This month with Cigarette Burns

So the season of the witch is upon us, and normally Cigarette Burns attempts to shy away from the the rather obvious calling that this month brings. But not this year. This year we’re embracing October, and making the most out of the 31 days.

Albeit, with a focus on the final third of the month.

First, continuing in the spirit of our first Halloween spectacular, when we screened a distinctly non Halloweeny film, Heathers, we’re rolling up to the Rio in Dalston with none other than he epic 80s breakdance film – Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

I know what you’re thinking, how is this Halloweeny? It’s not. And that’s the point. All month the world will be over run with Horror films. It’s a bit like New Years Eve. Professionals don’t need New Years Eve as an excuse to get drunk, they are professionals, and do it all the time. So Cigarette Burns doesn’t need Halloween to screen Horror films, we know how to do that already, this is one for the party people.

So we’ll see you at the Rio Cinema on 20th October, more details here

Earlier this year, we were approached by the lovely folks at the Leicester Square Theatre and asked if we would like to take part in their inaugural Halloween festival, the 13th Hour Horror Festival, a selection of theatre, comedy, spoken word, film and more to help us all along through this lovely month. Well, far be it from us to turn down a wonderful offering, and so we came up with two contributions. The first of which is….

Psycho v Psycho

Now Gus Van Sant’s version of Psycho has received almost nothing but disdain, and abuse, personally, I’ve always felt that was incredibly unfair. Van Sant was at the height of his career when he decided to film Psycho. Having just finished Good Will Hunting to a fair amount of acclaim, the world, as they say, was his oyster. He could do no wrong. So he thought he test that theory…. He went back to his arthouse roots and decided to subvert the master, question his authority. What exactly made a film great? Was it the actors? The script? The director? What?

Van Sant did the unthinkable and remade Psycho. Line for line, and shot for shot.

Or did he?

Never before have the two films been presented to an audience side by side in a direct comparison. So that’s exactly what Cigarette burns is doing.

We have 4 small screens suspended above the audience showing GVS’s version and one main screen showing Hitchcock’s classic Psycho. The audio will be Hitchcock, but the fun will be for you to decipher exactly what GVS was doing. Was he mad? Or was he playing Hollywood at their own game? Having sat through test runs of this truly mind melting experiment, I can tell you that watching them simultaneously is fascinating and hypnotic, your eyes flitting between the two screens and picking out the most minute differences.

Prepare to see Psycho as you’ve never seen it before.

Pyscho v Psycho is for one night only, 25th October, more details here

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, we have decided that those carpeted floors are not enough for us, we shall now tread upon the boards, as Cigarette Burns presents The Hallowe’en Sessions –

Taking advantage of the Leicester Square Theatre’s actual purpose, you know, it being a theatre and all, it seemed obvious that a play would be best suited for this environment. But CB being CB, a normal play just won’t do. Let’s roll out the Amicus style anthology. But perhaps something genuinely dark and unsettling, the sort of thing that makes one worry late at night when they are walking up the stairs and the light switch is just out of reach.

Enter Kim Newman‘s Dr. Myra Lark, played by none other than Sarah Douglas, as she tries to find out exactly what is troubling her five inmates, we slowly realise, all is not as it seems.

Directed by Sean Hogan, of Devil’s Business fame, written by a formidable sextet, including Kim Newman (Anno Dracula, Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles), Stephen Volk (The Awakening, Gothic, Ghost Watch), Anne Billson (Suckers, Stiff Lips) Paul McAuley (Fairyland, the Quiet War trilogy), Maura McHugh (Jennifer Wilde, Roisin Dubh) and director Sean Hogan (The Devil’s Business, Little Deaths), and starring  Sarah Douglas (Superman 2, Conan the Destroyer), Pollyanna McIntosh (Exam, The Woman), Billy Clarke (The Devil’s Business, Hunger), Daniel Brocklebank (The Hole, Little Deaths), Holly Lucas (Little Deaths, Holby City), Joshua Mayes-Cooper(Doctors, Outpost 11) and Grace Ker (‘Madame Edwarda’).

The Hallowe’en Sessions runs from 29th October to the 3rd November, with special Q&A sessions on both the 2nd and 3rd. More details here and tickets here

October will be a busy month for everybody, but we hope to see you at some, or even all of the above.

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The Devil bears gifts

So tonight we follow the torch up Kingsland Rd to the Rio Cinema with a preview screening of Sean Hogan’s Brit Horror The Devil’s Business, followed by a Q&A with Sean Hogan himself, hosted by the one and only, Kim Newman.

However, a bloodied box with a note taped to it has appeared at my door this morning.

These things happen at CBHQ… This is perfectly normal. 

It turns out that within said box, lied a dead baby in a coffin, and the note read:

Often, in indie horror, special effects get recycled for reasons of cost. Weighing in at about six kilos the gross dead baby was made originally for Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers for a scene where the eponymous garbage frotters microwave a kidnapped infant and then cut it open, eating its innards. The scene was eventually cut by Harmony for being too unpleasant. 

When Sean was writing the script for Devil’s Business he visited Dan Martin’s effects studio (at that point situated in a series of dimly lit railway arches) to see what could be salvaged, borrowed or pinched to gore up the movie. Gross dead baby was quickly a favourite of Sean’s and got given a quick refurb and paint-job to become a sacrificial offering to the lord of the flies himself. 

Now you have the opportunity to take home this soft, grimy, unpleasant piece of cinema history to do with as you will. Use him in your own indie horror film, fill him with pot puri or simply use him as an unnecessarily harsh cautionary tale for your own real kids. The possibilities are endless. 

13Finger FX
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2087361/

Dan has kindly offered to give away this “grimy, unpleasant piece of cinematic history” and if memory serves, I remember hearing a tale about a scene in Human Centipede 2 that it appeared in, only to end up on the cutting room floor.

Some lucky boy or girl will get to walk home with their very own dead baby tonight,, so I suggest you do some homework and start learning Dead Baby Jokes, the best one wins.

The Woman Theatrical Release

The time is upon us. Finally The Woman sees it’s theatrical release, a huge hit at Frightfest, and pretty much every festival it’s screened out since it’s premiere at Sundance earlier this year.
Having seen this twice and looking forward to seeing it again at the Prince Charles this weekend, I can promise you that it genuinely gets better each time.
Passed fully uncut with a strong 18 certificate, make no mistake, though it’s paced and thoughtful, it’s a harsh and shocking journey.
I nipped into the screening at Frightfest, catching the build up to the climax only to find a Frightfest volunteer head in hands and back to the screen mumbling something about “How can you like this? This is terrifying…” – I shit you not.
Rough Trade East’s own Spencer Hickman reviewed it for us in July – Here
I covered it for The Quietus – Here 
Tickets and screen times for this weekend’s Prince Charles screenings – Here 

Yes, Weng Weng, it is that time…

“The forces of good are our sworn enemy, and I repeat, they must be exterminated, and I mean lethally!”

The early 80s were, without a doubt, a difficult time for the Philippines. But they were still years away from the People Power Revolution that would rid them of the human rights abusing, corrupt, shoe-hoarding regime of the Marcos’. Hard time often inspire great works of art. Luckily for us however, they can also inspire kung-fu-dwarf-spy films.
1981’s For Y’Ur Height Only tells the story of the diminutive Agent 00 and his struggle to stop the ominously named, Dr. Giant from using the “N-bomb” (a highly technical doomsday device, not the most unimaginative of racial slurs) to hold the world to ransom. Employed by the Filipino government, Agent 00 is forever using his height, or rather lack thereof, to his advantage. Lying in wait, hiding in boxes, sneaking around where the less vertically challenged man could not, and repeatedly kung fu kicking crouching bad guys in the bollocks, Weng Weng is not one to be overlooked. Navigating his way round Manila’s underworld, which consists of about two dozen mostachio’d guys who hand around smoking and hubristically referring to themselves as “The Forces of Evil”, he is aided by a series of tall, similarly lethal female agents, who of course fall for 00’s cheeky chappy charms. Learning of Dr Giant’s evil scheme, he equips himself a jet-pack and flies off to the villain’s lair to save the planet.
This is a fairly standard Some-twat-gets-his-hands-on-a-world-destroying-weapon-secret-agent-gets-some-gadgets-and-stops-said-twat stuff, that we’ve all seen a hundred times, boiled down to its essentials leaving more screen time for a cheeky little bugger in a white disco suit to kick guys in the balls.

What makes this film special is its leading man. Our hero is played by the very charismatic and very short Weng Weng. Standing at a mere 2 foot 9 inches, Weng holds the world record for the shortest man to have the lead role in a film to this day. The one inch shorter Mini Me presumably begrudges the fact that he has never had a leading role, and the moody faced one from In Bruges is taller. Weng, real name Ernesto De La Cruz (Weng Weng being a nickname for a small yappy dogs), was born no bigger than a coca cola bottle. He lived a full and rich life, marrying a porn star and joining Imelda Marcos as her preferred duet partner in karaoke, before following fellow countryman, Herve Villaces’, wee footstep and persuing a career in the movies. Teaming up with esteemed producer of crap, Dick Randall (a man partly responsible for the shockingly insensitive “Clones Of Bruce Lee” A film about cloning martial artists from the diseased actor’s brain matter, released only 4 years after his death), and actor turned director Eddie Nichart they put together this film to showcase Weng’s unique talents.

With a budget roughly the size of the leading man, the first hour was seemingly filmed on one block in Manila. The bulk of the action takes place in a spectacularly ugly multi story hotel, a disco that plays the first few bars of Boogie Wonderland on a loop, a couple cafes and a few warehouses. Dr Giant makes several references to his deadly shark tank, which, sadly is never shown. The English dubbing for all the characters is done by just two actors, reputedly a drug-addled American ex-pat husband and wife team. The large roster of male characters are kept distinct by giving them each a very broad, wholly inappropriate and often surreal accent; ranging from Speedy Gonzales to effete Englishman. All this merely adds to the film’s shambolic charm.
There is so much to enjoy in this film: the bizarrely slow-paced Q scene where Weng is kitted with a series of ever more rubbishy looking gadgets, a gang of bad guys terrified by a flying hat, Weng catapulting himself across an obviously over-polished floor being the mere tip of the iceberg.
Initially screened as part of the very first Manila Film Festival, an event designed to show off Filipino culture and cinema to the world. Sadly, only one film managed to be picked up by distributors… None other than For Y’Ur Height Only!

You’re such a little guy though, very petite, like a potato.
And it’s easy to see why, the film can either be read as satire, ridiculing the 70s womanising, hard-as-nails, superspy action hero by making him tiny, or as a hastily put together film by some bloke with a martial arts knowing dwarf mate who’d seen You Only Live Twice once on a bootleg beta-max and vaguely remembered it. If no one else is, Weng Weng is very much in on the joke, winking and capering his way through his performance. Despite its change-down-the-back-of-the-sofa budget, insane dubbing, Tesco-Value James Bond plot and ripped off score, For Y’Ur Height Only is one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences I’ve had the honour of watching. Causing even my low-budget-exploitation-film weary self laugh with pure joy.
Of course you can see this on Monday, 4th October at half 7 with a pint and some mates down at the Mucky Pup with us…
Or dig up the Region 1 DVD available through Mondo Macabro.

Monday

The time is upon us once again to venture into the world of weird with none other than Mr. John Waters and Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom as she slays her way through suburbia.
We hope that you will make every effort to come down and join us as in addition to our normal fun, Ed has convinced Troubadour Rose to come along and twang a few ditties for your aural enjoyment.
We do take care of you, don’t we? Sight and sound covered.

As this is a bit of a farewell for Ed, we are starting earlier than usual, so get down for 7ish and lets see where the night takes us, shall we?

I’ll leave you with these interesting little bits I found while web trawling…