Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Charming Films of William Grefe

When life becomes confounding, the cinema of William Grefe always gives me hope for better tomorrows.

The Sting Of Death (1966) - Are you privy to the unknown terror that is the mutant jilla-jalla-jellyfish? Neil Sedaka knows. He sings the songs ("Do The Jellyfish" and "Don't Be Stingy Baby") featured in this film.

The Naked Zoo (1970) - The only film Rita Hayworth ever did with Canned Heat!

Stanley (1972) - It is kinda like the film Ben, but with snakes not rats.

Impulse (1974) - If you prefer your serving of William Shatner more on the insane side....

Jaws of Death (1975) - It is like Ben and Stanley, but with a shark not rats or snakes.

Whiskey Mountain (1977) - The film is a funky-smelling graduate of the Deliverance School of Hillbilly Psychotics. It features the thin and sinister countenance of the late John Davis Chandler. He also appeared in two other Grefe films - Jaws of Death and The Hooked Generation. He's singularily terrifying in the latter film in the role of junky/rapist known only as...Acid.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Synths in the Sand with Jean Michel Jarre

There is a lot to dig here. Jean playing his banks of synths in the desert. An over-use of the zoom lens. Eerie, cryptic images from the album's cover painting.

The video is so delightfully odd it could easily be a dream sequence from an Italian film made sometime in the 1970s.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tidbits of Ephemera or The Year National Lampoon Goosed E.M. Forster.

Did you know that during a long bout of writer's block Dashiell Hammett decided to cash in on the popularity of his Thin Man (Nick Charles) character by creating a detective who was, well, um, a Fat Man?


Did you know that Merchant Ivory Productions (mainly known for their fancy-trousered film versions of novels read in upper level English Literature classes) once put together an absurd, little art film (co-written by genius Michael O'Donoghue ) that has more in common with Luis Buñuel than Henry James?


Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Outlandish Career of David Hess

Actor David Hess makes me very uncomfortable.


The man exudes psychosis.

He's no Steve Railsback (another fine actor who can project perfect lunacy) acting-wise, but Hess can make my skin crawl without saying a word. The man has the sort of face that projects wrongness. From hitching a ride with Franco Nero and Corinne Clery or hanging in a swamp with Adrienne Barbeau, when Mr. Hess appears on the screen, you can guarantee someone is going to get raped or sliced or punched.

But Mr. Hess is more than meets the eye.

This portrayer of the unhinged is truly a jack-of-all-artistic trades.

His career is outlandishly amazing!

He lends a particularly untouchable vileness to his portrayal of Krug Stillo - one of the group psychotics in the original Last House on the Left (1972).

He uses a more gentle touch when it came to the songs he wrote and sang for that film's soundtrack:

Six years before that, Elvis Presley recorded one of his ("Sand Castles") compositions. The film is on the soundtrack LP to Elvis' film, Paradise, Hawaiian Style, but it was not used in the film.

The next time you see Hess making like a lunatic in a film remember that the fellow on the screen once composed a song with lyrics that mention a crab playing a violin on the back of a dancing whale.

It might make you feel better.