Lots of Special October Theater Screenings

Wow! I love special screenings and there are a remarkable number of them this month. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend most of them due to work and family obligations but YOU, you could go!.

Fathom Events, your source for special if overpriced movies, is showing the RiffTrax version of Miami Connection tonight at 7:30. For those not familiar with RiffTrax, it is very similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) in execution (people onscreen mocking the events in the movie). Tomorrow night (10/7 at 7:30), Fathom presents the extended version of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The extended version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes the trilogy on 10/13, also at 7:30.

Dracula

Turner Classic Movies presents a Dracula double feature on October 25th and 28th at 2 and 7. The original Bela Lugosi version of Dracula will be shown followed by the Spanish version that was filmed at night on the same sets. Finally on October 29th at 7:30, Fathom and SpectiCast are bringing back John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Not movie related but Fathom Events is bringing a filmed live version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet to theaters on 10/15. It is four hours long but I’m going to that with a couple of dear friends.

Back to the Future

Regal Cinemas is presenting the entire Back to the Future trilogy on the big screen one day only, 10/21/15 (naturally, for those who are familiar with the timeline). Strangely, it appears to currently be priced as a single matinee ticket. AMC and other theater chains are also participating so check your local listings. Unfortunately for me, this embarrassment of riches conflicts with a local showing of The Exorcist at Carolina Cinemas, 10/21 at 8.

My Fair Lady

Epic Cinemas is also getting into the trend of bringing back classic cinema to the big screen. On 10/18 at 2 and 10/21 at 7, they will be showing My Fair Lady.

I love that the theaters are doing all of this. My only complaint is that they usually do a terrible job of advertising and the screenings are often close to empty. This of course leads to a cancellation of future showings. Regal used to have a classic cinema series but abandoned it due to poor attendance.

 

Hobbitses Everywhere! – Dracula (1931), The Iron Giant, Hobbit Extended in Theaters

I am all in favor of bringing back classics to theaters so they can be seen again as they were meant to, on the big screen.

Hobbit Extended

However, Peter Jackson’s deeply flawed Hobbit trilogy does not qualify as classic. Still we hardly get any fantasy movies. To celebrate the release of The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies extended edition, Fathom Events is bringing the extended versions of all three Hobbit movies to the screen for one night each.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – 10/5 at 7:30

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – 10/7 at 7:30

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies – 10/13 at 7:30

Because these are Fathom events, be aware that you’ll pay a premium price.

The Iron Giant

Fathom Events is bringing The Iron Giant back to theaters in a newly remastered version with additional scenes.

The Iron Giant – 9/30 at 7 and 10/4 at 12 noon

Dracula

Finally, to end the month, TCM and Fathom are bringing us a double dose of Dracula. They will be showing the Bela Lugosi original and the Spanish version that was filmed at the same time on the same sets but with different actors.

Dracula – 10/25 & 10/28 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Classics on the Big Screen – Jaws, Dracula, Double Indemnity

Apparently TCM’s big screen re-release of Gone with the Wind was a big success. I love seeing classic movies on the big screen. Turner Classic Movies is bringing a slew of classic movies to local theaters at the rate of one a month. Tickets and locations are available through Fathom Events.

Jaws

 

With Jurassic World currently dominating the screen, it seems fitting that the first one brought back is the original Jaws. All of the films will be shown at 2 and 7 p.m. on Sundays and Wednesdays. Jaws will be shown on 6/21 and 6/24. Ticket price is a bit steep at $15 but don’t blame your theater. That is just Fathom’s low-end pricing (if you’ve been to one of their operas, you know what I mean). I am looking forward to finally seeing this on the big screen.

Double Indemnity

7/19 & 7/22 – Double Indemnity (presumably chosen as representative of the channel’s Summer of Darkness and their wonderful FREE online course on Film Noir.

8/16 & 8/19 – Grease

9/20 & 9/23 – Psycho (Hitchcock)

Dracula

10/25 & 10/28 – Dracula double feature (1931) – The Lugosi version AND the Spanish version that was filmed on the same sets

11/29 & 12/2 – Roman Holiday

12/20 & 12/23 – Miracle on 34th Street

Rest in Peace, Sir Christopher Lee

Sir Christopher Lee passed away Sunday, June 7th at the age of 93. While 93 is a great age to live to, no age is long enough for those you care about.

Christopher Lee

The last of my childhood heroes passes into the next world. He had such an incredible life. He was a World War 2 veteran, a cousin to Ian Fleming, knew J.R.R. Tolkien, was an accomplished swordsman, played in a metal band, was knighted by the Queen, and has 281 credits on imdb. Rest in peace, Sir Christopher Lee – you will be missed.

Curse you, Netflix! Out of those 281 credits, Netflix is only streaming six and they are not great examples. Only two of these are horror and they are not good. Skip The Bloody Judge and watch Hugo instead. Amazon Prime has eight titles streaming, including three with lifelong friend Peter Cushing (Nothing But the Night, The House that Dripped Blood, and House of the Long Shadows) but I would recommend his wonderful turn as Rochefort in The Three Musketeers.

Goodbye Dracula, Saruman, Scaramanga, Rochefort, Fu Manchu, Tiresias, Rameses I, Death, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, The Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, Lord Summerisle, Professor Sir Alexander Saxton, Jekyll & Hyde (Marlow/Blake), Rasputin, and so many more.

FREE October Movies at The Carolina

Carolina Cinemas

 

Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Asheville Film Society puts on a FREE movie at the Carolina in theater 6. Membership is not necessary to attend.

10/7 Dead Men Tell (1941) & Castle in the Desert (1942) – Charlie Chan double feature

10/14 Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) & Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942) – Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce

10/21 Witness for the Prosecution (1957, Billy Wilder)

10/28 The Cat and the Canary (1939, Elliott Nugent) – Bob Hope

Thursday Horror Picture Show

 

Every Thursday night at 8, Ken Hanke & Justin Souther put on a FREE horror movie in movie theater 6.

10/2 Dracula (1931, Tod Browning) w/ Bela Lugosi

10/9 The Alligator People (1959, Roy Del Ruth) w/ Lon Chaney Jr.

10/16 The Island of Lost Souls (1932, Erle C. Kenton) w/ Bela Lugosi

10/23 The Wolfman (1941, George Waggner) w/ Lon Chaney Jr.

10/30 The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959, Edward L. Cahn)

Ken Hanke is also presenting two Budget Big Screen offerings this month. These shows are NOT free. They are $6 for Film Society members and $8 for non-members.

Wednesday, October 15th at 7:30 – Lisztomania (1975, Ken Russell) – Ken Russell’s widow, Lisi, will be a special guest.

Carrie

Wednesday, October 29th at 7:30 – Carrie (1976, Brian DePalma)

Dracula – Classic Horror Week

Dracula is currently available on instant Netflix.

Dracula (1931)

“Bela Lugosi turns in a landmark horror performance in this 1931 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel. Revisit Transylvania for the eerie mood created by spectacular cinematography and Lugosi’s oft-copied take on the infamous Dracula. Dwight Frye as Renfield also helps define the grotesque and sniveling sidekick role.”

“For one who has not lived even a single lifetime, you are a wise man, Van Helsing.”

Universal made plenty of horror movies prior to Dracula. Their big silent horror star was Lon Chaney who not only played all the horrific roles but designed his own makeup for them as well. His Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera are iconic.

Even though Bela Lugosi was famous as Dracula in the Hamilton Deane stage play, Universal planned this for Lon Chaney. With Chaney’s untimely death (is anyone’s death timely?) in 1930, the role passed to Lugosi. Lugosi and Edward Van Sloan were the only two actors carried over from the play.

Lugosi’s performance is obviously wonderful. The actors who would later play this role for Universal (Gloria Holden, Lon Chaney Jr., and John Carradine) are positively anemic (teehee) in comparison. His accent works for him in this role and he had a very successful three-year run playing Dracula in the theater to help him know which lines and syllables to emphasize. In film, he would only repeat the role once more, in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Acting is generally stagy as this is an adaptation of a popular stage play. Edward Van Sloan is amusingly professorial as Dr. Van Helsing. Dwight Frye is a delight as the cringing Renfield and steals all of his scenes. Helen Chandler makes for a very delicate and fragile Mina and David Manners is a standard stalwart John Harker.

While he did not get credit, cinematographer Karl Freund ended up directing portions of the film as Tod Browning was still quite distraught over Chaney’s passing. Freund brought a wonderful sense of expressionism over from Germany in filming Dracula. The scene where the three brides advance on Harker is haunting.

The sets are impressive, especially the open expanses of the castle. The catacombs beneath the castle are fantastic. The atmosphere is appropriately thick and the matte paintings are quite good. The music is nice but unfortunately the sound is tinny and hissy. Universal recently released a classic horror blu-ray set that hopefully corrects this but it is very pricey.

Every night after filming was finished, a hispanic crew came in to film the Spanish version on the same sets. The Spanish version featured the same sets and essentially the same script but with a completely different cast. The Spanish version is available in the Legacy collection.

People Watch: Director Tod Browning plays the voice of the Harbormaster. Carla Laemmle, niece of Universal head honcho Carl Laemmle, gets to speak the first line of dialogue as a coach passenger.

Sequel-itis: Universal followed up with Dracula’s Daughter (1936) w/ Gloria Holden as the titular daughter and Edward Van Sloan returning as Van Helsing. Lon Chaney Jr. played Son of Dracula in 1943. After the offspring were disposed of, Universal brought back Dracula, albeit an emaciated John Carradine, with House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. Bela Lugosi finally returned to the role in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Dracula 1931

Bela Lugosi played many wonderful genre roles but this is of course the role that defined his career. He only assayed it twice – once for Dracula (1931) and again in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) – although he did play a vampire in several other films.

Dracula 1931

WATCH: Dracula (1931) – “Bela Lugosi turns in a landmark horror performance in this 1931 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel. Revisit Transylvania for the eerie mood created by spectacular cinematography and Lugosi’s oft-copied take on the infamous Dracula. Dwight Frye as Renfield also helps define the grotesque and sniveling sidekick role” – Even though Bela Lugosi was famousĀ as Dracula in the Hamilton Deane stage play, Universal planned this for Lon Chaney. With Chaney’s untimely death (is anyone’s death timely?) in 1930, the role passed to Lugosi. Lugosi and Edward Van Sloan were the only two actors carried over from the play. The production, as most early talkies were, is very stagey but Lugosi’s performance is delightful as is Dwight Frye’s as Renfield. The sets are wonderful amd the atmosphere is appropriately thick. While he did not get credit, cinematographer Karl Freund ended up directing portions of the film as Tod Browning was still quite distraught over Chaney’s passing. At night after filming was finished, a hispanic crew came in to film the Spanish version on the same sets. The Spanish version is available in the Legacy collection.