Movie News & Reviews

This year's trash films have their share of delights

The Zombie Walk that starts it always commands more attention (flesh eaters are such drama queens), but the six-week-long Trash Film Orgy late-night movie series offers its own pleasures.

Like the schadenfreude that arises from watching an actor’s performance grow worse and worse as a film progresses. Or the sense of wonder derived from seeing local participants’ colorful antics in stage shows preceding TFO screenings at Sacramento’s Crest Theatre.

Below is a rundown of the meticulously curated 14th Trash Film Orgy. All movies except Saturday’s series opener – the 2004 “Dawn of the Dead” – start at midnight. “Dead” starts at 11 p.m. Doors open 90 minutes before each screening. TFO films are for ages 18 and older.

“Dawn of the Dead” (Saturday): Set in a shopping mall, this 2004 remake of George Romero’s 1978 film serves as an allegory for consumerism. It stars Sarah Polley, now an acclaimed director (“Away From Her”; “Stories We Tell”). Knowing these things should let TFO patrons feel erudite in between on-screen zombie attacks.

“Pink Flamingos” (July 19): John Waters, honorary godfather of Trash Film Orgy and all other organized camp-fests, directed this 1972 vomitous-vérité wonder. It stars Divine (John Wayne to Waters’ John Ford) as a young woman competing for the title of “filthiest person alive.”

“Cannibal! The Musical” (July 26): Trey Parker directed and starred in this 1993 film before creating “South Park” and “The Book of Mormon” with Matt Stone. Expect characteristic Parker sensitivity in this tale of a frontier mining expedition gone wrong and the desperate acts that follow.

“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (Aug. 2): There’s nothing trashy about this movie, released in 1982. Showing it here is just an attempt to grab easy Trekkie dollars. I would say “crass” attempt, but TFO would take it as a compliment.

“The Thing” (Aug. 9): In this terrible 1982 John Carpenter film, scientists in Antarctica encounter an alien that absorbs people and assumes their forms. So yeah, Kurt Russell looks great with that beard and long hair. But there’s no guarantee it’s him.

“Showgirls” (Aug. 15): This 1995 film has undergone critical reassessments over the years, mostly because no one can believe its high camp level was unintentional. But the movie was supposed to be sexy and daring when it opened. Only Gina Gershon seemed hip to its camp-classic future, giving her star-dancer character a Joan Crawford archness. Yet nearly 20 years later, we still can say this for “Showgirls”: It’s never a bore, darlin’.