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.


Aaron Abolt said...

Cannot wait for this. Night classes be damned, I am not going to miss a single one of these pink films. Your continued struggle to make Austin a more interesting place is much appreciated.

Joe D said...

Are you showing the Pink films in 35mm? I might have to hitchhike down to Austin!