It’s been a busy month between planning, executing, and recovering from Monster Fest, but things are getting back to normal here at Fantasmo HQ. I’ll be posting some cool Monster Fest photos shortly, along with my long promised series on Australian horror, but first up it’s time to talk about the big November show. Few films screened over the years at Fantasmo have been as polarizing as the 1985 martial arts (and I use that term loosely) film Gymkata. For those of you who did not experience it at the two screenings in which it was unleashed, the film stars world class gymnast Kurt Thomas as a would be secret agent on a mission to secure the rights to build a Star Wars missile defense base in a fictional Eastern European country called Parmistan (ruled by a fellow who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mel Brooks). In order to achieve that goal he has to prevail in a treacherous competition known only as “The Game,” using his own special brand of fight skills that combines the precision of gymnastics with the kill of karate . . . Gymkata! It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds, and depending on your patience level for the absurd it’s really a love it or hate it type of film.
Crazy as it may sound the director of this legendary piece of cinema, Robert Clouse, actually had a pretty terrific resume prior to 1985. In fact, he was responsible for some bona fide classic action films in the 70’s. I guess Rob and I were feeling a little guilty for having only shown one side of this talented director (okay actually it was more Rob since I love Gymkata and felt almost no guilt whatsoever), so Episode 41 represents our attempt to set the record straight on Robert Clouse. First up we’ll be screening a film that both of us consider to be one of THE essential action films of all time, the ultimate Bruce Lee experience Enter the Dragon (yes amazingly Enter the Dragon was engineered by the director of Gymkata). Secondly is the mid-70’s post-apocalyptic classic The Ultimate Warrior starring Yul Brynner. If your only experience with Yul is The King and I and the like, prepare to be a lifelong fan. The Ultimate Warrior is basically a wildly entertaining hybrid of The Omega Man and The Road Warrior. If you enjoy either you will treasure this Fantasmo memory for years to come. Plus both of these are crackling new transfers that you absolutely have to see on the big screen . . . the way they were meant to be seen! Here are your full Episode 41 details:
When: Friday, November 7
Where: Chesapeake Central Library, 298 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322
8:00 P.M. – Enter the Dragon (1973) – Rated R
10:00 P.M. – The Ultimate Warrior (1975) – Rated R
So there you have it, what promises to be one of the coolest Fantasmos ever . . . and a long overdue attempt to clear the air on the talented Robert Clouse. As Enter the Dragon’s diabolical Mr. Han would say, “you have our gratitude.” See you there!