A Theatrical Flashback
In my little corner of the world which is a long way from Hollywood there isn’t too many opportunities to catch a retro night at the movie theater. If there are let’s just say they are poorly advertised. After all I am the prime candidate to advertisers. My only night out at older titles over the last two years were the night before Halloween where two years ago I caught the double bill of the 1931 classics Dracula and Frankenstein. Last year it was off to see The Mummy and The Wolf Man where I was joined by Kristina of Speakeasy (her review here). Here’s hoping this year they present a double Hammer bill of Lee and Cushing classics.
Many years ago as the VHS era was beginning I fondly remember going to the theater to see a fest of Humphrey Bogart classics that played in our hometown. I might have been about 14 or so and even then was well on my way to becoming a life long film fan. It was my introduction to Bogie’s essentials and if they showed up again on a big screen I’d head right down to see them once more.
Perhaps that is all about to change after a new theater has opened at the site of a theater that had closed down years ago. It has reopened under the name Apollo Cinema and just recently they had a week long fest of eighties titles. I wound up going down to catch two of them on the big screen. One was because number two son Kirk hadn’t yet seen it and the other because it’s one of my faves and I wasn’t missing the chance to see it on a big screen. It was rated R back when I was too young to get in so this was a second chance of sorts.
First up was the 1984 Wes Craven favorite A Nightmare On Elm Street. I have of course seen this a few times over the years on both VHS and DVD but it had been a while. When Kirk and his girlfriend expressed an interest in seeing it, off we went. With a movie crazed collector for a Father it’s nice that my two sons still don’t mind sitting down with “the old man” to watch an older flick and I can’t express to them enough how much it means to me.
Freddy Kruger is the one screen character that stands apart from his competitors Michael Myers and Jason from the “other” horror franchises. He has character and personality that makes him far more enjoyable than his counterparts. Full marks should be awarded to Robert Englund on this count. Given a choice to rewatch an entire series of the three horror franchises, Kruger would be my pick. Halloween second thanks to Donald Pleasence and the Friday the 13th series last. That’s not to say John Carpenter’s Halloween isn’t perhaps the best stand alone film. I’m looking at the overall collections based on the villain. And besides, it’s a chance to see John Saxon on the big screen as well. O.K. Johnny Depp, you too.
Speaking of John Carpenter, my second visit to the Apollo Cinema was to see his remake of The Thing. I love this film!
It’s not only claustrophobic with a great score from Ennio Morricone but it has one of the “coolest” actors over the last forty or so years as the lead. For the uninitiated its Kurt Russell. Russell and Carpenter have had a long association including Elvis in ’79 and Escape From New York where the movie world discovered Snake Plissken. Perhaps one more collaboration awaits us.
Shape shifting and amazing f/x the way they should be done (that’s a cheap shot at CGI) are splashed across the screen in Carpenter’s version of the original story by John Campbell Jr. It had previously been adapted for the screen by Howard Hawks back in 1951. Carpenter’s film is a terrifying example of not being able to trust the guy standing next to you. The location filming only adds to the flavor of helplessness. A solid cast of character actors like Keith David and Wilford Brimley fill out the cast but it’s Donald Moffat who has the best line in the film. Clip 7 of 10.
I’m kind of hoping that I’ll be able to catch more retro films at the new screen in town and am happy to report that there will be a double feature coming up I’m looking forward to. It’s a couple of 3-D classics. Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder and the Vincent Price classic House of Wax. Both in 3-D! Reviews to follow in a couple of weeks.
For those that wonder why someone would pay money to see an “old” title on the big screen? Maybe that ‘s where they were meant to be seen? Not really sure but if you have that passion for films then give it a try.