Vintage Pulp Apr 8 2009
RABID SEASON
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.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 17 2009
EASTERN PROMISES
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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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 22
1987—Andy Warhol Dies
American pop artist Andy Warhol, whose creations have sold for as much as 100 million dollars, dies of cardiac arrhythmia following gallbladder surgery in New York City. Warhol, who already suffered lingering physical problems from a 1968 shooting, requested in his will for all but a tiny fraction of his considerable estate to go toward the creation of a foundation dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts.
February 21
1947—Edwin Land Unveils His New Camera
In New York City, scientist and inventor Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The camera, which contains a special film that self-develops prints in a minute, goes on sale the next year to the public and is an immediate sensation.
1965—Malcolm X Is Assassinated
American minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam, who shotgun him in the chest and then shoot him sixteen additional times with handguns. Though three men are eventually convicted of the killing, two have always maintained their innocence, and all have since been paroled.
February 20
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
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