Everyone loves a mystery. Like a game show contestant deciding between curtain one or two, dozens of people packed into Jumpcut Café on Ventura Blvd., Studio City, Sunday April 28, for a screening of an unknown movie. When the organization Secret Sixteen, said they had found a rare film that has disappeared since its VHS release in 1983, fans rushed to the screening to watch.
Secret Sixteen is holds screenings at the Jumpcut Café a few times a month. Most of them are aimed at horror fans and all of them are for any type of movie buff. These rare screenings are shown on 16mm film, making the experience fuzzy, static and all the more unique for those of us born to the digital age.
In 1983 Gorman Bechard directed the mess that is “Disconnected.” A movie he wanted nothing to do with, leaving it behind in the crappy VHS pile.
Secret Sixteen obtained the reel from Bechard by “various means” they said. Once the room was full, the event coordinator revealed that the movie wasn’t good, but was more artsy and experimental.
The film was definitely experimental to say the least; featuring out of place montages, a lack of editing and a soundtrack that doesn’t exactly mesh with this slasher film. For example, imagine the “Miami Vice” theme song playing while someone is getting dramatically stabbed. Talk about awkward.
The film starts with Alicia Michaels (Frances Raines) who lets an elderly man use her telephone, but is confused when he appears to have left with the phone off the hook. After this, Alicia begins to have trouble with her phone as it rings constantly with either no answer or a loud, unpleasant muffled sound coming from the other end.
The audience is given clues about the calls when she breaks up with her cheating boyfriend and his jerry curl, and begins dating a strange man named Franklin (Mark Walker).
Since the mysterious calls weren’t enough of a plot for writers Bechard and Virginia Gilroy, there are also women being randomly murdered throughout the film.
I won’t give that many details away, but the film turns weird when the film skips from to a detective dropping Alicia off at her house. It’s as if the climactic scene wasn’t even filmed, although it seems vital.
The first reel ended after this, causing the audience to think it was over until they were informed that it was, in fact, not over and still had eight more scenes on a second reel.
It was as if Bechard remembered he never solved Alicia’s phone problem and needed to throw that in. This portion of the movie is crammed with two montages, one consisting of still photos shot in sepia tone, and the confusing answer to who has been calling.
Overall, the film was not that good, but interesting and definitely one to laugh at with a group. Fans left satisfied and ready for the next secret screening. In the words of Franklin, “see ya, bye!”
To find out when is Secret Sixteen’s next special screening, follow them at facebook.com/secretsixteen or call them at 818-986-2233.