Without question, the Alamo Drafthouse chain is one of the biggest names in quality filmgoing in the United States. Drafthouse has expanded into several cities across the country since its humble origins in Austin, Texas, spreading their adventurous programming and strict policy of being respectful of others (and the film being watched) during screenings. Similarly, Philadelphia-based Exhumed Films has made a name for themselves since their founding in 1997 by dedicating themselves to screening film prints and finding obscurities and lost gems, culminating in their annual 24-hour Horrorthon and 12/14-hour eX-Fest shows. This summer, these two deeply respected groups work together for the first time, presenting the Guilty Pleasures Marathon at the Yonkers Alamo Drafthouse New York.
This show brings five of the biggest audience favorites from Exhumed Films’ past screenings to New York, all projected from film prints. Five of the weirdest, wildest, and most entertaining films you could ever hope to see have been put together in one screening, from Italian post-apocalyptic action to cheapjack Pennsylvania zombies to insane grindhouse kung fu horror, the Guilty Pleasures Marathon is a paracinemaniac’s dream.
Kicking off the show is 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS (1982, dir. Enzo G. Castellari). This post-apocalyptic Italian action film stars Vic Morrow as Hammer, a mercenary sent into New York to rescue an heiress who is trapped in the city. Director Enzo G. Castellari teams up with exploitation legend Fred Williamson (who also starred in Castellari’s THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS) and Italian cult cinema mainstay George Eastman (ANTHROPOPHAGUS) for this riotous riff on John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and Walter Hill’s THE WARRIORS with a killer soundtrack by Walter Rizzati.
1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS trailer:
Next up is FLESHEATER (1987, dir. Bill Hinzman), one of only two films directed by Bill Hinzman, best known as the original “Cemetery Zombie” in George A. Romero’s original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It may come as little surprise that FLESHEATER has a somewhat familiar storyline: a group of college kids on a hayride venture out into the woods and discover that an evil zombie (Hinzman) has returned from the grave to devour the living. As familiar as the setup is, FLESHEATER is never predictable and its pace is relentless, piling up so many bodies and going in so many unexpected directions that the audience will be exhausted trying to keep up.
Changing gears, the next feature is THE NO MERCY MAN (1973, dir. Daniel J. Vance). Steve Sandor stars as Oli Hand, a Vietnam vet who has returned from the war to a quiet life on his family’s farm. After his experiences overseas, Oli finds it tough to adjust to civilian life, and finds trouble at every turn. When a gang of carnies led by Prophet (Rockne Tarkington) threaten his family, Oli snaps and they discover why he’s called “The No Mercy Man!” Watch for a young Sid Haig in this dramatic tale of revenge.
Clip from THE NO MERCY MAN:
The last two films on the roster are particularly special treats. First, director Robert Warmflash will be appearing in person to introduce and do a Q&A after DEATH PROMISE (1977)! Allegedly titled ENTER THE WHITE DRAGON in the Phillippines, DEATH PROMISE follows Charley (Charles Bonet) as he avenges his father’s death at the hand of greedy slum lords looking to demolish the apartment building in which he lived. DEATH PROMISE remains Robert Warmflash’s sole directorial credit, but he has been active in the film industry as a post-production supervisor since the 1980s, working on films as diverse as Abel Ferrara’s NEW ROSE HOTEL to Andrew Jarecki’s CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS.
DEATH PROMISE trailer:
The final feature of the day is THE NIGHT OF A THOUSAND CATS (1972, dir. Rene Cardona, Jr.). Director Cardona and star Hugo Stiglitz would later go on to work together on the JAWS rip-off TINTORERA in 1977 (which Exhumed has also screened), but in the early 70s they created this masterpiece of accidental surrealism. Stiglitz plays a helicopter enthusiast/playboy named Hugo who flies into the back yards of women, flies them back to the crumbling ruins of his family’s castle, where after a nice dinner and, ahem, “dessert,” eventually introduces them to his cats. He has a lot of them, and he feeds them raw meat. In fact, they’ve grown accustomed to the taste of human flesh! Rinse, repeat. This is one of the most bizarre films ever to grace the silver screen, an absolutely unforgettable cinematic experience.
THE NIGHT OF A THOUSAND CATS trailer:
The Guilty Pleasures Marathon takes place at the Yonkers Alamo Drafthouse location in New York on August 2nd. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Alamo Drafthouse New York web site here!
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