Ho ho ho! Tis December once again and The Frida Cinema is celebrating the most wonderful time of the year in style! Frida After Dark’s programming continues to bring fan favorites, cult classics, and obscure oddities into the spotlight but with all the jingle bells and whistles to make things merry and bright! Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, or nothing at all, the hilarity and madness this month is non-denominational – and as diverse as the holiday season itself!
The lack of olfactory stimulation in movies was an area in which the innovative director John Waters saw great potential. Creating his very own “Odorama” technology, Waters’ efforts culminated in the aroma-fied version of his 1981 film Polyester. As the first part of our Director of the Month series, we’re presenting this interactive experience in full Smell-O-Vision, controlled by your very own scratch-and-sniff card!
The comedic classic follows the hefty housewife Francine – played by the iconic queen of filth Divine – and the trouble that lies in suburbia. With a cheating husband, hoodlum kids, and an overbearing mother, she turns to alcohol to cope. Just when all seems lost, Francine becomes romantically involved with a handsome man named Todd Tomorrow – but does something smell fishy about him?
There’s a strangely long, rich history of scent as enhancement of the theater experience. The most notable example is probably the 1960 film Scent of Mystery, which had a script designed with smell in mind and even provided important clues to the audience via smell. But with Odorama, rather than a mist released from your seats, you’ll be in complete control – which is something you might find merciful! It is a John Waters film we’re whiffing after all, so it’s far from just a trip to the perfume department. With each scent being a mystery until inhaled, it’s akin to the gross suspense and curiosity we have with gross-flavored jelly beans and other forms of food roulette.
Fun fact for 90s kids: If you grew up in the early 2000s and were into Nickelodeon, you may remember Rugrats Go Wild, the 2003 theatrical crossover between popular properties Rugrats and The Wild Thornberries. The movie’s most memorable aspect was the tie-in scratch-and-sniff cards, which even sported the phrase “Odorama”. This led to a bizarre lawsuit from Waters on the basis of trademark infringement, motivating Nick to change the name of their film’s scent-based gimmick to “Aroma-Rama” instead. Small world!
Presented with scratch-n-sniff Odorama cards, Polyester is truly a film experience unlike anything you’ve ever smelled!
Another month brings another stellar production of Jim Sharman’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the original interactive midnight movie! This month, we’re treated to a snowy, tinsel-clad version of Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s castle! Thanks to the ever talented K.A.O.S. shadow cast who constantly turn out the choreography and lip-syncs for the gods, the jolly spirit of Rocky Horror is sure to jingle your bells in all the right ways. It’s twice the pleasure as well, as this month’s show lands on Friday the 13th, making it an amalgamation of cheer and campy horror unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Rocky Horror is a mish-mash of campy science-fiction, brilliant songs, cheesy wordplay, and unapologetic sexuality that just might awaken something in you. Along with being fun and wild, these screenings are about community and the freedom to be yourself! Costumes are always deeply encouraged, so put on the best Transylvanian duds you’ve got, and get ready to feel goodwill towards your fellow men, women, and everyone between and beyond!
Don’t forget to bring cash to buy your prop bags before the show! For just a few bucks, you can have plenty of ammo to throw, while also supporting K.A.O.S. in helping improve their costumes and stage gear. If you’re a Rocky virgin, don’t get hot and flustered! Check out this classic guide for what to expect when going all the way with us at midnight.
Pro tip: specially themed shows tend to sell out, so get your mitts on your tickets as early as you can! Also, half the fun is in the pre-show, so don’t skip the foreplay!
Right after cleaning up all the confetti and popcorn from Rocky, we’re making a mess all over again with our monthly interactive screening of The Room, an absolute masterpiece of failure! Shaking things up a little for the holidays, the walls of this room will be fully decked, and the eggnogg (hopefully) spiked.
Unlike Rocky Horror, The Room is not a musical. Instead, it is a film so terrible in every conceivable way that it’s hard to believe even while watching it. Perhaps that’s simply the genius of the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau: director, writer, actor, producer, casting director, etcetera, etcetera.
Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) works as a successful banker in snowless, stock-footage San Francisco with his fiancee, Lisa (not Tommy Wiseau). Despite their engagement, Lisa is unhappy in her relationship and seduces Johnny’s best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). Despite the simple premise, there’s several dozen unrelated subplots that make things worthy of a monthly cult classic celebration and holiday revamp.
As a wise man once said: “If you don’t like the Christmas, that’s okay! ‘Cuz spirit will guide you”! It’s all about spirit here, and the collective bonding over bizarre dialogue and the pelting of plastic spoons. Wiseau unites us all this season, regardless of kin, creed, or class. Just be good, dress the tree, and mark your calendars for Saturday, December 14th! ‘Til then, tide yourself over with a Christmas surprise from Tommy himself.
Though only a moderate sleeper hit upon its release, the iconic The Nightmare Before Christmas is now held up as one of the most beloved animated movies of all time. With a phenomenal soundtrack from the legendary composer and rockstar Danny Elfman, character designs taken straight from Tim Burton’s picture book of the same name, and stunningly innovative stop-motion animation, it’s no wonder that the film’s popularity has endured to this day. Who wouldn’t be charmed by the Pumpkin King’s skeleton grin or a simple world where the macabre melds with the cheery?
The film chronicles the journey of Jack Skellington, the Master of Fright from Halloween Town. After another successfully scary October 31st, Jack finds himself longing for something new and more fulfilling. During his lament, he discovers the portal to Christmas Town, immediately enamored and eager to share the new holiday with his people. While Jack decides it’s his turn to play “Sandy Claws”, the citizens of Halloween Town turn Christmas into another night of tricks and frights, with disastrous results that put Christmas in peril.
Seeing how that all worked out, Frida After Dark is taking notes from Jack and making Christmastime our very own! The 8:30 screening of Nightmare on Friday, December 20th will be frightfully delightful: we’re going grim for the holidays and we encourage you to come see the movie in your favorite goth and Burton-esque attire!
Whether it’s a film you know by heart or one you’ve yet to see, its pep and holiday spirit are so contagious, you’ll find yourself singing along. Take a trip to Hot Topic if you need to blacken your wardrobe, but don’t be late, or you just might miss that magical place where holidays collide.
If the kid-friendly spooks of The Nightmare Before Christmas aren’t gory enough for your tastes, December 27th might just be the present you’ve been waiting for!
Dark Alley Productions and Ghost Party Pictures are sleigh-ing it this year, bringing you not only a killer triple feature celebration but food sponsors, horror-related vendors, and an entire holiday scare floor to frighten you right out of your boots! You’ve never been to a Christmas party like this one!
We’re celebrating twisted Christmas tales from around the world, beginning with Bob Clark’s 70s slasher masterpiece Black Christmas! This Canadian flick is one of the OG Christmas-themed horror films, taking the sorority slasher format but giving it a festive spin. Inspired by the urban legend of the babysitter and the man upstairs, Black Christmas would go on to inspire John Carpenter’s own holiday-themed hit, Halloween.
After a short break for sustenance and scares, 10pm rings in Dial Code Santa Claus, a French film allegedly knocked off just a year later with Chris Columbus’ Home Alone. Instead of the bumbling Wet Bandits, the home intruder in 3615 code Père Noël is a violent vagrant dressed as Santa Claus, or “Père Noël”. The young and wide-eyed Thomas, who tried to contact Santa and even stayed awake just to meet him, is horrified when the man coming down his chimney brings not gifts but murder. Full of rage and seeking revenge, Thomas straps up and buckles down, using his home-made tech and Rambo-esque weapons to protect his family and home, regardless of who the man in red is supposed to be.
Keeping the international gems rolling, the final midnight movie of the night comes from our sister to the South, Mexico! Santa Claus, also known as Santa Claus vs. the Devil, is a film from 1959 starring the jolly ol’ Saint Nick we know and love, but going toe-to-toe with Satan himself! The naughty list is far from the worst place for kids to be, as one of Lucifer’s minions returns to Earth during the Christmas season to tempt children into sin. Also, Merlin the Wizard is buds with Santa, and the North Pole workshop is in space!
With all that going on, it’s no wonder the 1960 English dub (the version we’ll be showing) was featured on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Christmas episode of 1993. Notably, the riff of this film may be the origin of the term “nightmare fuel”. If that doesn’t describe the spirit of the season, I don’t know what does!
Doors open at 7:30pm, so get there early and cozy up with some hot cocoa and your favorite ugly sweater!
Jingle All The Way (1996)
When it comes to the realm of so-bad-its-good, no podcast picks ‘em like our friends over at BOMBS AWAY! Join our hosts as we watch the horrible hit Jingle All the Way, and then proceed to roast it for a live podcast episode like it’s chestnuts on an open fire.
If you’re craving pure 90s schlock this winter, Jingle All the Way is the best of the worst. A comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger? Not a great start. Is he supposed to be an endearing figure, or is he really just a bad father? Candy cane nunchucks? Reindeer chases? Little person Santa getting punched in the face and flying across the room? You betcha!
Among the madness, however, there’s genuine hilarity to be found. There’s the conversation at the telephone booth that became a now-vintage meme (that still slaps), and Sinbad as a competitive mailman is just what you never knew you needed– and so is the line, “I work for the post office, and I’m unstable”.
So, get ready to laugh your stockings off and come see Schwarzenegger caught in a consumerist nightmare as he tries desperately to get his son the most popular toy of the season on Christmas Eve! Make sure to get there early to join the festive, 90s throwback pre-show!
Frida After Dark is awesomely weird this month, and we can’t think of a better way to wrap up the year! Thanks to our staff, volunteers, and guests, The Frida Cinema is going into the new decade with high hopes and all-new thrills for this eclectic late-night series. Though celebrations this time of year may come in different forms, we hope through it all, that you can spend some time with those that feel like home to you.
Season’s greetings and a happy New Year to all – we’ll see you back here in 2020!