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lydecker

Do You Watch TCM Underground Often?

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Count me in as another fan of TCM Underground.  I always check to see what's on, as I enjoy movies that are more out there, shall we say?  I've made some great discoveries over the years, such as The Sadist, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, and The Baby.  It seems like it's been forever since they aired those first two (as double bills with Wild Guitar and Mudhoney, respectively).  I've also enjoyed goodies like It's Alive! and God Told Me To.  Of the upcoming movies LawrenceA posted, I'd love to watch Alone in the Dark, Funeral Parade of Roses, and Portrait of Jason.  I've already seen (and love) Sisters.

I'm not as interested to the slew of 80s cheesiness that's been the focus recently, though I will admit to getting a kick out of the bits I saw of Breakin' and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo just last week!

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Then there are those films that are un-controversial, un-scary, un-gory, un-cinematic, un-everything...and yet they qualify to be shown in TCM Underground (or maybe they have been shown already) because of their vintage status, low production (and artistic) values, and niche nature.  Blood Mania (1970) and Point of Terror (1971) are two poorly made films about murder and betrayal, albeit done with a modicum of pizzazz that has gained them cult followings. There are probably a tonnage of films like these in that era waiting to be "re-discovered."

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20 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

I had just read a book about the crimes it was based on before I saw it, and it was interesting to see the big screen version.

Yes, The Phantom Killer by James Presley, I read that too. Though much in the film is changed. The killer in the movie is always wearing a scary looking sack-mask but the none of the survivors said that the real killer did. Only one said he might have been wearing a some type of mask but was not sure.

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One of the largest sources of films deserving the underground status are the entire library of Something Weird Video (official website), which comprises of vintage nude, porn, and exploitation shorts and features from the 1920s to 60s.  TCM has aired a lot of pre-code movies, but definitely not the more extreme stuff in SW's library.  The uninitiated can watch the 2013 documentary That's Sexploitation (Blu-ray review), which gives a bit of history and a clipfest of SW's library.  The Blu-ray also includes 3 1/2 hours of naughty shorts from the SW collection.

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Shockumentaries are another maligned genre that resides underground, but likely won't be aired on TCM.  These provocative and sensationalist films were apparently a big deal when the genre was birthed in 1962 with the release of Mondo Cane, which was shown in respectable venus such as Cannes, got an Oscar nomination, and was a hit worldwide, inspiring many films of this kind.  If those people knew these designed-to-shock films would one day devolved into the trashy reality shows we see today, they might think differently.  Today, these "mondo" films, as they are sometimes called, may seem tame now.  But that is only because we have been de-sensitized by all the trash we see on TV today, much of which owes its ancestry from mondo films.  See them for a bit of historical prespective and/or nostalgia (I saw Faces of Death in a theater when I was 12).

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I'd like to see TCM Underground given some new "blood", with some of the great suggestions that have been made on this thread.  Along with the fresh titles, I think a permanent host would be nice, who, along with introducing the evenings presentation, might also interview one of the stars of the film, or someone associated with the production.  Since many of these movies are more recent than the normal TCM fare, I'm sure the talent would be available (living!) and probably jump at the chance to appear on the channel.  This would cost some coin, though, and not sure TCM would be willing to pop for it.

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14 minutes ago, darrylfxanax said:

I'd like to see TCM Underground given some new "blood", with some of the great suggestions that have been made on this thread.  Along with the fresh titles, I think a permanent host would be nice, who, along with introducing the evenings presentation, might also interview one of the stars of the film, or someone associated with the production.  Since many of these movies are more recent than the normal TCM fare, I'm sure the talent would be available (living!) and probably jump at the chance to appear on the channel.  This would cost some coin, though, and not sure TCM would be willing to pop for it.

At one point heavy metal rocker/movie director Rob Zombie was the host, but I'm not sure how long he lasted. It wasn't too long, and I honestly don't recall any of his intros/outros, although I'm sure I saw a few back then.

I enjoyed Sandra Bernhard when she hosted Reel Wild Cinema back in the mid 1990's. It was basically TCM Underground but with commercial breaks and brief interviews. 

I'm not sure how "camera ready" he is, but Michael Weldon, of The Psychotronic Movie Guide fame, would certainly be an authority on the subject matter.

It's a shame Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video, died in 2014. He would have been a good, off-beat host for TCMU.

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Another noteworthy genre of films are those experimental "structural" films made in the 60s and 70s.  These films were and are often admired for their artistry, but they use the film medium in such unconventional manners that they are quite inaccessible to general viewers.  Michael Snow's Wavelength (1967) is seemingly a static shot of a room, but is in fact a very slow zoom-in to a picture on a wall.  Hollis Frampton's Zorns Lemma (1970) comprises of shots of the alphabets A to Z, with each letter replaced one by one with a picture fragment, until all 26 fragments reveal the whole picture at the end.  In Frampton's Nostalgia (1971), we hear the narrator describe not what is on the screen, but what will be shown several minutes later.  These films try to "deconstruct" the film medium and experiment with the effects, and the result is often a different kind of "grammar" of film language.  Watching them may be like being in film school, so it may not go over well with TCM viewers.  But these are very much underground films in the sense that these films and their makers were and are an insular group that don't make films for the masses; they make films to study film.  Some Blu-rays and DVDs have been released for these films, notably Criterion's box sets for Stan Brakhage and Hollis Frampton.

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2 hours ago, darrylfxanax said:

I'd like to see TCM Underground given some new "blood", with some of the great suggestions that have been made on this thread.  Along with the fresh titles, I think a permanent host would be nice, who, along with introducing the evenings presentation, might also interview one of the stars of the film, or someone associated with the production.  Since many of these movies are more recent than the normal TCM fare, I'm sure the talent would be available (living!) and probably jump at the chance to appear on the channel.  This would cost some coin, though, and not sure TCM would be willing to pop for it.

 

TCM Underground hasn't had a host in a long time, so it doesn't seem like they will bring one back.

There are so many different kinds of "underground" films that they would probably need multiple hosts, which would mean more expenses paid. 

It's better to buy the DVDs or Blu-rays and listen to the commentaries and interviews in the bonus features, which are often quite good, and probably be better than TCM or any TV station could do.

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4 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

At one point heavy metal rocker/movie director Rob Zombie was the host, but I'm not sure how long he lasted. It wasn't too long, and I honestly don't recall any of his intros/outros, although I'm sure I saw a few back then.

I had forgotten about Zombie hosting Underground! He wasn't bad, either. Just straight forward; nothing more. I found about 11 YouTubes of his intros/outros, so, yeah, not too long of a gig.

Here's one, for anyone interested.

 

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5 hours ago, DVDPhreak said:

One of the largest sources of films deserving the underground status are the entire library of Something Weird Video (official website), which comprises of vintage nude, porn, and exploitation shorts and features from the 1920s to 60s.  TCM has aired a lot of pre-code movies, but definitely not the more extreme stuff in SW's library.  The uninitiated can watch the 2013 documentary That's Sexploitation (Blu-ray review), which gives a bit of history and a clipfest of SW's library.  The Blu-ray also includes 3 1/2 hours of naughty shorts from the SW collection.

Agree, Something Weird Video, has quite a few gems mixed in with a lot of off beat stuff. Their "Six Weird Noirs" DVD set is a must have for titles Girl on the Run, The Seventh Commandment, and Stark Fear the rest,  Fear No More, Fallguy and The Naked Road are very cheapo but watchable.

Ray Dennis Steckler's films would be an interesting addition also. Rat Pfink a Boo Boo,  
The Thrill KillersThe Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? and others.

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5 hours ago, darrylfxanax said:

I'd like to see TCM Underground given some new "blood", with some of the great suggestions that have been made on this thread.  Along with the fresh titles, I think a permanent host would be nice, who, along with introducing the evenings presentation, might also interview one of the stars of the film, or someone associated with the production.  Since many of these movies are more recent than the normal TCM fare, I'm sure the talent would be available (living!) and probably jump at the chance to appear on the channel.  This would cost some coin, though, and not sure TCM would be willing to pop for it.

I too have long thought it would be nice to have someone introduce the TCM Underground features, even if it's just Ben (or Alicia or Dave).  Some of these movies could use a little context, so any bits of info would be appreciated.  But I would absolutely love if they chose someone who "fits" the theme, like a cult filmmaker or critic (a la Eddie Muller on Noir Alley).  I have fond memories of Joe Bob Briggs hosting Monster Vision on TNT in the 90s, though I fear his brand of humor would be too politically incorrect today (hell, it was incorrect back then!) and a bit blue for TCM.  Elvira's still around!

5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I enjoyed Sandra Bernhard when she hosted Reel Wild Cinema back in the mid 1990's. It was basically TCM Underground but with commercial breaks and brief interviews.

That was a great show!

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50 minutes ago, Feego said:

I too have long thought it would be nice to have someone introduce the TCM Underground features, even if it's just Ben (or Alicia or Dave).  Some of these movies could use a little context, so any bits of info would be appreciated.  But I would absolutely love if they chose someone who "fits" the theme, like a cult filmmaker or critic (a la Eddie Muller on Noir Alley).  I have fond memories of Joe Bob Briggs hosting Monster Vision on TNT in the 90s, though I fear his brand of humor would be too politically incorrect today (hell, it was incorrect back then!) and a bit blue for TCM.  Elvira's still around!

 

How about Tim Burton?

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Burton is still pretty busy these days.  I think someone along the lines of Joe Dante would be good, as he is both a director of several cult films and generally knowledgeable about some of the older ones.  In fact, his Trailers from Hell series, with contributions from various filmmakers and writers (including TCM favorite Illeana Douglas) is already a step in the right direction.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Wasn't Rob Zombie a former TCM Underground host?

Yes he was.  Sagebrush posted a video of one of his intros a few posts up.

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20 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Agree, Something Weird Video, has quite a few gems mixed in with a lot of off beat stuff. Their "Six Weird Noirs" DVD set is a must have for titles Girl on the Run, The Seventh Commandment, and Stark Fear the rest,  Fear No More, Fallguy and The Naked Road are very cheapo but watchable.

Ray Dennis Steckler's films would be an interesting addition also. Rat Pfink a Boo Boo,  
The Thrill KillersThe Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? and others.

They showed THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED ETC. a loooooong while back. I remember because this website at the time had an interesting section dedicated to TCMunderground and someone drew an excellent comic strip inspired by the movie wherein the hideous gypsy fortuneteller Madame Estrella kills the horribly unfunny warm up comic Who introduces the dancers on stage.

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TCM has also shown Rat Pfink a Boo Boo. It is about as bad as it sounds, but at least the film does provide a public service. When Rat Pfink and Boo Boo are chasing the bad guys, and have to pause at an intersection, Rat Pfink reminds Boo Boo to "always look both ways before crossing the street."

6AVlWoZ.png

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42 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

TCM has also shown Rat Pfink a Boo Boo. It is about as bad as it sounds, but at least the film does provide a public service. When Rat Pfink and Boo Boo are chasing the bad guys, and have to pause at an intersection, Rat Pfink reminds Boo Boo to "always look both ways before crossing the street."

6AVlWoZ.png

A funny story about the title, it was supposed to be Rat Fink and Boo Boo there was a printing mistake in the title and they went with it.

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

A funny story about the title, it was supposed to be Rat Fink and Boo Boo there was a printing mistake in the title and they went with it.

Which makes it even funnier

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3 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

A funny story about the title, it was supposed to be Rat Fink and Boo Boo there was a printing mistake in the title and they went with it.

I guess somebody made a boo boo.  That rat fink.

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I was just going through some of my vintage keyboard stuff last week, and I meant to post this.  Not Giorgio Moroder, but so what.

This should really be the TCM Underground bumper music.  http://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/forum-twisted.gif

 

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Heh, only heard (Syracuse native) Grace Jone's version of that. I had forgotten how simple real punk rock was. (no wonder I could play/sing it)

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14 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Heh, only heard (Syracuse native) Grace Jone's version of that. I had forgotten how simple real punk rock was. (no wonder I could play/sing it)

This thing reminds me of a very small-time experimental group I read about, in the early 2000s, that attached a lapel mic to the print head of an old-style dot matrix printer.  They "played" it as one of their instruments by sending different repeating patterns of text to the printer. 

Like this:
https://youtu.be/A_vXA058EDY?t=34

Probably too impractical, complicated, and not enough joy for punk though.

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I think TCM Underground programming is truly important for the diversity factor at TCM.  TCM is the best channel out there if you want to watch something different (nothing even comes close to replacing it).  As well as showing your favorites, it can introduce even the most sophisticated movie enthusiast to something new or something they have been trying to track down to see. And this is why TCM is instrumental in expanding our film knowledge.  TCM always has something to broaden our consciousness. 

I do watch a lot of TCM Underground. Lots of the movies shown are quirky and silly; they might show a certain trend or are purely bizarre. Definitely great programming and certainly should be continued.

A couple of notable films that should never be missed when shown on "Underground":

The Hidden (1987)

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)

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