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26 November 2009 @ 10:45 am
The Orchid is Much More Than Just Berni Wrightson's Junk  
Imagine that you're 16 and collapsed in the film room of an early '70s Phil Seuling Comic-Con, dazed from a day storming the dealers room and attending panels. You're with your friends enjoying Star Trek bloopers and installments of old Captain Marvel serials and maybe even Bambi Meets Godzilla

—when all of a sudden you're staring up at Berni Wrightson's junk!

Not at all what any of us were expecting from the 1971 experimental short film The Orchid by Samuel R. Delany, now up on YouTube in a restored state thanks to filmmaker Eric Solstein. If you're patient, in addition to a brief glimpse of Chip himself, you'll also see such comic-book and SF names as Frank Brunner, George Alec Effinger, Alan Weiss, and Mary Skrenes.

I'm glad for the chance to see this again after all these years, because all my younger self took away from the film at the time was "WTF!" long before any of us ever thought "WTF!" There's lots of intriguing imagery here beyond the junk of people I was trying to get sketches from back then. I just wasn't ready to see it.

If you think you're ready, click away!

Melopoeia, Metoikosmelopoeia on November 26th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
I, being impatient (and admittedly wanting to know what was going on without having to see people's junk), Googled for a synopsis. The only info I could find was a bio of Delany claiming that the film caused a mini-riot when shown at Worldcon that year. http://www.pseudopodium.org/repress/KLeslieSteiner-SamuelRDelany.html

But no synopsis ( :

I am also interested to discover he wrote for the Wonder Woman comic for a while....that must be why his film was shown at Comic Con?
scottedelman: Mariescottedelman on November 26th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
Well, it's difficult to synopsize what only has the barest plot, and is mostly imagery and sound. I don't think you were meant to get a true story out of it.

Interesting to see that your link shows the film as having been made in 1972, when the on-screen year states it was made in 1971. So it must have been the '72 Comic-Con it was seen at.

As for why it was shown, yes, Chip was liked in comics circles, but Wrightson, Brunner, and Weiss were all comics artists. Mary Skrenes would go on to co-create Omega the Unknown, but I had no idea who she was back then.