Sunday, October 31, 2004

Horror of Politics and Politics of Horror

A Halloween Double Feature

Roxie Theater

Co-presented with Roxie Cinema ands California College of the Arts

Remote Control Voting: Antonio Muntadas and Marshall Reese’s Political Advertisement 2004 2,4 and 6 pm

Like Bruce Springsteen in “57 Channels and Nothing On,” we channel-surf pointlessly. Then, just between Olympic diving and Pimp My Ride, we stop on a talking head in a blue serge suit saying something deadly serious about America, its friends and foes. Every four years, electioneers engineer promo spots that commercialize ideology as just another discount-shopper’s object of desire. For an appropriately timed Halloween show, installation artist Antonio Muntadas and poet and video artist Marshall Reese present the latest version of their ever-expanding Political Advertisement, a series of campaign commercials stretching back more than fifty years, just as the medium and the message first became acquainted. By running these spots back-to-back without commentary, Muntadas and Reese allow their all-star cast (Eisenhower! Nixon! Ford! Regan! Bush!) to dig their own graves (and ours) in primetime. “Feeling Good about America,” Ford’s ’76 spots promised. If only… (Steven Jenkins)

The American Nightmare 8 pm

In the early 1968, away from Hollywood, a small, low-budget movie by the name of Night of the Living Dead jump-started a reinvention of the North American horror film. George Romero in Pittsburg, Tobe Hooper in Austin, Wes Craven in Connecticut, and David Cronenberg in Toronto began to incorporate social commentary and limb-hacking, gut-spilling effects in place of political metaphors. No more giant ants masquerading as communism or blood-sucking vampires, the monsters are our neighbors and family members. Interviewing the masters of the genre, with generous clips from their works, The American Nightmare (Adam Simon, 2000) shows how film sublimated disturbing media images of the Vietnam War, the turmoil of a war-time, racist society, and the darker side of the sexual revolution. (Konrad Steiner)