Most of this year’s action takes place
at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre, 2384 James St., on Friday, June 12, and
Saturday, June 13, with two days of creature features plus a community
yard sale that will display collectible CDs, T-shirts and movie
posters. On Sunday, June 14, the fest moves to the Westcott Theater,
524 Westcott St., where these rock groups will perform from 1:30 to 11
p.m.: Achilles, A Life Once Lost, Architect, Black SS, Christ Crusher,
Ed Gein, Engineer, Gods and Queens, Merrimac, Mistletoe, The Network,
Oak and Bone, and Phoenix Bodies. Admission to the over-21 event will
Friday jump-starts the weekend with
another monthly “Brew and View” event, as mastermind Meyer offers an
R-rated 1980s science-fiction twin bill, both presented in 35mm prints.
Lifeforce (7 p.m.), a nutty 1985 epic about outer-space vampires from director Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist), is still coasting on its cult cachet involving comely co-star Mathilda May’s frequent states of undress. That’s followed by Aliens
(9:30 p.m.), director James Cameron’s rip-roaring 1986 sequel to the
gory 1979 hit, with Sigourney Weaver in her keystone role as the
weapons-toting Ripley, plus Paul Reiser’s neat casting as a sniveling
corporate weasel. Admission is $8, although if you come dressed as any
type of sci-fi character, the price gets knocked down to $6.
Groovey ghoulie: One of the strange characters in Lifeforce, part of this weekend’s monster-movie matathon.
Weaver returns to the Palace screen on
Saturday from 1 to 4:30 p.m., when Meyer programs a PG-13,
family-oriented double feature as part of the Shaun Luu experience. She
rejoins cast mates Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Rick Moranis for Ghostbusters II,
the inevitable 1989 follow-up to the 1984 blockbuster, with more
special-effects spectral hoodoo in Manhattan. Also on the bill: 1987’s The Monster Squad,
director Fred Dekker’s spirited salute to Universal Pictures’ horror
icons of the 1930s and 1940s. Admission to the 35mm screenings is $8.
But put the kiddies to bed for Saturday
night’s marathon of malevolence, a sanguinary six-pack that alternates
between neoclassic B-flicks and trashier fare. Indeed, movies rarely
scrape the barrel’s bottom quite like the evening’s opening salvo, Black Devil Doll
(5:30 p.m., presented with digital projection), auteurist brothers
Jonathan and Shawn Lewis’ deliberately scatological blaxploitation
parody of the Child’s Play franchise. When Mubia Abul-Jama, a
convicted Black Power murderer-rapist, gets sent to the electric chair,
his spirit gets channeled to a wooden doll owned by the bosomy Heather
(wooden actress Heather Murphy), who somehow becomes enchanted by the
jive-talking puppet, maybe because he sounds like a hoarse Redd Foxx.
Heather’s posse of gal pals stops by, which unfortunately triggers the
puppet to commit mayhem, with montages devoted to soapy car washes,
games of Twister and orgies of fried chicken as part of the politically
incorrect package. Flanked by a cups-runneth-over cast of strippers
(according to a recent article in California’s Oakland Tribune)
and boldly proclaiming that the film has been “rated X by an all-white
jury” (the infamous ad campaign used by Melvin Van Peebles for his 1971
work Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Assss Song), Black Devil Doll has enough boobs and bloodlust to assure a too-easy cult rep.
Things get classier as the night wears
on, however, with the remainder of the festival presented in 35mm
prints (starting times are approximate). Deep Red (7 p.m.) is director Dario Argento’s best film (I’m not forgetting Suspiria,
either), a twisty Italian whodunit with David Hemmings as a musician on
the hunt for a mad killer. Its 1975 stateside release was chopped by 20
minutes and sometimes issued under the title The Hatchet Murders;
Meyer will present the complete two-hour version, which is basically a
violent meditation on how our subconscious memories can haunt us. In
fact, Argento playfully reveals the killer’s identity at the 19-minute
mark (look quick on the extreme left of the widescreen frame), but it
takes Hemmings (in a semi-replay of his role in Blow-Up) the
rest of the movie to figure out what’s going on. This elegant
shocker—which features rapturous color photography from Luigi Kuveiller
and expressive production designs by Guiseppe Bassan that even has an
Edward Hopper-esque barroom backdrop in one scene—also boasts an eerie
soundtrack driven by rock group Goblin’s all-out sonic assault.
Meyer has also booked bona fide treats including director Walter Hill’s 1979 The Warriors
(11 p.m.), a fast-paced comic-book version of turf defense in the Big
Apple (one amusing caveat: The Warriors are such horny lummoxes that
they don’t realize that the Lizzie gang is staffed by lesbians!), and
director John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing (2 a.m.), a thrilling
study of aliens, the Arctic and paranoia, loaded with a then-surprising
amount of gross-out special effects for such an A-list endeavor.
And then there’s the grisly grindhouse
entries that Meyer always schedules, the kind of disreputable fare that
once found a place in Luu’s heart. From 1980, City of the Living Dead
(9:15 p.m.) is one of those extreme yecch-fests that bolstered director
Lucio Fulci’s career, with plenty of depraved doings amid the undead of
Dunwich. Released in the states as Gates of Hell, a few scenes
display Fulci’s suspenseful showmanship, notably when star Christopher
George uses a pickax to open the coffin of a woman who has been buried
alive, but there’s also plenty of stomach-wrenching visual turnoffs
along the way.
And 1981’s Cannibal Ferox (12:30 a.m.) offers director Umberto Lenzi’s quasi-cloning of Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust and Lenzi’s own Man from Deep River.
An anthropology student (Lorraine De Selle) travels to the Amazon to
uncover the “myth” of cannibalism, but soon finds out that violence
only causes more violence—especially when a coked-out drug dealer
(Giovanni Lombardo Radice) unleashes the killer instincts of a
seemingly peaceful tribe. Best remembered under its U.S. title Make Them Die Slowly, this gory grab bag has it all: castrations, impalements and a disco-era title theme. Bon appetit!
Admission to the all-night show is $15,
with a combo deal of both afternoon and evening screenings priced at
$20. For more film information, call 436-4723.