January 15, 1987
Honker Home Video/MPI #MP 4001
Video was packaged with Honker "No-D" Glasses (source: Kier)
Formats: VHS (NTSC and PAL), Beta
written, produced, directed & music composed by
HASKELL WEXLER · FRANK ZAPPA · CAL SCHENKEL
ED SEEMAN · RAY FAVATA · TOM MANGREVEDE
PETER BOS · HERMANN JAUK
EUCLID JAMES "MOTORHEAD" SHERWOOD
VAN CARLSON · THOMAS NORDEGG
RAYMOND BUSH & BOOEY KOBER
special video equipment supplied by
photo: GREG GORMAN · package design: MIKE DOUD
In a little over an hour, "VIDEO FROM HELL" provides a preview of current and projected Honker releases, including "BABY SNAKES," "THE TRUE STORY OF 200 MOTELS," and "UNCLE MEAT" (all 1987 releases), along with segments of 1988 shows still in preparation ("YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE"—which will be released after the multi-C.D. package, "I NEED YOUR LOVE"—the homespun philosophy of Al Malkin, and "AN AMERICAN DISSIDENT"—the homespun philosophy of Frank Zappa).
Two other new shows, already completed, are not included due to time constraints ("THE AMAZING MR. BICKFORD"—the genius of clay animation, and "BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY"—starring Moon Zappa, Kyle Richards, Lala Sloatman in an Ionesco sort of post-punk sitcom). These are set for January & February 1988.
Also scheduled but not represented here are the re-release (on Honker Quality Tape) of "DOES HUMOR BELONG IN MUSIC?" and "THE DUB-ROOM SPECIAL," both of which have been difficult to obtain in video stores prior to this. "VIDEO FROM HELL" also contains material which will not be included anywhere else, of an absolutely 'collectable' nature.
(P) © 1987, FRANK ZAPPA. All Rights Reserverd.
Artwork © 1987, Honker Home Video
(A Trademark of Glovarama Inc.)
DISTRIBUTED IN USA BY MPI. Printed in USA
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Jimmy Carl Black
Post production engineers:
Melted wax title sequence:
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Post production facility
Produced & directed by
SCENE: VIDEO FROM HELL has a scene that had menu options like "sex," "violence," "drugs" etc. What is that program, and what does it do?
FZ: That was a joke program the engineer put together called "666 Youth Modification." It was a big PMRC joke about the record industry corrupting the youth of America. So we thought we would manifest it right there on the screen. Pick one classification: drugs, sex, violence etc. You hit a key, and it says, "Corrupt or enhance." As if you could really do that.
Contains clips of other videos, a sort of best of video Zappa. Of particular interest is Zappa addressing the Maryland State Legislature about censorship laws. This part is very amusing. There is also a clip from an Australian talk show appearance by Zappa in which Frank conducts the audience and show's band in a wierd little improv. There is also a clip from the 82 band playing King Kong (the "Blowjob" portion which is on Stage III) and a guitar duet between Steve Vai and Frank during Stevie's Spanking. Also, there is the song from Jazz From Hell, Night School, played over footage of the making of 200 Motels.
One of the first things you see in this film is the "music video" for G-Spot Tornado. I am personally convinced that the accompanying visuals to this piece are the 8mm films that Frank showed during his Mount St. Mary's concert in 1963. Check this from the liner notes to the Lost Episodes:
"The program included a piece called "Opus 5," aleatoric works that required some improvisation, a piece for orchestra and taped electronic music, with accompanying visuals in the form of FZ's own experimental 8mm films (Motorhead Sherwood described one such film depicting the Los Angeles County Fair carnival, double exposed with passing telephone poles)."
Well, that's exactly what's shown in the video accompanying G-Spot Tornado! For a real kick, turn the sound down and listen instead to Opus 5 from the Mount St. Mary's tape.
Zappa insisted that we hear the first disc of his newly finished double CD Civilisation Phase III, and also check out the "Al Malkin tapes"—which meant a trip downstairs. [...]
Spence Chrislu's first job for Frank was to provide a "bible" (a catalogue of digital transcriptions of 25 cassettes) for the Al Malkin tapes, homerecordings made by someone whose only claim to fame is that he went to school with Warren Cucurullo, the guitarist on 1979's Joe's Garage. Listening to Malkin's sexual braggadocio was too much for Faithe [Raphael from Rhino Records], who drifted back upstairs [...]. Spence himself treated the material like a technician examining a disgusting centipede at the end of sterilized tweezers. Malkin's exploits—the desperate attempts of someone "with a recording contract from Frank Zappa" to hustle women back to his smelly pad—are alternately hilarious and upsetting. Zappa's emphasis on social behaviour without redeeming features has always been fascinating. I appreciated Faithe's disinterest, but found myself laughing despite my qualms. When a law student on the streets of New York critiques the legal disclaimer Malkin wants her to sign, allowing her voice to appear on the record, it immediately raises the issues of copyright and privacy and decorum—bad games with tape-recorders—that Zappa has always experimented with. Malkin's joyful discovery of pus on Warren's dick is so hysterically delivered it is practically music: one of the dishevelled moments that Zappa loves to dwell on.
IB: What do you know of the 'Al Malkin tapes'?
JT: Completed and sitting on a shelf. I've never heard them. Warren talks about them sometimes. Not too high on the priority list for me right now.
Additional informants: Kristian Kier, Infobrok, Ebay seller "rootehound"Maintained by Román García Albertos