Monday, May 25, 2015


Jack Hill's 
Tod Browning's
Saturday, May 30th @ 7pm
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Join Grind-Fu Cinema for an evening of wild cinema!  We're showing a couple of black and white chillers that'll really blow your mind.
Directed by Jack Hill
We showed Spider Baby ages ago, and it wowed the audience with its dark subject matter and gallows humor.  Filmed in 1964, the film didn't receive a release until 1968, due to distributor bankruptcy.  It has screened under several different names:  The Liver Eaters, Attack of the Liver Eaters, Cannibal Orgy, The Maddest Story Ever Told, and Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told.  For years it circulated only as a zillionth generation VHS dub around rare film trader circles until Jack Hill was able to liberate a print from a lab that was holding it hostage, and a print cast from the original negative now resides in the Academy Film Archives.

 FREAKS (1932)
Directed by Tod Browning
In 1931 Tod Browning was at the top of his game, having directed Bela Lugosi in Dracula.  His blockbuster success gave him carte blanche with  Universal Pictures to create whatever horror film he wanted.  That film was Freaks, and just one year after his massive success Tod Browning's career was virtual over.
What happened?
The world was simply not ready for a film like Freaks, and a big part of this deals with the fact that much of the cast was built from performers that worked in Circus Sideshows.  For 1932 that was pretty daring.  These folks are the heroes of Freaks, and they treat each other with kindness and respect, living together like they are family.  The villains of the film are "normal" folks that act with greed and cruelty, looking to exploit the trust of the "family."  One thing is true in any community:  You don't mess with family.
The original test screening of Freaks went so badly that Universal chopped it down from 90 minutes to just over an hour.  One person in the audience went so far as to sue the film company because she blamed the movie for her miscarriage.  A new upbeat ending was attached, but that did nothing to turn the film's performance around.  The scenes that were removed from the film are now considered to be lost.
By the 1960s Freaks became recognized as a counter-culture classic, and it began playing the midnight movie circuit through the seventies and eighties.  Today it is a part of the United States Film Registry, and is recognized at a culturally important film.  Sadly, Tod Browning's career didn't bounce back like his most controversial film did, but that's a tale for another time. 

So join us on Saturday, May 30th, for a Grind-Fu night like no other!  As always, Grind-Fu Cinema is FREE, so bring your friends, bring some sodas and snacks, and settle in for a truly unique evening of cinema.
I'm the new boy in town!  Where can I go?

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