Another late summer has rolled around, so that means it's time for the ceremonial July-August KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival. Huh? The customary what?
The word "Psychotronix" is a variation on Michael Weldon's Psychotronic History Of Cinema, the encyclopedia of all varieties of under-the-radar B-films: monster movies, horror films, science fiction, cheap comedies, rock 'n' roll flicks, etc.
The KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival presents a unique and hallucinatory excursion through the irritated bowels of popular culture.
That delirious mix includes trailers from truly wretched movies, well-meaning 50's educational films, schlocky drive-in movies with guys in stupid-looking robot and gorilla suits, vintage TV commercials and theatre ads, cartoon rarities, Japanese monster epics, Scopitones, Soundies and other even more deservedly obscure musical shorts, silent film clips, kidvid, serial chapters, puppet animation, double-entendre packed pre-Code bits and more.
Robert Emmett, host of "The Norman Bates Memorial Soundtrack Show", presides over the festivities with panache, bon mots and a boatload of cheesy door prizes.
The festival is a reaction against all standard rules of film programming. Instead of devoting a screening to one director, one genre or one series, our celluloid concoctions throw a wide variety of films from different places, genres, techniques or time periods together.
As far as content goes, the more obscure, the lower the budget, the more under-the-radar, the better. If we can establish a subject link or a Monty Python-esque visual or verbal link between the segments, great, but this is not absolutely necessary. Or to make a further Monty Python reference, this could be called the "And Now For Something Completely Different" approach to film programming.
The shows are essentially improvised, with archivist-producers Bob Ekman, Scott Moon and Paul F. Etcheverry creating the program on the fly, responding to audience reaction and choosing films accordingly.
We consider the evening a smashing success when the audience starts heckling the entertainment before the projection lamp goes on.
The next KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival will occur on Saturday, July 27, from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM, in room 5015 on the Foothill College campus in the lovely Los Altos Hills, El Monte exit off of Highway 280.
While 7:00 p.m. is showtime, get be there early, as the hall frequently sells out. The $5 admission benefits the fearless KFJC 89.7. Attendees will also need $3 for a parking permit.