Monday, November 17, 2008

Heaven in Sweden

I am very happy to announce that my fact-filled essay on Luigi Scattini's fake documentary Sweden, Heaven and Hell has just been published in Video Watchdog #145! The piece is called Sex, Lies and Bikini Lines, after a quip by Swedish singer Lill Lindfors (herself no stranger to a bit of daring controversy!) I spent a lot of time researching the film, consulting numerous sources including an excellent article on the Stupido News Network. The article talks about the film's relationship to Sweden, including an account of it's one-time screening on Swedish televion, and attempts to sort at least some of the facts from the exaggerations, creative inventions and outright lies which comprise the bulk of the film. The issue also features a number of my personal posters (credited to "The Lars Erik Holmquist Collection"!) and another piece on the film - part fact, part fiction - by Tim Lucas called Cincinatti, Heaven and Hell.

I am particularly proud of this because I consider VW the best fantastic film magazine currently published, a worthy heir to pioneers like Calvin T. Beck's Castle of Frankenstein and Frederick S. Clarke's Cinefantastique. Editor Timothy R. Lucas calls this issue of Video Watchdog "one of my favorites in our 19-year history" and a step towards a new direction for the magazine.

Video Watchdog #145 is available now in finer magazine stores everywhere, or directly from the publisher. The official Swedish PAL DVD release of Sweden, Heaven and Hell (with English soundtrack; recently reviewed by Tim Lucas in Sight and Sound) can be ordered directly from Klubb Super 8.

Below are a sneak peek of mine and Tim's articles (click and they expand to readable size). Note how graphic designer Donna Lucas did a wonderful job integrating the US pressbook and the Italian locandina for the respective title pages!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sitges report published!

For those of you who wonder exactly how to watch six movies and drink more than twice as many Mojitos in just two days (see demonstration below), head over to my Sitges Film Festival report at the great Eurocult site,! And stay tuned - I will post some of my favorite posters from Sitges here soon...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back from Sitges!

I am back from 2 tumultuous days at the Sitges film festival - I really hope I can stay longer next time! I'll be posting some cool posters and other stuff later, but right now I need to catch a plane to Singapore... Here are some teasers from outside the Sitges Melia hotel!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sitges Film Festival

Finally! I have been visiting the amazing Sitges Film Festival regularly since 2002, but my schedule has not permitted to go there since 2005. My schedule does not really permit me to go there this year either - but screw that! During a wet night out, myself and Tomas Seidevall of Swedish DVD company Klubb Super 8 decided we simply had to go to Sitges...

Said and done. We woke up the next day with two business class tickets to Barcelona and no turning back.

I will only be there for 2 full days (Friday, October 3 and Saturday, October 4) but I hope to report both to this blog and to lovelockandload, the excellent guide to European cult movie goodness! In the meantime, here is a picture from Sitges 2005, with Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth and company entering the main auditorium for the premiere of Hostel. In the background we can see a little of the gigantic movie poster display that cover the plaza during festival season!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SEE! "The Eden of Sweden!"

To celebrate that I have just handed in an article about Luigi Scattini's infamous mondo movie Sweden Heaven and Hell to a well-known magazine, let's take a look at some ballyhoo from the pressbook!

SEE: "The Love Cruise"! A training trip for turned-on teens!
SEE: "The Bachelorette Party"! A bride-to-be's last fling!
SEE: "Monlighting Nudes"! Meter-maids by day - models at night!
SEE: "The Swap Shop"! A trade-in deal for married couples only!
SEE: "The Polar Bare Club"! The world's most beautiful snow-girls!

And so much more - I have included some scans at extra high resolution so you can find out for yourself!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Friends & neighbours

As you might have figured out, I am pretty particular with the link list to the right - I only link to people & products I personally endorse, and where I have some kind of relationship to the people behind it. So it takes me great pleasure to introduce the newest link (even though it has been there for a while): Peter in Stockholm's Giallo Locandine! A blog of my taste, Peter is very particular in what he posts - only Italian giallo posters from his own collection! I am happy that such a stringent yet well-nourished blog is produced in Sweden, and even though we have never met, I feel our blogs are two of a kind.

To celebrate, here are a few giallo locandine of my own: the great grandfather of them all, Mario Bava's Black Sabbath (specifically the Telephone segment); the stylish upstart, Lucio Fulci's Perversion Story; and the genre-defining masterpiece, Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lo Strano Vizio Della Signora Fenech

Edwige Fenech was one of the most celebrated actresses of Italian popular cinema in the 70's, perhaps most known for her appearances in many breezy sex comedies. But she was also the iconic star of many classic giallos, including The Case of the Bloody Iris and the amazingly paranoid All the Colors of the Dark. Here we see four Italian manifestos for three of her thrilling giallos, made with two giants of the genre: The Strange Vice of Signora Wardh plus Your Vice is a Locked Door and Only I Have the Key, both by the reliable Sergio Martino; and Mario Bava's ironic 5 Dolls for an August Moon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Profondo Paura

Continuing the odyssey of the Italian manifesto, here are three classic horror and sci-fi movies featuring superb artwork - sometimes derivative of, but always superior to other countries' posters! First, a scene from the groundbreaking UK shocker Horrors of the Black Museum, where an unfortunate lady has just opened a grisly gift from Michael Gough's maniac! Then the cleavage-in-space epic The Green Slime, by one of Japan's most celebrated directors, Kinji Fukasaku, better known for the Pearl Harbour-based Tora! Tora! Tora! and survival horror masterpiece Battle Royal. And finally, Susan Denberg strikes a pose in Frankenstein Created Woman, one of Peter Cushing's more outlandish portraits of the mad doctor.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Esotika Erotika Psikotika

Yesterday was no fluke - you'll see a lot more Italian 2-sheets on the blog, because I recently completed a mammoth photography project! (Next up are my Japanese posters...) Continuing in style, we have three erotic productions: Fernando Di Leo's amazing To Be Twenty, which in its original uncut version counts as one of the most shocking movies ever made; the original Black Emanuelle, with a career-defining performance by Laura Gemser; and one of the best Italian titles ever, for Radley Metzger's The Lickerish Quartet (a fantastic title in itself!)

Incidentally, Esotika Erotika Psicotika is also the title of a great book in the Diva Archives series from our friends at Glittering Images chronicling "sexual revolution and transgressive eroticism in Italian popular publications and cinema, from 1964 to 1973". Highly recommended - get it from the Glittering Images Web Site!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Seven and seven is...

The Italian 2-sheet or manifesto might be the greatest poster format ever! Superb art and impressive size, without being as unwieldy as the US 3-sheet or French grande. Even minor movies are worth collecting for their art, such as these two female variations-on-a-theme - obviously inspired (at least in title) by Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and the western re-make The Magnificent Seven...

Monday, June 9, 2008

The facts of life, revisited!

One of the great inspirations for this blog is the Italian mockumentary Svezia: Inferno e Paradiso aka Sweden Heaven and Hell. On our recent national holiday, one of Sweden's largest TV channels decided to do an extensive review of Klubb Super 8's new DVD of the film - click here to see the full clip in Swedish!

Wait for the end when the reviewer flips the DVD cover to reveal a Japanese poster, supplied by yours truly, and proceeds to gush over how cool and beautiful it is. The TV presenters have a good laugh at the film's perception of Sweden as an ultra-permissive country... and then continue the DVD reviews by showing a mind-blowing splatter scene from the Japanese revenge shocker Lady Snowblood! All this at 9 o'clock in the morning!

Above is a reprise of the Japanese artwork. I have some more goodies from the film coming up, but in the meantime read my original post and marvel at the German, Australian and Italian paper!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I am only following orders!

Today we welcome the blog's very first guest spot, by poster collector extraordinaire Armin from Germany! Armin (aka Posteroid) is most known for his amazing Japanese collection, and just like me he seems to have a particular fondness for posters that reflect the national character of his native country. But while Sweden is more known for blonde girls, sexual liberation and fun in the sun (like in the more successful films of Ingmar Bergman), Germany has a slightly harsher reputation...


Female prisoners forced to strip in front of lusting German soldiers...
Sadistic SS guards whipping young, helpless women...
Dirty concentration camps where perverted doctors perform unspeakable experiments on human specimen...

Oh my, what on earth did Lee Frost think when he started all this?

It’s1969, Frost directs the "classic" LOVE CAMP 7, based on a script by Wes Bishop and Bob Cresse. It was the first feature-length Nazi exploitation film. Competently made for a low-budget trash movie and mildly provocative for a 60's roughie, it set the standards for a genre, which (unusual for the exploitation world) only really blossomed a few years later.

Maybe LOVE CAMP 7 wasn't the hit its makers had hoped it to be. Or maybe the time wasn't ripe yet. In any case, for now the world was a safe place again and the Nazis stayed quiet for a couple more years.

Cut to 1975: smut producer David Friedman must have remembered the little piece of dirt called LOVE CAMP 7 and set out to go where no man had gone before. He enlists director Don Edmonds to create the unforgettable and incredibly tasteless ILSA - SHE WOLF OF THE SS. Still provocative today, Edmonds obviously wanted to shock just about anyone brave enough to watch it (guys: don't ever show this to your girl friends unless you are ready for serious trouble).

Shocking it was; indeed it was so shocking that David Friedman took his name off the credits. But it must have made heaps of money....
ILSA - SHE-WOLF OF THE SS was a global hit - at least in those territories where it was allowed to be screened. And it spawned two direct and one indirect sequel, none of which had a Nazi reference.

But by now, the Italians, undisputed masters of the "If it makes money we will rip it off" genre, realised there was $$$ to be made out of the vile deeds or their former WW2 allies. The Italians were incredibly prolific and among the usual junk, they actually created a few interesting entries to the genre. The most memorable are GESTAPO'S LAST ORGY (Cesare Canevari), DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE SS SPECIAL SECTION (Rino Di Silvestro), WOMEN'S CAMP 119 (Bruno Mattei), SS EXPERIMENT CAMP / SS CAMP WOMEN'S HELL (both Sergio Garrone) and NAZI LOVE CAMP 27 (Mario Caiano). The remainder of the Italian and French atrocities of the genre you better stay away from unless you are a completist or just a little insane.

None of these are truly great films, but that’s not the point. Those who have read on thus far are looking for pure sleaze entertainment and they will without doubt be rewarded.
Alas, here ends our journey to the world of political incorrectness. I hope you will spend a little more time here - but watch out for the guards…..

Friday, June 6, 2008

All that glitters

Thanks for the great response to the Glittering Images post! I was particularly happy to hear back from Stefano himself:

Hello Lars,
I'm the one who has to thank you for your visit!
My compliments for your fine blog... the photos you took here at Glittering are truly breathtaking!

Glittering Images edizioni d'essai

Do check out the Glittering Images web site which is now up again and offers information on all their publication!

I can't offer any details on the up-coming giallo book as I only had a peek at the cover in the layout software, but here are some bonus interiors...

And if anyone doubts how serious Armin really is about that copy of Love Camp 7, check back soon for some truly mind-blowing stuff from the German himself! In the meantime, another view of that Super 8 release and my tasteful Danish poster - according to the hyperbole it is "Completely banned in the rest of Europe!"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Glittering Prize

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the greatest film book publishers in the world: Glittering Images in Florence, Italy! (note: the Glittering Images website seems to be offline at the moment) This outfit produces amazingly colorful and well-researched tomes on cult-films and related topics, all lavishly illustrated with rare posters, magazine covers and even specially commissioned comics! Most helpfully, despite being Italian in origin all of them contain parallel text in English! Among my favorites are their books on Jess Franco, Japanese "pink" horror, sexploitation filmmakers (including David Friedman) and classic Italian horror. They have also produced cross-over books on photo comics, racy magazines, and an extensive line of classic erotica. I was welcomed by Stefano Piselli, one of the founders, who has co-edited or written many of their books.

The combined office/warehouse houses a treasure trove of memorabilia, from original cover paintings and rare books to obscure Super 8 movies...

...and of course a full range of Glittering Images books!

After chatting with Stefano and picking out some choice books for purchase, I also got a sneak peak at their up-coming book on Italian Giallos - this could be one of their best books yet!