A film blog should have an actual blog, right…? In the second of a new series of posts at RADIANT CIRCUS, our Barker-In-Chief shares a few screening notes from a week spent in darkness.
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE Super8mm presented by Ciné-Real 16mm Film Club at The Castle Cinema.
I promised never to watch TEXAS CHAIN SAW again. For all my love of horror, it’s a film that gets under the skin and stays there like a stain. Why did I follow Sally, Franklin and friends into the slaughter house once more? Maybe it was the lure of Super8mm, or maybe the realisation that RADIANT CIRCUS hadn’t visited Ciné-Real at The Castle… Either way, I found myself being dragged back through that sliding shutter…
Its visceral horrors remain undiminished. Whilst a change-of-reel intermission (complete with adorable “win a Super8 film” raffle from our hosts…) helped slow the descent into hell, the domestic format added considerable rust to CHAIN SAW’s blade. More than forty years after its original release, Tobe Hooper’s film still has the power to pollute your eyes and ears. Taking expert projectionist Umit’s lead, I had “a great time being freaked out” but won’t be rushing to watch it again any time soon. This was the perfect Halloween nightmare.
The next Ciné-Real 16mm screening at The Castle Cinema will be Truffaut’s 400 BLOWS. Keep an eye on their website and Instagram for details and discounts.
THE LOST BOYS 35mm presented by The Celluloid Sorceress at Genesis Cinema.
Another ’80s horror favourite (see SOCIETY, below…). This one has always been about Corey Haim (and Nanook, of course). Born in the same year as me, Haim was the face of a thousand pull-out posters on my teenage bedroom walls: his sass, those fashions, that wild hair and curled lip… it’s also about Dianne Wiest, of course, surely one of the ultimate screen Moms.
This Halloween screening was kicked off with a potent rockstar intro by The Celluloid Sorceress (another second of the week…). Tackling the persistent abuses of Hollywood’s child actors and their troubled – and sometimes, tragically shortened – lives, The Sorceress pitched the event as tribute to the late Haim and and all young actors who have suffered harm. Shown from a near-pristine 35mm print, Schumacher’s pitch-perfect horror reanimated a chilly auditorium (heating problems…. thanks Genesis for the blankets!).
The Sorceress’ next London screening is SPEED RACER 35mm at The Prince Charles (12 NOV 20:35). Many people don’t get it, but I love its shit-slinging silliness.
SOCIETY + Artist Short Films presented by Sick Monday at Close-Up Film Centre.
BAYWATCH heartthrob Billy Warlock plays a “normal” teenager who discovers something is seriously amiss in the wealthy family and community he can no longer call home. How you respond to what happens next is partly down to the absurdist script that amplifies Billy’s alienation, Brian Yuzna’s first-time direction that matches Michael Lehmann’s HEATHERS for satirical leanings and, eventually, the surreal genius of make-up artist, Screaming Mad George.
There’s also something curiously autobiographical here as Warlock plays an onscreen “Bill” and the school scenes were shot in the same high school he went to as a child… The newly commissioned artist short films that accompanied the feature (including an oven glove-puppet Thatcher spewing about the absence of ‘society’…) largely riffed on Yuzna’s social concerns: that the rich are literally another species, feeding on the poor.
Inspired by 80s era “video nasties”, more screenings are in the works from artist collective Sick Monday, including a repeat showing of STREET TRASH and a final film to be confirmed.
SPARKLE (1976) 16mm presented by The Celluloid Sorceress at The Cinema Museum. A Save The Cinema Museum fundraiser.
With so many indie venues under threat across London, RADIANT CIRCUS is proud to be supporting the campaign to Save The Cinema Museum. Last weekend’s fundraiser screening of SPARKLE (1976) was introduced by The Celluloid Sorceress, Rebecca Nicole Williams, in conversation with journalist Samira Ahmed.
Scripted by Joel Schumacher, SPARKLE has its flaws, but this was exactly the kind of expert archival event RADIANT CIRCUS has come to expect from The Sorceress. On-stage conversation teased out issues of black representation on film and the many ways in which this tragically familiar tale – of talent and success undone by drugs, domestic violence, organised crime and family break-ups – keeps getting told.
> Read the full RADIANT CIRCUS writeup HERE.
REMOTE ENCOUNTERS at Tate Modern, part of the MUSEUM OF CLOUDS weekender (26 to 28 OCT).
This free programme of short films kicked off Tate’s weekender about artistic collaboration. Introducing a film made with Alexander Carver – THE ISLAND IS ENCHANTED WITH YOU aka La Isla Está Encantada con Ustedes – Daniel Schmidt reflected on how starting out as an animator led him to an epiphany – “Oh god, this is really lonely work!” – pushing him into more rewarding collabs in live action filmmaking.
Not just because he was there, Schmidt’s film about the impact of colonialism on the island of Puerto Rico was the real standout. Three separate sequences in separate centuries echoed each other in shape and form. The dreamlike storytelling, including direct address from the spirit of the island, reversed waterfall diving footage and hung CGI spirits, delivered one truly unsettling reality: the use of indigenous human “incubators” to transport the smallpox virus/vaccine for the marauding conquistadors.
… and that’s the meat of it.
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Featured image: THE ISLAND IS ENCHANTED WITH YOU aka La Isla Está Encantada con Ustedes (2014).