I regret to inform you that all the nameless premieres will remain nameless in this report. I am sorry, but that's the way it has got to be. But hey, maybe -- just maybe -- if you loosen up Vegas with a bit of alcohol you might get a cookie, but you didn't hear that from me. Now this was my first Butt-numb-a-thon, something I never expected to have the privilege of going to, and certainly something I was never prepared for. But much like our friend Yoda1 and The Two Towers premiere, in life you sometimes get those small rewards to the great rewards, and for someone like me, just plain old dumb luck. Like Bigby Wolf says, "It's called dumb for a reason."
It was late Friday night, and I was exhausted from a grueling day of studying followed by a three hour Biology final -- my first and only final for the semester, but did I mention this was Friday the Thirteenth...oooooh...spooky! Anyway, I was chatting in the AICN chat room, and I was finally thinking about checking out the standby line at the Drafthouse. For the past few days I had gotten word about going to the Alamo Drafthouse for standby tickets, and I think Harry Knowles mentioned that the first guy waiting for standby tickets got there at around 12 Noon on Thursday...I think. At one point, I remember Mr. Knowles suggested that I drive by and see what the line looks like. So I thought, ok no big deal, I will check out the line to see if it is too long, bus over, go home and eat some Pluckers TM.
The bus trip itself was quite interesting. I think it was around 12:45 when I got on E-BUS 474, and it seemed to be that magic hour when drunk, high, fucked up, horny, and stupid teenagers, tired of their constant clubbing, decided to jump on and go home,luckily I got to meet a few. I got quite scared when one lady in particular stumbled onto me when she got in the bus, then after she sat down started making some threats and remarks, and the hissing, thought that was weird. Did I mention that the inept bus driver didn't pull over for my stop at 4th and Colorado? I pulled the thingy string and everything, the bastud. However, he was nice enough to directly drop me off at the Drafthouse during the next route. Ok, so I finally get there, and it seems that the really long line of losers waiting for standby tickets measured up to that of an enormous, elongated, devastating amount of...five. Yup, five film geeks. All right, so maybe I didn't think a lot of things through. Sure it was freezing out and I could've been dressed warmer. Yeah, I had no cash to my worthless name in my wallet, but how could I turn this down? Maybe I would have to wait over twelve hours in the ridiculous weather to get in, but it is fricking geek Christmas! I just couldn't see myself leaving in the next twenty minutes, and so I stayed.
And what the hell was I thinking? Before the warm morning would arrive, temperatures would reach to a low at 35 degrees at five in the morning then followed by a 27 degree wind chill. Now I don't want to hear bullshit about me not going to the horror event, writing an essay or crap like that. I did this and I deserved to get in. Later on, a few other people came, and I think the standby line got to around 10 by morning. So it was quite stupid in the end for me to go there so early, or late, whatever. I mean I could've waited until the morning to get there, but hey, I'm number five in line and I'm sitting in the catbird seat. At around 5:30 AM, myself, Matthew (Lakku in the chatroom if you know him), and one other guy trekked all the way to Katz Deli TM a few blocks away to get something hot. Did you guys know that Katz is opened 24/7? They've got some wicked knockwurst too, and no, knockwurst is NOT a hot dog!
Right after the scrumptious refreshments of Knockwurst, deli fries, and hot cocoa, Lakku and I went to check his car in a parking garage. Seemed he had to make sure his car hadn't gotten anymore wrecked than it already is, and back to the Drafthouse we went. Not before long morning came and it finally warmed up. A few more people who wanted to wait on standby showed up (and sadly, they did not get in). Here's the funny thing: before the Drafthouse had opened up that morning, two people who weren't staying showed up. One was a Fed-Ex guy. Seemed he had a delivery from a one David Fein to Drafthouse owner Tim League. Well, no one was in the Drafthouse, and the package had "BNAT-urgent" written on it, so one of the people on the standby line signed for it (whom I shall not name because I think the act is illegal). The moral of the story is thus, you will get this secret delivery later on when it figures in of course. For now, let's let the suspense build for a few paragraphs. Another person who stopped by was a lady named Megan who had a present for Harry Knowles, but no one was there. Megan had to leave so she entrusted the present to us to give to Harry later on. Don't worry readers, the present was put on the stage with the rest of his gifts. However, some of the more disgruntled standbys, I think rather jokingly, thought it would be fun to use the item as blackmail to make sure they would get in. It never came to that; they were really just goofing around honest!
At 11:00 AM, the first regular ticket holder to arrive was none other than Ravvy. For those who do not know, Ravvy is a frequent AICN contributor and an amazing Newt Gingrich look-a-like. Others might call him a slightly chubby Matthew Perry. He was followed by what looked like an old chain-smoking hippy, whose name happened to be Massawyrm, sporting his nifty Austin Film Festival hat just like me. I was an official Austin Film Festival volunteer you know? Later, it was revealed that Ravvy is homophobic, which Massawyrm demonstrated by the violent near schizophrenic like behavior Ravvy seemed to act out in after Massawyrm would try to touch Ravvy's chest. Some would call it pretentious (and no I don't know what it means Moriarty), or strange. I also now know that Ravvy has an insatiable thirst for possibly killing me and ripping off my face, and make a movie about it called Faces of Death 16. I was also very glad to finally see Moriarty and his delightfully lovely girlfriend in person, and at last shake Moriarty's hand; after talking to him on the net for about two years. Happily he didn't try to snap me in half after the fact. However, I would be perfectly happy if he snapped Paul W.S. Anderson in half the next time he meets "the love of" Milla Jovovich's "life."
Soon, EVERYONE began to arrive, and when the Drafthouse finally opened up and started letting the ticket holders file in, the line just seemed to keep getting longer, rather than shorter. Ok, it was past 12 noon, the supposed official start time of BNAT. However, the standby people were not going in, uh-oh. I have to say that the morning crew at the Drafthouse seemed a tad less than competent in the arising moments, where it appeared they were tallying and marking the available seats and such. After a while one finally peaked his head out the window and counted seven of us standbyís off. Only we could go in, luckily no one who waited in the freezing cold with us over 10 hours had to pack up and go home.
Well the other standbys and I finally made it in, but our seats were extra wooden ones. I ended up sitting in the front right hand aisle seat on the side. The view wasnít so bad. We had to eat our food on our laps or the chair, and the wall behind us wasnít a wall. The place was busting, and Harry Knowles made his way up to the stage for his first introduction. He mentioned how Moriarty attempted to bring two films to BNAT (I know what they are, but I cannot say but got shot down, however by Harryís good graces, Moriarty would get to introduce two premieres.
Now, the Alamo Drafthouse isnít the biggest, nicest theatre, but it does have the best, most dedicated audiences ever to watch film, and BNAT 4 was no exception. And the best part is that I got to be part of the audience! A part of history, big or small, I was there, Butt-numb-a-thon 4, Harry Knowles big birthday celebration, and the Christmas (or Hanukah for me) for all geeks, fanboys, and film fans a like. The audience was great -- cheered, clapped, and reacted at the proper times (and maybe a couple of not so proper times but thatís few and far between), and sure some people had a little too much to drink. I even took a sip of the dreaded beverage known as Red Bull. However, the audience never got too over rowdy or annoying like the time I went to a midnight premiere of Episode 2. This was the perfect audience and atmosphere, and it was a pleasure to be part of it. However, what was up with the threats of getting hazed if you fell asleep? That still bugs me.
So Harry revealed that the first film was a pre-code version of The Mask of Fu Manchu starring Boris Karloff as Da Fu. It was a good film and got the audience started. Although I don't really know when this film came out in 1932 maybe? Anyway, the only other memory I have of Fu Manchu is the Peter Sellers movie in 1980, which I remember being pretty lame. According to IMDB, this was Boris Karloff's first film after his breakthrough role in Frankenstein. Mask of Fu Manchu, was a fun old school flick, but I was wondering what the offensive parts Harry Knowles referred to were. Possibly when Dr. Manchu was talking wiping out "the entire evil white race,"? If anyone reading this gets a chance, check out the mega Karloff and Bela Lugosi combo called The Black Cat from 1934. Lugosi plays an old rival of Karloff who is this evil satan-worshipping maniac. At the end, Lugosi eats Karloff's face, really! Hopefully I will never suffer the same fate to Ravvy, but those be the low valleys opposed to the peaks.
Of course the second film was I think what a talk backer called Ventriloquist, which was introduced by Moriarty. Well all I can say is that "I swing a bit more, I swing a bit less, but one thing is for sure, we are both Ventriloquists." -Kung Pow
Next up was Machine Gun Kelly. This was a produced and directed by Roger Corman film and features a pre-Death Wish Charles Bronson playing a notorious criminal named Machine Gun Kelly known for robbing banks and his trademark machine gun. This was an ok film highlighted by the coolness of Bronson oozing out the cool and one-liners, sounding like that gangster, Mugsy, from Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Ok, now time to look up the memory banks. Remember that David Fein video that was delivered and signed out by one of the standby attendees before the Drafthouse opened? Well it seems that figures in right about now. You see David Fein filmed an introduction for BNAT by famed film director Robert Wise. The video featured Robert Wise introducing the next film we were to watch, Odds Against Tomorrow, starring Harry Belafonte and Robert Ryan. This was a good little caper film featuring an outspoken racist who canít provide for his girlfriend named Earl Slater (Robert Ryan) and a xylophone player with a big gambling debt named Johnny Ingram (Belafonte). This was a solid film with some cool jazz music, but some slow buildup to a big climax. It kind of reminded me of Heat in that sense.
The fifth film was this insane 1977 martial arts, kung fu flick named Crippled Avengers. This featured a king whose wife was murdered and sonís arms were cut off. Later they became mean and tyrannical. They crippled four men who tried to defy them. One was blinded, the other became deaf and mute, the other's feet were cut off, and one was turned into a complete dunce. They later go back to the dunce's teacher and are all trained to use their crippled weakness to their advantage to go back and kick some ass. The dubbing in this movie was so bad it was hilarious, and I think the crappiness in the print quality just added to the experience. I definitely recommend this for anyone to try and rent or just check it out. Some of the action scenes actually drag on long quite a bit but they are very impressive. A very fun movie.
During the break for this movie, there was a lot of talk and excitement. The audience was pumped, and they had one word on their minds Daredevil. And I'm going to say that again, Daredevil. And you know what? Iím going to put all the rumors to rest right now. We didn't ever watch Daredevil at any time during BNAT. And that's the truth. Iím not lying or making shit up to give you guys a reason to get pissed off. We didnít watch Daredevil. I know there were rumors on the net about it. All I know is that we didn't watch it, capiche? I think I can say that at least. The next movie we watched was much different, not exactly a crippled fighting criminals movie, but I would say this, Daredevil would've been a perfect follow-up to Crippled Avengers.
And oh the horror that would follow. Movie number six out of ten was a little seen filmed called Night Warning. This was a film featuring an insane, murderous Susan Tyrell who just won't let her growing nephew/son Billy leave home and go to college. Also a couple of scenes featuring a young Bill Paxton, and a great performance by the always magnificent, Bo Svenson, who was in attendance for the event. This was a very graphic and violent slasher flick, but it was overall decent and the audience really got a kick out of it. Amazing, creepy, sick, and indeed twisted performance by Ms. Tyrell. When the movie was over, Bo Svenson took stage and said he had "never seen this film." Bo Svenson also talked a little about Quentin Tarantino' upcoming Kill Bill, in which he plays a priest, and sung a many praise for Tarantino. Later on Svenson recounted a story where he "entered" a woman, who was the late Rod Steigerís girlfriend. And while that was happening, she called up Rod Steiger and told him that Svenson "had entered her." Uh-oh sphagettios. Another great quote was when Svenson recalled someone asking if he noodled Susan Tyrell. He said, "After watching this movie I can say NO, nor would I ever!"
And yes, even more horror! I believe we are allowed to discuss this premiere event horror film aptly called May. This was a horror film directed by Austin native, Lucky McKee. I also believe it was his debut feature. This one was about a tortured anti-social girl named May played by Angela Bettis, another Austin native. She had a strange, crazy mother plus problems with a lazy eye which didnít help her socially either. Her scenes where she had to use a patch gave me big time flashbacks. I, too, am cursed with a lazy eye, and I had to wear those fucking eye patches when I was a kid,luckily I didn't end up like May, whose only friend is a freaky looking doll named Suzy. Honestly...really! Actually, my best friend is a Battle of The Planets action figure of Keyop who I like to call Huney Bee at night when we sleep together. Ever so often does Keyop make fun of me, but it is cool because we have a love/hate relationship. That is, before I removed his appendages of course.
May works at an animal hospital, where a strange air-headed slut named Polly is attracted to her. And yes, Anna Faris plays the same character she always does with Polly. Anyway, after trying and failing with a couple of boys and failing miserably as a disabled kids volunteer, everything seems to fall into place for May, "if you can' find a friend make one." And doesnít Polly just have the most beautiful neck? Or May' not even would-be boyfriend Adam (Jeremy Sisto) with the perfect hands? Iíll let you talk backers make your own conclusions with that, but I will say this,it is not pretty. It was very hard to stomach this movie with the graphic, GRAPHIC violence and gore, but at least it was truly scary and had a point, not like the next movie.
Before the next big film premiere, there was a short film by Jed, I don't exactly remember the name, but I think it was called Dust To Blood? The short was narrated by none other than The Father Geek himself, Jay Knowles. It was a cute little violent zombie short, with some really loud thumping for a nun zombie's walk.
Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses did indeed premiere at BNAT. Now I can speak for myself, and say I was not very excited before it started to watch the film. The audience was, and Harry Knowles himself was pumped talking about how he was upset that Rob Zombie couldn't watch the movie with the best audience of all time. However, it turned out to be much different. Most of the audience was PUMPED to see this flick. I mean it, they were roaring with applause when the movie started, and in the opening credits. However, at the end they felt differently, and I have to say it is a good thing that Rob Zombie was not at this premiere.
Honestly, this film was bad, it was shit. It was incoherent, and yes violent and disgusting. Forget the rumors you heard, and being pissed the studios dropped it. If anyone sees this movie you will understand why they did, and for once the studios were right. It's not that the movie is violent and disgusting, it is just plain old bad and stinky; it's just that damn BAD. I tried to give it a chance, but it was all for naught. Without getting into too many specifics, it was basically a bad reminder of the final Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, you know the really, really cruddy one with Renee Zellweger and Mathew McConaughey? Well imagine that, but much worse. Mix in some MTV, and you get this movie. Look, I'm not saying this to be mean, but that's just how it is. Rob Zombie I think wrote, directed, and scored this film. But whatever you think, this is not the gem you are hoping it to be. And by the end, you will completely forget that Jennifer Coolidge is in it. AICN's chatroom and frequent contributor, Dr. Strangelove, claims he could "have made a better movie than HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES with an ill rat, trashcan, and 45 year old 16 mm film." Those are his words -- not mine. I just want to clarify that. But with a heavy heart, I do not disagree with the Doc.
Once again, we come to one of those nameless premieres, which a talk backer labeled Green Boots. Well the audience was really deflated and exhausted after that last stinker, and a lot of people walked out during the film. Some who stayed were pretty rough on it. It was way too long, and you just wanted it to end, but it wouldn't. But hey it had some nice boobies in it which was a plus.
After this was a big one hour break. People got up and stretched and served themselves to the breakfast buffet of various sugary, fatty cereals and breakfast burritos. Serving as our entertainment was one of the Mystery Sinus Theatre people named Germ Pollet. He did this kind of "Jay Leno wannabe" skit, but instead of headlines it was cereal boxes. I don't really think anyone deeply cared for his bit, and at one point he had the blind unmitigated gall and NERVE to tell the BNAT audience, "Hey I just woke up at 7 AM." Ok, look I know you aren't funny, but you never...eh...eh...EVER say that to a BNAT audience. Especially since I hadn't slept in about three days, I was deeply traumatized by this incident that will give me more nightmares than I ever expected to from life with the film May. Also, I am being very kind in my comments about one Mr. Pollet.
Well, while everyone was eating breakfast and taking a rest, we were served with a brilliant film. It was a shot for shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark made by junior high kids, and it was brilliant! The acting was even better than Episode 2. About fifty minutes were shown of this, and I wish we got to see the whole thing in place of a couple of others shown at BNAT. Here, Indy had a beagle puppy instead of a monkey, but everything about this just worked. Gus Van Sant could take some tips from these kids. From what I understand the kids started filming this when they were 12, and finished it when they were twenty. This was nearly a show stealer, and we didn't even see the whole thing!
The finale was upon us, the finale which will not be named. But before that, we were treated to a short film fifty years in the making,a short film by none other than Ray Harryhausen. It was The Tortoise and the Hare. You know the story, and you also know that "slow and steady wins the race." I was pretty much an undead zombie at this point, but this short was a great pleasure to watch, a little slice of Heaven from a master.
And now comes to that FINAL, yet again nameless premiere, I think Harry Knowles called it Salome. Am I allowed to say that? If you know what it was, but don't want to say, it was great, and it was an amazing spectacle, and it is definitely more of a big event movie than another before it. This is why I went to BNAT. This is why I stayed online for over 12 hours in horrible weather. This is why I shelled out the big bucks. This is why I have that dumb luck -- to see this movie. It was everything I hoped it could be, and I hope it is for everyone else. We weren't put out to take a vow of secrecy for this. We are on the honor system, and thatíŽs how it shall stay, all right? And last time I checked, I do indeed have balls, so if I do not, well to the chopping block I went, because they are there...I think...
And that's it. I don't have much else to say, well I have plenty much more to say about those nameless films, but that's the way things are, eh? But you know what, despite some of the flaws, I'm glad I was there for this once in a lifetime experience. This kind of dumb luck you get comes in once in a thousand years, and no matter what history writes of it, I can always say that I was at the Fourth Annual Butt-Numb-A-Thon. I have the stupid t-shirt to prove it, a nifty poster, the frostbite, and the idle threats from Ravvy who wants to come over to my room and skin me. And sure, the shit eating porn montage made me a tad queasy. But those be the consequences when for once in your life you are "sitting in the Cat Bird seat."-James Thurber.
For further gripes, questions, and comments: Vileone316@hotmail.com
P.S., none of the secret movies were Catch Me If You Can, Old School, Cabin Fever, Gangs of New York, or Daredevil
(edited by The Vile1 on 6.1.03 0206)
(edited by The Vile1 on 6.1.03 2048) "I am many things Kal-El, but here I am god." -Darkseid
I put somewhat relevant extra curricular activities and interests onto my resume...to enhance the resume. Case in point: I put down that I fix computers and study religion in my spare time, and that I'm also fascinated by maps.