Friday, July 01, 2011

Camera Obscura: Barbie Van Gogh, Dracula Dolls , Frankenstein Redux, and 'Plot Device'

Time to dig through the Pop Culture Trash Pile. (A word of warning - most of the names of the famous folk, both real and fictional, which follow are about people long born before 1998, so relevance is limited and I don't care 'cause I am an Ancient Creature born in the last century.)

1st Find - Marketing wizards of the Barbie-doll Empire turn to the world of Art for their inspirations with the release of a series of "collectibles", featuring the Mona Lisa Barbie. My favorite is the "Van Gogh Barbie" - which, really, should be a Ken doll, with one ear, a beard, and be wearing ratty clothes. Instead, this doll is just a generic glam doll wearing a dress that looks like a mangled "Starry Night" canvas. A Picasso Barbie would be fun to see - and should have a face that looks like this.

2nd Find - Director Francis Ford Coppola is headed to the San Diego Comic-Con in July with his newest movie, "Twixt", which he describes as "one part Gothic romance, one part personal film, and one part the kind of horror film that began my career". Starring Val Kilmer and Bruce Dern, it remains to be seen if it dredges up memories of Coppola's "Dementia 13" or the horror known as "Godfather Part Three". (Maybe we can convince Coppola to produce a George Romero version of "Night of the Living Dead Barbie Dolls."

3rd Find - Speaking of dolls and monsters, I was far more interested in the report that a new series of "collectibles" (don't say dolls!) in homage to the Hammer horror films set for release. We get Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt. Nerd Swoon!

4th Find
- So, Frankenstein returns. This latest incarnation features actor Haley Joel Osment as one Victor Franklin, who seeks to reanimate the dead, in a film version of the graphic novel "Wake the Dead" and is being produced by former Guns 'n Roses guitarist Slash.

And if you are up early Saturday morning (or very late Friday) check out the broadcast on Turner Classic Movies of "Frankenstein Created Woman" starring Peter Cushing and one-time Playboy playmate Susan Denberg. While Susan plays several roles here in this bizarre sci-f reinvention, her voice was dubbed by another uncredited actress. Lots of background on the movie here.

TCM is also playing a rather sad Boris Karloff movie called "Frankenstein 1970", which was made in the 1950s and never makes clear why the year 1970 was part of the title. I suggest instead the rather fascinating "Dracula A.D. 1972" with Cushing and Lee once again facing off in the modern go-go dancing world of 1972.

5th Find - While reading about the oddity of singer Lou Reed's musical salute to Edgar Allan Poe, titled "The Raven" from 2003, I discovered a new movie about Poe is headed to the big screen next year starring actor John Cusack as Poe in a movie called "The Raven". The story follows Poe's last days as he trails a serial killer who mimics Poe's stories. It's being directed by James McTeigue, who made "Ninja Assassin" and "V For Vendetta".

6th Find - Something from this year and this week - a short film rips into the tired tropes of filmmaking and storytelling in "Plot Device". Enjoy!

Plot Device from Red Giant on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. ihank-you joe...
    dunno how you stay on top of EVERYTHING
    when i told Mr. C. that i loved his work on Dimentia 13, he sort of
    glared at me, like i was crackin' wise.
    I pretty much like ALL his work