If you're like me, then you love Suspect Video. Not so much for the movies that they rent but for the bins of discounted VHS cassettes they're getting rid of for three bucks a piece. If you get past the copies of straight-to-video Van Damme features and mediocre romantic comedies from the mid-'90s, you can find quite a few finds. I've managed to find copies of Ozu's 'Floating Weeds' and the Marx Brothers' 'Animal Crackers' and a lot more. It's actually getting to be a bit of a problem. I now have a stack of VHS cassettes in my living room that easily dwarf me and yet I don't have the time to watch them all.
So it was on one of my frequent trips to Suspect Video that I stumbled upon a beautiful flyer for something called Trash Palace. Advertising itself as 'Toronto's Classiest Cinema', it promised screenings of such lost gems as 'TNT Jackson', 'Force on Thunder Mountain', and 'Schizo' (which has the best tag line ever: 'Schizophrenia: When the left hand doesn't know who the right hand is killing!'), all said to be presented on 16mm film. But even more intriguing than the movies themselves was the warning printed on the bottom of the flyer: 'No walk-ins. Secret location. Address on ticket. Advance tix at Suspect Video. $5.' Clever marketing? Or indie elitism? I had to find out.
That night, I visited Trash Palace's website - trashpalace.ca - to see if I could dig up anything else about these screenings. But the website was as enigmatic as the flyer. Precious little information was provided about the screenings and the movies themselves. My curiosity piqued, I contacted by email the projectionist Stacey Case, requesting an interview, either by phone or in person. Less than an hour later I got a reply and we arranged to meet Tuesday morning at Wagamama cafe on King and Techumseh. Putting on a newly purchased copy of the Hong Kong soft-core flick 'Erotic Ghost Story 2', I set about writing a list of questions for Mr. Case.
I arrived late for our meeting, having forgotten my digital voice recorder in my apartment, and was worried that the interview would have to be cut short. Well, it wasn't. For an hour and a half, Stacey talked about the motivation behind Trash Palace, his love for grindhouse and drive-in cinema, the place of the collector in today's film community, Mexican wrestling, and hammocks. It was a joy talking to someone who has such obvious passion for what he does and hopefully this transcription of the interview communicates some of that same passion. (I apologize in advance for the length of the piece. Maybe it's just symptomatic of me being knew to this whole blogging thing, but I would feel quite bad if I cut out too much of the interview. I am, however, chopping the interview into manageable chunks so it looks less daunting and so people can tackle it in piecemeal fashion.)
So here it is, my interview with Stacey Case, founder of and projectionist for Trash Palace. Enjoy!