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Keychains and Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story
09.28.2018
04:38 pm
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I’m a huge Soft Cell/Marc Almond fan and I have been ever since “Tainted Love” was a hit and their memorable 1982 Solid Gold TV appearance—where Marc beat the stage with a leather belt and generally camped it up bigtime—caused my father to become visibly agitated and angry. It was an incredibly subversive thing to see on such a goofy middle-of-the-road disco hits program—one that usually followed The Lawrence Welk Show or Hee-Haw on Saturday evenings, depending on where you lived—and I wholeheartedly approved.

From that point on, I had every Soft Cell album, EP, 12” remix, book, VHS, fan club issue, bootleg, you name it. I still have them all along with practically every Marc-related release, Dave Ball’s solo album, everything by The Grid and many things produced or remixed by Dave Ball. I even own the entire discography of Vicious Pink Phenomena. In short, I am not only qualified to properly evaluate their new career-summing box set Keychains and Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story, I am squarely within the fanboy Venn diagram that this exhaustive compilation is meant to appeal to. Truly I am the target audience for this product by any metric.

Admittedly after the above preamble, it will probably come as no surprise to anyone who has read this far to find that I’m absolutely unashamedly nuts about this compilation. If you’ve only ever heard “Tainted Love” and are intrigued enough to still be reading, this box set might be for you. I’m admittedly biased but I think it’s the best thing I’ve heard all year. Let me count the ways…
 

 
Soft Cell were—and still are—practically unknown in America. However true that statement might be, everyone in this entire country aged nine to 99 knows “Tainted Love” as it’s still played on oldies radio and in drugstores, shopping malls and supermarkets nationwide on a daily, even hourly basis. It’s playing in a CVS or a Walgreens location somewhere in America—if not several of them—right this very second. “Tainted Love” has never left the outer periphery of popular awareness since it first hit the American top ten in 1982. That song has a uniquely ubiquitous pop culture persistence, a staying power rivaled only by the likes of something by Fleetwood Mac or the Beach Boys, even if virtually no one on this side of the Atlantic has ever heard a second song by the duo who recorded it or could name the group themselves. (The more culturally savvy might have noticed the heartbreaking use of quite a long swatch of “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” in the big final scene of series two of Master of None.) Anyway, think of that as an opportunity. If you are looking for something “new” to listen to, look no further.

It’s TEN discs. Freaking TEN discs from a band who have only released four proper albums in their career and if you already own those albums—and every Soft Cell fan does—almost nothing from those albums is repeated here. (The exception is that their 2001 reunion album, the annoyingly overlooked Cruelty Without Beauty—one of the finest “comeback” albums I can think of—is excerpted heavily here with the strongest tracks present plus three great numbers left off the album that would have made it an even better release. As few heard this album, I agree with this approach. Those songs are worthy and should be heard.)

There is very little (none really) overlap with last year’s similarly packaged Marc Almond career box. Speaking of, the packaging is glossy, sturdy and first rate. The design, by Philip Marshall, is elegant and slick. The extended essay by Simon Price is terrific, even someone who has followed the duo from the start will find much new information and insight into the creation of their music and the insanity of being shoved to the forefront of the global music industry the way these two were. It’s a great story, well told and a thoroughly good read.
 

 
Here’s a rundown of what’s on each disc.

Disc #1 has each of the 12” extended versions of their Phonogram singles. With most acts, this sort of thing holds no interest for me, however with Soft Cell the opposite is true. Their extended mixes had additional verses, and new instrumentation. Ball didn’t merely slice and dice their music like everyone else, he resculpted it and redid it in a radically different fashion from the 7” and album versions. I tend to hate remixes and find them generally speaking pretty useless as a listener, but not here.

Disc #2 has the B-sides from these 12” singles. They might have only released three albums during their first incarnation, but they actually did release a fair amount of material during their brief run, issuing several extended EPs and their B-sides were never throwaways… (“Tainted Dub/Where Did Our Love Go?” which leads off this disc is included in the Spotify playlist below selected by yours truly, along with several more tracks from this disc. Note the two John Barry compositions—“You Only Live Twice” and “007 Theme”—and Barry’s obvious influence on Dave Ball and the Soft Cell sound.)

Disc #3 consists of new extended mixes of less obvious tracks by Ball that utilize, with rare exception, solely the original master tapes from the era. I didn’t expect to like this disc as much as I did, but I did like it, very much. It also made a lot of sense in the overall sequencing of the set. It might seem like a daft comparison but the way the music is broken down into its component parts and reassembled throughout this entire set reminds me of Yabby You’s Conquering Lion album in the way that the constant repetition of certain themes and phrases start to sound almost like a symphony of sorts. The mixes here sounds “analog” and not like something some smartass did on a laptop.
 

 
Disc #4 is the “curios” collection and includes the early classic “The Girl With the Patent Leather Face” along with things like their incredible “Hendrix Medley” (“Hey Joe”/“Purple Haze”/“Voodoo Chile” done ala Soft Cell will fry your mind) and the harrowing “Martin” based on the George Romero creepy loner vampire film. All of these, and the 7” edit of “Numbers”—AS IF a song based on a John Rechy novel was going to get played on the radio!!!—are included in the playlist below.

Disc #5 collects demos, early punky DIY experiments, some things recorded with MUTE’s Daniel Miller and their first release the Mutant Moments EP.

Disc #6 collects various radio sessions and the strongest tracks from their 2001 reunion album Cruelty Without Beauty. Also included are three additional tracks from those sessions that were not selected for the album, but perhaps should have been. “God Shaped Hole” is one of the best Soft Cell songs, period, so why was it left to languish on an obscure Some Bizarre compilation? (Listen for yourself as it’s included, along with their excellent cover of Frankie Valli’s “The Night,” in the playlist below.)
 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.28.2018
04:38 pm
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‘The Monkey’s Teeth,’ French cartoon written by patients in a mental hospital
09.27.2018
07:38 am
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Les dents du singe (The Monkey’s Teeth) is the directorial debut of René Laloux, the animator who made Fantastic Planet and Time Masters. This, his first short, came out of the experimental La Borde clinic at Cour-Cheverny. As supervisor of artistic activities at La Borde, Laloux staged therapeutic puppet shows with the resident malades mentaux during the years before he gave them their big break in the motion picture business. 

According to his obit in Positif, Laloux and his patients were aided in writing the screenplay for Les dents du singe by Félix Guattari, later the co-author of a number of influential books with the philosopher Gilles Deleuze; the group’s screenwriting method was something like a combination of “automatic writing, exquisite corpse, and Jung’s tests.” In 1960, Guattari was working at La Borde as a therapist. He had been drawn to the clinic by its founder, the Lacanian psychiatrist Jean Oury.

The biography Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives conveys a sense of life at La Borde:

Oury baptized his clinic as soon as it opened in April 1953, writing a constitution that he dated Year I (a tongue-in-cheek reference to the French Revolution) and that defined the three guiding principles for this collective therapeutic undertaking. The mangers were protected by democratic centralism, reflecting the Marxist-Leninist ideal that was still popular in the year of Stalin’s death. The second principle reflected the idea of a communist utopia whereby each staff member would alternate between manual labor and intellectual work, which effectively made any status temporary. Tasks were assigned on a rotating basis: everyone in the clinic switched from medical care to housekeeping, from running workshops to preparing theatrical activities. The last principle was antibureaucratic, so things were organized in a communitarian way whereby responsibilities, tasks, and salaries were all shared. Although the term “institutional psychotherapy” had not yet been coined, many of its themes were already in evidence: spatial permeability, freedom of movement, a critique of professional roles and qualifications, institutional flexibility, and the need for a patients’ therapy club.

Hollywood has not yet produced many tales about bike-riding simians meting out justice at the dentist’s office, but I expect we’ll see a “reboot” of The Monkey’s Teeth before long.

 
via Reddit

Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.27.2018
07:38 am
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David Cronenberg on Andy Warhol
09.20.2018
05:49 am
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The soundtrack CD from the Art Gallery of Ontario show
 
In between A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, David Cronenberg curated a Warhol retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario. ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA: Stars, Deaths and Disasters, 1962–1964, a selection of work from Warhol’s first years at the Factory, also appeared at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, but the AGO show was special in at least two respects.

Only the Toronto iteration of the show presented Warhol’s death and celebrity paintings alongside his early films. For instance, Cronenberg set Silver Disaster #6, Warhol’s silkscreened image of two electric chairs, in the middle of a triptych, looping the movies Kiss and Blow Job on either side. The director also recorded a soundtrack for the exhibition which he narrated himself, splicing in contributions from Dennis Hopper, Amy Taubin, James Rosenquist, and Mary-Lou Green. In a masterstroke, Cronenberg included Elvis’ recording of the title song from Flaming Star on the soundtrack; as he pointed out at the time, the Don Siegel movie that was the source for Warhol’s Elvis I and II is “about racism, and everyone dies in it, including Elvis.”

Recall that the brilliant explosion characteristic of a supernova is the moment of a star’s death. With its Ballardian preoccupations, the show might as well have been called Death Drive. Fittingly, the Guardian marked the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by running an interview with Cronenberg about his contribution to ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA.
 

David Cronenberg at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 2006 (via Seems Artless)
 
The show also provided an occasion for Cronenberg to reflect on the New York underground scene that inspired him as a young filmmaker. He told a wonderful story about Stan Brakhage’s first encounter with Warhol’s movies during a Q&A at the museum:

Stan Brakhage, who was a very hardcore—I think he just died recently, didn’t he—just very hardcore art-art-art-film maker, with work in Super 8 and 16 mm and ultimately in video, but very, very obscure, difficult, you know, not very well known except in his own circle. Andy really knew everything that was going on in New York. He knew the underground, he knew the music, and he produced the Velvet Underground’s first album, I mean, he was into everything. He knew what was going on with underground filmmakers at [Jonas Mekas’] Co-op, and at one point, once he had made a few films, Jonas Mekas told Stan Brakhage he must see this work of Andy Warhol’s.

So he watched about 16 hours of Andy’s stuff, and he came out, and he said, “This is trash! This is ridiculous, this is ludicrous, it’s nothing. I mean, it’s absolutely nothing, it’s bullshit.”

And then Mekas said, “Did you watch it at 24 frames a second?”

And he said, “Yeah.”

He said, “Stan, I want you to go back and watch it at 16 frames.” Which, of course, makes it longer. “Because if you’ve only seen it at 24, you haven’t really seen it.”

Being the hardcore guy that he was, he went back, and he sat there for, you know, 20 hours, came out, he said: “He’s a genius.” True story.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.20.2018
05:49 am
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Gorgo smash, Gorgo chomp, Gorgo roar: Gorgo comics 1961-65
09.19.2018
07:50 am
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When Ray Bradbury wrote “The Fog Horn” he probably didn’t imagine the whole bestiary of monsters his short story would inspire. Though his beast from the deep attracted by the lonesome call of a fog horn made only a fleeting appearance, it was enough to encourage producers to turn Bradbury’s story into a hit movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in 1953. The creature in this film (designed by Ray Harryhausen) was a fictional dinosaur called the Rhedosaurus, which once set loose from its cryogenic sleep deep within the frozen Arctic laid waste to New York. The allegory of a hideous giant flattening whole cities and killing thousands of innocent lives was highly topical at a time when nuclear annihilation was a mere push button away.

This ole beast partly (alongside Edgar Wallace’s King Kong which had been re-released into cinemas in 1952) inspired Japanese movie makers to come up their own reptilian giant Godzilla in 1954. (Godzilla is apparently made up from the Japanese words for “whale” and “gorilla.”) Instead of using Harryhausen’s beautiful but time-consuming and finicky stop-motion animation, the Toho studios opted to use a man in a rubber suit smashing up balsa wood sets to save on time and money.

Director of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Eugène Lourié went onto make The Colossus of New York about a cyborg that wrecks the Big Apple, before coming up with his own story of gnarly sea monster, this time one of biblical proportions Behemoth (aka The Giant Behemoth) in 1959.

Lourié then forged ahead with making his first full-color monster movie Gorgo, which was in part a homage to Godzilla and to Bradbury’s original short story, but he also pushed a strong environmentalist moral. Gorgo is really just a revenge flick of an angry mom who comes to get even with those bad guys who kidnapped her baby son. Gorgo is the name given to the kidnapped offspring—in part inspired by Medusa and by the Spartan Queen Gorgo, who was an early cryptanalyst able to discern the secret message hidden on a wooden tablet covered with wax. Gorgo’s mom is called Ogra. While most think Gorgo does all the smashing and a-chomping, it was in fact mommie dearest Ogra.

The film also has a second moral message which in this case is that a man sows his own destruction, as the film’s central characters Captain Joe Ryan (Bill Travers) and Sam Slade (William Sylvester) who capture Gorgo off the coast of Ireland chose a sinful greed of money rather than what was best for the creature and the rest of humanity.

In an obvious nod to Godzilla, the film was originally set in Japan. However, this was thought too close to the Japanese mega-monster, so Paris then Australia were considered before producers picked London as the global metropolis marked for destruction.

American producers Frank and Maurice King saw money-making potential in having Gorgo merchandise ready for the film’s release in 1961. This included toys, posters, novelization, and a series of short-lived comic books that featured Gorgo as a cross between a chomp-and-smash monster and a sometime savior of humanity who can take on aliens from outer space and other monsters who want to wipe out mankind. Twenty-three issues of the Gorgo comics were published between 1961 and 1965 by Charlton Comics. Among the many artists who worked on this rare and highly entertaining comic was Steve Ditko, who went on to co-create Spider-Man. Gorgo also appeared in a comic book spin-off series called Gorgo’s Revenge/The Return of Gorgo between 1962-64.
 
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More glorious Gorgo covers, after the jump….
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.19.2018
07:50 am
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‘Messin’ With the Boys’: The brief (& very blonde) musical career of Cherie Currie & her twin Marie
09.18.2018
08:09 am
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Cherie Currie and her twin sister (born two minutes before Cherie) Marie.
 
Shortly after The Runaways combusted two-or-so short years into their existence, vocalist Cherie Currie put out her first solo record, 1978’s Beauty’s Only Skin Deep. The album included a duet with Currie’s twin sister Marie, “Love at First Sight.” The record, supposedly produced in part by Kim Fowley (Currie has said Fowley had no involvement in the album’s production), tanked. However, the misstep didn’t stop Currie and her twin from teaming up and putting out two more albums together, Messin’ With the Boys (1980) and Young and Wild (1998). During the early 80s the Currie twins were all over the place appearing on The Mike Douglas Show (season nineteen, episode 174) and also landing featured appearances in the 1984 film The Rosebud Beach Hotel with Christopher Lee (!), and Tom Hanks’ one-time bosom buddy, Peter Scolari.

Thanks to some of the history of The Runaways’ finally being laid out in the 2010 film The Runaways (based on Cherie Currie’s 2010 book, Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway) more fans have been exposed to the band and their impact on the male-dominated world of rock and roll. According to Cherie, when the demise of The Runaways was drawing near, Fowley started spreading rumors in Japan—where The Runaways were superstars—that Currie didn’t have a twin. Then, to help stir the PR pot, he released more statements saying Currie did have a twin and the pair would soon be back to play a few live gigs in Japan. People went nuts of course and by the time Beauty’s Only Skin Deep was out, the blonde sisters were playing to crowds filled with fanatical fans. Cherie would beat out actress Kristy McNichol for the role of Annie in the 1980 film Foxes
 

Wonder twin powers, ACTIVATE! Cherie (left) and Marie (right).
 
These days, Cherie Currie keeps busy as a chainsaw artist in California running her own gallery in Chatsworth. After meeting during the recording of Messin’ with the Boys, Marie would marry Toto guitarist and vocalist Steve Lukather. Interesting side note; Cherie was once married to actor Robert Hays (Airplane‘s Ted Striker—NEVER FORGET!), and their only child Jake occasionally plays with Currie while she tours.

So if you didn’t already think Cherie Currie and her twin Marie were about as cool as they come, now you should. I’ve posted some nostalgic images of Cherie and Marie, as well great footage of the girls performing some tunes from Messin’ with the Boys and their appearance in The Rosebud Beach Hotel rocking out to “Steel,” one of the songs written by Cherie and Marie for the film’s score.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.18.2018
08:09 am
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‘It takes a little courage’: An interview with ‘Gimme Shelter’ filmmaker Albert Maysles
09.10.2018
06:08 am
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It Takes a Little More Courage is the title and opening line to a brief, all too brief, conversation with documentarian Albert Maysles (1926-2015) filmed by Alfonso Nogueroles in 2012

The gravel-voiced Maysles (pronounced May-zuls) quickly riffed on his work with brother David (1931-87) and discussed what it is needed to make a good documentary—stories.

The Maysles brothers pioneered a brand of documentary-making called Direct Cinema in which they allowed the film’s subjects to speak freely, directly, for themselves without any questions or commentary. The main inspiration for their style of filmmaking came from a rather unlikely source—Truman Capote’s non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. This book led the Maysles to “experiment in film the way Capote had experimented in literature,” or as Albert Maysles later described it:

Making a film isn’t finding the answer to a question; it’s trying to capture life as it is.

Both brothers studied psychology at Boston University and after graduating Albert went onto document psychiatric conditions in Russia, while David moved into working in Hollywood as a production assistant. David grew “disenchanted” with conventional film-making and together with Albert the brothers began making their own documentary films with David on sound and Albert on camera. Their first works together were Russian Close-Up (although only credited to Albert Maysles) and Youth in Poland. Then in 1960, the brothers joined photojournalist Robert Drew’s film company where they worked on projects alongside the likes of Richard Leacock and D. A. Pennebaker. After filming Truman Capote for the launch of his novelized work of non-fiction In Cold Blood (1966), the brothers decided to approach filmmaking in the same way Capote had documented the quadruple murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959 by Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, and detailed their subsequent trial and execution. Taking Capote’s book as their inspiration, the Maysles went onto create a new kind of revelatory documentary where the story seemingly developed organically. Their works included a look at the business of door-to-door Bible salesmen, Salesman (1969), the Rolling Stones’ fateful appearance at Altamont Gimme Shelter (1970), and the lives of two reclusive upper middle class women, a mother and daughter, who lived together on a derelict estate Grey Gardens (1976). Each of these films changed the way filmmakers thought about and made documentaries.

Nogueroles’s short film It Takes a Little More Courage is a bit like a student project and leaves you wondering how much interview was shot and how much was was edited out. On the up side, it leaves you wanting to go back and watch some of those old Maysles’ masterworks.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.10.2018
06:08 am
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First look at Waxwork’s expanded soundtracks for three Dario Argento classics
09.05.2018
03:18 pm
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Waxwork
 
Why are Dario Argento’s films so compelling? It’s largely due to his knack for matching fantastic, terrifying imagery with amazing music that fully enhances the mood. The Italian writer/director works closely with composers, which has resulted in a number of highly effective horror movie scores. He’s frequently collaborated with the prog rock band Goblin, and soundtracks for two of those films, plus Argento’s team up with one of prog’s most famous and flamboyant figures, are about to be reissued on vinyl—and in lavishly packaged, expanded editions, to boot.

This Friday, Waxwork Records will release enhanced and complete soundtracks for three Dario Argento classics: Profondo Rosso (a/k/a Deep Red (1975), Inferno (1980), and Phenomena (1985). Profondo Rosso is the first Argento film Goblin scored, while the music for Phenomena was composed by Goblin band members, Claudio Simonetti and Fabio Pignatelli, and performed by the group. Inferno is the work of the late Keith Emerson. Waxwork has produced the definitive versions of these soundtracks, with lots of previously unreleased tracks. Each release includes stunning, newly commissioned artwork and cool colored vinyl, with high quality gatefold jackets.

We’ve got a sneak peak at what Waxwork is offering; the majority of these images are making their web premiere.

Profondo Rosso:
 
PF 1
 
PF back
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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09.05.2018
03:18 pm
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Polaroids from ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’
09.05.2018
08:09 am
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Star Wars or Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, to give the film its proper title, is the single most influential, and thus arguably, the most important movie of the past fifty years. Nothing comes close to the cultural, social, and technical impact George Lucas’s sci-fi soap opera has achieved—whether you or I like it or not. It even has its own religion. Its nearest rival is probably Harry Potter or the Avengers franchise, neither of which might ever have made celluloid without the technical advances in special effects pioneered under Lucas’s direction. Whether it’s a good film/film series or not, is entirely another question.

What’s interesting, from a purely sociological point of view, is why such a fantasy epic should hold such sway—perhaps a loss of faith in religion and politics? Humanity’s overweening need for fairy tales and the comforting narrative that all will be well?

When it first opened in 1977, Star Wars looked set to be a flop as most critics hated it. Waspish pipsqueak Pauline Kael said the film was “an assemblage of spare parts” that had “no emotional grip.” Other papers described it as “unexceptional,” “corny, solemn comic-book tropes,” or just “a set of giant baubles maniupated by an infant mind.” The Washington Post was one of the very few papers to recognize the film’s merit. Critic Gary Arnold said Star Wars was ” new classic in a rousing movie tradition: a space swashbuckler.”

... a witty and exhilarating synthesis of themes and cliches from the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers comics and serials, plus such related but less expected sources as the western, the pirate melodrama, the aerial combat melodrama and the samurai epic.

Lucas worked on his Star Wars’ script for over two years. His original idea was to write a story about the relationship between a father and a son, or rather a father and his twin offspring. It grew and grew, until it became too unwieldy to film. He therefore decided to film the first third of his script as Star Wars Episode VI A New Hope, the other two thirds became episodes V and VI. The film reflects the time and culture of its day. In some respects it’s the last great all-white Boys’ Own adventure movie as the film featured only one female character Princess Leia—an intergalactic damsel in distress—and little diversity—other than James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader. This imbalance has changed over the years to the point where there is a far more racially diverse cast and female characters taking leading roles.

But Star Wars as it was known on its release in 1977 was where it all began and for good or ill, cinema is still reflecting its influence forty+ years on.
 
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More Polaroids for ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.05.2018
08:09 am
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Fictional View-Master reels for ‘The Shining,’ ‘The Warriors,’ ‘Taxi Driver,’ & more!
09.04.2018
08:50 am
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A sadly fictional View-Master package and reels for the 1980 film ‘The Shining.’
 
I came across a pretty sweet mock-up of a View-Master cover and reel for the 1982 film Fast Times At Ridgemont High posted on the Australian pop culture blog Repeat Viewing. Repeat Viewing even went so far as to create authentic-looking View-Master reels noting specific scenes from Fast Times, The Shining, An American Werewolf in London, Full Metal Jacket, and Jacob’s Ladder. This sent me off to find more reimagined View-Master covers and reels, and my Internet inquiries were rewarded with many more mock-ups of films which would be even more eye-popping, viewed through the specialized stereoscopes initially introduced in 1939.

According to the Wikipedia page on the View-Master, 65% of the world’s population is well acquainted with the brand name “View-Master.” If you didn’t have one as a kid, I’d be a bit confused because they still make variations of the little nostalgic slide-show device. And I don’t know about you, but if someone, ANYONE wanted to make adult-oriented View-Master reels, I would fully support the effort. The other images in this post were done by Nathan Martin of the blog CineCraze and Portland, Oregon artist Nate Ashley. Some are NSFW. YAY!
 

By Repeat Viewing. Other fantastic fake View-Master packaging and reels by Repeat Viewing follow.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.04.2018
08:50 am
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Dennis Hopper is private detective H. P. Lovecraft in the occult noir TV movie ‘Witch Hunt’
08.31.2018
06:23 am
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Night Tide it isn’t, but I like this cheapo TV movie with Dennis Hopper as hardboiled private dick H. Phillip Lovecraft. In Witch Hunt, the sequel to Cast A Deadly Spell, Hopper takes over the role from Fred Ward, and Paul Schrader relieves Martin Campbell of the director’s chair.

Both early nineties HBO features are set in a post-WWII Hollywood where everyone dabbles in black magic—the Portuguese title of Witch Hunt is Ilusões Satânicas, “Satanic Illusions”—and all dirty work is left to gnomes, sylphs, undines and salamanders.

Eric Bogosian plays Senator Larson Crockett, a McCarthyite anti-magic crusader whose voice emanates from every TV and radio, speechifying about the threat the dark arts pose to the American way of life. When the actress Kim Hudson (Penelope Ann Miller) hires Lovecraft to investigate her husband, the case draws them toward some mass-movement jingoistic witchery that makes Hollywood look sweet.

The score is Twin Peaks-y jazz by Angelo Badalamenti. One scene echoes Dean Stockwell’s performance of “In Dreams” from Blue Velvet, only this time it’s Lypsinka miming “I Put A Spell on You” as Hopper looks on with pain and delight.

Have a look after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.31.2018
06:23 am
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