Friday, August 27, 2010

Zoidberg vs. Aquaman?

While enjoying the feast of art at Monster Brains, we came across the collection of old Aquaman comic book covers posted there. It was this cover in particular that commanded attention:

Take a closer look at the beastie in the lower left corner:

Is that a distant relative of everyone's favorite Decapodian scene-stealer from Futurama, Dr. John A. Zoidberg? It resembles Zoidberg midway between phases of his lifecycle, a bit urchin, a bit cuttlefish and a whole lotta squid-faced crustacean. Observe:

Crossover? We'll keep our fingers crossed. But who do we root for?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Monkey Reads: Film-Studies Fu

Profoundly Disturbing:
Shocking Movies That Changed History

Joe Bob Briggs
Briggs mutes his Texas-sized persona for Profoundly, allowing the academic student of cinema he actually is to make a case for each of these movies as historical landmarks. His success in that endeavor aside, Briggs spins a good story and that's the real pleasure of his book.

The chapter on Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS nearly discards any pretense about selling the film as an industry-changing moment to instead concentrate on the astonishing budget-circumventing feats director Don Edmonds managed in order complete the film.

Briggs merely adds to the chorus of approval for some obvious choices (Deep Throat, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) but again, the joy is all in his presentation.

The more interesting choices are where his skills as an academic hype-man for filmdom’s secret treasures compel the audience to reconsider a movie.

Is Roger Vadim’s … And God Created Woman really a cinematic milestone? Briggs responds with an enthusiastic yes if you view it not as the film that launched Brigitte Bardot’s career, but rather the movie that destroyed her marriage to director Vadim -- with both husband and wife as willing participants in what amounts to an exhibition of the most abstract sex game committed to celluloid.

The critic’s essay on The Creature from the Black Lagoon stands apart from the others as Briggs’ best writing in the collection. He knows exactly why Creature works, where it fails and how it swims right past its own weaknesses.

Profoundly Disturbing includes well-organized references at the end of each chapter suggesting similar movies that came before and after the titles discussed, and providing short career bios for the major players.

Reference material: Michael J. Weldon’s The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film should already be in your library. If so, then you’re probably already aware of Joe Bob Briggs. Regardless, The Typing Monkey simply recommends you watch (or re-watch) all the films in Profoundly Disturbing.