The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, regularly screens some of the raunchiest, craziest exploitation flicks ever made, and two of its main instigators, Lars Nilsen and Zack Carlson, are bringing their collections of 35mm prints on a four-city West Coast tour. On Wednesday, April 22, the Hollywood Theatre will see Trailer War!, a joint program with Dan Halsted of Portland's Grindhouse Film Festival, who says to expect "kung fu, no-budget horror, blaxploitation, spaghetti westerns, Filipino weirdness, and indescribable sleaze. These are the two top exploitation film collections in the country going head to head."
Of Thursday, April 23's "hicksploitation" double feature of Gator Bait (1974) and Psycho from Texas (1975) at the Clinton Street, Halsted says, "These movies came right after the fall of the production code. Everyone was pushing the limits of what they could get away with in a movie." We also spoke to Nilsen and Carlson about what to expect.
MERCURY: Why did you decide to take this show on the road? CARLSON: It'd be selfish of us to only screen films like Psycho from Texas and The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger in our own city. It's a moral imperative to get movies like these in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
What's the process of selecting the trailers for Trailer War!? NILSEN: We'll probably just bring whichever box is nearest the door on our way out.
CARLSON: He's referring to the box labeled: "R.I.P.—Dan Halsted."
NILSEN: Most of these movies are worth seeing on their own. CARLSON: What gets a viewer's blood boiling in a trailer will remain compelling in the feature itself. Admittedly, there are people that enjoy exploitation trailers but don't have the attention span to endure entire films of the era. These people are called "dipshits."
Are you gonna mop the floor with Dan's trailers?
CARLSON: I'll mop the floor of the theater if Dan will let us sleep on his couch.