For you grindheads that were in withdrawal, the Montreal event Grindhouse Wednesdays, after a few months of hiatus, is back this week, and has returned to its original location, Montreal’s oldest porn theatre, Cinema L’Amour. The event has returned to form, with a shocking new film, and a bigger venue to serve the public better.
Grindhouse Wednesdays has been known for the past year to bring the best in grindhouse and exploitation cinema of days of old, with a big screen presentation on the first Wednesday of every month. Since last December, events have included screenings of I Drink Your Blood (1970) and Pieces (1982), DJs and live bands, and they don’t hesitate serving drinks. While the event seemed to have suffered a few setbacks, moving locations around and having postponed the event for the entire summer, it appears that they are back in full force, and the rules are the same: come have fun, and it all goes to raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness through the youth support group Head & Hands.
This month’s film is the classic sexploitation Death Game (1977), the cheesy precursor to the sex porn trend of the Saw and Hostel franchises. You might know director Peter S. Traynor from… no, actually, nobody knows him. His puny three directorial efforts barely made a scratch on cinema history, although his work as director/producer has a good run in propagating sexploitation and blaxpolitation in the 70s, (although no titles worth remembering). It stars the Oscar-nominated Sondra Locke and the Die Hard regular Colleen Camp as two young girls who get picked up by sleazy Seymour Cassel and brought back to his house for some hankypanky since his family is away. After the young ladies seduce him, he wakes up all tied and up and gagged with a blowtorch in his rear, and dynamite sticking out his ears. Ok, it may not be that bad, but it quickly escalates to the female version of Funny Games, just not as good, and twice as ridiculous. It becomes violent and bizarre to the point where it’s hard to tell where the game is.
It’s hard to trace the origins of female revenge films, something that has been a staple of grindhouse films, as Tarantino’s Death Proof…well, proved. Although there was a string of popular girls-get-revenge films in the 1970s, such as Last House on the Left (1972) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978), the genre seems to be making a comeback with such films as… Last House on the Left (2009) and I Spit on Your Grave (2010). Although I don’t see a remake of Death Game any time soon. Maybe we can see remakes of Hard Candy (2005) and Audition (1999) in a decade or two. Not that I wish the plague of remakes upon any film.
All this to say that grindhouse films are great fun to watch, no matter how terrible they are, and Grindhouse Wednesday is an amazingly entertaining event that keeps that spirit alive, and on top of that it’s for a good cause. So bring your wallets this Wednesday, October 6th, at 8:30pm. Join them on their Facebook Group, and tickets can be purchased at the door. Have fun and keep those cameras rolling.