Saturday, June 7, 2008

Upcoming Weird Wednesday Titles and Writeups

Well, most of them anyhow. The typos are free:

EMMA MAE with Jamaa Fanaka Live!
JULY 2, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR.Jamaa Fanaka 1976, 35mm, 100 MIN, R

From the great Jamaa Fanaka, director of crowd favorites PENITENTIARY and WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES, comes this underheralded blaxploitation classic. Emma Mae, straight off the farm, comes to live with her aunt and uncle in the projects of South Central LA when her mother dies. At first Emma Mae, with her Southern drawl, unfashionable Sunday clothes, and country ways, seems totally unequipped to deal with the big bad ghetto, but pretty soon she's at the top of the heap, mainly due to the fact that she can kick more ass than a donkey. It's not typical blaxploitation, so if you're looking for an excuse to dress like a pimp and drink Colt 45, you may be disappointed. But if you love black culture of the '70s get ready to have a new favorite movie. Fanaka really takes the time to create fleshed-out, memorable characters - and he lets them talk, hilariously and engagingly. So that when the time comes for Emma Mae to kick ass you may be surprised to find yourself standing up in your seat cheering her on. (Lars)

JULY 9, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR.John Flynn 1976, 35mm, 95 MIN, R

Screenwriter Paul Schrader must have been going through some pretty dark shit in the '70s. First TAXI DRIVER, which we all know is a great film, then this, which is fairly well known thanks to Quentin Tarantino's enthusiastic proselytizing , including naming his production company after it. But how many people do you know who've actually seen it? It's the story of a Vietnam POW, Major Charles Rayne, played by William Devane, who comes home to San Antonio to find his marriage on the rocks and a son who doesn't remember him. When a gang of scumbags take away everything he has left - including his hand - he and his Army Buddy Tommy Lee Jones hit the road with enough rage and firepower to destroy a small nation. It sounds great, right? But can it possibly deliver? Can it be as good as it sounds? Yes it can - and it's even better. Devane, Jones and Linda Haynes, as the roadhouse waitress and beauty queen who's just as dead inside as the major, all give superlative performances under the tactful and powerful direction of the late, underrated John Flynn. Warning: if you want an orgy of revenge and violence, this is your movie, but you're going to feel it in your soul afterwards. (Lars)

JULY 16, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. Al Adamson 1969, 35mm, 86 MIN, R

The late, lamented Al Adamson has provided some of the all-time greatest Weird Wednesday moments. CARNIVAL MAGIC, DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN, FREEZE BOMB - all were directed by the enigmatic Adamson. This is one of his girl-power westerns. Here, a team of beautiful women hide out in Death Valley, smuggle drugs and take their revenge on the male gender. This kind of stuff probably happens all the time, at least that's what I'd like to believe. Like all of Adamson's films, it has a pervasive grime that seems to coat the lens, the sets, the performers and even the story itself. Viewers are advised not to expect plausibility in any form. Just lean back and enjoy the kind of pleasant dream logic shared by the best exploitation films. It's not meant to be evaluated and measured by the waking mind - it's beyond that. Filmed on the Spahn Ranch at the same time the Manson Family was running wild. Features Lon Chaney Jr, Russ Tamblyn and Jennifer Bishop. (Lars)


(writeup pending)

JULY 30, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR.Duccio Tessari 1974, 35mm, 92 MIN, R

This rough-edged yet stylish Italian giallo thriller stars Luc Merenda as an amnesiac, newly returned to Italy and his wife (the incendiary Senta Berger), trying to put the pieces back together. Wherever he goes death follows - he's being blackmailed for reasons he doesn't understand - and with every piece of the puzzle he finds out something new and disturbing about himself and his past. The particular appeal of the Italian giallo thriller is the counterpoint between the often strangely beautiful visuals and the dark violence and psychological tension underneath. The best giallo film-makers externalize the characters' central conflicts in the atmospheric settings, sweeping the viewer into an often bizarre, nightmarish fantasy world that's oddly appealing. Director Duccio Tessari balances an eye for angles and locations with a great feel for suspense timing. Written by genre Grandmaster Ernesto Gastaldi. Recommended. (Lars)

AUGUST 6, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. Manuel Cano 1973, 35mm, 88 MIN, R

Ubiquitous Spaghetti Western badass Aldo Sambrell (who is not black) plays a member of the ancient (black) Haitian Royal family who is killed for various bad deeds and mummified. During the course of a Caribbean pleasure cruise his sarcophagus is violated and he emerges to claim the woman he loves (also played by a white person in chocolatey black face makeup). There are a lot of things that are historically inaccurate, absurd and just plain Wrong with this movie, but who am I to criticize? If you walk through the doors of this theater, up the stairs and into an auditorium where you know a film called VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST is playing you deserve whatever the fates have in store for you. Accept your destiny. (Lars)

AUGUST 13, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. Menahem Golan 1980, 35mm, 90 MIN, PG

Thoroughly rogueish futuristic disco musical/religious allegory from Cannon Films. There's never been a movie even remotely like this and I wouldn't bet on one being made in the future. A young couple, Bibi and Alphie from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan come to the big city to make it big in show business only to fall into the clutches of the satanic Mr. Boogolow, who runs a giant music conglomorate called Boogolow International Music (BIM) that's roughly as powerful as the United States government. Bibi becomes a star and takes Satan's drugs but eventually Alphie musters the forces of Jesus to defeat BIM and take all the good people and children to Heaven in a white Rolls Royce. With huge, shiny musical numbers that you won't believe you're seeing, including one in Hell, with dog-headed musclemen and vampires dancing around Satan's throne. Pretty much unmissable. (Lars)

AUGUST 20, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. Robert V. O'Neill 1973, 35mm, 82 MIN, PG

It's summertime, and summertime is the season for made-in-the-Phillipines drive-in exploitation. You can feel the warmth of the sun radiating from every island-lensed frame. Every cockfight, every weird handpainted jeep, every purple, orange and green polyester shirt proclaims that the days are long, the UV rays are potentially deadly and that summer is roasting us with its awesomeness! This is possibly the weirdest of all Filipino movies, and there have been some real mind-bogglers. This one stars lovely Asian-American Nancy Kwan as a transplant doctor who does a brisk business grafting the sex organs of healthy young male athletes onto the bodies of over-the-hill millionaires. She's aided by a lightly clad army of sexy kung-fu amazons and Sid Haig as an effeminate penis salesman. Do I seriously need to keep typing? (Lars)

AUGUST 27, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. Michel Boisrond 1975, 35mm, 100 MIN, R

Lets talk about the French. There's a lot of animosity directed towards France from many Americans. Look closely at the reasons: they wouldn't let us fly over their country to bomb some brown people. They opposed the war on Iraq in the United Nations (a war that was clearly a kickass idea). They work 32 hours a week. They drink more wine and eat richer food than anyone on earth but stay thin by walking, bicycling and fucking constantly. They respect American jazz music and honor our greatest artists in a way that should make us feel ashamed. I don't know about you, but considering all the evidence I'd like to give France a trophy for awesomest nation on earth. They certainly make the best sex films. This one is described as one big excuse for having the willowy beauty (and Serge Gainsbourg inamorata) Jane Birkin take off her clothes again and again as she plays a woman so desirable that she actually legally incorporates her body and starts stacking francs. Excuse accepted. Bring it. (Lars)


George said...

Wow, exciting calendar. Particularly with the return of Jamaa Fanaka and the Menahem Golan masterpiece "The Apple."

I can't believe you're showing it. We should make BIM triangles for everyone. Seriously.

Ant Timpson said...

VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST will bring the house down Lars. It's like a weird long episode of THE LOVE BOAT with a cast of tanned monstrosities and euro dimwits blended together with tribal nudity and acting on par with the bald puppet dude from The Thunderbirds tv show. We played it to a rowdy crowd and even with the print breaking 8 times during the climax they hung in there. Eventually we had to act out the climax (all 5 seconds of it) on stage. I love this movie. Check out Swamp of the Ravens for an even better film from the same team.

Lars Nilsen said...

Ant, Don't you know I've watched SWAMP OF RAVENS over 700 times?!

aphanisis said...

Uh, those first two screenings are definitely the highlights. Taxi Driver is probably my favorite movie, which is essentially due to the Scorcese/Schrader double-team. Schrader's Rolling Thunder script, however, is probably better. Flynn has none of Scorcese's flash and style but he is tight and lean. William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones are deep here.

Nik said...

I am really, really, REALLY excited about ROLLING THUNDER

Wiley said...

FANAKA! Rolling Thunder! Great lineup!! I just saw that Zack is playing Laserblast too!