On This Month's Thrill-bill:
I can't be sure yet, but something tells me I'm not a 21st Century kinda guy.
This could be a problem.
The way it looks from my perspective - roughly 1957 - the next century does not have a hell of a lot to offer someone like me. In fact, I believe I have more to offer it than vice versa. Little things, like Style, Personality, and Romance. As Lounge Lizard King, I have an honorable tradition to uphold, no matter how teched-out, grungy, conformist or all-around hideous the new millennium turns out to be.
The 1990s are finally over, and anything worthwhile that survives this dismal decade and enters the annals of posterity will be Retro, meaning the cool stuff was actually from a previous decade. Dig it: If grunge, baggy pants that hug the ankles, backward baseball caps, Garth Brooks, Whitney Houston, Tom Cruise, Friends and Pokemon are still hot items or even fond memories in the year 2100, well I'll be glad I'm not around to see it, let's leave it at that. But chances are there will be a Marilyn Monroe calendar for the year 2100, a Bogart film festival will be going on somewhere (probably here), and in some dive Sinatra will still be crooning the dreams of lonesome losers. Why? Because their appeal is timeless, their style classic, their talents unmatched, their personalities non-synthetic. I can't say that about any recent celebrities.
Hopefully the world will again develop a sense of Taste and Pizzazz, but I'm not holding my breath. The era I live in head-wise may not have been the most politically correct or morally savvy time period in history - (what has been? If you think the '90s were a fair and decent decade, time for a quick reality check) - but at least people had a sense of Style. Probably because back then they had Hope in a Better Tomorrow, and wanted to dress well for it. Hope in the Future is now a Thing of the Past. Why do you think Retro fashion even exists? It's ubiquitous, if not pervasive. I mean, Old Navy's clothes are as bland and trendy as the Gap's, but their commercials are totally Space Age. Too bad their designers still think weirdo models wearing funky duds that don't fit is a good thing to push on the kiddies, who still think wearing the same stupid clothes everyone else does is a form of youthful rebellion. (That's called "conformity," children - look it up.)
Anyway, now we're all Retro, whether we like it or not. We were born in a dead millennium. Hip-hop and rock are as culturally antiquated as be-bop and swing. Ten years from now kids will be referring to everything we now hold sacred as "Oh so Twentieth Century."
Me, I'm used to it. I'll remain in my little 50s, make that 1950s universe, but that doesn't really make me special - with computers, soon everyone will be existing in their own alternate realities, plugging into cyberspace and tuning out the real world. It could very well be that future decades and centuries will no longer have identities of their own - everyone can create their own time periods and worlds in which to live, or, excuse me, dream. Big Money Corporations will eventually buy out all independent entities (maybe even The Parkway, shudder) and suck the heart and soul out of the individual thinker, usurping the wills and controlling the thoughts and habits of the sub-monkey masses with the mere push of a button. Ad campaigns, whether plugging fashion, entertainment, news, religion, or politics, will dictate the "will" of the people and the course of our collective culture.
This really sucks. If you don't like this scenario, do something about it. Bring your kids up to be themselves, not what they're told to be by anyone else - including you. The world is overpopulated, and soulless anonymity is spreading like a disease.
In the meantime, you have a refuge here in Thrillville Theater.
First of all, I can't believe I'm still offering this Cheap Thrill Thursday deal. Three bucks! In the year 2000!? G'wan! Hell, matinees at any other theater are five bucks (The Parkway's general admission fee!). Then toss in the fact that the movies I show are far superior to the crap you pay EIGHT DOLLARS to see anywhere else, rubbing elbows with strangers in this airplane-type chair munching stale popcorn and staring at a screen the size of your car windshield, which somehow rumbles with a sound system that EXPLODES your god damn ear-drums everytime someone on-screen even sneezes. Here you have sumptuous comfort, room to breathe or even make-out, excellent food brought to your table, and even a cool movie with a sound system that doesn't make you feel you're at a rock concert in a war zone.
Yes, you're welcome.
I'm kicking the new year, decade, century and millennium off with a bang (even if it doesnt officially begin till 2001, whatever, I'm going with the flow on this one): the 1956 space opera Forbidden Planet (January 6), featuring that favorite of robot icons, Robby. No, he's not the same metal-guy that starred in Lost in Space, though Robby did a guest shot on that show in an episode titled "War of the Robots." Robby also starred in 1957's The Invisible Boy. But Forbidden Planet is the classic that makes him immortal. Leslie Nielsen, who no doubt will be better remembered for his Naked Gun roles, unfortunately, plays it straight as the spaceship captain in a movie that obviously inspired Star Trek, Star Wars, and all the other late 20th Century crap that can't hold a candle to the original. Anne Francis, later famous as the 60s TV femme-spy Honey West, is radiantly sexy as the love interest of the entire crew, and Walter Pigeon is the morbid mastermind Morbius. And remember, culture snobs - this epic cheese classic was loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. The set design is Space Age Cocktail Lounge, gorgeously photographed in Metrocolor. The soundtrack was way ahead of its time, electronic ambient tonalities created by Louis and Bebe Barron. Our man Robert Silverman will duplicate some of these way-out sounds with their thrilling therapeutic theremin, right here in Thrillville, at the 9:15 only (special five dollars admission for this show, cheapies). And dig this: co-hosting Forbidden Planet we will have here in person, on our very own stage, Creature Features TV host and author John Stanley! John took over Bob Wilkins' gig back in the early 80s, and he is a renowned expert in the field of psychotronia, having published several editions of the massive Creature Features Movie Guide, the latest edition of which will be out this year!
On January 13th, I originally had slated the West Coast Premiere of John Michael McCarthy's Superstarlet AD, but he's still feverishly putting on the finishing touches, so that will have to slightly postponed. Instead I'm proudly hosting Roger Corman's first big hit from 1955, the AIP holocaust-horror The Day the World Ended, featuring Mike "Touch"/"Mannix" Connors and a bunch of rejects trapped in a nifty ranch style house after the last of the Bombs go off. They're tormented by a Paul Blaisdel-created mutant monster. Paul (Invasion of the Saucer Men, The She Creature) insisted he wear the monster suit himself, but he was kinda short, so he kept tipping over whenever he picked up the screaming damsel in distress. Corman just had the guys hold the gal up out of frame. This is even more fun than it sounds - in wide-screen wonderama! A must not miss masterpiece, perfect Year 2000 viewing, more relevant than ever.
Next, on January 20st, is the much-requested The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), the New Wave Saturday-matinee pulp/comic book-style flick starring Peter "Robocop" Weller, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, Dan Hedaya, Rosalind Cash (!), and John Lithgow. Wacky, colorful, hilarious hi-jinks abound as the Hong Cavaliers take on the evil Dr. Lizardo and his evil Lectroids. It was supposed to spawn a series, but instead became a one-shot cult favorite on its own. Come find out what everyone else seems to know - why Buckaroo Banzai is still so cool and popular. Contains the immortal line: "Laugh while you can, monkey boy!"
Last but not least (January 27th) is another cartoonish vision of fantasy, the ever-popular sexotic sci-fi extravaganza Barbarella (1968), wherein Roger Vadim directed his then-wife Jane Fonda to drive us all crazy. Talk about a work-out video: I lose ten pounds in lustful sweat every time I see this extremely psychedelic 60s version of the future. Outer space is one big erotic free-for-all in this orgy of bizarre sights and sounds. Vadim also launched the career of his then-wife Brigette Bardot in the notorious French New Wave sex opera And God Created Woman (1957). What's with this guy? Or should I ask: who's with this guy now? Well, actually, I think he's finally dead, worn out, no doubt, so it's probably some curvaceous pin-up angel. Bet he died with a smile on his lips, too. Lucky bastard.
Well, not as lucky as me: I have Monica, Tiki Goddess, who will be spinning the Big Wheel at all the shows, giving away prizes and looking lovely. That makes you all a bunch of lucky stiffs, too. See you there, and no drooling (unless it's because our pizza is so damn delicious).
NEXT MONTH: FAMOUS TWISTED LOVE STORIES!
February 3: Last Tango in Paris
February 10: Some Like it Hot
February 17: Eyes Without a Face
February 24: Harold and Maude