Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sept/Oct WW titles and writeups


With free typos. Gimme little holler if you like.

BEYOND ATLANTIS (SOUTH LAMAR)
SEPT 3, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. EDDIE ROMERO, 1973, 35MM, 91 MIN, PG 1973
One of the superprime made-in-the-Philippines movies. As East Eddie, a scuzzy pimp who contrives to steal a massive stash of sacred pearls from primitive islanders, Sid Haig has never been cooler or balder. This movie also scores major '70s exotica points with its wild analog synthesizer-flavored score, amazing underwater mating dances, jaw-dropping tropical locations, and of course the mind-altering textiles we've come to expect from Filipino movies. For some reason the goddess/princess of the island tribe is a stone fox Amazon Barbie-doll blonde while everyone else is brown-skinned with giant ping-pong ball eyes! Whoa! Why can't all movies be this fun? With John Ashley, Vic Diaz, and Patrick (son of John) Wayne, who can't act but has his dad's cool walk. (Lars)

KIDNAPPED COED
SEPT 10, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. FREDERICK FRIEDEL, 1976, 35MM, 76 MIN, R
In the ‘70s, Times Square was a seedy open-air sex and drugs marketplace. And the real hot-spots were the 24-hour movie theaters where double features of kung fu, horror, and sex films unreeled 24 hours a day for audiences composed primarily of bitter, sociopathic males. Think Travis Bickle from TAXI DRIVER and you’re on the right track. It was an audience for which no extreme was too extreme. The audience of “popeyes” would sit through showing after showing of gory horror, amputee porn and worse, sniffing glue and smoking dirt weed. There was enough existential nausea in any given foot of Times Square to make Jean Paul Sartre toss his crepes in the nearest clogged and overflowing urinal. So KIDNAPPED COED must have hit Times Square like an artillery shell. You can imagine the smell of record cleaner in the theater; you can almost hear the sound of the butterfly knives clacking shut as the crowd watches in rapt admiration. Not since the films of Jean-Pierre Melville had there been an antihero quite like Jack Cannon, a self-loathing kidnapper whose victim is stolen away from him by the mob, leading to a bloody showdown. This is tough stuff, rough around the edges but gooily primal. If it had been made in France it probably would have been acclaimed a masterpiece of postwar alienation. Thank God it wasn’t made in France but in the number one country on Earth - USA America. (Lars)

DARK AGE
SEPT 17, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. ARCH NICHOLSON, 1987, 35MM, 91 MIN, NR
Part Of the Fantastic Fest "Not Quite Hollywood" Ozsploitation Retrospective. Seriously, Australia seems like a cool place to live. Everybody seems pretty cool. There are beautiful beaches. Outlaw culture is honored and respected. There's one huge downside though, everything that walks, swims or crawls can kill you within 8 seconds. The ocean is full of Great White Sharks, the venomous snake population is tops in the world, there are all kinds of creatures that taxonomists have never been able to get close enough to to even slap a latin name on. Most disturbingly, there are giant crocodiles the size of eighteen-wheelers roaming the marshlands. Or so the makers of DARK AGE would have you believe. Fortunately, the film is so boomingly well directed, acted and shot you'll be willing to believe just about anything. Not only is the giant crocodile at the center of this film hundreds of years old, he is venerated by the Aboriginal Australians as a sacred spirit. Enter the great Aussie actor John Jarratt (WOLF CREEK) as a ranger assigned to kill the croc after it ingests some poachers. Instead of killing the beast, he makes plans to capture and relocate it - but the whole plan is jeopardized by the most incredibly scuzzy outback reptile hunters imaginable. Their one-armed leader lost an arm to the crocodile and takes it all pretty personally. With David Gulpilil and Burnam Burnam as the Aborigines who join up with the ranger and his lady against the bad guys. Fantastic, highly recommended. (Lars)

MAN FROM HONG KONG with Brian Trenchard-Smith Live
SEPT 24, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. BRIAN TRENCHARD-SMITH, 1975, 35MM, 111 MIN, R
Part Of the Fantastic Fest "Not Quite Hollywood" Ozsploitation Retrospective. From now on whenever anyone asks me what the most berserk orgy of action and violence ever placed on film is I'll be honor-bound to answer THE MAN FROM HONG KONG. If a car crashes and explodes in this film (and it will, don't worry) you'd better believe it will explode with 5,000 megatons of TNT power. When our special guest Brian Trenchard-Smith was filming this movie in Australia he got complaints from Soviet Cosmonauts in space who said it kept them awake at night. With 75 car chases, 17 throat-ripping death fights, 437 burning-man scenes and one dopey hang-glider this is truly a memorable exercise in pedal to the metal excitement. And director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who not only directed the film but plays a pornishly-bedecked henchman, will be here in person to explain how and why. Stars Jimmy Wang Yu as the "tough cop who learned every trick in the book and then threw the book away" and erstwhile James Bond seatwarmer George Lazenby as a dandyish crime boss with a bulletproof mustache. Stunts by the madman from dingo-land Grant Page, who appears desperate to end it all in a progressively greater and greater aggregation of death-defiance. (Lars)

ALL THE SINS OF SODOM with Joe Sarno Live
OCT 1, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. JOE SARNO, 1968, DV, 91 MIN, R
Presented by Retro-Seduction Cinema. Thought lost for many years, Joe Sarno's ALL THE SINS OF SODOM is back, and playing in front of an audience for the first time in over 30 years. Sarno's genius is that he builds realistic situations stealthily. The cheap sets may lull the viewer into thinking he's watching just another dodgy sex movie but as the narrative progresses, the situations become not only realistic but universal and mythological. Not only do you care about the characters. You are the characters. I know it sounds like I'm enthusing too much but seriously, be here. See it for yourself. (Lars)

THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME
OCT 8, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. GEORGE McCOWAN, 1979, 35MM, 98 MIN, PG
In case you haven't heard, STAR WARS was a big, huge monster hit on an unprecedented scale. For years afterward cheap space operas swept through the multiplexes, promising so much on the poster and delivering so, so little. I'd like to say that this film is the exception but it's not. Fortunately it's an entertaining, though confusingly jumbled, mix of sexy space ladies, a wisecracking robot (ugh), special effects that look like they were filtered through a burlap sack full of ass and the great Jack Palance, looking stronger than a locomotive full of steroids at age 60, as the evil robot lord Omus. If you drink enough generic cough syrup before the movie, you'll swear you're really in space. That's our guarantee to you. (Lars)

REDNECK
OCT 15, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. SILVIO NARIZZANO, 1975, 35MM, 89 MIN, R
Telly Savalas and Franco Nero play a pair of wisecracking screw-ups who botch a jewel robbery, kill some people and accidentally take a young boy hostage. Pretty soon they're tutoring the kid on the finer points of being a complete psychopath. Savalas, never noted for his actorly restraint, is like a runaway downhill ham-train as the ruthless killer Memphis while the nattily mustachio'd Nero is a bit more subdued as Mosquito, the (relatively) sympathetic one. Along the way there's a side-trip into what-the-fuck land with a bit of the old inappropriateness we've come to know and love so well. Hard-edged, violent, idiosyncratic... not your usual Italian crime movie. I'll be quaffing tumblers full of J&B Scotch at this one so stay out of my way and don't be grabbing on me! (Lars)

DRESSED TO KILL
OCT 22, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. BRIAN DE PALMA, 1980, 35MM, 105 MIN, R
“If this film succeeds, killing women may become the greatest turn-on of the Eighties!” - Women Against Pornography leaflet, 1980. When DRESSED TO KILL came out it created a firestorm of controversy. Womens' groups marched on theaters, gay rights groups protested, reviewers savaged it as an unnecessarily violent rip-off of all of Hitchcock's best ideas. They were all wrong. DRESSED TO KILL is one of the funniest, cleverest essays on the art of the suspense film, and a superior example of the form. It's the only American giallo thriller and it stands with the best work of Argento, Bava, Lenzi and Sergio Martino. The film was a huge hit and shot its vile seed deep into the brains of millions of people in theaters throughout America and later as a late night staple on pay cable. Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, Nancy Allen and especially Keith Gordon (even though he looks like Harry Potter) are all fantastic but the spotlight is on writer/director Brian De Palma. He was very busy throughout the '70s and by the time he made DRESSED TO KILL his reflexes and instincts were tuned up tighter than a drum. Like a kinky behaviorist, he runs the viewer through a sleazy maze of sex and death while constantly exploiting the audience's sophisticated cinema-consciousness. Think you're smart? De Palma's smarter. He virtuosically demonstrates 37 positions of mind-fucking before letting you have your cigarette. It's a true classic, and an unmissable big screen event. (Lars)

DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT
OCT 29, MIDNIGHT, FREE, DIR. PAUL SOLVAY, 1973, 35MM, 80 MIN, R
Just in time for Halloween, an Italian sexy vampire lady movie starring the smoketacular Rosalba Neri. The dusky, olive-skinned Neri ran off with nearly every movie she appeared in, no matter how insignificant her part. She has a way of melting your eyeballs with just her tiniest nostril-flaring glance. She's basically sex personified. And this is one of her best roles. She plays a Countess Bathory type who bathes in the blood of virgins to stay beautiful. But when vampire hunting twin brothers show up, will some other stuff happen? Looks like you'll have to show up to find out because all we remember is the sight of Rosalba Neri rising naked from a silver bathtub covered in the blood of virgins. Oh, and there's an awesome Dracula ring. And a bald guy. (Lars)

Also of note:

ABIGAIL LESLEY IS BACK IN TOWN WITH JOE SARNO LIVE
OCT 1, 10PM, DIR. JOE SARNO, 1975, 35MM, 96 MIN, R
Presented by Retro-Seduction Cinema.
Wow. That's all we can say about Joe Sarno's mind-blowing erotic masterpiece ABIGAIL LESLEY IS BACK IN TOWN. It's the story of a quietly desperate suburb, the kind of staid, puritanical, thoroughly unhappy town full of attractive but aimless couples that provides so much kindling for the flames of lust in Sarno's films. This time the torch is lit by the titular town tramp Abigail Lesley, who was hounded out of town two years earlier after being caught with a married man. When she comes home again, all those unresolved erotic demons rise, stretch and begin their frolics anew. This movie is chock full of sex but Sarno is careful to provide an emotional framework so that when the pieces start to fit together (literally) the viewer is carried away into the bacchanale. Even though the film was shot cheaply and quickly, the Sarno magic is all over it. (Lars)

10 comments:

Micah said...

Lots of great stuff, Lars. Redneck has one of my favorite Telly moments of all time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTzNcMCVunE

Anonymous said...

What are the odds of Weird Wednesday moving to South Lamar on a permanent basis? Is that something you're hoping to avoid? (I love the Ritz once I'm inside the actual theater, but braving Sixth Street has gotten so depressing. I'd be happier if it were at South Lamar.)

The new calendar looks awesome!

Lars Nilsen said...

It's possible that WW will move to South Lamar at some point after my death. I won't rule it out.

Until then, WW-goers will have to brave the same dangers their parents and grandparents endured to see these films.

Popkoff said...

JOE SARNO!!!!!! This is fuckin' EPIC Lars.

George said...

Definitely looking forward to this calendar.

I'm looking forward to capping off my 29th birthday with a little Kidnapped Coed.

Dallas Cinemania said...

That Devils Wedding Night poster is completely dope.

Adolfo said...

Lars! Time warp! Is it 2004? "BEYOND ATLANTIS" is playing again. YAY! I missed this one the first time, and hope it won't happen this time. Sid is a sure-fire treat in film.

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