged out of the New Wave scene. Here, they perform their non-album song, “Gangster Rock,” looking like a bunch of gothed-out Mafiosos, their appearance is the absolute highlight in the whole film. It doesn’t matter that the song, which seems to be played in a continual loop, goes on for several minutes because it is so good that you barely notice. Even if you do, the odds of you minding are fairly slim. Felony would later on have a bit of a hit with their song “The Fanatic,” which was used on the soundtrack for the film, Valley Girl.
 

 
Graduation Day may not be a perfect film, with the last twenty minutes dragging a wee bit, but between the editing, a great cast, especially Pataki, George and Patch Mackenzie as the strong but subtly sensitive Anne and a willingness to explore a darker universe where kids are never truly safe, killer or no killer, it is a surprising treat of a movie. Previously available through Troma, it has been cleaned up quite nicely by the always reliable folks at Vinegar Syndrome, complete with multiple supplements to keep even the staunchest of horror film cineastes happy.
 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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Is banned art-film, ‘Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story,’ the weirdest music movie ever made?


 
Director Todd Haynes is well-known for his arty, fictionalized depictions of music iconography. Velvet Goldmine was a glam rock epic, with characters modeled after Bowie and Iggy, while I’m Not There features seven different actors portraying “fictional” facets of Bob Dylan’s personality or mystique. Both films blur reality with stylized interpretations, but neither takes even a fraction of the liberties Haynes exercised with his 1987 grad school student film, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.

The film opens up on Karen’s death, then flashes back to narrate her rise to fame. It’s a spasmodic format—switching between interviews with peripheral music industry people, random footage and fascinatingly elaborate mise-en-scène reenactments staged with Barbie dolls and melodramatic voice-overs. In reference to Karen’s anorexia, Haynes actually whittled down her Barbie effigy with a knife for later scenes, mimicking the progressive emaciation of her body. It’s a dark portrayal of a slow death, Karen and Barbie, both icons of American perfection, wasting away before our eyes.

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is technically illegal to exhibit, although since the advent of YouTube, it’s a bit of a moot point (the upload embedded below was posted in 2012). Karen’s brother Richard sued Haynes for copyright infringement. MOMA has a copy but even they aren’t allowed to screen it. Even if Haynes hadn’t used Carpenters songs, there’s a good chance Richard Carpenter would’ve found basis for a lawsuit. Haynes portrays Karen as the victim of her narcissistic and tyrannical family, even suggesting Richard was closeted.

It’s difficult not to be sympathetic to Richard Carpenter who probably viewed the film as mere ghoulish, exploitative sensationalism. It’s a strangely invasive and voyeuristic piece of art, and the argument could be made that it’s totally unethical in its ambiguous, semi-biographical fiction. It’s also totally hypnotic, with a compelling narrative and a pioneering experimentalism that makes it one of the great cult classics.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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This ridiculous Burt Reynolds paperback might mark when the 1970s truly began!
10.10.2014
10:34 am

Topics:
Books
Movies
Sex

Tags:
Burt Reynolds


 
One of the many mystifying aspects of the 1970s was the American public’s seemingly unquenchable appetite for Burt Reynolds. The same decade that is widely considered the strongest for uncompromising American cinema, a decade that produced The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Nashville.... was also the decade that multiple times bestowed on Reynolds the title of America’s top box office star.

It isn’t so much that Reynolds is bad, exactly. It’s just that often his fame and celebrity success often seemed to come in advance of the cinematic accomplishments. If you look at Reynolds’ finishes in the “Ten Money Making Stars Poll” annually conducted by the Quigley Publishing Company, you get this:

1973: 4
1974: 6
1975: 7
1976: 6
1977: 4
1978: 1
1979: 1
1980: 1
1981: 1
1982: 1
1983: 4
1984: 6

Number one box office star—five years in a row. That feat was duplicated only by Bing Crosby from 1944 to 1948. If you look at 1973, the first year Reynolds made the list, he finished ahead of (in order) Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, and Paul Newman. At that point his primary accomplishments as an actor were being second lead in Deliverance (an admittedly excellent movie in which he is also very good) and a brief appearance in Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask). In addition, of course, Reynolds had starred in The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. For the next few years, it didn’t really matter what movies Reynolds starred in—the American public wanted more.

One of the most attention-getting episodes in Reynolds’ career was his hunkalicious nude appearance in the April 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan. Clearly, women were lusting after the cocky (ahem) and hirsute thespian and former athlete, a fact that leads us into the true subject of this post.

In 1972 Signet Books released a remarkable paperback, authored by Burt Reynolds, with the title Hot Line: The Letters I Get ... And Write! It was less a portrayal of Reynolds’ life as a man of letters than a kind of palatable, not X-rated version of his Cosmo pictorial.

Reynolds was not a man without a sense of humor, as can be seen in his confident, silly pose on the hand chair. (Yes, that’s right—hand chair.) The letters—who can say where these letters came from?—all acknowledge Reynolds’ fame and sex appeal as immutable facts and engage in some heavy double entendres—what one writer terms “Swahili.” Here’s a typical sample:
 

Dear Burt,

MAN, DO YOU EVER TURN ME ON! You’re great. When I told my husband how I love you, he said, “Well, just pretend that I’m Burt Reyolds.” To which I replied, “Nobody in the world has got that much imagination!”

I have to tell you this funny thing that happened at the office where I work. We have this 60-yr-old supervisor (lady). When we showed her the miniature picture of you from Newsweek, she said, “Well, that doesn’t turn me on!” The rest of us girls decided it would take all the men of South America put together to turn her on.

But you’re just the hottest! If I knew my tropic zone number I would use it rather than my zip code. (Sin)—Cerely

FAY IN FARGO

Dear Fay:

Why don’t you introduce your husband to the 60-year-old supervisor? Forget about your tropic zone number and bone up on your erogenous zones.

 
The pictures of these luscious babes literally draping themselves on Reynolds’ torso are a kind of visual corollary to the libido that the sexual revolution had just unleashed. You can’t exactly imagine Clark Gable doing this pictorial…. this was the new sexual frankness that would come to define the decade. In fact, you could argue that this stupid book, or the Cosmo pictorial, was the first thing that really reeked of the Seventies the way we think of it today. That hairy chest just needs a coke spoon to complete the picture.

Here are a few shagadelic scans from the book—I’m confident you won’t soon forget them.
 

 

 
More Burt Reynolds than anyone in this century could ever possibly want, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Combat Shock’: The Troma film inspired by Suicide’s ‘Frankie Teardrop’
10.10.2014
08:03 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Suicide
Troma
Combat Shock


 
Frankie’s having a terrible day. His wife and infant son are starving. He’s run out of money and food. Now he’s going to be evicted. He’s got a gun. Let’s hear it for Frankie…

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the story of the 1984 Troma movie Combat Shock bears a striking resemblance to that of Suicide’s harrowing song “Frankie Teardrop.” The movie concerns the struggle of a young man named Frankie to feed his wife and child in blighted Staten Island, and if you’ve heard the song, I don’t have to tell you that it ends pretty badly for Frankie, his family, you, me, and the entire human race.

Frankie isn’t a factory worker in this version of the story, but an unemployed Vietnam vet whose days and nights are continually interrupted by flashbacks of ‘Nam and the torture he suffered at the hands of the VC. These, in turn, lead to flashbacks within flashbacks where, for purposes of exposition, Frankie relives arguments with his father, now estranged because a) Frankie has refused to carry on the family legacy of race hate and b) Dad disapproves of Mrs. Frankie. Suffering through the exposition of any movie is itself a form of torture.

However, these gestures toward the conventions of plot are mercifully few and brief, and Combat Shock soon makes with the laffs and gasps you crave from late-night horror fare. Much of the pleasure of watching Combat Shock comes from the genre detail writer, director, producer and editor Buddy Giovinazzo adds to extend Suicide’s story to feature length. For instance, because of Frankie’s exposure to Agent Orange, and because this is a Troma movie, the child looks like a cross between the Eraserhead baby and Edvard Munch’s screamer.

Until the awful climax, the movie takes its time presenting a loser’s-eye view of urban anomie. If you’ve ever lived in a place that had a TV set, you already know all these characters: Frankie’s slow descent into madness involves demoralizing encounters with small-time hoods (Frankie’s creditors), child prostitutes, junkie thieves and social workers (one of whom is missing a Ronco Veg-O-Matic). There are also one or two thrilling surprises, even for the very jaded.
 

 
And in case you somehow feel cheated of your full share of human misery after watching Combat Shock, here’s a kind of sequel to “Frankie Teardrop,” Alan Vega’s 12-minute bum-out “Viet Vet.”

 
Thanks to Greg Bummer of Azusa, CA!

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Death Trip: How would YOU like to be killed by Iggy Pop in Dario Argento’s new movie? Here’s how!
10.09.2014
10:34 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

Tags:
Iggy Pop
Dario Argento

Dario Argento The Sandman staring Iggy Pop
 
According to the master of Giallo himself, Dario Argento’s upcoming release will be a Christmas movie called The Sandman. The film is a tribute to Argento’s vast film career and will star everybody’s favorite punk, Iggy Pop. Based on a short story written in 1816 by German author E.T.A Hoffmann, Iggy is set to play a serial killer who takes pleasure in murdering his victims with a melon spoon, scoops their eyes out with with said melon spoon then, saves the unfortunate peepers as trophies.

Says Argento about the premise and inspiration for The Sandman:

On this Christmas a child witnesses his mother murdered by a serial killer. I am tired of these Christmas movies showing goodness. Beauty, snowflakes, sleds being pulled by reindeer. I’d rather have a Christmas movie where there is also violence, strength, and horror. And this is what I’m going to do. Christmas is coming and so is The Sandman!

 
Argento is using funding site Indie Go Go to raise $250,000 to make The Sandman. Below is the highly amusing teaser for the film that features Iggy who confesses that making this film with Argento would be a “dream come true” for him. A pretty tall order coming from a man who’s pretty much done it all.

And speaking of dreams that could come true, the reward for a $15,000 donation will not only get you a role in the film, it will also give you bragging rights to saying you’ve been killed killed by Iggy Pop while under the watchful direction of Dario Argento. Wow!
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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