WHAT: First Friday Lowbrow Cinema Explosion presents “Commando.”
WHERE: The Nickelodeon Theatre, 1607 Main St.
WHEN: 11 p.m. June 5.
The Nick’s Lowbrow Cinema Explosion brings “tackiest of the tacky, the vulgarest of the vulgar and the basest of the base” to Columbia’s art house theater. The series, curated by Chris Bickel, brings camp, cult and “forgotten horror and exploitation cinema” to late-night audiences on the first Friday of each month.
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The series began in October 2013, when the Nick asked Bickel, a vinyl buyer at Papa Jazz Record Shoppe, to curate a cult film series.
“Rather than just do straight-up ‘cult’ movies, I suggested doing something that was a bit narrower in focus,” Bickel said.
So, for the past two years, Bickel and the Nick have brought the over-the-top, so-bad-it’s-good series to Columbia. Past installments have included the iconic John Waters gross-out flick “Pink Flamingos” and Nazi exploitation film “Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS.”
“I select films for their authenticity of execution, as well as their over-the-top content. The limitations of low-budget filmmaking in the hands of creative and money-hungry directors often result in images simultaneously titillating, repellent and unintentionally hilarious,” Bickel said. “I tend to not choose movies that are intentionally ‘bad’ or movies that are ‘self-aware.’ I’m more interested in films that were ‘bad’ on accident.”
This month’s film is “Commando,” a big-budget 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger action vehicle, packed with violence, big guns and one-liners.
“It’s actually terrible in a great, great way,” said Kristin Morris, marketing manager at the Nick.
Bickel aims to replicate the “full-on ’70s 42nd Street Grindhouse experience,” complete with audience interaction and gratuitous sexual and violent content. The best audience is those who are not easily offended and who can both appreciate and laugh at “inept filmmaking,” Bickle said.
“Audiences can expect some offensive content, not to mention some degree of socially lubricated audience participation,” Bickel said. “We relax the talking rules a bit for this series, as long as what you say adds to, rather than detracts from, the experience.”
First Friday Lowbrow Cinema Explosion is an opportunity to make your favorite Netflix guilty pleasure habit into a social experience. Bickel brings both classic “midnight movies” and big studio films that are delightfully bad and easy to jeer at with a crowd.
“Commando” is a good entree into the series as a so-bad-it’s-good big studio movie – new viewers won’t be diving into the drag queens and wolf women just yet.
More at nickelodeon.org
Amanda C. Coyne