Archive: Session 12
September 29 - October 27, 2012
(Fright School Session 4)
Ah, autumn, that time of year when foliage dies, and horror film appreciation comes alive! Sure, there are scary movie marathons on the tube and at repertory houses, but you won't find anything quite like Fright School anywhere else. Like the resurgence of cassette tapes in music subcultures, this session is dedicated to the quirky aesthetics of the videocassette. Remember the glory days of flipping over box after dusty box of VHS tapes in the dark, dingy aisles of a mom-and-pop video store? Because we do, and we want to take you back to those sneeze-inducing hunts of yore. Usually the grotesque artwork was better than the actual B-movie within, but sometimes you would strike gold. Or in this case, slime green ooze and comically-bad red blood.
So whether you are feeling nostalgic or adventurous, the 12th edition of Facets Night School has something for everyone this Halloween season. Join us for a month-long excavation of the depths of '70s and '80s video nasties, as well as a few new tricks and treats you won't see anywhere else.
Saturday, September 29
Lew Ojeda presents:
The Outta-Mind Empire:
The Crazy World of Seytan and Turkish Exploitation
"What is your opinion? Devil...or mental patient?"
Meral Taygun, Seytan
From 1960 until the rise of a military-led repressive regime in 1980, Turkey had a virtually no-holds-barred approach to independent filmmaking, and Turkish exploitation films were created in an ultra-low budget flurry. And given the audience demand for comic book heroes, Yesilcam Street in Istanbul soon became a hub of activity for the creation of sci-fi, horror and fantasy films that included heavy doses of Hollywood rip-offs. These movies, almost always monikered as "The Turkish [blank]", were delirious copies of Superman
, Star Wars
, The Exorcist
, The Wizard of Oz
and many others.
Metin Erksan, an award-winning director of fine world cinema, jumped into this whirlwind of craziness with Seytan
, aka "The Turkish Exorcist
," unleashing a tamer, copyright-destroying version of William Friedkin's original. Perennial Facets favorite, Lew Ojeda, presents a primer into this insane, campy, explosive and titillating era of blood, brawn and boobsTurkish style!
is the co-founder of The Underground Multiplex
and host of the podcast series "Cinematrocities." He produced Facets Night School Session 11, along with films and TV shows such as Sisters of No Mercy 3D
and The Word Is Out
, a pioneering LGBT TV series in Rochester, NY. His many Night School presentations have included discussions of Eat the Rich
, Lady Terminator
, The Boneyard
, Satanico Pandemonium
, Wonder Women
, and many more.
Saturday, October 6
Jef Burnham presents:
A Superhero at the Edge of Hell and
His Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare
"You've overstepped your line again, Bub. When will you ever learn?"
Jon Mikl Thor, Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare
In 1976, the self-styled rock and roll superhero, Jon Mikl Thor, soared into the public consciousness when he appeared on the Merv Griffin Show as the front man of the high concept metal band, Thor. With his fabulous blonde locks and Herculean garb, the "Legendary Rock Warrior" took North America by storm with sensational onstage antics that included single-handedly battling hordes of invisible beasts and destroying hot water bottles armed only with the power of his mighty lungs.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before the remarkable character that is Thor made his way to the big screen. In 1986, Thor appeared in the Canadian Police Academy knock-off, Recruits
, before battling fellow superhero Adam West in Zombie Nightmare
. But neither film proved an effective showcase of the hard rock hero's true power to astonish. Only one man, in fact, could bring this larger-than-life persona to the big screen unfettered: Thor himself! In 1987, Thor wrote, produced, and starred in the incredible heavy metal horror film, Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare
, which rightly casts the rock icon as a demon-slaying superhero on the front lines of the battle between good and evil. Join superhero cinema scholar Jef Burnham to find out what happens when superheroes are allowed to make movies of their very own.
is the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com
and a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Columbia College Chicago, where he is teaching a course this fall in the cinema of the superhero. He currently studies media and cinema in the College of Communication at DePaul University and previously presented Yor, The Hunter from the Future
at Facets Night School.
Friday, October 12
Jason Coffman presents:
Let's Do That Again:
A Look at Cinematic Mimicry in The Sleeper
"The girls are getting ready. The invitations have been given. The calls have been made."
The Sleeper trailer
It's 1981 and the girls of Alpha Gamma Theta sorority are having a party. Amy, sick of living in the dorms, invites her roommate Ava to attend the party with her in hopes that they'll both become Thetas. As the girls arrive, so does an uninvited guest watching them in the shadows. Amy's choice quickly becomes a nightmare as the Theta girls begin to disappear one by one. Announcing his victims, the killer calls the house whispering the next to die. The police hunt for the missing girls and the killer, but will they find him in time? Or will all the girls sleep for good?
Cinematic mimicry of previous film eras and styles is nothing particularly new, but the sort of microscopic detail some filmmakers bring to this sort of project is a more recent development. The most obvious cycle of such films mimics the grindhouse cinema of the '60s and '70s, thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's hugely influential but financially unsuccessful Grindhouse
experiment. But there are a number of recent interesting "replicas" of past cinematic eras and styles outside the narrow scope of 42nd Street retreads. This lecture looks at some of these, including the more notable post-Grindhouse/neo-grindhouse films, which includes The Sleeper
, a "replica" of early 1980s teen slasher films.
is an unrepentant cinephile, film writer and sometime filmmaker. He writes film reviews for FilmMonthly.com
and and is a regular contributor to Fine Print Magazine
. His writing has also appeared in Horrorhound
magazine, and his short film TAPE
is currently on a festival run. Coffman previously presented Spider Baby
at Facets Night School.
Saturday, October 13
Michael Smith presents:
Drilling Into The Slumber Party Massacre
"He's dead alright. So cold."
"Is the pizza? Well, life goes on after all and eating makes me feel best when I feel badand boy do I feel bad."
Debra Deliso and Andree Honore, Slumber Party Massacre
The Slumber Party Massacre
, produced by Roger Corman's New World Pictures in 1982 during the height of the original slasher movie boom, has developed a well-deserved cult following over the past three decades. Some commentators have dismissed it as just another low-budget horror quickie, while many fans enjoy it as a "so bad it's good" B-film. Others see it as an intelligent deconstruction of the slasher subgenre while some, including director Amy Jones, view it not as a horror movie at all but rather as a comedy.
The story is certainly familiar: a sexually frustrated, power drill-wielding mass murderer escapes from prison and terrorizes a group of high school-aged girls over the course of one long night. This presentation, however, will take a close look at how Jones and feminist novelist Rita Mae Brown, who wrote the original screenplay, slyly serve up the gore and nudity quotient required by Corman while also subverting the genre's more disturbing ideological implications through careful choices like showing the killer's face at the film's beginning and studiously avoiding subjective shots from the killer's point-of-view. Currently unavailable for rental, this is a rare opportunity to see this horror/comedy gem.
is an independent filmmaker whose most recent short films, At Last, Okemah!
(2009) and The Catastrophe
(2011), have won multiple awards at film festivals across the United States. Since 2009, he has taught film history and aesthetics at Chicago area colleges including Oakton Community College, the College of Lake County and Harold Washington College. His first book, Empire of Shadows: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry
, a non-fiction account of early film production in Chicago, will be released by KWS Publishers, Inc. in the spring of 2013. He is also the creator and sole author of the film studies blog whitecitycinema.com
. He has previously taught many Facets Night School sessions including "Like Dylan in the Movies: I'm Not There
Saturday, October 20
Dominic Mayer presents:
Garbage Day During Christmastime:
The Strange Tale of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
"You'd better watch out, you'd better not pout. Because Santa Claus is coming to your town, and he knows who's been naughty and who's been nice."
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 trailer
You probably know Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
by the now-infamous "Garbage Day" rampage, but to only know one kitschy sequence of this gloriously failed sequel is to only scratch the surface. Its very existence is something of a Christmas miracle in its own, given the shady means for its inception; craving a sequel to the cheap, mildly successful first installment, Silent Night Releasing Corporation (yes, that's the studio name) flirted with the questionable legality of re-cutting the first film as a sequel before allowing director Lee Harry to hire the immortal Eric Freeman for some of the most glorious mayhem ever to appear in a no-budget horror flick. Dominick Mayer will speak on the film in all its important contexts, from its role in the holiday-themed slasher film boom of the '80s to its modern-day acceptance as an essential cult item.
is the features editor and head film critic for HEAVEmedia
, a contributing writer at In Our Words: A Salon for Queers & Co.
, and a regular lecturer at Facets Night School. He has previously lectured on The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
, Black Dynamite
and Myra Breckinridge
, among others. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in Cinema Studies at DePaul University, in the hopes of acquiring a second expensive piece of paper that says he knows how to talk good about movies.
Friday, October 26
Joseph Richard Lewis presents:
Pack Your Body Bag for Psycho Sleepover
"It's time for you to turn your sexual frustration into violent energy."
soon-to-be-dead girl in Psycho Sleepover
Debbie Dicky is the new girl in town when she's invited to an all-girls sleepover that takes a turn for the worse. There are no chick flicks or pedicures at this slumber party. Instead, a mob of serial killers escaped from the local insane asylum makes a bee line for the bash. When the killers try to spoil the girls' fun, Debbie and company fight back in Psycho Sleepover
Joseph R. Lewis
is the co-founder of The Underground Multiplex
, a Chicago-based arts collective producing live theatrical events, internet films and upcoming podcasts. Lewis has completed several features, including the award-winning Scumbabies
, Tyler B Nice
, and Sci-Fi SOL
. Previous Facets Night School presentations include Killer Klowns from Outer Space
and the debut of Sisters of No Mercy 3D
Saturday, October 27
Chris Damen presents:
Capturing Low-lifes in Lo-fi in
America's Deadliest Home Video
"The red light means it's going, right Dougie?"
Mick Wynhoff, America's Deadliest Home Video
America's Deadliest Home Video, an impressive formal exercise by Jack Perez, is a cross between They Live by Night and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. A home video enthusiast (former child actor and radio DJ Danny Bonaduce) abandons his wife after learning of her affair and gets taken hostage by the brutal Clint Dryer gang. He is forced by his captors to film their increasingly bizarre, fiendish and sadomasochistic crime spree. "The most original independent film since Slacker" (Christian Gore, Film Threat.)
Chris Damen is a struggling local stand-up comic who loves to travel. He's been to 14 countries (15 counting NYC) and plans to visit other distant lands to do comedy. Besides stand-up, Chris is a huge film nerd, which comes in handy in Facets Rentals, where Chris is the co-manager of the department. Chris has lectured multiple times at Night School, including presentations on the films Pusher, Barfly, Nekromantik, Team America: World Police, and Pulgasari.
For all inquiries about Facets Night School, contact Phil Morehart at 800.331.6197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.