Nathan Strack and I have been talking about going to the Grindhouse Festival at the New Beverly Cinema for a while. We finally had the reason to justify it… They played a double bill of Deranged (1974) and Deathdream (1974) two films by screen writer Alan Ormsby, neither of which we’d seen before. Ormsby wrote and starred in the cult zombie film Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973). Those who know me, know that’s one of my all time favorite films, thus making Ormsby one of my childhood hero’s from the time I was 7 years old.
Once at the the theater, parking was easy (street). We went to the ticket booth, $8 bucks each. As we enter, we’re greeted by Eric Caidin who hands us a ticket. “What’s that for?” I asked him. “The raffle. We have a raffle and pass stuff out.” I turned to Nathan, “Well that’s cool!” Nathan agreed.
We went into the theater, (I recently saw Ghostbusters here too) and grabbed our seats. This is when Brian Quinn comes in with Eric Caidin, the two maverick’s behind Grindhouse Festival. They’re also affiliated with http://www.hollywoodbookandposter.com/
Brian announces it’s Eric’s birthday and the theater gives him some birthday wishes. Then they begin to hold a raffle giving away some cool swag, like movie posters, DVD’s, and most notably some VHS video’s from Johnny Ramone’s personal collection to two fans in the audience. After several giveaway’s, I figured neither Nathan or I had a winning ticket, oh well. Then Brian calls my number for the last prize! Awesomeness, I won the 42nd Street Forever Vol.1 DVD and a cupcake!
Now onto the movies. They explain that Deranged is a very rare print and from Alan Ormsby’s personal collection AND Deathdream (aka Dead of Night), also rare was loaned to us by Quentin Tarantino himself from his personal collection! Huh?
The lights go down, some old Grindhouse trailers start playing to get everyone in the right mood. This is great! I felt like Clarence Worley sitting in the theater watching the Street Fighter series!
Deranged plays through (see Nathan’s recommendation)… the lights come up… and it’s announced that Alan Ormsby will now be coming down to give some insight, and take some questions!? Amazing! The star of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, is here, right now, in front of me. The very movie that haunted me throughout my childhood since I was 7. Wow.
Alan Ormsby, shared many stories about his B Films. What got me most? This was his first time watching Deranged with an actual audience. A film that he wrote and directed 36 years ago, he was finally able to screen with an audience and AwesomeBMovies.com got to be apart of THAT. Now THAT’s awesome! In the middle of his Q&A, Ormsby points into the front row and asks, “Is that Clu Gulager? He’s one of my favorite actor’s!” It was in fact Clu Gulager (Return of the Living Dead, 1985, and so many other films), also one of my favorite actors.
After the Q&A, Ormsby graciously agreed to an on camera interview with us (which we’ll post on here soonish). We talked about his influences, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, and he shared a funny story about the late Bob Clark (Porky’s and A Christmas Story), his long time friend and creative partner. The two went to film school together. I finally got closure from that childhood movie that haunted me.
Ormsby split shortly after that. The lights go down, and Deathdream (see my recommendation) begins. The movie plays out and the seat’s empty. Closing time.
On the way out Nathan and I also got to meet living legend Clu Gulager. Clu also agreed to an on camera interview, sharing his thought’s on movies, and horror, and even thanked us for our work with AwesomeBMovies.com. He really gets what we do and why. Clu described the theater experience as his living room. He would rather go to a theater, than sit at home and watch Blue-Ray on a TV, he said. He meant it too.
It could be argued that the audience was filled with people who like bad movies. I could understand that. I myself would say that this audience loves movies so much, they see beyond what the average movie goer sees. They see the art, and the beauty and the talent and the craftsmanship that these writers, director’s, actor’s have put into their B Movies, and undoubtedly struggled to push up hill to get made. This audience respects the craft and the art.
As for film maker Quentin Tarantino, he talks the talk AND walks the walk. Tarantino recently bought the theater and saved it. He’s living the dream. Not by making movies with Brad Pitt , but by owning his own theater. A theater he rescued and rehabilitated. As a true patron to the art, Tarantino returns something back to the community. If the guy has a 35 mm print of Deathdream in his personal library, it makes me wonder what else is in that collection? Tarintino must be a walking encylcepdia of film knowledge for real. Man, I’d love to meet up with him for a coffee and just talk movies. I’m not sure to what level his involvement, but I read that he makes suggestions for the Grindhouse Festival. Movies he wants us to experience in his theater. Tarintino wouldn’t tell you how to pray in your church, why would you tell him how to pray in his?
Thank you Alan Ormsby and Clu Gulager for giving us your time. Thank you Brian and Eric for the Grindhouse Festival. And thank you Quentin Tarantino for providing us the place where this sort of magic can happen.