October 31, 2010

MACABRE MYSTERY WEEK: PHIBES HALLOWEEN

With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app!


Today on Macabre Mystery Week we have a clip from the stylish Vincent Price cult classic,
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971). Taking the convention of a masked phantom obsessed with revenge to new heights, the film follows Price through a series of ingenious assassinations that would make Rube Goldberg proud. Phibes is a mad genius, like Dr. Loveless from The Wild Wild West, and each of his deadly schemes involves an elaborate invention, a trap, and self-congratulatory sips of champagne. It's a perfect vehicle for the Gothic Vincent Price! Spy Vibers would especially enjoy the bold colors and stylized set designs, as well as the film's focus on Phibes's gadgetry. There's a great scene in the film that takes place during a masked ball, much like the Judex and Invisible Hands scenes we saw earlier in the week. Phibes arrives at the ball wearing a mask (indeed, his very face is a mask!) and he presents his victim with a stylish frog head- complete with a deadly gear mechanism that squeezes him to his doom. Not as subtle as the poison-tipped umbrellas of the spy world, but a crafty bit of thriller fantasy for October 31st. For Spy Vibers who wish to jump right to the scene, it begins at 2:28. Movie still from Head Injury Theater. Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2010

MACABRE MYSTERY WEEK: CALIGARI

With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app!


Today on Macabre Mystery Week we have a pair of special Halloween clips. Robert Wiene's Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) is perhaps the most iconic film of the German Expressionist period in Cinema. A tale of a mad doctor and his somnambulist assassin, Cesare, the film makes use of angular, crude set designs that twist and turn into dark corners like the minds of its characters. One of the all-time horror classics and a special take on the term "sleeper agent!" Cesare was played by Conrad Veidt, an actor Spy Vibers may recognize from Casablanca (1942), The Man Who Laughs (1928), and the Michael Powell spy yarn, Blackout (Contraband/1940). Rocker/writer/artist, Rob Zombie, paid homage to Caligari in his 1999 video for Living Dead Girl (soundtrack/The Matrix). If you listen closely to the lyrics, Spy Vibers will also catch a reference to the Spy Vibe fave Dr. Goldfoot films.




October 29, 2010

MACABRE MYSTERY WEEK: DR. MABUSE

With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app!


Today on Macabre Mystery Week, Fritz Lang's Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933). In this iconic scene, the head of a psychiatric hospital becomes so obsessed with the machinations of his patient, the arch-villain Dr. Mabuse, that he becomes possessed by the fiend's spirit while studying his plans to build an "empire of crime." Design-wise, masks and skulls set the stage for the character's duality. Lang used double exposure and a whispered voice-over with chilling results. Testament was Langs second Mabuse film, and the character would be resurrected, like Fantomas and Judex, for a series of films thirty years later (including the fab 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse with Gert "Goldfinger" Frobe). A new Dr. Mabuse film is currently under development. Check out more Dr. Mabuse info at fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. blog, Permission to Kill.

October 28, 2010

MACABRE MYSTERY WEEK: FANTOMAS

With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app!

Today on Macabre Mystery Week we have a clip from the Fantomas serial by Feuillade (1913-1914). Fantomas began as an arch-criminal character in a series of 32 pre-WWI French stories by Allain & Souvestre. In this classic cliffhanger ending to one of the films, Fantomas sneaks away from his crafty underwater hiding place, while Juve and the police search the building. His escape culminates in a sensational shot- the villain has set the building to explode, destroying all evidence and his would-be captors! Before the credits roll, he raises his hands in victory, his body framed in a doorway by the light of the blast. If it were a sound film, we certainly would have heard his evil laugh. Maybe something like John Phillip Law in Danger Diabolik? Thrilling, macabre fun from the silent era! Learn more about Fantomas here.

October 27, 2010

MACABRE MYSTERY WEEK: JUDEX BALL MURDER

With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app!

Today for Macabre Mystery Week, we look at the iconic masked ball scene from Franju's 1963 re-make about the classic avenging hero, Judex.
You can see the masked ball influence in the following segment of Richard Sala's cartoon, Invisible Hands, which aired on MTV's Liquid Television in the early 1990s. Sala is a big fan of Judex, Fantomas, and The Avengers. Find out more in Spy Vibe's interview with the writer/artist The Adventures of Richard Sala. Spy Vibers can also check out Invisible Hands artwork and behind-the-scenes history on Sala's blog here.



October 26, 2010

MACABRE MYSTERY WEEK: VAMPIRES

With the recent release of the Fantomas collection from Kino International, Halloween coming this weekend, and a new Richard Sala book around the corner, It's been macabre mystery mania here at the Spy Vibe lair. I unfortunately missed the debut of the new Sherlock Holmes, but I have been busy enjoying the thrills and intrigue of classic French characters like Fantomas and Judex. Fans familiar with the penny dreadful tradition of serialized pulp fiction will hopefully recognize this rogue's gallery of mystery villains and avengers. If you have made the leap to an eReader, you might want to check out one of the many original Fantomas novels available on-line (many are priced around $1.00). You can even read them on your smart phone with Kindle's free app! In celebration of Halloween, costumes, and my first crush- Emma Peel- I thought Spy Vibers might enjoy seeing one of the earliest ever femme fatales of the big screen. She even sports a black "jumpsuit." In this scene from Les Vampires (1915/Louis Feuillade), the criminal gang (known as les vampires) bumps off one of the main characters with a deadly poison-spiked ring. In addition to the mystery/adventure angle, you can also see some shadowy bat imagery that, with The Bat Whispers, The Shadow, and others, seems to evoke The Batman character that would evolve in popular culture twenty-five years later. Feuilade's style of suspense/thriller filmmaking can also be seen as a forerunner to the work of Fritz Lang (Dr. Mabuse) and Alfred Hitchcock. For those who want to cut right to the iconic sequence, the dancer enters the stage around 3:56. Pretty stylish for 1915 and the tinted film images are quite beautiful.

RAYMOND BENSON TONIGHT

Fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. writer Wes Britton will be hosting a night of James Bond excitement on tonight's edition of Dave White Presents. Bond novelist Raymond Benson will share insights behind his 007 books and short stories, especially those re-published in this year’s anthology, CHOICE OF WEAPONS. Then, editor Rob Weiner will discuss this summer’s new essay collection, JAMES BOND IN WORLD AND POPULAR CULTURE: THE FILMS ARE NOT ENOUGH. The 90 minute online radio program will premiere this special broadcast on Tues. Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, then 7:30 Pacific over at KSAV. On Wed. Oct. 27, this edition of Dave white Presents will become available for 24/7 download access here. For a list of our past James Bond features- including interviews with George Lazenby and Vic Flick- check out the “James Bond Files” at Spy Wise.

007 fans may also be interested to read Raymond Benson's article in the current issue of The Writer (available at Borders and Barnes & Noble), where he talks about his process of writing a spy thriller.

October 24, 2010

JAMES BOND WEEK AT DAVE WHITE PRESENTS

Fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. writer Wes Britton will be hosting a night of James Bond excitement on this Tuesday's edition of Dave White Presents. “A Double Shot of 007” will be the theme of the next Dave White Presents- with MAGNUM P.I. as a chaser! On Tues. Oct 26, Bond novelist Raymond Benson will share insights behind his 007 books and short stories, especially those re-published in this year’s anthology, CHOICE OF WEAPONS. Then, editor Rob Weiner will discuss this summer’s new essay collection, JAMES BOND IN WORLD AND POPULAR CULTURE: THE FILMS ARE NOT ENOUGH. Rounding out the action-adventure theme, actor Larry Manetti recalls his years as playboy club manager Rick Write on television’s MAGNUM P.I.!


The 90 minute online radio program will premiere this special broadcast on Tues. Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, then 7:30 Pacific over at KSAV. On Wed. Oct. 27, this edition of Dave white Presents will become available for 24/7 download access here. For a list of our past James Bond features- including interviews with George Lazenby and Vic Flick- check out the “James Bond Files” at Spy Wise.

007 fans may also be interested to read Raymond Benson's article in the current issue of The Writer (available at Borders and Barnes & Noble), where he talks about his process of writing a spy thriller. Happy 007 week, and thank you to Wes Britton and Raymond Benson for keeping us Spy Vibers informed and inspired. Looking for more Raymond Benson? Check out his film reviews and cinema time-line pics in Cinema Retro Magazine. -Jace

October 23, 2010

OCEAN'S 11 BLU!

In celebration of the epic Mondo Lounge fest this weekend in Las Vegas, which will feature rare film screenings, fashions shows, cocktail parties, music, and exhibiting artists Shag and Bosko, Spy Vibe wants to give fans the heads-up about the 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition of the original Ocean's 11 (1960). This Frank Sinatra/Rat Pack classic is an excellent time capsule that centers around a group of post-war buddies who knew which way the cultural winds were blowing in 1960. The characters embody a rejection of the suburban values of the era to live life as swingers. Sinatra and his gang occupy a Hugh Hefner-inspired lifestyle based on individual freedom, pleasure, adventure, and fraternal loyalty. They are the jet-setting first wave of the sexual revolution, middle-aged heroes at a turning point before the culture shifted toward the space race and the youth market.


The film, similar to the modern version with George Clooney and Brad Pitt (2001), centers around cool characters, cool outfits, cool apartments, and impossibly cool schemes to rob casinos in Las Vegas. Check out the bachelor pad decor above where Sinatra and Martin shoot some pool. It's a stylish ride! It's interesting to think about other iconic works from this era. Along with Ocean's 11, the world also saw the release of Kind of Blue by Miles Davis (1959), Time Out by Dave Brubeck (1959), Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan (1960), and by 1961, a couple of movie producers were working with Ian Fleming to launch 007 to the big screen. Seven days after the premiere of Ocean's 11 on August 10th, 1960, The Beatles began their first residency in Hamburg, West Germany, at the Indra Club on Grosse Freiheit on Wednesday August 17th. A cultural tidal wave was forming, but the Rat Pack would hold their place for a little longer. Although I had seen news of a delay in production for the Ocean's 11 disc, it appears that the Blu-ray is available on Amazon for a November 9th release. Blu-ray.com review here.


From Amazon: New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. Roulette wheels spin, cards snap, slots chime, champagne fizzes, shows go on…and the lights go out. It’s the perfect time to steal a kiss or a $25 chip. But for Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) and 10 partners in crime, it’s the ideal moment to steal millions. Sinatra and off-screen pals Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and more play army buddies who scheme to knock out power to the Vegas strip, electronically rig five big casino vaults and raid them all at the same instant. Packed with location-lensed glamour, sweaty suspense, swinging comedy and a stunning twist ending now in gorgeous hi-def, Ocean's 11 is your entertainment best bet.

October 19, 2010

OUR MAN BOSKO: MONDO LOUNGE & PALM SPRINGS

Spy Viber, Bosko Hrnjak, is an established artist working in the stylish corner of the Fine Arts inspired by Mid-Century Modern architecture and design. His mixed-media pieces evoke the spirit of Rat Pack-era Vegas and Tiki Modern. Bosko has two exhibits coming up that Spy Vibers won't want to miss. Spy Vibe sat down for a virtual chat to discuss his new shows, Atomic Age Culture, Hugh Hefner, 007, Elvis, and Derek Flint's bachelor pad!

The main event on our radar is Mondo Lounge, an annual "Modernism Weekend" in Las Vegas, which will be held October 22-24 (so buy those tickets now!). The Mondo Lounge website describes their vibe as: "Mid Century Modernism, Classic Las Vegas, Hollywood glamour, lounge culture, Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack shenanigans, Martinis, cocktails, vintage fashion, Atomic Age and Space Age Living, Exotica (ala Les Baxter, Esquivel), Eames era style, 1950s, 1960s style, Bachelor Pads, minks and black tie, Sean Connery era James Bond, stereophonic sound, Pin-up Girls." Got your attention? The schedule is packed with fashion shows, film screenings, vintage-costume parties, dances, and art exhibits at the Palms Hotel by Bosko and Shag (Josh Agle). Bosko also has a solo show at M-Modern in Palms Springs, opening reception on December 4th at 7:00. More info on Bosko's website.


Spy Vibe: Tell us about the work that you have in the exhibit. what are some of the main themes?

Bosko: The work I have in the Mondo Lounge exhibit is curated by M-Modern in Palm Springs (where it will reopen first week of Dec), I’ve done many shows with them, the whole subject of mid century/modernism is truly embraced by Palm Springs and this work just fits that whole aesthetic. My “wood” art line came about when I met the founder of “Witco” Mr Westenhaver back in the mid 90’s, my (future) wife and I collected “their” work before we had met him (or each other), Witco was one of the most (if not the most) prolific mid century furniture/art companies in America any theme that was popular from 1956 to 1976 they produced, cats, African, conquistador, Tiki, mod, you name it they had some amazing and very crazy designs. Two of their most famous rooms were Elvis’ Jungle room and Hefner's pool room at the Chicago Playboy mansion, but they designed or furnished hundreds (probably thousands) of other establishments during that period and had show rooms all over the country for regular people who wanted some exotic element or environment in their lives.

The thing that really appealed to me with their “framed art” was the mass produced aspect one person (William Westenhaver) designed it but it took many (steps) people to assemble all the disparate pieces no one person saw it whole (until the end) nor did they have any aesthetic interest in it, in particular they hired employees with no creative ambitions. My favorite designs were very minimal. They would have a little wedge shape of wood indicating some thing, the hull of a boat, a bird, a sun or moon, etc… He reduced the subject matter to a few elements that your eye was able to quickly translate the meaning of. Their “art” was a symbol of or only represented a piece of art, but they sold it and people proudly bought it as a genuine “hand crafted” piece of art. Of course I don’t know how far people thought that through back then, but it really hit a cord with me.

At first glace my work looks like something that could pass as a (vintage) piece from a mid century environment. But on closer inspection, they are obviously from today. Many are more of a homage to certain pieces of architecture or what we today view as a mid century style. Others are simple or whimsical. But in all of them, I try to remove as much extraneous information as possible -yet still convey the idea- and in that, they tend to have that (minimal) modernist quality without actually being “modern art”. The work that is in the show runs the gambit: birds, abstract shapes, sea life, buildings, desert scenes, flowers, ants, a monkey and bird, I had many more on the drawing board for this show but had to get on to other projects.

Spy Vibe: Do you have fave films or culture from the mid-century/tiki period that you draw from for inspiration?

I love so many films from that period. Most of the movies we own are from that era, there really is so much you can draw from on so many levels: the sets, wardrobe, film scores. It’s obvious at each stage that they had a vision which would convey something genuinely new. As far as culture, we are huge collectors of almost anything from the mid century, our home is filled with different themed rooms and collections. It’s like a museum to that era. When we travel, we look for any architecture, restaurants, anything we can view or experience. It all still has such a fresh purposeful look even 50 years on. If you contrast it to “popular” design today there’s no comparison. Just take something common like signage- fifty years ago it could be anything from crudely hand painted to utterly fantastic, functional sculpture. Today it’s all the same eight square foot plastic box. It's so static when you see a road full of them, your eye can’t make out any one. Ironically, the whole idea of today’s enforced uniformity was to clean up visual clutter, and that’s exactly what they created.

Spy Vibe: Who were your spy heroes growing up?

My big hero was Robert Conrad on the TV show Wild Wild West. Obviously it’s not a cold war spy, but then what else was he really? All the gadgets, the 60’s inspired western ware, the sets, the villains. I guess I liked almost anyone you would see on a TV set in pre-cable Los Angeles: Robert Wagner in It Takes a Thief, The Persuaders with Tony Curtis, Roger Moore. Also on the occasional Sunday Night movie when they would run a classic James Bond, for a kid it was such an exciting event to look forward to.

Spy Vibe: If you were an evil villain, what would you choose as your secret lair?

I hate snow but Piz Gloria (On Her Majesty's Secret Service), Blofelds research facility in the Alps, was very cool and isolated yet connected all over the world. But if there is one (non evil villain) interior environment I am absolutely inspired by, it’s Derek Flint’s NY (In like Flint) apartment; all the art, the multi-level swinger bachelor pad vibe, the whole movie has amazing interior design. It's obviously a parody but for my money they really nailed it.


Thanks, Bosko, and have a great time at your shows! If other Spy Vibers attend these events, say hello (wear a James Bond or Beatles lapel pin as ID if you are incognito).

For more on Modernism, Hugh Hefner, and design, see Spy Vibe's article Set For Adventure and Derek Flint's pad (#3 in our Top-Ten Set Countdown!).
You can see more of Bosko's Tiki art here. Also, Check out fellow Bay Area blog, Humu Kon Tiki for more Tiki Modern fun.

October 17, 2010

DANGER MAN/SECRET AGENT MEGASET

Our Man Lee Pfeiffer at Cinema Retro posted an announcement reminding fans of the new region 1 Danger Man/Secret Agent megaset from A&E. Collecting the complete 86 episodes of this excellent series (the early 30 min episodes are also included!), this is a must-see for all Spy Vibers. Danger Man featured a pre-Prisoner Patrick McGoohan as agent John Drake, realistic cold war-era gadgetry, and scripts that played like solid films. I recommend checking out the episodes "Yesterday's Enemies" and "To Our Best Friend". See Lee's post here. Visit the Danger Man website here.

October 16, 2010

DEAL ALERT: THE PRISONER

For Spy Vibers who have not made the transition to Blu-ray, and who are looking to add The Prisoner to their collection, Deepdiscount.com is offering the box set as their daily deal for $29.98. Sale details here. They are also running a fall sale, so look for an extra 20% off many film, TV, and music items.


October 15, 2010

ASTRID KIRCHHERR RETROSPECTIVE & YOKO ONO FILM

If the British Invasion led by The Beatles in the early-mid 1960s had a great influence on the look and sound of the era, then part of the credit can be traced back to the band's stylish friend from their early Hamburg days, photographer Astrid Kirchherr. Fans have seen a handful of Kirchherr's famous images throughout the years, most notably the 'fairground' portraits that she made of The Beatles in 1960. We've heard much about her relationship with painter/Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, through various interviews, documentaries, biographies, and bio-pic films. And Kirchherr had some input on the movie Backbeat, which did something to establish how her artsy, existentialist crowd impacted the look of the band. But nothing has ever quite captured the scope of her work as a photographer- until now! The Victoria Gallery & Museum/Liverpool University Press has published the book we've all been waiting for in conjunction with their exhibition of Kirchherr's work (up through January 29, 2011), titled Astrid Kirchherr: a Retrospective. Museum curator, Matthew Clough, highlights Kirchherrr's work as a time capsule of the era beyond her Beatles images in an interview for the BBC: "Astrid is known for her photographs of the Beatles in Hamburg, but her images of Liverpool in the early 60s provide a unique snapshot of a particular moment in its history." If you are a Spy Viber with a taste for black turtlenecks, slender trousers, sunglasses, and electric guitars, there is much to discover in this collection.


The exhibition catalog is a beautifully designed coffee table book with 208 pages of lush prints, countless rare portraits from the 1960s music scene (including great club shots!). Some contact sheets are included, but a few famous ones are conspicuously absent. Though I have not seen the limited edition books Astrid made for Genesis Publications, I can say that this volume offers more images and information about Astrid's work than I have ever come across in the last 35 years of Beatles research and collecting. It also offers interviews with Astrid, Klaus Voormann, and others close to her career. A very special addition to a Beatles, 1960s culture, or Photography library. Thank you VG & M and Astrid for sharing these precious archives. Find the book on Amazon here.


Looking at artists from the era, Spy Vibers may also be interested to learn about your Spy Vibe creator Jason Whiton's recent experimental film for Yoko Ono (with soundtrack by Whiton, Ono, and the Plastic Ono Band). Whiton composed a lounge/jazz style song around vocal tracks provided by Yoko Ono and it was chosen as one of the winners in her re-mix competition. The short film for the song, The Sun is Down, pays tribute to the meaning of Yoko's name- ocean child- with images of sea animals dancing through their underwater gardens. The film was an official selection of the Park City Film Music Festival, where it won an award, and is currently on the festival/gallery screening circuit. Find out more on the film website here.

October 14, 2010

GERRY ANDERSON CONVENTION

For Spy Vibers with a taste for Sci Spy gadgetry (and rather stylish and violent puppets!), head over to the Gerry Anderson website to learn more about the Century 21 convention happening this month. It appears that Anderson himself is scheduled to attend, along with his long-time production designer Mike Trim (Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Thurnderbirds, Joe 90, UFO). James Bond model-maker, Bill Pearson (Die Another Day, Casino Royale) and actor Shane Rimmer (Thunderbirds, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Spy Who Loved Me) are also scheduled to appear. The convention will host a special Barry Gray concert, workshops and screenings, as well as displays and auctions of production designs, props, and memorabilia (including the original head of Captain Scarlet!). Proceeds from some of the auctions will go toward Bristol's own Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal, which provides funds for child medical care. Nick Park's celebrated short films (The Wrong Trousers, A Grand Day Out, A Close Shave, etc) often pay homage to the adventurous world of Gerry Anderson and Century 21. TV21: Adventure to the 21st Century will be held Friday October 22nd to Sunday October 24th at the Ramada in Bristol. Read Spy Vibe's review of the Thunderbirds 007-inspired episode here. Check out the Mike Trim book from Hermes Press here.


October 9, 2010

FANTOMAS

A recent screening of Danger Diabolik for my film students and nights reading macabre mystery maestro, Richard Sala, set a devilishly fun tone for the weekend. With master criminals, fiendish plots, and evil lairs on the brain, I wanted to remind Spy Vibers that Kino International has recently released a DVD collection of Louis Feuillade's Fantomas. Fans of Feuillade's Les Vampires, Judex, and Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse films will want to check this out! You can also learn more about the pulp character, Fantomas, here. The official trailer for the cliffhanger serial from Kino uses conventions that remind me of Roman Coppola's excellent homage to Barbarella, Danger Diabolik, and David Holtzman's Diary- CQ. Who is Fantomas? Spy Vibers will also want to check out the Fantomas series of films made in the 1960s with actor (and Jean Cocteau partner), Jean Marais. I've included a clip below that offers a healthy dose of secret-lair-baddie vibe! Have a great weekend!



October 5, 2010

BABY, YOU CAN DRIVE MY.. BATMOBILE

As a Spy Viber growing up watching re-runs of the Adam West Batman TV show, I was drawn to his arsenal of Bond-like gadgets. The anti-shark Bat spray notwithstanding, the show had slick gear that rivaled the space-age designs of its competitors. Batman's secret lair was filled with modern computers and technology (what, no rotating bed on prime-time?). But the coolest gizmo by far was the Batmobile! The call to adventure each week meant exciting sequences of firing up the engines and launching the rocket-powered auto from a secret exit in the Batcave. The design was sleek, long with black fins, and a bubble windscreen that reminded me of the window of a WWII-era fighter plane. The parents of my childhood pal, Alec, had a Cadillac in their garage- complete with fins! We spent many afternoons, sitting in the parked car, racing after baddies. I don't remember if we ever decided who was Batman and who was Robin. Maybe we both imaged ourselves in the dark cowl. Well, for Spy Vibers with a childhood dream of really driving the Batmobile, your day has arrived! As Wired reported recently, the folks at Fiberglass Freaks are now offering a complete working replica of the 1966 Batmobile. Despite its "holy price tag, Batman" cost, I'm sure retro gadget fans will be thrilled to see what these beauties look like. Now, if they would only offer a fully loaded Goldfinger Aston Martin DBV. Spy Vibers, what gadget or vehicle would you want in your garage?

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