Sunday, July 01, 2007

Kitsch Will Keep Us Together

When my wife Kim and I met, through online personals ads 2 1/2 years ago, both of us mentioned a love of kitsch as interests in our profiles.

There is no kitsch shortage in our household. Reproductions of old signs, postcards of Airstreams, and lava lamps are among the kitschy things we have.

My main contribution is my b-movie posters. They were a gift from a long-gone girlfriend in the mid-eighties. Her parents made their living working flea markets. She saw the posters at a flea market and bought them for me. I don't think she spent more than $50 for all four of them-- I spent far more having them framed. I looked up the Blood Feast poster on ebay recently and found that it can go for between $400 and $950.

I mentioned the other day, my efforts to save my Blood Feast poster after part of it got wet when my basement flooded.

My favorite parts of the poster are the admonition not to bring impressionable adolescents to see the movie-- who else but adolescents were going to see it?-- and the little blurb "Introducing Connie Mason-- You Read About Her In Playboy." Yeah, you were reading, huh?

I have three other posters that were unharmed because they were on the walls of our living room, rather than in the basement.

Mill of the Stone Women, or Il Mulino Del Donne Di Pietra as it was called originally, is a big hunk of Italian cheese. A writer journeys to a town to write about the mysterious Professor Val, and takes lodging in the local mill-- a mill that the locals call "The Mill of the Stone Women." Hmmmm... wonder if anything nefarious is afoot there?

The dubbing is incredibly bad-- worthy of a Japanese monster movie-- and of course there was controversy. Toward the end the end of the movie, a women's blouse slips down, exposing a tiny glimpse of nipple. Hey, it was 1960.

Mill of the Stone Women came out on DVD a couple of years ago, by the way. Blood Feast is on DVD as well.

Women of the Prehistoric Planet came out on DVD a year or so ago, but only as part of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 collection (Collection #9, for those of you keeping score). Most of you probably know the premise of MST3000-- that a hapless astronaut and his robot companions are trapped on a satellite, where evil scientists force them to watch the worst movies known to mankind. I think the fact that this movie was featured on MST3000 says it all.

The Bellboy and the Playgirls looks like it might be the worst of the bunch-- it looks like it was a bad Jerry Lewis movie but without Jerry Lewis. It has never come out on DVD, which is odd, because it was the first movie written and directed by a guy who went on to a fair amount of fame-- Francis Ford Coppola. This predated his schlocko thriller Dementia 13 (which is on DVD) by a year.

How much do you want to bet that the first thing he did with all the money he made on The Godfather was to hire a team to go out and buy and burn every existing print of The Bellboy and the Playgirls?


MacGuffin said...

Wow, I love your The Mill of The Stone Women poster, great design. Exploitation posters are such fun. Very cool collection.

Skylers Dad said...

My sister and her boyfriend took me along to go see Blood Feast many, many moons ago when I was a young lad. We renamed the movie "Leg of Trudy"!

Anonymous said...

change "kitch" to "shit" and I could basically paste this post on my site, we've got so much of it.

That is, I could, if I wasn't letting Flannery take over for July...

cheer34 said...

You have some very interesting stuff. I love going to flea markets and yard sales. Antiques Roadshow isone of my favorite shows. I hope treasures in your basement were not damaged.

Bubs said...

Great movies, great posters.

Sandi's Zoo said...

Thanks for the memory. Chris neglected to memtion that we charged our little brothers a fee to take them along to this stellar movie

Mob said...

Great collection, I'm glad Blood Feast survived the weekend.

I rather like the look of The Bellboy and the Playgirls, myself.

Splotchy said...

I second mob's opinion regarding The Bellboy...

homina homina homina homina

kim said...

Mr. Yen,

You are by far the most kitschy collectible in the house.

I wonder how much it would cost to have you refurbished...I don't think I can afford it.

lulu said...

Hey Johnny, Check your junkmail; I sent you an evite to my going away thing and according to them you haven't looked at it. Would love to see you (and Kim) before I go!

Evil Spock said...

Those are the most awesome. Plus its nice they have monetary value.

I love kitschy things too, and had a thing for tin wind-up toys and and vintage piggy banks.

Beth said...

I love the poster for The Bellboy and the Playgirls!

Natalie said...

All of the posters are great. I hope with some framing you can smooth out the water crinkles on Blood Feast. It wasn't too bad though.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Wouldn't it be oool to have all the MST3K's posters and plaster a room with them, or a ceiling?

GETkristiLOVE said...

I mean cool.

Johnny Yen said...

Thanks! It's funny-- I had them for maybe five years before I finally had them framed-- they were stapled to cardboard, hanging on my walls before that.

Skyler's Dad-
And you're still talking to your sister? ; )

Big Orange-
I've got a lot of that too.

Cheer 34-
I love that show too! It's always fascinating to me when things you don't think are worth much end up being valuble.

I suspect that having the posters mounted and framed probably actually diminished their money value. For me, though, that's not the point-- I just love having them on displayl.

Thanks! I own Blood Feast and Mill of the Stone Women. It's my goal to get all on DVD eventually.

Sandi's Zoo-
Like I said, and he's still talking to you? ; )

I think stylistically I like Women of the Prehistoric planet.

To catch one little joke that the designer got away with, click on the image to enlarge it and look in the bottom right corner, just above her foot... the guy is reading a book called "How To Be a Hotel Dick." Holy Double Entendre, Batman!

She's pretty hot, isn't she?

The movie was apparently in 3-D, and at the bottom it says " puts a girl in your lap!"

I wouldn't mind a new set of knees... and maybe refurbished eyes.


Evil Spock-
When my grandparents died 9 years ago, they had a bunch of old toys my mother and her sisters had played with. I wish I'd had the room to store them, and known someone who knew their value, or even just valued them, and would have taken them. I ended up bringing a lot of them to Goodwill.


I think when they remount the poster, it'll straighten it out. I'd had the posters for some time, and they'd become a little dogeared and wrinkled, and the original mounting straightened them out.


When I found out about that show, I got a kick out of it-- because me and my friends used to sit and do the exact same thing-- sit and pan bad movies.

Anonymous said...

Nice goin, Ace. Just when I have finally nailed down the meaning of chotsky you lay kitschy(?) on me. I think they are one and the same .... Kitschy is just Chotsky with a message. No? So sue me then.