So far our Roundtables this year have been all about celebrating the past; this time it’s about looking to the future—whether by adding a new section, taking the existing ones in new directions, or by finally getting to that project…

1000 Misspent Hours and Counting A Cold Night’s Death (1973) There’s trouble up at the Summit Laboratory of the Tower Mountain Research Station. Dr. Vogel, conducting a primate study of prolonged exposure to high altitudes and restricted diets at the behest of NASA, has fallen completely silent after several weeks of increasingly incoherent and disturbing communications with his colleagues at the mountain’s foot. Toward the end, he was even exhibiting such clichéd psychotic symptoms as reporting conversations with the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Alexander the Great.
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting The Eyes of the Panther (1989) That would be Jenner Brading, who is played by the 20-something C. Thomas Howell (Camel Spiders, The Hitcher), even though he’s supposed to be pushing 80. The combination of rubbery old-age makeup and Howell’s hapless efforts to portray a man half a century his senior yields arrestingly absurd results. I somehow couldn’t look at him without thinking of Mark McKinney’s Chicken Lady character from “The Kids in the Hall.”
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting The Seventh Curse (1986) Yuen punches first and asks questions later (for a doctor, his kung fu isn’t half bad), but he’s ultimately no match for Hak Lung. Instead of delivering the expected finishing blow once Yuen is down, however, Hak Lung merely immobilizes the doctor and tells him that his blood curse is now a year old. No, Yuen doesn’t understand what that means, either.
1000 Misspent Hours and Counting Son of Samson (1960) You should pretty much disregard the historically illiterate opening narration of the US version. If Egypt is having problems with Persian cavalry raids, then this isn’t the 11th century BC, but the 6th. Also, screenwriters Oreste Biancoli and Ennio de Cocini seem to have skipped a pharaoh, since “Armiteo” sounds to me like an Italianate garbling of Ammis, whereas the pharaoh who was conquered and ultimately executed by Shah Cambyses was Psamtik III. How much historical accuracy can we expect, though, from an old sword-and-sandal flick, right? Besides, Son of Samson is about to posit that the Egyptians disapproved of slavery, which is easily the most fantastical thing about this movie.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! Wake In Fright (1971) Though Wake In Fright has lost none of its power to disturb (and if anything, the hunting sequence is even more controversial these days), it is now not merely appreciated, but widely considered one of the greatest Australian films. It is a unique piece of cinema, one that manages to portray a particular time and place, and yet to capture something timeless, too. Visually, it is stunning—and intimidating. Plenty of films since have used “the outback” as their setting, but none of them are so profoundly of and about the outback, nor managed to do better in conveying its disturbing sense of suffocating vastness.
H-8… (1958) If difficult, H-8… is also a remarkable film in many ways; not least if we consider that nothing remotely like it had been attempted before in Eastern Europe (and had only occasionally done so outside it). It is a thoroughly humanist film, hurting for the characters and deeply angry with the driver of the car—to whom the film is, with heavy sarcasm, “dedicated”; not so much for the recklessness that caused the crash, as for the cowardice shown afterwards. It is this sense of empathy, shot through as it with an aching awareness of the unfairness of life, that places H-8… in an entirely different category from the films it superficially resembles.
Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension    
Teleport City    
The Unknown Movies