Born in 1950 in New York, Frank Henenlotter is perhaps the only genuine heir of a tradition of American exploitation cinema. He was still very young when he discovered the theaters on 42nd Street which he went to on a frequent basis. That’s how he was introduced to this culture which wasn’t called Grindhouse yet at the time. He binge-watched these cheap second-rank features which mixed with an exquisite bad taste horror, sex and improbable situations, in a crowd made of tramps, whores and junkies.
He will keep these freaks in mind when he directs his first self-taught feature, Basket Case, in 1982, after a few shorts which bear the mark of his humor and his taste for horror as much as his love for films (Son of Psycho, Lurid Women). Despite its success in video stores, it will take Henenlotter six years to produce his next underground weird flick : Brain damage. Between the two sequels of Basket Case, he directed Frankenhooker, a delirious take on Mary Shelley’s novel. In the early 90’s, he stopped directing to found a video label, Something Weird Video, where he dug hundreds of forgotten tapes. In 2008, he returned to directing with Bad Biology. Five years later, he made That’s Sexploitation, a comprehensive film on the topic that was screened at the festival in 2013. More recently, with Chasing Banksy, he proved once again his immoderate love for outcasts while vandalizing the sacrosanct contemporary art world.