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It takes a certain type of crowd-pleaser to satiate the ravenous appetites of the midnight-movie crowd. Some touchstones: quotable dialogue, numerous opportunities for crowd participation, and above all, trashy spectacle. The District, like many cities, has recently fallen under the spell of Tommy Wiseau’s nouveau classic The Room, with some local theaters offering what feels like biweekly screenings. However, E Street Cinema is attempting to take a road (a little) less traveled this fall, interjecting a bit more variety into its normal repertoire of feel-good nostalgia hits (and The Room). The first week of October offers Pink Flamingos, John Waters’ now infamous classic about the glories and indignities of the self-proclaimed “filthiest people in the world.” Normally, I don’t gauge the quality of films by their ability to make me dry heave, but Pink Flamingos, which will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary(!), still triggers my gag reflex every time. If you’ve thus far managed to avoid witnessing a scantily clad Edith Massey in a crib clamoring for eggs, it’s about time you succumb to said primordial urges. Delirious and depraved, Pink Flamingos is tailormade for boozy late-night gawk fests and—do not disappoint me, D.C.—outré costume contests. Less notorious but potentially more bizarre is House (Hausu), the 1977 Japanese head-scratcher that’s been touring the art-house circuit after being revived by the Criterion Collection, which will release the film on DVD this October. Having seen only bits and pieces at a 3 a.m. showing last year, I can assure you that this confounding gonzo-horror film defies any/all categorization. Suffice to say, its creepiness is outdone only by its genuine hilarity; you won’t look at your demented aunt’s haunted mansion and her blood-spewing cat in the same way again.
PINK FLAMINGOS SHOWS AT MIDNIGHT ON FRIDAY, OCT. 1, AND SATURDAY, OCT. 2. house SHOWS AT MIDNIGHT ON FRIDAY, OCT. 15, AND SATURDAY, OCT. 16. BOTH FILMS AT E STREET CINEMA, 555 11TH ST. NW. $8-$10. (202) 452-7672.