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Even though its been floating around the internet for over a year now, I just finally got my non-virtual hands on a copy of Yale graphic design grad Benjamin Critton‘s zine, Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films.  It’s such a cool print run– offset in red and yellow– and its tabloid style still seems totally appropriate for this year of nostalgia for old Hollywood (<3 you Jean Dujardin and Uggie!). As background, Critton selects screen shots from major run films (from classic Bond to Twilight) and assembles them quatrefoil, juxtaposing title frames and absurdist Hollywood villains with their Neutra/Wright/Lautner dens of plotting, destruction, and, usually, throwing super awesome parties.  Mod pool parties are sure signs of evildoing in sixties films and throwbacks — just see Mad Men Season 2 classic “The Jet Set” if you need convincing.

EPiMHiPF falls squarely into the category of “hey, I also had that idea but never did anything about it!” but it’s Critton’s execution that makes it shine.  Copies are still available from Printed Matter for $10 if any of you are so inclined…

This also made me start thinking about potential Chicago-area modernist-loving villains.  Can anyone think of any deranged midwesterners with a penchant for steel-frame post-and-beam?  One of my favorite local blogs, Chicago Screenshots, does an incredible job slogging through crappy “Jim Belushi/Arnold Schwarzenneger cop buddy movies” to find gorgeous shots of the changing urban environment hiding just behind Arnold’s giant head.  He takes suggestions for new films all the time and it would be super cool to capture some modernist villainery happening in the city or the nearby suburbs.  Cameron Frye’s dad doesn’t count, despite his slightly sinister Ferrari obsession and gorgeous David Haid garage.


  1. Morgan Walsh says:

    While it is true that zombies have no free will, as do the baddest bad guys, but they too fall into the category of evil people – or evil creatures that were formerly people.

    Unfortunately my knowledge of movies based in Chicago is limited to The Fugitive and one of the Batman’s – I do know that the city of my alma mater KU in Lawrence, Kansas has some pretty good films calling it home. Two that come to mind, if not directly involving zombies, are The Day After and Carnival of Souls, 1962 starring Candice Hilligoss in some pretty sweet outfits. And while not the exact images of zombies devouring flesh at a mid-century dining room table I had hoped to find, the look of horror, albeit not at the décor, on Mary’s face in a1960s office style with complete with metal file cabinets and nature-inspired curtains is awesome.

  2. Gwynne says:

    Have you seen the blue, windmill-type, steel sculpture at Burling and Armitage? I know it’s not part of the house itself, but I’m pretty sure whoever lives in the house behind this sculpture has to be evil.

  3. morgan says:

    Gwynne – what I like to think about the most from your post is the 26ft Marilyn Monroe – an icon yes, but would neighbors object to her presence if it didn’t stick out over the side walk? It makes me think of the constant debate about violence and sex on TV – what should or should not be allowed…

  4. Maura says:

    @Morgan, for some reason the architectural environment I associate the most with zombies is the abandoned shopping mall. Maybe because empty consumer spaces are the equivalent of “zombie” architecture? See: Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead.

    @Gwynne, I actually love that sort of eyesore building. Only because I know they’ve been standing their ground for like a year as Depaul has tried to force them to take it down.

    P.S. Pretty psyched that Noah of Chicago Screenshots reblogged:

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