Saturday October 14, midnight at Spectacle: $5
Throughout the month of October, Spectacle is running a series on Pink Film, a Japanese cinematic movement that began in the groovy ’60s– a time when counterculture thrived in Japan and, just like the U.S. and France and other countries across the world, ideas about free love and experimental art-making began to take hold.
According to the theater, this is “the largest and most comprehensive [retrospective] of its kind in North America” and covers Pink’s evolution from start to present. Sick.
The filmmakers who created these super low-budget films that emphasized ecstatic creation over planning and precision and surreal visual experiences over dialogue and realist sound, were artists in addition to active political protestors.
Stylistically, Pink films varied considerably, but they shared an underlying logic and political mission that was basically anathema to Western values such as linear storytelling, chronological order, and emphasis on the psychology of the individual as the basis for character motivation. The American mythos of the independent dreamer, the lone ranger, and the stoic puritan sufferer was a special target of these free-flowing films.
But even after the idealism of the ’60s waned and political rebellion receded into the background, this “rich, revolting tradition of Japanese filmmaking” continued, or at least it was co-opted and imitated by filmmakers interested in utilizing the movement’s reputation to rake in the bling money cash that comes with skin flicks– as Spectacle writes, “Pink Film is a sexploitation genre.”
This weekend, catch Daydream, made in 1964. It’s a perfect introduction to Pink, as it’s one of the first films attributed to the movement. Based on a short story by Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, an early 20th-century modernist writer with a penchant for sexy time, it’s “a convoluted surrealist masterpiece in which fact is never far from fiction,” per Spectacle.
Expect drugs (possibly nitrous oxide?), sex, daydreams and, you guessed it, dentists. So, Daydream is pretty much guaranteed to be more interesting than watching the Swedes of the same era try their hand at erotica. I mean, for real– I am Curious (Yellow) should have been named Are You Serious (Yawning).
The Greasy Strangler
Friday October 14 and Saturday October 15, 11:55 pm at IFC Center: $14
Sick film alert: IFC Center’s only got two more screenings to go of The Greasy Strangler. Beyond the automatic qualifier score it wins solely for having the ultimate give-zero-fucks title, The Greasy Strangler (really rolls off the tongue, don’tcha think?). The film has wracked up enough #amazeballs points in stylistic references that we’re gonna go ahead and say go friggin’ see it.
Director/screenwriter Jim Hosking is a relative newcomer to the fancy film fest circuit (Greasy premiered at Sundance this year), but already it’s clear there’s something super great happening here. There’s a bit of John Waters in Hosking’s weirdo’s-eye-view of the world and sense of humor, which combines the uber-dry with acerbic wit and barnyardy notes of filthy, diaper-days LOLs. But he’s also added an updated, Tim & Eric bend to things, making Greasy feel fresh rather than imitative or nostalgic. Vroom vroom, we can’t wait to see it.
Last House On The Left
Friday October 14 and Saturday October 15, 12:20 am at Nitehawk: $12
It’s the most wonderful time of the year y’all, and if you haven’t started getting your spookies in yet– well, you better hustle and start making up for lost time because there are a hell of a lot of Lucifer-approved horror screenings happening around town.
A great way to get in the Hallows’ Eve mood is with the classics. Wes Craven’s 1972 classic Last House on the Left is a great place to start– it was rumored to have caused mass fear-induced fainting spells in theaters across America upon its release (note the trailer) so, uh, be careful guys. But aside from being the usual scary/gruesome revenge-horror flick, there’s a political undercurrent that remains scandalous even today.
As Nitehawk writes, Last House is “a brutal rape-revenge movie with art house roots,” and is replete with some “deeply unpleasant moments,” and, despite its sloppiness and deaf tone, it’s told with a good deal of confidence by Craven.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Friday October 14 and Saturday October 15, 11:55 pm at Sunshine Cinema: $12
Speaking of this howl-iday Season (heh), you can’t do a proper horror movie spree without including a serial killer profile. When it’s a psychological thriller, too? Well, that’s even better.
Rewind to the Dark Ages of 1986, when analogue synthesizer soundtracks were possible but, like, Googling was not. So just get yourself in that mindset when you go see Henry and resist the urge to Google things like: “Am I a sociopath?” or “Is my boyfriend a psychopath?” Because without having immediate answers to burning questions like these– trust, they’ll inevitably pop into your head while watching Henry– it’s guaranteed to be a much creepier experience.
And, hey, if things get real bad just get yourself some gummy bears. The chewy little buggers will not only soothe your bugged-out mind, they’ll also muffle your companion’s screams too. Now that’s a deal.