Poster of the Week

by robbiefreeling
May 21, 2010 7:00 AM
4 Comments
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"They got little hands/Little eyes/They walk around/Tellin' great big lies . . . They got grubby little fingers/And dirty little minds/They're gonna get you every time." Surely, Randy Newman didn't have in mind this poster for William Castle's long forgotten Deliciously Grotesque . . . oops, I mean, sorry, I need my bifocals . . oh, right, Shanks, when he penned his 1977 hit "Short People," but now that I've seen this image I doubt I'll ever be able to separate the two. If there's anything stranger than Newman's endlessly controversial (really?!) ode to all the little people out there, it's certainly this odd bit of business starring none other than Mr. Mime himself, Marcel Marceau, in two roles: as a scientist reanimating dead animals and his puppeteer assistant. Yes. That's what it's about. Oh, and it's also a rape-revenge story, apparently. (Wait, this is PG-rated?) How this all plays out onscreen is anyone's guess (perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not available on DVD), though if you have inside information, please step forward. Until then, I just have the wonders of this one-sheet to stoke my amusement. Without the help of internet search engines I might have assumed this "new concept in the macabre" featured a youthfully goofy Al Pacino as a devil-may-care undertaker . . . albeit one who specializes in adorable, teeny-tiny caskets that he tucks under his opposable thumb-arms. While not as oddly erotic as the original M*A*S*H poster, this one is perhaps my new favorite in the subgenre of fingers-as-legs graphics. Time Out's film guide calls Shanks (SHANKS!!) a "genuine weirdie." Come on, Paramount, stop sitting on your hands and open the vaults. You're sitting on a goldmine.

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4 Comments

  • robbiefreeling | May 28, 2010 8:37 AMReply

    Thanks, Erik! I've always depended on the kindness of strangers.

  • Erik Luers | May 28, 2010 6:54 AMReply

    Mark your calendars! TCM is re-airing "Shanks" at 2am on July 30th, 2010 as part of their TCM Underground Series. Needless to say, this will be my most anticipated "summer movie". I can't wait.

  • robbiefreeling | May 27, 2010 5:36 AMReply

    Damn, what a coincidence. If I had known, I would have DVR'd the sucker. Thanks for the info....

    why would he reanimate his uncle and aunt if they were tyrannical? I'd hope they would stay in the ground.

  • Andrew Tracy | May 26, 2010 2:31 AMReply

    I recently saw this little item courtesy of TCM, and the built-in weirdness of it all aside, I'm sure the story of how this got made in the first place is more interesting. Somehow, the king of schlock himself, William Castle, managed to wrangle not only the legendary Marceau but two other prime mimes (Clay and Chelton) for this strange little picture.

    So what is it? Not really a horror movie; sort-of a tribute to silent cinema, with intertitles and all; sort-of a comedy, with Marceau-as-puppeteer inheriting the device that reanimates corpses and using it on his tyrannical, and recently deceased, uncle and aunt (Clay and Chelton) for the amusement of his innocent, blonde sweetie; bizarrely detours into rape-revenge mode when a gang of bikers (!) invades the old scientist's mansion and has its way with blonde sweetie, and then ends with the slowest fight to the finish in cinema history.

    I don't know what to do with it, but I guess (?) I'm glad I saw it. . .