Fiends, eyepatches, and femmes fatales

Cinemapocalypse unleashes a Texas cinema massacre

The cause of showing neglected old films on 35 mm — that vanishing format — is one recently taken up by a number of local presenters, including the Film on Film Foundation and Midnites for Maniacs. We're not alone in that pursuit, with one notable purveyor of vintage esoteria on celluloid being Austin, Texas' Alamo Drafthouse. Its Cinemapocalypse programmers are currently on an "Invasion U.S.A." tour bringing disreputable shlock to big screens along the West Coast.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' double bill on Saturday spans the Atlantic with gratuitous violence and toplessness. Fernando Di Leo's 1976 Mister Scarface is a lively example of the crime thrillers Italy churned out back then for the international grindhouse circuit. Italian-looking German and Fassbinder regular Harry Baer and German-looking Egyptian Fulci/Franco regular Al Cliver play cocky play dudes out to shake down Jack Palance's titular mob boss. As their flamboyant older sidekick Vittorio Caprioli opines, "That's a-Scarface. He's-a bad news, I tell ya. Just-a looking at him and my asshole a-twitches."

Its marginally less obscure co-feature is Paul Nicholas' incredibly tawdry 1983 Chained Heat, considered by many the greatest of all W.I.P. (Women in Prison) flicks. The cast alone clinches it: Linda Blair, Sybil Danning, Tamara (1973's Cleopatra Jones) Dobson, Stella Stevens, Edy Williams — you get the idea.

Midnites for Maniacs gets into the Texas action with a "Fighting Back in the '80s" quartet at the Castro Theatre on Sunday. Escape from New York (1981) you've seen, and 1983's Vigilante, a.k.a. Street Gang (Fred Williamson and Robert Forster go Death Wish on the usual cackling punk-scum "animals"), is no rarity. But curious minds really want to know about 1982's kitchen-sink exploitation blowout (cannibal monks! T&A! Kung fu! Cameron Mitchell!) Raw Force. And you haven't lived till you've seen Lady Terminator, a 1988 Indonesian whatsit about an ancient nymphomaniac water goddess who towels off to wreak havoc on the police force and civilian penises of modern Jakarta. It's vagina dentaterrific. (Dennis Harvey)



Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF



Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

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