Archive: Session 9
Sept. 30 to Oct. 29, 2011
(Fright School Session 3)
An off-shoot of Facets' long-running, popular film school program, Facets Night School
digs into cinema's wild side with special Saturday night midnight lectures
on cult favorites led by Facets' expert staff, followed by screenings of the films and post-screening discussions
. It's a schooling in Midnight Movies
that you won't find anywhere else!
Fright School returns to Facets with 10 horror movies to celebrate Halloween month. Fright School 3 kicks off with something special, the theatrical debut of Lew Ojeda and Joseph Lewis's Sisters of No Mercy
. It seems appropriate that the film starring three nuns and a demented priest that Lew and Joe shot one sequence at a time during the course of Night School Session 8 should open Fright School. Everyone who saw all or part of it being shot can have a chance to see the film in its entirety. As always, a reception opens the festivities on Sept. 30. This session features our usual variety of films - from exploitation to commercial to classic horror - so there is something for everyone. Our goal is to expand our fan base so we can keep Night School going. Please attend and tell your friends.
Fright School 2
Fright School 1
Friday, Sept. 30
The Sisters of No Mercy
Premiere Party in Purgatory
and The Art of Video Remixing
Lew Ojeda and Joseph Lewis present:
Directed by Joseph Lewis, 2011
Sisters of No Mercy
"Classic storytelling, exploitation, ballyhoo and all matters of strangeness blend using the personal input of others to create a unique entertainment experience"
Facets Fright School kicks off with a special event from The Underground Multiplex: the complete feature-length version of Sisters of No Mercy
. Presented as an interactive film extravaganza featuring live circus performers, musicians, dancers and actors, Sisters of No Mercy
tells the story of the pious Holy Order of the Sisters of Mercy and how they turned to vengeance when an evil priest and his assistants wreak havoc on their order and the world. Underground Multiplex co-founders Lew Ojeda and Joseph R. Lewis will present a primer on the importance of video remixing in creating new audacious entertainment. Among the films sampled for the event are Perversion for Profit
, Killer Nun
, and Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun
Joseph R. Lewis and Lew Ojeda are the co-founders 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 the upcoming Sci-Fi SOL
. He's previously lectured the Facets Night School presentation of Killer Klowns from Outer Space
. Lew works as a personal video consultant at Facets Multimedia and has produced/directed the ground-breaking Rochester, NY TV series The Word is Out
, and has lectured on Eat the Rich
, Lady Terminator
, and Fuego
Saturday, Oct. 1
Be Your Teenage Dream Tonight:
A Boy, a Bunny, and the End of the
Mad World in Donnie Darko
Lauren Whalen presents:
Directed by Richard Kelly, 2001
"Maybe its the story of Holden Caulfield, resurrected in 1988 by the spirit of Philip K. Dick who was always spinning yarns about schizophrenia and drug abuse, breaking the barriers of space and time."
-Writer-director Richard Kelly on Donnie Darko
Every teenager wonders: Am I crazy, or is everyone else? In Donnie Darko
, director Richard Kelly took on a multitude of issues: the strange politics of the late 1980's, the even stranger politics of mental illness, and the troubling uncertainty of being young. Oh, and there's a giant rabbit named Frank, a darker turn for Patrick Swayze, a breakthrough performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal in the title role, and a kiddie dance troupe called Sparkle Motion. Because the inciting incident (a plane crash) was thought too morbid for an all-too-recent post-9/11 world, Donnie Darko
was nearly relegated to movie purgatory on the Starz network -- but thanks to a short theatrical run, a DVD release, and the multitudes of disaffected youth on the Internet, this interesting and bizarre film lives on. Lauren Whalen dives into the dreamy weirdness of a movie that isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but continues to confuse, inspire, and provide a touchstone to anyone who's ever looked around and asked, "Who am I and why am I here?"
was a confused teen and an uncertain twenty-something who always found solace at the movies. Her previous Night School presentations have explored the fantastical world of David Lynch (Love, Lesbians and Losing Your Life in Los Angeles: Mulholland Dr.
) and the neo-noir subgenre (Anti-Heroes, Heroin and High School: Brick
). Lauren is Facets' Development Coordinator and Assistant to the Executive Director, and a freelance writer, blogging for RedEye
, reviewing movies for The Film Yap
, and yakking about anything and everything on her own site, The Unprofessional Critic
. Lauren first saw Donnie Darko
when she rented the film from Facets, as an intern in 2002.
Friday, Oct. 7
Howling at the Moon:
Blood Sisterhood in Ginger Snaps
Catherine Clepper presents:
Directed by John Fawcett, 2005
"Something is wrong - like, more than you being female."
-Brigitte in Ginger Snaps
Lauded as an instant cult classic, John Fawcett's Ginger Snaps follows the misadventures of the Fitzgerald sisters, Ginger and Brigitte. 16-year-old Ginger and 15-year-old Brigitte live on the margins of their bland Canadian suburban community. Instead of cheerleading, they enjoy staging grizzly self-portraits. Instead of embracing eyeliner and push-up bras, they forestall the process of becoming teenage sexpots, opting instead to live in their own private universe. The catch? The town they live happens to be plagued by a werewolf. When Ginger is bitten (not coincidentally on the night of her first period), Brigitte's life becomes an agonizing countdown to the next full moon.
Cleverly subverting the gendered conventions of the horror genre, Ginger Snaps allows were-Ginger to truly raise some hell - to be a monster, rather than merely being chased by one. Catherine Clepper argues that Ginger's femininity, once unleashed by the bite, only accentuates her beastliness and that, in turn, animalism offers Ginger an alternative to the sexual stereotyping that dominates the girls' lives. Focusing on the relationship between the two sisters, the film's tongue-in-cheek treatment of "becoming a woman," as well as how Ginger Snaps fits into the legacy of werewolf films, this talk/screening situates Ginger Snaps as both creature feature and a whip smart commentary on growing up female.
Catherine Clepper is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University. She is currently working on a dissertation entitled "The Rigged House," which focuses on American theatrical technologies and exhibition gimmicks from the 1950s onward. Catherine presented Doris and the VIP Girl: Selling the Sizzle in Lover Come Back at Facets Night School.
Saturday, Oct. 8
An Orgy of Sick Minds:
The Heritage of Bloodsucking Freaks
Mike McPadden presents:
Directed by Joel M. Reed, 1976
"This is a movie so low-rent, so sleazy, so filled with sex and violence that the entire running time tries to answer the question, 'How far can a film go?'"
-Scott W. Davis, Horror Express
To label contemporary fare such as Saw
, and Human Centipede
torture porn is to have never witnessed Bloodsucking Freaks
, the scabrous tale of a sadistic magician, his eyeball-eating dwarf henchman, and their Soho dungeon full of caged nude virgins. Bloodsucking Freaks
combines the berserk gore of Herschel Gordon Lewis, the barf-bag wit of John Waters, and the naked obsessions of Russ Meyer with an artful, giddy nihilism all its own that could only have erupted from 1970s New York City. The result is an indelible assault on all senses - and sensibilities. Join Mike McPadden for a spelunk into the horror's cruelest nadirs viewed through this landmark outrage with a discussion of the extreme films that came before and what, if any, taboos remain in its wake.
is the Head Writer of Mr. Skin
, and the author of If You Like Metallica
(Backbeat Books, 2012) and Heavy Metal Movies: The 666 Most Headbanging Films of All Time, From Anvil to Zardoz
(Bazillion Points, 2012).
Friday, Oct. 14
The Worst Trip: Killer Hippies, Devil Worship, and
Mansonsploitation in The Love Thrill Murders
Katherine Rife presents:
Directed by Robert L. Roberts, 1971
The Love Thrill Murders
Within days of the Tate/LaBianca murders in August 1969, unscrupulous sleaze merchants were rushing to develop B-movies based on the infamous case. The Manson Family had everything that exploitation audiences wanted: free love, cults, LSD, Satanism, extreme violence, and a charismatic madman at the center of it all. Join Katie Rife of Facets and MrSkin.com as we explore the far-out history of Mansonsploitation through one of its most offbeat incarnations, 1971's rabid-hippie horror flick The Love Thrill Murders
, also known as Sweet Savior
. Sweet '50s heartthrob Troy Donahue stars as creepy cult leader Moon, which suggests an interesting subtext on the drastic change in teens' wants, desires, and lifestyles in the 1960s.
is a Chicago-based writer and filmmaker who has written about film for outlets as diverse as the Chicago International Film Festival and Mr. Skin
. She is a founding member of the found footage video collective Everything is Terrible! and contributed to the DVDs Everything is Terrible: The Movie!
and 2Everything2Terrible2: Tokyo Drift
, available for rental at Facets.
Saturday, Oct. 15
The Artistry of Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur
in I Walked with a Zombie
Stephen Reginald presents:
Directed by Jacques Tourneur, 1943
I Walked with a Zombie
"It's the movie's atmosphere, its eerie, ineffable visual style, that makes it live on in one's memory."
-Chris Dashiell, Cinescene.com
Horror movie producer Val Lewton elevated the horror film to artistic levels during the 1940s. I Walked With a Zombie is one of his most popular and best known productions and his second collaboration with director Jacques Tourneur (Curse of the Demon, 1957). Often compared to Jane Eyre because of its remote setting and similar narrative style, I Walked With a Zombie stands on its own as a true classic of the horror genre.
Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, and social media guru. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald has taught several classes on classic film at Facets Film School and has previously presented Cat People, Theodora Goes Wild, and Johnny Belinda at Night School.
Friday, Oct. 21
Joel Wicklund presents:
Art House Auteurs Go A-Haunting!
Directed by David Lynch, 1968
Directed by Monte Hellman, 2006
(28 min., director's festival version)
Directed by Federico Fellini, 1968
(37 min., from Spirits of the Dead
Plus added mainstream auteur bonus:
Directed by Tim Burton, 1982
"Perhaps not having to sustain this wild mood over a full feature made Fellini less inhibited, but putting his kaleidoscopic visuals into this 'genre' tale is much more satisfying than the art-film dream puzzle that is Juliet of the Spirits. ...Fellini could have made the best horror film ever, should he have bothered."
-Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant (on Toby Dammit)
From Murnau's Nosferatu
to Kubrick's The Shining
and beyond, some of the most memorable horror films have been made not by genre specialists, but by internationally acclaimed auteurs dabbling in the field. This class presents three very different short works by singular artists rarely associated with horror and, based on these films, asks the viewer whether they should be more closely identified with the genre (in the case of David Lynch) or whether their signature style works when applied to it (in the case of Hellman and Fellini). We'll also examine the nebulous question of what separates genre filmmakers from art film directors in terms of the goal of personal filmmaking. As an added attraction, to continue the celebration of the centennial anniversary of Vincent Price's birth, we'll show the animated short Vincent
, an early work by Tim Burton, one of mainstream Hollywood's more quirky auteurs.
transient writing career has included past stops as a film critic for The Daily Southtown
(now The Southtown Star
) and The Racine Journal Times
, a staff writer for Facets Multimedia and a contributor to Centerstage Chicago. He has also been published in The Onion A.V. Club
and other websites. When not extolling the virtues of cheap imported goods to keep the wheels of capitalism turning, he currently writes and maintains the horror cinema website Shadows & Screams
. Joel presented The Sophisticated Shudders of Roger Corman's Poe/Price Films
for Night School Session 8.
Saturday, Oct. 22
Universal (and Timeless) Horror:
Rooting Around The Old Dark House
Michael Smith presents:
Directed by James Whale, 1932
The Old Dark House
"...what is perhaps most remarkable is the way Whale manages to parody the conventions of the dark house horror genre as he creates them."
-Time Out London
The Old Dark House
is one of the seminal horror films produced by Universal Studios in the early sound era, yet sadly remains lesser known than the studio's more famous monster movies of the same period (Dracula
, The Mummy
, etc.). Instead, The Old Dark House
, which exemplifies the "haunted house" subgenre, has attained the status of a cult classic while also remaining supremely recognizable as the work of "star director" James Whale; it masterfully combines horror and humor, serves as a great showcase for the versatility of actor Boris Karloff (who spends most of the film chasing a negligee-wearing Gloria Stuart around the title location) and clocks in at barely more than an hour in length. Whale masterfully orchestrates the action of The Old Dark House
by having his cast of extremely eccentric characters bounce off each other like billiard balls, producing enough scares (and laughs) to fill two movies.
received an MA in Film Production from Humboldt State University. His first short film, At Last, Okemah!
, played the festival circuit, winning several awards, and he has just completed his second, The Catastrophe
. He teaches film studies at Triton College, Oakton Community College, Harold Washington College, and the College of Lake County and maintains the Chicago-centric film blog White City Cinema
Friday, Oct. 28
Shout Out to the Devil:
Anton LaVey and Cinema
Chris Damen presents:
Directed by Robert Fuest, 1975
The Devil's Rain
"What is the Devil's Rain?... All the good things of life are on one side of a sheet of plate glass, and you're on the other, and it's raining on your side, bunky."
In "Shout Out to the Devil: Anton LaVey and Cinema," Chris Damen explores the influence on cinema by Church of Satan founder, Anton LaVey, focusing on his involvement with The Devil's Rain. LaVey had a very interesting relationship with Hollywood and its stars, from Jayne Mansfield to Sammy Davis Jr. to Kenneth Anger. It could be argued that LaVey influenced them all to some degree. Also featured will be clips from Satanis: The Devil's Mass and other film and television shows.
This is Chris Damen's fourth presentation for Facets Night School - and his most daring to date. Raised in the suburbs of Chicago as a latchkey kid during the 1980s and 1990s, he had a close connection to the television set, particularly to taboo subject matter. Satanism is no exception. From Geraldo's 1987's Satanism special to Marilyn Manson's rise in the mid-1990s, Chris has been a fan of it all.
Saturday, Oct. 29
Universal Horror in the Late 20th Century: The Frighteners
Dominick Mayer presents:
Directed by Peter Jackson, 1996
"Jackson weaves unconventional characters, circumstances and pop cultural references...into a kind of expedition across a weirdo mindscape."
-Cindy Fuchs, Philadelphia City Paper
Peter Jackson's early horror films combine a reverence for old cinema with a cockeyed sense of humor wholly unique and modern. The Frighteners, his last genre entry before finding fame with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, saw Jackson take the old horror films of Universal Studios, with all their camp and sexual subtext, and foreground this while also crafting a deliriously fun pastiche of horror movie history. Fright School lecturer Dominick Mayer will look at the historical connections and care that went into building a singularly unique film.
Dominick Mayer is a graduate student in Cinema Studies at DePaul University. He has previously lectured on Black Dynamite, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) as part of Night School. He can commonly be found in various movie theaters and professional wrestling shows around the Chicagoland area.
For all inquiries about Facets Night School, email email@example.com.