Thursday, September 1, 2022

"Thrills & Chills" series at The Grand Illusion Cinema: Aug 26 - Sept 15

Later this month, Dan Hudson, the longtime programmer for Scarecrow Video's sister theater The Grand Illusion Cinema, will be departing for his new home in Williamstown MA, and executive director position at Images Cinema. But not before he leaves us with one final film series, fulfilling a long-held aspiration to put together a volume of high quality thrillers that feature notable electronic scores. Before we get to the details of the series itself, let's talk the incomparable one-of-a-kind resource that is Scarecrow, and how if you live in the Northwest and are a fan of cinema, it's essentially your personal obligation to ensure their doors stay open for business. There truly is no other resource in North America like that offered by Scarecrow Video and their abundant catalog of obscure, foreign releases, out of print, and ultra-rare editions, and with nearly 150,000 films on offer, no singular online streaming resource can compare. A short jaunt from Scarecrow Video, the first of the films in The Grand Illusion Cinema's Thrills & Chills series, features the high style gloss and atmosphere that Nicolas Winding Refn refined in "Drive". This would be the stylebook for everything conceived by Refn, as well as a homage to one of his greatest influences, Michael Mann, and his film "Thief". It would also prove to be the mode of storytelling Refn would expounded upon in more recent works like his doom-laden collaboration with crime comics writer Ed Brubaker, and their crowning achievement that is, "Nicolas Winding Refn's dead-eyed LA Nightmare". High energy, and urban twists and turns, are channeled through a very 1990s zeitgeist sensibility in Tom Twyker's “Run Lola Run”, and a more retro soundtrack including goth and synthwave favorites like Clan of Xymox, Sisters of Mercy, Survive, Zombi, and Love & Rockets are featured throughout Adam Wingard's under-seen “The Guest”. Delivering what might be considered the pinnacle of tense 21st century urban dramas, the two directors of Good Time” and Uncut Gems”, Joshua and Benjamin Safdie have been collaborating almost exclusively with Daniel Lopatin, who's music as Oneohtrix Point Never occupies a similarly tense precipice of risk and reward.

And lastly in the series, William Friedkin, the director of "The Exorcist", took an extreme about-turn in his audacious 1977 resetting of both Georges Arnaud's novel "Le Salaire de la Peur", and Henri-Georges Clouzot's previous 1953 film adaptation, "The Wages of Fear". Friedkin enlisted the then very relevant German electronic trio Tangerine Dream to score the heat and South American Jungle delirium of “Sorcerer”. This recent new 4K scan finally "Restoring the Magic of Friedkin’s ‘Sorcerer’", and admitting viewers deeper into the  hellish Dante-like task through a series of oneiric nightmare sequences that its band of desperate outsiders and criminals on the run must traverse, against all odds. Dan Hudson's programming notes from the series launch are quoted below; “My final series for the Grand Illusion is Thills & Chills. Thrills — with some of the best thrillers ever made; Chills — with some of the finest synth and electronic scores in cinematic history. These soundtracks illustrate why “chillwave” is one of the fastest growing EDM subgenres, including Cliff Martinez’ score to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Our series will be bookended by rare 35mm screenings of Good Time and Uncut Gems. The Safdie brothers took the cinema of Scorsese and Friedkin to new heights, with perfect scores by Oneohtrix Point Never. Speaking of Friedkin, Tangerine Dream’s nail biting score to Sorcerer will have you squirming in your seats. Perhaps no other film shows the power of an electronic score to propel a thriller at breakneck speed than Tom Twyker’s Run Lola Run, presented here in glorious 35mm. And finally, Steve Moore of Zombi provided the pulsing throwback score to 2014’s lamentably under-seen The Guest. I’m really excited to see all these films with you on the big screen. If you’re wondering why this series is short on Carpenter — we just did a whole Carpenter series earlier this year! Plus maybe we’ve got a little something coming up for Halloween.”