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This weekend Facets Cinematheque launches the Facets Night School, a unique nine-week series of Saturday midnight movies with lectures by various folks affiliated with Facets Multimedia. Tickets are only five bucks, and the lineup is more a lot more ambitious than the stuff Music Box has been programming at the witching hour. Brian Elza, a writer and researcher for the Facets video catalog, kicks off the series on May 2, explaining how Alejandro Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain (1973) influenced conservative action movies and progressive rock music.
One title that's new to me is Jim Muro's crazed 1987 horror comedy Street Trash (pictured above), which screens May 9 with a lecture by comedian, performance artist, and Facets staffer Bruce Neal. The movie is a unique snapshot of its times, when bad-taste humor intersected with Reagan-era loathing of the poor. The owner of a skid-row liquor store uncovers an ancient case of hooch called Viper and sells it for a buck a bottle to the bums who congregate around a nearby junkyard; when they drink it, their flesh melts into puddles of multicolored (but mostly blue) goo. Muro serves up a smorgasbord of smut, gross-out gags, and grisly special effects, with politically incorrect digs at blacks, women. the disabled, Vietnam vets, and of course the destitute. There's something to offend everyone, though the perversity can be inspired: puckish oboe music accompanies a scene of a woman being crushed by her horny, 300-pound boss, and the score turns to jolly barrelhouse rock 'n' roll as a bum chases around a junkyard after his severed penis, which is being tossed back and forth by his guffawing buddies.
Facets Night School runs through the end of June, with screenings of Quadrophenia (May 16), The Entity (May 23), The Night of the Hunter (May 30), Eat the Rich (June 6), Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (June 13), Labyrinth (June 20), and Dawn of the Dead (June 27).