Latin Heat: Neil deGrasse Tyson: Our Guide to the Cosmos and Beyond

By Justina Bonilla

With the success of the FOX series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey comes the newest installment Cosmos: Possible Worlds, hosted by one of America’s most esteemed and well-known science personalities, astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Broadcast Premiere of Cosmos: Possible Worlds is Tuesday, September 22 (8/7c).

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
Photo: Miranda Penn Turin/Fox

In the world of science and nature television programs, Dr. Tyson has become a positive influence in the promotion of science literacy and respect for nature, alongside contemporaries Bill Nye (Bill Nye the Science Guy), Dr. Michio Kaku (How the Universe Works), Sir David Attenborough (Planet Earth and Life on Earth), and the late Dr. Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time and Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking) (1942-2018). 

Dr. Tyson was born in 1958, in Manhattan, New York, to sociologist and civil rights activist father Cyril Tyson and to gerontologist and Puerto Rican mother Sunchita Feliciano Tyson. At 9-years-old Dr. Tyson first visited his local planetarium, igniting his interest in the universe. By age 11 he decided he wanted to be an astrophysicist.

“I grew up in a house where curiosity was nurtured, and my ambitions were supported,” Dr. Tyson shared in an exclusive interview with Latin Heat. “It was the attitude that pervaded the household that I think served me.” As a part of their parental nurturing of his interest, Feliciano Tyson took Dr. Tyson as a child, to her family’s native Arecibo, Puerto Rico to see the Arecibo Observatory, which is a radio telescope.

In 1980, Dr. Tyson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. Later, he received his MA degree in Astronomy in 1983, from the University of Texas at Austin. At Columbia University, Dr. Tyson earned an MPhil (Masters in Philosophy) degree in astrophysics, in 1989 followed by his Ph.D. degree in astrophysics in 1991.

Currently, alongside his Cosmos hosting duties, Dr. Tyson is also the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, NY. He also hosts his own talk show StarTalk, with over 1.29 million subscribers on YouTube, where “Science meets pop culture”… StarTalk.

Someday Dr. Tyson hopes to have both former President Obama as a guest on StarTalk. “[President Obama] is actually highly scientifically literate,” Dr. Tyson noted. “Rumor has it, I haven’t double-checked this, that when he was in law school he wrote a paper, a law paper, that explored some intersection between some legal case and quantum physics. So I always wanted to sit him down and ask him about that.” Previous presidential guest includes President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, and Vice-President Al Gore.

As an author Dr. Tyson has written sixteen books, including The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet (2009), Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (2017), and Letters from an Astrophysicist (2019).  Along with public speaking engagements, he has also appeared on an array of films and television shows such as Superman v Batman Dawn of JusticeThe Big Bang TheoryGravity Falls, and is a frequent guest on multiple talk shows.

Dr. Carl Sagan
Photo: Tony Kordy Sygma/Corbis

The original 1980 PBS Cosmos program, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, was hosted by Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996). Dr. Sagan was an immensely influential scientific figure in the 1970s and 1980s, most notably, as an author, science communicator, and college professor. He specialized in numerous scientific fields, including astronomy, astrobiology, astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and space science. Dr. Sagan co-wrote Cosmos: A Personal Journey, with wife Ann Druyan. Druyan is the creator, as well as a producer and writer for both Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Cosmos: Possible Worlds.

Seth MacFarlane
Photo: Art Streiber

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, found its way to FOX TV, as a result of animation trailblazer Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) meeting Dr. Tyson through The Science and Entertainment Exchange. Inspired, by what Dr. Tyson shared with him about revitalizing Cosmos for the 21st Century, MacFarlane, both an admirer of Dr. Sagan and the original Cosmos series, brought Cosmos to FOX, beginning his collaboration with Dr. Tyson and Druyan. Thus, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiered in 2014 to both critical praise and audience popularity.

Dr. Tyson is a fitting successor to Dr. Sagan as host for Cosmos due to his immense passion and eternal curiosity of science. According to Dr. Tyson’s sister Lynn Tyson, “What [Neil] is able to do is to demystify science. And that is the ultimate equalizer.” Adding “I think particularly with science, some people feel there is a barrier. Scientist talk formulas, scientists use big words. Neil has broken all that down, and has a way of communicating that allows for people to connect to the information.” (Quoted from an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, 2017).

In both A Spacetime Odyssey and Possible Worlds, Dr. Tyson uses the “Ship of Imagination” to travel far into space, time, and the unseen worlds of Earth. If Dr. Tyson had access to this versatile ship in real life, “I would choose an occasion in the past, where major events unfolded.” He went on to elaborate, “I would want to observe the formation of the solar system, for example, and watch the planets corrales out of the swirling gases that is the disc of material, of the newborn star system, and the newborn star we call the sun. Then I would want to watch the formation of the moon.” Dr. Tyson continued, “All evidence suggests that it’s the consequence of a sideswiping collision that Earth had with a Mars-sized protoplanet.”

Finally, Dr. Tyson would want to watch the asteroid which took out the dinosaurs. “You don’t want to interfere with that.” Because, as Dr. Tyson explained, “You want to make sure it takes them out so that mammals have some chance of rising up from underfoot, under T-Rex’s feet, where he would otherwise be serving us up as Hors d’Oeuvres”.

For Cosmos: Possible Worlds, one of Dr. Tyson’s favorite locations to film pre-COVID, is FAST (the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope), in southwest China. Putting the vast size of FAST into perspective, Dr. Tyson elaborated, “We began [this interview] talking about the Arecibo radio telescope. That’s a huge telescope. Its three-football field across. The FAST telescope, has twice the collecting area of the Arecibo telescope. So, no longer does the United States have the largest telescope in the world, China does”.

Ann Druyan
Photo: Miranda Penn Turin/FOX

When asking about the possibility of a fourth season of Cosmos, Dr. Tyson mentioned that that decision would be heavily influenced by Druyan. “[Druyan] is a brilliant storyteller,” Dr. Tyson reveals. She is the notable writing talent whose work has majorly impacted all three Cosmos series. Dr. Tyson noted with admiration, “When you’re that creative you’re thinking all the time. And even if there isn’t a show scheduled, or funded, or planned, you would still research that, and have it ready to roll.”

Observing the influence Cosmos has had on media, pop culture, and science, Dr. Tyson concluded, “What Cosmos has done successfully, I think, is highlighting for people the history of this quest to understand this world around us. And, how we can harness our discoveries, the fruits of that quest, to empower us to become shepherds of our own lives, our own loved ones, and civilization itself”.

Cosmos: Possible Worlds airs on Fox, September 22, at 8/7c.

LINK: https://www.latinheat.com/tv-3/tv-news-tv-3/neil-degrasse-tyson-our-guide-to-the-cosmos-and-beyond/

Latin Heat: Blumhouse: Finding Horror Success With Latinos

By Justina Bonilla

Blumhouse Productions has become an influential voice in Hollywood with its diverse Academy Award-winning dramas (Whiplash (2014), Get Out (2017), and BlacKKKlansman (2018) and signature micro-budget strategy. However, it is beloved among horror fans for its influential pop-culture horror films (Get OutParanormal Activity (2009), and The Purge (2013).

A unique aspect of Blumhouse’s horror properties is its increasing inclusion of ethnic talent, including Latinos in front of and behind the camera. Most notably The Purge the USA/Syfy television series, the Hulu Into the Dark anthology series, and the feature film Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Latino audiences are major consumers of horror content, especially films. In 2018 The Wrap reported that, “According Warner Bros. and comScore data from [The Nun’s] $53.5 million domestic opening weekend, the best for a Conjuring film and second-best for a September release, 36% of the audience was Latino, up from 17% for The Conjuring and 26% for last year’s Annabelle: Creation. On top of that, Mexico was the top overseas market with $10.7 million grossed.”

Jason Blum
Photo: Gage Skidmore

Blumhouse was founded by Jason Blum in 2000 where he currently serves as CEO and producer for several of its film and television projects. The production company became a contemporary Hollywood trailblazer with its philosophy of micro-budget films, with high concept stories, and giving filmmakers creative freedom. Their first horror hit was the groundbreaking Paranormal Activity. Made for $15,000 (Paramount added another $200,000 in post before it was released) the film went on to earn nearly $200 million worldwide. The success of their first film led to Blumhouse producing five more prequels and sequels, creating the Paranormal Activity film series franchise comprised of some of the most profitable and popular horror films in Hollywood, most notably among Latino audiences.

“Latinos make up a significant portion of the theater-going audience, and they are a valuable audience for Blumhouse,” Blum declares. “We know that our audiences want to see themselves in the stories they see on the big screen and we’re committed to bringing more stories to life, that reflect different backgrounds, points of view, and people.”

Blumhouse has an array of theatrically released horror films starring Latino leads; from Jennifer Lopez in The Boy Next Door (2015) to Jessica Alba in The Veil (2016) and Michael Peña in Fantasy Island (2020). Their other films that feature Latino leads include, The Green Inferno (2015) and Paranormal Activities: The Marked Ones (2014). Latinos have also appeared in supportive roles, most notably in the second film of The Purge series, The Purge: Anarchy (2014), such as Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor), Justina Machado (One Day At A Time), and Noel Gugliemi (Training Day).]

Andre Jacobs in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Paranormal Activities: The Marked Ones, is one of the films from the six-film Paranormal Activities franchise, which had a total franchise budget of $28 million and a worldwide gross of $890.5 million. This film was specifically Latino themed with Latino leads. With a $5 million dollar budget, its worldwide gross was nearly $91 million. Its cast of young Latino actors featured Andrew Jacobs (Trinkets), Jorge Diaz (East Los High), Richard Cabral (Mayans MC), and Carlos Pratts (McFarland USA).

After the financial success of the four The Purge films, (The PurgeThe Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016), and The First Purge (2018), with a combined budget of $35 million dollars, and a total worldwide gross of $457.1 million, that’s when the TV series followed.

Marci Wiseman
Photo: Blumhouse
Jeremy Gold
Photo: Blumhouse

In an exclusive interview with Latin Heat, Marci Wiseman, and Jeremy Gold, the two Co-Presidents of Blumhouse Television spoke with us about the importance of Latinos at Blumhouse, both as fans and content creators.

“It makes us enormously proud and happy that these filmmakers of such unique talents are getting recognized and their work is so well received,” Gold explained. “That is incredibly gratifying for us, of course, and for them. And as a studio across both film and television, we are deeply committed to not only discovering, but also continuing to nurture and provide a real platform for upcoming diverse voices.”

The USA/Syfy TV series The Purge (2018-2019) follows the basic plot of the film series. A contemporary America under a totalitarian government, which allows the legalization of all crimes for one day a year, from 7 PM to 7 AM, including the worst kinds of murder possible.

Pola Núñez in The Purge
Photo: Alfonso Bresciani USA/Blumhouse

Series regulars in season one featured Gabriel Chavarria and Jessica Garza as brother and sister Miguel and Penelope Guerrero. Miguel, a US marine is desperately looking for Penelope during the Purge, to save her from becoming a Purge sacrifice. While, season two featured Paola Núñez as Esme Carmona, an NFFA government employee. Though Carmona sees herself as a valuable employee, she eventually becomes an enemy of the state. The Latino directorial talent for The Purge includes Jamie Reynoso (S2. E9. “Grief Box”) and Gigi Saul Guerrero (S2. E9. “Hail Mary”).

Gold explained the decision to hire Latino directors and talent in the lead roles for The Purge TV show, “We really value [the Latinx] fan base highly and we actively work to make sure that, that was represented across the series, and it was partially important on that show, [for] both of the talent in front of and behind the camera. And we are very proud of that The Purge series,” he said. “We had lots of Latinx directors and writers. That element of the series really seemed to land with the audience.”

Since 2018, Blumhouse’s streaming horror anthology Hulu series Into the Dark, releases a new installment each month, highlighting American holidays from Fourth of July to Christmas. This series has been a highly successful vehicle for showcasing the work of several Latino directors.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, three out of the top five highest-rated Into the Dark episodes, Culture ShockPooka!, and Pooka Lives!, were directed by Latinos.

Culture Shock, directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, takes a gritty look at the border crisis issue. Marisol (Martha Higareda), a young Mexican woman takes the risk of crossing undocumented into America for her “American Dream”, only to find herself in a nightmare beyond her wildest dreams.

When selecting Guerrero to be a part of the Into the Dark series, Wiseman shared, “The feature [film] department is very aware of Gigi’s multitude of shorts, all in the horror space and had been keeping their eye on her.” After Guerrero pitched her take on the material, Wiseman noted, “We loved her take. We loved what she said she was going to do with it. And the rest is history.” The trust in Guerrero paid off. Culture Shock is rated on Rotten Tomatoes at 100%.

Nacho Vigalondo (Photo: Vigalondo)

Pooka! directed by Nacho Vigalondo is a unique Christmas horror tale. After struggling actor Wilson (Nyasha Hatendi) finds success as the Pooka mascot, he starts to see that Pooka bring out aside of him he’s struggling to control. The sequel Pooka Lives!, directed by Alejandro Brugués, takes the Pooka horror online. A group of friends create the online challenge #pookachallange as a joke, only for the challenge to go viral, causing deadly results.

“[Into the Dark] became a really great forum for us to work with all kinds of film makers, from all different walks of life,” Wiseman explained.

The Blumhouse backed Crypt TV is a successful digital network co-founded by Jack Davis and director/writer Eli Roth. Crypt TV focuses on making short horror web content, including individual short horror videos and multiple series of short horror videos. Their YouTube channel has over three-million subscribers and over 460 short videos, with millions of views. Many of the shorts feature diverse talent and content makers, most notably Guerrero.

Earlier this year Blumhouse Television announced it had secured the rights to adapt the popular two-season horror podcast The Horror of Dolores Roach into a drama series for TV. Podcast creator Aaron Mark will serve as showrunner for the Amazon series which follow Roach (Daphne Rubin-Vega) upon her return to her New York neighborhood after a sixteen-year stint in prison.

NALIP 2020 Honoree. Photo: NALIP

Mexican writer and director Issa López (Tigers Are Not Afraid) was announced in May 2020, to be writing and directing the film Our Lady of Tears for Blumhouse, based on the article “The Haunting of Girlstown” by VOX.com. In 2007, Villa de las Niñas, an all-girls Catholic boarding school on the fringes of Mexico City, faced an epidemic of mass hysteria, with supernatural origins.

Blumhouse’s outreach within the Latino community was further cemented in January of this year when Blum partnered with LA Collab, an organization which seeks to collaborate with industry talent and entities to create opportunities for Latinos in Hollywood. Blum shared with Latin Heat how he became involved, “One of LA Collab’s co-founders Ivette Rodriguez reached out to Blumhouse’s Head of Marketing, Karen Barragan about the collaboration, and when she told me about the initiative I was eager to throw our support behind the effort.”

Blum went on to explain, “We have found LA Collab to be a great resource in connecting us with top talent and filmmakers, and we really liked that LA Collab had a clearly defined goal of increasing authentic Latino representation (in front and behind the camera) in the entertainment industry by 100% by 2030.”

Blum joined a multitude of Hollywood luminaries and other production entities which include director JJ AbramsEva LongoriaOzzie Areu of Areu Bros. Studios, Warner Media, producer Eli Roth, and actor/producers Edward James Olmos and Eugenio Derbez for the launch of LA Collab, which was founded in partnership with the Office of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Blumhouse has become a leading force in the horror industry by showing its ability to find, nurture, and elevate talent of color in horror. “Traditionally, we have always loved ghost stories and the macabre and Gothic tales,” Edwin Pagan, who runs the horror genre centric latinhorror.com, told NPR in 2015. “They’re just sewn into the fabric of who we are as a people.” And so, the avid Latino audience awaits to see what new “horror” Blumhouse has in store for them.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is streaming on Apple iTunesAmazon Prime Video and other major platforms.

The Purge tv series is streaming on HuluAmazon Prime Video, and other major platforms.

Into the Dark is exclusively streaming on Hulu.

LINK: https://www.latinheat.com/everything-related-to-film/film/blumhouse-finding-horror-success-with-latinos/

Latin Horror: AMC announces second season of ‘Eli Roth’s History of Horror’

Masters of horror—icons and stars who define the genre—explore its biggest themes and reveal the inspirations and struggles behind its past and present.

LATIN HORROR AMC announced the highly anticipated second season of the horror TV-mini series Eli Roth’s History of Horror, to air on Saturday October 10, 2020 at 10/9c.

In season one, each episode covered in-depth, an array of some of the most famous and popular monsters in horror, from Dracula to zombies and killer clowns. Highlighting influential horror films and television shows, from America (Psycho) to foreign (The Ring).

Full episode list of Season One:

1.1: Zombies
Zombies are the monsters of the 21st century, and America’s major contribution to horror. What set off zombie fever? All roads lead to George Romero, who made zombies a metaphor for social ills.

1.2: Slashers Part 1
Slasher films killed in the ’80s, but their violence, perceived misogyny, and endless sequels almost ended the genre. Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Campbell and Rob Zombie on how supernatural killers like Chucky and Freddy saved them from extinction.

1.3: Slashers Part 2
Slashers got sophisticated in the ’90s, evolving from Freddy Kreuger to Candyman to the terrifying Hannibal Lecter. The 2000s brought “torture porn” – a response to post-9/11 panic.

1.4: The Demon Inside
The fear that demons will enter our bodies and make us do terrible things has inspired some of the most frightening films ever made. Jordan Peele, Linda Blair and Diablo Cody discuss masterpieces such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist.

1.5: Killer Creatures
Monsters hold a special place in the history of horror. Stephen King, Tippi Hedren and Joe Dante weigh in on the killer predators in nature, the nightmare creatures of the fantastic, and the monsters inside us, waiting to escape.

1.6: Vampires
Modern vampires come in many guises, but they all address our fascination with sex and death. From the ghastly Count Orlok to the glam vampires of True Blood, John Landis, Josh Hartnett, Mick Garris and others take a look at why thirsty fiends are endlessly appealing.

1.7: Ghost Stories
Ghost movies have been with us since the dawn of cinema. Some ghosts are benevolent, some ghosts are malicious, but they all represent the mystery of what happens to us after we die. Stephen King, Haley Joel Osment and others break down the appeal of spooky spirits.

Season two, according to Bloody-Disgusting.com, will include horror topics such as: “Magic-Wielding Witches”, “Misshapen Monsters”, “Infamously Evil Youngsters”, “Hell Houses”, and “Body Horror”.

“I’m so thrilled to be continuing this historic series with AMC,” Roth shared in a statement when Season Two was announced. “In Season One, we had the most incredible conversations with the top creators in the field who really helped fans around the world appreciate the horror genre in a new light….we look forward to going even deeper in Season Two, bringing out the A-listers to share their stories with everyone for all-time and adding more and more films to the canon. AMC is the perfect network to partner with on a passion project like this and we can’t wait to get started.”

Interviewees from season one included an array of horror experts and talent, with horror legends such as Stephen King (It and Pet Cemetery), Jordan Peele (Get Out), and Joe Dante (Gremlins and The Howling). AMC also noted season two will feature these and other familiar interviewers from season one. It will also feature many new interviews, including actors Bill Hader and Megan Fox.

Season one is now available to stream on Shudder, Amazon Prime, and YouTubeTV. The DVD will be available in America on October 6, 2020, just in time for Halloween.  

Additional History of Horror content can be found on Shudder with the Eli Roth’s History of Horror: Uncut (Podcast), featuring horror icons from Tony Todd (Candyman), to Tippi Hedren (The Birds), and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead).

While Latino participation tends to be overlooked when discussing horror cinematic history, History of Horror payed homage to Latino groundbreakers in horror, including Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez, and the “King of the Zombies”, George A. Romero. We look forward to seeing what movies and monsters make the cut.

Maybe, there is a change we might see other groundbreaking Latino horror films such as Alucarda, Daughter of DarknessSanta Sangre, or Poison for the Fairies. Or, mentions of Latino cornerstones characters in horror, including La Llorona, Coffin Joe, or El Santo.

LINK: https://latinhorror.com/season-two-history-of-horror/

Latin Heat: The Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2020 is Going Virtual

The beloved genre film festival, the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival is modifying its signature, in-person thrills and chills for a frightfully good time virtually. Not even the COVID-19 virus can stop horror film fans from getting their spine-tingling delights.

Celebrating its 11th year, Horrible Imaginings is creating a cyber film festival from Tuesday, September 1- Monday, September 7, 2020, featuring 11 feature films and 100 short films categorized in 10 film blocks. All of the features and short films will have scheduled discussions and designated interactive CO-WATCH sessions, where fans can virtually watch the films together and communicate during the film.

The 11 feature films are a mixture of classic and modern horror films, such as the 1962 cult sci-fi horror classic The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, the 40th anniversary of the Italian horror classic Dr. Butcher MD: Medical Deviate (Zombie Holocaust) and Hail to the Deadites, a contemporary documentary exploring the devoted fan culture of the Evil Dead series. Among these films are the two highly anticipated South American horror films Luz: The Flower of Evil and Diablo Rojo PTY.

Luz: The Flower of Evil is a Colombian gothic folk horror film, budding from the same generation of groundbreaking horror films such as The WitchMidsommar, and The Golem. The religious leader of an isolated mountain cult brings into his community a child, who he believes is the new messiah, only to receive suffering, destruction, and pushback from his cult and his three daughters. Available to stream for only 24 hours, on Friday, September 4, 2020.

Diablo Rojo PTY is considered Panama’s first horror film, intertwining action, suspense and traditional regional folklore. A bus driver who is unknowingly cursed with a spell, becomes lost in the jungle at night, causing himself and the others on his bus to fight for survival against the evil of the night. Available to stream from Thursday September 3, to Monday September 7, 2020.

The 100 short films showcase a variety of horror taste, styles, and themes from up and coming talents, nationally and internationally. They feature a wide range of diverse talent on both sides of the camera, most notably directors who are female and/or of color. Within the 10 short film block themes features themes of monsters, cults, isolation, corrupt power, family and student films.

Among this wide range of talent of the short films, includes Latino American and international Hispanic talent. A few of the American short films with Latino talent include: The Springfield ThreeSpoonSnake Eyes: An ASMR nightmare ExperienceMilk TeethHammerThe God from BelowMy Neighbors are Weird, and Culpa.  While international Hispanic short films come from Spain (My Brother JuanYo Confieso (I Confess)Human Trash, and Smiles), Mexico (Diabla (She Devil)Mateo, and Perturbado (Disturbed)), and Colombia (Lenses).   

Miguel Rodriguez, Horrible Imaginings
Founder and Executive Director

Since its premiere in 2009, the annual Horrible film Festival has used their platform to showcase, “…the newest voices in horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genre cinema over a multiday event…”, and, “…to spotlight genre cinema, amplify artistic voices, and foster a community of acceptance.” – hifilmfest.com.

Founder/Executive director of the Horrible Imaging Film Festival Miguel Rodriguez shared with Latin Heart how, “Our definition of the horror film is pretty broad and it’s not all stuff that going to scare you, or meant to scare you. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s a little more dramatic. Sometimes it’s more social justice-oriented. It’s just kind of all over the place. But I think that is the power of the [horror] genre”. He credits the diversity of voices behind the camera for creating an amazing variety of horror.

A past Horrible Imaginings Film Festival alumni, is director Gigi Saul Guerrero. In 2015, Guerrero won the festival’s Best Director for a Short Film award for El Gigante and participated in the Mexican Horror Panel. Later in 2018, her short film La Quinceañera was featured. Guerrer is the co-writer and director for Culture Shock, a feature film for the Into the Dark horror anthology web television series, produced by Blumhouse Television for Hulu.

Rodriguez and Gigi Saul Guerrero, 2018

TICKET OPTIONS:

SINGLE TICKET: $8

Access to one feature or one a short film block, along with its discussion and CO-WATCH session.

TICKET 10 – FESTIVAL: $30

Access to either watching 10 feature films, all 10 entire short film blocks, or a mix of feature films and short film blocks (For example 5 feature films and 5 short film blocks, 6 feature films and 4 short film blocks, etc.). All discussions and CO-WATCH sessions are included.

ALL ACCESS FESTIVAL PASS – REGULAR: $50

Access to all short and feature films, along with featured events from September 1-7, 2020. All discussions and CO-WATCH sessions are included.

ALL ACCESS FESTIVAL PASS – ZOMBIE RANGER EDITION!: $80

Includes access to all short and feature films, along with featured events from September 1-7, 2020. All the discussions and CO-WATCH sessions are included.

One “Zombie Ranger” full access pass to all four upcoming 4 Campfire Tales events in October and December of 2020 and February and June of 2021 (A $45 value).

For more info, full programing schedule, and to purchase tickets

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The Horrible Imaginings Eventive How-To Videos

Note: The Horrible Film Festival will be Geo-Restricted, only available in the West Coast and South West reigns of the United States to the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

LINK: https://www.latinheat.com/events/the-horrible-imaginings-film-festival-2020-is-going-virtual/

My Interview for The Frida Cinema Stream-a-Thon III

On August 15, 2020, I was a host for an hour of The Frida Cinema 10 Hour Social Distancing Stream-a-Thon III Fundraiser, in honor of International Mexican Cinema Day.

During this hour, I also interviewed Mexican director Andres Klimek-Pavia, while we showed two of his short films Three Rooms and Between The Clouds…The Sky. Participating with the hour, was Monica Ochoa, the Appointed Consul of the Mexican Consulate.

Since it was a 10-hour marathon, here are the times of my interviews between the two featured films of Klimek-Pavia.

Times:6:06:25-6:15:49, 6:31:54-6:37:27, and 7:06:15-7:10:24 .

Enjoy!

The Frida Cinema Blog: African American Documentaries Part 1: Groundbreaking African American Men

Honoring the life and legacy of civil rights leader Senator John Lewis, this 3-part blog series will be highlighting documentaries of African Americans, their culture, and influence in America. With such a vast array of documentaries highlighting trailblazing African American men, below is a list of documentaries to stream now.

Quincy

A master of modern American music, music icon Quincy Jones revolutionized contemporary music as a composer, musician, songwriter, arranger, record producer, and film/television producer. His over a 60-year groundbreaking career in entertainment has impacted an array of genres and musicians from Frank Sinatra, to Barbara Strained, and Dr. Dre.https://www.youtube.com/embed/WT7gn6nhsAc?feature=oembed

Richard Pryor: Icon

Considered the greatest and most influential stand-up comedian of all time, Richard Pryor revolutionized comedy with his signature no hold bars language and blunt honesty. His comedic genus could be seen through his stand-up specials (Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip), scriptwriting (Blazing Saddles and Stanford and Sons), and acting (Harlem Nights and Stir Crazy).https://www.youtube.com/embed/7i4O8JBlSgU?feature=oembed

When We Were Kings

The Oscar-winning documentary explores one of the most famous heavyweight boxing championship matches of all time, between Muhammad Ali and George Forman, in the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle”. It also evaluated how African Americans connected during the Black Power Era to the content of Africa culturally and politically.https://www.youtube.com/embed/uBauogNmRqY?feature=oembed

1968 – A Mexico City Documentary NBC Sports

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics, known as one of the most memorable Olympics of the 20th century, due to the silent protest of the African American track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos. While the documentary, narrated by Serena Williams, evaluates the social and political issues surrounding the 68’ Olympics, special attention is paid to the journey of Smith and Carlos to the Olympics and the impact their protest had then and today.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/k9NsN0ybTec?start=1&feature=oembed

The Black Godfather

Though lesser known to mainstream American pop culture audiences, behind the curtain of Hollywood, Clarence Avant, aka “The Black Godfather”, is a significantly influential music executive and film producer. Known as a mover and shaker in entertainment, Avant helped shape and promote positive black American culture in entertainment, launching the careers of a vast variety of African American celebrates.   https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gp_MsziYf4s?feature=oembed

Sing Your Song: The Story of Harry Belafonte

Considered one of the most influential black performers in modern music, Harry Belafonte, the “King of Calypso”, evolved from a successful singer (“Day-O” aka “The Banana Boat Song” and “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)”) and actor (Carmen Jones), into an outspoken civil rights activist. Belafonte has spent his life using his celebrity influence to bring to light humanitarian issues both nationally and internationally.https://www.youtube.com/embed/bic97j6q5fo?feature=oembed

Who Killed Malcolm X?

The outspoken civil rights leader Malcolm X challenged authority without fear. 55 years after Malcolm’s death, this 6-part documentary intensely analyses Malcolm’s history, assassination and the influence of his legacy.https://www.youtube.com/embed/bqqOQBalq5k?feature=oembed

John Lewis: Good Trouble

Following the life of the political force and civil rights leader Senator John Lewis of Georgia, in his over 60-year participation of social activism and fight for civil rights. How his strength and bravery became a force challenging the social status quo while impacting American politics.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/z_oEkOdIXdo?feature=oembed

King of the Wilderness

Among the multitude of films and documentaries about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this documentary takes an in-depth look at the last few years of his life. It evaluates the multitude of heart-breaking consequences he faced, including being unethically and illegally targeted by J. Edgar Hoover (the director of the FBI) and the immense backlash for being anti-Vietnam War. Though he suffered, he noted, “I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promise land”.https://www.youtube.com/embed/aVGRg89DbyM?feature=oembed

I Am Not Your Negro

James Baldwin, one of the most significant American authors of the 20th century, wrote the unfinished memoir manuscript of Remember This House, which this documentary is based on. Through a passionately profound observation, Baldwin’s words take viewers into a deeply personal perception of the complexity of African American history and how his words of yesterday connect to today’s #blacklivesmatter movement.https://www.youtube.com/embed/8ol9Tf39jh8?feature=oembed

Link: https://thefridacinema.org/african-american-documentaries-part-1-groundbreaking-african-american-men/

Latin Heat: Comic-Con 2020: Highlighting Latinos Voices

By Justina Bonilla

Comic-Con, the biggest entertainment convention in the world, went virtual this year, allowing everyone globally to attend the vast variety of world-famous programs through the Comic-Con International channel on YouTube. Among the array of topics such as comic books, movies, video games, and lessons in creating original content, was a diversity of ethnic orientated panels, including Asian, African American, Native American, and Latino.

Over the 5-day virtual convention from July 22 – 26, 2020, Latino talent was represented in a number of panels, with talent In front and behind the camera. With such an abundance of scheduled programs, here is a highlighted list of programs about and panels featuring Latino talent.

July 23, 2020 – Thursday

Marvel Storyboards: An interview with Marvel Executive VP, creative director Joe Quesada, about his documentary series Marvel’s Storyboards. Before VP, Quesada started at Marvel as an artist, eventually rising to the editor, then editor-in-chief.

His Dark Materials Virtual Panel and Q&A Session: The panel of the HBO adaption of the global best selling trilogy book series His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman, features executive producers and six cast members (Lin-Manuel Miranda) discussing the influence the series has had on them artistically and the upcoming second season this fall.

Collider: Directors on Directing: Three directors, including Robert Rodriquez, go in-depth about their experiences in directing, including the artistic craft of directing, projects of the past, current projects, and those to come.

Dubbing American into Latin American – A Chat with Dub Actors: With syndication of American English language shows into Latin America, especially Mexico, is a need for skilled Spanish speaking dub voice actors. Featured are some of the top dubbing voice actors of Mexico sharing their professional experiences in this field. The conversation is in Spanish. English subtitles are not automatic, however, are available through the setting corner of the screen.

The State of the Industry: Animation Superstars: Taking a deep inside look at the animation world and the work it takes to become an animator, with a special array of contemporary animation talents (including Jorge Gutierrez and Alonso Ramirez Ramos).

July 25, 2020 – Saturday:

Cosmos: Possible Worlds: The scientific and creative talent behind this third series of Cosmos, along with Afro-Puerto Rican host astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, emphasizes the importance of science literacy today, the history of the original Cosmos series, and the exciting topics and stories to come this

Latin American Horror Cinema 2: Sometimes they Come Back: Part two from Comic-Con 2019 highlights directors of the new wave of horror from Latin America, featuring Issa Lopez (Tigers Are Not Afraid), Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead), Isaac Ezban (The Incident), Demián Rugna (Terrified) and Gigi Saul Guerrero (Culture Shock).

Guillermo del Toro and Scott Cooper on Antlers and Filmmaking: Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro is producing the upcoming supernatural horror film Antlers, about a folklore creature causing on a bloodthirsty spree in a small isolated town. He discusses alongside the film’s director Scott Cooper about the film and their experiences as filmmakers and film lovers.

Latinx & Native American Storytellers: Latinx and Native American Writers from comics to children’s literature, evaluate the history of Latinx and Native American characters in media, while also discussing the increased demand and possibilities available for Latinx and Native American storytellers and characters.

Mexico’s Magnificent Stop-Motion Seven: With Mexican cinematic talent, especially animation, continuing to get increased recognition by the foreign market, this panel the contemporary masters of Mexican stop motion animation. Panel spoke in Spanish, with English subtitles.

Mexican Lucha Libre: History, Tradition, Legacy: In Mexican pop-culture history, a beloved image is the Lucha Libre wrestlers, most notably the hero El Santo. The panelist explores just how impactful this type of entrainment is in Mexico, including its influence in cinema. Panel spoke in Spanish, with English subtitles.

What We Do in the Shadows: Recently nominated for a 2020 Emmy for Best Comedy Series, the cast (Harvey Guillén) of What We Do in the Shadows go in-depth of different elements of the show including personal behind the scene stories. The series has been greenlit for a much-anticipated 3rd season.

July 26, 2020 – Sunday 

Aztec Depictions in Pop Culture: 500 Years After the Fall: In current American pop-culture, the Aztec empire is one of the most referenced classic pre-colonialist empires, alongside the Greek, Egyptian, and Roman empires. Panelist use the Aztec culture and history as inspirations to their stories, while also evaluating how our prior knowledge of the Aztec empire is continually growing.

Link: https://www.latinheat.com/tv-3/tv-news-tv-3/comic-con-2020-highlighting-latinos-voices/

The Frida Cinema Blog Post #20

The Frida Cinema 10 Hour Social Distancing Stream-a-Thon Fundraiser: Part Deux!

 

With the success of the maiden voyage of our Frida Cinema 10 Hour Social Distancing Stream-a-Thon Fundraiser on March 28, 2020, we hosted our sequel Stream-a-Thon on Tuesday, May 5th, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., for #givingtuesdaynow! This ten-hour marathon was a film-and-fun-filled time for all, especially for those fans of Werner Herzog and M. Night Shyamalan (the two running gags that seemed to pop up the most as the show progressed).

The setup of the event was that it streamed LIVE from The Frida Cinema YouTube, and featured host Trevor Dillon (Programming Director and Special Events Coordinator), co-host Martin Nguyen (Box Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator), and Jordan Djahangiri (Creative and Marketing Director), all of whom practiced the 6ft distance rule, while giving us a first-rate show.

Throughout all ten hours of the marathon fundraiser were special film discussion segments featuring friends of The Frida and trailers for films that can be, or will be available to stream through The Frida Cinema online. Each segment gave a special hint of uniqueness, which adds to the magic of The Frida.

Time flew by with the interviews. Especially with the inclusion of “Herz-off”, a game of how well you can do an impression of German director Werner Herzog, as well as discussions of M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography at the end of each segment, for some reason, and various other either pre-planned or on-the-spot games or discussions. Anything goes on the Stream-a-Thon! The segments included a wide range of guest and subjects, including:

Let’s Talk Programing: Brian Mendelssohn, Row House Cinema Owner

Quaranzine Chat: Lauren Clinton and Kade Clark

Spielberg or Sandler?: Diego Crespo, Waffle Press Podcast

Best LGBTQ Movies to Stream at Home: Atalia Lopez, Frida Cinema Board Member

Palme d’Or Quiz: Adam Wagner, Projector Fuel Podcast

Top 5 Nostalgic Nebula Events: Cody Chavez, Nostalgic Nebula Founder

Aya vs The Big Boys Podcast: Kevin Cookman and Aya Lehman from Merry-Go-Round Magazine

Name That Tagline!: Logan Crow, Frida Cinema Founder & Executive Director

Now That’s Cinema!: Jordan Djahangiri, Frida Cinema Creative & Marketing Director

Friday Night Volunteer Reunion: Leonardo, Hillary, Bekah, Sam and Reggie

To name a few…

In between each interview were featured trailers for our currently streaming and upcoming films. It included a wide range of multiple genres, from horror to drama to documentary and beyond. In true arthouse fashion, the movies advertised were from all over the world–an array of amazing films just waiting to be discovered.

Currently Playing:

Rififi: 5/8

Band of Outsiders: 5/8

NYICFF Kid Flicks One/Two: 5/8 – 5/24

Spaceship Earth: 5/8 – 5/21

On a Magical Night: 5/8 – 5/21

Mossville: When Great Trees Fall: 5/8 – 5/21

The Wonderland: 5/8 – 5/21

Judy & Punch: 5/8 – 5/21

A Good Woman is Hard to Find: 5/8 – 5/21

Spaceship Earth: 5/8 – 5/21

Premiering This Month:

Alice: 5/15 – 5/28

Jose: 5/15 – 5/28

The Wolf House: 5/15 – 5/21

Someone Somewhere: 5/15 – 6/5

The Painter and the Thief: 5/22 – 6/4

The Grey Fox: 5/29 – 6/11

Throughout the show, Trevor asked guests for their favorite sequel films, because this was, after all, a sequel Stream-a-Thon. After watching the entire ten-hour marathon, the best cinematic sequel I can compare this event to, would undoubtedly be The Godfather Part II. Like The Godfather Part II, the sequel was better than the first. Not just because we made more than our initial $1,000.00 fundraising goal, which was totally awesome, but because of the love, dedication and care put into making this highly successful event.

For those of who deeply miss going to The Frida, especially its staff/volunteers, friends, and guests, its heartwarming to see familiar faces doing what we love most: talking and sharing about our passion for film. We can all agree on one thing–our love of film keeps us connected even in a time when we can’t be physically together. That same love of film will eventually bring us back together, this time not via a streaming link, but in our beloved temple of cinema.

See you all again for part three.

 

https://thefridacinema.org/the-frida-cinema-social-distancing-stream-a-thon-fundraiser-part-2/

The Frida Cinema Blog Post #19

10 Movies Filmed in Orange County

Since the silent film era, Orange County has been used to film a variety of movies from Beaches to Iron Man. With so many movies filmed in our beloved Orange County, I picked ten movies that represent the diversity of the OC from the beaches of Dana Point, to the small town feel of Old Town Orange.


10. Big Momma’s House (2000)

Filmed: Old Town Orange, Orange

FBI agent and master of disguise Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence), disguises himself as the elderly “Big Momma” to watch Sherry (Nia Long), who’s suspected of helping her dangerous ex-boyfriend rob a bank. While struggling to keep up his disguise, Malcolm falls in love with Sherry and learns the truth behind the bank robbery. Although the movie is set in Cartersville, Georgia, Big Momma’s neighborhood and home was filmed in the homes surrounding Old Town Orange, on Maple Ave. and Shafer St. The house across the street was also used in the movie, as the FBI’s stakeout location.


9. Savages (2012)

Filmed: Dana Point and Laguna Main Beach, Laguna Beach

In Laguna Beach, two friends Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), share success in an illegal drug business and openly date the same girl, Ophelia Sage (Blake Lively). After they refuse to do business with Mexican drug lord Elena (Selma Hayek), she kidnaps Ophelia, igniting a drug war between them. The main filming location was Laguna Beach, most notably the Laguna Main Beach. Private residents overlooking the ocean, with one near the popular Bluff Top Trail in Dana Point where also used in the movie.


8. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Filmed: The Block at Orange, Orange

One of the most outrageous comedies of the early 2000’s follows the fictional popular Kazakhstani reporter Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he films a documentary in America on what makes America great. While exploring America, he falls for Pamela Anderson and makes his way cross country in the hopes of marrying her. When Borat meets and proposes to Anderson, who is a real-life friend with Cohen, it’s at the Virgin Megastore at The Orange Block. Though Virgin Megastore sadly closed in January 2009, this memorable scene brings back many memories, especially for those of us who loved shopping there.


7. Legally Blonde (2001)

Filmed: Old County Courthouse, Santa Ana

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is suddenly dumped by her boyfriend because she’s “too blonde.” Wanting to prove him wrong, Elle follows him to Harvard Law School, where she proves there’s more to her than her platinum locks. The main court trial of the movie (the murder trial of Brooke Windham) was filmed, according to Bower’s Museum, within and outside of the Old County Courthouse. After the construction of the current court house, the Old County Courthouse is now a museum opened to the public, unless there is filming in progess.


6. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Filmed: Little Saigon, Westminster

Investigating a string of hijackings, LAPD officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) goes undercover for leads on the responsible heist crew, eventually becoming an affiliate of a gang lead by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). As his involvement with the gang deepens, he compromises his investigation by becoming friends with Dominic and falling in love with Dominic’s sister. Two notable locations of Little Saigon where used in the film, including The Cultural Court and the Vietnamese Gate. The prior when Brian meets Dominic’s gang rivals Johnny Tran and Lance Nguyen in front of The Cultural Court. The latter as Brian and Dominic walk under the Vietnamese Gate after their confrontation with Johnny and Lance.


5. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Filmed: John Wayne Airport, Santa Ana and Fashion Island, Newport Beach

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is fired from his glossy agent job at a major sports management group and is inspired to start his own sports management group, with Dorothy’s (Renee Zellweger) help. Eventually, Dorothy and Jerry fall in love, but separate due to the pressure of the work, leading Jerry to try and win her back. Dorothy and Jerry’s by chance meeting at the airport was filmed in John Wayne Airport, specifically Terminal A, Baggage Claim 2. However, John Wayne Airport was used in multiple scenes in the movie as well as the quiet and dark hall Jerry runs through to get home to Dorothy.


4. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Filmed: UCI (University of California, Irvine) main campus, Irvine

In 1991, speechless and primitive apes have gone from beloved pets to exploited slaves for humans. Disgusted by this severe abuse, Cesar (Roddy McDowall) decides to become the leader of an ape revolution, beginning their assertion over humans. This fourth of the five original Planet of the Apes franchise filmed many outdoor scenes at UCI, due to its futuristic style buildings. The buildings most visible in the movie are the Social Science Laboratory, the Social Science Tower, and the Langson Library.


3. Poltergeist (1982)

Filmed: UCI, Langson Library, Irvine

A family moves into their dream home in an ideal California suburb. However, mounting paranormal events engender the family, leading the relentless spirits to kidnap their youngest daughter. The main campus of UCI is a popular site for filming in Orange County, especially the Langson Library. The father of the family, Steve Freeling, goes to meet with parapsychologist at UCI, led by Dr. Lesh about the paranormal disturbances in his home.


2. Rain Man (1988)

Filmed: Santa Ana Regional Transpiration Center/Santa Ana Station, Santa Ana

Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a self-centered car dealer, learns that the bulk of his recently deceased father’s estate is left to an older autistic brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), whom he never knew existed. The brothers go on a road trip, creating a bond which forces Charlie to reevaluate his own prospective, changing his life. The train station featured at the end of the film is the Santa Ana Station, with its distinct Spanish colonial and Mediterranean influenced architecture and notable features (fountain, tiles and staircases). Although the station itself was only built in 1985, its classic style is breathtaking, displaying the elegance of the architecture of yesteryear.


1. That Thing You Do (1996)

Filmed: Old Town Orange, Orange

During the early 1960’s, The Wonders, a small-town bubblegum pop band, break into the music charts with their hit song, “That Thing You Do.” As their star ascends, the band members deal with the joys, trials, and tribulations of show business. While the hometown of The Wonders was supposed to be based in Erie, Pennsylvania, it was filmed in Old Town Orange a.k.a. The Circle. Some of the shops featured in the movie, such as Watson’s (on Chapman Ave.) and the army surplus store (on Glassell St.) are still around.

This movie holds a special place in my heart, because I was lucky enough to see the movie being filmed, in the Summer of 1995, when I was five-years-old. I stood in the area where they allowed local spectators to watch, amazed and captivated by the complexity of a movie set. The highlight of filming for me, was when I frantically waved at The Wonders as they were standing around talking in between takes, hoping they would see me. When they saw me, they waved back, saying among themselves how cute my waving was. I was ecstatic! Without a doubt, That Thing You Do was the film that truly ignited my passion for film.


Honorable mentions of other movies filmed in Orange County:

Catch Me if you Can

Ocean’s 11

Crimson Tide

The Man Who Wasn’t There

First Daughter

Clear and Present Danger

Clockstoppers

Demolition Man

Up Close and Personal

Elizabethtown

 

LINK: https://thefridacinema.org/10-movies-filmed-in-orange-county/

The Frida Cinema Blog Post #18

10 Offbeat Musicals to See

Musicals have been a major part of the world of film since the invention of sound in film in 1929. For every standard classic musical from Singing in the Rain to Sound of Music, there’s a treasure trove of underground cult offbeat classics. This list of offbeat musicals features films with eccentric stories and characters, from a roller-skating muse to a cross dressing mad-scientist. Each film is a great experience just waiting to be…experienced.


10. Xanadu (1980)

Rated: PG

A nostalgia loving musical, infusing disco and classic Hollywood music, featuring Hollywood Legend Gene Kelly in his last film appearance. Sonny (Michael Beck), a struggling artist in Los Angeles, crosses path with Kira (Olivia Newton John), the girl of his dreams, who is secretly the Olympian Muse of dance, Terpsichore. As Sonny and Danny (Gene Kelly), through Kira’s encouragement, pursue their mutual dream of opening a successful nightclub, Sonny and Kira fall in love, leading to the Olympian gods’ efforts to permanently separate the lovers. The sweetest musical on this list, with intimate dance sequences, a stunning array of costumes, and fun music.


9. Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)

Rated PG

Valerie (Geena Davis), unhappy with her relationship to an unfaithful doctor, has her world turned upside down when a UFO crashes into her pool. After befriending the UFO’s three friendly and naive aliens who need to fix their ship, she and her best friend Candy (Julie Brown), disguise them as human to draw away suspicion. However, it’s a race against time to keep them from being discovered, as Valerie begins to develop feelings for Mac (Jeff Goldblum), one of the aliens. A slapstick comedy which both pokes fun at the superficial aspects of 1980’s LA life, while paying homage to LA’s unique culture and sound.


8. Forbidden Zone (1980)

Rated: R

Among this list of musicals, Forbidden Zone is the most artistically experimental movie, running the gamut of homage and satire of classic Hollywood films to avant-garde live action and animation sequences. It’s a 1980’s new wave rock interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. Frenchy, a young woman living the chaotic world of Los Angeles, falls into a portal in her basement, leading her to the sixth dimension. When she is taken prisoner by the queen of this strange new world, Frenchy’s family goes to the six dimensions to save her. This arthouse film features music by the legendary Cab Calloway, along with a cameo of composer/singer of Oingo Boingo, Danny Elfman.


7. Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Rated: R

A novel Christmas musical filled with holiday cheer, zombies, teenage love and blood galore. In a small, quaint Scottish town, a zombie apocalypse breaks out, infecting the majority of residents. Anna and a small band of classmates fight for survival, while searching for their families and a way to escape. This Breakfast Club meets Dawn of the Dead and While Christmas cinematic experience will undoubtedly become a cult horror holiday classic.


6. Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

Rated R

After the world faces an epidemic of organ failure, GeneCo – an organ financing company – saves millions. Nathan (Anthony Head), a widowed doctor who cares for his ill daughter Shiloh (Alexa PenaVega), by night, is GeneCo’s Repo Man, repossessing organs from those who miss a payment. It’s not long before Shiloh’s desire to explore the world leads her to uncover multiple dark secrets of her family and GeneCo. This futuristic gothic horror features the collaboration of remarkable talent from a wide range of music genres from punk (Joan Jett), heavy metal (Clown from Slipknot), and opera (Sarah Brightman).


5. Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Rated: PG

A gothic 1970’s rock interpretation of the classic Phantom of the Opera and Faust tales, combining the amazing talents of director Brian De Palma and Grammy awards winning singer/songwriter Paul Williams. Corrupt music mogul, Swan (Paul Williams), steals music from the naive songwriter Winslow (William Finley) and destroys his life. As Swan tries to open his rock palace The Paradise – with Winslow’s music – Winslow becomes the venues phantom, attempting to sabotage the grand opening. Leading into a downward spiral of betrayal, death, and endangering Phoenix, the young singer Winslow secretly loves, and whom Swan wants to exploit.


4. Meet the Feebles (1989)

Rated: R

Before Oscar winning director Peter Jackson directed The Lord of the Rings film series, he co-wrote, co-produced, and directed this very outrageously shameless, yet hilarious animal puppet musical. As the cast and staff prepare for a live television performance of “The Feebles” variety show, they experience the sleazy side of show business, including blackmail, drugs, STDs, betrayal, and gory murder. Yet, among the madness are loveable characters and catchy tunes. This film’s edgy humor precedes The SimpsonsFamily Guy, and South Park, giving them all a run for their money.


3. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Rated: PG-13

A film adaption of the unlikely Broadway hit, originating from the low-budget cult film by cult-icon Roger Corman of the same name. A skid-row floral shop struggling to stay open finds popularity and financial success when employee Seymour (Rick Moranis) “discovers” a new exotic plant, which he names “Audrey II” after his crush and fellow co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). When Seymore stumbles on the frightful truth that Audrey II feeds on human flesh and talks, he conceals the truth out of fear of losing Audrey. But, as Audrey II becomes more powerful, threatening the safety of Audrey and the town, it’s up to Seymour to stop this botanical monster.


2. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

Rated: R

This film is also based on a Broadway play, but inspired by the Playboy Magazine article about the real-life Chicken Ranch – an illegal cathouse in Texas (active from 1905-1973). The film follows the adventures of the eccentric madam, Miss Mona (Dolly Parton), as she works hard to keep her Chicken Ranch running smoothly and keep the clients (including politicians) happy, all while keeping her affair with Sheriff Dodd (Burt Reynolds) secret. Though she’s a charitable lady and law-abiding citizen – for the most part – Miss Mona and Sheriff Dodd try to stop a self-righteous rating hungry television personality from shutting her down. This feel-good comedy features the iconic song, “I Will Always Love You”, later covered by Whitney Houston in the film The Bodyguard.


1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rated: R

A beloved monthly staple at The Frida, featuring K.A.O.S., a live shadow cast, which sells out every screening. This cult classic darling follows Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick), an unsuspecting couple who lose their way in a storm and find refuge in the eerie mansion of the transvestite mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). As the night goes on, Janet and Brad lose their innocence in this mansion filled with eccentric characters, lust, mad science and murder. A whirlwind joy ride from start to end with fantastic tunes that every fan of musicals or cult films needs to see.

 

LINK: https://thefridacinema.org/10-offbeat-musicals-to-see/