Last year I wrote about my pals at Exhumed Films bringing their amazing repertory programming to the Alamo Drafthouse for the first time. They’re back again this year, and it’s a lineup that, I’m confident in saying, is even better than last year’s.
On Saturday, August 22nd at 1PM, Guilty Pleasures, Part II unleashes upon the Alamo Drafthouse five of the most underseen, underloved and under-the-radar genre films in the Exhumed Films library. Each film is a 35mm print, tested and vetted by the Philly rep crowd - in fact, I’ve seen four of these five, and they’re so fucking special that I’m heading up to Yonkers just to see them again. Tickets are available here; I’d say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, but they went and put a Part II in the title, so if you’re super lame I guess I’ll see you back here next year and we’ll try again to convince you. The rest of you are in for a damn treat.
Radioactive Dreams: This 1985 nugget is like a Hope & Crosby “On the Road” movie, if that road was Fury Road. As described by Exhumed: “post-apocalyptic rip-offs were all the rage during the 1980s. Perhaps the oddest—and possibly most successful—of the (1980s post-apocalyptic rip-offs) is Albert Pyun’s Radioactive Dreams, which populates its predictable post-nuclear wasteland with two unique protagonists. Phillip Hammer and Marlowe Chandler (John Stockwell and Michael Dudikoff) are two teenaged survivors of World War III who have spent their entire lives locked in a fallout shelter with nothing but pulp fiction detective novels to inform their understanding of the world.”
Also, there’s singing:
Gang Wars (aka The Devil’s Express): This is one of those '70s exploitation gems that was marketed to two completely different audiences at the time. White folks got The Devil’s Express, a supernatural tale of demonic possession in the New York subway; the urban crowd got a gritty, kung-fu flavored crime drama called Gang Wars. I assure you: both are the same film. Exhumed wisely advises that you “keep an eye out for NYC performance artist/frequent Letterman guest/weirdo icon Brother Theodore as a crazy clergyman.”
Redneck Miller: Trigger warnings all day on this relic, a not-on-video Hicksploitation classic of revenge and double-crosses, and features a lead character who escapes a beating by abandoning his woman to a possible gang rape. His logic? "Baby, you can take a lot of lovin', but I can only get killed once."
(No trailer for this one. I told ya, it’s rare. Check out this poster, though)
Blood Rage: The only film in this lineup I haven’t seen. Exhumed pitches it as a sleazy, psycho Parent Trap: “the twisted tale of twins Todd and Terry—one good, one bad; one sensitive, one insane—and their long-suffering mother (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman star Louise Lasser, who seems to have agreed to appear in this low-budget affair provided she could film all of her scenes from the comfort of her kitchen table).” Sold!
(I couldn’t find a proper trailer, just some slammed together clips. Check out the main theme instead!)
Ninja Busters: Guys: this is the one that you need, need, need to see. Imagine the cast and crew of Miami Connection made an Abbott & Costello movie, and were at least partly successful at it, and you’ll get a sense of what Ninja Busters has to offer. It appears to have been financed, written, directed and performed entirely by one man’s kung-fu school, and Exhumed seems to have rescued this film from oblivion: “This previously lost movie (little to no information is available on IMDb) was forgotten and buried amidst hundreds of titles in an old film depot until unearthed by one of the members of Exhumed Films.” They screened it in Philly earlier this year, and I can tell you firsthand that it’s often intentionally hilarious, sometimes unintentionally hilarious, and has charm for days. The other four titles are going to be great fun, but I’m making the drive to Yonkers specifically to see Ninja Busters again.
No trailer again - it’s that rare! - but take a look below at Drafthouse’s trailer for the event. Again, get your reserved seats here, and I hope to see you there!