Nightmare City: A Video Nasties Celebration

Co-presented by Fourth Wall Studios, The Woodshed Horror Company and Cinespia.


VIDEO NASTIES WATCH-A-THON CONTEST! Who among you thinks they have what it takes to sit through 30 midnights in a row of toolbox murdering, driller killing, blood feasting, evilspeaking and Mardi Gras massacring? We’re talking to you, sucka! Here’s your chance to prove your mettle, and become King (or Queen) of the Damaged Brains! Whomever sits through the highest number of fully completed Video Nasties screenings this October will receive:


3RD PLACE: the 3-DVD all-region UK box set “Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide”
2ND PLACE: a vintage large-format French theatrical poster for The Burning + the 3-DVD all-region UK box set “Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide”
1ST PLACE: the chance to guest-program an upcoming Cinefamily midnight movie screening + the 3-DVD all-region UK box set “Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide”. In the event of a tie for first place, we will hold a Video Nasties trivia runoff live on the Cinefamily stage as a tiebreaker!


Plus, all three top-place winners will also receive, courtesy of our friends at FEARnet, prize packs featuring FEARnet exclusive swag, apparel, horror films on DVD or Blu-Ray, and other creepy treats!


BUY TICKETS ($12/free for members. Oct. 1st, 10PM show is free admission: first-come, first-served. All showtimes subject to change):

Monday, Oct. 1st, 10PM (free admission): Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape
Monday, Oct. 1st, midnight – Night Warning
Tuesday, Oct. 2nd, midnight – Hell of the Living Dead
Wednesday, Oct. 3rd, midnight – The Witch Who Came From The Sea
Thursday, Oct. 4th, midnight – Axe
Friday, Oct. 5th, midnight – Evilspeak
Saturday, Oct. 6th, midnight – Inferno
Sunday, Oct. 7th, midnight – Dead & Buried
Monday, Oct. 8th, midnight – Visiting Hours
Tuesday, Oct. 9th, midnight – The Funhouse
Wednesday, Oct. 10th, midnight – Cannibal Apocalypse
Thursday, Oct. 11th, midnight – The Burning
Friday, Oct. 12th, midnight – XTRO
Saturday, Oct. 13th, midnight – The Evil Dead (brand-new 35mm print!)
Sunday, Oct. 14th, midnight – Possession
Monday, Oct. 15th, midnight – Night of the Bloody Apes
Tuesday, Oct. 16th, midnight – The Toolbox Murders
Wednesday, Oct. 17th, midnight – Driller Killer
Thursday, Oct. 18th, midnight – Mardi Gras Massacre
Friday, Oct. 19th, midnight – The Beyond
Saturday, Oct. 20th, midnight – Blood Feast
Sunday, Oct. 21st, midnight – Anthropophagus
Monday, Oct. 22th, midnight – Snuff
Tuesday, Oct. 23rd, midnight – Fight For Your Life
Wednesday, Oct. 24th, midnight – The House on the Edge of the Park
Thursday, Oct. 25th, midnight – Nightmares In A Damaged Brain
Friday, Oct. 26th, midnight – Faces of Death
Sunday, Oct. 28th, midnight – Cannibal Ferox
Monday, Oct. 29th, midnight – The Last House on the Left
Tuesday, Oct. 30th, midnight – Don’t Go In The House
Wednesday, Oct. 31st, midnight – Cannibal Holocaust

As part of Cinefamily’s upcoming month-long horror celebration NIGHTMARE CITY (co-presented by Elijah Wood’s The Woodshed Horror Company), we’re about to do something so over-the-top and wondrously fun that we ourselves still can’t believe it: midnight shows almost every single night in October featuring 35mm screenings of films from the infamous list of “Video Nasties”.


What’s a Video Nasty, you ask? Back in 1982, a moral panic erupted in the U.K. under the iron fist of Margaret Thatcher and her cohorts in media censorship, who found it handy to blame all of society’s ills (and particularly its maladjusted children) on those nasty, nasty horror movies sitting on video shelves around the country. Using rigged data, trumped-up reports in some of the shiftier papers and an easily frightened public, a number of gory films — 72, to be exact, with almost all of them Italian or American — wound up as official societal scapegoats, and were either eventually banned or reissued in drastically cut versions. A most baffling criteria for inclusion on the list: that there was no true criteria, other than, when viewed through today’s lens, that they all be as awesome as possible. This scandalous rundown of films ranges from bona fide classics (The Evil Dead, Possession) to top-tier trash (Evilspeak, Faces of Death.)


To mark the 30th Anniversary of the Video Nasties legacy — and to examine over the years how much the brand (in a literal sense) has become a badge of pride rather than a mark of shame — we’re not only going to offer almost thirty Video Nasty midnight shows in a row in October, but we’re also going to have a free screening of the brand-new documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape at the top of the month, to get everyone jazzed about the series, and to provide highly entertaining cultural background on the whole shebang.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Nightmare City: A Video Nasties Celebration”!

Cannibal Holocaust

The most impossibly Nasty of them all!
10/31/2012 - MIDNITE

Here it is, folks, in its ugly, all-too-human glory: the most impossibly nasty of all the Video Nasties, without question. Indeed, viewers who think they’ve seen it all will find Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust to be the closest thing to a genuine emotional “holocaust” ever captured in a fiction film. Its groundbreaking, pre-Blair Witch premise: when four arrogant American filmmakers disappear without a trace in the Amazon, a rescue team follows their bloody footsteps — only to recover the lost footage. While most cannibal films can be dismissed thanks to their kitschy special effects and laughable dialogue, this is a far more challenging and dangerous animal. Here, Deodato intentionally blurs the line between cinema and actual mondo doc filmmaking with great skill, brutally tearing preconceptions about Mondo Cane-style practices to shreds — with the verisimilitude of certain sequences causing the viewer to question the reality of everything else onscreen. Love it or hate it, this is an important, vital work; no other film has more horrifically captured the feeling of being lost in the middle of the wilderness, surrounded by forces whose only intent is to track you down and kill you. Its last fifteen minutes, made even more wrenching by Riz Ortolani’s rhapsodic score, have yet to be topped for sheer gut-punch nihilism. Potent and startling, grim and unrelentlessly nasty, Cannibal Holocaust will rip your dick off and shit on it.
Dir. Ruggero Deodato, 1980, 35mm, 96 min. (35mm print courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing)

Watch the trailer for “Cannibal Holocaust”!
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Don't Go In The House

Compulsively watchable, impossible to forget!
10/30/2012 - MIDNITE

Bleak, nasty, yet compulsively watchable and impossible to forget, this sick puppy (the only pyromaniac disco slasher film to date) belongs to the seamier side of that subgenre’s early days after Halloween, when it split into two camps — the audience-pleasing body count films like Friday the 13th, and the area into which this one falls: the grubby psychodrama with a dysfunctional protagonist killing in the most explicit, harrowing methods possible (see also: Maniac and Nightmares in A Damaged Brain). Here we have the sordid saga of a construction worker who’s the victim of a repeatedly abused past, and who, at the behest of whispering voices in his head, builds a stainless steel room in which he can — well, it ain’t pretty, and it’s the site of one of the most shocking, notorious scenes in sleaze-horror history. Every frame exudes that sinister atmosphere found in New York/New Jersey exploitationers from the same time, coupled with unpolished, weirdly convincing performances, and a handful of genuinely surreal shocks. Plus, the film’s got some seriously amazing disco songs that will wedge into your subconscious for days! A dangerous, but necessary film for those interested in the darkest corners of the American slash cycle.
Dir. Joseph Ellison, 1979, 35mm, 82 min.

Watch the trailer for “Don’t Go In The House”!
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The Last House on the Left

Essential viewing for Nasties fanatics!
10/29/2012 - MIDNITE

The definitive post-Manson generation-gap horror film, The Last House on the Left still remains, forty years on, one of the most offensive and off-putting cinematic experiences in the world. The non-porn feature film directorial debut of Wes Craven (the only director who, love him or hate him, has managed to redefine the entire genre at least once a decade), this gritty early exercise in suburban Connecticut guerrilla filmmaking stars David Hess, who’s completely amazing as the ringleader of a mentally defective band of grimy assholes who stumble upon easy prey: a sixteen-year-old girl looking to score some grass, who unwittingly leads them to back her parents’ backwoods home. Cue some legendary face-ripping horrendousness, by way of Bergman’s The Virgin Spring funneled through late Vietnam-era social malaise! Since its 1972 release, the revenge genre has gone through numerous permutations (including I Spit on Your Grave and Ms. 45), though the wrenching feeling evoked by the end of Craven’s film has never really been duplicated. Essential viewing for Nasties fanatics.
Dir. Wes Craven, 1972, 35mm, 84 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Last House on the Left”!
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Cannibal Ferox

A notorious vomitorium second to none!
10/28/2012 - MIDNITE

“The following feature is one of the most violent films ever made. There are at least two dozen scenes of barbaric torture and sadistic cruelty graphically shown. If the presentation of disgusting and repulsive subject matter upsets you, please do not view this film.”Cannibal Ferox opening credits warning

Simply one of the most appalling, appealing and amusing of the Italian cannibal movie cycle during the late-’70s and early-’80s. In NYC, a cadre of tough cops (led by porn actor Richard Bolla, a veteran of both Cannibal Holocaust and Debbie Does Dallas) hunts a notorious narcotics dealer (genre stalwart “John Morghen”, aka Giovanni Lombardo Radice), whilst plucky a grad student ventures into the South American jungle to prove for her thesis that cannibalism doesn’t exist. For brevity’s sake, let’s just say that the drug kingpin, the researcher and a torrent of terrorizing natives collide in a horrendous explosion of gross sex, dismemberment and human-feasting-on-human party pleasantries! This notorious vomitorium balances a repulsive amount of hyperbolic violence (a woman suspended on hooks through her breasts, castration, amputation, etc.) with a quasi-breezy tone that benefits from highly quotable, profane dialogue. Add to that a catchy, disco-tinged score by “Budy Maglione” and you’ve got a midnight oddity unlike any other.
Dir. Umberto Lenzi, 1981, 35mm, 93 min. (35mm print courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing)

Watch the trailer for “Cannibal Ferox”!
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Faces of Death (director in person!)

First L.A. screening for three decades!
10/26/2012 - MIDNITE

“On a thin budget and thinner expectations, [director John Alan Schwartz] would end up changing the way the world looked at mortality.” — “Faces Of Death: A Life”, Deadspin

“My classroom could be divided into two groups: the people who had seen ‘Faces of Death’ and were bragging about it, and the people who didn’t want to see it and thought it was disgusting.” — Ard Vijn, Twitch

It’s rare to witness the epitome of a cinematic form unfold in front of your eyes — and it’s even rarer to witness a 35mm screening of Faces of Death ANYWHERE in the world, so come share in the communal shock and disgust with us for the notorious film’s first L.A. theatrical screening in over thirty years — possibly ever! This late entry into the vaulted (and zestfully exploitative) “mondo” documentary genre takes the viewer on a guided tour through sickening file footage of real death captured on camera, plus ridiculously entertaining re-enactments of urban legends and other barfy stuff. The live execution, by electrocution? Check. The cannibalistic Satanic bacchanal? Double check. The eating of monkeys’ brains? Quadruple check!!!! In retrospect, Faces of Death has a homemade charm that few (if any) viewers picked up on in the Eighties, when the film first held potent power over dumbstruck pre-YouTube legions. Beneath the veneer of gagging rot, this little-engine-that-could has quite a heartfelt message: treasure your life, assholes, for it could all end any second! Widely imitated across the globe for decades but never topped, Faces of Death is rad. Director John Alan Schwartz will be here for a Q&A before the film!
Dir. John Alan Schwartz, 1978, 35mm, 105 min.

Watch the trailer for “Faces of Death”!

Nightmares In A Damaged Brain

God, this movie is so, so filthy.
10/25/2012 - MIDNITE

God, this movie is so, so filthy. One of the more infamous unrated gore films released in the wake of George Romero’s wildly successful Dawn of the Dead, Nightmares… is the kind of film tailor-made to get shredded to ribbons by trigger-happy censorship boards. A mental patient named George suffers from horrible nightmares, including a heck of a curtain raiser involving a severed woman’s head in his bed. After undergoing experimental treatment he’s unleashed into the public, and naturally goes on a slashing rampage, stalking a young single mom and her kids — setting the stage for an insane home invasion showdown. The gore scenes here are routine show-stoppers, and the sex couldn’t be more unsavory (including a pivotal kinky flashback no viewer has ever forgotten), but running interference is a hefty vein of unintentional comedy, thanks to Italian-born director Romano Scavolini’s odd view of American culture. Despite cuts mandated by the BBFC, Nightmares… was still branded as a video nasty, and became one of that period’s most legendary persecuted titles. Could it have all started with the original release’s grisly marketing campaign, asking theater patrons to guess the weight of a brain floating in a jar of liquid?
Dir. Romano Scavolini, 1981, 35mm, 97 min.

Watch the trailer for “Nightmares In A Damaged Brain”!
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The House on the Edge of the Park

A post-Last House David Hess-a-thon!
10/24/2012 - MIDNITE

Helmed by Ruggero Deodato (the ballsy dude behind Cannibal Holocaust), this claustrophobic shocker takes no prisoners as it spins a tale of party-crashing sleazebag mechanics taking prisoners at a posh condo. Riffing on Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left, Deodato puts Last House heavy David Hess center stage as the scenery-chewing brute hellbent on making life anti-peachy for the collection of shocked yuppies assembled in the ultimate Italo party pad. While Hess’ relentless performance — one which blithely spins out of control, as his character rapes and torments his hosts in an orgy of self-destruction — ultimately drives the film, Eurotrash fanatics will also thrill to the appearances of Cannibal Ferox alumnus Lorraine De Selle, Tenebrae‘s Christian Borromeo, and a bald black lady who’s possibly the foxiest of all bald black ladies throughout cinema. This magnum sickus, coated in a quasi-American visual gloss, is a rare delight, and remains a suitably stylized contribution to early ’80s shock filmmaking. They sure don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
Dir. Ruggero Deodato, 1980, 35mm, 91 min.

Watch the trailer for “The House on the Edge of the Park”!
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Fight For Your Life

It will burn your ass to the ground!
10/23/2012 - MIDNITE

While awash in playful gore and whimsical insanity, the Video Nasties canon is loaded with its fair share of moral button-pushers — and none are more willfully incendiary than the scandalous scum saga Fight For Your Life. One of the most un-PC films ever shot on American soil, this home invasion/revenge flick finds three escaped convicts holed up in the residence of a black preacher and his wholesome family. As the honky killers goad the hostage family with a nonstop tsunami of verbal race-hate diarrhea beyond all human tolerance, a spectacularly violent showdown is, of course, entirely in order. As the demented gang leader, William “I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl” Sanderson goes for broke in (what he probably didn’t realize in the moment was) the performance of a lifetime — committing so fully to the Asshole Of The Universe role that, once you’ve seen it, it’s impossible to distinguish his real-life persona from his onscreen role. Unforgettable in every sense of the word, this broadcast from another planet WILL BURN YOUR ASS TO THE GROUND!
Dir. Robert A. Endelson, 1977, 35mm, 82 min.

Watch the trailer for “Fight For Your Life”!
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A backstory as killer as its finale!
10/22/2012 - MIDNITE

Beneficiary of one of the most ingenious movie marketing schemes of the 20th century, the caustic oddity Snuff is a weird Frankenstein-ed beast, and has a backstory as killer as its freakish finale. Starting life as the unreleased flick Slaughter, the film is, up until its last minutes, the Manson-like tale of a South American biker cult leader (named “Satan”, BTW) and his murderous/topless hippie chick followers. Cool enough already, eh? Directed by infamous 42nd Street sleaze king Michael Findlay, Slaughter was years later acquired by Findlay’s distributor (and sometimes pornographer) Allan Shackleton, who commissioned a new ending: a complete 90-degree turn, filmed in vérité style, purporting to be documentary footage of the Slaughter film crew committing a real-life murder of an actress. Not just any killing, but rather one in which they split her open and toss her guts around like Christmas tinsel. Hiring fake protesters to picket theaters showing the film, Shackleton instigated such a juicy public outcry against this “real snuff film” that curious moviegoers had no choice but to queue up around the block and participate in the historic event. This October 22nd, relive the nauseous outrage with us, in an ultra-rare 35mm screening of this celebrated curio!
Dirs. Michael Findlay, Horacio Fredriksson & Simon Nuchtern, 1976, 35mm, 80 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome/Process Blue)

Watch the trailer for “Snuff”!
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Repulsive and extraordinary gut eating!
10/21/2012 - MIDNITE

Legendary Italian exploitationeer/pornographer Joe D’Amato (Emanuelle in America, Porno Holocaust) dug new depths of terror with his infamous gorefest Anthropophagus, a perennial favorite of old-school VHS bootleggers everywhere. A group of tourists that includes Video Nasty veterans Tisa Farrow (Mia’s sister, star of Fulci’s Zombie) and Zora Kerova (Cannibal Ferox) arrive on a small Greek island looking for fun in the sun. But it’s not all beautiful scenery and gorgeous villas; a hulking, deformed monstrosity played by co-screenwriter/memorable man-beast George Eastman (1990: The Bronx Warriors) is hungry and looking for prey. A surprisingly atmospheric addition to the Nasties list, the film uses its candle-lit corridors, ghostly dread-building and repulsive teeth-on-flesh ripping on its way to a genuinely shocking climax. Join us for a rare stateside 35mm unleashing of Anthropophagus on the Cinefamily screen! NOTE: our screening comes from the R-rated U.S. version of the film known as The Grim Reaper. We will be screening any scenes missing from the 35mm print on DVD after the film.
Dir. Joe D’Amato, 1980, 35mm, 87 min.

Watch the trailer for “Anthrophophagus”!
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Blood Feast

Blood-soaked 1960s chutzpah!
10/20/2012 - MIDNITE

How far are you willing to go? Mild-mannered sexploiteer Herschell Gordon Lewis answered this very question when he teamed with legendary huckster David F. Friedman to drop this visionary splatter bomb way back in 1963 (the same year Lawrence of Arabia cleaned up at the Oscars), forever changing cinema in the process, and directly influencing nearly every horror film that followed. An Egyptian caterer (and author of the book ‘Ancient Weird Religious Rites’) is hacking through the nubile underworld of a pre-CSI Miami, gathering body parts to pay tribute to his beloved Goddess Ishtar. Featuring more meat than your local butcher, and a Playboy Playmate (Connie Mason) not exactly known for her acting skills, Blood Feast is fueled with more blood-soaked chutzpah than had ever previously hit the drive-in circuit — and, in the intervening fifty years, has lost none of its power to disgust, shock and entertain. The original theatrical poster screams “NOTHING SO APPALLING IN THE ANNALS OF HORROR”, and we can’t help but agree as a rare 35mm print unspools on the Cinefamily screen IN BLOOD COLOR!
Dir. Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1963, 35mm, 67 min.

Watch the trailer for “Blood Feast”!
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The Beyond

The apex of the Fulci zombie canon!
10/19/2012 - MIDNITE

The apex of Lucio Fulci’s infamous and unbeatable zombie quartet (which also consists of Zombie, City of the Living Dead, and House by the Cemetery), The Beyond is a hallucinatory masterpiece that you’ll never forget. After an appropriately creepy sepia-tone prologue, we have the story of an abandoned Louisiana hotel under the care of a new owner from the Big City, who quickly realizes that the multiple unexplained and bizarre disturbances throughout the hotel are the result of its dark secret: a cryptic gateway to Hell housed somewhere within the property. All of Fulci’s most noteworthy collaborators attack this film full throttle, especially the amazing Sergio Salvati pumping up the atmospheric lighting across the scope frame, and Fabio Frizzi manipulating piano solos and electronics into a tremendous music score. More than any other Fulci film, The Beyond is a heartfelt poem for horror fans and, most importantly — a gory good show.
Dir. Lucio Fulci, 1981, 35mm, 89 min. (35mm print courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing)

Watch the trailer for “The Beyond”!
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Mardi Gras Massacre

First L.A. screening since the late 1970s!
10/18/2012 - MIDNITE

One of the rarest and most obscure titles of this Video Nasties journey — and we’re super-stoked to run it, in what’s quite possibly its first L.A. screening since the late ‘70s! But don’t just take our word for it; check out what our pal Joe Z. at Bleeding Skull has to say: “Mardi Gras Massacre is the disco-soaked story of a man, his rubbing oils, and the fully nude prostitutes and strippers that serve as his gore-strewn sacrifices to an Aztec god. The film has long been considered an homage to H.G. Lewis’s groundbreaking Blood Feast; however, it has little in common with Fuad Ramses’s supper plans. In the span of exactly 90 minutes, Mardi Gras Massacre weaves a gut-busting epic of illogical, dirt-cheap sleaze. All aspects of the film defile the bounds of common sense in the best of ways. Yes, even the air-keyboarding pimps, the gory hearts the size of cantaloupes, the fake slow-motion bar brawls, and the cop and the hooker who drink to “…ships that will pass in the night,” then partake of a “falling in love” montage before a VERY bad break-up. As tape echo sound effects trade blows with funkified People’s Court music cues, the ripple effect takes form. This is a tier of bizarre filmmaking that plays out so irrationally, it’s a wonder how it was ever conceived.”
Dir. Jack Weis, 1978, 35mm, 95 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive)

Watch a vintage TV spot for “Mardi Gras Massacre”!
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Driller Killer

Abel Ferrara, bloody pizza, holes in the head!
10/17/2012 - MIDNITE

“Darkly fascinating, as much a document of the late-’70s New York punk and pop-art scenes as it is a grindhouse plugger.” — Noel Murray, A.V. Club

One of the key reasons why the Video Nasties list exists (for both all the right and wrong reasons), independent film god Abel Ferrara’s first feature has risen to infamy based almost entirely on its title alone, but offers out-of-left-field stylish moments and Ferrara’s developing quirky sense of humor, in addition to its gritty despair. Starving, irritated artist Reno (Ferrara) lives in a squalid tenement surrounded by drunken derelicts (one of whom happens to be his father!) Plagued with nightmarish visions, Reno tenuously clings to sanity and his painting “career”, but when a punk band moves next door and starts playing around the clock, Reno snaps, darting around the nocturnal city streets and picking off bums with his electric hand drill. Striking a terrific balance between atmosphere and shock, Driller Killer is gruesomely effective on many arthouse levels — and features some of the most repulsive on-screen pizza eating ever filmed. You’re entirely welcome.
Dir. Abel Ferrara, 1979, 35mm, 96 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome/Process Blue)

Watch the trailer for “Driller Killer”!
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The Toolbox Murders

For nostalgic fans of extreme unease!
10/16/2012 - MIDNITE

A marvel of economical trash filmmaking, delivering a nonstop parade of T&A, tacky easy listening music, and one brutal dispatching after another from the hand of a psycho in a Torso-style ski mask who makes inventive use of his bottomless toolbox. Hammers, chisels, drills — and, in the most infamous moment of all, a nail gun applied to a beautiful bathing self-pleasurer — all set the tone for a near-plotless exercise in carnage, only for the story to abruptly swerve at the second-act pivot point into something resembling a sordid Tennessee Williams play, albeit one relocated to the San Fernando Valley, circa ’78. As well, since the film makes it plainly obvious who the killer is, director Dennis Donnelly resorts to other methods of holding the viewer’s attention — which mostly consists of letting the wonderfully hammy Cameron Mitchell rip into his role with full gusto, with one scene in particular that’s quite unlike anything else ever put on film: a jaw-dropping protracted dramatic exercise that comes completely out of left field. For nostalgic fans of extreme unease!
Dir. Dennis Donnelly, 1978, 35mm, 93 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive)

Watch the trailer for “The Toolbox Murders”!
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Night of the Bloody Apes

Cheesecake nudity and open-heart surgery!
10/15/2012 - MIDNITE

If H.G. Lewis had made a wrestling/killer monkey-man movie, it would have probably looked a lot like this! The funniest of the many sleaze epics generated over the years by Rene Cardona (the man behind such delicious anti-classics as Doctor of Doom and Santa Claus), this wacko gem starts off as an El Santo ripoff, and quickly veers into gory territory when innocent women are suddenly attacked by shirtless muscleman with an ape face — the result of a mad doctor who tries to reverse the effects of his son’s leukemia by giving him the heart of an ape (in graphic detail). While the film would already be compelling enough based on the sheer lunacy of its premise, Cardona spices up the proceedings with piles of cheesecake nudity, the aforementioned heart transplant (filmed during real-life open heart surgery), and killings that all contain gruesome close-ups of characters being dismembered, skinned, or otherwise abuse (all rendered in loving color.) On top of all this, the crazy dubbing just adds to the fun, as characters spout nonsensical observations right and left, turning the story into a maddening jumble. What’s not to love?
Dir. René Cardona, 1969, 35mm, 81 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive)

Watch the trailer for “Night of the Bloody Apes”!
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An emotional nuclear explosion!
10/14/2012 - MIDNITE

Capturing the energy generated when two people whose lives are so intensely fused and woven are forcibly split, Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 masterpiece Possession is an emotional nuclear explosion. If all we were given were its operatic and shamanistic performances by leads Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill, its impossible-to-describe music by Andrzej Korzynski, and Zulawski’s masterful, hyper-kinetical ballet of camera choreography — all delivered with the force of a a long-suppressed traumatic memory — then Possession would already be the best film about divorce ever filmed. But when the angels and demons of our inner nature are literally incarnated in phantasmagorical form — the kind requiring the talents of Oscar-winning creature FX master Carlo Rambaldi (who, instead of making a cutey-pie “E.T.”, concocts a tentacled Lovecraftian octo-sex-demon) — you have the kind of cathartic and entertaining experience that leads to movie-lover nirvanic bliss. Welcome to Possession, your new favorite movie.
Dir. Andrzej Zulawski, 1981, 35mm, 123 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Possession”! NOTE: this trailer lists screening dates from a previous Cinefamily run of the film. The actual Video Nasties screening date of “Possession” is Sunday, Oct. 14th.

The Evil Dead (brand-new 35mm print!)

The most invigorating Video Nasty of them all!
10/13/2012 - MIDNITE

Cinefamily is proud to present the uncut and explicit version of the most invigorating Video Nasty of them all, The Evil Dead! You can practically smell the blood, sweat and screams of video parties throughout Great Britain as Sam Raimi’s debut face-smasher conquered the nation, becoming the most-rented video of 1983 before being sidelined by the Video Recordings Act. Detailing five college students who unwittingly unleash demons while vacationing at an isolated cabin, The Evil Dead is a powerhouse of ingenuity, style and drive in the face of inexperience and low funding. Star Bruce Campbell sums it up: “Keep the pace fast and furious, and once the horror starts, never let up. ‘The gorier the merrier’ became our prime directive.” The film differs from its classic humor-laced sequels, though; it is genuinely vicious, while remaining viciously entertaining. Cinefamily is super-stoked to be the very first venue on earth to play Grindhouse Releasing’s brand-new 35mm print of The Evil Dead!
Dir. Sam Raimi, 1981, 35mm, 85 min. (35mm print courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing)

Watch the trailer for “The Evil Dead”!
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XTRO (last-known surviving 35mm print!)

Ultra-rare 35mm from Down Under!
10/12/2012 - MIDNITE

Ultra-rare 35mm print from Down Under — possibly the last known surviving print in the world! Both a gooey, twisted freak-out and a fevered potpourri of concepts, Harry Bromley Davenport’s notorious XTRO is a must-see for all fans of crazy shit. Playing out like a “best-of” the science fiction and horror genres, the film focuses on a young boy who witnesses his father being abducted by a light from the sky. Three years later, that light returns and plants a seed in the ground. That seed grows into a horrible creature. That creature then impregnates a woman. That woman then gives birth to a fully-formed version of the father, just as we last saw him. And that’s just the set-up! Cue the truly insane E.T.-ripoff-by-way-of-Carrie, balls-to-the-wall, family-drama-cum-outer-space-splatter stuff to follow! Technically, XTRO never officially landed on the Video Nasties list, but the film has famously been presumed to be for decades, and for good reason: Roger Ebert began his review of the film by stating that “XTRO is an ugly, mean-spirited and despairing thriller that left me thoroughly depressed.” So — that’s a bad thing?
Dir. Harry Bromley Davenport, 1983, 35mm, 84 min.

Watch the trailer for “Xtro”!
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The Burning

No summer camp slasher tops it!
10/11/2012 - MIDNITE

Friday the 13th may have gotten all the glory, but stab for stab, no summer camp slasher movie tops 1981′s The Burning. Notable for appearances by future stars Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander and (ahem) Fisher Stevens, this underappreciated classic put the Weinsteins on the map and was Tom Savini’s follow-up to his groundbreaking gore work in the original F13th. Drawing from the suburban folktales of the scarred killer “Cropsey”, The Burning concerns itself with a burnt, garden-shear-wielding maniac reaping unholy vengeance on campers for the scorching he suffered at the hands of a prank. Some truly memorable carnage ensues, including an infamous multiple murder on a canoe which routinely flays repertory movie crowds. But like summer camp, what you really take from The Burning is the memories (and maybe perhaps its Rick Wakeman original score), so grab your cutoff shorts and head on down to the lake with us for s’mores of gore. Be sure to write mom and dad that you’ll be home — in a bodybag! Fully uncut 35mm print!
Dir. Tony Maylam, 1981, 35mm, 91 min.

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Cannibal Apocalypse

A schizo genre-swapping early ‘80s thrillride!
10/10/2012 - MIDNITE

A schizo genre-swapping early ‘80s thrillride, featuring piles of well-done spurting gore, suburban sexual angst, biker gang viciousness, insane asylum realness, and elderly women running through the jungle while set on fire! Based on its name alone, it would of course be easy (and erroneous) to lump Cannibal Apocalypse into the exact same category as other frolicsome Italian sleazefests like Cannibal Holocaust, but Antonio Margheriti’s crackerjack horrorthon has way more in common with gritty, urban fare like Taxi Driver or Vigilante, with a layer of Rabid‘s virus panic horror on top. After an astoundingly entertaining opening involving John Saxon and his Green Beret death squad ambushing said old ladies in Vietnam with their flamethrowers, we flash forward to years later, when Saxon and some POWs he rescued back in the jungle all reunite, after discovering a mutual taste for ripping hunks of meat out of peoples’ faces with their teeth. Somewhere in the mix, there’s a vague explanation about a cannibal virus picked up by the POWs in Vietnam — but does it really matter?
Dir. Antonio Margheriti, 1980, 35mm, 91 min.

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The Funhouse

Tobe Hooper at his skin-crawling best!
10/9/2012 - MIDNITE

Tobe Hooper’s bid into the early ‘80s slasher game, The Funhouse finds the Texas Chainsaw Massacre auteur operating at his skin-crawling best. When a group of teens get it in their (soon to be decapitated) heads to spend the night in an amusement park after-hours, they get the price of admission and then some when they find themselves stalked by a killer in a Frankenstein mask. The Funhouse has way more up its sleeve than your standard stalk-n-slash however, as Hooper stages some genuinely disturbing voyeuristic scenes of wanton depravity that no doubt were the reasons the film landed on the infamous Video Nasties list. Really, the film is just a plain ol’ good time, and fans of a) slashers; b) Hooper; and c) horror in general owe it to themselves to see this in its gory glory on the big scream. Step right up and have your ticket ready — for the Funhouse!
Dir. Tobe Hooper, 1981, 35mm, 96 min.

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Visiting Hours

The legendary Canadian slasher freakout!
10/8/2012 - MIDNITE

As the only Canadian horror film to make the UK Director of Public Prosecution’s video nasty list, Visiting Hours showcases something infinitely more shocking than non-stop blood and guts: MICHAEL IRONSIDE (Scanners, Top Gun, Starship Troopers). Ironside full-throatedly plays a psychotic misogynist intent on silencing feminist journalist Lee Grant (who looks genuinely bewildered throughout.) When the initial attack sends the outspoken reporter to the hospital, the true horror begins. Ominous phone calls, sharp objects, dark hallways, sweaty Ironside close-ups and pudding-eating William Shatner make Visiting Hours a classic ‘80s psycho-slasher that demands late-night, dark room viewing. When the film inadvertently became the first Video Nasty to be shown on UK television in 1989, the station was vociferously rebuked, highly scandalized and heavily fined. See why tonight in 35mm!
Dir. Jean-Claude Lord, 1982, 35mm, 105 min.

Watch the teaser trailer for “Visiting Hours”!

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Dead & Buried

From the director of Vice Squad!
10/7/2012 - MIDNITE

From the directorial genius who brought you both the ‘80s urban grimesploitation classic Vice Squad and the ‘70s subterranean zombie chompfest Raw Meat — and from the pen of the creator of both Alien and Return of the Living Dead! Oh, yeah, and with SFX by Stan Winston too! The sheriff of a sleepy New England town makes all kinds of exaggerated upset faces when the local populace begins engaging in mass homicide. It seems that every other citizen in Potter’s Bluff is in on the dirty doin’s, including Robert “Freddy” Englund, all-American dreamgirl Lisa Blount and a charmingly feeble 90-year-old undertaker who couldn’t be more pleased by the sudden increase in his revenue. Though the film unfolds with Bradbury-esque fairytale weirdness, there’s more than a few bucketfuls of shocking gore, including a downright brain-curdling showdown between a hypodermic needle and an eyeball. Blecccchhh!!!
Dir. Gary Sherman, 1981, 35mm, 92 min.

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Argento at the top of his game!
10/6/2012 - MIDNITE

Foregoing conventional logic for pure nightmare dreamscape, Inferno finds director Dario Argento at the top of his game, and is the second film in his “Three Mothers” trilogy (directly following Suspiria.) An American college student in Rome (Leigh McCloskey, frequent soap opera heartthrob and star of the infamous TV movie Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn) is called to New York to help his poet sister investigate the mysterious & supernatural history of her building. The threadbare plot serves as a springboard for some of Argento’s wildest set pieces (the underwater ballroom!), most imaginative use of light and color, and continued exploration of visual alchemy propelled by a raging soundtrack (this time by Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson). Featuring the final collaborative work of Italian grandmaster Mario Bava, Inferno is easily one of the most beautiful films in the Video Nasties canon — so don’t miss it loud ‘n large in 35mm!
Dir. Dario Argento, 1980, 35mm, 107 min.

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Tasteless and utterly watchable!
10/5/2012 - MIDNITE

Horror movies about teens with supernatural powers have been with us for a long time, but Evilspeak adds juicy novelty, thanks to: a) the Wargames-era presence of a bulky home computer as a gateway to Satan; b) a military school setting where sadism is already encouraged; and c) rampaging, bloodthirsty devil pigs. All of this mayhem is orchestrated by put-upon cadet Stanley (Clint Howard), a kid so unbearably schlubby that even his teachers don’t like him. When they finally push him too far, the ruling elite get theirs thanks to a flying, demon-eyed Howard (who’s discovered the school was founded by a lord of darkness) and some of the decade’s tastiest gore scenes, including a show-stopping sword impalement. Complete with that unmistakable early ‘80s aura and the battiest treatment of a cute puppy in cinema history, this is the kind of tasteless, utterly watchable celluloid gold they just don’t make anymore.
Dir. Eric Weston, 1981, 35mm, 89 min.

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Razors! Rape! REVENGE!
10/4/2012 - MIDNITE

Razors! Rape! REVENGE! Axe is a perverse blast of chintzy, art-horror realism that no one eulogizes, but everyone should. In other words, it’s one of the best kept secrets in vintage exploitation. Lisa and her paralyzed grandfather live in a desolate Gothic home. A few rapist-killers stop by for a visit. Guns are waved. Demands are made. Everyone acts like a stoned extraterrestrial. Then, Lisa grabs her AXE! Towing a fine line between affecting techniques and disorientating mood, Axe is an amalgam of gritty, exploitive joy. It’s like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining was relocated to the town from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then given a makeover by Jean Rollin. With lots of synths. Crafted with confidence by director Frederick Friedel (Kidnapped Coed) and produced by sleaze kingpin Harry Novak, Axe is one of the most notable and unique obscurities in this wild ‘n wooly Video Nasty canon. Our screening is introduced by Video Nasties expert David Gregory (Severin Films)!
Dir. Frederick R. Friedel, 1977, 35mm, 72 min.

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The Witch Who Came From The Sea

Sanity disintegration and castration mania!
10/3/2012 - MIDNITE

The most colorful trip about about a waitress’ psychological disintegration into castration mania ever committed to the screen! Millie Perkins (The Shooting, The Diary of Anne Frank) plays the tormented woman, whose repressed memories of childhood abuse begin to surface in some pretty undesirable ways, compelling her to pick up a razor and go after some of the men she sees on TV everyday. The Witch who Came from the Sea could certainly have never been made in a Hollywood studio context, and it’s a gigantic anomaly even among drive-in films; while it was marketed (when it was marketed at all) as a psychotic slasher film, it doesn’t really slip easily into any single genre, for it has as much Repulsion and Persona in it as Psycho. Thanks to a poetic touch, striking Malibu-shot visuals (courtesy of expert scope cinematographer Dean Cundey in his first major job), and a fine central performance from Perkins, Witch avoids sliding into either grindhouse sleaziness or unbearable pretension. And it’s completely, unforgettably messed up!
Dir. Matt Cimber, 1976, 35mm, 88 min.

Watch the trailer for “Witch Who Came From The Sea”!

Hell of the Living Dead

Insane Italian gut-munching!
10/2/2012 - MIDNITE

While Fulci’s zombiefests were busy traumatizing audiences around the world, Bruno Mattei’s insane Hell of the Living Dead rode along in their wake, to become one of the most ridiculously entertaining Italian gut-munchers of the early ‘80s. A chemical lab in New Guinea is sent into an uproar when two of its workers accidentally unleash a plague, thanks to interference of a pesky rat. Rampant flesh-eating madness ensues as this company, designed to provide for its third world environment, instead unleashes zombies on the jungle-dwelling populace. In a desperate, zero-budget attempt to patchwork together a hit that would ape Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (right down to cribbing its Goblin score, along with a handful of the band’s other cues from fellow Italo-schlockslinger Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination), Mattei throws just about everything against the wall here to see what might stick: a little mondo footage, some nudity, some city mayhem, jungle mayhem, and in the oddest bit during the climax, one character turned into a human puppet, years before Peter Jackson did the same bit with Brain Dead. This film is madness — and it is fun.
Dirs. Bruno Mattei & Claudio Fragasso, 1980, 35mm, 101 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive)

Watch the trailer for “Hell of the Living Dead”!
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Night Warning

Essential headscratching wackiness!
10/1/2012 - MIDNITE

Part of the pleasure in arranging a month’s worth of Video Nasties in order of ascending “Nastiness” is that, at the beginning, a few of our favorites are bound to cause the sublime question: “Why on earth did the U.K. government ever think that this film was dangerous enough to be banned?” We’ll never know the answer, but thankfully it gives us an excuse to bring you Night Warning, a prime vehicle for the late, great Susan Tyrrell. Elfin, tawdry, foul-mouthed, and consummately theatrical, Tyrrell was once referred to by Pauline Kael as “an entire school of acting” — and once referred to by Rex Reed as having “a body like an unmade bed.” Here, Tyrrell creates a raging character that is impossible to ignore, and yet is strangely lovable in her totally misguided intentions. When lonely Cheryl sees that her only source of happiness, her nephew Billy (Jimmy McNichol), is about to grow up and leave for college, it sets about a series of increasingly deranged acts resulting in murder — and worse! Her mania is matched by Bo Svenson as a homophobic detective willing to ignore or manipulate evidence to prove his assertion that Billy is a gay psychopath. Essential headscratching wackiness.
Dir. William Asher, 1982, 35mm, 96 min.

Watch the trailer for “Night Warning”!

FREE SCREENING - Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape

Free screening of Video Nasties doc!
10/1/2012 - 10PM

“…this film isn’t just relevant to horror fans; this is a film that is relevant to every adult human being. It is a lesson and a warning about the nature of censorship, and the very real threats it presents to civil liberty.” – Ben Bussey, Brutal as Hell

What better way to kick off one of the most insane film series Cinefamily’s ever done than with the definitive documentary about the series’ subject? Prepare to be corrupted and depraved by this exhaustive guide to the Video Nasties phenomenon — one of the most extraordinary and scandalous eras in the history of British film. This critically-acclaimed doc features interviews with British horror filmmakers Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday) and Christopher Smith (Severance, Black Death), alongside the UK government officials on the other side of the Nasties controversy, and rare archive footage featuring James Ferman (director of the BBFC 1975-1999) & Mary Whitehouse. Taking in the explosion of home video, the erosion of civil liberties, the introduction of draconian censorship measures, hysterical press campaigns and the birth of many careers born in blood and videotape, this important film also reflects on the influence this peculiar era still exerts on us today. This screening is a free-admission event (first-come, first-served!)
Dir. Jake West, 2010, digital presentation, 72 min.

Watch the trailer for “Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape”!
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