Los Angeles is home to cinema in more ways than one. We are a home to many specialty first-run and repertory theatres, film festivals and film series. Since this is LA, we have a number of DIY festivals and series and a large crowd of raving cinemaniacs thirsty for film in its purest form.
Which brings me to Cinematic Void. It was created by James Branscome in 2016 with programming assistance from Grant Moninger, a programmer at the American Cinematheque and Beyond Fest, Cinematic Void is a genre film series that celebrates cult and oddball cinema: horror films, sex comedies, and ninjas. Yes, ninjas, so you know that the Void is cool. They have a number of signature series that occur regularly, Cinemadness Midnights at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, Camp Void in the summer (which recently returned after a hiatus) and, of course, the subject of my current film rant, January Giallo. The Void is part of the American Cinematheque family and Beyond Fest and does special screenings during that beloved monster October genre festival spectacular.
What have we done to your January Giallo this year? Well, in case you were not already aware, Giallo is an Italian subgenre of horror that specializes in beautiful women and men dying horrible deaths at the hands, literally – because quite often all you see are the black-gloved hands of the killer or deranged psychotics with bizarre motives and freaky fetishes that must be investigated by people who might become victims themselves. Giallos are films with tons of style, bright primary-colored lighting, and terrible dubbing that wield a fascinating hold over the film fans who adore murder mysteries, thrillers, and flamboyant Euro violence with a heavy erotic charge.
This year, Cinematic Void has a spectacular slate of Giallo films for your cinema going pleasure:
Cat O’Nine Tails
Directed by Dario Argento
Starring Karl Malden and James Franciscus
Tickets can be purchased here.
Directed by Dario Argento
Starring Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, and Daria Nicolodi.
Uncut version approved by Argento himself
A Blade in the Dark
Directed by Lamberto Bava
Starring Andrea Occipinti and Michele Soavi
Directed by a largely unsung master of Giallo, Sergio Martino
Starring Suzy Kendall and John Richardson
The Black Cat
Directed by the formidable Lucio Fulci
Starring Patrick McGee and Mimsy Farmer
What Have They Done To Your Daughters?
Directed by Massimo Dallamano, who was a cinematographer to Sergio Leone
Starring Giovanni Ralli and Claudio Cassinelli
The mighty five-film Giallo marathon – yes, five films, you’ll get your money’s worth. Tickets can be purchased here.
Strange Shadows in an Empty Room
Directed by Alberto de Martino
Starring Stuart Whitman, with appearances by Martin Landau, John Saxon, and Tisa Farrow
Tickets coming soon
Since I first attended a Cinematic Void screening of George Romero’s vampire film Martin (in 16mm) and The Crazies in 2016, I have known that the Void was something special. Branscome has great taste and wide knowledge of genre film and an affection for the less celebrated movies, as well as a wonderful ability to pair music with films with the many custom made trailers and the pre-show entertainment videos that he creates for the screenings. Their screenings often come with costume contests and great prize giveaways, which are frequently the marvelous posters that are also custom made for the film series and introductions that give you terrific insight into the films themselves since Branscome is quite knowledgeable about the making of the films.
With the Void, you will have the opportunity to see films that you probably won’t see elsewhere, ever. In particular with this year’s January Giallo series, you will be watching two rare Italian prints with soft subtitles that you aren’t going to be able to watch at AMC Burbank anytime soon. This series is, as are all of the other CV events, curated beautifully with a true cinema fan’s painstaking attention to detail and with a true love of cinema. You know that is what wins my loyalty to a film series or festival, the real deal of film fanatics who wish to spread the gospel of genre. I don’t know another film series that would screen Private Resort and note that it is a movie that the star, Johnny Depp, actively hates and would like to see destroyed, but will still proudly show it in defiance of Depp’s embarrassment.
Clutch your horror-loving hearts and fall victim to the mastery of Giallo this month in the Cinematic Void at the Egyptian Theatre. Allow yourself to be absorbed by the Void.
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