Docudrama | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

Story Of A Junkie (1985) Gringo 80’s East Village NYC Heroin Addict Docudrama

John Spacely Gringo Story Of A Junkie

Story of a Junkie is a 1987 drama film directed by Lech Kowalski and starring John Spaceley. Distributed by Troma Entertainment. Filmed in documentary-style, the film follows the character of Gringo, a young man looking for fortune in New York, only to fall into heroin addiction.

John Spacely Gringo Story Of A Junkie

The movie has amassed quite a reputation in certain circles for its depictions of hard drug usage in New York City’s East Village area. Many of the cast members, including leading man John Spaceley, are actual junkies. The numerous shooting-up sequences are reportedly entirely real, as are many of the drug dens and their denizens. Perhaps even more notable than the cinema verite structure is the almost total lack of moralizing on the part of the producers or its characters.

John Spacely Gringo Story Of A Junkie

Lead actor Spaceley died in the early 1990s, reportedly from AIDS, which he contracted through intravenous drug use. His final moments are chronicled in yet another Lech Kowalski film, “Born to Lose: The Last Rock & Roll Movie”, a documentary about deceased former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders.

Troma Entertainment hails Story of a Junkie as one of the company’s best films; it’s one of the most well-known outside of the films directed by Troma founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz.

Gringo Story Of A Junkie

A harrowing, bloody story of heroin addiction that puts films like Trainspotting to shame, Gringo mixes documentary footage with staged scenes to show the life of addict John Spacely.

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Perhaps you’ve seen him somewhere and just can’t remember his name. The face is about an enigmatic as they come: classic Roman features topped by a greasy dyed matt of slicked back blond hair, pirate-style patch covering his right eye and cigarette dangling from an ever-present smirk. Or maybe you’ve never really noticed him and could frankly care less who he is or was. To you, John Spacely is just another loser, a human being throwing their life away by indulging in the most shameless of self-satisfactions: drug abuse. The minute you learn he’s a card-carrying member of the Riders of the White Horse, you’re thoughts turn to how selfish and stupid he is, how addiction is for the weak and lazy. You now no longer wish to know anything about him, his life, or how he ended up strung out in New York City. Instead, you sneer down your self-righteous nose and blame him (and his kind) for all the problems of the world. Maybe it would help you to learn a little about who John Spacely is. Perhaps your perceptions will change when you learn what drove him to drugs and what he has to do on a daily basis to survive. One thing’s for sure, the minute you see the horrifying docudrama Story of a Junkie, you will think twice about ever attempting to use drugs. This film is as successful a PSA warning about the terrors of dependency that you will probably ever see. It makes the Hollywood glamorization of such struggling souls that much more laughable.

John Spacely Gringo Story Of A Junkie

GRINGO Story of a Junkie is about as close to pure European neo-realism as an American movie is ever likely to get. It is also a stunning example of the cinema vérité style of filmmaking, the capturing of events as they happen without concern about continuity or performance. Part documentary, part confessional, this occasionally brilliant but always brave movie is an incredibly searing indictment on the use and abuse of drugs.
Whereas Tinsel Town tripe likes to romanticize the ritualistic intake of mind and or mood altering substances as a photogenic character flaw, Story of a Junkie tells it like it really is. Never once white washing or trivializing the life of a heroin addict, director Lech Kowalski and his cast of real life drug users draw us directly into the warped urban war zone where the vast majority of pusher and partakers exist. Never cringing from the sights, the sounds, the smells and the surreality of the real drug culture, the desperation is palpable and the danger, predominant. From how fixes are “cut” to the hierarchy in a shooting gallery, you’ll be hard pressed to find another film that tackles this terrible subject with more authenticity. It is drug abuse as slasher film, a frightening, sometime funny and often fatalistic representation of people living a life with a maniacal monkey on their back.

John Spacely Gringo Story Of A Junkie

It’s impossible for us non-addicts to understand the struggles and the will to survive (if only for the next score) of the person hopelessly obsessed with using. But for some reason, we are no longer a society that accepts brutal honesty. Everything needs to be sugarcoated with a small fraction of hope inserted to keep us feeling safe and secure. Frankly, the plain truth is all that Story of a Junkie has to offer. Without its integrity, its desire to get to the very heart of this corrupt cosmos, all we’d have is a carnival sideshow, a scandalous showcase of pure exploitation. But because of the tales it tells and the people who tell them, Story of a Junkie transcends its trappings to become a work of astounding power.

-Source

File under Cult Movies, Culture, Massive Consumption of Drugs, New York City History, Punksploitation, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB

Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980) TV Movie – Drink The Kool-Aid

In this made for TV movie, Powers Boothe plays the infamous leader of the “People’s Temple Cult,” Jim Jones. 1,000 followers give away their life savings to live with the cult in Guyana. When the illegal activities of Jones and his higher ups becomes known and investigators began searching the property, Jones decides to take himself and his followers on the fast track to heaven by staging the largest mass suicide in history. This film depicts Jones’ maniacal worldview and tragic end in graphic fashion. Boothe’s performance as Jones has long been revered as his absolute best, and the supporting cast, made up of such veterans as Ned Beatty, Randy Quaid and James Earl Jones, are equally good.

The film draws on Guyana Massacre: The Eyewitness Account and reports from The Washington Post at the time, to describe the life of Jim Jones from a 1960s idealist to the November 1978 mass murder/suicide of members of Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. In the beginning of the film, Jim Jones is seen helping minorities and working against racism. Later, after a move to San Francisco and increased power and attention, Jones becomes focused on his belief in nuclear holocaust, and moves hundreds of his followers to Guyana. Congressman Leo J. Ryan is notified that some individuals are being held against their will, and after going to investigate, the Guyana tragedy itself is depicted.

Wikipedia


File under Blast From The Past, Cult Movies, Cults, Fashion, Re¢e$$ion $pe¢iaL, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB, Trash TV

A Guide to Armageddon (1982) BBC Pre-Threads Nuclear Attack Docudrama

A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON was part of the BBC science show QED that seemed to be marketed to an audience that had no interest in science . There was an edition where the production crew showed what happens when you explode gas canisters , or set fire to a cloud of custard powder ( It explodes like napalm ) , or what happens to a lift when the braking system fails . There was also an edition with a young boy with an unfortunate condition that makes him swear without being able to control it so the cameras followed him and his mother out shopping in a crowded supermarket . You can guess what happens next can`t you . QED often seemed to have a voyerism to it .I digress

A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON is a speculative documentary of what would happen if Britain suffered a nuclear attack . We`re shown via specially shot scenes and still pictures of the damage and terminal consequences wrought upon the people of Britain with the narration ending that ” Would the survivors envy the dead ? ”

Has it rung any bells yet ? Let me remind you of a few scenes featured: Meat cooking in a butchers window due to the heat generated from the initial nuclear flash , milk bottles melting on door steps along with childrens toys. That`s right , much of the footage shot and stills used were expanded , edited or re-used by director/producer Mick Jackson in his nuclear holocaust docudrama THREADS a year later . A couple of points

1 ) Some of the footage seen here is absent from THREADS ( Like the meat cooking in the butcher shop ) down to the fact that it interferes with the context of the docudrama . People have been panic buying for days before the bomb drops in THREADS hence meat cooking in shop windows contradicts this scenario

2 ) It`s clearly stated that the smoke and dust from a thermo-nuclear war would lead to a ” nuclear winter ” . Considering both A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON and THE DAY AFTER were produced at exactly the same time it`s clear that THE DAY AFTER has ignored the concept of a nuclear winter on purpose since it would have been known to the scientific community . One can`t help thinking TDA has ignored the nuclear winter on purpose rather than through ignorance. Indeed on its broadcast critics of TDA like Lord Denis Healey pointed out that the American TVM didn`t go far enough pointing out the consequences of global nuclear war and I couldn`t help thinking that was a straight referrance to this documentary

A GUIDE TO ARMAGEDDON is even more obscure than its offspring THREADS which still has a small but very hard core fan base . It would have been perfect as a companion piece on the THREADS DVD but like the cold war seems to have been consigned to forgotten history

-IMDb


A Guide to Armageddon

File under Blast From The Past, SeMeN SPeRmS Approved, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB