|Title:||The House on the Edge of the Park|
|03.28.06||Alamo Downtown|| So after that first movie, there was a break where it seemed extra cool for a few reasons. One was that it wasn't busy at all, very casual and also very late (like 2:30am at that point), and the other was that Tim was letting people smoke out in the lobby. Apparently this is the way it used to be but it's been completely non-smoking since the time I got here so it seemed really odd and out-of-place. Eventually though, QT got back up on stage to intro the next movie of the night: The House on the Edge of the Park.|
He started by asking who all had seen Wes Craven's Last House on the Left. A lot of us clapped or rose our hands so he said "Well, this is the Italian rip-off of that movie." And we all got very excited. Then he told us that David Hess himself was the star of the movie, and that it was directed by the guy who did Cannibal Holocaust. So now we were frothing at the mouth. Then he told us how the movie keeps getting worse and worse - "worse" not meaning bad but uncomfortable - and worse and worse until at one point you will ask yourself "why am I watching this?" and THAT is what exploitation cinema is all about. There should be at least one moment in every exploitation movie where you ask yourself that, not believing that something like this could ever be put on film or that you could ever want to see it. He also mentioned how this movie, although it has sex in it, is not a sexploitation film. Instead it's a hard HARD terror film. Oops I forgot to mention something about the previous film.
In his intros, QT seemed to take on half a teacher vibe to the crew, laying out ground rules on what exploitation movies are, what grindhouse movies are, difference between genres and all that. At the beginning of the night he mentioned that nearly all sexploitation movies are comedies.. some are dramas, horror, etc. but for the most part they try to be funny. When he was 14-16, he depserately wanted to see pornos but these movies were the only ones he could successfully sneak into, so he wound up seeing all of them. And with other genres, when they're bad you can laugh at the inadvertant humor of them... but with a really bad comedy what do you do? You can't laugh... it you could then the comedy would be a success. So some of his most excrutiating experiences are sitting through bad sexploitation comedies... and he sat through a lot of them. So if we know about grindhouse through his QTfests, that's ok but what we have to realize is that he's already sifted through all the crap and is presenting those pre-found gems for us. A movie that just seems ok to us would seem like the best movie in the world if we were there every night watching all the crap that came before and after it.
So continuing in that teacher vein, QT laid out the difference between a Horror film and a Terror film, using Grindhouse as an example. He called Robert Rodriguez's film a Horror film because the stuff that goes on in it, with the zombies and aliens or whatever, could never happen in real life. His movie though, about a guy rampaging in a car (or something), is a Terror movie because it COULD happen in real life. So The House on the Edge of the Park is a Terror film because it could really happen (note: I'm calling it a Desperate Hours film but I guess if I built in support for multiple genres I could call it both). So we got some education too. It was also cool to hear him tell the crew not to talk during the movie, don't talk at the screen or to your buddies or anything like that. Later on in this movie, some woman started talking a little bit and we were all joking afterward if there would be a memo on the call sheet the next day reaming her out for ruining QT's moviegoing experience. It's the feasability that things like that could actually happen that makes QT such a pinnacle in the eyes of movie geeks I think. He really respects the movies and enforces it... It's also what I love so much about the Alamo.
So this movie... it starts out with David Hess driving, then forcing a girl to pull over, then raping her in her car. It's about a guy who's maybe a mechanic or something and has a semi-dopey friend... who are just about to go out on the town to boogie when a car pulls up with some rich people in it and want them to fix their car... so they end up going to a private party with the rich people filled with people who are weird... sort of in a eurotrash way but kind of also not... i'd say like 70% eurotrash, 30% faux-new york high society. Then they dance around and play some cards and one girl teases David Hess but leaves him blue'd and then Hess pulls out a straight-razor and starts tormenting everyone. He rapes a girl, has his friend try to rape another one (he can't but they later fall in love for real and do it outside), forces one girl to kiss another, beats the crap out of a few guys, and generally puts them through hell for like an hour... until this virgin shows up and he starts cutting her. It's true that the movie gets really really uncomfortable, not helped at all by the fact that there's almost no music after the beginning titles. we're all just stuck there in the theater watching this go on. But then the ending ramps up in a truly ridiculous twist and there's an absolutely great slow-est-motion-ever shot of Hess getting his retribution even though, like the movie itself, he seems to refuse to die just out of sheer will for a while until finally he goes limp and the movie ends and the lights go up and I feel like I need to go to church.
As I was walking up out of the theater, the guy in front of me caught QT's attention and he said "Jeff! you made it through the whole thing!" I looked at the guy and didn't recognize him so I wrote him off as a random crew person. Later I would find out that it was Mr. Lawnmower man, Body Parts himself, Jeff Fahey. He looked so different that I couldn't believe it and even now have no memry of what he looked like after the movie because i so didn't recognize him. So people talked in the lobby for a while... Nicky Katt came up to Tim and I saw that he ow has a tattoo on his neck (sure it could be for a movie but somehow i doubt it. I think he's actually turning into his Dazed and Confused character for real), and at one point Tarantino did one of those talking-to-a-group things about why the last movie kicked ass and managed to spread the eye contact to our whole group, which was awesome. Then we left and went to Katz's for late-night dinner and I got home at 6am and passed out. What an unexpectedly awesome night, man...