For anyone in Los Angeles who actually cares about film (as opposed to the film BUSINESS), the American Cinematheque is a godsend. Two years ago they opened their new permanent home in the heavily remodeled Egyptian movie palace at 6712 Hollywood Blvd., the first movie palace built on the street and originally designed by Sid Grauman who also was responsible for the Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Since then, film lovers have had the opportunity to watch movies both classic and obscure, often with the actual filmmakers in attendance, in one of the finest public theatres in the country.
Now a certain kind of film lover can rejoice as the AC embarks on their 1st Annual Festival of Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction from Aug. 17 to Sept. 10. This is an awfully large area to cover in a festival but the festival programmers have found something for every taste. For classics, they’ve got such as “Planet of the Apes” (with Charleston Heston and a new print on hand), “Hellraiser” (writer/director Clive Barker attending), and “This Island Earth” (director Joseph Newman present).
Beyond these films are a choice and often rare selection of foreign genre films. Not to miss is the bill on Friday, August 18, with the presentation of the classic Japanese films “Hell” (1960) and Takashi Miike’s “Fudoh: The New Generations”, a live-action manga adaptation bloodier and weirder than anything. If you love Hong Kong films, you should definitely not miss a double bill on Sunday, August 20 featuring two films from director Tsui Hark: “Zu, Warriors From the Magic Mountain” and the rarely seen in the US, “We’re Going to Eat You”. Whatever your tastes this festival provides a rare opportunity to seem many of these films on the big screen or (in many cases) at all. What’s it going to cost? In most cases only $7 a show.
Check out the Egyptian’s website at [ http://www.egyptiantheatre.com/archive1999/2000/fantasyscifihorror2000.htm ] and check out Film Threat for upcoming advance reviews of (nearly) all the films.
[ Thursday, August 17 ] ^ [ 7:00 PM ] – Planet of the Apes (US, 1968, 119min. Followed by discussion with Charlton Heston. Some screwy flick about an astronaut who crashes on, well, THE PLANET OF THE APES. Apparently has many fans, four sequels, an upcoming remake, and an out-of-control Charlton Heston. ^ [ 10:15PM ] – Possessed (Besat) (Denmark, 1999, 99min.) Actor Udo Kier may be present for discussion. See our review! ^
[ Friday, August 18 ] ^ [ 7:00PM ] – Hell (Jigoku) (Japan, 1960, 100min.) Two pals get into a lot of trouble. The title should indicate where the third act takes place. This, apparently is what sending Christian missionaries to Asia gets you. Must be seen to be believed. ^ [ 9:15PM ] – Fudoh: The New Generations (Japan, 1996, 100min.) Due to scenes of graphic violence and sex, no one under 18 will be admitted. See our review. ^
[ Saturday, August 19 ] ^ [ 5:00PM ] – This Island Earth (US, 1955, 86min. Followed by discussion with director Joseph Newman. Not the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version but still mighty entertaining. ^ [ 7:30PM ] – * Italian Stage Horror Double Bill * Stagefright (Aquarius) (Italy, 1987, 95min. Theatre troupe rehearses for a pretentious musical about a serial killer when the ten little thespians begin to get picked off one by one. Considered Classic of Italian slasher picks but is nearly done in by period ROCK musical score. Opera (Italy, 1987, 100min.) Italian master Dario Argento shows you how it’s done when a vicious killer picks off victims around the production of an operatic version of “Macbeth”. ^ [ 11:15PM ] – Burn, Witch, Burn (aka Night of the Eagle) (US, 1962, 90min.) The professor doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but his wife does, which apparently is enough. ^
[ Sunday, August 20 ] ^ [ 5:00PM ] – A Quiet Place in the Country (US, 1968, 106min.)A painter just wants A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY to work, but his new digs turn out to be haunted. ^ [ 7:15PM ] – * Tsui Hark Double Bill * Zu, Warriors From the Magic Mountain (Hong Kong, 1982, 94min.) One of the Hong Kong sword and sorcery epics that kicked off the new wave in the 1980’s. A must-see. We’re Going to Eat You (Diyu We Men) (Hong Kong, 1980, 90min. Second film directed by Tsui Hark. At the turn of the 19th century, the police chase a criminal out of the city into a village of cannibals. Oops. ^
[ Wednesday, August 23 ] ^ [ 7:00PM ] – The Masters of Time (Les Maitres Du Temps) (France, 1982, 78min.) Follow-up to director Rene Laloux’s “Fantastic Planet”. An 8-year-old boy is marooned on an alien planet controlled by giant bees and must be rescued by an aging astronaut and two telepathic gnomes and… oh, just show up stoned. ^ [ 9:00PM ] – * Michael Reeves Double Bill * Documentary – The Blood Beast: Michael Reeves(25min.) The Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm) (UK, 1968, 98min.) Vincent Price stars as real-life witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins, dedicated to ridding England of Satanists. Comeuppance ensues. ^ The Sorcerers (US, 1967, 87min.) Boris Karloff is Dr. Marcus Monsarrat who possesses a defice to project his consciousness into the minds of others. ^
[ Friday, August 25 ] ^ [ 7:00PM ] – Hellraiser (US, 1987, 94min.) Followed by discussion with writer/director Clive Barker. Barker’s creepy classic reveals what happens when one corner of a love triangle dips across into the afterlife. A masterpiece. ^ [ 9:30PM ] – Arcane Enchanter (Italian, 1996, 98min. After Giacomo get booted out of a religious order for sexual misconduct, he finds work from an infamous necromancer. Evil ensues. ^ [ 11:30PM ] – Dark Waters (Italy, 1994, 93min.) See the Film Threat review. ^
[ Saturday, August 26 ] ^ [ 5:00PM ] – Dark City (US, 1998, 100min.) Followed by discussion with director Alex Proyas. When Rufus Sewell wakes up with a dead body, he doesn’t know if he’s crazy or if some god is messin’ with him. It might be the latter. ^ [ 7:30PM ] – * Lesbian Vampire Double Bill * Caged Virgins (Requiem Pour Un Vampire) (France, 1971, 88min.) What did I say? LESBIAN VAMPIRES. ^ Vampyres – Daughters of Dracula (UK/Spain, 1974, 84min. Hitchhiking lesbian vampires. ^ [ 11:00PM ] – Bernie (France, 1996, 87min.) After Bernie gets out of the mental hospital, he wants to reunite his family in the worst way possible and that’s just what happens. ^
[ Sunday, August 27 ] ^ [ 5:00PM ] – The Incredible Shrinking Man (US, 1957, 81min.) Followed by discussion with author Richard Matheson. After wandering into a cloud of nuclear fallout, Grant Williams begins to shrink and he doesn’t stop. ^ [ 7:30PM ] – Somewhere in Time (US, 1980, 104min. Introduced by author Richard Matheson. Post-Superman Christopher Reeve falls in love with an old picture of Jane Seymour and manages to will himself into the past. ^
[ Friday, September 8 ] ^ [ 7:00PM ] – The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (US, 1958, 87min.) Followed by discussion with director Nathan Juran. Sinbad, Ray Harryhausen and friends. ^ [ 9:30PM ] – Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (US, 1958, 66min.) Alcoholic housewife gets even with two-timing husband after alien causes her to grow a few sizes. ^
[ Saturday, Septempber 9 ] ^ [ 6:00PM ] – First Men in the Moon (US, 1964, 103min.) Followed by discussion with director Nathan Juran. Adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel. Victorian sci-fi at its finest. [ 8:45PM ] – * Nathan Juran Double Bill * 20 Million Miles to Earth (US, 1957, 82min.) More Ray Harryhausen. American spaceship comes back from Venus (hey, they didn’t know then that the planet had a surface temperature of 900 degrees) with a little passenger that doesn’t stay so little. ^ The Brain From Planet Arous (US, 1958, 70min.) Super-Brain has death-ray vision! Super-Brain will conquer backward planet! Super-Brain loves the ladies! ^
[ Sunday, September 10 ] ^ [ 5:00PM ] – Jack the Giant Killer (US, 1962, 94min. A young farmer slays a marauding giant, and then life gets really nutty. ^ [ 7:30PM ] – Castle of Blood (Italy, 1964, 85min.) An American journalist falls for the ghost of Barbara Steele after a night in a haunted castle. Unfortunately she’s the least of his problems. ^