Monday, December 24, 2007

Helen boogies with Old Saint Nick from KALICHARAN (1976)

At this festive time of year Santa Claus turns up in some of the most unlikely places, but in a Bollywood production starring the one and only H-Bomb? Who'da thunk it?

Kalicharan is your typical 70s Bollywood thriller with the hero disguising himself as a funky n'er-do-well in order to infiltrate the organisation of a nefarious gangster (complete with Blofeldesque canine accompaniment).

It's hardly classic stuff and Helen's festive frolic is certainly the highlight; including as it does, a wild party, grotesque masks, an all-dancing Mariachi band armed with plastic space guns and some supremely raucous licks from composers Kalyanji Anandji. Their score lifts liberally from Western influences - the opening theme being a blatant rip of John Barry's Girl With the Sun in her Hair (from a 60s shampoo commercial no less!).

For the curious and adventurous amoung you the movie is available on VCD and DVD from UltraIndia.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CULT45 - it's already here...

Poptique hasn't taken over your airwaves - it's just nuzzling in a little corner of them...

Sneaking out just before Christmas and keeping you warm all winter long, Cult45 is basically a TV version of the Poptique blog - and a touch more regular to boot!

If you're in the UK and have access to satellite television Cult45 is playing out every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday thanks to the wonderful peeps at

It's broadcast at 11pm & 2am on channel 144 for the next six weeks and will be available for viewing online pretty soon...

I'll be dropping more info on the series over the next few weeks - if you're able to, please tune in!


We all know about the Turkish Spider-man, not to mention the Japanese Spidey (and lest we forget - the other Turkish Wallcrawler), but did you ever hear tell of the Italian Spiderman? Well, neither did I until this very day...

Well, it certainly entertained my confused mind with it's Mario-esque webbed wonder, over-wrought hype factor and suitably stellar (plus substantially pilfered) soundtrack. In fact the only dubious detail is it's supposed debut of 1964 - surely '68 would be a more accurate date - or am I just being pedantic?

Take a trip into the crazed minds of the people behind Italian Spiderman by visiting their Myspaces - here and also here!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Still cold, still festive - time for some Laurel & Hardy? Absolutely...

Below Zero from 1930 is perhaps the quintessential depression era comedy. Everyone is either put upon, a chiseler or a roughneck - even a blind passerby is a shim-shamming con artist. And there you have Stan & Ollie at their most sublimely naive - trying to earn their daily bread busking "In the Good Ol'Summertime" to freezing street stompers in the middle of a snow-swept winter...

The first half of the movie (featured above) follows the Boy's musical misadventures - climaxing in the destruction of their only source of income - whilst the second features them discovering the down & outs dream ticket: a dropped wallet stuffed full of green backs!

After nearly being brained for their trouble they invite the policeman who aided their narrow escape for a slap up dinner - with terrible consequences. The short is topped off with one their most bizarre and brilliantly executed freak endings.

How this all remains hilarious as opposed to horrific is a testament to their consummate skill as comedians & filmmakers.

Now, I'm sure most of you don't need me to tell you that such was the massive popularity of the Boys worldwide during this era, Stan & Ollie remade their short films in a variety of languages once they'd completed the English versions. Unlike the clip above they weren't over dubbed - since talkie technology was still in it's infancy at the time - but shot again from scratch with the lines spoken phonetically. If anything this made them even more charming and popular to audiences.

When budgetary constraints combined with advancements in sound made reshoots redundant, fans demanded the dubbed versions retained the same stilted and accented delivery they had come to expect!

The original Spanish version of Below Zero (Tiembla y Titubea / Shivering & Shaking) has survived and is available on this DVD - I've not seen it but I've been led to believe it features a around 10 minutes of extra footage, as - once again - their fame overseas meant many of these alternative versions would often be released as the main feature attraction...

Thursday, December 13, 2007


It's reet chilly out there this evening, especially when you mistakenly get on the wrong train and find yourself ejected two stations down from your desired destination. Did allow for a lovely evening amble through my frost bitten town centre, dripping with Christmas lights all a-glow, making me feel festive through and through.

If there had been carol singers in attendance I doubt I could have resisted the temptation to run about like a loon hollering "Merry Christmas Beford Falls" but perhaps thankfully I made a mental note to scour Youtube for some suitably yuletidian clips to maintain my seasonal state of mind instead.

One of my favourites is this tiny short from UPA, a perennial favourite in Chicago from 1953 on - or so I've been reliably informed. Lovely to think this would be stuck on at random times over Christmas to give viewers a fuzzy feeling inside - sort of like a little present from your telly...

This type of random annual treat is restricted purely to the ad breaks these days, immediately losing it's fuzziness as Santa shoves a Coke bottle down our collective throats once again.

I fondly recall an animated rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas that used to play out on the BBC back in the very early 80s (love to see that again!)

First saw UPA's Frosty the Snowman on Toon Tracker many years ago, and a few low res have been knocking about the internet, but now Mark Evanier has helpfully pointed to the Mueseum of Broadcast Communications who offer this short along with other seasonal shorts of a similar vintage.

Ahh Christmas - innit brill?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Yup, your friendly neighbourhood Poptique blog has returned - reports of any dubious nature were no doubt greatly exaggerated or fabricated entirely..!

Apologies to visitors both regular and otherwise, the rather lovely reason behind the ghostly silence will become clear pretty soon...