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Ghosts of Hong Kong Past

It's a Hong Kong horror grindhouse double-bill, this time at the New Beverly, presented by Eric Caidin and Brian Quinn. First up is a 35mm print of the rare School on Fire (1988), Ringo Lam's cross between Blackboard Jungle and Bad Boys (either the Sean Penn one or the Will Smith one, you pick). Then there's 1982's Till Death Do We Scare, the HK comedy about a woman's three dead husbands who find her a new husband, a premise from which this year's Ghosts of Girlfriends Past stole all its ideas. Caidin is still recovering from the brutal stabbing attack last year by an unbalanced former associate in his Hollywood Book & Poster shop on the Boulevard; that he continues finding and screening these films every month for the past six years would be a Herculean feat in and of itself — sort of like the cleaning of the Augean stables, appropriately enough. So it'll be the usual retinue of loud-mouthed hecklers occasionally mining that gold nugget of the perfect bon mot shouted out loud; the trailers between the double-bill; the raffle that awards ticketholders everything from vintage smut and trash memorabilia to useless orphaned lobby cards and a bottle of hooch specifically chosen for this evening. Did you know that Gallo won't cop to the fact that it produces two of the world's finest fortified wines, Night Train and Thunderbird? It's precisely that kind of shame and mortification that Caidin and Quinn transform into jocular, avuncular enjoyment of these wretched vomited bits of celluloid in a way that bespeaks a true lover of all film, not a chortlesome and scornful hipster for whom even the most perfect film eventually withers and turns into ash in the mouth of the mind.
Tue., May 26, 7:30 p.m., 2009


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