This weekend I had an almost ridiculously good time attending ESCAPISM at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. In addition to seeing some excellent movies I also got to do some pretty sweet shopping at the Sci-Fi Genre booth. Some quick thoughts on some of the films:

Friday night I got to see They Live on Fletcher Hall’s enormous screen. The print was crystal clear and the sound flawless. I don’t know if it was a new print or one that had been sealed away for twenty years but it was an utterly unique experience. I hadn’t watched it in several years and had forgotten a lot of it. It remains a ridiculous B movie but in our current climate its anti-authoritarian message about the evils of conquest-for-profit are pretty startlingly relevant. Damn but that was some sweet watching and the crowd was very into it.

I also got to see Sukiyaki Western Django, the new film by Takashi Miike, maker of Audition, Gozu and The Happiness of the Katakuris. Sakiyuki Western Django is an incredibly stylized and cartoonishly Americanized film about warfare between Japanese clans, half spaghetti western and half Japanese historical drama. I loved it. It is not a film for the faint of heart, as anyone who’s seen Audition or Gozu would surely already expect, but it is very, very, very good. It is… it’s hard to describe, actually. I think “hott” is probably the best word for it. I highly recommend it and recommend seeing it on the big screen rather than Netflixing it at some later date. It’s being held over and will play at the Carolina twice nightly for the rest of this week.

The last movie I had a chance to see was The Punisher and I do mean the 1989 version with Dolph Lundgren. The director, Mark Goldblatt, was on hand to tell stories before the movie and it was his personal print the theatre got to show. This was, in fact, the North American premiere of that film as it went straight to video here after the US distributor went under before release. Dolph is kind of disturbingly hot in this movie and the movie itself is completely over-the-top in every regard. It is far more comic-booky than any of the comic adaptations made today in that regard. It is also extraordinarily violent to the point that the violence just becomes funny after a while. This was an even more unique opportunity than seeing They Live. This was something that will probably never happen again and I’m really glad I got to be there for it.

Once again, many thanks to the Carolina Theatre of Durham for the chance to see something no one else will ever get to see.