Monday, February 19, 2007

El Topo Is El Dope-o

About a month or so ago I watched Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream, a 2005 documentary on that bygone era when you could head out to watch some truly screwy cinema over the witching hour at your local "hip" theatre.

I'm old enough to have been to midnight showings of such mainstays as Rocky Horror and Heavy Metal (before either were available on home video -- and why would you watch them at home anyway?), but the trend was about dead by the time I was legally old enough to buy tickets to this stuff. (I imagine somewhere in America you can still find places running midnight shows -- er, like at the State Theatre here in AA -- but for all intents and purposes it's a moribund practice.)

At any rate, the documentary showcased some of the crown jewels of the midnight movie phenomenon, including ones I've seen (the aforementioned RHPS, Night of the Living Dead, Eraserhead), one I've heard of but never seen (Pink Flamingos -- yeah, yeah), and two I'd never heard of (El Topo, The Harder They Come).

Gentlemen, start your cheese graters!El Topo was credited with starting the whole midnight movie craze, and the clips of it shown in the documentary intrigued me, as did the interview with writer-director Alejandro Jodorowsky. It looked completely insane in the best possible way, and so I immediately checked to see if it was on DVD. No luck. Damn -- how could I see this glorious achievement in film?

Well, all of this babble has been prelude to the real news: El Topo is screening again in theatres this year, and one of its stops includes ye olde Ann Arbor Film Festival. From a recent review:

By the time the on-screen Jodorowsky has learned from and annihilated four "masters," joined forces with a lesbian gunslinger (La Topa?), and is entirely shaved in a cave (thus, looking exactly like Klaus Kinski as Woyzeck), audiences will have also been subjected to dwarf amputees, graves of dead rabbits, vaginal cactus fruit, socialite women buying slaves like cattle and, yes, a skinned goat strung up like a crucified man.
I will definitely be getting in touch with Dr. Cheese and buying my ticket for the night of March 24. Who's with me?