Disturbing And Creepy Early Cinema Vintage Clips

Quick announcement: Bill and I are having a holiday at home, so after this post I shall see you in two weeks’ time.

Before the motion picture industry solidified in the 20s, The tens and 1890s were a period of gleeful experimentation, much like the advancement of YouTube from dramatic gophers to defined communities and vloggers.

From the cinéma vérité of the Lumière Brothers, the fantastical whimsy of Georges Méliès, the glamour and fun of Alice Guy-Blaché  and the innovation of the world’s first animators, everyone had something they wanted to test. Vaudeville stars of the Belle Epoque and big events were a natural draw, but sometimes events don’t go according to plan, vaudeville acts seem alien to modern eyes and other things… are just odd.

The Balancing Bluebottle/The Acrobatic Fly (F. Percy Smith, 1910)

I honestly felt sick after watching this. It’s fascinating though and I couldn’t look away. But…yeah I still felt sick.

A fly is glued to a matchstick by the wings, it’s strength tested by placing objects onto it’s flailing legs, one of the objects being a dead fly. Yep, it spins around the corpse of it’s brethren on frantic arthropodic feet. You know that shudder Bart does in the Simpsons…

Fish (Bert Williams, 1916)

This next one isn’t creepy so much as sad. Bert Williams wrote and directed two films, unheard of for a person of colour back then. However this two reeler is very light on humour and audiences had a hard time accepting him, as a 42 year old man, playing a boy. Added to the mix are parents played by white people in black face with incredibly poor comic timing and pathos that leaves the viewer depressed.

Bert was never able to reach his full ambition, stuck as he was in ‘black’ roles often in blackface. Friend and fellow vaudevillian WC Fields said “Bert Williams was the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest man I ever knew.”

On stage and in his other short he was a more subtle comedian. After the disappointment of Fish he returned to live performances.

Death jump from the Eiffel Tower, 1912

On the 4th February, 1912, Franz Reichelt was scheduled to test his homemade parachute by jumping from a great height. Nobody in the watching crowd or French and British media thought to tell him it was a bad idea and off he went, falling from the tower to his unfortunate death.

The Dancing Pig (1907)

The internet is quite familiar with a small section of this vaudeville performance, namely the titular pig gurning grotesquely at the end. The rest is pretty darn odd too, involving public humiliation and torment. All in good fun though.

The Cameraman’s Revenge (Wladislaw Starewicz, 1912)

Perhaps it’s my phobia of dead bugs (live ones I’m fine with though, no idea why) that leads me to find this film so shudder inducing. It’s a shame because this satire by the Polish, Russian and French stop motion animator is really incredible.

The cast of deceased insects perform an operatic melodrama of betrayed love and revenge in a mischievous swipe at popular theatre.

Monkeyshines 1, 2 and 3 (Thomas Edison, 1889 – 1890)

These ghosts from the past were captured during Edison’s first attempts to record image on film.

The Consequences of Feminism (Alice Guy-Blaché, 1906)

Either this film is meant to show the absurdity of men who protested against the suffragette movement or it’s an indictment of what could happen if allowed to continue. Seeing as Alice was a filmmaker herself I’d prefer to believe the former, but we just don’t know.

The Inferno ( Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan and Giuseppe de Liguoro, 1911)

This ambitious project was one of the first feature length films ever made (the first being The Kelly Gang, 1906). It’s packed with disturbing imagery from cannibalism to tortured souls and remains hauntingly fascinating to this day.

5 Bizarre, Freakish And Surreal Animation YouTube Channels (And One Trailer)

It’s probably no secret by now that I love YouTube, I watch it more than TV. So many artistic and weird things can be found that would never previously have seen the light of day outside of a few old tapes passed from hand to hand.

So I thought I’d share with you some channels entirely devoted to bizarre, freakish or otherwise surreal animations, the kind that shows you the real odd side of YouTube. I’m guessing most people know of Cyriak, David Firth and Rachel Maclean so I picked the smaller ones lurking below the surface.

Also, last night, my boyfriend Bill uploaded the trailer to an upcoming animation of his. It’s brilliantly absurdist and dark, I’m very proud of him, and I can’t wait for you to see the whole thing.

Door – Trailer by Bill Purnell.

OK, first up is Colin Raff. All his animations are roughly a minute long and they’re a little Max Ernst, a little Monty Python, and very peculiar.

Supercriminal Pregnant Pink Surprise Eggs Fun in Real Life by Colin Raff

Next up is someone whose blog I’ve been visiting on and off for a few months, and recently discovered their YouTube channel. They’re videos are mainly surreal landscapes with jolly music, or a clip of a road or beach with some kind of animated layer on the top.

Pestle Ham by Megaeggz

Gmcfosho hasn’t uploaded anything for a few years but his parody rap videos make me chuckle. With lyrics like “Fresh up out the water like a amphibian, I’m so fresh that I got a Aunt Vivian,” and rudimentary animations he’s entertainingly daft.

COMEUPOUTDAWAHTA by gmcfosho

ProudNothing sometimes likes to throw a bit of humour and social commentary into his mind melting weirdness.

Snapchat Simulator by ProudNothing

Wendy Vainity, or madcatlady, says “I am just a hobby animation software user using ready made content, just having fun on my computer and sharing.” Thanks, Wendy!

Viral Vacuum by madcatlady

Disturbing, Strange And Beautiful Animation ‘Decoration’ By Ben Wheele

Bonjour! I’m in the final throes of the second edit of my novella, thus I don’t have long to spend with you. However I wouldn’t want to leave you empty handed so here is an animation by Ben Wheele.

It’s beautiful, with Georgian overtones, but also rather dark so only watch it if you like dark things.

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared The Complete Series (So Far)

I think we can all agree  that it’s far too hot to think. If you’re one of those people who likes the sun then, well, nothing really, just carry on liking the sun and I’ll carry on hiding from it. However I will share with you a web series that I’m continually inspired and fascinated by, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.

When I saw the first one, many moons ago, I thought to myself, “what the hell is this?” Then I reached the surprise ending and I was in love. I shared the first episode with the other new authors of Eraserhead Press and we all agreed it was really about us and our editor was the writing pad.

However, I think the third is my favourite. If ever I were to utter the words “This is my aesthetic” it would be about that: a veneer of rainbows and cute, while underneath something very unpleasant lurks. Plus it has a catchy song.

So, without further ado, here’s Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 1-6

Creativity

Time

Love

Computers

Food

Dreams

10 Scary (Or Funny) Short Horror Films For Halloween

The time approaches! That night where you invade someone’s house and move things around while they sleep so they wake up all confused and call the local papers and they come round and it all becomes a really famous case of haunting and you can’t admit it was you because it’s all gone too far so you have to just keep doing it.

To celebrate such a wondrous event I have searched the internet for tales of terror or humour to share with you all, because I’m like that.

I have no idea what’s going on in this UAE (United Arab Emirates) based film, but I quite liked the atmosphere. Cold Feet:

Funny and clever, this is a very entertaining five minutes. The Sleepover:

I wrote about the making of this film for a magazine and got to watch a scene being filmed (the doctor’s office). I also attended the wrap party where zombies carried trays of brightly coloured cakes. Annabelle’s Tea Party:

For an added bonus here’s a making of documentary:

There’s more than a touch of exam anxiety in this Korean tale. The Function:

This was shown as part of a series of shorts on channel 4 in the UK called Random Acts. It’s not strictly a horror but I think genre fans will definitely appreciate the humour. The Ting:

This mischievous short was based on a story called The Open Window by Saki. Read it if you haven’t yet. Certified:

The puppet masters have created another disturbing tale of kid’s songs and innards. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 5, Food:

1987 gothic short from Czech stop motion animator Jiří Bárta. The Last Theft:

I remember this Irish short from a film website in 2004 and it stuck with me. The Ten Steps: 

This Mexican film has a surprise in store. Luna:

Amazing Stop Motion Animation Films – Zealous Creative

Alrightyroo (?) I’m off to Florence in a matter of days so I shall be leaving you for a week or two. In the meantime here are a few films by award-winning husband and wife Christopher Kezelos and Christine Kezelos, otherwise known as Zealous Creative. Find them on their website or their youtube channel and have a peek at the last two videos where you can help them out with their latest project. Adieu (or rather Ciao)!

The Maker

The Maker Behind The Scenes

Zero

Allure (a little upsetting but good)

Smooshies (web series)

Kickstarter for latest project

Teaser for latest project

5 Weird and Surreal Short Films

Good day! I’m in the middle of a crash novella writing month which is sucking out all the cotton wool from my little head. In the meantime here are a few weird films, the first three of which are watched and discussed in our latest Bizart podcast episode.

This is by Cyriak, a UK based animator whose work has appeared on Adult Swim. Baaa is joyous, silly and absurd:

Larry Carlson is a Vermont artist who makes A LOT of psychedelic videos. In Your Cube features a Ventriloquist’s dummy because… why not:

I might be obsessed with Scottish visual artist Rachel Maclean. Her world is the kind of world I want to live in: dark, weird and horrifically colourful. Here’s Lolcats:

Here’s a beautifully animated version of Kurt Schwitters’ Dadaist poem An Anna Blume, by Bulgarian creatives Compote Collective, or Vessela Dantcheva (Overlord), Ivan Bogdanov (Art Director) and Petar Dundakov (Composer).

At Land is a silent short made in 1944 by experimental film maker Maya Deren. Here a sea nymph explores land: