For Those Who Think Pin-Ups Are Stuck-Up, I Guess…

A vintage ceramic pinup — pencil holder?! While I struggle with the idea of such a pencil holder, what else could it be?

The seller, luxebetty,shares the following details:

Made in Japan 5 1/2″ tall by 5″ wide and 2″ deep. …holds 6-10 pens, markers or pencils.

So you know luxebetty’s stuck stuff in this pinup’s butt.

While I have no idea to see figurine rape, I kinda want to see the pencils sticking out… Just to see if that’s really the intended purpose.

I struggle with stuff like this; I really do.

Shopping For Awesome Toys In Retro Sexploitation Flick

Over at French blog Au carrefour étrange, a review of Joseph W. Sarno’s Flesh and Lace (1965).

Since the site is in French, you may be confused — but it’s apparently exactly how it looks: A film that starts at a strip club and ends up at a toy store, with a woman seduced by a giant stuffed lion.

The images expose glimpses of tantalizing toys and nostalgic games from the 60’s, such as Mastermind, Hands Down, Marx toys, robots, and stuffed animals.

Ah, to be teased by vintage lingerie, nudity, and some incredible retro toys — I must buy this film!

Thanks to Klaudia’s post on the shoe and stocking scenes which sent to me in the right direction to find this review.

Doodle Week: Why Do I Continue?

This week’s Doodle Week is stick figure girls.

As you can see, I continue to struggle with doodling.

At this point, it’s pretty obvious the problem is with me, not the themes.

In case you’re wondering, the girl on the left is sitting on the curb, while the young lady on the right is sitting with her legs crossed — like in the lotus position.

As for why I continue, I guess the answer is because it’s there.

#MusicMonday Zazzle Gifts Edition

Retro audio themed gifts to kitsch-slap your vintage vinyl and retro cassette tape (and 8-track) lovin’ friends — even your disco dancin’ pals.

Extinct shirt
Extinct by bluelucy
Many tee designs available at zazzle

Gifts For Mystery Lovers

Need a gift for the bibliophiles who dig mysteries? Or someone with a twisted sense of humor? How about gifts (mugs, t-shirts, posters, ties, etc.) featuring prints of an altered art piece titled That Nosey Miss Marple:

If you live near Miss Marple — or another nosy neighbor — don’t give her easy clues by cleaning out your refrigerator of dismembered body parts outside.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Of Man’s Instrument & The Horror Of Eating Unsalted Cashews

In the June 26, 1950 issue of Newsweek, a report on Smithsonian ethnologist Dr. Kalervo Oberg’s trip to Matto Grosso. Among the horrible delights, calling members of the native Nhambicuara “the most miserable and impolite even to rudeness.”

They eat snakes, bugs, rats, and cashew nuts (unsalted). Their animosity toward the white man is understandable, since the Nhambicuara are about to die out from such civilized sickness as tuberculosis and syphilis.

In order to get y’all to read the article, Newsweek captioned the following photo: The jakui: A man’s instrument.

1950-newsweek-mans-instrument

Does that still compel you to read the article? (Click to see a larger scan, if needed.)

1950-newsweek-culture

Whatjamacallit Wednesday: Waste (Can) Not, Want (Can) Not?

In response to my Gadabout post (about a vintage composition dog), Laura (of Doodle Week) said, “I really like how you know all this stuff about old things and how they were made. But how do you manage to keep all these collections without running out of room for yourself?”

Well, Laura, here’s the painful truth: Occasionally I sell stuff.

I don’t like to do it — it does actually pain me. But sometimes, in the continual space battles that collectors face (both living space and the empty space in your wallet — spaces you & your spouse must agree on!), selling items is the proverbial poo that happens.

In this case, hubby (shown here miserable that I’m not only buying another one, but that he’s forced to carry it lol) was right that I had no more room for using another wastebasket…

forced-to-carry-scotty-trash-can

So I’m selling this retro metal waste can with a huge, adorable, Scottie dog on it — despite my deep affection for vintage metal waste cans.

I console myself not only with 11 more inches of space and the extra bills in my wallet, but by imagining the thrill such a find will be for the new owner — who will melt every time they see those warm brown eyes, that black plastic nose, and that red felt tongue.

retro-kitsch-trash-can-huge-scottie-applique

Cheap Thrills Thursday, Retro Halloween Edition: Barnabas Collins Game

A character in the Gothic soap opera television series, Dark Shadows (1966 – 1971), Barnabas Collins was a long-suffering vampire — tormented both by his status as a blood drinker and his doomed romance with the beautiful Josette. But none of this really matters when it comes to playing the Milton Bradley Barnabas Collin’s game; it’s just a “scary” game for the kiddies.

original-barnabas-collins-game-box-and-parts

I only paid $1.50 for the game (# 4003, copyright 1969, Dan Curtis Productions, Inc.) at a thrift store; the original store price tag was $3.99. (Ha! Take that, inflation!)

Our game is complete, save for the toy fangs which, while originally included in the game box, were “not part of the game” and ” to be used by the owner of the game when playing the role of Barnabas” (printed inside the box’s lid — twice). Of course, kids being kids, there’s also the proviso that “they should be washed before a player uses them.”

The game is rather like hangman — at least visually. Only instead of trying to spell words, you spin the spinner and try to build your glow-in-the-dark skeleton by “hanging” him, piece by piece, on the cardboard scaffolding.

making-skeletons-in-dark-shadows-barnabas-collins-game

Each of the 2-4 players takes a turn spinning, hoping for the chance to collect bones/parts from the coffin. In order to begin building your skeleton, you’ll need either the skull or the body piece; so the first few spins can be anti-climactic. When the spinner lands on the ring, it’s like a wild card; the player chooses any bone, skull or body piece from the coffin.

winning-move-dark-shadows-gameBut beware, you could land on the wooden spike space! When you do, you’ll need to take a wooden spike from the coffin; collect three of them and you’ll need to remove a bone from your skeleton (and then you may return the three spikes as well). There is an “advanced game” option, in which the player with the three spikes may challenge a player of his/her choosing to a “Vampire Duel.” (They take turns spinning to see who will spin the ring space first. If it’s the challenger, the s/he doesn’t lose a bone; the challenged player does. If the challenged player wins, the challenger must remove two bones from their skeleton.)

As game play is based upon the spinner, there’s very little strategy involved (other than having luckily guessed to use your wild ring spin to get an upper arm when your next turn gives you the lower arm, etc., it’s all chance), making it rather simplistic (even for the ages 6 to 14 stated on the box). But it’s certainly a cheap thrill — on any day of the week.

And it’s cool for Halloween — though it’s not anywhere as scary as indicated in the original television commercial (I doubt it was seen as scary then either).  But before you watch it, here’s an FYI: if you’re a Dark Shadows, Gothic fan, or just a Johnny Deep nut (perhaps all three?), Depp’s apparently signed to play Barnabas Collins in Tim Burton’s film adaptation of Dark Shadows.

Now for the word from our retro sponsor:

Romancing The Van: Ephemera Proves There’s Someone For Everyone

Two years ago, hubby and went to the junk yard to get replacement doors for our van, Ookla. I was utterly fascinated with the junk yard itself and was almost disappointed when we found the right doors — but the adventure wasn’t quite over yet…

I sat down inside the van, to get out of the hot sun, while Derek went about the business of removing the doors from the junked van; I looked about. Clearly the last owner’s belongings had not been cleared out of the vehicle. Paper and trash were strewn about, but then there it was — a Playboy magazine. Water-damaged and smelling of mildew, but there it was, right next to a bottle of Axe body spray. Does it get any more kitsch than that?!

(Now, before I go any further, you should know a bit more about when we went to purchase Ookla, our old conversion van. When the salesman unlocked the vehicle and showed us the spiffy airline lights which ran along the floor and the ceiling, the first thing I said was, “Hey, was porn made in this van?” Both the salesman and Derek blushed. So I’m neither a prude nor surprised that the previous owner of this van was also marked with smut — it just seemed to be a sign that along with make, model and year, these doors were the right match for dear old Ookla.)

But before I could reach for that Playboy, my eye spotted something else…

inside-the-van

Yup, that there is a used tampon, folks.

I carefully reached for the Playboy. It was only the cover and badly damaged — but where there’s a cover… So I kept looking about, being very careful where I put any part of myself, least I find another tampon. Or worse.

Next, I spotted a notebook with a fancy silver foil cover. Only the first page was written on — a cheap attempt at fantasy fiction, with the main character discovering a magical notebook with a silver cover. (Yeah, I took that home for giggles later.)

I then found a bill for the van’s last oil change, paid for in 2005; been sitting here awhile, I guess.

I eventually found the insides of the Playboy and I put them with the magazine cover pages and the silver notebook just as Derek called for my help to hold the doors while he took out the last bolts.

I got out of the van, headed to the back. Standing there, just holding the doors, I scanned the insides of the van from this new angle. Immediately I note Star Wars light saber boxes — not one, but two of them. If the amateur sci-fi-slash-fantasy-fiction and Axe wasn’t proof enough of an under-sexed goober, the Star Wars weaponry was. This van was owned by a nerd. A nerd who, according to the oil change bill, had the first name of Jim.

Then I spy something else…

“Hey, Derek, what’s that by your foot?”

“Huh?”

“What’s that black thing by your foot?”

“I dunno. Let’s get this door off…”

We set the door down and I go to get a closer look at the black thing which was by his foot. It’s a bit of fabric… After the tampon, you’d think I’d be leery, but I had to know what it was, so I cautiously picked it up.

star-wars-and-dirty-panties

In my hand I then held one very small pair of black nylon panties, bikini style — with lots of lace. I should’ve dropped them like they were on fire, but they were very, very clean looking. I started laughing.

Oh my God, it looks like Jimmy had himself a woman. At least once. A light-saber-playing, small-black-panty-wearing, menstruating, Playboy-accepting woman who could tolerate the smell of Axe.

There’s someone for everyone.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Vintage Wooden Napkin Holder

This vintage hand painted wooden napkin holder was a $1 find at the thrift store (I think; the sticker tags can be deceptive). I was drawn to her sweet simple face and those blonde curls beneath her red cap.

vintage-handpainted-wooden-napkin-holder

Not needing another napkin holder, I’ve turned her into a memo holder. Stuffing my writing and blogging ideas into her head, I hope, keeps my own head more organized.

vintage-napkin-holder

It’s Not Blackface When They Have Black Faces, Right?

I love this vintage cotton novelty print blouse from the Bahamas — well, at least until I spotted the three Bahamian singers…

1950s-bahamas-novely-print-top

bahamian-singers

Then I worried that they looked a lot like minstrel performers in blackface. But black persons can be shown as black persons, right?

Uh, I don’t think I can send myself, a white woman, out into the world unless I’m absolutely certain that the rest of the world can tell that this is not racist.

PS I know this isn’t Black Americana, it’s Bahamian. But I’m using that tag so folks can find quasi-related stuff; such is the way of folksonomy.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Shabby Gnome Chic

OK, so we didn’t make a lot of money at our rummage sale this year — but we did empty our house of a lot of clutter. However, I did keep a few things that my mother had sent over for the sale. (Since she said we could keep the profits & dump whatever didn’t sell, I figured she wouldn’t mind.) One of the items I opted to keep is this odd, badly chipped, vintage painted wooden man.

vintage-shabby-painted-wooden-man

I had dubbed him “the little German gnomish guy.” I can’t say why… due to his red-dotted mushroom cap hat, basket full of mushrooms and handful of pine cones he could be Swiss or Austrian or some other European dude.

Anyway, we had set him out for sale for a whopping 50 cents — and still couldn’t sell him. Maybe because we didn’t know what he was. Other than “odd,” I mean.

People picked him up. A lot.

In case you aren’t familiar with having yard sales, or selling at flea markets, etc., there’s always a “little German gnomish guy” at every sale. One object that, for whatever reason, is continually picked up, asked about, but doesn’t sell. At least not for a very long time. It’s not because it’s too highly priced (this guy was only 50 cents), but because he’s unusual enough to beckon and yet too unusual for a person to justify “needing” it, especially if no one knows exactly what it is. This item is dubbed the “it” or conversation piece of the sale. (Former public sale mystery “it” items have included an antique metal buckled leather loop for some sort of horse-pulling harness-esque thing and a vintage hand-held lemon press.)

When it became obvious the little German gnomish guy was the “it” piece for this sale, we let him lure people over with his paint-chipped vintage charm and start the conversation ourselves with a, “We don’t know what he is, besides ‘vintage’ and ‘shabby gnome chic’… Do you know what he is?”

vintage-shabby-gnome-chic

Eventually, as usual with these “it” items, a person came along who knew what the shabby chic wooden guy was: an incense burner. You set his open bottom over a burning cone of incense and the smoke wafts up & out through his little ‘O’ of a mouth, like he’s smoking.

Once this discovery was made, we slapped our heads like we could have had V-8s. Then I shuttled him the house to show the kids. “Oooooh, can we keep him?” Of course we were keeping him; we’d have to try him at least once, right?

Even if the stem of his pipe is stuck in his throat like some twisted moral interpretation of “smoking kills.”

vintage-kitsch-incense-burner

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Throwing Out Body Issues

They say you can tell a lot about a culture by their garbage — “they” being anthropologists, social scientists, & historians (their amateur varieties too), folks who monitor consumerism, as well environmentalists & “green” eco types. And dumpster-diving garbage pickers like me & my family.

Yes, I dumpster dive and “rescue” things found curb-side — and I’m not embarrassed to admit that we teach our children how to appropriately do the same. Especially during our city’s annual cleanup week; that time of year when folks are assisted in their spring cleaning (and post-flood clean-up) efforts by being allowed to rid their homes & garages of things that normally cannot be left curb-side for the municipal garbage pick-up.

This year, during our city’s annual cleanup week, among the major appliances & numerous vintage toilets (presumably so plentiful this year due to flooded basements resulting in insurance checks to refurbish basement bathrooms), we scored big time (including, not shown there, boxes of books and antique farm items). But there were also number of things I just took photographs of because they were too telling about our society…

One was this old personal home sauna — one of those kitschy retro icons of weight-loss & female self-es-steam, er, self-esteem — modeled here by my daughter Destiny.

retro-home-weight-loss-sauna

(Probably the grossest thing she touched that day; imagine the sweaty, possibly nude behinds, that sat in that seat! Hand sanitizer to the rescue!)

retro-vita-master-sauna

Another day & neighborhood away, we found this orange nightstand covered in food, fashion & weight-loss clippings.

kitschy-decoupage-weight-loss-clippings-orange-nightstand

Both girls both, 13 and 20, loved this & were planning a battle for which one would get it. *sigh*

Unwilling to allow either girl to absorb the sorrow of such a “motivational” piece of furniture, I forbade either of them to get it.

But, willing to concede the cool factor of reinventing a shabby piece of furniture, I told them to keep their eyes open (curbside or at thrift shops, rummage sales &/or flea markets) for a small piece of functional yet ugly furniture and I’d show them how to transform it with paint, magazine clippings & decoupage glue. They’ll just have to select some other theme.

Because there’s no way I’m adding more female body issues to the world; not with my kids, and not in memorabilia for future trash collectors & anthropologists.

Whatjamacallit Wednesday: The Flirty Red Retro Octopus

Check out Miss Flirty the octopus, a retro sawdust-stuffed red velveteen plush toy from someone’s past:

vintage-miss-flirty-lips-octopus

Wearing nothing but a jaunty hat, a seed bead choker necklace, pouty lips and a wink, she’s just dying to get into someone’s bed… Hey, and some of her tentacles have wires, so once she wraps her arms around you, she’s not letting go!

If you’re interested, buy her quick — because now that I’ve named her, I might just change my mind.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Lessons In Literacy With Strawberry Shortcake

Let’s see… When this Kid Stuff Records book (copyright 1980) & record (copyright 1981) set of Strawberry Shortcake’s Day in the Country came out, I would have been 16 or so, which naturally explains why I never owned any Strawberry Shortcake stuff back in her heyday. Why the stuff seems to gravitate towards me in some sort of kitschy retro-grade, is a complete other issue — like Smurfs, for which I have no sense of nostalgia either, I do not yet know why.

strawberry-shortcake-day-in-the-country-record-book

Anywho, I grabbed this SEE the pictures HEAR the story READ the book set for about a buck, as I recall, making it another cheap thrill.

But, like most things I touch, it provokes a few questions…

Why were the pages merely black & white pictures? Were you also supposed to COLOR the illustrations?

strawberry-shortcake-record

More profoundly, I wonder what’s become of the progression of these kids’ books… When my eldest was little, the book & record sets had morphed to book & tape cassette sets, then to those (incredibly annoying) books with the computer chips that made noises (whenever you saw the icons in the text, you pressed the corresponding button for an audio clip). And now, the closest things I’ve seen are the video games which mainly use “pens” to read the words or stories (or, sometimes, have buttons much like those electronic books).

If the concept was based on the philosophy that being read to encourages children to become readers (and these book & audio sets were to assist parents who, for whatever reason, had no time to read to their children), then I think that’s been lost along the way. Lost with the interactivity — broken down into amusing “fun” and sold as “learning” yet.

As Gabriel Zaid (and translater Natasha Wimmer) so eloquently & concisely described in So Many Books, reading is a very complicated learned process involving the interpretation & integration of units of complex meaning into a cohesive whole. This is why listening to stories is so powerful — it is more natural, more easily intellectually and even emotionally digested. But once hooked on stories, a person wants to have the independence to select & enjoy on their own; they develop the love of reading.

So why add further fragmentation to the process? Why break reading down into even more chunks, such as distracting gimmicks of auditory bells & whistles? Why add other activities to it, such as pushing buttons, touching screens, using wands — removing one’s focus not only from the story as a whole but the page itself?

talking-story-book-record-cover-bk

This Just In… Timeless Television

When I’m not busy killing squirrels & scaring neighbors, I’m researching & writing from home — in between the usual parenting & home life disturbances.

richard-dawsonToday, while researching a vintage plastic donkey (don’t worry, you’ll hear about it all later), I am absentmindedly aware that my son has left the TV on and that an old episode of The Family Feud is playing on GSN.

It’s that final round, and it goes like this:

Richard Dawson: Name something that little boys like that little girls don’t.

Male contestant: Balls.

The audience snickers through the rest of round.

I do believe that when it came time for the “survey sez” that “balls” got bupkiss. But that’s not the point, now, is it.

An Ugly American Watches A Beauty Pageant

After an incredibly busy & exhausting weekend (this was just part of it), I spent a few hours just loafing on the couch Sunday night. Channel surfing, I happened upon the Miss Universe Pageant — I wouldn’t have watched, expect for they were announcing that the female part of Spidey, Heidi Pratt, would be performing a song. Like Scooby-Doo, I say, “Guh?!”

She can’t sing’ she can’t dance — she can barely put more than three moves together & looks like a clomping horse (no offense meant to horses!) while doing it. Don’t believe me? Watch it.

But by the time her performance was over, I was hooked on the train wreck qualities of the show.

Aside from Dean Has-been Cain (and Heidi, who I wish would just go away) the only person I recognized was Tamara Tunie — which surprised me because I’ve always seen her play intelligent women (a lawyer on As The World Turns; a coroner on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). When Tunie and others asked their questions, they did try to bring up important issues:

  • Should AIDS testing be mandatory?
  • How does it feel to compete in a pageant wearing a bathing suit when some women are not allowed to wear bathing suits?
  • Are women equal to men?
  • Has being beautiful meant you have been taken less seriously as a business person?

Watching the contestants struggle to not answer the questions, to avoid the meat of the issue, was painful. It would be easy to call them robotic Stepford wives, but honestly, how could any of them answer the question directly (let alone honestly) and win the competition?

Watching them give placid answers designed to inflate the room’s already high testosterone levels was to witness a horrifically powerful thing.

It reminded me of the unspoken issues we women have to keep mum about — or risk loosing what places, ground, we have as well as those we aspire to. Watching beautiful young women play that game in a pageant setting was astonishing. Especially in front of La Donald, Mr. Trump. :shudder:

But there was plenty to enjoy too — if your enjoyment, like mine, tends towards the perverse.

I enjoyed the fact that at least one contestant didn’t take not moving on up with the ever shortening list of finalists as gracefully as she’s supposed to. Look at Miss Switzerland’s sad slump of despair!

miss-switzerland-is-sad

I enjoyed watching when Miss Venezuela won — making “history” by giving back-to-back wins for Venezuela in the Miss Universe Pageant — and the former Miss Universe was so excited that she threw the 2009 Miss Universe crown off & over the winner’s head. (This is different coverage than I saw, but you’ll see the crown fumble — and note the unfortunate caption “clinches the tit” as the word title is shortened.)

In looking for photos from last night’s pageant, I found a great number of complaints about the racism in the Miss Universe pageant — especially with regards to Asian women. I haven’t watched a beauty pageant in probably 30 years, so maybe I shouldn’t take the claims as true… But it sure looks like nothing has changed. Except for the internet providing more place for public outcry against the Miss Universe Organization, predictions of which countries will no longer participate, and viewers vowing to switch to other pageants like Miss World.

If I am allowed to make one “purely girlie” observation (one more likely to please La Donald), it’s that Miss Kosovo, Marigono “Gono” Dragusha, is nearly as externally beautiful as Audrey Hepburn. Not only does she physically recall Hepburn, especially around the eyes & in her ball gown performance, but I believe she had stated that she intends to become a counselor to help children affected by the violence in her country. (Miss Kosovo finished as the 2nd Runner Up, aka 3rd place.)

finalists-miss-universe-2009

I don’t have any plans to watch another pageant; but then again, I didn’t plan to watch this one… I do think checking in every 30 years or so might just be enough.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: The Joys Of TCM, Bathing Beauty Edition

I’m not about to go all mathy on yer arse, but in a world of streaming video, on-demand downloadable rentals, home delivery rentals (even without fees!) TCM, part of basic cable, which is bundled with my cable internet connection, is one of the greatest cheap thrills I can get.

Films shown uninterrupted and commercial free, save for a few sponsored reminders to things you probably want anyway (like the TCM Now Playing Guide) — it’s the way TV ought to be. (And here is where I will insert my continual plea that TV return to its original format of corporate sponsored programs, with mentions at the top & bottom of the hour, as opposed to junky ads & product placements — which, in the case of the former, only distract & cause me to leave the room and, in the latter, go unnoticed by me anyway.)

Anyway, TCM is an incredible value.

robert-osborne-bobbleheadAlong with Robert Osborne and, now, Ben Mankiewicz‘s informative tidbits, you get to watch films you adore and see films you’ve never seen — including those that aren’t available anywhere else & those that you’ve avoided before because of crappy trailers & promotions that made you think they were crap. Now, thanks to TCM, you can watch them and either fall in love or be glad you didn’t waste money on a rental, download, or whathaveyou.

All of this brings me to the case in point: Last night’s viewing of Bathing Beauty.

As a kid, I’d never seen the Esther Williams films — but I saw the various parodies & heard the not-so-flattering commentary about the kitsch of synchronized swimming and pageantry of the old dated swimming movies. Ditto my kids, who aren’t interested in humoring me enough to let me rent one for movie night. But thanks to TCM, I got to watch Bathing Beauty last night.

The film is as sweet & simple as you’d expect a film from the 1940’s to be; romance and humor, with Red Skelton a complete joy as the young man willing to do anything — even be the only (tortured for demerits, forced to crossdress) male at an all girl’s school — to get his beloved back.

Unexpected were the lengthy scenes of musical performances from Harry James and his orchestra, Xavier Cugat, & others in traditional, glamorous nightclub settings; vicarious home front war living for those who couldn’t afford evenings out.

Now I loves me some Cugat, but the pee-my-pants-with-delight moment was a scene early on in the film, when the campus girls force (by flattery & girlie whining) one of the music instructors to play some forbidden music…

Here Ethel Smith plays the organ — note the lavish visual of her dainty feet, in pretty pumps, skimming along the peddles (Foot fetishists, beware! I’m not responsible for what this does to you!)

After that warm up, Smith consents to show the kiddies — ooops! I mean the girls — more of her chops on the electric organ, playing her theme song Tico Tico.

Ahh, a fantastic orgasmic ode to the organ — and fashion (love her ensemble!). But if that’s not incentive enough to watch Bathing Beauty &/or TCM, how about Skelton as a ballerina?

Seriously, all of this is so fantastic, I was nearly exhausted by the time we go to the results of all the cumulative efforts — the big swimming pageant. Which was as over-the-top as the parody legends proclaimed. Oh well, I have to leave you with something to look forward to.

The Fear Filled Prophecy For The Monday Move Meme

This week’s Monday Movie Meme topic is “fear.” I don’t particularly enjoy being scared; life is scary & fragile enough, thanks. Nor do I find any entertainment value in repeated bodily harm & numerous deaths — no many how many forms the gore takes. So I obviously do not watch many horror or slasher films. But I have managed to see some though — like I was there (with my mom) to see the original Halloween (1978) and I think I saw at least one more part in the classic horror series… Mom needn’t worry that I’d be up late with nightmares because, gross as the films were, they were rather forgettable to me.

But then I saw Prophecy (1979). Nothing, I mean nothing, had scared me as profoundly as that film.

prophecy-the-monster-movieProphecy is about a burned-out inner city doctor (Rob, played by Robert Foxworth) who is given the chance to escape to the country (Maine wilderness) for some meaningful (70’s hot issue) environmental science by investigating a dispute between a paper mill and the local Main Indians. He takes along his classically trained musician wife (Maggie, played by Talia Shire) — because there’s an important personal (and another political 70’s) sub-plot involving the couple: the embittered doc doesn’t want to bring another life into this horrible world, and she’s not only knocked-up, but isn’t so keen on (what I recall to be) another abortion.

When they arrive in Maine, it’s pulped into your head that a crisis is at hand at the paper mill. It’s the environment vs. progress, land vs. capitalism, with the lumberjacks on one side and the Indians on the other. In fabulous retro kitsch film style, Armand Assante plays the young Native American activist, angrily defending the old world traditions with modern gangsta style; gotta love the irony of a film trying to make points about the wisdom of native cultures using an Irish-Italian actor to play a Native American.

The idealogical & political war has been going on for quite some time now, but things are coming to a head. People are missing and the lumberjacks are certain it’s the Indians who, upset that the paper mill is damaging the land, have taken or harmed the people in the name of politics. But something else is going on… Something just below the surface… And we are shown that literally when a duck, floating atop the water, is gulped as dinner by a fish below…

Long creepy story short, the menace is a native alright; but it’s not exactly human.

The Indian legend has it that the creature is Kataden, there to save them, their land, their way of life — but really, it’s a bear that, due to the paper mill’s dirty pool (poisoning the water pools) has mutated into some sort of hideous & huge bear-pig.

prophecy-movie-horror-monster-kataden

As I too vividly recall, the Native American lore says that the legendary Kataden is a being which embodies “every other living creature” — something scientifically paralleled in a Darwinian theory of fetal development when Kataden’s drowned cubs are found by the doctor who supposes these babies are the results of the paper mill’s mercury poisoning. This made everything all the more “plausible” & frightening to my then 15 year old mind.

Like most horror films, the cast of characters is slow to catch on to the real problem, giving way to lots of violence — violence which serves to bloodily & bodily illustrate all the issues at hand.

Along with the paper mill vs. Indian clash, you have the clash of ways and beliefs between the younger Indians & the older Indians, the corrupt and ignorant/innocent paper mill persons, and the “exploration” of modern life via the personal issues of a modern couple. She’s emotional & artsy (feminine) and he’s all hard(ened) science (masculine), which echoes the other film’s value laden battle themes (nature vs.money, faith vs. pragmatics, traditions vs. modernization, the gift of life vs. quality of life).

The dangers of each are literally & graphically presented in such scenes as one of Kataden’s babies trying to suckle from Maggie’s nipple, the attack on innocence represented as a child in a sleeping bag, and the elderly Indian leader meeting his maker as he smilingly goes to meet his savior, Kataden.

And then there’s the matter of her pregnancy… Will the doc bring a child into this world? Does he have a choice? How much does he resent her — enough to not save her as his masculine protective duties dictate? Has she eaten too much of the mercury poisoned fish? Will the monster bites she’s suffered be a problem? Dogs & cats Bear-pigs & men living together; mass hysteria.

At the end of the film, life is affirmed: nature & femininity wins, overcoming corporate masculine greed with a show of traditional human survival instincts rooted in love. But at the end another creepy creature is seen, suggesting a sequel…

Did we learn the right things? Will the thing grow up, then rise up to teach us something new? Only it’s 1979; the 80’s are on the horizon, our backs are turned on the lessons learned, and no sequel has yet to come.

But I’m unable to forget it all — or the images in my head.

Yes, Prophecy is blunt heavy film — heavy on the cliches, ham-handed in using horror to punching them like a fist to your face to make the point — but it was also effective in scaring the crap out of me & placing issues heavily in my heart.

I’m not sure if “adult me” would be so moved. I did catch parts of it on late night television one night, but I wasn’t prepared to sit & give it it’s proper attention (it was on while I worked to meet a deadline) and it was so edited for content that I felt ripped-off. But I’d really like to see it again and see if it holds any of that old (black & terrifying) magic. It must hold something if I retain it so vividly 30 years later.

Click the pic & watch a clip!

For info, images, quotes, opinions, etc. on this film see BadMovies.org & Kindertrauma.

Fashion Friends With Fringe Benefits, 80’s Style

Via Shop It To Me, I found this Jersey Tassel Necklace on sale at Urban Outfitters. Totally 80’s, right?

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Holy 80’s! I remember these suede mini skirt sets with short jackets long on fringe from Wilson’s from my days working in the mall. I somehow managed not to spend my paychecks on them; but I do remember wanting to… Must have spent all my surplus at the stores I was working in *wink*

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Ah, the fashion Molotove cocktail that is fringe meets acid wash denim — explosive!

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I think all my friends had jean jackets like this. Not me; I had — and still do — a very large bustline and short jackets with fringe not only fit funny (once large enough to cover The Girls, they were too long to be a short jackets), but the fringe actually hid my rack. I just looked sort of lumpy & top-heavy in a bad way.

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And this last one may indeed be least… We called shirts like these “stripper shirts” — not because of the little strips of fabric with beads on them, but because of the little bit of fabric that was nearly enough to cover you breasts. That and, obviously, you looked more than a bit like a stripper teasing “the goods” — if you bought her a drink would it have the same results as if you stuck a buck in the waistband of her jeans? Oh wait; most men think that anyway. I guess this fringed beaded tee was just the sort of fashion statement that had we ladies thinking like men.

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