Trash cinema or schlock glories?
Mike White brings it on in a new book and Burton Theatre screening
Published: October 20, 2010
MT: And they lack depth.
White: Exactly. They'll just say what everybody else is saying. Is everybody just copying off an AP story?
MT: You'd rather talk about the ones you love and nobody knows about.
MT: Films such as, no doubt, Black Shampoo, which you're screening Sunday night at the Burton. I know it's one of your favorites. Can you give us an idea of what to expect.
White: It's a movie from the mid-'70s, kind of like blaxploitation's answer to Hal Ashby's Shampoo. Its protagonist is the baddest hairdresser on the Sunset Strip, a lothario doing his client's hair — and other things as well — and he finds that the love of his life has been sitting at the receptionist's desk the whole time. But she has had former dealings with the mob, and he ends up having to fight them for her, using sometimes a pool cue or a chainsaw to get her back. The 15-minute chase at end is a tour de force.
MT: So why does this film languish in obscurity?
White: It's somewhat offensive. It's softcore sexploitation, and some people don't really embrace blaxploitation that much. Hopefully with movies like Black Dynamite, people will go back and look at some of these films. The poster for Black Dynamite is right off the Black Shampoo poster, which is great.
MT: The magazine's done, the book's out, but you're still writing about film, right? What obscure genre have you found now?
White: I'm doing a Paracinema piece about movies starring talking genitals [laughs], so I'm still definitely looking for subgenres. Yeah, that's what I did with my summer: watching eight or nine films like that, including Pussy Talk, a French porn film with talking genitals.
MT: What's that like?
White: Kind of like Chatterbox, but a little less funny.
Join Mike White this weekend for readings, book signings, discussions, short films and a screening of Black Shampoo. At 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 24, at the Burton Theatre, 3420 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-473-9238.
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