Archive for the Video Category

Automaton Clown

Posted in Video with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2012 by elgrayso

Late 19th century automaton.

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Princely Toys

Posted in Dolls, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by elgrayso

Princely Toys is a BBC documentary from 1976. It explores the subject of automatons; antique animated dolls manufactured for the upper classes of the 19th century. The film centers around the collection of a man named Jack Donovan, but primarily focuses on the automatons themselves. The narrator talks in an odd cryptic fashion as the aged VHS footage ushers you into the yesterworld of monkey-masked musicians, half-human harlequins and other abominations from your childhood nightmares. Many toys have their own segment and an in-depth explanation is given by the narrator. He describes the toys in detail as the film zooms in on their unforgiving mechanical eyes darting about as their stiff little limbs jerk and sway to the sounds of antique music boxes perfectly tuned to conjure demons from beyond. Most of the footage is shot in an empty studio with a minimal amount of lighting to give the viewer the illusion that each toy was filmed in it’s own personal abyss of darkness. Putting aside the creepy overtones (did I mention that one of the dolls is a man hacking a woman’s bloody torso with a butcher knife?) it’s amazing how intricate and detailed the dolls’ movements are and it’s hard to believe that their animation comes from tiny hidden gears and other simple machines. After watching it I was surprised to find that there doesn’t seem to be hardly any information available on this documentary. Just about the only reference a google search comes up with is this youtube video (below), which, as of this writing clocks in at a meer 135 views.

If any of this sounds at all interesting, I highly recommend watching the video. Also, if anyone knows of a higher quality version or has interesting info on Princely Toys, please inform me in the comments section!

On a related note, I’ve been reading an interesting book called Living Dolls which details interesting stories and the history of similar, yet less creepy, automated oddities.

Mound

Posted in Animation, Art, Video with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2012 by elgrayso


“Mound” by Allison Schulnik

LSD: A Case Study

Posted in Science, Video with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by elgrayso

Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

Posted in Death, Video with tags , , , , , , on February 15, 2012 by elgrayso

Aokigahara is a forest that lies at the north west base of Mount Fuji in Japan. It is the second most popular suicide destination in the world (San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge being the first) and over 100 bodies are discovered in the forest each year. VICE made an incredibly interesting short documentary on the forest which follows a park worker on suicide patrol. The documentary is only 20 minutes long and is well produced and fascinating. I couldn’t get the the video to embed, but I highly recommend clicking the link and watching it:

Watch “Aokigahara: Suicide Forest” on VICE.com

Issei Sagawa, Cannibal

Posted in Death, Serial Killers, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by elgrayso

Sorry for the delay, guys! I try to post at least once a week, but was on vacation for the last month. Here is a story I’d planned on posting for a long time, but only recently found this short documentary on it. – elgrayso

On the afternoon of June 13, 1981, a Japanese man named Issei Sagawa walked to the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the outskirts of Paris, carrying two suitcases. The contents of those suitcases, to the lament of a nearby jogger, was the dismembered body of a fellow student – a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt, whom Sagawa had shot three days prior and had spent the days since eating various parts of her body.

He was soon arrested. According to reports, Issei uttered, “I killed her to eat her flesh,” when they raided his home, whereupon they found bits of Renne still in his fridge.

Sagawa was declared insane and unfit for trial and was institutionalized in Paris. His incarceration was to be short, however, as the French public soon grew weary of their hard-earned francs going to support this evil woman-eater, and Issei was promptly deported. Herein followed a bizarre and seemingly too convenient set of legal loopholes and psychiatric reports that led doctors in Japan declaring him “sane, but evil.”

On August 12, 1986, Sagawa checked himself out of Tokyo’s Matsuzawa Psychiatric hospital, and has been a free man ever since.

This is where the real story begins. VBS met up with him to find out what he’s been up to in the 30 years since. [from VICE]

VICE has made a great, short little documentary on Sagawa which you can view here.

(also if you know how to embed the video please tell me how!)

Mondo Cinema

Posted in Death, Video with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2011 by elgrayso

A mondo film (from the Italian word for ‘world’) is an exploitation documentary film, sometimes resembling a pseudo-documentary, usually depicting sensational topics, scenes, and situations. Common traits of mondo films include emphasis on taboo subjects such as death and sex, portrayals of foreign cultures that have received accusations of racism and staged sequences presented as genuine documentary footage. Over time, the films placed more and more emphasis on footage of the dead and dying, both real and fake. The term “shockumentary” has also been used to describe the genre. [from Wikipedia]

I was first introduced to the genre as a youngster hearing my friends talk about “Faces of Death” and occasionally seeing the VHS copies on videostore racks. The “Faces” film series began in the late 70s and promised audiences footage of real death. However most of it was fake, but this didn’t prevent the traumatization of many a pre-teen. When I was older I rented “Death Scenes” (1989) with my girlfriend and witnessed the apex of mondo cinema. By this time the genre had focused exclusively on death and no longer tried to fool the audience with fake footage; “Death Scenes” only used the real stuff.

The original mondo films were, as the wikipedia excerpt explains, rooted in taboo footage of the “primitive” world. Early mondo films often had a few different names and were re-cut and passed on by a variety of people and theaters.

There is a fascinating (and relatively dense) book that covers mondo films called Killing For Culture. It contains a thorough history of mondo cinema and the myth of the underground snuff film. I highly recommend it if you are interested in the subject.