It's Showtime!

Normally I don't cover DVD releases in this column, but this one is different. Showgirls was reviled when it was released in theaters and marked the beginning of the end of Joe Eszterhas' reign as a writer of blockbuster hits. Since then it's been embraced as a camp classic, filling midnight movie houses across the country. Perhaps nobody has loved it as much as our own David Schmader, who for years has been deconstructing it in front of live audiences across the country. When MGM heard about what Schmader was doing, they didn't shut him down. Just the opposite, actually--they asked him to record a commentary track. At 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, the day after the national release of the DVD, Scarecrow Video will screen the movie with Schmader's commentary track for all to hear. Schmader himself will be there to autograph copies, which sounds to me like exactly the kind of weird-ass item that can do really well on eBay.

Wednesday night plays host to a couple of other screenings, just in case you are morally opposed to Showgirls. I don't know if either of them is any more uplifting, though. At the Rendezvous, they're showing H...xan: Witchcraft Through the Ages. This silent Danish film from 1922 is described as visually arresting and bizarre, an embellished documentary that includes elements of horror. Banned for many years, it's got occasional glimpses of nudity, but even more damning is the depictions of monks and nuns performing acts of sacrilege and perversion, though it's doubtful that those scandals can match the current controversy in the church. By the way, this movie inspired the company name of the folks who made The Blair Witch Project. Also on Wednesday, you can catch Beyond the Door on the back patio of Linda's. This Italian rip-off of The Exorcist includes convulsions, levitation, pea-soup puke, and stars Juliet Mills from TV's Nanny and the Professor.

On Monday night, July 26, the Sunset Tavern in Ballard is showcasing a local film called Streets of Blood. I don't know what it's about, but with a name like Streets of Blood I feel pretty confident that not every character survives the film's running time. I also want to congratulate another local production company for wrapping production of their DV horror feature Beach Demons. Good luck with editing. Another local feature, Swamper: The Movie, is about the life and loves of a guy who mops up at the Lusty Lady. That movie's done, and will premiere at the Seattle Art Museum on August 7, but it sounds like the tickets are nearly sold out already. I'll tell you about future screenings. If anybody else out there is working on a feature film, either on film or video, I want to hear about it. I have a hunch that there's more production going on here than meets the eye, and I'd love to be proven right.

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