Nitehawk Naughties: Reclaiming 1970s Porn

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I am a woman and I programmed a year-long dirty film series at Nitehawk Cinema.

It seems important to point this out given that some of the recent press covering the series and the current interest in “vintage porn” has had a distinctively male voice. I suppose it’s natural to assume that porn equals “just for men” but there is so much more to screening these older films now than to arouse a man.

I took the helm of our 2014 signature series Nitehawk Naughties program last year originally intending to highlight older sex pics ala Doris Wishman, of whom I’m a huge fan and who is an essential influence for both porn and mainstream cinema. However, my idea truly formalized when a friend posted a link to Vinegar Syndrome’s digital release of The Sexualist and I went down the proverbial rabbit hole discovering their commitment to restoring and historizing a golden era of porn and cult films (see the New York Times feature “Smut, Refreshed for a New Generation”). Learning of their archive made it impossible for me to think of any other direction of the series. This is reason number one: preserving cinema of any genre so that it can reach new audiences is vital to cultural history and should be an integral consideration in film programming.

Essay: Black Christmas & Bob Clark Love

phone-blackchristmasBlack Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
December 6 & 7 at Midnite | Buy Tickets

Nestled in between the great giallo explosion (1960s – early 1970s) and the American slasher phenomenon (late 1970s – 1980s) is the great Canadian film that connects the two, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas. Clark would go on to make another holiday classic, A Christmas Story, along with other notables like Porky’s, Rhinestone, Breaking Point and, yes, Baby Geniuses, but it’s his foray into the horror genre found in his early works like Black Christmas, Deathdream and Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things that are clear markers of his stylistic influence on cinema. So while it carries the giallo tradition of an unseen/masked serial murderer preying upon innocent young women, Black Christmas marks the turn into North American territory where things hit a whole lot closer to home.

It would be hard pressed, for instance, to not notice the influence of Black Christmas (as well as films by Mario Bava and Dario Argento) on John Carpenter’s Halloween. As Halloween ushered in a new era of horror in the United States, Clark’s Black Christmas didn’t exactly become forgotten but somehow it never really received the attention it deserves. And this is a shame because it’s truly the foundation for the nearly the next twenty years of horror filmmaking: the sorority, the questionable boyfriend, killer prank callers coming from inside the house, distrust of the home, ambiguous ending, and the discord between the good and bad girls.

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Black Christmas begins with its own homage to Italian horror with a tracking shot that scans the facade of a sorority house; what the camera shoes is the killer’s viewpoint. He enters into the attic and continues along with his barrage of what would still be considered today truly obscene phone calls. It rattles the sorority girls but they are more focused on leaving for the holidays or dealing with unwanted pregnancies to take it all too seriously…that is until a friend goes missing. From here it’s that glorious mixture of comedy and horror that Bob Clark manages to produce so very well (the drunken sorority mother is divine, Margot Kidder steals every scene, and John Saxon’s cop is the eager hero) as we go down girls getting murdered on the “who done it” road. Clark manages to take a story occurring during a particularly joyful time of year into dark waters by making the film very black, night time seems to permeate everywhere, with the jarring glow of Christmas decoration lights punctuating the frame. I don’t know why but I find this to be particularly frightening, it’s as if we’re being told not only is it not safe inside your house but it’s not even safe during Christmas!

Recently Black Christmas has been revisited, mainly due to its long-awaited Blu Ray release and the hideous remake we won’t discuss here, and that’s a very good thing. A bona-fide Christmas classic along with Clark’s A Christmas Story, Black Christmas is the pre-slasher, the post-giallo film that horror fans should flock to this time of year and on Halloween as much as any other cemented genre staple film we’re all too aware of.  And while you’re at it, watch Deathdream.

Long live Bob Clark!

Reactions to THE EXORCIST!

Celebrating 40 years of devil possession, The Exorcist (Buy tickets) plays this weekend at midnite and, as our own Desmond Ghoulie says, “prepare to be scared”…

a place both wonderful and strange meets The Vampire Lovers

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a place both wonderful and strange is Russ Marshalek (formerly of Silent Drape Runners). Other collaborators are sometimes a facet of a place both…, but a place both… is never others. Dark, moody, Lynch-inflected experimental electronic music. This is the dark future.

We are so excited to welcome a place both wonderful an strange to their debut performance at Nitehawk. Tonight and tomorrow night the re-imagine a score to the sexiest of the Hammer vampire flicks, The Vampire Lovers.  Check out the links above to see what’s in store (aka amazingness) and to buy tickets!

Ti West: 2009 Interview

hotdShout at the Devil: House of the Devil (Ti West, 2009). Buy Tickets.

In this 2009 interview on Cinema Blend, Ti West (writer/director of House of the Devil) talks about the house, the clothing, and the devil along with stars Greta Gerwig and Tom Noonan.

The house is a prominent figure in the film. What was the process like choosing the home to use?
West: Yeah, the location is really a testament I think mostly to Jade Healy, the production designer, because the house is not very secluded. It’s not actually secluded at all and the interior doesn’t look anything – it might as well look like this room. Like, it doesn’t look anything like it does in the movie. We completely – and the reason it took so long to pick that house was because I was like ‘Well the outside’s cool but it’s not secluded and the inside is like a super bummer’ so it would be so much work to redo it and we should try to make life easier. But, as with everything, you just always choose the hardest battles. So, you know, we went in there and Jade gutted everything and redid everything but she’s terrific. I feel like when you watch the movie the interior of the house looks like we just walked in there and started shooting and it couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Read the whole interview here.

Love Letter: Ingrid Pitt

Orig5 9Live Sound Cinema: The Vampire Lovers (Roy Ward Baker, 1970) with a score by a place both wonderful and strange. BUY TICKETS.

Oh Ingrid Pitt, how we love you. In honor of this fair lady and the screening of her film The Vampire Lovers (Hammer, Horror, Peter Cushing, Vampires, Oh My!) this weekend, Hatched highlights two of our other favorite IP roles below in pseudo visual essay form…

Ingrid Pitt in The Wicker Man where she goes from demurely sexy librarian…
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To innocently naked…

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To nearly getting her head chopped off!

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Ingrid Pitt in Countess Dracula where she plays an old woman…
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Who becomes young and beautiful again…

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By drinking virgin blood.

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And at her sexiest, come see what she does in The Vampire Lovers this weekend!

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Bloodsucking Freaks and the Grand Guignol

bloodsucking_01Bloodsucking Freaks (Joel M. Reed, 1971) | Buy Tickets

Sex and violence. Our Nitehawk Nasty this month is one of our favorites, the murderous “is it real or is it fake” Bloodsucking Freaks! The theater of the absurd film comes from a long tradition of adult theater established by the Grand Guignol in France where elaborately gruesome scenes unfolded onstage that got audiences close to death but at a safe distance. Don’t worry, what you see is only an illusion…or is it?

Nitehawk Trailers: Find the Time

We travel forwards, backwards and sideways through time all September with out month-long time travel series: Find the time. Here’s our trailer forPlanet of the Apes (Tickets), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Tickets), Time Bandits (Tickets), The Dead Zone (Tickets), Donnie Darko (Tickets), and Back to the Future (Tickets).

Night of the Living Dead: The Impossible Essay

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In 1968 two films were released that changed the landscape for cinema and ushered in the era of the post-modern horror film.

The first is Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (an adaptation of Ira Levon’s novel) in which a young New York woman is betrayed by her husband and neighbors into having Satan’s child. With its colorful characters, saturated landscape, and lush style, Rosemary’s Baby is in stark contrast to the gritty black-and-white reality expressed in the wholly original second film of 1968 – George A. Romero’s groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead. Like Rosemary’s BabyNight fundamentally questions our ability to trust other people, particularly those closest to us but its expression of the utter collapse of society (because of an unexplained phenomena that causes the dead to walk and because of the inherently violent nature of the living) and its not-so-subtle socio-political representations, makes Night of the Living Dead a devastating experience still today.

Daniel Collás talks ‘Four Flies on Grey Velvet’

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Nitehawk’s Live+Sound+Cinema presents…
Dario Argento’s FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET
Featuring an incredible live score by Yello Magi (compositions by Daniel Collás).

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Daniel Collás talks to Hatched about the inspiration behind his composition for this weekend’s Live Sound Cinema presentation of Four Flies on Grey Velvet…

As a big fan of the early works of Dario Argento, I was intrigued to find out about Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971), a movie of his that I had never seen or even heard of before, in which the protagonist is a drummer in a rock and roll band who is followed by a mysterious figure and then framed for murder. Being a longtime musician and motion picture enthusiast, specifically one who is amused by the peculiar portrayals of musicians in cinema, I couldn’t believe that such a movie existed, especially considering that given the time period, there was a good chance that Goblin had scored the film. I became an instant fan of this Italian prog rock band after seeing Deep Red (1975) several years ago, mesmerized by how their spooky compositions and agile musicianship accompanied Argento’s masterpiece thriller so perfectly that they became an inextricable part of it, easily playing as big a role as David Hemmings or Daria Nicolodi, the main characters.