Tag Archives: exploitation

The Gay Community Needs to Embrace the Cult Movie “Ben & Arthur”

Sam Mraovich as Arthur in "Ben and Arthur"

Sam Mraovich as Arthur in “Ben and Arthur”

In a couple of days, one of the local Chicago theaters will be presenting its yearly screening of Mommie Dearest to a (no doubt) enthusiastic crowd. Wire hangars will be handed out and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of laughs galore with Frank Perry’s infamous film.

That film was released over 30 years ago. Since then, there hasn’t been any film released that could qualify as “midnight movie” material that approached a gay sensibility–until Ben & Arthur.  Both Cracked Magazine and Rotten Tomatoes have urged readers to pick up on this movie and make it a cult sensation. I agree. Not only is the time right for this movie to fill theaters with enthralled partying fans, it has the makings of being one of the greatest midnight cult movies ever, rivaling even cine-phenomena like The Room and Troll 2. Seriously. And the gay community should be front and center in pushing this wild movie for the following reasons:

1. Exploitation movies are generally straight-based.

Let’s face it: exploitation movies are usually made to appeal to horny guys who like lots of firepower and babes. Ben and Arthur has plenty of gunplay and horny guys (on the screen, at least) with one of the leads looking good with his shirt off (hence the promo picture). There’s the added bonus of a wrestling tussle between Ben and his wife. In fact, B&A is meant to be, in part, an action film which is part of the fun, especially when the movie looks as though it was shot over the course of a weekend.

2. Its main theme of gay marriage rights is still relevant today and probably will be for a while.

Produced in 2002, Ben and Arthur deals primarily with gay marriage, which–at the time–was only legal in Vermont via civil unions.  Ten years and eleven state legislative passages later, gay marriage looks increasingly possible for the entire country. The controversy, however, seems destined to hang on while significant opposition continues. This helps keep the movie fresh thematically and even when it passes all 50 states, Ben and Arthur can be viewed through a nostalgic lens, just as I do with movies from the late 1960s and early 1970s.

3. The movie is on the level of anything Ed Wood could have mustered, so it has perennial entertainment staying power.

Ben and Arthur is not just about bad acting or bad writing. Everything
about it is bad, no exaggeration. Out of focus cinematography, actors flubbing lines with no second takes, non-existent continuity, horrible sound mixing–there are no instances of competency apparent during any minute of this film.  Robert Altman said that movies are meant to view more than once and each viewing of Ben and Arthur provides an audience with a newly discovered flub. It’ll easily take several viewings to catch them all. This makes it a rarity, even among bad movies.

4.  Ben and Arthur is one of the most subversive gay-themed films ever.

Sam Mraovich’s film is meant as an earnest plea for the plight of those LGBT folks who want equal marriage protection and, by extension, full civil rights. Fair enough. However, the movie goes completely off the rails and becomes sanctimonious when it excuses such actions as domestic violence, arson and murder. Arthur comes off as one of the most hilariously unpleasant and incompetent characters in the history of gay-themed films. He incapable of taking the proper steps to help protect his new hubby and is, in general, a whiny insensitive asshole. Other characters are lying, murdering charlatans, but he is definitely the worst of the lot. Instead of using sentimentality (a fatal flaw in so many bad socially-minded gay features), Ben and Arthur tries becoming ambitious and eventually becomes unnecessary brutal. It’s a civil rights film, a romance, a revenge picture, an action film, a religious allegory, a fetishistic film, an erotic thriller–and fails at all of them.

So if you’re looking for camp value, you’ve got it. If you want a movie that is misogynistic, homophobic and insulting to religious persons and still hilarious to watch with a bunch of “enhanced” friends. You’ve got to take this movie to heart. It’s one of the greatest cult sensations in recent years.

You can make history with us tonight by attending the first-ever Ben & Arthur interactive screening. Tyler Pistorius, Demetra Meteris and I will be on hand for all the running commentary madness and hilarity.

Bring the following: YOUR CELL PHONE, NEWSPAPER, STUFFED CAT, SUGAR PACKETS

Tonight at midnight at Facets Multimedia
1517 W Fullerton
Chicago, IL 60614
http://www.facets.org
Admission: $5, FREE with Facets Membership. Get one here.

Lew Ojeda

The Amazing, Incomparable “Ben & Arthur” Presented by Legendary Lew is Coming to Facets Night School!

Your life may never be the same after this. Coming Saturday night, May 11th at 11:59pm to Facets Multimedia. Lew Ojeda, Tyler Pistorius and Demetra Materis will be your guides to a fine evening of wild, interactive entertainment.

To join in the fun, bring:
your cell phone
sugar packets
a stuffed toy cat
newspaper

Facets Night School’s Dominick Mayer Purrs Over Rene Cardona, Jr. and Night of 1000 Cats

This Saturday night those of you who crave pussy in your midnight movies will see plenty of them on the screen when Dominick Mayer, editor and critic for HEAVE Media, presents “Knockoff Henchmen, Helicopter Seduction and Night of a 1000 (sic) Cats. ”  The movie has been widely available for years on VHS and DVD, but never like this, for Mayer was able to obtain a rare 35MM extended version of the film. With it’s extra 20 minutes and presented in glorious, eroding MagentaColor®, this promises to be the ultimate in grindhouse viewing. You’ll be able to feel the mildew and wonder if the guy sitting in your row will flash you in the men’s room.

Here’s my interview with this very learned fellow:

LL: Night of 1000 Cats was made by Rene Cardona, Jr., the great Mexican exploitation director who should as well known as Ed Wood but isn’t. Could you give us a little about him?

DM: Honestly, the more I try to find about Mr. Cardona, Jr., the more questions I ultimately end up facing. I can tell you this: He was a ridiculously prolific filmmaker, putting out 99

Rene Cardona, Jr.

Rene Cardona, Jr.

films as a director between his credited start in the 1964 and his death in 2003. Many of his films are out of print or hard to find; on this spectrum, Cats is definitely more obscure than something like Guyana: Cult of the Damned or Tintorera (the latter a delightful Jaws ripoff that you should find if possible), but at least it can be tracked down with relative ease. “Obscure” is relative here, though; he’s very much an unsung talent.

LL: What drew you to this movie? I know this film was one that I strongly considered for Night School.

DM: A few years ago, a friend of mine bought it out of the dollar bin at F.Y.E. largely because of the mistranslated title; the American DVD release boasts the deliciously trashy title Night of a 1,000 Cats, and if you pronounce the number as “one thousand,” the appeal of such a film pretty much sells itself.

Dreaded kitties waiting for their next beautiful meal

Dreaded kitties waiting for their next beautiful meal

That said, once we actually threw it on, I was totally blown away. It’s an amazing piece of exploitation trash, and from a filmmaking acumen (or lack thereof) standpoint, it’s fascinating on the level of something more reputed like The Room. More than anything, I wanted to show a theater full of people this thing, provide what context I can and, more than anything, watch people who haven’t seen it react to it. To cycle back to your intial question, this has that intangible “youhave to see this” factor to which exploitation cinema aspires.

LL: I’m excited that you’re presenting the 35MM print of this film. Have you seen it and do you know what differences there are between this and the DVD/VHS released versions?

DM: First off, huge thanks to a gentleman named Harry Guerro for being goodly enough to share his personal print with us. Anyway, I can’t say I’ve seen the 35mm print; it’s because of night of 100 catsJason Coffman‘s offhand mention of seeing it in Philadelphia at Exhumed Films’ 24-Hour Horrorthon last year that I was even aware such a thing existed. I figured this was a bargain bin curio and no more, so I’m thrilled to be screening it. All I know is that there’s about 20-25 minutes of footage in the original version that doesn’t exist on DVD. A bonus if you’re reading this and on the fence about coming: to the best of my knowledge, this is the first-ever Chicago screening of Cats in its purest form.

LL: How would you compare this with other horror films about killer animals?

DM: How many others make you wonder if the animals onscreen are actually in mortal peril? Because this one totally does. It also has maybe the least intimidating evil animals in horror history.

LL: What do you hope viewers will take away from this movie?

DM: If a stranger lands his helicopter in your backyard and asks if you want to see his castle in the middle of the forest, the correct reaction is to politely demur. 

Thanks, Dominick!

Facets Night School Presents: Knockoff Henchmen, Helicopter Seduction and a “Night of a 1,000 Cats” (IN RARE 35MM)
Saturday night April 13, 2013 at Midnight
Facets Multimedia
1517 W Fullerton
Chicago, IL 60614
Admission: $5, FREE for Facets Members (become one here)
One FREE small popcorn for students with valid student ID

Facets Night School Presenter Jef Burnham Talks Muscles and Sweat for His Screening of “Hercules, Samson and Ulysses”

This Saturday night at midnight Facets Night School features media scholar and film critic Jef Burnham as he presents “Puritanical Peplum Panic: Hercules, Samson & Ulysses as Religious Battle Crossover.” If shirtless muscled hunks are your thing, you’ll certainly get moist with this screening (that is, until you hear the dubbed voices).

Be that as it may, Legendary Lew, host of “Mediatrocities,” recently took a cold shower and interviewed Jef regarding this film and the action subgenre of “sword and sandal” movies, sometimes referred to as “peplum:”

LL: What about “Hercules, Samson and Ulysses” do you think will appeal to a midnight movie audience?

JB: I think it’s an ideal midnight movie because it’s fast-paced and action-packed– just the kind of picture to keep you awake in the waning hours. It’s got big, unlikely battles between even bigger men and that, in my book, makes for a helluva good time. Plus, it’s mercifully short and the importance of that when 1:30 rolls around cannot be underestimated! But most importantly, it’s a curiosity. It stands as perhaps the only film in cinematic history to rely on a bare-knuckle brawl between prominent figures from two, arguably opposing, religions for its primary draw. It’s the economically-driven, battle-centric crossover film at its most daring.

LL:  What can you tell us about the genre of Sword and Sandal epics?

JB: We’ll be talking a lot more about that Saturday night, of course, but in short, “Sword and Sandals” pictures, otherwise known as Pepla (or peplum in the singular), are Italian productions typically set in ancient Greece, Rome, Judea, etc. featuring an endless onslaught of scantily-cladHercSamUl gentlemen fighting it out with, well, swords. They also often wear sandals as it happens. The genre really achieved international popularity in 1958 with the release of director Pietro Francisci’s “Hercules,” starring Steve Reeves. And the Hercules series remains easily the most recognized of pepla to this day. Francisci followed that up with another Steve Reeves/Herc film, “Hercules Unchained” (1959), which was notably featured on season four of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” And 1963’s “Hercules, Samson and Ulysses” is in fact the third film by Francisci to feature the character of Hercules, only this time around the roles were recast, as well as the locations when pals Herc and Ulysses find themselves stranded in Judea. So not only is the picture absolutely one-of-a-kind as a sort of religious-crossover-actioner, but it’s actually the product of the very man who popularized the genre!

LL:  These films evolved at a time when homosexuality in film was definitely closeted. Given that you have 3 sweaty shirtless hunks bandying about, would you consider this a homoerotic movie?

JB: Oh lordy, yes. (Of course, applying the term hunk to Ulysses in this film may not be entirely appropriate. The term I’d personally choose for his character in this film would probably be “dweeb.”) Hercules and Samson come dangerously close to kissing on more than one occasion. HercMoviePosterThey’re just all over each other! Truthfully though, were the film not homoerotic, I wouldn’t have even considered it for this Session. After all, it’ll be the third film in a row I’ve presented at Facets Night School about scantily-clad, muscular warriors, following “Yor, The Hunter from the Future” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare.” And I couldn’t rightly stop at two, could I? Had to make it a trilogy! Yor, Thor, and Hercules.

LL: What do you hope viewers will take away from watching “Hercules, Samson and Ulysses?”

JB: For starters, of course, I want everyone to have a good time. It’s a wacky movie with greased-up musclemen pummeling the bejesus out of each other! How could they not? But in my lecture, I’m also looking to build a sort of brief history of the battle crossover picture that hasn’t ever really been discussed before, because I for one have never heard this film discussed among the likes of the more recognizable battle crossovers “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” and “Freddy vs. Jason.” And of course, it would be great if people walked away with a renewed interest in pepla… or at least the urge to buy a copy of “Hercules, Samson and Ulysses” of their very own.

My thanks to Jef Burnham for the interview!

Head out to Facets Multimedia for this wild presentation.
Puritanical Peplum Panic: Hercules, Samson & Ulysses as Religious Battle Crossover
Saturday night, April 6th at Midnight
Admission: $5. FREE for Facets Members! Become one here.
One FREE small popcorn for students with valid student ID.

Jason Coffman Discusses “Carnival Magic,” the Opener for Facets Night School’s Master Edition

Carnival Magic will be presented on 35MM(!), the way God intended, as the opener for Facets Night School Masters Edition. It’s one of the last films by Al Adamson, sleaze film extraordinaire, who is probably more famous over how he died than for his films.

Legendary Lew recently caught up with Jason Coffman, Co-Director & Programmer at Chicago Cinema Society, to ask about this unusual must-see film.

LL: You’ll be presenting the 35MM print of the film Carnival Magic by Al Adamson. Tell us a little about that film.

JC: For whatever reason, Al Adamson decided to make a couple of “children’s movies” in the early 1980s. He made Carnival Magic in 1981 and a film called Lost, and after Lost he retired from the film business. AdamsonIf you’ve ever wondered what a “children’s movie” made by someone with no idea what that means, Carnival Magic is a perfect example. There’s magic and a talking monkey, and beyond that there’s a lot of really inappropriate stuff.

LL: Adamson was known for exploitation movies. Since this is a G-rated family film, what can you tell us about any similarities, if any, to his “sleazier” fare?

JC: Adamson often cast his wife Regina Carrol in his films, and she’s in Carnival Magic, too. She’s the lady wearing the extremely tight shirtsreginacarrol whenever she appears on screen. The villainous lion tamer in the movie is genuinely nasty, he’s an abusive drunk. Not really the kind of character you usually see in a kids’ film.

LL: What would you consider the best parts of Carnival Magic?

JC: It’s hard to decide where to even begin, it’s such a strange film. The voice of Alex the talking monkey is pretty amazing, in that it’s actually sort of believable that a monkey would talk in this way. A creepy, guttural voice. More likely to scare the hell out of kids than endear the monkey to them. The part where Alex kidnaps a woman is pretty fantastic– he steals a car and there’s an inept police chase and everything. So that’s a lot of fun.

LL: What do you hope audiences will take with them after watching this film?

JC: I hope people have a new appreciation for Al Adamson and that they’ll be willing to explore cheap exploitation movies more. A lot of people might see one Adamson film and just write him off, but if you dig in to his filmography you’ll find he made crazy stuff like Carnival Magic. It’s really weird, really entertaining, and unless you’re willing to give this kind of thing a chance, you’ll never find stuff like this.

Thanks, Jason, for giving a little more insight to Carnival Magic.
Be sure to catch this jaw-dropping, weird film (thoroughly recommended by yours truly) as it kicks off Facets Night School’s Masters Edition.

Check out Jason’s work with Film Monthly and Fine Print.

Carnival Magic in 35MM (from The Chicago Cinema Society Archive)
Saturday night, March 30th, 2013 at Midnight
Facets Multimedia
Admission: $5 or FREE for Facets Members
Students: Get one FREE small popcorn with valid student ID.

One final note: The producer of Carnival Magic, Elvin Feltner, I’m told is currently in ill health. We’ll be providing a get well card to sign for him and also have a donation jar available.  Thanks!

Facets Night School Masters Series Poster Revealed

FacetsNightSchoolMastersThe poster for Facets Night School’s Master Series has now been released. Nice work by Demetra Materis!

You can find details for the lectures and screenings here or here.

Facets Multimedia Presents Facets Night School: The Master Series

FacetsNightFacets Night School, the long-running series of midnight lectures, screenings and general craziness, is back and The Underground Multiplex has  got the early word! They have a great line-up coming, so you’ll definitely want to hear from these master presenters as they host screenings of some of the craziest and most diverse entertainment this side of the galaxy. Talking chimps on 35mm! Drug crazed beauties! Cannibals! Warring beauty queens and battling sweaty strongmen! Vicious hungry cats and insanely overwrought same-sex melodrama! You want it, you got it at this hearty session of Facets Night School.

Here’s the series:

Saturday, March 30
Jason Coffman presents:
Carnival Magic in 35mm!

“This long-forgotten classic of the chimp-sploitation genre is probably the weirdest, most inappropriate kids film ever made.” -Brisbane International Film Festival

Al Adamson was a legend of low-budget filmmaking. From 1961 to 1983, Adamson cranked out B (and often C-Z) movies like Satan’s Sadists, Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, Naughty Stewardesses, Black Samurai, Nurse Sherri, and Cinderella 2000. After a career making pictures for grindhouses and drive-ins, Adamson’s last two films were “kids’ movies.” One of these, Carnival Magic, disappeared shortly after its initial release. Long thought lost, a print of Carnival Magic was discovered in 2009, some 14 years after Adamson’s death. At long last, paracinephiles could get a look at Adamson’s legendarily bizarre attempt to make a movie for children. Unsurprisingly, it’s immediately obvious that Adamson had no idea how to do that. In the film, Markov the Magnificent (Don Stewart) is a small-time magician with a secret: he actually has magical powers. He also has a sidekick named Alex, a talking chimp. Markov reluctantly joins a struggling circus, and together he and Alex become the show’s biggest stars. At first it seems like Markov and Alex may save the circus from bankruptcy, but the show’s alcoholic lion tamer–angry at having his spotlight stolen by a talking monkey–cooks up a scheme to sell Alex to an animal research laboratory. Jason Coffman will present Carnival Magic from a 35mm print courtesy of the Chicago Cinema Society Film Archive, along with a discussion of Adamson’s career and trailers for the director’s other films.

Jason Coffman is a programmer and co-director of the Chicago Cinema Society. He is also a film writer, sometime filmmaker, and a regular contributor to FilmMonthly.com and Fine Print Magazine. His writing has also appeared in Horrorhound magazine and Cashiers du Cinemart. Coffman previously presented Spider Baby and The Sleeper at Facets Night School. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/487105541349272/

Saturday, April 6
Jef Burnham presents:
Puritanical Peplum Panic: Hercules, Samson & Ulysses as Religious Battle Crossover

“Do you think it easy to fight against someone who believes he was sent here by his God?” -Aldo Giuffre as Seren, the Philistine King

By 1963, when he filmed Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1963), director Pietro Francisci was no stranger to sword-and-sandal pictures, otherwise known as peplum. He also helmed 1958’s Hercules and 1959’s Hercules Unchained, both of which featured memorable performances by Steve Reeves as the Greek demigod. Although Reeves did not reprise his role in Hercules, Samson & Ulysses, Francisci compensates for the legendary muscleman’s absence by pitting Hercules’s greased-up Grecian girth against Samson’s bronzed biblical biceps! Join Jef Burnham as he explores the film’s relationship to the concept of the film franchise “battle crossover,” dating back to Universal’s classic horror films like Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). He will also tease out the ramifications of depicting two muscle-bound representatives of ancient religions battling it out for theological supremacy.

Jef Burnham is a media scholar and film critic. He holds a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, where he currently serves as a member of the Adjunct Faculty in Cinema Studies. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com. In addition to his film criticism, Jef authored a chapter of Open Court’s Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy and has co-authored a chapter of Scarecrow Press’s forthcoming collection of essays entitled, Reading Mystery Science Theater 3000. He previously presented Yor, The Hunter From the Future and Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare at Facets Night School. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/356116424504235/


Saturday, April 13
Dominick Mayer presents:
Knockoff Henchmen, Helicopter Seduction, and a Night of a 1000 Cats

“I would like to keep you forever…in a crystal cage.” -Hugo

In 1972, exploitation filmmaker Rene Cardona Jr. cranked out a cheapie horror film about Hugo (Hugo Stiglitz), a billionaire playboy who uses his suave charms, stalker-ish manners, and opulent wealth to seduce women into his home, where unspeakable, cat-related horrors await them. Somewhere along the line, a full half hour disappeared from the Spanish version before it reached the U.S. as Blood Feast (not to be confused with the Herschell Gordon Lewis cult classic). However, purists know the film’s true name: Night of a Thousand Cats (La Noche de los Mil Gatos). Dominick Mayer will examine the film’s shadowy origins, its place in the pantheon of Mexploitation cinema, and how this little-known bargain-bin curio may be deserving of a cult following of its own.

Dominick Mayer is a graduate student in Media & Cinema studies at DePaul University. He is also the features editor and head film critic for HEAVEmedia, a Chicago-based music and culture website. He is (as the session name would suggest) a regular at Facets Night School, having previously presented on Black Dynamite, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Myra Breckinridge, among others. You can commonly find him at various movie theaters or professional wrestling events in the greater Chicagoland area.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/345650938874309/

Saturday, April 20
Chris Damen presents:
Who’s Bad: Lila Leeds’s One Bad Career Move In She Shoulda Said No!

“The story of a good girl gone very, very bad.” -Poster tagline

Sam Newfield’s 1949 anti-marijuana film She Shoulda Said ‘No’! is your typical drug exploitation piece with all the warnings and dangers, but has a very unique backstory. Lead actress Lila Leeds was actually arrested with Robert Mitchum for smoking marijuana. While Mitchum got off almost scot-free, Leeds was forced to make this career-killer. This lecture will cover the sad career of Lila Leeds, and will provide a short survey of the anti-marijuana film genre.

Chris Damen is an avid traveler and a local stand-up comic. In October of 2012, he became the head producer of Facets Night School. He has previously presented eight films a Facets Night School, including Pulgasari, Barfly, and Nekromantik.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/172598782887328/

Saturday, April 27
Michael Smith presents:
Eat the Rich: Manoel de Oliveira’s Unlikely Cannibals Musical

Imagine an unholy mash-up of Luis Bunuel’s The Exterminating Angel and Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and you will have some idea of what is in store at this rare screening of one of the all-time great Portuguese films.

The Cannibals (Os Canibais) is one of the best but unfortunately least-known feature films by the prolific Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira. Made in 1988 when the still-active writer/director was a comparatively youthful 79 years old, this delightful work of anti-bourgeois Surrealism is a kind of freakish filmed opera in which every line of savage satire is sung. Adapted from a novel by Álvaro Carvalhal, the plot concerns Marguerite (Oliveira’s favorite leading lady Leonor Silveira), a high-society woman who marries a wealthy Viscount (Oliveira’s favorite leading man Luis Miguel Cintra) over the objections of her jealous ex-lover, Don Juan (Diogo Doria). On their wedding night, the Viscount reveals to Marguerite his darkest secret, which leads to a devilish, uproariously funny climax that must be seen to be believed. Adding a layer of self-reflexive fun is an omniscient, singing narrator (Oliveira Lopes); at one point, he hilariously complains about the protagonists’ use of the “sententious language of poor melodrama” in the previous scene. This rare screening of The Cannibals will be shown via digital projection of a European import DVD. The film has never received an official home video release in North America.

Michael Smith is an independent filmmaker whose most recent short films, At Last, Okemah!! (2009) and The Catastrophe (2011), have won multiple awards at film festivals across the United States. Since 2009, he has taught film history and aesthetics at Chicago-area colleges including Oakton Community College, the College of Lake County, and Harold Washington College. His first book, Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry, a non-fiction account of early film production in Chicago, will be released by KWS Publishers, Inc. in late 2013. He is also the creator and sole author of the film studies blog WhiteCityCinema.com. He has previously taught many Facets Night School sessions including, most recently, “Drilling Into The Slumber Party Massacre.”

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/536765539678518/

Saturday, May 4
Lauren Whalen presents:
Girls, Guns and Glitter, Don’cha Know: Drop Dead Gorgeous and the Wild World of Mock Doc

“I shoved your tap shoes in my panties before I was blown out of the house. You go find the guy who cut ’em off.” –Annette Atkins (Ellen Barkin)

Before Kirsten Dunst met Sam Raimi and Denise Richards met Charlie Sheen, they went head-to-head in this darkly funny mockumentary. In Mount Rose, Minnesota, boys go to prison and girls compete in the American Teen Princess pageant. Sweet Amber (Dunst) dreams of escaping her trailer park and becoming the next Diane Sawyer, while nasty Becky Ann (Richards) has perfect teeth and the stage mother from hell (Kirstie Alley), a firearm-toting former American Teen Princess who’ll knock down (or knock off) anyone in her baby’s way. Directed by Michael Patrick Jann (of comedy collective The State), Drop Dead Gorgeous mixes slapstick and satire, straddles the fine line between irreverent and offensive, and has a killer supporting cast (Allison Janney, Ellen Barkin, Brittany Murphy, and Amy Adams in her film debut). Join Lauren Whalen as she explores the mockumentary subgenre, the art of parody, and Drop Dead Gorgeous’ premonition of a Toddlers & Tiaras-saturated culture. High heels optional.

Lauren Whalen spent ten years with Facets as an intern, volunteer, and full-time employee. She writes for Chicago Theater Beat and The Film Yap. Lauren’s previous Night School presentations involved destructive bunnies (Donnie Darko), messed-up lesbian dreams (Mulholland Dr.), and teenage drug rings (Brick). She is also a burlesque enthusiast, who unapologetically loves glitter, and is eternally grateful to her mother for never letting her do pageants.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/162632507223776/

Saturday, May 11
Legendary Lew (!) presents:
The Ben & Arthur Interactive Cinematic Experience, or Can a Cult Movie Sensation Be Created?

“I don’t make sense, you don’t make sense. I make sense. That’s who makes sense!” — Tammy Sheets  (Julie Belknap) in Ben & Arthur

“If Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is the over-wrought, melodramatic and self-pitying heterosexual camp classic of choice, then Sam Mraovich’s Ben & Arthur is its gay equivalent…This is a cult sensation waiting to be born.” –Rotten Tomatoes

In recent years, the internet and social media have helped create massive, rabid followings for cinematic “failures,” such as Troll 2 and The Room. Both films hovered in obscurity for years at the nadir of IMDb’s worst-film list until enthusiastic audiences resuscitated them with interaction styles first adopted by Rocky Horror Picture Show viewers. It’s high time the incredible film Ben & Arthur gets its second chance. Disappearing characters, horrendously mixed audio, palm trees in Vermont, passenger flights on FedEx planes, on-screen lighting tripods, cardboard crucifixes, card table “desks,” and cell phones, cell phones ,and more cell phones—Ben and Arthur has it all, including a blatant rip-off of a crucial scene in De Palma’s Scarface. Discovered by a film producer while working in a Pennsylvania Burger King, the multi-talented Sam Mraovich hails from Steubenville, OH. At age 22, Mraovich made the move to Hollywood and began production, direction, etc. on his gay marriage rights magnum opus, Ben & Arthur. Today, he is double-licensed as real estate agent and hair stylist in California. To date, this much-discussed cult film is his only directorial release. Lew Ojeda will discuss the history of these interactive films and how newly-discovered ones can help independent theaters attract moviegoers in current tough economic times.
Note: For the interactive screening experience of Ben & Arthur, you’ll want to remember to bring your cell phone, a newspaper, sugar packets and a stuffed toy cat or dog.

Special guest, film auteurd extraordinaire Ernie Tarté, will be on hand to help introduce the film and launch the evening with handheld mirrors and lilac kisses.

Lew Ojeda is the co-founder of The Underground Multiplex and host of the podcast Mediatrocities, celebrating weirdness in movies, music, and television. His production/direction credits include Rochester, NY’s landmark LGBT television show, The Word is Out, and his film reviews have appeared in The Empty Closet and Shock Cinema. As part of Facets for over a decade, Ojeda has previously presented Lady Terminator, Fuego, The Story of Riki-Oh, Seytan, Eat the Rich, Sisters of No Mercy 3D, and many others at Facets Night School.

Screenings will be on Saturdays nights at midnight from March 30-May 11
Facets Multimedia
1517 W Fullerton
Chicago, IL
Admission: $5, FREE for Facets members.
Check out Facets Multimedia: www.facets.org

 

 

Mediatrocities No. 5: Wednesday Rewind, Ron & June Ormond’s “Please Don’t Touch Me,” and the Introduction of Tarte

Welcome to Mediatrocities #5!

In this episode:
Legendary Lew and self-admiring film auteurd Ernie Tarté discuss some of the Razzie nominees (1:19).
Special Guest Katie Rife, author of “If You Like Quentin Tarantino…” discusses her latest film series, “Wednesday Rewind” currently playing at The Logan Theatre (9:01).
Legendary Lew stops by the film set during the creation of the new epic, Napoleon, directed by “Stanley Kubrick” and starring “Jack Nicholson.” (20:05)
Finally, Katie Rife returns with a lecture recorded on August 12, 2012 at Facets Multimedia for the TUGM produced Night School. She discusses the careers of film exploitation pioneers Ron & June Ormond and their opus to sexual frigidity, Please Don’t Touch Me. (22:51)

Mediatrocities is a production of The Underground Multiplex.
Episode 5 features Tyler Pistorius, Joseph R. Lewis and Lew Ojeda.
Special guest: Katie Rife
Opening theme: “Lew’s Blues” and “Static Ghosts” written and performed by Lindon McCarty
Closing theme: Son of a Gun by Brendon Losch
Written by: Tyler Pistorius, Joseph R. Lewis and Lew Ojeda
Produced by The Underground Multiplex

Mediatrocities Minicast: Interview with Wednesday Rewind Film Series Host Katie Rife

killingofsatanThis week, Mediatrocities is proud to highlight the ongoing cult movie series “Wednesday Rewind” at The Logan Theatre in Chicago presented by film historian, author and co-founder of the fantastic site, Everything is Terrible, the wonderful Katie Rife.

Joining me in the interview is the “talented” film auteur Ernie Tarté. We spoke about the great rare films in store for those willing to shell out a measly $3 admission.

Playing tonight at The Logan is the craziness of Rollerblade, which combines the post-apocalyptic future with roller derby nuns. Katie joined me is discussing this and other odd finds for the Wednesday Rewind series. However, things did get a tad bit uncomfortable when the snide comments of Tarté nearly derailed the interview. Thank goodness, I was able to hold it together for the rest of her visit:

KR: We’re showing Rollerblade which is a really insane shot-on-video, sci-fi movie about a cult called The Cosmic Order of Rollerblade… They are like roller derby nuns…they cut each other with knives and then they bathe in a holy hot tub…their wounds get healed and then they skate around a post-apocalyptic landscape which is really just like a warehouse in L.A.
ET: It is called Rollerblade?
KR: It’s called Rollerblade. But, interesting fact, everybody thinks that it’s a movie about rollerblading but it’s not.
ET: Then why is it called Rollerblade?
KR: Because, it’s the Sisters of the Holy Order of Rollerblade.
ET: Oh Christ!
KR: Your attention to detail is not very good I gotta say for a film director.
ET: How dare you insult Tarte!

You can hear the rest of the interview by clicking on the link below. It’s a wild time at the movies!

Here’s the entire Wednesday Rewind roundup:

2/6    Intrepidos Punks
2/13  Fabio’s A Time for Romance
2/20 Rollerblade
2/27 Mankillers
3/6    The Killing of Satan
3/13  Boarding House
3/20 Seven Lucky Ninja Kids
3/27 Baby Huey’s Easter Adventure
4/3    Liquid Sky
4/10  Evil Speak
4/17  Nigerian Movie Night! (featuring Rad Brian)
4/24  Get Even
5/1     Exterminator 2
5/8    Raiders: The Adaptation
5/15  Turkish Star Wars
5/22  The Dragon Lives Again
5/29  Hamburger: The Motion Picture

All shows are on Wednesday nights at 10:30pm
The Logan Theatre
2646 N Milwaukee
Chicago, IL
Admission: $3

How can you resist this:

GO TO MEDIATROCITIES MINICAST #4.2: INTERVIEW WITH KATIE RIFE
 

 

 

 

ERNIE TARTE’S TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS

Ernie Tarte XOX

Ernie Tarte is an acclaimed filmmaker and former expatriate.

After the tumultuous reception of his film “SELF”,  Tarte went into seclusion in South America where he lived as a God amongst a tribe of Peruvian natives that had never seen shampoo before.

Since his return he has become a frequent contributor to Mediatrocities, the Multiplex’s media podcast hosted by Legendary Lew.

He offers the following introduction:

“Film cannot be taught, nor can DESIRE.  I provide the following advice ironically, as a joke for myself at the expense of the reader.  However, I am also sincere…not in my motivations, but in my genius.”   -TARTE

TARTE’S TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS

1. Every word you utter can be a movie.   For example, every word I just used can be a great movie. Exclamation point.

2. As Kubrick once meant to say, “I can write it and think it, so film me.”

3. Wake up every morning and say, “I am the Self”  in at least fifteen different languages.

4. Always remember- when they say, “Go F#k yourself”…it’s a compliment.

5.  Raw film is like raw food.  And a theatre is like a restaurant…What no tip?  Question Mark.

6.  There are only 3 great filmmakers you need to know.  And Tarte is all of them.

7.  Circles or squares.  Choose wisely.

TARTE

Post Script:  I attach my favorite short film for your betterment.  You will NOT understand it…

Click HERE to Listen to Ernie Tarte and Legendary Lew rundown some of 2012’s WORST movies as part of our RAZZIE’S ROUND-UP on Mediatrocities.