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Halloween Horror Season at the American Cinematheque

The American Cinematheque presents an impressive list of horror films screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica during the month of October: everything from a Vincent Price Centennial Celebration, to retro screenings of spooky classics THE INNOCENTS and the HAUNTING, to a series of monster movies selected by John Landis (including a couple of pre-Code classics). Check out the horrible goodies below…


October 6, 8 & 9, 2011, at the Egyptian Theatre

A darkened theatre has always been an ideal place to scream. Since the beginning of film, movie-goers have been menaced by a menagerie of monsters – be they giant apes or tiny evil dolls, creatures of ancient myth or the spawn of modern science gone wrong, the list is a long one. This month, John Landis (AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THRILLER, THE BLUES BROTHERS, ANIMAL HOUSE, TRADING PLACES) has hand-picked a selection of horror heavyweights from his new book ‘Monsters In The Movies.’

With such specimens as REANIMATOR, MAD LOVE, METROPOLIS and THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES, the laboratory of great “mad doctor” films is a big one, and we launch the Landis series with an evening of two of the finest precode horror films: the restored Blu-Ray launch of ISLAND OF LOST SOULS and Rouben Mamoulian’s DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, perhaps the best of many screen adaptations of the Robert Louis Stevenson book. Later, the talented trio of James Whale, Boris Karloff and makeup artist Jack Pierce team for a triple feature of the classics FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (which also stars Bela Lugosi – and helped inspire YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN). Audiences have been haunted by spirits both chilling (the twins from THE SHINING) and hilarious (Slimer from GHOSTBUSTERS), and we are screening two of the most beautiful and memorable supernatural spine-chillers with THE INNOCENTS and THE HAUNTING.

Series compiled John Landis with American Cinematheque staff.

John Landis In Person!

Thursday, October 6 – 7:30 PM, Egyptian Theatre
Double Feature: New Digital Restoration of the Uncut Theatrical Version! Pre-Code Horror! ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, 1932, Universal, 70 min. Director Erle C. Kenton adapted H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau into one of the classic Pre-Code horror shockers. Originally released by Paramount to compete with Universal’s monster menagerie, ironically Universal now owns the rights. Seaman Richard Arlen is marooned on vivisectionist Charles Laughton’s private isle, where he has developed a race of subhumans from various wild animals in his “House of Pain.” An old-school chiller that remains scary to this day. Bela Lugosi is the ringleader of the beast-men. With Kathleen Burke as Lota, the Panther Woman. “…a remarkably powerful film.” – Time Out (London)

Pre-Code Horror! DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
1931, Warner Bros., 97 min. Although it’s not as nuanced as the later Spencer Tracy version, many people prefer this Pre-Code shocker. Fredric March won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance, going way over the top with facial tics and bestial mannerisms in his Hyde persona, coming off like an urbane, simian werewolf with the gift of speech. Miriam Hopkins is the unfortunate barmaid Ivy, and Rose Hobart is Muriel, Dr. Jekyll’s devoted fiancée. Director Rouben Mamoulian and cinematographer Karl Struss make revolutionary use of the camera, doing things way ahead of their time in movement, point of view and editing, endowing many sequences with a fluid feel in what is essentially a set-bound piece. The characters of Muriel (Beatrix in the Tracy version) and her father did not appear in Stevenson’s original story, but were invented later by playwright T.R. Sullivan in an 1887 stage adaptation.
John Landis will introduce the double feature. Book signing of Landis’ Monsters in the Movies at 6:30 PM in the Egyptian lobby.

Saturday, October 8 – 7:30 PM, Egyptian Theatre
Triple Feature: FRANKENSTEIN 1931, Universal, 70 min. Dir. James Whale. “A Monster Science Created – But Could Not Destroy!” Boris Karloff had appeared in more than 75 films before FRANKENSTEIN turned him almost overnight into a screen legend. His performance here – anguished, eloquent, wordless – remains one of the most hauntingly powerful in all cinema. With Colin Clive, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye.

1935, Universal, 75 min. Dir. James Whale. “Warning! The Monster Demands a Mate!” Widely considered the high point of the 1930s Universal horror cycle, BRIDE is a brilliant blend of black humor and Gothic style. Boris Karloff reprises his greatest role as the Monster, with Colin Clive as his reluctant “father,” the hilariously creepy Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius and Elsa Lanchester as the screaming-mimi Bride.

1939, Universal, 99 min. Dir. Rowland V. Lee. The third atmospheric installment in Universal’s FRANKENSTEIN franchise finds Henry Frankenstein’s grown-up son, Wolf (Basil Rathbone), returning to the family estate with his wife and son (Josephine Hutchinson and Donnie Dunagan) after many years. The laboratory is in ruins – nevertheless Wolf soon becomes enmeshed in his family’s nefarious legacy when he finds the dormant monster (Boris Karloff) being looked after by a vengeful gallows survivor, the crook-necked Ygor (a very creepy Bela Lugosi). Universal was firing on all cylinders with its bolt-necked creature when it released this exceptionally entertaining tall tale. Watch for Lionel Atwill as the one-armed police chief (he lost his missing appendage to a previous encounter with the monster). [35mm]

Sunday, October 9 – 7:30 PM, Egyptian Theatre
Double Feature: 50th Anniversary! THE INNOCENTS, 1961, 20th Century Fox, 100 min. Director Jack Clayton also directed British New Wave gems ROOM AT THE TOP and THE PUMPKIN EATER, but his most famous film remains this goosepimple-inducing, shuddery adaptation of Henry James’ classic ghost story, “Turn Of The Screw.” Deborah Kerr is a repressed governess who is convinced that the ghosts of the previous governess and the woman’s equally dead, cruel lover, Quint (Peter Wyngarde), haunt the mansion and grounds of her innocent young charges (Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin). Reality, superstition and warped psychology collide in this riveting, brilliantly photographed jewel of a film (lensed by future horror director Freddie Francis).

Hill House in THE HAUNTING
Hill House in THE HAUNTING

1963, Warner Bros., 112 min. Dir. Robert Wise. “Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone…” Paranormal researcher Richard Johnson leads a team of clairvoyants (Julie Harris, Claire Bloom) to determine if the notorious, bad karma-filled Hill House is truly haunted. What he doesn’t bargain for is intensely neurotic Harris developing an unhealthy sensitivity to the mansion’s evil-charged atmosphere. Based on Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House, this is one of the all-time classics of the genre. In supernatural CinemaScope! With Russ Tamblyn.

Actress Julie Adams In Person with CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON!

Thursday, October 27 – 7:30 PM, Egyptian Theatre
Double Feature: In Anaglyphic 3-D! CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, 1954, Universal, 79 min. Dir. Jack Arnold. Ichthyologist Dr. David Reed (Richard Carlson) leads a team of scientists on an expedition up the Amazon River to hunt for fossils linking prehistoric land and sea mammals. But the murky waters of the region’s Black Lagoon hide more than old bones; an amphibious gill-man rises from the depths to attack the researchers. Like King Kong, the creature is captured, escapes and sets his sights on a beautiful woman – Dr. Reed’s girlfriend, Kay (Julie Adams). The last of the classic Universal movie monsters, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON was one of the studio’s first 3-D features, and remains among the most memorable horror films of the 1950s. [Anaglyphic 3-D, 35mm]

1952, Universal, 91 min. James Stewart stars as a former border raider who narrowly escapes the hangman’s noose (he still smarts from the rope) and is trying to start over again in the wide-open Oregon country. Instead, he winds up involved with the wily and charming Arthur Kennedy in a wagon train that includes the eligible Laurie Baile (Julie Adams) and a load of supplies worth their weight in gold. One of director Anthony Mann’s finest films, combining action, character and landscape in a seamless and wildly satisfying package. [35mm]

Discussion between films with actress Julie Adams. Book signing of Adams’ The Lucky Southern Star: Reflections From the Black Lagoon at 6:30 PM in the Egyptian lobby. Retro anaglyphic 3-D glasses will be given out before the scre

October 21 – 23, 2011, at the Aero Theatre

To generations of fans who squirm with delighted unease at the sound of his mellifluously sinister voice, Vincent Price (1911 – 1993) is one of the greatest icons in horror cinema. Through the 3-D terrors of HOUSE OF WAX, the delirious William Castle quickies of the late 1950s (THE TINGLER, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL), the gorgeous Roger Corman cycle of Poe adaptations in the 1960s (MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, THE RAVEN), to the campy terrors of the “Dr. Phibes” films (THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES) and beyond, Price perfected his own blend of murder, madness and mayhem, leavened with grace, style, a touch of sweetness and a good measure of humor. It’s no coincidence that one of Price’s favorite roles was as the demented Shakespearean actor wreaking vengeance on his critics in THEATER OF BLOOD.
Although Price was a great deal more than just a star of horror films, in his best horror roles he was unsurpassed. Join us as we celebrate what would be the centennial of Vincent Price’s birth with a program of his greatest chillers, including WITCHFINDER GENERAL.

Friday, October 21 – 7:30 PM, Aero Theatre
Double Feature: THE RAVEN
1963, MGM Repertory, 86 min. Director Roger Corman’s most liberal Edgar Allan Poe adaptation is a charmingly offbeat comic fantasy, with Vincent Price as a benevolent sorcerer challenged by evil magician Boris Karloff to prove who is the most powerful. Mutual friend and chicken-hearted wizard Peter Lorre, with Jack Nicholson tagging along (as Lorre’s son!), get caught in the middle of the magic duel. Both cinematographer Floyd Crosby and art director Daniel Haller help to make this eye-popping film more expensive-looking than it actually was. With Hazel Court. Trailer
1964, MGM Repertory, 89 min. The most visually hypnotic of Roger Corman’s celebrated Edgar Allan Poe cycle, MASQUE stars the wonderful Vincent Price as Prospero, a sadistic medieval prince who holes up in his labyrinthine castle as a refuge against the terrible plague stalking the countryside. With Hazel Court, Jane Asher and Patrick Magee. Superb cinematography by future director Nicolas Roeg (DON’T LOOK NOW, WALKABOUT). Trailer

Saturday, October 22 – 7:30 PM, Aero Theatre
1959, Warner Bros., 75 min. Morbidly whimsical millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) offers five guests $10,000 each to spend the night in his mansion, a haunted house with a homicidal history. The vastly underrated Carol Ohmart is delightful as Annabelle, Price’s amoral, murderous wife. One of director William Castle’s most entertaining frightfests. With Richard Long, Elisha Cook Jr. Trailer

1971, MGM Repertory, 94 min. Director Robert Fuest, a veteran of TV series “The Avengers,” brings his flamboyant visual style and tongue-in-cheekiness to bear in this 1920s tale of the disfigured Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price), a madman bent on vengeance after the accidental death of his wife. Trying to dodge various deadly biblical plagues along the way – Phibes’ preferred method for dispatching enemies – are Joseph Cotten, Terry Thomas and Peter Jeffrey. [35mm]
Introduction by Terry Castle. Castle will sign copies of House on Haunted Hill – The Annotat
ed Screamplay at 6:30 PM in the Aero lobby.

Sunday, October 23 – 7:30 PM, Aero Theatre
Double Feature: THEATER OF BLOOD, 1973, MGM Repertory, 104 min. Dir. Douglas Hickox. A tour-de-force for Vincent Price as a Shakespearean actor who uses “thematic” murder methods to dispose of the critics who’ve panned his stage portrayals. Featuring a Who’s Who of great British acting talent, including Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry, Jack Hawkins, Robert Morley and Price’s wife, Coral Browne. [35mm]
Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmboDDMPRVw
WITCHFINDER GENERAL, 1968, MGM Repertory, 98 min. Although he made only four features before his tragic death at age 25, British director Michael Reeves left an indelible mark on Gothic horror with his brooding tales of madness and hysteria. Vincent Price stars here in one of his most brutally terrifying roles, as real-life witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins, dedicated to ridding England of suspected satanists and instead falling prey to his own horrifying, repressive methods. Ian Ogilvy co-stars as a young soldier trying to end Hopkins’ reign of terror. [35mm]
Monsterverse Comic Launch + Signing

Wednesday, October 26 – 7:30 PM, Aero Theatre
1958, Warner Bros., 82 min. Director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster’s stripped-to-the-basics, expertly paced take on Bram Stoker’s popular bloodsucker remains one of the most satisfying, just plain exciting Gothic horror films ever made. From Christopher Lee’s revelatory, broodingly romantic performance as Dracula (introducing a sexual frisson to the proceedings) to Fisher’s masterful direction, from Peter Cushing’s Professor Van Helsing to Jack Asher’s atmosphere-drenched cinematography and James Bernard’s superb score, this is perfection. One of Hammer’s most enduring masterpieces! [35mm]

1961, Universal, 93 min. Director Terence Fisher’s atmospheric thriller not only has the distinction of being not only Oliver Reed’s first leading role but also Hammer Studios’ only werewolf film. And a chillingly fine werewolf film it is, with cursed Reed the offspring born on Christmas Day to a mute servant girl (Yvonne Romain) raped by a bestial beggar (Richard Wordsworth) in the dungeons of the sadistic Marques Siniestro (deliciously depraved Anthony Dawson). Kindly Don Alfredo (Clifford Evans) raises Reed in a good home, but when the sensitive young man reaches puberty and his desires are thwarted, the result is a frenzy of bloody carnage. [35mm]

Discussion between films with Bela Lugosi Jr., publisher and artist Kerry Gammill, editor and screenwriter Sam F. Park, writer Robert Tinnell and special effects artist and filmmaker Mike Hill, who will display Hammer Horror-inspired sculptures. Comic book signing of the Monsterverse graphic novel Flesh And Blood: Book One and Bela Lugosi’s Tales From The Grave in the Aero lobby at
6:30 PM!

6th Annual Dusk-To-Dawn Horrorthon
Saturday, October 29 – 7:30 PM at the Aero Theatre
Spend the night at the Aero Theatre’s sixth annual Horrorthon! Complete with between-film free food, giveaways, trailers, crazy shorts and surprises!

Coffee courtesy of Pete’s Coffee, Monster Energy Drink courtesy of Hansen’s Beverage and prizes and giveaways courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

1989, Paramount Pictures, 103 min. Dir. Mary Lambert. Devoted family man Louis Creed is devastated when his son is killed in a horrible accident – but he soon learns that bringing his son back to life has some terrifying side effects in this Stephen King classic. [35mm] Trailer
1979, Compass International Pictures, 90 min. Dir. David Schmoeller. A group of friends enters a mysterious remote museum, only to discover that it’s owned by a murderous stalker. With Chuck Connors.

1981, New World Pictures, 97 min. Dir. Lew Lehman. Lonely Jamie Benjamin is the butt of jokes and harassment – until he makes a discovery deep in the forest that enables him to exact violent revenge against those who have wronged him. One of the strangest horror films of the ’80s. .

1983, Universal, 87 min. One of director David Cronenberg’s most disturbing, subversive thrillers. While searching for programs to boost ratings on his small cable station, jaded Max Renn (James Woods) becomes hooked on an underground TV show, “Videodrome,” that may be a genuine snuff video. But tracking down its source proves dangerous as lifelike hallucinations kick in – skewing Max’s very concept of reality, and his new girlfriend, talk-show host,Nikki Brand (Blondie’s Deborah Harry), goes missing. “Long live the new flesh!” Trailer

ALICE SWEET ALICE (aka COMMUNION), 1976, Warner Bros., 98 min. Dir. Alfred Sole. Karen (a very young Brooke Shields) is strangled on the day of her first communion, and her older sister Alice becomes the prime suspect. [35mm]

Beautiful U.K. Print! 8 Extra Minutes! JUST BEFORE DAWN
1981, Picturmedia, 90 min. Dir. Jeff Lieberman. The director of SQUIRM brings us this entry in the Woodsploitation subgenre made famous by DELIVERANCE, SOUTHERN COMFORT, and HUNTER’S BLOOD. This time, a group of young campers find themselves face to face with a murderous mountain man and angry hillbillies. Trailer
Special Horrorthon prices: General $20, Student/Senior $18, Members $15 – includes all-night snacks. No passes.

More info at the Cinematheque website.

More: Halloween Horror Season 2011 at the American Cinematheque 

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