CORPSE FUCKING ART: THE FILMS OF JORG BUTTGEREIT AND CARL ANDERSEN (PART 1)

Upsetting many an innocent audience’s stomach, NEKROMANTIK and NEKROMANTIK 2 have deservedly earned a cult reputation for their wanton necrophilia and general repulsiveness. Yet more than just isolated cinematic perversions, these films belong to a mini-movement of transgressive cinema pouring forth from Berlin during the late 80’s and early 90s. Spectacle is unfortunately proud to present a three month long mini-retrospective of two filmmakers from this milieu – Carl Andersen and Jorg Buttgereit. Perfect for spoiling even the most well thought out Valentine’s day date, Jorg Buttgereit’s NEKROMANTIK 1 and 2 will be playing all February followed by Buttgereit’s DER TODESKING and SCHRAMM to keep you feeling cold through March and Carl Andersen’s no-wave scored MONDO WEIRDO and VAMPYROS SEXOS (AKA I WAS A TEENAGE ZABBADOING) playing all April.

[CONTENT WARNING: These films contain scenes of explicit sexual contact, mutilation, rear female nudity, violence, frontal male nudity, dark humor, disembowelment, nihilism, decapitation, deviant sex, depictions of murder, frontal female nudity, documentary footage of the actual killing of an animal, ejaculation, mental illness, rear male nudity, criminal mischief, on-screen urination, sexual perversion, blood, adult language and necrophilia.]

Special thanks to Cult Epics and American Genre Film Archive.




NEKROMANTIK
dir. Jorg Buttgereit, 1987
Germany. 75 min.
In German with English Subtitles.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 2 – 10 PM
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 14 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 22 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 26 – 7:30 PM 

Guaranteed to make you gag, Buttgereit’s feature debut was concieved with a purely punk spirit in mind – how far can a film go before its maker would be arrested. NEKROMANTIK follows Rob and Betty – a lovely young couple fond of collecting body parts in jars and bathing in blood. When Rob brings home a mildly rotten cadaver from his job cleaning corpses off the street, the two fall rapidly in love with it – eating dinner dinner with it, reading bedtime stories to it, and initiating it into their sex life. However when Betty decides to leave Rob and run away with the corpse, Rob spirals into utter depravity.

Banned in nearly every country aware of its existence, NEKROMANTIK has rightfully become a cult classic of underground horror cinema. Yet it’s reputation as a gross-out sleaze-fest can betray a lot of the tenderness Buttgereit surprisingly lends the film. Shot on grainy 8mm and set to a soft romantic piano melody, the film feels more like a hypnagogic elegy than an exploitation quickie.



NEKROMANTIK 2
Dir. Jorg Buttgereit, 1991
Germany. 105 min.
In German with English Subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 – 10 PM

“I want to master life and death” -Ted Bundy

NEKROMANTIK 2 begins right where the first film disgustingly left off, but it’s not long before the film finds its own sickeningly romantic direction. Monika has a proclivity for digging up corpses and taking them to bed with her, but when she meets Mark, a sensitive soul who dubs porn for a living, her heart is torn. The bizzare love triangle develops across romantic trips to the amusement park, an awkward movie date featuring an absurdist parody of MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, and more taboo sex than you would ever think to ask for.

Significantly longer than the first film (110 minutes compared to the previous 70) and made with a modestly bigger budget, NEKROMANTIK 2 feels less like a continuation of the original than an expansion of its ideas. Gone is much of the excessive sexual violence that made NEKROMANTIK a favorite amongst 80s German punks and in its stead comes a greater attention to psychological detail of Monika’s romantic frustration. With a balletic camera capable of gracefully spinning through the air in ways rarely achieved before the advent of digital and more deliberate narrative rhythms, the sequel seems to fully realize the original’s repugnant poetry.

 

SPLIT

SPLIT
dir. Chris Shaw, 1989

US, 84m/104m (extended cut)

NEW YORK PREMIERE OF NEW RESTORATION AND CUT
30th ANNIVERSARY

Extended Cut dates:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 – 7:30 PM

Original Cut dates:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 – 10 PM

Special thanks to Verboden Video, Warren Chan, and Chris Shaw.
The only film by mathematician Chris Shaw, and featuring frenzied, schizoid computer animation from MacArthur Genius Grant winner Robert Shaw, SPLIT is a once-in-a-lifetime oddity; a thoroughly-baked, paranoid foot-chase through the dumpsters of early-MTV Santa Cruz. Starker, would-be messiah and master of disguise, eternally attempts to evade the dystopian fascist forces hellbent on keeping him in a feedback loop of capitalist-driven order. As their surveillance systems are based off of “consumption” and Starker eats out of garbage cans and freeloads from gallery openings, he has so far been able to escape the clutches of the freakish, half-machine overlord.

Starker wafts of a Pynchon hero scurrying like a rat through the moribund, chaotic future as envisioned by Derek Jarman or Alex Cox. This 2K restoration of the cult headtrip is some kind of miracle — lovingly transferred by Verboden Video and the filmmaker after the discover of not only the film’s original 16mm negatives, but a print of a never-released, 20 minute longer cut of the film as well. We are ecstatic to be able to bring you both.

FAMILY LIFE

FAMILY LIFE BANNER.jpg

FAMILY LIFE
(FAMILIENLEBEN)
dir. Rosa Hannah Ziegler, 2018
Germany, 97 min.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 7:30 PM

“First, you need to figure out what your life is worth to you and what you want to do with it.”

Denise and Saskia live with their mother, Biggi, and her ex-partner, Alfred, on a run-down farm in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The two sisters, one of them recently back from a foster home, are hindered by bouts of anxiety and depression, as well as a shared love interest. Alfred and Biggi try to give them stability, but they have their own demons- their dreams for the farm seem impossible without sufficient funds. Soon, their bucolic idyll of horses and dogs feels like the end of the world.

This somberly-shot, poetic documentary, directed by Rosa Hannah Ziegler, creates a close, sensitive relationship while allowing the protagonists the time and space to express their vulnerabilities, brokenness, and almost insufferable isolation.

“On the face of it, there is little to suggest that FAMILY LIFE is more than an observational portrait film. But this would understate how profoundly generous and affectionate Ziegler is in her depiction of this German family. Against all odds, Alfred, Biggi, Denise, and Saskia strive and aspire—and they have formulated a loving and caring family life to battle these odds. The film notes how humanity may have lost its capacity to provide accommodating (dare one say equal?) opportunities for all, even as it shows the resilience and courage of individuals living in precarious contexts.” Sander Holsgens, Cultural Anthropology

ROSA HANNAH ZIEGLER was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1982, and studied directing at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. She won the German Short Film Award in Gold for her documentary CIGARETTA MON AMOUR – PORTRAIT MEINES VATERS (2006). She followed this with multi-award-winning short films ESCAPE (2011) and A GIRL’S DAY (2014) which both screened at numerous international festivals. In 2017 she made the television film DU WARST MEIN LEBEN which was nominated for a Grimme Award. FAMILY LIFE is her first feature-length documentary.

ROCKUARY 2019

The genesis of Rockuary has faded into legend, however it remains a February institution of music in film, music on film, the country love letter, and the occasional rock opera at Spectacle.

This Rockuary features Sarah Minter’s must-see punk dramas, the return of HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS (along with H.H. REVISITED), and Jim Wolpaw’s Rhode Island epic, IT’S A COMPLEX WORLD. THE THE’s INFECTED is screening alongside Too $hort’s classic era videos. You have one night to catch psych-rockers The Taj Mahal Travellers, Les Rallizes Dénudés, and D.C. rock legend Butch Willis!

I want to rock! (Rock!)
I want to rock! (Rock!)
I want to rock! (Rock!)
I want to rock! (Rock!)

Special thanks to FilmRise, Emiliano Rocha Minter and Claudia Bestor of the UCLA Hammer Museum.



AMATEUR ON PLASTIC
dir. Mark Robinson, 2018/19
90 min.

ONE NIGHT ONLY! FILMMAKER IN PERSON!
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9 – 5:00 PM
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9 – 7:30 PM

BUTCH WILLIS is a Washington, D.C. rock legend. Born and raised in Beltsville, Maryland, Byron Henry “Butch” Willis came of age in the late ’70s post-hippie subculture of Takoma Park. After sharing an apartment with infamous local music icon Root Boy Slim, Butch was inspired to become a rock’n’roll star himself.

The unique and unusual brand of “outsider music” that Butch Willis & The Rocks created captivated the local D.C. music scene beginning with their appearance at the seminal Primitive Night at the Psychedelly in Bethesda in 1984. AMATEUR ON PLASTIC chronicles Butch’s life and career from the ’80s all the way through to present day. It features a host of Butch-appointed band managers Joe Lee (Joe’s Record Paradise), Jeff Mentges (No Trend), Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot), and director Mark Robinson (Unrest/Teen-Beat). Also co-starring is Al Breon, the Rocks’ innovative “throat guitarist.” The film combines archival footage, interviews with Butch, and performances of his hit songs “Drugs,” “The Garden’s Outside,” “TV’s From Outer Space,” and “The Girl’s on My Mind.”



THE TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS ON TOUR
dir. Matsuo Ohno, 1972
Japan, 102 min.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

A travelogue of the most expansive and mind-manifesting sort, Matsuo Ohno’s documentary follows the gargantuan yearlong 1972 tour of his fellow experimental-music frontiersmen, the Fluxus-associated action-artist Takehisa Kosugi’s acid-ambient ensemble Taj Mahal Travellers, as they set out from their native Japan with a rune-inscribed VW Minibus for Scandinavia, meander through Alpine Europe to Rome, Greece and Istanbul, traverse the Middle East via Iran, Kabul and Pakistan to end, finally, at the glittering palace of their namesake, the Taj Mahal itself! Along the way, the band plies its otherworldly improvisational art at areas of intense natural beauty, state-sponsored museums and ancient holy sights – ecstatically fulfilling their self-styled commitment to “play where ever there is a power-source.”

Kosugi’s rambling, spontaneous and worldly compositional method is perfectly matched by his open-ended touring approach, with a heavy emphasis placed on pure immersion in local culture and music. The resultant cinema-verite of the sticklike ebullient longhairs taking in the sights, trying the local fare, jamming on seaside cliffs and hanging with historic heavies like Don Cherry makes for a meditative and mimetic biopic of the entire touring experience, replete with an ever-shifting language-barrier. Ohno, a longtime mentor and collaborator of Kosugi famous for his own pioneering electronic music, proves to be the optimal observant eye for a performance-centric film about, ultimately, the joyous negation of sonic, cultural and music-business protocol.



LES RALLIZES DÉNUDÉS
dir. Ethan Mousiké, 1992
France, 88 min.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Left behind in a legacy of bootleg destruction stands this “ambient documentary” on the mythical Japanese political psych-noise pioneers Les Rallizes Dénudés, the ultimate revolutionary cult band whose bass player was a member of the Japanese Red Army “terrorist group” and part of the faction that hijacked a plane with samurai swords and pipe bombs and got away with it, achieving refugee status in Commie North Korea, thus sending the unsuspecting guitarist, leader, auteur and songwriter, Takashi Mizutani, into a paranoiac downward spiral and eventually into hiding, wherefrom he would emerge every half-decade to demolish adoring crowds with sheets of noise, feedback and naive songcraft.



THE THE: INFECTED
dir. Tim Pope, 1987
UK, 47 min.

with

TOO $HORT: BORN TO MACK
dir. Various, 1988-1995
USA, 50 min.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 10 PM

In celebration of THE THE’s comeback tour, Too $hort’s release of The Pimp Tape, and Tim Pope’s plan to direct a new documentary on THE CURE, we present a special program for your tired eyes: TOO INFECTED.

In the words of Matt Johnson, “I tried so hard to be myself, I was turning into somebody else”. THE THE got an enormous budget from CBS Music and permission to work with Tim Pope, which turned into a 45 minute music video travelogue between Bolivia, the American desert, NYC, and the UK. Johnson is trapped, or rather, infected by his position in the world and experience of being a Westerner, a pale British man in the big 80’s. This collection of videos was only released to VHS, so you can’t find it anywhere else!

“If you live my life, you’ll be fighting to live.” – Too $hort, from “Life is… Too Short”

The music videos of Too $hort take you through the highs and lows of life, from house parties, to car rides, to police harassment, to the ghetto during the crack cocaine epidemic. Where Matt Johnson wants to tear down the myth of his identity, Too $hort (Todd Anthony Shaw) is trying to build it up. He’s a true player, he rapped with the heavies, and he’s a survivor. His music was always bass heavy and dirty as hell, and this selection showcases the best of the best.


HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS
dir. James Szalapski, 1976
United States. 90 mins.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – 5 PM

In 1976, producer Graham Leader and director James Szalapski documented the outlaw singer/songwriter scene that extended from Austin and Nashville. Included were then relative unknowns Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and John Hiatt, plus their musical mentors Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Born was HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS, a cult classic film among fans of the genre. In the relaxed manner of the handmade documentary, we’re given a tour of Townes Van Zandt’s backyard, where we see dogs running loose while he is chugging whiskey and shooting guns. Townes picks up a guitar and sings the poignant “Waitin’ Around To Die” in his kitchen, an elderly neighbor breaks down in tears. We follow David Allan Coe to the Tennessee State Prison to watch a performance; we see Charlie Daniels on a small stage in front of a crowd of near-riotous fans. A gang of buddies, including Rodney Crowell, gathers around a table at Christmas time to sing and pick guitars, showing us some very early work by Steve Earle. The structure of the film is very loose; at times almost surreal, especially viewed through the fish-eye lens of time. There is no real story to the movie, only the tales which are told in the lives of people who love music and make it not for a living.

HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED
dir. Wayne Price, 2017
United States. 87 mins.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 5 PM

Fans of HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS can rejoice! More than 40 years after the original, director, Wayne Price, has taken up the mantle, and created another chapter. HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED is focused on exploring  the current alt country community of musicians inspired by outlaw country in Nashville. Following the same intimate & loose non-structure, HH Revisited ambles from musician to musician, while we listen to their stories and songs. In HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED, the filmmakers reunite with HEARTWORN originals Guy Clark, Steve Young and David Allan Coe while focusing on the next generation of “outlaws”: John McCauley, Jonny Fritz, Josh Hedley, Justin Townes Earle, Shovels & Rope, Langhorne Slim, Robert Ellis, Andrew Combs, Shelly Colvin, Phil Hummer and others who honor the traditions of their predecessors while forging a highway all their own.


NADIE ES INOCENTE
(NO ONE IS INNOCENT)
dir. Sarah Minter
55 mins. 1985-87.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10 – 5 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 7:30 PM

No hay
no hay futuro
No hay
No hay amor
No hay
No hay cemento
Yey yey
Los mierdas soy yo

Sarah Minter’s no-future classic NADIE ES INOCENTE is a fictionalized document of the chavos banda (youth gang) punk community in the slums of Mexico City’s Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl (also known as Neza York) shot on Betacam over a number of years. Minter structures the film around bad trip of a reformed punk named Kara as he takes the train from Neza back to the main city; delivered in both flashback and voiceover monologue, his memories serve as desolate testimony from an apocalyptic adolescence. NADIE ES INOCENTE was written and performed in collaboration (Minter would later say, complicity) with the young Mierdas Punks who play themselves onscreen, and betrays Minter’s extraordinary access. The film also repurposes 16mm concert footage from her collaboration with Gregorio Rocha SABADO DE MIERDA (SATURDAY OF SHIT), using slow motion and inventive sound editing to give big-screen gravitas to handheld shots of desert throwdowns as Kara’s self-extinguishing memories. Shown and distributed locally on VHS in New York City by Karen Ranucci’s Downtown Video for years before it was seen in, NADIE ES INOCENTE is a remarkable and unsentimental depiction of teenage life and urban displacement.

screens with

SAN FRENESI
(SAINT FRENZY)
Dir. Sarah Minter and Gregorio Rocha
34 mins. 1983.
In Spanish with English subtitles.Starring Maribel Mejia as a young woman who goes on a road trip reeling from a string of heartbreaks and bad relationships, Minter’s early collaboration with her then-partner Rocha feels more apiece with the French New Wave influences of a successive generation. (She spoke admiringly about Godard in an interview, but described her later ideas as more directly influenced by Dziga Vertov.) There isn’t a ton of evidence of the staccato editing that would mark NADIE ES INOCENTE, but one prolonged sex scene – in which a furiously edited sequence of sound effects takes center stage over abstracted imagery – can only hint at the individual liberation to follow.


ALMA PUNK
dir. Sarah Minter
56 mins. 1991-92.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – 5 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 7:30 PM 

Part-improvised and starring a cast of nonactors led by real-life punk Ana Hernandez (as Alma, which also means “soul”), ALMA PUNK traces the tortuous path of a young riot grrl from the Mexico City punk scene as she moves north to Tijuana and, eventually, towards the United States. It confidently breaks with the rules of staging docudrama with an unsparing look at Alma’s love life, unfakeable scene bohemianism and extensive location footage of Mexico before NAFTA and after the 1985 earthquake. “I feel like no one is supporting me,” Alma says. “Guys want everything and give nothing in return. Isn’t that so?” Like NADIE ES INOCENTE, this film uses the intimacy and flexibility of video (this time, 3/4″) to wring innovation in the editing room, this time to give Alma a similarly alienated and jittery headspace.

(screens with)

SABADO DE MIERDA
(SATURDAY OF SHIT)
dirs. Sarah Minter and Gregorio Rocha
25 mins. 1988.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

Bookended with snippets of This Heat’s classic 1979 slow-burn “Twilight Furniture”, SABADO DE MIERDA is a classic rockers-versus-punks story set in a near-autonomous version of Neza York in the year 2000, lorded over by teenage punk gangs. The movie plays at once like riveting docudrama and sprawling music video: capturing one massive crowd scene, Minter and Rocha paid off police officers to stage an intervention that sends dozens of punks scattering between the floodlights. The desert depicted is at once a Mad Max-influenced arena of brawling moshpits and mob rule, but also a permanent freedom from the rules and demands of society.

SARAH MINTER (1953-2016) was a pioneering video and installation artist, a photographer, curator and avant-garde theater performer from Mexico. She spent her early 20s collaborating with Juan Carlos Uviedo, an exiled Argentinean theater director who had migrated to Mexico City after many years heading the Living Theatre at La Mama in the East Village. Her contemporaries included her longtime partner Gregorio Rocha (co-director of two of the films in this series), the cinematographer Emmanual “Chivo” Lubezki (THE NEW WORLD, CHILDREN OF MEN) and video producer and theorist Pola Weiss (who once said “For me, film would be the epic; television, the novel; and video art, poetry.”) Minter’s video works are bitter, unforgettable dispatches from the margins of society, drawn in opposition to the tropes and food chains of TV documentary and theatrical distribution; she later experimented with looped installations shot over the course of many years. This is how she described her approach to video as opposed to film:

“I learned to edit and resolve things technically on my own. Creative and financial independence are very important to me, especially if we remember that in the 1980s there was practically no existing support of any kind. I saw people trying to get things done and it took them ten years to make their next movie. That was basically the panorama. They were all failed attempts, and on top of all that, independent film was totally hermetic… If you got money to film, you had to do it with a high percentage of union workers, and if not, you had to pay replacement fees. And once you’d pulled it off it wasn’t easy to show your work. There weren’t festivals in the same quantity as there are today; in Mexico there were hardly any at all, and there were very few in the rest of the world—it wasn’t easy even for famous people. The only kinds of film that kept getting made were Mexican sex comedies and totally commercial movies, which controlled
< everything.”


INTREPIDOS PUNKS
dir. Francisco Guerrero, 198?.
92 min. Mexico.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – MIDNIGHT

Even without our presentation of Mexican video artist Sarah Minter’s VHS-era punk docufictions NADIE ES INOCENTE and ALMA PUNK, there’s never a bad time to resuscitate Francisco Guerrero’s jawdropping midnight movie epic INTREPIDOS PUNKS, (nor its irrepressible sequel LA VENGANZA DE LOS PUNKS).  This was the original pitch from when INTREPIDOS PUNKS played Spectacle in August 2012:

Described in INTREPIDOS PUNKS is about a sexy apocalyptic biker gang led by a ruthless luchador pushing drugs, racing choppers and killing the police who are helpless to stop them. And partying. Featuring the song “Intrepidos Punks” along with an unabashed rip-off of “Sweet Emotion” that improves significantly upon the original.

“I found this VHS in a box of tapes someone left on the sidewalk. I was surprised it was a cool movie.” – Anonymous, The Internet

“It’s 99.9% certain that this is the most gleefully assaultive display of a misappropriated cultural movement in history, which is by no means a criticism. […] This film isn’t recommended… it’s MANDATORY.” Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film

“It wouldn’t be entirely beyond the pale to say that my entire life has been leading up to the moment I first heard of, then tracked down and watched this overwhelmingly fantastic slice of punk rock exploitation. […] INTREPIDOS PUNKS is a colossal juggernaut, a true giant striding across the landscape of sleazy movies. If you have not seen it, you will notice there’s probably a little hole in your soul. A hole shaped exactly like a busty blonde in a chainmail bikini, sporting gigantic hair and a grenade launcher. Let INTREPIDOS PUNKS plug that hole and finally make you complete.” Teleport City




IT’S A COMPLEX WORLD
dir. Jim Wolpaw
1991, USA
81 minutes

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – 7:30 PM *With Director Q & A!*
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 10 PM

It’s a complex world—so hard for a casual guy like me—or so goes the dead-pan hook of The Young Adults’ signature 1979 single, a local Rhode Island hit that encapsulates the mid-’70s art-school wastoid scene from whence, say, the Talking Heads (whose David Byrne once auditioned to be a member of the band) emerged. “Complex World” doubled as the unofficial theme song for the first Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, a popular nightclub destination in downtown Providence, and one of the few dive bars in America legendary enough to have an anarchic feature-length comedy made in its honor.

In the vain of regional cinema (like a madcap cousin of Eagle Pennell’s LAST NIGHT AT THE ALAMO) and ’80s New Wave midnight movies, IT’S A COMPLEX WORLD the film takes place over the course of one night at Lupo’s as the whims of a hostile terrorist folk-singer (Stanley Mathis), a neo-fascist presidential candidate (Bob Owczarek), a mercenary biker gang (lead by Captain Lou Albano), street preachers, and more intersect, soundtracked by local color The Young Adults. Keep your eye out, too, for appearances by NRBQ and Roomful of Blues.

Though The Young Adults are not quite a household name outside of the Ocean State, their influence was significant. The Fabulous Motels, an earlier incarnation, launched the career of Charles Rocket (of Saturday Night Live and DUMB AND DUMBER) while Rudy Cheeks was cast in the Farrelly Brothers’ later Rhode Island picture ME, MYSELF AND IRENE. A documentary about the group’s 9-day sold-out stint as the backing band for Bo Diddley is captured in the 1978 short COBRA SNAKE FOR A NECKTIE—it will screen alongside COMPLEX WORLD on February 16th, following a Q&A with director Jim Wolpaw.

Special short for 2/16 screening:
COBRA SNAKE FOR A NECKTIE: BO DIDDLEY AND THE YOUNG ADULTS
dir. Jim Wolpaw
1978, USA
28 minutes

B-SCHEMES FROM SOUTH AFRICA (PART 2)

In partnership with Gravel Road Distribution, Spectacle is thrilled to exhibit a handful of deep cuts from the heyday of South African blaxploitation cinema, excavated and restored by Cape Town-based Retro Afrika Bioscope. Many of these were developed under a government subsidy spearheaded by one Tonie van der Merwe, the white owner of a construction company who realized there was an opportunity to produce and screen inexpensively made genre films in impoverished Black townships. (In a 2015 Guardian interview, van der Merwe said, “We used all of my equipment as props. My diggers. My airplane. My cars.”)

The ensuing “B-Schemes” are complicated: they star entirely Black casts, yet the movies are apolitical genre thrillers, melodramas, adaptations of South African novels – Van Der Merwe himself is estimated to have worked on nearly 400 of them, a quarter of what was produced until the end of the white-supremacist regime in 1990. Here’s how Bevis Parsons, director of CHARLIE STEEL described the “B-Scheme” pipeline:

“Distribution was informal to say the least in that a film copy was supplied to an independent (Black) distributor who drove into the countryside far from large cities with a small pick-up truck with a projector, a generator and a portable screen. Posters were usually put up at the rural school and films were generally shown for one night only before moving on to the next venue. I know this sounds primitive but at the time there was little or no infrastructure to do otherwise. Ticket stubs were returned to us to claim subsidies on each movie and these returns were carefully audited by the department of Trade and Industry, which oversaw the B-scheme subsidy.”

Retro Afrika Bioscope is dedicated to saving, restoring and distributing these films worldwide, including making each of them available streaming on their website.



UMBANGO
(THE FEUD)
dir. Tonie van der Merwe, 1986
68 mins.
In Zulu with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 10 PM

The 1986 western UMBANGO is a lovingly crafted spaghetti-style epic, and probably the most ambitious B-Scheme in this series; van der Merwe’s pulse-pounding closeups on hands gripping revolvers and eyes squinting in harsh desert sunlight demonstrate him as a keen student of filmmakers like John Sturges and Sergio Leone. Such as it is, the plot follows a ruthless cowboy-businessman with a Hitler moustache named Kay Kay, who wages total war on two drifters named Jet and Owen after mistakenly accusing them of killing his brother. The two friends – heretofore inoffensive cowpokes – must defend themselves against KK’s cadre, but at what cost? Like Moustapha Alassane’s 1966 short film THE RETURN OF THE ADVENTURER – wherein a young African man returns to his home village with a trunk full of gallon hats, leather chaps, pistols and bandanas, upending centuries-old tribal dynamics in a few broad Western strokes – UMBANGO plays like a dispatch from another world.



CHARLIE STEEL
Dir. Bevis Parsons, 1984
80 mins.
In Afrikaner English with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 – 10 PM

Building on the momentum of JOE BULLET, Bevis Parsons’ CHARLIE STEEL plays like a page-turner in the spirit of E.M. Crumley or Charles Willeford, staring Sol Rachilo as a down-but-never-out private dick named CHARLIE STEEL. When the daughter of Charlie’s friend Dlamini is kidnapped by small-time hoods working under a mobster named Sonny, Charlie must infiltrate their inner circle in a daring attempt to bust her out – leading to a nailbiting showdown-cum-road trip in the forest outside Sonny’s headquarters. CHARLIE STEEL’s best moments are triumphs of no-frills, on-the-fly genre filmmaking. Despite some rough-hewn line deliveries and Parsons’ near-claustrophobic reliance on a handful of locations, the film plays it straight – climaxing in shocking acts of violence (ala JOE BULLET & BULLET ON THE RUN), AND buoyed by an unforgettable psych-rock soundtrack that screams out for a vinyl rerelease.



LOLA
Dir. Brett Owen, 198?
75 mins.
In Xhosa with English subtitles.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – 7:30 PM

Brett Owen’s LOLA is the quietest of the B-Schemes presented in this series, concerning a volleyball team and its star player Lola (Constance Shangase) who must address a challenged proffered by a rival team. Shangase’s warm performance and the lilting group dynamics of the volleyball team make for a warm slice-of-life dramedy about a kind of social circle (complete with agonizing group discussions and a great makeshift nightclub scene) perhaps never before depicted onscreen, all-the-while asking a foundational question: Can LOLA have it all?



FRIDAY’S GHOST
dir. ????, 19??
72 mins.
In Zulu with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 10 PM

A paranormal chiller-comedy in the tradition of TRULY MADLY DEEPLY, THE LAKE HOUSE, WHITE NOISE, GHOST, FREQUENCY, STIR OF ECHOES and BEETLEJUICE, (director unknown)’s FRIDAY’S GHOST follows three friends – Simon, Friday and Ntombi – who come to terms with the fact that the house formerly owned by Simon’s late father is haunted by a ghost (albeit a genial-enough one, who kinda just looks like the deceased, albeit in facepaint and a bedsheet.) A local thug named Rufus with an unbeatable wardrobe becomes obsessed with Ntombi, and the trio must inevitably conquer their fear of the ghost in order to unlock an important lesson from the other side to preserve the family home and/or Ntombi’s dignity.



JOE BULLET
dir. Louis de Witt, 1973
79 mins.
In Afrikaner English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – MIDNIGHT

The first South African film with an all-Black cast, JOE BULLET was shown twice before it was banned by government censors – producer Van der Merwe would later say that “in those days, it was taboo for a black man to have a firearm.” Anchored by the steely yet mega-charismatic performance of Ken Gampu, JOE BULLET is an apartheid-era answer to SHAFT and SUPERFLY, a must-see for any connoisseur of international action cinema. Gampu plays Joe as a karate master with a cocky sneer, an indefatigable wardrobe and an uncanny grip on logistics; his supervision of the safety of the neighborhood soccer team (The Eagles) runs him afoul of mobsters who want to bump off the top players, thus preventing the team from winning the championship. A number of run-ins ensue, dazzling miniature set pieces blending wooden acting with hushed asskicking (martial arts and otherwise), and fascinating snatches on-location naturalism. Among Gampu’s claims to fame was convincing the racist Afrikaner government to allow a stage performance of OF MICE AND MEN; he would later star in films including ZULU DAWN, Cornel Wilde’s THE NAKED PREY and THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY.



BULLET ON THE RUN
dir. Tonie van der Merwe, 1982
90 mins.
In Afrikaner English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – MIDNIGHT

This time, Bullet stakes his reputation on the line by infiltrating one of South Africa’s toughest prisons to unfold the mystery of a police corruption ring lorded over by a mob boss known only as “Snake”, with whom Bullet has deep – and bitter – roots. What initially starts as a funky shoot-em-up goes full courtroom drama, crime procedural and finally becomes an archetypal prison film, as Bullet must band together with other ripped-off inmates to fight Snake’s minions. BULLET ON THE RUN expands the world of the first film, including more elaborate stunts, and setting Joe up with a bashful folk singer named Patience (Thandi Mbongwe). As in JOE BULLET, the blood is neon-fluorescent while every moment of violence (including car chases, a dam crossing, one character getting sand thrown in their eyes, another falling backwards and hitting their head on a rock) lands with jarring brutality.

SIERANEVADA

SIERANEVADA
dir. Cristi Puiu, 2016
173 mins. Romania.
In Romanian with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13 – 6:30 PM with introduction from Dorian Branea of the Romanian Cultural Institute
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16 – 5 PM
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Cristi Puiu (THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU) sets his immersive 2016 dark comedy SIERANEVADA in the week following the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris; in the film’s world, it’s also 40 days since the death of Emil, the patriarch of a Romanian family now led, if begrudgingly, by a gruff, hangdog dentist named Lary (Mimi Brănescu). Puiu’s film follows Lary while he attempts to navigate the build-up to his father’s memorial ceremony, wherein siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and neighbors will congregate in the family’s old Bucharest walk-up to say goodbye. On top of the 40-day wait, Emil’s farewell meal requires the blessing of an Orthodox priest, a spindly old man who, like Lary’s mother and grandmother, has survived the Communist regime of the infamous dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.

While the priest fails to appear, stomachs begin to grumble, and the act of going through with an ancient honorary rite of passage causes each member of this semi-functional family to cast their own aspersions – on the ritual, the deceased, and (maybe most crucially) on the murky path forward in Emil’s absence. Long-buried fault lines between relatives reveal themselves with each anxious sip of wine, but Lary endures it all with good-enough humor: interminable philosophical debates with an obsessed 9/11 truther, his womanizing uncle, a self-destructive teen cousin and her zonked-out friend, and his wife Laura’s (Cătălina Moga) palpable disenchantment, the reasons for which remain a mystery for much of Puiu’s duration.

Claustrophobic, caustic, and surprisingly moving, SIERANEVADA does not unfold in real time, but it feels close enough: 150 of its 173 minutes take place in Emil’s apartment, whose rooms we see only when one character needs to pull another aside to confide in nervous whispers. Puiu and his cinematographer Barbu Bălăsoiu masterfully toggle between naturalistic set pieces of breathless interpersonal drama, and moments of melancholy that border on fleeting reveries; good luck finding another movie from the last few years that so skillfully enmeshes the sacred and the profane without betraying the accuracy of its workaday details.

Praised as one very greatest films of the past few years, SIERANEVADA is still without U.S. distribution. Spectacle is pleased to host these limited edition holiday-time screenings of Puiu’s masterpiece, in the tradition of movies that make family and self inseparable, like HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, THE FAMILY STONE or WHEN DO WE EAT? – wherein the tendency towards self-loathing must jut uncomfortably against the fact that on these hallmark occasions, family is everything.

Presented thanks to the generous collaboration of the Romanian Cultural Institute.

“A bewildering, bitter, and amusing affair, as is family life; in fact, the film’s scale, in which long arguments extinguish themselves only to flame up again at the opening of a door, resembles lived experience much more closely than a moral tale, or one signifying nothing. A study of the walking wounded, it does not distinguish between the politics of parenting and patria, suggesting that change—and stagnation—is possible in both.”Elina Alter, BOMB

“Few films have made food look so unappetizing.”David Bordwell, Observations on Film Art

“From time to time we catch sight of a baby being cared for behind a succession of quickly opening and closing doors. Lary’s younger sister, Sandra (Judith State), slaves away in the kitchen while their mother, Nusa (Dana Dogaru), rules over the proceedings with practiced testiness. To single out more of the characters individually would seem almost inappropriate, not because they aren’t vivid screen presences (they are), but because they so seamlessly achieve the hectic, sprawling intimacy and spontaneity of a family unit in motion. This is ensemble acting of a remarkably high order.”Justin Chang, Variety

“Whether or not one finds this basic set-up hilarious or hard-going (or “taxing,” to quote Variety) may be a matter of cinematic taste or else familiarity with the pain and drag of family rituals… The incompatible worldviews of these people as they make small talk are one thing; it’s the clashing priorities and agendas that underlie the kibitzing—everything from the best way to memorialize Emil to the infinitely more delicate question of whether it’s okay to graze on hors d’oeuvres in the meantime—that catalyze scattered and accumulating outbursts of verbal-bordering-on-physical violence.”Adam Nayman, Reverse Shot

“It’s like Seinfeld, but on DMT.” – Steve Macfarlane, LiveJournal

ORDERS


ORDERS
dirs. Eric Marsh and Andrew Stasiulis, 2017
106 mins. United States.

*NYC PREMIERE*
*FILMMAKERS IN PERSON*

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30th – 7:30 PM (Q&A with film critic Vikram Murthi) + 10 PM w/Q&A

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1 – 7:30 PM (Q&A with film critic Vadim Rizov)
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2 – 7: 30 PM
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TIX
FB EVENT

“Don’t never volunteer for nothing.” – A soldier’s mother

Even if the Trump Administration abandoned their plans for a North Korea-style military parade this November, Spectacle is pleased to close the year out with a NYC PREMIERE PRESENTATION of Andrew Stasiulis and Eric Marsh’s ORDERS. After a jawdropping opening salvo that “brings the war home” to the quintessential American cul-de-sac while sowing schizoid confusion, ORDERS follows the travails of one PFC Fagen (Keith D. Gallagher) in the suburbs of Chicago, a domestic theater of combat where the enemy is perhaps even more elusive than Over There. Without a facile retelling of the United States’ forever-wars, or the wholesale repackaging of the same vehicles and weapons to local police forces, Stasiulis and Marsh’s film becomes a reflection on the military-industrial complex that’s absurdist yet genre-bound, the filmmakers at once acknowledging and interrogating their clear debts to the heyday of American macho cinema – Ford, Fuller, Kubrick, Mann, et al. The same goes for the eternal tropes of soldierdom: dead-eyed and hollowed-out, Fagen’s botched flirtations with martyrdom begin to look inevitable. Described by its makers as “a ghost story in digital camouflage”, ORDERS finds itself no less topical today than when Marsh and Stasiulis  set to work during the first Obama Administration. They forgo a readymade plot setup to tie it all together (or the anticipated “it was all a dream” framing device), instead letting the film become a Black Lodge-style liminal interlude, a deep dive into the unholy commingling of war and cinema. Ambitious in scope, startling in accomplishment, ORDERS is a rarity among independent features: a dizzying logistical accomplishment that also doubles down on a unique, idiosyncratic approach.

“Marsh and Stasiulis fill up their film with abandoned, haunted suburban textures: mildew-spatter on a garage door, an empty flower bed surrounded by dry-rotted railroad ties, the spaces that empty out as American home life knots ever-tighter around the glowing screen at its center. It’s the perfect place from which to speak on drifting monotony and forgottenness, the status quo of the film’s addled men.” – Jonathan Kieran, NoBudge

“One of the best, boldest debuts I’ve seen in a long time.” – Filmmaker Stephen D. Cone (HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, PRINCESS CYD)

ANDREW STASIULIS was raised in Bensenville, Illinois (Forbes Magazine’s “Fastest Dying Town in America”, 2008). He tried and failed to join the Communist Party when he was 13 years old. Following this setback he retreated into James Bond movies and eventually pursued his education in film, receiving a BA in Cinema Production from DePaul University and a Masters in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh. Joining DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts as faculty in 2011, Andrew’s current academic research explores the phenomena of the combat image and the ontology of the cinematic experience. In addition to his teaching, Andrew is a filmmaker interested in post-structural approaches and guerrilla tactics.

ERIC MARSH is a filmmaker and lifelong Chicagoan. He received a BA and MFA in cinema production from DePaul University, where he is currently an adjunct professor in the School of Cinematic Arts. Since 2004 Eric has worked as a director, writer, editor, and producer of short films and music videos. In 2009 he completed his first feature film, FRONTWARDS, a micro-budget road trip comedy that no one saw. When Eric isn’t making, going to, or teaching movies he moonlights as a video essayist, sportswriter, and DJ.

VIKRAM MURTHI
is a film critic based in Brooklyn who has contributed to such publications as The A.V. Club, Vulture, RogerEbert.com, The Film Stage, and Rolling Stone.

VADIM RIZOV is Droopy Dog on Twitter.

BURNING AN ILLUSION with Menelik Shabazz

BURNING AN ILLUSION
dir. Menelik Shabazz, 1982
United Kingdom. 100 mins.
In English.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY! Menelik Shabazz IN PERSON for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

ONLINE TIX
FB EVENT

“I was 22. Not doing too bad. I had my own flat, a steady job. But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to settle down. Somehow, though, I never seemed to meet anybody I could really feel – you know what I mean?”

Ahead of a broader survey of Caribbean cinema in 2019, Spectacle is thrilled to invite trailblazing filmmaker Menelik Shabazz to our humble microcinema for a one night only presentation of his landmark 1982 drama BURNING AN ILLUSION. The second British film by a director of color (the first being Horace Ové’s equally seminal PRESSURE), ILLUSION centers on the life of a twentysomething Brit named Pat (Cassie McFarlane), born to parents from the famous Windrush generation – wherein thousands of Caribbean and West Indian migrants came to the United Kingdom between 1948 and 1971. Pat finds herself torn between imperfect options when she falls in love with Del (Vic Romero), a hotheaded toolmaker who has difficulty keeping steady work.

As the film’s scope moves beyond their meet-cute to include Pat’s struggles with sexism and police racism, McFarlane’s moving lead turn anchors the film (and audience) in a quietly riveting drama of the day-to-day. BURNING AN ILLUSION deserves a slot alongside Britain’s social-realist “kitchen sink” dramas like THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER and A TASTE OF HONEY. Shabazz’ film is a vibrant depiction of working class life in the Thatcher Era slowly coming into a rightful second renown – not just as a landmark but as a classic too.

Barbados-born, MENELIK SHABAZZ is an internationally acclaimed and multi-award director and producer. He has worked in the British film industry for over 35 years in both documentary and fiction. He has produced work for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and is also a key pioneer in the development of contemporary black British cinema. He is best known for BURNING AN ILLUSION, which continues to be shown and taught in universities. His BBC2 drama/doc CATCH A FIRE won the Prized Pieces/National Black Programming Consortium Award (1996/USA.) More recently, Shabazz’ feature-length documentary THE STORY OF LOVER’S ROCK won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Trinidad International Film Festival in 2012, after becoming one of the highest-grossing documentaries in British cinemas the year before. Shabazz’ most recent work is the feature documentary LOOKING FOR LOVE, about black love, relationships and sex in the UK.

👻 SPECTACLE AND 16MM, TOGETHER AGAIN 👻

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31 – 8 PM
ONE NITE ONLY! 16MM!

!?!?!?
dir. ?????
19??, ?? mins.
In English (????).

Ahhh, Halloween night: also known as All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Hallowmas and, for those of us lucky enough to live in the Big Apple, “Straight Pride Day”. Back when a certain subversive zombie classic still belonged in the public domain, Spectacle proudly hosted an annual October 31st screening as a public service, a respite from the undying procession of Premature Santas, Sexy Trumps and pumpkin-spice vomit hurricanes scaring the living hell out of Bedford Avenue. Even if those days are long-deceased, we still want to do little something special to celebrate our favorite holiday – “special” being a flexible and perhaps unhelpful word for the secret feature in question, a damnable horror-comedy mashup nobody involved in this ONE NITE ONLY SPECIAL 16MM SCREENING has ever actually seen. Pair that with some haunted house noises, a few rare one-reel educational frighteners, maybe a cartoon or two… and join us to find out how well it spooks.

SPECTO8ER: MEET THE NEW EVIL, SAME AS THE OLD EVIL


ROAD MEAT
dir. Bill Bragg, 1988
76 minutes. Ohio.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3 – 10:00 PM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22 – 7:30 PM
and
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27 – 10:00 PM [*Q&A* w/ Bill Bragg (dir), Vicky Walsh, & Kim Akins]
($10)
ONLINE TICKETS
FB EVENT

Special thanks to Jon Dieringer and director Bill Bragg.

Two lunatics, Nick and Vick, celebrate their wedding day at the local asylum like any couple would – by kicking off a killing spree in style (with a gonzo, saxed-out theme song behind them.) After running a man down the two lovebirds hit the trail leaving the bodies of hitchhikers, fast-food employees, and local bowling champions in their wake. That is, until the duo cross paths with an old woman in the midst of a run-in with a creepy cult. After saving her, Nick and Vick find out she’s being set up by her son who wants to take all of her money. She takes them back to her house and the three hatch a devious plan…

With the vast catalog of cinema at one’s fingertips in 2018, the hunt for lost films often leads to dead-ends, headaches, and heartbreak. But sometimes, with a little luck and a lot of elbow grease, there’s still treasures to be found. Such is the case with 1988’s gore/comedy ROAD MEAT. In it’s sparse mentions around the World Wide Web this slice of homemade Ohio goodness only gets mentioned in hushed tones and is often cited as “unfinished.”

Directed by Bill Bragg, starring Nick Baldasare (THEY BITE), with DP duties by Spec favorite Jay Woelful (BEYOND DREAM’S DOOR) ROAD MEAT was all but a rumor for almost 30 years. While the only remaining 16mm print is being scanned for an upcoming blu-ray release we’re proud to present a version that absolutely no one knew existed – an alternate cut (peppered with extra scenes to entice would be distributors) from the 3/4″ video master provided by the director himself.

Poster by Charles Gergley (by way of Pettibon): available on Etsy



AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL
(A MEIA-NOITE LEVAREI SUA ALMA)

Dir. José Mojica Marins, 1964
Brazil. 84 minutes.
In Brazilian Portuguese with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, OCTOBER 15 – 10:00 PM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26 – 10:00 PM

“What is Life? It is the Beginning of Death. What is Death? It is the end of life. What is existence? It is the continuity of blood. What is blood? It is the reason to exist!” So ushers in both the twin obsessions of death and progeny in the cinema of Zé do Caixão, and the first incarnation of Brazilian horror cinema. José Mojica Marins entered into the iconographic canon a figure who is both constructed of pieces from other famous monsters and a wholly original, idiosyncratic, definitively Brazilian figure who has yet to be duplicated (possessing the most disgusting nails you’re likely to come across).

With Marins’ third film, AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL, we are immediately familiarized with a fully-formed icon: the dreaded Zé do Caixão, whose reign of terror over the small mountain town in which he resides carries with it the certainty that the man is aided by the unnameable forces of evil.Operating on Nietzchean levels of religious irreverence and self-preservation, Zé’s main concern is the securement of an heir, an end in which the fury of his conviction knows no bounds. Cruel sadism defines his interactions with nearly person he comes across, acts aided by his diverse repertoire of violent methods, including his sheer strength, fueled by disdain (more often than not in misogynistic iterations), tarantulas and other creepy crawlies, and the manipulation of fear on display in all of Zé do Caixão’s appearances.While nothing in the diegesis explicitly reveals Zé’s powers to be sourced in the devil, the dark surrealism of Marins’ mise-en-scene never allows the film to leave the precarious position it holds on the edge of the supernatural.

Read over the years as an allegory for Brazilian military repression, a queer text, an epitome of paracinema, and countless other fields of discourse, AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL undoubtedly kicks off one of cinema’s most singular visions of an extended universe, held together by the essentially DIY ethic and “dirty screen” aesthetic that defines much of the Brazilian underground, a movement for which Spectacle holds nothing but whole-hearted admiration.

Content advisory – This film contains scenes of traumatic violence committed against women. While we believe these acts are dramatized with a critical perspective, we realize the adverse affect seeing such imagery potentially has on viewers.



NEXT OF KIN
dir. Tony Williams, 1982
92 mins. Australia.

*U.S. PREMIERE OF THE REMASTERED VERSION!*
MONDAY, OCTOBER 1 – 10:00 PM
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6 – 7:30
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11 – 10:00 PM
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27 – 7:30 PM

Directly between a slow burn haunting and a black-gloved giallo slasher sits NEXT OF KIN, Tony Williams’ grossly underseen (and hard to find) Australian horror film.

Linda Stevens has just inherited the Montclare estate, now functioning as a retirement home for the elderly, from her estranged and recently deceased mother. Shortly after moving in, strange things start to happen – taps turning on by themselves, power blowing out, a strange figure at the edge of the woods– and then one of the tenants is found dead in a bath. Linda searches for answers in her mother’s diary and finds startling similarities between the entries and the strange phenomena. Is Linda losing her mind, or is something deeply wrong with the Montclare house?

Favoring a thick mood over gore, though its not without its moments, it feels something like Peter Weir by way of Dario Argento. Featuring Ozploitation regular John Jarratt (WOLF CREEK) and a killer pulsing synth score by Klaus Schulze (coming off a brief stint in TANGERINE DREAM), NEXT OF KIN is a moody nightmare well worth a fresh look.


Poster by Tyler Rubenfeld! Available on Etsy



THE EVIL
dir. Gus Trikonis, 1978
89 mins. United States.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 1 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19 – 10:00 PM
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, OCTOBER 29 – 10:00 PM

 

Just when you thought you’d seen every ‘house built over a portal to hell’ flick, along comes Gus Trikonis’ THE EVIL.

Dr John Arnold and his wife Caroline have just purchased the Civil War-era Vargas mansion, with plans to turn it into a modern rehab center. As a motley crew of students and patients pile in to clean out the house, a ghostly presence makes itself known. Caroline tries to warn John, but the no-nonsense, all-logic, capital D-doctor will hear none of it.Of course it isn’t long before someone unlocks the portal to hell, night descends and the demonic force locks them in. Will any of them escape the grasp of THE EVIL???

Directed by Gus Trikonis (Indio in the original WEST SIDE STORY) and featuring earthquakes, at least two more electrocutions than you’d expect, and no less than one instance of a wire-gag-made-visible-by-remaster, this is the THE HAUNTING / THE SENTINEL mashup you didn’t know you needed.


MARQUIS
Dir. Henri Xhonneux. 1989
78 mins. France.
In French with English subtitles.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2 – 10:00 PM
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6 – MIDNITE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 – 10:00 PM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26 – MIDNITE

Clumped in your history book between the chapters on French Revolution and pioneering 18th century erotic fiction grows a horny, pornographic mold called MARQUIS.

Immersed in a world in which uncanny animal masks mirror the spirit of the character within, a canine Marquis de Sade serves a prison sentence for allegedly raping the bovine Justine… but the situation may be more complicated than it seems. In between bouts of banter with his anthropomorphic, meter-long penis Colin, the Marquis gets down to writing a few of his more infamous scenes—many depicted in surreal claymation. Before too long the Revolution has begun, but where will it leave the Marquis?

Co-written by Henri Xhonneux and Roland Topor—animator of 1973′s inimitable surrealist classic FANTASTIC PLANET — MARQUIS’s bizarre tone swings at will between irreverent perversion and clear-headed satire, never failing to entertain and utterly confound.

“This is one of the strangest movies I have ever seen. I found it to be discomforting and just weird. It makes you squirm in your seat and wonder what the people making this are like in real life. It’s definitely entertaining and it sort of sucks you in, especially if you don’t know French and have to read subtitles. It is certainly not American and it is certainly very peculiar. I have never seen a movie where everyone is wearing life-like animal costumes and acting like humans in very abnormal ways. This movie gives me the chills. However, I would watch it again just because it is so fascinatingly WEIRD.”IMDB user ‘ethylester’

“NOT FOR THE PRUDISH.” -Variety

HORROR HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 5
dir. Richard Casey, 1985
Ohio. 91 mins.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4 – 10:00 PM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19 – MIDNITE

“They were young, and in love. He was crazy. She was dead.”

Trigger. Nazis. Nixon. Trigger. Nixon. Murder. Killer. Horror. Nixon. Kidnap. Reagan. Murder. Terror. Horror. Future. Torture, Murder. Never.


INVASION OF THE GIRL SNATCHERS
(aka THE HIDAN OF MAUKBEIANGJOW)
dir. Lee Jones, 1973
Kentucky. 93 mins.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10 – 10:00 PM
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27 – MIDNITE

“Nice glyphs!”

New wave parody? Secret truth about UFOs? Stoned goof? INVASION OF THE GIRL SNATCHERS is all three and more to boot. Made using some of the same sets, equipment and crew as the William Girdler scuzz-epic THREE ON A MEATHOOK, this film was originally titled THE HIDAN OF MAUKBEIANGJOW (Hidan meaning “high place”) by Don Elkins and Carla Rueckert, two UFO researchers (see http://www.llresearch.org/default.aspx for more info) asked by director Lee Jones (who produced Supervan, Grizzly and Honey Britches) to write any script they wanted so long as it had sex and violence. With befuddled aliens, tracking devices hidden in bras, a safecracker named Freddie Fingers, body-switching, topless sorcery and more, GIRL SNATCHERS is like a zero budget MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE with metaphysical digressions, goofball puns and a lovely rural Kentucky quality that puts more self-conscious parodies to shame.