Friday, August 03, 2007
A very spiffy cover, too. I can still vividly remember where I was standing in the room when this very scene was shot. I can even remember standing in the same approximate area when Michael Lennick and Lee Wilson got the idea to film a strip of television static in 16mm and project it onto this stretchy, veiny material from Rick Baker's EFX Inc. and dissolve it out to create one of the movie's most memorable images.
Seeing the format that Millipede Press' "Studies in the Horror Film" series is going to take also excites the imagination about what further entries in the series there might be. An exciting development in publishing, to be sure.
Last night, I joined the elite group of people (Roger Corman may be the only other person able to make this claim) who have recorded three full solo DVD audio commentaries in a single day -- a single night actually, as this took place roughly between midnight and 5:30 am. These commentaries are for the second round of Mario Bava releases coming later this year from Anchor Bay, and the recordings are now out the door and flying west. My voice was close to shot after the third one, but I can tell you this much: wine helps.
I promised to pamper myself today by goofing off and imbibing soothing liquids (to restore my throat, you understand), but it's turned into a work day, after all, though a pleasurable one. I started compiling my personal mailing list for the Bava book, which gave me the opportunity to call and e-mail a bunch of the book's interviewees in search of their current addresses. I got to speak on the phone with Brett Halsey and John Steiner, I left a message for Daliah Lavi, e-mailed other old acquaintences and got e-mailed back, but it seems I may have inadvertently lost touch with Richard Harrison. (If anyone within the reach of this blog knows where to find him, please let me know.) Everyone seems happy for me, excited to know the book is on the way. After all this time, it's really happening...
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Anyway, this was me twenty-five years ago. Dig those Italian frame eyeglasses. This particular Author's Photo, which finds me simultaneously posed by and broadcast on the fabled Flesh TV, was taken by the show's video effects supervisor Michael Lennick.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This is a very busy week for me, a prelude to a very busy month in fact, and I can't spare the time to write about Antonioni and his glorious work as fully as I'd like. BLOW UP and L'AVVENTURA have always been personal favorites, and when Criterion released L'ECLISSE a few years ago, it immediately vaulted past them into my Top 10: I watched it three times in three days, and then began writing an infatuated short story about the spell it cast, which work and time (again) conspired to prevent me from finishing. Once this present pile of work is out of the way, I would like very much to go back to it and complete it in tribute to this outstanding artist. Last year, "THE PASSENGER" (another of those curious films with titles in quotes, like "DON'T LOOK NOW" and "THESE ARE THE DAMNED") was finally released on DVD, a magnificent film about life, identity, and mortality.
Antonioni's films were often criticized for being too nihilistic, but I don't see them as nihilistic as much as conscious and accepting of the human condition. Just because they are cerebral doesn't mean they are without spirit. "THE PASSENGER" is actually the ideal film to watch if you seek the comfort of knowing that only what Antonioni was, as a man, is dead. What he is and always was, as energy, survives -- I believe the film subtly expressive of this philosophy, that this world is no one's final destination, that we are all merely passengers, our present identity in quotation marks (as well as question marks). Needless to say, his films remain with us as his representatives.
Today, I send a loving genuflection halfway around the world today to one of my favorite filmmakers, Eric Rohmer -- who recently turned 87 -- in the hopes that he can keep his name out of the headlines for awhile.
Monday, July 30, 2007
"Got it. It's not a band, it's a company. It's not a concert, it's a gig." "Humour me..." "Not for long."
Cutting-edge guests didn't necessarily guarantee a cutting-edge interview; his legendary sit-down with John Lydon and Keith Levene of Public Image Limited is a classic example of "failure to communicate," and I can also well remember a joint appearance by James Brown and football great Jim Brown, who apparently showed up at the studio one evening unannounced, requesting airtime on TOMORROW to discuss solutions to the problems facing black youth... in which it quickly transpired that the two JBs really had nothing to offer except that more young black people should look up to role models like them. It turned out to be a fairly bare-faced, smug-assed ego stroke that left Tom so baffled that he spent the next on-air segment scratching his head over why the interview hadn't worked. Very candid, very brave -- and it momentarily turned galling television into great television.