DID YOU READ

The Wizard of Ozploitation

The Wizard of Ozploitation (photo)

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We had someone else in mind for the role, and she elected not to do it because her mother thought BMX riding was a working-class fad, and she didn’t want her nice middle-class daughter in such a film. So we were auditioning others, and then Nicole came in, did a magnificent reading, and one of the producers said to me, “But you can’t cast her, she’s taller than the two guys.” Who cares? Just look at her, she’s luminous! You see the size of that hair in the picture on the blog! Now that hair, which looks like some sort of enormous Afro, that’s the size it is because there’s a backdraft blowing. Her hair wasn’t really that large and poofy. The two improv comics I cast as the crooks — John Ley and David Argue — would refer to her as “The Mop” or “The Beanpole.” [laughs] We all loved her.

Which of your movies would you say are the most undervalued?

I’d certainly say “The Siege of Firebase Gloria” is the most neglected. It’s highly valued by those who have seen it. It’s Quentin’s favorite film of mine. It’s even appreciated by Vietnam veterans who say it really captured a lot of their experience in the ’68 Tet Offensive. “Dead End Drive-In” was totally dismissed critically in Australia at the time of its release, and given a premiere at a theater that was still under construction. It got critical acclaim in America, but then, naturally, like a lot of New World [Pictures] pickups, it vanished. Luckily, it’s been rediscovered with a new DVD transfer from Anchor Bay. So those are two.

I’ve made 38 crimes against cinema, and I’m about to do 39. It really depends on your viewpoint. People either get the wry underbelly of my genre work, which is not necessarily just self-referential, [or they don’t]. For those who do, there’s maybe a few more nuggets of gold [among] the formulaic movies that others might be able to see. I also have an affection for “Tyrannosaurus Azteca,” which is a camp dinosaur picture that the SciFi Channel repeated 20 times since its premiere last year.

You’ve directed sequels based on films you had no involvement in, such as the upcoming “Porky’s: The College Years.” Is it challenging or liberating to work with previously established properties?

I always put my own spin on things. When I was asked to make “Night of the Demons 2,” I wanted to make it more outrageously funny than number one. I’m a little peeved that no one asked me to make the recent remake of “Night of the Demons.” Maybe I could’ve brought a certain something to that with $5 million dollars instead of, like, $1.4 million, which is what I had to make “Night of the Demons 2.” It had, amongst its stars, Christine Taylor, who was unknown at the time, but then developed a nice career and is now married to Ben Stiller. She’s a great comedienne.

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The “Leprechaun” pictures, that’s an interesting story. Basically, the producers] had a disappointment with number two. It hadn’t done the numbers that they wanted, so they were just going to make a three-part franchise, and that would be it. They said, “Look, set it in Vegas, shoot it at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A.,” and we ended up [shooting part of the film] without permits in Vegas to pepper it with the leprechaun in real Vegas backgrounds. We tried to do 14 days, plus our one guerrilla day, with seven people, avoiding the cops in Vegas. It turned out to be the bestselling direct-to-video of 1995. So they said, “You gotta make another one,” so we made “Leprechaun in Space,” which is an even broader, wilder pastiche than number three. I don’t know which of the two you prefer — opinion divides.

“Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!” opens in New York and Los Angeles on July 31st.

[Additional photos: “BMX Bandits,” Nilsen Premiere, 1983; “Leprechaun 3,” Trimark Pictures, 1995]

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.