June 2, 2015

Belatedly Wrapping Up Movies At Dog Farm IV In One Tidy Little Package . . .

The Thing (1982)
The Thing (1982) - You've gotta be fuckin' kidding me, right?

       So how does one gauge the success or failure of a movie program?  Now that the Movies At Dog Farm live events have been around for a while, the success or failure of  these events must surely be relative.  Those of us that have attended from the start wax nostalgic about the best screenings from the past, though I wouldn't characterize any of the prior programs as complete and utter failures.  Additionally, I have to keep in mind that the movies are only one element of a larger event that's actually all about photography.  I'm just the geek show, eating light bulbs and biting the heads off chickens.  If I'm lucky, I get a receptive audience that responds to the show as I anticipated.  If not, well...

     As now seems to be tradition, Herb Miller and I made a trip to Timberville Friday night for beer, food, and cigarettes at roughly the same time the movies should have begun.  We were accompanied by Jai McWhorter, Phil's hired help at the Dog Farm who impressed me mightily be being only twenty years old and name dropping The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920) on me.  We were only about half way to Timberville when Herb's brake line busted unexpectedly, leaving us unable to make a sharp turn on a country road that then abruptly turned into a plowed field.  No one was hurt, and Herb got the car back on the road and continued on to Timberville sans brakes.  That seemed to make sense at the time.

The Manitou (1978)
The Manitou (1978) - The stunted glory of Misquamacas.
     We got back to the Dog Farm intact roughly an hour later, and no one was there except Phil, who was agitated that attendees who were expected earlier hadn't yet arrived.  Ultimately, everyone arrived safely in two separate carloads coming from different directions.  Tricia and Noodle Newnum arrived with event veteran Josh Kamikaze Buckland in tow, followed by Kelli and Jeff Ramirez shortly thereafter.  I think.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  Someone should have been keeping notes.  Our first movie, The Manitou (1978), finally lit up the screen just shy of midnight.  Sounds like everything's been a bit of a cluster fuck thus far, huh?

     Well I couldn't have asked for a more receptive audience.  There's something truly magical about watching a movie with an audience that's perfectly in tune with what's unfolding on the screen.  The Manitou is a movie that begs a lot of MS3TK style interaction, and that's exactly what happened.  Baggy back flesh and boob lasers carried the day.  Phil even treated us to an impersonation of the movie's vertically challenged Native American shaman afterwards.  We at the Dog Farm are nothing if not politically correct.

Jack Palance in Alone In The Dark (1982)
Alone In The Dark (1982) - Jack Palance saying howdy.
     Owing to how late we got started, we moved on to Alone In The Dark (1982) almost immediately after The Manitou was over.  No brakes, baby.  That seems to have been a theme for the evening.  Everyone was enthusiastic throughout the second feature, as well.  Night one of Movies At Dog Farm IV will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the events' more successful screenings.  We wrapped things up at about three in the morning, at which point I quickly left for home.

     Though other attendees came and went during the day Saturday, the audience for Saturday night's movies ended up being the exact same group of people as Friday night.  That's unusual.  Not at all bad, just unusual.  Generally there's a little more turnover from day to day.  Jeff was good enough to man the grill for us Saturday night, so the movies were improved greatly by the addition of hot dogs and hamburgers served up fresh. Up first for Saturday was Vanishing Point (1971), a movie I'd never seen and didn't select.  Herb had suggested it to me several months ago, so it took the place of the previously announced Rituals (1977).  Truth be told, I had begun to doubt that Rituals would play well to a crowd anyway.

Gratuitous nudity in Vanishing Point
Vanishing Point (1971) - Gratuitous nudity, 70s style.
     Turned out Vanishing Point was pretty damn good, though it didn't really lend itself to the same kind of audience interaction as the previous night's movies.  Still, it did possess the unmistakable vibe of vintage drive-in fodder.  I had threatened to lay the failure of the evening at Herb's feet if Vanishing Point didn't play well to the crowd, so I suppose I'm also obliged to give credit where it's due.  You might get to pick one again some day, Herb.

     Unfortunately, we lost a few viewers to an early bedtime before The Thing (1982) started.  It also began to get almost uncomfortably chilly outside, though that seemed weirdly apropos given The Thing's Antarctic setting.  Those of us that stuck it out enjoyed seeing The Thing on the big screen, but everyone quickly scuttled away to warmth immediately after the movie was over.

     So how does one gauge the success or failure of a movie program?  Relatively speaking, I'd say Movies At Dog Farm IV was a success.  The geek show was rewarded once again with the receptive audience it needs to survive.  The geek thanks you.


  1. You should show A Boy And His Dog one of these days...

  2. Some great reading, so sorry I haven't been around too much life sh!t going on... cannot clear the path for the stuff I enjoy any more.

    1. I understand that frustration, Jeremy. I'm finding virtually no time for the Dog Farm this year, as evidenced by the spare number of new posts. I've got blogger guilt, you know.

  3. Brandon,

    Congratulations on another amazing film festival. I liked the theme of "no brakes," but I especially like that fact that no one was hurt. I could smell those hot dogs cooking on a cool night in Virginia, and the beautiful locale would make for a most pleasurable experience. I, for one, would not retrograde at the slight dip in temps. Such a meteorological blessing means for a showing of The Thing makes the night more magical. I would have to say that such a rural setting would also make for a great theme of films like The Blair Witch or any other such Bigfoot related horror.

    Let me not make suggestions to the master, though. That would be like walking into the kitchen and suggesting seasonings to the chef. One time I will need to make the Dog Farm Film Fest, for sure.

    Until then, you have sufficiently made me jealous for not being there.

    Keep up the great work keeping cinema alive!


    1. The Blair Witch Project or some Squatchploitation could definitely work. I've yet to work in a werewolf movie or summer camp horror, either. You're closer now, so I'll get you here for one of the programs sooner or later!

  4. Oh man I need to attend one of your awesome festivals A Boy and his Dog would be a great addition to next year's fest. Reading about how the event comes together is a lot of fun.

    1. Thanks, Vern! I'm already tentatively programming a dusk til dawn show for September. It gives me an excuse to buy spiffy new HD copies of some old favorites.

  5. Sounds like another unqualified success, bad brakes notwithstanding. Glad to hear that you and the driver arrived in one piece!

    Excellent selection of movies! I'm ashamed to admit I haven't watched Vanishing Point yet, but it's lingering in my Netflix queue. Methinks I need to bump it up to the top. I watched The Manitou several years back, but it was in the midst of a gallbladder attack, so I don't think I was terribly receptive to its charms. I think it's due for a re-watch.

    I don't know if you take unsolicited requests, but you might try Hausu or Funky Forest on an unsuspecting audience. It would be worth it, just to see their reactions.


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