Video From Hell

January 15, 1987
Honker Home Video/MPI #MP 4001
62 min.

The music:

Release Information:

Video From Hell

Video was packaged with Honker "No-D" Glasses (source: Kier)
Formats: VHS (NTSC and PAL), Beta

The Credits On The Box

written, produced, directed & music composed by

cinematography by:

video cameras:

edited by:

associate producer:

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.)

US Copyright Office

Title: Video from hell.
Published: 15Jan87


Cast and crew:

Cast (approximately in order of appearance):

Bob Stone
Steve Vai
Ray White
Tommy Mars
Bobby Martin
Ed Mann
Scott Thunes
Chad Wackerman
Thomas Nordegg
Don Preston
Ringo Starr
Elgar Howarth
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Ruth Underwood
Keith Moon
Janet Ferguson
Miss Lucy
Martin Lickert
Ian Underwood
Mark Volman
Howard Kaylan
Pamela Miller
Aynsley Dunbar
George Duke
Jimmy Carl Black
Billy Mundi
Roy Estrada
Manfred Lerch
Motorhead Sherwood
Buzz Gardner
Bunk Gardner
Ernie Sigley
Adrian Belew
Patrick O'Hearn
Peter Wolf
Terry Bozzio
Art Tripp
Dick Barber
Lowell George
Phyllis Altenhaus
Tom Wilson
Ray Collins
Sal Lombardo
Gail Zappa
Cal Schenkel
Jimi Hendrix
Elliot Ingber
Al Malkin
Joseph Owens
Judith Toth
Bruce Bereano

Film cameras:
Haskell Wexler
Frank Zappa
Cal Schenkel
Ed Seeman
Ray Favata
Tom Mangrevede
Peter Bos
Hermann Jauk

Video camera:
Van Carlson
Thomas Nordegg

Raymond Bush
Booey Kober

Assistant editors:
Fred Simon
Lewis Bates

Bob Stone
Arthur Sloatman

Joe Finley
Jack Tismeer

Color timing:
Rick Dalby

Post production engineers:
Terry Brown
Martin Soloway
Larry Eastteam
Chuck Slezak
Sam Thompson
Tom Houghton

Associate producer
Jill Silverthorne

Melted wax title sequence:
Bruce Bickford

Recording facility
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen

Post production facility
Pacific Video

Produced & directed by
Frank Zappa


Notes and Comments:

FZ, interviewed by Bill Camarata, Scene, March 1988

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.

General Notes

Patrick Neve

Video from Hell is a sampler of what were, in 1987, current and future Zappa projects. Includes previews of Baby Snakes, The True Story of 200 Motels, and Uncle Meat videos.

Richard Fox

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.

Patrick Neve

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.


The Al Malkin Tapes—I Need Your Love

Ben Watson, "Hail And Farewell," The Wire, February 1994

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.

Andrew Greenaway, "Interview With Joe Travers," The Idiot Bastard, February 14, 2001

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"

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This section formerly maintained by Reverend Neve
This dog last modified: 2023-03-14