Night Flight on IFC: Episode 7!

By on June 1, 2018

“Night Flight” was the most radically fun, nostalgically cranium-bursting cable TV program of all time, originally airing in the ’80s (and syndicated shows aired during the ’90s) during the wee hours on Fridays and Saturdays on the USA Network. Now we’re back on the IFC channel — and we’re now on at a new time, 11pm east coast/8pm west coast, but be sure to check your local listings for time/TV channel location).

Tune in once again each weekend (check your local listings for the right time) to see a mash-ups of clips from rock movies and documentaries, concert films, experimental short films, weirdo kaiju monster flicks, computer art films, campy ’50s sci-fi serials, banned cartoons, and loads of music videos that MTV wouldn’t dare show.

We’ve had an online presence for a few years now with Night Flight Plus, our streaming subscription “channel,” which is where you can find all the above and more, supplemented by full-length streaming titles we’ve added from our content partners, including fellow cultural insurrectionists MVD Video.

Tune in to see why VH1 called us “the single greatest rock omnibus program ever aired” and Brooklyn Vegan named us “the most consistently weird and awesome thing on cable television in the ’80s.”

Read more below about our seventh “Night Flight Highlights” episode (“Iconic Horror and D.C. Punk”) on IFC — the cable network describes these episodes as “A fever dream of classic clips including iconic rock stars, animation, and heavy metal music, a trip back to the boundary-pushing music and videos of the 1980s” — and be sure to sign up for Night Flight Plus to watch more classic episodes of the original ’80s, available on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

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Tony Palmer’s ambitious All You Need Is Love: The Story of Popular Music — the compelling 17-part docu-series, originally broadcast on the BBC during prime-time on Saturday nights, between February 12 -June 4, 1977 — has been available, as of 2008, as a five-disc DVD set.

We’ve already featured clips of Ozzy Osbourne and KISS, but in one of our forthcoming IFC episodes, you’ll be able to see the Who‘s Keith Moon (from Episode 15: “Whatever Gets You Through the Night: Glitter Rock”).

In the original clip, Moon is very off-key as he sings the beginning of “Do Me Good,” a track from his 1975 solo album Two Sides of the Moon, sounding in dire need of some corrective Auto-Tune-like knob-twiddling.

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Buy “All You Need Is Love”

According to an article he wrote for the UK’s Times (April 18, 2008), Palmer says it was his friend John Lennon who initially gave him the encouragement to begin this massive undertaking in 1973.

“It’s what’s needed,” Lennon told Palmer. “Something that pieces together all the various elements that have gone into making rock ‘n’ roll: country, jazz, blues, ragtime, music hall, soul… it’s easy!”

Lennon even provided the project’s title, one of the Beatles songs, and when Palmer met later with executives at EMI and they learned the Beatles had already given their blessing, they became financial-backing partners.

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Palmer had worked with Lennon on the 1968 “Omnibus” documentary All My Loving, the first BBC doc ever televised in the U.S. It featured interviews with Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Eric Burdon, Donovan and the members of the Beatles, the Who, Pink Floyd and Cream.

Palmer enlisted the help of music expects — including jazz historian Leonard Feather, the Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim more than a dozen others — who provided 2000-word essays.

In 1976, these essays were published in a companion book (Grossman/Viking Press), before the docu-series aired.

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Wes Craven’s low budget horror movie A Nightmare on Elm Street was such a boffo box office success that classically-trained theatre actor Robert Englund would return again and again to playing Freddy Krueger, the burn-scarred dream demon.

The third film in the series — Dream Warriors, released theatrically in the U.S. in February of 1987 — is widely considered to be one of the better Nightmare films, focusing as it did on a group of troubled teens who struggle to stay awake at a mental health facility in order to evade the the nightmarish killer Freddy Krueger, who keeps appearing in their ingenious dream sequences once they have fallen asleep.

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The teens all possess a unique personality trait which allows them to deal with Freddy in their own specific way, but Freddy also manages to find a way to make each of them suffer; he turns one boy into a ventriloquist’s dummy, making him sleepwalk out a window, falling to his death, while another teen, the aspiring TV actress Jennifer Caulfield — played by Penelope Sudrow — is electrocuted by a Krueger-possessed television set mounted to the wall (Freddy gets the last laugh, saying “Welcome to prime time, bitch!”).

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors — directed by Chuck Russell, not Wes Craven, who originally penned the screenplay here before it was re-written by Russell, along with Bruce Wagner and Frank Darabont — featured an all-star cast which included John Saxon, Craig Wasson, Laurence Fishburne, Jennifer Rubin and, in her feature debut, Patricia Arquette (as Kristen Parker).

It also marked the return of the first film’s Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson, who comes to the teens rescue by providing the teens with a dream-reducing drug, Hypnocil, which she herself has been using to avoid seeing Freddy in her nightmares.

The film actually ignored much of the story presented in the second film in the series, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, and so many fans of the franchise consider it a better sequel, reinvigorating the successful franchise in the process. We told you about the second film in the series in this previous Night Flight post.

Craven — who did not want the first film to evolve into a franchise — had also wanted this film to end the series, but its success prompted his return to the director’s chair later in the series.

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It was during the filming of Dream Warriors that Robert Englund agreed to sit for an interview with Emmy award-winning Rebal Merrill, who was one of the first TV journalists to focus on getting candid interviews with celebrities in a one-on-one intimate fashion.

Englund — who creatively improvised quite a few of Freddy’s one-liners — did a lot of interviews during the making of Dream Warriors, but this one is particularly special.

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Englund not only wears the Freddy makeup and costume, and, of course, he promotes the upcoming film, but he also delves deeply into the psychology of the character that he and Wes Craven created.

Englund talks about the Jekyll & Hyde-type nature of the character, and how Freddy “doesn’t really know he’s a villain, as he has some legit beef with these parents,” speaking of the parents of the teens.

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Buy Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington DC (1980-90)

Night Flight recently talked with Scott Crawford, the director of Salad Days: A Decade Of Punk In Washington, DC (1980-90) — now streaming over on Night Flight Plus — which chronicles the story behind the 80s decade’s D.I.Y. punk scene in the Nation’s Capital.

The documentary film takes a look back at the bands — including Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Fugazi, and many more — who released their own records though indie labels and booked their own shows, all before the early ’90s “alternative rock” explosion.

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Washington D.C.-based filmmaker, music journalist, and graphic designer Scott Crawford founded Metrozine, a fanzine dedicated to the DC hardcore punk scene, when he was a teenager. After college, in 2001, he launched Harp magazine and served as its editor-in-chief for over seven years.

Crawford’s documentary film debut, Salad Days, features exclusive archival photographs, concert footage and interviews with dozens of bands, artists, label owners, fanzine publishers and others who helped mold and nurture DC’s underground community during this inspired decade of music.

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NF: You started the project in 2011, right? Tell us about the origin of the film’s title, Salad Days, which actually comes from a speech at the end of Act One in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, but I know it’s also a song by Minor Threat, Ian MacKaye’s band before Fugazi. Did you ever get the chance to see them back in the day (’80-’83), or was that before your time?

Crawford: I never got a chance to see Minor Threat. But the song always struck a chord with me, especially throughout the rest of ’80s as the scene continued to evolve.

I liked the fact that the title evoked a time in ones life—so even if you weren’t familiar with the song, it was clear the film was about a particular period. I first met Ian when I was twelve, and I interviewed him for my fanzine while he was worked at a record store.

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Scott Crawford and Dave Grohl

NF: Did you know Dave Grohl from his D.C. days too?

Crawford: Yes, I met Dave when we were both teenagers. I’d occasionally get rides from him and his bandmates in Mission Impossible on the way to DC (they were coming from Virginia). He was always one of the funniest guys in the room and clearly one of the best drummers in town. We stayed in touch over the years and when I told him I was doing Salad Days he said, “how can I help?”

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Bad Brains at 9:30 Club, 1983 (photo by Malcolm Riviera)

NF: How about Bad Brains? They were before your time a little bit, weren’t they? Did you ever get to see them back in the day?

Crawford: I saw the Bad Brains in the mid ’80s, but witnessed HR for the first time when his solo band (HR) played at the Wilson Center in 1984. He was unreal — though much of their set was reggae, they did have a few hardcore numbers and he would just explode onstage. Regardless of the music he was playing, he was always an incredible frontman.

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NF: There was another band back in the 80s, Positive Force, and we’ve got the documentary Positive Force: More Than a Witness streaming over on our Night Flight Plus channel, and we wrote about it on the blog. Seems like both of your movies were made around the same time, Robin Bell’s coming out in 2014, and yours too. I’m sure there’s differences in the approach to telling the story of the D.C. punk scene, what can you tell us about that?

Crawford: Robin Bell did a great job with his film and I admire him for bringing the Positive Force story to life. Mark Andersen is a man who I have great respect for and have known since I was kid when first moved here to attend college. He’s done a lot for DC and continues to do so today. The whole story of Positive Force and their work continues to inspire me.

NF: So tell us a little about the critical and fan reaction to Salad Days. You’ve won some awards at film festivals, haven’t you?

Crawford: The reaction to the film was overwhelming. It played in over 125 theaters domestically and over a dozen countries. We sold out every major city we screened it in worldwide. We won the “Audience Award” at the Noise Pop festival in 2015 and “Best Documentary, Best in Show” at the 2015 Asbury Park Film Festival. All of it took me by surprise, honestly. I thought we’d be lucky to play it at a local VFW hall.

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The Big Pink — the one-man project of songwriter Robbie Furze — pairs up with vocalist Ioanna Gika, of L.A.-based duo Io Echo, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner for the track the Consequence of Sound music blog called an “invigorating spur of electronic shoegaze.”

Buy The Big Pink

Buy Io Echo

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Io Echo with the Big Pink (photo by Raymond Flotat)

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About Night Flight

Voice of a generation that spoke from 11PM-7AM EST Friday and Saturday on USA Network in the '80s. Back to enlighten and inspire 24/7.