Help an indie rock dive show Troll 2 on a Friday night without being sued
July 19, 2009 10:08 PM   Subscribe

I want to start a midnight movie night at the bar I work at. I would like to have a cheesy fun movie play(Flash gordon, troll 2, barbarella, heavy metal, etc.), and then have a band play. How can I do this legally? Who do I go to get permission from ? I need to do this as cheaply as legally can be done. Do I have to hop thru all the hoops that a real cinema has to, to show cult films from the 70's and 80's if there is a cover at the bar?

I would also like to know-what movies would mefites be driven to go to a bar to enjoy with all the other party animals at an indie rock dive?-
posted by donabean to Work & Money (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here you go.

Basically, yes. To be legal, you have to pay (even if you weren't charging cover). How much is going to depend on the film and other factors. Call the MPLC and ask. It's probably not too expensive for an older film with a small audience.
posted by Netzapper at 10:39 PM on July 19, 2009

1st question - related Askme and "best answer" here.

2nd question - I saw Mondo cane in a bar, and if nothing else this movie qualifies as a cult film.
posted by contessa at 10:42 PM on July 19, 2009

Repo Man - produced by none other than Mike Nesmith of The Monkee's fame.
posted by torquemaniac at 1:39 AM on July 20, 2009

Something from the Evil Dead series
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
Faster, Pussycat. Kill! Kill!
The Warriors
The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai
The Wiz
Plan 9 From Outer Space
Basically anything with zombies?
posted by JauntyFedora at 2:46 AM on July 20, 2009

Dark Star!
posted by Sutekh at 3:04 AM on July 20, 2009

I looked into this as a fund raiser when I was teaching. I found Swank Motion Pictures seemed to be one of the more straightforward places for handling the licensing.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!
posted by plinth at 3:14 AM on July 20, 2009

As a backup, some public domain flicks.
posted by starman at 4:48 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's a handy list of cult movies that are in the public domain. Including Night of the Living Dead!
posted by agropyron at 4:48 AM on July 20, 2009

2nding Repo Man. Also, two of my favorites: Willy Wonka and Scarface
posted by heather-b at 6:08 AM on July 20, 2009

The Wicker Man (the original 1973 version with Christopher Lee, NOT the stupid remake with Cage) packed a local NYC bar I was at a few years ago. So totally awesome.
posted by kimdog at 6:12 AM on July 20, 2009

Killer Klowns from Outer Space =)
posted by sprocket87 at 6:34 AM on July 20, 2009

In Sacramento we are fortunate to have the Trash Film Orgy, check out that schedule.
posted by geekyguy at 7:04 AM on July 20, 2009

Consider showing some silent movies and have the band provide a soundtrack.
posted by the bricabrac man at 7:20 AM on July 20, 2009

I would also like to know-what movies would mefites be driven to go to a bar to enjoy with all the other party animals at an indie rock dive?

From your description I assume you want a livelier/campier cult film (i.e. not Eraserhead). Forbidden Zone (with music by Danny Elfman) is a good mix of cult batshitinsaneness and campy fun. A more mainstream one would be Flash Gordon.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2009

You might contact the WPFS to see how they do it.
posted by grateful at 7:42 AM on July 20, 2009

Real Genius
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Edgy, with thanks to my college roommate who introduced me to them:
El Topo
The Holy Mountain
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Following the bricabrac man's suggestion: have the band improv a soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi.
posted by knile at 8:03 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Labyrinth!
posted by knile at 8:06 AM on July 20, 2009

Three Ray Milland classics:

X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes
The Thing with Two Heads

Three from director Larry Buchanan that improve when drunk:

It's Alive
Zontar Thing from Venus
Curse of the Swamp Creature


Horror of Party Beach
Shriek of the Mutilated
Spawn of the Slithis
posted by plastic_animals at 8:39 AM on July 20, 2009

Response by poster: these are great suggestions! I love me some holy mountain and el topo, and killer klowns i had totally forgotten.
posted by donabean at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2009

posted by tipthepizzaguy at 9:53 AM on July 20, 2009

Midnight Madness and the less obscure Canadian movie Strange Brew. Both ran continually on HBO in the mid- 1980s. Midnight Madness is, I believe, Michael J. Fox's box office debut. It is totally rad, as they used to say.

Any B movie shown on HBO from 1980-1985 would attract a boozy happy crowd.

I also can't help but plug two Patrick Swayze masterpieces: Roadhouse, perfect for a bar, and the perennial favorite Point Break.

If you showed any of these movies I would definitely show up for your movie night, and I bet a lot of other 30-something nerdy types would too.
posted by vincele at 10:40 AM on July 20, 2009

Donabean: if you love El Topo and Holy Mountain, there's a huge thread here of suggestions of movies that live up to Alejandro Jodorowsky's films.

In Columbus, Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails does this during the summer with movies like Karate Kid. If you don't mind paying for a few minutes of long distance (I have no idea where you are) you might try calling them at 614) 221-8300‎ and asking how they went about licensing the movies, or if they're getting away without licensing.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2009

If nobody's said it yet, Rollerball (1975 version).
posted by contessa at 11:45 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Add Roller Blade (1986) if you want to make that a double-feature.
posted by contessa at 11:46 AM on July 20, 2009

I once worked as a bartender in Pennsylvania, and we tried to have a movie night and it got shut down by the LCB, as they said it was tantamount to entrapment of sorts. They claimed that people would sit and drink for 2 hours while the movie was playing, whereas if it wasn't playing they may not have stayed so long or felt they were obligated to stay, so we were in effect entraping them to drink in our establishment. This was in the neighborhood of 20 years ago though, so things may have changed, or are state specific.
posted by goml at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2009

I just want to come to the bar. Where is it?
posted by JV at 8:48 PM on July 20, 2009

Logan's Run and Scanners. Oh! And Alice Sweet Alice! I love that movie. And The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Or the sequel. Actually, just about anything with Vincent Price. And anything remotely MST3k-y. And there's so much if you want to go the cheesier 80s route: there's always something like Zapped!, Harry and the Hendersons, or old afterschool specials (really, is doesn't get better than that). And, speaking of skating.. and Scott Baio.. Skatetown, U.S.A. (That's an ALL-STAR cast)!

I've never gone to it, but I know of at least one Philadelphia bar/concert venue that has a movie night. Surprisingly, they get a lot of recent movies that are out on dvd. They've been doing it for a few years, so it must be popular, and they must not have (m)any legal issues with it. I guess you could always contact them and ask their advice for running a legal and successful movie night. Either way, I think movie night is a great idea!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:49 PM on July 20, 2009

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