Vintage Pulp Nov 17 2023
SHARK TALE
They're going to salvage a lost cargo come hell or Haie water.


We had a foreign double feature last night, following up La tentación desnuda with Haie am Todesriff, which was originally Italian made as Bermude: la fossa maledetta. Known in English as Cave of Sharks, it premiered in Italy in June 1978 and opened in West Germany today the same year. It is, to be succinct, a Jaws knock-off made with less imagination and less budget.
 
Set on and around the fictive island of San Domingo, which is somewhere near Bermuda, the movie stars Andrés Garcia as a member of an oceanographic expedition who turns up with amnesia six months after his boat goes missing and his colleagues are lost. During those six months that Garcia was presumed dead, his brother tried to move in on his girl Janet Agren—for which he cannot in any be blamed—but with his bro's reappearance there's now a budding love triangle.

Later a plane crashes near San Domingo under strange circumstances with an illegal cargo, sending organized crime figures into to action to recover their loot. Under false pretenses, they hire Garcia, sending him right back into the dread sector of ocean from he'd been fished. He discovers strange, mystical sharks, and thinks they might be the key to getting his memory back. He loses all interest in the crooks' treasure, but they think he's found it and is withholding it. Trouble looms.
 
Does all this sound dumb? You aren't wrong. And the bad plot isn't helped by bad acting, bad action, and incredibly bad miniature work. This one isn't worth your time, even with Janet Agren in the co-starring role. But to make reading this worthwhile, we've added a nice Agren shot to the promos below.
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Modern Pulp Aug 11 2021
DEAD MEN WALKING
Fulci goes full-on gruesome in Italian zombie epic.


We're still looking toward Italy today, specifically at vintage Italian horror cinema, and simply put, these didn't mess around. Regardless of quality they tended to be unusually foreboding and grim. And that's just the poster art. Above you see a promo for Paura nella città dei morti viventi, which was known in English as City of the Living Dead. Lucio Fulci, who directed and received a story credit for this one, was particularly enamored of zombies, churning out at least five films touching on the theme, including ...E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà, aka The Beyond, and Quella villa accanto al cimitero, aka The House by the Cemetery. In all of them he used his trademark tricks—extreme close-ups, death-white make-up effects, and gore, gore, gore.

Italian genre flicks usually had international casts performing in both English and Italian, with the babel smoothed out later with overdubs. City of the Living Dead follows that template. U.S. born Christopher George and Brit actress Catriona MacColl are in the leads, with support from Italians Carlo de Mejo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Daniela Doria, the truly lovely Antonella Interlenghi, and Swedish star Janet Agren. The movie is set in New York City and Dunwich, a mythical town conceived by H.P. Lovecraft for his Cthulhu Mythos, where a priest's suicide has somehow opened the gates of hell and allowed the dead to walk the Earth.

Obviously, the heroes want to close these gates, but that's pretty difficult when you have to fight through a storm of maggots. Yes, Fulci throws everything into this—the ancient Book of Enoch, the Salem witch trials, seances, drifting fog, people regurgitating their own intestines, and of course head-crushing zombies. The low tech nature of Fulci's obsessive gore-nography just makes it that much more disturbing. On the other claw, the low quality of some of the acting is a definite detriment. Even so, if you can get into a zombie frame of mind, the acting becomes less important than the mood, and in horror, mood is everything. Paura nella città dei morti viventi premiered in Italy today in 1980.
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Sex Files Nov 21 2019
THE TABLOID OF YOUR DREAMS
National Informer gets inside its readers heads.


We mentioned a while back that we bought some waterlogged tabloids. Above is the latest example from that pile—National Informer, published today in 1971, dipped like a teabag in liquid sometime after that. Inside you get the usual wild sex stories, cartoon humor, and phony outrage. But the winner in this issue is the article, “The Sexual Implications of Your Dreams.” We're going to quote it at length, because it's pretty funny:

When a man dreams of seeing a woman's sexual organs exposed, it means that a woman will soon offer herself to him. If the genitals are covered with sores, this is a bad omen, and indicates a long, serious illness which will require long treatment or surgery.

Dreams of oral intercourse with a woman indicate that success and wealth will be obtained, but that it will be quickly spent. Dreams in which a man engages in anal intercourse with a woman indicate that he will be highly successful financially, and will amass a considerable fortune.

That's priceless, and the last prediction makes perfect sense, since so many rich men have obtained their fortunes by fucking people in the ass. But Informer is not to be trusted with something as important as predicting the future. If you're looking for real dream interpretation, buy a dream book. We recommend Madame Zodia. She's legit.

Elsewhere in the issue is a handout photo of fishnet stockinged Swedish actress Janet Agren. Informer uses her to illustrate a story called “How Girls Make It Hard on Guys When It Comes to Sexual Satisfaction.” It's basically a primer on how to get women in bed, with one clever horndog taking the opportunity of a cross falling off a wall to tell a woman God wants her to have sex. That's low. And ingenious. Sixteen scans below and more Informer here.

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Sex Files Dec 8 2016
DUTY TO INFORM
National Informer predicts a sex-crazed future but it never came to pass.


Above, some scans from the sex obsessed U.S. tabloid National Informer, published today in 1968, with stories on penis size, nude models, spouse swapping, teen sex, and more. In fact, the editors seemed to believe the world was entering an era of sexual utopia. Which just goes to show people never appreciate the age in which they're living, because 1968 looks a lot more like sexual utopia to modern Americans than anything going on today. There are three highlights in this issue—Swedish actress Janet Agren, who we've memorably featured before, on the cover, an Aslan pin-up on page three, and visions of the future from Informer's resident soothsayer The (not so) Great Criswell. His craziest prediction is as follows: “I predict that African brides can be bought in the open market thru mail-order. These 12-year-old brides have been trained how to be a good, dutiful wife, a good mother, and a good black magician, fortune teller, and witch doctor. Over 18,000 are now in England alone!” There's really not much we can add to that. Except to say that if these 12-year-old fortune tellers actually existed we wish one of them would have taken Criswell's job. You can see plenty more from Infomer by clicking its keywords below. 

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Femmes Fatales May 29 2015
ARCHITECTURALLY SOUND
Building a better future through movies.

María Baxa was born in 1946 in Belgrade, which in today’s deconstructed Yugoslavia makes her Serb. She appeared in a few Serbian-language films, then ascended into Italian cinema, appearing in productions such as Il commissario Verrazzano with Janet Agren and Patrizia Gori, and Incontri molto... ravvicinati del quarto tipo, aka Very Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind. According to Michele Giordano’s 2000 retrospective La commedia erotica Italiana: vent’anni di cinema sexy, Baxa left the movies in the late 1980s and became an architect. This shot is from 1970.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 25 2010
PEAK OIL
You wouldn’t mind terribly doing my back, would you?

Above: Swedish actress Janet Agren. She started as a model, but with her statuesque figure and Nordic looks soon turned to cinema and starred mainly in Italian sexploitation, horror, and giallo flicks, as well as the Hollywood sword and sorcery epic Red Sonja. Mixed in with her b-level movies were a few well budgeted if not entirely successful productions, including 1972's set-in-Malta thriller Pulp. 

The above photo comes from a 1976 issue of the Belgian movie magazine Ciné-Revue, and she's irresponsibly using more oil than is her right. Guess she didn't know we were running out. Another slippery shot from the same session appears below. Agren acted in more than fifty movies and also posed for dozens of magazines, often nude, which means, one way or another, we'll surely see her again down the line.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
May 27
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
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