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Curated by Ocularis and held at the “urban beach” as if to reconstitute the golden age of the American teenager—monster movies, make-out beach partying, and a cooling dose of frozen kitsch—the P.S.1 summer miniseries is centered around two shopworn visions of gray creature-feature heaven. Dull and silly enough to evoke a lost dreamworld of straight-talking scientists and rubber-suited horror, The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) should be seen with an audience—the right audience—and lounging on beach blankets with 3-D glasses should help. Likewise, Robert Siodmak’s wondrously waxen Cobra Woman (1944), Jack Smith’s favorite movie (for its “realistic” bogusness), is priceless dime-store pulpitude in which Maria Montez became, at least for some, the century’s key cinematic figurine.
Preceding the features are a slew of hard-to-see shorts: horror-film trailers, travel-adventure promotionals, obscure ’60s Scopitones, and a 10-minute Castle Films “digest version” (the kind sold on 8mm in the back pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland?) of Karl Freund and Boris Karloff’s 1932 The Mummy. New, nasty shorts from what constitutes “underground” today dominate, however, mostly horror themed, often using found footage, and always knee-deep in psychotronic homage: Martha Colburn’s The Evil of Dracula, Peter Tscherkassky’s Outer Space, Naomi Uman’s Removed (in which the filmmaker cleanses the abuse from a ’70s fuck film with nail-polish remover), and George Kuchar’s 1966 Mosholu Holiday, in which the director’s Bronx neighborhood is presented for the delectation of exotica-seeking globe-trotters.