The  warehouse that became The Alchemist Hall was a storage area for an old government agency that had left behind crates of old movies and books.  The boxes were dusty and some of the movies were damaged and beyond repair but in the end the time spent watching them and deciding which should be shown first was time well wasted.

The idea of a museum is to have displays or screening rooms that  allow visitors to pick the movie they want to watch when they want to watch it and so it is in The Strange Museum. Here are the first movies to be seen categorized ... because I like to catergorize.

 

   

Movie of the month
The Birdcage

In this remake of the classic French farce "La Cage aux Folles" engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman and Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart) shakily introduce their future in laws. Val's father Armand (Robin Williams), a gay Miami drag club owner, pretends to be straight and attempts to hide his relationship with Albert (Nathan Lane), his life partner and the club's flamboyant star attraction, so as to please Barbara's father, controversial Republican Sen. Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman. Diane Weist also stars as Sen. Keeleys wife.

The Commitments

Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins), a self-proclaimed promoter, decides to organize an R&B group to fill the musical void in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland. The band comes together but ends up consisting entirely of white musicians who have little experience with the genre. Even though their raw talent and lofty aspirations gain the group notoriety, the pitfalls of fame began to tear at their newfound friendships as they prepare for their big show. Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle.

Music video of the month

                   Tragically Hip - The last show  20 August 2016 - The K-Rock Centre, Kingston

        

Exploitation Movies

Exploitation filmmakers hoped to capitalize on the taboo subjects of venereal disease, sex before marriage, lesbianism, etc. while skirting the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 which forbade a film from containing such content. Films like this would tour the United States for years - mostly being shown in rundown, skid row theaters. This film has been re-edited and re-titled ("Human Wreckage", "They Must Be Told", "Trial Marriage", "About Trial Marriage") many times to attract the same audience to film, to take advantage of a taboo subject which may have gotten press recently or to appease local censors who disapproved of the film's content.

Also, if you are interested in the rich, uniquely American history of exploitation films, there are two excellent books on the subject:

"Forbidden Fruit - The Golden Age of the Exploitation Film", Felicia Feaster and Bret Wood, Midnight Marquee Press, 1999.

"Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! A History of Exploitation Films, 1919 - 1959" Eric Schaefer, Duke University Press, 1999


     Reefer Madness (1938)
Considered THE archetypal sensationalized anti-drug movie, but it's really an exploitation film made to capitalize on the hot taboo subject of marijuana use.

1 hour 08 mins
     Sex Madness (1938)
This is a typical sex exploitation film from the early 1930s - complete with wild parties, sex out of wedlock, lesbianism, etc. A chorus girl's exposure to the "casting couch" also exposes her to syphilis.

51 mins 57 secs

What To Do In A Zombie Attack


A series of 1950 short films on how to survive a Zombie Holocaust.

15 mins 31 secs
     
 
Ephemeral Film
 VD Is For Everybody (1969) . VD -- is for everybody
Not just for the few
Anyone can share VD
With someone nice as you

VD -- is for everybody
Darlin' have no doubt
That anyone can get VD
That's what it's all about

Sing along now ....
Viet Nam era poster 1 min 01 sec
Feature Film
     


   
Dishonoured Lady (1947)


Madeleine Damien is the fashion editor of a slick Manhattan magazine by day and a lively party girl by night. Unfortunately, the pressures of her job, including kowtowing to a hefty advertiser, and her bad luck with men are driving her to a breakdown. She seeks the help of a psychiatrist, and under his orders, quits her job and moves into a smaller flat under a new identity. She becomes interested in painting and a handsome neighbor. He soon finds out about her past when an ex-suitor implicates her in a murder.
 
1 hour 24 mins 
   
Suddenly (1954)

"Three gunmen, who have been hired to assassinate the President, hold a family hostage while waiting for their target. Interesting B film which focuses on psychopathic killer well-portrayed against type by Frank Sinatra."
 
1 hour 15 mins 
    
The Stranger (1946)

 Set Connecticut after World War II, The Stranger is a cat and mouse game between Wilson (Edward G. Robinson), a member of the Allied War Crimes Commission and Franz Kindler (Orson Welles), a Nazi who has assumed the false identity of Dr. Charles Rankin.
To complete his new intelligentsia disguise, Kindler marries Mary Longstreet, daughter of a Supreme Court justice.
1 hour 35 mins 
     
Film Noir
     
    Beat The Devil (1953)
 This movie has not become a cult classic for nothing. Among its other merits, it is one of the few films where a film noir is mixed with a comedy.

'Beat the Devil' is a fine piece of work by Houston, Capote, and Bogie. Its totally enjoyable. Good pacing, snappy dialogue, plenty of atmosphere and unusual locales. The plot has a half-dozen twists and surprises--and more than a few chuckles are to be had, at the wild antics of the outlandish cast of characters.

1 hour 40 mins 
     Detour (1945)
 In a classic poverty-row noir, the protagonist struggles helplessly in the grip of inexorable fate.
This was the first poverty-row film chosen by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry, in 1992. Don't miss it.

1 hour 8 minutes
    Scarlet Street (1945)
 "Sultry woman's boyfriend has her hook middle-aged clerk for his money, leading first to ironic and then tragic complications.
Second of a pair of closely related middle class nightmares directed by Fritz Lang. (Remake of Jean Renoir's 1931 French film, La Chienne.)" - noir expert Spencer Selby

1 hour 42 minutes
     He Walked By Night (1948)
Gripping film noir crime drama about a manhunt for a ruthless killer who plays a deadly cat and mouse game with the police.
Starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Whit Bissell, and Jack Webb, this movie was the basis for "Dragnet". Watch for Whit Bissell, the unsung but solid bit player who has appeared in hundreds of films and TV shows
 
1 hour 18 minutes
 
Sci Fi/Horror
     

   Carnival Of Souls (1962)

 Atmospheric 60s B-horror film with a cult following.

Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around with two friends but everything goes wrong when challenged to a drag race and their car gets forced off of a bridge. The car sinks into the murky depths, and all three women are assumed drowned. Some time later Mary emerges unscathed from the river. She tries to start a new life by becoming a church organist but Mary finds herself haunted by a ghostly figure that instills fear and dread into her.
1 hour 22 mins