Here’s the trailer for our upcoming screening of Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman, 1980). The screening is by arrangement with Arrow Video. Seating is limited, tickets are on sale now. Keep up-to-date at the Facebook event page here.
Valpuri Karinen designed the poster for our upcoming screening of Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman, 1980). Valpuri also made Matchbox’s Spaceballs poster, and you can check out more of her work at her website, here, or at her Tumblr, here.
3D films have been around for 100 years now, but for the first 40, they were more or less a niche concern, mostly shorts and special presentations. The first full-length 3D film was Bwana Devil (Arch Oboler, 1952). One of Bwana Devil‘s early audiences was captured in JR Eyerman’s iconic photograph, for Life magazine, used later on the cover of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle.
The 1950s was the Golden Era of 3D, at least the first four or so years, since the craze quickly dissipated. Along with some of the finest examples – Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (1954) were less canonical efforts like Robot Monster (Phil Tucker, 1953). Technical difficulties with exhibition and the general expense meant many 3D films were released flat and the format eventually fell out of fashion, although low budget exploitation films kept the ball rolling into the next decade.
3D was still the province of exploitation for the early 1960s, with notable outliers like The Mask (Julian Roffman, 1961) from the studio system. The late 1960s saw the return of the saviour of 3D, ol’ Arch Oboler himself, with a new system called Space-Vision 3D – which, worth the wait for the name alone. The Bubble (1966) was his big comeback and the system itself provided a cheaper, less tricky technique for producing and exhibiting 3D films.
The 1970s was super porny for 3D films. The Stewardesses (Allan Silliphant, 1969 – but 70s as a motherfucker) became one of the most profitable films of all time, if not the most. Flesh For Frankenstein (Paul Morissey, 1973) had a good stab at combining horror and porn and Jackie Chan starrer Magnificent Bodyguards (Lo Wei, 1978) was R-rated kung fu fun. On the whole, 1970s 3D films were not so much for kids.
The 1980s 3D craze began with Comin’ At Ya (Ferdinando Baldi, 1981), a spaghetti western made using a system devised by writer and lead actor Tony Anthony. Comin’ At Ya was shamelessly, some would say ingeniously, designed to exploit the 3D effects, with various items – arrows, handfuls of seeds, dangling babies – bursting off the screen. The same team followed up with Treasure of the Four Crowns (Ferdinando Baldi, 1983), although a second spiritual sequel, Escape From Beyond, was thwarted before it reached production. In the wake of Comin’ At Ya, Dial M For Murder was re-released and the horror genre once again dove face first into 3D. Friday the 13th Part III (Steve Miner, 1982), Jaws 3-D (Joe Alves, 1983) and Amityville 3-D (Richard Fleischer, 1983) all tipped their hats to Baldi and Anthony’s gleeful approach to 3D.
Then, it’s into the 1990s and IMAX and Avatar and fancy Real 3D and diminishing returns once again. But that’s a story for another day and, besides, the posters aren’t as nice to look at.