Tag Archives | Movies

Spanish Cult Horror Director Jesus ‘Jess’ Franco Dies At 82

Beginning in 1959, filmmaker Jess Franco walked the line between art and exploitation, dreaming up underground classics that combined shock, sex, perversion, the surreal, and groovy soundtracks in groundbreaking fashion. 1970′s Vampyros Lesbos, below, established the cinematic trope of lesbian vampires. Via FEARnet:

Euro-cult great Jess Franco has passed away after producing nearly 200 films. A unique filmmaker, Franco’s work fits in a category all its own, combining art, the erotic, and the macabre into titles like Lorna the Exorcist, The Awful Dr. Orloff, Succubus, Venus in Furs and of course, the eponymous Vampyros Lesbos. While Franco isn’t to everyone’s taste, he certainly stretched the definition of erotic horror cinema.

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A True Story About a False Prophet: Kumaré

What happens when a thoroughly secular second-generation Indian-American decide to grow his hair and beard long, put on a robe and beads and present himself to spiritually lost Westerners as a Guru? Vikram Gandhi decided to find out. The results are funny, but more than a little heartbreaking. Arizona New Agers flock to his side, finding profundity in his every word and asking few to no questions about where the young spiritual teacher “Kumaré” they idolized came from and where he was taking them. Their insistence on interpreting his message of “illusion” as metaphor ultimately blinds them to the truth that he is telling them: He’s a fake, and that they don’t need a guru at all.

You can find Kumaré on Netflix Instant and a variety of other video streaming services now. Learn more about the film here.

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Libra The 21st Century Libertarian Space Colony

Dreaming of planned libertarian communities seems to be all the rage. But perhaps the only place they can succeed is in outer space. Via Smithsonian Magazine, Matt Novak on the 1978 think-tank-produced movie Libra:

Produced and distributed by a free-market group based in San Diego called World Research, Inc., the 40-minute film is set in the year 2003 and gives viewers a look at two vastly different worlds. On Earth, a world government has formed and everything is micromanaged to death, killing private enterprise. But in space, there’s true hope for freedom. Viewers get an interesting peek into what daily life is like when a Libra resident shows off her Abacus computer,  which is a bit like Siri.

The film’s vision for 2003 isn’t very pleasant — at least for those left on Earth. The people of Libra seem happy, while those on Earth cope with the world government’s dystopian top-down management of resources.

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Do-It-Yourself Animation With Terry Gilliam

Wondering how to make your life a bit more weird? Gilliam explains how to produce strange and wondrous things from household materials on the 1970s how-to series the Do-It-Yourself Animation Show. The rare television show which flips the tables by encouraging engagement, not passive consumption, of media, it was created and curated by British cartooning legend Bob Godfrey, who died this past week. Cartoon Brew explains:

The Do-It-Yourself Animation Show, which made animation accessible to the masses by taking the mystery out of the production process, was vastly influential and inspired an entire generation of kids in England, including Nick Park, who created Wallace & Gromit, and Richard Bazley, an animator on Pocahontas, Hercules, and The Iron Giant.

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LSD Concentration Camps In ‘Wild In The Streets’

If you’ve never seen the film Wild in the Streets, a lost classic of trashy hippie-sploitation, it’s well worth a viewing. Released in 1968, it envisions a dystopian near future in which counterculture-loving young people, fed up with the older generations, take over the government and rewrite the laws to center around youth and hedonism.

Under the new order, at age 35, all adults are permanently imprisoned in psychedelic re-education “mercy centers” where, as revolutionary leader Max Frost explains, “in groovy surroundings, we’re going to psyche ‘em all out on LSD.” Is it a nightmare, or a future model for a humane and fun form of euthanasia?

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X-Men: Speed Mutation

[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on December 6, 2001. Some links may have changed.]

As biotechnology and corporate gene patenting replace the bomb as our nightmare of choice, Bryan Singer’s X-Men (2000) initiates the evolution of its own history.

What is to be feared, what has a more calamitous effect than any other calamity, is that man should inspire not profound nausea; also not great fear but great pity. Suppose these two were one day to unite, they would inevitably beget one of the uncanniest monsters of the “last will” of man, his will to nothingness, nihilism.

~~ Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals

The alien essentially, as extraterrestrial or monster, is neither natural nor supernatural but fantastic. It is frequently preternatural or anomalous, a permutation of the “natural” order such as the “maladjusted” X-Men. The X-Men are mutants  freakish, genetic deviants who are feared by and often in fear of the very people they are trying to save.… Read the rest

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The Matrix: What Is Bullet Time?

[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on February 12, 2001. Some links may have changed.]

Neo: Right now, we’re inside a computer program?

Morpheus: Wild, isn’t it?

What if reality was false and your nightmares were true? Is the present the past and the future happening now?

Thomas Anderson begins examining these questions. Anderson begins having doubts about reality. He has lived in the year 1999 until he is contacted by the enigmatic Morpheus, who leads him into an alternative dimension. Now it is 200 years later, and the World has been laid waste and taken over by advanced artificial intelligence machines. Anderson questions whether he is actually in a present day city, or wired up with millions of others, blissfully unaware into a massive virtual framework (“Matrix”) in the future. The computers have apparently created a false version of 20th Century life to keep humans enslaved, while AI machines draw power from their bodies.… Read the rest

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Found: The Lost Ending To ‘The Shining’

Horror movie fans, you’ll want to check this out, courtesy of Slate:

Back on May 23, 1980, when The Shining was first released, audiences saw something slightly different from what viewers obsess over today. That’s because the next weekend Stanley Kubrick did an unusual thing: He re-cut the film, removing about two minutes from the ending, even though it was already in release. Those two minutes, like so much at the film’s ghoulish hotel, are now lost to time, unlikely to ever be seen again.

However, thanks to a Shining fan site run by Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, Shining obsessives can now get closer than they have in decades to seeing the ending themselves. The site, which is called the Overlook Hotel (Unkrich is the “caretaker”), posted the screenplay for that long lost scene just after midnight last night. Unkrich vouches that the pages are real, and the site allows you to read them for yourself.

Read the rest

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