You know the scenario, we’ve all been there. You find yourself a nice tranquil, peaceful spot to relax and reflect on good times when out of the blue your beautiful bliss happy place is interrupted by the old classic, a hobo with a dog on a piece of string. Half drunk, few teeth missing, mix matching clothes and usually angry or slightly insane, mostly both together.
Well this happens to carefree traveler Willie (Robert Drivas) who’s thumbed a lift into the country before he moves on to his next destination. A little swim, bite to eat and a nice cup of coffee whilst he rests up before embarking on his journey. Well this is where Mr Shouty Weirdo Man appears, who we discover is Carl (Rod Steiger) and he doesn’t have a dog on a piece string but a dog in a bag, a freaky little dog called Peke.
Not only does he invade your space but he hates your coffee and proceeds to strip off his clothes to reveal he is covered in tattoo’s “They’re not tattoos, they’re skin illustrations! Don’t you ever call them tattoos!!” Carl barks at Willie. Then he begins to tell him that the illustrations are everywhere “and I mean everywhere!” Uuuuggghh…
Tagline – Don’t dare stare at the illustrated man.
Now Carl is infatuated by Felicia (Claire Bloom) a very saucy seducing siren whom he sometimes refers to as the Witch. She bedazzles him with her sexy charms, winning his trust, he allows her to paint him. This results with a full body image of interconnecting pictures, each representing echos of the future.
“Let me tell you… don’t you look at those illustrations too long, because they’ll come alive and they’ll tell you stories.” Now you know if someone says that, then you know you gonna have to have a quick sneaky look. Now this looking at the one lonesome blank space on Carl’s back starts up the stories from the future.
What we get is three different visions of the future, each pretty depressing and each starring and evolve around our three stars, Carl, Willie and Felicia.
They each feature some great set designs looking as if they’ve been robbed left overs from Star Trek or some other science fiction series of the time. They are pretty impressive. Each story is a tale of doom, with death of sorts coming from different angles.
Based on science fiction author guru Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man written in 1951. Some of Bradbury’s other classic stories include The Martian Chronicles, I Sing The Body Electric and the awesome Fahrenheit 451 which was made into a film by French director François Truffaut in 1966.
It’s a brilliant concept which I really enjoyed but Rod Steiger’s constant shouting by the river does get a little annoying but hey I read that his body paint work made it to the Guinness Book Of Records for being the most time someone spend in make up, 20 hours. Yep he has every right to be as moody as he wants.
It’s quite the novelty piece and if you, like me, love a bit of science fiction then I’m sure you will find a lot to love about it. Treat it like 3 episodes of The Outer Limits.
What will happen to these three very different characters? Will Willie be able to make a run for it, escape the old grumpy hobo and finally have a good cup of coffee? Can Carl find the bewitching artistic tease and give her a watercolour pad rather than his naked body to decorate? Tune in to find out.
Thanks for having a look, let me know if you’ve seen it, see it? All the best and keep watching the screen….. Mikey The Wolf