Monday, September 29, 2008

This week's Joe Sarno Double Feature is now FREE FREE FREE!

Joe Sarno and collaborators

No doubt due to the giant financial hit and general exhaustion wrought by the back to back Fantastic Fest/ACL juggernaut, ticket sales for this Wednesday's 9:30 Joe Sarno screening of ABIGAIL LESLEY IS BACK have been slow. But since we want as many people as possible to see this movie and this great man we are making the whole double feature free. That's right. Get here at 9:30 and stay through both ABIGAIL LESLEY and ALL THE SINS OF SODOM with the great Joe Sarno in attendance, sharing his philosophy about filmmaking and the stories of the films themselves.

For my money Joe Sarno is the key figure of '60s and '70s sexploitation. Others may have advanced the medium and codified the cliches but Joe Sarno was the first filmmaker in the movement to make personal art out of sex films.

THIS IS A BIG, BIG DEAL. Don't miss it.



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oz, Pink, Sarno, Boston - We can't be beaten!

You better believe S&M HUNTER rocked some asses.

Fantastic Fest is over. I worked over 90 hours last week and 70 or so the week prior, which left me with little time and even less presence of mind for blogging. But it has been a great time. 2 weeks ago we had DARK AGE, the Ozploitation movie about the giant crocodile and the Aborigines. Mark Hartley, who directed the doc NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD joined us for that one. If you didn't catch NQH at Fantastic Fest be sure to see it at the Alamo or, if the release doesn't shake out for us - on DVD. I worked both screenings of it at FF and had seen it prior so at this point the movie's theme song, "We Can't Be Beaten" by Rose Tattoo is tattooed into my brain. Watch the video here and share my affliction:

The other Oz titles were Russell Mulcahy's super-'80s stylefest RAZORBACK and two Brian Trenchard Smith classics with BTS himself in person, MAN FROM HONG KONG (brilliant!) and TURKEY SHOOT (flawed but crowd-pleasing). I watched MAN FROM HONG KONG 3 times and each time it got better for me. I really think it's one of the all-time action classics.

The Pink Retrospective also went well. The films were all quite distinct, with GUSHING PRAYER being the high point for me. S&M HUNTER was probably the crowd favorite though - and it rivalled MAN FROM HONG KONG for cultural insensitivity. At BLUE FILM WOMAN there were a few walkouts, maybe people who didn't realize there were going to be long sex scenes in the movie.

During any other month the appearance of one of my greatest heroes, Joe Sarno, would be all I could think or talk about. With Fantastic Fest and ACL going on everything has been curiously muted but let me amplify: JOE SARNO IS COMING TO TOWN! JOE SARNO! Don't miss either screening - ABIGAIL LESLEY IS BACK at 9:30 or ALL THE SINS OF SODOM at midnight. Everyone seated for ABIGAIL LESLEY will be able to remain seated for ALL THE SINS OF SODOM, so no line waiting.

Also, if anyone will be in Boston next week, come check out my act at the Brattle Theater. I've programmed a big-ass "grindhouse" series for them. I'll be there for some of the screenings so if by some weird chance this blog is read in Boston, come say hi.

Schedule for the Brattle series here. Scroll down to October 1.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Video Interview

A couple of gents from Austin Is Rad came over to the offices the other day to talk about Weird Wednesday, Fantastic Fest etc. Here's that video interview. If only I'd brought a comb to work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pink Films, Ozsploitation, the Tingler and me

I've alluded a bit in this space to Fantastic Fest. It's a gigantic international film fest that I and all my Alamo colleagues have been spending a huge amount of the last few months programming, planning and coordinating. The effort has been huge. I plan on taking a 46 hour nap at some point, but in the meantime I wanted to let all the readers of this blog know about some of the programming work I've been doing on this and recommending a few things highly to each and every one of you. Well, most of you anyway.

First and foremost there's a Japanese Pink Film retrospective. It's my highest recommendation of this fest and really one of those film events you'll beat yourself up about if you miss.

About Pink Films:

Almost everyone has the same tingling response to the bright, shiny world of Japanese pop entertainment. It tickles the roof of the mouth like ginger-ale. But for hardcore addicts, that's just the gateway stage. The terminal phase is the Japanese pink film. More than just sexploitation movies, they're like the entire culture's autoerotic asphyxiation reveries. Filled with crushing weirdness and experiments on the extreme edge of filmmaking, the pink films provide much greater insight into the nation's character than the mannered civilities of mainstream films, largely due to the fact that young film-makers are given the freedom to go as far out on the chain as they want to, provided they expose the requisite number of
naked bodies onscreen. And they must strike a pretty resonant chord since they're still going strong, as evidenced by some of our favorite Fantastic Fest titles of the past few years like UNCLES PARADISE and THE GLAMOROUS LIFE OF SACHIKO HANAI.

This year we'll be showing four pink films that as far as I can discern have never been shown in the U.S. before. Click on the links to read all about them:

BLUE FILM WOMAN, Monday September 22 9pm, South Lamar

GUSHING PRAYER, Tuesday September 23 9:30pm, South Lamar

A LONELY COW WEEPS AT DAWN Wednesday September 23 8:50pm, South Lamar

S&M HUNTER Wednesday September 23 10:15pm, South Lamar

Special thanks for the last two titles to the new, exciting company Pink Eiga, which is bringing tons of pink classics to the DVD marketplace very soon. Check their site out here. It's probably only safe for work if you work where I do.

All of these screenings will feature insights from Jasper Sharp of, who is the acknowledged expert on the subject. He wrote the book on it as a matter of fact. And you'll be able to buy that book at the screenings. He and Marc Walkow of Outcast Cinema have worked very hard with me to make this series the event of the century - so be there. You can just straight-up buy tickets for these if you don't have a fest badge.

Ozsploitation: Nature's Revenge, The Road and Explosions

The other big retrospective I've been working on (with my invaluable colleague Zack Carlson) is the Ozsploitation retrospective. This year, Fantastic Fest is dedicated to making everyone we know into giant, committed fans of Ozploitation cinema. That is - the peculiar brand of exploitation films that bubbled to the surface in Australia in the '70s and '80s. Certainly the best known are the MAD MAX films but those didn't emerge in a vacuum. The industry was already pumping out films as rude, tough and resourceful as the primal Aussie himself, kicked out of the British Isles for being ungovernable, forced to carve out a livelihood in the most hostile terrain on earth. While Australia has its share of classic arthouse-worthy fare in the manner of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and BREAKER MORANT, it was the cheap action, horror and titty films that really made the Fosters go down easy.

Films in this series are the big FREE outdoor screenings of MAD MAX (This Friday! Outside at Lamar) and THE ROAD WARRIOR (next Friday also at Lamar). Hopefully you know already that these movies are 900 km. per hour ragers and unmissable.

The other films in the series may be a little less familiar but they are totally crucial. If your grandmother tries to stand between you and these screenings, hit her in the face with an axe. You'll be glad you did and will never regret it.

DARK AGE (Click on show name for description, Ritz Wednesday Sept. 17, Midnight FREE and Lamar Sunday Sept 21, Lamar 8.50/6.50)

RAZORBACK (Click on show name for description, Ritz Thursday Sept. 18, Midnight FREE)

THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (Click on show name for description, Ritz Wednesday Sept. 24, Midnight FREE with director Brian Trenchard-Smith Live and Lamar Monday Sept 22 8.50/6.50)

TURKEY SHOOT aka ESCAPE 2000 (Click on show name for description, Ritz Thursday Sept. 25, Midnight FREE with director Brian Trenchard-Smith Live)

The other main thrust of my repertory programming duties at Fantastic Fest 2008 has been arranging a couple of TINGLER screenings in Percepto at the theater. The screenings feature the documentary SPINE TINGLER, all about the great showman William Castle.

The screenings take place on Wednesday Sept 24 at 4:30pm and Thursday the 25th at 5pm. The theater will be rigged with a highly experimental Percepto set-up in which a (hopefully) non-lethal electric shock is administered to select members of the audience at a crucial point in the film. If you have a pacemaker, don' t even show up because we'll laugh you out the door.

Even if you don't have a badge you can buy tickets for this incredible double feature by clicking here.

See you there, I mean here.


Toooooo-NIGHT! KIDNAPPED COED is a pretty remarkable little shot-in-North Carolina movie that really brings the wood. Hero Jack Cannon is an amazing, conflicted existential hero. But you'll see.

Rated R; 76min; Director:Frederick Friedel (1976)

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)

I was hoping to have lots and lots of time to devote to blogging since the Fantastic Fest guide went to press but I was deluding myself. Of course there are tons of tiny little details to be taken care of. So if you've been kind enough to follow this blog please continue. I will make much writing soon.

As always, thanks to the great folks at I Luv Video for making Weird Wednesday possible week after week.

Monday, September 1, 2008

BEYOND ATLANTIS this week at Lamar!

Please note, due to AGLIFF, Weird Wednesday will be shown at the big, spacious, roomy, large South Lamar Theater. Here's the trailer which I just uploaded.