My Much-Needed Monday Night Film Festival

I’ve been working quite a bit recently — there’s a bunch of stuff in the works, and it’s had me frazzled, to be honest — so I was very pleased when I noticed that last night, a rare aligning of the stars resulted in no less than three consecutive movies worth watching appearing on various satellite channels. Not taking an omen like that lightly, I decided to forego any night-work, and park my ass in front of the television for about 6 hours.

First up was the 1973 classic, The Legend of Hell House.

Based on Richard Matheson’s novel (which was itself inspired by themes in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House–filmed as “The Haunting”), this is classic early-70s horror of the parapsychology craze…the glory days before the coming of the Slasher film. The plot is familiar: Collection of experts sent into famous haunted house (“the Mount Everest of Haunted Houses”, to quote one of the characters in the film), to conduct scientific study of the phenomena. Very creepy and atmospheric. I love horror films of this period, so I very much enjoyed this.

Second film of the evening was Zardoz

This is Sean Connery’s infamous early-70s sci-fi film. I’m not even sure I can do it justice with a description. The whole thing strikes me as very “M├ętal Hurlant” French sci-fi….except that the whole thing was written and directed by John Boorman, and filmed in Ireland. Post apocalypse new-age psychic utopia-based fake gods with giant floating stone heads, meet the brute from the outlands who turns out to the pinnacle of evolution. Best (and most infamous) line in the entire film: “The gun is good. The penis is evil. The penis shoots seeds, and makes new life, and poisons the earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the gun shoots death, and purifies the earth of the filth of brutals. Go forth and kill!”

Lastly, wrapping up the evening, was the directoral debut by Edward James (Adama) Olmos, American Me.

This is a crime drama that details the rise of the “Mexican Mafia” from the Chicano gangs in Los Angeles, through the eyes of one man, born in the violence of the Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940s, who spends most of his life in prison. This film was based on the real-life story of Rudy “Cheyenne” Cadena, and apparently, the Mexican Mafia was so pissed off about the critical view of their activities that three consultants to the film were murdered, and Olmos had to be issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon by the LAPD, due to death threats.

I love gangster films, and this was a worthy entry in that genre.

So, yeah: An evening spent, from 7 until about 1, watching movies and not working on anything. I need a few more of those.

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