My favorite reoccurring event at the Guild is Midnight Movie Madness, which appears every couple of weeks on a late Friday and Saturday night. Midnight Movie Madness is when the fun really comes out. The Guild uses this to bring in the more obscure films. Many are newer films, usually independent or foreign, but more geared towards the young adult crowd that will come out that late in the evening. Often these films lean towards the horror genre, though that is not always the case. They’ll also use this time to bring older films, usually cult classics and rare gems. The bi-weekly event is presented by Devin O’Leary, film editor of the weekly Alibi, and Kurly Tlapoyawa, stuntman and owner of the local independent video store Burning Paradise. The two of them get up in front of the audience, talk about the movie and upcoming events and then give away door prizes! Most people I frequent the Guild with have won at least once.
Recently I have hit two milestones with the Guild. I went to see Rubber, an unusual film that I’ll talk about later. The point I’m getting to is that it was the 35th film I’ve seen at the Guild, and 30th film I’ve watched during Midnight Movie Madness. With that I decided to rank and talk about all of the films I have seen there. Here are a few quick stats before we get started…
-11 films that weren’t new, ranging from 1927 to 2005
-10 films I’ve seen at the Guild that I now own on DVD
-9 foreign language films and 1 with French and English
-8 films with some version of zombies
-8 English-language films produced in foreign countries
-8 films I’ve shared/watched with others after seeing at the Guild
-5 films seen prior to watching at the Guild
-5 films made in the 70s, including 3 made in 1979
-3 New Mexico independent films
-3 films in which Mark Chavez of the comedy duo Pajama Men has major roles in
-2 films in which a human and a zombie fall in love
-Absurd killer objects include zombie sheep, a tire, a pig, a cat painting, Native-American chicken zombies, female genitalia, a doll, black plague and Mel Gibson
-Other crazy elements include pet zombies, Canadian satanic cults, death by urine, a Ron Jeremy cameo, clones, nunchuck-swinging Richard Nixon, the finger of God, nazi zombies, the Ramones and Jean-Claude Van Damme as themselves, a dancing skeleton, a talking sloppy josé and a donut wearing alligator shoes, to name a few.
And now I bring you the bottom five, films 31-35! Keep an eye out for the rest of the ranking coming soon!
35/34. The Bite (1966)/Slave Widow (1967)
These two films must be grouped together as they were part of a double-feature at the Guild. The Guild advertised it as something like “1960’s Japanese Grindhouse Double Feature.” Both films were fairly equal in quality. There appeared to be experimentation in both films regarding cinematography. Both films would probably be classified as erotic. They are fairly tame with the amount of flesh exposed, but the themes of each movie are in fact quite erotic. These films are certainly worth watching if you are a film enthusiast who wants to experience every type of film out there, especially those of another culture. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend either.
Warning: If you are easily offended, this film is definitely not for you. Black Devil Doll is sort of like Child’s Play if it weren’t a cheesy 80’s slasher flick and instead a 1970’s combination of blaxploitation and sexploitation films, except filmed in the 21st century. BDD is about a girl who plays with a Ouija board and unexplainably summons the spirit of a former black militant. Oh, and did I mention the spirit ended up in a doll? The majority of the film is this doll having “run-ins” with half-nude blondes and then killing them. It is mildly entertaining (at best) and completely wrong. It’s no surprise the filmmakers had trouble getting this film released.
I find that with David Lynch’s work I either very much enjoy it or walk away extremely confused. I loved Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr, but had a hard time with Eraserhead and Inland Empire. It’s hard to explain, but Inland Empire is about an actress (Laura Dern) who finds her life mimicking her current role, all while finding out the film she is currently working on is a remake of a previous production that never finished due to a tragedy. Oh, and there are humanlike rabbits. The fact is this was a hard film to follow, but I’d be interested in giving it another chance. This was my first film at the Guild, and probably the longest (3 hrs) and most confusing.
Peur(s) du Noir, or Fears of the Dark as it’s titled in English, is a collection of black and white animated shorts woven together in one French film. I was really intrigued by the idea of these creepy shorts all animated in different styles by different animators. Interestingly this was before I started thinking about going to school for animation (which I now have a degree in). Anyway, this film was a bit disappointing. I enjoyed the animation, and a couple of the shorts were pretty good. However, I felt this could have been so much more than it actually turned out to be.