They're a sight to behold.
This is a cool little item that's been making the rounds on Twitter lately. It's the VHS box cover art for the horror flick Videodrome, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Debbie Harry and James Woods. As you know, we rarely post box art, but this one needed to be seen. The movie needs to be seen too—to be believed. It deals with a Toronto television producer who stumbles upon an illicit snuff channel, but finds that what's going on behind the broadcasts is even worse. It's Cronenberg at his weirdest. The movie premiered today in 1983.
Marilyn Chambers converts the masses.
Zombie movies go back a long way. All the way to 1932's White Zombie. But David Cronenberg's 1977 horror thriller Rabid, along with The Plague of Zombies, Night of the Living Dead and a few other films, was a precursor to all the zombie apocalypse movies and television shows of today. The bizarre Italian promo poster you see above certainly gets across one element of the movie—its grim violence. As you can see, it was retitled Rabid sete di sangue when it played there. It originally premiered in the U.S. in 1977, but didn't reach Italy until today in 1979.
The concept is weird: a woman played by Marilyn Chambers receives an experimental skin graft and as a side effect develops a stinger in her armpit and an insatiable (see what we just did there?) appetite for human blood. When we later glimpse this stinger, it's ensconced in an anus-like cavity of a type that filmgoers would see again and again in Cronenberg's movies. Yeah, that stinger is freaky, and this flick hits on other levels of horror. There's dread, such as when doctors make ready to slice skin off Chambers' thighs with some sort of electric peeler. There's revulsion, which Cronenberg specializes in with his lingering takes on physical deformities. And there's pure terror when infected victims run amok.
Chambers is pretty good in this, with her acting holding up as well as that of the other performers. She also looks quite beautiful, a requirement for the role, since she's essentially a vampiress, using her looks to attract prey. Of special note is a snippet of her classic disco song, “Benihana,” which has aged well for dance music from that period. We should also mention that though this is a pure horror film, the plot also has a disease vs. vaccine element, perfect for the COVID era. We've written superficially about Rabid a few times in the past, and if you're interested you can see those mentions here, here, and here.
Have you had a hallucination yet today?
We're really living up to the Intl. part of Pulp Intl. today with this fascinating promo poster from far away Ghana. It was made for Canadian horror filmmaker David Cronenberg's 1983 freakshow Videodrome, starring Debbie Harry and James Woods in a wild story about video-triggered hallucinations that become real. We found this on a website called Deep Fried Movies, and they found it at Deadly Prey Gallery on Instagram. It's signed O.A. Heavy J. Teshie, if we're reading that right. Well, good job, O. Since you worked in the ’80s you may still be out there, and if you are, FYI, dealers in the U.S. are selling your posters for up to $4,000 a pop. If you've got any pieces hanging around, we strongly urge cutting out the middlemen.
Insane in the membrane.
Above: a freaky Japanese promo poster for David Cronenberg’s freaky (and explosive) sci-fi thriller Scanners, which premiered in Tokyo this month in 1981. This one is a must-see.
Welcome to the Chambers of horror.
Marilyn Chambers doesn’t often get sufficient credit for what she did here—she made the first leap from porno vixen to mainstream lead. Yes, Rabid was low budget, but it was also general release, a modest hit, and pretty damn convincing as well, from both the acting and special effects standpoints. As a bonus, it features possibly the grimmest poster of all time. Plenty of adult actresses have tried to accomplish what Chambers did, including Sasha Grey in Steven Soderberg’s upcoming The Girlfriend Experience, but Chambers was the first and—based upon early word on The Girlfriend Experience—remains the best. Though Canadian director David Cronenberg has gone on to helm high-budget masterpieces like A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, Rabid remains a compulsory component of his catalogue. As for Chambers, she never really got another shot in a mainstream movie. The rest is (porno) history. Rabid premiered in the U.S. and Canada today in 1977.
There will be bloodspray.
Any time you get Reiko Ike in a flick, vital fluids will stain the walls. Furyô anego den: Inoshika Ochô, aka Sex & Fury, falls into a category generally known as “pinky violence,” which was conceived and created by the movie studio Toei Company. Like yesterday’s Seijû gakuenaka, this film is a Norifumi Suzuki-conducted symphony of lesbian sex, shock-nudity and hyperviolent action.
Near the mid-point Suzuki treats us to a sequence in which the heroine is surprised in the bath by eight Yakuza, but leaps from the tub and fights them naked. The vicious sword battle spills from the bath chamber into a courtyard, all in wonderfully choreographed slow motion, with arterial spray jetting hither and yon like water from the Bellagio Fountain. It’s one of the most famous and daring sequences in cinema history, and was echoed by David Cronenberg in his recent thriller Eastern Promises.
You may notice that Reiko Ike is upstaged on the poster (and the black-bordered alternate version below) by a bare-breasted Christina Lindberg. Ms. Lindberg is a sexploitation queen who we’ll talk more about in the future. Furyô anego den: Inoshika Ochô premiered in Japan today in 1973.
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