Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '77 - Justin LaLiberty ""

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Underrated '77 - Justin LaLiberty

Justin LaLiberty holds degrees in Critical Film Studies and Film Preservation in Archiving. He is currently responsible for programming at Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY and is an itinerant projectionist, ready to run reels if you've got 'em. He is a regular contributor to Paracinema and can usually be found in whichever NYC art-house is showing the most sordid content on a given day.

Here's His Underrated '86 List from earlier this year:

NEWS FROM HOME (Chantal Akerman)
Akerman’s cinema essay of life in New York told in beautifully captured images of the city, accompanied by voiceover of Akerman reading letters sent to her from her mother. A monumentally successful ode to the NYC of the 70s as well as a touching entry into Akerman’s almost always surprising career. And she made this in her mid 20s.
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DEATH PROMISE (Robert Warmflash)
Akerman may have captured a romantic yet gritty NYC in NEWS FROM HOME, but Robert Warmflash gave us the most absurd, violent and downright fun portrayal of the city in 1977. A revenge, martial arts hybrid with over-the-top violence, evil businessmen (something we know plenty about right now) and some good, old fashioned NYC apartment building paranoia to go with it. Oh, and a guy gets offed by a bag full of rats. Doesn’t get much more NY than that.
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THE SENTINEL (Michael Winner)
Perhaps the most underrated of the satanic 70s flicks, Michael Winner’s THE SENTINEL should at least be known for it’s absolutely stacked and insane cast: John Carradine, Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines, Martin Balsam, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D’Angelo, Christopher Walken, Tom Berenger and Jeff Goldblum. If that’s not enough, it also features some real life deformed folks that look like they came out of Fellini’s extras troupe and a cat named Jezebel who celebrates a birthday with a truly outlandish party. It’s something.
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DEATH BED (George Barry)
For only directing one film, George Barry really went for it! DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS is entirely singular in the annals of 70s horror – a nearly avant-garde featuring, bowling over with macabre imagery and a languid pace (even for 70 minutes). But it’s also about a bed that legitimately eats people and you’ve never seen anything else like it. It’s beautiful.
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ALUCARDA (Juan Lopez Moctezuma)
The only satanic film of ’77 to give THE SENTINEL a run for its money, ALUCARDA is Mexican nunsploitation done right and sleazy. A hysteric nightmare of Gothic set design, gratuitous nudity, bloody violence and period horror imagery that could make Jean Rollin jealous.
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LET ME DIE A WOMAN (Doris Wishman)
Wishman, ever the provocateur, made this transgressive yet ultimately sleazy documentary about sex changes that features actual operation footage, re-enactments, all with – what appears to be – the involvement of actual doctors. It’s excessive, problematic and entirely in line with the provocations of exploitation cinema – shedding (perhaps, at the time, much needed) light on a subject its audience almost definitely knew little about.
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THE DEVIL, PROBABLY (Robert Bresson)
Criminally underknown later Bresson that weaves revolution politics, existentialism, self destruction and other happy topics into one movie. Politically motivated cinema, that wouldn’t seem out of place in Godard’s canon, feels like a rallying call to the late 70s youth. After all, Richard Hell called in the most punk film ever made.
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SHORT EYES (Robert M. Young)
Originating from a play by Miguel Pinero, who spent time in prison, SHORT EYES may be the toughest prison film ever made in America. An always tense, never fun trip behind bars that runs a lean, but terrifying, 99 minutes. Features an exceptional leading performance by Bruce Davison. It’s baffling that this isn’t more well known – the PUNISHMENT PARK of prison films.
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CHATTERBOX! (Tom DeSimone)
I’m not going to try and claim that CHATTERBOX! is some lost masterpiece, but someone has to go to bat for the talking vagina movie! Surprisingly tame for its subject matter, it at least features a song titled Wang Dang Doodle. Running a meager 72 minutes, it never wears out its welcome and features an appearance by Rip Taylor! And all of the singing vagina spectacle is shot by Jonathan Demme regular collaborator Tak Fujimoto.
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Thought not my favorite of Metzger’s Henry Paris features (that would easily go to THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN), BARBARA BROADCAST is polished, endlessly entertaining adult cinema all about bad manners. Sort of an adult DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISE, it features great period use of NYC and inspired performances by industry regulars Annette Haven, Jamie Gillis and Sharon Mitchell. A great, fun gateway into 70s adult cinema.
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1 comment:

SteveQ said...

I don't need to contribute, because this list has all my choices!