Notes from the attic: Álex de la Iglesia

We have an employees movie club here at Hittsville where we explore the wide world of film--from foreign art-house to trash cinema, from forgotten classics to current blockbusters, we watch it all. And, yes, sometimes it turns into Mystery Science Theater 3000 (especially if Steph shows up). So, in order to share what we've watched at movie club and maybe help you pick out a movie on Friday night, I'm starting the Notes From The Attic series here on the Ragtag blog. I can't promise super regular postings, but I'll try my best. Let's get started!

Some of my favorite films have come out of Spain: The works of Almodóvar, Tesis, Abre Los Ojos, Pan's Labyrinth. Last year a friend let me borrow El Dia de la Bestia (The Day of the Beast) by Alex de la Iglesia. I believe this is a cult movie in Spain (or maybe it's really popular--I don't really know) but it's right up my alley. It's about a padre who discovers the upcoming birthday of the Antichrist and travels to Madrid to destroy him...with the help of a metalhead and a TV psychic. Like the other two de la Iglesia films I've seen it's a violent, outta control mess of fun.

What one man will do to stop the end of the world.

Calling the Dark Lord.

Things are about to get crazy.

I believe The Day of the Beast had a US release on VHS but I don't think it's had a proper DVD release yet. I had to buy a copy from Korea.

Right after Alex made Day of the Beast he made Perdita Durango, aka Dance with the Devil. Listen to this cast: Javier Bardem, Rosie Perez, James Gandolfini, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins! You ever heard of it? I didn't think so. It's a plotless rambling mess--kinda like a Spanish Natural Born Killers (even though it's mostly in English). But it has its merits. Javier Bardem is great as a drug-smuggling, voodoo-practicing lunatic. The exact opposite kind of crazy you see from him in No Country for Old Men. Worth watching if you're in the mood for a coal-black comedy.

Oh man! is he crazy.

Screaming Jay does a good job acting crazy too.

Ooh, she looks evil.

The Last Circus. Maybe you saw this recently at Ragtag. If you didn't, you missed out on a completely insane film...which might be a good thing, depending on whom you ask. It's ultra-violent (in an almost cartoonish way), depraved, and full of insane characters. It's the story of two clowns driven to madness by love and obsession. I've only seen these three films from Alex de la Iglesia, but this might very well be his magnum opus.

The film starts with an awesome scene from the Spanish Civil War.

The Spanish title is Balada Triste de Trompeta, which is A Sad Trumpet Ballad. Doesn't really have an action-movie ring to it, I suppose. The Last Circus is available at 9th Street Video (on Hitt).