Creature Feature Sunday: Reptilicus

This classic Danish monster movie has been edited down to just 10 minutes, so maybe you can find the time when you're not 'posting', 'texting', 'tweeting' or 'squonking' or whatever you do on that little electronic gadget of yours.

I saw this on a Sunday afternoon in the neighborhood theater in 1976. I didn't win anything in the raffle (top prize was a complete train set), but at least the movie's strangeness stuck with me, as with other childhood brain-melters like Attack of the Mushroom People or War of the Gargantuas.


The Notorious 'Sex Dwarf' Music Video

from Dangerous Minds,

Directed by Tim Pope, Soft Cell’s Sex Dwarf  video, released to promote their debut album, created quite a scandal in 1981. Claiming it was pornographic, British police actually confiscated copies of the video. It was banned from MTV at the time and is currently banned from Youtube.

Not safe for the workplace or the kids, obviously. But not as disturbing or offensive as you might think, either. It straddles a fine line between ridiculous and genuinely frightening, echoing the ouvre of Paul McCarthy or Hermann Nitsch (Soft Cell met in art school, where Dave Ball was composing avant-garde soundscapes and Mark Almond was a performance artist).

Bonus clip: Soft Cell tears through a sleazy cover of Suicide's "Ghost Rider" with Foetus on guest vocals:


70's Arcade Oddities

Computer Space

The first of all video games (predating "Pong" by a year), this beautiful cabinet was sculpted from clay in the designer's kitchen and molded in fiberglass. The gameplay was said to be confusing, and it flopped right away. But look, it was futuristic enough to star in the movie "Soylent Green", set in the year 2002:

Space Flight

This lunar landing game was modeled after the popular crane-and-target cabinets. It had a built-in 8-track tape player that changed channels accordingly when you would succeed or fail. Check out the oscilloscope effect on the control panel! And those models! Why aren't these sorts of things still around?

Haunted House

Lots of shooting galleries were made in the 70's, but the black-light diorama and mechanical targets on this one are fantastic, and like "Space Flight", there's an 8-track tape player that provides music and sound effects. Here's a long video, but he gets inside the cabinet and shows some of the mechanics.


There were one of these at a Holiday Inn when I was vacationing with my family as a six-year old, and I remember it well: two players are scuba divers trying to repeatedly swim to the ocean floor and surface with treasure while sharks pursue them. Currently there are estimated to be somewhere between 5 and 25 left in the world.

Sexy Girl Pinball

This was manufactured in Germany and only distributed within Western Europe. It features a window on the table, which projects a selection of 200 (200! ) photos of models in increasing degrees of nuditude.

I actually have a 'virtual' re-creation of this game on my mame cabinet, but I never play it. For one thing, it's too hard to get the photos going. That requires you to pass through all four lanes in the top (they clear with every new ball) then hit difficult side targets to advance the pictures. It's also a slow design with few features. The best thing about it is the under-table projector. And the titties.

Dr. Mad's Monster Maker

I'm guessing it uses a two-way mirror and a Pepper's Ghost effect to turn your reflection into a monster. But did this actually exist? The only info I can find online is the above photo and a page from the sales flyer:

Maybe it never passed the prototyping stage, but wow. That's one of the coolest cabinets and coolest ideas I've ever seen for an arcade machine.


Family Classics

It's Sunday afternoon, which means it's time for Family Classics, hosted by Frazier Thomas:

Today we have a family-friendly edit of the 1974 classic "Flesh Gordon"

And now for a short commercial break. Tonight is a night of programming that you won't want to miss:

And now, the exciting conclusion of "Flesh Gordon"


Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

Opened three years ago, this small museum of playable machines recreates the arcades of the USSR from the 70's to the late 80's. From their website:

Arcade Games were a part of childhood and youth of Soviet people. They were made at secret military factories from the seventies up to the Perestroika. Forgotten and broken down Soviet-era arcade games are now being restored for Moscow’s newest museum and now it is possible to play and feel atmosphere of the passed epoch.
Around 20 of 37 different kinds of machines are now in working order. They operate with old Soviet 15 kopek coins, the hammer-and-sickle emblem of which itself conjures up a bygone time.

Here's one example, “Morskoi Boi” (Sea Battle):

This is the most popular of all the Russian games. It's a copy of Midway's Sea Raider as far as the interior is concerned, but the exterior is way cooler, with all the backlit knobs and dials.

A drawer at floor level pulls out to act as a step stool for children, midgets and amputees. The interior scene has lots of depth because it takes advantage of the cabinet's height; a parabolic mirror bounces your field of vision straight down (I'm currently designing an interactive diorama like this).

The player looks through the periscope, but there are also two windows up top for spectators to check out the action. The periscope swivels to aim, and a trigger releases torpedos. Scoring is simple enough: the numbers 1-10 on the right show how many torpedoes you've fired, and the numbers 1-10 on the left register your hits.

The enemy ships, which are filled with capitalist dogs, move across the diorama on a chain drive. A series of incandescent lamps chase in sequence and bounce off the glass water surface to simulate the torpedo's path. Strike! Another victory for the proletariate!

Ready to play a round? You don't have to travel to Russia to try this game. The museum's website has a flash version. Man your station and GO.

There's little else working on that website, but a blog of some kind has pictures and lots of descriptions of their visit here.


Night Tide

Our Movie of the Week is presented without interruption courtesy of archive.org, where you can also download the entire public domain feature.

This 1961 relic with a very young-looking Dennis Hopper (he was actually in his late 20's) and obscure singer Lana Clarkson is all about the location: Venice Beach when it was a happening bohemian mecca. It's also a moody little tone poem, perhaps better suited to something shorter, like an episode of 'Twilight Zone' rather than a full movie, but still worth your time.


Mighty Thor

Thor Blow Up Water Bottle:

Thor Bend Steel with Teeth:

Thor Accept Challenge: