Oh, the horror, the horror!
Upon first glancing at the schedule, it looks a bit safe. A snarky comment is made about the dearth of Bruce Campbell appearances and obscure mad-hippie-slasher films from the Benelux countries. One of the street-teamers disagrees, vehemently. So, let’s examine the evidence.
On screen at midnight this Saturday is Dead Alive, a 1992 film, also known as Braindead, directed by Peter Jackson. At the time, the New Zealander was unknown; two years later, Jackson made the critically acclaimed Heavenly Creatures. Today, he’s best known for directing the Tolkien trilogy The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and the forthcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. In Dead Alive, the protagonist’s domineering mother is bitten by a “rat monkey,” which turns her into a zombie. (Bonus activity: zombie parade.)
The following Saturday, July 5, Blacula comes to town. The 1972 blaxploitation horror flick features William Marshall, who died a couple of weeks ago, as a funkier version of Bela Lugosi’s toothy Transylvanian. The movie is pure cheese, made even better by casting an accomplished actor in the lead. (Bonus activity: DJ Junior’s “Foxy Funkathon.”)
The third installment on July 12 features Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a 1966 bazoom-filled romp featuring a trio of strippers on a rampage, led by the great Tura Satana. At least three bands took their names from director Russ Meyer’s film titles (Faster Pussycat, Mudhoney and Vixen), and Meyer’s essential sense of the truly trashy, combined with some of the most mind-numbing dialogue ever put to celluloid, make this a worthwhile big-screen experience. (Bonus activity: “live meat” wrestling.)
Week four, July 19, is an adults-only program of Hong Kong kung-fu sex and violence: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky and Robotrix. This one starts at 11 p.m. instead of the usual midnight.
Week five, July 26, features the 1974 Phantom of the Paradise, directed by Brian De Palma and starring weird game-show munchkin Paul Williams. This event, a sing-along activity, was the one that precipitated a street-teamer’s flurry of defensive comments. Sorry, bud, but this unwatchable mess still blows, nearly 30 years after the fact.
Winding up on August 2 is “Trash Till Dawn,” which includes three bad films: Grizzly, The Female Bunch and Impulse, the latter a 1974 masterpiece starring William Shatner as leisure-suited gigolo Matt Stone. You’re on your own for breakfast afterward, but you probably won’t want to eat.
OK. It looks like a pretty decent lineup after all.