Even if you’re unaware of the International Pancake Film Festival (and, if you’re a regular Film Flam reader, you really shouldn’t be), you should be able to figure it out pretty easily. For over a decade, the IPFF has presented the finest in flapjack-oriented cinema: movies featuring pancakes, starring pancakes, screened alongside an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet. Since its inception, IPFF founders Damon Bishop and Cara Kuball have taken the show around the country, contributed their works to some of the finest art galleries in Boston, and, naturally, lent their name to an upcoming cookbook. –ed.
We here at the International Pancake Film Festival spent a good part of 2017 thinking about movies, pancakes, and movies that somehow featured pancakes. On occasion, however, cinephiles like us dream of programming movies that don’t feature flapjacks. As much as we love the movies, we also love a good gimmick, and feel that most film screenings are enhanced by thematic menus. So it is that we present to you, with great optimism for the year ahead: THE IPFF’S TOP TEN FILM PROGRAMMING IDEAS THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN IN 2017 BUT MAY HAPPEN IN 2018 …
- The Fog (1980) / The Mist (2007) Double Feature In FOG-O-RAMA!!!
This would be a pretty easy one to pull off. All you’ll need is a handful of fog machines and/or a bunch of dry ice. Play the films and then release fog into the theater whenever it occurs onscreen. You will also need a few people operating the fog machines, but they could dress as pirates during The Fog and do a quick costume change into giant insects for The Mist. If you’re feeling indulgent, you could do a triple feature including the 2005 remake of The Fog, but we’d advise against that.
Serving Suggestion: Something piping hot that releases steam. Fajitas would be perfect!
- Jawsapalooza 2: Piranhapalooza
A few years ago, we put together a non-pancake screening at the Distillery Gallery in South Boston called JAWSAPALOOZA with our good buddies Jack and Pat. Our dream was to screen a marathon of all four Jaws movies outdoors while the audience, wearing their bathing suits and watching from kiddie pools, drank Bloody Marys. Due to the unexpectedly high cost of kiddie pools, we were only able to afford one, which we filled with ice and “Narragansett.” (We had sponsorship from another beer company, so we just took the free beer bottles and re-labelled them with homemade Narragansett labels, because who turns down free beer when you can’t afford more than one kiddie pool?) You may need to apply for a grant if you want to get the full effect of a room full of kiddie pools for this sequel, PIRANHAPALOOZA, wherein all the Piranha movies are shown. This would ideally include the Joe Dante original, the James Cameron sequel Piranha 2: The Spawning, the 1995 made-for-TV version, and Alexandre Aja’s 2010 Piranha 3-D. If you have the time you could also screen John Gulager’s Piranha 3DD, but it’s pretty crass and dumb. Maybe if you serve alcohol no one will mind?
Serving Suggestion: It would be cool to see a room full of people wearing bathing suits sitting in kiddie pools while gnawing on turkey legs and watching Piranha movies.
This dusk-to-dawn dinosaur slumber party would feature a lineup exclusively of lesser-known dino films. No Jurassic Parks or Worlds for this marathon—instead we’d watch Carnosaur! The Valley of Gwangi! The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms! Theodore Rex! Dinosaurus! Tammy and the T-Rex! Be sure to bring your jammies and a pillow. First one to fall asleep gets their bra put in the cryogenic freezer.
Serving Suggestion: Any recipe from The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook will do.
- Cycle of the Werewolf
A twist on the monthly screening series, in which you show a werewolf movie on the night of each full moon of the year. We have our favorites—Dog Soldiers, An American Werewolf in London, Silver Bullet, Ginger Snaps, and The Howling are all dope-ass lycanthropic cinema. You should pick whatever you want, though. You could go with some classic Universal Wolf Man pictures, or Paul Naschy’s Spanish horror … it’s totally up to you! Be sure to select 13 titles, because this series requires a full year’s worth of commitment and January 2018 happens to have two full moons, which only happens once in a blue moon.
Serving Suggestion: Rare steak and Bloody Marys.
- The Thing in The Snow
This one requires you to keep a close eye on the weather forecast. Have all your supplies ready to go and, when it looks like a snowstorm is impending, drop everything to finalize preparations. Who wouldn’t want to bundle up and go to an outdoor screening of John Carpenter’s The Thing in the middle of a snow bomb cyclone? We would totally go. If you are feeling adventurous you could screen a double feature with the 2011 prequel/remake, but then you’d risk your audience getting hypothermia and frostbite for an unnecessary film.
Serving Suggestion: The hottest of hot cocoas and J&B Scotch, the preferred whiskey of R.J. MacReady.
- Midnight Matinees
The International Pancake Film Festival was founded in Chicago back in 2007. Chicago is a great city for watching movies, and one of the greatest theaters in our great hometown is the Music Box Theatre. Built in 1929, it’s a fantastic movie palace with a gigantic screen, tiny flickering lights in the ceiling that look like stars, and even a working pipe organ (if you go to a weekend movie, you’ll be treated to a live organist performing pre-show). Anyways, the Music Box has long programmed Saturday midnight cult movies and Sunday morning classic Hollywood films. We often wondered why it couldn’t be the other way around. As aging lovers of oddball movies who get sleepy early, we know that there are enough of us early risers who want to start our Sundays watching Divine eat dog poop to warrant programming MIDNITE MATINEES!!! Plus, isn’t it much more subversive to be watching a ‘70s Italian cannibal movie while a large swath of the country is still in church?
Serving Suggestion: Bagels and mimosas, and barf bags.
- Pseudo Psequels
A double feature of one film alongside a second film that makes frequent reference to the first film. Not a sequel, but a movie that is so indebted to another movie that it becomes a sort of unofficial sequel. Some examples: First Blood followed by Son of Rambow, Fargo screening before Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, and The Road Warrior followed by Bellflower.
Serving Suggestion: Refried beans and twice-baked potatoes.
- Save the RV Drama for Your Mama
Maybe you have a friend or family member who owns a recreational vehicle. Or maybe you’re lucky and have a bunch of friends or family members who own a bunch of RV’s. If not, you’ll probably need to apply for a grant again, and with the current federal administration we bet getting money from the NEA is going to be tough. Heir or hustler, you’ll need a bunch of RV’s; we won’t ask how you got them. Step 1: Get RV’s. Step 2: Take said RV’s to a commuter parking lot. Step 3: Have your audience meet you there. Tell them in advance to bring several changes of clothes and plenty of water. Step 4: Use the RV’s to drive everyone out to the desert. Did you know that New Mexico is only 36 hours away from Boston by RV? If that is too long a drive, there is always the Desert of Maine in Freeport, which is only two hours’ drive from IPFF HQ. Step 5: Set up a screen and watch The Hills Have Eyes (either the Wes Craven original or Alexandre Aja’s remake, we’ll leave this up to you and would join you for both). Step 6: Encore screening of Race with the Devil, the Satanists versus RV-enthusiasts classic from 1975. Step 7: Camp in the desert and never fall asleep because you’re all super spooked! Step 8: Repeat again next year.
Serving Suggestion: TV dinner on a folding tray with a warm can of Stroh’s.
- Thanks But No Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a great time to watch Native American revenge movies like The Manitou from 1977 or 1979’s The Prophecy (there are two films with this title, so if you see Christopher Walken, turn it off—you are watching the wrong one)! The Manitou is the better of the two so we’d advise you to screen it first. All you need to know is this nugget from IMDB’s description: “A psychic’s girlfriend finds out that a lump on her back is a growing reincarnation of a 400-year-old demonic Native American spirit.” Also, Tony Curtis plays the psychic.
Serving Suggestion: Make it a potluck, and everyone who comes needs to bring a dish to pass. No entree, no entry.
- Improperly Framed Theater
Another nostalgic Chicago theater for us is the Logan Theater. Nowadays, it’s a renovated art house, but back in the good old days it was unlike any other lovably trashy theater on earth. The Logan showed second-run films for a bargain price—only $2! Eventually that climbed to a whopping $3, and at this point the theater has been remodeled and shows fancy first-run and revival stuff. We used to watch anything there: Good Burger, Simon Birch, both live action Scooby Doo pictures. For two bucks we couldn’t afford not to go! So it was at the Logan one night that we found ourselves watching a film about a boy who befriends a dog from outer space (the title of which we don’t recall, but it may have been Good Boy; googling the title at this point would take more work than its screenwriter took to write it). Good Boy was not good. But for only $2 we enjoyed one of the most memorable filmgoing experiences of our lives, thanks to the Logan’s projectionist, who framed the film delightfully incorrectly. You know how sometimes you are watching a film and notice the boom mic dip into frame? This isn’t always the result of low budget filmmaking; projectionists are supposed to adjust the framing to crop that stuff out. We think it has something to do with being able to eventually crop it differently for TV screenings or something. Anywho, this lousy movie became far more interesting with the frequent boom mic appearances, along with regular sightings of the canine actor’s handlers coaxing a performance out of him. They were supposed to be offscreen, but at our good old Logan viewing, you could see the trainers waving a dog biscuit, trying to get the dog to act. Our projectionist friends tell us that the Mount Rushmore scene in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest is also interesting to watch if framed wrong, making visible scaffolding and stage lights after all the presidents’ heads abruptly end. We’d bet there are other gems outside the frame of some classic films, just waiting to be enjoyed by a wider audience outside the projection booth. Thus, we propose a screening wherein old film prints are deliberately framed wrong, revealing the moviemaking magic behind the scenes. For educational purposes only, of course.
Serving Suggestion: Everyone brings their own food and drink; you should have a few men in their 70s on hand to unwrap it, smell it, and confiscate it at the door. These septuagenarians should also make folks check any electronic items, including mobile phones and iPods, and loudly clean the theater while the film is still running, just like they used to do at the old Logan Theater!
There you go: 10 fantastic suggestions for top-notch cinematic entertainment. If you are a film programmer, or just feel like putting on a show in the privacy of your own living room, feel free to help yourself to our ideas. However, please note that the IPFF cannot be held responsible for any food poisoning, hypothermia, or kiddie pool drownings that occur, so make sure all safety precautions are observed at your screening. And be sure to invite us! Thanks for reading and we’ll see you at the movies in 2018.