Category: Midnights

AUGUST MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5:  Aachi & Ssipak
SATURDAY, AUGUST 6:  He Walked By Night

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12:  Maneater
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13: Crying Freeman

FRIDAY, AUGUST 19:  He Walked By Night
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20:  Maneater

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26:  Crying Freeman
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27:  Aachi & Ssipak


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AACHI & SSIPAK
Dir. Jo Beom-jin, 2006.
South Korea, 88 min.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 – MIDNIGHT

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Rude, but very smart and funny, with extremely fast-paced animation that’s slick and distinctive, Aachi & Ssipak (2006) follows its eponymous petty crooks as they try to get rich in a world where feces is money. Literally.

It’s an action “Buddy Movie” from another dimension—as if Gary Panter, Takeshi Miike and Paul Verhoeven collaborated on a Hope & Crosby flick: “The Road to Shit City.” Aachi is the short one, with more plans than brains, and Ssipak is the big, bald bruiser who thinks with his fists—and he’s fallen hopelessly in love with a wannabe-porn starlet, the very pneumatic Beauty (who’s much smarter than our heroes, and belongs next to Jessica Rabbit or Tex Avery’s Red Hot Riding Hood in the Sexy Cartoon Bombshell Hall of Fame). After her anal-chip is tampered with, Beauty becomes the “MacGuffin” of this movie, the object everyone will kill for.

It seems the rulers of the future need human excrement for both fuel and building materials, and in exchange for each dump, citizens with an implant get one delicious and mind-altering “juicybar.” But these yummy narco-popsicles are so addictive that some people are turned into blue mutant dwarves, the “Diaper Gang”—who cause chaos with their juicybar raids and demands to rule society. “Did they appreciate us for our crap!?!” bellows the megalomaniacal Diaper King rhetorically as he calls for rebellion.

A government that would stick ID-chips up people’s rectums would do anything to maintain power, and so have unleashed a sadistic and homicidal cyborg to enforce their draconian alimentary laws by slaughtering the Diaper Gang wantonly.

When sleazeball porno-producer Jimmy’s plan for Beauty’s “magical anus,” uh, backfires, all these forces are aimed at each other in a pulse-pounding climax that rips off—and totally improves on the coal-car chase from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Obsessed with defecation but tasteful enough never to show any brown ploppies, Aachi & Ssipak is lysergic speedfreak anime for the mayhem crowd—that’s surprisingly good natured (when it’s not willfully gross or gory). The violence is so excessive and over-the-top, it is hilarious, but (thankfully) explicit scatological scenes are nowhere in sight—which in itself may be a socio-political comment as well… But the movie also has heart: the two hoods care about each other; Ssipak’s love of Beauty is genuine; pathetic Jimmy is funny but human; and even the grotesque Diaper Gang deserves some sympathy—they didn’t ask to be mutated and addicted.

Almost an exhausting movie, and overloaded with delightful eyeball kicks, Aachi & Ssipak is packed with multiple cultural references (including graffiti—keep your eyes open for “Neckface”!), but especially to action films: Structurally, the film is much like Robocop (plenty of rewarding “media blasts”), with tributes/spoofs of John Woo, Hitchcock and Terry Gilliam—as well as countless anime—littered throughout.

This South Korean production combines a tight and twisty script (equal to the best episodes of The Venture Bros. or The Simpsons), with exciting animation (characters look hand-drawn; and the backgrounds are a combo of CGI and hand-painted) to create a crazy, non-stop, almost sacrilegious meta-movie: “An animator isn’t a real director!” screams a character before kicking someone’s face in.

Aachi & Ssipak is hyperactive, but hardly incomprehensible—even when trying to read the subtitles and keep up with frenzied cartooning at the same time—and looks reallygood: The movie reportedly cost only $3.5 million—a low amount for an animated flick (Pixar’s Cars, also released in 2006, cost $120 million)—and every cent is on the screen. But aside from the anarchic 1970s work of Ralph Bakshi, it’s almost impossible to think of Pixar or any other U.S. animator making a film so, ummm, “earthy.”

Like all good B-movies, there’s a metaphorical political message here, but it’s surrounded by so much quasi-exploitative “good stuff,” that even action fans with one-track-minds will be satisfied.

Aachi & Ssipak is manic, unadulterated weirdness that deserves a massive cult following!

WARNING: If the synopsis didn’t give you a hint, this is not a movie for small children or easily-offended adults!


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HE WALKED BY NIGHT
Dir. Alfred Werker (credited) and Anthony Mann (uncredited), 1948.
USA, 79 min.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19 – MIDNIGHT

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The template for Dragnet and a direct inspiration for dozens of police procedurals, HE WALKED BY NIGHT is based on the story of Erwin “Machine Gun” Walker, a WWII vet who began a series of burglaries which resulted in multiple gunfights with police, leading to his arrest in 1946. That role is played in the film by a young Richard Basehart, whose ice-cold performance became his breakout role. Charming at times, brilliant at others, but with a deep sociopathic core, Basehart’s move from vet to safecracker to mad-dog killer prevents the docudrama angle from bogging down. Hunted down by Scott Brady (SHOTGUN SLADE, a million westerns, and a final role as the sheriff in GREMLINS!) and Roy Roberts (basically *every* tv show in the late 50s-60s), we get a look at the details of detective work more in line with Homicide/L&O/CSI than most films of the time, from false leads to confused witnesses.
It’s Alfred Werker’s name as director, but most film historians put the bulk of the work on the shoulders of Anthony Mann (EL CID, WINCHESTER ’73. THE FAR COUNTRY), and fans of his earlier docudramas RAW DEAL and T-MEN will be able to see his influence right away. Fans of LA noir will find a lot to love here, with a dramatic chase through the Los Angeles sewers (later a key location for the film THEM! among a million others), absolutely stunning lighting by cinematographer John Alton, and none other than Jack Webb as lab tech Lee Whitey. Overlooked by too many for too long as an early film with “promise”, HE WALKED BY NIGHT is actually as deeply tense, dark and ambiguous a noir as one could ask for. If that doesn’t sell you, note that chunks of this film were later used in the Lon Chaney Jr. sleeper creeper THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN!



CRYING FREEMAN

Dir. Christophe Gans, 1995
USA, 102 min.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26  – MIDNIGHT

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Adapted from the classic manga by Kazuo Koike and Ryoichi Ikegami and featuring one of the proudest VANCOUVER, B.C. title cards in cinema history, CRYING FREEMAN stars Mark Dacascos as its nominal assassin, a weepy and beautiful slab of a man whose chiseled contours do not go unnoticed by Thomas Burstyn’s wide-canvas cinematography. Working on behalf of “the sons of the dragons”, Freeman exists as a myth haunting Yakuza apparatchiks from night to night, while his romance with a murder witness on their list named Emu (Julie Condra) takes up a significant portion of the movie’s runtime. This being the directorial debut of the man who would go on to direct 2001’s needlessly pizzazz-freighted BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF, CRYING FREEMAN abides over the decades for the scope and poignancy of its big-budget aspirations.

What separates CRYING FREEMAN from other comic adaptations of the late pre-digital cinema epoch is Gans’ piercing command of comic-worthy tableaux, Patrick O’Hearn’s remarkably icy orchestral score, and the film’s otherwise whistle-inducing musculature of production design. The hideous CGI dragons bracketing the opening credits barely taste at what CRYING FREEMAN is able to accomplish on a budget approximately one-sixth that of, say, David Fincher’s SE7EN. Long before you’ve seen a bourbon fireball spewed from one man’s mouth into another’s face over an executive-suite sized table in almost Marilyn Minter-worthy slow motion, you’ll know (or hazily remember) Gans’ insane fugue-state John Woo knockoff for the sublimity that it truly is.

SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER

SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER
Dir. Various.
70 min.

FRIDAY, JULY 8 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20 – 7:30 PM
** 47th anniversary of the faking of the moon landing! **

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SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER!!!!
Get HIGH with this show!

Weren’t we supposed to have astronauts on Mars by now?
Where is the space wheel?
How come the U.S. and Russia don’t have domed cities all across the moon?

Well, it looks that, in regards to the so-called “Conquest of Space,” we sure fucked up.
Mankind’s attempts to touch infinity have all failed, like legendary Icarus, and the mud of the earth will forever be our home, the stars perpetually out of reach. Even the shuttle program is dead, and all R&D is now conducted by plutocrats seeking to save themselves when our sad and pathetic Earth is finally, completely poisoned.

From genuine NASA footage to slick computer graphics to crude claymation, this series of shorts, created to celebrate the 47th Anniversary of the Faking of the Moon Landing, examines the stellar beauty just out of our reach, as well as casting a cosmic eye on the awful behavior humans are sure to take with them into the galactic void. For roughly 70 minutes, 25 short films take the viewer out of this world, sometimes calming the soul—and other times disturbing it.

See the planets dance!
See spaceships fight black holes—and lose!
See humans and aliens interact—poorly!
See how far the IRS will actually go!
See Patti Smith’s secrets about flying saucer!
See more eyeball kicks than stars in the galaxy!
See more things in Heaven and Earth and Mars than are dreamt of in your philosophies!

A show that will blast you off–
It is SPACE: THE F∞KED-UP FRONTIER!!!

JUNE MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, JUNE 3: Wild Beasts
SATURDAY, JUNE 4: Shakma

FRIDAY, JUNE 10: Desperate Teenage Lovedolls
SATURDAY, JUNE 11: Lovedolls Superstar

FRIDAY, JUNE 17: Inseminoid
SATURDAY, JUNE 18: Embryo

FRIDAY, JUNE 24: Wild Beasts
SATURDAY, JUNE 25: DeAundra Peek’s Greatest Hits


WILD BEASTS
Aka Belve Feroci
Dir. Franco Prosperi, 1984.
Italy, 92 min.

FRIDAY, JUNE 3 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, JUNE 24 – MIDNIGHT

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Cahiers du Cinema founder Andre Bazin theorized that montage allowed for homogenous barriers between images, allowing (or perhaps begging) viewers to suspend their notions of disbelief. As an example, he cited the match-cuts between a little boy and a lion in the jungle in an “otherwise mediocre English film” called WHERE NO VULTURES FLY, wherein the distance was suddenly ruptured in a wide-focus master that included both parties in the frame. This question gets a thorough shellacking in WILD BEASTS, a singularly disgusting tale of widespread animal revenge directed by none other than Franco “GOODBYE UNCLE TOM” Prosperi.

WILD BEASTS takes place in a nameless dystopia not so different from any big city today – although the camera goes to a hell of a lot of work to avoid identifying this metropolis as Frankfurt, which is obviously is. Hypercapitalism metes inequality out with remorseless exactitude; Prosperi sees it trickling down the most powerless denizens of any city, the animals held hostage by zookeepers. When a mysterious pile of angel dust-loaded syringes find their way into the city’s sewer water, the prisoners erupt into bloody, pithy, skull-crushing revolution.

Not for the faint (or reasonably healthy, really) of heart, Prosperi’s film is the Mr. Hyde to ROAR’s Dr. Jekyll, which is to say it’s no easier to watch animals suffer in service of a whack-ass international coproduction than a washed-up Hollywood vanity project. Good luck taking the film’s disclaimer that “no animals were harmed in the making of this production” at face value; that said, WILD BEASTS is a thrill ride more for its fakery than its realism. One sequence where two lovers in a parked car are overtaken by lysergic mutant rats becomes a master class in giallo staging far more disgusting than David Lynch’s Dinkins-era anti-rat PSAs for the City of New York, while the inevitable death-embrace of a deranged dog and his bewildered master takes way long to happen to register as anything other than hilarious.


SHAKMA
Aka Terror in the Tower
Dir. Tom Logan / Hugh Parks, 1990.
USA/UK, 101 min.

SATURDAY, JUNE 4 – MIDNIGHT

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“The world’s most aggressive primate just got mad!”

What better time than midnight for a failed experiment? Moments after using a power drill to graft a microchip onto a baboon’s heart, it’s Friday – and so a plucky group of horny and misguided researchers decide to go after-hours LARPing in the lab. Trouble is, the baboon’s heart has been flooded with steroidal enyzmes, and he’s out for revenge.

Leading a sundry cast of lowercase-E expendables, Roddy McDowell lends simian blessings to a gruesome and hardheaded terror-jaunt equal parts “man vs. nature” and haunted house. But the real star is the indestructible SHAKMA, played by a small company of real (and presumably authentically angry) baboons.


DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS
Dir. Dave Markey, 1984.
USA. 50 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, JUNE 21 – 10:00 PM

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“In the way good punk music inspires you to form a band, David Markey’s DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS makes it seem easy and fun to make your own movie.” —L.A. Weekly

DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS was received as an instant cult classic when first released on the Los Angeles punk underground in 1984. Since then, the no budget super 8 film has gained international and aboveground praise. Bunny, Kitty, & Patch (Hilary Rubens, Jennifer Schwartz, & Janet Housden) are three teenage runaways who form the hottest all-girl band of all-time, The Lovedolls. Their meteoric rise to the top from a drug addled street life in Hollywood comes not without a price, thanks to sleazy rock manager, Johnny Tremaine (Steve McDonald). Rival all-girl gang The She Devils and their leader Tanya Hearst (Tracy Lea) have it in for our heroes, as do annoying mothers and psyche ward doctors. The film also features Jeff McDonald, Phil Newman, Vicki Peterson, Annette Zilinskas & Dez Cadena. Directed by David Markey, the saga is continued in the 1986 sequel LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR.


LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR
Dir. Dave Markey, 1986.
USA. 90 min.
In English.

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY, JUNE 19 – 7:30 PM

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The 2004 restored Directors Cut of the 1986 sequel to DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS, LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR which features the return of the beloved all-girl band The Lovedolls from their untimely demise. Patch Kelley (Janet Housden) is now Patch Christ, the leader of a religious cult who rescues Kitty Karryall (Jennifer Schwartz) from a boozy, wasted life. They recruit Sunset Boulevard hooker Alexandria “Cheetah” Axethrasher (Kim Pilkington) to replace the murdered Bunny Tremelo (Hilary Rubens). Rainbow Tremaine (Steven McDonald), from the Freedom School in New Mexico ventures to Hollywood only to discover his twin brother Johnny committed suicide after taking The Lovedolls to the top. Tracy Lea also returns, portraying the mother of She Devils’ slain leader Tanya Hearst, Patricia Ann Cloverfield. Meanwhile obsessed fanatic Carl Celery (Jeff McDonald) lives in his own world of Lovedoll worship, only to carry out an assassination of Brews Springstien (Jordan Schwartz). With special guest appearances by Vicki Peterson (Bangles), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) & Sky Saxon (The Seeds). With major rocking by Redd Kross, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Dead Kennedys, & more! You can’t kill a Lovedoll, babe… because Superstars never die!


INSEMINOID
aka Horror Planet.
Dir. Norman Warren, 1981
United Kingdom/Hong Kong. 91 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, JUNE 17 – MIDNIGHT

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“A silent, lifeless world. Until they broke open the underground chamber and discovered in the most vile way imaginable that the planet was not truly dead. That a sleeping life form had been waiting for millennia, needing only a chance to breed before escaping to spread like a foul, devouring disease into the lifeblood of the universe. And to breed it needs the bodies of those who had disturbed it.”

Many minutes watching Norman J. Warren and Run Run Shaw’s space hell gorefest INSEMINOID are spent on the film’s outside, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the breathtaking scope and variety of its (inevitably low-budget) production design and perspicacious use of (all-analog!) lens flare. A crack squad of space archaeologists touch down on a hellish planet of red rock; a member of their crew named Sandy (Judy Geeson) is raped and impregnated by an alien, which overtakes her personality and results in a slasher-style killing spree among the remaining crew. With its agonizingly redundant screenplay and extensive ensemble cast, INSEMINOID is like a sooty cardboard cutout of ALIEN (perhaps by way of ROSEMARY’S BABY): bland, hoary and post-dystopian in its misogyny, Warren’s film is perhaps a misbegotten filmic premonition of the “Sex Colony” coda of Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR…


EMBRYO
aka Created to Kill.
Dir. Ralph Nelson, 1976.
USA. 99 min.

SATURDAY, JUNE 18 – MIDNIGHT

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“The film you are about to see is not all science fiction. It is based upon medical technology which currently exists for fetal growth outside the womb. It could be a possibility tomorrow…or today.”
—Charles R. Brinkmen III, M.D.

Directed by Ralph Nelson (CHARLY, THE WILBY CONSPIRACY), the 1976 sci-trag EMBYRO is a gracefully clunky work of genteel schlock, built on a plot premise of ridiculously bad taste – perfect viewing for America’s favorite patriarchy-themed weekend. Rock Hudson stars as Holliston, a woebegone geneticist who hits a pregnant dog with his car while driving drunk in a downpour. Holliston takes it upon himself to save the injured animal by removing a fetus and using its tissue to keep the mother alive. Emboldened by this discovery, he repeats the experiment with a human embryo – and his “daughter” Victoria ages from there to a beauty-paegant worthy Barbara Carrera in mere days. Soon, however, Victoria begins to see Holliston as a threat, and must take action to preserve her youth and beauty…


DeAUNDRA PEEK’S GREATEST HITS
Dir. Dick Richards, 1988-2004.
USA, 93 minutes.
In English.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 25 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, JUNE 30 – 10:00 PM

GET YOUR TICKETS!

DeAundra Peek (Rosser Shymanski) was the first of a long line of singing sisters featured regularly on Atlanta public access television to break apart from her kin and garner her own exclusive public television show. Produced by FUNTONE USA (producers of RuPaul’s earliest film and music ventures), the character of DeAundra is a perpetual sixteen-year-old musical prodigy and teenage southern belle broadcasting weekly from the community room at Odum’s All-Doublewide Mobile Homes Court in Palmetto, Georgia and featuring DeAundra’s favorite songs, original music videos, fashion tips, community news and recipes, and providing a broadcasting platform for the era’s queer entertainers.

Beginning broadcast in 1988, the DeAundra Peek’s Teenage Music Club show would come to see several different permutations and name changes over the years, until it ended broadcast in 2004, but not before seeing a stage show, a string of musical singles, two commercially released music video compilation tapes, and a feature in the Whitney Museum of American Art. Accessing the FUNTONE archives, we will be presenting a curated retrospective of the DeAundra Peek Teenage Music Club though its various iterations to provide a capsular look at an artist’s legacy in queer public access television.

SPECTOBER MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, SPECTOBER 2: 555
SATURDAY, SPECTOBER 3: WILD SIDE

FRIDAY, SPECTOBER 9: THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS
SATURDAY, SPECTOBER 10: BALLET DOWN THE HIGHWAY

FRIDAY, SPECTOBER 16: HEADLESS EYES
SATURDAY, SPECTOBER 17: THE NIGHT BEFORE

FRIDAY, SPECTOBER 23: MARLEY’S REVENGE: THE MONSTER MOVIE
SATURDAY, SPECTOBER 24: FIFTH ANNUAL SPECTACLE SHRIEK SHOW

FRIDAY, SPECTOBER 30: TROUBLE EVERY DAY
SATURDAY, SPECTOBER 31: COMING SOON


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Massacre Video presents: 555
Dir. Wally Koz, 1988.
90 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 – MIDNIGHT

From The First Annual Spectacle Shriek Show. (2011)

A hippie killer with a sex-fueled, murderous bloodlust is on a rampage and he’s brutally murdering innocent young couples! A nationwide trend of killings with the same m.o. happens to catch the eyes of Detective Haller and Sergeant Connor. Every five years, within five days of each other, the killer strikes! Now it’s up to Haller and Connor to find out who is behind these grisly murders. Who is this crazed, blood thirsty hippie? And more importantly, what is the significance of the third ‘five’?

Written by Roy Koz and directed by Wally Koz, this rare SOV splatter-classic has recently been given the royal treatment by Massacre Video with a DVD, special edition DVD, and an already eBay fodder clamshell.


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WILD SIDE
Dir. Donald Cammell, 1995.
U.S., 110 min. (Director’s cut); 95 min. (Nu Image re-edit)

Nu Image Re-edit
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3 – MIDNIGHT

Director’s Cut
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3 – 10:00 PM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, OCTOBER 26 – 7:30 PM

Donald Cammell’s fourth film in as many decades, the brilliant and berserk WILD SIDE is a beyond-salacious slab of psycho-noir starring Anne Heche as “Alex”, a Long Beach investment banker-cum sex worker for the rich and powerful. Tonight, that means Bruno – a shadowy millionaire money launderer (Christopher Walken, plus wig) – and perhaps also his valet, a sleazy undercover cop by the name of Tony (Steven Hauer, of Scarface fame). Cammell’s signature refracted narrative comes into play when Alex meets Bruno’s wife Virginia (Joan Chen), up-turning audience expectations for late-nite sleaze into a surprisingly tender, psychologically astute, and crushingly desperate queer love story. (There’s also a sublime Ryuichi Sakamoto score, and a concurrent subplot about a virus on a floppy disk that, if it fell into the wrong hands, would bring the western world to its knees.)

After Nu Image Productions wrested control of WILD SIDE away from Cammell and recut the film into the schizoid quasi-porn they thought they had paid for, the filmmaker saw fit to take his own life. In 2000, Kong supervised a painstaking, posthumous recut with editor Frank Mazzola; this October, Spectacle is thrilled to present both the damned and saved versions of WILD SIDE.

“Games are again played with power and identity, dangerous games but not fatal ones this time; if there is one difference between the Cammell of 1968 and of 1995 that stands out above all others, it is the replacement of Artaudian cruelty with an affectionate generosity towards his characters.” – Maximilian Le Cain, Senses of Cinema

“When this film was premiered at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, it was accompanied by a remarkable on-stage talk from Mazzola and Kong, who were able to show extracts from the butchered, and utterly different ‘TV version’: furnishing us with an unmissable masterclass in the realities of film editing and a radical essay in the textual aspects of cinema. I hope that Mr Mazzola and Ms Kong can be persuaded to repeat this lecture all over the country.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


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Lunchmeat VHS Fanzine presents: THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS
Dir. T.L.P. Swicegood, 1966.
63 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9 – MIDNIGHT

From The Spectacle Shriek Show II. (2012)

Two degenerate café owners cook up a depraved alliance with a demented Undertaker and run amok through town on their motorcycles, hacking up hot dames and cleaving craniums. Select portions of the corpses are served up as daily specials at the café and The Undertaker gets to bury the leftovers. But when a pair of local detectives smell something fishy afoot, the trio’s reign of terror runs into some trouble.

One of Lunchmeat Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Josh Schafer’s all-time favorite flicks, this pioneering pitch black comedy is a kitschy slice of pure drive-in delirium that plants its tongue firmly in cheek, then bites it off and spits it out onto a sizzling hot plate ready for you to enjoy. Once you’ve ingested the wacky slab o’ cinema cheeze that is THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS, you’ll never get the taste out of your mouth!

Dig it!


BALLET DOWN THE HIGHWAY
Dir. Jack Deveau
USA, 93 min, 1975

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14 – 10:00 PM
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20 – 7:30 PM

Opposites attract when a New York ballet dancer’s car breaks down on the highway and he is rescued by a closeted truck driver. An ambivalent romance blossoms until he finds the city apartment he shares with his boyfriend, a fellow dancer, filled with horny truckers. Filled with sadness and unrequited longing, BALLET DOWN THE HIGHWAY is directed by Jack Deveau, whose disco-tastic DRIVE screened at Spectacle in 2014.


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Spectacle Midnights presents: HEADLESS EYES
Dir. Kent Bateman, 1971.
78 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16 – MIDNIGHT

From The Third Annual Spectacle Shriek Show. (2013)

You know how it is for starving artists, right? I mean, look at your clothes. Anyway, it used to be even harder! So hard that some of them turned to a life of crime. This is especially true in the case of Arthur Malcolm. Down on his luck, Arthur is caught robbing an apartment and loses his eye in the process. Once he’s healed he’s out on the streets and, brother, he is HEATED. Arthur sets about on a mad killing spree, gouging out the eyes of his victims with a spoon. He collects the eyes for his artwork, you see. This continues for some time with mixed results.

This film was directed by Kent Bateman, father of Jason and Justine, in the streets of a now long gone version of NYC. According to this film, it was a time when a hooker would approach a man covered in blood in the middle of the day in order to turn a trick. The good old days. In addition to this movie being totally batshit insane with a FIERCE mutant soundtrack, it’s a veritable snapshot of a city as nasty as they come. The performances are hammy and intense, like Easter dinner in a mental institution.

Not to be missed!


THE NIGHT BEFORE
Dir. Arch Brown
USA, 72 min, 1973

MONDAY, OCTOBER 12 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20 – 10:00 PM

THE NIGHT BEFORE gets its straightforward gay porn “narrative” out of the way in the first half before getting on with being exceptionally odd and psychedelic. There’s body painting, someone sucking a disembodied cock that appears out of a bowl of fruit, a woman dancing in Central Park for no reason, and if you want to see an orgy scene
where a dildo goes in so deep it comes out someone’s mouth, this film is highly recommended. Also appearing: kittens.


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Horror Boobs presents: MARLEY’S REVENGE: THE MONSTER MOVIE
Dir. Jet Eller, 1989.
83 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23 – MIDNIGHT

From The Fourth Annual Spectacle Shriek Show. (2014)

“I don’t know about you, man, but I’m still huuuuungry.”

Two bozos get picked up by a gang of vigilantes out to scrub the streets of scum after mistaking the men for drug smugglers. The problem is they’re actually smuggling in their aunt and uncle. The four are whisked away to the local island where they murder all the other drug smugglers. You know what though? None of this even matters because once they get to the island things get really out of hand. Zombies rise from the grave, a giant hell monster shows up, and the vigilantes aren’t too pleased either. How will anyone escape this island alive?

Another marathon mainstay and VHS monolith, Horror Boobs has been providing not only marathon fare but midnight fodder at Spectacle for over a decade![citation needed] This years entry is…well, something special indeed.

Featuring a completely new transfer and other goodies. If you saw this at the marathon last year, you still haven’t truly seen it. A house favorite and rare treat!


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TROUBLE EVERY DAY
Dir. Claire Denis, 2001
France, 101 mins.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 – 10:00 PM
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30 – MIDNIGHT

An American doctor (Vincent Gallo) arrives in Paris with his new wife (Tricia Vessey). They are ostensibly on honeymoon, but he is strangely distant and preoccupied with finding a former a colleague. Meanwhile, a French couple live in seclusion, the husband (Alex Descas) both caring for and imprisoning his wife (Béatrice Dalle, exuding a primal power) whose mysterious illness has reduced her to a vehicle for her own bloodlust. Connections between these characters reveal themselves slowly; exposition here is a distant second to a deep sensuality in the truest sense of the word. Denis’ tactile approach to filmmaking is in full effect, the camera mapping out fragile bodies with careful, almost predatory attention, creating a discomfiting sense of intimacy. TROUBLE EVERY DAY is a film felt as much as viewed, and when it reaches its bloody apex, that’s a truly frightening thing.

GHOSTS OF SHRIEK SHOWS PAST

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 – MIDNIGHT: 555
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9 – MIDNIGHT: THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16 – MIDNIGHT: HEADLESS EYES
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23 – MIDNIGHT: MARLEY’S REVENGE: THE MONSTER MOVIE

Since the dawn of time, Spectacle has long been carried on the backs of many a supporter. It’s kind of like that poem Footprints that hung in your grandma’s dorm room. Or better yet, it’s like an ant farm. A cool ass ant farm that shows the best movies you’ve ever seen. To be blunt–Spectacle wouldn’t and couldn’t exist without the often jaw-dropping amount of love we receive from filmmakers, distributors, cinephiles, and (of course) our audience.

In 2011, we held our first ever horror marathon (and last ever sci-fi marathon). Over the course of the next 4 years the marathon would play host to some incredible titles both old and new while laying waste to brains both old and new. Whether you stopped by for the full 12 (sometimes 14) hours or just came for one movie (or maybe you’re the those two dudes who showed up at 2am after the first one who thought it started at midnight instead of noon)–we say thank you.

To celebrate half a decade of marathons we present GHOSTS OF SHRIEK SHOWS PAST. The following titles are hand picked one from each past year to lead into The Fifth Annual Spectacle Shriek Show this year on October 24th. Without the generosity, kindness, and confidence of the following presenters (and others too numerous to cover in this brief post) we wouldn’t be where we are today.

South Third Street Forever.


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Massacre Video presents: 555
Dir. Wally Koz, 1988.
90 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 – MIDNIGHT

From The First Annual Spectacle Shriek Show. (2011)

A hippie killer with a sex-fueled, murderous bloodlust is on a rampage and he’s brutally murdering innocent young couples! A nationwide trend of killings with the same m.o. happens to catch the eyes of Detective Haller and Sergeant Connor. Every five years, within five days of each other, the killer strikes! Now it’s up to Haller and Connor to find out who is behind these grisly murders. Who is this crazed, blood thirsty hippie? And more importantly, what is the significance of the third ‘five’?

Written by Roy Koz and directed by Wally Koz, this rare SOV splatter-classic has recently been given the royal treatment by Massacre Video with a DVD, special edition DVD, and an already eBay fodder clamshell.


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Lunchmeat VHS Fanzine presents: THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS
Dir. T.L.P. Swicegood, 1966.
63 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9 – MIDNIGHT

From The Spectacle Shriek Show II. (2012)

Two degenerate café owners cook up a depraved alliance with a demented Undertaker and run amok through town on their motorcycles, hacking up hot dames and cleaving craniums. Select portions of the corpses are served up as daily specials at the café and The Undertaker gets to bury the leftovers. But when a pair of local detectives smell something fishy afoot, the trio’s reign of terror runs into some trouble.

One of Lunchmeat Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Josh Schafer’s all-time favorite flicks, this pioneering pitch black comedy is a kitschy slice of pure drive-in delirium that plants its tongue firmly in cheek, then bites it off and spits it out onto a sizzling hot plate ready for you to enjoy. Once you’ve ingested the wacky slab o’ cinema cheeze that is THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS, you’ll never get the taste out of your mouth!

Dig it!


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Spectacle Midnights presents: HEADLESS EYES
Dir. Kent Bateman, 1971.
78 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16 – MIDNIGHT

From The Third Annual Spectacle Shriek Show. (2013)

You know how it is for starving artists, right? I mean, look at your clothes. Anyway, it used to be even harder! So hard that some of them turned to a life of crime. This is especially true in the case of Arthur Malcolm. Down on his luck, Arthur is caught robbing an apartment and loses his eye in the process. Once he’s healed he’s out on the streets and, brother, he is HEATED. Arthur sets about on a mad killing spree, gouging out the eyes of his victims with a spoon. He collects the eyes for his artwork, you see. This continues for some time with mixed results.

This film was directed by Kent Bateman, father of Jason and Justine, in the streets of a now long gone version of NYC. According to this film, it was a time when a hooker would approach a man covered in blood in the middle of the day in order to turn a trick. The good old days. In addition to this movie being totally batshit insane with a FIERCE mutant soundtrack, it’s a veritable snapshot of a city as nasty as they come. The performances are hammy and intense, like Easter dinner in a mental institution.

Not to be missed!


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Horror Boobs presents: MARLEY’S REVENGE: THE MONSTER MOVIE
Dir. Jet Eller, 1989.
83 min, USA.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23 – MIDNIGHT

From The Fourth Annual Spectacle Shriek Show. (2014)

“I don’t know about you, man, but I’m still huuuuungry.”

Two bozos get picked up by a gang of vigilantes out to scrub the streets of scum after mistaking the men for drug smugglers. The problem is they’re actually smuggling in their aunt and uncle. The four are whisked away to the local island where they murder all the other drug smugglers. You know what though? None of this even matters because once they get to the island things get really out of hand. Zombies rise from the grave, a giant hell monster shows up, and the vigilantes aren’t too pleased either. How will anyone escape this island alive?

Another marathon mainstay and VHS monolith, Horror Boobs has been providing not only marathon fare but midnight fodder at Spectacle for over a decade![citation needed] This years entry is…well, something special indeed.

Featuring a completely new transfer and other goodies. If you saw this at the marathon last year, you still haven’t truly seen it. A house favorite and rare treat!

SEPTEMBER MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4: MONDO BIZARRO
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5: MONDO FREUDO

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: REVOLT
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12: THE FORBIDDEN

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18: RUBY
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19: THE DEAD DON’T DIE

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25: NINJA WARS


RUBY
Dir. Curtis Harrington, 1977
USA, 84 min.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 – MIDNIGHT
** One night only! **
** Don’t miss this month’s Harrington shorts! **

To call Ruby an EXORCIST/CARRIE knockoff (Piper Laurie starred in both, this film a year after CARRIE, also it’s about possession, which everyone on IMDB knows never appeared in a film before Friedkin) misses the point entirely: rather than being the story of an ostracized teenage girl and her overbearing mother, it’s the story of Ruby, a one-time gangster’s moll turned single mother, drunk and drive-in owner who begins receiving messages from her rubbed-out hood boyfriend through their mute child Leslie. Bodies begin piling up, with employees at the drive-in meeting a series of grisly ends, and Ruby’s ever-tenuous grip on reality slides into madness. Harrington’s love of southern Gothic and period pieces is in full display here, as always more interested in creeping dread than shock. Best known via a TV edit often played on midnight creature features (re-edited and with additional material shot without Harrington’s approval, possibly by Stephanie Rothman, leading to Harrington removing his name from the TV edited version), the copy we’ll be playing is the uncut theatrical version, closest to Harrington’s original vision. Beloved by Leni Riefenstahl, it’s a film only Harrington could have directed.


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THE DEAD DON’T DIE
Dir. Curtis Harrington, 1975
USA, 74 min.
In English

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – MIDNIGHT
** One night only! **
** Don’t miss this month’s Harrington shorts! **

Perdito is dead! His body is merely an instrument through which I speak. The dead are my children!

“Not too long after The Killer Bees was completed, Doug Cramer offered me another Robert Bloch story from the pages of Weird Tales to direct. The Dead Don’t Die was about zombies and took place during the depths of the depression. I was once more back in the period territory of What’s The Matter With Helen?, and I loved it.” -Curtis Harrington, Nice Guys Don’t Live In Hollywood

The 70s was a golden age for TV horror, from tv shows (Night Gallery, Circle Of Fear, Kolchak The Night Stalker) to films like DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, DON’T GO TO SLEEP and BAD RONALD. By 1975, Harrington was well into his TV career, or as he called it, his “slippery slope”. Of his many TV projects, THE DEAD DON’T DIE is among his best, making the most of Harrington’s attention to period piece detail, his taste for the Gothic and his love of casting actors best know from earlier work, with Joan Blondell, Ray Milland and Yvette Vickers (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman) joining George Hamilton all doing great, moody work. It’s a film about as far away from the action-film-pretending-to-be-horror status of the contemporary zombie film, the entire film drenched in timeless night, an occult atmosphere permeating everything, perfectly balanced against the pulpy detective quality of a man seeking to clear his brother’s name descending into witchcraft and madness. By turns chilling, paranoid and absolutely lovely, it’s a perfect demonstration of Harrington’s sullen style in a format which, for a short time at least, proved a suitable pairing. Never released on DVD or Blu-Ray!


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NINJA WARS
Dir. Kôsei Saitô, 1982
Japan, 95 min.
Japanese dubbed in English

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 – MIDNIGHT
** One night only! **

Good fantasy needs some missing pieces. Just as we mumble increasingly nonsensical arguments in bed to prepare ourselves for dreams each night, films that transfer us to another world sometimes need to be defended for their irrationality. Does THE NINJA WARS have a lot in the realm of character development? It really could not have less. Does it need any to make us care about these characters who decide in an instant they love or hate each other? Also no. Is plot often shoehorned into exposition scenes that offer the barest pretext for random groups of men dressed in exotic period costumes to slaughter each other while our main characters wait patiently in the middle of the affray? Yes. But are those fights awesome? Also yes.
THE NINJA WARS is a beautiful film, camera and special effects departments come together and diverge in an elegant counterpoint of daring composition and extreme gore, criteria of excellence Japanese filmmakers have thankfully never thought of separating. It’s also beautifully blocked, thanks to the mechanistic Kabuki aesthetics that give every little movement, of every completely retarded dramatic scene, the same quality of dance as the fights.

There is something like a real story still shining through from novelist Futaro Yamada’s source material. Yamada also wrote the novel that became Oshima’s PLEASURES OF THE FLESH, a much more coherent drama about a misogynist chasing pieces of an ideal woman across various female bodies. The same exchange in WARS has a reverse meaning. The forces of evil need a woman to legitimate their power, she in turn offers them a series of counterfeit versions of her likeness. In the process she is constantly becoming more abstract, losing her head, then her life, then her any identity independent of her twin, ultimately arriving back in her true love’s arms as nothing more than the principle of self-determination, represented by a symbol of Western values, the crucifix. These were principle concerns of Yamada’s, who was famous not only for pulp novels about ninja wars, but also the bitterness of a postwar generation that viewed Japanese society as a “pile of acorns with zero regard for personal independence or uniqueness.” That uniqueness is denied brutally in FLESH, and only regained in WARS as the faintest promise amid overwhelming, violent nonsense.

For the staggering and delirious in our midnight audience, who look to the ninja war genre for simpler satisfactions, we can promise the following: some (limited, but fruitful) screen time for Sonny Chiba, projectile vomiting monks (who can fly), doppelgänger succubi, an impressive variety decapitation scenes, and a love story that does not require any serious attention to the dialogue to enjoy.

MONDO NOWHERE – THE WAY OUT WORLD OF LEE FROST

In 1966 R. Lee Frost was a filmmaker with some nudie cuties (SURFTIDE 77) and Dave Friedman-written roughies (THE DEFILERS) under his belt. He’d spend the year combining pre-existing footage of weirdness around the world with his own high-powered lens examinations of the seedier side of Los Angeles (and beyond) to create three of the stranger examinations of the Mondo film. Episodic, problematic, lurid and ready to swing, these three films offer viewers a peek behind the forbidden curtain to witness scenes they’ve only read about in the tabloids. With re-enactments, staged scenes, and completely out of context clips from European stag reels cut into live documentary footage, it’s a constantly shifting collection between peepshow and freakshow. Generally free of the animal cruelty that marks European mondo films, it was aimed much more toward theaters of the arts like the Pussycat Theater than basement arthouses, during which Frost perfected his use of POV he’d later use in films like ZERO IN AND SCREAM and the Video Nasty Nazi nightmare of LOVE CAMP 7. Those of you who came out for WITCHCRAFT 70 know about Lee Frost’s ability to cut European Mondo into American Smut and will find all three of these films in the same lascivious mode. Welcome to the far side of the peephole! Welcome to MONDO NOWHERE!


MONDO BIZARRO
Dir. Lee Frost, 1966
USA, 76 min.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – MIDNIGHT
** One night only! **


MONDO FREUDO
Dir. Lee Frost, 1966
USA, 76 min.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 – MIDNIGHT
** One night only! **


THE FORBIDDEN
Dir. Lee Frost, 1966
USA, 68 min.
(US edition, modified from the original)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – MIDNIGHT
** One night only! **


AUGUST MIDNIGHTS

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1: AND GOD SAID TO CAIN

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7: TOXIC ZOMBIES
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8: TOXIC ZOMBIES

FRIDAY, AUGUST 14: THE EMBALMER
SATURDAY, AUGUST 15: THE EMBALMER

FRIDAY, AUGUST 21: LASER MISSION
SATURDAY, AUGUST 22: NINJA MISSION

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28: MY CHAUFFEUR
SATURDAY, AUGUST 29: THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH


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AND GOD SAID TO CAIN
Antonio Margheriti, 1970.
96 min. Italy/West Germany.
In German with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1 – MIDNIGHT

In this macabre spaghetti western, the Duke of Delirium, Goth Kinski, gives a rare, heroic and unquestionably leading role as a man released after ten years of wrongful incarceration in a prison labor camp. Once sprung, he meanders his way back to town to get revenge on the men who framed him — one of whom has since become a wealthy and politically powerful land baron with dozens of hired guns on the payroll.

The plot may be traditional, but the movie is anything but: AND GOD SAID TO CAIN is notorious as of the darkest spaghettis ever made, and closer in tone to Italian horror films of the period than traditional westerns. It’s the most accomplished picture of underrated director Antonio Margheriti, best known for gothic horror films like CASTLE OF BLOOD and THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH. CAIN is an effortless synthesis of the two genres: in a largely wordless performance, Kinski assumes an almost phantasmagorical aura, and eerie shootouts take place under moonlight and in churches and candlelit quarters. The film’s baroque, blazing climax — think the of funhouse shootout of THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI restaged in Hell — validates the film’s German title, SATAN DER RACHE — “Satan of Revenge.”

Though AND GOD SAID TO CAIN frequently languishes in washed out transfers in YouTube and public domain purgatory, tonight we’ll show a pristine digital transfer with the German-language soundtrack that preserves Kinski’s original spoken dialog.


TOXIC ZOMBIES
aka Bloodeaters
Dir. Charles McCrann, 1980
USA, 89 min.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 – MIDNIGHT

We return with the second examination of some of the lesser-know films to pop on on Mary Whitehouse’s list of “sadist videos”, criticized for their combination of sex. violence and cruelty. What the Nurse With Wound list was to experimental music weirdoes, the Video Nasty List became a must-see list for those lurking in dingy basement video stores. For contemporary viewers, it’s easy to think of such a list as silly and tame, but it’s worth keeping in mind this list wasn’t really about gutmunching gore effects — for most of these films, it’s the cavalier combination of giddy bloodshed and unrepentant deviancy sneaking into suburban homes any time little Janey and Johnny skipped down to the video rental store. Many of these films are now considered classics (POSSESSION, TENEBRAE, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, THE LAST HOUSE ON YOUR LEFT) while others will still turn even lifetime Fangoria readers green (ANTHROPOPHAHOUS, LOVE CAMP 7, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST), but with the Video Nasty Project we’re taking a look at some of the lesser-known films to appear on the list. Do you dare to watch them all?

Deep in the forest, a group of pot farmers get into a Ruby Ridge situation with some corrupt US agents, who then spray the crops with some kinda psychedelic that turns the farmers into zombies. That’s the setup, but director/writer/actor Charles McCrann (in his only film) isn’t here to give you a ton of backstory: he’s here for zombies in the woods, Romero-style anti-establishment rhetoric and a general vibe that’d sit nicely with BURIAL GROUND or THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE. With all the washed-out grungy deep woods darkness and flanging score you’d expect, we’re delighted to bring you TOXIC ZOMBIES!


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THE EMBALMER
aka Il mostro di Venezia
Dir. Dino Tavella, 1965
Italy, 77 min.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 14 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 15 – MIDNIGHT

“How lovely you are! Like alabaster goddesses. No living woman possesses your mysterious fascination or your sweet repose.”

Welcome to Venice! It is one of the most picturesque cities in the entire world with its beautiful architecture dotting the murky waters of the grand canal. Our story begins here with a series of disappearances. All of the disappearances have something in common, the missing are all young ladies who just happened to have disappeared close to a canal. The police suspect that the missing young ladies may have fallen into the water and drowned, but none of the bodies have been recovered. Meanwhile, a reporter from a local paper begins to suspect that the disappearances are the work of some fiend who is kidnapping young women and hiding their bodies deep in the Venetian canals. The city is in a state of panic! How many more girls can possibly disappear?! Well, about nine more because just around the corner is a group of lovely young ladies visiting from Rome and they are just dying to explore Venice. Which one of the girls will be the first victim of this fiend? Who is the mysterious fiend and what is this fiend doing to the bodies of these young ladies?

THE EMBALMER is an early Giallo film that reads like a travelogue film with a touch of gothic imagery. The city of Venice and its labyrinthian canals take the place of the ancient stately manor found in gothic tales. Macabre tinged scenes are scattered throughout the film like that of a pop musician emerging from a coffin to sing songs to an unsuspecting crowd and a crypt full of petrified monks a la Capuchin crypt. THE EMBALMER is a must see for all Giallo fans.


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Dir. BJ Davis, 1989
USA, 84 min.
English.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 21 – MIDNIGHT

Before he was THE CROW (but definitely after his LEGACY OF RAGE), Brandon Lee was Michael Gold – a cocky, self-righteous asshole who upends his fully free agent status and chooses to accept a LASER MISSION on offer from the CIA (but, like, eschewing CASH MONEY USA in favor of action man SWAGGER ethics). There’s something about the WORLD’S LARGEST DIAMOND gone missing, along with some LASER expert (expertly lazied by ERNEST BORGNINE) being held in Angola (or somewhere) by the KGB (or Cuban military or some Austrian madman or something). All this adds up to is TROUBLE and the potential END of the WESTERN WORLD as we KNOW IT. When not donning gross disguises to fool bumbling cartoon humans, Gold is totes in NEGGING WAR III with terminal television episoder DEBI MONAHAN (who may or may not be portraying a daughter or a double agent or whatever).
Even if you HAVE seen LASER MISSION, you won’t want to MISS our special WIDESCREEN presentation, with all the EXPLOSIVE action (and sometimes admittedly great wide tracking shots) as NEVER BEFORE SEEN in domestic US BARGAIN BINS and FIFTY-FILM DVD collections.
If you HAVEN’T seen LASER MISSION, then grab your favorite brand of adult diapers and head the hell over here. Sounds appealing? Then make like an ORANGE and GET JUICED.

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NINJA MISSION
Dir. Mats Helge Olsson, 1984
Sweden, 93 min.
In English.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 22 – MIDNIGHT

** Part of our “Lasers vs. Ninjas” Weekend Spectacular! **


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MY CHAUFFEUR
Dir. David Beaird, 1986
USA, 97 min.
In English

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28 – MIDNIGHT

“You ever give an Alka-Seltzer to a dog?”

Endless Bummer heads from the 70s to the 80s with our final film, MY CHAUFFEUR. Starring Deborah Foreman, who was *everywhere* in the eighties (Valley Girl, Real Genius, Waxwork, April Fool’s Day), as Casey Meadows, a dishwasher who receives an invitation to work for the prestigious Brentwood chauffeur company directly from the company’s owner (none other than the great E.G. Marshall!). Disliked by the all-male staff and barely tolerated by her boss (Howard Hesseman of WKRP/Rubin and Ed fame), Casey takes on a series of insane jobs, from lugging drunken rock band Cat Fight around LA to dealing with a spoiled stalker’s heartbreak (if you suspect this may lead to love, you’re right) and none other than Penn and Teller playing an sheik and a con-man attempting to lure him out of his money. Despite all odds, Casey’s non-conformist streak leads her to triumph where the other stuffed-shirt drivers fail miserably. A staple of cable tv during the late eighties and one of the final Marimark Productions films, MY CHAUFFEUR hits all the rom-com notes while offering plenty of off-color comedy and topless hijinx for the midnight crowd. Drive off into the sun setting over the Pacific as Endless Bummer finishes up…FOR NOW!


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THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH
Dir. Del Tenney, 1964
United States, 78 min.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 29 – MIDNIGHT

“Weird Atomic Beasts Who Live Off Human BLOOD!”

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Let’s go to the beach! What a wonderful place to get away with its sparkling blue water and radioactive monsters! Well, more like the radioactive living dead for you see radioactive waste is being dumped into the ocean and as a result the remains of the poor souls littering the ocean floor have been mutated into humanoid fish-like monsters! Monsters that have chosen to make their first appearance on the sunny shores of Connecticut! The monsters have decided to crash a happenin’ beach party that is being presided over by none other than surf rock legends The Del-Aires! All the girls and boys were too busy doing the zombie stomp to notice the monsters crawling up on land and feasting on the blood of bikini clad beauties! Can the blood thirsty rampage of these monsters be stopped?

THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH is one of the first, if not the first horror beach party film. Think of it as BEACH BLANKET BINGO, but filled with blood thirsty monsters whose mouths look like they have been stuffed with a pack of hotdogs. It is a refreshing freudian slap in the face to those “wholesome” beach party films. The film is beautifully shot and features some fantastic sequences like the creation of the monsters. It’s funny, creepy, and the music of The Del-Aires will have you groovin’ all night long. What are you waiting for? Let’s go to the beach!

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JULY MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, JULY 3: AMERICAN HUNTER

FRIDAY, JULY 10: GURU THE MAD MONK
SATURDAY, JULY 11: HORROR EXPRESS

FRIDAY, JULY 17: DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE!
SATURDAY, JULY 18: NEON CITY

FRIDAY, JULY 24: MALIBU BEACH
SATURDAY, JULY 25: THE POM POM GIRLS

FRIDAY, JULY 31: INSEMINOID


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LETHAL HUNTER aka AMERICAN HUNTER
Dir. Arizal, 1988.
Indonesia. 92 min.
Indonesian dubbed into English with Japanese subtitles.

FRIDAY, JULY 3 – MIDNIGHT

“With the information in this study, the wrong people could start a panic on Wall Street that would bring the Western World to its knees…”

In mononymous Indonesian action maestro Arizal’s star-spangled shoot-’em-up, Christopher Mitchum, former 2012 Republican candidate for California Congressional District 24’s United States House of Representatives seat, stars as Jake Carver, an “agent” whose self-described occupation is to “fight bad guys.” As the AMERICAN HUNTER, Carver battles a multifariously evil organization over a piece of microfilm to unspecified ends. Highlights include a jeep driving off the side of one skyscraper into the window of another, a three-way motorcycle/pick-up truck/train chase, a baby being run over by a car crashing through the side of a supermarket yet miraculously surviving, an eight minute helicopter chase, an awkwardly clothed shower sex scene, one house explosion, one castle explosion, dozens of car explosions, male bondage and electrocution, and a fist fight inside a dungeon full of what appears to be cardboard boxes overflowing with shredded paper. Bill “Super Foot” Wallace stars as the bad guy whose nefariousness is conveyed through his variously keeping pet falcons and monkeys on his shoulder, and RAMBU’s Peter O’Brien drops in for an unlikely turn as a hench villain who gets the shit kicked out of him then has his legs run over then crashes through a brick wall on the hood of a car. Approximately ten of the 92 action-packed minutes have been described.


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GURU THE MAD MONK

FRIDAY, JULY 10 – MIDNIGHT


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HORROR EXPRESS
Dir. Eugenio Martin, 1972.
90 min. Italy/UK.
In English

SATURDAY, JULY 11 – MIDNIGHT

In this essential Trans-Siberian classic, the great Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are rival anthropologists aboard a train en route from China to Moscow housing a crate with an amazing discovery: a primitive humanoid creature. The problem is, the creature’s body itself is the vessel for a shapeless, ancient alien entity hopping from body to body as hosts suck the memory, knowledge and brains from their victims. Lee and Cushing must combine their scientific expertise to understand and conqueror the otherworldly, demonic menace. In the meantime, Telly Savalas shows up as a domineering Cossack officer, and Argentinian spaghetti western star Alberto de Mendoza plays a nefarious, mad monk who renounces his faith and pledges his devotion to the ancient evil. Like THE THING re-written by Paul Theroux aboard a bullet train to hell and featuring creepy, eye-bleeding make-up effects, freaky blazing-eyed zombies and top-notch performances by Lee and Cushing, HORROR EXPRESS is a total classic!


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DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE!

FRIDAY, JULY 17 – MIDNIGHT


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NEON CITY
Dir. Monte Markham, 1991
USA, 101 min.

SATURDAY, JULY 18 – MIDNIGHT

“Take a deep breath: it may be your last.”

As the dust settles from Mad Max: Fury Road, some of us here at Spectacle figured it was time to blow the dust off of Monte Markham’s high (but technically running-on-low) octane dystopian action disasterpiece NEON CITY, starring the one and only Michael Ironside. Tasked with transporting a gorgeous prisoner (Vanity – yes, that Vanity) across a frozen desert hellscape via overcrowded megabus, Ironside’s flinty-eyed and ponytailed bounty hunter Stark gets bumped into by it all: motorcycle gangs of mutants, cannibals, gearheads, a pissed-off ex-wife and a bus driver nicknamed “Bulk” – played by Oakland Raider Lyle Alzado, who died a year after reaching Neon City – who he personally sent to prison for five years. Spellbinding chase sequences as needless post-oxygen hijinks ensue long before the inevitable Wizard of Oz-xeroxing conclusion.


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MALIBU BEACH

FRIDAY, JULY 24 – MIDNIGHT


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THE POM POM GIRLS

SATURDAY, JULY 25 – MIDNIGHT


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INSEMINOID
Dir. Norman Warren, 1981
UK, 93 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, JULY 31 – MIDNIGHT

Before we get into the whole gynonightmare of this film, there’s a few things you need to know about INSEMINOID. It was partially financed by Run Run Shaw (If you’ve EVER been to Fist Church you know Shaw Bros.), it was written by Nick Maley (a make-up artist who’d later work on Krull and Lifeforce) and Gloria Maley (who did a series of British tv shows under the name Gloria Walker), the only script either would ever write, and was directed by Norman J. Warren, who brought us Satan’s Slaves and Prey, all of whom try to put a twist on the tale told by Alien a few years earlier. There’s a really nice synth score, a slew of actors any Hammer fan would happily recognize (Stephanie Beacham, Victoria Tennant, Judy Geeson), and some genuinely nice twists on the Ridley Scott/Dan O’Bannon model. That being said, you should take that title seriously: there is alien-on-astronaut non-consensual sex, and while it’s not as freakish as Xtro it definitely makes this film a midnight special. But hold onto your Gender Studies textbooks, because our glowing mother, dewy in the radiance of the miracle of childbirth, has a hunger…FOR BLOOD! There’s a bit of a The Thing/Body Snatchers twist here as well, but perhaps I’ve said too much…Playing one night only, one of the strangest Video Nasties, and definitely a film you’ll be telling people about (if you dare), INSEMINOID is a film we’ve promised for a while and are proud to deliver midnight July 31!

JUNE MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, JUNE 5: ENDLESS BUMMER: THE VAN
SATURDAY, JUNE 6: ENDLESS BUMMER: VAN NUYS BLVD.

FRIDAY, JUNE 12: LES EBRANLEES
SATURDAY, JUNE 13: DELIRIUM

FRIDAY, JUNE 20: ENDLESS BUMMER: THE VAN
SATURDAY, JUNE 21: LES EBRANLEES

FRIDAY, JUNE 27: ENDLESS BUMMER: VAN NUYS BLVD.
SATURDAY, JUNE 28: DELIRIUM


ENDLESS BUMMER

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THE VAN
Dir. Sam Grossman, 1977
USA, 92 min.

Later retitled Chevy Van to make the most of the Sammy Johns song in the soundtrack (despite the fact that the van in the film is a Dodge), The Van was the second of the Marimark Pictures series (the first being last year’s Superchick) and absolutely the best place to start our Endless Bummer series. Stuart Goetz (who later went on to a long career in film music; he won a daytime Emmy for his work on ALF!) plays Bobby, a red-blooded red-headed Californian who wants nothing more than to graduate high school and invest his life savings in his brand-new custom van, the (ahem) Straight Arrow. Bobby’s desperate attempts to turn himself into a van guy and find decadent imbroglios by the moonlit Pacific are not as easy as he hoped; between his increasingly complicated nature of his relationship with Tina (Deborah White — both White and Goetz would go on to be in the brain-rot epic Record City), the bad advice of his best buddy Jack (Harry Moses) and his boss Andy (DANNY DEVITO!), not to mention the constant bullying from local thug Dugan (Steven Oliver, who we’ll meet again later in this series) — how the hell is Bobby supposed to do any FUN TRUCKIN’? Van expos, boneheaded pranks, drunk driving, tasteful plot-required nude scenes — no, this is not a hidden gem of west coast cinema verite’, it’s a drive-in movie about vans, and that’s all right with me.


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VAN NUYS BLVD.
Dir. William Sachs
USA, 93 min.

William Sachs, probably best known for The Incredible Melting Man and Galaxina, here presents the story of a young man wanting to leave behind his boring life to make the cruising scene on Van Nuys Blvd, from the Santa Monica Mountains at the north through the San Fernando Valley to the Verdugo Mountains in the south. Half American Graffitti, half drive-in beach romp, it’s held together buy our lead, Bill Adler, who played Steve in The Van! He’s back as Bobby, who spends a crazy weekend meeting the locals: strippers, carhops, dopers and cops, but specifically old-school hot-rodder Chooch (David Hayward), who is sort of the grand master of Van Nuys. Did I mention ’74 Playmate of the Year Cynthia Wood plays Moon, and Melissa Prophet (who later had roles in Goodfellas and Casino) as Camille? PLUS go-karts, an adorable beach dog, hassling the man, all the LA cruising action you can handle and a badass disco-funk theme song! C’mon and meet us on the boulevard!


Les Ebranlees

LES EBRANLEES
aka Vibrating Girls
Dir. Jess Franco (as Clifford Brown), 1972
France, 81 min.
In French with English subs.

“You wanted to go to the house of vice. Well, we’re going now.”
For Franco aficionados, LES EBRANLEES makes an interesting double feature with SINNER–THE SECRET DIARY OF A NYMPHOMANIAC: both released in 1973, both featuring stories of strippers lured into an underworld of crime and violence, both focused on a detective desperately searching for the truth. In the case of LES EBRANLEES, that detective is none other than Franco staple Howard Vernon as Al Pereira in search of the murderer of a prostitute. Definitely a film that lives up to the Eurosleaze tag, it’s long been one of the rarest of Franco’s 70s films.


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DELIRIUM
aka Le foto di Gioia
Dir. Lamberto Bava, 1987
Italy, 94 min.
In English

Originally helmed by Dario Argento, who dropped out of production at an early date and was replaced by one of his proteges, Lamberto Bava (son of the great Mario Bava, assistant director on everything from Suspiria to A Bay Of Blood to Cannibal Holocaust), DELIRIUM shifts our understanding of what a giallo is from the seventies to the eighties without a hint of nostalgia. Starring the almighty Daria Nicolodi (whose tumultuous marriage to Argento ended in 1985) and the stunning Serena Grandi (who you scuzzballs probably know from Anthropophagus), DELIRIUM is a glossy, flashy mid-80s Italian Vogue spread streaked in crimson. Serena Grandi plays Gloria, one-time prostitute turned head of a men’s fashion magazine called Pussycat. She begins receiving photos of her models murdered, disfigured, and displayed with photos of Gloria in the background. While the magazine drastically increases its readership due to the notoriety surrounding the murders, the noose closes in on Serena With lots of demented POV (where the killer imagines his victims with grotesque masks over their heads), lots of extra-sleazy Dynasty-inspired wardrobes, and drum machines aplenty, it’s an excellent example of where the giallo was by the mid-eighties, happily delivering all the style, perversity and murder set pieces any fan could want in a style entirely different from (but obviously deeply informed by) the 70s classics we most often think of as giallo. More from Lamberto (and fellow Argento protegee Michele Soavi) hopefully coming soon later this year!