Soft Black

tumblr_nbvgj0tEbm1thrcsao3_1280“Soft Black” is the title of the fashion editorial featuring black, lacy dark couture and ‘Gothly-Golightly styled attire…lensman Edoardo Marchiori shoots model Alexina Graham here for Italian Glamour magazine, back in 2011.

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UK Horror

tumblr_nbvduslVws1rf1hlxo2_1280From Spook Show Vixens at Tumblr, a lovely group of covers of the UK horror-comics magazine Dracula (odd title, wasn’t it, since it wasn’t really a ‘Dracula’ magazine, as such). I have (or used to have, not sure) just one copy of a Dracula, the issue with the lovely vampiress in the white linen gown on an olive backdrop above. Good stuff.

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Noir Is A Color: Bruno Dayan

1If you want to post arresting images from fashion and art photographer Bruno Dayan, you could fill a blog with them, of course.

Dayan was born in London, but grew up in Montreal, Canada, studying film and art at Concordia University. In his second year in college, his short film “Vie d’eau” was selected to run at the Cannes Film Festival. He started his professional photography career in the Toronto fashion scene, but after traveling on assignments to Asia, decided to relocate to Tokyo, where I believe he’s still residing.

2Sometimes I remark that “Noir Is A Color”, meaning simply that the ‘noir aesthetic’ (whatever that really is) and ‘noir themes’ aren’t necessarily as simple as deeply shadowed black and white film and images. “Noir” has come to mean much more in both pop and serious culture, and often, despite what the word technically means, Noir Is A Color. And that’s what these Bruno Dayan images show us, I think.

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Herzog chatting in Fango.

tumblr_nbve9sbu7o1thrcsao1_1280Fangoria #334 isn’t the latest issue, but it’s the last one I’d purchased (being only an infrequent newsstand buyer). Vampire enthusiasts (and I’d count myself among that lot) wouldn’t be disappointed with this issue. Along with all the usual Fango grotesque gore-fest visuals and EFX horror-porn – and really, what else can we call some of those images – is an in depth 5-page interview with cinema auteur Werner Herzog about his 1979 remake of F. W. Murnau’s 1922 silent classic Nosferatu. There’s even a two-page spread pull-out poster of that film’s memorable poster.

Now I know this will be considered downright sacrilegious among the children of the night’s smarter set (but followers of this or my other blogs know that I never put on airs or have any pretensions about cultural intellectualism) but I’m not really a huge fan of Herzog’s film. Like it. But, don’t love it. It has its loyal devotees. It’s filled with absolutely stunning visuals. But for myself, I’ve never quite understood why the great director wanted to make this film in the first place, anymore than I could fathom Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho. Or any remake, for that matter.

tumblr_nbve9sbu7o1thrcsao2_500In the article, Herzog tells interviewer (and Fangoria editor) Chris Alexander that he feels that Murnau’s 1922 classic is “the finest Germany has to offer when it comes to cinema”, though he was actually turned on to the film by German film critic and writer Lotte Eisner just a few years before embarking on making his own version. The why of Herzog’s decision to make this film is never explained, but the how is related in great detail, with lots of behind the scenes anecdotes about stars Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani, production gaffes, trivia and so on. So, fans of this dark and eerie modern-day vampire classic should track down a copy of Fangoria’s July 2014 issue…I think they’ll find it to be great reading.

tumblr_nbve9sbu7o1thrcsao3_1280So…here’s the real sacrilege: I think 1979 did offer vampire and Dracula lovers an excellent (and woefully under-rated) vampire film, but not Herzog’s Nosferatu. No, it’d be John Badham’s Universal production of Dracula with Frank Langella. Given a choice, I’ll go with dark Gothic romantic horror, I guess. Particularly when punctuated expertly with nifty bits of jarring horror amidst the lush romance. So, call me a cultural nitwit if you will, but I choose the Hollywood pro over the European autuer.

Like a kid waiting for Christmas…

tumblr_nbvdsp19VI1thrcsao1_1280Just over a month to wait: Got my tickets already for a regular theatre showing of 1931’s Dracula. Not some showing at the local library’s little theater room, not a film society’s 100-seat theater or a college auditorium. Nope, the real thing, a regular commercial theater: Big screen, theater seating, great sound system. Charles D. Hall’s grand and magnificent sets. Todd Browning’s infuriating and quirky direction. Karl Freund’s camerawork, the great Bela Lugosi in his trademark role, Dwight Frye gleefully hamming it up…Jeez, I get shivers just thinking about it.

tumblr_nbvdsp19VI1thrcsao3_1280 Oddly enough, for all my lifelong adoration and countless viewings of the classic Universal 1930’s – 1940’s horror films, I’ve never seen a single one in a real theater.

Whenever an enterprising venue might offer one, usually as a Halloween related event, I’ve been unable to attend. This one is in the daytime, unfortunately — I’d much rather leave the building after that near-religious experience into a nice, dark parking lot, ideally cloaked in some chilly October fog.

But oh — to finally see that all-important very-first English language U.S. made supernatural sound horror film, that granddaddy of ‘em all…I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas, let me tell you.

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Art-House Sleaze

12I may be missing the fifties horror-schlock-silliness of The Thing That Couldn’t Die, but I won’t be out all night, and TCM is running Luis Bunuel’s 1967 Belle Du Jour, followed by 1962’s Walk On The Wild Side. Not sure if I can catch either, both, or just some of each…and yes, as is usually the case, I have them both on DVD, and I’ve seen them both before. But these are tawdry classics, titillation for the period art-house crowd, and not to be missed. Hmmm…

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It’d be okay if this one did die…

PosterWell, this is the second week in a row that I’ll be out and missing Svengoolie on Saturday evening (9:00 PM CST on MeTV), but since the show seems to be ‘in-between its library of Universal, Hammer and 50’s Sci-Fi classics, that’s okay.

Still 1Tonight it’s The Thing That Couldn’t Die, another mish-mash of gothic horror and TV-style Westerns, and it’s a mix that just doesn’t want to work no matter how often Hollywood studios insisted on trying. This one has no gun-slinging vampires like Curse of The Undead from just a year earlier (and aired on Svengoolie just a few weeks ago), but instead, the haunted head of an executed 400 year-old sorcerer that causes all sorts of telepathic mayhem and wickedry among the modern-day ranchers. It’s no surprise that Mystery Science Theater had at it with this flick…its prime fodder for their witty way of poking fun at the long list of genre films that deserve skewering.

Still 2October’s coming soon enough, though, and Svengoolie has never let me down in previous years, so I’ll look forward hopefully to a four-week string of classics each Saturday night.

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