TCM Underground: Yea or Nay? Maybe It Depends

Discussion of programming on TCM.

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mrsl
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Post by mrsl »

Mr. Arkadin:

It took a lot of time, and we rounded a lot of corners, but we finally came to a total understanding of each others points of view!!!

Thanks for a nice, lively discussion!!!

Anne
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Anne, I enjoyed the discussion too. Talking about things helps me focus my views and consider what I deem important in a statement. It's a good writing exercise too. I am always interested in others opinions and not just the fact that they are different than mine, but the how and why of it as well.

Don't ever worry about disagreeing with me. We all think differently and that's OK. The only things that bother me in differing viewpoints is if I feel I was misunderstood or am not making my point clearly. Sometimes it's best to enjoy what we have in common, but differing views actually tell us more about each other and our lives. 8)
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Rusty
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Post by Rusty »

Hello,

Reading the title El Topo a couple of times (this topic) forced me to look the thing up on IMDB. I don't know how I never heard of that Jodorowsky fellow...boy, does he sound like a weird person. Based on the IMDB reviews I read of El Topo, the movie sounds like Sergio Leone passed through Luis Buñuel.

After reading some of the El Topo stuff in IMDB, I had to add El Topo to my Netflix queue. I don't know how my wife will respond to the movie. I mean, she really liked The Exterminating Angel and Simon Of The Desert, but she hates blood and gore. I thought I might get a review of El Topo from a fairly reliable source...my brother. Yesterday, we had a family get together for Mother's Day and I asked my brother if he had ever seen the movie El Topo. The guy (my brother) has a memory like a steel trap and without missing a beat he told me his El Topo experience. What he had to say about his El Topo experience was pretty funny...

Back in 1970, my brother had watched El Topo at the Art Cinema theater in Boulder, Colorado. The Art Cinema theater booked non-commercial films before "art cinema" meant "porno cinema". Anyway, he took his girlfriend to watch El Topo. By the way...my brother's girlfriend had been raised in a fairly wealthy household located in north Arkansas. Brother's girlfriend's father was some big time attorney in north Arkansas and a friend of...guess who? Of course, Bill Clinton.

Getting back to the subject of my message (you know, I just had to name drop)...my brother's comment regarding El Topo was something like, "the first part of the movie was a pretty interesting western, but quickly turned into a confusing mess of a movie...". My brother said as he and girlfriend walked from the theater to the car after watching El Topo...the girlfriend was very quiet for a minute or two and then she said in her north Arkansas twang (think Minnie Pearl voice), "way-ell...that movie was a bunch of shay-et...". I guess, Arkansas girl was not impressed by El Topo.

So, my question regarding El Topo? What do you think? Must see movie? Pile of "shay-et"?

Rusty
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Rusty, While I certainly wouldn't name El Topo as the best film I've ever seen, it's quite different from your standard fare. I reccomended it for the Underground for that purpose alone. I think most of it's popularity is from word of mouth than actual viewing. It's a flawed film, but there are some interesting ideas within:

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Rusty
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Post by Rusty »

Mr. Arkadin,

I've done a fairly thorough search of Alejandro Jodorowsky the last few days. I am still trying to figure out how never heard of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Anyway, I saw a video on YouTube of Jodorowsky's film Santa Sangre. The video was a composite of Santa Sangre stills accompanied by some of the music in the film...oh boy, that is one great soundtrack.

Have you watched Santa Sangre?

Rusty
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Rusty, No have not seen that one. I will check it out though. Thanks for the info!
benwhowell
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Holy Blood

Post by benwhowell »

Rusty,
"Santa Sangre" is like "Freaks" and "The Greatest Show On Earth" meets Fellini and Dario Argento. (It was even produced by Dario's brother, Claudio.)
The story (set in a circus) is more "coherent" than other Jodorowsky films, but equally surreal and filled with religious symbolism and practices. I'm always fascinated with "groups" who embrace both christianity and voodoo.
There is a lot of graphic and disturbing imagery with the occasional dose of comic relief...like an homage to Mexican horror movies.
The score is great-from Simon Boswell. He did a great score for Clive Barker's "Lord Of Illusions."
Guy Stockwell is in it too...
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Rusty
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Post by Rusty »

Benwhowell,

Yes...Dario Argento and Frederico Fellini. Looking at Santa Sangre data...I thought, "looks something like Frederico Fellini's Mondo Cane." My description...pretty good...eh? Listening to the Simon Boswell music, I have to get a look at Santa Sangre. Unfortunately, Netflix does not have the movie available. I must buy the movie.

Regarding the disturbing imagery...YouTube includes a five minute video of bits and pieces from Santa Sangre. The dying elephant scene? Well, that image does not look wholesome. I think my wife would freak watching dying elephant.

Rusty
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Rusty
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Post by Rusty »

Hello,

Oh yes...I almost forgot. While looking at Jodorowsky stuff on YouTube, I played a video from the movie Suspiria (Dario Argento...right?). The video is listed something like, "death scene from Suspiria". I played the video and...I am talking one super freak out movie moment. Ouch, that hurts.

One other thing regarding Santa Sangre. While researching the movie, I linked to an old Joe Bob Briggs review of the movie and then I looked at an old (circa 1990) commentary by Joe regarding the movie Carnival Of Souls. If you have a few minutes, take a look at the Carnival Of Souls review on joebobbriggs.com. Joe's commentary is about the elevation of Carnival Of Souls from a low budget, strictly drive-in movie fare to "cinematic art". A pretty funny article.

Rusty
benwhowell
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Post by benwhowell »

Rusty,
I was at Zia Record Exchange the other day. Great store for new and used CDs, DVDs, VHS and even vinyl. I almost bought "Mondo Cane." I did buy a used VHS-"Lady And The Tramp."
I'm usually not bothered by "gore" involving people (I admire the artistry,) but I turn away from anything with an animal in jeopardy.
"Santa Sangre" is a movie with scenes (involving people and animals) that made me turn away.
Funny that you should mention "Carnival Of Souls." It's one of my favorite "horror" movies. It reminds me of "Repulsion." I love that church organ music...really adds to the eerie atmosphere. In doing research for my schedule in the TCM programming challenge, I discovered that Herk Harvey (the director) started out making all these social "instructional" short films. Youtube has "The Outsider."

Harvey really must have had issues with alienation.
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