Saturday, April 14, 2007

Unstuck in Time

Every blogger in the blogosphere talked about great Hoosier Kurt Vonnegut dying this week, so all I will add is that if you haven't read one of the great novels of the 20th Century, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, take it upon your ass to read it soon.

This guy may be my new hero.

A lot of people seem to be talking about GRINDHOUSE, which I want to see badly but will never get my wife in the theater for. Some are questioning whether Rodriguez and Tarantino could have actually gone to any real grindhouses. I know they were hard to come by in Indiana, though a nearby town actually had a drive-in porno theater. A lot of people don't believe me when I tell them this, but you could actually drive on an access road behind the drive-in and see carnal knowledge across a field, fifty feet high. It's a wonder me and more of my friends weren't more messed up than we were.

We had a theater called the Rivoli, an old broken-down downtown place, and one called the Delaware which was in an ill-used strip mall at the edge of town. The Rivoli was once a grand old theater, with crumbling balconies and a cherub-painted dome, but they carved a second theater out with corrugated tin, and you could actually sit in a seat next to the tin wall and the person the next seat over was watching another movie which you could also hear perfectly fine. This is where I saw the 3D movie METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN and NINE DEATHS OF THE NINJA and the like. The Delaware was where I saw the double-feature BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS and SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 2. But mostly we relied on late-night horror hosts Sammy Terry and Son of Svenghouli and the "Kung Fu Theater" late night movie where I first fell in love with FIVE DEADLY VENOMS. Although I don't remember seeing Don Dohler's ALIEN FACTOR on TV I know it flavored a lot of people's childhoods with its ubiquitousness at one time (though I clearly remember HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN and SAMSON VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN). So we didn't have the real grindhouses, but we had something, and certainly that influences some of my current views as I'm sure it does QT's and Rodriquez's.

Anyway, I actually shopped a script around 1999 about a cop who finds a porn star floating in his bathtub, and solving the crime leads him into the underbelly of porn and snuff films. This was called GRINDHOUSE, though later I was convinced to call it HANDS DOWN. Somebody asked me if this was just a coincidence. Of course it is. I have never been within one thousand miles of either QT or Rodriguez. There's only so many ideas under the sun, and they've all pretty much been thought of. Which is not what the aspiring screenwriter clutching his treasured script to his chest wants to hear. This title was probably more influenced by my visit to Times Square in the late 80s (see previous post) than the other type of grindhouse movie, but it is funny how the world goes 'round. We'll see if everything old becomes new again.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

1 comment:

Doc Holaday said...

John Stewart ran a clip of his interview with K.V., Jr. on his Daily Show last week. In it, Vonnegut said that he sincerely believe a divine presence was behind the scenes engineering the universe. "That's why," he said, "We have hippopotamuses, giraffes, and 'the clap.'"

Classic Vonnegut. Here's a cat's ass for you Kurt .... * (Ref. to Breakfast of Champions)