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!

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