US director Bob Kelljan (right), with Timothy Carey in the 1977 Charlie’s Angels episode ‘Angels on Ice’, which Kelljan directed.
On the weekend I unintentionally plunged head first into the lost cultural zeitgeist that was the short but fascinating big screen career of US exploitation filmmaker, Bob Kelljan.
This started Friday evening, when I finally got around to checking out Australian outfit Ex-Films‘ DVD re-release of American International Pictures’ (AIP) controversial 1974 exploitation rape revenge film, Act of Vengeance, courtesy of my friend and film scholar, Dean Brandum. The DVD extras include an excellent essay by Dean on the film’s distribution and the controversy over the original title, Rape Squad, which the company subsequently changed at the last minute to Act of Vengeance.
Lost/unknown/unappreciated exploitation films from the 1960s and 1970s have been hot property for a while now. That said I have little tolerance for watching an exploitation film for the sake of it. But Act of Vengeance, which Kelljan was brought into direct after the previous two directors were fired, delivers on several fronts.
The plot focuses on a group of women who have been victims of a hockey masked man dubbed the ‘Jingle Bells Rapist’ by the police, because of the song he makes his victims sing as he attacks them.… Read more
Posted in 70s American crime films, Blaxsploitation, Horror
Tagged ‘The Vampire’ (1976), Act of Vengeance aka Rape Squad (1974), Alexander Heller Nichols, Bob Kelljan, Count Yorga: Vampire (1970), Dean Brandum, rape-revenge film, Robert Quarry, Scream, Scream Blacula Scream, Starsky and Hutch, The Return of Count Yorga (1971), Vincent Price
The iconic American actor, Lee Marvin was born today, February 19, 1924. To celebrate the occasion, my latest piece for the British Film Institute looks at his 10 essential movies.
You can check out the piece in full here at the British Film Institute site.
Melbourne-based Pulp Curry readers might be interested in the upcoming 3-day Screening Melbourne Symposium to be held in association with the Universities of Deakin, La Trobe, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT and Swinburne; and in partnership with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image & the Australian Film Institute, from February 22 to 24.
I’ll be co-presenting a paper with my friend and colleague, Dean Brandum, on Crawford Productions’ Division 4 series (1969-75) and its depiction of Melbourne as a ‘noir city’.
With Homicide a ratings hit on the Seven Network, Crawford Productions was commissioned by the Nine Network to produce a rival series, the even darker Division 4. Whereas Homicide presented a Melbourne where violent crime was a aberration to be corrected, Division 4’s police characters were shown as the last bastion of morality in a tabloid Melbourne of vice and organised crime. Accentuating this tone was Division 4’s aesthetic of high contrast monochrome depicting the shadowy laneways, sleazy clubs and pubs and ever threatening nightlife of the city, a ‘Noir City’, a vision rarely, if ever depicted on the screen as strongly and as consistently over the course of its 301 episodes.
This presentation is partly based on the research Dean and I did as recipients of the 2014 Australian Film Institute Research Collection’s research fellowship.… Read more
A belated happy 2017 to Pulp Curry readers. I have had a very busy start to the year, with my PhD studies and various writing projects, hence the first post of the year has taken me a while to get around to.
The first Pulp Friday of 2017 is a stunning collection of horror themed 1960s pulp titles by Horwitz Publications. These are a mixture of titles I own and books from other collectors.
While horror tales were a staple of American and British pulp fiction in the 1950s and 1960s, they failed to achieve similar popularity in Australia. Australia’s censorship regime – both at the state and federal levels – were far stricter and, as a result, our publishers were much more timid. According to Canberra based scholar, James Doig, horror never had the commercial appear amongst Australian pulp buyers of other genres, such as crime and romance.
That’s not to say there was a total absence of local horror pulp. Influenced by the US magazine Weird Tales, Currowong published a series of horror titles in the 1940s. And Cleveland and Horwitz published some novelettes and pocket books in the 1950s and 1960s.
The earliest Horwitz effort in the 1960s appears to be Weird Stories, published in 1961, part of an anthology series edited by Charles Higham, which was most likely a response to the very successful Pan Book of Horror Stories series that began to appear under the editorship of Herbert Van Thal in 1959.… Read more
Posted in 70s American crime films, Australian popular culture, Australian pulp fiction, Horror, Horwitz Publications, Pulp fiction, Pulp Friday, Pulp paperback cover art, Uncategorized
Tagged Australian horror pulp, Chales Higham, Cleveland, Currowong, Frank Benier, Herbert Van Thal, Horwitz Publications, James Doig, James Workman, Kay Keavney, Pan Pulp
It’s the end of the year and and there’s not much gas left in the tank.
But before I take a break over Christmas and the New Year, I thought Pulp Curry readers might be interested in checking out a guest post I’ve done at the US site, Do Some Damage on plastic surgery noir. Yes, it is a thing. Or, at least, I just said it was.
As those of you who have read my novel Gunshine State are aware, there’s a sub plot involving plastic surgery, the details of which I’ll say no more about. Anyway, the guest post looks my fascination with plastic surgery in books and film, how to successfully put a character under the knife and my top five films dealing with plastic surgery and its variants.
You can view the post on the Do Some Damage site in full here.
That’s it for for Pulp Curry for 2016. Thanks for reading this year. I hope you all have a great break and I wish you all good luck for 2017. Something tells me we’re going to need it.
Oh, and if you are looking for a Christmas present for me, if you’ve read Gunshine State I would really appreciate a review or rating at Amazon or Goodreads.… Read more
Posted in 80s American crime films, British crime cinema, Film Noir, Gunshine State, Horror, Neo Noir, Uncategorized
Tagged Dark Passage (1947), Do Some Damage, Eyes Without a Face (1960), Gunshine State, Plastic surgery in crime fiction and film, Plastic surgery noir