A short introduction to Volume 2
By David Jenkins
We relish this chance to unearth four cinematic gems, each of which sheds light on the weird cultural enclaves of American society during the mad mid part of the 20th century. Each film has been lovingly restored by the byNWR team, each dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. This meandering tour of the counter-counter culture begins in Malibu, California, as Dennis Hopper is entranced by a circus mermaid (or is she?) in Curtis Harrington’s extraordinary pulp oddity, Night Tide, from 1961.
Then things get way gnarly and chillingly moralistic as we take a detour to the bowels of Hades in the well-turned-out company of firebrand Mississippi baptist minister Estus Pirkle, care of the Ron Ormond-directed deuce of If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971) and The Burning Hell (1974).
Then for a triple shot of melancholy down old Ohio way, it’s JL Anderson’s Spring Night, Summer Night, a genuine lost classic which was originally re-edited into a piece of tawdry erotica and released into a bunch of fleapit cinemas before descending into obscurity.
To run alongside these wonderful films, we have created a selection contextual stories, art pieces and videos for your delectation. Created by valued members of the LWLies extended family, these aim to highlight the importance of the films, but also to playfully spin-off their themes and content.
For example, alongside deep-dive examinations of Night Tide and the life of its fascinating director Curtis Harrington, we take a look at real life mermaids, offer a history of decrepit theme parks in movies, and also how Tarot is used as a device in both cinema and real life decision making.
For the two Pirkle missives, we’ve taken a look a screen depictions of Satan, a classic movie about the fall of communist witch hunts in America, and a glance at vintage church fashions. And then for Spring Night, Summer Night, we take a long hard look at the vibrant history of hillbilly music, the rise of incest in pornography during the video era and a look at hardscrabble lives (and domestic beers) in the Appalachian region.
We sincerely hope you’ll enjoy these stories and will watch these utterly unique films.