The Vortex Room screens rare reels at Thursday film cult nights
Janet takes her art very seriously, attracting attention from a creepy established artist (Larry Swanson) famous for oil portraits of hideously distorted faces. Meanwhile, models, art students, and miscellaneous youth-on-the-beach keep "disappearing."
You can guess what happens. But among Scream Baby Scream's many surprises are a long LSD trip sequence (protagonists go motorcycling on the highway! Feed baby elephants at the zoo! Imagine themselves as monkeys in a cage! Interpretive dance!), scenes at a psychedelic coffeehouse, a party setpiece with groovy band the Odyssey (plus go-go dancers and liquid light projections), and zombie ghouls on the loose.
There's also nudity, pot smoking, and a lot of relationship arguments. The last half hour takes a weird left turn into Vincent Price terrain, complete with a gloomy old mansion, a mad-doctor flashback, and so forth. The movie was clearly intended for drive-ins at best, but it's colorful, fast-paced, and ever so delightfully wrong. Directed by little remembered B-pic toiler Joseph Adler, it was an early big-screen writing credit for Cohen, showing signs of the perversity that would later result in 1973's Black Caesar, 1974's It's Alive, 1976's God Told Me To, and 1988's Maniac Cop, to name a few.
Trash will spotlight the rest of the Vortex's May schedule next week. A $5 donation gets you into these Thursday screenings. For that dough, you could buy half a ticket to Bridesmaids. Please don't tell me that's a tough decision. (Dennis Harvey)
ART, OBSESSION, AND FILM CULT
Scarlet Street, Thurs/12, 9 p.m.;
Scream Baby Scream, Thurs/12, 11 p.m., $5
1082 Howard, SF