Vintage Pulp Mar 31 2010
BUMMERTIME BLUES
Why, why, why don’t we listen?

We’re contrarians here—warned away from something we usually jump in neck deep. That’s how we ended up eating beef tripe last week, as our friends screwed up their faces in disgust. It’s why we went to that Anthrax concert, and to this day can’t hear tones above 19 kHz. And it’s the reason we just watched 1973’s Bummer, a film so scathingly reviewed we immediately did bio checks on director, cast and crew, to make sure mobs of critics didn’t douse them all in kerosene and barbecue them on a giant pyre. The filmmakers survived, as far as we can tell, but we almost didn’t. In fact, we finished Bummer about an hour ago and our girlfriends still won’t let us near the silverware drawer unless we renounce the suicide pact we made about twenty minutes into the film.

Bummer has all the trappings of sexploitation cinema, but with none of the insouciance that makes it palatable. It’s about a rock band and their groupies on tour together, and the problems that ensue when the bassist—a hairy, obese, psychotic rube named Butts—starts to spin off his axis. Butts is too repulsive to score, so he compensates by humiliating the groupies instead (hence the film’s tagline, above, “You don’t have to assault a groupie… you just have to ask!!”). Butts’ daily abuse escalates to rape, then the strangulation of another girl, and finally to an unconvincing shooting that could only have been less believable if we’d actually seen the victim break a ketchup packet on himself to simulate blood. When finally Butts gets shotgunned by a vengeful Carol Speed his dying words are, “Why..? Why..? Why..?" Which is exactly what we’re still asking ourselves. This one is going to sting for a while. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 21
1937—The Hobbit is Published
J. R. R. Tolkien publishes his seminal fantasy novel The Hobbit, aka The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Marketed as a children's book, it is a hit with adults as well, and sells millions of copies, is translated into multiple languages, and spawns the sequel trilogy The Lord of Rings.
September 20
1946—Cannes Launches Film Festival
The first Cannes Film Festival is held in 1946, in the old Casino of Cannes, financed by the French Foreign Affairs Ministry and the City of Cannes.
September 19
1934—Arrest Made in Lindbergh Baby Case
Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr., son of the famous American aviator. The infant child had been abducted from the Lindbergh home in March 1932, and found decomposed two months later in the woods nearby. He had suffered a fatal skull fracture. Hauptmann was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and finally executed by electric chair in April 1936. He proclaimed his innocence to the end
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