Posts Tagged ‘the new beverly cinema’

Phil Blankenship’s Film Explosion Part 2 @ The New Beverly Cinema!

June 12, 2010

From June 4th to the 10th, Phil Blankenship had a film explosion at the New Beverly Cinema. It was his second, so far. Who is Phil Blankenship? He’s a video-maniac extraordinaire and boy does he know his films. He programs the best selection of midnight movies that the revival house heavy city of Los Angeles has to offer. His choices are made up of many of the dusty, forgotten treasures you would often scan past on the shelves of your local video tape rental shop. Almost all of the films he programs are unavailable on DVD and include party favorites, cult movies and totally obscure b-movie gems. For one full week he put together a mind-blowing program of triple and double features that melted the faces of even the most avid film freaks right down to the bone.

It started on a Friday night with a testosterone and steroid drenched triple-bill of three of SYLVESTER STALLONE’S finest action films: the 1986 uber-cop madness of COBRA, followed by the over-the-top buddy-cop craziness of TANGO & CASH (costarring KURT RUSSELL) and the mountaintop action epic CLIFFHANGER (directed by RENNY HARLIN).

Saturday night was a triple-bill of b-movie auteur JIM WYNORSKI’S films: THE LOST EMPIRE, a highly entertaining and super-campy action/adventure flick about a big breasted blonde cop, who puts together a group of equally big breasted female mercenaries, so they can infiltrate a martial arts tournament on a secret island fortress and seek vengeance for the death of her brother from an undead wizard named Lee Chuck. It was wild! Then there was the incredible 80’s classic CHOPPING MALL (A.K.A. KILLBOTS), about a trio of mall security robots that go berserk and start killing off a group of partying teenagers. Lastly, there was a straight to video action movie starring COREY HAIM (who’s in his late twenties and playing a teenager) and ALAN THICKE (as HAIM’S cop father. Huh?) called DEMOLITION HIGH, which was like a combination of DIE HARD and THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Guests that night included JIM WYNORSKI and actors TONY O’DELL & KELLI MARONEY from CHOPPING MALL.

Tony O'Dell, Kelli Maroney and Jim Wynorski discuss CHOPPING MALL.

O'Dell poses with a Killbot.

Sunday gave us a double dose of two truly disgusting kids movies: 1987’s THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE, which was repulsive, grotesque and oddly surreal. Followed by the slimy puppet horror of GHOULIES II, which is considered by some to be the seventh best “carnival” movie ever made.

Monday was a double-bill of two classic 80’s slasher films: SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, which was written and directed by two feminist women, whom were clearly making a not-so-subtle satire of the genre. It was followed by SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE, a gory campus cut-up. DAVID MILLBERN, costar of SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE was a guest.

David Millbern talking about SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE.

Tuesday was a really cool BRIAN DePALMA double feature of: BLOW OUT, which is one of my favorite films by the director and one helluva bad ass thriller. It was shown with his more recent sexy dream mystery FEMME FATALE. Acclaimed editor and DePALMA collaborator PAUL HIRSCH was in the house for a magnificent Q & A.

Acclaimed editor Paul Hirsch on Brian DePalma.

On Wednesday, it was Phil’s birthday, so he showed two of his favorites: the classic REVENGE OF THE NERDS (and everybody’s favorite nerd ROBERT CARRADINE showed up to talk about it), which was followed by the third annual screening of Phil’s favorite movie, the aerobicsploitation epic HEAVENLY BODIES.

Nerd! Robert Carradine in the house!

Thursday was the final day of Phil’s festival and he showed two really awesome and obscure 80’s horror movies: PRISON (1988) starring VIGGO MORTENSEN as a convict in a prison haunted by a supernatural killer. Director RENNY HARLIN was on hand, along with the screenwriter C. COURTNEY JOYNER and veteran exploitation producer IRWIN YABLINS for a Q & A about the film. Next was THE HORROR SHOW (A.K.A HOUSE III) about a sadistic killer (played by BRION JAMES) who returns from the dead after being electrocuted for his crimes, so he can destroy the life of the cop (LANCE HENRIKSEN) who caught him. Both were very smart and well made exploitation films that are relatively unknown.

From R to L: Renny Harlin, C. Courtney Joyner and Irwin Yablins sing Happy Birthday to Phil.

Phil’s got some great midnight movies coming up this month at the New Bev, including the underrated 80’s teen classic THE WILD LIFE, the CLINT EASTWOOD stalker-from-hell flick PLAY MISTY FOR ME and the summer camp sequel insanity of MEATBALLS PART II. Nerd out!

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TROMA 35th ANNIVERSARY @ THE NEW BEV!

May 4, 2010

On April 22nd 2010, The New Beverly Cinema hosted a 35th anniversary celebration for the indie movie mavericks TROMA and their legendary CEO and founder LLOYD KAUFMAN was in attendance! TROMA has always held a special place in my movie-nerd heart and there was no way I could pass on an opportunity to see THE TOXIC AVENGER again on the big screen. I was but a mere pup working at a video store in the Chicago suburbs, when I was first introduced to Toxie and the crazy citizens of Tromaville, New Jersey. I brought THE TOXIC AVENGER home one night after work and popped it into my parent’s VCR for a look. I was utterly floored by the combination of over the top humor, social satire and graphic violence. I made it a point to see every TROMA movie they had at my store. I watched CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH (my second favorite after TOXIC AVENGER), SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, SGT. KABUKIMAN NYPD, TROMA WAR, TROMEO AND JULIET, etc. I always found a gross charm to their movies, and under the big tits and cheap ass gore, a subtle subversiveness.

In typical TROMA fashion, LLOYD KAUFMAN and his sideshow of crazy characters were on hand before and during the movies. LLOYD filmed the line of TROMA fans with his own camera and greeted everyone in sight, along with COUNT SMOKULA on his accordion, TOXIE and a cavalcade of scantily clad starlets and weirdoes.

Great poster!

Toxie in person!

LLOYD KAUFMAN films the line.

Count Smokula!

Once inside, LLOYD KAUFMAN, TOXIE, and COUNT SMOKULA were joined on stage by POULTRYGEIST co-star RON JEREMY. The former porn star played the harmonica in a weird duet with COUNT SMOKULA on his accordion, while costumed freaks and hot girls danced around. The shit was surreal.

Pandemonium!

LLOYD KAUFMAN films ME!

TOXIE, RON JEREMY and COUNT SMOKULA entertain the crowd. All we need is one more horseman and we got ourselves an apocalypse, folks!

Random TROMA weirdoes.

A TROMA girl selling DVD's.

After a crazy musical number and an incoherent speech from LLOYD, the show began. There was a trailer reel of all TROMA titles that included: SUGAR COOKIES, MOTHER’S DAY, ZOMBIE ISLAND MASSACRE, CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH, SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, TROMA’S WAR, TROMEO AND JULIET and CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV. Then, we were treated to a special director’s cut of THE TOXIC AVENGER, which included a deleted scene involving the Mayor on a golf course and two of the longest 80’s montages ever edited. It was EPIC watching this movie with an audience full of TROMA fanatics. I remembered watching THE TOXIC AVENGER as a midnight movie at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre way back in the day. It’s truly a movie to watch with others. The style of TOXIC is all over the place and I think that’s a huge part of its success. Part gross out comedy, part comic book movie, part revenge flick and part horror movie. It’s got it all and I love it. Even though they’re talking about doing a TOXIC AVENGER remake, I guarantee you will never again see a scene where a little boy get his head crushed under the tire of a speeding car and it’s all played for laughs, ever again. Pity.

There was a chaotic Q and A afterwards. The only real newsworthy item was that there will eventually be another TROMA TEAM produced TOXIC AVENGER movie, hopefully. I was going to leave due to exhaustion from the previous evenings indulgence, but decided to stay and check out a little of TROMA’S newest film, POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD. I’m sooooooo glad I did!

Bad things happen when a new military-themed fast food restaurant called American Chicken Bunker opens up in Tromaville. For starters, it’s built over a cursed Indian burial sight. Then, it’s protested by a feminist-led animal rights group called C.L.A.M. To make matters worse, new employee Arbie’s girlfriend Wendy has gone off to college and become a militant lesbian. And oh yeah, all the food gets contaminated and everyone who eats it turns into a giant man-eating chicken-zombie. It’s up to Arbie and Wendy, along with fellow employees-Denny, Carl Jr., Humus (a young woman of Arab decent) and their boss General Lee Roy (a white cracker stereotype), to put aside their differences and save the day.

POULTRYGEIST is gross, insulting, obnoxious, homophobic, racist, sexist and hilarious fun! Every ethnic group is raked over the coals. The comedy ranges from juvenile, to gross, to brilliant. On occasion, it suddenly becomes a musical and the characters break into these wonderfully funny song and dance numbers. I was shocked and blown away by how much fun I had and I stayed for the whole damn thing. LLOYD KAUFMAN directed this movie beautifully and I gotta say, it’s definitely a true TROMA film in every sense of the word. If you like their particular brand of independent insanity, I suggest you check it out. You won’t be disappointed. Nerd out!

A RE-ANIMATED Birthday @ the New Bev!

November 19, 2009

“I must say, Dr. Hill, I’m VERY disappointed in you. You steal the secret of life and death, and here you are trysting with a bubble-headed coed.” – Herbert West

This last Saturday was my birthday and after a full evening of celebration, I capped it all off with a midnight screening of one of my all-time favorite horror-comedies from the 80s, RE-ANIMATOR at the New Bev! The place was packed with rabid horror fans and my friends were almost as excited as I was to check out it out on the big screen. I first saw RE-ANIMATOR on VHS back when I was a teen and later as a midnight movie at The Music Box Theatre in Chicago, when I was in college.

To make it all even COOLER, the director – STUART GORDON and Dr. Herbert West himself – the brilliant JEFFREY COMBS, were in attendance to introduce the film and do a Q and A!

Costume designer- Robin Lewis-West, Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs.

The two are currently working together on a play called NEVERMORE, in which GORDON directs COMBS as EDGAR ALLEN POE. The show is running through the 19th of December at The Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood and I can’t wait to see it.

STUART GORDON talked about how he adapted RE-ANIMATOR from a series of stories by H.P. LOVECRAFT and how he developed the script while directing stage theatre in Chicago. He was working with so many great actors, like JOE MANTEGNA and DENNIS FRANZ, he decided to make a movie. Someone suggested he write a horror film because they were easy to get financed and that got the ball rolling.

JEFFREY COMBS was asked what he thought of the new comic book that features HERBERT WEST and ASH from EVIL DEAD fighting each other. He said he didn’t feel they were doing him justice, but I think he was flattered.

COMBS also threw out some big props to costar BRUCE ABBOTT for helping him deliver such a great performance by being so wonderful to play off of.

If you’ve never seen RE-ANIMATOR before, check out this crazy-ass scene…

RE-ANIMATOR (1985) tells the tale of the eccentric Dr. Herbert West (JEFFREY COMBS), a brilliant medical student who has discovered a serum that can re-animate the dead and bring them back to life. Sort of. You see, the dead don’t like coming back to life and they violently destroy themselves, or whomever is near them, when they do.

When West rents a room with another med student named Dan (BRUCE ABBOTT), the experimentation revs up to full steam. Before long, West is bringing back Dan’s hot girlfriend’s (BARBARA CRAMPTON) cat back to life, as well as her dead father and all the cadavers in the morgue.

When the slimy Dr. Hill (DAVID GALE) decides to blackmail West and take the serum for his own, well let’s just say he looses his head over it, literally. Things get REALLY insane after that, including a scene that features a decapitated head performing oral on a bound and naked young coed. OH!

IT'S JUST SO DAMN WRONG!!!

Head crushing time!

"I hate your guts!"

RE-ANIMATOR is a wonderfully satisfying movie, from beginning to end! It is one of the nuttiest and wittiest gross out horror films ever made and features an iconic performance by JEFFREY COMBS as Herbert West. He OWNS the fuck out of this movie from the first scene!

The acting and script elevate RE-ANIMATOR to a level of high art and it won the critics award at Cannes the year it was shown.

Siskel and Ebert were divided on it, when they reviewed it on their show. Ebert loved it, but Siskel gave it a thumbs down. Later, he did a total 360 and recommended it when it was released on video, proving all critics are bullshit. Except me, of course.

The special effects are all in-camera and really deliver on the splatter-meter. It also has a very cool score from RICHARD BAND that borrows so much from BERNARD HERRMANN’S PSYCHO, he probably owes him a few bucks.

RE-ANIMATOR was always a perfect midnight movie and I’m so glad I got to see it with my friends on my birthday. I’d love to see STUART GORDON’S follow up, FROM BEYOND (another brilliant JEFFREY COMBS performance) grace the New Bev screen in the future (hint, hint). I WILL be seeing the GORDON/COMBS creative team in action on stage with NEVERMORE and I will report on that soon.

Demon night @ the New Bev!

November 4, 2009

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On Halloween, I went to the New Beverly Cinema to check out a demonic triple-feature of three awesome horror flicks from the 80’s, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, DEMONS and DEMONS 2!

In the spirit of the holiday, I went as a Wizard, who specializes in Black Magic. When I arrived in line, I was relieved to find a couple of the other New Bev regulars had dressed up as well. My friend CAT was there as Wonder Woman and acting legend, CLU (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, FEAST I, II, III) GULAGER was dressed as a Zombie-Cowboy.

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A Wizard, Wonder Woman and a Zombie-Cowboy. The new Justice League, perhaps?

The evening started with an introduction from director, KEVIN (WITCHTRAP) TENNEY before his film, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS. He seemed a little nervous about the quality of the print and the fact that the movie hadn’t played in front of an audience in over 20 years. He shouldn’t have been, because everything held up great!

First there were a few trailers: MADMAN (PLAY THIS, PLEASE!), JOHN CARPENTER’S HALLOWEEN, and CREEPERS (A.K.A. PHENOMENON)

Then our feature presentation…

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NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988) is about a group of wild teenagers who throw a party in a creepy, abandoned mansion on Halloween night. They decide to hold a seance for kicks, which unfortunately wakes up a sleeping demon, who takes possession of the party’s host, Angela. One by one, the kids are attacked and turned into vicious demons, ala EVIL DEAD.

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Angela is pretty fucked up! Even for a goth chick!

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LINNEA QUIGLEY is about to do what she does best.

While not winning any originality awards, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is a fun, little horror-comedy from the golden age. It wins a lot of points by taking place on Halloween and making effective use of the holiday’s atmosphere. More points go to a pretty decent cast of actors that includes B-movie Queen, LINNEA QUIGLEY. She has one particularly memorable scene involving her often exposed breasts and a lipstick. Good gross-out gore and some nicely staged scares, combined with a wicked sense of humor, made this film a very enjoyable experience to watch with the New Bev crowd.

Afterwards there was a Q and A with KEVIN TENNEY and several members of the cast that included, HAL HAVINS (who played STOOGE, the fat obnoxious guy who wears a pig snout and tells everyone to “eat a bowl of fuck!”), PHILIP TANZINI (Max), JILL TERASHITA (Frannie-the hot Asian girl that gets nude!), ALVIN ALEXIS (Rodger-the black guy who lives!), and JAMES QUINN (he did all the Demon voices and is the star of WITCHTRAP). They all shared stories about how much fun they had making this low budget film. HAL HAVINS stole his famous line from the great JOHN BELUSHI. JILL TERASHITA insisted on re-shooting her nude scene because she thought her acting was terrible and told TENNEY, “I’m already naked in the movie. I don’t want to be naked and suck too.”. Actor ALVIN ALEXIS flew in from N.Y. for the screening and is very proud that he is one of the few African americans that actually survives in a horror movie.

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS director, KEVIN TENNEY.

Director, KEVIN TENNEY.

HAL (STOOGE) HAVINS, JILL (FRANNIE) TERASHITA, PHILIP (MAX) TANZINI, ALVIN (RODGER) ALEXIS, KEVIN TENNEY and JAMES QUINN.

HAL HAVINS, JILL TERASHITA, PHILIP TANZINI, ALVIN ALEXIS, KEVIN TENNEY and JAMES QUINN.

There was a short break and then actress GERETTA GERETTA came out and introduced DEMONS. She talked about how great it was to work with LAMBERTO BAVA and how they filmed most of the interiors in Rome and exteriors in Berlin. The movie was made by Americans, Italians and Germans, so everyone was speaking different languages all the time, including the actors. She also reminisced about living in Italy and working with legendary horror filmmaker, LUCIO FULCI.

Trailers for upcoming attractions at the New Bev: NEAR DARK, DEATH WISH III and JOHN CARPENTER’S THEY LIVE. Then…

demons

DEMONS (1985) is one of my all time favorite Italian horror films. It was directed by LAMBERTO BAVA (MARIO’S son) and produced and co-written by the master of Italian horror himself, DARIO ARGENTO. It centers around a group of strangers that are all randomly invited to the screening of a horror film at a brand new theatre called the METROPOL. Once the film begins, audience members start turning into violent demons and begin attacking other guests. A team of survivors (led by a pimp) band together to fight the demons off and escape the cinema, so they may warn the outside world (if it’s not too late).

GERETTA GERETTA goes all demon on everyone!

GERETTA GERETTA is going all demon on everybody!

HOLY SHIT! DEMONS!

HOLY SHIT! DEMONS!!!

DEMONS is one of the most fun horror movies to watch in a movie theatre, because it actually takes place in a movie theatre. I originally saw this movie on VHS and then later as a midnight movie at the MUSIC BOX THEATRE in Chicago, way back in the day. This is the third time I’ve seen it at the New Bev and it’s a treat to experience it with that crowd. You gotta love any horror film that has the hero chopping demons up with a samurai sword, while riding a motorcycle. This movie is filled with throat ripping, eye gouging, puss squirting good times and has a wonderful shock ending that happens while the credits are rolling!

Next were trailers for FRIGHT NIGHT II, HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (PLAY THIS ONE TOO, PLEASE!)

Then our final feature of the evening…

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DEMONS 2 (1986) takes place in a luxury apartment building and once again the demons start pouring out of the woodwork, this time because of a horror movie playing on everyone’s television. It’s up to a new band of survivors to make a stand against the demonic hoard!

A demon comes right out of the T.V.!!! Time to switch to dish!

A demon is coming out of the T.V.! Time to switch to dish.

DEMONS 2 is a very fun follow-up to the original. Setting it in a huge apartment building definitely makes this feel like a bigger film and it’s got a lot more demons on hand than the last one. It also brings back actor BOBBY RHODES, who played Tony the pimp in DEMONS. In DEMONS 2 he plays Hank the gym instructor and he leads a group of tank top and short shorts wearing, muscle heads against the savage demon attack. Also, a very young ASIA ARGENTO is featured and terrorized for the first time by one of her father’s creations.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Halloween, than at the New Bev watching horror movies! A great night and thankfully, not one audience member turned into a demon. Trick or treat!

2 headed double-feature @ the Grindhouse

October 30, 2009

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The saying, “two heads are better than one” was definitely the case last Tuesday at the Grindhouse Film Festival. They held an AIP two headed monster double bill at the New Beverly Cinema and it almost didn’t happen! When I first arrived, the theatre and the whole block, were completely dark due to a power outage that was caused by high winds. We were all getting ready to leave, when suddenly the lights came back on, just in time! The exploitation gods were looking out for us and after a quick set up and the usual raffle, the show began…

Trailers for THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED, RAW MEAT and THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN. Then our feature presentation…

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THE INCREDIBLE TWO HEADED TRANSPLANT (1971) tells the preposterous tale of a mad scientist, played by BRUCE DERN, who is conducting a series of weird experiments on animals, that involves the transplanting of an additional head onto their bodies. He’s got two headed snakes, monkeys, rabbits, etc., but he really wants to create the world’s first two headed transplant on a human. How he thinks this will benefit mankind is anyone’s guess.

In a bizarre twist of fate, his prayers are answered in the guise of a psychotic escaped prisoner, who just happens to come across the laboratory’s desolate location while fleeing the cops. He attempts to take everyone hostage, but is killed with a shotgun blast instead. Since beggars can’t be choosers, the scientist seizes the opportunity and attaches the lunatic’s head to the body of an enormous man-child. Not too bright, because now there’s a giant two-headed murdering rapist with super-human strength on the loose! He terrorizes the neighboring community, but when he takes CASEY KASEM’S girlfriend hostage, he’s gone too far!

This was amazing fun to watch with the grindhouse audience! BRUCE DERN supposedly refuses to talk about this film at all, but he should stop being so snooty and acknowledge his work on this fine piece of B-movie magic. It’s amazing!

Trailers for FOOD OF THE GOD’S, BARON BLOOD and TEENAGE MOTHER. Then our second feature…

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THE THING WITH TWO HEADS (1972) is a powerful social commentary about a rich old white racist (RAY MILLAND), who is dying of some incurable disease. He doesn’t have much time left, so he’s been working on an operation that will transplant his head onto the body of a “volunteer”. This comes in the way of a convicted criminal, who is about to be put to death for a crime he did not commit. In a hilarious twist of irony, his head is attached to the body of a big black man (ROSEY GREER), who wakes up before the operation is complete and escapes! Both heads bicker back and forth with one another, while GREER’S tries to clear his name and MILLAND’S tries to take control of the body! It’s like a two headed, biracial THE FUGITIVE!

This movie was brilliant and should be remade at once with DON IMUS and REVEREND AL SHARPTON! I loved, loved, loved, loved, it! Great times at the grindhouse once again!

I can't get enough of these two!

Blaxploitation horror @ the New Bev!

October 22, 2009

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“Pimping God’s consciousness like a fat ho!” – J.D. Walker

This last Tuesday night at the New Bev, the GRINDHOUSE FILM FESTIVAL screened a couple of blaxploitation horror flicks in honor of the season, J.D.’S REVENGE and BLACULA. During the raffle before the show, my girl Grae Drake won a DVD copy of the RUDY RAY MOORE classic, PETEY WHEATSTRAW: THE DEVIL’S SON IN LAW, which is a kind of pimp-horror film in it’s own right. She donated it to my extensive collection and I promised to show it to her along with DISCO GODFATHER some day in the near future. That started the night off with a bang and it only got better from there.

GLYNN (J.D.) TURMAN, director ARTHUR MARKS and co-star, CARL CRUDUP from J.D.'s REVENGE.

GLYNN (J.D.) TURMAN, director ARTHUR MARKS and co-star, CARL CRUDUP from J.D.'S REVENGE.

Two of the stars and the director of J.D.’S REVENGE, GLYNN TURMAN, CARL CRUDUP and ARTHUR MARKS were on hand to introduce the film that night. The audience was very excited to watch it, because most of us (including me) had not seen it yet, but we were all big fans of the J.D.’S REVENGE trailer that Brian played before a few of the GRINDHOUSE shows.

Before the first film, there was a trailer reel of vintage exploitation films that included:

DERANGED – a biography pic from the early 70s about real-life serial killer ED GEIN.

CANNIBAL GIRLS – I’ve never seen this one about a bunch of go go girls who enjoy eating human flesh.

BONNIE’S KIDS – TIFFANY (THE CANDY SNATCHERS) BOLLING plays one half of a murderous brother and sister crime team. An amazing looking NATURAL BORN KILLERS type of 70s film, with the awesome tagline: “Thank god she only had two!”

Then our feature presentation:

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J.D.’S REVENGE tells the tragic tale of a violent street hustler named J.D. Walker, who is wrongly accused of murder and viciously gunned down one night in New Orleans, circa 1942.

Flash forward to the good old 70s, where we meet a passive young law student named Ike (GLYNN TURMAN). While out on a double date one evening, he volunteers for a hypnosis demonstration and unknowingly becomes possessed by the spirit of a vengeful J.D.

Before long, Ike is wearing old pimp suits from the forties, hot combing his hair and making love to his woman like a wild man. He can’t understand what’s happening to him and after beating up his girlfriend, he seeks help from his doctor friend Tony (CARL CRUDUP). Tony tells him to relax and informs him that beating up on his lady is just a natural way to let off steam (HUH?!). Well, he is a doctor so…

Ike is possessed with the spirit of J.D. the badass pimp!

Ike is possessed with the spirit of J.D. the badass pimp!

Also, while under J.D.’s influence, he takes an old white lady on a terrifying white knuckle cab ride, finally pulling her out of the car and beating the crap out of her. On another excursion, he picks up some lady, fucks her, cuts up her husband when he catches them and steals her Lincoln Continental for a fast getaway.  That’s one bad dude!

When Ike/J.D. comes face to face with Reverend Elija Bliss (LOUIS GOSSETT JR.), who is the direct descendent of the man that killed him, he embarks on his bloody revenge quest.

LOUIS GOSSETT JR. must pay!

LOUIS GOSSETT JR. must pay!

J.D.’S REVENGE was actually a really well acted and directed film, that made the most of a low budget and a B movie script. GLYNN (THE WIRE) TURNER is really great as Ike, who shifts seamlessly between the two personalities. The movie has a cooky plot, but everything is played with such earnest, it really keeps you in it. I also loved that it had one of those happy endings where everything goes completely back to normal, regardless of all the crazy shit that’s happened.

There was a Q and A afterwards with GLYNN TURNER, CARL CRUDUP and ARTHUR MARKS, where they talked about how wonderful it was to shoot the film in New Orleans. They said that the city lent a lot to the movie’s mood and texture and that they ate the best food of their lives for the six months they shot there. ARTHUR MARKS said that the film cost $600,000 and made a lot of money for MGM. Everyone wanted to do a sequel, but it never materialized. GLYNN TURNER said that SNOOP DOGG is a huge fan of the film and told TURNER how much he loved it once, when they bumped into each other at Universal Citywalk. Perhaps BONES was inspired by J.D.’S REVENGE?

There was a short break and when we returned, WILLIAM CRAIN the director of BLACULA, came to the stage and introduced his film. He said he was only 19 years old when he made it and for some reason, A.I.P. head SAMUEL ARKOFF hated him and he never worked for him again. Strange, considering the film was very well made and a huge hit for the studio. WILLIAM CRAIN also told us he handpicked all the actors in BLACULA and at one time, both BERNIE CASEY and HARRY BELAFONTE were up for the lead role. Cool.

Before the film, there were a few more trailers:

A.I.P.’s MADHOUSE – starring VINCENT PRICE.

THE INCREDIBLE TWO HEADED TRANSPLANT – they’re showing it on the 27th with THE THING WITH TWO HEADS.

THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA – scary looking vampire movie from A.I.P.

Then…

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IT'S BLACULA SUCKA!!!

IT'S BLACULA SUCKA!!!

BLACULA is about an African Prince named Mamuwalde (WILLIAM MARSHALL), who along with his beautiful wife Luva (VONETTA McGEE), are guests of the infamous Count Dracula at his castle in the 1700’s. Dracula bites Mamuwalde, turning him into a vampire and murders his beloved bride before his very eyes. Dracula then renames him BLACULA and buries him away for eternity.

Centuries later, two of the most flamboyantly portrayed interior decorators ever, buy BLACULA’S coffin and have it shipped back to L.A. Once he rises, he starts biting necks and pining for a young woman named Tina, who’s the reincarnation of his deceased wife.

I haven’t seen BLACULA in a long time and I’ve never seen it on the big screen, until now. I didn’t realize that it is actually a retelling of the DRACULA story in every way, with only a change in location (Los Angeles instead of London) and race (African American instead of Romanian). It’s another well made blaxploitation film, with really good acting and some very scary moments. The bloody finale, where BLACULA is pursued by the cops in an abandoned warehouse is fantastic! I agree with the character Big Skillet, who refers to BLACULA as, “One weird dude, but I do dig that cape!”

It was another great night at the GRINDHOUSE. See ya next time!

A gang of degenerates anxiously await the next GRINDHOUSE.

A gang of degenerates anxiously await the next GRINDHOUSE.

2nd Annual All Night Horror Show @ the New Bev!

October 15, 2009
12 hours of mind roasting madness!

12 hours of mind roasting madness!

Last Saturday night I attended the 2nd Annual All Night Horror Show at The New Beverly Cinema and I’m still trying to recover from the mind roasting madness that oozed across my eyeballs! I got there super early so I could get my favorite seat and was joined by the lovely Grae Drake (her first time) and my buddy Wendell (vet from last year).

Ready to be scared!

Ready to be scared!

Last year was a blast and now with the addition of brand new and very comfortable seats, I was not surprised that it was a sold out show. My goal this time was to make it through the whole 12 plus hours and receive my “I survived the all night horror show” pin. I just couldn’t do it last year with the old seats. At 7:30 P.M. the show promptly began. The following is an account of what I saw, as it happened, filtered through a hazy, chemically enhanced memory:

Trailers for BLOOD FEAST, ZOMBIES (European trailer for the original DAWN OF THE DEAD) and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (featuring the oddly absent CLU GULAGER. We missed ya CLU!), and a D.A.R.E. drug P.S.A.

1st Movie:

dog-soldiers_1

dogsoldiers6

dogsoldiers1

NEIL MARSHALL’S DOG SOLDIERS screened first and it was great to finally see it on the big screen! Awesome flick about a group of British soldiers on a military exercise in the Scottish wilderness, that find themselves on the run from a pack of werevolves bent on having them all for dinner. Great movie, that’s like a mix of ALIENS, SOUTHERN COMFORT and THE HOWLING.

Trailers for DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE, FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER, and JUST BEFORE DAWN (tagline: IF ONLY THEY COULD DIE IN THEIR SLEEP).

2nd Movie: burning

CROPSY!!! HOLY SHIT!!!

CROPSY!!! HOLY SHIT!!!

FISHER STEVENS loses his fingers during the infamous RAFT SCENE.

FISHER STEVENS loses his fingers during the infamous RAFT SCENE.

One of my favorite slasher films of all time, THE BURNING screened next and it was the second time I’ve seen it screened in a theatre since it was first released back in 1981. I had convinced my mom to take my friend Curtis and I to see it back then, after telling her it was all about camping. It wasn’t a complete lie, but my poor mother was horrified at what she had taken two small children to see, for it is one of the sleaziest slasher films ever made.

It tells the tale of a horrible prank gone awry that befouls one Cropsy, a caretaker at Camp Blackfoot, who is unfortunately set ablaze and covered with painful 3rd degree burns as a result of the gag. He’s released from the hospital burn ward 5 years later and decides to return to the woods and extract some vengeance on a few campers with his trusty gardening sheers.

This movie, in addition to being written and produced by the WEINSTEIN brothers, features a highly accomplished cast that includes first appearances by JASON ALEXANDER, FISHER STEVENS and HOLLY HUNTER!

Unfortunately the print had the best scene in the movie cut out of it, which is of course, the infamous RAFT SLAUGHTER SEQUENCE. It was obviously the work of some douchebag projectionist who screened it in the past and no fault of the New Bev, but it was a huge buzzkill nonetheless.

Trailers for DAY OF THE ANIMALS, Edgar Wright’s DON’T trailer from GRINDHOUSE and THE BEYOND.

3rd Movie:

house_by_the_cemetery

OUCH!

OUCH!

BOB?

BOB?

I’ve never seen LUCIO FULCI’S HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY completely through before. This is the plot according to IMDB: A deranged killer lives in the basement of an old mansion and pops out occasionally to commit grisly murders that include be-headings, ripped throats, and stabbings with a fireplace poker. The killer needs fresh body parts to rejuvenate his cells. He also has maggots for blood.

It opens with a vicious murder, where a woman is stabbed in the back of the head with a huge butcher knife by some sort of zombie-man. Awesome! Then a married couple and their creepy son Bob move into the same house and soon discover there are a lot of things really wrong with the place. You’ve got dolls missing an arm and a leg, crazy bat attacks and a creature with glowing yellow eyes that murders whoever is stupid enough to go in the basement.

Not one of FULCI’S best, but definitely a fun time. The film ended with this perplexing quote: NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW IF CHILDREN ARE MONSTERS OR MONSTERS ARE CHILDREN. – HENRY JAMES

Trailers for SLAUGHTERHOUSE ROCK (featuring music by DEVO), a P.S.A. for mentally retarded children (very tasteful), DR. GIGGLES and a Fritos corn chip commercial.

?? Secret Movie ??:

talesfromthecrypt2

There were many guesses before, but nobody could have seen a 35mm print of the TALES FROM THE CRYPT T.V. show coming. There were three episodes from the classic series shown that included: LOVER COME HACK TO ME directed by TOM (FRIGHT NIGHT) HOLLAND, COLLECTION COMPLETED directed by MARY LAMBERT and ONLY SIN DEEP directed by FRED (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) DEKKER.

The reaction from the crowd was not very good during this. You could sense that a lot of people were upset by this choice and would have preferred a cool horror film instead. Not being the biggest TFTC fan myself, I kind of felt the same at first. But my girlfriend Grae is such a HUGE fan of the show and was so happy and O.D.ing on nostalgia from each episode, I couldn’t help but enjoy it along with her.

Trailers for TWICE DEAD, AMITYVILLE 3-D, a Shasta commercial and a Renault car commercial (What’s with all the commercials?).

5th Movie:

Superstition

There's something you don't see everyday.

There's something you don't see everyday.

1982’s SUPERSTITION is basically a slasher movie with a sharp clawed Witch doing all the killing. It seems that many years ago, said Witch was murdered by a gang of angry townspeople and she has returned to the 80’s to wreak vengeance on a few of their ancestors.

It’s a fun, cheesy horror film with some great “kills”, that includes a guy’s head exploding in a microwave! Cool!

Another commercial, this one for FLAVOS – AN “ORIENTAL” TREAT, followed by trailers for LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, MANIAC and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

6th Movie:

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This came on at about 5 A.M. If you’ve never seen FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE before, it is probably one of the most intense, politically incorrect films ever made. I saw it a couple of years ago at the Grindhouse festival thrown by QUENTIN TARANTINO at the New Bev. The tagline is: 89 MINUTES OF SHEER TERROR and that’s no joke!

The plot concerns an unfortunate African American family that are held captive by a trio of escaped convicts, led by a racist white trash killer, played by a young WILLIAM SANDERSON. This movie is just wrong in so many ways and watching it with an audience kinda becomes like an endurance test for everyone. In addition to hearing a family of black people called every single racial epitaph ever invented, they are also forced to perform acts of humiliation and degradation at the hands of their captors. There’s also a scene where a little white boy (a friend of the black child) has his head beaten in by a rock! Not technically a “horror” movie, but one fucked up, terrifying film nonetheless.

Trailers for ALIEN and BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS.

7th and Final Movie:

197230.1020.A

That's a cheap looking alien!

That's a cheap looking alien!

SID HAIG'S arm has a mind of it's own.

SID HAIG'S arm has a mind of it's own.

ROGER CORMAN’S GALAXY OF TERROR, a low budget ALIEN ripoff epic that stars EDDIE (GREEN ACRES) ALBERT, ERIN (JOANIE LOVES CHACHI) MORAN, RAY (MR.HAND) WALSTON, ROBERT (FREDDY KRUEGER) ENGLUND and SID (JASON OF STAR COMMAND) HAIG! The set dresser on this movie was BILL PAXTON (before he started acting) and JAMES CAMERON was the Art Director (you can see how he honed his skills on TERMINATOR and ALIENS in this film).

The movie is about the crew of a spaceship that encounters a weird pyramid that kills everybody one by one, by transmitting their deepest fears into them. In the best scene in the movie, SID HAIG chops off his own “infected” arm, only to have the severed appendage throw a giant throwing star into his chest, killing him. Nice!

The only time during the evening I fell asleep was during the first 20 to 30 minutes of GALAXY OF TERROR and I’ve seen that one several times before. My girl Grae had to leave during FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE, not because the movie was too much for her, but because she just couldn’t keep her eyes open anymore. But, Wendell and I made it to the end like we had promised ourselves we would and collected our “I survived the all night horror show” pin on the way out of the theatre. It was 8:00 A.M and time for some much needed sleep. Great times! Can’t wait for next year!

We survived the all night horror show!!!

We survived the all night horror show!!!

I was TRICK ‘R TREATing, all weekend long.

October 6, 2009

trick-r-treat

On October 5th, 2007 the first horror anthology movie in quite awhile was supposed to be released theatrically by the folks at the WB. It wasn’t. Why, you ask? Well, it’s not because the movie isn’t very good. On the contrary, it’s excellent. It’s not because the movie was too expensive and that they wouldn’t make their money back, because it cost less than 15 million to make. It’s not because there wouldn’t be an audience for a horror film that takes place on and is released near Halloween, who’s only real competition is the latest SAW sequel, because I believe it would have done great. So why WB? WHY!? Why are you dumping this film on DVD with no fanfare except the cult-like buzz it has gotten by the few people who’ve been lucky enough to see it? I don’t know the answer to this, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that studio execs are brainless idiots that are born without spines, guts, or balls. I mean, that’s got to be it, right?

The problem with TRICK ‘R TREAT is that it’s just too damn clever and a bit too original for a studio system that is only interested in marketing a pre-sold property. If TRICK ‘R TREAT was a remake or a sequel, or if it was based on a popular video game or graphic novel, then no problem. It would already be a franchise and therefore, a bankable property. But the WB can’t be expected to get behind something that’s new and original, because then they could possibly lose some of their precious money and then some executive douchebag might lose their job, which they don’t deserve anyway, so let’s greenlight that FRIDAY THE 13th remake/sequel instead and fuck what the people want, right? WRONG!

I saw TRICK ‘R TREAT a full year ago with a packed house of horror maniacs at a special screening held in Hollywood by the folks at AIN’T IT COOL NEWS and the reaction was phenomenal. I know others who saw it at the ’08 L.A. Screamfest and even before that at The Alamo Drafthouse’s annual BUTT NUMB-A-THON in ’07. After the success of these screenings, I thought for sure the WB would realize their error and release it theatrically the following October with all the bells and whistles. EPIC FAIL!

So now TRICK ‘R TREAT has finally seen the light of day on home video and I guess we should be thankful for that, but this a movie that really needs to be seen in a theatre with an audience, to be truly appreciated. Luckily, I live in L.A. and there were a few screenings of it at the two best revival theaters in the city, the New Beverly Cinema and the Cinefamily @ The Silent Movie Theatre, this past weekend. I attended both.

An awesome double bill @ The New Bev!

An awesome double bill @ The New Bev!

Michael Dougherty introducing his film to the Cinefamily.

Michael Dougherty gets a "hand" introducing his film to the Cinefamily.

Both screenings were a lot of fun! The Cinefamily threw a costume contest before the movie and I went as the DARK WIZARD (which won me 3rd prize and an autographed TRICK ‘R TREAT poster!), while my companion Grae Drake from The Popcorn Mafia went as a sexy ZOMBIE SCHOOL GIRL, with a pencil sticking out of her cheek. She looked awesome and did her own makeup too!

THE DARK WIZARD and ZOMBIE SCHOOL GIRL say, "Trick 'r Treat!"

THE DARK WIZARD and ZOMBIE SCHOOL GIRL say, "Trick 'r Treat!"

MICHAEL DOUGHERTY and ZOMBIE SCHOOL GIRL ate my beard!

MICHAEL DOUGHERTY and ZOMBIE SCHOOL GIRL ate my beard!

The New Bev featured TRICK ‘R TREAT on a double bill with one of the greatest horror anthology movies ever made, 1982’s CREEPSHOW. Both screenings included an introduction and Q and A from the director, MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, who seemed ecstatic over how well received his film was by both audiences.

Michael Dougherty introduces his movie at the New Bev.

Michael Dougherty introduces his movie at the New Bev.

The best way to describe TRICK ‘R TREAT is that it is an anthology film in the spirit of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, CREEPSHOW and THE TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE, only presented in an non-linear narrative similar to PULP FICTION, that features interwoven characters and stories.

The first story centers on a school principal (played with dark humor by DYLAN BAKER), who happens to be a candy poisoning, child killer bent on teaching his son how to carve a pumpkin the “right” way.

I'd check that candy if I were you, kid.

I'd check that candy if I were you, kid.

The second story involves a prank thrown on an autistic girl that involves an old “legend” about a bus of mentally challenged kids that were driven off a cliff to their deaths. This segment is like THE GOONIES with a body count.

The WB execs had a hard time wrapping their skulls around this one!

The WB execs had a hard time wrapping their skulls around this one!

The third tale features a group of attractive, twenty-something girls who are throwing a costume party in the woods, so they can “feed” their animal instincts. ANNA PAQUIN is a virgin trying to find a date, dressed like Little Red Riding Hood. Virgins, vampires and werewolves. Oh my!

Four hot "bitches"!

Four hot "bitches"!

The final story is about a mean old man (BRIAN COX) who refuses to celebrate Halloween in any way, shape or form. No decorations, costumes or candy from him, just a lot of bad attitude. Unfortunately, SAM is a stickler for the rules of the holiday and makes sure they are being followed by all. This bizarre little creature serves as the film’s mascot (ala the Crypt Keeper) and in this story he proves to be a real menace to anyone who doesn’t want to play along.

Better get that candy ready, or else!

Better get that candy ready, or else!

TRICK ‘R TREAT is an instantly iconic horror movie for horror movie geeks, made by a horror movie geek. MICHAEL DOUGHERTY has created one of the most Halloween-ish movies about Halloween ever. Not even HALLOWEEN is as Halloween as TRICK ‘R TREAT! The incredible art direction by TONY WOHLGEMUTH and beautiful cinematography by GLENN MacPHERSON creates the most richly detailed setting I’ve ever seen. Every corner of the frame virtually explodes with amazing images of pumpkin patches, costume parades, and lavishly decorated neighborhoods where every house has a carved Jack-O-Lantern and all the kids are dressed as pirates, monsters and ghosts.

There is also a great deal of gore and a pervasive tone of mirth and malice that reminded me a lot of the kind of horror movies I grew up on in the 80’s. And that’s where those dummies at the WB had their biggest problem with the film. MICHAEL DOUGHERTY kills off 15 kids in this movie and I admire the balls it took to do that. We live in an age where the very thought of harming a child in a movie is considered taboo, even if the kid really deserves it. What puss-ified times we live in. It’s just a movie, people!

Following the TRICK ‘R TREAT screening at the New Bev, was a screening of the classic GEORGE ROMERO and STEPHEN KING collaboration, CREEPSHOW. I loved seeing it again so much and it complimented TRICK ‘R TREAT beautifully. CREEPSHOW still has a great deal of SCARE power left in it, as there were a lot of screams from the audience. The term, “they don’t make ’em like that anymore” would fit here, if it wasn’t for the fact that MICHAEL DOUGHERTY did do just that.

creepshow_ver1

To hell with renting TRICK ‘R TREAT, just go ahead and buy it. It’s worth it and trust me, you’ll be watching it every Halloween from now on. Just be sure to watch it with all the lights turned off and don’t forget to follow all the rules, or you might find yourself in trouble with SAM! Trick ‘r treat!

That's SAM hanging out at the New Bev's TRICK 'R TREAT screening.

That's SAM hanging out at the New Bev's TRICK 'R TREAT screening.

The Grindhouse Film Festival presents: SUPERVAN (1977) and THE VAN (1977)

September 11, 2009

IMG_0235

One of the coolest ongoing events in the revival house scene is The Grindhouse Film Festival presented by Brian Quinn and Eric Caidin at the New Beverly Cinema. Twice a month, Brian and Eric present a double feature of two rare exploitation films (shown in 35mm) from the “golden era” of the grindhouses that once dotted Times Square’s 42nd Street in New York. I’ve seen so many great and not so great films, that I never would have even known about, thanks to them. Films like RAW FORCE, IMPULSE, CROCODILE, STANLEY, THE HEADLESS EYES, THE REDEEMER, ISLA: SHE WOLF OF THE S.S., VAMPIRE HOOKERS, THE MUTHERS, PSYCHO FROM TEXAS, ENCOUNTER OF THE SPOOKY KIND II, CHAINED HEAT, THE DOLL SQUAD and many more. No matter if the movies are good, bad or just cheesy enough to be fun, the grindhouse always attracts a great crowd of savvy movie freaks who are just as entertaining as the films are. Last Tuesday the boys threw an “end of the summer” double bill with two classics from the free wheelin’ 70’s, SUPERVAN and THE VAN. It was really awesome.

supervan

thevan

The evening began with the usual raffle, that was followed by a reel of vintage trailers, which included AT THE EARTH’S CORE, an amazing looking blaxploitation flick called J.D.’S REVENGE (“I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE!” exclaims J.D. the badass pimp), and THE INCREDIBLE TWO HEADED TRANSPLANT with Bruce Dern. Then it was time for our “feature presentation”…

Never fear, it's SUPERVAN!!

Never fear, it's SUPERVAN!!

Brian Quinn said that he’d been sitting on the scratchy old print of SUPERVAN for over six months now and had no idea what to expect. It begins with a crude title card thrown on with the SUPERVAN logo and then we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the 70’s van-culture at its peak. It’s a “regional” film that looks like it was shot somewhere in the mid-west on a 16mm camera. The opening begins with a massive van convoy complete with C.B. radios and a title song that croons, “I’m riding high in my Supervan”. We meet our hero Clint, who is driving his groovy van (called MORGAN THE PIRATE) to the 2nd annual VAN FREAKOUT. But when a vicious motorcycle gang has the audacity to announce their plans to rape a young lady over the C.B. airwaves, Clint rescues the girl and unintentionally gets his prize van crushed in a junkyard while hiding from the hoodlums. Luckily the girl he rescued is the daughter of the evil corporate oil tycoon, T.B. Trenton of Trenton Oil (The oil that loves you). He plans on winning the VAN FREAKOUT competition with an amazing solar-powered custom van called VANDORA, that’s equipped with a working laser turret! VANDORA was designed by the king of car customizers GEORGE BARRIS. He’s the man responsible for the original Batmobile from the Adam West/Burt Ward Batman T.V. show, the Monkeemobile from The Monkees, The Munsters car and many others.

Vandora the amazing SUPERVAN!

George Barris and Vandora the amazing SUPERVAN!

It was a model too!

It was a model too!

Clint steals it and along with his buddy and the bosses daughter, takes it on an interstate chase that reminded me of a low budget SMOKEY AND THE BANDT (which included a young Uncle Leo from SEINFELD as a Sheriff). Once they arrive at the FREAKOUT, VANDORA sweeps the competition and the movie ends with an awesome closing credits van montage. By the way, all of the songs on the “soft” rock soundtrack are about vans.

There was a short intermission followed by trailers for CAR WASH, a sleazy 70’s sex comedy called THE POM POM GIRLS and an amazing sci-fi-ish kung fu flick called DEATH MACHINES (which I actually have on DVD and it’s awesome!).

Then came Crown International’s release of THE VAN (Brian mentioned the print was borrowed from Quentin Tarantino’s personal collection) which tells the coming of age story of our red headed “hero” Bobby and his attempts to get laid in his newly purchased customized van. Bobby works at a car wash (run by a young DANNY DeVITO in one of his first roles) where he is constantly harassed by his coworkers for not being cool. But that’s all over when he plunks down the money he’s saved up for a new, bright yellow van called THE STRAIGHT ARROW (wink, wink) equipped with a waterbed, mirrored ceiling, C.B. radio, fridge, T.V., 8 track stereo, and a toaster. Bobby cruises around pinball joints and pizza parlors, picks up a fat girl that breaks his waterbed, attempts to score with another girl (that borderlines on date rape) and drag races a bully named Dugan in his van (named THE VAN KILLER) after making it with his chick. He even tells someone to “Sit on it!”, which they do.

This double feature really transported me back to a magical 70’s world where any fad could be made into a movie! A world where gas was only 57 cents a gallon and all it took to get some lovin’ was a custom van. I loved that in both of these movies all the vans from that time period were an extension of the owners personality and had special names like VANS AM, VANTIQUATED, VANQUATIC, SPACE TRIPPER, THE FREEDOM MACHINE, HOT STUFF, STOWE AWAY, INSANITY, and HALF BREED. Also, they were all painted in bright colors, covered in thick shag carpeting and airbrushed with all kinds of stuff like unicorns, spaceships, barbarian babes, and even the flames of Hell. It was a great night and when it was over I felt almost as stoned as the people who made those movies and you know what? I was. Keep on truckin’!

The Evil Dead trilogy @ the New Bev!

September 1, 2009
GROOVY!

GROOVY!

On Friday, August 28th, I attended an EVIL DEAD triple feature at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A. and it was a very “groovy” time. The theatre was completely sold out and filled with EVIL DEADHEADS anxious to watch the greatest horror-comedy trilogy ever conceived by humans! I’ve been lucky enough to have seen all three of these movies in the theatre on their initial runs and I’ve also seen them screened individually over the years at the various revival houses around town, but have never seen them all back to back, till now.

evildead

The Evil Dead in Thai!

The Evil Dead in Thai!

First up was the original, THE EVIL DEAD from 1982. I saw this film for the first time back in ’83 on a double date in high school. It was the second movie on a double bill with David Cronenberg’s THE DEAD ZONE at the Norridge Theatre in suburban Chicago, Ill. After the first movie was over, we all debated on if we should stay for the second feature or not. The girls wanted to go, but I suggested watching the first 20 minutes and if it sucked, we could leave. At about the time of the “tree rape” scene, I turned to my friend Mark and he gave me a thumbs up on staying for the rest, which we did. I have not seen THE EVIL DEAD projected on a screen since then and we were now all treated to a pristine 35mm print that belonged to none other than Mr. Sam Raimi himself. How cool is that?! THE EVIL DEAD is the ultimate experience in grueling terror and seeing it again with a big audience drove that fact home even harder. If I were to choose a favorite, it would have to be this one. But the next one is a damn close runner up…

I love the original poster!

I love the original poster!

Another cool poster!

Another cool poster!

Ash has his work "cut" out for him. Get it? OH!

Ash has his work "cut" out for him. Get it? OH!

Those Deadites suck!!

Those Deadites suck!!

I love, love, love the shit out of EVIL DEAD II! It is the greatest gore-comedy ever created. Bruce Campbell really knocked my socks off when I first saw it back in ’87 and you know what? He still does! Like the Buster Keaton/W.C Fields of horror, Campbell’s physical slapstick combined with the most spot-on line delivery imaginable has always been well deserving of all the praise he’s received. The motherfucker is awesome!! Watching him kick the living shit out of himself for this little horror movie makes me understand why he became such an icon.

Sam Raimi deserves a special 18k gold director’s chair in Heaven for this one! The frenetic style of this benchmark movie is one of the most influential in all of horror, no doubt. It was great fun seeing it with the enthusiastic New Bev audience. Then it was time for, BRUCE CAMPBELL VS.

Time to kick some medieval ass you screwheads!

Time to kick some medieval ass you screwheads!

One of the greatest posters ever!

One of the greatest posters ever!

In Japanese!

In Japanese!

When I think smart, I think S Mart.

When I think smart, I think S Mart.

ARMY OF DARKNESS is the perfect way to wrap up a trilogy and an evening of movie watching. Phil Blankenship played this as a midnight movie in ’07 and the place was packed with fans who quoted the movie out loud and applauded in all the right spots. Ditto on this night as well. AOD is a “party” movie for sure. It’s the zaniest of the three and not at all bashful about letting you know it. I love the humor and the nods to Ray Harryhausen with the skeleton army. I also think it’s great that the character of Ash becomes a total dick in this movie. His disdain for everyone around him is hilarious and totally justified. If I had been through all the shit that he’s had to deal with, I’d be an asshole to all those “medieval screwheads” too.

Seeing the whole EVIL DEAD trilogy back to back was another amazing time at my favorite movie theatre in all the world, The New Beverly Cinema. They have serious revival house “game” and their programming “pimp hand” is very strong. Check out the John Hughes memorial festival this week. You know where I’ll be.