The Austin Chronicle

Going Oneiric

Dick Blackburn Brings 'Lemora' to the Drafthouse

By Louis Black, October 24, 2003, Screens

If no film were being shown, it would still be worth going to the Alamo Drafthouse Village just to hear the extraordinary stories of Lemora director Dick Blackburn. Co-writer of Eating Raoul, contributor to The Catalog of Cool, connoisseur of culture items too weird and esoteric to even be considered cool, few can tell as many great stories as well as Blackburn, a gifted mimic who has often supported himself doing voices, can. They range from his days as a UCLA film student to hanging out at Phil Spector's to dubbing foreign films to running with some of Hollywood's stranger folk. Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973, one of its many titles) is otherworldly spooky and it features Rainbeaux Smith (cult favorite for her performances in Caged Heat, The Swinging Cheerleaders, and others). It also stars Lesley Gilb, but the best stories are about Smith. Long almost impossible to see, this horror film gained near-mythic status, but a recently discovered print has excited intense interest. The British have long loved it, noting, "Lemora is nothing less than a subversive fairytale for adults ... leavened with a fierce anti-Catholicism that recalls ... the works of Luis Buñuel. ... Although the scenes with Lemora's forest-dwelling zombies are fairly gruesome, the film is, above all, a work of oneiric suggestion and (incidentally) considerable eroticism." One horror Web site offers, "Not everything old, classic or kitsch necessarily wears well simply by virtue of being such. Nevertheless, mellowed wine still leaves a richer taste than newer vinegary lemons, as is certainly the case with the rare, re-released Lemora, Lady Dracula, once also billed as The Lady Dracula and The Legendary Curse of Lemora. ... This cult chestnut is more intelligent, scary, humorous and effective than hyped recent genre efforts by, say, Coppola, Jordan and Carpenter." What more could you ask for ... considerable eroticism, oneiric suggestion, Rainbeaux Smith, and Blackburn?

Lemora screens on Saturday, Oct. 25, 7:30pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse Village (2700 W. Anderson, 459-7090). Dick Blackburn will be in attendance. For more information, visit

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