Radioactive Dreams (Albert Pyun, 1985) is our November 2016 screening.
17/11 at CCA Glasgow. Get yr tickets now: bit.ly/2euF5Uy.
To celebrate our screening of Maurice Hatton’s Long Shot (1978), about a couple of filmmakers struggling to get their dream project set up at 1977’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, and after the first five, we recommend another five films about filmmaking…
Crime Wave (John Paizs, 1985). Dunno what it is about Winnipeg, but they unaccountably love Phantom of the Paradise more than anywhere on Earth and every so often they produce an outsider filmmaker par excellence. Perhaps most notably, Winnipeg gave us Guy Maddin and John Paizs – the latter responsible for this, unfortunately (and barely) released the year before Sam Raimi’s Crimewave (1986), condemning it to be overlooked in perpetuity. Which is a shame, because it’s great – a tongue-in-cheek homage to 1940s/1950s American screen culture, it features Paizs himself as a struggling screenwriter who can only write beginnings and endings.
Barton Fink (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, 1991). Speaking of writer’s block, has there ever been a better take on it than the Coens’? Never mind that the brothers insist they don’t suffer from it (work on Miller’s Crossing had simply slowed to a crawl, so they took a break to develop Fink), or that no-one really agrees on what it’s about. It’s still John Turturro’s signature role, give or take a Jesus, the root of an excellent Simpsons joke and still one of the Coens’ all-time best.
Living In Oblivion (Tom DiCillo, 1995). Still pretty much the go-to reference point for films about indie filmmaking, this was inspired by DiCillo’s experiences making the extremely early-90s Johnny Suede and not making his passion project Box of Moonlight, ultimately his follow-up to Oblivion). Particularly notable for the shade it casts on Johnny Suede star Brad Pitt via his stand-in character, Chad Palomino (James LeGros), and Peter Dinklage’s diatribe against Hollywood cliché (“I don’t even have dreams with dwarves in them!”).
Cecil B Demented (John Waters, 2000). One of the best late-period Waters but weirdly not the most loved. Cecil B Demented (Stephen Dorff) is the leader of a cell of kamikaze filmmakers – the SprocketHoles – who kidnap film star diva Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) to force her to act in their film. Maybe it’s a little inside baseball – it’ll help if you know your Premingers from your Peckinpahs – but that’s almost part of the joke. It’s a Matchbox favourite (we screened it in April 2015) with a ridiculously prescient cast (early roles for Michael Shannon and Maggie Gyllenhaal among many others) and really just gets better with age.
The Independent (Stephen Kessler, 2000). From the celebrated director of Vegas Vacation (1997) and featuring playing-themselves cameos from Peter Bogdanovich, Karen Black, Roger Corman, Ted Demme, Ron Howard and Fred Williamson, this is a mockumentary portrait of Morty Fineman (Ben’s dad Jerry Stiller), a Lloyd Kaufman-style master of the B-movie. He’s over the hill and down on his luck, but banking on an unlikely comeback – in fact, his struggle to get a dream project made and his career on track mimics that of the stars of Long Shot. How’s that for putting a bow on it?
Long Shot screens at CCA on Thursday 21/07. Tickets are on sale now.
We’re honoured to present Dylan Cave’s excellent article on our July film, Long Shot (Maurice Hatton, 1978), from the Sight & Sound series on overlooked films currently unavailable on DVD or Blu Ray.
Used with permission, courtesy Sight & Sound. Unauthorised use is forbidden. This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue. www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound.
Valpuri Karinen designed the poster for our upcoming screening of Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman, 1980). Valpuri also made Matchbox’s Spaceballs poster, and you can check out more of her work at her website, here, or at her Tumblr, here.
3D films have been around for 100 years now, but for the first 40, they were more or less a niche concern, mostly shorts and special presentations. The first full-length 3D film was Bwana Devil (Arch Oboler, 1952). One of Bwana Devil‘s early audiences was captured in JR Eyerman’s iconic photograph, for Life magazine, used later on the cover of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle.
The 1950s was the Golden Era of 3D, at least the first four or so years, since the craze quickly dissipated. Along with some of the finest examples – Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (1954) were less canonical efforts like Robot Monster (Phil Tucker, 1953). Technical difficulties with exhibition and the general expense meant many 3D films were released flat and the format eventually fell out of fashion, although low budget exploitation films kept the ball rolling into the next decade.
3D was still the province of exploitation for the early 1960s, with notable outliers like The Mask (Julian Roffman, 1961) from the studio system. The late 1960s saw the return of the saviour of 3D, ol’ Arch Oboler himself, with a new system called Space-Vision 3D – which, worth the wait for the name alone. The Bubble (1966) was his big comeback and the system itself provided a cheaper, less tricky technique for producing and exhibiting 3D films.
The 1970s was super porny for 3D films. The Stewardesses (Allan Silliphant, 1969 – but 70s as a motherfucker) became one of the most profitable films of all time, if not the most. Flesh For Frankenstein (Paul Morissey, 1973) had a good stab at combining horror and porn and Jackie Chan starrer Magnificent Bodyguards (Lo Wei, 1978) was R-rated kung fu fun. On the whole, 1970s 3D films were not so much for kids.
The 1980s 3D craze began with Comin’ At Ya (Ferdinando Baldi, 1981), a spaghetti western made using a system devised by writer and lead actor Tony Anthony. Comin’ At Ya was shamelessly, some would say ingeniously, designed to exploit the 3D effects, with various items – arrows, handfuls of seeds, dangling babies – bursting off the screen. The same team followed up with Treasure of the Four Crowns (Ferdinando Baldi, 1983), although a second spiritual sequel, Escape From Beyond, was thwarted before it reached production. In the wake of Comin’ At Ya, Dial M For Murder was re-released and the horror genre once again dove face first into 3D. Friday the 13th Part III (Steve Miner, 1982), Jaws 3-D (Joe Alves, 1983) and Amityville 3-D (Richard Fleischer, 1983) all tipped their hats to Baldi and Anthony’s gleeful approach to 3D.
Then, it’s into the 1990s and IMAX and Avatar and fancy Real 3D and diminishing returns once again. But that’s a story for another day and, besides, the posters aren’t as nice to look at.
Matchbox Cineclub‘s May screening will be COMIN’ AT YA! (Ferdinando Baldi, 1981) on Thursday 19/05/16 at the Old Hairdressers, Glasgow.
COMIN’ AT YA! (Ferdinando Baldi, 1981) is the film that launched the 1980s 3Dsploitation boom, with flying spears, vampire bats and even babies, all jumping off the screen towards you. Matchbox Cineclub are celebrating its 35th anniversary with a special screening in 3D (we’re providing the glasses) and an explosive sound set-up. You can’t miss it, cos it’s COMIN’ AT YA!
Synopsis: HH Hart (Tony Anthony), a bank robber, loses his wife (Victoria Abril) to kidnappers on their wedding day. Subsequently, she is traded as a prostitute by villain Pike Thompson (Gene Quintana). HH Hart races against time to find his wife, with the help of a Scottish preacher.
Tickets are available from Brown Paper Tickets right here. This screening is by arrangement with The Little Film Company.
This month, Matchbox Cineclub is taking part in The Old Hairdressers’ FANTOM CINEMA programme, which runs from Friday 8th April to Sunday 24th April. We’re presenting a very special MYSTERY MOVIE. For the next few weeks, we’ll be offering up some clues, but the specially selected film – which you will not see screened anywhere else – will only be revealed to attendees on the evening of Thursday 21/04.
The Fantom Cinema programme sees the Old Hairdressers’ gallery space turned into a temporary cinema. The expansive programme has been selected and developed through an interest in hauntology, the fringes of sci-fi and a curiosity about the potency of the lucid space of cinema in relation to action beyond the edges of the screen. It draws on the connections that can be made between artists’ lives, the complexities of labour and the stories that surround individual practices.
It hopes to conjure up the ghosts that haunt previous manifestations of this exhibition space and explores how changing the format that frames activity can enable new readings of ongoing practices.
Entry is FREE, with an optional donation.