From '50s sci-fi horror to exploitation flicks of the '70s to Mystery Science Theater 3000-worthy films of the present day, cult and b-movies have crawled out of the gutter and into the darkest part of our hearts. But here in Miami, subculture cinephines haven't had a place to come together to share their love of on-screen kitsch.
Until now. Gutter Films has cooked up, in the tradition of mad scientists, a film series in Wynwood that promises to deliver the bizarre, creepy, and downright disturbing.
"I don't know if it was the blood or sexuality that appealed to me or what, but it definitely stuck," Joey Halegua, founder of Gutter Films, said of his first encounter with the genre.
Halegua, a film production graduate of Chapman University, partnered with long time friends at LAB Miami to bring the near-forgotten treasures of B-reel magic and cult classics back. Gutter Films aims to inspire Miami's creative minds and enrich its film culture.
Gutter hosted its first event last month, themed "Zombies in Tropicalia," with screenings of Zombie (1979) and Shock Waves (1977). Those with a taste for film and flesh enjoyed scenes of underwater shark-fighting zombies and a Nazi zombie island. Halegua wrapped up Shock Waves with a special interview of one of the cast members, Luke Halpin, former child-star of the TV series Flipper (1964).
August's theme is "East Meets West," as cultures clash on camera with screenings of Black Belt Jones (1974) and Miami Connection (1987). (We told you Miami Connection would be back in theaters soon.) Think blaxploitation films with mafia, coke-stealing ninjas, and a crime-fighting rock band. All of Miami's favorite things in one place!
Black Belt Jones gets sudsy
"I'm not going to water it down. We're going to be showing some pretty nasty films," Halegua said.
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Halegua has admired everything from the works of Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava to Alejandro Jodorowsky and Stuart Gordon. And as the Gutter Films series continues, he'll be introducing Miami to them all when he brings all those grindhouse favorites to our own backyard.
Gutter Films will host Black Belt Jones at LAB Miami, 2750 NW 3rd Ave, Suite #11, Miami, FL 33127, Thursday August 9, from 7:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. Miami Connection will screen Wednesday August 29, from 7:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free. Visit facebook.com/GutterFilms.