By • Dec 1st, 2003 •

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One of the big events of the season was the screening of THE GODFATHERS OF MONDO on October 27th, a feature documentary by David Gregory, projected at the Pioneer Two Boots theater on Avenue A in New York, one of the few theatrical screenings the film will probably get, as it now resides in the nine-disc boxed set of Mondo films that Blue Underground is releasing as their season biggie (see the FIR 2003 Xmas Stocking Stuffer column).

At the screening, all the usual suspects gathered. There was Edwin Samuelson, Michael Gingold (Associate Editor, Fangoria), Matt Kiernon (contributing writer for Fangoria), Mark Resken (DJ), Mike (Director of Programming, IFC Television) and Larry (Film archivist/aficionado) Ruggiero, Scooter (indie filmmaker) McCrae, Jason Bylan (Writer/Producer, AMC) & Jen Subu , Gary Hertz (of Anchor Bay featurette fame, notably SUSPIRIA), Bill (Blue Underground Pres.) Lustig and his lovely wife Donna, Jay Douglas (founder of Anchor Bay), Robert Marcucci (Production Designer of STREET TRASH and provider of the Argento set footage for the Blue Underground release of TWO EVIL EYES), and many more.

Following the screening, David Gregory took the mike and fielded questions from audience members who proved remarkably well versed on the subject of Mondo. Later, I went out for drinks with David and Gary Hertz, and the discussion continued. What was the first Mondo film? I think I have to agree with Gary, that it was the early Edison loop of an elephant being electrocuted at Coney Island. Edison, after all, was very caught up with electricity, and convinced the authorities that this was the humane way to dispose of the beast, which had gone berserk. He then promoted the event so that the press turned out in droves. But if that film was the beginning, then Jacopetti and Prosperi‘s body of work is surely the centerpiece.

Kenneth Anger, David Del Valle and Curtis Harrington

We have a new Camp David for the holidays, which reminds me, I must apologize to David for not mentioning in my review of FINAL DESTINATION 2 that there was a supplementary feature in which he participated: the truth is I couldn’t access the supplementary docs on the disc I was sent. To make it up to him, let me also mention that David’s typically urbane and well-researched commentary skills are brought to bear as he talks with actor Curt Lowens in the Image Entertainment DVD release of WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY, now in videos stores. Judge the film for yourself, but bear in mind that it’s the only werewolf movie to emerge from the Golden Age of Italian Horror.. A strange anomaly.

Also, David and Roger Corman co-host The Mystery Channel’s ‘The Price of Fright’ on New Year’s Day, 2004, whereupon nine films starring Vincent Price will be shown.

And in his latest Camp David installment, David covers a momentous event, a reconciliation of a kind, which found Kenneth Anger and Curtis Harrington – two of the foremost experimental filmmakers of the past century – together on the same stage.

I recently had the pleasure of grabbing breakfast with Arthur Sarkissian as he briefly passed through New York. Sarkissian is one of the more learned producers in Hollywood, bringing a strong background in film history to bear when choosing topics worthy of developing for the screen. He’s now working on, among other projects, a remake of THE DEFIANT ONES, emphasizing the brand of comedy he has been successful in creating rather than using Stanley Kramer’s socially conscious approach to filmmaking which characterized the original back in ‘58.

The night before our meeting, I refreshed myself with his work by watching, back-to-back, RUSH HOUR and RUSH HOUR 2, and found myself laughing quite often, pleased with the pace, energy and good looks of both films, and most of all with the generous warmth displayed in regards to racial tension. Jackie Chan’s gaffes while trying to assimilate a bit of black culture were particularly hilarious and good-natured. Were that there were more films out there like these – good will ambassadors on celluloid.


THE SWEET LIFE is done, at long last, and I am now making forays to secure distribution in the many territories of the world. Give it a few more months and you should see it surface, either in theaters, on TV, or in video stores.

STREET TRASH, on the other hand, has been ready for DVD release from Synapse for, oh, a good year now. And it’s just waiting on me: you see I’m putting together a feature documentary on the making of the film, and the opportunities just keep on appearing before me and flaunting themselves, and I just can’t say ‘no’. But the wait will be worth it; trust me on that. And by late spring, hopefully, I’ll be done and it’ll be out.

Also Check Out Adios to Film Greats December 2003

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