July 8th, 2008


I thought the point was NOT to be seen.

I should have mentioned a few weeks ago that the Neo-Futurists' annual It Came From The Neo-Futurarium! "film fest" is back this summer with a fresh lineup of truly terrible films presented as hilarious staged readings. As it is, my negligence may have already caused you to miss the delightfully peppy presentation of Beach Blanket Bingo, as performed by The Revelettes; and the jaw-droppingly ridiculous circus-noir Ring of Fear.

I especially should have mentioned all of this as I am one of the curators of this year's festival, and in addition to performing in next week's presentation of Pat Boone proselytizing vehicle The Cross and the Switchblade, I have also done most of the script adaptation work on the following week's Ninja III: The Domination, which my wife hssst is directing.

Funny thing about Ninja III. When co-curator Jessica Anne and I chose the film for the lineup we assumed it was a somewhat obscure title, lacking the wistful nostalgia one associates with something like this week's film, Masters of the Universe, or the seductive hearsay of our festival's last film, Coyote Ugly. Its lack of similar cache, we felt, provided a nice counterbalance to the more infamous films in the lineup.

However, for whatever reason, the film--and not the franchise, mind you, just this particular installment of the Ninja series--seems to enjoy some sort of amazing cult status here in Chicago that we had not been made aware of beforehand.

Every night after Too Much Light, when we pitch the festival to our audience, I'd been noticing that the mention of Ninja III had been eliciting wild whoops of approval and declarations of future attendance, far more than I'd been expecting.

Then I discover that the film is this weekend's Midnight Movie at the Music Box Theatre.

Then I find out that two weeks ago, when the Neo-Futurarium was subjected to a surprise fire code inspection minutes before our Sunday show (we passed), the fire inspector made a dry comment that he should have given us a citation on principle because, to paraphrase, "Ninja III is an AWESOME film."

Seriously. I have no idea what it is about this celluloid travesty that inspires such devotion amongst my fellow Chicagoans, but there it is. Come see it, one night only, at the Neo-Futurarium on July 24th. And then tell me how the film works as anything but highly unintentional comedy.