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Scary stories and super creeps: The illustrated nightmares of Stephen Gammell


A catchy tune and one of Stephen Gammell’s illustrations from Alvin Schwartz’s trilogy, ‘Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark.’
 
If you look at the unassuming photo used by publisher Simon and Schuster of illustrator Stephen Gammell, you will, in no way, perceive the smiling, white-bearded and spectacled man was responsible for creating images which have terrorized the minds of children since 1981. But he is, and I hope this helps reinforce the golden rule one should never judge a book (or a person) by their cover. Unless one of those books happens to be Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. In this case, I’d recommend you let your initial impressions be your guide because Stephen Gammell’s instantly recognizable artwork is as sinister as the tales of terror spun by author Alvin Schwartz within the pages of the three-book-series.

Gammell has led a private life during his career which started in 1972, and is notoriously humble about the impact his insidious illustrations have had on generations of people. Gammell’s father was an art editor for a major magazine and would bring home art supplies for his son to help feed his appetite for art and develop his distinctive, entirely self-taught style. Here’s Gammell expounding on his very early days tapping into his gift growing up in Des Moines, Iowa:

“Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of lying on the floor in our old house in Des Moines, books, and magazines around me, piles of pads and paper, lots of pencils…and drawing. Just drawing! I was four at the time thinking that I really didn’t want to go to school next year…I just want to do THIS.”

As I mentioned, Gammell is a private person and historically has scarcely spoken about his most notorious work with Alvin Schwartz—the word-writing creep behind the trilogy Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. Starting in 1981, the spine-tingling tales of Scary Stories hit the shelves with Gammell’s terrifying cover artwork. Schwartz’s inspiration for much of the trilogy was found in vintage books archived by the American Folklore Society (housed at the Library of Congress). They were, of course, a runaway hit, especially with kids. And being popular with “impressionable” kids seemed to be the number one reason Gammell and Schwartz collectively became public enemy number one with parents and educators. When Schwartz passed away in 1992, his books were already being submitted to the Office For Intellectual Freedom (OIF) in the hope they would be added to the list of “challenged books” maintained by OIF and eventually banned. Complaints regarding Schwartz’s tales accused the writer of being cool with various nefarious activities including cannibalism, necrophilia, and the occult. An article from 1993 published by the Chicago Tribune notes one particularly angry parent likening Schwartz to the serial killer and actual cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer because of the short story “Wonderful Sausage” where a butcher converts his wife into a bratwurst. Here’s a quote from the article by Sandy Vanderburg, a mother of two, and one of Schwartz and Gammell’s biggest haters:

“If these books were movies, they’d be R-rated because of the graphic violence. There’s no moral to them. The bad guys always win. And they make light of death. There’s a story called `Just Delicious’ about a woman who goes to a mortuary, steals another woman’s liver, and feeds it to her husband. That’s sick.”

 

An illustration by Gammell for Schwarzt’s short story “Wonderful Sausage.”
 
For the love of Sweeny Todd and those meddling kids, Hansel and Gretel, get a fucking GRIP, Sandy. Given the outrage over Scary Stories, it’s important to be clear about the Schwartz/Gammell/Scary Stories success story. As nutty as Schwartz’s fables were, what any “reader” remembers most are Gammell’s illustrations of ghouls materializing through the mist, and unfortunate characters like Harold—the impaled scarecrow. Gammell’s impact on Scary Stories fans was magnified in 2011 on the occasion of the series’ 30th anniversary when Harper’s Collins decided to replace Gammell’s original artwork with toned-down images drawn by artist Brett Helquist. With respect to Helquist, the publishers’ actions made absolutely no sense, seeing that their support of the books never wavered despite consistent, decades-long efforts to have them banned. In 2017 Harper’s came to their senses and re-released the series with all of Gammell’s diabolical illustrations intact.

2012 saw a television adaptation of the books, and in 2017 a documentary on the legacy of Scary Stories was released. In April of this year (2018) director, Guillermo del Toro confirmed he had the backing to make the film version of the trilogy, and plot details of the flick finally were revealed in early August. In addition to his chilling work for Scary Stories, Gammell’s art has appeared in 50 other non-nightmare inducing children’s books, the most recent of which tells the story of a kid who loves mud. Right on.

I’ve posted Gammell’s eerie illustrations below from the Scary Stories series. Maybe keep the lights on until you’ve seen them all (some are slightly NSFW).
 

 

 

 
Many more macabre illustrations from Stephen Gammell, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.13.2018
07:51 am
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Fun in the Sun: Pop culture icons catching some waves and a tan
08.08.2018
10:43 am
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Marilyn Monroe after a swim in the sea.
 
Since the 18th-century, doctors have prescribed a trip to the beach or seaside and bathing in (or even drinking) seawater as a restorative cure for good health. This was at first mainly something the wealthier classes only could afford but when Niels Ryberg Finsen won the Nobel Prize in 1903 for pointing out that the sun’s rays (or “radiation”) could help treat lupus vulgaris and rickets, the general public started taking a greater interest in sunbathing and even in sun worship.

Spool forward a few years to 1911, when William Tyler Olcott wrote a popular book Sun Lore of All Ages which told a brief history of sun-worship explaining it had long existed but had become unfashionable, or rather suppressed, with the rise of religion. This idea of sun worship and sunbathing as a valid ancient culture became more important after the end First World War when there was a massive rise in holidays and rest cures at the seaside.

This all became tied-in with the fashionable ideas of youth, vigor, vitality, etc, etc, which a few years later would become utterly warped by the Germans under Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists which promoted a mythical belief in racial purity not appreciating they were in fact the offspring of sex with a monkey’s butt. Still, the Nazis aside, holidaying on the beach and mucking about on the water never lost its appeal because of the strong belief that the sun is good for you (which it is—in moderation) and the seaside revitalizes the body (which according to scientists it does, something to do with the sound of the sea’s waves altering the rhythms of your brain). Moreover, when getting a tan became the in-thing, sometime around the 1920s, no one wanted to be pale and interesting anymore as it signified being of a lower class—the inverse of what it once had been. This didn’t really catch-on until after World War II, sometime during the 1950s and 1960s, when suddenly everyone wanted to catch a few rays.

Celebrities always use the beach as a place to show off their beauty, their latest look, or to promote a new record or film. For many a youngster catching snaps in supermarket mags was once the only way they would get a glimpse of some famous hotshot movie star without their clothes on. The following is a selection of some of our more iconic stars showing off whatever they’ve got to offer on the beach.
 
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The Beatles never missed a photo opportunity.
 
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Surf’s up for The Beach Boys.
 
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Madonna strikes a pose but it’s hardly beachwear.
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Elizabeth Taylor.
 
More fashionable beachwear, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.08.2018
10:43 am
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John Cale’s short Fluxus film, ‘Police Car’
07.26.2018
10:02 am
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Last week’s screening of The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound and The Velvet Underground Tarot Cards at the Egyptian Theatre was my idea of heaven. While Symphony of Sound has long been available (watch it!), so far as I know, Tarot Cards has never escaped into the wild. Screenings of the lone existing print are about as common as showings of Cocksucker Blues, Chelsea Girls, Eat the Document or, for that matter, California Raisins II: Raisins: Sold Out!

Warhol apparently intended to project Tarot Cards behind the VU at the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, but the film has a vérité soundtrack nonetheless—mostly indistinct a-style chatter, no VU music (other than whistling). In it, the VU, Nico, and assorted Warhol superstars gather in an apartment and have a rave-up. Meanwhile, a dispirited Tarot reader is dealing Rider-Waite cards on the sheets of newspaper covering the floor and trying to make the Velvets’ fortunes heard over the din. A new copy of Pet Sounds is sitting out; almost everyone is young and gorgeous. I’ve already forgotten who pours beer on Mo Tucker’s hair by way of greeting. Eric Emerson?

But when I got home, there were no Celtic Crosses on the floor, no cans of Schaefer and Rheingold Extra Dry being passed around, no dancing Susan Bottomly, so I reached for the hypnotic effect of this “Fluxfilm.” John Cale shot Police Car in the middle sixties (the George Maciunas Foundation gives the date as “1966?”) with an 8mm camera he borrowed from Kate Heliczer. Cale describes the film in the biography Sedition and Alchemy (as quoted in Richie Unterberger’s White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day by Day):

I was interested in getting dim pictures with flashing lights from a street repair trench near the Chelsea Bridge. The film was left with someone in Fluxus who then included it in a box of Flux-stuff, which I totally forgot about until I got a call from someone saying my “movie” was mentioned in the New York Times review of the box.

 

‘Fluxfilms’ from ‘Flux Year Box 2’ (via MoMA)
 
Cale’s referring to Flux Year Box 2 and its mention in “Art Notes” in the June 16, 1968 issue of the Times. After reporting rumors that the Venice Biennale would be postponed or cancelled due to student protests, the Times’ Grace Glueck—who, in ‘66, described the Velvet Underground as “a combination of rock ‘n’ roll and Egyptian belly-dance music”—turned to the contents of George Maciunas’ $50 box set:

It contains such playthings as a squeezable rubber pear (anonymous); a “Flux Jewelry Kit” by Alice Hutchins (a spring necklace jumps out when you open it); a “Total Art Matchbox” by Ben Vautier (“Use the matches to destroy all art”); some rather strange card games. There are also 20 8mm film loops, by Stan Van Der Beek, Yoko Ono, John Cale, etc. Seen through a lorgnette-like hand viewer, the films include a run of bare bottoms (Ono); an underexposed sequence of blinking lights on a police car (Cale).

If you like the first part of this very short movie, in which only a single light appears, just wait until you get to the second part, where—but don’t let me spoil it for you…

Watch John Cale’s ‘Police Car’ after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.26.2018
10:02 am
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David Lee Roth on Dongo Island: The ten-million-dollar film DLR left Van Halen for but never made
07.24.2018
09:28 am
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It almost happened!
 
If you are a child of the 80s, you must recall one of the messiest rock band breakups ever when David Lee Roth walked away from his vocalist duties for Van Halen. Things got hairy between Roth and Eddie Van Halen after the decision was made in 1983 to record their sixth studio record, 1984, at Eddie’s new studio, 5150. Even though the album produced a few monster hits, Roth couldn’t shake the feeling recording 1984 at 5150 gave Eddie too much creative control over the band. And he wasn’t necessarily wrong. Here’s Eddie talking about the decision to move VH’s base of recording operations to his home studio:

“The bottom line is I wanted more control. I was always butting heads with Ted Templeman about what makes a good record. My philosophy has always been I’d rather bomb with my own music than make it with other people’s music.”

 
This wouldn’t be the first time things got intense between DLR, Eddie, his brother Alex, and bassist Michael Anthony. To help promote Women and Children First, the band’s label Warner Brothers engaged one of the art world’s biggest icons, Helmut Newton, to take photos of the band. Roth was an enthusiastic fan of Newton, but allegedly the rest of the group hadn’t heard of him and were unimpressed. Which was fine, as it turns out Newton didn’t vibe with the Van Halen brothers during the photo shoot at Dave’s house in 1979. Following the shoot, an all-out war in the VH camp started with accusations coming from the brothers claiming Roth was trying to be the “center of attention.” Warner Brothers would end up bringing in photographer Norman Seeff to shoot more images of the band in an effort to keep the peace. Two of Seeff’s photos were used for the cover and back of Women and Children First, and have since become iconic. As a compromise, Newton’s photo of a shirtless David Lee Roth in chains was included as a mini-poster inside the album.
 

Photos taken by Norman Seeff used for the 1980 album ‘Women and Children First.’
 
Rock historians have said this incident was the beginning of the band’s demise after relations between Roth and the band became super tense during the grueling seven-month tour in support of 1984. Roth wanted to do things—like acting—without VH but hoped Eddie Van Halen would do the soundtrack for upcoming film he was planning. At some point, Roth pointedly asked Eddie to do the score, a request Eddie declined. Roth responded by saying he couldn’t “work” with the band for a while, adding that once he was done with his movie, they would “get back together.” In August of 1985, Eddie Van Halen told Rolling Stone “the band (Van Halen) as you know it is over.”

Continues after the, er… jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.24.2018
09:28 am
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Terry Riley and La Monte Young in a documentary about their teacher, Pandit Pran Nath


Poster by Marian Zazeela for a raga cycle performance at St. John the Divine, 1991 (via The Hum)
 
William Farley’s In Between the Notes profiles the late Pandit Pran Nath, a singer and teacher in the Kirana school of Indian classical music. It features his most famous pupils, Terry Riley, La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, and the late, great music scholar Robert Palmer sticks his head in, too.

Kicked out of the house at the age of 13 because he insisted on becoming a musician, Pran Nath made friends with the outdoors, as this short documentary illustrates. In Delhi, he demonstrates his keen ear for bird songs; on his return to the Tapkeshwar Caves, where, on the advice of his guru, he had lived for five years as a renunciant, Pran Nath shows how the sound of rushing water can stand in for the drone of a tambura when you are a homeless sadhu.
 

Pandit Pran Nath with Ann and Terry Riley (via Complete Word)
 
But if it was to be a tambura instead of a babbling brook, it had better be a “Pandit Pran Nath-style tambura.” Except in the caves, Terry Riley has his arm around one of these distinctive-sounding instruments every time he appears in the movie. Pran Nath’s New York Times obituary describes his specifications for the drone axe:

He secured the instrument’s upper bridge, changed the rounding of the resonating gourd and had instruments made without paint or varnish that might clog the pores of the wood, all to give the tamboura a richer tone.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.18.2018
06:46 am
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Pure Cinema: Watch Man Ray’s experimental film ‘The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice’ from 1929
07.16.2018
08:57 am
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Man Ray never talked much about his childhood or his family background. He didn’t think it was important or relevant to his life as an artist. He never even acknowledged his real name, Emmanuel Radnitzky. He was born in Philadelphia to Max and Minnie Radnitzky in 1890, the eldest of four children (two brothers, two sisters). His father was a tailor and when the family moved to Brooklyn in 1897, Max changed their surname to “Ray” as he was concerned over the rise in anti-semitism in New York. This name-shortening led Emmanuel, or Manny as he was called, to edit his first name to “Man.”

Ray had ambitions to be an artist. At first, his parents weren’t too happy about their eldest son opting out of the family business but decided to let Ray follow his own course going so far as to rent him a studio/room in which to work. He became a successful commercial artist and furthered his ambitions by enroling in art classes.

In 1912, Ray saw the Armory Show, the “infamous” exhibition of paintings and sculptures by new “modern” artists like Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Duchamp which caused considerable controversy and outrage among New Yorkers. It was Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.” that fired Ray’s imagination to the possibilities of art. The two met and Ray and Duchamp and became friends. Together they formed the New York Dada Group—a loose gathering of “anti-art” artists. Inspired by work he had seen at the Armory Show, Ray also started painting cubist pictures and began to experiment in different forms and techniques.

But it was when Ray moved to Paris in 1920, that he truly began his career as a photographer and filmmaker. He lived in the artists’s quarter of Montparnasse, and soon fell in love with the famous model, singer, budding actress and well-known Bohemian Kiki de Montparnasse (aka Alice Prin). Kiki became Man Ray’s lover and muse, who he began to photograph, which in turn led him to his first experiment as filmmaker Le Retour à la Raison in 1923.

Man Ray aligned himself with the Cinéma pur movement, which focussed on taking film away from narrative and plot and returning it to movement and image. Its proponents were René Clair, Fernand Léger, Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling, amongst others, and their short films were the beginnings of what is now described as “Art Cinema.”

Adhering to Cinéma pur‘s loose manifesto, Man Ray’s early films, Le Retour à la Raison (Return to Reason) in 1923 and Emak-Bakia (Leave me alone) in 1926, focussed on creating startling textural patterns through the representation of objects within rhythmical loops. The experimental techniques of Le Retour à la Raison was repeated and developed in Emak-Bakia. Many of the techniques Man Ray developed (double exposure, Rayographs and soft focus) were later co-opted by animators and filmmakers during the 1940s to 1960s.

Moving away from Cinéma pur, Man Ray experimented with narrative structures and dramatic sequences. In L’Étoile de mer (The Sea Star) (1928), he told the story of two lovers from the point of view of an (underwater) starfish. The story had been inspired by a friend who kept a starfish in a jar by their bedside, and was written by the poet Robert Desnos, who died in a concentration camp in 1945.

In 1929, Ray started work on his longest film Les Mystères du Château de Dé (The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice). This time Ray presented the story of two young travelers who visit the Villa Noailles in Hyères—the home of husband and wife Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, the patrons of Picasso, Cocteau, Dali, and many of the Surrealists—with its Cubist garden designed by Gabriel Geuvrikain. The film is surreal, dreamlike, and relies more on atmosphere and suggestion than any real narrative form. In large part it was “inspired by the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé” in particular, his poem Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance), written in 1897. This poem was published over twenty pages in various typeface and structure. It contained early examples of Concrete Poetry, free verse and presented highly innovative graphic design that would later influence Dada. Some Surrealists criticized Ray’s films for not having enough narrative but Ray was more interested in creating something that didn’t relate to what had gone before. In the same way, he never acknowledged his own history before he became Man Ray.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.16.2018
08:57 am
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The baffling, unreleased sequel to ridiculous ‘80s cult film, ‘Lady Street Fighter’ (a DM premiere)
07.13.2018
07:40 am
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LSF 1
 
The phrase “so bad, it’s good” was coined to describe works like the early ‘80s film Lady Street Fighter. The flick stars German actress Renee Harmon as Linda Allen, a woman out to avenge her sister’s death. Harmon also wrote the screenplay and produced the picture. The movie was directed by James Bryan, best-known for the low-budget slasher, Don’t Go in the Woods. Harmon and Bryan collaborated on a number of low-to-no budget exploitation films, including a few that weren’t released until decades later.
 
LSF 2
Renee Harmon

Lady Street Fighter was going to be called Deadly Games, but the title was changed in an attempt to cash-in on the martial arts craze of the 1970s (the picture has nothing to do with the series of Street Fighter films starring Sonny Chiba).
 
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There a several obvious issues with Lady Street Fighter, but the biggest problem is that the film is hard to follow. I mean, REALLY hard to follow. Even basic plot points are unclear. Here are two synopses:

Renee Harmon’s character’s sister has been killed. It has something to do with a “master tape” that the FBI and Assassins Inc. are after. Renee shows up in Los Angeles to find out what happened. She becomes involved in a web of kung-fu fighting/car chasing intrigue that leads her right to the top. I think. (Bleeding Skull)

Plot involves an undercover female agent (with THICK German accent) assigned to kill a dirty FBI agent. The FBI agent has also been assigned to kill her. Attracted to one another, they have an affair in between car chases and shoot outs. Plot specifics aren’t explained well at all, but I *can* tell you the movie is hilarious in parts. It really is terrible. (IMDb)

 
LSF 4
 
A sequel is promised at the conclusion of Lady Street Fighter, though after viewing the film you’ll wonder how there could possibly be any demand for a follow-up. A sequel was indeed completed around 1990, a decade after Lady Street Fighter was released, but it stayed in the can. I recently had the, ahem, privilege to see Revenge of Lady Street Fighter, and it’s even more baffling than the original. Some new scenes were shot, which forms the basis of a new convoluted narrative, but—and you’ll probably think I’m exaggerating—around 85% of Revenge is just recycled footage from the first movie.

I shit you not!
 
After the jump, something quite special…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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07.13.2018
07:40 am
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Gloriously gross trading cards from the Godfather of Gore, Tom Savini
07.11.2018
10:35 am
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The Godfather of Gore, actor and FX master Tom Savini.
 
A bit of disclosure is required before I get into the subject of this post, horror FX master Tom Savini and his sick set of trading cards from 1988. As a bonafide horror junkie seeking no cure for my habit, I’ve been a super-fan of Savini since 1980 after seeing Friday the 13th and bearing witness to his relentlessly realistic special effects style. To this day the original Friday the 13th is one of my favorite films, and I never get tired of seeing a young Kevin Bacon getting murdered while kicking back post-coital with a joint. Will these kids never learn that having premarital sex and smoking doobies will kill you? Hopefully never, but I digress.

For those of you not as well versed in all that is Tom Savini, let me help you understand the vital role he has played in the realm of horror films since the 1970s. After acting and helping to create the special effects for several films, Savini got a gig working for another godfather of the horror genre, director George Romero, doing makeup for the vampire flick Martin. Romero would then engage Savini’s services again for 1978’s game changer, Dawn of the Dead, sealing their long working relationship. After this, Savini and his penchant for blowing up horror movie victim’s heads would be seen in nearly a dozen films including 1980’s Maniac, where Savini (as his character Disco Boy) got to blow off his own dome after failing to make it in a car with a hot chick covered in glitter.

According to Savini, the horrific things he saw during his three-years as a combat photographer in Vietnam have driven his desire to achieve “anatomical correctness” as it pertains to his masterful FX work. This is not meant to imply Savini entered into his line of work because of the gruesome stuff he witnessed in Vietnam, but what that experience gave him was the ability to create authentic, realistic effects—a talent Savini has elevated to a high art form during his long career. Even as a vegetarian, I can’t help but admire one of his most colossal cinematic moments (to me anyway) from 1985’s Day of the Dead. Using a good portion of the 44 pounds of pig entrails obtained from a packing plant, Savini—assisted by another FX guru—Greg Nicotero, the death of the evil Captain Rhodes (memorably played by actor Joseph Pilato) is one of the most decadent demises in zombie-movie history, and I will arm-wrestle anyone trying to convince me otherwise.

Now that you have a good sense of the line of work Tom Savini is in, please enjoy a look at the highly collectible NSFW set of Grande Illusion Trading Cards featuring some of Savini’s FX work up to 1988. I’ve also included a few images from Savini’s 2013 book,Grande Illusions: Books I & II.
 

A card from the set showing Savini at work doing the makeup for actor Ari Lehman (Jason) in 1980’s Friday the 13th.
 

 

 
More gore after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.11.2018
10:35 am
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Alan Arkin, folk singer
07.05.2018
10:59 am
Topics:
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Alan Arkin’s been one of my favorite actors ever since I saw Wait Until Dark sometime in my tween years. With the help of a switchblade hidden in a statuette of the Virgin Mary, his character, who calls himself Harry Roat Jr. or Sr. depending on the circumstance (the plot is very elaborate), was one of the most deeply sinister creations of “classic cinema” I had ever seen to that point. I can’t say I cared much for Little Miss Sunshine, the 2006 movie that finally won Arkin an Oscar, but in a wide range of movies including The In-Laws, Glengarry Glen Ross, Catch-22, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, and So I Married an Axe Murderer, Arkin has consistently supplied me (and countless others) with heaping doses of cinematic pleasure.

Arkin became truly famous around the time he appeared in Norman Jewison’s 1966 satire The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, but by then he’d packed a lifetime into his 30-odd years. In addition to being a standout member of Second City, one of the nation’s first comedy improv groups (an experience he discusses at some length in his 2011 memoir An Improvised Life), but he’d also spent several years as a participant of America’s thriving folk music scene.
 

 
In the mid-1950s, Arkin, then in his early twenties, was in a vocal/folk group called the Tarriers. That group had the good fortune to learn about a certain Jamaican folk song from a folk singer named Bob Gibson. The Tarriers had a significant hit with the song, which bears the title “The Banana Boat Song” but is more commonly known as “Day-O,” even though the song rapidly became more closely associated with a young African-American singer named Harry Belafonte. As Bob Leszczak writes in Who Did It First?: Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists, “The first single version was by the Tarriers very late in 1956 on the Glory Records label. They beat out RCA’s choice to release Belafonte’s version on a 45 by a matter of weeks. The Tarriers’ version boasts different writers—Carey, Darling, and Arkin. Indeed, the same Alan Arkin who became an Oscar winner years later.”

During the same period, Arkin released some material under his own name, including a 1955 10-inch with the convoluted title Folk Songs (And 2½ That Aren’t)—Once Over Lightly and a 1958 single with the Woody Guthrie classic “900 Miles.”

As Paul Colby observes in his memoir of his years at the Bitter End, an important folk nightclub in New York City,
 

Years later when Arkin and [Theodore] Bikel starred in the movie The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, I heard that in between takes, the movie set was very often turned into the stage of the Bitter End as both actors sang folk songs to pass the time. People like Bikel, Arkin, and Leon Bibb were very good actors, and whenever they doubled as folksingers, their performances were tremendously effective because they could really act out a song.

 
Hear Arkin’s vocal stylings after the jump…......
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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07.05.2018
10:59 am
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‘A new paradigm for females’: The Slits smashed expectations and had fun doing it (a DM premiere)
06.29.2018
08:37 am
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The Slits 1
 
Formed in 1976, the Slits were one of the earliest all-female punk bands—if not the first. The fantastic, feature-length documentary on the group, Here to Be Heard: The Story of the Slits, was recently released in theatres. It’s about to come out on DVD, and we’re happy to say we have our favorite segment from the doc to share with you.
 
The Slits 2
 
Here to Be Heard combines archival clips with new interviews of the surviving band members and notable admirers to tell the story of the Slits. The segment that’s getting its web premiere here features exciting early live footage and a spunky band interview excerpt. There’s also a look at how the Slits was covered in the media, and the ways Londoners reacted to a group of females who were smashing societal expectations on how young women presented themselves. As punk journalist Vivien Goldman puts it, “They were provocative, they were outrageous, but also they were having fun,” and doing it all on their own terms.
 
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The clip is NSFW, but what do you care?:
 

 
July 6 is the date Here to Be Heard: The Story of the Slits will be released on DVD, which will include 20 minutes of bonus content. Pre-order your copy through MVD or get it on Amazon.
 
The Slits 4
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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06.29.2018
08:37 am
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