The itinerant film series OVERDUE comes to BAM tonight with a 35mm double-feature of claustrophobic works of psychological terror from the mid-1990s: Abel Ferrara’s Dangerous Game (1993) and John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness (1994). The series, cocurated by film critics (and contributors to The L) Nick Pinkerton and Nic Rapold, makes its Brooklyn premiere after previous presentations at the 92nd Street Y Tribeca and Anthology Film Archives. The OVERDUE curators, who will introduce the 7pm and 9:45pm screenings, discuss both the broader series and tonight’s edition.
How did OVERDUE begin?
Nick: Nic and I both harbored a desire to dip a toe into the world of programming, though neither of us had the initiative, stamina, self-esteem, looks, or diligence to do so alone. Together, however, we form something like a single, complete programmer—something like Master Blaster in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, or the linked-together crippled masters in that one Hong Kong kung-fu movie, the name of which escapes me… Nic?
Nic: It was a little like Ender’s Game in that we thought we were fighting off an intergalactic insect horde and then it turned out we were actually presenting movies we thought were good and wanted other people to see. And with this answer, we end this charade of being separate entities.
What is OVERDUE’s curatorial mission?
In a very general way, I suppose you might say that it’s another means whereby we can proselytize for the things that we love or are at least fascinated or frustrated by, to draw attention to work that may not have received deserving attention, or to show these things in a new light. The name originally proposed for our roving cinematheque—which we still sort of prefer—was “Employee Picks.” Our good friend Cristina Cacioppo, the programmer at our previous home (the now-departed 92Y Tribeca) put the kibosh on this, as the organization was understandably nervous that someone might think that we were actually employed by it. Our curatorial idea was nothing more than that which was behind the classic Employee Picks section—this perhaps appealed to us, as one of us is a proud veteran of the Avenue A Kim’s Video, aka “The Mean Kim’s.” It was a way of singling out worthy titles and announcing that, as the late Franco-American rock critic Kickboy Face was said to have been fond of saying: “Thees ees zee reel shit.”
What would you like to say about Dangerous Game, In the Mouth of Madness, and the pairing of the two?
Pinkerton has actually written a cumulative 6,000-odd words on these films in the last couple of weeks that can be found here and here. In brief, both films are somewhat lesser-known/undervalued works by brand-name auteurs, Abel Ferrara and John Carpenter, released within about a year of one another. They’re also both concerned with the character of a creator whose work infringes on and consumes his life—a concept that both films interrogate. The subject of Dangerous Game is the director of a psychodrama who, as played by Harvey Keitel, bears a striking resemblance to the director of Dangerous Game, Abel Ferrara; the subject of Madness is an author of weird fiction who’s an amalgam of Stephen King and HP Lovecraft, whose fertile imagination may not be imagination at all. We suppose we relate because we’ve both been gradually devoured by our own personas.