It has been some time since the first rumors spread, but finally we’re there: Super8warehouse, Vampyr’s own super 8 home movie webshop, has opened its digital doors. And we’ll have to admit that the informal launch is history already, as Vampyr was so preoccupied with organizing the shop that he couldn’t find the time to announce the site properly at his own blog.
The website has now about 400 films listed, with more to come every week. We have films in many genres and in various formats. The main structure and navigation options are just about how we like them, but there will be some refinements in the coming months.
The first customers have arrived, too. Many thanks to these pioneers! Horror and cult movies seem to be very popular, but the comedy department is getting some interest as well. And it’s encouraging to see that many visitors watch a lot of pages.
Discover the site for yourself at www.super8warehouse.com, and let us know how you feel about it.
The Case of the Haunted Gainsborough is an episode from the American tv series Sherlock Holmes (1954), starring the British actor Ronald Howard as the master sleuth and Howard Marion Crawford as Dr. Watson. Vampyr found a complete print of unknown origin on super 8.
Holmes fans cherishing the nervous, dandy-like sleuth of Basil Rathbone in the American feature film series from the 1940s, and Jeremy Brett’s eccentric performance in the much acclaimed BBC television series from the 1980s and 1990s, will have to get used to the more realistic Holmes as Ronald Howard sees him. Apart from his amazing intellect, Holmes is in fact little more than an ordinary, relaxt guy.
This may sound a bit boring but, judging by this episode, the series is entertaining enough and can easily compete with many detective and police series from the 1950s. It has a nice pace, the production design is pretty good and executive producer Sheldon Reynolds and director Steve Previn know how to create a mysterious atmosphere.
The story, not adapted from the work of Conan Doyle, involves an irritating ghost prowling around a Scottish castle. Of course, Holmes and his relatively energetic sidekick Watson know how to deal with it. On a minor note, we think the episode could have done without the cliché jokes about Scotland. For example, the butler invariably plays a bagpipe when announcing guests.
The series was filmed in France, using a cast of American, British and French actors. A total of 39 episodes were produced, each 30 minutes in length.
It’s one of the more well-distributed martial arts titles on the German Piccolo label: Kendo, der tödliche Hammer [Kendo, the deadly hammer], an abridged version of Tiger Jump (Hongkong 1974) with Ray Lui, Chou Chiang and Lee Yen. Piccolo released the film as a single part on a 120 meter (400′) reel. Given its reputation as a slightly bizarre yarn mixing kung fu fighting with comedy and a dash of good old nazis, we often wondered what the film would be like, so were happy to have a chance recently to view it in a pinky, but still enjoyable print.
As far as we could understand, Tiger Jump is all about an old nazi wanting to dominate the world – meaning, in this case, some sort of kung fu world championship. He sends out a midget in a business suit to recruit the thirteen best fighters in the world, and Piccolo’s abridgement focusses on the various fighters and their specialties. So, a fighter who is hanging around a used car yard demonstrates his excellent karate abilities (he splits a stone with his forehead), and we see another one win a fight in a cafe by using nothing but a broomstick. The midget, meanwhile, is standing by to offer big money for a contract.
The film has its hilarious moments – with the comedy most of the time intended, or so it seems – but also features lots of good 1970s action. The choreography of the fight scenes, however, is not as tight as we would like, and the dubbing – in German, of course – is simply horrendous. The film is scored with a strange mixture of Asian and other music, with a sort of Balkan bluegrass as the most prominent sound.
Piccolo also released an even shorter abridgement of the same film in its ‘Pop’ series, titled Kendo, der Tiger von Hongkong [Kendo, the tiger of Hongkong].
They were hidden amongst a bunch of super 8 films in a German thrift store: vintage photographic prints from the late 1960s that once served as the basis for the box cover art and catalogues for English glamour films. Remarkably, hardly anybody wanted the pictures, so that we are able to share them here.
The photos are from three movies: Not Her Day (Top Hat Films no. 8), Sea Urchin (label unknown) and Perchance to Scream (Harrison Marks, 1967). Interestingly, parts of publicity materials for Not Her Day and Sea Urchin that used these pictures were pasted on the back sides of the photos. In the image gallery below, we include both the printed publicity and the original photographs of both films.
In an article in the first issue of the Dutch film magazine Filmgids (January 1936), Things to Come producer Alexander Korda presented his views on the role of the cinema in modern society. In Korda’s opinion, the film was the ideal medium for testifying to discoveries of science, for learning about other civilizations, and for reaching understanding between people on an international level. According to Korda, filmmakers and producers didn’t have to satisfy themselves with stories set in the present. A movie dealing with the future, like Things to Come (titled The Shape of Things to Come in the article), could be an equally powerful means for passing on opinions and information as a modern-day story or a more conventional historical costume drama.
The new webshop Super8glamour.com, discussed on Vampyr a few weeks ago, recently published a catalogue full of vintage 8mm sex films. It’s a hefty volume in pdf format, listing about 350 films. Each film has its own page with scans of both front and back covers of the film box. In addition, some information is supplied about the film and about the print that Super8glamour is selling.
All very interesting for 8mm porn collectors, although we think there won’t be many of them. The diehard porn viewer lives by dvd, bluray and the internet, and on the other hand, most super 8 collectors don’t care much for sex films. However, for anyone with a general interest in vintage erotica, the catalogue has a lot to offer, too. Thanks to all the cheesy box covers, the book doubles easily as a visual reference on the erotic 8mm film of the 1970s and early 1980s. An advantage of the large scans is that the awkward descriptions and blurbs on the back covers are perfectly readable. The catalogue has indexes on, a.o., film titles and actors’ names.
A Treasury of Vintage Erotic 8mm Films is priced at € 4,50. More info on the Super8glamour website.
In the final part of Things to Come (William Cameron Menzies, 1936), the glimmering art deco architecture of the rebuilt city of Everytown forms the perfect backdrop for the utopian society that scriptwriter H.G. Wells and producer Alexander Korda had in mind. Things to Come owes its reputation as an sf classic mainly to these futuristic sets.
It isn’t very surprising, then, that relatively many of the stills that show up in collections or on the internet, are from that final half hour of the film. Vampyr’s modest collection, in the gallery below, fits the image perfectly. White polished surfaces, geometric shapes in steel and glass, streamlined transparent furniture: the world of 2036 looks like a modernist exhibition of a hundred years before.
‘The Way. A design in triple exposure, devised by the famous American photographer, who is working without a studio. Directed by Francis Bruguière.’
Films of the Year 1927-1928 is an annual type of book, consisting of 32 stills and an introductory essay by editor Robert Herring that outlines how the cinema developed into an art form – an anything but self-evident concept at the time the book was published.
Herrings views on the artistic film are still interesting today: ‘In the best films, both theme and story unfold so that there is a weaving of the two sets of images, the apparent and the real. This method, used by Von Stroheim, enables a spectator to take what he likes, to see as much as he is able to see. There is an example of what I mean in The Student of Prague. Veidt [Konrad Veidt, the actor who plays the protagonist—V.] is in a cheap café, drinking, dancing, singing. But he suddenly cannot bear it, and there is a close-up of his head, with the cellist’s bow drawing across his temples. No one imagined that this was a literal representation; they knew the bow was not real, but symbolical of his mental strain, of the way the music suddenly jarred on his nerves and became, somehow, the jar of the whole world going against him.
In Hotel Imperial there was a symbol, done by super-imposing, which meant one thing and meant also another thing. An exhausted officer dreamt of a battle; shadowry cavalry charged through his brain, and a drum beat, beat, beat. The place on the screen where the drum beat was exactly the place of his temple when the dream dissolved. The cavalry faded away, and the drum faded, but the beat—beat—beat went on, his white forehead the white drum.’
Most visitors of this site have probably never even touched them: the erotic super 8mm and standard 8mm films that pleased their parents – or perhaps their grandparents – on rainy days. Anyone wanting to make up for lost time now has the chance on Super8glamour.com, a webshop of Dutch origin (but in the English language) that exclusively sells vintage 8mm sex films, or glamour films as these were once called in the UK. The site offers a lot of German films (Lasse Braun, Busen), but also titles from the United States (Roxbury Press, House of Milan) and Scandinavia (Color Climax). Most films are from the 1970s and early 1980s.
At present, there are about 130 films on offer, but some 200 more will be added in the next few months, the site promises. For most films, there is a picture of the film box and a short description, extracted from the text on the box. The site also gives gradings for film condition and color quality. Prices range from about 10 to 15 euros, with a few exceptions.
In the first week of May, Super8glamour published a hefty sales catalogue, promisingly titled A Treasury of Vintage Erotic 8mm Films. The catalogue lists considerably more films than the site does: about 350. We especially liked the large pictures of both front and back covers of the film boxes, and a number of indexes, a.o. an index of film titles and an index of actresses and actors (where known). The catalogue sells for € 4,50 and, according to Super8glamour, is a real treat for both film collectors and anyone interested in vintage erotica. More on the catalogue soon on Vampyr.nl.
For the recently published 94th issue of Schokkend Nieuws (a Dutch fanzine on horror, sci-fi and cult movies), Vampyr submitted a contribution on the opening scenes of vintage adult movies on super 8mm. Even for porn haters, these intro sequences are relatively bearable, just because they are free from sex most of the time. Undeterred by feminist or other feelings of guilt, and not embarrassed by the mechanic lovemaking that is typical of the genre, the viewer can quietly watch the cool hairstyles and hipster glasses from a bygone era.
The Vampyr pages in Schokkend Nieuws show a large graphic with an overview of the most frequently found types of intro scenes. To keep it all manageable, we only included German retro porn from the 1970s in our research. The graphic has not much room for images, so we make up for that here. In the image galleries below, opening sequences from three films have been included as stills. All stills have been photographed from the projected super 8 image.
We are working on a few video clips of the most interesting scenes, which we want to upload to Youtube – if they will allow us. When the clips are ready, we will post a link on this blog.
Birthday sex, Venus Films
A woman has her birthday party. In the meticulously stretched opening scene we see the guests arrive one by one, all bringing a bouquet of flowers. The flowers are probably meant as some kind of joke, although it’s not exactly clear what’s so funny about it. After drinks, the party gets rolling.
Trio Genital, Paradiso/Love Film
A woman visits the psychiatrist to discuss her miserable love life; her impotent husband doesn’t care much for her attentions. From the scene at the shrink’s, we jump to fantasized images of a love affair the woman has with the postman.
Der kurze Blonde mit dem langen… [The short blond with the long...], Professional Film
Goings-on in a small hotel. A married couple checks in, assisted by the immaculately uniformed bell-boy. Then the same bell-boy has a suggestive encounter with a charming lady in the elevator.