The Super Trash Film Festival, y'all. You in Portland? It's going on through Sunday ('til really really early Monday, even!) at the Bagdad Theater, with kung-fu and exploding monster trucks and monsters and zombies and burlesque dancers and Peter Lorre and Bruce Lee-versus-Chuck Norris and and and...
One of the anchors of this festival is the John Carpenter film Big Trouble in Little China, which also was the KUFO Cort and Fatboy Midnight Movie for February. (Their March 7th film: The Princess Bride. You've been alerted.) As I tend to do with Midnight Movies, I listened at home to the start of Cort and Fatboy's live broadcast from the theater, including Mike Russell adding his thoughts, then made my way via sidewalks and buses (but not at the same time) to the theater, for food and visiting beforehand.
I hung out at the bar with Mike "Culture Pulp" Russell and David "Bad Azz Mofo" Walker. (Gee, if I used my website name as a nickname, I'd be Chris "Chris Walsh" Walsh.) Walker and Russell recounted how they met as (their word) "sherpas" on a TV commercial shoot. Seriously: they hauled camera equipment and giant camera batteries into the wilderness because, as Walker put it, "the company had crunched the numbers and realized we were cheaper than mules or horses." Dear God. (Other words that must remain confidential were spoken as well, though I will quote this. Me: "You're gonna complain about looking at Famke Janssen?" Russell: "No.")
Walker left for his segment on Cort and Fatboy ("Navigating the B-Movie Minefield," extra-appropriate during this film fest); Russell demonstrated his new iPhone by e-mailing the creator of XKCD with a comic strip idea that amused the both of us. Let's hope it amuses the creator, too. Cutting-edge technology used to facilitate the telling of jokes: I like this world.
Then Russell left for his own inscrutable purposes (I kid; he went to visit with his wife for a bit) and I hung out inside the lobby, stocked with fake posters for such trashy films as The Running Man (given a kind of "Will Eisner from Hell (or at least from movie marketing)" look) and Death Race 2000 (with an almost Mike Judge style, to the point I could imagine David Carradine going "huh huh, huh huh"). These posters were done by artists with Fantagraphics Comics, a sponsor of the fest; they'll be in a book in about a year or so. Also decorating the space were life-size drawings of burlesque dancers (in tribute to the Tease-O-Rama dancers who are also taking part), and giant blow-ups of Sixties-era Marvel Comics panels. More over-the-top-ness!
There also was the (soon to be) ceremonial Passing of the Tots, c/o Fatboy Roberts, a connoisseur and booster of the Bagdad's tater tots. In between his broadcast segments, he mingled with people and presented them with the chance to eat the tots. He offered them to Jackie, publicity wrangler from Dark Horse Comics, who was running a merchandise table (which had been set up by recent Old Town Portland arrival Floating World Comics). She accepted some tots but turned down the Peppercorn Ranch he also was carrying, because "We Jews don't do Ranch."
Super Trash's merchandise included T-shirts with the logos of companies who were releasing these trashy films on VHS in the Eighties, like Vestron Home Video and Media Home Entertainment. I told Jackie of the time my college dorm rented the Media copy of the mind-warping The Kentucky Fried Movie (the first film by the Airplane!/Top Secret!/Ruthless People guys), and when I recognized the Media logo at the start of the tape I told my dormmates to watch for the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes trailer after the film; and sure enough, there it was! ("No time to make a fuss/ We gotta get those tomatoes before they get us...") Sign of my geekiness: I remember different editions of videos.
Then there was mass ticket-buying, then finding Russell and Walker in the balcony, then -- rare for the Bagdad -- there were trailers! Preceding the film was the trailer for Tron (which got a huge reaction; that film is cheesy goodness that I like) and the red-band, "Restricted Audiences Only" trailer for Heavy Metal: The Movie, red-banded 'cause it had profanity and nudity and body-melting. (Brief venting commences: I hated hated hated Heavy Metal. I saw it in college and just felt sad afterwards. Venting done. See? It was brief.)
And then there was the supernatural-kung-fu joy of Big Trouble in Little China.
I think that'll get its own entry.
Tonight, at 7:00: I shall return for Super Trash's special presentation by Portland's own weirdo the Famous Mysterious Actor! *Brushes up on his fake German for the "Famous Mysterious Actor" theme song*