Night School, Session 8: Genre Busting

Night School, Session 8 begins on Saturday, June 18. I can’t believe we have done seven sessions of Night School already. It seems like only yesterday that Phil Morehart, whom I have dubbed “the Father of Night School” for conceiving of a Facets midnight movie series, was brainstorming the idea. Since then, Night School has attracted a core of loyal followers who have become fans and friends in cinephilia.
Session 8, titled “Genre Busting,” features a series of eight films that showcase the idea of genre. Some films are solid examples of a genre or subgenre, some subvert the conventions of their genres, while others have never been categorized into a genre—until now. Midnight-movie lovers tend to be genre aficionados, and this session’s theme should whet the appetites of the most ardent genre-ists.

As always, the presenters have selected the films they are introducing. This time around, the presenters include some familiar faces, some newcomers, and some Night School favorites. Young film historian Dominick Mayer launches Session 8 with the recent blaxploitation film, Black Dynamite. In the past, Dominick participated in Fright School II, presenting The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Ed, and in last session’s “Heroine Addicts,” introducing Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. In August, film collector Julian Antos is bringing his own print of Hal Hartley’s Amateur, so the audience gets to see the film on film. During Session 5, Julian presented the noir-tinged mystery Slightly Scarlet via a print from his own collection. Scholar and DePaul faculty member Cary Elza closes out Night School with a western, The Quick and the Dead, which begs the question, “What is it about westerns that attracts the girls?” It seems the few westerns presented at Night School have been introduced by women. Previously, Cary has introduced Labyrinth and Fright Night. Night School favorite Lew Ojeda, who has participated in almost every Night School to date, offers some original scholarship by positing educational and instructional films as a genre, focusing on Chicago as a center for this type of filmmaking. Chris Damen, who loves to shake things up at Night School, offers the edgy Pusher, a Danish crime thriller about a heroine dealer. In the past, Chris presented Team America in Session 4, but he really knocked everyone’s socks off with Nekromantik during Fright School II.
Three newcomers have come to play at Night School, including scholar Catherine Clepper who will offer some feminist insight into a feminine topic—the Doris Day and Rock Hudson romantic comedies. Lover Come Back is not only a window into another era regarding sexual issues, but it is also a reminder that female stars used to matter in Hollywood, and it costars Tony Randall—one of the funniest second bananas who ever made movies. Film critic Joel Wicklund, who maintains the website Shadows and Screams, reminds us that it is horror icon Vincent Price’s 100th birthday by introducing one of the master’s best, The Masque of Red Death. And, filmmaker and genre-masher Joseph Lewis, the mastermind behind the Underground Multiplex, introduces the movie with the best title this session, Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
In addition Joseph and Lew will be joining forces to bring back the performance element to Night School. They promise something special before each lecture, so if you come for the opening presentation, you will not want to miss the rest of the session. And, as always, there are raffles for prizes.
Please join us for Night School, Session 8: Genre Busting, a unique spin on the midnight movie phenomenon. At the low cost of $5, it’s the best entertainment bargain in town. The fun starts at midnight, when the unexpected becomes the norm.
June 18          Dominick Mayer Presents “Blowing up Blaxploitation Cinema with Black Dynamite”
June 25          Joseph Lewis Presents “Killer Klowns from Outer Space: Why My Monster Can Eat Your Oscar for Breakfast”
July 9             Joel Wicklund Presents “The Masque of the Red Death: The Sophisticated Shudders of Roger Corman’s Poe/Price Films”
July 16            Lew Ojeda Presents “EduPalooza: The Educational & Industrial Film Festival and the Chicago Connection”
July 23            Catherine Clepper Presents “Doris and the VIP Girl: Selling the Sizzle in Lover Come Back”

July 30           Chris Damen Presents “Pusher: I Don’t Like the Danes, but the Danes Like Me”

August 6        Julian Antos Presents “Between Trashy Thrillers and Interminable Art-house Pictures: Hal Hartley’s Amateur
August 13      Cary  Elza Presents “Fun with Generic Expectations in Sam Raimi’s The Quick and the Dead”
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2 thoughts on “Night School, Session 8: Genre Busting

  1. There will also be a modest but fun reception for the opening film on June 18. Come a little early and get some snacks. The receptions kicks off about 11pm.

  2. Totali exciting. I'll be there, maybe not with bells on, since that would attract some angry looks, but I'll be there!

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