#WeirdHorror Countdown

We countdown our favourite wonderfully weird horror films

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We’re celebrating the run up to Halloween with some of our favourite odd and awesome horror films. Mostly we’re doing this on our Facebook page here, but we’ll update this post as we go too. We’d love to know your favourite weird horrors too – or what you think of ours…

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1/31 | DEAFULA (Peter Wechsberg, 1975)

A theology student finds himself turning into a vampire and hunting other students for their blood, in the first feature film produced in American Sign Language (or “Signscope”).  Writer-director-actor Peter Wechsberg lost his hearing during Nazi Germany’s World War II bombing of London and had grown dissatisfied with his work as a videographer for a financial institution. His Deafula inexplicably incorporated a giant rubber nose, of which producer Gary Holstrom explained, “The deaf loved it, the hearing didn’t.” Read Cashiers du Cinemart’s interview with Holstrom here.


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2/31 | NEON MANIACS (Joseph Mangine, 1986)

“They’re the Neon Maniacs—an unstoppable, hideous incarnation of evil zombies terrorising the residents of San Francisco. ‘Neon,’ because they can only be seen in the dark; ‘Maniacs,’ because they kill at will!”

The Neon Maniacs include Ape, Archer, Axe, Decapitator, Doc, Juice, Mohawk, Punk Biker, Samurai Warrior, Slash, Soldier, Stringbean and Thing. They each, for some reason, have their own in-film tarot/trading card.


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3/31 | INKUBO (Leslie Stevens, 1966)

Marc, a soldier of pure heart, becomes the target of a beautiful demon who wants his soul.

Starring a pre-Star Trek William Shatner, Incubus is one of only two films produced entirely in the constructed language of Esperanto. At the premiere, a group of 50 to 100 Esperanto enthusiasts “screamed and laughed” at the actors’ poor pronunciation of the language. Once thought lost, the only remaining print was discovered in France in 1996. You can read more about Esperanto in cinema here.


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4/31 | VLČÍ BOUDA (Věra Chytilová, 1987)

AKA Wolf’s Hole or Wolf’s Lair, this is a science fiction horror hybrid in the vein of The Thing, from the director of Daisies (Sedmikrásky).

In an old mountain cottage called the Wolf’s Lair, 11 carefully selected teenagers participate in a skiing workshop. Tension and suspicion mount as the strange instructors insist that one of the 11 is an intruder…


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5/31 | PURA SANGRE (Luis Ospina, 1982)

An old, bedridden sugar tycoon, who communicates with the outside world by CCTV, consumes constant supplies of blood plasma from kidnapped and murdered children.

Pure Blood is a prime example of the Tropical Gothic genre, mainly associated with Colombian cinema of the 1980s. A flurry of productions were based in the country’s third largest city, Cali, where a very intense cinephile culture was flourishing. The most emblematic of these cinephile filmmakers were fans of Roger Corman as well as cinéma vérité documentarists, and part of a politically radical art scene.


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6/31  | ŞEYTAN (Metin Erksan, 1974)

A 12-year-old girl living with her mother in cozy Istanbul high society plays with a ouija board and becomes possessed by Satan himself. A troubled psychiatrist and an archaeologist become the girl’s only hope for salvation.

AKA Turkish Exorcist for obvious reasons, Erksan’s film is a classic remakesploitation in the bold shot-for-shot-copy category. William Friedkin’s original was banned in Turkey, so the filmmakers traveled to a London screening and transcribed the script. However, the audacious “theft” – Turkey actually had no copyright laws to speak of – belies the numerous ways Erksan (who won the Golden Bear in 1964) adapted The Exorcist to reflect Turkish culture.

Read more about Şeytan and other Turkish remakes here.


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7/31 | 狂った一頁 (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1926)

A retired sailor becomes custodian at a mental hospital to be closer to his estranged wife, one of the patients at the facility. Their daughter is soon to be married, but the father’s fear and pain surrounding his wife’s mental state threaten the future happiness of the family.

Completely lost for 45 years, the print of Kurutta Ichipeij (A Page Of Madness) discovered in a rice bin in Kinugasa’s garden shed in 1972 was only 2/3 of the original print, which would also have screened with live narration and musical accompaniment.


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8/31 | PARENTS (Bob Balaban, 1989)

Meet the Laemles. Dad, Mom and little Michael…they’re the all-American family of 1954. With one small exception. Michael can’t figure out why they are eating leftovers every night, but he’s got a scary suspicion. Dad’s bringing home the bacon and a whole lot more!

Character actor Bob Balaban (a familiar face for Christopher Guest and Wes Anderson fans) made his directorial debut with this black comedy horror. Too strange and deadpan to go over commercially, its deliberate tone, pace and aesthetic help it linger in the corner of your mind, like a childhood nightmare.


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9/31 | A RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT (Larry Cohen, 1987)

“Salem’s Lot. Population: Dwindling. Primary industry: terror.”

A weird horror hiding in plain sight, this is so much more than a straight-to-video Stephen King sequel. For one thing, it has nothing at all to do with Stephen King, or even the original Salem’s Lot. What it does have is the unmistakeable Larry Cohen touch, since the writer-director created this “sequel” basically from scratch. The cast features some of Cohen’s signature players (particularly Michael Moriarty and James Dixon), a young Tara Reid and…Samuel fuckin’ Fuller, the iconic director playing a gun-toting Nazi/vampire hunter. Watch it for the Larry Cohen joint it is, and it’s 10/10.


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10/31 | BLOOD AND DONUTS (Holly Dale, 1995)

“There is a place between the living and the dead…and it’s open 24 hours.”

This comedy horror follows a vampire, napping since the Moon landing, who’s woken with a bump into 1990s Toronto. Eschewing human blood, he falls in with a donut shop waitress and a taxi driver needing protection from a Crime Boss (David Cronenberg!). Also his 1969 girlfriend is quickly on his trail…


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11/31 | BEGOTTEN (E Elias Merhige, 1990)

“A godlike thing dies giving birth to a quivering messiah thing; then the villager things ravage and bury them, and the earth renews itself on their corpses.”

The debut of writer/director Merhige, better known for directing Shadow of the Vampire (2000), and even better known for directing the music video for Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar (1996).


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12/31 | MIRROR MIRROR (Marina Sargenti, 1990)

“Megan (Rainbow Harvest) is experiencing the usual problems of adolescence, magnified by a change of home and school. Stranded and outcast, she retreats into a world of insecurities, craving a means of comfort and escape from the depths of her own fantasies. In her new home, the desolate and eerie Weatherworth House, Megan finds a curious-looking mirror, which entices her into a dream world where her imagination can stray. At first, the mirror seems magical, but once the innocence of her initial fascinations fade, it begins to take on a more sinister and evil dimension. Its power combines with her adolescent mind and sucks her into a nightmare from which she cannot escape!”


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13/31 | DUST DEVIL (Richard Stanley, 1992)

“He came from the beginning of time to take your soul.”

Writer-director Richard Stanley followed his debut, the 2000AD inspired Hardware, with this unsettling South Africa-set slasher arthouse folk horror. Dust Devil, described at the time as “Tarkovsky on acid”, spent just a week in cinemas before being released to home video. Stanley’s 2-hour cut had been brutalised by balking financiers down to just 87mins, leaving early audiences confused. Stanley’s Final Cut is now available, best resembling his original vision.


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14/31 | HOUSE (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977)

“A schoolgirl travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home, only to come face to face with evil spirits, bloodthirsty pianos, and a demonic housecat.”

No weird horror countdown could possibly skip Nobuhiko Obayashi’s psychedelic, phantasmagoric, absurdist masterpiece, quite possibly the weirdest and best film ever made, any more than words could do it justice – just watch it, IMMEDIATELY.


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15/31 | SCREAMPLAY (Rufus Butler Seder, 1985)

“Aspiring screenwriter Edgar Allen’s best attribute is his wild imagination. He imagines scenes so vividly for the murder mystery he is writing that they seem to come to life…and they do! As mysterious murders pile up, Edgar Allen must confront ageing actresses, rock stars, and the police in the bleak setting of broken dreams in Hollywood.”

Shot in black and white, this budget weirdo comic-melodrama recollects Forbidden Zone in its expressionistic sets and John Paizs’ Crime Wave in its meta themes. Screamplay was a one-and-done from writer-director-star Seder, who also managed to recruit underground legend George Kuchar for a rare role outside his own productions.


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16/31 | THE MASK (Julian Roffman, 1961)

“After the shocking death of a disturbed patient, a psychiatrist comes into possession of the ancient tribal mask that supposedly drove the young man to his doom. When Barnes puts on the mask, he is assailed with nightmarish visions of monsters, occultists, and ritual torture. Believing that the mask has opened a portal to the deepest recesses of his mind, the doctor continues to explore this terrifying new psychic world – even as the mask reveals a latent violence in Barnes’ nature that threatens those closest to him.”

Canada’s first horror feature, a remarkable, surrealist black and white B-movie, that integrates its 3D elements into the narrative – when you heard “put the mask on NOW”, the film erupts into vivid abstraction.


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17/31 | MESSIAH OF EVIL (Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck, 1973)

“After receiving a series of chilling letters from her reclusive father, Arletty drives to the remote seaside town of Pointe Dune to discover the reason for her father’s developing madness. Upon her arrival, she encounters a mysterious trio of strangers investigating a local legend known as ‘The Blood Moon’, a curse that has transformed the inhabitants of the town into a terrifying horde of blood-thirsty maniacs!”

From the husband and wife team who wrote Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (and later directed Howard the Duck), this atmospheric showcase for the creeping uncanny was also released under the titles Return of the Living Dead, Revenge of the Screaming Dead, The Second Coming and Dead People.


Check back tomorrow, or 10pm over at Facebook, whichever comes first, for the latest in our #WeirdHorror countdown…

Cage-a-rama 2: Cage Uncaged

Europe’s longest-running Nicolas Cage Film Festival returns to Glasgow

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Matchbox Cineclub present Cage-a-rama 2: Cage Uncaged, a two-day film festival celebrating the wild, weird world of Nicolas Cage. Europe’s longest running Nic Cage film festival returns on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of January 2019, to the Centre of Contemporary Arts, Glasgow.

Cage-a-rama 2: Cage Uncaged fully unleashes the wild side of Cage with eight films, classic and brand-new, featuring the Oscar-winner’s most iconic meltdowns, freak-outs and outbursts. The festival also features a range of bonus content, including Cage’s 55th Birthday Brunch + Quiz and Going Full Cage, a live event hosted by Tara Judah (Watershed Cinema producer) and Ti Singh (Bristol Bad Film Club founder and author).

The full programme will be announced on Wednesday 24/10.

Programmer Sean Welsh says, “People flew in from across Europe to attend the first, sell-out Cage-a-rama in January 2018. We wanted to raise the stakes with this sequel, so Cage-a-rama 2: Cage Uncaged is going to be an even more intense experience for fans. Last year, our campaign to #BringCage2Glasgow netted his official stand-in, Marco Kyris, so this year we’re upping our game to get him.”


Weekend passes for Cage-a-rama 2: Cage Uncaged are on sale now in our online shop.  Limited day passes and single tickets will be on sale Friday 26/10.

Sign up to Matchbox Cineclub’s mailing list to get updates on Cage-a-rama and more: eepurl.com/duX1R9.

Cagearama 2
Poster illustration by Vero Navarro

Joe Dante’s The Movie Orgy

A mind-bending predecessor to the modern mash-up, The Movie Orgy (1968) is also the Rosetta Stone for Joe Dante’s oeuvre and a must-experience for movie fans and cinephiles alike.

Movie Orgy Eventbrite

Before Gremlins, before The Howling, before he started his career cutting trailers for Roger Corman, Joe Dante hosted the 7.5 hour All Night Once In A Lifetime Atomic Movie Orgy. An ever-evolving edit, it was a communal experience – a mind-bending predecessor to the modern mash-up with no definitive version. Matchbox Cineclub programmer Sean Welsh charts the evolution of The Movie Orgy through five key dates.

October 9th 1965, The Playboy Theater, Chicago

The first screening of An Evening With Batman and Robin, one of two key inspirations for The Movie Orgy. The other was Susan Sontag’s Notes on “Camp” (1964), which popularised the term and inspired the repackaging of the 1943 Batman serial as a single 4.5-hour programme. Audiences laughed at its phony climaxes, marveled at its blatant xenophobia, and it began touring college towns. When Dante caught it, at the World Theater in Philadelphia, he was particularly struck by the camaraderie of the crowd, who “came out into the lobby as if they’d just gotten off a sinking ship.”

Early 1966, Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia

Inspired, Dante, a second year student but already a programmer at PCA, decided to host his own Camp Movie Night. The exact date is lost to history, but Dante and collaborator Jon Davison rented the only complete serial available on 16mm in Philadelphia, The Phantom Creeps (1939). They stretched it to seven hours with serials, clips, ads, industrial films and cartoons from their 16mm collections. Its success meant several follow-ups, each a step towards what would shortly become The Movie Orgy, then variously The Movie Orgy 2, The Movie Orgy Strikes Back, Son of the Movie Orgy, Escape to Movie Orgy and Son of Movie Orgy Rides Again.

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March 8th 1970, Filmore East, New York

Although 1968 is commonly held as the term “The Movie Orgy” was first used for Dante and Davison’s project, the performance that film archivist and Orgy expert David Neary describes as “the most important Movie Orgy of all” came in 1970. 1970 was peak Movie Orgy for the pair, who employed dueling projectors (tipping their hats to Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls). Davison’s would show various features – in lieu of new serials – and Dante’s would interject, drawing on his panoply of 16mm weirdness. They took their cues from the audience, so no two screenings were alike. Press coverage of the Filmore Orgy drew the attention of Schlitz Beer, who sponsored Orgies to tour colleges for years. But when the new material the Orgy drew upon to keep it alive began itself to be infected with self-referential camp, it was time to call it a day. Dante, already in Hollywood, sold syndication rights for “The Video Orgy” to be screened on college campuses’ closed circuit TV networks.

Dante's Inferno
Credit: Dennis Cozzalio

April 22nd 2008, New Beverly Cinema, Los Angeles

The grand finale of Dante’s Inferno, a two-week retrospective at LA’s legendary rep cinema. Joining the scores of curious film fans were Davison, Allan Arkush, Bill Hader, Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino. Dante enjoined the crowd to move about, go outside, have a smoke, grab a pizza and wander back in. The Movie Orgy was always intended as a movie to be walked out on. But the director was curious to if it would play – have any relevance – after years in his vault. It brought the house down.

September 9th 2018, The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow

We’re screening the digital version Dante made for the New Beverly (not the 90min “UK cut” previously screened in London). It’s 4.5 hours long, the official Movie Orgy, “distilled, recaptured and re-curated”, according to archivist David Neary. It’s not the full, wild 16mm experience, of course, but there’s also no Blu Ray coming. “It’s more like a concert in a way,” Dante says, “It’s something that you really have to be there for.”

Sean Welsh


Joe Dante’s The Movie Orgy screens at The Old Hairdressers, Sunday 9th September

Facebook event here. Tickets here.

An edited version of this article originally appeared in the Scalarama 2018 newspaper.

Turkish Star Wars 2K Tour

Matchbox Cineclub team with Remakesploitation and Neon Harbor to tour Turkish Star Wars 2K around the UK for Scalarama 2018.

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Graham Humphreys poster for Turkish Star Wars 2K (on sale here)

When you become a fan of cult film, or maybe a person for whom films naturally become a cult, three things happen – first, you go deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole looking for stranger and more unusual films. Second, your affinity multiplies with curiosity to make you want to find out as much as you can about them. Thirdly, you want to share what you’ve found with as many people as possible.

Turkish Star Wars is the perfect film in that regard. Most people know it from terribly subtitled clips drawn from fourth generation VHS dubs. Its strangeness and its audacity, coupled with the absurdity of the supposed dialogue, will hook anyone’s attention. That version of Turkish Star Wars was one of the first films Matchbox Cineclub screened, and Turkish Remakesploitation one of the first topics I wrote about seriously – because I wanted to know just what the fuck was going on with these films.

Meanwhile, Ed Glaser and Iain Robert Smith separately pursued their passion for cult film inexorably toward Turkish Star Wars. It makes me very happy that our curiosity about incredibly strange films has brought us to the point that we can share the best possible version of Turkish Star Wars and tell people the incredible story behind it.

Notorious for the ways in which director Çetin İnanç edited footage from Star Wars into his own film, along with music from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Flash Gordon, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (1982) is the “holy grail” of remakesploitation cinema. The Man Who Saves the World revolves around two Turkish space pilots who crash-land on a desert planet enslaved by an evil wizard. Memorable sequences involve the heroes battling robots inspired by Battlestar Galactica and Forbidden Planet – plus mummies, skeletons, and multi-coloured yetis. Another sees them in starfighter “cockpits,” wearing motorcycle helmets, as footage from the Star Wars Death Star battle is projected behind them.

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For many years, the film circulated only in those low-resolution bootleg copies, but in 2016 a 35mm print of the film was discovered, and a 2K digital scan has been made so that the world can finally see the film the way it was intended. Because of the obvious rights issues around the film, there are currently no plans for a home DVD/Blu-Ray release so this Scalarama tour is the only way to see this new 2K version of Turkish Star Wars. Get yr tickets before they sell out!

Sean Welsh


Turkish Star Wars 2K UK tour dates:

14/09 Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh | Tickets

15/09 Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax | Tickets

19/09 Phoenix, Leicester | Tickets

22/09 Rio Cinema, London | Tickets

24/09 Connaught Cinema, Worthing | Tickets

28/09 Cube Microplex, Bristol (with Bristol Bad Film Club & Hellfire Video Club) | Tickets

The Mask – in 3D!

The Mask eventbrite

The World’s Greatest 3D Film Club returns to Nice N Sleazy on Saturday 4th August with The Mask (Julian Roffman, 1961) – in classic red/blue 3D!

A psychiatrist enters a dream world of horror when he experiments with an ancient Aztec mask sent to him by a patient! This surrealist masterpiece was Canada’s first horror film, and its first shot in 3D. Its pioneering electronic soundtrack was recorded in “ELECTRO MAGIC SOUND”. It’s been described as “truly bizarre, full of unsettling and grotesque images, and with a nightmarish stream-of-consciousness technique.” YES!

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Now you can see it as it was always meant to be seen – on a summer’s night in the basement of Nice N Sleazy, through flimsy cardboard glasses.

Tickets £3 (3D glasses included)


The Mask (1961) – in 3D! screens at Nice N Sleazy, Saturday 4th August

Facebook event here. Tickets here.

Sad KeanuCon

sad CCA

It’s with a very heavy heart that we have to announce the postponement of KeanuCon 2018 until 27th +28th April 2019.

Due to the GSA fire and CCA Glasgow‘s subsequent closure, it’s not possible for us to hold KeanuCon on the original dates, and the next workable dates for CCA (and for us, due to Cage-a-rama 2 in January) are in 2019, which we are glad to confirm.

All our efforts to find a suitable alternative location have sadly failed. Although we did come extremely close, trust that we worked very hard to exhaust all the possibilities.

We hope you’ll accept our apologies and realise we are as gutted as anyone to have to postpone KeanuCon. We had the line-up and a lot of the supporting programme locked-in and we were so excited to share it with you. The date change *does* have some positive implications for the programming and for other aspects of the weekend, but that will become clear in due course – ASAP. KeanuCon will be even more awesome for the date change, we promise.

On a more positive note, we still be taking part in the Scalarama Glasgow 2018 programme this September, with these events and at least one more TBA:

09/09 Joe Dante’s The Movie Orgy
27/09 Images of Apartheid + Q&A

Pity Party Film Club will now host the Scalarama Glasgow Opening Party – Hedwig & The Angry Inch – now on sale!

We’re sincerely very sorry for the disappointment, but watch this space for news of KeanuCon (and Cage-a-rama 2!)


KeanuCon was originally scheduled for 1st and 2nd September, 2018. It will now take place 27th + 28th April, at Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow.

 

Friday 13th Part III – in 3D!

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We had such a great time with Jaws 3D at Nice N Sleazy that we’re returning with Friday 13th Part III – in 3D! What will henceforth be known as the World’s Greatest 3D Film Club presents the second sequel to the horror classic, in classic red/blue 3D, on Wednesday 25th July.

Jason Voorhees dons the hockey mask for the first time in this classic sequel. Time Magazine’s review said, “The way the eyeball of one of Jason’s victims pops out of his skull and seems to sail over the audience’s head is alone worth buying a ticket and putting on funny glasses.” YES.

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Now you can see Friday 13th Part III (Steve Miner, 1982) as it was always meant to be seen – on a summer’s night in the basement of NICE N SLEAZY, through flimsy cardboard glasses. Our £3 ticket price includes a free pair of red/blue anaglyph 3D glasses.


Friday 13th Part III – in 3D! screens at Nice N Sleazy, Wednesday 25th July

Facebook event here. Tickets here.