Life of a cinephile in Brisbane took a definite turn for the better with the opening of GoMA three years ago. The Cinémathèque, located at GoMA, boasts 300 seats between its two theatres and screens stuff that you’d be unlikely to catch at your local neighbourhood cinema, and even less likely to catch at any of the nameless, faceless, and tasteless cineplexes which have sadly all but taken over the movie theatre scene.
So far the Cinémathèque has brought the unwashed masses such gems as a look at “the film legacy of Andy Warhol within the broader context of postwar queer experimental cinema”, complete with no less than seven Bruce LaBruce masterpieces, and the recent Peter Greenaway retrospective. I was especially delighted to finally see The Belly of an Architect on the big screen, even if the movie itself didn’t quite live up to my expectations — but then again, I’m a hard crowd to please.
This week the Cinémathèque is celebrating Halloween with a selection of screenings under the heading “Dead Country: Australian Horror Classics“. Unfortunately I’ve got other plans for the weekend and won’t be able to catch Patrick nor Razorback, both movies that have been on my “to-view” list ever since my teenage pre-Finnish-video-law years, when I started my foray into the world of cinematic horror by watching a 6th generation VHS copy of Evil Dead. This event, of course, instantly corrupted my young and impressionable mind and surely must be largely responsible for the fact that I now don’t have a bald noggin (although the writing is on the wall), a staunch paunch (knock wood), a townhouse in a suburb of Espoo, a Volvo station wagon, a wife, 2 1/2 kids, and a golden retriever. And a partridge in a pear tree — but I digress.
Yesterday’s double feature consisted of two films I’d never even heard of, much less seen before. And what a treat they proved to be.
The first offering was Body Melt by Philip Brophy, a movie that can only be described as Alien-meets-The Toxic Avenger-meets-Deliverance. As I suffer from spoiler aversion that can only be described as verging on the pathological *), I won’t go too deeply into describing the plot; suffice it to say that if you liked Bad Taste or Braindead, chances are you’d enjoy Body Melt as well. This movie has it all; gore, slime, violence, car chases, cheap scares, even cheaper laughs, you name it. Probably not a first date movie then — or, if you do take your date to see Body Melt and you’re still on speaking terms afterwards, he/she’s a keeper.
The second movie was Turkey Shoot — and similarly, think Tenth Victim-meets-Logan’s Run-meets-Commando and you’re not too far off the mark. Two of the reviews on IMDb are respectively titled “Probably one of the worst movies of all time…” and “The best film ever!” — I would have to agree in that whatever you think of this movie, you’re unlikely to go ho-hum. Dystopian setting, cartoonish characters, gratuitous nudity and violence — Ozploitation at its finest. While watching the movie, I was struck by the fact that while I wasn’t moved enough to actually hope for any of the characters to survive their respective ordeals — some of them do live to prevail at the end of the movie, but it’s probably not much of a spoiler to point out that not all of them are as fortunate — I was still captivated enough to find out what would happen to any and all of them through the admittedly somewhat predictable twists and turns. Two thumbs and a pinky toe up.