Since the dawn of time (a.k.a. 2014), Milwaukee Record has been a proud sponsor of the Milwaukee Film Festival‘s Cinema Hooligante program. A place for all things weird, wacky, bloody, and bizarre, it’s our kind of program. And in 2019, it’s our kind of OH MY GOD THIS YEAR’S LINEUP IS ABSOLUTELY NUTS program.
So let’s get right to it. You already know about the screening of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me with special guests Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer) and Ray Wise (Leland Palmer). But there’s more. A lot more. Want a classic film like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? You’ve got it. Want new films like Tim Heidecker’s Mister America and a documentary about the 1980s horror film industry and A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge? Here you go. Want local films like Mark Borchardt’s legendary Coven (screening in 35mm!) and Tate Bunker’s new The Field? Done. Want live events, kid-friendly anime, adult-friendly anime, the latest from Takashi Miike, the return of shorts program “The Best Damn F*#@ing Midnight Program Ever. Sh*t,” and a 35mm screening of Showgirls? YES YOU DO.
The 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival runs October 17-31. The complete film program and schedule will be released September 26 at the Program Book Launch Party at Good City Brewing. Tickets go on sale October 1 for Milwaukee Film Members and October 3 for the general public. Here’s the entire Cinema Hooligante lineup, courtesy of Milwaukee Film:
USA | 1963 | Director: Alfred Hitchcock
It took Alfred Hitchcock three years to follow up Psycho, but when Hitch reemerged in 1963, it was with this classic thriller of looming dread and unprovoked violence, in which all of the birds in a small Northern California town start to inexplicably attack the populace. Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, and Jessica Tandy starred, and MFF 2019 special guest Veronica Cartwright (Alien, The X-Files) appeared in her first major film role. Beware the skies!
USA | 2000 | Director: Mark Borchardt
No good deed goes unpunished for Milwaukee native Mark Borchardt, who wrote, directed, and starred as Mike, a writer with severe drug and alcohol problems. Mike finally seeks help in the form of a support group, but soon realizes he’s unwittingly joined a demonic cult. Imagine Midsommar, but with a distinctly Wisconsin setting and black-and-white cinematography that evokes the creepier side of our natural landscapes. This local cult classic will be projected in a 35mm print from the director’s own collection, followed by an extended Q&A.
Everything is Terrible: LIVE
What do you get when you combine puppets, Jerry Maguire VHS tapes, and a whole lot of camp? Everything Is Terrible: LIVE! The psychedelic, one-of-a-kind show is back, with more costumes, ridiculous found footage, and late-night shenanigans. Join your favorite cult of VHS fanatics as they showcase never-before-seen videos and live performances.
USA | 2019 | Director: Tate Bunker
A city couple buys a farm in rural Wisconsin, but Green Acres this is not, as someone (or something) appears to be lurking in the shadows of their new home. What is their small town covering up? And can they—and their marriage—survive it? Multiyear MFF alum director Tate Bunker returns just in time for the Halloween season with this PG-13-level spooky tale, joined by a parade of local faces, plus Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Veronica Cartwright (Alien).
First Love (Hatsukoi)
Japan | 2019 | Director: Takashi Miike
A boxer with a brain tumor and a call girl who sees ghosts fall in love one night in Tokyo and then fall headfirst into a drug-smuggling adventure in this action-packed wild ride through the crime-ridden nighttime. Creative and colorful, this film is overflowing with splashy visuals and outrageous scenarios. Takashi Miike is the quintessential auteur of late-night international film, and First Love is him at his anarchic, over-the-top best.
USA | 2019 | Director: Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe
In an overly colorful, deliciously warped version of suburban America that feels like The Stepford Wives met David Lynch at a lawn party and then they snuck off to do acid, writer/director/stars Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe play soccer-mom frenemies in deranged competition with one another. Golf carts, braces, golden retrievers, soccer balls, and yoga teachers all play way bigger roles than you’d expect, and SNL’s Beck Bennett co-stars in this demented, original vision.
UK | 2018 | Director: Peter Strickland
A surrealistic London department store houses a beautiful red dress that is clearly more than just a dress in this strangely horrific tale of fashion, capitalism, and curses from MFF alum Peter Strickland. When a lonely woman makes the mistake of buying the dress, true terror begins to reign. Evoking the strangeness of Black Mirror and the horror of an Argento story, this film will make you never look at your clothes the same way again.
I Lost My Body (J’ai perdu mon corps)
France | 2019 | Director: Jérémy Clapin
A severed hand escapes the laboratory it’s imprisoned in, and sets off on a journey through Paris to find its body, relying on its memory of pizza boy Naoufel and his love for librarian Gabrielle as a guide. MFF shorts alum Jérémy Clapin makes her feature film debut with this critically acclaimed animation, perfect for big screen viewing. Sensitive and beautiful, I Lost My Body examines the body’s ability to store memories through a unique and surprising story.
Knives and Skin
USA | 2019 | Director: Jennifer Reeder
A teenage girl disappears in a rural Midwest town, setting off a bizarre chain of events both tragic and comical. Murder, grief, teen angst, and generational gaps collide as the local teens and their parents grapple with the tragedy that has struck, in sometimes very odd ways. This stylized and quirky indie crime film evokes Twin Peaks and Heathers, but with a refreshing new lens that creates a mystical teen noir genre all of its own.
USA | 2019 | Director: Eric Notarnicola
Tim Heidecker, of Tim and Eric fame, successfully takes the piss out of our current political moment with this incisive mockumentary about a man who attempts to run for San Bernardino District Attorney after beating a murder rap. With a lack of funding, Tim tries to connect with constituents on an individual level, but his ego, ignorance, and horrific past don’t serve him well. Irreverent, satirical, and painfully relevant, this is the political comedy that 2019 desperately needed.
Brazil | 2019 | Director: Daniel Nolasco
Welcome to the second annual Mr. Leather competition, where five São Paulo men vie for the title against a backdrop of political unrest, Tom of Finland reenactments, personal journeys, and lots and lots of leather. Visually sumptuous, this hyperstylized, splashy, sexy, and surreal doc is a wild ride through the Brazilian fetish community, but also a personal look into the lives of the individuals who have found a home within it.
Japan | 2019 | Director: Kitarô Kôsaka
When Okko’s parents die in a car accident, she is sent to live with her grandmother at a rural Japanese inn, whose motto is welcoming all and rejecting none, which becomes very clear after she begins to meet the friendly ghosts who live there. Okko struggles with these new-found acquaintances until she begins to learn that helping others is the key to finding happiness, in this beautifully animated film which will delight all ages.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
USA | 2019 | Director: Roman Chimienti & Tyler Jensen
In 1985, Mark Patton starred in A Nightmare on Elm Street sequel Freddy’s Revenge, as cinema’s first male “scream queen.” As a gay man playing a role that was trashed as “too gay,” his career was ended. This doc explores the 1980s horror film industry, Hollywood fame and infamy, and Patton’s current fight to set the record straight on his legacy. From horror conventions to in-person confrontations with Freddy’s Revenge cast and crew, this film lifts the veil on Hollywood, homophobia, and the horror industry.
USA | 1995 | Director: Paul Verhoeven
Presented in 35mm, this gleefully trashy remake of 1950 Best Picture winner All About Eve reunited director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas—the team from Basic Instinct—for a sordid, exploitative tale of Las Vegas dancers in catty competition with one another for the starring role in a big show. The campy, NC-17 result was universally panned upon release, but it’s become a celebrated cult classic in the nearly 25 years since, as is fully explored in its double feature partner, the documentary You Don’t Nomi.
China | 2019 | Director: Zhang Yimou
Master Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) is back with his best film in years, and he continues to be a visual innovator in the wuxia genre. In what almost feels like an ancient Chinese Batman movie, a military leader goes against the king’s will and deploys a shadow lookalike as a secret weapon in the art of war. Yimou’s action and martial arts set pieces are breathtaking as ever; just wait until you see the umbrellas!
USA | 2019| Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Hunter has it all: she’s a stay-at-home wife, newly pregnant, with a perfect husband and a completely idyllic life – until an odd desire to swallow a marble turns into an overpowering addiction to consume dangerous objects. Hunter’s family begin to control her life, leading to terrifying and surprising results. This award-winning and critically acclaimed horror/satire is an unpredictable and unique examination of the pressures on women and mothers and the fight to retain bodily agency.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
USA | 1992 | Director: David Lynch
The death of Laura Palmer kicked off David Lynch’s ‘90s cult classic TV series, Twin Peaks, but the character never really got her due until this acclaimed prequel film. Fire Walk With Me finds Laura in the last week of her life, looking at her double life and the nightmarish circumstances that instigated her murder. Twin Peaks is arguably the crown jewel of one of the most fascinating auteur careers in cinema history, and this is the first story in that saga.
USA | 2018 | Director: Emma Tammi
On a desolate 1800’s Midwest landscape, a constant wind howls and frontierswoman Lizzy begins to sense an evil presence coming from the earth. Her concerns escalate when another couple moves onto a nearby farm and the only neighbors in hundreds of miles add to the landscape of terror. This quietly disturbing female-centric horror film explores the terror of motherhood, relationships, neighbors, and the earth itself.
You Don’t Nomi
USA | 2019 | Director: Jeffrey McHale
In a pairing that makes the phrase “double feature” sound like a double entendre, the infamous cult classic Showgirls is being shown in 35mm, back-to-back with a vivid exploration into the film’s legacy. You Don’t Nomi is the superhero origin story of how a film that was panned and bombed upon release can, over time, become something like a cultural touchstone. After hearing impassioned defenses from several prominent critics and scholars, you may find yourself among the converted.
Shorts: The Best Damn F*#@ing Midnight Program Ever. Sh*t.
Every year, we gather all of the strangest, scariest, nuttiest, and most generally subversive short films we can find and package them together for a crazy, debauched night at the grindhouse. So gather your friends and prepare to let the feelings wash over you. Or maybe you’ll just feel like you need a shower afterward. One or the other. Or maybe both!