Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite wishes he could relive the year of 1982.
It wasn’t bad year in pop culture history, I suppose. Except for when The Equal Rights Amendment didn’t make enough votes to pass in congress. That kinda sucked as Phyllis Schlafly and the good old Christian right reveled its its defeat. Former Saturday Night Live alumni and converted punk rocker John Belushi (Belushi was a huge fan of the L.A. punk band Fear) dies from a drug overdose. So there was consolation in Atari 2600 video games and the creation of the CD player. Across the Atlantic, Princess Diana gave birth to her first son William. Meanwhile onward British soldiers as they fought in the Falklands War.
One of the top grossing films of that year was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. However, when everyone else was oohing and ahhing over that butt-ugly alien, there was a few horror fans across the sleazier side of town. They were asking what was in the basket.
Basket Case is a 1982 horror classic totally worth checking out. It’s definitely a proud addition to my own personal DVD collection. The director, Frank Henenlotter went on to produce another horror classic in 1990 titled Frankenhooker.
Without no further hesitation, here’s the trailer to the original Basket Case:
It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it. – Andy Warhol
The year 1977 was a pivotal year in modern history. England was having its royal Jubilee, celebrating twenty-five years of Elizabeth II’s reign. Meanwhile Punk Rock came into prominence as The Sex Pistols sang “God Save The Queen.” Punk and HipHop was holding its own as well in the big bad rotten apple. Places such as CBGB’s and The Bronx became meccas of rising new musical movements. The World trade Center opened officially in New York City. Elvis Presley went on to that peanut butter and banana sandwich in the sky. Marc Bolan from T-Rex joined Elvis after a nasty car crash. Apple Computers incorporated while Son of Sam followed some dog’s orders. Let’s not forget that legendary blackout in NYC, followed by looting and mass chaos.
Meanwhile, as the year of pandemonium unfolded, Andy Warhol decided to do something other than hanging with the ‘beautiful people’ over at Studio 54. Not being satisfied with being the premiere pop artist, Interview magazine and being invited all the best parties, Warhol added film producer to his list.
Out of all the Warhol films, this one is a personal favorite of mine. This cast consisted of Caroll Baker, Susan Tyrell, TV movie expert Perry King, 70s rock sceneser Cyrinda Foxe, and a few Factory regulars, like Brigit Polk. The plot goes a little something like this…Hazel (Carroll Baker) runs a electrolysis service out of her kitchen in Queens, New York. However, her real source of money is managing a small time murder racket, and assigning various ruthless women to these jobs. Kinda brings a new meaning to the saying ‘it’s a nasty job, but someone’s gotta do it.’ Hazel prefers to deal with women, but K.T. (Perry King) come into the scene begging for work. Reluctantly, Hazel lets him board inside her private residence along with the other female associates. K.T. chats with the other residents, including Hazel’s daughter-in-law, mopey welfare recipient Mary. Meanwhile a corrupt local cop keeps on harassing Hazel for arrest leads, but she’s not in the mood for snitching. I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you. If you manage to find a decent DVD copy of this flick, its worth checking out.I discovered this cinematic nasty in the guise of a local VHS video rental. I was in my late teens living in Astoria, Queens. It seemed to blend so well together; a woman from Queens with a vicious disposition, produced by Andy Warhol with an underlining dark sense of humor. So if you like John Water’s early stuff, you’ll probably dig this.
Plus if you ever grew up in Queens, or anywhere in NYC for that matter, I will guarantee you that you probably knew someone just like Hazel. Perhaps someone similar to Hazel’s structure was living right next door to you, and you didn’t even know it.
Below is the trailer for the film itself. This is one of those rare cases where the trailer actually delivers on its promise. Oh, and one of the movie’s most infamous scenes is when some unfeeling bitch throws her baby out of an apartment window. In real life that particular actress, Susan Blond later went on to become a music executive and well respect publicist.
Ah, what the hell. In case you can’t find a copy of Bad on either DVD or VHS, here’s the baby throwing scene:
I’ve been in a real sour mood as of late. Won’t bore you with the details…but as I headed towards the fridge to warm up some Trader Joe samosas, I glanced upon this:
Advertisement postcard from 1998/99 for Sauza tequila.
Another reminder regarding the realities of life. The last word in disillusionment.
So when someone tells you that everything is an illusion, believe it.
Then again, don’t always believe everything you read, hear, see, breathe or eat…
Welcome to the weekly movie trailer of the week. This is where I share with you, the retro peepshow of cinematic sleaze. Since this is only the second week of film trailer madness, I promise that it shall get only sleazier.
This week shall be no exception. I introduce to you a classic from the year 1974. Among Nixon, Evel Knievel and Ted Bundy, was the post-psychedelic erotica spoof of Flesh Gordon. Originally rated X, it was later re-released with an R rating. Not to be confused with Flash Gordon, it was still slightly impressive with the Ray Harryhausen influenced stop-motion animation. The flick wasn’t as ‘wholesome’ as Jason and the Argonauts, but at least it was bong-appropriate.
Believe it or not, there was actually a sequel to Flesh Gordon, titled Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders. However, do yourself a favor and skip it. It wasn’t sexy nor funny, but rather just a complete waste of time. Besides not being boner worthy, it suffers from the curse that sometimes falls upon pornos and comics: outdated fashions. Although the film was released in 1989, it looks as if the styling came straight out of 1985. Bleh.
I recently caught a home viewing of Flesh Gordon along with a double feature of 1980’s Flash Gordon. Flash might’ve had the Queen soundtrack, but at least Flesh went both ways on camera (containing both straight and gay sex scenes). I think Flesh and Flash can still be friends though, since they’re both rather on the campy side.
It’s been a minute since I’ve updated this blog. Not that you’ve been waiting in anticipation or anything like that. A-hem.
Since ‘cult’, ‘midnight’, ‘exploitative’, or ‘grindhouse’ films rock my world, I decided to share my love with you.
Back when MySpace was the number one time waster (three years ago), I used to post a Babalon Babes and Psycho Bunny pic of the week. It was something that I’ve enjoyed a lot. Unfortunately in 2007, thanks to life’s little curve balls, got sidetracked. Tried to start this up again in 2008, but by then everyone and their mother moved over to Facebook. I’m just as guilty, so check out my group on Facebook: facebook comic con/michele witchipoo. Basically MySpace became the Norma Desmond of the internet. Just like in the 1950 flick Sunset Boulevard, she waits patiently for her last closeup.
Speaking of movie madness, I’m going to try something different; a movie trailer of the week.
Here’s a trailer from the year 1973. The same year that brought us Deep Throat, Roe Vs. Wade, An American Family, Dark Side of The Moon, and Watergate. The same year that NYC celebrated the opening of the World Trade Center, and 42nd street grindhouse was in full swing. This film opened in 1973 as well. Perhaps not as historic, but hey. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen this film either. My guess is that like others, the trailer is usually more entertaining than the movie itself. Here goes; Cannibal Girls!
“In my movies, everyone’s in love with Joe Dallesandro.” – Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol ‘Superstar’ and premiere male sex symbols of 60s/70s Underground cinema. With that said, it can be summed up as this; today at age 61, Joe Dallesandro is an iconic living legend.
For those not familiar with Warhol-lore, here’s a quick crash course. Born in Florida, raised rough in NYC. He first supported himself as a teenage prostitute and nude model.
Sometime in 1967 Joe met Andy Warhol and filmmaker Paul Morrissey. Together they cast Dallesandro immediately in “The Loves of Ondine.” The rest is underground cinematic history. His turn as a hustler in 1968’s ‘Flesh’ introduced him to the mainstream as well as the underground.
In addition to being photographed by Francesco Scavullo, Jack Robinson, Richard Avedon, he has graced two famous album covers. One was the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ and later on in the early 80s with The Smiths’ self titled debut.
After finishing Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol’s Dracula (both 1974) Joe decided to stay in Europe. For the next ten years he acted in a variety of Italian films. During the 1980s, Little Joe and his crude tattoo made his U.S. comeback. The best known of the current wave of roles; Francis Ford Coppla’s ‘The Cotton Club’ and John Waters’ ‘Crybaby.’ During the 1990s, Joe modeled for a Calvin Klein fashion ad. According to Wikipedia, Dallesandro is married for the third time, and currently lives in Los Angles.
If all else, Joe Dallesandro will always be immortalized in the Lou Reed song “Walk On The Wild Side.”
Little Joe never once gave it away
Everybody had to pay and pay
A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City’s the place where they say,
Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
I said, Hey Joe
Take a walk on the wild side
I just found out that Joe Dallesandro has a documentary about himself making the rounds, titled ‘Little Joe.’ In promotion of that film, here’s a link to a video, Joe being interviewed by onetime club kid (Party Monster/Disco Bloodbath) James St. James:
The first wave of the Batcave movement, later to be evolved to what is now known as Gothic began in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It’s (hair)roots can be traced to the United Kingdom. Submerging elements of Glam Rock, Psychedelic, Punk/Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, New Wave, and a bit of synthesizer created a genre still popular today. Unfortunately, although the term “Goth” has become overused and mainstreamed, this particular subculture broke off into a variety of other underground sub-genres. Some of the sub-genres listed include Darkwave, Industrial and some Electronica.
Some of the most known bands to emerge from the Goth movement range from Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. There was lesser known groups as well: Specimen, Christian Death, Xmal Deutschland, The Virgin Prunes, Skeletal Family…etc., etc. You could go in the direction of Alien Sex Fiend, or you entrance yourself in the ethereal/4AD sounds of such bands like Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil. Newer bands from the 1990s and 2000s include Bella Morte, and London After Midnight. Some of the older bands later shed the Goth label, finding commercial success. Others remained underground with small cult followings, most fading into obscurity.
I remember Danse Society fondly. Suppose it was due to the fact that it brings nice memories of being a teen. I was just starting to learn about Alternative music. Plus the lead vocalist (Steve Rawlings) was easy on the eyes. There was a single this band had released titled “Say It Again.” Despite a more peppier sound than their earlier tunes, it was still a good song.
Considering that iTunes has some early Deathrock ditties like “Sex Beat” available, you would think “Say It Again” would be as well. No such luck. In fact, iTunes has two albums for purchase: the 1986 album “Looking Through” and the 2001 compilation “Seduction.” However missing was the later single “Say It Again.” Sigh….somehow this is typical of iTunes.
So once again we turn to that modern phenomenon called YouTube. This was the best copy of the promotional video I could find:
Immediately after hearing the news, I thought about the Eddie Murphy skit from Saturday Night Live. The one where Murphy played a bitter cigar chomping character…”I’m Gumby dammit!” So of course I hit YouTube for clip, but no avail. So I found this:
After Art and Ruth Clokey found success with Gumby, the Lutheran Church in America came a-calling. Somehow this religious organization had $1 million to fund Christian propaganda aimed at America’s youth. Each episode had Davey and his talking dog Goliath involved in a series of dilemmas. However, as long as these two put their faith in God, a happy ending would be bestowed upon them.
Still it would be strange that such a nice Christian boy wouldn’t question on how or why his pet dog had the ability to talk. Davey wasn’t the only one with a talking dog. Didn’t David Berkowitz have the same problem? Supposedly serial killer Son of Sam dealt with a similar situation. Someone should introduce these two; imagine the conversations they would have together, about canines, mass media and the bible. (Berkowitz became a born-again Christian after he was incarcerated.) Check that Moral Orel!
Seriously though…despite the Christian overtones, it managed to be entertaining without prophesizing too much. I remember fondly watching reruns on syndication during my wee kiddie years on a local NYC television station. Within the past ten years I’ve even considered getting Davey and Goliath action figures. Quite sure these collector items would make a great addition to my home.
So before this post ends, I will leave you with the original opening credits to the Gumby show:
If there was ever a creative polymorphic polysexual combined with an overall slightly misanthropic attitude, this would be it:
Leigh Bowery was born under the sun sign of Aries on March 26 1961. Among many of his vast achievements, he was performance artist, fashion designer, club promoter, musician and muse. Later in life before his death, Bowery formed the Pop band Minty, best known for the tune of “Useless Man.”
His influence continues to glitter to this very day, ranging from international club kids, choreography, design, music and painting. The British musical Taboo was based partial on Bowery’s tenure in the London club scene. In addition, Boy George penned a song about Bowery titled “Satan’s Butterfly Ball.” Continuing to pay tribute to Bowery, Boy George would make public appearances dressed as Leigh during the US promotion of “Taboo.”