Monday, May 01, 2017

"Filth is My Politics! Filth is My Life!" Or, A Wrap-Up of exFest 2017

John Waters introduces 1972's PINK FLAMINGOS at exFest.
So, I can check "seeing PINK FLAMINGOS on the big screen with an introduction by John Waters" off my cinematic bucket list.

Spent Saturday up in Philadelphia hanging out with pals and catching the annual Exhumed Films exFest, a 12-hour celebration of all things exploitation.

While I still refer to their 24 Hour Horrorthon each October as "my Christmas", exFest is always a highlight of the spring thanks to its complete anything goes grab bag of chop sockey, spaghetti western, bikers, sexploitation and whatever else they foist upon attendees.

After a quick trip to the city from Maryland we gathered provisions and settled into the steamy theater (temperatures were pushing 90 outside making for a sweltering viewing experience) for seven slices of sinema:

  • DYNASTY (period martial arts mayhem with lots of gratuitous 3D action);
  • DEATH RIDES A HORSE (quality revenge-driven Spaghetti western with Van Cleef and John Philip Law);
  • NEW BARBARIANS (aka Enzo Castellari's WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND with Fred Williamson and "Timothy Brent" as they take on a band of gay post-apoc marauders led by George Eastman);
  • COMBAT COPS (aka ZEBRA KILLER which was like an odd DIRTY HARRY rip-off via blaxploitation with Austin Stoker from ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 as a no fucks given detective on the trail of a deranged killer);
  • Gregory Dark's STREET ASYLUM (a disappointing late 80s blend of action and sci-fi with Wings Hauser, G Gordon Liddy, Alex Cord and Sy Richardson that should have been MUCH better);
  • 1972's LOVE ME DEADLY (slow moving but sorta intriguing movie about necrophilia from 1972 starring Mary Wilcox and Lyle Waggoner!); 
  • and, finally, PINK FLAMINGOS with a surprise live intro from director John Waters. 
Alas, the whole experience was a tad bittersweet as it was the first Exhumed event after the tragic, way-too-soon loss of our friend James "Doc Terror" Harris. Seeing James' smiling face in line always brightened my mood at these events and we'd catch up as we browsed the offerings from Diabolik or poured over the mysterious lineup (Exhumed doesn't share the titles for the exFest or Horrothon in advance). Between flicks we'd share quick opinions on what we just saw (often accompanied by friendly debate) and guesses about what we'd see next. I'd like to think that just some of Doc's enthusiasm and love for sinema rubbed off on me over the years and made me a more forgiving cinephile and a better person.

RIP, Doc and oh, yeah, Fuck Cancer.

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