Tuesday, December 8, 2009

January February Weird Wednesday Titles and Writeups

It's going to be the best January and February ever! Celebrate Black History Month with BLACK CAESAR and don't forget to bring your sweetie to CRY OF A PROSTITUTE on Valentine's week.

Everyone who sees this stunning, brain-scraping masterpiece is amazed by it. It tells the story of Liz Weatherly, a famous African American singer played by Leslie Uggams, who sets out on a drive through Georgia to get away from it all. When her car breaks down in a rural area she gets a room at the only hotel in the area. The innkeeper, played by maniacal method actress Shelley Winters, keeps a tenuous hold on her much younger, handsome but evil country singer boyfriend Eddie. Within five minutes of her arrival, he's making advances to Liz and things go way downhill from there. When Liz tries to escape, her way is blocked and the local populace turns from creepy to unbearably horrifying. Directed by Chris Robinson and David Worth but the real MVP is editor Frank Mazzola (who also edited PERFORMANCE and DEMON SEED). He should have won at least an Oscar, and maybe even the Nobel Prize. With Slim Pickens, Dub Taylor and Ted (Lurch) Cassidy. One of the best movies of the '70s or ever. A truly unforgettable experience. AKA REDNECK COUNTY RAPE! (Lars)

"12 Hands. 12 Feet. 12 Reasons To Die!" OK, so no prizes for originality in this movie about a group of veterans who get the old platoon back together to come to the aid of their sarge, who's been scammed out of all his money and crippled by bad guy Cameron Mitchell. It's one of the basic templates for shitty action movies. But the whole thing is so cheap and strange that it powers ahead of the pack and becomes really good and even oddly exciting. One of my favorite things about KILL SQUAD is that everybody knows martial arts - a little. They're all probably like green belts, but they're so happy to be in a karate movie that the whole thing has a kind of 'kids playing in the back yard' enthusiasm. So gather up all your friends; the black guy, the Asian guy, the muscleman, the other black guy and the guy with the beard; and come get some KILL SQUAD. (Lars)

A quick glance at the marketing materials for LORD LOVE A DUCK would probably give the impression of another teen-appeal 60's beach party movie, but a closer look at the tagline, "An Act Of Pure Aggression" is sure to leave viewers confused. And sure enough, there's far more here than meets the eye. I'll just dive in. Roddy McDowall plays a sort of genie or guardian angel named Mollymauk, after a type of extinct bird. He magically appears to beautiful, mixed up cheerleader Tuesday Weld and offers to grant her wishes. They all come true - for instance she is cast in a movie called BIKINI WIDOW and lands the man of her dreams, but then they take a bad twist like the fingers on a monkey's paw. Along the way, every aspect of modern American society circa 1965 is bitterly ridiculed. And while such sitting targets as psychoanalysis, bikini beach movies and car culture weren't exactly sacred cows even then, the machine-gun quality of the satire and the churning bile underneath the humor is notable. Writer/director George Axelrod described it as "a non-optimistic get well card. LORD LOVE A DUCK is against teenagers, their parents, movies, cars, school and several hundred other things." The cast is brilliant, with Tuesday Weld in particular giving the performance of a lifetime. Also with Lola Albright and the great Ruth Gordon. (Lars)

In 1980, fun was still a living, breathing thing - Sigh. This movie is the proof. When a trio of ridiculously attractive young women inherit a food cart they find themselves in a clash with a rival mob-controlled roach coach that's a front for gold thieves. LUNCH WAGON is a wild, cheap, anarchic explosion of pure fun. Roseanne Katon (THE MUTHERS) stars with her fellow Playboy playmate Pamela Jean Bryant and statuesque amazon Candy Moore (the model for the Cars' "Candy-O" album cover) as the lovable small business owners who prevail against the bumbling gangsters. The whole movie has the vivacious silliness of a silent Mack Sennett comedy; some gags work, some don't, but they keep flying at you and the good-natured vulgarity of the humor will win you over. Featuring the band Missing Persons (you'll get to hear their song "Mental Hopscotch" a LOT). The director was an Academy Award winner! So it must be good, right? Be there! (Lars)

FEB 3, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. LARRY COHEN, 1973, 35MM, 87 MIN, R
When writer/director Larry Cohen and star Fred Williamson set out to make a blaxploitation gangster movie they could scarcely have known how successful the fusion of genres would be. The fused figure of mobster and black avenger has become a cultural touchstone and echoes of BLACK CAESAR still resonate loudly today, especially in the indulgent crime fantasies of gangster rap. But even today, Fred Williamson's character Tommy Gibbs stands tall as the coolest mob boss of them all. BLACK CAESAR is a classical tragedy played out on the streets of Harlem, with Williamson bringing the swagger of James Cagney to the story of a kid with a chip on his shoulder who rises to the top of the heap to take the reins of his neighborhood crime syndicate, only to reach just a little bit too far. Williamson exudes pride and swagger - he has the magnetism of a great screen star - and he's a good enough actor to bring off the sufferings of a man who could rule the world but can't convince his mother to take his ill-gotten money. With a ridiculously brilliant score by James Brown, including the theme song "Down & Out In New York City". If you miss this, you're dumber than you look. (Lars)

American tough guy Henry Silva carved out quite a career in Italian crime films. His inscrutable, masklike face could suggest a gamut of emotions from rage to merciless psychosis. Here he adds another portrait to his gallery of unstoppable super killers as Tony Aniante, a Sicilian thug trained in the efficient crime methods of the U.S. mafia. When rogue mobsters develop a new technique of smuggling heroin in the bodies of dead children, Silva is brought in by the syndicate to clean up. He insinuates himself into the households of two rival Sicilian capos, then waits for is opportunity. By the time the blood finally stops flowing, both families are crippled and Silva reveals his true motivation. If you think the plot has very little to do with crying prostitutes, you're correct. The title refers to the wife of one of the bosses, a former streetwalker from the Bronx played by the beautiful Barbara Bouchet. Her brutal mistreatment at the hands of Silva pretty much destroys any audience sympathy for him, but he doesn't seem to mind. He still kills everyone in sight and looks cooler than Chet Baker smoking menthol cigarettes in a red Ferrari. From the director of BURIAL GROUND, STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER and MALABIMBA: THE MALICIOUS WHORE. (Lars)

"Where society dumps its human garbage!" At some indistinct point in the very near future, which looks suspiciously like the early '70s, America has outlawed capital punishment. So murderers are sent to a blockaded island to fend for themselves. A new Darwinian social order asserts itself and the few women on the island have a pretty rough go of it - until they decide to fight back. This is very likely the first women-in-prison movie directed by a woman, but it's hardly a chick-flick. Stephanie Rothman, like so many other talented people in the movie business, was given her start in films by the great Roger Corman, who certainly deserves a statue in Hollywood, albeit an inexpensive one. Her films, while every bit as sweaty and violent as those of her male counterparts, always contain fascinating touches of feminine insight. Featuring the glistening naked torsos of Phyllis Davis, Barbara Leigh and Marta "Lost In Space" Kristen. Plus, look for Tom Selleck as a coke-snorting doctor. (Lars)

Not just politically incorrect and inexpedient, this movie is wrong. We won't attempt any grand pronouncements about its great sociohistorical merit. There are no excuses offered. It's a movie about three violently insane criminals who escape from an asylum and take refuge in what turns out to be a reform school for girls. The three psychos, a failed nightclub impressionist, a muscular baseball player and a comically mincing homosexual, are funny in a "so unfunny it's funny" way and the actresses playing the students vary from somewhat competent to obvious cue-card readers. It's one of those movies that makes audiences ask afterwards, "was that a real movie?" Strange, stupid, oddly amusing, really a one of a kind piece. The three convicts are played by busy actor Michael Pataki, pioneering black stuntman Bob Minor and Stephen Stucker, the funny gay guy from the AIRPLANE movies. AKA CARNAL MADNESS, BAD GIRLS, THE SIZZLERS and SCRUBBERS 2. (Lars)

Oh, and just so you can get "Mental Hopscotch" stuck in your head even before you see LUNCH WAGON, here it is:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Interesting CONVENTION GIRLS post from Temple Of Schlock

If there's a better source of exploitation film ephemera than TEMPLE OF SCHLOCK, it must be on another planet somewhere.

Here's a transcribed article about Joseph Adler's CONVENTION GIRLS.

Enjoy. I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What the shit?!

This is the actual Turkish poster for BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA! Unbelievable!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

November December WW Titles and Writeups

Supposedly, audiences who watched Dali and Bunuel’s 1929 film UN CHIEN ANDALOU actually rioted in the aisles. If that’s true, I wonder what happened in theaters that played this incredibly inflammatory masterpiece of race revenge. The crowds, black and white, must have torn the screens out and flipped over the popcorn machines like Detroit police cars. Even now the film is infuriating - three escaped convicts - a Latin, an Asian and a white supremacist (played by William Sanderson with intense energy) invade the middle class home of a black doctor and his family. As the siege wears on, the audience is given no relief. Sanderson and his cohorts do bad (REALLY bad) things and the hateful language and attitudes cross all limits of acceptability. And then the tables turn. The third act of the film is one of the most satisfying and morally ambivalent displays of pure payback ever devised. It’s primal. You’ll find it impossible not to cheer as the head of the family gets revenge on the racist scumbag and his cohorts. As uncomfortable a viewing experience as the first hour of FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE is - and oh boy, is it ever - the excitement and audience solidarity of the final half hour makes it all worthwhile. You may forget to breathe. A legendary film that cannot - must not - be missed. (Lars)

NOV 11, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. JOSEPH ADLER, 1978, 35MM, 80 MIN, R
On the surface this is one of those ‘70s ”group of girls” movies, inspired by the success of New World Pictures’ nursesploitation movies. There were tons of films that followed the day to day problems and concerns of a group of shapely nurses, cheerleaders, student teachers etc. Finally the interesting and talented Florida exploitation director Joseph Adler (SCREAM BABY SCREAM) got around to making one about the hookers who populate trade shows and industry functions. That’s the starting point, anyway. On a deeper level it’s about integrity and the pride of doing a good job. Rather than simply serving as a backdrop for sexploitative highjinks, the toy convention is at the core of the film. The hero of the piece is a dollmaker who refuses to sell out to a dark toy conglomerate, and it’s not hard to make the case that he’s like a film maker who does the best he can under every circumstance - like Adler himself. The story arcs that illustrate the central conflict of the film are tied together by the prostitutes who attend the convention and weave in and out of the various relationships. It’s a really good film, with more similarities to Altman than to the usual flesh pageants of the era. (Lars)

NOV 18, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. SAM PECKINPAH, 1974, 35MM, 112 MIN, R
“You two guys are definitely on my shit list” - Warren Oates. Sometime around the time this film was made, director Sam Peckinpah went completely insane, making this one of the few examples of that fleeting and wonderful thing - a truly psychotic work of art. The great Warren Oates stars as an American pianist wasting away in a Mexican whorehouse bar. When two leisure-suited bounty killers approach him looking for a pimp named Alfredo Garcia who has impregnated the teenage daughter of a powerful man, Benny asks around, finds out that Garcia is already dead and concocts a plan to dig up the corpse, remove the head and collect the reward. Along with his prostitute girlfriend, he hits the road on his doom-laden journey. As you might guess, all hopes are shattered and Oates ends up alone, carrying the rotting head of Alfredo Garcia in a bag across the desert as the killers pursue him. But like Peckinpah, he delivers. The reaction of El Jefe to Oates’ delivery of the head is pretty much exactly what the reaction at studio headquarters must have been when Peckinpah delivered this film. ‘70s existential malaise at its best! (Lars)

NOV 25, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. EDDIE SAETA, 1973, 35MM, 87 MIN, R
This dark, sick black comedy is almost totally unknown but it’s a classic waiting to be discovered. A man whose wife has died in a car accident broods over her death without relief. Finally he approaches a shady charlatan who dresses flamboyantly, calls himself Doctor Death and claims he has the power to bring the dead back to life. The grieving widower makes a deal with the “doctor” that he soon comes to regret. Things go from bad to worse to hopeless to brutal and it gets more ridiculous as it gets more awful. The excellent actor John Considine plays the velour-clad “mortality pimp” Doctor Death with real conviction. It’s a broad performance, but not exactly tongue-in-cheek. His full-blooded approach to the character turns what could be a pretty silly melodrama into something better. Most of the other performers go about their work with the lassitude of soap opera actors, which only sets off Considine’s fine work to better advantage. If your heart is as black and shrunken as mine, you won’t want to miss this. (Lars)

DEC 2, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. MENG HUA HO, 1977, 35MM, 90 MIN, PG
Holy mackerel! This cheap Hong Kong rip-off of KING KONG is totally out of control. If an all-star team of the best comedy writers of all time got together and wrote a script about a prehistoric ape man and a beautiful blonde jungle woman, it would be just like this movie - only not as funny. It’s hard to describe exactly what makes this such a joy - I think it’s partially the cultural disconnect between the Chinese filmmakers’ worldview and the end product, which is clearly designed for export to western markets. The parts just don’t snap together correctly. Scenes that would be mild cliches in an American film become towering comic set-pieces here. Witness the scene in which Chinese tough guy Danny Lee and wild-girl Evelyn Kraft frolic together with her pet leopard. I think I see what they were going for, but the result is so, so much more. I’ve never been so close to throwing up from laughter as when I first saw this film. You should totally watch it! From the director of OILY MANIAC and THE RAPE AFTER. (Lars)

Some of the best, most vigorous and intelligent films of the drive-in era came from writer/producer/director Arthur Marks. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Marks was careful not to insult his audience. He probably could have gotten away with much less and still scored at the box office. But he gilded his action thrillers, sexy melodramas and blaxploitation movies with little grace notes and winks at the discriminating film-goer. We’ll always be grateful to him for BONNIE’S KIDS, THE ROOMMATES, J.D.’s REVENGE, FRIDAY FOSTER and others. This rarity stars the great Keenan Wynn as a rich patriarch who returns from Las Vegas to his family home with a glamorous new wife in tow. Not surprisingly, she’s a ho - and Wynn’s two sons (Andrew Robinson and Peter Hooten) are soon involved in a pitched contest with each other and with their pop over the sexy trophy wife. Made during Marks’ busiest period, we’re eager to see how down and dirty it gets. (Lars)

DEC 16, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. DARYL DUKE, 1978, 35MM, 106 MIN, R
Movie production and distribution is a shady netherworld. The money for films has come from every quarter, from international prostitution and blackmail to Nazi gold. But the most frequently used extra-revenue stream was and is, government subsidies and tax shelters. In the ‘70s, Canada had a whopper of a shell game going. Producers were able to make films in Canada and, through a system of write-offs and reporting irregularities, they could turn a profit even on unsuccessful product. The resulting films, international coproductions mostly, are now known fondly as Canuxploitation movies. Not all Canuxploitation films were tax dodges, but many were. I’m not 100% sure about THE SILENT PARTNER, and I don’t much care, because whatever the circumstances of its creation, it is one of the best movies of the ‘70s. Elliott Gould stars as a bank teller who spies a way to steal a lot of money from his till and get away with it. The problem with his plan is that he antagonizes a real bank robber, who’s also a real mean dude (played brilliantly by Christopher Plummer). Plummer, who has cased and robbed the bank in the guise of a department store Santa, puts the pieces together fairly quickly and starts to make Gould’s life a living hell. But Gould, a chess enthusiast with a mind for strategy, counters every move. Soon the two man are involved in a real life game with their lives and freedom at stake. The tension ratchets up to an unbearable intensity before the sublime conclusion. Written by Curtis Hanson and directed by Daryl Duke (PAYDAY). With large Canadian funnyman John Candy in a small role. (Lars)

Special seasonal reprise of the Christmas-killing hit! Here it is: the evil holiday movie we’ve all secretly been waiting for. It made its producers wealthy men and turned a generation of children into santaphobic sociopaths. We are still paying the cost. It’s a very strange film and we’re not sure why anyone would make it, but two words come to mind: Malicious Intent. Why else would the young hero be abducted by a witch and forced to uh, plant Satan’s magic seed in his backyard? The seed grows into a tree that gives him three wishes. Then the kid abducts Santa Claus, straps him to a chair and abuses him until he gets all the toys in the world. Plus there’s a long race between a lawnmower and a turtle and more tomfoolery presided over by the powers of Darkness, including the appearance of a giant who says inappropriate things. We cannot be held responsible for any lasting trauma. (Lars)

DEC 30, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. JIM WEST, 1977, 35MM, 90 MIN, PG
Special “High For The Holidays” edition of Weird Wednesday. How hard could it be to make a movie? That’s what a bunch of state legislators from Polk County, Georgia thought. So they cracked open their piggy banks and made this mind-numbingly inept “action” movie based on a true occurrence in the legendary annals of Polk County history. Not only are the real dope traffickers, Oosh and Doosh (really!), making their screen debuts, unable to convincingly portray hardboiled drug smugglers (they seem like big kids with porn ‘staches), they seem genuinely unable to convincingly portray human beings at all. No matter. If this movie was one-tenth as much fun to make as it is to watch then they all had a blast. Featuring some truly harrowing stunts and the slowly encroaching charm of Oosh and Doosh, which becomes irresistible by film’s end. A legendary motion picture you’ll remember forever. (Lars)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jess Franco at Fantastic Fest!

Fantastic Fest and Ain't It Cool News Present Jess Franco and Lina Romay Live In Person.

Join one of our favorite directors for a rare screening series and Lifetime Achievement Award presentation.

September 28-30, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar Austin TX

For almost 50 years Spanish filmmaker Jess Franco has been making his own kind of cinematic poetry, steeped with themes of sex, violence, jazz, and subversive black humor. He has made around 200 feature films, though no one can say exactly how many. Once an obscure but busy man, he has become a well-known and respected figure over the past ten or so years as DVD audiences have joined earlier admirers like Fritz Lang and Orson Welles in acclaiming Franco's talent and vitality. Last year he was awarded Spain's highest film honor, the Goya Award and the Cinematheque Francaise devoted a season to his work.

Fantastic Fest is deeply honored to present its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Jess Franco. We will screen a selection of three of Franco's finest works. We will also be graced with the presence of his muse and inseparable collaborator Lina Romay. This will be Jess Franco's first ever North American film festival appearance.

This series is made possible by Ain't It Cool News.

Schedule of screenings

Monday, 9/28 7:15 pm VENUS IN FURS with Award Presentation

Dir. Jess Franco, 1969, 35MM, 86 min.

A young jazz musician finds the body of a beautiful woman he saw at a party the previous night washed up on the beach near Istanbul. He thinks back to the mysterious circumstances of the party and the strange people there. Later, in Rio he sees the woman again, and falls in love with her. A kaleidoscope of psychedelic and sexual imagery follows. Based on a plot idea by jazz great Chet Baker. Starring Maria Rohm, Klaus Kinski, James Darren, Barbara McNair, Dennis Price and Margaret Lee.

This screening is free for Fantastic Fest badgeholders. A limited number of tickets will be sold to the general public. Click here for tickets.

Tuesday, 9/29 7pm SUCCUBUS

Dir. Jess Franco, 1968, 35MM, 91 min.

SUCCUBUS is like the shiny side of the REPULSION coin, as we see into the half-dream/half-real life of a vivacious sexpot (Janine Reynaud) whose nightclub act depicts sexualized torture on stage. As we follow her through Lisbon and Berlin, through encounters with lesbians, sadists and little people, we begin to see signs that she is carrying her work home with her. Surreal, at times pretentious, but always compelling and new, even Fritz Lang liked this movie - he called it "a beautiful piece of cinema." We are indebted to another well-known admirer of this film for the loan of the print: Quentin Tarantino. Featuring Jack Taylor and Howard Vernon.

This screening is free for Fantastic Fest badgeholders. A limited number of tickets will be sold to the general public. Click here for tickets.

Wednesday, 9/30 6:45pm THE BARE BREASTED COUNTESS

Dir. Jess Franco, 1973, 35MM, 82 min.

Jess Franco directs his muse Lina Romay in this surreal story of a beautiful female vampire who consumes the sexual effluvia of her victims. This is one of the best Franco films of his most hyper-prolific period. Romay burns up the screen and Franco is at his most austere and poetic. Unforgettable music by frequent collaborator Daniel White helps to create a timeless atmosphere for the bloody, sexy pas de deux between Romay and her metaphysical paramour Jack Taylor. Also features Franco himself in a major role.

This screening is free for Fantastic Fest badgeholders. A limited number of tickets will be sold to the general public. Click here for tickets.

Additionally, there will be a special pre-festival screening of Franco's classic EUGENIE, THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION on Wednesday September 23 at Midnight at the Ritz (320 E. 6th St.). This warm-up screening is part of the long-running Weird Wednesday series, Admission is free for Fantastic Fest badgeholders and $1 for the general public. Mr. Franco will not attend this screening. For full details about this screening click here.

All screenings except EUGENIE, which takes place at the Alamo Ritz, 320 E. 6th Street, will take place at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, 1120 South Lamar Blvd. in Austin TX. Fantastic Fest badgeholders will receive first priority of admission. Any additional seats will be made available to the public.

Very special thanks to William Lustig and Greg Chick of Blue Underground; David Gregory of Severin DVD, Ant Timpson, Quentin Tarantino, Daniel Lesouer and the Cinematheque Francaise.

Friday, August 14, 2009

September October WW Titles and Writeups

Sponsored by the great I Luv Video!

SEPT 2, MIDNIGHT, $1, DIR. JAMES HONG, 1979, 35MM, 89 MIN, R
Holy shit! This outrageous farce, directed (and possibly written) by longtime character actor James Hong, is like a wholly American distillation of late-period Luis Bunuel. Good taste is roughly elbowed aside and black-humored perversity reigns inside as we are introduced to lovely young Carol (Kristen Baker), a police academy cadet who has family problems. Her gross father is always on the make for her, her mother drinks like a sailor on a three day shore leave, and her model-airplane obsessed retarded brother wants to marry her. Fortunately she has her police work, which largely consists of dressing like a hooker and being groped by perps, that is when she’s not being groped by the other cops. Her problems aren’t confined to home and work though, even when she tries to spend a little quiet time with her hot-rodding boyfriend, she’s dragged from the car by a gang of amorous 8 year olds (while the theme from THE PEOPLE’S COURT blasts on the soundtrack). When she seeks religious counsel, the family priest tells her he’s gay, and that “all Hitler needed was a hug”, which only serves to confuse her. But the confusion is just beginning as things really get strange. (Lars)

Al Adamson is at it again. The man who brought us CARNIVAL MAGIC, DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN and THE DYNAMITE BROTHERS is back. This time it’s with a movie advertised as a biker movie. But, truth be told, the bikers are just tacked-on set dressing for an otherwise difficult-to-market movie about Nazi counterfeiters. If you can figure out what’s going on in this movie you should go to Washington and get shit straightened out because you’re a genius. Fortunately there are a lot of unintentional laughs and one absolute skull-mashing cameo appearance. As a couple of the characters enjoy a little Kentucky Fried Chicken, an uncomfortable looking Colonel Sanders shows up and makes small talk about chicken for a minute or so and then disappears! It’s that kind of a movie. The biker action was filmed at the Spahn Ranch, home of the Manson Family. With Broderick Crawford, John Carradine, Jack Starrett and Adamson favorite Vicki Volante. (Lars)

As the theme song says: “Rodeo and cattle herding, cheating on your wife - free-for-alls and barroom brawls, they’re all part of life... Time for you to grab a gun and put away your toys. The game that you’re about to play just ain’t for little boys.” The poster for TEXAS LIGHTNING promises a souped-up, fast paced action movie along the lines of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. That’s what the producers wanted, anyway. What they got from wild man director Gary Graver, was a story of generational discord along the lines of classical tragedy, with fine performances from Cameron Mitchell and Maureen “Marcia Brady” McCormick. So to appease the drive-in crowd they added some bad gags, a wet T-shirt contest and turned the film into one of the most mind-scrapingly inappropriate things imaginable. Somehow, it works. Graver, a talented cinematography who worked with everyone from Orson Welles to Al Adamson, was a party maniac. When McCormick was at the theater last year she recalled waking up naked in bed with Graver, actress Claudia Jennings and a massive pile of blow. That’s the life! (Lars)

This year Fantastic Fest welcomes hugely prolific auteur Jess Franco, a man who has carved out a special place in film history with his wholly uniqueoeuvre of sex films.We will show a selection of Mr. Franco’s films during Fantastic Fest and present him with our first Lifetime Achievement Award. This special pre-Fantastic Fest presentation was made possible by the generous cooperation of Blue Underground. The works of the Marquis De Sade have provided the spark of inspiration for some of Jess Franco’s most memorable works. This film, made during his fruitful association with English producer Harry Alan Towers, is among Franco’s best, and one of his own favorites. It’s the story of a teenage girl, played by the lovely Marie Liljedahl, who enters the cruel and corrupting orbit of her father’s mistress and her slightly insane half-brother when she visits their secluded island retreat for a weekend. The adventurously shot film, full of lugubrious set pieces, is a joy to behold. The gorgeous psychedelic dream world Franco creates makes the viewer feel the blood-racing excitement of sexual abandon, an uncommon achievement in sex films, as anyone who has laughed and yawned through a number of them will assent. Featuring Franco regulars Maria Rohm, Paul Muller, Jack Taylor and Christopher Lee, who later claimed he didn’t know it was an adult film. (Lars)

An encore Fantastic Fest presentation. Since its inception, Fantastic Fest has provided a forum for screenings of the most outrageous Japanese “pink films.” In the world of the ”pinku eiga”, filmmakers are essentially turned loose with a small budget. As long as the resulting film contains the requisite amount of sex and nudity (i.e. a LOT), the creators can seemingly get away with just about anything. Last year, S&M HUNTER shocked and awed a Fantastic Fest audience of jaded international sophisticates, who thought they’d seen it all before. S&M HUNTER is an exercise in manga-style outrageousness guaranteed to offend everybody. The black-clad S&M Roper is a kind of bondage super hero who has a supernatural genius for tying women up in configurations that leave them helplessly aroused. When the all-girl gang The Bombers, kidnap a man for their personal sex toy, S&M Hunter accepts a mission to infiltrate The Bombers’ hideout and show them the ropes. It should be noted that S&M HUNTER is a hugely politically incorrect film, loaded with swastikas, delirious patriarchal anxiety, Catholica used for sexual purposes and worse, but few will be able to resist its spiraling craziness for long. The climax, in which the rope-mad antihero employs a 200 foot tall construction crane to execute his bondage masterpiece has to be seen to be believed. Not for the weak! (Lars)

Gorgeous Claudia Jennings lit up our screen a few months ago as the revenge-obsessed Cajun wildcat Desiree in GATOR BAIT. Her nearly wordless portrayal of a quasi-mythic swamp wraith is memorable, but audiences could be forgiven for thinking her a limited actress. However, in the rollerderby classic UNHOLY ROLLERS she turns in what a very impressed Roger Ebert called the “hardest, most vicious female performance in a long time.” She plays the kind of Barbara Stanwyck/Joan Blondell gum-chewing working class heroine that Hollywood excelled at depicting before the Production Code stepped in and made screen women all soft and wifey. Here Jennings rises from a dreary life working in a cat food factory to become a rollerderby queen who skates to win, no matter what the script says. She drinks cheap beer, curses like a sailor and generally doesn’t give a fuck. Sadly, Jennings, who died in a 1979 car crash, didn’t get any other parts this good. Written and directed by Vernon Zimmerman, who later made the excellent FADE TO BLACK and provided the screenplay for TEEN WITCH. Edited by Martin Scorsese. (Lars)

From Greece comes this amazing, kinky, violent psychosexual soap opera. When good girl Nadia investigates her sister’s death she finds out that sadistic pimp Nick is behind it all so she straps on the leather and whips and beats him at his own game. Full of unspeakable perversions, dark secrets, two-way mirrors, orgies and 40-weight sleaze. There’s even an adorable pussycat, who purrs and licks her paws as the worst kinds of depravity unfold in front of her. Sounds great, huh? But for me the best part of this movie is the CONSTANT cigarette smoking. A rare treat that you won’t find anywhere else. Who else is bringing you Greek S&M revenge movies? It seems like a good opportunity to formally beat our chests and announce that when it comes to providing high quality sexploitation cinema we are the alpha gorillas. Other theaters around the country may chew the bamboo and act tough but they know that if they try to come near our females they will be beaten senseless with a thighbone. (Lars)

The best of Roger Corman’s seminal Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. This is the biggest, most lavish of all the American International Poe pictures, and all the pretty colors and extravagant sets certainly enhance the entertainment value, but it could have been filmed on black and white super 8 film and it would still be a joy to behold, thanks to the great Vincent Price. He is at his eye-rolling, emotive best here as a feudal count, who throws huge, depraved parties for the local debauched nobility. When the plague arrives, in the form of a Bergmanesque hooded figure dressed all in red, the count throws the biggest masquerade ball of all with the stipulation that no one wear red, and raises the drawbridge to keep the contagion at bay. Will a red-clad emissary of death find his way into the party? What do you think? Filmed in England as a tax dodge, with many fine English actors including Patrick Magee, Hazel Court and Jane Asher. The spectacular art direction is by longtime Corman cohort Daniel Haller and the excellent cinematography is by Nicolas Roeg. (Lars)

Stephanie Rothman has provided some of the most memorable Weird Wednesday movies: THE STUDENT NURSES and TERMINAL ISLAND, and this is possibly her weirdest - a one-of-a-kind aquarian sex-vampire epic. Though made in America, the film incorporates a lot of the techniques we associate with artsy European horror movies - an emphasis on storytelling through color, slow psychedelic dissolves, and that old standby: abundant nudity. There’s a school of thought that horror movies need a strong sexual component, whether explicit or sublimated, or they just don’t have the desired impact. Clearly Rothman has attended a few classes herself as this movie is all about vampirism as a sexual dynamic. And Celeste Yarnall as the bloodsucker of the title provides a clear sexual focus for this movie about a vapid bleached blonde California couple who find themselves ensnared in a vampire’s desert lair. Better than you’d expect and possibly the only vampire movie to successfully incorporate dune buggies. Featuring a completely unexpected cameo appearance by legendary Delta bluesman Johnny Shines, who performs “Evil Hearted Woman”. (Lars)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Christina Lindberg - Holy Shit!

Last week's special screening of THE SWINGING COEDS was pretty special. The midnight, SCHOOL DAYS, less so though it did have its moments. It had been a while since I'd seen Christina Lindberg on the giant screen and it made me reflect: HOLY JESUS FUCKING CHRIST SHIT! For any of you out there who like looking at beautiful, delectable things, Miss Lindberg is composed of them. Don't miss SWEDISH WILDCATS on July 15!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weird Wednesday July August titles announced

Lady T. All you need.

All shows for the July/August calendar are now up and on sale.

Click here to read them all.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back from the edge

Whew. For the folks who look in on this blog occasionally, I really must apologize. Immediately after getting the May/June Alamo calendar together I left on a giant West Coast tour. Upon getting back I was swamped, sick and exhausted. I hope to begin making regular posts again. For now, here's a great GIRL FROM RIO poster, because I'm tired of looking at the reproachful face of Larry Hagman.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Larry Hagman speaks out about LSD, Keith Moon and SON OF BLOB

I talked to Austin American-Statesman writer Chris Garcia a couple of weeks ago and he mentioned he was going to interview Larry Hagman. I recommended he ask about SON OF BLOB and sure enough he did. In fact he read Hagman my fabrication-riddled writeup too. Yeesh!

Anyway, here's the article. Be sure to read the part about Robert Downey Jr.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

CINEMAPOCALYPSE Poster! Hope you like Werewolves and Anarchy!

Whoah, Johnny Sampson came up with a raging poster for Cinemapocalypse 2009.
This guy can bring the werewolf! Yow! Buy one for your home, car or business at Mondo Tees.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cinemapocalypse is coming!

This April 16-25, Fantastic Fest presents EIGHT HUGE NIGHTS of white-hot exploitation thunder at some of the finest screening venues in the west!!! Austin's Original Alamo Drafthouse Weird Wednesday programmer Lars Nilsen and Terror Tuesday curator Zack Carlson will bring the rampaging Cinemapocalypse road trip to the Pacific Coast, and will be presenting rare and absolutely unseen treasures from the American Genre Film Archive's top secret subterranean 35mm archive, each film destined to peel the hair from your eyeballs, scorch the skin on your cortex and make you sterile for ninety weeks. From manic hicksploitation epics to bloodthirsty shoestring goreblasts, each movie is a railroad spike through the heart of limp modern cinema. Join us in shattering the wall between you and THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!!

Special thanks to American Genre Film Archive for making these screenings possible!

Fantastic Fest takes place from September 24 through October 1 in Austin. If Cinemapocalypse is your cup of tea, Fantastic Fest is a whole pot of it.

S C H E D U L E :

Thursday April 16
at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles

Dir. Paul Nicolas, 1983, 35mm, 100 min, R - NOT ON DVD!
I’ve never had kids and I never will. I’ve watched enough movies to know they’re bad news. Even if they aren’t possessed by the devil, they still learn to hate you and all you stand for - even as they eat all your food and wreck your sex life! If I ever waver in my determination to remain child-free, I’ll just thread this movie up and feel my testes retract. In this cinematic curio - kind of a cross between a Lifetime Original Movie and a Spaghetti Western, an actress named Isabelle Mejias gives a performance to remember as a daughter with a serious daddy hang up. There’s not a huge volume of physical violence in the film but the spriritual violence wrought by the cunning and manipulative teenager is hellishly intense. Starring Anthony Franciosa as the lucky dad and Teutonic Amazon Sybil Danning as the girl’s unlucky new step-mom. It’s only appropriate to warn you that the wrong-meter goes into the red here several times, which is just where I like it! Director Paul Nicolas also made CHAINED HEAT, my pick for greatest Women In Prison movie of all time. Be here! (Lars)

Dir. Chris Robinson & David Worth, 1975, 35mm, 92 min, R
This goodtime backwoods holocaust is both an exploitation masterpiece and a searing assault on all races, genders, social classes and good taste. Respected singer/actress Leslie Uggams dives deep into the cinematic netherworld as road-weary celebrity Liz Wetherly who stops off at a rural hotel for a little R&R…which in this case stands for Rape and Revenge. After being violated by the psychotic Elvis-obsessed hotel handyman, Liz finds little sympathy from the sheriff (DR. STRANGELOVE’s Slim Pickens) or the assorted colorful locals, including Shelley Winters, consummate hillbilly Dub Taylor and Ted “Lurch” Cassidy. Unable to break free of the community’s filth-caked grip, she spirals ever deeper into the tangled web of paranoia, hatred and mental illness that the entire local populace feeds on like an anguish buffet. Most notable is the film’s inevitably brutal climax, a perfectly composed extermination of the human spirit like nothing you’ll ever experience again. (Zack)

Dir. Jim Feazell, 1981, 35mm, 94 min, R - NOT ON DVD!
Already a cult favorite among the most discriminating hicksploitation connoisseurs, this cheap, sleazy slice of lone-star low-life is finally poised to infect the rest of the country. All Texans are familiar with this film but the very mention of its title is oddly taboo. It's a little like the mentally deficient cousin with the weird ears who lives in the basement and eats bugs. We just don't talk about it. Well, maybe now's the time to start because there's a lot to love about this movie. The titular psycho, Wheeler, is one of the most memorable characters in regional filmdom. John King III deserved an Oscar for his performance as the mommy obsessed killer with the weird laugh and the unorthodox fried chicken eating technique. But it may be Tommy Lamey as Wheeler's toothpick-worrying sidekick Slick who provides the most memorable moments in the film, notably a long foot chase that takes up probably a third of the run-time and provides laughs galore - as you'll see. PSYCHO FROM TEXAS features more scummy dialogue, K-mart fashions, mean rednecks, continuity lapses, incongruous BOING sound effects and country cuties than any film you can name. Do not miss! (Lars)

New Beverly Cinema
7165 West Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA


* * * * * *

Friday April 17
at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles

Dir. Randall Badat, 1984, 35mm, 91 min, R - NOT ON DVD!
One of the supreme party romps of the genre’s defining decade, here is a No Rules celluloid powerhouse that doubles as a 300-fisted beachfront avalanche of insanity! Honestly, this greatest-mohawked-surfer-zombie-comedy-ever-made is best summarized by writer/director Badat: “Menlo Schwartzer - the geekiest mad scientist of all - wants to rid the world of surfers by transforming them into garbage-ingesting zombie punks! But no way dude can he stop their most awesome party!” SURF II (no, there was not a SURF 1) packs more early ‘80s drive-in mania into one movie than even a brain in the final stages of rabies can handle. Drooling undead new wave boneheads, valley girls, electronically transgendered geekazoids in underwater fortresses, the guy who played everyone’s favorite corpse in WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S, spazztastic video game combat and an appearance from actor Fred Asparagus as “Fat Boy # 1”! Speaking of the stellar Z-caliber cast, this picture sports a career-best lead performance from Supreme Alpha Nerd Eddie Deezen, as well as surprise roles from Ruth Buzzi, Carol Wayne and BLAZING SADDLES’ Cleavon Little. Combine with the pogo-inducing soundtrack by Oingo Boingo and The Circle Jerks and you have the most entertaining IQ-remover The Video Age ever shat out! Totally retardular!!! (Zack)

Dir. Al Adamson, 1981, 35mm, 85 min, "G" - NOT ON VHS, DVD or ANYTHING ELSE!Alright, it’s time to get serious. Very serious. Because this is possibly the rarest movie on the entire planet. As far as we can determine, only one print exists of this thing and we’ve got it. And we’re going to share it with you. If you’re a fan of the cinematic badlands, you’ve seen some pretty strange things. But unless you’ve guzzled embalming fluid on the moon with Bigfoot you’ve never seen anything quite as awe-inspiringly jacked-up as this “inspirational” kids’ movie from the director of SATAN’S SADISTS and BLACK SAMURAI. Why anyone thought this was appropriate for children we’ll never understand. Granted, it might be educational for kids to see the lion tamer gratuitously slapping his girlfriend around or a teenage girl apparently giving an ape hand-relief (we didn’t believe it at first either), we don’t know if we’d be prepared to field Junior’s many questions about the unsavory goings-on in the cheapest, most depraved carnival this side of Tod Browning’s FREAKS. (Lars)

New Beverly Cinema
7165 West Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA


* * * * * *

Saturday April 18
Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in San Francisco

Dir. Fernando Di Leo, 1976, 35mm, 85 min, ROne of the most entertaining Italian crime movies ever made, as should be expected from neglected auteur Fernando Di Leo. Di Leo made some of the toughest, funniest crime movies ever. He was the master of tasteless ultraviolent comedy. He also had a sense of story and characterization that even Howard Hawks would envy. Usually his films feature a tough hombre who gets caught up in a struggle between two mafia factions and gets over on the mobsters using superior intelligence and nerves of steel. Along the way, Di Leo creates brutal and hilarious poetry among the bloodshed. Here, Jack Palance plays a bad, bad man who runs a neighborhood crime syndicate in Rome. But when a series of small outrages escalates to an all-out war he proves no match for a couple of nervy slacker kids with a dune buggy and an over-the-hill consigliere (the great Vittorio Caprioli) who still remembers the old days and the old ways. While not a comedy as such, this film contains more laugh out loud scenes than all but the very best comedies. But it also delivers shocking, intense violence and a pungent ambience redolent of sleazy pool halls and greasy hair tonic. I can't recommend this movie highly enough. Pulp art at its very best. (Lars)

Dir. Paul Nicolas, 1983, 95 min, R - NOT ON DVD!The best women-in-prison movie in the history of the world. Spend an hour and a half locked in a squalid cage with a few dozen sweaty bad girls! Sound like fun? You bet it does! This is pure women-in-prison exploitation with all the catfights, steamy shower scenes and deviant sexuality you can handle. Maybe more! Linda Blair plays the new fish on the cellblock. With ubiquitous '80s Amazon Sybil Danning and CLEOPATRA JONES star Tamara Dobson as warring inmates. Kinky Stella Stevens cracks the whip as the captain of the guards and scuzzy John Vernon plays the warden (who has a hot tub in his office). Sharp-eyed viewers will also recognize the great Henry Silva. Others may disagree but I think this is a great first-date movie (but be sure to bring enough for her cabfare home just in case). Either she'll love it or she'll flee. What better way to separate the wheat from the chaff? After all, who wants to get stuck with a good girl? (Lars)

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission St (at Mission & 3rd)
San Francisco, CA


* * * * * *

Sunday April 19
TUFF Quadruple(!) Feature
at the Midnites For Maniacs series at The Castro in San Francisco

Dir. William Lustig, 1983, 35mm, 90 min, R
In the post-DEATH WISH era of action exploitation, many a hard-working everyman was given the chance to set things straight using every firearm within reach. Of this rich array of middle-aged homicide fantasies, this raw, feral streetwar collision is the most teeth-grittingly severe. Directed by top-drawer NY scum specialist William Lustig (MANIAC COP) and starring Fred Williamson (BLACK CAESAR) and Robert Forster (ALLIGATOR, MEDIUM COOL), who puts in a genuinely incredible performance as a troubled blue-collar schmoe pushed to the brink of human endurance. When he finally lashes out, no lowlife is spared from his four-wheeled, double-barreled, white-knuckled wrath. This one’s for the toughest, leatheriest, ass-kickiest score-settlers out there, so don’t come cryin’ to me when the sweat and blood get in your eyes. If you can’t enjoy watching a 4-year-old kid take a point blank shotgun blast, that’s your hang-up. (Zack)

Dir. Edward D. Murphy, 1982, 35mm, 86 min, R - NOT ON DVD!
Once this show is over, you’ll be tearing your eyes out of your head and setting them ablaze. Because you have NEVER seen such a brain-blasting bonesmasher as the epochal omegawave that is, was and always will be RAW fucking FORCE!!! If you think you’ve been entertained in the past, here is a white-hot scholarship to FUN SCHOOL!! Let’s open this sucker up and see what’s inside, goddammit. Blue-skinned undead samurai? Check! Cannibalistic rump-chasing monks? Yes sir!! Drunken kung-fu yacht party? To the max!!! Wall-eyed flesh-trading seaplane pilot with a Hitler moustache? Man ohhh MAN!!! In absolute honesty, all this is just the tip of the trashberg! Blowtorches blaze, teeth fly, bullets zing, dialogue is botched and cages full of virgins are sent to their heartless demise! So packed with action, you’ll have to blink every 3 seconds to keep your eyes from catching on fire! The legendary Cameron Mitchell (THE TOOLBOX MURDERS) semi-stars in this Filipino/American co-production that would have brought the world to its knees if it wasn’t 200,000 YEARS AHEAD OF ITS TIME! If you see just one movie in your entire life, it better be here, now, tonight: RAW FORCE! If you’re blind, deaf and comatose, only one film will STILL kick your ass through the wall: RAW FORCE!! Look, I don’t care if you’re reading this at a funeral...scream it out loud right now: RAAWWW FORRRCE!!! (Zack)

Dir. John Carpenter, 1981, 35mm, 99 min, R
Snake Plissken is the ULTIMATE Sci-Fi Male. Why? Because he's played by an Ultimate Real Life Male named Kurt Russell, who was at the height of his effortlessly steely machismo when he teamed with ultimate filmmaking Badass John Carpenter for the first (and many say greatest) of several flawless collaborations. So if you love BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and THE THING - and you sure as hell do - this is the unshaven, post-apocalyptic blowtorcher that started it all! The year is 1997 A.D. Cold-blooded criminal Snake has 24 hours to enter the lawless, bloodthirsty prison island known as "Manhattan" and rescue the nation’s president (HALLOWEEN's Donald Pleasance) from the clutches of a crazed gang leader played by the late, great Isaac Hayes! Along for the explosive destruction, mayhem and grit are Harry Dean Stanton, Lee Van Cleef and Ernest Borgnine. A beautiful '80s sci-fi masterpiece absolutely slampacked with testosterone-fueled violence and tough guy rage. Watching this movie on the big screen will make you a man, even if you're a woman! (Zack)

Dir. Jalil Jackson, 1988, 35mm, 87 min, R
White people have been too stupid to notice, but the nations of the South Pacific have provided the world with some of its most neck-snappingly exciting movies. This isn’t a recent development…Filipino and Indonesian exploitation films have held a firm grip on these nations’ entertainment industry and output since the glory days of Eddie Romero, the bold auteur responsible for the Blood Island trilogy and fistfuls more of the finest South Seas exports. These movies have a unique, magical ability to forego logic and feasibility in a relentless drive to distill maximum entertainment, and in no film has this impressive approach triumphed more wholly than Lady Terminator. After a man steals a snake from a sex witch’s vagina, she threatens to exact revenge on his great great granddaughter. 100 years later, a scuba-diving female anthropologist is violated by the same naughty snake, causing her to unleash a wave of shirtless, lazer-eyed homicide in a kill-crazy goddamn rampage. And it’s not all white hot bulletry; Lady T’s favorite non-firearm method of execution involves a hearty chomp from her carnivorous vagina. In fact, genital terror is expanded to new dimensions throughout this film. Male crotches are riddled with bullets, mangled, eaten and worse. Would you believe this vicious she-demon even pauses to give a gunned-down corpse a kick in the dingle? What a totally cruel supernatural tramp!! (Zack)

The Castro Theatre
429 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA


* * * * * *

Wednesday April 22
Grindhouse Film Festival at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, OR

Cinemapocalypse VS. Grindhouse Film Festival in TRAILER WAR!!!

We're setting our most violent, reprehensible and ungodly 35mm explosives for the absolute supreme Battle of Celluloid Insanity. Portland's beloved Grindhouse Film Festival kingpin Dan Halsted will be going head-to-head with the visiting exploitationeer duo of the Cinemapocalypse Tour to present a dehumanizingly fierce barrage of classic film trailers featuring the very excruciatingest horror, kung fu, scifi, prison, nudie, cannibal, manimal, exploitation, hicksploitation, blacksploitation and sploitationsploitation! These miniature bursts of mankind's most twisted and unhealthy brainwaves are destined to transform you into the next stage of human life after dyn-o-miting you through the back of the theater. Make no mistake...this show will pummel your fragile reality right in the nuts!

The Hollywood Theater
4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR


* * * * * *

Thursday April 23
at the The Grindhouse Film Festival at the Clinton Street Theater, Portland

Dir. Ferd & Beverly Sebastian, 1974, 35mm, 88 min, RPicture yourself on a state highway in the rural south in 1974. In the distance an apparition flickers on a drive-in screen. It’s a beautiful woman with long red hair and skin the color of mother’s milk. She lifts a 12-gauge to eye level and squeezes the trigger. It’s not a hallucination. It’s Claudia Jennings, a common sight on drive-in screens throughout the country in the 70’s and that rarest of things, a genuine female action star. The movie is GATOR BAIT, a huge hit that kept drive-in audiences coming back again and again. Like most movies that made it big on the chitlin’ circuit, GATOR BAIT really delivers. The story of a sexy swamp rat named Desiree who’s half woman and half savage, it features the scariest inbred hillbillies outside of the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and a revenge plot that builds to a thundering, foot-stomping climax. As an actress Claudia Jennings doesn’t have a great deal of range, but then neither does a sawed off shotgun. Under the right circumstances both can be devastating. Jennings, who was a Playboy Playmate of the year, had an outstanding career in low-budget exploitation films before dying in a car crash at age 29. There’s never been another one like her. GATOR BAIT is a true drive-in classic. Don’t miss it. (Lars)

Dir. Jim Feazell, 1981, 35mm, 94 min, R - NOT ON DVD!
Already a cult favorite among the most discriminating hicksploitation connoisseurs, this cheap, sleazy slice of lone-star low-life is finally poised to infect the rest of the country. All Texans are familiar with this film but the very mention of its title is oddly taboo. It's a little like the mentally deficient cousin with the weird ears who lives in the basement and eats bugs. We just don't talk about it. Well, maybe now's the time to start because there's a lot to love about this movie. The titular psycho, Wheeler, is one of the most memorable characters in regional filmdom. John King III deserved an Oscar for his performance as the mommy obsessed killer with the weird laugh and the unorthodox fried chicken eating technique. But it may be Tommy Lamey as Wheeler's toothpick-worrying sidekick Slick who provides the most memorable moments in the film, notably a long foot chase that takes up probably a third of the run-time and provides laughs galore - as you'll see. PSYCHO FROM TEXAS features more scummy dialogue, K-mart fashions, mean rednecks, continuity lapses, incongruous BOING sound effects and country cuties than any film you can name. (Lars)

The Clinton Street Theater
2522 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR


* * * * * *

Friday April 24
at the The Grand Illusion Cinema in Seattle, WA

Dir. Gary Sherman, 1982, 35mm, 97 min, RA highly recommended descent into the sulfurous pit of hell known as Hollywood. Direct-to-video action god Wings Hauser burst onto the scene with his intense, over-the-top performance as the psychotic killer pimp Ramrod. Seething and ranting, a homicidal twisted nerve, Hauser is incredible. This is his show all the way, he even sings the theme song, "Neon Slime!" Along the way, Hauser jumps the fence from villain into full-on monster territory, making VICE SQUAD not only one of the most exciting films you'll ever see, but one of the scariest as well. In this truly grim urban fairy tale, a hooker named Princess (Season Hubley) must make it through a long night in a very dark forest (the streets of L.A.) without being gobbled up by the big bad wolf (Hauser), who himself is being chased by the mighty hunter (the LAPD detective who earlier allowed him to escape.) Pure entertainment from the gifted director of RAW MEAT and DEAD AND BURIED. (Lars)

Dir. William Asher, 1983, 35mm, 96 min, R - NOT ON DVD!
Listen up…this movie has the best opening scene in film history. Absolutely, without a doubt, no first 5 minutes of any other feature are more rip-rocious than what you'll see tonight on this screen. By the time the opening credits roll, you'll be peeling your fingernails out of the armrests. And here's the kicker: the best is yet to come! Susan Tyrrell stars in her greatest performance as a tragic, spastic auntie with a more-than-healthy appreciation for her orphaned teen nephew. When folks get too close to this happy family, heads start to roll. Enter Joe Carlson (Bo Svenson), a tough-as-rusty-nails police detective who utters the word "faggot" with practically every breath. Easily among the most perfect and underappreciated slashers of the golden ‘80s. If you don't go nuts for this one, get the hell out of my house. (Zack)

Dir. David Schmoeller, 1979, 35mm, 90 min, PG
Terror nerds are well aware that the American road holds myriad dangers. Many a frenzied sasquatch, invisible space vampire and/or cannibalistic madman has transformed our turnpikes into his personal open-air slaughterhouse, but in the great Halls of Highway Homicide, no film dares examine the darkest precipices of rural insanity like the crushingly inventive TOURIST TRAP. Rectangle-jawed screen ham Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors plays mysterious Mr. Slausen, a dubious yokel who leads a life of quiet isolation in the woods. When a couple carloads of recreation-hungry youths happen across his private property, Slausen introduces them to a bold new cavalcade of nightmares including -- but not limited to -- autonomous singing mannequins, gender-bent nutsoids and a telekinetic knife-throwing fiend. Goddamn! You may have watched a thousand car-broke-down-in-a-maniac’s-front-yard movies, but until you’ve seen TOURIST TRAP, you’re still wearing your horror Huggies. (Zack)

The Grand Illusion Cinema
1403 NE 50th St
Seattle, WA


* * * * * *

Saturday April 25
at the The Grand Illusion Cinema in Seattle, WA

Dir. Rene Martinez, 1979, 35mm, 80 min, R - NOT ON DVD!We can't believe the title either. But that's why they called him Wild Man Steve. We all love Rudy Ray Moore but he wasn't the only comedian working the chitlin' circuit back in the day. Get ready to laugh your ass off at Wild Man Steve. Wild Man Steve can say anything and make it funny. He has a slow, stoned delivery that makes even the stupidest dirty jokes gut-bustingly hilarious. In a way, Wild Man Steve is the ultimate cult comedian and this is an actual WILD MAN STEVE STAR VEHICLE! It's about a midget mad scientist (with a full-sized D-cup girlfriend) named Dr. Dippy who helps the mob develop a formula that makes users super-strong, bulletproof, and, after about two days, super-dead. Obviously it's hard to get sensible people to sign up for this treatment, so the mobsters grab the nearest wino, played to perfection by Wild Man Steve. Steve is hilarious, ad-libbing like crazy, stepping all over his costars' lines. He even gives a little speech in favor of legalizing pot that's a small masterpiece of reason and logic. If you are easily offended please stay away from this theater! (Lars)

Dir. Douglas McKeown, 1983, 35mm, 81 min, R
McKeown’s low-budget backyard scifi terror epic is the defining accomplishment in the mighty ‘80s Homemade Horror genre. An alien meteorite unleashes a hideous, carnivorous beast that gorges insatiably on the unwitting denizens of a New Jersey town. The massive meatmonster grows exponentially while it casts off knife-faced leechlets to further the annihilation. No one is off limits; old ladies and adolescents and everyone in between are all fair game for this unstoppable eating machine. From unbelievable creature creations to some of the best dialogue ever captured, no shoestring production before or since has contained a fraction of the fearless filmmaking on display here. Shot for the cost of a new washer/dryer combo, THE DEADLY SPAWN is a bona fide, undeniable fuck-you to major studio exploitation crammed with an impossible amount of ambition, masterful latex effects and unbridled, flesh-ripping satisfaction. (Zack)

The Grand Illusion Cinema
1403 NE 50th St
Seattle, WA


* * * * * *

...That's it for now! But do stay tuned for more developments as we ANNIHILATE THE UNIVERSE.

Lars and Zack

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday Foster trailer

Some nice person has uploaded the FRIDAY FOSTER trailer to YouTube. It's a weird trailer. I'm not sure if you can tell what the movie is about from watching it. It mainly seems to string together all the punch-it-up action scenes. Anyhow here it is:

Weird Wednesday Hall Of Fame: Rosalba Neri

If I ever get tired of seeing Rosalba Neri you will know that I am dead.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weird Wednesday Titles and Writeups for March and April

Warning, this calendar contains Larry Hagman. It was manufactured in a facility that produces peanuts, soybeans and shrimp.

Here's the schedule of upcoming Weird Wednesday movies at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. All shows are free for people who don't talk during the movie. All films are presented on 35mm film prints. Sponsored by I Luv Video.

The dwarf community went apeshit when this movie came out. And who can blame them. I feel like protesting this movie even now. It doesn’t exactly say that all dwarves are perverts who abduct women, lock them in an attic and sell their bodies to the highest bidder, but it strongly implies it. The Jack-Black-in-miniature lead actor does such a phenomenal job suggesting the universality of little people’s dark desires and deeply corrupted souls that one can’t help get these (entirely wrong) impressions about this hard-working and vital segment of the population. So be warned ahead of time, THE SINFUL DWARF preaches lies, it is wrong and it is filthy. But let’s face it, you can’t stay away. And to everyone who thinks this film can’t possibly live up to the expectations the vivid title promises: have fun being wrong, because it totally does. When we last showed this film, a grown man fainted from the general degradation of it all. But I’m pretty sure I can handle it this time. Can you? (Lars)

I don’t know how filmmakers Lee Frost and Wes Bishop kept a straight face long enough to actually pitch this movie but I’m sure glad they did. Academy award winner Ray Milland plays a bigoted white doctor, dying of cancer but obsessed with his technique of head transplantation which he demonstrates on a gorilla - leading to the world’s first 2 headed gorilla rampage! When the doctor’s condition worsens, his colleagues transplant his head on the first volunteer they can find. Unfortunately, it’s the body of a black man wrongly sentenced to the electric chair! Soon the 300 pound convict, played by Rosey Grier, escapes from prison with the head of Ray Milland sticking out of his collar, shouting watermelon jokes and seriously messing up his sex life. They lead the police on a harrowing motorcyle chase you won’t believe. In fact, disbelief is the only appropriate reaction to this film. That, and gales of hysterical laughter. One of the all-time drive-in classics. (Lars)

When a tough detective (played by human comic-book drawing Luc Merenda) reaches the end of his fuse, the explosion takes out half of the Italian underworld, and quite a few innocent bystanders. Director Sergio Martino and screenwriter Ernest Gastaldi appear to have taken it upon themselves to trump the Dirty Harry movies with even more extra-legal police mayhem and rights-trampling. And just as Merenda’s rampage violates all the tenets of human decency, Gastaldi’s scenario violates all the laws of probability. As in many of Gastaldi’s celebrated giallo scripts, the story turns on the most bizarre coincidences. Also, Merenda’s idea of investigational procedure is, brutality aside, surreal in the extreme. He essentially turns into a pool-hustling, pimping bad guy to stalk his quarry and in that guise commits much more crime than he could ever hope to prevent. He genuinely becomes Milan’s public health menace number one. It’s odd but it’s also a lot of fun. Plus, the De Angelis brothers provide one of their best “harsh ‘70s reality” scores. Pow! (Lars)

The hippified late ‘60s were like an answered prayer for exploitation filmmakers. They could present sensationalistic multicolored tableaux of drugs, decadence and permissive sex and fob it off on the public as hard hitting expose. This environment bred some of the worst and most insulting movies ever, many of them strangely compelling now, like RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP and MARY JANE. But the best results came from the folks who actually lived the life and drank the kool-aid, so to speak. Producer-director Roger Corman and screenwriter Jack Nicholson (yes that Jack Nicholson) didn’t just stand on the sidelines and retool the same old stories about wayward daughters and drug peddlers, as the others did. They actually took acid and made a movie that more or less accurately represents the psychedelic journey. This unusual film, experimental, funny and genuinely frightening is one of the glories of low-budget filmmaking. Peter Fonda plays the guy on the trip. Bruce Dern is his guide. Dennis Hopper, who worked as a second unit director, appears as a stoned inquisitor with a cotton-candy merry-go-round. (Lars)

Picture yourself on a state highway in the rural south in 1974. In the distance an apparition flickers on a drive-in screen. It’s a beautiful woman with long red hair and skin the color of mother’s milk. She lifts a 12-gauge to eye level and squeezes the trigger. It’s not a hallucination. It’s Claudia Jennings, a common sight on drive-in screens throughout the country in the 70’s and that rarest of things, a genuine female action star. The movie is GATOR BAIT, a huge hit that kept drive-in audiences coming back again and again. Like most movies that made it big on the chitlin’ circuit, GATOR BAIT really delivers. The story of a sexy swamp rat named Desiree who’s half woman and half savage, it features the scariest inbred hillbillies outside of the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and a revenge plot that builds to a thundering, foot-stomping climax. As an actress Claudia Jennings doesn’t have a great deal of range, but then neither does a sawed off shotgun. Under the right circumstances both can be devastating. Jennings, who was a Playboy Playmate of the year, had an outstanding career in low-budget exploitation films before dying in a car crash at age 29. There’s never been another one like her. GATOR BAIT is a true drive-in classic. Don’t miss it. (Lars)

In the years before “Dallas”, Larry Hagman was best known as the button-down astronaut who dreamed of Jeannie. But secretly he had a wild streak high and wide enough to land a 747 on. When he wasn’t toasting another sunrise with his next-door neighbor Keith Moon or dropping acid with David Crosby he was working hard to get this, his dream project, made. It’s a very strange, very loose sequel to the 1958 teen horror classic THE BLOB. The free-wheeling performances and absurdist humor are unlike any other movie we’ve ever seen. Hagman was obsessed with making this movie, often going without sleep for days on end, deeply worrying his friends and associates. Unfortunately the film was critically ignored upon release and Hagman retreated to the forest where he lived like an animal for several years before accepting the role of J.R. Ewing and returning to the forefront of American consciousness as the man you love to hate. More popular than ever, he was nonetheless a scorned and broken man whose one-of-a-kind film-making genius has never been fully appreciated. Until now. Join us for this very rare screening of Larry Hagman’s one and only film as a director, starring Robert Walker Jr., Burgess Meredith, Godfrey Cambridge, Marlene Clark, Gerrit Graham, and Shelly Berman. (Lars)

You can learn a lot from movies. What I learned from THE DOBERMAN GANG is: when in doubt, train a bunch of vicious dogs to do it. That philosophy is shared by the crooks in this film. A pack of dobermans is put through an extensive training course and deployed to rob a bank. The dogs, who have cutesy names like Bonnie and Clyde, are pretty amazing. The humans aren’t quite up to their level. This film has a reassuring seventies kind of shittiness going for it. The music, for some reason is hammer-down hard funk, except for the final song which will take up residence in the dog-house of your mind for weeks after you see this movie. (Lars)

A beautiful thing happened throughout the world in the late sixties and early seventies, the censorious bluenoses who policed popular culture, making the world safe for mediocrity, began to lose their grip on the throttle. Free expression flourished. Honesty, candor and good ideas flowed again. We know what the results were in America and continental Europe, a mass pollination of openness and freedom. We rightly consider this a great golden age now. In the realm of British film the loosening of restrictions largely resulted in a lot of sexually and formally juvenile movies like CONFESSIONS OF A WINDOW CLEANER and I’M NOT FEELING MYSELF TONIGHT. But amidst this stupidity, a man named Pete Walker had set up shop. He produced films that had a lot more of the maturity and assurance of the best American and continental product. COOL IT CAROL is a terrific movie about a young couple who come to London from a small town and are intoxicated by the bright lights and easy virtue of London. Soon the two have embarked on a voyage of sexual self discovery both together and apart. It’s a very funny movie but not in the usual British “crumpets and dolly-bird” manner. Check it out. Thanks to the Ant Timpson Film Archive for this rare print.(Lars)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weird Wednesday Hall Of Fame: Mimsy Farmer


Thursday, January 22, 2009

New I Luv Video Pick Shelves


Since the folks over at the great I Luv Video are kind enough to give me my own pick shelves I popped over last night to change them out.

Here are my new selections:

AIRPORT Location:

This is the one about the giant teenagers who take over a town. It's really pretty subversive and funny. The music by Jack Nitzsche is great. There's a lot of that beehive and bikini sex appeal that I like from these sixties youth movies. Producer/director Bert I. Gordon (B.I.G.) specialized in movies with outsized protaganists.

Made in Dallas Hitler Time Travel movie. Super cheap and great. Very imaginative in a cornpone kind of way. Like a lot of ultra low budget films it leaves a dreamlike aftertaste in your brain.

From the same avant-garde Japanese theater world that brought you movies like FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION, this is a very strange dreamlike fantasy about a blind sculptor and the woman he loves. Some of the most bizarre sets ever built. Director Yasuzo Masumura also made the the equally odd BLACK TEST CAR and the Tashlinesque GIANTS AND MONSTERS.

A pretty devastating look at police (and human) corruption in '70s Rome. Franco Nero and Martin Balsam take it all very seriously and the film has the nightmare realism of the best Italian polizieschi.


Judy Lee (FLYING MASTERS OF KUNG FU) stars in one of those kung fu movies that must make a lot of sense in the exotic east, but seem completely insane over here. She fights gorillas and weird wizards with long tongues that hang down to their knees. Run of the mill in some ways and capital K KRAZY in other ways.

The comparatively innocent adult film world of 1967 California responds to the LSD menace in the only way they know how: with boobs and tedious shirtless makeout scenes. Fortunately things get a little crazy in the Satan department and everybody has fun.

I can't defend this Jess Franco Yellow Peril movie on any grounds at all. It's not especially good or original. But when you watch it you will feel immersed in a sort of tacky pulp nostalgia, you'll smell the vinegary newsprint as it powders away under your fingers. Franco's free-wheeling new wave style has a lot in common with the fast guys who made the old serials. And Christopher Lee is a great looking Fu Manchu. And Rosalba Neri is a great looking Rosalba Neri, as always.

This was originally called ONE PLUS ONE. It's Jean Luc Godard's Rolling Stones project. It documents the band in the studio trying out the song Sympathy For The Devil in different ways. It starts as a bluesy ballad, becomes a samba, then once Keith plugs in a little 15 watt amp and wails the paint off the walls, it becomes the song we all know and love. With interpolations of Fanonian anticolonialist discourse delivered point blank at the screen by murderous garbagemen and Anne Wiazemsky (Mrs. Godard) painting punny graffiti.