dir. Jean-Pierre Bekolo, 2005
Cameroon. 97 mins.
In French with English subtitles.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Director Jean-Pierre Bekolo has been making spirited, avant-garde films in and about his native Cameroon for the past twenty years. His imaginative work criticizes both his country’s dictatorship, as well as Western cinematic conventions, offering a fresh perspective of Africa, of cinema, and especially of African cinema.
LES SAIGNANTES is the best African sci-fi vampire political satire with homoerotic overtones you’ve ever seen. Best friends Majolie and Chouchou are two beautiful young women trying to get ahead in a near-future Cameroon. After accidentally killing a powerful politician during sex, the two come up with a plot to dispose of the body, and get into the glamorous wakes that have taken over the local nightlife.
As the girls tear their way through the corrupt ruling class, using their their feminine wiles and magical powers, Bekolo drops inter-titles into the film, commenting on the difficulties of filmmaking in an oppressive political climate. With a feminist subtext and cinematography like a blacklight rave, LES SAIGNANTES is a beautiful, disorienting, and truly original work.
Originally screened July 2013. Special thanks to Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Annelise Ogaard, Derica Shields and Megan Eardley.
Dir. Leonardo Favio, 1969.
78 min. Argentina.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Originally screened Spectober 2012. Special thanks to Jon Dieringer.
Dir. Mohammed Shebl, 1981.
Egypt. 100 mins.
In Arabic with English subs.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
The premise — a young couple attempt to shelter from a storm at a creepy castle only to have their lives changed forever — may have been lifted straight from THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (along with the dance numbers, professorial framing device, and disembodied lips intro sequence). But however much director Mohammed Shebl may have worn his love of that cult icon on his sleeve, his ambitious and wildly imaginative attempt to transcribe it into contemporary 1981 Egypt makes for something wholly his own. Black magic, singing vampires in spangles, Egyptian pop cameos, awkward climbing Dracula sequence, implausible fog machine deployment, a shockingly banging original electrofunk soundtrack by the film’s co-writer (fleshed out with bizarre soundtrack cues lifted directly from American movies of the time), kinetic on-screen animation effects — it’s all here.
In a memorable postmodern tangent the film even turns aside into social commentary to prove the existence of the ordinary “vampires of Egyptian society”, wherein Dracula pops up in various mundane roles (price-gouging plumber, opportunistic cab driver, etc) to continue haunting the leads decades into the future. If there’s any doubt about what sort of film world we’re in, it’ll be settled in the first minutes, when our protagonists’ relationship is established via an outside-the-window-serenade, with a bunch of random joggers in knee socks and shorts leaping in as back-up dancers. All of which serves, as well, as a strange reminder of the much relaxed social climate that prevailed in Egypt 30 years ago. (In his next film, Shebl would even work in cuts from a Divine video to establish the appropriate vibe at a club scene.)
Mohammed Shebl, an iconoclastic radio personality and filmmaker who died young 20 years ago, was a bit of a glorious outlier in the Egyptian film world. Over the course of four features he fought a one-man war to jump-start the Egyptian horror film industry, which sadly never quite caught on with audiences and critics. But besides his own subsequent films, brimful of love for the likes of EVIL DEAD and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, he did manage to inspire a brief generation of surreal ghost stories and tales of the Egyptian Weird, most sadly untranslated and unseen in the west. His debut FANGS, however, has been translated and provides an ecstatic, essential window into a rarely seen side of Arabic cinema.
Originally screened June 2016. Special thanks to Nate Dorr.
dir. Harvey Hart, 1973
Canada. 108 mins.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
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.
Originally screened May 2015. Special thanks to Darren Bauler.
Dir. Olaf Ittenbach, 1989.
85 mins. Germany.
In German with English subtitles.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15 – 7P EST only on Twitch
Tommy is a troubled teen trying to make friends in a new town without too much luck. He is bullied by his new school mates, and even his family pokes fun at him. As if this isn’t enough, the discovery of an ancient relic seems to release an evil that threatens to destroy him, and everyone he knows. As his demonic visions grow stronger, dreams begin to confuse reality, and Tommy spirals downward. But is it all in his head, or are the nightmares real?
They are real. Everyone is slaughtered. Xtreme violence and gore.
Originally screened March 2013. Special thanks to Wilt “Legz” Stewart.
THE WHITE REINDEER
dir. Erik Blomberg, 1952
Finland. 74 mins.
In Finnish with English Subtitles
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Originally screened Spectober 2011. Special thanks to Jon Dieringer,
BLACK CAT MANSION
Dir. Nobuo Nakagawa, 1958
Japan, 69 min
In Japanese with English subtitles
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20 – 9PM EST only on Twitch
Once there, the doctor and his wife begin to experience bizarre hallucinations. They consult a monk who relates the tragic history of the mansion: a tale of a jealous lord, a blind monk, his distraught sister, and a possessed cat.
BLACK CAT MANSION features near-psychedelic set pieces that point the way towards Nakagawa’s most celebrated horror masterpiece Jigoku, made two years later.
DON’T DELIVER US FROM EVIL
dir. Joel Seria, 1971
110 mins. France.
In French with English subtitles.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Content warning: attempted sexual assault of a minor.
Special thanks to Pete Tombs and Mondo Macabro.
MESSIAH OF EVIL
Dir.Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, 1973
90 mins. United States.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21 – 9PM EST only on Twitch
A perennial Spectacle favorite. Co-directed by the husband and wife team behind the scripts for INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and HOWARD THE DUCK, this bad acid-trip of a zombie movie takes you into a Lovecraftian beach town where things are very, very off.
When Arletty stops hearing from her estranged father, an artist and painter living in the beach town of Point Dune, she makes a trip to see him despite his warnings to stay away.
Come and join the cult of the blood moon as we burn bonfires on the beach and wait for the arrival of the dark stranger. Featuring elaborate and eye popping production design by Jack Fisk (BADLANDS, ERASERHEAD, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE) and a killer electronic score by Phillan Bishop (Kiss of the Tarantula).
EDGE OF THE AXE
(aka Al Filo del Hacha)
Dir. Jose Ramon Larraz, 1988
Spain, 90 min
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Directed by the prolific Jose Ramon Larraz (REST IN PIECES, SYMPTOMS, VAMPYRES), this is a fun, odd ride of a slasher. The less you know the better, but if you’re in the mood for a brainless slasher, you’ve come to the right place. Special bonus if you’re a fan of dated tech plotlines.
Dir. Simon Nuchtern, 1984
93 min, USA
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22 – 9PM EST only on Twitch
Hot on the heels of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3 comes this odd and largely forgotten gem about a homicidal maniac, Howard Johns, who is released from a nightmarish mental hospital due to a “computer error”.
Once out, John’s heads straight for the sorority house where he murdered several sorority sisters years earlier. Sinister hospital administrators and a useless cop (Sydney Lassick in show stealing, almost entirely seated cameos) deny that anything is wrong and refuse to take action, while a psychiatrist goes undercover at the sorority house as an ex-sister to investigate.
Angrier than your average slasher, this has some surprisingly biting things to say about those in power that’s aged a little too well.
Originally screened as part of THE THIRD ANNUAL SHRIEK SHOW, 2013
THE HAUNTED CASTLE
(aka SECRET CHRONICLES OF THE GHOST-CAT)
dir Tokuzo Tanaka, 1969
Japan. 82 mins.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Tokuzo Tanaka was an assistant director on RASHOMON, UGETSU and SANSHO THE BAILIFF, and he later directed the great kaidan THE SNOW WOMAN – another Spectober favorite from years past.
THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE
Dir. Jean Brismee, 1971
95 mins. Belgium/Italy.
In French with English subtitles.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27 – 9PM EST only on Twitch
We begin in 1945, where SS general Baron von Rhoneberg slays his own daughter 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, THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE), 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.
We urge any of you who have seen the film to not give away the total headfuck ending!
(aka THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED)
dir. Narciso Ibanez Serrador, 1969
99 mins. Spain.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Equal parts psycho-sexual slasher and masterfully moody Gothic horror, The House that Screamed is surprisingly frightening, with a thick sense of dread that’ll creep up on you. It’s also a gorgeously shot period piece with a lavish and swooning score by Waldo de los Rios. Not to be missed!
WHO CAN KILL A CHILD?
(¿Quién puede matar a un niño?)
dir. Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, 1976.
107 min. Spain.
Uncut in its original English soundtrack.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28 – 9PM EST only on Twitch
Essentially, the central concept is that the children are rebelling against the adults due to years of abuse – the opening credits provides a brief summary of past atrocities involving children during famine and war. The adults are, of course, incapable of killing the children in order to defend themselves, and the kids have managed to take over the entire island, where they live in a state of perpetual glee. Things become disrupted by the arrival of Fiander and Ransome, who quickly pick up on the fact that something is terribly wrong and are then forced to fend for themselves as they desperately attempt to escape.
Everything culminates in an ending that is literally beyond description – suffice it to say, if Hollywood ever gets the itch to remake this picture, it could only be done through major alterations to the original scenario.
“A completely unheralded classic of bleak 1970s horror cinema.” –Slant Magazine
BAKENEKO: A VENGEFUL SPIRIT
(aka THE CURSED SWAMP)
dir. Yoshihiro Ishikawa, 1968
Japan. 86 mins.
In Japanese with English subtitles
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29 – 7PM EST only on Twitch
Lord Nabeshima, who rose to power by murdering his master, demands that the young Yujiki become his concubine. When she refuses to submit, he murders her father and her fiance Yuki. Yujiki’s cat consumes her blood and becomes her avenging spirit, wreaking havoc in Lord Nabeshima’s house.
Ishikawa was one of the writers of BLACK CAT MANSION, and though he directed few films (including the recently Criterion editioned THE GHOST OF YATSUYA), BAKENEKO displays directorial genius. Beginning in a quietly haunting vein reminiscent of UGETSU, BAKENEKO descends into a nightmarish parade of splattered blood, decapitation, and ghosts gnawing on severed limbs.
Dir. Hans W. Geißendörfer, 1971
97 mins. West Germany.
In German with English subtitles.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29 – 9PM EST only on Twitch
The text of Dracula, authored by a sexually repressed and xenophobic Irish monarchist, has been the perfect backdrop for a century’s worth of questionable cinematic allegory. In 1931, Bela Legosi wore a Star of David under his cape. In 1992, Gary Oldman was the Voivode Vlad, an eternal victor against the Ottoman Empire. In early 70’s Germany, however, there was an allegorical subject too raw to touch—the exception being Hans Geißendörfer and his underseen treasure: JONATHAN.
Geißendörfer uses a krautrock soundtrack and almost Yusov-esque turns of the camera to portray a sunlight-basking, vampire ruling class. Under their control is a landless peasantry, subject to bloodletting and imprisonment by their opulent overlords. Enter a ragtag fellowship of urban vampire hunters, something of an anti-fascist league, who have a plan to drive the vampires into the sea. Jonathan is the scout, assigned to enter the castle of the head vampire and his horde of red-cloaked supplicants. When he arrives, Dracula explains: “If you could see through my eyes, you would understand completely.”
To quote an online review, “Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Sounds like an easy plot to follow, right? Wrong.” Let yourself be entranced by the entire atmosphere of this loose Dracula adaptation, which unfolds like a dense 14th century Flemish triptych. You will lose some blood, but only enough to lust for more.
Content Warning: JONATHAN features a brief moment of animal cruelty/death.