Showtime is 8 p.m., with $8 admission and discounts on craft beer and organic wine during the show.
The Psychotronic Film Society serves up a unique and refreshing rarity in honor of Valentine’s Day: respected indie writer-director Josh Becker’s unjustly forgotten (and seriously twisted) romantic comedy “Lunatics: A Love Story.”
Never released anywhere in the world on DVD and completely unavailable commercially for ages (its initial VHS release has been out of print for decades), this low-budget neo-noir tale of two lost souls who meet by accident and must overcome their individual emotional difficulties was co-produced by Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,” “Spider-Man,” “The Hudsucker Proxy”), Robert Tapert (“Don’t Breathe,” “30 Days of Night,” “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) and Bruce Campbell (“Ash Vs. Evil Dead,” “Burn Notice,” “Bubba Ho-Tep”). Campbell also has a supporting role in the film.
“Lunatics: A Love Story” stars Sam’s brother Ted Raimi and ’80s cult actress Deborah Foreman (“Valley Girl,” “April Fool’s Day”) as the titular lunatics.
“We shot it in six weeks in 1989, then finally finished the movie in 1991, and it got a minor release in 1992,” says Becker, who has given the PFS special permission to show the film in what may be only its third public screening in almost 20 years.
“We shot it here in Michigan, using an old elementary school gym as our soundstage,” he recalls. “It was a thrill for me because it was the first time I had a real crew and cast and shot in 35mm. And I brought it in on time and on budget.”
The decidedly offbeat nature of the screenplay coupled with its extreme obscurity makes it a perfect match for the PFS’ sensibilities, and the genuinely heartwarming love story at the root of the unpredictable plot makes it a logical programming choice for the night after Valentine’s Day. Becker cites the actors’ performances as a key component of the film’s enduring underground fanbase. “Ted and Debbie worked very well together, and Bruce is funny. I think people like it because it’s ultimately good-natured and funny.”
Becker also says he looks back very fondly at this stage in his career on what was only his second feature film as director.
“Not really wanting to honk my own horn,” he says, “but I do think it’s funny and sweet and reasonably unique. I don’t think there’s any other film that’s anything like it. It seems to get laughs in all of the places I meant for it to, and, unlike many films of the present day, it’s not cynical or bitter or mean; it’s hopeful and sort of uplifting in its own small way.”