Saturday, December 11, 2010


Today is the day of BTSNAT! What is BTSNAT? The history traces back one year ago as alt.programming to the now famous BNAT, Butt-Numb-A-Thon, in which Harry Knowles celebrates his birthday every December with a highly secretive 24 hour movie marathon at the Alamo Drafthouse. It's not an easy event to get into so a few film geeks I've come to know and respect via Twitter & Fantastic Fest started BTSNAT last year as a counter movie event that occurs on the same day as BNAT. Make sense? BTSNAT stands for Brian Trenchard-Smith Numb-A-Thon.

Last year BTSNAT was held in Dallas. This year BTSNAT was in Austin. This marks my 2nd visit to Austin in as many months (1st visit was for Fantastic Fest). Wasn't sure I would even be here for this occasion but was encouraged by the other attendees. And I'm so damn glad I made the trip. The idea is that (almost) everyone attending selects a film they think the others haven't seen that fits the spirit of BTSNAT, i.e. somewhat obscure, bizarre, genre, etc. Interestingly enough (and unplanned?) a few films this year also are featured in Zack Carlson's already legendary Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. In addition, before each film, a "trailer bucket" is chosen for a themed group of previews to watch. Themes include exploitation, old spy films, horror, etc.

Last night I arrived and @Noahphex picked me up from the airport (he was gracious enough to let me stay at his place for the weekend). We headed to The Highball to see a few peeps and drink beers until heading back to his home for some convo until 2am. Got up this morning for brunch back at The Highball before gathering "supplies" for BTSNAT. Then over to @BTSjunkie's home to await the others (Brian Kelley hosted).

One by one the others began to arrive including @ReelDistraction, @BriguySalisbury, @ldmullen, and @VHSisthetruth. @RustyGordon was already there (BK's roommate). Now it was time to fire up the first film sometime before 2pm or so. Should note that before Noah's film, he presented us with the shower dance sequence clip from Gimme an 'F' (1984). Holy hell is that gold. Still gotta watch that entire film. Nice kick-off. Noah's feature pick was Dudes (1987), a DAM flick and one I've always wanted to see having owned the metal-laced soundtrack for over 20 years (ex. W.A.S.P.'s "Show No Mercy"!!). Directed by Penelope Spheeris, Dudes features Jon Cryer and Daniel Roebuck as punks on a coast-to-coast road trip until they encounter redneck trouble and seek revenge. Such a solid flick. Great start to BTSNAT! 6.7/10

In the second slot was Josh's pick Banned (1989). Before viewing he gave us the lowdown on this film's obscurity and how he came in possession of it. Just that bit of info had us excited plus it's another DAM flick! For a little background (from what I remember) Banned is a undistributed film directed by Roberta Findlay (Tenement, Prime Evil, Slash). Zack reached out to her when he was compiling DAM. Initially unsuccessful he eventually received the film from the film's writer which Josh was able to secure for our shindig. Apparently it's not been seen by very many eyes. That was enough to give me goosebumps.

The movie centers around the spirit of a dead punk musician, Teddy Homicide, that possesses a mild-mannered jazz musician using the same studio space where the punk committed suicide 10 years earlier. Should be noted that the ghost was living in the toilet. Ultimately the spirit begins to takeover leading to uproarious comedy and several WTF moments in an already strange flick. While not a "good" film in terms of high cinema this one already has a special place for not only being bizarre but with its back story and context. I love it. Just watch that trailer! (Here's an AV Maniacs thread about it) I feel very fortunate to have seen this. Hopefully some day I'll be able to share this rare treasure with my friends, big fans of DAM and punks in film. Thank you, Josh! 7/10

Next up was Brian Kelley's pick War Dog (1986), an action revenge hostage slasher flick from Sweden. Got that? Yeah, it's that kind of overall weirdness about the most unsuspecting hero that gets involved in uncovering a super soldier terrorist group that has brainwashed his brother. Features some of the bloodiest children kills I've seen plus ongoing hilarious stilted dialogue. And a waterpark massacre?! Has to be seen and heard to be believed (the voices are a riot). I need to buy that one. Excellent pick, BK! 6.8/10

Now it was Micah's selection, which he indicated would probably be better in slot 4 after we'd been drinking. His film Ring of Steel (1994) fit that mandate as it was a rather middling 90s fencing action flick (wha?). And it features Joe Don Baker, which was expected from Micah, as the evil Orson Welles-looking mastermind behind the underground fighting league. I say middling because it's the kind of flick that might languish on late night cable or Cinemax; people watch a few minutes then change the channel. Not me but most. I truly enjoy these kinds of awful 90s cheesy melodramatic action romps and this one delivered. Noah described it as "Bloodsport meets sword fighting." That's perfect. Not a crowd favorite but as I tweeted, this is kind of film I can watch everyday. Thanks, Micah! 6/10

So with the four principle attendee selections out of the way it was open to the rest of us to offer a film in slot 5. Originally I had a film in mind but called an audible at the last minute that returned us to the Destroy All Movies theme. My pick was Never Too Young to Die (1986), a film recently covered on GGTMC that I really wanted to watch. @uncoolcat was instrumental with the hook-up prior to my trip. Everyone at BTSNAT accepted my offering and it played fairly well. It features the son (John Stamos) of a secret spy (George Lazenby), recruited by undercover agent (Vanity) to stop the hermaphrodite terrorist Velvet Von Ragner, portrayed totally over the top by Gene Simmons, from poisoning the water supply. Yeah, pretty stupendous. Really adore this film in all its ridiculous glory. The dressed up motorbikes ruled. 6.8/10

Now it was time for the pre-programmed film, the sequel to last year's Lucky Seven, which everyone loved so much (and I still have yet to view). Lucky Seven 2 or also known as Magnificent 7 Kung-Fu Kids (1989) came in with high expectations but sadly (apparently) didn't live up to its predecessor. Still enjoyable for what it is; a group of seven kids trained in kung-fu assembled to stop an evil army. Had some cool moments but not enough of them. Still a good watch with the group. 6/10

By this time it was already around 3AM so the final BTSNAT film was prepared, a Brian Trenchard-Smith movie, of course. Brian Kelley had a few gems but the one he decided on was Happy Face Murders (1999), a movie produced for Showtime that stars Marg Helgenberger, Henry Thomas, and Ann-Margret as a wacky old lady who watches Matlock all day. While most of our crowd fell asleep during this largely slowburn cop procedural I kinda dug it as a CSI-prequel. Has many of the same elements and I wouldn't be surprised if this flick somehow influenced the genesis of that series which went on-air during the following year with Helgenberger as one of the leads. Not a bad watch at all with a few recognizable BTS touches. 6.5/10

Now around 5AM and most of all the beer and Four Loko consumed, it was time to call it. One helluva awesome day/evening of film watching with even better company. Can't ask for more than that. We were even treated with souvenir gift bags filled with candy, VHS tapes, 8-tracks, comics and old TV guides! Our tweets about BTSNAT sparked the interest of others who may venture to Austin or Dallas next year. Hopefully I'll be back as it's really unparalleled in my eyes. Good flicks and great company. Big thanks to Brian Kelley and Noah Lee for hosting and having me! Thanks to Micah for creating BTSNAT!

Read @ReelDistraction's excellent write-up of BTSNAT 2.
And check out @Noahphex's BTSNAT 2 write-up that includes our tweets.
  • December New: 27
  • December Re-watch: 3
  • December Total: 30
  • 2010 TOTAL: 747

1 comment:

guitarbrother said...

Glad to hear Never Too Young to Die went over well. Sometimes I worry it might be too high brow.