OBEY: Brainwashing, Thought-Control and Shock Therapy - Fri. June 19 - 8PM

Oddball Films presents OBEY: Brainwashing, Thought-Control and Shock Therapy, a program of 16mm films from the archive that explore the malleable nature of the human mind and those that would seek to manipulate that nature into obedience and conformity.  From psychology to psychiatry, cults to cartoons; this one-of-a kind program will leave you wondering who is really in control of your brain.  Behold the marvels of "modern" psychiatry in the 1950s, including an unabashed look at shock therapy as one method of mental conditioning in What's on your Mind? (1956).  From one shock, to another; view excerpts from one of the most notorious experiments in the world of psychology in Stanley Milgram's Obedience (1963) featuring the original Milgram Experiment where participants were asked to shock another participant to explore the boundaries of morality in the face of authority. In De Overkant (1966), Belgian filmmaker Herman Wuyts brings us a bleak interpretation of a totalitarian society in which independence equates to death.  Woody Woodpecker gets into the mind-control business in Hypnotic Hick (1953).  The dark animated adaptation of Maurice Ogden's The Hangman (1967) is a chilling vision of the dangers of conformity.  And one young man tells his own story of life in the Moonie church, and the deprogramming that it took to get him out of it, in the rare TV special Moonchild (1983). Early birds will be treated to 1984: Revisited (1983) featuring Walter Cronkite recounting how close society is coming to an Orwellian dystopia of thought police and perennial surveillance (and this was 32 years ago; it's even more pervasive now!).

Date: Friday, June 19th, 2015 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to RSVP@oddballfilm.com or (415) 558-8117
Web: http://oddballfilms.blogspot.com  


What's on your Mind? (B+W, 1956)

A shocking early short from the National Film Board of Canada about psychiatry.  See the mind of a deranged schizophrenic and follow scores of mal-adjusted people discover the plentiful ways in which 1950s psychiatry offered as help in re-normalizing the human mind, including group therapy and a disturbing and unapologetic shock therapy sequence.

Obedience (B+W, 1963, excerpt)
A stunning look at the way people can so easily coerced into harming others; the all-important Milgram Experiment demonstrates people's willingness to comply with authority figures that led to such regimes as the Nazis and Fascists.  Watch as subjects are given instructions to shock another participant when they answer a question incorrectly.  Although some people refuse to give an increasingly higher voltage to the unseen participant (an actor) in the next room - as that person begins to yell out in pain - there are just as many who have no problem shocking away.  This film was made by Stanley Milgram himself and will send a chill down your spine as you consider the ramifications.

De Overkant (B+W, 1966)
This Belgian short made by Herman Wuyts is a bleak and shocking look at an imaginary, but terrifying totalitarian civilization.  All people are forced to walk along the walls of the street, never looking at each other or the world beyond the walls.  As the hordes shuffle down the street - their hands brushing along the walls but never touching one another - one man dares to run into the middle of the street, where he is promptly gunned down.  As more men give their lives for the freedom of choice, the people attempt an uprising, that is quickly and bloodily dispensed with before the masses run back to the relative safety of acquiescence.

Hypnotic Hick (Color, 1953)
After learning the art of mind control from some old books, Woody Woodpecker goes and has some un-permitted fun at an ol’ Buzzard’s expense!

The Hangman (Color, 1964)
Paul Julian, previously known as an animator for Warner Bros' Looney Tunes, directs this haunting adaptation of Maurice Ogden's poem of the same name.  A mysterious hangman comes to a small town, taking upon himself the responsibilities of town judge, jury, and executioner, but rather than questioning the stranger's arbitrary sentencing, the town's residents stay satisfied with their own well being, and look idly on as their community dwindles and their neighbors, one-by-one, face the noose-but might they too be beckoned by the hangman?  Surreal in its visual style with long shadows and sharp color contrasts, and made all the more unsettling by an eerie jazzy sort of score. Is it about the Holocaust, playground bullies, McCarthyism?  Discussion when the lights go up.

Moonchild (Color, 1983)
"I've been here for a week and I never knew you guys were Moonies"
A rare made-for-TV special. A reenactment of real life deprogrammers and ex-Moonies re-create the story of young man's journey through the Unification Church. Chris Carlson stars as himself to reveal how he unexpectedly got sucked into a cult, and it all started in San Francisco!  Youth recruiting tactics and high pressure indoctrination are exposed. This film attempts to show how the effects of cult brainwashing can be reversed by simulating the painstaking process of deprogramming.  Get a taste for it now with this opening clip...


For the Early Birds:

1984: Revisited (Color, 1983)
This startling documentary describes modern-day methods of thought control, selective manipulation of news and information source, emotional manipulation at mass rallies and hate sessions... and when all else fails-- torture. A serious thought-provoker and call to action to everyone concerned with protecting the future of our country. Host Walter Cronkite compares George Orwell's novel 1984 to "present-day" society. He describes modern day uses of technology and methods of thought control, manipulation of the news and information sources, and other likenesses to the author's book in order to Alert viewers to the dangers to our freedom.  

About Oddball Films
Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.