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Hey, everyone.

"Moriarty" here with some rumblings from the Lab.

Tim League, owner and operator of the Alamo Drafthouse, could barely contain his wicked smile as he took the stage to start the evening. He took great delight in reminding all of us that the evening was sponsored by Broadjump, Benihana, and Omni Hotels, none of whom would probably be able to wrap their heads around the films we’d be seeing. QT had the same sly smile on his face when he took the stage. "People are going to ask me why I picked these films tonight. They’re sexy. That’s enough. You want plot or you want them to be well-directed or have good acting? Maybe as a bonus if you’re fucking lucky." When he started talking about Jess Franco, the first director of the evening, I knew he was right. I can’t say I’ve ever had a good Jess Franco experience. He’s one of those guys whose particular aesthetic does absolutely nothing for me. QT talked about how for him, Franco is what Ken Russell is always hyped as being. Yes, QT acknowledged, Franco made a lot of shitty movies, but he was capable of greatness when he was truly engaged by a picture. When SUCCUBUS was shown at the Cannes festival, Fritz Lang said it was the finest erotic film he’d ever seen. Keep in mind... Fritz Lang was 164 years old at the time, and they actually mention him in the movie. I think he was a wee bit skewed in his reading of the thing.

The trailers for the evening were more fun than the first film. THEY CALL HER ONE-EYE was one of the clues we were given regarding QT’s next film KILL BILL. He mentioned that he had been writing a revenge film recently, and that this poster is on his wall, that he looks at it for inspiration from time to time. I can see why. The trailer looks deranged, like a very twisted DEATH WISH riff. THE THIRD SEX was next, followed by MADAM KITTY, which made disco-style decadence in Nazi whorehouses look... well, kinda cool, actually. THE PENTHOUSE looked like a ‘70s version of the Dutch film FUNNY GAMES, with the narrator promising that "It’s not very civilized... it’s not very hygenic." It looks like thugs taking over a penthouse and terrorizing the couple who lives there. THE TEACHER looked like a more conventional sexploitation film, this one starring Angel Tomkins as a sexy substitute who sleeps with her students, including a teenage Jay North, Dennis the Menace himself! THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS was followed by HENRY & JUNE, which was actually a fantastic trailer. It made me want to see Kaufman’s wonderful little Henry Miller film again soon, and it made me want to see QUILLS, Kaufman’s new one.

As I was thinking about this, the film started. What can I say? The whole thing kicks off with an S&M scenario played out in stilted fashion, with people looking on from the shadows. There’s a pair of simulated murders, and the lights come up as we realize that this sex show is being staged in a nightclub. The "killer" in the show is our lead, a woman who looks like she’s led a hard life, and at least 40 years of it. As an erotic lead, she left me cold. To be honest, I was actually a little uncomfortable with her in the role. Not my type. That has a lot to do with how a film like this plays for you, of course. I found myself smiling at the whacked out ‘60s art film cliches that Franco kept piling on. I’ll give him this... great jazz score. It’s the one thing that kept me tuned in as the lead drops in and out of sexual dreams that might be memories or acid trips or just her own fevered imagination. It’s one kooky ride, full of midgets and sex parties and word games and murder. You could make the argument that this is the same basic genre as EYES WIDE SHUT, a trip through someone’s sexual dreamscape triggered by the fears of losing a partner. EWS is a trip through the male mind, while SUCCUBUS is a trip through the female mind, and it’s undeniable that Kubrick’s control and intelligence led him to remarkably different places that Franco, but you have to give Franco credit for attempting a serious symbolic representation of the bond between sex and death. Our girl’s visions all lead to a release, but it’s murder, not orgasm. The bodies begin to stack up for real, almost turning this into a thriller at times. It resolutely shakes the expected, and that’s what helps give it whatever mild kick I found there.

After a brief break that stretched into a long break, QT was back onstage to describe the particular pleasures of the Italian ribald costume sex farce. He told a great story about how he first heard of SEX ON THE RUN under its original title, CASANOVA & COMPANY. It was featured in a photo layout in the very first PLAYBOY that QT got in the mail when he subscribed at around 13. "I got to know that first issue really well," he said, "and I always remembered those photos." He spoke enthusiastically about a lesbian scene we’d be seeing, then got out of the way for the next trailer ring.

I think Bryan and Jennifer, the couple from Alabama who were sitting next to me, were surprised by just how graphic the first trailer was. They’d asked me nervously if we were going to be watching hardcore porn over the course of the night. When that trailer for BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR started, you could hear the wave of shock wash over the room. No question about it... it was a porn trailer. Penetration, oral sex, a gangbang, and more flashed by. The funniest part of the trailer is where the narrator reads glowing quotes from the various mainstream reviews of the film while cumshots play in slow-motion, over and over. THE HAPPY HOOKER GOES TO WASHINGTON lends ample proof to my theory that no film can be sexy if it stars Ray Walston, Billy Barty, and Laverne’s dad. MALIBU BEACH, CHEERLEADER BEACH PARTY, and SCHOOL SPIRIT were all good for some remarkable pre-silicon jiggling, but I was most impressed by GLADIATOR WOMEN with Pam Grier. I’ve decided that I’ll be making nothing but gladiator women movies for the rest of my career. It’s just one of those things you know as soon as you get your first look at something. Call it love at first sight. I have to find this movie immediately.

THE LOVES & TIMES OF SCARAMOUCHE was the last trailer, but any memory I might have had of that trailer was obliterated by what came next. Now, I’ve known Father Geek for a while. He’s a good guy. I like talking with him, and I like hanging out with him at these events. But if I’d known that he was also a filmmaker of such... such... technical command... well, I would have given him that extra little bit of respect that every great filmmaker earns. I can’t describe to you exactly what his short film is for all sorts of reasons. It’s like in an HP Lovecraft story when you can’t say the name of one of the Old Gods. If I were to describe the film to you, you would be driven mad by the need to see it immediately. Once witnessed, it can never be forgotten, and I know that I will be haunted by the final image for years or even decades to come. And I am never smoking a fucking cigarette in my life. Yikes.

And then we saw SEX ON THE RUN with some hot European babes. I can confirm that there is a steaming hot lesbian scene in a nunnery. I can also confirm that the mere threat we might see Tony Curtis naked made this a nightmare of tension unlike anything I’ve witnessed since that terrible moment in LITTLE CIGARS (one of the QT III films) when it looks like the midgets might rape Angel Tomkins. Can’t say I laughed much during this comedy. Doesn’t matter. I was able to use the time to daydream about the cast of Roger Vadim’s PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW, the hottest thing I saw at QT III. I was able to fantasize about the delectable Marla Singer back in LA, all delicious curves and bottomless brown eyes. Mainly, though, it was nice to get a little rest during a film. Little did I know just how much there would be worth discussing the next night. But we’ll get to that tomorrow. Until then...


Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 9, 2000, 3:56 p.m. CST

    *insert crickets chirping*

    by darqleo

  • Sept. 9, 2000, 6:32 p.m. CST

    QT'S Next Films and The Others He Showed On Sex Night.

    by Buzz Maverik

    First of all, it's not going to be any KILL BILL. He told me he was going to do a WWII flick about a guy (Harvey Keitel)who makes a sex video with Ava Braun (Pam Grier), accidentally mails it to Hitler and has to escape from a POW camp with his friends LeBeau (Lawrence Tierney), Kinchloe(Sam Jackson), Carter (Steve Buscemi) and Newkirk(Tim Roth)and retrieve the tape before his girlfriend, a Fraulein Helga (Uma Thurmon) finds out. Either that or he's going to remake ET or JACKIE BROWN. Either that or a revenge movie called RIGHT BACK AT'CHA. As for the sexy movies he showed, I think Moriarity had passed out by the time Q showed SADDLESHOES, OH YEAH! by David Lynch, CHASTITY CHASTAIN, CHICK SPY by Bob "Gooch" Guccione, and the original movie that EYES WIDE SHUT was remade from (bet'cha didn't know it was a remake; that's the kind of thing on QT knows) called I WANNA BELONG TO THOSE MASKED GUY'S CLUB by Sir David Lean.

  • Sept. 12, 2000, 5:45 a.m. CST

    Funny games is not Dutch

    by sindala

    ........but an Austrian film.

  • April 3, 2005, 6:26 p.m. CST

    by GrammarPolice