Friday, December 30, 2016

Curtains (1983)

Curtains is a Canadian horror/suspense film that began production in 1980, but due to problems (tensions between producer and director perhaps chief among these difficulties) did not premiere in the United States until early 1983. The vibes were so bad that upon completion of the film, director Richard Ciupka had his credit changed to Jonathan Stryker, the name of the director in Curtains.

The movie did not find much of an audience theatrically but gained a second life through cable showings and video rentals, which is where I found it on a video store shelf around 1984.

Samantha Eggar stars as Samantha Sherwood, an incredibly committed actress who has herself thusly committed to a mental institution as method preparation for the title role in director Jonathan Stryker's (played by ham handed favorite John Vernon) newest film Audra. When Samantha finds out that Stryker has tapped several actresses to audition for Audra at a secluded estate; she breaks out angry and with revenge on her mind.

Curtains makes great use of the wintry setting and creates an increasingly chilly atmosphere with highlights being a creepy doll and a mask wearing murderer, wielding a nasty sickle.

the trailer

the feature

The Birthday Party - 1983 - Minneapolis

The Birthday Party
6 April 1983 
First Avenue 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 

01. Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow)
02. The Six Strings That Drew Blood
03. Deep In The Woods
04. Dead Joe
05. Swampland
06. Fears Of Gun
07. Wild World
08. Big Jesus Trash Can
09. Sonny's Burning
10. She's Hit
11. 6" Gold Blade
12. Pleasure Avalanche

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Asparagus (1979) Suzan Pitt

Hand drawn over a span of five years, Suzan Pitt's animated short Asaparagus was released in 1979. Full of lush saturated colors and heavily sexual symbolic scenes that flow effortlessly and dreamlike amongst a surreal backdrop that is also in near constant motion. Non linear, the film presents many questions and leaves much to be interpreted by the viewer themselves.

Asparagus found an additional audience when it played at early midnight runs of David Lynch's similarly surreal and symbol heavy debut film Eraserhead. Pairing the films together was a genius move.

Asparagus (1979)

Persistence of Vision 
Suzan Pitt a film
by Blue and Laura Kraning

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Butthole Surfers - 1988 complete SNUB-TV interview

Butthole Surfers
complete interview
at home in Texas 
19 May 1988 
portions were used for a segment on 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Willard (1971)

Directed by Daniel Mann (Our Man Flint, The Revengers, Playing for Time) and released in 1971, Willard preceded, perhaps even helped influence, a wave of movies that followed highlighting either wild animals on the attack (Jaws, Grizzly, Bug) and/or social misfits getting violent revenge on their tormentors (Carrie).

Bruce Davison stars as the title character, a sad sack who deals with beratings and belittlings from all avenues of his life, especially from his widowed mother and domineering boss. After the emotional defeat of coming home to a birthday party his mother has thrown, populated by her older friends exclusively, Willard bonds with a rat in his backyard. This one rat quickly becomes a multitude, with Willard developing a bond and establishing communication with his rodent pals. Willard then puts the rats into service righting the many wrongs he feels have burdened his existence. 

The film was popular at the box office, inspiring a sequel and years later a Crispin Glover led remake. Sondra Locke appears in one of her earliest film roles as a love interest for Willard while Elsa Lanchester appears in one of her final cinematic roles as his over bearing mother. Ernest Borgnine pushes Willard around as the duplicitous, business stealing boss.

the trailer

the feature

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922)

Released in 1922, the film Häxan is a Swedish/Danish co-production that was written and directed by Benjamin Christensen and it remains his most discussed as well as most viewed film. The director also gave himself the notable role of the Devil in the film.

Curious about the subject after purchasing a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th-century German guide for inquisitors battling demonic forces, Christensen wanted the film to illustrate how long standing superstitions along with ignorance of the many forms of mental illness combined to fuel anti-witch hysteria.

Ostensibly a documentary, the film also contains many elaborate set pieces that rival most horror films and for the time of it's production Häxan was a proto-blockbuster and the costliest Scandinavian silent film made, with costs soaring to near two million Swedish kronor.

the trailer

the feature