|the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing.|
|I want a trouble-maker for a lover,|
Blood spiller, blood drinker, a heart of flame,
Who quarrels with the sky and fights with fate,
Who burns like fire on the rushing sea.
From Rumi’s Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
|Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.|
--W. H. Auden
|Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face|
Do You Realize - we're floating in space
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
|The best things in life are not things.|
It's October and the sacred 31 days of Halloween are upon us-time to get your gore on! The chill is in the air, the leaves are on the ground, and Halloween candy has been out since Labor Day. So while you’re waiting in the Starbucks line for an overpriced double pumpkin spice whatever, pass the time with this year’s scary movies reviews!
It was the first, the simplest and the best of all the slasher films of the 80s and 90s that sought to replicate its magic. The casting was perfection. It was Jamie Lee Curtis’s first feature film, having just begun her career on TV episodics. She is the small town high school to–die–for girlfriend who is portrayed in the script as not knowing how beautiful and sexy she really is. While the rest of her fellow babysitter friends are hooking up with boyfriends all around the neighborhood on Halloween, she does homework and watches “The Thing From Another World” on TV with her young charges. It is because she is so dutiful in her babysitting and alert to danger threatening her kids that she is initially the only one aware of the mad killer on the loose.
Donald Pleasance does his typical bravura job as the nuthouse doctor, succinctly and believably relating the Michael Myers 411 to the audience. Pleasance was an actor with talent worthy of Shakespeare. That the sleepy neighborhood setting for the mayhem after dusk is so instantly identifiable to so many of us as being where we grew up is a great plus in making the murders all the more resonantly frightening. Once the killings start, there isn’t need for much plot. Jamie Lee wrangles her kids from one hiding place to the next like a mother duck and her ducklings, all the while trying to alert her still–living friends and co–ordinate with the cops and the doctor, who finally show up to help her out. Unfortunately, the killer has a thing for her, and finally traps her for what will surely be her death. Luckily, the good doctor practices “tough love,” pumping six high caliber bullets into his patient, blowing him through the second floor window and out onto the lawn. But of course the body is gone when the survivors take one last look just before the credits roll.
“Halloween” had a purity of tone and purpose that still makes it a joy to watch today. A tightly budgeted minor horror masterpiece, it achieves its desired number of scream–worthy sequences and flashes of sudden terror like a train running perfectly on schedule. And most importantly, we all have a Jamie Lee in our lives who was our most sensible and levelheaded friend or our perfect girlfriend. She’s an All–American “good girl” hero we can really care about. Be sure to watch this one before enduring the other slashers.
Giallo is Italian for yellow… and Horror
In the wake of the real life horrors meted out on Italians during World War II, brutalized by Mussolini and then by Nazi occupation and then having their country used as one great battleground chessboard between Nazis and the invading U.S. and Allied forces, there was for a long time little appetite for horror in movies. It wasn’t until 1956 that the first genuine horror film (a vampire story) was produced and released. It bombed, soundly rejected by the public. The film would be of little note were it not for its having been “ghost directed” by its cinematographer, Mario Bava. In 1959, Bava created an Italian version of “The Blob” and the Italian horror genre finally gained a toehold.
“Giallo” means “yellow” in Italian. Giallo paperbacks were popular lurid pulp novels with identifying yellow backgrounds on their covers. “Giallo movies,” a unique blend of crime, mystery and sex–infused horror stories would become the equivalent of Britain’s signature Hammer Films. Bava was their first master. Then came Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. Bava’s Mask of Satan (U.S. title: “Black Sunday”) is considered the first true horror movie in post-war Italy, even if it’s not formulaically a giallo film, owing more to classic Universal Studios horror films than giallo.
The giallo formula is built around a murder mystery often containing a mix of horror and Hitchcockian elements, such as an ordinary person (usually an outsider) thrust into an extraordinary circumstance. Often within this formula the main character is a witness whose credibility and or sanity is questioned by police authorities and people of elevated social standing.
Giallo films have greatly influenced American horror films. Wes Craven utilized the giallo formula very effectively in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). The film’s female protagonist is a teen named Nancy who is being preyed upon by a deceased child murderer in her dreams. Throughout the film her sanity is questioned by her parents, one of whom is played by John Saxon of giallo film fame. Audiences responded approvingly of the giallo madness–or–sanity framing of the film, making it a big success and putting it on the level of the Halloween and Friday the 13th slasher films that were its forerunners. The film spawned many sequels and made Robert Englund a horror icon.
Mario Bava was the cinematographer on The Day the Sky Exploded (1958) which was the first Italian science fiction film. He directed what is now regarded as the first of the Italian giallo films, The Girl Who Knew too Much (aka “The Evil Eye”) (1963). In both its tone and in its title, this film clearly evokes the spectre of Alfred Hitchcock. Shot beautifully in black and white, the film plays as an atmospheric mystery/whodunit about a beautiful visitor in Italy, played by Leticia Roman, who may or may not have witnessed a murder after arriving in Italy to visit her ailing aunt.
Bava followed up with another influential giallo film, Blood and Black Lace (aka “Six Women for the Murderer”) (1964). Bava sets this film in a fashion house of beautiful models with dirty secrets. A killer is preying on the models, bumping them off one at time using different methods. The killer’s intention is to acquire a diary that contains proof of the illicit activities going on within the house. Many “body count” slasher films were inspired by this film. The Halloween and Friday the 13th series’ come to mind. This film separates itself from them with a stronger story element that builds its mystery on a killer with a clear motive.
In 1965 Bava directed the odd sci–fi/horror hybrid film Planet of the Vampires. While it is not considered one of his better films, many of its elements appear to have been borrowed by Ridley Scott for his sci–fi/horror juggernaut Alien (1979).
Most of Bava’s fame in the horror genre actually all comes back to his earlier work, especially the 1960 gothic horror film Black Sunday/Mask of Satan. A more classical and highly atmospheric film, Black Sunday’s roots are grounded stylistically in the early Universal horror films. It tells the story of a woman (played by the hypnotically beautiful Barbara Steele) who is found guilty of vampirism and sentenced to death. The method of her execution is to have an “Iron Maiden”–style spiked mask of Satan driven into her face with a large mallet. Accented by dazzling camerawork, this scene of her execution is still one of the most memorable sequences of the horror genre. Still, to this day, the iconic image of Barbara Steele’s spike–gouged face forever cries out: “Bava!” This film’s success led to Bava being courted by Hollywood to work in the States. He declined, remaining in the land of “giallo.”
Besides “Black Sunday” and “Black Sabbath,” the two early “Americanized” Mario Bava films that have become late night staples, how many other Italian horror films have you seen?
Would you know the stylistic differences between Bava, Fulci and Argento?
Do you ever find a horror movie too violent, bloody or disturbing?
Is it just the language barrier or are there other reasons Italy’s horror films have never been as popular as British, French, Spanish and other foreign fright flicks?
In ancient tradition, Halloween was thought to be the night of the year when the realms of the living of the living and the dead came the closest together, enabling evil spirits and demons to hop over to our side to make mischief. For centuries the Church made very serious studies of what these hellacious creatures were actually thought to look like. Today, “creature imagining” is just a creative exercise and a way of having fun. Thank goodness none of our deviantART artists are drawing any of the subjects of this collection from live models. (Then again, just maybe…)
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
– William Shakespeare
“As spirits roam the neighborhoods at night, Let loose upon the Earth till it be light…”
– Nicholas Gordon
“In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
depthRADIUS is pleased and proud to present Liam Sharp as a guest writer and welcome his editorial prowess as our newest contributing writer. Liam is legendary as the sci–fi comic book artist, writer and publisher enfant terrible of Britain, his career having begun with 2000 AD magazine. He went on as artist, scripter and short story writer for publications such Heavy Metal and Vampirella. He started his own publishing company, Mam Tor, to self–publish Sharpenings: the Art of Liam Sharp. In 2011, Liam Sharp co–founded Madefire and is the company's CCO. Liam is also author of the novel God Killers. His contributions to our community will no doubt be as significant and inspiring as the work achieved thus far by this multi–faceted artist.
Longer ago than memory, a piece of wood, and the fire that burned it, did more than cook and smoke food, gift a nighttime cave with light and warmth. When the flame was out, and only a burned stump remained, somebody took that and they marked a wall with it.
Scrawling in charcoal they created mythic art, and human beings then did what no other creatures roaming the plains, swimming in the seas or flying in the skies could do. They began telling themselves their very own story of their creation, being and destiny.
The most ancient poem we have is a Mesopotamian fantasy called The Epic of Gilgamesh, from 2500bc. Beyond that we get Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey—The Trojan War, Achilles, Hector, Odysseus and his ten–year journey home. The great quest, the fellowship, the un–surmountable obstacles, and (of course) the monsters!
What it did was record our struggle with nature, and help us understand the challenges of our environment. It empowered us, emboldened us before battle. It gave us strength in times of famine or hardship.
Most importantly, it ennobled us—giving us heroic ancestors, whose parents were gods—thereby linking us directly with our creators. As Isaac Asimov once observed: these were the parents we invented for ourselves, that would not grow old and die, but would instead remain perpetually bigger and better and stronger than we could ever be. And so this, in turn, also gifted us hope beyond life. It made death comprehendible and acceptable to us.
Culturally and socially the mythic constructs girding our spiritual lives give us a powerful sense of purpose and deeper reasons for our ultimate existence as unique life forms.
In literature, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels repurposes the ancient magical quest format to create biting satire. Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland seems to be a drug–fuelled quivering meditation on denial and frustrated longing—but wearing mythic clothing.
In art, Goya, Brueghel and Bosch all used mythic imagery to supreme effect to make social and dangerously political statements. Later the surrealists would create works that trawled the imagination. Dali in particular created work that was anthropomorphic and mythic.
As we see, the imaginative bent of mankind, our ability to create fictions, does more than just swell our hearts—it gets us looking forward. It can comment on now—as allegory—or it can be prophetic.
I argue that it is our ability to imagine the fantastic, the impossible, the mythic that is the unique faculty that defines us as human beings.
Living in our current world of staggering social imbalances and soul–sickening cynicism, even as the dazzling gates of all digital wonders swing open before us — how can it be that the need for the next iteration, a powerful return, to mythic arts creation, is not the deafening hue and cry ringing out across our planet?
The new tools for the creation of heroes & gods. Multiple digital tools have freed us again, and we’re crafting a new language using them. It’s a bold language, and it has no boundaries. It’s an appropriator of multiple mediums, from photography to paint, to pencil, to pixels. We’re carving digital clay in real–time. For now, at least, there are no rules–and that makes for exciting times!
As Prometheus once gifted man with the enlightenment of myth–making fire, Madefire and deviantART now facilitate storytellers with the Motion Book tool. Open to ALL creators in ANY medium, it has been built especially to make sequential stories within these new virtual caverns. This is a shout out to anybody, with the desire to create—pro and amateur alike! Publish your stories in the Motion Book section on deviantART, and sell them or make them free—it’s your call. Bring your words and your pictures. Bring your vision!
Layers reveal layers, the grammar of reading is broken down and reinvented anew. There is no top down, or left to right. Time becomes the margin, the gutter, the engine that drives the story forward—and you control that as the reader, or the story–builder.
Make a snapshot jpg of your written words, or type them in using the tool, and create an article, a short story, a novel. Upload jpgs of your comic pages and create a print–style comic. Upload your photos, your sketches—anything you like! And, should you choose, add your music, motion, depth—it’s your story. Make it whatever you want it to be!
And support your fellow creators by reading their books. Share them. Love them. Find your clan, who are writing these new mythologies, and let’s pass the Promethean torch.
We live in an age of wonder, and as mythic creators we must take back stories—reclaiming them.
We’re telling the world, the media, the doubter, the commentator and critic that we don’t need to be told what to like!
We don’t have to listen to the artelligentia who think they can distinguish a pseud–grail of authentic art from all other art. But all art is art—no matter how naïve—and it is all subjective, and it is all ours.
Tell us your stories! Light a million digital torches. Show us what you've got!
Every year, the United Nations sets a theme for their International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The 2014 theme is…
Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty.”
I n a world as progressed as we believe ourselves to be it seems that poverty is still winning and growing. Income disparity in “advanced” economies such as the United States is growing rapidly with the top 1% gaining and the middle class slipping precariously. The Pope and other world leaders have identified income disparity as the greatest danger facing the world. In the former Soviet-influenced states, oligarchs amass wealth putting every capitalist of the last two centuries to shame while the general population slides deeper into deprivation.
Africa, East Asia and many parts of Central and South America remain as poor as ever even as local economic opportunity grows. In North Korea the population is simply poor. In China, people work themselves to death while their economy is touted as the next great consumer market. We can only guess at what it means to be in a factory city working in a factory, for factory wages, without any suggestion that you will ever evolve to any other place or level. Another kind of poverty?
Of late the press increasingly carries stories that the very wealthy are “pitching-in” to solve world hunger or eradicate malaria or fund micro-banking initiatives. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Initiative, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook and his wife all announce in their names their latest “good intentions”. But the fact remains that this reinforces the notion that only the very wealthy can afford to care about the poor.
Governments and religious organizations provide massive funding for programs aimed at the poor all over the world. But even without statistical study we can tell its a thin layer of support.
Poverty breeds war. We spend more money on those. And then we spend on refugees. And then they join the ranks in deep poverty.
President Johnson in the United States announced a war on poverty only to see that dream abandoned for a war on Vietnam instead. This repeated over and over in every part of the world. Leaders and nations with great hopes and intentions towards the poor sidelined by war and greed.
Historically it has always been the working people, not the wealthy, who have proportionally donated massively more of their income to aid the impoverished at home and around the world either directly through charitable donations or through taxation. When workers’ income is falling backward, along with their lifestyles, how can they be expected to come to the aid of the impoverished? Survival is uppermost on the minds of most workers right now, not charity, let alone spending time strategizing for the great coming together of upper and middle classes for a joint effort to eradicate poverty forever.
So the question as to who will truly be “thinking and deciding how to act together” now to end extreme poverty will probably be the question on the lips of those who have read this far.
But how do you/we decide to act?
What in your daily life can contribute to aid the poor or pull down the forces that push people into poverty? How could the arts contribute beyond simply placing the reality of poverty in front of us all in pictures and in words? Could there be a universal symbol of relief, care and comfort without religious overtones to unify all world cultures? How can we teach compassion with our art?
As an artist do you feel you have a special responsibility to use your creativity to invent art projects that bring awareness of injustice and suffering?
Have you ever sent art to your government representatives as a way to initiate action by them?
Have you found any art projects in your neighborhood or country which focus on poverty and on providing solutions to hunger, housing, and support for the disenfranchised?
Do you feel in your heart of hearts that the haves and the have-nots will one day recognize each other as one family?
Current Residence: A Peaceful State|
deviantWEAR sizing preference: L
Print preference: As Big As Possible.
Favourite genre of music: Rock. Jazz(Hard Bop). Blues. 80's Metal. Tribal(Aboriginal thru Electronic). Classical.Troubado
Favourite photographer: Sebastio Salgado. Richard Mapplethorpe. Walker Evans. Weegee.
Favourite style of art: Post-impressionist. Abstract-expressionist. The New Digital Vanguard. Contemporary fantasy.
Operating System: OSX
MP3 player of choice: Shuffle
Shell of choice: Any Conch will do.
Wallpaper of choice: French Louis XIV Rococo Style
Skin of choice: Thick enough to persevere and thin enough to feel.