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‘ABCs of Death 2’: Gory, hilarious trailer with 26 ways to die, a different director for each letter
12:59 pm


Julian Barratt
Drafthouse Films

I’m not a big fan of the whole “gore” genre. Although I do harbor a fondness for Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs and The Wizard of Gore—and hey, I even saw Joel M. Reed’s hilariously gruesome Bloodsucking Freaks in an old school Times Square grindhouse (shudder)—generally speaking, modern “torture porn” movies are not my idea of a thick shake (if you’ll pardon my obscure Bloodsucking Freaks reference). Those films are goofy, camp fun, but I don’t feel like I’m missing anything having not partaken of the Saw films…

I write this by way of telling you that I have no idea what possessed me to click on the publicist’s email this morning for the latest release from the mighty Drafthouse Films, the anthology film ABCs of Death 2. I’d have thought there was nothing there for me, but I watched it, I laughed out loud and now I cannot wait to see this sucker…

Featuring 26 directors, each exploring the theme of death a letter at a time, including The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt, Juan of the Dead director Alejandro Brugués, Rodney Ascher director of Room 237, animator Bill Plympton , Vincenzo Natali (Cube), twin sister horror auteurs Jen and Sylvia Soska (Dead Hooker In A Trunk), Lancelot Imasuen (star of the Nollywood Babylon doc) and many others.

ABCs of Death 2 will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on opening night, September 18, in Austin, TX.  The film will be available on VOD on October 2 and in theaters on October 31.

This is seriously NSFW unless you work at a morgue… and seriously funny, too.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Russian dash-cam video to end all Russian dash-cam videos!!!
12:33 pm


Dashboard Cameras

I’m not going to explain what’s happening here. You’ve seen enough Russian dash-cam videos to know the drill. But this one in particular stands out on its own because, well, something unexpected happens. You’ll just have to watch and go with the flow.

BTW, I’m repeatedly clicking my heels together like Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz and telling myself, “Please let this be real. Please let this be real.”

As someone on reddit points out, “He’ll never tell a soul what happened that day…”

via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Girls on their Motorcycles: Vintage photos of kickass women and their rides
10:54 am



Kickass or badass—whatever you wanna call these tough biker ladies—here’s a selection of vintage photos of real-life motorcycle riding women.

Anke Eve Goldmann, 1958

Ann-Margret rode a classic Triumph T100

Bessie Stringfield

Some 70s Harley kickstarting action
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Family Affair: Listen to nine-year-old Sly Stone sing gospel with his family & future bandmates
09:14 am


Sly Stone

Rarely does the phrase “children’s Christian rock” evoke anything more positive than a shudder, but Pentecostals often eschew the corniness pervasive to most modern religious music. Pentecostal gospel is the very stuff of rock ‘n’ roll, (hell, one of the churches my grandparents took me to had a Hammond B3 with a Leslie). It’s the sort of musical heritage that you can hear in the very bones of an artist like Sly Stone, whose religious family was encouraged by the church to worship in song.

In 1952, a family gospel group called The Stewart Four did a small, local release of their own 78, featuring “Walking in Jesus’ Name” (below), and “On the Battlefield,” which you can hear on Spotify. The group was made up of siblings Freddie Stewart (age 5), Rose Stewart (age 7), Vaetta (later “Vet”) Stewart (age 2) with little Sylvester Stewart, as always, leading them. (If you’re wondering how a two-year old could contribute to a band, I’ll mention that it’s not uncommon during Pentecostal services to just throw a baby onstage to dance or clap, especially during family performances.) Anyway, this is the family of the Family Stone, performing gospel—beautifully, I might add—as very young children. Sly is nine years old here, and it’s absolutely sublime.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Michael Jackson, Joan Jett, and Rod Stewart compete in ABC’s ‘Rock-N-Roll Sports Classic,’ 1978

Those of us who lived through the seventies won’t soon forget the various ABC celebrity sports extravaganzas, especially the Battle of the Network Stars of various years. I didn’t remember, however, the Rock-N-Roll Sports Classic from 1978. Aside from a few genuine immortals (Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Rod Stewart, Joan Jett), the panoply of athletes is mostly reminiscent of a Columbia Records Club advertisement or the $1 bin at your local LP store (Boston, Leif Garrett, Anne Murray, Seals & Crofts, Tanya Tucker, Kenny Loggins, etc.).

Events include cycling, basketball, swimming, track and field. The main takeaway is that the Runaways kick ass, with both Joan Jett and Sandy West winning events. Michael Jackson appears in the 60-yard dash, but his brother Jackie wins that event. In soccer, Rod Stewart defeats ELO bassist Richard Tandy in a penalty-kick competition.

The roster of announcers is nearly as long and impressive as the list of performer-athletes: Ed McMahon, Sandy Duncan, Phyllis Diller, Kristy McNichol, Barbi Benton, and Alex Karras. Fred Travalena is also on hand to do a few timely impressions, such as Richard Nixon, who had resigned as president four years earlier.

At the 22:00 mark there’s a weird moment involving Alex Karras. Karras, who died in 2012, was a remarkable fellow by any definition, being an All-Pro defensive tackle for the Lions, Blazing Saddles bit player, and the adult lead for the ABC sitcom Webster for many years. But he was also one of a bare handful of athletes ever to suffer a league sanction for gambling, being forced by the NFL to sit out the 1963 season because of his involvement in gambling activities. So it’s especially weird when, after introducing Marlon Jackson before a race, he adopts the mock desperation of a gambling addict: “Marlon, you gotta win this one, I don’t care about you guys making money, but I need it!”

Indeed, the very existence of the Rock-N-Roll Sports Classic brings to mind the recent issue of drug testing in pro sports—one wonders what results the drug tests for this event would have yielded. Some of the events are actually edited out of this video, but most of them are there, but a judicious assessment of the video’s contents would still conclude that it mainly consists of introductions: “In Lane number two, William King of the Commodores!” It’s still a prime example of the dread nexus of music and television that only the seventies can supply, and well worth watching for connoisseurs of televised weirdness.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Texas woman sees Jesus on moth’s wings; others see THE DEVIL
08:42 am



Texas-based mother Yvonne Esquilin swears God was trying to send her message through the yellow and brown patterns on the wings of a large yellow and brown Imperial Moth that came to stay in her home for a few days.

“At first it looked like Jesus,” she said, “and I still think it looks like Jesus.”

Esquilin had been praying for a way to continue her daughter’s education, and believes that the timing of the moth’s appearance is significant. The family also discovered that the color yellow symbolises hope, and brown represents important news.

“I believe this was a sign,” she explained. “God is letting me know good news is coming and to keep the hope.”

Okay sure, whatever you say, lady. Keep the faith! Still other observers of the moth, which does appear to be emblazoned with an image of a man with long hair and a beard if you squint a bit, aren’t sure if it’s the Son o’ God or maybe it’s like an evil sorcerer or sumpthin’.

“People also saw an image of the Devil which is kind of creepy but after staring at it for so long it almost looks like it,” Ms. Esquilin said.

Hard to say what this mixed moth message means, isn’t it?

via Christian Nightmares and Christian Today

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Evil never sounded like so much fun: Magma’s magnificently menacing epic ‘De Futura’ live, 1977
07:58 am


prog rock

For my money, the French avant/prog/metal band Magma’s greatest track is “De Futura.” A wild-n-heavy number that first appeared on their 1976 album Udu Wudu, it really came to life in a live setting, where epic versions often lasted 20+ minutes.

This performance was recorded live at the Hippodrome de Pantin in Paris on May 14th, 1977, and aired on French TV. Here the group features two drummers, including Magma founder Christian Vander (he’s the one making the best ROCK faces this side of Nigel Tufnel), and two back-up singers who look like cult members. Oh, and did I mention Magma’s songs are sung in their own made-up language? It doesn’t get more wonderfully weird than this, folks.

Unfortunately, this was edited for TV and the footage ends just shy of the ten-minute mark, because by then the band had worked themselves into a glorious frenzy (the background singers look hypnotized!).

Ah well, enjoy what you can. Evil never sounded like so much fun!


Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
The creepy fantasies that inspired John Fowles’ novel ‘The Collector’

John Fowles was a 37-year-old school teacher when his first novel The Collector was published in 1963. Though Fowles had been writing for fifteen years completing two novels and an early draft of his second book The Magus, he considered himself “unpublishable.” Then he started work on an idea about a man who kidnaps a young art student and keeps her imprisoned in the basement of his home.  Fowles wrote the book in about a month, and thinking he had nothing to lose sent the manuscript off to his agent, Michael S. Howard who liked it and passed it on to the publishers Jonathan Cape. Tom Maschler at Cape thought The Collector a powerful and impressive debut, but was concerned that Fowles (who thought of himself a “serious writer”) may damage his reputation with such a lurid and disturbing tale. Fowles was adamant—he wanted the book published under his own name.

Anyone familiar with The Collector may have wondered what inspired Fowles’ grim tale. In a letter written to Maschler in July 1962, the author explained his sources in writing the novel:

...all this came from a newspaper incident of some years ago (there was a similar case in the North of England last year, by the way). But the whole idea of the woman-in-the-dungeon has interested me since I saw Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, which was before the air-raid shelter case.

Film poster for ‘The Collector’ starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, 1965.
The news story Fowles mentioned concerned “a man who had kidnapped a girl and imprisoned her for several weeks in an air-raid shelter at the bottom of his garden.”

While the musical reference Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle (1911) told the story of Duke Bluebeard who warns his new bride Judith not to open any of the seven doors in his castle. Impelled by curiosity, Judith opens each of the seven doors finding behind the first a torture chamber and behind the last, the ghosts of Bluebeard’s previous wives.
Terence Stamp as butterfly collector Frederick Clegg.
However, there was far darker, more personal and disturbing inspiration for the novel, which Fowles explained in his journal entry for February 3rd, 1963:

The Collector. The three sources.

One. My lifelong fantasy of imprisoning a girl underground.

I think I must go back to early in my teens. I remember it used to be famous people Princess Margaret, various film stars. Of course, there was a sexual motive; the love-through-knowledge motive, or motif, has also been constant. The imprisoning in other words, has always been a forcing of my personality as well as my penis on the girl concerned.

Variations I can recall: the harem (several girls in one room, or in a row of rooms); the threat (this involves sharing a whip, but usually not flagellation—the idea of exerted tyranny, entering as executioner); the fellow-prisoner (this by far the commonest variation: the girl is captured and put naked into the underground room; I then have myself put in it, as if I am a fellow-prisoner, and so avoid her hostility).

Another common sexual fantasy is the selection board: I am given six hundred girls to choose fifty from and so on. These fantasies have long been exteriorized in my mind, of course; certainly I use the underground-room one far less since The Collector.

Two, the air-raid shelter incident.

Three, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

Samantha Eggar as art student Miranda Grey.
Fowles separated The Collector into three sections, where the captor (Frederick Clegg) and his prisoner (Miranda Grey) describe the events of the book. It begins with Clegg describing the subject of his obsession:

When she was home from her boarding-school I used to see her almost every day sometimes, because their house was right opposite the Town Hall Annexe. She and her younger sister used to go in and out a lot, often with young men, which of course I didn’t like, When I had a free moment from the files and ledgers I stood by the window and used to look down over the road over the frosting and sometimes I’d see her. In the evening I marked it in my observations diary, at first with X, and then when I knew her name with M. I saw her several times outside too. I stood right behind her once in queue at the public library down Crossfield Street. She didn’t look once at me, but I watched the back of her head and her hair in a long pigtail. It was very pale, silky, like burnet cocoons. All in one pigtail coming down almost to her waist, sometimes in front, sometimes at back. Sometimes she wore it up. Only once, before she came to be my guest here, did I have the privilege to see her with it loose, and it took my breath away it was so beautiful, like a mermaid.

Clegg (Stamp) and Miranda (Egggar) in William Wyler’s film version of ‘The Collector.’
Fowles’ intention was not just to write a horror story, but to use the characters of Clegg and Miranda as conduits for his own analysis and critique of modern society, in particular his contempt for the lack of intellectual rigor in contemporary fiction—the Angry Young Men who had so forcefully invaded with John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger—and for the failure of socialism to bring equality and change to Britain:

The plot of the novel was:

1. present a character who was inarticulate and nasty, as opposed to the “good” inarticulate hero, who seems to be top dog in post-war fiction and whose inarticulateness is presented as a kind of crowning glory.

2. present a character who is articulate and intelligent—the kind of young person I try to make Miranda Grey—and who is quite clearly a better person because she has a better education.

3. attack the money-minus-morality society (the affluent, the acquisitive) we have lived in since 1951.

On its publication, The Collector was a best-seller. The paperback rights were optioned for “probably the highest price that had hitherto been paid for a first novel”.  The film rights were sold and a movie starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar was made in Hollywood and London directed by William Wyler.

In 1984, The Smiths used a still of Terence Stamp as Clegg from The Collector on the cover of thier single “What Difference Does It Make?” As the actor had not given permission for the image to be used, the single was quickly reissued with Morrissey copying Stamp’s original pose—though a glass of milk had replaced the chloroform.
Terence Stamp as Clegg on the cover of The Smiths single ‘What Difference Does It Make?’
Morrissey as Clegg on the reissued single.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Weird World of LSD’ is an unwitting beatnik masterpiece
07:01 am



Everything about The Weird World of LSD reeks of bad faith. Everyone calls this the Reefer Madness of the hippie era, and that’s certainly true, but the deadpan hysteria of the cautionary voiceover doesn’t, in the end, have the ring of sincere belief to it. For whom was this movie really intended?

What The Weird World of LSD really is is a series of brief vignettes, sans dialogue, of people ostensibly freaking out after having taken acid. A young woman from out of town turns to LSD out of loneliness and before you know it, she is playing with three kittens—as if that were perfectly legal!! Another woman loses herself in an unattended mannequin warehouse. An overweight “art dealer” helps himself to entire table heaping with food. And so on. A good many of the women in the movie are “voluptuous,” and many of the vignettes involve them taking off their clothes or generally acting out. The whole thing feels a lot like The Twilight Zone overseen by Russ Meyer.

The score is free jazz all the way, daddy-O—there’s tons of flaring flute work here, and in general it helps make the proceedings feel even more staid than the flat black-and-white camerawork would merit on its own. The premise of the movie is that LSD unleashes one’s innermost desires and fears, and also that there’s no going back—once those desires and fears are expressed, you will have no choice but to become their slave. This concept inevitably leads to a certain surrealism in the approach, and if you squint your eyes just so you can pretend that Salvador Dalí himself shot this otherwise undistinguished footage.

LSD may induce you to frolic with kittens—WHY WERE WE NOT TOLD??
Around six minutes in, a whole sequence is shot behind what looks to be a Googie McDonald’s—I suspect it’s not the famous Googie McDonald’s in Downey, California; it looks too small to be that one. I’d love to be set right on this—was this shot in Downey?

I don’t really think that The Weird World of LSD is a lost Beat masterpiece, no, but that is a pretty cogent way of getting at a movie that’s otherwise difficult to describe. If you’re throwing a party and want to throw something kooky on the wide screen TV, you could do a lot worse than this—but I wouldn’t recommend sitting through it as you would a regular movie. It might make you lose your mind…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Ramones on the Jerry Lewis Telethon
05:57 pm


The Ramones

Well here’s something kind of strange and wonderful: The Ramones playing on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in September of 1989. The choice of songs couldn’t be more appropriate: “I Believe In Miracles” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.” This was C.J.‘s debut gig with the band and it must have been a particularly surreal initiation for the newly adopted Ramone.

This was aired on WWOR-TV in New York City.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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