Things We Like: “The Diabolical Dr. Z,” “Street Boners” and “The IT Crowd”
Jess Franco is one of the world’s most prolific, reviled and misunderstood filmmakers, and is due for a re-evaluation by genre fans as well as serious cinema snobs. “The Diabolical Dr. Z” is a perfect starting point, as it features enough of the the familiar motifs and fetishes of the Spanish director (smoky cabarets, sultry women, mute servants, cinematic homages, jazz, sleaze, mannequins, voyeurism, surgery, big empty castles and, his most prevalent theme, sex) to satisfy committed fans and enough artistic, post-expressionistic touches (dramatic lighting, inspired composition, unusual and confident camera angles and dreamy exposition) to appeal to those who had previously dismissed Franco as a talentless hack.
Dr. Z is short for Doctor Zimmer and he has discovered the neurological control of good and evil. When he presents his theories at a meeting of the “International Neurological Congress,” Dr. Z is ridiculed and rejected by his peers and the doctor dies of a sudden heart attack. Dr. Z’s daughter Irma fakes her own death and sets about enacting her revenge on the jerk doctors that “killed” her father. The lynchpin in her vengeful scheme is an exotic go-go dancer in an extremely low-cut spider web jumpsuit named Miss Death.
The script (by Luis Bunuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carriere) doesn’t always make a lot of sense and relies on extreme coincidence but it offers a unique approach to the sex and surgery genre. In a supplemental documentary on the DVD the point is made that even the worst Franco movie has at least one very memorable scene. Being one of the Spanish director’s best, “The Diabolical Dr. Z” is overflowing with them. From an exciting prison break opening sequence to Miss Death’s provocative dance to the grand finale, there is never a visually dull moment. – Spenser Hoyt
What is with books full of plot and nuance, you ask? What is the big deal about depth and meaning? Where is the place of books of good clean fun — something meaningless and addictive that makes you titter and giggle like a goofball?
Right here: I give you “Street Boners.” Nearly 2,000 little photos of ridiculous and hideous street fashion with snarky, wonderfully crude commentary. This book rises above the many other similar titles in that it is actually very funny. It takes a few minutes for some of the comments to make sense. Others never do, like a photo of two people passed out on a couch captioned with “If there was ever a book written about Canadian house parties, it would be called Socks.” Most of it is scathingly cruel, which, I think, is the book’s appeal.
McInnes has his own language, and looking at this book is like plopping down next to him on a city sidewalk, critiquing the pretentious and pathetic attempts at attention that hide behind the word “style.” As he says to one photo “… our red carpet is you getting off your bike to buy tampons.” – Christopher Sabatini
Y’know how you jocks feel about the World Cup, and how you teenaged girls feel about the new “Twilight” movie? That’s how we geeks felt last week, when the return of “Futurama” was followed, one scant day later, by the debut of “The IT Crowd’s” fourth series. Being the continuing adventures of maladroit tech geeks Roy and Moss (Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade), their avowedly non-geek manager Jen (Katherine Parkinson), and their gleefully perverted boss Douglas (Matt Berry), “The IT Crowd” is ever geeky and ever flat-out hilarious. It would take more space than I have here to tell you what makes the series great — to tell you about the goth living in the server room, or the restaurant that serves “Tape Ass” — so I’ll just say this: The Elders of the Internet demand that you watch the show. Better do it. You don’t want to cheese off The Hawk.
Repeats of the first three series’ worth of episodes are currently screening on IFC, and series four is widely available on Usenet and in Torrents. If you’ve no idea what that means, ask the nearest geek.
– Geoff Carter