Soviet Sci-Fi part 1: pre-Tarkovsky
Chapter 1: Soviet Silents
- Aelita: the decline of Mars (1923) a novel by Alexei Tolstoy anti-Bolshevic White and later a prosecutor of Nazis
- Aelita (1924) Russian directed by Yakov Protazanov early influencer and emigre
- Cosmic Voyage (1935) Soviet Mosfilm, patriotic, incredible models, (rabbit, man, woman and child, the moon)
Chapter 2: Escape Velocity
Sputnik launched October 1957’
- Road to the Stars (1957) out November docudrama influence on 2001 Pavel Klushantsev , first part about Konstantin Tsiolkovskyta
- The Sky is Calling AKA The Battle Beyond the Sun (1959) (a movie about the space race that got a USSR and American version)
Chapter 3: Venus
- The Silent Star (1960) Kurt Maetzig, based on Stanislaw Lem’s The Astronauts
1961 Yuri Gagarin first man in space
- Planet of the Storms (1962) Pavel Klushantsev
- Ikarie XB-1 (1963) Czech, Jindrich Polack based on Stanislaw Lem’s The Magellanic Cloud.
Tales from the Crypt
Show Notes in progress for our Tales From The Crypt episode. Happy Halloween!
Liquid Sky, the key to heaven
You can watch Liquid Sky (1982) here.
Chapter 1: Me and My Rhythm Box
Paula Shepard is Cinematic Oblivion's favorite actress
Sci Fi was big in 1982 (Blade Runner, The Thing, E.T. Tron, Wrath of Khan)
Chapter 2: Infrared and Neon
Infrared Alien Eye
The first image of the film is a mask, and we see an explosion that will be a constant. Super long without visuals. Like a universe being born.
NSFW: Cafe Flesh (1982) is a very aesthetically similar film that came out the same year,
If we were to introduce this film at a theater we would warn everyone that it is not a friendly movie, and that it includes multiple depictions of sexual assault.
This film participates in the tradition of the Marquis de Sade's Justine: or Good Virtue Well Chastised as well as the Kim Bauer syndrome. The film is arguably either feminist or exploitative (due to it's its brilliance of execution and aesthetic as well as its 2/3's authorship by women we believe it to be a feminist film.)
Fashion of the early 80's
Disjointed, "Electro-Clash" music, specifically Adrian’s poetry.
Negative and washed out effects
Brakhage and Anger influences
Chapter 3: Pleasure Victim
Liquid Sky means Heroin ("the key to heaven)
Margaret/Jimmy are drug-addicted models and Adrian is the drug-dealer, artist, and performer with a crazy mother. Margaret ran away from a rich Connecticut life.
The Alien eats up anyone who has an orgasm.
The straight-laced couple with the husband doing heroin.
who also buys it from Adrian and also rapes Margaret.
Owen, the teacher
Johann is the scientist
During Orgasm the glass arrow appears.
Aliens kill Owen, then the heroin husband, then Jimmy, then Adrian
Ending with Margaret
Chapter 4: Napoleon in Rags
The title of this chapter references Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone," which is often interpreted as a farewell song to Edie Sedgwick, a young model who fell into the Andy Warhol "Factory" scene of the late 6o's. She died young, and Margaret seems a clear parallel.
Jouissance (In the most basic terms, an excess of the pleasure principle into pain, like Freud’s Thanatos or death drive. Additionally it is a narcissistic pleasure which isolates the person)
A major theme of this film is the vacuously idealistic hippies of the 60's vs. the self-aware hedonists of the 80's i.e. Owen vs. Margaret (weed v. heroin) (Adrian’s “go to hell song” as the 80’s nihilism. She sits on the corpse's face in a regal Queen of the Damned aesthetic
Worth noting that the AIDS epidemic had just kicked off
The sight of the Empire State Building behind Margaret looks like a needle piercing the Liquid Sky
The studio on Ealing Green was originally known as Associated Talking Pictures and produced comedies with stars like Gracie Fields, George Formby, Stanley Holloway and Will Hay. They also made a series of WWII films such as Went the Day Well? (1942), The Foreman Went to France (1942), Undercover (1943), and San Demetrio London (1943).
In 1945, Ealing made its name with the horror anthology film Dead of Night which inspired the steady-state theory of the universe.
El Diablo Mexicano
According to the journal article Mira Lo Que Hace El Diablo by Sonia Lipsett-Rivera, the 18th and 19th centuries saw the introduction of Satan into the common parlance of indigenous Mexicans. Everyday inconveniences, cruelties, and moral failings were casually attributed to the Devil, as though his influence were omnipresent.
Santa Claus (1959) is a Mexican kids' movie in which Santa Claus fights a war with The Devil for the souls of children. It is particularly enjoyable to watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode in which Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo savage the film.
Curse of the Doll People (1961) AKA Devil Doll Men is a very poorly made Mexican b-horror film which vaguely addresses themes of pre-colonial religious practices coming into conflict with Spanish Catholicism. Hard to sit through and, in our opinion, not worth watching, but relevant to this episode's themes.
Alucarda (1977) was our favorite film of the bunch, an artistically precise coming of age story about two girls who fall into love and Satanism at a Catholic boarding school.
Here Comes The Devil (2013) is an independent horror film that brings psychoanalytic fears of incest to life in the form of satanic corruption.
There are five main language groups in the Inuit language family.
Chapter 1: Allakariallak (pronounced [al.la.ka.ɢi.al.lak])
One of the earliest filmic depictions of the Arctic was Georges Meilles’ Conquest of the North Pole.
William Van Valin was an explorer and teacher who came to Alaska in 1910 (sort of a colonialist) and made a predecessor to Nanook called Tip-Top of the Earth (1912-1919)
Robert Flaherty explored Hudson Bay in 1914 and 1916 and made some similar verité style films which he accidentally burnt up with a cigarette.
He then decided to go back and construct a "documentary": Nanook of the North (1921)
went back To Unvaga and filmed an Iñuk man named Allakariallak in various staged scenes.
The film is colonially condescending but has the same intentions as later Kunuk films; to showcase traditional Inuit methods. In our opinion, taken with a grain of salt, it is still a great film and worth watching.
the very same year as Nanook there was also Buster Keaton’s The Frozen North which featured the same ice fishing gag.
Chapter 2: Agnasquiac
there was a major variation of Eskimo depictions after Nanook
- Kivalina of the Ice Lands (1925) highlighted the landscape including whales and ice but not many eskimos
- Justice of the Far North (1926) Red face depictions of Eskimos
- Frozen Justice (1929) pseudo-feminist racial purity anthem
Agnasquiac or Ray Wise was a mixed raced Alaskan actor. He was part Iñupiaq and part white. His dad abandoned him, his mom died in the Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, and he was ultimately raised by his Iñupiaq grandma.
Later he worked on a boat called Silver Wave where he met explorer Knud Rasmussen and also Captain Kleinschmidt, who would later direct him.
He first starred in Primitive Love at age sixteen in 1926
He wrote a film called Modern Eskimos which no one picked up on but which might have been great
F.W. Murnau saw promise in him and tried to make a movie with him, which didn’t pan out
Finally he starred in Igloo (1932), a film meant to showcase the Alaskan Eskimo lifestyle, but which depicted the lifestyle as a constant, brutal struggle for survival, borrowing moreso from the images of Nanook and other Canadian Inuktitut stories.
Ray Wise changed his name to Ray Mala after starring as Mala in the film Eskimo (1933) directed on location by W.S. Van Dyke, who hated the experience, based on the Greenland travelogue Der Eskimo by Peter Freuchen who also played the evil white captain in the film
Ray Mala was in a few other films before dying in his forties.
Chapter 3: Atanarjuat
Moving over North to the Iñuk of Igloolik, a different language group
Mosha Michael might have been the first Inuit director.
His Nunavut Trilogy includes the first feature films directed by an Inuit director and in the Inuktitut language:
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) our absolute favorite of the bunch.
Before Tomorrow (2008) produced by Kunuk and directed by Marie- Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu.
Arnait Video Productions is a Women’s Video Workshop of Igloolik which made the films:
Anaana (Mother) (2001)
Unakuluk (Dear Little One) (2005)
Before Tomorrow (2008)
Sol (2014) (true-crime documentary)
Chapter 4: Ethan
We believe that there is potential for a new subgenre: Northerns.
How do you watch Burst City?
Chapter 1: How do you watch Experimental Film?
- The Return to Reason (1923)
- Anemic Cinema (1926)
- Un Chien Andalou (1929)
- Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Ferdinand the Bull (1937) (made it when he was 10) (lost film)
-Tinsel Tree (1941-1942)
- Scorpio Rising (1964)
- Dog Star Man (1964)
- Thunder (1982)
2. Chapter 2: Cyberpunk v. Japanese Cyberpunk
Tron (1982), Blade Runner (1982), Neuromancer (1984) Snow Crash (1992) , Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Panic in High School (1976) Crazy Thunder Road (1980) Burst City (1982), Electric Dragon 80,000v (2001)
Chapter 3: How do you watch Burst City?
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Slashers part 3: an American genre (1979-1989)
|He Knows You're Alone (1980)||Rituals (1977)||Tourist Trap (1979)||Black Christmas (1974)|
|To All A Good Night (1980)||Prom Night (1980)||Friday the 13th (1980)||Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)|
|Graduation Day (1981)||The Funhouse (1981)||Friday the 13th part II (1981)||Halloween (1978)|
|Happy Birthday To Me (1981)||Terror Train (1981)||The Burning (1981)||Just Before Dawn (1981)|
|Madman (1982)||The Slumber Party
|Hell Night (1981)||Sleepaway Camp (1983)|
|Mortuary (1983)||Girls Nite Out (1982)||Halloween II (1981)||The Final Terror (1983)|
|Scalps (1983)||Alone in the Dark (1982)||The Prowler (1981)||A Nightmare on
Elm Street (1984)
|Friday the 13th:
A New Beginning (1985)
|Friday the 13th Part 3
in 3-D (1982)
|My Bloody Valentine (1981)||Slumber
Massacre II (1987)
|Return to Horror High (1987)||Friday the 13th:
The Final Chapter (1984)
|The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981)|
|A Nightmare on
Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
|April Fools Day (1986)||Curtains (1983)|
|Sleepaway Camp II:
Unhappy Campers (1988)
|Friday the 13th Part VI:
Jason Lives (1986)
|A Nightmare on Elm Street 2:
Freddy's Revenge (1985)
|Sleepaway Camp III:
Teenage Wasteland (1989)
|Cheerleader Camp (1988)||The House on Sorority Row (1983)|
|Friday the 13th Part VIII:
Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
|A Nightmare on Elm Street 5:
The Dream Child (1989)
|A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:
Dream Warriors (1987)
|Shocker (1989)||Blood Rage (1987)|
|Friday the 13th Part VII:
The New Blood (1988)
The Return of
Michael Myers (1988)
The Revenge of
Michael Myers (1989)
Links to the above films (in order of release):
1. Black Christmas (1974)
2. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)
3. Rituals (1977)
4. Halloween (1978)
5. Tourist Trap (1979)
6. To All A Good Night (1980)
7. Friday the 13th (1980)
8. Prom Night (1980)
9. He Knows You're Alone (1980)
10. The Funhouse (1981)
11. Night School (1981)
12. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
13. Graduation Day (1981)
14. The Burning (1981)
15. Final Exam (1981)
16. Hell Night (1981)
17. Just Before Dawn (1981)
18. Halloween II (1981)
19. The Prowler (1981)
20. Madman (1982)
21. The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
22. Girls Nite Out (1982)
23. Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
24. Alone in the Dark (1982)
25. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
26. The House on Sorority Row (1983)
27. Curtains (1983)
28. The Final Terror (1983)
29. Mortuary (1983)
30. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
31. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
32. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
33. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
35. April Fools Day (1986)
36. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
37. Return to Horror High (1987)
38. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
39. Blood Rage (1987)
40. Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
41. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Omissions/Corrections from Episode1
Cluedo/Clue (1949 release) as inspired by And Then There Were None
Night of the Hunter (1955)
Gialli not Giallos (shoutout to u/Thread_Shitter)
Your Vice is a locked room and only I have the key not door
Chapter 1- Head Cheese
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) released in October
This film revisits Ed Gein as Psycho (1960) did earlier.
Child of God (1973)
Cheap, modest, and effective Texas Chainsaw still scares people to this day.
R.I.P. Tobe Hooper
Chapter 2- The Madonna
Black Christmas (1974) is usually cited as the first slasher film. It kind of flew under the radar and it didn’t kick off the trend. It was a flash in the pan, which wouldn’t resurge as a solid genre until four years later.
The tradition of Christmas horror stories goes back all the way to the origins of Christmas “there’ll be scary ghost stories, and tales of the glories of Christmases long long ago…”
There is a holy trinity of slasher importance in Black Christmas:
The Final Girl/and femininity vs. masculinity as a theme is solidified
The Mystery Killer, in this case such a mystery as to offer no reveal
The Living Metaphor, as the abortion subplot inverts the birth festival of Christmas from a White Christmas into a Black Christmas.
Carrie is less a slasher and more a full blown massacre film. It is mostly a dark, teen drama until the bloody ending. But the entire story is built around the concept of a girl coming of age, discovering the horrors of womanhood, and then discovering the unbridled power of womanhood, which she directs in fury toward her classmates.
The opening scene of Carrie is her first period, the blood of maturity. The last scene is her covered in pig’s blood and then the slaughter of the prom and her own mother, in full Elektra fury (hearkening back to Greek Tragedy). The chiasmus of the Final Girl is cemented. Her mother’s obsessive Christianity reinforces these themes.
A girl coming of age and learning the horrors of both active sexuality, in the guise of wicked men, and stifled sexuality in the roles of women within the church, ends at a crossroads of which path she will take.
The film details her Communion, a Catholic symbol of maturity in which the blood of Christ reflects the blood of menstruation
A lot of blood in this chapter. Are you beginning to see what we mean when we say Slashers are Living Metaphors?
Chapter 3: Sawney Bean
Contributors to the mood of the era briefly include Jaws, Deep Red, Burnt Offerings, The Killer Inside Me, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Who Can Kill a Child, and The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
Suspiria (1977) comes out, the most well-known Giallo, a highly overrated film. A call and response has begun between Italy and America on who can perfect the genre first.
Willy Wonka (released in 1971 and distributed continuously through 1977) includes the one by one narrowing of focus. Willy Wonka also foreshadows the popularity of slasher villains, and the humor of a late stage Freddy or Jason.
High Anxiety (1977) signals the distinct end of the Hitchcock era, and the need for a new breed of suspense.
Chapter 4: Haddonfield
John Carpenter established himself as a genre director early on, covering sci-fi, gritty action, and horror.
The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) written by Carpenter, was an attempt to translate the Giallo into an American crime film
Are you in the House Alone? (1978) Released in September and very appropriate to “Madonna” theory. An after school special more in the style of Thirteen Reasons Why.
Someone’s Watching Me (1978) released in November
Halloween (1978) released in October. Regarded incorrectly by many as the first slasher, but definitely the film that put slashers on the map and ignited the craze.
The music and cinematography played a key part in the film’s success.
The suburban setting, changed the tone from Laura Mars, reducing the French Connection feel. Haddonfield feels nostalgic for old school Americana, Washington Irving, Norman Rockwell. Rear Window (1954). This ubiquitous nostalgiafornotime is invaded by the embodiment of evil, who grew up wrong, interrupting the development of a group of teenage girls trying to grow up right.
Misattributions of virginity to Final Girls begin here.
Slashers part 2: the turning point
Slashers part 1: prototypes (1200 BC - 1973)
Chapter 1: Theater of Blood (STING from: Oedipus (1957)
- The Iliad (1200 B.C.ish) in which we learn about a huge cast of characters mostly through their violent deaths.
Procne's husband Tereus rapes and mutilates Procne's sister, Philomela, so Procne cooks their son Itylos and feeds him to Tereus
This play is central to the beginning of the Jacobean Revenge theater era which includes others such as:
Penny Dreadfuls were cheap pulp novels also called Penny Awfuls, Penny Horribles, and Penny Bloods which featured gory, gothic stories like A String of Pearls (1846) which featured the murderous barber Sweeney Todd. (SOUND CLIP from the Original Broadway Cast Recording 1979)
The Grand Guignol was a theater in Paris which opened in 1897. The name literally means Big Puppet The plays were usually short comedies or splatterfests, often about madness and revenge with inventive special effects and gore effects
Harry mentioned The Orgy in the Lighthouse (date unknown)
Nick & Harry acted out A Crime in the Madhouse (1925)
Chapter 2: Old, Dark Houses (STING: from The Old Dark House (1932)
- Old Dark House
- Supervillain Costume
- Large cast of characters dying or disappearing one by one
- Signature weaponry
- Proto-final girl in The Old Lady who’s Always Knitting. She’s clever and outsmarts the super villain and many others. These qualities make sense in an older, more experienced woman, but they will be reassigned to teenage girls later on which will make precociousness the defining quality of a final girl.
- It was remade multiple times
(CLIP: from the 1959 Vincent Price version, describing the bat.)
The Old Dark House (1932) deserves mention as the namesake of the genre.
Night of Terror (1933) is a particularly effective and portentous old dark house film. It contains some slasher elements such as:
- It begins with teenagers making out in a car when a maniac sneaks up.
- There are mystery killer(s) one who is scheming and one who is a maniac (straddling the line between traditional mystery and future psycho films)
- It contains a grotesque living burial subplot.
The Phantom Ship (1935) not all old dark house films have to be in a house)
And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie (changed from its original title) marks a distillation of the genre with a focus on the mystery angle. It is by all accounts the first true proto-slasher.
- The one by one killings, the narrowing of focus, a soldier broken from the ring.
- punishment for past crimes, the theme of past trauma as well as a children’s song (CLIP: song from 1945 Rene Clair film)
- the killer is among us, one of us is the killer
- killings in the tableau style, such as the killing of the judge
- also we have a proto-Final Girl antihero in Vera Claythorne. She’s not a very good person, her seeming youthful innocence is all pretense in the novel.
The House on Haunted Hill (1959) is probably the most well-known old dark house film, but verges more toward the haunted house genre.
These are usually films about people motivated by gain or revenge; practical motives for murder. In the late 50’s and early 60’s we see a transition into people who kill for stranger reasons, or for no reason at all.
Chapter 3: Psychos (STING: from Psycho (1960)
A great proto-slasher about a psycho killer is The Leopard Man (1943) Like the Bat a killer associates himself with an animal, not for gain, but rather out of insanity.
A Bucket of Blood (1959) represents a cross-section of practical motive (avoiding arrest, creating art) and insanity and also serves as a fantastic satire of beatnik culture. It's plot is a remix of two previous films; Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and House of Wax (1953)
In 1960 we get the seminal suspense classic Psycho. This marks a major turning point wherein horror returned to its Grand Guignol roots and became about mental illness. Important to note that, similar to the problematic depiction of a black character in Night of Terror, this was based partially on the assumption that all trans people had the same mental problems as Ed Gein, which is a gross oversimplification.
For a thorough history of Ed Gein check out the three-part Gein episode of Last Podcast on the Left.
Norman Bates, the antagonist of Psycho, remained relevant 30 years after the film's release and was mentioned in several rap songs such as the sampled clips from All Black by Big L, Shimmy Shimmy Ya by Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Role Model by Eminem.
Peeping Tom (1962) represents another kind of film as it studies a psycho-killer but contains no mystery.
Chapter 4: Giallos (STING: Blood and Black Lace trailer)
(edit: we realized after the fact that the correct plural of Giallo is Gialli. Oops.)
A Giallo is an Italian pulp, murder mystery,.
Blood and Black Lace (1964) has the feel of a Shakespearian tragedy as one murder begets several out of intertwining complications. It also contains a masked killer and sexualized violence (probably for exploitative reasons, which will transform into a more meaningful living metaphor in American renditions)
- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) from Dario Argento also deserves mention as it contains mystery elements, a psycho killer, and established many mainstays of the Giallo.
- A Bay of Blood (1971) was decried for gratuitous violence in its time, but is now viewed as highly influential. While it has many slasher elements it lacks the proper building and maintaining of suspense which will be perfected later on in Slashers. Friday the 13th (1980), which we will discuss in Part 3, is a far better interpretation of this film. Insanity has no part in the killings but teenagers do, as does sexuality, the living metaphor. In the end a murder committed by two maladapted children foreshadows slasher villains.
Your Vice is a Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (1972) marks Giallo sexuality at its height. Based on Poe’s The Black Cat. Directed by Sergio Martino who also made:
Torso (1973) one year before the first slashers, which has many overt slasher elements; psycho killer, sexualized violence, and long suspenseful sequences, ala Hitchcock.
The key to the best Slashers is suspense. The gore should only function as a reinforcement of the living metaphor, not for exploitative purposes. This distinguishes slashers from splatter films.