Thursday, October 29, 2009

Night on Bald Mountain

More Disney Halloween stuff. This one is the grandaddy of them all...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ol' Ichabod Crane

Disney's version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow used to scare the CRAP out of me when I was a kid but I loved it. Still do...

And here's a musical number being crooned by none other than Bing Crosby (a great choice for a kid's movie). Sure it's a bit dated but the animation is incredible, look at how much personality Ichabod shows without using words.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Tell Tale Heart

Check out this awesome animated version of Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart." It's from 1953, was made by a British animation studio and was the first animated film to receive an X rating in the UK. Jam!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

To continue the seasonal theme I thought I'd take a look at what is widely regarded as the first horror film, Robert Weine's "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".
Filmed in Germany in 1920 the story centers around the nefarious Dr. Caligari who, under the guise of a traveling hypnotist, and with the help of his somnambulist assistant Cesare, roam the German countryside committing murder.

The story is fairly straight forward though the use of flashbacks as a narrative device is pretty advanced for the time. Also a surprising twist at the end was an original development that filmmakers have borrowed from heavily (if not just outright ripped off) since the movie's release and the same basic plot twist can still be seen in many movies today. But all storytelling innovations aside the real reason this movie is worth a gander now is the pure visual insanity of the thing. The sets, designed by Hermann Warm (who also did the amazing "Passion of Joan of Arc") are utterly bizarre. Heavily influenced by the then avant garde Expressionist movement, Warm went wild and created sets that look like something out of a fever dream. The shadows and surfaces of the film are impossibly contorted, threateningly jagged and beautifully surreal giving the movie a real sense of existing outside of any space or time.

All in all it is a very interesting film in that it is the first instance were a director was interested in creating a world which you have never seen while still telling a complete story. At the time it was made silent movies were still enamored with the novelty of the camera's ability to reproduce reality, but Weine was among the first filmmakers to be interested in creating an alternate universe the audience hadn't seen yet, and for that innovation he is owed a debt of gratitude. If you are at all interested in film history, or are just in the mood for something weird, check this movie out...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Max Ernst gets spooky

Max Ernst's Dadaist/Surrealist collages are rarely horrific, more unsettling and creepy. They remind me vaguely of Lovecraft's writing.

Harry Clarke illustrates Poe

Let the Halloween-centric posts continue! Just a few of Harry Clarke's fantastically eerie depictions of some of Edgar Allan Poe's best stories. Clarke has the perfect blend of art nouveau and horror...(click the images to get all the gory details)

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

The Premature Burial

The Masque of the Red Death
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Black Cat

The Cask of Amantillado


Ms. Found in a Bottle


Some Passages in the Life of a Lion

The Pit and the Pendulum

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For the fierce.


And then,

Because that is how it goes.
Notice who is walking with Rubin in the Jay-Z video, I never noticed it but it is none other than Prince Vince. Hard like Rottweiler.

Japanese manhole covers

It must be nice to live in a country were design is taken seriously. In Japan everything is well thought out and given a touch of artistry, right down to the gutters. Apparently every neighborhood in every city has specific manhole covers to highlight land marks, historical events and local customs. A sizable community of "drainspotters" has sprung up to document this unlikely venue for art. Here's a Flickr set with many many examples.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Face Smash!

If last Sunday's complete and utter destruction of the Jaguars is the end result, Owen Schmitt needs to do this every week. Furthermore, I propose we institute full blown self-flagellation ceremonies (players AND fans) before Seahawks games. Blood offerings to the Football Gods to ensure our victory. We've tried our hand at legitimate athleticism, now we need to go back to the ancient ways..

The Large Hadron Fucking Collider

This is some wild shit. The New York Times ran a fascinating article today about the terrifyingly powerful and mysterious Large Hadron Collider, the largest particle accelerator ever built, right near Geneva, Switzerland. Particle accelerators, for the uninitiated, fling protons around massive circular tubes at ridiculous speeds, smashing them into each other at the other end. The eggheads then study these collisions, in hopes of finding weird new particles, some that may have been around in the fractions of trillionths of a second before the Big Bang (these unobserved particles are known as the Higgs boson). The Large Hadron Collider is 18 miles long, and by far the most powerful particle accelerator ever built, and some scientists have expressed legitimate concern that the proton collisions could, in theory, create small black holes that could consume our entire galaxy. Which would be awful. Of course, their laid-back colleagues assure us these black holes would be small and inconsequential, and they would immediately collapse on themselves, or something. Whatever. They shouldn't be fucking with this kind of shit.

Well, at least it doesn't LOOK ominous.

And apparently, according to this article, some force in the future may be thinking along the same lines. You see, construction on the Large Hadron Collider was completed in the summer of 2008, and it has not worked properly or at it's maximum capacity once. It has broken down several times now, and they are currently at work fixing the last malfunction. It is now scheduled (if all goes according to their evil plans) to run again in December. Now, the nerdiest of the nerdy have postulated that these simple malfunctions may not just be coincidental.

A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

Zounds. Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lotte Reiniger

Lotte Reiniger was a pioneer of animation. Born in Germany in 1899 she created dozens of silhouette stop-motion films, paving the way artistically and technologically for the likes of Walt Disney. Her movies are heavily atmospheric, a little creepy and very beautiful. Take a gander...

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Hansel and Gretel

The Saturn Hexagon

Interesting stuff...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's always Halloween in Japan

"He seemed so normal"

I'm a huge fan of Ukiyo-e master Taiso Yoshitoshi. His woodblock prints are unmatched in their dynamic, comic book-like sense of movement, action and story telling (you can tell he is a clear influence on modern comic artists, namely Frank Miller). For the most part his subject matter dealt with Japanese epics, Kabuki theatre and poetry, but the guy also had a real love of grossing people out. Some of his print collections like "100 Aspects of the Moon" and "New Forms of 36 Ghosts" are tremendously spooky and very atmospheric. Some collections, like "28 Famous Murders With Verses", are full on horror shows with enough blood and guts to rival any slasher flick you could see today. Mind you these where all done between 1860-1890. In the spirit of Halloween, here's to Yoshitoshi; you were one talented sicko...