Instead of Star Wars, Watch This

Spoiler Warning: for a forty year old Z-grade italian movie

Starcrash! You can see it on Youtube probably illegally, or on Amazon. Like Message From Space, it’s a scifi space adventure with fantasy elements that came out the same year as Star Wars. In the case of Starcrash, it was blatantly a dashed off attempt to cash in on the success of the more expensive film. It even includes a knockoff jedi character with absolutely zero explanation for how or why has “powers” such as messing with electricity, resisting lasers, and seeing the future. His lightsaber doesn’t show up until the end of the second act and again has no explanation.

But is it better or worse to not have jedi explained? The deeper we get into Star Wars lore, the more shit like midichlorians we get. The more powers are shown that people find goofy, overpowered, or annoying. You get force ghosts that can do so much they might as well still be alive, which makes death a lot less dramatic.

Starcrash is bad and Italian. I don’t know if the director Luigi Cozzi was fascist, but the way the show was run did inspire communist crew to steal the final print and hold it for ransom. The biggest star in it was Christopher Plummer doing a performance so bad that it’s very well known he was just in it for a free trip to Rome. He seems stoned in a very particular way, which makes me wonder if he was on the same shit as Bill Shatner back in the ’60s.

There’s mention of scanning a planet with “computer waves” within the first few minutes of the film. The hero is Caroline Munro dressed like Vampirella. The robot is a cowboy. There’s a green guy whose face paint keeps rubbing off. There’s a sub-harryhausen giant fembot controlled by the laser brains of a space-amazon. There’s italian space-cannibals flying through the air. There’s a David Hasselhoff space-prince. There’s just a space-lot to space-recommend this.

Oh, and spoiler: There’s a happy ending.

Cyberpunk Creativity

We live in a cyberpunk dystopia. Some people might quibble because there aren’t enough lazertacular synth pop jams and airbrush art, but they just haven’t looked at the right spots on Bandcamp and Soundcloud and such. It is the time for cyberpunk. Cyberpunk comes out of rebellion against oppression – corporate fascist oppression trying to turn us all into burnt out zombie consumers, laboring on treadmills until our bones grind to a halt, heads plugged into virtual reality to avoid the sad sight of the lives they have left to us.

Disney has always been at the vanguard of oppression in the creative sphere, and have finally cemented their monopoly status. Epcot Center is The Death Star for vital and socially relevant art. Pew pew. Kablooey. Nobody will be able to compete at their level. But what about making art below that level? What about tha streetz?

There was a time when Star Wars and comic book movies and such could be at least kinda liberal. The first Star Wars in particular was very much antifascist, even while it cribbed some imagery from Triumph des Willens. Now that the noose has tightened, we’ll see more playing it safe, more bland bullshit riding the creepy side of the political center – and never doing anything to offend the censors in Beijing while they’re at it.

What interests me is the potential for independent art to take the inspiration of those stories and use it to create something else. Nobody’s really tried to capitalize on the success of Star Wars with an equivalent spirit of fun and adventure since the various B movies around the first one. Shit like Ice Pirates and Starcrash. Nowadays all it would take to make a good funtimes antifa scifi adventure is for some theater kids from the fine art school to join forces with computer graphics fuckos from the commercial art school. Get on it, people.

Superhero stuff would be even easier because you could set it on modern-day earth and not have to create all your sets in CG. Chronicle had a budget of $12 million (peanuts to the studios these days), which was probably pretty heavily invested in the actors and Hollyweird apparatus. Not much of that budget made it to the screen – something like it could have been made for a lot less.

That’s just talking about the genres we’ve come to expect from the big boys. Horror and arthouse and all kinds of movies can get made if people get the gumption. Maybe all it will take is for Monopoly Mouse to keep disappointing our asses just a little longer. They’ve already inspired a massive wave of piracy. Classic cyberpunk. Now let’s see if they inspire some real art too.

¿Inktubres Conmigo?

Inktober with me? Last year when I did Inktober the results were really weird. But it’s a case of garbage in garbage out. I wanted to do the official Inktober prompts because I wanted to be official. But they were lazy and uninteresting, so at the same time I did the mythology prompts. My boyfriend said I should do legitimately Halloweenish content, and helped me generate a much better list of prompts for this year.

So, anybody interested? You do a drawing a day. Traditionally that was ink, but I really don’t care. You can do cosplay photography if you like. Each day of October there’s an iconic horror movie monster to draw. And below that list, a cloud of art styles you can use to spice up the image. One plus one. Will you draw Jason Voorhees in a rococo style? Dracula as a dog playing poker?

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THE INSTRUCTIONS:

Take the iconic horror movie character and render them in an art style you choose from the Style Cloud!  When an iconic monster has a group (such as Lost Boys), you can choose your fave.  When there are multiple movie depictions, you can choose your fave.

  • 01  Jason VoorheesFriday the 13th
  • 02  NosferatuNosferatu
  • 03  Carrie WhiteCarrie
  • 04  BeetlejuiceBeetlejuice – Beetlejuice
  • 05  JigsawSaw
  • 06  ChuckyChild’s Play
  • 07  GodzillaGodzilla
  • 08  The ChildrenVillage of the Damned
  • 09  PennywiseIt
  • 10  The TetheredUs
  • 11  Freddy KruegerNightmare on Elm Street
  • 12  ErikThe Phantom of the Opera
  • 13  CandymanCandyman – Candyman – Candyman – Candyman
  • 14  The Saeki FamilyJu-on
  • 15  Michael MyersHalloween
  • 16  The WolfmanThe Wolfman
  • 17  The XenomorphAlien
  • 18  PinheadHellraiser
  • 19  The NunThe Conjuring 2
  • 20  GhostfaceScream
  • 21  The Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • 22  Audrey IILittle Shop of Horrors
  • 23  The Lost BoysThe Lost Boys
  • 24  Gorilla Wolf MofosAttack the Block
  • 25  LeatherfaceTexas Chainsaw Massacre
  • 26  The MummyThe Mummy
  • 27  Regan MacNeilThe Exorcist
  • 28  Hannibal LecterSilence of the Lambs
  • 29  Bride of FrankensteinBride of Frankenstein
  • 30  Frankenstein’s MonsterFrankenstein
  • 31  DraculaDracula

    the Style Cloud

When a certain artist is named, they are just a stand-in for their style or spirit.  You can make take Kazuo Umezzu for Junji Ito, Lucian Freud for Egon Schiele.  Some categories are inclusive enough, you could range Hannah Barbera from Scooby Doo to the Flintstones.  Or choose a style not on the list.

Ghanaian Poster Art    Urban Art    Rap CD Art    Outsider Art    Looney Tunes    Rococo    Roman Dirge    Robert Crumb    Hernandez Brothers    Daniel Clowes    Saul Bass    Gibson Girl    Winsor McCay    Popeye    Stoner Art    Hanna Barbera    Caricaturist    Tumblrized    Furry Art    Disney Art    Mascot    Pee-Chee    Harry Clarke    Dictionnaire Infernal    John Tenniel    Struwwelpeter    Klasky Csupo    Max Fleischer    Spongebob Squarepants    Tim Burton    Batman: The Animated Series    Cartoon Network    Stevens Universe     Rage Comics    Egon Schiele    Surrealism    Chuck Tingle Cover    Romance Novel Cover    Jack Kirby    Rob Liefeld    Garfield    Strip Comics    The Far Side    Sailor Moon    Pokemon    Alfonse Mucha    Yoshitaka Amano    Cave Art    GrecoRoman Statuary    Faerie Art    Pop Art    Kitsch    Cubism    Mannerism    Impressionism    German Expressionism    Americana    Hieroglyphics    Ukiyo-e    Hindu Art    Mesoamerican Art     Paracas Art     Bayeux Tapestry    Illuminated    Saint Art    High Renaissance    Noir Comics     Dr. Seuss    Little Golden Book    Patrick Nagel    Lisa Frank    Airbrushed Van    Goosebumps Cover    Jack Chick    Audrey Kawasaki    Junko Mizuno    Junji Ito    Keith Haring    Louis Wain    James Audubon    Mad Magazine    Rumiko Takahashi    Nintendo    Castlevania    Joshua Timbrook    Jhonen Vasquez

If you want to participate, link to your art below!

Spoilery Thoughts on Next Black Panther

This contains spoilers for Avengers: Whatever Whatever and Spider Man: Far From Shabby.

So I found out while watching the new Spiderman movie on my b’day yesterday that the people who had been snapped out of existence by T. Hanos were de-snapped 5 years later having not aged a day. For the purposes of spidermanning, it meant some kids were younger than their little siblings, which is kinda funny. But I started to think about the ramifications for other parts of that world.

Wakanda lost a king and got a replacement that was immediately rocked by some turmoil. Then that king got snapped, along with half of Wakanda, after battling and losing against an alien Grimace. I can’t imagine the average Wakandan thinks highly of T’Challa given those events, and do think they’d be quick to blame it on T’challa opening the borders.

I know some of the Black Panther comics involved dealing with movements for Wakandan democracy, but haven’t read them and don’t know how they went. But it’s a really safe bet the next Black Panther movie is going to include some amount of that.

T’Challa is going to come back to a kingdom in some level of turmoil. Maybe his mom will be acting as a regent, maybe his sister be queening. Maybe they will have capitulated to some form of democracy or republic. And you know there will be an agitator who is xenophobic, maybe racist, pushing to become a strongman “reformer” …

What I’m saying is I’d like to see if they make a bad guy of an African Trump. I don’t know how I’d feel about that kind of character being held up as symbolic of democracy itself, opposed only by an ostensibly righteous monarchy. That’s a mess. But it might be funny to see that orange scrote lampooned in the film. What do you think?

Ophelia, Call the Police

I guess I’ll be the first person to reference this prominently on the internet. It is really hard to find anything about the movie “Us” on the web still. I hope that doesn’t mean people are sleeping on it. One of my few quibbles about its execution is that I wanted more, and that would only be possible with a bigger budget. It’ll be harder for Peele to get the kinda budget he deserves if this one doesn’t crush at the box office like it ought to.

Anyhow. Ophelia, call the police!


Watching “Us” Tonight

I’m watching “Us” tonight. And I won’t stop making nagging posts about it until everyone comments here that they’ve bought tickets or made plans.

EDIT – I saw it. My work week’s starting now-ish so I don’t know if I’ll get a full review in. It was a good time.


A Correction on “Us”

When I tried to get tickets for “Us,” I could only find 7 PM showings. I assumed the theaters were, for whatever reason, giving it a limited run. However, I was very mistaken. I wasn’t aware the release date had been bumped to the 22nd, and I also wasn’t aware that it’s normal for shows to have night time showings the day before the official release. I was shopping for tickets on the 21st, so only showings were 7 or later.

That’s nice tho. I’d hate for there to be anything holding back that movie’s conquest of the universe, and I found out there isn’t. Also, it explains why the internet has been so quiet about it. The hype will happen when people start to see it.

That’s all for now. Also, see the movie, or I’ll box your ears.

EDIT TO ADD: Incidentally, this means I’m going on opening night, which I didn’t want to do. O_o

EDIT TO ADD:


The Doppelpocalypse is Nigh

Content Warning: Cinematic Horror

Jordan Peele’s new movie “Us” is coming out in a few days and by rights this movie should just demolish the box office. Maybe it will, but it’s starting at a big disadvantage. When I went to buy tickets, there were no showings before 7 PM anywhere. Most theaters are only showing it once or twice a night. Why? What the fuck is that?

This movie has – no exaggeration – the best trailer I’ve seen in decades. It’s exciting as hell. I’m vibrating with anticipation for it. I’m not going to get a chance to see it until the 21st, but I got it locked in. I’m going. A borderline agoraphobic dude is braving a movie theater for the first time in nine years to see it with me. If you like horror at all – especially action-oriented horror like zombie movies – you better go too.

The original trailer is way better than the cut that aired for the super bowl. If you missed it when it dropped, drink it in here and now babies. Feel it. Jordan Peele came up with a concept similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers but with so much more electric potential.

He’s created a new type of apocalyptic monster scenario, which the world has been in desperate need of since zombies got squeezed bone dry by every trendchasing loser in hollywood. I want there to be instagram filters to make people look like these doppelgängers. I want every artist dork on the internet to be scribbling up their doppelsonas. I want the fanfic sites to get creepy with it.

I’ve got a bunch of speculation I could get into, like you can find on youtube easily enough. But that might feel spoilerish to some of you, so I’ll leave it be. But I do want to mention something other internet heads have missed. I think the rabbits in the hall may be, in part, a small homage to a Japanese movie called Suicide Circle. Toward the end of that movie, there is a scene of surreal horror taking place in a small brightly lit space, with tiny yellow chicks running all over the floor. That movie is far from a favorite, but if I’m right, that would show the breadth of the horror content Jordan Peele has consumed on his way to becoming a master.

The Doppelpocalypse is nigh. Be there for it.


Reasons to Live Are Good

I rarely get music news from Japan. I love a few bands, but for some reason they don’t cross my mind every day, I can lose track. But I found out several years ago Kaori from Yellow Machinegun started another band called Suzisuzi, which means “vein” in Japanese. They are old school thrash punks, not young people, but exactly what you would hope to see in rock stalwarts. They crush it. And added bonus, one of these tracks is a retail worker anthem: