Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 7:30pm
Movies with Roots in Hell
177 Livingston Street, Brooklyn
Curated by Jack Stevenson
"Jack Stevenson is a brilliant filth scholar." — John Waters
Copenhagen-based expat Jack Stevenson has been one of the secret forces behind film culture in Europe for over a decade and a half, distributing the work of American filmmakers on the Continent, curating exhibitions from his legendary collection of 16mm and 35mm rarities, and writing on figures like William Castle, Martha Colburn, Jon Moritsugu, John Waters, George and Mike Kuchar, Lars Von Trier and others in his books Desperate Visions: Camp America (1996), Dogme Uncut (2003), Land of a Thousand Balconies: Discoveries and Confessions of a B-movie Archaeologist (2003), Fleshpot: Cinema's Sexual Myth Makers & Taboo Breakers (2000), and his latest, Scandinavian Blue: The Erotic Cinema of Sweden and Denmark in the 1960s and 1970s (2010).
For Movies with Roots in Hell, Stevenson brings to Brooklyn a mind-bending, all-16mm compendium of coming attractions, short subjects, clips, and fragments inspired by his comprehensive study Addicted: The Myth and Menace of Drugs in Film (2000). Spanning sixty years, the program kicks off with the Tod Browning-scripted silent detective spoof Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916)—in which Douglas Fairbanks Sr. plays always-dusted sleuth “Coke Ennyday” on a mission to battle white slavers in opium-addled Chinatown—then wends its way through the Jazz age with pre-Code musical numbers “Reefer Man” (1933) by Cab Calloway and “Sweet Marijuana” (1934) by Gertrud Michaels, and dips into early exploitation with the trailer for Dwain Esper’s Marijuana: Weed with Roots in Hell (1936). Postwar selections include the teen cautionary tale Curfew Breakers (1957), US military-produced scare films LSD: Trip to Where? (1968) and Hooks (1972), as well as psychedelic mini-masterpiece Rockflow (1968), Kuchar actor Bob Cowan’s experimental document of a Chambers Brothers set and the ultra-mod fashions of its surrounding freak-out. The program rounds out with choice bits from late acid films Blue Sunshine (1976) and The People Next Door (1970), an unforgettable melodrama about 16-year-old Maxie, who is hell-bent on torturing her square parents by indulging in free love and head trips. Taken as a whole, the program constitutes nothing less than a subterranean history of psychoactive American cinema.
Tickets - $7, available at the door.