the act of seeing

The guy who made Bronson and Drive wants to take you on a trip to the 42nd Street of ’60s and ’70s New York City. As a guidebook, he offers a collection of lurid and strange movie posters.

Of course Nicolas Winding Refn, a writer and director, and a participant in The American Genre Film Archive, is a wildly knowledgable cinephile. He has an incredible collection of exploitation movie posters that is now being published as the book Nicolas Winding Refn: The Act of Seeing. Guided by Refn and written by Alan Jones, the founder of Film 4 Fright Fest, The Act of Seeing gives museum treatment to posters that were thought of as anything but art when they adorned the windows of grindhouse theaters decades ago.

I spoke to Refn about his collection and the appeal of the films these posters represent, even when the posters are less than honest about the movies they’re selling. Our conversation ranged into the raw basement design of bootlegged images for stolen films, and the appeal of the 1961 Dennis Hopper film Night Tide. Read More »


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Rocketeer MondoCon

The second MondoCon begins in just over a week, following immediately on the heels of Fantastic Fest. When MondoCon 2015 kicks goes down on October 3 and 4 at the Marchesa Hall & Theater in Austin, TX, one of the prints available will be a dramatic art deco-styled poster for The Rocketeer, from artist Martin Ansin. Check out both the regular and variant Rocketeer MondoCon posters below. Read More »


The final wave of Fantastic Fest 2015 announcements is here, and this set of films features a few recent festival standouts and some great genre entries. Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson will attend the fest with their stop-motion animation film Anomalisa, which just broke brains at Telluride. The Cannes Grand Prix winner Son of Saul will play, as will the new film from Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone, Tale of Tales.

Then there’s Camino, with Zoe Bell and Nacho Vigalondo (playing a religious psychopath) and a few repertory screenings, including Evilspeak (complementing the Satanic Panic book release) and the Godon Liu Hong Kong classic Eight Diagram Pole Fighter. Check out the full list below. Read More »

Fantastic Fest 2015

The lineup for this year’s Fantastic Fest looks incredible. The first wave of announcements included some really impressive recent festival faves such as Karyn Kusama‘s great movie The Invitation and the one-take thriller Victoria, and the premiere of the Kurt Russell film Bone Tomahawk.

The second wave of Fantastic Fest 2015 programming, however, really kicks things into gear. There’s Jeremy Saulnier‘s Green Room, the thriller which pits a punk band against a white-supremacist gang in a battle for survival, and there’s also High Rise (above) from Ben Wheatley, with Tom Hiddleston, Elisabeth Moss, and Luke Evans in an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel of class warfare within an apartment building. The Lobster is coming to Fantastic Fest, as is Sundance favorite The Witch. And if all that isn’t enough there are over two dozen more additions to the festival’s program, and even a special screening of Ridley Scott’s The Martian. Read More »

Fantastic Fest 2015

The first wave of programming and events for Fantastic Fest 2015 is here, and the September festival, located at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX, has a great slate set up. If this year’s fest was just this first wave, it would still be worth the trip. Why? How about the world premiere of Bone Tomahawk, the cannibal western starring Kurt Russell, who will also be present for the fest’s closing night party?

There’s also a set of recent festival faves such as Karyn Kusama‘s great movie The Invitation and the one-take thriller Victoria, and a slate of weird ’70s Turkish pop cinema including Tarkan vs the Vikings, which is one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of showing to friends, and The Deathless Devil. There’s a lot more in store for Fantastic Fest 2015, including a book signing from Nicolas Winding Refn; get more details below.  Read More »

MondoCon 2015

In 2014, Mondo took things to another level with their first ever convention: MondoCon. We wrote all about it here but, to recap, it was an awesome time for anyone who likes posters and general fun, pop culture madness. This year, they’re doing it again. MondoCon 2015 takes place October 3rd – 4th at The Marchesa Hall & Theater in Austin, TX. That’s the weekend after Fantastic Fest (the two events ran simultaneously last year) and tickets go on sale Thursday April 30.

Below, find out how you can get tickets, the first wave of artists who’ll be attending, and the first two events planned for the weekend. Read More »

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Horns review

All good films get two things right: pace and tone. You can have the most gorgeous visuals, best performances, incredibly well-written script, but if the director doesn’t keep the movie moving forward with a consistent feel, it can all fall apart. Alexandre Aja‘s Horns is a textbook example of this.

Based on a revered novel by Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King), Horns tells the story of a man named Iggy. Played by Daniel Radcliffe, Ig’s accused of killing his long time girlfriend (Juno Temple). His whole Northwestern hometown is sure he did it and, in his despair, Ig mysteriously begins growing a pair of horns. The horns give him incredible powers, and Ig uses them to try and solve the murder.

Right there, you can tell this is going to be difficult. How do you make a murder mystery with religious overtones, a pop sensibility, humor, and Harry Potter? The truth is there’s no real answer as Aja’s film combines lots of strong elements that never quite come together in a cohesive manner. Read More »

MondoCon Booth 2

Ask a film fan and they’ll say Fantastic Fest is the best film festival in the world. An experience so unique and exciting, there’s almost no way it could be improved.

That is, until organizers added MondoCon.

MondoCon is a sister convention put on by the team known for their highly collectible and sought-after posters. The aim was to do a convention that celebrated all things Mondo (art, posters, toys, movies, comics) but do everything differently from other conventions. To create an experience that would be really fun for fans and non-fans alike. After attending for two days, I can safely say they succeeded — but not in the ways one may think.

So many criticize Mondo for the culture they’ve helped create with their low-supply, high-demand posters. There are valid arguments on both sides, but with MondoCon the team did their best to move away from that. It wasn’t a convention that was only about buying posters. (Though you could, of course, buy lots of posters.) MondoCon was more about community and communication. It was a venue for fans to interact with their favorite artists and other fans, and revel in the controlled geekiness.

However, at the start of MondoCon no one knew that. In fact, we knew very little at all. Below, read our full MondoCon recap. Read More »

Gabz The Godfather

Little known fact: Mondo rejects just as many, if not more, posters than they actually release. Some are posters that didn’t get approved by a star or studio. Others are different versions of a poster that actually was released. And sometimes Mondo and a company can’t settle on a design and it never sees the light of day.

At MondoCon this past weekend, Justin Ishmael, Rob Jones and Mitch Putnam, the creative team behind Mondo, presented a panel called Mondo Talk about this very subject. However, what started as a way for fans to see the behind the scenes creation of a poster turned into, as Ishmael put it, “The depressing, what you could have had panel.”

They revealed a non-stop cavalcade of posters, concepts, licenses and more they tried to realize, but which failed for one reason for another. We’re talking Tyler Stout‘s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Krzysztof Domaradzki‘s officially licensed The Godfather, Spring Breakers, and various different iterations of Man of Steel. Below, check out a bunch of posters Mondo posters that never happened. Read More »