IPH’s popular grindhouse series continues! Grindhouse to the Arthouse 2: Revenge from the Back Row returns Friday, Jan. 26. Ryan Martel, the series programmer, gives us the scoop on the latest film and what comes next.
What ties these films together?
They’re all under-the-radar films that more people need to see. The beauty of the series is its variety. It’s low-budget or exploitation kind of cinema, but that could be gory horror movies, or it could be the one we’re showing this month, The Addiction, which is an artsy vampire movie.
Can you tell us more about The Addiction and why you picked it?
Well, first of all, it’s Abel Ferrara, a well-established director. He did Bad Lieutenant and King of New York and a bunch of gritty New York crime movies. He got his start with The Driller Killer, a low-budget horror movie. The Addiction was later and more of an art-house picture, but it’s low budget. It was shot in New York and has that greasy, grimy feel to it, because mid-’90s New York was still kind of dirty. It’s a movie that would’ve played the low-rent theaters back in the day but is now viewed as art.
It also features Christopher Walken, who is always worth watching.
That’s another thing that unites these movies: You’ll see actors early in their careers or in down points. In this one we also have Edie Falco before The Sopranos and Lili Taylor.
The next film, Frankenhooker, looks more under the radar.
Yeah, it is Frankenstein but with hookers — pretty self-explanatory. It’s a horror comedy that knows what it is and is trying to make you laugh. You’re not laughing because it’s bad; it’s fun. It’s one of those Saturday night popcorn movies that’s great to watch on a big screen.
In Phantom of the Paradise, we get a look at the work of a young Brian De Palma, who went on to direct Carrie, Scarface, The Untouchables and many other films.
You can see he’s still developing his style here, but it has the bright colors of Italian cinema from that time period, the mid-’70s. And it’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show before Rocky Horror. A lot of people are only recently finding out about this movie because it got a Blu-ray rerelease. That’s another thing we focus on with this series — films that have been restored from their original prints.
Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby is based on the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, but since it’s grindhouse, it involves two troubled teens breaking out of jail and hitting the road.
You are going on a journey with these characters. It’s so off the wall; the choices made in this are like, what? how? why? And you’ve got a young Natasha Lyonne in it, not long after she starred in Slums of Beverly Hills and American Pie.
The first Freeway is a straightforward crime thriller that has that ’70s exploitation-movie vibe to it. But the second one is just, let’s go balls to the walls and make it as crazy as possible. And I think they did.
The next film in the series is The Addiction, which starts screening Friday, Jan. 26.