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REEL WILD CINEMA! PDF Print E-mail
Written by by FRANKLIN E. WALES   
Nov 27, 2004 at 07:00 PM
"Nowadays you go to a movie, and for your seven-fifty you get to see the movie, but there's no show," says Marty. "It's all eye candy now. There's no fun anymore. " The days of the Grindhouse theaters and the double bill drive-ins screening pictures like "Double Agent 73," "Two Thousand Maniacs," and "The Mad Doctor Of Blood Island" have sadly passed us by. Gone along with them is the guilty junk food binge thrill of they brought. We're not talking motion picture nourishment here. We're talking popcorn munching, throwing Sugar Babies at the screen, movie fun.
It was a desire to capture and preserve a little bit of that essence that propelled Marty, along with Mike Varney (Something Weird Video) and Jimmy Maslon to create the coolest show on television today: REEL WILD CINEMA. (Sundays at midnight, EST, USA Network.)
REEL WILD CINEMA'S goal is to pay tribute to the days of the exploitation film maker. The men and women on the outskirts of Hollywood who understood the power of a dream, the value of a gimmick, and the need for a great marketing hook. Those who weren't afraid to shoot for what was outrageous or unthinkable for the major studios of the era. Today, thanks in part to chain theaters and generic video superstores, these Hollywood outlaws are slipping into obscurity.
But for those who remember posters with tag lines like YOU WON'T BELIEVE YOUR EYES!...PACKED WITH DANGER AND THRILLS...FUEL INJECTED ACTION...and GRUESOMELY STAINED IN BLOOD COLOR!...REEL WILD CINEMA is an island of salvation in the bland politically correct world of what passes as entertainment.
Taking their cue from the exploration kings of yesteryear, REEL WILD CINEMA understands the value of providing something that the Big Guys won't. "It's a show about movies for people who love movies," Mary points out. "We're trying to preserve something that's no longer present in entertainment, and that is show business. The Show of show business. The showmanship of the great pioneers like Dave Friedman, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Doris Whishman, and the like. Introduce them to people who've never heard of these films, or remind the people that do already love them that they're not forgotten."
Each week hostess Sandra Bernhard brings forth carefully crafted programs under such titles as Sci-Fi Mutant Invasion, Evil Carnival Of Horrors, Dope Pushers And Vice Dolls or Burlesque Beauties. A typical episode features a hodgepodge of campy old commercials, health-Ed films, an interview with a "B" name, previews, and three feature films. That's a little hard to do in a one hour format, so the features are edited down to opening titles, cool endings, and a scene or two from the middle. As Sandra once put it, "We've shortened our little films so you can still watch our show and go out later and get into a bar fight!"
Sandra's sarcastic, sometimes cynical viewpoints are a welcome change from your typical Elvira styled movie hostess. It's obvious that she is a fan of these films, and their creators, yet she doesn't let that stop a biting remark at times. During the conclusion of DAMAGED GOODS, a campy film about the dangers of promiscuous sex, a starchy doctor tells one unfortunate lad, "You don't get syphilis from spoons, dirty glasses, or toilet seats...If you'd lived a hundred years ago I wouldn't have been able to help you. Even as short a time as twenty years ago the cure would have been prolonged and dangerous. But thanks to modern medicine, and the fact that we caught your case early, we'll be able to lick it before it does any real damage."
Sandra's dry comment at the film's conclusion was, "Personally, I never want to hear a doctor tell me he can lick my syphilis. No matter how soon he detects it."
For Marty Sokol a love affair with b-grade exploitation movies came at a strange time. While preparing for collage, Marty rented a copy of the H. G. Lewis girl-biker flick, "SHE DEVILS ON WHEELS". "I'd never heard of Hershell Gordon Lewis," he admits. I never, in the furthermost reaches of my imagination, knew a movie like that could possibly exist. It opened my eyes to a whole world of independent film that I never knew existed." For better, or worse, the die had been cast.
Seven years later Marty met and befriended Jimmy Maslon (Jimmy had purchased the rights to the entire catalog of H. G. Lewis films) "I said, 'Jimmy, I would love to make a TV show with all these outrageous movies.' He said, 'You should meet my friend Mike Varney.' Within a week the three became partners. Within three, the concept of Reel Wild Cinema had been sold.
Facing the unlikely time slot of Sundays at midnight, and very little promotion from the network, RWC had to depend a great deal on insomniac channel surfers and word of mouth. Understanding this has kept REEL WILD CINEMA a true audience participation program. Each week the show receives over 1000 responses through e-mail, and somehow manages to answer them. When a second season was in question, a call was issued via e-mail for fans to write to the USA Network. The response was phenomenal and a second season granted.
One thing for certain, REEL WILD CINEMA will have no lack of material. By utilizing the seemingly endless supply of outrageous movies from the massive Something Weird Video catalog, REEL WILD CINEMA has enough material to run for years. There is even a catalogue of REEL WILD CINEMA top quality videos and tee shirts for sale.
REEL WILD CINEMA...Check it out this Sunday at Midnight eastern on USA. Then drop the boys a line at

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