Cinema Fiasco

Just when you thought the Melbourne world of film and theatre couldn’t get any better, Cinema Fiasco came along. For many years now, Geoff Wallis and Janet A. Macleod have been entertaining the masses at the Astor Theatre in St Kilda with their hilarious act, but now as part of the Melbourne International Comedy festival, they are running a season at Cinema Nova in Carlton as well.

Cinema Fiasco is a show like no other. Janet and Geoff are the ultimate duo; both comics and film experts, they choose a film each month that is absolutely appalling and then rip it to shreds for the mirth of the audience. Chock full of inappropriate humour and peppered with trivia tidbits of Hollywood history, the movie of their choice is played on the big screen with Janet and Geoff providing a running commentary during the viewing. “It is unashamedly low brow,” Janet assures those in any doubt of what they’re in for. “We do for bad movies what Speedos do for Tony Abbott – without us, it would be much worse.”

And it’s true. These movies watched in context would leave even the sharpest film buff scratching their heads. The dialogue cheesy, the plots incoherent and the special affects unrealistic to the point of childlike. But with the assistance of Ballarat born and BTV6 educated Janet and actor/writer Geoff, not only does viewing these abominations become enjoyable, it becomes downright addictive.

Among some of the titles screened are some truly horrific cinematic miscarriages like Blacula (1972), He Knows You’re Alone (1980), The Green Slime (1968), The Incredible Melting Man (1977), Night of the Lepus (1972), The Brain Eaters (1958) and even a holiday favourite, Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). The content of each film is deliciously deplorable, with Janet and Geoff making constant zingers and hilarious one liners throughout the dialogue.

It’s a unique way to go to the movies, and everyone should take part at least once. Plus, the candy bar prices at Cinema Nova are quite reasonable, with the added leisure of sitting comfortably and nursing a glass of wine in the dark theatre. Geoff and Janet will be playing their final show at Nova this Friday, with Vampire Lovers (1970), then back to the Astor for Troll II (1990), then moving on to ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) with Breakin’ (1984). Check out for session times and coming attractions.

Corina Thorose

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