Film Noir ♥ Transgression Into the Cultural Cinematic Gutter: From Shadowland to Psychotronic Playground

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
Sigmund Freud

“Ladies and gentlemen- welcome to violence; the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains sex.” — Narrator from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

Faster Pussycat
Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams in Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 1965
Cul-de-Sac
Françoise Dorléac and Donald Pleasence in Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-sac 1966
the Naked kiss
Constance Towers kicks the crap out of her pimp for shaving off her hair in Sam Fuller’s provocative The Naked Kiss 1964
Shock Corridor
Peter Breck plays a journalist hungry for a story and gets more than a jolt of reality when he goes undercover in a Mental Institution in Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor 1963
CapturFiles_3 copy
Bobby Darin is a psychotic racist in Hubert Cornfield and Stanley Kramer’s explosive Pressure Point 1962 starring Sidney Poitier and Peter Falk.

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Constance Towers as Kelly from The Naked Kiss (1964): “I saw a broken down piece of machinery. Nothing but the buck, the bed and the bottle for the rest of my life. That’s what I saw.”

Griff (Anthony Eisley) The Naked Kiss (1964): “Your body is your only passport!”

Catherine Deneuve as Carole Ledoux in Repulsion (1965): “I must get this crack mended.”

Monty Clift Dr. Cukrowicz Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) : “Nature is not made in the image of man’s compassion.”

Patricia Morán as Rita Ugalde: The Exterminating Angel 1962:“I believe the common people, the lower class people, are less sensitive to pain. Haven’t you ever seen a wounded bull? Not a trace of pain.”

Ann Baxter as Teresina Vidaverri Walk on the Wild Side 1962“When People are Kind to each other why do they have to find a dirty word for it.”

The Naked Venus 1959“I repeat she is a gold digger! Europe’s full of them, they’re tramps… they’ll do anything to get a man. They even pose in the NUDE!!!!”

Darren McGavin as Louie–The Man With the Golden Arm (1955): “The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn.”

Baby Boy Franky Buono-Blast of Silence (1961) “The targets names is Troiano, you know the type, second string syndicate boss with too much ambition and a mustache to hide the facts he’s got lips like a woman… the kind of face you hate!”

Lorna (1964)- “Thy form is fair to look upon, but thy heart is filled with carcasses and dead man’s bones”

Peter Fonda as Stephen Evshevsky in Lilith (1964): “How wonderful I feel when I’m happy. Do you think that insanity could be so simple a thing as unhappiness?”

Glen or Glenda (1953)“Give this man satin undies, a dress, a sweater and a skirt, or even a lounging outfit and he’s the happiest individual in the world.”

Glen or Glenda
Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda 1953

Johnny Cash as Johnny Cabot in Five Minutes to Live (1961):“I like a messy bed.”

Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) Island of Lost Souls: “Do you know what it means to feel like God?”

The Curious Dr. Humpp (1969): “Sex dominates the world! And now, I dominate sex!”

The Snake Pit (1948): Jacqueline deWit as Celia Sommerville “And we’re so crowded already. I just don’t know where it’s all gonna end!” Olivia de Havilland as Virginia Stuart Cunningham “I’ll tell you where it’s gonna end, Miss Somerville… When there are more sick ones than well ones, the sick ones will lock the well ones up.”

Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory in Daughters of Darkness (1971)“Aren’t those crimes horrifying. And yet -so fascinating!”

Julien Gulomar as Bishop Daisy to the Barber (Michel Serrault) King of Hearts (1966)“I was so young. I already knew that to love the world you have to get away from it.”

The Killing of Sister George (1968) -Suzanna York as Alice ‘CHILDIE’: “Not all women are raving bloody lesbians, you know” Beryl Reid as George: “That is a misfortune I am perfectly well aware of!”

The Killing of Sister George
Susannah York (right) with Beryl Reid in The Killing of Sister George Susannah York and Beryl Reid in Robert Aldrich’s The Killing of Sister George 1960

The Lickerish Quartet (1970)“You can’t get blood out of an illusion.”

THE SWEET SOUND OF DEATH (1965)Dominique-“I’m attracted” Pablo-” To Bullfights?” Dominique-” No, I meant to death. I’ve always thought it… The state of perfection for all men.”

Peter O’Toole as Sir Charles Ferguson Brotherly Love (1970): “Remember the nice things. Reared in exile by a card-cheating, scandal ruined daddy. A mummy who gave us gin for milk. Ours was such a beautifully disgusting childhood.”

Maximillian Schell as Stanislaus Pilgrin in Return From The Ashes 1965: “If there is no God, no devil, no heaven, no hell, and no immortality, then anything is permissible.”

Euripides 425 B.C.“Whom God wishes to destroy… he first makes mad.”

Davis & Crawford What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford bring to life two of the most outrageously memorable characters in Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962

WHAT DOES PSYCHOTRONIC MEAN?

psychotronic |ˌsīkəˈtränik| adjective denoting or relating to a genre of movies, typically with a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme, that were made on a low budget or poorly received by critics. [1980s: coined in this sense by Michael Weldon, who edited a weekly New York guide to the best and worst films on local television.] Source: Wikipedia

In the scope of these transitioning often radical films, where once, men and women aspired for the moon and the stars and the whole ball of wax. in the newer scheme of things they aspired for you know… “kicks” yes that word comes up in every film from the 50s and 60s… I’d like to have a buck for every time a character opines that collective craving… from juvenile delinquent to smarmy jet setter!

FILM NOIR HAD AN INEVITABLE TRAJECTORY…

THE ECCENTRIC & OFTEN GUTSY STYLE OF FILM NOIR HAD NO WHERE ELSE TO GO… BUT TO REACH FOR EVEN MORE OFF-BEAT, DEVIANT– ENDLESSLY RISKY & TABOO ORIENTED SET OF NARRATIVES FOUND IN THE SUBVERSIVE AND EXPLOITATIVE CULT FILMS OF THE MID TO LATE 50s through the 60s and into the early 70s!

I just got myself this collection of goodies from Something Weird!

weird-noir
There’s even this dvd that points to the connection between the two genres – Here it’s labeled WEIRD. I like transgressive… They all sort of have a whiff of noir.
Grayson Hall Satan in High Heels
Grayson Hall -Satan in High Heels 1962
mimi3
Gerd Oswald adapts Fredrick Brown’s titillating novel — bringing to the screen the gorgeous Anita Ekberg, Phillip Carey and Gypsy Rose Lee and Harry Townes in the sensational, obscure and psycho-sexual thriller Screaming Mimi 1958
The Strangler 1964 Victor Buono
Victor Buono is a deranged mama’s boy in Burt Topper’s fabulous The Strangler 1964
Repulsion
Catherine Deneuve is extraordinary as the unhinged nymph in Roman Polanski’s psycho-sexual tale of growing madness in Repulsion 1965

Just like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, Noir took a journey through an even darker lens… Out of the shadows of 40s Noir cinema, European New Wave, fringe directors, and Hollywood auteurs, brought more violent, sexual, transgressive, and socially transformative narratives into the cold light of day with a creeping sense of verité. While Film Noir pushed the boundaries of taboo subject matter and familiar Hollywood archetypes it wasn’t until later that we are able to visualize the advancement of transgressive topics.

Continue reading “Film Noir ♥ Transgression Into the Cultural Cinematic Gutter: From Shadowland to Psychotronic Playground”

Postcards From Shadowland No.6

The 49th Parallel (1949) Directed by Michael Powell and starring Leslie Howard and Laurence Olivier
La Belle et la Bête 1946 directed by Jean Cocteau starring Jean Marais and Josette Day
Beggars of Life 1928 staring Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks and Richard Arlen. Directed by William Wellman
Bunny Lake is Missing 1965 Directed by Otto Preminger. Starring Carol Lynley, Laurence Olivier, and Keir Dullea
La Main du Diable or Carnival of Sinners 1943 Directed by Maurice Tourneur and stars Pierre Fresnay, Josseline Gael and Noel Roquevert
The Devil and Daniel Webster 1941 Directed by William Dieterle and stars Walter Houston as Old Scratch, and Edward Arnold, Jane Darwell and Simone Simon.
Dracula’s Daughter 1936 directed by Lambert Hillyer and starring Gloria Holden, Otto Kruger and Marguerite Churchill
Experiment in Terror 1962 directed by Blake Edwards and starring Lee Remick, Glenn Ford, Stephanie Powers and a raspy Ross Martin as ‘Red’ Lynch
Fallen Angel 1945 Directed by Otto Preminger and starring Linda Darnell, Dana Andrews and Alice Faye
Fedra The Devil’s Daughter 1956 Directed by Manuel Mur Oti and stars Emma Penelia, Enrique Diosdado and Vicente Parra
Joan Crawford is Possessed 1947 directed by Curtis Bernhardt, also starring Van Heflin and Raymond Massey
Diaboliques 1955 directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and starring Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot and Paul Meurisse
Never Take Sweets From A Stranger 1960 Directed by Cyril Frankel and stars Gwen Watford, Patrick Allen and Felix Aylmer
The Night Holds Terror 1955 Directed by Andrew L. Stone starring Jack Kelly, Hildy Parks, Vince Edwards and John Cassavetes
Robert Mitchum is Harry Powell, in Night of The Hunter 1955 Directed by Charles Laughton also starring Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish
Plunder Road 1957 directed by Hubert Cornfield and stars Gene Raymond, Jeanne Cooper, Wayne Morris and Elisha Cook Jr.
Seance On a Wet Afternoon 1964 directed by Bryan Forbes and stars Kim Stanley, Richard Attenborough and Margaret Lacey
Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers On a Train 1951 starring Farley Granger, Robert Walker and Ruth Roman
Gloria Swanson is Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard 1950 Directed by Billy Wilder and starring William Holden and Erich von Stroheim
Val Lewton’s The Seventh Victim 1943 Directed by Mark Robson and stars Kim Hunter, Tom Conway and Jean Brooks
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi star in Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat 1934 inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s story.
The Killer Is Loose 1956 Directed by Budd Boetticher and stars Joseph Cotten, Rhonda Fleming and Wendell Corey
The Ox-Bow Incident 1943 Directed by William Wellman and stars Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes and Anthony Quinn
The Prowler 1951 Directed by Joseph Losey and stars Evelyn Keyes and Van Heflin
The Queen of Spades 1949 Directed by Thorold Dickinson and stars Anton Walbrook, Edith Evans and Yvonne Mitchell
Lon Chaney stars in Tod Browning’s The Unknown 1927 also starring Joan Crawford and Norman Kerry.
Edward L. Cahn’s 1956 film The Werewolf
Jean Epstein’s The Fall of the House of Usher 1928 inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and adapted for the screen by Luis Bunuel
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) Based on a story by Sheridan Le Fanu. Starring Julian West, Maurice Schutz and Rena Mandel

A trailer a day keeps the Boogeyman away! The Night Holds Terror (1955)

“Three young, empty-eyed killers, without mercy or morals, turn a private home into a house of horror!”

The Night Holds Terror 1955

Based on a true crime, A nice suburban family man Gene Courtier makes the mistake of picking up a hitch-hiker who turns out to be dangerous escaped convict Victor Gosset, on the run from the police. 

His gang proceeds to hold Courtier’s family hostage at their home at gunpoint.

As time ticks on, the situation becomes more tense and volatile culminating into a living nightmare!

Directed and written by Andrew L. Stone as a crime noir thriller, it stars Jack Kelly and Hildy Parks as the Courtiers and Vince Edwards as the ruthless woman hungry Victor Gosset.

At first Gosset wants Courtier to sell his car for the cash, but Batsford (Cassavettes) wants to hold the family hostage for the ransom money instead…

Also stars John Cassavettes as Robert Batsford. and David Cross as Luther Logan the other two men in Gosset’s gang. A real gripping thriller!

“With a gasp in your throat… and a gun at your back!”

Don’t pick up any hitch-hikers, but of course you knew that by now-MonsterGirl cares!