Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday Return to the Alamo!
Sorry about that exclamation point, citizen, but we’re excited af
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
12:05PM, Wed. Sep. 15, 2021
That’s right, possibly rabid filmlovers: After 19 months away, the Alamo Drafthouse’s legendary genre film series Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday are set to return next month at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.
Terror Tuesday is back on October 5 with A Nightmare on TV Street, and Weird Wednesday follows on October 6 with found-footage compilation The Lost & Found Video Mixtape.
And then the series will continue each week – yes! – with all the mindblowing pleasures onscreen and the culturally thick camaraderie of communal moviewatching among the nonvirtual, in-person, actual meatspace audience.
You remember, right? Like in the Before Times?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as if we’re trapped in some fucked-up time loop thriller or whatever. What are these first nights back featuring, exactly?
Terror Tuesday will be hosted, just like before, by Joe Ziemba, longtime TT programmer (and creative director of the American Genre Film Archive). And Weird Wednesday will be presented by Laird Jimenez, longtime WW programmer, who’s also the Alamo Drafthouse’s Head of Video.
“I’m doing an exclusive mixtape called A Nightmare on TV Street,” says Ziemba, who’s been busy as hell with the research and the mixing and the splicing. Scars, we imagine: scars on the man’s nimble fingers. “The whole thing is cut together specifically for Terror Tuesday,” he says, “and it’ll never be shown again. It’s a collection of some of my favorite episodes of TV horror shows from the Eighties and Nineties, put together in a mixtape with commercials and other fun stuff.”
“Like Joe, I’m doing a mixtape,” says Jimenez. “I’m presenting The Lost and Found Video Night – which Joe also cut together. And it’s, ah, anyone who went to independent video stores in the late Nineties or early Aughts probably saw these DVDs called Lost & Found Video Night, that were compilations of found footage cut together by this guy in Atlanta. So it’s, you know, James Brown high off his mind on CNN, it’s Siskel and Ebert sniping at each other, it’s random clips from made-for-TV movies, random musical performances that this guy saw and said, ‘I’m gonna put this next to this and make these wonderful compilations.’ They were underground tapes that were traded around, put out by Five Minutes To Live, and Vulcan Video used to carry them. For people like me, who are into found footage, they were like holy grails. They kind of set a tone for everything that came after, like Everything Is Terrible and TV Carnage – all those people that were doing stuff after these Lost & Found tapes existed. So, Joe took ten volumes of that series and condensed it into one Best Of show, and that’s what we’re starting off Weird Wednesday with.”
That’s what the Alamo is starting off with, yes – the week following this year’s Fantastic Fest, no less – and then of course continuing, abetted in their dire, relentless machinations by the vast cinematic holdings of the Austin-based American Genre Film Archive.
So that's a good thing, and now our job here is done. Except –
Had just one more thing to ask these guys, before ending the interview. Had to ask them, “Hey, Joe and Laird, this whole COVID thing we’ve been dealing with, right? Did y’all, being genre film fans, did y’all notice any resonance between everybody’s pandemic situation … and any of your favorite movies?”
“Ah, well, sure,” allowed Jimenez, after that slight hesitation. “You’ve got stuff like, ah, The Mafu Cage and The Bitter Tears of Petra van Kant. Sure. Anything that’s, like, characters in one location, kind of losing their minds.”
“Characters in one location,” he says, “kind of losing their minds.”
Sounds a bit like the crowds at Terror Tuesdays and Weird Wednesdays, doesn’t it?
And long may they prosper.
Note: These beloved programs return just in time for the release of Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive. Written by Lars Nilsen and a host of genre champions and edited by Kier-La Janisse, Warped & Faded tells the story of the “Wild West days” of the Weird Wednesday film series and AGFA. The comprehensive and gorgeously designed book, available on November 16, 2021, can be pre-ordered now.