New Episode Dissemble! (And The Black Scorpion dvd)

The third and last installment of our podcast survey of kitsch is nearly ready. I started to record it this Sunday, but began making revisions. They’re worthwhile revisions, not spurious, so you, the patient listener, will benefit in the end. (Howz that for use of commas. Impressive, no?) This is perhaps the most important of the three. It delves into my half-formed convictions regarding whimsy and its role in saving the world from the devil and his wise-cracking minions. Pope John Paul II once said “Beauty will save the world.” I think it’s more likely that whimsy will do the honors — or at least that whimsy will serve as beauty’s faithful sidekick.

The odd little image is taken from the extras to be found on The Black Scorpion dvd. Pete Peterson, who assisted Willis O’Brien in the animating of The Black Scorpion, did a little experimenting on his own and these “beetle people” are among the results. Another is a giant mutated orangutan. The homespun reels of animation were found in a trunk out in a barn or somesuch after Peterson’s death and salvaged for future generations by, for one thing, putting them on The Black Scorpion dvd’s extras. The dvd has been out for a while and may be a little difficult to track down on foot. Not so difficult online, of course. The Black Scorpion is an overlooked gem, in my opinion, and definitely a film which friends of and the excuse me, ghidorah? podcast would enjoy. There is an uncanny quality to the animated proceedings. I won’t ruin it for you, but the scorpion(s) in question are mean and hungry and you see a lot more of their feeding frenzy than you every expect in a Harryhausen-style feature. Also, when attempts are made to find their underground lair… well, words fail me. I’m always tossing around the word Lovecraftian, but the feeling I get is rather cosmic — awe and terror mixed together. Also, I really do enjoy the sort of lighting O’Brien and Peterson used in this film (and in The Giant Behemoth). Lots of moody shadows. One doesn’t expect a noir sort of feeling in an animated film, but that’s what you get in The Black Scorpion.

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~ by christianhalloweenfan on November 19, 2007.

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