The Big Scream

Written by Simon Abrams on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.


This season, the gaping hole left in the New
York film scene by the two-year absence of the Two Boots Pioneer Theater seems
to have shrunk. Arthouses around the five boroughs have significantly stepped
up their respective games, especially thanks to some new faces and freshly
scrubbed old ones. Williamsburg’s mysterious new Spectacle Theater, on South
3rd Street, has suddenly appeared and is already showing up the more
established midnight movie programmers at the IFC Center and the Landmark
Sunshine. The theater’s website is currently a bit of a mess, so you’ll have to
guess what films are showing for the "Halloween Horror Marathon," starting on
the night of Oct. 29 and ending late on the night of Oct. 31, based on the
films’ synopses. Stand-out titles include Luci Fulci’s Boschian cheapy The
Beyond
,
Tobe Hooper’s seminal slasher The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the offbeat but
much-beloved—in some circles—sequel Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

Brooklyn’s ReRun Theater has also put on a
considerable festive display this year. Earlier this month, programmer Aaron
Hillis screened JT Petty’s S&Man, an interesting though not wholly successful
fauxcumentary and chased it with Simon Rumley’s brutal revenge thriller Red,
White & Blue
. For the weekend of Halloween, the ReRun will celebrate with a
Glass Eye Pix retrospective. Glass Eye is the brainchild of New York-based
filmmaker Larry Fessenden (Wendigo, The Last Winter) and has showcased
such talents as Glenn McQuaid, director of Hammer Studios and comic book
pastiche I Sell the Dead, and Ti West, whose ’80s slasher homage House of the
Devil

is probably the studio’s most famous title. Be sure to check out a West double
feature of House and The Roost, West’s worthy micro-budget creature feature.

Vaunted repertory theaters like the Film Forum
and the Walter Reade Theater have exciting offerings this year too. The former
just wrapped up a week-long run of Kuroneko, director Kaneto
Shindo’s period ghost story and will celebrate Halloween with Hitchcock’s Psycho, which turned 50
earlier this year.

Special attention should be paid to the Walter
Reade’s fourth annual “Scary Movies” program however as its programmers have
done an exceptional job of highlighting a number of exciting obscure titles,
like haunted house movie supreme The Legend of Hell House and Jack Cardiff’s Freaks-inspired The
Mutations
, (starring Donald Pleasance). “Scary Movies 4” also highlights a
number of contemporary films, like festival favorites Stake Land, a new grizzly
vampires-as-fundamentalists chiller, and The Loved Ones, the Australian
answer to Prom Night. Severance director Christopher Smith also gets special
attention with screenings of his two most recent films, Triangle, also known as the “TimeCrimes on a boat” film and Black
Death
,
or, “the Medieval Wicker Man.”

There are several other terrific options
available to adventurous fun-seekers around town. 92YTribeca will screen Dracula
Has Risen from the Grave
on 35mm Oct. 30. Grave is the first of the
Hammer Dracula movies to be shot by regular Lynch cinematographer Freddie
Francis.

Francis also unofficially co-directed The
Day of the Triffids
, screening at MoMA on Oct. 30 and 31. Shot in gorgeous
CinemaScope, Triffids is an adaptation of John Wyndham’s classic
man-versus-nature novel. Apart from writing several other striking stories,
like The Chrysalids, Wyndham also wrote the script for the original Village
of the Damned
. Unless you really can’t bear to miss Frank Darabont’s pilot
episode of The Walking Dead, which is really good incidentally, you have
no reason to stay home this Sunday.

..