While many SXSW Film Festival attendees were at the Paramount last night watching The Hurt Locker, I decided to try a more Austin-ish event at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. Tobe Hooper's first feature was screening -- no, not The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but earlier than that. Eggshells was shot in Austin in 1968 and had a limited release the following year. And that's pretty much the last anyone saw of it on a big screen until now -- even Hooper, who was at last night's screening. Hooper says he had a DVD made from a VHS copy, but for the rest of us, Eggshells has been a "lost" film.
The film focuses on a big rambling house full of college-age people who hang out, throw parties, get married ... and discuss the "ghost" in the house, an odd energy field that lives in the basement. But as Hooper told us before the film started, this isn't a horror film. It's very much a film of the late 1960s, with some eye-popping psychedelic sequences -- the sex scene is especially groovy -- and characters acting symbolically rather than realistically. I especially liked seeing the shots of Austin, mostly The University of Texas, at the beginning and end of the film, and would love to watch this movie on DVD with freeze-frame to get a closer look at my town 40 years ago.