This Saturday, June 23rd, at midnight, Lew Ojeda will present “Wonder Women and One-Armed Executioners:Filipino Action Exploitation Films of the 1970’s“ at the first Night School session of this young Summer. The following is my interview with Lew:
What should people expect when they come in for Night School?
To paraphrase what Dr. John, The Night Tripper, once noted, all attendees will experience the special mash of fais deaux-deaux on all who enter the gilded-splintered kingdom of Nauwitzapaati at midnight. This means, night school students will receive a schooling like no other–lectures about the movies you never knew you needed to see. Phantasmagoric delights of live radio plays, comedy, skits, videos, music and other surprises will also await our guests. They will also be eligible for raffle giveaways at every screening and the chance to mine the knowledge of our presenters through a Q&A after each feature.
Can you tell us about Wonder Women and why you chose to lecture on it?
Wonder Women (which will be shown from an original rare 35mm print) is one of the best examples of the typical film fare of Filipino-American film production during the 1970’s. Nancy Kwan plays Dr. Tsu, a brilliant surgeon making money off illegal organ harvesting from athletic men. The recipients are old, rich bastards two steps from the grave. The athletes don’t give their livers willingly, of course, so a trained gang of hypnotized, karate-chopping, shotgun-wielding babes convince these guys to be charitable through the art of gentle persuasion. Ross Hagen plays a woman-hungry insurance agent who’s suspicious of some clients suddenly disappearing and investigates the matter.
The fantastic trailer
, one of the best I’ve ever seen, was a selling point for me. It conveys what was pretty standard for Filipino action films at the time: lots of action, explosions, gun play, beautiful women, exotic locales and even the slightest hint of a feminist bent (though that point is certainly arguable).
Why should patrons choose Night School over other theaters’ midnight screenings?
For this summer session, I have made it a point to show some of the craziest films you can find. After watching these movies, I wanted viewers to question either the movie’s sanity or theirs. To do this, you need to mine the unseen gold out there. It’s easy to simply program midnight shows to contain audience-pleasing movies like The Big Lebowski or The Shining. However, with The Underground Multiplex programming rarely seen movies on a large screen along with all sorts or crazy variety fun, audience members will get a lot more bang for their 5 bucks. They’ll also have chances to win prizes and to take home free giveaways (as with our screening of Scumbabies).
What type of people do you envision coming in for Night School?
We’ve had attendees ranging from age 18 to 80 for past shows, but what’s best to understand for all those attending is this is no stuffy academia course. You’ll certainly learn quite a bit from the lectures by our list of cine-experts. However, this a course for the night people, those who want to have some wacky fun along with some food for thought. If things like audience participation, nuns with guns, psychedelic music, R-rated prose reading contests and hypnotic craziness are your bag, you’ll fit right in. But you should bring your friends along also to join the fun.
Lew Ojeda is the co-founder of The Underground Multiplex, host of “Cinematrocities” and a personal video consultant, copy writer and lecturer at Facets Multi-Media. His film reviews and interviews have appeared in Shock Cinema, The Onion, The Empty Closet and The Chicago Tribune. He’s jumped out of cakes, portrayed Mother Terminator and wielded an AK-47 during lectures for Eat the Rich, Lady Terminator, Fuego, The Boneyard and Sisters of No Mercy 3D among others.
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