So this is old news, the Grindhouse Festival at the great New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. Programmed by Quentin Tarantino to celebrate the down-and-dirty cinema of his misspent youth — and of course coincide with his own Grindhouse release — the fest presents straight eight weeks of five dozen deliriously bad movies, including The Swinging Barmaids, Cry of a Prostitute and Yul Brynner’s Death Rage.
What’s (arguably) worth mentioning is that a couple weeks back I caught a double feature with a few friends, of Rino Di Silvestro’s The Legend of the Wolf Woman and Derek Ford’s The Girl from Starship Venus (aka The Sexplorer). Tarantino and Eli Roth were in attendance as well, and enjoying the New Beverly’s exceedingly reasonably priced popcorn, as well as trailers between the movies that included Cat People, scream queen Barbara Steele‘s The She Beast, the clip for the original The Howling, and Galaxina, with Dorothy Stratten.
Of the two flicks, the latter was probably more fun — a sort of more deliciously stupid cross between Carmen Electra‘s The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human and Jesus knows what, starring the beautifully vapid Monika Ringwald. As the titular “surveyor,” Ringwald moved through modern-day London from one amusing situation to another, discovering sensory experience via lascivious pans up and down a wildly gyrating stripper (Tanya Ferova), a sex room full of balloons (explained by a comedically leering guy looking to close the deal as offering a “certain tactile pleasure”) and, eventually, a bubble bath with a dorky, helmet-haired chap. The backdrop for all of this is literal-minded, cautious and increasingly hilarious and pleading voiceover narration from Ringwald’s unseen mission commander, who mans a ship that is — in the best tradition of low-rent, filmic practicality — a silver ball bearing. It’s long gone from the New Beverly, but if you’re predisposed to kitschy T&A romps and you can track down a copy, The Girl from Starship Venus offers up a great audiovisual backdrop for your next party.
The festival wraps up soon, meanwhile; today through Tuesday it’s a double-feature of 1977’s Jailbait Babysitter, starring Therese Pare, and 1974’s Grave of the Vampire. Also knocking heads April 29 through May 1 is 1973’s ultra-rare The Real Bruce Lee, along with Lee Lives Within. Double-feature admission is $7, but a discount card for eight admissions is only $32. For more information, click here or, if you must, phone (323) 938-4038.