November 23rd 2012. Pick Of The Day.

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Bette Davis promises a bumpy night and dear god in heaven does she deliver. Joe Mankiewicz oversees the proceedings, directing perhaps the bitchiest script in film history but also one of the most biting and caustic, Wildian in both wit and devastating character assassination. There was ONLY Bette Davis to play Margo Channing, and Astoria's Museum of the Moving Image gives with the 35mm happy as ALL ABOUT EVE screens at 7pm tonight. Yet this is not my Pick Of The Day.

Rober Aldrich pisses on any romantic notions of combat with his WW2 procedural ATTACK! Starring a granite infused Jack Palance and screening at MOMA these next two days. Bring some flint sticks for a snack. Not my Pick.

Lincoln Center's Film Society offers an anniversary screening of Luis Bunuel's THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE, 'cause they're like that. Runs for a week, it's awesome, it's to be experienced on the big canvas. Trust. But not my Pick.

Anthology Film Archives offers two repeat screenings from William Lustig's Warner Archives series, Michael Reeve's glowing sophmore effort THE SORCERERS and a lurid American gothic from the 70's THE TRAVELLING EXECUTIONER. Wanna re-create the 70's Times Square grindhouse experience in full? Anthology Film Archives is your joint. Still, not my Pick Of The Day.

And believe it or not I also forego both cinematic immortals DR. STRANGELOVE and JAWS, both screening at midnight tonight and tomorrow at the IFC Center, because what I believe to be a work worthy, underappreciated and nearly as influential screens also at midnight tonight. And this flick comes with drink service.

I reserve my Pick for a rarely screened or discussed yet very important little movie.

The holiday-themed slasher flick exists today as a commonplace conceit and has done for the better part of three decades, even as we've seen the initial masterieces of the sub-genre inspire tepid ripoffs and then both inspire even worse remakes that our modern day Padawan learners embrace emphatically. At least that's what my geek pals tell me. What's a Padawan?

But there was a starting point for this inventive combination of Italian Giallo and American Drive-In, and it came from one Bob Clark, the inventive mid-budget auteur behind the initial flop yet now revered A CHRISTMAS STORY. Only one other holiday film had the trajectory from box office disasater to iconic Xmas status, and that was directed by Frank Capra. Mister Capra, however, hadn't already created a Xmas classic of a different sort, one that would inform the multiplexes and the home video market for thousands of bloody titles to come, where a sorority house and its sisters were terrorized on Xmas Eve by a psycho who MIGHT be Santa. Without this flick, no HALLOWEEN, no FRIDAY THE 13TH, no Insert-Your-Fave-Holiday-Here Blaaaarrhh! So let's salute the Nitehawk Cinemas in Brooklyn for screening BLACK CHRISTMAS tonight and tomorrow at 12:15am, and for getting us properly soused in the process. Sneaking booze in is such a chore.

Folow me @NitrateStock on Twitter! Like at! Digest your food, bubeleh! We got a strong end to the month up ahead, and an even BETTER December slate awaits! Spread tha woid! Ketchyasoon!


-Joe Walsh