Wednesdays at Mason Park are about to get a little weird. Beginning June 6, Mason Park will host the revival of the Weird Wednesday series in Houston. Curated by Lars Nilsen, Weird Wednesday is a weekly film program featuring a wide assortment of film classics forgotten by most of society. Ranging from exploitation to horror to science-fiction to action and featuring everything in between, each title in the Weird Wednesday series represents a trip through the dark recesses of celluloid history. Long the vanguard of cinema exploration in Austin, Weird Wednesdays is finally coming back to Houston.
Each screening will happen at 10 PM on Wednesday night. Admission will be a dollar. Every film will be screened from a 35mm print on loan from the American Genre Film Archive. Here is the schedule for the first four weeks:
CHAINED HEAT – June 6
Dir. Paul Nicolas, 1983, 35mm, 95 min, R
The best women-in-prison movie in the history of the world. Spend an hour and a half locked in a squalid cage with a few dozen sweaty bad girls! Sound like fun? You bet it does! This is pure women-in-prison exploitation with all the catfights, steamy shower scenes and deviant sexuality you can handle. Maybe more! Linda Blair plays the new fish on the cellblock. With ubiquitous '80s Amazon Sybil Danning and CLEOPATRA JONES star Tamara Dobson as warring inmates. Kinky Stella Stevens cracks the whip as the captain of the guards and scuzzy John Vernon plays the warden (who has a hot tub in his office). Sharp-eyed viewers will also recognize the great Henry Silva. Others may disagree but I think this is a great first-date movie (but be sure to bring enough for her cabfare home just in case). Either she'll love it or she'll flee. What better way to separate the wheat from the chaff? After all, who wants to get stuck with a good girl? (Lars)
NIGHT WARNING a.k.a. BUTCHER, BAKER, NIGHTMARE MAKER – June 13
Dir. William Asher, 1983, 35mm, 96 min, R
Listen up…this movie has the best opening scene in film history. Absolutely, without a doubt, no first 5 minutes of any other feature are more rip-rocious than what you'll see tonight on this screen. By the time the opening credits roll, you'll be peeling your fingernails out of the armrests. And here's the kicker: the best is yet to come! Susan Tyrrell stars in her greatest performance as a tragic, spastic auntie with a more-than-healthy appreciation for her orphaned teen nephew. When folks get too close to this happy family, heads start to roll. Enter Joe Carlson (Bo Svenson), a tough-as-rusty-nails homophobic police detective who utters the word "faggot" with practically every breath. Easily among the most perfect and underappreciated slashers of the golden ‘80s. If you don't go nuts for this one, get the hell out of my house. (Zack)
DOCTOR BLACK & MISTER HYDE – June 20
DIR. WILLIAM CRAIN, 1976, 35MM, 85 MIN, R
"A screamin demon rages inside, turnin him into Mr Hyde... dont give him no sass or he will kick yo ass!" Good advice from the original release of this schizoid blacksploitation shockbomb. Bernie Casey is the gold-hearted Dr. Henry Pride, who is self-testing a serum to potentially save thousands of human lives. The only side effect is that it turns him into an albino fiend with a sweet tooth for prostitute cutlets. No biggie, except when our hooker-hunting hero runs afoul of Silky the Pimp and his crew. Soon the dichotomous doc unleashes an unstoppable frenzy of flour-faced murder and mayhem. Investigating officer Lt. Jackson was played by Ji-Tu Cumbuka, whose name means Giant Man in his native Swahili. Violent and played for genuine terror, DR. BLACK was director William Crains follow-up to the groundbreaking BLACULA, but this one maintains a level of nobility you just dont find in most wee-budget 70s horror. And not just because Bernie Casey cruises the mean streets in a tricked-out Rolls Royce. (Zack)
LADY TERMINATOR – June 27
DIR. JALIL JACKSON, 1988, 35MM, 82 MIN, R
Get ready for your face to melt entirely off your skull. A vapid anthropology student (Barbara Ann Constable) is drawn undersea and infected with the centuries-old Curse Of The South Sea Queen by a magic sea snake that takes up residence in her vagina. When she emerges from the ocean she acts exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger in THE TERMINATOR as she pursues a young singer with a magic amulet, signifying that she is the great granddaughter of the South Sea Queen's nemesis. The Lady Terminator embarks on a hyperbolic killing spree in Jakarta, taking special care to annihilate the genitals of every man she comes into contact with, using either a machine-gun or her razor-toothed cooch-snake. This Indonesian brain smasher is really something special. The dialogue is top-shelf, the basement-level special effects are sublime - in its own inimitable way this is one of the classics of all time. Don't even dream about missing this. Also known as NASTY HUNTER, but you knew that. (Lars)
Future titles include THE KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, INFRA-MAN and DEMONS. We need your help, though. If you want to continue to have Weird Wednesday screenings in Houston, make sure you support the series with your attendance. Spread the word. Tell a friend. Tell your pets. Share this link. Weird Wednesdays is coming to Houston – are you prepared?