Leaping feet first into our ninth year, we've concocted a selection of oddball cinema sure to make your eyeballs water for one reason or another.
First up at 6pm is the ubiquitous Awful Hour in which we present some of the finest in rescued video tapes from the trash-heap of history. It's looking Christian and instructional if my VHS compass is at all accurate...
Then at 7pm we will witness the siren sounds of Japanese Kaiju gone thoroughly absurd with Frankenstein Conquers the World. Nazi's set the tone before the plot moves to Japan where science struggles to save the day under the onslaught of giant radioactive lizards...
At 8:30pm we're rounding things off with a hearty helping of Gaijin-ninja activities in the form of low-rent American Ninja ripoff Sakura Killers. The political climate of the 80's garnishes an already rich sauce of ninja movie cliche's when the Soviets, eager to destroy the worlds food supply, snatch a top-secret video tape. Hired to retrieve said VHS cassette are Sonny and Dennis, two secret agent types. But before recovering the tape, they must first cruise the bars of Hong Kong (?) and learn ninja skills. This bone-headed classic has been lost to the ages, but we're bringing it back to the big(ish) screen just for your enjoyment!
Join us won't you on May 20th when we will gather together to remember some of the finest cinema ever to be forgotten.
Although it is a fundamental aspect of our program to look through the past, it's not often that we revisit our own. However, it is appropriate when acknowledging another anniversary to sometimes look at how far you've come, and it has been a long journey to get here.
Through thick and thin, up and down, we've brought you:
For Your Height Only: In which a small Filipino Interpol agent foils the nefarious plans of a narcotics kingpin. Hearts will be broken, bases will be raided, discos will be danced and the jetpacks will be smokin' hot in this perennial favorite from the South Pacific. Viva Weng!
Challenge of the Lady Ninja: A Chinese woman trained in the secret skills of Japanese Yi Ho Ninja returns home to defend the fatherland. Training her own team, these lady ninjas will take on the entire Japanese army with just a few fashionable bathing outfits and steely determination. First time back at the Sunset for nearly 6 years!
Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky: A classic of unmeasurable proportions, Riki-Oh concerns a beefy young man unjustly imprisoned in a hyperbolically harsh maximum hilarity institution. Fighting back against a mob of viciously immoral caricatures, Ricky will smash faces, sever limbs, perforate bowels, gargle with razor blades and grind mountains of quivering muscle into hamburger meat in a literal industrial strength shower of bloody grue right before your weeping eyes. Riki-Oh is good, but in a crowd of fellow revelers, it's truly great.
All this and more at The Sunset, Monday April 15th. Show starts at 6pm sharp!
In 1970's Japan, the samurai genre had undergone a transition from pure swordplay to gory exploitation. Still, only one director was combining the genre with even more bizarre and graphic grindhouse staples from the supernatural to the skin flick: Teruo Ishii.
This coming Sunday, March 31st, we're hosting a special showing of two of Ishii's bizarre swordplay tales beginning at 7:00pm with
Blind Woman's Curse(1970): Despite killing a rival gang leader and serving a long prison term, Akemi is released to an ongoing street war in this bloody Yakuza/samurai tale. As the members of her gang are cut down (and flayed) she soon begins to suspect something more evil is at work.
Bohachi Bushido (1973): A wandering and despondent ronin is hired to eliminate the rivals of Yakuza brothel The Forgotten Eight. The women who work in the brothel are also trained swordswomen, and more than willing to participate in the graphic elimination of their opponents.
Be warned, both feature graphic swordplay (which means mutilation and blood) and the latter has some strong sexual content (which meansrape and breasts) and both are Japanese language with subtitles. Unless you looked for them, these films would likely never hit you radar screen, but they will be on The Sunset big screen on March 31st for this special Kung Fu Grindhouse event.
Greetings and salutations my fellow gourmets. Once again it's time to refract popular USAmerican culture through the lens of trashy cinema. This March 18th the magic of historical memory brings us two amazing doses of endorphin soaked celluloid;
From the fevered brain responsible for The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Movie comes this 90's distillation of 80's Buddy-Cop god Axel Foley, Cop And a Half. After he inadvertently witnesses a crime, the mob targets 8 year old Devon Butler for elimination. It will be up to hard-boiled grumpy cop Burt Reynolds and his moustache to resurrect a career, save a kid and learn to giggle again in this heartwarming tale directed by Happy Days own Fonz. If you were lucky enough to be "of age" you might have been one of the stalwart few who got to witness this siege on the senses in an honest-to-dog theater. If not, well, that's why we're here.
The 80's being a time of frantic commodity fetishization, the very "food" we ate took on iconic status, even at times its own personality. Following the smashing success of his script for Hot Dog the Movie (1984,) screenwriter Mike Marvin decided to break out on his own as a director with 1986's surefire hit Hamburger: The Motion Picture. Who doesn't like a hamburger, they're an American passtime, or so claims the catchy theme song of this forgotten classic. Starring the questionable talents of nobody you'd recognize except perhaps Dick Butkus, Hamburger is a smorgasbord of visual and verbal atrocities so great and nefarious that it was denied entry in to the world of digital media.
It's not often that the rumor of something good turns out to be altogether true, but when it does it's a heady feeling.
This February 18th at the Sunset we're bringing you two amazing movies that were waaaayyyy better then we could have hoped.
First at 6pm Phill brings you Awful Hour: the latest discoveries from the VHS morgue of history. I've had a peek at the offerings and I'm excited to take a trip down the memory alley...
Next, at 7pm we take a trip down to south Florida where a Vietnam Vet rehabilitates last-ditch juvenile delinquents with a crash-survival-course in the Everglades. 1986's Band of the Hand was a project conceived by the same brains that brought us theMiami Vice so it's no surprise that brash fashion in pastel colors will play a crucial part in the boys eventual victory over Laurence Fishburne.
Finally, clocking in at 9:00pm is Man From Hong Kong a coproduced Australian/Hong-Kong martial arts-espionage extravaganza from 1975. Legendary director Brian-Trenchard Smith mashes Bond-esque intrigue with the kung-fu stylings of the equally iconic Jimmy Wang Yu as a kung fu cop out to bring down the drug empire of George Lazenby (an actual former Bond). One of our favorites from among the all-too-brief Ozsploitation pantheon.
Kung Fu Grindhouse began as an effort to re-expose the badly decayed carcass of exploitation film history to a fresh audience of cinemaphiles. For five years and counting we've tracked down the tastiest and trashiest forgotten and low-profile films and shown them to our friends in the hope that they will join us in preserving the memories of many a bygone movie era. The purpose of KFG is and always has been to encourage people to revisit and pursue these films on their own and to discover new ones for themselves.
All the films we show are from our personal collection, and we never charge a cover. Usually the third Monday of every month at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard Washington. 6pm till done.