Last summer I reported on a fearlessly pretentious line of film geek T-shirts that mashed up corporate rock logos with the names of art film directors who fit phonetically, if not philosophically, with the rockers in question. Ozzy, meet Ozu, Van Halen, meet Von Trier, Danzig, meet Herzog, and so on. (One of the latest is Almodovar done up in early ‘70s Aerosmith.) I have resisted picking up one of these shirts at the Cinefile store in Santa Monica, mainly because even the largest size looks suspiciously like “West Side X-Large,” if you know what I mean—one wash would send it straight to my daughter’s night shirt bin, and you’ll forgive me if I don’t cherish the idea of a logo bearing the name Von Trier snuggling up to my nine-year-old at night. (Speaking of Von Trier, however, the Nuart had/has some keen “Chaos Reigns” T-shirts that I would have leapt at if not for the fact that all the large boys in town already snapped up the stock in my size.)
But I’ve been birthday shopping in the world of novelty T-shirts a bit over the past few months, and I just felt the time was right for highlighting a slightly less highfalutin model of subtle T-shirt branding for the slightly nerdier (but not exclusively Watchmen-obsessed) film fans among us, of whom I obviously count myself as one. I provided a link to Last Exit to Nowhere at the end of last summer’s Cinefile T-shirt post, but I felt it was worth revisiting just to show off some of the great designs this company offers. These are T-shirts that proclaim possession of beloved films along with an added extra degree of verisimilitude and obsessive detail that will appeal to the film nerd’s need to shout about his favorites while preserving a little of their mystery (and exclusivity) as well. While Last Exit’s stock in general tends to favor sci-fi/tough guy fanboy favorites (Blade Runner, Brazil and the Alien franchise are very big in this catalog), I would, for example, proudly wear any of the following designs, all of which appeal to me because of their specificity in representing their films, or because of the odd context which results from mentioning certain films in the context of any kind of T-shirt. These won’t be too difficult, I’m guessing, for most readers of this blog, but see how many of the designs you can match up to the movie from which they were derived.
Also, I ordered a Marx Brothers T-shirt for my daughter from an online company called November Fire, which looks to be the go-to fashion source if you’re an godless, baby-eating, devil-worshiping metal-head, but which also features a terrific array of horror movie-themed T-shirts, many of them created directly from the one-sheets and newspaper advertisements used to promote the movies when they flashed through theaters (mostly in the ‘70s, it seems). I had a grand old time just thumbing through the catalog when the Marx Bros. T-shirt was delivered, and as a result my best friend ended up with a Shriek of the Mutilated T-shirt for his birthday this year, poor bastard. The shirts here are tacky, deliberately, each and every one, but the November Fire catalog is an excellent source to find just the right piece of clothing to show off at the next midnight cult movie you find yourself attending. If you’re like me you will be able to rack up an impressive e-shopping cart full of delightfully cinematic sartorial statements before good sense and economic awareness grab hold of your lapels (or your T-shirt collar, because if you really are like me you don’t have lapels) and wisely guide you to scale back your choices. Here are some of the heartwarming selections I had to put back.
Granted, I’m enough of a grown-up to realize that the idea of wearing a T-shirt with a giant Vincent Price/Dr. Anton Phibes noggin emblazoned on the front, or one boasting a super-fine transfer of a newspaper ad for the (popular?) grindhouse double bill Beast of the Yellow Night and Creature with the Blue Hand is probably a better idea (if even that) than one realized in the light of day. But there is a big part of me that can’t resist cheesy garments such as these, and if you’re one of us (One of us! One of us!) then you’ll either want to check out these catalogs quickly, or are already familiar with them and wondering to yourself about now, what the hell took him so long to find this stuff? And why wouldn’t you proudly wear a Green Slime T-shirt?