From time to time here on this page, Rick Grimes will be adding his own thoughts on various specific subjects of interest, beginning April 2009. The following 'recommended' items are all courtesy of Rick Grimes exclusively. For other less specific general 'recommended' items, visit the following two such pages as listed in this site's index on your left.
REGARDING JOHN WATERS...
RICK GRIMES:"Tho' I certainly like a lot of the notorious "Pink Flamingos"--its overall crazed concept & fetching design, the invertedly contrasting Bozo color harmonies of Mink Stole and David Lochary; (cl)-ass-ic lines: 'Someone has mailed me a BOWEL Movement!'', [actually his own]; Babs's righteous anger over her claim to dubious fame; the unused, disk add-on of the skipping threesome reciting pig Latin; and especially, Mary Vivian Pearce's sweet, childlike call-to-murder, "Rivers of Gore! Rivers of Gore!". I find myself saying these things.
I used to tell my mom she was the Egg Lady. She was a big fan of [John] Waters, too. We always caught his TV appearances and interviews.
But, excepting the original "Hairspray" as her entry into his films, our favorite was Polyester, which we saw all the way throo numerous times.
Her faverit scenes were when 'Francine' first sees Tab Hunter's character leaning on his car, and later when, at the art film party, coming out of the room having snorted cocaine---"I got a date with an ANGEL!"
And we especially loved when 'Freddy' comes to pickup 'Lulu'---"I believe I have a date with her, Bobo..", then fleeing in a Buick Skylark, the car we used to have for decades. And 'Cuddles', (Edith Massey's) cheerfulness. I love when she tries to hide behind the way-too-skinny tree. "Heinz! Heinz! Oh,... hurry, Heinz."
Other moments I always wait for and treasure, never failing to crack up at them---Francine: "Elmerrr, dinnerr!"...Elmer: "I'm in here WAIT-in' for it!!". and, shortly, "Choose your words with care and I won't get riled!".
When she begins praying beside the bed, Elmer, tugging off his thin socks while lying down, huffs with incredulity, "What the Hell are YOU doin'?... I've got a NUN for a wife!".
He also drives around and around on their street block, a speaker horn mounted on the roof, calling out, for all the neighbors to hear, "She is the HAIRIEST woman I have ever seen..", and, "She can eat an ENTIRE CAKE in one sitting."
I 'can't' see how anyone could not laugh at this film, and see that it is an almost exact example of how people really behave.
My other favorite, ( many early ones have yet to appear on TV except as clips), is the once impossible-to-see, now frequently shown, (on Sundance), "Female Trouble".
It is fraught with costume changes, (enough & suitable for a paper doll set-- beige & plaid standard-for-the-day school 'drabs', lavender 'Liz' outfit, pubically see-throo wedding gown, aquamarine leopard print , blue prison 'sack'), as 'Dawn Davenport' hurtles throo the years of her bizarre life, from surly teen chomping on a submarine sandwich in class, pushing over the Xmas tree and being raped by himself, (in another role), through marriage to her hairdresser, modeling 'career' and facially-mutilated fame as a murderess on the way down Death Row. "Pretty, Pretty?"
Divine's trademark rasp and 'daughter Taffy', both shrieking snot-nose child actor as well as Mink Stole's pugnacious brat, can wear a bit on the nerves. But, it's all funny.
Actually, it's the first Waters film I saw trace of, at the Kubert school in a fanzine, a line portrait of Divine with more-than-fair hints of acid-burned, Mohawk glory!?!
Later, there was the Danny Peary 'Cult Movies' book checked out of the Dover library. And sighting of small poster, in New York, for the then recent Desperate Living, (which I still have not seen).
Speaking of books, I highly recommend the 2004 compilation, "JOHN WATERS--- Change of Life ", full of his museum show, photo series, many taken from film sequences and combined with pointed paralleling shots from other sources.
"Lana (Turner) Backwards", series of shots of her back from various movies. Don Knotts shots transitioning into Waters on a talk show set. Series of other celebrities, including Dean Martin and Margaret Hamilton, wearing cutouts of Farrah Fawcett's hair.
And, for a local art club, blue-ribbon award for best title, the series, (tucked behind red, velvet curtains), "Twelve Assholes and a Dirty Foot".
Also included from his shows, oddities from his collection of paperbacks, tabloid covers and peculiar package remnants.
Don't fail to catch his sometimes appalling, but hilarious anecdotal 'stand up' special on cable in recent years. Parts of it are, unfortunately, unforgettable."" -- Rick Grimes (April 27, 2009).
ON GRADE 'C' & 'Z' MOVIES...
GRIMES:"Here is a series of 'monster' movie titles of old, culled from a relatively recent 'want list'--- many I would highly recommend to any interested contrarian with a sense of humor.
Of course, as grade 'C' & 'Z's, there will be times while watching you will crave only the 'escapist thrill' of walking away from them, or the excitement of watching paint dry on flies fucking as the grass grows.
But, what did you expect? You really thought they'd be thrilling every second?? Remember, they were only 'human beings as you and I'..."
In no particular order of favoritism or comparative 'quality', ( how could anyone even do that?) :/
Attack of the Killer Shrews / Mesa of Lost Women / Face of Marble / Daughter of Horror / She Demons / The Bride and the Beast, and any Ed Wood/ Beast of Yucca Flats / Frankenstein's Daughter / Hand of Death / Beast with a Million Eyes / Astounding She Monster / Atomic Brain / Cat Women of the Moon / Killers From Space / Attack of the Crab Monsters / Robot Monster / They Saved Hitler's Brain / Curse of the Swamp Creature / Invasion of the Slime People / Island of Living Horror, aka Brides of Blood / Brain of Blood / Man Without a Body / The Manster / The Brain Eaters / Dimension 5 / Journey to the Center of Time / Not of This Earth / The Vulture / Wasp Woman / Brain From Planet Arous / The Creeping Terror / The Curious Dr. Hump / Creature With the Atom Brain / Invisible Invaders / Kronos / The Giant Claw / Fire Maidens / Horrors of Spider Island / Manos, Hands of Fate / Mad Doctor of Blood Island / The Monolith Monsters / Rat Pfink a Boo Boo / The Monster Maker / Colossus of New York / Atom Age Vampire / Brain That Wouldn't Die / The Head / Evil Brain From Outer Space / Son of Godzilla / Night of the Blood Beast / etc. etc. etc..... sorry to leave out anyone's cherished friends.
The list as close to endless as any human being needs it to be. And, yes, I have seen nearly all of them---you want I should contribute to society or something? Hey, society made this junk.
Rest assured that it was time well-spent. You, too, must sit throo every minute. You'll be like me in no time..." -- RG (April 27, 2009).
ON 'IMAGE NIHILSM'...
GRIMES:"The 'Residents' are possibly the most immediately definitive example of concealing one's identity while creating art in public view. No one, likely, can beat them for duration, but here are a couple of other favorite examples of self-diminishment--
In the film, BEDAZZLED, the late, great Peter Cook, playing a right lovable Devil of a liar, variously manifests in burger-flipping schlub Dudley Moore's downspiral of wishes, to undermine and steal away his soul. Besides my other favourite segments--the 'Froony Green Eyewash' men, the animated flies, and Barry Humphries as 'Envy'--- I try never to miss Cook's usurping, ultra-blase' rock 'star'. As "Drimblewedge & The Vegetations", he and his group lay out the ultimate un-Siren 'song', inexplicably driving all the young Mods mad with completely unrequited desire.
With a total, lugubrious deadpan, Cook, in the midst of reactive waves of ecstatic fan excess, undertones: "Go away." ..."Leave me alone." ..."I don't want you." ..."I don't need you." ... and, "Don't you ever leave off?".
In comics, my other favorite, (or at least frequent, mental touchstone), example of the ultimate in unimagery is by way of the dubious talents of Chester Gould's lazily entrepreneurial 'cartoonist' character, Vera Alldid. [He later became B.O.Plenty's son-in-law]. And his two 'strips': *"Sawdust", which used nothing more than talking ink specks, and , as a topper to that, "The Invisible Tribe", using nothing at all but the empty boxes and some rather lame Indian jokes.
Not only that---these great works required the slavish effort of a string of assistants all seated at the same art board. A take-off on Gould's, (and other's, like Walt Kelly's), disappointing-to-learn, tho' no doubt necessary dependence on same.
Short of having L-shaped border corners that trail off the comic page and contain no balloons 'to speak of ', I don't see how anyone of a minimalist inclination, could top that." -- RG (April 25, 2009).
*CORRECTION!(23/9/2009) - ""SAWDUST" was written by Moon Maid, and it was she that had all the assistants to 'labor' over it." (RG)
FOR THE WOULD BE 'DREAM' STORY TELLER...
GRIMES: "Your own dreams don't quite tell you how to bring forth their images and visual 'phrases' in an unusual, dramatic manner?
Try watching some or all of the following, almost essential films.
Any of the aforesaid old monster films, at their most delirious moments, but especially the highly bizarre "Mesa of Lost Women", and the fevered "Attack of the Killer Shrews" (when the characters aren't knocking back another cocktail ). Parts of the dream-based(?) "Daughter of Horror".
Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali's truly classic "The Andalusian Dog". [Jean] Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet", especially its four keyhole peeks into each of four rooms ... Maya Deren's "Meshes of the Afternoon".
For further little subtleties of oddly 'off -the-norm' dialogue and mismatching situations, more Bunuel--"The Phantom of Liberty", "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". And for a semiotic, get-in-the-moood image, his 'cow on a bed' from "L'Age d'Or".
The hermetic and nearly inimitable "Eraserhead". And add "Gozu".
If a body can't learn from these, to let the imagery inlay the almost logical, then it may as well go back to sleep." -- RG (May 19, 2009).
BANDAGE MAN! BANDAGE MAN!!
GRIMES:"This may not be a subsubsubgenre yet, but it's something to unroll around a few more titles.
I never cared a fig for mummy movies. Whether it's 'Imoutta(s)tep' or 'Ramdisease the XXXII', you always pretty well know what's 'under wraps'---just a dead guy walkin' around too slowly with a lot of rot about to fall off. Other than not wanting to catch whatever killed them thousands of years ago or whatever other nasties they've acquired since, they're not much of a threat. Or even interesting. Sure, Boris!! But, all told, I'd much prefer seeing a 'Bandage Man'.
And, no, I'm not talking about actual unfortunates in or out of a hospital. Or when "Johnny Got His Gun". (Though I do like to catch the suicidal German in the latter part of "The Young Lions" over ever seeing that film as a whole). And, yes, Claude Rains did a great 'maddy' as the Invisible Man, but you already know from the 'opening' what he's hiding underneath ---a whole lotta nuttin'. 'Wearing nothing but a smile'...HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!
There's that thoroughly bound up witness, (Dimmesdale trial?), in the [Monty] Python sketch. The one with the tufted clump of hair sticking out. But, he hasn't got much free to get around with.
No, give me one with a lounging jacket, (Claude [Rains] probably was the template for them all), sipping throo a straw or trying to eat his cornflakes. Just using it as a disguise, or pulling the old switcheroo as in the early parts of "Thunderball" is good for a start. Something about not being quite sure what's under there. Would they be radically crazy looking or mild and blase'? Or all the variations between... They could be your friend or someone to be wary of.
The so-called Negative Man in "The Doom Patrol" comics is much more interesting as his 'Bandage Man' self, even only standing around or on the ground in inert 'mode', (the ultimate 'minute man'), waiting for his little-defined inner electric self to 'get the job done'. And how come the poor sap never got to take his wraps off after the plane crash? He must look pretty 'off ' under there.
Ed Wood's crudishly earnest but enjoyable "Jailbait" with its odd & funny trick ending is a prime example of where any pleasure lies in such characters.
But, my favorite, (and favorite [Humphrey] Bogart picture), is the undersung "Dark Passage". Not only is it full of unusual characters, engrossing acting & story angles, and a romance that doesn't overwhelm the film or have room to grow sappy--Bogart's character gets plastic surgery and 'winds up' a 'Bandage Man', in pajamas and drinking throo a glass straw.
That would be my last word, hereon, but for the hospital 'prime cut' of John Frankenheimer's "Seconds", which, tho the main character is trapped in a more serious vein and is only briefly shown to be 'bandaged' as such, the movie is essential viewing. Beyond-morose John Randolph is drawn into an insanely 'reasonable' and well-financed reassembly line--coerced, finagled and blackmailed into accepting a 'new life' throo painful surgeries and resituation. Ignore the awkward, inevitably faltering attempts to 'live' as Rock Hudson, chiefly illustrated throo a party that goes badly and concentrate on the major 'bookends' of how Randolph is gradually drawn in. And kept in. Especially watch for Jeff Corey's and Will Geer's scenes, as well as the lead's, and the emotionally sickening conclusion. Don't even get me started on 'head' movies, or on the Mexican wrestlers. (Chiefly cuz I'm on the threshhold of seeing more than just a few of the latter, and , besides, their appeal doesn't need me to crow about it).
For those that still crave a mummy movie, "Bubba Ho-Tep" is well worth a look." -- RG (May 19, 2009).
UPDATE!- "Another brief but sort of amusing Bandage Man turn may be found in the first 7 to 10 minutes of the exceedingly creepy (even without makeup) Sidney Toler's 'Charlie Chan', in "The Shanghai Cobra" (1945). The 'character' does little but hunch over, smoke, and pretend to cadge another light (ironically a burn victim) for a cigarette so he can deliberately drop over backwards off a fake dinghy. But, 'Van Horn', spoken of by Chan in a short flashback, does have a few lines and is sort of instrumental to the plot, (as these things go). One wrapped 'thumbs up'." -- RG (July 28, 2009).
UPDATE!- "A young Ford Rainey gets really steamed--by a locomotive!! Left behind, fully wrapped, (and short-lived), by [James] Cagney's pathological gangster in White Heat." -- RG (September 23, 2009).
OF FILINGS AND PILINGS
GRIMES:"Speaking of being wrapped up in something, not for the fainthearted or prudish is Shinya Tsukamoto's "TETSUO: The Iron Man" (1989), as hyperkinetic a depiction of paranoia and aggressive madness as one could crave.
Easily compared to [David] Lynch, (black & white, background sound, a slight bit of the opening), it makes Eraserhead's world look slow and ponderous. I always felt I could scrape by somehow there. But, one wouldn't last long in Tetsuo's world.
Wherein, roughly put, a hit-and-run driver flees his threatening victim, as both are terrorized by an inexplicably advancing metallic vengeance. While it has to be viewed throughout as you would a nightmare, (one that lasts way past what actual sleep allows), don't fail to sense the humor beneath every moment.
At certain instances sharing effective absurdities with older movie/TV monsters, (the rocky blobs in the old [Star] Trek episode, "The Savage Curtain" (the [Abraham] Lincoln episode), and Outer Limits' "Don't Open 'Til Doomsday" came to mind), Tsukamoto keeps the motion-nausea levels high with animated chase sequences---p/reverberations of the little seen short "Gisele Kerozene", (also 1989), by Jan Kounen, a breakneck broom chase amongst three grotesquely outfitted 'witches'; - the work of Jan Svankmajer; and even a bit of Art Clokey.
The two sequels, one from the '90s and one in the making, I've not seen, but likely continue the end conglomeration's vow to rust the entire world into junk. Rolling forth like a giant pan of Jiffy Pop, Pee Wee Herman's foil ball, and a tar-covered, helium-inflated Moe [Howard] in "Dizzy Pilots" all combined. (I'm not spoiling the ending, since it doesn't really end there...).
Again, the easy to appall should avoid it--there are scenes of self-mutilation and sexual extremes early on. On the other hand, they are highly stylized and quickly morph into further affairs.
An indicator of TETSUO's potential timelessness: because the dvd box gave only the issue date of that edition, I did not realize until double checking it, on this writing, that it is not a recent film, but rather now twenty years old.
My thanks again to this site's Ryan H. for passing along his only copy and affording me its unique 'discovery'." -- RG (July 30, 2009).
IN THE GLARE OF HITOMU
GRIMES:"At first, there might still be some doubt...
Unmistakable, though, the thousand yard glare, near hunch and eagle claw grip on his chair arms. Some black hair barely showing. He was probably not much older than the rest of the cast.
It's interesting to see glimpses of a younger vulnerability; his willingness to remain held in by a limited script, but one that at least permits him to channel his emotional reservoir and memory of authoritarian impulses. Yes, it's really Brother Theodore, serial villain.
With ideas slightly more clever than other serials, and despite the usual frontloaded fistfights, hectic running back and fro to the same sets, and 'that didn't happen' additions post-cliffhanger endings, The Black Widow (1947) displays some fun ideas:
the spiderbite chair for visitors, used only in the first and last episodes; trunk with gal, supposedly inside, plummeting from an airplane; window glass falling like a guillotine; fingerprints on "cellophane" (coating?) of handbag; 'M-Y-S-T' cut in polish of dead woman's fingernails; use of phone ringing equipment; flailing w/ rubber steering wheel (heroine cuffed stupidly to by 'hero') in female stunt doubles fight; guard with newspaper meant to aid Sombra's escape--"HA ha. That Dick Tracy kills me."
None of which involve Theodore, the best reason for watching, tho' he is, as ever, underused. No Hollywood script of the day was pliant enough to allow any but mere hints of the dark, snarling poesies that would emerge from him later.
The novelty is in seeing him at all. Seventh billed as Theodore Gottlieb, he fulminates, rather than histrionically emoting villainy as 'Hitomu',"the next #1 Guy of the World".
Theodore appears in only six of the serial's thirteen episodes. Usually within the first few minutes. Always arriving via console dials & magnesium smoke explosion, (the same, centered shot is reused), and seated appropriately enough, on an ornate, highbacked 'throne'.
From this initial distance, like an image out of [Jean] Cocteau, a sunflare collar; what seems a Louis the Umpteenth wig, but proves to be the white part of a turban; and Dr.Seussian striped pantaloons all make for an immediately absurd costume which he seems to wear with complete disregard.
As 'Hitomu', he frequently 'grows impatient', a typical trait of the few allowed him, episodically craving atomic rocket fuel formula (ep 1); the secret to opening 'the quartz tube' (ep 2); the rocket's motor, (ep 4); the 'Sinetrone' sound wave device, (ep 6); general appeasement, (ep 9); and the atomic rocket itself, (ep 13).
Other traits and talents of Hitomu:
-dispenses practical advise for us all: "Use the Vocatrobe."(ep 2)
-disinterestedly 'lifts a (ringed index) finger' to permit his daughter's departure.(ep 2)
-he can hear what is said before he arrives, tho nothing much is made of this later.(eps 2,6)
One glimmer of the familiar perversity: "We progresss. Yet I grow
impatient. We must speed the next move toward placing me on the Throne of the World." (ep 4).
The funniest of Theodore's scenes turns up in episode nine, when one of Sombra's flunkies is reasonably fed up serving without ever meeting Hitomu, "a Supreme Master who lives on the Other Side of the World and can be brought here in a few seconds by some sort of superscientific Rube Goldberg contraption???"
When she allows the two men to stay, cranks up her malicious 'popsy', and introduces them, her otherwise professionally thuggish man, Ward perks, "Pleased ta meet cha".
Hitomu (surly and unimpressed): "I am aware of your identity. And I am disappointed in the results you have achieved. There are delays. Delays! Delays! The fate of my World Empire hangs in the balance."
A rehash episode, using previous material as with '60s TV budgetary tricks, Sombra and then Ward 'retell' repeat showings of her 'mask' do-ups and his fight scenes to justify themselves, eliciting only the backhanded, "Perheps yeww haf done well...up to the limits uff yer capabilities."
But, this and the final ep are the only two that have Theodore in more than one scene, dovetailed with other activity.
Thirteen, the last and only episode wherein the pyjama'd worldbeater rises from his chair, walks over to the others and 'mingles'.
Shorter even than Sombra, and with that outfit not exactly imposing, he is still gruff and penetrating enough, for a young man, and I wondered what his pretty, petulantly 'wicked' costar thought of him.
Gloating about the rocket parts nearly to hand, he has another brief flareup, a merest taste of performances to come: "Nothing must be ASSUMED!" he growls.
Hitomu wants them to dismantle the rocket they have just put together, and use his chair to send it to "my laboratories", wherever he came from, for future use against other nations. While the nitwit hero, slave to the 'weekly forgetfulness' of the serial's original run, is out front 'triangulating' to locate their headquarters, a place, surprise, he has visited twice before.
After a frenetic little contretemps over escape via Theo's beam-a-throne, Hitomu: "I guess this is the end." Taking his chance in the chair, he rolls back his eyes strangely, resignedly(?), is shot throo the smoke by the cornshuck hero, and a double, in the 'same' tacky outfit falls, face down onto the floor.
Both Hitomus thus missing out on the literal final ending, as the giddy reporters head out on their next breaking story: Hitler Hiding In The Everglades!!
In episode five, tho' Brother Theodore does not grace us with an 'audience', the hero reacts to the Black Widow's boasts about her dictator-wannabe daddy-o:
"Wull, I don't know the gentleman. But, he sounds unpleasant." A line which could sum up the public's avoidance of Brother Theodore's whole future career." -- RG (September 23, 2009).
SOME MORE WORDS...
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) [dir. John Frankenheimer]
GRIMES:"Especially favor the 'garden party' variations, all scenes with the evilly merry Khigh Dhiegh, and, (skipping the [Frank] Sinatra-with-Janet Leigh blahblah), watching Raymond's body count hit its peaks." -- RG (April 22, 2009).
GOZU (2003) [dir. Takashi Miike]
GRIMES:"A must see. Like a modern day, Japanese Bunuel movie, genuinely surreal throughout and utterly different. Consistent in its irrationales and underneath its calm sense of time and timing, quite hilarious. Quickly and steadily became one of my favorite films. Its like are few and far between." -- RG (April 22, 2009).
KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004) [dir. Stephen Chow]
GRIMES:"Get past the slightly silly dance segment in the first ten minutes, and every section of the whole opens out into broader and broader battle sequences as clever, amazing, and exciting as any comic book. With the added blending of cartoon inspirations and uniquely well-rounded fight scenes. Fun and funny!" -- RG (April 22, 2009).
GRIMES:"Mob brute aims for the bigtime, blows it even bigger time. Love all the changes in Hoskins' face in the last seconds, from [Benito] Mussolini arrogance to chewing on his own ferocity, swallowing his fear & 'slaughterhouse' contrition as he realizes he's had it."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
MEMENTO (2000) [dir. Christopher Nolan]
GRIMES:"More a set of nested amnesiac backsteps than 'that backwards movie'. Don't believe you can't follow this--well-worth absorbing if only for its differentness."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
MR. ARKADIN (1955) [dir. Orson Welles]
GRIMES:"Millionaire's paranoia creates death & its own reward."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
SCANNERS (1981) [dir. David Cronenberg]
GRIMES:"Head trip. Plus Patrick McGoohan's lower key scenes."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
SGT. KABUKIMAN N.Y.P.D. (1990) [dirs. Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman]
GRIMES:"A better idea than a movie, tho it has got flying chopsticks."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
SON OF GODZILLA (1967) [dir. Jun Fukuda]
GRIMES:"Cutey Minya learns to blow rings & is covered by spider webs."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
SPIRAL (2000) [dir. Higuchinsky]
GRIMES:"Things go all curly-whirly. 'Jarring'."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
SUSPIRIA (1977) [dir. Dario Argento]
GRIMES:"'Fairy tale' where evil is mostly winning. Only Dario [Argento] [film] I've seen in actual theatre."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
TOUCH OF EVIL (1958) [dir. Orson Welles]
GRIMES:"Frame-up. Watch for Dennis Weaver's pre-Norman Bates motel worker."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
VIDEODROME (1983) [dir. David Cronenberg]
GRIMES:"Always like to catch Brian O'Blivion and Barry Convex."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY? (1966) [dir.Woody Allen]
GRIMES:"Still the only way, to date, to view the source films."-- RG (August 24, 2009).
ZEBRAMAN (2004) [dir. Takashi Miike]
GRIMES:"Basically, an edgier kid's film. But, I like the idea, and the contrived TV history the title character is imitating."-- RG (August 24, 2009).