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Noel Lawrence: Screenings And DVDs

By Mike Everleth ⋅ November 18, 2008

Experiments in Terror at the Engine

Noel Lawrence, formerly of San Francisco’s Other Cinema, is holding two new screenings in Los Angeles this week. This will close out his current collaboration with The Engine Theater in Hollywood.

The first screening, held on Wednesday 11/19, is another edition of Lawrence’s famous Experiments in Terror. I reviewed the second DVD compilation of the series, which was put out by Other Cinema DVD, last year and thought it was spectacularly eerie. So, I expect this new night to be an event of extreme disturbedness, including work by old favorites like Usama Alshaibi, Damon Packard and J.X. Williams, as well as some new creepy collaborators. (Well, I’m sure the directors are nice guys, but their films will be creepy.) But, most frightening of all will probably be the educational film from the American Dental Association. Seriously.

Then, on Saturday 11/22, Lawrence will be presenting a full night of work by the legendary J.X. Williams, plus a work-in-progress screening of J.X. Williams L.A., Lawrence’s own documentary on the troubled and mostly forgotten filmmaker. Well, he won’t be forgotten if Lawrence has any say about it. He’s the leading expert on Williams and, in addition to this documentary, he heads up the J.X. Williams Archive. Williams had such a crazy career, I’m going to excerpt Lawrence’s brief bio of him here:

J. X. Williams was a legendary bottom-of-the-barrel director in the fifties and sixties, pushed even lower by his Commie leanings. On the skids, he drifted around the Continent making cheapo features and the occasional nudie reeler, like the infamous porn parody The 400 Blow Jobs. In the late fifties, he fell in with the Chicago mob, helming a number of shakedown films used to extort dough from debauched politicos and celebs.

The full lineups of both of these screenings are below. But, before I get to them, I also want to mention that Noel Lawrence has a new DVD label, Provocateur Pictures. Right now, there’s only one DVD available, but two are soon on their way in early 2009.

Ready to buy now is Rob Nilsson’s documentary about John Cale, Words for the Dying. Provocateur has a distribution partnership with Microcinema International, so you can buy the DVD on their site. Coming next year is Saul Landau’s Fidel documentary as well as the new Experiments in Terror 3, featuring work by Mike Kuchar, J.X. Williams, Carey Burtt and Marie Losier & Guy Maddin, and more.

Finally, here’s the dates, times and full lineups of the two screenings at the Engine Theater at 1636 Wilcox in Hollywood:

Nov. 19
8:00 p.m.:Experiments in Terror
Hold My Scissors, dir. Usama Alshaibi (Watch online)
Visions of Terror, dirs. Rodney Ascher & Josh Fadem
Dawn of an Evil Millenium, dir. Damon Packard
The Haunted Mouth, by the American Dental Association
Terror!, dir. Ben Rivers (Watch online)
It Gets Worse, dir. Clifton Childree
The Virgin Sacrifice, dir. J.X. Williams
The Red Door, dir. Jason Bognacki

Nov. 22
8:00 p.m.:Underworld Cinema: The Life and Work of J.X. Williams
Satan Claus
The Virgin Sacrifice
The Showdown
Peep Show
J.X. Williams L.A., dir. Noel Lawrence and Chris Manz