Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Freaks | Introduction | Monster Marketing

Week 15 | Freaks | Contents

Tuesday | Poetry | La Grand Guignol de Silkworm
Wednesday | Fiction | One of Us! One of Us! 
Thursday | Music | RPGs Are Like Guitars


I admit there's an element of brutality in all my work - it's part of the truth about human existence I always want to explore - but the last thing I'm trying to do is put on some kind of freak show, inviting people to get off on other people's pain and humiliation.
Todd Solondz

This week you are in for a freak-treat, monsters, mutants and madness.

It is no coincidence that freak shows have been popular throughout history. One of the earliest examples is Lazarus Colloredo and his parasitic twin brother John Baptista who toured 17th century Europe. The upper body and left leg of Baptista protruded from the torso of his mobile brother Lazurus. According to historical records, Lazarus was a handsome and charming man apart from this brother dangling before him. In 1884 the legend Joseph Merrick exhibited as ‘The Elephant Man’. More recently, ‘999 Eyes Freakshow’ started up as the last genuine traveling freakshow in the United States. This brings us right up to the present where we have the current series of Big Brother.

In short, oddness is and has always been a commodity, as such is sold and bought, and for it to sell well, marketed.

The seed of this article was sown from the Ballad of Ekimo Nell, which Phil posted up the other day. The ballad itself was news to me but the movie poster was not. I remember first seeing it as a kid in a book called 'Worst Movie Posters of All Time' - which is probably 'The Most Inappropriate Name of a Poster Book of All Time' as it contained some of the most fantastic images and tag lines of movie history. It is book about selling monsters, pandering to our love of freaks and making freak mountains out of odd molehills.

I’d like to introduce you to a few of my favourites (apologies some of the images are poor, it's difficult to find decent ones as much of the evidence of the below movies has been tactfully destroyed)

5. The Groove Tube
K-S/Syn-Frank Enterprises

All is revealed in The Groove Tube. What turns the apes on? What makes a cop dance in the street? Who chases her through the woods? What Can Butz beer do for you? What has the night tonic done for her? Why are they eating grass? Produced, written and directed by Ken Shapiro. Oh Ken, you loon. 

4. Fire Maidens From Outer Space
Eros Films

A poster plastered with outrageous cut-price thrills, it promises both sex-starved beautiful aliens and some planet-ravishing creature of horror.  At the time, Picturegoer’s reviewer hailed it with the words: “A film I nominate as the stupidest ever”.

3. Queen of Outer Space
Allied Artists

A Zsa zsa Gabor classic – with a poster depicting Gabor languidly spread across the Venusian landscape wrapped by images of men romping with laser gun toting girls and another of a man grapping with a giant spider. Released in 1958, set in 1985.

2. The Dead One
Grand National Pictures

A deserving second place for the list of sights on offer.

SEE The Voodoo Princess call on the dead one to Kill! Kill! Kill!
SEE The Dead Ones come to life within their coffins
SEE Exotic rituals bring the dead to life
SEE Beautiful dancing girls

1.    The Black Scorpion

Warner Bros.

The chart topper of this little list because of the host of  most excellent tag lines including...

“We defy you not to get a genuine case of the horrors”

“Uncut! Shown exactly as filmed”

 And best of all, "Don't be ashamed to scream, it helps to relieve the tension"

Sleep tight,

James “The Human Human” Harringman

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