Heavy Metal and Punk’s Material Culture

Film still from The Crimson Ghost, 1945

Film still from The Crimson Ghost, 1945

They’ve done an excellent job over at Boing Boing with a post compiling The Best Heavy Metal Movie Posters. The librarian in me was ecstatic to see material culture of this kind get featured. Highlighted are some very cool posters from which famous bands appropriated some imagery; i.e. The Misfits and Black Sabbath.

Of note, was the movie poster for The Crimson Ghost, a 1946 horror movie that was directed by Fred C. Bannon and William Witney. In particular is the poster which features it’s main villain as a skeleton robed madman–exactly the image that Danzig and the Misfits appropriated for all their merchandising needs.

The film centers around an obscure villain who has stolen an atomic death ray type of machine that can short circuit anything electronic, ensuring a healthy dose of havoc in its wake.

The Crimson Ghost, movie poster, 1945

The Crimson Ghost, movie poster, 1945

Another film mentioned in relation to bands was the Italian-French horror movie and name inspiration for Ozzy Osbourne’s Black Sabbath. Released in 1963, Black Sabbath was most famous for Boris Karloff as it’s main commentator. He introduces a trilogy of tales, The Telephone, The Wurdalak, and The Drop of Water, all staring an international cast of actors and actresses.

Black Sabbath, movie poster,

Black Sabbath, movie poster, 1963

In addition to the  posters mentioned above was the movie poster for Mark of the Devil, 1970. I especially liked the line it that read, “The Vomit bag and the price of admission will enable you to see….Mark of the Devil!” You can see the horror’s strong influence on Metal here folks. They go on to add text that says, “Due to the horrifying scenes, no one is admitted without a vomit bag“…
Seductive imagery of naked women on stakes looking like witches add to the sexual horror inducing hilarity of this genre. I couldn’t help but this amusing.

Mark of the Devil, movie poster, 1970

Mark of the Devil, movie poster, 1970

As a librarian, I think it would be a dream job to be in charge of a poster collection that included anything obscure and offbeat like these posters. Often times people forget the value of material culture and it’s influence on other genres of creativity. Ironically, with the advent of technology, imagery that was once seen glossing the covers of album records, CDs’ and posters have given way to something less creative and I can’t help get nostalgic for the lost medium.

In any case, I think I found a new hobby.

Hodge-podge: Graphic novels and Punk Rock Grows Up?

Next week I’ll be having a nice little break as my job let’s us have 2 holidays, Election Day and Veteran’s Day. I’m told that we’re lucky since it seems the rest of the world does not get these days off. I do appreciate it. I think it’s going to finally give me some time to play catch up. With that said, next week will really be a hodge-podge sort of week. 

First up on my list to do over the weekend and during the week, is to finish up reading all the articles due for my Anthropology classes. After that I’m hoping to find some time to do some leisure reading.

For example, I really should read all the graphic novels that have been piling up on my night stand. Last year,  Vish got me the entire series of Bacchus by Eddie Campbell; a series that’s right up my alley. It’s got that crude literary edge that I love but it also manages to appeal to my whimsical side too.  The author, Eddie Campbell also has a great blog. Check it out here.

In some ways, the Bacchus GN reminds me of Garth Ennis’ Preacher; my all time favorite GN series. If you’re bored, love the South and are a crazy Christian, you might find it extremely appealing. On the other hand, you might find it extremely offensive. You be the judge. It’s my favorite graphic novel thus far and I’m not sure what that says about me. I heard rumors here and there that Hollywood was going to make it into a movie but I lost faith a long time ago in Hollywood’s idea of remaking/rebooting just about any book or comic.

On an unrelated note, NPR has a great story on the punk music scene. Though I can’t claim ties to the original punk scene (I’m not that old), I did in my day love listening to and dressing in the punk style (i.e. plaid bondage pants, spike necklaces, the whole deal).

Traditionally, October has always been the month where my husband and I listen to nothing but the Misfits and Danzig. So it was interesting to see NPR’s article discussing the punk scene and how punks have grown up.

Robert Siegal of NPR interviewed director Andrea Nevins about her documentary film, “The Other F Word“, which answers the question, “What happens when a generation’s ultimate anti-authoritarians — punk rockers– become society’s ultimate authorities — dad’s?” The mini interview on NPR got me thinking. I started wondering exactly how we decide on when to let go of an image, especially an image so integral in forming our adolescent identities?I couldn’t remember exactly when I traded in my punk attire for a suit jacket and a string of pearls, but it might have been somewhere along the job interview process. In any case, see Nevins’ interiview and then watch her documentary which has clips with Tony Hawk and Burkett of NOFX.