Sensory Deprivation

Toledo, Ohio, USA, 1974 Image © Bernd and Hilla Becher

Gas Tanks

Bernd and Hilla Becher

“The famous Düsseldorf photographers’ formal investigation of industrial structures displays their serenely cool, rigorous approach to the structures they photograph as variations on an ideal form. The Bechers make no attempt to analyze or explain their subjects. For more than 35 years, the Bechers have been creating a monument to the most venerable buildings of the industrial era through their photographic art. They have re-awoken the forgotten or unnoticed beauty of water towers, gas holders, lime kilns and blast furnaces, and their photographs have told the story of the process of industrialization. Their head-on, deadpan photographs express an almost Egyptial sense of man’s heroic effort to put his mark on the landscape. Gas Tanks presents four principally different forms of gas holders or gas tanks taken over three decades.”

Publisher: MIT
Hardback: 144 pages


Sex in Films

Parker Tyler

The dish, the dirt and the wit from the famed raconteur of cinema’s subtleties. “What optical sleights-of-hand there were, what jugglings of the editing technique were utilized to convey that ‘something’ after all had happened to the carnally eager but morally handicapped lovers in films… The legacy of that long struggle to be literally truthful about sex—that natural and wholly necessary thing—took the shape of film stills that, if gotten all together in one museum, would look like an erotomaniac’s dreams of heaven and hell. It has been a melodrama in itself: the efforts of this book to provide a visual university of sexual images representing film history as impersonated by actors and actresses. The author’s duty has been to put it all together in words that cement meanings to meanings the way sex cements bodies to bodies.” Chapters on “The Kiss,” “Bosoms and Bottoms,” “The Love Gods,” “Camp Sex,” and “Sex Symbols and Fetishes.” GR

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 256 pages

Shock XPress 2: The Essential Guide to Exploitation Cinema

Edited by Stefan Jaworzyn

From Britain comes this appreciation of the cinematic extremes and margins, much like the Psychotronic and Re/Search books but without the requisite countersnobbism and wholesale rejection of so-called art film. Appropriately, the articles range from incredulous evocations of the worst of the worst, to devoted exhumations of the unjustly overlooked and/or trivialized. Would-be auteurs such as Pete Walker, and maligned genres such as soft-core Gothic, Sexy Nature, and Splatter Western are treated to respectful, and often exuberant, analysis. A piece on the oeuvre of arty smut-peddler Walerian Borowczyk signals a welcome change of pace, however, as does the career overview of Eyes Without a Face director Georges Franju. Between further exegesis of such standard non-standard fare as The House of Whipchord, Django and the films of Danish naturalist and hard-core animal lover Bodil, the reader is treated to a fetishistic paean to the joys of the filmic apparatus by George Kuchar, a poignant tribute to London’s premier cult-movie showcase the Scala, and a countdown of one viewer’s top cinematic gross-outs entitled “Insidious Little Globs.” All of which somehow adds up to a workable definition of whatever it is that makes film so compelling. JT

Publisher: Titan
Paperback: 128 pages

The Sieve of Time: The Memoirs of Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl

When the prestigious German magazine Stern approached Riefenstahl on her 75th birthday with an offer to write the story of her life, she refused, remarking that no one but herself was qualified to write her biography. Perhaps she was right. In the 20th century, Riefenstahl stands apart as one of the most gifted and controversial women of our time; gifted because of her obvious talents, and controversial simply because of her association with Adolf Hitler. Not only was Riefenstahl one of the greatest film directors of all time, but her autobiography matches the intensity of this dynamic woman’s personality. JB

Publisher: Quartet
Hardback: 669 pages

Slimetime: A Guide to Sleazy, Mindless, Movie Entertainment

Steven Puchalski

“Yes! Seriously warped movies from around the world collected together in a single volume!” There’s The Worm Eaters, Truck Stop Women, G.I. Executioner, The Bone Crushing Kid, Motel Confidential, Cannibal Hookers, Oasis of the Zombies, and Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid. And there might even have been Ilsa Meets Bruce Lee in The Devil’s Triangle. It would have been “the match of the century!” says the ad, promising a release in fall of ‘76. Sadly Ilsa Meets… never got made. But fear not, plenty of celluloid sleazies did, as described in these comical and cutting reviews taken from the British film magazine Slimetime, the U.K. version of New York’s Psychotronic Video. Also includes detailed essays on three specific sleaze genres: biker, blaxploitation, and Hollywood drug movies. GR

Publisher: Critical Vision
Paperback: 199 pages

Songs of Experience: Facsimile Reproduction with 26 Plates in Full Color

William Blake

Book 2 in a series of three, this volume was published in 1794 following the success of Songs of Innocence. Containing 26 full-color plates, Songs of Experience is meant to be read in conjunction with Songs of Innocence. Whereas the first may leave the reader feeling light and unaffected, Experience’s poems are rich with more meaning and bespeak wisdom, sorrow, earthly powers and animism. Blake continued to publish new editions of Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience throughout his life, constantly making changes to page layout and coloring. This book reflects the choices he made after 1815 when he employed deep color and shading to add texture to the written word. MDH

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 48 pages

Songs of Innocence: Color Facsimile of the First Edition with 31 Color Plates

William Blake

This is the first in a series of three pocket-size books from Dover reproducing Blake’s famous “Illuminated Books.” By trade Blake was a London engraver, and in 1789, while in his early ‘30s, he developed this technique fusing poetry and images via copper engraving, hand-tinting and organic design. The story behind the creation of these poems is as unique as the images; Blake says that he had been searching for some time for a way to display his poems, and one night his dead brother came to him in a dream and dictated this process. Yes, Blake was a romantic and a visionary. These Dover books are presented in the same size, format and layout as the original 31 plates. Songs of Innocence was the first and most popular of Blake’s “Illuminated Books.” The poems are lightweight and best to read to children: they are joyful, sensitive and full of angels who rush in to save everything. MDH

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 42 pages

Spaghetti Westerns: The Good, the Bad and the Violent — A Comprehensive, Illustrated Filmography of 558 Eurowesterns and Their Personnel, 1961-1977

Thomas Weisser

“Summarizes the films’ plots and evaluates them in terms of their places within the subgenre…”

Publisher: McFarland
Hardback: 498 pages

Stealworks: The Graphic Details of John Yates

John Yates

Jello Biafra describes Yates’ work as lying somewhere between Jenny Holzer and The Crass. Most of the work was produced for a self published sociopolitical graphics magazine called Punchline, which Yates started producing in 1987. Most of the works are stark, powerful collages, using a minimum of imagery and a few well-placed words to evoke ironic statements. (The strongest piece portrays rows of flag-draped coffins with the caption “Mom, we’re home!”) The older viewer might recognize elements of a style that was especially prevalent in the 1970s—South American mail art. The book’s most haunting and original work is part of a series entitled “The Smear Campaign” created by moving montages on a photocopier. This is the first time they have been reprinted in a collection and probably the best reason to seek out this book. Without the use of words they manage to convey the inherent dread that lies within this imagery. SA

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 136 pages

Step Right Up! I’m Gonna Scare the Pants Off America

William Castle

Essential autobiography of the eclectic genius who directed such unspeakably bizarre schlock films as The Tingler and Doctor Sardonicus, produced The Lady From Shanghai and Rosemary’s Baby, invented dozens of truly insane promotional gimmicks, and inspired John Waters to greatness. MG

Publisher: Pharos
Paperback: 264 pages

The Story of Venus and Tannhäuser

Aubrey Beardsley and John Glassco

Best known for his black-line illustrations that escorted the pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic movements into Decadence, Aubrey Beardsley also pursued literature in a suitably tuberculosis—haunted and fragmentary way. Under the Hill was Beardsley’s own title for this hallucinatory account of the knight Tannhäuser’s dalliance with Venus in her subterranean city of delights.
The original work (left incomplete at the time of Beardsley’s death at 26) was suppressed for its studied perversity; this edition brings together in one place Beardsley’s incomplete text and all of his original illustrations, including an additional frontispiece and a supressed title page. Beardsley’s own writing is fascinating. The critic Holbrook Jackson says that episodes in Venus and Tannhäuser “read like romanticized excerpts from the Psychopathia Sexualis of Krafft-Ebing.” In other passages, Beardsley glides seamlessly from frivolity to Sadean delirium, as exemplified by a staged encounter between pampered courtiers and rustic satyrs and nymphs. RP

Publisher: Blue Moon
Paperback: 141 pages