Posts Tagged ‘colorful

10
Feb
16

Phantom of the Paradise (1974): Salutations from the Other Side

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a Primal Root written review

I’ve long held that the golden age of American horror cinema stretched from the late 1960’s to the end of the 1970’s. It was an age when turmoil, violence and change was in the air. Filmmakers of the day were shaken and inspired by the horrifying, nightmarish world around them, internalized this terror and in the end brought it out of the darkness as some of the most devastatingly influential horror films the world will ever witness.  There is one other genre that happened to thrive in the 1970’s, one I know far less about, and that is the Rock Opera.

Flicks like Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, The Wiz not to mention, The Rocky Horror Picture Show would either garner rave reviews and great success or go on to become beloved cult films the world over. However, some fell by the wayside and are just now starting the reemerge and find recognition as beautiful cinematic oddities they are. And there is none I am more proud to see finally garnering the praise it has long deserved, Brian de Palma’s 1974 film, Phantom of the Paradise.

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Phantom of the Paradise blends the horror trappings of The Phantom of the Opera and Faust together and give it a glam rock makeover serving as a dark comic satire of the entertainment industry. Phantom tells the tale of Winslow Leech (William Finley in an awesome performance) a young and naive composer looking to make it big with his life long work, a cantata based on the legend of Faust. No sooner does the the owner of Death Records, an utterly charming, smooth talking, calm, collected and utterly malevolent man who has sold his soul to The Devil and goes by the name of Swan (Paul Williams) hear Winslow’s music does he find a way to steal it, exploit it and turn it into pop music garbage to open his long delayed rock palace, The Paradise, with. Swan frames Winslow and has him sent to jail where he is volunteered for an experiment which requires him to have all his teeth removed and replaced with new metallic chompers.  It isn’t long before Winslow hears his own composition on the radio, recreated as a turd of a pop song, and flees from prison. In a psychotic rage Winslow breaks into Death Records, ends up getting disfigured in a vinyl record press, vanishes into the night and is presumed dead…But soon after his disappearance a masked phantom begins stalking the darks hallways and backstage at The Paradise, determined to rain murderous vengeance upon all of those who have hurt and betrayed him.

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Along the way, The Phantom ends up becoming infatuated and falling in love with a young, inexperienced but quite talented singer named Phoenix (Jessica Harper), the only person The Phantom permits to sing his work. Anyone else who tries, he promises, will be killed. Of course, Swan makes the decision to have The Phantom’s music performed by what he considers to be the future of music, a glam rock monster who goes by the name of Beef (Gerrit Graham, who is funny as shit in the role). Despite mid shower plunger to the gob warning from The Phantom, Beef is convinced to perform as scheduled…

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Phantom of the Paradise functions as great piece of anti-establishment satire against the soulless corporatization of art and artists alike. Not only this, but Phantom is also a full on musical, complete with song and dance routines, with every song written and composed by Paul Williams. These elements together do nothing but accentuate the strangeness of the film, it’s so bizarre, so daring and so breathlessly creative, it leaves the viewer’s mind reeling. All this quirky genre blending and tonal shifts leaves us with an unexpectedly heart wrenching musical tragicomedy. I can think of few other films that achieve this level of absurdity and poignancy.

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Still with me? I know the description above may sound a bit overwhelming, and indeed, there is a whole lot to take in with Phantom of the Paradise. It is sensory overload, but in the best possible way you can imagine. Despite the film’s litany of references to other cinematic greats, (Touch of Evil and Psycho, to mention just the tip of the iceberg) Phantom of the Paradise is among the most singular and unique films ever made. Any attempt at synopsis can only do Phantom so much justice, because the heart of the film lies in the experience of watching it. It is very often compared to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, released a year after Phantom of the Paradise, and if I am being honest, the two couldn’t be more different. I suppose it is more inviting to spend time with a group of people basking in their own carnal desires than with a group of tortured artists who sold their soul for rock and roll. It’s just a damn shame Phantom of the Paradise never quite caught on in the states. Of course, I’ve heard the film is fucking HUGE in Canada. And, in face, the two fellows from Daft Punk, according to Paul Williams, met at a screening of Phantom of the Paradise! But that has nothing to with anything…just a cool bit of trivia.

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However, in a way, I kind of hope it remains a hidden gem that exists just below the radar. This way it will never be over exposed to the point of nausea or run into the ground to the point of tedium. Phantom of the Paradise is much beloved by those drawn to it’s peculiar story, dark, comedic, enchanting characters, beautiful songs and unchained artistry. Phantom is a film every bit as much for the misfits as Rocky Horror, but with a much more tragic and lyrical fantasy narrative. You cannot help but feel pity and sympathy for Winslow and righteous indignation once he is transformed from sweet Winslow to the pained and murderous Phantom and finds his revenge. One cannot find something darkly funny about Swans form of easy going, suave, laid back evil as he knowingly manipulates those around him to his bidding, feel sadness as Phoenix is corrupted by fame and absolute astonishment at the the radical comedic performance of Gerrit Graham as Beef.

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Phantom of the Paradise is a marvel of a film. Brian de Palma, Paul Williams and company have crafted something so different, so daring that mainstream audiences had no idea what to make of it. A film so beautiful, poetic, energetic and well played is obviously becoming relic. A thing of the not too distant past, when artistry, creativity and taking chances we heralded above ticket sales and domestic box office grosses. I suppose it’s no big surprise at this point for me to reveal Phantom of the Paradise would rank as one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time. It’s a story of love, passion, betrayal, revenge and possibly redemption set to some of the grooviest goddamn songs to ever be featured in a motion picture. A story of how monsters are created and the good guys and bad guys we all have the potential to be. For those who have never seen it, I recommend highly recommend checking it out, but keep in mind it is not everyone’s cup of glitter. For those of us who adore the film, it;s always worth heading over the The Paradise from time to time and witnessing one of the funniest, most lyrical, most enjoyable tragic love stories ever told.

I’m awarding Phantom of the Paradise 5 out of 5 Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy, Gang!

-Root

25
Dec
13

(NSFW) Ramonah; Trashmas Devil Girl 2013

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MERRY TRASHMAS, GANG! It’s finally here! And, boy, do we have a present to get you all warmed up and cozy! The Trash Cinema Collective’s good friend, Ramonah, has stuffed our stocking with a slick, sexy, awesome set to celebrate this most Trashiest of holidays. We sat down with Ramonah to see how she’s rolling Yule tide season.

The Primal Root: Merry Trashmas, Ramonah! I can certainly see you’re in the spirit this year. Would you mind telling our viewers a little bit about yourself, what kind of things you’re into and what not?

Ramonah: Merry Trashmas!  I’m into all sorts of things.  A lot of my time is dedicated to bead weaving and jewelry-making.  I also enjoy writing,  playing video games and tabletop RPGs,  cooking,  and rescuing spiders and other little bugs that get into the house.  And cats.  I spend a lot of time with cats.

TPR: Trashmas Devil Girl of the Year is a pretty big deal.  Could you recommend some of your favorite Trashy holiday movies that might inspire future Devil Girls?

Ramonah:  There are so many beautifully trashy holiday movies out there,  it’s hard to choose.  I usually feel nostalgic around the holidays,  so what comes to mind are movies like the Garfield and Friends Christmas Special,  How the Grinch Stole Christmas,  and Home Alone. Every year on Christmas Day,  I watch the Invader Zim episode “The Most Horrible Christmas Ever”.  Bow down,  bow down,  before the power of Santa!…

TPR: If you could recommend a song for our readers to listen to while viewing your Devil girl spread, what would it be?

Ramonah:  Let’s go with Bad Religion’s “I Love My Computer”.  It seems fitting.

TPR: Care to share a good, juicy, bizarre-O holiday story with us?

Ramonah: You know,  I don’t think I have one.  I’m usually on my best behavior around the holidays,  since there’s always an abundance of family members nearby.  You’ll have to hit me up for juicy stories some other time of the year.

TPR: What do you hope you find under the Trashmas tree this year?

Ramonah: Delicious,  egg-free baked goods.  I’ve developed an egg allergy,  and I miss pastries.  And cookies.  And cake.  And cookie cakes.  And cupcakes.  And flan.  And creme brulee.  And danishes.  And brownies.  And..

TPR: Ramonah, I hope you get all the egg free baked goods you can stand. Thank you so much for sharing your excellent Trashmas Devil Girl set with us, I’m sure The Collective will eat it up!

Merry Trashmas!

-Root

Photography by Perry Gilbert

 

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http://youtu.be/hkwcehPhOXw

 

 

 

23
Sep
13

Polly Eurethane, Devil Girl of the Month; September 2013

Hello there, Gang! It’s your pal The Primal Root, here to introduce you to The Trash Cinema Collective’s astoundingly lovely Devil Girl for the Month of September, Polly Eurethane!  What do you say we get to know this month’s vision of beauty?

The Primal Root:  Polly, tell us a little bit about yourself. What kind of stuff are you into? 

Polly Eurethane: I am a cosmetology instructor/hairdresser/punk bassist/lover of rabid weasels. In my spare time I enjoy reading, painting and general debauchery.

TPR: Do you have any favorite “so bad it’s good” trashy movies you enjoy watching and/or exposing your friends to? Do you have any other favorites you would like to recommend?

Polly: All-time fav. has to be “La plus longue nuit du diable”, aka “Devil’s Nightmare”. Eurotrash at its finest. I’m guessing for its time, it was quite risqué, and I must admit I am quite enamored of the lovely Erica Blanc. Rawr.  As far as recommendations, I will always root for the Italians. Bava.. Fulci.. Classics!

TPR: Any good resent bizarre flicks you’ve seen lately? 

Polly: I have thoroughly enjoyed “American Horror Story”!

TPR: What music/song should people listen to while viewing your Devil Girl spread? 

Polly: Anything by Black Flag or The Damned! I also love Skeletonwitch!!!

Excellent selections, Ms. Eurethane! Thank you so much for joining the ranks of our Trash Cinema Collective Devil Girls. Now, without any further a due, Gang, behold the gorgeousity that is Polly Eurethane!  Stay Trashy! -Root

Photographer: Scarlet Night Photography

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12
Nov
12

Scarlett Vixen: Devil Girl of the Month November 2012 (NSFW)

Hey Gang, it’s The Primal Root here and I am very proud to announce our Devil Girl for the Month of November, Scarlett Vixen! One of The Trash Cinema Collective’s very first supporters, Scarlett is making her Devil Girl debut here. However, having personally witnessed  her creativity, enthusiasm and being right at home in front of the camera, I have a feeling this will not be the last we hear from this particular Devil Girl. Please, check out our good friend, Ms. Vixen’s photo spread and be sure to give her a warm welcome to The Devil Girls.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

a quick word with Scarlett Vixen, our Devil girl of the Month

Primal Root: Scarlet, what was your inspiration for your Devil Girl spread?

Scarlett:  Carrie has always been one of my favorite horror films and I have always wanted to do a sexy photo shoot with blood.

Primal Root: Do you have any other favorite Trashy movies? What are you into? Tell us a little about yourself.

Scarlett:  ‘Switchblade Sisters’ and the ‘Highlander’. I’m addicted to tattoos and piercings, zombies, Batman, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Nightmare Before Christmas. Im a single mother of 2 adorable munchkins ages 18 months old and 4 years old.

Photography by Rewski Photography

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rewski-Photography/267873509900313

09
Sep
12

Dementia Grimm: September 2012’s Devil Girl of the Month!

Hello there, Gang! The Primal root here and I am pleased and honored to present to you September 2012’s Devil Girl of the Month,  a very dear friend of ours at the TCC, Dementia Grimm! This is her second time gracing us with her ever so lovely and deeply disturbing presence here at The Trash Cinema Collective. This time around she’s come to us with her own twisted, blood lusting take on Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry DEATH Cake perhaps? Crypt Keeper, eat your heart out. Check out Dementia’s lip smackingly, disturbing Devil Girl spread and be sure to let her know what you think!  -Root

Primal Root: First of all, your spread is ridiculously cool. I really dig the costume and make-up, where did the concept for this spread come from? I can’t tell if you genuinely love or hate strawberry’s. 

Dementia Grimm: To be honest, strawberry *is*, and has always been my favorite fruit, but that’s not where this all started. A few years back, Penny Arcade ran a parody piece called “American McGee’s Strawberry Shortcake”, playing on the “Alice” variant. I thought the piece was twistedly adorable. Turns out American Greetings wasn’t so happy, and they gave Penny Arcade a cease & desist order, and it turned it into this huge ridiculous internet thing. I figured, just on principle (and it *was* a cool idea), I wanted to do the costume. I’d done it for about three years at Dragoncon, and it was then retired.
Lately, she’d been on my mind, and I started trying to figure how I could revive her but in a horror-style fashion. I don’t recall the video I was watching, but I was browsing Youtube, and suddenly remembered the Strawberry Shortcake doll I had as a kid, and how it always kinda creeped me out, even though I loved the smell of it. The idea snowballed from there.

PR: Dementia, we’ve heard through the grapevine that you will be participating in the Girls of the Con 2013 Calendar. Can you tell us what you have in store? Which month are you hoping for? 

DG: Thank you! I am really incredibly excited and honored to be working with GOTC (http://www.girlsofthecon.com/_, really such an awesome group that really embodies the spectrum of beautiful women who attend conventions. I know how cheesy that sounds, but it is absolutely true. I believe they have me as Miss April, as my costume is that of a huge pink rabbit with a chainsaw. The story behind the costume is that it’s a variant of Dogwitch (http://www.dogwitch.com/), a demented comic from the incredible mind of Dan Schaffer. In the Direct to Video TPB, Violet (Dogwitch) conjures up a dead guy, for her to have a date with. Her idea of a date is to dress up in a giant bunny suit and play “Skin the Rabbit”. Heck of an Easter story, doncha think? So, I think that’s why I’m Miss April.

Oh yeah, and there will be copies and I’ll be at their table at Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend October 26-28. Maybe even in the giant bunny suit.

PR: It’s almost here, the most wonderful time of the year, Fall! Halloween season! Do you have any traditions? 

DG: Traditions? Oh yes, many, Many many many. It’s not fall to me until I have my first Starbucks’ caramel apple spice, or have my first Publix cinnamon broom up in the house. I also have my awesomely epic playlist in rotation on Spotify. I also, when I feel that familiar breeze in the air, make a bit of a ceremony of solitary communing with Mother Nature and honoring the season. At the beginning of October, since 2004, I have a yearly ritual going of picking a new horror movie every night, that I have not seen before, and watching & reviewing it. A “30 Days of Horror”, if you will. Some of my favorite horror films have been because of this challenge. Netflix is an invaluable tool in this. I’ve done it on Livejournal, I’ve done it for websites, last year I did it on Google Plus, and this year I may do it on Youtube. I’m actually starting to search for great options for my selections now.

PR: Any events this Fall you’re looking forward to? 

DG: ALL THE EVENTS! Seriously, there are a number I’d like to do. I think I’m able to make Halloween Horror Nights at Universal at the end of this month. I would LOVE to do Disney’s Halloween event. I’m also pondering a ghostly-related event to squeeze in there as well. I’m not sure what, just yet, but I’m big into the supernatural and I haven’t done one in a while. I was also invited to Zombicon in Fort Myers, but am not sure if I’ll be attending.  I’m also still not sure about Halloween. I’m super excited about Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend, where I’ll be wearing Strawberry in all her red glory, and after that I may just stick to scaring my Wonder-bread suburban neighbors as I usually do Halloween night. Maybe a party or two. I’m open to suggestions!

PR: I want you to sit back and relax for a second. Take a look deep within yourself and share with us what movie you truly enjoy that most people consider Trash. If this is too personal, we will strive to be understanding. 

DG: That’s a really good question. I’d like to go with the answers of “The Blair Witch Project”, since I grew up in a small town surrounded by woods chock full of similar urban legends, or “Paranormal Activity” since I’ve experienced similar things, but those answers seems so cliche. It would be so much easier to ask what horror movies I hate that everyone else likes, but that would take up a whole blog to do so. WHYTHATHORRORMOVIEYOULIKESUCKS.COM. OH! I know one! A little gem from1989 called “Dance of the Damned”. I adore vampire movies, and this one isn’t your typical vampire-action bloodfest. It’s, in my opinion, a beautiful piece that was one of the first of its kind to showcase vampires in a different light. I’m sure I have a few others, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head.

PR: Dementia, again, we are honored to have you as our Devil Girl of the Month for September. Do you have any words of wisdom to the folks checking your spread out at home? Any closing remarks?

DG: Thank you! It’s an honor to be chosen (insert bad joke about being the chosen one here). Words of wisdom? Hope all your readers are ready for a BERRY strawberries-and-scream autumn season! (yeah, I know, that was lame LOL)

I think the Crypt Keeper would be proud! Gang, enjoy the latest spread from Dementia Grim! Stay Trashy!

-Root

Photography by Harriet Branch




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