Mar 272019

From Beyond is a 1986 horror-science fiction film, directed by Stuart Gordon. It’s based on the short story of the same name by HP Lovecraft. The film takes a lot of liberties with the original story, particularly in the realm of adding T&A to the story, probably to increase the commercial appeal.

Lovecraft’s fiction generally revolved around the idea that there are hidden realms, just on the threshold of human perception, and his characters are simultaneously fascinated and terrified by these realms and their inhabitants.

Crawford (Jeffrey Combs) and Katherine (Barbara Crampton) face the resonator.

The basic premise of the story and film is the invention of a device, “the resonator”, which makes an unseen world, which exists in parallel to our own reality, visible and tangible. The problem is that the device attracts creatures from this other realm and allows them attack people. In the film, the device’s creator, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs), is accused of killing and decapitating his colleague and financial backer, Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel). (Pretorius, incidentally, is the name of another mad scientist in the 1935 Bride of Frankenstein.)

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Mar 202019

High Anxiety (1977) (IMDB) is a comedy film, directed by Mel Brooks, written and directed by Mel Brooks and Ron Clark.

High Anxiety is Mel Brooks’ parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers, which often had some psychosexual weirdness driving their plots. E.g. voyeurism in Rear Window, gender confusion in Psycho, fetishism in Vertigo. In this case, it’s female sadism and male masochism.

Nurse Charlotte Diesel, played by Cloris Leachman
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Mar 162019
  • Cleo Dubois has been involved in the BDSM community going back to the 1980s, and also a major player in the body modification/modern primitive community, not to mention married to the late Fakir Musafar. The Mike Mantell Show podcast has an in depth interview with her.
  • The Advocate has a set of rare photos from a 1962 gay motorcycle club event.
  • Iceland’s entry for the 2019 Eurovision song contest is Hatari, a self-described “anti-capitalist techno BDSM band”. They had retired for failing to destroy capitalism. Now, they’re back, and they’ve challenged the Prime Minister of Israel to an Icelandic wrestling match for the right to found “the first ever Hatari sponsored liberal BDSM colony” on Israeli soil. From Pink News.
  • The Imaginary Worlds podcast has a profile of Margaret Brundage, 1930s pulp magazine cover artist, many of which had sadomasochistic themes.
  • They say every generation has its sexual awakening movie. According to this Indiewire article, Millennials were taught sex positivity by Cruel Intentions (1999). “Millennials may be having less sex than previous generations, but we are talking about and embracing kink, BDSM, role play, and queerness with an openness and lack of judgment that is irreversibly influencing media and culture for the next generation.”
  • More changes in San Francisco’s landscape could squeeze out the city’s leather district, which was and still is the major incubator of the greater BDSM culture. The Catalyst will have to find new space by the end of 2019. This comes after designating the leather district and setting aside a leather pride mini-park. I fear that in a decade all that will be left will be the monuments and memorials, while the living heart will be gone.
  • In NYC, Charlotte Taillor’s kink collective and residence has run afoul of objections from her neighbors in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. New York Times, Gothamist, New York Daily News.
Mar 162019

Cruising (1980) is a thriller directed and written by William Friedkin, based on a novel by Gerald Walker.

William Friedkin, well known for directing The French Connection and The Exorcist, already had history (not necessarily the good kind) with LGBTQ topics when he directed The Boys in the Band (1970), released only a year after Stonewall. Even before it was made, Cruising was controversial, and gay activists repeatedly interfered with the filming. However, the film also included many patrons of gay leather clubs in the club scenes.

Steve (Pacino) slips into the New York leather scene.
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Mar 072019

Richard Pérez Seves has written a thorough and visually engrossing study of fetish artist Eric Stanton and the world he lived in. Stanton was one of the major artists to define the post-WWII American style of fetish and BDSM art, when this genre was very much underground. Seves managed to get access to impressive quantities of ephemera of the artist’s life and interviews with his friends and families.

Photo of young Stanton, Pg.24
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Mar 052019

8MM (1999) (IMDB) is a mystery/thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker.

Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) is a private investigator for upper crust clients. An elderly widow, Mrs. Christian, says she found a roll of 8mm film in her late husband’s safe, which appears to document the murder of a young white woman. Wells is skeptical, saying it’s probably fake, but the widow hires him to find the girl.

Welles (Cage) watches the film apparently showing the murder of an unknown girl (Jenny Powell).
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Feb 182019

Not all of the works I plan on exploring in The Celluloid Dungeon will have BDSM as a primary or even secondary theme. Some will have BDSM in a single scene or even a single moment.

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, a 1989 crime thriller starring Charles Bronson, is not a good film, by most standards. It’s mainly about an older racist cop, Lt. Crowe (Bronson), harassing and brutalizing non-white people in Los Angeles in pursuit of an exploitative pimp, Duke. That story is awkwardly spliced with another story about a Japanese salaryman, Hada, who moves with his wife and two daughters to Los Angeles. Hada’s elder daughter, Fumiko, somewhere in her early teens, is kidnapped, raped multiple times (offscreen, thankfully) and pimped out, before Crowe rescues her.

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