QT QUATTRO: A Triple Bill of SECRET AGENT MOVIES with Tarantino
There is a joyish glee I get sometimes when I hike the stairs of the Alamo
Drafthouse... Generally... being an obese fatass... I loathe stairs, but not so with the
Alamo's. Nope, here... These stairs are my Rocky steps because everytime I climb them
it's to see something that I can dance around and thrust my arms in the air and throw my
head back and scream... something unintelligible to all but the hummingbird.
Tonight was the debut night for the 4th Annual Quentin Tarantino Film Festival....
People traveled from as far away as New Zealand to attend this year. So that means you
folks working on LORD OF THE RINGS... you have got ZERO EXCUSES to not make
it by next week this time. Father Geek and I were the first two... attendees to arrive. The
show was to begin at 8pm.... We arrived just a tad before 6pm. Why? Because we were
excited... We have to get the perfect seat... stake out our turf so to speak, and most of
all... it was to begin charging the Alamo with positive vibes. I'm the sort of guy that likes
to see the Circus tent go up.... I like to watch the sunrise and the flowers' petals to part
and open. So too do I like to watch the kegs being rolled across the floor... the banners
being hung, the ceiling being finished off in black paint... the posters being placed into
their frames... Quentin arriving to confirm with Tim that all is right with his prints...
Watching various folks moving about... nervous... this is that time period when Mickey
and Judy aren't entirely sure this, "Let's throw a show" bit will work. I stay out of the
way... and just observe. I'm sooooo giddy.
As is usual, the most dedicated geek after Dad and I... QUINT arrives, followed in
close suit by MOUTH.... Copernicus, Tom Joad, Annette Kellerman, Moriarty, Johnny
Wad, Peter Blood, Claire Standish, Flesh Gordon, Dorothy Parker... They all begin
arriving, interspersed with the other folks... Faces I recognize from the past fests... some
that I don't. Denver, Charlottesville, New Jersey... all over. They all arrive knowing not
the titles of the films... having never seen a festival quite like this one.
This year I am getting these VIP pass... this is different than in every other year...
they never had a VIP pass before.... when I asked if that meant free booze or food...
apparently, it means I can sit in a special section closer to Quentin.... WHY ON EARTH
WOULD I WANT THAT?
Now, don't get me wrong... Quentin's a great guy... I'm sure I'd just groove to sitting
3 feet away watching these films... BUT... Quentin is one of them freaks that likes to sit
way the hell towards the back of the theater. I'm one of those freaks that likes to sit on
the second or third row at least... and I prefer the second. I like being centered and close
enough that everything within the field of vision of my glasses is... FILM.
Before everyone is being let in, Quentin comes up and we begin chatting about
various cool films that neither of us have seen.... Obscure soundtracks to Italian Crime and
Spy Films.... I ask him if he's ever seen GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE aka NAKED
UNDER LEATHER.... now believe it or not... he hasn't. Now I freakin love that film... I
pushed it on Ebert when he and I did the episode on CULT CINEMA. We are in the
midst of geeking... no talk about upcoming projects... no when is filming starting... what's
your budget... I mean, really... I mean, if you were here... you would understand....
Quentin is your best friend film buddy that enthuses. Actually, it's something of a
personality trait that he and I share. Raving about details that outsiders... non-film geeks
would look at us and just lean their head back and do that Sutherland scream.
Soon, the theater is being filled up.... I order a bucket of Shiners iced down and
ready for consumption. Moriarty had an iced prune elixir... something about staying
regular... weird old people habits.
Everyone is chilling... My crew has been on this trip before... We’re veterans of
this here battlefield.... These seats have held our asses before, this screen has held
coolness before and we are here for the duration. We are jazzed for some super secret spy
works upon the screen..... All AICNers are taking spy tips... how they would apply into
studio infiltration, chasing targets, copying of secret materials, doing battle with covert
NRG types... you know the drill... Here.... Here we see the movie versions of what we
do... and we’re thrilled to be here.
Rebecca Campbell of the Austin Film Society takes the stage... Tim from the
Drafthouse is manning the soundboard... the audience braces as it’s all coming to steam....
Off about 12 rows back Quentin is in the shadows... stalking his audience.. ready to
unleash his babies... his prints... in all their glory to gobsmack the shit out of this crew....
The sponsors are thanked, the announcement of Corporate Sponsorship is announced...
the Omni hotel..... Broadjump and the Austin Chronicle.... and the radio stations
Rebecca announces.... Quentin and he rushes up to the stage in a semi-oriental styled
bowling shirt... black and red with black pants with a racing white stripe down the side....
I mention this only because... I always make note of what Quentin wears because... I did
at the first fest... and stylistically... I must remain consistent. Heh.
Quentin yanks the mike out of the stand like a leg of mutton in the days of armor....
He rips it right up to a millimeter from his thousand words per minute mouth and
He announces to us that he has 3 glorious I.B. Technicolor 35 millimeter prints of
some of the best damn spy flicks from the late sixties. Now... as Quentin said... “For those
of you that don’t know what an I.B. Tech print is... Let me put it this way... If you collect
films, if that’s what you do, and there is a film you dream of, that you stay awake dying to
own.... you dream of it in I.B. Technicolor.... Then you wake up and you have reality....
BUUUUUUUT..... TONIGHT, you are in DREAMLAND BABYYYYY! Cause these
colors are just going to POP right out at you.... Like BAM!”
Now... what were these three films.... The first film of the evening was HAMMER
HEAD from 1968. Now the film was based off an old James Mayo spy novel by the same
name, and playing the head spy was Vince Edwards, Dr Ben Casey himself. Now... many
know him as his good guy doctor roles in numerous television and b-movies... but
personally my fave Vince Edwards role was as Vince in CITY OF FEAR... A BADASS
FILM NOIR along the lines of KISS ME DEADLY... and a film that hardly anyone I
know has ever actually seen... but man... it’s one of my personal... my films... you know..
the ones you can talk about and everyone looks at you with a blank stare? Well... in a
way, that was how Quentin introduced this film.... I mean... he (and my father) were the
only ones in the hall that had even seen this thing... and Quentin was all dissing Vince a bit
as being stiff (but how that kinda worked), drawing loose parallels to George Clooney in
terms of Vince’s popularity at the time... But then... his eyes and mannerisms exploded in
a hurdle of twisted fingers and arms as he tried to describe his undying affection for....
Quentin launches into his love sonnet for how much Judy Geeson was like HIS girl
out of that whole group of British honeys from this period... Then he begins going nuts
over the dresses and the costumes that Judy wears in the film.... I mean... He was
seriously GAY about them... He’s all talking about the cuts and the colors and the
designs... And he’s talking to the girls in the audience about them being the fucking
BOMB.... and then he’s like... “I mean think about it folks... I’m up here... I’m a man...
and I’m like talking about these DRESSES you better believe they’re special.... I mean
after this movie all my women are going to be dressed waaaay better... I’ve got an eye for
And the last thing he emphasizes is this musical scene that he was going to
“FUCKING STEAL BLIND” in his next film... but the character he was going to use it
with doesn’t have time for the scene... so he does tell the entire room that when we see
this particular scene... know that he has dibs on it. He will steal it... not in his next film...
and the one after his next film is a WAR film, so it’ll be down the road.. but it’s his
scene... It’ll be different music... but he’s got it. “Artists don’t do homages... they fucking
steal a movie BLIND!” Wonderful line....
The movie starts and folks... It has some fantastic moments... specifically the
introduction of Beverly Adams... which is the scene Quentin is going to steal.... can’t be
described... must be seen to be believed.... But them damn dresses of Judy Geeson’s
character are the shit... I mean she is soooooo damn adorable in everything... I mean, the
scene where she turns two towels into a miniskirt and a tube top.... Holy Mackerel....
wowza baby... Hot stuff.
I actually dug Vince Edwards in the film... he plays the spy thing as a total 9 to 5
sort of job... strictly by the numbers... strictly as a job. It’s a little cold... it isn’t swinging
dick Bond cool... but it’s got it’s own... sort of Michael Caine.... Ipkriss lite sort of vibe
The most noted coolocity of the film is that the BAD guy is all.... how to say... he’s
a collector of pornography from throughout the centuries... that finances his porn
collection by selling secrets to the Russians... I think. What a wild idea for a bad guy...
he’s also a clean freak... gloves... white.... freaky shit... THE OTHER THING... is his big
badass that fights for him is a young David Prowse... DARTH VADER... he has this cool
as hell dueling scar and... well, in truth he turns out to be a bit of a wuss when push comes
to shove... but still man... DARTH VADER. Cool.
Now, the next flick... I so can’t remember Quentin’s intro.... All I remember is that it
wasn’t too jazzing. I felt like he was trying to not oversell the film.... The movie was
called KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE... It stars Mike Connors, who you
might be familiar with as being MANNIX... a tough cool TV show from the late sixties...
but all of you know as being one of the Amalekite Herders trying to steal water for their
animals in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS... In reality... he’s the first one that gets his
ass kicked by an ANGRY Moses....
Now... folks... NONE OF YOU WILL BELIEVE ME... But KISS THE GIRLS
AND MAKE THEM DIE is one of the hands down coooooooolest fucking SPY films
you’ll ever NOT see.
First off... I’ve never seen a spy film where the spies soooooo were in love with
being SPIES... I mean... folks... they were soooooo into it. All the gadgets... they just
were used to them... it wasn’t new... They knew exactly how all the toys work, when to
use them and how to look cool while doing it. You’ve never seen BOND this home with
his toys... BOND is always like getting used to the shit Q gives him.... Here... it’s second
nature. I mean there is nothing more natural in the world than to use their toys...
The other thing is... These spies are like Comic Book Super Heroes... On top of the
toys... they have this driver that just kicks ass... He’s played by Terry-Thomas... and he
comes equipped with a Rolls Royce that just RULES! This car is just rules... and his use
of it... whether it be converting it into a billboard... or making a Scotch on the Rocks... or
letting the lady’s change of clothes out... FANTASTIC... The cavalier way he fights and
takes care of the car... The perfect chauffeur.... wonderful.
Now the babes are hot... as usual for a spy film... but the thing you have to realize
is... THE EVIL BASTARD of the film... his plan is to launch a satellite into orbit that will
kill the sex drive of every MAN on the planet... so that he will become the last STUD on
the planet... So every girl every where will have to fuck him or go without. His eyes are
so damn electric... his smile so evil.... His plan.... SO COOL... I mean, dudes... what a
plan.... The Ultimate Cock Blocker!
This wasn’t a so bad it is good film... this was a FANTASTIC MOVIE that I would
put on par with any BOND film and any spy film around.... A GREAT MOVIE...
Now... The last film of the night... no matter what was scheduled... could not live up
to KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE.... so what Quentin did.. was he
scheduled another Italian Spy film... Only instead of being a GREAT film... it was a film
that was a spy flick... that was just so damn bizarre you couldn’t look away.
The movie is called LIGHTNING BOLT... and it’s a spy film about a beer and
alcohol company owner that decides to place a laser cannon on the moon to rule the world
with.... BUT THAT’S NOT THE WEIRD PART... The weird part is that the spy, played
by Anthony Eisley, doesn’t like using a gun... so he uses a CHECK BOOK instead... He
has UNLIMITED FUNDS from the U.S. Treasury... and can simply write GIGANTIC
CHECKS to get the job done. So... bad guys have him at gun point... he whips out the
check book.... and wallah.... Finito... Done, safe, on his way.... The other thing is... I
believe there is more sheer narration than in any film ever... More even than ED WOOD
movies... AND... it’s pretty damn funny coy stuff.
Overall... a wonderful triple feature.... Tonight is the all night horror marathon...
TOHO FILMS and ITALIAN HORROR.... Till DAWN... I can not wait.... See you