If you live in New York City, you already know that you are among a very privileged group. Between the film festivals and all those Korean screenings (and the combinations of both), there is a hell of a lot of awesome stuff. But there are other programs going on all the time that we never tell you about (because they aren’t Korean). In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, though, perhaps it’s time to highlight some of the other parts of the New York cinema scene. And what better place to start than with than female-driven exploitation films?
At the end of this month, 92YTribeca will be playing the “House of Psychotic Women” series, three films about women driven to the brink of sanity and the repercussions. The series is named after the new book by Kier-La Janisse, a film programmer/writer who will be attending (and introducing) two of the three screenings. The book will also be on sale, because of course.
The three films being shown (The Mafu Cage, The Entity, and The Witch Who Came from the Sea) all sound pretty intense (especially the second, which features “repeated and brutal” ghost rape), so if that’s your thing, definitely keep your calendars marked. And for those of you who are on the fence, we’ll be supplying our thoughts on the films as the screenings draw nearer.
Below you will find the full press release with all of the important details that I couldn’t be bothered to type up here.
HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN
Author Kier-la Janisse curates a trio of films at 92YTribeca
Fri Nov 30- Sat Dec 1
Tickets for each screening $12 / $8 for Film Club Members
NEW YORK, NY: November 1- 92YTribeca spends Friday and Saturday, Nov 30-Dec 1 in the House of Psychotic Women, a mini-series including screenings of The Mafu Cage, The Entity and The Witch Who Came from the Sea, all films explored in Kier-La Janisse’s new book of the same name. The book explores the films’ characters and their relationship to her own life experience.
Few characters in cinema are more fascinating than the unhinged woman, and genre movies take that dramatic potential to another level. Wide-eyed, blood-splattered or shrieking, the women in horror and exploitation films are almost without boundaries, giving them the freedom to work out neurosis and pain in startling ways. Janisse will be in attendance to introduce The Mafu Cage and The Entity on Fri, Nov 30, and the book will be available for sale that day as well. The screening on December 1 does not include an appearance by Janisse.
Fri Nov 30 at 7:15 pm- The Mafu Cage
Introduced by Kier-La Janisse
One of the most compelling and uniquely dark films of the psychotic woman subgenre, Karen Arthur’s The Mafu Cage stars Lee Grant as Ellen, an astronomer who lives with her feral sister Cissy (Carol Kane) in the large house left to them by their now-deceased anthropologist father. The distinction between the two sisters – one a caregiver with social responsibilities, the other an angry pet – is illustrated through aural cues: weird harpsichord music accompanies Ellen’s limited private life while pounding tribal percussion underscores Cissy’s fanciful existence alone in the house, which is decked out in exotic African textiles, pelts and artifacts. The centerpiece of their living room is a large cage, where Cissy keeps her rotating queue of ‘mafus’ (monkeys) who live as long as she will let them before she loses patience and sentences them to death. When Ellen is courted by a co-worker, Cissy’s bubble is threatened and the interloper finds himself at the center of a violent sacrificial ceremony.
Director: Karen Arthur. 102 min. 1978. 35mm.
Fri Nov 30 at 9:45 pm- The Entity
Introduced by Kier-La Janisse
Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is a single mother whose struggle to get by is aggravated by the presence of an extremely violent, foul-smelling and distinctly masculine ghost. The entity threatens her body as much as her sanity; it repeatedly and brutally rapes her, in one instance in front of her children, and another while she is fast asleep. As the entity‘s attacks intensify, Carla dons the role of the abused housewife, which is especially fitting since the absence of a patriarch in the home leaves room for the entity itself to function as a sort of drunk, violent husband. Furthermore, the entity attacks her in a friend‘s home, and in her car, which causes her to retreat into the physical and emotional isolation that is characteristic of many victims of domestic abuse. When she visits a psychiatrist and later invites a team of parapsychologists in to monitor her home, the two opposing schools of thought clash, with Carla as the defeated victim in the middle.
Director: Sidney J. Furie. 125 min. 1982. 35mm.
Sat Dec. 1 at 10 pm- The Witch Who Came from the Sea
Monte Hellman alumna Millie Perkins (most famous for playing the title role in George Stevens‘s 1959 The Diary of Anne Frank) plays Molly, who mythologizes her dead father, once a seafaring man. Her adamance concerning her father‘s moral perfection hides her deeply repressed anxiety over his true behavior. She grows up to be an alcoholic, drinking excessively to quell the flashbacks that haunt her and living out a fantasy life in which she seduces and murders men.
Director: Matt Cimber. 83 min. 1976. 35mm.
About Kier-La Janisse
Kier-La Janisse is a writer and film programmer who co-founded the Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Centre and the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies in Montreal, where she also edits the Fantasia Film Festival’s online magazine, Spectacular Optical. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival and the Big Smash! Music-on-Film Festival (both in Vancouver) and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror. She has written for Filmmaker, Rue Morgue and Fangoria magazines, has contributed to The Scarecrow Movie Guide (Sasquatch Books, 2004) and Destroy All Movies!! The Complete Guide to Punk on Film (Fantagraphics, 2010), and is the author of A Violent Profession: The Films of Luciano Rossi, published by FAB Press in 2007.
92YTribeca is 92nd Street Y’s downtown arts and culture venue inNew York City. Opened in October 2008, 92YTribeca presents music, comedy, film, theater, talks, classes, family events, and Jewish community and holiday programs in a versatile, street-level, modern space at 200 Hudson Street. In addition to the mainstage and screening room, the venue houses an art gallery, lounge, bar, café, seminar and meeting rooms, and free Wi-Fi around the space. With programs developed by a professional curatorial team in partnership with staff, local artists and arts organizations, new-media companies, fellow presenters, and community and cause-based organizations, 92YTribeca aims to engage a diverse community of young people from around the New York area with smart, relevant programming that encourages participation and conversation. For more information, visit www.92YTribeca.org.
92nd Street Y is a world-class nonprofit community and cultural center that connects people to the worlds of education, the arts, health and wellness, and Jewish life.