Late last year Edgar Wright took over the New Beverly theater in Los Angeles and programmed double features of some of his favorite movies, and he had amazing celebrity guests show up to chat about them. People who came to the Wright Stuff festival had a chance to meet Timothy Dalton, Paul Williams, Quentin Tarantino, Greg Nicotero, John Landis and more.
When such an event is so successful, you can be sure you haven’t seen the last of it. The next film festival to be hitting the New Beverly is going to be curated by Eli Roth, and he’s got some fascinating double features lined up for the second half of February. And if that’s not enough, the James Gunn Appreciation Society is going to be taking over the New Bev for two nights at the end of March, and they’re bringing Gunn himself as well as Gerard Butler, Michael Rooker, Tyler Bates and many more special guests. It’s all for a good cause, as well. More on that below.
Here’s what Eli Roth has to say about his festival, and the schedule:
february 17, 18, 19
The Hacksaw/Chainsaw double bill! These films are next to impossible to find uncut on DVD in the U.S. and are rarely ever shown on the big screen. And they’re both fucking awesome films that never cut away from the good stuff.
First up, Sergio Martino’s giallo masterpiece
TORSO (1973) (a.k.a. Carnal Violence)
Sun: 3:50 & 7:30; Mon/Tue: 7:30
Followed by J.P. Simon’s Chainsaw Trashterpiece
Sun: 5:40 & 9:20; Mon/Tue: 9:20
february 20, 21
A Holiday Slasher/ Horror Anthology double bill…
The film I showed at my Bar Mitzvah instead of having a dance because I wasn’t friends with any girls. One of my all time favorite slasher films. Charles Kaufman’s brilliant
MOTHER’S DAY (1980)
George Romero & Stephen King’s criminally underrated ode to E.C. comics
PLUS: A special surprise short after Creepshow…
february 22, 23
DePalma’s King adaptation of
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:30 & 7:30
followed by the brilliant Scott Baio-Willie Aames-Heather Thomas-Scatman Crothers telekensis SCENE-FOR-FUCKING-SCENE-REMAKE of Carrie…
Fri: 9:30; Sat: 5:30 & 9:30
I shit you not. I have always wanted to see these films back to back. Sissy Spacek uses her telekinetic powers to get revenge on the kids at school, and Scott Baio uses it to take off Heather Thomas’ clothes. See where the “Charles and Charge” magic of Baio and Aames all began. It’s also the next film that Scatman Crothers made right after the Shining. You can feel the Kubrickian influence in every moment of his performance. If you’ve never seen this film, you’ve never seen an animated sequence of Scatman Crothers’ wife chasing him in a Ben-Hur chariot, firing animated salamis. Fucking sublime.
february 24, 25, 26
All Hail one of the greatest low budget futuristic musicals of all time:
THE APPLE (1980)
Sun: TBA; Mon/Tue: 7:30
Followed by a screening of the ultimate in Stunts and Rock…
STUNT ROCK (1978)
Sun: TBA; Mon/Tue: 9:20
There will be some sort of sing along, but not on Oscar night, because Diablo Cody would kill me if I did it without her. Probably on the 25th.
Original? Remake? Ripoff? Or brilliant use of a similar technique? You be the judge! I have not seen “Blair Witch” since it came out in the theater, and have always wanted to see it back to back with the film that created the “found footage” movie. How do either of them compare to “Cloverfield?” Fuck I can’t wait to see…
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
Ruggero Deodato’s cannibal classic – the mother of all cannibal films -
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980)
And…because we only have the Cannibal Holocaust print for one night, we are switching it up for the next night and showing…
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Umberto Lenzi’s grindhouse cannibal masterpiece
CANNIBAL FEROX (1981) (a.k.a. MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY)
Umberto Lenzi and Ruggero Deodato got into a cannibal movie pissing contest back in the day. Lenzi did the first cannibal scene in his film “Man from Deep River” in 1972, but then Deodato made “Last Cannibal World” in 1976 and stole Lenzi’s thunder. Then Deodato outdid himself with “Cannibal Holocaust,” which became a sensation all over the world. Lenzi was so irritated that he made “Eaten Alive” to try to out-do Deodato, but people said it wasn’t as grueling and nasty as “Cannibal Holocaust.” So then he made “Cannibal Ferox” to show he could make the nastiest cannibal film of all time. Did it work? Decide for yourself! Lenzi also cast a lot of the same actors that Deodato used, just to make it even more confusing. It worked! I can barely keep track of which film is which, but they’re both awesome and have lots of graphic violence that got them banned in many countries.
february 29, 1
Oscar winning (or should have won) duo… Tom Hanks in his greatest performance ever…
BACHELOR PARTY (1984)
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:25 & 7:30
And yet ANOTHER movie Bill Murray should have gotten the Oscar for…
Fri: 9:35; Sat: 5:30 & 9:35
Special thanks to the New Beverly for putting this together, and to Bob Murowski, the Silent Movie theater, and Quentin Tarantino for coming through with some of the hardest prints to find. Come geek out with us starting the 17th. I’ll see which people from the films are still alive or not in prison but we’ll definitely have some special guests and surprises all through the festival. See you there!
And here’s the press release from the James Gunn Appreciation Society on their event:
LOS ANGELES, CA (February 3, 2008) – liquidRAM Productions & JGAS Events are proud to announce, CUT! 2008 – a benefit and celebration of cinema dedicated to the art and imagination that goes into the creation of film. Taking place the weekend of March 29-30, 2008 at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, the event promises to be a cinephile’s dream! Through film screenings and interactive Q&A panels with special guests GERARD BUTLER, DAVID ARQUETTE, JONATHAN JACKSON, MICK GARRIS, MICHAEL ROOKER, JAMES GUNN, TYLER BATES, TONY CURRAN, NICK BICANIC, JON GUSTAFSSON, TODD MASTERS, PAULA MAZUR, STEINUNN OLINA, WENDY ORR, and CAST MEMBERS FROM THE MOTION PICTURE, SLITHER movie lovers will get a glimpse into the methods behind the madness.
SATURDAY, MARCH 29TH – “The Documentary: Sometimes the Story is True” will cover fiction to film. The festival kicks off with two documentaries: Shadow Company and Wrath of Gods.
Shadow Company, directed by Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque, delves into what happens when corporations decide to play war.
“With over $100 Billion in annual revenues and 70000 employees in Iraq alone, the private military industry is booming, yet few civilians know anything about it. Shadow Company, a groundbreaking feature-length documentary, takes you deep inside this secret world that is changing the face of modern warfare. What are we really risking by allowing profit-motivated corporations into the business of war?”
The film has garnered rave reviews and won the 2007 Leo Award winner for Best Documentary, Best Director and Best Writing.
Director, NICK BICANIC will be screening his film, Shadow Company followed by an audience Q&A.
Wrath of Gods, an award winning documentary by Jon Gustafsson, tells a story of the incredible length that filmmakers sometimes go to in order to pursue their art. “When Canadian director Sturla Gunnarsson and his crew set upon Iceland to film Beowulf & Grendel, they expected the usual complications involved in making a movie, but what they encountered made them wonder if the Norse gods were actually working against them.” Sometimes referred to as “Lost in la Mancha with a good ending”, Wrath of Gods stars Gerard Butler (who also has co-producer credit), Sarah Polley, Stellan Skarsgard and Paul Stephens with appearances by Tony Curran and Steinunn Olina. The film has won numerous film festival awards in the US and Europe, including Achievement in Filmmaking Award at the Stony Brook Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Oxford International Film Festival.
Director, JON GUSTAFSSON will be screening his film, Wrath of Gods followed by a Q&A panel with stars GERARD BUTLER, TONY CURRAN and STEINUNN OLINA.
Author WENDY ORR and film producer PAULA MAZUR will be presenting the panel “From Fiction to Film” discussing Wendy’s book Nim’s Island and the film of the same name to be released by Fox Walden on 4.4.08.
VIP PARTY SATURDAY NIGHT
SUNDAY, MARCH 30TH – “THE MASTERS BEHIND THE HORROR CLASSICS” is dedicated to the horror genre with screenings of Riding the Bullet and SLiTHER
Riding the Bullet, adapted from a short story by Stephen King and directed by Mick Garris, stars David Arquette and Jonathan Jackson.
“It’s Halloween 1969 and a distraught 21-year-old New England college student hitchhikes through rural Maine to visit his sick mother, only to be picked up by a mysterious driver carrying haunting secrets.”
Director, MICK GARRIS will be screening his film, Riding the Bullet followed by a Q&A panel with stars DAVID ARQUETTE and JONATHAN JACKSON.
JAMES GUNN EXTRAVAGANZA!
Presented by JGAS Events: JAMES GUNN and FRIENDS gather together for a scary good time with slugs, aliens and the undead. On hand will be zombies (with make-up by the special effects team from MastersFX) milling around the crowd for scares and photo ops as well as a JGAS raffle and auction featuring autographed items pertaining to the films.
Written and directed by James Gunn, SLiTHER is the story of what can happen when a seemingly small meteorite lands on earth and is discovered by an everyday guy.
“The small town of Wheesley has no idea what is awaiting for it. It’s a small, quiet town where everyone knows each other. But an evil has quietly arrived – and it’s growing…
Family pets go missing, livestock is found mutilated, and a young woman goes missing. In the brilliant style of the 80’s best horror comedy classics, Slither delivers gross outs, freak outs and a gaggle of hilarious one-liners that make this movie a must for any film lover.”
Writer and director, JAMES GUNN will be screening his film, SLiTHER followed by a Q&A panel with star MICHAEL ROOKER & CAST MEMBERS of SLiTHER, along with the film’s composer TYLER BATES and special effects wizard TODD MASTERS.
RAFFLES AND AUCTIONS
There will be various raffles and auctions held throughout the weekend. Featured in the auction: Bound and autographed Dear Frankie script donated by Andrea Gibb, $200 Gift Certificate donated by Utilikilts, Shadow Company basket, Wrath of Gods basket (with special surprise), Nim’s Island basket, SLiTHER/300 merchandise donated by Tyler Bates, Framed ‘300’ Film Cell/Picture Plaques, various Celtic jewelry and art pieces, Nordic and Icelandic candle sets, American Indian basket worth over $200
About the Charity
KIDS KICKING CANCER is a non-profit 501(c) organization that provides weekly classes for children, both inpatient and outpatient, in the mind-body techniques found in the martial arts. We emphasize relaxation and mental imagery, and skill each student according to his or her capabilities to engage in breathing, meditation, and active karate exercises. We also instruct both the parents and the medical personnel in these methods. Our instructors are invited to accompany their students and further assist them in the hospital rooms and clinics as they undergo painful procedures such as spinal taps and bone marrow aspirations. Our theme: “Pain is a message one does not have to accept.”
SHRINERS HOSPITAL for Children is a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to the age of 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission and receive all care in a family-centered environment at no charge – regardless of financial need.
I think you can guarantee seeing a lot of me at the New Beverly Cinema in the coming weeks. And stay tuned – I don’t know how many beans I can spill, but Eli Roth isn’t the only filmmaker who has a festival lined up at the New Beverly. There are some exciting people making plans to show you their favorite films!