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The Spectacular Special Features of Something Weird Video

Posted in movies, Something Weird Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2013 by goregirl

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Something Weird Video was the brainchild of Mike Vraney who started the company in the early 90s with the intention of bringing to the public previously lost and practically forgotten exploitation films. His first acquisition was a collection of 16mm girlie arcade loops but it was a relationship forged with David F. Friedman that would immensely expand Something Weird Video’s library. David F. Friedman was one of the sixties and seventies exploitation kings! Over the course of his career in exploitative filmmaking Friedman directed five, acted in twenty-six and produced an amazing fifty-six films! Through Friedman, Vraney was introduced to a parade of others in the industry like Harry Novak and Herschell Gordon Lewis, among others. The films in Something Weird Video’s library are special for just being rare birds that would have forever been lost! These films could have easily been packaged and sold with no fanfare whatsoever but Something Weird Video goes the extra mile. Due to the fact that these sleazy, sexy and strange exploitative wonders had been all but forgotten finding supplemental material was undoubtedly difficult and in some cases I am sure, impossible. Trying to load up a DVD package for a film like Confessions of a Psycho Cat whose origins are unknown to the extent that it is debatable who the director is would not be an easy task. But loaded up with special features it is! Confessions of a Psycho Cat comes with an impressive list of “Bad Girl Sexploitation Trailers”, the short film Preface to a Life, a gallery of sexploitation art with radio-spot rarities and a second full length film called Hot Blooded Woman!

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The Kiss Me Quick and House on Bare Mountain double feature menu was one of the most appealing and creative in Something Weird’s library! While a surfing/Go-Go tune plays each window that contains the female silhouette art transforms into an actress from the film who says all sexy-like “Kiss Me Quick”. The special features on this disc were especially fun! So fun in fact I was inspired to post several images for them on tumblr. This one even came with commentary from producer Harry Novak.

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The Strip Tease Queen from the supplements on Something Weird Video’s double feature Kiss Me Quick and House on Bare Mountain. For more images for this short click here.

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The Vampire and the Vixen short from the supplements on Something Weird Video’s double feature Kiss Me Quick and House on Bare Mountain. For more images for this short click here.

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Werewolf Bongo Party short from the supplements on Something Weird Video’s double feature Kiss Me Quick and House on Bare Mountain. For more images for this set click here.

I was thrilled to pieces by the amazing selection of exploitation and underground magazine covers they included with The Psycho Lover and Heat of Madness double feature. I would love to get my hands on some of these!

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Circa 1960s magazine Cinema Keyhole from the supplements found on the Something Weird DVD Double feature of The Psycho Lover and Heat of Madness. for more images for this set click here.

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Daring Films & Books Magazine circa 1960s from the supplements found on the Something Weird DVD Double feature of The Psycho Lover and Heat of Madness. For more pictures from this set click here.

The Blood Feast DVD includes very entertaining commentary from David F. Friedman and Herschell Gordon Lewis as well as the original theatrical trailer, some neat rare outtakes, a gallery of Lewis related promotional material and a one of a kind instructional film called Carving Magic featuring one of Blood Feast’s stars William Kerwin.

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Lobby Card for Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BLOOD FEAST (1963). From the supplemental features on Something Weird Video’s Special Edition of Blood Feast. For more images for this set click here.

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A young Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show) and William Kerwin (Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs, A Taste of Blood) appear in this Swift and Company instructional film Carving Magic; a “how to” on carving various meats with home economist Martha Logan! This came as a special feature with the Something Weird Video Special Edition of Blood Feast! For more images for this set click here.

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Publicity Still for Andy Milligan’s THE GHASTLY ONES (1968) from the supplements included with Seeds of Sin and The Ghastly Ones double feature. For more images for this set click here.

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By far the most popular post I have done for tumblr; Margie La Mont The Cat Girl from the supplements on The Fat Black Pussycat and The Black Cat. For more images for this set click here.

Having these unique exploitation gems in my library is enough of a treat but the special features included on Something Weird Video’s DVDs make them a genuine treasure that are worth owning. This is just a tiny sampling of the special features; a world of wondrous discovery unto themselves! I plan on adding many more Something Weird Video films to my collection in the new year!

BLOOD FEAST (1963) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Something Weird Video, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2013 by goregirl

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In the past I have referred to Blood Feast as a “guilty pleasure”. Where ever did I pick up that miserable bit of lingo? I don’t feel guilty about loving Blood Feast at all! I’ve seen Blood Feast no less than a dozen times over the years and it never gets old. I’ve never seen Blood Feast look better than it does on Something Weird Video’s Special Edition DVD! It comes with outstanding supplements including rare outtakes, the theatrical trailer, commentary from Herschell Gordon Lewis and producer David F. Friedman, an impressive collection of promotional material and lobby cards for Herschell Gordon Lewis films with a heavy emphasis on Blood Feast and an entertaining instructional film called Carving Magic; Swift and Company’s “how to” on carving various meats with home economist Martha Logan! It features a young Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show) and William Kerwin (Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs, A Taste of Blood)! This DVD and Herschell Gordon Lewis’ tremendously fun and gory feature are an absolute treasure!

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Blood Feast’s first victim is killed prior to the credits rolling. Nudity and gore seconds in! The poor gals eye is gouged out and her leg is removed below the knee!

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We are taken to the office of the Homicide Bureau Chief of Detectives. They have quite the case on their hands with seven killings in two weeks! The D.A.’s office is getting hot and they have no clues. All the women have been found badly mutilated with various limbs removed.

“Well Frank, this looks like one of those long hard ones.” -Detective Pete Thornton

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“Are you Mr. Ramses? I’m Dorothy Fremont. I heard about you from a friend of mine; Annette Dupuis.” Mrs. Fremont is looking for something unique for a birthday party she is throwing for her daughter Suzette.

“Have you ever had an Egyptian feast?” -Fuad Ramses

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Fuad Ramses pays his respects to the Goddess Ishtar with a large shrine in the back room of his store. Ramses will pay her the ultimate respect when his Blood Feast awakens the Goddess from her 5000 year slumber!

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Marcy and Tony are making out on the beach and it is getting late. Needless to say the recent brutal killings of young women has everyone frightened and Marcy would like to go home. Tony convinces Marcy otherwise; “Hey baby, I’m here. I’m not going to let anyone hurt you. Now prove you love me.” Tony gets his ass knocked out cold and Ramses helps himself to Marcy’s brains. Tony is pretty torn up and can barely hold it together when the police question him. Feeling guilty Tony? You stupid dumbass! It is entirely your fault Marcy’s brains are all over the beach asshole! Marcy’s folks are pretty upset too.

“I made her a white dress and now she’ll never wear it.”

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Another victim; this one had her tongue ripped out!

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Detective Pete Thornton and girlfriend Suzette Fremont attend a weekly lecture by Professor Flanders on ancient Egyptian history. This particular week they are learning about Ramses and the Cult of Ishtar. The Cult of Ishtar was a blood-thirsty cult who held a yearly festival that took place at the beginning of spring. For six days and nights the people would party lustfully and on the seventh night the young women would be slaughtered; their blood drank and their limbs eaten!

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Suzette and Pete share a kiss but are interrupted by the radio announcing that another young woman has been attacked. The woman; Janet Blake lay in critical condition in the hospital. The doctor tells the detectives that it is the most brutal attack he had ever seen. Apparently the woman’s face was hacked away to the bone and both of her eyes were gouged out. They speak to Janet who tells them that he was an old man with crazy eyes and mentions the name “Itar”. Despite just coming from a seminar on “Ishtar” about a blood thirsty cult that removes and eats the limbs of young women Detective Thornton does not make a connection.

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Suzette and friends hanging out by the pool. In the commentary Lewis and Friedman called this scene “padding”. Yep. But Oh! What joyful padding it is! The segment ends with the snatching of Suzette’s friend Trudy Sanders.

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Pete calls to check in with Suzette and informs her that they have not yet located her friend Trudy. She tells Pete about her mother’s surprise of an Egyptian feast hosted by Fuad Ramses. Ramses? Egyptian feast? The wheels finally begin to turn! Pete calls Professor Flanders to ask if he was familiar with a Fuad Ramses. Flanders tells Pete about Ramses book Ancient Weird Religious Rites.

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Poor Trudy.

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Fuad Ramses begins preparing the feast.

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Meanwhile Frank and Pete pay a visit to Fuad Ramses place of business where a horrific scene awaits them.

“For Pete’s Sake tell them not to eat anything!”

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The feast is about to be served but there is one last thing Fuad needs. He must have the guest of honor give herself to Ishtar. “Oh my Ishtar. Take me unto yourself.” She must, of course keep her eyes tightly shut while she says this.

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“Lust, Murder, food for an ancient Goddess who received life through the perverted death of others.”

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Now look what you’ve gone and done! You made Ishtar cry! She may just be a store mannequin painted gold but she’ll always be a blood-thirsty Goddess in my eyes!

Director Herschell Gordon Lewis and producer David F. Friedman were best known for Nudie Cuties when they decided to make Blood Feast. Nudie Cuties were generally light on story with the express purpose of showing a lot of naked or partially naked dames. The Nudie Cuties were travelling a path that Lewis did not want to go down. Always looking to break new ground and go in directions that the big film companies would not, Lewis and Friedman discovered gore. Not surprisingly Blood Feast received terrible reviews when it was released but always the showman, Mr. Lewis knew that even bad press was good press. No one had really seen anything quite like Blood Feast before; its graphic violence and gore was ground-breaking in North America. Color in film was still a relatively new concept in 1963. There was never a need to be concerned about whether blood looked realistic in the past and the standard stage blood was an oddly unnatural color. To make the blood more realistic Lewis added Kaopectate to the mix. Many theatres showed Blood Feast with the gore scenes cut out much to the filmmakers dismay. If it wasn’t for fearless low-budget filmmakers like Herschell Gordon Lewis there may have never been a Friday the 13th, a Texas Chainsaw Massacre or a Nightmare on Elm Street. Blood Feast was my first foray into the wonderful world of Herschell Gordon Lewis and it is still one of my very favourites. There are no surprises in Blood Feast whatsoever. The viewer is aware of the killer from the get go and what his motivation is. We have no attachment at all to any of the victims with the exception of Trudy; who we meet for all of about three minutes while she frolics in the pool. The fun comes in watching it all unfold while the daft detectives attempt to solve the case. I mean really?! How could Detective Thornton not have had a revelation at the ancient Egypt seminar when it was mentioned that young women were sacrificed and their limbs were removed for the feast of Ishtar? Immediately afterwards he speaks to a victim who leaves the “s” out of Ishtar and he makes no connection?! Just the same, William Kerwin who plays Detective Pete Thornton is actually not a bad actor at all and is a likable fella. Kerwin has made appearances in several Lewis flicks and I always enjoy his presence. Mal Arnold who plays Fuad Ramses is really the show-stopper though. His quirky, over-the-top performance is one of a kind and is completely unforgettable. They added grey to Arnold’s hair in an attempt to make him look like an old man which he clearly was not. Just to make sure we knew they intended Fuad Ramses to be an old man it is mentioned verbally several times that Fuad Ramses was in fact an old man! And what was with those crazy eye brows?! Lewis does not have a lot of love for his star Connie Mason and it is clear at times that she did not know her lines. That said, I have seen far worse performances and actually found her quite inoffensive and likable. Now be nice Mr. Lewis! Blood Feast is a film I have watched multiple times and will continue to watch in the years to come. It is an extremely efficient film without a second of downtime. Even the “filler” scene with Suzette and her friends at the pool does not trip the film up for a second. It flies by far too fast for my liking! Blood Feast has ground-breaking gore, a wild and imaginative premise and an outrageous Killer you will never forget! “Nothing so appalling in the Annals of horror.” And Nothing so entertaining! My highest of recommendations; a perfect score!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Herschell Gordon Lewis

Starring: William Kerwin, Mal Arnold, Connie Mason, Lyn Bolton, Scott H. Hall, Christy Foushee, Ashlyn Martin, Astrid Olson, Sandra Sinclair, Gene Courtier, Louise Kamp, Hal Rich, Al Golden

THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Germany, horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by goregirl

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According to Wikipedia Expressionism is: A modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express meaning or emotional experience rather than physical reality. Expressionism was developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. It remained popular during the Weimar Republic, particularly in Berlin. The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including expressionist architecture, painting, literature, theatre, dance, film and music.

According to Guggenheim Museum (online) Expressionism is: Primarily Germany, and Austria, first decade of 20th century. The very elastic concept of Expressionism refers to art that emphasizes the extreme expressive properties of pictorial form in order to explore subjective emotions and inner psychological truths.

According to Goregirl Expressionism is: A mostly German thing as far as I know. Used in some very freaking cool German silent movies the bestest and shiningest example of which is Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The sets all look artificial and everything is severely angled and exaggerated in size. Every single gorgeous hand-painted set is extremely elaborate and immensely impressive. I dreamt of walking through a Dr. Caligari forest to a Dr. Caligari carnival every night for the past several nights. I’ve dreamt of being chased by letters of the alphabet and being kidnapped by a handsome somnambulist who wears a lot of eyeliner. I can not expressionism myself more clearly when I tell you anyone who loves and appreciates art and all things wonderful, strange and unique must absolutely positively visit Robert Wiene’s amazing The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Viva la Expressionsim!

Writers Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer started the ball rolling with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s concept. The two were excited by this still very new medium called filmmaking. An endeavor that would bring together artists of all kinds; painters, actors, writers and photographers. The two men admired the work of Paul Wegener (The Student of Prague, Der Golem) and decided to begin work on a horror tale. The men drew on their experiences as all good writers should. Janowitz and Mayer regularly visited a local fair and were inspired by the sideshows; a key part of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s plot. The film’s visuals were put in the very capable hands of designer Hermann Warm and painters Walter Reimann and Walter Röhrig. Fritz Lang was the first director approached but was committed to another project. Robert Wiene (whose film The Hands of Orloc is the next film in my queue to watch) was brought in to direct and the rest is history. I watched both a black and white and color tinted version of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari but I went with the pics from the color tinted version. I thought the images were sharper in the black and white version but I am a little bit in love with color tint at the moment so I decided to go with that print.

“The following print of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (with the original color tinting and toning) was reconstructed by the Bundesarchiv – Filmarchiv of Germany.”

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A small German village called Holstenwall is the setting for our strange tale. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is “A film in six acts written by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz.” The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is not only visual eye candy it is also well written and well-performed. It has a perfect eerie atmosphere and a creepy vibe with an intriguing premise that keeps you mesmerized. The performances are all excellent but the iconic role of Cesare the Somnambulist played by the immensely talented Conrad Veidt is particularly memorable.

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Francis relays a story to a companion after a dazed woman walks by. The dazed woman is Jane; Francis’ fiancée. “What she and I have lived through is stranger still than what you have lived through.”

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This is Francis’ best friend Alan. Alan and himself both have their eye on Jane. The two decide to visit a carnival travelling through town. “Special edition fair in Holstenwall for the first time! Entertainments of every variety.”

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“Step Rrrrright Up! Presenting here for the first time Cesare the Somnambulist! The miraculous Cesare twenty-three years old, he has slept for twenty-three years continuously; day and night. Cesare the Somnambulist will answer all your questions. Cesare knows every secret. Cesare knows the past and sees the future. Judge for yourselves. Don’t hold back! Ask Away!”

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Alan cannot resist asking Cesare how long he shall live. Cesare tells Alan that he will die at dawn.

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Alan and Francis pause to read a post on the wall “Murder in Holstenwall 1000 Mark reward.”

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The somnambulist’s prophecy comes true and Alan is murdered at dawn.

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Francis goes to the police. “I won’t rest until I get to the bottom of these dreadful deeds!”

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Francis tells Jane of Alan’s death.

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“Extra! Extra! Holstenwall mystery solved; two-time murderer caught in third attempt.

“I had nothing to do with the two murders, so help me god.”

Indeed this gentleman has been wrongly accused.

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Jane meets Dr. Caligari and Cesare. Dr. Caligari orders the sleeping Cesare to murder nosy Jane but her beauty prevents Cesare from ending her life. Cesare attempts to kidnap her but gets exhausted from the chase.

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Back in the safety of her home she tells Francis it was Cesare who tried to abduct her. “It couldn’t be Cesare! He was asleep at the time. I’ve watched him for hours.”

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Dr. Caligari.

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Francis goes to the Insane Asylum and asks the staff if they have a patient called Caligari. They recommend that Francis speak to the director personally.

“He, himself and none other than Caligari!”

“While the director now placed under observation is sleeping in his villa…” They take the opportunity to snoop through the director/Dr. Caligari’s office and discover a book on somnambulists as well as the doctor’s diary.

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“Director, unmask yourself, you are Dr. Caligari!”

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The film ends with a great twist although it was not the ending that writers Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer originally wrote for the film. Apparently the producers wanted a less grim ending and suggested the ending that was actually used; which I will not divulge for those who may not have seen it. I have seen close to thirty silent horror films at this point in my life and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is absolutely one of the best and most unique amoung them. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari deserves heaps of praise; it is a hypnotic, creepy and visually spectacular masterpiece.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Robert Wiene

Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolf Lettinger

Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: Zenzile – Cesare (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)

Posted in Germany, horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2013 by goregirl

Another groovy track from Zenzile! Zenzile’s take on the score for Robert Wiene’s 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with images from Mr. Wiene’s film. Also check out my two nifty tumblr posts dedicated to Cesare here and here. Tomorrow I will have a review for Robert Wiene’s gorgeous film!

Goregirl’s Favourite Composers of the 1990s: DANNY ELFMAN

Posted in movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by goregirl

Danny Elfman has had a long career in music. Elfman was formerly a member of the band Oingo Boingo (1976 to 1995) who were no strangers to film music. They scored the 1982 film Forbidden Zone directed by Danny’s brother Richard and their song Weird Science was used in the 1985 John Hughes’ film of the same name. These days Elfman is best known for his collaborations with Tim Burton; he has scored the majority of Burton’s films. The first film Elfman scored for the director was Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and he would score two more for Burton before the end of the 80s; Beetlejuice (1988) and Batman (1989). I think Danny Elfman’s music is the perfect accompaniment to Tim Burton’s whimsical films; I would definitely say Elfman shares Burton’s vision. Elfman composed for several popular films through the 80s and 90s not directed by Burton also. I especially dig Night Breed, Freeway, The Frighteners, To Die For and Dolores Claiborne (review pending). Elfman’s best known piece however is his iconic theme for The Simpsons. My two newest YouTube posts are both from Danny Elfman’s Music for a Darkened Theatre. To be honest, this is not a collection I enjoy listening to in its entirety. I tried throwing it on the other day while I was writing a review and felt compelled to fast forward through several tracks. It jumps from light and airy to noisy and abrasive from track to track. Elfman uses similar sounds in his scores and listening to some of these pieces back to back feels redundant. I am not telling you to avoid this collection, it has some great tracks on it, I simply get no joy from listening to it beginning to end. I think Elfman’s scores are the perfect companion for the images they accompany; not to mention tons of fun. Danny Elfman is still going strong and contributed to several commercially successful ventures through the 2000s; Spy Kids, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Chicago, Men in Black II and Terminator Salvation to name a few. Danny Elfman definitely has a uniquely distinct sound that adds a great deal of fantasy, quirkiness and whimsy to the images it compliments. Here is Danny Elfman’s 1990s composer resume…

1990 Nightbreed
1990 Dick Tracy
1990 Darkman
1990 Edward Scissorhands
1992 Article 99
1992 Batman Returns
1992 Batman (TV series)
1993 Sommersby
1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas
1994 Black Beauty
1995 Dolores Claiborne
1995 To Die For
1995 Dead Presidents
1996 Freeway
1996 Mission: Impossible
1996 The Frighteners
1996 Extreme Measures
1996 Mars Attacks!
1997 Men in Black
1997 Flubber
1997 Good Will Hunting
1998 A Simple Plan
1998 A Civil Action
1999 Instinct
1999 Anywhere But Here
1999 Sleepy Hollow

Music and Images from Tim Burton’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands. Music by Danny Elfman. Edward Scissorhands Main Titles from Elfman’s collection Music For A Darkened Theatre.

Music and images from Tim Burton’s 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Music by Danny Elfman – Oveture and Christmas Eve Montage from Elfman’s Music for a Darkened Theatre.

This is one of the first slideshows I posted on my YouTube Channel. Music from the 1996 film Freeway Directed by Matthew Bright. Music composed by Danny Elfman. Featuring a slideshow of Juvenile Deliquent flicks.