|Title:||The Most Dangerous Game|
|Director:||Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack|
Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)
|12.10.05||Alamo Downtown||This Screening is part of event: Butt-Numb-A-Thon 7|
My personal experience of the 7th Voyage of Butt-Numb-A-Thon... and my first!
RRR! RRR! RRR! RRR!
Somewhere along the line, the people that make alarm clocks must have done a study to discern that the most annoying sound in the world was not a ring or a beep but rather a sideways electronic grunt. Especially when it starts crying at 8 AM. Is this the day that I get into Butt-Numb-A-Thon?
I shower and get downtown by about 9:10, passing by the Alamo on my way to a somewhat close parking space. Parking before noon on a saturday pretty much rocks. If i had a wristwatch that enabled me to control time, I'm pretty sure the #1 abuse would be rewinding to 9 AM to park then fast forwarding back to whenever I need it to be.
Blake and Micah are already there but I only need to casually skip in front of one person to meet them. It doesn't matter anyway since the standby line is going by raffle this year. In fact, I think maybe those people that got there at 5:30 AM did so just to make all of us feel bad if they didn't get in. I got there at a good time though. Harry's webpage said to show up at 10 and they handed the raffle tickets out at about 10:05 and cut everybody that got there after that off. I thought that was pretty harsh for about 20 seconds until I realized that it meant better odds for me.
And so we waited. Luckily, the guy I skipped in front of had brought his laptop. I missing Harry's posting of the fake line-up for today: a list of movies that would play in bizarro-world BNAT. The list:
I Married A Monster From Outer Space
Guns of Navarone
Escape from NY
Revenge of the Colossal Beasts
Sword of Gideon
We all new it would be 7 new ones and 5 old ones. Assuming each was new, let's see. No clue what Rollerball could be. Gorgo must be Kong. It's a Given. Top Hat... Most Everybody was thinking The Producers but my secret hope was that my memory didn't betray me and I actually did see Liam Lynch's name on that initial BNAT Attendees list and that he would show up with Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny. Wishful thinking... Top Hat seems much more correlative to The Producers (and one of Harry's friends told us as much). No clue on Monster from Outer Space. IMDb told us that Shurayukihime was Lady Snowblood which meant Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Had to. No clue on Guns of Navarone. People had mixed thoughts on Escape from NY but again, my secret hope kicked in. The John Carpenter on the attendees list probably wasn't _The_ John Carpenter because Eli Roth wasn't listed and we knew he was showing up. Still though, just the thought, coupled with Drew and Scott being in town... I bet they are gonna show their Masters of Horror episode Cigarette Burns. Revenge of the COllossal Beasts? No clue. Deliverance must be Hostel. MUST BE! With Eli here and the film screening in town Monday. MUST BE. No clue on Hooper. For whatever reason the guy in line kept putting his laptop away after browsing one web page and getting him to bring it out again and again seemed rude. So, trying to think of what movie Hooper is, the only thing that popped into my head is that early Paul Newman mystery movie where the title is one word that's his name. It was William Goldman's first script. Nobody knew what the hell I was talking about. One guy tried to convince me that I was thinking of The Verdict for a while... Now, Hindsight Alert, if we HAD looked up Hooper on IMDb, we all would have guessed it instantly. Tin Drum? no clue. Sword of Gideon? IMDb said it was set in Munich. Duh!!!
With that, we started to brace ourselves for having to watch a Spielberg movie as the last movie. By now, ticket holders had started to line up around the building and the standby line stretched down to the pizza cart. Post-baby Karen came out and gave out raffle tickets. She asked how I was. Sweet! Recognition kicks so much ass. I think it's because I asked how her baby was doing one time when I bought a ticket next to an Alamo regular so now she registers me as "been here before" which really makes up for one of the wait staff asking me if it was my first time there a few weeks ago. Karen's recognition, followed by Tim League recognizing me and shaking my hand on the stairs, were highlights of the night as far as Alamo belonginess was concerned. A theater filled with Harry's closest friends and family, and I get recognized a few times. Felt good.
I also recognized someone I didn't think I would. In the initial list of attendees, a Jedidiah Scher was listed. There was even a talkback about what kind of name that was and how crazy ha ha. Hey! I sort of almost knew a Jedidiah Scher back in high school. in Maryland. Only back then he went by "Jedd" and spent all his time playing bass and somehow being popular while still liking comic books and band. Well, sure enough... I see his face in the throng of people getting their assigned seats and goody bags. He passed me and I got to be that guy who says "hey! are you (insert name here)? I went to high school with you!" Turns out, he lives in LA and came out because his application got in. it's his first time at the theater. He said he would always read about these crazy events going on in Austin from Harry's webpage and just decided to try and go one year. Luck (and his name, no doubt) got him in. He works for G4 now. You know, he may have a cool business card now but you know what? He read about how cool Austin was and decided to come down for a weekend. I read about it and decided to QUIT MY HIGH-PAYING JOB AND MOVE HERE. So who's working for G4 and who's living the dream, I ask. Yeah, that's right.
So more and more attendees flooded into the theater. Depression fell over the fifty or so of us in the standby line. I started mentally picturing the lobby to figure out how many wooden seats they have. I could only remember eight. 8 / 50 * raffle = I'm going home. A few aintitcool aquantances of mine came over to chat, each sorry/surprised that all three of us hadn't gotten tickets. They were obviously excited because they all said "see you inside" with the same level of meaning and care that I sometimes say "you too" when an usher at a movie theater says "enjoy the show." However, each of those guys expressed genuine handshakes when they saw me later on with a bright pink band around my wrist so I forgive them all.
You know, sitting in the standby line really sucks. You know you have no chance of getting in and it's a horrible feeling where you're friendly with everyone else but secretly wish they'd just leave and give me their tickets and know that sooner or later, a lucky few of us would get in and the rest would have nothing better to do than think bad thoughts about us all weekend. Personally, I was completely convinced that I wasn't getting in. I was there basically to hang out with Blake and Micah for a bit and felt even worse for them because they came down from Dallas for this. I don't think I've ever won anything in a raffle ever Unless it's a situation where everyone wins and even then I get like the $10 gift certificate for Nails by Denise or something. But for as crappy as the standby line is, I did get one highlight out of it. I got to see Eli Roth and his hot Eurobabe Hostel co-star walk up in their comfy clothes holding their ass-pillows and register to get in. I like Cabin Fever more every time I watch it and thought Hostel was really really great. Whether I got in or not today I planned to find out where the hell his screening was Monday and go for that as well, so seeing him walk up and go in was pretty cool. Of course, seeing him hanging out with people I knew and both of them sticking it out till the end was even cooler, but still. One thing I missed about QT6 was getting a seat so early that I missed seeing QT actually arrive. There's something cool about that.
Then these four guys showed up super late and they had tickets. Those fuckers. The least you could do is get there on time, huh???
So Karen came out and said they had 12 empty seats. That number was immediately corrected to 11. Jay Knowles, Harry's father (who was genuisely rendered as a horned cyclops in the BNAT7 artwork) picked tickets out of a bowl and read them off. Two people down the line got in together and gave a high-five out in the street. He called off a number right next to Blake, Micha, and I. We all cringed. 11 out of 50 meant that only 1 of the three of us, if any, would get in.
Then they called out my number.
There were only 4 people left after my number was called but they stopped the drawing for a bit to take care of the batch of 5 of us standing out in the street. Karen started handling us like dazed cattle, taking us toward the door and handing out t-shirt and gift bag tickets along with our wristbands and telling us to go up the stairs to pay. As we left I heard Jay say "Don't raffles SUCK!" and I felt really bad that Blake and Micah only had a 1 in 40 chance with only 4 tickets left to draw. On the other hand, I had just gotten into BNAT7!!! On the stairs, I could hear Tim League on the mic, bringing absolutely massive cheers from the audience. I was really like a dazed cow standing there, ready to hand out my 60 bucks to whoever would take it just so I could get in the theater and not miss any more. I also felt a sense of duty to document the fuck out of this whole event so Blake and Micah could each re-live it through my lovely descriptive prose. They only had size Large left of the t-shirts, meaning my decidedly XL frame would never be able to sport the great BNAT7 shirt? Oh well, just let me in. I had to go back downstairs to get my wristband? oh well just let me in. Wait, I already had my wristband? don't go back downstairs then. JUST LET ME IN. You don't understand. Tim's introductions are classic. Hilarious, smooth, timed perfectly for audience reaction, I've never sat through a bad Tim league intro, even for films that he's never seen before.
I managed to get into the theater and find a pretty choice seat (as far as wooden and fold-out chairs on the sides of the theater are concerned) just as TIm handed the mic over to Harry. I actually sat right next to Harry and the microphone mixer. I also had a table to put my jacket and food on and could lean the chair back just a tiny amount but enough to lean my head against the wall. I also prefer to sit near the front so that didn't bother me. The screen was pretty distorted from being on the far side wall but it also meant no heads taking up the frame and after the lights go down you don't notice the dimensions of the frame anymore. It also allowed me to easily scope the crowd just by turning my head, so I got to see how many people were sleeping and also got to see the projectionist switch projectors at the end of the reels: something I never actually watched before. Yeah the seat was wood and the bruise on my ass from slipping on the ice earlier in the week didn't like that much but I wasn't scrunched to either side so i got to stretch out a bit and my jacket doubled as pretty decent ass cushion. All in all I can't really complain about the seat at all, and think I might have actually preferred it to a seat farther back in the theater where I'd have to work to see between heads and keep my arms folded over my belly between the armrests. Plus I got to sit right next to Harry so anyone that came up to talk to him I got to overhear and when he wheeled himself out of the theater and dragged his mic along I was there to scoop it up and keep anyone from tripping over stepping on the mic. Also, when he'd wheel around to face the audience in between pictures, I was right behind him so I kind of got an effect of having an entire theater look at me without having to actually say anything. And to top it all off, when super-tiny hotty actress Angela Bettis got up with director Lucky McKee, I got absolute free reign to stare directly at her ass the whole time, since she was standing next to Harry (and really was barely taller than sitting Harry... so tiny! I felt like I could pick her up in my hand like Kong). Add all of that to the automatic sympathy and hardcore points all of us standby people earned at the end of it for sticking it out on the wooden seats and I have to say that it was like the best place I could have possibly sat.
Plus I got to see this one girl who sat directly in front of Harry. I guess she's active in talkback or chat or something. She was this blonde girl; that type that's like a 7 and acts like she's a 9... you know, still fairly attractive but uses it way too much. She came with a guy who sat in a fold-up chair at the end of the row and would constantly get up and walk out to the lobby. She also made a habit of checking her cellphone about once a minute, giving me that awesome blue light in the corner of my eye. After the second movie, she came back saying "pajamas!" and wearing these silk bottoms that barely covered her ass, showing off these black lacy get-ups oh-so-intentionally. She wasn't as bad as the two girls who hung around in trashy lingerie for the whole thing, but still. She'd also kiss Harry like every time she passed by. I don't know if Harry's girlfriend sitting right next to him saw or minded or what but Harry wasn't very responsive, even after kiss on cheek #8. At some point, her dude left for like 6-8 hours and she somehow got Matt Dentler to sit with her for like an hour or so. She also left for a stretch, coming back with a huge pizza box that she ate one piece of then had a server take it away. She ordered 3 buckets of beer and 2 pitchers and drank like two bottles. She handed Harry a bottle in the middle of a movie and asked if I wanted one but I said no. I think she left and came back the most times through the whole affair. Certain people (like the "classy guy in the 'FUCK' t-shirt") got up at least once for pretty much every movie (I know because I was sitting on the side so I saw everyone that came my way to get out) but this girl took the cake. Somewhere along the way, She told me that I'd been sitting there for a long time. I said "so have you" and she struck a pose. Weird girl, man. Like really. I kind of get that not everyone that comes to this thing is there for the movies, but I would hope that everyone is respectful to those that are. There were intermittent half hour breaks for everyone to go out and smoke, use the restroom, socialize with friends, etc. so it's not like watching every movie was torture. It's pretty clear though that a lot of people were there just for Kong.
I'm getting ahead of myself. As I took my seat and tried to get comfortable, Harry was telling the audience that many of us probably had guesses based on the list of fake titles he published this morning. He then said that we're not as smart as we think we are and he's smarter than he thinks he is, which doesn't make 100% sense but people cheered anyway. He also mentioned that the last film of the night is taking about 25 hours to get here. It left yesterday, should be in customs right now, and should hopefully get here before tomorrow morning. According to Harry, it's the only print of the film in existence right now. Harry then asked the crowd for any guesses on this first movie and all sorts of titles rang out. He then asked how many first-timers were here then said "all of you people yelling out new movies have been to this before and you KNOW the first movie is always old!" Then he gave it up that it's The Most Dangerous Game (which drew applause). This is a movie that I've never seen but always wanted to. I remember reading the story in 7th grade English class and there was a few stills from the movie to make it easier on us middle schoolers that have to (gasp) read! Harry said that there's really only on movie that's not a surprise "and y'all know what that is" (to more cheers) and in that movie, the movie that Ms. Wray is tied up doing with producer Merian C. Cooper is this one. Pretty confusing. I didn't really get what he said until later on in the night when all became clear. Anyway, this movie is like an alternate to King Kong that Cooper produced the year before the 1933 original. Harry then mentioned that they'd play a few pre-BNAT trailers and would anyone like to guess which. A Raucous entire audience yelled out "STUNT ROCK!" With that, the lights went down and the BNAT7 experience officially started with:
Mel Gibson sitting down staring at the screen. "Hi all you butt-numb-a-thon-ers!" He gave a little talk about how he's down in Mexico (-Mel to offscreen: "Say Something in Spanish" -offscreen: "(something in Spanish)" -Mel: "See?") and said he wanted to show us the first glimpse ever of the teaser for his new movie Apocalypto. The teaser won't show up online for 3 weeks so it was a true BNAT exclusive. "Be Brutal," he said, "or cheer. It's all the same really." The teaser played, looking very interesting in the same way that The Passion teaser looked very interesting... you know, before it was revealed that it was basically a Christan snuff film. No dialgoue but shots of some pyramids and some screen text about how empires end or something. To tell you the truth I can't really remember specifics. I just remember the last shot being pretty impressive, starting with the sun and panning down to see some chief's painted arm and down further to see that he's standing before tons and tons of digital people. It could definitely be cool, but like someone told me later, you can never tell if it will be Cool Mel making a movie or Crazy Mel... Apparently when he was here to introduce The Passion at BNAT5, he was just as funny and self-deprecating as he was in the video'd intro tonight, so you can really never tell.
After that, Tim played trailers for Argoman: The Fantastic Superman (now that Munich was definitely not the last movie being played (way more than one print in existence of that), Superman became the next favorite guess for everyone. This trailer helped), The Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds, and Stunt Rock. Of course.
The Most Dangerous Game
The Most Dangerous Game has the slow pacing and traditional set scenes of a typical 1932 movie but the horrific "twist" and subversive undercurrent that's still somewhat fresh today. It made a great first movie because, after all is said and done, it was still noon on a saturday and this is a great saturday noontime movie. It's a good settling-in movie. It kind of has the feel of I Walked with a Zombie or a better version of White Zombie or any of those foundations of early horror where it was really more about the idea than the special effects or gore. While I am all for those things, I think "the idea" remains the true source of horror in movies today. I guess there's a reason why it's in the Criterion Collection, huh.
After the film, Harry introduced a few guys who talked for a while about a project they're working on with Ray Harryhausen to make Edgar Allen Poe stories as stop-motion animated shorts fopr Bravo! Canada. They showed a one-minute teaser for the six-minute short and then talked about another project they're doing with Harry from an old unfinished idea by Merian C. Cooper called War Eagles. Apparently his tagline was "bigger and better than King Kong." They showed a little "sizzler" spot for this which basically explains the idea's origin.
At about this time, I look over at the other standby folk sitting against the opposite wall and see Micah! He waves and I wave back then he points down next to him. I lean over and there's Blake! I have no clue how they got in, but unfortunately couldn't go over right then and ask them because Harry decided to only do a break after every two or three movies instead of every one. This made it tough on the chronic pee-ers but also ensured that the show kept rolling.
Harry told us that many thought the next film would be King Kong, and while It's true that he's showing a Peter Jackson film next, we all might be surprised. "See," said Harry, "Peter's been working on a film in secret for a while now, which Peter just does because he's wiley. It's very topical though and we present it here for the first time ever!"
On the screen, some guy appears in a room talking to the camera. He's trying to introduce this documentary that he's been working on about Avian flu and that although it's very low budget, he did go to China to shoot. Then Jackson walks into frame behind him and interrupts the guy, saying that he was sorry but this was his BNAT slot and he's been working on a movie that he thinks people might want to see. "I'm all for low budget films, don't get me wrong," he told the guy on the screen, " but I've got a big budget picture that, when i was there two years ago I promised I'd come back to show. Actually I tripped right there (pointing to the bottom-left of the screen) and it was quite embarassing." This got laughs from the audience. Jackson then said he was sorry he couldn't be here in person but was stuck in the press machine at the moment wrapped up with the premiere and he hoped we would all enjoy King Kong (asking if Harry still has his gas bomb (which he did (I saw it (it was right in front of Harry the whole time)))).
Then they played King Kong.