The Lighthouse Cinema is at it again; coming on the 15th of October, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains! A film that combines punk rock, teenage girls and a fuck-you attitude.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains gathered dust in Paramount’s vault for years before its video-release because it was received badly by test audiences. However, the film achieved cult status years later when it gained circulation on late night cable TV. In 1998, The Fabulous Stains was screened for the first time in fifteen years to a packed theatre at Chicago Underground Film Festival. Pat Smear of Germs, Nirvana and recently the Foo Fighters fame has said he would love to re-record the film’s soundtrack, Bikini Kill‘s Tobi Vail called it “the most profound and realistic film” she’d ever seen and many musicians claim to have been inspired to pursue music because of the film, such as Kate Nash. Somehow the film’s obscurity has worked in its favour, lending the film an underground quality worthy of its subject matter.
The film tells a familiar story, angsty teenage girls who aren’t gonna take it anymore form a band with a fuck-you attitude and the world builds them up before tearing them down. The Fabulous Stains succeeds because of how it captures the moment that it was produced in, as well as the craziness of the production itself. The film threw together Diane Lane who was fourteen but incredibly talented, Laura Dern who you may recognise as Ellie from Jurassic Park (all roads lead to Spielberg at Film In Dublin), hundreds of extras such as B-Movie star Debbie Rochon who was homeless at the time and took part in the film to earn a quick buck and a mish-mash of punk musicians ex-Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, Paul Simonon from the Clash and Vince Welnick and Fee Waybill from The Tubes. The result is something really special.
Unfortunately, despite Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains riot grrrl flavour, there was so much sexism on the set that Nancy Dowd (scriptwriter whose creative vision framed the film) removed her name from the production and left the set following an incident where the camera operator turned her breast with the camera. The film is a fun rock and roll riot but its more than that; it’s a fascinating social document that captures the music industry during the 1980s.
The Lighthouse is hosting a pre-party from 9pm before the screening to show our their favourite clips, trailers and shorts as well as a public screening of the grunge-era high school documentary Dirty Girls. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains will be shown from 10:45pm and tickets can be purchased here. Once again, that date is Saturday the 15th of October. Be there.