Sponsored By The Boston Phoenix
Thursday-Saturday, May 10-29, 2007
Inspired by the Rodriguez/Tarantino double-feature now in theaters, the Brattle brings you a sampler of exploitation films that might have been featured at the fabled "grindhouses" of yore. For those not in the know, "grindhouse" is the word given to a certain class of movie theater – particularly prevalent in the late '60s through the early '80s – that featured nonstop screenings of all different sorts of cheapo genre films. In the tradition of these cinemas where the projectors were "grinding" all day and all night, we offer over 20 features – most in double if not triple features! – that run the gamut from Italian thrillers to micro-budget horror comedies to what we have begun to refer to as "Southern-Fried Action." Caution! These movies were mainly made in poor taste – but most with a sense of fun – so be warned: blood, guts, nudity, obscenity, and bad prints are the norm here!
Sat 5/19 at 3:00, Snacks provided by Z-Square
We'll also present a panel discussion to help us get a real handle on the history, future and importance of Grindhouse and exploitation cinema, and to share some favorite moments. Panelists will include Harvard Film Archive archivist Liz Coffey, The Alamo Drafthouse’s Lars Nilsen, author Eric Schaefer, and Russ Fischer, editor at CHUD.com.
Even though we're offering many double features throughout the series we realize that some of you may come see every film, and some more than once. Our Series Pass gets you into every film plus the panel discussion for just $100. (On sale through Thu 5/17) Buy Now
Film Descriptions, Dates & Showtimes
Thursday 5/10 at 7:30
Double Feature w/Torso
(1979) dir Luci Fulci w/ Tisa Farrow [91 min]
ZOMBIE and TORSO were reportedly the two films shown by directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to get their cast and crew in the mood to make their own Grindhouse films. While Rodriguez's Planet Terror is a little more... um... fast-paced than Fulci's ZOMBIE, need we say more than: a zombie fights a shark? A group of people lead by a young woman on a search for her father arrive at an isolated island where a terrifying disease is turning the locals into flesh-eating zombies!
Thursday 5/10 at 5:30, 9:30
Double Feature w/Zombie
(1973) dir Sergio Martino w/ Suzy Kendall [89 min]
While Italian psycho-stalker films are only one genre depicted by Tarantino in Death Proof, TORSO is an exemplary piece of this style of filmmaking. Innocent Jane is an American exchange student in Rome during a rash of strangulations... which, understandably, puts her a little on edge. When Jane and her sexy friends take a break at a relative's country villa, the action moves to the Italian countryside and the girls find themselves even deeper in danger.
Friday 5/11 at 7:30
Double Feature w/The Thing
Escape From New York
(1981) dir John Carpenter w/Kurt Russell, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence [99 min]
In 1998, New York City has been turned into a giant, maximumsecurity prison. Now, Air Force One has crashed inside and the President (Pleasence) is in grave danger. Only one man, disgraced war hero Snake Plissken (Russell), can save him. Carpenter and Russell create one of the great sci-fi anti-heroes with Snake and a wonderfully dismal vision of the future with this entertaining film.
Friday 5/11 at 5:15, 9:45
Double Feature w/Escape From New York
(1982) dir John Carpenter w/Kurt Russell [109 min]
Carpenter and Russell re-team for this terrific remake of the classic sci-fi horror tale of a team of isolated Antarctic scientists who run across a buried UFO and encounter a deadly alien lifeform. Carpenter doesn't try to improve upon the original story but ratchets up the tension to an unnerving degree by giving the alien the ability to take the form of any person (or other living thing) it kills.
Saturday 5/12 at 3:30, 5:30, 7:30
(1971) dir Richard Sarafian w/ Barry Newman, Cleavon Little [98 min]
Heavily referenced in Tarantino's Death Proof, VANISHING POINT is one of the ultimate hard-driving films. Barry Newman's Kowalski makes a bet to deliver a car (a 1970 Dodge Challenger with a matte white paintjob) from Colorado to California in under 15 hours. Think that might mean exceeding the speed limit a little?
Thursday 5/17 at 8:00
Double Feature w/Satan's Cheerleaders
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
(1972) dir Bob Clark w/Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeff Gillen, Anya Ormsby, Paul Cronin, Jane Daly, Seth Sklarey [87 min]
As a tribute to the late, great exploitation director Bob Clark (Porky's, A Christmas Story) we bring you this rude, crude and determinedly silly zombie comedy. Alan is an insufferably pretentious avant-garde theater director who leads his actors to an abandoned island and plots a practical joke that involves a black magic ritual that, unbeknownst to him, has actually worked. Rejoice as the irritating characters are devoured by the hungry dead!
Thursday 5/17 at 10:00
Double Feature w/Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
(1978) dir Greydon Clark w/Kerry Sherman, Hillary Horan, Alisa Powell, Sherry Marks, John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, Sydney Chaplin, Jack Kruschen, John Carradine [92 min]
Another cheesy horror-comedy hybrid, SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS is more-or-less what it sounds like – a movie about a bunch of cheerleaders who are the target of a satanic cult. But with a cast that includes some cult greats and a raucous sense of humor, SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS is good, dirty fun for all.
Friday 5/18 at 10:00
The Hills Have Eyes
(1977) dir Wes Craven w/Susan Lanier, Robert Houston, Martin Speer, Dee Wallace, Russ Grieve, John Steadman [89 min]
This recently remade horror classic mines the familiar Texas Chainsaw Massacre scenario with some terrifying new twists. A family roadtripping to California breaks down in a seemingly deserted area that, unfortunately, hides a community of murderous freaks. Quite simply, the stuff of nightmares.
Saturday 5/19 at 3:00
To help us get a real handle on the history, future and importance of Grindhouse and exploitation cinema, the Brattle has organized a panel of experts to discuss the issues and share some of their favorite moments.
Tickets for the panel are $10/$8 for students/seniors/Brattle members. Light refreshments included.
With Harvard Film Archive archivist Liz Coffey, The Alamo Drafthouse's Lars Nilsen, author Eric Schaefer, and others. See description for ticket information.
Saturday 5/19 at 7:30
Double Feature w/City Of The Walking Dead
Return Of The Living Dead
(1985) dir Dan O'Bannon w/Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Matthews, Miguel Nunez, Brian Peck, Linnea Quigley [91 min]
It's punks versus zombies in this classic alternate sequel to Night Of The Living Dead as a pair of bumbling warehouse workers unleash a gas that brings the dead back to life… but, unlike the mute corpses of NotLD, these zombies cry out for what they crave… "BRAAAAAAAINS!"
Saturday 5/19 at 5:30, 9:30
Double Feature w/Return Of The Living Dead
City Of The Walking Dead (aka Nightmare City)
(1981) dir Umberto Lenzi w/Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter [88 min]
Savage zombie attacks ensue as a plane makes an emergency landing in an unnamed city and the walking dead burst out attacking everything in their path. As the military fights a losing battle against the zombies that are quickly taking over the city, a reporter and his wife try to escape. NIGHTMARE CITY is a sensational zombie flick and a precursor to such urban infestation films as 28 Days Later. (aka CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD)
Thursday 5/24 at 7:30
Double Feature w/No Mercy Man
(1973) dir Monte Hellman w/Warren Oates, Richard B. Shull, Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley Jr., Patricia Pearcy [83 min]
Monte Hellman follows stubborn loner, Warren Oates, who had been disqualified from receiving a Cockfighter of the Year award. Oates takes a vow of silence until he wins again, and we follow him on his lonely odyssey, trying to regain his lost sense of worth as he partners up with a fast-talking gambler and plans for the future with his sweetheart. Filmed in Georgia locations (where cockfighting was reportedly still legal), director Hellman creates an austere slice-of-life road saga. – The American Cinematheque, LA (aka BORN TO KILL)
Thursday 5/24 at 5:30, 9:30
Double Feature w/Cockfighter
No Mercy Man
(1974) dir Daniel Vance w/Steve Sandor, Rockne Tarkington, Mike Lane, Sid Haig [91 min]
The story of a Vietnam vet who returns to his hometown to escape from his troubles but finds it threatened by a ruthless gang of bikers/carnies (including Devil's Reject Sid Haig) and is forced to use his military training once again – and call in some of his fellow vet buddies for support.
Double Feature w/The Crazies
(1977) dir David Cronenberg w/Marilyn Chambers [91 min]
Rose (Chambers) undergoes experimental surgery after a motorcycle accident, something that has nightmarish results when she not only grows a new organ for sucking blood, but also contracts a virulent strain of rabies. Escaping from the clinic, Rose unknowingly spreads the contagion, leaving chaos in her wake as her boyfriend races against time to find her. One of Cronenberg's most rip-roaring, rewarding chillers. – The American Cinematheque, LA
Double Feature w/Rabid
(1975) dir George Romero w/Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Holler [103 min]
Romero's unnerving portrait of a town infected with a mysterious manmade virus (codenamed Trixie) that kills some and causes insanity in others. As if that weren't bad enough, the military soon arrives and locks the town down under martial law as they try to contain the problem. THE CRAZIES accentuates Romero's skill with creating tension even with a skimpy budget and non-pro actors.
Triple Feature w/Beyond The Door II and The School That Couldn't Scream
(1975) dir Dario Argento w/David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi [98 min]
One of the most popular Italian genre directors, and one of the most stylish, Dario Argento has made a name for himself creating horror films and thrillers that create an uncanny amount of tension – particularly through his use of sound and color. In DEEP RED, Argento follows a British pianist (Hemmings) as he tracks a psychotic (and potentially psychic) murderer.
Triple Feature w/Deep Red and The School That Couldn't Scream
Beyond The Door II
(1977) dir Mario Bava w/Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner, David Colin Jr., Ivan Rassimov [93 min]
A mentor for Argento, and many other Italian horror maestros, was Mario Bava. Here, late in his career, Bava serves up a unnerving ghost story about Dora, a woman with a young son and new husband who moves back into her old house – the house where her previous husband supposedly committed suicide. Things go a little haywire when the son starts acting a little too Oedipal and nightmarish visions torment Dora. (aka SHOCK)
Triple Feature w/Deep Red and Beyond The Door II
The School That Couldn't Scream
(1972) dir Massimo Dallamano w/Fabio Testi, Karin Baal, Christina Galbo, Joachim Fuchsberger [95 min]
A prime example of Giallo – Italian crime thrillers that aren't quite horror but serve up a healthy dose of blood with their mysteries – this film takes place at an exclusive girls' school in London. Henry, a married teacher is interrupted in the midst of a tryst with a student when she witnesses a brutal attack. As the body count mounts and Scotland Yard is called in to investigate, Henry must track down the killer himself to avoid being arrested. (aka WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO SOLANGE?)
Enter The Dragon
(1973) dir Robert Clouse w/Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Kien Shih, Angela Mao, Jim Kelly, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung [99 min]
The grandpappy of all American kung-fu films! Lee is a Shaolin monk who is coaxed by a British agent to infiltrate a sure-to-bedeadly fighting tournament and uncover a drug smuggling and white slavery operation. Despite its now familiar plot, the collective charisma of Lee and his co-stars, let alone the exhilarating fight scenes staged by Lee, lifts this film above almost all competitors.
Double Feature w/Revenge Of The Planet Ape
When The Screaming Stops
(1973) dir Amando de Ossorio w/Tony Kendall, Helga Liné [80 min]
A perfect example of a traditional legend successfully translated into a modern horror film, WHEN THE SCREAMING STOPS tells the mythological story of Lorelei, a water nymph who has been living in the Rhine for centuries. At certain times, though, she transforms into a monster and must feed on the hearts of the innocent to maintain her eternal life. It is during one of these feeding periods that the sexy hunter Sirgurd is enlisted by the nearby girls' college as their protector. It's not long before Sirgurd, the school's headmistress and Lorelei form a star-crossed love triangle.
Double Feature w/When The Screaming Stops
Revenge Of The Planet Ape
(1971) dir Amando de Ossorio w/Lone Fleming, Cesar Burner, Maria Elena Arpon [86 min]
This was originally a movie about the reanimated corpses of 13th century Templar Knights terrorizing Portuguese co-eds – but an ingenious American distributor got his hands on the film and decided to re-edit it to capitalize on the popularity of the Planet Of The Apes series. As a result we have this strange hybrid where we are meant to believe that the zombie Knights are instead zombie intelligent apes who have been resurrected after thousands of years. Absurd, gory fun! (aka TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD)
Tuesday 5/29 at 7:30
Double Feature w/Autopsy
(1968) dir Umberto Lenzi w/Carroll Baker, Lou Castel, Colette Descombes [91 min]
"Love is the tool that strips a jet-set widow bare of her morals and her millions!" So says the tagline for this Italian shocker starring one of our favorite unsung actresses. Carroll Baker (Baby Doll) is an American widow who encounters a handsome stranger looking for help and ends up inviting him and his 'sister' into her villa… and her bed. Soon, however, she begins to suspect the couple's motives and she finds her life in jeopardy.
Tuesday 5/29 at 5:30, 9:30
Double Feature w/Paranoia
(1975) dir Armando Crispino w/Mimsy Farmer, Barry Primus [85 min]
A med student who works in the morgue and a priest team up to investigate a series of mysterious deaths that have been blamed on a heatwave in this bloody giallo. The deaths are being set up to look like suicides but the priest, whose own sister is a victim, believes that they are murders. When the student gets a little too close to the truth she must race against time to unmask the killer or become a victim herself.