Skip to main content

A Movie Festivus for the Rest of Us

You know what the problem with the modern movie going experience is? It sucks. There's the teenage employees who don't care, spending $100 for a giant tub of industrially bland tasting popcorn, and the only drink size contains enough soda to drown a goat. Then you have to sit through what feels like an endless barrage of ads, and trailers, and reminders to buy more crappy food. The trailers are all for movies that are re-makes, or just whatever Michael Bay did on his Mac the other night. Nope, the googleplex sucks.

Even when you go to a special screening, as I did recently to see TCM's presentation of Alfred Hitchcock's “The Birds”, it still lacks a little something. This is not the case when you go to the independent/repertory theater. Those places are awesome. Darling jewels of community love, ran by people who live for movies. The Belcourt in Nashville is a shinning example, and my favorite theater on the planet. As much growth that is taking place in our area, I hope it's just a matter of time till we can get one here—I think we're ready to support it. Till that time comes, the modern flat screen has made movie watching at home a very nice experience. I have a little screening room myself, nothing fancy, but you do get a better sense of size when a nice CinemaScope film is running.

I have several reputations: Bon Vivant, Playboy, Stock Car Race Driver, Pheasant Plucker. Yet I am also known as something a connoisseur for a particular type of weird, strange, low-budget movie. “Drive in movies” would be the catch all term for these, but its really just a kind of movie with a really unique vibe, made mainly during the 1950s and 1960s, not all drive in fare. You know the names of some of these movies. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman springs to mind, as does any number films made by those kings of the genre, American International Pictures. AIP, as it's known for short, might be best remembered for the Beach Party movies of the '60s, and some stellar '70s Blacksplotation films such as Blacula.

A common thread these films have, and one that lacks from most modern films is that they are all fun, and rarely take themselves too seriously. I defy you to watch William Castle's masterpiece The Tingler, and tell me you didn't have a good time watching it. I love these movies, they have a weird charm that today's films lack—most them too concern with coating everything in Red Kayro Syrup. I was talking about one of these films with a friend lately, one I just had the pleasure of seeing for the first time, the amazingly out there 1960 opus The Hypnotic Eye. Yes, The Hypnotic Eye, the movie that stops right before the end and tires to hypnotize the audience watching the movie—I'm not joking. The poster for the film gladly proclaiming it as the first movie in that new modern day miracle “Hypno-Magic!!”

It's a textbook example for what I'm talking about, and what has been spawned due to a discussion of it with a friend—touching back to the moving going alternative. The film's plot is the great mystery as to why a number of beautiful women have been mutilating themselves (Ahoy, misogyny!), which becomes clearer when the police, who have an acting level on par with an episode of Dragnet, discover that each of the victims had seen the famed hypnotist Desmond preform. Desmond, is played by French actor, and one time Mr. Ginger Rogers, Jacques Bergerac. Yes, the menacing Desmond, whose French accent is so overwhelming the word “hands” sounds like “hans.” It's true bone shaking terror.

As I began to describe this movie to a friend, and some of the other titles in my collection, the idea was born for a monthly gathering for “weird old movie night”. This was something that I could support fully, as most of the time I try to show these movies to people, they do their best to escape my clutches. However gathering together a group of willing subjects who all know what they're going into—that's just gonna be fun. The first gathering will be at the end of this month, and we will be watching The Hypnotic Eye partnered with Larry Blamire's modern spoof/homage to B movies: The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. It should be a fun time for all, and I might even write up a report of how the first night goes. Stay tuned to these pages, cats. See you next week. Follow me on Twitter @ThatAndyRoss

Copyright 2012 Andy Ross


Popular posts from this blog

Blue Christmas Lights

Despite all the tinsel and glow, all the shinny faces and families rushing around in their SUVs and minivans, Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for some people. An example? Recently a friend of mine was talking about grocery shopping with her husband and children. She came across the seasonal display of Little Debbie cakes, and began to pick up two boxes to mail to her grandfather. Upon putting them in the cart, she remembered that her grandfather passed away this year, she quietly, and sadly, placed the boxes back on the shelf.
Before you get me wrong, I'm not hating on Christmas. I love this time of the year, genuinely, not in a “Up next on the Donnie and Marie Christmas Special is Andy Ross and he's gonna read that off some cue cards” way. I suppose why I feel a need to talk about this, is that I felt a little down last Christmas. It was odd, I didn't even feel enthusiastic about making my annual Christmas Mix CD, which has become something people actually…

Convincing Yourself You're Good.

I have Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is that feeling that what you do isn't good enough, and that someone is gonna eventually figure out how woefully unqualified you are and kick you to the curb. One of the traits of my personality that I dislike is that I am way too hard on myself. Seriously, give my mind an inch and I will somehow figure out that I am the sole person responsible for the world's troubles.

Having Imposter Syndrome is kind of like playing the game Werewolf. My friends and I play a version of the game called One Night Ultimate Werewolf, in the game each player picks a card that gives them a specific role, either a villager or a werewolf, and the villagers all have distinct roles that they play on top of that--special abilities and the like. The object of the game is two fold, if you're a werewolf, you don't wanna be caught. If you're a village, you wanna catch the werewolves. Imposter Syndrome makes you feel like you're always in the role…

Seduction My Way

With Valentine’s Day next week many are starting to make plans for what they will do with their lover. Lately I’ve been getting numerous tweets asking me “Andy, you’re a well known stud muffin, what can I do to make Valentine’s Day most memorable?” Since I have much to say on this topic, I thought I’d take time this week and share my advice for a most special February 14th. 
Now you may have read that last paragraph and thought to yourself “Andy, I have no lover, why did you write something useless for me!?” Don’t worry friend, I got you. If you need a pick up a line to score the date of your dreams, simply get up the courage to walk up the one you’ve been dreaming about, take a deep breath, and tell them the following. “Hey, do you wanna fall over a cliff in love with me? ‘Cause I’m the yodeling guy from Price is Right and you just incorrectly guessed the price of a toaster oven.” Never fails. 
Now comes the task of picking the right restaurant for the date. At this late time, finding …