December 28, 2013
The Odd Obsession Foreign Film Series is on the 4th Saturday of every month at 7pm, followed by the Impala Sound Champion DJs.
This month's feature film is CHRISTMAS EVIL, a 1980 slasher film directed by Lewis Jackson. He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, and it's best not to get on his bad side in this quirky thriller that's gained a loyal cult following. Harry Straddling (Brandon Maggart) was traumatized as a child, when late at night on Christmas Eve, he walked into the family living room and saw his father, dressed as Santa Claus, having sex with his mother. Now grown to adulthood, Harry is malignly obsessed with the holiday season, particularly the myths of Santa Claus; he works for a toy company, he sleeps in a Santa suit, his apartment is stuffed with Christmas memorabilia, and he spies on the neighborhood children, keeping track of who has been good and bad. Harry's insistence that the toy company maintain high manufacturing standards does little to endear him to his co-workers, and his brother Phillip (Jeffrey DeMunn) thinks Harry has started to go off the deep end. One day, Harry snaps, and after dressing up as Santa, he steals a truckload of toys and delivers them to a mental hospital as presents for the young patients -- all well and good. But when Harry is then confronted by a group of people who don't believe he's Father Christmas, Harry reacts with violence, setting off a murder spree. Terror in Toyland (which was first released as You Better Watch Out and is now available on video as Christmas Evil) also features Patricia Richardson, who makes her film debut in a small role more than a decade before she gained fame on the TV series Home Improvement. Danny Federici of Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band also has a cameo, as an accordion player at a community center dance.
INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN CHANKIN, ODD OBSESSION MOVIES:
Brian Chankin, owner of Odd Obsession Movies, curates a monthly foreign film screening at The Whistler. Post-film shenanigans normally include dancing odiferous hip types and a slew of DJs playing hundreds of pounds of records. Dave Matta of Impala Sound Champions sat down with Chankin to talk about the store, his affinity for late-‘80s dancehall tunes, and "The Twins of Evil," among other topics.
Dave Matta: For the readers that don`t know much about your store, can you break down what’s really happenin’?
Brian Chankin: Well, Mr. Matta, as you know I'm an obsessive collector of very specific types of art and media. Currently I'm on hand-painted movie posters from Ghana and reggae records, but collecting obscure movies has been a pastime of mine for 20+ years. In 2004, I opened Odd Obsession with my personal collection of 3,000-ish titles, primary composed of pieces I thought were either hard to find and/or interesting in whatever way. Now, 8 ½ years later, the store is going strong, sporting some 20,000 unique titles ranging from current indie features, foreign classics, ‘70s American exploitation, Italian Horror, Third World action films, contemporary African cinema, experimental pieces, documentaries and everything in between, from the ultra obscure to current Hollywood. My goal with the store has always been to make movies I know and like readily available to the general public at an inexpensive price. Rental prices are $3 for 3 nights or $4 for a week, and just about any title we carry or don't carry can be special ordered for purchase. We have an ultra knowledgeable, unpretentious volunteer staff who will educate you like crazy on stuff you never knew existed. We're in Wicker Park at 1822 N. Milwaukee Ave. You can check our database at oddobsession.com. Ya'll should come by.
DM: How do you pick the films for the Odd Obsession night at the Whistler?
BC: I pick each feature as painlessly as possible. We've set it up so the only criteria for curation are that the features chosen are not made in the United States. I definitely favor things made in the ‘70s and ‘80s; aside from that, the stranger, more colorful, more soundly provocative, the better. Past screenings have included "Mystics in Bali" (Indonesia, 1981), "Macunaima" (Brazil, 1969), "Countryman" (Jamaica, 1982), "Hausu" (Japan, 1977) and “Demons” (Italy, 1985).
DM: The dance party following the flick is DJ’ed with all vinyl. You have a lot of records, right? How many of them are Jamaican related?
BC: Hah! Yes, I have a lot of records. At this point I have around 7,000. Somewhere around 5,500 of them are Jamaican. Another 500 or more are made somewhere in Africa. Right now we have a small selection of records for sale at Odd Obsession. In the next couple of months, expect to see thousands more records—many of them reggae—for sale in the shop. We're all very excited for this.
DM: So yer pretty into reggae?
BC: Yes, I like reggae very much. Especially dancehall tunes from the late-‘80s up until the early ‘90s. The names Prince Jammy, Nitty Gritty, Super Cat, Tenor Saw, Pinchers, and Sister Carol mean a lot to me.
DM: You have a lot of pets too. What’s up with that?
BC: Oh yes. I have 2 conures (parrots) who live in the shop. Their names are Ferdie and Marianne, though more commonly referred to as "The Twins of Evil". They've produced two sets of babies in the store over their tenure here. And then of course there's Precious (the cat). If you don't know about Precious, movies aside, she's reason enough to come visit the store. Nuff said.