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Amazing vinyl toys of Bill Murray, Mighty Boosh, IT Crowd, The Shining & Christopher Walken

Tubbs & Edward from The League of Gentlemen

UK-based advertising and design company A Large Evil Corporation has these amazing vinyl dolls they’re creating daily for their blog to get into the Halloween spirit. I’m completely drooling over the The League of Gentlemen and Mighty Boosh vinyl toys. I never thought in a million years I’d see Tubbs and Edward dolls! They’re just brilliant!

Keep checking out A Large Evil Corporation’s blog as they’re adding new ones all the time. I’m curious as who or what they’ll do next (and if one can purchase these masterpieces? It’s unclear.) Maybe a Jill Tyrell figure (played by Julia Davis) from the dark British comedy Nighty Night?

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Christopher Walken

The Hitcher from The Mighty Boosh

The Torrances from The Shining
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Can you spot all of the Star Wars icons discreetly tucked away in these photographs?
07:38 am


Star Wars

Photographer Thomas Dagg created his “Star Wars” series as a sort of homage to his childhood, a time when the films pervaded his imagination on a daily basis. As a kid, he would draw space ships onto magazine photography; this work is merely a more sophisticated version of that same sort of superimposition. It’s the subtlety of the shots that really make the pictures interesting, as if the characters and vehicles are unremarkable details in a mundane setting. Some of them you have to strain to find.

Most of the scenes feature Dagg’s own childhood toys and action figures, only two use shots from the movies. (Careful buddy, that’s the kind of thing that will get you sued!) Honestly, even before noticing the ewoks and AT-ATs, the pictures themselves are beautiful, with a use of light and contrast that creates a quiet intimacy.


More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Think Pink: Angelyne, the billboard queen of Los Angeles
07:34 am


Robinson Devor

All over Los Angeles in the mid-1990s were high-hoisted billboards in tribute to a pneumatic blonde named “Angelyne,” who peered over sunglasses to her admirers below. This was when I first visited the city in fall of 1994 and found that no matter where I traveled there was always a giant monument to Angelyne, the billboard queen—or as I thought of her, Our Lady of Los Angeles. When I asked who and what and why? no one knew much other than to say in that kinda laid back Angeleno way, “Oh, that’s Angelyne—she’s famous for being famous,” as if this somehow explained everything.

Famous for being famous?

I suppose it did in some kind of a way make sense and captured something of the hope people have for the great American dream, where anything or everything is supposedly possible. And in an unconsidered way, she seemed an appropriate metaphor for LA and Hollywood. For many years Angelyne’s billboards were LA landmarks, even earning her a cameo (via one of them) in the opening to the 80s TV series Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.
Angelyne is an actress and a model and a singer and an artist and… she even ran for governor of California in 2003, where she polled 2,536 votes. She still sometimes appears in movies and exhibits her childlike portraits in galleries across LA, but no one really seems to know any more about her than they did back in 1994, or even 1984 when those giant pink “Angelyne” billboards first blossomed over Sunset. (For instance WHO was footing the bill for these billboards?)

In 1995, a young filmmaker named Robinson Devor made a short film about Angelyne. Devor is a highly talented, genuinely brilliant maverick filmmaker whose work includes the movie The Woman Chaser and the disturbing award-winning hybrid documentary Zoo about the death of a man after intercourse with a horse. But long before all this (and sadly many other unrealized projects), Devor shot a grainy B&W documentary on Angelyne, which looks almost like a taster tape for a longer doc—but still its five minute + running time probably says all that needs to be said about Our Lady of LA, Angelyne.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Ugly Xmas sweaters inspired by ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Fargo’
12:17 pm



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

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

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


Star Wars

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

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



via Animal

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


Dream Syndicate

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Ghostbusters” covers commence after the jump…

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


The Shining

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

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

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


Educational Films
British Transport Films

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here it is, The Finishing Line:

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


Herb Freed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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