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Old-school action figures based on ‘Motel Hell,’ ‘Creepshow,’ ‘Salem’s Lot,’ ‘Heavy Metal’ & more!


Four action figures from the1981 film ‘Heavy Metal’ of ‘Taarna,’ ‘Harry Canyon,’ and two ‘B-17 Gunner’ variants made by hand by Aaron Moreno of Retroband, 2015. You can get a little better look at them, here.
 
So I’ve been laid up for a couple of weeks and have been watching entirely too much television—most of the time turning back the clock to eyeball what I consider a “comfort food” of sorts—vintage horror films and old-school 80s flicks. 

While my love of horror cinema spans the decades, I usually end up digging through my go-to big three—the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. On a recent, particularly tough day, I watched the first two seasons of Tales from the Crypt which, if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, still holds up in my rarely blinking eyes. Now that you know this, I’m sure you can understand my sheer fucking delight when I became aware of a toy company called Retroband that makes some pretty incredible action figures based on characters from notable horror and cult films. Such as 1980’s Motel Hell, the 1979 television miniseries based on author Stephen King’s 1975 novel, Salem’s Lot, and the terrifying character “Bobbi” from the 1980 film Dressed to Kill.

Before you start screaming “shut up and take my money” it’s best that you know that Retroband’s covetable figures, which are made by hand by Retroband’s owner and creator Aaron Moreno, sell for several hundred dollars apiece when and if they ever pop up on auction sites like eBay. For instance—and because it was the first one I looked for—the figure of “Bobbi” from Dressed to Kill was listed for a whopping $299.98. Figures based on the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal, which made their debut back in 2015, will run you a hundred bucks each. If you can find them, that is. I’ve posted images of Retroband’s awesomely eclectic, highly collectible action figure line below.
 

‘A bloody version of ‘Vincent’ from the 1980 cult-horror film, ‘Motel Hell.’
 

‘Bobbi’ and her trusty switchblade from the 1980 film ‘Dressed to Kill.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.22.2017
01:16 pm
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Wild things: Were the Troggs the very first punk band?
06.22.2017
10:26 am
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Quick! Who was the first punk band? The Sex Pistols? The Ramones? The MC5? The Stooges? Suicide? That’s a parlor game lovers of rock music can play for hours and hours—or disdain entirely as irrelevant, if that’s your bent.

No matter where you stand on the issue, it might interest you to know that in December 1972, before three of those bands had so much as released a note of recorded music, the New Musical Express in England had its own idea of who the first punk was, and the answer—as well as the question itself—might surprise you.
 

Mild things?
 
Their proposition was that it was the Troggs. You know, the band that did “Wild Thing.” The Troggs were headed by Reg Presley, and by 1972 the group was truly struggling in an era dominated by funk, prog, and glam. Well, we’ll get to that.

The article, by Pete Phillips, highlighted an uptick in Troggs interest in the U.S. and posed the question why that was not happening in the U.K. as well. The article kicks off with an explicit frame of the Troggs as a much-needed antidote to the up-and-coming impulse of glam rock—er, “the Bowie-Bolan syndrome”—which is defined by “glitter, eye-shadow and platform heels.” It’s interesting that punk is so strongly identified as a conservative impulse, a “basic” reaction to the “fancy” stylings of the glam movement. When the real punk movement hit in the mid- to late 1970s, it was often placed in opposition to (a) overblown studio-oriented rock like the Eagles, and (b) disco. The Troggs were self-consciously presented as Neanderthals, a thudding, crude—and catchy—rebuke to fancy music of any stripe.

What’s fascinating about Phillips’ article is that anyone would have been asking the question in the first place—it implies an active debate on the question. What’s clear is that the term punk was of quite recent vintage. In March 1970 the Chicago Tribune quoted main Fug Ed Sanders to the effect that his solo album was “punk rock—redneck sentimentality”—this is widely regarded as the first use of the phrase. Such references are scattered all over the early 1970s. Suicide advertising a November 1970 gig with the phrase “punk music,” Lester Bangs calling Iggy Pop a punk, Lenny Kaye describing what we would today simply call garage rock bands as “classic garage-punk.” For Christ’s sake, Ellen Willis was using the term in the pages of The New Yorker. It was a thing, and everybody had a different take on what “punk music” was and what it meant. It was, in short, a moniker looking for a movement. A certain kind of music fan was looking for something, but didn’t quite know what it was.

Kaye’s “garage” association is clarifying here. Later years, with the addition of politics, safety pins, and breakneck (i.e. sloppy) guitar work, would render the designation of the Troggs as the world’s first punk band just a bit absurd, but they clearly did have a fuzzy, loud sound and they did have some hits. Phillips describes the Troggs as “that nasty, lumpy group with the parted thighs and the loud, dirty music.” It’s worth reading the item in full, which you can below.

I’ll never have as good a chance to tell this story, so here it goes: In the early 1990s I was living in Vienna and I DJ’d an event, a birthday party for a prominent Austrian journalist. I didn’t have many LPs at my disposal and what I had was mainly classic rock, but I did the best I could. As the hours passed and the revelers danced (and got drunker), eventually I heard this highly inebriated male voice bellowing “DIE TROGGS!! SPIEL DIE TROGGS!!” at me. I looked down from the booth and who should it be but the leader of Austria’s Green Party, the equivalent to Jill Stein, if you will, desperately wanting me to put on some Troggs—which I didn’t have with me. I guess the Greens are used to setbacks, huh. 

I can’t think of the Troggs without remembering that moment.

Here’s the article, you can enlarge it for easier reading:

 
More Troggs after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.22.2017
10:26 am
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Adam Ant, John Cale, Ad-Rock and others guest star on ‘80s crime drama ‘The Equalizer’


Edward Woodward and Adam Ant on the cover of Ant News Today, 1985
 
The Equalizer was a crime drama starring Edward Woodward (The Wicker Man‘s Sgt. Howie) as Robert McCall, a secret agent turned private detective. Like the contemporary Miami Vice, The Equalizer brought in guest-star musicians to play the sinister jerks peopling its slough of rank criminality.

Also like Miami Vice, it was considered racy. Comparing the two series’ depiction of “raw, sometimes shocking underworld grit,” the LA Times reported in October 1985 that “several advertisers pulled their sponsorship of the [recent Equalizer] episode titled ‘The Lock Box,’ which starred Adam Ant as a purveyor of bizarre and forbidden sex.”

Many full episodes of this morally corrosive, sexually perverting entertainment are now playing on the world wide internet, and collected here are the ones with famous rockers. Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz (not yet 20!) plays the title role in “Mama’s Boy,” in which he gets mixed up with such drug dealers as Alex Winter’s Jeffrey. John Cale of the Velvet Underground wears his Songs for Drella ‘do in the role of “Aryan Leader” in “Race Traitors.” David Johansen of New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter fame and Stewart Copeland of the Police (writer of the series’ theme song) appear in “Re-Entry.” Though I haven’t watched Meat Loaf’s performance as Sugar Fly Simon in “Bump and Run,” I’m sure it’s some of his best work. And Adam Ant forces nice young women into prostitution in “The Lock Box.” (I haven’t been able to find the Quentin Crisp or John Cameron Mitchell episodes, but they must be on the DVD set.)

After the jump, watch John Cale’s, ah, “understated” performance as a neo-Nazi in the episode “Race Traitors”...

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.22.2017
10:04 am
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Uncut 35MM version of ‘Suspiria’ found stored in an old cinema in Italy—U.S. screenings planned
06.22.2017
09:31 am
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Finally, a perfect example of truth in advertising.
 
A couple of days ago, The Chicago Cinema Society released the news that they had recovered a nearly pristine 35MM uncut Italian-language print of Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece, Suspiria. According to the TCCS, the print was discovered in a storage area in an old cinema in Italy that was no longer in business. Now, these are the kind of treasure hunting results I can really get behind.

The beloved film has been in the news lately—specifically due to the modern remake by director Luca Guadagnino starring Tilda Swinton that has lots of people preemptively shaking their heads. There is also a highly anticipated Blu-ray restoration of Suspiria set to be released by Synapse Films. Synapse worked with Suspiria‘s visionary cinematographer, Luciano Tovoli who oversaw every last detail of the restoration which is due out sometime this summer.

While the discovery of the 35MM print in Italy is spectacular in its own right, the folks at The Chicago Cinema Society were not prepared to find that the 98-minute, six-reel print was completely uncut meaning it included scenes that had been previously removed for various U.S. and international releases.

Some clips after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.22.2017
09:31 am
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People are strange: ‘Deleted Wikipedia articles submitted by insane people’
06.22.2017
09:12 am
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Now I wouldn’t go so far as saying the folks who submitted these titles to Wikipedia were technically “insane”—that’s just the title of the YouTube video—but they are, however, very questionable.

I can see why a lot of these were deleted from Wikipedia. I mean, “Kids Raping and Singing” or “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re a Wizard”? These are just a few of the freakishly-funny topics and titles that (apparently) real people came up with. I don’t want to ruin the video for you, just watch it. The longer it goes on, the funnier it gets.

People are strange.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.22.2017
09:12 am
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For Men Only: The clitoris. What it is. Where it is. What you should do with it when you find it
06.21.2017
12:26 pm
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Like many women, Canadian screenwriter and animation director Lori Malépart-Traversy seems to have gotten frustrated with the weird aura of ignorance surrounding what is after all the primary vehicle for female sexual pleasure. You may have heard of it: the clitoris.

She took matters into her own hands (stop!) and created this smashing three-minute animated movie about this sometimes misunderstood sexual organ, which is so goddamned adorable, it’s easy to forget that the content is pretty much X-rated.

(Even having said that, it’s difficult to imagine a group of ten-year-olds that would be substantially harmed by watching a short film as engaging, funny, and informative as this one. Chances are they’ve seen worse by that age.)

The movie is in French but there are helpful English subtitles. Frankly it’s pretty clear what’s going on—or at least it should be, your mileage may vary—even with no text at all. I have to admit that my life is improved by having the phrase “clitoral obscurantism” added to it. (Damn you, Freud!!)

One waits eagerly for the day when the utility of the clitoris and the importance of the female orgasm are acknowledged by all of humankind. In the meantime, watch this terrific video:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.21.2017
12:26 pm
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The boys will not be back in town: Rock gods Thin Lizzy blast off in their 1983 farewell tour
06.21.2017
12:04 pm
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The best of Thin Lizzy begins and ends with Phil Lynott—the band’s legendary, afro-headed, black/Irish lead singer and chief songwriter. Lynott had the swagger and charm of a dandified highway bandit. His devil-may-care attitude was there in the band’s first hit single, a cover of “Whiskey in the Jar” the fitting tale of an Irish country lad who robs the English Captain Farrell, then foolishly gives his loot away to his love, who betrays him. Sure, there were great musicians and producers along the way like Gary Moore, Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Brian Roberston, and Tony Visconti, but the heart and soul of Thin Lizzy was always Lynott.

For a time, he was happy enough to play along as this romantic, twinkle-eyed hoodlum. It was part of the band’s appeal and success. But success tends to trap and limit talent from ever progressing beyond a popular incarnation. This was true for Thin Lizzy who found incredible success in the seventies only to discover the nature of their hard partying, hard rockin’ image hemmed them in from developing creatively.

I suppose this dilemma is best summed up in the lyrics of one of their classic songs “Jailbreak” which leads to the question that unravels the whole facade:

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak / Somewhere in the town…

A jailbreak? Really? Somewhere in this town? Have you thought it might just be at the jail, Phil? That big building with all the bars in the windows and prisoners inside? No? Just a thought. Most jailbreaks tend to happen, or originate from, jails right?
 
00phillynlive.jpg
 
This is not to say Lynott was some kind fossilized relic. He was a complex, smart, and self-aware man. He also had diverse musical tastes. He was a keen and early supporter of punk. He formed an offshoot band The Greedies that covered Sex Pistols songs and later featured Steve Jones and Paul Cook. He also enthused about New Wave, electronica, and even the New Romantics and was a regular at the famed Blitz club. But musically, most Lizzy fans wanted the same greatest hits over and over again—and as these were the people buying the records and concert tickets, Lynott and co. had to play the tune(s).

If you played along with Phil and co., then I, like millions of others would tell you Thin Lizzy was easily the best feel good band in the world. But if you didn’t, then you’d probably think that they were okay but sometimes they didn’t quite hit the mark and almost moved into caricature. But that was not always a bad thing as their greatest songs “Jailbreak” and “The Boys Are Back In Town” prove.
 
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Thin Lizzy: Manchester Apollo 1983. Photo by Harry Potts.
 
By the 1980s, Thin Lizzy was coming unstuck. Lynott was on heroin which was fucking him and the band up as was seen during their Japan tour when they had severe difficulties in scoring smack.
Watch Thin Lizzy in concert, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.21.2017
12:04 pm
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Occult paintings and mystical visions of female surrealist Ithell Colquhoun
06.21.2017
11:00 am
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Like the Abstract Expressionist movement that followed in its wake, Surrealism’s history has largely been written as a narrative of heroic transgressions committed by bad boys, which did no favors for the women involved in the movement. Even Surrealism’s most celebrated woman artists—Meret Oppenheim, whose “Breakfast in Fur” was the first objet acquired by MoMA, and Lee Miller, who moved on from Surrealism to become a celebrated photojournalist—are arguably as well or even better known as nude models for photos by Man Ray as for their own achievements.

Not only was that at work in ensuring that painter/poet Ithell Colquhoun remained an obscure figure, there’s her strong supernatural bent. Surrealism’s interest in automatism in writing and drawing was held in service of suppressing the discipline of the conscious mind in order to develop the unconscious, triggering creativity-enhancing states. But Colquhoun used Surrealism’s methods in service of Hermeticism. She sought not merely the unconscious, but the mystical and transcendent. This pursuit led to her ouster from the official English Surrealist group in 1940. She continued to paint, eschewing her early representational style in favor of increasing automatism, and she increased her involvement in the occult, participating in the Ordo Templi Orientis, and the Golden Dawn splinter group Stella Matutina.

Colquhoun’s biography and body of work merit far deeper exploration than I can offer here, and I’d strongly encourage anyone interested in Surrealism or esoteric art who don’t already know her to engage in that deep dive. The video at the very end of this post isn’t a terrible place to start. What concerns us today is a suite of her paintings and connected esoteric poetic writings called Decad of Intelligence. Based on an early Kabbalistic treatise known as the Sefer Yetzirah, the ten painting/writing pairs were created in 1978 and 1979, based on ten “Sephiroth,” aspects of infinity revealed in creation. The Decad has been published in full for the first time as an extraordinary set of prints and an accompanying book by Fulgur Limited, a UK publisher concerned with the intersections between the esoteric and visual art (if you’re familiar with Abraxas Journal, you know Fulgur). From Dr Amy Hale’s introduction:

A key to understanding the way in which the Decad was designed to work may be found in Colquhoun’s relationship to colour theory, in which she was interested from early in her formal arts training. In the 1930s she studied at the London atelier of Amédée Ozenfant, who spearheaded scientific colour theory in Britain, particularly concentrated on the effects of colour in architecture. Colquhoun’s own studies of colour theory were underpinned by her interest in the Golden Dawn magical system and reinforced for her the idea that colours hold the power to communicate both concrete and more ineffable spiritual principles. Similarly to the theories put forward by Kandinsky in his 1911 text Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Colquhoun believed that colours were themselves intelligences and gateways to other planes of existence.

The Decad of Intelligence…was designed to be a small book of ten enamel pieces, each depicting a different sephira, accompanied by a description of their properties. The enamel is thickly laid on the paper, and each piece is a colour study, encompassing the colours of each of the four colour scales of the Tree of Life. Her text is extremely regular in construction, and provides a list of of the correspondences of each sephira, including its location, corresponding part of the body, elemental and planetary associations, fragrances and flowers, alchemical associations, and the vision that the sephira is intended to inspire.

The prints in the folio are quite vivid, printed with metallic highlights that help to capture the essence of the enamel originals. The versions of the same works in the booklet are still quite nice, but less expensively printed, and the digital images we have to share with you resemble the latter more closely. They give you the idea quite well enough. Elements of the corresponding poems were derived from information found in Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777, and perhaps accordingly, the Decad of Intelligence is limited to 777 copies.
 

 
ABSOLUTE OR PERFECT INTELLIGENCE

Sphere of Mercury
Pillar of Water
Splendour a Hermaphrodite

Opal storax moly
Quicksilver mescal
Left foot navel
The names versicles and apron octagram
Zinc Venus as metal

Jackal of the west healer of plagues
Truthfulness angelic Sons of God
Analysis into Four Elements vision of splendour
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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06.21.2017
11:00 am
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A gallery of hilariously creative letters from extremely pissed-off neighbors
06.21.2017
10:10 am
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I can totally relate to a few of these letters written by pissed-off people to their asshole neighbors. I’ve been there with a neighbor or two and I’ve considered doing this myself but I feel letters are a bit too passive aggressive and I rather say what I gotta say to someone’s face instead. That gets the job done.

That being said, sometimes a letter IS the way to go. I did find a few of these letters mildly amusing. Especially the image at the top of this post showcasing the brick shoes. Haven’t we all dealt with this scenario before?

Some News collected a pretty big gallery of these letters. I chose the ones I found the most amusing, but to see the rest, go here.


 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.21.2017
10:10 am
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Teen idol Shaun Cassidy goes new wave, covers Bowie and Talking Heads on Todd Rundgren-produced LP
06.21.2017
09:42 am
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Shaun Cassidy
 
In 1977, after launching his career a year earlier, Shaun Cassidy struck pop music gold with his fluffy cover of the girl group classic, “Da Doo Ron Ron.”. Cassidy’s version went to #1 in the U.S. and his self-titled album sold over three million copies worldwide. Around the same time, the new TV series he was co-starring in, The Hardy Boys premiered, and that too became a hit. Suddenly, Cassidy was a bona fide teen idol, just like his older half-brother David Cassidy who was a massive teen idol before him.
 
Da Doo Ron Ron
 
But fame is often fleeting, and by the late ‘70s, Cassidy was already on his way out. In a bold move, he recruited the art rock wizard Todd Rundgren to produce his sixth album. “I’ve admired Todd’s work for a long time,” Cassidy said in 1980. “I’ve always wanted to record some of his songs. There was really no second choice for me as far as who I was going to work with.” The result of this unlikely collaboration was the LP, Wasp.
 
Wasp
 
Cassidy did indeed record a handful of Rundgren originals for the LP, but he also teamed with his producer on selecting tunes to reinterpret. The pair came up with an interesting assortment of songs to take on, including established hits by David Bowie, the Four Tops, the Animals, and Ian Hunter, along with album-only cuts from the Who and the Talking Heads. Cassidy was backed by Rundgren and his band, Utopia.
 
Utopia
Utopia in 1980.

On paper, this seems like a bizarre collaboration—with Cassidy playing the role of pop star in over his head—but it resulted in a surprisingly good, entertaining record. If nothing else, Wasp sure is weird! Of the originals, the title track is a highlight, due to its sheer strangeness. Over an electro backing, Cassidy spits out Rundgren’s peculiar lyrics in an aggressive, rap-like manner. “Pretending,” meanwhile, is a complete about-face—a ballad that possesses some emotional power thanks to Cassidy’s passionate delivery. “The Book I Read,” a deep pull from Talking Heads: 77, features Cassidy’s most crooner-ish vocal, recalling the great Scott Walker (who was also once a teen phenomenon). The faithful, power pop version of the Who’s “So Sad About Us” is the album’s most lively number, and Cassidy really gives it his all for the closer, an offbeat rendering of Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” But the cover of Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel,” the LP opener and lead single, is the high point of Wasp. Utopia’s new wave backing—complete with a cool synth line and video game-like sound effects—flirts with disco, as Cassidy sings in a lower register, echoed by an odd, munchkin-sounding vocal. Later on, lyrics from the Crystals’ “He’s a Rebel” are incorporated—a genius move, as it has the “rebel” theme and recalls “Da Doo Ron Ron,” also originally recorded by the Crystals. As he does throughout Wasp, Cassidy sounds totally committed here, experimenting with his voice, at times pushing it to the breaking point.
 
Rebel Rebel
 
Who would’ve thought that remaking Shaun Cassidy as a cutting edge new wave artist was even possible? In a sense, it wasn’t…

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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06.21.2017
09:42 am
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