Old Town Science Fiction Film Festival in September

The Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo will present a three-day science fiction film festival in September, including a quartet of films from the 1950s, featuring mad scientists, monsters, and radioactive mutations.

The buzz begins on September 6 at 8:15pm with a screening of Them! (1954) the first of many films featuring insects enlarged by exposure to nuclear radiation. Earnest and even shocking (it ruthlessly dispatches a major character), this is one of the best films of its type.

Saturday, September 7 features two color films that are literally galaxies apart. Forbidden Planet (1956), a lavishly produced color film about a futuristic crew of Earth astronauts who encounter an invisible monster on an alien planet, screens at 2:30pm.

Christohper Lee in Curse of Frankenstein

Then at 8:15 it's The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), the Technicolor classic from Britain's Hammer Films, which revived Gothic horror for a new generation, for the first time daring to show blood (something always avoided in the black-and-white horror classics of the 1930s and 1940s). Peter Cushing stars as the monomaniacal Baron Frankenstein, with Christopher Lee (Saruman in Lord of the Rings) as the doctor's creation.

The festival wraps up on Sunday, September 8 with a 2:30pm screening of one of the worst films ever mad, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Fortunately, the absurd continuity errors and ridiculous special effects make this a camp classic, and Allison Hayes strikes a truly impressive figure in the title role.

Every show at Old Town Music Hall begins with music played on the theatre's remarkable pipe organ, including an audience sing along, followed a comedy short. After a 15-minute intermission, the feature film screens.

Prices are $10 for regular admission, $8 for seniors. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before each show; there are no advance online sales.

The address is 140 Richmond Street, El Segundo, 90245. For more information, call (310) 322-2592, or visit the theatre's website: oldtownmusichall.org.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.