Tag Archives: nunsploitation

Anti-Porn Thief and Inspiration for TUGM’s “Sisters of No Mercy”, Charles Keating Jr., Dies

Keating

Hated porn but LOVED your money. (Photo courtesy: gazette.com)

by Legendary Lew

Charles Keating Jr., the central figure in the Savings and Loans Scandal of the 1980s (basically a warm-up for the Bush Depression of 2008) died on 3/31/2014 at age 90. Although he is known as the guy who bilked thousands of people out of their cash on useless junk bonds (with the preferential help of 5 US Senators), I will forever prefer to remember him for another colossal failure.

Keating, as part of a group called Citizens for Decent Literature, Inc., funded and distributed an anti-porn short film narrated by “outstanding news reporter” George Putnam in 1961. “Perversion for Profit” has been accurately described

Illustrated scene from "Perversion for Profit"

Illustrated scene from “Perversion for Profit”

as the Reefer Madness of porn. It’s a hyperbolic, homophobic ranting screed that uses similar tactics used by some porn-fighting churches, namely, showing an enormous amount of the offending material (with eyes blacked out).  This 30-minute short has more male and female sleaze ‘n’ tease as can be found in a dozen feature-length sexploitation films, which means, of course, that’s it has found a home with me as one of the best, most hilarious propaganda films ever made.

No doubt, I crowed about this movie so much that we had to include a remixed version of it as part of our feature film, Sisters of No Mercy. So as a testament to the double-misfired life of Charles Keating, Jr., I include in this post the amazing Perversion for Profit, presented by the indispensible Prelinger Archives:

And here is our feature, Sisters of No Mercy:

 

 

The Philosophy Behind My Approach to Facets Night School

FNS1This weekend marks the final shows of Night School presented at Facets Multimedia, which has served as the home of the most inventive midnight movie presentations in Chicago for 4.5 years. It’s been my pleasure to host a dozen film screenings during that time, including a feature-length film–Sisters of No Mercy— inspired by Night School.

Joe Lewis and Michael Smith have both written wonderful blog pieces about the demise of Night School at Facets. I’ve also read great comments from presenters Dominick Mayer and Joel Wicklund.

When Night School founder Phil Morehart brought forth the idea of having midnight movies at Facets, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. In the past, I had enjoyed thoughtful reviews of unusual rare films in such great magazines as Shock Cinema (to which I once contributed) and Psychotronic Magazine. I knew there was a great well of strange movie from which to draw.

The emergence of Night School came at a perfect time for FacetsNS2experimentation of how screenings could be formatted for independent theaters. Studios were changing to digital projection exclusively, leaving many theaters holding the bag with now outdated 35MM equipment and expensive digital changeovers. Netflix went through a nasty PR period of growing pains with the perception of unlimited streaming and the roll out, and then roll back, of Quixster, the video world’s version of New Coke. Blockbuster was evaporating from its video (and retail) dominance of the late 1980s and 1990s. All this was compounded by The Bush Depression of 2008, which threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work monthly.

From the outset, I knew that Night School had to be different from other movie series. Studios and movie chains could use their large wallets to entice viewers to theaters with larger spectacles, more advanced 3D capabilities, table-side food service and movie discount specials.

Courtesy Time Out Chicago

Courtesy: Time Out Chicago

This all seems fine for the bottom line, but the major point being missed by the chains and the studios was that they are not suited to cater to the needs of movie viewers at the community level. Sure, you can have chats online with people via Netflix about movies, but there’s also the probability you’ll never meet them in person. I used to joke about having film appreciation groups meet up at a local Redbox in the pouring rain.  And I’m very doubtful the studios will have cast members of new movies make dozens of public appearances across the country without them being paid lots of money for the trouble.

What Night School proved was that poverty-stricken creative folks can436 come up with a truly forward-thinking solution: engage with fans on a collective idea. Bring back variety with each show. Give viewers a spectacle without having to break a budget. Indeed, with a budget of exactly $0, you can actually accomplish a great deal. You can still jump out of a cake (Eat the Rich); have an interview with the mother of The Terminator and Lady Terminator (Lady Terminator); have Yor the Hunter from the Future show up for Q&A (Yor, The Hunter from the Future); have zombie whores dance and hand puppets sing (Sisters of No Mercy); uncover a lost Idi Amin toothpaste radio ad (Amin: The Rise and Fall); perform a live interactive radio skit (Wonder Women); have spectacular live music performances to such films as Haxan, The Fall of the House of Usher and A Page of Madness and more.

You can also meet and form a production partnership with an incredible talent named Joseph R. Lewis. Night School gave birth to The Underground Multiplex and the notion that you can rely on the genius of others here in Chicago to do great things. We have, thanks to the incredible presenters we’ve had over the years, the forethought of overseers Phil Morehart and Susan Doll and the hands-off policy of Facets Multimedia, which allowed the inmates to run the asylum one night per week. I’m grateful to Facets for allowing me the chance to change the way viewers experience movies.  Major unending thank yous to all the presenters, volunteers, projectionists and everyone who’s ever come out to see some craziness in action.

As our award-winning program moves on to different venues, The Underground Multiplex will continue its commitment to presenting great forgotten and underappreciated films with the ballyhoo, fun and zaniness the great city of Chicago deserves.

Lew Ojeda

RIP 2009-2013

RIP 2009-2013

TUGM Proudly Presents the World Premiere Online Release of “Sisters of No Mercy”!

It’s finally here! After nearly three years and two hundred dollars, The Underground Multiplex presents the wild, avant-garde nunsploitation comedy Sisters of No Mercy: The Real 3D Midnight Movie Xperience. Combining exploitation, comedy, classic roadshow reels, politics, music and live performance, SONM is the completion of the first collaboration between Joseph R. Lewis and me.

This came about first as a 4-minute parody trailer for a then fake nunsploitation feature. With the help of some great talented friends, we408 were able to pull off this bit in three weeks, just before I was to give a lecture on nunsploitation at Facets Night School.

The trailer debuted on YouTube in October 2010 and gained an unexpected positive response in February 2011 from the French version of  Slate Magazine, which hyperlinked the short and called it a successful parody (if the Google translation is correct). Emboldened by the responses, I casually mentioned to Joe that perhaps the nuns should go to Madison, WI during the height of protests against Governor Scott Walker and exorcise the Koch-funded “demon” from the state capitol.

The resulting short film was The Wisconsin Exorsisters, which brought back Sisters Amy and Angela, Mother Superior and the evil Father Neal from first trailer. That short went public in March 2011.

409When June rolled around, we had decided to extended Sisters of No Mercy into a feature. To accomplish this, the film needed extra footage, which was provided by recording the third portion of the film live before a midnight movie audience attending each screening of Session 8 of Facets Night School. Each chapter was filmed in 5 minute pieces before that evening’s lecture and screening. The resulting portions were then uploaded weekly online.

On September 30, 2011, TUGM debuted Sisters of No Mercy 3D at Facets Night School in an edited version that included a live interactive experience with the audience. They were treated to live music, a theatrical performance, juggling and dancing for a unique approach in film entertainment. This version has not been duplicated since.

Which brings us finally to today– almost three years since the inception of the nunsploitation parody. The final product we hope you’ll find funny, informative and entertaining. It could not be done without the help of the following wonderful people:

Amy J. Boyd, Angela Yonke, Adrianna Montiel, Kenzie Kl, Bruce Neal, Joe Rubin, Jason Coffman, Jason Loeffler, Jonathan Leaf, Douglas Grew, Brian Kirst, Lielie Kaehn-Jarvis, Brian Jarvis, Chris Brake, Christa Koch, Nathan Boecker, Susan Doll, Phil Morehart, all the presenters of Facets Night School and, of course, the twisted genius of Joe Lewis.

Legendary Lew Ojeda

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
 

 

 

 

TUGMs Joe Lewis and Lew Ojeda on Pod People #12

Tom Cruise (on top of the world’s largest phallic structure located in Dubai) is one of the topics of Pod People #12

Joe Lewis and I made a visit to HeaveMedia‘s Pod People Podcast starring Dominick Mayer and Nico Lang. Click here to listen to us discuss the Scientology darling, how Hollywood underestimates women (again) and our “Sh!thouse Cinema Cirkus” currently playing summer 2012 at Facets Multimedia.

Lew

TUGM’s New “Sh#!house Cinema Circus” Trailer for Facets Summer Night School

Trailer created by our very own Joe Lewis, director of the upcoming Scumbabies!

For more details on the entire program, click here. To become a member of Facets, click here.

How to Make a Feature-Length Interactive Film for Less Than $200

The Underground Multiplex last year released its debut film Sisters of No Mercy 3D during a special screening at Facets Multimedia in Chicago. Clocking in at 100 minutes, many were surprised that we actually spent so little making the movie. But not only was the film no-budget, it was also interactive, meaning that during many portions of the film, actors would appear in person before the screen, interacting with characters in the film. In this manner, Sisters of No Mercy was a true 3D experience, all with a budget whose major expenses were a few costumes, props and gas money to and from Madison, WI for a film shoot. I’m certain there are many ways to make movies on the extremely cheap, but here are the major factors that helped this particular feature:

Hire your friends and family

This almost goes without saying since these folks will probably be in your film for nothing (except film credit), but there’s an additional point to be added.  I deliberately left out anyone who I would consider a prima donna, an irresponsible person, or in general anyone who I thought might be a bring-down. Also, if you are the producer and/or director overseeing the project, don’t be a jerk. Making sure that everyone is having a good time not only made things pleasant, but also guaranteed much shorter shooting times for a cast and crew who have very busy schedules.  Worried about acting abilities? Unless you are trying to make something monumental, profound and incredibly intense–all of which would probably require a higher budget anyway–the actors’ experience won’t be as important as your script. If you have a good script and ideas, people will take notice. If you have a bad script and bad idea, people will take flight.

Feed Your Friends Well

I could not imagine asking friends to give up some 7am Sunday mornings without feeding them. Get those carbs in them, as they’ll be busying burning them up with coffee and tea to wash them down. We didn’t have to get elaborate. A discount place like Aldi’s can be your best friend for your shoots.  If you shoot at your house and create your own meals for your cast/crew, all the better. (Exnay on the alcohol, though). They’ll be impressed!

Let Your Friends Loose to Do Their Things

Joe Lewis is the most brilliant filmmaker I’ve ever met. He and I have been able to craft a feature length film utilizing the talents of cast members by making the script malleable enough to include them. For instance, I know a guy who is a great dancer and whose lifelong dream is to be a choreographer. Sisters of No Mercy 3D was not originally scripted to include dancing, but he and a few others with some dance experience were gung-ho for it. We simply provided a music piece he could use and stood back to let him do his magic.  Creating scenes in this manner, I found, not only makes you double up on your imagination, it gives those in the film a true sense of investment in it.

Use the Proper Equipment with a Steady Hand

A seasoned filmmaker can use equipment like a Canon Vixia HD cam for shots and do so pretty incognito, which helps in filming at great locations all around Chicago. But if you want to have something that doesn’t look like unintentional earthquake, you’ve got to be able to do so quickly and with a steady hand.  This became important for our guerrilla filmmaking, since there were situations where time was short and using as little equipment as possible was necessary.

The Internet is Your Friend

If you haven’t begun figuring out how to incorporate some of the great stuff on youtube or sites like archive.org into your works yet, I suggest you start, especially if you want to save cash.  You can make your work an interesting mosaic of sounds and images with those sites, plus save lots of money by  properly administering the Fair Use law when editing.

So get to it! Sisters of No Mercy 3D was created while one of us was unemployed and the other had a minimum-wage job. It can be done.