By SHAWN MACOMBER
“I’ve got kind of a platonic ideal of a ‘bar movie,’ ” Cult Status NYC founder and programmer Anthony Bartkewicz tells RUE MORGUE. “You want people to have fun, so you don’t want to hit them with sexual violence or torture or anything too sleazy, but you do want to shower them with spectacular, cheap gore and monsters and bizarre ideas.”
Bartkewicz is applying that idea, along with considerable genre passion and expertise, to Cult Status NYC, a new monthly Bronx-based showcase that kicks off on Halloween night (next Wednesday, October 31) at Kirvens bar (736 Lydig Avenue). Three screens at the venue will play NYC-based horror flicks from the ’70s and ’80s, and there will also be blood shots, grave digger and zombie cocktails, plus a costume contest with a top prize of a $75 bar tab covered.
Discerning dark-culture connoisseurs may recognize Bartkewicz’s name from his vibrant, killer heavy-metal journalism and columns or his stellar Gimme Radio extreme music show, GRAVE CONVULSIONS. But his horror roots are deep, deep, deep as well. “If anyone knows me for anything, it’s for things related to music, primarily writing and DJing,” Bartkewicz acknowledges. “But during the same period in the ’80s and ’90s, when I was heavily into underground music like punk, grindcore, industrial and all that stuff, I was almost as deeply involved in horror. I traded tapes with people all over the world. I read FANGORIA and GOREZONE and DEEP RED like bibles. It was so easy to pick up a random ’zine or do a trade and fall into some new wormhole of Italian exploitation, Hong Kong action and American weirdos like Jim VanBebber grinding out these gnarly movies. I’ve always wanted to write about this stuff or be more involved with it, but it never really happened, outside of a super-nerdy letter that got published in Fango and my short-lived DECIBEL column, Kvlt Status.”
The actual films being shown at Cult Status NYC are a closely held secret, but the promise of “mutants, monsters, mutilation, mayhem, zombies and more” offers a window into Bartkewicz’s preferred general aesthetic. (Hints are slowly being posted at the event’s Facebook page as well…) “I’m lucky to have Kirvens as the place to do Cult Status,” Bartkewicz says. “The owner and managers seem to be really dedicated to making some culture happen around here, and love that these weird, grubby little movies will be a part of it. This is my stab at DJing movies and paying tribute to this culture that has played a huge part in my life.”