20 Bizarre Christmas Gifts Ideas

Credit: Rob Sheridan.

Christmas is approaching, and with it comes the usual risk of choosing banal and trivial gifts.
Fear no more! Here is a selection of 20 absolutely weird gadgets, to refuel your consumerist creativity and to satisfy your relatives and acquaintances with tailor-made presents!

For your goth friends, nothing is better than a melancholic cup of tea while dreaming of sepulchres by the sea.
This delightful Edgar Allan Poe tea set includes: a hand-stamped muslin bag, a bag of “Midnight Dreary” herbal tea, and a limited edition charmed tea ball. (Crow not included.)

Available on Etsy.

A book is a classic but always welcome gift. Especially when, besides being a compelling read, it also proves useful and educational.
Someone you know will certainly appreciate this very practical guide.

Available on Amazon.

And now a perfect gift for (your enemy’s) children: it’s fun AND instructive!

Available on Amazon.

A calendar is as boring a gift as it can get. Well, not these ones: here are Bizzarro Bazar’s picks for 2019.

Available on Amazon.

Available on Amazon.

Available on Amazon.

Available on Amazon.

Available on Amazon.

These fun-loving nuns remind us, however, that Christmas is above all a sacred holiday. So here’s your pious decoration: a praying mantis Christmas angel.

Available on Etsy.

Chocolate is always a safe bet, when it comes to Christmas presents. The variant I propose here is not exactly cheap, but it sure sounds exotic: this chocolate bar is made from camel’s milk.

Available on Amazon.

It takes you a whole afternoon to set up your Christmas tree, but only 2 minutes for your cat to destroy all the hard work.
The problem is solved with this pet-proof Half Tree. Also available in the snowy version.

Available on Argos.

Since we’re talking cats, it is a real pity that this kitty saucy boat is no longer on the market. It was a Kickstarted a few years ago, and it’s now sold out. I’m listing it here anyways because, who knows, maybe you can find a secondhand one to shock your guests at Christmas.

Enough about cats, just one last thing: here is an action figure for your crazy cat lady friend.

Available on Amazon.

What about dogs? Don’t they need to keep warm during a rough winter?

Available on Amazon.

Here’s another useful, exquisite gift.
When the cold gets intense, and it makes the eyes water and the nose run, these double-sided “Snittens” offer two solutions in one: they’re specifically designed to dry tears on one side, and to absorb mucus on the other. Specifically designed, mind you. Just imagine the team of scientists working on this ground-breaking project, and be thankful you live in such enlightened times of sophisticated technology.

Available on eBay and Amazon.

If snot mittens were not enough to disgust your friends, maybe you want to go a bit further.
Give this pimple simulator as a gift to your most squeamish friend. Pus recharge is included!

Available on Amazon.

Lastly, we need to come up with something for those sexually liberated friends — or boy/girlfriends, why not— who are constantly looking for a new sex toy. We want it to be Xmas-themed, but something more than the usual kinky Santa outfit.
When you give them this awesome reindeer penis dildo (well, if we believe the producer’s description), you’ll know you’ve made their Christmas a bit happier.


Available on Amazon.
(By the way: Amazon’s suggested combined purchase is a thing of beauty.)

Before concluding, I would like to suggest two gadgets which are not really gifts but rather tools that you can use yourself, in case of need. A survival kit for the festive season, to defend yourself against relatives visiting, long dinners that can sometimes turn into Kafkian nightmares, etc.
The first remedy allows you to noncalantly approach your Christmas tree, unscrew a ball and drown your sorrows in alcohol.

Available on Amazon.

The second is designed for real emergencies.
Instructions: get up from the table, make up an excuse for leaving your guests, head into the other room and, once you’re there, scream your lungs out in the scream-absorbing jar. This essential accessory will allow you to let off steam without spoiling that pure, touching Christmas spirit.

Available on eBay.


In closing, allow me to remind you of my books, which could work just fine as a Christmas present
.

Available on Libri.it.

That’s all, happy holidays!

“London Mirabilia” Out Soon!

My new book is coming out on October 10th. It’s called London Mirabilia: Journey Through A Rare Enchantment.

Published by Logos Edizioni, and graced once again by Carlo Vannini‘s wonderful photographs, the book is the second entry in the Mirabilia Collection, a series of alternative guides to the most famous tourist destinations,  especially designed for the explorers of the unusual.

This time Carlo and I ventured into the very heart of London, in search for the weirdest and most amazing locations to share with our readers.
From the press kit:

We must not be deceived by the cliché of a perpetually gloomy sky, or by the threat of Victorian prudery, nor restrict ourselves to seeing the plain and classical architecture of London as an expression of Anglo-Saxon severity. Much more than other large cities, London is a boundless multitude living on contrasts.
It is only here – maybe as a reaction to the innate, restrained behaviour of Londoners – that the non-conformism of dandies, the incorrectness without taboos of British humour, Blake’s ecstatic explosions and punk nihilism could bloom. It is only here that the most futuristic buildings shamelessly rise up alongside row houses or ancient churches. And it is only here that you can gaze at a sunset over a chaotic railway station, and feel you are “in paradise”, as the Kinks sing in
Waterloo Sunset, perhaps the most beautiful song ever dedicated to the city.

LONDON MIRABILIA is an invitation to dive into the unexpected colours, the contradictions and the less known splendours of the city.
17 eccentric and refined locations await the reader who – accompanied by the texts of Ivan Cenzi, the explorer of the bizarre, and the evocative pictures by Carlo Vannini – is given the opportunity to visit the most hidden museums of London, admiring in turn the refinement of ancient historiated fans or the terrible grandeur of the war machines which conquered the sky and the sea.
We will sip the inevitable pint of real ale in a traditional London pub where the macabre remains of an extraordinary story are preserved; we will discover sumptuous houses decorated with arabesques hiding behind ordinary façades, and fluorescent collections of neon signs; we will wander among the gravestones swallowed by greenery through romantic English graveyards; we will walk through the door of fairy-tale interiors and of real modern wunderkammers.

You can pre-order your copy at this link; discounted if purchased in bundle with Paris Mirabilia. Also available in Italian.

While waiting for London Mirabilia to hit the bookstores, I leave you with a little foretaste of what you’ll find inside.

Tiny Tim, Outcast Troubadour

Remember, it’s better to be a has-been than a never-was.
(Tiny Tim)

That an outsider like Tiny Tim could reach success, albeit briefly, can be ascribed to the typical appetite for oddities of the Sixties, the decade of the freak-out ethic/aesthetic, when everybody was constantly looking for out-of-line pop music of liberating and subversive madness.
And yet, in regard to many other weird acts of the time, this bizarre character embodied an innocence and purity the Love Generation was eager to embrace.

Born Herbert Khaury in New York, 1932, Tiny Tim was a big and tall man, sporting long shabby hair. Even if in reality he was obsessed with cleansing and never skipped his daily shower during his entire life, he always gave the impression of a certain gresiness. He would come up onstage looking almost embarassed, his face sometimes covered with white makeup, and pull his trusty ukulele out of a paper bag; his eyes kept rolling in ambiguous winks, conveying a melodramatic and out-of-place emphasis. And when he started singing, there came the ultimate shock. From that vaguely creepy face came an incredible, trembling falsetto voice like that of a little girl. It was as if Shirley Temple was held prisoner inside the body of a giant.

If anything, the choice of songs played by Tiny Tim on his ukulele tended to increase the whole surreal effect by adding some ancient flavor: the setlist mainly consisted of obscure melodies from the 20s or the 30s, re-interpreted in his typical ironic, overblown style.

It was hard not to suspect that such a striking persona might have been carefully planned and engineered, with the purpose of unsettling the audience while making them laugh at the same time. And laughter certainly didn’t seem to bother Tiny Tim. But the real secret of this eccentric artist is that he wasn’t wearing any mask.
Tiny Tim had always remained a child.

Justin Martell, author of the artist’s most complete biography (Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life of Tiny Tim, with A. Wray Mcdonald), had the chance to decypher some of Tiny’s diaries, sometimes compiled boustrophedonically: and it turned out he actually came within an inch of being committed to a psychiatric hospital.
Whether his personality’s peculiar traits had to do with some autistic spectrum disorder or not, his childish behaviour was surely not a pose. Capable of remembering the name of every person he met, he showed an old-fashioned respect for any interlocutor – to the extent of always referring to his three wives as “Misses”: Miss Vicki, Miss Jan, Miss Sue. His first two marriages failed also because of his declared disgust for sex, a temptation he strenuously fought being a fervent Christian. In fact another sensational element for the time was the candor and openness with which he publicly spoke of his sexual life, or lack thereof. “I thank God for giving me the ability of looking at naked ladies and think pure thoughts“, he would say.
If we are to believe his words, it was Jesus himself who revealed upon him the possibilities of a high-pitched falsetto, as opposed to his natural baritone timbre (which he often used as an “alternate voice” to his higher range). “I was trying to find an original style that didn’t sound like Tony Bennett or anyone else. So I prayed about it, woke up with this high voice, and by 1954, I was going to amateur nights and winning.

Being on a stage meant everything for him, and it did not really matter whether the public just found him funny or actually appreciated his singing qualities: Tiny Tim was only interested in bringing joy to the audience. This was his naive idea of show business – it all came down to being loved, and giving some cheerfulness in return.

Tiny avidly scoured library archives for American music from the beginning of the century, of which he had an encyclopedic knwoledge. He idolized classic crooners like Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo: and in a sense he was mocking his own heroes when he sang standards like Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight or My Way. But his cartoonesque humor never ceased to be respectful and reverential.

Tiny Tim reached a big unexpected success in 1968 with his single Tiptoe Through The Tulips, which charted #17 that year; it was featured in his debut album, God Bless Tiny Tim, which enjoyed similar critic and public acclaim.
Projected all of a sudden towards an improbable stardom, he accepted the following year to marry his fiancée Victoria Budinger on live TV at Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, before 40 million viewers.

In 1970 he performed at the Isle of Wight rock festival, after Joan Baez and before Miles Davis; according to the press, with his version of There’ll Always Be An England he managed to steal the scene “without a single electric instrument”.

But this triumph was short-lived: after a couple of years, Tiny Tim returned to a relative obscurity which would last for the rest of his career. He lived through alternate fortunes during the 80s and 90s, between broken marriages and financial difficulties, sporadically appearing on TV and radio shows, and recording albums where his beloved songs from the past mixed with modern pop hits cover versions (from AC/DC to Bee Gees, from Joan Jett to The Doors).

According to one rumor, any time he made a phone call he would ask: “do you have the tape recorder going?
And indeed, in every interview Tiny always seemed focused on building a personal mythology, on developing his romantic ideal of an artist who was a “master of confusion“, baffling and elusive, escaping all categorization. Some believe he remained a “lonely outcast intoxicated by fame“; even when fame had long departed. The man who once befriended the Beatles and Bob Dylan, who was a guest at every star’s birthday party, little by little was forgotten and ended up singing in small venues, even performing with the circus. “As long as my voice is here, and there is a Holiday Inn waiting for me, then everything’s just swell.

But he never stopped performing, in relentelss and exhausting tours throughout the States, which eventually took their toll: in spite of a heart condition, and against his physician’s advice, Tiny Tim decided to go on singing before his ever decreasing number of fans. The second, fatal heart stroke came on November 30, 1996, while he was onstage at a charity evening singing his most famous hit, Tiptoe Through The Tulips.

And just like that, on tiptoes, this eternally romantic and idealistic human being of rare kindness quietly left this world, and the stage.
The audience had already left, and the hall was half-empty.

Dreams of Stone

Stone appears to be still, unchangeable, untouched by the tribulations of living beings.
Being outside of time, it always pointed back to the concept fo Creation.
Nestled, inaccessible, closed inside the natural chest of rock, those anomalies we called treasures lie waiting to be discovered: minerals of the strangest shape, unexpected colors, otherworldly transparency.
Upon breaking a stone, some designs may be uncovered which seem to be a work of intellect. One could recognize panoramas, human figures, cities, plants, cliffs, ocean waves.

Who is the artist that hides these fantasies inside the rock? Are they created by God’s hand? Or were these visions and landscapes dreamed by the stone itself, and engraved in its heart?

If during the Middle Ages these stone motifs were probably seen as an evidence of the anima mundi, at the beginning of the modern period they had already been relegated to the status of simple curiosities.
XVI and XVII Century naturalists, in their wunderkammern and in books devoted to the wonders of the world, classified the pictures discovered in stone as “jokes of Nature” (lusus naturæ). In fact, Roger Caillois writes (La scrittura delle pietre, Marietti, 1986):

The erudite scholars, Aldrovandi and Kircher among others, divided these wonders into genres and species according to the image they saw in them: Moors, bishops, shrimps or water streams, faces, plants, dogs or even fish, tortoises, dragons, skulls, crucifixes, anything a fervid imagination could recognize and identify. In reality there is no being, monster, monument, event or spectacle of nature, of history, of fairy tales or dreams, nothing that an enchanted gaze couldn’t see inside the spots, designs and profiles of these stones.

It is curious to note, incidentally, that these “caprices” were brought up many times during the long debate regarding the mystery of fossils. Leonardo Da Vinci had already guessed that sea creatures found petrified on mountain tops could be remnants of living organisms, but in the following centuries fossils came to be thought of as mere whims of Nature: if stone was able to reproduce a city skyline, it could well create imitations of seashells or living things. Only by the half of XVIII Century fossils were no longer considered lusus naturæ.

Among all kinds of pierre à images (“image stones”), there was one in which the miracle most often recurred. A specific kind of marble, found near Florence, was called pietra paesina (“landscape stone”, or “ruin marble”) because its veinings looked like landscapes and silhouettes of ruined cities. Maybe the fact that quarries of this particular marble were located in Tuscany was the reason why the first school of stone painting was established at the court of Medici Family; other workshops specializing in this minor genre arose in Rome, in France and the Netherlands.

 

Aside from the pietra paesina, which was perfect for conjuring marine landscapes or rugged desolation, other kinds of stone were used, such as alabaster (for celestial and angelic suggestions) and basanite, used to depict night views or to represent a burning city.

Perhaps it all started with Sebastiano del Piombo‘s experiments with oil on stone, which had the intent of creating paintings that would last as long as sculptures; but actually the colors did not pass the test of time on polished slates, and this technique proved to be far from eternal. Sebastiano del Piombo, who was interested in a refined and formally strict research, abandoned the practice, but the method had an unexpected success within the field of painted oddities — thanks to a “taste for rarities, for bizarre artifices, for the ambiguous, playful interchange of art and nature that was highly appreciated both during XVI Century Mannerism and the baroque period” (A. Pinelli on Repubblica, January 22, 2001).

Therefore many renowned painters (Jacques Stella, Stefano della Bella, Alessandro Turchi also known as l’Orbetto, Cornelis van Poelemburgh), began to use the veinings of the stone to produce painted curios, in tension between naturalia e artificialia.

Following the inspiration offered by the marble scenery, they added human figures, ships, trees and other details to the picture. Sometimes little was needed: it was enough to paint a small balcony, the outline of a door or a window, and the shape of a city immediately gained an outstanding realism.

Johann König, Matieu Dubus, Antonio Carracci and others used in this way the ribbon-like ornaments and profound brightness of the agate, the coils and curves of alabaster. In pious subjects, the painter drew the mystery of a milky supernatural flare from the deep, translucent hues; or, if he wanted to depict a Red Sea scene, he just had to crowd the vortex of waves, already suggested by the veinings of the stone, with frightened victims.

Especially well-versed in this eccentric genre, which between the XVI and XVIII Century was the object of extended trade, was Filippo Napoletano.
In 1619 the painter offered to Cosimo II de’ Medici seven stories of Saints painted on “polished stoned called alberese“, and some of his works still retain a powerful quality, on the account of their innovative composition and a vivid expressive intensity.
His extraordinary depiction of the Temptations of Saint Anthony, for instance, is a “little masterpiece [where] the artist’s intervention is minimal, and the Saint’s entire spiritual drama finds its echo in the melancholy of a landscape of Dantesque tone” (P. Gaglianò on ExibArt, December 11, 2000).

The charm of a stone that “mimicks” reality, giving the illusion of a secret theater, is unaltered still today, as Cailliois elegantly explains:

Such simulacra, hidden on the inside for a long time, appear when the stones are broken and polished. To an eager imagination, they evoke immortal miniature models of beings and things. Surely, chance alone is at the origin of the prodigy. All similarities are after all vague, uncertain, sometimes far from truth, decidedly gratuitous. But as soon as they are perceived, they become tyrannical and they offer more than they promised. Anyone who knows how to observe them, relentlessly discovers new details completing the alleged analogy. These kinds of images can miniaturize for the benefit of the person involved every object in the world, they always provide him with a copy which he can hold in his hand, position as he wishes, or stash inside a cabinet. […] He who possesses such a wonder, produced, extracted and fallen into his hands by an extraordinary series of coincidences, happily imagines that it could not have come to him without a special intervention of Fate.

Still, unchangeable, untouched by the tribulations of living beings: it is perhaps appropriate that when stones dream, they give birth to these abstract, metaphysical landscapes, endowed with a beauty as alien as the beauty of rock itself.

Several artworks from the Medici collections are visible in a wonderful and little-known museum in Florence, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.
The best photographic book on the subject is the catalogue
Bizzarrie di pietre dipinte (2000), curate by M. Chiarini and C. Acidini Luchinat.

Links, curiosities & mixed wonders – 2

Tomorrow I will be at Winchester University to take part in a three-day interdisciplinary conference focusing on Death, art and anatomy. My talk will focus on memento mori in relation to the Capuchin Crypt in Rome — which, together with other Italian religious ossuaries, I explored in my Mors Pretiosa.
Waiting to tell you more about the event, and about the following days I will spend in London, I leave you with some curiosities to savour.

  • SynDaver Labs, which already created a synthetic cadaver for autopsies (I wrote about it in this post), is developing a canine version for veterinary surgery training. This puppy, like his human analogue, can breathe, bleed and even die.

  • Even if it turned out to be fake, this would still be one of the tastiest news in recent times: in Sculcoates, East Yorks, some ghost hunters were visiting a Nineteenth century cemetery when they suddenly heard some strange, eerie moanings. Ghost monks roaming through the graves? A demonic presence haunting this sacred place? None of the above. In the graveyard someone was secretely shooting a porno.
  • Speaking of unusual places to make love, why not inside a whale? It happened in the 1930s at Gotheburg Museum of Natural History, hosting the only completely taxidermied blue whale inside of which a lounge was built, equipped with benches and carpets. After a couple was caught having sex in there, the cetacean was unfortunately closed to the public.

  • In case you’ve missed it, there was also a man who turned a whale’s carcass into a theatre.
  • The borders of medieval manuscripts sometimes feature rabbits engaged in unlikely battles and different cruelties. Why? According to this article, it was basically a satire.

  • If you think warmongering rabbits are bizarre, wait until you see cats with jetpacks on their backs, depicted in some Sixteenth century miniatures. Here is a National Geographic article about them.

  • One last iconographic enigma. What was the meaning of the strange Sixteenth century engravings showing a satyr fathoming a woman’s private parts with a plumb line? An in-depth and quite beautiful study (sorry, Italian only) unveils the mystery.

  • Adventurous lives: Violet Constance Jessop was an ocean liner stewardess who in 1911 survived the Olympia ship incident. Then in 1912 she survived the sinking of the Titanic. And in 1916 the sinking of the Britannic.

  • Here is my piece about Johnny Eck, the Half-Boy, on the new issue of Illustrati dedicated to vices and virtues.

Reportage Bizarre

Quest’anno al Festival di Cannes il cinema italiano emergente è stato ben rappresentato da un cortometraggio intitolato Lievito madre, che si è aggiudicato il terzo premio fra i sedici corti presenti nella sezione Cinéfondation, dedicata alle scuole di cinema del mondo. Si tratta del saggio di diploma del giovane regista e fumettista romano Fulvio Risuleo, 23 anni, realizzato all’interno del prestigioso Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Roma.

Lievito madre racconta il più classico dei triangoli – lui, lei, l’altro; eppure la vicenda acquista toni fantastici e grotteschi in quanto l'”altro” non è in questo caso umano, bensì fatto di acqua, farina e lievito… e dotato di una sua particolare “vitalità”.

Prima di Lievito madre, Risuleo aveva diretto nel 2013 il cortometraggio Ghigno sardonico, che prende spunto dalle tecniche di ascolto della presunta “voce delle piante” negli anni ’70 (ne avevamo parlato in questo articolo) per arrivare a un violento e comico climax.


Se già questi primi cortometraggi dimostrano uno spiccato gusto per il surrealismo, Fulvio Risuleo conferma la propria idea di cinema con il suo ultimo lavoro, intitolato Reportage Bizarre.

Si tratta di un progetto cinematografico per il web, girato nella più totale indipendenza produttiva e creativa, che si propone di esplorare una Parigi inconsueta e sconosciuta. Reportage Bizarre è composto di 20 diversi video-frammenti che lo spettatore seleziona “alla cieca”: il percorso casuale può inizialmente far sembrare il tutto una sorta di disorganico archivio di found footage, finché non si cominciano a notare alcuni personaggi ed oggetti che ricorrono con frequenza sempre maggiore, costruendo diverse, intriganti linee narrative.
Un misterioso uomo claudicante che compare in diversi punti della città, un investigatore alla ricerca di un assassino, una ragazza con un cerotto blu sulla fronte che si ritrova alla fine di una relazione sentimentale, l’onnipresenza del durian (frutto esotico di cui avevamo parlato qui), strani dinosauri-giocattolo di plastica rosa che spuntano nei momenti più inaspettati, una setta di artisti underground con un’ossessione segreta… a poco a poco si delinea un affresco misterioso e per certi versi lynchiano, in cui Parigi disvela il suo volto simbolico sommerso.

Ecco la nostra intervista a Fulvio Risuleo.

Innanzitutto, com’è andata a Cannes?

I francesi mi hanno accolto bene. È stato bello vedere centinaia di persone alle proiezioni e rispondere alle domande dei curiosi. Cannes è un gran festival perché ha in sé la cultura ufficiale e le ricercatezze di nicchia; il tutto presentato con la stessa importanza e visibilità.

Quale tipo di cinema ti interessa?

A me interessa il cinema con delle idee in grado di mostrare la realtà in maniera diversa. Se per realtà si intende la vita di tutti i giorni. Quando mi capita di pensare una storia, alla fine succede che contiene sempre qualche elemento surreale o strano. Non ci posso fare nulla. Quello che mi sforzo di fare è renderlo più credibile possibile per poter arrivare meglio nella testa dello spettatore.

Puoi parlarci dei tuoi referenti (letterari, artistici, cinematografici)?

Le idee sono alimentate per lo più dal quotidiano. La lingua italiana è piena di elementi figurati che sono miniere di storie. Aprono molto la testa… ecco, per esempio, già la frase “aprono molto la testa” dimostra come un’espressione figurata possa suggerire un’idea splatter. Altre ispirazioni me le danno i mostri, quelli dentro di noi e quelli che ci sono da sempre e vivono liberi nel mondo esterno. In più, tutte le volte che qualcuno mi dice “non sai che mi è successo oggi”, oppure “ma lo sai cosa ho letto ieri”, ecco, tutti i racconti che seguono mi ispirano molto.
Credo che anche Roland Topor ragionasse così, e lui è un artista che stimo e studio.

Da dove nasce il tuo evidente interesse per l’assurdo e il bizzarro? Come lo coltivi?

Ignoro da dove nasca. Quello che so è che spesso con un’idea bizzarra, assurda, si possono affrontare questioni difficili da mostrare realisticamente. Spesso si riesce ad essere anche meno retorici con un’immagine o un suono che appartiene al mondo dell’insolito. Sicuramente è un bel modo per essere universali, perché tutti sognano, tutti hanno fobie, tutti hanno dei feticci. A patto che anche nell’idea più strana si possa trovare intimità e calore.

Come è nata l’idea di Reportage Bizarre? E come sei riuscito a realizzarlo?

Dopo tre anni di Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia passati a esercitarmi con corti cinematografici professionali, ma dal processo creativo abbastanza lento, volevo fare qualcosa di completamente diverso. Tanti motivi mi attiravano verso Parigi, molti dei quali inconsci. L’idea era quello di fare un reportage mostrando le miei sensazioni in quella città che conoscevo solo per il riflesso della sua fama. Per poco più di un mese ho vagato a caso per i quartieri, tanta gente mi ha aiutato consigliandomi le cose più strane da vedere. Ho trattato questo progetto come un taccuino di appunti filmati, esplorando Parigi come fosse un paese esotico. Atmosfere, idee a cuore aperto, pezzi di film, scene scartate e visioni varie. Poi tornato a Roma un gruppo di fidati collaboratori mi ha aiutato a dare una forma a tutto ciò.

Questo progetto, libero e sperimentale come solo un lavoro indipendente si può permettere d’essere, mostra insieme ai tuoi due corti una linea definita, un progetto ben preciso – insomma, una tua “missione” cinematografica e artistica.

Personalmente mi interessa continuare una ricerca sul linguaggio e sui diversi modi per narrare. Ma mi interessa anche che qualcosa possa cambiare in un futuro prossimo nel nostro paese. Mi piacerebbe contribuire a far ritornare il fermento in Italia. Questo, al di là di essere un momento di crisi economico, è un momento di crisi degli umani: i registi, i produttori e tanti artisti in generale sono diventati egoisti, poco interessati alla ricerca di strade meno facili, e soprattutto poco curiosi. Personalmente non mi riesce di stare fermo, e certe volte è proprio una dannazione.

Cattura2

Ecco il sito ufficiale di Reportage Bizarre.
Fulvio Risuleo, in qualità di illustratore, ha partecipato anche al progetto Parade, che ho prefazionato.

CineBizzarro Freakshow – II

Mostri e freaks di ogni sorta in comode pillole di celluloide

Continuano i percorsi nel cinema weird a cura del nostro guestblogger Daniele “Danno” Silipo, direttore di Bizzarro Cinema.

THE THING WITH TWO HEADS

di Lee Frost (USA, 1972)

Chirurgo dalla mente brillante, muore di male incurabile. Ma prima della sua dipartita lascia precise istruzioni per operare un trapianto di cervello (con testa annessa) e ridonargli la vita. Unico corpo disponibile per il trapianto è quello di un uomo di colore a cui verrà appunto innestata la capoccia del dottore. Le due teste, però, dovranno convivere assieme per un po’, evitando così eventuali crisi di rigetto. Inizia ovviamente una lotta senza quartiere per il predominio del corpo, accentuata dall’ideologia del dottore che, tra le altre cose, è un noto fanatico razzista.

Pellicola con due “capi” ma senza una coda, da conoscere più per curiosità che per le reali qualità del film, anche perché l’idea è abbastanza sprecata e alle lunghe potrebbe subentrare il rischio noia. Tra le poche note di “colore”, uno scimmione con due teste interpretato dal noto truccatore Rick Baker. Per temerari.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWHNA_j7h5A]

ARENA

di Peter Manoogian (Usa/Ita, 1989)

Siamo nel futuro, tra le stelle brillanti dello spazio più profondo. I migliori lottatori di wrestling provengono da tutte le galassie e si danno battaglia nella stazione orbitante denominata Arena, per conquistare l’ambito titolo di campione galattico. In mezzo ai mille lottatori alieni di ogni forma e dimensione, c’è anche il biondo e prestante Steve Armstrong che di mestiere fa il lavapiatti e appartiene alla razza terrestre. Il giovane Steve, per questioni di soldi, prende parte ai vari combattimenti diventando un promettente gladiatore. Ma il gioco è corrotto, l’invidia è alle stelle, il sabotaggio è dietro l’angolo…

Come quasi tutte le produzioni di Charles Band, anche Arena si fa ben volere più per la confezione che per il suo contenuto. Ad una storia monotona, risaputa e a tratti fiacchetta, fa da cornice un impianto visivo coloratissimo e variegato, dove trovano posto creature deliranti, tecnologie da manicomio e costumini strampalati. Un fumettaccio a basso costo che trasuda artigianalità da ogni poro e che ha, come unico scopo, quello di stupire con effetti speciali. Farà molto piacere agli amanti del bar di Guerre Stellari: si respira più o meno la stessa aria multirazziale.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHKnU-YkOE4]

MEATBALL MACHINE

di Yudai Yamaguchi, Junichi Yamamoto (Giappone, 2005)

Misteriose creature parassite si stanno impossessando dei corpi degli umani trasformandoli in “Necroborg” – aggressivi esseri per metà biologici e per metà meccanici – destinati a darsi battaglia l’un l’altro per sopravvivere. In mezzo a queste lotte sanguinarie, si troveranno invischiati, loro malgrado, un timido operaio giapponese e la sua amata Sachiko.

Fortemente debitore nei confronti del Tetsuo di Tsukamoto, Meatball machine è un titolo per palati robusti che mescola frattaglie sanguinolente e ossessioni cronenberghiane, fantascienza cyberpunk e romanzo d’appendice. Un prodotto che cerca di essere stravagante ma, non avendo a disposizione idee nuove (il già visto spopola), punta tutto sul miscuglio e sull’accumulo, riuscendo a trovare proprio nell’insieme, più che nel particolare, una sua originalità. Peccato però per la vena drammatico-sentimentale troppo pronunciata.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1WsJRHKiGg]