MILLIGAN MIDNIGHTS

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SATURDAY, MAY 2: SEEDS OF SIN
FRIDAY, MAY 15: SEEDS OF SIN
SATURDAY, MAY 16: THE BODY BENEATH
FRIDAY, MAY 29: THE BODY BENEATH

There is no director like Staten Island’s own Andy Milligan. Made under extreme conditions, with miniscule budgets, Milligan makes seemingly simple horror flicks into nightmarish melodramas seething with rage, lust and hatred. Do they look cheap? Does everything seem entirely real? No? PAY ATTENTION. Milligan’s camera moves in ways so deeply foreign to viewers, and develops storylines closer to his early work staging Lord Dunsany and Jean Genet plays, that it’s no wonder he’s got his fair share of detractors (Stephen King said of The Ghastly Ones “the work of morons with cameras”), but over the years a small but fanatical following has formed, willing to look deeper into these films. Assisted by the late, great Mike Vraney of Something Weird, a tireless collector of Milligan original prints, and given deeper personal context thanks to Jimmy McDonough’s heartbreaking book The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan, the time is long overdue for a reconsideration of his work (thankfully recently begun in the UK by BFI as assisted by Vraney and director Nicholas Winding Refn), and with our Milligan Midnights series, we hope to bring a series of his films to Spectacle Midnights in the hope that Milligan himself might crack a rare smile from his unmarked grave somewhere in LA.

“I don’t see how anyone can write off Andy Milligan as just an exceptionally strange exploitation hack when his films are full of these beautiful eerie moments contained in these compositions that can last for a minute + or just a second because his weird camera is always moving and twisting and making your eyes travel in ways you’d never have expected them to…I can’t think of anyone else who’d have filmed a scene in which a woman lets her vampire cult leader into the house to have his minions bite her husband this way!” –Zynab Hashim



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SEEDS OF SIN
Dir. Andy Milligan, 1968
USA, 84 min.

SATURDAY, MAY 2 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MAY 15 – MIDNIGHT

“Sown in Incest! Harvested in Hate!”

Carol Manning takes the liberty to invite her siblings to a Christmas dinner at her familial home much to her mother’s displeasure. The members of the Manning family have not seen each other in years due to the resentment they have for each other. The only “love” that exists amongst them is limited to the incestuous affairs that they engaged in behind their mother’s back as children. The only tie between the siblings is the hatred they feel for their mother Claris. Claris is an aging widow who has survived many marriages and has amassed a large fortune as a result. She “dislikes” her children very much would rather not see any of them ever again. She feels that her children are like vultures flying overhead awaiting for the first sign of her death so they can swoop in and pick her pockets clean! Fortunately for the vultures, death is lurking just around the corner! For there is a murderer on the loose in the Manning estate! This shadowy figure is killing off members of the Manning family by orchestrating a series of “accidents”. Who could it be? Will Claris’s fortune survive? Who will reap THE SEEDS OF SIN?

SEEDS OF SIN has all of the trappings of a gothic tale. There is a stately familial home, dark secrets, incest, rape, murder and to top it all off there are beautiful roses featured throughout the entire film! Yet, unlike a “traditional” gothic tale, Seeds focuses on a Matriarchy instead of a Patriarchy. The story features several dominant female characters. These female characters greatly exert their power over the male characters in the film. It is a truly refreshing twist to the gothic “formula”. Think of it as a version of “Fall Of The House Of Usher”, but with more sex and violence and a lessened threat of being buried alive!

SEEDS is one of Andy Milligan’s greatest and most personal films. Andy is telling us the story of a broken family that is eerily similar to his own. He is breathing through his wounds in every frame. The overwhelmingly dominant female theme which is often explored in his work is presented here in full bloom in the form of Claris who is very similar to Andy’s mother. The character of Buster is like Milligan as a young man. The weak and down trodden paternal figure is a mirror image of Andy’s father. Seeds literally is Andy Milligan’s horrific family life scarred into celluloid. Sadly, SEEDS, like many other Milligan films has been tampered with badly by the greedy little hands of producers who wanted to make a buck selling sex. There are several “hardcore” scenes that have been edited into the film so that it would be more profitable. As a result certain scenes that were shot by Andy have been lost. Luckily, there is a trailer for the film that has pieces of some of the “lost” scenes from the film.

Always remember “Nothing can kill a bitch like momma!” Long Live Andy Milligan!


The Body Beneath banner

THE BODY BENEATH
Dir. Andy Milligan, 1970
UK, 82 min.

There is no director like Staten Island’s own Andy Milligan. Made under extreme conditions, with miniscule budgets, Milligan makes seemingly simple horror flicks into nightmarish melodramas seething with rage, lust and hatred. Do they look cheap? Does everything seem entirely real? No? PAY ATTENTION. Milligan’s camera moves in ways so deeply foreign to viewers, and develops storylines closer to his early work staging Lord Dunsany and Jean Genet plays, that it’s no wonder he’s got his fair share of detractors (Stephen King said of The Ghastly Ones “the work of morons with cameras”), but over the years a small but fanatical following has formed, willing to look deeper into these films. Assisted by the late, great Mike Vraney of Something Weird, a tireless collector of Milligan original prints, and given deeper personal context thanks to Jimmy McDonough’s heartbreaking book The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan, the time is long overdue for a reconsideration of his work (thankfully recently begun in the UK by BFI as assisted by Vraney and director Nicholas Winding Refn), and with our Milligan Midnights series, we hope to bring a series of his films to Spectacle Midnightd in the hope that Milligan himself might crack a rare smile from his unmarked grave somewhere in LA.

“I don’t see how anyone can write off Andy Milligan as just an exceptionally strange exploitation hack when his films are full of these beautiful eerie moments contained in these compositions that can last for a minute + or just a second because his weird camera is always moving and twisting and making your eyes travel in ways you’d never have expected them to…I can’t think of anyone else who’d have filmed a scene in which a woman lets her vampire cult leader into the house to have his minions bite her husband this way!” -Zynab Hashim

SATURDAY, MAY 16 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MAY 29 – MIDNIGHT

“Tonight is the yearly meeting. We must have the sacrifice.”

We begin with THE BODY BENEATH, a film Milligan made during his time in the UK. First-timers may find the film “talky” or “chatty” — that’s Milligan, and you’ll either get into it or you won’t. There’s a hypnotic slowness to Milligan’s films, which is one of the main reasons the “let’s see some boobs and blood” crowd never took to him, no matter how much green-faced nightgown action we get. And we get a LOT of it, with vampire lord Reverend Algernon Ford (played by Gavin Reed) realizing his pure bloodline was dying out after centuries of inbreeding. He seeks to find the non-vampire members of his bloodline and convert them, all of which sounds about right for a midnight, but it’s Milligan’s teeth-grinding misanthropy which brings us to a different level, so far from the laughable kitch it may at first seem. With one of Milligan’s best actors, Berwick Kaler, playing the hunchback Spool and a (comparably) larger budget than his earlier films, plus a jaw-dropping orgy of cannibalism that must be seen to be believed, It’s arguably one of the best entry points to his work. We have a slew of other Milligans coming up, so don’t sleep! Ever! MILLIGAN MIDNIGHTS SHALL NEVER DIE!

“Few filmmakers can boast of having a recognisable style, but when you see a Milligan movie, you are in no doubt whose film it is. He was sort of a Douglas Sirk figure – there’s so much subtext in his movies. And the more you get into them, the more you realise that they were made by someone who was very tormented, and very intelligent; a sensitive man who used film as an artform to express his views on life.” -Nicholas Winding Refn

MAY MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, MAY 1: SATANIS
SATURDAY, MAY 2: SEEDS OF SIN
FRIDAY, MAY 8: REVOLT
SATURDAY, MAY 9: THE PYX
FRIDAY, MAY 15: SEEDS OF SIN
SATURDAY, MAY 16: THE BODY BENEATH
FRIDAY, MAY 22: THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE
SATURDAY, MAY 23: SATANIS
FRIDAY, MAY 29: THE BODY BENEATH
SATURDAY, MAY 30: THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE



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SATANIS: THE DEVIL’S MASS
Dir. Ray Laurent, 1969
USA, 86 min.

FRIDAY, MAY 1 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, MAY 23 – MIDNIGHT

“If you’re going to do something that is naughty, do it, and realize that you’re doing something naughty and enjoy it”

In 1969 Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan and outlined the ideals of the Satanic  church in a book he called “The Satanic Bible”.  Anton LaVey borrowed rituals, ideology, and symbols from many religions and groups such as Voodoo, the Knights Templars, Norse mythology etc. He took up the image of the Devil because it signifies the antithesis of the restrictive behaviors imposed on society by various religions. The primary message of the Church of Satan is to live life to the fullest without the fear or guilt imposed by “traditional” religion.

The American public had a mixed reaction to the Church of Satan. To some the idea of a church that rejected the “traditional” moral code was a welcomed change of pace. To others, the very mention of the name Satan caused an instant dismissal of the ideas that LaVey was trying to convey and brought down immediate negative judgement. There were still others who saw the Church of Satan as a joke or a publicity stunt. Throughout the years the Church of Satan has become very well known around the world and has helped push Satanism into the mainstream. Unfortunately, a lot of the publicity that the church received throughout the years was in the form of sensationalist hype which for the sake of ratings avoided broadcasting the actual message of the Church of Satan (ex. Satanic Panic of the 1980s).

SATANIS is a documentary about the Church of Satan and its members. The film is comprised of a series of interviews with people both inside and outside of the Church of Satan. The film demystifies the image of the Church of Satan by portraying the organization as a group of individuals from various backgrounds and phases of life. Anton LaVey is interviewed at his home aka the Black House where he is both conducting rituals for the Church of Satan and trying to raise a family in 60s era San Francisco. One of the highlights of the documentary is that it captures a ritual that is performed by Anton LaVey in the Black House. The ritual scene is shot using absolutely fantastic colored lighting and is accompanied by organ music played by LaVey himself. SATANIS is a wonderful film because of all of the interesting viewpoints that it brings together. The members of the Church of Satan are inspiring and funny. The film is worth watching just to hear their stories.



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SEEDS OF SIN
Dir. Andy Milligan, 1968
USA, 84 min.

SATURDAY, MAY 2 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MAY 15 – MIDNIGHT

*MILLIGAN MIDNIGHTS*

“Sown in Incest! Harvested in Hate!”

Carol Manning takes the liberty to invite her siblings to a Christmas dinner at her familial home much to her mother’s displeasure. The members of the Manning family have not seen each other in years due to the resentment they have for each other. The only “love” that exists amongst them is limited to the incestuous affairs that they engaged in behind their mother’s back as children. The only tie between the siblings is the hatred they feel for their mother Claris. Claris is an aging widow who has survived many marriages and has amassed a large fortune as a result. She “dislikes” her children very much would rather not see any of them ever again. She feels that her children are like vultures flying overhead awaiting for the first sign of her death so they can swoop in and pick her pockets clean! Fortunately for the vultures, death is lurking just around the corner! For there is a murderer on the loose in the Manning estate! This shadowy figure is killing off members of the Manning family by orchestrating a series of “accidents”. Who could it be? Will Claris’s fortune survive? Who will reap THE SEEDS OF SIN?

SEEDS OF SIN has all of the trappings of a gothic tale. There is a stately familial home, dark secrets, incest, rape, murder and to top it all off there are beautiful roses featured throughout the entire film! Yet, unlike a “traditional” gothic tale, Seeds focuses on a Matriarchy instead of a Patriarchy. The story features several dominant female characters. These female characters greatly exert their power over the male characters in the film. It is a truly refreshing twist to the gothic “formula”. Think of it as a version of “Fall Of The House Of Usher”, but with more sex and violence and a lessened threat of being buried alive!

SEEDS is one of Andy Milligan’s greatest and most personal films. Andy is telling us the story of a broken family that is eerily similar to his own. He is breathing through his wounds in every frame. The overwhelmingly dominant female theme which is often explored in his work is presented here in full bloom in the form of Claris who is very similar to Andy’s mother. The character of Buster is like Milligan as a young man. The weak and down trodden paternal figure is a mirror image of Andy’s father. Seeds literally is Andy Milligan’s horrific family life scarred into celluloid. Sadly, SEEDS, like many other Milligan films has been tampered with badly by the greedy little hands of producers who wanted to make a buck selling sex. There are several “hardcore” scenes that have been edited into the film so that it would be more profitable. As a result certain scenes that were shot by Andy have been lost. Luckily, there is a trailer for the film that has pieces of some of the “lost” scenes from the film.

Always remember “Nothing can kill a bitch like momma!” Long Live Andy Milligan!



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REVOLT
Dir. J. Shaybany, 1986
USA/Iran, 72 min.

FRIDAY, MAY 8 – MIDNIGHT

Written by the enigmatically named Shield, this US-Persian co-production features yet another cop-on-the-edge squaring off against yet another band of ruthless drug dealers, this time set against the racial tensions set off by the Iran hostage crisis.  Shot without sound and weirdly overdubbed, Revolt is a schizophrenic mess of a movie (i.e. perfect for a Spectacle midnight) that can’t decide whether it’s a hard-hitting, socially conscious crime drama or a goofy, lighthearted action comedy.  Fortunately, the filmmakers lacked the ability to appropriately orchestrate either, and the result is a near-hallucinatory mess of inscrutable plot developments and character flourishes.  Whatever the intent, Revolt is one of the most consistently entertaining hidden gems of 1980s action cinema!



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THE PYX
Dir. Harvey Hart, 1973
Canada, 108 min.

SATURDAY, MAY 9 – MIDNIGHT

“You know my name.”

Somewhere between Rosemary’s Baby and Klute, this Canadian supernatural mystery offers plenty to satisfy police procedural fans as Dr. Sgt. Jim Henderson (played by Christopher Plummer) investigates the murder of Elizabeth Lucy (Karen Black), and as the film moves back and forth between Henderson’s investigation and Lucy’s last days we learn of her connection to a cult of devil worshipers. While other films would try to drive up the tension, there’s a quiet, sullen feel to this film, from the grubby rain-soaked streets of Montreal to Lucy’s manipulative madam to the minimal orchestral score, supplemented by Karen Black’s songs, all of which build a slower sense of inescapable dread. Lucy’s conflagration of sex, heroin and Catholicism drifts through the entire film, a counterpoint to the increasing paranoia and futility of the detectives seeking to understand what remains beyond them as both storylines mirror the downward spiral of the other. Concluding with a backwards-chanting black mass and Henderson’s showdown with cult leader Keerson (Jean-Louis Roux), it’s a film that perfectly showcases the late Karen Black’s singular presence.



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THE BODY BENEATH
Dir. Andy Milligan, 1970
UK, 82 min.

SATURDAY, MAY 16 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MAY 29 – MIDNIGHT

*MILLIGAN MIDNIGHTS*

“Tonight is the yearly meeting. We must have the sacrifice.”

We begin with THE BODY BENEATH, a film Milligan made during his time in the UK. First-timers may find the film “talky” or “chatty” — that’s Milligan, and you’ll either get into it or you won’t. There’s a hypnotic slowness to Milligan’s films, which is one of the main reasons the “let’s see some boobs and blood” crowd never took to him, no matter how much green-faced nightgown action we get. And we get a LOT of it, with vampire lord Reverend Algernon Ford (played by Gavin Reed) realizing his pure bloodline was dying out after centuries of inbreeding. He seeks to find the non-vampire members of his bloodline and convert them, all of which sounds about right for a midnight, but it’s Milligan’s teeth-grinding misanthropy which brings us to a different level, so far from the laughable kitch it may at first seem. With one of Milligan’s best actors, Berwick Kaler, playing the hunchback Spool and a (comparably) larger budget than his earlier films, plus a jaw-dropping orgy of cannibalism that must be seen to be believed, It’s arguably one of the best entry points to his work. We have a slew of other Milligans coming up, so don’t sleep! Ever! MILLIGAN MIDNIGHTS SHALL NEVER DIE!

“Few filmmakers can boast of having a recognisable style, but when you see a Milligan movie, you are in no doubt whose film it is. He was sort of a Douglas Sirk figure – there’s so much subtext in his movies. And the more you get into them, the more you realise that they were made by someone who was very tormented, and very intelligent; a sensitive man who used film as an artform to express his views on life.” -Nicholas Winding Refn



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THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE
aka La Plus Longue Nuit du Diable
Dir. Jean Brismée, 1971
Belgium/Italy, 94 min.

FRIDAY, MAY 22 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, MAY 30 – MIDNIGHT

“No use running away, Alvin. You will die like the others.”

Perhaps the only full-length feature directed by Jean Brismée, THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE combines the occult, Naziism, the seven capital vices, baby-stabbing and a gorgeous Belgian castle, not to mention Eurohorror icon Erika Blanc.

We begin in 1945, where SS general Baron von Rhoneberg slays his own daughter in order to prevent the generational curse by which each first-born daughter of the Rhoneberg bloodline shall become a succubus in trade for alchemical guidance from Satan. Some time later, a bus containing seven tourists ends up stranded at the Baron’s castle, each with a hidden sin, and while the Baron insists he had no daughter, a mysterious woman joins the party, a woman who may be more than she seems…The woman, of course, is Blanc (KILL BABY KILL, SO SWEET SO PERVERSE, THE RED HEADED CORPSE), and her cat-and-mouse games with the tourists, particularly seminarian Alvin Sorelle (Jacques Monseau), provides a frisson which elevates the film above “soon-to-be victims wandering around a castle” style gothic horror. Blanc modulates between sultry and scary, from seductress to slayer and back again while Alvin tries desperately to understand the nature of the curse, of the secret alchemical laboratory, of the strange man who led the tourists to the castle.

We urge any of you who see this film not to give away the total headfuck ending! A perfect fit for May’s Satanic supernatural shenanigans, THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE has thrills and chills aplenty for Midnight fanatics.

APRIL MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, APRIL 3: ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS
SATURDAY, APRIL 4: ILSA, HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS
FRIDAY, APRIL 10:
SATURDAY, APRIL 11: 150th CIVIL WAR ANNIVERSARY SPECTACLE-ULAR:
HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS’S TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! ON 16MM
FRIDAY, APRIL 17: ILSA, HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS
SATURDAY, APRIL 18: MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN
FRIDAY, APRIL 24: MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN
SATURDAY, APRIL 25: ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN



MIDNIGHT SERIES: FEMME DOMME BABYLON, A TRIBUTE TO ILSA: THE KOMMANDANT, THE KADIN, AND THE WICKED WARDEN

The name Ilsa is synonymous with the image of a dominant female. Since her first appearance as the Kommandant of a “medical” camp in the controversial ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS, Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne), has gained a major cult following as one of the most notorious characters of the nazi exploitation genre. Throughout the course of her “lifetime”, Ilsa has been everything from a harem keeper to a warden at a womens’ prison. Legions of her fans have plastered her image in everything from songs to S&M club flyers. The first film in the series was so popular that it won an AVN award and ushered in a series of sequels, one of which was directed by the legendary Jesus Franco. This midnight series brings together three of the greatest Ilsa films. All hail the Kommandant!

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ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS
Dir. Don Edmonds, 1975
USA, 96 min.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, APRIL 17 – MIDNIGHT

“You are strong, stronger than HE.”

The period between 1974-1978 was the golden age of Nazi exploitation. Films such as SALON KITTY, THE NIGHT PORTER, RED NIGHTS OF THE GESTAPO and more were very popular across Europe and North America. Nazi exploitation is a type of exploitation film that explores the subject of Nazi cruelty during WW2. These films were usually highly sexualized, highly fetishistic, and rampant with sadomasochistic themes. The majority of Nazi exploitation films were made in Italy, but some were made in France and the United States.

One of the most notorious Nazi exploitation films is ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS. Whereas its other counterparts had story-lines that were considered to be more “historical accurate”, ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS is considered to be rooted in pure fantasy. The film is said to be based on a combination of the life of Ilsa Koch, the wife of a concentration commander, and Stalag novels. Stalag novels were a popular type of pulp novel in Israel during the 50s and 60s that depicted sadomasochistic episodes between men and female members of the SS. Over the years the film has generated a lot of controversy due to its subject matter. Despite the controversy, the film has a huge cult following mainly due to the image of female dominance that Ilsa represents. To fetishist Ilsa is the ultimate goddess that they want to worship and worship they do in countless S&M clubs where Ilsa’s infamous uniform is popular attire with Dominatrixes. To feminists Ilsa is a symbol of a strong woman holding a typically male dominated role. Actually, the theme of “proving” herself to be just as good as any man at her job is a theme that is explored in several of the Ilsa films. Ilsa is a despicable villain to some, a hero to others, but one thing is for sure, she stands as a dominant, confident woman who is out to prove that not only can women easily hold typically male dominated roles, but they are in fact better than men. This is why the film is such a rarity in the Nazi exploitation genre and why some 40 years after its release it is still being talked about by such diverse groups of individuals.

Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne), is the Kommandant of Camp 9, a 3rd Reich “medical” camp tasked to sterilize women. During the day Ilsa works on various “experiments” to help with the German war effort. Her nights are spent with the company of male prisoners who she uses to try to satisfy her sexual desires. Ilsa seeks to advance her career and ranking in the 3rd Reich by working on a side “experiment”, an “experiment” that she believes will help Germany win the war. She wants to prove that “the carefully trained woman can withstand pain better than any man”. A theory which her male superiors take as a joke. All she needs is a subject to prove her theory, enter prisoner 332 aka Anna, the subject Ilsa has been looking for all along, a woman who does not fear pain. Will Ilsa break Anna? Will Anna prove Ilsa’s theory or will she bring about the downfall of the Kommandant?



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ILSA, HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS
Dir. Don Edmonds, 1976
United States, 87 min.

SATURDAY, APRIL 4 – MIDNIGHT

“Welcome to my company of eunuchs!”

Sheik El Sharif is a powerful man. What makes El Sharif so powerful you say? He owns land that is capable of producing millions of gallons of oil! Yet Sheik Sharif is only interested in extracting as little oil as he can. Enter Dr. Kaiser and Commander Adam Scott from the USA! They are looking to employ some “personal diplomacy” aka black mail to get El Sharif to produce more oil. What they didn’t count on was ILSA! After bidding farewell to the Fatherland, Ilsa fled to Arabia where she found a new job as a harem keeper and advisor aka Kadin to Sheik El Sharif. Ilsa along with her henchwomen Satin and Velvet, do everything from spying on foreign powers to training the women of the harem on how to use their tongues. What will Ilsa do to the Americans? Will she remain loyal to El Sharif or will she use this opportunity to usurp his kingdom?



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ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN
aka Greta, The Mad Butcher
Dir. Jesus Franco, 1977
United States, 90 min.

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 – MIDNIGHT

“You know her wound is like a kiss to her body.”

ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN is the prodigal daughter of the Ilsa series. Originally, the film was not meant to be part of the series at all, but due to the popularity of the first three films, the producers took a film named GRETA, THE MAD BUTCHER and changed the title to ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN. ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN was directed by the legendary Jesus Franco and co-stars his wife and lifetime collaborator Lina Romay as Ilsa’s lover/informant/patient. WICKED WARDEN has a plot that is very similar to the other Ilsa films so it fits perfectly with the rest of the series. What makes it unique is that for the first time in the series Ilsa holds a position of absolute power. Ilsa’s “mental health clinic” is for women and run by a woman. Finally, Ilsa got the position she wanted and deserved.

Amy Phillips is desperately searching for answers in the death of her sister Rosa Phillips. Rosa was committed to Las Palomas, a clinic for the treatment of sexually deviant behavior in women, and died under mysterious circumstances. Amy enlists the help of her friend Dr. Arcos to get herself checked into the clinic under false pretenses so that she can investigate Rosa’s death. Unbeknownst to Amy the Las Palomas clinic is run by none other than Ilsa aka Dr. Greta! Dr. Greta is an expert at treating everything from sexual to political deviations. She uses a combination of electro-shock therapy, a leather whip, and the help of Juanna, her lover/patient, to keep her patients on the “right” path. Will Dr. Greta become wise to Amy’s plot? Will Amy ever find out what became of her sister?



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TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!
Dir. Hershell Gordon Lewis, 1964
The Southern United States, 87 min.
16mm Print Courtesy of Brian Darwas

SATURDAY, APRIL 11 – MIDNIGHT

“This centennial is a centennial of blood vengeance!”

“YEEEEEEEEE-hooooo! / Oh the South’s gonna rise again!”

“There’s a story you should know from 100 years ago,” begins the infectious, self-penned title song to Herschell Gordon Lewis’s TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!—which turned 50 last year. In fact, this April 12 marks the exact 150th anniversary of the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, which ignited one of the bloodiest chapters in American history: The Civil War.

So to that end, as the clock strikes midnight on Saturday, April 11, we’ll screen one of the bloodiest chapters in cinematic history: TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!, HGL’s outrageously bonkers and indescribably gory 1964 trashterpiece about bloodthirsty southern rednecks unleashing Hell on unsuspecting passersby during the centennial commemoration of their town’s destruction by Union forces. The Yankee tourists, while initially charmed by the kind hospitality of their hosts, soon find themselves maimed and dismembered one-by-one through a series of cartoonish grand guignol games including live barbecuing, drawn-and-quartering by horses, and nail-filled barrel rolls. Will any of them survive the nightmare?

Though unabashedly lurid, grotesque, irreverent, and exploitational, TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! is one of the most compelling historical revisionist fantasies about the Civil War ever filmed, acknowledging the deep wounds, cultural rift and racial tensions that still existed one hundred years after the fact—and persist to this day. Unlike recent films like DJANGO UNCHAINED or TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, racial violence is not depicted, and yet the evil racial underpinning of the white-on-white violence is clearly understood. There is also the difference that this film’s resolution leaves little catharsis or reassurance that this evil has been in any way defeated.

In the spirit of conservative values, we’ll forgo high definition projection in favor of sterling 16mm, the people’s film format, based on photocehmical technology that dates to approximately the same time as the Civil War, the first major conflict to be extensively photographed. Rise again!



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MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN
Dir. Giorgio Ferroni, 1960
Italy, 90 min.

SATURDAY, APRIL 18 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, APRIL 24 – MIDNIGHT

“All I wanted to do was go on dreaming I wanted the dream to continue I never want it to end.”

The 60s brought about the resurrection of all things “Gothic” in Horror Cinema.

Whereas many films from the decade looked toward to the future, “Gothic” films reminisced about a torturous past. Gothic Horror is typified by old stately mansions, haunted corridors, torture devices straight out of the crusades, phantasmagoric dream sequences, and phantoms galore. The Gothic style was like a cinematic plague that spread throughout Europe and North America. In the UK, Hammer Studios and Christopher Lee brought us a new vision of Dracula. In the US, Roger Corman and Vincent Price were resurrecting the tales of Edgar Allan Poe to much fanfare. In Italy, Mario Bava and Barbara Steele were haunting every corridor with elaborate optical illusions and spiderwebs galore.

Which brings us to Italy’s own Giorgio Ferroni who directed the gorgeous film MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN. MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN centers around a young man named Hans who is tasked to assist in writing a piece about the centennial of a waxwork carousel that features statues based on murderesses, martyrs, and queens aka “The Stone Women”. Hans is sent to the studio of Professor Wahl, the grandson of the carousel’s creator, to gather information about the history of the carousel . In true “Gothic” fashion Professor Wahl’s studio just happens to be a labyrinthian windmill near a cemetery. While working at the studio Hans is distracted by the attentions Professor Wahl’s daughter Elfy, a statuesque young lady who suffers from a strange disease that keeps her from leaving the windmill. Also completing for Hans’s attentions is Lisa Lotter, Hans’s childhood friend who is a student of Professor Wahl. Strange things begin to happen as Hans starts hearing screams coming from basement of the windmill and some of his friends begin to disappear, including the lovely Lisa Lotter. Who is behind these disappearances? Has Elfy’s love for Hans turned into madness or is Professor Wahl hiding a dark secret in the windmill?

MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN is a beautiful film. One of the things that makes the film so alluring is its usage of color. The usage of the color red throughout the film is like a nod to the “gore” films of the era. The interior of the windmill is a dark foreboding red. The roses Elfy leaves for Hans are a rich bright blood red that appear as though any minute they would begin to drip. The reds are rivaled by the usage of sickly jaundice-like yellows that are scattered throughout the film in the form of flowers and gowns. This film is truly a feast for the eyes and essential viewing for fans of Gothic horror.

150th CIVIL WAR ANNIVERSARY SPECTACLE-ULAR: HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS’S TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! ON 16MM

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TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!
Dir. Hershell Gordon Lewis, 1964
The Southern United States, 87 min.
16mm Print Courtesy of Brian Darwas

SATURDAY, APRIL 11 – MIDNIGHT

“This centennial is a centennial of blood vengeance!”

“YEEEEEEEEE-hooooo! / Oh the South’s gonna rise again!”

“There’s a story you should know from 100 years ago,” begins the infectious, self-penned title song to Herschell Gordon Lewis’s TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!—which turned 50 last year. In fact, this April 12 marks the exact 150th anniversary of the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, which ignited one of the bloodiest chapters in American history: The Civil War.

So to that end, as the clock strikes midnight on Saturday, April 11, we’ll screen one of the bloodiest chapters in cinematic history: TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!, HGL’s outrageously bonkers and indescribably gory 1964 trashterpiece about bloodthirsty southern rednecks unleashing Hell on unsuspecting passersby during the centennial commemoration of their town’s destruction by Union forces. The Yankee tourists, while initially charmed by the kind hospitality of their hosts, soon find themselves maimed and dismembered one-by-one through a series of cartoonish grand guignol games including live barbecuing, drawn-and-quartering by horses, and nail-filled barrel rolls. Will any of them survive the nightmare?

Though unabashedly lurid, grotesque, irreverent, and exploitational, TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! is one of the most compelling historical revisionist fantasies about the Civil War ever filmed, acknowledging the deep wounds, cultural rift and racial tensions that still existed one hundred years after the fact—and persist to this day. Unlike recent films like DJANGO UNCHAINED or TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, racial violence is not depicted, and yet the evil racial underpinning of the white-on-white violence is clearly understood. There is also the difference that this film’s resolution leaves little catharsis or reassurance that this evil has been in any way defeated.

In the spirit of conservative values, we’ll forgo high definition projection in favor of sterling 16mm, the people’s film format, based on photochemical technology that dates to approximately the same time as the Civil War, the first major conflict to be extensively photographed. Rise again!

FEMME DOMME BABYLON, A TRIBUTE TO ILSA: THE KOMMANDANT, THE KADIN, AND THE WICKED WARDEN

The name Ilsa is synonymous with the image of a dominant female. Since her first appearance as the Kommandant of a “medical” camp in the controversial ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS, Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne), has gained a major cult following as one of the most notorious characters of the nazi exploitation genre. Throughout the course of her “lifetime”, Ilsa has been everything from a harem keeper to a warden at a womens’ prison. Legions of her fans have plastered her image in everything from songs to S&M club flyers. The first film in the series was so popular that it won an AVN award and ushered in a series of sequels, one of which was directed by the legendary Jesus Franco. This midnight series brings together three of the greatest Ilsa films. All hail the Kommandant!



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ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS
Dir. Don Edmonds, 1975
USA, 96 min.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, APRIL 17 – MIDNIGHT

“You are strong, stronger than HE”

The period between 1974-1978 was the golden age of Nazi exploitation. Films such as SALON KITTY, THE NIGHT PORTER, RED NIGHTS OF THE GESTAPO and more were very popular across Europe and North America. Nazi exploitation is a type of exploitation film that explores the subject of Nazi cruelty during WW2. These films were usually highly sexualized, highly fetishistic, and rampant with sadomasochistic themes. The majority of Nazi exploitation films were made in Italy, but some were made in France and the United States.

One of the most notorious Nazi exploitation films is ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS. Whereas its other counterparts had story-lines that were considered to be more “historical accurate”, ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS is considered to be rooted in pure fantasy. The film is said to be based on a combination of the life of Ilsa Koch, the wife of a concentration commander, and Stalag novels. Stalag novels were a popular type of pulp novel in Israel during the 50s and 60s that depicted sadomasochistic episodes between men and female members of the SS. Over the years the film has generated a lot of controversy due to its subject matter. Despite the controversy, the film has a huge cult following mainly due to the image of female dominance that Ilsa represents. To fetishist Ilsa is the ultimate goddess that they want to worship and worship they do in countless S&M clubs where Ilsa’s infamous uniform is popular attire with Dominatrixes. To feminists Ilsa is a symbol of a strong woman holding a typically male dominated role. Actually, the theme of “proving” herself to be just as good as any man at her job is a theme that is explored in several of the Ilsa films. Ilsa is a despicable villain to some, a hero to others, but one thing is for sure, she stands as a dominant, confident woman who is out to prove that not only can women easily hold typically male dominated roles, but they are in fact better than men. This is why the film is such a rarity in the Nazi exploitation genre and why some 40 years after its release it is still being talked about by such diverse groups of individuals.

Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne), is the Kommandant of Camp 9, a 3rd Reich “medical” camp tasked to sterilize women. During the day Ilsa works on various “experiments” to help with the German war effort. Her nights are spent with the company of male prisoners who she uses to try to satisfy her sexual desires. Ilsa seeks to advance her career and ranking in the 3rd Reich by working on a side “experiment”, an “experiment” that she believes will help Germany win the war. She wants to prove that “the carefully trained woman can withstand pain better than any man”. A theory which her male superiors take as a joke. All she needs is a subject to prove her theory, enter prisoner 332 aka Anna, the subject Ilsa has been looking for all along, a woman who does not fear pain. Will Ilsa break Anna? Will Anna prove Ilsa’s theory or will she bring about the downfall of the Kommandant?



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ILSA, HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS
Dir. Don Edmonds, 1976
United States, 87 min.

SATURDAY, APRIL 4 – MIDNIGHT

“Welcome to my company of eunuchs!”

Sheik El Sharif is a powerful man. What makes El Sharif so powerful you say? He owns land that is capable of producing millions of gallons of oil! Yet Sheik Sharif is only interested in extracting as little oil as he can. Enter Dr. Kaiser and Commander Adam Scott from the USA! They are looking to employ some “personal diplomacy” aka black mail to get El Sharif to produce more oil. What they didn’t count on was ILSA! After bidding farewell to the Fatherland, Ilsa fled to Arabia where she found a new job as a harem keeper and advisor aka Kadin to Sheik El Sharif. Ilsa along with her henchwomen Satin and Velvet, do everything from spying on foreign powers to training the women of the harem on how to use their tongues. What will Ilsa do to the Americans? Will she remain loyal to El Sharif or will she use this opportunity to usurp his kingdom?



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ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN
aka Greta, The Mad Butcher
Dir. Jesus Franco, 1977
United States, 90 min.

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 – MIDNIGHT

“You know her wound is like a kiss to her body.”

ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN is the prodigal daughter of the Ilsa series. Originally, the film was not meant to be part of the series at all, but due to the popularity of the first three films, the producers took a film named GRETA, THE MAD BUTCHER and changed the title to ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN. ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN was directed by the legendary Jesus Franco and co-stars his wife and lifetime collaborator Lina Romay as Ilsa’s lover/informant/patient. WICKED WARDEN has a plot that is very similar to the other Ilsa films so it fits perfectly with the rest of the series. What makes it unique is that for the first time in the series Ilsa holds a position of absolute power. Ilsa’s “mental health clinic” is for women and run by a woman. Finally, Ilsa got the position she wanted and deserved.

Amy Phillips is desperately searching for answers in the death of her sister Rosa Phillips. Rosa was committed to Las Palomas, a clinic for the treatment of sexually deviant behavior in women, and died under mysterious circumstances. Amy enlists the help of her friend Dr. Arcos to get herself checked into the clinic under false pretenses so that she can investigate Rosa’s death. Unbeknownst to Amy the Las Palomas clinic is run by none other than Ilsa aka Dr. Greta! Dr. Greta is an expert at treating everything from sexual to political deviations. She uses a combination of electro-shock therapy, a leather whip, and the help of Juanna, her lover/patient, to keep her patients on the “right” path. Will Dr. Greta become wise to Amy’s plot? Will Amy ever find out what became of her sister?

MARCH MIDNIGHTS

FRIDAY, MARCH 6: SHE SHOULDA SAID NO
SATURDAY, MARCH 7: THE MASTER TOUCH
FRIDAY, MARCH 13: WITCHCRAFT 70
SATURDAY, MARCH 14: GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS
FRIDAY, MARCH 20: THE MASTER TOUCH
SATURDAY, MARCH 21: SHE SHOULDA SAID NO
FRIDAY, MARCH 27: GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS
FRIDAY, MARCH 28: WITCHCRAFT 70


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SHE SHOULDA SAID NO!
Dir. Sam Newfield, 1949
USA, 70 min.

FRIDAY, MARCH 6 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, MARCH 21 – MIDNIGHT

How bad can a good girl get?

Dateline, August 1948: Actors Robert Mitchum and Lila Leeds busted for drug possession (Leeds had three joints and eight Benzedrine tablets — STARS BUSTED IN POT ORGY! read the tabloids — and while Mitchum was knocked down to conspiracy while Leeds spent two months in prison. Mitchum’s career may have been over were he not fast friends with Howard Hughes, but Leeds had only been working in Hollywood for a few years and no high-powered friends, so upon her release in ’49 the first job offered her: Wild Weed, a Reefer Madness-style shock film directed by Sam Newfield (just one of the 277 films he directed: MST3K fans know him from JUNGLE GODDESS and I ACCUSE MY PARENTS). The film went nowhere and was quickly snapped up by master roadshow producer and Forty Thieves member Kroger Babb, who changed the name to SHE SHOULDA SAID NO!, put a salty picture of Leeds undressing on the poster, Babb fabricating a story that the film was made with the assistance of the United States Treasury and ran the film as a midnight in as many theaters as he could book, promising the true story of Leeds’ licentious liaisons.

As always with roadshow films, the truth is a bit different than the promise: Leeds plays Anne Lester, struggling to pay for her brother’s college costs, when she meets Markey (Alan Baxter), a dope dealer who invites her to a “pot party”. As expected, things quickly go from bad to worse as Anne loses her inhibitions, starts selling drugs, becoming estranged from her brother and trying to steer clear of the law. With a small role by character actor Jack Elam, some excellent montages, all the stoned giggling you can handle and a total bummer ending, SHE SHOULDA SAID NO! will hopefully steer young people back onto the straight and narrow. As Babb himself would say, WHY STAY DUMB?


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THE MASTER TOUCH
aka Un uomo da rispettare
Dir. Michele Lupo, 1972
Italy/West Germany, 112 min.

SATURDAY, MARCH 7 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MARCH 20 – MIDNIGHT

There’s a reason why standards are standards, just as there’s a reason there’s so many “one last job” heist films — it’s the perfect recipe for car chases, double crosses, showdowns and schemes, and THE MASTER TOUCH offers not only all of the above, but some big-time actors. Steve Wallace (Kirk Douglas) is our genius safecracker, home from prison after three years, who wants only to settle in with his wife Florinda Bolkan (who could blame him), but is immediately offered a job — a heist involving an alarm system so sensitive the slightest sound can set it off. Douglas and Giulino Gemma (The Leopard, Tenebre, A Pistol For Ringo) know they have all of Hamburg’s police watching them, so they devise a clever alibi before taking down the biggest score of their lives — but we wouldn’t want to give away too much now, would we? With one of Ennio Morricone’s most brooding scores, THE MASTER TOUCH is a film not to miss.


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WITCHCRAFT 70
Dir. Luigi Scattini/Lee Frost, 1970
Italy/United States, 95 min.
Mostly in English with Italian in English subtitles (sometimes)

If you’ve read anything on the internet about this film not written by Tenebrous Kate, it’s wrong, wrong, wrong (Shame on you, IMDB hacks! SHAAAAAAME!) so let’s try to stick to the facts: In 1969 director Luigi Scattini released Angeli Bianchi Angeli Neri (White Angel, Black Angel), a documentary about various occult practices around the world. This film was recut into two versions for English speaking audiences: The Satanists UK (for the British set) and our feature presentation WITCHCRAFT 70 for American audiences. These three films are not simply different dubs, but nearly different films altogether,. each not only containing exclusive material but entirely different narration. Of the three, WITCHCRAFT 70 is certainly the most Mondo, and for that we have our old pal Lee Frost to thank. If Luigi Scattini’s original film brings a wiggy mod sensibility (and copious nudity) to Satanic weddings and grave robbing, and The Satanists UK brings a cynical bent to the proceedings, WITCHCRAFT 70 brings us material more in line with other Lee Frost films like Mondo Bizzaro, Mondo Freudo, and the US version of The Forbidden. Plenty of everything you’d expect — Anton Lavey makes an entirely-suspected appearance, various black masses, voodoo practices, Baal worship, hippie cults, witches of all stripes and and more, much much more. With narration by Edmund Purdom (Pieces, Don’t Open ‘Til Christmas) and a good chunk of the original Piero Umiliani score, WITCHCRAFT 70 combines its source material with a post-Manson California vibe and a real/staged/who even knows aesthetic sure to please anyone who ever binge-watched In Search Of… episodes while incapacitated on Quaaludes. Those of you looking for a fact-checked detailed overview of the supernatural get exactly what you deserve. Those of you in the know on the whole Spectacle Midnights scene, however, are in for a deeply weird, nudetastic freakout you’re not likely to soon forget.


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GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS
aka Les amazones du temple d’or
Dir. Jess Franco1, 1986
France, 86 min.
Dubbed in English

SATURDAY, MARCH 14 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, MARCH 27 – MIDNIGHT

For many fans, the truly great works of Jess Franco took place in the sixties and early seventies, and everything he did since then doesn’t measure up. Fuck those dudes. This isn’t so say a film like GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS stands next to Venus In Furs, Nightmares Come at Night or Female Vampire — this is Franco at his jungle pulpiest, far more H. Rider Haggard than Bram Stoker. Thirty seconds into GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS and it’s an army of topless women on horseback galloping in slow-motion to synth-pop, which should give you a good idea of what you’re in for. Said amazons keep a fortress deep in the jungle, sitting atop a huge gold mine. A family of explorers set out to investigate the mine and were slaughtered by the Amazons, leaving only young Liana (Analia Ivars) alive. The tribe raised her as one of their own, never telling her the fate of her parents. Time passes, and Liana, now fully grown, learns the truth, and in order to get revenge on the Amazon tribe joins forces Imagine a role-reversed Greystoke and you’re on the right path, but add a healthy dollop of Franco-style humor (think Robinson and his Wild Slavegirls — there’s even a hilarious monkey named Rocky!), all the questionable sadism you’d expect from late 80s Eurocine Franco, the drum machine wizardry of Norbert Verrone and a few truly problematic performances and it’s almost like a role-reversed Greystoke, only, well, *not*. Welcome to the return of The Franco Files!

1 To what extent this film was directed by Jess Franco (who we guarantee wrote the screenplay) or Alain Payet (director of Nathalie: Escape From Hell among a ton of French porn) is a matter of some dispute. If there are any film scholars who wanna get into this, please let us know, but for everybody else: if it walks like a Franco, and talks like a Franco…

FEBRUARY MIDNIGHTS


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LOVE ME DEADLY
Dir. Jacque Lacerte, 1972
USA, 95 min.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – MIDNIGHT

“A beautiful child woman doomed to love only the dead!”

Before Karen Greenlee’s mortuary escapades there was “Love Me Deadly” the story of Lindsay Finch and her lust for the dead! Ms. Finch is a beautiful California blonde who cruises funerals looking for her next lover. Alas, there are only so many funeral homes in LA, a beautiful woman in provocative mourning attire is sure to be noticed. Lucky for Lindsay she catches the eye of a funeral director who just happens to be the leader of a necrophiliac sex cult! Will Lindsay give into lust or will a chance reading of an obituary lead her to true love?

LOVE ME DEADLY is a sweet and gruesome film made delightfully perverse by its usage of romantic ballads and upbeat songs as a soundtrack. Its juxaposition of soap opera style flash-backs and embalming tables is absolutely sickening in the best possible way. Watch out for the extras in the first funeral scene, they were all members of the original Church of Satan.


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THE PSYCHO LOVER
Dir. Robert Vincent O’Neill, 1970
USA, 80 min.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – MIDNIGHT

“What did the voice say?” “Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.”

Robert Vincent O’Neill, the director who brought you Spectacle midnight classics Wonder Women and Blood Mania, offers his first and arguably weirdest film, THE PSYCHO LOVER (aka The Loving Touch). Psychiatrist Ken Alden, wants a divorce from his wife Valerie so he can spend his time with his topless girlfriend Stacy at the lake house, but Valerie refuses to give him one. Quite reasonably he decides to manipulate a patient Manchurian Candidate-style (they even mention this in the film!) into performing the murder for him. Marco, our hapless strangling necrophiliac, just may be a little too good as his job, however…

As a plot it may seem a little threadbare, but this basically opens up for some absolutely jaw-dropping visuals (our killer has a perfect O’Neill dream sequence freakout with an overdose of fuzz guitar!), the performance are all well above average, some great bitter repartee between Ken and his wife Valerie, some unexpected turns, and most notably, the actual murder scenes, both psychedelic and brutal. It’d probably be misleading to call THE PSYCHO LOVER an “American Giallo”, but it definitely has both the stylish look and visceral impact of Brian de Palma’s contemporary MURDER A LA MOD. Brainwashing, go-go dancers, home invasion: everything your Valentine’s Day requires.


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MUSICAL MUTINY
Dir. Barry Mahon, 1970
USA, 74 min.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – MIDNIGHT

OCCUPY PIRATE’S WORLD!

Hey, kid: do you like Iron Butterfly? Do you like pirates? Do you like incitements that the youth culture should, in fact, stage a mutiny? A MUSICAL MUTINY? Spokesman of the hippie generation Barry Mahon (director of dozens of nudie-cuties/roughies) had a sort of second act at the very end of his career, directing a series of deeply strange fairytale films (THUMBELINA, SANTA CLAUS AND THE ICE CREAM BUNNY) at/for a Florida amusement park called Pirate’s World. As it happens, Pirate’s World was a somewhat hot ticket at the time for touring bands (seriously: by the time this film was released Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Grateful Dead and Traffic all played there), so it was decided to release a concert film, starring Iron Butterfly and a bunch of local bands.

Add to this a storyline about a pirate who emerges from the sea and gets the young people together for a mutiny (ie a free show), a teen chemist who may or may not have invented a new hallucinogen, a subplot about how Iron Butterfly aren’t going to play this cockydoody free show unless they get paid in full and all the footage of smiling groovy Florida pre-teens bopping along to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and it definitely a strange no-man’s-land that covers both midnights and Rockuary! Without giving the plot away, fear not: the kids and the establishment find a way to work together and all was well at Pirate’s World…for another year or so, until Walt Disney World opened and forced the park out of business. THE END.



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ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE
Dir. John Fasano, 1987
Canada, 83 min.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – MIDNIGHT

“Toronto is where it’s happening, man.”

Fresh off his tour-de-force acting performance in Zombie Nightmare, Jon-Mikl Thor immediately set to work writing a screenplay titled The Edge Of Hell about a rock band who, while recording a new album at a remote farmhouse, discover it has been infested with demons. Together with the members of his band, a young director named John Fasano (1961-2014) and a lot of rubber puppets, Thor spent ten days shooting the film, a mix of hair metal, questionable effects, convoluted plotting and shirtless frenzy not seen since 1982’s Boardinghouse. Retitled ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE (you know, like the Spinal Tap song) and released on video, the film lurked in video stores, slowly gaining a fanbase of teenage stoners and delinquents.

It’s easy to see how such a combination has since become the manna of “clever” “funny” “horror” “movie” “blogs”, but it’s the film’s bizarre logic, culminating in a truly astonishing final fifteen minutes (of which we will say no more). We haven’t even mentioned JMT’s shower makeout scene, the adorable smoking cyclops demon, the sweet conversion van, the chest-bursting and all the great Thor tracks! Spectacle is proud to present, for the second time, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NIGHTMARE!

BEST OF SPECTACLE MIDNIGHTS 2014 – PART 2

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 1: DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE
SATURDAY, JANUARY 2: TURKISH PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

FRIDAY, JANUARY 9: AMERICAN COMMANDOS
SATURDAY, JANUARY 10: LITTLE MARINES

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16: LILLIAN THE PERVERTED VIRGIN
SATURDAY, JANUARY 17: BACK STREET JANE

FRIDAY, JANUARY 23: WEREWOLF IN A GIRLS DORMITORY
SATURDAY, JANUARY 24: ANIMAL PROTECTOR

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30: DIGITAL MAN
SATURDAY, JANUARY 31: LASER MISSION



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DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE
Dir. Joseph Ellison, 1979.
USA. 82 min.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 1 – MIDNIGHT

D. Boon asked, “What makes a man start fires?” Donny’s coworkers at the garbage disposal plant call him a fag and a sicko when he stands coldly transfixed as the incinerator envelops a co-worker in flames. He returns home to find his mother dead: his long-suffering guardian, who punished him as a child by holding his arms over the stove’s open flames. The curdled scars on his arms say nothing of the hideous psychological brand on his brain. His homicidal passion ignited, Donny does what any frustrated man would do: buys a flamethrower, builds a steel room, and lures women home so he can set them ablaze then arrange their charred corpses in his sitting room.

A decidedly sick ripoff of PSYCHO, DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE is perhaps less along the lines of a cheapie slasher than a film that seems to at least some extent be legitimately interested in creating a character portrait around a disturbed mind. (When Donny decides he’s been cured and changes from his working class duds into a new leisure suit, you almost want to believe he’s going to find true love at the discotheque instead of lighting a bunch of people on fire.) Consider it TAXI DRIVER with a blowtorch and the grindhouse version of a Scorsesean Catholic guilt complex. Future SOPRANOS wiseguy Dan Grimaldi turns in a memorable performance as Donny, and the film has some truly creepy moments and shocking scares.


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ARTIFACT VIDEO CLUB PRESENTS:
TURKISH PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
Dir. Hasan Karacadağ, 2012
Turkey, 119 min.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 2 – MIDNIGHT

Nodding to our international colleagues running Nollywood movie clubs, VCD videotheques, and illicit storefront cinemas, this year Spectacle inaugurates ARTIFACT VIDEO CLUB, a new monthly midnight series of bootlegged contemporary pop cinema from around the world. Pitched between armchair anthropology, misapplied critical theory, and superfried midnight madness, ARTIFACT VIDEO CLUB is an intrepid exploration of vernacular cinema from around the globe: things from countries whose film industries’ stateside visibility is generally restricted to annual consulate-sponsored showcases touting prestige productions. These are not such films.

Purposefully half-baked, the series is conceptually aligned with Ghana’s bootleg Hollywood video screenings, virus-infested Russian piracy sites, taxi stand televisions, Crown Heights bodegas DVD selections, the nether-reaches of YouTube trailer shows, and movies from two years ago that have an 8.7 IMDb rating based on tens of thousands of votes, yet of which apparently nothing has been written in English. Like the films it presents, it has been authorized by no one.

We begin with what we are calling TURKISH PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Though the seasoned Z-grade movie explorer is no doubt familiar with Turkey’s circa-1980 mockbusters like TURKISH STAR WARS, TURKISH WIZARD OF OZ, TURKISH E.T., TURKISH BATMAN, TURKISH STRAW DOGS, et al, one might believe this practice has been displaced by such contemporary arthouse darlings such as Nuri Bridge Ceylan, Rasit Celikezer, and Fatih Aiken. And yet it continues through the efforts of those such as Islamic Turkish horror filmmaker Hasan Karacadağ, who over the last decade has produced a steady stream of remarkably effective (and truly scary) unofficial horror remakes that unabashedly reinterpret hits from trend genres like J-horror, found footage, and torture porn via the The Quran — sort of like if Hollywood worshipped Allah instead of Mammon.

The plot of this one is simple: after a young woman experiences intensified sleepwalking episodes, her husband places cameras around the house to monitor her activity. As more unexplained, increasingly malevolent experiences occur during the night, including those which threaten their young daughters, the couple consult with a holy man and learn that they are being persecuted by the Quranic spirits of the Dabbe and Jinn — and may be under possession themselves. Because the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films are so quintessentially formulaic, the well-studied, brazen appropriation of TURKISH PARANORMAL ACTIVITY renders it, at minimum, exactly as good as its North American counterparts (and, pleasantly, more gory). Only by framing its consumer-tech-steeped narrative in Islamic belief and folklore, it also presents a dialectic between tradition and modernization, portending grim consequences of secular living. The simple virtue of it’s existence amid a revitalized, international appreciation for Turkish arthouse cinema also suggests something of the country’s uneasy, unreconciled relationship to its history of exploitation cinema.

But maybe we’re over-explaining ourselves: TURKISH PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is totally awesome and scary as fuck.


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AMERICAN COMMANDOS
Dir. Bobby A. Suarez, 1989
Philippines, 89 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 9 – MIDNIGHT

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Envelop yourself in our patented FUZZ-O-VISION VHS tape technology!

What’s deadlier than an American Hunter? An AMERICAN COMMANDO(S). Christopher Mitchum, our second or third favorite action star-turned-California politician, returns as an American commando in this high-stakes Southeast Asian shoot-’em-up directed by the legendary Bobby A. Suarez (AMERICAN COMMANDOS).

At the outset, as a gas station attendant in the outskirts of Philippines, Dean Mitchell (Mitchum) bravely kills a bunch of druggie scum by flipping over their car with bullets. Nice! But the problem with killing doper thugs with guns is they have doper thug friends with guns. When these human vermin exterminate Mitchell’s wife and child, they tell him they’ve settled the score – but really, they’ve only upped the stakes. Mitchell is a Vietnam vet, and, reuniting with his fellow war buddies, he traces the group to Saigon before going – that is, returning – deep into the dark heart of the jungle. And once there, he learns that the truth of who is behind the drug killings is far more criminal than he could have imagined.

AMERICAN COMMANDOS is a bleak, brute force actioner relieved only by non-stop moments of extreme unintentional humor, usually in the form of meaningless, blank expressions of loss, anguish, and victimhood. It’s the American right’s most constipated attempt to reconcile (or circumvent) the lessons of Vietnam. As the Bond-esque end credits song states: “He lost everything he had / He came close to going mad / He’s so good / But he is also bad.”

Mm. Anyway: explosions, Filipino-Italo soundtrack, righteous fist shaking toward an absentee God, rocket-firing motorcycle, and squibs galore. What’s not to like?


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LITTLE MARINES
Dir. A.J. Hixon, 1991
USA, 87 min.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 10 – MIDNIGHT

Awkwardly shot like a pervert peaking on these kids in the woods, A.J. Hixon’s LITTLE MARINES is the story of three turds that go camping. It’s not really an adventure film since it is mostly just a series of mishaps and fuck-ups and offers no resolutions to these kids problems. Most famous for its really long shaving scene featured at the Found Footage Film Festival, LITTLE MARINES has many more precious moments including bizarre flashbacks to their friend who died of cancer, a cool dude that tries to give them a handful of joints, a not so cool dude that is probably a child molester, a bully that has a gun, and a moment when the fatty admits that his father never said he loved him and the fatty’s friends say nothing. Its what you can expect from good ol’ Christian entertainment.

For this screening, the Spectacle will be screening the VHS tape that features the original music they probably couldn’t get the rights to when it came out on DVD!


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The Franco Files Presents:
LILIAN THE PERVERTED VIRGIN (Lilian la virgen pervertida)
Dir. Jess Franco (as Cliford Braun), 1984
Spain, 79 min.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 16 – MIDNIGHT

It’s fitting that as soon as Spain lifted the ban on pornography, Jess was the first through the hardcore gate with Lilian, The Perverted Virgin.

It’s the 13th of the 19 films he’d do with Golden Productions, so Lina Romay and Antonio Mayans are there of course, but the star here is Katja Bienert, who plays Lilian, found on the beach by Mario (Mayans), who listens to her tell the story of her abduction and torture at the hands of two wealthy perverts (Romay, naturally, and Emilio Linder). Betrayal, manipulation, wigged-out drug scenes, Jess as a drunk police official (again), freaky stage acts — it’s got everything you’d hope for in a Franco film.

With an excellent score by Pablo Villa and some excellent cinematography by Juan Soler, it’s an excellent introduction to Franco’s 80s classics.

WARNING: Hardcore pornography, including bondage.


BACK_STREET_JANE_RONNIE_CRAMER_BANNER BACK STREET JANE
Dir. Ronnie Cramer, 1989
USA, Runtime N/A

SATURDAY, JANUARY 17 – MIDNIGHT

“Yesterday she was a thief … today she’s an extortionist … tomorrow she’ll be rich … or dead!”

Screamed the tagline of BACK STREET JANE, the first stand-alone feature from musician, visual artist and filmmaker Ronnie Cramer. Shot in lurid 16mm, BACK STREET JANE is the rare Film Noir-inspired film that doesn’t come off as imitation. This is genuine, bare-knuckle low-budget filmmaking, as gritty as it gets. A tough-as-Hell jaunt to the wrong side of town so packed with drugs, violence, sex and vengeance that upon release it garnished high praise from scores of indie review zines and mags across the country; including Psychotronic Video, who said: “Non-stop double-crosses and plot surprises in the tradition of movies like ‘The Killing’ and ‘The Asphalt Jungle’!” – Psychotronic Video



werewolf-dormitory-banner WEREWOLF IN A GIRLS DORMITORY
(aka: LYCANTHROPUS)
Dir. Paolo Heusch, 1961
Italy, 83 min.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 23 – MIDNIGHT

“Mary has a marvelous ability for always being in trouble.”

Spectacle Midnights are about to give going back to college the old college try. There’s a ghoul in school and it’s a wonder anyone can even get a quality education amidst all the blackmail, seduction, and carnage.

A new professor, with a murky past, arrives at school for troubled girls outside of a quiet little town besieged by wolf attacks. On his first night there, a young girl is savagely torn apart just outside of the school. With the mile long suspect list growing ever shorter as the stack of bodies grows taller, the film – penned by the legendary scribe Ernesto Gastaldi (The Long Hair of Death, The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock, Torso, My Name is Nobody, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, The Case of the Bloody Iris, etc.) this film keeps you guessing til the end. Featuring a snappy theme song and a soundtrack peppered with bassoons and flutes and presented UNCUT with footage TOO SHOCKING FOR SIXTIES CENSORS!

“I saw. You’re a beast not a man my dear so go to the Devil.

I haven’t done anything.
I haven’t done anything.”


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ANIMAL PROTECTOR
Dir. Mats Helge, 1988
Sweden/USA, 96 min.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 24 – MIDNIGHT

Like Spectacle after-dark idols Godfrey Ho (HARD BASTARD) and Arizal (AMERICAN HUNTER), Swedish filmmaker Mats Helge singlehandedly helmed dozens of cornea-crushing Z-grade action pictures in the 70s and 80s, only a fistful of which are accounted for today. Perhaps second-famous after his much-whispered-about THE NINJA MISSION, ANIMAL PROTECTOR sees Helge standing at the cynosure of 80s late-night movie financing. Shooting in and around a Scottish castle, Helge’s camera betrays a magnetic pull towards David Carradine’s demented hardass Colonel Whitlock. Lording over an operation guarded by special ops, infantrymen and non-American Green Berets, Whitlock is no mere animal-experimenting megavillain but a damn Reagan-era Doctor Moreau.

For a time, Helge’s bleak vision is like watching a powerful Bond villain with no comeuppance anywhere near to the horizon. But justice does indeed touch down at Whitlock’s doorsteeple in the hands of C.I.A. agent Santino (A.R. Hellquist), plus a bevy of uzi-gun toting blondes in shredded jeans and camo. Impassioned to free Whitlock’s mammalian victims (if without an escape plan beyond the island), the crew chews up scores of foot soldiers and flunkies before running smack into its greatest obstacle: Whitlock. Carradine the order-barker suddenly morphs into Carradine the wild man of kung fu, exploding out of the castle and onto the beach. There, Santino’s mission vanishes into the sunrise in a one-on-one deathmatch that can only define both men as animal.


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DIGITAL MAN
Dir. Philip J. Roth, 1995
Nevada. 91 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30 – MIDNIGHT

Hot on the heels of 2013’s sold-out screenings of Richard J. Pepin’s Hologram Man, Spectacle offers up this late-night cyberwar curio fielded from the pixelated precipice between Atari and The Matrix. Starring an Altmanesque corps of noteworthy surnames, Philip Roth’s Digital Man concerns a glitch in national security so cruel, it’d be divine if it weren’t so damn digital: a time-traveling supercyborg touches down in the small-town Southwest just in time to hijack an apocalypse’s worth of nuclear launch codes.

Fresh off a realm too insane in its violence and punishment for mere humans  to enter, the Digital Man must be stopped – and it’s up to a motley crue of wisecracking heavyweights (some military experts, some shotgun-toting salt of the earth) to take him out, analog style. Tons and tons and tons and tons of fireball explosions (replete with slo-mo backflips and brutal, spaghetti-worthy shootouts) ensue, culminating in one night you can’t merely “attend” while on your laptop.

Digital Man is a very entertaining movie, with good acting, excellent photography and outstanding F/X. It does suffer from a mediocre script however. A very good, overall effort from a bunch of actors who fall  into the category of “where have I seen them before?” A rating of 8 out of 10 was given. – VCRanger, IMDB

lets get down to brass tax where can we get this movie someone upload cmon it cant be ilegal look at it buying it would be a magor crime – Jamie Mcfayden, YouTube

I’ve seen Digital man almost a decade ago when it came to video. My dad rented me this movie to watch over the weekend since he was leaving with my mom. I loved it so much that I’ve watched it five or six times in 48 hours !!! – thebigmovieguy, IMDB

Don’t just settle for T2 ,experience this equal ,yet lower budget Sci-Fi action outing,with martial arts giant Matthias Hues in the lead. – “A Customer”, Amazon

I rented this when it came out on video. I remember thinking the special effects and costumes were pretty cool back then. And in the early-to-mid-1990s computer animation was a novelty, so that added to the movie’s appeal. (And back then CGI looked cooler with those smooth surfaces.) – felicity4711, YouTube


LASER_MISSION_BANNER LASER MISSION
Dir. BJ Davis, 1989
USA, 84 min.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 31 – MIDNIGHT

On Saturday February 1st at MIDNIGHT, we are celebrating what would have been the 49th birthday of BRANDON LEE. Who is that, you ask? You’re reading this on a computer, right?

Before he was THE CROW (but definitely after his LEGACY OF RAGE), 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. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get our hands on the legendary FULLY UNCUT version on GERMAN VHS, but if you come by SATURDAY FEBRUARY 1ST, maybe we’ll SHOW you some STILLS AND talk you THROUGH THE cuts.

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.

BEST OF SPECTACLE MIDNIGHTS 2014 – PART 1

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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5: ARGOMAN
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6: MAGIC OF THE UNIVERSE
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12: ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (16MM)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13: TORSO
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19: NINJA VENGEANCE
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20: BLACK SAMURAI



argoman-banner ARGOMAN
aka THE FANTASTIC ARGOMAN
aka ARGOMAN THE FANTASTIC SUPERMAN
aka THE INCREDIBLE PARIS INCIDENT
Dir. Sergio Grieco (as “Terence Hathaway”), 1967
Italy, 92 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5 – MIDNIGHT

ARGOMAN (Sergio Grieco as “Terence Hathaway”, 1967) from Spectacle Theater on Vimeo.

This April, Spectacle is pleased to unleash one of its long-hidden midnight treasures: ARGOMAN THE FANTASTIC SUPERMAN. The batshit cousin of swingin’ sixties psych-thriller DANGER: DIABOLIK, and a likely inspiration for AUSTIN POWERS, ARGOMAN is so awesomely weird and hilarious that it is truly unclear whether the film is intended as parody. Like Diabolik, Argoman is a cross between superhero and supervillain and 100% superstud — a Batman-style Playboy vigilante, real name “Sir Reginald Hoover,” who lives in a high tech-pad decked with leopard-print everything and an endless supply of supergadgets and suspended sex beds at his disposal. He is also totally psychic, and one of his best moves is extending his palm really intensely and thinking “kill each other!” really hard until his opponents, such as the Chinese army, kill each other. And solving problems by cleverly levitating objects into new positions. He is also really great at psyching out giant cardboard robots and killing them, too.

In this, the first of one adventures, Argoman comes up against the vaguely amphibious and diabolical Jenabell, alias The Queen of the World, infiltrating to heart to enter her secret lair — or is it the other way around? Due to ARGOMAN’s excellent screenplay, you will be guessing until the very final moments, abetted by one of the great Italian lounge-cheese soundtracks. Indeed, ARGOMAN is the best superhero since Val Kilmer.

FREE ADMISSION FOR ANYONE WHO COMES WEARING AT LEAST 60% SPANDEX!



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MAGIC OF THE UNIVERSE (Salamamgkero / The Magician / Monster of the Universe)
Dir. Tata Estaban, 1986/1988
Philippines, 84 min.
Dubbed in English.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6 – MIDNIGHT

BELIEVE in MAGIC.  A wizard accidentally loses his daughter to an unimaginable evil.  He risks hat and wand to make things right.  Cast of tens includes humans and puppets.


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ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK
Dir. Sergio Martino, 1972.
Italy. 95 min.
In English.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12 – MIDNIGHT; IN 16MM!

Sergio Martino reteams with muse Edwige Fenech for a Polanski-esque paranoid nightmare about a woman, Jane, who begins to lose her mind after taking heavy meds following a miscarriage. As she grows cold toward her partner, warms up to her sexy neighbor Mary—played by Marina Malfatti from THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF HER GRAVE—who encourages her to get her act together by, er, joining a devil-worshiping sex cult. Somehow, this only makes things worse. When a phantasmic stalker gets into the mix and Jane participates in ever-more ritualistic murder orgies, things spiral further into madness.

ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK is Sergio Martino’s most surreal film, featuring a number of delirious nightmare set pieces. As always, Fenech is fantastic, and as ROSEMARY’S BABY knockoffs go, this is one of the best.


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TORSO
aka The bodies bear traces of carnal violence
Dir. Sergio Martino, 1973
Italy, 93 min.
In English with a few previously cut scenes in subtitled Italian.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13 – MIDNIGHT

This film was originally part of the All the Colors of Giallo: Sergio Martino Midnights series.

TORSO is the fifth and final giallo by under-appreciated genre master Sergio Martino. Having perfected the lurid and stylish pulp-literary whodunnit with films like THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH and THE CASE OF THE SCORPION’S TAIL, here he strips the giallo formula down to its raw essentials, breaking it down into a new form of distilled carnage-by-numbers that anticipates the American slasher—which has never approached this level of bravura panache.

The plot is absurdly minimal: a masked man is killing college coeds along with anyone else who threatens to reveal his identity. The police’s only clue is a red scarf, which is probably intended as a mocking allusion to the red herring. (At one point, a character who thinks she’s identified the killer remembers he was wearing a black scarf with an abstract red pattern rather than a red scarf with an abstract black pattern—yet they look identical.) No matter the details: the film is pure sex and dismemberment, ranging from necking in cars to lesbian exhibitionists to a drug-fuelled hippie orgy, which, in one of the film’s most memorable sequences, results in someone wandering half-naked and stoned through thick fog in a dew-drenched forest before encountering the killer, clad in a leather jacket and ripped stocking mask, appearing like a swampy apparition. The film unlikely culminates in an incredibly nail-biting and grisly protracted suspense sequence that is pure edge-of-your-seat cinema.

Thanks to our friends at Blue Underground, we’re pleased to present the film in a stunning transfer made directly from the film’s original, uncut elements. We’ll show it with the English-language soundtrack, which has a minute or two of previously excised footage in subtitled Italian.



ninja-vengeance-banner NINJA VENGEANCE
Dir. Karl Armstrong, 1992
USA, 87 min.
Screening directly from glorious VHS! Feel the fuzz!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19 – MIDNIGHT

[Trigger Warnings: Racial slurs and violence]

What’s so funny about fists, love, and understanding? In NINJA VENGEANCE: everything. Part anglicized martial arts extravaganza, part ineptly intentioned racesploitation picture, NINJA VENGEANCE is like a mix between THE INTRUDER and SAMURAI COP, and every bit as glorious as that tease suggests.

Chris is a young stud from Wyoming breezing through the small Texas town of Maynard on his way to “a seminar” when his bike (“one‘uh those foreign jobs”) breaks down. The local racists look kindly upon Chris’s aryan disposition, but when he encounters the entire police force in Klan outfits murdering the town’s educated young black man, he unleashes his righteous ninja fury on them, and they get super pissed and put him in jail. As if bars could hold a ninja trained on the beaches of Wyoming, and who packs throwing stars, ninja rope, and how-to paperbacks called “Ninja” and “Jujitsu” when he travels! Is it too much to hope that the movie might climax with two white people, one of them in a sheriff’s outfit, karate fighting in front if a giant burning cross? NO.

NINJA VENGEANCE reflects everything that is wonderful and terrible about the early 90’s obsession with shopping mall-style karate, and also what happens when a bunch of karate champions from Texas try to make a movie about racism. (Uh, let alone a bunch of a karate champions from Texas trying to make a movie, period.) The result, while undeniably earnest and progressive in its intentions, is also flagrantly backwards in execution. Like, if you’re going to make an anti-racist movie, you might not want to give characters names like “Mike’s white friend” and “Mike’s black friend,” to say nothing of the problematic westernization of martial arts. As an added bonus, the film has a punchdance-worthy power rock theme song by the same Brad Rushing who is also credited as second unit director of photography. A very talented bunch, and a shame that somehow pretty much no one involved in this movie went on to do any others ever.

Tonight’s screening will be presented from VHS, the way god fuckin intended.



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BLACK SAMURAI
Dir. Al Adamson, 1977.
USA. 88 min.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20 – MIDNIGHT

ENTER THE DRAGON’s “Kicking-rhymes-like” Jim Kelly stars in this amazing attempt to cram every possible comic book conceit into a single blaxploitation kung fu occult spy movie. Kelly is Robert Sand, Agent of D.R.A.G.O.N., coerced by shady government operatives into traveling around the world in pursuit of evil warlock Janicot and his legion of henchmen (notably including several little people, some of whom know karate, and others who just wield large shotguns). He’s going to need all his kung fu skills to get through this mission–along with shotguns, supercharged trick cars, a mariachi band, decorative live snakes, and an actual JETPACK. I honestly didn’t even know jetpacks were real until I saw the Jim Kelly flying around in one, plain as day, without any apparent special effects, and looked up jetpacks on Wikipedia.

Anyway: that platonic-ideal, balls-to-the-wall, kitchen-sink exploitation movie you’ve always wanted to see but never knew how to find? It’s showing at Spectacle tonight.

NOVEMBER MIDNIGHTS

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SO SWEET SO DEAD
aka Rivelazioni di un maniaco sessuale al capo della squadra mobile
Dir. Roberto Bianchi Montero, 1972
Italy, 95 min.
In Italian with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1 — MIDNIGHT

Let’s not mince words: So Sweet So Dead is a giallo. A straight-up, black-gloved, straight-razored, nightgowns and scotch giallo. A series of high society wives are being killed by a mysterious stranger after being unfaithful to their husbands, and the police lieutenant (Farley Granger) attempts to find the killer without being allowed to interview the husbands, in fact being thwarted at every turn by his superiors. Directed by Roberto Bianchi Montero, it’s well worth watching for those of you who enjoyed last month’s Sergio Martino series.


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

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7 – 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, it houses a surprise of its own in the form of 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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THE MONSTER AND THE STRIPPER
(aka The Exotic Ones)
Dir. Ron Ormond, 1968
USA, 91 min.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15 – MIDNIGHT

Any attempt at classing up this sleazy 60s gem stopped with its original title, THE EXOTIC ONES, and even that failed as it switched to the more accurate THE MONSTER AND THE STRIPPER on rerelease. With a lot more stripper than monster, this film is pure 60s trash GOLD, and the last made before director Ron Ormond turned toward moralizing Christian fare.

What a film to go out on though – beginning with a gloriously overlong open call for “talent” at a “New Orleans” burlesque joint (actually a claustrophobically-shot Methodist Church), we’re treated to a bevy of beauties featuring star dancer Titania (I couldn’t make this up) and her famous Fire Dance strutting their stuff to the running Dada commentary of the film’s co-producer and wife of Ron Ormond, June Carr.

Ormond himself plays demented Tony Clifton doppleganger/club owner Nemo, first seen torturing a man foolish enough to steal his money with the contents of a spittoon. Word reaches Nemo a monster’s been murdering hillbillies in the swamps of Louisiana, and Titania suggests a Beauty and The Beast act with the beast ripping off all her clothes. NO OTHER ACT will do, and Nemo finds himself in the monster-hunting business. With a team led by son Tim Ormond (a trifecta of Nashville’s First Family of Film!) they wander into the swamps and capture the beast, played by rockabilly also-ran Sleepy LaBeef (dare I say the Meatloaf of rockabilly?).

Back at the club, Little Timmy befriends the monster, who in turn falls for one of Titania’s new dance rivals. The whole town is abuzz and eager to see the Monster and the Stripper, but will the show go off without a hitch? Of course not.

For all the supposed sleaze, this exploitation film doesn’t feel exploitive – it’s a bizarro family affair where nothing makes a lick of sense, but everyone’s having a damn fine time onscreen. SEE a man get beaten with his own arm! WATCH a couple play dueling oversized harmonicas! MARVEL at hair and eye makeup that would make Divine puke with jealousy! HEAR dialogue that sounds like it was written with Noir Cliché refrigerator magnets! WITNESS – THE MONSTER AND THE STRIPPER! (and a lot of other strippers too)


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BLOODY PIT OF HORROR
aka Il boia scarlatto
Dir. Massimo Pupillo, 1965
Italy, 87 min.
In Italian with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14 – MIDNIGHT

“The Crimson Executioner thirsts for blood!”

There’s only one place to start with talking about this film, and that’s the late great Mickey Hargitay. Mr. Universe, Mr. Jayne Mansfield, Mariska Hargitay’s dad, and an actor at some strange point between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Klaus Kinski, Mickey dives into all of his roles with a bulging intensity that never fails to deliver. He’s at his best here as a one-time actor named Travis who spends his days in seclusion…when not calling himself The Crimson Executioner, practicing self-worship, abusing body oil and subjecting trespassers to medieval torture in his castle compound. Along comes a breezy Italian gaggle of models and photographers who want to use his compound to do some horror paperback cover shoots. You can probably guess what’s coming next, but trust me, we up the stakes considerably here, with some crazy set pieces (there’s a scene with a mechanical spider that I can’t even explain), a beautiful score and plenty of Mickey talking about his perfect body! Also claims to be based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade! We’ll be showing the international cut with all nudity and tempra-paint gore intact!


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NAKED MASSACRE
aka Born For Hell
aka Die Hinrichtung
Dir. Denis Héroux, 1976
West Germany/Canada/France/Italy, 86 min.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22 – MIDNIGHT

Based on the infamous case of nurse-butcher Richard Speck—also portrayed in Kōji Wakamatsu’s VIOLATED ANGELS (1967), B-movies from 2002, 2007 and 2012, the original US poster for Fernando Di Leo’s SLAUGHTER HOTEL (1971), a Wesley Willis song, self-appointed ‘murder metal’ band Macabre’s 1993 tune “What The Heck Richard Speck?: Eight Nurses You Wrecked,” and, uh, master painter Gerhard Richter’s 1966 work “Eight Student Nurses”—this unusually sadistic international co-production is indeed the only version that grafts his story onto The Troubles in Belfast, Northern Ireland and re-casts Speck as a Vietnam vet, all while depicting a sexual perversity that allegedly outpaces that of the real-life killer.


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WAR OF THE ROBOTS
aka La guerra dei robot
Dir. Alfonso Brescia, 1978
Italy, 100 min.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28 – MIDNIGHT

“Here’s a science fiction movie what will blow your mind.” -Marco Talvitie (Youtube via Google+)

“I’m not sure why anyone has compared this movie to Star Wars, other than some fighting with, “light swords”. This movie reminded me more of a militarized version of the classic Star Trek TV series. It’s actually not bad at all, cheesy, yes, but not bad. […] I didn’t think I’d make it through the whole 100 minutes, but I did and don’t regret that time!” -Forcemaster2000 (Internet Archive)

“One of the funniest things, even though it didn’t really have much to do with the acting, was the footsteps. Anytime there were people running around or even just walking around, there were these really loud and pronounced footsteps dubbed in. It’s one of those things that once you notice it the first time, you notice it every time.” –B-Movie Central

It’s good. 9.5/10.” -stevesaad3150 (TV.com)


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SONG AT MIDNIGHT
aka Ye ban ge sheng
Dir. Weibang Ma-Xu, 1937
China, 118 min.
In Chinese with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29 – MIDNIGHT

Widely considered the first Chinese horror film ever made, SONG AT MIDNIGHT is a deft and frightening adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 cultural juggernaut “The Phantom of the Opera,” infusing the classic story with revolutionary propaganda reflecting the anti-feudal fervor of China at the outset of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45).

Very influenced by Hollywood genre standards—as well as some moments indicating a German Expressionist influence—SONG AT MIDNIGHT allegedly played poorly to 1930s Chinese audiences. Its stature has grown considerably since, however, frequently appearing on lists of all-time best Chinese films and spawning two remakes: Chiu Feng Yuan’s two-part THE MID-NIGHTMARE (1962) and Ronnie Yu’s THE PHANTOM LOVER (1995).