The infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space was one. Anything from Troma Entertainment would be considered psychotronic.
The Psychotronic Film Festival is returning to The Sentient Bean with a treasure trove of film that is weird, obscure, interesting, different. Founded by psychotronic film buff and collector Jim Reed -- whose day gig is music editor of Connect Savannah -- this festival offers a something odd for everyone.
Screenings will be held at 8 p.m., with seating beginning at 7:30 p.m. All seats will cost $6, which includes not only the movie, but a raffle ticket for hundreds of dollars in prizes that will be given away at each screening. Tickets go on sale at The Bean on the morning of the day they are to be shown.
This year’s offerings include El Toro, a spiritual-oriented psychedelic Western on Nov. 13; Hands on a Hard Body, a documentary about an unusual contest, on Nov. 15; Tears of the Black Tiger, a Wild West plot line with Asian themes, on Nov. 17; the action film Deadly Prey on Nov. 20; Adisaya Piravi from India on Nov. 22; and Farewell Friend, a caper film with Alain Delon and Charles Bronson, on Nov. 24.
Recently, Connect Savannah caught up with Reed for a quick interview. (Which wasn’t difficult, since he “works” here.)
Connect Savannah: Just what is a “psychotronic” film?
Jim Reed: “Psychotronic” is a term that was coined in the early ‘80s by an avid cult film buff who needed a memorable way to categorize a wide variety of unusual or just plain bizarre films that cut across standard genre lines. He started a magazine -- and eventually wrote a well-received reference guide -- celebrating these marginalized classics and turkeys, and since then, “psychotronic,” which was taken from the title of an obscure indie sci-fi movie, has become synonymous with oddball cinema.
Connect Savannah: What is it about psychotronic films that intrigues you?
Jim Reed: I have great reverence for any motion picture which seems designed to appeal to only a small segment of the public, as opposed to most movies which are made to attract as many people and make as much money as humanly possible.
Connect Savannah: When did you first discover psychotronic films?
Jim Reed: I’ve been watching and collecting little-known cult films for decades now.
Connect Savannah: I understand you show films at The Sentient Bean. Why did you decided to start doing this?
Jim Reed: A few years back, when The Bean expanded to include a large space devoted to live music and spoken word shows, I saw the potential for it to be used as a screening room as well. The owners and staff have been encouraging and supportive ever since. I started the series and the annual festival because I was disappointed that Savannah lacked a dedicated art-house theater.
Connect Savannah: Describe the typical psychotronic fan.
Jim Reed: Witty, intelligent yet approachable, stronger than they appear, filled with ennui, secretly sensitive, preternaturally jaded. Oh, wait a minute. That’s the typical psychotronic film curator.
Connect Savannah: Tell me about the lineup for this year’s festival.
Jim Reed: We have a little something for everyone. We have a tremendously entertaining award-winning documentary called Hands On A Hard Body, which I just learned Robert Altman is basing his next narrative feature on. We also continue in our tradition of showing laughably awful films with Deadly Prey, a terrible -- and terribly funny -- low-budget rip-off of the first Rambo film that has to be seen to be believed.
Connect Savannah: Are there some highlights you’re especially looking forward to?
Jim Reed: Many of these films I had to book on reputation alone, sight unseen, so I’ll watch them for the first time with an audience. I’m most looking forward to the “lost” 1968 French crime caper Farewell Friend, starring Alain Delon and a young Charles Bronson, and Adisaya Pirava, an Indian movie that has gained international notoriety from a popular clip on YouTube featuring a half-naked midget break-dancing to bad hip-hop music on a boom-box. ç
The Psychotronic Film Festival takes place nightly at The Sentient Bean, 13 Park Ave., through Nov. 24.