Saturday, October 5, 2013

All Monsters Attack at The Grand Illusion Cinema, David Lynch's "Lost Highway" at Harvard Exit & Cinerama's Horror Week: Oct 1 - Nov 2

Abundance of horror and genre flicks at cinemas all across town this month! Saturday at the Harvard Exit, next week at the Grand Illusion and the week after at the Cinerama. As the continuation of Landmark Theaters midnight movie series with the closing of the Egyptian Theater, the Harvard Exit now plays host with screenings on Saturdays. This being the season for all things gloomy and crepuscularly spooky, they've brought the horror and psychological suspense this month. The highlight of which, a rare screening of David Lynch's lopsided neo-Noir from the late 1990's, "Lost Highway". A film of halves, both thematically, narratively and qualitatively, it's split-persona structure later refined to much greater effect on Lynch's following masterpiece, "Mulholland Drive". For shear atmospheric tension though, Lost Highway's opening chapter stands as a pinnacle of all things that make the work of this American auteur great; beguiling ambiguity, impenetrable mystery, high tension, terrifying subjectivity, nightmare worlds intersecting with our own as in a dream. A compromised protagonist in a world beyond his comprehension, 'a man in trouble'. The diminished strength of it's second chapter can be accredited to some degree to it's young star, Balthazar Getty as Bill Pullman's (aka Fred Madison's) alter-self. The section saved by Patricia Arquette as a convincing modernization of the Femme Fatale and as with every Lynch film, a metaphysical(?) antagonist in the form of Robert Blake's warped 'Mystery Man'. A nice little bonus of the film was one of David Bowie's finest tracks post-1970's supplied with the credit sequence song, "I'm Deranged".

There isn't enough in the way of All Hallows' Eve theme and/or revival series, which is a shame as this truly the season for genre cinema and it's frights, atmosphere and surrealism. One of the only (and longest running) has been The Grand Illusion Cinema's annual October-long All Monsters Attack calendar of horror, thrillers sci-fi and fantasy. This year's installment titled The Horror of All Monsters Attack featuring the usual 70's/80's schlock and genre gems, including this time around, the absurd hyperviolence of both installments of "Maniac Cop" and the three Lucio Fulci films inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, "Zombi", "City of the Living Dead" and "The Beyond", also there's the 80's gothy horror-fantasy of Clive Barker's original "Hellraiser" and the late-70's preposterous sci-fi of Giulio Paradisi's mashup of "The Omen" and "Close Encounters of a Third Kind" that is "The Visitor". Capping it all off, the annual collaboration with Scarecrow Video and their offerings of obscure, unreleased, out-of-print, super-rarities in their The VCR That Dripped Blood 2: Undead Media night! While we're here, lets talk the incomparable one-of-a-kind resource that is Scarecrow, and how if you live in this city and are a fan of cinema (regardless of genre, style or class) it's essentially your cultural obligation to ensure their doors stay open for business. With nearly 120,000 films in their catalog, many out of print, foreign releases or ultra-rare editions, there is no singular online resource that will ever compare. Lastly! We get Horror Week spanning October 25 - 31 with screenings on the massive Cinerama screen/soundsystem of such prime works of the genre as Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness" the new expanded, restored cut of Robin Hardy's neo-Pagan classic, "The Wicker Man", Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" back in theaters again this year, one of John Carpenter's finest hours with his remake, the 1980's pinnacle of the genre, "The Thing". Another masterpiece of that decade, the first and the best, Ridley Scott's original "Alien" and less qualitative, but still quite fun, Richard Donner's "The Omen".