The New Beverly in Los Angeles has brought us film festivals programmed by Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright and Eli Roth. Now they’re playing host to one of the great filmmakers of the last thirty years, Joe Dante, and his festival – called Dante’s Inferno – promises heaps of rare and obscure gems for the true fans in the Los Angeles area (or the really hardcore who fly in!). The festival runs from April 9 to April 22nd, and includes one mystery movie and one cinema experience you are unlikely to ever have in your life again. Here’s what Joe has to say about the films he’s programmed:

“April 9 + 10 MONDO CANE and ZULU

It’s hard to imagine today
the impact this tawdry but fascinating Italian “shockumentary” had on
the world in 1962, when the bizarre customs of people in other lands
seemed both exotic and horrifying to Western eyes. Its smash success
spawned a whole genre of mostly phony Mondo movies, each outdoing the
other for pure sleaze, which lasted into the 80s and paved the way for
something much more upsetting: Reality TV.

ZULU is simply one
of the great historical epics ever–100 stuff-upper-lip British
soldiers battle 4000 Zulu warriors in a beautifully staged reenactment
of the 1879 Battle of Roarke’s Drift. John Barry should have won (but
didn’t) an Oscar for his brilliant score. The cast, led by producer
Stanley Baker, is terrific, but the great Nigel Green steals the show
as the consummate side-whiskered, mustached Victorian Sergeant-Major.
With Jack Hawkins, James Booth, Patrick Magee and a very young Michael
Caine, whose work here got him THE IPCRESS FILE.


called it “Day For Nothing” when we made it (shot in ten days around
footage from 12 other movies on a bet with Roger Corman). One of the
last of New World Pictures’ popular “three girl” drive-in movies where
pretty girls doff their duds and chase around non-permitted LA
locations. The late great Candice Rialson plays a version of herself as
a naive Indiana girl trying to make it in scuzzy 70s Hollywood. Pulled
from 42nd Street after two days, it seems to have survived as a cult
movie. It’s certainly an accurate record of what it was like to make a
New World Picture. Producer Jon Davison, co-director Allan Arkush and
stars Mary Woronov and Dick Miller are scheduled to appear.

TURNER, which came out late in the blaxploitation game, got lost in the
Hollywood shuffle but it’s as dazzling a piece of action filmmaking as
the 70s had to offer. Isaac Hayes is a bounty hunter on the trail of a
big-time pimp whose vengeful, bitch-slapping squeeze is played by Star
Trek’s Nichelle Nichols! Along for the violent ride are Yaphet Kotto,
Alan Weeks, Scatman Crothers, Sam Laws and Dick Miller. One of the
overlooked gems of the decade from director Jonathan Kaplan (HEART LIKE
A WHEEL), who will introduce the film.


was a tiny company specializing in grade-C drive-in movies like WILD
GUITAR and EEGAH! But from such unlikely soil springs a chilling
surprise! James Landis’ intense 1963 drive-in classic is based on the
same true crime story as BADLANDS– the serial killing exploits of
Charles Starkweather and his underage girlfriend. Brutally unfolding in
Real Time over 94 taut minutes, mad killer Arch Hall Jr. terrorizes our
small cast in a junkyard — maybe the best-photographed junkyard ever,
courtesy of the great Vilmos Zsigmond, who will appear in person on the

CONFESSIONS OF AN OPIUM EATER is the greatest work of
exploitation king Albert Zugsmith (SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE)–a
triumphantly surreal parade of seemingly inexplicable images starring a
deliriously miscast Vincent Price as an aphorism-spouting soldier of
fortune trying to get the lowdown on a girls-for-sale ring in turn of
the century Chinatown. Price, who has probably consumed more drugs
onscreen than anyone except Bela Lugosi, goes on a trip in this one
that you won’t soon forget. With Philip Ahn, Richard Loo, Lisa Lu and
every Asian actor in town. As you might imagine, they don’t make ’em
like this anymore.


scenic WWII epic, shot in Yugoslavia in 1964, is one of Roger Corman’s
least-seen yet most accomplished films, with essentially the same plot
as THE DIRTY DOZEN — which wasn’t made until three years later!
Stewart Granger, Mickey Rooney, Edd Byrnes, Henry Silva and Raf Vallone
are felons recruited for a mission to rescue an Italian general from
behind enemy lines. Roger used this story idea in his first movie, FIVE
GUNS WEST. I haven’t seen this since it came out!

LIGEIA was the last of Corman’s popular series of Edgar Allan Poe
adaptations, but unlike the others it has many beautiful English
countryside exteriors and mostly departs from the stylized stage-bound
unreality of its forebears. Robert Towne (CHINATOWN) wrote the script
in a more romantic vein, thinking Richard Chamberlain would play the
lead–but AIP intervened and sure enough, Vincent Price took over.

April 18 + 19 WRONG IS RIGHT and Mystery Movie

Richard Brooks’ star-studded adaptation of Charles McCarry’s spy novel
The Better Angels came out in 1982 it was roundly dismissed as a
confused jumble. From the hindsight of 2008, it looks like the
STRANGELOVE of its era. So many aspects of this film have come true,
it’s up there with NETWORK as a predictor of the future, our sorry
present. Sean Connery stars as a globe-trotting tv reporter who’s
tracking a terrorist dealing nuclear weapons in the mideast. Along the
way we meet a President who goes to war to boost his ratings, a
(Condi-like) Vice President, CIA and FBI figures who are so broadly
caricatured they seemed divorced from reality in 1982– but who closely
resemble figures we now see on the news every day! Suffice it to say
the climax involves the World Trade Center. One of the all-star
ensemble will join us–John Saxon!

Plus another movie in the same vein TBA with guest


Haggard’s atmospheric and beautifully photographed (Dick Bush) entry in
the burn-the-witches genre benefits from a prolonged sense of dread,
literate dialog and an unusually convincing period flavor — sort of a
Masterpiece Theater horror film. When hairy patches of “satan’s skin”
start cropping up on the bodies of nubile 17th century teenagers, local
judge Patrick Wymark intervenes, starting with voluptuous teen
temptress Linda Hayden. Less well known than the same studio’s earlier
WITCHFINDER GENERAL, but equally effective, with more emphasis on the
supernatural. Great score by Marc Wilkinson.

I love train
movies. HORROR EXPRESS was made because the producers had access to the
train models from NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA. One of my very favorite
vehicles (get it?) for Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, this
Spanish-made extravaganza (also known as Panic on the Trans-Siberian
Express) has it all — good characters, lots of wry humor, a mad monk,
a mysterious countess, a prehistoric fossilized monster alien, eyeballs
in a jar, Telly Savalas as a bellicose Cossack (it’s 1906) and a
surprisingly complex science fiction plot. And I left out the zombies!
Seriously, this one of my top favorites of all time.


the first, one nite only public showing in many years of my first
project. In 1968 when “camp” was king, Jon Davison and I put together a
counterculture compendium of 16mm bits and pieces (tv show openings,
commercials, parts of features, old serials etc.), physically spliced
them in ironic juxtapositions and ran the result at the Philadelphia
College of Art interspersed with parts of a Bela Lugosi serial. The
reaction was phenomenal. This led to The Movie Orgy, a 7-hour marathon
of old movie clips and stuff with a crowd-pleasing anti-war,
anti-military, anti-establishment slant that played the Fillmore East
and on college campuses all over the country for years — always the
one print. We called it a 2001-splice odyssey. We kept adding and
subtracting material over time so this, alas, is not the original
version– it’s the later cutdown, running a mere 4 hours and 19
minutes! But it’s still a pop time capsule that will bring many a
nostalgic chuckle from baby boomers and dazed expressions of WTF?! from
anyone else.”

For more info, visit the New Beverly website right here.