Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Karen Black in Day of the Locust
July 13, 2010

I’m not saying that we need a remake of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and that’s because you really can’t improve upon Robert Aldrich’s masterpiece of high camp horror.  That said, I would like the above image be exhibit A in that–if there were to be a What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? remake–John Schlesinger should helm it, and he should cast Karen Black in the role of Baby Jane AND Blanche Hudson.  Sure, you might expect me to push for everyone’s favorite hard-boiled-egg enthusiast to reprise one of the roles (either would do, really), but is there a band devoted to the voluptuous horror of Faye Dunaway, or even just some slightly curvaceous creepiness?  No, I didn’t think so.

And as usual, don’t hesitate to click to enlarge and appreciate the (garish) fabulousness of it all.

[Update: In an embarrassing oversight brought to light in the comments, John Schlesinger sadly passed away in 2003.  Looks like a certain fantasy project just went from improbable to impossible.]

Important Findings in the Album Art for Christina Aguilera’s Bionic
June 11, 2010

Over on Facebook, a friend of mine described Christina Aguilera’s Bionic as mostly consisting of “transparent attempts to pander to obnoxious queens.” I recognize that taste is a subjective thing, so he could be wrong, but he did study music production, so I’m willing to trust his critical assessment on this matter.  Besides, it probably explains why I’m enjoying Bionic so damn much.  After all, if Christina Aguilera’s latest album was an early-to-mid-90s Marvel Comic character, she’d be Nymphomaniac Robotranny Joan Crawford 2099:

In which case, how could I not love this nonsense?

Some of the songs, like “I Am” (co-written by Sia and painfully lovely in its chamber pop minimalism) and the glorious “My Girls” (a Le Tigre-penned track with a Peaches rap interlude, so electropop fantastiche), are legitimately good songs; other songs, like the ode to muff diving called “Woo Hoo” and the oh-so-unsubtly titled “Sex for Breakfast,” feature lyrics so cartoonishly sexual that they could fit right into Showgirls: The Musical (book and lyrics by Joe  Eszterhas, music by Andrew Lloyd Weber on a burritos and meth bender).  And then there’s “Vanity,” a song that scales to such heights of camp absurdity that it’s another post all unto itself.  Bionic may be neither a work of high art nor a pop masterpiece, but much of it’s so frequently batshit crazy and so thoroughly listenable that I find it irresistible.

ANYWAYS, as I was flipping through the album art for Bionic (which is as bonkers and fabulous–if not even more so–than the album itself), I had a revelation, and that revelation was that Christina Aguilera and I both share a love of Karen Black in The Day of the Locust.  Here’s Karen Black on the poster for The Day of the Locust:

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The Day of the Locust is Unmitigated Insanity of the Highest Sort
May 4, 2009

It’s no secret that I’ve a penchant for movies that movies that are curious and over the top.  I’m an ardent obsessive of camp, and I revel in movies that flaunt their mad visions and embrace their craziest whims.  I love the movies that have never said “no” to a bad idea or considered that they might be crossing a line.  Hell, I’ve practically made it my quest to mine the coal of film’s expansive history in order to find the most glittering diamonds of batshit insanity.  Well, ladies and gentleman, I’ve already found what may the Hope Diamond of this journey.  I give you The Day of the Locust, a movie somehow far stranger than this surreal, French poster for the film:

rr_0008day-of-the-locust-posters

 

Oh, and it’s infinitely more garish than the America poster would imply:

day_of_the_locust

Still unconvinced?  Let me just give you a taste of the craze.  Let’s go watch aspiring starlet Faye Greener (Karen Black) get in a fight with her sickly father (Burgess Meredith):

I don’t know whether to laugh at the garish campiness of the performances or have nightmares for the rest of my life, but it’s captivatingly bizarre no matter your reaction, and believe me when I say that this scene is merely the tip of iceberge that is John Schlessinger’s epic, gonzo vision of Hollywood as the festering epicenter of failed dreams and a society in rapid decline.  There’s also (for example, yet impressively enough not limited to) the sublimely grotesque yet perversely compelling pleasures of Burgess Meredith’s heart attack at Donald Sutherland’s house, the church scene, Karen Black doing tequila shots (itself one of the profoundly ridiculous moments in cinema), and the cock fighting scene.  Seriously, I don’t know why you’d even bother finishing this reviews before putting it at the top of your Netflix queue.  Trust me.

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