Archive for July 19, 2008

Soap and Scissors

Posted in FILM with tags , on July 19, 2008 by dcairns

Soap!

Don’t know why the video’s anamorphically squished like that, a fellow called palecalo put this up on YouTube, not me. You can partially unsquish it by watching it from almost directly above the screen, but when I tried that I banged my head on the monitor, so DON’T.

Anyhow, this is the soap commercial in which Jean-Luc Godard first spotted Anna Karina. And she IS cute as a kitten, although a kitten probably wouldn’t look as cute in that bath, retching and spitting and bedraggled and pathetically trying to climb the sides of the tub.

Film history, folks!

Scissors!

How Awful!

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2008 by dcairns

One for the Jess Franco fans!

Franco first detailed the misadventures of demonic plastic surgeon Dr. Orloff in 1962, in GRITOS EN LA NICHE, better known as THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF. It’s a cheap ‘n’ nasty rip-off of Franju’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE, in which the titular mad scientist (American Swiss abroad Howard Vernon) is swiping the kissers of young girls to decorate the head-front of his mutilated daughter. Well, we’ve all done it.

Totally lacking the pop-surrealist poetry of the Franju classic, Franco’s film is nevertheless atmospherically shot in black-and-white, with noirish lighting effects, wide angle lens distortion, and nice tracking shots. It’s very different from the modernist noodling of later Franco breast-fests like VAMPYROS LESBOS. He leaves the zoom lens in the box this time.

Vernon’s mad scientist romped bloodily through numerous sequels by Franco and others, making him poor cousin to horror staples like Dracula and Frankenstein. He seems to have been treated as a copyright-free myth from the off, so that anybody can use him if they feel like it. His last outing, still played by Vernon, was in the glossy, cheesy, and appallingly nasty FACELESS, where he lurks in the background, allowing Helmut Berger to dominate the procedings, peeling one victim’s face off and SHOWING IT TO HER. Despite the always-ludicrous presence of Telly Savalas, Chris Mitchum, Anton Diffring and Caroline Munro (and Stephanie Audran! WTF?), the movie keeps slipping out of the realms of camp, into more upsetting territory. If you’re going to see it, turn the hot water on first. You’ll need it.

Anyhow, go HERE. Just when I was speculating what Victor Frankenstein might be getting up to nowadays! It makes perfect sense that Orloff, or maybe the SON OF ORLOFF, would wind up in such circs.

Frankenstein Goes To Hollywood

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on July 19, 2008 by dcairns

Can’t seem to stop myself thinking up alternative Frankenstein plots now. I tried the Frankenstein in Vegas variant, TONY POLAR MEETS FRANKENSTEIN (AKA INTO THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF THE DOLLS) and the Frankenstein in London one, FRANKENSTEIN HAS RISEN FROM BELGRAVIA, as well as being tickled by Douglas Noble’s suggestion of Frankenstein in Edinburgh, rubbing cadavers with Burke and Hare (after Burke is hanged, he’s horrified to wake up with his head grafted onto the body of a West Highland Terrier called Bobbie).

Frankenstein in the Future scenarios are always tempting. Since Hammer revived Dracula in A.D. 1972, and since the Baron was experimenting with freezing himself in CREATED WOMAN, why not have him come down with an incurable infection, put himself on ice, and be revived in a later age when simple antibiotics can knock his illness on the head?

FRANKENSTEIN, HITLER’S MADMAN emerges as one possibility. The quest to create the Superman has never seemed so… messy. Will the Baron save Hitler’s brain? I think he will. But horror fantasy around Third Reich themes has a tendency to get repulsively tasteless, so I shove this idea to one side.

What if the Baron revived in the ’70s, same as Dracula? But Frankenstein is on the continent, in the midst of the New German Cinema, so we get THE BITTER TEARS OF VICTOR VON FRANKENSTEIN (Fassbinder’s TV drama Pioneers in Ingolstadt also seems pertinent here). Fassbinder himself would make a great hunchbacked assistant.

I am totally up for further suggestions.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 437 other followers