Saturday, January 16, 2010


Last March I got hipped to these director / rock star t-shirts. And speaking of postmodernism, the place that's selling these - the IFC Center - is now doing a one week run of HOUSE - also know as HAUSU. Here is my two cents on that movie from when it played at last summer's NYAFF. This belated U.S. theatrical run (over 3 decades after its domestic release), along with the praise from Manohla Dargis among others, proves that director Obayashi was ahead of his time, not to mention out of his mind - in the best sense of the phrase.

Those shirts might be too smarmy, or should I say snarky, for one to wear in good conscience. But that's the conceit I suppose - the meeting, or I should say melding, of so-called high and low brow culture. I think it was at Cinema Classics where I saw some DVDs labeled with the slogan 'cult movies are the new rock and roll,' or something to that effect. Speaking of 'cult movies,' one night I came home from a funny night at a cozy bar, turned on the TV and saw a movie that was almost as obscure and legendary as the aforementioned HAUSU. I'm talking about this:

This was the best clip I could find, it's still so obscure, but TCM has a great page for it with a more tasty clip. Zines like SHOCK CINEMA and PSYCHOTRONIC heralded praise for both these films umpteen years ago. Used to be you'd go to Kim's for an un-subbed VHS of HAUSU and if you were lucky you'd stumble on a bootleg of DARKTOWN...The latter proves once again that if you revel in the offensive, you can also transcend it.


Ivan said...

I showed Darktown Strutters during my biker movie retrospective...about a million years ago (1991)...

Those T-shirts are intriguing, but I'd rather they didn't approximate bands' logos, I wish they'd come up with better fonts...

Sq. Dave said...


You get 100 points for showing Darktown Strutters. Did you screen it on 35mm? How'd you get the print, and how'd you even know about that film? Did you get a good turnout? Damn, I'm sorry I missed that whole series.

For the t-shirts, are you saying they're not close enough to the actual band fonts, that they should be more accurate / authentic?


Ivan said...

So many questions!

Okay, we showed Darktown Strutters widescreen, but it was probably a 16mm print from the UCLA archive. The turnout was minimal (one of the weakest turnouts of the series), maybe me and three other people.

As for the T-shirts, aside from the "cool" or "goofy" factors, why is Fassbinder's name spelled out in Metallica's font? Or Ozu in Ozzy's font? And using Danzig's font for Herzog is retarded--if they'd used the font from The Misfits, THAT would have made sense.

I would have preferred if a graphic designer had come up with a font that best represented the filmmaker's work. It would be obvious, but for example, a cold, sterile font for either Kubrick or Cronenberg, or a creepy, EC-style font for John Carpenter or Romero, and so on.


Sq. Dave said...

I understand the Ozu ~ Ozzy, Herzog ~ Danzig connection, and that's waht I meant by smarmy/snarky. It's irony at its most overt. There is a new one which I kind of want - Jodorosky in the Judas Priest font syle. Get it? J for Judas and Jodorowsky? Ha ha ha. Halford and Holy Mountain, etc., what an analogy.

Ivan said...

Is the font the "screaming eagle" Judas Priest font? Because that shirt sounds cool!

Sq. Dave said...

Please see the bottom of the original post.