"No one will be admitted after the start of the FPP."
July 31, 2013 10:39 AM   Subscribe


 


Oh good, William Castle is like half the article.
posted by figurant at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


....Holy shit, William Castle produced Rosemary's Baby?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Went to the theater that is powered by Cinerama in Seattle and was very impressed. Nice theater and amazing screen. This coming from someone who usually doesn't enjoy IMAX for whatever reason.

I guess what I'm saying is if you have a chance to see a Cinerama movie in one of the theaters that support it and are wondering if it's just woo, give it a shot.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:48 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "....Holy shit, William Castle produced Rosemary's Baby?"

Yeah, I didn't know that either.
posted by brundlefly at 10:53 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had no idea about the Fright Break in Homicidal when I watched it, and was very appreciative for the extra 30 seconds it gave me to get my laughter back under control.

You're a brave audience.
posted by carsonb at 10:57 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


....Holy shit, William Castle produced Rosemary's Baby?

He really pushed for it to be made, then basically got kicked off of it. Which was for the best, but kind of sad.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on July 31, 2013


Oh good, William Castle is like half the article.
posted by figurant at 10:45 AM on July 31 [+] [!]


The Tingler was the very first horror film I ever saw. I was about 9 or so, and so I don't remember much except the bath tub scene. Watching it with my dad is one of my fonder memories.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:58 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Little did anyone in this thread know that they only had TWO HOURS TO LIVE.
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Little did anyone in this thread now that they only had TWO HOURS TO LIVE.


Ye gods. And I thought this teleconference was bad enough as it is.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:01 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]




Years ago, in a rather shabby older theater built back in 1936, I was running 'Willard', a movie about thousands and thousands of rats. Looking out my port one evening to check on the show, I could see --- you guessed it! --- a pretty big example of our own resident rats strolling down the middle of the aisle.....

Right during the climax, when there were a zillion movie rats on screen, the live rat hooked a right turn: straight into a crowded row of patrons. I could tell exactly where he was by the way the patrons jumped up, one by one right down the row, like some full-body version of the wave.

Now there was a movie gimmick for ya.
posted by easily confused at 11:02 AM on July 31, 2013 [24 favorites]


carsonb: "I had no idea about the Fright Break in Homicidal when I watched it, and was very appreciative for the extra 30 seconds it gave me to get my laughter back under control. "

This was done to more disturbing effect in Gaspar Noé's I Stand Alone.
posted by brundlefly at 11:03 AM on July 31, 2013


No mention of Matinee?
posted by Madamina at 11:08 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hans Lube was the inventor of smell-o-vision.

Perfect.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:12 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually considered using a Matinee quote as the title of this post!
posted by brundlefly at 11:13 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


WEREWOLF BREAK!

.
.
.

Have you guessed which of the posters in this thread is a werewolf? IF NOT YOU WILL BE EATEN.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Insurance... Can I borrow against the equity?
posted by jonp72 at 11:13 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else getting this thread in SMELL-O-VISIONTM?

yeck! taters!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:14 AM on July 31, 2013


I saw The Tingler first run in a theater. I remember being disappointed that I wasn't sitting in one of the wired chairs. I had even made an extra trip to the restroom to make sure I didn't pee on myself (or worse)...
posted by jim in austin at 11:16 AM on July 31, 2013


No mention of Matinee?

MANT!

Also, I saw Polyester in Smell-O-Vision! For FUCK'S SAKE DO NOT SCRATCH NUMBER 6 !!!!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:21 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm glad that 3D has made a comeback but I'd really like to see more movies presented in Emergo. I think an enormous fiberglass skeleton suddenly floating above the audience would only add to a crowd's enjoyment of, say, The Royal Tenenbaums.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:24 AM on July 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


John Waters has a whole talk about Castle, who he's a BIG fan of and found hugely influential, it's worth hunting down on Netflix.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I saw Polyester in Smell-O-Vision! For FUCK'S SAKE DO NOT SCRATCH NUMBER 6 !!!!

Tragically, reality television seems to have picked up the smell-o-vision mantle.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:26 AM on July 31, 2013


I can't believe I'm the first one to note the feathers delivered "by a pretty girl in torn clothing." WHAT.
posted by corb at 11:39 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first sentence of the article:
Welcome to summer movie hell—another blockbuster season filled with costly digital effects that disappoint more often than they surprise.

After that opening clause, I would have hoped the rest of the sentence would be stronger.

It's fun to imagine a literal summer movie hell. I imagine it's held at Crystal Lake, for starters.
posted by JHarris at 11:46 AM on July 31, 2013


Welcome to summer movie hell—another blockbuster season filled with costly digital effects that disappoint more often than they surprise.

I'll be over here replaying GIANT ROBOTS FIGHTING GIANT MONSTERS in my brain.

Seriously, if you haven't seen Pacific Rim in theatres, go. What it loses in playing with 60 year old tropes it gets back in surprisingly strong acting. e.g. Having a Commander Gruff McAwesomename is a lot less cliche when played by Idris Elba.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:11 PM on July 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Very much an exception that proves the rule.
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on July 31, 2013


From the article:
A few even attempted to outdo 3D films with technical tricks, like the split-screen projection used for the 1973 film “Wicked, Wicked.” Shown in “Duo-Vision,” the film incorporated two reels of footage simultaneously, but the double storyline was difficult to follow and the effect didn’t get much traction.
I remember seeing Mike Figgis' Timecode in 2000, and interviewing him about it, with him making the argument that it was revolutionary. Which it was, in a way. He just doubled the number of shots on screen simultaneously from two to four.
posted by Len at 12:30 PM on July 31, 2013


The effect Cozzoli most regrets not seeing in person is “Emergo,” which sent a fake skeleton flying over the audience during “The House on Haunted Hill.” “I dream of tossing popcorn at it,” says Cozzoli.

Saw it at the Strand Theater in Redondo Beach, California. It was pretty lame. . .it was advertised that it would travel up the aisles, but it was suspended on cables up on the ceiling, and, while it did travel the length of one aisle, you could hardly make out what it was.

All I remember about the movie is one of the characters, at the end of the movie, breaking the fourth wall and informing us, "Now, they are coming for you." Fade to black.
posted by Danf at 12:33 PM on July 31, 2013


Having a Commander Gruff McAwesomename is a lot less cliche when played by Idris Elba.

That movie was made even more awesome when imagined as some completely off-the-rails sci-fi fan-mash of the Sons of Anarchy meeting the Barksdale crew... at Paddy's Pub in Philadelphia, of course.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:52 PM on July 31, 2013


Mentioned in the article is John Water's Crackpot. I cannot recommend this book enough. I bought it before it was safe to like John Waters, and now that I see it has expanded since then, intend to buy it yet again.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:17 PM on July 31, 2013


I saw Outbreak in the theater; they had a scene set in a movie theatre made up of first-person shots of the pathogen making its way from patron to patron. The audience was dead silent...

Until somebody sneezed and the whole room jumped before breaking out in laughter.
posted by dr_dank at 2:20 PM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Tingler is streamable for free from The Internet Archive. It holds up remarkably well, even without the special chairs.
posted by kagredon at 3:00 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a big fan of the Castle school of showmanship, where a tiny, carefully chosen gesture can really ramp up the feeling of a piece.

Back in 1996, I was still mining my impossible four hour one-man-show stage epic from 1991, This Nonstop March Around The World, for smaller works, and I'd connected with the Baltimore Composer's Forum for a joint concert in an actual theater with a huge PA and lighting and all the trappings of theater beyond my previous stand-up gigs in little galleries.

One of the main threads of the sprawling mess I'd made in my attempts to be the boy Laurie Anderson was the role of my lifelong somnambulism, and the piece I ended up rewriting for the concert was "A Troubled Sleep," which was a slightly arch (to be fair, I was still in my twenties) retelling of an actual series of dreaming/sleepwalking incidents in which I kept wrecking the house and setting up weird little tableaus for my waking self, including once where I woke to see that my old two-tone hunchback Saab was taken apart on the street outside, which led me to start sleeping in clothes, just in case.

When I was trying to block the piece, and figure out how to make it big and dramatic without a lot of money, I reflected on Castle, and on the enthusiasm John Waters has for Castle, and came up with the perfect setup. I loaded in, in an absolute panic about performing such a complicated piece in front of a huge audience, and set up my ridiculous giant Mac SE that was running the whole show, along with my jittery, unreliable sampler on which everything depended. Got my props and costume together, which was basically stage black clothes with a Donna Reed apron accent and a handmade headpiece that incorporated a homemade headset microphone and a flip-down fluorescent tube that went across my eyes, did a little dance to the Ensoniq gods in the hope that my sampler wouldn't crash in mid-performance, and waited backstage for my turn.

Most of the other performers were well-funded Peabody students, and they made great, complicated music, and I, as an almost entirely self-taught schmuck, shivered in the wings, playing the piece out in my head, over and over, in the fear of missing one of the thousand little cues that would be spooling out of my Mac.

Then, it was my time.

Shit.

The stage went black. I clicked the space bar on the Mac, prayed once more to the engineer gods of Malvern, Pennsylvania, then lit a large flashlight and pointed it to my face in the way you do when you're about to tell a ghost story, and I started telling tales, carefully timing my lines to go with the little sampled greek chorus bits and loops and synthetic motifs that I had zinging all around the theater on those gorgeous huge stereo PA speakers.

My Mac and my sampler and my MIDI-controlled effects units are all doing their job perfectly, mutating my voice into all sorts of echoey, modulated little shapes, and by god, I am remembering all my lines and cues.

At 3:37 into the piece, I stop talking about how stressed out I am and tell a little story about a dream.

I turn the flashlight away from my face and start wandering the stage, the little beam criss-crossing the stage and shining out into the ranks of the audience. It is so very small, the setup, but it reads as claustrophobic and isolated, just like I hope it will, and I tell everyone how I kept dreaming that I was Donna Reed, alone in a perfect fifties house, and about when I realize there is a wolf in the house with me, and how I leave the house and run out into the woods—

I swing the flashlight's beam through the audience.

They don't know a thing.

They don't know that I've wired three random seats in the auditorium, and spent forty-five minutes taping wires down to connect three salvaged speakers, mounted under seats in what I hope will be good places, to a borrowed amplifier tucked under the stage, a lot of work for a system that will make just one very brief sound.

My delivery gets rushed and breathless, a thudding bass line builds and builds, and I need to pee fairly badly, which is fine, 'cause I'm method, and drop to my knees, tilt my head down, flip down my fluorescent tube visor, and hit the key line:

"And the moon has disappeared behind the clouds and it is dark…so dark!"

At this point, at five minutes and forty seconds in, my Mac trips a sample on my miraculously still-uncrashed sampler, which shoots out through one of the auxiliary outputs and into that borrowed amplifier, which sends a single clip of a rage bark from a dog into three hidden speakers in the audience with five hundred watts of juice to back it up just as I flip the switch to light my visor and the guy in the booth, following my second of three cues, taps the lighting board for one almost imperceptible flash of deep red wash as I whip my head up with my face glaring kabuki blue-white.

I do not see the reaction at the time, because I still have cues to remember, but as it was described to me, and from what I could make out in the archive video, the entire audience is propelled bodily into the air and sucks all the oxygen out of the room in one communal breath.

I talk a bit more, then the guy in the booth trips my other lighting cue, a slow fade from black to a general wash as I mumble out the rest of the piece, dramatically removing my visor, then carefully untying my apron slipping out of it, and receding upstage as the sequence plays through the percussion loop I borrowed from Hendrix and then a fading drone and then it is all over.

Everyone clapped, and my father stood, which he never, ever does unless he genuinely thinks a performance calls for the extra effort. One of the other performers, who'd never seen the piece because I have a fear and superstition about rehearsing these things with people around, looked me in the eye and said, articulating the syllables individually, "THAT FUCKING ROCKED!"

"Thank you," I said, and went to hide backstage, because I have never been accustomed to rocking and it makes me nervous.

Afterward, my father said "Well, kiddo, that was what you call real theater," and that's a thing, because my father was always completely honest in his criticism and repetitive, until that point, in suggesting that I should just write and not waste my time trying to find a place in the limelight.

"Jesus, Joe," asked a friend who'd come to see my show. "How did you make your face turn into a wolf face? Was that a video projector?"

"A wolf face?"

"Yeah, right after you scared the crap out of us, when the stage was all bloody."

"That was just my face, with lights."

"Yeah, sure. Did you use a video projector?"

"Umm, no."

"Well don't tell me, then. But it was cool."

I am so rarely cool that I hardly knew what to do just then. It's all just theater, just a little gesture in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, and though the years make me feel a little embarrassed about how the piece has held up, being a little too Laurie Anderson and a little too arch and pretentious and a little too drawn-out and padded, when I'm thinking of how to tell a tale, I can always remember that just then, at my very first stab at the bigtime, with three old speakers and a little William Castle, I fucking rocked it.

It's a worthwhile lesson to learn from a showman.
posted by sonascope at 3:25 PM on July 31, 2013 [34 favorites]


Ads for the 1970 film “Mark of the Devil” declared that, due to horrifying violence, no one would be admitted without a vomit bag.

And decades later, as a kid I used to get dragged along when my mom would go on trips to Wolf Myrow (affectionately known to local SCA members as "Smaug's") to buy random bits of jewelry or findings to use to make costumes and garb, and rather than using your typical plastic grocery bag, every purchase of tiny finicky bits of jewelry that you got there would get carefully bagged up by the clerk in one of those "Mark of the Devil" vomit bags. The very idea of vomit bags was new to my 7 or 8 year old self (and needless to say totally fascinating in the way gross things are to 7 or 8 year old boys) and I used to wonder endlessly about that movie and how many people ended up vomiting. (Not many, my older and wiser self observes, especially given how many hundreds or even thousands of those bags that store had.)

I'm sure there's a great story about how those vomit bags got from point A to point B but I'll be honest, I have no idea what it is and I can't even begin to imagine. 20+ years later and completely out of context, though, that gimmick still made a young kid want to see that movie.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:58 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


No mention of Flicker?
http://www.amazon.com/Flicker-A-Novel-Rediscovered-Classics/dp/155652577X
A book that, even as an adult, I found oddly disturbing.
Uses Castle films as a major plot point.
posted by cccorlew at 5:19 PM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Flagged as fantastic, sonascope.
posted by brundlefly at 5:21 PM on July 31, 2013



....Holy shit, William Castle produced Rosemary's Baby?


knew that for ages but recently watched the documentary version of The Kid Stays in the Picture and Robert Evans reckons he didn't want Polanski on the picture, but Evans of course insisted on Polanski

love Castle... a true original
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:40 PM on July 31, 2013


Oh man, when I was a kid I heard about The Tingler. HEARD about it, mind you, never saw it.

The idea of it frightened me so badly that for MONTHS I wouldn't get into bed without looking under every bit of furniture in the bedroom. I wouldn't get in bed without jerking up the covers to make sure The Tingler wasn't hiding under my bedclothes.

I was apparently an impressionable child.
posted by Archer25 at 6:26 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you guessed which of the posters in this thread is a werewolf? IF NOT YOU WILL BE EATEN.

It's sonascope, isn't it?
posted by radwolf76 at 7:02 PM on July 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


blue_beetle: "Is anyone else getting this thread in SMELL-O-VISIONTM?

yeck! taters!
"

Think you scratched the wrong one. I'm getting beans right now.
posted by Samizdata at 7:19 PM on July 31, 2013


Beauty and terror meet in your seat
posted by vbfg at 2:39 AM on August 1, 2013


cccorlew, that's the first thing I thought of when I started reading the article. Though the filmmaker in the novel is Max Castle.

I find the first 3/4 of that novel strangely compelling and creepy. But when it begins to slip down the slope at the end, and especially the island bits, I just completely lose interest. Still, it's one of those books that I have to read every once in awhile. I love the way it sucks me in, a slow build, until I'm catching my breath at every turn of the page.
posted by Night_owl at 11:55 AM on August 1, 2013


Movie only for hardened criminals, director revealed to be Frank Castle.
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on August 1, 2013


great story, sonascope. I wish I'd seen that. And you're allowed to be a little too everything when you're young - when else?
posted by glasseyes at 3:44 PM on August 1, 2013


O MY GOD SONASCOPE THAT WAS FABULOUS THANK YOU FOR LINKING!!! Wow Luv eet!!
posted by glasseyes at 3:59 PM on August 1, 2013


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