Saturday, June 30, 2012

Phil attends the 15th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival: Day Two, Part One: The Murray Glass Films-June 30, 2012

Hello my friends, and welcome to day two of my trip to the Broncho Bill Silent Film Festival at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum at the historic Edison Theater in the Niles District of Fremont! After last night's show, I couldn't wait to travel back in time when silent films still reigned supreme! And to make things interesting, I'll be posting my blogs immediately after each program screening, so I can provide all of you the play by play of the festival! Let's begin shall we?

For the 12:30pm show, the museum hosted an amazing interview with the great Murray Glass, founder of the Em Gee Film Library. The interview was conducted by film historian David Shepard. Glass talked about his early days when he first started collecting film prints while working as a chemist. After several years of collecting films and receiving requests from academic scholars asking to borrow his prints, Glass quit his day job and started working full time on his once called "hobby." His library consisted of over 6,500 film prints, mostly silent films. After 50 years of film collecting, preservation, and making his films available for screening all over the world, Glass retired and donated his vast film collection to the museum. After the interview, Glass participated in a Q&A session with the audience. The museum president Dorthy Bradley presented Glass with an award for his lifetime dedication to film preservation and made him an honorary member of the Essanay Museum.

After a brief ten minute break, the show continued with a surprise short film from Glass:

BEN HUR (1907): Starring Herman Rottger as the Ben Hur and future cowboy star William S. Hart as Messala, this was the very first film version of Lew Wallace's novel. Though only 15 minutes long, the film The focused on the chariot race, which was actually filmed on a beach in New Jersey (most films were made on the East Coast) and had local firemen playing the charioteers and the horses that normally pulled the fire wagons pulling the chariots. It was very interesting to see and quite fun to watch! Hard to believe that this was the very first adaptation and I along with the audience got to see this very rare gem! The film was released by the Kalem Film Company on December 7, 1907.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1920)
The main feature of the program was SILK HUSBANDS AND CALICO WIVES (1920).  The film focuses on an up and coming lawyer Deane Kendall (House Peters), who has some very old fashion ideas about a woman's place in the home and in society. Of course this doesn't stop the love of his life Edith (Mary Alden) from marrying him. But when Deane begins to move up in society, she must be able to keep up with him or else she lose him to another woman named Georgia Wilson (Eva Novak). The film was directed by Alfred E. Green, who went on to direct other silent films like 1921's THROUGH THE BACK DOOR and LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY (both starring Mary Pickford), 1925's SALLY with Collen Moore, and 1927's TWO GIRLS WANTED starring Janet Graynor. Peter also acted in films like Cecil B. DeMille's THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST, 1922's THE STORM, and a film that was shown here at the museum last year, RAFFLES: THE AMATEUR CRACKSMITH. The film was distributed by Garson Studios in 1920.

And that was it for the early afternoon show! At the 3:30pm show the museum will be screening Broncho Billy films made here in Niles! So make sure you come on down and check out all the fun! If you'd like to come check out the festival, be sure to visit the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the 15th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival: Day One-June 29, 2012

It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year, but it's that time again. The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's Annual Broncho Billy Film Festival kicked off today and boy what a kick off it was! There was a gala reception at the Fremont Bank building here in Niles. Afterwards, the crowd then headed over to the Edison Theater, the home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. The show began with introductions by the museum's historian, author, and projectionist David Kiehn and by world renown film historian and preservationist David Shepard. On the piano tonight was the amazing Frederick Hodges.

The night began with the short film ARRIVAL OF ESSANAY IN NILES. This short film was shot during the big 100th Anniversary of Broncho Billy and the Essanay Studio coming to Niles back on April 1st. The film was shot on 35mm in both black and white and in color. The film was an reenactment of that very special historical event and was shot using the very same film cameras that were used back in the silent film era!

Theatrical Movie Poster (1913)
The main feature of the night was a film entitled ATLANTIS. This long, lost, and little seen film is based on author Gerhart Hauptmann's novel, which was published just before the sinking of the Titanic! Filmed in Denmark, the movie tells the tale of a Dr. Friedrich Kammacher (Olaf Fønss) who travels to the United States in search of a cure for his ailing wife. While traveling aboard the the SS Roland, he meets and fall in love with a dancer named Ingigerd (Ida Orloff). Their romance is cut short with the tragic sinking of their ocean liner after it strikes an unseen object at sea. Released only one year after the sinking of the Titanic, the movie drew considerable attention as well as criticism due to similarities to the actual tragedy. The print shown was a 35mm print and it looked incredible! Very interesting set ups and silhouette shots and scenes actually shot in a lifeboat out on the water were all very impressive. It's interesting to compare this film to what was transpiring in the film industry here in America. The same year that this film was released, Broncho Billy Anderson was still riding around in the hills of Niles Canyon. At 144 minutes, the film was a fantastic and great discovery for me to see! The film was distributed by Nordisk Film Kompagni on December 26, 1913.

Now originally the museum was going to show three 1912 Biograph short films before ATLANTIS: THE NEW YORK HAT starring America's Sweetheat Mary Pickford, THE MUSKETEERS OF PIG ALLEY with Lillian Gish, and THE TOURISTS starring Mabel Normand. Since the film was over 2 hours long, a vote was taken and it was decided to show just one of the shorts. Now THE TOURISTS was a one-reeler short and featured funny girl Mabel Normand and her friends who miss their bus and hang out visiting a local Native Indian town. But when Mabel becomes too friendly with their Chief, his wife wants her scalp! Overall very politcally incorrect and hilariously funny! The film was released to theaters on February 18, 1912.

What a great why to kick off the film festival! There are still more shows on both Saturday and Sunday, so come on down and join me at the Edison Theatre. To view the festival film schedule and to purchase tickets, visit the museum's website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Phil sees PROMETHEUS in 3D at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-June 17, 2012

The following film has been kept in secrecy since the very beginning. Rumors spread all over the internet, in chatrooms, on Twitter, Facebook, horror blogs, and movie websites. But when is was revealed that director Ridley Scott, the man who healmed such iconic films such as BLADE RUNNER, LEGEND, THELMA & LOUISE, GLADIATOR, AMERICAN GANGSTER, the list is endless. Then rumors started to spread that the film was a prequel to ALIEN, Scott's 1979 horror/sci-fi classic. With each new information that was released, the anticipation for the film grew and grew. Now it has been released, and I had the pleasure of seeing PROMETHEUS in 3D at the Camera 7 in the Pruneyard Campbell.

In the year 2089, archaeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a series of star maps among several unrelated ancient cultures, a kind of invitation to come and visit. With the financing of a mega-corporation called Weyland Industries, they and a team of scientists and soldiers travel aboard the spacecraft Prometheus to answer the mysteries of life and discover the origins of man. Their ship finally arrives on the planet in 2092 and the crew awakens from their two-year slumber and are greeted by Weyland Industries executive Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and the ship's faithful robot servant David (Michael Fassbender). However, once the crew begins to explore the ancient ruins, they soon discover that the answers they seek have deadly answers.

Scott's directing is beautiful. Just beautiful. The film is just visually stunning. Watching one of Scott's films is like admiring a painting; it really does take your breath away. He makes directing look so damn easy, but like a great painter, his brushstokes are precise and engaging. The atmosphere of the film is also beautiful as well as haunting and ominous. We aren't sure what to expect, and Scott very carefully escorts us on this journey. And we don't even hesitate to ask where he's taking us.

What I also liked about the film is that it explores many philosophical and deep meaning questions that we have been asking since the dawn of man. It explores the questions like "Why are we here?" "Where do we come from?" "Are we alone in the universe?" The film also invokes topics that never crossed my mind; Do other life forms believe in religion? Are we descendants of these visitors? And if we are, where does God fit in the equation? And also would we still believe in Him and the various religions? Would you ask them the same age old questions as well? Now maybe I'm reading too much into the film, but these are ideas that I found within the film. Whether these were intentional or accidental, one has to wonder if Scott and his screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof knew what they were doing.

The acting in the film was above average. Some of the secondary characters were one-dimensional and I didn't care what happened to them. But that's their purpose; to that we'll invest in the main players. Fassbender does a fine job of portraying David; sharp, mysterious, and at times funny. With this role, he continues a very long tradition of actors portraying robots in the ALIEN series. Fassbender has been one very busy actor as of late. This is his third film so far this year! (The other two were Cronenburg's A DANGEROUS METHOD and the indie sex drama SHAME) Also making her presence known is Rapace. Internationally known as Lisbeth Salander in the original GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO trilogy, her first Hollywood film was SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS, which was released back in January. While her character Elizabeth (how ironic) is no Ripley, she does her best and holds her own in the film's many obstacles, including the gut-wrenching aliens that she and her crew discover.

While not officially a prequel to the ALIEN franchise, it is speculated that the "Space Jockey" that Ripley and her crew discover in Scott's first ALIEN film is the same one found here. Now, Scott has stated that the film shares "strands of ALIEN's DNA, so to speak", and while it takes place in the same universe, the film stands on its own and explores its own mythology.

Now the only negativity I have about the film is the use of 3D for it. In my opinion, this gimmick was totally unnecessary. Scott's film didn't require this gimmick at all, and to whomever thought it this was a good idea, let me say this: It wasn't a good idea! All his films are works of art and to use the 3D gimmick is an insult to the man and his talents.

Overall, PROMETHEUS is a visually stunning and haunting film that takes the ALIEN mythology that Scott created decades ago and transforms it into something totally new and different! It is a film that really explores our questions and fears, and at the same time gives us some chills to terrify us with. But avoid seeing it in 3D, and instead use that money you saved to buy more popcorn. Four out of five stars!

PROMETHEUS is playing in both 2D and 3D in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Phil sees ROCK OF AGES at the Camera 7 Pruneyard Campbell-June 17, 2012

So it's been a while since I've seen a cool musical, and I'm not counting the screening of REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA that I attended last month at the Big Wow! Comicfest. The reason being is because that film was a rock opera. I'm talking about a straight ahead, singing and dancing, make your feet tap and your booty shaking in your seat musical. So for today I ventured out to the Camera 7 in the Pruneyard in Campbell to see ROCK OF AGES, the newest film by HAIRSPRAY director Adam Shankman.

Based on Chris D'Arienzo's Broadway show, the film is set in 1987 and opens on a young girl named Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough), who travels from her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a famous singer. Immediantly arriving in LA, she is mugged and her suitcase full of inspirational rock records is stolen. However, coming to her aid is another rock'n'roll dreamer by the name of Drew Boley (Diego Boneta), who just so happens to work at The Bourbon Room (a hybrid of The Viper Room and The Whiskey), a popular nightclub on the Sunset Strip. Drew convinces his boss and club owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin), and his right-hand man, Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand) to hire Sherrie as their new waitress. While our two love birds sing and dance their way into each other's hearts, the club is preparing to book the hard rock band Arsenal in hopes of raising enough money to clear up their debt. Another reason for this show is that this will be their final show before its enigmatic lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) moves on to his solo career, thanks to the advise of his manager Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti). But leading the charge against Jaxx and the Bourbon Room is Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the religious conservative wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston). She plans on organizing her church to protest in front of the Bourbon Room in an insane attempt to shut them down and to rid L.A. of its "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" image.

Shankman did a fabulous job with directing and choreographing his last film HAIRSPARY, and he repeats himself with this film. It's fun, well paced, and is filled with several 80's fist-pumping metal and hard rock classics. Country singer Hough plays Sherrie spot on: sweet, funny, down home Southern accent, and a nice set of pipes that makes you take notice. While she has only appeared in two other films (BURLESQUE and the 2011 remake FOOTLOOSE), Hough looks to be going places. Her fresh face look and singing chops mesh perfectly with Boneta's, who is known for his TV roles on 90210 and Pretty Little Liars. Their duet of "Jukebox Hero" inside of the Tower Records store (I really miss them) is totally bad ass! And by melding it into a melody with Baldwin and Brand's cover of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock'N'Roll" only made it that much more rockin'!

But to be fair, one individual rocked out the hardest. Now, I am not a big Tom Cruise fan. Really, I'm not. Oh sure I liked his earlier films like RISKY BUSINESS and TOP GUN. And I did like his performance as Senator Jasper Irving in LIONS FOR LAMBS, but I never went out of my way to see one of his starring films. But I have to admit, Cruise really rocked out in this film. I would have to say that his performance as Stacee Jaxx was part Jim Morrison of the Doors, part Axel Rose, and part Jon Bon Jovi. There is no trace of Tom Cruise in the film. There is only the Rock God Stacee Jaxx! And speaking of great performances, Zeta-Jones channels Tipper Gore for her role as the righteous Patricia Whitmore. Also look for cameo appearances from director Eli Roth, former Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach, former Extreme guitarist/vocalist Nuno Bettencourt, REO Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin, and believe it or not, Debbie Gibson!

All in all, ROCK OF AGES is a head banging, rock'n'roll good time! So if you lived in L.A. on The Strip back in the 80's (or you wish you had), this might take you back to the good 'ol days when hairspary, eyeliners, spandex, and hard rock ruled! Four out of five stars!

ROCK OF AGES is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Phil attends the 5th Annual A NIGHTMARE TO REMEMBER INTERNATIONAL HORROR FILM FESTIVAL hosted by Miss Misery at the Opera Plaza Cinema Theater-June 16, 2012

This past Saturday night I was very fortunate and extremely privileged to be invited to the 5th Annual A Nightmare To Remember International Horror Film Festival, held at the Opera Plaza Cinema Theater in San Francisco. The festival is organized and  hosted by the talented Reyna Young, better know to all of us here in the Bay Area as horror film hostess Miss Misery. She has appeared on local television shows, such as the late night horror show Creepy KOFY Movie Time on KOFY Channel 20-Cable 13 and at conventions all throughout Northern California. She started the festival back in 2008 to bring local, nationwide, and international independent horror short films here to the Bay Area.

The night began with horror fans meeting some famous celebrities in the theater's lobby. There was the great John Stanley who, along with his late predecessor Bob Wilkins, hosted the legendary local television show Creature Features. Scream Queen Debra Lamb, who has appeared in classic B-horror films such as EVIL SPIRITS, THE INVISIBLE MANIAC, BEVERLY HILLS VAMP, and the upcoming horror film DISCIPLES, was the celebrity judge for tonight's event. Also attending were two very special guests: actress Devanny Pinn (NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS, SONG OF THE SHATTERED, and DIARY OF DEATH) and actor/writer/director Brandon Sleagle (VIViD, THE LOCALS, and THE MASK THAT THE MONSTERS WEAR). Also in attendance was independent filmmaker Dave Reda (BIT PARTS, MY UNDEADLY short film). After hanging out with both filmmakers and movie goers, Miss Misery begun tonight's horror festival.

The show began with some very cool trailers: AMERICAN MUMMY by writer/director Charles Pinion (which will be in 3D), BEAUTY BITES by filmmaker Shane Maus, and THE DEVIL'S CARNIVAL by director Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich, the creative team that brought us the cult hit REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. After these cool trailers, the short films were shown!

First film up was BAPTISM BY FIRE. The film's about two injured soldiers Isaac (Charles Solis) and Oscar (Sam Salter) recovering in a military hospital. Issac is haunted by the casualties of war and what he has done.  Then one night Issac is visited by his former comrade Piggy (Raymond Garland), who was left behind by Issac and his platoon to die. But Piggy survived and now wants revenge Isaac. The film was directed by Craig Surko and it contains some interesting ideas, such as the psychological ramifications of those who fought in wars and the guilt that they carry with them long after the shooting stops. Creepy and atmospheric, this was a great film to start the festival off with. To learn more about the film, visit its official website at

Festival Movie Poster (2011)
The second film screened was DOLL PARTS, a visually haunting and disturbing film by director Karen Lam. The film follows a serial killer named Edward (David Lewis) who while driving on a lonely stretch of road picks up a female hitchhiker (Sarah Lind). He ties her up, kills her and rapes her dead body. However there's just one problem: she's not dead! And she's not exactly human! Boasting some great acting, very cool gore and amazing special effects, this was one fantastic short film! Can't wait to see more from director Lam! To learn more about Lam's films and future projects, visit her official website at

Third film shown was Reda's MY UNDEADLY. In the film a woman is being stalked by an undead zombie, but this awesome horror/comedy has a fun twist ending that made the audience laugh! For those who wish to spice things up in the bedroom, take notes from this film! Reda wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the film along with scream queen Michelle Tomlinson. A cool bonus trivia: the film was shot in the original Michael Myer's house that was used in the original HALLOWEEN! Overall a great short film! To learn more about Reda and his production company Elftwin Films, visit their official website at

Film number four for the night was THE HAUNTED SHIP. Created by Alex Zinzopoulos, Jack Skyyler, and Joel Brook, the film's about four friends who break into the U.S.S. Salem, known as the "Sea Hag." Once inside, they soon discover that the rumors about the ship being haunted are true and must survive until dawn. The film was shot in both narrative as well as POV, with the last being influenced by the 1999 film THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. In my humble opinion, the found footage idea has been done to death. However in this case, the amalgam of both of these styles proved somewhat effective, and the film does contained some believable acting. Also known as INFESTED SHIP, the filmmakers are in production of turning this short film into a full length feature. To learn more about the film and its directors, visit their website at

Festival Movie Poster (2011)
The fifth film of the festival was one of my favorite films of the night! Directed by Patrick Rea, HELL WEEK is about a fraternity pledge named Luke (Jerod Meagher) who finds himself tied up and at the mercy of three scorned sorority sisters: Aubrey (Molly Anderson), Mitzi (Meg Saricks), and Marla (Tasha Smith). This beautifully directed film was very slick looking, contained great production values, brilliant acting, and a killer soundtrack. Now this what a short film should be! To learn about the film and about the production company SenoReality Pictures, visit their website at

The sixth film of the night was THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT, directed by April Wright. Kenny (Taylor Gerard Hart) is the new parking lot security guard on the graveyard shift. All seems going well until a woman (Jenna Johnson) overdoses in her car on his watch, but things are not what they appear to be. I had the privilege of meeting Wright years ago when her film LAYOVER was screened at the Cinequest Film Festival. With this film, she does an effective job of creating mood and some chills. To learn more about Wright and her films, visit her official website at

Festival Movie Poster (2012)
Film number seven was another one of my favorites screened. Imported all the way of Spain, PROFESSOR BROFMAN was one funny horror/comedy! In the film, Brofman (Bruto Pomeroy) is called in the dead of night by a married woman (Lló Venturini) who suspects that her husband (Paco Maestre) is a vampire. And what role does the young, busty, and sexy maid Doncella (Beatriz Olivares) have in this scenario? The whole film is played for laughs, and comes complete with musical numbers, a love triangle, and a midget playing a ukulele! What more do you need? To learn more about the film, visit its official website at

The eight film up was the abysmal JESSICA, directed by Jason Mills. Inspired by true events, basically the film is about a young girl named Jessica who becomes possessed at a Bible Camp. She runs away. The camp counselors follow her. She stops. They stop. She then turns back to normal. Everyone is happy and relieved. The End. This was the worst film of the night. It contained no real plot, no character development, it had nothing. So if this was based on true events, then what was the whole point of the devil possessing Jessica in the first place? Why was this film made I have no idea, but it was totally unnecessary.

PHOTO was the ninth film screened and was my third favorite film at the festival. Directed by J. Enrique Sánchez, this suspenseful thriller (also from Spain) tells the story of a photographer (Juanjo Artero) and his customer (Patxi Freytez). The film's tag line is, "He only needed one photo. A good one." The film has a TWILIGHT ZONE ending to it, which was a complete surprise and the look of it was polished and well made. Overall a great film! To learn more about the film, visit its official website at

Festival Movie Poster (2012)
The tenth film screened was a favorite among the audience, and it was my absolute favorite as well! FAMILIAR tells the story of John Dodd (Robert Nolan), a middle aged man who is looking for a way out of his mundane life and to escape from his work and his family: wife Charlotte (Astrida Auza) and his daughter Jordan (Cathryn Hostick). He hears a voice in his head and believes (as well as we the audience) it's his inner thoughts. He begins to act on them, but he soon discovers to his horror that the voice he's hearing may not be his after all. Director Richard Powell did an outstanding job with this film. The film is scares us right from the start, giving the audience chills that stay with them during the course of the film. Nolan also deserves a worthy note for creating one of the most disturbed and chilling characters in cinema, the like not seen since Norman Bates in PSYCHO. It was truly the gem of the night! This dark psychological creeper of a flick is required viewing! FYI: The film was also recently reviewed in the Canadian Horror magazine Rue-Morgue (June issue #123 to be exact). To learn more about the film and all future project from Fatal Pictures, visit their website at

The last film of the festival was LADY IN THE KITCHEN. Directed by Boi Campbell and Gino Oddone, the film stars Victoria Gauthier and is supposedly set in the 1980's (check out that aerobics attire and those big earrings). While cooking up something in the kitchen, she hears a strange sound coming from the kitchen sink. Is the garbage disposal backed up, or is it something else? Something demonic? This very short film (a whopping two minutes!) was quick, fun, and cool, with a nice blood soaked homage to FLASHDANCE at the end!

Devanny Pinn, Miss Misery, & Brandon Sleagle
After the screenings, Miss Misery called up both Devanny Pinn and Brandon Sleagle to receive their Miss Misery Coffin Statues and to screen trailers from films that they have collaborated on together: AREA 51 CONFIDENTIAL, VIViD, and SONG OF THE SHATTERED. Also receiving a coffin awards were Debra Lamb for work in independent horror films and the great John Stanley. Immediately thereafter, Miss Misery handed out the awards tonight's film winners: In third place was Reda's MY UNDEADLY, second place was PROFESSOR BROFMAN, and taking first place was, no surprise here, FAMILIAR! Miss Misery also handed out some very cool prizes for the audience, such as toys, graphic novels and passes to her horror convention coming this September. More on that in a little bit. After it was all over, everyone meet up in lobby were our winners and filmmakers posed for pictures for fans and photographers.

Overall the festival was a complete success! And I for one cannot wait for next year's fest! For those of you who wish to learn more about Miss Misery, visit her website at To learn more about her company Last Door Productions, and all her future projects, please visit Also as I previously touched on earlier,  Miss Misery will be hosting her Days Of Terror Sacramento Horror Convention at the Scottish Rite Center on September 28th and 29th. So make sure you mark these days on your calender! To learn more about the convention, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Phil attends the Cult Movie screening of GHOSTBUSTERS at the Camera 3 Downtown San Jose-June 14, 2012

Hello my fellow cult fanatics and welcome to Month Five of the Cult Movie Series here at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose! So for tonight's cult film they screened Ivan Reitman's 1984 comedy classic GHOSTBUSTERS. Once again yours truly was the host for tonight's screening. Another great addition for tonight's show was that this was a 35mm print that was being screened! This print came from the vaults of Universal Studios! Prizes were donated by Streetlight Records and by Time Tunnel Toys, both located here in San Jose. There were also yummy donuts to eat, courtesy of Psycho Donuts located in the lobby.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1984)
OK folks, if I have to explain the film to you, then I am very concerned for you! The film was a commercial hit when it was first released by Universal Studios on June 8, 1984. The film was directed by Ivan Reitman (father of director Jason Reitman) and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three university parapsychologists in New York City, who get ousted and become Ghostbusters. Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts also co-star in the film. There, so that's the plot of the film in a nutshell. Now go see the damn movie people!

It was another great crowd for the Cult Movie series show! Next month's cult film is director  Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster JURASSIC PARK, which will be shown on Thursday, June 19th at 9:30pm and again on Saturday, June 21st at midnight, so mark these days on your calender and come out and have some cult movie fun! To view the rest of the Cult Movie Series schedule, visit the Camera Cinemas website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil goes Porno Chic: Phil celebrates the 40th Anniversary of DEEP THROAT-June 12, 2012

Hello again and welcome back to another installment of Phil Goes Porno Chic. It's been a while since I wrote a review for this series. The last one I did was for Elegant Angel's PORTRAIT OF A CALL GIRL back in December. However, this time around I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of a review, I wanted to have an anniversary celebration. You may not know this, but on June 12, 1972, the adult film DEEP THROAT had its world premiere at the World Theatre in Times Square in New York. On that warm, summer day, history was made and the world we live in would never be the same again. On its 40th anniversary, the film still resonates in our society, and its influence is still part of our pop culture as well as our sexual lexicon.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1972)
Directed by Gerard Damiano, the film tells the story of Linda Lovelace, your typical girl-next-door, who unfortunately is having problems achieving an orgasm. Even though she has a very high and adventurous sex life, she still feels unsatisfied. After a wild sex party leads to disappointment, Linda asks her friend Helen (Dolly Sharp) for help. She recommends that she visit a doctor, so Linda meets the wacky Dr. Young (Harry Reems). During Linda's examination, the doctor discovers that her clitoris is mistakenly located at the back of her throat. What's a girl do to? According to the good doctor, she can achieve orgasms by performing the oral sex skill he calls "deep throat." After seeing fireworks going off, bells ringing, and rockets exploding, Linda is finally sexually satisfied. She works for Dr. Young as a nurse and performs her "deep throat" talent on various patients until she finds the one she wants to marry.

The film was a first of its kind. It was a pornographic movie with a plot. Up until then, what was being shown were the old stag films as well as loops in converted store front theaters. But in early 1973, a news article about the film appeared on the New York Times. Written by reporter Ralph Blumenthal and using the phrase "Porno Chic" for its title, it helped usher in what has been coined "The Golden Age of Pornography," which lasted between 1972-1984. Because of the New Your Times article, it made couples want to go porno theaters and see what the hype was all about. Celebrities also came to see the film: Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palm, and Johnny Carson. Seeing the film became the hip thing to do.

Alternative Theatrical Poster (1972)
The film was an amalgam of slapstick comedy, bad puns, and hot sex with hilarious one-liners, such as, "Mind if I smoke while you eat?" While amateurish in certain parts, the film as a whole is quite entertaining and captures the 70's sexual revolution: its ideas, its frankness about sex, and stating that women have the right to have orgasms. It was in some ways a form of enlightenment for women, who saw the film as a form of sexual freedom and exploration. However, with this new freedom, there came a hefty price.

The film was tried and banned in New York, and soon, it would become banned in 23 states. Actor Reems was tried and was almost sent to prison. The film was then distributed by a network of Mafia-connected associates of the Peraino family. The film has been rumored to have grossed as high as $600 million, which would make the film one of the highest grossing films of all time. However, because of the Perainos, it is unsure as to how much the film actually earned.

The popularity of the film became part of the mainstream in a major way. The Watergate informer that blew the whistle on then President Richard Nixon was nicknamed "Deep Throat." It was talked about in the news, on late talk shows as well as variety shows. It's been referenced in books, newspapers, mainstream movies, as well as becoming part of the sexual dictionary. In 2005, the film would also become the subject matter in the documentary entitled INSIDE DEEP THROAT. In it, directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato chronicled (and in some parts exaggerated) the history of the film and the ramifications of its impact. Deep Throat was also the first film to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame.

Arrow Production's DVD Cover
Whether we like it or not, Damiano, Lovelace, Reems and the film itself helped to create the adult film industry; an industry the generates over a billion dollars in revenue each year. But one must remember, when watching the film, we are watching a time capsule that captured a society on the eve of change. DEEP THROAT documented a cultural shift; an open mindedness about sex. For a brief moment in history, it looked like America was going to adult about its sexuality. However the opposite occurred, and now we live in society that glamorizes and praises violence while sex is still a taboo subject. As a result of this, we repress our sexuality instead of talking about, exploring it, and celebrating it. So ask yourself this question: Would you rather see gratuitous acts of violence or gratuitous acts of love?

DEEP THROAT and its impact on our society and culture have been immeasurable. It was the first of its kind, and while there have been a plethora of its kind since then, it still remains as one of the most important films in American cinema history. If you wish to see how it all began, the film is available on DVD from Arrow Productions. To purchase a copy, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Phil attends MIDNITES FOR MANIACS "KILLER SUMMER" ALL-DAY FIVE FILM EVENT at the Castro Theatre-June 9, 2012

The World Famous Castro Theatre.
Once again I ventured out to the majestic Castro Theatre in San Francisco for the Midnites for Maniacs "Killer Summer" All-Day Five Film Event, hosted by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks. I knew that this was going to be a long day for me! Luckily my good friend Jason Wiener (from Jason Watches Movies) was there to keep me company. After we stuffed our faces at Orphan Andy's, we took our seats in the front row and sat back and watched the movies unfold. The first two films were comedies, while the last three were horror classics! Ficks also screened some very rare trailers before each film. All films were anniversary 35mm prints so this was yet another special treat for the audience.

Original Movie Poster (1986)
First up was the 25th anniversary screening of ONE CRAZY SUMMER, starring John Cusack as recent high school graduate Hoops McCann, an inspiring cartoonist and failed basketball player who joins his friend George Calamari (Joel Murray), and George's sister Squid (Kristen Goelz) to spend the summer at their grandparent's house on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Along they way Hoops comes to the rescue of singer Cassandra Eldridge (Demi Moore) from a gang of bikers. Upon arriving on the island, the gang then meet up with colorful characters such as the Stork twins Egg (Bobcat Goldthwait) and Clay (Tom Villard) and Ack-Ack Raymond (Curtis Armstrong). Soon Hoops and his friends must help Cassandra to save her grandfather's house from the greedy Beckersted Family: Aquilla (Mark Metcalf), Teddy (Matt Mulhern), and Old Man Beckerstead (William Hickey).

The film was directed by Savage Steve Holland (he got the nickname Savage after he kicked a kid in the teeth during a soccer game back in his youth). While this was the second of only three films that he ever made (the other two are BETTER OFF DEAD and HOW I GOT INTO COLLEGE), he has had a very successful career in directing television shows. His resume consists of popular teen shows such as Even Stevens, Lizzie, McGuire, Zoey 101, Unfabulous, Zeke and Luther, and Big Time Rush. He has also directed TV movies like Shredderman Rules, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!, and the recent Big Time Movie. The original 35mm print came courtesy from Warner Brothers. The film was originally released on August 8, 1986. The film was preceded by three John Cusack trailers: 1985's BETTER OFF DEAD and THE SURE THING, and 1989's SAY ANYTHING.

Click here to view the film's original trailer.

Original Movie Poster (2001)
Film number two for the night was the 10th anniversary screening of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. Featuring an all-star cast with Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Joe Lo Truglio, Zak Orth, and Marguerite Moreau, the film chronicles the the last day at summer camp in 1981 and all the hysterical hijinks that unfolds throughout the day. Featuring members of the comedy troupe The State, and boasting early film appearances, the film has gone on to became a beloved cult classic, on par with Richard Linklater's DAZED AND CONFUSED.

The film was directed by David Wain, and he also cowrote the screenplay with Showalter. Wain has directed two other films: 2007's THE TEN starring Paul Rudd and 2008's ROLE MODELS starring again Rudd and Seann William Scott. However, like Holland, he is more well known for directing TV shows like Wainy Days and Children's Hospital for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. While the film takes place in the summertime, the film was actually shot in February during the winter. In certain scenes, you can see that it's raining outside and the grounds look pretty soaked in the exterior scenes. While the film bombed at the boxoffice when it was first released, it gained a cult-like following once it came out on DVD. There is even talks about a sequel to the film. The original 35mm print came courtesy from Universal Pictures. The film was originally released on July 27, 2001. The film was preceded by three trailers: 1980's LITTLE DARLINGS, 1990's MEN AT WORK, and 1995's CLUELESS, which will be shown on July 26th. I'll discuss the details of that screening at the end of this review. 

Click here to watch the film's original trailer.

Original Movie Poster (1980)
The next film shown was the night's highlight for me. Next up was the 30th+ anniversary screening of the original FRIDAY THE 13TH. Now if you have only seen the 2009 remake, then you really need to see this film! I have seen this film an ungodly amount of times; to the point that I could recite the whole film in my sleep! This summer camp slasher classic tells the story of a group of camp counselors who are stalked and killed on the eve of the grand re-opening of Camp Crystal Lake. Look for Kevin Bacon making his film debut as Jack Burrel. Also appearing in the film is the great Besty Palmer as Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, who seems to know more about the grizzly murders than she's letting on. The ending is still one of the greatest endings in modern day horror films. Half of the audience at the screening had not seen the film yet, and despite being 30+ years old, the film, and its ending, still generated screams from the audience. That is a testament to the longevity of the film's status as a true great horror classic!

The film was directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who in 1972 teamed up with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET creator Wes Craven on the exploitation cult classic THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Make up legend Tom Savini supplied the gore to the film with his then cutting edge tricks and techniques. While seem tame by today's standards, these make-up effects were revolutionary at that time. Except in Italian horror films, American audiences had never seen a throat slash open and spew out blood before. Nor see arrows piercing through neck, an axe to the head, and we all have to thank Savini for all of this! The 35mm film print came courtesy from Paramount Pictures. The film was originally released on May 9, 1980. The film was preceded by three trailers, two from an up and coming M4M show: 1990's SKI SCHOOL, 1979's ROLLER BOOGIE, and 1980's XANADU. 

Click here to watch the film's original trailer.

Original Movie Poster (1992)
The fourth screening of the night was the 20th anniversary screening of director Peter Jackson's cult hit DEAD ALIVE. Also known as BRAINDEAD in New Zealand, the film's about a young man named Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme), his beautiful girlfriend Paquita (Diana Peñalver), and his overbearing and domineering mum Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody). Poor Lionel's life becomes hectic when his mum is bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey (a hybrid that according to legend resulted from plague rats raping tree monkeys on Skull Island) while at a trip to the zoo. Soon his mum causes a zombie plague that includes a punk rocker, an ass-kicking priest, a house nurse, and a zombie-born baby! The ending of the film is the stuff of legends. Trust me when I saw that you will be "reborn" after you watch this film!

With this, his third film, Jackson really pushed the envelope and created an over-the-top gross out, balls-to-the-wall, horror/comedy that hasn't been seen since Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD 2! It's funny, it's scary, it's gory, it's a love letter to splatter horror films, and fans went crazy over it. Nowadays Jackson is most famous for directing the LORD OF THE RING trilogy. With his newest film THE HOBBIT coming out at the end of the year, it was awesome to see what many in the horror film genre has called his "masterpiece." This 35mm film print came courtesy from Lionsgate. The film was originally released in its home country of New Zealand on August 13, 1992. The film was preceded by three trailers, one for the next M4M show and two of Jackson's other films: 1979's LOVE AT FIRST BITE, 1996's THE FRIGHTENERS, and 1989's MEET THE FEEBLES. 

Click here to view the film's original trailer. 

Original Movie Poster (1981)
The last screening of the night was the 30th anniversary screening of THE BURNING: UNRATED & MOSTLY UNCUT. This meant that the 35mm print film was unrated but was missing the infamous "raft" scene, which Jesse made up my showing it from the DVD release after the screening of the film. Coming out in the wake of FRIDAY THE 13TH, the film tells the story of a group of campers who are being hunted, stalked, and killed by former camp caretaker Cropsy (based on the urban legend of Cropsey), who was nearly burned to death by a prank gone horribly wrong five years prior. Armed with a pair of hedge clippers, he takes his revenge on the campers one snip at a time!

The film is famous for its debut list of now major Hollywood players. It was the first film for Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the men responsible for launching Mirimax Pictures and the rise of the independent movie movement. Their mother Miriam Weinstein is also a pre-production assistant on the film. Jason Alexander (from Seinfeld), Holly Hunter and Fisher Stevens made their film debut here. F/X superstar Tom Savini provided the special effects and gore once again. Little known fact: Savini and Hunter both attended the same college. It is a small world after all. Director Tony Maylam went on to helm two more films: 1992's SPLIT SECOND (starring Rutger Hauer) and 2001's PHOENIX BLUE. He now mostly does video documentaries. This 35mm film print came courtesy from MGM. The film was originally released on May 8, 1981. The film was preceded by three slasher trailers: 1982's SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE and HUMONGOUS, and 1981's HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME.

Click here to view the film's original trailer.

And that my friends is a wrap! I had a blast attending this very special Midnites for Maniacs event! For those of you out there who would like to attend one of these shows, the next show will be on Friday, July 6th. This show is the "BFFs" triple feature that will consist of showing CLUELESS, MEAN GIRLS, and HEAVENLY CREATURES. Then in August the M4M show will be celebrating the Castro Theatre's 90th Birthday with its "Disco 4-Eva" triple feature: the forementioned ROLLER BOOGIE, XANADU, and LOVE AT FIRST BITE. So make sure you mark these on your calender and come out here to the city for some movie magic and fun! To learn more about Midnites for Maniacs, visit their website at To view upcoming shows at the Castro Theatre, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Phil attends the midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Camera 3-June 2, 2012

The Camera 3 Marquee.
So during the Charlie Chaplin Days at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, I attended a midnight movie tradition here in San Jose. So after I finished my duties at the museum on Saturday (I was there from 11am to 10:30pm), I headed on over to the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose for the midnight screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. As always, my friends from Barely Legal Productions were there to bring the film to life! It had been a long time since I attended one of these midnight shows, and I was long overdue for one! In fact I haven't attended a ROCKY show since January and I really wanted to see and support my friends!

The line for the show.
Upon my arrival, I met the lovely Bridgid McHavoc in the Psycho Donuts dining area in the theater's lobby. Bridgid, who's been with Barely Legal for several years, has portrayed several characters from the film; from Columbia to Magenta to the infamous Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Soon other Barely Legal cast members were arriving: Lizzie Bernard, Sandra Dee, and Drea Storey. The lobby was buzzing with excitement and a very long line began to form. Bridgid's husband Nate McHavoc was setting up the theater along with the BLP crew. Props were unloaded, built, and displayed. It all looked amazing! Each prop was extremely detailed that it all looked like the real props from the actual film! And let me just say that the costumes were all just simply amazing! I have been fortunate to see the BL crew in action at several of their shows and they always put 110% into each one. If you have never attended one of their shows, shame on you! Seeing a ROCKY show is required and is on everybody's cinematic bucket list!

Barely Legal's Bridgid McHavoc.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is the alpha and omega of midnight movie; a cult classic that has no real equal. The film is in a class all by itself, far ahead of its time. The film was a bomb when it was first released. Now, it is part of the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. The film's message of "Don't dream it. Be it." has had a major influence on those who are different, the outcasts if you will. It resonates and has inspired many who felt that they didn't belong. Artists, punks, gays, lesbians, movie maniacs, college students, and everyone in between. The reason we love this film for more than just its obvious and fabulous over-the-top outrageousness. It speaks to us all to not give up on hope. To not give up on ourselves and to keep following our passions in life! Also the film is just one of the best films ever made!

So another great midnight screening has come and gone. But don't fret, the Barely Legal crew will be back in San Jose next month. They put on shows all over Northern California, so no matter where you live, there will be a show near you. To learn more about future shows, and how you can become a cast member, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Phil sees THE KID at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-June 2, 2012

Charlie Chaplin & Jackie Coogan (1921)
During the annual Charlie Chaplin Days over in Niles, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum showed Chaplin's first feature film. THE KID has been regarded as a silent film classic, one of Chaplin's most beloved films. Two Chaplin shorts were shown as well. Pianist extraordinaire Bruce Loeb provided the music accompaniment.

The first short shown was GENTLEMEN OF NERVE, starring Chaplin and the beautiful Mabel Normand. In this early film, Mabel and her male companion Ambrose (Chester Conklin) attend an auto race competition where they meet Charlie and his friend. Soon Charlie's friend attempts to enter the raceway through a hole, but he gets stuck and a Keystone policeman (the great Edgar Kennedy) shows up. Eventually Mable and Chaplin become smitten with one another while their friends get arrested. The film was directed by Chaplin, but you can see Sennett's influence in the film. Chaplin's Tramp character wasn't fully developed yet, and he's a little bit more mean, lacking the pathos he would have in the later films. The film was released by Mack Sennett's Keystone Company on October 29, 1914.

The second short of the night was WORK, an Essanay film that he made in Los Angeles after he left Niles. Chaplin is an assistant paperhanger to his boss Izzy A. Wake (Charles Inslee). The husband is mad and yelling because he doesn't have his breakfast, the wife is ignoring him and yells at the maid (the beautiful Edna Purviance) to take make him is breakfast. Charlie is having difficulty with the wallpaper. The wife's secret lover shows up, which causes her husband to get his gun and shoot him in his bum. Oh, did I mention the exploding stove gag that plays a pivotal and hilarious role at the end of the film? Chaplin had almost fully developed the character of the little tramp, but still needed some tweaking. He also wrote, directed, and stared in the film. It was released to theaters on June 21, 1915.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1921)
After a brief intermission, the night continued with the night continued with one of Chaplin's finest films ever: THE KID. The film stars our favorite Tramp who happens to find an abandoned baby on his morning stroll. He cares for the baby and raises him as his own. Jackie Coogan plays the Kid, who was just five years old when he made the film. Chaplin discovered Coogan on the theater stage and casted him on the spot. Years later Coogan would also be known as Uncle Fester on The ADDAMS FAMILY television show. Purviance also starred in the film as the mother who abandoned her son and regretted her mistake. The film was released to the world on February 6, 1921. The film is highly regarded as on of the finest films ever made in cinema's history. For those who have never seen the film, I would highly recommend it and it is available to rent or purchase.

As I stated in my previous review, this was the centerpiece for the Charlie Chaplin Days celebration this past weekend, and I had a blast! There are many more fun events coming up at the museum! To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, on how to become a member, and to view their weekly film schedule, visit their website at
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Phil attends CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum-June 2 & 3, 2012

During the year of 1915, the world of cinema was making history. D.W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION  changed the landscape of cinema forever. Producer/distributor William Fox founded the new Fox Film Corporation. Also in the small town of Niles, California, a little comedian came into town, made about five films in three months, and then left. However, those five films helped paved the way for Charlie Chaplin's signature character The Tramp to become one of cinema's most beloved icons. This past weekend, the town of Niles, as well as the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, celebrated its most famous actor with its annual Charlie Chaplin Days, which are held every year on the first weekend of June.

Before I begin, let me tell you how Mr. Chaplin found his way to Niles real quick. In late 1914, Essanay Studio co-founder G.M. Anderson (also known as Broncho Billy, the screen's first cowboy superstar) signed the then yet well known comedian Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin had been discovered by Mack Sennett, founder of Keystone Films, the home of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, and the infamous Keystone Cops. Anderson offered the young comedian complete creative over his films: he would write, direct, and star in his films. To sweeten the deal, Anderson offered Chaplin a $10,000 signing bonus, which was a large sum of money back in late 1914. Chaplin made one film for the Chicago Essanay Studio branch, but he didn't get along very well with co-owner George Spoor. Chaplin soon left to make films out in Niles. During this time he made an astounding five films in just three months, as well as discovering his leading lady Edna Purviance. However, Niles was a little too boring and country-ish for Chaplin, who loved the city life. So with Anderson's permission, Chaplin took Purviance and a small crew to Los Angles, where he finished up his contract. The following year, Chaplin singed a deal with Mutual Pictures, where they offered him more money, his own production company, and a $150,000 signing bonus. But it was his time in Niles is where he developed his Tramp character. By combining pathos, sympathy, while still bringing a smile to our faces, Chaplin's Little Tramp became an overnight sensation, and thus creating one of cinema's most treasured characters.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum showed all five of Chaplin's films he made here in Niles: A NIGHT OUT (co-starring Ben Turpin), THE CHAMPION, IN THE PARK, A JITNEY ELOPEMENT, and his most famous film THE TRAMP, featuring the most iconic image and ending in film history of the Little Tramp walking away in Niles Canyon. One of Chaplin's most important films he ever made. Also shown on both days was the documentary short WHEN THE MOVIES GO WEST, the 1974 PBS short that was also shown during the big 100th anniversary celebration back on April 1st. The other documentary short, the 1964 KPIX WHEN THE MOVIES CAME FROM NILES (also shown at the 100th anniversary celebration) was shown on Saturday afternoon.

For the Saturday Night show, the museum screened Chaplin's first full length feature film THE KID, which also starred Purviance and five-year-old Jackie Coogan. I'll detail that film in another review.

On Sunday afternoon the museum held their annual Chaplin lookalike contest. Afterwards the museum staged the "Pie Fight of the Century." The fight was co-sponsored by the Laurel and Hardy Film Appreciation Society Sons of the Desert Midnight Patrol Tent and the Niles Pie Company. All proceeds from this event will go towards the production of a new silent film entitled THE CANYON created by the museum. Archivist, author and historian David Kiehn will make the film using the same 100-year-old movie equipment that Anderson and Chaplin used in Niles. For more details about THE CANYON and how to make a contribution, please visit

This was such a fun filled weekend! It was a lot of hard work, but everything went well and everyone had a great time! I can't wait for next year's Chaplin weekend. However in the meantime, there are plenty more excitement happening at the museum. Next weekend the museum will be screening THE MAN WHO HAD EVERYTHING, starring Mary Pickford's younger sibling Jack Pickford. The weekend after is the monthly Comedy Shorts Night. The last weekend of June is their annual Bronco Bill Film Festival! So don't delay! Come on down to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, where silent films live forever!!

To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, how to become a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!