Moriarty’s One Thing I Love Today! Joe Dante At The New Beverly!
Published at: April 9, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST by Moriarty
Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here.
It’s funny... since I started doing this column a few weeks back, I’ve been getting more oddball things sent to the house, more books, even a few games. And I’ll give it all its day in court as I’m putting these together, but today... today, it’s all about where I’m going to be this evening, and what I’ll be watching.
The New Beverly has gotten very aggressive in its programming in the past six months or so, hosting mini-festivals where filmmakers like Eli Roth and Edgar Wright have been able to program their own line-ups. Both of those fests were ridiculous fun, and now, the one and only Joe Dante has stepped up for DANTE’S INFERNO, a string of double-features over the next week and a half that sounds like a blast from end to end.
Tonight, I’ll be there to see Edgar Wright introduce Joe before screenings of MONDO CANE and ZULU. MONDO CANE was a sort of a shock documentary, released in the early ‘60s, and it was a huge hit at the time, inspiring knock-offs and imitations, movies that were basically the 2 Girls 1 Cup of their era, but there’s a weird subcurrent that the films are essentially “sophisticated” culture rearing back in horror when confronted with “the rest of the world.” ZULU is a great big bad-ass action epic about the British fighting the natives, with a strong performance from a young Michael Caine. 100 soldiers versus 4000 Zulu warriors. What’s not to like?
I’m not sure how I’ll juggle my various commitments for Thursday and Friday, but I’ll figure it out, because I’m absolutely determined to see Dante’s HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD back-to-back with the Isaac Hayes film TRUCK TURNER. Then on April 13th, 14th, and 15th, Dante’s screening THE SADIST and THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER. THE SADIST stars Arch Hall Jr. as a super-creep who traps some kids in a junkyard and then plays headgames with them for a few hours, and Dante’s going to have legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond there to talk about his work on the nearly-forgotten B&W film. It’s the second feature, the J. Edgar Hoover movie, that’s got me crazy. I love Larry Cohen films. Q THE WINGED SERPENT. GOD TOLD ME TO. Come on… those are great movies. They embrace their budget, and they embrace their genre, and for a while, Cohen was rock-solid every single time. Right in the middle of that era, he made this expose on J. Edgar Hoover, and I’ve never seen it. Little wonder. It’s never been on any home video format before, and it sounds fascinating. Made in 1976, the film positively IDs CIA agent Mark Felt as “Deep Throat,” something that wasn’t verified until almost 30 years later. It’s also shot on location, using real FBI lobbies and real FBI offices, but Cohen managed to do that without any permits, making it doubly impressive that he even used Hoover’s real home in his movie.
THE TOMB OF LIGEIA, WRONG IS RIGHT, BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW, HORROR EXPRESS... it’s an eclectic, fun line-up of stuff that Dante’s always probably thought didn’t get a fair shake the first time around.
The biggest event of the whole festival, in my opinion, is the closing night screening of THE MOVIE ORGY. What’s that? I’ll let Dante explain in his own words:
April 22 THE MOVIE ORGY
This the first, one nite only public showing in many years of my first project. In 1968 when "camp" was king, Jon Davison and I put together a counterculture compendium of 16mm bits and pieces (tv show openings, commercials, parts of features, old serials etc.), physically spliced them in ironic juxtapositions and ran the result at the Philadelphia College of Art interspersed with parts of a Bela Lugosi serial. The reaction was phenomenal. This led to THE MOVIE ORGY, a 7-hour marathon of old movie clips and stuff with a crowd-pleasing anti-war, anti-military, anti-establishment slant that played the Fillmore East and on college campuses all over the country for years -- always the one print, viewed through a haze of beer and controlled substances. We called it a 2001-splice odyssey. We kept adding and subtracting material over time so this, alas, is not the original version-- it's the later cutdown, running a mere 4 hours and 19 minutes! But it's still a pop time capsule that will bring many a nostalgic chuckle from baby boomers and dazed expressions of WTF?! from anyone else.
Admission to THE MOVIE ORGY is FREE, so buy plenty of concession stand items!
Even after reading a few descriptions, I have no idea what this is actually going to be, but I’ll turn out to support Dante, to support The New Beverly, and to support the recently-revitalized revival scene in LA.
Hope to see you there.