Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 25
November 5, 1999
American Cinema Shoots Itself

Several days after Halloween in 1999, sophisticated New York cineastes were treated to a real horror film, American Movie, a documentary about two would-be filmmakers stumbling after the American cinematic dream. Director Chris Smith had spend the last years following the progress of aspiring Milwaukee director Mark Borchardt and his best friend Mike Schank as they worked on a horror film, Coven. Though some accused Smith of treating the two men as figures of fun, American Movie captures their passion for film and depicts their sometimes inept low budget methods, offbeat views and mispronunciations (such as Coven, which Borchardt pronounces “coh-ven”) with genuine affection. The film catapulted Borchardt and Schank to unlikely star status as they traveled the world with the film giving highly entertaining Q&A sessions, appearing on talk shows and, in the case of Schank, even playing a version of himself in a movie (Todd Solondz’s Storytelling.) American Movie was a cult hit for Smith and his producing partner Sarah Price, and the pair followed it up by co-directing another humorous doc The Yes Men (2004), about two political pranksters.


More Flashbacks
Alien May 25, 1979
Alien opens

Ridley Scott’s Alien opened May 25, 1979, and the metallic, murderous, viper-fast monster that terrorized a deep space crew on the starship Nostromo was inspired by low-tech special effect from a sci-fi spoof, Dark Star.

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May 25, 1979
The Brood released in USA

Ask any film fan to name a film about divorce, and some predictable replies — War of the Roses, Intolerable Cruelty, Kramer vs. Kramer — will come up. But what about David Cronenberg's The Brood? The 1979 horror film stars Oliver Reed as a psychotherapist whose experimental treatment causes one patient, played by Samantha Eggar, to spawn mutant children who act out her violent impulses.

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