Vintage Pulp Feb 18 2023
KILLER INSTINCT
Some people just can't handle any excitement.


It's hard to believe that Curtis Hanson—the man who directed The River Wild, the acclaimed L.A. Confidential, and the underrated Wonder Boys, got his start with Sweet Kill, which he directed and wrote, but it's true. Everyone has to start somewhere. Even Francis Ford Coppola started in nudie flicks. Sweet Kill stars Tab Hunter, who plays a sort of beach hunk version of Norman Bates who stabs women when he's sexually aroused—hence the movie's alternate title, The Arousers. Those arousers, who you'll see below in a series of production photos made for the film, include Roberta Collins. Cherie Latimer, Brandy Herred, and others.

Sweet Kill is an interesting mood piece but we can't call the movie a success on the whole because it isn't scary—an aspiration for slasher flicks (its main inspiration Psycho is scary, after all). The main problem here is the acting, that bugaboo of ambitious young directors the world over. Collins is okay, but Hunter is out of his depth, and the other participants clearly didn't have the time and talent to hone their performances. In the end what you get is a lot of standing around, a fair amount of nudity, and minor tension derived from whether Hunter can somehow curb his murderous urges. Spoiler alert: he can't. Sweet Kill premiered in the U.S. today in 1972.
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Vintage Pulp Jan 14 2009
LOVECRAFT CHEESE
Never has a writer of such quality suffered so many bad adaptations of his work.

Thirty-eight years ago today in Hollywood, sexploitation producer Roger Corman premiered a film based on H.P. Lovecraft’s macabre story The Dunwich Horror, and it was almost good. Wait, did we really just say that?

*sigh*

Not to get all self-pitying here, but us Lovecraft fans have been so desperate for so long for a truly great HPL movie, we’ll see merit in virtually any lame attempt. But when we are honest with ourselves—really truly brutally honest—we have to admit this movie is a stinkbomb. Lovecraft is simply difficult to adapt. So difficult, in fact, that if you remove Stuart Gordon from the discussion, virtually all the movies based on his material have been awful.

But even if The Dunwich Horror disappoints, the poster is rather interesting, with its implied violation by a hydra-like monstrosity. Incidentally, of special note here is the presence of writer Curtis Hanson, who would go on to direct the great L.A. Confidential. Nice comeback, Curtis. As for us, we’ll just plan on seeing the low budget Dunwich remake slated for release later this year, and hope Guillermo del Toro’s big budget At The Mountains of Madness actually films sometime this century.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 30
1914—Aquitania Sets Sail
The Cunard liner RMS Aquitania, at 45,647 tons, sets sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City. At the time she is the largest ocean liner on the seas. During a thirty-six year career the ship serves as both a passenger liner and military ship in both World Wars before being retired and scrapped in 1950.
May 29
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
May 28
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
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