A Nite to Dismember, Part 2: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

A Nite to Dismember is Nitehawk’s annual Halloween movie marathon, five back to back horror films played until the crack of dawn. For its second year, N2D features five of the best horror sequels ever made: Evil Dead II, The Bride of Frankenstein, Friday the 13th Part 2, and Return of the Living Dead.

Below, Hatched editor Caryn Coleman (@caryn_coleman) discusses the night’s second film, The Bride of Frankenstein.

A Nite to Dismember, Part 2: Evil Dead II (1987)

A Nite to Dismember
Friday, October 31; Midnite – 8am | Buy Tickets

A Nite to Dismember is Nitehawk’s annual Halloween movie marathon, five back to back horror films played until the crack of dawn. For its second year, N2D features five of the best horror sequels ever made: Evil Dead II, Bride of Frankenstein, Friday the 13th Part 2, and Return of the Living Dead.

Below, Hatched editor Kris King discusses the night’s first film, Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi’s untouchable splatterhouse classic.

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Halloween and Horror go hand-in-hand, but, really, only a certain kind of horror film fits the bill on the day for devilish revelry. Halloween, ultimately, is about having a good time; and if a horror film lacks a certain lightness in touch, it can really harsh your hallowed buzz. In the pantheon of fun horror, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a more perfect Halloween horror film than Evil Dead II.

The film plays out as if written by a sleep-deprived kid, high on Snickers and candy corn: “There are monsters! And all of the furniture can laugh! And blood comes out the walls! And the good guy has a chainsaw for a hand!” Evil Dead II is a perfectly executed load of nonsense, a film that insists upon a reaction — a laugh, a shriek, it really doesn’t matter just so long as you feel something.

A kind of remake/sequel hybrid, Evil Dead II doesn’t follow up the first film so much as start over with a new set of rules and tricks and then pushes the story along. Director Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead is a classic in its own right, but it’s heavy on mood and no-budget gore effects and has a clear intent to rattle the viewer senseless. From its onset, it’s clear that Evil Dead II plays with a different deck of cards.

The first act of Evil Dead II quickly touches on the story beats of the first film: college student Ash takes his girlfriend out to a secluded cabin for a romantic getaway where he accidentally awakens an ancient evil that’s intent on ruining everyone’s day. After going a few rounds with his possessed girlfriend, Ash is left a crazed, blood-soaked mess (where the first film ends). When the unwitting relatives of the cabin’s owner turn up, they peg Ash as a murderer and lock him in the cellar while the evil in the house starts taking stabs at its new guests.

Evil Dead II somehow shows up the original in wackadoo special effects and gushing blood while maintaining a light, funny touch. Blood doesn’t just flow, it sprays out with the force of a fire hose. On the film’s commentary track, star Bruce Campbell jokes that he almost drowned while filming one gag where he was practically water boarded with 100 gallons of fake blood.

Watching Ash evolve from a shrieking coward into a silver-tongued tough is the real joy of Evil Dead II. Baptized in the blood of his undead friends, Ash becomes one of the few horror icons who uses his prowess for slicing and dicing for good rather than evil.

Notes on the Final Girl: Nitehawk celebrates women in horror this October

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“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” ? Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

Nitehawk’s Final Girl program celebrates fifty years of women in horror film by highlighting the iconic Final Girl. From Georges Franju’s depiction of beauty obsession in Eyes Without a Face (1960) to Adam Wingard’s role-reversing You’re Next (2011), this series focuses on the depiction of the woman’s role within the fictional realm of horror cinema and its association with the reality of daily life. The series eschews the popular bimbo slasher film stereotype by highlighting iconic female characters who experience a revelatory journey from victim to hero. Her on-screen transformation is hardly ever pretty, brutal by sheer necessity, but it realizes an important power shift: the stereotypical male gaze turns into her gaze and then to ours. Embodying Shirley Jackson’s description of Hill House, the Final Girl’s insane break from an “absolute reality” means that it is up to her, our heroine, to restore order when the familiar world becomes an overwhelming space.

KEEP MOVING: Richard Lester’s THE BED SITTING ROOM

artseen-bedsittingroomART SEEN presents THE BED SITTING ROOM (Richard Lester, 1969) with Aïda Ruilova, Aldo Tambellini, and Elizabeth Price (Buy Tickets)

Imagine if Luis Buñuel and Monty Python made a film and you’ll get a sense of Richard Lester’s surrealist post-apocalyptic farce, The Bed Sitting Room. It is perhaps the strangest “last men on earth” film ever made and that you’ll ever see but it’s also the most wonderful.

This Art Seen screening of The Bed Sitting Room along with artist films by Aïda Ruilova, Aldo Tambellini, and Elizabeth Price, is a reprisal of film program at Toronto’s Power Plant Gallery called Keep Moving: objects and architecture in the apocalypse. This title stems from the phrase “keep moving” that’s constantly uttered throughout The Bed Sitting Room because it connotes and pokes fun at the very British insistence of “Keep Calm, Carry On” in the face of hardship. But in a larger sense, it embodies society’s general resistance to change and, in terms of disaster, reveals our general reluctance to pave a new way forward in favor of repeating the same old. Which is what happens in our psychedelic new London…

Dreaming of INLAND EMPIRE

inlandempire-blogThe July program for our Summer of Surrealism series begins this Friday with two midnite 35mm (direct from Lynch) screenings of David Lynch’s epic Inland Empire (get tickets!). 

We’re happy to have Adam Lowenstein back at Nitehawk to introduce the film on Friday night, his forthcoming book Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age of Digital Media is the inspiration for the series. Adam has also written the following essay for us, Dreaming of Inland Empire, that not only gives a fantastic perspective into Inland Empire but also speaks to the spirit of our slightly off-kilter surrealism series too. Let’s get weird…

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Dreaming of Inland Empire
Like Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr. before it, Inland Empire traces a path back towards David Lynch’s early experimental films and first feature Eraserhead, rather than building on the more conventional narrative structures of The Elephant Man, Dune, and The Straight Story or even the narrative strangeness of Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, or Twin Peaks. Inland Empire heightens the proclivities for loops in time, for character doubling and dispersal, for ominous tone over explicit explanation, and most of all, for dream logic, that characterize both Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr.

So is Inland Empire, with its embrace of dream logic, an example of Lynch as surrealist? Yes, at least to a certain extent. The doubling of characters here echoes Luis Buñuel’s tendencies to do the same, and the game Lynch plays to involve his audience in dream logic by first offering hints of familiar plot elements (the affair, the inside Hollywood production story, the Eastern European crime syndicate, the endangered prostitute) as well as familiar trademarks of his authorship (Lynch stalwarts Harry Dean Stanton, Diane Ladd, Grace Zabriskie, and of course, the truly magnificent Laura Dern all appear in the film, along with a number of signature “Lynchian” touches) echoes some of Buñuel’s game-like enticements of his audience.

Buñuel may have had more overtly political aims in mind when he engaged his viewers in games of perception and interpretation, but some of the goals are the same: to elevate the realm of dream to the realm of reality, to show how the former should not languish in the shadows of the latter but instead emerge as its revealer. For Lynch, “dream” will always be tied much more closely to the “dream factory” of Hollywood than for Buñuel, and one of the strengths of Inland Empire is its ability to sketch the complex network of desires between actor, character, production crew, and audience that gives Hollywood its special power of fascination. Inland Empire is not a Hollywood film nor an anti-Hollywood film; it is neither wholly surrealist nor wholly non-surrealist. It is Hollywood dreaming of surrealism, surrealism dreaming of Hollywood, and an exhilarating invitation to have us join that dream.

 
 

Guide: ‘The Works: Angelo Badalamenti’

badalamenti-00THE WORKS: ANGELO BADALAMENTI – ALL MARCH AT NIGHT – GET TICKETS

After an amazing Lost Highway special screening with Brightest Young Things and a place both wonderful and strange on Wednesday, Nitehawk’s March look at the films of composer Angelo Badalamenti officially begins this weekend with Lost Highway at midnite and The City of Lost Children at brunch. 

I’ve done a few interviews in relation to the series (Greenpointers, BlackBook Magazine, and Criterion Cast), all asked me the same question: why Badalamenti? You can read my answer(s) via those links but, honestly, I’d recommend checking out the selected films in the series to discover for yourself. Below is a handy guide to get you sorted…

Cannibal Quandary: The Difference Between “Cannibal Holocaust” and “Cannibal Ferox”

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This weekend we’re screening exploitation classic Cannibal Ferox as part of our ongoing Nitehawk Nasties series. Part of a wave of cannibal-centric exploitation movies, Cannibal Ferox frequently gets confused for another Nitehawk Nasty-certified film, Cannibal Holocaust.

To help clear things up, we fielded a few questions* on the two films, how they’re similar and how you can tell them apart.

Okay, so why is this confusing?

Because they’re basically the same movie. Cannibal Holocaust is an Italian Exploitation film that came out in 1980 about a gaggle of repugnant white folk who exploit a tribe of cannibals and suffer the consequences; while Cannibal Ferox is an Italian Exploitation film that came out in 1981 about a gaggle of repugnant white folk who exploit a tribe of cannibals and suffer the consequences.

You just said the same thing twice. Are they really that similar?

They’re crazy similar. Both movies follow Westerners deep into the jungle to study or observe cannibal tribes, and in both it’s the Westerners who turn out to be the real monsters. They rape and pillage their way through villages, and ultimately their bad mojo catches up with them. That’s when all of the scalping, mutilation and castration comes into play.

That’s pretty gross, what’s the matter with you?

Written Contributors: THE CONNECTION

CONNECTION-still02THE CONNECTION (Shirley Clarke, 1962). Tuesday, February 25 at 9:30pm. Get Tickets.

The written contributor program for our VICE presents: The Film Foundation Screening Series 35mm presentation of Shirley Clarke’s The Connection is now online! Includes texts by Clarke’s daughter, Wendy Clarke, and Dennis Doros from Milestone Films (those responsible for restoring and re-introducing Clarke’s work to the world). Our favorite line? “If Barbara Loden is underexposed, Shirley Clarke is a ghost.” Don’t miss this rare and important screening on Tuesday as The Connection isn’t available on DVD/Blu Ray (yet!). We’ll have a special introduction by writer/director Desiree Akhavan.

Read the whole thing here on VICE.com!

Post by Caryn Coleman, Senior Film Programmer/Communications. @caryn_coleman

Goodbye Ms. Jen Marshall

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A little Valentine’s Day love for a very special ‘Hawk who flew the nest this week…our beloved Bar Manager, Jen Marshall. She’s been here since the very beginning (even before the projectors were installed or stools were stationed at the bar) and is what we’d like to call a fixture on the Mount Rushmore of Nitehawk. We’d be surprised if you didn’t know her because I think it’s a well known fact that Jen knows everyone, especially all the good ones, but just in case you don’t…

You know all those themed adult beverages for each of our first run films? Like “The Driver” that has never left our menu since we played Drive. Yep, that’s her. You know those amazingly delicious seasonal cocktails in our downstairs bar cleverly titled after appropriate movies ala the El Topo? Yes, her again. You know all the incredible beverage partnerships for our Film Feasts (formerly Beer Dinners) that make you happily stumble out of the theater? Indeed, Ms. Jen Marshall! There’s about a million other projects and jobs she’s done that we probably don’t have enough bandwidth here to mention. And we appreciate every single one of them.

Jen Marshall, you are Nitehawk. We love you and we sure are going to miss you!

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Scariest Films Ever: THE RING

ring_7THE RING (Gore Verbinski, 2002) | This Friday & Saturday at midnite | Get Tickets

From the scariest film I’ve ever seen division comes The Ring

Now before anyone starts, I also think that the original Ringu is the scariest movie ever along with pretty much every other J-Horror film I’ve ever watched (other examples: Juon to Audition). I just can’t. Japanese horror films tap into that especially dark place deep inside of me but, really, they express the cultural traumas experienced by Japan from WWII and, since I’m not Japanese, I can only think that these kinds of wounds are felt universally across all generations.* Plus, that black, wet hair. 

A long-time lover of horror films, I went to see The Ring one sunny afternoon in Los Angeles, at the Grove no less. It scared the shit out of me from the start: the distorted faces, the inescapability of a horrible death, the completely whacked out surrealist dream scenarios. Everything in the film is black, blue, and sopping wet. But what most terrified me, and this is also what I think is most brilliant about the story, is that the audience watches the killer video; we become complicit in the act but are held unaccountable. Instead, we see what happens to the others at a very safe distance but all the while checking our blissfully benign television monitors.