Scream Factory bringing Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut to DVD

Shout! Factory's genre label to release Clive Barker's maligned second film in its fullest form
Jul 22
// Hubert Vigilla
We've mentioned previously that there's been an extended/director's cut of Clive Barker's Nightbreed screening around the world, but now it's coming to DVD and Blu-ray. Scream Factory (the genre sub-label of Shout! Factory) a...

Sony Pictures Classics acquires Jodorowsky's Dune

A documentary on the greatest movie never made
Jul 12
// Hubert Vigilla
There was a double dose of Alejandro Jodorowsky at Cannes earlier in the year, which made me wish I was there. The biggie was La Danza de la Realidad (The Dance of Reality), Jodorowsky's first film in more than 20 years. The ...

NYAFF Review: Taiwan Black Movies

Jul 08 // Hubert Vigilla
Taiwan Black Movies (台灣黑電影)Director: Hou Chi-JanRating: TBDCountry: TaiwanRelease Date: 2005 (Taiwan) Woman Revenger (The Nude Body Case in Tokyo | 女性的復仇)Director: Tsai Yang-MingRating: TBDCountry: TaiwanRelease Date: 1982 (Taiwan) Never Too Late to Repent (The First Error Step | 錯誤的第一步)Director: Tsai Yang-MingRating: TBDCountry: TaiwanRelease Date: 1979 (Taiwan) The Saturday of Taiwanese genre movies began with Hou-Chi Jan's documentary Taiwan Black Movies followed by the Tsai Yang-Ming films Woman Revenger and Never Too Late to Repent. Seeing the genre films after the documentary was ideal since the bold energy of the movies added life to the detached historical perspective of the documentary. Film programming and sequencing like this reveals the deep value of focused film festivals like NYAFF. Double-bills, triple-bills, and Q & As can be so enlightening for an audience. It's like listening to an album rather than just a song off the album -- there are ideas unfolding and reflecting back on themselves that I wouldn't notice without the other two films. Saturday was a conversation about Taiwan Black Movies, not a monologue. (There was a contemporary Taiwanese romantic comedy by Hou-Chi Jan shown between Woman Revenger and Never Too Late to Repent called When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep. It was a major palate cleanse, and much different in tone and presentation than his documentary. Look for that review tomorrow.) A few impulses seemed to drive these two Taiwan Black Movies and other films in the genre. They're social message movies at their heart. The film that kicked it all off is Never Too Late to Repent, originally titled The First Error Step. The movie stars Ma Sha as an orphan who grows up among poverty and prostitutes, winds up in prison for killing a man, and then tries to live a reformed life. It's sort of like a chain gang movie and a redemption story, but it's also a kind of mythmaking vehicle for its star: Never Too Late to Repent is an adaptation of Ma Sha's own memoir. The film was a box office sensation in Taiwan. Never Too Late to Repent is a gritty yet melodramatic film that reminded me in some ways of Kinji Fukasaku mixed with early blaxploitation. The characters are down and out, and the settings expose lives of squalor and desperation. Woman Revenger is a different kind of animal, however, even if it's from the same director and inspired by a true events (this time forced prostitution). The film also features Ma Sha, though he's in pure bad guy mode and proud to show off his real-life dragon tattoo. Released just a few years after Never Too Late to Repent, Woman Revenger is more exploitation movie than social message movie. It involves a dance teacher from Hong Kong (Elsa Yeung) who travels to Japan after the death of a friend. There's missing cocaine, a missing eye, and an eventual revenge squad of dance students armed with katanas and wakizashis. Apart from some crowd footage in Harajuku that goes on too long, it's well-paced, though it trades in the moral drama of Never Too Late to Repent for schlock. There are two goofy music cues: the first is a loungey version of Bernard Herrmann's score from Taxi Driver and the other blatantly lifts Bill Conti's score from Rocky during a sumo match. Going back to the information in the documentary, I began to realize that these films function as reactionary artistic expressions in addition to being social message movies. The Taiwan Black Movies were social-realist responses to the prevailing Taiwanese romance films of the time that were filled with sugary emotions and fairy tale plots, but they were also a kind of push against the oppression of the government. The critics and historians that appear in the documentary note the way the films tried to depict the dirtier sides of Taiwanese life. There's also the adolescent wonder of seeing bare breasts on screen. That's the joy of the social message movie and the joy of the exploitation movie all rolled into one. The films themselves often had to kowtow to government censors, removing nudity and extreme violence, and including messages in which characters who do bad things (even if they are ostensibly good guys) need to be punished by the proper authorities. That may explain the heightened emotions and violence in these two films just as much as the pedantic moralizing. These are acts of free speech within narrow confines of free speech; a scream that's impassioned because at least the scream is allowed. By knowing about the censorship from the documentary, the print of Never Too Late to Repent that was screened became not just an imperfect, incomplete version of the movie; it was an informative chronicle of the Taiwanese government's crackdown on expression. The print I saw was restored from two surviving copies of the movie: one that had the picture, one that had the sound. The surviving picture came from an uncut version of the film while the audio was taken from a censored print. During scenes of excessive violence, all of the audio cut out; during scenes of brief nudity or implied sex, no sound. Some of these silences lasted a few seconds, though others lasted a minute, maybe two. (There's also an entire chunk of a scene missing from the last act of Woman Revenger, maybe even a shot or two earlier in that film.) Jean-Luc Godard once said, "Film is truth 24 times a second, and every cut is a lie." In this case, the missing scenes and missing audio are lies as well as admissions of guilt, like the telltale redacted text in government documents. It may be 30 years since these films were first released, but the earnestness of the social messages are just as apparent as the political meddling. Over the course of three films, I began to comprehend some of the culture that made these movies possible. In a lot of ways it's a miracle that these Taiwan Black Movies still exist since the prints of these films were destroyed. Efforts at recovery and restoration are being made, but it's slow going, and apparently many Taiwanese filmgoers don't even remember these films. Director Tsai Yang-Ming was in attendance for a Q & A and to accept a NYAFF lifetime achievement award. His career spans 50 years as an actor, director, and producer. Tsai seemed grateful, even downright humbled. At one point he said he wouldn't have known that he'd achieved anything if he hadn't been told he'd done so. That long Saturday at Lincoln center made me hope these Taiwan Black Movies get thie due. I'm really interested to find out more about these films and to see them for myself. It just goes to show that even during the extended silences in Never Too Late to Repent, there are shouts that will not go unheard as long as there are people willing to pay attention. Taiwan Black Movies: 70 - GoodWoman Revenger: 70 - GoodNever Too Late to Repent: 70 - Good All three films watched together: 79 - Good
Black Movies Review photo
A Saturday triple-feature brought out the best in each Taiwanese film
Sometimes it's difficult for documentaries to convey all they hope to convey, especially when the documentary is about a film genre or a culture's film output. The filmmaker may have his or her own aims, for instance, and som...


David Lynch says state of film industry "depressing"

Prospects of making a new film may be low
Jun 25
// Hubert Vigilla
You can add David Lynch to the list of directors lamenting the current state of film. (Previously we've heard Steven Soderbergh deliver a state of cinema speech and Steven Spielberg and George Lucas suggest industry implosion...

Steven Soderbergh to rework/recut his film Kafka

"It’s not a tweak: it’s triage."
May 31
// Hubert Vigilla
I haven't seen Steven Soderbergh's Kafka (1991) in at least 15 years. I was in high school at the time and had just started reading Franz Kafka (like any lit geek of that age), and was intrigued by that Kafka movie on VH...

NYC: Old School Kung Fu Fest, April 19-21

Apr 08 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]215309:39921:0[/embed] OLD SCHOOL KUNG FU FEST PROGRAM SCHEDULE Lau Kar-wingTHE ODD COUPLE1979, 97 min, 35mm There are 18 different weapons in Chinese martial arts, and in this flick someone's gonna get stabbed with every single one of them. Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-wing play elderly martial arts masters who duel each year to decide whose technique is better, but they always end in a draw. Now they've each taken a student (also played by Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-wing) leaving it to the younger generation to duke it out. Problem: their students get kidnapped by an old enemy (played by the inimitable martial arts mimic, "Beardy" Leung Kar-yan). Solution: both masters team up to kick maximum butt with maximum weaponry. A face bomb of comedy kung fu as well as serious, old school action, it's the opening and closing movie of the Old School Kung Fu Fest because it is, quite simply, the alpha and omega of martial arts movies. Truly unbeatable. –Fri, April 19 at 6:15 and Sun, April 21 at 9:15.   Gordon LiuSHAOLIN AND WU-TANG1983, 89 min, 35mm The movie that inspired the Wu-Tang Clan's first album is a blast of hardcore, old school mayhem. Gordon Liu (bald-headed brother of Lau Kar-leung) was ticked off that the sequel to his landmark 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN was played for laughs, so he headed to Taiwan where he directed, choreographed, and starred in this "real" sequel. A brutally authentic ode to Shaolin Fist and Wu-Tang Sword, Liu plays a student of Shaolin, and his buddy, the charming Adam Cheng, is a student of Wu-Tang. Their masters refuse to teach the Manchu prince their moves, so the prince manipulates the two schools into combat, counting on killing the winner. Then: everybody fights! Shot with the scale and scope of a Shaw Brothers production, this movie is an avalanche of action with its stars unleashing the beast in scene after scene of blistering combat. –Fri, April 19 at 8:30 and Sat, April 20 at 2:00.   Law KeiTHE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN1977, 95 min, 35mm WARNING: Watching This Movie Will Destroy Your Brain!!!!! Four years after Bruce Lee died, everyone was cashing in on his legend with look-a-like films, but this is the most notorious Brucesploitation movie of them all. Bruce Lee is dead, but his adventures aren't over. He arrives in Hell where he must fight Dracula, Clint Eastwood, and the Godfather in order to come back to life. Fortunately, Popeye is there to lend a hand. Bruce Lee is played by Bruce Leung (KUNG FU HUSTLE) but even his genuine skills can't stop the madness. Beginning with the corpse of Bruce Lee getting an erection (Don't worry – it's just his nunchakus!) and ending with him flying away as the cast waves "Goodbye!" you cannot unsee this movie. You will laugh! You will cry! And you will scream as the spirit of Bruce Lee kicks his way out of your stupid skull! –Fri, April 19 at 10:30 and Sun, April 21 at 1:00.   Cheung Gin-gatSHAOLIN TEMPLE AGAINST LAMA1980, 85 min, 16mm. Print provided by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office New York. Taiwan's indie kung fu films eschewed slick sets and smooth camera movements to shoot on location with urgent handheld cameras wielded by operators who were constantly freaking out. In this flick, Tibet's evil Black Lamas (you know they're evil by the skulls in their hair) decide to wage war on Shaolin Temple while wearing costumes that would put Bootsy Collins to shame. The Lamas manipulate a righteous Tibetan prince to be their proxy face-breaker in a war with the hard-hitting Shaolin monks, and what ensues is a whirlwind of non-stop mayhem spiced with a whiff of funky incense. Never content to show two men fighting when it could show 20, this film is a psychedelic throwback to a time when kung fu movies were allowed to pull out all the stops and do absolutely anything as long as they kept your eyes glued to the screen. –Sat, April 20 at 4:00 and Sun, April 21 at 7:15.   Wai LitANGEL TERMINATORS1990, 91 min, 35mm B-movies always have to try harder, and this girls-with-guns flick gets an A++ for (intense) effort. Shot in 1990 but not released until two years later, it's an undiscovered grindhouse joyride full of bare-knuckled stars: Lau Kar-leung acolyte, Kara Hui; the "lady Jackie Chan" Sharon Yeung, whose career never caught fire; Japanese back-breaker, Michiko Nishiwaki; the sultry Carrie Ng; angry white boy, Mark Houghton; and everyone's favorite bad guy, Dick Wei. They all turn in blistering action work in this mile-a-minute rampage through exploitation heaven. Two lady cops and one gangster's ex-girlfriend endure drug addiction, theme park shoot-outs, having their heads shoved in toilets, kicks to the face, terrifying high impact falls, and major concussions to prove that women are 10 times better than men. No subtitled prints of this movie exist, so we're subtitling this one live in a twice-in-a-lifetime celebration of high caliber girl power. –Sat, April 20 at 6:00 and Sun, April 21 at 5:15.   SECRET SCREENING – ONE SHOW ONLY!!!! We can't tell you the title of this rarely-seen martial arts movie, but trust us: you want to see it on the big screen. In the early 80s, big studios were trying anything to attract audiences, so this flick mixes three genres and then adds plenty of crack: you've got your wandering swordsman movie, your gore film, and a sexploitation shocker. The result is a whacked-out, hyper-gothic version of "The Monkey's Paw", full of occult dungeons, human face frisbees, wild plot twists, swinging swordplay, and naked demon ladies having kung fu freak-outs. –Sat, April 20 at 8:00.   Titus HoRED SPELL SPELLS RED1983, 93 min, 35mm Career-minded Hong Kongers with no respect for tradition go to Borneo to shoot a TV segment and wind up violating the tomb of the Red Dwarf Sorcerer, who returns the favor by violating their bodies from beyond the grave with scorpions, killer trees, and even more scorpions. Scorpions attack! Scorpions get smashed! Scorpions crawl out of pustulent blisters! Never released on DVD, this unhinged rarity makes BOXER'S OMEN look like Walt Disney as it flings shovelfuls of objectionable content in your face, from busty women in see-through t-shirts, to the slaughter of a LOT of real pigs, to a slew of outrageously nasty deaths. Technically it's not an action film, but there's no way we could not show this gore-soaked hayride! Truly dangerous movies make you doubt the sanity of the people who made them. In RED SPELL SPELLS RED there is no doubt: these filmmakers are insane. –Sat, April 20 at 10:00 and Sun, April 21 at 3:15.
Check out Gordon Liu, Lau Kar-wing, and a secret screening at Anthology Film Archives
If you live in New York and are a fan of old school kung fu movies, you need to head to Anthology Film Archives next weekend. From April 19-21, the team behind the New York Asian Film Festival is putting on the Old School Kun...

Nobuhiko Obayashi's cult classic is playing at The IFC Center this weekend
Nobuhiko Obayashi's Hausu (House) is one of the best cult movies ever made. Strike that. It's one of the best movies ever made. If you live in New York, you have two chances to see it this week. The IFC Center is doing midni...

NYC: See Miami Connection for free on April 12th

Mar 29 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]215189:39887:0[/embed] Wasted Cinema Presents: Miami ConnectionFriday April 12, 7:00PMLegends6 W. 33rd Street
Partake in the Citizen Kane of Florida-based taekwondo movies
Rediscovered by Drafthouse Films, Miami Connection is the kitschy action gift that keeps on giving: the best VHS action movie you never rented at the videostore when you were a kid. I mentioned in my review that the ideal way...

SXSW Review: I Am Divine

Mar 18 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]215117:39806:0[/embed] I Am DivineDirector: Jeffrey SchwarzRating: NRRelease Date: TBD Going into I Am Divine, I was a little familiar with Milstead's life. Some of it's covered in the documentary Divine Trash, and I'd read profiles on John Waters that inevitably have to mention Divine as well. But Divine was generally the secondary focus of those even if he was an (or the) essential player in Dreamland Productions, the crew of outsiders and misfits who appeared in many Waters films. In addition to Divine, this merry band of outlaws included Mink Stole, Edith Massey, David Lochary, Cookie Mueller, and Mary Vivian Pearce. What's clear about Dreamland in this documentary is that it became Divine's family during his later teenage years and much of his adult life. After meeting Waters and building a posse of rowdy friends, Milstead went from a chubby boy with a sweet girlfriend to a shoplifting gay juvenile delinquent who dressed in drag. It's like all those moralizing anti-drug, anti-misdeed melodramas of the 1950s (the sorts of things that Dreamland drew on for inspiration) come to life: My Son Wears Hosiery, My Boy is a Man Lover, The Return of Reefer Madness, The Unholy Terror of the Fast Crowd. My own camp take on this shouldn't downplay the real-life sadness of what happened. When Milstead came out to his family, it caused a rift between him and his parents. He left home in the late 1960s, which was the last time he'd see of them for many years. In this portrait of Milstead's life, Scwarz is able to also explore the difficulties of being gay during a less open and accepting era. Waters, who's one of the many interviewees in the film, notes that there was an underground gay scene in Baltimore at the time, but nothing anyone talked about in the open. In proper Waters fashion, he adds with a smile that the underground gay scene was more fun. We progress chronologically through Divine's life, taking little hops into the Waters movies that made him an unforgettable cult figure. What's surprising is that for all the flamboyance, Milstead's eventual christening as Divine was low key, but then again, the name was so perfectly ironic and yet true that there was no need for ceremony -- of course Milstead was Divine, and he couldn't be otherwise. The eventual look of Divinity evolved from film to film, eventually reaching iconic status on Pink Flamingos via makeup artist Van Smith. What's interesting for me as someone who knew only the basics about Divine is to see how much of a celeb and icon he became in his own time. I'd always assumed he was just a cult misfit, but he was really a cult misfit out in the mainstream. Catapulted by the sensation of those Waters films, Divine found work in underground theater and achieved a genuine kind of cult stardom in San Francisco and New York. It led to lovers galore and lots of hobnobbing with the likes of Andy Warhol and the art/music crowd of the time. Then came the stand-up comedy (think Don Rickles dressed like Carol Channing) and even music. (Though I guess the same thing happened to Edith Massey on a smaller scale. She was great too, but not divine.) Yet Schwarz also takes time to consider Milstead's unhappiness with being typecast as Divine and the expectations of being a persona. It's that odd way that a persona can bring you acclaim but also define you too much if you aren't careful. Think David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, maybe -- he was Ziggy on stage and Ziggy was a piece of him, but he was always David Bowie (or, you know, David Jones). The same goes for Milstead. Divine was a character; an expression and extension of Milstead's personality, obviously, but still just a character. What Milstead wanted was to be recognized as Milstead, and what makes I Am Divine successful is that it achieves this with love and compassion. Beyond the makeup, beyond the clothes, and beyond the assumptions you can make about a 300 lbs. drag queen who loved to eat, I Am Divine is a movie about friends and family. Other surviving Dreamlanders make appearances and reminisce about the good times with Milstead. A few stage co-stars and modern drag performers speak admiringly about Divine's presence. Milstead's own mother is in the film as well, and it's fascinating to see her talk about her son. There's regret in her voice and her face about how a few things went down, but there's also a deep affection. All this from hanging out with the right people. I've seen two other misfit love stories at SXSW this year -- Everyone's Going to Die and Upstream Color. In a way, I Am Divine makes the third. It's a different kind of love, maybe. Whereas the other two were about the redemptive power of romance, I Am Divine is more about how the love and support of friends can bring out what's best in you. It was Waters who gave Milstead the nickname Divine; it was Milstead who lived up to the moniker.
I Am Divine Review photo
A portrait of the artist as a man in drag
[From March 9th - 17th, Flixist will be providing coverage from South by Southwest 2013 in Austin, TX. Prepare yourselves for reviews, interviews, features, photos, videos, and all types of shenanigans!] I don't think John Wa...

David Lynch goes "typically dark" on new script
It's been seven years since Inland Empire, David Lynch's last feature-length film. Since then, Lynch has been doing short films, branding coffee, painting, making guest appearances on TV shows, and doing transcendental medita...

The Cult Club: El Mariachi (1992)

Feb 11 // Nick Valdez
Now I'm now the most aware "cult movie" guy, so I'm not really sure what qualifies a film as a "cult" film. As far as I've known, a film achieves cult status when it turns out to be really good, but is widely ignored for some reason or another. Whether or not that definition holds true, it's what I'm going to reference with Mariachi. Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi is a Western film through and through. It just happens to have a few Mexican herbs and spices. It starts off with a man with no name, simply referred to as "Mariachi" (Carlos Gallardo, who has sadly become a member of "I'm here too you guys!" club) who wanders into the small town of Acuña, Mexico and quickly finds himself caught inbetween a rivalry between a drug lord, Moco (which hilariously translates to "Booger" in English), and Azul, the hitman with a guitar case full of weapons. With that synopsis, the film should sound familiar. Guitar case full of weapons? Where else has that happened?  If you're unaware of El Mariachi, you might at least know its spiritual successors Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Those two feature the same Mariachi character, but greatly differ from the original film. For one, the Mariachi is played by Antonio Banderas (probably because money), and the tones for the two films greatly emphasized absurdity over Mariachi's mysterious, subdued characterization. And it's important to note that before Rodriguez became obsessed with fantastical levels of gore and camp (leading to lines like, "Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can't?"), he wanted to tell a great story with as much heart as possible. It's like Mariachi's low budget forced it to get the greatest return from as little investment as possible.  El Mariachi is deceptively simple, with its simplicity ultimately becoming its greatest asset. To once again get back to the "Western" thing, no one in the story has a last name or "true" name. Each character, from Mariachi to his love interest Domino, has a nickname that's meant to give them the tabula rasa characterization. This works most of the time (someone like "Domino" could have both a light and dark side), but ultimately serves a greater purpose. To be a truly great legend and form a mythic hero, a story that bypasses concrete definitions in any media, you have to be able to retell it. It's much more interesting to say "some Mariachi came in and shot some dudes" than "Fred shot some dudes." Now which one of the two sounds like a better story? The one with the mariachi (and if you answered with "Fred's" I hate you).  Beyond the names, the film evokes a Western image. Nameless man with a single characteristic (the Mariachi/the Cowboy/the Fastest Gun in the West) wanders into a town run by a single corrupt White man (which is odd in a Mexican inspired film, but says a lot when the White man's abuse of the Spanish language is far more noticeable than it should be), is mistaken for another due to his visual characteristics (there is a mix-up when "a man in black" is all the bad guys define him by), and then leaves the town at the end of the film as both the town and the hero change in its wake. And most of all, the Mariachi himself is a genuine badass.  As I've mentioned earlier, El Mariachi helped re-inspire me. It's ultimately what set me on my academic path. El Mariachi is a traditional hero's journey though and through. But the difference is that it's not an average man who becomes a hero, it's the hero who becomes a myth. Even though the Mariachi equates himself to a turtle in the beginning of the story, he possesses certain skills. Despite fighting for his life in a haphazard fashion, he manages to kill four of Moco's men. He demonstrates a hero's skill, and since we know so little about him (and because of the initial confusion that likened him to the hitman Azul), there's no true way to define him one way or the other. When he finally drives off into the sunset, with  nothing but a bulldog, the memory of his love, and his guitar to keep him company, he becomes a legend.  El Mariachi's hero's journey, and it's deceptively simple mythic quality, motivated my once dead dream. I wanted to tell a story just like this. I wanted a character that could inspire others, I wanted to use a low budget to my advantage, I wanted to make a film that isn't an embarrassment to Mexican culture, and I wanted my own El Mariachi.  It's a shame that no one else did.  Next Month... Are you a marijuano? Do you like to partake in the occasional herb brownie every now and then? Alec Kubas-Meyer tells you why that's a bad idea with Reefer Madness (1936). PREVIOUSLY SHOWING AT THE CULT CLUB January: Six-String Samurai (1998) December: The Warriors (1979) November: Funky Forest: First Contact (2005) October: Casino Royale (1967) September: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
The Cult Club photo
"Lo que quería era solamente ser un mariachi como mis antepasados..."
[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pa...

Review: Wake in Fright

Jan 15 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]214236:39481[/embed] Wake in FrightDirector: Ted KotcheffRated: RRelease Date: October 9, 1971 (original release); October 5, 2012 (US re-release); January 15, 2013 (DVD, Blu-ray release)Country: Australia In last week's Cult Club piece on Six-String Samurai I quoted the following line from Douglas Sirk: "There is a very short distance between high art and trash, and trash that contains the element of craziness is by this very quality nearer to art." While it may seem lazy to re-use the quote, it just so happens that Wake in Fright is another film in which the craziness elevates the content and calls attention to its power. Psychological horror movies share a lot with melodrama since both are about heightening the inner emotional world of a person so that it hits harder on screen. Since we're dealing with a man's private hell, what we get is the darkest, ugliest stuff in a dark and lonely heart. It all happens in an Australian shithole called Bundanyabba, a place the locals in the film call "the Yabba." And yet maybe it's not quite the shithole it seems since the film is told from John Grant's point of view. Played by Gary Bond (who looks like a young Peter O'Toole), John is a self-righteous, haughty jerk who looks down on everyone whether they deserve it or not because he's bitter. He's bonded by the Australian government to teach middle schoolers in a podunk town. At one point he jokes about being a slave rather than an educator. Still, John carries himself with air of a major intellectual. He talks up his education and quotes love poetry in a nauseating, self-fellating way to chat up a woman. With class dismissed for Christmas break, John stays in the Yabba en route to Sydney. Everyone around him is a roughneck and an oaf, and it's heightened by a key detail in John's wardrobe: he's wearing a safari jacket. He doesn't think he's in a small town, he thinks he's surrounded by dumb savages and dumber animals. Things start to go wrong that first night in the Yabba when the local sheriff buys round after round of drinks for John. Then there's a bit of gambling involving coin flips. What was supposed to be one night in the Yabba becomes many, each spent spiraling lower and lower with the beasts around him. During this lengthy fall, kangaroos are slaughtered, values are devalued (as John might put it when sober), days are wasted in squalor, and there's rough housing to put the rednecks in Gummo to shame. Fueling this descent is a reckless, bottomless pour of alcohol, and all of it given to John by the good folk of the Yabba. What seems like hospitality uncovers a deeper wretchedness in the town and its people. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Kenneth Cook, one thing that makes Wake in Fright work so well is what it reveals and doesn't reveal about our hero John. We learn very little about his life, but we get enough hints to keep us guessing -- a few glimpses of skin, but mostly shadows and outlines; the enticement of backstory without the whole thing. He mentions that he has a girlfriend who lives in Sydney who we only see in old photos and in a single flashback, but that's it. (This flashback of John's girlfriend is the only sensual moment in the entire film. Anything else resembling a love scene is unerotic.) Maybe their relationship ended? Maybe it's on the rocks? We know John wants to leave Australia if he could just get out of his teaching gig, but there's no greater sense of purpose. He's a prisoner who wants out who's now a prisoner of the Yabba, which may or may not be some manifestation of his deeper anxieties. Which is where, I think, Tydon (Donald Pleasence) comes in. Tydon was a doctor, an intellectual just like John thinks he is, but now he's just one of the Yabba's many comfortable alcoholics. In between his moments of insight -- Tydon's first line, an assessment of the Yabba, is "All the little devils are very proud of hell," of which he is one of them -- are moments of creepy abandon. Pleasence is a subtle force of evil in this movie. His eyes have something scheming in them, and the way Kotcheff pieces his film together, there are many moments of uncanny dread that come just from one of Tydon's little looks. It adds a sense that everyone in the Yabba knows what's really going on. (The paranoia also creeps in from some cultish behavior, setting the unhinged, uneasy tone of the film.) Pleasance's performance reminds me what a brilliant and horribly underappreciated actor he was. This isn't to sell Bond's performance short, since he's more than just a young O'Toole lookalike. As John gives in to his urges, Bond's performance zigs into elation and zags back into revulsion. There are urgent questions loaded into Bond's expression and carriage: "What am I doing? Why do I like doing this? Why can't I stop? What is wrong with me?" There's a kind of dark comedy underlying all the darkness, I think, which comes through in Bond's performance as well as many other touches that rest of the cast adds. But it's comedy that's pitch black, the sort of stuff that may make you ask "Why am I laughing at this? What is wrong with me?" One of the more controversial aspects of Wake in Fright involves actual kangaroos getting maimed and killed on camera. Kotcheff and his crew weren't responsible for the brutality themselves. They instead filmed hunters in the act of killing as a means of highlighting real-life cruelties in the bush. It's effective in an unpleasant, visceral way, maybe even an unnecessary one. How much uglier can it get? Uglier still than this dose of mondo carnage. The kind of real-life cruelty Kotcheff caught on film might be too much for some people to take. (According to Wikipedia, there were at least a dozen walkouts when Wake in Fright played a special retrospective screening at Cannes in 2009; the film debuted at Cannes to rave reviews back in 1971.) I don't know if Kotcheff is able to make the ugliness of the film's private hell match the ugliness of real-life cruelty, but he does manage to make the movie all-ugly in the best possible way: at a deeply personal level, and a deeply affecting one. This is a melodrama of the grotesque. Though difficult to watch, I actually want to watch Wake in Fright again just to see how the movie deepens and intensifies. Some nightmares can be worth revisiting, as long as they're someone else's, and as long as they're as riveting as this film.
Wake in Fright photo
On holiday in a private hell -- go on, have a drink, mate
I've always wanted to delve deeper into the world of Ozploitation movies (exploitation films from Australia). I have a major fondness for Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Turkey Shoot (aka Escape 2000), and Razorback, and my intere...


Sol Yurick, writer of “The Warriors” novel, dies at 87

Can you dig it?
Jan 11
// Logan Otremba
Sol Yurick passed away last Saturday in Manhattan at the age of 87. According to his daughter, the cause was complications of lung cancer. Before he wrote “The Warriors,” he worked as a social investigator with th...

The Cult Club: Six-String Samurai (1998)

Jan 11 // Hubert Vigilla
There is a very short distance between high art and trash, and trash that contains the element of craziness is by this very quality nearer to art. -- Douglas Sirk Douglas Sirk was referring to melodrama when he said that, but I think the same holds true for cult movies, and even a lot of postmodern art and writing. Whether it's the childlike anarchy of Nobuhiko Obayashi's House (Hausu) or the surreal Mexico City of the mind in Alejandro Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre, the crazy elements are essential to the art of the cult movie -- sometimes the cult movie is an argument for the art of craziness. So many cult films are set apart by their willingness to do what many other films are unable or unwilling to do, and in this excess and exploitation is a kind of ecstasy. In Six-String Samurai, it's all about bringing things together into sort of Mulligan stew version of alternative history. (A Mulligan stew is something hobos used to make, basically throwing whatever they could into the pot for flavor: beans, chicken, vegetables, boots. It's a crazy concoction, like the childhood potions I used to make out of whatever was in the refrigerator.) Alternate history stories ask an essential question, and I think there are two in Six-String Samurai. The first: what if the Soviet Union used nukes on the United States in the late 1950s? The second: what if Buddy Holly didn't die with The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens and then became a supreme stoic badass in the style of Ogami Itto and Mad Max? Though it's never explicitly stated this is Buddy Holly we're watching in the wastelands of America, the glasses and the clothes heavily imply it. For a long time I wondered where his Stratocaster went since he's carrying a semi-hollow in the wasteland. Now I just assume he traded in his Strat for a katana after the bomb fell because it would be more useful; the hollow body he must have taken from the bucko who broke his glasses. In the world of Six-String Samurai, the last bit of proper civilization is Las Vegas, renamed Lost Vegas after the nuke. Elvis, that former King of Rock and Roll, has died and left the throne empty. Buddy (Jeffrey Falcon) is en route to Vegas to claim his destiny, but he winds up having to care for a recently orphaned boy simply known as The Kid (Justin McGuire). The Kid is mostly inarticulate, which I assume is partly out of PTSD from seeing his parents killed and partly out of affectation since it's a kooky conceit. On Buddy's trail is Death himself, less like Bengt Ekerot's Grim Reaper from The Seventh Seal and more like Slash from GNR. I wonder if Death's already taken out Valens and The Bopper; I hope Jerry Lee Lewis gave that son of a bitch hell; I dream that Roy Orbison fought like Zatoichi until the bitter end. Written and directed by Lance Mungia, Six-String Samurai is a hodgepodge of Americana merged with post-apocalyptic ideas. You have a bit of narration provided by Wolfman Jack (or at least someone who sounds a lot like him), there are weirdos in astronaut suits, a cannibalistic nuclear family, the coonskin cap is a holdover from the Davy Crockett craze, there are bowling team buddies who no one messes with. But on top of these quintessentially American things are little touches of internationalism that were en vogue for cineastes who came of age in the 80s and 90s, the era of home video, cable movie shows, rising interest in cult entertainment, niche film clubs, etc. There's obviously a lot owed to Lone Wolf and Cub and the Mad Max movies, but the added flair comes from the surf rock soundtrack by The Red Elvises -- think Dick Dale hanging ten on the Volga -- and the martial arts choreography by Falcon himself. Falcon had played bit parts in Hong Kong movies (most notably some films with Cynthia Rothrock), and Buddy's fights are done with the style of a Hong Kong flick of that decade. This blend of everything is an example of that time capsule and time machine aspect to Six String-Samurai. This is the epitome of the 1950s frozen in a state of peachy keen fashion and Cleaver family values following the explosion of a bomb, but it's also tying in heavy metal, a music genre that wouldn't have reached its fetal state without the 1960s. There's a meta level to all this as well since the movie is so much an object of its decade while reflecting a warped version of decades past: Six-String Samurai has all the flash of 90s indie filmmaking (think Robert Rodriguez) as well as the referentialism (think Quentin Tarantino, who would make his own Mulligan stew with Kill Bill). In a sense, post-apocalyptic films are all a little bit fantastical in a strange way even if they technically have science fiction roots. Each story opens with an implicit, "Once upon a time after the world ended..." It sounds like a post-apocalypic Spaghetti western waiting to be made. We're asked to fix a time given the surviving artifacts and bits of culture that we're shown, but we're also asked that the storytellers be given some wiggle room since they're using whatever pieces of culture they want to present a world that comes after the one we know. Maybe in addition to being time machines and time capsules, post-apocalyptic movies are like assemblage works of art: you take a bunch of junk and refuse and put them together in an interesting way, like Robert Rauscheberg or a Joseph Cornell. (Mulligan stew at MoMA.) In this case, the Cornell box contains Buddy Holly, samurais, and loads of visual style to keep things moving. Or, given the crazed, childlike quality of the storytelling, maybe it's like destroying the world and peopling it with your favorite action figures. Everything about Six-String Samurai feels like a hyperactive kid's weekend spent in the sandbox. (I still think if they ever made a sequel or spiritual sequel to Six-String Samurai, it would have to star the noisy Japanese punk band Guitar Wolf; it would also have to be a post-apocalyptic western as part of some American/Japanese cult movie exchange program. Maybe they can call it Once Upon a Time After the World Ended.) But in addition to the action and the bizarre assemblage of 1950s stuff and 1990s stuff -- the movie seems like it'd be king of the Island of Misfit Toys if it was an action figure -- what makes Six-String Samurai so enjoyable is the handful of quotable lines, which have needled their way into my brain since I first watched the movie on VHS. Knowing the context or not, there's just something hilarious about the line, "Only one man can kill this many Russians"; ditto the flatout goofiness of, "Nice tuxedo. Nice tuxedo to die in!" My own personal favorite: Mesh-Head: If I were you, I would run. Buddy: If you were me, you'd be good-lookin'. That's as smooth as the action on Buddy's semi-hollow. Ever since seeing Six-String Samurai, I've been waiting for a moment to say that line. It hasn't happened yet. Six String-Samurai seemed forgotten for so long even though there's so much craziness that makes it memorable. It was a festival darling of the 1990s, a peculiar indie oddity in a decade full of them, but for a while it felt like I was the only person I knew who saw it, dug it, and pushed it on friends. (When I was in college, I once heard a film studies professor champion the movie after class. In that warped way that litmus test movies work, this incident made her seem 20 times hotter even though she was really attractive to begin with.)  I was happy to hear about the nod to the film in Fallout: New Vegas, that's damn snappy, but I wasn't all too pleased with the less-than-happy fate of Mungia's and Falcon's film careers. Six-String Samurai had a budget of $2 million, and despite the buzz it got from lots of online reviews, the movie was a total bomb at the box office. Mungia has only one other feature to his name: the 2005 direct-to-video sequel The Crow: Wicked Prayer. I haven't watched it, but I was contemplating seeing it prior to writing this piece. I just ran out of time, unfortunately. Maybe it's for the best given its reception. The Crow: Wicked Prayer currently holds a 2.8 on IMDb, and I doubt it's done with the same goofy glee as Six-String Samurai. For Falcon, Six-String Samurai was his final film credit. Accounts online say he started living in China after the film, though his last known whereabouts as of 2005 was working at an airport in Los Angeles. It's a little sad what happens after the end of the world, at least in actual history. In an alternate history of our world, I'd like to imagine Mungia got to do a few more crazed bits of assemblage, and Falcon got to be a decent cult star. But in actual history, I think they can both be legitimately happy, even with the box office drubbing. Six-String Samurai still has its devotees; it survived the box office apocalypse. Like Hunter Thompson said of Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (another bomb): There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die. That's my Buddy. Hail! Hail! Rock and roll! [embed]214031:39440[/embed] Next Month... You boys like Mexico?! That's where Nick Valdez is taking you for El Mariachi (1992). PREVIOUSLY SHOWING AT THE CULT CLUB December: The Warriors (1979) November: Funky Forest: First Contact (2005) October: Casino Royale (1967) September: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) August: Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002)
The Cult Club photo
If you were me, you'd be good lookin'
[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pa...


New: V for Vendetta print, Beyond the Black Rainbow VHS

Jan 10
// Liz Rugg
It may not be the 5th of November, but whatever. Today, at a random time, Mondo will be releasing this V for Vendetta screenprint by artist César Moreno. Watch Mondo's twitter account for notification of when it will g...

New Spring Breakers posters & images have ample bikinis

Oh, and other stuff too, I guess
Jan 08
// Liz Rugg
There are essentially two things that make Spring Breakers look remotely interesting to me. One is that it is being made by polarizing independent director Harmony Korine, whose taste for trashy spectacles appears to be evide...

Mondo releases prints from We Buy Your Kids

Dec 11
// Liz Rugg
Mondo's last gallery show of 2012 is titled Tina's Mom's Boyfriend and it features movie posters created by Australian graphic design duo We Buy Your Kids. These prints all debuted at the gallery show in Austin, Texas, but to...
The Japanese filmmaker behind Hausu is in New York for retrospective screenings
Japanese filmmaker Obayashi Nobuhiko is in New York this week, making a rare appearance overseas. Obayashi is the man behind the incredible 1977 film House (Hausu), which Alec wrote about for The Cult Club a couple months ago...


Book: Silhouettes from Popular Culture by Olly Moss

Nov 26
// Liz Rugg
If you missed our coverage of Gallery 1988's fine art show Papercuts - by Olly Moss last year, you missed out on a very special show. The reverberations of which have been echoing and amplifying in the time since, not only fo...

The Cult Club: Funky Forest: First Contact (2005)

Nov 13 // Jenika Katz
[embed]213637:39119[/embed] Funky Forest is so incoherent that, when asked what it's about, it's easier just to describe a scene than give a basic plot outline. The movie is a series of vignettes using the same actors that sometimes are and sometimes aren't the same characters they acted as previously. The scattered bits of story are mostly linear, but intertwine with each other so gently that it feels like a surprise when one character knows another. One story line follows the pseudo-romance of Takefumi and Notti, a student and her former teacher that are kind of dating, but not really. Takefumi would like to date her seriously, but Notti is reluctant to admit her true feelings to him and get in too deep. In case that sounds a little too normal for this movie, Takefumi has two uvulas and believes he was abducted by aliens, and both express their feelings through elaborate dreamworld dance sequences. Another branch follows the Unpopular With Women Brothers. Masaru, known as Guitar Brother, pops up the most often. He is either an anime artist or a high school gym teacher, perhaps both, and he plays the guitar very poorly. There's Katsuichi, the traditional Japanese brother who loves kabuki and hot springs. Their younger brother, Masao, is a fat white child who only learned enough Japanese to awkardly stumble over his few lines, and he is constantly shoving a Snickers bar in his face. The connection between stories is faint, and seems almost coincidental. One section entitled Babbling Hot Springs Vixens, which focuses on three very talkative saleswomen in a hotel telling each other stories, shows the women running into Traditional Brother, mentioning offhand that they are friends with Takefumi, and bringing up a fictional tale about an alien named Piko-riko that comes up in a later, completely separate section. The women never show up outside of their segment, but they seem to know everyone. One of them also looks a bit like Japanese Aubrey Plaza. It's hard to say anything cohesive about Funky Forest without just giving a blow-by-blow of each scene. Many scenes feel like a collection of events happening with no apparent reason, and even careful analysis of each scene and the order they fall into does not yield any more answers about an overall theme. Perhaps there is a connection between a comedy duo that nods to the Three Stooges and school children playing sexualized alien instruments, and it's just too difficult to read. There's something happening at every moment, and it is usually incredibly bizarre. Even the more normal sections of the movie are shot or edited in a way that inspires an entrancing sort of discomfort. Disconnected, intentionally messy edits with long sections devoid of any audio or video mingle with long still shots of a character doing something incredibly banal. There's always the anticipation that the whole scene is about to explode, and when that expectation is not met, it somehow becomes worse. Funky Forest is not a musical, but the prevalence of song and dance numbers heavily toes the line. The dance numbers themselves feel less bizarre than the rest of the movie, perhaps because choreographed dance has a way of taking the reality out of a scene on its own, but one involves a character dancing with an animated titty monster so it's not like it becomes momentarily sane. The music itself is catchy, ranging from heavy guitars and screaming to soothing electronic with elephant noises. If you're interested in experiencing the absurdist roller coaster that is Funky Forest, the movie is available online, but it's really worth getting on DVD. It's best experienced when sober. The movie is a two-and-a-half hour drug trip on its own, and you really shouldn't cross-haze with this one. Seriously. You'll go insane. Next month: The Cult Club expands when Sean Walsh asks The Warriors to come out and play! PREVIOUSLY SHOWING AT THE CULT CLUB October: Casino Royale (1967) September: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) August: Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002) July: Batman (1966) June: Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) May: The Apple (1980) April: Santa Sangre (1989)
One of Japan's finest instances of insanity.
[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the...

Miami Connection action figures sadly aren't real

Nov 12 // Hubert Vigilla
"You Don't Scare Me At All" [embed]213621:39110:0[/embed] Berserker Rage [embed]213621:39111:0[/embed] "Friends Forever" by Dragon Sound [embed]213621:39112:0[/embed]
Give me the letter!
Miami Connection (the Citizen Kane of Florida-based taekwondo movies) continues to open in theaters across the country this month, leaving destruction and joy in its wake. The people over at Drafthouse Films decided to create...

Review: Miami Connection

Nov 02 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]213368:39064[/embed] Miami ConnectionDirector: Y.K. Kim, Woo-sang ParkRating: NRRelease Date: November 2nd, 2012 (limited; additional limited engagements throughout November) Miami Connection is the perfect videostore rental that you never rented. In fact, the film's poster art by François Simard perfectly recreates the look of a VHS box, and the film's co-director, Woo-sang Park, was responsible for Ninja Turf (aka LA Steetfighters/Los Angeles Streetfighter), another enjoyable bit of VHS fodder. Miami Connection would be there waiting for you, dusty on the shelf, sandwiched between Megaforce and Missing in Action. You'd want to rent American Ninja or Gymkata again, but you'd know, deep in your heart, that there might have been something bananas about Miami Connection. I wonder if back in the late 80s a handful of people saw Miami Connection and got hooked by the kooky fun; I wonder if people who hated Miami Connection then (again, just a handful) get it now. Miami Connection is the kind of movie I'd watch with friends in high school, and then subject college friends to while splitting carne asada fries and some Tecate. An arm gets cut off and a head gets sliced up and you laugh along with it. Then on comes Dragon Sound, a multiracial 80s band comprised of orphans with a female lead singer. (For this number, she's just playing back-up hand claps.) Behold: a vision of unity, harmony, family, and progress straight out of 1987 and rediscovered in the future. Their songs are about staying friends through thick and thin. There's hexagonal electric drums, a vocalist/lead guitarist who looks like John Oates's younger brother, and Grandmaster Y.K Kim plays an electric guitar like he's never seen one before. This, by the way, is just the first 10 minutes. The movie centers on the members of Dragon Sound and their clash against local thugs, some of whom happen to be biker ninjas. The band's sole female member and recent addition, Jane (Kathy Collier), has the hots for bandmate John (Vincent Hirsch). Unfortunately, Jane's brother (William Eagle) is a bad guy (but not a ninja). You can tell by his evil beard, his studded leather bracelet, his crossed arms, and general bad guyness. This means trouble for Dragon Sound. While this drama unfolds, keyboardist Jim (Maurice Smith) tries to learn more about his estranged dad. It leads to one of the most memorable, quotable, kitschy moments in a film full of memorable, quotable, kitschy moments. "My mother was Korean," Jim squeaks and sobs. "And my father was black American." He's shirtless, with a towel draped over his shoulder, his jeans unbuttoned and unzipped to reveal his briefs. While Jim steps forward to the apron of some invisible stage, the rest of Dragon Sound looks on frozen. I think they're a little confused, too. The audience feels the same. "What's going on? Who knows, I can't stop watching." Miami Connection's got it all: new wave and cocaine and martial arts and bikers and ninjas. Sure, it's aged badly, but in an interesting way -- the only way anyone can hope to age. Hell, if you're going to get old, you might as well do it right! The fashion, the hair, and the music give Miami Connection a kind of charm that you can't manufacture. People try, but they do it ironically, and irony means the death of sincerity. The secret of Miami Connection is this: the movie only works because it's totally sincere. Same goes for a movie like The Room or Troll 2. Material like that is all so earnest, so much so that you can't possibly hate it (at least if you're into movies that are so bad they're entertaining). The action scenes are energetic and occasionally bloody. They're not as intricate as something from Hong Kong or as over the top as something from The Cannon Group (or Hong Kong). Think of the action in Miami Connection as the serviceable brand of butt-kicking found on other VHS treasures: meat, potatoes, and jump kicks. Grandmaster Kim is a 9th degree black belt in taekwondo, and Dragon Sound is comprised of his real-life students. None of them are slouches and they can all sell a punch. Apart from Kim, Hirsch and Joe Diamand (who plays Jack the drummer) are the standouts of the group, Hirsch especially. The climactic final fight is full of unbridled rage. People tear their shirts off and growl while lopping off limbs. And yet there's still room in the film for a martial arts demonstration and talk of a Dragon Sound world tour built on brotherhood and, of course, taekwondo (it's a way of life). Grandmaster Kim shot some additional material and fight scenes on his own in order to sell the picture, which is what put him in a tough spot financially. You can sort of tell which scenes are Park's and which ones are Kim's, but it just adds to the zany appeal of the movie -- mismatched socks that still sort of go together. The version of Miami Connection that's coming out through Drafthouse Films is the US cut with Kim's additions. Park had delivered a different cut to South Korea, with a different ending. I don't know if a copy of Korean Miami Connection exists anywhere, but somewhere, perhaps stashed away in a vault, there could be someone with more hidden treasure. Maybe it's around, but on VHS. Legends can still be made. I want to believe. Like other cult movies, it's hard for me to score Miami Connection. Cult films exist in a place beyond math, and Miami Connection is both great and not good at the same time. (Schrödinger's movie review?) All I can say is that for the full effect, Miami Connection is best seen with a group of people. Check it out at midnight in a theater, pop it into a DVD player with some friends. Whatever you do, see it with others and become your own Dragon Sound. Like the band, we are all orphans, but it's music, taekwondo, and Miami Connection that brings people, all people, together.
Miami Connection Review photo
The Citizen Kane of Florida-based taekwondo movies
Intentionally making a cult classic is difficult. Most cult classics need to be created without irony and then discovered in the wild, usually years after they were first made. In the case of Miami Connection, the movie was r...

Flixclusive Interview: Director Grandmaster Y.K. Kim

Nov 01 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]211149:38559:0[/embed] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: So what is your nationality? Filipino. Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: Ah, Filipino. Asian. Very. [laughs] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: [laughs] So how was the screening for you last night? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: I was shocked. That was fantastic! Oh, that was really good. When Miami Connection was released the first time around the reaction probably wasn't anywhere near as enthusiastic, I'd imagine. Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: I was much less overwhelmed when I watched this movie 25 years ago. [Editor's note: Recording was a bit muffled here, so this is an approximation of what was said based on context and memory.] Last night was just crazy, from beginning to finish. They're laughing, screaming, and claps, things like that. How did Drafthouse Films contact you about the re-release of Miami Connection? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: I don't why. The last two years, TV stations and the media, they called and wanted to have interviews with me. I refused because I didn't want to be involved, because I was too busy in my business. But this guy [at Drafthouse Films] continued [to contact me] and it lasted for six months! That means it's something real, so we responded. I asked them, "Hey, why do you want to buy this garbage?" They were shocked! [They said,] "What do you mean by garbage?!" They had a test market, you know. I mean people were crazy. Between the 1980s and 2011 [when they contacted me], it's a big difference. So they wanted to have [the film]. Even when I came to New York this time, I asked them again, "Why?! Why do you want this?" Last night, I could tell why they chose this film. The public response was just unbelievable, remarkable, tremendous! And many, many people asked me if I'm going to make Miami Connection 2 right away. That was actually one of my questions. I'll save that one for later. But can you talk about where the story for Miami Connection came from? [Editor's note: I asked Joe Diamand to sit with Grandmaster Kim in case he had anything to add.] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: I don't have to impress you or show off, but I think it will help. I am the most successful martial arts business leader in the US, and perhaps world. I went to Korea, and I was on a very, very popular talk show. They treat me like a hero, you know? And action film director [Richard Park], he watched that show. And he flew down to where I live in Central Florida -- in Orlando -- and he asked me, "Would you like to make a movie with us?" So I said sure, because I wanted to promote martial arts on the big screen, like Bruce Lee and what he did and Chuck Norris and what he did. That was the beginning. Can you talk about the development of the screenplay? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: It was so funny. We didn't have a script. Storylines -- we developed from the storylines. First I said yes and announced it publicly. That was so strange. And when I said, "We are producing Miami Connection," I thought that Central Florida as a community would support me. But it was the opposite! Every single person -- all my friends and community leaders and media friends -- they came up to me [and said] don't do it. "You are a martial arts expert. You are not a movie maker." So, I was shocked! But I already I decided, my determination was so strong, so I started it. When I started-- Before [the move] I was 100% right because I was very successful. But this time, they were right. Physically, mentally, and financially, I was totally dried out. Exhausted. So next thing, how to handle bankruptcy. So I had to sit down and asked myself, "What should I do?" That moment, my heart told me, "Hey, Y.K. Kim, you do not have that specific work 'bankruptcy' in your dictionary or in your life." So I stand up. I was faced with tremendous obstacles and I overcame them and I finished this film. I heard that the original cut of Miami Connection was considerably different and you weren't pleased with it. Could you explain what you didn't care for? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: Yeah, because Richard Park, the director -- he's a real great director -- and me had a partnership. Fifty-fifty, whatever. He had responsibility for Korea, he will promote, he will show. My responsibility was USA and world. So, after he finished the movie, he took the film and he left. So I went to Hollywood, major studios to small studios, to show them. Not even one studio said yes. Everybody said, "This is garbage, just throw it away, don't waste your time!" But I had hope, so I to the Cannes Film Festival, and we screened over there. Nobody wants.  But one guy from Manson International, a senior vice president, we had a couple of drinks, and he said, "Hey, I think there's one chance: if you reshoot and change it." So I come back [to Florida], but I didn't know what directing means! So, first I bought books: how to produce books, how to direct a movie. Page by page. And then I asked [Joe Diamand], he was one of my best students, and he's a co-producer, and a great writer too -- he can write. So he and I rewrite and reflimed and we mixed. The problem was that [in Richard Park's version], the white ninja, he's the bad guy, and he's alive! And, Maurice Smith's character is dead! So the public hated it! No one wants that one. And then finally, after [Richard Park finished his version of the movie], it was sent back to Hollywood to be edited. They work on it over there, but it's like nobody's over there! Because Richard Park could not understand English, and the editor too was a foreigner. So they missed a lot of things. It's not connected, the movie! The picture is connected but it's not connected! [laughs] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: So we changed all of it, so it's connected. It's actually reborn, this [version of the] movie. Do you have any favorite scenes from the film, or any that you enjoyed filming a lot? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: Filming, I really enjoyed. For example, [the scene that's] 30 feet [in the air]. Now I cannot. Then I was young. And everybody just falls down! Down, down, down! I was shocked myself! If just one person died, that's a bad movie, you know? But the director said, "DOWN!" And just 20, 30 feet people just fall down. I was just scared to death! I mean, that was how high? I don't know. You watched the movie? Yeah. [Editor's note: I think I've watched it about four times now. No lie.] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: I mean, that's SO HIGH! [laughs] You'd at least break a bone or something-- Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: GOSH!!! But fortunately not one person-- We didn't experience an injury. That's too high, though -- 30 feet is too high! Just constantly fall down, fall down! I thought I'm gonna die. [laughs] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: But, that kind of thing was what's... But what's most enjoyable is that in life, nothing is impossible. If say, "It's impossible," then that's impossible. If you say "Okay, I can handle it," you can do anything and everything you set your mind to. That's what I learned from this movie. How many cast members from the film do you still keep in contact with? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: Oh, yeah, that's a lot. Most of them are my students because I had thousands and thousands of students. Yes, we're still in contact, yes. Now the obvious question about Miami Connection 2. In the back of your mind, have you ever thought of doing a second film? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: We have an organization named Martial Arts World, which is traditional martial arts plus modern philosophy. It is totally different from all of the other martial arts. Most of the martial arts school teaches how to defend yourself physically. But we're teaching five different kinds of self-defense. For example, number one is physical self-defense. Most schools are teaching how to punch and how to block, but that's 1% of martial arts. How many people fight throughout their lives? Some people, they never fight. You know. But physical self-defense... What about insomnia? What about junk food? What about drugs? What about stress? That stress kills you! No schools are teaching how to negotiate stress, that's number one physical self-defense. Number two we call mental self-defense, which is... You know most people that are physically violent, it starts as vulgar violence. If you don't know how to defend yourself against vulgar violence, you cannot create the real happiness, because most of those personal remarks and things like that are from your family and friends. That way you have to fight all the time, so you must know how to defend yourself. So we teach vulgar self-defense, which is mental self-defense. And then third, you know, you can escape from physical attackers, if someone attacks you or criticizes you, discourages you, is cursing you -- you don't have to see them, you know? But self-attack!? Self-doubt, like a fear or anxiety, things like that. You cannot escape! You are in Europe, you go to Orlando, you go to Seoul -- it stays within you. Because of that many people minimize their lives. They don't have a successful life! So we teach people how to beat themselves; that's what we call moral self-defense. And after that, 85% of Americans live on checks by the month. Why? Because they don't have the financial self-defense. So we teach them how to become wealthier. And then it's one of the most important things that I need, you need, everybody needs. No one can live as an island, you know. We are social animals. So we're teaching how to concentrate destinies and create relationships so they can have personal freedom, personal power. That kind of self-defense we're teaching. So if they practice with Martial Arts World, they will create a winning future: to be healthier and wealthier and happier. The five self-defenses, we're teaching it. So Martial Arts World... You know, the best way to promote martial arts or anything, the screen is the best. So we will create an action movie once a year within five years. Oh wow. This makes me wonder, actually [since it seems related], how you got involved in motivational speaking. Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: Why? Because I question everything. I look at someone and ask, "Why does he wear that kind of clothes?" Why? "Why does he wear that hat?" I question and question and question. And at the same time, I'm looking for answers. Why? "Why does he wear this one? And why he does this one?" Questions, questions, you know? So first, I wrote in the last 35 years five kinds of fitness. First one we call physical fitness. Physical fitness... I'm a great martial artist. I can do anything and everything! But I was in the emergency room seven times. Almost life and death! For what reason? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: Why?! Why?! So I wrote Health is the Foundation of Success. I want to dig out the answer. Why? So, I [had the idea] that physical fitness -- physical fitness as true success -- requires harmony and balance. Without harmony and balance, there is nothing worse in our lives, in the modern world. Physical fitness: you know, if you don't eat and drink wisely, you'll never have a healthy body. But water is not enough. We need to exercise, we need proper rest to recharge energy, and we need to think very positively. So then I create mental fitness. Why am I not like Bill Gates? Why am I not like Steve Jobs? Why?! Why?! And then I found the answer, so I created mental fitness. And then finally I achieved the American Dream! I'd become-- My town, actually, like 10 or 20 years ago, people they don't know the mayor's name, but everybody knows Y.K. Kim the name. I could not go to the mall, because too many people follow me! And everywhere I go it's Y.K. Kim, Y.K. Kim, Y.K. Kim. So I achieved the American Dream, financially very successful, but my pain never goes away. Never! Still I have fear, anxiety, guilt, and anger. Whole nine yards! I still have pain. Why? I dig out why. And then I found the answer. So that's how I create the moral fitness. And so I created five kinds of fitness. I'm still writing. I will finish this year. It will revolutionize America. We can make it a better place to live! Joe, how did you first encounter Grandmaster Kim? Joe Diamand: I was actually living in Orlando and going to martial arts school and there was a switch. One of the grandmasters had to go back and take care of his parents in New Jersey. Grandmaster Kim was actually living here in New York in 1977, I believe. Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: Yes, '77. Joe Diamand: He was living here in New York, teaching here. He came down to Orlando and he's been there ever since. It's kind of an interesting story. Maybe if you have a second I can tell you about it. So he was basically homeless, except for his school. He mentioned earlier living from week to week on a paycheck, [Grandmaster Kim] was living from minute to minute! Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: [laughs] [laughs] Joe Diamand: He was like, "Are they going to evict me?" He was cooking his food on a hot plate behind the school. He would have a hose that he would use to shower. I would drive up and help him do the laundry. Like we'd throw the clothes in the laundry and then go down to a drive-in and watch a martial arts film or something like that. And so that's how I met him. [embed]211149:38560:0[/embed] How did you first get involved with taekwondo? Was it just something you grew up with? Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: You know, in Korea, taekwondo is very, very popular. But at that time when I practiced, not too many young guys [were involved]. Was very few. Because I don't want people to pick on me. What happened, when I went to school, a teacher was writing something and he turned around because someone made a noise. I did not make the noise, but he gave me punishment! So I got so angry, but he's too big! [laughs] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: I can't handle him, you know? Yeah. Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: He's teacher! So I was looking for justice. Why did he give me punishment when I didn't do anything wrong? But I said, "What? I didn't do anything wrong." But anyways, he gave me punishment. Actually, it was revenge -- I wanted to beat him up, so I started [taekwondo]. [laughs] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: But that changed my life. [With taekwondo], I had more respect for my teachers, more respect for my parents, more respect for myself, more respect for other people. That is the reason I started the martial arts. Were there any other songs that were written for the movie that didn't make it to the movie? Because, I gotta say, I actually do, without irony, like "Against the Ninja" and "Friends Forever." [laughs] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: "Against the Ninja" was-- That name was the first name the movie had. [laughs] That's awesome. [laughs] Grandmaster Y.K. Kim: We wrote that [as the title] once. And then Escape from Miami. We changed the name a couple times. And then finally, we did Miami Connection. [embed]211149:38561:0[/embed]
The man behind the cult film Miami Connection
[This interview was originally posted as part of our 2012 New York Asian Film Festival coverage. It has been reposted to coincide with the wider theatrical release of Miami Connection. Look for our review of the film tomorrow...

Trailer: Miami Connection

Sep 25 // Hubert Vigilla

Behold, the official re-release trailer for Miami Connection, the Citizen Kane of Taekwondo new wave band movies. The trailer was edited by Hobo with a Shotgun director Jason Eisener, and it makes great use of the song "Agai...


New Miami Connection poster is like classic VHS box art

Sep 13
// Hubert Vigilla
I have fond feelings toward VHS box art, which may be why I'm bananas about this new poster for the 1987 cult film Miami Connection. It was created by Quebec-based artist, François Simard, a member of the RKSS Collecti...

The Church of Scientology is plotting against The Master

Sep 12
// Hubert Vigilla
The Church of Scientology continues its tradition of creepy, off-putting actions, this time targeting Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. The New York Post reports that Scientologists have been "'inundating' the distributor, T...

The Cult Club: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Sep 10 // Hubert Vigilla
The Man Who Fell to Earth was Roeg's third solo outing as director, and it's easily one of his best, right up there with his eerie masterpiece Don't Look Now (1973) and his debut Walkabout (1971), the latter of which helped fuel my teenage obsession with actress Jenny Agutter. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, the film follows Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien who comes to Earth in order to send water back to his drought-stricken planet. To fund the rescue mission, he becomes the head of his own international company, World Enterprises, and then unwittingly turns into a reclusive celebrity. In the process he loses sight of what brought him to Earth in the first place. The memory of Thomas's wife and children is always there, but they become less real and more ghost-like as the film progresses. In Thomas's visions -- some are memories, others may be bleak glimpses of the present or just Thomas's own conjecture -- his family waddles through sand dunes with large, cat-eyed, forlorn expressions. At points they simply stand bereft beside their home, a mix of work shed, monorail, and sailboat. While Thomas himself is a fascinating portrait of someone who becomes all too human, it's the supporting characters of The Man Who Fell to Earth that help make it memorable. There's Mary-Lou played by Candy Clark (Roeg's girlfriend at the time), a housekeeper at a New Mexico hotel who eventually becomes Thomas's lover. She's a simple down-home girl who turns into the complicated, uneasy partner of a business mogul. There's college professor Dr. Nathan Bryce played by Rip Torn, just a few years after he tried to kill Norman Mailer in Maidstone (linked video NSFW). Bryce picks up coeds and fucks them silly, eventually sublimating his urges for 18 year olds by working for World Enterprises. And there's attorney Oliver Farnsworth played by Buck Henry, who does his best to protect Thomas and his World Enterprise holdings throughout the course of the film. Watching each of these supporting performances play out holds The Man Who Fell to Earth together. The film is about mood and time rather than plot, and both are conveyed through people. Clark is especially good, her broad smile eroding as she and Thomas retreat from the world to their Japanese lake house. All the supporting characters age while Thomas remains the same. The make-up has held up nicely, or at least it's more believable than Prometheus. The older Dr. Bryce looks a lot like an older Rip Torn, and ditto the older Fransworth like an older Buck Henry. Clark's age make-up is harsher -- think Lea Thompson at the beginning of Back to the Future, but the alcoholic bloat is nowhere near as kind. She wound up aging more gracefully in real life, kind of like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). While Thomas is ageless, he grows just as world-weary as the supporting players -- his soul is what gets older and more pathetic rather than his body. The movie is mainly a showcase for Bowie, and Thomas is a great vehicle for him to inhabit. With the Ziggy Stardust and Thin White Duke personas, Bowie was able to explore notions of rock and role idolatry, the cult of celebrity, and artistic reinvention as a kind of self-discovery and self-alienation (personality as art; personality as phenomenology?). It was Bowie playing an outsider as a critique of the culture at large for those in the know -- the hip-to-it crowd who saw celebrity for the the bullshit it was but loved the bullshit too. This sort of shtick would be adopted in different forms and for different reasons by people like Klaus Nomi, Marilyn Manson, and Lady Gaga. Thomas gets Bowie's shock of red hair -- something quintessentially Ziggy -- and the chic of The Duke. He's a hybrid Bowie: both a stage presence as a screen presence. Bowie was always acting throughout his career, but this makes it big-screen official. The rise and fall of Thomas Jerome Newton seems to find expression in lots of Bowie's music before and after The Man Who Fell to Earth. There's "Space Oddity" (1969), a correspondence both obvious and coincidental. The song's spiritual sequel "Ashes to Ashes" from Scary Monsters (1980) might be a better expression of the character by the end of the film: "Ashes to ashes, funk to funky / We know Major Tom's a junkie / Strung out in heaven's high / Hitting an all-time low." There's lots of Aladdin Sane (1973) in there as well -- a fractured personality, panic, paranoia, mental deterioration filtered through a chaotic piano solo, a sense of a person's life being torn up by the rigors of celebrity. The sex, drugs, and rock and roll of "Cracked Actor" seem to suggest the coming of The White Duke and the fall of Thomas, where the only things that are real are sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Then we get to "Fame" (1975), that overt essay on the bullshit of celebrity. David Cronenberg once said that he doesn't think of his movies as thematically connected through time but more like autobiographies -- he thinks of them in terms of what happened on a given day of shooting. Bowie seemed to take that approach to his performance in The Man Who Fell to Earth. Coked out of his mind, Bowie would simply show up on set and read his lines the way he was feeling that day. And it worked. What better way to play a celebrity space alien with a substance abuse problem than being an alienated celebrity with a substance abuse problem? So while Bowie is playing a role and a synthesis of his music personas, he's also being completely himself (albeit a lost soul). The concerns of The Man Who Fell to Earth were the concerns of Bowie the man. Bowie intended to score The Man Who Fell to Earth but Roeg opted for different music -- songs that were folksier, with occasional sound textures made of dissonant chimes, blips, and whale song. Parts of Bowie's unused score would inform the album Low (1977), the first of the Berlin Trilogy with Brian Eno. The man, the music, the movie -- all connected, no bullshit. With drugs and rock and roll out of the way, it's time for the sex, and The Man Who Fell to Earth has a good amount of it. Sex is an essential part of being human and an essential part of the narrative; sex is a supporting character, conveying mood and time just like Clark and Torn and Henry. When we see Dr. Bryce romp with coeds, it's aggressive, hedonistic, caveman wrestle-fucks -- sex as physical conquest, it's meaningless but it's lively. In one scene (restored in the director's cut), a coed grabs Dr. Bryce's flaccid dick and says to it (not him initially), "You know, you're not at all like my father." At first it's like she's speaking into a microphone, but she's talking to him through the only part that she cares about. They've come to a mutually agreeable reduction of each other: he's just old cock who can up her grades, perfect for an undergrad getting through lower div; she's just young pussy with daddy issues, perfect for a guy going through a mid-life crisis. Ain't we got fun? But Dr. Bryce gives it up to work for World Enterprises, and so much is said (maybe more than his accompanying voice over) when he turns down a willing coed with a simple, paternal touch of the shoulder. There's even a character arc to Mary-Lou and Thomas's relationship told through sex. It starts idyllic, the sort of thing you'd see on the cover of a romance novel if they favored actors of slighter frames rather than models of heaving bosoms. Their next sex scene is one of alienation, with Thomas in his true form and Mary-Lou frightened out of her life. And yet she's curiously drawn to his prone figure in bed -- it's the lonely, disenchanted state of their relationship. In an interview for the out-of-print Criterion release of The Man Who Fell to Earth, Clark said she and Bowie felt uncomfortable with the nude scenes and felt a little icky about doing them. This ickiness is all over this scene. The final sex scene between Thomas and Mary-Lou is ugly. It's sex in desperate squalor by two drunks, one of them unflatteringly older, both crueler; the graceless Dr. Bryce scenes without the youth or the joy. What's remarkable is Roeg's cross-cutting, which harkens back to Don't Look Now. In one of the most famous sex scenes of the 1970s, we watch Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie make love (supposedly for real) while also watching them get dressed. The Man Who Fell to Earth goes beyond that. Dr. Bryce and a coed are intercut with a kabuki theater battle; Mary-Lou and Thomas's first scene is intercut with shots of domestic bliss; during the alienating sex scene, we get images of extraterrestrial mating, and it could have been something out of Ken Russell's Altered States (1980) -- a psychedelic freak-out full of cottage cheese and milk. The final sex scene has choice snippets from earlier in the film to remind the audience just how ugly these lives have gotten. By doing this, Roeg takes an outsider view of sex and offers a cynical evaluation of human relationships -- even intimacy falls, like Thomas, like Mary-Lou, like Icarus into the sea. And no one seems to notice. Everything's drying out or collapsing or decaying in some way, and Roeg's conveying a lot of this through his collisions of imagery and sound. These correspondences also create a wigged out vision of the America bizarre. There's something heightened about outsider views of American culture, where all the good and bad of the country's rhapsody are underlined, italicized, and bolded. Think Vladimir Nabokov's take (via Humbert Humbert) in the novel Lolita or Jim Sheridan's semi-autobiographical vision from In America (2002), ditto Paul Verhoeven's satirical take in RoboCop (1987) or the hopes and disenchantments of Billy Wilder's movies. I mentioned the score filled with blips and whale song, but there's also radio static, presses printing, telegraph communication, traffic. The world is filled with a kind of unending cultural static. Even the pastoral areas seem packed with lives lived. During one scene, Thomas suddenly catches a glimpse of a pioneer family who, in turn, sees a limo on the dirt road. Even those open spaces are inhabited by unseen information. The images continue, with Thomas seeking answers to life on Earth through television. He watches several at the same time, addicted to the glass teat just like he's addicted to gin. It's a parallax view that leads nowhere since there's no truth to most television, just the stuff on the surface. Thomas laments to Dr. Bryce at one point that the problem with television is that it shows you everything about life on Earth but all the true mysteries remain. His mind is rotting from facts without answers, but the TV is a palliative so he can't help but watch junk. It seems to anticipate lyrics from the Talking Heads song "Crosseyed and Painless," a kind of alienation through information overload: "Facts are simple and facts are straight / Facts are lazy and facts are late / Facts all come with points of view / Facts don't do what I want them to." Thomas's plans to save his planet get diverted, and he deals with the pain of failure with TV and Beefeater. He's too out of it to realize what's happened. He's become one with the Auden poem "Musée des Beaux Arts" and the Breughel painting the poem's about, "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus." The painting depicts the wax-winged boy as a body mostly submerged save for thrashing legs. Life around him carries on. In the Auden poem, "everything turns away / quite leisurely from disaster"; Thomas's mission viewed by the people of the Earth: "not an important failure." (In a William Carlos Williams poem about the same painting, the fall is described as unnoticed and "unsignificant.") Going back to "Space Oddity," peeling a memorable line out of context, Thomas's predicament boils down to a helpless statement of fact: "Planet Earth is blue / And there's nothing I can do." We're all in the same boat. Maybe the only other people who could have played Thomas Newton are David Byrne or Brian Eno, but it would be a different iteration in a different era, and it may not have been the film for Roeg. And that's why I think that The Man Who Fell to Earth really isn't a movie ahead of its time but of its time. The failure to notice the fall of Icarus and the death of a dry planet is about the failure of the me generation to step outside itself -- the sex, the drugs, the rock and roll, and the greed -- and understand its own bullshit. The Man Who Fell to Earth is of its time because Roeg was at the height of his powers and doing things uniquely outside the mainstream; because Bowie, who tried to stand outside of celebrity culture and comment on it, was at the perfect point of his career to play both himself and an alien; it's a movie whose sense of weirdness and narrative experimentation (it hops through time briskly without signposts) is so linked to the 1970s. The 70s might be the last era that a film like this could get made since they don't make them like this anymore. Similarly, we don't have a Bowie-like figure because there could only be one Bowie and his time has past; and we don't have another Roeg because he's an artifact of the era. Almost all works considered ahead of their time are really just perfect reflections of their time -- it just takes a decade for people on the inside to sober up and realize what the outsiders noticed all along. The Man Who Fell to Earth calls attention to something in our skies as well as something kicking its legs and slowly, helplessly drowning. [embed]212410:38820[/embed] Next Month... It's time for a little campy Bondage with EIC Matthew Razak as he takes us on a trip through Casino Royale (1967). PREVIOUSLY SHOWING AT THE CULT CLUB August: Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002) July: Batman (1966) June: Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) May: The Apple (1980) April: Santa Sangre (1989)
David Bowie's big screen debut was Nicolas Roeg's tale of alienation, sex, and the human condition
[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pa...


Mondo show to feature Robert Brandenburg and Craig Drake

Sep 06
// Liz Rugg
Mondo's next art show will take place conveniently during Austin's Fanatstic Fest film festival. The festival will take place from September 20-27 in Austin, Texas at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Mondo's show, featuring ...

Cult director Andrzej Zulawski returns with Dark Matter

Aug 28
// Hubert Vigilla
In a future installment of The Cult Club, I'll have to write about an Andrzej Żuławski film. Probably Possession or On the Silver Globe. Żuławski is a Polish filmmaker whose movies are bonkers -- jagged, s...

Flix for Short: "Roland I Feel You" by Get Well Soon

Aug 24
// Hubert Vigilla
Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of my favorite filmmakers, and someone whose fingerprints are all over my imagination. On a few occasions I've expressed admiration for his influential handful of cult films (e.g., the Cult Club p...

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